Our beautiful daughter was born on October 11th, 2013. The anticipation of our first child was huge. It was an endless 40 weeks. Whoever said pregnancy is 9 months long is full of it. 40 weeks, 4 weeks per month, do the math. 10 months. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes during my pregnancy, which was insane given my diet and how healthy I was. As it turned out, I tracked blood sugars for six weeks and never once had an abnormal reading. My acupuncturist at the time told me that wasn’t usual for super-healthy people who’s livers aren’t used to processing crap, for want of a more delicate term. But it was a bit of a set back with the UCSD team and their procedures for birth plans, we risked out of their birth center before our due date.
Valentina’s due date was September 26th. That day came and went with me hoping she’d not make me wait too much longer. Ha ha mama, joke’s on you. She came at 42 weeks exactly – a full 2 weeks after her “guess date” and 4 weeks after I’d stopped work.
We were under the care of midwives within a hospital (UCSD) – so I could see their struggle. As midwives, they knew that she’d come out eventually; but as part of the hospital, they had certain standards of care to follow. Knowing I was a naturopathic doctor helped, as I got myself educated in that specific area as well, so I felt confident in our “negotiations”. What that really meant is that we delayed two inductions, and no showed a third. We trusted that she’d come when she was ready. We were fiercely against induction, which frequently led to epidural, which often led to C-Section. Dave was really amazing and stood by me on this – we had watched The Business of Being Born together, and some other documentaries, so he had really grown in his understanding of things birth-related!
Of course, I did everything within our power to make her come naturally – acupuncture, chiropractic, castor oil (ewwww), and “marital relations”. Nothing helped. Until that final day – I saw the midwife and had membranes swept at 12 noon (for the third time); chugged castor oil at noon and again at 2pm (still ewwww). I was chatting with my sister at 4pm feeling mild contractions, but didn’t say anything because if I chugged that much castor oil I’d probably feel that way come what may. But at 6pm my water broke, at 8pm I was begging to go to the hospital and at 9.01pm, Miss Valentina Elison Ducharme was born (in the triage room). I always thought that after a successful first delivery, I’d want to have future children at home, but actually, I loved the midwife/ hospital combo and would choose that again in a heartbeat. Someone brought me food for two days, what’s not to love.
Valentina was always a good/ happy/ calm baby. We are truly blessed. She sleeps well, eats well, is funny, happy, social, pretty. She’s a real character. I’m blessed to live a few blocks away from my office, so she comes to visit me at lunch every day and now knows my office staff and half of my patients! At the time I’m writing this and creating this blog, she is 20 months. Each stage gets to be more fun and she gets more and more language, more and more skills, and her personality emerges more and more.
Valentina has absolutely transformed me, and my life. Many people said that being a parent was so difficult. I haven’t honestly found it that hard. It’s just time-consuming. I can’t do everything I used to do. But I’d so much rather play puzzle and read Brown Bear over and over again with her than do anything else at all. It’s such a worthwhile trade off. If throughout the course of this blog it appears that I am completely obsessed and besotted with Valentina, it’s because I am, unabashedly. I make no apologies.
I work with many kids who have health challenges, and I feel so deeply for those mamas. I also know so many mamas who work so hard to optimize their family’s health, and I hope to reach out to all kinds of families and provide some useful information that can help them on their health journey.
Now we’re on the fertility journey, trying to get pregnant again as we’d love to have a second. It’s not quite as easy this time around, so I’ll share some of that journey too along the way.