Dear Baby Boy (Week 33)

by Lara on June 21, 2012

Dear Baby Boy,

For no reason in particular, I thought I’d check in and write you a letter today.  It was never my plan to write you letters, seeing that, well, you’re unborn, but the urge has struck and I am indulging it.

You are 33 weeks old yesterday.  There is nothing special about the 33 week mark, except my books tell me you are now looking more like a baby and less like an alien.  This is good news.

Last weekend, I flew home to California for my baby shower.  I say my baby shower, but really, it’s all for you, Baby.  I am merely the vessel.  But still, it was beautiful.  It was beautiful that so many people gathered in anticipation of your arrival…to celebrate your existence before you even take your first breath.  Everyone circled around me and ooh’ed and aww’ed over my large belly, warning me that, 40 weeks be damned, you could come anytime within an eight-week window.

I had to bite my tongue not to inform these well-meaning, lovely people of their inaccuracy.  You see, despite what the statistics say, I am secretly hoping you will be born on your due date.  The height of punctuality and consideration.

Back to the shower.  It was held at your grandmother’s cottage, a place you will grow to love because, as Grandma says, “What happens at Grandma’s, stays at Grandma’s.”  It was co-hosted by your Aunt Emily, a woman you will be able to identify by her red hair and outspoken commitment to perfect oral hygiene.

My flight arrived back to Seattle at 1am on Monday morning.  As soon as I walked in the door, I promptly ate two large bowls of cereal.  Your father calls this a “craving.”  I will allow him to think this because it benefits me to do so.  In reality, large bowls of cereal in the early hours of the morning is something I believe everyone would enjoy.

Cereal and fruit have been my dietary preferences these last few weeks.  I hope you don’t mind, but I blame all of this on you.  I say “blame,” because the organic peaches and nectarines I consume three or four times a day cost about $4.99 a pound, and your father keeps threatening to return your crib in order to fund my produce consumption.  Luckily, cereal is cheap, so the six varieties we currently have in our pantry will not come at the expense of your carseat.

I need to write thank-you notes for all the lovely gifts you received, so I should wrap this up.  The next time you hear from me, I may be screaming or crying or otherwise a wreck.  I have no idea what to expect, but I am told it will be inordinately painful.  I would do this only for you.

Much love,

Mama.

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Gail in Kent June 21, 2012 at 5:17 pm

That’s beautiful, Lara. It’ll be so nice to have these letters tucked into the baby book you’ll likely have for your first; maybe for your second; and probably not for your third. ;-) I can’t resist mentioning a few things, and I hope you don’t mind, and maybe actually find them helpful.

Anyway, who said you’ll be in inordinate pain? Rubbish. Look into Optimal Fetal Positioning on http://www.spinningbabies.com/about-spinning-babies/optimal-fetal-positioning or http://www.homebirth.org.uk/ofp.htm (not for a home birth, just about fetal positioning). Helping get baby into a ‘good’ position for labour might be helpful in reducing difficulties, such as breech or OP, for example.

Next, don’t expect that you can’t handle it! Prepare yourself in these last two months, be a positive thinker. Once in labour, breathe and physically, positively relax your body parts through each and every contraction if you can no longer walk and talk through them. Go into water and feel the buoyancy at whatever depth works for you, and stay home until you absolutely have to go to hospital. Stay upright and walking or leaning forward as much as you can. Have Matthew massage your back, neck, forehead and feet, keep your rooms dark and the best temperature for you, soft music and little talking, no disturbances from others, eat and drink lightly as you desire. Expect to throw up at least once (normal), expect the shakes (normal), keep your oral fluids up.

Once in the hospital, try to replicate everything on that list as if you were still home. Have you ever read about hypnobirthing as a way to help you stay relaxed? I’ve had several mums who were very, very loose and relaxed who’d done this. As long as I disturbed them as little as possible, they stayed in that zone, or got back to it when they got off track. See the US site for http://www.hypnobirthing.com/ Many women find a doula helpful in carrying out much of the physical hands-on relaxation work the nurse might not have time for if Matthew needs a rest.

