Baby’s First Year: Expectations vs. Reality

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, My Pregnancy, New Mom Experience

           expecvsreal

We’ve all been there.

Daydreaming about what life with a baby would be like, without truly knowing what to expect. Thinking we “know” how things will turn out, but in the back of our minds knowing that it will be different. Now that Lexi is 1 YEAR OLD, i can look back at the year of babyhood and see things for what they were.

I don’t think Andrew and I were off base when imagining what life with a baby would be like. I think it’s that we couldn’t FEEL that difference until said baby came along.

All the negative “just you waits” from bitter moms were met with an eye roll. All the good-hearted ones were a drop in a bucket of the attempt to imagine our life with the baby.

I don’t think you can know what it is going to be like. No matter how hard you try. I think you can picture it, but you cannot FEEL it. So here’s what WE thought life with a baby would be like. And here is how we were wrong (or right).

Keep in mind that our experience will most likely NOT be yours. Your baby might sleep 16 hours a day and be the newborn you read in all the books about, nurse like a champ from day 1, fall asleep in your sling or contently stare at the mobile while you go around your business. That was not our experience. Nor was it the experience of millions of other parents. Because every baby is UNIQUE!


LABOR & BIRTH

Expectations:

I had hoped that Hypnobabies would help me get through labor but I was prepared for it to go whatever way it would, since I had read/heard how unpredictable it is.

Reality:

The shape of you. The shape of me.

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, GET FIT, HEALTH, Health and Fitness, LIFE, My Pregnancy, New Mom Experience, PHOTO, PREGNANCY

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The title of this post might give you an idea of how much Dr. Seuss I read on daily basis.

Ok, so I’ve been asked to write about this multiple times and I have looked forward to writing about this, as well. Kind of. Sort of. The only but is that I don’t really have much to say on the topic of postpartum body and getting in shape. I have done absolutely NOTHING. :( So I’ll write a bit about what changes my body went through from pre-pregnancy to now and what I am planning on doing about it.

There are a few “quirks” about my body that need to be known to understand where I am at after giving birth.
Number 1: My strong spot is my abs. It’s virtually impossible for me to gain fat in my tummy. And when I gain weight, my belly is the LAST thing to grow (after boobies) and even then it still has some definition to it.
Number 2: My weak spot is my legs. That is the first place where I gain weight and it shows immediately. So the rest of my body will be fine, but my legs and face will show whether I am heavy or thin.
Number 3:

Blooper Reel {from Gender Reveal}

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, FUN TIMES, My Pregnancy, VIDEO

If you watched and enjoyed our Gender Reveal from exactly a year ago, you might just as well have fun watching this.

I almost dropped this project for lack of time, but when I was cleaning out my video folders, I just couldn’t bring myself to delete the blooper shots, so I made a GAG REEL out of them.

It’s a good reminder of how much fun we had shooting the Gender Reveal video.

And it so happens that I made it in time for the  anniversary of finding out the sex of our baby!

Nursery Final Reveal

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Nursery, PRODUCTS

Welcome to Alexis’ Nursery Final Reveal

To view the progress, follow the links below:

Nursery Part I
Nursery Part II- bits and pieces

All the items in the room and where you can find them will be listed at the bottom of the post.

Overall, I am happy with how it turned out. The room we had for her is the smallest in the house and I was concerned that we wouldn’t be able to decorate it the way I wanted. I am not great with styling or design, I am not crafty and we didn’t have a huge budget. But I feel that we were able to do exactly what I had envisioned with minor concessions. There will be some changes to the room in the future and it’s not 100% complete, but it is as complete as it will be until Alexis starts sleeping in it ( which she currently isn’t and probably won’t be for a long time). I am planning on adding pom-poms in the ceiling corner and a bookshelf, but this is as final as it’s going to get for a while.

So let’s start:

The chair is the only thing that doesn’t completely match, but in order to get a white chair I would have had to either sacrifice my comfort or price. So this was a good middle of the road rocker/recliner that is insanely comfortable. The rug is temporary, as well. I haven’t been able to find a rug that fit the room perfectly, so this cheap Target rug will do for now until I find something more appropriate.

