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Purposeful parenting amid a world of sugar, screens and schedules.


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Breastfeeding Hurts!

The other day there was a new mom in my moms group wanting tips on how to get her baby to latch well so that breastfeeding wouldn’t hurt. It brought back all sorts of feelings and memories from when I was a first time mom going through the same thing. 

My midwife asked me in the last week of my first pregnancy if I had taken any breastfeeding classes. Seriously? How hard can it be? You stick a boob in the baby’s mouth and she eats….right? 

I anticipated that first moment of bonding with my new baby with excitement. And when that moment finally arrived….

IT HURT!

I asked people, “Should it hurt this much? It really hurts!” They all said that it might hurt a bit but it shouldn’t hurt a lot…there must be something wrong with the latch.

 

Snuggling with Big Sis…my first born.

 
I spent a bunch of money on a lactation consultant (which is silly because there are so many free ones out there, but I had already met this lady and liked her and wanted someone who really knew their stuff).  I spent a very frustrating hour trying to do everything she was telling me to do, but in the end I went away with a few helpful tips, some Mother’s Love nipple cream, and a bad attitude. Because my baby was showing all the signs of having a proper latch and I felt like I hadn’t really learned much of anything.

My daughter was eating well. She was gaining weight. Everything was great except she was really hurting me!

Thankfully, the cream really helped. The lasinoh I had been using was not helpful but within a couple of days of using the Mother’s Love, my blisters were starting to heal. It still hurt but it wasn’t quite as excruciatingly painful.

I had a friend tell me to give it five weeks. It isn’t like I had any plans of giving up, but I was thinking about trying some shortcuts to try and make things easier…like pumping and just using a bottle to give myself a break (which I have done in very small amounts with second and third babies.) But I had heard of moms who did that in the beginning and then had to pump forever because their babies wouldn’t nurse. So I told myself to push through. 

Five weeks. 

It helped to have a time frame.

Things slowly got easier. Five weeks came and we had the nursing thing pretty much down. It didn’t hurt anymore and even the difficult task of nursing in public had gotten much easier. 

 

Little Sis…my second born

 
My second and third babies came along and it was so easy. I knew exactly what I was doing. But guess what…it still hurt! For both my second and third babies. I was definitely not doing anything wrong. They were great little eaters and caught on to nursing right away. But it hurt just as much with them as it did with my first.  I don’t know why. I know it is not like that for everyone. But that’s just how it is for me. Every time I have a baby.

 

My Little Bear…third born

 
Some things that help me in those first weeks and might help you…

– Talk to a lactation consultant…breastfeeding is not as easy as it seems at first. And although my kids were all latching correctly, some babies don’t. Things like tongue ties can make latching extremely difficult and might require medical help.

– Once a baby has latched and is sucking, you can move the baby’s lips to make the latch better.  If they have a sort of shallow suck, spreading their lips wider around you can help. Or as I got better at it I would just push their top lip up as they opened their mouth to latch.

– Try different positions so that it isn’t so hard on one spot. I like to nurse the “normal way” and also laying down on my side.  Laying down is my favorite because it is so snuggly, I can rest and it is easy on my lady parts that are crazy sore from giving birth ūüėČ

– In addition to nursing in different positions I like to nurse on just one side for each feeding. This might not work for you if you are trying to keep up a small supply but if that’s not a concern, nursing on just one side for one feeding and then the other side when the baby is hungry again two hours or so later helps because it gives each side a little break.

– Find things that help you heal. For me it was the Mother’s Love cream and an herbal bath. It was a special postpartum herbal blend made locally but I am sure you can find some online. The Mother’s Love can be found online as well…and no I don’t sell it or anything…I just love it and talk about it way too much ūüėČ

Has anyone else out there experienced this? What helped you get through those difficult first weeks? 

Thanks for reading!

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Birth Story Baby #3

PREGNANCY

This pregnancy seemed like all the rest at first. I felt semi nauseous and tired for maybe a month. It was a little bit worse because I ended up catching a weird flu like bug that lasted a couple of weeks and wiped me out. But otherwise my pregnancy symptoms were mild and short lived and then I felt great. But I did start to get big much faster. And by the end of my pregnancy, things were really different. I was in a lot of pain and was very uncomfortable. I felt a ton of pressure from the baby and kept thinking he was going to be early because he was obviously trying to push his way out. I was also experiencing a lot of real feeling contractions early on…maybe a month and a half away from my due date. They were different from my usual Braxton hicks contractions. When I felt contractions like that with Little Sis, it meant labor was starting. I would just get one or two a day though and that was it.

With Big Sis I felt fantastic, was fully functioning and going on nice long walks up to the day I went into labor. With Little Sis I was bigger and over-due but still felt pretty good and was hanging out with friends and functioning well to the very moment I went into labor playing Settlers of Catan at a friend’s house. But this time I could barely function by the last week of pregnancy. Walking, bending over, or any movement really, could be painful or start a contraction. I never knew what to expect. We went on a walk one day and I would go from waddling normally to barely being able to put one foot in front of the other. Sleeping was tough because I was so huge that I could not get comfortable in addition to the normal sore hips. And whenever the baby moved, the pain sometimes almost brought tears to my eyes. I told some friends that I was so sore and tired that it felt like I had already given birth. I had never felt this horrible with my other pregnancies.

