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Madilyn’s Birth Story – Verified by Snopes

28 Feb

This is NOT a fish tale.  I repeat:  This is NOT a fish tale.

Everything said here is to-the-minute truth.  I have witnesses who will be happy to verify the facts contained herein because it’s not really verified by Snopes.  Although that would be cool.

I decided to share this because over the course of the past week, the realization that I will be going into labor again VERY soon has finally sunk in.  And call me crazy, but I’m excited.  I’ve had 2 great pain-medication-free labor experiences and am looking forward to another (final) one.

Disclaimer:  Madilyn’s birth was not a 100% “natural” one.  By that, I mean that I was induced with Pitocin.  She was, however; born without the use of pain meds.  To me, natural birth means one where you went into labor on your own (naturally) and then delivered your baby vaginally without the use of pain medication.  Being that I was artificially induced, she was not born “naturally”.   And when you tell me that you had a “natural” birth, I assume that you had one without pain medication.  Vaginal does NOT equal “natural”.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way…  I was war-torn and weary by the time Madilyn was due.  Her due date was 9.11.09 and I had been on strict bed rest for very near 3 months of my pregnancy due to incompetent cervix.  I was in and out of the hospital for bleeding, falling down the stairs (after being put on modified bed rest), and a few other issues.  I did NOT want to be induced.  I cried my eyes out when my doctor told me that she scheduled an induction on 9.9.09.  I hadn’t advocated for my health thusfar, why on earth did I think I could argue with her about an induction?  I didn’t so I went along with it.  Her reasoning for inducing me was that I was 6cm dilated and 50% effaced.  She knew my plans for a natural child birth and that I intended to labor at home until I felt myself moving into transition.  Because I was only in labor with my first child for 3 hours, 6 minutes from 1st contraction to his birth, she was concerned that I would have this baby on the side of the highway.    Because I was so beaten down, I went along with it despite the fact that when I called Kyle to tell him the news, he asked me if I could schedule a different day.  Because apparently MOST babies don’t just decide to come on their own.  Madilyn was TOTALLY sensitive to her daddy’s schedule.  Way to make a crying pregnant woman feel better, honey!

So the day came.  I woke up, applied waterproof mascara, ate an english muffin and an egg (against my physician’s orders – hahahaha!), gathered my stuff and went to the hospital at a very early 5am.  I didn’t really know what to expect other than the fact that this hospital was AH-MAZING and very progressive.  They provide birth balls for each and every room, a soaking tub to labor in, a safe shower, music, dim lights, and a “birth center” vibe.  (Someday I’ll write about why I had her in a hospital instead of a birth center).  They admitted me into my room after an hour wait.  Apparently there were a lot of women giving birth on 9.9.09.  I wonder how  many were “planned” like mine but only because of the “cool birthdate” *insert eye roll here*.  The nurse came in to set my IV and blew 3 veins.  I have PHENOMENAL veins.  It has never, ever happened before.  She got another nurse (thank GOD) who did a fine job but because the “usable” veins in both arms were blown they had to set my IV in my hand which was NOT ideal.  Once my doctor came in to check me (still at 6cm, 50%), they started my Pitocin.  We had told our families to not bother coming to the hospital because we knew that we wanted to have a calm, quiet birth and we didn’t know how long it would take for the Pitocin to kick in so we didn’t want people sitting up there all day long waiting for absolutely nothing to happen.  Kyle’s parents did end up coming but they were being super-cautious because of my major fast labor with Styles.  They came up to the room to say hello and still nothing had happened.  I wanted to get up and walk around so I took my IV cart with me and we did a few laps around the halls of the labor floor.  I couldn’t believe how quiet it was.  There were no women screaming in pain, no heavy breathing through contractions, no lamaze-type heaving, just silence.  It occurred to me that I was the ONLY woman in the entire (FULL) labor ward who was having a pain-med-free birth.  Weird.  We were “out and about” for about 30 minutes but I got bored and wasn’t feeling a darn thing happening so we went back to my room.  My doctor came in to check my contractions.  They had me hooked up to this crazy wireless contraction monitor so that I could walk around and still be monitored.  It didn’t check for strength of contraction, just their presence.  NUTTIN’.  She told me to get in the bed because they were going to break my water.

I felt the hot gush of water.  I saw the disgusted yet awed look on Kyle’s face.  I heard whispers.  I felt suddenly nervous.  The nurses and my doctor began rushing around then I heard the count, 1…2…3… and they flipped me over on my right side.  After what seemed like an hour of silence where visions of an emergency C-section filled my thoughts, my doctor explained that sometimes when they break the bag of waters, the baby’s heart rate drops because the baby’s freaked out by its change of environment.  Luckily her heartbeat came back but that will be the LAST time a doctor breaks MY water.  I would have been devastated if I had wound up on an operating table.  They made me lay there for a half an hour without getting up so that they could monitor Madilyn’s heart rate.  After 30 minutes, she was steady and they allowed me to get back up.  By this time, they had turned off the Pitocin to allow Madilyn some time to get used to her new surroundings.  I was STILL not feeling anything other than the urge to poop.

