|With Erin, who made this awesome cake for my shower!|
|The inspiration for the cake.|
|Love that cute little monkey!|
|Everyone enjoying some yummy chips and salsa.|
|A fun photo album.|
|The "Newborn Rock N' Play Sleeper"|
|Fun baby books.|
|Cute reusable bag!|
|Chatting with my collauges.|
|They sure know how to make me smile!|
|Yummy gluten-free, vegan cake!|
Now onto more pregnancy details, I'm now into my 35th week of pregnancy and after the baby shower the other night I feel quite an urge to get everything all in place and ready for Avery to be born. Usually this is called "nesting" but I've about "nested" the heck out of my house and Avery's room (since I've had a total of 10 snow days since January!) and so now I'm just "preparing". Since I'm planning on having a home water birth there are several supplies that I need to buy and have ready (I will post about these soon) and so I've been shopping and crossing them off my list one by one. Also, since my belly continues to grow bigger and stick out further as you can see in these belly pics, my mom and I made a stop at Target last week for some new t-shirts and tanks (my favorite things to wear).
|A view from above!|
During this midwife appointment I also got my results back from some lab work I had done during week 34, and all of it turned out great! I had my blood and Rh type checked and it turns out I'm A+, so there is no need to check Brandon's blood type, or receive the Rhogam shot. Also, I had a GBS test (for group B streptococcus) and it was negative...which is a good thing, so I won't have to worry about passing any type of bacteria to Avery when she's born, or starting a round of antibiotics before she's born (the common treatment for testing positive to GBS). On top of this I had a few other general blood tests done, and they all came out fine, which I love hearing because it's proof that my gluten-free, vegan diet is giving me all the nutrients needed not only for me to be healthy, but for Avery to be healthy as well. Yeah, go vegan!
Another thing to update you on is our HypnoBirth practice. I say practice because our classes are now complete. I introduced you to HypnoBirthing in this post as well as recapped the first and second classes. But since then we've had 3 more classes. During class #3 we watched a number of birth videos and went through "Birth Preference Sheets" which is like designing your birth plan, and deciding what you want to have happen or not happen. Granted some of the things didn't apply to me since I'm having a home birth and I will already get to choose many aspects of my birth environment (like lights, sounds, food, and the people in the room), but it was still helpful to go through the list of preferences and see what options are out there. If you're a pregnant momma, here is a link to a website that lists a variety of birth preferences you could use to get to thinking about how you want your birth to look like.
During class session number 4, we talked about what it would be like leading up to labor and what to do when you notice the signs of labor starting. An important thing we reviewed was how we do not need to panic once our water breaks. Movies and TV shows have often "over dramatize" when a woman's water breaks and how she immediately has to rush to the hospital because the baby could be born any minute. Granted there could be rare cases I suppose where that could happen, but most of the time moms have plenty of time before the baby will be born so use this time to relax, take it easy, and enjoy knowing that you will be meeting your baby soon!
During class session number 5, we talked more about the actual "delivery portion" of birth as well as what happens after the birth, and some tips on breastfeeding. A fun aspect about this last class was that we got to hear from a couple who had just had a baby the month prior that used the HypnoBirthing techniques. I could really relate to them because she was a first-time mom and they had a home birth too. She described how one of the main tools she utilized from the classes was the importance of breathing, not necessarily "counting-breathing," but just breathing and letting yourself go into deeper relaxation. By hearing from this couple, the HypnoBirthing practice seemed so much more attainable and possible for us, just because it was no longer ideas and recommendations written in a book, it was something real that other people, just like us, had used and had success with.
Now that our classes are over, I continue my HypnoBirthing practice by doing the following things:
-Listening to the Affirmation track (which is found on the Rainbow Relaxation CD) once a day when I get ready in the morning. In the beginning this seemed corny and hokey, but now I love it and find myself saying the affirmations to myself throughout the day...like, "Heck yes, I'm going to have a calm, natural, easy birth!" Okay so that's not one of the affirmations used on the track, but I made it up and I like it, so I'm sticking with it!
