Time for some (popped-out) navel-gazing

34 weeks, bending over to find toes

Remember a month ago when I said I was panicking? I hit the 30-week mark and suddenly realized that I for rillz am going to have to get this baby out somehow and that I absolutely cannot go through a repeat of what happened last time. I kept running every possible option and scenario in my head, trying to figure out which ones would lessen my chances of a re-broken butt hole. The most obvious answer would be to bypass that whole area entirely with a C-section, but I'm also worried about surgery and recovery and if that's absolutely necessary. And hey, while I'm at it, let's worry about breastfeeding. And about becoming a bloodless shell-shocked zombie who can't bond with her baby. Let's worry about aaaaaalllllll of it!

Good times.

Even though I have no more answers now than I did then, I feel like I'm getting my body and my head a bit better prepared for whatever is going to happen. And maybe no one cares and this will just be for my own brain-dumping purposes, but here's what I've been up to:

(Disclaimer: These things may help me have a better labor/delivery/recovery/breastfeeding experience. Or they may not. But they are helping me feel calmer and more proactive now, which I will absolutely take.)

A good chat with my OB about my tearing worries. We agree that forceps are out and he wrote it down in my file. I may still Sharpie a message to that effect on my inner thighs when the time comes, though. He doesn't think a scheduled C-section is warranted, but is absolutely super fine with inducing me a week early if I'm worried about having another elephant baby. Or hey, even if the baby is small, we can still induce! Also, have I considered how much easier that will make arranging child care for TDL? (Hoo boy, Utah, with your scheduled induction ways.) At the moment, I'm not planning to take him up on the offer.

A tour of the labor & delivery unit of the hospital. I got to see the rooms and all the gear they keep in them (birth balls, birth bars, etc.). Now I know to ask for a room with a longer couch (for my tall husband) near the Jacuzzi, just in case I want to try that thing out. And I saw the snack room where they have a soda fountain, bags of chips, fruit, and cookies for birth partners to munch on. I am not allowed to have any of those things, but they'll give me popsicles and put flavored syrup on my ice chips if I ask. So that's something.

Morning walks. GH and I have started getting up around 6:30am most mornings to exercise. He gets up this early because he has willpower. I get up this early because hey, I'm awake anyway. He goes downstairs and gets on the elliptical, and I go outside and walk around the neighborhood while it still feels nice and cool. Then I come home and do this 20-minute video podcast from Mamaste Yoga (Mamaste, get it?) to stretch out.

Eating Less Babybel. Also less Top Ramen. I gained more weight with TDL than I probably needed to, and this time around I'm trying to eat better (less sugar, less empty carbs). If my recent peach cobbler binging episode is any indicator, I may have some room to improve there.

Hypnobabies. I've started re-reading the materials and listening to the CDs, and it's amazing how much more positive I feel after a few weeks of brain-washing. The first few times I listened to the "Joyful Pregnancy Affirmations" track on my morning walk and heard, "My baby is in the perfect position to birth smoothly and easily," I may have snorted and muttered some unprintable things. But now that it's kicking in I'm all, "That's right! I do deserve an easy, fast and completely comfortable birthing! Woo hoo!"

Pelvic tilts, Kegels, yadda. When I remember to. Also, starting soon if I can drum up the willpower, Perineal Massage. Blergh.

Foot zones from a Hippie Foot Zoner.

Massages/Adjustments from a Hippie Chiropractor.

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea. I will start drinking this as soon as it arrives from Amazon (should be today). It's supposed to tone my uterus and lead to a shorter labor. I almost suggested this to my sister Jenny but then I remembered how fast her last labor was and figured I'd better not unless I want my new niece to be born in their driveway. Plus they live in the mountains where the cougars would be all, "Mmmm . . . afterbirth." Not really the scenario anyone wants.

Five/Six Week Formula (herbal tincture by Butterfly Expressions)

Some Crazy Potion. My hippie foot zoner used this during her most recent pregnancies and recommends it to speed up labor and recovery. We shall see.

Motherlove More Milk Plus ($15 at Amazon)

Milk-making stuff. In case I need help in that department. Because no way am I doing that whole "drink fennel seeds steeped in milk and then go vomit into your sink" thing again. Also have started re-reading some of my breastfeeding books, and man some of those authors sound like judgmental cows.

