Pregnancy Update Week 35

I turned 30 this week. I’m happy. Happy with where my life is at 30 years in, happy with the future I see on the horizon, and happy to be what I consider a real adult.

We also had our baby shower this week. We got 7 more blankets (mostly hand made, several hot pink), which brings the count up to 19. That’s right, we have 19 baby blankets, not including the more useful receiving blankets and swaddle blankets (which we are thankful to have lots of). We bought a giant blanket box at IKEA and it only fits half of the blankets. We are going to hand some down to friends who are having twins any day now, and take some to the cottage for next summer.

I don’t want to sound ungrateful by complaining about blankets – the shower itself was amazing. My sister-in-law pulled off a killer party, which is extra amazing considering she did it with a four month old in tow. Most guests stuck to our registry, and some of the hand made stuff was truly beautiful and so our taste. We got all gender neutral clothing, just like we hinted at wanting. We even got a baby pleather jacket. That will go so nicely with her plaid shirt – she will be matching her mama perfectly. We got a lot of disposable diapers in larger sizes, which just means we will have a great emergency stash in case of lengthy travel or diaper rash that requires medicated cream. We didn’t get the second cloth diaper system we wanted (our friends and family didn’t really seem to get the whole cloth diaper thing), but if that’s the only big thing we need to buy still, we are in really, really good shape.

Oh and the baby library we have accumulated thanks to our amazon book registry is sooo awesome. We have a lot of books about social justice, peace, and being kind. Gotta start brainwashing our daughter to be a social justice warrior right from the start 😉

Preparations for Baby

  • Bought nursing tank tops and a nursing bra (all Bravado) second hand from a local mom I met on a Facebook group. Saved a pile of money. But then I also went out and bought a new one so I could have something I felt nice in. Two nursing bras and two nursing tanks should be enough until my milk comes in and I can see what else I need. I’ve made it through most of this pregnancy with just two bras that fit me.
  • All diapers we will need for the first few months have been washed and organized in a drawer. Wool covers will be washed and freshly lanolized when the last of my wool orders arrives in the mail.
  • All baby clothes have been washed and put away.
  • My wife already dealt with the baby shower returns and we got pretty much everything urgent that was still on the list (e.g., wipes, breast pump parts, newborn sleepers).

Bodily Experiences This Week

  • UTI and False Labour. Had what felt like a nasty UTI that came on fast and strong – blood clots in my pee and searing burning sensation when peeing. The night I started noticing these symptoms, I had what felt like contractions, and they became quite regular and frequent before tapering off in the morning. This scare involved two night-time pages to the midwife, an in-clinic check of baby, and antibiotics. However, by the time I got my urine tested (a whole 24 hours after the symptoms started), my urine was free of any bacteria. The midwife wondered if the pain and blood was from the growing uterus putting pressure on bladder area, and if the rhythmic contractions were false labour. We’ll never know for sure.
  •  Sleep is not great… not great at all. I am hot and sweaty all night even with the AC on, and my abdomen gets stretching pains even when I am laying still on my side. I just lay there all night, tossing and turning and sweating, frustratedly waiting for morning. I am tired.
  • Swelling hands and feet. Not too puffy to the naked eye, but I can no longer wear my wedding rings. I hate not having them on.
  • Many of my maternity clothes are no longer fitting. I have accepted the fact that if I wear leggings, I won’t be able to cover my butt (a concern from when I cared that “leggings are not pants”). My shirts are all a lot shorter on me now.
  • I am getting a very faint linea negra. It’s quite crooked, veering off to the left of my belly button.
  • Belly button is flat. No longer an innie, not yet an outie.
  • Starting to waddle. Baby has dropped, and while it is easier to breath (unless I am laying down), I am peeing about 5 times a night and the only comfortable way to walk is to waddle slightly.

Baby This Week 

  • 5-1/4 pounds and 18-19″ long
  • putting on the pounds

Contractions

I got a UTI last night. It hit all of a sudden (or I just didn’t notice the burning pee earlier), when I noticed blood in the toilet. I was peeing blood. Clots, even. Then I started to notice the stinging, burning sensation of a classic UTI. I called the midwife and she said to drink lots of water and monitor it until the next morning when the clinic would be open again so I could drop off a urine sample.

