Friday, 27 January 2012

Home Birth and Home Birth After Cesarean (HBAC)

Ok ok, I've put it off long enough.  I have been avoiding doing this post because I haven't been in the mood to sit and think and write.  But really, I don't think have to think about much for this post if I don't want to.  All I really wanted to do was link up a bunch of information I've come across in my research about home birth and HBAC so that if anyone is so inclined they can have a peek.  That's easy enough to do!!

I guess a little blurb on what home birth means for me is in order though.  The first time home birth may have come up between my husband and I as on option for birth, it was not something we would have considered.  I think I may have read a little about it during my first pregnancy, but did not think I would ever be comfortable with it.  This is probably something that is really common for most first time parents to think.  Childbirth and becoming parents can seem like such an overwhelming experience the first time around.  It's uncharted territory. 

When I was pregnant with our second son, while I did know more about birth and had more confidence in the process, I still would not have considered a home birth, mainly because I was having a VBAC and also it was not given to me as an option by my midwives.  I'm sure I could have pressed for it had it been something I really wanted, but given my births were going to be only 20mos apart, it was not recommended and I was fine with that.  Plus, since I hadn't laboured or given birth naturally with my first, the birth process was still very unknown to me, even though I had taken the time to educate myself a lot more than I had with my previous birth.

My husband likes to remind me of the fact that we had previously decided that home birth was not for us.  I am not so quick to go back to my ways of old thinking.  I know a lot more now, I have been through a lot more.  I would like to consider a home birth this time around.  He on the other hand is not so keen.  Let's just say we have had two arguments about it thus far (months ago already) and have not spoken a word on the topic since.  It is still early, and I have no desire to bring it up again this early in the game.  But trust I am not laying down and giving up on this one.

For me:  I have experienced childbirth in two different ways now, both in hospital settings and both positive experiences.  I have spent the last several years reading and learning about the birth process, and have come to have confidence in this process and in my body.  While I did have a positive hospital birth with my VBAC, in my heart I just want to be at home.  I know it is safe, I know it is where I want to have my child.

For him:  He has not read anything on the safety of home birth (or anything on birth for that matter), and is still following the ignorant point of view that it is best to be in the hospital.  He cannot shake that fear that something could go wrong where we would need instant access to care.  He feels I am putting myself and my baby at risk and am being selfish for wanting to do this.

Well, how much detail do I need to go into here really?  I have been secretly compiling information on home birth (as well as HBAC) for him to read, because the bottom line is he has not read anything and does not have significant information to back up his side of the argument.  Right now what I think would be fair is if this discussion is only brought back to the table once he has read the same amount of material as I have, for only then will he be allowed to have a say in this choice.  He is free to try and dig up as much anti-home birth information as he can find, but I think he will see that what I have researched is accurate and much more compelling. 

The stats and the research is there:  Planned home birth under expert midwife care is just as safe and maybe even safer than hospital birth.

My case was not helped by our first meeting with the midwife, who in her inexperience did not seem nearly as comfortable with an HBAC as I would like.  I made the mistake of having my husband at this appointment, and let's just say he was rather shaken by her lack of confidence in the matter.  This of course was very disappointing to me, because I know a more experienced midwife would have had a calmer manner and more accurate information and experience to share with us.

There are other factors as well that are making it hard for me to really express why this is so important to me.  Most of the time when asked why a woman wants a home birth, her response is so that she can avoid medical intervention.  In my VBAC hospital experience, we arrived and had no issues with doctors or medical staff trying to intervene.  It all went really well.  So my husband might argue that there is nothing to try and avoid, we can have the same birth at the hospital that we could have had at home.  On the other hand, we would be giving birth in an entirely different hospital this time around, so there is no guarantees that I wouldn't still fall prey to a cascade of intervention.  I will admit though, that this is not a concern of mine.  Already having had one fully natural VBAC, I would be confident enough to say that interference from the medical staff or unwanted suggestions of intervention is not one of my concerns.

