Friday, December 31, 2010

My Hippie Versus My Heathen

I might look modern on the outside, but there’s a hippie on the inside is sportin’ hairy armpits and listening to Grateful Dead in a tie-dyed sundress. OK, maybe not the hairy armpits part. I actually find hairy armpits to be scratchy. And stinky. (more on THAT lovely postpartum change on another blog!) Maybe my inner hippie has dreads instead…yea, dreads….now THOSE are cool! I love me a little “goin’ green” IF it doesn’t interfere too much with my whoops-what-happened-this-is-crazier-than-it-should-be-life. For example, when I go shopping, 9 times out of 10 my recyclable bags made of old recycled bags that I bought with wonderful intentions is left behind in the entry closet, stuffed behind the vacuum and 16 little pair of shoes. I hustle to the checkout in record time, but not fast enough to stop my screaming 16 month old from having a fit out of boredom. As I clutch him in one arm, he throws his solid 29 pound self in an attempt to escape and like a seasoned prison guard I use the other hand to separate the 6 and 7 year old girls as they begin to push and shove each other out of the way so they can both play with the stupid $5 fan toy filled with candy. I’m flustered. I’m sweaty. And the cashier at the grocery store asks the question “paper or plastic?” I will tell him proudly “PAPER!” and in the next breath, “Oh. Wait. Do they have handles on them?” If they do, (and sadly, ONLY if they do) I will walk out with my loud ass kids and my groceries packed in my brown bags feeling like I did my part save the earth for the day.
When my doula friend Mary approached me about trying cloth diapering, I had a flashback to my childhood. My head was filled with images of me gagging while my mom scraped turds into the toilet and then choking on the stink from the diaper pail as she stuffed the soggy, wet mess into its belly. I remember the look on her face as she struggled to diaper up my little brother as he wiggled like a pink little pig, desperately trying not to skewer him with what looked like the hugest, sharpest pins in the world. No thanks. But Mary assured me that those days were gone and it was MUCH easier to cloth diaper nowadays. Plus, dangit…I just read a statistic that said it takes 500 YEARS for ONE diaper to decompose in a landfill. Take 3 kids in diapers for a combined 7 and ½ years, and well, I’m pretty sure MY landfill pile is taller than my own house.
After Mary swatted away all of the excellent excuses I used about why it was great for her but there was no way I could possibly do it, I bought 6 of the cutest cloth diapers WITH velcro tabs (having snaps was one of my excuses…couldn’t take the time to snap with my carpel tunnel and such!) and there they sat, on my counter for 2 months. Finally, I took the plunge. I washed and dried all 6 of the Rump A Rooz SIX, yes, count it, SIX times, (apparently you have to do that to get the maximum amount of pee soakage possible) put one together, and slapped it on Grady’s butt. Although it LOOKED like it was going to be tough to figure out, it was amazingly easy…and that’s coming from the girl who has self proclaimed ADD and can’t focus on ANY project that takes longer than 20 seconds to complete. Grady is now sporting his FIRST cloth diaper while taking a trip to Sports Authority with his dad, walking around with that telltale cloth diaper big ole’ booty. Dang it’s cute…and I will update you on how it goes. Mary PROMISED it would be easy. I’ll be sure to let you know if she was telling the truth…or if these will go in the closet next to my recycled recycle bags!

Friday, December 17, 2010

BONUS! Breastfeeding Class! by Mama to be: Abby Jordan

To start off our bonus class we learned that 2 out of 5 couples from our class had their babies. OMG! I was completely freaked out for the first 15 minutes of class. Both of them had premature emergency c-sections. I just kept saying, "We're not ready!" Let's just keep this in mind baby, mommy and daddy could use a few more weeks and you need to keep baking. :)

Instead of waiting until after the baby is here the brilliant ladies at Baby Love Birth Services threw an extra class at the end of the 6 weeks. We were invited back for a night to learn about breastfeeding. It's rewards and a lot about it's challenges. There are so, so many schools of thought on what's right. Binkies, no binkies, nipple confusion, supplementing bottles, when dad can take part, formula every now and then is that cool?, etc.

