Posted on

The Happy Middle Months : The 2nd Trimester

Weeks 13 to 28 : This is the best part of pregnancy for most women..

The nausea and fatigue of the First Trimester are over.  You may have gotten used to the idea that a baby is growing inside.  You’ve made a few – maybe a very few – lifestyle changes and you feel good about that.  You may have told others about the pregnancy and this helps you to adjust to this new identity.

 

Tasks:

  • Pregnant women tend to spend a lot of time in the Second Trimester thinking about the baby (some call it daydreaming, or processing, or meditating), wondering what s/he will be like and how it will feel to be a parent.  Use that motivation to learn right now about baby care, infant development and breastfeeding.  Some good books include, The Baby Book by William & Martha Sears and Breastfeeding Made Simple by Kathleen A. Kendall-Tackett & Nancy Mohrbacher.

  • Your care-provider will offer you the option of having an ultrasound scan around 18-20 weeks and a test for gestational diabetes around week 25.

  • Your care-provider will screen you for Rh negative blood type and offer you a RhoGam shot at week 28 if you are Rh negative.

  • By week 30, your care-provider will want to see you every 2-3 weeks.

  • You’re getting to know your care-provider and developing a relationship with him or her.  Keep a list of questions to ask at your monthly appointments.  It’s so easy to forget.

  • In BC, ultrasound technicians are forbidden by law to identify the baby’s sex.  If you want to know your baby’s sex, you’ll have to arrange for a private ultrasound scan.

  • Register for Prenatal Childbirth Preparation Classes.  It’s best to take these in the Third Trimester, but you have to schedule them and register for them now or the class you want may not be available.

  • Consider having a doula at your birth.  A doula is a woman experienced in childbirth who provides physical, informational and emotional support and helps parents to have an easier and more positive childbirth experience.  You can learn more by clicking here.

  • As the nausea starts to go away, experiment with new, nutritious foods.  You may feel hungry in a way you have not experienced before.

  • Plan for your maternity leave.  Tell your employer about your pregnancy, if you haven’t yet – you must give your employer 4 weeks notice before you start your maternity leave.  You will also want to look into Employment Insurance coverage for your maternity and parental leave.

  • Keep up with regular physical activity.  As you get bigger around the middle, you may feel a little awkward in your regular classes and decide to join a pregnancy yoga, fitness or aquafit class.  Or not!  The best way to get exercise is to do what you love in an environment you feel comfortable with.  Don’t let anyone else tell you where that should be.

Click here to visit our Resources page for a list of local pregnancy, birth and early childhood resources.

Continue on to…

The 3rd Trimester : The Last Months of Pregnancy

The extra Trimester : Those First Three Months With The Baby

Or refer back to…

An Introduction to The 5 Trimesters

The 0th Trimester : Planning To Get Pregnant

The 1st Trimester : The First Three Months of Pregnancy

Posted on

You’re Pregnant : The 1st Trimester

You might think, "Wow!  It worked!" or "Oh no!  What now?" or both.

You might have some early symptoms of pregnancy – sore breasts, moodiness, cramping, a little spotting (implantation spotting around day 21-22 of your cycle is normal and nothing to worry about) – or you may have none of these.

Your pregnancy is counted from the first day of your last period, which can be confusing since that was probably two weeks before your egg and sperm met!  But your doctor or midwife will count from there, so you might as well too.

 

Tasks:

  • Read the tasks from Trimester 0 – many are still relevant now.

  • Telling people you’re pregnant – your partner?  Your parents?  Your friends?  When do you tell them?  How?  It’s all up to you.  There is no right way or right time to do it.  Some women wait until the end of the First Trimester because of the small risk of miscarriage during this time.

  • Start taking a pregnancy vitamin tablet with folic acid.

  • Find a care-provider – do you want a doctor or a midwife?  Click here for our Resources page, where you’ll find both midwife and physician listings.

  • See your chosen care provider.  If you can interview a couple or care-providers and decide who you like best, that is ideal.  But often, given the demand in Victoria for midwives and maternity care doctors, there is not much choice.

