November 11, 2010

41 Weeks (or 39 Weeks 6 Days)

Whether I really am 41 weeks pregnant at this point is very debatable, as my first ultrasound at 9 weeks gave me a due date of November 12. According to that, I'm due tomorrow! A woman's body is full of secrets, apparently.

I thought I'd dedicate this post to talking about what we're doing differently this time around. Obviously, we're having a birth center birth instead of a hospital birth, using a midwife instead of an OB, hiring a doula, and going unmedicated, but there's a whole host of other things that we're doing differently.

1) We're going to be old-fashioned and not update the world as soon as I go into labor, nor will we be updating throughout the course of things. We really only plan on telling select family members (our moms) once things get going, as well as our babysitter and our birth team. We may tell a few more people once he's born, but those who do know will be asked to keep the news offline until we have a chance to update the world ourselves. That puts no added pressure on us to deliver the news until we feel ready. And also, I kind of hate it when someone else ruins the surprise. A friend of mine had her baby and didn't reveal the name throughout her pregnancy. Then some moron friend of hers came onto her Facebook wall and was like, "I know the name! It's ______________" after the baby was born, before the parents even stood a chance at getting online. I found myself hugely frustrated on my friend's behalf because it was her (and her husband's) news to tell, not someone else's. I really wanted to hear it from them, not some stranger. Lame.

2) We are not allowing visitors at the birth center. We had people in the waiting room (and sometimes in the L&D room) while I was in labor with Charlie, and while I so appreciated the support, it was a stressor, especially because our moms had to see me in such a state of terror and vulnerability. That was not something I ever wanted or anticipated. From that experience, I learned that people will show up unless you tell them specifically not to. So this time around, we're telling everyone to stay home and wish us good thoughts from a distance. Once the baby is born, we won't be at the birth center very long afterwards anyway, maybe six hours or so. We'd rather spend that time bonding with Burt Reynolds and hopefully taking care of basic needs (like eating and sleeping) than trying to play pass the baby.

3) We plan to really limit visitors for the first little while after Burt Reynolds is born. (This, of course, all depends on how we're feeling.) In my ideal world, we will have several days to ourselves, just the four of us, where we can just all hang out and get to know each other. Then after that initial bonding time, I'm thinking we'll allow one visitor (or set of visitors) a day for awhile after that. I don't know, I really have no idea how this is going to work out or how we're going to be feeling at this point, but this time around I feel so hugely protective of our bonding time. I also really want this breastfeeding thing to work, and the less people around to make me feel uncomfortable while I'm doing it, the better. (Another lesson I learned at the hospital with Charlie!)

4) People who do come over to see us should be prepared to earn their baby time. With Charlie, I felt like I just had to pass him around to others, and I also felt I had to entertain our visitors. This time, we will request that people bring food, help around the house, help with Charlie so I can get the hang of nursing Burt Reynolds, etc. We're really going to need whatever people can give. Roy's aunt is even going to come stay with us for awhile once Roy goes back to work full-time.

So that's my list. I suppose I sound like a control freak and maybe even a little bitchy, but that's not really my intention. Nothing really felt right after Charlie was born so this is my attempt at a different outcome. I don't think any of our guests were actually expecting us to wait on them, but it was just difficult to voice what we needed. My views on a lot of things have changed in the past year and a half, and this time I have no problem with letting people know exactly what I need, whether it's to be left alone, to come over, to help with the house, whatever. It really is less about pleasing others and more about making it through what will probably be a really rough transition for us. I think the first time around we just had no idea what to do or what we felt or anything. It was just such a huge change, combined with such a deep level of trauma, so we were just going with it.

I won't lie, though, I am hoping for a blissful postpartum period where we just all kind of sit around and drink in the perfection of our new family. The reality, though, is that no matter how well the birth goes, the newborn period is quite a challenge, and if you add a toddler to the mix, it should be very interesting.

So here's to being 41 weeks according to my last period, or 39 weeks 6 days according to my first ultrasound! We have no idea when this baby is coming, and that's actually fun. Yes, there are times when I am completely over being pregnant. But I am in a very good place, both physically and emotionally, and I know this time of waiting is so short in the grand scheme of things. I'm enjoying my time with Charlie and Roy, my warm baths while drinking an O'Doul's at night, my books and music, my relative freedom, my sleep at night, and my naps during the day. Burt Reynolds is going to turn our comfy little world upside down. I'm enjoying the (relative) silence before the chaos really begins.

And can I just say how freaking glad I am that I went with a midwife for this pregnancy? If I was with an OB right now (generally speaking), he or she would be breathing down my neck about the fact that I haven't popped out this baby yet. This is exactly why we have shelled out a good amount of money: to give birth when my body is damn good and ready. Too bad our insurance company doesn't see eye-to-eye with us on this issue. Oh well, that's another subject for a quite depressing post.

(Edit: I am seriously considering going underground for the rest of this pregnancy. If I do this, I think I'll schedule my posts here and leave the rest of the online world alone. People haven't been too bad with the "baby? baby? baby?" stuff, but to be quite honest, I got a Facebook message this morning that made me go "WTF?!" Perhaps I've made a mistake in being kinda sorta vocal about my plans for an out-of-hospital birth without the typical interventions.)


sherthebear said...

Leslie, I wish you a happy and healthy delivery when Burt is ready. I hope that it all goes very positively. I absolutely agree with #4 on your list is wonderful. We did that when we got home with J. We locked everything up and turned the phone ringers off. No one could visit without doing something. D basically screened all our visitors. That was the best piece of advice someone gave me before J was born and D made sure that we did that and that we had out time with J. One friend helped me to bathe J for the first time, I was so clueless and I will always be thankful that she helped me do that. People brought groceries, made us dinner, brought us food. It was a great help. Definitely make people earn it :) I am thinking of you and wishing you all the best. I look forward to hearing your birth story when you are ready to share.

thebookmill said...

This was such an awesome and inspiring post to read. So glad that you are taking charge of your birth experience and letting people know what you need through the process.

I hope everything goes smoothly and Burt Reynolds makes a safe arrival into the world when he is good and ready!