Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I don't feel like I've been the regular blogger I used to be. I'm working on one post in particular, but it's really not coming together well at all. Maybe I need to up my omega-3 intake. Pregnancy brain.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Yesterday, I went to Our Visions, Our Voices: A Mormon Women's Literary Tour at UVU. It was part of a tour of Mormon women writers that started in California and ends tonight in Salt Lake City. "Mormon" was not restricted to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but included the Community of Christ and Fundamentalist LDS groups, too. Speakers were chosen for the tour to read their poetry and prose to the group, and those who came to listen were welcome to give copies of their manuscripts to the project where they will be preserved in a collection of writings of Mormon women in the 21st century.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
- I didn't want to find out that 12 hours of back labor had done nothing for my cervix. I'm pretty sure that the reason my labor was so long was because Margaret was not putting pressure on my cervix evenly because of a slight malposition issue, despite the fact that she was anterior and head down. The fact that 2 dawns happened with no baby in my arms was discouraging enough. I didn't want to find out I was only at a 4. But most importantly,
- I don't believe in 10 centimeters.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
A couple of weeks ago I blogged about what equipment we had on hand for my prenatal care. This week continues on with birth equipment.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
I'm getting to that stage in my pregnancy when labor dreams show up more. Last week I had another.
Friday, March 12, 2010
This week has been kind of rough. There are errands I was supposed to do Monday that I still haven't done and the house is still a disaster. Decluttering takes up space: bags and bags of stuff we don't need anymore just waiting to find a new home.
2. We can find time for all that later.
3. When you get everything done, there is still more to do.
4. Why breastfeeding pictures? Because breastfeeding is a big part of my life.
5. If you need anything knitted, I can probably do it.
6. Yesterday's excursion to Salt Lake was quite a trip! (It even involved some throwing up in the car.)
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to homemade pizza night, tomorrow my plans include watching some capoeira and Sunday, I want to take a nap and make up for the loss of an hour!
Thursday, March 11, 2010
At around the middle of your pregnancy, those weekly emails you signed up for eventually start saying, "Your baby is the size of a fruitcake now! Time to write up a birth plan!"
What does a birth plan look like if you are planning a UC? Do you need one?
For Margaret's birth, I didn't have an "official" written birth plan, but we did have an understanding of how things would go. If it makes you feel better to write things down, do it. If you're too lazy (me!) then don't.
"Ok, McKay. I'm in labor: what do you do?"
"Whatever you tell me to do." Exactly.
We also had some transfer plans in place.
Transfer Plan I- in labor
A birth plan for a transfer is obviously going to differ from a birth plan that starts in a hospital. For one: you are going for the intent of getting medical care that you can't get at home. This means things like "I don't want my waters broken," "I want to be able to eat/move freely," are a bit superfluous. It's likely you'd be transferring for a cesarean because you can try almost any other sort of invention at home. Things you will have to consider include postpartum baby care like many other birth plans. Do you want the baby bathed immediately? If the baby is doing well and the transfer was for maternal distress and not fetal distress, do you want to practice kangaroo care? Delayed cord clamping? What are your decisions about the Hep B vaccine? Eye drops? Vitamin K shot? PKU? Also, you'll need to make decisions about feeding-related issues such as supplementation, artificial nipples, etc.
Transfer Plan II- postpartum
Transferring postpartum is slightly different in that both parties might not need to be to be admitted to the hospital. If you are transferring for the baby, the mom doesn't need to be admitted, and similarly, if you are transferring for the mother, the baby doesn't need to be admitted. Limiting the number of people admitted to the hospital will probably decrease the amount of time you spend there. Again, if the baby is being admitted, baby-related plans need to be discussed as above.
It might seem like a lot to remember, so if you need to write things down, do. Emergencies aren't usually a time when you are thinking 100% clearly. It's also important to realize that as a mom, you might be transferring because you've lost consciousness and you aren't going to be awake to ensure your desires are carried out. Having a written plan can help your partner remember all the details.
Our current birth plan
The "Initial Plan" that I discussed above was our birth plan last time. This time I've added more to "Do whatever I ask for." For example, while I did eat and drink during Margaret's labor, I don't think I did it enough, so we've discussed and agreed on "If I haven't had a bite to eat or anything to drink in 3 hours, gently remind me to do so." I say "gently" because I was a bit annoyed at suggestions while I was in labor last time.
