I’d done a lot of reading on writing birth plans. Some couples loved having them because it saved them time rather than having to re-explain preferences to new staff when the nurses did a shift change, and it provided a quick and easy guide for their caregivers to refer to. Others felt like it was a reminder of disappointment when things did not go according to how they had planned.
I decided to write a birth plan, but called it “What we hope for” instead. This title is as much for me as it is for the hospital. I need to keep in mind that although there are things that I want or want to avoid, I need to be open minded and flexible when it comes to labour and delivery. I don’t want to have a strict plan because chances are, that’s just not going to happen. All that matters in the end is that we have a happy and healthy baby at the end of it all.
Here is a copy of our birth plan:
WHAT WE HOPE FOR – Our Birth Plan
[Tasha and M]
Due Date: Sept 2
Doctor – XXXXXX
Personal note: I’d like to give natural birth a go, but am open to medical interventions if needed. The pain medication I am most ok with is Entonox. The ones I would most want to avoid are any that may affect breastfeeding. I’d really like ideas and support for non-medical ways to manage pain. I’d like to know when we’re nearing the “point of no return” for an epidural so I can decide at that time if I think I can make it without one.
- I’d like M to be my main support person, who will stay with me as much as possible
- If needed, my mother may switch off with him to give him a break
- I prefer not to have my labour augmented as long as my baby and I are fine. If needed, I’d like to start with natural methods before going to medication.
- I’d like to spend the first stage of labour walking, sitting up or on a birthing ball, in the tub or in the shower.
- I’d like to eat, drink or have ice chips to stay hydrated and keep my energy up. If possible, I’d prefer not to have an IV.
- I’d like to push squatting or other gravity-helpful positions when I have the urge, not with coaching.
- I would like to use perineal massage, warm compresses and positioning first before performing an episiotomy. I’d rather risk a small tear, but if an episiotomy is necessary, please use local anaesthesia.
- I hope to have a vaginal delivery and would like to try as many options as possible to avoid a c-section.
- I’d like to have baby on my chest, skin to skin, immediately after birth so we can breastfeed, and continue to breastfeed on demand
- M would like to cut the umbilical cord
- Please don’t offer formula or soothers to the baby, I plan to breastfeed exclusively
- M will give baby its first bath
- If needed, M will accompany the baby to the NICU
We’re at 37 weeks now! Baby is now considered full term.
I can’t believe we’re here… Every day I am amazed at how big and strong baby feels inside me. My belly is absolutely HUGE – it sticks straight out and is so perfectly round that it looks like I’ve stuffed a beach ball under my shirt. Both M and I sometimes can’t help ourselves and let out a breathless “woah” when we notice how big it is.
I’m lucky that the weather has been mostly co-operative this summer. There have definitely been days when it’s awfully hot, but for the most part I’ve been able to cope quite well. My office is air conditioned and we have plenty of fans in our house. We also bought this amazing stacker tower fan, which is two fans stacked on top of each other. It’s been a life save. We keep it at the foot of the bed and just point it right at me to keep me cool on the hotter nights. I don’t think I would have made it without it! It’s getting hotter again now, though, just as I’m going to be biggest and heaviest.
I only have a week left at work before I go on mat leave. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I’ve been awfully tired lately. I don’t sleep well at night because I’m too uncomfortable, even with my trusty Snoogle. Baby seems to kick a lot just as I first lay down, so it’s tough to fall asleep. Then, I usually wake up 3-4 times through the night because I have to pee. I’ve noticed in the past week or so that I’ll be woken up by some pretty serious Braxton Hicks contractions. They’re strong enough to pull me out of my sleep, and the way I’ve gotten them to go away is to get out of bed and do a bathroom run. Because this always happens at night, I sort of get the feeling that I’ll go into labour at night. I know it’s really not a good indicator at all, but that’s just the feeling that I get.
