Nearing the End of my Pregnancy

31 weeks pregnant 1024x1024 Nearing the End of my Pregnancy

31 Weeks Pregnant

I’m 2.5 weeks (theoretically) away from meeting our baby, and I have such mixed emotions.

First and foremast, I’m sad that my pregnancy is coming to an end. I love being pregnant. LOVE it. As both strangers and people I know ask me “how much longer?” a common follow-up question is “are you ready to be done?” and my answer always surprises them.

No. I’m not. I love having a big belly and feeling the baby move inside of me, and knowing this is potentially my last pregnancy makes me so sad to know it’s ending soon.

On the other hand, I’m that much closer to meeting our baby! But I still have irrational fears of not loving him or her as much as I adore the Child, or having enough energy to share my love and attention among the Child, new baby and Manfriend.

How did you prepare (or not) for the arrival of your second child?

 Nearing the End of my Pregnancy

Am I a Coward for Choosing Another C-section?

I wrote this post in January as I struggled to make this important decision – how will my baby enter this world? Since then, through this writing exercise, talking with my partner and a few close girlfriends, I’ve opted to schedule a C-section for the end of this month and have found the peace I needed.

My doctor has also told me that should I go into labor before the scheduled date, and if the baby and I are healthy, I will be allowed to labor naturally.

It wasn’t easy for me to talk about this openly at first, but since overcoming my inner turmoil, I want to share my experience in hopes that other women will connect, share their own stories and find the support and guidance they need.

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C section Surgery 1024x768 Am I a Coward for Choosing Another C section?

Every woman can recall her birth story in complete detail. It’s a day you simply can’t forget. I love thinking back to the labor stage of my pregnancy, but blow past the actual delivery because it’s the part of the story I’m less proud of and struggle to open up about.

It was July 4, 2009, and I was five days past my due date. My partner, Matt, and I decided to go on a bike ride, and we stopped for breakfast at a local bakery along the way.

I will never forget the man in front of me in line. He was beaming. “When are you due?” he asked. (A question pregnant woman learns to dread early on in the pregnancy.)

“Five days ago,” I remember responding bitterly. “My wife just gave birth this morning!” he shouted.

“You lucky bastard,” I mumbled under my breath. I was so jealous they had already met their baby.

Matt and I hopped on our bikes and headed to a local cat show (another story in and of itself). I remember feeling a little “off,” my Braxton Hicks were really kicking up, and I kept going to the bathroom. “Why do I keep peeing my pants?” I thought to myself.

Looking back I’m amazed at how clueless I was – my water had clearly broken on our way home, but I ignored it and kept pedaling. Our day dragged on with a BBQ 45 minutes from our house. It wasn’t until my bloody show and strong contractions 3-4 minutes apart that I realized I was in labor.

Like most women, I had a vision of how I wanted to experience my labor and birth.  I practiced yoga my entire pregnancy and felt confident I would deliver my baby naturally. Instead, I labored without drugs for 12 hours, finally asked for the epidural, dilated to 6cm and never progressed.

27 hours after my water broke; I was told I needed a C-section.

I cried. I was terrified and felt so disappointed my body wasn’t able to get through delivery naturally, but I didn’t want my pride to get in the way of causing danger to my baby.

Within minutes the drugs were increased and I was wheeled into the surgery room. I fought a piercing headache throughout the entire surgery, and remember feeling so drugged I fought to keep my eyes open. When I finally heard my baby cry, it took me a minute to realize that was my baby.

“It’s a girl!” they shouted. The rest is a blur.

I struggled with the fact that I had a C-section for some time after. I was in physical pain, disappointed and unbelievably sad. I have friends who gave birth to their babies without drugs, and when they share their stories they’re so happy. I avoid having to tell my birth story because I think it makes me sound weak.

Months after giving birth to Billie Skye, I felt as if I’d found my peace. In retrospect, I never really accepted it. I just buried my emotions and focused on my baby. After all, I had a healthy daughter. Every day that I see my scar, I tell myself it’s a reminder of my little girl coming into this world.

I’m now 5.5 months pregnant with my second child, and am emotionally torn about making the right decision for my baby.

At my first OB appointment for the second baby, I had no doubt in my mind I would have another C-section. “Go ahead and cut me open again. I already have the scar, and this way I can preserve my lady parts,” I joked.

That was two months ago.

I don’t want to voluntarily sign up for another C-section. The first time, I felt as if I didn’t have a choice. Now, I do. I’ve done tons of research  on VBACs (vaginal births after cesarean) and have a local group of women, and my partner, who support me. I read the blog “Birth without Fear” nearly every day because they celebrate all types of births, and I don’t feel so alone. Knowing each woman is different, I talked to my doctor about my options.