Our transfer birth plans are as non-interventional as possible, taking into account that transferring means we are getting some interventions. Special considerations include kangaroo care. We have discussed that if we transfer in labor and the baby is doing well (say, Apgar of 7+), then McKay is supposed to say, "Since the baby is doing well, we're now going to put the baby on mom's chest," and then take the baby and do it. Everything else: bathing, weighing, etc., can wait. Even if I'm unconscious, baby could be given a chance to self latch through breast crawl (see below) which, on average, takes about 45 minutes.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Thursdays are my usual days for "How To..." and I will definitely do one tomorrow.
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
November 6, 2008
March 9, 2010
Notice the difference? My picture must constitute violence. ;) Personally, I'm not sure how breastfeeding makes Facebook not safe for children. Breastfeeding has definitely proven safe for Margaret- and the other three children I have nursed in the past 2 years. In fact you might say that my breasts are a "safe, secure and trusted environment for... the many children who use [them]."
This is the third picture I've had removed. The two pictured above were profile pictures. Because the second wasn't a profile picture I can't be sure which one it was, but I have a feeling it was this one (below), which I posted to a homebirth group that had lots of baby-coming-out-of-vagina pics so I thought it would be "safe." It's no longer on that group's photo album, though many of the others are still there. It's like someone is out to get me.
Either I'm on Facebook's "list" or I have a really crappy Facebook friend who doesn't have the courage to just talk to me in person or the ability to not look. Dear mysterious "friend": I've definitely "hidden" people in my news feed because their updates got annoying or bothersome. You could try that. Or unfriend me. I'm cool with that. I really am.
Why does this (still) matter? Annie at PhDinParenting did a wonderful job of outlining this right after the FB nurse-in. April at Eclectic Effervescence posted yesterday about her experience with a picture that was removed and demonstrates that Facebook photos aren't removed immediately after being reported. After being reported, they have to be physically looked at by a FB employee who then removes them and send out the form letter. Double standard?
There are just so many levels of wrongness with this whole issue I can't even begin to start. Maybe I'll write a nice, long post about all the wrongness in the future.
TERA has been kind enough to post pictures, with permission from the owners, that have been removed from Facebook. According to Paul Rapoport, after posting my most recent picture, "There are now 199 photos on the TERA site that were submitted by breastfeeding mothers and a few others. Of those, 183 have been banned by Facebook, some more than once."
Monday, March 08, 2010
In less than 2 months, McKay will be working at Pixar. In the summer, we'll have a baby. Meanwhile, Margaret will turn 2 and continue to learn how to be a person. The next 6 months or more will be filled with a lot of transition for Margaret and we've been giving a lot of thought on how to make this easier for her.
First, what we are NOT doing:
- We are not going to change our sleeping arrangement. Margaret will eventually get out of our bed, but I'm not going to push it at the moment. My mom said whenever they moved when I was small, I would get night terrors- probably from the new environment and changes in my life. In order to minimize extra stress, we'll keep her in our bed until she's ready to get out. At least 8 hours of the day will be spent in the same environment she's used to: between mom and dad.
- We are not going to wean her. I thought she might wean on her own in the pregnancy; she was never into comfort nursing as a baby. But despite my drop in supply, she still nurses often. With a move and a new baby, we're not going to cut down on our snuggle time.
- We aren't going to push potty learning. To be honest, she's pretty much there. We've had only a handful of accidents, and she's gone all through church without using her diaper for a couple of weeks now. We're down to using maybe 1 diaper a week. But we also know that with change, kids can regress, and if she does that during the move or when the baby comes, we'll be patient with it.
- We will probably have Margaret at the birth. I think it will be better for her to know where the baby came from than to go away with a sitter and then come back after the baby "magically" appears. Yesterday, I was showing her birth videos on youtube and she was getting all excited and clapping when the babies were born- and she also expressed concern for the crying babies. "Sad," she said, while indicating tears going down her cheeks. She got happier after the babies latched on and nursed. "Ummy!"
- We're considering getting a postpartum doula to help with the baby transition. It would be nice to have someone who can do a few light chores so I don't feel like I have to decide between clean dishes and a happy toddler. A couple of the doulas out in the Bay Area also advertise experience with Waldorf/Montessori with toddlers. Someone who could help with Margaret along with cooking meals or tidying the house sounds like a plus to me! Of course, we'll have to budget for that: doulas are around $25-30/hour out there.
