Monday, April 30, 2012

The Born Identity


Okay, she arrived 6 weeks ago but if any of you are parents then you will understand why it took me this long to find the time to sit in front of my computer to write about it. Of course not without multitasking-using my feet to sway the portable rocker back and forth and expecting at any moment that I may need to leap up for a bottle, pacifier or wet diaper. 

So how was it you ask? We'll I learned a huge lesson...expect the unexpected. Always plan several birth plan options and never assume anything. 

On Monday March 19th I woke up after a very strange dream that included the feeling of my bottom dropping out and swimming in the ocean. So oddly enough, 7:30 I felt the need to touch my bottom which was actually soaking wet! I couldn't believe it! My water broke! No contractions, no pains, just a very wet bottom. I woke my fiance up and said "It's time!" I was actually very excited but knew I had a long day ahead of me. My fiance then called our birth center to advise them what was going on while I jumped in the shower. I was surprised that with my water breaking I still didn't feel anything. I also had no other previous signs that labor was coming. No mucus plug, no cramping, none of the things that I searched the internet in hopes of seeing to "prepare." 

We never prepared our bags for the birth center because I knew I would be laboring at home for sometime. So this gave me a few hours to keep my mind busy while waiting for the contractions to begin. Mild cramps started to kick in around 11 am so we began timing the contractions. They were really not as regular as I would have expected and the birth center advised that maybe acupuncture would be helpful.
Hmm...isn't that with needles? If anyone knows me then they understand that pointy objects that come into contact with my skin is just not my cup of tea, but I was willing to do this in order to make things go as smoothly as possible. So around 1 pm we loaded up the car and headed over to the acupuncture office. By now the contractions had become much stronger and I definitely knew this was labor. It wasn't unbearable but took some concentration and a little controlled breathing. I paced around the acupuncture office as customers came in and out and were asking me "when are you due?"

 "Ummm...Now?" I responded. One woman was shocked and commented on how well I was handling the labor considering she was in agony within the first hour of her water breaking and under epidural by hour 5. So I felt pretty good and proud of my self. 

Once I was in the doctor's office he explained how the acupuncture worked and where exactly they would be placing the needles. Several in my hands, one in each of my ankles and a few under my toes. Yeah, pretty weird. I have to say I now know that acupuncture is not my forte'. Once was enough for me. The needles actually felt pretty uncomfortable to put in (he said he could tell I was in labor because all my senses were heightened-usually it is painless). Haha. Good thing the large belly and agony during contractions didn't give that away. Whew! The doctor then connected wires to each of the points that sent small amounts of electricity to each pressure point causing my muscles to automatically reflex. I was then told to relax. (INSERT LAUGH HERE). Relax?? How am I supposed to relax? I have a baby making it's way downward, needles poking out of me and every few minutes abdomen  is tightening so hard I have to tune the world out just to concentrate on breathing through yeah..sure, I will try to take a nap or something. Nonetheless, I managed to sit there for 25 minutes, hoping this would all be worth it! Finally it was time to go. 

We started to head over to the birth center and get the ball rolling. Once we arrived they guided us into our suite and checked to see how far along I was! I was trying so hard to not get my hopes up that I would miraculously be one of those women who suddenly was 8+ dilated and the baby would come flying out. 
 Darn it...I was only about 4cm dilated. Apparently that was good progress anyhow. I guess my expectations were just too high! I knew I had a long day ahead of me. We brought with us several movies, plenty of snacks and a few things to do to help us wait it out. The contractions actually never really got closer together and the pain still managed to stay around the same level. I was actually able to take a few naps between some of them and even through a few of them. Not an easy task but I was exhausted and needed as much rest as possible. 

Around 10 pm we checked my cervix again and I was only about 5-6cm. Not much progress. I was really hoping she (baby)  was going to come during the night. I decided maybe to get into a hot shower hoping to manage some of the pain. At this point I was becoming tired and pain management was becoming slightly more difficult. The shower cut the pain in half! I sat on a chair and let the water just run over my back and down my abdomen. I could have stayed in the shower for hours! When I got out I decided to walk around as my midwife called in a chiropractor to help. 

At 2 am I had been in and out of the shower and even in the hot bath for an hour or so hoping to progress things along. It was actually the only place I could sleep since it helped cut the pain in half. The bathroom had such a nice ambiance with the candles lit, music playing, cold water nearby to sip on and the tub was comfortable and spacious. But things were still not progressing the way we had hoped so it was time to try something else.