As the night progressed, my uterus got really hard with Braxton Hicks contractions. By 2am I was awoken by stabbing pain at the top of my uterus that radiated downward. After a few sensations like this, my wife suggested I time it. So I downloaded a contraction counter app and for the next 3 hours I timed them, while in and out of sleep. For the most part, the sensation jolted me awake. To my surprise, by 5am the app had calculated an average of 1 minute long contractions spaced 5 minutes apart.

I paged the midwife again early this morning and she faxed a prescription for antibiotics to my pharmacy, to be started immediately. She said that if the contractions are caused by the UTI, which it seems like they are, the antibiotics should stop the contractions as soon as they reach the infection.

So apparently UTIs can trigger pre-term labour. Definitely something to watch out for. I am currently trying to keep moving around, taking baths, and drinking lots of water, trying to make the contractions stop. They are definitely less frequent when I move around a little or change positions.

Stay in there little one…

Pregnancy Update Week 33

I’m writing this entry from my nursing chair in the nursery. The crib, dresser, shelves and chair are all in and set up, and I can so clearly see baby girl napping in here, being changed in here, and one day playing in here. It’s perfect. After our baby shower on July 24th we will have a lot of stuff to wash and put away, and a lot of decor items to place around the nursery. THEN I will post some pictures.

My wife’s 30th birthday is tomorrow. We are celebrating with her family because we wanted to be at the cottage. She has always wanted a surprise party. Last year I tried to plan one and only two people could make it and they were both from very different social circles so it was kind of an awkward disaster. This year we are so busy every weekend with social things and baby stuff that I couldn’t make it happen. I feel like a shitty wife, but then again my 30th birthday is 10 days later and we’re not having a party for that either, so   at least we’re both having blasé 30th birthdays.

Preparations for Baby

  • Baby room is painted, furniture is in, crib is built. 
  • My cloth diaper stash is coming along nicely. I have done a pretty good job of finding great used deals on Facebook buy/sell/trade groups, and have purchased a couple of new up-cycled wool items from etsy. We are still hoping to get our all-in-two system at the shower (mother-ease Wizard Duo), but I have about 80% of the fitteds & wool system collected now. We have also received some assorted hand-me-downs from friends that are different from the systems we have chosen (pockets, AIOs, some plastic covers). This way, if neither of our systems are working for us, we can try out other options in a pinch. I have spent $450 so far and am hoping for a 60-80% resale value when we are done with diapers. I am tracking EVERYTHING in excel, and will do a post about how much we have saved in comparison to disposables (expect this in ~2 years when the end is in sight…).

Bodily Experiences This Week

  • It’s f***ing hot. This week we had severe weather warnings for heat and humidity.  I basically feel sweaty all the time now, even in air conditioned spaces. The ease of dressing the bump in the summer months is great (as opposed to having to buy a maternity winter coat, lots of pants and sweaters), but I keep wishing I could go outside and lay in a snowbank.
  • Getting tired again… it’s not as consistent as the first trimester fatigue (which was every day all day), but I have my days again where I can’t keep my eyes open and I feel like I am dragging my feet.
  • Insomnia. I have been a grumpy, grumpy, grouch ball for the past week because I’m not getting enough sleep.
  • Sex hurts. It started hurting early in the pregnancy, and I think it’s probably just due to increased sensitivity. However, it makes me a little worried about passing a 5″ wide head through there when I can’t even take 0.5 inches without pain… I know my hypnobirthing mantras: my body is designed to birth this baby, and my baby is the right size for my body. But I can’t help but wonder if this tightness and pain is abnormal. It feels like my vagina is a rolled up piece of sandpaper with no give. We are going to start doing perineal massage because there is lots of anecdotal evidence that it helps, and it’s better than doing nothing to prepare!

Baby This Week

  • 4lb, 18″
  • head circumference gained an entire half inch this week because her brain is getting so big
  • Little bug has reached another milestone this week: she now has her own functioning immune system! It’s getting safer and safer to be born…

Pregnancy Update Week 32

I am 8 months pregnant. 2 months to go.

