Friday, April 29, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
On Monday night, we had our very last Empowered Birth class. I'm sad that it's over, but I am a little glad to not have to go downtown every Monday night. It was a really good class...probably the second-best one, behind the medical interventions class. Last week, our homework was to put together our comfort measures bag to bring to Monday's class. During class on Monday night, we had a labor simulation, which was pretty interesting! Angela had some kind of "music" on her iPod that mimicked contractions. Apparently, it had been playing the entire time we were in class, but it was only after about 30 minutes into class that one of the other students heard it the first time (because it was playing really low). That's when Angela told us what the "music" was (several of us thought it was someone's cellphone going off). She explained that the "music" had been playing, and several "contractions" had been played before we noticed them. She said that's how labor starts...often times women will feel something, but it's not bothersome or painful, and it doesn't keep you from going about your regular day. But then, there comes a point when you think, "Okay, I must be in labor!" and the contractions progress. They'll be a little uncomfortable, but still not enough so to keep you from doing whatever you were doing. Then, they'll become more pronounced and you'll really have to pay attention and work through them. The "musical contractions" gradually got stronger, longer, and closer together (just like real contractions will). At this point, Angela gave each Mom an ice cube that we were supposed to grip tightly during each contraction (to simulate the discomfort of a contraction) and the Dads were supposed to use our comfort measures bag to help us get through each one. It was a great simulation. I know that holding an ice cube isn't really going to compare to those contractions (especially the ones during transition, from what I hear), but it was certainly enough to get us thinking about what we can do (relaxation, rhythm, etc.) to work through them. That Angela is an awesome teacher. I would recommend her classes without hesitation to anyone who is interested in prepared childbirth classes. At the end of the class, we all got together to take a group picture. Here we are (minus one Mom, who had a homebirth that morning!):
Friday, April 15, 2011
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Me with the cake and the [gasp!] pink icing! I think it's adorable, and still gender-neutral.
One of our cousins, Gin, made this adorable sweater and bonnet set for Sprout. The buttons on the sweater are tiny bunnies! I thought I would die from the cuteness right there on the spot!
You might remember back a few months ago when I mentioned that I was thinking about doing a presentation at the Kentucky Mental Health Counselor's Association conference on how to support women through the experience of miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss. I just felt like after my loss people didn't know what to say or how to act around me. Many people said (and did) some very hurtful things, but I know that they didn't mean to be hurtful...they just didn't realize that what they were saying/doing would hurt so much. I knew that people would appreciate information on how best to support women through these life-changing events, but it's not really that easy to find the information.
Well...I did it! Sunday afternoon I traveled to Somerset because Monday morning I was scheduled to give my presentation. Surprisingly, I wasn't nervous about giving the presentation...I was more worried about hooking my laptop up to the projector so that the PowerPoint would work. (And after some technical difficulties, it finally did!). I had about 25 attendees, many of them familiar faces (either former instructors or coworkers). I was afraid that I might get choked up during the presentation, but I didn't. And you know what? I felt so at ease the whole time I was giving the presentation. I have to teach quite a bit for my job, but it seems like no matter how well I know the lecture material, I'm never quite comfortable enough to teach without notes. But on Monday, I didn't have anything. No notes, just the PowerPoint that hit the highlights of the presentation...and I felt really good about the information I gave. I gave them practical information about how to support women through the experience, some more detailed ideas about what therapists can do in sessions, and tons of online resources (since the people attending the conference were from all over the state). I'm by no means an authority on the subject, but I feel like from my experience, talking with other women, and some research, I gave worthwhile information to that group of people.
My presentation's description in the big program guide.
In fact, one gentleman came up to me after the presentation and said, "You know, I'm a hospital chaplain (at a small-town hospital), and nobody tells us how to deal with these situations. We don't know what to say or do, and we don't know what kinds of resources are available. This will help us so much." When he said that, I could have cried. I just think about the number of women whose experience might be changed because this man now has some information and resources. After my loss, I can remember telling David that I had to find a way to make something good come from something so horrible. Through this presentation, I think I've made a little bit of headway toward that goal. Now I'm just hoping that God will show me other ways I can make a difference.