Have you thought of the use of water in labour? Try, try for the birthing pool. It can be like magic for a very long time. It will still get tough to some extent of course, but it will help you make it through with less interventions. Stay on your hands and knees, or on your side most of the time. When it’s time to deliver your little one, lean over the edge or if you’re on the bed, lean over your pillows and try to stay on your knees. This will open your pelvic space to give you more room. If you can arrange a midwife’s care with your dr’s practice, she might be able to ensure you get to utilise these known methods.

Don’t let anyone make you push like a it’s a footy game. Push when you get the urge down there, and for how long you feel the need to. Breathe as you want to. Then push again when you want to. Have you read about the negatives to ‘purple pushing’ or Valsalva pushing? It’s exhausting, makes your eyes bulge and get all red for days, and keeps the baby shorter on oxygen than if you weren’t.

In the end, you’ll have as much or as little pain as your particular body has to have. You can reduce pain and complications of interventions by adopting these suggestions, and what will be, will be. Every woman in your family will have a different labour than your own, because they are all different people. Your pelvic size on the outside has absolutely nothing to do with the size of baby that can fit through the inside measurements. You know one of the biggest scams going on with US Ob’s? It’s when they tell a woman that she’s having a very big baby that will never fit through, so don’t bother trying, and they convince you to schedule an induction or a C/S instead. Watch out for that one, it’s also rubbish. Scans are known to be off by up to 20%! No one can know until you labour first, and you’ll know your baby was ready for labour when it commences on its own.

Now, I know you didn’t ask for this advice, but maybe you remember I’m a UK midwife in a big NHS hospital, and that I was an L&D nurse for 20+ years in the States? Things are so different here from when I practiced back there. I was surprised to find It is really more advanced here regarding what’s really necessary and what isn’t in healthy, uncomplicated pregnancies and births! I wish you all the best for a natural, healthy labour and birth for you and baby boy and Matthew. :-) P.S. Lots of evidence-based research out there on most of what I’ve encouraged in case you’re feeling skeptical. Honest!

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Katy Widrick June 22, 2012 at 5:53 am

I’m actually using Hypnobabies, which I was skeptical about, but LOVE. It reminds me a lot of yoga, in that it encourages you to breathe, let go of negative thoughts, let your body guide you, etc. Not to say I’m not scared (like, brainless), but it’s helping me a lot!

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Lara June 22, 2012 at 8:23 am

I might have to check out the book one of these days. We’re doing Bradley but I don’t see why I can’t read up on other methods, too, right?!

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Lara June 22, 2012 at 8:21 am

Gail, Thank you so much for leaving such a thoughtful comment! We just completed 12 weeks of classes in the Bradley Method…are you familiar? You have basically summed it up in your comment :) I am not *actually* that scared of the pain at all…I am just very frightened of something happening that is not “according to plan.”

I’m planning on all the techniques you described, except we are not allowed to actually give birth in the water; we are only allowed to use it to ease labor pains. Hopefully that won’t be a problem.

Thank you again for your help and support. I wish you could be my midwife!

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Missy June 21, 2012 at 6:38 pm

This is so sweet! He will cherish this always! I hope you write many more before he comes along – you won’t have too much time to write after that :)

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Lara June 22, 2012 at 8:22 am

Hehe…I wasn’t planning on it but you bring up a good point!

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Sarah June 21, 2012 at 9:48 pm

So precious. I have been thinking about you guys so much. It won’t be long until he is here! I cannot wait to see you guys as parents. It will be magnificent.

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Lara June 22, 2012 at 8:25 am

Aww, thank you so much Sarah.

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Jenn (eating bender) June 21, 2012 at 9:56 pm

I love these letters so much. Glad that the baby shower went well and I agree – a cereal fix in the wee hours of the morning is definitely enjoyable for all! :)

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Lara June 22, 2012 at 8:25 am

Right?!

