Sunday, May 29, 2011

pregnancy updates...III or IV?

So I arrived safely in the states last Monday, May something or other.  2011.  Staying in NC with my family, getting settled, making birth plans, and hopefully going to visit family I haven't seen in about 2 years.

A big year for me!  Number one, I will be turning 30.  The big 3-0.  My fellow volunteer friend Casandra will enjoy her 30th in South Africa really soon, and I wonder what she will do to celebrate.  Hopefully something fun.  I will most likely be giving birth, or will have just done so. I imagine my celebrating will be different than all adult birthdays come before, much milder and less alcoholic in nature as I don't want to poison the little one.  But more excitingly, number two, the little one!

I found out I was pregnant on Dec 23, so that means for all of 2011, I have been preparing for the arrival of my first child.  Most of this time has been in South Africa with daddy, but as lovely as that was, it's really great to spend the last trimester in the States.  Here, I am a 20 minute drive away from several hospitals, doctors offices of many varieties, 2 hours from the nearest birthing center, with nearby Lamaze and other supportive classes.  In SA, the nearest hospital any local recommended was 250k (about 2 hours driving time in a private car or 3 hour taxi ride away) from us, and we didn't have a car.  Classes for expecting new parents were only available in a dream, and books only in Afrikaans (a language I don't speak) from the local library. 

Even though I wasn't excited about leaving SA and my fiancee, now that I'm here, I see that was the best decision, for many reasons.  My mom and sister, especially, are really supportive; both emotionally and financially.  I can find a doula (birthing coach and support person), choose a hospital (my pregnancy is considered high-risk because of the blood clots, therefore I do not qualify for home birth or birthing center, unfortunately), and I joined my local La Leche League for breastfeeding support.  I am planning to take Lamaze classes, or some other type of natural pain-management programme because I'd love to have a drug-free birth.  I also plan to sign up for as many other parenting or health classes as I can.  Knowledge is power!  None of this was available in SA, and with the time drawing more near, it seems really important to take care of business rather than just leaving it all to chance.

I'm about 6 months along, and in the last few days, the thing has been moving like crazy.  It's really quite strange, but comforting to know that it's still alive.  In the last 3 weeks or so, I've really started getting bigger, and feeling that weight in my lower back.  I can still sleep or lay on my stomach, but sort of augmented by a leg out, or weight shifted more to one side.  I'm eating several small meals or snacks throughout the day, and not having heartburn or much digestive trouble as a result. 

Every woman has a different experience regarding pregnancy, both emotionally and physically.  I find it really interesting that my younger sister, who is due one week before me with her first child, is very "lovey dovey" and seemingly emotionally attached to her little one, and the idea of being a mother.  She talks to her unborn baby, stares at it, posts photos, and seems to anticipate each new change as if it were the greatest thing since sliced bread (if you consider sliced bread to be all that great to begin with.)  I, on the other hand, feel much more scientific about the experience.  I have done a bit of research, am glad the organs are of normal size, want to breastfeed because it's healthy, and feel more of a detached interest than she.  I never really felt "maternal" or that I necessarily wanted to be a mom like some ladies I know.  I hate shopping, and an excess of things, so I haven't and won't go pick out matching baby stuff, or decorate with baby ducks or pastel colors or any of that stuff I imagine my sister doing.  She wants my mom there for her delivery and aftercare of the baby, and I am glad my mom will be occupied elsewhere.  She's emotional and I imagine my delivery going much more smoothly without people freaking out in the background. 

In some ways, I feel like breaking the leg and living abroad in a rural village have both prepared me pretty well for this new journey.  Both were really painful experiences at times, both have taught me that you don't earn anything without working hard, and that you need other people's help to survive.  But most importantly, the lesson to take away from those times is to not sweat the small stuff.  The big hurdles need your energy, and just enjoy the rest of it.  So, I shall try.


  1. Thank you for sharing your frank and refreshing thoughts regarding birth and parenting. Really enjoyable to read. I think most people that have your outlook regarding these matters choose to hold them in more often than not for various reasons. Glad to know you are feeling settled and prepared.

  2. Like you, I was much more scientific about pregnancy and childbirth. Even after I knew the gender, I occupied my mind with information about her growth, and what happens to my body during and after childbirth. I read a lot and watched a lot of documentaries, which sometimes isn't the best thing. Sometimes there is too much information out there to sift through, but I used common sense and my gut instinct to make decisions. I still follow my gut and occasionally, advice from other people, but it's only advice that I ask for. I usually don't pay any attention to unsolicited advice, unless that person is suggesting an article or documentary that sounds interesting. Like you said, every pregnancy is different and different for every woman. I imagine that you will go with your instinct and be able to sift through BS information. I will never give you advice. If you ask me any questions about what I did or what happened at a particular stage in pregnancy, I will be more than happy to tell you how I felt. I kept a very descriptive journal of my experience because I knew with time I would forget the details. I know you have a supportive family, but if you do ever want to just simply say what is on your mind at any given time, give me a call or send me an email.