Whether going through pregnancy or postpartum, we are constantly in motion – externally and internally. Even when asleep our bodies are hard at work to create and sustain life. This makes it easy to become overwhelmed, exhausted, and emotionally drained. Because of this, self-care should be our first priority, not our last.
"As women in this season of preconception through postpartum, we are united by a common thread. We need each other... Your stories remind us why we do the precious work we do. Your bravery inspires us. You are beautiful. We need you. "
Last weekend our volunteer staff had the opportunity to spend an entire day together. We ate, played, and spent time digging into our own stories - in order that we might be able to better walk alongside you. There was a resounding theme that echoed through the day. We, as a culture, must seek to rid ourselves of assumptions. We must validate the unique stories of the women in our lives. We can walk alongside each other in pain and in joy.
Through education and support we strongly feel there is hope for a societal shift in maternal health.
We acknowledge that we all must become better listeners. In humility and vulnerability, we must also share our stories. For often, healing begins with one person's simple bravery.
Will you join us in changing the culture? Will you join us as we seek to better the health of women from pre-conception through preschool? Change begins with individuals. Change begins with us.
All my love,
January is almost over. Winter storms cover the East Coast. What an honor it has been to serve you wherever motherhood finds you this winter. Are you familiar with our tagline? "Nurturing the mother to grow the child." Do you know how deeply we believe this? Motherhood is challenging. Our primary goal is to nurture, support and educate you; enabling you to make the choices best for your family. We are passionate about cheering you on - helping you find your truth.
My heart was filled to overflowing as I watched so many of you play with different baby carriers at the Saturday Café Express and Monday Café. Your laughter and encouragement was contagious. For those of you who joined us for the first time, I applaud you for your bravery in stepping out to connect with women you did not know. For those of you who missed your time with us, be sure to visit the blog for recaps and valuable information.
Be sure to check out all of the upcoming events listed on the calendar. There are many opportunities for connection and support wherever you have need. If there is any way in which we could be serving you better, please let me know.
All my love,
As I’m sitting here in my office this morning, I can't help but think about all of the phone calls I have gotten over the past couple of days concerning morning sickness. It seems like quite a common topic with my pregnant clients and friends. Even as I was driving to work this morning, my daughter called facing the same dilemma in her pregnancy. With that being my fourth call this week, I thought that it would be a common enough topic to interest you. Homeopathic & Herbal Remedies for morning sickness:
There’s a strong connection between nausea in the beginning of pregnancy and low blood sugar. Probably one of the best things you can do before adding any type of remedy is to make sure you eat a small meal and/or snacks quite frequently throughout the day. I would also advise not to go more than 90 minutes between snacks.
A couple of things to keep in mind when you’re snacking is to eat protein-rich snacks, such as nuts, hummus & crackers, bananas, guacamole, etc.
Increase your Iron and Vitamin B supplements, especially Vitamin B1 and B6. Vitamin B deﬁciency can also cause morning sickness.
Avoid spicy and greasy foods when possible.
Try to eat crackers or something similar before getting out of bed in the morning.
Drink a teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar in 8 oz. of warm water ﬁrst thing in the morning.
Drink 1 or 2 cups of raspberry leave tea or infusion each day
Other teas or infusions to calm nausea in pregnancy:
- Make tea from dried peach leaves
- Drink peppermint tea or infusion
- Ginger root – tea or infusion
You can go to any health food store and buy Peppermint and/or Spearmint Oil (not extract) – put a couple of drops on a wet washcloth and lay beside you. You can also do this with lavender as well.
Something that women don’t think about that can help tremendously – go outside and walk a mile or so a day, if approved by health care provider. Chemical byproducts can increase hormonal activity and cause a buildup in the body, which can stimulate and contribute to morning sickness. Walking can help to get out these toxins and reduce the chance of buildup.
Morning sickness is a very common side effect of pregnancy, but with these few tricks of the trade, I hope that it can be something you can quickly overcome so that you can enjoy your pregnancy feeling wonderful and full of energy.
