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

Pretty Pushers Giveaway

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

As you might have read in the first part of my Birth Story, I was given an opportunity to try out a Pretty Pushers gown.

While many might not think what you wear while laboring matters, I think the right clothes help a person relax better and feel more “themselves”. For some people that might mean wearing your own clothes, for others- a hospital gown, then there are those who like to go naked and those who feel that childbirth is a special enough event to wear a special gown. And of course, let’s not forget hospital protocols, many of which don’t allow for personal clothes and need a gown that has proper access to medical devices such as an epidural and monitoring.

Pretty Pushers is a company that makes those special labor gowns. The gowns are only $24-28 and are meant to be thrown out after labor, which is very convenient since you don’t have to worry about getting it dirty. They come in a variety of colors and themes, my two favorites of which are “I dream of sushi” (because I truly couldn’t wait to have sushi) and “I dream of coffee”, since it’s my favorite lavender color.

I spent my whole labor in a Pretty Pushers gown and the nurses had no problems with attaching me to monitors or checking me and everyone commented on what a cute gown I wore and how they’d never seen anything like that. My 2nd shift nurse said “Well, you sure do look fabulous!” :) Yes, thank you, definitely something I WANT TO HEAR on my labor day! :)

BUMP UPDATES

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

Labor Update

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

Just a quick update.

Last night after lots of walking, sex, Miles circuit, and a “Baby come out” hypnosis script I started having strong contractions that fit the pattern of real labor contractions (from the standpoint that they originate in the back, travel around to the front, kind of like a belt). The painless contractions I had before were just tightening and light cramps.

We stayed up timing them till 2 am, they were coming 8-10 min apart on average, lasting 45-60 seconds.
At 2 we decided to sleep a bit, though I’m not sure how much sleep I got since the contractions were strong enough that they kept waking me up.
At 6 am we went for a walk and went back to sleep till 11 or so.

The intensity isn’t so strong now since I’m moving around now (lying with contractions is the worst), but they are still 8-10 min apart.
I do occasionally have to stop talking or walking when one comes, while others are a bit less intense as long as I’m not lying down.

To be honest I’m not sure what it all means… I can tell these are the real deal (at least more real than the Monday ones were), but I’m not sure whether I’m going to progress and when. The 4 hours of more frequent but painless Monday contractions dilated me to 1 cm and effaced me by 40%, so I am hoping these stronger contractions are doing a bit more.

In a strange masochistic way I look forward to each contraction, but I guess it’s better than dreading them since I’m sure I’ll get to that point.

For the girls with my EDD who are also racing against the Thursday induction clock (Jordan and Jessica), I’m not exactly sure what made my contractions pick up in intensity and I’m not the kind of person to assign things to anything but proven facts, but…
I felt that the Miles Circuit (recommended by some of you) and the “Baby Come out” hypnobabies script that Crystal, a reader from Canada, who also happens to be a hypno doula, was so kind to email me, were the two things that helped things move along. That’s when I noticed the pick up in contractions, whether that’s what caused it or not.

I’ll be running out for errands now, with at least our labor and postpartum bags in the car in case this progresses quickly all of a sudden. But my hope is that by this evening/next morning the contractions will get close together.

On a separate note, I know a lot of you have been waiting for Boob Design to open their US store and I can tell you it’s finally here! (read about Boob Design here)
I don’t believe the spring line is out yet last time I checked, but you can snag some nursing and maternity items on winter clearance in the meantime.

Also, if you’re into organic clothes, B Nature that I wrote about here is having an amazing 50% off sale on super cute organic baby sets on GILT, too.

Latest belly shots:

{sorry for the lame cell phone shots}

40 weeks 1 day

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Wearing: Boob Nursing shirt from spring collection and one of the 2 bottoms that still fit my belly: a maternity skirt my friend gave me.

40 weeks 3 days

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Wearing: Another Boob Nursing shirt from spring collection and the other one of the 2 bottoms that still fit my belly: a maternity skirt my friend gave me.

Do you guys see a pattern? I’m out of maternity clothes :) Lexie, come out!

Birth Plan

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

PLEASE READ: I can’t believe I have to make this disclosure but after a lot of initial unsolicited and close-minded (and some helpful and nice) input on the hospital bag post, I’d like to say this:

This is MY birth plan. I am NOT interested in what YOU think my birth is going to be like. Nor what YOU think my hospital will or will not allow, nor what YOU think I can or cannot do.
I did run this whole thing past my OB who delivers exclusively at the hospital I’ll be in and got an approval and signature on everything with a few maybes, with his cell phone number to call in case something isn’t working out.

That being said, you’re welcome to share your experience of YOUR birth and birth plans, as well as give advice based on FACTS pertaining to MY birth specifically, as long as you have read previous posts and know exactly where I stand (in other words, you aren’t a first time visitor who seems to think that they know anything about what I want or need).
I’m very interested in any hypnobabies/hypnobirth birth plans and how things worked out.
Before commenting, please read Childbirth training post, if you haven’t before. Thank you!

I am quite open to many things if need be, however this is my best case scenario of how I’d like things to go in case of a normal uncomplicated and not drawn out labor.
My awesome OB agreed pretty much with everything and as he was going through the points, he kept going “That’s how it normally is” to almost every point.

