Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Quick Check-in (34w1d)

Hi, everyone! Another quick check-in between seeing our houseguests (my parents) off this morning and heading out to see DH's parents this weekend.

I am doing really well - still off of Zofran, and on just 1/2 tab of Unisom per day. Nausea is ever-present but is rarely problematic.

I made it through Christmas, hurray! And.... drum roll please.... our tree is down and put away! Any local friends are now faint from shock, as our tree usually stays up till sometime between St. Patrick's Day and April Fool's. But my ruthless decluttering habits have taken over holiday trappings as well as everyday things, and I have been champing at the bit to get decorations put away so that I can move on.

Speaking of decluttering.... wow! I have been impressing even myself! It's really quite laughable. I am pretty much trying to throw out anything that isn't tied down. And frankly, a lot of what is being kept is being kept only because there are various parties to answer to (i.e. the family that gave us the gifts) rather than any real need/want. But I've been doing really well anyhow - biweekly trips to Goodwill and continual give-aways on Freecycle, and I think it's making a bit of difference, though I'd still like to get rid of an easy 50% of the stuff we have left.

Decluttering has always been my instinctual method of stress-relief, and nesting has just thrown it into ultra-high gear, with an added dash of utter ruthlessness. I love it! It's given me the ability to get rid of a bunch of stuff that I've never wanted to keep but have been guilted into. Hopefully this can continue! I am really a minimalist at heart, and having stuff bothers me. My parents are continually urging me to just store stuff in the attic, but they just don't get it - having too much stuff bothers me horribly. I don't feel peaceful until it is gone and OUT of the house for good. My dream is to live in a one-room cabin in the mountain with just the basic necessities (bed, table, chair, etc.).

Have I wandered far enough for you? It's hard to write coherently with Thomas the Tank Engine in the background. In reading back over what I just wrote, I found at least five major spelling errors, so don't expect linguistic perfection today.

But Christmas was nice! We had a fun time, though I did get stressed the last couple of days. I usually am a Christmas minimalist as well, but I think I just left too many things till the last minute. Next year, must do better.

My favorite part of Christmas was having church on Christmas. Our church has church on Sunday Christmases, and I love it! Christmas church is just extra-special. I really wish that our church could do the old-fashioned practice of having church on Christmas regardless of the day it falls!!!

An update on my efforts to NWP (nurse while pregnant!) - We continue to plow ahead, but it is hard going. We are only a hair's breadth away from weaning, though I am fighting valiantly to keep on. Only six more weeks, only six more weeks! I'm hoping I can hang on. If I make it, this will go on my life list of great accomplishments. Why? Because it HURTS. Horribly! Sometimes worse than others - anywhere from "Ouch!!" to "YEOUUCCCHHHH!!!!" In fact, a couple of weeks ago, I actually - no joke! - took a wooden spoon into the bedroom so that I could bite on the handle (a la "Ben Hur") while nursing. (It was better than my fingers.) Conclusion? Wooden spoon handles are way too big - they need to come out with a thinner edition. But it helps. Local friends, you will now know why my wooden spoons are covered in bite marks when you come over and are puzzling over that fact.

For anyone who is clicking "Unsubscribe! Unsubscribe!".... yes, I think I am crazy. This is not an experience I want to repeat.

We have now passed over the 34 week mark - nerve-wracking! Very nerve-wracking. I know most people are anxious for their babies arrive, but I've never been anxious for a pregnancy to end (though I am looking forward to meeting baby). Why? Well, (1) labor hurts, and I'm a wimp, (2) babies are a lot easier to take care of in-utero than in-arms, and (3) having a new baby turns one's life - and sanity along with it - completely upside down for at least six months. Not fun! But it will be fun to meet our newest family member - and to have the nausea leave!!

Having a third baby is going to move me completely out of my comfort zone. As a matter of fact, baby #2 did that, but #3 will do it even more thoroughly. It's not even something in my recent family history! On my side of the family, we have only only-children and two-children families for at least three generations back, and DH himself has only one sister. Both my mother and my MIL had only one pregnancy (one singleton and one twin), so neither of them has dealt with children of different ages, and neither of them has dealt with three children. This is going to be the adventure of a lifetime!

