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On Saturday evening as hubby and I went over our plans for the next day, I had a brunch which he would drive me to because he insisted that I not drive alone because I was “too close” and he would come home watch his basketball game, in peace without crazy, nesting preggo. Sounded like a perfect Sunday, even as I was thinking about it, I remember laughing out loud and saying “these plans sounds a little too perfect, watch her decide to come…”

Mother’s instincts I guess.

In the early morning hours of April 6th, I felt a couple of mild contractions. Much like the ones I’ve had on and off that whole week, they didn’t bother me much and I continued with business as usual which at that time was sleep. By the 2nd time I got up to pee at 7:30 am, I noticed blood, not just a light spotting like the previous night that prompted me to tell my doula to get ready, she’ll be here “in the next 2 days”. Actual blood, bright red and enough to flow into the toilet bowl. Still no contraction at that time, so I went back to bed.

I woke Chris up and told him what had happened and that I was going to skip brunch because I didn’t want to be the crazy lady going into labor in the middle of our meal. I also decided I would start measuring the contractions if they came again.

The first recorded one came at 7:48 AM. By the third one, my breathing had become so intense that Chris decided to wake up and see how he could help. I looked at the timer and realized the contractions were all about a minute long and came about 2 minutes apart.

“That can’t be right!”

Chris asked if he should set up the birth tub, and I said no, because surely it couldn’t be time for that yet. My first labor management technique was to get in the regular tub on all fours, swaying against a birth ball, with him aiming the warm water directly on my back, measuring contractions as they came. It felt great, but did little to slow down my contractions. So I told him to call the midwife, I explained to her what was going on, and she told me to alert the doula and give her a buzz in an hour with an update.

I decided that perhaps I should take a bath, that should help ease things up a bit. Hubby again asked about setting up the birth tub, “no!” I insisted, it’s not “that” time yet. He asked if I wanted to add my usual herbs to the bath, but I said no to that as well since I usually like to infuse the herbs in boiling water. We def didn’t have time for that, just my trusty lavender bath salts and maybe a few drops of oil from my labor oil kit.

With candles set, birth playlist going, I got in and tried to relax. The warm water felt good, I even had a few shorter contractions, a couple were about 4 minutes apart, intense but better. That however, was short lived, and I started to feel a little off. I asked Chris to check the time, an hour hadn’t passed yet. Sick of being in the bath, I drained it and headed for the room, to do what exactly I don’t know, but that’s where I wanted to go.

I barely made it to the edge of the bed, when I had the sudden urge to throw up. Within seconds I was hurling clear liquid all over the floor. Chris rushed to my side, with the largest towel he could find, I looked at him and whimpered “Set up the tub, she’s coming…”

I then had him call the midwife, at first I spoke, then of course the contractions were coming and I could barely breath so he continued the conversation for me, and she ended with “well this is it sweetie, I’ll make my way over.” Next up was the doula, she too agreed that it was time to head over.

Chris tried to feed me multiple times as we worked through the surges, first were the boiled eggs, I took 2 bites and was to weak to continue. Then once I was in the birth tub, he spoon fed me yogurt, I had some but couldn’t finish. So he just stuck to water in between each contraction.

Our midwife arrived at 10:30, she checked our vitals soon after and everything was great, she just encouraged me to go with the flow and let her know when I felt pressure.

“Pressure?!” I thought “but we just started, surely it can’t be time for pressure…” Again, I was slightly in denial. Not long after that thought, pressure showed up, and the contractions started getting even more intense. I stayed mostly on my knees inside the tub, hanging my arms on one side with Chris behind me apply counter pressure to my back as each surge came.

The brunch I was supposed to attend was a surprise in honor of my friend Judy, who also was supposed to be at the birth. I had yet to contact her, I thought for sure I had until later in the afternoon to alert her. I mean labor is supposed to last a little while, right? It quickly became evident that this was not the case and I had Chris call Judy to make her way over. Brunch would have to wait.

She came right away, then minutes later my doula finally arrived. I was deep in the crux of labor by then, well passed transition, breathing deeply, and moaning loudly to exhale. The entire block could hear me, I was sure. I have no idea how close the contractions were, but it sometimes felt like they never stopped, just one looong contraction. No breaks in between like I read in those books.

