Prepping My Body for Baby

The past few weeks I’ve really been focusing on prepping the house and other areas of my life for baby to come. I’ve assembled all of the materials we need for the home birth, cleaned out our cupboards and closets, taken care of all of my Jenna Cole orders, and yesterday I spent the day cooking four different meals to stock in the freezer for the time when That Husband (who doesn’t cook) will be taking care of me on his own.

Just as important as all of that in my opinion, maybe even more so, has been working to prepare my body and mind for the incredibly taxing experience of giving birth. The first step I took very early in my pregnancy was avoiding horror stories surrounding birth, and working to eliminate fear. I deliberately avoided the scare-tactic infused work known as What Not To Expect, and focused on reading literature written by those who believe that birth is a natural, normal process, my favorite being Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. In conversation I worked to let others know that I was looking forward to my birth and meeting my baby, which usually steered them toward talking about the wonder that is childbirth, not the gruesome experiences. I also worked to understand the physiologic processes that occur in order to give birth, how the muscles contract, the cervix opens, the baby emerges, etc. Knowing why I am feeling the pain and sensations will help me cope with them as they are happening.

Under the direction of my midwife I began inserting evening primose oil capsules into my vagina each night at the 37 week mark, thought by some to help ripen the cervix. Although I haven’t been able to find any studies/proof that show any conclusive evidence that it works, but this was one of those instances where I thought the possible benefits outweighed the cost. If it works, then great! If it doesn’t, at least I have a nice, oily, moisturized va-jay-jay.

One other substance that has been inserted in my vagina on a regular basis? Sperm. Full of prostaglandins and also thought to help ripen the cervix. And that’s all I’ll say about that method. :)

At the beginning of my pregnancy I had a hard time watching them, but lately I can’t get enough of the online birth videos found all over YouTube. My favorites are those with actual video footage of home or birth center births, but you can also find an abundance of photo slideshows and even a few tv show clips. I think it’s important to seek these things out in order to realize how many different ways women give birth and how they manage the pain. In bed, on the birthing ball, in the water, grunting, groaning, panting, almost silent… Some women even sing! Some of my favorites are:

Warning: Most of these videos are probably considered NSFW and some show babies actually emerging which might be too much for some to handle!

A water birth, beautifully filmed with the Canon 5Dmkii (at least I think it was, maybe the 7d?), featuring a baby born with the cord wrapped around it’s neck and a mother with a really lovely accent.

A birth center birth, with a mom who pushes her baby out while standing up!

The Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices, not technically of “births” per se, but a set of videos I think every single pregnant woman should watch, no matter where she is giving birth or how.

Surprise surprise, I’m also going to link to Kourtney Kardashian’s birth as one of my favorites. Her water breaks and she insists on doing her hair and makeup before she leaves for the hospital. There is no freaking out. She pulls her own baby onto her chest (which, girl who I assume is her sister who makes the comment that pulling your own baby out “is not normal” it TOTALLY is). I think it’s all really beautiful.

And if you are wondering, yes we plan on setting up a camera for the birth. Who knows if I will have time to edit it and put it up anywhere though.

Early in my pregnancy That Husband expressed a strong desire to help me do everything possible to prepare my perineum for birth. I’ve mentioned perineal massage previously, but starting at the 37 week method I started employing a new method, using a German manufactured device called the Epi-No. Several studies have shown this device to be quite effective at preparing the perineum for birth, but the FDA has declined to approve it and so I had to ask a friend in Canada to buy and ship it down to me.

The Epi-No is a rather simple desvice, with a pump on one end and a balloon type device at the other, to be inflated to the desired (read: largest tolerable) size.

Each night I apply a water-based lubricant and insert the balloon halfway into my vagina.

Once the balloon is inserted and inflated I employ three different techniques. The first is a set of kegels, definitely the most effective kegels I’ve ever done as sometimes when I’m trying to do kegels I’m not sure if I’m using the right muscles or not, and the balloon acts a bit like a guide.  I’ll also be doing kegels this way after birth to strengthen my pelvic floor and (hopefully) improve continence after the birth. After my kegels I inflate the balloon as large as I can tolerate, working to learn how to relax with a 7 cm object lodged in my birth canal.  After a few minutes it’s time for the part I both despise and love. I attempt to leave the balloon as large as possible and push it out, experiencing just a tiny taste of the “ring of fire” that women who’ve been there talk about. The moment right before the balloon emerges completely is terrifying, but as soon as it’s completely out I breathe a huge sigh or relief, and I swear I even experience a teeny tiny rush of oxytocin. Each night that I work with the Epi-No I try to employ different pain coping techniques, varying the songs I listen to while pushing, working to “breathe” it out more than actively pushing (a la hypnobirthing), relaxing my lips by breathing through them like a horse, using the Epi-No while on my back, on my side, on my knees, etc. I’m hoping I’ll be able to latch on to the right environment and techniques for coping with the pain before baby comes!

