Posts tagged pregnancy

Breastfeeding Foe’s: Mastitis and Plugged Ducts, My Experience

PART 2:  The Second Time Around – New Challenges

Ok, so I will warn you, this is REALLY long!  I tried real hard to condense it but I wasn’t very successful.  So read on if you like!  It is very interesting in the end though!

When I found out we were expecting our second, I didn’t think twice about the decision to breastfeed, it was a given.  I also thought it would be much easier this time.  I thought I could prevent any mastitis/plugged duct issues by using the hand pump if I had some engorgement in the first weeks.  I felt confidant that I knew what I was doing the second time around.  I had both a hand and electric pump, plenty of breast cold packs if needed, and Greg made sure to check Walt after birth for any vertebral fixations/subluxations and soft tissue inflammation to ensure he would be comfortable nursing on both sides and to avoid the problem Jack had.

However, it wasn’t that simple.  Nursing was going pretty well the first few days, then, when my milk came in, just like with Jack, I had quite a bit of engorgement.  At least I knew what it was this time and some methods to try to control it.  Although, I wasn’t expecting the engorgement to be so bad the second time around.  I thought my body would know what to do by now.  I think some women, me included, just produce A LOT of milk!  However, I did find out later there was another variable this time causing the problem (keep reading to find out what).

EPISODE 1

During these early days of milk and engorgement I tried to nurse as often as I could but Walt was very sleepy all the time.  It was hard to keep him alert as often as I needed him to nurse.  I  also tried not allowing Walt to sleep long periods without nursing.  Well, I did allow him to go 4 hours at night (this kid wanted to sleep and after 2 yrs of sleep deprivation with Jack I really didn’t want to interrupt that) yet I didn’t want mastitis either but I thought 4 hours would be ok at night.   I tried to nurse on both sides at each feeding.   I mistakenly cut him off  early on the first side and switched sides for fear he would fall asleep and not nurse on the 2nd side.  I was using the hand pump a little to relieve some pressure but I didn’t use it to empty my breasts completely (mistake again).  I also tried hand expressing in the shower and using cold pack’s to decrease inflammation and prevent inflamed ducts.  However, I was a milk producing machine and my efforts could not keep the engorgement under control.  I felt like Walt was latching on alright and to me, appeared to be sucking the same as Jack did (although that was 3 yrs ago).  I didn’t think the problem was Walt.  Also, he didn’t have trouble being uncomfortable while nursing thanks to Daddy’s adjustments.

I was getting desperate though.  The engorgement was getting out of control very quickly despite my efforts and experience. I talked to my midwives and told them I was struggling with the engorgement.  Abby gave me several articles on different nursing techniques and info on mastitis and plugged ducts all from La Leche League.  It was great to have so much info but it was a little overwhelming because I didn’t know which of the many tips to try first, but it was all great info to have! (I will share some more of that in a future post).  It reaffirmed I was doing some things right, a few things I needed to change and it gave me new techniques to try for relief of the engorgement.  I did try some of the suggestions in the articles but continued to be engorged.  I was really worried I would end up with a fever and the whole cascade of symptoms that followed with Jack.  I had already started to get a small headache, the first sign I had with mastitis with Jack. Midwife Kelley then suggested calling Jessica Buell, a lactation consultant-in-training (and apprentice midwife, and doula – lady of many talents).  I was feeling VERY desperate by the time I called her, and probably hormonal and emotional from just having given birth less than a week prior.  She was fabulous on the phone.  She listened, asked me questions, then gave me a regimen to follow for 24 hours then I was to check back in with her.   I felt so much better after talking to Jessica.  I think the 24 hr. regimen gave me a focus and she seemed very confidant in it on the phone which made me feel confidant and a little more in control of things.  I followed her  instructions exactly and started to feel some relief.  I checked in with Jessica the next day and she modified my regimen slightly for the next 24 hours (I was better but still over-producing milk).  By the third day I felt back in control, engorgement was nearly gone and Jessica gave me some tip’s to continue doing and said to call if I had a future problem.  I was SOOOOO thankful to have avoided mastitis, fever, aches, ect.

