Posts Tagged ‘pregnancy’

New Prenatal Screening by Natera

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

Natera_Infograph_Cut-1
 This survey was sponsored by the new Panorama™ NIPT, created by Natera, that enables women in the first trimester of pregnancy to be screened for more than a dozen leading genetic diseases as early as 9 weeks gestation. Additionally, the test has an optional gender screening that is >99% accurate.  Because the test is performed with a routine blood draw, it does not come with a risk of miscarriage that more invasive tests (like amniocentesis) carry.

Hey, guys, this is another sponsored post. Things have been insane with the holidays, so my regular programming is on hold :)

I am the host of…

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Other Recommendations, PRODUCTS

The first giveaway in the 50 Days of Giveaways!

Yes, you read it right! The 50 Days of Giveaways on Daily Mom have begun and I have the honor to kick them off with our first giveaway!

I probably don’t need to repeat myself on here  but if you haven’t already become a reader of Daily Mom, you should really check it out. It’s a new website that I launched a month ago with a group of girls.  It’s an amazing resource of posts and articles for the modern woman and mom. Imagine Pinterest worthy posts with useful information about all aspects of life – from parenting to beauty, fashion, green living, health, fitness, and more.  No fluff whatsoever.

We’ve been preparing for our launch celebration, a fabulous event, called 50 Days of Giveaways, for months now and we’re finally there! For 50 days, we will be giving away one awesome prize a day to thank our new readers.

So today I am proud to present to you, our first giveaway!

This one is for all of you, TTCing folk!

While it seems like neons ago, I remember the time spent preparing for the conception of  Alexis. It was exciting, scary, wonderful!

If you’re currently trying to conceive or are planning to in the future, this giveaway is for you!

Today’s giveaway

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

Alexis Weeks 1,2,3 + Postpartum Update

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

Since I’m so behind on weekly updates, I’m going to lump them all together.

Postpartum update

Week 1 and 2 Photos (I totally forgot to take front ones for week 1- we were so exhausted I’m surprised I actually took a picture). Click on them to see large.

Since there has been no change, I won’t be posting further pictures. However, once I start working out, I might resume the progress shots if there’s any noticeable change that can be seen through photos.

 

Recovery

My recovery has been amazing. Honestly, there was not much to recover from. I had no pain, super light bleeding that virtually stopped after the first week. My butt was sore for a bit from pushing and sitting on my glider all day long but nothing bad enough to even take ibuprofen for. I had no afterpains, or any other pains. My body was sore for a total of two days after we arrived home and then I went back to feeling completely normal.

Body

My belly took about a week to contract back leaving me with a nice fat-ish stomach for week 2 and 3.
After delivery I immediately lost 20 lbs and since then not much at all. It actually took me a week to even remember to weigh myself.
At this point I still have 17 lbs to loose to get to my pre-pregnancy weight but I don’t see myself taking the time to actively work on it until Lexi is out of her fourth trimester.
Luckily it doesn’t really bother me – I’m happy with how I look for now. In a month or so I’ll start trying to slowly get toned and fit again.
One thing that has been strange (and does need to be worked on soonrer than later) is the layer of fat left over from the pregnancy. I have never in my life had a fat roll on my stomach when sitting down. It’s not necessarily my “accomplishment”, to be honest- it’s that my body just doesn’t store fat in my stomach area. Legs-yes, but not my abs. So it was almost “cool” to be able to grab onto something squishy there (cool for one second and then it had to go).
The almost four weeks of exclusive breastfeeding have done nothing to reduce my fat stores or weight, probably because of my mom’s cooking and my mostly sedentary lifestyle (I either breastfeed or lie down with Lexi all day so that she’d sleep)

What else? My boob size has exploded like predicted. Hubby is digging it!

Oh stretch marks! I’m happy to report that I got out of the pregnancy battle unscathed!
I was hoping I wouldn’t get any but I really didn’t think I’d be so lucky!

Whether it’s mostly genetics or the diligent use of Mama Mio oil and proper hydration helped, I don’t have a single mark on my body.

My linea negra is still partially there but I figure it’ll fade over time.

Emotions

Again, it seems that, just like in pregnancy, postpartum hormones have not been messing with me much.
Of course, the initial weeks have been more emotional than normal. Of course, the pain and challenge of breastfeeding coupled with lack of sleep did mean I was frustrated easily, however it was nothing out of line. Times when I got upset and frustrated would have been just as frustrating and upsetting whether I had given birth or not (trying to teach a proper latch while in horrible pain at every latch-on, not understanding your new baby’s cries yet, all the usual suspects of being a first time mom).
Possibly my pleasant birth experience and non-existent recovery are responsible for lack of baby blues or maybe I’m not that susceptible to hormones ( I never got emotional during pregnancy either). And now that things are getting figured out I’m happier than ever.

