As I'm getting closer to Tiny Blob's due date, I recently received our Homebirthing Checklist. I heard from a friend it's called being "empowered", and I actually do feel pretty empowered. Yet the list is very, very down-to-earth and makes me think of cleanup more than the beauty of childbirth.
My last birth experience was frantic, quick and extraordinarily painful. I got the unmedicated experience I'd been hoping for, but spent so much (10 hours, give or take) of the labour pretending to myself I wasn't in labour that the labour ended up being more about getting through than anything else. If I watch a TV show while I'm in labour this time, it certainly won't be Glee. Moments after the birth, I remember Eug disappearing with Noah and the nurse and finding myself alone, in a fair amount of pain, in the storage closet at Mt Auburn, and wondering what I was supposed to feel or do. Wishing I'd forced them to let me breastfeed or told someone I couldn't get the stupid gown off to breastfeed because of the blood pressure cuff and being pathetically weak at that point. Eug called his mom and my parents; I think I wrote an e-mail to EeCheng on my iPod and told her to come over, and waited for what seemed like infinity before Noah and Eug returned. In the end, it didn't matter so much- these things are trivial compared to the enemas, shaving and episiotomies of our mothers (or worse, complications)- but this time round I get to stay with my baby.
|Proof of the blood pressure cuff they wouldn't take off.|
I do feel empowered to make choices, and I wonder if this sense of choice helps to make the experience a little less alienating. I wonder if being at home will make me less distracted by the hustle and bustle, and more able to see and experience the process. I'm not romanticizing- it's painful and gritty and there's a lot of blood involved- but it's also miraculous and I don't want to miss that.
Which I guess brings me back to being 30+ weeks pregnant and hoping to defend a PhD proposal in about 6 weeks. Which I don't bring up to make you think I'm tough. My sense is that, unless my personality changed in some fundamental way, the only way to get through my dissertation and be a loving mom is to do the defense before I have Tiny Blob, rather than soon after.
The question I'm trying to wrestle with is: how do I not miss out on these last ten weeks of pregnancy over something so ultimately trivial as a PhD proposal defense? Being pregnant is miraculous, and it may not happen again, so I hope I can notice the kicks and the rolls and the urge to prepare (less the tiredness and the heartburn). I want to imagine this next phase in our lives, and be grateful for it. Then, when labour rolls around as the bridge between our current world and the world in which we have two boys, I pray it can be about more than cleanup or survival or enduring a lot of pain.
|Noah in his current, exuberant state.|
And for your enjoyment, the home birthing list:
• 10 - 20 linen savers ( available from Birth Options / Dischem/ large pharmacy’s)
• 2 big buckets (1 for linen, other for waste) with black bags in each
• 2l ice cream or similar container for the placenta
• Thick plastic sheeting for bed and floor (old shower curtains are good) available from e.g. Plastics for Africa, Builder’s Warehouse…
• old towels- at least 8
• mat for kneeling on (e.g. foam/ camping/ yoga)
• Heater and/or hot water bottles/ heated wheat packs – birth environment needs to be warm
• Plug point close to envisioned birthing area (but be aware of safety electricity vs. water!)
• Mobile light e.g. desk lamp , strong torch)
• Sports drink bottle / straws
• Face cloths / water spray bottle
• Hand held mirror ( cheap at the Crazy Store / Chinese shops)
• Gym ball
• Roll of paper towel
• Roll of cotton wool/ gauze
• Disinfectant / cleaning wipes / cloths
• Stuff for mom (maternity pads, undies, etc.)
• Stuff for baby (nappies, vest, babygrows HAT, etc.)
• Digital thermometer
• Camera / video recorder!
• Suitable food/ drinks for the occasion!
• Pain tablets for after birth e.g. Panado / Ibuprophen / Mypaid