Category Archives: pregnancy

What I wish I could tell myself 5 months ago..

If you told me any of the below before Ella was born, I might have not believed it true because of the pregnancy haze I was in. While I was pregnant many people were giving me advice that I may have taken it all with a grain of salt.

Don’t be afraid to try things. We attended both childbirth and breastfeeding classes in the last months of the pregnancy. Learned a bit. Mainly it gave me time to practice breathing. The breastfeeding class was good, I think it really helped me know what to do right away. But… it also made me wait too long to give Ella a bottle. I wanted her to know how to breastfeed well first. I wanted her to know how to drink from a bottle so that if I wasn’t around and she was hungry, she could still get some nourishment, it would also give David an opportunity to spend that time with her. Unfortunately we waited too long because in the class they told us about “nipple confusion” and I didn’t want our baby to be confused. Therefore, when we finally offered a bottle it took a lot of work and tears to get her to take it. In addition, I know there’s mixed ideas about pacifiers. Nevertheless, the bottom line is that sucking is comforting to babies. We also waited too long to give her a pacifier so she only took it for a little while and only in certain situations and hardly could hold on to it.

Tell people what’s what. Often visitors won’t know proper etiquette because this is their first experience with a baby and new parents. Speak up in a loving way. Explain how things are and express gratitude to them at the same time. It seemed that people didn’t know what my body had just undergone and it’s current condition. It was difficult for me to sit and walk for a while it was just strange. Having a baby is a wonderful and joyous time, and so it’s not the easiest to communicate that your body is healing, and you are also undergoing the most emotional changes you have ever experienced. Even mothers often forget that time in the beginning, maybe because it was so long ago.

Sleep. Now, many many people told us to do this. I’m not the best sleeper. Often I’ll get a second wind in the evening and end up reorganizing a closet, baking a loaf of bread or writing a blog entry. This only intensified in the nesting phase. I didn’t understand how important sleep would be. It’s not that I wouldn’t sleep, it’s that my sleep would be interrupted, maybe forever. Perhaps when I do get a chance to get some really solid uninterrupted sleep, I will have a habit in place that will be very difficult to break. But who knows? We’re not there yet. Oh and in the first few weeks I didn’t really care about getting sleep, I just wanted to spend time with my baby. It was the new mommy hormones, I think. I remember dancing and singing with her no problem at three in the morning. It was after three months of sleep deprivation when I really needed to sleep.

Really, FOLLOW THOSE INSTINCTS. But don’t be too crazy with it. Now, more than one close friend did tell me to do this. But when you throw in social situations, sleep deprivation and first times of everything, the follow-through is not so great. There were times when I just got an uneasy feeling and I should have followed what I was feeling. The result was just a grumpy baby or an awkward exit. We always recovered.

Forgive yourself. Let go. Move forward. Easier said than done. Kids are resilient. It really will be okay.

There’s nothing like experience. It’ll be tough but you will learn as you go. Just like in anything you do.

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Birth Story: Part 2 (of 2)

When the water broke we both jumped into action, I was telling David, grab the hospital bag, a towel for the seat, the binder with the birth plan and a number of other things I’m failing to recall now. Of course that baby outfit was still in the dryer. So we wouldn’t be bringing that right then. He told me he’d get everything, I just needed to get to the car. This time when I called the doctor and left the message, I said, my water broke, I’ll see ya at the hospital. While we were in the car, he drove and I sent some text messages and made the phone calls to our parents and a few friends. After an accidental wrong turn we ended up at the hospital just before eleven o’clock. David swung the car to the front doors and as we left the car just sitting there, I told him to lock it..to which he replied that he’d get me checked in and then come back to park the car. Well, he never came back to park the car. But he did mention that he wanted to three times in the labor and delivery room.

So when we arrived at the hospital, another couple was there too. The pregnant women seemed to be just fine. By this time, I was in all sorts of pain and the contractions were coming more. She said that I should go ahead, well of course I should..! I checked in, and they already had my bracelet ready for me, said my doctor had already called. A nurse offered me a wheelchair, I couldn’t imagine sitting down right then, walking was more distracting. She walked us to an exam room, to which I was very confused. I told her my water had broken like 30 minutes ago. She said, “what, your water broke; okay you’re going to a different room.” Up we went to the labor and delivery room. A few more nurses were in there. I got ready and onto the bed. The nurse checked me and she said I was between 8 and 9 cm dilated. As she read my birth plan and asked all sorts of health questions, she joked that well I was getting a birth with no-pain medication as it was too late to administer any meds anyway. Another nurse who was working on getting me set up said a few times that the IV needed to be put in. She tried on one arm and it wasn’t working so she went to the other. By this time I was quite focused and even though I know the contractions were more intense, I was managing them much better and they seemed to be less painful. Well one thing led to another and before I knew it, I was pushing. I let out the loudest scream I had ever vocalized. I’m not the loudest person and I surprised myself and I think the other people in the room as well. My doctor looked straight at me and sternly told me never to do that again. She said that I needed to put all that energy into my push. I listened. David held my hand the whole time and told me that I was doing a great job.