Basically, it all boils down to medical liability. Due to my history, and the fact that my first baby was “big” (8.5 lbs.) I would be taking a big risk in electing a VBAC, and the only way I could do it is if my doctor is free the entire day to care for me (and only me) should anything go wrong.

That was not the answer I wanted. In fact, at my post-partum check-up in 2009, she told me if I waited two years to get pregnant again, I could try for a VBAC because I would have given myself enough time to heal.

I feel powerless, afraid and like an absolute coward.

Am I seeking a VBAC to prove to myself I can do it? Or am I fighting it to provide the best birth experience for my child? Am I willing to “shop around” to find a doctor who will support me? Will I ever find peace if I choose another C-section?

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a C-section, and would never judge another woman for making that decision. But for some reason, I can’t stop making myself feel guilty and inept.

How will I know I’m making the right decision and find the peace I need in this pregnancy and birth? How did your second birth differ from the first?

 Am I a Coward for Choosing Another C section?

My Story on ABC News – Setting Realistic Expectations with Breastfeeding

breastfeeding photo My Story on ABC News   Setting Realistic Expectations with Breastfeeding

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There’s a tremendous amount of guilt with parenting. All self-induced in my opinion. With the Child I worried “Am I reading to her enough?” (at 3 weeks old) “Is my daily dose of Ellen bad TV for a 6 month old?”

The two things I struggled with the most in my first pregnancy was the fact that I had a C-section and my inability to breastfeed for more than the recommended six months. More than 2.5 years later, I feel as if I’ve finally found my peace with both issues, but as I prepare for baby #2, I find myself revisiting these feelings.

A new study is out exploring the expectations new mothers set about breastfeeding versus their reality, and the disappointment many of us feel when we don’t measure up.

  • I’m honored to be featured in today’s story on ABC News talking about my experience breastfeeding. Check it out here.

New moms, here are my two bits of advice:

  • Set a goal, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t reach it. Until your baby comes, you won’t know realistically how your body will do, how your baby will do or what outside factors may affect your milk supply/ability to nurse.
  • Find a support group. I attended the lactation groups in Reno for several weeks after giving birth and it helped tremendously. Whether you decide to nurse or not, find a network of people who can support you and help you find the information you need.

 

 My Story on ABC News   Setting Realistic Expectations with Breastfeeding

Tips for Choosing a Pediatrician

How to choose a pediatrician Tips for Choosing a Pediatrician

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T minus 12 weeks until I give birth to baby #2. Which means I have less than 12 weeks to get my work ready for maternity leave and more importantly, get the baby room set up! My partner thinks I’m crazy when I say ‘I need more than 2 months to prep!”

I’m a planner.

My coworker is due exactly 2 weeks after me – which is incredibly fun. We’re comparing belly bumps, commiserating over not being able to drink wine or beer, and I’ve been able to share a few tips as she’s a first-time mommy.

During one of our preggo chats last week we discussed choosing a pediatrician. I had forgotten what an important element of the planning process that is! I called my pediatrician today to give him a “heads up” that I’m producing another patient, and apparently it’s sufficient to just let the hospital know the day of delivery. Noted. 

For all first time parents, choosing a pediatrician is incredibly important for your child. I polled my parent pals for their best tips for choosing a doc for your child. 

BEFORE you ask for recommendations, know what’s important to you and your partner first. Are you on the same page for vaccines, medication, breastfeeding?  Once you have that figured out, you can be better equipped to ask the right questions of the doctor.

If the doctor is in line with your parenting philosophy and values, the most important thing – and something only you and your partner can decide, is how you feel with the doctor.

  • Do you like them?
  • Do you feel comfortable asking questions?
  • How do you feel inside their office with your child(ren)?

I hope this helps you with your decision-making process. 

Additional Questions to Ask a Pediatrician

  • “Can you get same day appointments for sick kids? Nothing worse than waiting when you’ve got a sick lil’ one!” -Lindsay 
  • Find out about their availability, partners, after hours care availability, call schedules, and how the office is run – how many staff members and scheduling coordination. Ask questions such as “Will you come see my child in the ER or hospital if needed?” - KC 
  • “We wanted to know if he was a parent. Medical degree aside, how can he understand the parenting side if he doesn’t have kids?m We made sure to meet and like his staff–you often deal more with them than the doc! We asked about after hours care, if he was available for questions without us having to make an appointment (and yes! he responds to email within 1-2 days.)” - Alexis
  • “My OBGYN referred me, and we researched to make sure he was good. Turns out he is amazing. He gave us his personal number and email in case we need him outside of office hours (which I have). It’s a bonus!” Ariana
  • “Ask if they offer same day appointments…that’s a big one!” - Courtney

 

 Tips for Choosing a Pediatrician

10 Tips for Your First Outing with Baby

First Outing with Baby 10 Tips for Your First Outing with Baby

The Child was only a couple of weeks old in this picture.

