Friday, September 25, 2009

Hospital Tour

On Monday we went on a maternity tour of the hospital I'll be delivering at. It really gave me a good idea of how the process would work. We didn't get to tour triage or the labor and delivery rooms, because they were all full. When they say that more babies are born in September than any other month, they weren't kidding!

As expected, the rate of women getting epidurals vs. going all natural was high: 80-90%. The cesarean rate is 40%. This is not a hospital that's natural-birth friendly. There are no bathtubs in the delivery rooms, and only some of them have showers. Once you're checked into the hospital, you are hooked up to IV lines and a monitor, although you can have your MD request that you be periodically taken off so that you can walk around. There are no battery powered monitors.

All of this is going to make it that much more difficult to birth naturally, and I shudder to think that I'll be spending the most intense part of labor on the hospital bed. But, I still fully believe that I can do this naturally, without drugs or an epidural. S and I have been preparing, getting all the essentials ready to go, both for me and for baby Z.

We also bought a car! We had been looking intensely for the last 2 weeks, and finally found the perfect little car for us. S doesn't have his driver's license yet, (not uncommon for someone who's lived in Brooklyn his whole life) but his road test is scheduled for the end of October.

We're seeing the doctor later this afternoon. I'm two weeks away from my due date, and I feel fine. I've been looking out for the signs that labor is impending, but so far I've just been feeling like myself, only rounder. My tummy is stretched to its limits, as I'm still carrying high, and all in front. So far, that's my only complaint, which isn't too bad. Easy breezy!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Full Term (37 weeks) tomorrow

Today I went out to Ikea and Fairway to pick up a few items. I guess the belly's grown larger because THREE people asked if I was having twins. I'm going to be optimistic and blame it on the dress I was wearing, because I really don't feel that ginormous. And yesterday's OB visit revealed that baby Z is still under 7 pounds, so he's not that ridiculously big.

Have been getting prepared for the Big day, whenever it comes. I don't feel like it's going to be in my immediate future. I have at least a week to go. Worked out a birth/labor plan that just might work. I might have mentioned before that I was a little concerned about the distance between our apartment and the hospital. I don't want to get there too early, because I don't want to get tied to a bed, but I also don't want to give birth at the side of the road. Then I remembered that a friend of mine lives a few blocks from the hospital! I asked if I could use her apartment as a "labor center" where I could get through the early stages of labor in comfort before going to the hospital for the big moment. She happily agreed!

I bought a birthing ball and a few hot and cold compresses. From what I gather, bouncing on the ball, and doing the breathing exercises help to cope with the pain by getting you into a rhythm, and giving you something else to concentrate on. It was particularly helpful to speak with one of S's friends, a mother of a 1 year old, who birthed naturally and was strengthened by the experience. She reminded me that the contractions are just one minute apart, and you have to remember that they are going to end. In between the contractions there is a rush of adrenaline and other chemicals to the brain, so you feel really good! You just have to remember to live in the moment, and not concentrate on the future contractions. Talking to her left me with a boost of confidence, because she was able to deliver a 9.5 pound baby boy without a hitch. Also, because Dr Pepper loves reminding me that my son has a huge noggin, we've been doing nightly perineal massage to stretch out the Kegal muscle. No episiotomy for me!

I feel confident. Let's do this!

Friday, September 11, 2009

36 Weeks

Z is a very active being, and if I try hard enough, I can make out where his various body parts are positioned inside my abdomen. The best is when he kicks, and I can feel his foot moving along my abdomen. It makes me feel connected to the life inside of me.

Dr Pepper says his head is very low so he's definitely not breached anymore, although he is in the occiput posterior (OP) position (facing upwards instead of the more favorable face-down position.) It's okay though, either he'll turn by himself or Dr P will turn him. I'm sure with all the movement I've been feeling recently, he's going to move into the "correct" position all on his own. My baby's a smarty pants. :-p

At yesterday's visit he weighed 6 pounds, 10 ounces, which is right where he should be at this point. I gained a pound since last week's dr visit, but it looks like I didn't really gain anything--Z gained it all. My weight has normalized--I'm not gaining the usual "pound a week" I did the first 20 weeks. I really thought I was right on track to gain 40 pounds, but total weight gain so far is 29 pounds, and it looks like it'll stay around that number. Yes!

I'm not working right now, and quite honestly, I don't know how I'd be able to manage if I had to. Earlier this week I tried to walk to the grocery store and almost fainted. We don't live in the most convenient area and we don't have a car. The subway stations are 10-15 minutes away (on foot) and so are the grocery stores. The walk has never been an issue in the past--walking has always been my preferred (read: only) method of exercise.
So I couldn't possible imagine having to walk to and from the subway every weekday. Not to mention enduring the subway ride. Ugh, and having to sit in an uncomfortable chair all day long! These days, my preferred position is lounging on my left side. I can't imagine doing that at the office!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

(Almost) 36 weeks


Last week's doctor's appointment was great. My low carb attempts paid off! Baby's size has normalized and he was over 5 pounds last Thursday, which is right where he should be. My next appointment is tomorrow, where Dr Pepper is planning on doing a strep test.

I can't believe how close to delivering I am. Have been getting mild contractions, that are too far apart to even mention. I feel the pain and think, "He's getting ready!"

I'm also not adequately prepared. Have not visited the hospital, have not taken birthing classes. And yet I'm planning on trying to deliver sans drugs. The birth plan is very loose, but it hinges heavily on me laboring for as long as possible at home, or somewhere close to the hospital, but not actually in the hospital. The issue with that plan is that I live in Brooklyn, and I'm delivering at a hospital on the upper east side of Manhattan. I've been reading stories of babies born before the mothers were able to make it to the hospital (like this one). I can just imagine going through the second stage of labor stuck on the BQE during rush hour. Oof.