Well, I could meander longer, but I have bored my poor readers long enough! I'll check in after New Year's, when we're back and unpacked. I hope that you all have had a lovely Christmas - enjoy the one remaining holiday this weekend!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Still Alive! (33w1d)

Hi, everyone! Sorry it's been so long! And actually, it might have been even longer, but my family is coming in town today and I'll be MIA for another week, so I thought I would check in.

However, I am ridiculously short on time, so here are just a few quick tidbits of life from the valley of the Sun:

- I have been off of Zofran for about.... three weeks. It feels so nice! I am still taking 1/2 of a Unisom (or 1 Diclectin) per day. I went off of it one day this week, but it didn't last. I'll try again soon! I am feeling fairly well most of the time (except for when I feel rotten). The nausea is always here, but it's not usually too much of a problem. Night before last I actually had to get up in the middle of the night to take some Unisom because the nausea wouldn't let me sleep, but that's unusual.

- Other pregnancy symptoms - breathlessness, exhaustion, muscle fatigue, pelvic pain, difficulty walking, the usual. :)

- I forgot to say that I did my hospital tour a few weeks ago - had a great time! It was so much fun. Hopefully I'll never actually end up there, but it's a nice feeling to know that if we do need to go in, I like the place where we'd be going and feel at least mildly comfortable there. You can read my review of that here.

- Our actual Lepkuchen Day went really well, and we enjoyed it tremendously. Thanks to all who joined us! (And to those who would've but couldn't!) You can read about Lepkuchen Day here. This year our dates were screwy - it's supposed to be the Saturday before Thanksgiving, but our fearless Lepkuchen-Day-founders had to mess with the dates so that they could fly back east for their daughter's new baby (birth story here! as well as more about Lepkuchen Day). 

- Remember the cat that was lost-and-then-found? Well, she got out and was gone for several weeks.... and then we found her again. And then last night, she slipped out again and is currently - again - missing. What a cat. Definitely not one to trust!

- For those of you who are curious about what goes on at a homebirth, and specifically, the supplies used at a homebirth, I wrote up the details in a post on my other blog - enjoy!

- Other pregnancy details: I am currently taking a calcium/magnesium supplement, Floradix (iron), alfalfa tablets (for vitamin K, as we plan to nix the vitamin K shot/drops), and all the usual other stuff (fish oil, multi, zinc, B complex, etc.). As my blood pressure was a wee bit high at our next-to-last visit, I am also working on that (fluids, protein, salt, exercise... and lots and lots of cucumbers!!). Thankfully at our visit last night, my BP was again behaving itself - hurray!

- Childbirth prep - I got out my Hypnobabies CDs!! And listened to a track.... once. Yup, it's bad. Or rather, I'm bad. I simply cannot summon the energy at the end of an exhausting day to stick on half an hour of CD listening. I ought to improve myself, really, but..... sleep calls. Maybe some other year.

- I am really enjoying getting to know our midwife - she is a really neat woman. Last night I had the privilege of chatting with her for an hour (I love midwife visits!!), and thoroughly enjoyed our conversation. I have also been attending her biweekly meetings for pregnant mamas, and those are great as well (and open to the public for anyone who's interested!).

- We are also enjoying the Christmas season! I am a minimalist about Christmas (as in most things), so I don't do half of the things that most people do, but I really prefer it that way and have a great time enjoying this month. We've been going out to look at lights and playing lots of Christmas music, and this week I'm going to do some minor baking (sugar cookies) and wrap a few minor presents - and that'll be about it! We don't exchange presents with half of our family (haven't convinced the other side to hop on that wagon), and we also don't give our own kids presents - sounds Grinchy, but being the only grandchildren on both sides of the family, they are so thoroughly spoiled that we soon found it to be pointless. (In fact, all of my decluttering efforts will probably be eaten up by an influx of Christmas presents....) We'll also attend church on Saturday and Sunday, which will be great - one of my favorite parts of Christmas! I hope that each of you out there is enjoying the holidays and having an enjoyable Christmas week.

