October 30, 2013

Week 36 and Preparations for Birth

Week 36
October 21 - 27

Sleep is still rough.
Hips and joints still hurt. 
Walking is hard.
The final days are tough! I had no idea.
But goodness the joy I have thinking about our daughter outshines all of that. 
Not to mention the amazing support I have from my husband, family and coworkers. 
Although I am really uncomfortable, I have the best people surrounding me and caring for me.
I am very blessed. One day at a time. 
So I posted a blog about why Michael and I are choosing a home birth for our family. This week I thought I would share some of the ways we are preparing for that type of birth. A home birth, and really a natural birth, comes with a lot of preparation. You don't just go into labor 'winging it' if you desire to have a natural birth. It is like training for a marathon. I have taken many steps to prepare. Is it a little overkill? ;) Maybe so. But as someone that wants to go into childbirth education, I have really enjoyed soaking in so much knowledge. 

How we are preparing for a home birth:
1. Our Midwife
Having a midwife that you trust is essential. She is my go-to with all my questions so I don't have to weed through the range of opinions on Google. You can't have a home birth if you don't feel comfortable with your care provider. I think that is the most important part of preparing for childbirth!

2. Diet
I can't say I have been perfect with healthy eating while pregnant but overall I am happy with most of the choices I have made. Between my protein intake and calorie count, I feel like I have gained the appropriate weight. I will say I am so grateful that my husband lets me splurge on cravings here and there - I mean cupcakes and donuts are just essential ;) But getting a weekly CSA box chalk full of veggies has helped me stay on track!

Here is our first CSA share back in April. I was 7 weeks pregnant, absolutely exhausted, and not thrilled with greens but I pushed through.
 And then a box from July which had the most tasty blackberries! We loved getting a weekly share and plan on signing up again next year.

3. Prenatal Yoga
I took classes with Bethany Hard, but there are quite a few options in Nashville for prenatal yoga. I talked about my views on yoga in a previous post, but I have to share again - this was so helpful for me! I am not an internal person. I am not very in-tuned with myself. And I rarely take time to be alone with just me and my baby. That doesn't come naturally for me. Taking this class was not only great exercise, but it allowed me the time to process the life growing inside of me. It taught me how to breath through pain and how to trust my body to get to the other side. We did a lot of 'keep up exercises' where we had to push ourselves for 3 minutes doing an exercise that killed! But through breathing, encouragement from the instructor and visualizing our baby, we made it through. This really helped me learn how my body will cope with the pain of contractions. All of the exercises we used helps with my posture, breathing and aligning my body as it makes room for my growing baby. It has also helped open my hips and relieve some back pain. My favorite positions have been cat/cow, child's pose and various squats. So many of the positions we learned are ones that I will use during labor. I am so grateful that I took 12 weeks of yoga.

4. Child Birthing Class
We love our child birthing class. Michael and I decided to go with the Bradley Method. Check out Jeannie Casey at Nashville Childbirth! This class is really for those who want to take ownership of their birth experience.
We have only been to 4 of 8 classes but they have been so helpful! They are 3 hours each and really intensive. Some childbirth classes are only a few hours, an anatomy lesson, instructions on when to get an epidural and a hospital tour. This one is geared for people who want a natural, partner-coached childbirth. We discuss everything from nutrition, all the stages of labor, breathing techniques, birth plan and early infant care. We meet with 7 other couples and discuss all things pregnancy and birth. We watch birthing films and even end each session with a massage and visualization. Weekly homework assignments help us stay active in our childbirth preparations as well.
This class normalizes every aspect of labor that people don't talk about. Nothing is left untouched. Jeannie's openness on all things vagina, human waste, tearing and sex might make some blush but we have found it to be so helpful in setting our expectations and not being surprised by things we may not have anticipated encountering during labor. I have read so many articles about 'The Things No One Ever Told Me' and we have covered it all!
I think I love this class so much because Michael is being empowered to be my birth partner. He is given so many tips, tools and a bag of tricks for walking me through labor. And we spend so much time actually practicing different positions, breathing techniques, massage, counter pressure and visualization. It is a very 'hands on' class.
All the topics we have discussed have helped initiate many conversations between Michael and me about our labor experience and our journey into parenthood. It is amazing that not everyone has this information. It has really ignited my passion to educate people about birth (something I hope to pursue once I adjust to being a new mom).