EPISODE 2

A week or 2 passed and then it started again, UGH!!!  I know many moms out there would love to be overproducing so I shouldn’t complain so much.  I woke up in the middle of the night with mild engorgement (yep, Walt was sleeping through the night woo hoo!). I immediately got up and pumped, emptied my breasts and felt much better and went back to bed.  I thought it wouldn’t be a problem since I pumped as soon as I noticed the mild engorgement.  Well, I have a really sensitive system apparently!  The next evening, even thought the engorgement was gone, I started to get a headache and slight fever this time, Whaaat?!  One little mild engorgement and I was proud of myself for pumping right away…I did not expect this at all!  I wasn’t even engorged anymore after pumping but I still was having the familiar unpleasant symptoms.  I immediately went back to Jessica’s 24 hr regimen she gave me a few weeks prior (I should have called her).  I continued this for several days but continued to feel worse.  I thought there was no use calling her since I already had what I thought was mastitis and couldn’t prevent it anymore, it was here.  Well, that was a bad idea, should have called her.  Should have looked up natural remedies, should have asked friends.  I wasn’t thinking and gave up too soon.  I figured it would just go away after a week like the episodes I had with Jack.  I started taking ibuprofen to reduce the fever which was going on 7 days now.  I REALLY did not want to take any medication while nursing.  I felt defeated and desperate.  But I wanted to avoid an antibiotic even more so I tried the ibuprofen.  It did control the fever but any time I tried to get off of it the fever was right back there.  Man, this thing was stubborn.  And all along I should have called Jessica, don’t know what I was thinking.  By day 11, still with a fever and been on ibuprofen for way too long in my opinion, I did finally contact Jessica.  I didn’t give her a fair chance at helping me by calling her so late in in the game.  But she tried and gave me a regime to follow.  I did but I think it was just too late. I also gathered some tips from friends at this point too and tried lecithin supplements (supposed to possibly thin out the milk) and Poke Root Salve, but neither helped me (you will learn why if you continue reading).  By 14 days straight with a fever and completely worn out, Jessica and I  decided I had to go to the doc for an antibiotic.  I was extremely disappointed that I had to do this but it was necessary.  I actually hadn’t taken an antibiotic in 8 years, which I was very proud of!  It killed me to make that appointment and drive to the doctor’s office.  I was so mad at myself and I felt HORRIBLE that Walt would be exposed to an antibiotic at such a young age but I also had no choice at this point.  I did not expect to be in this position being what I thought, a breastfeeding veteran.  I took the antibiotic and the fever and symptoms improved in a day or 2.  I did wonder if they would have improved anyway without the antibiotic but I was just torturing myself by thinking that way.  I did need it after 14 days of a fever, maybe should have gone in a little sooner.

EPISODE 3

I was so confused as to why I was having so many problems.  I felt like I was doing everything right by now and didn’t understand how one mild engorgement could lead to 14 straight days with a fever and mastitis/plugged duct.   About 1-2 weeks after taking the antibiotic it was deja vu!  How on Earth could this be possible, I was incredibly annoyed!  Again, I woke one night with very mild engorgement and a day later the dreaded headache followed by fever a few hours later.  I went back to the frequent nursing and Icing, pumping when needed and gave it a day or 2 before I called in the troops.  I emailed Jessica to tell her it was starting again.  I told her exactly what was going on and shared my frustration, wondering why I continue to have problems despite following all the recommendations.  I also mentioned to her that at Walt’s postpartum midwife visit, we were told he may be borderline Tongue Tied.

Tongue tie can be defined as a structural abnormality of the lingual frenum.   When the frenum is normal, it is elastic and does not interfere with the movements of the tongue in sucking, eating, clearing food off the teeth in preparation for swallowing and, of course, in speech. When it is short, thick, tight or broad it has an adverse effect on oromuscular function, feeding and speech. It can also cause problems when it extends from the margin of the tongue and across the floor of the mouth to finish at the base of the teeth.” – http://www.tonguetie.net

