It’s hard to believe that I am already over half-way through this pregnancy! I think that the more children I have, the faster my pregnancies seem to go. It must be because I am so busy keeping up with my other munchkins!
Overall, I’ve been blessed to feel pretty good this time around. Morning sickness was never to bad. I normally struggle during my pregnancies with bouts of really bad light-headedness (which no doctor has had any ideas how to address), but I’ve only experienced that a handful of times during this pregnancy. In the last few weeks I’ve started to deal with some increased back and hip pain, and I am hoping that doesn’t get any worse, especially with a toddler to keep up with! My major complaint so far would have to be exhaustion. My four year old doesn’t always sleep through the night, due to bed-wetting and other factors. And although I was able to night-wean my two year old over the last month or so, it is still hit or miss whether he will sleep through the night or wake up to get in our bed and squirm around. That makes for a tired momma!
When you have your fifth baby (and sixth pregnancy) in ten years of marriage, I suppose you should be prepared for the fact that not everyone is going to be thrilled for you. We haven’t dealt with any outright nastiness, but there were some people, including family members, who didn’t even pretend to be excited or interested in the pregnancy for the first several months after we announced it (some still aren’t). We kept the news to ourselves for awhile, and I thought I was prepared for people’s reactions, but it was a bit harder than I anticipated. That doesn’t even include the looks strangers give me when I’m out with all my kiddos. My sweet sister reminded me several times that I’m not having this baby for those people, and I shouldn’t let them steal my joy.
My word for this year is “gratitude”, and I am trying to rest in it and practice it through this pregnancy, especially. I am so grateful for this child. I am grateful for each movement. I am grateful for another blessing added to our family. I am grateful for another new person to get to know and share life with! I am grateful for another chance to stretch as a mother, for another reminder that I need God’s grace and strength to get me through each day.
I have always been drawn to natural childbirth. My oldest was induced with cytotec (which is worth a whole post of its own, but let me say here: JUST SAY NO TO CYTOTEC). I did end up getting demoral during labor with her, because the cytotec contractions were so unbearable, and a nurse told me I was in for an extremely long labor. All three of my others have been completely drug-free labors. They’ve all been born in the hospital, delivered by an OB, and with only my husband as a support person. I read around on-line about natural childbirth, but that was the extent of my labor prep. With my last baby, I really considered a homebirth. But, the nearest midwives were all at least two hours away, and my third labor had only been four hours. I ended up having an even shorter labor (under 3 hours!), so I’m glad I made the decision to go with the hospital. However, there are many things about my birth and postpartum experience that I wish had gone differently, even with a great OB (birth store here).
Enter my good friend of the last several years, who has been a doula for quite sometime, and is just getting started as a midwife. Oh, and she lives about ten minutes from my house. SCORE! The next two hurdles were whether my husband was really okay with a home birth, and whether we could afford it. My husband came around… I think largely because he thinks there’s a chance this baby will be born at home whether we plan it that way or not! And our out-of-pocket costs for a midwife ended up being less than our deductible would be for the hospital. Score again!
So, here I am, expecting baby #5, and entering a whole new world of home birth! I am overjoyed, but it is a lot to get my mind around after being so used to hospital births. I’m also taking a much more active role in preparing myself for the birth experience I want. I’ve already read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, and I have several other books on my list. I was struck by many things in Ina May’s book, but one of the main things was that if I want a home birth, I do have a responsibility to take good care of myself (and my baby!) physically. No more skipping breakfast, not exercising, and eating junk (ok, I still eat some junk, but I am trying to keep it moderate!). Obviously, these are things any pregnant woman should be doing, but I guess I needed the extra push! I want to do everything in my power to ensure this pregnancy stays normal and low-risk.
Have you had a home birth? What was your experience like? Do you have any favorite pregnancy or birth books you recommend?