Middle of the 3rd Trimester (8 Months or 32-36 Weeks)
HH: You’re almost there! You’ll be meeting your baby in just a few more weeks. Enjoy this time. Doing your pregnancy journaling now will help you to prepare emotionally and mentally for baby’s arrival. Let all your emotions come down on the page, your greatest excitements and fears, let all those millions of last-minute checklists be put down so that you may clear your brain and relax your body.
TMH: I’m way past the real feeling and have totally moved on to the whole Oh my gosh, what am I doing phase. It seems that for every one thing I cross off my list, three more pop up. But what I’m most grateful for is the fact that I haven’t been tired! I had so many people tell me that I’d be repeating the first trimester—nah, not yet. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
HH: Your body is doing great work right now and needs all its energy. The words for the last trimester, and into the birth, are: relaxation, calm, and introspection. Your life will change and take new form soon. Do what you need to help your mind find rest and your body release tension.
In “Childbirth Without Fear,” Grantly Dick-Read helps us to understand the mind-body connection and explains the “tension in the mind/tension in the body” feedback loop. Ina May Gaskin in “Spiritual Midwifery” and “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth” expands upon this with her own experiences as a midwife witnessing the mind-body connection. It’s an important step in the last trimester to ease tension, preparing your whole self for its opening and birth.
Get a pregnancy massage or pregnancy facial. Take care of yourself with great nourishing food and spend lots of time being touched and cuddled by your partner and family to boost that Oxytocin!
TMH: I upgraded to a not-so-mom mom vehicle, the 2015 Toyota 4Runner TRD SUV! Though I’ll never commit to a minivan, my husband is happy that I’m sitting up higher and safer, and my mom is excited to drive my Prius while she’s in town awaiting the Nugget’s arrival.
TMH: Besides crossing things off of our baby list, we’ve been spending the last few weekends going to classes: Baby CPR, Breastfeeding, Lamaze, and General Birth. There’s so much to learn, and though I take copious notes, I still feel like I’m going to space out on all of it.
HH: There always seems to be so much to do before baby’s arrival! Taking classes is a great way to gain knowledge about the birth experience and breastfeeding. However, don’t put too much emphasis on them so that you feel as though you wouldn’t know what to inherently do to make the best decision for yourself or your baby without them. Sometimes people walk away from classes and feel like they are about to take a test. This is not the case. Classes are very important but so are your own self-awareness and natural parenting instincts.
Trust who you are and that you will remember what is necessary from class and combine it with your own instincts to be able to birth and parent in a way that’s unique to you.
TMH: I’m still interested in alternative birthing positions. I’d like to get a list of some popular ones to consider. And well, I probably need to make sure that the medical staff will be okay if I decide to go off the grid here. I’d love to hear from any moms out there who have delivered in alternative positions.
HH: Great, Toni. See post on Fact vs Myth: Childbirth for recommendations for different positions.
TMH: Our Behaviorist, the talented Holly Denny, has agreed to make a mobile for the baby’s room (look for a tutorial soon). I’m so excited to have something so special and made with love for her room.
TMH: I’m currently researching baby monitors and breast pumps right now. I’d love a monitor that I can also check on my phone, and I’m looking for the Rolls-Royce of breast pumps. Any suggestions?
HH: Breast Pumps can be covered by some insurance plans. Ask which ones they cover if this interests you. The thing is that the best breast pump for one person might not be the best for another person so it’s hard to make recommendations. Medela and Ameda are brands that many mothers choose.
You can also learn to “hand express” your breast milk for use when you need to release milk and you don’t have your pump with you. Some mothers even prefer this to using a pump.
TMH: I took my sister-in-law’s advice (not the ice cubes for hemorrhoids, thankfully those went away) and found a pediatrician. After a few interviews, we decided on a female pediatrician. She’s very homeopathic, available 24/7, and makes house calls. How amazing is that? I loved her energy, advice on my birthing plan, and like me, she’s raising chickens.
TMH: Was asked to do a pregnancy interview and photo shoot for “Indulge Magazine.” What an honor, and I felt so blessed and wonderful doing it. I just hope my pregnancy brain didn’t get the best of me…
TMH: Our Birth Plan is complete! Any insight before I submit it to the hospital and my OB/GYN?