LABOR

The weekend before I had Little Bear, I bought I was going into labor. I was having so many contractions as I lay in bed Friday night, that I started to time them. They were pretty regular…every ten to fifteen minutes. Then they stopped. I was grateful for some sleep but annoyed when I woke up in the morning without a baby. Then, because we had no reason not to, we got the girls ready and went to the homecoming parade. Walking to and from where we parked our van was excruciating and Jason ended up going to get it and coming back for me. I was so sure I was going to have a baby that day. I was surely feeling this way for a reason, right? But I did not have a baby that day. Or all weekend. Or Monday. Or Tuesday.

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At the parade.

But Wednesday came along and I started to have a bunch of contractions. They started pretty early in the morning…maybe around 3am. After a few hours of really regular contractions I called Jason at work and told him he might want to prepare for a sub for the day (he is a teacher.) Around 7am they were getting closer together and getting stronger so I told my husband he should definitely come home, I called my midwife, and told my doula friend and my friend who was going to watch the girls that I am pretty sure I would need them soon. Then around 9am they slowed way down…they were still happening but were 30, 45, sometimes even an hour apart. We decided to just have a fun family day and went out to lunch, walked around the mall, and took the kids to the play place there.

Later that night my midwife called and asked me to come in for a quick check up, just to make sure everything was going well. I was dilated to a three so the contractions were working! She told me to try and relax and get some sleep. So I did. But then I woke up again around 2am with more intense contractions. They weren’t very regular or close together but they were getting more intense and this time I knew for absolutely sure that I was going to have a baby. I let Jason sleep until I felt like we should call my midwife. She told us to come in.

When we got there I was dilated to a nine! Good thing we came in. The weird thing was though that contractions never got really regular or close together. Normally by the time I am about to give birth, contractions are one or two minutes apart and I get really in the zone of concentrating on contractions and I don’t talk to anyone. This time I had plenty of time to relax and joke and chat with my husband, my friend, and the nurse in between contractions. I don’t remember what we talked about exactly but I remember some of it being really silly and having to tell them not to make me laugh so hard.

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At the birth center….joking around in between contractions ūüôā ¬†Such a relaxing atmosphere. ¬†Dimmed lights, relaxing music, and at most five people in the room…six with the baby.

 BIRTH

Things happened much more slowly this time than with Little Sis. I am not sure if I just had spread out contractions for some unknown, weird reason, or if it had to do with me choosing to lay on my side. With Little Sis I sat up and let gravity do its job. It happened quickly and I thought it was great because I didn’t get worn out like I did with Big Sis. But I tore really badly and feel like I never really fully healed from it. With Little Bear I really didn’t want to tear like that again so I decided to stay on my side and let things happen more slowly. I think it really helped. Little Bear was 9lb 13oz, had a larger head than the other two, and even had an arm come out with his head. I screamed like someone was murdering me. But I did not tear as badly. ūüėČ And now I feel like I have healed better. For that, I am thankful.

The reason I screamed, besides the fact that I had a huge baby, was because I had to move in the middle of pushing. ¬†The whole labor experience was totally relaxed and contractions were manageable as long as nothing changed while they were happening. ¬†So if my husband’s hand was on me as a contraction started, he needed to keep it there until is was done or I would have more pain and get upset and tell him to put it back. ¬†So when my water broke while I was pushing (with such force that it got on the bed, the floor and the wall…luckily not my midwife! haha) I was laying in a pool of water and they needed to move me. ¬†And THAT horrible, awful, no good time when I was moving and not in a relaxed position was the time the baby decided to make his entrance. ¬†But once he was out, all was well. ¬†ūüôā

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AFTER BIRTH

I just love the birth center. During labor I loved having My husband laying on the bed snuggling with me. And after giving birth I enjoyed eating homemade pancakes and eggs and taking a bath in their giant tub.

The thing that I did not like this time was having to have a pediatrician appointment right away. Usually we can go home and relax and my husband can bring the baby in for a check up at the end of the day or even the next day. But this time we had some issues, like our regular doctor telling us that she no longer takes birth center babies. What?! So we had to go to someone we didn’t know on the opposite side of town and we did not have time to go home first. ¬†We stopped at my friend’s house who lives over there so I could take a nap while my husband took the baby in.

Another reason why I love the birth center…home visits. The next day my nurse and midwife came to our house to check up on us. It was so nice to just be able to relax at home all day and have them just drop by rather than having to go somewhere or have to still be in the hospital. I got to lay in my own bed snuggling my baby all day and watching Gilmore Girls. That was my reward for having a baby in October. Starting October 1st, the entire series was added to Netflix and I felt like it was done especially for me ūüėČ

My baby is a month old now and is a big boy! He is already wearing some three month outfits…depending on the brand of course. The girls adore him…sometimes too much! And life is good. Although the house is a mess and we are late for everything we do…including breakfast and lunch. We are getting used to things though and hopefully will fall into a better routine soon.

