Category Archives: Pregnancy

I’m Alive and Pregnant

I know I haven’t posted anything here in eons. The main reason is I’m pregnant and its hard for me to think about anything else. Jaeger and I wanted to wait until I was out of the risky 1st trimester before informing the world (thus the lack of entries). However, I’m now a solid 15 weeks. We also had a genetic screening done around week 13 and the results came back normal. I have been keeping an anonymous pregnancy blog on the side. I’m going to try to back-post the entries from there onto this site (the first pregnancy related entry will be this one). For a video of my latest ultrasound, you can visit Jaeger’s entry here.

Pain Relief

At 1:30 AM Monday morning I woke up with a splitting headache. I lay awake for a couple of minutes and then decided to go downstairs, drink some tea and read a book while hoping the headache would dissipate on its own. An hour later, the pain seemed better so I decided it was time to try bed again. As soon as I lay down, the pain was back. I thrashed around a little bit more. Eventually, I decided to give up and take some acetaminophen (Tylenol). For some reason, I tend to be a little resistant to taking medication to deal with pain. I don’t know why. I’m not scared of pain medication, but I would prefer if the pain would go away on its own. The pain started lessening within the next half hour and eventually I dropped off to sleep. I woke up at 6:00 AM almost giddy with the realization that the pain was completely gone.

Ever since I started researching pregnancy, I’ve been trying to decide whether or not I would want to get an epidural. Pain medication for labor has evolved immensely in the last decade and many of the concerns that were valid a couple of decades ago aren’t as much of an issue anymore (btw, I’m still researching the pros and cons of epidurals/pain medications so feel free to post links to research you’ve found in the comments below). As I mentioned in my previous post, I really enjoyed reading The Best Birth book. When talking about natural childbirth, McMoyler said something that resonated with me, “I believe that avoiding epidurals and medical interventions is an excellent goal–but only in the same way that climbing a very tall mountain is an excellent goal: For some people, it’s great; for others it simply isn’t doable” (p. 167).

As I mentioned above, I tend to be a little resistant to taking pain medication and I do like a challenge. However, lying in bed pain-free at 6AM Monday morning I couldn’t think of any good reason why I should refuse an epidural. If it felt this good being pain-free after a minor headache, why would I consider going through labor without pain medication? Again, if I find good research studies indicating that pain medication is likely to negatively effect my baby or me in the long term, I’ll reconsider. However, for now, I’m strongly leaning towards getting an epidural at some point during my labor.

Book Reviews

This last week I finished reading The Best Birth by Sarah McMoyler and Armin Brott as well as Easy Labor by William Camann and Kathryn J. Alexander.

The Best Birth book is currently one of my favorite childbirth books. McMoyler and Brott spent a lot of time discussing how husbands can be involved in the birth process. In addition, they covered various pain coping methods including both natural methods and medication options. I felt like this was one of the most balanced books I’d read. It seems like many books try to push either all natural childbirth or just assume you’ll choose an epidural. I liked that the focus of this book is “healthy mother, healthy baby” and however you choose to get that result is okay. McMoyler also has a DVD called The Best Birth. Unfortunately, it’s not available in any libraries but I liked her book enough that I’m probably going to go ahead and buy the DVD. The only downside I encountered in the book is they didn’t recommend using doulas. The reason given is that your husband should be providing the support that a doula usually does. She also mentioned that some doctors/hospitals are uncomfortable with them. However, this isn’t true in my case, I’ve already checked.

I’m a little nervous about only having my husband to help me through labor. I know the nurses and doctors will be there to help me but they need to split their attention between me and all the other women on the maternity floor. It would be nice to have another person focusing just on me and my husband. Instead of hiring a labor doula, McMoyler suggestions hiring one to help with postpartum care. This does make a lot of sense to me but at the same time I think I might want additional support during the labor. I haven’t decided one way or the other yet. I’ll probably need to discuss this with my husband more and see what he thinks. In any case, I would have appreciated it if the book covered where a doula would fit in if you wanted to have one with you.

Before reading The Best Birth, I read Easy Labor. This book had a lot of information especially regarding pain medication options. It did include descriptions of Lamaze, the Bradley Method, Hynotherapy, and more but I felt like most of the space was devoted to pain medication and other possible medical interventions. Even though I didn’t like it as well as The Best Birth, I think it provides the most thorough information about pain options. Even if I decide not to use pain medication, I think it’s useful to understand the pros and cons so one can make an informed decision since it seems labor almost never goes according to plan ๐Ÿ™‚ Camann and Alexander were also featured on an episode of Pregtastic. I really enjoy listening to the Pregtastic podcasts as they have many experts on to talk about pregnancy related issues as well as the chance to hear many womens’ birth stories.

