Friday, February 23, 2007

A Recommendation

This is the only advice I think I would give a woman who is going to have a baby and is not sure how to prepare for labor. Please do yourself a great big favor and take a Hypnobirthing class or do a home study course.

I can't speak of any other birthing method and I'm sure there are some other great ones out there. This is the only one I ever used. All it really is, in a nutshell, is a combo of breathing, visualization and affirmations that keep your body calm and relaxed, so you don't tense up during labor and make it more difficult than it has to be. It's actually pretty simple. You can call it, "fooling yourself that you're not really in labor" and that's pretty much what it boils down to.

And I don't know at all what my labor would have been like if I hadn't used this method, or some other kind, but I can tell you this: For 26 hours I labored without any crying or screaming, or yelling at my husband, "YOU did this to me!!!", and there was no epidural- not so much as a Tylenol- and after four hours of pushing, out came my 9 lb, 7 oz, 23 inch baby boy. I have to say, I did not experience much in the way of pain. I was however, quite exhausted from the whole experience. I imagine I might have ended up quite a bit more exhausted had I not been able to relax throughout my labor.

And though I did not labor much with Sofia -who was born via c-section due to breech presentation- I used the Hypnobirthing technique again to get through the two external versions that the doctors used to try and turn her. Now that was painful, but certainly shorter in duration. The breathing helped to calm me and keep my from getting too worked up. And I employed the techniques yet again in the operating room when they were prepping me for the section. I was pretty anxious knowing I was about to have major surgery but the techniques I learned help me keep it together.

Anyway, I think it's a great method and cannot recommend it enough. I think what you get out of it is equal to what you put in. The more you practice the breathing and visualization, the deeper the state of relaxation. I'd say I was in a pretty moderate state of relaxation. I mean, I never fell asleep, never was so relaxed I forgot where I was, nor would I say that my birthing experience was "discomfort- free". I listened to the tapes pretty regularly for a couple months, but I would almost always fall asleep before I got to the end of them. I still wonder if my brain absorbed the instructions that came at the end of those lessons.

Nowadays I'm not finding much time for practicing the method. I'm hoping a refresher crash course in March, coupled with my previous experience will help me get through what I anticipate to be a shorter, more pleasant labor. At least I'm hoping not to push for four hours. That was a bit much.

If any other moms have some good delivery room advice I would love to hear it. Someone recently reminded me that I need to pack a bag to take to the hospital. You'd think that's a no-brainer but honestly, I had forgotten about that. Maybe that was the instruction at the end of that tape I slept through.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

This one's for the ladies...

The heavily pregnant ladies, that is. A little ditty (to the tune of "Do Your Ears Hang Low?")I wrote, in our honor...

Does your belly hang low,
does it wobble to and fro?
Are you so horrified,
by how much more its going to grow?
Does it seem a giant boulder
that no one would dare climb over?
Does your belly hang low?

Does your belly hang wide,
as though it has multiplied?
Do you look in the mirror
and sometimes want to cry?
Is it hard just to sit up
even though you've tried and tried?
Does your belly hang wide?

Does your belly hang out,
does it make you scream and shout?
Is that a real maternity shirt?
(well, of that there is some doubt!)
Would you go shop for more clothes,
if you could only move about?
Does your belly hang out?

Thirty-four weeks and counting. Next to come, horrifying pictures!! Not for the weak of heart...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Rescue Mama

I'm always trying to teach my kids to spot the silver lining on even the darkest clouds. Try to focus on the good of something instead of the bad. I have to work on this myself, often. It's a lot harder to start working on this an adult, so I thought I would give the kids a head start.

Lately David was playing with his new Ebay purchase of a used lot of Rescue Heroes. If you have kids who are or were into these, you know how precious this package was when it came. He's played with them non-stop for days. I've played with them non-stop for days. He also got a few brand new ones, courtesy of Valentine's Day money from both his Grandmas (thanks Moms!) which are even more special. We had to find a large, plastic bin to house them all. I asked that he take care of them by putting them back in the same container each day so they'd be organized and wouldn't get lost. I've been reminding him often that I need a lot of help picking up because I get tired quickly and can't do all the things I could before I was pregnant. Sometimes he seems bothered by my limitations (ie. not being able to carry him up the stairs at bedtime) but mostly he doesn't fuss much about it, and does what I ask of him.

Yesterday I caught he and his sister trying to drag the huge box from the playroom in the basement up the stairs to the living room. Sofia was pushing and he was pulling. They were managing, but clearly Sofia was going to end up buried in a rescue heroe avalanche.

"Woah! That's too heavy for you guys... Let me do that, " I say, taking the bin and carrying it up. When I set it down on the living room floor, I notice David quietly regarding me.

"What is it?" I ask him.