Obviously, this plan is going to have to be modified, if Alexis doesn’t show up by Thursday and I have to go in for an induction. A few things on here will go straight out the door in an induction situation.
{And obviously, this isn’t the format I used for the actual birth plan. This is just a breakdown. }

BIRTH PLAN

Note: since I’ll be doing hypnosis for relaxation, my husband will be the one communicating with the nurses most of the time.

  • Minimum personnel in the room. No interns or students in the delivery room.
    I’ll be doing hypnosis so I want it as quiet as possible. They can teach kids on someone else. {people relax, it is said as a joke. My own good friend and MIL are both nurses, recently out of training. I just won’t be able to concentrate on hypnosis with people in and out of the room}
  • No regular cervical checks. I don’t want to be informed of progress, either.
    I’m really digging the emotional stages of labor and see them over and over again in birth stories I read, so I would rather go by that since it’s more accurate than dilation. Funny story: my sister who gave birth in Russia 18 years ago told me about her experience. She basically had painless contractions that started at 8pm. At 12am (4 hours later), they suddenly picked up and she was screaming in pain. They checked her- 4cm. No way she can labor for hours like that she thought (there were no epidurals available). 30 minutes later- she was 10 cm and ready to push. My nephew came out with 4 pushes. Another great example of how emotional stages of labor are way more indicative of progress than dilation ( if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can read it in Bradley Book)
  • No IV unless necessary (hep lock is fine).
    Truth be told I really don’t even want a hep lock. I don’t know how comfortable or uncomfortable I will be and I’d really like to avoid have a needle attached to my arm. Or being pumped full of fluids. But I realize I might not be able to not have either. I am, however, open to an IV, if for some reason, I am unable to hydrate properly and/or my labor is taking a long time. Fluids have its use- that’s for sure- just not as a routine thing in every labor. This was the first item that doc said we might have an issue with the nurses over.
  • No drugs whatsoever (including induction drugs, unless we agreed to them prior to ).
    I don’t want any painkillers, no Demerol or anything of that kind. I’d go for an epidural if I can’t handle the intensity of childbirth before going for other drugs.
  • No Cytotec if induction is necessary
    OB said they don’t ever use it anyways.
  • No amniotomy.
    Really needs no explanation. My doc agrees.
  • I’d like to be able to drink liquids, eat easily digested foods (fruit) during labor, if needed.
    Doc insists that I will not WANT to eat once I’m in active labor. Im not disagreeing but I’d like to decide for myself. I’m not planning on eating anything but easily digested foods, like fruit or juices, or maybe those bars I packed in early labor.
  • No continuous fetal monitoring. 20 minutes on , 20 minutes off is fine.
    This according to the doc is going to be a hard one. The funny part is I totally understand why they want to monitor, however I don’t want to be tethered down. I might be perfectly comfortable in bed and then sure bring it on. But based on everything I’ve read that’s usually not the case. So we are going to allow 20 on and off initially because I totally get why they want it and sort of play it by ear otherwise. If I am comfortable using hypnosis in bed or where the monitor can reach, I am not opposed to constant monitoring, but if it’s going to limit the type of relaxation techniques I can use, then it’s going to have to go. OB wasn’t happy about it, because he gets to track all his laboring patients on his iPhone ( how cool is that?), but he’s too sweet and caring to say no.
  • No epidural unless we specifically ask for it ourselves.
    This is sort of a no-brainer, but I just don’t want to be asked if I want an epidural until I request it myself.
  • No loud noises or push coaching.
    That only refers to initial pushing. Once the head is crowning, my OB will be directing my pushing to prevent tears. I don’t tend to need a lot of loud cheering on and we don’t want the atmosphere to be crazy loud, so none of that “PUSH! PUSH PUSH!” for me. On the other hand maybe I’ll be surprised and that’s exactly what will get me going.
  • I would prefer not to spend any time lying flat on my back, including during pushing stage.
    This one is non-negotiable! Half the hospital births I’ve seen they have women lying on their backs. 45 degree angle is fine, on my back- no!
  • I’d like to push in a sitting squat or whatever position I find comfortable.
    This one I’m really curious about what position I will find best to push it. No way to know until you get there :)
  • No episiotomy.
    Luckily doc agrees.
  • During the pushing stage, I would appreciate warm moist compresses and perineal massage to reduce risk of tearing.
    It’d be really cool if doc remembers to do that. Otherwise hopefully hubby will be in a gathered enough state to remind him.
  • No pulling on baby’s head. I would like to push her out myself.
  • Please delay cord clamping for at least 1-2 minutes. The cord clamping thing was initially “until it’s done pulsating”. After discussing it with the doctor he said that the longer you keep the cord unclamped and the more blood gets in (plus he brought up something to do with the baby being above mothers chest or something like that), the more bilirubin needs to be broken down. So it’s a fine balance between “yes you want the baby to take as much blood as possible to prevent anemia but at the same time you might run the risk of severe jaundice that’s a lot more dangerous”. To be honest I haven’t had time (or more like desire) to look up and see if what he’s saying is correct. He is a really caring doctor so I doubt he’d be saying something that it’s partially true. So we decided to let the cord pulsate for a few minutes and then clamp it. That way we get some extra blood into Alexis, but don’t run a big risk of jaundice.

