Fashionably Late: On Community & 40 Weeks Update

…just like your Mama.

Girl, we can never be on time and it drives your Dad nuts. I have a feeling you will be following my free spirited philosophy about being prompt and on schedule. My due date has come and gone and I am now 40 weeks + 4 days.

This is what I know:

Babies very rarely come on their due date.

The average 1st time mom has her baby 40 weeks + 5 days.

You are safe and healthy.

I am safe and healthy.

You will come when you are ready.

Knowing all of this, I still found myself curled up in a ball crying because you didn’t come on a specific, estimated date. I know it is silly, and as I was crying I knew it then too but I still could not control the tears. Since then, I’ve shed tears more times than I would like to admit. The reason for my tears is a mixed bag. Sometimes, I’m not really even sure why I am crying. I think a good deal of them is because:

+ I’m a little scared. Scared of the huge change that will occur once your here. I’m nervous about how the dynamic of your Dad and I’s relationship will change. Again, I know it will be  beyond words wonderful once you’re here but the unknown is still nerve wrecking.

+ I definitely feel the pressure from loved ones that are sooo excited about you. One day in particular I had a ton of people check in on me and wanted to know when you would be here. I feel so appreciative that I have such an awesome support system and a community who reaches out to us. However that day, I felt the weight of anticipation of everyone else and combined with my already out of control anxiety of not knowing when you would come, I crumbled. I turned off my phone and cried. I just couldn’t face another question or labor inducing suggestion. I already feel on edge not knowing the minute you will decide to join us and some days the introvert in me does not know how to handle community. So I always default to withdrawing. Sometimes, I just need to shut down in order to remain sane. Thankfully, this just lasted a day and I was able to bounce back the next morning and welcome my community back into my life. Little London, always welcome community. However, if it all seems too much sometimes, just like Jesus, we all need to retreat for some quiet to regain our composure so that we can go back nourished in Spirit, ready to dance with our community again.

Here are the two biggest emotions I have been dealing with:

+ I am sad to let you go. This sounds funny, I know. I was reading about how sometimes mental walls can delay labor. Our own sub conscience fears can actually send signals to our body telling us that we aren’t ready to give birth. At first, I scoffed at the idea and thought that there was nothing standing in the way of me wanting you here. But a few days passed and I found myself in deep reflection and quiet and I quickly realized that I indeed had some mental blocks and fears. I realized that I am nervous to let you go from the home you’ve built inside my womb. I have really come (and in the beginning, I never thought I would come to this place) to love being pregnant and having you inside my tummy. I have loved feeling you grow and change. I have loved being able to feel you wrestle, twist and turn. I have loved being able to know how you are positioned and always feeling you stick out that little booty of yours every day. I have loved feeling you hiccup and kick Daddy in the ear anytime he lays his head on my tummy. I have loved feeling you dance anytime I play music. I have loved that you are with me no matter where I go. I have loved seeing a little bit more of God within me. And of course I realize the better part of the deal is about to reveal itself, but I will miss this type of relationship with you. It’s so very fleeting in comparison to the time I will have with you on this side of the world. As this time slips away, I am faced with both sadness and anticipation. I have been praying a prayer of release- asking God to give me the courage and wisdom to gracefully accept the change that will inevitably happen.

+ I am so ready to hear you take your first breath. While I am sad to let you go from my womb, I am so ready to hold you and be done with the waiting game and constant anticipation and the anxiety that accompanies it. I want to feel you in my arms and see your Daddy get his turn of holding you after all this time. I want to kiss you and count your rolls and smell the top of your head. I can’t wait to breastfeed and give you the nourishment you need. I can’t wait for your family to meet you and fall in love with you. The past few days I have really come to terms with the next step of meeting you and releasing you from me. I have prayed for release a thousand times and I am so ready for you now.

No pregnancy book or experienced mom can prepare you for these feelings because no one pregnancy is the same. Sure, you hear stories but creating your own that directly affects your dynamics of life can not be taught. Others stories can be helpful and sometimes even hurtful to your own depending how you decide to hear hear it. Living in community can be difficult and it’s the farthest thing from perfect but it can be wildly beautiful too. Being pregnant pushes introverts like myself in direct contact with community whether you pursue it or not. It forces you to vulnerable with people you never intended to share some of the most vulnerable parts of your story with. For me, I definitely struggle with my new relationship to my community- it has come and continues to come with a lot of growing pains. When I want to slam the door to relationship, I find people knocking that door down and I am humbled. Sometimes, I think I could do this on my own and that it would be easier and more efficient if I just locked myself from community. I realize now though, that not only do I need community, I want it. I have come to even love it. Sure, it can be a pain in the ass sometimes but that’s just part of its wild and beautiful nature. So, my little London, you have introduced and helped me find my place in community. You have given me the courage to open the door and say “yes” instead of slamming it shut and saying “no”. I’m glad to welcome you to the community I have struggled to be vulnerable with. I am glad you are a part of my community.

So along with all these feelings, emotions and reflections I thought I would share a 40 week update:

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At 40 weeks I am:

+craving cold cubes of watermelon. I can not get enough of it.

+having severe sciatic back pain whenever I put weight on my left leg.

+walking a lot which funny enough seems to help with the sciatic pain.

+1 cm dilated which I was happy to hear since the past two times I wasn’t dilated at all!