The blinds will get cord winders soon (if you know of good ones, please share)
The crib skirt and bows were made by my sister who lives in Russia. She did an amazing job, considering she’s not a seamstress and went off of our measurements. We opted for no bumpers (even though I had a very cute one in mind) and an organic muslin crib sheet and a Naturepedic mattress.


I debated buying children’s canvas art for the room or framing my own photography. I am glad I went with frames, because that means I can switch out photos once in a while when we get bored of them.


The dresser was a old craigslist dresser that we had refinished. And yes, I am aware the handles are upside down. No, it wasn’t on purpose :). Since the dresser is old, the only crafty thing I managed to accomplish was lining the drawers with pretty purple and white fabric that I ordered online.


We have two mobiles over the crib. Wispy soft and cute one for looks and for when Alexis is a bit older to be interested in such delicate things (see how to win one), and another developmental crib mobile made out of black, white and red plastic shapes that encourage baby’s visual development. Needless to say, Alexis loves it as much as she does her black and white board.

It took nearly to my due date to find a chandelier that we both liked. I didn’t want it to look cheap with plastic crystals and anything with real crystals was either too big or over the top. This one came in black and was exactly what we needed after some spray paint action.

The butterflies offer some entertainment for Lexi while she gets her diaper change ( that is when we use that area to change her diapers). The beautiful owl and birdie mobile is courtesy of Denise from my favorite Magical Whimsy Etsy shop

The closet dividers are courtesy of Erica from Fifi’s closet on Etsy and can be made in a variety of color schemes

Nursery Details:

Paint: Zero VOC Olympic Paint in Iris Isle

Mirror: Rooms To Go Disney Princess Mirror

Lamp: Shade from Layla Grace, base from Ebay painted white.

Owl: Red Envelope

Cloth Doll: Haba Organic Doll

Flower vase: vase and flowers from Michael’s, cut and arranged by me.

Frame: a gift from ex-neighbors. They framed Alexis’ announcement which I thought was so creative.

Dresser: an old craigslist dresser and night stand refinished. (bought for $150, refinished for $500)

Drawer Liners: Made using foam board from Michael’s, cut to size. Fabric ordered online.

Chandalier: Overstock.com

Butterly mobile over the changing table: Amazon

Owl & Bird Mobile: Magical Whimsy Etsy shop (WIN IT! see below)

Black and White Mobile: Manhattan Toy

Black and White Board: on Amazon from Manhattan Toy

Canvas: Easy Canvas Print

Crown: HomeDecorators.com

Sparkle statue: Zulily

Framed Photos: Frames from Michael’s, photos taken by me printed at Bay Photo Lab

Recliner/Rocker: Matter Brothers

Crib Skirt and Bows: handmade by my sister in Russia

Rug: Target

Shades: JCPenney (super cheap solution, but not cordless)

Shelves: HomeDecorators.com (painted white)

Organic Changing Pad: Naturepedic

Organic mattress: Naturepedic

Ugly Dolls: Amazon

ABC Nightlight: Pottery Barn Kids

Closet Door Handles: Pottery Barn Kids

Closet Organisers: Fifi’s closet

Closet cubes: Homedecorators.com Martha Stewart Collection

Closet canvas totes: Homedecorators.com Martha Stewart Collection

Flag Banner: Etsy

And that’s pretty much it. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments.

Denise from Magical Whimsy Etsy shop would like to offer my readers a chance to win $100 to her Etsy shop.
So if you have a little one on the way or just need a nursery revamp, feel free to enter.

Magical Whimsy $100 Credit

BELOW ARE THE GIVEAWAYS RULES
and Mandatory Entries: {read carefully}

There are two mandatory entries for each giveaway, after which you will have additional entries available,
and daily entries for which you can come back to enter daily. This giveaway is open internationally.
The winning entry will be verified and the winner disqualified if the action is not found or if the mandatory items are not fullfilled.
Make sure to notate how you’re following the blog in the extra info field (entry #1). The entry won’t count if that information is missing.
Each giveaway is open has specific rules, so read them on the widget (including which countries are eligible). See the rafflecopter widget for additional terms and conditions.

