Birth Prep 2016 – 22 weeks 2 days

Experiencing pregnancy for the second time round is such an eye opener. During your first pregnancy you spend a lot of time thinking about the birth and trying to be prepared and all that jazz. Then once the baby pops out and you get past those early months the memories of the birth start to fade a little. And as time goes by they fade even more and you start wonder what all that fuss was about for a day that is only one day in the many days you get to have with your baby. It is bizarre.

But here I am, pregnant again, and obsessing about birth. OBSESSING. I think part of this is due to the fact that I had a dream a couple of weeks ago that the baby came early and I hadn’t done enough prep so it has really lit a fire under me. I am in a birth prep frenzy!

Yeah it is only one day (or in my case last time it was two) and provided baby and I are both healthy and well at the end of the process it won’t really matter in the long run but if I can make the day better this time then I am really keen to give that a go.  I think the prep is amplified by the fact that I know that this time, no matter how bad it gets, I will not have the option of having an epidural so I need to be tough and squeeze this little darling out while feeling every little stretch. And to do that in the best way possible I need to don my girl scout panties and be prepared.

birth skillsSo I am reading, reading, reading. So far, the only book that has really resonated with me is the Juju Sundin one, Birth Skills. It focuses heavily on active labouring techniques and I really love it as it is great for a practical minded person like me. I like things to do. I like instructions. I like more than a visualisation to get me by. So Juju and her book are really fulfilling that need in me.

My doula gave me a few other books and I am trying to read them but I am finding them all quite hippy dippy which is a struggle when it comes to application. Some stuff is useful and I am pushing through so I can take notes on the important points but other stuff makes me sigh loud and long. Like one book I am reading right now basically slams women for choosing an obstetrician. There is a suggestion that by doing that you are more likely to have a medicalised birth. And maybe that is correct statistically but slamming women isn’t really a way to change this.

I tend to think that what would be more useful is talking up the midwife service available to all women in Australia. By doing that many women will choose to go down that path. And when discussing the OB alternative how about giving the pregnant mama bear strategies for ensuring the most natural birth possible. No doctor can make you have a c-section against your will, they can only advise you. It is up to you to then take that information and do some research and negotiate with your specialist if need be.

To be honest, I had my first child in the public hospital system assisted by midwives, no personal OB, and the whole thing was a freaking dog’s breakfast. That system did not help me at all and I had a highly medicalised labour and a c-section birth. So both systems can and do fail women so how about we arm women with the best information possible to inform them when the time comes.

The other thing I’ve been doing loads of lately is watching birth videos on YouTube. When pregnant with Monkey there was no way you could have gotten me to sit down and watch one of those babies. As far as I was concerned I understood the principals of birth – baby comes out of the vagina – so I did not need to watch it over and over again on video.

I still feel that way to a degree. There are some videos out there that are essentially some woman with her legs spread laying on a table and a baby squirting out all of a sudden. They are the least helpful videos to me. The vids I enjoy most are the ones where you see the labouring. I want to see what they did, see how they feel in the different stages, see how they got through and how they felt about it in the end. It has been SO informative to watch these vids and extremely emotional. I am always a crying mess by the time the baby appears. And you know what? No matter how sucky it is and how much they are hating it at the time every single new mum beams and smiles and talks about how amazing their birth was at the end of the day. I want that. I want to be that mum. Even if I have to feel like I’m splitting in half to get it I want to have that feeling.

The other interesting thing I’ve been reading about is preventing tearing during labour. I spoke with my sister-in-law the other day who had a 4.5kg baby and no tear and she said her midwife (who was apparently rather proud of herself as that was 5 births in a row with no tearing!) had used a compress on the perineum as it was stretching. She said that she had also been really careful not to push when they told her to stop pushing – that’s when you need to pant from what I can tell. It is during this panting time that the head is kinda bouncing on the perineum and that allows the stretching to take place. If you push too soon you are more likely to tear.

I am also learning loads about the whole VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) thing. Apparently I can’t birth in water because of it – the hospital forms say they won’t allow it. From what I can tell it is down to the fact that they need to monitor you more closely to make sure your previous scar doesn’t rupture during the labour. Rupture can mean harm to the mum and the baby as well as likely infertility so it is really important to be on top of what’s going on. This means I will likely need more monitoring during labour which means more connection to machines which makes active labouring a bit more difficult but I plan on negotiating about this before the big event. I want to be safe but I refuse to be bed bound and I can’t be the first woman that has felt this way at the hospital.

Fascinating stuff, all of it! I am armed with a page of questions about it all for my OB appointment next week. He is going to loooooooooove me, “Little Miss Researcher”. I must be their favourite type of patient. Ha!

Oh and look at the cutest little bloomer set I bought for baby girl the other day. I just want to squeal every time I look at it, it is SO CUTE.

bloomer set

 

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42 thoughts on “Birth Prep 2016 – 22 weeks 2 days

  1. Oh yay, I am so thrilled to hear that Juju is resonating with you. I’m a very pragmatic, practical person too and I loved the refreshing lack of woo. I used so many of these techniques during my second labour and I always recommend it to anyone who will listen.

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  2. Aaaaaaarrrrrrrgggggh that is so adorable!!! I squealed!
    Check out some hypnobirthing videos, they are so lovely and peaceful. My favorite is the English lady with the biiiiig boobies. Not because of the boobies… the birth is amazeballs. (My description will help you find the right vid. From memory her name is Dawn?)

