Monday, June 15, 2009

Exciting week!

Yay, everyone's coming home today!
Dewey graduated from Dartmouth yesterday, woohoo congrats baby bro!
And Lena and Torin got engaged! Felicidades baby sis!
My dad is back from Africa. And my mom is coming through again on her way back from Dewey's graduation. I've missed everyone.
We'll all be here for just one full day then take off Wednesday to Fairbanks for my cousin Violet's wedding and Olin family reunion until Saturday, then subsistence fishing in Kasilof until Wednesday. Busy but fun week! Hopefully I can hang!

favorite books

I guess 10:30 to 4:30 is still 6 hours of sleep and should be good...I still wish I could sleep the last 2 hours until my alarm clock goes off though. I used to get by with less than that in college, but I love my sleep a lot more now. I guess my body's getting ready for when baby comes...when I'll be lucky to sleep more than a couple hours straight.
I picked up an Isabel Allende book at Title Wave yesterday. It's fun to read something besides a pregnancy or birth book again. I just finished the last book I borrowed from Chinmayo, "Ina May's (Gaskin) Guide to Childbirth." It was good. A lot of the same points about natural birthing as the other books. What I remember most from her is her 'sphincter law,' that the cervix is a sphincter and just like other sphincters in your body it doesn't want to open up with lots of people around or too much commotion, it works best in a calm private environment like when you're going to the bathroom.
My favorite birth book is "Birthing from Within" by Pamela England. My favorite pregnancy book was "Body, Soul, and Baby" by Tracy Gaudet, and then I read stuff on for what's going on weekly. "Bonding Before Birth" was also a fun little read by Miriam Stoppard.
Big Margaret (my mom's best friend who I'm named after, just called her that when we were little-- I'm way bigger than her now) gave me a pregnancy book that my mom had given her when she was pregnant with her daughter. My mom had written notes in it when she was pregnant with me, and then she wrote notes in it too. It's pretty cool. She also gave me this super old book that was found out at my great aunt and uncles gold mining camp outside of Ruby, a 1940's book on how to take care of your baby. Cool pictures on how to diaper a baby, how to swaddle them, etc.
Did I mention that my "due date" is the same date as my mom's when she was pregnant with me? And then I was born on the 14th. We'll see...

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Advice I've heard from other mama's:
  • trust your instincts
  • trust your kid
  • always burp them no matter what, even when they fall back asleep
  • don't be afraid to ask people to wash their hands before holding your baby, especially kids
  • don't be afraid to ask questions, there are no stupid questions
  • that skin-to-skin contact after baby's born really does make a difference
  • it helps to have something to focus on during contractions
  • walk walk walk
What's something you wish you'd known before having your baby?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

feelin' large

Have you seen Madagascar 2? EJ says "girl, you're huge," so I come back with "I like 'em big, I like 'em chunky" :P

home birth, whaaat?

