Surviving the Third Trimester

surviving the third trimester | diary of a bewildered mother

In just a matter of days, I’ll be full term with Baby Lion (full term is 37 weeks to 42 weeks). I was “lucky” enough to have Champ right at 37 weeks, so I haven’t shared the misery of some ladies that go to 41+ weeks, but I’ve still had my share of late-pregnancy woes.

And I’ve been in my third trimester in the South during the summer, and in the North during the winter, so I’ve experienced a range of annoyances. Thankfully for you, I’ve also found some relief for these annoyances. (“Some” being the key word.) Here are the four unfortunate symptoms I’m most familiar with, along with a list of home remedies to relieve them.

Note: I’m not a doctor or midwife, and my only license is a driver’s one. So be sure to check with your healthcare provider before making any changes. These remedies worked for me, but I can’t be held responsible if they don’t work for you . . . sorry.

surviving the third trimester | diary of a bewildered mother

Swelling / Carpal Tunnel

Both swelling and Carpal Tunnel are caused by water retention. Carpal Tunnel, for those of you who don’t know, is when the swelling pinches a nerve in your wrist, numbing your thumb and first couple of fingers. It may or may not be painful, but it will likely keep you up at night.

I’m listing these roughly in order from what works the most to what sometimes / maybe works.

  • Drink a TON of water—at least a gallon each day. More if you are in a hot or humid climate. The less you drink, the more your body decides it needs to hoard water in case of emergencies. Like a camel. Camels have skinny calves, sure, but they’ve also got those gigantic humps on their back.
  • Stay cool—keep indoors in the A/C if it’s warm outside.
  • Elevate above the heart—for carpal tunnel, this is your wrists. For foot swelling, that’s probably your feet. Yes, it’s a bit ridiculous feeling to raise your feet above your heart, but that’s how to decrease swelling. If I’m trying to sleep, it only takes about 90 seconds for my fingers to go numb if my arm isn’t elevated. Use pillows. Sometimes I awkwardly drape my arms over by body, above my head, or on the Captain to keep my wrist elevated. He’s a good man.
  • Wear a wrist brace for Carpal Tunnel—I can’t sleep in these. The idea is to keep your wrist straight when you sleep. A straight wrist means your thumb aligns with your arm, not your palm. Your palm should angle up. If you don’t know what I mean, then put on a brace to see what position your wrist should be in. Also, don’t sleep with your hands under your head.
  • Limit sodium—Salt contributes to water retention. But sodium and salt (including table salt, which has iodide in it) are important, so talk about your diet with a health professional before making any changes.
  • ExerciseApparently this is supposed to help, especially if you sweat. The only exercise I get is chasing a toddler around the house, trying to get him into his underpants, and hauling him onto and off the potty and into his crib. That’s enough cardio right there.
  • Take a bath—I think this is psychological, but I feel like when I take a shower or bath, my body realizes it doesn’t have to hoard all the water itself, because there is plenty water accessible to me at any given time. So be grateful, body, because many parts of the world don’t have running or clean water.
  • Cold / hot compresses—these may give relief to your wrists or feet.
  • Vitamin B6, Calcium/Magnesium supplements—these could help, too. I already take these supplements (as you will see), so I can’t tell if they are making my carpal tunnel better. It could be much worse without them, I don’t know.
  • Hazelwood and/or Baltic Amber jewelry—I wear these primarily for heartburn (see below), but have been wearing my Baltic Amber necklace tripled up around my wrist lately.
  • Nutritional Yeast / Brewer’s Yeast—My midwives are awesome. Saw one today and she said I should get Brewer’s Yeast for my carpal tunnel, that it’s an anti-inflammatory, and that I can sprinkle it on cereal or yogurt, and that some people put it on popcorn (apparently it tastes like cheese!). Picked some up, but haven’t tried it yet.

surviving the third trimester | diary of a bewildered mother

Dry Skin / Itchy feet

I’ve been so itchy with this pregnancy, and I blame the cold weather that just sucks the moisture out of me. Now that I’m retaining water, I’m not as itchy all over (hooray?), but it could become unbearable/ here’s what worked for me:

