Thursday, August 29, 2013

Nine Months of Quiet

Things have been pretty quiet around this ol' blog for a while. There are multiple reasons for that, mostly being bloggy burnout and being pregnant with baby #3. I am 39 weeks pregnant today, due September 5th with our third girl. We are excited to be on the brink of welcoming a new little one into our arms, hearts, and home. Our girls are ready (especially Abigail, who is in full-on babysitting mode already). Mainly, if nothing else but for my own recording, I want to get down where we are at this point as we approach our first time planning a natural childbirth. Yep...I used the "N" word.

Abigail and Sadie were both born through induction, and I had epidurals both times. I loved giving birth to my girls, and neither one would I consider any type of bad or traumatic birth experience at all. Actually, they both went quite smoothly. With Abigail, I had a condition called PUPPP, which is kind of like your body having an allergic reaction to your pregnancy (I'm sure there is a much better medical definition, but this is easiest). PUPPP equals insane (INSANE) itching that starts on your belly (like most pregnancies) but quickly escalates to constantly wanting to claw your skin off as it becomes covered in hives and spreads to your arms, legs, soles of feet, palms of hands...pretty much everywhere except your face, thank goodness. There is really nothing effective you can take for the itching, and believe me, I tried. The only thing that makes it go away is to have the baby. So, my doctor at the time (we lived in a different city then) thought it would be a good reason to induce me, simply for my own relief. She didn't rush me into a decision, but after about a week of mulling it over and wishing I could soak in a bath of ice and oatmeal 24/7, I decided to go for it. For a first-time birth, it went fairly easily at about 11 hours. I did choose an epidural at some point (7 years later, details are hazy) around the time they broke my water and my contractions got really intense.

With Sadie, we were in a different city, different doctor, different hospital. Admittedly, I just gave up when I hit 39 weeks. There was no reason for me to need to be induced. It was convenient for us and for the doctor. He was more than happy to schedule me for the next morning, and in we went. It was nice to get  then-4-year-old Abigail settled at my parents the night before and not feel like we would freak her out at any point. Our doctor was efficient to say the least. Don't get me wrong, he was very nice and we liked his personality a lot. And Sadie's birth went very fast and easy. I was hooked up to the Pitocin, had my water broken, and given my epidural all within 30 minutes. I literally never felt one contraction with Sadie. Not one. and within four hours, she was here. At the time, Paul and I were totally on board with all of it, and were just glad to have a healthy baby so quickly. But over time, as I have reflected back on it, I almost feel like I "missed" Sadie's birth. Like, I didn't feel any of it, didn't give a second thought to anything. Not that any mom is dying to feel contractions or pain, but it's almost like it was some quick dream and that my body wasn't really a part of the equation.

So, when I got pregnant this time and started thinking through what I liked before or what I would like differently, my thought was this: We get one birth story with our children. Only one time to feel those feelings, to experience this amazing passage from inside our body to outside world. And I didn't want to be in a race to just get through it as fast as I could. Yes, I have gotten many of the lighthearted "You're crazy" comments from women who have been there and can't believe I would "want the pain." It's not that I "want the pain", it's that I want to experience this one moment in it's fullness. I want to see how my body goes into labor without help from medicine. I want to see how my spirit leans on the Lord when the pain gets hard. I want to work as a team with my husband to do this together, not to look at him from my hospital bed and say in that floaty post-epidural voice, "I can't feel a THING." (Words I have said both times).

We have been meeting with a doula throughout the last few months, and she will attend the birth with us. I look forward to having a team of encouragers to get through this together. I've told them, "Trust me, I know the sweet, sweet relief an epidural can bring. I know how awesome it feels. So please, encourage me to keep going." I've kind of felt like a natural birth junkie through this process...I've learned so many new things that I would have thought I had figured out by now. I've been watching documentaries and reading books by Ina May Gaskin and I have seen more pictures of naked women giving birth in all of their natural glory than I ever thought I would (and still don't totally LOVE to see). Oh, and we will still be at the hospital with a doctor.

I know that things don't always go as planned. I know that birth plans get changed and that babies don't always arrive they way you would expect. I know there are a lot of unknowns, and Paul and I are not unbending. We know there may be something we have to bend and flex and change from what our wishes are. But we also know that having a plan in place now, and having educated ourselves, and having resolve ahead of time will give us a greater likelihood of having a really cool natural birth story.

Like a friend at church said (whose son is in upper 20s), "You're just doing it like all of us had to do it then. Everyone now wants to schedule and control every little thing, but we didn't have those choices. We just had our babies." So, I know I am in the company of generations of women who have done it this way, whether by choice or not. And I feel quite excited for what this little girl's story will be.


Debra Crabtree said...

Go Amy Go. With the exception of emergency situations, a natural delivery IS what is healthiest for you and this precious little person. I had a doula with Kenton and she was invaluable. Lean into your supporters! They will prop you up and it is beautiful to see your husband really be part of a delivery. Can't wait to see her and know her name!

Lindsay said...

I think this is a great way to approach childbirth: educated. I'll be praying for you all as you prepare and especially when you alert us all that it's happening!! :) So excited to welcome this new Cooper into the world. :)

Unknown said...

Good for you, Amy, to decide to go with natural delivery. I went the natural way 32 years and I'm glad I did. It is painful, but you soon forget the pain when you hold your baby in your arms for the first time. :) You have a good support system and that means a lot! I didn't want Charlie to leave me to get something to eat, but he finally talked me into letting him leave for a short while! You might have Paul pack some munchies for himself in case labor lasts through meal times! Just like we have a salvation story, you will also have new childbirth story. God bless you!

Anonymous said...

Good for you Amy AND Paul! Will be praying for you! I wanted HOME birth with all mine and only got to do early labor with the third, ALL were cesarean. Yes, be flexible, all life's chapters with God are a bit of a blind adventure! Enjoy the ride!