Our midwife did make a very interesting point though and that is the hospital in this town (unlike the hospitals in the city where we had our other children) is only a class 3 hospital (or was it class 1? I can't remember the order they go in), meaning that obstetricians and anaesthesiologists are not always on the premises, rather they are on call.  So the time it would take to assemble the team in the event of an emergency would be about the same whether I was at home or in the hospital.  Of course my husband's argument to this would be that nevertheless, there would still be staff on hand to get the ball rolling, if let's say I needed blood asap or something along those lines.  I think what he fails to realize is that midwives are professionals equipped to deal with all sorts of emergencies, including hemorrhages, and they carry all the necessary equipment and medications in such an event.  He also fails to realize that incidents of maternal hemorrhaging are actually higher in hospital settings.  All information I plan on relaying to him, in good time.

And of course, there is the little factor of HBAC that I have to contend with.  Perhaps persuading him to go for a home birth would be easier if it weren't for that one little thing - having had a previous cesarean section does put me at a higher risk for complications.  This risk is really so minimal though, and I have information on the safety of VBAC to back it up as well.  Not to mention the fact that I have already had one VBAC already, which significantly increases my chances of another successful one. 

But putting all this information together to support my case is not as easy as it sounds.  I KNOW all this in my head already, I have read it, researched it, and fully believe it.  Getting it across to him is not so easy, as I don't have much of a way with words (or arguments) and really I just come off as a blubbering mess whenever the topic has been brought up.  Which is why it is important he reads it for himself.  Unfortunately he doesn't want to be an active participant in the pregnancy or birth planning process, which makes it hard (and also wants to make me say "Hey, if you don't care to be involved, you have NO say in this matter and I'm giving birth where I want to!").  He is not interested in reading any information or doing his own homework.  It is all up to me.  But don't worry, I have lots for him to read, I'm just waiting for the timing to be right.

We will be attending a home birth information session at the midwives practice in April.  The baby is due in July so there is still time to read and discuss further this matter.

So WHY do I want to give birth at home?  Well, my last birth happened so smoothly, that I look back and think, "Why didn't I just stay home?".  I mean, I could have.  I spent almost my entire labour by myself at home, and not even the slightest bit uncomfortable.  Why would I want to move on to a setting that might change the outcome?  Even while my hospital birth was a positive one, I still can't help but feel I'd be better off at home.  I remember when I got to the hospital, at 9cm and almost ready to push, there was just this feeling of being 'there', and wanting to get on with it.  All I could think was, "Get me on that bed and let me push this baby out".  It's like my mind switched over, and I just stayed there.  I pushed and gave birth on my back, resulting in horrible tearing.  It's almost like from the moment I got there, I gave up my 'natural birth' and succumbed to the 'get on your back and push' mentality.  I feel as though staying at home will help keep me focused, and help me want to stay upright and stay moving, and birth this baby without having to be cut or tear really badly. 

I would also like to consider the possibility of a water birth, something that is not an option in a hospital setting.  Again, maybe the feeling of the water will help me avoid giving in and giving up during that last gruelling stage, so that I can have a less traumatic and more peaceful birth.

And really, who wouldn't want to be in the comfort of their own home?  To avoid having to pack a bag that is usually overpacked because you didn't know what you'd need.  To not have to sit in a car while in the throes of labour, in pain as you go over every bump in the road.  To avoid arriving at the hospital, moaning in pain, and being wheeled to L&D while people watch.  To not have to check out and go home again.  To be able to get up and go take a shower in your own bath tub, and sleep in your own bed.  It's really too appealing to pass up.

He'll ask me "But what if something goes wrong, how could you live with yourself?".  Well, first of all you have to inform yourself and weigh the risks.  Birth is not without risk, where ever you are.  Heck, life is not without risk.  And if you do your homework, you will know the risks are there, but they're small, and the midwives are equipped to handle almost anything that could happen.  Of course I can't say that I'm 100% sure nothing would go wrong, but I am sure enough.

So as promised, before I go on any further with my own dribble, some information I dug up pertaining to home birth and VBAC/HBAC (I've included info that is strictly VBAC because it helps when deciding whether or not to go for HBAC).  This is essentially the same list of links I have saved to send my husband, when I am ready to bring it up again.  (I have more links to news articles about the studies on VBAC safety but have omitted them since I have included the link to the very study that all info in the articles refers too).