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Emma Kent June 21, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Hi Lara, you really write the most lovely letters to your little man! He’s a very lucky boy. I was like you and expected a very painful labour but Gail is right, it doesn’t have to be that way! I wanted to do as much as I could to make the arrival of my little one a positive experience and tried lazy daisy birthing. I don’t think it’s reached the states yet but it’s worth looking for their app. It’s based on principles of hypno and active birthing and made our experience wonderful and as pain free as possible. It was all about attitude and while it was overwhelming at times Alice arrived smoothly and calmly and it reflects on how she is now. So, early morning feed so probably babbling. I can tell your a smart mama lara, wishing you, Matthew and bubba lots of love and safe arrival xxx

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Lara June 22, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Thanks Emma! I will check out the app for sure. Thanks for all the well wishes and positivity! x

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Carey Marley June 22, 2012 at 1:04 am

The labour method described above almost exactly describes my own Lara!! Bit spooky reading that!!

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Lara June 22, 2012 at 12:51 pm

I hope it will describe mine too ;) I keep talking to the baby and saying, “You’re going to come out easily and without a fuss, right?!”

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Andrea@WellnessNotes June 22, 2012 at 7:31 am

What a lovely letter! Baby is very lucky… :)

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Jordan @ Bake Write Sleep June 22, 2012 at 8:20 am

You’re an extraordinarily beautiful writer, Lara.

I recently found some baby journals my mother (who passed away last year) wrote to me & I cried my eyes out. It was sad now, because she’s gone, but it’s so AMAZING to have every detail of my life penned down. I knew about the journals, but never saw them until a few months ago.

I think it’s awesome that you’re blogging it. It’s the new journal, naturally. I just wanted to you know how much I enjoyed reading about my childhood – You know, the things I couldn’t have remembered… Keep it up for your baby! It’s an amazing gift.

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Lara June 22, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Thank you so much, Jordan. How sweet that your mother kept journals…I bet that was such an emotional experience for you! Thanks for all the kind words of encouragement.

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Abby June 22, 2012 at 12:43 pm

I love this! It will be so amazing for him to be able to look back at AOL of this when he’s older!

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Heather Eats Almond Butter June 23, 2012 at 3:38 am

Lara,
Baby Boy will love this series of letters. I love that you’ve been writing them to him. 33 weeks – wow. Soon, so very soon! I’m happy to hear the baby shower went well, and try not to get anxious about labor. I know that is much easier said than done, but it’s going to be the perfect labor for YOU and your son. I can’t wait until he arrives – on his due date of course. :)

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Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) June 23, 2012 at 8:14 pm

I love your writing – so meaningful and clever. Baby boy will treasure the letters. Cereal at 1am is every girl’s dream!

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glidingcalm June 24, 2012 at 9:47 am

this is so sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!
I am so so so so so so excited for you! I will cross my fingers for a smooth and easy delivery! :)

and WORDDDDDDD to organic fruit and cereal.

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Gillian June 26, 2012 at 9:59 am

This is such a sweet letter! My mother kept a diary when I was a baby and growing up and I love re-reading the entries and seeing the first lock of hair from my first hair cut. Mind you, she thought I’d be a lawyer or a doctor, so I hope my parents aren’t too dissapointed.

The shower sounds lovely, as does your mom, and I agree that two bowls of cereal is always a good idea in the ealry hours of the morning.

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skippysays June 27, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Lol, I did notice Emily’s perfect teeth :) The baby shower was beautiful- thank you for inviting me! I can’t wait to meet your little one

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Lara June 27, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Wait, you have great teeth, too…what if he gets you confused?! ;)

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Kellie June 28, 2012 at 8:39 am

thanks for sharing with us… but the part that brought tears to my eyes? twas this… “much love, mama”

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Laural @ Being Healthier June 29, 2012 at 7:01 am

as always, Lara, your writing inspires me. Beautiful letter to your first unborn! I love the humor and that you are downing produce like its nobody’s business. :-) Hoping Matt doesn’t return the car seat… haha! The crib maybe- he could sleep with you but not the car seat.
;-) I enjoy a large bowl of cereal in the morning too!!!

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Stacie @ Snaps and Bits July 2, 2012 at 1:51 pm

This is so sweet! I wish I’d done that, although it was practically in the times before internet! Good luck with the due date thing (mine were both late…)

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