Saturday, March 23, 2013

In the waiting place

I love the Dr. Seuss book. “Oh the places you’ll go.” My grandmother gave me a copy when I graduated high school and I find that book has stuck with me and had more meaning in my life than any other. After my last spin class that I taught on Monday I thought about that section in the poem that has to do with waiting:

You can get so confused
that you'll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
Waiting Place...

...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting”

This is where I am. 38 weeks pregnant. The waiting place. Waiting for something to happen. My week was filled with yoga classes, naps, grocery store runs, vizsla walks and waiting. Every night I go to sleep unsure about what’s going to happen during the night (besides waking up 11 times to pee) or the next day. I have started to feel crampy like contractions akin to menstrual cramps. I know my uterus is warming up for the big day. I can feel the baby becoming more restless as it tries to punch and kick its way out of me. I have slowed down on working out (silly me thought I’d be taking at LEAST three classes a day and yeah that hasn’t happened) because I don’t want to bring on labor. My in-laws are not here yet, my mom isn’t here, my doula Casey isn’t here. Going in to labor before they get here is like playing in the super bowl without your starting line up. If you have a choice you don’t do it right? I must be the only pregnant lady in the world not in a hurry to go in to labor.

So I sit in a place of waiting.
it's about like that

In preparation for the big day I have been taking my prenatal vitamins as well as drinking raspberry leaf tea, taking evening primrose and a probiotic. Raspberry leaf tea is nutrient rich and contains many of the vitamins and minerals necessary for a healthy pregnancy including vitamins A, C, E and B, magnesium, calcium and iron. Consuming raspberry leaf tea can not only help mother and baby get all the nutrients they need but can also help to replenish a new mothers stores after the birth. Raspberry leaf tea also contains the alkaloid 'fragine' which is said to strengthen and tone the muscles of the uterus, helping them to contract more efficiently during labour. Research has found that taking raspberry leaf tea during the weeks prior to delivery helps to shorten the second stage of labour by making contractions more effective. Some studies have also found that it reduces the need for an assisted delivery (i.e. an emergency cesarean or use of forceps or ventouse).
Sipping raspberry leaf tea during and after the birth is also said to help the uterus contract back down to size, reduce after birth bleeding and help initiate the let down of breastmilk.
While there hasn't been a huge amount of research into this area, the general consensus does seem to be that drinking raspberry leaf tea during the latter stages of pregnancy can help to make for a 'better' labour with few side effects.  The primrose is supposed to ripen your cervix in case you were wondering. And they recommend taking it orally as well as…well you know where. The cervix is what has to thin and dilate from a 1 to a 10 to let the baby pass. It’s kind of like the gatekeeper of the baby and you can think of dilation like a moon eclipses…or at least I like too anyways. These are not routines to be taken on until 36 weeks for obvious reasons. I’m not trying to induce my labor but I’m all about getting my players in shape game day.

I’ve had to start taking a probiotic as well because I tested positive for strep B. I’m not happy with those results but since one in three women test positive I guess it is what it is. It’s a strain of strep that lives, you guessed it, in the vagina. It’s not contagious but it can be fatal to infants in rare cases and at the very least you can infect them so they have to run you on antibiotics every 4 hours while you are in active labor for about 30 minutes at a time. The downside to this is I have to have a hep-lock in. I have amazing veins and I’m not scared of needles at all but just the idea that I have to have something put in my arm is annoying. I can still move around of course and it won’t hinder my plans of a water birth which is fantastic. The probiotic is because the penicillin they run you on kills all the good bacteria as well as the bad so I’m taking a precaution to up my good bacteria levels ahead of time. The strep B test is one they give at 36 weeks and I wasn’t even aware this was something that was tested for although there’s really nothing you can do either way to ensure you don’t have it.

I’m having weekly appointments with the midwives now and so I went today and they told me everything was looking good. Blood pressure is normal, baby’s heartbeat is great, deposit for the water birth has been put down and birth plan has been made. Pediatrician has been picked out and bag has been packed for the hospital. I’m measuring right on target although my midwife did say it felt like the baby was face up (although the head is still down which is great). She suggested doing twice daily pelvic tilts to move the baby into optimal position which is face down. You don’t want the baby’s boney head pressing against your tailbone so cat/cow pelvic tilts are a way to keep the baby’s head from pressing into that bone. You have to think of your pelvis as a lock and the baby as the key and there are positions you can do to help the key move into the lock. Although the baby hasn’t dropped yet, cat/cows are always my favorite in yoga so I take advantage of the time in that space to remind myself to do them.

There is nothing more to say when I return for my weekly visits. I’ve gained a total, I think of 27 pounds and shouldn’t gain but one or two more if any I wouldn’t think. Usually by the end the weight gain slows or stops altogether as the body has already prepared the sufficient amount of fluid and blood and baby has gained the optimal weight it needs. My appetite has slowed down and my bladder has sped up. I’m in the waiting place. My body knows what to do and although I can help here and there I’m mostly just along for the ride at this point. I feel as if I just accepted being pregnant and now it’s almost over. I have enjoyed the journey even though it has not come without its challenges. It has gone by far quicker than I imagined and I will say I will miss the bump I was so hesitant to embrace. I wish I hadn’t worried so much about the weight gain because I feel great and am exactly where I need to be. I did not swell in my face, hands or feet. I have no stretch marks. My body knew better than my mind it could handle pregnancy and I’m glad I let it prove me wrong.

And I know sometime in the next few weeks I will escape the waiting place just like in the poem:

That's not for you!

Somehow you'll escape
all that waiting and staying.
You'll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping,
once more you'll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you're that kind of a guy!”

Ready for anything under the sky. I think that about describes the next chapter.

Thanks Dr. Seuss-

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