I’m a little late with posting this update this week because J, my husband, and I were busily working on our house all weekend. Our living room was covered in a 70s style wood paneling, which is easy enough to pull down. But what lies beneath is going to turn out to be a living hell to clean up. Glue, plaster ripped down to the paper, and gashes pockmark the walls. J hopes to be able to refinish the walls himself so that they look good enough to paint. Everything about fixing up the house is about saving a buck right now.
While J pulled down the wood paneling and melted glue off the walls, I prepped and painted our office-to-be, zero VOC paints of course. Amidst all of this housework, I keep hoping that none of it is too bad for Baby Blueberry. I have a lot of control over the type of paint I use, but how we resurface the walls is another story. And since we’re planning on doing it ourselves, I have to live in the midst of potentially noxious fumes. As a result, J and I are deep in discussions about how we’re going to do things so as not to affect Blueberry too much.
- Week 23, Kicking and Squirming. Shirt by Michael Stars.
This week, the baby, whom we have referred to as Blueberry since week 8 or so, has grown to almost 12 inches and is over a pound. While I have felt her moving since week 16, on Wednesday of last week, her movements increased dramatically. When she moves, she really moves. I had the opportunity to meet one of the many doctors who could deliver my baby, and I came prepared with a short list of topics I wanted to cover: doulas, episiotomies, induction, and C-sections being the most important. I wanted to see how the doctor would respond to my questions and concerns, and I was greatly pleased.
I have been considering trying to have an unmedicated birth for a while, and I contemplated birthing with a midwife. For reasons I can’t totally explain, I’ve decided to go with an OB, but to help me have a more personal experience, I’ve planned to hire a doula. On Friday, J and I went to get to know one of the doula practices in the area, and I was impressed to say the least. A doula is basically a person who helps to support the woman physically and mentally through the pain of labor, as well as to empower the woman to speak up for herself and ask for what she needs when the doctor suggests something not in her birth plan. While I knew a little of this before our meeting, my picture of what they will do before, during and after birth was clarified.
It also helped that the doctor and I had a little heart to heart about doulas. Her perspective was that many doulas come in and try to tell the doctor what to do, creating a sense of animosity and frustration about the doula and the patient, and vice verse. I was comforted by the explanation this particular doula practice gave about how they handle the hospital situation; namely, they don’t talk to the doctors. They help the woman think through the decisions that need to get made and then help her voice her desires.
Both my experience with my doctor and with the doulas made me excited about the labor experience, which seems like such an alien idea to me. All of the images I’ve had fed to me about childbirth have led me to expect the worst. Even though I’ve read at least a hundred midwifed birth stories, mostly joyful and good with a few bad ones in the mix, I have never quite been able to shake the perception that labor is awful. Maybe it is awful, but somehow, it seems like it can also be amazing. Being around the right people and preparing your mindset seem to be extremely important…at least that’s what I’m thinking at the moment.
Now it’s time to meet other expecting mothers in the area. I have yet to make any connections with people in the Bay Area. Not having a job and not running or swimming quite like I have in the past all put my at a disadvantage. We have an amazingly friendly neighborhood, and in fact, were invited to a Superbowl party down the block. Of course, we went, and I got to hear another birth story (I can’t get enough of them!). Still, the friendly people don’t equal friends, at least not yet. I plan on casting my net far and wide. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.