The pushing phase came quick, I have no idea how long I pushed for but it felt long, and it hurt, a lot! I did have a brief moment, where I questioned if it was really going to happen, in the middle of our living room nonetheless. Thankfully, my doula was in front of the entire time, with encouraging phrases like “you’re doing it!” “This is great!” as I literally squeezed her entire body. Everyone else was behind me, the midwife with calm reassurance, Chris in super coach mode with his “you got this baby!” , Judy in awe of the whole thing. I pushed, and pushed, and pushed with all my being until I had to hold it, yup hold it, and go a little slower so I wouldn’t tear.

Just when I became convinced the pushing would never end, I heard the midwife ask Chris “Do you want pictures?!”

“Holy shit! Yes pictures, we want pictures! OMG, this is it, she’ll be here any second!”

With that thought, and my favorite birth song playing on my iPod, I had a sudden surge of energy, it was time to meet my baby girl.

I pushed and puuuushed a bit more. Oh yeah, they weren’t lying about that “ring of fire” at all, but I just focused on the end result. I felt her head, and with one final push the rest of her body slid out. Then I heard the most beautiful words ever “Ok mama, come get your baby!”, I turned around, looked down and there she was my little water baby.

I grabbed her in disbelief.

“Welcome Anaïs, hiiii! We’ve waited a long time to meet you…” I gushed, looking at her, then at my hubby “omg, she’s here!”

Anaïs Josephine was born on April 6th, at 12:20 PM, just under 5 hours after I noticed the first “real” contractions.

Oh yeah, we had a homebirth. I know I never mentioned that whole part of the deal, but I promise we’ll discuss in an upcoming post. For now here are some pics of her and our early moments together.

First bath:

Weigh in:

Hangin’ with daddy:

Priceless Expressions:

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Vlog: What’s in Mama Stepha’s Bag

by Stepha on April 3, 2014

It should come as no surprise that I’m opting for a completely natural, un-medicated birth experience providing all continues to go well. But even so, it’s good to prep some items that may help with easing some of the pain and making the overall experience more comfortable. I did a quick vid on some of the things in my bag of tricks, clearly I’m not speaking from experience so look for a follow up on what I found helpful or completely useless. Also, I didn’t realize how super congested I was until halfway through the video, that sniffling is kinda awful… my bad.

Things Mentioned:

Seraphine Nightie: So soft and comfy, I will live in this for a while I think. I wish they had more colors
Side Snap Tees: both long and short sleeved
Magnesium Oil :To keep calm and provide pain relief
Aromatherapy: Iris Oils-Massage Oils for Childbirth: For massages and general use throughout each stage of labor. Heating pads from Crampcakes filled with flax seeds and dried herbs.
Essential oils: Lavender, Clary Sage ,Peppermintand Ylang Ylang Not necessary, but I had them so I figured just in case.
Herbal Tinctures: Motherwort,and Cramp Bark for after pains, and Myrrh for umbilical cord
For Mama’s Tender Bottom: Earth Mama Angel Baby Spray and Postpartum Bath Herbs
Baby Bath: Angel Baby Shampoo and Body Wash and the Angel Baby Oil
Natural Calm: to help sleep well at least ward off any possible constipation issues.

Things Not Mentioned:

Birth Plan: Some people don’t think it’s necessary, but I’d rather be prepared, and feel that I had a say, rather than showing up and had people make all of the decisions for me. So I have 2 versions one for if things go as planned and one for an emergency.
Music: Having a playlist never crossed my mind until my doula brought it up, and I’m like that totally makes sense. So I have my zen pregnancy and birth songs, and then my playlists of songs I use to pump me up etc.
Snacks: I’m very particular about what I will or won’t eat, so I will have my nuts, nut butters, coconut flakes etc on hand to eat when I can.

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Week 39: Overwhelmed With Gratitude

by Stepha on April 2, 2014

This past week has been so amazing words will never be able to describe it. We are truly blessed beyond measure and surrounded by so much love. I mean I know we’re nice people and try to be generous, but oh my!

My hubby’s job threw him a surprise shower last Friday, I “attended” briefly via FaceTime (gotta love it!) and literally could only just cry when I saw the crowd of people that were gathered. Then he came home, with the cards and gifts etc and I had an all out sobfest. I kept saying “they didn’t have to do any of this… how do we ever say thank you enough?”. The answer is we can’t, but paying it forward is always a good way to start.