First Trimester Screening

Originally posted to the anonymous pregnancy blog September 23, 2008.

Last Thursday I went to a clinic for first trimester screening. From what I hear, it’s a relatively new test that combines your family history, an ultrasound screen and a blood test and comes up with the probability that your baby might have Down syndrome, Trisomy 13, or Trisomy 18 abnormalities. I’m only 29 so my risk was relatively low but I always like double checking everything ๐Ÿ™‚ The ultrasound results were reassuring but I didn’t get the blood work results back until today. They also were positive good (my husband pointed out that positive generally means bad things in this context. The test were all normal indicating no abnormalities). As with everything, they can’t tell me there’s no chance our child will have a chromosome abnormality but it is unlikely.

This is the test my husband and I have been waiting for to start telling everyone. Our mothers have been straining at the bit to start boasting so I expect the whole world to know by tomorrow now that they have the go-ahead :-)

In other news, I finally tackled the closet in our soon-to-be-ex-library and new baby room. The closet is now empty awaiting baby stuff.

Books

Originally posted to the anonymous pregnancy blog September 15, 2008.

I am librarian. Contrary to popular belief, librarians are not paid to sit and read all day. However, most librarians do love books. I’m hoping my children will also learn to love books. The problem I’m currently facing is how to introduce them to books. I’ve never worked with children before and I don’t have the first clue about which books children do and do not like. In the past couple of weeks I’ve done some preliminary research about how to choose books for infants. So far, I’ve learned that I should start with books that have high contrast images and rhyming text.

Today I had time to stop by several thrift stores and start picking out board books that hopefully our child will find entertaining. Here’s what I got:

  • All Aboard 1 2 3 4 (this is actually a foam book that isn’t appropriate until at least age 1)
  • The Alphabet Book
  • Bialosky’s House: A Color Book
  • Bitty Bear at Play
  • Curious George and the Bunny
  • Guess How Much I Love You
  • A Little Book of Numbers
  • Time for Bed
  • Thomas the Tank Engine’s Hidden Surprises
  • Trucks

Of course, I also plan to check out books from the library but one can never have too many books. Anybody have suggestions of books you or your babies loved? I’m starting a list of books I need to acquire :-)

Heartbeat

Originally posted to the anonymous pregnancy blog September 11, 2008.

Monday I went to another doctor appointment. I didn’t expect it to be terribly exciting but to my surprise I discovered that they were going to try to hear the baby’s heartbeat. The nurse warned me that it wasn’t certain they would be able to this early in the pregnancy. It took a while to find the right spot but all of a sudden loud and clear there was my baby’s heartbeat. It was very surreal but also comforting. Baby is still in there and currently appears to be doing fine.

After that, the doctor came in and talked for a bit. She mentioned that I had gained too much weight (she put it much more diplomatically but that’s what she meant). I already knew this as I weigh myself daily. I actually appeared to be two pounds heavier than I really was that day (I had gone hiking the previous day and always gain a couple of pounds the next day that come right off). However, I’ve still gained more than is ideal for the first trimester. Ironically, I use to have a problem with eating too much because I love food. Since around week 6, I haven’t been terribly interested in eating but it seems to be the only way to prevent morning sickness. When it comes to a decision between gaining weight and throwing up, I’ve consistently chosen gaining weight.

Tuesday I decided to try cutting back my first breakfast in an attempt to reduce my calorie intake a little bit. Instead of eating a slice of peanut butter applesauce toast, I just ate a couple pears. As I was driving on the interstate in route to work, I sudden felt extremely nauseated. I frantically went through a mental inventory of everything in the car that might work as a bag in case I actually threw up. I had nothing suitable. Fortunately, I had the foresight to pack a couple of Triscuits for a snack later in the day. I managed to get enough of them in me that my nausea subsided. Due to this experiment, I decided that breakfast was not the time to try to reduce calories and that my morning sickness was real and not all in my head. By mid-afternoon my morning sickness has usually subsided so I’ve cut back on my afternoon snacks and at this point my weight appears to have stabilized. However, I am going through Triscuits at an appalling rate. I’m going to Costco tomorrow and I’m hoping they carry Triscuits in bulk :-)

Week 11

Originally posted to the anonymous pregnancy blog September 6, 2008.

