My journey of being pregnant

I’m 23 weeks pregnant, which if you did the math, you’d think that would mean that I’m almost 6 months pregnant and have only 3 months left but they say 40 weeks is full term, so there you have it. 9 months is a lie. A lie! I think I’ll just say I’m 6 months pregnant for 2 months because I would hate for other people to have to do the math on my account.

Actually, I love being pregnant and I think I mostly love it because I feel overwhelmingly grateful for the experience. I legitimately wasn’t positive that I would a) find my guy in time or b) that I or he would both be fertile at the same time. I never once thought of being a mother as a given, even if I did dream of it, hope for it and plan accordingly. So here I am, grateful for my new 20lb gut, the 4am kicking, even my worsening memory. Also, I think I benefit from extra testosterone, which I might look into post pregnancy. I feel more “even”.

Here are some of my thoughts on the experience thus far.

1) Next time I’m going to avoid reading about the pregnancy in the first trimester. In my opinion all you need to know is what not to eat and what activities to avoid. Other than that… there’s a lot of really scary things that COULD go wrong but probably won’t. Also, just because millions of women had specific symptoms and yours are weirder, you’re probably okay. My boobs still aren’t sore, I don’t pee a lot and I was only sick for 3 days. However, I did feel my blood rushing intensely through my body in the first few weeks, my back hurt the most at 5 weeks and it felt like my ovaries were punching me/electrocuting me. Also, I could feel my uterus when I jumped on my trampoline. I wasn’t hungry in those first 3 months and I definitely didn’t eat salad or drink green juice like I intended to. My pregnancy phone app made me question my actual symptoms and those that I lacked. I read about things like missed miscarriages and was insanely terrified that I’d lost my baby and that’s why I lacked symptoms in the second month.

2) I wouldn’t take a pregnancy test early again. Why? Because 50% of women experience something called a chemical pregnancy which is when the egg and sperm meet up but the pregnancy doesn’t hold on. Basically, you get a positive pregnancy test, get really excited and then get your period. Really hard. MOST women don’t ever realize this because they don’t take a week early pregnancy test. But I’m impatient and I took the 6 day early detection test and learned about the chemical pregnancy right after. So… I spent the first week crossing my fingers and the first trimester scared that my body wasn’t reacting the way everyone else’s does.

3) I learned to stay off websites like babycenter.com where pregnant women vomit their opinions in a wildly judgmental way. I’ve also learned that really loving, supportive mama communities exist via instagram and facebook. I’m learning quickly how many extremely passionate mothering opinions exist in the world and where mine fits in and… where it doesn’t.

4) I miss my mom. Like a lot. In month 4, I felt incredibly lonely, as in… I felt alone in my pregnancy, in the whole growing a baby inside of me and all the emotional and physical changes that I feel every hour of every day. My best friend is pregnant but I don’t see her enough and my husband is a wonderfully loving man, but… he’s so not thinking of our baby nearly as much as I do. So one night, I cried. I cried hard. I wanted my mom because she is as in love with me being pregnant as I am. She would touch my belly and talk about the baby for hours on end. Plus, I suddenly understand the intensity of her love AND I appreciate it. My mom lives in Maine. I live in Chicago.

5) My maternal instincts are controversial and I have to be careful about offending people or worse… scaring mamas, wonderful mamas. The below rant is personal to me and not meant to come off as “I know all” because I don’t, I’ve never done this before, I just have a loud and unavoidable inner voice. I also know that a plan is simply that. Nothing is absolute in bringing a baby into the world, nor does it have to be! Ready or not, he’s coming. 🙂

For starters, I’m having a home water birth with a midwife, a doula and an acupuncturist. This seems very peaceful and comforting to me but just the mention of it pretty much makes everyone I know uncomfortable. I’m better at home, I’m more myself, the ambiance of “home” energizes me and soothes me in a way that a florescent lit hospital room with surgeons in white coats and nurses in blue scrubs won’t. My doctor for the past 5 years is an OBGYN that started the midwife group at the largest hospital in Chicago, but I’m not giving birth with him. Why? He has an 11% c-section rate and my midwives have a 5% c-section rate and that leading Chicago hospital… cuts open 1 out of 3 pregnant women and has a 97% epidural rate. Many of these c-sections are a result of labor taking too long…according to the doctors. Which is totally bogus because every woman, baby and labor is unique, some women push twice, some are in labor for 2 days! First off, did you know that in the US, there are fewer babies born on holidays, weekends and superbowl Sunday than any other day? Think about that. I don’t want to be lying on a hospital bed that needs to be turned like a diner table, nor do I want an over-worked doctor in need of a vacation rushing me to the O.R. Furthermore, I don’t think it’s necessary for a high end surgeon to deliver my baby. Will I go to him if needed? Of course! Until then, I’ll be with my certified nurse midwives.

