Monday, January 21, 2013

birth day

That's been on my mind lately. Birth.

It is related to the extra dose of prepping for gummy's arrival in the last few weeks. We had our  prenatal classes for the last two Saturday. That was interesting. The first 3/4 was prenatal stuff and I felt amply familiar with the material (and I did have to very annoyingly correct the lovely instructor when she put up a slide that said that brain development starts in the second trimester and goes on after birth. Major structural brain development occurs in T1, and if that doesn't count as brain development I'm not sure what does).  But Mr. A found it useful. He hadn't been reading up on pregnancy and prenatal development so he soaked it all up. The second Saturday was again about birth, and about newborn care and breastfeeding.

The labor and delivery parts were interesting.

Having taken a page out of Misfit's book, my birth plan so far has been: Have baby.

I now gather there are many more details one needs to consider about birth, some of which I vaguely knew about and some of which are new. I don't feel wedded to too much at this point. We met our doula for a pre-birth meeting and when she asked what are our hopes for the birth, I said I was hoping gummy would be alive. Yeah, I still live there in the land of fear.

Well apparently fear is all wrong for wanting to birth a baby. I learned that in the hyp.nobir.thing class we started to take last week. It's a 6 week class, but we will not attend anymore than one. We are hyp.nobir.thing dropouts. Honestly, I thought some of the basic premises are right on and they fit with my understanding of human physiology and psychology (the part about the fear - tension - pain cycle, the part about enabling the parasympathetic nervous system to take over during birth). The techniques seem pretty useful.

- Beginning of rant -

Mr. A and I had some deep philosophical issues with some of the underlying premises and the wild claims made by our instructor*. Things like, having a relaxed birth = a relaxed baby. Things like, visualizing the right positioning of the baby is what makes the baby turn to the right birthing position. Things like, the birth process would determine the child's personality (the developmental psychologist found that one hard to swallow). When the instructor asked why we are afraid of birth in our society, Mr. A raised his hand to say that in distant history, a number of women died in childbirth. The instructor replied that yes, when women started using drugs during childbirth, many of them were dying.

Needless to say that we left there irritated. Mr. A got in the car and said "I'm surprised you didn't walk out of the class." Well, I wasn't that incensed, but certainly didn't feel welcomed or feel like I wanted to return. We talked about it and decided we would do some relaxation exercises at home to prepare for the birth, and forgo the dough we would have to fork to be fed some of that crap.

I think the thing that we both have the hardest time swallowing about it is the whole 'if you visualize it, it will be so' approach (discussed as the law of attraction, I believe). Akin to the 'maybe if you just relax' approach to infertility. You know, there is no amount of relaxing, visualizing, praying that would have helped me make a baby with my nonexistent eggs. And yes, I think that being in a calm state and learning to relax and manage the sensations/intensity of birth will be very helpful for the birth, I don't get to control exactly what happens on the day gummy makes her appearance. The extension of that sort of thinking is that if a woman needed intervention, then she didn't work hard enough at visualizing the perfect birth. That would be the same as saying that one is causing one's infertility by not wanting it badly enough. I've never met a more dedicated crowd of hopeful parents than I have here, in the IF community.

- End of rant -

All that to say that I am not anti hyp.nobi.rthing and I have been practicing some of the exercises. So please don't come down too hard on me in the comments. I know that I would have enjoyed the class in a different context, perhaps with a different instructor.

I have lots more to write about, if only we insert a few hours in each day. Work is intense these days, as I try to wrap everything up before mat leave. And of course the T3 insomnia and ensuing fatigue are in full effect. All very manageable, but it leaves less time for blogging. Oh, and we started painting the gummery. More to come on that topic.

*If you are a big proponent of, this may boil your blood. Remember that this is just my opinion.


  1. Ah yes, the ol' 'just relax and it will happen' sentiment. I totally see how the views of this instructor just hit too close to home for you. I would feel the same way and equate her ideas to the belief that 'if you want something bad enough it will happen.' Hopefully you took a couple ideas away from the class! Perhaps you may even want to reach out to the instructor via email and explain why the class did not suit you - maybe they will be receptive to feedback!?

  2. I am impressed that you were able to sit through the class without (a) challenging the instructor; or (b) walking out! I was (and continue to be) of the mindset that birth plans = have healthy baby.

    I am so excited for you and Mr. A! Eeeeek! You're getting so close!

  3. Ugh, the endless availability of things that can be dwelt on to worry about, stew over, be made to feel inferior for, blah blah blah.

    I totally get the "have baby" as a plan. And it works. It takes wisdom and courage to know that you cannot control everything and at the end of the day the only thing that matters is that you and baby come home safe. That's it. However you get, whatever plans you make, however messy the process, just get home healthy and safe and you have achieved a smashing success.

    Those of us in this community are too aware of the gazillion things that can wrong - it makes it awfully hard to just relax and anticipate the wondrous outcome. But it also helps us to focus on what really matters. You'll be great. Good for you for not returning to the hypo class, good for you for not obsessing (if possible!) over the things you can't control.

    You'll be great. And two months from now none of the classes/relaxation techniques, etc... will matter a bit. Good luck!!!


  4. This was good timing for me! We're starting ante-natal classes in the next month or so and I'm so worried about feeling really alienated from a lot of the natural-birthing chat. Partly because we're having twins and so I feel like a lot of the hippie stuff just isn't going to be possible for us, but also because after donor IUI and infertility and generally a long struggle I just do NOT want to be told 'visualise it and it will be so!'

  5. Things like, visualizing the right positioning of the baby is what makes the baby turn to the right birthing position

    Bwahahahah! Clearly that's what Caesar's mother did wrong, she didn't visualize him in the right position!