5. Workshops
Nashville has a wealth of resources and many of the workshops are free! Here are a few that I attended during pregnancy:
-Baby Wearing - through 9 Months and Beyond. This was a free workshop that allowed Michael and me to try on every type of ring sling, wrap, and carrier out there so we knew which ones to register for. It also gave us helpful tips for the proper way of wearing your baby.
-Cloth Diapering - this class was almost too much information. We learned about all the different types of cloth diapers, how to clean them, etc. I was really overwhelmed leaving this workshop but it helped give me a starting point so I could do my own research. I feel like talking to all the mommas in my life who cloth diaper was more helpful!
-Breast Feeding - NOVA Birth Services hosted this workshop at Baby's R US. It was free and really informational. Baby's R Us hosts many workshops throughout the year with topics like - breastfeeding, early infant care, and infant CPR.
-Essential oils in pregnancy, labor and newborn - I have dappled in essential oils for a while now but it was great to learn a little more about different oils and their use in terms of labor and babies. I am excited to use some of the information I learned in my own labor.

6. Chiropractor, massage and acupuncture 
-Going to the chiropractor has been a godsend. Between my car accident last year and all the shifting of joints and ligaments, getting adjusted has really helped me through this pregnancy. I have heard that chiropractors can also help turn a breech baby and minimize back pain during labor.
-My prenatal massage was incredible at loosening tight muscles and giving myself time to relax during this long pregnancy journey. Pregnancy does A LOT to ones body. I only wish I had more money to go all the time ;)
-I haven't been to the acupuncturist yet but I plan to go once I hit full-term. I have been having so much nerve pain that I really believe a little bit of acupuncture could help. All three of these 'alternative methods' should be done by professionals who know how to work with pregnant mamas. So it's important to always go somewhere that specializes in prenatal care and for your care provider to approve any alternative methods before going!

7. Birthing videos 
I love reading birth stories and watching birth videos. They have become my bedtime story. Michael will humor me and watch or read a few. I just like reading how unique and unpredictable each experience really is. I think it helps me let go of expectations of my own birth. I have definitely come up with my 'ideals' but that is balanced with recognizing that I have to surrender control to my labor. And of course I cry my whole way through each person's journey.

Home birth (and hospital birth) videographers:
Ceci Jane
Perfect Pair Wedding (she has 2 births on here)

8. Resources
Books to read:
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth - Ina May Gaskin
The Birth Partner - Penny Simkins
The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth - Henci Goer
Gentle Birth Choices - Barbara Harper

Documentaries to watch:
The most popular documentary out right now is "The Business of Being Born". This is a great starting point. They have also come out with a second documentary as a follow up to the first one which goes in more depth on topics like VBAC, The Farm, and Celebrity home birth stories.
Michael and I spent a day at a coffee shop writing our birth plan. We have already talked through a lot of our expectations with our midwife but it was important for us to put it all in writing to make sure we are on the same page. It was also helpful to think through our contingency plan in case a hospital transfer becomes necessary. This is when it starts to feel real!
Last Sunday we went to Delvin Farms. They were hosting a picnic for all the CSA members. It was cool to see the farm where our weekly share comes from. 
We didn't get enough fall farm festivities so we went a few days later to Honeysuckle Hill Farms. 
 We explored the 'Crazy House'.
And of course, we couldn't miss the pig race. 
Our reaction to that strange event. 
 Topped off with a corn maze and caramel apples. 
Sweet Genevieve,
Holidays and seasons are the best. I am so excited for pumpkin patches, dress-up, s'mores, and hayrides. Your dad and I cannot wait to start new traditions with you as a family. This time next year we will be celebrating fall with an almost-one year old and life through those eyes will be so fun! Now that full-term is a day away, you are welcome to join us soon so we can snuggle through this season. Thanksgiving and Christmas will never be the same. We can't wait to celebrate with you!


  1. Half of those books are in my hold line at the library! I loved your home birth post - and no matter how it turns out, you guys are going to have a beautiful birth experience. I'm looking forward to reading about it soon!

  2. Wow, this is so incredible the kinds of resources you have for your pregnancy. Thank you for sharing. I adore how you document your birth journey. How incredible rewarding and fruitful! Such sweet photos of you and your husband.

  3. OMG... That is a brilliant idea and also very hilarious at the same time. There is a natural gender selection which should be followed by the women who wants to select their baby gender before it's birth.