Being that this was my second birth, I knew that the urge to poop could signal baby coming down the birth canal but I also knew that I hadn’t yet gone that day and since I hadn’t felt one single, solitary contraction, that this was definitely poop.  I told my nurse and she allowed me to get up and go to the potty but told me to “put a hand down there just to make sure”.  I did what she said (I’d been doing that for weeks at that point), and it was definitely NOT a baby.  At least not the kind you want to cuddle and nurse after its birth.

After doing my bizness, I went back to the room and announced that I wanted to start walking again.  They hooked me back up to the Pitocin and turned it up a bit higher than it had been before.  I was back to the track, off and running.  I remember having ONE contraction about 5 minutes into my walk and then literally not another pain for the 30 minutes I was walking.  We went back to the room to chill out and see what would happen.  I was hoping and praying that things would pick up, or even BEGIN for that matter.  I could just see 20 hours into the future and my doctor telling me grimly that the induction didn’t work and that they’d have to do a C-Section.  *sigh*

One of my very best friends, Nicole was attending my birth.  She is a phenomenal massage therapist in the Orlando, FL area and had given birth to her second son in a birth center.  Because she had endured a truly natural birth, because she is one of the closest people in the world to me, and because she has magic hands, Kyle and I invited her to be part of our experience.  Not only to help me through labor, but to allow Kyle to take a step back to breathe.  (We were certain he was going to be running around like a chicken with his head cut off while I was in labor and I swore that if he asked me ONE TIME how I was feeling, I was going to go for his Jugular.)  Plus, I knew that she would respect my need for absolute quiet, as I was using the Hypnobirthing Method which requires deep thought and visualization.  Something that, for me, requires silence from everyone else in the room.  Nicole was there telling me everything would be fine and offered to go get Kyle some food.  It was obvious that this birth was going to take all freaking day.

Kyle’s parents were getting antzy – hey, we ALL were – and decided to go check on their pup, Farley.  They didn’t live too far away from the hospital and since nothing was happening and no contractions were registering on the monitor, they felt like a break was safe.  We let Kyle’s sister know that if she wanted to come visit, she could come visit during her lunch break because we were certain that I’d still be chillin’.  When his parents, left I sent a mass text message out  to let everyone know that I wasn’t even in labor yet.  Time stamp on text:

11:36am

11:38am: I felt my first contraction.  I wanted to jump for joy.  I hopped out of bed and started walking around the room, willing another contraction to come on.

11:41am: Second contraction.  Sweet!  They were pretty close together!  About this time, a nurse came in because she had seen that I was having contractions.  They pulled the birth ball out of the closet and outfitted it with a towel.  I went to the restroom to pee and came back to sit on the ball.

11:44am: Third contraction.  It started on the way back from the bathroom but they weren’t very painful and I was breathing deeply into my abdomen, relaxing all of the muscles in my body, imagining my uterus as a ribbon, loosening with each contraction.

At this time I quit tracking the time.  I had resigned myself to a long labor and didn’t want to be preoccupied with the seconds on the clock.  Kyle put soft music on and Nicole took her place behind me, massaging my back with each tightening phase.  After a while the contractions were coming in steady waves and after each one I was able to breathe a long sigh and smile.  They felt so good.  At some point I asked Nicole for a hair-tie because during each contraction, I was sweating as though I had just ran a mile in the hot Florida summer heat.  I remember feeling the beading of sweat on my neck, brow, and upper lip.  As each contraction waned, the sweat cooled on my temples and felt wonderful.  The deep breathing and relaxation of Hypnobirthing was fantastic.  I can’t say that it wasn’t  at all painful; it was.  But it was not nearly as painful as my labor with Styles where I tried using Lamaze.  I was moaning through each deep breath and Kyle said he was going to have to leave the room because it sounded so erotic.  (Only my husband).   I enjoyed using the visualization techniques that I had used in high school during dance season.  As each contraction ebbed and flowed, I found myself in new, relaxing places.

