Although I have been preparing in so many different ways, somehow I still don't feel ready. Perhaps you never do. As with many things, I have been looking at a lot of elements of pregnancy, labour, childbirth and raising a child as a sequence of processes and almost forgetting how emotionally connected I am/will be to all of these things. Over the past month we have started investing a lot of time into the preparation for birth. We do at least now know how to change a nappy and how to dress a baby, courtesy of our NCT course.
Until a few months ago I was completely unaware of the options for birthing. When I was asked by friends if I was intending to have a consultant led or midwifery led birth, I had no idea what they were talking about. So I began to research. I had always assumed that I would just go along with whatever the professionals told me, but having looked into my options I soon realised that I had developed a clear idea of the birth I wanted. We have the option of going to Cheltenham or Gloucester. Cheltenham is smaller and is a birthing unit only (the only pain relief they can offer is a birthing pool and gas and air), whereas Gloucester is much bigger with a birthing unit as well as a delivery ward. A few days ago we visited the Cheltenham birthing unit and loved it, I know that is where I want to have my baby. I now have this slightly romanticised image of what giving birth will be like. I want to have a water birth with as little intervention as possible, my heart is already set on the idea. I am trying really hard not to get too fixated on this though. I have to keep telling myself that anything could happen and I may have no say it what happens if medical intervention is necessary. I need to know that I can accept any outcome and if that means being transferred in an ambulance to Gloucester, then so be it.
I went through that short negative thought process of feeling like my body was failing me when I got the rib pain (which by the way is far better than it was due to weekly chiropractic treatment and my positive mindset). I have to be very mindful that I don't do that if I don't have the birth I am hoping for. Knowing how pragmatic I am though, I believe I will be fine. Sometimes I am reminded that the conception of my baby was in no way natural, so why should I assume that the delivery of this baby will be any different? At the end of the day they essential thing is that little bean is delivered safely by whatever means necessary.
Even so, I am doing everything in my power to try and ensure I have the labour and birth I am hoping for. The best thing I have chosen to do antenatally is pregnancy yoga. I began this at 27 weeks and it is wonderful. I had never been to yoga before and didn't really know what to expect from it, but a few friends recommended I try it. I found a class only a mile from where I live (mini moments) but was more attracted to this class because the teacher is not a 'yogi', but is a doula and clearly has a wealth of knowledge about labour and birthing. The teacher somehow manages to teach the class with a perfect balance of humour, emotion, bonding, intimacy, physicality, knowledge and relaxation. She does it in such a way that the group feels surprisingly comfortable and at ease with, not only each other but also ourselves, our own bodies and the amazing process that is happening inside all of us. If I had been told prior to my first session that I would be holding hands with with people I'd never met, repeating mantras aloud and making deep groaning primeval noises, I may have run a mile. But I have never felt more relaxed with people I have only just met. Every session I am learning more and more about how to prepare my body for labour and how to help my labour progress easily. The classes have given me the confidence to believe in my body and my baby. I genuinely have no fear about giving birth and I am actually looking forward to it. As I have mentioned in previous posts I am a strong believer in positive thinking, my pregnancy yoga reaffirms this view and has made feel empowered as I embark on the final stages of pregnancy.