Meimango's Pregnancy Journey, STEPS, Sharing

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Meimango’s Pregnancy Journey – 35 Weeks

I doff my hat to the joys of being sick during pregnancy.  This pregnancy, my morning sickness stopped at 12 weeks.  So having a D and V bug and a cold has thrown into sharp relief just how lucky I’ve been this time.

The whole Meimango household has been struck down with the lurgy, but my toddler son was the most alarming of us, as he’s hardly ever ill.   It’s been such a long time since I’ve had to look after him so completely; he’s still so vulnerable and was quite frightened by the experience.   By the end of the first sleepless night I was knackered.  By mid-morning, the nagging realisation that this was going to be my life for at least 3 or 4 months with a newborn had hit.  And hit hard.   What am I letting myself in for?!  What if she’s colicky for the first 7 months like her brother?  I think I’m going to try and persuade my mum to stay in the UK for 6 months longer!

I went to see Super-midwife, the consultant midwife attached to the hospital last week.  And by gosh, she is super!  From the way the doctors spoke of her in hushed tones of reverence, I wasn’t expecting her to be ebullient, welcoming, and relatively young.  The first thing she said was, “So tell me how can I support you with what you want to do?”   She caught me completely off-guard with her disarming candidness and political awareness.   She took me through the hospital stats and regaled me with anecdotes of the challenges she had come up against when she was brought in last year as the Trust’s first consultant midwife.   I had a sense of a crusader fighting for women’s rights on an everyday basis, in a very hands-on, life-affecting way.   My earlier concerns about this hospital’s reputation were quashed.

It seems the options that were denied to me via the doctor consultant team are not quite so set in stone under Super-midwife’s direction.  She isn’t shy of natural breech births and was also able to put into perspective the risks of vbac.  Neither is she unrealistic about the possibilities of things becoming complicated, and needing to plan, together, a course of action with a surgical team on call should certain problems eventuate.  Even her choice of words was empowering; phrases commonly used in medical speak, such as ‘trial of labour’, would be interspersed with a verbal note, ‘or rather a normal birth’.   So it seems I am being treated like an adult, having been given back my choice of a caesarean or natural birth, and more importantly, the responsibility for the decisions I’m making about the birth.  It reminded me of renowned midwife Mary Cronk’s, “‘Allow’ is not a word to use to a mentally competent adult.”   I don’t want this decision to be laden with fear; neither do I wish to be ill-informed when the stakes are so high.  Of course, if Bump has turned from breech and untangled herself by Monday, I won’t have to make a decision; letting nature take course with no qualms.

In an effort to get this baby turned around, I have been experimenting with moxibustion again.  This is a type of acupuncture, commonly used in China to turn breech babies.  A medical trial in Italy showed that it had an effectiveness of 75% over the control group.

The practice itself isn’t particularly glamorous. My husband held sticks of moxa (mugwort/artemisia) just above the dorsal part of my little toes for 20 minutes, then I turned over with my bum waving in the air for 10 minutes.  Ever so elegant.  And even though I bought the smokeless variety, it still managed to stink out the house with the windows open.  After the second session of moxibustion, Bump was somersaulting and wriggling, and she’s continued to do so, even through the bout of lurgy.

I found coupling moxibustion with my hypnotherapy cds was quite useful, and it gave my husband the chance to listen to (read poke fun at) the verbal cues that would be handy in labour.  The cds have been a powerful tool for bonding with Bump and have focused my thoughts about how I want to welcome her into the world, regardless of how she arrives.

I have another sonograph next week, immediately followed by the doctor consultant appointment.  I’m preparing for the worst – an internal battle of delivery vs giving birth, and hoping for the best – a turned around, unwrapped baby.  Though, either way I count my blessings; to be in a system where medical resources and ability are readily available, yet human rights and autonomy are respected.   But most of all, I’m grateful for the love and support I’ve been given by those close to me as I muddle through this journey with all it’s unexpected twists and turns.