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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 Parents.com.
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!
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.)
- 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.
- 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.)
- Camera (batteries, charger)
- Phones & chargers
- Makeup bag
- Lip balm
- Vitamins & allergy medication
- Hair products
- Hair dryer Didn’t need—the hospital had one.
- 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.)
(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.)
- 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.
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 Parents.com’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 Parents.com 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
Sunday, January 29th, 2012
Today is my due date. I am ready.
Here are a few things I’ve tried to get her moving:
1) Eggplant Parmesan. Even had leftovers for two days afterward. Nothing.
2) Spicy foods. Sambal and eggs for breakfast. Pad Thai for lunch. Buffalo shrimp for dinner. And so on.
3) Massage. Had a lovely one on Saturday. Plus, Clint continues to give me foot massages nightly. (Thank you, sweet hubby.)
4) Acupressure. My massage therapist is studying to be an acupuncturist. She gave me some ankle points to work a few times daily. (Just under the ankle bone on both sides of the foot, FYI.)
5) Visualization/Relaxation. Been doing our HypnoBirthing scripts a few nights a week for about a month now.
6) Exercise. I laid off my vigorous morning walks when I had too many deadlines and felt too close to labor. I’ve picked ‘em back up.
Here are a few things I plan to try:
7) Sitting on the exercise ball. Another one that I was doing until I had major contractions too early on. I’ll sit on it while working at my desk all day again starting tomorrow.
8) Evening primrose oil. Some people take it orally, and apparently one up the wahoo may help speed things along? Also, it softens. To prevent, um, tearing. (I cringed just typing that.)
9) Glass of red wine. It’s my understanding that this is a relaxation thing. Like massage.
10) Sweeping my membranes. This is something the doc would do during my weekly exam. Sounds horrid, doesn’t it? And, come to think of it, not exactly natural. Still: A way to move things along. Some people say this hurts, but I don’t remember it being painful when he did it last pregnancy. He’s offered to do this the last two visits and I’ve declined. I may take him up on it this time, as the threat of chemical induction looms.
And here are a few things I’m not up for trying—yet—but that you might want to know about if you’re here because you Googled “how to induce labor naturally”:
11) Nipple stimulation. Apparently you need to go at it for hour-long increments at a time? Pass.
12) Castor oil. This sounds harsh and it scares me.
13) Sex. I’m nine months pregnant. I can’t find a comfortable sitting position. You people who perform this feat while this massive and uncomfortable? I salute you.
Considering I’ve tried half of these methods with zero results, I’m thinking she’ll come when she’s good and ready. In the meantime, I’ve got nothing to lose by trying.
(I should probably mention: Do your research & consult your doctor before you try these things, too…)
Edited to add: Find out what worked!
Image: Aubergines with Parmesan Cheese via Shutterstock
Saturday, January 28th, 2012
I usually work four-day weeks; Monday through Thursday. Friday’s Mom & Roy day. Since he naps in the afternoon, we pack the fun stuff into the mornings. We’ll hang around in our PJs reading books and coloring, or go on play dates at a park, zoo, museum or friend’s house. Sometimes, we’ll go grocery shopping. Not too long ago, I said, “Roy, we get to hang out together all day tomorrow. What do you want to do?” “Oh!” he said immediately, as if the perfect idea just sprang to mind. “Run errands!” Whatever we do, it’s a good time, together.
We’ve had fewer of these Fridays the last couple of months since I’ve been trying to hit all my work deadlines before disappearing into babyland, which could happen at any moment. Since these work Fridays took place over the holidays, it didn’t seem like a big deal. There was always some extra-fun weekend event or non-Friday holiday that equaled special time together.
I obviously didn’t have the baby this week, and though I’ve gotten many of the things wrapped up that I want to get wrapped up, there’s always more to do. On Thursday, I stared at that blank Friday on my calendar contemplating: Day with Roy? Or day care and more wrapping up?
I decided to give him the choice. He chose daycare. I was happy that he likes daycare so much, and for another day to TCB, but also a little sad.
I asked Clint if I should override him or just accept the guilt-free work day. “Well, this could be the very last time you can spend a day only with Roy,” he said.
Me: “Don’t say that! That’s not true!”
Clint: “I think you’re misinterpreting me. I just mean it may be your last real full day alone together.”
Me: “What? No way. I’ll still spend time alone with Roy.”
Clint: “No, I mean on Fridays. You’d have to get someone to take care of the baby and, well. We will have two.”
Me: “Just… stop.”
I asked Roy again, and he’d changed his mind. “Day with Mommy,” he said.
Then again, before bedtime, just to be sure. His reply: “Mommy.”
We started with a leisurely breakfast, including shared kiwi. Play-doh. Lots of books read while tucked under a puffy blanket on the couch. And a laid-back walk on the relatively balmy January day. It was all just so perfect and sweet that I had to pause for a second to remind myself that this moving from one to two kids business isn’t just an end. It’s a beginning. And an exciting one at that.
C’mon, little one! We’re ready for you…