  • Warm, not hot, showers—hot showers will actually dry out your skin more, I’ve been told.
  • Lotion or baby oil—some people don’t want to put baby oil (mineral oil) on their bodies, or Vaseline, because they contain petroleum. You can decide what you want to avoid in your lotions or oils and find products on the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. I’m fine with Vaseline and baby oil, but I’m not okay with parabens. I use Palmer’s Cocoa Butter for Stretch Marks (note, its current, paraben-free formula is not on the database). Whatever you choose, put it on your body while it’s still damp from the shower to seal in the moisture.
  • Ice water—when my feet WOULD NOT STOP ITCHING, I got a bit desperate. I ran ice-cold water from the tap over my feet until they were thoroughly chilled and I couldn’t feel the itching sensation anymore. Then slathered baby oil over them, and put on socks over that. It seemed to work, because after two nights of doing this, I haven’t had to do it again, and that was about a month ago. Desperate times call for frozen feet. (Er…don’t give yourself frostbite or anything)

surviving the third trimester | diary of a bewildered mother

Restless Legs

If you’ve ever been in bed and had your legs FREAK OUT like all of a sudden you were James Brown singing “Sex Machine,” then you know what restless legs are. Sometimes restless legs cramp up, and you get Charlie Horses, too! Fun fun, especially for anyone who gets to share a bed with you, and finds himself being forcibly kicked at random in the night. Here’s some remedies—start at the top and work your way down.

  • Eat a banana every day—this could be the only change you have to make to find relief. I know other moms that swear by it. Worked for me in my first pregnancy.
  • Take magnesium supplements—I’m going to reference magnesium supplements over and over again. See how much I take at the bottom of this post. And talk to your provider about how much you should / can take.
  • Keep feet raised—if your feet are swollen, you should already be doing this. Keep them elevated above the heart while sleeping.
  • Stretch your calves—One of my midwives showed me a stretch that can give relief. One foot at a time, press the pad of your foot against a wall, keeping your heel on the floor, and pull yourself closer to the wall, pushing your foot into the wall and stretching your calves out. I just walked on the pads of my feet, doing lunges, on the way to and from the bathroom during my mid-night pee runs. Yes, it felt like I was part of the Ministry of Silly Walks.
  • Grab some Vicks VapoRub—This was another one of those dire moments, drastic measure things. Pretty sure Vicks VapoRub is perfectly safe during pregnancy, but since I couldn’t find a definitive answer, you should probably ask your provider if it’s okay. Anyway, my solution? I dabbed a bit on the backs of my knees, right in the crease of the skin. Tingly? Yes. But it somehow draws the tingles out of the rest of your legs, like sucking out snake poison. Pretty awesome and worth a try if you (or your spouse) are miserable. I’m no scientist, I have no idea why it worked or how I thought it might. But believing it will work is half the battle, right?

surviving the third trimester | diary of a bewildered mother

Heartburn / Reflux

I got heartburn the first time when I was 8 years old, and have had it ever since. When you’re pregnant, the relaxin hormone that allows your hips to stretch out—you know, so you can actually push a human being the size of a melon out of your body—also wreaks havoc on your esophageal sphincter, that one-way door that is supposed to keep food in your stomach. That door “relaxes” so that the acid party in your stomach spills out, into your throat. Fun, fun. Oh, and then your baby gets bigger and bigger and pushes up on your stomach, squeezing everything out of it like a squirty bath toy.

I have a very large list for this one, so don’t expect too much organization here.

