Posts tagged Braxton Hicks

22 Weeks Pregnant

Now that the holidays are over, time has definitely seemed to slow down with regards to my pregnancy. I am looking forward to birthing this child and think about it daily. I am hoping for a “painfree” birth this time around. I have been reading about HypnoBirthing and am not quite sure that’s the avenue I want to pursue, but some form of deep relaxation and perhaps meditation will be required. I don’t want to set my standard so high that I am disappointed if I should feel pain, but I am learning just how powerful the mind is, and what it can achieve.

I read recently in “Trick or Treatment” by Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst, MD, that the placebo effect is much more than someone misrepresenting how one feels when they believe they received a particular remedy or treatment. People often actually do get better–in a testable way–even if they have only received the placebo because the belief that something was done to relieve their suffering is powerfule enough to actually relieve their suffering. And so it can go with childbirth. If I really believe I can achieve a painfree birth, I may actually be able to achieve it.

I watched a program tonight that I saw a few times when I was pregnant with Daniel. It shows a handful of women who have chosen to birth either at home or in a birth center. As I watched each child be born, I wept and contracted. It was as if my mind, my emotions, or some force was triggering the contractions. But I also contract when I’m playing Tetris, so I suppose I shouldn’t read into it too much!

I will start drinking an infusion of red raspberry leaf in a few weeks to help strengthen and tone my uterus and pelvic floor for labor. I did drink the infusion when I was pregnant with Daniel and had a particularly efficient labor. Correlation does not neccessarily denote causation, but red raspberry leaf is full of vitamins and minerals (Vitamin C, Calcium, in particular), so even if it does no good for my muscle tone, I will still benefit.

Daniel threw a particularly nasty fit a couple nights ago when we were putting him to bed. I have never seen him so out of control. Earlier that day he threw a milder fit about taking a nap (he never actually slept). It seems that on the days he doesn’t nap, bed time is particularly difficult, but it’s never been so dramatic. Today, even after my laying with him for over an hour (trying to sleep myself), he refused to nap, so we were nervous about how bedtime would go. We were relieved that, although Daniel did express some frustrations at bedtime, they were relatively mild and he settled down very quickly.

I’ve been pretty patient regarding Daniel’s tantrums–which are thankfully few and far between–but I’m nervous about how I’ll be able to handle them when baby comes–especially if they result in waking baby or cause baby to be agitated or upset, too. I am hoping that all the patience I have learned from parenting Daniel will spill over into parenting two children. I may get a trial run pretty soon. I may be watching a friend’s baby girl for a couple days/week from February to April. I can earn a bit of extra money and better prepare myself for the tasks associated with parenting two children.

Sleep has been one of the biggest troubles for me–not just in this pregnancy, but in life. It’s not that I have trouble sleeping, I generally sleep well. But I have trouble deciding to go to bed–even when I am exhausted. I learned while I was still in college, that the feeling that I had something else to do (such as school work, house keeping, working) took over my subconscious mind while I was doing anything relaxing or restful (such as reading for pleasure, watching TV, or trying to get myself to bed), and I was unable to fully enjoy the activity. I think that is the feeling that neat-freaks talk about when they say they just can’t stand to be in a messy or cluttered environment. The problem for me is that while I feel that discomfort and discord, it’s not strong enough to motivate me to tidy up. It’s just strong enough for me to feel like I ought not be able to relax.

I have high hopes that before baby is born, I’ll be able to keep our home tidy (it’s MUCH tidier now than when Daniel was born), and that will do wonders for my ability to relax and feel like I accomplished whe I needed to in each day. Please, friends and family, feel free to ask about my progress and help keep me accountable. And if you want to stop by to help me get things in order, I’ll be sure to bake a fresh loaf of bread for you (I finally found a winning recipe…mmmmmm).

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40 Weeks Pregnant

I’m STILL pregnant! It wouldn’t be such a bummer if I wasn’t having so much pre-labor (what they used to call “false” labor–but it’s anything but false).

Today, at our appointment with the midwives, we found that I am now dialated to 3cm, but still only 50% effaced. Nkem stripped my membranes which just means that she massaged my cervix a little and pulled it away from my bag of water ever so slightly. The result so far has been very uncomfortable contractions. They’ve not reached pain status yet, for which I am grateful, but I can tell they’re doing more now than they were. I think the baby may really be here within the next few days!

I intended on doing a lot of walking and housework and the like, but the midwives told me to rest and take it easy for now so I don’t expend too much energy. If I’ve just gone for a 3 mile walk and come back in labor, I won’t have that energy for the labor. Instead, I’m to take a couple of shorter walks, and just do light work for now in between periods of rest. Rest is easy. I can do rest.

My stretch marks are certainly a reality now–though they’re only around my belly button. It looks like I’ve got the imprint of a tree coming out of it–which is kind of fun. I can tell that once my belly regains its normal shape, the marks will be difficult to notice–if only they don’t continue spreading!

Bring on the labor!

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39 Weeks Pregnant

Looks like I made it. The baby is content to stay where he is for now, I guess. My contractions are getting stronger as the days go on, but not more frequent. Over the next few days, I intend on doing a lot of walking to try to get things moving–that’s what got the contractions going last weekend.

The stretch marks around my belly ring scar continue to grow… it’s vain, I know, but it’s another reason I want to move things along more quickly.

Being off from work has been wonderful. I’ve had time to relax, time to get things done, time to snack all day… I have more energy in the evenings. Today was especially great. It really felt like I was on vacation. I had the window open, the light summer breeze wafting through the shutters. I even wore shorts for the first time since I got pregnant.

