I've never been this pregnant. It was on this day of gestation during my last pregnancy that Kyle was born. 36 weeks. It is kind of scary to still be facing a probably four more weeks--although I could be facing six. I've never been this big or carried this large of a baby. I've never faced spontaneous labor or false labor contractions. It's totally new from here until the end.
This pregnancy is also very different. I wasn't nearly as sick as I was with Kyle (no surgery or hospitalizations), I've had no high blood pressure, or debilitating pain or insomnia; however, I have struggled with bouts of faintness, joint aches, and reflux. And with both, I've worked hard to improve my boarderline anemia. Even how Aiden is in my body, less responsive and muffled movements, based on placement is so different.
However, the biggest change is this:
It arrived yesterday and I couldn't be more excited and filled with anticipation. It comes with these wonderful women (pictures courtesy of Cathy):
My pool was missing a piece, awaiting on another client to return the attachment, and so that will come as soon as it can be complete.
If you haven't figured it out. I'll tell you what I mean. I've been too afraid to directly reference it on our blog and I've tried to tell as few people as possible. But I've decided that I am no longer worried about what people think of my decision. I've already dealt with both my family and my in-laws being unsupportive and this is not about them anyway. So here is my worldly declaration: I'm having a home birth in the living room of my apartment with those wonderful midwives and my very devoted husband, hopefully, Kyle will even be sleeping in the next room. But if not, he'll be close by with friends who have gone before in this endeavor. And, for the record, it will be wonderful.
After my last experience with OBs and the traumatic pregnancy where we felt little control or compassion or even validation followed with a disrespectful labor and unnecessary preemie, I couldn't face that again. My body was so violated along with my spirit during the last pregnancy. It was either choose another option or refuse all prenatal care. Because Evan has known Bri for about six years, we had talked to her during my pregnancy with Kyle. We even considered a home birth and were trying to move to a midwife in the hospital when I was scared into a medically unnecessary induction. But before Kyle was born, I did a lot of reading at Bri's guidance. Even before I got pregnant again, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt we would have a home birth with Bri.
We have faced a lot of opposition, but Evan has been on the same page with me from the very beginning. I had to do no convincing. Do you know that if you need three hours to process through your previous birth experience and gain confidence in your ability to birth naturally, Bri will do it with you. If you need to text her at 10 o'clock at night for whatever reason--even if it is to brag about how much iron you've consumed or liquid, she'll respond. You can have a prenatal in your clothing with your child and husband by your side. If you have to go to her house on a Sunday to have your heart listened to--she's available. And if you're all hungry after your prenatal, you'll all go out to dinner and ice cream after. If you need weekend night prenatals--it'll be worked out. You even get home visits. I've gained such a deep friendship and not just a medical professional. And let there be no confusion: she is a trained, college graduate, with medical knowledge and abilities.
So we are planning a birth party, Evan even wants something similar to a Kraft service table with snacks and goodies for during and after labor. I have a puzzle to keep me busy in early labor and we're taking a birth class from Cathy. Cathy is providing me with knowledge on pain techniques, but mostly she is telling me that I can do it. The only fear and anxiety that I still have is over natural childbirth--who really wants to be in pain. But I know that I can, even if Evan, Bri, and Cathy are the only others who also believe.
I am so grateful to be surrounded by loving support this time. My body is respected. My feelings are validated. I am in control (except of the actual time he'll come and of course that drives me crazy :) We will have this baby in our home, in our chosen nest prepared the way we desired, surrounded by what brings us joy. It'll be wonderful. I'll admit though, I'll miss TLC at the hospital because we don't have TV at home, and I love TLC. But, it's a good trade off :)
I feel so confident in our decision. So confident in the ability of my body and the training and knowledge of these women. I feel empowered in my pregnancy. Even though I was friends with Bri before, I feel like the woman that is delivering my baby and seeing me at my most vulnerable is one of my best friends. She loves all of us (Evan, me, Kyle and Aiden) and is as excited for my birth as we are. How could this birth be even better? Who would be a better person to embark on this journey with?
***Note: I started this blog as a way to journal and include pictures (which I often don't print off) of what is going on for the sake of my kids. This post is mostly for Aiden, and could be offensive to some. I've been thinking for several long weeks about what I want to say, and I've tried to put it as best that I can.