At my now-weekly exam, the doctor told me today that the baby has started to drop. Very exciting stuff! It’s still not fully dropped into my pelvis, but apparently baby is lower than it was last week. So – things are starting to happen. I think I really freaked M out a couple of days ago because he came downstairs and found me sort of hunched over holding up my belly. It was just so heavy and I could feel a lot of pressure from the baby pushing down. I’m guessing that that’s when baby started it’s descent lower into my pelvis. M said that there seemed to be a lot of grunting and other noises coming out of me that night!
Next week, we’ll do a pelvic exam and check my dilation and effacement. I am really starting to wonder when the baby is going to come!
I can barely believe it… Only ONE MONTH to go until I’m due!!! Looking back at everything we’ve been through since we first conceived in September and lost the baby in October… dealing with the miscarriage through November… getting our lives sort of back on track when I got my period again…. then that wonderful Christmas Day when we found out I was pregnant again…sitting on pins and needles through the first trimester… continued anxiety through my second trimester as I couldn’t shake that nagging worry…. dealing with sleepless nights due to this watermelon where my stomach used to be…. and now – at nearly 36 weeks!
September 2nd is oh-so-close!! I can’t wait to meet you, baby!
Last weekend I made a big mistake. I had a bridal shower to go to, and because I didn’t want to drive, I got a ride with a friend. Unfortunately for me, this friend happens to be a stay-at-home mom. She hasn’t worked for 5 years, and her husband travels frequently and for long periods of time for work. She spends all day, every day, with her two kids.
The shower was supposed to be 3 hours long, which with driving time, I figured would mean about a 4 hour outing. No big deal, just the afternoon. I had planned on coming home afterwards and having a nap, then going out for dinner with M, and calling it an early night, as usual. We left my house at about 12:30, and arrived just after 1PM. The shower was lots of fun, and ended quite promptly at 4PM. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law left immediately, and I didn’t think anything of it. I could have gone with them since they live close by, but I assumed (very incorrectly) that we would also be on our way soon.
I was way off: I didn’t realize that to my stay-at-home mom friend, this was her getaway, her fun time, her time to spend with adults, free of children!
She chatted exuberantly for HOURS. Other people were leaving, including another pregnant lady, not as far along as I am, who left saying she was tired out… By 6PM, I was frustrated and tired beyond belief. I had eaten all the fruit and crackers I could handle, but it was time for dinner, for real food. I was hot and tired and hungry. Once, my friend even said – I guess we should get going soon, to which I replied, “Yeah, I’m totally ready for a nap!” I thought this was pretty straightforward, but apparently not. Next thing I knew, she had struck up another conversation and there was no way I could even get a word in edgewise. I should have just put on my shoes, picked up my purse, and started saying my goodbyes. We stayed for longer.
Her husband even called to see when she would be coming home because he was hungry for dinner. After she hung up with him, she said: “See, you get to go home and rest. When I go home, I get to have my kids climbing all over me and I have to help with dinner.” No wonder she didn’t want to go home. But I couldn’t help but be angry that she couldn’t see how exhausted I was. I bit my tongue, though, because she had given me a ride and I didn’t want to seem ungrateful.
Finally, my other sister-in-law got a call from her husband (also seeing when she was going to be coming home so they could have dinner), and I jumped at the chance to see if I could get a ride home with her. Upon hearing that, my friend finally decided that we should get going, too. We made our way home, stopping at Starbucks first, and I did my best to keep my energy up during the ride home.
As soon as I walked in the door, at just after 7 PM, M greeted me and asked how I was holding up. I had been texting him for the last couple of hours, lamenting my situation. My response was that I was so tired that I could cry. And with that, I burst into tears and headed upstairs as fast as I could. I tore off my dress and climbed into bed, bawling because I was beyond exhaustion. M offered to get me food or something to drink, but all I wanted was to lie down and sleep. I was frustrated, angry and completely beat. I had not planned on being out for seven hours, and it was way too much for my pregnant body.