The cottage vacation was nice, but it is SO much more relaxing to be at home. I got very little sleep while away because  family would have the TV on until midnight every night (and I would be in bed from 10pm with a pillow over my head trying to drown it out), I would wake up 5+ times a night to pee or readjust (I even ended up on the couch at 3am one night because the bed was so uncomfortable), and then our 3 month old nephew would start crying for breakfast at 5:30am.

However, we spent the last night and day of the vacation alone, and it was lovely. My wife worked on baby room projects like the mobile and painting some shadow boxes, and I did some writing work sitting out on the deck overlooking the beach and the water. We went for an evening canoe (because GOD was it hot during the days), and I spent a lot of time floating in the cool water. It was a great end to a somewhat hectic and bustling 5 day vacation.

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I had my 32 week midwife appt this week and asked about birth registration. Apparently by Aug 31st Ontario will have a new online birth registration form that will allow you to list whichever parents you want despite who gave birth. I confirmed with the midwife, and she said we could put my wife’s name as parent, even though that has so far been illegal when there is a known sperm donor in the mix. So… I THINK this means no need for a second parent adoption! The details are still really fuzzy though, and more parental rights laws are expected to be passed by the end of September.

Bodily Experiences This Week

  • Sleep problems. My wife wonders if the reason people in their third trimesters have sleep problems is to prepare them for the sleeplesness of new parenthood. I don’t think that makes any sense from a sleep science perspective, but it does help a bit to think that my restless, sleepless nights have a higher purpose.
  • Baby movements are getting more awesome by the week. We watched what must have been a baby bum pushing out super far and wiggling around, like she was shaking her butt at us. Movements feel very controlled and powerful now, unlike the earlier reflex kicks.
  • Lower back pain. It’s actually more muscle tightness than pain.
  • Breathlessness and racing heart. I feel like I am horrendously out of shape and unhealthily overweight, but I’m not. It’s just pregnancy…
  • Memory problems (AKA pregnancy brain). My memory keeps getting worse. I am all confused as to what day it is and when meetings are. If I don’t triple check my calendar, I guess wrong and end up at the wrong place at the right time, or the right place at the wrong time.
  • Gained 11 pounds since last midwife appt (2.5 weeks ago). Midwife noted it as a big jump but wasn’t concerned since I’m still within a reasonable weight gain at 26 pounds total. I’m wondering if the water weight is finally affecting me now that it’s super hot and I’m drinking a ton. My face and extremities aren’t swollen or puffy yet.

Baby This Week

  • 3-3/4 lbs, 18″ long
  • nothing new to report… she’s just putting on the chub!

 

Pregnancy Update Week 31

Happy Canada Day!

Life has been busy, baby has been growing, discomfort has been mounting.

My schedule has been so full lately with social obligations, work, school, volunteering, home maintenance, appointments, and other aspects of adult life, that I feel myself getting overwhelmed. I’m frustrated that I am in the last leg of this pregnancy journey and I can’t seem to slow down and appreciate it the way I’d like to, with lots of time for quiet contemplation, down time with my wife, and relishing the alone time while I still have the option for alone time.
My wife is taking Monday and Tuesday off this week, so after all of the boisterous family has left the cottage Sunday night we will have two days to ourselves which will be amazing. However, I finally got my qualifying exam proposal approved – leaving me less than a month to write something that is supposed to take 3 months – so I really can’t afford to not work on Monday and Tuesday. At least I can work at the cottage and can be in the same building as my wife.

The heat mixed with the frustration of being so busy and not having down time to recharge my introvert batteries has caused me to get a bit snappy and intolerant of people who ask things of me. I get frustrated with invitations to hang out with friends, go to weddings/showers/baptisms/etc, and even with offers for small contracts of paid work. I get grumpy because I hate feeling guilty for having to turn people down, but it is for my own sanity and well-being.
Anyway, my goal for August is to relax. My qualifying exam date is set for Aug 2nd, and then I will be done school until I return from parental leave.

Preparations for Baby

  • The nursery is painted (except for one last coat on the walls)! My wife spent many late nights after long days at work getting the old lath and plaster walls prepped and painted, and it is SO rewarding for her to see it finally painted. Now just the furniture acquisition…
  • Our cats went for dentistries. Their teeth were gross, and one of the cats had lost a couple from rot. I felt like a terrible cat mum when I realized how bad it was. This counts as baby prep because we wanted to get their health care under control (and paid for) before becoming completely consumed by a baby’s needs.