UPDATE: You can now log into the Rafflecopter through Facebook or just by using your name/email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Reader Question: post baby body

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in My Pregnancy

Hi there – I hope this isn’t a crass question… I’m a soon-to-be first time mom as well, and am curious/fearful about weight loss after. You were very open and vulnerable about weight gain leading up, and look great now; i’m wondering if you’re planning to write at all about your body post-baby?

I haven’t written anything about it because there’s nothing to say so far (and time is at a premium). I haven’t worked out and haven’t lost much until now. A measly half a pound a week or so.
I have resolved to start my work out routine on Monday along with some healthy dieting (good bye cookies with justification of “but I’m breaaaastfeeeeeding”).
I will try to keep a semi-regular feature with the progress, though obviously I can’t promise too much consistency.

To be honest I’m really excited about looking skinny again.

“Mommy and Me” Photoshoot and Boob Design Maternity/Nursing giveaway

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in My Pregnancy, PREGNANCY FASHION, Pregnant With Style, PRODUCTS

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OH-MY-GOD!!!!!!

If I thought it was hard to take pictures when I was pregnant ( you know the whole “gather up the energy, put make up on, wash my hair, possibly style my hair, put clothes on, go somewhere pretty to take pictures), well it is twice as hard trying to get a good picture with Alexis in tow. I still have to do all the preparations listed below, all while she’s hopefully sleeping, then pray for good mood on Alexis’ part, so that all the pictures didn’t look like this

And even when she’s in a good mood, how on earth do you get a 2 months old to pose? You don’t! So you take a million shots hoping that at least in ONE of them she’s going to look decent in and you don’t have a closed eye or busy shushing her. It’s even harder with Alexis because she tends to make all kinds of faces that might look cute in real life, but definitely don’t when they’re frozen on a photograph.

So nowadays, I have to be content with 1 photo out of about 100 that looks good. And after yesterday’s Mommy and Me shoot, this is The Photo:

Fast Food

I think the result is decent considering yesterday was a fussy day!

We’re both wearing a Mommy and Me set from Boob Design, my absolutely favorite item in their store. If you’ve been reading my blog since I was pregnant, you’re aware of my undying love to this brand. I think they have the cutest maternity  clothes and absolutely THE BEST nursing wear on the market. They just opened their US store which makes it impossible for any pregnant or nursing woman to resist buying something. I wasn’t planning on running another Boob giveaway, but after numerous requests from readers, I finally have it ready. So enjoy! It’s open internationally and anyone who’s pregnant or nursing or planning on becoming pregnant or has a baby can enjoy Boob Design clothing. I also have a DISCOUNT CODE if you plan on purchasing something. It’s 20%OFF any purchase except for Outlet and it’s valid till April 12th. Use BOOBDESIGN-APRIL-20% code to get the discount.

Some of the other Boob items that I have:

 

So for those who aren’t familiar with Boob Design ( and note: this is not a review, I just love them this much), their nursing dresses, tees and tanks have a special pocket that opens up without exposing your belly so you can breastfeed in public without the darn cover-up. They are definitely my prefered online retailer of nursing clothes. I’ve nursed in Boob tees in public and it’s a breeze!

It’s funny that I had to nurse Lexi during the shoot, but it looks damn good, doesn’t it? You open the top pocket and latch the baby on- VOILA! No boob hanging out :) Most items are made out of organic cotton or  lyocell and are very nice to touch and are very stretchy ( which is a key to baby onesies, because Alexis has developed hatred of clothes going over her head, so I have to stretch the neck to make sure it doesn’t touch her face as I put it on)

Fast Food

So here are a few other photos taken that I am somewhat ( but not fully) happy with.

