My thoughts on this pregnancy, our birth plans and the adventure that awaits.
Warning: rambling ahead. This is going to be a doozy. :)
Let me start off by saying this pregnancy has been SO VERY different than my first pregnancy. It has been harder. I have had more morning sickness, I was plagued with daily headaches the entire first trimester (I didn't have a single headache during my pregnancy with Sunday!), I've spent over $200 on creams, soaks, cough drops, and other pain relief for a number of different ailments... my body just feels older... more fragile... the soreness has been different but constant. I also worked a lot more throughout this pregnancy, so I stayed busier and had a TON on my mind constantly.
However, all that aside, one of the biggest differences was my level of anxiety during this pregnancy. With Sunday, I felt like someone was feeding me happy pills every day. But my hormones were the TOTAL opposite this time around. This pregnancy, I've been a cranky bi-otch the entire time. (To put it bluntly.) There was actually this moment during our trip to Nepal that my mother in law sat me down and tried to have a conversation with me about how to effectively handle anxiety. (I'll never forget your gentle approach, Sue! :)) But seriously... I haven't been able to shake ANY anxious thoughts (it seems) these past nine months. Which is something I feel like I have always been able to have some sort of grip on.
What have I been anxious about? I think it would be easier to list verses discuss. We could be here all day if I start the rambling version.
- Birth. Birth plans. Birthing at home. Birthing at a hospital. The pain of childbirth. The length of childbirth. Seriously guys. BIRTH IS SCARY. (Anyone remember how excited I was for birth the last time? I'll call that a good case of naivety.)
- Becoming a mom to TWO. Two different people. Two full carseats to account for everywhere I go. Two personalities, two to train, two to teach, TWO TO LOVE.
- I'm just going to say this because I'm all about being open and honest here; I'm afraid this second baby is going to be challenging. More challenging than Sunday was. Sunday was easy... she was a breeze. She is eager to please and loves to do the right thing. (Plus she LOVES sleep.) What if this baby loves to do the wrong things? What if he or she is an adventurer (aka fearless)... or a screamer... or has colic? What if he or she is ALL THE THINGS Sunday is NOT? Oh my, I can feel my blood pressure raising as I type.
- The health of this baby. I have been much more lax with my diet and even medicines this time around (see above note about the 117 ailments I've been experiencing). I may or may not have taken Vitamin C supplements for over a month before I realized the package said not to take if pregnant or nursing. (I shouldn't put this in writing, should I?) I've taken Tylenol on more occasions than I'd like to admit. And then I finally got up the nerve to google the side effects of THAT on growing babies. Take my advice and do NOT GOOGLE it.
- The health of this baby. (Intentional repetition) I started this pregnancy watching the entire available series of Call The Midwife and finished season two with a genuine fear of my baby having spina bifida and/or down syndrome. Which, obviously, would NOT change my love for the baby. But... do I need to explain the fears behind those thoughts? I couldn't shake the fear/anxiousness until we finally went to our 20 week ultrasound and learned the baby was healthy and happy. WHEW.
You know... I could go on. But this post needs to have a happy ending. So I want to get to that sooner than later. Dwelling on my anxieties and boohoos really doesn't do anyone any good.
So let's just get to this.
We're planning a hospital birth this time. What?!!
One of the biggest culprits behind my lack-of-peace throughout this pregnancy has been my birth plan. When I was pregnant with Sunday, we decided pretty quickly that we wanted a home birth. The more research I did, the more at peace I felt about it. And let me make it super clear that I am so, so glad we did it. It was beautiful, it was amazing... it was so many wonderful things all tied together in a beautiful memory for us to cherish forever. I will never regret it and I am so glad I followed my heart into that decision.