Bodily Experiences This Week

  • Grumpy
  • Hot
  • Tired
  • Another stomach bug… I called the midwife after 3 days of diarrhea and cramps and a really uncomfortably tight abdomen that spread into my lower back muscles. Because cramping and diarrhea can be signs of a threatened preterm labour, I just wanted to let the midwife know and be reassured that everything was fine. She suspects it’s just another bug, and as I know all too well, bugs last longer when you’re pregnant. It has been 5 days now and I am only just starting to feel better.
  • Lots of baby movement. Movement is now directed inward, with kicks and punches directed at my organs (which was very uncomfortable on the stomach bug cramps). I’ve also been feeling a lot of the Moro Reflex – baby shakes rather violently for a few seconds at a time. Google told me a range of thing about this – some moms worried this sensation was the baby having seizures, so of course I had a moment of panic. But then several more reputable sources said it was the harmless Moro (or startle) reflex. Harmless or not, it is really strange to feel baby shaking like that. 
  • Brain fog and poor memory. I cannot remember what I have on my schedule for any given day. I have to constantly check my calendar throughout the day to see what’s next and make sure I’m not missing anything. This is new for me. 

    Baby This Week

    • 3.3lb, 16″
    • Baby is now urinating 2 cups into the amniotic fluid each day!

    Pregnancy Update Week 30

    30 weeks pregnant brings an exponential jump in the realness of this whole situation.

    I had a great ultrasound and a great midwife appointment this week.

    Last Ultrasound

    My placenta continued to move further away from the cervix as my uterus has grown, and is now not at all considered low lying. I was told that it had to be more than 2cm away from the cervix, and it is now 7cm. I also found out that baby is already head down, but she is facing forward. I just need to get her to spin around to face the back before delivery for an optimal birth position, but she can come out totally fine like this too. The cord is wrapped around her neck, but I have been constantly reassured that this is nothing to be worried about. 1/3 of babies are born with their cord around their neck (nuchal cord), and the research I have found suggests that a nuchal cord is not associated with any adverse outcomes – even when the cord is tight.

    At this ultrasound I also got to see how chubby she has gotten!! I got a good view of the face with chubby little cheeks, and I even saw hair flowing in the amniotic fluid. Looks like she will come out with a full head of hair. It’s sad to think I won’t be getting another glimpse of baby in the womb, and crazy to think that the next time I see her will be in person in ~2 1/2 months.

    Is this picture one of those things that is only adorable through the lens of a mother’s love? I have a feeling seeing a fetus face could be creepy, but I just love this picture so much. Finally – it’s not an image of a skeleton behind transparent skin. Forehead is on the right, chin on the left (with little fists tucked under the chin). Eyes are visible.

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    New Midwife Team

    When I became a patient at my midwife clinic, I was assigned to a pod knowing that one of my two midwives would be going on parental leave before my due date. They finally figured out my new pod, which is my favourite midwife from my previous pod and two whom I hadn’t met yet. I met a second this week and she is awesome. I would be equally happy with either of them attending my birth. This midwife just returned from maternity leave after having two home births of her own, and she used hypnobirthing and had a great birth experience. She also made me feel a lot better about my limited amount of exercise – she said that doing yoga or swimming or walking are great if I have the energy, but I am also getting cardio exercise just as a function of being pregnant, now that my heart is pumping so much more blood than before. A medical professional who tells me I can get exercise by sitting still is the medical professional for me… She also told me that my abs were super tight 😉

    Preparations for Baby

    • We have finally begun painting the nursery! Plaster repair took several weeks to complete, but I think the painting will be done much quicker. When painting is finished we can bring in furniture that is either being stored with family or has to be picked up from IKEA.
    • Reading Birthing From Within as a compliment to hypnobirthing. I think it will give me a much more realistic expectation of just how intense birth will be – I will still strive to remain calm and relaxed to help labour along, but I shouldn’t expect it to be EASY to remain relaxed. It will definitely take preparation and willingness to experience the good with the bad.

