Last week, I saw the midwife at 25 weeks and it was a very good visit.
I learned how amazing cool it is to hear a fetus's heartbeat using a stethoscope rather than a doppler. The doppler sounds to me like a"woosh-woosh" sound while the heartbeat using the stethoscope sounds like a quick little heartbeat. Mine could even more heard slower and deeper in the background. I could listen to that sound for hours. Which is why I'm seriously contemplating buying a stethoscope for home.
In my pregnancy with Willem, the only way I ever heard his heartbeat was using the doppler device, in spite of some researchers' concerns that doppler sound waves can harm the fetus. This pregnancy I'm trying to avoid the doppler and I'm so glad I did because I've discovered listening with the stethoscope. To me, the experience doesn't compare. I don't feel like I'm intruding on the baby at all, but that I'm listening without disturbing her at all.
In the week leading up to that appointment, I had had two birth dreams. This was exciting and unusual for me because I longed to dream about birth and the baby when I was pregnant with Willem, but never did. These recent dreams of mine had two things in common: they were wonderful, perfect, gentle and loving unassisted births and in each the baby was large. In the first dream, I gave birth to a 15 pound baby! I've never even heard of baby that big being born vaginally and it was a wonderful birth. The second dream, I was submerged in water to my shoulders (I've never heard of birthing in a swimming pool, but in the dream it was great!), I watched as the baby emerged from my body, she twisted in one of the cardinal movements and looked into my eyes through lovely blue gray eyes. During that dream, she wasn't weighed but I knew by looking at her that she weighed at least 10 pounds.
Of course, I have been puzzling over what this meant. Is it a premonition that I'll be birthing a baby at least 4 pounds heavier than my first? Or does it mean I'm just that confident in my ability to have a joyous birth?
I seem to be getting some indications that its not likely for me to have a large baby, especially since Willem was born at 38 weeks and not quite 7 pounds. At the recent week 25 appointment, my fundal height was measuring at 24 weeks. That could easily be normal variation and she's small for dates but in the normal range, or it may be an indication that the calculated due date is off.
Since gestational dating is such an imprecise science, I am not about to try to determine if that supposition is correct using any obstetric techniques. Instead I decided to do what I vowed to do at the start of the pregnancy: turn to God who I believe is the source for all knowledge for guidance and truth regarding this pregnancy. If anyone can or will know, it is my loving Father in Heaven. To me it is an application of the scriptures "trust the Lord with all thine heart and lean not to thine own understanding (Proverbs 3:5)" and "I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm (2 Nephi 4:34)." I knew that taking this matter to the Lord might not matter in big picture (applying the principle in Doctrine and Covenants where the Lord says, "it mattereth not unto me") but if it was something that he felt I should know that I wished to know if the dating was off.
I have suspected from the beginning that instead of the EDD being the last week of May, it should be the first week of June based on when the baby was conceived, my menstrual cycle, as well as just a feeling that she is going to be a June, rather than May baby. The fundal height measurement was enough to make me consider that possibility once again. When I asked of God, I felt strongly impressed by the spirit that indeed the more accurate EDD should be placed during the first week of June.
I have been enjoying throughout this pregnancy what I believe to be revelation concerning the baby and my body's work at carrying the baby. Before this baby was conceived, I felt the strong impression that a little girl was on its way to our family and then I believe it was the Spirit whispering to me that I was pregnant which is what prompted me to take a home pregnancy test in the first place. After the pregnancy was confirmed, I once again felt impressed that the baby was indeed a girl, which was then confirmed by ultrasound at week 22. I would have been perfectly content to have the gender confirmed at birth, however. The biggest question weighing on my mind however is the Lord's support and knowledge of the best birthing environment and situation for the baby. I have received impressions that he is supportive of my plans and that all will be well with the birth. That assurance is the greatest knowledge I can receive in regards to this pregnancy.
An interesting part of the impression is actually that to God, it doesn't really matter which birth setting I choose for this pregnancy, the outcome will be the same. That leads me to believe, that the Lord doesn't prescribe one "right" or ideal way to birth and that it is one of those things that he would prefer for us to study it out in our minds and our hearts (Doctrine and Covenants 9: 8) what is best for us and he will guide and support that learning process. To me that means that with each pregnancy the situations and therefore decisions made regarding birth will be different. How thankful I am that I can trust in Him to be there every step of the way in making those decisions.
That was week 25-26 of this pregnancy. I'm feeling well--particularly active and energetic. For a while that had me concerned but then I realized that I am probably rejoicing in the fact that I am done with my thesis and master's program and can now throw myself into other activities that I had to restrict myself from previously. I'm excited that in the next couple of months before the baby comes, I can focus on working with Solace for Mothers, assisting progress with The Birth Survey and reading from my book list.