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reading list.

It’s been quite the pleasure these past 8 months to track the growth of our baby and to learn about pregnancy and childbirth.  Below are some books I would recommend.  Update:  I added the books mentioned by Lina (books 8-12).  I’ve heard great things about them from my Bradley instructor as well.  Really anything by Dr. Sears is good.  And Lina, I would agree, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” by Fisenberg would now be last on my list of things to read when there’s so much more relevant and real stuff out there.

0. Creating Your Birth Plan by Marsden Wagner
1.  Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize 
2.  Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
3.  The Bradley Method Handbook
4.  The Pregnancy Journal
5.  Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin
6.  The Complete Book of Pregnancy + Childbirth by Sheila Kitzinger 
7.  What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Fisenberg 
8.  The Pregnancy Book by Dr. Sears
9.  The Labor Book by Dr. Sears
10.  The Breastfeeding Book by Dr. Sears
11.  The Baby Book by Dr. Sears
12.  The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League
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the switch.

We made the switch at 35 weeks.  Some may think changing care providers (OBGYN/doctor/midwife) and hospitals so late in the pregnancy game can’t be done, or might be too much of a hassle.  To be quite honest, we feel so much more peace right now for doing so. 

See, two things happened.  One — back in September we began taking the Bradley Method childbirth classes.  We just finished our last class yesterday.  Can I say, amazing?  We loved it, not to mention that we had a fabulous teacher whose only concern was that we became informed and educated about the birthing process.  The class really made us more aware of what goes on in a hospital when it comes to birthing a child.  I told Greg that I wish I never knew what I learned during that class (“ignorance is bliss”), because then I could have just given birth at any hospital.  But now that I know, there’s no way I can go back to not knowing.     

And two, at 35 weeks of pregnancy, we finally took the tour of the hospital we would be birthing at.  I really should have thought about taking the tour sooner, but it didn’t occur to me that I would not like a hospital that much.  It probably had something to do with this being the birth of our baby and all, but I was just not feeling the whole vibe going on in the Labor + Delivery ward.  And that’s exactly how it felt — “a ward.”  The nurse seemed right out of a tv show or movie — repeating everything she had memorized about her ward.  I remember being the only one to really ask any questions about their procedures.  Everyone else just followed her. 

I would ask questions about 24-hour rooming in with the baby, or if the father could be in attendance with the baby while the assessments were done in the nursery — only to be told by the nurse that those privileges were not in place yet — but they are working on it for the future.  Well, great, because that brought no comfort to me.  I felt so lost in it all — I didn’t want to just be another person who went through their system.  The following thoughts went through my mind — “how can I change my provider and hospital so late in the pregnancy?”  “Would they even fit me in?”  “Should I even be making a big deal about it — babies are born everyday.”     

Greg encouraged me to give it to God.  When we got home, I spent time in prayer because I knew the only way I could get peace about the situation was by giving it to Jesus.  I laid out my options before Him, and told Him to choose.  In my daily bible reading for that day, I was reading the book of 1 Samuel 17:45-47 — the story of David + Goliath. 

“David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.  This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head.  Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.  All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”

My little issue of health care providers and hospitals is nothing compared to David taking down Goliath, but God really spoke to me that day that no battle is too difficult for the God of Israel.  He thinks no problem too small.  His only desire is that we ask Him and believe that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.  In faith, I prayed and called another midwife practice I had heard great things about.

So at 35 weeks, we switched over to a small midwife practice and hospital in downtown Baltimore.  The midwife practice fit me into their schedule the same day.  My appointment was at 6:45 PM, but due to rain and traffic, I only got there at 7:15 PM.  Kathy Slone, midwife and owner of the practice, was there to meet me, talk to me for an hour about anything and everything, and walk me out afterwards.  (I just love the fact that she looks like Ina May Gaskin!)  The midwives are caring and really into the whole natural process.  The hospital we moved to believes in creating a natural atmosphere for father, mother and child.  I feel so much more at home now.  

There are 2 things I would advise any soon-to-be parents.  One, make sure you are happy and comfortable with your care provider, whether it be a doctor or midwife.  Two, take the hospital or birthing center tour!  And three, just for kicks, take a Bradley class!  It will change your view of having babies!

Deep breath.  Smile.