BABY PLAN

  • We will provide blankets and will dry the baby ourselves {Actually, Andrew will as I’ll be “busy” with other things)
  • Please allow us time to get to know our baby and breastfeed (1-2 hours) before any newborn procedures.
  • All newborn procedures to be done in the room
  • Please no baths
  • Please keep low voices and be gentle
  • Please no eye ointment and no Hep B vaccine.
  • ABSOLUTELY NO formula, sugar water, water.
  • NO artificial nipples (pacifiers or bottles)
Hope this helps some of you who are in the process of writing a birth plan. I will have to change it if induction is necessary by Thursday. I don’t think I’ll post the updated plan since there’ll be far more important things to do. What I will do, however, is write a post on how it worked out for us. I assume, things won’t go exactly as we want, so concessions will have to be made, and it’ll be interesting to see how it all works out.

Hospital Bags

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

After getting the most amazing and helpful answers from readers on what to pack for the hospital, our bags are packed and ready, so here’s the breakdown:

We decided to pack separate bags for each stage: labor/delivery, postpartum, baby and my husband’s brilliant idea of a “just in case” bag. And leave everything in the car except for the particular bag we need for that stage. That way we can bring a lot but not have to carry it all at once into the hospital room..
We have a large SUV, so we felt it was better to bring all we think we MIGHT need, since space isn’t an issue, rather than have to drive 20 minutes home and 20 back for that one thing.

Our labor bag:

This is the only bag we’ll be bringing in with us INTO the hospital when we first check in. Plus a few items that are too big to pack into a bag.

1. Swim trunks for hubby in case he needs to get in the shower/bath with me

2. Lavender oil diffuser. I’ve been using lavender oil while meditating to set a relaxing association, so arometherapy should help me relax even further in an unfamiliar environment while laboring

3. Fuzzy socks. I am a huge fan of warm soft “fuzzy” socks, so I got some for myself and thicker socks for hubby to walk around the room and be comfy in

4. Pretty pushers delivery gown for the labor. It has the perfect monitor and spinal (if needed) access and is meant to be disposed of once the delivery is over.

5. Super old comfy flats for the hospital

6. Flash difusser. I honestly don’t believe we’ll use it, since hubby isn’t “trained” to use flash, but I thought I’d put it in just in case. On top of it, lots of hair ties and a few headbands

7. Organic receiving blanket from Bambino Land to cover Alexis in while she is on my chest right after delivery. An organic Lukeeno onesie from Best Baby Organics (in case we’ll want to dress her right away. Which just made me realize that I need to pack a diaper as well in this bag.

8. Pads

9. Massage ball

10. Snack bars (my favorite kind)

11. Cheap oversized target underwear to be thrown out after labor

12. Blow up “thingy” for the birth ball

13. Speakers for the iPhone, so that I can play the Pushing Track of Hypnobabies out loud

14. External Flash ( which will probably not get used, because hubby doesn’t know how to and I’ll be preoccupied with other things, like pushing a baby out of my va-jay-jay)

15. Gatoraid (I am not a fan of gatoraid, but comparing the inrgedients of pedialite to gatoraid, I decided to go with this). To keep hydrated obviously. Though I’ll probably prefer water….

Not Pictured ( because I am still using the items or they’re too big to go into a bag and will just get packed in the trunk):

  • birth Ball and Base
  • camera, tripod, remote
  • fruit to snack on
  • a big body pillow for support
  • lots of other pillows
  • camera batter charger
  • hypnobabies guide
  • fuzzy blanket
  • lip balm

Our post partum bag:

This bag will get brought out when I get transferred from the delivery room into the recovery room.

  1. Clothes for hubby
  2. My Brest friend
  3. Towels. I packed old-ish towels, since half of you said they loved having their own towels and others didn’t like the idea of ruining them.
  4. More Target underwear I don’t mind throwing out afterwards.
  5. Lounge clothes for me that I don’t mind ruining, as well as some leggings and tops for when visitors come.
  6. Breastpads
  7. Toiletries, mother’s milk tea, nipple cream
  8. The biggest pads I could find
  9. More fuzzy socks :)
  10. My favorite item: cute designer hospital gown from Dear Johnnies. This will be the middle ground between wearing my own clothes and an ugly hospital gown. The nurses will have easy access to check me, and I will still feel cute ( well as cute as you can feel immediately after labor haha)
Not Pictured:
  • Blow up mattress for hubby to sleep on ( rather then the horrible pull out couch), since he’ll be spending every minute at the hospital
  • Tarp to put on the floor under the mattress so that it wasn’t gathering all kind of nasties from the hospital floor
  • Make up bag
  • Sweater
  • Sleep and nursing bras
  • A miracle healing lotion from Zita West (I’ll be blogging about this one- it’s amazing)
  • Our laptops
  • Lactation consultant’s number
  • Fuzzy robe ( do you notice a pattern? I love fuzzy fluffy things)
  • My going home outfit from Boob Design‘s spring line (that I didn’t even have at the time of writing this)

Our baby bag (my favorite):

This gets brought out from the car after the deliver is over and we’re in the recovery room.

