First I want to state, I am committed to breastfeeding at least until I go back to work. That being said, my ultimate goal is 18 months. I am currently having a really hard time, especially with my left breast. At first I thought, breastfeeding isn't that bad, but it has gotten HARDER for me rather then easier. There are a couple for things that make me different from most. First, I have an over supply of breast milk. This is better than not having enough milk but it is still a problem. I am more prone to plugged ducts and mastitis. My letdown is extremely forceful; therefore is really painful and can affect Stella if it happens during a feeding (gulping/choking). My breasts become severely engorged and I have to get up in the middle of the night to pump for a few minutes (about 3 min.) so Stella can even latch. I will occasionally just hang out over the sink and leak to feel a little better or even hand express when I already pumped that night. I haven't started pumping regularly yet (only when I am so engorged she can't latch) because I am afraid that my body will say I need to make more milk. The average woman has 1.5-2 ounces of milk in each breast. I have 5 ounces (at least), I only pumped once on each side for about 15 minutes, in each breast. Did you know that over supply babies tend to be more fussy, gassy, need to be burped more, have weight issues (depending if they are getting more fore or hind milk), and can have stool issues. There are many things I can try to reduce my supply but I will tell you I have tried most and I am still sleeping on apples. I am sad that I can't comfort feed my child and that we have to use alternative means to comfort Stella when she just wants to suck. She can't even fully drain one breast in a feeding. In fact, she only really feeds for 10-15 minutes because she gets too full. The worst is when she over eats and pukes everywhere. Now that I have written out all of my frustrations, I would like help from you... Please pray that I regulate by next week because I plan to start pumping for work. Pray that my nipple pain goes away and that the Lord gives me the strength to continue to breastfeed. Thank you- Dana
Update: Stella was 8lbs 5oz at her 2 week appt. which is in the 50%. She is doing really good. Steven, Stella and I all got a cold this week and Stella was the first to get better. I am doing better but Steven is still really ill. Here are some pictures of Stella since birth:
Let me start by giving some background information.I had been going to a GYN since I was 17 but she was only a GYN. When I got married I started researching OB practices and switched in the beginning of 2010. Up until 34-35 weeks I was going to have a hospital birth at Winnie Palmer with my new OB practice.I had decided early on I wanted a natural birth. I did a lot of research about childbirth and was shocked!When I first found out I was pregnant three different doctors in my OB practice told me I needed a C-section due to a previous surgery. I then went to the doctor who preformed my previous surgery and asked him if I needed to have a C-section. He thought that was ridiculous and told me he would even attend my birth if needed. My OBs told me I needed a script from the doctor who performed my previous surgery saying a vaginal birth was ok. I then started researching other options because I found that to be stupid. I then spoke to the midwife at my OB practice and she suggested a birth center because I wouldn't get the experience I wanted at the hospital and there was a chance that if anything looked off the OBs would do a C-section anyway.
On the morning of the birth I woke up around 4:30am feeling off and like I needed to use the restroom. I tired to go back to bed but I knew this was it and I was really anxious and I kept having to go to the bathroom! My contractions started off really light and I wasn't really sure if thats what they were. I called my mom at 6:30am and she said it could be labor. I then called my sister because she was my doula (birthing assistant), she told me to try and go back to bed. I tried again but I couldn't sleep. Around 7:10am Steven's alarm went off (it was a Monday morning), I told him I thought I was in labor and he should come to my 10am appointment. This was already scheduled for a non stress test because I was overdue. I called ahead and told the birth center I thought I was in labor. We (Steven, Kim, and I) arrived at the birth center at 10 am and were taken into a birthing room. I was 3-4cm and she was postioned wrong so they gave me some exercises to try and move her. We walked around, I did some exercises for about 40 minutes and the midwife told me to go home and continue to do the exercises and call when my labor progressed. When I got home active labor started (between 11:30-12:00). My contractions were 3 minutes apart and 45 seconds to a minute long (they were this way almost the entire labor). This is when things picked up... I had really bad back labor!! I tried one of the positions to move her (lying on my side with my leg up) and my contractions were just too strong. I had a heating pad my mom had given me for cramps that became my best friend. It is the kind you need to heat up in the microwave- Kim's main job during my labor. My sister tried to get me to eat; I had half a banana and gatorade. Kim then suggested the tub. I sat on the toilet awhile before I got in the tub. I got in the tub for about 35 minutes. I labored on the floor of my room for a few minutes and then I got in the shower for over a half hour at which point I tried to talk Steven into taking me to the hospital for drugs and I told my sister I hated her.
