Well Rounded Birth Prep

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Countdown to Christmas Eve Baby!

About a week before Thanksgiving, my kids and I constructed an advent chain of sorts to countdown the days until Christmas, since my due date was December 25/26. This gave my kids--especially the two younger ones--a more tangible way to understand how many days remained until Christmas, and, possibly, the approximate time until our baby would arrive. Of course, I fully expected that he would arrive closer to New Year, but it was still a good countdown for the children. It also helped me cope when I began to get impatient with the remaining time to wait for baby's arrival. When I looked at these paper strips, they didn't look like many, and the chain got noticeably shorter quickly. Here's our countdown chain a few weeks ago:

What a worthwhile wait. Look at our Christmas Eve baby! I can't wait to post his birth story and the few photos I have from that adventure.

He's so long he doesn't come close to fitting in this stocking! 21 1/2"

8 lb 10 oz means nice round cheeks/jowls on my newborn!

Look how long he is! No wonder I was so uncomfortable. How did he fit inside me just yesterday???

Photography by Trebor Sutler

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Red Raspberry Leaf tea/punch & popsicles

Red raspberry leaf tea has many benefits for 3rd trimester expectant mommas, but of course, consult your care provider to see if it's appropriate for you, don't sue me, etc. Here's a link where you can read about the uterine tonic and nutritional benefits of RRL tea.

My doula and monitrice friend Sarah Booten in Chicago (who is also the owner of In Bloom magazine) gave me this recipe for a tasty labor tea/punch that can also be used to make healthy labor popsicles. It has the herbal benefits (uterine tonic), nutritional bonus, and natural source of calories for energy in labor, minus the high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors and flavors in most popsicles.

Red Raspberry Leaf Labor Punch

Strong-brewed red raspberry leaf tea, 1 pitcher (any amount)
Equal amount of 100% apple juice (no sugar added)
Honey to taste, optional
1 lb. frozen red raspberries, crushed on kitchen counter when the bag is still sealed

I made 2 dozen labor popsicles and still had a substantially full iced tea pitcher of labor tea/punch. I hope you enjoy this recipe. It's a great drink or popsicle to take with you to the hospital or birth center, especially if your facility has restrictions on eating and drinking in labor. (I hope it does not, for a lot of reasons, explained here.)

Not pictured: 100% apple juice

Friday, December 23, 2011

Labor music & reducing pain perception

Lots of mommas report that having their favorite music playing during labor and birth helps counteract the Fear-Tension-Pain cycle and assist with lessening their perception of pain, helping make labor more manageable. What kind of music you'll want to have ready is totally personal. I find that most mommas prefer slow music for early through active labor (anything you could slow-dance to), but that slow instrumental music is frequently more relaxing as the mother approaches transition through pushing. The lyrics can be too distracting at that point. Of course, it's up to you. One momma told me that she had rave music playing throughout her entire unmedicated birth at a birth center. Whatever floats your boat.

Find out if your place of birth has a CD player in each room. If not (and not many do), be prepared to have your iPod, iPad, or other MP3 player ready *with speakers* since it's difficult to keep earbuds in place while changing positions frequently during labor. It also makes for nice ambiance for your labor partner and labor support team.

I started drafting my labor playlist on notebook paper six months ago. The list kept growing until I realized that not only could we not afford to download that many songs on iTunes, but also that by the time I realized it was active labor, I likely wouldn't even have time to listen to the entire playlist I had written up! I have shown my "dream" playlist to a few friends, all of whom commented on how eclectic and varied the genres of my picks were. I figured I'd post both my finalized list and my "dream" list for anyone looking for ideas. Anyone who likes the same music I do, that is. Otherwise, make sure you have your rave music ready to play. It's all good.

My final playlist, most of which we already had on iTunes:

  • "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight" James Taylor
  • "Something in the Way She Moves" James Taylor
  • "You've Got a Friend" James Taylor
  • "Fire and Rain" James Taylor
  • "Sweet Baby James" James Taylor
  • "Carolina In My Mind" James Taylor
  • "Walking Man" James Taylor
  • "Daughters" John Mayer
  • "Don't Know Why" Norah Jones
  • "Try a Little Tenderness" Michael Buble
  • "More Than Words" Extreme
  • "Bed of Roses" Bon Jovi
  • "Kiss from a Rose" Seal
  • "She's Always a Woman" Billy Joel
  • "To Make You Feel My Love" Billy Joel ("Our song" played at our wedding)
  • "Lullaby (Goodnight, My Angel)" Billy Joel
  • "New York State of Mind" Billy Joel
  • "Shameless" Garth Brooks
  • "I Melt" Rascal Flatts
  • "When Can I See You" Babyface
  • "Take a Bow" Madonna
  • "Crazy For You" Madonna
  • "Forbidden Love" Madonna
  • "Love Don't Live Here Anymore" Madonna
  • "I'll Remember" Madonna
  • "One More Chance" Madonna
  • "Something to Remember" Madonna
  • "You'll See" Madonna
  • "Wicked Game" Chris Isaak
  • "Just the Two of Us" Grover Washington, Jr.
  • "Your Song" Elton John
  • "Tiny Dancer" Elton John
  • "Layla (Acoustic Version)" Eric Clapton
  • "Take it to the Limit" Eagles
  • "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" Aerosmith
  • "Nothing Compares 2 U" Sinead O'Connor
  • "A Whiter Shade of Pale" Joe Cocker
Additional songs I'd have added if I felt like spending the cash:
  • "Lucky" Jason Mraz
  • "Waiting on the World to Change" John Mayer
  • "Body is a Wonderland" John Mayer
  • "Isn't She Lovely" Stevie Wonder
  • "When a Man Loves a Woman" Percy Sledge
  • "Givin' Him Something He Can Feel" En Vogue
  • "Let's Get it On" Rascal Flatts or Marvin Gaye
  • "Let's Stay Together" Al Green
  • "Easy" Commodores
  • "Desperado" Eagles
  • "Hotel California" Eagles
  • "Best of My Love" Eagles
  • "Wasted Time" Eagles
  • "One of These Nights" Eagles
  • "I Can't Tell You Why" Eagles
  • "Landslide (Acoustic)" Fleetwood Mac
  • "Rhiannon" Fleetwood Mac
  • "Angel" Aerosmith
  • "What it Takes" Aerosmith
  • "The One" Elton John
  • "I Want Love" Elton John
  • "The Way You Look Tonight" Elton John
  • "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" Elton John
  • "Patience" Guns & Roses
  • "Knockin on Heaven's Door" Guns & Roses
  • "Weak" SWV
  • "Must Have Been Love" Roxette
  • "Faithfully" Journey
  • "Lights" Journey
  • "Open Arms" Journey
  • "When You Love a Woman" Journey
  • "Strange Magic" ELO
  • "Careless Whisper" George Michael
  • "Sara Smile" Hall & Oates
  • "Vision of Love" Mariah Carey
  • "Open Arms" Mariah Carey
  • "Can't Let Go" Mariah Carey
  • "Without You" Mariah Carey
  • "I Still Believe" Mariah Carey
  • "My All" Mariah Carey
  • "I'll Be There" Mariah Carey
  • "Fragile" Sting
  • "When We Dance" Sting
  • "In the Air Tonight" Phil Collins
  • "Rain" Madonna
  • "Just the Way You Are" Billy Joel
  • "Honesty" Billy Joel
  • "Leave a Tender Moment Alone" Billy Joel
  • "She's Got a Way" Billy Joel
  • "And So It Goes" Billy Joel
  • "Into Temptation" Crowded House
And for transition onward, if the lyrics of slow music are too distracting, I plan on playing Pandora Radio channel for Pachelbel's Canon in D (another song played at our wedding). 

Did you have music playing during your labor and/or birth? What music did you prepare ahead of time? Did you end up wanting what you thought you would want?

Monday, December 19, 2011

39 wks basketball in mah belleh

Yes, I'm aware that I waddle. I know that I don't walk terribly well. I realize that I must not have much longer, by the looks of things. No, I do not need any commentary about how I look like I might pop (or worse--explode) any minute now. Who ever thought it was a good idea to compare childbirth to explosions? Not a positive mental image, people!

And before anyone is tempted to get me started, read this before any thoughts of commenting on how you think I'm big as a house or must be carrying twins (I'm not, and I'm not).

I'm still seeing my chiropractor weekly. Who knows how bad my SPD and SI issues would be if I weren't. It's pretty bad as is, and I know that chiropractic is helping. I've been drinking Earth Mama Angel Baby Third Trimester Tea every night before bed. That's been a fun countdown, watching my stock of it dwindle.

I just found out that I'm GBS positive, so I have to decide what course of action to take (or not to take). As of right now, I'm likely to take the course of treatment based on risk factors as opposed to prophylactically, considering the Cochrane Review of the research on GBS and IV antibiotics in labor.

I guess that's all the news for now. I'm just hanging out, waiting for Christmas or labor, whichever comes first. It's a little bit hard to wait, knowing it *could* be tonight, but it *could* be 3 more weeks. It does make it easier to wait, having so much to do. I haven't even started wrapping gifts and I have a ton of nesting to do, so I'm content to wait on my son's timing. (Even if I weren't content to wait, I wouldn't evict him without pressing proof of medical need to do so, in case you were wondering. Here's why.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What we sacrifice for our growing babies: dignity

I remember a post by Gina Crosley-Corcoran (The Feminist Breeder) shortly after she had her daughter this past April, in which she rocked a motorized cart scooting around Target, nursing her baby, 2 or 3 days postpartum. That mental picture stuck with me and reminded me that there are times to swallow our pride and get on a motorized cart when the time calls for it.