12:15pm: My doctor came in to check my progress.  I had been laboring for just over 1/2 hour at that point.  I crawled up in the bed during a contraction and when she checked me I was still 6cm, 50% and Madilyn was still high in my pelvis.  I was devastated.  My contractions were coming regularly at that point and they were definitely increasing in severity.  I realized that I could have  hours and hours of labor ahead of me so I took a deep breath, regained my composure and jumped back on the ball.  I began swaying my hips from side to side in a figure-8 position.  It seemed that almost immediately I felt the urge to throw up.  A few minutes later the contractions were coming harder and harder, one right on top of the other and I felt that tell-tale pressure.  I needed a new position.  The ball felt like it was going to come out from under me and my legs just couldn’t handle being at a 90 degree angle anymore.  For some reason, I just wanted to be on my back.  I know that it’s not the ideal position for a baby coming down the birth canal but it’s what felt right to me at the moment.  I was lying on my back slightly reclined, moaning through each wave.

12:35pm: I told Kyle and Nicole that I felt the urge to poop but it scared me because a mere 15 minutes prior, I had only been 6cm, 50% and I knew that there was NO way that I was ready.  Kyle went to tell the nurse and as he walked by my open legs, his eyes grew wide.  (I later found out that he saw Madilyn’s head at that point but didn’t tell me because he was so freaked out that he saw HAIR).  The nurse was apparently very flip about the whole thing, knowing that someone can’t progress from 6cm, 50% to the pushing phase in 15ish minutes.  She told him that she was going to finish her paperwork and that she’d be in to check me after a few minutes.  While he was gone, I knew that the baby was coming.  I could feel her head between my legs and I told Nicole to go get Kyle because “what could possibly be taking him SO LONG?”  Nicole was apparently able to light a fire under the nurse’s butt because she did come strolling into the room a few seconds later.  (This was after I heard Nicole yelling down the hallway).

I’ll never forget the next few minutes, no matter how hard I try.  The nurse sauntered in just KNOWING that I was insane and had no clue what was happening to my body.  I could see the word, “epidural” forming on her lips when suddenly her face changed and she began YELLING out of the room for help.  She screamed, “CALL DR. MERRITT NOW, THIS PATIENT IS READY TO GO!”

Right about that time, I felt a “POP” down below and looked down to see Madilyn’s little head sticking out, staring me right in the face.  I screamed at the nurse, “I’M PUSHING!!!” while she was screaming at me “STOOOOOOOOOP PUSHING!” I then screamed back, “I’M NOT PUSHING!”  Then I screamed again, “I’M PUSHING, I’M PUSHING!” and about that time 3 or 4 nurses were screaming back, “STOOOOOOOOOOP PUSHING!”  so I screamed back, “I’M NOT PUSHING! HOW DO I NOT PUSH?!?!?!”  What I was trying to get across to all of these nitwits was that I wasn’t actively pushing.  I apparently have “The Little Uterus That Could” because IT was pushing and there was absolutely nothing that I could do to stop it.  I was on my left side at this point, clinging to the bedrails trying to heave my way through each contraction so that I didn’t push my baby out before the doctor got there.  After ONE contraction of that, I said, “Screw this” and resumed my former position, reclined on my back, so that my uterus could do its job without my interfering.  I honestly remember feeling no contraction pain at this point and just an intense pushing down that felt SO satisfying each time it happened.  Everyone around me was frantic as my baby came further and further out of the birth canal without one, single push.  My doctor ran into the room as Madilyn’s shoulder’s were born (they hadn’t even dropped the end of the bed yet).  The nurses aided her in putting her gloves on and she arrived between my legs just in time to pull Madilyn’s feet out.  Madilyn had been born all by herself, no assistance, and not one single (voluntary) push involved.  The time was:

12:45pm

Seconds after Madilyn's birth

I was laughing inside.  I may have been laughing on the outside too (Nicole, was I laughing?)  Kyle called his folks to tell them that during their hour away from the hospital their granddaughter had been born.  I’m not sure they believed him at first but they did rush back to meet her, in absolute disbelief that it had happened so quickly after not happening at ALL for hours.

We got skin-to-skin contact and Madilyn latched on like a PRO the very first time she nursed.  It was such a crazy whirlwind labor and birth that I still can’t believe it.  Nicole told me that she tells everyone who will listen and nobody believes her.  Nobody believes Kyle when he talks about it either.  And I’m CERTAIN nobody believes me.  But that’s how it happened.  I went from 6cm dilated, 50% effaced, with my daughter riding high, to holding her within 30 minutes.  The nurses didn’t believe it and Dr. Merritt didn’t believe it.  I can’t deny I didn’t love the attention as all of the L&D nurses came in to meet me after hearing my story.  Madilyn was a star on the recovery floor because word spread up there too.  I just smiled when nurses and doctors said they couldn’t believe I did it all without pain meds.  Really?  Do THAT many people use pain meds during labor?  I can honestly say that it really isn’t THAT bad.

I’m not going to pretend that I think my next labor will be that fast but with it being right around the corner, I can only hope!

Madilyn, calm and alert after her drug-free birth. No crying and she was moving around like an older baby. Absolutely amazing.

