This being our third baby, Scott and I had resolved to do a few things differently than with previous pregnancies.
We decided NOT to find out the gender before birth, and if at all possible, we wanted this baby to come on his or her own time.
Both Caitlyn and Mackenzie were induced for different reasons and not only did we miss the “Is today the day?” excitement but I wanted to try again for a birth without an epidural and I was sure that eliminating pitocin from the equation would make the process more mangeable.
The Gender Question
My OB was great about not revealing or even hinting at the sex of this baby during the ultrasound. I brought my four year old for company to the scan, instead of my doctor-husband, to further secure the surprise.
My OB assured me that the gender would not be written anywhere on my records and that she has so many patients that she forgets immediately after making sure all anatomy looks fine on the ultrasound. She pointed out that any future “he” or “she” used in our conversations should not be read into as anything but random.
However, a few months later at an appointment my OB goofed and had a whole conversation with my daughters about how they were going to be big sisters to a new little sister soon. She clapped her hands over her mouth, apologized profusely, and promised that was NOT what she meant and she really and truly didn’t remember if we were having a boy or a girl.
Something in the insistence of her apology made me wonder if she did, indeed, know the gender. I relayed the story to Scott but did NOT reveal which gender the OB had let slip. It drove him absolutely to distraction and since the time I told him he shamelessly tried to trick me into revealing more details.
As I mentioned previously, the consensus of random strangers was that this baby would be a boy but Scott was so sure we were destined for a houseful of daughters that he wouldn’t accept boy hand-me-downs or discuss boy names.
The Question of Timing
Among my most treasured possessions are the photos and videos we have from the birth of our daughters. The fresh-from-heaven glow on a new baby and the expressions on the faces of new parents and new siblings as they meet the baby are fleeting and truly priceless.
We were incredibly fortunate to have my dad here for both births. Consequently, I was spoiled rotten with very high quality photos and videos. In fact, I felt sick to my stomach at the thought of welcoming this baby without my dad standing by, camera in hand.
At the same time, though, I really did NOT want to be induced. And my dad lives on the other side of the country and has a tight schedule with work and family responsibilities. In fact, he had a big event to photograph on the day I’d be 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant!
Which left us with a 5 week time window where I’d be full-term and the baby could arrive “any day” but a very likely string of days when the baby could arrive and my dad couldn’t be here. Ugh.
I went back and forth on this a zillion times and finally booked tickets for my dad to be here for just 5 days. I was hoping for the best but the odds were good that his trip would come and go with no baby.
After Caitlyn’s nearly medication-free birth, I caught the “natural birthing” bug. Mainly, I just loved being so connected to the experience of bringing a new life into the world.
With the epidural I had for Mackenzie, other people had to tell me when to push and for how long. Even after the numbness wore off, my body didn’t feel like my own! Recovery was awful because my body hurt in ways I didn’t understand.
I knew from Caitlyn’s birth that simply winging it or toughing it out were woefully inadequate for coping with labor. So when several friends recommended “hypnobirthing,” I swallowed my skepticism enough to read a book about it. Scott, of course, immediately renamed it “hippie birthing” and he was pretty much dead on. 🙂
But I was looking for encouragement and for resources to draw upon when labor got tough and I think the book gave me both. I made notes on types of breathing and coping mechanisms, and things to visualize to help my body relax and do what it was made to do.
Scott, though skeptical, was supportive. Mainly I think he was just hoping to avoid what happened with Caitlyn’s birth: Me desperate with pain and him standing by feeling helpless.
Scott’s support even went so far as to read the pages I marked for him. Unfortunately, he read one page too far and stumbled across an “imagine your cervix is opening like a rosebud” script and he dropped the book like it had burned his hands. Hehe.
I was definitely selective with which hippie birthing things I wanted to adopt. 🙂
I had finally discussed my new hippie leanings with my OB in early September. She belongs to a practice that bans doulas and provides their own “birthing plan” which supposedly renders any birthing plans of their patients unnecessary. I’ve definitely received the “people who don’t get epidurals are nuts” vibe from her before. Still, she was respectful and was willing to let me go without an IV, have intermittent monitoring, and be as mobile as possible during labor.
As my due date loomed, I still had a lot of apprehension about whether Scott would be on board when things got tough and whether I could remember and implement the ideas I drew from hippie birthing without traumatizing my husband in the process.