The first thing we watched was a video of a baby put skin to skin on it's mommy right after birth. The baby bobbed it's head and scooted it's way to her nipple. Animal like instincts. Isn't that amazing??

We also learned that newborn bellies are the size of tiny marbles. They don't need to eat a lot at first. They might get on for about 10 minutes and that might be all they need. We learned about cluster feeding, latching and nursing cues. We learned why it was so important to keep your baby with you in the hospital all night so you don't miss their feeding cues. This is a crucial part of getting the breastfeeding foundation set down between you and your baby. I have always heard to send them to the nursery so you can get a good night's rest before you go home with baby. It turns out, if you want to breastfeed, you really shouldn't do that.

There are so many little tips and tricks that you can learn about before you have a sweet little tiny peanut relying on you for food. I was so thankful that they added this bonus class to our 6 week course. We feel like knowing a few things before everything hits us will be great.

Next up, we will taking the Sanity Series. Why doesn't every parent take this class?? Seriously! They go through breastfeeding and any problems, complications, what's working, is it safe?, etc. Babywearing, did you know that colic symptoms don't even exist in some cultures? It's called the 4th trimester and you learn all about how wearing your baby and keeping them close reminds them of the womb. They can't help but be content. The last thing, which I'm sure we will learn so much more, is learning how to turn on our babies calming reflex. I CAN'T WAIT!

Okay, I guess I am ready for that sweet little tiny peanut to get here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Acupuncture in Pregnancy - WHAT"S THE POINT?

At Essentials Family Chiropractic, we get asked - "What can you treat with acupuncture?" The truthful answer is just about anything. However, acupuncture was (when it was discovered over 5,000 years ago) and is (primarily in Eastern cultures) intended to be used as a preventative or wellness treatment. For example, people in China will go have acupuncture to stay healthy. They know that by keeping their energy in balance with acupuncture, they will prevent any ailments like pain, digestive problems, foggy headedness, headaches, menstrual cramps, anxiety, depression, etc...
In western society, we are raised in more of a "sick care" model, meaning we usually seek treatment after we are having pain, symptoms or sickness. Although this isn't ideal for many reasons, there is hope! The good news is, acupuncture can be used to treat a lot of "ailments" even after they have started (AND, is still great for wellness or preventive care, too!!!)
We all know that pregnancy is a time of dramatic change in a woman's body. A lot of the unpleasant (to put it nicely!) symptoms of pregnancy can be treated with acupuncture. AND, It's a great option for the pregnant mama because it is safe for the mom and growing baby, relatively affordable and very effective.

Here is a list of some of the things our pregnant patients come in for:
First Trimester: Insomnia
Morning sickness/Nausea
Second Trimester: Headaches
Sciatica/Lower back pain
Depression/Anxiety/Mood changes

Third Trimester: Heartburn
Pubic bone pain
Induction of Labor (naturally, without the use of artificial hormones)

And, for the lucky pregnant women that don't experience any of these symptoms (your friends will HATE you, by the way!), acupuncture is a possibility for wellness, relaxation and immune boosting.

Our very own pregnant mama, Abby, was willing to try an acupuncture treatment. She experienced a normal session, where we insert the very teeny tiny thin needles into specific points and let you relax for about 15-20 minutes. I think she would tell you the treatment was comfortable and even relaxing.

AND - I would be neglectful (I don't know that I've ever used that word in a sentence) if I didn't mention one of the biggest reasons that women seek acupuncture in our office - TO GET PREGNANT in the first place! Acupuncture is extremely effective in helping achieve fertility and pregnancy. We'll be discussing how and why it works in January at the "Mama said Knock You Up" class. Please check out for class dates and times and for more information on acupuncture!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dr. Kate, My Fifth Visit, An Adjustment Sounds Nice? by Mama to be, Abby Jordan

The week before last I absolutely could not wait for my end of the week adjustment. I felt like I had overdone it and literally NEEDED to see Dr. Kate. This week by Thursday night I started thinking that an adjustment sounded good. I wasn't dying for it but was happy that I had an appointment scheduled for Friday morning.