- I will try to remember that Margaret needs mom time and give that to her.
- I will give myself a good 6 weeks before making myself show up at places and look like a normal person again. We are looking at apartments that are close to parks so we'll be able to get out of the house without actually having to look "put together". Plus Margaret can get some vitamin D and outdoor time. In fact, the baby and I will probably need the sunlight too. We'll probably also start going to LLL meetings out there. But going anywhere that requires a car ride and a bra? Nope. I don't think so.
- I think I'll knit her some socks. When I was making booties, she wanted some of her own. Yes, hand knit socks will come in handy.
Thursday, March 04, 2010
The first thing McKay and I did after officially deciding to go with an unassisted pregnancy the first time around was go online and buy what we felt was needed for it.
Flexible Measuring Tape in Metric
This is for measuring my fundus. Pretty self-explanatory. McKay owned one when we got married, so this was free.
We ordered an inexpensive fetal stethoscope. I think it was this one, but it only cost $9.99 when we bought it. Fetoscopes are just stethoscopes, but modified for hearing quieter heartbeats. If someone besides the mother is listening, there is a forehead bar which is supposed to amplify the sounds. I've heard that you can usually start hearing the heartbeat with a fetoscope at around 18-20 weeks. We actually heard it a few weeks earlier than that and are only just now getting some echoes of the placenta. With Margaret's pregnancy, my placenta was anterior and drowned out her heartbeat even after 20 weeks. The first time I listened to her heartbeat, it took me about 45 minutes to find it. I didn't really know what I was looking for, but I got better at it. The placenta is a whooshing sound and goes at about the mother's heart rate. The baby's heartbeat sounds a little like the ticking of a watch underneath a pillow. It's about twice as fast as the placenta. Give or take. By the end of my pregnancy with Margaret, McKay didn't need the fetoscope to hear her heartbeat; he just put his ear on my belly and found it that way.
Urine Test Strips
I track a few things during my pregnancies, but the most important ones for me are protein and glucose. We bought this brand, though I'm pretty sure it was cheaper than $20 at the time. Darn this inflation! I check for leukocytes because I had chronic UTIs as a child and one of my kidneys may have some damage from my younger days. Excess protein in urine can be a symptom of preeclampsia and would be a signal to also check your blood pressure and note any swelling of the extremities. With Margaret, there was a time when my protein was a little high, but my BP was normal and I was able to wear my wedding band my entire pregnancy. After altering my diet, I checked my protein a few days later and it was back to normal. No problems. High glucose levels can mean your body is having a hard time with sugars and could mean gestational diabetes. I did get one test with higher glucose levels, but again, after adjusting my diet, they were back to normal. My other numbers (weight, fundal height) were on track, so Margaret was obviously not gaining too much- a fear with gestational diabetes.
In general, I change my diet to see if I can get things back to normal. If I were to consistently get worrisome readings and symptoms that I couldn't get under control, I might consider getting an opinion from a care provider.
Those are the things I have on hand all the time. Other equipment you could get include:
Blood Pressure Cuff
I check my blood pressure at one of those "check your blood pressure" corners at a pharmacy. I know it's not 100% accurate, but I use the same machine every time so there is some consistency.
I would consider getting a glucose meter if I was having regular gestational diabetes-like symptoms.
We don't own a bathroom scale because I don't believe in them, but I check my pregnancy weight with a friends' scale when I'm at her house. It's definitely "off" but, like the blood pressure machine, it's consistently "off" so I have a good idea of what my weight gain is.
Because I'm not 100% sure ultrasound has no damaging side effects, I'm wary of the doppler so we don't have one.
If you are a Type A person, you might want a notebook to document your prenatal care and keep track of all the details. I'm not like that, so I don't. I know some people like to have the information just in case they want to transfer care in the middle of a pregnancy.
How often do I pee in cups? Listen for the heartbeat? As often as I feel like it. Sometimes it's every couple of days, sometimes I go weeks without checking.