As our guess date nears, taking the time to really reflect on the last 9 months and how wonder-full they have been. Yes, I started super healthy, and determined to do whatever necessary to keep it that way and have a positive pregnancy experience . But to actually be near the finish line and feeling not nervous or scared but totally like ” I got this!”, even surprises me.

What’s new this week

Not too much new going on since our bub is pretty much cooked and just waiting to make her entrance. I wish people would understand that said entrance only happens when baby’s damned good and ready and not a moment too soon.

I had some contractions Monday, some felt a little more intense than others but just the body practicing I guess. Chris is suddenly worried that he’s gonna “miss it” lol. So just to be safe, we’ve been telling her all week that she needs to at least allow 40 minutes or so for daddy to get home, ha!

I can feel my body changing though, I have to pee way more now, feel more pressure on my pelvis and lower back and do you see that belly?! I feel like it has doubled in size in the last few weeks, and it is hanging low, low, low.

Remember the birth affirmations banner I mentioned last week? Here’s a pic of me under them,kinda hard to read from the pic, but trust me they’re awesome.

I’m still keeping active doing mostly yoga, but on nicer days like yesterday I’ll go for a walk and if I’m in the mood I’ll even do the Tracy Anderson workout, I can’t do the whole DVD at once anymore, so I just do as much as I feel we can handle.

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Week 38+: Nesting and Waiting

by Stepha on March 28, 2014

I looked at one of the apps in my phone the other day and it said 10 days to go, both excitement and anxiety filled my heart. She’s almost here!

I stopped working almost 2 weeks ago at the 37 week mark, and I’m so grateful that I was able to take this time. I don’t know how people continue to work until the last day, for one you’re completely exhausted, and your mind is constantly running thinking of last minute things you have to do. I’ve had much more on my to do list these last 2 weeks, than I had in the last 2 months while I worked. I guess it makes sense because I actually have to time to go through the list instead of setting a reminder to do it the next week.

Here’s what’s been going on:

Nesting: As with most things, I imagine this phenomenon looks different in different people. No I’m not on my hands and knees, scrubbing floors but I have been organizing, revising lists and even did laundry…at the laundromat (gasp)! I’ve also been running around trying to get last minute little things I think we may need. The cleaning and dusting I left to the pros.

I became one of those : Remember how I was a little bummed about how high she was during my 35wk check up? By the time I went for my cervical exam at 37wk, not only had she made her way down, I was 2cm dilated! Of course I could stay like that for weeks, but it was good to know we were moving right along.

Both Hubby and I were excited just at the thought of her impending arrival. That is until later that night when he kept talking about it and I started sobbing like a small child because “it was almost over” lol. I honestly enjoyed being pregnant, yup I’m that girl! It’s just such a special bond you get to share with your child, and for such a short and finite period of time, so to me it’s bittersweet.

Body Changes : Overall I still feel pretty good. I’m able to sleep all night, with no issues going back to sleep after bathroom breaks. I just feel heavier, so I have to move in slow motion. Simple things like putting panties on is like an event…put one leg in…hold on to wall, try to put other leg in…nope that doesn’t work…sit down, now put other leg in…catch breath. Seriously.

I took off my wedding band last week, it lasted much longer than I expected. Thankfully I only have a varey small amount of swelling, but that ring is perfect sized and I didn’t want to take any chances. My engagement ring is about a half a size bigger and still fits.

I went for a massage last week, and it was the best ever!! I’ve only had one prior to that the entire pregnancy, but decided to squeeze a few in after realizing how tense I was in my shoulders. Next one is set for later today.

Baby’s Progress: She’s actually moving quite a bit still. Of course she can’t do flips or any acrobat moves like she’s used to, but I was surprised by how much she’s still able to move. I get lots kicks to the side of my ribs, see her not so little foot poking out, and her little bum move up and down. She’s about 7lbs now.

Prepping for Labor: Technically I started this right around week 34. Adding additional herbs to the tea line up (will discuss in later posts), practicing positions to see which I’m more comfortable with, gathering essential oils, heating pads,creating playlist and other things I feel may help foster the birth environment I would like. I just finished hanging up some birth affirmations and it looks pretty awesome, I will take some pics, and post on the Facebook page.