Our midwives weren’t too concerned because Walt appeared to be nursing fine and was WAY ahead of the game in the weight gaining department.  Most babies with tongue tie have A LOT of trouble nursing and gaining weight.  They did suggest we talk to Dr. Hazelbaker (more about her below) or our pediatrician about it.  We planned to ask our pediatrician to look at his tongue at his appointment in a few weeks.  In the mean time we also Asked 2 dentists and both took a look and said it looked mild at worst and probably wouldn’t need treated.  Jessica responded and recommended the same regimen that helped before but also suggested I schedule an appointment with Dr. Alison Hazelbaker, PhD, a lactation consultant who does lymphatic drainage, and happens to be an expert on the condition of Tongue Tie.  She also is a CranioSacral Therapist.  I promptly contacted Dr. Hazelbaker and scheduled an appointment for Monday.  It was friday and Dr. Hazelbaker was kind enough to give me her cell phone number in case I ran into problems over the weekend before my appointment (which I did).  Despite the icing and frequent nursing my fever was climbing Saturday evening.  I took a hot shower to calm the body chills I was getting and that hot shower really spiked the fever, 104.2!  I typically like to let fever’s run their course.  The body is smart and creates a fever for a purpose – to kill an infection.  But this was a bit high for my liking (damage can start to occur above 105 deg).  I took 2 Ibuprofen but the fever was still holding strong.  I wanted to take a cold bath (well didn’t really want to but needed to) but just my luck, a thunderstorm was in our area so that was out.  I could have called my doctor but it was Saturday evening and I figured they would just have a recording saying something to the effect of “In case of emergency call 911, otherwise call back during business hours”, neither of which I thought sounded good.  I decided to take a 3rd Ibuprofen and started icing my neck and groin areas where a lot of superficial blood vessels exist.  It appeared to be working because I was starting to sweat!  Within 20 minutes the fever was down below 102 and dropping, wheeew!  I was so glad when Monday finally arrived and I could get to my appointment.  Dr. Hazelbaker was great!  Right away she noticed a very deep plugged duct.  She did a lymphatic drainage technique and I could feel immediate relief!  She also observed me nursing Walt and gave me some tips on how to hold him so he stays latched on (I didn’t even realize he wasn’t staying on appropriately).  She then checked Walt with her own Tongue Tie Assessment method (Assessment Tool for Lingual Frenulum Function (ATLFF)) and determined he was Tongue Tied.

Tongue Tied

Photo from tonguetie.co.uk

There was a definitive deficit in the function and range of motion of his tongue, despite his tongue appearance not scoring too bad.  This is why we weren’t in a hurry to get his tongue looked at initially.  2 dentists and 2 midwives, 4 practitioners had looked at his tongue already and it appeared to be mild tongue tie if that.  They all had seen much worse cases with many more obvious symptoms so Walt’s was tricky and not that obvious even to a trained eye.  Dr. Hazelbaker has done extensive studies on this condition including writing a book.  She concluded the Tongue Tie was not allowing Walt to suck appropriately and he was unable to empty those deeper ducts causing the frequent plugged ducts and all of my symptoms.  She mentioned it could also cause him to have large belches and increased drooling, both of which I had noticed – some monster burps and drooling at 10 weeks like a teething baby!  It all made sense and I was relieved to finally know what was causing all the engorgement.  If left untreated it could cause speech problems in the future. The solution was simple, to have his tongue clipped.  It was a vary simple procedure and was quick and painless (for Walt, but harder for me watching).  He is now 4 months and we haven’t had a problem sense!  I hope to write more about tongue tie and the clipping procedure in the future.  I am so grateful to have figured out the cause of my nursing challenges and to have it all taken care of now.  Thanks to Jessica for all of her help and Dr. Hazelbaker for her expertise and care, and of course to our wonderful midwives who gave me info and directed me Jessica and Dr. H.

Lessons Learned – Quick tips if you are getting engorged

  1. Before giving birth, find a lactation consultant to have incase you need help.  Ask them questions before birth and don’t be afraid to call them if you have a question. 
  2. Nurse often if – every 2 hours – 24 hours/day when engorgement is bad
  3. Completely empty one side before switching to the second
  4. If needed, pump to get both sides emptied
  5. Ice your breasts if you have signs of inflammation/plugged ducts/mastitis i.e. redness, heat, hard nodules, pain, swelling.  Intense icing 15 minutes EVERY hour may be needed for 24-48 hours or longer
  6. Anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen may be needed.
  7. Monitor your temperature
  8. Lymphatic drainage works!  Find a practitioner in your area if you get plugged ducts
  9. If your baby might be Tongue Tied have it checked out sooner rather than later.  (some cases can look mild but still be problematic!)