Prayer/Blessings. I've been doing a lot of praying on my own and with GH that things will go smoothly and well, no matter what kind of delivery we end up having. The other big thing I pray for is that I will be able to make the best decisions for me and the baby, and if there's something I need to do or need to know, that I will get the message.

And now I'd better stop ignoring the yells of the Original Bottom-Damage-Causer and get him up from his nap.


Liz Johnson said... [reply]

The good news - it will probably be SO MUCH BETTER in every arena, just because it's your second baby. I know it's not a universal truth, but it is ALMOST a universal truth that second babies are easier to both birth and breastfeed, and lady parts heal much better, too.

Ignore the judgmental cows. They're everywhere, in all the books and on facebook and in your ward and all that stuff, but dude, do your own thing. It's your body and your birth and your baby and those people can just SUCK IT because they have no idea. I had milk supply issues, too, and the crap I got from people for that was just ridiculous and not at all helpful. So I am mentally beating the judg-y people up with a glorious roundhouse kick to the head.

If you're looking for recommendations, I suggest the book "Birthing From Within" and getting a friend or doula to come cheer you on and kick bad nurses in the face. If you're not looking for recommendations, please ignore this paragraph.

Jenny said... [reply]

Look at you all getting prepared to have a baby! I admire your dedication. Also, thanks for the raspberry leaf tea offer. If I my due date passes I will risk giving birth with the cougars and errant golf balls and drink whatever you have left in one go.

This one won't be as bad as the last one just because you've done it before and you're not all deer in the headlights this time.

Mrs. Clark said... [reply]

You might want to watch The Business of Being Born. It converted me to the midwife thing, which both my daughter and daughter-in-law have done, with great results. And there is evidence that c-sections make it more difficult to breastfeed. Things have changed a lot since I gave birth, and there is far too much intervention going on. When your body is ready to give birth, it will. Don't induce unless it is absolutely your last resort. I had a pitocin birth the first time and a natural birth the second (nope, no drugs except a local for the episiotomy) and it was much easier to recover. I think pitocin is the spit of the devil--it makes labor much more harsh and painful, and then you want an epidural sooner, which slows down the labor and often the baby's heartbeat, and then you end up with a c-section.

And being determined to breastfeed is the most important thing. It takes about 6 weeks to establish it well, and some kids are just not as eager to feed as others. Get with a lactation consultant. And labor naturally as much as possible!

Kayla FrecklesinApril said... [reply]

I hit "mmmm...afterbirth" and just about died. You are still one of my all time favorite bloggers.

Jenny said... [reply]

The business of being born is good except for the factual inaccuracies about c sections and bonding and breastfeeding so watch with a discriminant ear.

Elsha said... [reply]

Agreeing with Liz, probably it will be better all around since it's your second. I tore with my first VBAC and was sore for WEEKS, but with my second VBAC I was seriously fine within hours. No tearing, no soreness. (And baby was basically the same size.)

A recommendation on the raspberry leaf tea: I found I liked it better (and managed to drink more of it) if I made it and sweetened it and then cooled it in the fridge and drank it iced.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Liz, I still haven't read "Birthing from Within," will have to check that one out. One of my favorite midwife-y books is The Baby Catcher--have you read it?

Nemesis said... [reply]

Jenny, I will send all the extra tea and herbalness down with Mom!

Mrs. Clark, I did see that one before TDL was born and liked it!

Aw, thanks, Kayla!

Elsha, I would like to order a helping of the seconds YOU had! Will try the iced tea--it's still too warm for me to stand any hot drinks.

AmyJane said... [reply]

I just want to say that I've had three c-sections and I managed to bond with and breastfeed my babies. (There was all that drama with Patrick nursing, but that was six weeks out and was due to all that crazy resistant staff infection mastitis, totally doesn't count.) I'm just saying. I love my babies, I breastfed successfully and immediately after they were cut from my womb. Yes, it's different, but it's still a successful birth and you take home a baby at the end.
I'm all for midwifery and bodies being made to birth babies, but I'm also all for living through it, and not having torn butt hole problems if possible!
Good luck in every way...I second the notion that it pretty much ALWAYS goes better the second time around one way or another!

Nemesis said... [reply]

Amyjane, thanks! I am absolutely down with a c-section if things get complicated. And I'm not too worried about breast feeding or bonding issues as a result of surgery, since its not like I dodged them by delivering vaginally last time. Like you said, can only get better!

Bridget said... [reply]

I LOVED Baby Catcher. It helped me so much with my second birth, even though it's more of memoir than a how-to.

