Friday, September 29, 2006

You're getting sleeeepy.....very, very sleeeeepy

I'm trying something that may be considered "radical." Others may say it's satanic, New Agey, sacreligious, blah blah blah.

I'm going to use self-hypnosis when I go into labor with my little Lancelot.

Yes, that's right. I'm a Christian, and I'm going to try hypnosis.

Not the kind where someone waves a stopwatch in your face and tells you how sleepy you are becoming. It's more like a series of relaxation techniques. From what I have learned (and I will post URLs of the websites where I found such information,) when the body is scared, it releases a hormone called "catecholamines." This is the fight-or-flight hormone, and many women experience this in large doses when they go into labor because of societal expectations of what birthing a baby means. However, a woman who is relaxed will produce endorphins, the "pleasure hormone." Apparantly catecholamines and endorphins cannot co-exist, so if a woman is able to relax herself, while she is in labor the endorphins will take over. Not that she won't feel any pain, but she won't have the fear and anxiety which can amplify the feeling of pain and lead to a host of what would otherwise be medically unnecessary interventions, which is what I am hoping to avoid.

I have found a wonderful program called "HypBirth" which has a series of 4 CDs that women listen to in preparation for labor and birth. (Thanks, Damselfly!) Each CD has a "deepening" section, in which the hypnosis provides visualizations to help you relax. The next section teaches you techniques for use in labor, also usually visualizations to help the time pass, or to release fear that you HAVE developed, or to "drain away" the discomfort that has built up. Finally, each CD has a final section of "good birth words" that the woman listens to, in which the hypnotist tells the woman how natural childbirth is, how her body naturally knows what to do, etc etc etc.

I have known people who have tried programs like these, and in some cases they work and in some cases they don't. So I don't have unrealistic expectations that I will arrive at the hospital calm, cool, and collected. I could very well freak out totally and forget everything I have learned. But even if that happens, I have been able to call upon the relaxtion techniques I have learned so far in countless other situations, from helping myself fall asleep on a restless night to being able to relax when I'm having blood drawn (which used to cause me to lose consciousness. Now I barely flinch.) Therefore, this has not been a waste if I find the techniques not helpful during labor. On the other hand, it may work like a charm! I'll just have to wait and see.

I haven't told my family about this yet. I'm afraid they'll think I've turned into some kind of heathen. They wouldn't understand. I had a hard time explaining to them why I needed a doula, and when I mentioned I wanted waterbirth, they just stared at me like I was crazy. They're being supportive of me, because they love me, but I can tell they're not totally thrilled with my decisions. I just don't want to deal with having to explain why I'm going to bring in CDs listening to a woman tell me to "imagine a pitcher of warm, liquid light flowing in through your toes, up and around your knees, into your thighs, relaxing, releasing..." and they'd REALLY lose it if they heard the part about imagining a circle of powerful women, and as my cervix opens, another woman comes into the circle making it larger and more powerful. Gack. I'd just rather avoid that conversation altogether. And if they were to SEE me in labor, doing my "finger drop" technique in which I first look at my finger, then drop my hand and my whole body goes loose and limp, heavens above, Lawd-Almighty, Guinevere's going STRAIGHT TO HELL! (Not that they would actually SAY that. I'm sure I'm exaggerating a little bit, but I'm sure I would get some little snippet of the "You're giving Satan a foothold into your life" bit. Before you know it, Guin, you'll be watching Harry Potter movies!)

Don't get me wrong. I adore my family. I am quite fortunate to have the family that I have. I've never met more loving, caring, considerate people in all my life-- however, some of my ideas are a little more radical than theirs-- not completely off the charts, and they wouldn't disown me or make me feel bad or anything, they just simply wouldn't understand and in their love for me would try to convince me to do something else. They've never stopped me from doing anything, but they always make their opinion known. I understand this is a very parental thing to do, and I'm sure I'll do the same with my little Lancelot when he grows up and begins attacking the world for himself.

But for now, there are just some things that are better left unsaid.

As promised, here are the websites about hypnobirthing for anyone who is interested, or wants to check my information.

Natural Childbirth: Hypnobirthing

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Yipes!! 9 weeks to go!!!!

I am now 31 weeks pregnant. That means I have 9 weeks to go. A little over two months, unless the baby comes early.

10 weeks. There's something scary about that, and exciting at the same time. On the one hand, I feel like I've been pregnant forever and I can't WAIT to get this child out of my body and hold him in my arms. On the other hand, 9 weeks??!!! In 9 short weeks I'll be holding a baby in my arms?? How is that possible? I often still feel like a kid myself!

My best friend Damselfly recently gave birth to her own little flybaby, and I remember her telling me what I have just written here when SHE had 10 weeks to go. Now she's had her baby for almost a month!! Amazing. Time is a strange thing.

