All “Motherhood” Posts

My Pregnancy Essentials

Hey guys, remember when I looked like this….

I was 39.5 weeks pregnant with Eleanor here. Two days before I went into labor (!) …If you couldn’t tell by the size of my belly. Yowza. I can only be proud. I grew a healthy little girl! Well that plus the fact that my torso is like 5 inches tall.

Anywho…

A few of you have inquired about what my pregnancy go-tos were so I decided to dedicate a post to it for you. Hope you pregnant-folk find it helpful.

1. Prenatal Yoga- Seriously, yoga saved my life (and my body) during my pregnancy with Eleanor. Especially toward the end when running was no longer comfortable and I was really feeling the aches, pains and discomfort of carrying around that ginormous belly pictured above. It felt so, so good to give my body a good stretch and it was super relaxing too. Plus, it is said to help the baby get in a good position for labor.

2. Husband massages- Something I was told before I had Eleanor that I wish I would have taken more to heart was: Put your feet up and let people serve you because after that baby comes there won’t be a whole lotta “me time.” I wish I would’ve asked for more massages and taken more baths (and I was taking nearly 1 a day people). Bein’ a momma is 24-hour-giving and a lot of work so don’t be afraid to ask the ‘ol hubs for a massage or 2 or 30 and pamper the heck out of yourself.

3. Tea- I drank lots of pregnancy tea because my midwives told me to, but I honestly didn’t love the taste of it. What I did love was the warmth and the way it helped me relax at the end of the day. I do, however, love this tea which was a nice break every once in awhile from the pregnancy tea. A pretty little mug to drink it out of is always nice too.

4. Valerian root tincture- this stuff was my best friend. I was lucky and was able to sleep fine up until about week 30. Then it hit…the tossing and turning, trying to find a comfortable position, the getting up every hour to pee…That was until my midwife told me to get some valerian root tincture and put several drops in a shot glass of water and take it before bed. It knocked. me. out. The stuff worked so well I kept an extra shot glass of it by my bed. Just in case. I purchased mine at New Seasons, but I’m sure you could find it at Whole Foods or even your local grocery store in the wellness/vitamin department.

5. Leggings- I lived in leggings. For me, jeans (or any pants really, other than these I eventually broke down and bought since the leggings weren’t quite warm enough some days) were the worst kind of torture so anything ending in “eggings” was where it was at. I especially loved American Apparel’s high-waisted leggings. I preferred the high-waist because, unlike the regular elastic-waist leggings, they didn’t squeeze my belly. The high-waisted ones fit nicely over my belly and provided a little extra support too.

6. Mama bee nourishing body oil- This stuff is magic. It’s awesome to use for #2, to help your skin stretch minus the marks or maybe fewer anyway, or to put on your legs after you shave (with all that shaving you’ll be doing with a giant belly in your way and all…).

7. Baths- Oh, baths. They never felt so good. I took one nearly every night toward the end. Add a little bath salt or lavender bubble bath to top it off. SO. GOOD.

8. And last but certainly not least a pretty dress or two (maternity or not)- It was important to me that I felt beautiful when I was pregnant because it is a such a special season of life that I wanted to really embrace. It’s such a short time (though it doesn’t always feel like it) and it’s such an amazing thing to house and grow a baby (a baby!). I tried hard to embrace and appreciate my new body, but on the days when I was feeling particularly large and not-so-beautiful a pretty dress always helped. A few great places to find lovely maternity dresses: Hatch Collection and Asos… Like this pretty little number, perfect for summer! And then there’s always an awesome shift like I wore here. Don’t limit yourself to only maternity items. Shifts, empire waists, maxi’s are all perfect for the pregnant bod. Ok and this…it’s not a dress but gah, it’s adorable. In the cotton chambray….mmmm, SO cute.

Hope this list helps all you pregnants out there! And congrats!

 

P.S. Be on the look out next for a Mamma must-have post! Make sure to submit any questions/requests now!

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Baby Bump Shoot Continued…

I know Eleanor is here and all and therefore I no longer look like this, but I thought I’d share them anyway. Patrick did too good.

Here are some more pictures from the maternity shoot when I was almost 36 weeks pregnant with my girl…

Hope you have a lovely weekend!