It was different from just a day at work because in that situation, I know what to expect. I know what time my day should start and end. But this was supposed to be a short afternoon out, followed by a nap and food. Instead, I cried myself to sleep and woke up at 9PM to have a bite to eat, and then went back to bed feeling worn out and robbed of my day.
I’ll never make that mistake again.
M has been a busy bee lately. As soon as he gets home from work, he’s doing things around the house, cleaning, organizing, fixing things. His current project is re-staining the back deck. We did it last summer, but only did one coat and it’s faded and scratched from the two dogs always running around back there. I am too big and tired and hot to help, so he’s doing it on his own. Watching the progress, I can’t help but think back to last year when I was right in there with my paintbrush, breathing in those fumes when I was only a few weeks pregnant with the baby that we would eventually lose.
Did I cause my miscarriage by painting????
The truth is, I’ll never know. And I can’t blame myself for the loss of our baby. I knew I was pregnant at the time, but I didn’t think it would be a problem to paint because we were outside, not in an enclosed space. Partway through it, I thought maybe I should check online to see if painting was advised against while pregnant. What I read told me that the reason they used to say pregnant women should avoid painting was because paint used to include lead. However, household paints are no-longer lead based, so it shouldn’t be a problem. Most sites also advised to not paint for long periods of time and make sure you took fresh air breaks.
Back when I first miscarried, my doctor told me that there is usually nothing the mother did to cause a miscarriage. Miscarriages just happen if things aren’t coming together properly, and that in the long run that means that the embryo wasn’t going to develop correctly. She said that 90% of the time, women will have a successful pregnancy after they have a miscarriage, and that miscarriages are unfortunately very common the first time. That was of little comfort at the time.
Awhile ago, I wrote a post on what would have been my due date if I had not miscarried. Lately, I’ve been thinking about what that meant. Instead of being 33 weeks along, I would have had a month and half old baby right now. It’s hard to imagine!! Right now, baby is still inside of me, kicking away as I type this, and getting bigger and stronger each day. I have to just hold firm to the belief that this is what was meant to be, that I can’t regret anything that happened or that I did in the past.
I have a job that I love at a great company. I’m not a high powered executive, but I am proud of my career at a fairly young age. I’m especially proud that I’ve accomplished what I have without having completed a degree, although I did attend a few years of university. I’ve achieved what I have because the CEO of my company recognized my natural talent and drive, and gave me the opportunity to take on more responsibility. From there, I’ve taken on a lot on my own, and have continued to progress in my role within the organization. I love that I’ve got a corner office with a nice view. I take pride in my work and my achievements. So – it was a bit disturbing when I saw the job postings for people to take over for while I am on mat leave. Two positions are being filled to cover for me while I’m gone.
I know there will be work for me when I come off maternity leave. Legally, of course, I am entitled to my job (or something similar) with the same level of seniority and pay. I get a year of maternity leave, plus I still accrue vacation time while I’m off, so I will actually have a year and 5 weeks before I go back to work. That takes me to the end of September, 2011. With the way my company is growing, it’s very unlikely that things will be the same when I come back at that time, so it was decided that I would discuss what opportunities exist and what I would be interested in so that we could decide what my job will entail. I am satisfied with that arrangement and have no real worries that I’ll be able to take on a role that I’ll be happy with. But still – seeing my job being posted on job sites, being talked about on Twitter and on LinkedIn – it’s strange and unsettling. I feel oddly protective of my job, like I don’t want anyone else to have it because I like what I do. What if they don’t do it as well as I did, or even just the way that I think it should be done? I am definitely the type of person who likes things to be in order, to be done in a particular way. It bothers me when things are unorganized, if items are missed because they weren’t thought through, and I especially hate it when things fail or need additional work or re-work. Sometimes I can’t help but wish that I had been consulted so that my feedback could have been considered and maybe some of those missed items would have been planned for and avoided.