    Upon your first visit your care-provider will probably ask about your medical history, examine you and get to know you a little; they may also order a few blood and/or urine tests.  You may be offered prenatal screening for genetic abnormalities and given information about maintaining optimal health for you and your baby during your pregnancy.

    Your care-provider will see you every 4-6 weeks until you get to 30 weeks.  Ask about getting a Pregnancy Passport to keep track of appointments, tests and results.

  • Continue your normal physical activity routine – unless you have some special risk, there is no need to reduce your activity.

  • If you are not regularly physically active, find an activity you can pursue throughout pregnancy – walk, swim, dance or consider starting a Prenatal Yoga or Fitness Class – these are a great opportunity to meet other pregnant women.

  • Come to Pregnancy Happy Hour on Friday evenings at the Mothering Touch Centre – "You don’t have to be showing to show up!"
  • Buy a pregnancy book or two.  Our favourites include:
    • Pregnancy Childbirth and the Newborn by Penny Simkin
    • The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth by Sheila Kitzinger
    • Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

Click here to visit our Resources page for a list of local pregnancy, birth and early childhood resources.

Continue on to…

The 2nd Trimester : The Middle Months of Pregnancy

The 3rd Trimester : The Last Months of Pregnancy

The extra Trimester : Those First Three Months With The Baby

Or refer back to…

An Introduction to The 5 Trimesters

The 0th Trimester : Planning To Get Pregnant

Posted on

Planning To Get Pregnant : 0th Trimester

For some couples, this is like falling off a log.  They talk about it while cuddling in bed one night, idly speculating about how it would feel to have a baby and the next thing they know, they’re pregnant!  For others it is a long and difficult journey, fraught with disappointment and hope, waiting and hurrying, decisions and hesitations.

If you are planning a pregnancy sometime in the next year, consider the tasks below.  Remember that no-one can do ALL these things.  Choose the ones that make sense to you and that you think will make the most difference for you.

Half of pregnancies in Canada are not planned.  So if you are already pregnant, don’t worry about the tasks you don’t have time to do.  Consider yourself lucky, you got to skip a grade!

 

Pre-Pregnancy Tasks:

  • Talk, talk, talk with your partner about your plans as co-parents.  This is a good time to work on your relationship and make it as strong and harmonious as possible.
  • Note that all the tasks below are just as important for the non-childbearing parent (the father or other-mother) to undertake.  The health of a child is affected by the health of the whole family, not just the mother’s.
  • See your doctor or midwife for a pre-conception check-up…
    • Discuss any prescription medications you are taking and consider replacing them with ones that are safe for pregnancy, if that is possible.
    • Discuss any concerns you may have about genetic conditions in your family – consider genetic testing or counselling.
    • Talk about taking folic acid, vitamin D and calcium.
    • Have your iron levels checked.
    • Update your vaccinations – Mumps, Measles, Rubella (MMR) and Tetanus, if you’re due for a booster.
  • Is there anyone is your social circles who is carrying out doula training?  Planning happens 9 months to 2 years before the birth of your child and in between planning and birth a friend or an acquaintence could complete their doula courses and become available to assist you.  Keep your ears open for soon-to-be doulas.
  • See your dentist for a cleaning and a check-up.  Make sure your teeth are healthy, it affects you own general health.
  • Stop smoking, drinking alcohol, or taking recreational drugs – if you do.
  • Cut down on coffee or switch to decaf.  Caffeine is thought to restrict the growth of a developing baby by constricting blood vessels and reducing blood flow to the uterus.
  • Evaluate your exposure to environmental toxins in your workplace or your home and reduce it as much as possible.
  • Improve your nutrition by eating nutrient-dense foods, emphasizing whole grains, vegetable and fruit, lean protein and high-quality fats.
  • Limit your intake of salt and caffeine.
  • Be physically active on a regular basis.
  • Start or continue a physical activity you can pursue during your pregnancy (yoga, swimming, hiking etc)

Click here to visit our Resources page for a list of local fertility resources.

Continue on to…

The 1st Trimester : The First Three Months of Pregnancy

The 2nd Trimester : The Middle Months of Pregnancy

The 3rd Trimester : The Last Months of Pregnancy

The extra Trimester : Those First Three Months With The Baby

Or refer back to…

An Introduction to The 5 Trimesters

Posted on

Prenatal Dance

We’re thrilled to now offer one of the newest trends in prenatal and postnatal exercise at The Mothering Touch Centre – Prenatal/Postnatal Dance!