My body certainly feels like it’s prepping. I’m feeling more Braxton Hicks contractions, they are more intense and they are lasting a little longer.

The Waiting Game: Though I’m in no rush to as they say “get the baby out”, I feel like I’m in a state of constant limbo. Every task is done with the urgency of knowing that doing it tomorrow might not be an option. For the few that do get pushed back, I find myself questioning it at the end of the night. Mom guilt already settling in.

This whole pregnancy I had people tell me, “well you never know she could come early…”, usually stating that their baby came x amount of weeks before their due date. Almost every time I confidently said, not this baby, we talk all the time and she’s not coming before 39weeks. Well I guess she listened, 39weeks tomorrow and she’s waiting until she’s good and ready to make her entrance.

Who knows! Next update could be a baby ;)

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Week 36: Shower Time

by Stepha on March 20, 2014

We finally had our baby shower a few weeks ago, on what turned out to be the most beautiful day this awful winter had to offer. I remember when my friend Judy was asking about when I wanted to have to shower , I was adamant about pushing it into March so it could at least be a little warm, even though I would be well into my 3rd trimester by then.

Of course as with all events of this nature, I found myself stressed the days leading up to it. In the end however, I was so happy with how everything turned out and to be surrounded by the love and support if family and friends.

Several years ago I remember planning a shower, and later telling a friend that when it was MY turn, I was gonna have a simple brunch, with just the ladies. Ha! I’m just not that girl, that’s not what we do. As you will see from the pics it turned out to be an all out party, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Absolutely loved the details in the cake and party favors. The blocks on top of the cake were actually cake pops…pretty cool right?

My sweet niece Camille, who just turned 3 months a few days prior.

Dancing a little Konpa with my cuz, while stuffing my face with a macaron…classic.

Sneaking a dub with the Mr.

Samiah & Leyla insisted on “helping” us open the gifts. That face was me asking Judy “how many more do we have to open?!” lol.

Thanking everyone at the end of a magical night.

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Pregnancy Skincare Regimen

by Stepha on March 4, 2014

If there’s one thing we know for sure about pregnancy is that with your ever growing self the skin, especially around the stomach, hips and breast, is stretched to it’s absolute limit. Though there are endless products on the market to prevent stretch marks, the truth is that most of them can’t prevent the inevitable. You really need some great elasticity in the skin which of course starts well before getting pregnant and is promoted by a healthy diet, and good genes also help a lot . Nonetheless, that hasn’t stopped most women, myself included, from using whatever product we can to help the skin stay supple, and hopefully stretch mark free.

Here’s what I’ve been using:

Belly Oil– I have a slight obsession with natural oils, and at any given time have about 8 different types on hand. So at first I just resort to my current faves which were Argan & Camellia Kissi from Anita Grant mentioned here.

Then around my second trimester, I started using Mama Mio Tummy Rub Oil,, which isn’t organic but has all natural ingredients and a lovely fragrance, that I just couldn’t get enough of. I just ran out of it, and decided to test out Zoe Organics since I was placing an order on a site that carried it. So far I like this one too, fragrance is light and citrusy, more subtle than Mamma Mio.

Home Made Whipped Shea Butter- I’m pretty convinced the answer to most beauty dilemmas is Shea butter and coconut oil. So of course, I always have them on hand. It’s also really cheap! I buy my Shea from an African store on Atlantic Ave and the smaller $3.50 jar will last about 5 months, no lie.

To make the whip, I mix softened (not melted) Shea butter, with another melted butter, I happen to have cocoa on hand now, but have used mango, and murumuru with similar results. Whip in a 2:1 ratio with an immersion blender. Add some oil, slowly. Again whatever’s on hand, my current batch has coconut, Argan and Camellia. Fragrance with some essential oils, I always have to add lavender and have been loving anything calendula, even added some dried leaves to my latest mix. Loves!

Novena Organic Beauty Breast Cream- I got this from my Ecocentric Mom box in October and have been using it (almost) regularly since. Love it! It’s light, doesn’t have that funky smell that unscented products tend to sometimes have, and a little goes a long way. It’s recommend for use during pregnancy and nursing, so I will be placing my next order very soon.