Midwifery Today - Home Birth After Cesarean
CMAJ Research on the Safety of Home Birth ***well documented and acknowledged Canadian study on the safety of home birth with midwives vs hospital birth with midwives vs hospital birth with doctors that provides accurate numbers supporting the safety of home birth***note: if you read the whole thing, it does state that once the VBAC subgroup was removed the outcomes were not significantly different
I'm sure this is just the tip of the ice berg.  I'm sure I could find even more compelling information to support home birth.  And I'm also sure than someone who is anti-home birth could find equally as much information supporting the dangers of home birth.  Such is how these things usually are.  Another fantastic resource that I have mentioned, and I will mention it time and time again, is Ina May's Guide to Childbirth.  Her statistics are undeniable proof that home birth under the proper care is safer than hospital birth.  And I would also recommend the documentary, The Business of Being Born (which I was able to get hubby to watch with me, so I'm hoping that has opened his eyes somewhat).

Now, as it is time to get the kiddos up from naps, that will be all from me today (didn't I think this was going to be a quickie just to post some links?).  Maybe someone else might find the information I've dug up helpful as well.

Monday, 23 January 2012

A Birth Story to Share

I'm certain that every woman who has given birth will no doubt agree that it is an experience like no other, no matter how it happens.  There are many words a woman may use to describe giving birth - powerful, spiritual, life-changing, amazing, terrifying, the list could go on.  For all women, there is no denying the feelings they have surrounding their birthing experiences, but many of us don't know how to put it into words.  Some women have a gift with words and can share what we all feel so beautifully.  I'd like to share a birth story with you that I read today that was powerful, moving, inspiring, and close to my heart as it was a VBAC.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did!

Hello Judah - A Birth Story by Adriel Booker from The Mommyhood Memos

Monday, 16 January 2012

Support Midwifery!

I had a little bit of a 'crazy lady' moment as I was certain I had already posted here about my support for midwives and their cause to bring birth centres to Ontario, but I looked and couldn't find that post.  Turns out I had posted it on my other blog, Life on the Bay.  No worries, because I am back to post about it again and show my support!

I have posted before about how with my first pregnancy I started out with OB care but soon wised up and switched to midwifery care at 29wks, and have never looked back since.  NOT that I don't believe obstetricians aren't important, in fact in many cases they are absolutely necessary, but for my uncomplicated pregnancies and births, using midwives was the better choice for better care.  Even during my planned cesarean with my first son, our midwife was present to take care of the baby after he was born, and midwives attended to our postpartum care.  I have had nothing but positive experiences with our midwives so far (from 3 different practices in Ontario) and consider them an invaluable resource which is too often taken for granted.

Obstetricians are experts in complicated birth situations, but the midwives are the experts in birth.  Choosing a midwife for your uncomplicated pregnancy and birth means you are making the best possible choice in prenatal and post partum care, for you and your baby.

In many parts of the world, especially in Europe, midwives take care of most of the births that happen in those countries.  In fact it is quite the opposite of how it is here in Canada.  Here when you are pregnant, you get referred to a doctor and have to seek out midwifery care.  In many other countries outside of North America, you start with a midwife and are only referred to a doctor if the need arises.  Countries who use midwives for all uncomplicated births often show lower statistics for medical interventions, surgical births, and even maternal and baby deaths.

Midwifery in Ontario is growing and gaining support.  From a sheet I received from my current midwives, produced by the College of Midwives of Ontario, "The number of births attended by midwives in Ontario has been increasing each year since regulation.  Last year approximately 10% of all births in the province were attended by midwives.  Approximately 20% of midwife attended births take place at home."  As you can see midwifery in this province is gaining momentum, and good thing too!  You can check out their website linked above and on the side of my blog for more information.

I feel so fortunate to live in a province where midwifery is funded, supported, and easily accessible, and where women are given choices in how they would like to birth.  Many woman in other parts of the world do not have easy access to midwives and often have to pay and fight for a normal birth or else be under the mercy of harsh hospital and doctor policies, and heavily overused medical intervention.