  • Eat small mealsthe less and more frequently you eat, the less of a chance your tummy will be filled to overcapacity. You can still eat a ton of whatever you’re craving, just split those meals in half and break between them.
  • Don’t drink during meals or after meals—drinking before or between meals is better, so you don’t fill up your stomach as quickly. You could try drinking a glass of water 15 minutes to half an hour before a meal to try and wash away any acid, but that could backfire, making your stomach overcompensate.
  • Watch how you sleep—sleep upright, at an incline, or on your left side. You’re more likely to wake up with vomit in your throat if you sleep on your right side. Isn’t pregnancy super glamorous?
  • Fight the acid—take TUMS (but don’t take too many!), drink water with lemon, or sip apple cider vinegar. Lemons and apple cider vinegar seem very acidic, but when they hit your stomach, they balance out your Ph. Lemon water is the tastier option; apple cider vinegar can be more effective.
  • Take a calcium/magnesium supplement—Are you seeing a pattern here? This stuff works for swelling, restless legs, and heartburn. Talk to your provider about how much you can take, and be sure to include how many TUMs you are taking so you don’t overdose on calcium.
  • Increase fiber—constipation is common in pregnancy because your digestion slows WAY DOWN to ensure your baby can take as many nutrients from your food as possible. If your plumbing is plugged up down south, expect that traffic jam to back up into your stomach, giving you heartburn. Lots of fruit and veggies, and complex carbs. Note: read the comments at the end of this blog to see a discussion about how Papaya and other P fruits can aid digestion!
  • Wear hazelwood and/or Baltic amber jewelry—Hazelwood neutralizes acid and Baltic amber works as a natural, safe anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. I order my jewelry from Hazelaid.com (some styles are also available on Amazon.)

If you get heartburn on an empty stomach:

  • Eat absorbent foods—Again, I think this is a psychological thing, but if you get heartburn on an empty stomach, eat something that will absorb that acid, like rice or bread. I’ve even tried marshmallows. They’re spongy, right?

Sometimes, in an effort for your body to close that esophageal sphincter, it tries a bit too hard, and your whole abdomen might cramp up to stop the acid. Definitely talk to your provider if you have abdominal pain! If it’s caused by heartburn, though, here’s what you can try:

  • Drink peppermint tea—Warm drinks soothe and relax, and peppermint does the same. Drink warm peppermint tea to soothe your tummy. DON’T suck on peppermint candies or chew peppermint gum, because those will just relax your esophageal sphincter further.
  • Try tummy massage and warm compresses—Warm compresses can offer relief from muscles cramping. Pair this with the peppermint tea, and you’ll warm and soothe inside and out. For tummy massage, I use the “I love you” massage I used on Champ when he had baby reflux, but do it on myself. Start on your left side, where your stomach is, and smooth down towards the pubic bone. The “L” starts under your right breast. The “U” starts at your pubic bone on the right side and ends on the left side.

massage

If you still have heartburn, don’t give up hope yet.

  • Reduce or eliminate acidic foods from your diet—I had a cheeseburger each day with Champ. No wonder my heartburn was so awful! I’ve blogged about acidity before, so you can check that out.
  • Keep a food journal—You’ll be able to reintroduce some of those acidic foods if you 1) eat mostly alkaline and 2) figure out what your triggers are. For example, I can eat sausage pizza but not pepperoni. I can’t eat nuts on an empty stomach.
  • Eat ice cream—I saved this one for last because it’s my favorite. If I know I’m going to eat red meat, I eat a small portion and eat it early, pairing it with some greens. Then an hour or so later, I reward myself with ice cream. Maybe it’s just because I love it so much, but ice cream seems to be the only dairy product that reduces, rather than increases, acid in my stomach (milk and cheese are acidic!).

Be Patient

Just remember as you are dealing with pregnancy woes what joy awaits you! Soon you’ll have that precious child in your arms, and your mommy brain will make you forget most of what you had to put up with in pregnancy. You might even be so crazy to want to endure it all over again, to add to your family. I’m one of the crazy ones.

Note: this post may include Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase from these Amazon links, a very small portion of the profit will be returned to me. If I ever make money off these links, I’ll buy more cloth diapers with them.

Speakeasy Party: Photos, Food & Dress

This post is full of pictures! It includes some photos from the photo booth, what to wear, how to do 1920s hair, and what food & drink we made for the potluck. Click here to read Speakeasy Party: Part One

Photos

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We clean up pretty nice!

