preparing for birth

Friday, March 21, 2014

Dear Olive,
Tomorrow, I'll be 37 weeks pregnant. (And I've got my bloat on to prove it.) I'm feeling a little hurried to begin preparing my mind and body for my labour - but here we go! When I was preparing for your birth, there was one main thought that kept coming back to me ... I may not be able to control what will happen, but I can control how I handle it. And throughout it all (which, briefly, was a 17 hour, non-progressing, transfer out of the birth centre into the delivery ward to be augmented on cyntocin kind of labour which ended in a normal vaginal delivery), I managed to stay - more or less - calm and happy. I'm not sure how accurate this is, but my midwife told me she'd never seen a woman making jokes at full dilation before. The whole process of giving birth to you was just so extraordinary - an experience I still feel grateful for. And that is the attitude I hope to take into the birth room with me again this time: calmness and positivity. (And whenever they seem to be flailing, that's when I expect Shane to step in. You reading this, Shane?) 
Although I must admit, while I'm looking forward to this labour, there are some doubts creeping in (what if I can't handle it, what if I end up needing a cesarean, etc). So I'm turning to some trusted resources to help ensure I don't take them on board.
- Janet Balaskas Active Birth was hands down the most useful thing I read leading up to my labour with you. I borrowed a copy from the library a couple of weeks ago, and I'm finding it equally as inspiring this time round. (It's worth it for the awesome photos of women giving birth in the 80's alone.) "The whole process of conceiving a baby, being pregnant, giving birth and mothering is part of the sexual and spiritual life of a woman, and is basically rooted in the natural and undisturbed unfolding of a series of psychological events."
- Who can go past natural birth legend midwife Ina May Gaskin. She's got a tonne of great books, and you can watch her TED talk here.
- I'm trying to incorporate a little meditation and breathing practice into my daily life. (And actually, this is more like every other day kind of daily practice.) I did a calm birth course when I was pregnant with you, and I realised very early on in my labour how much it helped me to just focus on my breath through each contraction.
- On top of that, basically I'm hoping my body still holds the memory for what it did four and a half years ago!
As an aside, you've had this assumption that you'd be there, and I must say, at the beginning of my pregnancy, it felt like the most natural and obvious path; to include you in the birth. My brother and I were at my sisters birth and it was a terribly exciting and memorable occasion - but it was at home, and I suppose being at home, we didn't need any looking after, we just came and went as we pleased from the room. (It was also a very short and straightforward labour.) And as my labour looms, I've started doubting that having you there is the best plan. (Has anyone had any experience with having their older children at the birth? Especially those labouring in a hospital or birth centre setting?) I guess I had better hurry up and get my alternative plans in place! And just to bring relief to my friend Clare (thank you for the text), I'm off to pack my hospital bag.


15 comments:

Clare B said...

No personal experience, but as a child I attended both my sisters' births in a hospital birthday suite. For my mother's last delivery she was surrounded by her three daughters (aged 13, 8 and 2), my dad and her sister. I think my Aunty was there to look after us, rather than participate in the labour, but watching my sisters be born was an incredibly moving experience, even for an 8 year old.

Louise said...

Kel, my sister had her 3.5 year old at the labour ward birth of her second child and he sat there calmly throughout... that's his personality though! She also had our mum and her partner with her, so maybe if you can enlist someone else to come along she will be okay? I think they get a sense of the gravitas of it all and are more likely to behave!? Depends on if you can go through most of the labour at home and only need a few hours at the hospital... so many variables, I 'spose it would be great to have both options open if you have someone on call. Then there's that whole thing of the second birth being much faster to progress! Emma S had A with her at her recenthome-birth. Good luck, exciting!! X Louise

Rin said...

Yes! That book is the best! And Ina May. Yes!
You're going to do great. Even if you end up needing a Caesarian all this reading and breathing and everything you've been doing will put you in the best place to calm birth right on through.
We didn't have Lu around for birth number two. I would have loved to have her closer and missed her heaps. I reckon it's good to have a backup babysitter and check what the hospital procedure is. I think most hospitals would frown on having a kid on the room. They're kinda frowny people hospitals.

Tahnee P said...

Kellie, you'll do wonderfully! Look at you, so prepared with all your reading! Your body will remember it's job just fine :)
I don't have any experience to offer with having the kids with me during labour - to be completely honest I couldn't think of anything worse! ha I always saw their births as something for the husband and I. But then we had three under 3.5 and ours were all born at the hospital, so not a very child friendly environment.
Whatever you decide will be wonderful for all of you - so don't let anyone sway your decision! xx

Lila Wolff said...

