Archives for posts with tag: third-trimester

I can honestly say that part of the reason I haven’t been posting is because I have been belly-deep in Hypnobabies class! If you’re interested in the class, there is a ton of information on their website, but I’ll give you my take on it so far.

Hypnobabies assumes the following: in the United States, portrayals of birth in the media are overwhelmingly frantic and traumatic with women in agonizing pain, screaming at their partners, and demanding pain medication at the first sign of discomfort. Because very few of us witness a birth before our own, these images are usually the only ones our brains have to formulate an idea of what birth is, namely something to be dreaded and feared. When the body is afraid and anticipating pain, it tenses up. Our uteruses actually have muscles that can constrict when the body senses danger in order to stop the birthing process. When we were out in the wild and hunted by predators, this was a good thing because we could find a safer place to deliver. But nowadays it’s not very useful and often prolongs the birthing process unnecessarily or leads to interventions that we might rather avoid.

Hypnobabies is designed to retrain the subconscious part of the brain to believe and accept that birth can be comfortable and even pleasant. It does so through self-hypnosis scripts and exercises that facilitate deep relaxation and positive ideas around pregnancy and birth. Through repeating these positive messages and teaching deep relaxation techniques, Hypnobabies aims for mothers and their support systems to approach birth in a relaxed, gentle way.

Yeah, yeah…so what does this all mean? It means that I have completely chilled the f*** out since starting this class. Seriously, remember my anxiety post?  I can honestly say that is is incredibly rare for me to feel even the slightest hint of anxiety around my pregnancy. For the last three weeks I have dedicated at least 30-45 minutes to doing a self-hypnosis script and since starting the class a week and a half ago, I’ve been listening daily to pregnancy affirmations, which sound so cheesy at first (“I enjoy eating healthy foods everyday for my baby” and “Babies are born on their birthdays, not when doctors decide”) but honestly they have made me think about pregnancy and birth in a new way. I’m starting to feel more confident in my body’s ability to birth and anticipating birth as something slow and requiring patience.

Another bonus is all of the partner work required, which has brought my husband and me much closer together. Every other day he reads a script to me, we read the materials together, and practice communications exercises. It all sounds a bit hokey but once we decided we were in, we were completely committed to the process 100%. I now see the birth as a real team effort whereas before I saw him more as a helper of sorts.

The best part? Our doula is teaching the class, and the only other couple who signed up has since dropped out. That means we have completely private instruction for the next month and lots of time to get to know one another. I’m starting to think of the three of us as my “birthing team” and how less alone I feel now that I have this amazing support the entire way. Go team!

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I was thinking today: I should write a blog post! I’ve been out of town and busy and it’s been a while. Then I check and it’s been nearly a month. I take this as a sign that I really have been feeling surprisingly good.

When I started on this, I heard about pregnancy trimesters like a mountain: The first trimester sucks, things rise to a good level in the second trimester, and it’s all downhill from there. Now I will not argue with someone about the suckiness of the first trimester–really folks who are battling nausea and overall crappiness, along with uncertainty, all while not having societal acknowledgement of the major life change underway–ugh. Not fun.

For me the second trimester, I was so grateful not to be nauseous anymore, but by the end of it I was starting to struggle a bit. I was feeling pretty low energy a lot of the time. I was adjusting to my sudden lack of lung capacity which made everyday activities difficult. And not to be overlooked, I had this cloud over my head that “It’s only going to get worse!” so feeling not great seemed like the harbinger of many many months of crummy.

My third trimester so far, I think I’ve felt better just by beating my own expectations. Having gotten more used to not being able to walk long distances, I get really proud of myself for being able to walk without pain and without being completely exhausted. I call standing up from the floor on my own a victory! Look at me, kicking ass!

All this has culminated in some ways over the last month with two work-trips that have included quite a bit of physical activity for a pregnant lady. At 29 weeks, I was spending a lot of time in the woods, with things that I might call a “hike” (ahem, some might say “walk” but there were inclines! And tree roots!). At 33 weeks, I was on a trip in the heat–yes moving very slowly and wow I could get tired at times, but I was there!

