Monthly Archives: January 2013

Natural Childbirth? Sign me up!

So now that pregnancy has been progressing along, I’ve started to think a lot about labor and birth. I don’t know what labor feels like, I have no reference point for what birthing a baby might feel like. In fact, for the most part, I’ve been regaled by pop culture and other mothers telling their oftentimes unsettling birth stories. Things going wrong at every turn, pain medicines and epidurals, stalled labors and c-sections and in the case of Hollywood – women screaming, lashing out, hating the experience, and begging for drugs.

I had to wonder… does it have to be like that? Would I be like that? Is that typical? It wasn’t until I spoke with my friend who had her first child at a natural birthing center who said, “I had such a lovely birth experience that I honestly can’t wait to do it all over again!”

I found myself saying, “Wait, what? A lovely birth experience? One you would do all over again?” It was both strange, yet utterly refreshing, for me to hear such a positive story about birth. (This was well before I learned I was pregnant, so I tucked that away in my back pocket for when the time came.)

The time did come for us to have a child and my husband and I went to our first prenatal appointment a couple of weeks after finding out that I was pregnant. I was so excited about everything – the appointment itself signified a big milestone of pregnancy and I was ready to ask questions, learn about all of the details, and more. I was so excited about this appointment that even the nurse taking my blood pressure noticed but unfortunately, I left more disappointed than I can remember being in a long, long time.

Nothing bad happened, but nothing good did, either. We were rushed from our “discussion” time with the doctor (where only about 10% of my questions were answered) to the exam, handed a folder of information, and sent on our way. But wait, what about all of my questions? And the things I needed to talk to someone (other than my family and friends) about? And what exactly does the first trimester screening mean? And what do I do when… my list of unanswered questions went on.

I knew right away that I should trust my gut – that feeling of disappointment was not something I wanted to deal with throughout many more prenatal appointments and in the delivery room. Did I want a doctor who seemed disengaged to oversee the birth of my child? No, thank you! I wanted needed to be much more involved in my prenatal care and my thoughts turned to the birthing center my friend had mentioned.

It certainly was  a lot further away – the OB’s office and hospital in town were both about 10 minutes from our home – but from the moment I walked into the birthing center I knew I had found the right place. Even before my first appointment – during a meet and greet with one of the midwives – I felt completely at ease and she answered many of my questions that my OB had failed to address. She spoke with me frankly, treating me like a real person instead of just another patient. I immediately scheduled my first prenatal appointment with them and have been so happy with that decision ever since!

The entire process is a significantly different path than the hospital birth I would have had if I stayed with my OB. As long as pregnancy and labor progress normally, we should have much more control over our experience at the birthing center than we would have at the hospital. All that said, I know it’s possible for complications to arise or risks to come up – and I’ve got backup plans just in case. One of the most attractive things about the birthing center is that it’s right across the street from the hospital – making it very easy to transfer if the need arises. Win-win!

I can’t wait to see how it all goes… but in the meanwhile, I’m doing everything I possibly can to prepare my mind and body… including taking hypnobirthing classes (more on those in another post – I LOVE them!) and keeping my body in shape for the baby now, and also in preparation for what will likely be one of the most physically demanding experiences of my life – birth. And, a major thank you to Ivana Vacation 😉 who turned me on to all of this in the first place! Stay tuned!

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Oh hey, 2013!

The turn of the new year marked two very exciting milestones – the halfway point of my pregnancy and the year my husband and I will add “parent” to our list of respective titles. Something tells me finding better balance with baby will be a challenge in and of itself. Now that the holidays are over, and the weeks are passing quickly, I am kicking into high gear to plan for Baby B as my Type-A personality takes over to tackle two of the biggest hurdles: space and things.

Space

We live in a 2-bedroom cape. I love it! It’s such a cute house and a very manageable size for us to take care of. With both of us working like crazy, we don’t always have a ton of extra time to devote to the house. Only having one spare bedroom meant that we had an obvious choice for a nursery but also that we had to give up what had become the office/guest room/closet/storage/library/place to store crap. So, first things first: we’ve been donating what we don’t need and storing what we don’t use to slowly turn it into a nursery and make space for the things.

Things

Babies don’t take up that much space alone – it’s more like all of the things that come with them – from furniture to strollers to toys, and more. I’ve been mapping out in my head where in the house we are going to put all the baby things. Given that we find ourselves both space-challenged and budget conscience like many other new parents, I have been scrutinizing every product to weed out the must-haves, the nice-to-haves, and the are-you-kidding-me-I-would-never-spend-ANY-money-on-that-contraption-haves to make sure we’re covered, but not completely overloaded, with purchases that are practical from a space and cost perspective.

Shopping as a new mom is a very vulnerable time – you’re pregnant, you’re navigating new territory, you want the best for your child, and maybe you’re a little more emotional than normal (not that I’ve ever teared up in the middle of the baby store just thinking ahead to how exciting it will be to welcome Baby B into the world… or anything). Some of the most important conclusions I’ve drawn while registering for Baby B are:

  1. A lot of baby things are super cute –> super cute baby things are really easy to put on the registry in mass quantities –> super cute baby things are not usually very practical. (Knowing and understanding this didn’t stop me from putting only a couple of these on the list!)
  2. It’s really hard to avoid the marketing ploys that make you feel just a little guilty for not getting something that you would otherwise never purchase. But, having a marketing background both allows me to appreciate all the work that goes into the advertising and most importantly, I am able to remind myself to stick to my list. Just because a company paid to have better product placement on a shelf does not mean that they have a superior product.
  3. I am really thankful for the hours upon hours of time I’ve spent babysitting, nannying, and otherwise learning about children over the years. I owe the families who have employed me big time! Without even realizing it, I racked up years of testing products in real situations like car seats, strollers, diaper pails, and those flipping impossible child-proof human-proof outlet covers. I’ve also been able to think back on what products saved my sanity as a caregiver and I expect all of those experiences to come in handy in the coming years. It’s been more than a second job – it’s been an education in and of itself!

Balancing Space + Things

At the end of the day everyone has to decide what’s best for them and what will work for their own family. For us, skipping out on things like the wipe warmer (neither my husband nor I suffer from long-term psychological trauma caused by our parents using room-temperature wipes) and the baby food processor (which looks suspiciously like our “grown-up” food processor) has meant that not only will we save counter space, but we will also free up money to put towards the items we hope to get more use out of.

We’ll see. Maybe we’re making the right choices, and maybe we’re not – but we’ll find out soon enough and I think learning along the way is half the fun of it all, anyway!

So here’s to 2013 – a year of trial and error, learning, living, and at least someone in our family crying in public – whether it’s me or Baby B 😉

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