At around 2:30pm I called the birth center and told them if they didn't take me I was going to the hospital. They told me to come in. The car ride was not fun but I survived! I was 6cm when we got there at 4pm and I immediately got in the tub. I then threw up and the midwife told me I was in transition. My contractions were between 3 minutes and a minute and a half apart and 45 seconds to a minute and a half long. I was checked again around 5:30pm and was 7-8cm. I asked the midwife how long she thought it was going to be and she told me if it was my 3rd kid it would be about 15 minutes but since it was my first I had a few more hours. They had me get into a position to try and move her, I had three contractions and my water broke, my sister ran out to get the midwife... I was ready to push! The midwife said I defied the odds. I pushed on the bed and on the toilet. They put the oxygen mask on me because she wasn't getting enough oxygen. I pushed for an hour, Kim holding one leg and Steven holding the other,
Stella Grace Capers was born at 7:10pm
7lbs 10oz and 20in long
Steven pulled Stella out after her head and shoulders were out and put her on my stomach. Her umbilical cord was really short so she hung out on my stomach until the placenta stopped pulsing. I delivered the placenta about 20 minutes later and Steven cut Stella's cord. I tried to nurse right away but she wasn't having it. I nursed about an hour later. After she nursed they came in to check me. I had a first degree tear that required 4 stitches and a labia tear (which sucks!!). Both sets of grandparents and both aunts got to come see Stella. We left the birth center at 12:30am after they made me pee twice.
I will say that after she came out the pain just stopped. I am not sure if it is because all I could think about was her or if the labor is over so the pain is over. I am so glad I chose to do the birth center. Steven got to be extremely involved and I felt at home. I got to hold her and nurse her right away. The midwives were awesome and although it was definitely painful the bonding was amazing! My body learned to cope with the pain and work through it. I didn't know I had that much strength.
Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent and takes place 46 days before Easter. Lent is a time of repentance, prayer, soul-searching and everyone's favorite self-denial or fasting. For Lent you are supposed to give up something and it doesn't have to be food. It can be anything from food to electronics and when craving/struggling God and the Bible is where you turn. The time you would spend doing what you gave up is time you are to give to God. This year I decided to give up sweets, which includes but is not limited to: cake, ice cream, milkshakes, cupcakes, candy (jelly beans count), etc. This is really hard for me... I am struggling not to replace sweets with other not so health items (like bread!). I have also decided to look into Steven and my eating habits, what we eat and how good it is for us. Our bodies and habits represent God and there is so much crap in food today!
I have decided to write a letter to Steven. I am writing this blog for Stella so I thought it would be good to share how amazing her father is!
I think you are such an amazing man. I thank God everyday for your presence in my life. You have made me a better person and you will help make me a wonderful mother. You are uplifting and kind, especially when I am not. The way you look at me can make my heart stop. You make me feel beautiful even at my worst. You are the hardest worker I know and an amazing provider. You are my best friend. You are going to be a phenomenal father and I can't wait for Stella to meet her dad. You are the love of my life.
I had my weekly check up yesterday during which I had my first internal exam (more out of curiosity then need). I understand now why women don't normally request them unless necessary so I probably won't be having another unless I go over 40 weeks. Exam Results: I am two centimeters dilated and she said she could stretch me to three (whatever that means!). She felt the babies head and Miss Stella moved for her. It was all very uncomfortable and exciting!
Don't worry I can stay two centimeters for a while but Miss Stella has definitely moved down. I forgot what it felt like to breathe and now I pee even more, like 20 times a day! Steven and I are going to be taking some long walks in the near future, maybe even going to my parents to walk up and down the stairs!
How far along? 36 Weeks, one more week until "Full-Term."
Total weight gain: I would rather not say... its still "average" but I don't like it!
Baby Bump? Yes! Definitely! I look really preggers.
Maternity clothes? Yes, maternity everything... I can still wear some regular shirts but not too many.
Cravings: None really, my midwife told me no more dairy so of course, I want dairy.
Symptoms: Indigestion, my hands and feet are starting to swell a little, and I feel really big.
Sleep: I don't sleep great... I get up at least three times a night to use the bathroom and my internal alarm goes off at 5:20am. I do better on weekends and when Steven holds me but sometimes it is just too hot or uncomfortable.
