The Natural Bud

Blossoming into a Healthier Lifestyle


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It’s Around the Corner

 

 “Well, this is the calm before the storm.”

Calm Before the Storm Photocredit: timbeaux.com

Calm Before the Storm
Photocredit: timbeaux.com

As of Friday, August 1, I’m 37 weeks pregnant.  Technically full-term.  Our next appointment with the OBGYN is this Friday.  If I don’t deliver by then, we will further discuss the possibilities surrounding induction.  God has provided several ways for us to begin feeling more prepared for Benjamin’s arrival.

Honestly, I don’t know if you can ever feel completely prepared … but here are several of the little undeserved blessings God has poured out on us….

Tours & Consultations 

We had four appointments between Thursday, July 31 and Friday, August 1.  All three doctors we met commented that reaching 37 weeks is quite an accomplishment, in light of the polyhydramniosis.  (Polyhydramniosis: Since our baby isn’t practicing swallowing, there is more amniotic fluid around him than usual.  Mine measured 37; normal is below 25.)

 

Photo credit: Food Matters

Photo credit: Food Matters

In the past two weeks, we’ve finished consultations with several specialists.  Two weeks ago, we met with a neonatologist (a sweet Italian lady) and toured the NICU.  The NICU is far more attractive than I had imagined, and it helps to have a picture of where our baby will be the first several weeks of his life.  We weren’t able to get a tour of the labor and delivery rooms, but a friend who used to work at the hospital sent me a video tour of them.  They are beautiful also.

Last Thursday, we had a fetal echocardiogram and met with a cardiologist (no serious concerns as of now; they will look again after he is born).  She asked if I was still sleeping well at night.  Later in the day, we met with the pediatric surgeon, Dr. Middlesworth, to discuss common scenarios and what he would likely do.  Dr. Middlesworth stood out as more a grandfather-type than a doctor.  He sat down with us and explained everything very softly and slowly, using simple terms.

Waiting Room for Prenatal Visits

Waiting Room for Prenatal Visits

We haven’t met a single doctor who has seemed in a rush to get to the next appointment.  Each of them sits down, asks us what we already know about the baby, and proceeds from there.  When they finish talking, they sit quietly and wait for us to ask all of our questions.  The ultrasound techs and doctors who look at our sonograms laugh as they watch Benjamin move around – like they see him as an adorable baby, not just part of their job.  Each of the specialists – the neonatologist, the cardiologist, and the surgeon – has drawn a diagram for us so that they can explain scenarios more clearly.  We couldn’t have asked for better care.

 

Family Picture after Church

Family Picture after Church

A Place to Retreat 

The hospital in Manhattan is an hour from where we live in Staten Island.  A church in New Jersey graciously agreed to let us use their mission home for the month, which is only 15-20 minutes from the hospital.  This alone significantly reduces the stress involved with planning to get to the hospital.  It’s a beautiful, fully-furnished house, so we’ve only brought a few living necessities for the month.  My sister, a certified professional midwife, is also staying with us for a few weeks.  With the extra help and reduced distractions, we’ve been able to focus more on resting, growing in our marriage, and preparing for Benjamin.  I’m not supposed to pick up Jonathan (our toddler), so I’m even more thankful for the extra help.  My sister has helped tremendously with meals, etc., and I’ve been free to play with Jonathan every day, read, and journal.  Jonathan is having a blast here, playing all day and going outside with daddy in the evenings.

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Home Birth Part 2: Active Labor & Transition

Stage 2: Active Labor

By around 1 p.m., Aunt Joan stayed in the bathroom most of the time. At one point, I asked if they wanted to watch a movie (thinking it would help distract me), but then when Jason went to look for a movie on his phone I didn’t feel like watching anything. During active labor, Jason was using his “contraction app” on his iphone, and he would ask if my contraction had started – when I started groaning. Finally after one contraction, I said (nicely :), “If I’m groaning, I’m having a contraction.” Aunt Joan laughed, and reminded him that when I don’t want to talk/joke anymore, it’s getting into active labor (although at that point I still was able to laugh about it – between contractions).

My mom was in and out for a while – bringing me food and water, and doing whatever was needed. I got in and out of the tub – some of the time I would get out and do more sway/dance moves, then get back in. After one contraction, I felt nauseous again and actually did vomit. It was a relief. I prayed for strength and told God I didn’t think I could handle contractions back to back, I was so tired. He was so gracious. For a long time, I was able to sleep in the 7 minutes between contractions. Even though I was groaning and yelling, and in pain, throughout the labor I thought it didn’t seem bad for a first labor – progressing quickly, able to sleep in between contractions, etc.

Stage 3: Transition

Finally around 4-5 p.m., I started saying, “I can’t do this anymore.” Aunt Joan said, “this is good.” I knew it meant I should be getting close.
Some of the comments I made during/after contractions: “let’s adopt the rest.”
As I got toward transition, I kept saying… “I can’t do this anymore.”
Jason: “Yes you can, your body was made for this.”
Me: “Pray for me.”
Mom: “We’ve been praying for you, but we’ll pray out loud.” At this point I was out of the tub, leaning against her, doing some of the dance/sway moves. She prayed out loud for me.
Me: “God, help me.” (or just “help me.”) “How can I do this?”
Jason: “Your body was made for this”
Me: “I don’t know how I can do this.”
Aunt Joan: “I know this spot, this is a rough spot.”
Mom: “It’s okay, the baby’s coming soon”

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Since I was apparently in transition, we decided to get Lois on FaceTime (my younger sister, who was in the Philippines studying midwifery). (My cousins Ruth & Hannah were watching, too, but they stayed out of the screen most of the time); Lois muted her phone because she didn’t want us to be distracted by their commentary. (I was kind of curious to hear them though!) Once in a while I would look at her and smile (not during contractions). She only unmated it to say I was doing a good job. 🙂
I was in the tub most of the time (kept getting in and out). They had said near the end you can’t get comfortable. Anyway, the hot water and dance moves helped. I completely forgot about Bradley visualizations and quoting Scripture (I’m sure that would’ve helped!). I tried to help Jason remember how to massage my muscles (big strokes). Anyway, he was sweet – doing everything he knew to help and encourage me. He told us later that he felt bad because he was saying, “You can do it!” and in his mind he was wondering, can she do it? is this deceptive? But he knew they needed to bump up the cheerleading.