Sep 02 2008

23 weeks and thoughts on natural birth

I’m 23 weeks pregnant today and all is well.

My weight is starting to increase (and stay there!) which is a great thing. I’m estimating my gain to be about 6-7 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight, which is good considering I lost about five pounds between the 7th and 11th week.

I definitely have a baby belly, though some outfits hide it more than others.

I’m still able to wear some non-maternity clothes, depending on how they are cut. This definitely helps stretch my wardrobe!

My mom gave me some pants that have shrunk and no longer fit her. I’m able to wear them as-is or with a rubber band through the loop. They’ll last even longer if I use my “belly band” with them.

Shane and I visited Indiana over Labor Day weekend, and for the first time I was around people who 1) knew I was pregnant and 2) could see my belly. I got a lot of belly rubs, lol.  Still no comments from strangers, but I’m starting to think it’s because people in Pittsburgh tend to keep to themselves as opposed to striking up a conversation with a person on the street. Who knows. I bet somebody will say something to me at some point.

Shane and I are going to take a Bradley childbirth preparation class. We’ll begin in early October and the class will conclude in early December. This class ought to be helpful to us both and I’m looking forward to meeting other mamas due around the same time as us.

We’re also reading some Bradley-related books: Husband-Coached Childbirth and Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way. If you couldn’t tell by those titles and if you aren’t familiar with the Bradley method, then I’ll need to explain that we’re going to go for an unmedicated, intervention-free childbirth.


No drugs have been proven safe for an unborn baby. Studies have shown that the drugs in an epidural do quickly cross into the placenta and reach the baby’s bloodstream almost instantly (one study I read showed it happened within three minutes).

Pitocin, a common labor-inducing drug, causes much stronger contractions than the body would normally generate. This causes additional pain for the mother, stress on the baby, reduces the amount of oxygen the baby receives, and can cause the baby’s heartrate to drop which could lead to a c-section. The chemicals interfere with the body’s natural hormones. Long-term effects are not known. No thanks.

I don’t want to have anything in my system that could affect my baby, and I certainly don’t want anything to get in the way of us having a good nursing relationship early on.

I am not afraid of pain. I am more afraid of what doctors might do to me (give me unneeded drugs, chemically induce my labor, or cut me).

I’ve experienced considerable pain before in the form of lotsa dental work and two big ker-splats from track and cross-country. That type of pain is the body’s response to an injury and is not the same as the pain of childbirth (yes, I know I’m saying this now before going into labor).

With an injury, your body is responding and trying to heal itself. Something unnatural has happened to your body, and it wants to restore it to its healthy state.

With childbirth, you’re feeling pain that serves a purpose. Childbirth, unlike wisdom tooth extraction, is a natural thing. Women’s bodies are designed to give birth.

If you go into something expecting to experience fear or pain, then that’s what’s going to happen. If you approach it with confidence and understanding of how your body works, then I think it’ll go much better. Sure, there might be pain. But, I don’t think it will be as big of a deal with this mentality.

What really baffles me is I read on message boards from one mom to an expectant mother things like, “Oh, just wait. You’ll be begging for that epidural!” Like um, seriously? What’s wrong with you, lady? Comments such as those are best left unsaid. Women should be supported in their childbirth choices and not needlessly frightened.

My body has never even remotely done anything like giving birth, yet God has designed my body to know exactly what to do. My job is to be informed, keep calm and relaxed, and work with my body to safely get my son out on his birthday. Shane’s job is to take care of me by keeping me relaxed and helping me through the various stages of labor.

Yes, I know things happen that are beyond your control. Sometimes women experience horrible back labor. Sometimes the pain really is more than someone can handle.

I am not afraid.

I’ll have a good birth attendant and Shane at my side. I’ll have knowledge and mental preparedness. And most importantly, God will be with us. What could I possibly fear knowing that?

Here’s what’s going on according to

Turn on the radio and sway to the music. With his sense of movement well developed by now, your baby can feel you dance. And now that he’s more than 11 inches long and weighs just over a pound (about as much as a large mango), you may be able to see him squirm underneath your clothes. Blood vessels in his lungs are developing to prepare for breathing, and the sounds that your baby’s increasingly keen ears pick up are preparing him for entry into the outside world. Loud noises that become familiar now — such as your dog barking or the roar of the vacuum cleaner — probably won’t faze him when he hears them outside the womb.

See what your baby looks like this week.

Posted under Preggo | 17 Comments »

17 Responses to “23 weeks and thoughts on natural birth”

  1. “I am more afraid of what doctors might do to me”

    You sound like me :-). Hehe. Seriously, if I had been forced to have a standard OB/GYN in a regular hospital, with a “textbook birth plan”, etc., I would have been way more scared going into labor. As it was, with a Bradley course behind me and 4 great certified nurse midwives with a great philosophy (good balance of natural whenever possible, but realizing that interventions are necessary in some situations) and a birth center, I actually never really got overwhelmed with worry over labor. I knew I had the best situation I could, so I’d go with it. It worked out well, too! I hope you have an equally good first-experience!

    Susans last blog post..Hans’ first roller coaster ride

  2. I know what you mean! My current OB makes me so nervous. I simply don’t trust her.

    I know that those feelings would negatively affect my labor, so I’m switching.

  3. Good for you! I’ve managed to do two natural births thanks to a quick labor, and staying home as long as possible! I’m sure you can do it!

    Jess last blog post..Nevermind!!

