Friday, February 20, 2015

Life Lately: My Baby Shower and Preparing for Birth

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to celebrate baby Lydia Renee with my family and friends in Jersey. My baby shower was an intimate little shindig at a Chinese restaurant close to where I grew up, and like my bridal shower is thrown by lovely mom. She always manages to put together beautiful showers and my baby shower was no different! She used my favorite color lavender and even added French Bulldog pictures into the decor; does she know me or what? I felt like it was the perfect combination of spending time with the people I love and sharing mutual excitement for the arrival of baby Lydia. Speaking of Lydia, she received gifts that went above and beyond Michael and I's expectations! At the end of the shower I received a notebook that collected everyone's advice and words of wisdom. I don't mean to sound cheesy (even though I kind of am!) but I couldn't help but feel so blessed to be surrounded by so much love. Nothing is more encouraging to me than knowing that people are praying and supporting Michael and I through this exciting journey as new parents. 

After my shower we headed to my parents house, and spent the rest of the night lounging and catching up. The next day my nephew DJ got dedicated at church and I was so happy to be able to witness that! During the dedication DJ, who is usually a fun loving baby, managed to keep on this serious face the entire time; it was so cute. After the dedication we headed to Aria and David's house for lunch and fellowship. It was much needed since I won't be coming back to Jersey in June! Hopefully my family gets the hint and decides to visit us months before that. My parents did say that they plan on staying two weeks, after Michael's paternity leave ends and I am hoping my sister can come shortly after that. 

my mom and baby me :) 
As far as feeling prepared to give birth to a baby naturally, I feel like I might be almost there. I doubt I'll be 100% ready and that's fine with me; God designed my body for this! I started writing my birth plan and am getting more comfortable with the idea that Lydia might be here in less than a month. That is of course she decides to make her debut earlier than later. Michael and I started taking Lamaze classes in Pittsburgh to further prepare ourselves. I was impressed to learn more about Lamaze and was relived that it wasn't just breathing techniques! (Because I don't think that would be enough for me when labor pains intensify!!)  It's also about having confidence in your birthing experience, finding relaxation in between each contraction, being educated on decision making and using non-medical pain management techniques, etc.

We did an exercise in class with our spouses that required us to use pillows to find a place where we felt most comfortable. I ended up leaning on Michael on my side and needed pillows just about everywhere. My head, hips, legs, in between my legs and in between my arms were nice and cushioned. I had been experiencing back pains prior to the exercise and that position helped alleviate pressure from my back which felt awesome. We have 4 more classes if Lydia decides to come later than my due date and I kind of hope she does because I really enjoyed the first class! Our instructor who is also a doula, mentioned that labor is obviously hard work and will be painful but at the end of the day, our bodies were designed to give birth! Another great resource for me has been Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth which similarly focuses on natural childbirth and opens up with birth stories. And lastly, I also have the advantage of having my big sister give birth to a healthy baby last August! She's been helping me immensely plan out my birth plan and all the little details that come after giving birth. Because let's be real, I'm getting closer and closer to becoming a mom! I'll probably share one or two more posts about how I am preparing for the biggest event of my life... giving birth to my daughter!

xo, Jessica

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