Questions and Answers

On Facebook , and in my last blog “Babynames“, I asked all of you, “What do you want to know about the pregnancy, the birth or the early days with baby?” We received a lot of questions. We’ve bundled them together (and some we’ve combined because they were very similar), and the answers are in this blog. 🙂 You’ll find answers from myself, and from Denny, where applicable.

How are you feeling about the pregnancy?
The first weeks and months were truly pure HELL. I’ve already written a blog about it, but the extreme nausea did not bring out the best in me. I was a complete stranger. No energy, no interest in other people, no happiness. The only word, which really seemed to fit me at the time, was ‘apathetic’. But, somewhere during week 16, from one day to the next, everything changed. My energy returned, food tasted good again, and I felt like myself once more. That moment changed everything. I’ve been feeling baby move since week 17, and I’m feeling it more every day, and enjoying it immensely! I’m very grateful that I can experience this at least once in my life.

Some people say, “I feel at my best when I’m pregnant,” but that doesn’t ring true for me. I think this is all very special, and I am thoroughly enjoying it, but physically I truly do feel much better when I’m not pregnant! 😉

Denny: Marry getting pregnant with our first ICSI attempt is more than wonderful! It’s a very special experience. Although the first weeks were not the most fantastic time (our home was a very happy place to be – not. 😉 ). “Denny, you’re going to be a father again, mate!’ friends tell me… and then it slowly sinks in again, and the scene seems to happen in slow motion, and then I can answer with a very joyful, “Yeah man!” 🙂

What foods, which you aren’t allowed to eat, now are you really wanting to eat?
I have to say this isn’t too bad for me. I’m a huge fan of sushi (real sushi, not rice with cucumber ;-)) and I do think it’s a pity I can’t eat it for 9 months, but it’s not a disaster. I feel the same way about smoked salmon and ‘filet americain’ (meat spread made with raw beef and mayonnaise). I do think that my birth plan will include a phone number for a sushi delivery service, so that Denny can call them and place an order when I’m 10cm dilated. 😉

Do you crave strange things?
During the period in which I was nauseous, nothing appealed to me. Particularly healthy foods seemed inedible – all the things I usually love. I found that fries (which I would normally eat maybe twice a month), and pizza (normally once a month) appealed the most. Lollipops were great, and ice lollies too. Now that I’m feeling good again my eating pattern is back to normal. No strange cravings at all.

Did you crave strange things? What did you crave? I’m curious!

What’s your due date?
This is the most-asked question of all so far, and it’s the one question I’m not going to answer. I feel that I have a good reason for that: I’m terrified that I’ll be asked/ messaged/ facebooked by 9000 people (that’s how many people read the blogs about whether it was a boy or a girl) asking whether the baby has arrived yet. I really want to have a home birth (I’ll come back to that later), and that’s not possible if I go past 42 weeks. At that point they will induce me at the hospital (unless we decide to let the pregnancy go on for longer). I also believe that your psyche has an influence on this: I want to have as little ‘pressure’ as possible from outside sources. So we’re sticking to: July 2015. Sometime in July our baby should be born. There was an interesting piece in the Volkskrant recently about due dates (in Dutch):

Uitgerekende datum

Will you have a photographer at the birth?
Of course! One of the reasons I gave the workshops birth photography was to train someone to photograph at my own birth, should it ever happen. 😉 During the workshops Denny plays the role of father-to-be, so during both workshops I had also told him to see whom he felt the most connection with. Based on personality, geography (there are a couple of photographers I would have liked, but they live too far away) and of course, most importantly, the quality of the photography, we made our choice. Lobke Koppens will photograph the birth, and our backup photographer is Marijke Thoen.

How do you think you will feel about being the subject of the photographs?
I assume that I won’t be focussed on that. Everyone I’ve photographed up to now (and that’s nearly 100 births) has said that they did not even notice they were being photographed. I can’t see any reason why my experience would be different. I know that I can trust both Lobke and Marijke to take lovely photos, as they both know what they are doing (I trained both of them, and know them), so I’m sure it’ll all be fine!

How are you going to prepare for the birth? A course, or something else?
I am a big fan of yoga, and twice a week I do power-yoga (a gentler version of Ashtanga Yoga, but still an active form). In the first 4 months I unfortunately couldn’t do yoga because of the nausea, but since week 16 I’ve been going again. It’s hard, but I enjoy it. When power-yoga becomes too much I’ll switch to a milder form at the yoga school. My goal is to keep going for as long as possible, hopefully the full 9 months.

We’re also going to do a hypnobirthing course. Believe it or not, but about 3 years ago it was Denny who presented me with a pamphlet about it (we were at a baby/pregnancy expo). In the years since I have seen more about it, (and photographed the births of people who did the course), and I also became enthusiastic about it. But I’ll be honest – not everything about it appeals to me. I do believe completely that if you can relax, and if there are no strange things, like a baby who is sunny side up, then the job gets a lot easier. Hypnobirthing can really help with that. I don’t believe in ‘your cervix opening like a flower’, and the CD that comes with hypnobirthing makes me laugh, and will definitely not be played, haha! Being able to let things go is important for me, and I know music can help with that, as can the relaxation training during the pregnancy. I also know it will help me if Denny knows about everything, or I won’t be able to let go. In hypnobirthing you do the course together, so it’s not just one evening in which your partner joins you. So he should know everything he needs to know be the end of it. 🙂

And to be honest, he is enthusiastic about it, but when he heard how often he has to go, and how long the lessons were, there was some grumbling, haha. 😉

Denny: I’m ready for it, whenever it may be. In terms of preparation these months, (from now until the day of the birth) are already part of the experience and the preparation: you’re often thinking about it, and that intensifies as the pregnancy progresses. We’re also going to do a hypnobirthing course. A few years ago I was happy to find that something like that was possible, but now I know how long the sessions are, it’s already less relaxing. I do hope that it will make a difference in the end, but for me this is already a challenging ‘birth’!

