The biggest development of Week 18 has been feeling the baby…And I don’t mean kicks, I mean literally feeling the baby in my uterus! I woke up last Thursday and felt a hard lump on my lower tummy. It was quite freaky initially. It does change position from day to day so there is no doubt it’s the baby…either that or I have a wandering hernia! It hangs out pretty low most of the time- pretty much at hip level.
I researched this on forums and it seems many women can feel this firmness very early on. I guess it’s only been a recent development for me because I have a retroverted uterus (tilts backwards instead of forwards) and it has remained retroverted for most of my pregnancy so far. But it seems like it has finally righted itself now that the baby is growing so much! It’s really nice to be able to feel the baby now so I can stroke it as I talk to it and sing to it.
This week V and I completed our hypnobirthing classes. It has been worth every cent. I have always wanted to have a completely natural, unmedicated birth and would have done it regardless of whether I had discovered the classes…but this now gives me the skills and confidence to do it quickly and painlessly.
In a way, it’s a bit sad that we have gotten to a point in our modern society where we need to now pay money to learn to give birth the way nature intended. With all our great medical development and increased education and media exposure, we have somehow gotten smarter and dumber at the same time and completely lost touch with our bodies and our natural birthing instincts.
From what I’ve been able to gather from my previous meeting with a midwife from our hospital, it seems that Australian hospitals these days are pretty open to letting you have whatever birth you want which is great. At 32 weeks, we will be discussing our birth plan with the midwife (the birth plan is actually a legal document now). We will be requesting not to be offered pain relief (if we need anything- we will be the ones to ask), not to be directed to push during the delivery (or to be speak very calmly and softly if they really need to tell me something), to allow V to help out with receiving the baby, to delay clamping and cutting of the cord (allows the baby to still receive oxygen from me while it learns to take its first few breaths), and for me to have uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact with the baby for the first hour to allow for bonding and breastfeeding (often they will give you that initial contact but then bundle the baby off for cleaning, weighing and measuring and give it back to you wrapped up- so we’re requesting a delay on all that). Of course, part of maintaining a calm environment for the baby right after the birth is limiting hospital visits to immediate family and grandparents- not that I plan to stay at the hospital for long. I am hoping to get out in less than 24 hours! Then if friends want to visit us at home, they are welcome to do so.
One of my priorities is definitely not traumatising my body at all. Everything I’m doing is in hope that I will still be energised and alert after the birth, and be able to be back on my feet pretty much instantly. My Mum will be down helping to support me, but we’re definitely not going with the traditional idea of confinement. I’m still going to be washing my hair, eating vegetables, doing everything I can for the baby, walking Taz (with baby strapped onto me) and getting out of the house!
One of the things that has really irked me so far is people telling/asking me things like “my friend thought she’d have a drug-free birth too- until she was in labour”, “they’re definitely going to cut you- they always do”, “how can you be so sure you won’t need medical intervention?” or, “you can’t plan to have a short labour! I was in there for 29 hours!” All I can say is- don’t pooh-pooh me till I give it a shot. One of the things I’m doing now is that I’ve stopped reading pregnancy magazines or anyone’s else’s stories on their labour and deliveries. The reality is that I’m not anyone else but me and I don’t need to know how many hours anyone else was in labour or how difficult their delivery was…or even how tired they were having to wake up a gazillion times a night to tend to the baby in the months to come. I want to go into this with a clear mind completely free of fear, negative energy, and preconceptions because this is only about my baby and I!
Something else that has really bugged me during this pregnancy is people joking about how Taz will be relegated to “second place” when the baby is born. Of course, naturally most of these comments come from people who don’t have pets. I don’t mind the one-off comments like “Taz will be so jealous” but it’s pisses me off when people start arguing with me when I say “No, he won’t come second”. The usual arguments are “You’re telling me you’re going to put your baby second?” “If Taz and the baby were drowning and you could only save one, you’re telling me you would save Taz?” It’s like they’re fighting me until I say “yes I will love Taz less than the baby”.
Hello! How inappropriate is this? If I had two human children, would you be making me choose between them? Why is it so hard to believe we’ll still love Taz as much as we do now when baby comes? I didn’t get Taz as a “substitute for children”. I didn’t get him on a whim. I searched hard for him and got him to love and cherish FOREVER, not for a temporary few years before the human kids come along. I actually find it quite insulting that people could actually believe I will just toss him aside and abandon him when the baby comes. I try to ignore it because I accept that most people are still stuck with the Asian mentality that dogs are just there to guard the house or something…but it’s ridiculous how many people actually make these comments and don’t realise how offensive they sound when they go on and on about it. Even V says his work colleagues all joke about it when he shows them pictures of Taz.
I think the comments are so silly because if anything, Taz’s life will be even better! Instead of 2 people loving him, he will have 3! He’ll go for even MORE walks and outings and trips now with the baby! He’ll have cuddle time and tummy time with a little friend now! We’re even looking for a pram that can accommodate both of them if needed! I feel so silly even defending this. There shouldn’t be anything to defend. Taz will always be our firstborn and we will always love him and have time for him and no one can tell us otherwise.
Onto more positive things: At the end of this week, we’re finding out the gender of our baby. To be honest, my heart says girl but my head says boy. In short, I really have no idea! Of course, it doesn’t matter what it is. It actually shocks me when people ask “do you want a girl or a boy?”. What pressure on a baby! I would feel like a terrible parent if I had a preference. Either way, it’s going to be really special for different reasons. If it’s a girl, she’ll be our little princess, and if it’s a boy, he’ll be our little strong warrior. People think boys are a handful but I don’t care because V is a great father and I know ours will be charming…hehe…I trust our ability as parents to handle either gender! I can’t wait!