Monday, April 23, 2012

39w0d: Doula vs. Pain


From discussion with others, pain is only part of the labor/delivery story. It doesn't have to be the whole story. After taking a childbirth class (where I cried multiple times, and felt completely overwhelmed), I realized I wanted to take more ownership of the whole birth process, to open myself to the experience of childbirth, instead of fearing it, anticipating pain and stress. 

Because of this we hired a doula to help us through the experience, so it's not just a medical procedure, but more. E, our doula, will help us create a peaceful, non-stressful environment that enables labor to progress as it should. Her job will be making sure that I'm in the right head-space and use the right coping mechanisms to make birth better for me, for Mr. Jem (but mostly for me).

We interviewed three women for this important and expensive (over $1,000) job. We chose the person with the most experience - she's attended over 100 births as a doula and is trained as a midwife - and who we clicked with the most. Plus, we liked her process - first meeting Mr. Jem and I had to fill out a questionnaire, answering questions about ourselves and each other so she could know us better, know our relationship, how we work together, our relationship with "pain" and stress and how we cope with them.

During the second meeting (on Friday), Mr. Jem wasn't there. I gave E a tour of our house (I plan to labor here as long as possible, especially how good I feel floating in our body-temp hot tub). We went over labor positions. I asked her to touch my back, massage me so I could be accustomed to her touch. She has strong nice hands. We also spend some time talking about the physiognomy of squatting during labor and delivery, what positions are better during the different phases of birth - for example, saving the full squat (on my feet or on the bed if I have an epidural) for pushing, as it opens the bottom of the pelvis. We discussed how relaxation, visualization and even vocalization can help with the labor. She said that when women get stuck, it's usually because they are afraid or stressed. She'll help me through this.

That said, I'm still open to being as medicated (epidural) or not as I feel appropriate in the moment and she (and Mr. Jem of course) support me in this.

So, in the battle of doula vs. pain, I'm betting on the doula (and me).

For those of you who have experienced labor and delivery, what's your take?


Sunday, April 22, 2012

38w6d: Pregnancy Update (Any day now...)

Pregnancy update and pictures... feel free to skip.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

38w2d: Final 2WW

Well, this is it, folks! My final 2WW (hopefully). 

Yesterday's weekly OB visit was routine - dilated 1 cm, with some softening of the cervix. I think I should have picked an OB with smaller hands, however. I had to grip the side of the exam bed when he had is WHOLE HAND up there for the cervical check. Good grief!

Yes, I'm starting to have what I think are real contractions, but mostly in the evening and at night and not at all regular. Those practice contractions are really ratcheting up - intense is the word I'd use. Like menstrual, pain but from my sternum down to my cervix. I haven't slept well the last couple of nights... didn't get to sleep until 4 am and was woken by the phone at 10 am. I see a nap in my very near future.

I am slowly getting my list of things done before the baby comes: Taxes filed (getting an awesome refund, thank you failed IVF last January that wasn't covered by insurance), renewed drivers license at DMV before my birthday early May, hired a doula, waxed "down South" complete, and getting my hair cut today.Still putting together list of people for Mr. Jem to email with the happy news... picking 

Hospital bag is packed and "birth plan" is typed up (multiple copies in the bag). I'll share the list next post. I'm sure I have WAY too much stuff with me. We have a separate bag full of snacks and goodies (protein bars, nuts, dried fruit, pretzels, lemonade boxes, chocolate) for me and Mr. Jem.

Oh, and I'm officially HUGE. I will post a picture later today or tomorrow (post hair cut). It still blows my mind that I've made it this far. I can't wait to meet my little girl and to introduce you all to her, too. A-fucking-mazing.



Friday, April 13, 2012

What is the definition of success?

I think this post should be mandatory reading here in IF-land - "No Kidding in NZ" does an amazing job discussing those that have been left out of the Post-IF discussion: those living "child-less" or "child-free."

Life after IF - what is it? How can we make the most of whatever happens to us? No matter what our outcome. How do we define ourselves throughout the IF struggle? After "making choices" to abandon treatment? 

For us, a year ago we had given up doing any more IVF. We went through a marriage crisis, massive work on our marriage that lead to us trying one more treatment - medicated IUI with donor sperm - which was less invasive and expensive - to positive results. 

As recent debate showed us, pregnancy and parenting after IF isn't all unicorn farts and rainbows. As I'm on the eve of real parenthood, I have no idea what awaits me. If we had "chosen to be child-free (ha!)" I would know what my life would be like. Travel, dinner parties, sleeping in. Hmmm... I know couples with children who do travel and throw fabulous dinner parties, so that doesn't HAVE to change...

I've never been one to define myself by motherhood. That said, I really, really, really want to be a mother. I'm absolutely terrified about it, too. Having just had my mother and then my MIL come for week (+) visits, I know we aren't embarking on an easy life. Our lives are about to get much more complicated, messy, painful and rewarding.

I feel like I'm babbling - not enough sleep. MIL is leaving first thing tomorrow, so hopefully things will calm down around here. 

I just wanted to make sure you all read NK in NZ's post.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

37w4d: Is that a real contraction?

Yesterday's post, if you can call it that, was posted from Mr. Jem's Kindle.Fire. I was able only to post the title, no text for some weird reason. At least you all knew that I'm still alive, Baby Jem still in utero. She could come any day now, and has significantly less room to wiggle around in. She has not yet dropped.

That said, my Braxon-Hicks contractions have intensified and are no longer localized like previously. Instead my whole belly gets very hard and I can feel a menstrual-like pain from my diaphragm to my cervix. It took my breath away, but didn't HURT that much. 

Is this the mysterious labor contraction I hear speak of?

The nurse and my doula both say that when I have a "real" contraction, I will know it.

The Doula recommended that I take a relaxing bath, which I will do shortly. I did also take a short walk, which helped.

I have so much to catch you all up on. I have not written much, as my MIL has been visiting. There's been some drama, mostly related to the hateful SIL, but really Mr. Jem being stressed out by MIL's visit and SIL's sneakiness getting $$ out of the MIL, who is losing her memory and feel she has to buy SIL's love. Sigh.

I really don't need that drama right now for F's sake.

I promise to write more later... especially how and why we selected a doula.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012