Where do you want to give birth, and how?
My plan is to give birth at home, in water. I have arranged a special birth tub, which can be set up downstairs.

How do you feel about pain relief?
If it’s necessary, it’s necessary, but I’m hoping to manage without.

As a midwife, are you planning your own birth?
Uhm, yes and no. Yes, in terms of the things I find important, like letting the umbilical cord stop pulsing before it is cut, but no because I know that the more you plan, the less it happens. You don’t know how it’s going to go, and I don’t want to cling too tightly to a plan. If certain things are possible, that’s great, but if not, then that’s just the way it is (unless I think that it’s something really important, and then it has to go my way ;-), but Denny will take care of that).

How do you think you’ll cope with the birth? Are you dreading it?
I honestly have no idea. I hope I’ll stay calm, and that I’ll be able to relax as much as possible and ‘let go’. But I’ll only know how it goes when it’s happening. Maybe I’ll scream the building down. I know I can’t swear at Denny, because he says that if I do, he’ll leave. 🙂 I’m not dreading it at any rate. Quite the opposite: I’m looking forward to it! Then I’ll finally know what it’s like, and even if afterwards I think it was hell, then at least I know that too. 😉

Are you going to breastfeed? What’s your goal?
Definitely! Well, I’m going to do EVERYTHING I can to be able to breastfeed successfully, and would like to be able to do so for at least 6 months. Once I get there I’ll see how things are going, and see how we continue from there. I’ll be home for 6 months after the birth, for this reason (amongst others).

How are you going to arrange childcare with a job which involves being on call 24hours a day?
When I started my business I immediately asked my dad whether, should I ever be able to have a child, would be willing to be a on-call babysitter, and he was willing. It seemed to be a silly idea to start a company, which I would then have to stop again once things got going. Now that it’s become real, he’s fortunately still willing to help. If I am called out in the middle of the night there is no problem, because Denny is home. When Denny gets up in the morning he can take our daughter to my father, or my father will come to us.

In addition to that, Denny will have one ‘daddy day’ (on a Sunday), so that I can work, and our daughter will go to a friend of ours one day a week, and will also go one day a week to another carer, which we have yet to arrange (and which could also be a regular daycare centre). I will be working less, but still have to think about exactly what that’s going to look like. I will definitely keep doing birth photography, but I don’t yet know how many I will do per month.

Are you going to do your own newborn session?
Yes and no. I will take photos of our daughter, and of our daughter with Denny. Photos of the three of us will be taken by Annika van Balen of Photograffity. She will also be taking our maternity photos. Arno Hoogwerf will also take some photos of me, but in a totally different style. Annika’s shoot will hopefully be along the lines of this Pinterest Board, and Arno’s shoot will be more in the style of this Pinterest board.

Are you going to be co-sleeping?
Yes. It’s not our intention to do so for years and years, but definitely in the first months. Denny didn’t like the idea at first, since he thought our child would then never want her own room, but that’s not the intention. It’s meant to make the night-time feeds easier, so we’ll see how it goes once she is here, and how long we’ll do it for.

Denny: Since the plan is to breastfeed (should it work out), there’s not much point in my being part of every feed at night. The choice to co-sleep I have left to Marry, to decide what is most practical for her. In principle I am not a fan of co-sleeping, but the fact that she will be able to just pull the baby to her for a feed at night (without having to get out of bed) would make (everything) a lot easier for her.

→ And for you, sweetie, since you’ll be able to just keep sleeping. 😉

Are you going to buy a pram, in addition to the wraps?
We’ve doubted it for a long time, and said we wouldn’t buy one, but we also don’t really think it’s an option to give the babysitter a long wrap and a baby, and wish them luck. 🙂 My father would definitely not like the idea. So we will be buying a pram, but we’re not yet sure which one, and whether we’ll buy new or second hand. It won’t be a €1000 pram at any rate. 😉

And then the questions just for Fred:-)
What type of bibs do you prefer? Will Denny be changing diapers?
Well, Fred, believe it or not I do have a preference, even when it comes to bibs, hahaha! Considering we’re going to be using the Rapley method (baby-led-weaning) to introduce solids from 6 months onwards (you can Google that), I’d like a bib which is more like an apron, with long sleeves. Like a painting apron, but for eating. 😉

Denny will definitely be changing diapers, and he may have the misfortune to have to change cloth diapers, because he is having a baby with me. 😛

Denny: We ‘ll use straws, and maybe a funnel, Fred. That will minimise the mess baby makes. Diaper changes…. cloth diapers too, apparently….