Having a newborn

It’s really not THAT hard, taking care of a newborn. They have limited needs and desires and all you have to do is cater to them. That is if you’re properly set up with familial support, financial security, no rush to get back to work, etc. Of course, as soon as you introduce an “extra wrinkle”, things can become hard to handle physically and emotionally: twins, health issues, difficult recovery, single mom, no family around, another kid, having to go back to work.

What makes it hard even in an ideal postpartum situation, however, is lack of experience.
Not knowing whether your baby’s cry means she’s hungry or sleepy, not knowing if she’s in pain, not knowing if what you’re experiencing is normal or there’s some kinda of problem, not knowing if fast breathing, coughing, spitting up, extended belly, red rash, loud cry, frequent feedings, grunting while sleeping are normal for newborns (all normal btw). That’s the hardest thing! Worrying that your baby is ok is the most difficult part of taking care of a newborn (unless you have one that just sleeps all day and doesn’t bother you with “issues”)

We have dedicated ourselves to keeping Alexis as comfortable as possible even though it means breastfeeding every 30-40 min during the day or waking up every hour at night or holding her all day because that’s the only way she’ll nap and baby girl needs her sleep.

Alexis Update

week 1

week 2

week 3


{organic footie is by Finn&Emma}

She’s been doing the following things since week 2:

  • smiling
  • holding her head well during tummy time
  • oohing and aaahing and even a few agoos
  • attempting to talk to us ( you should see her mouth move and her little brain trying to figure out where her tongue  goes)
  • being a demanding little girl (ok, she had this one downpat since birth)

New week 3 developments:

  • her gaze follows objects and people
  • greets me with a smile 70% of the time
  • has a very strong grip
  • finally notices objects in the mirror
  • slept a “whole” 2.5 hour stretch at night (woohoo!)
  • took her first “mommy and me” bath –  It is SOOOO the way to bathe her. We both get into the tub and she lies on my chest while Andrew washes her. She enjoys it SOOO much you should see it! At the end of a bath, I take her and float her in the water- I think it reminds her of the womb.
  • finally liked her Moby and took her first trip into town to pick up sushi while hanging out in her wrap, got a ton of attention from passerbys and slept  right through it all
  • has developed a really funny demanding pre-cry (I’ll post a video some time)- it’s a one syllable “AH!”

 

General preferences:

Footie by Finn&Emma

  • LOVES after nap stretches ( potyagushki)
  • is mesmerized by her black and white board
  • finally paid attention to her first book: The Circus McGurcus
  • if in the mood, really enjoys full body infant massages
  • really doesn’t like going to sleep.  Who wants to miss out on all the action?
  • the boob is her BFF! She eats and eats and eats and then wants more!
  • has improved her latch immensely. It was  difficult training her but it’s so worth it
  • loves talking to us. We have full on “conversations” with that girl.
  • doesn’t mind her diaper being dirty. If she wasn’t a loud pooper, we’d never know she has a dirty diaper.
  • loves her grandmas

What we’ve been up to this week:

  • reading a ton of newborn and baby development book ( luckily I have a ton of time while breastfeeding and a nook app on my iphone). FYI, I’ll be making a list of worth while books the same way I did for pre-pregnancy and pregnancy here (which still needs to be updated, since I read a lot more than listed)
  • not taking showers
  • eating more sweets than I should :)
  • taking every opportunity to snuggle with my baby
  • taking more photos than I can ever go through and yet feeling like I haven’t been taking enough.
  • took our first family photos and totally sucked every single one of them up. Wow, self-portraits with a newborn is a bitch and Alexis is way too needy of a girl to ever pull it off. I can’t imagine having someone else take photos either because she doesn’t give us a second of a cute face when we need it.

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

20120130-155349.jpg

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

20120130-155341.jpg

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.

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.

Supplements during pre-conception and pregnancy

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

I’ve gotten so many emails about the supplements I am taking during pregnancy and took before conception that I decided to write a post. It seems a lot of people are having trouble finding the right prenatals they are happy with. I’ll also place this post under the Preconception and Pregnancy Resources at the top of the page.

Speaking of those pages, few of you might know that these two pages (PRE-CONCEPTION RESOURCES AND PREGNANCY RESOURCES) is where I have placed links to more informative posts I was writing as I was going through preparations for TTC and pregnancy and will continue updating them. They are articles, posts and links to things I found useful while preparing to conceive and during pregnancy, as well as what I did during the pre-TTC period and pregnancy recaps, along with helpful products and books. If you’re TTC or pregnant, go check it out, you might find a few useful things there.