"At least you aren't too weak to carry up the box of rescue heroes!" An older child might have been sarcastic saying this, but he was genuinely happy for me.

"Yes. I'm not too weak for that." It gave me just the boost of confidence and strength to get me through the next seven weeks.

Way to spot the silver lining, little man.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Winter Wusses

My kids are not handling the snow all that well. Last year at this time you couldn't drag Sofia back inside after a day of frolicking in the fluffy white stuff. Now it takes 25 minutes to get her dressed to go outside and only 3 minutes to find her in the corner of the garage crying, "I'm coooolllldddd. I want to go innnnnnnn!!!"

David's not a whole lot better. He enjoys about 15 minutes of outdoor play and then the mittens get wet or he face-plants in a pile of snow and then he's done. We've had such a mild winter out here (thanks El Nino!) that this feels like it's coming out of nowhere for them. But to be fair, it has been unusually windy and kids just don't like wind in their faces, I guess unless it's coming at them as they fly down hill on a sled. No hills here, I'm afraid. We left them behind in Vermont, yet I gladly gave them up to live amongst people again.

But perhaps it's a blessing in disguise. Truth is, I don't particularly want to bring them outside and run around a whole lot myself, feeling the way I do. I'd much prefer to snuggle up in front of the fire, read books and drink hot chocolate. And I'm pretty much incapable of shoveling any snow, so hopefully this is about it for us. Apparently I can blame the snow goddess for this one. Maybe with her great universal powers she can make it so the snow doesn't actually accumulate on roads and driveways. Guess she didn't think of that.

Anyway, it was bound to happen and I'm just thankful I don't live in Western New York state. I think we can handle a foot or two of snow. Eleven is kind of pushing it.

Happy belated Valentine's Day! My thoughtful husband got me some delicious gourmet strawberries dipped in chocolate. He knows me all too well.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Where to Stop and Drop

So there isn't a whole lot new up with me. Had a very busy week with Ernesto gone on business and Sofia being very sick. I had all these plans to do fun things with the kids and everything had to be pushed aside so she could recover. We watched a lot of tv and read a lot of books instead and we got through it. It reminded me how I take my children's health for granted. When I pray, I always pray for their health, but I don't think about what it would be like for them to be really sick. Who wants to think about that?

I've had to call my midwife's office twice already this week for pregnancy-related issues. Each time the nurse asked, while looking for my chart, "is this your first pregnancy?". I'm sure they get a lot of these kinds of calls from first time moms. I am not at all the panicked, oh I need to call the doctor right now, type. In fact I avoid medical professionals as much as possible. I don't like having to go to my checkups as I feel like, hey, this is my third kid- couldn't I just come in when I'm in labor and we'll go from there? But this week has been an exception. One time I thought I was going blind and had read that pregnant women can often have eye problems, so I called just to make sure that was not the case. Then this morning I took advantage of Ernesto being home for a few hours and headed off to the grocery store for some much needed food. As I was driving over there a pain developed in my lower left side and would not go away. It was not a contraction as I am very familiar with that feeling, and it got worse as I drove. When I stopped in the parking lot I sat in the car for a while taking deep breaths, but nothing worked. I thought about just turning around right there and going home, but I'm kind of that stubborn, idiot type and thought, eh, it'll pass. I need food.

Somewhere in the juice aisle I got the swimming feeling I was about to pass out. I hadn't had anything to eat except for a few bites of peanut butter sandwich on the way over in the car. Usually that would suffice, but not today. So I wheeled my little squeaky cart over to a seat by the checkout registers and sat down. I guess I didn't look too good because many people stopped to ask if I was okay. A woman at the register got the store manager and he brought me a bottle of water and I ate a couple granola bars I had in my cart, just to get some sugar back in my system. I didn't feel nearly as woozy, but I still had the pain so I called E and he gave me my midwife's number and the nurse told me to go home and lie down and call her back in an hour. She was pretty certain it was round ligament pain. It usually doesn't last that long, at least not as intensely as this had, but it was in the right spot and the baby was very active so she didn't seem overly concerned. Again I got the, "Is this your first pregnancy?" query. "No, it's my third. Sorry, I'm having a bad week." True enough.

Anyway, I wanted to thank all the very kind people at the Stop & Shop supermarket who showed a lot of concern for my well-being. Clearly no one wanted to see a tall, heavily pregnant lady pass out near them. I think it would have been very scary for all concerned.

In other news, David has now contracted what I call the "rat-bug" and has managed to throw up everywhere except in a toilet or bucket. 6 AM found me mopping up a "mess" on the kitchen floor and misting the house with Lysol. Do I know how to party or what??

So hopefully Ernesto and I will be spared from this infection, though at this point, lying down with a sickness might mean someone would take care of me and I could finally get some rest. It's really not sounding all that bad. Bleah.