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Jeanette's Pregnancy Journal

Week 29
~ Taking Stock

It is difficult to explain but I feel as though things are falling into place. After much difficulty and strife, it seems as though the Creator is still omnipotent. Just when you think that God is busy with so many others (and with good reason) and has forgotten all about you, there appears those moments when you are forced to ask yourself how you could have ever doubted. I was extremely apprehensive about asking human resources about my maternity leave options because I am technically still on probation. However, the stress of just not knowing anything was worse than the apprehension. So, I posed the question.

I am going to get paid maternity leave!!! It starts next month.

Each day I get out of bed walking with measured steps towards this countdown. I am so terribly exhausted. My soul feels simply feels exhausted. I am looking forward to my maternity leave, but not necessarily to the immediate birth of my baby. Fortunately, if I take leave next month it will give me some much needed time to rest. Admittedly, I still do not feel 100% ready. I recently read that new mothers clock as much as 700 hours of sleep deprivation in the first year of life. It would be so nice if this baby slept throughout the night like my daughter from birth but I am not counting on that. I know she was an exception. I am going in assuming that my little one will be waking every two hours.

Syed and I have talked briefly about sharing night duty. He did not understand how he could help, if I am going to breastfeed. I explained to him about pumped milk, but I do not think that the concept stuck. I know that he has never seen a breast pump machine. We definitely need to talk about this some more.

We already have a bassinet and a cornucopia of clothes from birth to at least three months. We need diapers, wipes, toiletries, bath tub, receiving blankets, non-allergic washing detergent, wash clothes, cloth diapers, pacifiers, breast milk pump, bottles, nursing bras, pads, stroller and a car seat. At eight months we will turn our attention towards these items. Right now, we are a bit occupied with so many other issues.

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These days I am leaning towards an epidural. Yep, I sure am. No shame about it. I labored tirelessly for two previous births. I already know that I am a strong, resilient woman and have absolutely nothing to prove to anyone else. I previously, erroneously viewed epidurals and breastfeeding as issues that defined real women from the others (I still reserve judgments on elective cesarean sections though), however I obviously no longer feel that way. While this is not an attempt to justify my would-be decision because I feel at peace with it, but I would simply like to comment that childbirth pain must be be the worse pain one could ever expect to experience. It probably ranks on par with severe traumatic injury or metastasized cancer pain.

I ask patients everyday to rate their pain on a scale from 1-10, ten being the worse. In my personal experience, childbirth pain is off the charts. Descriptions like "It hurt" or "It’s painful" are simply not appropriate. It is just something like this unspoken acknowledgement among women that defies attempts to describe it.

My most memorable impressions are feeling as though they are menstrual cramp-like, but 100 times worse. Initially the relief comes from the intermittent periods of rest between contractions—you can breathe, rest, and relax momentarily before the onset/onslaught of another one. At this point you still feel like you have some measure of control over things. The kicker is when those intermittent periods diminish and the feeling of hopelessness and despair overwhelms you because Mother Nature completely takes over doing her own thing and your perceived controls have vanished and are left with constant grinding without any breaks and are simultaneously expected to concentrate and do as you are being guided "push" or "bear down".

As you may know or can imagine, there are no words or appropriate pain level scale for this. The last birth I assisted was eight months ago while in clinical practice. Towards the end my most important role was holding her hand, reaffirming her ability to birth her baby, and reassuring her that the end was near.

I believe that I would be a much different midwife, had it not been for this pregnancy. Caring and compassionate, nonetheless, but not as insightful as I am now. For me, the experience of pregnancy is comparable to reading and rereading an important book like perhaps Paulo Coehlo’s The Alchemist or Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Reading these books at 18 years of age offers you one meaning, but reading it again at 26 and again at 37 brings even greater insight because the interpretation extracted is enhanced by life experience.

Pregnant women need lots of financial, emotional, and spiritual support. When that support is compromised for whatever reason, because life can just be like that sometimes, it has the potential to threaten the baby’s intrauterine health and soon-to-be healthy start in life. Not to mention the time and energy that the mother can dedicate caring for her child. This world is so incredibly troubled and what we need are healthy, loved souls to occupy it. This could be achieved by more planned pregnancies and social programs that support the needs of pregnant women and children.

Throughout my trials and tribulations, my inclination has been to keep vigil over the health and well-being of my family, maintain cohesiveness, take care of the baby’s health, and get ready (logistically, mentally, and spiritually) for June 2010. Admittedly, I have had to put myself and my needs aside in order to facilitate others and have suffered privately because of it. However, I believe wholeheartedly that I will be provided with the things I need. Previous experience has taught me that the moment you give up is usually the moment before your miracle materializes. I am always cognizant that no matter what you may be experiencing that there is always someone on the sidelines, whose problems are so great, that would love to change places with you.

I simply cannot imagine what it would be like to be pregnant and homeless, pregnant and uneducated, pregnant and disenfranchised, pregnant and not wanting to be pregnant, and pregnant, plagued with whatever issue and without the life skills and/or experience (intuitive spirit) to guide you.

Jeanette

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