VITAMINS and SUPPLEMENTS

Note: I am not here to give medical advice. All the information in this post and on this blog is my personal opinion derived from many books and studies I have found. You need to use your own situation and resources to decide if what is right for you.

When we first decided to TTC and started preparing our bodies for the first month of trying to conceive, I did a little bit of research as to what vitamins we could take to make our bodies healthy and strong in preparation for pregnancy. At that point, pretty much any prenatal supplement would do the job. However, knowing that many vitamins and minerals do have a toxicity level, my goal was to find a prenatal supplement that didn’t have mega doses of certain vitamins. Some prenatals LOVE jamming 500% or more of vitamins into the pill, and not only is it unnecessary, but could be very dangerous when it comes to pregnancy.

TTC Supplement

So my initial pre-TTC prenatal supplement was from Solgar Prenatal Nutrients. It has a perfect amount of vitamins/minerals, without exceeding 100% of RDA,except for Iron (which is supposed to be higher for pregnant women anyways) and Vit. C ( which doesn’t really have a toxicity level) (view the supplement label here)

It’s important to go into pregnancy with adequate stores of iron, which sets you up not to be deficient later and you also need 200% of regular DV of folic acid which is 800mg. It’s extremely important to take folic acid supplements prior to conception as the neural tube develops in the first 30 days of pregnancy (before most women know they are pregnant) and supplementing folic acid can prevent many cases of neural tube defects.

For your man:

Get him a zinc and selenium supplement which helps sperm health and production. A standard one a day men’s pill like one below should do just fine

DHA supplement

Taking DHA or eating fatty fish (such as salmon, sardines and herring) is going to help with your baby’s brain development once you get pregnant. I started with an algae based vegetarian DHA from Solgar. I liked the idea of not having to deal with mercury and dioxins from fish based supplements. Soon I realized it wasn’t enough DHA (only 200mg) and to get it to the recommended 1g, I’d have to take 5 pills a day, which would become very costly. That’s where the Environmental Defense Fund website came in handy with their Fish Oil Supplement Guide and after checking out a bunch of DHA brands, I decided that I really liked Nordic Naturals (I had read good things about them before as well). It has a nice strawberry taste, contains 1g of DHA in it and it’s really well refined, so you don’t have to worry about mercury and dioxins.

So that’s where I was during the pre-conception stage….

Then pregnancy came and with it, came a lot of new reading and researching.

I found out that as little as 3/4 of Daily Value of vitamin E has been linked with heart defects. My OB tipped me off about that when I ran my prenatals past him but the prenatal he offered that had 50% of vitamin E was flawed in other areas. The worst part is that ingesting more than 3/4 of the recommended amount of vitamin E (from food AND supplements) BEFORE and DURING pregnancy increased the risk of heart abnormalities in babies 9 fold (according to the study published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology). You just CAN’T WIN, can you? Keep in mind that some DHA supplements use vitamin E as a preservative so count that in too (it’ll list it on the label).

So I decided that the only way to truly do a good job with my prenatals is to “build my own”. Rather than take 2 massive pills, I decided to buy all separate supplements.

Most people’s diets get sufficient amounts of some vitamins and minerals. Everyone’s diet is different, therefore everyone’s needs are different. In order NOT to have to take literally up to 25 different pills a day, I set out to figure out what my diet is deficient in and only supplement those plus some. After tracking my food intake for a week or so using NutritionData, I figured out that as a {mostly} vegetarian eater, I was perfect on all vitamins except B, and all minerals except iron and zinc. I actually continued tracking my food intake and vitamins and attempting to get all of my 100% of RDA from foods, but anything I was deficient that day I could always pop a supplement for, without throwing the rest out of wack.

So I assume most of you aren’t going to want to go to the extent of tracking your food intake and some of you might not have time for it, so I’ll try to break it down as easily as I can.

If you’re mainly a vegetable/fruit/grain eater, you’ll need the same supplementation as me. If you tend to eat fewer vegetables and more meat products, you need to check your A,C,K, folate consumption.

Here is my supplement breakdown:

{ Morning: 500mg of Calcium + 1000 mg DHA. (links are to the actual supplements I take) }

Calcium needed supplementation just in case ( I did eat enough dairy to meet my RDA, but I’d like to keep my teeth and bones when I am done making babies, so I wanted to be sure). It needs to be taken at a different time of the day than iron, since it interferes with iron absoption (which is hard to absorb as it is). In addition to that, only 500mg of calcium can be absorbed at a time, so if you want to supplement more, you need to break it down into 500mg servings over the day. Make sure your brand comes with vitamin D for better absorption as well.



