Archives for November 2007

Here we go… The Labor Story

For anyone who likes to hear about other people’s labor and delivery… this is for you :-) I’ll try not to draw it out too much, but you know how we love going on and on about these things…

 So I started feeling contractions on Friday morning, but I didn’t even mention them to my husband, David, or sister who’s staying with us, because I wasn’t even sure I was having them. But by around 2:00 I was like, “Oh, by the way, I think I’m having contractions” and then began the super-annoying process of trying to count them and time them and all that.  I didnt have much chance to focus because darn it, there was a lot to take care of before I could get around to having a baby!  Finally around 3:15 we went to the hospital, becuase although the contractions were not very strong, they were getting more frequent.

I was 3 cm dialated when we got there. Accepted the enima as graciously as one can accept an enima, it’s actually kind of nice in away… You feel so cleaned out afterward! David kept saying he wished he could have one too. LOL. But they didnt offer him one…

The midwife poked me three times before getting a “good vein” for the IV, that might have been the worst part of the whole labor, the way they poke you and dig around inside your arm. Ugh! I have these huge nasty bruises where they failed to find an acceptable vein (want pictures??). So eventually the contractions got worse and I was like, OK, where’s my epidural??? For some reason it took an hour or so until the doctor was able to come and give it to me. And I was so unhappy because aside from the contractions, they made me lay there on the stupid moniter and the most uncomfortable position for me was laying on my back and I think it made me gassy, so there was extra pressure in that abdominal area and my back hurt and I was not happy about it. Even trying to turn over on my side was not helpful. And the IV was bothering me too. It was very annoying. So finally I got my epidural, but last time they gave me the type where I could administer it myself, and it was such a pleasure. This time they just gave me a little bit, and I had to ask for more becuase it wasn’t working. And once it did start working, I got the shakes and I was so cold and shaky and even though I couldnt feel the contractions I was still not a happy camper. I wanted to sleep but I couldn’t lie down becuase it was too uncomfortable, and my feet felt like ice and I was all shakey and felt wretched. *sigh* so much for my bright dreams of a peaceful, comfortable labor. But definitely better than not having the epidural at all.

Anyway at about 12:25 they checked me and there was the head! A few pushes and the head was out, and then the midwife yelled for help, and another midwife came in and together they pulled out the rest of the baby (I pushed a little to help them along, nice of me, huh?) It was kind of a funny sight with my legs every which way and the 2 midwives pulling with all their might. Funny, but probably not very pretty. Anyway, out he came, all 4 kilo of him, and as I said before I was not bowled over by the first impression. But dont worry, I am growing to love him more :-) He is such a good, sweet little baby. And he’s a boy, so he doesn’t have to be a beauty…

Thank G-d a million time I didn’t tear, so no stitches, and it makes a world of a difference in the recovery! I feel like a normal person, and last time it was painful to go to the bathroom and even walk around! The contractions I got during nursing were pretty bad for the first few days but thankfully we are over that too. I actually feel really good (don’t tell that to my  mother who’s been scrubbing my apartment, cooking and shopping for me!).

So there you have it, labor and delivery in all their exciting, glamous detail. Just glad it’s over and glad to have the little fellow out in the wide wonderful world, instead of in me! Can’t say much for the post-partum figure but I guess now we just wait patiently in our roomiest sweaters…

It’s a boy!

So… I actually “went into labor”on Friday morning. I totally thought I’d be waiting around another week and have to be induced. But I surprised myself and actually did it like a normal person :-)  I’ll post all the details soon, but I delivered a little boy on Friday night at 12:30 (technically Saturday morning, I guess).new-baby.jpg
Anyway, here’s my beautiful baby boy. Actually, when he came out I was like, you have got to be kidding me… This is MINE? He was soooo, dare I say it??? ugly!! Livid purple, with his eyes swollen shut (from the pressure of the birth, they tell me). And I was expecting another Esther, sweet and gorgeous from the moment I laid eyes on her. The midwife was not happy that I thought he was funny looking, she said, “All my babies are beautiful! You just don’t know anything about babies!” Oh well, that might be true :-) But thank G-d he is getting cuter day by day, and of course, I have no complaints since he’s a normal, healthy baby.

Oh ya… and remember my doctor who kept telling me he was too small? 4 kilo! That’s almost 9 pounds! So there! You should have seen the midwives struggling to pull him out. Ha ha!

Does sex bring on labor?

Some people swear it worked for them. Some people try and try and nothing happens.  This study says it will bring on labor. This study says it won’t. Some are willing to try anything. Some can’t think of anything they’d like to do less.