Combining dance forms such as Belly dancing, African and Latin dancing, the classes offer a fun, exhilarating, low-impact workout to help ease pain and discomfort during pregnancy as well as help prepare mentally and physically for childbirth.

Prenatal/postpartum classes teach low-impact movements and tools specially designed for women in any stage of pregnancy or for postpartum women wearing their babies in slings, or wraps.  With movements inspired by ancient dance forms like Belly dance and African dance, the weekly classes, which combine dance and fitness with essential childbirth preparation skills such as optimal fetal positioning.  Prenatal dance classes are the wave of the future for moms looking to stay active, have some fun and learn a few coping techniques along the way.  Women often come to class for fun and fitness, and find that they gain more than they expected to.

By practicing traditional moves from various cultures, women will increase awareness of the baby/body connection, and the mind and body will feel more at ease as pregnancy and then labor progresses.  Dancing aids in the flexibility of the pelvis and encourages the baby to move into optimum alignment for labor and birth.  Classes will prepare moms-to-be by strengthening and preparing their bodies for childbirth and postpartum recovery, with added bonus of celebrating pregnancy, motherhood and friendship among women.

This class is a great way to connect with other women and mothers-to-be, and learn how movement and posture can enrich, and guide you through your pregnancy, labor, and postpartum recovery.  Practicing daily at home is encouraged and each week you will go home with new moves and tools for a more satisfying, rewarding birth experience:

  • Learn some great coping techniques for helping ease difficulty during labor

  • Learn how to help position baby into an optimal position for a smoother, more satisfying birth

  • Learn how to let go, relax and prepare your body and mind for childbirth

  • Have fun with a low-impact work out, and connect with other pregnant mamas

What women are saying about prenatal dance classes:

“Thank you again for the class.  I was re-inspired to hold the values I find important close to my baby’s heart.  Thanks for helping me tap into that power!”  – Beth, New Mom

“Great workout, helps you forget about any discomfort in pregnancy when you just focus on the music, and feel the music.”  – Chrystal, Expectant Mom

“Class was very enjoyable – great to get moving, also good ideas for labor – I’m looking forward to putting it into practice.  Thank you!”  – Jessica, Expectant Mom

Posted on

Preparing Parents For The Possibility Of Caesarean Birth?

A couple of weeks ago I had a long chat with a health care provider about how we can help mothers who have Caesarean Births not feel that they have “failed.”

This is something I struggle with because, in our attempt to normalize and promote vaginal birth, we do marginalize caesarean birth.  We don’t want to consider it “normal” and yet about a third of mothers in Victoria give birth by caesarean!  Clearly giving birth by caesarean is part of the range of normal experiences of childbearing women.

By happy coincidence, I came across this blog post the next afternoon: A Love Letter to C-Section Moms.  In it, Michelle Zip says:  “Moms who have had c-sections need and deserve respect and love for the way they birthed.  We need to honor all ways of birth, even the ones that didn’t go as we planned.”

Yes, we need to honour mothers who give birth by caesarean.  A mom in the New Baby Group yesterday pointed it that it’s an extremely brave thing for a woman to allow herself to be cut open for the sake of her child.  It take courage and devotion to give birth by caesarean, just as it does to given birth vaginally.

There are a lot of mis-conceptions out there about caesarean birth – I hear them all in our prenatal classes.  Some think caesarean birth is less painful than vaginal birth : It’s not.  Post-surgical pain lasts a lot longer than labour!  Some think that women who have caesareans choose them because they are more “convenient” : They don’t.  According to The Listening to Mothers Survey, less than 1% of caesareans are done without medical indication.  Some think that women who need caesareans are just not fit or healthy enough : Not true.  Some of the healthiest, fittest, cleanest-living women need to have caesareans.  Some think that women who have caesareans did not have the right attitude, didn’t think positively enough, didn’t have the right birth plan or just didn’t try hard enough : Not true!  Caesareans happen to women with all sorts of attitudes and knowledge and levels of preparedness.