HH: Birth Plans are a great place for you to get down your thoughts and to talk through complicated procedures with your doctor or partner ahead of time, as well as to discuss what might feel good to you as pain relief. However, I recommend thinking about them not as “plans” but as “preferences.” Conveying it this way to your hospital staff also shows that you recognize that birth takes various routes and are open to your plan changing in various situations.
TONI’S BIRTH PLAN
In the delivery room, my husband and doula will be the only ones present. I’d like the lights dimmed, our own music playing, and no students, residents, or interns.
HH: Sometimes, especially at teaching hospitals, who is present in the room is not up to the birthing client. Sometimes this can include interns and residents. This is part of choosing a hospital for your care. There is no harm in asking but be open to the unanticipated presence of others. Also be aware that sometimes nurses change shifts, or the doctor won’t arrive until right before the birth.
I’d like to wear my contact lenses and my own clothes, and to stay hydrated with bottled or filtered water.
If time permits, I’d like to receive an enema in the very beginning.
We’d like to spend the first stages of labor walking and using the birthing ball. After that, we’d like to move to the tub (my doula will bring a portable one, since they are not used at this facility).
HH: Be open. Some people think they want to spend a large part of labor in a birth tub only to be uncomfortable in one when the time comes. Tubs are phenomenal for pain relief and relaxation and I highly recommend trying it out. It is difficult to set up and take down a birth tub, so make sure your doula has experience in this. As well, check that your nurses have Fetal Heart Monitors that can be submerged in the water so you don’t have to get out every time they want to check the baby’s heart rate.
We’d prefer that the fetal monitoring be done remotely, so that we’re able to move around freely, and as little vaginal checks as possible.
HH: This will definitely affect whether you can be in tub or be able to walk around. Remote fetal monitoring allows much more flexibility in your movements.
As for any labor augmentation, the only procedure that we’re interested in is amniotomy. NO MEDICATION!
For pain relief, we’re interested in breathing techniques, hot therapy, and massage. NO MEDICATION, unless I absolutely can’t take it anymore. I’m no hero. I’ll admit when I need some help.
During delivery, I’d like to semi-recline, use a mirror to see the baby crown, and avoid forceps and vacuum extraction. My husband would like to try helping catch and suction off the baby.
HH: You might not know what position you want to birth in when the time comes. It might feel best for you to be on your hands and knees, so be open to listening to what your body wants at the time instead of trying to stick to your plan.
As for an episiotomy, I would prefer to tear naturally.
HH: …that is if you tear at all. Many women do not tear when they are not overly coached in pushing and are able to stretch and push when it feels right to them.
After delivery, we’d like to bank the cord blood. Here’s their information: StemCyte
We would only like to consider a C-section after ALL other options have been exhausted. If this is our path, I’d like my husband to be with me the entire time, and we’d like to watch the baby on the screen. We’d like anesthesia for this, and the surgery explained as it happens.
After delivery, I’d like to do skin-to-skin after the baby has been suctioned, and I would like to try and breastfeed as soon as possible.
We’d like to feed the baby with breast milk on a schedule, and with the help of a lactation specialist (only if needed since we’ve already taken classes).
I would like to rent a hospital breastfeeding pump if possible.
We’d like our family to come in and join us, after we move into the post delivery suite (hopefully, we would like to get this room).
We would like all of the baby’s medical exams and procedures performed in front of us, and any first bath done in our presence.
HH: You can ask that the baby not be bathed as well, as this often lowers their body temperature and removes the very useful Vernix that is coating their skin post birth. You can also ask if baby’s initial exam be done with baby on your chest or next to you in the bed.
We’d like the baby to stay in our room the entire time, and we’d like to stay in the hospital as briefly as possible.
We’d prefer not to have the erythromycin ointment applied to our daughter, but we would like the vitamin K for her.
HH: Depending on the state, Erythromycin might be mandated by law. Check with your doctors.
TMH: Recently, my husband and I took my mother-in-law to Fearing’s for her birthday dinner, and the sommelier kept bringing out wine for us to try with each course. Obviously, I wasn’t a part of the festivities until he brought out my own wine, or alcohol-free wine. Yes, you heard that right. I was in heaven and so appreciative of the gesture. But, not only that, it was delicious! Being pregnant doesn’t mean we can’t partake in the festivities.
HH: So wonderful, Toni! I am so glad you are having such a great pregnancy and are enjoying all the little things.
Thank you all for checking in, and next time I do this will be the last! Can you believe it? I sure the heck can’t!
Hannah & Toni