- Lastly, I would ask for your prayers for a local HG mama here who is beginning her seventh - yes, seventh! - journey into the world of NVP/HG. She was holding her own until this week but is now beginning to experience the HG slide (we all know about that one) so she could really use your prayers.

I will try to check in more often as the last weeks of this pregnancy count down! Love to all! And a very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Anatomy of a Homebirth - Breaking It Down

For those of you out there who are new to homebirth, I thought I'd provide a few details so that you can get a basic picture of what a homebirth looks like.

Preparing for a homebirth:

There are several sets of supplies that a homebirth family gathers before the birth, or that are provided.

(1) Supply List - Every midwife has her own individual supply list (there are general similarities) that she requests each family to gather and have ready in a centralized location. Linens should be washed and dried in a hot drier (usually with extra time), then bagged in plastic. Is this necessary? No, not really, but it's just a precaution on the side of safety. Here is my midwife's list:

- Set of extra fitted sheets for the bed - While the mother is in early labor, the bed is made with fresh sheets, then covered in plastic, and a new fitted sheet is put over all of that. Thus, if the bed gets messy during the birth, the top sheet and the plastic can be stripped off afterwards and the mama and baby can be tucked into a clean bed.

- Waterproof bed pad - This can be done with plastic sheeting, plastic shower curtains, or a regular waterproof fitted sheet, for the purpose above.

- 5 clean towels and washcloths, double for a waterbirth - Always needed!

- 5-10 clean receiving blankets for baby, diapers and clothes for baby

- Two medium sized plastic bowls - For the placenta and any other waste.

- Cookie sheet, rimmed - To hold supplies.

- Labor food and drinks for mom and birth team - Food and drink during labor are SO important for the mama! Hospital-birthing mamas, don't forget to pack your own food and drinks to take to the hospital, since many hospitals are still under the (highly mistaken) notion that mothers should be NPO (nothing by mouth) during labor. Good drink choices are juice or Gatorade, good snacks are whatever you like - but stock lots of good stuff, both for you and the team!

- 1 roll paper towels - For general mess clean-up!

- Olive Oil - For perineal massage during pushing (not used for waterbirths).

- 2 empty laundry/garbage baskets - For waste.

- Extra large garbage bags - To fit the wastebaskets.

- Ibuprofen - For after the birth, to help with after-pains and swelling

I am adding things like an afterpains tincture, a heating pad, and a rice sock.

(2) Personal Things - Basically, what would fit into a hospital bag! Things like a music playlist, a birth ball, an inflatable birth tub, chapstick, personal items, etc.

(3) Birth Kit - These are the "pseudo-medical" supplies. Each midwife has a different supply list, and they are ordered by the family from a local supplier, who will usually have a list of midwives' names so that each client can select her midwife's particular kit. Though I don't have one in front of me, a birth kit will include things like:

- Chux pads
- Pads for postpartum bleeding
- Suction bulb
- Plastic cord clamps
- Disposable (keepsake) measuring tape
- Instant ice packs

(4) Midwife's Supplies - Each midwife will bring her own kit of supplies to a birth, the "true medical" supplies. This would include things like:

- Pitocin (for postpartum hemorrhage)
- Syringes
- Suturing materials
- Oxygen tanks
- Neonatal resuscitation equipment
- IV materials (depending on the state)
- Stethoscope, Doppler, and fetoscope

During a homebirth:

When a mother goes into labor, a midwife will keep in touch with her via phone and via in-person check-ins. This will vary based on how quickly a labor is progressing, and on whether the mother is in her first or subsequent labor. With my first birth, I labored for about twelve hours before the midwife came over to stay, while with my second she headed over as soon as we called her (smart woman!).