Though I can certainly never know what birth will be like, or how I will react to the experience, until I actually experience it for myself (in 3 weeks or less!), I can happily say I’m not afraid for baby’s debut to come. Go ahead and start right now contractions (I triple-dog dare you), I’m ready for you.

67 thoughts on “Prepping My Body for Baby

  1. Not pregnant, not planning to become pregnant anytime soon… But I am fascinated by your birth plans. And I think it is AMAZING and wonderful how open you are with everything you are doing to prepare.

    I am so interested in TH’s participation, too. It sounds like he is really taking part in a lot of the preparations – in a more personal way than what you often hear about.

  2. Wow…that seems to be one of the best ways to prepare yourself for birth! Good for you for doing everything possible to prepare!

  3. My birth preparations seem to be very similar to yours, except for the Epi-No. My instinct is to learn all I can and trust that my va-jay-jay will do what it was meant to do, but I admire that you are willing to try new things and am very interested to hear how practicing with the balloon helps your labor. Not to mention how I admire that you are willing to share your experience. On behalf of women everywhere, thanks for that. Good luck – we’re all rooting for you (and your perineum).

  4. Out of curiosity (and because I, myself am currently expecting), how early on in your pregnancy did you start doing perineal massaging?

    Jenna Reply:

    I believe they don’t start encouraging it until the 36th week? I’m not that great at doing it as a I prefer the epi-no by far.

  5. The Epi-No is really interesting! You will have to let us know if you found it effective after the birth… I’m leaning more and more towards a natural, water birth for my children (whom I have not conceived yet…haha). I think water births are the most beautiful thing ever. Have you watched the video Birth Day? It is great.

    Jenna Reply:

    I haven’t seen Birth Day, but we did watch a waterbirth video at my prenatal classes that I really loved.

  6. Wow, all of your prep is really amazing. Personally I would not have been comfortable using the Epi-no to prepare for birth, I had more of a come-what-may type of approach — but I’m almost positive it will help you if you’re already used to having that area routinely stretched that much.

    Re: the “ring of fire” and having had a med-free delivery, I actually think the pushing part was way way easier than the contractions to get to that stage. If you can handle the Epi-no I think you will be just fine! Your body will know what to do and take over to deliver that sweet baby :) Thinking of you!

  7. I am simultaneously intrigued and freaked out by all your birth prep posts. I mean that in a good way. Thanks for being so open, honest and unafraid to talk about the squishy stuff. Definitely let us know post birth about whether you think the massages, the Epi-No and the primrose oil capsules helped any.

    Katherine Reply:

    hear hear! I could not share this openly, I don’t think, but am so appreciative that you are! very informative & I am so rooting that everything goes the way you’d like it to during your birth! :)

    *Michelle Reply:

    Right there with ya!

  8. Wow Jenna, I have never heard of the epi-no but now I am WAY curious. You are going to do such a wonderful job! I am so excited for you!

  9. Those videos were beautiful. It just reminds me how amazing we, as women, really are. The Epi-No is such a brilliant idea. I love that you have brought so much to the table in regards to techniques, beliefs and opinions, and alternative methods concerning childbirth. You’ve definitely got me thinking about how I want it all to go down when my turn rolls around. Thanks for offering up so much insight.

  10. Jenna, I know we are very different people, but I deeply respect you and your birth choice! I know when I’m pregnant one day, I’ll be re-reading your baby posts for advice. Your birth plan seems very aligned with one I’ll feel comfortable using.

    Let us know in a few weeks how successful these exercises have been!

    And I hope the next few weeks are as wonderful, love-rich, and pain-free as possible :)

    I can’t wait to see pics of your babe!

  11. The second video of the woman giving birth standing up is where I am going to give birth!! A number of things, including your blog, inspired me to learn more about birthing centers. I am not brave enough to do a home birth, since my first was born by an unncessary c-section, but the midwife in the video is an amazing person and I can’t wait to deliver there!!

