Yes, this is a post about bras. It’s not going to be provocative or salacious, because maternity and nursing bras are none of those things. They can be reasonably pretty, but you won’t be left feeling terribly randy after putting one on.
First of all, as a pregnant lady, you’re going to have to accept that you’ll have to spend a little money on bras. And, if you’re like me, a chick who places a high premium on extreme comfort in the breast-y area, you’ll want to lay down a bit of change on a FEW very nice brassieres.
I said a FEW. I said NEED.
How many bras do you wear regularly? Before I got knocked up, I probably wore about three or four in a rotating basis, with a nice sports bra on the side. Vicki’s was my brand of choice, and I got a lot of those off Ebay (big shocker). At $20-$30 a bra, that totals $80-$120 in all. Not so bad. And since Vicki’s holds up so well, I don’t really buy bras but every two years or so. Right now, I’ve got all of those lovely ladies stashed away for thinner, less chesty times.
So how many maternity and nursing bras do you REALLY need? My answer: four is all you need, and a sports bra on the side. Seriously. Let’s see how we can do that for less than $120, since that totals my bra stash in “real” life.
1. You’ll need a sports bra. I did have one preggo friend who didn’t want to wear one, because you know, they don’t separate and lift. But trust me, there are some days when you’ll be all like, this is the only thing I can wear. At all. Seriously. (Seriously, ladies, your boobs will hurt at various stages in pregnancy.) Buy one in a couple of sizes larger than your favorite work out bra. I got mine at Target so I could try it on. I would suggest you do the same. I tend to like Champion — this looks like a good one, especially since it goes up to XXL. ($24 on Amazon.)
2. Next, you’ll need a nice maternity bra that lifts and separates. I tried A LOT of different kinds of brassiere — cheapies from Target, Playtex, Bali, Haynes, Barely There … but DANGIT, the absolute best thing ever was from A Pea in the Pod. I’m sorry to say it, I know it ain’t cheap, but that sucker is comfortable and it makes my bosoms look sexy. Here it is. I LOVE it. I wear it with all of my nicer dresses and work clothes, and the ladies at APIP helped me pick out the best size. It’s super supportive, very soft, and has a big supportive band in the back. I can’t recommend it enough. ($36 on apeainthepod.com)
3. For later pregnancy, you’ll want to start buying nursing bras, which let you nurse your kiddo in comfort. You might not start wearing them, but I sure started wearing this one when I found it. I love love love it. For later pregnancy, your bubbies will start growing a second time (they start growing for reals in the later part of your first trimester), and they’ll be a bit sore. Get this lovely brassiere, and you’ll want to wear it all day long, and it will hold over into your nursing stage. Fabulous. It doesn’t LOOK like it has a tremendous amount of support, but it does, and the it has … how can I put this delicately … it has … nipple pads … that keep your ladies looking … smooth. (Yeah that’s a problem in pregnancy you might not expect, but there it is, in heat and in the AC.) Those pads will come in handy when your milk comes in as well. So, hooray for this extremely comfortable purchase. Worth every penny. ($38 on apeainthepod.com)
4. And for those days at home, in pregnancy and in breastfeeding, you’ll need a lovely inexpensive sleep bra. This is comfortable, soft, doesn’t give a lot of support, but is essential for supporting when you’re chilling. And during breastfeeding times, you’ll need one of these to sleep in since you’re boobs will be all over the place and producing some unpredictable fluids at unpredictable times. I got the Medela Sleep Bra, and I enjoy chilling in it. It’s not fabulous for going out out, but it’s fine for the grocery, or Babies R Us, or a walk in the park. ($17 on Amazon)
Hey yo! That’s $115. I did pretty good. And remember, you’ll get some use out of these for a year or so, and if you have a second bambino, two years. Can’t argue with that!
If your budget is tight and you don’t want to spend all at once, then don’t! I lived on the APIP maternity bra, the sports bra and a couple of my old Vicki’s for months, until the Vicki’s weren’t cutting it any more.
Do splurge. I swear. Just splurge on those two bras, and you’ll be set. Honest.
I don’t recommend going on the cheap, particularly for nursing bras. I did buy a couple of Playtex nursers at the Leggs Haynes Bali Playtex outlet (of which there are many in the world), and after wearing them a few times, I can attest that they dig into my skin and leave red marks on me at the end of the day. Those clips that let your boob free? On the cheap bras, they’re ugly, crappy plastic and poorly placed. They HURT. Like heck. Not cool. When you’re nursing and want a really nice bra, get this one instead of a cheap two or three.
Get measured! Don’t GUESS what to get. And go in the store and try them on! The only one I ordered from the online was the sleep bra.
Sorry, I don’t recommend the Bravado line. I find that they have stiff feeling material, and they dig in the skin. Not cool. And they are more expensive than APIP bras, believe it or not.
