The nursery is decorated, the laundry is done, our hospital bags are packed, the freezer is stocked, the apartment is cleaner than it’s ever been … I ran out of projects two weeks ago! I’ve spent the last two weeks sleeping in late every day, reading lots of books, doing whatever small cleaning projects I can find, doing LOTS of walking, and spending a lot of time reflecting on what is to come in the next couple of weeks.
Perhaps the thing I’ve most realized over the last couple weeks is how thankful I am that we did the incredibly hard work of finding a new doctor about 20 weeks ago. From very early on we knew we weren’t completely comfortable with the thought of delivering at a hospital where the caesarian rate was over 40%. Our OB/GYN practice seemed impersonal and we were afraid our childbirth experience would be very similar. After much conversation and prayer, we began our search for a new practice. One that would help educate us about both natural and medicated childbirth. One that would encourage us when we got discouraged along the way. One that would believe in my body’s ability to carry and birth the precious child growing inside of me.
We put together an incredible team of people to help us have the best possible birth experience we can have. As the days go on, I wake up a little bit discouraged and disappointed that I didn’t go into labor while I was asleep. And every day someone from the team sends a message that helps pick up my spirits.
If there’s anything I’ve learned about the final days of pregnancy, it’s that you need a good team of people to surround you. So, you might ask … who’s on the team?
- Spouse. I have the best husband in the world. Hands down. He has supported my crazy desire to go all natural from the very beginning. In an attempt to help me wrap my head around it, the first baby book he read was Raising Baby Green. The “crunchy” side of both of us has come out and although there have been a couple of times when he looked at me like I had two heads, he is always willing to figure out what would be best for both of us. He has sat with me through 40 weeks of morning sickness, researched the best essential oils to help with nausea and swelling, made me feel beautiful no matter how huge I feel, and has truly been my hero for the last 10 months.
- Midwife. Switching practices mid-pregnancy was perhaps the best decision we have made. Last week I was so fed up with being pregnant that I just about begged her to induce me. Had I stayed with my old practice, they would have scheduled a date right then. But not Janet. She just calmly reminded me that no one stays pregnant forever and that my baby would come when she was ready. She talked through natural things we could do to help get labor started and walked us through what would happen if she doesn’t come by 41 weeks. As we left her office I turned to D and said, “We picked her for a reason. I don’t really want to be induced. But I was desperate. And instead of letting me cave to my uncomfortableness, she talked me out of it. Gently. I’m thankful for that.” She has been a rock for me during the last half of my pregnancy. I’d recommend her to anyone.
- Childbirth Educator. We did a lot of research about childbirth education. Once we decided on a class, I did more research on the educators themselves. We picked a class based not only on the content and the schedule, but the person who taught it. And we made an incredible choice. She equipped us not only with techniques, but with confidence and strength. She made an effort to get to know us as well as our parents. As we sit through the final days of our pregnancy, her voice rings in my head over and over again. I can do this. I was made for this. I am a strong warrior woman.
- Hospital Staff. When I began my research at 17 weeks, I wanted to give birth at a birthing center rather than a hospital. When I discovered the only one in the state was a good 4 hours away, I did research on all the local hospitals, trying to find one that would be most friendly to a natural childbirth. When we picked North Fulton, we had no idea how good a choice we made. It is practically a birth center right smack dab in the middle of a hospital. When we went through our birth plan with our midwife, she simply said, “This is all standard procedure at North Fulton. You don’t really need this.” I was amazed. And thankful. When we attended the required class at the hospital we were equally impressed with the nurse that we met. She assured us that all the nurses were advocates for natural childbirth. If they weren’t, they would be working somewhere else.
- Chiropractor. I first heard about the benefits of chiropractic care and pregnancy during our childbirth class. I had been suffering from severe lower back pain and sciatica and could hardly walk. After a prenatal massage didn’t help, I called the chiropractor we met in our class and scheduled an appointment. I have been going 3 times a week since the middle of December and it has changed my life. She is incredible. Not only does her chiropractic care make my body feel better, but she is an incredible woman with a super positive outlook on life. She constantly reminds me how powerful my body is and how confident she is that I will have an incredible childbirth experience. When I go in discouraged because there’s still no baby, she greets me with a smile, a big hug, and a gentle reminder that my baby WILL come. In these last days, she’s been such an important part of my team.
- Family. I have an incredible family. Two sisters and a mother that will drop anything for me at any time. They are so excited for this baby to be born and have been lifeguards to me over the last 40 weeks. They’ve helped me clean my apartment, cooked meals to put in my freezer, made homemade projects, and rearranged their schedules just to spend time with me when my spirits are down. I never have to ask for help – they just offer it. Sometimes I think they know my heart better than I do. Not to mention my three aunts that can make anything in the world. From swing covers to cloth baby wipes to sleep sacks, they have basically made anything we could ever need or want. And they love doing it.
- Experienced Friend. This part of the team was a gift to me. A gift from God. Someone I know had a baby about 5 months ago. We’ve met in person a couple of times, and we knew we liked each other, but we were mostly acquaintances and kept up with each other through Facebook and mutual friends. She has been an incredible inspiration to me throughout my pregnancy. Checking in, gently offering advice and support, and just being there for me whenever I need another mama’s point of view. Our pregnancies united us and made us more than mere acquaintances. Now we are unofficial prayer partners and friends. Particularly over the last few days when our due date went right by, she has lifted my spirits in a way no one else could. She is a shining star on my team.
So that’s my team. It’s pretty incredible. And I couldn’t be more thankful for each one of them.
Who’s on your team?