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Category Archives: Delivery Prep

On a More Positive Note!

Still no baby, but I have been busy the last couple days which has helped my mind a lot!

Last week, Kiddo1 received his shipment of Titanic memorabilia. He was very excited about getting these commemorative coins and reproductions of Titanic stuff. We came up with the idea to frame some of the cool stuff so he could always look at it without having to get it out of a box or something. Yay project for me! I finished it up last night while he was at a sleepover. We still need to get it hung (always a sticking point for me!) but here’s a picture we took of it just now…

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

I used a new mating technique where the mats are raised a little by another layer of mat board hidden underneath the other two layers. Difficult to describe, easier to show. I think it makes the mat a little more interesting.

Photobucket

Also during Kiddo1’s sleepover away, Mr. Handsome and I got in a date night! Probably the last one we’ll have for awhile! We went out to dinner downtown and stopped for some ice cream to celebrate National Ice Cream Day. Yum!

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Then today I not only fit in two, TWO, naps, but we also took Kiddo1 and his sleepover buddy downtown with us for lots of walking and to see some sand sculptures that were being built for a festival this weekend. I had no idea how hoping downtown is during the week! We usually only venture down there on the weekends, and I figured those were pretty busy. I guess all those people working come out of their buildings and make it quite a busy place!

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We stopped by a toy store, too, and the kids got a little crazy with some ride-on toys. Normally I would not condone this behavior (I swear!) but it was pretty cute and the store was dead. Then the kids crashed, which was hilarious.

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I’m glad Kiddo1 got some energy out. He seems to have been a bit anxious himself these last few days. He releases his anxiety by basically going a little nuts and bouncing all over the house. We go to the park, get out to museums and generally “run him” at least once a day, but right now that isn’t really cutting it. I really hope his extra energy is due to nerves (that sounds bad, but stay with me) and not some kind of energy surge in general because that will make a house with a newborn kind of crazy! We’ll still be able to get him out of the house, though, and with family here he’ll have lots to do. He insists that he wants to just stay home after the baby is born, but I’m sure he’ll get bored enough to want to go out with them after a couple days.

So not a bad past 24 hours or so. I’m feeling more zen this afternoon than I was this morning. It helps to be accomplishing things, like the framing. Now I must find something else to create!

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Someone Else’s Birthday

Today is my dad’s and father-in-law’s birthday. So happy birthday to them! They were both hoping for Baby2 to hold out until today, of course. Up until a few days ago (or a week? Or yesterday?) I was sure we wouldn’t make it this far. Now I’m not even sure if she’ll be born today!

I’m fighting my tension. I know my lack of relaxation is not making things any better. I feel horrible that all my recent posts have been so negative. I’m usually a very positive person! I can usually see the up side of any situation, but I’m different right now. I must make my next post more positive!

But back to the bitching for just one more minute… The part of this whole thing that I’m stuck on is now there’s no chance of getting my wish for alone time with Mr. Handsome and the kids before my patents and in-laws arrive (my parents will be here in two days). I fought Mr. Handsome so hard on this and now… why was I fighting? What does it matter now? Ugh. I feel like if I didn’t have the family visits bearing down on me, I wouldn’t be having such a hard time right now. I want to enjoy these last days (weeks?) of pregnancy!

Don’t get me wrong, I am excited to see my family, of course! I just know that the closer to the delivery date that they arrive, the more tired and “not normal” (for lack of a better phrase) I’ll be. That’s just not fair to them. Whether they say they want/need to be entertained or not, I want to entertain them! I want to be a good host! And I can’t do that if I can barely stay awake… or sit down without an inflatable donut.

At this point, though, this is something I’m just going to have to get over. I can’t get my way with this one. Shoot, at this point I should just be hoping she arrives before their visit ends!

Babywatch Update

Still no baby and we’re two days overdue, but some progress to report. We went to the midwife on Friday – as of last Tuesday’s (7/3) appointment I was fine with not going in again, but as the days lingered on I felt like I needed to go for my own sanity.