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The girls love their brother!

Thanks for reading!


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Reasons I’m Glad Pregnancy is Over

I have been in survival mode this whole month. ¬†Having three small children is a lot harder than I thought it would be. ¬†I didn’t think having two kids was very difficult. ¬†More challenging than just one, of course, but not that difficult. ¬†Now that it’s so crazy with three I’m realizing that it was probably because Big Sis was such an easy kid…a pretty good listener for a two year old and capable of being quiet! ¬†Little Sis is a crazy kid. ¬†She is super loud and is in a really defiant stage right now. ¬†And she’s been getting up early lately. ¬†The girls usually sleep in until 7:30 or 8:00 but lately she’s been getting up closer to 6:30 or 7:00. ¬†¬† Little Bear is a good sleeper but he has not started to sleep longer stretches yet so he wakes up every three hours to eat. ¬†I spend 30-45 minutes feeding, burping and changing diapers each time so I only get to sleep in 2 hour increments…maybe…because sometimes he fusses a bit before falling back to sleep or Big Sis or Little Sis wake up with bad dreams. ¬†So I’m exhausted in the mornings and end up handing the girls my ipad to watch Netflix so I can stay in bed far too long and then get very little done throughout the day! ¬†Hopefully things will get easier soon! ¬†I feel great now as far as recovery goes. ¬†Recovery went really well¬†and I am excited to share my birth story.

Today though I thought I would share why I am glad that I’m no longer pregnant. ¬†Haha. ¬†It’s good to remember to be thankful¬†when things are difficult…if you’ve been pregnant, can you relate to any of these?

REASONS I’M GLAD PREGNANCY IS OVER

– I can give hugs without having to turn a little to the side

– I don’t have to worry about running into the counter or getting my stomach too close to the stove when I’m cooking

– I am skinnier sideways than I am front-ways…so I can turn sideways to squeeze past something and it actually makes sense again ūüôā

– I can sleep on my stomach!

– I can eat at a sushi restaurant without people looking at me funny (yes, people who are giving me judgmental looks, you can eat sushi when you are pregnant, you just have to make sure everything is cooked!)

РI still have trouble finding clothes that fit, but at least they cover my whole body.  The last month of pregnancy I had a hard time keeping even my largest maternity shirts all the way down to completely cover my stomach at all times.

– I can do things without having¬†to worry about whether or not I’m going to go into labor

– People are too focused on the cute baby to comment on my body…but even if they weren’t…

– I’m not huge anymore!!

– I can twist and pop my back when it hurts (seriously, so exciting!)

– I sleep really well. ¬†I don’t get much sleep but the sleep I get is fantastic. ¬†I am comfortable and fall asleep so fast.

– I am not in pain….no back pain, hip pain, or baby practicing ninja moves inside of me pain

– And best of all, of course, I get to snuggle my sweet baby boy!

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Random Thoughts…Pregnancy #3

I really enjoy writing this blog. ¬†I was talking to a friend today about why I started it and I love that the reason I do it is for my own entertainment. ¬†It’s a hobby. ¬†I don’t get hung up on how many people read it. ¬†Although I do LOVE when people read it and leave comments ūüėČ ¬†But anyway, this blog post is an example of¬†a post that I really did not write for anything other than my own entertainment. ¬†I hope that if you are reading it, that you enjoy it anyway and¬†that some of you can even¬†relate to some of it.

Pregnancy 1:

“Oh my gosh, look at that cute little belly!” “You’re glowing!” “Oh you look so great!” Lots of advice and offers for free baby things they no longer need.

I was a¬†little tired from pregnancy at first- asleep at 9pm no matter where I was, but that went¬†away and then I had¬†all sorts of time and energy to focus on your prenatal videos, reading up on pregnancy and birth, taking a birth class, eating well so I could be a healthy¬†habitat, getting¬†all the baby stuff we’d need, and picking out the perfect name.

Pregnancy 2:

“Oh fun, is (child1) excited to be a big brother/sister?”¬†Mostly positive comments.

I was busier with a toddler running around and my exercise came from chasing Big Sis at the park and dance parties more than my prenatal videos although I still did them frequently.

I was¬†eating pretty well because I was¬†super focused on nutrition for my toddler, but¬†sometimes I’d find¬†myself giving the only apple to Big Sis and scrounging for a snack for myself…perhaps a granola bar or something…and then I’d realize that I am maybe¬†not taking that “I am a habitat” attitude as seriously this time around.

Pregnancy 3:

Wow, you’re really big.” I can count the number of comments that I’ve gotten about looking good, and most other comments have been about how big I am.¬† Besides having a baby, the thing I am most looking forward to about not being¬†pregnant anymore is that I won’t have to listen to people talk about my body!! ¬†Really, although I’d rather have a positive comment than a “you’re so big” comment, I’d prefer to just talk about pregnancy and babies than about how other people think my body looks.¬† “You must be due really soon, huh?” Raised eyebrows when I still have _____months/weeks¬†left.

