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Anne's Pregnancy Journal

28 weeks 5 days
~ Relief, Family Healing, and Tons of Fun

My back is finally feeling better this week! I think I just needed a few more adjustments, a bit more rest, and the purchase of a maternity support belt at my midwifeís suggestion to put me back in business! I never thought Iíd fall in love with a support garment, but this thing is great! Itís not just one of those elastic bands. This is the kind with a belly support pad and a big thing stretching around from the back to velcro to the front. Aaaaaahhhhhh. Instant relief. My chiropractor said itís best to wear it if Iím going to be sitting or standing in one place for a while. Otherwise, leave it off during active times so that the back can balance itself. Sounds good to me! (As for those ouchy sensitive areas that were bothering me, the midwife gave me a great recipe for an herbal compress that is working wonders.)

The weekend was nice and full. While Matt and his dad worked on drywall stuff (oh what a thankless job!), I got to go have lunch with his mom, Penny, and her husband, Verne. I have the worldís best mother-in-law! Have I mentioned that? She really is wonderful. I enjoyed being able to ask her what sheíd like her grandmother name to be (she picked Grandma Ė Grandma Penny if necessary to avoid confusion). We also had a great talk about post-partum help. She said the words I most needed to hear: ďI want you to know that I know that YOU are the mom, and Iím not here to tell you what to do.Ē Even though I instinctively knew that, it was so good to hear it! She said sheíll have a bag packed by the beginning of December, so that all I have to do is say the word, and she can be up here from her home in Florida in two days. Cool!

Iíve also been having an odd experience. I donít really miss my mom as much as I thought I would. She died in December of 2000, which was pretty tough. I missed her a lot in 2003 planning my wedding, but for some reason, that has not been my experience of the pregnancy. Whatís more striking is the incredible impracticality of not having oneís own mother available to call on for post-partum care. I certainly have plenty of loving family and friends willing to help, but they make for a colorful patchwork of support, where Mom would have been a cozy blanket of comfort.

My not missing her probably has something to do with my relief that we donít have to have the fights we otherwise would have had if she were still here. How different our views on birth were! Iím a hypnotherapist who teaches HypnoBirthing and advocates for extended nursing, attachment parenting, and homebirth, among other things. My mother was a physician who had me by C-section (probably medically necessary), and she believed that all women should just have surgical deliveries because it was ďeasier,Ē and she could not understand why anyone would want to go through the unpredictability, mess, and potential discomfort of a natural childbirth. Oh, letís not even go into what she thought of hypnosis or homebirth, or any of the rest of the things Iím passionate about!

Iím grateful to have a mother-in-love who can hold a space of respect and understanding with me while still being willing to offer her perspective. That is something I did not easily get with my own mother, and I can see how valuable this quality of relationship will be as time passes. Matt has at times worried about my relationship with his mother. I truly believe women have their own way of working out unfamiliar territory, which does not always make sense in a male model of relationship. I know that whatever tension Penny and I have been through has helped us clarify our place in each otherís life. Never mind the fact that itís darn near impossible to help tell someone what her role will be when youíre not even sure what your own role will look like! I have no idea what motherhood will be for me, so I canít tell anyone else where they fit in. Not yet, anyway.

At least I know that I DO still fit in the kayak! Sunday we rested from drywall and went on a paddle trip with friends from Bucks County, PA. It was a lovely, warm day on the Delaware River, and we followed the paddle with a nice supper at Armando and Dennisí beautifully restored pre-colonial farmhouse. One choice moment from the river . . . towards the end of the paddle, Armando decided he was going to start splashing people. Heíd pretty much gotten everyone else wet and began pursuing me. He had rented a sporty little sit-on-top style kayak, which is highly maneuverable AND prone to flipping. Since he planned on getting in the river, this was not a problem. I, on the other hand, had been cruising along in my touring kayak. I knew I might not be able to outpaddle Armandoís well-muscled arms, but I had a good head start. Well, the dear man started saying he was going to come after the pregnant one. Can we say ďinstant karma,Ē class? Hah! No sooner had he uttered those words than he spontaneously capsized himself, to the great amusement of all on the river, I might add! I just laughed and said ďthatís what he gets for coming after a pregnant lady who also happens to be surrounded by her home element Ė water." I get the feeling he learned a lesson!