Inspiration:

girlmoon

via flickr

photoprops

Purchase your own on Etsy from this seller

Don’t you love Pinterest? That’s how I got most of the ideas for this party. I bought some poster board and dowels and ended up making all the props and moon and stars myself. But you can buy the set of props above from Etsy! The favorite prop of our guests, though, ended up being Neville. :)

I set up my Macbook Pro with Photo Booth so people could take their own photos. While we did take a handful of those, we ended up having a party-wide photo op, and took turns taking photos with the nicer cameras. Here’s a sampling from the ones off my camera, photoshopped into a 1920s rich black and white:

arvin1b brothers1b brothers2b brothers3b brothers4b eddy sward b girls1b guysb lindsey1b nemzek1b nemzek2b willard1b willard2b

1920s Dress

Captain wore the suit he bought for our honeymoon cruise. Men are pretty easy, if you ask me. Suit, suspenders or vest, tie, fedora, those caps I call “cabbie hats.” (I just looked online, and that’s actually what they are called! I’m so proud.)

superman1b

He’s pretty super.

Women could wear flapper dresses or little black dresses (introduced in the 20s by Coco Chanel). But good luck trying to find maternity dresses from the 1920s. They looked like this:

Don’t ask me how they fit babies in there.

Creamy colors work best for daytime 1920s parties, and blacks and reds work well for late night parties. But pretty much any color is game—it’s the silhouette that’s important. Nothing you need to be sewn into. Dropped waists or no waists for the non-pregnant folk.

I grabbed the only dress from Savers that I could find that would 1) fit my bulbous form flatteringly and 2) had some Art Deco lines to it. It had holes along the top seams, so I got it marked down from $10 to $6. I bought matching thread for $1 and sewed up the holes. Call me Sherlock Holmes, but I’m pretty sure the person who owned the dress before me was a student. The seams were worn down where a backpack would create enough friction to tear them.

As for hair, I looked up a ton of YouTube videos, and I think this one is the best one:

She also has a more classic finger waves style (wet hair) and a 1930s hair tutorial. You can check those out here.

I’m pretty sure the back of my head was a disaster. I was afraid to look, so I never did. The finger waves I had to redo so many times. The gel I used wasn’t meant for this type of thing, and the waves kept falling out no matter how much gel I added, so I ended up using long, thin bobby pins to hold the finger waves in place. I waited for the rest of my hair to dry, then curled the ends with an iron and rolled into pin curls as shown in the video. Then I let dry, sprayed exorbitant amount of hair spray, and let it just sit on my head for an hour or two before removing all the pins and combing through the hair with my fingers.

Here’s what it looked like by the end of the night:

fingerwaves

As for accessories, I ditched my glasses during the party and donned a string of fake pearls. The headband I created myself. Walmart has a “make your own headband” sort of station in the craft section with a bunch of flowers and accessories, stretchy headbands and the clampy kind of headbands (yeah, I don’t know what to call them. The classic kind of headband, shaped like a U). I got the flower there, found an ivory ribbon with plenty of texture, and hot glued the ribbon onto a headband I already had.

I kind of forgot about makeup in the rush of getting food together, so I just used eyeliner. But there are plenty of YouTube videos on the subject.

Food

This was a potluck shindig to save some money. We made hot dogs in the crock pot for the main meal (throw in as many as you need, without water, and cook on low for 4 hours).

Also creamy mints:

click through for recipe

and homemade lollipops with gold sprinkles:

Click through for recipe

And my grandmother’s recipe for punch:

Mix together 48 oz EACH of apple, orange, and pineapple juice (frozen concentrate is fine, but add water, obviously). Right before serving, add a 64 oz bottle of ginger ale.

This punch is amazing and super easy. I don’t even like punch much, but this is gooood.

I was going to make a virgin pina colada for myself, but ran out of time. Friends brought drinks to share as well.

That’s about it! It was a grand party, and we had a ton of fun.

Speakeasy Gender Reveal Party

We decided to throw a Prohibition-era shindig celebrating my pregnancy. Originally it was going to be a gender reveal party, but some of us “slipped,” so we just had a rip-roarin’ time together!

Guests needed a password for entry. They came in via the kitchen through a back door, much like they would if they were going a real dig. (Speakeasies were covert bars that sprouted up during the prohibition era.)