“You’re going to have your hands full.” ¬†I get the feeling that a few people think that I¬†have too many kids…although it really is totally normal to have 3 kids and only one more than two. ¬†But those people usually have understanding smiles when they hear it’s a different sex than the first two. “OH, you FINALLY got your boy.” As if I had been trying and just couldn’t do it before. ¬†haha ¬†I usually just smile and nod but sometimes I can’t resist and¬†I say that we would have been just as excited to have another girl. ¬†Then there’s usually a look of surprise…”even your husband would have been fine with that?” ¬†Yep. ¬†Our girls are freaking awesome. ¬†ūüėČ

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Going on a nature walk…about 37 weeks pregnant

Exercise?  I think I used my prenatal videos twice.  But I play hide and seek and go on nature walks at a toddler must-stop-and-touch-all-the-sticks-and-rocks pace.  I climb and slide and give underdogs at the park.  That counts for something.  My body is definitely not as happy about being pregnant this time, though. My sore hips make it really difficult to sleep and sometimes if I stand in one place to cook for a long time or something, my ankles and knees become swollen and my whole body aches.

Nutrition? ¬†I’m eating pretty well but my iron, although always low during pregnancy, for some reason went below the acceptable level this time and I have had to supplement like crazy to bring it back up. ¬†I am a lot more tired.

Some fun things about pregnancy 3:

Big Sis¬†thinks it is super fun to feel the baby kick¬†and she likes to come up with creative names for him. Little Sis is in love with all babies and I’m excited for her to have her very own.

I feel like an old pro. ¬†My only anxiety is about birth…because you just can’t know what that’s going to be like. ¬†But knowing what to do with a baby? ¬†I’ve got that down! ¬†hehe

I am looking forward to things that feel so familiar now but I didn’t know to look forward to the first time…like how they arch their backs and stick their butts out when you pick them up after a nap…and snuggles on my shoulder after nursing…and kissing soft heads…and baby smells (the good kind.) ūüôā

I have a ton of boys clothes in the¬†dresser and in boxes organized by size,¬†waiting to be used. ¬†I am sad that this might be it and I might not get to use my sweet baby girl clothes again…but it is also fun to get new, cute boy clothes.

I am around 38 weeks now.  He could come any day!  Looking forward to feeling him squirm in my arms rather than in my belly.

Thanks for reading!


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Why I Chose A Birth Center

With the birth of Baby #3 coming up, I’ve decided to write some posts on pregnancy and childbirth. ¬†I wrote a post on my experience with pregnancy and birth the first time and then one about my experience the second time. ¬†And now I’d like to talk about why I chose a birth center.

why i chose the birth center

It all came down to my decision to have a natural birth.  The more I have read and become educated about health, the more I believe in trusting what is natural.

I believe that natural foods like fruits and veggies and meat will keep you healthier than eating man-made processed foods full of chemicals¬†that live in packages. ¬†Not that I always eat that way…but I believe it!

I read an amazing book called Taking Charge of Your Fertility. ¬†It is a book for all women- women who want to know more about how their bodies work, women trying to get pregnant, or women who want to learn natural ways to not get pregnant rather than using chemical forms of birth control. ¬†The stories in that book really made me think. ¬†For example, not every woman has a normal 28 day cycle. ¬†If you have a longer or shorter cycle, it could really affect some things. ¬†There is a story of a husband and wife who waited to have sex until their wedding night- their insurance kicked in that week. ¬†But because her cycle was different than most, the insurance wouldn’t cover her because they thought she must have conceived before the insurance coverage started. ¬†It can also affect your due date. ¬†If you have a particularly long or short cycle, you may not be due when they think you must be due if they go by the date of your last menstrual period. ¬†So your “late” baby that you had to induce for might actually not have been late at all. ¬†Knowing your body and charting your cycle can help you to take charge of yourself and could alleviate these problems. ¬†Charting also allows you to know your cycle and know if you are ovulating or not- which will help you in conceiving a baby…or not.

Most doctors tell you about birth control pills, iud’s, and etc. ¬†But they don’t tell you about how your body works and offer charting as an option of birth control. ¬†Why? ¬†Well, it takes work. ¬†You really have to take charge- pay close attention to your body and make responsible choices. ¬†These days it seems like nobody can be trusted to make responsible choices. ¬†So they want to give every kid a vaccination for an STD¬†because we doubt their ability to choose to abstain from sex. ¬†They give every baby who is born some goop in their eyes to protect them from blindness/infection caused by STD’s¬†because…why? ¬†Because¬†we can’t trust mothers to know if they have an STD¬†or not? ¬†I don’t understand why they would give this stuff to a baby with no risk whatsoever.

As I came across questions like these, I became more and more interested in what else was happening routinely that wasn’t necessary. ¬†And what I found out was amazing.

Every intervention that is done- an epidural, fetal monitoring, pitocin, breaking the waters…they all can be the start for more and more interventions, making the body less able to do it’s own thing and more and more likely that you will end up with a c-section.

