Birth Story • Welcome Baby Annabelle

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This is a long overdue birth story. Towards the last month of my pregnancy, the contractions were more painful and more frequent than any of my other pregnancies. The pain would come and go so I never felt the urgency to ever head to the hospital.

I knew I wanted to induce the baby. But I found out that the state now requires all inductions to happen beginning at 39 weeks not 38 weeks as previous years. I thought the baby could wait. Boy, was I wrong.

02/18/13
That night I was in complete pain. The contractions were taking a toll on my body. I was in bed at 9PM trying to breathe through the pain. The contractions were all over the place: 9 mins apart, 20 minutes, 5 minutes, 30 minutes…

I would fall asleep just to be woken up with a gut wrenching contraction. Somehow I made it through the night and I was pain free at 7 AM on 02/19/13.

When I woke up, I felt I needed to be at the hospital. But after eating a hearty breakfast, I felt a lot better so I decided to just wait since the next day was my doctor’s appointment anyway. Besides, I still had a lot of baby nesting stuff to do.

I spent the rest of the day cleaning, washing, and getting more stuff for the baby. I was so tired by bedtime that I was out in minutes.

02/20/13
It was 2AM when I felt a pop! and some wetness. I shot up, awake and a bit frantic. I woke up my husband ‘My water broke!’

He shot up ‘What? Now?’

I ran to the bathroom to change and added an overnight sanitary pad in case of more wetness (there was so much more).

I called my mom and she rushed over in minutes. I quickly asked her to make me some food. I wanted to have energy for the birth.

After eating the earliest breakfast I ever had, we headed to the hospital. Checking into the hospital at 3AM was the most awkward thing I ever done. I remember no one was there except 2 cops and 2 admin nurses. I said ‘My water broke!’ Everyone was just staring at me until someone got me a wheelchair and pushed me to Labor & Delivery.

The contractions were now about 8 minutes apart.

A nurse came to my room and told me put on my gown and got me settled on the bed. She asked me the usual questions:

When’s your due date?
Did your water break?
What color was it?
How far apart are your contractions?

Then she check my dilation. With a surprised gasped, she said ‘You’re 8cm dilated!’

No wonder these contractions were painful!

Almost instantaneously, a rush of nurses came in. The on call doctor was beeped and told to come immediately.
My nurse was asking personal health info.

In between my contractions a nurse would take my blood pressure, set my IV while another nurse asked me to sign hospital documents – initial here, sign there. I would stop and clutch the side of my bed through the contractions while the nurse quietly said, ‘Well sign here after that contraction. It just says that if you require a blood transfusion ….’ I really don’t remember what I signed.

I kept thinking, ‘Oh My God I Need to Push! Where’s the Doctor?’

It was like the nurse heard me. She told me, ‘Tell me when you need to push.’

I blurted, ‘I need to push now.’

All she did was turn me on to my left side and said, ‘Ok, wait for doctor. Lay on your side with your legs closed.’

I looked around the room. 2 nurses were by the baby clean up area. 2 nurses were standing by me still asking me to sign and inputting data into a computer. 2 other nurses were flanked on both sides of the bed with tools.

I kept telling my nurse ‘I need to push.’ She kept saying ‘The doctor is almost here.’

When I thought I couldn’t wait any longer, the doctor walked in putting on her scrubs. She looked at me and asked you’re ready to push. Before I could answer, my nurse said, ‘oh yes, she kept telling everyone so for a while now.’

The doctor got in position, checked my dilation, ‘Oh you are really ready. Your bladder is full so it helped to block the baby.’

I then thought to myself ‘Oh god, they’re going to make me go pee now!?!?’

Luckily I didn’t have to and the doctor took care of it with a catheter. I pushed and about the 4th push, I saw my baby girl.

She seemed so small. I didn’t remember babies being so small. I guess I’m so used to my 5 and 3 yr olds.

After laboring, there’s this rush and I’m just overcome with this euphoria. My body was no longer stretched to its limits. My mental state was no longer stressed with ‘what ifs.’

Would I go for a fourth pregnancy? I don’t know. This third child put a lot strain on me physically. I do want a little boy but it’s not in the cards, I’m already more than happy with my three girls. They’re a handful but beautifully well rounded. They’re more than I can ask for.

Helen

Maternity Exercises» Dealing with Pregnancy Pains

This pregnancy really has flown by. I’m already 32 weeks and I cannot believe I have just 8 more weeks to go! I feel like jumping for joy. Unfortunately my joints, with this pregnancy, are so painful. I can only flinch much less make it off the ground.

With my first two pregnancies, my hips would disjoint while I would walk. My doctor said this was caused by rounded ligaments – basically my hips expanding to make room for the baby. The back pain came around the mid 8th month mark and around 9 months, when the baby dropped, then came the pubic pressure.