A midwife will arrive to stay whenever the mother feels a need to have her, usually sometime during active labor. She will stay through the birth and usually two or more hours after the birth, until both the baby and mother are fully stabilized and comfortable. During the labor, birth and postpartum, she is constantly on the alert, checking on the health of both mother and baby (fetal heart tones, maternal blood pressure/temperature/pulse) and making sure that everything stays within normal parameters for safety. If, at any time, she feels that any variable has progressed outside of her practice protocols, she will recommend a transport to the hospital and will accompany the family there.

After the birth, the midwife will make several home visits to the family, usually on days 1 and 3 post-birth, followed by several more in-office postpartum visits (usually at weeks 1, 3, and 6 postpartum).

I have had wonderful experiences with my midwives and my births at home. Though childbirth was easily the most physically challenging thing that I have ever done, it has also been the most fulfilling, transformative, and life-changing as well. I have always felt 100% safe and well-cared for, as well as respected and supported. I will never voluntarily choose to birth any other way - once a woman has had a good homebirth with an excellent midwife, there is no going back.

I would love to answer any other questions concerning homebirth - if you have any, please leave a comment!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Loud Mothers of the World, United!

A few days ago, someone posted the following on the Facebook page for Bring Birth Home:

"I see so many beautiful pictures of women so calmly birthing their babies... it almost makes me feel like a failure in my two home births because I can't seem to master the chill out and breathe and quit fighting the pain. Instead I end up screaming and 'bucking up' against the contractions. (In my defense, both of my children were posterior.) So this is a shout out to the other screamers out there... tell me I'm not alone!" (emphasis mine)

At last count, there were over one hundred responses to this post, all saying "Yes! Me too!"

I was so relieved to see this!

So much of the time, I really feel like a birth failure. Really. That's how I describe myself and how I think of myself. I have never been able to relax through a single contraction. I have never been able to keep quiet through a contraction. I have never been able to mimic the birthing goddesses whose videos we pass around the internet. Instead, I go more for the sweaty, red-faced, yowling, out-of-control style that doesn't really get talked about much in birthing classes - and you'll for sure never see my birth videos being screened in mass quantities in local Bradley classes.

It's so nice to know that I'm not alone.

Which begs the question, of course - are we really doing women a favor when we only share the photogenic-type birth videos? What about when reality hits, and a first-time mom in labor realizes "Oh my gosh, these contractions hurt and I can't maintain that perfect-birth-video airbrushed look and pretend this is painless?" In some ways, that's what happened to me in my first birth. The childbirth classes we had taken focused on painless birth (which my midwife says she has seen once in her entire career), and so the reality of labor made me rather panicky. I would much rather be prepared for the truth than to be focused on the rare event of painless birth.

Enough meandering for the day!! Thoughts, anyone?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Vitamin K and the Newborn - Another Perspective

Like most mothers who are into natural birth, I have always avoided the newborn vitamin K shot - and still plan to do so with this coming birth. To me, it makes sense that if all infants are born with lowered vitamin K levels, then they are meant to do so for a good reason. It's kind of like cord clamping - if mammals were meant to have immediate cord clamping, then their cords would clamp immediately on their own. Physiology doesn't need improvement. In other words, the normal, functioning, healthy body does not need routine artificial intervention. (We would use the vitamin K shot in case of a physically traumatic birth.)

This past summer, though, I met a lovely local midwife who has a slightly different take on vitamin K shots. She told me that while she, too, used to avoid them, she now recommends routine vitamin K administration in her practice.

The reason?

Simply the fact that - based on a study that she reviewed - American diets are abysmally low in vitamin K (which is found primarily in dark, leafy greens - definitely one of many weaknesses in the typical American diet), and thus our newborns have lower vitamin K levels at birth than even normal newborns are supposed to have - putting them at risk.

The midwife told me that while she now recommends the shot, she still much prefers that mothers just improve their diets to include more natural sources of vitamin K, and therefore be able to provide their infants with the nutrient naturally rather than artificially.

Interesting stuff!

