December 21, 2011

my adventures in self-care

Okay, I wouldn't go so far as to call them "adventures," but I am looking for ways to make my pregnancy and birth more comfortable and less stressful. I know, I can just show up and grab the anesthesiologist to stick that needle in my back. But there's more to it than that - at least for me.

As I've said before, this is a huge challenge for me. So whatever I can do to improve serenity and health is worth doing. Nevermind those cookies, ice cream and candies that I can't stay out of!

Case in point: Hypno.babies

Last week in the childbirth prep class, they took us on a tour of the birthing center (kind of a hybrid birth center & hospital). It was very pleasant and informative. Later we watched a documentary profiling three women who used epidurals and gave descriptions of the process, etc. I was interested in it, but I noticed that my palms were sweating and I was starting to feel a bit sick. I excused myself to go use the restroom and hung out in the hallway for a while. It was a mild panic attack, which went away as soon as I left the room.

After this experience, I knew I had to do something about my subliminal reaction to the whole thing. My coworker lent me this home study course a month ago but I hadn't touched it. I downloaded all the tracks onto my iPod and started listening this week. So far I must say it is relaxing and is helping me, but I think I'm falling asleep each time I listen. The course says that's okay, as the subconscious mind still absorbs the information, so I'm not worried about it. I'll keep listening/sleeping and go through them all.

Second case in point: herbal teas

I have been reading through various sources of herbal support for pregnancy, mostly looking for consistency across different authors. Safety is critical, of course. Two herbs that I've decided to drink in tea form daily until the baby's born are nettle and red raspberry leaf. Both are called uterine tonics - kind of an odd expression, but basically it helps prepare the muscles for expansion and contraction. That, in turn, makes birthing easier and less painful - maybe even shorter - and recovery quicker.

I haven't ruled out the wildly popular epidural - I'm about 70% in favor of it at this point, since I make no assumptions about how my birthing experience will be. But I am all about supporting my body and mind in this stage, and treating childbirth like a mere medical event instead of the rite of passage that it is feels hollow.

In case you're curious, one of my book sources is Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year, Susun S Weed.