30 Jan The Physical and Family Preparation for “Baby Sister”
I would like to give a special shout out to two ladies that are helping my husband and me as we approach the birth of baby number two and our transition from 3 to 4 people in our family.
The first person that I want to talk about is Dr. Randi Jaffee. She is a chiropractor here in the city. Well, let me rephrase that, she is the “go to Prenatal” chiropractor. I have been sending my students to her for quite some time to help turn breech babies and deal with pelvic misalignment. Now it is my time to be under her amazing care. Fortunately, we are not dealing with a breech situation. But I have suffered from sacroilliac issues for years. In hindsight, I believe this SI issue, along with my spin class obsession, were factors in my long, dysfunctional labor with my son. I was lucky that Shay was not posterior (his spine towards my back); I don’t think I could have handled two days of back labor. Instead his head was asynclitic. Meaning, instead of being in the optimal fetal position with his chin tucked in towards the center his chest, his head was slightly tilted to the side. This is not ideal, since there is not evenly proportionate pressure against the cervix which slows down dilation. My midwife, doula, husband and I worked very hard with lots of different techniques and positions to readjust his position,which eventually did correct itself.
Part of the reason I believe Shay was positioned this way was because of my pelvis being misaligned. If there is pelvic pain, it usually indicates a structural dysfunction. I also believe from all the spinning my psoas muscle was overly tight and some of the pelvic ligaments were either twisted or too tight as well. So this time around, no spin class for me- I am swimming and enjoying the stair climber at the gym. I figure, if back in my doula days, I used stair climbing as a technique to help misaligned babies into a better position with women during labor, why not do it before labor! But I have also committed to visiting Dr. Jaffee once a week up until my labor to get my pelvis in “good birthing shape!” On my first visit, she assessed my spine and alignment. Not surprisingly, I was slightly sway back and the left side of my pelvis was higher than the right. So she did some muscle release – ah back to that tight psoas- identified my left round ligament as rather tight and corrected that and then worked on my back, neck and pelvis. By the time I left the appointment, I definitely felt better, both physically and mentally. So who knows what will transpire with my labor, but I do feel more confident that things may unravel in a different way with the preparation I am doing now.
With the physical preparation underway, it was time to examine how we were to prepare for the expansion of our 3 person family to a 4 person posse. We have all the “stuff” – clothes, diapers, bassinet set up etc. But my husband and I were concerned with how our 2 1/2 year toddler would handle the transition. I know we are not unique in this matter since many, many people have multiple child families. We just wanted some solid tools to know how to help ease Shay into his new role as a big brother. That is where Rachel Cedar comes in. Rachel is the founder of You Plus Two Parenting and has been leading workshops at Prenatal Yoga Center for years on Sibling Preparation and Bedtime Routine for Mothers of Two or More. Oddly, my schedule never allowed my to take one of the workshops at my own studio. So Rachel kindly offered a private session with Joey and me. I had thought we had done a decent job of talking about “baby sister” coming and showing Shay where baby sister will be sleeping. But her suggestions blew my mind! Not only did she give us some specific suggestions like get a baby doll and start to show Shay how mommy will be holding baby sister and what he can do to help, but she also gave us great advice for how to prepare him emotionally for watching mommy in labor, the sounds of labor and what his role will be on the day of labor. She mainly instilled in us the importance of assuring him that he is safe and mommy is ok even if this is not how he is used to seeing me. She also gave us some stellar tips on how to introduce “baby sister” to him when he meets her for the first time so he does not feel displaced. We definitely still have some work to do to be ready for this major family change, but I am feeling so much more settled with the tools we now have.
Again, as my husband Joey always says, people make plans and god laughs. We really don’t know what my labor will look like, how Shay will adjust to his baby sister actually being here or what life will be like with another little being around. But I do feel more relaxed knowing we have some plans in place. On a physical, emotional and spiritual level, we are opening ourselves up to see what will come.
Thank you, Dr. Jaffee and Rachel for the time and energy you have given me and my family as we embark on this second journey into parenthood!
For more information on my blog Preparing Your Pelvis For Labor,