We had to see a different midwife but she was very nice and supportive. Before going in I almost thought I’d get some lecture about how I have to be patient and what not. But there was no judging on her part, which was great!

My uterus measured at 38 cm, right on track (last Tuesday it was 37 cm). Baby2’s heartbeat was in the 130s, also very good. I asked to please be “checked” and she agreed to, although she did make sure to tell me that the results aren’t indicative of anything, really. It won’t tell me when this labor thing is going to go down. Sigh.

I was 2-3 cm dilated, 50 percent effaced and “soft and ready,” she said. She didn’t find any signs of scar tissue from my LEEP (in 2004) which is great because I was nervous about that. Also, my cervix has already moved up and away from my spine, which is great!

She also swept my membranes because I was already a bit dilated. I spotted for several hours afterward, but she said that’s probably just the rest of my mucus plug. I was pretty crampy for the rest of the day, too, but no contractions. Well, that’s a lovely paragraph to read, huh? Might as well add that I’ve finally pooped a couple times too! You’re welcome.

Physically I’m still feeling awesome, but my emotions are touch-and-go. In what seems like a split second I flip from excitement to frustration, from contentment to sorrow. Of course it’s worse when I’m not actively doing something, which makes sleep continue to be difficult. Last night I could nod off around 11:30 but I was up wide awake at 4:30 this morning. I refused to nap yesterday, thinking it would affect my nighttime sleep, but at this point I suppose it’s best to take what I can get!

On a non-baby note, I was fortunate enough to attend the wedding of one of my favorite friends last night. I said the only thing that would stop me from going would be if I was in the hospital, which I obviously wasn’t! Plus I’m still physically feeling great. And I’m so glad I got to go! It was a perfect weather day, a touching ceremony and a lovely reception complete with awesome food. And the bride was a knock-out! How did I not take a single picture?! Damn my absent mind! Anyway… Congrats Trang and Andy! Enjoy your tropical honeymoon and safe travels!!

Labor Foods

Happy Independence Day! Since Bany2’s own independence (from being physically attached to me) is imminent, and someone in my moms group recently mentioned labor cookies, I figured I’d make some yummy cookies and post about them. The midwife is okay with “getting things moving,” if you will, since really anything we try will only “ripen the cervix” rather than induce actual labor. I think she’s soclose but not quite ready yet!

Anyway, cookies!

There’s this site, JustMommies.com, that has all sorts of recipes for labor-inducing foods. They list obvious ones, like hot wings, but also labor pizza and a pineapple smoothie! I’m itching to try all these, but first and foremost are the cookies. The link above will take you to the original recipe, but below you’ll find my version after making a couple half-batches with my own special tweaks.

I first made these on Sunday and they were tasty! I doubled the amount of cayenne pepper from the original recipe, so they were extra spicy too (but really not too spicy, I could eat them without needing water). I made a batch with the regular amount of cayenne for a work potluck yesterday and they went over well.

On Sunday I felt like the BHCs (Braxton Hicks contractions) got a little stronger about two hours after I ate a couple cookies. No big changes. On Monday afternoon I felt contractions that seemed a little more real (pressure near the bottom of my uterus, rising to the top, constricting, very tight-feeling belly, etc). They were about 12-13 minutes apart for five hours or so, then fizzled in the evening.

On Tuesday I stopped paying attention, mostly because I’m straining to feel every sensation that I possibly can and it’s starting to stress me out. I need to relax and just let things happen. Of course, I’ll try to pitch in with a little help from labor foods and, you know, other fun things that Mr. Handsome can help with. But I doubt any kind of stress is going to move anything along very quickly.

On to the cookie recipe!

Labor Inducing Gingersnap Cookie Recipe

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour*
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper*
8 tablespoons (or 1 stick) butter*
3/4 cup granulated sugar (will also need extra sugar to roll cookie dough in)*
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup molasses
2 egg whites

* = things I changed from the original recipe

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt and cayenne pepper in small mixing bowl. Set dry ingredients aside.