The chiropractor wanted to try several things, adjustments and exercises to help me dilate quicker and make sure the baby was in correct position. She apparently is a side sleeper, even now as an infant-so it makes sense. 

Long story short ( or is it too late for that). We attempted to do a natural birth until Wed night at midnight. That's right! I walked, took hot showers, ate, drank herbal teas, did lunges, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments and anything else to push myself to get where I needed to go. It just was not happening. Around my last check I was only about 7 maybe 8 cm dilated and not sure I could handle much more pain. I was too exhausted to even concentrate on the pain which made it very difficult to handle. It was time for me to make a decision. 

I decided that I needed to transfer and that I had given it my all. I intended on a natural birth but my baby and my body just were not going to have it. I requested a transfer to the local hospital and set my mind on an epidural so I could get some rest for pushing. The chiropractor/midwife completed our release papers and escorted us to the nearby hospital. 

The hospital we went to was a new facility, just built within the last year. I was able to check in right away and was wheeled right up to the labor ward. It was pretty interesting to be on the other side of the fence now. They didn't expect me to walk and of course I was not able to have any food or drinks when I arrived. (Something I knew would happen). I was given an IV because I was slightly dehydrated and then my bag of antibiotics. Once those were completed then I could start the epidural. I had no idea what to expect. I had this huge fear of needles and this was the ONE extreme reason why I avoided the hospital and here I was counting down the minutes till I would feel the relief! I must be hurting! 

The anesthesiologist came in and proceeded to do his job. I have to say, it was nothing like I expected! It actually didn't hurt at all and felt more strange than uncomfortable! He did a wonderful job and within a few minutes he was done. The strangest part was touching my thigh and not feeling anything. Finally I could get some rest. My fiance and I were both beyond exhausted and ready to close our eyes. We went to sleep on the sofa and I fell asleep right away. 

I woke up around 6 am with the sudden urge to use the bathroom. Strange. I called the nurse in and explained to her I felt very strange...she advised were were getting close and my contractions were much stronger and closer together. Whew! I wasn't feeling any of it except pressure in my lower area. She asked if I wanted to start pushing? Of course! I heard it feels good to push and I haven't felt anything yet that "felt good." So I began pushing and within a few minutes she called the doctor in and said I would be delivering at any moment. My fiance said he could see the baby's head. Once the doctor came in I pushed several times and the my little girl arrived @ 8:22am. 

It was a very long road to delivery but I was so glad it over and I made it without surgery or tearing! I didn't get the birth plan I intended but I did try. I am happy with the way things went and I really had the chance to experience both sides of the birthing process. My advice to other women...expect the unexpected and never assume anything! 

Friday, March 9, 2012

How crunchy is too crunchy?

So this new term has been making full circles in the mommy world. "Crunchy". What exactly does it mean? We'll here is one firm definition of it:


  [kruhn-chee]  Show IPA
adjective, crunch·i·er, crunch·i·est.
crisp; brittle.
Sometimes, crunchy granola Informal health-conscious and environmentally aware: one of those crunchy guys whoinsists on biking to work.

So a great deal of mom's don't like to be referred to as Crunchy, and then some find it flattering. Just what makes you crunchy exactly, and how much crunch is too much? 

I started on this parenting journey with no intention of doing anything different than the way I was raised. I didn't come from an organic background, I was simply taught; good values and good morales = good kids. That had nothing to do what the type of diaper I was wearing, whether I was breast fed as a baby, or if my parents made sure to feed me nutrient rich organic foods. Today mom's are embracing a new lifestyle and for different reasons. There is an eco-friendly movement which inspires mom's to be more aware of their carbon footprint, and then  there are the cost effective mom's, which are just looking for ways to save money. Either way, you can be one or the other or a little of each, but if both lead to the same place does that still make you crunchy no matter what? 

I am not really sure. I do know that in the last year I have learned a great deal about what I want for my baby, what sounds healthy, cost effective and if it helps save the planet at the same time, then bonus. 

So here are a few things that I am doing, or going to do and why. Let's see if this put me on the crunch meter?

1) Natural birth: We'll if anyone read my blog about my first time experience with pregnancy I think it is pretty clear why I decided to take the natural route. The idea of an epidural just wasn't for me, but of course I could still go natural in a hospital setting right? I decided I wanted the best environment to support my birth plan, so I set out to find a birth center! Best choice I ever made. 

