Wednesday, February 9, 2011

So you have a new baby. Now what?

All the books tell you to get help when you bring baby home. What do you need help for? Everything.

You need help so you can get sleep. That is the number one reason to have a relative or close friend near by at all times. A new baby who is breast fed will want to eat every other hour or every three hours. That means from the time of the first feeding to the next it may be 2-3 hours. What you need to do in between is sleep. Of course you will need to also eat, go to the bathroom, wash your stitches and stay hydrated. If you can get your helper (and don't count on your husband because he needs sleep too) to hand you the baby when it's feeding time and then take the baby back after the feeding, life will be so much easier for everyone.

Breast milk gives your baby everything he/she needs. But you must have rest to make quality milk. Ideally your helper will bring you food in bed so you can nourish yourself without being fully awake. All you need to do is get that food chewed up enough to swallow it down and go back to sleep. If you can manage to drink liquids during feedings you accomplish two important tasks at once. And if you can nurse in the side-lying position you might get a feeding in without being fully awake too. Please, do everyone a favor and get some help. The less stress you feel the better the baby feeds and the better you will rest.

There is no need to dress the baby in cutesy little outfits and parade it around town. Everyone who cares about you will see your little angel in due time. Remember, the newborn needs you more than anything else in this world. He gets warmth, security, and nourishment all right at your breast. Enjoy this time.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

9 months or 10

So, you can expect to fart a lot when you are pregnant. And get heartburn. And not be able to sleep at times when you are real big. But the most exciting part is the sonogram; you have to have a full bladder when they do it which makes it less fun and more of a nuisance. That cold roller thing pushing on your full bladder backed up by a squirming parasite...there is nothing better than seeing that perfect little body coming to life!

In the first month of pregnancy there wasn't much different. My boobs got bigger and I passed a lot of gas. That's sort of what tipped me off to being preg in the first place. Then second month brought morning sickness and the third brought exhaustion. The fourth month was a transition from pizza cravings to cold sandwiches. The last three months are all about constipation, heartburn, and sleepless nights.

You can't sleep on your side without rolling toward your belly. You're not supposed to sleep on your stomach or you right-or was it left? I can't remember. That leaves your back and you probably want to put several pillows all around and under you just to make it comfortable. And due to the continuous heartburn you will want to be elevated.

And did I mention the constipation? I have to bring that up again because you will undoubtedly experience further complications on that end after delivery. You must consume copious quantities of water for the rest of your life due to this.

Since the doctors start counting your pregnancy from the date of your last period, pregnancy is actually supposed to be 10 months. Mine concluded early but the result was a beautiful little jaundiced boy. I wouldn't trade him for the world. It was worth every last fart.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

a parasite?

There was a time when I believed the world was overpopulated. The ever expanding population would surely outgrow the limited resources of this planet. This led to me to write a paper for a college philosophy class that spelled out a woman's right to end her pregnancy. I used the excuse of the fetus being a parasite on the mother. Much to my surprise, my own Ob/Gyn used this phrase too during one of my prenatal visits. After all, I was complaining about being exhausted.

But things change, there had been tsunamis, flooding and hurricanes all over the world just since 2004. Not to mention all the life lost in Iran, Iraq, etc. So there was no way I was going to get rid of this parasite. I suddenly really wanted to have this baby. And by the way, I got a B in that philosophy class.

So what do human parasites need? Food, shelter, warmth. If you read What to Expect... it gives you step by step details of what nutrients are needed at each critical step of development of the baby. Interestingly enough, I craved pizza early in the pregnancy. Mother Nature's way of letting me eat more of it than I needed because in a few short months I couldn't eat any tomato containing substance due to heartburn. My little parasite also caused cravings for mango. I personally kept Mexican mango farmers in business last year. And since you need lots of folic acid I ate quite a bit of home baked bread with added wheat germ and bran. Then there is the multi-vitamin with DHA. Fortunately the Neevo brand has a pleasant taste, sort of like vanilla.

Older parasites may cause you to crave deli sandwiches. You're not supposed to eat cold cuts, and I usually don't because I don't like them but I just couldn't help myself. Although I prefer miracle whip, I had to give it up for regular mayo later in pregnancy (heartburn).

One thing is for sure, you must eat a lot of fiber when pregnant. I had never experienced constipation like this until I was pregnant. We're talking eating a box of triscuts every few days. Oh, and don't forget the water. Seems like I was always thirsty. I drank a lot of blueberry, cranberry, and pomegranate juices too.

As for the shelter and warmth the little guy needs, well don't wear those low cut maternity pants unless you want to pee yourself. Those tight jeans looked so good when I tried them on. It only took a few tries at wearing them to realize they weren't for me. And I was still in my first trimester! The secret belly panel pants are where it's at! But they can creep down on you and if you are active they require a lot of pulling up. They work great for later pregnancy. All of this said, I was a size 6-8 before getting pregnant. If you are heavier or thicker than I was, you may not have these wardrobe issues.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

the best laid pregnancy plans never work out

When my cousin's wife gave birth to their second child she had pictures posted to one of the social networking sites. She looked gorgeous for having gone through what I now know is like several hours of torture. I took my cues from her to have my hair cut so that I could quickly run a comb through it and hopefully look half as good as she did.

And I wanted to get a pedicure too. As a matter of fact, I had my husband remove the old nail polish from my toes just days before my water broke.  I never made it to the salon to have them redone.

This is how it went down:  Thursday I went to the OB/GYN for the first exam of my last 6 weeks of pregnancy, my water broke three days later, then I gave birth two days after that. Not only was my hair a wreck I had unpolished ugly summertime feet! Calluses and all, hanging out there for everyone to see. I felt terrible for my doctor who had to stare at them for however many hours it was I was pushing. Fortunately she wasn't my real doctor, who by the way was on vacation.

So I'm telling all the women I know (and men because they will inevitably have a woman to go through this at some point) to keep their toes looking cute because no one knows what is going to happen next.

Friday, November 26, 2010

pregnancy doesn't follow a script

Once I found out I was pregnant, I quit drinking caffeine, alcohol and started taking a prenatal vitamin. Sounds familiar. Most conscientious women do this. I thought I would go to prenatal yoga classes and had the best of intentions to be a green mom.

Boy was I wrong.

There are tons of books out there to guide you step by step through your pregnancy and into motherhood but nothing prepares you like the real thing. The old stand-by What to Expect When You are Expecting walks you through each week of development which can have you worried right off the bat if you're not careful. For example, I thought I was getting away without morning sickness until bam! it hit me exactly at 1:47am the first day back to work after the Christmas holidays. Fortunately I was clocked out and almost in my car on the way home. I managed not to puke until I got home (we live 3 miles from work thank goodness). When they say "morning" they mean it! Anyhow, What to Expect... is a must read for any preggo.

Another of my favorite books was The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy. With it's wit it explains in a matter of fact way some of the nuances of pregnancy, such as how you might feel about some of the body changes you are going through. It is supposed to tell you what your girlfriends would but the doctors don't. To some extent the book does just that. But no book can tell you what your own reaction to pregnancy will be. I work in a male dominate environment. I can hold my own there. Being pregnant certainly did not get in my way, or so I thought. Once I got so big that I couldn't physically do the things I normally had to do during the course of the day, there was no getting around it. I just couldn't do the things I used to. Sure all the books tell you this will happen but hardheads like me fight it to the bitter end.