(I'm kind of obsessed with this song. Anybody else?)
You know what kind of sucks? I'm down to very few pieces in my wardrobe that still fit. And by "fit" I mean I can be reasonably certain they won't rip when I squeeze into them. What sucks worse is that most of the maternity clothing I bought was for spring and summer and it's finally started to get kind of cold around here so...those don't really work anymore without layers. But my warmer layers are decidedly non-maternity. This will probably be my last set of maternity outfit photos on this here blog because, frankly, nothing is all that flattering on my extra-rotund figure anymore. (And seriously, bless the poor coworkers who tell me they like my outfits every day- they've earned their places in Heaven.)
These photos were taken on Thursday at precisely 38 weeks. Because I have yet to feel any contractions, the doctor agreed that Chief is probably going to be a late arrival- or at least not an early one. She went over their policies for passing the due date and the gist is that, barring any problems they may notice while monitoring the two of us, we don't even have to start talking about inducing until 41 weeks, and even then they'll let us wait until the 42 week mark before they have to induce. That's one of the many things I love about this practice- they don't want to push us into anything, they respect our desire to understand and discuss everything that's going on, and, at the end of the day, we really do all have the same goal, which is to make sure Chief is delivered safe and healthy (even if she decides to take her sweet time).
All that being said, on Saturday, we went to a sort of party with some past clients of our Bradley instructor, and they all shared their birth stories while their little ones crawled around and got to know each other. Each of the 4 moms had drastically different stories of labor and delivery- one was induced and only labored for 5 hours before delivering naturally, one labored for a whole day but in the end needed a c-section, one was induced but eventually needed a c-section, and one labored for nearly 3 days and delivered 100% naturally. All four children have something in common though- they're all healthy. I got down on the ground with one of the moms whose daughter was particularly active and she became my new little friend. She crawled around and showed me her toys (and tried to take toys from the other babies a few times) and at one point even pulled herself up into my lap! I got a chance to talk one-on-one with each of the moms about some details of their pregnancies, and everyone kept saying I look like I'm going to pop any day now- including our instructor! So, Braxton Hicks or no, maybe she won't be late? But hopefully she's not too early...
The funny part is, if our labor is going to be anything like any of the stories we heard, the one that I want the most is actually the 3-day labor. I know what you're thinking- 5 hours sounds glorious!- but the woman who shared that story didn't seem to remember many of the details, and her husband had to correct her a few times while she spoke. Her fast labor was also spurred on by drugs that she didn't want and the whole experience sounded rushed and disorienting. The woman who labored for 3 days, on the other hand, seemed to be in control- or as "in control" as one can be during childbirth- the entire time, coherent enough to make informed decisions after discussing them with her husband all the way up until the transition phase of her labor. Even during the overwhelming transition, however, she describes being completely aware of everything that was going on, though it was sort of an out-of-body experience- she remembers thinking that she desperately wanted her husband to say things like "this is it, this is transition- it's the hardest part, but it's only going to last 30 minutes!" because somehow him saying those things would've made it easier, but the fact that she wanted to hear those words meant that, subconsciously, she was aware that they were the truth. She said she imagines that's what it must feel like when doctors experience trauma themselves- they're able to diagnose the situation and could even prescribe a remedy, they just can't do anything about it because it's their own body experiencing the trauma. And, in the end, though the whole experience seemed like it would never end, she delivered a beautiful, healthy baby girl and walked away with a positive birth story.
I don't think that what attracts me the most to that story is the fact that she did everything 100% naturally; I think what feels so positive to me is that every decision throughout the labor and delivery was made by her and her husband together in partnership with the doctor and nurses- they were given choices, time to discuss them, and those choices were respected. Nothing was presented as "the only option"; nobody tried to scare them into making the more convenient choice. That's what I want- and what I feel confident we'll get, after working with the doctors at our practice and touring our hospital. And I'm so, so glad we took the Bradley Method classes and read the books that were recommended- because I'm confident that we're informed enough to make the right decisions and to not be overwhelmed when things do get started. Mr. Geek is such an amazing coach and has gotten so good at helping me relax, figuring out what I need, and understanding what he needs to do when labor starts. It's probably because we're such nerds, but we've been studying for this birth as if it were the most important exam of our lives- and it is, in a way. I've got a feeling we're going to pass :)
T-shirt: Target Maternity
Necklace: Francesca's Collections
Jeans: Old Navy Maternity
Shoes: Converse Chuck Taylors via Off Broadway Shoes
Moms- what sort of classes or research did you do before giving birth? Did it help you to hear other women's birth stories before your own delivery? Did you deliver early or late, based on your due date- and were you expecting that time frame?
*All photos personal*