    Bodily Experiences This Week

    • Breathlessness. First noticed it when I was in a stiflingly hot wedding reception and actually felt a little panicky that it was so hard to breathe deeply. I blamed it on the heat. But since then I have noticed it sometimes while lying down in a cool room. My app says it’s from the uterus pushing down on my diaphragm and pushing up on my lungs.
    • Swollen feet at that wedding after standing lots and being super overheated. When my wife, who was enjoying herself a lot, told me she wanted to stay later than we’d planned, I almost cried. I was ready to leave by 10pm, just because of the discomfort.
    • Same old sleep issues. I had a really good run last week and part of this week – slept comfortably through the night with just a couple of bathroom trips that didn’t make me feel any less rested. The hip pain and leg cramps that keep me awake seem to be back again now though. I’m thinking about getting more pillows and trying to sleep sitting propped up, instead of on my side, to give my hips a break.

    Baby This Week

    • 3lb, 16″. Fruit size we are going with this week is pineapple.
    • shedding the lanugo (fine hair all over the body) because she is better able to regulate her own temperature now.
    • Her bone marrow is now supplying all of her red blood cells. She is getting more self sufficient by the day…
    • Her brain is now too big for her head – it is starting to grow into folds (gyri and sulci).

    Pregnancy Update Week 29

    We went to the cottage for the first time this season. We try to get up every weekend in the summer, but with social responsibilities we’re lucky to make it up twice a month.

    I had another baby-related dream. This time it was a birth dream. I can tell hypnobirthing’s positive affirmations are working for me because in the dream labour and deliver were fast and easy. Meeting Avery in my dream was the coolest thing ever and I really wished I could get back into that dream after waking up. Soon enough it will be reality….

    Preparations for Baby

    • more medical appointments. Midwife appointments are now every 2 weeks, and I have a follow-up ultrasound on Monday to check on the migration of my placenta.

    Bodily Experiences This Week

    • The old annoyances seem to have died down this week. My sleep was pretty terrible at the cottage (rock hard beds), but since being home this week I have slept pretty much through the night. Knock on wood…
    • Other than lots and lots of baby wiggles and kicks, I haven’t really felt pregnant this week. Maybe it’s because I was so mentally and emotionally busy?
    • Craving dairy products… I have never been one to sit down with a tall glass of milk – not even with cookies, but now I am craving milk like it’s going out of style. And cheese. And copious amounts of cottage cheese with cut up apple. Oh, and ice cream. Little bug is now sucking 200mg of calcium from my body every day, so I deserve that ice cream.
    • I found it hilarious that my app gave instructions on how to heave yourself out of bed, but it was actually really useful. It’s like I don’t have ab muscles anymore and it does take a lot of heaving and hoisting to roll myself out of bed. And to get up out of low chairs…

    Baby This Week

    • 15-17″ long and weighs 2-1/2 to 3 pounds
    • Super personal and private tidbit about little bug: the clitoris appears really prominent this week because the labia hasn’t grown big enough to envelop it. But we know it’s not a penis.
    • Little bug’s eyes can move in their sockets

     

    Pregnancy Update Week 28

    I do not have gestational diabetes! Screening test was a false positive.

    My wife took me dress shopping and bought me a really pretty lace maternity dress to wear to our friend’s wedding next weekend. We got it [on sale!] at Thyme Maternity – a store that always puts me in a fowl mood because they push their products and don’t understand bargain-hunters. They actually struck up an argument with me over stretch mark cream. Even though I told them that I understood the latest research on stretch marks and know that there is no consistent evidence that fancy creams will prevent them, they tried to convince me that their brand of overpriced stretch mark cream is the only real effective cream out there, and I better buy it for my own good. Ugh… get off my back you dirty swindlers… Anyway, I also had to buy dressy sandals to wear with the new dress, because there was no way I was cramming my feet into heels that are too small for me now. I’ll need to find some other fancy shindigs to go to this summer to make the purchase worth it.