As each day passes, the reality of what is about to happen hits me harder and harder. On the weekend, DH put our crib together. My baby shower invitations were sent out by friends Damselfly and Roo. Friends at my church are starting up a pool to determine when I'll actually give birth. As my belly gets bigger, walking becomes more of a challenge. As I walk to my classes on my college campus, I see these little college kids zip by me like they're running from a fire or something. (Was there really a time I could walk that quickly??) I also see them scrutinizing my belly and scowling, as if they've never seen a pregnant woman before, or that because I'm pregnant I don't belong on a college campus. These kids have so much to learn. Being pregnant has made me feel so much older and wiser than my academic counterparts. Poor kids. They'll find out soon enough!

I've also started growing a backbone! Yay! Among my circle of friends (the same circle that's starting the pool and choosing a name of the week for this child, ) is a well-meaning gentleman who likes to pat my stomach every time he sees me. Only his version of "patting" is more like grabbing my stomach and shaking it like a maraca. Normally, I don't mind when my friends pat my tummy, as long as they do it gently. This guy just has no clue. So finally, I just came out and said "Please don't do that. I don't like it when people touch my stomach." I wanted to cheer for myself!! Prior to this, I had just kept quiet about it, although it grated at me every time.

I will be thrilled when this little one arrives in 9 weeks. It will be nice to have my hormones somewhat under control (I know that'll take awhile,) but much more importantly because I'll be able to see, hold, and talk to my baby! I can't wait for him to arrive.

Friday, September 15, 2006

A teeny-tiny wrinkle in my plans

Gestational. Diabetes.

That's the possible prognosis. I failed the one-hour glucose test, so now I get to go do the three-hour test. Yippee. Hooray. Joyful. (By the way, I'm anemic, too. Why couldn't they have found this out sooner, like when they took 5 gallons of blood from me at my very first visit??!! No wonder I've been so d*** exhausted for the past 6 months! Arghhh!)

My grandparents are diabetic. My mom had gestational diabetes when she was pregnant with my sister, and every so often I can just tell when my blood sugar is low or out-of-whack. Never bad enough to require a doctor visit, but folks, this tells me that there's a pretty darn-good-tootin' chance that I indeed have gestational diabetes.

I know that of all pregnancy complications, that GD is fairly common and the most easily treated and really isn't a big deal. But I'm still freaking out a little bit! See, I have all these hopes for a nice, natural childbirth free of monitors and IV lines, and I'm afraid that if I have this complication, that will be immediately taken away from me. I'm such a wuss. I realize that if there is a problem, it's in my best interest to be hooked up to all of that techno-stuff. I'm also afraid I won't be able to have a waterbirth, because again, if I'm hooked up to monitors and computers, the last place they'll want me will be in a tub full of water!

My doctor's office just told me that I should avoid sugars and carbs until gestational diabetes is ruled out. It doesn't help that I just finished drinking a chocolate milk shake right before I got the phone call!!

I know I just need to chill out. I can't do anything at all until Monday, anyway, so for now I'll just watch what I eat and take some extra iron.

I guess my husband will have to finish off my Starbucks Latte-flavored ice cream.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

2 down, 1 to go!

Have I ever told you that my husband and I play in a band together? We do. We play in a contemporary Christian band that provides music for the Saturday night church service at our local church. We have so much fun. He plays guitar and I'm one of three vocalists. I am also one of three pregnant women in the band!! Well, actually, I'm the last one! Our drummer's wife was pregnant and had her baby in July, one of the other vocalists had her baby last week, and I'm the last one!It was fun for awhile, the three of us would get together and compare bellies.

All three of us are having/have had boys! I was sure that one of us would have a girl, but we've got a bunch of boys! People at our church make jokes that if you want to become pregnant, just join the Saturday night band! When they make comments like that, I reply with, "Well, we needed more musicians, so we decided to make some of our own!"

Our pastors like to joke too. The name of our band is "Renanah," which is the Hebrew word that basically means "singing with praise." Our pastors have decided to change the meaning of "Renanah" to "Great with child." LOL!

So I'm the last of our happy little trio! It's kind of sad. It was fun sharing the joys of pregnancy with my good friends, but soon enough I shall be sharing the joys of motherhood with them.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Pickles and Ice Cream

I want to know who the first person was to suggest that pregnant women often crave pickles and ice cream. Early in my pregnancy when I would talk to friends, the first question they always asked me was, "Have you craved anything weird yet, like pickles and ice cream?" For some reason, every single person came up with that particular combination. What's more, they did it independently of each other!! No one suggested pickles and key lime pie, or ice cream with salad dressing. Every single person thought that the ideal pregnancy food was pickles and ice cream. Why??

I wonder, was there some famous movie where a pregnant woman came up with pickles and ice cream? Is there something intrinsic about our culture in which the combination of pickles and ice cream becomes a logical cuisine choice for the pregnant woman? In Italy, for example, would they put marinara sauce over tiramasu? Do pregnant French woman desire to drizzle onion soup over their chocolate mousse? Or is there something universal about pickles and ice cream?

This is a mystery that I intend to get to the bottom of. If anyone has any clues, please let me know.

p.s. The weirdest thing I have craved was ice cream and potato chips. For the briefest, and I mean briefest of moments, I contemplated crushing the potato chips and using them as a topping for the ice cream, but then my common sense took over. So I ate a handful of potato chips, and then had a dish of ice cream.