A Fork in the Road

29 Jan

Courtesy Google Images

I’ve come to a fork in the road.  As a wife, a parent, a friend, and a blogger.  I have to decide whether staying true to myself is more important than potentially offending people or if I need to tone down my opinions and apparently “abrasive” personality to appease a few people who think that being around me is like bathing with a Brillo pad.   My last blog post about my personal experiences on bed rest caused a stir with a handful of people.  I received more positive support than negative support but the few people that it did upset felt it necessary to write me out of their lives because of my insensitivity to a certain woman, or perhaps all women, on bed rest.

NEWSFLASH:

I’ve been on bed rest before.  I have my own set of limitations now.  The blog was written by me about my own personal experiences, my old and new doctors, and old and new professional recommendations on bed rest.  It was intended to educate a very large subset of women who are burdened by bed rest every day.  It was intended to touch many women, not just one (narcissist) and her BFFs.  I’m still confused how my plea for women to educate themselves and to be their own advocates where their health is concerned caused such a backlash.  And after speaking to several people, both close to me and mere internet acquaintances, I’m still baffled that my post was considered “insensitive” and “abrasive”.  It was very personal and written after several days of research.  It was an educated post.  And it was cathartic for me.  It was a segway into a series that I am currently working on involving Postpartum Depression.  Because more women need to know.  And less women need to experience it.  If I can save one woman from the clutches of bed rest-caused depression, I will feel like I have done my job.

When I found out that my bed rest with my last pregnancy was possibly in vain, I was TICKED.  But not at the messenger!  I was ticked at my old doctor.  After living for the last 16 months with the aftermath of being bedridden for nearly 3 months during my last pregnancy, I want to tell as many women as I possibly can about the need to outweigh the risks vs benefits of this serious prescription.

I’m thankful for the outpouring of support that I HAVE received from women who have been on bed rest and women who believe that advocating for your own health needs to become a social norm.  You  may not have a medical degree, but nobody knows their own body better than you do.  Listen to it.

I hope that this post continues to educate women and that less people choose to shoot the messenger and decide to question their doctor’s advice.

So there’s the fork.

Do I continue to passionately talk about the things that I know?  My experiences?  If I’m not causing a stir, am I being effective?  Do I really even care that the “Gossiping Geese” have decided to write me off?  Yeah, it stings but if my friends can’t accept the fact that I have freedom of speech and opinion, and that *GASP* they don’t have to agree with EVERYTHING I say, I don’t really want them in my life anyways.

I guess I have to come to terms with the fact that I may upset people while I’m on this journey.  I might run across people who can’t have relationships with people who feel differently about things than they do.  I need to be OK being ME and stop caring about what other people think.  Oh geez, I sound like I’m talking to my shrink!

So there it is again,  The Fork.  Being that I am working on myself this year and that I am learning to love & live for me, I believe I’ll go THIS way:  The path where abrasion is accepted.  Because I’m never going to make everyone happy.  And I’m going to learn to be OK with that and live with the repercussions no matter how much they sting.

Thank you for joining me, for listening, and for all of your opinions, whether they gel with mine or not.

Bed Rest – Really Necessary?

27 Jan

“Bed Rest”. I think that these are two of the most feared words of all pregnant women. Many of us joke about how nice it would be to be sentenced to bed 24 hours a day/7 days per week; one long, uninterrupted nap sounds great doesn’t it?   But the fact of the matter is that bed rest is not only boring as all heck, it can be detrimental to a woman’s emotional and physical health.

I was sentenced to bed rest when I was 26 weeks pregnant with my darling daughter, lovingly nicknamed “P.I.T.A.” during my pregnancy with her. I was 50% effaced at that time, and her head was resting comfortably on my cervix. I was experiencing an immense amount of pressure “down there” and it felt like I was sitting on her head when I sat straight up. Really odd feeling. During my time on bed rest, I also had some bleeding issues but the blood was never coming from my cervix or my uterus, it was coming from my kidneys. I developed kidney stones and passed several grains. Apparently this is quite common in bed resting women.  My cervix grew to only 25% effaced by 30 weeks but my doctors kept me on bed rest, insisting that if I were to get up and move around that I would deliver a VERY pre-term baby. I was convinced that my body just works this way because I was 100% effaced and 1cm dilated by the time my doctor began checking me at 36 weeks when I was pregnant with my son 8 years prior. My new doctors weren’t convinced and they scared me into submission. Luckily for me, my mother-in-law was unemployed at the time and came over to take care of our house, our 7 yr old, and me, every single day of the week. She really saved me during that time. She cleaned, did laundry, and fed me. She picked my son up from school, entertained him, and made sure dinner was lined up for us. What she couldn’t do, was be my emotional crutch every waking moment. My husband was opening a new hotel and was working ridiculous hours as well as finishing his last semester of college. He was gone, on average, about 18 hours per day. When she left, I would immediately begin crying and I would cry, and cry, and cry, and cry until Kyle got home. I sometimes spent 7 hours straight crying my eyes out. I couldn’t explain my crying fits. I just DID. It just WAS. Aside from my mother-in-law, I had maybe 3 visitors the entire three months I was on bed rest. Maybe that had something to do with my crying fits. It wasn’t that I didn’t have friends, I had some great friends in Orlando. The fact was that bed rest was MY life, not theirs. They had lives of their own; children to care for, jobs to work, new boyfriends to entertain, businesses to start-up, schools to attend. People said they’d come but they never did. I don’t fault them for it now, I know that as my life had come to a screeching halt, theirs had continued on as normal. And why shouldn’t they? Their lives were the same, it was mine that had changed so drastically. Knowing that deep down in my heart didn’t ease the pain. It didn’t erase the fact that I felt alone, rejected, and broken; physically and emotionally. I ended up carrying my daughter to term. Rejoice all you want for me, I was ticked. I spent all that time trying to keep her in and when I was taken off of strict bed rest and placed on modified bed rest at 36 weeks, I still didn’t have her until she was 40 weeks gestation. All that crying and time on my back for WHAT?