    Jenna Reply:

    No way! How crazy. Looks like a beautiful place to give birth, I love how much light there was (I’m in love with light though, so that’s no surprise).

  12. Hm, I’m a little dubious about the Epi-No, at least the whole pushing it out part. Is that a recommended usage? Maybe what I got told was screwy, but my childbirth instructor (L&D RN) counselled against any practice pushing before you’re actually in labor, because she had a lady go into premature labor during breathing exercises during class. I know that has all the marks of an urban legend, but I’m curious to know more about the Epi-No and what your midwife thinks of it.

    Kelli Nicole Reply:

    The epi-no isn’t recommended for use until 37 weeks, which wouldn’t really be preterm. Is that what you’re asking about? If it’s used way earlier in pregnancy? I imagine many woman past 37 weeks would be pretty excited if it jump-started labor.

    Here’s the website – http://www.avoidepisiotomy.com/.

    Jenna Reply:

    Kelli is right, it isn’t recommended until 37 weeks, which means the baby is term and if I start labor we won’t have a preemie to deal with. The idea that one can start labor just by “pushing” though seems screwy in my mind, as having a bowel movement can often use the same muscles, so why aren’t more constipated women being rushed to the hospital in labor?

    And I haven’t talked to my midwife about it. I tend to kind of do my own thing at times…

    Kristy Reply:

    Please note that babies are still growing and preparing for birth at 37 weeks of age. Although not a ‘preemie’ its in the babies best intrest to be born as close to 40 weeks as possible. Anything that might cause the baby to be born before that, or before you body would natural go into labor isnt a good idea.

    schmei Reply:

    Jenna’s already at 39 weeks at this point… it’s probably not necessary to get preachy about this.

    Aand… my niece was born right at 37 weeks and is healthy as a horse. Um, a healthy baby horse. Anyway, not worth preaching about, I think.

    Jenna Reply:

    I think that based on that viewpoint sex would be discouraged by all before 40 weeks as it might “cause your body to go into labor”, which (happily) isn’t part of the guidelines for low-risk women with their membranes intact.

    *Michelle Reply:

    After reading the how best not to tear during birth post that you link to in your next “brain dump”, I’d wonder what your midwife thinks about the epino. Just because the author of that one isnt a fan of massage.
    I am intrigued and freaked out all at the same time. (Freaked out b/c this is new to me and we arent in baby mode yet… and yet soooo fascinated.) :)

    Jenna Reply:

    She doesn’t know about the epi-no as I tend to just make my own decisions and run with them. If I do a really good job pushing baby out and she comments on it I’ll let her know what I used in case she’d like to look into it further for her other patients.

  13. Good for you Jenna :)

    I have to say, that Epi-No device is intense looking :O I had no idea something like that existed.

    Okie, here is a bit of TMI:

    I’m not sure if you had a chance to read my post about my birth story, but I ended up delivering Clara in a hospital sans pain medication (even though I’d always planned on the epidural, there was no time). Anyway, one of my biggest fears was tearing/episiotomy – duh, who doesn’t fear this. One of the reasons I felt I had a greater chance of tearing was that I’m um…small…meaning the doc tried using a “medium” spectulum during pap tests and had to go to the small size…and it was still very uncomfortable (but those things aren’t comfortable anyway ;). But you know what, all of my fears were for nothing. I didn’t need an episiotomy, I didn’t tear (I had a small stretch that healed within days called a “skid mark”).

    While I credit my body for doing what it needed to do, I also credit the following things:

    1. Hot compresses during labour. My doctor was with me during the entire process and kept applying a hot, wet facecloth to my perinum…for the full two hours I pushed.

    2. LISTEN when your care provider tells you to either not push, or slowly push. It takes amazing control (panting breathing worked for me), but they are telling you that so you don’t shoot your baby out and tear.

    I also wanted to say, that I’m 5 weeks postpartum, and while things didn’t tear, they did stretch…the skin around your parinum will never be as taught as it was before… I say this so you and your hubby can be prepared for this – it’s not really a big deal, but I wanted to mention this as I never really understood your hubby’s investment in not having an episiotomy other than to prevent you from having the pain…

    Jenna Reply:

    Not TMI at all, at least for me. I went through and read your birth story (I can’t get enough of them right now!) and it’s so nice to have these extra details from you.

    I think there is probably a part of him that worries about our sex life, but I know for the most part his worry about pain. He’s sweet like that.