I just finished reading The Gift of Giving Life as part of my own preparation for birth #3. I recommend it - there is something in that book for everyone.

Good luck with these issues!

Sarah said... [reply]

I'm 30 weeks and thinking about the whole process too. My baby is alternating between breech/transverse so I'm just a tad pissed at him. Being pissed at him already probably isn't going to help the bonding process, especially if I have to schedule a c-section (I had a simple easy vaginal birth with #1). I need come to terms with the whole c-section possibility/probability thing. Babies should just be delivered by storks. :)

Liz Johnson said... [reply]

Yes - I LOVE "Babycatcher!" I own that one, actually. It's fabulous.

I had bonding issues with my first because of the traumatic birth (and the traumatic adjustment to motherhood, honestly). Second/third/fourth were night and day different - SO MUCH BETTER AND EASIER. I know everybody's different, but that's a trend I see a LOT (with my overly-invasive-and-personal questioning of people's reproductive experiences). I think your experience will be so much better. And I'll send you as many positive birth vibes via the interwebz as possible!

Christin said... [reply]

I just had my second baby three weeks ago, and it was a lot easier just because I knew what was happening. Oh, right, and I wasn't on pitocin...

My mom tore with her first four (delivering on her back), and then had a midwife with her 5th who had her deliver on her side. She did that with babies 5-9 and never tore again. I tore very uncomfortably last time, and never produced enough milk. This time I delivered on my side and tore only a little bit (no stitches needed), and my milk came in right away and haan't been a problem. The recovery has been so much easier (no doughnut pillow).

My point is, you can (and probably will) have a different experience this time. Also, give side delivery a try... I've never heard about it from anyone but my mom, but it works. At least for us.

Nothing like birthing advice from a stranger! At least I'm not the checkout lady at Albertsons who asked if I was doing my kegels.

Bebe McGooch said... [reply]

I don't know if I ever said this, but there was a post you did way back asking for breastfeeding tips. And those comments were awesome--at least, I found them to be so helpful, so I kind of owe you one. Your struggle made you blog about it, and your readership gave some great advice that I totally used.

I agree, having two kids is a different ballgame, but there's a good chance giving birth will be so much better this time, and I will add some prayers in for you.

I will also say, the second baby is so entertained by the first! That's easier too.

Cherie said... [reply]

Best wishes! Pretty much everything I would say has already been said, so here's to a good experience the second time around.

mj said... [reply]

I second what Liz said. As a fellow sufferer of torn-up butthole I feel I can sort of speak to this. It went much better the second time, even without everything being perfect (still had to have pitocin AND the water-breaking thing had a couple hiccups AND I got the epidural). I think communicating a lot with your OB/midwife and having them on board makes a big difference. That said, I still had a second-degree tear and breastfeeding sucked almost as bad. But hey this is enough of an improvement that I am not fearful of delivery for theoretical #3 at all. Just having been there before makes it all so much better, though. And now that #2 is almost 18 months I kind of just want him to stop breastfeeding already (a whole other issue). By the way, I read several peer-reviewed articles (around 10 of them, I think) on recurring tearing and how to MAYBE try and prevent it. I think I have them saved on my computer somewhere if you want me to send them to you. I remember the main good news was that your chances of it being AS BAD are much lower pretty much no matter what (I'm thinking it was around 10% chance on average, but don't quote me).

The Atomic Mom said... [reply]

My second baby came out much easier than the first. Less painful labor, and faster labor, much less tearing and I felt better quicker. I still never made any milk, so I'm one who will be thankful for formula, and I've accepted the fact that I will probably never be able to fee my own children...it's ok! Just feed that baby however. You seem to be prepared and ready. I wish you the best.

Lady J said... [reply]

I'll leave all the mums to give you the pracical advice, and just say I'll remember you in a prayer or two. Despite your comic turn of phrase and down to earth comments, that experience last time is clearly still looming large at the back of your mind, so it sounds as though blessings may be the surest way to give you peace of mind. I hope all goes well for you this time before, during and after.

Elise said... [reply]

From a fellow torn-up-lady-parts sufferer (3rd degree! Through the anal sphincter!! Pelvic floor disfunction for 6 months!! TMI!!!) I am willing to do anything to make #2 a better experience. I found this and it looks like it might be worth looking into, even if it IS German: http://www.epi-no.com/

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