Resources

http://www.llli.org/

http://kellymom.com/

http://www.tongue-tie.aidanandevapress.com/index.html

http://tongue-tied.net/

http://birthwithpassion.com/

Comments (3) »

The Home Birth of Walter James Prenger: Mom’s Story

Preparations

Greg and I had a lot of plans going into this labor.  After having a few challenges with Jack’s labor (3 stages totaled 39 hrs) we tried to prepare more for those challenges incase they came up again this time.  I read a wider variety of books on labor relaxation techniques and birth stories.  Greg focused on the Bradley, Husband-Coached child birth book.  We even highlighted some of our favorite relaxation techniques and reminders to flip to during labor.  I dug up 2 books where I wrote down my favorite inspirational quotes to have handy for labor.  I planned to drink more water early in labor and throughout.  We bought some healthy birth snacks and juices in advance and planned that once labor started Greg would run to the store to add to our stash a fresh fruit plate for me and a cheese and meat plate for him (you will see how funny this idea was as you read on).  When labor started we also planed Greg and I would finish up any last min. dishes, straighten the house and vacuum – I figured some gravity in early labor would help things move along faster this time (again, you will find these plans comical by the end of our story).

We decided it would be best to have Jack out of the house for the labor.  We didn’t want the distraction of a 3 year old wanting our attention for playing, potential potty accidents,   etc.  Also I didn’t want him to see or hear me in discomfort.  So the plan was to have my parents drive 1.5 hours from Dayton to pick him up and let him spend a day or 2 with grandma and grandpa.  In a pinch, we arranged for our Office Manager, Sara to come to the office to watch Jack or Greg’s sister, Allison to pick him up if my parents couldn’t leave right away.  We figured Jack’s labor was 39 hours, this one hopefully would be less but should still have plenty of time for all our our plans.  We later learned you have to be prepared for anything, ready for the unexpected and possibility of throwing your plans out the window too!

Labor and Birth

Jack’s was a marathon which I wasn’t really ready for, but made it through… this time I expected at least a half marathon but ended up with a sprint!

This pregnancy I had more nausea, felt like my belly was growing much more quickly, more trouble sleeping and more discomfort and fatigue and due to that I was sure this baby would come early.  I was really hoping anyway.  When our due date (April 2) came and went I was really getting antsy, and frustrated.  I had many days with an hour or 2 of contractions and they just got my hopes up.  Each morning I woke up I couldn’t believe I was still pregnant!  I had been having braxton hicks contractions in increasing frequency since week 36.  On April 8th, friday evening, I had contractions for 11 hours, averaging 7-8min. apart.  I was really hoping to see some sign that it was the start of labor but they stopped by morning.    Saturday, April 9th I had random contractions on and off throughout the day, nothing consistent and that evening I had 2 hours of contractions 5 min. apart.  I had another uncomfortable restless night Saturday night and early Sunday morning, around 5am had a mini emotional breakdown.  I was crying and frustrated, and told Greg I just couldn’t go another day pregnant, uncomfortable and unable to sleep (I thought this every day in the last month but I finally just broke down).  I prayed that this pregnancy would be over and we’d meet our baby asap then tried to fall back asleep.

Two hours and 45 min. later, Sunday April 10th at 7:45 I woke up with contractions 3 min. apart.  Again, I was hoping this would be the real thing but was doubtful because every previous time the contractions just went away after a few hours.  Plus I had not had the bloody show/mucus plug yet which I had with Jack’s labor about 18 hours before his birth.  I really thought I’d have this sign again at the beginning of this labor.  However after 30 min. of this I felt they were somewhat strong and I decided to call our midwife Abby.  She suggested getting in the bath and see if they get any stronger or closer.  She said she expected real labor for us might start with contractions about 8-10 min. apart and get closer and stronger from there.

So I drank some water and got in the bath (used most of our hot water) and the contractions continued.  I thought they were getting a little stronger and a few were closer but I just wasn’t sure and still had no mucus plug or bloody show.  I figured I should have time to feel it out and decide if this was real labor or not.  In the mean time, just in case it was true labor, Greg first contacted his sister, Allison who lives in Worthington to see if she was off work.  We didn’t want to have my parents drive all the way if it wasn’t labor.  She was working so Greg went ahead and called my parents and told them labor might be starting, we weren’t sure and asked if they would come just in case this was real labor.  If it wasn’t they could enjoy a Sunday afternoon with Jack anyway.  We were really thrown for a loop because these contractions started at 3 min. apart so we didn’t know if we should wait and see or prepare for a fast moving labor.   There isn’t far to go from 3 minutes but also, it seemed unlikely after Jack’s very gradual and slow moving labor that it would really start this fast.

I got out of the bath and contractions were getting stronger.  Greg asked if he should start the dishwasher and I said you better start filling the birthing tub instead (we have a really small hot water heater).  I told Greg he better call my parents and make sure they left and I text Sara (9:20am) to come to the office.  Things were picking up quickly and now I wasn’t sure if my parents would make it in time and I could really use Greg’s support through the contractions.  Greg followed up with Sara, as I was starting to need to focus on getting through each contraction and he also took care of Jack, all while filling the tub too.  So much was happening all at once and by now we knew it was real labor.

