Monday, March 16, 2009

Week 33

Belly Shot, Week 33

At week 33, Helana weighs approximately four pounds five ounces and measures 15 3/4 inches crown to rump. She regularly has hiccups, and if I use my belly as a place mat or cup holder, she can bump it pretty good. Braxton & Hicks make regular appearances.

Mark and I have hired doulas for each of our kid's births. With Alexander, we ended up with two doulas as labor was nearly 30 hours, with a few complications. Sophie had a doula too, though both she and Mark missed the actual birth as they raced behind the ambulance to the hospital. Still, Cary stayed with me for the whole day and was a great help. We hired a doula for Helena's birth and recommend using them if there is any way that you can swing it. (prices vary but in my experience haven't been more than $400, some hospitals have them on staff, some have sliding fees, and some insurance companies help with the cost)

A birth doula is a person trained and experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after childbirth. Trish is going to be with us for this round and we are thrilled! She comes to us as a certified DONA (Doulas of North America), MSW, LCSW and was a child and family therapist for 15 years before becoming a doula. She has attended to over 200 births.

Doulas do not do the medical side of childbirth. Their focus is on the comfort of the mom. They can run interference between staff and parents and help translate any confusing decisions or terms that may come up. Their bag of tricks to make the birth the best experience it can be is bottomless. They are trained to recognize the stages of labor and know quite a bit about positioning and massage during labor and delivery. A doula worth her salt will assist in all births, whether it be cesarean, natural, with or without drugs. Mark is an even bigger advocate for using doulas than I am. He can focus on being my husband and not worry so much about the rest of it because we have a trained partner to help guide our way.

Our experiences with childbirth have been traumatic. Alexander's birth had complications, took a very long time, and finally happened with the assistance of a suction cup on his large noggin (9 lb baby that he was). With Sophie, we were sent home twice after labor slowed down (it went on for a week without ever stopping, just stalling). Our instructions for return were to wait until contractions hit the pattern of 4 or 5/1/1 (4-5 minutes apart, lasting a minute or more, for an hour). We never got to that pattern. After we made the decision to go to the hospital, I immediately went into transition and she was half way born in our van, the rest in the ambulance that picked us up on the way. I prefer to labor at home for as long as I can with Helena, but am grateful to have a doula help us figure out when we need to hit the road to avoid a repeat performance.

Besides being a comfort to parents, studies show many benefits to having a doula present:
  • tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications
  • reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience
  • reduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction
  • reduces the requests for pain medication and epidurals, as well as the incidence of cesareans
  • women report greater satisfaction with their birth experience, make more positive assessments of their babies, and less postpartum depression
  • babies have shorter hospital stays with fewer admissions to special care nurseries, breastfeed more easily and have more affectionate mothers in the postpartum period


Bare belly shots below complete with unedited stretch marks and gall bladder surgery scars. Can't handle it? X out now.

Week 33


Bethany said...

Mason had a big ole head too. They couldn't even get him out with the vacuum, so I ended up having a C. Here's hoping this delivery goes smooth for you! I can't believe you are this far along already!

Lacey said...

I've heard of doula's but never tried one. I had one baby natural because he came so fast, but I'd prepared for no drugs because that's what I wanted, and I actually liked that better. I felt like I actually helped deliver him and I was able to walk right after. I highly recommend it.

Anonymous said...

Dude...there is a baby in there...

love..the prairie