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Week 29: The Heartburn Makes This Pregnancy Official

at 29 weeks pregnant by hiring a doula

For those of you who have been so supportive in our efforts to find a great doula, thank you. It has paid off. We hired Mandi the Doula, a sweet and helpful Ohio doula who knows her stuff.

I’m already realizing what a great investment hiring a doula can be. Despite the fact that I have spent several years in the maternal and child health arena (in public health, research, and writing), I found myself no more prepared for pregnancy and childbirth than any other first time mom. I worry about stretch marks and my baby’s health, but I don’t know by heart the stages of labor or the typical process for post-term labor induction. What I do know is that a doula is already guiding me toward a more informed pregnancy.

Before talking with Mandi, I was naively under the impression that I could just roll with the punches and everything would turn out perfectly. We had a long meeting to talk about my birth plans, health history, communication style, and preferences for support. Had I not hired her, it never would have crossed my mind to think of having a set plan for requesting medication (for instance, only getting the epidural if I ask for it three contractions in a row) or taking time to discuss a change in plans before giving my answer (you mean, I can ask the OB for a minute to think?). Moreover, it never would have occurred to me to review natural pain relief strategies or personal preferences for encouraging remarks with my husband (No, honey, I don’t want you to quote The Waterboy version of “You can do it!” every time I scream in pain).

Going over everything in detail with her helped me realize how much I hadn’t thought about—and how much I need to decide about before heading to the hospital. With a doula on the docket, I already feel more prepared and more relaxed about the entire delivery experience.

The Heartburn Kills, but I am Trying to be Grateful!

Approximately two nights ago, I woke up at 3am to what felt like a serious kick in the stomach. I felt an urgent need to puke—not from nausea, but from heartburn! I felt as if I had just stuffed myself to the brim with food and that even a sip of water would push me over the edge. To make matters worse, I was sweating like crazy and felt like the unattractive, literal variety of a “hot mess.”

Four tropical generic Tums later, I still felt crummy and was on the verge of calling my OB’s overnight line to ask for advice. Instead, I propped myself up, surrounded myself with soft pillows, drank a glass of cold water, and had my husband bring a bowl to keep by the bed. Needless to say, it was a long, uncomfortable night; mini-naps were interrupted by repeated hot flashes, and I felt like I had to stay completely still to avoid upsetting my heartburn even further.

As unpleasant as that night was, I definitely have to count my blessings. A coworker recently delivered her twin girls at only 25 weeks. They are in excellent care at a local NICU, but having two babies—each under 1.5 pounds—makes you realize that having a little one that causes one hell of a bout of night heartburn at 29 weeks just isn’t so bad.

In fact, I should feel quite lucky. A return trip to the maternal and fetal specialists revealed that Baby’s kidneys are stable. His bladder is functioning properly, the amniotic fluid is plentiful, and the specialists are pleased with his growth (3 pounds and counting!). I can feel him kicking like crazy. The fact that he’s still with me, letting me know he’s okay, saying “hello,” and causing some crazy heartburn is, in a very serious way, a blessing and a thing of beauty. I’m grateful that I haven’t had to deal with the terrible stress of delivering so prematurely and seeing my baby struggle with the challenges that early arrival can bring.

On that note of thanks, I will sign off for now. May the coming week, however heartburn-packed, be equally graced with luck and perspective!

Your Preggers Geek

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