We have now hired for both positions that will be covering my areas. It might sound impressive that we’ve hired two people to do one person’s job, but it’s not really like that. The two areas I manage are very different from each other, and honestly it’s not something one person would usually do. We’re taking each half of what I do an expanding each to cover more. It makes sense to split them up. I’ve been training one person for a few weeks now, and will start training the other person next week. Looking at my work calendar, I don’t have a lot of time left to make sure they are both ready. I plan on starting maternity leave in 5 to 6 weeks, but I want to fully hand off all of my duties to these new people in 3 weeks. This will allow them time to have full ownership while I am still available to consult and help with any issues that arise when they really sink their teeth into things. Plus, who knows how I will feel as I approach my due date.
Although I’ve felt really good, things may change, I may be too tired or too uncomfortable to work. Maybe the heat will get to me. Maybe I’ll be at risk for preterm delivery and I’ll need to go on bedrest. I do hope to have at least a couple of weeks off before the baby comes to relax and have some time to myself. I plan to work until either August 13 or 19, and I’m due September 2nd. That leaves me with 2-3 weeks off before the baby, assuming baby is on time. I hope to stretch it to the 19th, as I’d much rather have the time off afterwards than before. Besides, I have a feeling baby may be late anyway.
I’ve had a belly ring since I was 19. Not a barbell, like most people have, but old school, an actual ring. I used to change the bead on it all the time, going from bright blue to plain silver to red, and sometimes even hanging various trinkets off it like oval crystals. In my twenties, I would often wear cropped shirts or sweaters because I wanted to show it, and my toned stomach, off. For a long time now, though, it’s been completely covered, unless of course, we were on a beach or in our hot tub, or some other bikini type of situation. Most of the time, I even forgot that I had one at all.
I have been wondering for some time now how long I would be able to keep my belly ring since I was pregnant. I even asked my doctor about it a couple of visits ago, and his response was most unhelpful: “They don’t teach us that in medical school.” I wasn’t exactly impressed, and went to the internet for answers instead. Unfortunately, answers from women who also had belly rings while they were pregnant ranged from them taking it out in the 2nd trimester, to leaving it in the whole time. I also read a variety of experiences from women who’s piercings closed up during the time the ring was out to people who were able to put them back in afterwards with no issues at all.
Over the last several weeks, my belly has remained in that threatening-to-pop stage. I don’t think it’s getting any closer to popping out now than it was before we went on our “babymoon” to Hawaii almost a month ago. Who knows if it ever will or not, but I still have my fingers crossed that I’ll get to keep my innie over the last few weeks. My navel ring, though, had adopted a permanently crooked position, always leaning over to the right, with the bead leaving a small, round, painless dent in my very round belly. I contemplated taking it out, but worried about what would happen to the piercing. Would it close up? Would the hole get stretched out due to my growing belly? I had heard about those special pregnancy navel rings that are designed to be longer and flexible so that you can keep them in during your entire pregnancy. They can be quite inexpensive, and are available at most piercing places.
The other thing I struggled with was whether I would just take it out permanently. I’ll be 33 this year, and I certainly don’t show it off anymore. On the other hand, though – I still like my piercing. I find it cute and sexy and fun. (Well, maybe not so sexy with my huge belly, but pre-pregnancy, I think it still looked great.)
In the end, I decided it was time to just take it out and I can decide after I have the baby if I’ll put it back in or not. If it does close up in that time, then so be it. It’s highly unlikely that I’ll bother getting it re-pierced. But if I can put my ring back in, then maybe I will wear it again. I just hope that the hole doesn’t do any strange stretching over the last few weeks of my pregnancy and leave me with a weird scar. I guess we’ll just wait and see!
I have an app on my iPhone from WhatToExpect.com. It’s awesome, I check it every day. I added it to my iPhone after we had passed that critical 13 week mark. Before that, I was too scared that I might jinx us or that if I had another miscarriage, it would be another painful task to have to delete it.