*All information was gathered from Susan Weed’s Wise Women Herbal for the Childbearing Year. This is a wonderful book that I would recommend to any woman who is pregnant or interested in pregnancy/childbirth.
Anticipation and Beyond uses all reasonable effort to provide accurate, up-to-date and evidence-based information for teaching and counseling purposes. All information that is written for blogs, social media posts, and websites is to be used for education and informational purposes only. All data and instruction from Anticipation and Beyond should not be intended to replace or substitute professional or medical advice from your health care provider. Direct all of your family’s concerns, questions, and health issues to your health care provider. The information provided is not and may not be applicable to every situation. The purpose of Anticipation and Beyond providing guidance and education to new families is two-fold. The ﬁrst purpose is for the intention of teaching parents about the many choices and alternatives that are available to them. The second motivation is to encourage families to dig down deep and research themselves from reliable resources that will help to enlighten their new journey.
Allow me to start by saying if you have the option of a scheduled C-section, be sure you research the risk factors, procedure, recovery, and subsequent pregnancies. If you have a "normal" pregnancy with zero to minimal complications, you will likely not need a C-section. We were presented the option based on my family medical history, current condition of my health and the size of my baby so we decided to have a scheduled C-section in October of 2011. We made the best decision for the health of my baby and for myself and we have no regrets. It isn't the right choice for everyone but it was the right choice for us. ----
Well, I'm knocked up again! This is my second pregnancy after my C-section 20 months ago (You can read my birth story here and here). Last summer, my pregnancy sadly ended in a miscarriage. (You can read my story here.)
I am now 19 weeks along and it's going very well - except for the extreme nausea, cramping and pain. In the world of pregnancy, these are usually good signs of a healthy pregnancy. In the world of pregnancy after a C-section, these are all totally normal. Yaaaay?! When I chose to deliver my giant baby via Caesarian, I did hours of research. I neglected to research what would happen during subsequent pregnancies - I only looked at subsequent births.
Nausea is not new for me and I've been able to take prescription meds to keep it as controlled as possible. When it comes to the cramping and pain, I was surprised that it felt very similar to the recovery of my C-section. It feels like my incision is being stretched with my uterus - and that's exactly what is happening according to my doctor and the inter webs. Engaging my core and lifting 20+ pounds proves to be more difficult with each day. Standing or sitting for long periods of time makes me want to lay down on my back - but then laying down on my back makes me cramp like a severe menstrual cycle. The most comfortable thing to do is lay elevated on the couch and watch The West Wing on Netflix. Oh yeah, and I have a toddler.
Because my surgery was scheduled (at 40 weeks and 5 days), the doctors were able to take their time cutting horizontally along the "bikini line" and take their time stitching me back together. Some women with emergency C-sections or a vertical incision may not experience the same kind of discomfort because the weight isn't pulling down in one directional area. However, women with vertical incisions can sometimes acquire a "butt belly". Both incisions have their ups and downs (budum ching). Regardless of the incision, the recovery process sucks. Getting pregnant after a C-section is uncomfortable...and worth every moment.
So what are the options for pregnancies after a Caesarian? Knowing your limits, resting when possible, asking for help when its available, and lifting only when necessary. I have a medical belly brace to help with the weight distribution of my behbeh, but I personally don't feel much of a difference other than not being able to sit down. I can't babywear my toddler anymore so the stroller gets much more use now. The many stairs in our townhouse require additional planning but its doable. Rest happens whenever my toddler naps. And a bonus tip from me: Stay as regular as possible when it comes to your stomach! Eat well and often - and be sure you "go" well and often. Constipation for an already stressed out stomach is awful.
On a semi-related note, a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarian) is a very real possibility for many women. Your doctor and midwife are the best people to speak with about the risks and benefits associated with the procedure. Personally, I'm going to try to have a VBAC if the baby is projected to be under 9lbs and if my blood pressure is better this time. If history repeats itself, we'll be doing another Caesarian.
So here's to 20 more weeks of a healthy growing baby and an expanding uterus!
