3/31/2006

Guest Post from Amy

I am pregnant with my first child. My husband Matthew and I are super excited and scared out of our minds at the same time (OK, I can't speak for him - I am scared out of my mind). I have plenty of people/resources from which to draw knowledge (my sister has 3 girls, Matt's sister is going to have her 3rd any minute/day now) but somehow this knowledge doesn't quell my fears. What if I can't figure out how to get the kid dressed without ripping his head off? What if he comes out looking like that many eyed fish from The Simpsons??? What about the whole peeing while trying to change the diaper fiasco (I know I will freeze the first time this happens...)?? I am also the breadwinner for the family at this point in time (Matt is going to school. He took 1 1/2 years off so I could follow my career - what a sweetheart!!). I work full-time at a good job, but I work rotating shift (meaning my schedule is never the same week to week). How will we find a sitter for those weird times when Matt is working nights and so am I?? I am weary of daycares. Having worked at one for 3 years when I was in school, I know the pains/problems/episodes kids can have there (some are just fine too). I don't want to risk making him go through that...what to do???!!! We have 2 dogs who are currently very spoiled. Is there a way to keep them from doing harm to the little guy?? I have some ideas for getting them used to him, but should I be concerned about this more?? So, I come to the MMW for some advice from people I don't know (sometimes this seems better than from people you do know, has anyone else noticed this??) Books, classes -anything you could tell me would be appreciated. Especially about the epidoral. I am thinking of not getting one, due to the whole hose in my spine thing freaking me out. Amy

34 Comments:

Blogger The Wiz said...

If you don't want an epidural, I hope you have a very high pain tolerance and/or good visualization/pain management techniques. I LOVE epidurals.

Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg. My all time favorite newborn book.

Also, my main advice is to just trust your instincts, relax, and enjoy your baby.

3/31/2006 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

It's totally normal to feel what you feel right now! But trust us, you are going to do fine, and I promise you won't knock your baby's head off changing his shirt.

Epidurals are a gift from Heaven- by all means try it natural if you want to- I did too, but after 12 hours of labor and no baby, that little spinal sure did feel awesome. And the baby came right out once I relaxed. If you go natural, take a class, and get support. It can be hard, and it can be done- but you are NOT any less of a mother if you can't do it.

As for books, I like "The Baby Book" by Dr. Sears and his wife, Martha, a RNM. Good, straight information, easy reference.

I second the Wiz: you know more than you think you do, trust yourself, relax and enjoy your new baby.

3/31/2006 11:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was pregnant with my first, I watched a woman at church snap open a stroller with all the ease of an expert mom, and I panicked. I don't know how to do that! I thought. Well, guess what. It took me about 2 days to look just like that mom, and I laughed at myself for even freaking out. Ok, so I couldn't get the infant carrier seat out the first time I tried it which brought me to tears, but even after doing that so often it became second nature. Things with kids start off slow-you don't have to know how to do everything all at once. You learn as they grow. That's the nice part. You'll be fine.

I second The Wiz. Tracy Hogg has almost all the answers. Seriously.

3/31/2006 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger mindy said...

About the epidurals...I think that few people who want to "try" natural are going to actually make it. You really have to be committed to having a drug free labor, because (especially if you are working with a doctor) they sure as he** aren't going to be very supportive. "You don't want an epidural? Okay, I'll ask again in an hour." If you really want to go natural, I highly recommend reading lots and lots of natural childbirth stories. Do a google search and you're sure to find great resources. Also, you need to have good support. My midwife (CNM) with my first child was AWFUL and sat on her butt on the sidelines while my husband did all of the labor support. But I still made it through without drugs. With my second, I opted for a direct-entry midwife, and a home birth. The difference was astounding. Feeling truly supported by those around you is THE key to having a successful natural birth.

