Courtesy of Emily Grace Whebbe
Emily Grace Whebbe and her partner, Kai Curry, over the July 4 weekend. The pair is looking for places to live together before the baby is born.
Emily Grace Whebbe and her partner, Kai Curry, over the July 4 weekend. The pair is looking for places to live together before the baby is born. Courtesy of Emily Grace Whebbe
In my prenatal water aerobics class last night, our instructor reminded us to do our Kegel exercises while "bicycling" on our foam "noodle." Another woman and I noted to each other that we simply can't do Kegels while in this position. Of course, my mind gave this problem the run-through: Can other women do this? Can other pregnant women do this? Is it a big deal that I can't? Will it make my labor long and terrible and inefficient?
I even asked my Bradley Method instructor about it in class the following night. She explained it seemed like a tall order to be able to do that in such a position. Whew! All I needed was to hear this from her, or anyone else, even though I had already concluded the same. I've never been able to pat my head and rub my belly without REALLY thinking about it anyway. My instructor compared that talent to Kegel-ing while bicycling. I knew I liked her!
During my first appointment with one of my midwives, I told her, "I'm going to have a lot of questions, and I'm going to have a few freakouts. All I need you to do is to say, 'It's OK, everything is fine.' If it is, in fact, fine." She agreed and told me she would be completely honest when something was worth worrying about, and try her best to calm my nerves about any "normal" pregnancy concerns.
Kegel Exercises: Exercises that consist of contracting and relaxing the muscles that form part of the pelvic floor. Named after Dr. Arnold Kegel. Strengthening these muscles during pregnancy can help a woman control her muscles during labor and delivery.
Bradley Method: A form of natural childbirth that says with adequate preparation, education and a supportive coach, most women can give birth without drugs or surgery. Created by Dr. Robert A. Bradley and first published in 1965.
Braxton-Hicks contractions: Sporadic uterine contractions that occur before real labor. Named in 1872 by Dr. John Braxton Hicks. They can begin as early as the second trimester, and are infrequent and unpredictable.
Although this is my first pregnancy, I must have known myself well enough when I said that, because I have freaked and called them a few times. They have said, "It's OK." And it has worked in calming me so far.
During the first trimester, my main worry was getting to 12 weeks, when the statistical risk of miscarriage drops. I was so naive to think my worries would subside thereafter! I read more studies that would say the risk drops significantly after 20 weeks, and a fetus is deemed "viable" (meaning it actually has a chance of survival if born prematurely) around 24 weeks. At 24 weeks I began having Braxton Hicks contractions. Thus, my worries of course turned to pre-term labor. Now that I'm closer to my due date, I worry about labor itself.
I told my mom my worries one night and she chuckled, as if I thought the worrying would end once I gave birth. "That's when to really worry. Right now, you can protect the baby from most things. Just wait until she's out in this world. Then you'll have something to worry about!"
Kai agreed, and I did too, knowing we'll be that family that stares at her to make sure she's breathing, or at least I will. Kai may too, but he'll be more discreet about it hopefully, so as to not perpetuate my worrying.
My worries have ranged from trivial to significant, but the one I feel I have the most control over (as I have little control over so many) is the way we'll raise this baby. Kai and I have a lot of love for each other and this baby, as well as a multitude of support from everyone we know. But the fact remains that we are still figuring out our living situation and parenting style. We want to live together and raise her in a two-parent household, but there have been doubts and questions as to the intricacies of that.
Emily Grace Whebbe, 26, from St. Paul, Minn., is a first-time mom who gave birth to her daughter, Revira, on Aug. 4. She delivered naturally with a midwife at a birth center, accompanied by her partner, Kai.
When we became pregnant, we weren't living together, or committed to raising a family together. We had been lovers, friends and business partners in the past, but it seemed like we needed to really take time to assess what we wanted our relationship to be. Within a week of that conversation, I realized I was pregnant. I guess the universe spoke, and we didn't have much time to assess.
We've had doubts and questioned how we'll do this, but thankfully our concerns of co-parenting have been calmed as the pregnancy has progressed. We're still looking for places to live and we have some unknowns, but really, what pregnancy, marriage or partnership doesn't? All we can do is love one another and love this baby. If we can do that, we'll be fine.
After over 40 hours of pregnancy, labor, postpartum and parenting classes, I feel we are as prepared as we can be. My birth center supplies are packed, the cloth diapers are stuffed, and the baby's clothing is washed and organized by size. At this point, there simply isn't enough time to worry.