I’m writing my post for The Motherhood Collective blog today; the day it is due. That has been happening a lot lately. Meeting deadlines just in the nick of time (though more often late). It’s been this way for a while. I feel like I am moving through a fog. And the crazy thing is, I can’t even blame it on the whole newborn/lack of sleep thing. My daughters are 5 and 3 and are great kids. The oldest goes to school in the mornings and my younger one entertains herself remarkably well. They get themselves ready for bed and sleep through the night. So what is my problem?
Yes, I am 20 weeks pregnant with my third but that hardly seems to be enough to cause this overwhelming haze. I have a great support system. My in-laws live in town and I have a community of women who are willing to reach out and pitch in if I need anything. And yet I feel like I am drowning and I don’t know why.
Truth be told, I don’t even know why I am sharing this, except that my husband encouraged me to. In the day and age of Pinterest, blogs, Facebook, and various other forms of social media, it is so easy to feel like we are the only ones who are hurting. We convince ourselves we are the only ones who are overwhelmed by the everyday stuff and feel horribly guilty for feeling that way. This isn’t my proudest post. I doubt I will be posting the link to it on my facebook for all the world to see. But I am putting my pride aside for a few moments because my gut says there is at least one other mama out there who needs to know that it’s ok. That sometimes just life itself feels overwhelming. That it doesn’t last. It gets better. Or maybe I’m writing because I, myself, need to hear that.
Let go of tension
Output – visit the restroom frequently
Rest in between contractions
Hands on! (massage)
- Can I call you day or night?
- Who is the Physician that covers on call when you are not available?
- What are your available office hours? What's your weekend availability?
- What situations deem that I go straight to the emergency room?
- Do you have a "well child" and a "sick child" waiting room?
- How much do you charge for an office visit? How about rechecks?
- How much do you charge for routine vaccinations?
- How far in advance must I schedule an appointment?
- How long will I be kept waiting to see you on an average basis?
- What are your views on breastfeeding? Bottlefeeding?
A physician's personality and style will probably rank as high in importance as his or her availability and affordability. Your personal preferences and instincts will weigh heavily in your choice.
I recommend you interview two to three pediatricians before making a choice. For referrals, speak to your primary care provider, a childbirth educator or ask family and friends.
At the Motherhood Collective, we recognize that not all pregnancy stories have happy endings. We're committed to supporting women through their childbearing years and while we understand the pain of labor and empathize with that 2 am feeding, sometimes the grief of motherhood is far greater. Stories about infertility, miscarriage and child loss are stories of motherhood, too. We are thankful for those of you willing to share your personal experiences, especially the painful ones. It's our hope that stories like these will help mothers connect with and support one another. Thank you, Laura, for agreeing to tell your story. ~TMC --
On July 2nd, we had an appointment scheduled for a first sonogram for our second baby. Due to circumstances beyond our control, I had to cancel that appointment. On Friday June 29th, our unborn baby went to be with the Lord.This is our story.
June 29th was weathered by the Eastern half of the country as the heatwave gave birth to a giant freak windstorm: the derecho. Ninety mile per hour gusts swept through the narrow passages between our 1920s row house. Our daughter, Joanna was asleep before the storm hit, but woke up when the power went out. Our little family waited through 40 minutes of strong winds and frequent lighting and thunder. The winds died down, the lightning danced over the mountain and the power remained off. I held my sweaty baby and sang show tunes to try and lull her back to sleep. My back and stomach were cramping, but my face kept smiling. After all efforts to sing failed, I made her 4oz of a midnight snack and she was eternally grateful. She conked out a few moments later.
When I earned my freedom, I went to the bathroom in the dark.
There was blood.
I checked again with a flashlight.
More blood. Like a period. But more. “Your will be done. Your will be done..” I chant like a monk. It brings an eerie calm to know that all things work for the good of those who love Him, even if 'things' involve losing a pregnancy at 12 weeks.
Do we go to the hospital? Do we wait it out? Who do we call? How do we even get phone numbers?
We have no internet to google "heavy bleeding during pregnancy". We have no internet to look up phone numbers of local doctors. We have limited light to find paperwork that may have a phone number of the hospital. We have no power to control our outcome.