About the dogs...
1. Don't EVER leave them alone with the baby. Babies have weird (to dogs) smells, move erratically, and make awful noises. Dogs don't automatically realize that they are little people. I highly recommend using a sling or other carrier a lot so your dogs see you with the baby a lot.
2. Start using baby gates now to limit the dog's access to parts of the house where the baby will spend most of his time. Otherwise, when he gets mobile you'll have to get them adjusted yet again.
3. Are they crate trained? If no, DO IT! They will appreciate the safe den when they need to get away from the chaos, and you will appreciate having a place to put them when you can't watchh them and your son.
4. If you are the one who usually exercise them. plan on having someone else come over for the first few weeks. Tired dogs are happy dogs (& better behaved, too) so don't let their exercise suffer.
5. Hone up on their obedience skills. Try a "No Free Lunch" or "Nothing in life is free" program with them (google search for details)

The US Humane Society webpage has good info, too. You can't over prepare in this area. You have a commitment to keep your child safe, but you also have a commitment to your dogs. If something goes wrong, it is probably because the dogs were insufficiently trained, and you will only have yourself to blame.

Good luck! Welcome to the adventures in Mommyland.

3/31/2006 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger Starfoxy said...

I had deep fears of being an inadequate mom, mostly because I had never been able to keep either a houseplant or a goldfish alive for more than three months. Later I realized that houseplants just sit there when a baby would be giving you feedback. If s/he's uncomfortable s/he will definitely let you know.
Oh and something else that really helps assauge my fears was to remember that babies are *not* fragile. True, they aren't strong, and their heads flop around, but if they can survive delivery (being pushed pulled, squeezed and smooshed) then they aren't fragile.

3/31/2006 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger FluffyChicky said...

I consider anyone who is even thinking about "natural" childbirth a very brave soul. With my first child, I was in labor for 12 hours without any paing meds and I had only dialated to a 3. After that point I told the doctor that I had better get SOMETHING for the pain or he had better have his living will prepared. I was in labor for 13 more hours after the epidural, and it had started to wear off after hour 8. It was nasty and ugly ordeal, but everyone did survive. When I got pregnant with my second, I asked for an epidural in my confirmation visit.

As far as the getting peed on thing, buy a good pair of goggles and learn to duck and cover.

3/31/2006 01:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Leslie said...

Amy,

I don't know you and have never posted here (found this through FMH). Anyway, my husband and I have decided to start trying for kids in Jan - that may sound like a LOT of pre planning but believe me, that's the tip of the iceburg. Anyway, my main fear right now is the job/daycare struggle. I too am the main breadwinner while my husband goes to school and I don't know how we can financially handle me quitting (much less I like my job). I don't know that waiting out the school thing is the right option - he's in med school and I'm getting close to 30. So, I am scared to death of balancing a job and a child and finding someone great to tend the baby when needed. I don't want to have a child to push it off to someone else either - so any feedback you have as you figure this struggle out would be great morale support for me!

3/31/2006 01:16:00 PM  
Blogger Tigersue said...

I am a woman that did not use epidural's, but I confess I was asking for it with my last one because she was coming so fast and I wasn't dilated enough, they didn't make it and she was delivered with out one. If you can handle the pain, and would rather have that than numb legs, then go for it. Do get good classes, lamaze or Bradely, I think Bradely is abit easier, try to go to a hospital that will allow you to move around, sit in the shower, do what ever to work with the pain. It is much worse to labor in bed and not be able to get up and move. You can do this! It really is ultimately better for you and the baby, there is a higher rate of C/S and forcept births with epidurals, just because moms can have a very hard time with pushing. (please no flaming, I worked as a NBICU nurse, and a Postpartum nurse, and talked with many labor nurses.) IF you can afford a Dula they can be really good for support.
As for your other concerns, don't worry too much, you will learn, and you will be just fine. You will laugh as you have different situations that are just down right funny. You will figure out the work situation, you will do what you have to do, because that is part of being a parent, and doing what is best for you, and your family is the important thing, not what others think you should do, or should not do. We are all different, and we all deal with life differently.