  1. A few cloth diapers. As a new cloth diaper-er and a new mom, I am of course completely lost at the prospect of cloth diapering, I am hoping I’ll figure things out as I go. The reason why I packed 5 of them is because I don’t know how each brand will fit. After each day, I will give my mom a bag of dirty diapers and she’ll bring clean ones the next day. Luckily, babies aren’t supposed to poop too much in the first 2 days.
  2. RH Organic outfit: gown and hat. In case none of the pants/onesies fit
  3. Socks and a few more organic outfits of different lengths and sizes
  4. Cloth wipes (with a tea tree oil solution I made. Not pictured)
  5. Wet diaper bag to store dirty diapers in until my mom can take it home to wash.
  6. Miracle Blanket swaddle.
  7. What we think will be the going home outfit. From Sage Creek Organics.
  8. My favorite Shi Shu Blanket for the car seat in case it’s coldish.
  9. Bambino Land swaddle

Just in case bag

Just in case bag isn’t really a bag but a collection of random items thrown in the car JUST IN CASE. We’ve got:

Food “Bag”

My first “order” will be my favorite sushi roll, smoked salmon focaccia bread and a freshly made Napoleon cake! YUM!

That’s a pretty massive list, huh? But I feel like we won’t miss anything this way and everything will just sit in the car until we need it, so it’s not going to be inconvenient.

This was actually a lot of fun to write, probably because it makes it more real that soon we’ll need and get to use all those things.

 

UPDATE: Since I’ve been asked so much how my bags worked out, I’ll post a link here to the Reflections on Birth Experience post where I write about what did and did not get used.
Also read:

Also read:

Birth Story Part I
Birth Story Part II
Reflections on Birth Experience
Breastfeeding Journey
Breastfeeding Products that Helped 

40 WEEKS – Bump Update

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

 

I really didn’t think I was going to get to write this update or get to use this photo I took just in case.

My initial feelings were that I’ll go past my due date. Then they changed and I felt I’ll go into labor at 38 weeks. When 38 weeks came and went, I honestly had no clue when or where it’d hit me. That was a good state of mind to be in. Then the contractions came in, close together and at regular intervals and I was confident real labor would follow within 1-2 days. That was Monday night. It’s Thursday and we’re still waiting. I have gone through regular contractions, passed my plug, “cleaned out my intestines”, had a crazy nesting urge ( all one after another)- and here I am again- no clue when it’ll happen lol
What I tried to avoid by not getting my dilation checked, I couldn’t avoid by being able to recognize the pre-labor signs: getting impatient. The funny part is I am in no way impatient to “get Alexis out”. I do want to meet her NOW but I’d be perfectly fine waiting till she is ready. The fact that I’m feeling better than I have ever felt during this pregnancy, despite a full term baby inside of me is contributing to this ( and astounds me at the same time). So my impatience is coming solely from that Monday when I felt the first contractions really close together for hours and was sure that was it. When IT didn’t happen within 4 days, I suddenly wanted it to happen so bad. Funny how mind works.
So after this doctor’s appointment I am officially done watching for signs and concentrating on doing all the safe things that help the labor move along as well as enjoy last week of pregnancy.

STATS:

Her size: WATERMELON

How far along: 40 WEEKS!!!! I am officially due today!

Total weight gain: 176lbs (1 lb this week). I have gained a round 40 lbs. It’s funny because during all the updates throughout pregnancy I have considered not sharing my weight gain or my thoughts and feelings on it. It’s a touchy subject for many women, and oh my, how much speculation it has brought. So I’ve considered doing what most other preggo bloggers do and just skip the weight section. But every time I think that, I also realize that it would defeat the whole purpose of trying to keep a record of this pregnancy and more importantly share it with other women who might be pregnant now or in the future. I’ve always tried to be as honest and upfront about this experience as possible, including my thoughts and feelings, my expectations and my realities, regardless of what kind of reactions they might bring on. And you know what? In the end, I know  what I will appreciate is reading back about every detail of the pregnancy as well as share it with other girls going through the same stages. My favorite pregnant bloggers really tell it how it is, not just 1 word answers and numbers on a questionnaire. They lament, they worry, they talk about their fears and joys. I also know that these efforts to stay honest regardless of how ulgy or uncomfortable it is are appreciated by many readers who are pregnant or trying to conceive. I get so many emails daily thanking me for the information or asking questions and I am sorry I can’t promptly answer them ( though I always do after some time), but do know that I appreciate them all. You emails and your comments make me want to keep this up even when I am insanely busy.
So I want to continue that into post partum weight loss. Pounds, nutrition, pictures, updates. First maybe weekly, then occasionally. I don’t know if I’ll have time for it AND Alexis’s updates, but if I can pull it off, I’d like to do it.

Sleep: My body is sore, I pee about 6 times a night, I wake up early and am restless- but it’s still good sleep for being 40 weeks pregnant.

Maternity Clothes: I can’t comfortably fit my belly into most of my maternity pants at this point, so it’s all about dresses for me.

Food cravings: Anything fresh!

Food aversions: Beans

Symptoms I HAVE:
Heartburn – still there, still strong! Can’t wait to be done with it.

I am really amazed at how good I feel. I always thought that by 40 weeks I’d be soooo miserable I’d want the baby out! I do want Alexis out because I’m anxious to meet her and start that chapter of our lives, but not because I AM DYING to be done. I feel really good! I can go on long walks, I have decent energy, it’s better than I ever expected. I am ready to be done with pregnancy in general but only because it’s been just too freaking long!

Stretchmarks: None so far, but the longer Lexi decides to stay inside, the more likely I am to get some.