The biggest mis-conception that the participants in our childbirth preparation classes arrive with is, “It won’t happen to me.”  I think they often don’t pay a lot of attention to the parts of our course about caesareans and other interventions because they don’t believe it is relevant to them – they’re planning a “natural birth”, so nothing else matters.  And when it does happen to them, as it might to any of us, they are surprised and feel un-prepared.  And (big sigh) I don’t know how to prepare them.  I don’t want to threaten people and lecture them and warn them.  I don’t want to discourage or scare them.  I want them to believe in themselves and believe they can have the birth they want.  I think they are more likely to get their dream birth if they plan for it.  But it would be absurd to think that a plan is a guarantee!

I still want to invite women to dream about their ideal birth.  I want women and their partners to plan for it and tell their care-providers about it.  But I also want them to consider what might happen if it doesn’t turn out the way they dreamed.  To imagine themselves having to have a cesarean and imagine how they might feel and what they might see and hear, perhaps when they find themselves in that situation for real, it won’t be quite such a shock.

As Michelle Zip says, women who give birth by cesarean may face some judgement from their friends and family.  But I think the harshest judgement of these mothers may come from within themselves.  They feel like failures because they went into this believing that if they tried hard enough they would be able to have a vaginal birth.  But sometimes no amount of trying is going to be enough; sometime, a caesarean is the best choice, the only choice.  The bravest choice.

It’s hard enough to live through recovery from surgery, and a new baby, and disappointment about how the birth went, without also blaming yourself for “failing”.  Caesarean Moms need love and honouring from all of us, but first they need love and honouring from themselves.

Posted on

The Five Trimesters

In 1830 the German obstetrician Franz Karl Naegele formulated a rule:  To calculate a woman’s due date, you add 280 days to the first day of her last period.  This gives us the famous (though perhaps, misleading) Nine Months of Pregnancy.  Those nine months are conveniently divided up into Three Trimesters (trimestris is the latin for a three-month period).  But for many women, the experience of childbearing lasts much longer than that.

Ask any woman who has had trouble conceiving or difficulty carrying a pregnancy to term and she will tell you that she feels she has been pregnant for years.  Listen to any woman who has had a difficult childbirth, a long recovery, a hard time breastfeeding or a struggle with post-partum depression and she will tell you that she feels she has been wrapped up in the process for ever!

I think we can identify at least Five Trimesters of Pregnancy.  Each one has its joys and its woes.  In the following posts, I will list some of the tasks childbearing women and their partners encounter in each trimester and some of the resources, locally and on-line, that can help them.

– Eva

Trimester 0 : Planning to Become Pregnant

The 1st Trimester : The First Three Months of Pregnancy

The 2nd Trimester : The Middle Months of Pregnancy

The 3rd Trimester : The Last Months of Pregnancy

The extra Trimester : Those First Three Months With The Baby

Posted on

The SPLASH Prize!

When I was pregnant with Simon, 20 years ago in Edinburgh, there was a rumour that if your waters broke in Marks and Spencer’s they would give you a gift certificate.  I spent some time loitering hopefully among the baby clothes and nursing bras, but my membranes remained staunchly un-ruptured.

On Monday, Marnie and Liam were attending the last class of their Childbirth Preparation Series.  At the break, Marnie told the other participants in the class that she was feeling crampy and uncomfortable.  About 10 minutes before the end of the class, Laura, their teacher, noticed that Marnie was getting restless.  Marnie got up and got a birth ball to sit on and as she was about to sit down she leaned forward and looked very focused!  Laura said, "You look as if you just had a big contraction." – "Yes," said Marnie, "and I think my waters just broke!"  Laura asked her if she would like some help getting to the washroom, and Marnie looked at the door and said, "No, I think my car is closer, I want to go home."

On the way home, Marnie and Liam called their midwiife who suggested they go to bed and try to get some rest.  But the baby had other ideas.  By the time the midwife arrived at their house an hour and a half later, Marnie was pushing.  Little Satoshi Keith made a hurried and very surprising entry into the world!