Fast Food

This was taken after the shoot, while I was putting Alexis to sleep in the stroller (more on that later)

Fast Food

BUY IT:  Use BOOBDESIGN-APRIL-20% code to get a 20% off discount until April 12th.

WIN IT:

So now, due to popular demand, I present to you a Boob Design giveaway.
There will be 3 winners of $150 credit to Boob Design Store each. The contest is open internationally and there’s a new entry that can be entered in once a day.

BELOW ARE THE GIVEAWAY RULES
and Mandatory Entries: {read carefully}

There are two mandatory entries, after which you will have additional entries available,
and 2 daily entries for which you can come back to enter daily.
The winning entry will be verified and the winner disqualified if the action is not found or if the mandatory items are not fullfilled.
Make sure to notate how you’re following the blog in the extra info field (entry #1). The entry won’t count if that information is missing.
Please make sure to visit Boob Design facebook page and write on their wall what you’d buy if you won.
The giveaway is open to INTERNATIONALLY. See the rafflecopter widget for additional terms and conditions.

UPDATE: You can now log into the Rafflecopter through Facebook or just by using your name/email.

If you have a blog, there’re 2 entries each worth 10 points ( post our button on your blog’s sidebar and blog about the giveaway)

{If you’re not sure how to use to enter, feel free to watch this video tutorial or email me at contact {at} prebabyblog {dot} com
Otherwise, make sure to read everything carefully. Click the DO IT link first, then I’VE DONE IT once the action is completed}


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This is NOT a review.

Birth Story Part 2

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, My Pregnancy

Before reading Part II, please read Birth Story Part I

(…) We called the nurse to do a cervical check.

I’m 3.5 cm 50% effaced!

No progress! Twelve hours of intense frequent contractions did absolutely nothing!

My first thought was “Thats it! I want an epidural!”  I was too tired and sleepy to fight any longer. And as if by command, before we were even able to discuss it or tell the nurse, my contractions started spacing out. They were coming 4-5 min apart. It was like my body’s way of telling me to relax.
In retrospect, I can see that I wasn’t able to effectively relax during contractions (even though I thought I was). Instead my body had to work really hard against my tension (hence no progress and super strong frequent contractions) which is exactly what I was trying to avoid by doing hypnobabies but obviously it didn’t work for me.
I think if my body was given a chance to rest, the contractions would have picked up again but I was so exhausted and sleepy at that moment, I didn’t feel I had the energy to wait and see even through spaced out contractions, so we requested an epidural. Cynthia administered the IV drip, and after they made us watch this silly 70s video, my anesthesiologist came in and took care of the rest. The procedure was painless and I felt relief almost instantly. Aaaaaahhhhh! It’s easy to become an epidural convert when the relief is so immediate.

Later, when I was going through the photos taken during labor, I found this photo immediately followed by the one below it.


{It’s like a commercial for medicated birth}

The first thing I tried doing was SLEEP! Oh the glorious gods of slumber! It was great! I didn’t really get to sleep for a long period of time but just resting for an hour made all the difference.

Soon the nurse shift changed and a new nurse, named Jackie came in. She was actually  a hypnobabies trainer. She was a goofy woman and luckily now that I had an epidural, I didn’t mind joking around.

She talked to me about getting some Pitocin to get the labor going since an epidural slowed it down a bit more as well. I suggested we wait an hour or so and then see. Realistically, with enough time my labor would have picked up on its own but none of us wanted to sit around and wait till that happened. We wanted Lexi and we wanted her now. {Funny how impatience can get the best of us}

We figured if in a few hours it doesn’t pick up, we’ll be ok with a low dose of Pitocin. I wouldn’t have wanted to have Pitocin to start the labor, because it would sabotage my chances of  laboring without pain relief but since I was already hooked on an epidural, it didn’t really matter much, as long as it was administered wisely.

My OB came in to talk to me in about an hour and I repeated what I had told the nurse. That “generally” we don’t mind starting a pit drip, but we’d like to wait an hour to see what my body does on its own.

