Today I am 38 weeks plus 5 days. Well maybe. Depending on which ultrasound we go by. My first ultrasound was barely 7 weeks and every ultrasound since then has shown earlier and earlier and earlier. The reality is, no one knows until go time, and we have decided to expect this little miracle baby whenever he decides to grace us with his presence.
I just finished reading two chapters and completed a quiz in my Theories of Personality course. Let me tell you, studying while pregnant is possible, but it is definitely not easy. Working on a degree while pregnant brings on a whole new level of “baby brain.”
A common trend I’ve noticed while doing my quizzes is that the questions I get wrong are simply because I forgot to read them entirely, or I just didn’t answer them. I’ve really had to practice, “being kind to myself,” often over the last nine months because even though I am still maintaining pretty good grades, I know my exhaustion and lack of concentration has definitely made me score a little less than I would prefer.
Here’s the truth. I get up every day and do it anyway because the reward at the end of all of this is far more important than scoring a couple more percentages higher on my quizzes. Aside from exhaustion, I have been pretty lucky during this pregnancy. No morning sickness, no back pain (for the most part), and no real concerns for baby’s health. He’s been a little stubborn the last few weeks in that he didn’t want to get himself into position but he has since moved to the “head down” position, and it appears to be go time.
I am lucky, and everything about this pregnancy has reminded me of that on a daily basis. Every nauseous feeling (very few), every trip to the bathroom (sometimes minutes apart), every hunger pang, every sleepless night, every uncomfortable position, every stretch mark, every pound gained, and every blotch of darkened skin on my face has reminded me of how lucky I am.
How lucky WE are.
Every time we see my belly move (which is often), or walk into the baby’s room, or see this little man on an ultrasound scan we are reminded how lucky we are. We are both still in shock, and I am not sure this will hit us until sometime after he has arrived, but regardless, we feel lucky.
Neither one of us have forgotten what had to transpire in the past to make this happen and we never will. We will always honour the reality of what made this baby boy’s existence possible, and although it’s heavy at times to think about, we are beyond grateful.
I have no idea how my life is going to change in the next few weeks, but I have no doubt it will. I am not only ridiculously excited, but I am nervous, terrified, and I can’t help but want to bank as much sleep as I possibly can, but as many of you ladies reading this can probably relate; sleep is basically non-existent at this point and has been for at least a month.
With all of that said, I am ready. Well, as ready as anyone can be.
Yesterday we had a conversation with our midwife about pain management options during labor. She reminded me that she would not be bringing it up during the course of the labor but wanted to make sure I knew all of my options. Scott was tested on what he will say and do when I scream at him to GIVE ME THE DRUGS, and I was given the opportunity to explain to both of them what my wishes are, and that is – I want to do this naturally until doing it naturally is impossible. I trust my midwife 100% to know if and when that time comes.
It is so hard to explain to some people why doing this naturally is so important to me. I want to remind everyone that we are all different and if one chooses to get the epidural, or book the elective c-section, by all means, that is their right, and I have no judgment if that is what is best for them. However, with that said, when someone says they want to do this naturally until it is no longer possible for them to do this naturally, remember this; that is their right too, and encouragement goes much further than horror stories, and listing off several reasons why that person won’t make it through without the drugs.
By the way, it is possible to list the horror stories and discuss the inevitable pain, while at the same time encouraging someone to go about their childbirth in a way that works best for them. Women who choose to make their plan A a natural unmedicated birth are not going into it believing it will be painless and easy.
My reasons for a natural birth are not for noble reasons (maybe for some it is) and not so I can brag that I did it. Trust me, more often than not, a woman’s reasons for wanting to try a natural birth, run much deeper than, “I want to prove I can,” in fact, if that was the only reason; I highly doubt they would make it through and as we know, countless women have made it through but unfortunately the numbers in Canada and the United States are very low when it comes to natural, unmedicated births.
