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Monday, February 14, 2011

We've officially made the switch!

As some of you already know, we have been in-process over the last month of switching from my current OBGYN to The Midwife Group & Birth Center in Savannah.  Well, as of yesterday, it became official.  The remainder of our pregnancy will be cared for by the CNMs of The Midwife Group, and as long as this pregnancy remains low-risk and goes past 37 weeks, we will also be delivering in the attached Birth Center--sadly, the only free-standing birth center in the state of Georgia.  Their website is linked below the photo.


I can't tell you how excited I am about this!  Ever since deciding to become a mother, I have known that I would want to take as natural and intervention-free a route as possible.  Maybe this desire comes from having witnessed my little brother's birth when I was 7, which was in a hospital attended by a midwife, and my little sister's birth when I was 10, which was at home and also attended by a midwife.  (Incidentally, my Mom had me in a birth center and was attended by a midwife then, too.)  Or maybe this desire comes from the trust I have in my body, which carries me faithfully (if a bit "sorely") through hours upon hours of an extremely physical job and has not failed me yet.  Don't get me wrong.  I am grateful for the technology we have and the fact that OBGYNs and caesareans and epidurals exist for the times that they are needed.  However, I also strongly believe that my body was designed for this and will do its best (with my help) to handle birth as womens' bodies have for millions of years.  I don't look down upon anyone who has or needs or chooses a caesarean section or pain medication (those things exist for a reason); however, if I can avoid putting in or doing anything unnecessary to my body, I'd like to.

I don't kid myself that giving birth will not be the most intense and extreme experience of my life.  I am planning to use Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method, which I have been practicing since about 14 weeks.  My sister-in-law Emily introduced me to this method, which combines self-hypnosis and guided relaxation.  As a child, I was deathly afraid of the dark, so much so that my mother often stayed with me in bed until I fell asleep until about the age of 10!  After much hysterical crying (on my part) and trial and error (on my Mom's part), we found the only thing that helped me work through my night-terrors were relaxation tapes.  I would go to sleep listening to one, following the directions of the guided relaxation/meditation and, for the first time in my life, I was able to fall asleep on my own!  I've found the Hypnobirthing to be quite similar, and so far have had great success with practicing and employing the techniques.  I won't bore you with all the details, but the general concept is that fear and tension cause physiological and chemical responses in our bodies, the most notable to which is increased pain and anxiety.  When the mental and physical resistance of fear is erased and relaxation and proper breathing employed, your body is better able to follow and complete its/your own natural birthing instincts.  You can explore the Hypnobirthing principles in more depth through the website www.hypnobirthing.com.

They have a great FAQs page that can help you get oriented with the concepts and techniques...

                                                        
One of the things I liked best about the Birth Center was that they encourage this type of birth preparation and are willing to accomodate an individual woman's/couple's wishes regarding their birth experience.  Safety is, of course, considered first, and both the Midwives and the Birth Center have the full protocol to handles numerous emergency situations for both the mother and baby.  They are backed by a couple of different OBs in Savannah and have privileges at St. Joseph's Candler Hospital, which is just 8 minutes door-to-door were a transfer to be needed.  The Birth Center, however, offers much that the hospital does not in regards to the natural birthing experience.  Mothers are encouraged to move around and utilize the helpful effects of gravity during labor.  There are birthing balls, stools, showers, and (my personal favorite!) jacuzzi tubs available to help release tension and work through contractions.  Each birthing room has a queen-sized bed, jacuzzi tub, rocking chair, microwave, refrigerator, huuuge bathroom with huuuge shower, and numerous cabinets hiding all of the prerequisite medical supplies/equipment.  When we toured the facility, Travis and I loved it immediately, and knowing that we hope to have a water birth, it seemed to be the perfect fit!

One of the birthing rooms...Travis made himself comfy :-)

One of the jacuzzi tubs for water birth or just to labor in...

The little kitchenette area...they encourage women to stay hydrated and eat light snacks for energy througout the labor process...
Our first appointment was sort of an introduction to The Midwife Group's prenatal process.  We met as a group with the Midwife who founded the group 23 years ago and several other soon-to-be parents who were also transferring into their care.  We learned how to take our blood pressure, use their scale, and got a lot of necessary paperwork out of the way.  Everything looked good: blood pressure was normal and I have gained 4 lbs since my last OB appointment, making my total 6 lbs in the pregnancy so far.  And on that note, I doubt I'll be sharing that much info about my weight gain from here on out ;-) since that number promises to continue climbing -- LOL -- I just tell myself that 1 lb for each month I've been pregnant is not too bad!  I was actually mentally geared up to find that I had gained a lot more because my body seems to have changed so much so suddenly!  But mostly my current weight just seems to be shifting around--my waist is almost gone, but on the plus side, so are my love-handles! Hehehe!

Excitement is building around here now that I am officially "showing," and we are quickly realizing how much there still is to do to prepare for Baby T's arrival.  Now that we have officially (as of today!) finished unpacking all the boxes from our move into the duplex, we have a laundry list of tasks to accomplish over the next month or so.  In the next couple of weeks, we hope to get Baby T's/our spare bedroom painted and the crib and a few decorations moved in.  By the end of February, I hope to have our baby registries completed.  (We decided to register at Target and Amazon.com, since many of our friends and family lived out-of-town or out-of-state.)  And we aren't really buying anything yet, since we still have shower gifts to look forward to!  I promise to put up pictures as Baby T's room begins to take shape, and I still need to put up pics of the new apartment now that the unpacking has finally ceased!

Time is flying, and my belly is growing.  With just 14 weeks left until my due date, it'll be here before we know it!

2 comments:

  1. I had an amazing experience at the Family Health & Birth Center, and I hope for the same nurturing and empowering experience for you.

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  2. So happy you decided to move to a birth center Bri! I can't say enough how great of an experience we had at the one in Chapel Hill. I didn't use Hypnobirthing per se, but I read some about it and used many of the same principles in my own way. I use meditation and relaxation in my day to day life, which helped when it came to labor because it was very second nature to turn to that. Just keep practicing it and it will truly help! Sounds like you already have the most important ingredient for a good birth...trusting your own body. So excited for you Bri!

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