We received our first diaper delivery this morning from Dy-Dee Diaper Service. It was fun to practice the different kinds of diaper folds with the tiny little cloth diapers. I’m so excited to see them on our little baby–soon, I hope!

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38 1/2 Weeks Pregnant

I don’t know if I’ll make it to 39 weeks, so I thought I should post an update now.

I’ve had several pre-labor signs over the last couple of days. On Saturday night, I had many hours (I stopped keeping track after 5) of contractions that were 10 minutes apart. They were mild and didn’t increase in intensity, so I knew they weren’t actual labor, but it was exciting none-the-less. Today (Monday) I had a visit with our back-up doctor who found that I am already 50% effaced and dialated to 2 centimeters. Just after I returned home, I lost my mucous plug (which often happens after an internal exam). Usually when the plug is expelled, labor begins within 3 days, though it could take up to 2 weeks.

So I got to readying myself and my house. I went grocery shopping, finished packing my overnight bag (we’re delivering at Dan’s parents’ house), did laundry, did the dishes, and indulged in reading about birth. There’s still plenty to do around the house–like tidying up the bedroom, filing, cleaning the bathroom–but none of it is terribly important, and the midwives keep telling me to take it easy.

I’m going to go take it easy for a little while longer now before it’s time to make dinner… fajitas, mmmmmm.

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37 Weeks Pregnant

Full term! Any time between now and June 15, I can–according to the people who make the rules–safely have the baby. I’m hoping to have him close to the due date. Right now would be tricky (I have one more week of work left) and late would just be down-right frustrating. I don’t wan’t to wait that long and I don’t want to be pregnant anymore (getting very uncomfortable). And the baby is continually growing. Bigger is not better at this point. He’s a good, healthy size–still has a little bit of room to move around, but fully developed.

I went on a tour of the hospital (Arcadia Methodist)–in case we need to end up going there. After the tour, I was pretty scared of possibly ending up there. Everything is done by procedure and there are so many rules. I understand why they have to do things that way, but I don’t want our birth to be a set of procedures and rules. But after seeing our midwife on Thursday, I was assured that Arcadia Methodist is one of the best hospitals in which to give birth in Southern California (for someone wanting a natural, intervention-free, personal birth). Huntington may be the best, or one of the best, in terms of medical advances and the like–and they’re both available to us should we need them. I don’t expect to end up at the hospital, and I’m trying not to think about it too much.

My contractions have been getting stronger. Every now and then I’ll get one that actually hurts a little. It’s exciting. The stronger they are now, the more progress I’ll have made before labor actually begins, so I welcome the discomfort.

Though I don’t have the feeling that the baby is “right between my legs” as some describe it, I think he’s dropped. I can breathe easier and my pants feel as though they’re about to fall off because I have to wear them so low. The midwife said she couldn’t feel the top of the baby’s head when she felt my abdomen this time. They may do an internal exam next week just to see if anything’s happening.

We found out that we’re the last new patient our midwives are taking for awhile. They’ll still attend the births of repeat patients, but will be refocusing their practice on well-woman care (gynecology) instead. The younger of the two has young children of her own that she wants to spend more time with and the middle-of-the-night pages from patients is waring on her. I feel so lucky to have just made the cut.

No new stretch marks–and not much longer to go.

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23 Weeks Pregnant

For the past few weeks I’ve been so tired. I’ve always needed a lot of sleep to feel rested, but now I need even more. It seems that unless I get at least 9 hours of good sleep, I wake up feeling like I’ve gotten hardly any. I’m sure it’s partly due to the fact that I wake up nearly every night having to pee. Interrupted sleep is never as restful. It’s good practice, though, for when the baby’s born and I get woken up several times each night.

I started registering for baby stuff a few weeks ago and realized how annoyed I am by the task. While there are a handful of things that really matter to me (the type of cloth diapers, the booster chair, the sling–the things I’ll actually use daily), the rest isn’t worth making decisions about. Mostly, my frustration comes from not wanting a bunch of extraneous stuff, but knowing that people will want to give it to us anyway–there are already 3 showers lined up for us! Because of this, I feel obligated to register for more “stuff”. My mother complains when the gifts people want are “boring”. To her, it’s more satisfying to shop for fun things, and I imagine the sentiment is true for others as well. I have to admit, I usually buy one necessity item and one “fun” item when I go to a baby shower. And while I want people to enjoy the act of giving (or why do it?), I’d still rather folks buy us a few cloth diapers (3 dozen of the things costs a ton!) than wasting their money on stuffed crinkly things or annoying kiddie song videos. On the other hand, I might decide it’s better to register for more “stuff” because at least then, there’ll be more of a chance we’ll get stuff we actually like, even if it’s not what we need. I’m probably making a bigger deal about all this than is really necessary.

The Braxton-Hicks contractions are more frequent now–especially if I’ve had caffine. Sometimes they require that I stop what I’m doing and consciously relax. While they are completely painless, they are impossible to ignore. The first sign that one is coming on is a few strong beats of my heart, and a bizarre feeling that pulses through my body (blood whooshing through my veins? hormones? both?). My brain automatically triggers my breath to slow down and deepen. Only then to I feel the tightening in my abdomen. Sometimes, I can’t even feel the tightening unless I touch it with my hands. They usually last between 25 and 45 seconds. After my uterus relaxes, the baby often flops around a bit. I guess he doesn’t like being squeezed.

Still no stretch marks… on my abdomen. A few have shown up in other places that have experienced significant growth. Thankfully, they’re not the big bright red/purple kind–just a few little silvery slivers that are hardly noticeable at all.

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