Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Preparing for Childbirth

With baby #2 on the way I have been thinking a lot lately about gearing up for my next birth.  What a blessing children are and I am overwhelmed with God's goodness to us as I look at my precious daughter and picture this next baby coming into our lives!  Being pregnant is not always easy and certainly labor and delivery is challenging, but children are so very worth it! 

I had a (mostly) wonderful birth experience with my daughter just over two years ago.  My husband and I took Bradley classes and were so glad we did.  I felt so prepared and excited about what her birth would be like.  I was not afraid but rather confident in my body's God designed ability to produce, grow and birth new life.  I would have loved a home birth, but the need to be on blood thinning medication (Lovenox) made the hospital my only option.  The Bradley classes gave me the knowledge I needed to come up with a birth plan for the hospital setting. 

I started contracting three weeks before Audrey was born.  Sometimes they were strong contractions but mostly mild ones.  I was around 4 cm when I went into "active" labor and Audrey arrived five hours later!  With the threat of induction hanging over me, I took a long walk, ate almost an entire pineapple and then double pumped for 45 minutes!  I think I overdid it a little as labor came on fast and strong.  (I would not recommend the 45 minutes of pumping!)  I stayed home for the first 3 hours and labored mostly in the bath.  The warm water was so comforting and I enjoyed being alone while my husband packed the bag.  At the hospital I was coached and comforted by my husband, sister (who is a midwife) and my mom.  Other than wanting to induce me, my doctor was supportive of my choice of a natural birth.  Each contraction was so painful but I knew that they had a purpose.  I was not suffering but rather working hard to bring my baby into the seen world.  I knew that with each passing contraction, that was one less separating me from my baby.  I took them one at a time and relaxed as much a possible.  It was amazing! 

Everything went so well until Audrey was almost out and they realized she had aspirated meconium.  They feared that this could lead to pneumonia and she was taken to the NICU after only moments in my arms.  I kept waiting for the nurses to bring her back.  I had no idea that she would be in intensive care for 4 and 1/2 long days.  During that time my birth plan was completely ignored.  They administered eye ointment, gave her formula and a paci dipped in sugar water.  They didn't allow me to nurse her for 2 days.  This was all a very difficult end to an empowering birth.  My heart goes out to parents whose precious children stay in the NICU for much longer than our daughter did.  In retrospect we were so blessed but at the time it was grueling.  Our prayers were answered and she did not have pneumonia.  We were able to take her home on the 5th day.  What a joyful time that was!  She was finally ours!

Birth is unpredictable and no one is exactly alike.  It certainly helps to be prepared though.  I highly recommend the Bradley Method of Husband-Coached Childbirth!  After 12 weeks of class once a week you are armed with the knowledge and skills you need to welcome your baby into the world the safest way possible.  You learn how to have the healthiest pregnancy possible through proper nutrition and exercise.  When you remain low risk you have options during labor and birth.  My Bradley teacher also prepared us for breastfeeding by explaining what to expect and teaching proper latching.  She was available to answer questions both during pregnancy and after birth.  She was amazing!  Click here to find Bradley childbirth teachers in your area.

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