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Eleanor Rose: A Birth Story

I went into early labor 4 days before Eleanor was born. Friday, February 3rd, at 1:45am I woke up to my water breaking. I woke Daniel up to tell him what was going on and I’ll never forget his disoriented-half-dazed-look of surprise and excitement, “What? Really? Ok…what now??” I still laugh thinking about it. I called my lead midwife to tell her my water had broken. She told me to try and get as much rest as possible and once morning came to start taking my temperature every 4 hours (because my water had broken before my labor started). A few hours later I went to the bathroom and saw what they call the “bloody show.” Wish there was a prettier word for it, but there’s not, so there you have it. I knew it was important that I listen to my midwife and get rest while I could, but it was hard. I was too excited! My baby was finally going to be here! Sometime early that morning I started feeling mild, irregular cramping that went on the rest of day. Our midwives had us come in at noon to check my and the baby’s vitals and went over hygiene/preventative stuff to avoid infection since my water had broken.

We decided to try and distract ourselves the rest of the day before labor got too intense to be distracted. We went for a long walk to Laurelhurst, went to one of our favorite Thai places for lunch, stopped by New Seasons to get some groceries to make a yummy italian dinner later, cooked that said italian dinner, did some laundry, and watched “I Love You, Man.” As funny as that movie is, by the end of it the contractions got difficult to ignore. The couch was no longer comfortable to be on so I moved to the birthing ball—where I would live for the next 3 days. That ball was my sanity and made the contractions bearable. This began the first night of intense contractions lasting as little as 40 seconds, to as long as 2 minutes and were about 2-5 minutes apart. Some less than even a minute apart and seemed to stack on top of each other. I remember thinking, “I must be moving into active labor. This is it! I’m going to meet my baby today!” But by the time Saturday morning came, the contractions subsided. They were now 10-20 minutes apart and remained that way all day until night came again. Then it was back to intense, long contractions every 2-5 minutes.

Laura, our doula, came the second night of intense contractions to help. She was a godsend. Seriously people, promise me you will get a doula when you get pregnant. She helped Daniel remain sane and was a tremendous support for him and me. I needed constant back rubs and counter-pressure to cope with the pain so they were able to take turns while the other slept. Which provided me with fresh hands and encouragement.

Sunday morning came and the contractions subsided again. Backing off to 10-20 minutes apart. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. It’s a strange thing to not want pain to stop, knowing it’s a good pain and the only way I would meet my baby. I remember the first contraction that backed off that morning and just wanting to cry and despair. I don’t know if I could have chosen to stick it out if I were in a hospital being offered interventions, and couldn’t eat real food, or be in whatever position I wanted to be in, in my own territory, or if I wasn’t surrounded by people who completely believed in me and trusted my body and my baby to do what they needed to do. All of this, and the fact that I was able to fall asleep in between contractions (like I actually had dreams, people. No joke. The beauty of natural labor hormones and Benadryl . Yeah, it was only 2-5 minutes of sleep at a time or 10-20 during the day, but it was something and really did help me not get exhausted to the point of no return) gave me everything I needed to push through.

Sunday night came and surprise, surprise the contractions picked up again. The midwives had been coming to check my and the baby’s vitals daily and talking to me and Daniel on the phone to see how things were progressing. It was difficult to tell if things were progressing because day would come and the contractions would back off and, since my water had broken beforehand, the midwives did not want to check my cervix for the risk of introducing an infection. I also didn’t want them to because I knew it would be discouraging more than helpful. My lead midwife said that if by the morning the contractions subsided again she would have me come in to the birth center and try the breast-pump to hopefully stimulate and keep the contractions coming. She was concerned about my energy level and the fact that my water had been broken for close to 4 days at that point.

The thought of having to move or go anywhere sounded like a nightmare to me. So I prayed and hoped that this would be the morning the contractions would keep coming. The thought of seeing that damn sun rise again without the promise of my baby with it was so hard. I had no idea how many more days this horrible pattern was going to last. But, I was in it. I didn’t really have much of a choice. There was absolutely no escaping it. The only way out was through. I’m so grateful for that. I’m so glad I had no choice but to figure it out. I mean I guess I could’ve asked to transfer to the hospital, but, honestly, that sounded a million times worse to me than sticking it out. The car ride to the hospital—hell no. Being put on pitocin to get my labor going—I was too afraid that would make the contractions too intense for my body to bear. Not being in the comfort of my own home anymore, surrounded by people I don’t know—Ugh, awful. And, at the end of it all, nothing was wrong at this point, there were no red flags, so I chose to trust that Eleanor and my body were taking their time for a reason. I kept working with the contractions, trying my hardest to relax into them, and believe they wouldn’t hurt me.