That time, for me, is now. I have SPD, symphysis pubis dysfunction, which, in a nutshell, is intense pelvic/hip pain due to pregnancy hormones. It will self-resolve after delivery, but for now, my hips hurt constantly, whether I'm moving or stationary. [If you suffer from pregnancy SPD, here is Kmom's article on recognizing, coping with, and alleviating symptoms of SPD. It's the most comprehensive I've read.] Walking and climbing stairs are difficult and painful. A big trip to Walmart to stock up on all the stuff I won't have time to get after the baby is here? Nearly impossible. That is, unless I suck it up and use a motorized cart.

Like so.

My dignity is GONE.
A sweet friend offered to watch my children for the afternoon so that I could get this huge shopping trip done, and that time is precious and rare, so I had to take advantage of it. Fortunately, one of my dear friend's daughters, Katey (who is also a sweet friend and our favorite babysitter), was able to come with me to help on short notice, or else I wouldn't have been able to do this trip at all. I needed her to push the actual buggies while I motored on this awesome cart and quickly filled its little basket.

(For the record, I don't like giving my business to Walmart, and I'm not proud of publicly admitting that I shop there, but in this life stage, multiple shopping trips to various small(er) businesses is not a possibility.) (Also for the record, we were not buying alcohol in this aisle, although I can see how it would look that way if you look at the background. We were there to get bottled water, which, also, for the record, I don't use often, but wanted to have around for quick access in labor for myself and my midwives and doula, as well as for company.)

Katey and I filled two full size buggies completely full, plus the little basket in my cart with laundry detergent, dish detergent, toilet paper, paper towels, canned food, string cheese, frozen waffles, light bulbs, coffee, a vaporizer/humidifier for the kids' room, diapers for my three-year-old, and, yes, as you can see by this VERY candid photo, postpartum maxi pads. And, yes, that is a donut in my hand, because by this time, I AM A PREGNANCY CLICHE. I may as well revel in it.

I was in a motorized cart, 38 weeks pregnant, eating a donut, and wearing my "good" sweatpants along with my widest sneakers.

My total for this stock-up was $580, the most I've ever spent at one time (not counting house, vehicle or furniture). I was grateful for multiple Walmart gift cards and payment for teaching several Well Rounded Birth Prep classes lately, which covered 2/3 of that bill. Now I'm one big step closer to feeling ready for baby. The weather was mild, and the timing was perfect. I'm so glad I got the job done. Even if it meant wondering if I was a public spectacle or if someone was taking my picture for peopleofwalmart.com. (Don't even THINK about submitting this on there.)

What about you? Have any of you had to resort to using a motorized cart to get around when shopping at the end of pregnancy? A few of my friends said they had. How was it for you?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

37 weeks pregnant belly pic

Be forewarned: if you're tempted to comment on how "huge" I look, or to ask if it's twins, please read this blog post first or face 3rd trimester hormone wrath.

So, I'm 37 weeks pregnant, which means I could have this baby as early as "any minute now" or as late as January 8, but likely between Christmas and New Year.  The big milestone that comes with the pronouncement of 37 weeks is that if, for some reason, this baby decides to come sooner rather than later (which is unlikely, but still...), he would not be premature, and I'd be cleared for a safe homebirth. (Homebirth is not safe for premature babies.)

How do I feel? 9 months pregnant would be the best descriptor. I'm uncomfortable but healthy overall. I really don't have much to complain about, but since you asked... My SPD and pelvic pain are worsening. I generally do OK during the day if I stay up and moving constantly, but if I have to stand or sit in one position for an extended time, my pelvic/hip joints "freeze" and moving is very painful after that. This means that sleep is miserable because I can't change positions easily.

I'm still sleeping on a huge wedge pillow to prevent/reduce reflux, in addition to taking nightly OTC heartburn medicine that my midwife recommended. It only helps a little. I cannot lay flat whatsoever. Combine that with the fact that I'm a left-side-sleeper by nature, and with my pelvic issues, and it's not great. I wake up jackknifed on my left side, on that wedge, with my hips torqued oddly and entire pelvis aching. I have to keep my knees together to hobble to the bathroom in the night, holding onto the wall with every step. Several times, I've considered waking Rick to have him help me get to the bathroom, but I haven't resorted to that yet. The fact that it's nearly that bad isn't encouraging, considering that I still have a month or so to go (probably).

It's also hard to breathe because he's pressing against my lungs. Drop, son, drop! I remember the instant feelings of relief after the birth of my last baby with regards to easier to breathe and heartburn gone instantly. It took about a month or month-and-a-half my pelvic pain to resolve last time, for the pregnancy hormones (relaxin) to flush from my system. I hope it doesn't take that long this time, but if it  does, I won't have to be afraid that I broke something.

OK, that's that, it's late and I'm 9 months pregnant and going to bed so I can pretend to try to sleep, then wake in a few hours to read magazines on my hubby's iPad since I can't sleep. I better get to it!