3/31/2006 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger mindy said...

http://parents.berkeley.edu/advice/pets/newbornanddog.html

This page has some good ideas, too.

Oh, and after more thought, I think the baby gates would still come in handy, but I like the ideas listed on the page up above better--help the dogs learn to "behave" in the rooms where the baby is. Teach them to "relax" on their beds with chew toys, etc.

3/31/2006 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger Trivial Mom said...

I was really scared of the epidural with my first baby. I mean your spinal cords have all those nerves and how could it not be extremely painful? Let me just say this, the epidural is no more painful then the contractions. My epidural actually wore off an hour before I gave birth. And it really wasn't that bad, episotomy and everything.

The best advice I got about the baby was from my mom. She said: "When she cries just make sure she's full, dry, and burped. And if that's not the problem just let her know she's loved. It's okay to let them cry a little, that's the way they express themselves."

3/31/2006 02:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Amy said...

Thanks everyone!! The comfort of strangers really is an interesting thing. Hearing this from you guys seems to be more "believable" than from family...who knows why.

I plan to get the Baby Whisperer book and will look into the Baby Book as well.

The epidural thing is still up in the air. We are going to look at hospitals (our insurance and doctor has several options) and see who has the best facilities/rules/classes. I plan to take a lamaze class but will look into Bradely before I make a choice (of it the hospital only offers one...then it will be easy).

Despite my fears, I think the dogs we be ok. The youngest (about a year) has been in obedience classes for about 6 weeks and is doing well. The older one is a good listener (that or just scares easily...). I will get 6 weeks of from work after the baby is born, so hopefully having me there most the time with them and the baby will help them adjust. I will look at the Berkley site in detail.

Goggles - check!

Thanks again everyone for your tips! I really appreciate it!

Leslie - we are thinking of finding a girl from the singles ward in our area to watch the baby when we are away. There is also a women in our ward who works as a nanny - so she might have connections. I definetly want someone from within the Church, then I don't have to worry as much about leaving them alone in my house, etc (Now, I am not saying all Church members are angels, you know what I mean).

3/31/2006 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger nestle said...

Amy and Leslie, been there done that, literally. My first came out with multiple eyes.... ok without a chin but it had the same effect (*ack! what'd I do wrong? I am a bad pressure cooker for sure, hope she has a sweet spirit because man... fill in the blank, luckily she grew out of it) all little babies look like little old men. Some even bald like them.

I am also the bread winner and we had 2 kids going into medical school (yes we are psycho). Anyway for both of you find a nanny or become a nanny. Because of our area it wouldn't be cost effective to teach (my degree) and put my kids in a daycare or get a nanny of our own so I became a nanny/homecare. I watch 2 other children than our own. I treat them just the same as our own and because they are the same ages as our kids (actually one's younger but hey she's a baby so really not high maintenence) they play together and we have fun. Also it pays for the bills :-)

3/31/2006 04:05:00 PM  
Blogger nestle said...

Oh yeah forgot to mention. Newborns are virtually indestructible. I kind of, um, dropped mine, um a couple of times. um once in the middle of holiday traffic, um in the Atlanta airport.. ummm yeah.

3/31/2006 04:12:00 PM  
Anonymous April said...

Nestle... don't ever tell that child that until they are adults!!! That could lead to bad teasing from the sublings!
So, just thought I would comment... My first kids I had an epideral at 9 cm (ummm yah probably could have made it!) and my second was natural, but each woman is different so it depends on your body and state of mind! About child care... some good friends of mind had the same concerns. They ended up "trading" for a nanny. They found a college student (LDS) that agreed to have them pay her tuition in return for her being a nanny to their kids. She does live with them too, so not only do they have a "sitter" whenever they need one for their (now) 3 girls, but they know her well and they girls are learning spanish. Yeah, they have had to switch nannies a couple of times due to the nature of college, but they swear that this is the bast arrangement EVER! and there girls love being in there own house with their own things.
I think this might work out really well for you especially since a college student could go to classes when you are at home and you to work when she is home etc.
Just a thought.

