Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hypnobabies, Home Birth and Naysayers

29 weeks

As I drag my gorgeous, luminous, beautiful (read:ballooning) body closer to my baby's ETA, I am starting to look forward to my second home birth.  When I was pregnant with Lucy, a lot of people looked at me funny when I told them I was having my baby at home.  They also looked at me funny when I said that I was planning a peaceful, comfortable birth with my Hypnobabies training.  A few helpful people even laughed at me.  Outright LAUGHED at my choice to birth differently than most people will tell you is possible.  Ummm...thanks for your support...?  When I told a friend of mine I was birthing at home she said, "I might have done that with my SECOND baby.  But never with my FIRST.  You just never know what could HAPPEN!"  Then I said I was doing Hypnobabies (which is, incidentally medical hypnoanesthesia - the technique they teach to people who have life-threatening allergies to anesthesia but require major medical procedures), and that I was training my mind to feel the contractions as waves of pressure rather than pain.  I said I was fully expecting a pleasant, comfortable birth experience.  She raised her eyebrows with an "isn't she cute?" smirk on her face and said "Whatever!  Good luck with that!"  And again...thanks for your support!

What is it with people who insist on telling first-time moms horror stories about birth?  Seriously?  I know people want to tell their stories.  This is how we connect - and the urge to connect and share is especially strong in mothers because birth is such a life-changing experience.  But the seed of fear is insidious and it can grow out of control.  Most of us are afraid of childbirth to begin with, and fear only exacerbates pain because you literally cannot relax if you are afraid.  It defeats the purpose of the fear in the first place.  You are supposed to be tense if you are frightened - that is how we survived as a species (Eh, there's a tiger coming to eat us.  I'm awfully scared, but I feel so RELAXED!  I'll get around to running in a minute).  However, tension and fear are completely counterproductive to helping the body open in childbirth.  And birth is not something to fear!  It is something to relish and enjoy and triumph in!  Yes, it is intense.  Yes, there is an incredible amount of power surging through your body while you birth.  And yes, it is probably the most challenging thing you will ever require of your body.  But it isn't scary if you allow the power instead of fight it.  And if you allow yourself (and train yourself) to think differently, it doesn't have to be painful.  Really and truly.  The human mind is incredibly powerful, and it controls the body.  THE MIND CONTROLS THE BODY.  Many wise people (including a certain Jewish carpenter) have said "As you believe, so shall you be".  Think about that.  As you believe, SO SHALL YOU BE.  Want something different in your experience?  Believe something different about your experience.  That is what I learned from my daughter's birth.  I didn't want it to be painful or traumatic or scary.  I taught myself to believe that it wouldn't be.  And it wasn't.  Now it wasn't a cakewalk, either, but it was peaceful and generally comfortable and pretty damn easy all things considered, especially in comparison to all those running-down-the-hallway screaming-type births that they insist on showing you in TV.  It was beautiful, and I can't wait to do it again!  I am not in denial, either.  I know things go wrong at births.  You hear about it all the time.  But that is why I have wonderful 2 midwives that I completely trust to tell me if something is amiss.  That is their job.  To make sure my baby is born safely.  If something looks like it is heading in a worriesome direction, they will say, "Hey, Jenny, let's take this to the hospital to have a doctor check things out".  And because I trust their judgement, I will say "You know, if you think it is a good idea, let's go".  The goal for everyone is a healthy baby and a safe birth - not simply a home birth.

And on that note, here's another thing that drives me nuts.  Why can't people just let women birth their babies where ever the hell they want to?  Why all the hullaballoo about home birth?  Women aren't stupid.  Home birthers are not choosing the "experience" of birth over the safety of their child.  People who believe that are idiots, plain and simple.  What do they think we are telling ourselves?  "The experience at home is so nice that I don't care if my baby dies"?  What kind of jackass says that?  The fact is, the research is there (and this link is just the tip of the iceberg).  All the credible research shows that PLANNED home birth with a trained professional birth attendant - for low-risk, healthy mothers - is as safe, if not safer than birthing in a hospital.  So quit telling me that I am irresponsible, irrational, foolish, or even dangerously putting my baby's life at risk and give me easier access to those trained professionals!  Good lord.  And while you're at it, can you please tell my insurance company to reimburse me for my low-tech, low-cost home birth?  "Low-cost" should be a HUGE selling point to insurance companies on home birth.  But certainly, we here in the US don't need to tweak our system at all.  Our maternity stats are some of the best in the world, right?  We have lower costs, lower maternal death rates, lower c-section rates, lower neonatal morbidity and mortality rates than the entire civilized world, right?  Why change ANYTHING in our sleek as a shark, completely efficient, evidence-based healthcare system?  Oh...wait...I was hallucinating again...

So...yeah.  That was a rant.  Sorry. 

So I am planning a second home birth.  A second Hypnobabies birth.  I am very excited about it.  Lucy was born in the water, and I am starting to imagine Muffin being born there, too.  I am starting to imagine holding him for the first time in the quiet dark of the middle of the night.  I am starting to imagine crawling into my own bed with my husband and my sweet little girl and my new baby boy - my beautiful family completed.  I am starting to get impatient to meet him and see who he will be.  