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  3. Lovely outfit!! I think watching birth videos is a great idea. I LOVE them and watched as many as I could find before all three of mine. I think we live in a culture where birth is done behind closed doors, so I wanted to get a bit tribal and feel like I had experienced women going through it. And I too obsessed about the birth – it was the BIG thing. Good advice about panting on the head crowning. I failed miserably with baby F as I couldn’t control the urges at all and had a tear for the third time. However – I’ve had zero issues with all three of my second degree tears and hardly any pain on healing, so they aren’t as awful as they sound. Two months after the birth now, you’d never know I’d been sewn up three times, lol! I am really excited you are trying for a vbac and reading as much as you can about it all. To be prepared is the only thing you can do, since we don’t get a practice run. I hope on the big day it goes beautifully. I was thinking of you this morning and wondering how things were going so it’s lovely to read an update! X

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  4. I just want to squeel when I see the outfit! I love little girl outfits! I loved having a boy, he was so easy to dress as every thing went with every thing else, but little girls have such cute and pretty clothes!
    I love your research, and it’s all the same I would have done – except there is no way I am watching that happen on YouTube, or anywhere else, I will just pretend it all happens magically.
    Crap, now you’ve made a memory resurface that I have worked hard to bury way down deep… I saw it happen, LIVE! It was an accident, my sister was giving birth and I turned around to get something, turned back and there was a baby coming out! Ohh Emmm Geee! No, nope, not happening.
    But, she has had two successful VBACS, so you got this!

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    • Oooooo I love that your sis has had two successful VBACS! Fills me with hope and joy and optimism and all that stuff. Sorry to make that eeerrrrr lovely memory resurface for you. Hopefully you can tuck it away nicely and never think about it again. hehe Yes girls do get such pretty little things. I have enjoyed trying to funk it up for my little dude too. There is some great stuff out there for boys now too. It’s even better than it was 4 years ago when Monkey was born. When I see some it I’m almost sad I’m not having another boy to take advantage of all the cool dude stuff! And then I see the pretty frills and squeal to myself and I’m over it. lol

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  5. Sounds a lot like how I felt. I’m excited for you, that you’re getting started with this mental prep EARLY. I think that was one thing that did not help me, that I left everything until very late relative to the first time. I watched a lot of YouTube with #1, and really mentally psyched myself up for it all. I believe it helped too, that I hadn’t waited so long to get to the hospital – with dd1 I had a couple hours to get settled in before labour got hard. With dd2 it was hard at home before we were able to leave, so I was already all in my own little antisocial bubble by the time we got to the hospital, so details of what was happening were less clear. My preference was for clarity. VERY good to follow advice for slowed crowning… I think that if dd2 had not been stuck I could have avoided a tear this time. With dd1 (well, both, actually) they pretty much obliged me to push HARD so I maybe couldn’t have avoided it. Good luck to you and your perineum! 😉 cute outfit!!!

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    • haha yes the old perineum. May it come out in tact! lol This is all great info and makes me feel better about getting to the hospital early on which I think they will make me do because of the VBAC monitoring. Thank you! And yes, I think the early mental prep is really going to help me down the track. I feel like I am really getting my head in the game. xx

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  6. I’m happy that you’re starting to prepare yourself for the end already! So interesting about things you can do to prevent tearing. Of course, I know absolutely NOTHING about birth besides a baby somehow comes out, so I’m sure there’s a lot I can learn! That outfit you bought…OMG I love it!!!! So darn cute!!! Can’t wait to see pics of your little in it!! 😀

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  7. Omg that outfit is so stinkin’ cuuuuute! Thanks for such an informative post. I may have to check out this book. I’m with you on the Youtube videos. I’ve seen a few and I’m not the squirmy type but then again I watched them before I was pregnant so we’ll see if my tune changes now that I am, haha.

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    • I am totally loving the vids when they are a story and a labour. I highly recommend them for mental prep. My head is “in the game” which I think must help to prep the body. Surely? Lol

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  8. I felt the same way the second time around. Obsessing over labor, but I couldn’t have a natural birth, and knew it, so I prepared for surgery. That’s super fun. Lying there awake while a surgeon cuts into your uterus. Definitely recommend that to a friend, right? No, I wanted a natural birth, but my OB and perinatologist (high risk) both said absolutely not. Plus, K was earlier than J. She was 5 weeks early, j was 4. She was healthier, though. I’d had steroids at 31 weeks, so her lungs were perfect when she came out. She screamed like she was in a low budget horror flick.

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    • Ooooo you had teeny tiny early bubs. Super tricky experience. And yes laying awake while they operate blows. While I hated being asleep for Monkey’s birth I was grateful I didnt have to deal with my fear or being awake for surgery and feeling it because the drug guy had an off day at work.

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  9. THAT is ONE cute outfit! My take: Just make sure you have a new pair of pajamas (still maternity/nursing or very big anyhow) and a new outfit (just a small size maternity, of course! :-). If you have room in the budget anyhow. I did that, and I always felt better for it. I always felt so yuck after delivery that it felt good to clean up and put on some fresh things. Okay. But pregnancy/labor. You’ve got this! No matter what, just breathe, try to be calm, try to have vision. XO, Terri

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