Physically I feel good. But emotionally--another story. It seems that this pregnancy has been a long, hard episode of constant anxiety and fear, punctuated by occasional moments of calm and peace. I worry worry worry all the time: will this baby make it? will I end up with a c-section? Those two are the Big Ones for me. I am absolutely positively terrified of having a c-section. I know it's not really a big deal for some women but it's basically my personal worst nightmare. I'm tired of this fruitless worry and constant fretting but haven't quite figure out how to shake it for good.
I have to admit that the baby's position plays into my current fears right now. The baby is still happily head-up with its butt firmly wedged in my pelvis. I find it so hard to mentally or emotionally prepare for the birth because I don't know how or what to visualize. I don't know who will be there or where I will be, necessarily. I don't know what it will feel like if a butt is coming out, rather than a head. I just want to be able to settle in and enjoy the anticipation during these last weeks and get ready for the baby, not to have so many unanswered questions--all due to the possibility of a breech presentation.
Anyway, here's my plan of action over the next few weeks:
- From now until 36 weeks, see a chiropractor who does the Webster technique (I've already seen her once) and do some gentle things to help baby turn around: pelvic rocks, knee/chest or breech tilts (although I can only hold these for a few minutes at most--don't know how some people can do them for 15-20 minutes!), and perhaps swimming or handstands in the water. And things like prayer and visualization, etc.
- After my home visit and Mother Blessing at 36 1/2 weeks, if the baby is still butt-down, schedule an external version for the following Monday. There's a physician who is very skilled at doing versions about an hour away; she has done a few for my midwife's other clients.
- If the version doesn't work, start planning for a hands-off vaginal breech birth, ideally at home. I would probably need to find another breech-experienced midwife to be present. Breech births are within my midwife's legal scope of practice, and she has attended quite a few during her training (mostly at home, I think). However, she doesn't feel she has enough experience as a primary midwife to do it on her own. So I guess we'd have to start calling around to find someone close enough to travel in when I go into labor, or bring someone in to stay for a few weeks if there's no one within about 4-5 hours from me.
- Traveling to The Farm is another possibility, but as I've mentioned earlier, it's 8 hours away so I'd have to go there before labor began and wait. I don't know if Eric would be able to come along and I really would not want to have the baby completely by myself (as in, even though I like laboring in private, I don't want Eric to be 8 hours away!). I'd also rather not have to leave home to have the baby. Or take care of Zari by myself for several weeks. Etc.
- See how things go the day labor begins. Really, the biggest deciding factor for me will be asking Eric for a blessing once labor has started. If he feels inspired to say that all will go well, we'll go ahead with my plans. However, if the blessing indicates that I need to change my plans--whether that means having a vaginal breech birth in a hospital or even going in for a surgical delivery--I'll accept that change of plans. Probably with a lot of tears and a good amount of trepidation, but hopefully with the courage to do what is best. And of course there are a few situations that would indicate the need for a transfer: a stargazing breech baby is a pretty much universal indicator for surgical delivery of breech babies, as well as a slow, long, difficult labor.
I've never had such an emotionally challenging experience before. It's like a heavy weight has been around me much of this pregnancy. I want to be able to feel excitement about becoming a mother and having a newborn again but it's all been dwarfed by this ever-present sense of fear and dread. I don't feel that it's some kind of intuitive foreknowledge that something bad is going to happen. It's just plain old fear and worry, the non-productive kind that gets you nowhere.
Now I feel like I'm whining a bit too much...so here's a picture of Zari from this morning. How is so much cuteness possible?