Tuesday, May 8, 2012

32 Weeks Pregnant

Is it even true?
I think I made it through an entire week of pregnancy without shedding a tear, and even better --- without freaking out!
And maybe even "more better" (purposefully poor grammar) I didn't even stop to notice this phenomenon until I went to write this post. Which means it was just the natural state of things. Um, it may just be a miracle! A wonderful, wonderful miracle!

Tuesday night I went to my second ICAN meeting (they meet once a month) and I'm gonna have to say, overall it wasn't as much of an encouragement to me. Not to say it wasn't a good meeting, but it just didn't do the amazing wonderful heart touching that the first meeting did. Mainly the time was spent answering questions for women wondering things about how to avoid too much testing on their newborn and themselves in the hospital, and kinda focusing, therefore, more on the negative aspects of healthcare. Also hearing a very unideal birth story, that could have scared my socks off. In the moment I was really tempted inside myself to start questioning a lot of my decisions I've made so far about how I plan to do this this time, just because the information was so heavy and intimidating. But I was able to stay really objective.
So I think what I liked most about having gone to this meeting was the realization that I just sat through a highly emotionally charged discussion, on a topic that had been my kryptonite, and was able to leave feeling totally ok. The worst feeling I had afterwords was just wishing I had experienced more encouragement. But I didn't have any worse feelings than that. Had I gone to this same meeting a few weeks/months sooner I would have left in a straight jacket!

So I guess my week started out with a promise of stability.

Monday night (Techincally week 31) I had to do a "Chiropractic Breakup." I had been seeing a chiropractor in town, and I thought he was doing a good job. But I was referred to a prenatal Chiropractor instead. Initially I didn't want to make the 50 min drive to see her, because I felt like it was gonna be too hard to coordinate with taking care of a toddler. But I went ahead and called the office and asked what they did to see if it would be worth it. It seemed like it. So I took the plunge and decided to switch.
It was fairly awkward telling my first Chiropractor what I was doing, since he and his wife actually used many of the same connections and providers for their children's birth that I plan on using for my birth. So I kinda felt like I was being extra insulting to say I was referred to someone else. And he did get a bit defensive and say he was doing the same things as the office I was planning on going to does, but he was a gracious as possible and said its about a healthy outcome for me and the baby. I felt kinda cruel thinking about it on the way home, but I knew what I really wanted to get out of this whole process, so I felt like I made the right call.

So then Thursday I went to my initial exam and first adjustment with the new prenatal Chiropractor. I was kinda nervous that I wouldn't be able to find the office seeing as how I don't know my way around Des Moines, but I made it there. I walked hesitantly down the street it was located on, as I had parked down a side street, and I wasn't exactly sure what door I would be going in. "Ok here it is." I open the door and am in a breezeway with a sign that says "Please take off your shoes." I stop and stand there a moment, not really sure what's going on. Then I notice the sign for the office says something like "Prenatal Chiropractor and Yoga." Now I'm not sure what I've gotten myself into. I keep my shoes on for a moment and walk through the door. There is the receptionist desk behind a wall with an open window to interact through.
The wall is painted in reds and purples and flesh.
It's wombs and babies.
In-utero-babies with placentas and umbilical cords, all floating in invisible amniotic fluid all around the window.

I take a deep breath.
I am not used to addressing pregnancy quite like this, even though I have been reading and researching and doing my best to embrace the earthy "real side" of  my womanhood.
My initial gut reaction is to think "Holy crap, I can't be here. I've just got myself in too deep. Why are there womb-babies on the wall?!?! I thought I was just getting my spin adjusted. The last place was beige and I could leave on my shoes... I don't know about this!"
But my deep breath brings in the memories of my new knowledge.
"This is natural."
"This is who we are as people... as women giving birth: real, gritty, messy, and totally unpristine, unmagazine, un-made-for-tv versions of our species. This is the side we try and ignore -- but it is part of who God made."
"I've decided to embrace the idea that my body is made to do this, its time to embrace the whole of it all. In-utero-babies and all... Not sure I'd paint them on my wall, but hey I can be in a room with them on the wall."
"All that Ina May you've been reading...you are a "hippy" now, Lydia, just jump in! No point in holding back part of you now over some paint!"

I ask, across the wide divide of wooden floor, designed for pre and post natal workouts, "Should I take off my shoes?"

They are left by the door.
And so is a lot of my pride and hangups.
(I've been leaving a lot of that stuff behind in many offices through out this pregnancy.)

So I met the new Chiropractor. And I love her. She was warm and so understanding. I felt, perhaps, like this was the first time I was heard. I almost felt like I had gone to a therapist session, just because she was the first person to meet my gaze and hear my words of "That was hard, so this is scary" and just see me and acknowledge me.
She didn't try to do much more for my emotions than listen. But it was the way she listened. It was invaluable. She did go on to tell me, in a non-band-aid like way, that many successful VBACs have followed chiropractic treatment, as well as faster, easier labors, and reduced pushing time.
Her attitude alone was enough for me to be glad I came. But her adjustments and knowledge were so much more baby focused than my last Chiropractor's. (I think seeing any chiropractor would be a great aid in aligning the body, which would be so helpful in labor, but I love that she knows so much about pregnancy.) She did more pelivic adjustments than he did, including a pelvic bone adjustment. She also felt the baby and told me exactly where she was and how she hoped to get to her to engage by 37 weeks. (The last chiropractor did not ever feel the baby once.) So I was really impressed.
She also gave me a lot of great prenatal advice and some exercises to do to help with the body and in labor.
AND... in this office they have a playroom right off the adjustment room so I can bring J and let her play while I get my adjustment. (Superb! That makes the drive totally possible!)