3/31/2006 04:35:00 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth-W said...

Amy--Shortly after my first was born, I was nursing, and watching the news. There was a story about baseball, and I totally started crying because I freaked out that I wouldn't be able to teach my daughter about softball/baseball because I didn't know all the rules.

It's not just the pee. My baby had been home about a week and somehow managed to have explosive baby poop that literally flew three feet through the air to hit the wall, and slide its yellow baby-poop way down. My husband and I just stared at the wall for a minute, and burst out laughing. What can you do?

I think if you're going to go the no-drugs route a good thing to remember is that pain has a purpose, if that makes sense. Pain means things are working right. I think it makes more sense to accept the pain, than to try to self-hypnotize away from it.

April's idea is a good one. I have a friend who does this and loves it. Her two children have had the same young woman with them for four years, although she doesn't live there, but just a couple miles away.

Best of luck to you-you are going to be fine.

3/31/2006 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

Ok, all day long I have been thinking on this, and I just have to come back and comment.

Regarding what others have said about doctors and nurses constantly pushing the meds and/or epidural: This is something frequently promoted by "Natural Birth" advocates. I was totally commited to a natural birth, took the classes, read the books and had spelled out in my birth plan that I was NOT to be offered drugs. And do you know what? NOT one doctor or nurse offered me drugs. They were entirely respectful of my choice, and it wasn't until I ASKED finally that it was ever brought up.

Also: The best laid birth plan sometimes has to go out the window. It happens, and things don't always go the way you hope they will- the whole goal is to have a healthy baby, no matter where or how.

I finally asked for an epidural after being up for 30 hours, 12 of which was hard labor, and I was exhausted. You coping abitly goes way down when you are exhaused. No matter how prepared I was, that just wasn't something I could have planned for. And I did all the things I was supposed to do to have a natural birth, like: get a hep-lock on IV so I could be up and walking around, labored in shower and water, used a birthing ball, stayed off my back, had three support people, etc. I am not telling you this to scare you, but to share that you will do the best you can, and as long as that baby and you are healthy at the end, goal acheived!

As far as epidruals: I am not a doctor, I have read all the stuff from both sides. My personal experience is the epidural KEPT me from having a c-section. The statistics on higher rates of forceps and c's are often tied to mothers being induced before they are naturally in labor. They are much better now than they were even ten years ago. I could feel my legs still, I could feel my contractions, I felt the urge to push, and I was up and able to walk to the bathroom an hour later. I also was NOT catheterized with either bith.

This is such a personal thing- whatever you choose will be fine- but I really felt I had to offer another personal point of view. Some super-natural friends of mine expressed sorrow that I ended up with a medicated birth, and this was devastating. A birth, no matter how, is a miracle, and you are just as much a mother any way you look at it.

3/31/2006 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

Sorry about all the spelling errors- I was typing in a hurry!

3/31/2006 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

The thing is, you will NOT know what will happen until it does.

You can claim a natural birth and get the epidural in 2 minutes.

You could claim an epidural and deliver naturally.

You might end up getting a C-section.

Seriously, until you have experienced it, you really won't know what will happen. And what's funny is even though I've done this 3 times --each one was a surprise.

#1--Water broke on due date, Epidural, stupid doctor, painful episiotomy

#2--Induced 10 days late, HIGH pitocin, Epidural that didn't kick in until after the episiotomy stitches because she came FAST (45 minutes) and "okay" doctor.

#3--Induced one week early (HE WAS HUGE!!), water broke, very little pitocin, COMPLETELY NATURAL, CNM (midwife at the hospital), LOVED it with all my heart (I'm never going back to the doctors or the epidurals if I can help it).