My intention in writing this entry is not to condemn, criticize, or judge any one who chooses to have interventions and if my birth experience goes down the road of needing medical intervention, I am going to be very grateful to have a doctor to step in and take control. However, with that said, I do believe women go into child birth not being fully aware of the real benefits of natural child birth for the mom and most importantly for the baby. I also believe too many women go into child birth not being fully aware of the risks of unwarranted interventions.
My hope is that this entry will encourage women to ask those questions and to seek out the best advice. I don’t mean advice from google forums on child birth cause lord knows you never know what kind of information you might read on those. I mean advice from people who specialize in natural child birth and who will be able to give you the proper answers with evidence and research to back the information they are providing.
My hope is that this entry will encourage women to see themselves as powerful and capable of a natural child birth. From what I have heard from those who have experienced natural births, books I have read, and what Scott and I were taught while learning the Bradly Method; mindset is key.
Just as it is in so many experiences we go through in life.
I always like to encourage people to “embrace the suck” in difficult life experiences and I want to encourage women to embrace the suck during child birth too.
My reasons for a natural child birth are the following.
I have been through hell and back. I have experienced pain from endometriosis for a good majority of my life that has crippled me to the point of tears and resulted in multiple trips to the hospital. I have endured multiple surgeries and my pain has only been managed through breathing techniques, hot baths, and resilience like no other. I say managed because there has been nothing thus far that has been able to take away the pain of endo. Anyone who suffers from this disease knows this to be true.
Thanks, doc but that pain medication you are prescribing me will likely work as well as all the others you have tried to mask my pain with. In other words, it won’t work.
I have been through an insurmountable loss. I have survived the death of my fiancé and I have survived my heart literally breaking. I have survived the journey of recovery through years of soul searching and digging deep. I have visited the darkest of places that even I wanted to end by suicide. That pain, for anyone who hasn’t experienced it, is not only physical but psychological and it takes a significant amount of mental strength to rise up out of it. Not everyone succeeds, and that is not because they are not strong, it is merely because they had to be strong for too long, and they had nothing left.
I have seen and experienced the power of the body, the power of positive thinking, the power of love, and the power of believing in myself to the point that I wholeheartedly believe I can get through anything, as long as my brain is healthy, my heart is beating, and my mind is grounded.
I do believe I can get through a natural childbirth. I believe Scott can get through a natural childbirth and I believe all individuals can in those circumstances where medical intervention is not required. There are times where it’s not possible, and I have mentally prepared myself for that in the event it isn’t possible for me, but until that time; my plan A is embracing all that comes with child birth.
The good, the bad, and the ugly.
I have shared the good the bad and the ugly with all I have experienced thus far, and I hope I can share that with this experience as well. I have leaned into the pain of endo, I have leaned into the pain of grief, and there is nothing I want more than to lean into the pain of childbirth.
I want to remember every second of it. The joy, the pain, and most of all the empowerment. The pain is what has always reminded me that I can keep going and I am certainly not going to mask that pain now if I don’t have to. If I can give my baby the best birth possible, which in reality, is a natural one, then that is what I will do. If something changes and that is not an option; then I will embrace it knowing that whatever happens is what was meant to happen. If I have exhausted all other options, and medical intervention is what is needed, than I know 100% that that is what is best for him and for me.
Those are my reasons and although I am nervous for this process to begin, I am so lucky to have the support of a seasoned midwife, family and friends who may not agree with me but bite their tongues anyway, and a man who has been so incredibly encouraging, loving, and caring through this pregnancy. He has made me feel strong, beautiful, and capable on days I wanted to curl up and cry and I have no doubt he will be an exceptional birth coach.
This will more than likely be my last entry before the baby comes and I am beyond excited to share the news of his arrival when it happens. Until then, I want to say thank you to everyone for your constant support. When I started this blog, I never imagined I would be posting an entry on childbirth.
I am truly grateful.