I have to mention that at the hospital my nice sweet OB was more bossy and strict. It wasn’t a bad change, per se, but I did feel like i had less say in the matter than before. So after an hour of lack luster contractions we went ahead with the first low dose of Pitocin.


Contractions picked up quickly and were coming regularly. The goal was to up the dose every 20 min until they come every 2-3 min apart again. As far as I remember we upped the dose 3 times.
Pitocin was first administered at 10am and I was fully dilated by 2pm. The whole time I just hung out on my phone, not feeling a thing waiting for the drugs to do their job.

Around 2 pm- 2:15 pm we were ready to push. Her head was right there. After every push it would come out and then get sucked back in. We like to say that the first thing that was born was a curl of dark hair! Before we saw Alexis, we saw her curl for a few contractions.

It was really frustrating to push while numb. I felt helpless and ineffective. BUT it WAS painless. I clearly remember thinking (and still do) that while the pushing with an epidural was frustrating, I was not sure I wanted to experience it without, seeing all the stretching my OB was doing there- Yikes! Speaking of stretching, I won’t go into gory details, but it appeared that my OB was in a hurry and wanted to speed up things a bit ( he had to make a call to his office saying he’d be there in 30 minutes) and used his hands “freely”. My husband believes it was one of the reasons why I got 1 tear ( 1st degree). In the end, we decided that we didn’t mind, because him stretching me out meant less pressure on Lexi’s head and since I didn’t have a painful recovery, it was all for the best.

After about 30 minutes of pushing her head came out and it looked sooooo little! Before she was even pulled out completely, she started crying. She was so alert the whole time. She was immediately placed on my chest where they sucked liquid from her nose and mouth and Andrew started drying her off. I didn’t want to post more graffic photos on here, but there are 2 photos in particular that don’t show anything per se, but are pretty cool since it was the exact moment of Alexis being put on my chest with the cord still attached. The photos are blurry and bad quality but they mean the world to me. You can see them here:  Photo  Photo 2

Then he wrapped her in one of our Bambino Land organic blankets and put a hat on her. I just remember her looking soooo scared and helpless. And there was so much love for her in that instant. Like I said before we didn’t feel overwhelming love, we felt this calm deep feeling of knowing we’ve always loved her- like a “duh” feeling. She was soooo sweet and adorable and scared and she needed us to keep her warm and safe and comfortable. She just lay there on my chest frantically sucking her fist. It almost makes me cry just thinking about how scared she must have been.

 

{Organic Hat and Recieving Blanket is by Bambino Land}

The rest was a bit of a blur. I breastfed her- she latched onto my boobs like a Hoover vacuum and killed my nipples that first time.

After some bonding time when everyone left us alone, the baby nurse came in to weigh her and do routine procedures.

We were so wrapped up in this little girl we had been waiting for for so long that we didn’t even bother to ask her measurements.

After a while I got put into a wheelchair and with my baby in my arms wheeled up to the recovery floor.


It was almost unreal to have this tiny being in my hands- the one who spent 9 months inside me, submerged in water, upside down, with food and oxygen delivered to her, perfect temperature, no outside influence. It’s her little feet that stretched across my abdomen, her butt that stuck out whenever we touched it.

I spent the whole post partum time at the hospital wearing a designer hospital gown by dearjohnnies. I didn’t feel comfortable putting my own clothes on, because anything loose would feel too bulky under the covers and let’s admit it, pictures wouldn’t have turned out half as good if I wore the hospital provided one. Once again, just like Pretty Pushers gown, you can read about dearjohnnies and win a gown for yourself here.

Those first days before my milk came in on day 2 Alexis ate every 2 hours and slept sporadically (mostly stayed awake and alert) and pooped 1 and 2 diapers a day (which was exactly what I read and everyone tried to tell me was wrong). The next day Andrew drove home to pick up my mom, who stayed with us at the hospital for the day. She even held Alexis in her arms for a few hours just so that we could both get some sleep.