We're still not planning on giving the vitamin K shot, but I am doing my best to increase my vitamin K intake. Since I'm still nauseated and green smoothies are not exactly appealing right now, I have just started supplementing with alfalfa tablets, which are supposedly a great source of vitamin K. In fact, I need to go take some right now!

What do you think?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Vacation in Flagstaff

Reposted from my personal blog!

And so, our vacation to Flagstaff! Here it is, in all its glory.

This is truly the vacation that almost didn't happen. Originally it was supposed to be in July, which was when I was good and sick, and it was rescheduled for September (still too sick).... then October (I got sick again, this time with a cold) and finally November. This truly was an event that required some muscle to have happen.

Despite living in the valley for over eight years, I have never been to Flagstaff (heresy!). So it was fun finally to see the town that everyone around here uses as a vacation spot, and in which half of our church's kids attend college.

This was a very short vacation, based on (1) cost, (2) time, and (3), the fact that we were using half of the time not for vacation, but for a trip back to Sedona for Thanksgiving with family. So our vacation was just three days - most of which was spent either holing up in our hotel room watching the food channel, because it was so cold, or trying to get kids ready to go out. Moms of many, you amaze me! Some days we weren't even leaving our room till 11 a.m., after dealing with all the getting up routines. Those of you who are up and out the door by seven really astound me.

Here are some of the things we did!

Snow and visiting the lumberjack at NAU:

Driving by a beautiful Catholic church in downtown Flagstaff. The monument outside (see below) reads, "Joseph's Carpenter Shop: In Memory to All Children Who Have Died Unborn, Known Only to God." How precious! I'm not sure if that is referring to all miscarriages and abortions, or to early miscarriages only, but it was still wonderful. I loved it.

Our hotel room:

Driving out of town to see Lake Mary. Never found Lake Mary (the GPS led us to some obscure ranger station that had nothing to do with a lake), but found the next best thing - more snow! DS played while the Chublet spent time being cute:

Our traditional trip stop at Dairy Queen, where DS talked non-stop to the girls at the front counter (mostly telling them about the Apollo 11 launch) and DH and I enjoyed pumpkin pie blizzards (they seriously need to up the pumpkin and spices in their recipe):

Inventing new uses for hotel ironing boards - improvisatory bed rails!

A quick stop at the Flagstaff mall:

We also stopped at the Little America hotel - it has lots of childhood memories for DH, and it's also where our church held its women's retreat a few weeks ago. I didn't make it to the retreat, but at least I drove by the hotel where it was held! That's got to count for something, right???

Then, in Sedona.....

Fun at our favorite place, Tlaquepaque:

At the labyrinth, which DS chose to do by running madly up and down the path:

(Note: On this trip, I had only two things to wear that were warm enough - a pair of maternity jeans which were, alas, too big - and thus were determined to obey the call of gravity rather than my attempts to make them obey societal rules of modesty, and a pair of overalls which I have dubbed the ugliest maternity pants in the universe. Below you will see the second of those modeled, as I work on my beached whale impression (these are so going to Goodwill!):

By Oak Creek:

Feeding the ducks at our favorite resort:

Other things we did:

- The Lowell Observatory  - big hit, too bad we got there when it was closing - next time!

- Babies to Kids toy store - big hit!

- Local park to play

- Beaver Street Brewery for lunch - delicious gluten-free pizza!!

- Downtown Flagstaff

For Thanksgiving with the family, I tried my hand at a few gluten-free items - pumpkin pie (big success!), sweet potato casserole (also a success), and stuffing (err.... ask me next year after I've had a chance to try again).

So, all in all, a good trip. Not as fun as last year, and it didn't help that I was feeling tired, nauseated, out of sorts, and battling an overwhelming desire to go home and scrub the baseboards with bleach (nesting urge continues unabated). But we got through it and had fun. Hopefully next year's trip will be a little less hectic!

