Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Backstory -- Pregnancy Recap Part 2

After a wonderful trip to the West Coast, I returned home with a BRUTAL cold. Being pregnant, my only treatment was...hot lemon water. Woot! That was the only illness I had while pregnant, though, so I can't complain.

It was right around that time that I finally clued in - the weird 'indigestion feeling' I'd been having was actually the baby moving! In my defence, it was hard to tell, The 18-week ultrasound had shown us that I had an anterior, low-lying placenta. The bulk of the baby's early movements were masked by the placenta, so I didn't feel much until around 22 weeks. As time went on, the baby's kicks and movements became much more noticeable to others. Dave developed a ritual -- each night before bed, I would lay on my back and Dave would have a chat with the baby. "Hello, Humpy!" each conversation would start. The baby would respond enthusiastically to his voice (and/or the flashlight that Dave would shine on my growing abdomen).

I loved the second trimester and the majority of the third. And since Fall is my favourite season, it was a great time! Work was a bit wacky (factors unrelated to pregnancy), but I felt great and was in good spirits. And boy, did I start nesting! Car seats, co-sleeper, crib (thanks, GrandmaNonna and Grandpa!)...the baby stuff kept piling into the 'drowsy lavendar' room (a colour I'd chosen when we moved in because I thought it'd be perfect for a future nursery). The cats were sad to lose their 3rd bed on which to sleep, but Moe acquired a new sleep spot - the change pad that's atop the bureau (from my childhood). I have yet to change Teddy on that thing, but Moe sure sleeps there a lot!

The major happening during this period was the change to my prenatal care. Despite a nagging feeling that it was the wrong choice, I started to see an OB/GYN at 5 months. I specifically chose him because (a) all the online ratings said that the midwives loved him and (b) he delivered at the hospital near us with the new birthing centre, the hospital at which the midwives have privileges. He was a nice man, but during my 2 appointments the bulk of my care was with med students who could not find the heartbeat with the doppler (they were convinced that MY heartbeat was the baby's), then measured the uterus 4 cm off. They couldn't really answer my questions, either.

In the midst of this, we headed to a weekend of prenatal classes through the Ottawa CEA (who were AMAZING). Nerd that I am, I had been reading up on this stuff for a while so didn't have too many surprises. The classes were great for Dave, though. Also - Brandy, the doula and childbirth educator who was running the classes, let us know that both midwifery groups in town had spaces for January births. Then, on break, she let me know that, based on my questions and the concerns I'd expressed (not wanting interventions if possible, wanting to avoid pain meds and wanting labour support) that she felt that moving to midwifery care (with doula support) was a great idea.

Monday morning, I made calls to both midwifery groups, hoping to get in to the one in the east end of town. By noon, I was in! I'd waited to late (I was nearly 27 weeks) that some clients had had to switch to OB care and they had space! My midwives (Paula and Ann) were assigned and I started to meet with them that week. Dave and I just LOVED them. Paula ended up taking a leave of absence, so our pair ended up being Mei and Ann, but they were incredible Ann and I were on the exact same wavelength; she has degrees in midwifery and biochemistry, so she took my science-nerd needs questions in stride. Mei trained as both an OB and a midwife in China, so here prespective was invaluable as well. Now, my family probably thought I was nuts for switching, but they came around (especially when they saw how the midwifery care model worked when we ran into problems 4 days postpartum).

At 32 weeks, I had another ultrasound to see if my placenta had migrated up. Had it not, a c-section would have been considered. Happily, the placenta was no longer considered low-lying, so I could stay with the midwives. Also, we got a lovely shot of the baby's massive scrotum. No doubt about it - this kid had outdoor plumbing!

Once it was clear that I could stay with the midwives, Dave and I started discussing a doula. While I knew that Dave would be supportive during labour, there would be a lot of pressure on him to help me cope with pain. In our relationship, I am the one who asks for lots of information to make decisions (especially science-related ones) and I was woried that I'd be too distracted to pull that off, putting even more pressure on him. Plus - neither of us had been through it before so had NO IDEA of how it'd go or how I'd cope. The midwives would be helpful, but they'd also be concerned with the medical side and wouldn't be able to coach me as actively. We loved the idea of a doula, someone who was trained in labour support and who'd been to numerous births so could decode what was going on, could gather information and help us make informed decisions even it we were really distracted. The pre- and postnatal visits were also a bonus. We decided to go for it.

I emailed the lovely Shannon at "New Arrivals" doula services. Shannon mentioned that she was full for January, but had another doula working with her who was free - Zoia. We met with both of them and signed on immediately! As it turned out, both were in there for the birth (totally unusual and AMAZING) and I cannot recommend them enough.

I'll close this entry with Dave's two best quotes concerning doulas:

"That was the best $600 we ever spent!" and "How is the word do people do this without doulas?!?"

1 comment:

  1. I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that I've been telling any pregnant woman who will listen to me to consider midwifery care. I first learned about midwives in my undergrad when I worked in the School of Nursing at McMaster, where they had just recently started the midwifery program. I now tell any pregnant women that will listen to me about how great your midwifery care was, as well as your doulas (as you are the first person I know who has used the services of a doula (or two)).