So by my remarkably limited expectations, I actually now am feeling a lot of success. I feel good when I take my dog on trips around the block (it’s a big block). I can stand without pain. I stand for whole twenty minutes for presentations in which I kick ass–while being very pregnant. Take that patriarchy!

I also wonder if some of my bleh-ness of the late 2nd trimester had to do with gestational diabetes before it was diagnosed. I don’t think it accounts for everything–readjusting expectations for my “mild incline victories” wouldn’t have been easy in any case. But although I have been having my real frustrations and upsets with my restricted diet, I wonder if it is contributing to my overall energy level in positive directions.

All to say, I’m grateful to be healthy and well. I’m grateful that horror stories haven’t proven true so far (we’ll see how the next 5-6 weeks go!). And if someone happens to be reading this in the 2nd trimester- if you are feeling worse as time goes on, that’s ok, you are not alone, but it could also be that you feel ok within new limits. Take solidarity, but don’t let doom and gloom scare you.

Being on the edge of the 3rd trimester, I had a moment of anxiety that we had bought nothing for this baby. Literally nothing. We have several baby blankets that folks have given us and an umbrella stroller hand-me-down, but other than that there really was no practical object in our apartment so far for an upcoming baby. I don’t know if it is a combination of “I hate making decisions,” “I am not very fond of shopping,” or some sort of not-being-sure-if-its too early, but we finally decided that being less than three calendar months from a due date was time to start getting serious.

The first purchase was angst-y, but went pretty well. I decided that purchasing a crib would make me feel like we had actually done something. So we ordered a subscription to Consumer Reports to try to learn what I should be looking for in a very-safe-crib. I am a professional woman: when in doubt, research! We didn’t really like any of the ones we had seen in our window shopping at a local baby-store, so we ended up ordering one of the ones CR liked, that conveniently we liked the look of and also got good reviews from short parents. Done! Over-researched purchase #1 complete and here’s hoping that we like it as much in person!

Ok, well what comes after a crib? A carseat. I figure if we have a place for whippersnapper to sleep, and a way to get her home, then we are starting to get real here. Like, in case of emergency, the fella could run out for diapers and some packs of onesies and we wouldn’t be totally negligent parents. Baby-steps.

So after consulting the trusty Consumer Reports, we went out to the baby store to see things in person. We knew exactly the one we wanted to look at, we located it in the store, and then we spent a lot of time feeling like idiots. There were so many buttons! We knew we wanted to remove the carrier to see how heavy the it was without the base, and there the two of us stood, three masters degrees between us, completely baffled by baby equipment. We kept pushing buttons and pulling levers that did something else: this one tilts the car seat, this one moves the handle. There’s straps that move and are tightened. We try looking around to see if someone else has made this work. We try pushing buttons at the same time while lifting. At one point, we start wondering if maybe they have connected the carrier to the base to prevent theft, and put the whole thing on the floor to see what it feels like, while making comments like “how much heavier can the base be than a baby?.” Finally we have returned the whole thing to the display shelf and are trying to look at the different models and covers, when a woman walks up and in a single fluid motion, removes the carrier to test it out on a stroller base. The fella and I exchange knowing glances. This clear baby-expert is here with two other friends, and is demonstrating for them the things they should care about in a stroller (“Because you aren’t going to want to lug something heavy around just to run in for something in Target”). We subtly try to mimic her magic on the adjacent carseat, while simultaneously listening in for any wisdom this guru is sharing. She wheels around the car-seat on the snap-n-go with ease (“I actually think I like the same brand name version better. These weren’t available when I was in the market.”) Lo and behold, we push the button that she had pushed while lifting and like magic the carrier releases. How is this possible? We had tried that several times before to no luck! One of her friends, at that moment, looks to us with pity and says “First baby?”

So this is what I have learned from shopping so far. Despite all attempts to play it cool, we are going to be ridiculous first-time parents. I will read all of the reviews and probably pay too much. I am going to be baffled by simple objects. I am some baby-producers dream because in my bafflement, I have very little way to judge what is necessary and not. And as much as I would like to use my research to cover my inadequacies, a pinch of experience trumps a pound of research any day. Sigh.