Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What's in a Name?

I’ve been bragging to anyone who will listen about how ready I am for the arrival of #2. As my due date approaches this Friday, I’ve done all sorts of things to get ready for him and all of his tiny belongings. I’ve washed and folded the clothes, made a list of the important phone numbers and even inflated the birth pool on trial run. But as I sat down to write today, it dawned on me that there is one thing my husband and I haven’t done in preparation for our little boy – decided on a name.

We’ve received more than our fair share of suggestions from other people that have ranged from acceptable to downright ridiculous (we are not naming our son after any cars or alcoholic beverages!), but nothing has really resonated with us.

Choosing a name is an incredibly important decision. We’ve tried to look for good names that have a strong meaning, that will stand the test of time and will allow our son to make the best possible impression on the world. But finding all of those things in one name has proven to be quite a difficult task. We’ve discovered that there really aren’t a whole lot of good names out there. If it hasn’t already been taken by one of our close friends or family members, it sounds terrible with our last name or is just plain weird. So we end up going back to the same old plain names. Seriously, does the world really need another Mark, Bob or Joe?

If Baby Boy arrives before we’re able to make a decision, we’ll hopefully be inspired at first sight to come up with something that will lead him to greatness – or at least make sure he doesn’t get too many wedgies at school.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Waiting Game

As week 38 of my pregnancy comes to a close, I don’t think it’s possible for one person to be any more uncomfortable than I am now. The anticipation of meeting my new little boy, coupled with the fact that his beautiful little head is pressing directly on my pelvis, is making me extremely anxious for our first meeting.

I’ve done everything I can think of to distract myself. I’ve washed all his clothes, organized the closets and written thank you notes for all of the shower gifts – not to mention, I have an almost two-year-old that does everything she can to make sure that she’s the center of my world at all times. Even so, I can’t help but convince myself that every Braxton-Hicks is the start of the real thing.

I know that I should be making the most of this calm before the storm. I should be sleeping, showering and writing as much as I possibly can before the new baby soaks up the little bit of energy I have left after caring for my toddler. Things are going to get really crazy around here in a couple of weeks, and I’m going to need all of my strength to deal with the things these two are going to throw my way. I have nightmares about my husband coming home to find me in the midst of a nervous breakdown induced by my pint-sized rabble-rousers.

But as nervous as I am about dealing with two in diapers, I’m just as eager to get back to some sense of normalcy – my old clothes, a glass of wine every now and then, and the ability to give myself a pedicure without having to contort my body into some uncomfortable position.

I promised myself that with this pregnancy I’d let nature take its course and allow my body to lead me through the process of childbirth. I just have to convince the neurotic, obsessive-compulsive in me to get on board. The good news is that baby boy will make his debut some time in the next couple of weeks. And when he does, he’ll have a happy mom, lots of clean clothes and dry diapers waiting for him. Until then, all I can do is wait.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dancing With Doulas

Today was my last prenatal meeting with my awesome doulas from The Doula Project. I have to admit, I wasn’t initially sold on the idea of having strangers come in to be a part of my birthing process, but now I can’t imagine what I’d do without them. The two young ladies assigned to my birth are passionate about helping women have the most comfortable labor experience possible, and their positive energy is definitely contagious.

The purpose of this meeting was to focus on ways to deal with the pain of labor. Taja and Julia introduced me to my new favorite thing – the rebozo! This amazing piece of fabric, which is a traditional Mexican garment used to carry everything from children to groceries, opened me up (literally!) to different pain management techniques that I can employ on my big day. At first, I was a little skeptical about the power of a simple piece of cloth. I found myself giggling like a schoolgirl as Taja described some of the postures like “The Slow Dance,” but after an hour of rocking, swaying and squatting as they used the fabric to tug, pull and wrap me into various positions designed to relieve pressure from my back and pelvis, I didn’t want it to end. I can’t wait to try out some of their amazing techniques. I just hope my husband is as graceful as Julia and can manage to keep the beat!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Tale of Two Births

“Is it safe?” “What if something happens?” “No epidural?” “Are you crazy?”
Since we’ve started sharing our plans to give birth to our second child at home, my husband and I have received tons of feedback from our friends and family. Some have offered words of encouragement, while most have questioned our sanity.

Believe me, if you had told me five years ago that I would be preparing to have my baby in my living room, I would have called you crazy. I always thought I’d have two children, I just never really thought about how they’d get here. I don’t like pain and I’m not that crazy about blood, so it’s always been a lot more pleasant to daydream about cheesy family Christmas cards and Disney vacations than what labor would be like.

The day I got that first positive pregnancy test result, I was forced to face my fears and focus on how to deal with the pain. Five months of bed rest due to an “incompetent cervix” allowed me to absorb every morsel of information in cyberspace about labor and delivery until I successfully convinced myself that I would be able to get through it. I even thought I might be able to get by without any drugs. Reality, however, would prove to be entirely different.

Near the end of my pregnancy, my doctors decided to induce my labor, kick-starting the process with Pitocin. Once things got going, it didn’t take long before I was begging for an epidural. But even after I’d pumped Charlie Sheen-like levels of pain meds into my system, even my anesthesiologist was baffled at why I continued to feel every excruciating contraction. Twelve hours later, when I was holding my beautiful baby girl, I promised myself that I would never go through anything like that again.

So this time around, we are turning our one-bedroom apartment into our own birthing center. This time, there will be no one telling me not to eat, drink or wear my favorite fuzzy slippers. This time, I’ll be able to move around and allow my body to do what comes naturally. I’ll be able to have as many visitors as I want (or not!). And I’ll feel more in control of the entire situation. By the way, I’m currently in week 38 of my pregnancy, and have cooked, cleaned and chased after an active toddler the entire time. So much for an “incompetent cervix!”

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been bombarded with deliveries of adorable toys and clothes for our little guy. But today’s delivery got me the most excited of all – our birthing kit, complete with gauze pads, bulb syringes and sterile gloves. Call us hippies, crazies or just plain foolish, but I think this time around, we’ve made the best decision for our family. I obviously have no idea what will happen on that fateful day, but somehow I think it will be great.