Baby Sherbenou as told by Briana
Monday, May 2 - A Family Affair
Documenting my journey is something I had given prior thought to before being asked to do so. I suppose I had decided not to do it seeing as I’m just getting started at the end of my first trimester. There are a few factors I can attribute to not taking the time to record my pregnancy details. I could tell you how sick and tired I have been lately, but I would probably be preaching to the choir. I believe for the most part that a small fear of losing another pregnancy kept me from documenting. It was at this point of my last pregnancy that I miscarried. I think I feared that journaling away my thoughts and feelings at such an early stage in pregnancy would make me more attached than I should be. I’m convinced this attitude kept me on my feet after the fateful day my husband and I lost our first attempt at starting a family. Wait, I’m not completely in love and attached already you ask? Nope. A tidbit about myself, I am quite realistic and understand that pregnancy is a temperamental biological process. This process is not full proof by any means. Personal experience has shown me that. Additionally, I am not easily emotionally invested, and new life growing inside me is no exception. If I had to give an honest opinion, I think it is a coping mechanism somewhat like emotional walls. All of this is not to go without saying there is some excitement to be had. The unpredictable nature of the occasion leads to constant pondering the “what ifs?”. Now I have been given more purpose and an additional cause to tell my story. The excitement and love for this pregnancy is growing and the worry and pessimism is quickly dissipating. Before Brad and I ever met, I already knew homebirth was the route I would take should I ever become pregnant. There was never anything appealing about giving birth in a hospital. It just sounded uncomfortable and impersonal, not to mention completely frightening. Women are often stripped of their basic human rights when admitted to a hospital for birth. Why would I line up to me the medical system’s next victim? My mom reminds me often that my birth was stolen from her. Her doctor was on vacation or scheduled off that day. The doctor that was called in was angry and irritated at having to be there. He reached inside her with some forceps and pulled me out when he became impatient. She was torn so badly and took months to fully heal. She says to this day she cannot sneeze without peeing herself. It was already settled that we would be hiring a midwife when we found out we were expecting. I started the search almost immediately. The Houston area has a nice quantity of midwives. I began by looking at individual bios in my immediate area. Majority of who I found were not certified nurses. At the time, I had not decided what kind of credentials I wanted my midwife to have. I had to really think about what kind of experience and level of education I found necessary in a delivery team. I believe the final thought on the topic was better safe than sorry. After all, this will be my first birth and there is no room for error. The website I was using to locate midwives only had one nurse midwife within 50 miles of me. I called Jaelin one evening and she answered all my initial questions about her methods, practices, and medical beliefs. It was reassuring that her midwifery model of care lined up with my beliefs about homebirth. She let me know that she had a partnership with Andie, which I found practical. A team of midwives was not something I had considered. Brad and I set up a meeting for a few weeks later. Our first meeting was nothing out of the ordinary (8 weeks). We talked about hospital versus homebirth, midwifery prenatal and post care, and Jaelin and Andie’s client care models. I didn’t have too many questions, but Brad had a few of his own. If Brad was unsure about hiring a midwife that day, I couldn’t tell you because I don’t know. My decision for homebirth felt supported by everyone in the room. I had no doubt I was ready to hire the ladies, but Brad and I still had to go home and talk about it. It was an easy decision. Two weeks after that we were at our first prenatal appointment (10 weeks). Jaelin and Andie were attentive to any additional questions we had. Jaelin took some blood, we discussed the importance of diet and documenting it, and Andie used the doppler on me to hear our little one’s heartbeat. I think that was a defining moment for Brad. It was significant for me, too. Bringing this baby to term was becoming more of a reality for us.
Monday, May 28 - Week 13
One more week and trimester two will be here. It’s kind of hard to believe considering how ill I’ve been feeling. The “morning sickness” came every night from week 6 through week 12. I would start feeling nauseous in the late afternoon and it would not subside until I went to bed. Dinner was no longer something I was capable of doing. Luckily, week 13 has brought some relief in that department. Although, week 13 has not been without its own problems. Dizziness and lethargic feelings come and go. The school nurse yells “protein!” at me all day when I come to her with low blood pressure. I’ll eat some yogurt and go back to work. We found out last week that we are having a girl. I’m not a fan of how gendered our society is, but I still can’t help but be happy about the baby’s sex. Both Brad’s family and mine are in high spirits. Everyone has been told the good news. My mom is already talking about adding her first grandchild’s birthstone to her mother’s ring. Don’t get me started on Brad’s mom. The woman is 66, widowed, has 3 sons in their 30s and 40s, yet no grandchildren. She can hardly contain herself. I know this little girl is already loved more than she’ll ever know. Our moms have been helpful in bringing me into reality. I am going to have a baby. If I can just keep telling myself that, maybe it will sink in finally. I suppose everything about this pregnancy has and has not met expectations. As a female, society tends to prepare you for this time. I knew there were likely going to be feelings of nausea, tiredness, and lots of peeing. Also, birth is scary, but you’ll forget about it just long enough to have another one. That was my idea of what pregnancy would be like. Not a lot of context to go on. Well, they weren’t wrong. They did leave a few parts out, though. I have sciatica pain in my first trimester and weekly hormonal headaches (with no allowance for pain meds). Society has labeled me as a medical condition and I constantly ponder the future. Life is rapidly changing for me and I just have to take it one day at a time.