It turns out pretty much everything that happens in a hospital during a normal birth isn’t necessary…including being there! ¬†Birth is a natural process that a woman’s body is made for. ¬†Sure things can go wrong…and thankfully hospitals and doctors are available for those situations. ¬†But there really aren’t very many reasons that you would need to go to the hospital once you’ve begun an on time (not too early) natural labor. ¬†I’m not a birth expert but from what I’ve read, most really serious complications require you to go to the hospital rather than having a baby at the birth center or at home anyway. ¬†You know about them in advance. ¬†If your baby is breech, if your water has broken and you don’t go into labor within a certain time frame, if you have a complication like placenta previa…all these things are known before you start labor so if you start a birth at home or at the birth center, things are likely to go well. ¬†I believe my birth center has a 17% transfer rate. ¬†I am not sure if that counts births that never started at the birth center, like for breech babies. ¬†But either way, it’s a pretty small percentage. ¬†The most common reason I think is failure to progress.

The decision ended up being an easy one for me.  After I started questioning things and doing research as described above, the following reasons are why I think I ended up choosing the birth center:

  • Because of¬†my belief in natural foods and limiting the exposure of chemicals in our bodies, I definitely believed it was in the baby’s best interest for me to have a natural birth. ¬†I am well aware that I am exposed to a lot of chemicals already through food and bathroom products and whatnot (a doctor once pointed this out to me as if I was going to say, “ok, I’ll change my mind…might as well add some more to the list”) but¬†I don’t want¬†to purposefully expose a newborn baby to more chemicals than I have to before she has a chance to grow strong and develop an immune system. ¬†I know that women have epidurals and whatnot¬†all the time and babies are healthy and fine…but since an epidural is only for me avoiding pain and not for the baby’s well-being and because we can’t say for sure that there won’t be negative side affects, I decided to go the natural route.
Why I chose a birth center

Big Sis a short time after nursing for the first time…one of the few times she was sleeping rather than looking all around.

  • My birth center is near the hospital. ¬†If for some reason I would need to transfer, it is a five or ten minute car ride depending on the time of day.
  • The certified nurse midwife at the birth center really knows her stuff. ¬†She has been doing this for 30 years- she got her degree, worked at a hospital for a bit, worked in Africa for several years performing births and educating new midwives, and she started the birth center here. ¬†A doctor’s education is based on the medical side of things. ¬†They know what to do when something goes wrong and they know how and why to do all the interventions, but a midwife is more focused on just letting your body do its thing. ¬†My midwife is really¬†knowledgeable about everything birth related and is super good at keeping her cool and handling anything that comes her way. ¬†She is really laid back and lets you labor as you choose but if something needs to be done she takes charge and does it.
Why I chose a birth center

My midwife and my husband measuring Little Sis on the bed while I lay there relaxing and eating pancakes ūüôā

  • I knew I wouldn’t have to fight anything at the birth center. ¬†A birth plan isn’t really necessary for me there because the midwife is just going to naturally do things the way I’d like to do them. ¬†I want to not be hooked up to any machines, free to roam around or take a bath, not be encouraged to do an epidural or break my water or use pitocin, hold my naked unwashed¬†baby on my bare chest as soon as she’s out, wait to cut the cord, not do the eye goop, not give them a bath, always be with my baby, no bottles or pacifiers, go home quickly, etc. ¬†Even if they respected my wishes at the hospital, I just didn’t want to be offered things or encouraged to do things or feel like a weirdo or like jerk if I had to stop someone and remind them of something I wanted. ¬†My midwife not only respects what I’d like to do but understands and even agrees with pretty much everything. ¬†She is always really helpful in talking through decisions or problems with me and discussing natural options during pregnancy, birth and recovery.
Why I chose a birth center

Such a relaxed atmosphere…lots of cuddles with Little Sis at the birth center a short time before we headed home.

  • Although this wasn’t a part of my decision initially, one of the things I really love about the birth center is the laid back atmosphere. ¬†It is usually just my husband¬†and I, a nurse, and the midwife. ¬†I also had a friend come to be our sort of doula at our second birth. ¬†It’s super calm and a very relaxing atmosphere…which is perfect for the Bradley method of natural birth because it is all about relaxation. ¬†They are there if you want them and they’ll get you anything you need, but I was there laboring with Big Sis for quite a while and it was mostly just my husband and I doing our thing. ¬†Then after birth it’s pretty much the same. ¬†It’s just a big bedroom with a jet tub and a queen sized bed. ¬†My husband and I can lay on the bed comfortably together and snuggle with the baby. ¬†They check vitals and all that stuff while you’re sitting there snuggling. ¬†At some point after you’ve had plenty of snuggle time, they’ll weigh and measure the baby. ¬†Usually they’ll do it at a time you’re up anyway- because I’m busy eating or the baby pooped. ¬†Haha. ¬†But that’s all they really do to the baby and the only time you aren’t snuggling. ¬†The rest of the time we just lay there staring and snuggling and nursing. ¬†They have a list of things that need to happen before you can leave- one of them is having a meal. ¬†With Big Sis we had some friends pick us up some dinner food that we were craving. ¬†With Little Sis, our friend who was our doula made us pancakes and brought us orange juice (there is a kitchen there.) ¬†It was fun to eat exactly what we wanted rather than having to pick something off of a menu at the hospital…although I’ve heard from other moms that the hospital has some good food.
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Chillin’ on the bed after giving birth. My husband is holding Big Sis and I am eating tacos ūüôā

Homebirth?