She checked everything that she normally checks and found the same old offenders. My neck, the middle of my back, my pelvis, my hip and my knee. I'm not being technical at all but these are the little things that slip and slide a little (remember relaxin?) and start the hurting. She also adjusted my pubic symphysis. I had no idea that was hurting but when she applied some pressure it felt tender. My pelvis had been tilting back, causing my, let's say it again: "pubic symphysis" to get out of alignment.

To me, it seemed like all the adjustments Dr. Kate had been making for the last 5 weeks had been gradually getting everything back into place. I asked her how she thought the progress was and she explained a few things. She was seeing less of a shift from the offending vertebrae and other bones because they were starting to feel more comfortable back in their original positions. She also explained the muscles around them were healing a bit from the damage to them after being out of alignment for so long. The last thing she explained was that the reasons that these same places continue to slip and move could have to do with being a creature of habit. Maybe my neck is always off in the same place because of how I sleep or work at my desk. They could all be factors.

We've decided to push the next appointment out for two weeks. I'm 33-1/2 weeks pregnant and will definitely continue to see her up until I deliver. Ideally, she will give me an adjustment and then I will go into labor so I know that everything is perfectly aligned! Wishful thinking, of course.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

4 hours of labor rehearsal and we lost a mom...

Weeeeeell, that was new! Read on and I'll tell you what happened.

During week 4 and week 5 of our Not Your Mama's Childbirth Class we do a labor dry run with ice. The first night we simulate labor as if it begins in the middle of the night when they're home (most common if labor goes on it's own, it seems!) and I holler out "your contraction starts!" The mamas hold baggies of ice in both hands until the "contraction" passes. After 45 seconds (average-ish time a contraction lasts in the early stage!) they let go of the baggies and their job, or rather their PARTNER'S job, is to get them to fall asleep by using relaxation techniques I taught them in the class 2 weeks before. As the class progresses the test begins for the partners. They have to remember EVERYTHING we talked about on how to comfort their mamas and help labor progress. I love it. They have their position cheat sheets lying next to them, pens and stopwatches on their phones in hand, and some have looks of pure concentration that is adorable to watch! Since we start the labor rehearsal with contractions coming about 8 minutes apart, the partners seem pretty darn confident and think this labor thing might be a breeze since 8 minutes feels like a lifetime to just lay around and figure out their next position.

Then, as it happens in REAL labor, the contractions get closer together, last for longer periods of time, and get more intense. As the hours pass, I have them switch from baggies of ice to submerging their hands in buckets of ice, to the pièce de résistance, the dreaded ice and water combo, or as I like to call it, the Black Finger Bitch. The moms begin to see the benefit of distraction and WHY those positions help to lower their perception of pain and the partners begin to see that they have a HUGE role in this labor...In fact I teach that the MOST IMPORTANT PERSON when Mom's labor begins is NOT's the partner!!

On the next week we continue the ice rehearsal and begin the class by having them "check in" to the hospital while contractions are coming 3 minutes apart (as I advise them to have them be when they head in!) And of course, epidural or not, they WILL feel that strong Black Finger Bitch level of intensity if they wait for the epidural until they've progressed into hard, active labor. (this helps to reduce the number of interventions and problems all the other educators teach you about) I have my doula friends acting as nurses and we go through typical hospital check in procedures from patient intake, IV insertion, and fetal monitoring, while mom is having those contractions. This is usually the REAL eye opener to the couples as they see how easy it is to become a medically managed patient instead of an informed laboring couple in charge of their own birth. It's a WHOLE new ballgame when the partners are in charge of nurturing their mamas while playing interference with the "nurses"...they see how quickly things can spin out of their control since mom is only able to focus on handling the pain of the "contractions."