Many of us dressed up in 1920s garb. We played cards, had drinks, and placed bets on Baby Lion’s stats. It was a night full of light carousing and a lot of fun.

speakeasy1

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The categories for betting were birth day, duration of labor, time of birth, AM or PM, weight, and length.

speakeasy4

Guests needed tickets to place bets. They could purchase tickets or earn them by winning a card game, bringing food & snacks, or wearing 1920s clothing and accessories. My brother-in-law came prepared with an alias and fake business cards inspired by the Sylvester Stallone movie Oscar, which is seriously underrated and seriously funny.

speakeasy tickets

I included some information about Champ’s birth to help people make guesses. The Lion cookie jar below was where people deposited their tickets. I scored it for $2.50 at a thrift store! It’s going to hold keepsakes from Lion’s baby years.

speakeasy5

I pulled out my typewriter in case anybody wanted to write notes to Champ and Lion.

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speakeasy6b

We played two party games. The first was “Guess the Girth.” We passed around a ball of yarn and guests cut a length of yarn that they estimated would be the circumference of my baby bump. Hilarity ensued, as many guesses were much larger than I actually am. The winner got a ticket from each participant. I’ll have to get a photo of this from one of the guests.

For the second game, I passed out Play-Doh to everyone. They each had 2 minutes to sculpt “a baby.” The winner received 4 tickets. Runner up, 3. Second place, 2. Third place, 1. I awarded the grand prize to the creative interpretation.

speakeasy7

Favors were homemade lollipops. These were quite an adventure, let me tell you.

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But the best part of all was the photo booth. I saw a link to a bunch of 1920s photo props on Pinterest and created my own. Then we set up a curtain with a moon and stars, inspired by a photo from the 1920s I saw.

speakeasy9

This photo was taken the morning after the party. The moon had fallen down! I’ll include the photo booth photos in the next post. I’ll include the gender of Baby Lion in yet another post. If you absolutely can’t wait, though, head over to my Facebook page to find out!

Fertilization: An Epic Tale of Triumph and Failure

I was on Babycenter today and in the right sidebar, a video was playing, muted (THANK YOU, Babycenter! I hate automatically playing, loud videos!)

I hadn’t seen this particular video before, so I thought I would turn on the sound.

Oh dear.

This is like, sperm meets egg, Braveheart style. Except, you know, the winner actually survives…yeah, I can’t think of another movie that’s just as epic in which the warrior lives.

Die Hard?

Anyway, the narration made me laugh, so I just had to share. But it also just goes to show you how incredibly difficult it is for that one sperm to make it!

Note: Unless you have headphones in and/or are alone  and/or are a health teacher showing this to your Sex Ed class, this might not be safe for work, as it includes the “V” word.

fertilization

I can’t embed the video, so click the image above to be taken to BabyCenter.

And remember, YOU are one in tens of millions!

Fun (perhaps embarrassing) Fact: Now you know how Champ got his nickname.

LABOR Day! (a birth story)

This year I got two Labor Days in one week! Little Champ was born on Thursday, September 2, 2010 at 12:33 pm. He was 6 lbs, 11 oz, and is 18.5 inches long. He is absolutely perfect.

Short story:

The labor went very well! I still needed an IV of antibiotics, but they didn’t need to induce me with pitocin or any other artificial inductive agent, and I did not get an epidural. Champ is completely happy, and we are home now!

The baby we’ve all been waiting for

Long story: It was Hurricane Earl’s fault.

Wednesday night, LT and I are getting ready for bed. He has to get up early in the morning to go for a run with his platoon. I am in bed waiting for him to turn out the light.

“So here’s the plan if my water breaks in the middle of the night,” I said, not meaning any night in particular, and assuming just for conversation’s sake that my water even would break before going into labor. I proceeded to tell him “the plan”—which I can’t even remember now, as well as the plan for if my water broke when he was at work sometime.

He got into bed, and we had a little pillow talk. My husband is entirely funny, and if you know anything about pregnancy, you know that pregnant women have little control of themselves if they laugh or sneeze. I ran to the bathroom, fearing I would pee my pants from laughing. Well, that was a blessing, because my water broke just then, in the bathroom, rather than all over our bed and carpet. It was right about midnight.