+scheduled to be induced  the night of June 28th (right at 42 weeks). This is absolute latest they will allow me to be pregnant

+praying that I won’t have to make that appointment and that you come on your own.

+trying every possible natural induction technique there is- walking, spicy food, sex, acupuncture and even doing handstands in the pool! Image

+your daddy and I had a “vacation” day yesterday- he could see that I was slipping back into a funk so we went to our midwife appointment,

ate at our favorite coffee shop FidoImage

actually convinced your Daddy to get a pedicure with me (!!!!)

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had lunch with my family,

read at Barnes and NobleImage

and then ended by going to Aunt KK’s and cousins’ house to celebrate your Gramp’s father day with yummy dinner

A funny, short video clip of your cousins!

So my sweet baby, until you arrive I will try to remain in vulnerability with my wonderful community, continue to pray for release and rest in the love of our maker. I love you. Always. Forever.

Love,

Mom xo

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Acupuncture

Dear London June, 

Today, I went in for my second acupuncture appointment to hopefully induce labor! Again, I had a great experience. Since leaving, my lower abdomen has felt quite crampy and you seem to be a little lower again. This time, I brought my headphones so I could use my Hypnobirthing tracks and this made my experience even better! I have an appointment tomorrow but we shall see if I will make it- perhaps you will decide to arrive on your due date!

So, what is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of the oldest ways of healing and originates from China, where it remains common practice. Acupuncture is used to heal an array of medical issues ranging from migraines to treating infertility by inserting very thin steel needles to certain points on the patient’s body. This is believed to help realign the body by stimulating nerves, muscles and connective tissues. So depending on what your are being treated for, the acupuncturist will place the needles in the places you specifically need them for healing. For us Westerners, it all sounds a bit hokey pokey but it is proving to be a more common practice because so many are experiencing spectacular benefits.   

So, why did I choose Acupuncture? 

After reading a post from a lady who was 41+ weeks and seeking suggestions for natural inducing techniques on the Vanderbilt Midwives Facebook page several mamas suggested acupuncture. I was surprised how many people suggested it so I decided to be nosy and investigate. A lot of these moms testified that they went into labor 24-48 hours after their last treatment. I was intrigued and read up about it and made sure it was 100% safe. I started looking online for clinics and found that it was quite pricey for just one visit, let alone a series of visits. Thankfully, a mom on the page suggested East Nashville Community Acupuncture. This clinic treats in a “group setting” instead of private rooms. At first, I was a bit skeptical by this but kept reading and found that this is how most acupuncture is done in China- it is more of a community healing process. I’m sure this is how they can treat far more people and keep their costs and prices so affordable. They use a sliding pay scale so the customer pays what they can afford. You choose whether you want to pay $15- $35 for each treatment. Because acupuncture is most effective if practiced regularly the average person simply could not afford a $65 private session on a regular basis. Their mission is to provide this healing service to as many as possible and I think it is pretty amazing that a local business is offering such a wonderful gift to their community. The other amazing benefit of going to their practice is that you get to stay as long as you like. Your session is not timed but if you need to be somewhere you can simply tell them to let you know when you would like to be reminded to head out. I love that they allow you to rest and soak up the treatment as long as you need to. I ended up taking a 2 hour nap my first visit and a hour nap my second!  It’s the best rest I have ever had too. 

So, what was my experience like? 

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(Yes, that’s me! I snapped a picture quickly and I promise it didn’t hurt at all- if you look the actual needle is much thinner than the top part of the needle- they are flexible and sorta springy if you accidentally brush them) 

Heavenly. By the moment I walked in the door, I was greeted with sincere kindness. On my first appointment, I was asked to arrive 10 minutes early so that I could fill in the paperwork. It was much like the paperwork you would fill out at a doctor’s visit. They wanted to know all about my existing conditions and medical history which made me feel good that they were being thorough. I listed what I wanted to be treated for (Inducement of Labor and Sciatic Nerve Pain) and then met with the acupuncturist. He went through my history and talked with me about how the treatment would go. He was very friendly and answered all my questions and made sure I was comfortable. I was never blind sided or nervous about anything. I walked into the room and it was dreamy. It was cool, dim with relaxing lighting and soft music. You choose your recliner which has a fresh blanket and rice bean bag on the seat. You then remove your shoes and place them along with your belongings in a basket provided next to your seat. The acupuncturist comes over almost immediately and talks to you for a bit, helps you recline and makes you comfortable. He or she asks if you are ready and then they start placing the needles. I was surprised that I didn’t feel them go in at all; only in two places did it slightly pinch for just a second. The placing of the needles only takes less than a minute and then they leave you and you will indeed fall asleep. I caught myself snoring a few times and was a bit embarrassed but no one seemed to notice. When you are ready to leave you let your chair sit upright and the acupuncturist comes back to dispose your needles. (They are disposable and never used again.) You gather your things and leave feeling like a new person! 

If the acupuncture doesn’t induce my labor I feel satisfied with just being able to escape and relax for a hour or 2 each day and getting the best rest I have gotten in a very long time. It is also said that those who practice acupuncture during pregnancy have a very reduced chance of having a c-serean. If anything, it has helped my mind relax and given me the rest and energy I need in my 40th week of pregnancy! 

So, I highly recommend it to everyone and anyone especially my local friends and loved ones that are struggling with medical issues but want an affordable option. For $15 bucks it  is totally worth it!