Surprise, surprise! I’m pregnant with our second child!
Was it a surprise? Well, not really. My husband and I were planning and trying for our second baby. However, I expected it to take longer, since my first pregnancy I struggled with infertility for two years. Word of advice, be careful what you put into your body.
Struggling with infertility
My infertility was caused by a bunch of different factors. I had PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome, according to doctors. I prefer to blame it on other factors: the depo-provera shot that I took 3 times before going off birth control. The depo shot is a 3 month contraceptive shot, and it works really well. In fact, it works so well that some women around the web say it might take around 1-2 years for your body to cleanse your body!
Since I struggled for two years before getting pregnant with my first, I expected to wait the same amount of time before my body cleared out the contraceptives. However, this is where the second factor came in: weight loss. If you recall my ealier posts, I lost 20 pounds in three months by a series of exercise, intermittent fasting and healthier eating (note that I said healthier vs healthy because I can never stay away from sweets and carbs).
Another factor could be that the hubby started taking Ashwaganda pills to de-stress his very stressful life. One of the “effects” of this pills is increased fertility/vitality (whoops…!). Or perhaps it was just the fact that we were more relaxed when we traveled? Every time we travel and decide to move to another country I get pregnant (oh boy!).
Regardless, we are excited about our new addition to the family. We still don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl. I’m 22 weeks now, and I can say the first 16 weeks were miserable(!).
When your pregnancy turns miserable
I was one of the “lucky ones” to get hypermesis gravidarum, which in plain English, it just means you puke your guts out. Hypermesis can vary in how it hits different women. For me, it was nausea all day long, vomiting every week until it turned to daily, until it turned to several times a day.
If you are suffering with nausea or vomiting and can’t keep food down, don’t wait to get treated! The faster you treat it, the more control you will have over it. Please get medication before it gets out of control and you end up in the hospital (like me). I had a trip to the hospital when I had severe vomiting six times in one day.
There is a fantastic pill called Zofran, which is actually used for nausea during cancer treatment but is also used during pregnancy for severe cases. There is a ton of controversy linked to it due to birth defects, however if you see the actual clinical studies, the statistical significance is minimal. Women in a control group (no pill) vs the ones with the medication group were only 0.05% more likely to have babies with birth defects.
Now, obviously nobody wants to take that risk, but if you are vomiting excessively like I was, missing work, being unable to even get out of bed due to the severe nausea, then by all means consider taking the medication! As always, please consult your doctor about it.
Nausea, be gone?
It took about 16 weeks for me to stop feeling the nausea, and zofran pills didn’t completely take it away. I had to avoid triggers to my nausea such as car trips, strong smells and even moving around too much. I weaned myself off the medication slowly from THREE pills a day to one a day. Then, I stopped taking it and finally the nausea went away (yay!). I did NOT go through such severe nausea with my first pregnancy, which goes to tell you that every pregnancy is different.
The psychological aspect of hypermesis
I am not proud of it, but at times I was so hormonal and felt such low quality of life, that I wished I was not pregnant anymore. It was hard for me to feel the extreme guilt, however know that this disease can really take a toll on your body and mind. Seek help if you are going through this like I did. Eventually, the nausea and vomiting WILL go away. Even if it takes forever and you feel like your life is ending, try to think about better times and just hope for a healthy baby at the end of all the ordeal. It will be worth it!
Now I’m exhausted!
I could take 3-4 naps a day nowadays! Joking aside, my second trimester is a bit exhausting. I’ve been trying to take it easy. It helps that my 3-year old toddler already goes to daycare and is used to it. He requires less attention than before and is more independent than, say, a two year old.
However, not all is easy when you have a toddler running around that refuses to cooperate. My husband just came back from a trip to Norway because his brother was getting married (funny enough, his brother is also having a baby at the same time as us!).
The nausea and vomiting are gone, but staying alone with my toddler for a week was harder than I thought. Luckily, I could drop him off at daycare for most weekdays so that I could get some much needed rest.
I am one of those moms that hates being pregnant and gets all the pregnancy woes… back pain, exhaustion, nausea, vomiting. My last pregnancy I had severe itching and towards the end, high blood pressure readings. Despite this, I had a super healthy baby and a normal delivery without complications. I also had a natural childbirth with no pain meds.