Then blend butter in large mixing bowl. Stir in brown sugar and granulated sugar slowly. Add the molasses, then the egg whites. Finally, add the dry ingredients to your mix.

Roll dough into ¾ inch balls. Roll cookie balls in sugar to lightly coat each cookie. Place balls on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes or until cookies are golden brown.

Yum! I’m also going to try the Pineapple Smoothie today. Bring it, labor!

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.”

This quote is over-dramatizing my thoughts of today, as I don’t feel quite the heartache Robert Burns conveyed in To A Mouse, but it was the first thing I thought of upon receiving some test results today. The midwife says I’ve tested positive for Group B Strep – no big deal, really, but it does add a small wrinkle to my lovely birth plan.

I’ll step back a bit. What is Group B Strep? The midwife has brought it up a few times in our group appointments, but of course I scoffed at it completely because I’m always thinking that kind of stuff doesn’t apply to me. “No, no; my labor and delivery will be smooth and perfect with no complications whatsoever,” I say inside my head. Sigh. I am a naive one sometimes! Here’s what I remember, with a little help from the American Pregnancy Association:

  • Group B Strep is a bacterial infection found in the vagina or rectum (it was a fun test to find it, let me tell you). It affects about 25% of healthy adult women.
  • It isn’t an STD or a hygiene thing or anything; apparently the bacteria can come and go (it just happened to be present in me on the day of my test!). There are no symptoms – anyone can be a carrier.
  • As a precaution, to combat the chance that Baby2 could develop an infection as a result of being exposed to Group B Strep, antibiotics are delivered during labor every four hours.

So no big deal, really, as long as precautions are taken to prevent Baby2 from getting sick (those precautions are the antibiotics).

What does this mean for my lovely birth plan? Not much, thank goodness.

  • First, things first, I can still labor and deliver in the water, if I so choose.
  • Second, I have to come in to the hospital a little earlier than I may have wanted to (as soon as my water breaks, if that happens; otherwise, call the midwives when I think early labor has been established so they can direct me from there).
  • I’ll have to be hooked up to an IV every four hours for the duration of my labor. Luckily my hospital is cool and I can have a hep-lock device so the IV tube can be taken in and out without me 1) having a constant drip in my arm or 2) having to get stabbed and re-stabbed to establish the IV line.
  • Most likely I’ll be able to move about while the IV is in and it shouldn’t take too long to administer the antibiotics, so I can still have an active labor.
  • Baby2 should only need monitoring for 12-24 hours post-delivery (assuming no other risk factors, like fever, are present) so we shouldn’t have to be prisoners guests in the hospital for too long.

Again, not so bad. (Does it sound like I’m trying to convince myself that this is No Big Deal? Because I think I am.)

All in all, this small set-back is kind of nice, in a way. It’s good to find these things out now while I can get over them rather than during the throws of labor when my emotional state is… compromised. Also, this small setback is helping to prepare me mentally that things *might not* go completely my way. There could be other things that happen to derail my lovely birth plan. And guess what? I’m not going to know what the hell those things are until they happen!

This stanza will most likely not “leave us nothing but grief and pain for promised joy.” It is but a wrinkle in my “best laid plan,” and nothing more.

Birth Fears, Expectations and A Plan

Apologies if you receive this post twice. It posted this morning before I was quite ready – oops! I added some things, but didn’t take away anything. Blog burp!

Apparently birth plans have become a controversial subject. Some of the books I’ve read completely support them (like Natural Hospital Birth) and some have basically said, “What’s the point?” (like Birthing From Within). I like to be a bit prepared AND our midwife recommends covering some basics in a written plan, such as if we want to breastfeed and how we want Vitamin K delivered (there are several options these days!).

I really liked the strategy suggested in Natural Hospital Birth about having three birth plans (fantasy, reality, abridged hospital version). I’m going to just stick with two, though: one that gets Mr. Handsome and I on the same page and one written version for the hospital staff to keep on file.