Basically Greg was running around like a crazy person trying to take care of EVERYTHING and in the mean time I was trying to relax through these quickly increasingly uncomfortable contractions.  I felt the most relief to sit on the toilet or lean on the bed during the contractions, while waiting for the birthing tub to fill.  It was maybe 9:30 or 9:45 at this time.  I soon went to the bathroom and lost the mucus plug.  Greg called Abby to tell her and to let her know things appeared to be moving very fast.  She called Kelley and both were on their way.  He also called Sara to let her know to come straight to our house, he wouldn’t be able to leave to take Jack to the office.  Contractions were fast and really uncomfortable so I got in the birth tub even though it was only about 1/4 full, but I really needed some relief.  I was thinking, what did I get myself into again!  I forgot how intensely uncomfortable this was.  I was thinking I really hope I can get through this but wow this is hard!  I wasn’t really timing the contractions at this time but they were close and very strong.  I was very surprised that I could already feel the head maybe only an inch or 2 high and told Greg that too.  Greg could hear I was having some trouble.  After one contraction he saw me go through he said to me “Are you pushing already?”.  I then realized my body was already pushing without me consciously trying or wanting to (since the midwives weren’t there yet).  At this point with Jack still here, Greg  did his best running in to scratch my back then running out to take care of Jack who had an accident in his pants.  It really did help me though.  That back and forth continued for a little while until Sara arrived just after 10am and left around 10:15.  A million thanks to Sara!  I had no idea how soon our baby would be born!  I was so glad she made it and I could get Greg’s undivided attention.  I really needed it at that time.  I was questioning if I could do it and was struggling a bit with the contractions.  I was getting through them but just barely.  I was trying hard to relax during my breaks and also dreading the next contraction to come.

I was struggling and thinking I can not take this much longer at all, I don’t know if I can make it. Then I realized, is this transition already, labor just started 2:30 hours ago!  Greg said that I told him that I couldn’t do it out loud but I don’t remember verbalizing my thought, thought it was just in my head!  I thought well if this is transition then it can’t last more than 30 min. or so (This is around 10:15/10:20).  Maybe 5 min or less later I felt my water break and the intensity immediately increased further.  I didn’t think it could get any more intense at that point!  I thought I could feel the hair and that the head was coming down quickly.  I asked Greg to look and got on my knees in the tub so he could see.  He confirmed it was the head and called Abby again and updated her and she said she was 5 min. away and for me to try not to push too hard.  Well the head was coming and my body was pushing without me trying at all.  Maybe 2-3 contractions after my water broke the head was half way out and I felt like I needed to push it all the way out.  Then, we heard Kelley walk in the door and Greg was so relieved!  She was very surprised the head was out and helped deliver the rest of his body (10:27am).  Yep, it was a boy!  I was just in disbelief (and relief) at the whole thing.  Abby arrived just after Walter and her and Kelley took over checking Walt and I.  He came out quiet but healthy and eventually tested out his vocals.  He was calm and cuddly for our first hour of bonding after the birth.  We left the cord/placenta attached for the first hour this time.  I then enjoyed a warm shower and spent the rest of the day resting with baby Walt!

I had a small 1st degree tear but wouldn’t have know if they didn’t tell me.  I also never would have guessed his size at 10lb 8 oz.  Fortunately there were no problems getting him out and the size didn’t seem to make a difference for me.    I think we were all shocked at the drastic difference my 2 labors.  We are happy everything turned out well.  Recovery so far has been easier and faster this time around.

After a fast, chaotic, but successful 3hr 18 min (3 stages) labor, with just 29 min. of pushing and maybe just 3-4 conscious, intentional pushes, Walter (Walt) James Prenger was born April 10, 2011 at 10:27am, 10lb, 8oz and 21 inches.  

