Moxibustion, Webster’s Technique, and other terms I learned this week

Yes, I realize that rhymes… my talent knows no end.

I’ve also discovered new talents such as setting up planks of wood lined with blankets and pillows in order to invert my pregnant partner and turn our breeched baby.

It’s been quite the week.

Up until now, every time someone has said, “how’s Becca?”, or “how goes the pregnancy?”, the response has been,”excellent…touch wood” – evidently one should not merely say ‘touch wood’ without actually touching wood, but I digress.

3 weeks back, during a visit to our midwife, a thorough prodding and poking was underway, when the midwife stated that she wasn’t confident that the baby was facing the right way; that is to say, she had a hunch that our little one was breeched. She asked for us to hang in there until our appointment the following week wherein she would check again, and if still unsure, would send us for an ultrasound.

The next week when we arrived, more poking, prodding, pushing, and pressing, and yet again, the midwife was unconvinced.

“I’m 95% sure that just a boney bum I’m feeling, but let’s book an ultrasound just to be sure.”

Becca and I needed to know immediately, so we booked the ultrasound for that afternoon. We were as confident as the midwife that our baby was seated just fine, heck, everything was going so smoothly up until this point.

Finally at the ultrasound clinic, the technician brought Becca in and shortly after called me into the room. She showed us the baby’s spine and feet and hands, and stated quite firmly that the boney bum we had been feeling was indeed our baby’s head.

It’s referred to as a Frank Breech, we soon found out, where the baby’s bum is wedged in Becca’s pelvis, while his or her hands and feet are doing some fancy yoga pose.

frank breech

 

We were both caught pretty off guard.

How big a deal was this?

What can we do?

The ultrasound technician reminded us that the most important thing was that baby is healthy; understand that this is first and foremost in our minds, and we are grateful.

Frozen for a moment, we collected ourselves and decided to head next door for a bite to eat as we hadn’t had a meal since breakfast and Becca had mentioned wanting some poutine.

We ordered, sat down, and then yours truly decided to google…

Let me tell you, as someone working in Healthcare, I can attest to the fact that you should NEVER USE DR. GOOGLE, but alas, I didn’t know what else to do.

I started reading off stretches, exercises, techniques, percentages, and then finally started discussing muscle relaxants, ECV procedures and c-sections.

When I looked up, Becca’s eyes opened wide, and she made the tiniest “oh” sound, and then burst into tears.

I relive that many times a day.

I’ve never seen her cry this way.

It broke my heart in a way that I never want to feel again. It reminded me that my commitment to her is to never allow for her to feel that way.

I love Becca so much and I do everything in my power to make sure she is safe from pain and harm.

Leading up to the labour, I’ve often thought about how I’m going to handle seeing my partner in pain. I’ve come to terms with the fact that it is something that needs to happen and after our baby arrives, all of the pain will go away and be long forgotten.

The potential for a c-section is not comforting, regardless of statistics that I’ve read highlighting that for Canada one in every four births is by c-section, and in the US it’s one in three.

I think of the irony that we had just emailed out our birthing plan to our families, and made special mention that this was what we assumed would happen, though “baby may have his or her own plans”.

Was that ever true!

So here we are now, 5 short days away from our 37th week of pregnancy. I’ve taken the week off of work to help Becca get inverted for 15 minutes every 2 waking hours. While lying upside down on a plank balanced against the couch, we put cold packs at the top of her belly, so baby will move away from it, and play music through our belly buds towards the bottom of her stomach so the baby will gravitate towards the sound. Surprisingly, we’ve determined that my voice works better than the music, even though we were skillfully playing “Turn, Turn, Turn” by the Byrds, and “Total Eclipse of the Heart” (“Turn Around”) by Bonnie Tyler. Guess my own personal rendition of “Turn, Baby Turn” to the tune of “Disco Inferno” is more of a crowd pleaser.

We also visited our RMT for some acupuncture and bought a Chinese herb called Moxa with which we do something called Moxibustion (Moxa + combustion), where we affix the herb to Becca’s pinky toe and burn it.

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Smokers are jokers

Next up is a follow up midwife appointment tomorrow to see if anything has changed or improved. If need be we have a chiropractor appointment on Tuesday for them to do what’s called the Webster technique, which will open up Becca’s pelvis and help with the turning attempts.

Lastly, if all else fails, we’re going for a consultation with a doctor who is well known for his ability to turn baby’s through a technique called ECV (External Cephalic Version), which is pretty much the last ditch effort before we start discussing having a c-section.

We are very determined people, and so we are confident that we’ll do whatever we can to turn this baby and get back to our birth plan. If we end up having to go down the path of a c-section, at least we’ll know we’ve tried everything in our power.