I know a lot of people who have had home births and really loved that experience. ¬†We thought about doing that at first and actually met with a really awesome homebirth widwife for more than half of my first pregnancy, but our insurance covers the birth center so we ended up changing our mind. ¬†I think that it would be really nice to be in the familiar setting of your own home but I like how everything you could possibly need is at the birth center- all the supplies that they need…and a giant awesome bathtub ūüôā ¬† I like how close it is to the hospital. ¬†And I like that we can just leave and not have to worry about cleaning anything up.

Why I Chose a Birth Center

I loved the tub with Big Sis and hated it with Little Sis, but it is nice to have it as an option!

In Conclusion…

I could go on and on and on…and I admit that this post is probably already way too long. ¬†But I just really love and believe in¬†natural births and in the birth center that I go to. ¬†I hope that by going on and on as much as I did, that I have helped someone in some way. ¬†Maybe someone who wasn’t sure about their options or¬†even someone who has never thought about any of this and has some weirdo hippie relative who keeps talking about “natural” births. ¬†ūüėČ ¬†hehe ¬† I hope that this leads you to look up some things if you aren’t sure about what I’m talking about…or feel free to ask me questions! ¬†If you feel like you want to share about your birth experience or why you chose to do things a certain way, that’s great! ¬†Just remember to be respectful of other choices because every woman can and should have the power to look at all of their options and choose the thing that they feel is best for them and their family.

Thanks for reading!

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P.S. ¬†Here is a link to a blog post that I found about a lot of the things that I brought up in this post…things that you might want to research during pregnancy and have as a part of your birth plan to either do or not do. ¬†I am particularly passionate about the skin to skin cuddling immediately after birth! ¬†10 Decisions For Parents of Newborns.¬† It is in two parts so this will take you to the first five and then you click on their link to get to the next five.

 


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Pregnancy and Child Birth the Second Time Around

I love hearing people’s birth stories. ¬†I think it’s amazing that they are all so different and I love having the opportunity, and giving other moms an opportunity, to talk about an experience that has such an impact on our lives. ¬†Whether a great experience or a traumatic experience, it is one that we will never forget. ¬†Today I’m going to talk about pregnancy and child birth with my second child, Little Sis.

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Did you read my last post about my first time¬†being pregnant? ¬†Pregnancy was relatively the same the second time around. ¬†It was easier because I didn’t have any problems- bad colds, UTI’s, kidney stones, etc. ¬†But it was a little harder because I had a toddler at home and because I got bigger faster. ¬†Sleeping was harder much earlier and became almost impossible by the last month or so. ¬†My hips were killing me and every time I woke up to go to the bathroom or even sometimes to roll over, the baby would wake up and start practicing fighting ninjas. ¬†She moved sooo much. ¬†All of my babies have been really active but Little Sis hurt me a bit more than Big Sis did.

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The difference between my birth experience with number one and number two is pretty significant.   The first time was an amazing experience but it was tough!  I was so tired and although the time flew by mentally, physically I was exhausted.  The labor was intense right from the start and 16 hours.

Little Sis was late. ¬†She was due like June 24 I think but I watched the 4th of July fireworks with a baby still in my belly. ¬†It was the weekend- I went in to see my midwife on Friday and Monday was the 2-week point that you are not supposed to go past or you might have to go to the hospital and get induced. ¬†I’d been doing all of the things that people do to try to have a baby- like eat spicy foods- even though a lot of them are probably just myths. ¬†But there are some things that my midwife says actually do usually work as long as you are ready to go into labor. ¬†One thing is drinking castor oil (eww…I have a very low tolerance for drinking nasty things and a horrible gag reflex…this did no sound appealing.) ¬†So we decided to do the other thing- “swipe the membranes.” ¬†I won’t go into detail about what this is, but it didn’t hurt very much and seemed to do something right away. ¬†I was having way more braxton hicks contractions than usual all day and that night when we were at a friend’s house for dinner and a game of Settlers of Catan, I started to feel real contractions. ¬†Unlike the first time I gave birth though, these contractions were really gradual. ¬†We started the game and also started timing contractions. ¬†My husband got an app for his iphone and I simply pressed the button when they started and stopped. ¬†It was awesome and I could easily keep playing the game. ¬†We finished the game. ¬†I won. ¬†(lol!)