Now, some of you might be thinking to yourselves, "Uh huh...I knew this was an all natural hippie bullshit class!" because I didn't mention anything about the epidural. BUT, my naysayers, the moms that have chosen to have an epidural as part of their birth plan get to dry off their hands, climb into the "beds," and resume positions that I've taught them to use when they're numb to get that baby moving down and out toward the end of this class.

During this second session of labor rehearsals we had a mom who had extreme nausea from the intensity of the ice contractions and had to take a break from the ice. Her face would flush and she'd feel sick to her stomach during the contractions...she told me the next week that although it sucked, she realized that this COMMON REACTION TO PAIN was an eye opener to what labor would be like. (and just so you know, barfing is VERY common in active labor and again in transition!)

I'm not stupid...and I don't act like my students are. Ice does NOT feel as intense as contractions. But I do feel that after this exercise they have a VERY good idea of how to handle labor when it comes. And they realize that they have all the ammunition in their brains (and their cheat sheets!) to help them have the birth they have envisioned...they just have to assert themselves and use it when the moment comes!

Class #6 Ready, Set, Baby! by Mama to be, Abby Jordan

We had our final class of the 6 week session at Baby Love Birth Services this week. This was the okay you have had the pregnancy talks, the labor training and now you are going to get the baby.

You've worked so hard to get baby here and all you want to do is squeeze it and cuddle it and kiss, kiss and kiss it. Sure people are still down around where the baby came out checking in on things, maybe sewing things up (ouch) but you have your baby. The pain has subsided and you have your baby.

This was another class where I kept turning to Scott saying, "write that down!". There was a lot I didn't know about what happens after you have the baby and what your options are. I've heard of immediate skin-to-skin contact and definitely wanted that to happen. We've also talked about Scott cutting the cord. This is another thing I had no idea about. Instead of the doctor clamping the cord right away so dad can cut it, she can wait until it stops pulsating. This continues to give baby tons of oxygenated blood and nutrients for a few more minutes. At that time she can clamp and dad can cut. Now, you can have the sweet little baby up by your face loving it up. Who would ever want that to end? So, if requested there should really be no reason that baby can't stay there for the next hour while they give he/she an Apgar score once or twice and perform a couple other tests. They
don't have to whisk him/her away right away and poke and prod the sweet little peanut just yet. This will also give you the opportunity to breast feed within the first 15 or 20 minutes of life which could be one of the biggest favors you ever do for your child.

So, once that baby is born our plan is for it to come directly to my naked abdomen or chest for comforting and body temp regulation. Not having the cord clamped immediately but waiting for it to stop pulsating, breastfeeding as soon as possible and then to have some very tender first moments as a family with our brand new baby.

I talked to my doctor about all of this and she said it was possible and that the nurses were all very familiar with all of these practices. She also did not hesitate to say, if there is any trauma while the baby is being born this all may have to pushed aside so they can work on baby. We get it, but this is our ideal situation.

We also had graduation this week complete with a hospital bed cake. Barbie is on a birth ball and Ken is coaching her. They are not cake, just decoration.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Pregnancy Massage, Oh Baby!! by Mama to be, Abby Jordan

So, I've told you about Kristi and the Baby Love Birth Services classes, the amazing Dr. Kate Hansen from Essentials Chiropractics where the classes are taught but allow me to introduce you to Cat. Cat is the licensed massage therapist at Essentials Chiropractics. Don't just wait until your pregnant to see her, she does way too good of a job.

After my 4th adjustment I had a pregnancy massage appointment. Yay!!! In an effort to have overall bone, joint and muscle wellness this just makes sense, right? Well, it does. Dr. Kate Hansen talked to Cat about what she had adjusted and where she felt the tight muscles and then Cat came in and went to town. I feel like I was on the table for a good four hours. It was not that long but everything she did and touched felt purposeful. Each of her techniques and procedures had a point and it wasn't just about making me feel good. There was more to it. We talked about what Dr. Kate had done, relaxin taking it's toll on me, where my problem areas were, had been, and might be in the future. She took care of me and I wish I was still lying there.