      

 After Thoughts

Well as you read, there wasn’t enough time during Walt’s labor for all of our “plans”.  Trip to the store, ha!  Time and need for all the ice chips we made, all the relaxation techniques we practiced, nope!  Despite the rushing and craziness, I felt more in control this time and more comfortable with everything happening with my body.  I had been there before and while it was very uncomfortable and painful at times, I knew what was coming, I knew it wouldn’t last forever and I knew our baby would come soon (well didn’t know that soon!).  While I did have thoughts of questioning if I could make it, I knew I could and I did truly believe that this time.  Even though Walt’s head was coming and the midwives weren’t there yet I didn’t feel panicked or frightened or worried, it all felt natural and my body was just doing it’s thing.  I also did say on top of drinking water even during the craziness.  For any future births the main thing I would do different would be fill the birthing tub in advance.  I would still probably make plans for the long haul, just in case but will be ready for a sprint.  Apparently I can have labors very different from one another so I will be ready to go with the flow and prepared for anything!

Stay tuned for “Daddy’s Story” of Walter’s Birth…

Comments (7) »

Fun, Family News for Christmas

First of all, Merry Christmas to everyone.  I just love the holiday season!  We have been listening to Christmas music, watching Christmas shows, cut down a Christmas Tree, put up Christmas lights, made a gingerbread house (cake house as Jack calls it), and of course Christmas cookies!  I hope you have been enjoying the season as much as our family!  Some of you may already know, as I am a little behind in posting our exciting news, but the Prenger Family is expecting our second baby in early April.  I’m about 6 months now.  We are anticipating with excitement our new arrival!  You also may have noticed I took a several month break from blogging.  The hiatus was in part due to me working extra hours for 8 weeks, filling in for a local chiropractor who had 2 surgeries this summer.  Also contributing was the fact that the early months of this pregnancy I was really sick and nauseous 24/7, much more so than my pregnancy with Jack.

A comparison of my pregnancy’s so far: I made a nifty chart on my mac and it would not transfer to wordpress without wacky format (frustration!) so here’s the info anyway.

Pregnancy 1: Strong smells were noticed, a little nauseous between meals, didn’t mind cooking, diaper/potty changing – N/A, no cravings, food aversion was garlic, no weird habits, fatigue for 1 week very early, nausea lasted week 7-20.

Pregnancy 2: Strong smells = sick, between meals = sick, changing diaper/potty = sick, cooking = sick, cravings are random, I see or hear something then have to have it.  Lately it has been cereal (which I never buy) and oranges.  Aversions were random and changing early, none as of lately, fatigue was extreme for first trimester, extreme sickness lasted week 5-14, mild for a few weeks after that and rare now.  Oh, and my weird habit, spitting (see below for details).

On the spitting topic, yes, so weird and annoying!  Early in the pregnancy I felt like I was making a ton of saliva and swallowing it made me sick (of course).  I did read that I’m not alone and it is something many pregnant women experience.  I had to carry around what Greg called my “spitter”, a bottle or cup.  I had one in my purse, car, every room in the house!  Yes it is comical (and a bit embarrassing when in public but I had to do it, HAD TO!) and Greg throughly enjoyed teasing about my new habit.  Well, not really a habit but a necessity.   Fortunately the spitting has passed.  I was not very good at managing the sickness.  I did try not to eat large meals, but didn’t do a good job of bringing snacks with me at work and when I was out.  Partly due to extreme fatigue and chaotic work schedule, needing to get Jack and the house ready for family members who watched him, taking him to relatives houses ect. while I was working extra shifts.  And partly because not many foods sounded appealing to me.  When I did bring a snack it seemed to help but I also felt like I was eating non-stop and I just couldn’t eat that often, comfortably, even if it was small snacks/meals.  I did make some pregnancy tea which seemed to help a bit.  I’m not crazy about the flavor but I forced it down to help muffle the sickness.

Pregnancy Tea from CHOICE

Red Raspberry Leaf

Nettle Leaf

Passion Flower

Oatstraw

Alfalfa

Add a handful to hot water in a mason jar.  Let sit (longer the stronger and more beneficial).  I usually let it sit overnight.  Then strain and either re-heat or chill (my choice) and enjoy (or force down).  It isn’t all that bad, I’m just not a big tea person unless it’s really fruity or mild,  I am trying to be though

What do you do for nausea during pregnancy?  Was it challenging for you as well?  Any tips?  Anything you swear by?  Please leave a comment!