  14. Hahahaha, I have to say Jenna that, as I read this, I was cringing for your readers who are not into this birthing thing, lol. I think you need to put up a TMI warning at the beginning. Or not. Hehe. The whole “If it works, then great! If it doesn’t, at least I have a nice, oily, moisturized va-jay-jay” cracked me UP!
    I’ve heard of the Epi-No before, but never had a chance to see what it looked like or exactly how it worked- thanks for the enlightenment!
    JD Man and I did some perineal massage in the last weeks, but probably not like we should have. I ended up with the same as HamiHarri- a skid mark, nothing too major. But I have to say, I’m not exactly sure where I stand on the whole panting-or-blowing-out-candles thing during pushing. I mean, I can see where a woman would be freaked out and just push like crazy, no matter how bad it hurt. But yeah… See, my midwife never told me to stop pushing. I mean, I’m sure she would have if the cord had been around G’s neck or something, but it wasn’t. She supported my perineum while the assistant midwife did perineal massage with olive oil during crowning. But I think one key thing that helped keep me from tearing was the fact that I wasn’t being quiet. I know, most doctors and so tell you not to vocalize during pushing because you can’t push as hard. But that’s just the point- when the baby is crowning and you’re pushing and vocalizing at the same time (or whatever you feel like doing), you WON’T push as hard and that’s exactly the way it’s supposed to be to keep you intact. I don’t know. Maybe I’m not making any sense. I do know that, for me, when I was pushing G out and I felt like I was gonna tear was the place where I started shrieking during pushes. Ok, so it was more like squeals. But no one told me to do that. It was a battle between pushing as hard as I could to relieve the pressure and not pushing at all to avoid the ring of fire and pain- the compromise was some squealing during the last couple of pushes. But that was my labor and my body and that’s just my two cents. :)
    So proud of you for all the research you have done and for the way you are preparing yourself for this truly momentous occasion!
    BTW, isn’t pregnancy sex great, big belly and all? :P

    Jenna Reply:

    This was one of the first posts in a long time that had TH saying “I think maybe you need to tone it down a bit?” This was a bit of oversharing for his taste. :)

    I’ve been blowing through my lips a lot while pushing, which I think is the method I use. Now I know what Ina May is talking about when she talks about relaxing one sphincter to help the others relax.

  15. Jenna! Why are we only hearing about the “Epi No” now? I’m 31 weeks, and I am TERRIFIED of getting an episiotomy (admittedly irrationally, but…), and I read that studies haven’t shown perineal massage to always work. The practice I visit is anti-episiotomy, but I’m still overly worried about tearing and continence problems. Now I need one of these and don’t know anyone in Canada. Do you mind sharing how much it cost?

    Jenna Reply:

    Although I think perineal massage can be effective, I just hated it too much to continue, so I was happy to have the epi-no to work with. I didn’t write about it until I started using it so I would have something to say about it.

    I paid my friend $250 I think, which covered the cost of her buying the epi-no and shipping. Very pricy for sure, but we think worth it for the improved odds of an intact perineum. Plus I’ll be able to use it after birth to hopefully prevent post-birth peeing my pants as well.

  16. Jenna, You are amazing! I have never considered home birth until reading your blog (and I didn’t come here to read about it- I followed you from weddingbee). You inspired me to watch “The Business of Being Born” and I have started thinking about this concept a lot more than ever before. This post is really awesome because I think that fear is really the biggest reason most of us US women cling to hospitals for birth. Your tactics on preparing yourself and eliminating fears are great- I think even if I did go with a hospital birth these tactics would still be relevant. Kudos to you for being so prepared and thinking every step of this process through based on such a diverse collection of information! I wish you and TH the best with the birth of T1, and I will stay tuned to follow you in the next chapter!

  17. I love how open you’re being about all this. I don’t know ANY of this stuff, as I’ve never had a close friend or family member who is/was pregnant, so I’m learning some pretty new stuff! And I had to laugh at the “and that’s all I’m going to say about that” sperm method. Heheh.

  18. “If it works, then great! If it doesn’t, at least I have a nice, oily, moisturized va-jay-jay”….that will have me laughing all day.

    The blue thing freaks me out. I want to hear more about it. I have never seen anything remotely close to it.

    Jenna Reply:

    Haha, you want to hear more? I’m not sure there is much else I can say without freaking absolutely everyone I know with my ability to overshare. :)

  19. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again- I don’t understand how ANYONE can see all of the work, research, preparation, and thought you have put into this and think you’re making a bad, or ill informed decision.