Monday morning came and the Lord was so merciful and answered my prayers—the contractions did not let up. In fact, they got even more intense. Oh, the relief. Finally this was all going to be over and I was going meet my baby! The midwives came around 11:00 that morning and by 1:45 that afternoon Eleanor was born. Obviously the pushing phase went fast for me. I think I was just determined (I was done with this whole 4 day labor thing so there would be no 4 hours of pushing for me!) and Eleanor finally got in the right position. The midwives had said she came out with her back on the left and when labor started on Friday and they felt her position her back was on the right. Apparently babies prefer coming out with their backs on the left so all those days of labor was her making a full rotation to just the right spot. I’m so thankful my midwives trusted in the wisdom of my body and Eleanor’s body to do what they needed to do. It allowed her to make her journey through the birth canal and into our arms flawlessly. Apparently an hour of pushing is pretty fast but I remember thinking when I was pushing that I just wanted the intensity to be over and wondering why it was taking so long! But I knew it really was almost over now. With each contraction I’d imagine myself opening and tell myself over and over again that it wouldn’t hurt me, that this was good. And I’d look into my husband’s reassuring eyes and I’d listen to my midwives, “Breathe…breathe that energy down to your baby….that one’s over, let that one go…” All of this helped tremendously. Then I remember waiting for what seemed like forever for that feeling they tell you about when your baby’s head crowns, “the ring of fire.” Some women find it very painful, but to me it was the biggest relief in the world (way better than all those contractions). Before I knew it, Eleanor’s slippery little body was in my arms.

There is something to be said for having to endure something extremely hard and painful. Most of the time I want the easy, painless way out. And there were many times during my labor when I wanted to run from it. But, looking back on my experience and story, I would not change any of it. My labor was a gift in so many ways. I know it sounds cliche, but enduring something hard really does make the reward in the end that much greater. It grows you and your relationships in such a powerful, beautiful way that only pain can. The bond I felt with Eleanor the second I saw her I have no words for. This was the little person I had felt move and grow inside of me for the last 9 months. Who I had labored so long for. And she was worth every second. The bond I felt with Daniel was amazing as well. We both labored those 4 days. We both endured it and worked together. He was with me the whole time…longer than anyone. He was in it as much as I was and that has increased the bond and intimacy between us ten-fold, not to mention his bond with Eleanor the second he laid eyes on her. He had worked so hard for her too. Massaging me, providing counter-pressure when a contraction would hit, making me eat and drink to keep my energy up, helping me get in and out of the warm shower with my beloved birthing ball, keeping his doubts of this labor ever being over to himself and instead showing me only confidence in his eyes, telling me he loved me and that I was amazing and so strong (I couldn’t have been strong without you, my love)….I feel a connection and closeness with him now I didn’t know possible. I’m not saying if I had, had medical interventions I wouldn’t have felt bonded with my daughter or my husband, but it certainly would’ve been and looked very different, and I’m just grateful my story ended at home the way it did.

I can’t believe I’m on the other side now, enjoying my little girl on the outside. It’s so surreal still. I know even though the journey of pregnancy and labor is over, another one is beginning: learning how to be her momma. This upcoming journey is not without its fears and labor either, but, as I’ve learned and experienced already, the joy and reward will be that much greater because of it. And I’m so looking forward to it.

 

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37 weeks

Striped circle scarf- american apparel, black sweater- target, mustard cardigan- urban outfitters (from ages ago)

Sorry I’ve been a little MIA lately, friends. Getting ready for a baby is a little more consuming than I anticipated. Wonderful blog ideas about New Years resolutions, things I’ve been cooking lately, and all the home projects I’ve been working on are sadly taking a back seat to all the external and—infinitely more exhausting, hard, and important—internal preparation for this little person growing in my belly.

