There’s so much I’m learning about birthing these days. There’s an endless pit of information on how to have an optimal birthing. It’s great and all, but this journey seems like it will never end. Frankly, I think a part of me doesn’t want it to end. I’ve had anxiety about it ending for the last several weeks.

Once I decided to take on this natural birthing process and learn everything I could about it, it became this goal for me to reach…this task to accomplish, this race to win. I have to admit, I didn’t think about the result of birthing…becoming a mom. It’s kind of like preparing for a wedding. Living in Orange County, we spend tens of thousands of dollars, months and months planning every single detail from cake toppers to groomsmen socks, all for one day that comes and goes like a flash. You’re left with nothing but you and the partner you fought with in order to get everything you wanted for your wedding day. And the real purpose of the wedding was to get married right?

I have to admit, I think I had physical anxiety attacks just thinking about becoming a mom. I have flashbacks of being 16 slipping out of my house so I could pick up my friends and drive to LA in the pouring rain, fishtailing on the freeway, getting to a bar where they don’t check IDs, hanging out with a bunch of guys who clearly are gang bangers, picking up phone calls from my frantic parents explaining my friend’s boyfriend was abusing her so I had to go rescue her…then returning home, smearing off my makeup and then entering into my house with my parents up at 3am, freaked out thinking I was beat up because my mascara and eyeliner gave me raccoon eyes without a proper makeup remover. I have anxiety because I was a terrible, terrible teenager to my parents. They poured an unusual amount of devotion to my schooling and talent honing, just so I could rebel and become jaded, disillusioned by societal standards of success, and eventually try to drop out of high school and later college for more artistic ambitions. I think about what I put my parents through, and I don’t know if I could be as patient as they were. I think about them…and then I think about myself…and the baby I’m about to bring into this world. Then the anxiety comes.

Thankfully, I’ve been doing these “fear clearing” sessions with hypnobabies. I think it really helped. They teach that often our fears are unproductive and if we fixate on them, they can and will become a reality if we don’t let go of them. In my self hypnosis session this past Sunday, I envisioned my fear as a raft that floated away into the abyss.  I actually feel much better now. I have to accept that I don’t have control over everything and need to take things one day at a time. I can’t wait till next Sunday where I do another fear clearing session. I’ll be saying goodbye to another fear I have…breastfeeding.

Alright. Enough of my emotional rant. This past month has been full of prep, prep, prep.

Here are some items I didn’t think I would need for my birthing explained:

  • Fishing net: yes…I’m planning to try out a tub at some point in my birthing time. Not sure if I’ll stay in the tub to give birth, but I hear it can be quite soothing and relieve pressure buildup from birthing waves (aka contractions). But there are moments when you’re pushing baby out that a woman cannot control where she pushes…and I hear a fishing net is a must…to fish out…well you can probably guess. Squirm all you want…but its all a process of birthing!
  • Aromatherapy: I just started researching aromatherapy and ended up getting all different types of essential oils. Lavender+peppermint for headaches, lavender+geranium+rosemary for fluid retention, Neroli for insomnia and nightmares, and spikenard for relaxation just to name a few. Some of these oils are used for body massage, and others for brightening up a room with delicious scents.
  • Beef Jerky, Lara Bars, dates, coconut water: All great snacks high in protein for the day of birthing. In a hospital they don’t allow you to eat because of liability issues and possibility of throwing up if you are taken into a c-section. With midwives they encourage high energy foods to be eaten during your birthing time in order to keep you energy up. I’m supposed to drink 4-6 oz of something with electrolytes like coconut water, and then 16 oz of water every hour! Gotta stay hydrated as well.

Here are some cool things I’ve learned with links:

  • African babies tend to cry less.
  • Elimination Communication. My hypnobabies instructor told me she used EC with her kids and that it’s really awesome. She said that the reason why babies tend to pee or poop when you open up their diapers when they’re infants, is because they naturally want to be clean just like us! So it’s instinct to release once the nappy comes off. However we train them to reverse their instincts by expecting them to go in their diapers, and then at 2 years old, force them to go on the toilet. EC allows your baby to go in the toilet, sink, or baby toilet at times you know they will want to eliminate their waste. You can EC part time, and you should never punish them for going in their diapers as babies should not have to hold in their waste for an extended amount of time. Here’s a youtube video: Elimination Communication.
  • Iron should not be taken with calcium as they cancel each other out. Vitamin C helps with Iron absorption. I started taking Floradix as a supplument and I must say it’s quite tasty. Many prego women suffer from lower iron levels just because we’re supporting 2! But having high iron levels is good for birthing in case of blood loss.
  • There are optimal positions your baby should be in for an easier and faster birthing. Also, just because your baby is breech (feet facing downward) doesn’t mean you have to have a c-section. You can still have a natural birth. Optimal position: baby is facing head down, with his body on the left side of the womb, facing your spine. Up until 3 weeks ago my baby was facing my spine. However in the last couple weeks he started facing outward. Having baby face the spine helps avoid back labor, which can be much more difficult for mommy. I used techniques from spinningbabies.com and I’m happy to report after yesterdays check up he is facing my spine again!
  • Epidurals are not harmless to both baby and mama. ( I had this assumption that epidurals were like tylenol…just take it to make the pain go away with no side effects. However…I just learned tylenol can be super dangerous too. So much for assumptions!) “One possible side effect of an epidural with some babies is a struggle with “latching on” in breastfeeding. Another is that while in-utero, a baby might also become lethargic and have trouble getting into position for delivery. These medications have also been known to cause respiratory depression and decreased fetal heart rate in newborns.” from Americanpregnancy.org.
  • You can massage your womanly area starting from 36 weeks to help stretch out and prepare yourself for the birth. Many women don’t tear at all from natural birthing. Yeah, I know, unheard of! But its true. I started it 2 days ago..and….well…lets just say it doesn’t feel that great. However, I’ve been using my “finger-drop technique” from hypnobabies to help alleviate tension and relax myself before working on stretching my womanly parts.  Perineal Massage instructions are here.

I’ve been learning a ton lately. But best of all, I’ve been really learning to love my husband all over again. Not that there was any love lacking before, but all this time we’re spending together building the baby room, going to midwife appointments, taking classes and making joint decisions has got me to realize how lucky I am to have such a supportive husband. I wake up every morning and feel great knowing he’s there to support me. I know not every pregnant woman is fortunate to have a loving partner….so I’ll just take these moments to count my blessings.

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