This pregnancy, I was concerned that the same thing would happen. I spent the first 26 weeks of my pregnancy constantly worrying that I’d wind up on bed rest again with positive FFN tests and short cervix problems. 26 weeks came and I was doing perfectly fine. My cervix was a solid 5cm thick, which is GREAT! I was SO excited when I realized that every pregnancy truly is different and that this time I was going to be fine. That is, until 2 weeks later I wound up in the doctor’s office having the tell-tale cervical pressure that landed me on bed rest with the previous pregnancy. Sure enough, I had thinned out to about 25% effaced and was already 1cm dilated. The news rocked my world before the doctor could even talk. I began to cry, slipping back into a dark, dark place. But when my doctor opened her mouth to tell me my fate, it didn’t include strict bed rest. What she said was that more recent research shows that bed rest really has NO effect on whether or not a baby is going to be born early or not. She admitted to me that my time on bed rest with Madilyn was likely all in vain. She said that she wanted me to “take it easy” and for the sake of not having anything else to call it, she termed it “Modified Pelvic Rest”. My sentence was less like a high-security federal prison and more like being on parole. She did throw out my trip to the National Championship game (which we couldn’t have afforded anyways). She nixed our nightlife. She vetoed my vacuuming. She forbade me from lifting anything over 20 lbs. And she denied any more trips to Disney – just TOO much walking for one day. But she didn’t confine me to my bed, or even my house. She told me strolls in the park were fine. She said that light housework was fine. She simply told me to listen to my body and to keep myself hydrated and rested. She said that if I were producing the enzymes necessary to start pre-term labor, that I would go into labor whether or not I was on bed rest. The ONLY thing she would have done differently had my FFN come back positive this time, would be to give me a shot of steroids for the baby’s lungs, but my sentence would have never included “bed rest”. As we talked further she confided that often bed rest can be more detrimental for the mom and baby than beneficial. Kidney infections are rampant in bed-ridden women (I can attest to that), they tend to not be as hydrated (check), they suffer from depression that can affect the fetus negatively (debatable for me – Madilyn was PAINFULLY needy after birth), they are at risk for atrophied muscles (yep, as my knees scream in pain from my non-existent quad muscles), and according to her it really won’t make or break an early term labor (aaaaannd check).

I am SO, SO, SO thankful that my new doctor is up to date on her research. I would have absolutely bucked a “bed rest” prescription this pregnancy either way, but I didn’t have to and I can’t say enough how glad I am that she is a new doctor who is willing to embrace new ideas. I am beyond grateful that she trusts me enough as a patient to listen to my own body and decide when I’ve done too much for one day. It feels fantastic and empowering to have a doctor listen to me and to allow me to keep my pregnancy, largely, in my own hands. And I’ll say it again: I’m SO very thankful that she is up to date on her research. Her knowledge and education have perhaps saved me emotionally AND physically. I feel blessed to have found her, and I tell her that every time I see her.

