As I begin my third trimester, I've become more focused on the fact that this baby is going to have to come out of me...and relatively soon.
When I first found out I was pregnant, it took a while for it to really sink in, especially because the baby was so tiny at that point that I couldn't feel him, and although I began to gain weight immediately, casual observers could not tell I was pregnant. Because of silly insurance issues, it took several weeks before I was able to see the midwives, and I actually sometimes worried (this was among my MANY worries) that they'd tell me I wasn't really pregnant - instead I was crazy and having a hysterical pregnancy.
Um, obviously that was a silly thing to worry about.
Anyway, for a couple of months now it has been abundantly clear, both to me and the outside world, that I am, in fact, quite pregnant. And it's such a huge part of my daily reality that I've found myself having to remember that this is not my permanent state. Soon, I will no longer be pregnant. I will be a full-time mother. And in between those two states, I will give birth.
This is both tremendously exciting and tremendously scary for me. I really hope to have a completely natural birth, probably a water birth (yay awesome hospital with birthing tubs!), but I realize that it will be a big challenge, physically, mentally, emotionally, etc. As far as I can tell, the biggest thing standing in my way is my own tendency toward anxiety. I'm worried I'll get scared, and my natural birth plans will be derailed because of my own fear.
So I am trying to prepare myself, as much as I possibly can, to avoid this outcome. Here are some of the tactics I'm using, some very practical, some quite earthy-crunchy. Hey, whatever works!
Exercise - I am trying to keep myself strong, and keep my endurance up. I hope this will help me with the physical demands of labor and birth. I did my most challenging prenatal DVD (which I recently discussed here on the blog) this week, and I intend to keep doing it once a week for as long as possible. I've also been doing my yoga dvds and going for lovely evening walks with my guy.
Meditation/hypnosis - I've found guided meditation and hypnosis to be very helpful in relieving my anxiety. I've collected a lot of this stuff on my ipod and I have done it whenever I felt I needed it. Lately I've been focusing on some hypnosis tracks that are specifically geared toward pregnancy and birth. I was very attracted to the Hypnobabies method but I think the cost is a little much for me right now, so I downloaded a couple of other CDs instead. I know it's not a full program like Hypnobabies but I think it will be helpful.
Childbirth classes - These start in June. I'm excited! If nothing else, I want to meet some other local parents. I don't know many people in my new area yet, and it might be cool to have friends who will also soon have babies.
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea - Okay, okay, I'm a hippie. But I've heard good things about this stuff, and I figure it can't hurt, especially at this point in my pregnancy. Since it's already 80-90 degrees outside here in Louisiana, I've been drinking it iced. My guy bought me a large iced tea dispenser and I made a 1.5 gallon batch of the stuff the other day. I actually like the taste of it a lot. So does he, and he has been amusing me by saying "I think I'll have some of that uterus tea." Ha.
Watching birth videos - I am far too modest these days to allow anyone to take a video of my birthing process, much less put it up on YouTube, but I am very grateful to the less shy ladies of the world who have done so. Watching these videos always makes me cry, but whatever. It is so helpful to see other women do it, and know that I can too!
If there are any books, movies, or bizarre rituals that I should be including in my preparations, let me know!