So since this pregnancy is my life these days and I’m nearing the end of it I thought I’d share a little and reflect some more. I’ve loved being pregnant. I know too many women who either struggled getting pregnant or won’t ever get to experience it and I’ve tried really hard to be thankful through it all. I’ve tried to savor all these little moments where I get the baby all to myself before I share her with the world. Even the moments that aren’t so fun, like vomiting pretty much every morning for the first 5 months and still, as of this morning, waking up nauseated, or not sleeping for long stretches at night because there is a big tummy in my way or because I’m worrying about my labor or the kind of mother I will be and all the mistakes I will most definitely be making and my mind won’t stop (this was until my midwives told me about this beautiful thing called valerian root. It’s my new best friend). Even those moments, I want to remember. Because they are still special and they make the other wonderful pregnancy moments even more thrilling… like hearing the baby’s strong heartbeat every week.

I even want to be thankful for the scarier, uncertain parts of my pregnancy that have come up. A month and a half ago my midwives told me I had low platelets and that they wanted to get a second opinion about it—just to be safe. This conversation led to many more hard conversations filled with endless questions, tears, and insatiable worry. Pregnancy does crazy things to you, people. I have never in my life experienced the degree of anxiety I have this past month and a half. Having low platelets in pregnancy can either mean absolutely nothing or very serious things…Like HELLP syndrome 0r not being able to have a chance at a home birth because my blood might not clot the way it needs to postpartum (platelets are the part of your blood that make it clot). It’s fairly common in pregnancy for platelets to drop, the problem is mine were on the low side from the beginning—even before I was pregnant, most likely. Which thankfully, along with the lack of other symptoms, ruled out HELLP syndrome, but still left us with the question of whether or not we’d be able to attempt a home birth. In the end we got the second opinion, and he told us that my platelets were not low enough to put me at a higher risk to have a home birth. Much thankfulness and praising ensued. But there was a lot of waiting before we were able to get this ok. And that was the waiting that the Lord used to bring me face to face with some weaknesses and fears that desperately needed to be faced before I enter into labor and motherhood. God is calling me to a whole new level of trust. He’s facing me with the reality that I suck at surrender and my need for control is great. I’ve never had this much to lose before. I’ve never loved and cared for someone quite like I do this little person—my child. And though it is such a blessing to experience this crazy love, it is the most terrifying thing in the world.

And my pregnancy is not over yet. There is still a lot of unknown ahead. Still so much opportunity and space for me to choose trust rather than fear. So much opportunity for me to struggle with the question: Is He really good? He’s made me face this question countless times before but the stakes have never been this high. Is He really good…no matter what happens with this pregnancy, no matter what happens with my labor, or even my child?

This is my biggest wrestle with Him yet, and though I know that means a lot of pain and probably some wounds, I also know it means I’m on the edge of something incredibly amazing.

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34.5 weeks

Grey maxi dress- American Apparel, Burgundy circle scarf- American Apparel

At 34.5 weeks:

-Baby has most likely begun to drop… Meaning, the waddle has officially arrived my friends. Mmm hmmm, the sexy waddle. The husband loves him some sexy waddle.

-But stay in there little love. We want you nice and done.

-I cannot STAND the smell or sight of eggs. They make me want to throw up on the spot.

-On that note, for any of you pregnant ladies out there who are well into your pregnancy and are still experiencing the sickness, wondering, what the h***? …Mine never left. Yep, still wake up nauseated. Just wanted you to know you’re not alone.

-An exercise/birthing ball is way better than any couch.

-Sitting while I blog or spend too much time on Pinterest causes sore, achy hips. Funny, cause I thought that was from walking. Welcome to the lose-lose portion of pregnancy.

-Massive amounts of iron-rich food are the worst thing to ever happen to my intestines.

-Belly and hip massages from the husband. Blowing my mind right now. He rocks. Rock on, lover.

-My ever so deep belly button is finally flat, people.

-As you can see, American Apparel is this pregnant woman’s best friend right now. It has kept me from looking too whale-like when I was beginning to think all hope was lost. Wonderful cotton, stretchy things + adorable baby clothes = one happy mamma.

-Feeling little feets and knees and seeing them roll across my belly. It’s the best. I think being able to kiss them is going to be even better though.

Sweet baby of mine, I can’t tell you how excited I am to meet you, hold you, birth you, and be your mamma.

