Welcome to your lodge! I look forward to reading about your experience
Oh yay, thank you ladies! We have power today so I will come back later and do an intro. So much going on right now, I think I'm really going to appreciate having a lodge this time around!
And this isn't much late since I usually go to almost 41 weeks. There's still some time.
welcome to your lodge!!
Janelle and Brad 8-25-01
Ok, intro time!
My name is Rachel, DH is Brian, and this baby makes 4 kids in the last five years. In fact, I didn't make it back here to finish this intro before now because today is DS1's 5th birthday and I was getting things ready for his party! We are from the USA, but spent most of the last year (April 2010-March 2011) in France to learn French, and are now living and working in Republic of Congo, Africa. We are doing linguistic research and development among some of the minority languages here (there are about 60 spoken in Congo), although right now we're somewhat on family leave due to some major health problems FIL is going through, plus this baby being due in a couple weeks. (We were considering going back to the US, due to both those things, but have decided to stay here--right now it's too late for me to go back anyway, airlines won't let me fly this late in the game.)
My journey of learning about natural birth has truly been a progression with each pregnancy. DS1 was a full-on hospital birth, I was already leaning in the direction of NCB but hadn't done nearly enough homework and didn't know my options. I went ahead and let myself be talked into an induction at 41 weeks, and it was pretty awful (12 hours or so on pitocin), but DS1 and I both came through it ok.
By the time DD came along 17 months later, I knew I wanted a completely natural birth, but I still needed to birth at the hospital due to insurance. I managed to go into labor myself that time, and the worst intervention they did was to break my water at 6 or 7 cm because the midwife felt that the sac being intact was delaying my progress. I felt SOO much better after that birth than I had after the first one, and I think it had a lot to do with not coming off of all of the induction and pain meds I'd had the first time around. I was ready to face life again within about a day rather than taking a week or more like I had the first time around.
Nineteen months later, our family situation had changed dramatically: we had moved to northern Idaho to live on my parents' property while we got ready to go to France/Africa, DH had quit his job, finances were super tight, and we had no insurance. We did (thank God) have a good sized tax return that year which covered all the midwife fees, and I was finally able to choose my own birth place and attendant since we had to pay out of pocket anyway. Our house was too far out in the country for me to feel comfortable with a home birth, so I opted for birthing at my midwife's freestanding birth center. It was an amazing, empowering birth experience and as DH said, "it was like night and day, the difference between even DD's and DS2's natural births." I really enjoyed NOT being surrounded by medical equipment, hospital rules, the expectation of needing interventions...I had a 3.5 hour active labor that ended in a beautiful water birth right at midnight (we had to pick his birthday because they couldn't do 12:00, it had to be 11:59 or 12:01). I thought at that time that I would never, ever choose to do anything different from that--that as long as it was up to me, our next baby would be born in the same way.
This time around (23-24 months later if anyone's tracking ), our family situation has again changed dramatically. I posted a thread on this board a month or so ago about the challenges of natural birth in this part of Africa. I've been seriously considering doing an (illegal) homebirth, but as I was reminded the other day by a visiting (European) friend who used to be a midwife, it's going to be very difficult to find a birth attendant I can rely on to actually come when I need them. We live just far enough out of town that I don't necessarily want to *plan* an unattended home birth, though if it happened by accident that would be ok with me. So it looks like I'll be going to the private clinic where I've been having my prenatal appointments. I'm starting to have a lot more peace about birthing there (for a couple months I was going into a panic every time I thought about it) so that's been a relief. I'll post more about this later, but this intro is getting kind of long, so I'll stop here.
Today has been full of getting ready for DS1's birthday party. DH went to town after his language class (we're learning a local trade language called Munukutuba) to get a few supplies. DS1 had requested homemade pizza with pineapple, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, hamburger...basically "the works" with the things I can get here in Congo, though I was a bit surprised that he *asked* for onions and bell peppers! I was also trying a new recipe for chocolate cake. It turned out really, really good--and as luck would have it, one of the guests was allergic to eggs (which I didn't know about before hand) and this recipe is egg-free, so he was able to have some! Yay!
I'm not expecting much in the way of labor symptoms for at least another two weeks, though just this week I've been getting some pretty good Braxton Hicks contractions, especially when I'm nursing DS2 (tandem nursing is going to be a whole new adventure, I'm sure!). I've never nursed this late into a pregnancy before, I weaned the other two when I was 5 months and 4 months preg, so I don't know what kind of effect that's going to have. I have a feeling I'm going to go a little earlier with this baby than I did with the other three.
I think DH and I have finally settled on a name for this little boy--Caleb Malachi. I do like it, we just know a couple of Calebs already so it feels like a super popular name even though it's not really *all* that common. I like names that are common enough to be normal-sounding, without being on the top 20 list or anything. We'd come up with the name a couple weeks ago but hadn't officially decided on it until yesterday so I'm still letting it grow on me. Is it sad that my main objection is that we know a family whose two boys are named Micah and Caleb, so it totally feels like we'd be copying since we already have a Micah (we'd named him before we met this other family)?
It's after 11 pm here so I'd better sign off. More about the birthing situation here in Africa and the things that have been helping me be more at peace at the clinic tomorrow or the next day--we only have electricity every other day right now (it's been that way for months) so I can't always make it on here on days the power is off, we have to conserve the computer battery for work-related things. Good night all!