Week 27: Natural Woman

I daydream about giving birth naturally. About having contractions not brought on by pitocin; about my water breaking in my kitchen.

I know I’m getting some funny looks right now, virtually speaking.

I don’t really have a lot to complain about my induced labors with Flora and Kate. Well, maybe with Kate. Three-plus days is a long time to be in the hospital waiting for things to get moving.

I got healthy babies out of it, and I was relatively unscathed. (We won’t talk about 3+ hours of pushing or sleep deprivation because of ridiculously loud doors.) With Flora, I did not have an epidural, and I always say it’s a good thing because if I had gotten one, I would have ended up with a c-section. With Kate, I had an epidural, and it was, again, the right decision.

So far this pregnancy, things are progressing very well. (KNOCK ON WOOD.) The baby is growing well, so far there are no issues with low amniotic fluid. My weight gain has been steady. The second trimester has been good to me — feeling the baby move has alleviated the extreme anxiety that plagued my first trimester. Right now, my back hurts a lot, and I have to make chiropractic and massage appointments (as time and finances allow).

And it’s not that I am not without anxiety.

Some days I hope that in my 32nd or 34th week, they do discover low fluid. Not radically low — just like Flora had low fluid. (Kate, again, was such a special case when it came to things to worry us in utereo.) I could make arrangements about modified bed rest; we could monitor the low fluid; and come 37 or 38 weeks, we could just plan an inducement.

It’s what I know.

Other days, I think about being pregnant to 39 or 40 weeks. I think about going about my day wondering if I’m in labor or not. I think about waking up to contractions or — even more surprising — waking up to my water having broke (which probably would not bode well for our mattress). I wonder what it’s like to have to rush to the hospital to have the baby in the middle of the night.

Because, that, I don’t know.

We haven’t made any final decisions about inducement, and we don’t have to right now. As Dan says, “We’ll watch this baby like a hawk, and everything will be fine.” I think, regardless of natural labor or not, I would prefer to give birth at a hospital.

The big issue will be: once we get to 38 weeks, what will help any anxiety I might have? If the baby is fine and the fluid levels are normal and the placenta is healthy (yes, they can tell that on sonograms!), then my (hypothetical) anxiety is not enough reason to seek induction. I have to let nature take its course. I WANT to let nature take its course — it’s what I have wanted since I conceived Gabriel.

Nature has let me down. So I’m also a little concerned about letting nature take its course.

I don’t have to overcome that yet. But I will have to down the road. What are some strategies I can use?

9 thoughts on “Week 27: Natural Woman

  1. Not meaning to be facetious, but get yourself a really good pad for the bed, and put it over a rubber sheet when you get closer to the time.

    It will relieve at least ONE worry!

    And, hopefully, by then, just as feeling the baby has eased your mind some, other things might begin to make you feel more certain about what course of care you’ll need. We’re all rooting for you.

  2. I’m really fantastically bad at pregnancy so I was wishing my kids would just hurry up already by around week 32 or 33. I was so ready to get my kids out that by the time the endless Braxton-Hicks finally turned into labor I was all about having that kid.

    I can’t comment on the naturally part because, frankly, I wanted no part of the pain. I wanted to be able to enjoy my birth experience and that wasn’t going to happen if I was shrieking in pain. But that’s me. I know my choices are not for everyone.

    I guess my point is that I hope you get far enough and so uncomfortable enough that the anxiety is subsumed by “Just get this baby OUT already!”

    Also, the breaking of the water thing only happens in 10% of pregnancies and it’s more likely if it happened to you in a previous pregnancy. Mine never ruptured on its own, the docs took care of that for me. So, i really didn’t worry about what might get ruined because I figured it was a small chance.

    • You know, some day in the coming year, you and I are going to sit down with some wine (or beer) and compare pregnancy stories. It’ll be fun!

