Monday, November 17, 2008

The Athletics of Childbirth

Still pregnant! Mrp's prediction was that we'd have peanut today. It's not looking good. I now realize my body is one that needs a long wind up. All that stuff I started experiencing 10 days ago, while they can be a sign that labor is just a day or so away, aren't necessarily that. My body needs a nice long warm-up before it gets going. And I'm ok with that.

What worries me though is that peanut is still measuring pretty big. With each passing day now, the risk for complications with birth go up. Of course, these risks aren't super-duper high--peanut is not going to be 12 lbs or anything like that! But it does worry me because I am hoping for a natural, med-free child birth. But as my midwife has told me, some woman have a horrible time giving birth to a 6 lb baby and others have a super easy time with a 10 pounder. We can only do what we can do and hope for the best.

And this leads me to what mrp and I have done to create the best possible chance for us to have a natural med-free childbirth.

1. Read a lot! As soon as I found out I was pregnant I started to read books about childbirth. One I really liked (although it might be a bit heavy-handed for some) was the Birth Book by Dr. William Sears. I educated myself about the pros and cons of all procedures and concluded for us, the best would be to go natural and med-free. We believe it is not only what's best for both mom and baby physically (all drugs have side effects!), but was also both something I could probably handle and something I think I would really enjoy. Obviously, I won't enjoy it like an ice cream sundae (heh!), but I look forward to pushing through just like with running. I honestly feel that if I can get through a birth unmedicated I will be both a better tougher runner and a better tougher person in general!

2. Signed up for Bradley Class. Once mrp and I decided to go for a natural birth, we looked into various coping strategies. I'm sure you've all heard of Lamaze--you know, do weird breathing exercises to cope with the pain of contractions. Lamaze wasn't for us, but the Bradeley Method was. And here's why: Bradley treats birth as an athletic event and trains the dad to coach mom through it. Perfect! Mrp's the coach and I'm the athlete! Bradley focuses on good prenatal nutrition, prenatal exercises to get all those birthing muscles engaged, and relaxation. In fact, relaxation is probably the thing Bradley stresses the most. So mrp has been trained for 12 weeks on how to help me relax. And for me, this is invaluable. I have never ever been more relaxed in all my life than the last couple of weeks and mrp and I have learned so much about how to help me cope with stress in general. Plus, it's just been so much fun to learn about everything pregnancy, labor, and delivery together. The Bradley classes facilitated so much more togetherness through this whole process.

3. Hired a Doula. A Doula is a labor assistant. She is there to help you cope through labor and to advocate for you with the hospital, ob or midwife. Our doula just happens to also be our Bradley instructor and we love her. It will be so nice to have her there to remind us how to put all our Bradley training into action. It will also be invaluable to have her if a natural birth becomes impossible. She will both help us know when this is the case and will help us cope with whatever alternative we must pursue.

4. Drafted a Birth Plan. Mrp and I wrote up our wishlist for our birth. We made sure to communicate our open-mindedness, that if we had to do something we rather not do to protect the health of me or peanut we would gladly do it. But it is a nice reference point for the hospital staff and our doula. Here is a link to an early draft of our birth plan.

So we've done our part. Now it's up to peanut, really. Can't wait to put all this training to good use!

5 comments:

Heather said...

Good luck with the med free!!!

I wanted that, and it didn't work out for me -- but the cascade of interventions mentioned, did. It's definitely real.

Above anything, I hope a healthy birth for you - but I know I got sick of people saying that's what's really important... duh! of course. so, yeah. :)

Good luck!

Heather said...

Good luck with the med free!!!

I wanted that, and it didn't work out for me -- but the cascade of interventions mentioned, did. It's definitely real.

Above anything, I hope a healthy birth for you - but I know I got sick of people saying that's what's really important... duh! of course. so, yeah. :)

Good luck!

Mindi said...

First of all, I love the pic. Second of all, great plan, but my number one recommendation is to concentrate on a healthy baby. Your pregnancy and all roads point to a super healthy baby. Don't get too tied up in a "plan" - let what be, be and you will soon have this miraculous bundle of joy that you cannot hold a candle to these worries.

Your baby will be here soon. Perfect. Enjoy it, no matter how the birth day unfolds.

Kyle the Girl said...

What a great plan! I'm so excited and proud and happy. :)

Vince A. said...

Last mile of the race, congrats!