This third pregnancy made me feel like someone threw me under the bus and made me get up and walk to the hospital. The back pain, the hip pain and the pubic pressure are all so much more intense this time and happened so much sooner. I asked my doctor “Why is this happening?” and he said “Well every pregnancy is different, but usually by the third pregnancy, your body knows what to do a lot quicker. So the back pain, hip pain and pubic pressure come a lot earlier.”

Well D-A-M-N!

No easy pregnancy for me. Luckily there are some great exercises that help loosen those maternity aches and pains.

1. Stretching
I can no longer do a split nor do I want to do a split while pregnant. I always stretch before each of my workouts and I found out that as my pregnancy grows, the longer I have to stretch. I lose flexibility and I experience tighter muscles with nerve pain.

What used to be a 15 minute or 20 minute warm up pre-pregnancy, will be 30 minutes before the workout and 15- 20 minutes after a workout.

Some great beginner stretches:
a. Leg Stretches
Sit with your legs in a as wide of a split position as you can. Twist your upper body over to one leg and lean down as far as you can. Try to reach pass your toes. Feel the stretch in your back and in the hamstrings (the pull underneath your leg). Count to 10. Repeat to the other side.

b. With your legs in a split position as wide as you can, reach forward and lean in front of you as low as you can to the ground. Feel the back stretch and inner thighs stretch. Count to 10 and reach further out. Count to 10 and reach further out again. Relax.

2. Walk with High Knee Lifts
With hands on your hips, walk around the neighborhood or backyard (or just around the house), lifting the knee higher than 90 degrees off the ground, alternating left and right. Walk for 2-3 minutes then relax. Repeat 2 more times.

The walking motion combined with the knee lifts really helps my hip pain. It also gets my heart beating and that is good cardio.

3. Squats with a Sumo Kick
This has become one of my go to exercises to deal with hip pain, back pain and nerve pain. I stand on my feet a lot because I have two active kids. It is getting harder to stand up straight (and not arch the back). It is also getting harder to bend down to pick up after them or get down on my knees to clean up a mess/spill.

By the end of the day (7PM), I am exhausted. Moreover, my hip pains are now accompanied by nerve pain that run up and down my legs and back. Any movement can cause like this electric static to my joints. Sitting down or laying down helps minimize the pain but if I try to get up then the pain returns.

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a. To squat, spread your feet about 3-4 feet apart as long as you still can maintain an equal distribution of weight in the center. Turn out your feet to help your hips turn out in the same direction. Dip, bending at the knees, making sure the knees do not bend over more than your toes. You will feel a stretch in your quads and buttocks. Rise and kick out your right leg. Squat again and then kick out your left leg. Do 12 squats alternating kicks per side (6 kicks each side).

4. Step Ups with Knee Lifts
At the gym, there are usually benches placed randomly throughout that’s probably 2 feet off the ground. You might need someone to help spot you in case you lose your balance.

Images care of WomenWorld.org

Step up with Right foot. Lift up left knee. Lower left leg to the ground (So you’re now stepping down, never touching the bench). Lower your right leg to the ground.

5. Roll Out the Foam (Or the Tennis Ball)
Muscle tension therapy is really promoted as a rehab recovery technique. It helps loosen muscle tension and stiffness by targeting knotted areas (those areas tend to be really tender and painful to the touch). Using the foam roller, you can self massage the top of the thigh, outer thigh and inner thigh by using your body weight to press down on to the foam roller to release the tight muscles.

Image care of sportsmedicine.about.com

You need to continue to apply pressure especially to areas that hurt. I know it sounds sadistic to put yourself through the pain but afterwards your muscles feel so much different. There’s an increase in range of motion and strength. In other words, if I use a foam roller twice a week, that whole week is spent with less hip pain, back pain etc.

If you do not have a foam roller handy, get a tennis ball. I like to lean my back against the wall with a tennis ball in between to massage out the lower back muscles down to the glutes and outer glutes.

When I first tried this “massaging” technique, I was blindsided by the pain. It is comparable to giving birth. The pain is excruciating. Afterwards, there’s a lot of soreness that feels like bruising. Drink lots of water afterwards.

Why then put myself through this painful exercise? Because it significantly reduces my nerve pain and my muscle stiffness. Furthermore, I feel like my legs actually have strength in them, instead of feeling brittle and writhing with pain.

Try these techniques. I do recommend consulting with a physician before starting any new workout/regimen. If you are unsure of any of these technique, please stop doing them. I found these exercises different but very helpful in my personal case. But everyone is different and you should do only the exercises you are comfortable with.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment! Thanks.

Losing the Weight

I gained 28 pounds with this pregnancy. After giving birth, I am now 137 pounds. So 12 more pounds to lose and you know the last 10 are the hardest. It took me 10 months with my last pregnancy to lose the pregnancy weight gain. This time I’m eating a lot healthier early on. I haven’t had the go ahead from my OB to exercise but I have been dancing around with my 2 year old. I don’t know if that counts as exercise.