Ontario Midwives are currently working to try and bring birth centres to Ontario.  I think this would be an absolutely amazing thing if it were to happen.  I would no doubt choose to give birth in a birth centre if it were an option.  To help bring awareness for the need for birth centres in Ontario, the midwives have made this lovely video which you can view here.  To create this video they asked women who have given birth in Ontario to submit pictures of them during pregnancy, and/or pictures of them with their midwives.  I was happy to participate and sent in two photos.  You can see a photo of me during my second pregnancy at 17 seconds into the video, and one of me and our wonderful midwife Marlene Sagada from Riverdale Midwives in Toronto, the same day I gave birth to our second son at 1 minute and 10 seconds in.

Read more about how you can help support midwives and bring birth centres to Ontario here.

I doubt I will ever get the chance to give birth in a birth centre unless there will be one built before July!  But I hope that more women in the future will choose midwives for their care, and will have the opportunity to birth in a birth centre here in Ontario.

More compelling information about how mothers in any country can benefit from a midwifery model of care can be found in Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, which I have already mentioned before.  If you are interested in learning more about how midwives are good for birth, please read that book, and if you'd like to learn more about midwifery care in Ontario and how you can support it, please check out any of the links I've posted above.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

I want to see my baby!

So I have passed the first trimester, and moving into the 'honeymoon' stage of this pregnancy.  I feel great, I'm starting to get a little baby bump so it won't be long now until I actually look pregnant and not just fat.  Now I am telling everyone openly and it's so nice to just announce to people in conversations and talk about the pregnancy and how excited we are.

And now, I just can't wait to meet my baby!  It's so hard to be patient.  The other day I took went to a prenatal fitness class which was actually a postnatal class but the schedule was mixed up (I was able to stay and participate anyway), and there were two other moms there with their little babies.  Seeing them made me want to see mine even more. 

The baby stage with my second child was such a blur, and due to the circumstances was not particularly enjoyable.  I found it hard to enjoy him as a baby, and of course I'm really sad for that now.  I wish things had been a bit better and I could have enjoyed him more.  I feel like those days flew past so quickly and I hardly remember him as a tiny baby.  I am so looking forward to doing it all again, even the hard parts.

I'm still feeling great, and even better now that we have started back into our routine and I've been back to exercising again.  I'm getting a bit of a belly, and while sometimes I think I am huge in reality I haven't really gained any weight, and I'm not that big at all considering this is my third baby.  I can still fit into my regular jeans, though I prefer to wear my maternity ones simply because they are so comfortable!  I need to start taking pictures of my belly as the weeks go by.  With our first pregnancy we were pretty good at taking pictures every week or two from the second trimester onwards.  We didn't take as many with the last pregnancy, and we'll probably forget most of the time with this one but I hope we manage to catch a couple!

A few weeks ago I finally stopped breastfeeding my younger son, just before he turned 20mos.  I'm thrilled that I was able to breastfeed him as long as we did.  I didn't have any specific time frame for how long I was going to breastfeed him, and wasn't sure if it was something I would let him decide or whether or not I would start the weaning process.  With my first son I found that by the time I was 2mos pregnant I really didn't have much milk to offer, so we stopped and he was fine.  It was similar this time around, where I didn't have much milk left, but this time my son was reluctant to stop as he did seem to enjoy it more than my first did.  I had mixed feelings about it.  While I still loved the cuddle time I had with him in the evenings before bed when I breastfed him, I was getting very tired and breastfeeding was getting more uncomfortable as there was nothing there.   I also knew that I didn't want to continue for the whole pregnancy or do tandem nursing as I wanted a bit of a break between babies.  So after the holidays I initiated the wean, and while initially he was taken a bit aback, it went very smoothly without issue.  We still have our cuddle time with a story, and I think he enjoys that just as much.  I look forward to another successful breastfeeding career with this next baby, but I'm also looking forward to giving myself a little break for a few months.  Afterall, I have been either pregnant and/or breastfeeding for 4yrs now so I have to pace myself!

While I find I am feeling good overall, I have been having persistent headaches for about 2wks now which are driving me nuts.  I've never had such a long run of headaches and I figure they are probably pregnancy related.  I have been drinking lots of water and trying to take care of myself, and yet I am still getting them.  I really hope they let up soon.