Now that we are safely past that mark, I check it every day for the daily updates. Every Thursday, I read the weekly updates to see what changes are happening for baby and for my body. When you first open the app, it brings you to this page that shows how far along you are, the length and weight of baby, what trimester you are in, and a countdown. For what seemed like an eternity, the countdown was longer than the gestational age. It was an exciting day when we hit that halfway mark and it started going the other way. Today I am 31 weeks and 4 days along, making the countdown 8 weeks and 3 days.
8 weeks and 3 days!!!
I remember very vividly when I was 8 weeks into this pregnancy. I was terrified. That was when I miscarried the first time around and so this time, every day was like walking on thin ice. I can hardly believe that it’s now the other way around with only 8 weeks left to go until we get to meet baby!
It seems like time is starting to go by faster and faster. I remember how many times I wished for time to speed up after my miscarriage. Now it’s finally happening. M and I were looking at a calendar tonight and realized how busy we’ll be from now until the baby comes. This weekend, we have to take the dogs to the vet, a spa appointment and a family birthday dinner. Next weekend is a friend’s BBQ and his hockey playoffs. The weekend after that, I made plans with my mom to see a movie and go shopping for a nursing bra and pajamas or some nighties for breastfeeding, and I’m going to a bridal shower. Next up is the long weekend, when we’ll go away for a few days. Then the next two weekends will be my baby showers, and the following weekend we’re attending a wedding. And the weekend after that? Well, that will be only days before baby is due.
We took our first “family” trip last week. Originally, M and I had planned not to vacation anywhere this year since I was pregnant. However, after talking to many friends and colleagues, we decided that we should take a trip this summer since it would be our last chance to really get away, just the two of us. Now that we’ve taken our “babymoon”, I would definitely recommend it to others who are considering it as well.
Flying while pregnant was definitely a bit of a challenge, but it was not horribly uncomfortable. At 28/29 weeks, I was definitely big, but not so huge that fitting into those little airplane seats was an issue. Bending down to get my purse from underneath the seat in front of me was pretty tough, but I was usually able to use my feet to drag it closer and lift it up a bit so I could grab it more easily. I also made sure that I was getting up every hour or two to walk and up and down the aisle. Usually I would walk to the back of the plane by the washrooms (might as well pee while I’m up) and hang out there with the flight attendants while doing some leg and calf stretches. I also drank lots of water to make sure I was staying hydrated – apparently you can get very dehydrated while flying – and brought a special trail mix of almonds, dried apricots, banana chips and some M&Ms to keep my energy up.
We did lots of walking since the condo we rented was a few blocks up from Waikiki beach. Although we were still very close to everything, it still required a walk everywhere we went. I definitely felt it in my legs and back the first couple of days, since that was the most walking I’ve done for my entire pregnancy. After that, I think I got used to it, and it wasn’t too bad.
Snorkeling was definitely a highlight. I loved the weightless feeling I had in the water. All of our snorkeling was very relaxed, so I think the light swimming was also a great pregnancy workout for me. On our catamaran trip, we snorkeled in the ocean, about 3 or 4 miles off the coast at a place called Turtle Cove. Giant sea turtles are regulars there, as the fish that hang out at that reef like to eat the algae off the turtles’ shells, so it’s sort of a turtle hangout and cleaning station. We were told that the turtles were usually down at the reef eating, but would come up every 10-15 minutes to take a breath of air, and if they did come up, not to chase them since they would just swim away. The best thing to do is just float passively with them.