We got home around 10 with the intent of resting as long as we could. ¬†But as soon as I laid down, contractions got more intense. ¬†We had a great big bath tub at the place we were living so I thought I’d get in there. ¬†After all, I spent half of my time laboring with Big Sis in the tub- it was so great! ¬†But when I got in there, the baby started to go crazy. ¬†Her moving hurt more than the contractions did! ¬†Contractions are bearable because they are pretty consistent and there’s time in between them to rest. ¬†But the baby hurting me didn’t have a starting or stopping point or any consistency to it. ¬†We were concerned for a bit but I got out of the tub and the baby stopped hurting me and everything went back to normal, except the contractions were really close together. ¬†Close enough to head to the birth center. ¬†I think it was sometime between midnight and 1am. ¬†It seemed like no time at all and I felt like I had to push. ¬†The nurse who was assisting had just arrived. ¬†Although it didn’t hurt any less than the first time, it just went way better. ¬†I sat on a little stool and Jason sat behind me on the bed for support. ¬†Sitting upright helped a ton and it was so awesome having energy this time. ¬†It was all happening so quickly.

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My first time I was so tired I couldn’t enjoy all the details. ¬†This time as soon as she came out she was in my arms. ¬†I got to be the first one to see that she was a girl. ¬†And I got to push my placenta out naturally which was so weird! ¬†And then I asked to see it because, how often do you get to see something like that? ¬†I didn’t see it the first time. ¬†We just loved on her and hung out¬†with our friend who came to be our sort of doula. ¬†She made us pancakes and brought us orange juice. ¬†It was great. ¬†And nursing? ¬†Hurt just as much as last time but I knew that that was ok this time. ¬†I knew exactly what I was doing and I had my Mother Love, which kept me from blistering so badly. ¬†Recovery went way better too. ¬†I tore more this time so I was more sore but I took a lot of the herbal baths and felt better faster.

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With a second child, you get the added fun of helping your first child get to know their little sibling. It took Big Sis a little bit of time to warm up to Little Sis.

Although it was still painful enough for me to say “never again”….(yeah right!)…it was a really, truly awesome experience. ¬†I am not looking forward to giving birth again, I just love the experience in general and am looking forward to meeting our baby BOY! ¬†I’m sure that I will be making my third pregnancy/child birth blog post some time in October ¬†ūüôā


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My First Pregnancy/Birth Experience

One of the things I want to write about is pregnancy/child birth/new baby stuff.  And this is a great time for it because I am pregnant with baby #3.  We have never found out before what we were having, but this time we know that it is a boy!

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I have so many things I’d like to write about, but I think I’m going to start just by sharing my past birth stories and pregnancy experiences. ¬†Giving birth is such an important moment in a mother’s life…full of intense joy and intense pain! ¬†It is an experience that leaves a huge impression on us and I think we need to share it. ¬†It’s fun to share and hear other’s stories too, because every story is different.

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First Time Pregnancy

With Big Sis I was a fairly typical first time mom.  I researched everything, ate all the right foods, made sure to do prenatal yoga several times a week, and took a Bradley Birth Class.  (I intend to write more about my birth class experience and natural, husband-coached birthing in a later post!)  I packed a bag, made freezer meals, posted a pregnancy photo every month to facebook, had some professional pregnancy photos done, made a baby corner (we were still living in a one room apartment at the time), and excitedly awaited the arrival of our new baby.

When people talk to you during your first pregnancy, you hear the usual questions “Are you finding out if it’s a girl or a boy” ¬†“Are you excited” ¬†“When are you due” etc. ¬†You get a LOT of advice and opinions. ¬†We shared name ideas at first and regretted it so we stopped and kept our names¬†a secret. ¬†You also hear, “Oh you’re so cute. ¬†Look at that tiny belly!” ¬†because not only does your belly not pop out as quickly, but you haven’t gained weight in previous pregnancies that you haven’t lost yet and you don’t have other kids running around to make you too tired to eat the right foods or do your exercises! ¬†haha

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Pregnancy was pretty easy as far as being sick goes and has been pretty much the same each time. ¬†I had a hard month or so of being really tired and constantly just a tad nauseous. ¬†Then it’s over. ¬†This first time I got the flu ¬†just as my first trimester was over and I thought that I’d make it through the whole pregnancy without throwing up…but then I did. ¬†I also got what we think must have been some little kidney stones- I never saw any but that’s what the doctor thought it was. ¬†I was in horrible pain for a day or two and then it was over. ¬†I also got a really terrible UTI and had to take antibiotics and a really bad cold that of course you can’t take anything for. ¬†So although pregnancy itself was ok, I got all sorts of stuff during that time that made it a little more miserable than it needed to be!