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30 weeks

sweater w/ elbow patches- thrifted, flannel- urban outfitters, black pencil skirt- american apparel

At 30 weeks:

-Baby is now the size of a squash. Sorry no pictures…I forgot to pick up a squash at the store (pregnancy brain is real) and when you’re 30 weeks pregnant making another trip anywhere is just not happening. You’re lucky you got pictures at all.

-I’m dying to meet this little boy or girl of mine.

-I’m craving sushi (don’t worry no tuna and mostly rolls + my midwife said I could), cranberry juice, and those wonderful baby oranges. I’m thinking my baby’s brain wants all those omega-3 fatty acids and momma’s immune system needs some boosting.

-I’m getting to be a good breather. And husband, a really fantastic masseuse. I repay him by managing to be showered by the time he gets home. He’s so spoiled.

-Baby is being good and keeping his head down. And I have the sore ribs to prove it.

-Clothes are beginning to be a problem. Like the skirt I’m wearing in these pictures? Yeah, that’s the last time I’m going to be wearing that for awhile.

-When sleeping happens, it’s AWESOME. But most of the time, I just lay there.

-That’s ok though. Nighttime is usually when baby kicks the most. So I rub her, and she kicks back. It’s like a secret language.

-7 weeks til full-term! Oh sweet baby, we can’t wait to meet you!

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Life Lately According to My iPhone…

Between re-doing/organizing our apartment to make room for our little babes and decorating for Advent I think Ikea has officially become my second home.

I did it. I bought my big preggo self a nice, roomy winter coat.

Even though there has been a seriously lack of recipe posts on here (I will make up for it, promise), I have been a cooking machine. I can’t help myself this time of year. The best foods are to be had in fall. Like this meal I made a few weeks ago…

Maple apple pork chops, with collard greens and cheesy bacon grits. Oh, mamma, was it goooood.

On top of all the awesome food to be had this season, there’s the flowers. Gah, aren’t fall flowers the loveliest?

Some sparkly pumpkins I made (like a month ago—oops) to make our home a little more festive. Super easy too. Those are just gold push pins. Stick ‘em in your choice of pumpkin or squash and call it good.

Saturday morning crepes, made by the husband. What I look forward to all week.

I’ve officially entered the THIRD TRIMESTER, friends. I can hardly believe it.

But I think my pants sure can. Don’t worry I finally bit the bullet and ordered some honest-to-goodness maternity pants.

There’s been lots of DIY-ing going on around here too. Again, thanks to our little muffin and Advent/DIY fair time (p.s. my brilliant husband designed the DIY fair logo).

Vintage Tin Candles. Easy + cute = a beautiful thing.

One of the best holiday treats, in my humble opinion. The infamous Muddy Buddies.

More yummy foods to be enjoyed when it’s cold outside. Chicken Cacciatore amazingness.

Overall I’d say life as-of-late has been insane and full, but so, so blessed.

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Re-thinking Horizontal Stripes

Pregnancy is a strange phenomenon. I am fully aware I have a belly, but it still kind of surprises me when I look in the mirror or  try and squeeze between spaces that I used to fit though and…nope, I just don’t quite make it anymore. Or in this case, when my husband snaps a shot of me and I look at it and am still kinda shocked at how big my belly (and other parts) is getting…and I’m not even in the third trimester yet!  Apparently, this little babe takes his or her chubs very seriously.

26 weeks now and an eggplant never made more sense…It explains the constant, more defined movements I feel everyday. There’s no question: definitely a baby in there.

striped dress- {link url="http://www.hm.com/us/"}h&m{/link}, scarf- ? (had it forever), lips-{link url="http://www.jcrew.com/index.jsp"}poppy king{/link}

glasses- {link url= "http://www.warbyparker.com/?gclid=CMe4u5TqmqwCFeoZQgod3w3cOw"}warby parker{/link}

P.s. Don’t you just love fall?

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Thoughts on Birth

(October 6, 2011. 22.5 weeks)

Last weekend was a cloudy, rainy one. The kind that’s ideal for crafting, organizing, getting pizza delivery, and watching a good guilty sci-fi pleasure (like the new TV series Terra Nova). But also for baby-book reading, and very long prayers and thinking time on the couch about bringing this little one into the world.