I'm also not sleeping all that well.  It's not too bad, but I am waking several times a night which is getting annoying.  Most of the time it is to go to the bathroom, but often there are other reasons (like a headache or sore back), or sometimes there is no reason at all and I just wake up.  I'm also having very strange and vivid dreams which also disrupt my sleep.  Luckily though I'm still getting enough sleep overall, as annoying as it is, so I am feeling energetic throughout the day.

Pregnancy hormones are rampant and I find myself likely to tear up at silly little things, especially if they are either sad or heartwarming.  I tend to watch a lot of TLC baby shows like A Baby Story, and while a lot of the labour practices actually make me upset to watch, I also find the heartwarming aspects of the show make me all emotional.  I almost just bawled my eyes out at an episode where a couple was having twins using the mother's sister as as surrogate, as she herself had battled breast cancer and was unable to carry children at that time.  Because of how easily I get teary, I try to avoid reading or watching any sad stories, or else I would be crying my eyes out all the time.

So that is how things are going so far.  I know I have promised a homebirth post, and I have not forgotten, I have just been avoiding having to sit and put more thought into it.  It will be here soon I'm sure.  Right now I'm just enjoying being pregnant and trying not to wish it away, as much as I want to meet my little baby now!

Friday, 6 January 2012

This Pregnancy

I was debating whether or not to write about my pregnancy on this blog or on my Life on the Bay blog.  Either would have worked but I figured this would be the better place since the whole blog is focused on pregnancy and childbirth anyway.  So maybe it's going to become more of a journal for this pregnancy, but I think that's fine too. 

Last night I was reading some of the posts I had about my previous pregnancies and birth.  Reliving them never gets old for me.  As time goes by I often wonder how much I will remember, so it's good that I've written some of it down somewhere.  My memory is not that good, and while I'm sure some women remember the times they gave birth as clear as day, I am not one of those women.  I remember many of the details, but there is often a lot of fog and I find it hard to put myself back in that place.  Writing it down allows me go back and experience it all again, at least as much as I can based on what I've remembered to write!

I kept a pregnancy journal with my first pregnancy, and when I re-read it several months back I was shocked at all the little things that I had not remembered about it, that had been glossed over.  It was quite interesting and was what prompted me to start writing again.  I didn't keep any type of journal with my second pregnancy unfortunately, though I did write a lot on message boards online so actually I think if I ever wanted I could go back and find a lot of the day to day stuff somewhere.  This time around I hope I can record more of it as it happens.

This was very much a planned and wanted pregnancy.  I always knew I wanted another child, and while my husband was not always sold on the idea, I think he always knew as well that we would have one.  The question as to when got tossed around quite a bit over the past year, usually with me making some comments about it being soon and him saying he didn't want to consider it until our youngest was a bit older.  But once things started to settle and we were feeling more comfortable in our life, it started to look like sooner rather than later was going to happen.  To me, I just wanted to have the baby next year to keep even spacing between the 3.  I know they say you shouldn't put to much emphasis or thought on the age gap between your children, as it happens when it happens, but I really did want another fairly close age gap.  I also wanted to keep up the momentum while the baby stage was still in our minds, without getting too far away from it and then having to go back.  I have to admit that there was a part of me that wondering why we would want to go through it again.  I always found that things became so much more grounded and easier after my kids were over a year, and the thought of going back to square one again was quite scary.  But I also knew that no matter how much I tried to reason with myself, I would never ever get over the feelings of wanting to have another and do it all again, and grow our family.  So for me it was a no brainer, I was just waiting for the hubby to come around.

Which he did, and so quickly that it caught me by surprise.  In just a few short months he went from "I will consider another one in a few years" to "Maybe I'll be ready to start next year" to "I'm ready now"! 

Our first pregnancy was planned so I was not a stranger to the whole trying to conceive game, though this time I did feel more knowledgeable on the subject.  I felt more anxious this time.  I'm not sure why, because it's not like I wanted it any more than I did the first time we started trying, but the thought of going through month after month unsuccessfully and seeing all those negative tests made me feel awful.  I was just hoping things went smoothly.  Because our second pregnancy was a surprise I got to bypass all the stress that time around, which really was a blessing in disguise.

