In the midst of my 28th week, the reality of this pregnancy is starting to set in. My belly is bigger, and the kicks and pushes from within are getting more pronounced and more regular. I'm in the process of "nesting," organizing drawers, preparing Stella's room for the arrival of our new girl. Just yesterday I unpacked a box of baby clothes and we marveled at the tiny sleepers.
At night before going to bed I skip whatever new book of fiction sits languishing on my bedside table and have been dipping into Ina May Gaskin's Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. I'm less anxious this time around about giving birth. I know I can do it, and I know I can do it without drugs. I know my body is strong, that childbirth is a powerful and temporary state. I trust and hope that my body will heal faster this time around because it knows, it has done this before. But I'm still mentally preparing myself for the birth itself. I've been practicing breathing deeply while driving the car. I'm mentally reliving Stella's birth almost daily, reminding myself of each stage, thinking about how it felt to feel my body opening and changing, remembering the fear and the exhaustion but also the focus and the great store of energy I drew on to birth her.
Last night I read Ina May's chapter on Sphincter Law. What I didn't realize the first time around is that smiling and laughing allow a woman in childbirth to be more open, to open more. Laughing and smiling were just about the last things I felt like doing while in labor. But now I know. I've got this. Bring on the joy.