Other Random Things I use:

Skin brushing- Still loving my skin brush, with claims of improving circulation, optimizing lymphatic function, and smoothing skin to boot, I figure it couldn’t hurt.

Oh and I also went back to this thing:

stimulator

What’s that you ask? It’s my Bliss Slimulator . I bought it years ago, and used it religiously for a while, then it ended up in a somewhere at the bottom of my closet where most useless gadgets do. I rediscovered it during our move this summer, and decided to give it another try since I did like once upon a time. I use it here and there to massage my oils and creams in focusing mostly on thighs. If anything, I get a nice leg massage but I do think it helps (a little) with cellulite appearance. Could all be in my head though!

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Pregnancy Update: The Early 30′s

by Stepha on February 26, 2014

I’ve been seriously slacking on these updates. I blame the Mercury Retrograde, lol. Can we discuss how February is basically over though?! Crazy.

The last few weeks have just been exhausting and I’ve had very little motivation to do much else then sleep in my down time. In a few days I will be entering my 35th week…so exciting!

Random iPhone pics of my journey the last few weeks

My belly totally taking over my lap while driving(32 wks).

I’ve barely worn makeup this pregnancy, just one less thing I need to worry about in the morning. Thankfully on most days my skin looks pretty good. Still loving my Naturopathica routine.

My 33 wk pic, in my official pregnancy update outfit.

Since I’m so “small” and “tiny” (I hate those descriptions btw, so don’t say that if you run into me) I’m still able to wear a good mix of my regular pre-pregnancy clothes.

Here I am wearing my favorite Theory jacket and Targé dress & belt (best $20 I ever spent). It’s all about High_Low dressing ladies (33 wks).

Another pic of me wearing just a plain old J Crew top accessorized with a pendant necklace & scarf (34 wks)

I love loose blouses like this one from Yumi Kim, which I can wear through pregnancy, nursing and beyond (34 wks).

Support Groups

I recently attended a local La Leche League meeting, and was very please with the crew at the bedstuy location. So I’m looking forward to joining as a member and going to regular meetings.

My practice also started having meetings for women at the same stage of gestation which is a great way to connect with others. I even found out someone I knew through a mutual friend was also a patient there, so it was nice to catch up with her and discuss her experience so far.

Physical Changes

I’m up 30lbs, yup 3-0! I just wear it very well apparently. I have some lower back pain, and hip pain but they are manageable thanks in part to my weekly chiro adjustments. I’ve also had some mild sciatica issues which caused sharp shooting pains down my tighs. Definitely not fun, but it seems to be positional since it’s only happened twice.

I also can’t say enough about baths! OMG, the best/cheapest pain relief there is. I was never really a bath person, and up until last month had only taken one bath late in my 1st trimester and didn’t care for it. Now, I aim for once a week.

Last week, I pulled my calf muscle and spent 2 days in so much pain doing the limp/waddle to get everywhere. Then I finally took a bath and it was like the heavenly gates opened up, shun some light onto my pain and relieved it immediately by 80%. It’s magical. My secret? This Shea Moisture Salt, I use it in all my bath, it smells amazing and I’m sure is key to the pain relief.

Baby’s Progress

She’s still pretty active but is definitely becoming limited in some of the moves she can do because she’s much bigger now. She hangs out mostly on my left side , but sometimes I feel her kick on the right if she’s stretched. She also refuses to stray too far from right under my rib, I’m hoping she decides to make her way down by the time of our next appointment in 2 weeks.

The hubs and I are in the midst of a passionate debate on whether or not do a final ultrasound. To date we’ve only had 3. The first to confirm pregnancy (totally unnecessary), at 12 wks during my last gyn visit before I switched providers, and the 20 wk full anatomy scan. I wanted to keep things as low tech as possible. Besides, my midwife doesn’t do in office scans and who really has the time to trek to yet another appointment? Not this girl. Suddenly, he wants to “see” her, and I’m like um we’ve waited this long, why not just keep on waiting? He won’t stop asking though, and some days I almost give in since he’s been so great with everything else. We’ll see if I break down and end getting one…

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Favorite Pregnancy Resources

by Stepha on February 6, 2014

A few weeks back I saw this pic on a fellow preggers’ Instagram, with the caption ‘Bedside Reading’ and of course below it were a slew of comments suggesting yet MORE books she should look into. I laughed. I guess I have some catching up to do then.