“Er, I think my water just broke…” I called out to LT.

>>>skip ahead to both of us going back to bed to try and get some rest before things started happening

>>>and my water really breaking at 1 am, me eating a bowl of Lucky Charms, doing the dishes, and packing everything into the car, all the while having contractions about 4 minutes apart, but ones that were not that painful.

>>>and calling Triage to tell them my water broke…

“No way, really?” The nurse said. I couldn’t tell if she was being sarcastic or was being excited for me because labor was starting. It was neither. “You are the seventh person to call today saying your water broke.”

It was only 2:30 am. I woke up LT and we headed to the hospital. On our way, my contractions finally started up (I wasn’t terribly surprised. For some reason, every time I would drive on that particular road since my 35th week, I always got contractions!).

We got admitted at 3:06. One of the nurses came in and basically said I was going to get Pitocin whether I wanted it or not, because my water had broken, and I needed to deliver in the next 18 hours. I thought that was ridiculous, and when the OB/GYN came in, I asked her if there was any way to avoid getting Pitocin. She said, “Sure. Just tell your cervix to change.”

I was 1-2 cm and 50% effaced. The baby still hadn’t dropped. One nurse put in my IV for the antibiotics (I tested positive for Group B Strep), and thankfully, I took it really well, without passing out. I may have a fear of veins (I get queasy just seeing someone take their own pulse), but thankfully I have big ones, so when I do have to get stuck, the nurses can do it really easily.

>>>fast forward to getting admitted and heading to to a birthing suite

While we made our way to the birthing suite, one of the nurses commented that the barometric change from Hurricane Earl was causing a lot of women’s waters to break. Talk about a natural induction!

The distinctions between the stages of my labor were a little fuzzy, but I was still in early labor for a few hours, as the contractions intensified. LT massaged my back and applied pressure whenever I had a contraction, and that did the trick. That, plus using different, vertical birthing positions and sitting and rocking on my exercise ball.

At around 5 or 6, the active labor started up. I was starting to feel nauseated, and I asked the nurse if there were any side effects to the antibiotics they put me on. She said no, not really. Another nurse came in to check my progress…the “turkey examination,” as I like to call it, because you feel like a turkey getting stuffed when they check you.

It was not good timing. Right as she applied the pressure, I had a contraction. The combination of the two, plus my nausea, did not end happily. (I vomited over the side of the bed. Labor is very glamorous, I assure you.) We didn’t see that nurse again… and she never told us how I was progressing. We called for a nurse asking if there was anything I could take for the nausea. I was willing to be put on anesthesia then, but they gave me a small dose of Stadol instead. Looking up Stadol later, I am surprised they gave it to me, because one of its side effects is nausea…

Anyway, the Stadol isn’t terribly effective pain relief during labor, especially after early labor. It is virtually ineffective once transition starts. And did I mention it gives you hallucinations? Still, it sedated me enough to let me rest between contractions, since I had not slept in almost 24 hours (during my pregnancy, I would sleep after 14 hours of being awake, at most). It also made me just a little loopy for a while. On one trip to the bathroom, I asked LT to grab me a microwaveable plate so I could have popcorn. I remember saying it, and wondering why on earth I said it, since I was not in our kitchen, and I didn’t know why I would need a microwaveable plate to have popcorn…

Transition was short, lasting an hour at the very most. It started at maybe 9 am. The pain relieving effects of the Stadol had worn off, but I was still pretty groggy. It was annoying sometimes, because I would have to shake myself to stay awake enough to concentrate. I do not recommend anyone get Stadol.

Transition was definitely the most painful period. I howled and screamed, and it was good that LT was there to remind me to breathe through the contractions. Even in the contractions, though, I felt like I could get through them, and I howled more as pain prevention than as a reaction to the pain.

I got to 10 cm really fast during the transition. The nurses said I could push at any time. It was about 10:30. Honestly, I didn’t really feel the “need” to push yet, and once I got to 10 cm, the contractions did not hurt as much. I had a handful of them before deciding that I supposed I could begin pushing.

