Tuesday, September 27, 2011

baby #3 update: 27 weeks

I am 27 and a half weeks pregnant. My womb and my womb-mate are growing and measuring right on. I like to refer the prenatal development chart in one of my university textbooks. It says that Third Girl should now be about 14 inches long and weigh almost 2 pounds, with eyes that can open and close. I have gained 8 pounds (two of those in the last four weeks, and six in the four weeks before that). I don't remember how my weight gain was with the other pregnancies besides the total number of pounds, but it would probably be good if I gain about a pound or more per week until this baby is born. I wrote before that I was exercising most days. Since then, it's become closer to two or three days a week because . . . well, I think I have more days when I am just not in the mood to work out. It's more likely to happen if I do it in the morning, and it is easier and more enjoyable to read a book while walking on the treadmill than to do my 40-minute prenatal strength training DVD.
I'm grateful that I have not been having any nausea (since about 14 weeks), heartburn,  constipation, swelling, varicose veins, stretch marks (I have never gotten any), calf cramps, etc. I remember that several times during my first pregnancy I had to jump out of bed in the middle of the night to stand up because of the sudden pain in my calf. I haven't had strong food cravings or aversions. A few times during this pregnancy I have craved Mexican food or stuff from the olive bar at the grocery store. I have also been really enjoying green salads, berries, and Healthy Choice fudge bars, but I wouldn't call those cravings.

Sometimes I do:
  • feel a little uncomfortable or back-achy by about 9 p.m. or earlier (stretching, walking around, or lying down can help)
  • get a headache
  • have a hard time falling asleep again after getting up to use the bathroom (or if one of our many apartment neighbors is noisy and wakes me up)
  • have trouble breathing through my nose -- the last few days I have been more congested and blowing my nose, but it seems that we all have minor colds.
Also, I wrote that I don't want to be in a hospital for this baby's birth and that I have been seeing midwives at a birth center. I love the idea of being in labor without having to continually meet and be observed by new nurses and others who come in the room without warning. I feel that a woman in labor is not a "patient" and most of the time doesn't need a hospital (read the preface of this birth story). What do statistics mean to one individual, anyway?

Although I still would prefer to give birth in a birth center or at home, my husband and I know that unfortunately our insurance will not cover any of the delivery cost unless the care provider is a Certified Nurse-Midwife or obstetrician. The women at the birth center I have been going to are a different type of midwife, which means we would have to pay for the entire cost out of our own pockets. The one or two CNMs here who do out-of-hospital births are already booked. It is frustrating and makes no sense to me that our insurance would not reimburse us for any of the less-than-$3,000 cost (while they have covered each of my $10,000 c-sections). But my goal is to have a natural vaginal birth, and that can happen in a hospital. So I called my doula for advice, and we switched to CNMs. My doula didn't hesitate when answering my question about which hospital she thinks would be best for me personally (she is the same doula I had in 2006). Last week was my first appointment with one of the midwives at the clinic near that hospital. They are very supportive of birth without drugs or medical interventions and they are very pro-VBAC. The hospital has the lowest epidural rate in the state and is "Baby-friendly" (I was not aware of this before and I think it's fantastic!). My husband and I both really like this midwife and are confident that the others in the practice are excellent, too. She recommended a certain Webster Certified chiropractor -- someone trained to work specifically with pelvic balance in pregnancy -- actually the very same chiropractor I already starting seeing for adjustments. It will be helpful to the midwives to have a copy of my records from my last birth and from the birth center, and I am looking forward to receiving my own copy. (FYI, you can simply go in and get your own medical records for free.) I've been told it is hard to overcome "the failure to progress scenario", but we are thinking positively.

I have spent and continue to spend many hours studying the normal process of labor -- the way women's (and babies') bodies were designed for babies to come out. I'm re-reading the book Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. I cannot recommend it enough. I also have learned a lot from the films The Business of Being Born and Orgasmic Birth (Don't avoid this just because of the title. The idea is that giving birth can be a good and enjoyable experience. There is a shorter version called Organic Birth.), and about 5-10 facebook groups including the one for Birth Without Fear.

Why do I want to stay at home until I am in active labor? Why don't I want an epidural or something? The mind and the body are closely connected. For me and my baby, I want to let the natural hormones of labor flow. I want to have a comfortable environment with as much freedom and privacy as possible, and minimal interruptions and interventions. From Orgasmic Birth 
The pain down here gets sent up to the brain, the brain releases hormones which go down here to the uterus and tell the uterus what to do or not to do. And if you take away the pain, the whole normal physiology is gone (Marsden Wagner, M.D.). 
[M]any of the interventions that are commonly used in maternity care today will reduce the release of these hormones in a laboring woman’s body and make her birth less ecstatic, less pleasurable, and actually less safe for herself and her baby (Sarah Buckley, M.D.).
What if you numbed your feet and then you were supposed to walk down a highway? You'd have difficulty walking down the highway. . . . If your birth canal is numb, it doesn't work the same way (Christiane Northrup, M.D.).

Besides the change of providers, there is something else that has changed. Unless another idea comes to us, we chose Third Girl's name! We will give her both a first name and a middle name, like our other kids have. As always, nobody but my husband and I will know the name until the baby is born. Sometimes when we leave my mom's place, she says to my belly, "What's your name?" or "Goodbye, Gertrude. :o)

Finally, some photos:

I had fun comparing some photos of my bump during the last pregnancy and this one. (We really didn't do any belly profile pictures during my first pregnancy, except for a photo shoot my friend Anne did about 2 months before my due date). My mom's neighbor was surprised that this baby is a girl, because just like last time, she thinks I look like I'm carrying a boy. Also, it's definitely impossible at this point to make my abdomen appear non-pregnant. A couple of days ago a cute old man asked me, "Is that a basketball or a watermelon?" I said watermelon, but when I get a moment I try to picture her tiny human body inside of me and express our love for her. I wonder exactly what each movement is. I swear, at least twice she has kicked in response to something I said about her. For example, when I had my hand on my belly and said to the other kids, "I have a big belly with a baby inside," I immediately felt her kick beneath my hand. I'm doing my best to enjoy the next three months with her inside me. We will have plenty of time with her on the outside.

1 comment:

  1. I can't believe you've only gained 8 lbs!! You are amazing! Sounds like you're doing everything perfectly, what with your exercising and pre-natal strength training and stuff. I wish I could be more like you...
    Also, I'd be curious to know which hospital your doula was talking about. That is very interesting. Will be fun to find out the name too!!!


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