I’m officially 38 weeks pregnant tomorrow! Yikes! Baby could really come at any time now. It’s so crazy. I do personally feel like she will try to come late, but let’s hope I’m wrong as I’m very, very uncomfortable. I’m planning on having a natural birth. That being said, whatever happens happens. I’m down with changing plans as needed (and I already have…goodbye water-birth and birthing center). I have however wanted to prepare myself for my preferred birth as much as I can. For me that involves both mental and physical preparation. I get anxiety, and the thought of pushing a baby out a tiny hole in my body definitely triggers it for me, as does entering the unknown.
To help me cope with my fear of birthing and reshape my thoughts about the situation, I’ve decided to use the Hypnobabies home-study course. I love it, one of my favorite things it teaches is that your thoughts help shape your reality…which is of course true. Things like simply changing the word “pain” to the word “discomfort” does make a difference in how scary a situation feels. I love reshaping thoughts, it helps me so much with anxiety and life in general, and Hypnobabies definitely has helped me to do this with birth. I will admit I don’t do it as often as I should (who wants to spend 4 hours a day listening to a woman speak over soothing melodies) but that’s what works best for me. I like to take a relaxed approach to things, If I take them too seriously then it’s more upsetting if things don’t go according to plan.
I’ve also been using a European tool called the Epi-no. It’s supposed to help stretch the perineum (not permanently) to allow for a greater chance to prevent tears and episiotomies (my greatest birth fear is a 4th degree tear…read about it at your own risk!). Basically you insert a balloon type pump that expands up to 10 cm, you work your way up from your starting point (wherever you start to feel “the burn”) to 10 cm or as close as you can get, over a period of 3 weeks (you start at 37 weeks). Using this I feel much less afraid of having everything down there tear into a vaganus uni-hole. If it happens, it happens but at least I tried you know?
I drink my birth-prep smoothie everyday. Supposedly eating 4-6 dates a day helps dilate the cervix, speeds up labor, reduces the need for interventions, and they also contain a lot of vitamin K which is essential for blood clotting. Not to mention all the other great benefits dates provide for health (fiber, vitamins and minerals, etc). Yes they’re sugar bombs, but they are healthy sugar bombs. I don’t like eating dates plain, I prefer to drink them. My recipe for a delicious date smoothie is below.
- 4 Dates
- 1 cup organic vanilla Greek yogurt
- 1 cup frozen organic mixed berries
- Ice to thin if needed (I prefer no ice)
Blend it up and it tastes so good like berry cheesecake in a cup.
I also drink red raspberry leaf tea when I remember (which isn’t often). It has similar benefits to eating dates, but also includes toning the uterus making contractions less painful and more effective.
I started using my essential oil diffuser this week to find my perfect relaxing birthing blend to take with me to the hospital. I love sensory tools to help relax and essential oils work really well for me.
Something I’m doing that most people will probably find to be disgusting is encapsulating my placenta after birth. A local company will come to my home a few days after birth, and prepare my placenta placing it into capsules that are supposed to help prevent Post-Partum Depression, help increase milk supply, and ease me into normal life hormonally, etc. To me it’s worth trying even if the concept is gross. I’m all about natural remedies.
Anyway my current birth plan is below, I’ll update post-birth on how everything actually went! The real plan is to just get our little girl here safely however that needs to happen but I obviously have preferences on how that will happen.
- Lowered lights
- Music or media that I find relaxing
- Essential oils diffusing
- Back massages from Brian
- Games for Brian and I to play to distract me and pass the time
- Hypnobabies techniques for pain relief
- Delayed cord clamping
- Skin to skin right away
- Delayed exams of baby, to allow time to bond and breastfeed
- No medication for me, unless I specifically ask for it
- Minimal interruptions and visitors from staff at the hospital
- No episiotomy
- Snack whenever I want
- No IV, and the ability to move around
- Alternative birthing positions
- Placental encapsulation