Before I was pregnant I read everything I could find about what I should expect. Several books recommended that I keep a journal of my pregnancy. This seemed like a good idea so I started this blog. However, I think these books forgot to mention that, at least for me, the first trimester of pregnancy is pretty boring. This is probably good. It’s much better to have a boring, predictable pregnancy than an exciting one filled with unexpected complications.

I still feel lousy most days. However, I’ve only thrown up three times. I have food aversions and bloating but I haven’t experienced the other potential first trimester signs such as fatigue.

Currently, my husband and I feel like we’re in a holding pattern. We’ve only told my family and a few friends that I’m pregnant but it’s getting harder and harder to avoid accidentally telling people. I have my next doctor appointment Monday and, assuming everything sounds normal, we’re thinking of starting to spread the news after that. It’ll be a relief to finally tell people, especially my co-workers. Every morning I’ve been carefully analyzing my wardrobe and once dressed, I’ll ask my husband, “does this make me look pregnant?”

Labor Research

Originally posted to the anonymous pregnancy blog August 26, 2008.

My mother sent me a fascinating article from the American Academy of Physician called “Spontaneous Vaginal Delivery.” Only the abstract is online but if you happen to be near a library that carries it, it’s an interesting read. I was particularly surprised to hear epidurals slow labor down (338). From the anecdotal stories I’ve heard, I had received the impression that epidurals sped up the process of labor, not slowed it down. I suppose this is yet another reason it’s important to make decisions based on research rather than assumptions ๐Ÿ™‚

Peanuts

Originally posted to the anonymous pregnancy blog August 21, 2008.

I love peanut butter. Adam’s Peanut Butter bought in Costco-sized jars permeated my life growing up. Our morning breakfasts almost always included peanut butter in some form. We often ate fruit toast* but sometimes we’d just have waffles with lots of peanut butter and syrup on top. During the Christmas season, my mother would always make “Christmas Candy” which inevitably included peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate.

Several years ago, when I started researching pregnancy, I was appalled to discover that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended atopic women avoid peanuts while pregnant and breastfeeding. The theory was that the baby could develop an allergy to peanuts from this early exposure. I’m atopic and my brother-in-law is allergic to peanuts. I glumly decided that for the happiness of my child later in life, I would have to abstain from consuming peanuts for several years.

However, just a couple months before I actually became pregnant, the American Academy of Pediatrics reversed their stance on peanuts! According to them, “At the present time, there is lack of evidence that maternal dietary restrictions during pregnancy play a significant role in the prevention of atopic disease in infants” (source). I’m excited and very relieved. This past week toasted peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are one of the few lunch items I don’t have any aversion to eating. I can’t imagine what I would be eating if I had to avoid peanuts. Maybe almond butter and jelly sandwhiches? It just doesn’t sound right.

Neither my husband nor I have food allergies but both of our immediate families do. When it comes to food tolerances, I’m really hoping our children take after us rather than our family.

* Fruit toast is toasted whole wheat bread slathered with peanut butter and topped with some sort of fruit sauce, often applesauce.

I’m Still Alive

Originally posted to the anonymous pregnancy blog August 16, 2008.

It’s ironic that as soon as I have something worth writing about, I don’t have any time to write. A week ago last Thursday, I had my first official prenatal visit. My husband came along as the receptionist had said that I was going to get my first ultrasound. I haFirst Ultrasoundd no idea they did ultrasounds so early in a pregnancy. We learned that our baby does have a heart beat, is correctly implanted in the uterus, and there’s only one in there.

My morning sickness hasn’t gotten any worse. I suppose I should consider myself lucky. However, I have developed an aversion to vegetables and dark chocolate. Before I was pregnant, I was very diligent in making sure I was eating tons of veggies and huge green salads. Now I can’t stand them unless they’re deeply hidden in some other dish. This is particularly distressing since I have a CSA share and have been receiving large quantities of vegetables. The vegetables have been sitting in my refrigerator glaring reproachfully at me every time I open the door.

Most of this last week I’ve been gone to a conference in Canada. To my relief, I managed to keep my food down the entire time though there were some tricky moments in the airplane coming back. It was a good conference but I’m very glad to be back home.