The Birth

My water broke in the middle of the night. ¬†It was this sudden gush that got everywhere. ¬†We jumped out of bed laughing and my husband went to get a shower curtain and towels to lay on so we could keep resting until labor progressed. ¬†But I couldn’t lay down. ¬†Contractions were really intense right away and I had to sit up. ¬†Plus, fluid gushed out with every contraction and it was just easier to labor on the toilet. ¬†(Sharing personal stuff like this is making me giggle…but don’t worry…I won’t go into all the gross details!) ¬†We sat in that bathroom for hours timing the contractions. ¬†I tried to eat a little but couldn’t eat much. ¬†It was painful but with what I learned from the birth class, I was able to handle it just fine. ¬†It was more tiring than anything else. ¬†We hadn’t gotten much sleep and like I said, the contractions were really intense right away. ¬†We labored for 8 hours at home. ¬†When the birth center told us we could go in (I will write a later post on why I chose the birth center and what my experience was like) I got in the big bath tub and labored for another 7 hours or so in there. ¬†And then, I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing I did about an hour of pushing. ¬†16 hours of really intense labor. ¬†Big Sis was faced backward so the back labor was hard. ¬†I was so tired by the time I was ready to push that I couldn’t hold myself up so I would lay down until it was time to push and then Jason and the nurse would hold me up. ¬†Not the most efficient way to give birth. ¬†It seems weird but it actually took me a little while to figure out how to push and really accomplish something, so that made the pushing¬†last a bit longer too.

In my tired,¬†crazy-birthing-lady state of mind, I said things like “it’s stuck” and when people assured me that the baby was not stuck and that the head was starting to come out, I insisted that I knew better and that it was definitely stuck. ¬†haha ¬†I didn’t really think it was stuck. ¬†You just find yourself saying things. ¬†My husband leaned forward to whisper some encouraging words at one point and I said, “yeah, yeah, yeah, get out of my face.” ¬†Hehe. ¬†Whoops ūüėČ

Big Sis was born around 6pm after a really long day. ¬†When they told me it was a girl I sighed with relief and said, “Oh good.” ¬†ūüėÄ ¬†Although of course I would have loved a boy or a girl, I really wanted a girl. ¬†I was an only child with a single mom and when I imagined myself becoming a mom someday, I always pictured having a little girl.

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My midwife was amazing. ¬†I don’t know if Big Sis had a really short cord or what, but the cord detached from the placenta. ¬†I didn’t even know that it had happened. ¬†But she asked if I could push out the placenta and I said no and she reached in and pulled it out! ¬†Ahh. ¬†Ok, that is the only semi-gross thing I will say. ¬†But after what I’d just gone through I barely noticed. ¬†I didn’t understand why she did it at the time, but it was so cool because I just sat there cuddling my new baby while she handled this little problem so smoothly. ¬†The placenta can’t stay in you without the cord because it will bleed inside of you, but you have to be careful taking it out because parts of your placenta can stay in your body and cause an infection. ¬†She knew exactly what she was doing¬†though- I barely noticed it happening and didn’t have any problems.

Taking Her Home

The birth center sends you home right away which I love.  They monitor you for a few hours and they make sure certain things are going the way they are supposed to and then you get to go home and sleep and cuddle in your own bed.  They come to your home to visit and check on things the next day if you want, but we were out anyway doing the pediatrician appointment so we just went there instead.

My favorite part of giving birth is, of course, the baby at the end. ¬†With Big Sis it was once we were home and we just laid on the bed staring at her and sleeping with her for days. ¬†That’s pretty much all we did. ¬†We took her to the appointments and stopped at the store to get some things and had a picnic in the park on I think day 3. ¬†But otherwise we just laid on the bed in awe of her and watched movies and episodes of Friends. ¬†It was amazing.

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Breastfeeding was a big challenge for me at first. ¬†Someone had asked me when I was pregnant if I was going to take a breastfeeding class and I was surprised. ¬†How hard could it be? ¬†It actually wasn’t difficult, it was just really painful. ¬†And everyone told me that if the baby was latching right, it shouldn’t be painful. ¬†So I went to a lactation consultant they tried to show me the “right” way to do things and none of it felt right or natural and it didn’t seem to really be working for Big Sis. ¬†It was getting more painful and I felt like I must be doing something wrong, but she was eating really well and gaining weight really well. ¬†I found a cream called Mother Love that saved the day (which I highly recommend and now buy for all my friends and use it for everything!) ¬†It made me feel better almost instantly and the blisters went away quickly. ¬†I had a friend who told me to give breastfeeding¬†five weeks and then it should get better. ¬†It was like clockwork. ¬†At five weeks I finally was completely pain free and had gotten the hang of everything…even nursing in public.

Another thing that I wasn’t prepared for was my recovery. ¬†I could barely sit or walk for weeks…the pain “down there” lasted a really long time. ¬†I was using ice packs and taking ibuprofen but it just was not getting better. ¬†Finally I was talking to someone about it at church and she told me that everyone was going to be out of her house that afternoon and that I should come and take a bath. ¬†All I had at our little apartment was a shower. ¬†I brought the herbs that the birth center had given me and brewed it as directed. ¬†I added it to a hot bath and just like the mother love cream, it saved the day! ¬†I felt better right away after that. ¬†I wish I had done it sooner.

It is a little funny looking back at this experience now.  Everything was so much easier the second time.  I will write about that next!

What was your birth experience like? ¬†What did you experience that you weren’t prepared for? ¬†If you have had more children, how were they different? ¬†I’d love to hear from you.