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More thoughts on being “post-dates”

I’m 41 weeks pregnant. When I’m out and about and strangers ask me, “When are you due?” and I say, “Last week,” they look terribly shocked. Am I not supposed to leave my house until I have the baby? Clearly, activity is good for my body, and just as clearly, things need to get done–three-year-olds need to get dropped off at preschool, groceries need to be bought, etc. It’s not a bad combination–I stay active and busy and things keep functioning. When this baby is ready, she’ll come out, trust me.

A lot of people don’t think that way, though. I have a large number of friends who were induced at 42, 41, or even 40 weeks exactly for no specific medical concern other than the simple fact of being “post-dates,” and who said/say things like, “Oh, my body just doesn’t know how to go into labor.” Well, that’s possible, but very, very unlikely. The vast, vast, majority of the time, your body will go into labor, and your baby will come out on his/her own.

I have a lovely, caring midwife who came to the house at 40.5 weeks and then again about five days later. She checks up on me by text/email, and tells me to call or text if I have any questions, any different symptoms/sensations, any concerns, any labor signs, etc., but she is not pressuring me at all. The rest of the world? Uh, yeah, not so much.

–Christina

16 December 2011 at 11:44 am Leave a comment

Simplicity (thoughts on being “post-dates”)

I’m 41 weeks pregnant. Here’s an incredibly simple webpage (I didn’t make it up, but it’s a gem) that answers the question that comes at me from all directions these days:

Have you had that baby yet?

–Christina

13 December 2011 at 11:40 am Leave a comment

Been there, done that. . . or not: second pregnancy thoughts

I sort of thought that, well, I’ve done this all already, it’s somewhat anticlimactic, etc., about this (my second) pregnancy. But of course that’s not true at all–everything is different, in part just because the context is (I have a preschooler now, I’m working full time right up until the end of my pregnancy this time) and in part because of the randomness involved in pregnancy.

With my son I had an anterior placenta and felt very muffled movement even toward the end, but my placenta is definitely not anterior this time, and the movement difference is astounding.

This baby was also breech for about two weeks in the 33-35 week period, so I got to use some of the advice at SpinningBabies which I’d only read about, not had reason to implement, with my son. So, this time around, I bought an ironing board specifically to do the breech tilt against the couch, even though my husband laughed at me; I had acupuncture done; I went to a chiropractor trained in the Webster technique; I listened to the Hypnobabies track to flip a breech baby, and by 35 weeks my baby was back head-down, indeed. It was actually an amazing experience–I had never tried acupuncture or chiro before, and this pregnancy I was so busy it had been hard to find time to explicitly talk to and bond with this baby until I gave myself the assignment of needing to in order to encourage baby to flip around.

I also had professional maternity portraits done and henna belly art, at a blessingway–more new experiences for me.

I love that there are special things about this pregnancy, now, and that this baby will forever be associated, for me, with all these new experiences. I don’t know what his/her birth will be like, but even though it will be another homebirth with the same midwife, I know it won’t be exactly the same as my son’s birth, and that’s okay. Different. . . is good? Wow, never thought I’d say that.

–Christina

6 December 2011 at 2:25 pm Leave a comment

Love for my birth ball

How is it so comfortable? I sit for half an hour in the morning at a cafe on campus, check my email, get some papers in order for the day, file away any small recently-graded assignments, and have a mug of steamed milk, but oh my, that cafe chair kills me–my feet feel heavy and leaden for several hours afterward!

I come home from school, sit on my birth ball/yoga ball for half an hour to get organized while my son has a snack, before I make dinner, and wow, I feel the difference!

I used the ball in my first pregnancy, but now that I’m a tad bit busier in my third trimester with this pregnancy, boy do I appreciate it all the more.