Youíd think he would have learned that one earlier in the day when I managed to pause before a small drop off, pull out some chocolate, paddle backwards while snacking on that goodness (oh, yeah, the chocolate aversion is finally gone!), and still find the calmest and safest route over the edge.) Armando, on the other hand, decided to barrel right down the center, get caught in a ridiculously tiny boil, and get his kayak overturned. Sometimes people just drop all the ammo you need to poke fun at them right in your lap! What can I say, I gloated over my relative grace and then gave him some of my chocolate anyway.

Monday brought our final HypnoBirthing class. The last class is often the easiest; itís a good wrap-up of whatís been covered and how to put it all together for birth. Even though itís only been a few weeks, it will be strange not to see these people on Monday nights. We will have another follow-up class plus potluck in about a month, but thatís just not the same! Iím glad to have passed the initial angst of the fear release exercise. Iím feeling much better now than I was! I thought for sure I was going to end up needing private sessions, but perhaps I just needed some extra time. The birth videos, as always, were enthralling. No matter how many times I see them, I never get tired of seeing these beautiful, peaceful women so calmly and comfortably birthing their babies!

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One of the other moms in the HypnoBirthing class is due right around the same time I am, so Tuesday night we decided to spend some time hanging out together. I provided the beef stew, Jen provided the bread and the ice cream. THIS is why I was in the class, Iím convinced! I needed this opportunity to meet other moms and connect. We had fun sitting around, talking about our pregnancies, the challenges of physical intimacy during pregnancy and the requisite gymnastics, not to mention sitting around with our shirts pulled up comparing bellybuttons. Who knew it would be this much fun! Iím really looking forward to scheduling more time with her. Thatís a kind of connection Iíve desperately been needing. I love my other mommy friends, especially Hedra, and yet there is something about comparing notes with another whoís going through the same thing at the same time that lights up an entirely different part of my brain.

Wednesday may have been the best part of the week. Matt and I won tickets to a show of our choosing at the Grand Opera House. We looked at the offerings a few months ago and selected a Los Lobos concert. At the last minute, the evening became a date, complete with dinner at Iron Hill at the Riverfront. I arrived at dinner to find Matt waiting for me with a gift box. Have I mentioned lately what a sweet, wonderful, caring man my husband is?

Matt presented me with a gift just because. In the box, I found a book of Love Coupons (from Hallmark-nothing too racy), and a framed print with two teddy bears holding hands and the caption ďYouíre always there for me.Ē Awww. . . I almost cried! Matt explained, unbidden, that he understands that it may take a while to get the romance back into our relationship once the baby is born, and that he thought having these love coupons would make it easier for me to ask for what I need to reconnect romantically. He can be so thoughtful! I was a little perplexed at the print. I think, overall, Iíve been pretty demanding of his support, and havenít felt like Iíve really been there for him. I said so. He responded that, yes, you could see it that way, depending how you looked at things, but that he knows that if he ever needs anything, I am always right there for him. * sniff * See why I married him? This is the stuff I need to remember when my hormones run away with me!

Of course, right about this same time, we asked one of the waiters for different bread (the stuff on the table was underbaked and gummy), and he brought us . . . sour cream?? Uh, yeah. Once we got on the right track foodwise, we thoroughly enjoyed our dinner and headed over to the Grand Opera House for the show. We had a great time! If youíve never seen Los Lobos, go! Not only are they legendary, they always put on an amazing show. We danced our butts off (well, ok, the band had to beg this crowd to get up, but once we did, there was a lot of booty shaking happening). Ok, so I hadnít planned on doing much walking or dancing, so I wore my cutest strappy high-heeled sandals, figuring I wouldnít be doing that again anytime soon. NOT so great for the body, but, what can I say, at least I looked hot for date night!

After the show, the band came out to sign stuff, so we stood in line for that. Once we got up to where the band was to have our CD signed, Matt let them know weíd brought someone else with us to the show - the baby! Thereís something very cool about having a group of musical legends a few feet away, totally excited that you have a baby in your belly, and that we brought the belly to hear them play. Iím not entirely certain, but Iím pretty sure that was babyís first rock concert. (Well, they are as much Chicano/Mexican music as they are rock Ďní roll, but it all rocks!) This kid is off to a great start!

With the holiday weekend coming up, Iím sure Iíll have lots more to share next week. Until then, please, do me a favor, wear sensible shoes!

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