Saturday, May 22, 2010

We’re Havin’ A Party!: Our Planned Home Birth

I received this hilarious homebirth comic the other day,

I’ve read it three times already and laughed aloud each time. I am so excited about the birth. It’s ridiculous how I am looking forward to this experience. I have really come to think of it as a kind of surprise party. There will be food and games and music. And then we will all get to meet the guest of honor just as s/he steps out into her life—a brand new person, joining us on this plane, in this incarnation, for the very first time!

Knowing that I am going to this party pretty much assured that it will end with the beginning of a new love affair gives it some of that giddy excitement that one might feel heading out to a high school dance. I daydream about who this person will be, how they will look, how I will care for them, the way I once did about my unmet husband.

And then there is my birth team. We have asked two fabulous women to support J and I as we bring this child into the world. Both women are of incredible spirit who positively shine with optimism and acceptance. They are sunny and humorous, possess spines of steel, and are wonderful cooks! I haven’t any doubt that they will be invaluable sources of loving support and mood lightening hilarity if and when J or I begin to flag.

I like and trust our midwives. Sometime during the many hours we have spent together during the last twenty weeks I have come to think of them more as extraordinarily knowledgeable friends than health care professionals providing a service. They are interesting and competent people, and I’m genuinely glad they will be at our party!

With any luck my mother will join the party before the main event. She has always been such a source of inspiration to me; I so admire her and aspire to be like her in many ways. It will be a dream come true to have her present for the birth.

Then there is J. I am so happy to be sharing this experience with him. He has been such a considerate and supportive spouse these last months. I can see my own excitement mirrored in his eyes. And his unwavering faith in me strengthens my own. I am lucky to have him and can’t imagine sharing this journey with anyone else.

In preparation I have watched numerous birth videos. Some documentary types like “The Business of Being Born,” “My Body, My Baby, My Birth,” and “Orgasmic Birth,” but also lots of home videos. Some favorites included the unassisted birth of twins in Alaska, a water birth following a day spent picnicking with family in Mexico, and a home birth assisted by one of my midwives right here in Philly featuring a lengthy post-partum interview with a very animated new grandfather. (J and I plan to record this birth too and have already started compiling material. ☺)

I had originally thought that I would have this baby at a birth center, but when Bryn Mawr was booked it was on to plan B. Now, I am so glad that we will be birthing at home. I have turned the fourth floor into quite the cozy little birthing suite, complete with supplies for post-partum recovery. Our birth materials are all neatly laid out in tidy piles on the nursery dresser. The master bath has been disinfected with tea tree and rosemary oils, outfitted with candles, and stocked with fresh towels. We moved the mini fridge from the garage (where it held extra beer) to my nursing station where it now sits adjacent to the rocker and the window sporting it’s supply of coconut water, ensure, prune juice, cheese, and peanut butter. I have filled a snack drawer with nuts, dried fruits, canned fish, V-8, crackers, and chocolate.

I was delighted with how well you all received our call tree. The calling is J’s responsibility, like the woman in the comic I have some cooking planned to occupy me during early labor. Unlike the woman in comic I will not be preparing anything too time intensive or involved (I’ll leave that stuff to our birth team) but I have set aside recipes for edamame hummus, marbled tea eggs, and naan to snack on and serve to the midwives and birth team as they arrive.

So, everything is ready. Now, all I have to do is wait for the party to begin…
(All dressed up for our due date date last night...)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Putting My Peeps on Notice!

It's crazy hard to believe but-- tomorrow is my due date! Right now it doesn't look like this little one will be checking out of the Womb Inn on schedule. She is still really active, even more than usual these last couple of days. But I'm not in any kind of hurry to evict her (or him) either. I still like being pregnant. I feel kind of sad that this pregnancy is coming to a close.
I'm still pretty comfortable sharing this body with my baby although I am experiencing some mild aches and pains these days. Like, my feet hurt sometimes. Usually if I try standing on them for any length of time. And my upper right back aches now and again. It seems to be the worst when I sleep. And my pelvic floor is starting to feel a little sore. I feel that one when I've been walking.
But none of these little pains really bother me much. J rubs my feet pretty often and I kind of like having an excuse to stay off of them. There are positions that I can lie in that do not make my back ache, the trick is in finding them. And I know that the soreness in my pelvic floor is just my baby's head ripening my cervix and that's cool with me.
Speaking of my cervix, one of the differences between midwifery care and mainstream obstetric care is the use of internal exams. Most midwives don't routinely perform pelvic exams. I was encouraged early on to become familiar with the feel of my cervix and my internal landscape in general if I were interested in tracking my effacement and dilation. Alas, I did not.
I mean, I know what my cervix feels like, and where it can generally be found. Under normal circumstances. Yet, the other day curiosity prompted me to do a little checking on its current status and I found that everything has changed. It is like a whole 'nother world down there now. The landscape has become utterly foreign and far from being able to gauge my readiness for labor, I now cannot even find the damn thing!
Ah well, all those tests are of dubious value anyway. Instead I have decided to view this as a golden opportunity to practice acceptance. Taking things as they are. Allowing events to unfold in their own time. No anxiety, no judgment. And, to be honest, it feels really good.
I have been feeling wonderfully calm and content. I feel ready for the adventure of labor and birth, when it comes. And I am truly starting to feel excited about meeting our baby. Holding her in my arms. Dressing her in the adorable baby clothes and cute cute diapers that have been gently washed and folded neatly in the nursery.
I still have a short list of things I'd like to get done before she makes her grand entrance, but nothing seems urgent. I do a little bit every day, but break up my work on these various projects with long naps and baths, slow walks with Lena, pampering myself with creams and oils, preparing interesting new recipes, meditation and gentle yoga. Life is grand these days.

Today I made up our call list for labor and birth notifications. Hopefully this will put at ease some friends and relatives who seem somewhat worried that we might have the baby and forget to tell them... So, to all those dear friends and family on this list, rest assured, we will let you know when the baby comes! Please note that we are requesting that most of our direct notifications take on the task of making some secondary notifications for us. Please let me know if this doesn't work for any of you for any reason...

Beverly --> Curtis




John & Susan -->Homer & Enid

Erin & Adam -->Jon & Robin

-->Malik & Tanya

Ericka & Alfie -->Ted & Rita

-->Kareem & Shameca

Kate & Dan -->Dave

Becky & H -->Greg & Allison

Shontay & Vinnie

Rob & Shannon

Mike & Rose