Ella Marie was born at 12:48am on July 4, weighing 6 pounds and 11 ounces, and 18.5 inches long.

She was (then, and is still) perfect.

~

Read my husband’s perspective here.

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Birth Story, Part 1 (of 2)

At 38 weeks pregnant, getting around was uncomfortable. I did just fine, but had to take it easy and not do too much in a day or else I’d be completely pooped. Two weeks before my due date, July 3, I started the day with a plan to do a few things but made sure not to go crazy with activity. I had a few errands to run plus I wanted to put the newborn clothes in the laundry. My hospital bag was packed. The car seat was in place. The birthing ball was pumped up.

 

I did a few things around the house and left about 12:30 to meet a friend for lunch. After lunch, I went to my haircut appointment, which was at two o’clock. After that, the “abdominal pain” started. Now, being pregnant, and especially toward the end when I was so huge, my body was feeling all sorts of weird things so I didn’t think much about it—I thought it was just part of the late pregnancy. It wasn’t noticeable at first, and for a while, I completely ignored it.

 

I was planning to stop at Babies R Us to get a cradle mattress pad and head support for the car seat…but since I was so close to church I decided to stop by to say hello and get a few addresses that I needed. When I was leaving, I remember feeling the pain come and go. Away I went to Babies R Us and while I was there, I had to sit down a few times. By the time I left that store, it was about 4:30. I remember feeling the pain while I was driving and glancing at the fuel gauge I noticed that the gas was quite low so I decided to stop at Costco to fuel up. While I was there I thought that I was so close to the grocery store I should stop to pick up some things, —stocking up the kitchen and pantry was on my to do list. But now the pain was really bothering me and I thought I should get going. So I skipped the grocery store and headed back home. I remember wondering if what I was feeling might be the Braxton-Hicks contractions that I had heard about…practice for the real thing. I thought that if this pain didn’t stop I needed to call the doctor and see what was really happening. By the time I got home, it was 5:30. I knew that David had a meeting then so I figured I would just check in with him a bit later so he could finish his meeting.

 

In retrospect, at this point in the day I was in denial that labor had begun. It was two weeks before the due date and David was supposed to officiate a wedding the coming weekend. I wanted him to be able to do that and for the baby to come the next week. But she was ready, little did I know…

 

I called my friend Amy, I had been with her when she went into labor about two years ago and thought I would get some answers. I just wanted someone to tell me if I was in labor or not. Now, the thing is, no one can tell you that unless you go to the hospital and get hooked up to a machine. Since I was in denial that this was all happening, I was not about to run off to the hospital to see. Amy and I talked on the phone for about an hour. I knew that if it was difficult to talk, then this was labor and it would have been progressing well. The whole time I never had trouble talking when the “pain” came. The contractions never seemed to come with any sort of regularity either. During our conversation, I came to the realization that if I was really in labor, this baby would share her birthday with our country’s. I was really nervous about it. Amy reassured me that would be fantastic; her birthday is St. Patrick’s Day and everyone always remembers! So it was a good thing. This was encouraging and I felt better about it. I hung up the phone about 6:30 and still wasn’t sure what was going on with my body (denial). I had been sitting for an hour and the pain was still coming. I put the baby laundry in the washing machine and cleaned a bit around the house.

 

At about 7 o’clock I finally sent David a text asking when he’d be home, if he finished his meeting yet. He called me back and I still didn’t tell him. I know, probably still in denial… He mentioned he needed gas and asked if it was okay if he stopped on the way. In my mind, absolutely he needed to get gas because that car had the car seat, and if I was actually in labor, we were headed to the hospital sooner than later and in that car, so it definitely needed to be filled up! We chatted about what to do for dinner and then I started cooking. The pain was coming more now. I did my best to ignore it. I threw together a salad and boiled some water for pasta. As I was chopping some mushrooms, David arrived home and I cut my finger. He shooed me out of the kitchen and told me to sit down and that he’d finish up. Then I told him about my so-called abdominal pain…and I finally called the doctor. My doctor was the one on call! Awesome. I told her that I was feeling a good amount of abdominal pain, which had started around three o’clock. She asked about my day, and then told me the possibilities. First, she said I had been pretty active during the day and it was also a warm day out, so I should drink a ton of water. Then she said I could be experiencing the early signs of labor or it could be Braxton-Hicks. She told me to pay close attention to the contractions and if they ever became consistent, I should know that it was labor pains and then to call again. In addition, she asked if I could feel the baby move. I said yes. She told me if that baby stopped moving I should go straight to the hospital. The baby was fine as long as she was moving.