    Every person I know who got pregnant just went to regular appointments, cut out drinking/smoking, and figured the doctor would take it from there. I totally admire your dedication to crafting your own- responsible, and as safe as anything to do with living can be- birth plan.

  20. That first video had me WEEPING.

    You are so well prepared… I can’t wait to read your birth story and hear about your experience. I wish that more women would go this route when it comes to having babies.

  21. I love how blunt you are about everything and anything involving pregnancy. I’m so excited for your birth recap so I can find out what really happens (at least for one person).

    I have to admit that blue thing simultaneously intrigues me and creeps me out. It makes so much sense to try to prepare your body for something so straining, but it looks oh so painful.

  22. Jenna,

    I could not be any more fascinated by this post. Those videos made me cry, the “moisturized va-jay-jay” comment made me burst out laughing, and the epi-no made me curious.

    I can honestly say that until tonight, I’ve been disconnectedly supportive of others who choose to birth at home, at birthing centers, and via midwives – but I’ve never really understood why they would want to do so. Now I do.

    Jenna Reply:

    Thanks Jenn.

  23. Dude, I am SO getting an Epi-No… I love the idea of those things. We’ve already talked about practice stretching, but I love how that device is designed.

    For women interested in strengthening their pelvic floor and enjoying the benefits BEFORE pregnancy and laboring, I highly recommend investing in the Kegelcisor. It’s sort of a metal barbell for your va-jay-jay that REALLY helps with kegels and strengthening those muscles.

    Trust me, it looks weird, but both the long-term AND immediate benefits are immense (immediate benefits being that it’s actually rather, erm, pleasant and usually means you’re rarin to go afterward).

  24. Thank you so much for posting this. When I hit my 20s and realized that “hey, I could be a mom someday” I decided that I would prepare myself for the pain of childbirth by subjecting myself to as many feats of athletic endurance as possible. Basically, my thinking was that if I could run at least 20 marathons (I’m on 12) by the time I get pregnant, birthing would be a walk in the park. Sadly, i still believe this.. but I definitely definitely can’t wait til I can design a slightly more reasonable birth plan — inspired by women like you. :)

  25. Also, holy CRAP Kourtney Kardashian was calm. I mean, she was just like, “oh big baby head coming out my vagina, welp, cool.”

    Jenna Reply:

    Don’t you think it looks like she had the best epidural EVER? Even I would consider one if I could guarantee that I had a birth like hers. :)

  26. I LOVE that you put all this info out there! The Epi-No sounds TOTALLY like something I will have to get when we get pregnant.

    And I’m glad you have a nice, moisturized vag. :)

  27. Wow, I’d never heard of the epi-no before, but now I want to encourage my clients to use it. This is awesome.

    Also, let me commend you on the fantastic job you’re doing preparing yourself spiritually, physically and emotionally for the birth. It is so wonderful.

    And I am SO EXCITED for you to finally old the baby in your arms. And, selfishly, to read all about the birth.

    Lots of prayers and positive thoughts sent your way!

  28. Ok, TMI coming from me too… ready? :)

    I too was afraid of tearing and vehemently anti-episiotomy (and remain so the latter). In the event, I had a second-degree tear, despite giving birth under water, in a very relaxed environment. (I don’t think my midwife did an excellent job of coaching right at the end, she never told me to stop pushing, push more gently, give small pushes etc. like I have seen in other birthing videos and Talia literally flew out of me – I think it was probably her body rather than her head that tore me).

    Anyway, what I wanted to tell you was that it really wasn’t that bad. Getting stitched up was no fun, but it was a few minutes in the big scheme of things. And the tissue in that area is amazing (well obviously, look at how it stretches and springs back) and heals very quickly. I had to pour water over as I peed for about the first 24 hours (although I hear it can really sting whether you tear or not) then after that it was fine. The pain was nowhere near as bad or long-lasting as I feared and it healed quickly.

    Right, more TMI, I know you want the whole story! Of course I was nervous about that first bowl movement, but it was fine. Midwives are experts, they stitch you up amazingly well. Then of course there’s sex. We decided to wait until my 6 week check. (Don’t forget you’re about to have the longest “period” of your life, oh yay, on top of everything else, which I think might be nature’s way of encouraging us to hold off and let recovery really complete!) At my check, the doctor examined me and she told me the midwife has stitched me up nice and tight so to go easy. (Ha ha, we were going to go easy anyway, what did she think I was, crazy?!) Anyway, it was fine, slightly painful the first few times (more up towards the cervix that where the stitches were anyway so nothing to do with having torn) but we were back to enjoying sex as much as before within a couple of weeks.

