Sunday, July 31, 2011

Goals & Wishes for Pregnancy & Birth

Originally I titled this "goals" only, but then realized that a lot of items on this list are not even up to me! So here is a random list that I've jotted down of things that I'd like for this pregnancy and birth.

To feel better soon

I would really like to enjoy this pregnancy, or a majority of it.... So I would love it if the NVP could clear up quickly! Of course, though, I know that I have been blessed beyond measure - NVP but no HG. I'll settle for that if need be. :)

To gain less baby weight

Last time I gained a ton of weight, and almost half of it stayed around after baby and was impossible to get rid of (until I did this recent low carb thing). This time, while not being unhealthy, I want to keep my weight gain in a more reasonable range.

Labor with intact membranes, and/or birth en caul

Rumor has it that laboring with intact membranes is much more comfortable, so I'd like to try it! Both of my labors have begun with SROM (spontaneous rupture of membranes), which is handy for timing labor (I know the length of my labors down to the minute) but less comfortable.

It is said that increased vitamin K can help strengthen membranes, so when I'm feeling better, I'm going to try to get back to my green smoothies, which are really high in vitamin K. 

I would also love-love-LOVE a birth en caul, that is, where the baby is born with intact membranes around it. In most traditional cultures there are special traditions and beliefs and blessings surrounding births en caul, and I would love to experience one of those births myself.

You can see some birth en caul pictures here.

I used to think that births en caul were almost impossibly rare, but it turns out that that is not so! They are almost extinct in the hospital environment simply because most doctors insist on rupturing membranes if they have not already released naturally, thus eliminating the possibility of a caul. But the midwives whom I know on Facebook regularly report caul births, so they're not nearly as rare as I once thought (though they are still unusual).

Make a birth cake

It is common practice for midwives to recommend that mamas - especially first-time mamas - spend their time in early labor making a birthday cake for the baby. It calms nervous energy and gives them something to do, and then the entire birth team can enjoy the cake and celebrate after the birth. Fun!!

I have intended to make a birth cake with both of my births, and failed with each! Both times, labor has grabbed my attention and said "It's time to labor, forget about anything else!" So no birth cake. I'd like to try again.... I'm thinking of mixing up dry ingredients ahead of time so that there wouldn't be too much work to do.

Maybe another waterbirth

I have had one land birth and one water birth. For labor, water is wonderful-wonderful-WONDERFUL and I will never voluntarily do active labor in any other way!!! For second stage pushing, though, I am okay with land or water. But waterbirths are fun! So it might be fun to have another, even though I'm okay with either one.

Handle labor better, more enjoyably

I guess I'd better just admit it. Though I've had two unmedicated births (and am extremely happy about that!), when it comes to labor, I am just.... bad at it. I've never really gotten the hang of it. All of that "relax, release, deepen" stuff? Well, I'm afraid that my instinctual (and unavoidable) response has been more along the lines of "tighten, tense, panic". I'll never be one of those birthing goddesses that one sees!

But I would like to be able to labor more comfortably. I have wondered if I would benefit from a Brio/Bradley or Hypnobabies course (we took Hypnobirthing with our first, and it did not help). And really, I would love to take one of those classes anyway - I just don't know if I want to (or can!) spend the money. Class costs plus babysitting add up to a considerable price tag! So we'll have to think. I should probably also ask my midwife.

Be able to manage after-pains so as to be able to enjoy first postpartum hour with baby

With both babies, I have had problems with severe afterpains - so severe that I have had to hand the baby off to someone else and just focus on getting through them. Both times I have missed out on bonding/holding time and on the breastfeeding window - that is, the first hour post-birth when baby is awake and alert. After that, they get quite sleepy and initiating breastfeeding is much harder.

With my last birth, I arranged to take four Advil as soon as the baby was born in order to get a head start on the afterpains. That did absolutely nothing for them! Too bad. However, the placenta smoothie that I had a bit later had an amazing effect on afterpains, and with the aid of more placenta medicine my second experience with afterpains, though yucky, was much better than my first. So I already have it written into my birth plan to do a placenta smoothie as soon as is humanly possible, and we'll see what that can do.

If anyone out there is still dry-heaving at the thought of placenta medicine, let me just say - try it before you condemn it, because gosh golly, it WORKS. Amazingly. For postpartum bleeding, for preventing baby blues, for stabilizing emotions, for regaining energy, for afterpains - it truly works. I can't wait to try it again. (And most placenta medicine is encapsulated - that is, the placenta is dried and put into gel caps, so the gross factor is really reduced.)

Have a better start to breastfeeding

I'm afraid that both of our babies have had absolutely disastrous starts to breastfeeding. I thought it was bad with our first.... until we had our second. Yowzer. I would really like to have a baby who takes easily to the breast and does not give us nightmares with breastfeeding!

On that note, I would like to mention the importance of being surrounded by breast-feeding supportive caregivers! I do not think either of our babies would have survived with an intact breastfeeding relationship had we not been covered on all sides by women (midwives, doulas) cheering us on, plus a breastfeeding supportive pediatrician. I had no idea when I started out that breastfeeding could be such a challenge, or that it could require so much support.

Added later:

Short Second Stage

Most women love the pushing phase during a birth. They feel that they can get involved and be an active participant rather than a bystander (of sorts). I'm the opposite! I really don't like pushing. First time it was an hour or two, second time was..... oh, 20-30 minutes, not sure. But I would LOVE to have one of those one-or-two push births - that would be lovely!

Again, any ladies out there who have not experienced a birth yet, take heart - as I've said - most women really enjoy the pushing phase.

A Butter Birth!

A butter birth is a phrase used by midwives to describe a birth that is quick, easy, and where the baby slips out easily "like butter." I would love one of these! Can I put my order in now, please?


Well, that's about it! I'm sure I'll add to this list at a later date. What are some goals and/or wishes that you have for your future births?


  1. I've heard good things about homeopathic Arnica for afterbirth pains (haven't tried it myself, though). Maybe you can buy a bottle of pills (they're really cheap), and see if it works. Most people who have tried it have said it works, but I have heard from a few people who said it didn't do anything for them, so I guess it's like a lot of HG remedies - works for some and not for others. You may also want to consider your calcium intake/levels. My cramps always respond to calcium, so it might help with afterbirth cramps as well.

  2. Kathy, thanks for those suggestions! I am definitely going to try both of them. Maybe calcium would help me right now - my Braxton-Hicks are already uncomfortable! And I'll have to see if I have any Arnica - and if it's expired! Thanks!!

  3. read Health at every size by Linda Bacon - and you will be surprised at the research on your second goal/wish

  4. MMMMM birth cake sounds yummy. I ordered a cake and ate it promptly by myself day before baby made his arrival. I decided that was what was holding things up, I too gained a lot of weight that pregnancy-lol. Yeah for feeling a little better! You are blessed

  5. oh and I took arnica for horrific knee pains, unrelated to birth, and it was amazing

  6. I'm definitely going to try the Arnica!! I haven't had much luck with homeopathy, but Arnica is the one that I hear works for almost everyone. I need to get some!

  7. I'm definitely going to try the Arnica!! I haven't had much luck with homeopathy, but Arnica is the one that I hear works for almost everyone. I need to get some!


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