If you’re on bed rest, talk to your doctor about the “new” findings (one study I found was from 2005, not really NEW information if you ask me). Take your own pregnancy, emotional, and physical health into your own hands. Connect with your body. Learn to listen to it and know when you’ve done too much. And never, EVER take what your doctor has to say without getting a second opinion; especially when the effects could be so detrimental. “When Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy“, believe me. I have suffered for the past year and a half with pretty serious depression but didn’t face it until very recently, and it all began when I was on bed rest.  I’ve struggled with very weak knees that threatened to blow out every time I stood up due to extremely weakened quads.  I’ve had two pregnancies with very similar issues in each. I am now 34 weeks pregnant, NOT on bed rest, and thriving. I fully believe the same thing could have been said during my pregnancy with Madilyn but I’ll never know. I’m now left to deal with the depression I acquired while on bed rest, all the while trying to raise two other kids and maintain “good wife” status while adjusting to life in a new state. While I may not be a doctor, I am an advocate for taking your health into your own hands. I firmly believe doctors all-too-often try to cover their asses in situations without considering the real problems at hand, the latest research, or the ill-effects of their medical advice.

I’ve included a few websites with more information on the new bed rest recommendations. Print them out and take them to your doctor. Take the initiative in your health. If you don’t agree with your doctor’s opinion or want a second one, GET ONE! Your doctor isn’t going to advocate for you; you have to.

Bed Rest May Not Be Helpful for Threatened Miscarriage

Bed Rest to Prevent Preterm Labor

Bed Rest For Pregnant Women May Be Harmful

Placenta Previa: Mamas on Bedrest, what it means when the placenta presents first.

Bed Rest May Not Help and It May Actually be Harmful

 

I’d love to hear your own bed rest stories or your own triumphs with pregnancies that were deemed high risk and then carried to term. If you have no choice but to be on bed rest or you decide that it really is best for you, make sure you connect with Keep Em Cookin.  It’s a fantastic resource for women on bed rest with lots of information on the signs of pre-term labor.

Good luck and healthy pregnancies to ALL!

 

A Quickie

18 Jan

I was put on “Pelvic Rest” for this pregnancy about 6 weeks ago. For those of you who don’t know what pelvic rest means, it means no fun after dark. No playing “hide the salami”, no dancing the horizontal mambo, no mid-afternoon “naps”, no more practicing for more babies (so what I’m already pregnant?), you get the point yet? Basically the reason for this is so that no more trauma is being done to my cervix that began dilating and effacing at 27 weeks. BAH HUMBUG! So like this week, we tried busting doc’s orders and it resulted in the tell-tale soreness and pressure in my nether regions. No bueno.

Then today, The Stir posted a titillating post called 5 Ways to Have Sex Without Having Sex. Ok, so these ideas aren’t completely brand new but they definitely revved my engine. My doctor doesn’t really want me to even have any uterine contractions if you know what I mean, but it doesn’t mean I can’t get excited about something, right? Check out the website for some fun ideas on how to keep things fresh in your bedroom, whether you’re on bed rest or not.

I Want my Body Back! (whatever that means)

22 Nov

It all happened way too quickly.  I was not pregnant and not looking to get pregnant one minute and the next minute I was most definitely pregnant.  Two pink lines and BAM.  My body began to change.  I went from being the head chairwoman of the “Itty Bitty Titty Committee” to Pamela Anderson Lee’s chest double.  I was 19.  Then my hips began to spread (even more) and my thighs became even more thunderous.  I was thick to begin with (save the lack of anything up top), so this journey even farther into womanhood was no fun for me.  I was athletic and fit but as soon as I got pregnant I gave all of that up, at least for a little while.  I gained 59 lbs while pregnant with my son.  I weighed 206lbs the day I gave birth to him and I was DISGUSTED.  I breastfed him for 9 months before he went on nursing strike, and during that period I only lost about 20 lbs.  I couldn’t believe it.  I had gone from gross to even more disgusting.  It didn’t help that I never had high self esteem to begin with.  That’s what happens when your mom dubbs you “Bubble Butt”, your dad always comments on how much more weight you could lose, and you’re on a dance team with a bunch of skinny minnies and your own measurements are 34-25.5-41.  Yeah.  No joke.  In any event, as soon as I quit nursing, I dropped the baby weight and was back to my “normal” (albeit still not skinny) self.  I even got my little boobies AND perfectly flat stomach back, although I’m not sure my hips ever went quuuiiiiiiiite back to where they were prior to pregnancy.

My favorite tattoo, which hasn't seen the light of day in almost 2 years, situated on big hips and a flat stomach. 1 year before getting pregnant with M. (note huge stretch marks on hips acquired while pregnant with #1. I love those now too)

Life handed me its own sets of twists and turns in the years following.  A divorce and another big break up later, I found myself caring more for me, handling my body with more TLC, and wanting to look fantastical again.  I had been diagnosed with PCOS which is a syndrome largely controlled by wacky hormones.  My doctor immediately put me on a super-strict diet and I lost 30 lbs just by changing the way I ate.  I then started working out for 2 hours/day, 5 days/week and got down to a size 10 for the first time since elementary school.  (Note:  I have not grown one inch taller since sixth grade.  Puberty came early for me and I was massively tall at an early age, I’m quite average now.  And for those of you wondering, I was a 12 – 14 in high school, at my most fit.)  I kept that trim (for me), muscular body for about 2.5 years, until Kyle and I started dating.  Roll in the happy weight.  I gained about 20 lbs over the course of about 6 months when we started dating.  Once again, I had never been happy with the way that I looked, even when I was working out all the time and looked great, so once those 20 lbs came on, I felt even more undesirable.

