We only have a few weeks left before this baby arrives, and the closer I get to my due date, the harder it is to concentrate on anything non-baby-related. Some things are starting to feel urgent – like making sure our hospital bags are packed! – but I’m also trying to make a conscious effort to slow things down and prepare for my eventual maternity leave, including gathering some awesome guest bloggers to help fill in here while I’m away! Today I thought I’d share some of the things weighing on my mind as we prepare to welcome a new family member – and share a few photos from a trip to a little beach along the Potomac River last weekend.
This won’t be news to any of you more experienced mamas out there, but second pregnancies are a funny thing. Yes, there’s all the physical stuff that I’d heard about ahead of time – feeling tired all the time thanks to your rambunctious toddler, showing earlier, etc. – but, at least for me, I’ve been surprised to find that this pregnancy feels just as surreal this time around as it did when I was pregnant with Sophie. Perhaps it’s because our lives are already so full with Sophie, but it has been difficult to wrap my head around the fact that there is going to be another (brand new!) tiny human living with us. Which seems ironic since we know exactly what’s headed our way in just a few short weeks, but it still just feels kind of abstract.
But having been through the experience once before already, I’m less focused on some of the things from my first pregnancy – like making sure we have all the necessary baby gear and signing up for birth classes – but I have more specific concerns this time around.
So here’s what we’ve done so far: switched from our previous OB to a midwife practice, hired our doula, and started both weekly chiropractor appointments and weekly acupuncture appointments. The decision to switch to the midwife practice was really easy; we’ll still be able to deliver at our preferred hospital, but without a million interns, residents, and attending physicians coming in to poke at me every hour or so while I’m in labor. The weekly chiropractor and acupuncture appointments were actually both recommendations of our midwives.
I love this photo for so many reasons – but you can tell from Sophie’s expression that she was not thrilled to be near the water. My sweet girl is definitely proving not to be a water baby so far!
At this point during my pregnancy with Sophie, I was diagnosed with a condition called cholestasis – a rare late term pregnancy complication that affects the liver and gallbladder. Last time, cholestasis came as a complete shock: I don’t fall into either of the ethnic groups for which the condition is most common, and to my knowledge there is no history of cholestasis in my family. But my liver levels skyrocketed and our OB was concerned about the risk of liver failure or stillbirth – so I had to be induced for labor at 37 weeks. That experience was really tough on both me and Sophie (more on that coming in a separate post soon), so this time around I’m doing everything I can to avoid a repeat experience, from acupuncture to diet changes. Cholestasis carries a recurrence rate of 45-75%, so fingers crossed that these things do the trick.
Aside from cholestasis, my biggest concerns revolve around Sophie: making sure we have a plan for her when we’re in the hospital, carving out special time for her after the new baby arrives, etc. Caring for Sophie while we’re at the hospital and the first couple of weeks postpartum is probably my biggest concern right now. We don’t have a lot of family near by, and since we don’t know exactly when the baby will arrive (especially since I wasn’t able to go into labor naturally the last time around) it has been difficult to make plans for grandparents to come down and help. This has been a big source of anxiety for me. The grandparents are all willing to come down and help, which is great, but we’ll need to have short term plans for Sophie during labor and until family can get here – and we’re still not quite sure how to handle all of that.
So… more experienced mamas out there – how did you care for your older children during labor (especially if you don’t have family close by)? Any advice or tips to share? I’m all ears!!
All photos by me from my Canon DSLR