Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Baby, Baby, Baby

Nearly every single thought I think revolves around baby, baby, baby now-a-days. I think about diapers, breastfeeding, thank you's, but mostly my thoughts shift toward labor and delivery. If you read my blog Labor & Delivery: Pain Medication vs Natural Childbirth you'd know our decision is to do a natural birth. Unless there's an emergency, I will not budge from this plan. (You say I say that now... and some of you may have that internal laugh...) but I'm going in with the mindset that I don't get pain meds, the doctor and nurses are under strict instructions to never mention it to me and only offer natural pain relief suggestions, and most importantly they didn't even give me the paper work. I refuse to see this as "Oh crap, you're doomed!" but rather, "I'm going to do what millions of women have done for the last thousands of years including many of my friends and family." So with that said, I'm nervous as all get out.

After my research on natural childbirth vs pain medication, and then making the all important decision, my research is now geared toward calming myself down and natural pain relief options. The whole purpose of this blog was to share things about my life and right now my life revolves around this event, so I literally have nothing else to write about, sorry. Plus, I've found that writing is a source of therapy for me.

Thankfully, I have a wonderful husband who listens to me rant, and as I described my fears and anxiety I began to describe similar emotions I felt right before I ran the 400 meter sprint in high school. So I did some comparisons and found that helped me tremendously: 400 Meter Sprint vs Childbirth? Really?!

That was step one in accepting and preparing for the upcoming, inevitable pain I know I'm going to experience.

Step two was preparing my body for delivery. Before pregnancy, I was in the best shape of my life thanks to www.crossfit.com. The first trimester was pretty rough - throwing up and exhaustion ruled my life for 16 weeks. After teaching junior highers all day and then going to track practice, I had little energy for anything else. So I came home and slept. Kyle woke me up so I could try to eat something, then I went back to bed. My poor husband, I really felt like I didn't see him for those 16 weeks. After this time I began again by simply walking, once the end of my 2nd trimester came along I got back into my routine and worked out at least 3 times per week. www.crossfitmom.com has great workouts designed for strength endurance, not intensity, and they're posted daily. The other thing I do is stretch every day. This is vital for me, I can't tell you how much better I feel after each stretch (which I try to do 2 times a day).

Step three was learning the anatomy of delivery. Our hospital provides online courses, which we were more than thankful for because we live 45 minutes away and driving back and forth wasn't really something either of us wanted to do more than we already had to. I found out pretty quickly that I went in to these childbirth lessons pretty clueless. My scientist husband learned more in his college anatomy class about women and birth than I have known my entire life. He spent a lot of time either reassuring me, or reminding me, or explaining to me many different aspects of human anatomy. I had a lot of light bulb moments and "Ohhhh! That's why..." moments. What a patient teacher!

Step four was researching natural pain relief methods. A few that I particularly like and plan on trying: birthing ball, music, having a focal point, warm bath, warm compress, different positioning, massage, guided imagery and breathing. Before I explain how I intend to have these options available for me (cause you never know which ones will work best for me and which won't work at all), let me share some helpful resources...
The natural pain relief with the most research to back it (that's on my list) is massage. Yay. I love massages! AND I'll have two support persons there to help me out: my sister and hubby. I also know I need to focus my mind. If I don't, I know I'll be an out of control mess. So I'm going to try...
  • Music: I have a few play lists that I'm working on titled...
    • Lullaby (I created this one a long time ago that is all instrumental and soothing, which we plan to use for her bedtime music.)
    • God is my Strength (I have a favorite worship mix, but now I'm narrowing it down to songs that relate to relying on God during the toughest moments of life to get you through.)
    • God is Faithful (Throughout this entire pregnancy that has been a common theme. He has provided for us in more ways than I can possibly count. We know, without a shadow of a doubt, He's in control.)
  • Focal Point: My mom suggested that I bring an ultrasound picture to focus on, and I jumped on that idea. I also wrote down two verses: Psalm 18:1-3 and Psalm 59:16-17.
  • Warm Bath: I plan on (granted plans change), so I hope to, take a warm bath before heading to the hospital. I always feel more relaxed after doing this, especially when I don't feel well, so I have a feeling this is a good option for me as well.
  • Warm Compress: We have a "rice sock" (a long sock filled with rice) that I warm up in the microwave for 3-5 minutes and put around my cold feet during the winter, especially when I go to bed. This keeps Kyle sane because I refrain from warming my feet on his toasty legs, but I also use it for hot/cold treatments on achy muscles. It's amazing and it's one item I made sure I had room for in my bag.
  • Guided Imagery: Basically go somewhere else. Where do I plan to go? Skin to Skin time. I seriously can not wait for that moment when they hand me my baby and I get to hold her skin to skin. I get emotional thinking about it. If that's what I'm most looking forward to, it just makes sense to focus on that moment during the intense pain that helps my body get me to that moment.
  • Breathing: I work on that periodically through the day, as I'm working out, feeling Braxton Hicks contractions, stretching, whenever I think about it, I work on it. I don't necessarily feel pain during these moments, but it helps me focus, and reminds me that when I do feel pain, this is what I need to do.
Lastly, I wanted to watch other women and how they dealt with natural births. At first I was leery of doing this, thinking my mind was going to go to its worst places, but it was actually reassuring and calming for me. Here were the two I loved the most. I bawled at the end of both of them, stupid hormones! (Don't worry, you won't be scarred by watching them, or want to poke your eyes out... they are beautiful birthing stories that I would not consider graphic.)
I was telling a friend that one of my reasons for writing about this decision was so that it was one more reason why I couldn't back down. If I share it on my blog, I feel like I'm being held accountable to whoever reads it. So I don't want to go in to this experience naive or ridiculously unprepared. Hopefully, as other women prepare for their childbirthing experience, they can read this and come up with their own way of relieving anxiety. I don't care who you are or what your birthing plan consists of, childbirth is scary. There's tons of stories out there. There's tons of people ready to offer wanted or unwanted advice. You ultimately have to decide what's best for your baby, for you, and for your family. Hopefully I've shared something that will help you through your research and decision process, because if you're a typical expectant mommy, everything you think, do, or say revolves around baby, baby, baby!

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