    My plan was "have baby at home unless there was a reason not to, and then have baby in hospital" (in the Netherlands, home births are the default unless there is medical indication contra). We started off at home, ended up at the hospital, and I'm 100% happy because things went exactly according to plan and I came home with a baby. There's something to be said about not planning things in too great of detail, and "bring home live baby" sounds like a good, simple, achievable plan. You can do it. :)

  6. I like your birth plan, it was the same as mine was. I think it's nice and a good idea to learn about the different options that may be available when you go into labor but not to become too attached to any plan. Except the live take home baby.

  7. Wow...I definitely have to agree with you on that rant, I probably wouldn't have been able to stay either. If it's one thing I've absolutely learned with my pregnancies is that you can plan all you want but that doesn't mean things are going to go as planned, in fact most of the time they don't! Good for you for doing what's best for you and I'm totally with you on the just have the baby plan. That's basically what I did with Ian's pregnancy/birth and I'm glad because the whole emergency csection would have probably been a lot more upsetting if I'd filled my head with all that visualization stuff and then been very disappointed!

    Wishing you a smooth birthing for baby g regardless of what birth plan you decide on!!

  8. This was my birth plan, feel free to use it: 1) read a bunch (probably more than needed) of stuff. 2) be open to changing your mind/plan at a moments notice. The end. I think a better birth plan is bring your favorite jammies and some trash-tastic magazines to the hospital/birth center, lol! Thinking of you always, Augusta. xoxo, Momo

  9. Chuckle! It makes me love you so much that you had this reaction. Though of course I'd rather that you had nothing but feelings of supportiveness and love and fluffy clouds and whatnot. But yeah, absurdity. I had no opportunity to even wonder what choices I'd make, but from the wonderful position of one with zero experience, it's seemed like the absolute rejection of the *possibility* of fear or complication does women a disservice. Anyway, I like your plan a lot.

  10. Mine was "avoid medical interventions unless one of the following: a) necessary; b) desired by ME."

    Your instructor sounds like a bit of scientific nitwit. I mean... really? So any child with a traumatic/ emergency birth is DOOOOOOOMED? I doubt it most sincerely.

    My first child was born in a birth center, in a tub, no meds; short labor, about 8 hours. The second, I was in labor for a week (A WEEK!!!! AAAAAGH!) and by the time I got to the hospital I was all like, where's the narcotics? And how about a nice epidural? Now. Thanks ever so. All my visualizing wasn't going to do anything about the fact that I hadn't slept in a WEEK.

    I would also like to add that my entirely reasonable fear of birth was based in part on the fact that it IS painful, and you have no idea how long it's going to last, and being in pain and not knowing when it's going to end is extremely demoralizing.

    1. Oh, I suppose my 'birth plan' had three more things: no Hep B shot, we'll get it at one month (better immunity, actually); no eye gel, I don't have any STDs; and no circumcision in the hospital (Jewish, done at 8 days). None of these have anything to do with the birth.

  11. I couldn't bear to endure that hypppo bullshit. Sorry. I barely made it to have baby, much less plan about what to do when. I read up on the stages of labor, I know I have a high tolerance for pain, and figured that the Mr. would rock the care if he felt I needed intervention. Turns out, none of my actual plans were needed. Not one freaking contraction even making it to 39 weeks! See? Plans would have been useless.

    It's also those people who have the "think positive" crap, which is probably the worst thing to add to a person who suffers. Not only do you hurt, you feel like a failure for not being able to see the bright side. Eff that already.

    My tips at this point? Buy "kimono" style tops for the first month or two for the little one. I hated pulling stuff over wee head and when the poo or pee splosion happens, it's easier to get said clothing off without a full bath after. Also, read up on breastfeeding. I had had such a bad experience with my class that I was put off enough to not read up until my maternity leave started. Which I regret deeply as the few hours I would have had to bone up would likely have saved me tons of frustration. In fact, I'm just going to be full of assvice here and send you email with my top things for T3 through birth. Like it or not, missy! :)

  12. I can't even begin to tell you how how thrilled I am to read about how you are preparing for the BIRTH of your baby girl. It is just so awesome and makes me feel so happy. Like I want to hug you, and kiss your tummy, and do a little dance. YOU are having a baby!

    I finally wrote down what I remember from BC's birth last year - in a post I'll put up tomorrow. Everything about the experience was INTENSE, and I went in feeling like i was fully prepared. For me, feeling like I was in control of decisions that were being made was really important. Little went according to plan, but I walked away feeling really good about the experience. and hey, I came home with a baby!

    Thinking about you all the time - sending oh so much love - you are SO close!
    xoxo - Foxy

  13. Ugh, wow, that is frustrating on so many levels. I am sure there are some good things to be said, but my goodness, I am not a fan of the pressues this "new age positivity" puts on people. Blah. My therapist and I talked about this a lot when we were going through IF stuff.

    So excited things are getting close for you. Lotsa love.

  14. Stick to your game plan. You know more than the teacher. A few hrs of relaxed or unrelaxed labor will not drastically affect a child's personality, etc. I should know since I never labored :) Personally, I think she was smoking something.
    So excited that Miss Gummy will be arriving soon.

  15. Can't stop thinking about you and close you are. It's so exciting!!!

  16. oh boy.... that is super frustrating. I would have dropped out too... What a load of CRAP....... It's a lovely idea to think that we have that much power over our lives and I GET that being calm is not a bad thing but to say that you can avoid a difficult birth purely by visualisation.... BULLS****! And like you say, if you buy into that then you MUST accept the flipside where those who end up having a less than fairytale birth only have themselves to blame. The people who come up with these thoeories really are deluded, the fact that these people ended up being responsible for a baby human being is even more terrifying!!!

    Love your work Augusta x