Pregnancy Diary #1- WEEK 17: Nightmares, body changes, and hynobirthing

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Two nights ago I had a nightmare about having a miscarriage. In the dream, I went to the toilet and discovered I was bleeding. I rushed out to my brother (who is a doctor) and asked if there was any other possible medical reasons other than miscarriage to be bleeding. Of course, in my head I knew there was (a lot of women spot throughout pregnancy), but at the same time it was clinging to straws because there was A LOT of blood. My brother then told me to go to straight to the hospital where they could do an ultrasound to check if everything was okay.

Before the dream proceeded further, I thankfully managed to wake up. My eyes flew open in fear and I just stared for the longest time at the ceiling wondering which reality I was in. For a while, the fear gripped me, thinking it had actually happened…but then after a while I realised it was still dark and I was in bed and that no, I wasn't bleeding and have never bled throughout this entire pregnancy…and the biggest wave of relief just washed over me. 

It's the first time I've dreamed of having a miscarriage and it was terrifying. So far with the baby, I have only dreamed of happy things e.g finding out the gender at the anomaly ultrasound (I've dreamed both scenarios- boy and girl) and the birth. Of course, in my conscious state, I have 100% faith that this pregnancy will proceed perfectly normally. However, I think my subconscious was thinking of stillbirth stories I've read and watched in the media. Now that I'm pregnant, I find stillbirth stories horrifying because I can now imagine the trauma and feel the parents' sadness. I would be absolutely traumatised to go through 9 months of pregnancy only to lose the baby in the end.

Anyway, in reality, things are going just peachy. My tummy is now growing with every passing day (and my ass too according to my brother, although he insists this comment was a compliment) and my center of gravity is definitely shifting. I now find going from lying down to sitting up quite a strain on my tummy and my back muscles. So V (who is a physio) has taught me how to roll onto my side and push myself up using my hands. I also plan to buy one of those body pregnancy pillows that supports the tummy when you're sleeping on your side. So far I've just been using a regular pillow which I don't think is as effective.

I can't feel the baby kicking yet although I do get quite a bit of round ligament pain (from my uterus stretching). That just feels like stabs of pain. I also got it in very early pregnancy. I actually don't mind it because at least I know things are happening and the baby is alive and growing!

On Saturday, V and I went for our first hypnobirthing class. Hypnobirthing is exactly what it sounds like- hypnosis + birthing! We basically learned hypnosis techniques that will help us have a calm, relaxing, natural birth. The idea is to remove all the fear of birth which has been put upon us by the media and all the horror stories our friends and family tell us (about their long horrible painful labours!), and to allow our bodies to do what it does naturally. I really wanted to learn it because I love my hollistic therapies and have always envisioned having a super zen, relaxed, natural birth.

This technique actually makes a lot of sense. If you go into labour thinking "this is going to be horrible and painful", your body is going to naturally tense up, your heart is going to race, you're going to hyperventilate (not get enough oxygen), and all your blood is going to drain from where you need it (your uterus) to your heart and your head because your body goes into "fight or flight" mode. In short- you're going to feel a lot of pain and your labour is going to be drawn out because your body doesn't know what it's doing.

On the flip side, if you're calm and relaxed and breathe slowly through the process, your body is going to naturally do what it's meant to do and you're also going to have more oxygen and endorphins (natural painkillers) running through your system. It's all about letting your mind and body work together in harmony. Many women who go through hypnobirthing have much shorter, easier labours without any need for drugs- some as short as 1-2 hours for a first child! The babies also turn out really calm! 

We were taught breathing techniques and how to relax with "scripts" (positive messages being read out). It's basically V's job to guide me through each contraction, stroking my head or hand and reminding me to relax my body. I really like how the method involves a partner as I guess sometimes men can feel a little left out or helpless while their woman is in labour (or, on the flip side, be really unhelpful and annoying because they get impatient and restless about waiting around for so long). In fact, it isn't the same without one as sometimes you can tense up subconsciously. It really helps to have someone beside you reminding you to relax your jaw or your shoulders and to breathe slowly and visualise something in particular e.g a balloon filling with air and then being released.

To be honest, I had a big depressive episode a week ago, but this class really did cheer me up. I was just feeling down over living so far away from my friends in the suburbs, isolated because none of my close friends are having kids anytime soon, and tired over the medical appointments, peeing in a cup (test for pre-ecclampsia) and being treated like an 18 year old knocked-up teenager (because I look so young to most Aussies). I've also had a bit of trouble adjusting to my changing body. But all the positive energy in the hypnobirthing class really picked me up and gave me the feel-good feelings I needed about this pregnancy. Now I definitely feel more refreshed, positive, and far more relaxed (especially because I'm practicing the meditative techniques everyday). I'm trusting in my body to do what it needs to do for the rest of this pregnancy and to give me a beautiful healthy baby!

We have our second and final hypnobirthing class this coming weekend. Apart from hypnobirthing, we're also doing a breastfeeding class in October. Many women who have had kids will tell you that breastfeeding isn't as easy or natural as you think it'll be- so I definitely want to know everything and be prepared. The next thing we have on is a series of childbirth education classes run by our hospital in November and December. That's more for the nitty gritty practical details about pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting. Then in January, I guess we'll be busy preparing for baby. And then before we know it, it'll be February and baby will be here! Time is passing fast!

We're having our anomaly scan in 2 weeks. It's amazing thinking that we will be able to call our baby by name in 2 weeks and refer to it as he/she! V and I have long had our baby names set out (before we were married) and have always referred to our kids by names. They have long existed in our heads and it's slightly weird thinking that one has now come into existence! It's just a matter of who has made it first! I'm undecided whether we'll reveal the name to other people before the baby is born though because we've kept it secret for so long (and I know ultrasounds can sometimes be inaccurate)…I guess we'll see how definite things look on our scan and how we feel 🙂

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