Marnie is the first mother whose membranes have ruptured at Mothering Touch.  We were all so excited by this event, that I decided we should implement the Marks and Spencer’s tradition here, in Victoria." So from now on, if your membranes rupture at Mothering Touch, we will give you a $20 gift certificate to celebrate!

Congratulations to Marnie and Liam for being the first winners of the SPLASH Prize (Special Prize for the Liberation of Amniotic fluid and Subsequent Happiness)!

Posted on

Power To Push

I’m so excited about the Power To Push website and the Best Birth Clinic I heard about today!  What a great resource for women all over BC!

The Best Birth Clinic is for pregnant women who are unsure about how to give birth to their baby.  Women with babies in breech position, or who are planning a VBAC or desiring a caesarean without medical indication – all can find support and information and help in getting the birth they decide is best for them.  The clinic is at the BC Women’s Hospital in Vancouver, but will accept women from all over BC.  Of course this is not terribly accessible for women outside the Lower Mainland, but it’s a start!  Maybe other clinics will open up in other areas.  Maybe this clinic will provide leadership for care-providers in other areas to try new things.  I am ever the cock-eyed optimist!

Posted on

Yoga

Yoga is an excellent form of exercise in pregnancy.  While gently stretching and exercising the body it also quiets the mind.  Prenatal Yoga classes are carefully planned to include postures (aasanas) which as safe for the pregnant woman and her baby within.  The principles of yoga include a respect of and compassion for the body and its troubles and limitations.  Through prenatal yoga, a pregnant women learns to listen to her body and treat it gently.  She learns to respect her body’s strength and resilience.  She learns to relax and breather and quiet her mind, important skills for coping with the stress and sleeplessness of pregnancy and parenting.  Although few scientific studies of yoga in pregnancy have been carried out, those that have (like this one from Bangalore, India) show positive effects of yoga on both mother and baby.

For a woman who has been very active and fit before she became pregnant, prenatal yoga may not feel strenuous enough in the first and second trimestre.  An active woman with a low-risk pregnancy is encouraged to maintain her usual activities as long as she can through her pregnancy.  But even a very fit woman will find, sometime around her 6th or 7th month, that she is feeling a little heavy and a little slow, and that a more relaxing form of exercise would be welcome.

Besides exercise and relaxation, prenatal yoga provides pregnant women with a place to meet other women who are at the same stage in life.  Meeting and talking to other pregnant women is important in a woman’s development of her identity as a mother-to-be.  It helps her to feel pregnant.  It also helps her to realize that she is not alone in her experience, that other women are having the same sensations and emotions.

Click here to read about the pre and postnatal fitness options available at The Mothering Touch Centre.

Posted on

Cycling & Birthing – What’s the connection? (Part II)

As Laura wrote, on July 12th, she and Jay accomplished an amazing thing this summer!  Read Jay’s analysis of how cycling is like labour.  She make SUCH a good comparison!


Recently, my colleague Laura Warren and I entered in the 32nd annual STP (Seattle-to-Portland) cycling event on July 17th and 18th.  The cycling tour is a two-day ride from Seattle (beginning at the University of Washington) to Portland Oregon (ending at Holladay Park).  Each day would be 102 miles of bike riding alongside over 9500 other cyclists.  As birth doulas and childbirth educators, Laura and I could not help but compare the experience with childbirth.  Here are some of the observations we discovered during our ride.

A.  The ride was not only a physical challenge, but a mental challenge as well: Throughout the ride, Laura and I did alot of self talk to motivate us to continue and persevere through it, even when we felt we didn’t have it in us.  During labour, moms have to tap into their inner strength, just like we did, in order to motivate themselves to carry on with the job of birthing their baby.

B.  Having continuous support through Laura was really helpful to keep me focused and positive about the job we had to do.  I hope I did the same for her.  In labor, having continuous labor support from a partner, midwife, doula or family member helps to build up Mom’s own endorphins, helps her feel safe, supported and uninhibited so that her sole focus is to keep relaxed and meet the challenges that labor will demand of her.

