Posted by Jane Highley on March 11, 2012
Currently, I’m 27 weeks with my third child, a boy. His two sisters are quite excited, although I’m not entirely sure that my soon-to-be middle child understands what’s going on, other than noticing that there is less “lap space” to sit on Mommy for bedtime stories. I feel huge. Really huge. Already. And based on my past two healthy deliveries, I’m more likely to deliver right around 39 weeks, but of course, this baby could throw me for a loop by arriving much sooner or making me wait way past my due date (which is late May). So while I still have the energy, clarity, and motivation, I have decided to create and tackle a “must-do” list of tasks for this final (and most challenging) trimester. Though I only list ten below, don’t ever think even for a nano-second that my list could be so simple and easy. This is a blog post, not a manuscript for the latest parenting how-to book. I could easily list more, but I’ll let all of you helpful readers crowd-source more “to-do”s that I probably haven’t considered! But I’ll be grateful nonetheless for your input.10 Comments
Posted by Liz Hodes on March 9, 2012
This week, we had our anatomy ultrasound. My husband and I both pretended as if we were most concerned about whether we’d be able to find out the baby’s sex, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth. As the day of the ultrasound approached, we were both thinking more and more about the 20 week scan with our now three-year-old son — our beautiful, smart, perfectly healthy son — when we left with more questions than answers, appointments for follow-up testing and the terrifying fear that our baby boy’s brain was not developing properly. We were thinking about all the ultrasounds that followed, when we held our breath and hoped for confirmation that our boy was healthy, confirmation that we finally, thankfully received when he was born and in the months that followed, when he hit all of his developmental milestones on time or ahead of schedule. (more…)| 4 Comments
Posted by Meagan Church on March 9, 2012
I have always appreciated alone time, but yesterday was one of those days when that time couldn’t come quickly enough. It just came in the form of a trip my pre-kid self never would’ve counted as a getaway.
My middle child decided that right before naptime would be the appropriate time to throw a massive tantrum. What was the cause? She wanted to pick out the Captain America book to read before going to sleep. Why couldn’t she pick it out? Because her brother already had. But here’s the kicker: we were all going to read the book together. It wasn’t like she would be missing out on the wonderful literature that the book is. That didn’t matter to her 3-year-old mind. She just cared that she wasn’t the one who got to get it off the bookshelf and hold it. I started off by trying to understand and reason with her. That got us nowhere. So then she was given a choice: choose a different book or go to bed immediately. She finally calmed down enough for us to read together, but as soon as reading time was over, she lost it again. (more…)| 2 Comments
Posted by Kate on March 7, 2012
With a premature child in the NICU it is easy to feel robbed of special moments. Every parent who has written about having a preemie in the NICU writes about that moment when you leave the hospital empty-handed. When I was pregnant with my son, I knew a few other pregnant women. They were all due before me, but I gave birth first. While I visit my son in the NICU and pump milk at home, they cuddle happily in the delivery room, bonding with their new babies. They go home. They go on walks in the park. I am jealous. Why didn’t I get the happy bonding with my newborn? Why do I have to drive across town just to see him? Why do I have to ask permission to hold him or feed him? (more…)| 1 Comment
Posted by Kate on March 6, 2012
We’ve been in the NICU for almost a month now, and my husband and I have been surprised at the relative absence of dads in the room. Oh sure, we see them once in a while. Shortly after delivery, dad comes to the NICU alone while mom recovers. A bit later, mom and dad take a trip from their hospital delivery room or recovery room to the NICU together. Mom holds the baby while dad watches. After a few days, mom checks out of the hospital, and dad is rarely to be seen.
This makes no sense as we near the end of 2011. I’m not suggesting that all families take up an equally shared parenting division of labor or that both parents give up their jobs for weeks on end while they visit their newborn in the NICU. I am simply saying that dads* count too. (more…)| 1 Comment
Posted by Kate on March 5, 2012
When you have a child in the NICU, common words take on a whole new meaning. This starts on the very first day. “Congratulations!” That’s what you say when someone has a baby, isn’t it? But “congratulations” can cut like a knife when your baby has arrived way too early. You are not excited he is here. He should be inside you. You feel like you failed in some substantial way. Or maybe your baby is right on time but has a problem you never thought you’d have to deal with. This is not to disparage anyone who says, “congratulations.” I say it too, and I can think of no suitable substitute. But that doesn’t change the fact that it hurts. So say it if it feels right, but do not be surprised it if results in a pained expression instead of heartfelt gratitude.
