Recently I had my 32 week check-up with Robyn, my super capable and dedicated midwife.
The birth of my first child, Joshua, was a little complicated, ending in a C-section and a slow recovery. The result was a beautiful, perfectly healthy baby boy so I have no complaints, but I would prefer to get it done a little more simply this time around!
So now I am starting to seriously spend a lot of my waking hours preparing for and thinking about the birth of bump #2. So what is happening in preparation? Here’s where I’m at:
Baby’s head was up top so he or she is technically breach at the moment. Not to worry – position isn’t really a big concern till 34 weeks so I shall be swimming and doing my baby positioning exercises like a good girl til then. I'm using the 'Spinning Babies" website as my go-to for baby positioning info. The bump is measuring 33 weeks so I will try to just watch what I eat more closely and keep it healthy.
I weigh 80kg – up from 72kg when I fell pregnant so a modest weight gain on last time (20 kgs ladies and gents, thank you very much). I’m eating a mostly low-GI diet at the recommendation of my midwife. Because my firstborn was big and didn't get into a good position I was unable to get past 6cm dilation - apparently high blood sugar can contribute to baby's size and reduce our body's ability to receive the hormonal signals that kick start labour at a good time (as opposed to 42 weeks like me!) Struggling in the face of cookies, ice cream and buttery fruit toast! But on the up side I get to eat lots of meals that look like this!
This one is a bit more tricky and up and down. Hard to know what is hormonal and what is not but it all feels pretty real to me so here goes.
Ok, some pretty intense nesting has been going on for a while now. I get these surges of energy in which I frantically research homemade bread or making your own dish detergent (done and done, BTW) which is kinda cool for getting stuff done but also makes my mind run a mile a minute thinking about all the projects yet to complete (set up toddler room for Josh, move him well before baby arrives, re-set Josh’s room for newborn, finish shelving/storage in the laundry, cook lots of meals for freezer, organise care options and plan for Joshie during the birth/hospital stay, unpack and sort through newborn stuff, breastfeeding stuff, breast pump, bottles, aghg!! Hyperventilate!)
I’ve also been grieving the loss of freedom. Right now Josh is predictable (mostly) and we get as much sleep as we want if we’re disciplined enough to go to bed at a good time. We have a social life and this year I’ve enjoyed getting some independence again. I fear that loss of identity that I felt after Josh was born and the inevitable cabin fever of those days when getting outside the house is a little too hard.
I do have moments when I can’t wait to hold this new little one, carry them around in our little baby sling and stroke their fluffy hair. I’m so interested to see how Joshie responds and connects with his new sibling and I’m so thankful that our family is growing. I have mixed feelings when I think of friends who have recently miscarried or who are trying to conceive without success. I cannot imagine the hardship that these things bring and so that puts a lot of my little gripes or worries into perspective.
I realised the other day when I was completely grumpy and frustrated at my husband (sorry, hon) that a large part of my frustrations stem from fear. When I get annoyed that Pete isn’t running into the garden immediately to build raised garden beds and begin our own organic food production, or when I wish my Dad would just magically show up and rebuild our laundry in an afternoon, or better yet, that Martha Stewart would set up Joshie’s new toddler room I need to look behind that frustration to what really lurks beneath. And thanks to a little nudge from God the other day, I realised that yes, it is fear.
For me, fear of loss of control and fear of being deprived or in pain are pretty major. Because I have had a child before I know that these things are just part of the territory with new babies. We are not always in control (although I give it a fair whack), and we are often needing to sacrifice many comforts and yes, there is going to be pain. I needed to take a moment and just sit in acceptance of these truths. They are not to be managed, avoided or denied, but just accepted. I will miss out on some stuff, I will feel pain, and I will not be in control. When I face up to that and just accept it I find I can let go of the need for matching nursery accessories and a perfectly organised laundry.
The next step was realising that I can ask God for help. Help to accept what this season brings, help to lower my expectations of myself and help to endure labour and birth and any disruptions to my longed-for natural birth. Peace returns when I remember that God does not promise a peachy, easy life, but rather that He will be with me, always, and that his presence is enough to cover whatever is going on. Deep breath… and heart rate stabilising, warmth returns to my soul and I realise that I am blessed, that I walk through life with open hands, ready to receive, give, hold or just be and that God supports my steps.
So what about you? Are you expecting? Do you remember when you were preparing for the arrival of your baby/s? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Jo Jo Mama