As far as the pitocin and an epidural,  I don’t see the point of avoiding oysters, sushi, raw cheese, rare steak, poached eggs and rose champagne for 9 months to then turn around and let a doctor convince me to medicate my baby via my bloodstream right before birth. I’d rather eat my oysters and drink my rose right now. I mean right now.  So… I’ll cross my fingers and hope that warm water, acupuncture and my favorite music ease the pain. Honestly though, I want to know what it feels like. I can’t imagine how incredibly painful it is but I want to KNOW. I’m honored to be a woman and to give birth. I’ll be sure to let you know how “my plan” or ah… “dream” works out. I do realize that things can be harder than anticipated and that sometimes surgery is needed as it was needed for many of my favorite women to deliver their precious babes.

Ani Difranco wrote the foreword in Ina May’s book, ‘Birth Matters’ and it gives me the chills every time I read it. Below is an excerpt. I want this.

“I believe the act of giving birth to be the single most miraculous thing a human being can do and it is surely the moment when a lot of women finally understand the depth of their power. You think it can’t possibly be done, you think you can’t possibly take the pain, and then you do-—and afterward you look at yourself… in a whole new way. If you can do that, you can do anything.” – Ani DiFranco

Okay, so there’s that. Homebirth, 1800’s style but in a major City with a hospital 4 blocks away.

I started reading a lot about things about home birth, midwifery, what is done in other Countries with a lower maternal death rate etc. First off, we don’t even know our real maternal death rate in this Country because there is no law mandating that doctors document women as dying from labor, many of which write “natural causes” because it looks better on their record. Scary. So… this led me to read about basic medical practices… like ultrasounds. I always thought I’d have an ultrasound. I thought about how my hubby would be holding my hand and they’d squirt jelly on my belly and move around the little wand until our baby moved around for us on the screen. I imagined I’d cry and my husband would snuggle into me. All that. When I found out about 3-D ultrasounds where you could see the baby’s face, I was super excited. That sounds awesome, especially for someone as impatient as myself. BUT, I wanted some evidence or SOME study that showed me that current ultrasound machines were actually safe. All doctors, all nurses and all technicians will tell you that they are. So that sounded great.

The last complete ultrasound study I found was done in 1992. They concluded that they were safe if the technicians are well trained and don’t go above a certain temperature or frequency. 22 years later, we have new ultrasound machines with advanced capabilities, from what I was able to find… they go far above that temperature and frequency. And ah, there are no known studies. Please find me one if you can! I’ve read that the sound waves are as loud as a freight train to the baby and that’s why they wiggle away, I’ve read the the heat can burn their cells and that the light is startling to them as well. Basically… it sounds like sensory overload during a time that is so crucial to a babies brain development. Also, ultrasounds have given doctors and women inaccurate information time and again from serious organ failure predictions to the weight of the baby being off by 3-4 lbs! Dopplers freak me out too and much to my surprise What to Expect When Expecting cautioned against buying the home version. I did use a doppler to hear the heartbeat at the first 3 midwife appointments (yes, I have normal appointments, just no doctor). Now baby boy’s heart is strong enough to hear with a fetascope.

Curious how I found out the gender without the soundwaves? Check out MaterniT21, it’s a DNA blood test to determine possible chromosomal defects and…gender! We knew we were having a boy at 11 weeks, hello Y chromosome.

I’m not trying to convince you of anything, if I were, I’d post articles and data. I’m just trying to lay down my reasoning for avoiding ultrasounds altogether. I had to convince my research hungry husband of this one and so I do have articles and studies. ha.

In case you are wondering if I plan to vaccinate and circumcise, I do. My reasoning? There is research to back both, unlike the ultrasounds. See, I’m not a total hippie! 😉

6) For my own memory of this first experience… baby boy seems to flip and swim around more than he kicks. I like to think of him as “playful”. He also seems to press his arm or leg out as if to remind me that my torso is too short and he’d like more space. He seems to have an active schedule of 10pm, 4am, 7am, 9am, 4pm and 7pm. He liked the boat ride yesterday, as did I. I LOVE him. So much.

I hope this wasn’t too controversial or upsetting. That’s not my intent.

Love to you,

A

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One comment

  1. Ashley

    Your next blog post : advice to 20 something’s

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