2) Hypnobirthing techniques: I never believed in hypnosis. I am not even sure this would qualify for anything crunchy, but it definitely has gotten some weird looks when I mention it to others. Mind over matter is all this is. I needed to convince myself that I could have a pain free or pain manageable labor when fear was setting in. Over all this has been the best support I could have asked for, aside from my wonderful hubby. I highly recommend Hypnobabies for those who are interested in learning more! 

3) Cloth Diapering: When I found out I could save hundreds, even thousands on diapers I was interested, but when I saw how easy these diapers are to clean and how manageable this could be...I was sold...and so cloth diapering it is! Plus my child is less likely to deal with diaper rash and other bottom problems, she could potty train at an earlier age (up to 6 months earlier), and the diapers are actually super cute, especially her pink robot ones. ;) 

For more info on disposable vs. cloth you can check out this site:

4) Breast Feeding: There are so many benefits to breast feeding I was surprised to learn a great deal of mom's still do not do it. Mostly because of frustration and not having the proper support and information. I am so thankful for the midwifes and consultants at my birthing center. This was probably one of the most informative classes I have taken. I will be blogging about breast feeding soon! 

5) Co Sleeping: Something else I never considered, aside from a friend advising that I may want the newborn in the same room as me since she will need to feed every 1-3 hrs. There are a lot of benefits to co sleeping with your child in beginning. It will allow for mom and dad to get more restful sleep, I can react faster if she wakes up, and research has shown that co sleeping allows for greater independence and higher self-esteem among other children. (reported on p.141 ofNatural Parenting – Back to Basics in Infant Care) ("routinely sharing the parents’ bed in infancy has been associated with greater self-reliance and social independence at preschool age than a history of solitary sleeping (Keller, M. A., and Goldberg, 2004).
This does have a limitation for us though. We do not want to co sleep with a toddler or share a bedroom with our children like some families may. To each their own, but for the breast feeding months this is fine with us. 

6) Processing my own baby food: This was a no brainier. Put simply : I wanted to know what I was feeding my child. ( The single-ingredients foods made by all the companies differ only modestly as a result of adding somewhat different amounts of water. However, Gerber and Heinz add substantial amounts of water and thickening agents (flours and chemically modified starches) to more than half of their twenty-five most popular fruits, mixed and creamed vegetables, desserts, and dinners for babies over six months (second- and third-stage foods). I didn't want to feed my baby any filler!

 I once witnessed another mother feeding her baby leftovers from a restaurant. Watching the baby eat a dinner with an enormous amount of salt, fat and other ingredients was just unsettling for me. Even as an adult we should be conscious of the things we put into our bodies but to hand the same dinner off to a small child just did not compute for me. 

The second benefit is cost. The average jar of baby food costs roughly $0.51. You can do the math to figure out that just adds up! It is much easier to make regular healthy family meals and incorporate your baby meals from those. There are several great books and blogs on how to broil, puree, and store the foods properly. 
**(Check out this mom and her great tips:  
**I also picked up some great recipes from this book: Start Fresh by Tyler Florence. His website and story are inspiring!

8) Vaccinations:  This is a new concept for me and my partner. We were both raised with similar backgrounds. You get the vaccinations you are required to get, and that's that! Today there is a bit more controversy on the subject. There is a huge list of pro's and con's as to why vaccinations are both beneficial and harmful. Of course this is a personal family decision and you and your partner need to decide what is best for your lifestyle. You may find that some vaccinations don't make sense while others seem very important. You can also talk to your pediatrician about spreading out the vaccines. It may mean more trips to the doctor but it also allows your child time to recover from each vaccination while rebuilding their immune system. 
We purchased The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child. " and just decided it would be good to have on hand as we learn the benefits and risk associated with each immunization. It was also important for us to find a pediatrician who would respect our values to selectively immunize if we chose to do so. This is actually very important because if you suddenly decide to not do an immunization with a doctor who doesn't see eye to eye, you may find yourself pushed against a wall for something you didn't necessarily feel comfortable with. 
There is also the debate with immunization and public schools. Some states will require that you fill out a religious waiver. It is recommended that you do this before you get ANY vaccinations rather than wait until you find it necessary. 