Daniel and I knew from the beginning that a hospital birth was not for us. Unless my pregnancy turned into an absolute high risk pregnancy or complications arise during my labor, I knew I wanted to have our baby in either the comfort of our home or a birthing center. There are a million reasons why. And when I say a million I mean a million. Since I don’t have forever to write this post I will do my best to narrow the reasons down. But before I dive in, I want to preface some things. First off, I didn’t want to write this post. Childbirth and how you go about it is a sensitive topic. It’s very controversial, and it’s an extremely personal decision. But my husband convinced me it would be good for me and possibly good for my readers. It’s good to think deeply about the important things in life, appreciate different perspectives, and learn from each other. And that’s what I want my blog to ultimately be about. A safe place where I can share my art, the significant things happening in my life, and a place where we can enjoy life together, and talk about it.

With that said, here are some of the reasons why and how we came to the decision of having a home birth.

First of all, I’ve never felt comfortable in hospitals. I’ve been reading probably way too much about all of this, and one of the things I keep coming across is that when the birthing mother feels comfortable, safe, and relaxed her labor progresses and usually goes well (imagine that). Hospitals are too bright, sterile, and stressful for me to feel anything but comfortable. Plus, I’m always in a bad mood when I go because something is usually wrong with me. I’m sick or hurt. That’s what hospitals are for—sickness. And, simply put, I don’t believe birth/pregnancy is a sickness and I don’t want to be in that frame of mind when I’m in labor. Healthy, low-risk pregnancies and births are not emergencies, problems, or abnormalities, and I believe those are the things that a hospital is appropriate for. That’s what hospitals are good at and I’m thankful we have them for those reasons. But, perhaps not for a normal, healthy pregnancy and birth. I believe women’s bodies are well designed for birth and that the overwhelming majority of women can actually have an un-medicated, natural birth.

Sadly, I don’t hear or see this belief as often as it seems like I should. Essential knowledge of women’s capacities in birth seems to be lost not only to professional caregivers, but also the women of childbearing age themselves. Myself included, at one point. All I knew and saw in society about childbirth was that it was excruciating, traumatic, and completely beyond the birthing women’s ability to handle and accomplish without medical intervention of some kind (even though women have been doing this since the beginning of time). Since that is the image I had of childbirth, I would have no way to know how well healthy women’s bodies can work in labor and birth had I not heard the stories of many of my friends, neighbors, and women I’ve never met but have had the privilege of reading about. It was all these stories of natural, un-medicated, and, dare I say it, comfortable births one after another that got me seriously thinking and asking the question “Why are these women able to have gentle, un-medicated births, when so many women, particularly in the western world, do not have these stories at all and seem doomed for painful, traumatic birthing experiences?”

Well, the more I read, and the more I listened to women the more clear the answers to that question became. And the answers did not consist of these women being special, unique beings of some kind. They’re all just like me and you. What I realized the more I read and learned is that the difference between these women isn’t physical (99% of the time). We have the same intrinsic physical capabilities they do. The difference seems to have to do with the environment, support or lack of support, and belief in the birthing woman. I know most of us women brought up in western cultures are bombarded with messages that teach us to think that our thoughts and feelings don’t matter when it comes to the functioning of our bodies. Thoughts and feelings are considered irrelevant to physical welfare. When something goes wrong with the body, our culture teaches that pharmaceutical medicines or surgery will be necessary. Am I right? But think about it, how do you feel and how does your body respond when someone tells you, “You’re marvelous,” and genuinely believes it? Pay attention next time, I bet you’ll be surprised at the physiological response your body has. I believe the birthing woman’s body can work really well given the right support and circumstances. The birthing centers, home-births, midwives (including ours), that I’ve read about over and over again have had astounding statistics. Fewer than 2% of these women had cesareans and fewer than 1% had their babies delivered by forceps or vacuum extractors (that is a mind-blowing percent when the cesarean rates in most hospitals now are 30% and climbing). The outcomes of these births have demonstrated to me how rare it is for complications and difficulties to occur when women are properly prepared for birth and when technological/medical interventions are kept to a minimum—that is used only when actually necessary.

