When I asked one of my friends about what she wished could be different about her birth experience, she responded about a few things about the labor and delivery that she wished had or had not happened. Then a few days later, after more reflection, she wanted to tell me that she wished that she had paid closer attention to those last moments before the birth of her child.
I’ve always been one to really want to enjoy the very important moments and parties, and it can be hard to do. Regardless of the fact that I have wanted this type of lucid presence in other situations, I had not thought about it until she said something. Now it’s on my mind nearly all of the time, especially as the due date approaches and possibly passes.
For me, part of tasting, seeing, living the moment is remembering what we have done. I so often forget what I was doing or how things were in the days leading up to an event. So what have we been up to in these moments before the baby?
Most importantly we (that is my husband and I) have been working on encouraging the baby to come. On the one hand, I’ve been pregnant for so long that I can wait a few more days to meet the baby. On the other, we’re both antsy. For the last week, whenever I get up for my middle of the night pee, if my husband is conscious enough, he asks, “How’s it going?” I laugh a little, since it’s not normal for him to be asking me this, and then I can honestly say that all is well and nothing is happening. While he is hyper aware of what is happening for me, I am concentrated on doing all the things that encourage labor.
We are trying many of the things on the what to do to jumpstart labor recommendations list, though many articles and studies point out that they either work because you are already on the verge of having a baby or they don’t really work at all. The list of these things in many places, especially by my friends and friends of friends, includes frequent sex. The prostaglandins in semen and the experience of orgasm can encourage the softening of the cervix and contractions. The bottom line for this is why not? Sorry if this makes you uncomfortable, but someone has got to own up to the reality that people do it before they have a baby. The fact is, post baby, sex won’t be happening for a while anyways. Might as well get it in while you can!
Other things I’ve been doing include lots of walking. It is good both for swollen ankles, which I have had the honor to be blessed with and for helping the baby descend. The dog is getting some longer walks in this week for sure!
Eating spicy foods is also highly recommended. Our attempt towards this so far is an eggplant parmesan recipe from an Italian restaurant, Scalini’s. Since I have not gone into labor as of yet, I can honestly say that this was the best eggplant parmesan I’ve ever had, and complements to the chef (my husband), but it may not work. If you’re a cook and enjoy an amazing eggplant parmesan, I highly recommend it. Now we have enough for three additional meals, too! For good measure we had root beer floats for dessert. Root beer is spicy, right?
In addition to spicy foods, some people say that pineapple is a magic elixir. Pineapple has been one of the few things I have craved in my pregnancy, and I’ve eaten it nearly every day, and so far nothing has happened.
Things I will not be trying for one reason or another are: nipple stimulation for an hour or more…I think I’d rather wait until I have to breastfeed to create breast pain; castor oil…which tends to give people diarrhea, forget that!; and acupuncture…which I’ve never done and don’t know where to go to get. In a real pinch I might try the acupuncture.
As the due date approaches (Tuesday, June 8th) and will soon pass, we will continue to try some of these techniques. The fact is that baby won’t come until she’s ready. And if the doctors are not comfortable with how long she is taking to be ready, then we move towards induction. But that’s another story and one I don’t want to dwell on unless absolutely necessary.
Other than trying to coax labor, we’ve been continuing to work on our now nearly 6 month house. One could argue that the work we’ve done so far is in preparation for the baby. However, these preparations haven’t really included the baby’s room-to-be. Part of the reason for this is that we’ve been using the baby’s room for storage as we focus on all of the other rooms in the house. Another reason is that we know that the baby’s crib will not be here until September or possibly later.
We have finally arrived at the point in time when household organization includes moving things around in the garage so that we can move things out of the baby’s room. We cleared it out finally! Now it’s time to get some of the artwork on the walls. Doing the baby laundry and setting up the changing area are all part and parcel to what comes next.
As on a long trip, these last miles seem to be stretching on into forever. I hope to be able to enjoy the moments of sleep, the times that we can cook and eat without interruption, and the freedom to do a lot of what we want, and then to be totally present when the baby begins her journey out of the womb.
Thanks, Friend, for your thoughtful response to my curiosity. Here’s to living and being present in the moment!