9) Chiropractic Care: I have always had back issues but I have never seen a Chiropractor. Frankly, I believed they were used for serious back issues and accident or injury victims. Once I was about 20 weeks pregnant I started to have severe back pain. A friend recommended I try a chiropractor. I was surprised to find out it was covered under my insurance. I started going once a week for a regular adjustment and immediately I was seeing and feeling results! At 38 weeks I have had no back pain at all. I can't even imagine having any back labor at this point. The second reason I found this so amazing was something called the Webster Technique. A technique designed by Larry Webster that would assist and re-positioning breached babies. 
I have had this technique applied several times and it is amazing! I call it the magic finger. My baby was sitting side ways and it became very uncomfortable around 34 weeks. When my chiropractor applied this technique we saw my entire belly moved as the baby shifted positions. Immediately, I felt comfortable again and the baby was more comfortable! 

The reason I listed this topic under my crunchy items was because I plan to also take our daughter to see the Chiropractor within the first week of her birth. We plan to use our chiropractor for Wellness Care. This kind of care can help with a number of issues and is a great resource in just preventative care for any future health issues. It just made sense to explore additional options aside from our pediatrician, for us it meant that our child would only benefit for a healthier and happier lifestyle. 

So I found this test funny. Apparently I am crunchier than I realized! I scored a "Pretty Crispy". Haha. I didn't intend on becoming crunchy, but I welcome it. I don't think I will skip on makeup, shaving my legs, give up meat, or start going barefoot anytime soon...okay...never, but apparently I still have crunch factor. haha. 

Crunchy Test:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Diaper Dash to save on Cash

The countdown has begun. I am approx. 38 week and I am still looking for all the signs that my baby girl may just want to show up early. The myth that first time pregnancies actually happen later than sooner is starting to feel more real. Apparently, only 50% of births are early, so that means I still have two weeks to meet that deadline! Should I start eating spicy foods, make use of that acupressure I wrote about, or maybe get a spoonful of grandma's caster oil? Ew. So I am just going to play the waiting game, continue to make sure the house is in order, even though every single day I seem to find a new task that needs to be completed yet gathering  enough energy to actually complete it is another story.

 I am still shopping online for cloth diapers, even at 38 weeks we still haven't completely decided which route to take. We didn't even consider the idea until about 2 weeks ago when we had a parenting class and it was brought up. I was so sure I was never going to even consider the I have several packages of natural & eco-friendly disposables in the baby closet as well of a shipment of FuzziBunz reusable cloth diapers on the way. It is amazing how far cloth diapering has really come! I had no idea and it just seems to make sense the more we research it. I hope (fingers crossed) that I will enjoy using the cloth diapers even though when you tell your friends about the idea they make that face and roll their eyes like I am never going to survive the first diaper change. I keep searching for more YouTube videos to convince me that I can do this. The mommy with a baby strapped to her chest in a Moby while she hangs 20+ cloth diapers up outside to sun is really inspiring. Not really the day of sunning I had in mind, but I won't mind the trade off. My real motivation for cloth diapering was the amount of money we could save.

Have you actually ever totaled the cost of diapers and formula you spend in one year? Let's see.. for diapers alone-estimated 8-12 diaper changes a day (depending on age of your baby) at .20 or .40 cents a diaper depending on brand and quantity...comes to an amount between $1700.00-$4000.00.  Of course this all takes into consideration if you are choosing the store brand or more concerned with spending a few bucks more for those high end eco-safe biodegradable diapers. Then of course with cloth diapering you have to consider a few things as well. How much work do I want to put in? Do I want to get one size or perfect fits that need to be upgraded as your baby grows. How much laundry do you want to do in a week?

We decided FuzziBunz (  was the best fit for us since they grow with your baby. We also wanted to make sure we could purchase both disposable and washable inserts (in case of traveling or just for convenience). So we are looking at spending around $300-$700 for diapers the first year. Of course this should last until potty training, so we won't need to repurchase more and we may be able to continue to use these on our expanding family or sell the used diapers on EBay- which seems to be popular as well (Sounds weird to sell used diapers but they actually clean up really well and a great deal of moms are into this). Makes sense to me. Bottom line-If it means that the hubby and I can take one more vacation a year (Yes, without the baby) then I am going to do whatever I can to make that happen...hence the cloth diapering and breast feeding will all make for a healthy happy baby, and a happy, slightly richer mommy and daddy.