I won’t comment one way or another on Motherhood Maternity bras. Try them on, but see if they are comfortable. Walk around in one for a day with the tag on so you can return it if you need to. I really don’t like any of their other stuff though, since it has poor fit.
Don’t overbuy! You don’t need more than four. Wash often, hang to dry, and keep them nice.
Buy them in nude. Nude works with everything. Don’t bother with white or black. Nude it is.
And that’s it … I’m going to try to roll with what I’ve got for nursing, so we’ll see how that works out. I might have to get maybe one more, but that’s all. And I’m done.
After six months on the waiting list, I finally got a call from the only freestanding birth center in Northern Virginia. (For those of you who aren’t yet birth geeks like I am, a freestanding birth center is a building not connected to a hospital, where you can give birth, attended by only nurse midwives. There are birth centers connected to hospitals as well … but anyway, this is not that.) They told me that I would soon move off the waiting list. The lady on the phone hesitated when I asked if I could come to the next orientation, acting as if I might not want to do that since I could remain on the waiting list. I said I’d come anyway, and so the husband and I went this past Tuesday evening.
It turns out I’m glad we did. Because it turns out it wasn’t all that we expected.
When you first walk into the freestanding birth center in Northern Virginia (I won’t name names, but it’s easy peasy to find on the online), you realize it’s like a lot of other businesses in the Old Town Alexandria area: it’s a converted older townhouse or office building that was probably first built sometime way back in the day. The air conditioning was not fully suitable for the hot, hot day, and my belly started to tighten in Braxton-Hicks contractions some time after we sat down. The furniture was older and dingy, and it didn’t quite seem clean in the downstairs area — not that it wasn’t, it’s just that older buildings give you that sense sometimes.
Everyone who came in was given a folder with brochures about the center, and a long list of medical reasons that can “risk you out” of giving birth at the center. First red flag. These factors include, but are not limited to: breech presentation, carrying multiples, anemia, previous stillbirth or missed miscarriage, previous c-section, being older than 40, post date pregnancy (after 42 weeks), decreased fetal movement, or “any other significant condition which exposes the client or the baby to increased risk,” which really, could be … anything. Most likely a prolonged labor. Risking out? What does that mean? That means at week 36 or whatever, or during your labor, they send you on to a major hospital down the street to be handled by a doctor you’ve never met. How often does this happen? 10% of the time during labor (!!!), and the midwife was majorly vague about telling us how often it happens BEFORE you go into labor. Probably a lot given the list of things that could risk you out, or automatically risk you out.
When the orientation started, there were 20-25 people, mostly well-dressed Nova couples, one hippie couple in homemade clothes, and a couple of single ladies. The range of pregnancy was from just found out, to totally about to bust (me). The midwife who led the orientation gave a brief overview of the center, conveniently skipping over review of the risking out business. But a lot of us had already noticed. The presenter went through a lot of the advantages of birthing at the center, heavily relying on all the things that are great about natural birth to carry her point. (It’s empowering, you can breastfeed immediately, you get an endorphin high, it’s awesome, la la la.) The actual advantages of giving birth at the center seemed to be that you get a midwife and a birth assistant rather than a doctor and nurse. And your appointments last 20-30 minutes instead of 5-10.
Cool enough. I like to chat about my pregnancy. But did it sell me? Not quite. What’s wrong with that equation? Well, you see one of each of six midwives when you go, and you give birth with whomever is on call when you get there. Doesn’t matter if you don’t like her, or she doesn’t remember your name, or you wanted someone else. Sounds an awful lot like my first doctor’s office, where you see one of six docs or a midwife, and you give birth with whomever is on call.
Then there were questions. And continued dissatisfaction. (Note: responses were edited in my own brain’s sarcastic tone of voice.)
- Are most women risked out because of prolonged labor? Yes.
- That’s one in ten women? Yes.
- What are the stats on women who get risked out before labor? I don’t really know. Next question.
- What are the statistics for maternal and infant mortality? About the same as the hospital, but not quite. I won’t really tell you.
- I see you only have two beds. What if three women show up at the same time? Well that doesn’t really happen that often.
- But what if it does? Well there’s a futon in the office. You can hang out on the futon. But it doesn’t happen very often.
- What if two women want to use the jacuzzi? One of them just has to wait. But it’s very rare that two women would be here at the same time. (My mathy husband figured out that the chances are 1 in 6 that two women would go into labor on the same day.)
- Why can’t you give birth in the tub? Is it illegal in Virginia? Um, I don’t think it’s illegal in Virginia. But it’s not safe since the baby could drown.
- It’s legal in Tennessee. Don’t they do it at the birth center in DC? Um, I don’t know. Next question.
