I figure the friends who read our blog may be more interested in some updates about my pregnancy, than say the whole world. Therefore, I’ll share some specifics, since I’ve yet to do that and some of you keep asking. No hard feelings if you don’t want updates, just don’t read it!
Hard to believe I’m past the 28 week mark. That’s 12 weeks until our due date. GAH! 12 weeks is a summer vacation, the amount of time you book your flights before going on an international trip, and how long it takes you to potty-train your puppy. Less than three months on the calendar.
A bit about our Birth Hopes: Preparing for Baby seemed to start with our preferences for a birthing experience. Being a doula, I’ve read a few studies, seen over 50 (diverse!) birth experiences, and formed a few opinions. Combine my experiences with the fact that South Africa has a high c-section rate (it’s 20.3% according to a WHO 2010 report. However “high”, it’s still lower than the United States 30.3%, 10% of which are deemed “unnecessary”) and it lead us to steer ourselves towards a very naturally-minded doctor. Dr. Mark Barry works out of Nelspruit, South Africa, which is a 3.5 hr drive for us. We plan for he and our midwife* Cathy to attend our birth at Bella Rose Birthing Centre also in Nelspruit, South Africa.
Due to border crossings (and borders that close at night) and a bit of a drive to our planned birthing location, it’s likely me and possibly Sean will head to Nelspruit a bit before my due date. I fully expect this baby to come after his/her due date by at least 6 days, but we shall see. We’ll be hanging at Mercy Air, a mission guest house until real labor kicks in. We’ll also have some days of recovery at Mercy Air, as well as time to get our child an American passport, so we can take Baby Boehrig back home to Swaziland with us.
We do have a solid Plan B in case Baby decides to come before we’re in Nelspruit or other problems arise!
That’s about all I need to say about our birthing hopes. We all know things change, but we’re doing our homework, educating ourselves, and making choices (like we all do!) that seem best for our family.
How I’ve been doing: Overall, I’ve felt pretty good this pregnancy. I know I’m rather blessed as many women really struggle with nauseous, exhaustion, chronic pain, or other nasties throughout their 9 months.
First trimester met me with about 4 weeks of mild nausea. No vomiting, but squatting really made me feel ill. That was a damper as weeding and planting took a hit those few weeks. My energy was quite low, with insomnia coming in. But I’m fortunate to have a schedule I can flex, so I’d wake up at those wee hours, start working before dawn, and have time for a nap in the afternoon if I needed it (I almost always did!). Apparently my immune system is awesome when I’m not pregnant, because in the first 3 months, I was sick 1 total month out of 3, with three different instances that left me incapacitated for several days at a stretch with each illness. A tiny niggling cough in Sean turned into a raging cold that left me sipping chicken broth for 4 days from bed. It was quite weird to experience that much illness is such a short period of time. Also amazing how my immune system “lowered” itself in order to not “reject” the new system of baby that was growing. Apparently pregnancy in like an organ transplant, so you want the immune system to be weakened, so it accepts the baby and incorporates it into your body’s healthy system. Fabulous work, Lord!
Second trimester: I felt fabulous! Fun times because I actually looked a little pregnant, and my energy raged. I got into a beautiful routine of exercising 4-6 times a week with walking, yoga, DVDs and strength-training being my go-tos. Sometimes, Sean and I would go hiking and exploring on the weekends. I had to be mindful of ligaments being a bit loose, but the strength training really seemed to help with that. Between yoga and my PT sister’s advices about exercises to stabilize my pelvic floor, I didn’t encounter anything serious.
Third trimester: I’m just eeking into this one, so not much to say. I certainly got a scare when the first few days I felt absolutely exhausted. I had done nothing out of the ordinary, except have a few restless nights of sleep. I seriously thought, Oh no! My energy! I loved it so much! I can’t be this tired for 3 months, can I?
I took a few days a bit easier by shortening my workouts, going to bed earlier, choosing office work over garden work, and driving instead of walking for home visits. That seemed to helped. Now my energy feels steady and predictably present. Praise God, seriously!