    Preparations for Baby

    • picked a wall colour for the nursery and my wife is almost done all the plaster repair
    • started seeing gifts being purchased off of our registry
    • won a baby-related giveaway! It was just a $25 gift card to Mastermind Toys, but it was nice to win something after the hundreds of giveaways I have entered!
    • bonding with baby. We have been talking to her and poking her lots. My wife said the cutest thing to me when I got home late from an evening meeting: “you get to be with her all day… you’re keeping our baby from me” (said in a sweet and not-guilt-tripping way)
    • have done lots more research on cloth diapers and have purchased a few different types used to see what they’re like. I think I’d like to use a combination of All In Two’s (a waterproof cover with a snap-in insert for easy washing and drying) and wool covers with a fitted cotton/bamboo diaper inside. Now that I know what I want, I can approach my used diaper hunting with more precision and can hopefully build up most of our collection through used shopping. Just look at the adorableness of these wool covers from Sloomb. The real challenge is going to be holding myself back from buying too many wool covers, since you only need a few with lots of fitteds to go inside.Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 4.06.50 PM.pngSloomb-Knit-Wool-Covers-Card

    Bodily Experiences This Week

    • Felt baby’s hiccups for the first time! It was a rhythmic, subtle, “kick” feeling – probably her back hitting the inside of my belly every time she hiccuped. Some were strong enough to feel on the outside. Actually felt it twice this week.
    • Sleep problems. I miss sleep. I do enjoy almost daily naps now that I’m not sleeping well at night, but it’s not the same as getting a full consecutive 8 hours of restful sleep. There are a few factors contributing to my shitty sleeping:
      • sore hips and the fact that I can’t simply roll into a new position when I get uncomfortable because my pillow fortress is awkward to get out of;
      • heavy abdomen that needs support or I get round ligament pain;
      • not being able to sleep on my back;
      • the cats see that I am awake through the night and think it is time to bug me for attention which makes it harder to fall back to sleep;
      • having to pee 2 or 3 times through the night;
      • straight up insomnia where I lay there with my eyes closed trying to sleep but my brain takes hours to shut down at the end of the day

    Baby This Week

    • Weighs 2-1/4 to 2-1/2lb, 15″ long. Feet are 2″ long – I can picture them… so cute!!! This week we are going to go with the eggplant comparison.

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    • getting chubby enough to soon be able to regulate her own body temperature.
    • Body fat is currently 2 to 3%, and will be ~10% at birth. Still a ways to go. I’ll help her out by eating lots of homemade whipped cream with my strawberries. That’s how it works, right?
    • Starting to shed the vernix caseosa that developed to protect the developing skin (but will likely still have a bit left by the time of delivery).
    • Starting to experience REM sleep, which indicates that she MIGHT be dreaming. (Although what the heck does she have to dream about? Being poked and listening to me read boring things to her?)
    • Eyes can produce tears.
    • Might be sticking out her tongue now.
    • Chance of survival outside the womb are about 90% now.

    Pregnancy Update Week 27

    We are now entering the third trimester! How the time flies! There is some discrepancy as to which week marks the 3rd trimester – 27 or 28 – but it makes the most sense to me to divide the 40 weeks of pregnancy by 3, so 27 weeks it is. I’m already getting sad about the prospect of not being pregnant anymore. I love it. And we are pretty sure we only want one kid.

    Recap of the second trimester:

    Our social life has never been busier than during the second trimester of this pregnancy. We have been trying to cram in visits with all of our friends from near and far before a) we escape to the cottage for the summer and b) the baby comes and makes our socializing availability a little unpredictable. I’m an introvert, and as much as I love all of my friends, this hectic social schedule has been extremely draining and I look forward to having 3rd trimester exhaustion as an excuse to slow down.

    I gained 13lb this trimester (and 14 in total). As someone who had an eating disorder in teen-hood, I’m surprised at how excited I am to see the numbers on the scale climb up. All it means to me is that my baby is growing and my body is supporting the baby. When I think about how amazing this whole process is, I get emotional. Thank you body, for being so amazingly capable. I promise to love you after, too.

    I have so many favourite parts of this trimester. Little bug’s big kicks, the glorious bump, finding out the sex and naming her, and the easy and comfy maternity wardrobe. I also really appreciated when my mood and energy improved about 1/4 of the way into this trimester. You often hear that the 2nd trimester comes with a burst of energy. Don’t be fooled – my energy levels did not exceed pre-pregnancy levels. I just felt better in comparison to the 1st trimester. Energy has not been something I have in surplus at any point during this pregnancy so far. The toughest part of this trimester has been the hip pain, but I have been really lucky in that my lifestyle allows me to rest my achey body anytime I need to.