The answer seems to be: PROBABLY NOT. I think your body will give birth when it’s ready. Wiki Answers claims that none of these so called “natural remedies” will start labour unless you have already begun to dialte, anyway.  So bring on your spicy foods, vigorous walks, frequent sex…. I have a feeling none of it really makes a difference in the end.

Is being over-due dangerous?

You would think there was something awful about to happen the minute you pass your due date, the way some women talk about it. Do an online search for “overdue” and you’ll hear tons of women moaning and weeping about how they just want the baby out already and can’t handle being pregnant any longer (and they can be just a couple days past their due date!)  Like I said before, only 5% of women actually deliver on their due date. But if you are a week or more overdue, is this a cause for concern?

Although 40 weeks is just an estimate (and often miscalculated), standard policy seems to be induction at 42 weeks (that’s what happened to me last time). Those who  follow this rule claim there are several risks to letting a baby stew for longer. AboutKidsHealth gives the following reasons:

  • The placenta can get old. The placenta grows inside your uterus and keeps the baby alive inside your body. If the placenta is getting old, it can slow down or stop your baby from growing. Alternately, if it keeps functioning some say the baby can grow “too big”, making your labour harder and longer.

  • There is a higher chance your baby will have some kind of problem during labour and birth if you are overdue, including insufficient oxygen.

  • If the liquid from the amniotic sac leaks out, the baby could get an infection.

iVillage lists these possible complications:

  • The risk of fetal death and stillbirth is considerably higher in postmature babies.
  • The risk of macrosomia (very large baby) and dysfunctional labor is higher.
  • There is an increased risk for operative delivery (cesarean, forceps and vacuum).
  • More intervention is done for postdates pregnancies (induction, monitors, IVs and testing).
  • The risk of infection and hemorrhage goes up slightly.
  • Meconium, which is often present in the fluid of a postdates baby, can be aspirated into the lungs. This necessitates suctioning and careful observation to prevent pneumonia.

But I like other ways of thinking much better. How about this one, from Birthsong: “When your body is fully ready to open up and birth your baby, it will happen. Your baby will be perfectly prepared. Your body will be fully ready.”

Compleat Mother sings the same tune: “Mothers carry everything they need within them, whether it is the wisdom and power to seek out necessary help or to give birth completely alone. During pregnancy, just like during labor, mothers don’t need to be searching for problems, but instead remaining receptive to messages their bodies give them. As a general rule just take good care of yourself and your baby, be “in tune” with your inner wisdom, and don’t let arbitrary rules and measures influence you.”

I guess this reasoning appeals to me since I’ve always been a “go with the flow” type of person. Why not let nature run it’s course, as long as you are being responsible and doing all you can to ensure a healthy baby? I’m going for the post-date monitering and ultrasounds. As long as the doctors do not sense anything going wrong, I’m content to just wait it out and let this baby come when it’s ready.

I hope my loyal readers have not been too busy wondering how I’m doing and why I have not been blogging so regularly… In case you were wondering, no baby yet! Just internet problems and the fact that some days I’m so wiped out, I don’t get around to many of the things I’d like to get done.  Anyway… I’m still here and still pregnant and I might still be here a week from now with no change. That’s the feeling I get and I’m not expecting anything to happen any time soon! Can’t say the same for everyone else. My mother calls every day to ask if I’ve felt contractions. Friends look at me incredulously and say, “Still here?” Um, let me check… yup, still here. Sorry. And today was my husband’s birthday and he was kind of hoping the baby would be have the same birthday as him…. not this time around! So we’re all just waiting, which is fine, because there is always something that needs to be done and I’m not in a rush. I just don’t want to get to the point where they start talking inductions.  Last time I didn’t really know what it would be like, and I was ready to have the baby already, so I let them go ahead and do whatever it is they wanted to do. But I don’t think it was necessary, just done out of policy. This time I’d like to have more of a say in the matter!

http://www.maternity.net/2007/130/

What to do when you’re Overdue

So today is my “due date” but as I suspected would happen… nothing. No big surprise since Esther (my 2 yr old) was 2 weeks overdue (actually, she was in no hurry even after 2 weeks, and I was induced). While I’m in no hurry to have the baby out before it’s ready, I would like to avoid an induction again! And a good thing to remember is that it’s about a million times easier to be a week or two overdue with a baby, than to be taking care of that same baby, so enjoy the extra time before the little one arrives. Don’t worry, no one stays pregnant forever!

CNN Health says: It’s perfectly normal to give birth one to two weeks before or after your due date. In fact, only an estimated 5 percent of women give birth on their due dates. You’re not considered overdue until two weeks after your due date. It’s then that many doctors begin to speak of induction.