–Christina

1 December 2011 at 2:38 pm Leave a comment

Nursing through pregnancy, and super gentle weaning

My son is three years and three months old. He’s still nursing, nominally, even though my milk is, as far as I can tell, entirely gone. If there’s colostrum there already, he doesn’t seem to notice it. Basically, he’ll ask to nurse every 1-3 days these days–this has actually been the pattern for the past 4-5 weeks, so he’s been pretty stable now for awhile–and latch on, but with a confused look on his face. He sort of stays still on the breast for a few seconds, then comes off and tries again to get back on, and then almost seems as though he can’t quite remember what to do. He gives a few sucks, and maybe stays there latched on for another 5-10 seconds because he unlatches and seems satisfied and finished. It’s a super gentle step toward weaning, I guess–I’ve even stopped wearing nursing shirts every single day because he is almost certain not to ask to nurse unless I’m putting him to bed or comforting him on my lap at home after a head bump or tantrum, etc. It’s funny–I don’t know if he’ll keep this up for another four weeks (i.e., until my new baby arrives and milk comes back) or if he’ll wean entirely before then, or what. It’s like one of those universe clocks, sort of–such a slow, slow process, with almost imperceptible steps. Whatever happens, I’m really glad he’s in control of it.

–Christina

29 November 2011 at 2:33 pm Leave a comment

High-protein snacks for pregnancy and beyond

I guess I’m nesting (at 38 weeks along).

I’ve stashed ziploc baggies of raw almonds around the house, near my bed and favorite nursing chair, and I I just made 6 dozen high-protein pancakes and stuck them in the freezer for the next couple weeks, and beyond. These pancakes are packed with cooked quinoa, instead of flour, and have about twice as many eggs as a typical panckae recipe. I just ate some for lunch, topped with Greek-style (thick) plain yogurt. My toddler thought yogurt on pancakes was a crazy idea, so he just ate the plain pancakes.

I made sure we have a supply of peanut butter, and, even easier to eat during labor or afterward, what my toddler calls “a pean’ butter squeeze in my mouth snack”–also known as Barney’s Almond Butter in individual packets.

Next I’m going to go hard boil a dozen eggs to snack on.

What’s your favorite high-protein snack for pregnancy, labor, or after baby arrives?

–Christina

22 November 2011 at 1:09 pm Leave a comment

Book review: Cynthia Gabriel’s _Natural Hospital Birth_

Cynthia Gabriel, Natural Hospital Birth: The Best of Both Worlds (Harvard Common Press, 2011).

“Everything goes in cycles in medicine and in health care, just as in life. Cynthia Gabriel’s new book comes at a fortuitous ‘sweet spot’ when obstetric birth practices in the United States are again changing [and]. . . liberalizing” (vi). So writes Timothy Johnson, an Ob-Gyn, in the forward to this volume by medical anthropologist and birth doula Gabriel. Johnson may be a bit overly optimistic, in my personal view, but the perspective is a useful one. Gabriel cites her doula experience as key in helping her articulate her position in this book: “Doulas notice different things about birth than medical care providers do. When I read a book about natural birth authored by a physician, I realized that certain aspects of the hospital experience are invisible to her. . . she has never observed a woman fighting for a natural birth with an unsupportive caregiver,” etc., she notes (xiii).

Gabriel’s book hits a lot of the same cheerleading high-notes as Ricki Lake’s does (“So you want a natural birth. And, by choice or by circumstance, you will give birth in a hospital. You can do it!”) (3). Throughout, though, she emphasizes the enormous responsibility—for education and for advocacy—the women must take for themselves in such a position.

The bulk of the book is fairly blandly written in terms of style, and covers such topics as hiring a doula, deciding on a care provider, choosing who to accompany you to the birth, selecting better birthing positions, and avoiding fear and tension before and during labor. There’s much that’s useful here, though not much that’s new. In fact, a lot of it feels to me in some ways like a less-crunchy version of Penny Simkin’s classic The Birth Partner. Sadly, I’m not sure this book—considerably denser in appearance than What to Expect When You’re Expecting—will reach the full extent of its target audience, but it is certainly a positive addition to the birthing literature out there.

–Christina

15 November 2011 at 7:06 pm 1 comment

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