Note small waist and thunder thighs (6 months before getting pregnant with M)

I got pregnant in December 2008 with our daughter.  I had that extra 20lbs hanging on and was determined to not gain much weight while pregnant this time.  I was on a roll until I got put on bed rest for nearly 3 months and like BAM, I gained 80lbs.  Count them.  Eighty.  I won’t tell you what I weighed the day I had her because to be honest, I don’t even know myself.  I could tell that I was gaining weight rapidly while on bed rest and I didn’t allow my doctor to tell me my weight.  My best friend had always been exercise (so that I could eat whatever I wanted to), and because I wasn’t allowed off of my back, I couldn’t very well get that extra cardio in every day.  Change the way I eat, you say?  Yeah.  Screw YOU!  You’d eat cookies all day long if you were on bed rest too.  By the time Madilyn was born, I was HA-UGE (for me), and my boobies had grown to enormous proportions.  40E’s.  FOURTY E’S!  Just hearing that makes me want to run screaming in a different direction, leaving my boobs behind me.  I hated the pups but loved nursing so I kept on keeping on.  Gone were the days of low-cut sundresses.  When you have cleavage, you can’t wear nice things like that because you look like a floozy.  Crap, I couldn’t find ANYTHING to go over my new “girls”.  I know that, that probably sounds insane to some of you.  I know plenty of girls who have big boobs (real and fake), and that’s great for them.  My mom has implants for goodness sake!  But I’ve never, EVER felt the need to have a big chest to prove myself.  As a matter of fact, I can honestly say (because I’ve been huge and super-small), that I feel my most sexy when I have a small chest.  Perhaps that’s because my booty more than makes up for what I’m lacking up top.  Boobs just make me look fat, even when I’m not.

Me (left) and my crazy curviness (B's enhanced by superior bra). 6 months before getting pregnant with M.

I had planned on losing weight while nursing this time but it didn’t happen, yet again.  I held onto every pound that I had gained.  I have very few clothes that fit and can’t even bring myself to wear skirts and dresses (once a wardrobe staple) because my THIGHS TOUCH.  You ladies know how irritating that is, right?  I knew that I wanted to nurse Madilyn for at least 2 years but I wasn’t planning on staying fat forever so I decided that around her first birthday we would reevaluate things so that I could lose some serious weight.  The really funny thing is that when Madilyn was 9 months old, I got pregnant again.  My first thought?  “I’m going to be fat for at least 2 more years.  Shit.”  My second thought?  “I want my B’s back.”

(un)Luckily, I was super sick during my first trimester this pregnancy.  I lost 16lbs which sounds tragic to most mothers but it was

I like big butts

You can thank my husband for his obsession with my butt & this picture.

quite an accomplishment for me.  Granted I spent my days lying by the toilet waiting to heave up every last drop of saliva that I swallowed.  But hey, I lost 16 lbs so there’s a bright side to everything, right?  I was miraculously able to nurse Madilyn through the first trimester of my pregnancy.  I’m still not sure how because I wasn’t eating or drinking anything.  Right around her 13th month, I dried up.  I blame it on 3 months of involuntarily starving myself.  In any event, in a week I went from a 40E to a 38D.  I haven’t been this happy in my LIFE.  I still hate these puppies, they’re way too big for my taste but I’m much happier with them.  Now my stomach is growing again and I’m still at a 9lb deficit.  As big as I feel when I look in the mirror, I have never been more comfortable with my body.  I’m not happy being chunky but I’m comfortable with who I am.  My husband adores me and reminds me several times daily how happy I make him, how attracted to me he is, and how sexy I am.  Seriously?  I don’t get it but I relish the compliments.

I still long every day for the moment I can have my 34B’s back but more than anything I’m looking forward to having my curves back.  I think for the first time in my life, I love my non-proportioned body and I MISS it.  My “bubble butt” and my flat chest are what make me, ME.  I can’t wait for the day I can slip back into my size 10 jeans and size small T-shirt or my low-cut sundresses that don’t show cleavage (because it doesn’t exist).  But for now I am going to enjoy being pregnant, savor every nursing moment, and do whatever it takes for my body to build babies and produce milk.  I am going to do my best to not loathe my lumpy thighs and hips, despite walking by the stick-thin mommies with perfect pregnant bodies or the rail-thin chicks with 3 day old infants.  And I will love my big ole’ booty (when I get my skinny, small waist back).  Take THAT, Cosmo!