As you know from the, "I overdid it blog" I am not always the best at letting pregnancy restrict some of the things I normally do. I'm not the type of person to let people take over and do everything for me because I am growing a baby. I would never compromise the health of our baby. The way I look at it, women have been doing all sorts of things during pregnancy for years. As long as I have the baby in mind when I make my daily limit decisions, I should be just fine.

I did not know anything about Baby Love Birth Services or Essentials Chiropractics for the first 24 or so weeks of pregnancy. Now, I really don't know where I would be without them. I might be wearing a baby brace from the doctors office but my tailbone would be still be out of whack. I wouldn't know that back pain is a normal part of pregnancy but also can be alleviated. I would be showing up at the hospital ready to be the best patient they have ever seen, and REALLY crossing my fingers that the nurses constantly refer to my birth chart and guide me through labor accordingly!!

Dr. Kate, My Fourth Visit, I Totally Overdid it This Week! by Mama to be, Abby Jordan

I work in retail. I pretty much always have. The Holiday season is a long one. I mainly focus on meeting sales goals, the last big push of the year, what can I do to literally bend over backwards to get those last sales!!! Well, I've never been pregnant for this lovely season before.
In an effort to get the season started off right, we shipped our biggest order ever on the Monday following Thanksgiving. It was a lot of manual and mental labor but I think the main thing that took a toll was the way I managed the lifting, packing carrying etc. Before you get upset, these were 8 lb boxes at the most. I wasn't carrying 50 lb bags of sugar. The weight was manageable for a pregnant lady. It was just that there were 650 of them. To get through it, I took a tylenol and didn't stop until it was over!!

By that evening I knew I had probably pushed some of those tiny little vertebrae out of their comfortable positions. Not to mention my hip was locked up, my knee was shifted in, I was in need of some adjustment love. My appointment was for Friday and by then I was so excited to see Dr. Kate Hansen!!

Have you ever heard of relaxin? It is a hormone your body produces tons of when you are pregnant to "relax" your pelvis into opening up and letting the baby out. It can also have a negative effect by relaxin' your lower back and joints into falling out of place. I figure this and my bending over backwards for sales have a lot to do with why I keep ending up in pain. The good news is, it can be adjusted. The even better news is I can take proactive steps to helping as well. Heard of yoga? Yeah, I almost forgot too. I used to be so good at stretching every night and somehow over the last few months I have really slowed down my efforts. I'm going to really try and pick it up for the home stretch. Overall, bone, joint and muscle wellness. That's my goal for me and for baby! Good luck to me!! ;)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Class #5 Delivery Rehearsal, OMG! by Mama to be, Abby Jordan

On the way to class tonight my husband and I remembered that we would be continuing our labor "dry" run and rehearsing the birth. To be honest, I wasn't very excited for more simulated contractions!! And what would a labor rehearsal be like?? All I can say is, I wish we were rehearsing this every week from now until the big day.

Scott and I were able to work through each situation. My controlling self was able to hear how Scott would answer the nurse when she went through the motions of trying to get things "moving" along. For the most part, he did such a great job. He kept telling her that while we are open to the procedures she was suggesting, we will be switching positions and doing our own thing for now. Great job, honey! I'm so glad we got to practice!

The other thing we really focused on in class was our birth plan. It was great to hear Kristi say that no matter what you put on your birth plan, things will most likely change. I have heard this from so many people, including my doctor. That was definitely reassuring.

After going through the first 5 classes I feel like we have a really good idea of what our ideal birth would be. We are excited to put a birth plan together and to have a guide to follow on the big day. Even with all this preparation I still really have no idea how things are going to go, how I am going to feel or what our baby is going to need through all of this. It is so important to me that my husband and I are on the same page with our vision of the perfect birth but that we might need to take some detours along the way.