Unsurprisingly, I was a breeched baby too, and my mum had to have a c-section. She doesn’t let me live that down… or the fact that she gained 67 pounds… sorry mum 🙂

If Becca has the c-section, I’ll make sure we don’t blame baby for it. After all, he or she will just be taking after their father!

 

Labour day is around the corner… irony?!

Having just passed the 35th week of pregnancy, a lot of the realities of fatherhood are starting to sink in, thanks in large part to the week of prenatal classes we’ve been attending.

When we first found out about the pregnancy, I decided to read up as much as I could and picked up a few books including Dad’s Expecting Too!, by Harlan Cohen (http://www.amazon.ca/Dads-Expecting-Too-Expectant-expectant/dp/1402280645). I highly recommend the book to those expectant fathers – it’s one of the few that takes a much more straightforward inclusive approach, as opposed to the usual daddy condescension based on what “little role” we physically play in pregnancy and birthing.

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One of the many enlightening realities that Cohen iterates, is the bizarre journey dad goes on from the moment pee hits stick, and we find out we’re expecting. Mum’s body goes through tons of changes, hormones go out of whack, weight is gained, muscles and organs shift around and ache, all while a little being grows inside of her!

Dad on the other hand, weeps tears of joy with mum upon finding out the news, then sits back and waits, trying his best to be supportive, excited, and organized, while mum goes through all the changes.

It’s the bizarre reality and aside from some sympathy pains and plus or minus 10 pounds of sympathy weight, dad’s get off fairly easily… or do we?

Here we are entering the home stretch, and I now start to feel the magnitude of what’s about to happen, and let me tell you, everything they say is true!

Concerns ranging from ‘how do we afford this baby’, to ‘what’s labour going to be like for Becca’, and even ‘how the hell have people done this billions upon billions of times before’?!?!

And that’s just it… people have done this before. Nature kicks in, and man alive is it exceptional.

In class we saw the different methods for childbirth – everything from natural to c-section, with a different number of medical interventions in between.

We know what we want, but we also have to come to terms with the fact that baby will dictate how labour goes.

I always envisioned the day, kinda like this:

I’m at work and Becca calls in a panic because her water broke.

I race to the car, gun the engine, and floor it, weaving in and out of traffic as I call the midwives and let them know the situation. I finally make it home, race inside and grab Becca and our hospital bags, get her buckled in and we head straight to the Birthing Centre. When we get there, Becca is doing some serious deep breathing and baby is on its way!

We get into the room and the midwives take over – I stand by Becca’s side and through a few strong pushes, baby starts to crown and then…. She’s here!

The midwives congratulate us, and hand Becca and I the baby. We weep and kiss, and it’s all very hollywood…

For the record, I don't know who these people are...
For the record, I don’t know who these people are…

In reality, I’m getting the sense that things are much less hectic… Care of the prenatal classes, I’m going to guess it goes something like this:

Becca wakes up in the middle of the night with pains that are not normal compared to the way that our tap dancing baby has been doling them out. She wakes me and we do a little walk around the house and get out the stop watch to see if they’re Braxton-Hicks or the real thing.

Once it’s confirmed in our minds, we give the midwives a buzz and they tell us to keep labouring at home, but to get our gear ready and keep them posted once the contractions are nearing the 5-1-2 point where Becca’s considered in active labour.

Several hours go by with Becca in an unfortunate amount of discomfort, but we finally get the okay to start heading towards the Birthing Centre. Once there, the midwives arrive, and I start messaging the close family to let them know the status.

From there on in, I’m hoping that Becca has the most wonderful and easy labour ever, and I know that I will do whatever I can to help her through it.

Hopefully that night, or maybe even the next morning, we have our little bundle of joy in our arms and everyone rejoices.

…..

My nephew just celebrated 9 months in our lives and let me tell you, seeing how much he’s grown in such a short period of time, reminds us both of how unbelievable the next phase of our lives is going to be.

We can do it… one labour day at a time…

“So…do you know what you’re having?”

 

INTELLIGENT LIFE MAGAZINE MAY / JUNE 2012 Intelligence Portrait of Expressive Baby rvw196741                                                           (       #           -       (           8       3           C       >           N       I           ^       Y           k       f           u       p

With the soon arrival of my first child, comes the realization that (in the PG sense), opinions truly are like noses, everybody’s got one. However, when the topic of child rearing, pregnancy, diets, education, discipline, and a multitude of other parenting aspects arises, opinions are more like blood cells, everyone has trillions.

The first of many conversations happened when we found out we were pregnant, and the question  “so…are you going to find out what you’re having?” was posed, to which we definitively replied “yes!”