Lucky for me we got pregnant this time on the first try!

When I was waiting for the time to come to take a test, I do remember feeling very anxious and afraid of not being pregnant that month.  I didn't enjoy the waiting time.  My cycles were luckily very regular so that made it fairly easy for me to know when the right times to conceive were, but still in this game there are no guarantees.  Several days before my period was due, about 5, I had a few symptoms which could have either meant I was pregnant, or that my period was on it's way.  The suspense was killing me.  I know that many sensitive pregnancy tests claim they can detect pregnancy 5 days before your expected period, and I also knew that it wasn't necessarily wise to test that early because it could be negative even if I was pregnant.  I was so certain I was going to hold out as long as possible.  I was also telling myself that this time I would tell my husband before I tested so that he could wait with me for the results, instead of doing it on my own and then telling him after.

Well of course my impatience got the better of me.  I bought the test on the Tuesday before my period was due (on the Saturday) with the intention of waiting a few more days.  But when I got up early on Wednesday morning I felt compelled to take it, so I did.  There is nothing quite like waiting for the results of a HPT.  Your heart wants it to be + but your head is telling you it is likely -.

When the double line appeared, all that kept running through my head over and over was, "A line is a line!  A line is a line!  A line is a line!".  It was faint, but it was a line!

That was on Wednesday, October 26th.  I didn't tell the hubby right away.  Instead I went and bought two more tests.  Now I can't remember if it was the Thursday or the Friday that I took another, but when I did I waited for him to come home and then had my oldest son give him the test.  I expected more of a surprised response, but he wasn't surprised at all.  Rather, he said "I KNEW we'd get pregnant right away!"

After my period was confirmed late, I took the other test to make sure.  I really hate those early days and weeks, where there is just no way of knowing things are moving along.  Especially for me, because I didn't get sick or even that tired, I was always feeling uneasy about whether or not I was actually pregnant.  I am not a fan of the first trimester, it's just a whole lot of waiting and worry!  However, I can't complain because I did feel fine, and not just fine I felt great.  Life went on as normal and that horrid pregnancy fatigue that normally slows a woman down in the first trimester never hit.  I was tired at times, but actually no more than any tired mom of two.  I managed to keep up with all my daily activities without issue.  I would be quite tired by the end of the day and would go to bed early, but getting through the day was not a chore.  I remember with my second pregnancy feeling so tired that I couldn't move from the couch.  None of that this time around!

Some things I did experience during my first trimester were mostly sleep disruptions.  I was having to get up what seemed like a million times to pee at night (it was anywhere between 2-5 times), and I just was not sleeping well, tossing and turning all night long.  I remember experiencing that with my second pregnancy as well.  After a few weeks though these things did subside, and while I have always had to get up to use the bathroom at least once, I have at least been sleeping much better for the most part.

At 10wks we had our first midwife appointment at the Midwives Nottawasaga.  My husband came with me (though I think he would have been just as happy to not be there and in all honestly I kind of wish he wasn't either), and we met with our first midwife named Natalie.  I had midwives from two different practices for my other pregnancies, but these would be totally new ones for us.  I learned that they work on teams of 3, and that our care would be shared by the 3 and one of them would attend the birth. 

That first appointment did go well as we covered all my past history and whatnot.  At 10wks Natalie could not yet pick up the heartbeat, but I did know that was likely to happen though I was kind of hoping we'd be able to hear it.  I think though it was a bit of a disappointing appointment simply because of my husband being there and us having different views and opinions on how we want this birth to go.  I had many questions about homebirth for the midwife, and my husband is not supportive of homebirth.  Unfortunately while Natalie is obviously very supportive of homebirth, I think her inexperience was apparent and she didn't come off as very confident, which completely put the hubby off.  This birth will be my second VBAC, and I have done enough researching to know that it is very safe and my chances of being successful again are very high.  My husband is not comfortable with the idea of a homebirth to begin with, but the added VBAC factor made him completely against it.