Ten more weeks.   

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Third Trimester, Here I COME!

I had intended to do a better job documenting this pregnancy.  Something seems to have prevented me from being as active a blogger as I would like to be these days...I am not naming any names, but she's short, blonde, cute and her name rhymes wth Goosey.
28 week belly!
Anyway, this past Sunday, I crossed the magical divide into the third trimester of my second (and what I hope to be final) pregnancy.  Only 11 weeks and some change to go!  Some people say they coast through the second trimester, barely noticing they are pregnant at all.  This has not been my experience.  I thought I would LOVE being pregnant.  I really thought my body was built for it.  I come from a long line of women who popped out babies on an annual or biannual basis.  (** side note ** I had to look up "biannual" since I am never sure which one means once every 2 years and which means twice a year.  Interestingly enough, "biannual" can mean either.  And my mom and great grandmother both had twins, so it applies in either case).  The problem I seem to have is that I have super flexible hips to begin with, and pregnancy relaxin just makes them SO flexible that it hurts.  All those years of yoga...and I wish I were less flexible...

Anyway, I started to feel this pregnancy a lot faster than my first one.  I guess it is because I got so much bigger so much faster this time.  I sweat, at 25 weeks I was as big as I was at 30 week with Lucy.  And I have the pictures to prove it!  In my community care group (all the mamas in my midwives' practice that are giving birth in October meet once a month for these group prenatal visits), I am by far the largest belly there.  Now, granted, I am one of the earliest due dates in the group and most of the ther mamas are first-time moms (it makes me really happy that so many first-time mamas are choosing hom birth!!!), but at the last meeting, I was seriously out-bellying every lady there, even the one due a week before me.  I guess after you get everything all stretched out once, your body knows where to go. 

Speaking of all stretched out...if I call my stretch marks "racing stripes" do you think it will make them seem less tragic?  I was always so proud of my flat tummy.  Even if I was out of shape everywhere else, my tummy was always flat as a board.  Now I fear my abused abs will be covered by baggy, stretched out skin.  It was already a little droopy after Lucy was born.  I can only imagine the damage being done now by what feels to be the gargantu-baby currently populating my uterus.  Is the fact that my two children can't even share stretch marks a bad omen for how they'll get along later in life (you know, when they are both extra-utero)?  I mean, there was already a perfectly respectable (and well-hidden) crop of racing stripes covering the skin between my hips, but very sensibly not peaking up over the top of a bikini.  Now they are creeping up to belly button level and I am getting mad. 

They have managed to share pelvic girdle pain.  Thank you, kids.  When Lucy was born, she had her chin tilted up and her hand on her cheek.  This is not the most efficient manner to enter the world, and I felt like my legs were going to fall off when I walked too much for a few weeks after Lucy made her appearance.  They popped and swayed awful lot more after that epic birth.  My hips will never be the same.  And to prove it, I started feeling the same loosey-goosey hip feeling almost immediately after I got pregnant with the muffin man.  Now I am worried about my legs falling off before I even give birth.  I swear, my pubic bone is popping.  This is a really unnerving feeling.  I understand that the popping sound you hear in joints (think knuckles cracking or knees popping without any pain) is usually synovial fluid forming bubble and then bursting, thus getting the popping sound.  In your hips, it is often the result of your iliotibal band or iliopsoas, rubbing over a bone.  So what is it when your pubic bone pops?  There is no joint there, in the traditional sense.  The only time it supposed to move at all is when you are giving birth.  So what is that hrrible sound I hear eminating from my front pelvis when I get out of bed the wrong way?  Ugh.  I do not know.  I am not sure I want to, either.  I DO know that if this baby gets too much bigger, I am going to be sitting on his head rather than on my ischial tuberosities.  That is my favorite anatomical term.  That and phalanges.

Things that help with sacroiliac joint pain:
Getting out of the car with two feet at a time
Not standing on one leg (this is tough, since I teach yoga)
Tightening up the abs and pelvic floor muscles when rolling over in bed
Avoiding breast stroke-style kicks while swimming
Sitting with knees together (HA!)
Sitting on a birth ball
Keeping pelvis tucked under and pelvic floor muscles engaged while standing or walking

Anyway, other than that, the second trimester was lovely.  All things considered, I am feeling really well.  Now onto the third!  11 weeks and 4 days to go!

Before I go, I would like to clarify...I don't HATE being pregnant.  I LOVE the feeling of a little life growing inside me.  I love the mystery of what he will look like, who he will be, how the birth will go...obviously I don't love mystery enough to wait to find out the gender, but gender is only one aspect of this completely unknown creature my body is building.  It is just astounding on every level that I am MAKING another human being.  FROM SCRATCH!  I don't even make CAKE from scratch!  The human body is such an amazing machine.  So, I don't get morning sickness.  I don't generally get heartburn.  I don't get vericose veins or swollen ankles.  I weather the pretty incredible changes of pregnancy very well, considering how active my job is and how demanding it is to have a toddler and grow a baby at the same time.  I don't have much to complain about.  It just hurts in my hips.  Too bad you need them to walk.