C.  Fueling our bodies and getting adequate rest really helped not only in our training, but on the ride itself, it helped us with the challenge of riding 102 miles a day. On our first day, we were unable to eat a good breakfast and had had sub-standard sleep.  We had to sustain the first two hours of our ride on power bars and gel shots before we got to our first mini- food stop.  This resulted in mental and physical challenges for Laura, who struggled during the first half of the ride.  Eating, drinking fluids and resting throughout early labor is essential in preparing Mom’s body to meet the challenges of Active Labor.  During Active labor, it is so important that Mom eats if she feels hungry and is starting to lose her “umph”.  The energy in her food will help fuel her body and help her gain the strength that will be needed as labor becomes more challenging.

D.  The second day provided us with rolling hills along country side roads.  After each hill, we would look way ahead to see another hill waiting to challenge us.  When we got discouraged, we would tell each other to just look at the road immediately ahead of us, breathe and keep peddling.  In labour, Mom sometimes become afraid of her contractions, and fear what is ahead of her.  As a result, she may panic, become tense and find it hard to relax, making the contractions feel worse.  Mom must take each contraction one at a time.  She needs to breathe that one contraction away, relax as much as possible between contractions, then use her new energy to greet the next contraction with her breath.

E.  There were times in the ride when we got so tired, we would wonder when the first or the second day was coming to an end.  We learned that if we timed our rides just to the next mini-stops which were every two hours or so, that became our goal.  That thinking made the endurance of the ride more manageable.  Sometimes when a Mom labours, she wonders “when will this end.”  The reality is that she doesn’t know how long her labor will be.  So if Mom can set mini goals such as reaching a dilation goal, or getting through a stage of labor, or getting through 5 contractions, it can make her labour more manageable and she can focus on the small achievements.  Which would you rather hear, “you have 12 more hours to go” or “let’s just breath through 5 more contractions?”

F.  When Laura and I cycled into Portland after 204 miles, the absolute elation, wonder of what our bodies could do and the sense of accomplishment was overwhelming.  We had done it.  All the training, mental preparation, nutritional education and being each others “cycling doulas” accumulated in a powerful and empowering experience.  When Mom holds her baby, she will feel these things also.  Being in labor is a physically and mentally challenging experience, but with the right preparation, support and trust in what your body can do, the result can be an amazingly positive, rewarding and miraculous journey. 

Laura and I trusted that our bodies, if adequately prepared, would see us through our cycling experience and we relied on each others’ support to help motivate us.  In a woman’s labour, her body and support team will and can do the same.  Good luck to all those parents awaiting the arrival of their little ones!

Posted on

Is it a boy? Is it a girl? VIHA’s Ultrasound Policy

This month, VIHA (The Vancouver Island Health Authority) announced that ultrasound technologists doing prenatal ultrasounds will no longer reveal baby’s sex to the parents.  In fact the official policy is that the technologist is not to discuss any aspect of the ultrasound with the parents while it is going on:

ultrasound

“The Ultrasound Technologist (Sonographer) will not be able to provide you any results of your scan, whether that concerns the gender of your baby, or any other matter.  After your examination is performed, it will be read by a qualified Diagnostic Radiologist, who will give the results to your doctor or midwife.  Under no circumstances are technologists permitted to give results to patients – please do not ask them to do so.  Parents who want to know their baby’s sex are invited to go to private ultrasound facilities and pay for an ultrasound for the purpose of identifying the baby’s sex.  You can click here to read VIHA’s ultrasound fact sheet (PDF)

I know some parents who are quite upset about this.  They feel that the tech will know something about their baby which they will not be allowed to know.  I sympathize.  Knowledge is power and a woman should be able to know everything that can be known about her baby and her pregnancy.  Or should she?  There may be things she doesn’t want to know – ask any woman who has had a false positive on a screening test – sometimes too much knowledge is a very uncomfortable thing.

Some people, who don’t want to find out the baby’s sex (or couldn’t find it out when they had their babies 30 years ago) says things like: “It spoils the surprise!” or “It shouldn’t matter – as long as it’s healthy!”  When I was pregnant with my first child, I said: “I don’t care – as long as it has red hair.”  He turned out to be a boy – with brown hair.