We both didn’t sleep at night because Alexis wouldn’t, so we weren’t even up to having visitors at the hospital – we were so exhausted from days of no sleep that started before delivery. To add insult to injury, medical personnel for some reason thought it was a good idea to keep coming in at night, turning lights full on and cheerfully and loudly announce that it’s time for them to take Alexis temperature right as we FINALLY put her to sleep.

One night this doctor comes in (after we had spent hours shushing and rocking her and finally got her to sleep) and insists on turning the brightest lights in the room and waking up Alexis because she needs a full body exam since “it’s been 24 hours”. It made no sense to me….  After he wakes her up and undresses her, he looks at the name tag and non-challantly announces that he’s got the wrong person. Lol I was ready to kill him right there and then.

{Swaddle in both pictures is by Bambino Land, purple onesie is by Best Baby Organics}

Originally, we were hoping not to introduce a pacifier until breastfeeding is established, but this girl LOVED and NEEDED to suck, so we gave in. It’s funny now because she spits every single one of them out.

Whenever they needed to take her somewhere to test her hearing or anything else, Andrew went with them. We never let her out of our sight and never let her be without at least one of us.

On day two We got cleared by both OB and ped to go home. By then I felt relatively good and had almost no bleeding. My body was still sore and it was a bit hard to get up but in the excitement of going home that got completely overlooked. I took a shower, brushed my hair, put some make up on and got into my going home dress, put my favorite cupcake footie on Alexis and felt like a new person, a new family, going home.

We only took a few shots on the way home and I would have really liked to have had Alexis out of the car seat, but they wouldn’t let us out that way. I still looked about 6 months pregnant going home (Thank you Boob Design dress for not making it obvious!), but by 2nd week I was back to “visibly” semi-flat stomach.

I loved driving home in the backseat with Lexi holding my thumb, only 2 days old and so adorable.

All in all, I consider my labor experience to be great, despite not doing it med-free and ending up with Pitocin. I got to labor for 10 hours without medication, I experienced the relief of an epidural without any side effects that sometimes follow it, I would totally do it again and pretty much with the same plan of action: try to get through it without pain relief, but in the end get an epidural if it’s too much to handle.

My next post will be Reflections on Birth Experience, where I’ll try to write my feelings and thoughts about the process, Hypnobabies, my hospital bag, the epidural and so on.

dearjohnnies Designer Hospital Gown

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in My Pregnancy, PREGNANCY FASHION, Pregnant With Style, PRODUCTS

Dear Johnnies is another hospital gown meant for a slightly different purpose during labor and delivery.

This one you wouldn’t want to get dirty- it’s so pretty with its patterns and colors. It is designed exactly like your standard hospital gown so few hospitals should have a problem with it. But instead of dingy hospital colors and twisted old ties, you’ve got bright happy patterns AND ribbons (love it).

Every gown comes in a cute little matching pouch. The gown has arm and back snaps along with ties all the way down the backside for easy medical access, but without revealing all of your goods.
As soon as I was transferred into my postpartum recovery room, I couldn’t wait to change into my cute pink gown. It wasn’t even a matter of not being comfortable in anything else. I just wanted to look and feel pretty after going through a beautiful but, let’s admit it, dirty experience.


And then of course it allows for much more pleasant hospital photos. Try to imagine these same shots with a green patterned standard hospital issue gown. Yuck!
Not the same! Not the same!


HOW TO GET IT:

BUY IT: You can purchase any of the styles on Dear Johnnies website  with 20% OFF until 4/15/12 by using the promo code PREBABY2012

WIN IT: You can enter below to win a gown from Wellesley collection! You can also like their FB page and follow their Twitter for news and discounts.

BELOW ARE THE GIVEAWAY RULES
and Mandatory Entries: {read carefully}

There are two mandatory entries, after which you will have additional entries available,
and 1 daily entry for which you can come back to enter daily.
The winning entry will be verified and the winner disqualified if the action is not found or if the mandatory items are not fullfilled.
Make sure to notate how you’re following the blog in the extra info field (entry #1). The entry won’t count if that information is missing.
Please make sure to visit Dear Johnnies’ Facebook Page and write on their wall which design you’d choose if you won.
The giveaway is open to US residents only. See the rafflecopter widget for additional terms and conditions.

