39 Week Musings

DW4A3791_1Welcome April, our birth month! Nevermind my husband’s attempt at an April Fool’s joke yesterday… we made it to 39 weeks and are in waiting. My apologies to those who were fooled.

A mix of feelings this week as our big day approaches. Part of me is ready to meet our babe, to learn if we are parents to a son or a daughter, to see what they look like, and to hold them.

Another part of me wants to remain pregnant. I really l-o-v-e my belly. I’m in awe of it and admire it in the mirror daily. It represents every blessing that has come my way in life; every path that lead me to where I am today, a partnership with my dear Cody and our journey together to become parents. I love the movements, especially when they tickle me. I love that my babe is safe and healthy inside me. I love the experience of it all. I’ll miss the belly and movements. I’ll miss the ease of being a parent to only 4-legged creatures. I’ll miss just me and Cody. This is a life-changing event.

And yet another part of me now begins to focus on our impending labor and birth of our child. I’ll admit, a small part of me is a wee bit scared. Not completely, not yet. I fear I will become more scared, and that fear is my enemy. I won’t be relying on medications to aid in my labor or to relieve me of feeling every raw moment of child-birth. I’m going to experience it fully. Am I ready?

I wrote an entire post about my choice to birth naturally, if you are interested, you can read it here: https://bearvale.com/2015/04/01/why-i-am-choosing-a-natural-birth/

DW4A3787_1I know I’ll be just fine. Yes, it will be a pain like no other, but it will also be a joy and reward like no other.

So as our day draws nearer, I ponder when it will be the day. How will labor start? Waking in the middle of the night, during a hike, or as I work? It’s fun to consider this.

I love our babe so much already, yet I know this is a fraction of what my heart is capable of, just an ounce of the flood of emotions that will take me over when I lay eyes on them and hold them for the first time.  Couple that with my excitement to see Cody’s face as he officially becomes a father, as we connect in awe and humble amazement during those initial moments following birth and realize the miracle we have created. How insignificant everything else was before that moment. Our excitement now does not compare to that which we will feel as we relish in our brand new babe and begin making calls (yes, family, you won’t learn of the arrival of our babe via Facebook!) to share our happy news. I look forward to the expansion of my heart, my soul, and my capacity for love, gratitude, and amazement.


Nora is excited to have a babe of her own

39 Week Summary

Due Date: April 9 (a.k.a. NEXT WEEK! or sooner…. or longer….time will tell)

Weight Gain: 29 lbs

Activity: Restrictions are off and resuming normal activity and on-purpose exercise. Hiking daily through the fields with the pups.

Pregnancy “Side-effects”: 

  • Yes to breakouts, minor morning sickness weeks 5 – 9, and frequent trips to the restroom
  • No to everything else: stretch marks, varicose veins, swelling, Braxton Hicks, hypertension, constipation, heartburn, leg cramps, nose bleeds….. etc.
  • And to my surprise, I have not missed or craved beer or wine during this pregnancy, though I have given into other cravings: PB&J sandwhiches, french toast, and chocolate

Feeling: Great! Blood pressure and heart rate are low. I don’t feel uncomfortable or miserable as some warned me I would at this point in my pregnancy. Sure…the lower ligaments in my hips/pelvis feel weaker, the babe continues to push high into my ribs (only on the right side), and I am tired and ready for bed by 9pm. But I am sleeping well, and up and out of bed before my husband each morning. 🙂 I’m grateful for a wonderful pregnancy and that we arrived at 39 weeks without complication.

DW4A3776_1Baby: According to the “baby as a fruit” comparison, baby is the size of a mini watermelon. S/he is positioned low in pelvis. Heart rate has been in the 130s the past few weeks, but at Tuesday’s appointment, was in the 120s. Movements continue to be frequent but became stronger this week. They don’t hurt, but its clear s/he is lobbying for space in there and body parts are more pronounced with the movements, especially the butt, legs and feet.

This Week: 

  • Got a new toy–a Fitbit. It’s fun tracking my steps and elevation during my hikes. Will also help to get me back on track after I heal up a bit.
  • Garden seeds have been planted/started (many thanks to my wonderful mother-in-law). Horticulture season is upon us!
  • Massage and chiropractic treatments! Typically these alternate weeks, but with time becoming short, I have one of each this week.
  • Cody “frost-seeded” the hay fields and pastures. This will add clover to our field, enhancing forage for our herd.
  • Out every day for walks and hikes—loving the weather!

Bear Vale Dreaming Tree 39 Weeks Pregnant–Out for a Hike




Why I Am Choosing a Natural Birth

As shared in blog post “38 Weeks,” we had to have some monitoring throughout the first two trimesters of our pregnancy and take precautions due to my LEEP procedure in 2003.

22 weeksThe monitoring was far more intervention than what I desired. I would have preferred to not have had to have the ultrasounds, but when pregnant for the first time, you want to know you are doing what is necessary and take precautions. Even with the concern and increased monitoring, I was planning a natural birth, one I had always envisioned for myself.

I have hesitated many times to post this and prior to publishing it, I made numerous edits. Let me start by saying that the opinions and decisions outlined below are mine. I firmly believe we all must do what is best for us. This is what is best for me, my babe, my family. It is supported by my husband. We each have our own way and our own desires, in pregnancy, and in life. If anything, this post only serves to share why I am choosing a natural birth and provide a journal entry in my pregnancy journey. And perhaps, I’d also like to encourage those who are pregnant or who will become pregnant to do your research and know your options, know your rights.

As news spread about our pregnancy, the topic of labor/birth would come up on occasion. It was hard for some to understand how we could stand not knowing the gender of the baby, when clearly we could be told and plan accordingly. It was even more difficult for some to understand why we planned to approach labor as we did.