On the other hand, what would make us need to know our baby’s sex?  If there is a real risk of a genetic or sex-linked disorder, the parents will be counselled about having amniocentesis which will find out the baby’s sex along with any other chromosomal information.  Some have been saying that the reason for VIHA’s policy is due to the fear that parents will terminate pregnancies when the baby is not of the desired sex.  But I have not been able to find any statistical evidence that this is actually happening.  I think the real reason behind this change in policy is that it takes a lot of time to identify EVERY baby’s sex and then many parents are bound to be disappointed, or even upset, when it turns out that appendage was the umbilical cord.

When I was pregnant with my second child, I wanted SO much to have a girl, that I decided to find out so that if it was a boy I could get used to the idea before the baby was born.  It WAS a boy – with red hair!

At first, many parents will say that they want to know if the baby is a boy or a girl because they want to know what colours to buy.  And when I suggest that they can still go shopping after the baby comes – in fact shopping is a great activity to do with a small baby sleeping in a carrier – the parents will tell me they want to know so they can bond better with the baby.

It’s true that we are hungry for anything we can find out about our baby which will help us imagine what life might be like after the birth.  We need to be able to imagine ourselves as a parent for this baby and imagine what the baby might be like. 

But I need to ask, is the baby’s sex the MOST important thing about that baby?  Is it more important than whether the baby is calm or tense, quiet or noisy, cheerful or grumpy?  Will it affect our parenting style more than whether the baby is sensitive, relaxed, lively, or sleepy?

I wonder if NOT knowing the sex of the baby could be a good thing.  For a few months we are not assuming anything about the baby based on its chromosomes.  We are getting to know our baby, his/her favourite times of night for dancing, propensity for hiccups, tastes in music.  We are daydreaming about the baby without swathing it in pink or blue.  Maybe that’s good practice for later in the baby’s life when we have to learn to parent THIS baby, not the one we thought we would have, or the one we wish s/he could be.

I am not sure what the best way to deal with this is.  I just know that there are WAY more than two ways to think about it.

Posted on

Cycling & Birthing – What’s the connection?

I am in AWE of my Childbirth Educator buddies, Jay Duncan and Laura Warren, who have been training for the Seattle-Portland Classic Bike Ride for the last six months.  They have been keeping us up-to-date on their progress and telling about what they have learned personally through the experience of training together.  I asked Laura to write about it for our blog.  Here is what she had to say…


Jay and I will soon be leaving for the Seattle to Portland Bicycle Ride.  We’ve been training for since February.  204 miles in 2 days.  I still can’t believe that we’ve come this far.  Many times, I have wondered how it was that we stayed motivated enough to continue.  Well, I finally realized that our cycling is not that different from giving birth.  As a matter of fact, I have decided that since I was able to give birth, I should be able to accomplish any goal I set for myself.  (Mind you, it has been a long time since I gave birth!).

Every time I show birth videos in my classes, I wonder why I feel such empathy for those women.  Those of you who have attended the class might remember the mom in that birth pool who continues to say “I can do it” as she breathes and focuses on her doula.  Well, I realized that I too say that to myself everytime I encounter a hill while I ride (and trust me, there are plenty of those in Victoria).  I have been my own doula all along.  And when I don’t think I can anymore, I hear Jay telling me that I can do it.  And she also reminds me to breathe!

I know that once I start the ride, there will be no going back (just like a mother-to-be, once labour starts).  I know that I will have to pace myself if I expect to finish (a Mom too).  I know that I will have to stay hydrated and nourished so that I have the energy needed for the journey (yep, Mom too), and I also know that if needed, I can call for help (hmm, a taxi might be My chocolate cake).

Jay and I have tried to prepare ourselves as well as possible for this event.  That’s all we can really do.  Now we have to wait and see where our journey takes us.  I know we will make it to Portland, and what I hope for the most is that at the end of our ride, we look back and say: ‘We did it”!

We’ll keep you posted.  And as some of you go through labour on July 17 and 18, we will be thinking of you and the hard and rewarding work you are doing… along side us.

Happy Cycling & Happy Birthing!
Laura

P.S. In case you are wondering what the chocolate cake is all about, in my classes, I use “chocolate cakes” as an analogy of pain medications.

UPDATE: Click here for an update on Laura & Jay’s Ride!