Which is why I was so confused about not being able to come to peace about planning a second home birth. From day one in this pregnancy I've thought "I remember the pain. I see these mamas when I'm photographing births... they remind me regularly of the pain. I don't want to do this again. I want to go to the hospital and I want to get an epidural." F'real, guys. Finally, around 20-ish weeks, I started easing up on the freaking out. (Which may or may not have had something to do with also finding out the baby was healthy and happy at the ultrasound.) I started, very slowly, working out the negative thoughts in my mind.
And then I attended another birth and things got a little unnerving.
I drove away from that birth praying, "God, if you don't want me to have a home birth this time, I need you to please be louder about it. I don't get this... I don't understand why I can't have a peace about it this time." And friends, not 12 hours later, the one person in the world I would have LEAST expected to EVER say these words, said to me: "Liz, do not have a home birth this time."
Um. What? Okay God... I guess I'm gonna roll with that.
From there, it took me a good 6 weeks or so to literally mourn the loss of a home birth plan. (I have always been willing to admit I'm a bit dramatic, okay?) But for real, all of a sudden I remembered all the beautiful and wonderful things about our experience with Sunday. Suddenly I wasn't afraid of the pain anymore. Funny how that happens, huh? But I believe mama intuition knows best and I also know from experience that ignoring God never turns out well. I was NOT going to put this baby or myself at risk just because of all the good things I could recall about our home birth with Sunday.
So, after a lot (a LOT) of conversations, praying, and debating with Tommy (he's still sad about this decision), we transferred our care from our amazing home birth midwife to a local midwives group who deliver babies in the hospital. And the care I have been receiving, while different than what my home birth midwife provided, has been wonderful.
And honestly, in the end, this doesn't have to mean I will never have another home birth again, anyway. :)
So here we are.
Planning a hospital birth... preparing for a new baby to enter our home. And, emotionally, I feel so. much. better.
I'm at complete peace about our plans... finally. I am at peace about the health of this baby... about the adventure of Life With Two that awaits us.
Sunday is SO excited! She says, "Mama, it's Christmas now! My baby comes soon??" She has been incredibly sweet and gentle this entire pregnancy. Throughout the first trimester when I was laid out on the couch on a daily basis she would approach me and ask "Mama, you not feel good again?" Then she would go entertain herself for another two hours while I laid in misery. She's amazing.
And she's going to be an amazing big sister. What more could I ask for? Even if this second baby ends up being challenging, having colic, or some other issue I haven't even imagined... we will all survive. If there's one thing I've learned about motherhood, it's that "this, too, shall pass." And believing that this may very well be our last season of newborn-isms (eek... and pregnancy, too!), I plan to cherish each and every moment ahead for us.
So... yeah. There's that. All of my anxieties and ailments and boohoos about pregnancy number two. It has all come full circle and here I sit at 38 weeks, happily reporting that I feel ready for our (hopeful) natural, hospital birth experience and even MORE ready to have my baby IN MY ARMS. I can't wait to meet him or her, find out who she/he is and bring them HOME! And of course, I plan to share the full birth story again as well.
So, I hope this wasn't too much boohooing. Like I said, this pregnancy has been different. And I wanted to be honest about it, simply for my own documentation. But I'm excited now and eager to move on to this next season of our life as a family of FOUR!
For those of you interested in some quick facts... here's a fun little list of numbers for you:
38 Weeks Today
12800+ ounces of water (and ice) consumed
1000+ baby movements (this baby is ACTIVE!)
266 days of pregnancy
200+ days of praying for baby
168 belly kisses from big sister
134 epsom salt baths
97 days (and counting) of nausea and headaches
67 miles walked around the neighborhood
23 bowls of cereal consumed
18 whole avocados consumed
14 days of international travel adventures
10 midwifery appointments
7 weeks of random contractions and braxton hicks
6 orders of maternity clothing from OldNavy.com
4 bowls of Kraft macaroni and cheese consumed
3 eager and (impatiently) waiting family members
0 hospital pre-registration forms filled out (oops)
0 days without coffee
Okay Baby Cook #2... we are ready for you!! Come out, come out, whenever you want!!