Super mom in my opinion! lol

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Myths and Legends of Pregnancy

Before I became pregnant I thought I understood a few important rules of the 'Do's and Do Not's" of pregnancy. Of course we all know not to binge on alcohol, smoke, or lift anything heavy but what about the simple things? Can I color my hair? How does soda affect the baby? Are foot massages safe during my last trimester? I think I pretty much heard of every single thing to try and not try during my pregnancy. Thank goodness I didn't listen to anyone or this could have been one ugly ride. lol

(This information should not take the place of professional advice from a doctor or health professional. I am not a doctor or trained in the medical field.) 

Q: Is it safe to color my hair during pregnancy? 

A: I actually knew this answer from my years in Cosmetology school, so let me clarify. There are no reports of hair dye causing any reactions or change to your unborn during pregnancy. The chemicals used in hair color actually do not penetrate the skin deep enough to cause any harm (the only concern is any allergic reaction you may have with the chemicals on your skin). There are also some alternative options for those who are still concerned- such as using vegetable dyes that contain no synthetic chemicals or reducing the amount of color treatment (from an all over treatment to selective highlighting or frosting.) One more piece of advice is to make sure you seek out professional advice and assistance when using chemicals such has hair color. The chemicals used are usually strong and should be handled by a trained professional. Overall,  I would say it is probably safe to continue to color your hair during pregnancy. Whew! Thank goodness! 

Q: Your pregnant! You get to enjoy eating for TWO!

A: This has to be the biggest and scariest myth of all. I myself went into pregnancy thinking this was my time to get away with more bad foodie habits than I did before pregnancy. The truth is, why would you ever put anything into your body now that you wouldn't have otherwise? If you didn't drink sugary beverages, eat heavily salted foods or sweets, why start now? Your body only needs an estimated amount of 200-300 calories extra a day during the first trimester. Once you start your second trimester this only increases slightly to about 350 calories. Toward the end of your pregnancy around the third trimester where the baby will have the largest growth spurt, you can expect about a 400-500 calorie increase. (Always make sure to check with your  practitioner  or physician as this can vary. This also can vary with someone who was significantly under weight or is carrying more than one child during pregnancy, so please make sure to ask a professional.) But for us normal gals who think this is the time to veg out with a tub of Ben & Jerry's and handful of  peanut butter/banana sandwiches, think again! Keep in mind also that a lack of control during pregnancy can lead to some serious health complications during pregnancy. I only have only gained 27lbs during my pregnancy and I am currently 37 weeks. I have heard many stories of women gaining 40, 50+ pounds during pregnancy! I certainly did not want to risk gestational diabetes, high blood pressure or put my child at risk of also taking on obese behaviors. Huge bonus to a healthy weight gain... it makes it so much easier to lose the pregnancy weight afterward! Woo hoo! So treat your body right and your baby right during pregnancy.  

Q: Massages can cause women to go into labor. True or False?

A: A friend advised me during my second trimester to not get any foot massages during my last trimester as this could induce labor. During the final trimester is when most of my swelling in the ankles and feet have taken place, so the idea of avoiding a foot massage or going into labor while getting my regular pedicure made me want to dig a little deeper on this issue. The truth is that is actually safe and beneficial to receive a gentle foot massage or pedicure (which usually contains a form of massage) during pregnancy. The idea that labor could be initiated during massage stems from reflexology or pressure points known as acupressure. Reflexology is a special kind of massage, this one in particular designed to reach pressure points located in the deep arch of your foot. This can also be done through certain points in the hand. It is hard to find any scientific studies to back that this actually induces labor if used, but if you speak to a trained professional or massage therapist they will probably advise you it is used in cases where someone may be past the 40 week mark and it has shown some positive results. Sure doesn't hurt and I know I will have my massage therapist on standby if our baby wants to avoid coming on time!  So foot massages during pregnancy are safe and the one time we may need them the most.  

Q: Pregnant women should avoid baths, you could boil the baby! 

A: You have to laugh a little at this one. I was speaking with a friend online and advising her of my natural birth plan. She asked me how I planned to handle the contractions and I simply advised that one of my techniques would be a hot bath. "OMG! You can't take bath's you will boil the baby!". Certainly this could be dangerous of the bath was extremely hot or over 100 degrees. A warm bath of around 98 degree's is safe and beneficial for several reasons. It can reduce swelling, prevent premature contractions and alleviate pain or soreness with pregnancy. Since I plan on having a water birth, this completely makes sense! The baby will be coming out in water, and of course it should match my body temperature. The risks associated with a severely hot bath is that is can can raise our temperature, reduce blood flow to the baby, increase our heart rate and place your baby under stress. When preparing your bath it should be easy to get into it, if you have to ease into it slowly it may be too hot.  Just be careful getting in and out of the tub as gravity during pregnancy has altered us slightly. Feel free to also use those bath bubbles, your cervix is closed so there is no harm for the baby! A nice warm shower can also help, and certainly is recommended during the early stages of labor to help alleviate pain during contractions. 