Doctor’s Appointment: As I was going on this apointment, I knew I was going to get hit with “the induction talk”. Obviously, anyone would like to avoid an induction, but it’s the kind of thing that just hangs over you once you hit your due date without a baby in your arms. On one hand, I’ve read/heard too many stories about babies dying at 40 weeks 3 days and so on and so forth and I know it’s a dangerous time for babies in the womb due to their cramped quarters, but on the other hand, induction isn’t something you want to do unless absolutely necessary. So you walk this fine balance between risk on one side and risk on the other.

That being said, I love my OB and I trust him to have my interests in mind, he is really great. However, I do know he has a certain bias toward the way things are done, so I make sure I research and read myself, but then also listen to what he says and his experience and knowledge. He wants to induce at 41 weeks, he feels more comfortable that way. I get it. He’d rather deliver a baby with any means possible than lose one. I’m there with him too. And that’s why I am listening.

When I told him about my concerns when it comes to inductions (the usual ones: increased risk c section, fetal distress, likelihood of need for epidural, stronger than normal contractions), he assured me that when Pitocin is administered correctly, in the right dosage individually for every woman and adjusted correctly, it should not differ from what your natural labor should be like. The issue arises when OBs don’t do it carefully and patiently. The way it’s SUPPOSED TO work is if you are supposed to have a 6 hour labor naturally, you’d labor for 6 hours from the start of pitocin as well (once it has a chance to kick in), if you were meant to labor 16 hours, you would do the same on Pitocin. What he says makes sense to me and I have to trust him as a medical professional that I chose for a reason ( I had interviewed quite a few OBs in the area, before finding him).

There’s no other reasons for induction for me, like medical problems or baby weight ( she measured 7lb 8 oz last week). We also know exactly when we conceived, so her gestational age is spot on, she wouldn’t be born too soon. From everything I’ve read (and my OB said the same thing), when you’re that close to labor, sometimes just some Cervadil would kick-start it.

So that being said, my husband and I do tend to agree with our OB. I’ll probably want to wait just a day after 41 weeks, but right now we’re discussing dates, since we need to “schedule” it by tomorrow. In the meantime, we’re doing anything and everything safe and sane to help Alexis come out before then. I feel that she will come out before 41 weeks and if not, a proper induction isn’t the worst thing that can happen. More than anything we want her here safe and healthy.

Also, as you all know, I’ve been declining cervical checks at my appointments ( for a few reasons), but this time he got us to do it :) Basically, after I told him about my sister’s labor (4 hours to get to 4 cm with painless contractions, 30 minutes of very painful contractions that took her from 4cm to 10 cm, and then 4 pushes to get the baby out), coupled with my mom’s 7 hour first labor AND simple curiosity plus looming induction, he thought checking dilation might give us a heads up on when I should come to the hospital. If I am dilated to 3 cm right now, it’d be wise to get to the hospital almost right away since there’s a chance I’ll fly through active labor and transition, like my sis. If my weak contractions on Monday didn’t dilate me at all, then I mostly likely have time to labor at home before going to L&D. Thinking back at that, I don’t know that either one of those cases would have really told us that, but we were curious if the Monday contractions dilated me and how much. The answer was as disappointing as I would expect it to be- right down the middle- 1 cm dilated and 40% effaced- so it basically told us NOTHING. However, I did get to practice my hypnosis technique for the first time on a more real thing (cervical check) and it was….well interesting….

So the bottomline, I hope Alexis comes on her own before the induction. If an induction does happen, I’m not going to broken up about it. I will attempt to still use hypnosis with it (though I feel I am less likely to succeed, which is the attitude I have to work on in the coming week) and not go with an epidural. If I do end up with an epidural, I’m fine with that too. I will try a few techniques to help the labor get going. And I will take this time to relax and enjoy the few days that I have left with actual free time on my hands.

Movement: She’s been as active as before, which is a really great reassurance that she’s doing good.

Belly Button: Outie.

Gender: GIRL!

Best moment of the week:

  • The evening I realized I was having close time-able contractions- the thought that it might be labor is just so amazing.
  • Yesterday when I got my package from Boob Design with adorable nursing clothes and a dress that I am hoping to wear as a going home dress ( however, based on your guys’ advice on Facebook, I will definitely take 2 back up outfits: 1 for that chance that going home photos are the last thing I want to do, and 1 in case I do want photos but the dress is not something I am comfortable wearing).
  • We also resolved a few matters that have been hanging over us and received
    one of our strollers, so it was a GREAT day overall.

What I’m looking forward to:

L-A-B-O-R!

What I miss:

Smoked salmon
Liking all food again

Again: In case I go into labor, I will try to have Andrew do a quick post to tell you all that it’s show time. I will most definitely post something on my Facebook page and that’s also probably how I am going to be updating you all in the first day or so. So if I disappear with no posts, it’s most likely NOT due to labor.

Updates, events and photos

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Daily, FUN TIMES, LIFE, My Pregnancy, PHOTO, PREGNANCY

Let me start with the updates that I am sure you’re most interested in :)

I am a few days from being 40 weeks and this is what’s been happening in my world.