    So… long story, but I just wanted to reassure you, in case you do tear, it really isn’t so awful. Episiotomies are awful, tearing is really not so bad. (My mum had one episiotomy, tore twice, and got through two scot-free and she told me tearing is no big deal, happens all the time, but do not let them cut you!)

    I hugely admire your efforts to prepare, but remember number one: relax.

    Big hug. Va-jay-jay talk over :)

    Jenna Reply:

    Were you able to reach down and protect your perineum yourself? I told my midwife that I’d be willing to get out of the tub and birth in bed if it meant she could better prevent tearing. We’ll see I guess!

    Cate Subrosa Reply:

    I couldn’t tell you how much of it was the gas and air, how much was the pain, and how much just the massiveness of the whole situation, but I didn’t even think about it at the time. I just kept pushing as per her instructions and didn’t think about protecting it myself or anything. I have a feeling you’ll remember, though.

    By the way I keep wondering all the time now whether you’ve gone into labour yet. I’m really excited for you now and can’t wait to hear how it all goes :)

  29. I loved this post. I gasped out loud at all the right parts and then laughed at myself for doing so. Again, thank you so much for sharing your experiences so openly.

  30. I cried watching those birth videos. They’re beautiful! I did have a tear when I gave birth but it’s because I didn’t really took any preventative measures, I was so busy working full time until my labor began. You’ll be fine and especially when you up to date with all those perineum gadgets, there. I should get the epi no in case I want to have another baby :)

  31. Wow, Kourtney wins for calmest delivery ever. I loved those videos and watching the looks on the face of Kourtney’s mom and sisters.

    For the water birth video, all I could think was – that man wins for most awesome husband ever! Mine (now ex) was snoring while I was laboring … ha ha.

    Jenna – I want to reiterate what many other have said, which is that I completely admire you for your honesty regarding the birthing process.

    I don’t always agree with you, but I respect that you have done so much research into the process, and I wish your blog was around when I was pregnant 3 years ago!

  32. I am really in awe of this post, I too have used a similar thing to the epi-no (but just for kegel exercises) though I would have been too embarrassed to admit that! haha. I am going to keep watching to see how your birth goes. I think you’ve done some amazing prep and will be so happy when you finally meet your little one. I wish I’d done the same prep for my first. Sadly, I went in very naive for my first baby and didn’t get the birth that I wanted.

    I found your blog as it was linked on my youtube account when you linked my natural water birth video. Thank you for linking it, it is my hope that as many people possible see how lovely and natural birth can be. You’re right, it was shot using a canon 5dmk11 by my sister who does birth photography (www.youcantbeserious.com.au). I laughed out loud when you said “a mother with a lovely accent” HA. I have never, ever heard an Australian accent referred to as such (I cannot stand my accent at all!).

    All the best wishes for your birth, you’re going to do amazing.

    Jenna Reply:

    Thanks for stopping by Georgia! I loved your video so much and I wish I knew someone who could make something similar for me (as I own a mkii myself) but I don’t know anyone who knows how to use the video function of my camera well enough AND that I would feel comfortable being naked in front of!

  33. Jenna, hey! I’m mad I didn’t start reading your blog earlier. I’m learning a lot from it. You’re going to help me remember things I’ve already forgotten from our childbirth classes. Very intrigued by everything! I saw that first video through another blog dearbaby.tumblr.com and loved it then. Watched it again of course. I want a video like that! But I can’t find anyone around who does it?? Anyway good job on your posts. Will keep reading!

    Jenna Reply:

    I don’t know of anyone who creates birth videos like that, maybe because giving birth is a super intimate super personal thing and the market might not be large enough for anyone to get into it.

    If I had a better computer for editing video (i.e. a Mac), I would totally offer this as I have the equipment I need to do so. I would love to provide this to other mothers!

    Jewel Reply:

    Well I think that if you’re done recovering by the time I give birth, you should shoot mine & then use my Mac to edit. Then you can use it whenever you need it cause I would just love it if someone offered this too!