If you have a blog, there’re 2 entries each worth 10 points ( post our button on your blog’s sidebar and blog about the giveaway)

{If you’re not sure how to use to enter, feel free to watch this video tutorial or email me at contact {at} prebabyblog {dot} com
Otherwise, make sure to read everything carefully. Click the DO IT link first, then ENTER once the action is completed}

 

 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Disclosure: I was not compensated by Dear Johnnies. I received this gown in exchange for an honest review. All the opinions represented here are 100% my own

Birth Story Part I

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, My Pregnancy

I don’t know why it hadn’t occurred to me until now, but instead of taking all this time to write my full birth story, I should have broken it into parts. And while the full birth story is essentially written, I am still going to go ahead and break it down to make it more manageable. Don’t worry you won’t have to wait long for the other parts:
Birth Story Part II 
Birth Experience Reflections (hypnobabies, hospital bags, etc)
Breastfeeding Journey 

Preface:

If you’re new here, you’re welcome to read the following posts pertaining to Alexis’ birth: childbirth preparation, birth plan, hospital bags.

As many of you know I started preparing for labor a few months ahead. My hopes were to labor naturally without drugs, though I was always open to an epidural if such need presented itself. However, I was pretty confident I’d be able to have a natural birth experience  using Hypnobabies techniques barring any unforeseen circumstances. As I was getting closer to my 41 week deadline, I was told to schedule an induction date in case I got past 41 weeks. While I always wanted to avoid an induction, I was pretty sure that if I were to get one, my hypnobabies would go out the window (though many of you assured me it’s possible to labor naturally even with pitocin). In the end, the only thing I really wanted to avoid was a c-section, however I did realize a c section isn’t smth you “plan not to have”- it’s done when necessary, therefore in my mind there was no labor and birth experience end result that I would regret: natural, pitocin, epidural, c section- as long as my baby was here safe and sound.
Since I had never been in labor before I had no idea how it would go for me but I was putting all my faith into hypnobabies to help carry me through the contractions.

Birth story

My 41 week induction was scheduled for Wednesday evening with an application of Cervadil. Prior to that date I was doing anything and everything possible and safe to kick start my labor on my own: miles curcuit (which is what I think threw me into labor), walking, sex, etc.

Sunday night I spent most of the night not sleeping and trying to deal with pretty strong contractions that never got closer than 6-7 min apart.
All day Monday I was crampy and having light contractions. On Monday evening I started having strong contractions that kept getting closer together. I was using hypnobabies relaxation techniques to get through them. I labored in bed, on the birth ball, on the floor while hubby packed the rest of the things for the hospital. We were sure this was it. When the contractions got to about 3 minutes apart and it was difficult to handle them, I told Andrew that it was time to go. I was well beyond the excitement stage – this was serious! One of my fears was that I’d transition in a matter of minutes like my sister did and we wouldn’t make it to the hospital.
Well, let’s just say that fear was unfounded lol

I barely remember the ride to the hospital. I know I had my fuzzy blanket with me and that I thought it wasn’t that bad. I had my headphones in listening to HB tracks. I thought I was pretty focused on the tracks and relaxation and doing a decent job getting through every pressure wave.
We drove up and walked through the doors of the birth center. I couldn’t believe we had to actually come up to the guard and answer his “Can I help you?”
I don’t know… Do you see a very pregnant woman in the middle of the night looking miserable? lol I told him we were there to have our baby.
He had me take a seat while hubby parked the car.
About a minute later a nurse comes out and gives me a gown and a bag for my clothes to change into.

Michelle, the triage nurse, got me into a room and hooked me up to the monitors. She was really sweet and soft spoken. She quickly figured out that all the questions are to be directed to my husband and kept saying how cool it was that I was doing hypnosis and how well I was handling the contractions, which at that point, she told me, were 2-3 minutes apart over a minute long.
At some point during this process, which took a little over an hour, I started getting the shakes. In the back of my mind I was hoping it was transition, but now looking back at it, I’m pretty sure that was me getting sidetracked from my relaxation and actually tensing up at each contraction.

