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Hannah's Pregnancy Journal

Week 21
~ Feelings! Oh so Many Feelings!

So this week has been all about the feelings. I've been feeling Baby move inside quite a bit. She was a crazy soccer player on Monday. I never felt her so much before. On subsequent days, she was active, but not too crazy. And, I've definitely got to say, I LOVE feeling her in there. I said to my husband this week that I don't want her to come out because I love taking her everywhere with me. It won't be so easy when I have to return to work without her. Now, I get to have her with me all the time. I guess I already have a hard time imagining my child as an independent being... And, I like being pregnant!

When my friend was pregnant a few years ago at age 20 or 21, she talked about how awful it was--about how much she hated it, how hard it was, even though her pregnancy was pretty normal. I knew of other people that actually liked being pregnant, so I just reserved judgment on how I would feel for later. I was concerned, initially, that the body issues I struggled with in the past would come into play while I was pregnant. But, for the most part, whether by God or by chance, I haven't struggled with it at all. Maybe because for the first time in my life I feel a sort of freedom. I feel like I can eat whatever I want, but that what I want is to make super-healthy choices so my baby comes out happy and healthy (and liking healthy food rather than junk)! I'm not worried about how much weight I might gain (except that I don't want to gain more than the expected amount) or how big my arms and legs look. At first, this came out as eating whatever I want whenever I want. Choice between low fat and high fat dressing on my salad? High fat please! Choice between high calorie sandwich and salad? Sandwich please!

But, after gaining 6 pounds in 2 weeks (3x the recommended amount) and feeling pretty bloated from all the high-calorie food, I had an epiphany. It was OK to choose the low fat option instead of the high fat option. I started focusing on eating vegetables, whole grains, and beans and the weirdest thing happened! This newfound freedom actually freed me up to eat GOOD food! I had forgotten what it was like to eat healthy. When I focus on eating mostly vegetables and whole grains, I end up eating much better, feeling much better, and choosing better options. I suddenly didn't want sugar as much. And, my weight gain slowed (when not pregnant, this would translate into maintaining a healthy weight). This was the happy place I was with food years ago and I finally rediscovered it!

The other great thing about being pregnant is that, for the first time in my life, I'm actually listening to my body. When I'm tired, I rest. When I'm hungry, I eat. When I need a break, I take it. And, I don't berate myself for my lack of motivation or ignore it and keep on keeping on. No, instead, I've taken time for myself, I'm starting to learn what I find relaxing and I've tried to do it! If I want to sit on the couch and read in peace and quiet (a relaxing event I never knew I liked), I do. If I want to take a nap, I do. If I feel too tired, I don't get up to do more things. And, I'm very proud of myself for realizing what I need and then doing it. This is something I need to get better at when I'm not pregnant.

The last eventful thing about this week was switching my care over to midwives. I feel very, very strongly about having my baby naturally and I want as much support in that as I can possibly get. Midwives are definitely the best option for me. This week I learned a great deal about doctors' care and midwives that I didn't know before and it's encouraged me to educate myself even more on the process. I know it's a personal choice, but I just don't know how women can think it's a great idea to just get an epidural and lay there waiting for the baby to come out. All the research points to this being terrible for you and the baby--more chance of tearing or an episiotomy, more painful labor, harder recovery, lowered heart rate for the baby, more chance of C-section, etc. In the case of the hospital I'll deliver at, if you have an epidural, you have to have a catheter because of urinary incontinence. Women's bodies are MADE for having babies. We are MADE to be able to handle the pain. For thousands of years, women did it with no drugs and clearly babies were born because otherwise none of us would be here! I realize that there are situations where things may not go as planned, where an epidural might be necessary, but to just decide this is the best choice for you without being aware of the risks or even considering that you could do it without drugs seems like a total cop-out to me. At any rate, I feel very strongly about this, as you can tell, and I'm glad I'm with a group of women and a doula and husband and other labor support who will be my 2nd, 3rd, and 4th lines of defense against drugs! Now, I'm not saying I won't need a Xanax or something, but just not the hard-core anesthesia!
~ Hannah

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