Monday night (after the whirlwind trip to Somerset), we had our fifth Empowered Birth class, and this one was the best, by far. Monday's topic was medical interventions, and I would have gladly paid the $150 just for that class alone...that's how informative it was. When I got pregnant (both times), I entertained the idea of an unmedicated birth, but just wasn't sure if I have the fortitude to do it. That's probably the biggest reason why I wanted to take these classes...I wanted to know everything in order to make an informed decision. And now (especially after Monday night), I'm going to go for it. Please understand that I don't fault any woman who gets an epidural or any other type of pain medication. I just don't think that's what I want to do, after what I know now. I was so glad to get an email from my cousin Lindsey, who recently had an unmedicated birth with her daughter, Hazel. She gave me lots of encouragement and support about this decision, and I'm feeling really good about it. I know that there will probably be a point at which I feel like I can't do it, but this is something I really want to do. (And this is where I think my stubbornness will be an asset!) If any of you readers had an unmedicated birth and want to give encouragement, please leave me a comment. (And, not to be hateful, but if you had a bad birth experience, please don't leave me your horror story.)
On Tuesday, David and I went to an open house at a pediatrician's office in LaGrange. A good friend recommended this group to us, and I'm so glad we visited. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was impressed. They've got 8 doctors in the practice, and three are in the office on any given day. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, they're open from 8am - 9pm. They have Saturday hours. They're 10 minutes from our house. I really liked the doctor, and all of the staff seemed very nice. I think we've found our pediatrician! (And what a relief that is, to have one more thing to mark off the list.)
And to end the world's longest blog post, the thing that I've been waiting over a year for! Last Spring, David and I bought a weeping cherry tree to plant in front of our house as a sort of memorial to our first baby. We didn't have the opportunity to get an ultrasound image of him/her, and I never felt him/her move, so there's just been this void...there was no tangible evidence that that child existed. I couldn't stand that, so we decided on this tree. When we got it, the blooms had already fallen off, and all that was left were the leaves. Then, we had such a drought that I was terrified that the tree wouldn't survive. But all of my fears were pushed aside this week, because it bloomed! And it's absolutely beautiful. I love seeing that tree outside my kitchen window, because it's a symbol of that little life that so quickly changed ours.
Isn't it beautiful? The necklace was given to me last Mother's Day by my sweet husband. The front has a heart on it that says "love," and it says "sweet little one" on the back. It's seriously one of my most prized possessions.
So...another busy week is in the books! Next week is shaping up to be a busy one, too. Two classes, a date night, and a night of teaching. Whew!
Friday, April 1, 2011
Empowered Birth was great on Monday night. We talked about delivering the baby and the placenta, and it was such good information. Angela, our instructor, used to be an elementary school teacher, and I bet she was awesome at it. She does a wonderful job of using a wide variety of teaching methods to get her point across. Who would have thought that a balloon and some contact paper would perfectly illustrate how a woman's body expels the placenta?! We practiced various pushing positions, which I think will be super-helpful...if David and I can remember any of them when the time comes. I'll have to remember to put our binder in the hospital bag! I'm really looking forward to next week's class, because we'll be talking about medical interventions and how to be an advocate for yourself. She's already given us some good tips for communicating with medical professionals so that they'll see you as a rational person instead of an overprotective parent. I think we'll also be talking about writing a birth plan, which is something I've been giving a lot of thought to. I know that births don't usually go according to a plan, but I certainly plan to give the medical staff some guidelines for what we'd prefer in terms of our baby's birth.
We also had a hospital class this week...this one was led by a pediatrician and talked about newborn procedures, etc. It was really informative, too. We're going to an open house next Tuesday to meet with a group of pediatricians in LaGrange to see if that's where we'll be taking Sprout. This practice comes highly recommended, and it's really conveniently located, so I'm hoping that David and I both like them.
I've put the second coat of paint on Sprout's quote, and it's looking really good (especially if you're not too close to it). I'm debating on whether or not I can get by without putting a third coat on. Hopefully so.
Tomorrow is my first shower, and I'm super-excited. My aunt and sister are giving this shower, which will be friends and my side of the family. I have no idea how many people will be there, but it will be nice to see everyone. I've honestly been overwhelmed by the amount of love that people have already shown to little Sprout! It feels so good to know that so many people love our baby already. The poor kid will be so stinkin' spoiled that David and I won't be able to do anything with him or her! :)
In other news, I think we've FINALLY decided on names! Whew. What a relief. That's been stressing me out...but part of me thinks that there still might be a change if he/she doesn't "look" like the name we've picked. We'll just have to see!