You just never know. So I second all that tracy m has said --just plan for a labor and delivery of your choice, but be cool with it flying out the window.

And trust me ---you will be a much better mom than you think you will. :) Follow the Spirit. He's there for a reason. :) :) GOOD LUCK!

3/31/2006 06:33:00 PM  
Blogger a. nonny spouse said...

My baby was born nine weeks ago. I also was unsure about an epidural because of a vicious needle phobia and so prepared for an unmedicated birth with comfort measures classes, etc.

And then I had to be induced (waaaay low amniotic fluid). When they gave me an IV upon admission, I thought of that long needle in my back and thought "no freaking way." Sixteen hours and much pitocin later, it was the best thing that could've happened to me. Ah, the epidural...

3/31/2006 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger FrogLegs said...

My first and only was done with no drugs- not by choice, but just the way it happened. :)

You'll be fine, I promise. Go with your gut, you'll know what to do, how to get through it. And the dogs-- let them be a part of it-- don't shield baby from them.

You'll be perfect!!

3/31/2006 08:32:00 PM  
Blogger whatserbucket said...

Hi there. The book that helped me through preparing for childbirth the most was called Birthing from Within. In my area I was also able to take classses that were drawn from the methodology. It was wonderful. We were able to embrace the birth for the miracle that it was and I would recommend it to any mom. It really focuses on being in the moment and accepting things as they unfold. 26.5 hours (19 of it without the epidural) and I was so thankful for the principles I learned in that book. It's kind of a zen thing, but I'm kind of a hippie so there's that. Good luck. The only advice I wished I had taken more to heart is the whole "sleep while the baby is sleeping" thing. Seriously. Sleep whenever you can grab it.

3/31/2006 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger annegb said...

Honey, get the epidural. I am 53 years old and had three children naturally and it was so not fun. There was nothing wonderful about it. I screamed my lungs out. Trust me, it hurts to push a 7 lb baby out of your vagina.

Think how big a seedless 7 lb watermelon is. Imagine pushing that out. It pretty much feels like that.

I would not be a friend if I didn't warn you.

3/31/2006 10:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Sue said...

Careful with the dogs. My friends had a wonderful dog for five years, well trained - they thought he was good with kids, very calm dog - until he attacked their daughter when she learned to crawl, taking her skull into his jaws. She has had to have multiple cosmetic surgeries (I think four so far, and she is not yet two), and still has extensive damage to one of her ears.

Of course this is not the norm. Just be careful. Don't just assume the dogs will be fine - make sure you talk to a trainer.

4/01/2006 12:17:00 AM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

annegb-
Without trivializing your comment or experience I have to say that I did push out a 10 pound baby boy (with a placenta the same size --my CNM was floored and said "OH MY HECK! I've never seen a placenta so big in my life!") and I did it unmedicated. Which I loved so much more than the other 2 I had with epidurals.

oh--amy I remembered something my CNM told me:

"All births are NATURAL births. It doesn't matter if it's medicated, unmedicated, or a c-section. All births are natural and all births are a miracle"

4/01/2006 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger annegb said...

I'm actually just using you guys to check something.

Cheryl, you were incredibly lucky :) I don't feel trivialized at all, hon, I feel jealous of those in the minority who tolerate natural labor. I actually have two (2) friends who have very easy labors.

For the rest of us, it hurts like a bitch. Bill said I made a sound like calling cows.

Princess Buttgold dropped one of my pills (long story) last night and she thought the dog ate it and she collapsed on the floor in the fetal position, sobbing. She'd spent the day babysitting her brothers-in-law (age 10 & 6, don't you feel sorry for them?).

We're pretty sure she will need the epi and the rest of us will be smoking pot in the delivery room to keep from strangling her.

We spent $500 last year on an ER visit because she had a charley horse in her leg. No lie.

4/01/2006 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger annegb said...

AAAAAHHHH! It worked. Now I have to make the picture bigger, I suppose.

