Thursday, January 27, 2011

The last of the navel-gazing series

My two month abandonment of this blog was due to an effort to avoid talking about a, frankly, very frustrating third trimester. I'm sure some of you are sick of my navel-gazing, but hey, that's my life right now so that's what I'm going to blog about. I've processed a little more recently, so I feel like I can write about the Three Things That Have Made Me A Mess in The Past Month:

-Major circulation issues have caused massive swelling in my hands and feet (and arms and legs). The swelling has caused carpal tunnel, which has caused numbness and pain, which means sleeping is a dream of the past. I have no signs of preeclampsia or toxemia. My doctor is calling this just pregnancy edema which he says will only be cured by giving birth. (The edema is probably caused by the fact that our daughter is huge and is putting an enormous strain on my circulatory system - the last ultrasound put her in 93rd percentile weight-wise!) Since the only ways my doc and I have found to manage the swelling is staying off my feet as much as possible and drinking close to a gallon and a half of water a day, I can also only indulge in my nesting urges in short spurts. I feel like the laziest, most water-logged person alive.

-(Out of the ordinary) pain issues: Lots of women have round ligament pain. I keep telling my OB that I have "really, really severe round ligament pain." And he just looks at me and continues to review my chart.
Although I'm not Superwoman, I'm not a complete wuss either. I know something is wrong. From all of my preparation for natural childbirth, I've learned the pregnancy and birth can have lots of uncomfortable sensations and even be downright painful - but when the pain is chronic and unmanageable, the body is sending a signal that something is NOT RIGHT. I wish I wouldn't have spent the past nine months thinking I was a weakling who couldn't handle round ligament pain and realized I probably have a pregnancy condition similar to SPD.

Speaking of natural childbirth, I have a hard time dealing with the people who openly doubt and even patronize my decision to attempt a natural childbirth.

Chris and I have spent countless hours preparing for childbirth. We've decided that for us, natural childbirth is the best option. It was a decision that came from hours of research and examination of our particular situation;  it was not made on a whim. We also understand that things happen. Our birth plan is realistic and well-rounded and also includes specific points about an epidural and c-section in case it comes to that.

However, I feel like women should have a chance to have their ideal birth experience. Since labor is so mental, this chance gets slimmer when everyone they encounter mocks, doubts and belittles their well-educated decisions about their labor and delivery. (This goes for both sides. I had someone I barely know call me in my second trimester to make sure I knew about the Bradley Method and proceeded to talk at length about this being the only acceptable way to give childbirth.) I have a friend who knows she has a very low tolerance for pain. She made the decision early in her pregnancy to have an epidural. It was not a decision she made because she didn't want to participate fully in her L&D experience - in fact, it was exactly the opposite. She researched, knew the risks and knew herself well enough to know this was the best decision for her and her baby.

If my pre-existing pain problems get unmanageable during labor to the point that it is harmful for my baby or myself, of course I will consider an epidural. I will not consider this a "failure" of my birth plan, but just one of the many circumstances my husband and I have prepared for.

The only voice that family, friends and acquaintances should have in a couple's birth experience is a supportive one. Pregnancy, labor, delivery and child-rearing is difficult enough.

That being said, this isn't a perfect world - people are going to say dumb things. A huge reason we didn't share our baby's name is because I can't just shrug off people's comments (especially people close to me) about my life choices. I didn't want to waver on her name that we feel so called to name her (we also really like the idea of presenting her all of our family and friends when she's born!) I know I would run those comments over and over in my head later at home and allow it to:
A) influence my decision or
B) really, really get under my skin

A goal for my next pregnancy (haha...I can't even believe I'm saying that right now) is to be more balanced. I don't think telling off people who say inappropriate things about our baby's name, our birth decisions, etc. is the right way to handle the situation - but neither is the extreme opposite reaction of letting every comment come through my skin and pierce my heart.

On a lighter note, some (comically) frustrating comments that I've gotten are as follows:
-"I think you're going to have your baby on _____ date."
-"Did you have your baby yet?" (Yes, and we didn't tell you...)
-"Whoa! You've gotten huge!"
-"Are you sure you're having a girl? I heard this story where a couple bought all pink stuff and then they had a boy." (Three ultrasounds have confirmed that she is a girl. If she's miraculously a boy, we'll be super excited too!)

I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow for an almost 39 week checkup and to address the supposed hugeness of the baby. I'm worried that the "I" word is going to come up (induction) because of the baby's size. Please say some prayers that Chris and I make the right decision for our baby...or maybe just that we go into labor ASAP.

Hopefully this will be the end of pregnancy blogging and I will have more interesting things to blog about than my in utero activity. Beware that it may be the beginning of the more-than-occasional post about the guaranteed Cutest Baby To Ever Be Born blog...


  1. The baby has no choice but to be cute. It is in her genes!!!

  2. AHHHH I'm SO excited and I love you and I've been praying really hard for God to give you the graces of patience, perseverance and awareness of His nearness during this special time... Can't wait to welcome your little girl into the world! xoxo

  3. I think this already fabulous blog will become 100x more fabulous when that Cutest Baby Ever to be Born is all over it and you know her in the flesh!

    You've been hanging out in prodromal labor for so long--I really hope you get the relief of birth soon! Praying for you three and for your birth. You so have this.

  4. Love this post. Wish I'd had the you-know-what to say some of this on my blog before Gabriel was born. It's so true that the only things you NEED or WANT to hear from people are SUPPORTIVE things :)

    Prayers and blessings and love be on you in these last few days (or hours??:). Michael and I are so excited for you! You are a mighty woman of God, not to mention a well-educated, well-informed, carefully-thought-out-with-her-head-on-her-shoulders-one!!!!