    Preparations For Baby

    I got my glucose tolerance screening test done and failed, but I’m trying not to get too stressed about it until we get the results of the full diagnostic test back. I have no symptoms that would suggest I have trouble metabolising sugar, on paper I am low risk, and I know that the screening test has a fairly high false positive rate. The full test could have gone better… I was told to fast for 12 hours and only drink small amounts. I was dehydrated, and my veins collapsed. I felt super nauseous (I think mostly from the anxiety over all the medical stuff), and had the cold sweats. I spent my last hour of waiting laying in a dark room with a blanket. They felt sorry for me. By the time my last blood draw came they couldn’t get anything from my veins. After four attempts in each arm and three different nurses, they finally got blood from my hand. I am all bruised and swollen now. I tell ya, if I DON’T have gestational diabetes I am going to be furious that I consented to all this testing.

    Bodily Experiences This Week

    • Hip pain. Sounding like a broken record here. I dreamt one night that I was crying from hip pain and fire fighters had to carry me home because of the pain. I woke up so sore, and I think the purpose of the dream was to wake me up to change positions.
    • Hungry for sugary foods. Baked myself a giant chocolate cake and ate pretty much the whole thing to myself in 4 days. Also eating candy and ice cream… I think it might be time to put some self control into effect and try to eat less sugar.
    • Bump is getting in the way. Bending over is a whole new experience now with a big, hard obstruction right at the fulcrum. I have to sit down to put socks, underwear, and pants on. Thank goodness it’s summer and I can usually get away with just pulling a dress over my head. Underwear is also optional these days.
    • Baby’s kicks are getting intense. Sometimes I get a jab in an organ and it really makes me jump. Still super cool, but yikes… feels like she is going to break something in there.

    Baby This Week

    • 14 1/2″ long, 2 1/4lbs.
    • Might actually recognize her parents’ voices, and react to them with movement or brain waves. My wife has been doing a lot more talking to the belly (and kisses it every night – cutest thing ever).
    • her adrenal glands are now secreting estrogen (which signals for my body to start lactating)
    • she can now control her lung function on her own, thanks to a further developed nervous system.

    Hypnobirthing: A Review

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    We have completed 5 weeks (12 hours) of hypnobirthing class, we have read the book, and we have practiced relaxation and hypnosis exercises every day for the past 5 weeks.  Although I won’t really know how effective it is until after I experience birth, I really liked the concept and I’m glad we did it.

    Hypnobirthing is about being deeply relaxed so that your body can open up and do what it needs to do for a smooth labour and birth. When you are scared or in pain, it is really hard to relax. Hypnobirthing trains you to relax in spite of the situation.

    Hypnobirthing is also about self-hypnosis and positive affirmations that help you unlearn negative expectations about labour and birth (like the screaming in pain images we see in movies and the traumatizing birth stories we hear from friends). In turn, it trains you to expect a positive birth experience. We’ve all heard it before – it’s the power of positive thinking. There is also some science behind the whole mind over matter thing.

    Here are some of my likes and dislikes from the course:

    Liked


    • Strong focus on the demedicalization of childbirth (e.g. affirmation: “I turn my birth over to nature”)

     

    • Gives power and control back to the birthing woman’s body (“I turn my birthing over to my baby and my body”)

     

    • Relaxation feels good and is good for the baby

     

    • Birthing partner is treated as just as important to the experience as the birthing person. Birthing partner could be your partner, baby’s other parent, a friend or other family member, or a doula. Birthing partner is strongly encouraged to attend the classes with you and is also expected to work through the emotional as well as technical aspects of birthing with you.

     

    • Great for the relationship between parents – focus on bonding, support, communication, and even light touch massage!

     

    • Great for the relationship between parents and baby – focus on bonding in utero, hypnobirthing strategies for successful breastfeeding and maximizing oxytocin-led bonding post-birth

     

    • Learned about the technical aspects of birth without making it medical. We learned about the different bands of muscles in the uterus and how, if we let them, they work in harmony to get baby out (some hypnobirthing moms don’t even push – the muscles do all the work naturally). We also learned how deep inhales can lift the uterus off of the cervix, allowing the cervix to open with ease. And, we learned about the sympathetic nervous system and the science behind why relaxation works.