How does one do that?

gardnera@netutah.com

4/01/2006 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Tri Mama said...

My doctor said, "The epidural takes the natural birthing experience from a violent experience to a civil one" (she is very dramatic. If you get an epidural-hold your husbands hand, close your eyes, pray, and take a deep breath. Good Luck!

4/01/2006 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger annegb said...

Buttgold told my sister yesterday she was donating her ovaries after tending her brothers-in-law for a week.

You guys, no lie, I will have to have drugs of my own to be with her in labor, which she is insisting on. I'll probably have to be hospitalized in intensive care because she will go for my throat. I am not exaggerating her personality. Not one bit.

Mindy, I totally agree with everything you said. Amy, I had my first two before the invention of epidurals. I thought I could do it with Sarah and when I demanded drugs at dilation of 6, my doctor refused to come in.

Buttgold and I have a few things in common.

4/01/2006 11:48:00 AM  
Anonymous dangermom said...

Ha! Everyone said the same thing about my second birth: "I've never seen such a huge placenta!" I'm really good at producing huge babies. Delivering them is another question, which is why I'm done after two.

It's good to have a birth plan, but it's bad to be married to it. In a lot of ways, you're just along for the ride and have to see what happens; you never know.

I would encourage you to at least try going naturally if you want to do that. You can always ask for an epidural if it gets too long and drawn-out. (For me, I gave in when I started falling asleep while walking the halls, and only waking up at the height of the contractions. Before that, I was doing pretty well! But as it turned out, the baby never descended, since she was over 10 lbs and turned over. So I had a c-section. Yay for modern medicine!)

You might like to read "The baby catcher" by Peggy Vincent for some great birthing stories.

4/01/2006 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger annegb said...

And Elizabeth is right, emotions are all over the planet. And so it Nestle, I've dropped all my kids. It's a wonder any babies survive.

About the dogs, one thing we've done with ours (for the grandchildren now) is bug them while they're eating and laying around. Pull their ears, put my hands in their food, play with their dish. Get them used to that.

Our dogs were all very protective of the baby, but they were very very used to kids.

Also we teach the babies from the beginning to be gentle with the dogs. We stay with them through every interaction for quite awhile.

So, um, whoever said that is right.

Boy, I'm doing a lot of talking just to figure out how to post my picture.

4/01/2006 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

annegb has inspired me to test putting a picture up myself.

4/01/2006 01:50:00 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

AHH! I just have to add that giving birth to that 10 pound baby was in NO WAY easy --it was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life --physically, emotionally, and mentally. Just everything about it was so rewarding and better than my first 2 experiences....sorry...had to add that so people know I'm not some super-mom or something. :)

4/01/2006 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger mindy said...

i'm glad to know i'm not the only one to have a HUGE baby--10 lbs 10 oz, 23 inches long. He was the one born at home (#2), and the labor was quick & intense.

Tracy M, I'm glad noone pshed drugs on you. When we asked my CNM what my "options" were after 6 hours of full labor, expecting she would suggest some pain relieving/coping techniques (since this group of CNMs supposedly supported natural birth) the FIRST thing out of her mouth was, "You can get an epidural." Thanks a lot. She sucked in every way, so it isn't really surprising in hindsight. But it sure was hard to have such an unsupportive person "in charge" of the whole thing.

4/02/2006 12:17:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie J said...

A birth plan is so important, but like th eother ladies said don't worry about not doing exactly what you intended. I went with full intentions to have a natural birth and let her come when she wanted. A couple days after my due date I was contracting and because my dr was going out of town in a couple days, decided to get induced. After 2 hours of high pitocin, I got the epidural. It was the best thing. I still had the urge to push and knew when to push and I had the energy to push. IF you decide to go natural--practice! You have to prepare yourself for it. Good luck! You'll do fine! Women are made for making and having babies and when they come, something inside clicks.

4/02/2006 07:50:00 PM  

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