37 Weeks

As of 36 weeks, or a week ago Thursday, I could officially deliver at my birth center instead of a hospital. Hooray!

We’ve also shifted to weekly appointments with the OB and midwife. Yesterday we went in, and my OB talked about how Baby can just come on any day. I’ve been having Braxton Hicks contractions with some more frequency, usually at the end of the day when I’m tired. I’m pretty sure that Baby has engaged. It’s just a waiting game now.

The funny thing about the whole pregnancy waiting game is that Baby could legitimately come between now and about the 26th of July and still be full term, healthy, and “on time.” Due dates are fairly arbitrary dates given out, but if you give birth any time between two or three weeks before to two weeks after it’s still a normal, full term baby. That’s really quite a long period, more like a “due month” than a “due date.”

Kyle is hoping that Baby will come after July 4 so that we can see Spider-Man. I’m fairly sure Baby’s going to camp out and prolong the discomfort of late term pregnancy as long as it possibly can, because Baby likes to prolong pregnancy-related torment upon me.

Like I mentioned earlier, we’re going to a birth center instead of a hospital because I want to have a natural birth with no pain medications (I like to joke that it’s my inner hippie coming out). The place we’ve found down here in Phoenix is owned by two women, a traditional midwife trained through apprenticeship and an OB. They take on low risk pregnancies and have a less than 5% cesarean rate. Their rate of hospital transfers is, I think, around 10%, but I’m could be remembering incorrectly. My midwife has had ten (that’s right, ten) babies and delivered hundreds more. She owned a homebirth practice before the birth center. My OB has had three babies, and years of practice at hospitals in addition to owning the Birth Center. I really, really like the atmosphere of the center and these two women. In Utah I was seeing a CNM group of midwives associated with a hospital, but I never felt like anything more than a name on a chart even though I saw the same midwife for the first 30 weeks of my pregnancy. My midwife and OB here, despite only having known me for 7 weeks, know my name, my personal history, and actually care about me. That means a lot to me when I’m going into something as intensely personal as a birth.

What’s more, they’ve given me lots of tools to educate and prepare me for the realities of having a natural childbirth. They’ve given me a number of films to watch regarding preparing for labor (exercises, pain management techniques, what to do during labor, what Kyle can do during labor) in addition to actually watching births. I can’t say how helpful it has been to watch these with Kyle. We’ve probably watched over 20 births, both natural and medicated, and knowing what happens in birth has made me feel more and more comfortable and in control about my decision. I feel like I have a better idea of what is to come. Having Kyle watch the videos with me is extremely helpful, too, because no matter what happens the birth of our baby won’t be the first birth he’s seen. I think that watching the films are helping give him a base of knowledge for how to help me during labor, and to know when he needs to take control and make decisions in order to support me. I’m a high context person, so having these tools to help me prepare for birth makes me feel much more confident; while some of what I’m facing is still unknown (no video can show you what contractions feel like), I have a much stronger grasp of what I’m getting myself into.

Moreover, the educational materials help me feel like I’ve made the right choice for me. The general response I’ve gotten from people that I’ve told that I want a natural birth for has varied between “It’s ok when you quit and get an epidural” and “You can totally do it!” More of the former than the latter. But I’m feeling confident that this is the right path for us now.

Now we just need to get the car seat installed before Baby decides to come.

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