Which leads me to the next main reason we are having a natural, home birth. We are going this route not only because I’ve learned I physically can do it (though that’s huge), but also because, based on the research we’ve done, we believe it’s actually safer and healthier for our baby and myself. From what we’ve learned, unnecessary medical interventions and practices, such as, inducing, various forms of anesthesia (i.e., epidurals), episiotomy, c-section, being forced to remain still while lying on your back during labor (the most painful position possible), not only make labor and post-labor more difficult and painful, but they can lead to many of the complications you hear occurring in labor. In other words, the complications that arise after these interventions are done might not have occurred at all if the woman was trusted and given space and time. This post would get too long if I went specifically into all the risks and complications that can arise from these interventions (it’s already long enough). Bottom line (for us), is that there is an intricate and exquisitely balanced cocktail of hormones that is necessary to trigger all of the functions of labor and birth. They play key roles in regulating and timing uterine contractions during labor and birth, and they stimulate the maternal and infant emotions and actions that are vital to the survival of the newborn. This cocktail becomes imbalanced when synthetic hormones and medical interventions are used. This—naturally—leads to complications and women all of sudden find themselves undergoing unforeseen, major surgery (c-section), which is so much riskier than a vaginal birth, getting the epidural they never wanted, and ultimately not being able to be fully present for their newborn. I don’t want this to be our story, unless I know we’ve done everything we could to avoid it and it still ends up being absolutely necessary. And I feel most confident that that will only be guaranteed under the care of my midwives, and in the context of our home.

All of this being said, I do want to say, I know that there are hospitals and doctors out there who are working toward changing these practices and perspectives on birth (especially in Portland). This makes me really, really excited. I think the pregnant woman is the only one responsible for her birth and she should be able to decide where she feels safest to birth her child. If that means having a natural, no-intervention birth in a hospital, she should be able to have that. Unfortunately, I don’t hear that story often, and I don’t think hospitals are 100% there yet.

I could go on and on, obviously. But, I’ll end here with how excited I am to embrace my birth and (if I’m not a part of that 2%) have our baby in our home. For the first time, the thought of being able to feel every part of giving birth to my baby is exciting instead of scary. This labor is not an illness to be numbed, it’s something to be experienced. The thought of getting to do this along side my amazing midwives, doula, and supportive husband is an overwhelmingly happy thought for me, and I can’t wait.

I hope, more than anything, this was informative and encouraging for all of you. Especially to those of you who are pregnant or want to be someday, I hope this encouraged you to spend some time researching your birth options. It’s one of the most important parts of our lives.

Much of my resources were from various birthing books, articles, and actual women who have given birth in hospitals, birthing centers, or their homes. This book has been particularly transformational for me.

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Tricks for Maternity-Land

Watching my belly grow has been nothing short of amazing. I can’t believe I can stretch this much! That statement is going to be laughable when I’m at the 9 month mark, I’m sure. And the best part about my growing belly is what it means: my babes is growing, growing, growing! My belly is proof, and all that dancing she’s doing in there!

But along with all the amazing-ness of having a baby belly some things can be tricky. Like….CLOTHES. I always thought pregnant women looked down-right adorable and imagined it would be so much fun to put together cute outfits when I was pregnant. I never quite understood when these said pregnant women would say all I want is to wear sweats and my bra (if that) all day.

Well, folks, now I do.

Getting dressed these days is hard work. With an ever-changing body it’s tough to figure out what to wear! I’ve been finding you have to be way more creative, if you don’t want to succumb to wearing only maternity clothes, look like a whale, or if you can’t wear sweats and a bra all day (if you can, I say do it and enjoy every minute of it).

I figured I’m probably not the only pregnant woman out there who’s dealing with the clothing challenge so I thought I’d share a few tricks I’ve been learning along the way (And give you another excuse to see the bump. I know you all love it, I see my traffic).

The first trick I want to share with you are….

Shift dresses.

They’re awesome (even for non-pregnants). I got this little shift at the beloved Anthropologie, but you can find them everywhere. Especially since the 60s are totally back. The cut is square and meant to be waistless. Perfect for mah belly. This shift dress is my normal size so it fits nicely in my shoulders, hips, and thighs but leaves room for the bump. Which all means we have successfully escaped looking like a whale.

Here are some shots of the look…

navy blue blazer-{link url="http://www.hm.com/us/"}h&m{/link}, gold watch-{link url="http://americanapparel.net/"}american apparel{/link}

necklace- {link url="http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/index.jsp"}urban outfitters{/link}

heels- {link url="http://www.bivielusa.com/"}biviel{/link}

More maternity-tricks to come! Stay tuned.

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