1. LABOR SIGNS

Last night after having some random contractions during the day, we went for a brisk walk. When we got back home, I decided to time those “random contractions”. Well, they were coming 2-3 minutes apart and lasting about 1 minute long. They were almost completely painless- the cramping felt like the beginning of a period cramping- so I was mostly basing the timing on the tightening. After an hour of those, we started thinking that maybe we should go to sleep, in case they get more intense later in the night. I continued timing them as we got ready for bed. Then a thought occurred to me- you’re supposed to go to the hospital when your contractions are 5 min or less apart lasting 1 minute for an hour. At that point I’d been having much more frequent contractions than that for 1.5 hours.  Noone ever talks about the intensity or the pain when they determine whether you should go to the hospital. And I’ve heard of women who have painless contractions… so next came Mr. Google. Yes, in fact, women have labored and had painless contractions until the last few minutes. So we figured maybe we should stay up and time them a bit more. Fast forward 2.5 hours, we’re super tired and the contractions have stayed under 5 minutes apart 1 minute long. However, since we didn’t see an increasing frequency pattern ( in fact, I went from 2 minutes apart one hour, to 3 minutes the next, 4 minutes the next, 5 minutes the last hour), we decided that, since true labor would have contractions increasing in frequency and strength, we were safe to go to bed.

This morning…. my contractions have stayed somewhere under 10 minutes apart lasting 45-60 seconds. So the “no hospital” decision was the right one. I remember reading that contractions that are more than 45 seconds long actually dilate your cervix. So who knows? Maybe had we gone to the hospital, they’d find out I am 3 cm dilated or so and keep me there, which is the last thing I’d want, if my labor is going to be slow to pick up.

This evening… I stopped counting and tracking contractions- it’s too exhausting. I just hope that when they pick up for real, I’ll know. And a little bit ahead of time to make it to the hospital before transition hits :)

So we’ll see what happens tonight and tomorrow, but it appears that the early early labor has started. Let’s hope it doesn’t stop. Alexis, we are READY!

P.S. I did take my last 40 week bare belly shot today just in case I do go into full labor before Thursday. So you’re all getting a 40 week update regardless.

2.  MOM

We haven’t been doing much. Just clothes shopping, food shopping, hanging out at home. She’s been cooking a lot, which is great, because the way we eat (no processed foods), it’s always either washing, cutting, cooking, cleaning or eating and it had been taking us HOURS a day until my mom arrived. We did get out to pick out some flowers for my ghastly looking backyard that I completely neglected during pregnancy.  She was happy to plant some flowers for me, so we went to pick some.

It’s so strange for me to see myself in these photos. I got that pregnant swollen look (even though I am not actually swollen) that you see on pretty much every pregnant woman by the end of her pregnancy. It’s obvious other people who don’t know me don’t see it, because I keep getting stopped places by people who want to comment on the fact that if they didn’t see my stomach they wouldn’t know I am pregnant (which is hard to believe). I just smile and thank them, and then walk away partially thinking “You, guys, just don’t know what I am supposed to look like” and partially thanking them in my head for brightening my hour and making me feel just a little bit better.


3. FRIENDS

Just wanted to share a picture of my gorgeous friends and their gorgeous babies… and of course me with my tongue out…. They sort of ambushed me, so I was completely unprepared looks-wise.

4. SUPER COOL THANKS to TYDESIGNS

Jess and Beth from TYDESIGNS drew this sketch of preggo me ( obviously back before the whale status). Isn’t it cool!? Don’t we wish we looked like that in real life? *sigh*
Thanks guys!

5. CATS AND ORGANICS

I am convinced our cats know the difference between organic and non-organic. Jake is obsessed with any item that is organic in our house. Changing pad, mattress, our organic comforter ( he would sleep on it for days when we first got it). I am letting him “explore” just a little bit and not putting covers on stuff yet, so that I didn’t have to wash them a million times before Lexi comes. But I guess we got the comfort  endorsement from him :) lol

6. MY PLACE

Do you all have “your spot”?

I have this nook in our house at the top of the stairs where I hang out, blog, read, do hypnosis training. We recently bought a double recliner for it, so that I could breastfeed Alexis in a semi-reclined position (helps with establishing breastfeeding due to gravity) in a quiet comfortable place without having to go all the way to the nursery. Now I literally spend most of my time there. We didn’t decorate for Christmas this year, because then we’d just have to take it all off right as I am approaching my due date, but I did hang some ornaments on our fake tree and wrapped lights around the railing. I think I am going to keep it that way for the time being, too…

7. GIFTS

I am always completely humbled and touched when someone cares enough about us and Alexis to send her a sweet gift like that. Especially if that person and I have never met in real life. My blog friend Natalia sent Lexi a russian book of rhymes (rhymes I forgot I used to know and love). It’s going to be so much fun reading them to her. Thank you, girl! And thank you to everyone else who sent Alexis a card or a little something or called. You guys rock!

or check out this adorable baby book from Anastasia (who is a blog friend turned RL friend )

Speaking of packages, I received an opened empty envelope that looks like this (below) a few days ago. There’s no return address, I have no idea who it’s from. It looked like it was opened at the post office, which is really really sad :( I hope I get a hold of a person who sent it to at least say thank you for whatever was in there.

8. INSTAGRAM

And finally an Instagram collage of photos I haven’t shared for the past few weeks. Just random cell phone shots of pregnancy stages.

 

I really really hope my next  real-time post will be from the hospital. In the meantime, I’m planning on scheduling a few posts to get published in case I do go into labor.

