I’ve barely talked about my pregnancy on this blog. Why? Because there hasn’t been much to talk about! I’ve been blessed with an easy first and second trimester, minus the thyroid drama. I did have one nasty bout of heartburn (my first!), but that never became a constant problem.
I’m barely showing either, which seems to be an endless topic of conversation amongst both the people in my life and strangers. Dear world: if you’re not going to call the bump “cute” or “beautiful,” just don’t comment please! I’m never commenting on the size of someone’s bump ever again!
But at nearly 27 weeks, there’s a big baby in there, making her presence known. She’s a squirmy one! We couldn’t find out the sex at our 20-week ultrasound, as she’s too active, but we’ve taken to calling her she.
I’m really hoping for an unmedicated, natural birth with few medical interventions. “Why bother?” some may ask. You don’t get an award. I could go into the statistics, the biology, the hormones, The Business of Being Born, or our broken health care system – but ultimately this is why I want a natural birth: I think my body was designed to do this, and if everything happens like it should, it will do it beautifully.
There is a complex cascade of hormones that prepares the body for childbirth and stimulates neurological changes that promote bonding between a mother and baby. I want to experience every second. I believe most medical interventions get in the way of that.
Here are some things that I’m doing to work toward my goal of a natural childbirth:
First and most importantly, we picked a low-intervention, pro-natural birth hospital. I looked up my local hospitals’ C-section rates, I read lots of health message boards, and talked to people in the community. We’re crossing state lines to give birth because this is so important to me. I’ve been meeting with the midwife there monthly, not an OB. Midwives are experts at delivering babies, OB’s are experts at complications and surgery. I love this comment I read on a website: doctors are trained to “do”, while midwives are trained to “wait.” I considered homebirth, and honestly I still want to do it. Looking at the statistics both here in the U.S. and abroad, I think homebirth is just as safe, if not safer, than giving birth at a hospital (the medical establishment in the U.S. has done a fantastic job convincing us otherwise!). But homebirth is expensive, even with insurance covering a part, so pro-natural birth hospital is it.
I’m interviewing doulas. While I’m fully confident Karl will be able to support and encourage me through labor and delivery, he has never done this before! He doesn’t know what a cervix is and he thinks I have a prostate too! A doula provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother before, during, and just after birth. Doulas are on your side. They have no ties to the hospital. They can explain certain procedures and medical terms to you and your partner and help you determine their necessity. Doulas are an advocate for you when you’re too tired and out-of-it to think straight. They explain to you and your partner what’s happening in your body. Not to mention the presence of a doula tends to result in shorter labors, fewer C-sections, and greater success with breastfeeding! Who wouldn’t want that?!
I’ve also been walking a lot. Childbirth is an extremely physical experience. I want to keep my heart and muscles strong. Plus, exercise is one of the best things you can do for blood sugar control. I have my glucose tolerance test coming up! Let’s hope I pass or else they might make me see a dietitian. Hehe.
I’m going to prenatal yoga twice a week. It’s great for strengthening the back and pelvic floor, opening the hips, and for stress-relief. Also, you’re more likely to sleep well and deliver full term if you do yoga regularly. And the baby is more likely to be in the right position for birth (not breech or backwards). I love the community of my class – we talk about our ups and downs and what’s happening in our pregnancies.
I’ve been doing my kegels religiously. Nuff said.
I love listening to Pregtastic podcasts. It’s a roundtable radio show with a new topic every week. What a wealth of information! I love how the show includes women from all different perspectives and backgrounds.
Lately, I’m also really into reading bloggers’ birth stories. Some are graphic and honest and I appreciate that. Reading them helps me prepare for what it might be like.
I want to point out that I’m fully aware complications may arise that require medical intervention. I open to them if the need arises. And I’m grateful for advances in technology that can save lives. BUT – I think women have more control over their birth experience than the media or our culture has led us to believe. I am constantly surprised at how little research and thinking goes into childbirth for so many women! They just show up at the hospital, terrified, and hope for the best. It makes me really sad. I’m looking forward to it so much! I’m not scared at all, and I think that’s because I’ve educated myself.
If you’ve had a baby, I’d love to hear about your experience! What are you glad you did during the pregnancy/childbirth? What would you have done differently?