When she checked me I was 3.5 cm dilated and 40% effaced and after a quick call to the doctor told me we were staying.
That was just before midnight.

{In my labor room getting through a contraction before I even had a chance to change into my Pretty Pushers gown}

 

Now, based on most everyone’s experience, we were going in prepared to fight for our birth plan (certain things in it, at least). Hubby was the one who was supposed to be talking to L&D nurses to make sure things are done a certain way (or more like not done just for the sake of doing them).

Michelle left to get my paperwork and came back to admit me. I guess somehow she had a copy of our birth plan because, before we even mentioned anything, she asked us if a heplock was fine since we didn’t want an IV. We asked her if it’s ok if we skip heplock but we’ll totally do it if there’s a need to. She was so sweet about it too: “Oh yeah If you guys don’t want it, it’s fine. As long as you’re open to getting it, if we need to.”

That was the first shocker of the night. The one if two things, that even my OB said nurses will have a huge problem with, was a slam dunk.

So Michelle proceeded to go over things we could do:
We were fine to labor however we wanted, use birth ball, wear whatever we want, eat and drink, have 20 min on and off monitoring, no cervical checks, etc
She basically said if we’d like, we would just be left alone to do our thing with occasional visits from the nurse to put a monitor on.

I was honestly floored. I expected insistence on routine IVs, no food, continuous monitoring and a bunch of other “hospital protocols”. But she was so sweet and supportive and she had this nurturing quality about her. I could not have asked for more.

Once we settled in, I changed out of the hospital gown into my Pretty Pushers gown. I really loved having a cute gown to wear that had all the right access to medical personnel ( monitor, epidural) and was cheap enough that I wasn’t worried about getting it dirty. {You can read more about Pretty Pushers and win yourself a gown HERE}

We were assigned a nurse named Cynthia who was just as laid back as Michelle. She’d walk in every 30 minutes, put me on the monitor, didn’t really say much, just kept quiet and sweet. I have to say the L&D nurses made this experience a thousand times better and I am very thankful for their support!!!

I kept trying to hydrate to make sure I don’t get an IV, but a few hours after admittance, I started to feel sick to my stomach and just like my OB had warned me I promptly threw up the contents of my dinner earlier and later all my water into a bag. Cynthia offered me an anti nausea pill, which i declined, and warned me that if I continue throwing up, they’d have to hook me up to an IV. After I threw up again, I took the pill :)

This whole time I continued laboring with contractions that were coming every 2-3 minutes. It had been 7 hours since the strong contractions started and we all didn’t think it’d be much longer.

BOP I was doing the finger drop technique every time, however I am not sure how much it was really helping. I had never labored before so I wasn’t sure if the hypnobabies was taking the edge off or not. I could feel the contractins really well regardless how much I was relaxing and there was no real comfortable position for me to labor in. I remember feeling a lot of pressure on my pelvis, really overwhelming pressure during the contraction.  At the time I did think that it was due to my relaxation that I was handling the contractions. In retrospect, I am not exactly sure. End BOP

I kept going thinking that with strong contractions like these I must be near transition time and then I just have to get to 10 cm.

Around 4-5 am I started getting really tired. I hadn’t really slept the night before and here I was another night dealing with strong frequent contractions. I remember thinking that I’d take the pain so much better if I could just sleep. All I wanted was to put my head down and sleep, which is sort of weird when you’re in pain lol However, I was getting really worn out…. I’d slump over the bed and close my eyes and just wait for the contraction while I half slept in the meantime.

Soon enough I started thinking about an epidural. I voiced it to my husband who had been trained to know that it’s an emotional signpost meaning “I’m close to transition”. I knew that too but I was also soooo sleepy and tired I wasn’t sure I could take much longer of the same intensity. He held me off for a while and then we made a deal: I get checked for progress and then we go from there.

TO BE CONTINUED…

 Birth Story Part II