If you have itching
Go see a doctor, it could be a sign of liver problems. However, if you have cleared it and there is nothing wrong medically, there is a fantastic solve to this. Try “Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap”, you can find it in Whole Foods. It will help the itching after you take a shower with it. I was a happy camper after it.
High blood pressure readings
It does sound scary, because of a possible problem such as pre-eclampsia. Again always take the necessary precautions by monitoring your blood pressure and continuing to see your doctor.
There is also this handy wristband blood pressure monitor that you can get for cheap on Amazon. I’ve got one that I use whenever I’m suspicious that my blood pressure is up, and it helps ease my worries.
Preup Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor With Cuff Auto Off IHB and WHO Indicator 2 x Groups Memory (white)
As an anecdote, just know that I had it some days prior to giving birth, and sometimes it just means that your body is just giving in and ready to POP THAT BABY… NOW! Once we get into that last stretch of pregnancy, our bodies and minds are just SO READY not to be pregnant anymore. And sometimes that body pressures us. Our bodies start feeling how heavy the baby is, we can barely waddle through a parking lot, and some people might stare and even ask if you are having twins. No… it’s just a baby, and you are about to give birth!
But, what if the baby doesn’t want to come out ?
I went through this with my first pregnancy. My baby simply refused to come out and I wanted nothing to do with being induced. I didn’t trust pitocin or the stories of how it made you have stronger contractions. I was trying for a natural birth for many reasons…. one of them because it was cheaper and I had prepaid my birth in a “birth center”. The other was because I had no health insurance and hospitals give me the creeps anyway.
So I tried a little of everything, and the one thing that worked was acupuncture. One, two or maybe three sessions is all you need. For me, it took one session. I felt hot and uncomfortable through the whole session, I could barely keep still in my chair with the “needles” stuck to my hands. It wasn’t that acupuncture wasn’t relaxing, my body was just an uncomfortable mess. Eight hours later, my water broke. I had a slow but steady birth, which was everything I could hope for: the pain was manageable throughout the birth, as it came progressively and not all at once.
I hope for a birth like my first this time around, but regardless I’ll be happy with a healthy baby.
I’m back with my midwife who assisted in the first birth, in the same birth center where I felt comfortable bringing a baby into the world.
Birth center? Home birth? Hospital?
Do whatever gives you peace of mind. For me, it was privacy and loving caring women around me who understood what I was going through. I took a huge gamble and prepaid my natural birth at $4500.
That day, I had the building mostly to myself (yes, the whole office building where my ob/gyns and Midwife’s practice). My room had a tub, where I could go have a water birth if needed. I highly recommend going on the water, or having a bath. The water makes your contractions 10 times more manageable than outside the water. I did get in my tub at home for some time, but the hubby was so nervous that we just drove to the birth center instead of laboring mostly at home. I waited until I was about 5cm.
Funny story: the midwife taught my husband how to check how dilated I was. We now laugh when he says it was very “liberal”, and I think of how nervous he was to just get the “measurement” right.
I did not have a water birth, mostly because I spent half of the birth very stuck to a sofa chair. In general, it’s better to not have a water birth your first time, as you don’t really know how your body will respond or if you will run into complications. I had severe shakes, and felt cold, so it was happier for me to just sit. I didn’t want to stand up either because it made my contractions worse. I also did not want to lay down on the bed because I wanted to keep progressing. Later on, I went on different positions which helped me. My birth was assisted by two midwifes and one assistant.
It is not usual to have two midwives, it’s just that my main midwife had a friend getting married that day. She sent another midwife friend in her place, but was there towards the end.
In the birth center, they usually send you home after some hours (about 3 hours), giving you enough time to clean up. If you were having a home birth, you don’t have to drive to the birth center to and back. However, I wanted to just leave all the memory of the birth pain behind in the birth center and not associate it with home (just another personal preference).
Trust me when I say, you want to go home. You will be tired and in pain, and with a newborn baby. However, I was extremely happy to be home and in my bed. I got to sleep 8 hours since my newborn was tired. From what I’ve heard from moms with hospital births, they usually have to wake up every time the nurses check up on them throughout the night. That means every hour to two hours. Moms can’t sleep very well. However, you might enjoy the support of nurses taking your baby and caring for them. Keep in mind that it will be the nurses rules and not yours, and they might push formula feeding if they don’t see your newborn latching on to you super fast, which is a breastfeeding trap due to all the other things hospitals due that impact breastfeeding negatively (read below).
