Category Archives: Pregnancy

“You’re so unprepared!”

I grew up around younger kids and babies. Hell, I babysat a 9 month old when I was 8! Well, babysat for like a half an hour. But still. And for the first 2 years of my little brothers life I was there for everything; he was born when I was 14 (and awkard…and only had 2 close friends), so I helped with a lot of stuff, including staying home from school if he was sick. I’ve been around babies. I’ve had experience.

That being said, I’m a first time mom. And as a first time mom, I was worried about everything when I was pregnant. Not just with what was happening to and in my body, but with preparing for our daughters arrival. Having been so concerned about whether or not we had what we needed, I looked for guidance from some of the women in my family (who happen to live in MA, while my husband and I live in WI). When I told them what I had, I got laughed at. I had:

  • 6 packs of size 1 diapers
  • 1 pack of newborn diapers
  • 10 newborn onesies
  • 2 newborn pants
  • 5 newborn sleepers
  • 25-30 0-3 month onesies
  • 12 0-3 month pants
  • 3 0-3 month sweaters
  • 5 0-3 month dresses/rompers
  • 15 blankets
  • 15 receiving blankets for use as burp rags
  • 3 things of wipes containing 64 wipes each
  • 1 economy case of wipes containing 448 wipes
  • 1 big bottle and small bottle of lotion
  • 1 big bottle and one normal bottle of baby wash
  • 3 towels, 14 washcloths
  • 1 tube of Desitin, 1 tube of Desitin petroleum jelly.

Plus the crib, pack and play with bassinet setting, a swing, 2 bouncer/vibratey chairs, 2 nursing pillows, and all my breastfeeding supplies. And I will repeat it: I GOT LAUGHED AT! I was told that I was “so naive” and that I “had no clue what I was getting myself into”.

Not only did I feel embarrassed that I asked, but I felt like an inadequate mother, and it made my husband feel like an inadequate father and provider. I went out and bought a few more newborn-size sleepers (despite having been told by my midwife to “expect at least an 8 pound baby” if I had her at my due date, despite me being almost 10 pounds, and despite my husband being 11lb 4oz). I got 3 more pairs of 0-3 month pants. I considered buying more newborn diapers, but I decided that if we needed them, I would have my husband get them while I was in the hospital still.

Well, I had a 9lb 4 oz baby 2 weeks after my due date. Newborn diapers didn’t fit her, not even at the hospital. Newborn onesies? Out of the question! Newborn pants fit, just because she kept her little legs all scrunched up. So going out and buying that extra stuff? Pointless.

She’s now 1 month old, still wearing 0-3 month stuff, and we haven’t even gone through all the size 1 diapers yet. We have yet to use up the little bottle of lotion (despite putting it on her daily), and have yet to use even half of the normal size bottle of baby wash. She has worn most of her 0-3 sleepers, and maybe 6 of her onesies, and 4 pairs of pants. That’s it.  I should have trusted my gut instinct, and stuck with what we had. Don’t get me wrong, advice can be great, but sometimes you already know what you need or what’s best.

Moral #1: Trust your instincts, momma!

Moral #2: You don’t need a crazy amount of stuff when you bring home baby. Sure, it’s nice to have a lot, but prioritize–get more of what your little one will wear (like sleepers, in my case) and less of the other stuff (seriously…30 onesies in ONE SIZE!?) in order to save space and money.

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(Birth) Plans change!

Let me start of by saying I’m 100% behind birth plans. They are a great way to let your care providers (midwife, doctor, nurses, etc) know what you want, especially when you are in pain and don’t want to answer 8 million questions about pain relief methods, how you plan on feeding your child, etc. But plans can change. A birth plan is a general guideline of what you want, not a magical piece of paper that will make it all happen the way you want. Take my labor with my little girl, for example. My birth plan was nice to have, so that we didn’t need to answer so many questions, but things certainly did not go as we would have liked. Either way, my little girl is here, and this is something to be grateful for.
My Birth Plan:

  • NO induction medication unless medically necessary (ha! I was more than a week overdue–with very good calculations because I had been charting  my cycles pre-pregnancy and knew the exact day I ovulated–and sceduled to be induced. I went into labor the day before my induction, but was not progressing very well and was induced anyway.)
  • NO c-section unless there is an emergency need for one (I didn’t have one, but boy was I begging for one after 32 hours of labor…and up until I had her after 36 hours of labor.)
  • IV pain medication as tolerated (IV pain meds were fabulous between contractions…during contractions, on the other hand, I still felt everything and as my husband puts it, I was “a complete bitch during contractions, even with the dope!”)
  • Wait until 5-6 cm before getting epidural (hahahha! 5-6cm? Try begging for one at 2.5cm! It could have been the back labor or my shitty pain tolerance, but I was begging for one for a long time…from about 5 am to around 9 or 10 am when I finally got one…while still only being about 3.5cm. I think they just felt bad for me. Oh, and I ended up getting 3 epidurals. Long story)
  • Husband to cut the cord
  • Exclusively breastfeeding
  • Hydrotherapy for pain (helped for about 5 minutes, then I was back to “I’m ready to kill anyone who comes near me”)
  • Wait until first Dr. visit before giving baby her Hep B shot
  • Husband not allowed to look while I’m pushing (He looked. He watched. He laughed because she had so much hair that I had “a mohawk sticking out” of my crotch. Thanks, honey!)