Comments (1) »

Recapping Jack’s Pregnancy: Month 9

There was a lot of excitement and restlessness during the last month for me.  I knew labor and the birth of our “Baby J” were just around the corner.  Greg and I were very excited to meet our new family member.  Sleep was hard to come by during this last month.  It was often interrupted due to frequent bathroom trips and discomfort from an awkwardly large belly.  It’s comical that I actually thought I’d get better sleep after the birth…I later learned that’s not exactly how it works!  JacksBirthday 013

We spent a lot of time preparing the baby room this month.  We painted the top half of the walls in the nursery a sea green color and left the bottom half white.  Greg and his friend touched up and painted a hand-me-down rocking chair and the dresser/changing table my sisters and I used when we were babies.  We also put together the crib we received from a co-worker of my mom.  I definitely like the idea of re-using baby furniture.  Everything we have has little or no signs of wear and many good years left.  We set up a bassinette in our room, passed down from Greg’s Brother.  We opened and hung the tiny clothes and other baby necessities we received from our shower.  Everything was all set and we were just waiting.  Greg was working as a personal trainer, while we worked out the details for our up-coming business.  He told his clients, co-workers and boss that he was awaiting the phone call.  I was at home, antsy and waiting for some sign of labor.  I spent the days finishing up the baby room and curtains I was making for 3 different windows in our home.

 JacksBirthday 025

 

We had weekly appointments with the midwives during the final month of pregnancy.  Every time we were there I was hoping Abby, Kelley, or Jill would tell us that labor had started or was about to any minute.… but that was not the case.  We waited and waited as the ninth month came and went.  I thought any day now… but the day went by, and the next, and the next… Finally, 8 days later I KNEW SOMETHING WAS DIFFERENT!  Stay tuned for Jack’s birth story coming up on his 18 month birthday.

Wow my face is swollen!

Wow my face is swollen!

Comments (2) »

Recaping Pregnancy: Month 8

I would like to finish recapping my first pregnancy, with Jack, which I started months ago.  I hope I can look back at my blog and remember my wonderful experiences.  In hind sight, it would have been even better to record my pregnancy experience as it was happening, but I am just glad to get it down now.  I hope to add Month 9 soon and conclude with Jack’s birth story at his 18 month birthday in August. 

Palmer Graduation 036So to continue with month 8, December 2007:  Swelling was becoming obvious now.  Greg lovingly did many foot massages trying to alleviate some of the swelling.  We also used Kinesio Tape which did help some.  Quality sleep was a challenge due to the growing baby.  I felt lots of kicking throughout the day by my little baby, most frequently under my right rib cage! 

 Home Visit

The midwives, Abby, Kelley, and Jill came to our home during month 8.  This was their practice run to ensure they new where we lived.  They made sure we had the tub set up correctly.  We had to prepare a few things for the visit.  We baked towels and sheets in individual brown bags, in our oven to sterilize them.  We set out the birthing kit purchased from CHOICE with necessities such as gloves, chucks pads, squirt bottles for sterilizing, several creams, and some other items.  Jill went through everything in the box and told us what they were all for.  They made sure we had a plan for where the birth would be, plan of action for after the birth, showering, where to rest, clean-up, ect.  Jill then did the usual prenatal checks – blood pressure, swelling, baby’s position, belly measurement, ect.  During the checks, they determined “Baby J” was posterior.  This position typically made for a more difficult birth.  This was not good news to me.  They instructed me to not sit in any recliners – which I had a habit of doing on our comfy couch.  I should instead sit very straight in a chair or on a swiss ball.  I also was instructed to spend time on my hands and knees to encourage the baby to flip back anterior.  I first thought how ridiculous – you want me to walk around all day on my hands and knees like a dog!  Well, it felt crazy, but I definitely didn’t want to put myself in a position of having a difficult, posterior labor at home, my first time.  So I moved my car char upright, no more reclining, spent a lot of time sitting and laying on my belly on the swiss ball, and even on my hands and knees….

 … the results… It worked!!!!!! The following week visit back at the CHOICE offices “Baby J” had flipped into the proper position and my efforts were successful.  I discontinued the walking around on my hands and feet, but I did continue to avoid the recliner and sat up very straight on all chairs and used the swiss ball.  I did not want my baby to regress back to the posterior position.  

Busy Busy Busy

Month 8 was a busy one for Greg, “Baby J” and I.  It started with graduation.  We flew to Florida with Greg’s parents and sister Lindsay.  It was hard to believe nearly 10 years collage and graduate schooling was finally coming to a close.  I had been a student for so many years, it was a big milestone to finally be finished!  Greg and I both graduated with honors and Greg the Salutatorian of the class.  I was looking good – very pregnant, in my graduation gown!  Shortly after graduation we enjoyed celebrating Christmas with our family.  Just after the new year was our baby shower!  My mom hosted with the help of my Aunt Gail.  It was a very nice afternoon was filled with yummy food, fun games, and catching up with family and friends.  My grandma and Aunt Bee tied the guessing game for the baby’s height and weight at birth.  We received many wonderful gifts and baby necessities for our upcoming arrival.  Baby gear is so adorable, at the time, most of it seemed so foreign I hoped I would know what to do with it all after the baby arrived… and we did.   Check out a previous blog I did on my favorite baby Necessities here!