Health-wise: I’m quite surprised I’ve actually had to monitor my weight-gain a little. As in, I’ve barely gained the “normal” suggested amounts. I finally crested past the 15 pounds gained mark. I’m surprised how stressful not gaining weight was on me at some points, especially because I had such a nutrient-rich, protein-heavy, healthy-fats high diet. All in all, I’ve known that baby has been getting as much nutrient as I know how to pump into my body, and less crap than ever in my life. I’m thankful I stumbled across (aka a good friend recommended) a fabulous book about pre-pregnancy nutrition, as well as eating for pregnancy and breastfeeding. This way of eating leaves me satisfied after meals, with lots of energy, and resting assured that nutrient-dense foods are fueling me and baby. On another note: I also noticed that refined sugar seemed to contribute heavily to constipation. Whenever I added any sugary treat, or refined grains (cold cereal, breads from the store) into my diet for a few days, whoa buddy. I suffered. When I switched back to my regular diet that didn’t include those items, sweet relief and better energy. 😀
Fun stuff: I feel like this adventure needs to be included in my memoirs of this pregnancy.
We’ve crossed paths with a fabulous couple, who are our kind of people. They love to hike, backpack, do outdoorsy things, and even hung out with many of our circle of friends from Harding. It’s delightful to know them. This couple invited us to go do something adventurous with them one weekend. I’ll keep it short(er), but this weekend, we went backpacking. Three days. Two nights. A supposed 13.4 miles along a riverbed. A total breeze. Since I’ve been walking 3-4 miles several times a week, I knew it’d push me, but still be in the realm of “do-able.”
This weekend I learned that our bodies can always do more than we think. Let’s just say there was more bush-whacking, river-crossings, rock-sliding, and mountain-scaling involved than we all thought. On day three, when we decided the river trail involved too many slick, huge boulders to scale, we headed to the mountains. About 1 hour after hiking uphill, with me bringing up the rear, dear Sean demanded to carry my pack for a while (we had already off-loaded the heavier items into his). “A while” ended up being the whole 7.5 hours we hiked out to our stashed truck.
I had several recurring thoughts on the trip:
– I am amazed I’m starting my 28th week of pregnancy doing this.
– I hardly feel pregnant.
– Oh man. I feel very pregnant. The most comical moment came when I had to lower to my bum, skootch to the edge of one boulder, so my feet could dangle, then touch the second boulder below. It required a simple leaning forward and shifting my weight onto my feet to stand on the second, lower boulder. The moment came to lean forward, and I realized I can’t! Between this bump and the pack’s straps at my hips, I am unable to tip my torso forward. All four of us shared quite a hearty laugh at my immobile self trying to fling and flail forward.
– This is what not having stomach muscles feels like.
– I feel great! I was amazed how the first half of the trip I really felt invigorated and alive. It will be some time before we take Baby Boehrig bush-whacking, so I lived up each moment of being able and out there.
– I also started making a mental tally of all the ways giving birth to a child might be easier than back-packing. It may become quite a labor tool.
[I did try for 10 minutes to upload a picture of Sean & I, but my internet isn’t cooperating. 😉 Check it out on facebook….]
All in all, we’re excited about Baby Boehrig, and trying to live present in each moment as it comes. We’ve been intentional in sharing a specific time each week that’s held sacred for us, and us alone. No, we’re not finding out baby’s gender. And yes, we might give he/she a siSwati name or nickname. No, we’re not sharing any name ideas until baby is probably born. (As if we even have a list of names!) Yes, we feel completely comfortable and confident about delivering a child in Africa. 🙂 Yes, we’ve already felt so blessed by family and friends who’ve sent notes, prayers, care packages, and nuggets of wisdom or funny articles our way. It’s all a wonderful way of knowing we three (plus Thor) are loved and supported by those we hold most dear.
Onward ho! The journey continues. . .
*A note about midwives: In SD and SA, midwives are the ONLY kind of Labor and Delivery nurse. They’re qualified nurses, who go for further years of study in the art of midwifery. Most births with a doctor and midwife get a double-whammy. Midwife AND doctor!