This morning blog post was brought to you courtesy of a small boy - who shall remain unnamed - who slept in until ten o'clock. By which means I know that we have serious work to do on our bedtimes around here!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Prenatal Nutrition & Infant Predisposition for Obesity

This past month, I read an absolutely fascinating book - "Why We Get Fat (And What to Do About It)" by Gary Taubes. May I say that I highly recommend this book? It is an amazing book, and it completely turned my notion of nutritional cuase-and-effect on its head. Easy to read, great information - check it out!! (And this is not just for people trying to lose weight - it's a great read for any and all.)

While reading, I found a fascinating passage on maternal prenatal nutrition and the "inheritance" of obesity between generations. Here it is!

"Fat children tend to be born of fat parents..... Children in the womb are supplied with nutrients from the mother (through the placenta and umbilical cord) in proportion to the level of those nutrients in the mother's blood. This means that the higher the level of the mother's blood sugar, the more glucose her child gets in the womb.
 "As the pancreas in that child develops, it apparently responds to this higher dose of glucose by developing more insulin-secreting cells. So, the higher the blood sugar in the pregnant mother, the more insulin-secreting cells her child will develop, and the more insulin the child will secrete as it gets close to birth. The baby will now be born with more fat, and it will have a tendency to oversecrete insulin and become insulin-resistant itself as it gets older. It will be predisposed to get fat as it ages. In animal studies, this predisposition often manifests itself only when the animal reaches its version of middle age. If this observation translates to humnans, then some of us are programmed in the womb to get fat in middle age, even if we show little or no sign of this predisposition when we're young.
 "This is almost assuredly the reason why obese mothers, diabetic mothers, others who gain excessive weight during pregnancy, and mothers who become diabetic in pregnancy... all tend to have larger and fatter babies. These women tend to be insulin-resistant and have higher levels of blood sugar.
 And the conclusion:

"But if fatter mothers have fatter babies, and fatter babies become fatter mothers, where does it stop? This suggests that, as the obesity epidemic took off, and we all began getting fatter, we began to program more and more of our children from the first few months of their existence to get fatter still. In fact, it wouldn't be surprising if this particular vicious cycle is one cause of the obesity epidemic. Thus we have more than our own health to consider when we get fat. Our children, too, may pay a price, and their children. And each successive generation may find it that much harder to undo the problem." (pp. 131-132)
 Fascinating stuff! Check out the book!

The Cesarean Assumption, or Awkward Moments With Children

The flock of children next door (ages 4-6) is extremely interested in and excited about our new little baby. Every time they come over, they ask the same questions - When will baby be here? Is it a boy or a girl? They're a lot of fun.

A week or two ago, the little six-year-old girl was talking to me about the baby. After going through the usual set of questions, she used her hand to mimic cutting motions on my tummy - obviously mimicking a cesarean section - and said "They take baby out?"

I said "No, no, they're not going to cut the baby out," and thankfully she was soon afterwards distracted, likely saving me from some very awkward questions.

Seriously, what would one say, if she then said "But how....."? I'm all for age-appropriate knowledge - and our 5yo knows all about how babies are born, having been at his brother's birth - but I also believe that the only people filling children in on knowledge about human reproduction should be parents. Not neighbors, or teachers, or the government - parents. So that would have called for some serious hemming and hawing! Or the ever-popular, "Ask your mommy, hon!"

But it is sad to think that a 6yo thinks that babies are born by being cut out of mommy's tummy. I know that's only her in-family knowledge, but it makes me sad to think that she (and lots of other kids) are growing up with that as their knowledge base.

Kids!! Gotta love 'em.

Getting My Five-Year Pin!

This past Thursday, I finally made it to the five-year mark with nursing - counting both our children, I have now breastfed for a full 60 months (33 months with our eldest, and 27 months - and counting! - with our youngest). Pretty exciting!

We've been through a lot with breastfeeding - blocked ducts, milk blisters, tongue tie, pumping, exclusive bottle feeding while dealing with problems, you name it. Thankfully, we have been surrounded by a very breastfeeding-supportive community (husband, doulas, midwives, lactation consultants, pediatrician, birth community) that has given us the encouragement to work through these problems and continue on.