Q: Is it safe to continue to wear perfume during pregnancy?

A: I have to say I was surprised to hear this question more than once. I never considered perfume to ever be a risk during pregnancy. The truth is, perfume does not affect your pregnancy itself. Many women may experience a bout of nausea during pregnancy and perfumes can easily contribute to this when you are most sensitive. So if you find yourself becoming light headed, dizzy or nauseated due to your perfume or someone else's you may want to try something lighter. I actually only wear perfume when I am going out but daily I use a light body mist. It is carries a nice light scent without becoming over bearing and I never had any issues with perfume during my "morning sickness" stage. Of course, everyone is going to be different. Also, another issue is that our hormones are completely whacked during pregnancy. You may find yourself more sensitive physically to your current perfume. So if you find yourself becoming itchy, aggitated or it is causing any kind of rash (of course seek advice from a professional or physician) but you may want to reduce the usage or temporarily switch to something else. (I recommend an all  natural perfume or even essential oils as these are usually natural and derived from plants) You should be able to go back to your favorite perfume post baby. The only additional risk I was able to find that may be of concern is that perfumes that are not natural and contain synthentic or artificial scents may also contain something called phthalates. 

Here is the definition from Wikipedia: Phthalates (pronounced /ˈθæˌlts/tha-layts [1]), or phthalate esters, are esters of phthalic acid and are mainly used as plasticizers (substances added to plasticsto increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity). They are used primarily to soften polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Phthalates are being phased out of many products in the United StatesCanada, and European Union over health concerns.

There is no scientific study to back the theory that this chemical could potentially be harmful to your unborn child, but if you are truly concerned, then of course an all natural perfume would be your best resource. 

Q: You should sustain from alcohol during pregnancy? True or False

A: True and False! This probably is one of the most debatable issues when it comes to pregnancy. Let me first advise that no one should be at the bar tossing shots back while they are pregnant. So go ahead and put the rim salt for that margarita away and tuck the shot glasses back in the cabinet, those will still need to wait till your post baby days. What I have found is that low to moderate use of alcohol can have some benefits. This means that if you want to have one glass of red wine with dinner once or twice a week, it may actually be okay! (Now let me rephrase this, I am not a doctor-so always ask your physician first!) Studies have been shown that moderate to low consumption of alcohol has no affect on the baby. Unlike over consumption of alcohol can lead to birth defects such as low birth weight as well as mental and physical birth defects.  Consider this, my fiance is Italian. It is very normal for women in Italy and France to consume one glass of wine with dinner or to just relax.  So when is it too much? That is the real issue. Since no one really knows how much alcohol is too much it is always better to just advise everyone to stay away from it. 

Here are some links on studies completed to link low, moderate and high use of alcohol during pregnancy. It is always up to you and your physician to decide what is best!

"A very large population-based observational study from the UK found that at the age of 5 years, the children of women who reported light (no more than 1-2 units of alcohol per week or per occasion) drinking did not show any evidence of impairment on testing for behavioral and emotional problems or cognitive..." ability.

"The study, which found no evidence of harm from having a couple drinks a week during pregnancy, was so well done and its findings so conclusive that it ought to become the final word in the field, said Fred Bookstein, an applied statistician who studies fetal alcohol spectrum disorders at both the University of Washington, Seattle, and the University of Vienna..."

Friday, March 2, 2012

Birth Center here I come!

So after several weeks, even a few short months of research I finally decided to take a friends advice and check out a local birth center. A friend had recently had her first child at a similar center located in her home area. I was actually surprised to see that they have several facilities within our city area and had received rave reviews!

I called them up to make my first appointment. I was really surprised to hear that the first thing they wanted to do was ask us to come in for an interview and give us a tour. I really expected to just transfer my medical records over and begin right away, I had no idea there was going to be an orientation.