-Relaxing for 25 minutes daily (usually right after I get home from work) and listening to the Gentle Surge music only track. When I first started practicing HypnoBirthing, I would listen to the Rainbow Relaxation track daily for my relaxation, but in class my instructor often used the Gentle Surge music track for our guided relaxations and since discovering it there I became hooked on it! The music is repetitive, unique, and flowing (I searched and searched the Internet to try and find a clip for you with no luck...wish you could hear it!) and I find that I go deeper into relaxation with it than I ever did with the Rainbow Relaxation track. So basically this is my go-to track for relaxation and I definitely plan on using it while I'm in labor.
|During my "Relaxation|
So here I am to the left in relaxation mode in my bed. Usually I have a blanket over me, but I thought I'd show you just how many pillows it takes to for me to get comfy while I sleep...and the grand total: 5! Luckily we have several small throw pillows that I have been able to use to support my growing belly while I sleep. Usually I put one between my legs, one under my belly, one for me to kind of hold onto, and one behind my back. Kind of funny-huh?! I have to have my eye mask and iPod as well! Anyone else remember using lots of pillows during their pregnancy?
During this time I also practice the breathing techniques I will call upon during labor, such as: sleep breathing (4 counts in, 8 counts out) and Surge Breathing (10 counts in and working to really expand my abdomen while inhaling, and 10 counts out to exhale). I find that focusing on my breathing helps quiet my busy and multitasking mind and as a result my body goes deeper into relaxation. Somedays I instantly fall asleep, and other days I feel restless and unable to relax, but either way, I feel good knowing that I'm putting in my time and conditioning my body and mind to relax, whether it's in the mood to or not, because I know it will be immensely helpful during my labor.
|Flameless candles I love!|
-Once a week I've been also trying to do my relaxation practice in my bathtub (I'm usually a shower girl!) this way I can get used to being in the water and relaxing there, since I plan to have a water birth. When doing this I turn off the lights, turn on some candles (I like flameless candles) and get my HypnoBirthing Affirmation track going. Ahhhh.....the water feels so good, now if only I had a bigger bathtub that more comfortably fit my growing belly!
Overall I feel like the classes really helped educate Brandon and I on what to expect during labor, birth, and afterwards...most of which we were kind of clueless about beforehand. Also, it helped teach me the importance of relaxing during birth and how by relaxing (and breathing) I can decrease tension, and thus reduce the pain typically associated with birth.
|Light touch on my arm from my hubby.|
I think the classes were also helpful for Brandon because he now knows some ways he can help me achieve the birth we both want for Avery. In fact, we tried out a few strategies in class of how he, as the birth companion, can help me during labor, such as by: reading scripts, saying positive affirmations, or performing a light touch massage on me. The one we both enjoyed the most and that seemed the least awkward, was for Brandon to lightly touch my arm, leg, back or stomach in a repetitive type movement...back and forth or in circles usually (as you can kind of see from the pic to the right). Something about that really seems to bring me deeper into my relaxation, when used in combination with the Affirmation or Gentle Surge tracks. So it will be interesting if I call upon that strategy during Avery's birth or if I want something totally different. Either way, I feel so much more confident in my body, and my ability to give birth to my baby girl naturally after taking this course, so I am truly thankful that we decided to do it. I highly recommend the classes to anyone considering using HypnoBirthing during their baby's birth.
Well, all this talk of HypnoBirthing and relaxing is making me sleepy, so my little cantaloupe and I (her size this week) are off to get in our "relaxation session" for the day! Lately, I've been trying to find relaxation positions that allow me to keep my hands on my belly during my relaxation because it's fun to feel her moving all around as I lay there quietly and motionless...and she's usually the exact opposite! It's like it's our time to connect...I just love it. Anyone else ever use HypnoBirthing in preparation for childbirth? If so, feel free to post below if it was helpful for you or how you practiced the techniques before labor.