I offered for my older two to be there for Eve's birth but they decided against it. I think it's just something you have to go with the flow on, a bit like the birth itself really. Have a plan and an alternate plan and things will work out how they should.

Manda Grubner said...

My son was 7 when Edie was born at home and was present during labour and birth. We decided to have a support person who was there just for him when I realised that I wanted R to be as focused on me as possible and so there would be no one available for J. It worked out really well and meant that when I had to transfer to the hospital later on there was already someone to take care of him at home.

Manda Grubner said...

My son was 7 when Edie was born at home and was present during labour and birth. We decided to have a support person who was there just for him when I realised that I wanted R to be as focused on me as possible and so there would be no one available for J. It worked out really well and meant that when I had to transfer to the hospital later on there was already someone to take care of him at home.

Nicole said...

Hi Kellie, for my last birth, I was not keen on having my 2 year old around. I felt she was too young and that I would be too concerned about her. Now that she'll be four for the next birth...I'm wondering if she'll be ok. I think she might be...she loves watching me have blood tests ;) We'll see...I'm not sure if I'll be ok with it so I'll make that decision a bit later on...If all goes well, we'll have our third at home again and I'll have family members around to take care of my other two or sit with them while they watch.

In my experience, midwives in hospitals are very accommodating of children and other family members being a part of the birth. Although I'd recommend someone to care for Olive during this time...just in case she wants some time out...

You are right, we can't control where the ride will take us...I always visualise giving birth during my pregnancy and I always visualise having to go to hospital and needing medical intervention. I visualise myself being ok with it as well.

I've always thought that birth is alot about luck. So in the end of the day, all we can do is have faith and surrender.

Wishing you MUCH luck, strength and joy on your journey x

Stephanie said...

I don't have any experience with this but I just wanted to wish you good luck with the birth and welcoming your precious new baby into the world. My son is six months but it feels like I gave birth only yesterday. Best of luck, you have a lovely blog x

::The Beetle Shack:: said...

hello beautiful woman. I'm SO very deeply excited for you and all this is to come. I'm currently feeling very grateful for this little blogging world as I sit her and enjoy yet another post from you about real life and real mothering. To think I first read your blog when Olive was about 1 year old and I'd just birthed my ver own Olive.

Regarding having Olive at the birth; while I don't have any personal experience to share, my sister in law was present for the births of her younger siblings (she was 8 and 10 respectively) and says is was an amazing experience. Not weird or stressful or awkward - just awesome.

anyways lady, NOT LONG NOW!!!

xx

p.s ph i'm envious that you get a new born. Those first weeks are my favourite.

G said...

I was there for my sister's birth as a 10 year old. I remember it so vividly and to this day it marks the beginning of puberty for me. I also remember my brother being born, I was aged 5 and our grandparents looked after us while he and my parents were at the hospital. They came straight home andmy memories are vague but I do remember feeling a little excluded..that's not quite the right word.. I waspretty inquisitive as a child. Not sure if any of this helps you...whatever you do will be best. Wishing you a safe and joyous delivery x

Rin said...

Re backup. Have LOADS of friends on call. Anyone you know who loves Olive and who she feels safe with. And who would be ok to take her/sit with her at 3am.
Chances are she'll be asleep for the whole thing anyway. :)

Des Haigh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Des Haigh said...

whew, this made we well up a bit. your body remembers birth for 6 years, so you're good to go! i was nearly at the seven year mark a did beautifully. i was in denial that i was actually in labour the second time around so my daughter pretty much ended up being my doula that day (she is not your typical 7yro) but she was also in the tub with me for the birth. she was the first to grab her new little sister's hand and guide her towards me. it was incredible and heartwarming and life changing, a moment she will never forget. i also wanted to share my mantra that i wrote down on a tiny bit of paper and carried with me "exhale fear, inhale trust" best birthing wishes and happy baby moons! x

Des Haigh said...

whew, this made we well up a bit. your body remembers birth for 6 years, so you're good to go! i was nearly at the seven year mark a did beautifully. i was in denial that i was actually in labour the second time around so my daughter pretty much ended up being my doula that day (she is not your typical 7yro) but she was also in the tub with me for the birth. she was the first to grab her new little sister's hand and guide her towards me. it was incredible and heartwarming and life changing, a moment she will never forget. i also wanted to share my mantra that i wrote down on a tiny bit of paper and carried with me "exhale fear, inhale trust" best birthing wishes and happy baby moons! x

 

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