We scheduled our first appointment and headed to the birth center. This center was really close to our home. Lucky us! Only about 7 minutes away and frankly nothing like I had envisioned. So it wasn't a tent city in the middle of some clearing, nor was it some large corporate building. It was actually a set of cabins, kind of like a set of  bed and breakfast suites, along a private road. It was very inviting!

We pulled into the parking lot and walked up the ramp onto the wood boardwalk that wrapped it's way around the entire first floor. Each door had suite number on it except the first door on the end labeled office. We entered and I was surprised to see a very comfortable and clean lobby. Large red comfy couches lined the lobby, a neat box of toys was stacked in the corner and two couples were waiting nearby. One was probably about to deliver, as she looked slightly uncomfortable rocking back and forth. Her and her husband seemed to be extremely calm and a midwife approached her and guided her into the back area while her husband followed. I made a joke under my breath to my fiance that I was still listening for screams to come from the back room, he chuckled. Another midwife came to the front and introduced herself to me, she was expecting us and already knew my name before I even had the chance to say anything. How impressive! She guided us into the connecting suite next door and sat us down in what appeared to be a small apartment. 

I felt completely comfortable and almost excited. I had no idea that this was what a birthing center looked like! I felt like I was shopping for an apartment. She went through her experience as a midwife, asked a few questions about how and why we decided to pursue a birth center and then proceeded to tell us all about the facility. In 30 years they have never lost a single child during birth! I explained to her my traumatic "DMV" story and she advised me it was not the first time she had heard of a similar experience from a new mother. The midwife explained to us that birth was not an emergency situation and that it was really an experience that needed to be handled with little interruption. I was of course also advised that in certain emergency situations they are prepared to send me to the hospital and a midwife would still go with me to make sure my birth plan was adhered to as much as possible. They take no risk when it comes to the safety, health and wellness of mother and child! She then proceeded to show us around the birth center suite and explain how a healthy birth was treated in her center.

This suite looks exactly like a apartment. A huge living room with 2 large leather couches for guests to wait while you birth (if you choose to have several family members or friends for support). A separate bedroom, kitchen and bathroom with a large birthing tub were all included as well. This birthing tub was amazing. It looks like a corner spa with jets and plenty of room for comfort. Nothing like my tub at home, which I fear if I got down in, I may not be able to get back up by month 9. haha.

She explained how to transfer my medical records over and how my appointments would work. The most important thing she explained to me was at no point in time would they apply a procedure of any kind without making sure I was comfortable, informed and okay with it. Even something as simple as drawing blood or taking my ultrasound. I think I smiled from ear to ear. Finally someone who cared about how I felt!

We also discussed why I might consider a natural birth over a medicated birth. The side effects of an epidural, tearing and even the risk of a C-Section. I explained to her that I have been doing my share of research regarding epidurals, c-sections and other hospital procedures and the idea of those typical techniques actually frightened me more than the idea of a natural child birth. She was excited to know that I had done my homework. She advised me that most women come to the birth center around 30+ weeks, and some transfer even closer to their due date. Luckily for me, I was only 20 weeks and ready to being my journey early! 

I advised the midwife that I was considering hiring a doula to assist me with labor and birth and that I was also trying to figure out how to deal with labor and the pains associated with labor. She told me not to worry, that they would make sure this was the best experience of my life. She herself had a child in this center and most of the other midwives has done the same. Apparently, they all survived and a few have done it more than once! That says a lot to me. If it was so horrible why would someone choose to use an un-medicated birth at a birth center then?

We received our welcome packet full of information and I immediately signed a waiver to transfer my medical records over. I scheduled my first appointment. I could not wait to get started this journey. I finally feel like I am doing something right!! 

Monday, February 27, 2012

A tent in the woods, where are the hippies?

So a friend recently advised me that maybe I would be interested in speaking with her Doula after learning that she just gave birth to her first child naturally. My first question was, what is a Doula? Was this some sort of hippie thing that I haven't had the privilege of learning about? I mean when I hear that a woman has had natural birth, or given birth at home or at a birth center the first thing that comes to mind is a tent in the woods, a bonfire, and someone holding the new born in the air under the moonlight. 

HA. I know a little crazy, but honestly that is where my mind goes when you spend your life understanding pregnancy only works one way. Hospital + Epidural = Baby. 

Of course I didn't say this outloud, these thoughts all happen in my head while the rest of me smiles and nods in appreciation for the info. Since I am on a quest to learn as much as I can about my options I decided I wanted to speak to this so called Doula. I mean, what could it hurt? I still haven't exactly decided on my birth plan.