 

We sat down to watch some TV while we ate dinner. I only ate my salad and about two bites of pasta. I just couldn’t eat. The contractions got more intense and more frequent. But they were still inconsistent. At the birthing class and in all the books it says to go to the hospital when it’s 5-1-5-contractions are five minutes apart and one minute long. All of the stuff that was supposed to happen for labor wasn’t happening, just the pain. They also tell you not to rush in to the hospital because labor is a long process and often people get sent home. So I was in no hurry. I went to sit on the exercise ball. That was a nice change. But the pain was getting worse. And I was feeling really hot. I went back to the couch. David was tired from his long day at work and by this point was googling on his phone about labor. I was having a difficult time sitting at the couch, and when a contraction would come, I would lay my forehead on the armrest and close my eyes. My back started hurting too. He got a text from Amy asking about what was happening. He called her back, handed the phone to me, and ran upstairs for something. I talked to Amy for a minute saying that I still wasn’t sure what it was (denial) and then said goodnight, she was headed to bed. There I was alone in the room. This horrible feeling came over me. I could not be alone!! I started to cry. WHERE WAS my husband, and why had he left me alone in this state!? Well, when he came down he was surprised at my reaction to him being out of the room for about three minutes. I stood up and hung my arms around his neck, closed my eyes, and rested my forehead onto his shoulder. Letting another contraction pass.

 

It was getting later, sometime after 10 o’clock. Now my whole body was feeling freezing all of a sudden. I went from hot to cold. He was tired and said okay, either we go to the hospital or we go to bed. Well there was no way I could sleep like this. I went to change into pants and got a sweatshirt, I even put on my warm slippers because I was so cold. He decided to run me a bath thinking that might help. Upstairs he went. I followed a minute later. I stepped into the bathroom and my water broke. Relief rushed over me as the fluid drenched my pants and slippers. Clarity. Finally! This was really happening. Now. We were about to meet our baby girl.

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Nesting

Overnight I changed from feeling tired and wanting to nap to looking around the house to work on anything that I possibly could. I have this ongoing list in my head of things to do: prepare meals to freeze, specifically: mix a few batches of pizza dough to freeze, organize a phone-calling tree to share the good news, charge the camera batteries, get the baby monitor and set it up, clean some baby clothes and linens (but how many?!), organize the garage, stock up the fridge, make sure all the bills are paid, get a haircut, vacuum, dust, mop, etc. I’ve played out different scenarios in my head, like if I were to go into labor this evening, would we be running around the house doing last loads of laundry and throwing those last few things in the hospital bag? Or if my water broke when I’m at the grocery store, should I drive home or call D to pick me up, but then what about the car? Then I just have to practice my breathing, wait…have I practiced it enough?? Will I be able to relax my body like we practiced in birthing class? Maybe I should stop writing and just breath right now.

This phenomenon that occurs later in pregnancy where the mother has the urge to get life in order to prepare for the baby is called nesting. For me, it started a few weeks ago when I had an overwhelming feeling and all I could do was sit still and write down everything that was on my mind and which I felt needed to get done before baby arrives. The list was four pages long. The list will most likely not get completed based on the time we have left. Why, some things we’ve been working on for seven years and haven’t accomplished. Is anyone ever really ready? Knowing that no one ever is, is comforting.

Just around the nesting phase (which apparently can start at any point even in the end of the second trimester), my belly was huge and people often were asking me if I was ready or if I had gotten everything I needed for the baby. Of course, I also started hearing comments like “wow, it looks like she’s dropped” “do you have your bag packed for the hospital” or “do you just feel like you’re ready to have this baby?” When the questions started coming I knew that our baby girl’s lungs hadn’t fully developed (based on the books I had been reading and my weekly updates from a few apps on my phone), so I wasn’t too keen on the ideas I was hearing. Now that I’ve made it to week 37, I am breathing a bit easier as the same comments come my way. The 37-week mark means that I have come full term and the baby will be just fine if she decides to arrive any day now.

We can’t wait to meet her!

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