  34. Jenna, I don’t know you that well, but I just want to tell you how inappropriate this post was! I read your blog at the request of a friend, and I am so embarrassed for you that you thought it was ok to share this type of thing with the whole world. I know you will look back some day and be really sad that you posted something like this. Anyway, good luck with the baby. But please, for the sake of everyone, comments like this are NOT necessary.

    Jenna Reply:

    I’m not really sure what you are referring to? Is it the fact that I used the word vagina?

    Kat Speyer Reply:

    What’s that I hear? Oh! It’s the world’s smallest violin!

    Suck it up, princess. She’s being honest and realistic. Obviously, many people are interested in her preparations.

    Real life isn’t all soft, fluffy angel wings. Birth takes a vagina. Women all have one. We can benefit from sharing our experiences… it takes the fear out of a very important life event.

    If you don’t like it… chuff off, eh?

    Comments like yours are NOT necessary.

    Ravyn Stadick Reply:

    Agreed. Jenna, I am still about a year from even trying to get pregnant, but I want you to know how much I’ve valued reading your blog. I agree with Kat that we are all women and it’s extremely important to share this information with each other. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I would think “barbie girl” will want to know these things when she has her own child. Hopefully she realizes that pregnancy/child birth are beautiful processes that should be celebrated. Kudos to you for being so open. Best of luck!!

    Sophia Reply:

    What did Jenna say that was inappropriate? Frankly, I’m more offended and horrified that women go into pregnancy and labor incapable of saying the words of their body parts, or even more sadly, not even knowing the names of the body parts involved in the amazing, intricate, and yes, messy and very human experience of birth, that indeed involves things like vaginas.

    Most of the problem with birth in our culture is wrapped up in our inability to talk frankly about our bodies and what they do. Being frank about our bodies is *not the same thing* as being inappropriate and disrespectful. Personally, I find it more disrespectful of my vagina if I’m so ashamed about her that I can’t talk about her :)

    Sophia Reply:

    Also, BarbieGirl, I can understand maybe being surprised at the open nature of this particular blog post, especially if you’re just starting to read the blog, but if you take some time to look back through other pregnancy posts you’ll find many other open, honest discussions of birth and body. In a vacuum, having never read the blog, I guess I can see how one might be surprised- although I can’t really see how it is inappropriate, but that’s just my opinion. Take a look back through the archives on the subject, they are really interesting and will give you a better idea of the level of discourse that’s been going on around here for awhile. Jenna didn’t just spring this on us out of nowhere, is what I’m trying to get at :) I do hope you come back to get a better feel for the overall focus of the blog and Jenna’s writing style.

  35. That first birth video left me speechless. I moved to Australia with my now husband over a year and a half ago and wasn’t so pleased to discover how anti home births they are here. In fact there is a doctor here called Dr. Caesarean who will give you a C-section even if he goes along with whatever birth plan you want.

    Along with leaving me speechless I loved the birthing centre, which gave me hope for when we start having kids. As always an informative post!

  36. Hi there,

    I am the Canadian distributor for the EPI-NO. I used it with both of my pregnancies and it saved my pelvic floor. The EPI-NO is about more than keeping your perineum intact, it is about keeping your pelvic floor functioning optimally. Your body is capable of giving birth and you can do it without an EPI-NO but your body is also capable of running a marathon – would you run a marathon without training? If you did, you would most likely become injured, not perform as well and suffer lingering consequences. The EPI-NO will allow you to birth better, be less likely to become injured and recover quicker post partum. You will also be less likely to suffer from or develop incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. Kegels and perineal massage are great and many women choose that option. What I like about the EPI-NO is that it gives you feedback – it allows you to see when you perform a kegel, it allows you to see if you can sustain a contraction and then if you can let go of that contraction and relax your muscles. Being able to relax your pelvic floor is key when it comes time for your baby to emerge. For the stretching, there is a measurement card that allows you to see how far you have stretched each day – something manual perineal massage doesn’t do. I love the EPI-NO and over the past 7 years of distributing the product I have heard success story after success story. I have also heard many people who didn’t buy one come back and say they wish they had or come back and say they are now suffering from incontinence and need to rebuild their strength. The EPI-NO is not available in the US unfortunately but I urge any American women reading this to tell their physicians/midwives/physiotherapists about it and hopefully if enough people do, the FDA will approve it. I love all the conversation your blog has generated Jenna and I look forward to hearing about your birth.

  37. Pingback: E’s Birth Story -Natural Birth « WadeAMinuteMomma

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