Movement: All the time! I know I should be timing them but they happen every half hour or so and I am always aware.
Gender: Girl, Miss Stella Grace.
Belly Button in or out? In and I think it will stay that way.
Best moment this week: Spending time with Steven and talking about future plans. Like camping trips and where we want to take Stella as she grows.
Weekly Wisdom: Don't judge people about their pregnancy and parenting decisions because you won't like it when people do it to you (I think everyone is different and they have the right to be).
First I would like to share that these books have changed my views on pregnancy and birthing. I will post again once I have personally experienced childbirth. I also think that anyone pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant should read at least one of these books and watch the DVD "The Business of Being Born." There is so much women just don't know and we are misinformed regularly. For example, did you know that U.S. has the second highest infant mortality rate in the modern world (Cuba's is lower)? Facts found here and here. Did you know that our cesarean rate is 40%? That means almost 1 out of 2 births are done with MAJOR surgery. Well I had never heard any of this. Some books that were recommended to me and now I am recommending to you are:
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
-This books is about natural childbirth and a woman's 35+ years work at "The Farm", a kind of birthing commune in Tennessee. It has amazing birth stories in the first half of the book. The second half of the book walks the reader through the entire birthing process, explaining why modern medical childbirthing procedures are not based on the mother's health and needs, but are designed for convenience of the medical establishment. She gives a lot of facts and draws on her personal experiences, even with somethings being a little over the top, this book is amazing. Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn (4th Edition): The Complete Guide by Penny Simkin - One of my favorite things about this book is it walks you through the different "stages" of labor and how they progress, as well as positions and situations to help ease the pain during each of these stages.This is a very balanced book, whether you have decided to give birth naturally or with medication.
The Birth Partner (for couples or helpers) by Penny Simkin - Back of the book: If you want to learn how best to help an expectant mother have a happy and healthy childbirth, The Birth Partner, Third Edition is the only book you'll need. For almost 20 years, husbands, partners, friends, relatives, and doulas have turned to this book for guidance on being a supportive partner in the delivery room. The expanded third edition includes the most up-to-date information about techniques, devices, and medications for easing labor pain; tests and treatments of the fetus and newborn; strategies to help labor progress; potential medical procedures and interventions; and how best to help the mother during the early days after the birth. And, with its easy-to-use format and new illustrations, the The Birth Partner is the essential guide have on hand in the delivery room.
The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer - This should be a book you read after you have read about natural childbirth or if you are open minded. While this book does provide facts, it is also very opinionated. The description on the back cover: "Every intelligent, informed woman is used to gathering the most complete information she can get before making a decision. But when it comes to one of the most important decisions in her life--how she will give birth--it can be tough to get the complete picture, even from an obstetrician. Surprisingly, much of the latest research goes against common medical opinion."
The Business of Being Born DVD
-This is an amazing documentary informing of the realities of hospital vs. home birth. It is really an eye-opening film and though it gets a little graphic and has some foul language, it really is a must see. The only thing I wish was added is there are other options, not just hospital or home births (ex. birthing centers).
Synopsis on back: Birth is a miracle, a rite of passage, a natural part of life. But birth is also big business. Compelled to explore the subject after the delivery of her first child, actress Ricki Lake recruits filmmaker Abby Epstein to question the way American women have babies. The film interlaces intimate birth stories with surprising historical, political and scientific insights and shocking statistics about the current maternity care system. When director Epstein discovers she is pregnant during the making of the film, the journey becomes even more personal. Should most births be viewed as a natural life process, or should every delivery be treated as a potentially catastrophic medical emergency?
The nursery is finally done! Well for the most part I am sure we will add things. My mom did an amazing job on the mural and we collected free/inexpensive furniture along the way. Surprisingly the most expensive item we purchased was her rug.
Here are the nursery expenses: Crib- Given to us by my cousins friends Consuelo. Changing Table- Purchased by me off craigslist for $20 Rocking Chair- Given to us by Steven's grandmother Rug- Purchased by me from Old Time Pottery for $40 Dresser- Purchased by my dad from a garage sale for $35
The mural beginning:
The finished mural:
Ducks (matches bumper)
"We will shelter you"
Baby Deer (matches bumper)
Here is the complete nursery:
Inside of the closet
We also have a glider (given to us by my cousin) that we decided to keep in the living room for when she wakes up at night and we don't want to wake up one another.