Needless to say we have not yet seen eye to eye on this issue and have yet to discuss it further.  However it is not something I am ready to toss aside, regardless of how stubborn he is at the moment.  Right now all I would like from him is to read as much information about VBAC and homebirth as I have, so that he is not putting his foot down without knowing the facts.  He is welcome to bring to the table research against homebirth if he can find it, but I think he will realize that the information that I am gathering for him which supports the safety of homebirth is overwhelming and hard to ignore.

In a few months time we will be able to attend a homebirth information night at the midwives practice, which I hope will ease some of his concerns and answer some of his questions.  He agreed to watch The Business of Being Born with me which I think helped him understand birth a little better as well.  There is still lots of time, but I am still hoping that homebirth is something we can consider, but I know it will be safe and that I will feel comfortable here.

When I think back to how my labour unfolded with my second pregnancy, how I was able to labour on my own at home and it was a great experience, and how I got to the hospital just in time to push, it makes sense to me to be able to stay in the comfort of my own home.  While my second birth (which was my first labour and vaginal birth) went smoothly and well overall, I think there are things that could have been avoided with more planning and possibly staying home.  When I had gotten to the hospital I was almost fully dilated and ready to push, and being in that setting made me just want to get on the bed and stay there.  I pushed and gave birth on my back, in the least ideal position for childbirth, and as a result had an episiotomy and tore very badly which was the most horrible part of the whole experience.  I really believe being able to stay home and move around here will help avoid that situation this time.  I would also like to consider a water birth, which I know could only be accomplished at home.

The hard part of my argument is that, most women plan for homebirths to avoid unnecessary hospital intervention.  In my case I wasn't faced with any intervention at the hospital, it was actually a good experience, so it's hard for me to say that I want to avoid the hospital for that reason.  I have also heard as well that the hospital here is good for not getting too involved unless necessary.  Still, I just want to be able to stay home if possible.

I actually plan to do a post about homebirth (including HBAC or home birth after cesarean), which will include all the great info that I have come across in my research, so I probably don't need to get into in too much detail here.

Last week I finally got to have my first ultrasound.  We have decided this time not to go ahead with any of the prenatal screening tests offered, even though we did with our previous pregnancies.  We just found that it caused added stress and we have already decided that we would not terminate the pregnancy regardless.  As a result there was no need for a 12wk ultrasound as there had been in the past.  The midwife did offer one for dating purposes, and even though I was sure of my dates already I accepted anyway because I couldn't help wanting just a little peek to know that the baby was so far growing and doing well.  So last week at almost 13wks I went in for my ultrasound. 

Seeing your little baby on that screen never gets old, I couldn't stop smiling while watching it jump around.  It was hopping all over the place and waving at me.  Such an amazing sight to see.

Imagine my surprise though when the ultrasound tech told me that I was a week ahead of my dates, and instead of being due around July 8/9th like I had thought, he gave me a new date of July 2nd.  At first I was flabbergasted, and in a way happy because I wanted to be even further ahead.  But the more I thought about, the more I figured he must have been off because I was certain of my cycles.  So I've decided, for myself, to stick with my original due date.  I know that due dates are estimates anyway and it's not good to get hung up on one, and that's not what I want to know it for.  But, if they say my due date is July 2nd and I go over, there is always the chance I will be pressured into induction which I don't believe in.  I believe this baby will come right on time, and it will be according to my cycles and not this scan.

So I am sticking with a guess date of around July 8th, give or take a week.

Now I am officially in my second trimester and still feeling great.  Except this past week I have had a lot of headaches, but otherwise am feeling good.  I'm a bit sluggish these days and still trying to recover from the holiday chaos.  Over the holidays I haven't been exercising as much and I can feel that I have less energy as a result.  I look forward to getting back into our routine next week once my older son goes back to school.

Before I got pregnant this time I started exercising more to get into shape, and have been able to continue my exercise routine since becoming pregnant.  I was not terribly active through my last two pregnancies and I hope that this one will be different.  I would like to stay active and stay in shape, so that hopefully I can have a smooth labour again, and also so that I can snap back in to shape quickly after the baby is born.

Well, I could go on, but that is all the time I have for today and I have two little monkey to wake up from their naps, so I'll have to continue more on this pregnancy some other time.  More info on homebirth coming soon!