This month's web hangouts:
Conceived Dec 3, 1997
We made it to Atlanta in time for a new month. It's been a challenge getting settled into our new home due to the added 3rd trimester fatigue I seem to be experiencing. It's funny that for the 2 weeks that we were preparing to move, I felt I could hardly sleep at all, and now I feel so tired I could sleep 20 hours a day if I allowed myself to!
One of the big challenges has been finding a good Dr/midwife team in the area. Having a natural childbirth has become increasingly important to me and Joe over the last few months, and it is important that we are able to find a birth attendant who supports our desires wholeheartedly, not just reluctantly. In a way, it is good to be forced to make a fresh start with a new Dr or midwife since we're now better equipped to make an informed decision. I made appointments with 3 different OB clinics before deciding on one.
I looked at 3 different hospitals as well - one "Baby factory" that delivers 12,000+ babies each year, another that is moderately sized and a lot closer to home and is opening a new women's center this month, and a third which is quite small, performing 35-40 births/month, but offers the personalized care and support for natural childbirth which we really want to have. It seems that the smaller the hospital the more support there is for a completely natural childbirth....while the medical care essential to deal with complications is still available.
I found the hospital when I was looking for a Bradley method childbirth class. Each of the 4 instructors I talked to said very negative things about the first 2 hospitals I was considering - particularly that they tend to force mothers into their medical routine - automatically doing things like IVs, episiotomies, and other interventions that are not necessary for most births - and nearly forcing medication on the mother even though no labor drug has been proven safe for mother and baby, and the use of these drugs may increase the need for a c-section.
Two of the 4 Bradley instructors recommended a Dr/midwife team, and one of the couples in the Bradley class we have joined, has been going to that midwife. We had our first appointment with the midwife, Nyasha, on the 12th. I was very impressed. She did a more thorough physical exam than any Dr I've been to in years, and she took time to go over things like exercise and nutrition with us. She recommended a couple of books, was delighted that we're taking Bradley classes, and asked me to start drinking both red raspberry and nettle teas. I really like the personal attention she gives. After an appointment and a phone call it became apparent to me that she is also a Christian - something that is quite important to me and Joe, though I never dreamed that our birth attendant would actually be a Christian!
As part of the physical exam at my appointment, Nyasha examined my pelvic structure to be sure there would be nothing keeping the baby from getting through, and everything looked fine. In fact, the only potential problem she discovered is that the baby is currently in breech position. I'll be doing exercises to encourage this little one to turn around and find the "proper" position for birth. Happily I was able to show her the lab results from last month's bloodwork so I didn't have to get "stuck" again. Joe went with me to the appointment, as he has to every one of them so far, and he was also quite happy with her. My uterus measured 28.5 centimeters, and the baby's heartrate was 140. At next month's appointment, they'll be doing another thorough ultrasound to confirm everything's still OK and see what position the baby has settled into.
I'm happy to note that Nyasha is also the first medical person who has ever taken me seriously and taken the time to check out a potentially hereditary problem I may have. A wall or membrane in my mother's uterus kept her from giving birth to me and my brother naturally. Next month, an ultrasound will verify whether or not I have the same problem. I have mentioned the possibility of this problem to several doctors, but not one of them has ever bothered to research it or check specifically to see if I have it. In addition, no doctor has ever welcomed me to call them at home, but Nyasha wrote her home number on her card and has encouraged me to call her at anytime.
Our Bradley classes (of which we missed the first 3 sessions) are going well. Our teacher reviewed with us the first 3 weeks' material so we could get caught up. We attended our first official class on the 8th, and we talked about the coach's role - things the husband can do to help support and comfort his wife during labor, as well as ways he can help her prepare for labor now. Since the class, we've been doing exercises together each evening, watching the foods I eat, and finding ways to help me practice relaxation. In subsequent classes we went over the first, second, and third stages of labor, focusing on how the body works during each stage, and discussing ways to help labor along each step of the way. We also had a class on writing our birth plan. The class meets weekly until the first week in August.
On the 18th, I travelled to MD for a final visit with my folks before the baby is born, and to help with my cousin Lynn's wedding. I was going to be a bridesmaid, but recent events in my life (pregnancy, move, etc) made that nearly impossible. Instead, I'm looked after the guestbook. While I was there I was also able to go to a birthday party and visit with many people I haven't seen much of recently. The trip was worth it, even though a problem with the aircraft kept me waiting at the airport for nearly 3 hours, getting me back home to Joe at nearly 3AM!
This month I also started attending a Ladies' Bible study at our new church here. It's been wonderful to get to know some other people in the area. Two other women in the study are also expecting - one in September, and the other in October. Most of them already have kids but share my excitement about having my first baby. One of the women in the study had her 3rd baby last year at the hospital where I'm planning to give birth, and my Bradley instructor was in attendance as a doula-in-training - she had only good things to say even though she ended up with an emergency c-section.
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