Heather's Pregnancy Compendium: Part 4

25 weeks!

more topics to tackle:

i have mentioned before that my hair has felt healthier than ever. it is thick, full, and growing. i am tempted to cut it a little but i've always admired the Farm midwives and want to have that long-haired nature-mama look. best hair plus: i hardly have to wash it. it never feels dirty or looks greasy. it just looks messy, but you all know i don't mind that!
another fun fact: i am growing tiny baby-hairs all along my hair line and best of all, they're coming in both brown and silver! you know you're an "older" mama when that happens J

this was a pregnancy symptom I had never heard about.
 in my life, i've never had a migraine or struggled much with headaches, so when i started getting a headache every day it came as a surprise during the first trimester. of course, you don't take advil when you're pregnant and even though it is supposedly okay to take tylenol, i never did. i wasn't even drinking tea or anything at the time. there are always other ways to deal with headaches like deep breathing and relaxation or some yoga poses. these can relieve the tension of the headache a little, and i do still get them from time to time, usually after work. and sometimes i just have to give in and sleep them off.

home birth / hospital:
an issue i have thought about and imagined and studied and grappled with for years. in 2003 i wrote a research paper for a college course on the history of work in america entitled "The Labor of Labor." i have long been fascinated with the industrialization of birth and the harmful effects that process has had on mothers and babies alike. starting about ten or twelve years ago i fell in love with Spiritual Midwifery and the idea of natural childbirth. for a while I wanted to study to be a midwife and I still think about becoming a doula. needless to say, i had always planned on giving birth at home, especially as a person who is totally uncomfortable in hospitals, has never gone to the doctor as an adult and is pretty much infuriated by the capital-driven practices of western medicine.

then i got pregnant. and i had no health insurance. and i qualified for medi-cal which takes care of everything obgyn-related for the full term of the pregnancy and childbirth and the first year of the baby's life. it also would have paid $1000 toward midwife care, i heard, but unfortunately we have a shortage of midwives in our area and the nearest birth center is down in sacramento. whereas good old-fashioned marshall medical center is basically across the street. all these factors added up with the fact that we got a great feeling from dr. nelson and his staff from the first instant i walked in there. smiles and warm greetings, familiar faces, kind and respectful treatment. and that he has delivered babies in our community for thirty years including many of my very own friends. 

then i heard a story from a couple that are good friends of ours. they had elected to have their baby at home and had two midwives present (who had driven 45 minutes to get here) a good trust relationship had never really developed and the midwives were very stand-offish, trying to empower the mother but rather leaving her feeling very empty and alone. after 20 hours of labor, feeling very little support and feeling scared, my friend and her husband went to marshall hospital. my doctor, dr. nelson, ended up delivering their baby. they had a wonderful experience and she felt far more supported, respected, loved and encouraged by the nurses and staff than she had felt with her midwives at home. they went from being completely anti-hospital-births to now realizing and admitting that sometimes our preconceived notions are wrong. they LOVED their birthing experience at marshall, and all my friends who have given birth there agree and have wonderful stories to share.

so that's my plan. i have a lot of other plans for my birth in order to try to stay away from the system of interferences that, in my mind, complicate and hinder the beauty of the natural process. i have a vision in my mind of my dream birth for this baby and i will hope to envision and embrace that fully to the end. we'll see how it goes. there is nothing i respect more than the process of childbirth and the many ways that women prefer to encounter that experience. for me, for this my first birth, i hope to bring together the best of all worlds and stay true to myself and my baby. 

immune system:
some people will tell you that you are more apt to get sick when you're pregnant, because supposedly your body is working so hard on growing and protecting that life inside that the mother's immune system is slightly compromised. i have found the exact opposite to be true. it seems my immune system has kicked into high gear and i have been (knock on wood) vibrantly healthy throughout many rounds of the flu, colds, etc in my household and community. for about a day i thought i had a cold, stayed home from work, and it virtually vanished! i am eating really well and taking prenatals, and i think that helps. plus maybe a good dose of solid personal determination for healthy, stamina, and energy so that i can do the best i can possibly do at growing this baby.

yep. it's an issue. it has come on pretty strong these last couple weeks. i do some light stretching to try to relieve it, but i wish i could stand on my head or something, it feels so weird like there is nothing i can do. but just tonight i figured something out: (to my dismay) chocolate makes it wayyy worse! oddly, i have been perfectly able to eat spicy foods, which i love, without it affecting me adversely.
they say if you get bad indigestion, your baby will have lots of hair. 
darin was born with tons of black hair that he never lost, whereas i was bald until age three. guess we'll just wait and see :)

check out this dorky mama, i think i am cooing at my cat in this pic. but i love the belly! look how huge it's getting!

