I’m here! A little update on me... I am almost 34 weeks and feeling great. I’m finding I have energy for nesting and then my body tells me AFTER the fact that I’ve done too much – I wish it would tell me DURING so I could stop and rest THEN before I overdo it. Oh, well. I'm having fun unpacking little tiny clothes and diapers, and finally - FINALLY - beginning to imagine our house with another little baby in it (this was an unexpected pregnancy and unlike my others it's taken me a really long time to get used to the idea).
Thankfully, all three of my children are now sleeping through the night. This is no small thing for me. My boys were still waking in need of reassurance just a few months ago, my oldest weaned in the early months of my pregnancy, and my second son has cut back dramatically to nursing maybe once a week. Much to my surprise, my toddler daughter self-night-weaned at 15 months - like a gift from heaven, she doesn't even need it to go to sleep anymore - I say this because my boys were still night-nursing at age three and my eldest was nursing to sleep still at age four, so I was not expecting her to cut back at this age. I haven't slept through the night in almost six years; I get up to use the bathroom two or three times a night and that is all, and it seems like an amazing thing to me. Fingers crossed that this new baby is not a high-needs one - I'm enjoying my sleep, and especially think it's fun that I'm dreaming again, which I never did when I was chronically sleep-deprived.
ChildoftheMoon – not sure who is due next in this group, but I’m due mid-May.
Mamajaza – My baby JUST turned head-down a few days ago. S/he was very happily transverse and/or head-in-the-ribs until then. This is baby #4 for me and if I remember right #3 was also persistently transverse until about 34-35 weeks. At some point just before this baby turned, I finally realized that I was being uncharacteristically nervous about the baby’s position – unusual especially because I have been SO totally relaxed about every other aspect of this pregnancy/birth. So I had a long talk with the baby and decided to trust him/her to pick the best position when s/he was ready. I think that was about a week ago, and I think my “letting go” was a factor in the baby turning.
How do I know the baby is head-down? I’m feeling some cervical stabbing and also feeling my pubic bones stretching in front. Guessing that is the head starting to make a cozy spot. What used to feel like a little bowling ball under my ribs (the head) now feels pointier and more oblong, with small parts attached to one side, so I’m sure that is that butt pointing up now.
Please keep in mind that head-down is not the whole story for good positioning. Simply having a head-down baby doesn’t mean your baby is in a good position for birth. There is a WONDERFUL booklet that I must highly recommend – it’s called “Optimal Foetal Positioning” and it’s available through the midwiferytoday.com website. It is definitely at the top of my must-read, must-recommend list and I hope everyone reading this will consider reading it because it’s really simple and useful information that can prevent a lot of labor and birth troubles. If nothing else, be sure to avoid reclining positions like slouching in a soft chair or couch. Sit straight or lean forward a bit to prevent baby from engaging in a posterior position. When sleeping on your side, put your top knee forward and down on the bed so your belly hangs forward more than back, to help the baby into a good position. The key is to be in a good position when the baby’s head decides to engage in late pregnancy, so the baby’s back is settled against the front of your belly and not against your spine. If you think your baby is posterior (and the book tells you how to figure this out), get on hands-and-knees or spend time leaning forward over a birth ball or low table or something to help the baby into a better position.
Also, what about the idea of letting the baby pick which position is best for him/her? My midwife (my friend now, attended my 3rd birth) told us that in her 20 years of experience attending births she has found that breech births are NOT as difficult or dangerous as we are led to believe, and also that in many cases there is a good reason why the baby did not turn head down. Sometimes it has to do with the shape of the mother’s uterus (I have a friend whose babies are always breech), sometimes how the cord is wrapped around the baby, sometimes there are anomalies that make breech a sensible choice. I find that interesting and reassuring. Lots of people try to get breech babies to turn head-down only to have the baby turn head-up again. I have to wonder if maybe there is a good reason for that. I don’t mean for this to contradict what I just said about encouraging good positioning – the book I recommended explains how our modern lifestyle results in less-than-optimal positioning and how that can be remedied, but I think if your baby persistently chooses a particular position even if you try your best to help it into an optimal position, then it’s best to leave things alone and assume baby knows something you don’t.
What are all of the rest of you planning on for your birth? Do you have a supportive partner or are you doing it alone or with a good friend? Are you going to labour in water?
We are actually renting a birth tub from my midwife friend – this will be my third water labor, and my second waterbirth. My DH is supportive, he’s wonderful, I love having him as a birth partner, but I am not attached to the idea of him being with me when I am in labor. I think circumstances will dictate whether or not he’s a part of it. I think I would like to have him around, but we will see. I have three other small children that will need caring for. My two sisters and one friend are willing to come help with the kids if we ask them to, but they are all 30 minutes to 2 hours away, two of them have other children, and they all have other commitments that might or might not make it tricky for them to come. I don’t love the idea of having others there, but I do want my children’s needs met by someone else while I am laboring.