i started seeing a chiropractor in november or december (i honestly don't remember when my first appointment was). it was recommended to me by a couple of friends who i'd complained about my back pain to, and also several of the bees on hellobee were singing the praises of their chiropractors. so even though i'd always been skeptical of chiros, i thought i'd give it a chance. i knew i wanted to find someone who specialized in prenatal chiropractics because i know that we preggos have special needs and circumstances, and that our bodies may not be able to handle the rigors of "normal" chiropractics. so i googled "prenatal chiropractor, abington, pa." that brought up a list of a few in the area, but in perusing their websites i realized they weren't exactly what i was looking for. well, one was, but when i read that they don't bill insurance, they were out. i modified my search from abington to philadelphia, and about the 5th hit down i found the icpa website (international chiropractic pediatric association). the first name on the list for the philadelphia search was the same one i'd already found who didn't take insurance. the second name was dr. tara at hatboro family wellness. as i looked over her website, i felt like i had found what i was looking for. it seemed like she practiced from a holistic approach, treating not only the body but also the body's connection to the mind and overall wellness. so i called and scheduled my intake assessment.
she spent 1 1/2 hours with me at my initial appointment. we went over everything - my medical history, my family history, my social history, my emotional history...it was incredibly comprehensive. and then, after all that, she did the actual exam. she discovered that i have a mild scoliosis. she also discovered (as had my neurologist) that i have a slight head tilt to the left, and therefore my right muscles work extra hard to correct that. and i have a leg-length discrepancy, in that my right leg is longer than my left (my right hip sits lower). anyway, given my assessment, and the fact that i was in excruciating pain on a near-daily basis, i was excited to get my treatment started.
i see dr. tara anywhere from 1-3 times a week, depending on my schedule and how i'm feeling (there have been a couple of times that i've cancelled my appointment because i've just been too freaking tired to make the drive - it's 15-20 minutes). at each session, i start face-up and she does some neck adjustments. then i flip to my stomach (using a special pillow with a hole in it for my belly) and she does some more adjustments to my back, and during the past few sessions she's also started focusing a lot on my sacrum and pubic bone, which feels awesome. then i sit up and she gently massages my neck and back. i don't always notice a difference right away, but definitely the next day i feel looser, less painful, and like i have a little bit more energy.
but that's not the only reason i like her. at every session, she asks me a question regarding my overall wellness. a few times it was just to tell her one thing that made me feel good that day. given that it was the end of the year, she asked me once what accomplishment i was most proud of. with the new year, she asked me what my resolutions are (but totally understood that resolutions hadn't even crossed my mind, what-with all the baby thoughts taking up space in my brain). we've talked a lot about labor and delivery, too. given that she's from this holistic point of view, she's very crunchy - more crunchy than i am. she had her 2 babies at home with no medications - not even an option for medication. i'm pretty sure she doesn't believe in vaccinations, though i've avoided that topic with her because i am such a strong proponent for vaccines.
last night, she asked me what is the central theme to my thoughts regarding labor and delivery. my answer was that i really hope i can do it without medication. i really mean all medication, but we focused mostly on pain medication last night. she asked me why i have such a concern about it, and if i was getting pressure from anyone to use medication. i'm not, though it is discouraging to have my friends look at me like i have 85 heads when i tell them that i hope to go med-free. matt fully supports my decision to go without, and my doctors seem to be willing to go along with whatever i want, though i do need to discuss this more in-depth with them at our next appointment. i'm more afraid that my body or more specifically that i won't be able to handle it. so she reminded me that one of the biggest weapons that women have to manage labor is relaxation techniques, and asked me what thoughts i had about relaxation. i told her that i think one of the biggest things for me will be music - music has always been a huge part of my life, and i can use music to transport me away from situations, to ease my mind, to pump me up - whatever i need, music has always been there for me. i told her that i've been working on creating a labor and delivery playlist with calming, soothing music to help me turn inward and focus on myself. i also am creating another playlist with just instrumental, relaxing music (mostly movie soundtrack music) - that is what helped me fall asleep during hurricane tomas on our honeymoon - i plugged in my earbuds and turned on the harry potter soundtrack to drown out the wind. i've thought about making a more upbeat, motivational list for when it comes time to push, too, but i don't really want baby to enter the world the sounds of something like "sexyback," by justin timberlake. i think creating a push playlist would take a lot more creativity and thought than my relaxing playlist, and i just don't have the energy for that. maybe when i'm home on maternity leave (if baby doesn't come before i start) i'll work on it.
she said that music worked really well for her, and at one point during her labor she actually had her husband take her ipod of the dock and just hand her her earbuds so she could fully drown out the noise around her. i don't think i would hesitate to do that, honestly. i know what music does for me, and i know that would probably help me a lot.
then we started talking about other relaxation techniques. she asked me if there was any position that i'd practiced or found that helped, and i told her that in our childbirth class we'd learned several, and i had found that the most effective one for me was to sit facing matt, with my head on his chest, while he rubs my neck, back, and arms. another one that worked was when we stood facing each other, and i put my arms around his neck and just kind of hung there while we rocked back and forth and he rubbed my back. she also reminded me about gentle touch, and that oftentimes women find that very soothing. one of my favorite things is when matt lightly strokes the inside of my arm, so i will definitely have to keep that in mind.
i am so glad she brought that topic up and we talked about it. it made me feel a zillion times more confident, realizing that i do have several effective relaxation techniques in my arsenal.
now i just have to get over - or better yet face - my fear of induction...