I’ve been reading up on the Bradley Method of unmedicated childbirth and it really resonates with me. With my last birth I read up on “hypnobirthing” and so much of it was just not me that I’d skim over it. Well, when it came time to labor, I was really left to just try to relax and think about something distracting. Daniel was born healthy and well, which is the goal, but I felt ill-equipped to deal with the pain of transition in particular.
With the Bradley Method, when labor gets really intense, you curl up into a comfortable “sleep position,” close your eyes and breathe like you’re asleep.
This is the way animals do it and I have yet to hear an animal yell at its mate during labor or really show any signs of pain, so I think they’re on to something. Plus, I love to sleep. Mmmm…
The one big hangup with this method for me is that your husband has a major role as a coach. I have an absolute rock of a husband when it comes to the delivery room. He is not squeamish and he is super encouraging and supportive… however he balks at the idea of making any suggestions to me when I’m in labor. Statements as simple as, “try to relax your face” or “remember to breathe from your abdomen” are on his taboo list.
I believe this hesitation to venture suggestions comes down to two specific incidents from our past:
– When I was in labor with my first child, Scott asked me if I was ok while I was having a contraction. I replied, through gritted teeth, “Yes, I’m ok… but I’m in LABOR”. I didn’t yell, but it was enough to take him aback a bit.
(Dr. Bradley says that even devoted and normally gentle animals snap at their masters when they’re disturbed during labor but there’s no love lost afterwards. I read that part of the book to Scott. :) )
– When I was in labor with my third child, I asked Scott to rub my back during one contraction. It was wonderful and when the next contraction came he started rubbing my back again. It was not wonderful during that contraction. In fact I did not want to be touched at all right then because I needed to focus. I snapped, “Don’t touch me right now!” and there again, I kinda hurt his feelings.
I know it’s hard for him to see me in pain, and I love him for that. He’s sort of in his own zone while supporting me. However, I still really want reminders to do some of the things Dr. Bradley recommends. So my mom came up with this brilliant and hilarious idea: Make signs for Scott to shuffle and hold up. The suggestions aren’t coming from him, they are coming from me! He’s just the (mute) messenger.
I got the kids involved and they loved the idea of cheering for me like they would if I was running a race. Here are a few we came up with:
(Explanation on the last one: Daniel has this endearing way of substituting “to” for “for” in every context. Examples:
“I’m going to love you to-ever, Mama”
“I picked these flowers to you, Mama”)
Pre-Baby Goal Update
– Walk 60 miles. I want to be fitter for labor and recovery. Pushing a double stroller around our hilly neighborhood will definitely help.
27 so far. I slowed down a lot on this goal (both in mileage and in pace, if I’m being honest) this past week because the kids and I got sick one after another.
Finish Duolingo Spanish. I have about 30 lessons left, and if I’m shooting for the stars, I’d like for my “tree” to be all gold! The kids all love to do this with me and I can do it while putting my feet up on the couch so it’s a win all around.
All gold, all done. It was fun to race Scott to the finish line as he was working on French.
Pack my hospital bag. This is harder than it sounds because it involves digging into all the packed away baby stuff AND buying Depends at the store. *Gulp*
Done! It’s not every husband that will buy adult diapers for you at the store. Bless him.
– Finish my “speedy photo catchup” blog posts (and use these to bring our current blog book up-to-date. I’m currently two years behind!)
Meh. Not doing so well here.
Buy a chair to nurse this baby in.
Found one we loved… then discovered it takes 12 weeks to order so I settled on a similar one on Amazon. It’s now set up and comfortable!
– Update my blog cookbook. It’s way overdue and I have a pile of great recipes we use all the time to add.
Made a master list of recipes to add and remove… still more work to do.
Dentist trips for everyone. Actually not everyone. I think I’ve decided that kids with no adult teeth yet are probably good with just a checkup every now and then so Caitlyn is off the hook this time around.
Re-made three appointments. I’m calling this one done now, even though some of us will see the dentist after the baby comes.
Annual doctor checkups for all three kids – I crossed this one off my list when I realized I could just buddy them up with newborn checkups in the coming months. Our doctor will see two kids per appointment. Sweet!
Ask a friend to be on call to watch my kids when we head to the hospital. Another tough one for me this time around. Since we moved to Salem, nobody has really imposed on me so I feel a little funny about asking for help. During medical school and residency, it was commonplace for the wives to ask and give real sacrifices of time and sleep and sanity for each other.