I was seriously so glad I came!

Friday I had a prenatal check up.
I got the ok on talking walks despite it bringing on any contractions. I was told once you've had a baby, everything is stretched out, so you feel more contractions and you can feel it down lower like I did in the birth canal without it being a big deal. So I'll be walking more. (I wanna see that 37 week engagement happen!)
The baby's still head down, she's not down very low yet, but thats ok.
I measured two centimeters big this time, but was told it was probably just that the baby was floating up high for now. (Besides the fact that plus or minus 2 cm is totally normal.)
Baby's heartrate was 140's- 150's.
Good News -- I'm still good to go on my Rh-negative stuff.
     I got checked to make sure I didn't get sensitized to the Rh-positive antigen between pregnancies, because if I had the shot would be pointless. But I was still fine. (It would be very, very rare for anyone who's gotten the shots during previous pregnancies to get sensitized, but they to check to be safe.) So I got to get my shot. Yay! :) Apparently this shot has only been around for something like 40 years -- so I'm very blessed to be living in this time! (Before the shot was around, ladies like me may have died in childbirth or never been able to have as many children as they would have liked, since my body's potentially sensitized blood would have attacked the new babies' blood.) So needless to say, I'm very happy to get the shot!
And that's my exciting news from my check up.

I didn't get to the pool as much as I should this week, but I did make it. On friday it was crazy! The night before I tried out my new core strengthening exercise from my chiropractor, it didn't feel too intense, but I could feel it. Well when I got in the pool the next morning, I quickly realized that I really use my core to swim! It doesn't usually feel like it, it usually seems like its all arms and legs. But wow, my abs (or what's left of them) were crazy tired and I could barely make it across the pool without sinking! So I honestly could only swim for 20 mins (not my usual 30) and with LONG breaks at each side of the pool.
At least I know those core strengthening exercises are effective!
And then when I got back in the pool on Monday I was swimming better than ever.
I'm going to have to switch my normal swim time, since the pool isn't open in the mornings for the summer. So I'll be swimming in the evenings now. (Maybe that's a good thing, since its been getting harder and harder to get up early lately.)

I'm personally not thrilled with this photo -- 
taken in a rush at the end of the day, but here ya go!

The belly must have only grown a half inch last week, because this week its measuring that, as well. (10.5 inches total growth.) Hips haven't grown any for quiet a while. (3 inches total) Maybe that's all for them. We'll see. I don't have a problem with them making room! They know what they need to do!
(And as weird as it sounds, bigger hips was one of my favorite post-pardum-body features last time. As smooshy as my belly was, I actually really liked the new dimensional difference between my natural waist and my hips -- I felt rather "Marilyn Monroe"... in a pillsbury doughboy kind of way. ;P )

Anyway, I'm still feeling pretty awesome physically. I had one sore spot on my back one day this week. Not bad. Other than that, I feel fine. No heartburn. (I guess its from carrying lower this time.) Hips haven't hurt. I feel big, but I don't feel that big -- like walking around is still pretty easy.
I was trying to think back to last time, but I don't think I have a good feel for when I felt what. I kinda only remember the last month of pregnancy and its hard to remember the earlier stuff. But I am pretty sure that by this point last time I was feeling way bigger and more achey than I am now. I think the difference this time is multifaceted. For one my body has already done this, so it knows what to do. For another I really think seeing a Chiropractor has taken away a lot of my small pains I was having/would be having. And last but not least being in the "healthy" range of weight and weight gain must be helping as well.

Blake was commenting to me last night how he thinks this pregnancy has been a cake walk for me physically compared to last time. I guess I would agree, but I have a hard time calling it a cake walk due to all my emotional distress I've endured so far! But since this week has gone so well emotionally, I'm hopeful that by the end I'd be willing to call it that.

The baby is getting stronger. When she wants to she can press really hard on my belly and make a bulge -- usually its under my right ribs. (The day I was at the Chiro, she said her feet were in that spot, but I think at other times its her butt. It just seems like whatever is right there, is sticking out!) But I say, when she wants to, because I still really think overall she's much more still than J was inside. I always am wondering "who she is", what her personality will be like. I don't really have a guess from her movements, but I keep trying to get some kind of idea. I'm hoping the "stillness" will equate to some sort of sleep for me, but we will see! :)

This photo makes me look like one of those people who can't put their phone down,
but I was texting a photo of J in her "hat" (a towel turban, she insist on wearing after her bath)
 to granana. :)

J has been overwhelming me this week with her smarts. She is just saying more and more. I don't even know when to count it as new anymore, because she just keeps adding to it. She's been counting -- in order -- correctly! Its crazy! (I am sure that's because we count to 20 every night before I lay her in her crib.) And she's learning her letters. She will look at my computer keyboard and point to a key and say "Letter O" and be right! I almost passed out! She gets some wrong, but the fact that she gets so many right is totally shocking to me. She will point out letters in her books titles like "Goodnight Moon" and she was bringing me letters magnets off the fridge and telling me almost all of them right!
I can't believe it!

Oh but in other news, crayons and pens are now under lock and key as pen as wound up on her belly, and crayon on the wall and around the house! She's been told "only on paper" so now when she sees the crayon marks on things she says "paper" but I'm not sure she get's that what she is pointing at is not paper itself!

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