If there was one thing that I'd say I have learned about breastfeeding, it is that breastfeeding (as a cultural phenomenon) really does take an entire community to support. Sticking a mother out on her own, surrounded by critical or undermining support people (the usual situation for most mothers today), is a sure-fire way to destroy or prevent successful breastfeeding relationships. It's really no wonder that a huge majority of American babies receive formula by six weeks post-birth, because the support just isn't there, though the formula companies are ever-eager to take up that slack.

Thankfully, I have not had the challenge of dealing with hostile family members, as many unfortunately do. My mom has been (mostly) fine with our decision to nurse long-term, and my mother-in-law, though doubtless horrified by our hippie-ness (her babies were all formula-raised), is so sweet that she has never said a word. Have I mentioned how blessed I am to have such a wonderful mother-in-law? She's been great.

Our current breastfeeding challenge is trying to nurse through a pregnancy. It is not easy, my friends! Nursing has gone - throughout the course of the pregnancy - from "mildly uncomfortable" to "moderately uncomfortable" to "ouch-ouch-ouch-ouch! uncomfortable" to "YEEEEEEOOOOUUUUCCCHHHH!!!" uncomfortable over the past few weeks. Yikes!

If I was not quite sure that our little one wasn't ready to stop, I would definitely wean - which is what happened during our last pregnancy. Our eldest was ready, I was ready, and nursing hurt, so we stopped. If I hadn't been pregnant, we could easily have continued for another six to twelve months, but as it is, it was a painless process. With our current little guy, I am determined to do the best I can to continue on so that I can tandem nurse after this new babe arrives. Whether or not I'll be successful is anyone's guess! Though I can always reintroduce if I don't make it the last few weeks - I'd like to get him to at least age three or four before stopping. With his developmental delays, weaning right now would be like weaning a six-month-old - not good.

But anyway, five years is something to celebrate! Here's to breastfeeding!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Laborious Thoughts, or What Have I Gotten Myself Into Now?

Reposting from my personal blog!

The clock is ticking! The countdown is on.... we are roughly two months out from baby's arrival, give or take a few weeks. And as that unknown date approaches, I find myself - once again! - intimidated by the thought of going through childbirth again.

Really, I thought I'd gotten past all of that. After all, I've had two unmedicated homebirths. While they were tough and extremely challenging, they were also empowering, transformational, and life-changing. I'm very happy with them.

But.... they were also hard. And the thought of doing it again is quite intimidating.

Of course, it doesn't help that - aside from the usual Bradley exercises - I haven't really done any preparation for this birth. We briefly considered taking childbirth classes, but the astronomical cost (class + babysitting = big bucks) was a bit off-putting. And my free time seems to have dwindled to near-zero, so the thought of listening to a 30-40 minute Hypnobirthing or Hypnobabies tape every night - when I am dead tired and just wanting SLEEP - is less than motivating.

So there it is! I find myself fearing this upcoming birth. Which I shouldn't, of course. My body was made to do this, I can trust God to get me through it, and I have an amazing birth team to support me - DH, one of our doulas from last time, and a great valley midwife.

And I know I'll get through it. It's just the challenge of doing so!

One thing that I know will help is the fact that we have a great doula. The difference between my first and second births, doula-wise, was amazing. With our first birth, we had a lovely woman as doula, but she was just too hands-off for what I needed. I'm the wimpy kind who needs coaching and hand-holding through each and every contraction (though I didn't know that at the time). With my second birth, my two doulas were absolutely awesome (they're the hand-holding type!), and it was so much better. I had no idea what a difference a doula could make!! Absolutely phenomenal.

And of course, it always helps to have done it before. At least there's no fear of the unknown.

So... Does anyone out there have any suggestions for labor prep? Advice, suggestions, stern lectures, etc.? If so, bring it on!

In the meantime, I'll just get back to my chanting - "I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!" (Or maybe not, since I can't stand that children's book. Must find new mantra.)