Since I am not a very strong swimmer (bays and rivers are OK, oceans not so much) I decided to take one of the “pool noodles” into the water. That way I could just relax and float around instead of worrying about getting tired out there. Especially being pregnant, I didn’t want to take any chances with overexerting myself or getting worn out. As I was floating several feet from most of the group, I noticed that one of the giant sea turtles was making his way up to the surface. Hmm, I thought, he’s coming this way. As I watched him, he continued to come up in my direction, seemingly right towards me. (I knew it was a male by his long, thick tail. Female sea turtles have shorter, stubby tails.) He was not moving aggressively at all, and I was definitely excited to have the opportunity to be so close to one of these amazing animals, but I think my maternal protective instincts were in full gear. I noticed my hand had moved protectively to cover my belly. He continued to come up towards me, and actually surfaced right in front of me – no word of a lie: about 2 arms lengths away. I couldn’t believe how close I was to this huge turtle! It was amazing!
It was definitely a very different vacation for us. Normally, on any of our trips to Mexico or Cuba or any sun destination always includes a lot of sleeping in, mixed drinks by the pool or beach, and late nights. Vacationing while pregnant included getting up by about 9AM, walking and hanging out, and calling it a night by 10PM. It was still very enjoyable, but it was definitely a change for me. Especially on our 8 year anniversary dinner, I wished I could have celebrated with a glass of white wine, but instead I enjoyed a virgin pina colada.
I had also always wanted to try surfing, but unfortunately, that was not in the cards. I thought maybe I could try it if I just took it easy out there, but M reminded me that surfing requires paddling out on your belly. So…. not so possible with this big basketball in front of me! I suppose that will still have to wait until our next trip to Hawaii. Overall, our babymoon was fantastic, but I am definitely worn out. Growing a baby is a lot of work, so a relaxing vacation was certainly the way to go. I don’t think having a packed schedule of excursions or tours would have been possible at this point.
My bags are packed, I’m ready to go…
We leave for Hawaii this weekend! We are so excited now that it’s so close to our trip. I think baby is excited, too, because it has been kicking like CRAZY for the past few days. It amazes me how big and strong our little one is getting. Sometimes I’ll be sitting at my desk and I’ll get a big huge kick! It surprises me, because I’m not expecting it, and I’ll let out a little “Oh!” I am really enjoying this time because I know that in a couple more weeks, you don’t get to feel as many kicks anymore, and its more just poking and rolling around.
A co-worker of mine also went to Hawaii when she was pregnant with her little girl. I think she was 25 weeks pregnant at the time. She said that baby loved it when she went swimming, or was in the water at all. Whenever she would be wading around or swimming, baby would become very active. How cool! I wonder if our little one will react the same way.
The flight is not too bad – about 5.5 hours. Before booking our flight, we had to check with my doc to make sure I was given the OK to travel. Because I am travelling by plane while pregnant, some airlines require a special note confirming my due date and that I am allowed to fly. Usually, after 37 weeks, airlines won’t allow you to fly just in case you go into labour on the plane! I am 28 weeks today (hooray!) and will be 29 weeks when we come home. Since everything is going along fine with the pregnancy this time, with no complications, I was given a note saying that I’ve been approved to travel by plane.
They did give me some pointers, though: Get up and walk up and down the aisle regularly to get my circulation going. Drink lots of water during the flight, and bring my own healthy snacks. I plan on making myself a tasty little bag of custom trail mix – almonds, dried apricots and apples, and a few M&Ms 🙂
This will be my first sun vacation ever that will not include late nights, margaritas on the beach and glasses of wine with dinner. It will be a little strange, I suppose, but there’s still lots of things that we can do. We just want to do plenty of relaxation and enjoy this last little getaway with just the two of us. It’s going to be the last time we can get away as a couple for quite some time! There’s going to be some shopping and sightseeing, but a lot of hanging out on the beach and eating great food. I’ve already packed up my extra-SPF sunscreen because apparently your skin is much more sensitive to the sun when you are pregnant. The last thing I need is a sunburn on my big, round belly! I also borrowed a nice big beach hat to give some extra coverage.
I am really looking forward to getting away and enjoying our trip. Baby is going to be a little jet setter even before it’s born…