I’ve come to learn that regardless of what you answer with, the retort will either be “Really? we didn’t find out with ours. There are so few surprises still left in this world, and this is the biggest!” or of course, there is the “All I would care about is that the baby is happy and healthy; ten fingers, ten toes.” Or my favourite, “Yeah, a lot of people are totally finding out these days, I guess it’s kind of a thing now.”

Personally, our choice to find out is mostly due to the fact that we are very organized people (though that could be contested from time to time) and we want to be prepared. In my career, I oversee a project management team – the essence of which is time management and determining the critical path to completing a task. Becca manages a retail shop where she needs to be on top of product and sourcing, staffing and time, or dollars aren’t made and business falters. Suffice it to say, we both try as best as possible to not leave things up to chance or have to be too reactive.

So we waited until the week 18 ultrasound and decided that as a compromise for the folks who were convinced that we should wait, we opted to host a ‘reveal party’ so technically we would still get our surprise, but it would be a few weeks before baby arrives.

On an aside, Pinteresting for a gender reveal party can be a full time job!

Finally the day came, and Becca headed into the ultrasound room with the technician while I sat back and waited. This particular ultrasound is 45 minutes long, so they would rather I wasn’t in the room there with her as Dads usually ask a lot of questions and the technician needs to focus.

Finally, I got the okay to come in, and the technician showed us very quickly, just a few choice shots but couldn’t answer a single question. We would have to wait on the midwife for confirmation.

We asked that the results be kept secret from us, but we provided Becca’s sister’s contact info as the recipient to keep the secret until the reveal party.

3 days later, Becca got a call from the midwives.

Baby was too active, and they aren’t definitive that they know the gender.

You’ve gotta be shitting me.

The pros:

When people ask, we have an easy out; “Baby was just too active, so they weren’t sure – looks like we’re waiting till he or she arrives!” – this satisfies both parties; those who wait, and those who find out early.

The cons:

Our newborn wardrobe is full of yellows, greens and whites – no real defined theme. Becca has made the best of it, and done a great job with teals and oranges. It works really well actually, so regardless of gender, this is going to be a very stylish baby.

And of course, the other con, and probably the most entertaining yet borderline annoying; not knowing the gender, brings out everyone’s psychic abilities.

People have dreamt of our baby.

Everyone knows every old wives tale out there and can advise by how Becca’s belly looks, what her diet is, how the bridge of her nose looks, or how frequently baby kicks.

My favourite so far is that apparently the frequency of your “baby making attempts” at the time of conception, dictates what the gender will be. If you humped like bunnies, it means you’re having a girl. Every now and then means you’ll be a having a boy.

So yeah, I guess we know what we’re having. So when my daughter arrives, please make sure to act surprised 😉

Pets make for healthier babies… and nervous parents

Here is our dog, Party, listening for our babies heartbeat. So bloody cute. So endearing.

Makes you almost forget how absolutely cray cray he can be.

The number of times Becca comes home and out of sheer enthusiasm and excitement, Party will jump up and smother her with kisses…and inadvertent scratches. Right now it makes me fear for Becca, let alone my unborn baby.

Party means well, and when he calms he’s a gem. A little too curious sometimes and wanting to literally get inside my nephews mouth (as seen below), but otherwise, I sincerely think he has some innate tendencies of wanting to safeguard the youngins in the house.

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Articles I’ve read, hint to the fact that babies brought up in a house with pets, get to deal with the dander and other airborne loveliness that surrounds our furry beasts, and therefore get an early dose of strengthening their immune systems.

All I know is that the photo ops are going to be priceless.

 

 

Hello, my name is Dad

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I remember the first time reality set in that I was going to be a father.

It wasn’t from reading the results of the Clearblue test, or even when we got back our first ultrasounds. It was at around the 11 week mark when we told Becca’s family over dinner, that we were expecting.

Plates were circling and I offered Becca’s sister food from one of the dishes to which she replied, “no, no… daddy first.”

I paused and waited, trying to figure out who she meant, then finally realized she was talking about me.

I was going to be a daddy.

I’ve waited for so long and now couldn’t be a better time – I have a partner that I love, cherish, and adore; we have a house, careers, support, and our health.

My father was 35 when he had me. And now here I am, 35 years later, starting my path through parenthood.

Thanks to my upbringing and the people in my life, I have a strong idea of what should and should not be done in order to raise good upstanding human beings… of course, it’s all so easy to say.

I will look to my parents for guidance and support, but I will also look to my friends. The same friends who used to queue up for hours to get front row concert tickets, or help sneak 2-4’s of beer into my bedroom closet as a teen, now will be comparing stroller models and where to get the best return for my child’s RESP.

Things have changed, but I couldn’t be happier. I can’t wait to meet my child.

My name is Ben, but soon you can call me Dad.