Archive for the ‘ Pregnancy ’ Category

Natural Birth Dos & Don’ts

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

A quick heads up for any of you who have connected to this blog or my birth story because you’re hoping to have a natural birth: I wrote a story on the Dos and Don’ts of Natural Birth for

It was nice to be able to pull together some of my thoughts and to pick the brains of other mamas who’ve gone the natural route. Of course I had a couple of experienced midwives weigh in as well.

Our advice includes some basics, such as finding a supportive practitioner and birthing environment, as well as things you might not think about at first, such as remembering your birth partner, going ahead and eating that egg sandwich and cutting off others’ birthing horror stories.

Come to think of it, you should do that last one whether you’re headed the natural route or not. No pregnant lady needs the extra worry.

Check out the story.

Natural birth hopefuls: I sincerely hope the full list helps you achieve the birth you want. I’m happy to try and answer any questions in the comments.

Natural birth veterans: What advice did we miss? Help the hopefuls by adding your two cents!


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January Jones, Placenta Eater

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

The practice of placenta-eating grabbed headlines recently after Actress January Jones extolled its benefits in People magazine.

Jones had the organ encapsulated after the birth of her son, and credits her high post-baby energy levels to the placenta pills, which she pops daily and “anytime she feels tired or down.” People quoted her insisting, “It’s not witch-crafty or anything! I suggest it to all moms!”

If you read this blog regularly, you probably remember that my doula offered me the option of placenta encapsulation. She said that mamas who ate their placentas had increased energy and milk supply, and that the pills also helped combat postpartum depression.

Ultimately, I chose not to have my placenta encapsulated. Now that I have a two-month-old and find it near impossible to stay awake past 9 PM, part of me wishes I’d made a different choice. Maybe the pills would’ve helped with the exhaustion that’s part of life with a newborn and a toddler.

I have friends who did it, and their experiences in doing so intrigue me. Like so much about having a child, from pregnancy to birth to parenting, it’s personal. I love hearing the stories of people who made choices different than mine and how they played out.

I think it’s cool that Jones talked about placenta encapsulation in People. She knew she was inviting controversy. That the “Ew, gross!” comments would prevail. Because, well, eating your own organ is kinda gross. But by offering herself up as the poster child for placenta eating, and in doing so thrusting the practice into the spotlight, Jones may help others.

And sure. No press is bad press, right?

Let’s move beyond The Ew Factor for just a moment, though, shall we? It may help overcome breastfeeding challenges, stave off postpartum depression, and give new mamas the energy to make it through the inevitable difficult times. Speaking from my current seat on the New Babyland rollercoaster, that’s serious stuff.

Women such as Jones who choose to encapsulate swear it does these things. (Theorizing and personal experience are the main practice drivers here. As one friend who had her placenta encapsulated pointed out, there likely aren’t lots of studies to quote because who will pay for them? No one profits [monetarily] directly from a woman downing her own placenta.)

Have you done it? Would you? All experiences and opinions welcome.

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What to Pack for the Hospital When You’re Having a Baby, Revisited

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

I thought it would be helpful to revisit my hospital packing list now that I’ve done gone and had my baby to let prospective packers know what I used, what I didn’t use and what I forgot. The list below is copied directly from my earlier post on packing your bag for the hospital when having a baby. I’ll put notes in bold. (If I don’t make a note, assume I brought and used the item.) It’s probably worth noting that I had a natural birth. It seems my list caters somewhat to that method/mindset.

To pack ahead of time:

  • Copies of birth plan (in case they don’t have the copy my doc sent over ready and waiting) Wasn’t necessary—they had it waiting.
  • List of phone #s to call (even if Clint can remember the list of five people now, he may not have his wits about him when the time comes, due to sleeplessness and baby excitement)
  • Notebook (Birthing thoughts? Final baby-name narrowing down? Returning home to-do list? You never know.) Did not use this time. (Did last time.)
  • Birthing skirt/2 tanks/zipper sweatshirt (aka stuff to labor in that allows me to regulate my temperature and allows the hospital staff to access my lady region. An extra tank in case I want to wear one into the birthing tub.) The tank tops, especially, were lifesavers. I did not wear a hospital gown the entire visit.
  • Two pair nonslip comfy throwaway socks (For labor. There will likely be dripping. Gross, I know.) I only needed one.
  • Nursing bras. Oh my yes.
  • Bella bands (Nice to pair with nursing bras, for the discreet & ladylike, such as myself.) Did not use. Guess I’m not as ladylike as I imagined.
  • Breast pads (In case my milk comes in. Oh, the leakage.) Used, but not for leakage (my milk came in soon after returning home) but to prevent lanolin (see below) stains on my new nursing bras.
  • Lanolin (At first, your nipples hurt. A whole lot. Lanolin helps.)
  • Lotion
  • Arnica (My awesome friend Laura, a homeopath/pharmacist, recommends 200C post-delivery, and again 12 hours later, to promote overall healing.)
  • Ponytail holders
  • iPod/speakers (I prefer silence to birthing tunes, but we have HypnoBirthing scripts and affirmations on there.)
  • Breastfeeding-friendly PJs/hangout wear (Better than a hospital gown. You’ll probably want options that allow easy access to Down There and/or your post c-section tummy. Make it something you won’t mind being photographed in.) A short, comfy cotton robe was the key piece here‚ easy to nurse in, but also easy to cover up with. Also: Maternity yoga pants.
  • Pantry snacks that may be tolerable during labor, such as electrolyte jelly beans, granola bars (sprung for fancy raw Pashen bars for the occasion), nuts, emergenC (Keep that energy up!) So nice to have some can’t miss snacks on hand for both during and after labor. These things, plus drinkable yogurt, aged Gouda, bananas, clementines, and my favorite teas, kept me happy without having to rely on the hospital kitchen’s offerings and hours.
  • Have cooler ready Didn’t bring. Got everything into the hospital refridge immediately upon arrival.
  • Present for Roy (From the baby. So when they meet, she has it ready for him.) Yes. See shark washcloths above. A hit!
  • Cash For hospital cafeteria for Clint.

For baby:

  • A few sleepers (Those long gowns with the elastic at the bottom, to make frequent changes easier. Might as well have her wear her own clothes, washed in our detergent, from the get-go.) The gowns were too big. Should have brought newborn-sized footie PJs.
  • Socks & hats
  • Blanket A must.
  • Super cute going-home outfit
  • Car seat with BundleMe (Essential for a winter baby in Minnesota—no bulky, hard-to-regulate snowsuit necessary.)
  • Baby book (Get those footprints!) Yes! Cute little tootsies.
  • Boppy, or other breastfeeding pillow (Might as well start in the manner you intend to continue.) Yes! Do it.

To pack the last minute:

(Again, a list containing even the obvious is nice. It’s hard to make decisions while in labor.)

  • Laptop
  • Camera (batteries, charger)
  • Phones & chargers
  • Makeup bag
  • Lip balm
  • Toothbrush/paste
  • Deodorant
  • Vitamins & allergy medication
  • Hair products
  • Brush
  • Hair dryer Didn’t need—the hospital had one.
  • Slippers
  • Pillows Yes!
  • Stock cooler (ice, drinkable yogurt, hard cheese, fruit)
  • 12-pack fizzy water (It’s my jam.) Yes.
  • HypnoBirthing scripts (On paper. For Clint to potentially read to me.) We did not read these.
  • Towel to sit on in car (if my water hasn’t broken)
  • Wallets/insurance card/ids
  • Calendar (I’ve not yet gone electronic on this. Rockin’ it old skool style.)
  • Glasses

 For Clint:

(Just a loose reminder list for him…)

  • Food (If he’s gonna support me, he needs to maintain energy as well.) He brought leftovers and sandwich necessities.
  • PJs (The hospital is not the place for underwear-only sleeping.)
  • Toiletries
  • Camp mat (To make a crappy hospital sofa more bearable.) Did not bring.
  • Blanket (See above.)


  • Commenter Darcie suggested my own special baby wash, which was an awesome addition.
  • I would’ve appreciated my own soap, shampoo and conditioner. The hospital stuff is so… hospitaly.
  • We had someone bring in our Netflix DVDs. We were unexpectedly in the mood to keep tabs on Nurse Jackie.

All in all, I think I did an OK job—enough to keep myself comfortable, not too many extras, and not too many “I wish I would’ves.” Hope this helps you do the same.


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Overdue Update

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

I’m almost a week overdue now. Physically, no big deal. Moving slowly. Getting footrubs. Could be worse.

Mentally, I’m a little less at ease. I want to meet this little girl. I want to get on with it.