When I would reveal that I was planning a natural birth, without medications, I received varying looks and comments. “Why would you want to be in pain if you don’t have to be?” “I had an epidural and I would do it again.” “That’s nice, but you don’t always have a choice.” “You don’t get a medal for going drug-free, everybody gets a baby.” I even had women try to convince me that I won’t be able to get through labor, that I might have all good intentions now, but once that pain hits, I’ll change my mind and beg for the drugs. So here are my “top ten reasons” for choosing a natural, drug-free birth experience.

  1. My heart, gut and mind tell me it is the best choice for me and for my baby.20wks1day
  2. I want to be present. I want to experience childbirth and be in the moment. I don’t want to be medicated, nauseous, disoriented, or in any way detract from the power of my body’s natural release of hormones when my baby enters this world and I lay eyes on him/her for the first time.
  3. My fear of drugs is greater than my fear of pain. In the rare occasions I have taken medications in the past, they have made me nauseous or loopy. And the idea of a needle in my spine? No thank you!
  4. I do not want a caesarean. Based on my opinion and the numerous resources I have read, intervention leads to intervention, medication to medication, and in so many cases (not all), result in c-section. Should an emergency situation arise and a c-section is required, I will be grateful for life-saving intervention, but not until after exhausting all natural options.
  5. The women that came before me. We are designed by God and women have birthed for centuries, long before doctors and medicines and hospitals. We are designed to give birth, our bodies are capable of it, and we shouldn’t fear it.
  6. I don’t want those drugs in my baby. If drugs enter me, they enter my child. Just as I want to be alert and in the moment, I want the same for my baby. I plan to breastfeed and want to give my baby the opportunity to nurse right after birth and not be hindered by lingering drugs in their system (which can take weeks for their tiny liver to process).
  7. I want to move around, try various positions, and work with gravity. I do not want to be hooked up to machines and straps or be limited to laying down. I want the option to try the tub or shower, birthing ball or stool, standing, kneeling…what ever feels the best and proves to work. If I am comfortable, I believe my labor will be allowed to progress efficiently.
  8. I want to eat and drink and nourish my body during this event. A marathon runner wouldn’t limit their hydration and energy inputs during a race, so why would I feel I could be deprived of energy during labor? Many women are limited to ice chips during labor. Ice chips!? To maintain my stamina during childbirth, I intend to drink water and juices and perhaps eat energy-rich snacks to provide my body with the fuel it needs. If my energy falls, I risk losing the steam needed to cross the finish line, resulting in intervention.
  9. I believe labor will be faster, more controlled, and easier without intervention and medication. Call me crazy.
  10. I believe I can. With preparedness and support from my birth team, most noted, my husband, I’ll make it through labor and relish in my accomplishment.

We have selected a hospital that supports these desires and our birth plan. We’ll find satisfaction and security in our opportunity to birth naturally, with the conveniences of modern technology–should it be needed. We have a midwife, and I have asked numerous questions of her and discussed my desires so we are on the same page. And I have written my birth plan out to share with hospital support staff members. This also ensures I do not have to answer unnecessary questions and lets our nursing team know my wishes so they can best support me.

My greatest fear is that my birth plan won’t play out as —-well —- as I planned. That said, I am going into this with an open mind and with positivity. I do not want intervention, but should it be necessary, our plan will adjust. I know I need to be flexible and realize that labor is unpredictable. But I also know that because I have been working to prepare and educate myself for labor, I have given us every advantage in living out our birth plan.

It’s amazing to me to consider that women will spend more time researching a cell phone plan, car, or piece of furniture before buying it than they will with their own pregnancy and labor. I’ve been hungry for information and knowledge on this subject since learning we were pregnant. My decision was founded on my personal beliefs and internal instincts. I then fueled it with a lot of reading! Books, blogs, Facebook groups, various articles, etc. Here’s a list of the books that I have read throughout my pregnancy. There is so much information out there, no matter your preference, and much of it is free or very affordable. Gain knowledge!

  • _L3A2702_1Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
  • Ina May’s Birth Matters
  • Baby Designed by God (so much good info in this one!)
  • Birthing from Within: Guide to Childbirth Preparation
  • A Modern Woman’s Guide to a Natural Empowering Birth
  • Natural Birth for the Mainstream Mama: Practical Guide to Achieving a Drug-free Birth in a Hospital Setting
  • How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of your Doctor
  • Journey Into Motherhood: Inspirational Stories of Natural Birth
  • Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife 
  • Pushed: The Painful Trust about Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care 
  • Your Pregnancy and Childbirth
  • Mayo Clinic Guide to Healthy Pregnancy
  • The Expectant Father
  • What to Expect When You are Expecting
I also watched the documentary The Business of Being Born and multiple “natural birth” YouTube videos. Other ways I am caring for my pregnancy and preparing for labor:
  • Regular chiropractic adjustments and massage therapy treatments
    • I truly feel this is important and has been a contributing factor in my feeling good throughout pregnancy and being in good alignment, allowing my baby to be in a low, head-down position. And by “massage therapy” I mean, therapy, not just a spa treatment. My treatments manipulate muscles and promote alignment and reduction on stressed muscles.
  • Increase my intake of pregnancy power foods; opting for organic options as much as possible
  • Relaxation techniques (hypnobirthing)
  • Taking key prenatal vitamins (iron, calcium, folic acid, magnesium, DHA, D, C, Zinc, B) daily
  • Raspberry Leaf Tea
  • Prayer, optimism, and excitement

I’m not looking to debate my position or argue the best approach, again this is my decision.

I would enjoy hearing your stories and tips. Some of the most powerful information I have read has been the real-life examples of other women who enjoyed natural births.