With one month until our scheduled due date, baby is getting herself ready just as we are getting ready to meet her. We had our last ultrasound on Thursday, and confirmed several key things; that she is head down and in good position for labor/delivery, that the placenta previa is now completely resolved and no longer even considered low lying, and her growth is on track and does not appear to be excessive due to the Gestational Diabetes! It was a positive u/s indeed. Her weight was estimated to be 6lbs 1oz which is in the 39th percentile for her gestational age, and they estimate that she gains about an oz a day now, or about 1/2 a lb each week. That would have her on track to be approximately 8 lbs at delivery if she came at her due date, but of course it's all an estimate and those can be off by up to 2 lbs anyway at this point...but usually not in the direction of her being much larger than they anticipate. So, yay! I also had my Group B strep test this week, and just checked to see that it is negative, so no pre-delivery antibiotics needed during labor for me (at least not for that reason)! Here we are this week:
I feel like with all of the minor complications and stresses that have made the second half of this pregnancy feel more "eventful" than I anticipated, things are finally settling into place for the real home stretch. I feel peaceful about what my body is doing to prepare for her arrival, and I feel confident that from this point things will hopefully progress in a typical, uncomplicated fashion. Of course, I'm aware and open to the fact that none of this is really predictable and anything can happen still, but I'm at least at peace that my body has carried her this far, I'm mostly healthy and she looks stellar. I trust that my body will continue to do what it needs to in order to bring her all the way into this world just as healthy and vivacious as I already feel she is.
We had one of two sessions of our Childbirth Education series today, and I'm really glad we chose this class. It's through the Center for the Childbearing Year in Ann Arbor, and I felt that the instructor really made a comfortable environment in which to discuss the natural process and the beginning essentials to developing a variety of coping strategies for labor. I think that prep classes can feel like a chore, especially for the partner, but I think Matt and I both got a lot out of the class today, and there was just enough information to make him feel more comfortable with the process but not so much as to overwhelm him. We practiced a few distraction and relaxation techniques, and I feel really confident that as a couple we will be able to do this "naturally" as we hope for. I trust Matt to be there and provide what I need in terms of physical and emotional support, and I know that he trusts me and my body to do what it needs to do. Together I hope we can support one another - it is my feeling that the husband needs to feel that he is part of the process of bringing this life into the world, too, and they need our support for that as well.
This leads me to my thoughts on our "Birth Plan". Hang on...I feel like this might get lengthy! I've sort of always been one to think that a birth plan that is too rigid in any direction can be detrimental to labor, because it's not always a linear, predictable process and there are many circumstances that may be out of my control, so trying to write out exactly how I want things to go down may be counterproductive. That being said, there are some things that I do want to try to encourage, and want our support team to be aware of. I think the UM Midwives will all be supportive and probably very much in line with the kinds of things we would ask for, but I do think it will be helpful to discuss our thoughts with Holly beforehand. In an ideal world, my labor will be under 12 hours and will start and progress on its own without Pitocin, I will have no problem coping with the intensity of it and therefore won't need medical interventions for pain control, baby will have a steady, strong heartbeat and will never be in distress and we won't need continuous fetal monitoring, I won't have any need for antibiotics or other IVs, and I will deliver her vaginally (possibly in the tub) without an episiotomy or tearing. Haha! I know, right? Of course, there are so many times when it just may not go like that, and I understand that. I chose to have a hospital birth, because I know all too well that sometimes medical intervention is not only available but is the safest, smartest and most appropriate thing to do for baby and mom alike. And if our care providers tell us something needs to happen, now, or one of us will be unsafe, then I will absolutely 100% accept that is what we'll do. I also feel that being unpredictable, labor may not be what I anticipate, and I may decide at some point that the solutions and strategies for coping that we have up our sleeve are no longer effective enough, and I may invite certain medical interventions then, too.
I think the things that are most important to me as far as a "Plan" are the following:
- I want to be supported in my desire to attempt a "natural" delivery for as long as I feel that is a realistic goal
- Matt is my primary support person and the person in this world (and especially in the pregnancy) who knows me most intimately, and if I have trouble verbalizing my own needs or desires to other members of the care team at a given time, that they can listen to him for guidance about what we want
- I want the environment to be as calm and supportive as it can be under whatever circumstances arise
- I want interventions which may become necessary to be explained to me and offered to me in such a way that both Matt and I understand what is happening, and why it has become a necessity
Then of course, are all of the potential procedures/interventions/post-partum decisions and such that I will also outline my preferences about, but I feel that those are much more going to be decided during the moment anyway, and not always things anyone plans to have and writes into their Birth Plan (why yes, I'd like to plan for an episiotomy, thank you. I'd also like to plan for a forceps or vacuum delivery, etc). I mean, of course I'd like to avoid all of those things! But understanding that they exist because of medical necessity at times, and if our labor/delivery requires them, they are available.
All in all, I'm planning for a peaceful, natural, normal delivery and understanding that together Matt and I can make that happen as much as anyone can control that. If things go off track, we will accept them together and move ahead with whatever needs to happen. We are getting so excited to meet our daughter, and I feel confident that we can bring her into this world together! Ok, that's enough on that, if you've even made it this far :)