Finish the kids’ summer reading programs. We absolutely love participating in the challenge over at Exodus Books but I upped the ante this summer: Caitlyn had to read a book to me before putting it on her list, and Mackenzie had to narrate each book before putting it on her list. Those were two skills I really wanted them to work on, both in their willingness to do it and their capacity to do it well. We’ve seen big improvements thus far but it means the final week of the challenge has them each scrambling to jump through my hoops to finish the 35 quality books needed to claim their gift certificates. Phew!
Rotate all the kids’ clothes for fall. This is not a chore I want to tackle while recovering from giving birth.
I gave myself bonus points because not only did I tackle this, but I hit up a huge consignment sale afterwards to fill in some of the gaps I discovered in their wardrobes. I scored no less than 3 pairs of slim fit pants for Mackenzie for this year and next, each $5 or less. She’s a tricky fit so I was thrilled.
Buy pictures for Scott’s office. His walls are still blank after two years. Yikes.
After much travail and multiple trips to the frame store, we now have all the custom mats, frames, matting tape, picture hangers, etc. I’m calling this DONE since it’s on Scott and his office manager to get them hung now. Here’s one of the photos going on his wall:
(Photo credit: Dallas Nagata White)
Most of them are gorgeous nature photos from around Oregon, but he included a family shot in a couple of exam rooms as well. I shamelessly photoshopped Daniel’s eyes before printing the above photo so he’s looking at the camera. :)
Stock up on a few great ebooks to read while nursing. Suggestions? I love reading something worthwhile in the wee hours of the night when I’m up anyway with a baby. My iPhone saves me.
Cut Daniel’s hair. I’m not very good at it yet, so I procrastinate, but I’m determined to figure it out.
I actually did this twice because I wasn’t satisfied with the first haircut I gave him. And, I cut the girls’ hair while I was at it. Here’s the boy with his new ‘do, along with a $1.50 thrift store shirt find and he’s even happily in his newly set up pack and play. That’s a picture of progress, people!
– Inventory our freezers. I’ve been experimenting a bit with freezing extra meals lately but I actually have no clue what we have on hand now. When you don’t eat like most people, very few of the “freezer cooking” tips and recipes apply but I’ve been making some headway on figuring out what works for us.
– Master a new Suzuki piano piece. I just started Book 3 and the difficulty level jumped quite a bit!
Still plugging away on this. It’s sounding better.
Play musical beds. We have three bedrooms, two beds, a crib, a pack and play, two couches, and an air mattress and I’m not at all sure who will end up sleeping where when this baby arrives. I prefer sleeping in the same room with the baby. Scott doesn’t sleep at all if he’s in the same room with the baby. The girls are currently sharing a bed but don’t love it so one invariably ends up on the floor. We’ll have guests for the first month or so (hooray!) and Daniel is still sleeping in the crib. Hmm.
Done. The crib and nursing chair are set up in our bedroom, Daniel is adjusting to his Pack and Play in his room. Scott will be in with the girls while we have a guest.
(Side note: I noticed at Babies-R-Us while we were testing out chairs that the majority of aisles of the store are devoted to things that are irrelevant to the way our family rolls: Crib bumpers, coordinating bedding, changing tables, diaper pails, bottle warmers… the list goes on. We do have some baby gear we love but we definitely lean towards “less is more”. It reminded me of being in a grocery store where greater than 85% of what is on the shelves is completely off our radar.)
Get another 3-4 weeks of homeschooling under our belts. We’re in week 5 of our school year right now and we plan to take every 7th week off this year, plus some more time off for newborn craziness. I don’t want to wind things down too early though, because our school schedule is a sanity-saver for me! Too many unstructured days in a row and everybody is worse off. Also, I know I’ll feel more free to throw light days in as needed if we’ve already had rich learning experiences this year.
3 weeks done! Last week was pretty light on formal school with sickness and errands being run. Ah well, we’ll keep doing some this week and then switch to our “Plan B” schedule alternating with full days off while we have guests.
– Enjoy the fun stuff already on the calendar.
Scott is running the massive Hood to Coast relay this weekend, we have tickets for Free Museum Day, plans to spend Labor Day weekend with great friends in Bend, and tickets to the State Fair.
Update my labor music playlist. I never did use this during Daniel’s birth since I wasn’t even checked in when I was dilated to a 9, but surely it will come in handy this time around. I’m trying to mentally prepare for a longer labor at any rate and Norah Jones should help.
… and I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t add a few projects along the way:
– Create a picture directory for Scott’s 85 member chorus. I photographed more than 75 last week so I need to just round up the stragglers, finish edits and compile the directory. Easy-peasy, right?
– Prep for an epic maternity photoshoot. For the first time, I asked my dad to take some pictures of my family and my big pregnant self. Of course, he had to do it right so we hired a face painter(!) and crafted a plan. It’s a fun one. I was up making multiple sets of colorful clay monster horns last night.