I remember early in my first trimester, having a convo with someone and they asked if I had been reading a lot, my response “I’m taking a break right now (lol). I know for sure that the baby is gonna come out one way or another”. Then I went on about how it was just too overwhelming sometimes, and how I think most just prey on our fear of the unknown and sometimes raise more issues than alleviate concerns. What did our mothers do? And their mothers? Probably not read any of this crap, and yet here we are.

That being said, I’m all for a healthy dose of self educating. What you ultimately decide to read will be very personal and based on your outlook and preferences. I wanted to read books/articles that made me feel empowered as a woman, resonated with my current lifestyle and suggested things rather than demanding I do them or else.

Here’s My List:

Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year - This is more of a reference guide, a really amazing reference guide, that discusses herbal remedies for fertility, pregnancy and beyond. If you’re really about that crunchy life this is for you, otherwise skip it.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth- Detailed accounts of natural birth stories, discussions of anatomy and the body’s ability to birth without the need for intervention. A great, and fairly easy read, definitely pro natural, non medicated births so skip it if you know you’re gonna have a C-section.
Real Food for Mother and Baby: The Fertility Diet, Eating for Two, and Baby’s First Foods- I love the way the author breaks down what to eat each trimester in a simple chart. She shares her pregnancy and birth story, even the things that did not go as planned, a refreshing reminder that sometimes it bees like that, and that’s OK too.There is also plenty of talk about breastfeeding, and baby’s first foods once they start solids.
Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation- This book seemed cooky at first because of it’s large focus on birth art as a means of expression. I didn’t expect to like it, but I really did. This is not an instruction manual, nor a book in my opinion that needs to be read cover to cover, nparticularly if you’re reading other books but it was very nice in helping with addressing fears and visualizing a positive pregnancy and birth experience. Who knew I had an artistic side? My art is crappy at best but the process is awesome.
The Other Baby Book: A Natural Approach to Baby’s First Year- Probably my fave. Written by two real moms who don’t claim experts in any one area, and encourage you to experience your own feelings about the info they are sharing. Use what you like, leave the rest. Refreshing huh? This does lean more towards an attachment parenting philosophy (Babywearing, co-sleeping, Elimination Communication etc). It goes against pretty much everything you’ve heard, yet somehow makes sense, that is if you think outside of the box and like evidence based theories. It’s an easy read that you can put down and come back to whenever you get a minute. Def worth checking out.
Sacred Pregnancy: A Loving Guide and Journal for Expectant Moms- More pregnancy journal than book, there is week by week break down and suggested activities, all focused on clearing your mind, cleansing your space and preparing your heart an home for the beautiful journey to motherhood. Get it.
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding – I haven’t gotten to this one yet, but I’ve heard nothing but good things. According to many it’s THE breastfeeding book to have if you’re going to read one. So it’s next up, and I’ll update thoughts when I’m done.

Breastfeeding is definitely one of the more fearful parts of a new mom’s journey. I’ve read my share of pamphlet, handouts and different blurbs on the subject. Personally, I feel it’s one of those things that will only make sense once you’re right there in the trenches. I’m thankful that my doula is also a lactation consultant and will be there to help in the first moments. I’m also going to my first La Leche League meeting, hoping to meet some local mamas and get some live support.

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This is just a mere scratch of the surface of the books I was even interested in reading, let alone what’s actually available. But guess what? I’m nearly 8 months pregnant, and have managed to make it through just fine. There’s definitely a couple more I would ideally like to read, but after a long day where I’ve somehow managed to go to work, squeeze in a work out, catch up with a friend or two and eat balanced meals, when the choice of reading yet another book, perhaps just another chapter from an already started book or sleep…I choose SLEEP. The book can wait.

Others:

My midwife: The welcome packet I received when I joined the practice, was so comprehensive that I frequently reference first when something comes up. Literally everything from nutrition, symptoms, exercises, sex with your partner, breastfeeding, even some homemade formula recipes, it’s ALL in there. Anything else is a phone call or quick email away.