Leave a comment »

Pregnancy: Month 6 (10/07)

One thing I forgot to mention last month… I don’t know how I forgot such a memorable moment.  Last month was the first time we heard Baby “J”’s Heartbeat!  Because we were living in Florida until month 5, we were corresponding with the midwives via email in lieu of appointments.  Once we were back in Ohio we were both really looking forward to that first appointment.  The moment we first heard the heartbeat was blissful!  My heart smiled a huge grin.  I just thought, “Wow, that’s our baby, our real live, growing baby in there.”  The whole pregnancy had been so surreal for me, and little by little everything was becoming more real.  This day I took a giant step into reality and it was a happy, exciting step!

24 wks

24 wks

Month 6 was a pretty low key month.  Nausea is now long gone, belly and baby are growing steadily and extreme fatigue and discomfort haven’t set in yet.  Greg and I had settled into our internships and our new home in Columbus.  We were enjoying our first fall back in Ohio.  We picked out a pumpkin and some fresh apples and apple butter from Lynd’s Fruit Farm in New Albany, OH.  We made it to at least one of Sister-in-law Lindsay’s football games where she twirled the baton as a majorette.  Catching up on the pregnancy… movement was definitely on the rise this month.  Baby “J” was using my right rib cage as a punching bag daily!  He was working on building legs of steel!  Hicc-ups were also becoming more noticeable.  Greg could even see my belly jump!  We also were playing more music for baby “J” this month.  Early in the pregnancy we bought “The First Sounds Deluxe Prenatal Gift Set”.  It looked like a wonderful gadget, boasting the ability to listen to your baby’s movements and heartbeat.  What a Joke!  We pulled out our baby listener every month up to our due date and never heard our baby.  All I heard was static and maybe some bowel sounds.  We did enjoy playing soothing music to baby “J” with the hopes that he would recognize and be soothed by the same sounds after birth, however this could have been done just as well with any CD or mp3 player and some headphones.

26 wks

26 wks

 

 

heather-with-the-winning-pumpkin

Leave a comment »

Pregnancy Month 5: Finally a Baby Bump!… and the BIG Move!

(09/2007) 20 wks

(09/2007) 20 wks

During my 5th Month of Pregnancy I was excited to finally be showing a little baby bump!  I was glad to be slowly moving beyond that weird stage where you just feel fat and not pregnant.  I felt like everyone walking by me just thought I was packing on some extra pounds but it was finally becoming obvious that those were baby pounds!   Baby “J” continued moving and kicking more often and the nausea was finally subsiding!  That was a huge relief.  While I never actually threw up, I felt like it all the time and sometimes I wished I could have just thrown up to feel better.  So I was so grateful when the queasiness was gone!

 

Also toward the end of my 5th month, September 2007 we made the big move to Ohio.  At this point we had been in Florida for 3 years.  3 Years of Chiropractic school (3.5 by graduation), 3 Years of sun, warm winters, beaches, ocean, palm trees, yummy, local pineapple-oranges and fresh seafood…. AND 3 years of hot, hot, hot summers, really the never-ending summer, sweating just walking to the car, homework, termites, fire aunts, hurricanes, motorcycles, rednecks, NASCAR racing, and 15 hour long drives to see family.  Being September, months into the hot 90+ degree weather and no break in sight, it was the perfect time to move back to Ohio, just in time for fall.  I love summer and I love warm, but I hate Hot!  I had also missed the fall so I was looking forward to colorful leaves, pumpkin patches and corn mazes!  Although we were moving back to Ohio, our school wasn’t finished.  We had the option to do our last quarter as an externship at the location of our choice.  Greg and I chose to move back to Columbus where we planed to eventually open our own chiropractic office.  Also, we were glad to be closer to family with our baby on the way.  We rented an ABF moving truck for the move.  That worked great because it was affordable and they drive the truck for you, we just had to pack it.  Greg did most of the loading; he didn’t want me lifting heavy objects, although I thought I was more than capable.  I guess it was safer that way with the baby and hot temperatures.  We arrived in Ohio and started our externships a few days later!

Moving Day

Comments (2) »