  4. JES! Oh my goodness.

    Just so everyone who reads these comments knows, Jes JUST gave birth to her second daughter! Like, a day ago or less.

    Check out her “Nevermind” post to see a picture of Caylee and read all about it!

  5. I had pain medication with both of my kids. For my first, I did opt for an epirdural which I regret completely now. As soon as they did the epidural my daughters heart rate dropped and we were put in for an emergency c-section. I wonder if I would of been able to have a natural birth if I did not opt for the epidural.

    With my second, even though I went into labor before my scheduled c-section, they still performed a c-section. I had no choice when it came to medication for her sadly. Were waiting 3+ years before we have another in hopes that my OB will allow me to have a natural birth.

    I do suggest trying to go as natural as possible if you plan to breast feed. I breastfed both of my girls but it only lasted until about two months with each. We had a lot of latching problems and with both, the nurses gave them bottles before I got out of recovery. Despite the fact that I said no bottles whatsoever. :(

  6. I am just finishing up my first trimester and carry the same sentiments you do regarding natural childbirth. Where in the ‘burgh are you finding the best resources for this?

  7. Ohhh girl, you are so brave. But I didn’t realize that none of those drugs have been approved for babies — I would be scared about those chemicals, too. It sounds like you have an awesome attitude about this and will do just fine.

  8. Don’t let ’em scare you. Your mindset is beautiful and is exactly how it’s meant to be. Your body is made to do this and you’re going to do just great. And hey, I had a 10 lb 2 oz baby born posterior (the cause of back labor) in my bathtub at home, no problemo. Go get ’em, girl!

    Emilys last blog post..Prince of Peace Academy, Week 2

  9. Couple of things:
    1) I’ve read both the books you mention, but I’d very much reccommend “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth” too – so much of that book came into my head and calmed me down during my natural birth experience. :)

    2) If you end up needing medication (and sometimes you just do, for whatever reason), please don’t beat yourself up about it, like I did after my first.


    Tenilles last blog post..Time Passes

  10. @ Tenille–I recently finished Ina May’s book and found the stories quite helpful.

    @ Amy — I e-mailed you earlier today. Hope that helps some

  11. please, please, please, I beg of you, research c-sections 😉

    that probably sounds totally stupid to you. it would have to me. i understand :)

    I wanted a natural, drug free birth. I was ready, I went into labor, the pain wasn’t the problem. my son got tangled up in the cord, I got stuck at 9 centimeters for 6 hours, because he was stuck and couldn’t get out. eventually (after more than 24 hours of drug-free labor mind you, and as I said, 6 of them at almost pushing stage) i had an emergency c-section because of my son’s heart rate dropping over and over (because he kept compressing the cord every time he tried to be born).

    why i say research c-sections is because you never know. it could happen. and I didn’t research them at all, I had NO idea what I was in for, I had no idea what was going on, and it could have been way more mellow for my son and I post-birth if I’d just had a little bit of a clue about what would happen.

    i hope very much your birth will be exactly what you want.

    paidtwices last blog post..The Saga of the Scale and a Tomato Update

  12. @PaidTwice. I agree with you–it’s best to be prepared for all that can happen.

    While a c-section is the absolute last thing I’d ever want, I know that it will always be at least a slight possibility until he’s born.

    I’ve read up on what exactly happens during a c-section, but I’m sure there’s more I can learn to be a bit more prepared.

    Hope it went well for you!

  13. Congratulations to you! I’m currently a Bradley student and 36 weeks along. I LOVE my Bradley class and the Bradley books you suggested. There are so many benefits to this method. I just love how it encourages my husband to be an active participant. He is just as important as I am in the process. Very empowering for both women and men!

    Ms. Cheeses last blog post..36 Weeks

  14. Well, I hope your husband is completely on board with this, because, honestly, even really wonderful guys treat it like a joke and blow off learning their job properly.

    Also, don’t freak out too much about drugs if you need them. Lots of wonderful normal children and adults were born with their moms getting drugs.

    I don’t mean either of those comments to sound like I’m against natural childbirth – it’s how I was born actually. But for my son, we had tons of problems and a c-section and, therefore, lots of drugs. He’s just fine (and, in fact, is at college on a full scholarship).

    So don’t worry too much and don’t get upset if things don’t go as planned! Oh, and breastfeed … ideally for at least 12 months. Cheap, easy, and the ideal food for a human baby!

    Annie Gs last blog post..Recipe: "Parisian" Subs

  15. Yes ma’am, my husband is certainly on board and is excited to take the classes and read the books.

  16. Hey! Great thoughts!! We’re starting a Bradley class next week actually and I’m so excited about it! The instructor is an RN and I love that! I’m also excited b/c my husband is really into it and prepared to go all the way with me and will make a terrific coach. She’s going to talk about when “interventions” are necessary in order for us to be prepared if that has to happen. Looking forward to sharing stories!!

    Stacys last blog post..Whatcha reading?

  17. Good luck with the natural childbirth, and don’t worry about all the naysayers. For the record, I love the epidural, (what can I say-I hate to suffer if I don’t have to) but I am SUPER confident in your ability to do this without the drugs. I have many friends who do for various reasons, and they all did great.

    Before I get my epidural the two things that help the most are: (1) the birthing ball (especially with baby#2 b/c it was back labor), and (2) a hot shower. I transitioned with baby #1 in a hot shower and let me tell you, I would have been in agony without it. So yes, it hurts like nothing else, but there ARE options to ease the pain that don’t involve drugs.

    Good luck!!!

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