By far your #1 resource throughout this at times crazy journey is your provider. Choose wisely. Most of the serious questions you’re going to have on what to do/not do, how to avoid this, fix this etc is going to be or at least should be directed to them. It’s good to be able to contact them, even via a quick email during off hours and being confident you can discuss whatever silly (or serious) issues come up.

The tribe: I’m lucky to have had a few close friends who went through it all right before me, and remember hearing first hand accounts of what was going on, what they experienced etc. Oh and limit this to the sensible ones, nobody has time for the crazies when you’re preggo, so keep them at bay. It’s nice to have someone to ask questions before freaking out, about something that may be minor.

Birth without Fear: I have my share of websites and facebook pages I follow, but I really like this one. As the title suggests it’s all about providing the woman with as much info as possible to have an empowered birth experience. This blog does not discriminate… homebirth? Hospital? Oh you have to have a c-section? There are wonderful birth stories, from many moms from all perspectives.

Beware of Dr. Google-I guarantee the answer will always be either “you’re perfectly fine” or “holy shit you’re dying”. I love Google for general info, but steer clear of researching symptoms etc. especially in a moment of panic, just step away from the browser, slowly.

When in doubt trust your gut, works like a charm if you just take a few breaths and listen.

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Week 30: Beating Expectations

by Stepha on January 31, 2014

Wow! In less than a week, it will be t-minus 2 months from baby S making her debut. I’m of course super excited and a little anxious, there are definitely days where I wanna hide under covers repeating “I wasn’t readyyy” in my best Kevin Hart voice, lol.

Things have been a little less eventful since that passing out episode, thank goodness! I brought it up to my doctor the following week, and he thinks that it was more related to my blood pressure rather than sugar levels. I naturally have a BP that runs on the low side and it has remained that way so far this pregnancy, so according to him perhaps the way the baby was positioned, temporarily cut off blood supply and welp caused what happened, to happen.

Here are some other updates:

What diabetes?

As many of you know I’m a type 1 diabetic, have been for over a decade, a fact which to most medical professionals makes me “high risk” even though I’m completely well controlled, refuse to take any drugs etc. So of course my Endo, was extremely nervous when I got knocked up, because of all of the possible complications, something he’s been warning me about for no less than 4 years. I humored him for a while and rotated for what seemed like weekly between him and his nurse practitioner. I refused however to meet with their nutritionist, citing that “I could probably teach her a few things!” Such a smart ass, I know! But seriously it was too much. Needless to say, I’ve been doing phenomenal, “much better than I expected” according to Dr. T. Not only are my labs perfectly normal, there are no signs of gestational diabetes either. Which means I only have one more visit with the nurse before baby, providing all continues to go well (it will!) and I’m back to my just normal maintenance visits.

Kinda,sorta, Primal-ish:

I’ve been so good at maintaining an 80/20 grain free, nutrient rich diet for most of the pregnancy. But January has completely been a wash. Between traveling, being too exhausted to cook, and having such an increased appetite, frozen pizza (not GF) and baguettes have slowly creeped their way back into my life. Mainly because when nothing fills me up, I know that shoving some starches down my throat will do the job. Problem is, those foods don’t like me as much as I like them. Having a little here and there seems to be OK, but then I cross over some yet to be determined threshold leading to constant stomachaches, and less than pleasant meetings with the toilet bowl. Sigh.

So now I’m trying to stock up on some more tummy friendly foods, and make some stuff ahead, that I can munch on for those days where I can’t be satiated.

Movements:

She’s still super active, and now you can even see the moves as they happen. Of course, she never seems to move when you want her to. We could try for 30 minutes to get her to move, but she won’t budge until she’s good and ready. Her new favorite hrs? Oh, around 5-7ish AM!! Literally non-stop kicks, flips and everything else in between. Which makes for fun times for a very tired mommy during the day. I guess she’s just trying to prep me for what’s to come.

Workouts:

Those have slowed down quite a bit too. I’m still doing my Tracy Anderson DVD and rotating between Lara Dutta and Kundalini yoga (mentioned here). How often I do it depends on how I feel that week. Some weeks I can only bring myself to do 2 days, others 5. I try to just listen to my body.