“She’s so advanced for her age.” If you’re like me, and you hear another parent say that, you just want to cringe. Great, another braggart. Your kid is better than mine. Yay! But for someone with a child who is or was in the NICU, this could have a completely different meaning. It could be a comfort while the child is still at risk that at least she’s further ahead than expected, and she has a fighting chance. Or, months later, it could be that sigh of relief, that realization that the child is on track and everything is going to be all right. So if you hear that dreaded statement, consider the situation. Maybe you can cut that parent some slack. (more…)| No Comments
Posted by Christiane Williams on March 3, 2012
When I was pregnant with my first child, one of my worries was how I would be able to tell whether it was real contractions or just the uterus practicing. My midwife gave me a very simple solution: take a bath! If the contractions stop, because you relax, it’s not labor – if the contractions increase, because you relax, it’s the real thing!
I was 4 days overdue, when I tried this method for the third time and finally contractions increased instead of decreased. However, even though this meant I should get ready for the hospital, I did not want to leave the tub… it felt sooooo good!
Since I was fully dilated and ready to push when I got to the hospital (with baby #1 and 2), I never had the chance to really take full advantages of the benefits of water in labor. So this time, I am planning a water birth from the get-go. The more I read about what water can do for you in labor, the more convinced I am that’s what I want to try!
Whether you get a back massage with a hot water jet in the shower or sit in one of those Jacuzzi-sized labor tubs, whether you do it at home or in the hospital, as an early relaxation technique or to actually give birth in the water – any of these applications can only benefit you and your birth experience! (more…)| 2 Comments
Posted by Christiane Williams on March 2, 2012
In the back of the pregnancy journal I kept for my first child is a check list for all the things I did daily to prepare my body for labor! Every day for the last 4 weeks I did: a 45 min walk, 200 Kegels, 240 pelvic rocks, 20 min tailor sitting, 30 min relaxation and a perineal massage!
Wow. That seems like a lot in retrospect, but I was also rewarded with a quick 7 hour labor, no tears and a smooth recovery! For the second pregnancy, I tampered it down a bit and now – this is No 3 – I simply don’t have time to do it all… However, I still want to prepare my body for laboring (after an 8 year gap) the best I can, so here is an overview of all the things that will hopefully help me achieve a natural birth with a smooth recovery again! (Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, this is entirely my opinion formed by research and taking into account experiences of myself and friends).
Other than general fitness (achieved by daily walks), there are specific things you can do to strengthen you pelvic floor, which will help during labor as well as with recovery and avoiding incontinence after birth. Kegel exercises (simple pulses, longer holds and three-staged “elevator” holds), pelvic rocks / tilts (cat stretches on all fours, pulsing and holding) as well as squatting (increasingly longer periods if possible) and tailor sitting (bottom of feet together, stretching not bouncing, with a straight back) are all very beneficial and can be done while watching TV! In order for me not to forget the Kegels, I try to do some at every red light while driving and during my sons’ daily violin practice! A prenatal Yoga class often incorporates may of these beneficial moves as well as relaxation techniques.
I am convinced that the main reason I never tore giving birth was the diligence with which I prepared my perineum by stretching and massaging. This is not everybody’s cup of tea, but if you can muster the courage, use some non-scented organic oil (I always used Evening Primrose Oil for reasons stated below) and try to massage and stretch the vaginal opening every evening. If you can’t reach, you could ask your partner to do that, though that’s a whole new level of intimacy! My husband was willing to do it because he was convinced of the benefits, but it was still a bit awkward… But the increased elasticity of the pelvic floor tissue after just a week was proof of the effectiveness of this treatment! (more…)| 2 Comments