Organic Clothing

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


ORGANIC CLOTHING

As a follow up to my organic post, here are a few organic clothing brands that I found that I really like.
Some are cheaper, others are more expensive, so you sort of have to see what  fits your budget and your style.

 

BUNGALOW BEBE

This company was started in 2007 in New York, with a few very unique girl and boy pieces. All clothes is made with 100% organic cotton and Fair Trade practices. I love some of their girly girl dresses they sell  and cool boy shorts. They offer US and  international shipping  and you can find their brand in many retail and online stores, as well.

Eva Spin Dress: $19.60
Simply Cris Romper: $32.00

FINN & EMMA

Finn&Emma has the most adorable organic outfits. It doesn’t help that it’s all in shades of lavender which has been my favorite color lately. Super cute designs, my favorite by far. The details like little flowers and decorations are even more precious. Prices range from $25-$40. And you can find a range of super cute accessories like booties, bibs, hats, blankets, crib bedding and toys. I am definitely buying a few of their organic toys once I know what Alexis needs and likes.

This Flower Footie is $38


Eva Spin Dress:

A fun spunky brand that has the brightest cutest girl dresses (check out the Eva Spin Dress:) and cute boy onesies. Owls is a common theme, as you can see below. Their designs are definitely unique – not something you’ll see just anywhere. Prices range from $12 for a onesie to $39 for a dress.

Eva Spin Dress: below is $16 (sale)

Eva Spin Dress: are on sale for $14


Eva Spin Dress:

2Chix has Eva Spin Dress: too, including 2 Eva Spin Dress:, for a boy and a girl.

They come in natural colors, so no bleaching or dyes there and can be bought for $38 each.

 BAMBINO LAND

Founded by one creative thinker, one nature lover and two little boys, Bambino Land is the kind of online store that has all that you need: organic crib sheets, receiving blankets, hooded towels, kimono gowns, hats, swaddles, yoga outfits, bibs, burp cloths, washcloths.

The gowns have no annoying tags that irritate the baby’s skin, which was one of my concerns ( babies are uncofortable enough to deal with scratchy tags) and are soft to touch.

You might want to check out Bambino Land’s adorable organic muslin swaddling blankets. As soft as Aden &Anais ( and they get softer with each wash), but organic and cheaper if you buy them in a set or two or more, these swaddles have really fun designs.

BEST BABY ORGANICS

Best Baby Organics is a full service online retailer of organic goods and products. Check out the under $15 category for deals. You can get a 3 pack organic onesies for boys for only $15.99

You can also find organic maternity items, as well as body care there. It’s a one stop shopping for organic needs. Below you can see the house brand Lukeeno onesie and t-shirt.

The organic onesie can be bought  for $16

The Lukeeno top is $16, as well


SPUNKY STORK

This is all about custom organic clothes. Each piece is handprinted to order. They’ve got adorable colorful onesies with sweet names: Sweatpea, Bananas, Trouble, Sweet, Cookie, as well as clever taglines like “When I grow up, I want to be a Zombie”. My personal favorite is a onesie with Muggle written on it in Harry Potter font :) Price is $27 for a onesie and $29 for a long sleeved bodysuit, like the one on the right. You can also custom order an item if you wish here.

B NATURE ORGANICS

This brand’s style scream organics. Natural colors and designs, soft fabric crafted out of a 40 yard thread count which makes it durable and breathable. You just want to wrap up your baby in the soft pastel pinks, wheat and olive colored and light brown Eva Spin Dress:andEva Spin Dress:. Even the packaging it comes in looks natural and is made of recycled paper, but cute nonetheless.
I love their little sock booties and the stitching detail adds a little bit of a flare to the simple ensembles. The sleeves of the gown have baby hand pockets to keep them from scratching themselves.

One of my favorite items on the website is their winter and summer start up kit. If you don’t want to mess around finding the right organic clothes, you can order a winter or summer  newborn start up kit for only $182.5

Gown below is $25.50

Booties are $24


FUNKOOS

Funkoos was started by a team of parents who saw a need for cheaper high quality organic baby apparel.

Their online store is very user-friendly and straight-forward. It’s divided into Newborn girl, Newborn boy, Baby boy and Baby girl sections, so the right clothes is always easy to find. Funkoos brand clothes are simple with soft colors and cute embroderies. You can actually buy organic jeans there, which is the first time I found something this mainstream in organic.

The gown on the right can be bought for $29.99

MY NATURAL BABY BOUTIQUE

This all-in-one organic baby boutique carries many different brands of organic clothes and accessories. It  has a pretty good selection of organic toys, organic baby slings, cart covers, clothing, skin care and pretty much anything you’d need for natural baby care. The photos below are of the most adorable organic set of security blanket ($22) and a hoodie towel ($36) by Swaddle Designs.  The security blanket is Shiloh’s (Pitt and Jolie’s kid) favorite item.

The boutique also has its own gift registry which is really easy to set up and use, so you can take advantage of that for your baby showers. Speaking of baby showers, there are really fun mom and baby gift sets available.

And for a limited time for our readers, use code “pbb15” to get 15% off.

So these are the main organic stores I’ve been looking through and shopping at. I have a few more brands that I adore, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to find an online retailer for them, except for occasional Zulily sale.

Once Alexis arrives and gets a chance to try these out, I’ll write a bit about her experiences and favorites and try to get some giveaways of organic clothes for you, guys.

