Decisions, Decisions

Good news! My blood pressure has come way down and I am off bed rest. What a huge relief! Two and a half days was more than enough to make me realize that I need to do everything in my power to prevent the doctor from putting me on any more bed rest. I really need to stay active for the duration of this pregnancy, as much for my mental and emotional health as for the physical benefits. While I don’t do a ton of traditional exercise, I am very active; I walk a lot at the airport, I mow and garden about once a week for a couple hours, and I do the majority of the regular household upkeep. I’d love to take more walks through our neighborhood but with the heat and humidity, plus my propensity for swelling, we’ve put that on the back burner at least until I am done flying.

Now that we’re down to just eight weeks before my due date (!!!!) we’re beginning to get into crunch time for some decisions about what we want out of the birth experience and immediately afterward. Here are a couple things we know for sure:

We want it to be just Zack and I (and any necessary medical personnel) in the room for the actual birth.

We’d like at least an hour or two to ourselves immediately following the birth, with both of us having skin-to-skin time with the baby for optimal bonding. Luckily our parents all seem to understand this, which I was nervous about. Everyone’s excited to meet her!

I’d like to go as long as possible without pain medication, but I don’t have a problem getting an epidural if I feel like the pain is too intense or if labor is so long that my doctor thinks I would benefit from getting one in order for me to be able to rest and recoup some energy for pushing.

I don’t want an IV port put in unless I am receiving something intravenously. It’s routine for them to insert a port when you check in even if you don’t immediately need any IV medications or fluids. The idea is that if there’s an emergency they have an easy access point in place. However, I have a huge amount of anxiety about needles, particularly if they stay in the vein (like having your blood drawn as opposed to getting a shot) and I can’t imagine it would be easy for me to forget about that. People have told me I’ll be so wrapped up in labor pains that I won’t notice the needle, but my thought is why add to my anxiety during an already stressful time if it’s not completely necessary? I still need to talk with my doctor about this but ultimately I have the right to refuse the IV port…it IS my body, after all. If there’s an emergency I imagine at that point I will be less worried about my phobia and more concerned with whatever’s wrong.

If everything goes well and we have a normal vaginal delivery Zack would like to “catch” the baby as she is born. We both like the idea of him being the first to touch her on the outside of the womb. Our doctor is on board with this as long as everything about the delivery is text book.

There are some things we have yet to make a firm decision about, but are considering:

Placenta encapsulation: To eat or not to eat? While there are no official studies on the benefits of a mother ingesting her placenta after birth, it is a Traditional Chinese Medicine practice dating back thousands of years. Many women today swear by the benefits and since there are no risks if the placenta is prepared correctly, why not? The potential benefits include staving off post-partum depression, stopping or slowing after-birth bleeding, increasing milk supply, and supplying mom with a whole bunch of vitamins and nutrients lost during labor and delivery. Plus the gross factor is helped considerably by the fact that you’re swallowing the placenta in pill form after it’s been dehydrated and crushed to fit into the capsules – no raw consumption for this lady. At this point our biggest obstacle is going to be cost (it’s around $250 to have someone come to your house and do the encapsulation). There are lots of places on the Internet that could show us how to do the encapsulation ourselves but I’ll admit to being skeeved out by that and, if I’m honest, I probably wouldn’t get it done if I try to do it myself. I imagine we’ll be pretty preoccupied in those first couple of days! We also need to investigate whether our hospital will allow us to take home my placenta, since it is considered biological waste.

We have to find a pediatrician. Which I keep forgetting about and then panicking when I remember but I’m always somewhere dumb like in the car or on an airplane or at a party and I can’t do anything about the fact that I remembered again. And then I forget. Again. You see how this is a problem.

We’d really like to donate our baby’s cord blood. Banking is just too expensive for us and after doing some research and talking to our doctor about it, we learned that even if this kid ends up with an illness where she could potentially benefit from a cord blood infusion, it’s unlikely she’d be able to use her own anyway. My doctor even went so far as to say that she thinks it’s preying on parents’ emotions and desire to do what’s best for their child to have the constant influx of BANK YOUR BABY’S CORD BLOOD (!!!!!) commercials and literature thrown at them. Every time I shop at Motherhood Maternity I get (ANOTHER) brochure for cord blood banking and I’ve received numerous emails from babycenter.com about it – and that’s not even counting all the other places I see the ads. Anyway, we learned that while banking is costly and not likely to be very useful long-term, you can donate your baby’s cord blood for free and it will go to some other person who can benefit from its use. We figured that, karmically speaking, that was a really good idea. However, it seems that Red Cross doesn’t do cord blood pick ups/donations at our hospital anymore, which brings me to my next point…

When to cut the umbilical cord? There’s a lot of controversy surrounding this topic but to me it makes sense to wait until the cord stops pulsing to cut it (this wouldn’t be possible if we were going to donate her cord blood, since they would need to clamp the cord immediately to collect the blood). By waiting at least the baby will receive as much of the oxygen-rich stuff as possible, which can help prevent anemia and continues to provide some nutrients to her after a pretty big physical trauma! Plus another positive is that by waiting and not clamping/cutting the cord right away it can help slow my blood loss. Wins all around!

Clearly we still have lots to do in preparation for this kid! I can’t believe we are down to the last two months before she’ll be a real live person on the outside. I guess I better focus on accomplishing another task that I’ve already got pretty planned out: finishing the nursery!

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One thought on “Decisions, Decisions

  1. Sue says:

    I have just one thing to say….YUCK.
    That’s all.

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