Before I get to our expectations for this birth, though, I thought I’d “talk” out some of my fears about birth. First off, I feel a thousand times better about this impending birth than I did in the weeks leading up to my first birth with Kiddo1. Nine years ago I was freaked out beyond comprehension! All I could focus on was how much it was going to hurt. Because of this, my birth plan was basically, “Give me the epidural as soon as humanly possible.” (Actually, my birth plan was pretty hilarious with lots of unnecessary stuff like, “I would like dim lights and soft music.” My OB even laughed at me a little bit.)

Nine years later (haha, had to sneak that in!), I don’t really fear pain. Having made it through a birth before, I know more of what to expect which helps me feel way, WAY more comfortable. I believe that I have the power to make it through this time. I believe this because my last labor was assisted with Pitocin, making the contractions way more frequent and intense. Also, I made it to 9 cm before getting the epidural, so I know I can push (haha, pun intended) just past that mark this time. I also believe that the pushing phase will go faster because I’ll be able to feel what’s going on (I didn’t have any feeling whatsoever last time).

Despite the increased level of comfort and knowledge this time around, I still have fears. I fear that I won’t be in control. I fear that my wishes won’t be followed because I won’t be able to make them known. I fear the “fog of labor” which will impair my ability to communicate.

I know I can alleviate my fear, though. I can talk to Mr. Handsome, in depth, about my desires and his expectations. I know that Mr. Handsome will be a great supporter and will fulfill every need I have. He did an amazing job last time without any real direction from me whatsoever. I need to give up my need for control and allow him to take over. I need to trust him to do what’s best for me. I recognize that my fear lies with my own willingness to let go, not his capability to do what I need.

So what are my own expectations then? Well, I need to make myself move around, change positions, etc, but I expect myself to get lazy and fight that a bit (last time all I wanted to do was lay on my side and cry/scream). So I’ve asked Mr. Handsome to keep me moving. I want to get in the birth pool, but I don’t know when I’ll be ready for it. I’ve told Mr. Handsome that the pool should be filled when I’m able to get in (5-6 cm) but I may not want to get in right away.

As for everything else, I’m trying to just keep an open mind and not expect too much. I have ideas for birth positions but I don’t know which one I’ll like or will work best in the moment. I want to try to remain as relaxed as possible about the whole thing. We’ll see how that goes!

I’m keeping myself sane and giving myself license to relax because we have a birth plan. The hospital philosophies very much align with what I’m wanting, so my birth plan should cover any lingering questions the staff has. Also, I’ve been reading up on tips for the hospital birth plan. Here’s a couple things I’ve learned:

  • Keep it short. Nobody has time to read a twelve-page treatise – it’s more likely that things will get overlooked this way, too. But a short, well-organized plan will allow the staff to follow your wishes more closely.
  • Be nice! A negative plan that says “I don’t want this” and “I don’t want that” feels very, well, negative to the staff. Frame desires in a positive manner: instead of “I don’t want to be confined to a bed,” state, “I would like to be as mobile as possible during labor.” (There are a couple exceptions that our midwife told us to specifically add, such as declining an IV/hep lock and eye ointment.)
  • Don’t belittle the staff. Don’t tell them how to do their jobs.
  • Avoid ambiguous statements such as “I prefer” or “If necessary.” Be assertive! But still nice.
  • Customize it! Don’t just take one of those “form plans” off the internet and check some boxes and call it good. Really think about what you want, what is necessary to ask for and what your priorities are.

So here it is, the Hospital Birth Plan:

  • During labor:
    • I would like to be as mobile as possible.
    • I would like to avoid pain medication. Please do not ask about pain levels.
    • I would like to enter the birth pool when appropriate.
  • During delivery:
    • I would like to give birth in water.
    • I would like my husband to be in the pool, “catch” our baby and bring her to the surface.
  • Immediately after delivery:
    • I would like to donate cord blood and preserve the placenta (for encapsulation).
    • I would like to exclusively breast feed.
  • Infant care:
    • We prefer a family practice consult to evaluate our baby post-delivery.
    • Please administer Vitamin K via injection.
    • Please do not provide eye ointment.
    • We would like the Hepatitis B immunization. We were immunized for Whooping Cough (TDap) at 36 weeks gestation.