“I think I can push now.”

I was suddenly surrounded by nurses, midwives, and OB/GYNs. I had started by using the squatting bar, so I could stay vertical while pushing, using gravity to my advantage. But I have short arms and legs, and it was hard for me to comfortably use it as such. One of the nurses pulled a sheet around the bar and handed me both ends, so I could pull myself into a crunch every time I pushed. We did that until the baby started to crown. Then the OB/GYN came who was going to catch the baby, and we had to remove the squatting bar, because it was in his face.

I couldn’t reach the stirrups on the bed, so two nurses had to take my feet and hold them up. They didn’t exactly provide an ample amount of resistance, and it was really hard for me to figure out how to push that way, especially since half my brain power was devoted to staying awake (darn that Stadol!)

Finally, I got the hang of pushing, but the baby was stuck. At this hospital, their policy is to not do episiotomies. In my case, though, they decided to do one. Perhaps they feared that I would tear quite a bit. I didn’t feel the incision.

A few more pushes, big ones, and my son was born at 12:33 pm. They put him on my stomach while they wiped him off.

I had imagined this moment—the first moment I saw my child—as being some supernatural, spiritual connection, where the lights would flash, and things would start moving in slow motion, and soft music would be playing.

Not quite. I was half asleep, and all I could think was, “Look! A baby! He’s on my stomach. Where on earth did all that hair come from?”

Then they took him across the room to clean him while the OB/GYN waited to for my placenta to be delivered. That was a very weird experience, and for the sake of you, the reader, I will not go into it.

He was being observed by another, older OB/GYN. They put me on Pitocin then, to get the placenta out faster. Unfortunately for me, they gave me analgesic before the placenta was out, and by the time they started giving me stitches, it had all worn off.

That was much more painful than labor, let me tell you. In labor, you have some control, and you can deal with the contractions. After getting stitched up from my episiotomy with no pain relief, I am sure I would have been able to handle getting shot with an arrow, having it pulled out, and someone dressing my wounds, in the tenth century. Without wine or rum or anything.

But after that was all done, I was ready to go. I had managed to give birth without being artificially induced and (virtually) without pain medication. I felt like an Amazonian warrior woman. My birth experience was extremely empowering. And because I didn’t have drugs or a C-section, my recovery time was incredibly fast. I felt back to my pre-pregnancy self almost immediately, just fatter.

My baby was born at just 37 weeks, but he is absolutely perfect. He is completely healthy, and I thank God for that every day.

I think that the only things I would have liked to have played out differently about my laboring were the IV and my lack of sleep. Hopefully next time, I will have had at least an hour or two of sleep beforehand. Hopefully I won’t have Group B and I can labor in the shower or tub, using hydrotherapy. I’d love to do a home birth someday.

Things that I really appreciated about my labor experience:

  • A healthy baby
  • A supportive, patient husband who gave massages
  • Free health care (yeah, military benefits!)
  • A huge team of doctors and nurses who supported me

Click here for tips on progressing labor naturally and things to remember if you are going to go into labor.

My Birth Plan

Well, here’s my birth plan! I had some fun designing it, if you couldn’t tell.

I am just hoping that I don’t end up having any complications or back labor, resulting in some unfortunate interventions…

My Birth Plan

Click for full-size

 

This is a web-friendly resolution. If you would like to print out a copy for your own birth plan, send me an e-mail! I will forward you a copy.

(And if you want a custom design from me, e-mail me, too! Of course, I do charge a small fee for custom designs. I need to pay for this kid’s cloth diapers, after all!)

I am keenly aware of myself right now

Tonight, while I was folding socks, I found myself watching a series of Taylor Swift music videos and holding back sobs during “Teardrops on My Guitar.” Then I asked myself, what am I doing here?

Now I have Cutting Crew’s “(I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight” stuck in my head.

There can only be one explanation. I am pregnant, and I was born in the 80s.

That, and the Lieutenant shouldn’t leave me alone for extended periods of time. What will happen during deployment? I REFUSE to listen to and/or watch Hannah Montana music. And that is final.