Only 14 weeks to go in my pregnancy, and I’m officially in prep mode – or as the preggers call it “nesting”. It’s time to prep the new baby room and more importantly start to transition my toddler for her new sibling.

As I look over my pregnancy journal from 2009 and all of my notes, I’m realizing I’ve forgotten quite a bit. Seeing as I knew absolutely nothing the first time around and still managed to figure it out, I’m not really worried, but I thought it’d be helpful to compile a few tips.

The first five are from my own memory, the latter half is from my good friend, PR professional and mother to beautiful twin girls Lindsay Alford.

What would you add to this list?

  1. Set realistic expectations. Don’t plan to go for a 5 mile hike the first day out of the house. Go for coffee, a short walk or a quick trip to the store.
  2. Practice putting in the car seat before you actually leave your driveway. I’ll never forget meeting my girlfriend for coffee and getting stuck in the parking lot because I couldn’t figure out how to snap it back in! (Practice with the stroller, too!)
  3. Don’t over commit yourself. Enjoy your time with baby and rest up, don’t feel obligated to be out.
  4. Once you develop some sort of routine, plan around that. Your life doesn’t need to stop when baby arrives, you just need to adapt. If you expect to nurse/feed in three hours, plan on doing something that takes less time or scout a spot where you can comfortably nurse/feed while you’re out.
  5. Plan a date night when YOU are comfortable leaving baby with a sitter – whether that’s a family member, close friend or babysitter. The first time I went out to lunch with friends I was a wreck. I wasn’t ready and should’ve said no instead of rushing to be social. Also, plan a shorter outing like a movie or just a dinner. Don’t go out of town for your first venture out! Baby steps!

From Lindsay

Lindsay Alford Twins 300x183 10 Tips for Your First Outing with Baby

  1. Aside from diapers, wipes and Destin, pack enough formula or milk for 2-3 bottles, water and a backup outfit. You never know when your car will breakdown or how long it will take for help to arrive. This happened to me and thank God I was prepared!
  2. The weather changes throughout the day. Always have a warmer and cooler backup outfit on hand.
  3. Always keep a couple of toys in your car to entertain your baby. This way if you forget to pack them, you won’t have to “invent” toys when you are out and about.
  4. We all want to show off our new addition(s) and dress them cute. When you take them to the pediatrician for the first time, comfort should be your priority. Dress them in an outfit that’s easy to put on and take off. I recommend a button up onesie that doesn’t go over the head.
  5. Arrive early. If you arrive early and feed your baby, you will feel more relaxed and everyone will have a better experience.

I’d love to hear your tips for a parent’s first outing with a newborn!

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Yes, We Have Baby Names Picked Out. No, I Won’t Tell You.

baby names 682x1024 Yes, We Have Baby Names Picked Out. No, I Wont Tell You.

Parents are faced with SO many decisions before the baby is even born, it can be quite overwhelming.

The list goes on.  One of the toughest decisions is picking the baby’s name. This will become the person’s identity – no pressure! So much thought, heart and research goes into the decision.

Recently I’ve spent a great deal of time talking and writing about word vomit during pregnancy. I learned early on in my first pregnancy to keep my baby names to myself.

Stranger: “Do you know have any names picked out?”

Parent: “Yes, if it’s a girl her name will be ____.”

Stranger: “Really? I knew a ____. She was such a bitch.”

If you DO ask someone such a personal question and in fact hate the name, the nice thing to do is say nothing at all or say something like, “Nice.” Plain and simple. 

Choosing to share your baby names or not is a personal decision. There is no right or wrong way to approach this. Just be prepared to field weird or inappropriate responses if you do share.

You can’t waste time worrying if other people will like the name you’ve chosen, if they’ll mispronounce it or if it reminds them of their third grade bully. 

I can think of two people who know the boy name we’ve picked out for baby #2. I choose not to tell you NOT because I don’t want you to take the idea NOR because I’m afraid of judgement.

I choose not share because the only people who matter in the decision-making process are my partner and me.

So if you ask and I don’t tell you, please don’t be offended. It’s not you. It’s me. 

Did you share your baby names with friends and family?

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