39 Weeks Bump Update

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

Before I go into the 39 week update, I’d like to tell you about this dress. It’s a convertible dress from 2chix Maternity that I just received and decided to wear to my OB appointment. I KID YOU NOT, every single person that crossed our path that day commented on it. Seriously! I had people look into our exam room while we were waiting asking me where I got the dress. And that’s considering I look like a whale at this point in my 39 weeks (I’m a tall girl + pregnancy weight = makes me look pretty big in general).
Personally I wore the dress because it’s insanely comfortable- the fabric is very soft, light and  very flowy. I am in love with the color!  But I didn’t expect it too cause such a reaction from passerbys and the office staff at the doctor’s office. And it’s a convertible dress, meaning you can wear it many different ways (as a halter, criss cross, off the shoulder, one shoulder, tube dress, one shoulder, cap sleeve, etc) – I wore it criss-cross and then later in the day created a little off the shoulder look like in the picture. I don’t think it’s specifically a maternity dress but it definitely fits well in maternity even at my 39 weeks. You can buy it here in coral, blue and black and it can even be worn as a skirt. I know I’ll be digging it post-partum when I get my body back, so you’ll be seeing me in this dress much more.

STATS:

Her size: WATERMELON

How far along: 39 WEEKS!!!! It just doesn’t get old. I never thought I’d be that far along- it’s pretty cool.

Total weight gain: I’m at 175 lb. (+1 lbs this week, total at 39 lbs). It looks like I’ll hit the round 40 lbs of weight gain,which still blows my mind. I am curious and excited to see how it comes off though.

Sleep: Sleep is good, it’s just hard to get up 3-4 times a night, surrounded by massive pillows and dragging your huge belly over the edge of the bed. Luckily I can still do it without outside help :)

Maternity Clothes: Dresses, yoga pants and fitted tshirts is what I’m most comfy in.

Food cravings: SWEETS :))))))

Food aversions: Anything that I have been eating for a long time. I like change.

Symptoms I HAVE:
Heartburn that goes from mild to strong depending on what I eat
Low pelvic shocks from Alexis’s head once in a while
Occasional unreasonable irritability (twice so far the whole pregnancy, both this week)
And a new one these past two days: Bruised upper inner thighs ( from her head, I assume)

But otherwise, I am really comfortable and feel great!

Stretchmarks: I completely forgot about this  question, until reader “Lola” reminded me about it. I guess because there hasn’t been any change for so many weeks, I stopped updating it. So…. I still have no stretchmarks. The area around my belly button looks VERY stretched and very thin and I can see capillaries, but no actual stretchmarks yet. Almost every evening I keep finding a reddish spot and pointing it to hubby who assures me it doesn’t look like a stretchmark and he is always right, because the spot goes away the next day.  And I continue to be very diligent about moisturizing my belly with Mama Mio Tummy Oil and drinking lots of water . I have one week left and while it doesn’t look like I’m going to get any stretchies, anything is possible before and after birth.

Doctor’s Appointment: Everything looked great as usual. This time the doc couldn’t really feel her head, so he wanted to make sure she’s still head down. We got sent to an ultrasound. I was hoping to see her face one more time but she was just too low. She is head down and is measuring 7lbs 8 oz at the moment, though I know these measurements are usually pretty inaccurate. My AFI (amniotic fluid index) is perfect at 11.8, which is something I was concerned about knowing that it diminishes towards the end of pregnancy. And we finally got to verify that she is in fact a SHE! Andrew received a print out of her head and I got her circled labia lol

Movement: She has her active times during 7-10pm hours and morning hours. She sleeps really well at night. I wonder if that’s going to transfer into real world at all. I did read that there are some theories about that.

Belly Button: Outie

Gender: GIRL!

Best moment of the week:
Just being this far along and knowing Alexis is going to be here soon.
It was pretty nice to finish the nursery ( almost finish… I don’t think it’ll ever be 100% finished, since I am planning on continuously adding things)
Hanging out with my girls sans babies during a movie night that was more of a “let’s talk about penises and sex” night rather  than the actual “watching a movie” night.

What I’m looking forward to:

I am EXTREMELY curious to see how my labor starts! Am I going to be in early labor for many hours or will it hit me like a truck? And of course the question is WHEN WHEN WHEN!
I am not impatient to get Alexis out, aside from wanting to meet her and keep her safe, but I am very interested to see how the labor goes for me.

What I miss:

It’s 39 weeks, so that means I got the go-ahead from hubby to finally walk and be active and work as hard as I want ( he wanted me to take it easy before then). I’m enjoying this newfound sense of independence :) I can finally see a glimpse of my normal life on the horizon and cannot wait for Alexis to come and change its definition. I can’t miss anything right now, because it’s not too long until I get to do it all again.

So another week of possible start of labor. Everyone is taking guesses and I am the only one who doesn’t have a clue!

I am planning a few posts for the next week, unless I go into labor. Here’s what I have in the works:

  • Hospital Bags (what we packed)
  •  Organic Baby clothes and where to buy them
  • Our Birth Plan
  • A random happenings/picture post

Again: In case I go into labor, I will try to have Andrew do a quick post to tell you all that it’s show time. I will most definitely post something on my Facebook page and that’s also probably how I am going to be updating you all in the first day or so. So if I disappear with no posts, it’s most likely NOT due to labor.