DHA
is almost always deficient in most people, unless you literally eat fatty fish daily, and with every child your DHA stores dimish, so it’s even more important to supplement in subsequent pregnancies. There’s been a study in nursing women that showed that taking as much as 2-4 grams of DHA increased their child’s intelligence accordingly, so the supplementation doesn’t stop with pregnancy, but continues into breastfeeding and beyond. If you’re formula feeding, it’s trickier, since not all formula companies care to add DHA, however it’s possible to find one that does have a good amount of DHA (don’t be fooled by the marketing ploy of adding a negligent amount of DHA and stating “source of DHA” on the can)

{ Evening: Vit. C+Iron+Zinc+Copper+B complex+Folic Acid (links are to the actual supplements I take) }

Vitamin C – besides it being harder to overdose on, vitamin C is just a good vitamin to supplement. In my case, the reason for supplementation was that Iron is better absorbed if taken with vitamin C. You can accomplish the same thing if you take your iron with orange juice or eat a grapefruit. The challenge is to find a pill that doesn’t give you 1000% of vitamin C. So I break mine into two and take half the amount (250mg) at one time. Most fruit/vegetable eaters don’t need supplementation unless they want better iron absorption.

Iron – this one really doesn’t need explanation. Unless you eat A LOT OF iron rich foods, you probably need supplementation at one point of the pregnancy or the other. I used Gentle Iron from Solgar from the beginning and I haven’t had much trouble with it making me sick or constipated (like some iron supplements do). Don’t take it close to a calcium rich meal or with your calcium supplement. It inhibits absorption. Iron is the reason I take all these pills in the evening, because I figured if I were to get sick from it, I’d be fast asleep by the time it hits me and I won’t notice it as much :) So the evening time just stayed.

Zinc and Copper- I don’t actually need copper supplement on daily basis, however the rule of thumb is to supplement copper if you supplement zinc and visa versa. They are in a very finicky balance in our system and supplementing one without the other can throw the whole balance off. Unless you know you eat plenty of copper, I wouldn’t supplement zinc without it. Since these two tend to come in 200% dv form, I break them in two as well.

B vitamins Complex – this pill complex includes all B vitamins in no more than 100% DV, plus 400mg of folic acid. Since I don’t eat meat, or drink too much dairy, I need supplementation. If you’re a meat eater, you might not. This one from Sundowns was the best one I found.

Folic Acid – this one is a must from day “MINUS 30” of pregnancy. The RDA for pregnant women is 800mg. Since I get 400 mg from my B complex, I only need to supplement an additional 400mg.

So that’s where I am at right now. I guess once I start breastfeeding, I’ll have to review the breakdown of vitamins necessary for breastfeeding and adjust accordingly.

Hope this helps a few of you who ran into the same trouble with prenatals as I did, but haven’t had a chance to email me.

Photo Share Tuesday: Mom is here

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

So finally the day that I didn’t think would ever come is here. My mom has safely arrived from Russia, having endured a 48 hour trip: an overnight train ride, a 10 hour flight and 2 connections in the US. In the past few days we’ve been enjoying her cooking and her presence! It’s nice to have her around and it seems like it’s always been that way.

She’s very funny when it comes to my belly moving and me telling her what Alexis is doing there. I guess back when she was pregnant in Russia, there were no ultrasounds, they didn’t know the sex of the baby or much about the development of the baby, so it was just something that was happening TO them, rather than a human life growing. She’s a bit freaked out about labor, I can see that every time I mention it. There is no way she’d want to be in the delivery room and no way I’d want her there, because I’d be concerned with how SHE’S handling it rather than concentrate on relaxation techniques.

She’ll be here until end of May. I’m really excited that she’ll get to be with Alexis as a baby and not just a newborn, she’ll get to bond with her and speak Russian to her. It’s also HUGE help for me to practice my Russian so that I can speak it more fluently when Alexis arrives.

So without further edo, here are the first shots of my mom and I, first and probably last ones with my pregnant belly. I am also working on taking some of the last shots of the nursery. It won’t be 100% complete when Alexis comes, since I am still not sure what to put on certain shelves and in certain drawers, but it’ll be close to the final state.

A s far as labor signs, I don’t really have any. I feel great, I am resting a lot until week 39 when I am going to start walking a lot and I always get contractions while walking. And otherwise, we’re just waiting for Alexis to decide she’s ready. The hospital bags are as packed as they can be right now (will do a post on that), the birth plan is signed, the car seat is installed, my mom is here- we are ALL READY!