in a week or two i'll finish up my compendium with topics such as: nesting, skin, and weight....woooo hooooo, exciting stuff :)

my mama's maternity dress from the 1970s, she made it herself
wrap: thrifted recently, $2
hat: thrifted a long time ago
wooly brown tights: thrifted
necklace: made by laura carter, trade
belt: gift from andrea


theequinebovine said…
whoa baby!!! your lookin' good mama..lookin' damn good.
i had an amazing, empowering, beautiful, and magical hospital birth with my second.
my first was sucky, but that was because i had pre-eclampsia.
your hair is amazinG! i hope you are one of the lucky ones who doesn't have it all fall out after three months post partum.that can be alarming. haha.
the thing i love about the Farm, and Ina May, is the reason they have such fantastic stats on their homebirth success is because they take the screening process very seriously. devil may care hippie midwives they are not(about most things. i have issues with the Brewer Diet that Ina May recommends to avoid pre-eclampsia, but that's another ball o' wax). they are very much the kind of midwives who will tell you when you should be having your baby in a hospital. anyway, loving the compendiums and loving watching that belly grow!
Celynne said…
I love your hair! My hair has always been a straight dark blonde, and people used to coo over it and say they wish they had it, but lady, I covet hair like yours! Dark, lustrous, enchantress hair!
Andrea said…
very exciting stuff! I had wondered about your birth plan, but thought it might be personal as each situation can vary. I have given the whole thing a great deal of thought as well. I'm fascinated by midwives. I love the idea of being at home, but I too really like my new doctor. She was very straightforward with me, and said that for a first child perhaps looking into a birthing center within a hospital is a good idea-- as in some cases we don't know how well you can deliver since you have not yet had a child yet. I thought it was good logic. So, I'm happy to read that you we're okay with this too.

Also, Heather, do you think your headaches may have been from when you stopped drinking coffee? Caffeine withdrawl?
Heather said…
You are to cute you glowing mama! I am glad you found a doctor that you are happy with. It makes a big difference. I wanted to go the all natural route with all three of my children but it wasn't meant to be they were all high risk and very complicated but I focused more on the blessing of being able to even have three!! And I was able to breastfeed them which was something else I had really wanted to do, so it was nice to have no complications with that after having such complicated pregnancies and deliveries. I have something I would love to send to you a piece of clothing I picked up while living in the Middle East. I think it would look beautiful on you with your glowing baby belly. My email is wattsfamilybythesea@gmail.com if you would like to exchange addresses. ~love Heather :)
Geny said…
I love these little diatribes Heather!! You look so pretty and how fun to be wearing your mama's maternity dress!! I had my little guy Mikey at Marshall and Dr. Jones delivered him (had him at night so whoever was on call was it...Dr. Tobin-Williams is my regular dr and she is wonderful)...anyhow, I totally thought I wanted an epidural (had one with my first two) but did not have enough time cause Mikey was ready to come OUT!!! It was by far my best birthing experience, still hurt like hell and I screamed A LOT, but the recovery was so easy. Basically after I had him I was ready to go home and we had a wonderful bond from the get go, nursing was great...just perfect even though it wasn't what I planned at the time. Everything will work out how it's supposed to for you and this wonderful baby girl! Sending you lots of hugs!!
lasophia said…
I had headaches as well and gray hair, but I've had that since I was 18. Guess what? I'm on Medi-cal too! For the indigestion and all that bad tummy stuff, I've added a fiber powder to my diet. I drink it with orange juice. I also limit my meat and cheese intake. I'm having my baby at the hospital, as much as I consider it a natural process. This is my first, and I was born at the hospital so I'm going to give it a whirl.
ZombieLace said…
Isn't it great we live in such a privileged part of the world that women can really choose any birth practice that suits them? I think Marshall sounds like a wonderful choice and I am sure your little one will be healthy and cared for by the staff there ;)
marygood said…
first of all, i am absolutely swept away by your mama's maternity dress...what a blessing to wear it yourself, and how it must wrap you in the magic of matrilineal strenght. plus, your whole outfit is pretty much mindblowing.

secondly...will you be able to have a doula or anyone to advocate for you in the hospital? i'm betting you do, but i mention it just in case...she would hold your birth plan and help you (and the doctors) stick to it in the thick of things. i'm so glad you have a good hospital there, and what seems most important is that you feel confident and excited about where you will be. that's all that matters.

SO sorry to hear about the headaches...those can really take you down. any suggestions sound weak in the face of a migraine...but i wonder if flushing your sinuses with a netty pot would help? also, peppermint oil on your temples can help too. hang in there, i hope you find relief and at least find grace when no relief is available!

aaaaannnd...papaya enzymes! for indigestion! seriously, i had the worst heartburn on the planet when i was pregnant, and papaya enzymes saved me.

you are the epitome of pregnant beauty. much love to you heather!!
Violet Folklore said…
Your hair is truly insanely gorgeous Heather. I always had this desire to have super long hair when I was pregnant, and I did! And I loved it!

You totally fulfill the Farm ideal of a gorgeous mama. (Do you know Ben Goodman? He was born there! I love it). I used to drool over that book too; I think it tends to put a lot of ideals in the minds of us women who vibe with it :-)

I'm so glad your hospital and doctor are so rad. Birth is so amazing! This is the one article I recommend all expecting parents read (I don't remember if I've already sent it to you or not...) http://mothering.com/pregnancy-birth/ecstatic-birth-the-hormonal-blueprint-of-labor

Much love sistermama!
Missa said…
That's awesome that you guys have a financially covered hospital/doctor situation that you're comfortable with and that feels positive.

I started off with an obgyn that was covered through my insurance at the time. After doing a tour of the maternity ward of the hospital where I would have had to give birth, we decided to switch over to the Birth Center even though it wasn't going to be covered. The hospital was an old dark building with not a positive vibe to it at all, not to mention the posibility that I could end up sharing a labor room! No thanks.

The night I gave birth, our midwife arrived from having been at that same hospital and told us that there were 12 women in labor! I was so relieved to be where I was.
Melissa said…
Raw almonds really helped with my I digestion durning pregnancy. Some people soak them first, but I didnt find that neccessary.

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