I guess I had always thought it would be nice to have a homebirth, but didn't think that people still did that, and assumed that there weren't any options for that in Anchorage. Then last year while I was working at ANTHC I attended a lunch time brown bag presentation at the hospital by this women from Holland (now living in California) talking about natural birthing and birth memory-- how the way a person is birthed can affect them the rest of their life, both if it's a peaceful or traumatic birth. She showed videos of babies birthed with pain relieving drugs, how sleepy they were, and of babies birthed without-- bouncing up mom's chest on it's own to latch on...extreme examples, but such a cool video clip! She talked about the casacade of hormones that intricately work with each other to birth the baby, and how medical interventions (induction, epidurals) shuts that natural process off, and can more likely lead to needing to get the baby out via cesarean. It's just so cool how our bodies are perfectly made to make and birth babies. It's more recently, because of the heavy influence of the male dominated industrial medical model, that women have learned to distrust their bodies. I mean thank goodness hospitals, obstetricians, and all that expensive technology are there when we really do need them, I'm grateful for that, but most healthy pregnancies don't need all that. In healthy low-risk pregnancies, not interfering with these natural process can allow birth to be much quicker, easier and less traumatic. Anyway, she was there promoting 3 points to the hospital 1. for baby to immediately go to mom's bare chest after birth, skin to skin contact, 2. not to clamp the cord until is stops pulsating, 3. and I don't really remember the third point but it must have been not to be so eager to doll out pitocin and/or epidurals if not necessary. I already knew I would have natural births like my mama did, but now wanted even more not to have to do it in a hospital. I was so intrigued I attended her evening lecture at UAA also and learned about the whole homebirth midwife community here, and was super excited to know that when it came time I would have that option.
So then the that time came, and we started exploring those options more. We checked out the two birth centers here, which were very nice and comfortable, had big birthing jacuzzis and really nice midwives. But then thinking about it more, not having to go anywhere but stay in my own comfortable home and having the full attention of my midwife the whole time appealed to me the most. I wasn't scared about anything going wrong. I was somehow confident that if I took care of myself throughout the pregnancy to prevent any complications, and if I was blessed with a healthy pregnancy, we'd be fine doing it at home. All midwives carry the same emergency equipment that ambulances do for bleeding mama's or non-responsive babies, etc. and they can usually tell in plenty of time if something is going to go wrong and they need to get to the hospital. Once EJ realized this, he became comfortable with the idea and trusted and supported me, and now after learning so much fully wants the same as I do.
So we starting meeting direct entry midwives for a homebirth, and felt most comfortable with Chinmayo so went with her. At the beginning I was also tandemly seeing a nurse midwife at the Native hospital just to make sure everything was okay, get my labs done there, and so that they'd have records of my pregnancy in case I end up having to go to the hospital. Joan is very supportive of natural birthing and excited about my decision to do it at home.
So our visits with Chinmayo are each an hour long. We go over to her very comfortable apartment and sit at the table with tea and a snack talking for a while first. She's all about educating, making sure I know everything going on and making the most informed decisions I can, which I really like. Then I do my own pee dip and read the strip - hydrated enough, any leukocytes, proteins, glucose, blood, etc. in the pee, and weigh myself. Then we go into the "exam room" where I lay down on the big comfy massage table covered with a soft blanket and lots of pillows for her to measure the fundus, listen to baby, take my blood pressure and all that. She has a big lending library so has given me a bunch of books to read and DVDs to watch. It's really nice. I've always been interested in natural medicine so I've also really enjoyed learning about all these natural remedies and preventative regimens.
I also always thought it'd be nice to have the baby in water, it just seems like a more gradual and less scary transition into the world. A while ago we asked Chinmayo what we needed to get to do this at home, and she said a blow up kiddie pool would do just fine. So I found one at Toys R Us for $12 and that's that, haha so technical huh. We also have a big plasitc sheet for the bed and another for wherever I end up giving birth if it's not in the water...we'll see what my body wants to do.
Like I had mentioned before, she gave us the birth kit box to bring home already with all that stuff. I also have a list of a few things to get, so am gathering those now. Next week she'll do a home visit for our appointment, just to make sure she knows how to get to our house. Exciting, can't wait for the big day!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Athabascan tradition

All this getting ready is the complete opposite of how I felt at the beginning. In Athabascan, it's hutlanee or bad luck to get baby stuff together before the baby comes. We shouldn't make assumptions about the baby before it's born. Then when it's born the community makes sure mama and baby have everything they need. Last month when my grandma was visiting she was telling me this, and I guiltily confessed all the baby stuff I had together already. I had tried to hold out, but then Gaby brought over a crib and stuff and cute baby winter clothes were on sale and it snowballed from there :P She said, "well just leave it there, but don't get it ready yet." Then when my mom passed through a few days ago she was all excited saying she couldn't wait to start making baby stuff. I told her too that I already started and she said the same thing. Oops