I think we’re ready for this. Mr. Handsome and I have talked about it (and will probably continue to talk about it here and there). We have everything written down. All the reading I’ve done has mentally prepared me very well. Now we just have to get down the aisle, so to speak.

Waterbirth Class!

Last week, Mr. Handsome and I attended our only childbirth class of this pregnancy (because we’re lazy and cheap!), which was our mandatory waterbirth class. I would have taken this one even if it wasn’t mandatory though!

I’ve read two and a half books about this style of birth so far (half because Hey! Who’s Having This Baby Anyway did have a great chapter or two about waterbirth) so I felt prepared even before stepping into the class. The other two books I read were Choosing Waterbirth and The Waterbirth Book.

The Waterbirth Book led me to some great questions to ask in the class (in fact, I think I asked the most questions. I’m that girl in school who tells the teacher he/she forgot to assign homework for the weekend).

Here’s what I found out about our hospital’s policies:

  • It takes about an hour to fill up the pool. The hospital can fill it up before you arrive if you display the right symptoms (contractions close together, in labor for awhile, obviously close to needing the water, etc). They said they’ve never missed a birth because of time, though.
  • Water temperature is not regulated other than by monitoring with a thermometer. So if you’ve been in the pool awhile they might need to take some water out and replace it with new, hot water.
  • The pool is inflatable so if you want something really sturdy to lean on, get your support person or a stool. The water level can be customized so if you want to sit rather than kneel the tub can be more or less full.
  • The best time to get in the pool is when you’re in active labor, meaning more than 5-6 cm dilated. They’ve seen labors slow down if you get in too early. There’s no point at which it is too late to get in.
  • You’d only have to leave the pool if your body temperature goes way up, there are other signs of infection, it appears that meconium is present in the amniotic fluid, you choose to have an epidural or you just plain don’t want to be in the pool anymore.
  • The hospital has waterproof dopplar monitoring so you don’t have to get out of the pool for that.
  • Partners are allowed in the pool whenever you want but they do ask partners to wear a swimsuit (so a naked pregnant lady is no problem but a naked dude or non-pregnant lady, that’s just uncomfortable to the staff. I think that’s funny, but whatever. Mr. Handsome wants to wear a suit anyway but I told him he’d have to be naked out of support. I was kidding… mostly. Pregnant ladies don’t have to be naked but most choose to be. I’m still debating but honestly getting more comfortable with the idea of being au naturale).
  • There’s really no time limit for being in the pool, but some women do get out after awhile because they feel like gravity will move things along more quickly.
  • They prefer you deliver the placenta “on land” but they realize some things do just happen in the water. If you bank or donate cord blood, they ask you to leave the pool so the banking procedure can occur prior to placenta delivery (and it takes 5-10 minutes to get the cord blood collected). You can take your placenta home, too, no worries there (but they did advise to bring a little cooler for it if you want to encapsulate).
  • Mr. Handsome can totally “catch” the baby, most of the midwives are very supportive of this. As long as no special attention is needed and we get a cool midwife on call, he’s going to get to be the catcher this time around!

Also, an interesting factoid: only 40% of the women who choose waterbirth at this hospital actually end up giving birth in the water. Most get out for the reasons listed above (discomfort, infection, epidural, etc).

Birth is unpredictable and I’m trying to remain very flexible with my expectations, knowing full well that I’ve never been in this situation before (laboring in water, that is) and as prepared as I feel I can’t anticipate what’s actually going to happen.

Overall it was a good class, but I feel like the reading I’ve done has prepared me far and above what a 60-minute session with 30 other couples could have done. No regrets, though, since we got all our questions answered. We’re feeling pretty ready!