Sunday, March 21, 2010

Getting ready for a lady baby

The photo application on my laptop has a feature that shows you what pictures you uploaded exactly 12 months ago. When I see them, I'm always transported right back to my life when the photos were taken. It knocks me off balance a little bit. How can it seem like they were 10 years ago, and only yesterday at the same time?

Twelve months ago, I was so busy getting ready for our lady baby to be born. A few weeks earlier, we found out that our lady baby was breech. I was horrified because I knew if she stayed breech, I would be forced into a c-section. Tim and I tried every idea we could find to turn Lucy around. We talked to her, telling her to turn around. I told her “Dochenka, povernis,” just in case she spoke Russian instead of English. We played Beethoven and whale sounds for her at the lower part of my stomach. I laid upside down on our rickety, Bargain Stop ironing board leaned against the bed. We even burned mugwart incense near my pinky toes (a baby-turning method from Chinese medicine.)

Whenever we lit the incense, Lucy tried her best to turn head-down. We could see her lumping and bumping around, but she always got half way around and then slid back to breech.

Finally we tried our last resort, an external version at the hospital. It was terrifying and painful, but it worked. Lucy was head-down, and I could continue preparing for our home birth!

And prepare we did. (You know me!) I had list upon list of things to do.

We scrubbed the house.

We practiced setting up the birth pool.

I made lists of all the food I might want to eat during labor, with notes of exactly where it was and how to prepare it, for our labor support people. I thought it was hysterical that I had a "placenta" section in my recipe binder.

Grammi came to stay with us.

And a little while later, Paddy came, too.

We did a trial run of Lucy's birthday cake. As it would turn out, I wouldn't manage to make the cake during labor (Grammi and Paddy handled it). Who would have thought that a woman in labor would have better things to do than bake? The cake that Grammi and Paddy ended up making was almost the only thing I ate for the first few days after giving birth.

We made meals to stock the freezer.

And I just rested. I loved leaning back on the couch with my feet up, watching lady baby roll around in my stomach. She was so active at the end, always sliding her elbows across my skin, or trying to stretch her limbs so my whole belly stuck out.

Every night, I laid down in bed and rubbed lotion on my belly. In the glow of the salt lamp, I massaged lady baby's body under my skin, and sang “dochenka” to her. I always wondered if it would be our last night of just the two of us, under the same skin, and I wanted to treasure it.

I was so ready to give birth. I was so ready to meet my daughter. And then finally, exactly one year ago, I woke up with contractions.

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