Meditation:

I’m still not “good” at meditating, if there even is such a thing. However, I have been taking time here and there since the first trimester, to sit quietly, talk to baby, as well as address fears and anxiety, and I feel as though it’s helped. I’m currently doing a Hypnobirthing guided meditation per recommendation of my doula, and even did a couple’s one together with hubby, which was really cool, and totally zen …until he farted, ha! I’m hoping to do more of these in the coming weeks as I really get in the zone and prepare for birth.

To Do List:

I’m actually feeling good about getting through our list this month. We have a couple of pediatrician interviews, childbirth education, maternity shoot, and a few more things all lined up for the next 3 weeks. Funners!!

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Week 28: Dear Stepha, Please Have Several Seats

by Stepha on January 16, 2014

Well, I’m officially in my 3rd Trimester, and let me tell you she swooped in like a tornado and in just a few days , let me know who the boss was in this b.

It started over the weekend, where I went to bed well past 1 am, and never really made it up. Then Tuesday, I waited until the very last minute to prep for a meeting I had to be up at 5am to get to. Went to bed at 2, barely slept because Baby S, really wasn’t liking that idea, and just bounced around the entire time.

Five AM came, I had no choice but to be up and at ‘em, to catch the Acela (at least that was a smart decision) and head to Providence. By the time my team dinner rolled around at 6 pm, I had only eaten a couple boiled eggs, an orange, a pear and some trail mix. I was FAMISHED! It took what seemed forever to place our orders and it wasn’t until after that, that finally some bread was brought to the table.

I devoured 2 pieces, they were deelish! Apps came, and we all share a little bit of this and that, joked around etc. Then all of a sudden mid convo, I started feeling weird, like really weird. Tingly, maybe even numb all over, I tried to drink some water, but the feeling intensified. Then I just blurted out “guys I don’t feel good”, leaned over to hold my face and actually plopped my elbow in a platter of marinara.

Within seconds, I was being escorted to the bathroom by one of the girls, but that clearly wasn’t gonna work because I soon as I got up I guess it became evident that I couldn’t even walk straight and was gonna fall and likely crush her little ass. My manager and another colleague rushed behind us to grab me. A chair was pulled up behind me, people were talking at me, the widow was opened. Ahh fresh air!!

Just like that I started feeling better again. I asked for some water, took about a minute to make sure I was really good, and went back to business as usual.

Whoa, that was super scary! Depending on who you ask, I actually passed out for a few secs and my eyes rolled. If I had to guess what happened, I think my blood sugar was way low and then jumped suddenly and that mixed with my lack of sleep was just too much. After dinner, I checked it was normal, and since I was feeling fine with no other symptoms, I decided that rest was probably the best remedy.

I’ve never experienced anything like that, EVER! Pregnancy is crazy, but it really serves as reminder that I can’t do it all and the body as amazing as it is, has it’s breaking points. So I’ve official retired from #teamtoomuch and am slowing it all the way down for the next few months.

In Other News:

Movements: her movements are becoming much stronger and determined. I can actually see my stomach move, as she moves. It’s amazing and kinda weird, good weird.

Chiropractor visit : I went to the chiro for the first time last weekend. My main goals were to reduce discomfort as I grow and also stay properly aligned throughout the remainder of the pregnancy. This particular doc, specializes in the Webster Technique, which is purported to help balance the pelvis to promote optimal fetal positioning. I’ve only recently heard of this, but I will make sure to take notes and let you know if I think it helped once I deliver. I have a once/week appointment until delivery.

So much to do: Not so long ago, it seemed we had sooo much time to do the stuff we’d ideally like before baby comes. Now I feel pressed for time. My main goal is to schedule a couple of classes that I really want to knock off the list: Babywearing , cloth diapers and CPR. The nursery so far has only been painted, but honestly I know she’ll be sleeping in our room at first, so I’m not sweating that too much.

Oh and how could I forget the pediatrician search. That’s honestly the most daunting task as of right now. I thought I had a pretty good idea of who we’d go with, then I remembered that I’m not the typical, go in and do whatever the doctor says type of patient, and am only going to demand more from my child’s doctor. I do have a solid list of recommendations, so crossing my fingers I like one of them.

We already have our birth class all set, and confirmed our maternity and newborn photo shoots earlier this week. Excited for that!

Only 8 more weeks of work left, Hallelu!

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