I am definitely wide awake so I decided to just go ahead and get up already. I woke up at 4am. It was really hot, and bright daylight is sneaking through the edges of the window shades. It was so hot in Anchorage yesterday, and our room is south facing upstairs so it gets the hottest in the house. Who would have thought that we'd need a fan here. It gets so cold in the winter. I couldn't go back to sleep so I put on my eye mask and one of my hypnobirthing cd's. That usually conks me back out, but it didn't. I actually made it through the whole thing. Still wide awake. And hungry. So I got up and ate a bowl of cereal.
So hypnobirthing is all about relaxing yourself to let your body do it's thing to birth your baby. It's so cool to learn about the natural processes of our body, the cascade of hormones that are perfectly designed for birth. Anyway, it's letting go and trusting that your body and baby innately know exactly what to do. Fear tenses you up, which works against your body, and that is where the pain comes from. So it's also getting rid of that fear. Not to say that birth isn't painful-- but it doesn't have to be like what is portrayed in the media. The hypnobirthing teacher (my CNM I was seeing at the Native hospital at the beginning) gave me the practice CDs a few weeks before class started to start listening to. They walk you through a variety of relaxation exercises, positive birth imagery, and recite positive birth affirmations to prepare the subconscious (ex. "I allow my body to go deep into relaxation and open up quickly" "I welcome each surge and work with it to bring my baby closer to me" "I turn my mind over to my body and my baby as they know exactly what to do" "My body is perfectly made to birth my baby, and my baby is perfectly made for me to birth her"). She also gave me the hypnobirthing book to read that describes all of this. Then we had 3 classes (we missed the 4th because I was out of town last week) where we mostly met other hypnobirthing couples, practiced the techniques, watched videos of hypnobirths, and listened to positive birth experiences. I feel more confident that I can do this without medical intervention.
A fear that has creeped up lately though is that baby will come early, which is the complete opposite of what I've been prepared for. I always thought that first babies are usually late. But everyone I know that I've been pregnant with at the same time had their baby at 37 weeks. I will be in Fairbanks for my cousin Violets wedding and our big Olin family reunion when I am 37 weeks. And EJ can't come with me because he is teaching a 1 credit class that Friday and Saturday, and he's the one that takes care of me-- makes me slow down, otherwise I'll try to keep up with everyone like normal. I've had a couple dreams that baby came already and I wasn't ready. I think maybe that is what has spurred all this energy lately towards getting stuff together. I washed baby clothes and blankets this weekend, and my cloth diapers came in so have been looking around for the right kind of detergent to get those pre-washed and ready to go. But I am trying not to worry, and put all that positive affirmation mumbo jumbo into action..."baby knows the right time to come, I listen to my body and am ready."

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Is baby dropping?

The picture on the left is at 33 weeks and the one on the right yesterday (35 weeks). I can't tell, but someone the other day was looking at my tummy and said that baby dropped. My hips started getting sore the last few days, especially yesterday after walking on the trail, the tops of my legs where they connect with my hips were hurting. I guess this last month or so the pelvic ligaments are loosening up to get ready for baby to go through. I'm worried though, does that mean labor will start in the next few weeks? Baby needs to stay in there at least 3, hopefully 4, more weeks. I'm wondering if I pushed it too hard this week. I just got back from an exhausting trip to Kodiak where I was running all over the place, carrying things. I think I've been too proud of how great I've been feeling still being able to do mostly everything normal. Now my body has to tell me, "no mama, you need to slow down." Please stay put until at least the first week of July baby!

Monday, June 1, 2009

8 1/2 months!

My weekly pregnancy email says baby's almost 5 pounds and about 18 inches long. Getting close!

gettin' ready for baby!

I'm so excited, we've gotten a lot of stuff together lately. Babies R Us was having a sale so we went and got a car seat and stroller yesterday. And I just ordered my cloth diapers, yay! Chinmayo, my midwife gave us the birth kit box last week -- stuff we need for my homebirth (plastic sheets, those chuck pad things, peri bottles, sterile gloves, etc. and a cute onsie that says "born with love at home"). We finished the hypnobirthing class with Joan at Southcentral Foundation, and got a cute bib that says "I'm a hypnobirthing baby." Now I just need to get a breast pump and stuff. I'll tell you more about home birthing, my cloth diapers, hypnobirthing and my other favorite birth book (Birthing from Within) later, I'm off to the airport for Kodiak right now...