I was going to finish my review of The Big Stretch tonight, but then I realized that I'm already a bit behind for a 24 week update and didn't want to put it off any longer. I'm glad I've been working on this DVD review, though, because it's made me think more deeply about how I'd like to relate to this pregnancy and prepare for the birth.
Physically, I feel very good. I'm sleeping well and waking up only once, occasionally twice, to pee. All measurements are spot-on. Fundus is 24 cms, BP is stable and low, weight gain is right about on track with my other pregnancies. I do need to up my protein and water intake, though. I am not in the habit of drinking fluids very often, so I tend to ignore my thirst.
I really feel pregnant now, both in my mind and my body. My belly is getting bigger and I'm unmistakeably pregnant. It's also getting in the way of bending over and moving the way I'm used to. And the baby is really moving, which I love. I had some anxiety about whether or not I was even pregnant--even though all the signs pointed to it--and this baby's movements were much slower to be felt at first. Plus I wasn't able to find heart tones when I normally would have. With both Dio and Zari, I found heart tones easily and consistently at 16 weeks. I still haven't heart a proper heartbeat with this baby! I've heard a second or two of something that might have been the heartbeat, but then it faded away. I listened again tonight and nothing but lots of maternal sounds and that initial elusive snatch. There's very obviously a living baby in there, since it was moving around and kicking at the fetoscope when I was listening (Dio did the same thing, too).
At my midwife's visit a few weeks ago, she listened with her Pinard and then with a fetoscope and heard nothing but that same elusive tease of sound. I actually asked her to give a really quick listen with the Doppler, just a few seconds tops. She said, "Are you sure? I'm now concerned about anything right now." I think she was a bit surprised at my request! But at that point, I'd decided that I'd feel less anxious just to know, for sure, there really was a baby inside of me. A second or two later, she found the heartbeat. It sounded fairly deep inside the uterus, she said, which was probably why I haven't been able to pick it up on the fetoscope.
So the last month has been a time for me to really accept that I'm pregnant. On the other hand, the reality that I will have another baby in just a few more months still hasn't sunk in at all! And it probably won't entirely until the baby is earthside. There's such a mental disconnect for me between the baby I feel moving inside of me and the baby that actually comes out.
I'm feeling the need to start preparing myself for this baby--for the birth, for becoming a mother again, for taking care of three children instead of two. I'll probably start listening to Hypnobabies again around 30 weeks. I loved how much it relaxed me last pregnancy. I don't have a lot of physical preparation for this new baby. At first, my babies wear the same clothes anyway, mostly long nightgowns with elasticized openings at the bottom for easy diaper changes. I have diapers, clothes, a nursing pillow, slings...all the essentials. I have clothes for both genders now, so I don't need to buy anything for this baby. I have way too many baby blankets so I really hope I don't get too many more this time! There are a few items I'd like to buy or make, though. A white noise machine (for Dio) so I don't have to run the fan in the winter. One or two more ring slings from my fabric stash--after all, you can never have too many! A few pocket diapers in NB and S sizes, for helping the baby feel drier when it's sleeping.
At my last visit, my midwife asked me, "Is there anything you'd like done differently for this birth?" I really couldn't think of anything in particular. In part because she was the perfect silent, unobtrusive presence that I wanted. In part because I see every birth as a new adventure and as a clean slate. I try really hard not to recreate the last birth, no matter how perfect it was, but to let the current one unfold how it will. My midwife remarked that it would be fairly dull to have the same birth experience anyway. I definitely agree!
I have a really exciting opportunity for this birth that I'm mulling over. The OB that my midwife works with (unofficially, as his hospital will not allow him to officially collaborate with her) has asked to attend a home birth with her. She says he's an intellectual genius and absolutely dedicated to his patients. He'll go the extra mile for them and really stick his neck out for what they want. He attended her last two births, in fact. One (baby #4) was a hospital VBA2C waterbirth, even though his hospital doesn't "allow" waterbirths. It was also the birth after the loss of her third child. Then the last (baby #5) was a planned home birth with non-progressive labor and then a surprise breech. She decided to transfer in for a c-section and he did the surgery. She also worked with him when she was doing her CNM clinicals, so she knows him quite well.
Anyway, I told her that I would definitely consider having him present. She said his role would be "to sit in a corner and say nothing and do nothing." He is a very skilled photographer and videographer, so I could also ask him to take over those responsibilities. That actually sounds really appealing; I would have liked more pictures & video last time. I'm going to meet with him soon and get a feel for whether I'd mind having him in my space.
Part of me laughs at the irony of this all, since I was so gung-ho about being totally alone when I had Zari. And at that time, I definitely needed just that. But like I said, every birth is a new adventure for me. As long as I feel confident that he won't disrupt my own concentration, I'm definitely open to it. And I think of all the good it could do for many other women--and for him as a birth attendant--to have him witness what birth can really be like.