It was delicious.

Unfortunatley, I was out of pickles.

***Note: out of curiosity, I googled the phrase "pickles and ice cream" and here is what I came up with. Enjoy.

1. Pickles and Ice Cream: Maternity Clothes

2.Baby Shower Invitation

3.Pickles and Ice Cream: a Father's Guide to Pregnancy

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Dreams and Wishes

Dreams are nothing more than wishes
And a wish is just a dream
You wish to come true....

That's from a song I like off the "You've Got Mail" soundtrack. I thought I would share some of my dreams and wishes with you in these wee hours of the morning, when my bonnie wee son is making his presence so very plainly known to me, keeping me from a sound sleep and preventing any kind of possible "dreams." (For some reason, this kid doesn't want me lying down right now. Sitting up is the only way to go! After I write this, I'm going to try to fall asleep in hubby's recliner. We'll see how that goes.)

On nights when I have slept soundly, I have had some interesting dreams indeed. Once, I dreamt that I was giving birth, and as the doctor held the baby up for me to see for the first time, the baby had my husband's face! His 33-year old face, with glasses and goatee. It was this infant's body with an adult's head. Then he grinned at me with the same grin my husband has and waved at me with one finger, the way my husband does. It was kind of cute, but weird at the same time.

Another time I had a dream that I was conversing intelligently with my infant son. There we were, changing his diaper, having a perfectly grown-up conversation about something serious and complicated, like politics and recycling.

I've had a number of baby dreams, and in only one of them did the baby behave like a normal baby. He was always talking, or walking, or doing something far more advanced than he should have been doing. Is this wishful thinking on my part to have a child who is highly skilled, or am I in denial that I will be parenting a child? Am I going to expect him to grow up too fast? Or am I just worrying too much about a silly dream?

Speaking of wishful thinking, as I lay in bed unable to sleep on nights such as these, I find myself imagining what life will be like with a child. I often feel that I am still a child myself, and I am overcome with this dreadful fear that I'm not ready. Other times, I am so excited and thrilled to be welcoming a child into the world. I find myself imagining my son at different ages. I see his first day of school, I see him playing catch with his daddy in the front yard, I see him learning to swim. Then he's an awkard teenager with pimples and greasy hair and is trying to get the cute girl across the street to go out with him, then he's the star football player at his high school. Before I know it, my unborn son is grown up and has a wife and child of his own, and I am a grandmother with lots of grandbabies running around the house at Christmastime. I love these little flights of fancy. My life as I know it is about to end, but a beautiful new season is about to begin. And as it is with the changing of seasons, we often mourn the passing of the wonderful time we have just had, but simultaneously welcome the incredible change that is about to take place.

Dreams and wishes. Wishes and dreams.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

The Best of Times and the Worst of Times

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

If ever I write a book about my pregnancy, that is the sentence I will use to open the first chapter. What a roller-coaster this has been, and I'm only 6 months into it!

Yesterday I had my last monthly doctor's visit, and now I begin my twice-monthly (bi-monthly? bi-weekly? What is the correct term for "every other week"? Every fortnight? hehe...) visits. At one time in my recent past, having my arm poked with a needle for the purpose of removing my blood caused me to faint. (Literally. Smelling salts have been required on more than one occasion!) Now I don't so much as flinch. I just sit there, look up at the ceiling, make small talk with the nurse, and it's over.

So it's great that I've gotten over this fear....not so great that the REASON I've gotten over this fear is that half of my blood supply now resides in a lab somewhere!

As my stomach grows bigger, I discover that my center of gravity has changed and simple tasks like walking up stairs or trying to get around a dining room table are difficult tasks. I forget that my abdomen has enlarged, so when I try to walk past people in a narrow hallway, I bump into every single one of them. "I'm sorry, please excuse me, pardon me....OUT OF MY WAY! LADY WITH A BABY!!" The good thing about this change in my physiology is that in many other instances, I get out of doing certain things. For example, when recently painting in my new apartment (with pregnancy-friendly paint, of course,) my friend who travelled all the way from Tampa to help me refused to let me climb the ladder to paint at the top of the walls. This was very sweet of her. Not only because she was concerned for the well-being of me and my baby, but because she is afraid of heights and hates ladders.

So it's great that I have friends who are willing to put themselves into uncomfortable situations to protect me. Not so great that I need my friends to do that!

My husband has never been sweeter! He is so understanding and patient with me, God bless him! Although I must admit, he's had it fairly easy compared to some! (Says me...he might have a different opinion on that one!) The other day I was so exhausted I pretty much put myself on bed rest. I didn't do anything. He came home and was so sweet and gentle, and went and got dinner for us, and when he came home there was a beautiful rainbow outside and a spectacular sunset. Since we live on the second floor of our building, he got my camera and took a picture of it, so that I could see it without having to get out of bed and walk down the stairs! What a sweetheart!!

So it was not so great that I couldn't walk down the stairs to see a rainbow and a sunset, but it was fabulous that my husband was so wonderful to think of taking a digital picture of it so I wouldn't miss out.

I've got the best husband in the world.