I started to do some research on what exactly a Doula is and their role during pregnancy before making the call. I don't want to sound completely dumbfounded. Come to find, Doula's have actually existed for centuries. Though, they may not have always been called by this name. These women believe that helping  other women during pregnancy and labor while also attending to the mother and child after birth would help establish the new mother from pregnancy to motherhood. This role included having someone who is familiar with what is going on with your body during pregnancy, what to expect during labor and give both comfort and support during the entire process. 

Modern day movies and television have given us the idea that the husband or partner is our coach or support team. haha. I can see why that is so funny. How many husbands out there can actually handle hours of intense labor, be emotionally supportive and know exactly what to do? No offense, but most men catch a common cold and think they are barely going to survive unless we nurse them to health again. So I guess I never thought about that. I had no idea what to expect during labor so I never thought about having someone with me to help me along the way.

I made my phone call and I am pretty sure I sounded like the most uninformed first time mother she probably has ever spoken too. "Hi, yes...umm... I am about 19 weeks and I wanted to know if I could hire you for your...umm... Doula services?" I had no idea what I was looking for but I knew that I have not completely eliminated the idea of a pain free birth.  So my birth plan right now was to have this Doula at my side for comfort and support, while also seeking a hospital and getting an epidural. I wanted the best of both worlds. Someone to hold my hand basically while I was at the hospital. I am not even sure why I wanted a Doula except that it sounded like she would rub my back and bring me soothing things when I started feeling uncomfortable. More importantly, she would be my voice of reason to the doctor and nurses while I was in their care. 

The truth was, I had no idea what my voice of reason was. I didn't know what I wanted, or what kind of birth plan I was seeking. I didn't know anything except that I wanted to feel comforted through this entire pregnancy. Easier said than done. 

She really must have sensed my confusion and started to ask me several questions. How did I hear about her, and what were my intentions with the birth? Have I considered natural birth? Did I understand exactly what happened in a hospital and what kind of treatment is usually given? 

Hmmm...We'll..Yes? We'll...I mean..kind of? I am on this journey seeking these answers but they don't exactly jump out at you. She sent me to a few websites and asked me to review the information, take a day to think about it and then she would be in contact with me to discuss things from there. This was probably the best advice I have been given yet. She didn't push me to do anything I didn't want to do, she didn't scare me with facts or horrific stories, she simply guided me in the right direction and allowed me to generate my own thought process about my birth plan. 

My Life...One design at a time...

Between my timeline blogs I hope to post current things going on in our lives as well, since this blog was started at week 35 and I am basically backdating my thought process. Which brings me to...drum nursery and other artistic baby and non-baby related items! Because sharing is caring!  

My fiance and I consider ourselves pretty artistic people. We dab a little in everything. I keep telling my self that our daughter is going to think that she has the coolest parents in the world, especially when she is old enough to understand who Wonder woman and Captain America are (but I am sure I will find out she thinks otherwise) We hand painted Wonder Woman and Captain America on the walls when we started our Marvel/DC comic office.) Who said drawing on the walls was bad?! 

Oh, and here is a sneak peek at our current office.

Yes, this is where the magic of creativity happens. Okay, so we are a little dorky. Ha. We love it though. 

Oh, and I also hand paint children stools. I really am not sure why I started painting children's stools, especially since I did not have any kids of my own. I think I needed a gift idea for a good friend years ago and wanted to personalize it. Next thing I know and dozens of stools later, it just became a trademark. Nothing beats a personal one of kind gift in my opinion! I am considering making this some kind of business with other artistic items that we create... but who knows.

We have almost completed our nursery. We have added several elements since these pics were taken. We originally had no clue what we wanted to do. We really wanted to stay away from the typical cliche themes. The hardest part was trying to figure out what to do with a room that had BLUE carpet when having a daughter! Finally we decided that purple would match perfectly. I swear, I will never understand why when you have a baby girl everything has to be PINK. We searched so many stores for anything that was outside of pink and it was nearly impossible to find any other colors- without spending a ton of money.

I started to paint my version of a cherry blossom tree in the corner of the nursery. I then hand punched hydrangea flowers and pinned the actual flowers to the wall...and yes, this was extremely time consuming! 

We'll I just wanted to give a sneak peek at the nursery and other artistic things about my family. Thanks for checking it out!!