What I like about UP is that I can get answers almost instantly. That time when my protein was a little high? It was a Wednesday. After three days of self-care I checked it again on Saturday and it was fine. You don't get that sort of immediacy with a midwife or OB when your next visit is 1 to 2 weeks later. For me, it brought me a lot of peace of mind that I could get answers quickly and not have to wonder, "Is 5 eggs a day enough for my protein levels?" for 2 weeks.
So that's what I have in my medicine cabinet. :) How exciting!
Monday, March 01, 2010
Natalie asked, "What would you do if your labour began with a premature rupture of membranes and the labour took longer than the usual advised 24hrs? - after which they say that there is a greater risk of infection of the baby with GBS (if present in the birth canal). These were conditions from my first labour and I am wondering what I could have done differently to have a homebirth. They do not routinely check for GBS in a swab sample prior to labour locally, they treat everyone as if they potentially have a GBS infection - and hence I laboured under pressure of the deadline and was given pit to speed up labour - Not a happy time."
- About 2 weeks before the GBS test at 36 weeks, I would start a regimen to limit the growth of bacteria in my body. There are herbal rinses/douches specifically for reducing GBS positives. I would increase my intake of garlic and other natural antibiotics. I actually might go to the effort of putting garlic in my vagina to kill off bacteria- but remember to tie the garlic clove to a string like a tampon or else it might get lost. Haha! As an anecdote, a friend of mine said that putting garlic in her vagina made the back of her throat taste like garlic. Our bodies are weird.
- If I tested positive at 36 weeks, I would continue with an antibacterial regimen. When I was pregnant with Margaret, Rixa posted at link to a regimen that includes lots of stuff I have around the house: garlic, echinacea, grapefruit seed extract, etc. Even if you have to go out to a health food store and pay to get all that stuff, I'm guessing it would cost less than the hospital bill of antibiotics in your IV.
- If I tested positive, I would ask again for a test at 39 weeks or closer to the birth. Results come in 24-48 hours, so there's a chance to find out you're negative before labor starts. It may mean that particular visit costs more, but again, it would likely be cheaper than receiving antibiotics in labor.
- For broken water: there are varying degrees of broken water. If it's just a trickle, it could be just a small leak, which can even close on their own. I'd increase the amount of water I drink by a lot- maybe even half gallon to a gallon an hour (make sure you get some electrolytes, too). Your amniotic fluid will replenish itself as long as you are giving it water to use for that purpose.
- You would probably be offered antibiotics through an IV if you've tested positive for GBS. Natalie, you didn't mention whether or not you were receiving antibiotics through an IV during your labor. If you were, I wonder why the emphasis on a time limit. If you weren't, I wonder why they didn't offer it to you. For your reading pleasure, here's a Mothering.com article on treating GBS with antibiotics.
- If we feel like we need a hospital birth in the future I would first stay home as long as possible. Second, I would bring a doula who is familiar with my birth plan. Then when the nurse/doctor says, "We need to do X," I will be able to say, "Can you give us 10 minutes to discuss that?" A good doula would be able to say, "Well, I know you wanted to try Y before doing X. How about we try that?" or "I know some women who have done Z before X and it helped," and even, "You know, I think we have exhausted our options and X might be the best thing to do right now." Having that extra opinion is a good idea. In fact, you can always ask for a second opinion from a different OB, especially if the suggestion is major surgery.
- Remember you can always ask for a new nurse. If you feel like the nurse is giving off a "hurry up and birth that baby" vibe or whatever vibe you're not comfortable with, ask for another. It can make a big difference. Don't worry about offending the nurse- it's likely that s/he can feel the strain in your relationship and would probably welcome a change.
- I wouldn't wear a hospital gown. You could bring your own or even nothing at all. I've seen lots of custom hospital maternity gowns on etsy. As I've mentioned in my birth nudity post, being naked helps me feel less restrained. For me, a hospital gown would symbolically represent me giving up my body and autonomy and I would feel more powerful and in control without it. That might be something to help you get into a "I'm in charge" mindset: forgo the hospital's gown and bring your own or just go nude. Birth is very involved mentally so if you can feel more powerful, a time limit will have less impact on your birth.
- Speaking of time, I'm not sure if L&D rooms have lots of clocks in them, but I would hide/cover them and not watch TV. We even hid all the clocks in our house for our homebirth. In the line of feeling powerful- I would probably close the door in the room to give myself an area that is specifically and physically "mine" where nurses and doctors can't just enter my space without warning.