Please join me in welcoming our newest Great Expectations blogger, Pamela Lurie! Pamela joins us at 13 weeks along with her third baby. She has two boys at home, ages 2 and 4. With the birth of her first child, Pamela had a traumatic labor followed by an unplanned cesarean section. After this experience, it became important for her to understand how to recover from traumatic birth and make sure other women find the support they need. It was during her pregnancy with her second child that this passion really grew. After a successful home birth after cesarean (HBAC) with a Certified Professional Midwife, her goal to help other women recover became even more important. Together with friends she started Mothers Healing Together, a local support group for women suffering from birth trauma. Pamela is also a La Leche League leader in Virginia and she just began work as a postpartum doula.
A week ago today we heard the heartbeat. Hearing your baby’s heartbeat for the first time after weeks of early pregnancy symptoms is always so joyous and hearing it certainly lived up to what we had hoped. Unfortunately, though, I’ve been in a bit of an emotional holding pattern since my midwife’s visit.
Sadly, a number of women close to me had early term losses this past winter so going into a planned pregnancy was frightening for me. Rationally I know that early term losses are a possibility and I know that just because it happened to them doesn’t mean it will happen to me. Despite this I was still worried but I took my prenatal vitamin religiously, took the almost instantaneous-to-conception-nausea the best I could, and stayed as far ahead of the dreaded first trimester fatigue as possible by taking naps almost every day whether or not I was tired (nine times out of ten, I was). I believe that because this is my third child my body was like, “Oooo, let go, girl!” and let go of all the hard exercise I’d done since my son’s birth two years ago. Basically, I felt like I was showing by seven weeks. We did not plan on telling anyone prior to hearing the baby’s heartbeat but the crooked looks from friends at my growing belly had us telling folks earlier than we expected. Despite spreading the good word locally (I decided not to do any social media announcements until after my midwife’s appointment), I was still worried that something could happen so I was staying woefully detached to the pregnancy. I think it’s this detachment that is affecting where I am right now.
While my midwife was here we talked about how to prepare physically for this pregnancy/birth by following the diet I followed with my second (I’ll talk about that another time), by exercising, by visiting my chiropractor, and by taking the necessary vitamins and supplements. I am in the middle of reading Ina May Gaskin’s most recent book, Birth Matters, and it is helping reinforce the reasons why we chose to use a Certified Professional Midwife to assist our home birth. On paper, we’re incredibly prepared with an arsenal of people and information behind us to have a healthy pregnancy and birth. But why am I still feeling stuck? I feel like I’ve been having a muted, almost sedate, celebration for this pregnancy and I feel guilty about that. Whatever happened to shouting from the tallest building about a baby?
I wonder if this anti-climactic feeling is what other third-time mothers experience. We’ve been here before, we had happy and healthy pregnancies before….or maybe it’s still early and we’re still trying to figure out our own emotions regarding how a third baby will impact our home.
This winter we introduced our boys to Kimochis, emotion toys. Not long after we found out we were expecting Baby-San (‘three’ in Japanese), my son got a Kimochi with a keychain that said ‘Hopeful.’ I asked him if I could borrow it and it has been on my side ever since. So here we are, at 13+ weeks, hopeful for healthy and happy pregnancy and birth. Hopeful, hopeful…that’s about all I can be right now and I’m learning to be okay with that.