      Anyhoo: yeah, I don’t mean so much the epidural part; I had one with Kate and didn’t with Flora, and both times it was the right way to go. No judgments there. I just daydream about going into labor naturally, without medical intervention. Not complaining, like I said: I got two healthy baby girls out of the deal, and that’s all that mattered.

      And, yeah, too, my membranes were always ruptured as part of my induction. I didn’t realize spontaneous breaking was THAT rare though. All the baby books talk about it! Geez. False advertising.

      • I think you’ll beat me in the hellish pregnancy department and you’ve had a lot closer monitoring than I did. But, I do, in fact, suck at being pregnant. I’m not kidding when I say no one in this house would survive me being pregnant again. 😛

  3. I did the natural thing the first time around. It’s the plan for this time, too, but as your post emphasizes, we never really get to know until it’s time.

    I will say that because I like to prepare as much as I can for unknowns I read a lot of books on birth before my son was born. You may know this, but having your water break and having to rush to the hospital immediately thereafter is a rare scenario despite its prevalence in TV and movies. Most women go into labor before their water breaks (i.e. there is warning). I was different in that my water broke first. Labor didn’t start for another four hours. It was still another 6 hours before I went to the hospital, and even then there wasn’t much rush. We caught a cab from the restaurant where we were eating dinner…while my contractions were 5 minutes apart. (It helps that it was only a 15 minute drive to the hospital.)

    As for relaxation…I’ve been a big fan of yoga for the past 3 years. You shouldn’t be a freak and jump into Bikram (hot) Yoga like I do this late along, but I’m sure there is some guided stretching you can do safely. Your midwife may be able to recommend a teacher.

    I believe that stretching is very relaxing and highly curative plus it will help you if you do go the natural route. (I gave birth in a position very similar to the first part of camel posture. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that camel is a posture I did 4 sets of at every yoga practice until days before my son was born.) Also, before I got into yoga I had severe back problems that made me need frequent massages and periodic physical therapy. Since getting into yoga I only get massages for pleasure. I didn’t even have a recurrence of my back problems during my first pregnancy, and this one has been good so far, too.

    Oh, and if you do find yourself in a natural birth state I recommend using a jacuzzi if one is available. That’s what kept the pain of contractions manageable. Without it I would have definitely gotten an epidural.

    Good luck. Don’t they say “third times a charm?”

      • Oh, sweetie, don’t even worry about that! Whenever I talk about labor and birth, depending who I am talking to, I put the experience with Gabriel off to the side. Such a (sad, terrible) exception.

        What I remember of birthing Flora was, at the pushing stage, having entered such a rarified state of consciousness. I knew that the contractions were painful, yet they weren’t anymore. My focus was on pushing her out, and not about how things hurt. I don’t remember how I got to that point — probably with a lot of help and guidance from Dan, who never left my side, and my midwife. The only thing that was truly painful at the end stage was when the doctor tried to turn Flora because she was “sunny side up” and stuck. But in the end, with the different positons, she popped on out on her own.

        I definitely have to do some chiropractic (which I am hoping will include stretches or yoga) this time around. My back is all out of whack, and I know I need to get the baby properly positioned to get everything to go smoothly. And if the chiro doesn’t help with yoga stretches, I will talk to the massage therapist. It doesn’t help that I sprained my back last year and didn’t really get back to shape before conceiving Le Bud. Still feeling the discomfort from that. I recently re-discovered a birthing book with lots of yoga stretches in it on one of my (overcrowded) bookshelves, and I am going to try to incorporate some into my evenings.

        I hadn’t really realized that the whole “water breaking” thing before going to the hospital was so rare. I honestly thought it was just part of “natural” labor. I thought I had to have the midwives break my water because we had chosen to induce (for the safety of the baby). But I am hearing reports that AROM (artifical rupture of membranes) is much more common than not.

  4. […] Of course, IF I don’t have to be induced, then I have to actually go into labor. Which I haven’t done (naturally) before. Which brings up (for me) a whole ‘nother host of questions and anxieties. […]

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