First thing yesterday morning, we had an appointment at the hospital to make sure all’s going well in there. Actually, they call it a “health campus.” It’s on a nature preserve. There are works of art and fireplaces everywhere and free valet service upon entering. Sometimes, there’s a musician playing the grand piano in the central hangout space near the lobby. The maternity unit’s rooms are relatively hotellike, with giant tubs for laboring and any necessary birth equipment hidden under discreet panels until there’s need for them. During your stay, roving volunteer aromatherapists, acupuncturists and masseuses stop by to offer their services. It just happens to be one of the nearby hospitals at which my doctor delivers. Lucky.

So, anyway, the ultrasound was first. The tech measured amniotic fluid and the baby’s heart rate, both of which were just fine. Then she looked for eight specific fetal movements, all of which she documented in a timely manner. She wanted to take a snapshot for us, but couldn’t get one of the little girl’s face since it’s so far down into position. Which has to be a good thing. We got a cute little foot-shot instead.

Next step: A nonstress test. For this, they circle two long elastic belts around your tummy to hold two discs in place to monitor fetal heartrate, as well as potential contractions, for 20 minutes or so. The first time I had one of these with Roy, they didn’t tell me that ideally, the baby’s heart rate will climb and then drop again quite a bit. So I sat there watching the number stay comfortably in the 130s awhile, then nearly had a heart attack when it skyrocketed up into the 170s. It soon made its way back down to the 130s. Relief. But then it started climbing again, and I was positive I was moments away from being rushed to the emergency room for an immediate c-section to pluck this overdue and overly stressed baby from my womb. Thank god a nurse came in to check on me and explained that those peaks were good. Exactly what they wanted.

So this time, I rested easy as my little girl’s heart rate spiked and evened, spiked and evened. All was just fine. Apparently, I had a couple of contractions, too, but I didn’t really feel them, so… whatever. Nothing to get too excited about.

Bottom line: No reason to speed things up, as the kid’s perfectly happy in there. Maybe a titch too happy. Wish I could flip on the lights and turn the heat down just enough for her to think that maybe it’s time to see what things are like elsewhere. As in outside of my body.

The waiting game continues.


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Tummywatch Tuesday: 40 Weeks

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

I wasn’t expecting this, no pun intended, especially after two very early rounds of practice labor. It’s almost as if she’s in there pouting. All, Oh, not now, eh? Or now? Too early for you? Fine. I’ll just settle in for a couple more weeks and see how you feel then, Ms. I’m In No Rush. So here were are at forty weeks. Well, forty weeks and two days, to be exact. At this point in the game, when I grow larger by the hour, we cannot forget those two days.

At least I feel alright. No major pains or anything. Sure, I am pretty tired by evening time, and there is a certain amount of pressure in my lower abdominal region, and I don’t exactly sleep through the night. But all of that is pretty minimal considering I’m forty weeks and two days pregnant. Considering that, according to’s babytracker, the baby inside me is no longer watermelon-sized, but pumpkin sized. Pumpkin! Funny, the first trimester was Morning Sickness Hell. The second was all about back and rib pain. And now here I am at the end of the third, hauling around a little pumpkin, feeling just fine. A few people have suggested that I need to get fed up; that that’s what’ll get the little girl moving. I’ll work on that. In the meantime, I’ve got plenty of work and nesting and resting to keep me busy.

Went to the doc today, and he said not much has changed, cervix-wise. I was hoping to have dilated at least another number, but I’m still right around a 2. Dangit. So I go in for an ultrasound and nonstress test first thing Friday morning, to make sure she’s OK hanging out in there a bit longer. (I have a feeling she’ll be in there mid-tai chi session, stopping only to wield her middle finger.) Then I have my forty-one weeks and two days appointment next Tuesday, at which we will schedule an induction.

All of this assuming I do not go into labor sooner. I really hope I do. I’ve tried lots of things, including having Roy demand she come out now, but am certainly open to others.

Fingers crossed my next post is an announcement. I’m not holding my breath. Unless, of course, you tell me that holding my breath would induce labor.

One last thing: My fellow blogger Jill Cordes, who had the exact same due date as me, had her baby. Congrats, Jill, Phil & Fia! Her little boy is healthy and crazy adorable, and she picked out an awesome name.

Pumpkin image credit: iStockphoto

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