What I'm workin' with NOW (24 weeks pregnant)

Three-Cent Thursday: 2 (19) kids and counting…(?)

18 Nov

Please tell me you’ve heard of the Duggar family?  I first heard about them when I accidentally ran across their TLC TV show “18 Kids and Counting”.  They have since added another child to the mix making their show, “19 Kids and Counting”.  And counting?  Seriously?  Their last child, Josie was born seriously premature and fought for her life for 6 months before being allowed to go home.the 19th child She is now 11 months old but still has to be hooked up to oxygen at night to sleep.  Her siblings have to tiptoe around her and the family is constantly worried about germs.  During a chicken pox outbreak at the Duggar compound earlier this year, Josie and her mom had to spend a couple of weeks at a rental near the hospital where Josie was born so that she wouldn’t be exposed to the virus.  Soon after, the family shared a cold and hand sanitizer became a way of life.  I’m all for sanitary conditions but this just compounds the way that I feel about this family reproducing any more.

Who am I to judge, you ask?  I’m a mom who survived 3 months of bed rest with my second pregnancy due to a 50% effacement at 26 weeks.  After living on my sofa for 2 months, I began to go crazy.  I thought about taking myself off of bed rest and just living life as regularly as I could without doing too much (more) harm to my fragile cervix.  Luckily I have a very supportive husband and mother-in-law who both took care of me in their spare time and who also insisted that I stay off of my feet.  My doctor did let me have one hour on my feet a day at that point (for another month).  Sounds great, huh?  Nope.  I can equate it to giving a diabetic a 2-lb bag of their favorite candy and telling them they can have 1/2 a bite per day.  It sucked and I swore I’d never get pregnant again, despite the fact that bed rest was successful and my daughter was born full term.  I didn’t want to put myself through the hell that was bed rest again.  That might sound selfish to you but it’s not.  I also have an older son who was 7 years old while I was on bed rest.  I couldn’t spend any time with him other than watching television (yay) and even that wasn’t a fun pastime for me.  I couldn’t bring myself to smile, laugh, or even feign interest in…anything.  I slipped, very quickly, into a pretty dark place with which I was not familiar.  I cried all day, every day that I was alone.  On the days that my mother-in-law came over, I was fine until she left.  Upon her departure I would bawl my eyes out until my husband got home around midnight.  That depression hasn’t left me 14 months after giving birth to my daughter.  I still find myself crying over nothing when I’m alone.  I still have to (almost quite literally), wind myself up to do housework or even get myself out of the house.  I can’t find the drive to write anymore.  I don’t have any desire to go to school. The thought of going to a PTA meeting makes my skin crawl.  Hell, I don’t even want to spend time with my friends because I have some (paranoid, I’m sure) delusion that they all quietly hate me and don’t really want me around.  None of this is me.  NONE of it.  Not one single word of it.  My point?  I’m not as good of a mommy right now as I could be.  This whole bed rest situation put me in a really bad position to be able to raise my children with the love, care, and attention that I think they should be raised with.  And guess what?  I’m pregnant again and facing possible bed rest situations…again.

I will be 24 weeks pregnant on Saturday and as of today, my cervix has shortened 2cm in 4 weeks.  It’s not as grim as it sounds; I was 5cm thick 4 weeks ago and am only 3cm now.  My doctor is only concerned because I shrunk 2 cm in a matter of 4 weeks and I am feeling the same pelvic pressure that I felt with my daughter before going on bed rest with her.  I have options if it comes to that but I’d rather not even discuss those right  now.  I’d rather discuss the fact that Michelle Duggar had 18 successful pregnancies before she had her nearly-fatal 19th pregnancy.  How must have that experience left her?  I have a difficult time believing that she is perfectly fine after that.  I know she has her faith whereas mine is on more shaky ground but c’mon!  Let’s be real.  Having a child born weighing just over 1lb and having to spend 6 months in the hospital is enough to change any parent.  I know that I would be absolutely nuts and I would probably have my tubes tied immediately to prevent any further heartache and/or wrongdoing to my children.  I knew that getting pregnant again was a risk but the biggest risk that I face, is having to spend a few months on bed rest.  I don’t have to worry about the fact that my body has already weathered 19 previous pregnancies and is tired, worn out, and older.

This will be my last pregnancy.  Why?  Because I don’t want to go through this worry and concern again.  After this baby is born, I want to get myself “right” and become the Summer that I was before I was put on bed rest.  I owe it to myself but more than anyone, I owe it to my kids.  I owe it to them to be available to them at the drop of a hat when they need me and to not have to mentally prepare myself just to be in their presence.

And THAT’S why I have a problem with the Duggars wanting more children.  So that’s my 2 (3) cents for today.

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