We also wanted a natural birth because it allowed us to have more flexibility with our newborn. Usually, hospitals will give newborns hepatitis B shots, hearing screening, vitamin k eye ointment, bathing, cord cutting and blood screening for genetic diseases. You will have a really hard time making decisions against this and you will get charged hospital rates for all this procedures whether you like it or not. Keep in mind, you are paying top dollar for ALL of it.
Are the newborn procedures unnecessary?
You will want to do more in-depth research, and make up your own mind regarding each one.
The following is just my personal opinion, based on research I did.
Remember, hospital DO want to care for you, they will be invaluable in an emergency or if you need a surgery. But they also need to make a PROFIT and have strict rules that allow very little decision on your part. If you disagree with me, please call the billing department to your nearest hospital and ask how much a birth will cost you… they will avoid answering you, they’ll say they need the codes, even AFTER you get your medical bill with very little room to negotiate. Good luck trying to bring that bill down, even with insurance help.
On to newborn procedures:
Delayed Cord Clamping
Most hospitals will clamp the cord and cut it right after birth, take the baby away to examine and bathe it. Delaying clamping the cord helps newborns to receive vital iron in the blood that is still pulsating through the cord and that a newborn receives AFTER birth. The cord stops pulsating by itself and then you can cut it. We did delayed cord clamping, and our newborn did not have an iron deficiency as is the case with some babies. My newborn was also put on top of my belly until he latched on to breastfeed by himself. This is not an option in the hospital.
Antibiotic eye ointment
An ointment that temporarily disorients and blinds newborns, which makes it difficult for them to breastfeed. I’m sure it has positive reasons, but is probably not needed for most babies.
Hepatitis B vaccine
A vaccine given to newborns for a disease that is sexually or blood transmitted by a very small sector of the population. The CDC in all its logic decided that newborns need this given all the sex and drugs they are going to have because junkies and people with this disease are unlikely to get the shot (yes, that was sarcasm). Since you have been screened throughout your pregnancy for all sorts of STDs, it’s highly unlikely your newborn will contract it. We decided to do a delayed vaccine schedule, and spread them out over time, once our child had a stronger inmune system and was a bit older. He is now 3 and is up to date in ALL his vaccines. We’re not hippies or against vaccines, we just wanted our newborn to develop an immune system in peace before shocking him with all sorts of viruses. It was definitely a constant fight with our pediatrician to stop the crazy vaccine schedule TRAIN, but we did manage to keep it slow and steady. By the way, KNOW that your child will most likely get a fever and cry for days after each vaccine group they put on them, even if your pediatrician swears most kids will be perfectly ok (total lie!). I’ve never met a mom whose kid didn’t have a negative reaction to the vaccines. The more you wait, the older your child gets, the easier it might be on both of their body and your sanity.
Bathing a newborn
Newborns struggle to keep their body temperature warm. They are born with a white creamy substance on their skin that protects it and keeps them warm. Hospitals will give your newborn their first bath, removing this substance. We did not bathe our newborn after he was born. The midwifes wiped him a bit, did the most basic birth tests, dressed him up, took his footprint for the birth certificate and let him rest with the light dimmed while I cleaned up.
The upside to having a birth with a midwife is that they come to visit you AT HOME the first and third day. They weight your newborn, take a blood test mandated by the state for genetic screening and make sure that you are doing ok.
Now, at this point, you are wondering… isn’t it better to just have a pediatrician see your newborn at the hospital? Maybe. But you can’t pick WHO will see your newborn. Whoever is in rotation that day/time will be the one to examine them. In our case, we brought our newborn to our pediatrician of choice during the first few days. It will be this same pediatrician who sees them through the rest of their infancy and toddler years.
Phew! That was a handful! I know it’s a lot to process, and you know, it’s absolutely fine if you decide to have an elective c-section, or just have to go with the flow, formula feed or supplement with formula like we did or are freaked out and know that being in a hospital will give you extra peace of mind.
We all have our personal preferences of what we like, I just hope that my post was informational and took away some of your worries about pregnancy and childbirth and demystified it.
There might be a ton of upsides to hospital births too! Hospitals have likely saved many lives with preterm labor, twins, etc!
If you have a story to share, please comment down below, I always love to hear about new experiences and keep an open mind.