We called our dear friends, Derek and Michelle, to watch our sleeping babe so we can go to the Emergency Room. The city is in darkness. The hospital is running on auxiliary power and only the vital machines are running. No vending machines, bathroom lights or television to distract from our thoughts.
12:30: We arrive, check-in, and they tell me they’ll get me back to triage as soon as possible.
1:00: Nurse Betty took my vitals and told us, “Usually you’d be back there by now, but tonight is kind of a disaster. The power outage caused a lot of car accidents and we don’t have any beds. Even the beds in the hall are filled. We’ll get you back there as soon as we can, Sweetie.”
2:00: Guy with a tree branch between his toes comes in cussing. Sits near the overweight mother and daughter and adjacent to a homeless gentleman.
2:45: I’m taken in the back to have an ultrasound. The nurse first tries on my stomach but my bladder is too full and I have too much gas to get a clear picture. She also says I have a tilted uterus. Thanks. So I pee and we try a transvaginal ultrasound. She quietly wiggles the wand to get snapshots of all of my important innards. I can tell when she finds the baby. It’s not moving. She goes to the screen where it shows the heartbeat. It’s a straight line; no heartbeat. She says nothing as she goes to the next screen.
4:15: I’m wheeled into a hallway.
4:30: Vitals are taken by another nice nurse who assures us that we will be seen soon.
5:13: Started hating the doctor and his stupid face.
5:15: "Where the hell is his stupid face."
5:35: Doctor comes in, confirming that there is no heartbeat. He said the baby was smaller than 12 weeks, so it likely stopped thriving around 10 or 11 weeks. He gives me drugs, sets up an appointment for another ultrasound and says he wishes us luck in the future. His face isn't nearly as stupid as I presumed.
6:00: The 3rd nice nurse returns with ginger ale and drugs. She genuinely asks "How are you feeling". I love her. She sends us on our way.
We arrive home in the sunlight at around 6:30 after weaving around tree branches once more. Traffic lights are still out, but the birds are chirping and the heat has not yet begun its terrible reign upon our powerless heads. It’s a gorgeous morning. We thank Michelle and Derek profusely for watching Joanna for us in our emergency. I’m still in shock and can’t really accept their “I’m so sorrys”. I’m still in the logical stages of the news; emotions haven't hit yet.Although I was only 12(ish) weeks along, I could feel that he was a boy – I just knew it. We were calling him Buddy because he would be joining us for Christmas.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
[June 30] Jonathan moved Joanna’s pack n play to the living room to watch her from the couch with his eyes closed. She thankfully entertained herself while Jonathan snored.
About 1/5 of Lynchburg is doing fine, with power, AC, water, and only a few leaves scattered across their lawns. When the traffic lights get dark, you can see lawns with debris, broken tree trunks, and smashed cars. Strange winds. We decide that our powerless home isn’t safe for our baby so we pack our things, dump our trash, wrangle the cat, and head north to my parents’ house.
Jonathan’s grandmother called me. She said that God knew our baby wasn't well enough for this world so He took him to Heaven. I started crying and she apologized for making me upset - I was crying at the beautiful image of God taking care of my sweet baby.
We arrived at my childhood home and my mom watched Joanna while Jonathan and I had some quiet time to process. It was the first time we'd been able to just sit in an air-conditioned room with no 'next step' to plan. We sat and talked about what happened. We talked about that it may be God's will that Joanna be a role model and older sister to her sibling instead of an Irish twin. We talked about how we didn't want to push down the sadness but rather use it to remember him. We talked about the nice nurses. We talked about what movies we wanted to see. We just talked. It was so nice to just talk.
I think the hardest thing is that I’m going to miss imagining what he'd be like.
10-25% of pregnancies end in a miscarriage [according to the American Pregnancy Organization], yet few women talk about their experiences. I didn't want to be silent about our loss. If anything I want those 10-25% to know they aren't alone.
We're placed into communities for a reason: to be with each other. We're here to help, hug, humble, and grow with together.
If you’d like to read more or know of someone that would benefit from hearing our story, please share this link: http://www.housebrokenmom.blogspot.com/search/label/miscarriage