     

    • The class is useful to those planning all kinds of births, from elective C-sections to home water births. In fact, we were the only ones in the class planning a home birth, and one of two couples using a midwife. The hospital birthers there were taking the course to help them get over their fear of a painful birth. However, there is definitely a bias in favour of unmedicated births (to let your body do what it needs to do). This is something to keep in mind if you don’t want to be made to feel “less than” for being open to an epidural.

     

    • Takes a holistic approach to health and birthing. We drank raspberry leaf tea during during our classes, and the book we received talks about nutrition, exercise, and relaxation as factors that work in harmony to give you the birth you desire.

     

    • Learned good positions for labouring and birthing (and for turning a breach baby). The hypnobirthing preference is to be in whatever position allows you to go completely limp and be deeply relaxed – usually side lying or lying propped up on your back. The ultimate message, though, is to listen to your body. If you feel like your baby and your body could benefit from movement (like bouncing on the birthing ball or walking laps), that is encouraged.

     

    • My favourite hypnosis exercise is the sensation valve. In your minds eye you see yourself in a room that represents your subconscious. In the room there is a large dial that controls a valve to your sensations. When the dial is in the “on” position, you sense everything – all sights, sounds, and pain. When the dial is in the “off” position, you are so deeply within yourself that you don’t sense anything going on around you (including physical sensations). There is also a “selective” setting on the dial that allows you to be aware of select things – you might hear your birth companion talking to you, but you don’t feel anything below the waist. In your mind’s eye, you visualize yourself in this room in your subconscious, turning the dial to whatever setting you want. This one really worked for me, but there are lots of deep relaxation exercises to choose from. You and your birth partner are encouraged to practice the ones that you like, and then your birth partner can read the favourite scripts on birthing day that will put you into these states of hypnosis.

    Didn’t Like


    • Our instructor was very friendly and clearly morally supportive of two mom families, but was still somewhere in the middle of the learning curve on using inclusive language. She used “moms and dads” ALL THE TIME, like “this one is just for the moms,” or “dads, read this aloud.” She also told a story about how crazy it was that a straight couple she knew got pregnant using a syringe. We looked at each other like, “not that crazy…”

     

    • Sometimes felt a little hokey…

    If you are thinking of trying hypnobirthing, consider:


    • Do you like the instructor? Can you get any reviews on the instructors you have available to you? Some are more “hippy” about it, and others are more “here is the science behind it”. Find one with a perspective that you will respond better to.
    • Can you put the classes through your insurance? Because our instructor was a naturopath and the classes were invoiced as “naturopathic services”, I was able to get reimbursed through my insurance.
    • Do you think you might want an unmedicated birth? If you absolutely know that you want an epidural (or an elective c-section), hypnobirthing could still work to reduce your fear around birthing, but you won’t be able to use the bulk of the training in your birth.
    • Especially if you are planning a hospital birth, make sure your OB, midwife, and/or nurses are supportive of hypnobirthing. Deep relaxation during labour and birth is best achieved with fewer vaginal checks, less invasive fetal monitoring, a quiet environment, and perhaps dimmed lighting. Supportive hospital staff can make or break this kind of environment for you.
    • On the “sometimes feels a little hokey” point I made above, I’m a researcher by training, brought up in an environment valuing scientific method and empirical support for theories. Thus, when we watched peaceful birth videos (there were a lot of them), I couldn’t help but wonder what statistics they had on the success of hypnobirthing. Did they just hand pick the videos of the world’s most peaceful, easy births, and fail to represent the thousands more hypnobirthing moms who had terrible and painful births? Answer: even if they did hand pick a biased sample of videos to show us, that is the point of hypnobirthing. It’s like a placebo effect. You train yourself to expect the best possible birth, and then you let go of fear, and then your body works better during birth. I had to make myself let go of my natural skepticism in order to let hypnobirthing work, if it was going to work at all. So if you are skeptical like me, be aware that you will need to set that skepticism aside for it to work. Also, our instructor actually told us that among the hypnobirthing moms she has doula’d for, approximately 9/10 have had these peaceful, euphoric, easy births.

     

    I recommend hypnobirthing classes. I am excitedly looking forward to birth. Now let’s see if I can take it one step further and get that orgasmic birth I keep hearing about…