TUESDAY, JULY 3 - WEEK 18
I cannot even fathom the fact that in approximately 10 days I’ll be considered halfway through this pregnancy. So much has been considered and debated in the last few weeks. The main things being diet, baby names, and baby registry. It all seems trivial and small when you put it in a short sentence like that, but I can’t help but feel a little drained. I have to say, it took longer than expected to get my appetite back. It’s still difficult to eat when food aversions are 24/7. Unfortunately, the family already had a Europe trip booked prior to getting pregnant. We recently got back from that babymoon. We went to the UK and Ireland for about 10 days. I got food poisoning. It was a lot of fun. I thought it was safe to go during the 15th-16th week of pregnancy, but I still wasn’t prepared for all the tiring activities of being a tourist. The diet log never seemed to get filled out while we were overseas. Apologies to my midwives. They should be happy to know there has been much consistency filling it out upon our return. I am doing my best to eat a significant amount of protein, but meat aversions and a nagging husband are not helping. However, he did thank me for “going through this”. Brad looks at the diet log every single day. Having thee mindset that you aren’t just eating for yourself does not necessarily make it any easier to eat what is right. Baby names, baby names, baby names. Who knew naming another living thing takes so much effort? I have had a hundred pets in my life all with names. Why is it so difficult to come up with a baby name you and your partner can agree on? We have had one name we have been toying with, but is it the one? Now that I have been experiencing what the call “quickening” this week, perhaps I will get a better feel for her personality. Pull up a chair for this next part, because I am about to go on a full-scale rant. About what you may ask? Modern baby products are supposed to be the best of the best. We have done all this research on what is safest for baby. That is why car seats now have an expiration date on them. Uggh. What good is a 5 star-rated car seat when then sprayed a bunch of toxic chemicals and fire retardants on it?!?!?!? We have finally outdone ourselves ladies and gents, because I have had to research every little product I intend to bring within a foot of the baby. Why are there fire retardants on baby pajamas, strollers, and infant mattresses? One person in California falls asleep with a cigarette in their hand and is engulfed in the flames of the mattress. Now I get to spend hours combing through natural and organic baby products, not to mention spend 3-5 times what everyone else typically does on the same type of stuff. Don’t even get me started on the rest of the products filled with BPA, VOC paint, or the thousands of other chemicals and dyes. Here I was thinking the biggest obstacle was picking out what kind of cloth diaper I wanted to try first. Good news though, the place has been booked for the baby shower. Regardless of how irritated I am with the many careless baby product sellers, I am looking forward to the big day.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5 - WEEK 27
Just a few more days and I have officially entered the third trimester. I went back and read my entry for week 18 and I said something like “I can’t believe I am almost half way through this pregnancy.” Well, now it feels like pregnancy is an event that goes on for eternity and now I contemplate if it will ever end! I think I have forgotten what it feels like to be a non-pregnant person. My memories of pre-pregnancy lack what my body felt like. I just want to remember. It is certainly difficult to feel like oneself when your body is constantly changing and there is a new daily pain that arises. It isn’t the daily aches that keep my mind occupied, though. When I look down to my ever-expanding stomach, I have two thoughts: When am I going to see stretch marks and am I in the large percentage of women to gain an outie bellybutton? For real, the idea of an outie when I have always had a cave for a bellybutton does not sound possible. I read ways in which you can prevent an outie and it is hilariously dumb. Like, it is coming out if it is coming out. I still can’t help but hope it doesn’t happen to me. It is probably entirely trivial to think about. It does seem like the process is more of a countdown now rather than counting up. If I look at it as 12 weeks left rather than me being 28 weeks, then there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Brad and I started our natural homebirth bootcamp classes. This is also making the process surreal. Being introduced and having to practice birth day pain relief techniques mentally prepared me more than anything thus far. Even more so than the arrival of the crib!
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2018 - WEEK 32
I was scrolling through my social media this evening and came across an article about the inconveniences and discomforts of pregnancy. It was basically a long list of complaints from a person who just heard about what it is like to be pregnant. I was annoyed, yet pleased by the end of reading the list, because I could not relate to most of the list. My pregnancy is not without aches and pains, but I have a hard time believing that any woman could sit down and write a complaint list as long as the one I just read. However, every woman’s pregnancy experience is different and that is what makes these entries so unique.
Welp, the breeze of the second trimester is evidently gone. At my 28-week appointment with Jaelin, she discovered the baby was not yet in optimal birthing position. It was recommended that I do some simple home therapies and to seek the help of a chiropractor. Since the baby is taking up more space in utero, and I am struggling to go about my normal day to day activities, my sciatica is worse than ever, the tension in my neck and back is overwhelming, and the demands of work do not seem to allow for time. I was not ready to take on more appointments and “homework assignments” from my midwives.
I am proud to say that I was able to find the time and energy to go see a chiropractor. I am on my feet all day for all day and the repercussions were obvious when they did a scan of by back. I probably should have seen a chiropractor pre-pregnancy. Now, I would advise any woman with child to go see one of these miracle workers. I cannot say the appointments are pleasant, because I leave sore and some of the therapies a slightly painful. However, I can tell they are working.
It is now 32 weeks into this journey. Andie felt around and cheerfully announced she found the baby’s head in my pelvis, finally! Who knows if the home therapies were helpful or if the chiropractor visits encouraged the move? Perhaps she would have moved on her on. Regardless, it is a big relief. There was not a time in this pregnancy that I was worried about having my homebirth, but if there was a time, it would have been when Jaelin told us she was breech. We just cross our fingers she stays in place!
The appointment with Jaelin and Andie was overall uplifting, except for one small detail. I have gained too much weight. It was discouraging because I feel like I have done everything in my power not to consume empty calories. The diet log I maintained in the first 2 trimesters were praised by the midwives, I have no swelling or water retention, yet I am on track to go over the maximum ideal weight gain by about 20%. It is curious, though. I cannot tell of any place on my body aside from my stomach that has retained extra fat. This may be one big baby.