So far my body has been feeling the following new sensations- more pressure in my upper thighs, which sometimes spreads throughout my entire lower back and abdomen, menstrual cramps in my stomach and lower back, more "cervical twinges" (sort of feels like quick lightning bolts shooting up my vagina), and more tightness and pressing down sensations in my whole torso area (which I've been experiencing now for the past 1-2 months - my Braxton Hicks). My knuckles still feel funny and are sore, but other than that I feel like my usual self, and with her dropping down my boobs no longer are resting on the top of my big belly haha, and I can once again, and have been eating all kinds of spicy foods without heartburn! Rejoice!
So what can I do to help bring on labor? As recommended by my midwives, I've been doing the following...
- Walking. Jason and I have been walking around our neighborhood the past few nights, and we are so happy that the weather has FINALLY been cooling down enough to let us enjoy a nightly constitutional without returning home to be covered in sweat. When I walk my waddle is now in full force, but I can feel my uterus getting to work with twinges, and braxton hicks, so I've been trying to walk as much as possible. Now parking the farthest away that we can at the grocery store, and taking a few extra laps around target when we shop there. We've also tried taking our dogs with us, but they are a little bit too much for me to handle right now, and too much for Jason to handle them both at once, so they haven't walked with us much. Today I'm going to head around the block a few times, and if I get too hot, come back home and get on our treadmill.
- Making Love. The release of hormones during climax and the prostaglandins that are in sperm can help to thin the cervix and bring on contractions. Though at this stage of pregnancy there are some obstacles (mainly my huge belly) to make things work, we've found that taking a long shower together is the best way to accomplish this one, and its also pretty fun too. :) *blush*
- Spicy Food. I was so happy that I pretty much didn't have to give up my love for spicy food throughout pregnancy, with the exception of a couple months in my third trimester. Once she started dropping, I have found that my tolerance for super super spicy foods is back to normal (meaning no heart burn). Yesterday I ate a big slice of my homemade lasagna, and covered it with ghost pepper powder. Jason then came home and made a big batch of his ghost pepper and habanero salsa, and we ate two huge bowls full. My eyes were happily watering, my nose running, and my love of spicy foods will hopefully help move things along.
- Bounce on a Birth Ball. (A yoga ball). One of my midwives recommended that I sit and bounce on a birthing ball to help move things along, and whether or not this is actually helping, its been pretty fun to turn on some music and sit/bounce/dance which usually results in me laughing and telling my baby to, "Come join the fun already!" haha, its pretty hilarious to me, and even more so to my dogs who look at me like a crazy person when I do this. My favorite music so far for this is the new Nine Inch Nails album, I just completely love Trent Reznor and Hesitation Marks is pretty great, pretty dancey, but still totally the NIN sound.
- Relax. The power of mind is also an important part to consider. I think that now that I am not working as of yesterday, my mental energy is no longer being poured into my work, but open to relax and work with nature, my body, and have the freedom to just let go of any external stresses and be ready to welcome our new baby into our family. With all the super-nesting that has set in, "I am not in labor yet! Let's scrub the house with a toothbrush!" mentality is hard for me to suppress, haha but I've been putting serious effort into putting my feet up, and napping throughout the day, in between loads of laundry, vacuuming, dusting, organizing, cooking, etc, and trying to rest up as much as possible, as I know that I need to conserve my energy for laboring.
- Breast Pumping. I haven't tried this one yet, but the hormones that are released when nursing, are the hormones that help move along contractions. I have an electric breast pump that my insurance provided totally free of cost, so I might go ahead and try to use it. They say 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off. And continue that way for a while to really move my body along. If I am still not with baby by this Friday (41 weeks), I will start trying that. Might as well.
My midwives also recommended that I look into seeing an acupuncturist, or a chiropractor to help moveˇ things along. I've been curious to go to either one of those, as I've never done either of them, but unfortunately my insurance doesn't cover either service so it won't fit into our budget right now. We are trying all the above free stuff for now, and hopefully she will make her entrance soon enough. They also recommended I try taking Evening Primrose oil orally, however, what Jason and I have read about taking that (as well as taking Caster Oil), there are some possible complications that we want to avoid - like rupturing my waters prematurely, (or causing diarrhea), and so we are going to first just try to let nature do her thing, and not go there yet. Its a really exciting time, and also a really good practice in patience and letting go of control and trusting nature.
The only wall that I'm up against, is that if my baby waits longer than 42 weeks to deliver, I will no longer be eligible to deliver at the birth center, and will need to go to the hospital - which is what I want to avoid if at all possible. They did reassure me that there are other things we can also try before getting to that point, such as the herbs I mentioned above, and so hopefully I will have my baby before that point (visualizing myself in the birthing tub, in the beautifully remodeled Ananda room, surrounded by the love and energy of the midwives, my husband, and visualizing myself birthing my baby there), but I know that whatever happens will happen, and I am just thankful that I have everything that I need to deliver safely with the company of caring loving people, and of course my super dad Jason.
In the meantime, since my belly is so very huge, when I'm out in public more people are really noticing me and approaching me. Which means more belly blocks than ever lately haha changing my body language to keep strangers from touching me. I'm totally accepting of engaging in polite conversation and hearing their blessings, but all while keeping my eyes on their roving hands haha so weird! How people react to a pregnant lady. They always first ask when I'm due, and lately when I say, "Last Friday," their reactions are really funny to me! Haha, "And you're walking around doing grocery shopping?!" (Yes, My husband is here helping, and I feel fine, gotta stock up the fridge before she gets here!) or, "And you're still driving?!" (Yes, its quicker than walking at my pace these days, haha) I just tell them, "Thank you! I feel great, here's hoping she comes soon." Its not like I'm an invalid, haha. Yes I've very pregnant, but I am still an (almost) fully functioning human being. Haha, mostly I think in part to all the yoga that I've done throughout pregnancy. (Again, SO thankful for the birth center's yoga program!) Last Saturday, the day after my due date, instead of going to yoga, I went to get a pedicure. I felt that I needed a long foot massage more than I needed the work out, and though I sort of wish I would have done yoga - THEN the pedicure, it felt great to sit in the massaging chair, and get the full half leg/foot massage, mask, and have someone paint my toes all pretty for delivery. Especially after finishing another, and my final full-time week of work at the office. It was definitely what I needed, and now my toes are super cute, in bright "Salsa" Red.
Since Jocelyn still isn't making her entrance, I am hoping that I can make it to yoga tonight. Now that I'm without being stuck with my 9-10 hours committed to the office before heading to yoga, I feel like I can get over there without over doing it, or exhausting myself, and hopefully the yoga will do its thing and help move my baby along! I also miss all my yoga mamas, and this may be the last time I will get to see all of them (before we all start up with post natal yoga). We'll see! Either way, if I make it to yoga I will be happy, and of course if I go into labor before I can make it to class, I will be SO happy! We'll see...
We have also had a few of our friends offer to help us out with food after baby's born, so we decided to go ahead and put together a Take Them a Meal website. (If you would like the link to our page, send me a comment and I'm happy to share!) My mom will be flying in a week from Friday, and will be here with us until November, so we set up our meals needed schedule for Nov - mid Dec. Its definitely hard for us to ask for help, but we're also letting ourselves say yes, and accept any help that's offered, which I'm sure we will appreciate even more than we already realize yet. So grateful for our awesome friends, and Austin community!
And now I'm off to walk around the block, and enjoy this cool 75-80 degree weather. All the windows in our house have been open the past several days and I've even added a couple blankets to our bed at night (I can't remember the last time I slept with more than just a sheet). So happy Fall is here, and soon to be enjoyed with my lil baby girl.