The day is almost here. My countdown is at
Our friends at work threw us a baby shower, and our friends at home threw us a baby shower. I feel very surrounded by love, and tiny person things.
After 8 months of waiting (and nine months of being pregnant), the day is finally almost here. We’re so excited. And I’m trying to not let it be a stressful time, because OMG THIS HUGE EVENT THAT’S GOING TO CHANGE OUR LIVES could happen any day now, give or take two weeks.
I think that the length of human gestation is pretty right-on. I feel like a completely different person than I was 9 months ago, after reading about 100000+ books and talking to other moms, and yoga, and childbirth classes, and meeting with the midwife, and movies, and support groups. I might not ever be “ready,” but I could talk your ear off about colostrum and episiotomies and vernix and all other sorts of things not mentioned in polite company.
Everyone has a different strategy on how they plan to give birth, and this is a post about our plan. If there is one thing I feel like I can count on, it’s that I can’t count on everything going the way I want it to, but at least I’m educated about the choices I’ll make along the way.
Who and where
The first decision every mom makes early in their pregnancy is who is going to be their provider. We ended up choosing a certified nurse midwife who practices in Bangor. I’ve had a healthy, uneventful pregnancy, and I didn’t need the level of medical care that an obstetrician provides. On the other side of the coin, Tony and I weren’t entirely comfortable with going to a lay midwife and having a birth at home. Going with a nurse midwife was the right choice for us because we felt like we wouldn’t have over-medicalized care but if something goes wrong, we’d still be in the hospital.
If you live in the Bangor area, it appears to me you have about three choices where to give birth: Eastern Maine Medical Center, or drive to Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth, or have a home birth. My friend Natalie went to Ellsworth and had a really great experience there, but I was nervous about making the trip with summer tourist traffic. And I didn’t know if I would have a fast labor or a slow one, since it was my first time. The advantage of Maine Coast is that it has birthing suites; there are birthing tubs, and rooms where you can have your labor and delivery and recovery in the same place. EMMC is more of a traditional kind of hospital stay, with different rooms for your delivery and recovery.
So are you going to use drugs?
It’s the first question a lot of people ask me and it was the first question I asked a lot of my friends who were recent moms, too.
One of the best books I read was “What’s Going on in There?” by Lise Elliot, and she talks quite a bit about the effect of birth on the developing brain, and drugs.
Women have been given anesthesia for birth for a long time and the consensus is that its probably pretty safe. There might be an effect on how your child begins to breastfeed or bond with you in the first few days of life, so it’s not ideal, but there’s no study that suggests it will affect emotional or intellectual intelligence later in life.
I try to think about how I would approach a daunting challenge as an athlete. The marathon can be an arduous and painful journey. But it doesn’t have to be. You prepare yourself mentally and physically before it. And while the marathons I have run have never been easy — the pain was temporary.
That being said, if I injured myself while running, and needed medical intervention, you bet your ass I would take it!
So I am not saying “no, under no circumstances do I want to use any medications,” but I don’t want to use them unless I feel that it is absolutely necessary to finish the job. I want to stay very centered and present in my physical self, because I trust that I can do this. I plan to use the Yoga Birth Method as my guide.
After she’s born
… then we’ll really have to pick a name.
If everything goes well, I want to keep her with Tony and I as much as possible. Hospitals used to weigh and measure babies right after they were born, but research shows that babies do better if they get skin to skin contact and breastfeeding soon after birth. I’ve been warned that sometimes at some hospitals with some nurses you will have to fight for this.
I want to stay in the hospital as little as possible. We’ll likely be there at least another day, because there are some tests the baby needs when she is 24 hours old.
I hate hospitals. It’s not personal. They just remind me of all the times family members have been sick and suffering. I do not think I will recover well in a hospital, even if it is so great to have nurses there to help you with a newborn.
I plan to keep updating this blog about this journey. And just like I’ve been changing for 9 months, this blog will change, too, I am sure. I haven’t run since the middle of May, and most of the exercise I’ve done is walking the pugs or floating in my parents’ swimming pool.