I had a birth plan, and I knew that it was not guarantee. Did it all work as I would have liked? No. Was I brokenhearted? No. I still had my baby girl, she was still healthy, and everything went fairly well (aside from 36 hours of labor and 2 failed epidurals). Just as plans with anything else can change, birth plans can change as well. They should call them “Birth Wishes”, because wishes don’t always come true, and “Birth Plan” can be misleading.

I suggest having a birth plan so that your care providers know your desires, but don’t get your heart set on things happening just as planned. Be ready to change your plans, if you need it. And don’t feel bad if the plans do change. I felt like a failure for getting the epidural when I did, but it helped (except for a spot the size of a softball on the right side of my stomach, or the 2nd one that didn’t work at all.) and all in all it was ok because me and my daughter made it through with only minor issues (my 2 failed epidurals, lots of stitches after having a 9lb 4oz baby, and both of us had fevers from the epidurals). Plans change, and you just have to go with the flow, listen to your body, and do what you feel is best.

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“I haven’t had morning sickness”–a lesson in speaking too soon

I found out I was pregnant very early on. When I say very early, I mean only about 8 days after I ovulated.  I pretty much knew a few days after implantation. Thanks to charting basal body temperature, ovulation signs, and what felt like a million other things, along with Dollar General, cheapy, $1 pregnancy tests, I was able to know I was pregnant almost as soon as it happened, which was pretty exciting and nerve racking. Medically, I found out at 3 weeks pregnant (based on last menstrual period). Like many, I thought that morning sickness was one of the first signs of pregnancy. I was wrong.

First, I had tested early because I was so emotional, I figured if I wasn’t pregnant, I was going crazy and taking my husband with me! Otherwise, I was sure that I was out of that cycle of trying to conceive. Then, when I tested positive, I thought “Hey, I haven’t gotten sick yet! Alright!”. As each week went by without my even feeling slightly ill, I kept thinking “I’m gonna get through this without any morning sickness.”, and I even told some friends that due to my lack of morning sickness, I thought that I would have a pretty easy pregnancy. Yeah, at this point, you can start figuring that things went the other direction.

Almost as soon as I passed the six week mark (but still before seven weeks) I started feeling sick. Very sick. I threw up once, then, due to my hatred of vomiting and the fact that I always felt ill, I started eating popsicles and drinking water–nothing more. But even then I was getting sick.  Working with a bunch of catty women (I was a Certified Nurse Aide), I always heard “That’s normal!” and “Suck it up!”, so I did. For about 6 weeks. During those six weeks, my routine was this: wake up at noon (I worked second shift), eat an italian ice or popsicle slowly so I (fingers crossed) wouldn’t get sick. Get dressed and be to work at 2:45 (possibly a little later if I pulled over to throw up), wipe adult butts while holding bile in my mouth until I could get to the bathroom, rinsing out my mouth, repeat butt wiping and heaving. Go on break and try to rest to save energy, wipe butts again, get out of work at 11 pm, go home, put wood in the wood stove, and shower (possibly vomit bile and/or water in the shower), let the dog out, vomit in the snow, go to sleep. My poor husband lived on bologna sandwiches, hotdogs, and ramen noodles; I couldn’t even make those for him! To make matters even worse, our wedding was to be when I was eight weeks pregnant, leaving me sick as a dog and pretending to feel fabulous (after over a year of planning, there was NO way we were pushing it back…we had already set invites, booked the date at the church, and I had bought my dress. Pushing it back until after the baby or until I felt better just was not an option) while really wanting to puke on the alter. Hurray.

At my 12 week appointment, my midwife, who I was meeting for the first time, asked if I had any sickness or lost any weight. I simply said yes. She asked how much. I told her that I hardly ate anything in the last 6 weeks, almost passed out at work, and lost 18 pounds. Her eyes got huge and she pushed back my appointment; at that moment, getting me hooked up to an IV was much more important than anything else. So, after finding my little ones heartbeat, I was sent to the hospital portion of the clinic and given 2 bags of lactate ringers, along with an IV dose of Zofran. When I finished my appointment with my midwife, Glenda, I was given a prescription for Zofran. If you don’t know, Zofran is also given to patients who are going though chemotherapy to help them with nausea. Yeah, it’s that strong. I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, or as I shorten it to, HG.

At 14 weeks I had to go back again. My weight had stabilized, but I hadn’t gained even an ounce. At that point, I was placed on Meclizine as well (which is over the counter and used for motion sickness), which worked enough for me to start gaining weight. But still, I was vomiting at work (sometimes even in residents trash cans, toilets, or commodes–thank God old women love pregnant people!), I was still on a restricted diet (not by choice, but by food aversions). I stopped working at around 28 weeks (a topic I’ll further discuss on a different post), and the hyperemesis didn’t subside until around 30 weeks. Even then I would have random flair ups.

The morals of the story:
1. There is a reason why all the books say to call your care provider if you are vomiting or not able to eat for 24 hours. Hyperemesis can end in the death of the fetus, and even the mother. It’s nothing to screw around with. Normal morning sickness comes and goes. If you have super ultra mega morning sickness, call your damn doctor or midwife ASAP. It’s not normal and it’s not a joke.
2. Don’t speak to soon. I had said that I thought I was going to get off easy, have minimal to no morning sickness, and I ended up getting so sick (and being so stupid by not calling my midwife) that I risked my life and the life of my unborn child. Next time, if I don’t feel sick, I’m sure not going to assume I’m gonna have nine months of joy and not puking.

 

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