A friend gave me a postpartum support band/belt. It’s a stetchy material that velcros tightly around your waist. People have sworn by it. Even celebrities like Jessica Alba. But I’m not sure it’s right for me. I would wear and it would feel uncomfortable. Laying down in it, using the bathroom, changing…. it’s a hassle with it on.

5 Things I Can’t Live Without

Taking care of a newborn is hard work. Sleep deprivation can cause a mama to want to cry at the slightest baby resistance. Right now my eyes are barely open, but every flinch, moan, murmur out of Emma’s mouth, makes me panic, because I might be able to decipher what she wants.

But thank goodness there are some items out there that can help soothe her…
1. Fisher Price Rainforest Bouncer
It was given as a gift for Megan. She loved it and it seems to also be a favorite of Emma’s. Emma falls asleep so much easier when you bounce the chair and the soothing sounds help a lot. When it’s play time, the lights just make her alert.
Babies spit up a lot and that’s why I like the bouncer. It puts the baby at a sit up position so after I burp her, I would lay her in the bouncer for about 5-10 minutes for her to digest the milk.

2. Playmat (Play Gym)
This mat is amazing! Comes with a mirror and numerous hanging toys. The mat itself has sounds and crinkly material that entertains any newborn.
My 2 year old just rediscovered this play mat and has been hogging it from her baby sis.
3. Gripe Water
Emma started to have colic when she was 3 weeks old. I didn’t know what was going on. She kept crying between the hours of 11pm and 3 am. I was going out of my mind. It wasn’t hunger, nor a dirty diaper. Why wouldn’t she sleep? What was going on?

A friend mention colic and I was like OHHHH…..
If you don’t like giving this, there is a home remedy. You’ll need: a heating pad, strips of fabric

Heat the strips of fabric between the heating pad and when hot, apply to baby’s tummy. Alternate fabric when heat dissipates.

I did that also when I misplaced the gripe water one night and it worked well too.

4. Rocking Chair/Glider with Ottoman

My back would kill me if I didn’t have this chair. Actually any comfortable high back chair would work. This is a Dutalier sleigh Glider/ Recliner. Babies R Us carries it.

The ottoman has a slide out footstool that helps with elevating your feet when you need to.

5. Nipple Cream
This nipple cream saved my life. I was able to breastfeed better with it. The pain of bleeding, sore nipples is the worst feeling ever. It made me not want to breastfeed my baby. Every suck felt like she was biting my nipple off.
Mother Love Nipple Cream is all natural made with olive oil and shea butter. That’s what I like about it. I slathered the thing on like lip gloss for your breasts.
I know friends who use Lansinoh Lanolin Nipple Cream and they swear by it but I was told some babies are allergic to Lanolin. weird but true. So better to be safe than sorry.

It’s Been Awhile…

My last post was in October 2009. I was contemplating a birthday gift for my husband. What I didn’t know was a day before my husband’s birthday was an OB checkup gone to hell. I had gone in for a monthly prental checkup. I was 31 weeks when I told my OB that I was already feeling contractions and I had some spotting over the weekend.

He immediately checked my cervix and found that I was 2cm dilated. At 31 weeks that meant, I was in preterm labor. Not good because full term is 38 -40 weeks. I was put on complete bedrest. No moving from the bed unless I urgently had to.

I was given medication to control the contractions. These meds made my heart rate increase and made me really jittery. I was not allowed to drive or walk. I endured bed rest for 7 weeks.

Baby Emma arrived full term after her induction on December 21, 2009. At my 38 week checkup, my OB suggested an induction. I was nervous because Megan arrived normally. I didn’t know how the induction would progress or would it cause me discomfort. But with Christmas right around the corner, I wanted Emma to arrive at a determined day. I didn’t want to have a baby on Christmas day or New Years.

So after a really well rested pregnancy, I scheduled my labor and delivery. At 7:30am, I checked into L&D, had to fill paper work, answer questions regarding my health, and waiting for the good doctor to arrive to get the ball rolling.

I was already 5cm dilated at my last prenatal checkup and about 80% effaced. The doctor arrived at 8:45 and told the nurse to start pitocin. I was already contracting through the night so when pitocin hit my bloodstream, the contractions got stronger almost immediately.

With Megan’s birth, the contractions were gradually getting stronger. I could pace my breathing and I knew with each contraction to just endure the pain a little longer.

With Emma’s birth, my breathing felt ragged and fast pace. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t slowly increasing in pain but exponentially jumping from one pain level to the most intense pain level. I was telling myself I was a level 5 pain now I’m at an 8! What is going on?

Well what was going on, is that I was fully dilated at 9:20am and I felt the urge to PUSH! I was frantic and with the nurses trying to hold me back from pushing, made me want to push even more. The doctor was MIA. He had gone back to his office. So at 9:45 he came rushing in. It was the most horrible 20 minutes of my life, not being able to push.

At 10am I had my baby girl. Very little lacerations, thank goodness. And I fully recovered after 2 weeks. With Megan recovery took 10 weeks.