Thursday, June 30, 2011

Maybe it's a Powder Day

This baby really could come at any second, and I admit, I am not a big fan of labor. I have not forgotten the pain of the last time I went through it, nor have I forgotten the wonderful end result: my Sam. (For the birth story, read here),

With Sam, I had every intention of having a natural labor and delivery. I ended up with a very different experience and in the situation I was in, I do not regret getting the epidural when I did.

I do find it interesting that either getting an epidural or other drugs, versus having your baby completely naturally, is such a polarizing topic. Being an athlete with nature-girl sensibilities, I always thought I'd have a natural childbirth...but that's just not what happened the first time around. And I'm still on the fence of how I'll approach labor this time.

I've been reading "Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives: A Holistic Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth" by Deepak Chopra, in an effort to ease my fears of labor, and to embrace the earthiness of being a pregnant woman (instead of focusing on hating my husband's mountain bike).

I came across a section in the book called, "The Birthing Experience," which laid out the differences between getting an epidural and not like so: "Imagine yourself standing at the bottom of the mountain with two paths to the top. One path takes you to a chairlift that goes up the mountain, while the other path leads to a hiking trail."

At this point in reading, my blood started to boil a little. I read on:

"Both will get you to the top of the mountain, and each provides you with a unique and memorable experience. The chairlift provides an enjoyable and thrilling ride with little effort or pain. On the chairlift, you will be looking down at the experience and enjoying the scenery.

Um...I had an epidural, and I did not simply look down and enjoy the scenery. I put out a lot of effort, was in a lot of pain, and barfed every few minutes for hours.

"The hike up will be strenuous and challenging, as you are involved with every aspect of the journey. Upon reaching the summit, you will experience a sense of accomplishment."

OK. So this is saying that birthing a baby with an epidural does not give a mom a sense of accomplishment? That the only athletic way to approach labor is to deny any drugs?

I am an athlete. I have always chosen to hike a trail, rather than to take a chairlift...for the reasons mentioned. I like strenuous. I like challenging. I choose to be involved with every aspect of my journeys. I dig the sense of accomplishment. This metaphor didn't sit well with me.

I thought about it for a few days, and while the analogy still bugs me, I had a revelation:

The only time I would ever choose to take a chairlift over hiking up a mountain is on a powder day, when getting the first run on a patch of fresh snow on a snowboard is a glorious, wonderful, all-out fantastic end result...totally worth hopping on the chairlift.

And maybe this baby is my powder day.

We'll see. But I don't think women are lesser athletes, or, people, for that matter, whether they get an epidural or not.

* PS. If you're interested, here's the link to the Runner's World blog I wrote three years ago, at this exact stage in pregnancy, with Sam.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Full-Term Dude Onboard

As of today, I've got a full-term baby in there. I'm happy that I've made it to 37 weeks safely, and that it seems the baby within would be fine, should he (yes, he's a "he") choose to join us today or anytime soon.

For weeks, around the time I posted the last entry and for a time after that, I was really, really ready to get this baby out of my body. I looked forward to each Thursday, when another week would have passed and I'd be closer to having a full-term baby. I asked friends and friends-of-friends, with keen interest, about their babies who were born early. "How early was it? And how was the baby? Are they totally healthy now?" I was just ready to be on the other side of weight gain, discomfort and limited activity.

Funny, but my tune has changed.

I'm still ready to not be pregnant anymore, for the most part, but I'm more content in my current state than I've been.

For one, I've realized that once this baby boy comes out, things are going to be pretty nutty around here. I'll return to sleepless nights of feedings and baby-crying, caring for a newborn. (And part of me wonders if I'll remember how to do all that.) And this time, I have a three-year-old toddler in the house to care for, too.

And about that toddler, I worry about him and the transition to being a big brother. And I worry about not getting to spend the time with him that I love, playing at the pool (four to six weeks postpartum to get back into chlorine? Bummer!) and running around...though, granted, my running-around has been less-so in these last few months. I know I'll be tied to baby for a while, though I'm definitely going to do my best to dedicate some special time to my little Sam-buddy.

Another realization is that...I have a lot to get done before this baby is born! The room isn't nearly ready. I'm trying to get ahead in work. The more I get ahead, the less crazed I'll be once baby arrives.

Plus, I know how life works for me right now. Three days a week, Sam is at daycare and I am home working. I go to the outdoor pools by myself and swim or aqua jog. I pull weeds when I need a work break. I can run errands. I relax once in a while. On the days I have Sam at home, we go to the gym daycare for a bit, and I get a workout in. We go downtown and play in the squirty fountain. We go to the pool and swim and giggle and eat snacks in a lawn chair, wrapped in towels. We take naps. Ah, naps. I know what time he goes to bed, and I know what time he wakes up. We're in a family routine, for now.

I've always been nostalgic and apprehensive of change. And once the changes come (hello, Sam!), I'm ecstatic with the new addition to my life...and I know that will come.

I guess my point is, I'm just not in a hurry anymore. And with Sam being two weeks late, I suppose this labor thing could happen anytime from later today, until five weeks from now. We'll see. Oh, and labor...Can't say I'm looking forward to going through that again...But more on that later!