The truth is, since I was induced the last time I’m not even sure what the beginning of labor feels like. I assume that when it starts, I’ll know… but here’s a little summery of what to expect: How do I know when I am in labour?

And here are 101 things to do when you’re overdue. Some of them seem pretty silly (go dancing??) but others are practical (pack your hospital bag… buy a nursing bra…)  and others would just make me crazy (practice a new position for labor) and some will make your husband crazy (page him to make sure he’s paying attention??). But hey, anything beats just sitting around waiting for a contration!

What does it mean when the baby drops?

I saw a friend of mine today who said, “Looks like the baby dropped!” and then a lightbulb went on in my head. I hadn’t put two and two together, but I did look in the mirror yesterday and think, “Gosh this belly looks awfully low! I don’t remember it being like that before…”

 When the baby drops, also known as “engagement” or “lightening” it means that it has engaged itself deeper into your pelvis, positioning itself for labor. In first pregnancies this can happen days or weeks before labor, while in subsequent pregnancies it can happen during labor. So although it’s an indication that your body is getting ready to give birth, you can’t be sure how soon labor will actually start.

The good news about engagement is that you may find it easier to breath and have less heartburn. The down side is that the additional weight in your pelvis compresses your bladder even further, and trips to the bathroom may increase. Some women find the pressure uncomfortable and may even have difficulty walking and performing other tasks. In any case, you can be aware that the baby is getting ready to exit, and look forward to the upcoming delivery of your child!

Beware the Belly Rubbers

An article called “Be Polite About Pregnancy” reveals common pregnancy faux pas, the first one being the Unlicensed Belly Touch.  Now, I can deal with people telling me their horrifying labor stories, I don’t really care if someone thinks I’m having twins, but…  I hate the Unlicensed Belly Touch!! Even when people do ask, and I pretend I don’t mind, I can’t for the life of me understand why they want to touch my belly. To feel the baby moving, slightly understandable. But someone who just sees the belly and MUST touch it… what the heck?? I have never felt the desire to touch a pregnant woman’s stomach. I am not a huge good luck charm, I am not your pet cat, I don’t like to be patted and even worse to be caressed. Ew. It feels weird. Don’t do it. Don’t even bother asking, because I’ll probably say it’s ok, but that smile is purely fake and I’m writhing underneath it. So all those of you Belly Rubbers out there, do us a really big favor: keep your hands to yourselves!!

pleasedonttouch-ma-wh-cr.jpg PS. I think I’ve found the answer!!! If this T-shirt doesn’t do it, I don’t know what will :-)

Pregnancy & exercize: 5 Reasons to get off the sofa!

Dan Thompson, author of the Pregnancy Exercise Plan and a leading personal trainer in the UK, shares 5 reasons why you should excercize durring pregnancy. Of course exercise is healthy whether or not you are carrying a baby… but do you know the specific benefits derived from exercising throughout your pregnancy?

Here they are:

1. Easier time pushing that baby out (second stage labor)!Make sense that if you are in good shape, your body will have more strength to push. Even during a long labor, a fit woman will be able to cope better than one who did not exercise at all.

 2. Easier, healthier all-around pregnancy. Women who exercise feel more positive and report less weight-gain, suffer less back and pelvic pain, sleep better and eat better. They are happier and less likely to suffer depression. You will also feel better and have more energy after birth.

3.  Strong pelvic floor muscles assist in birth. During pregnancy, hormones enable the pelvic floor to stretch adequately during childbirth. If these muscles are toned, they will allow a baby to pass through during childbirth and return to normal afterwards. If not, they can be damaged, over stretched and weak.

4. Pregnancy is a great time to start fresh! Many woman who have not exercised previously, commit to a new fitness plan when they become pregnant.  They want to begin a new, healthier way of life so they can have the best pregnancy experience possible… and a healthier baby too!

5. Exercise benefits your child! Babies born to women who worked out were leaner than those who did not. (Fatter babies are not necessarily healthier babies.)  Studies have shown that children born to exercising mothers are less likely to be obese. Further studies show that children of exercising mothers scored higher on tests of general intelligence and oral language skills, in addition to physical performance.

You should consult a fitness expert before embarking on any new exercise programs, especially during pregnancy! But you will find that once you start, the benefits are obvious. So what are you waiting for?

Pregnancy and Cancer Q&A

ABC News invited people to ask questions relating to cancer and pregnancy, and Jennifer Litton, a breast oncologist at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, was on hand to answer them.

Some issues raised here are chemo drugs and how they affect the fetus, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and breastfeeding, and more.  You can read more here.

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