- Are the birth assistants all doulas? No, but they have doula-like experience. (WTF does that mean?)
- MY question: So do I have to use one of your birth assistants? Or can I use my own doula? We’ve already paid her. I’m sorry, no, you have to use one of ours. The birth assistants here are trained to clean up. And your doula wouldn’t know how.
- MY follow up comment: But no one told me that when I first got on the waiting list. I paid my doula at 20 weeks. Sorry, no exceptions.
- MY follow up comment, as I walked out of the door: We’ll be going with Virginia Hospital Center. I have some feedback for you. In the future, please tell clients to come to orientation when they get on the waiting list, or tell them not to hire a doula before they come here. Hmm that’s interesting.
We did take a tour. And the jacuzzi is super nice. I mean, really primo. But the bedrooms look like “the motel of your dreams” (quote: Eric), and they don’t really look big enough for a laboring woman, midwife, birth assistant, and significant other. Not to mention parents or friends if you want them there.
Why is it like this?
Oh! I can answer. It’s because of this wonderful thing called malpractice insurance. The midwives have to pay it out of the wazoo to keep their birth center alive. So, new furniture and more beds take a backseat to packing in as many clients as they can manage (up from 20 to 30 women a month), and malpractice insurance stays a whole hell of a lot cheaper when you risk women out to the hospital for any variation of a normal pregnancy. I mean, you don’t get sued and lose your license for being too cautious (which is why c-sections run rampant in this country to begin with). If there’s any risk, you get sent to the big hospital. Sorry, see ya.
Why did I decide to peace out?
Well, besides the fact that our doula is selected and paid for (and we love her), I figure it’s just as, if not MORE likely, that I’ll have a natural birth at Virginia Hospital Center than at the birth center. Why? I’ve done a lot of research and picked out a doc who is friendly to natural childbirth. Besides that, he’s the head OB at that hospital, and works only with other docs whose kids he’s delivered, all of whom are friendly to natural childbirth. He strongly recommends a birth class, reviews your birth plan with you, and talks through your plans in the five minutes he spends with you. Besides that? I’ve been seeing him for most of my pregnancy. He knows my medical history. And? And? He delivers twins and breech births naturally. He once let a woman push for nine hours. He tolerates prolonged labor. And when she said she couldn’t do it anymore? She got an expert c-section, immediately. And? He’s been doing this for 35 years.
There might be disadvantages to going to a hospital. But I’ll have my doula. The one I chose. And I’ll have a doctor who knows his stuff and is a good guy. His office is filled with pictures of him holding babies. My favorite pic is of him holding triplets.
I’m sure I’d get excellent care with a midwife. But better? Debatable.
The jacuzzi can wait. I’ll hang out in the shower. I’ll tolerate the fetal monitoring. I’ll risk getting a nurse who is not natural-friendly. And next time, we’ll probably do it at home — forget the center.
I got a call yesterday telling me I’m off the waiting list, and the birth center would love to see me for my first appointment. Too bad. I like to do things on my own terms, and it seems like the hospital is a better choice for that right now.
Well, several exciting things:
I’m eight months pregnant.
Today and yesterday were the hottest days on record for the year.
asavvymom.com has gotten off the ground! Welcome to the new space …
And over here at the Wells/Pfahl household, I have decided to take the plunge into cloth diapering. And there’s no going back now. I dropped a bucketload of change on twelve BumGenius 4.0 pocket diapers, and a few bucks on some other things: flushable liners, cloth wipes, and stay-dry liners.
I had been planning to buy my stash on Ebay (as you know, I’m a devoted Ebayer). Most of their cloth diaper stock is used, or new at the same price you’d see on Amazon. The used items sell for almost just as much as the brand new stuff. I meditated on this, and decided to go for the brand new 4.0 style Bumgenius rather than the older style used Bumgenius found on Ebay. Almost the same price. Makes damn good sense to me.
Anywhoo, for those of you who haven’t settled into cloth diaper dorkdom like me, you may be a little lost. Let me start at the beginning.
Cloth diapers: they’re not just for hippies. My husband did point out that I’m clearly a hippie. I’ll take that title gladly, but I’m a suburban hippie with a Honda Element and a ridiculous designer dog. That means you can do it too.
When you think of cloth diapers, you probably think about pre-folds — the thick, soft, rectangular diapers that your mom may have used to dust things. (According to my mom, she was planning to cloth diaper me, but ended up using her pre-folds for dusting. I think she still uses them.) Pre-folds are actually easier than they look. You get the hang of it, and either snap or pin the diaper in place, cover it with a waterproof diaper cover, and voila — you’re baby is diapered. Especially if you plan to wash yourself instead of using a diaper cleaning service (yes, they have these things all over the country, usually running about $70 a month — comparable to or more expensive than disposables), pre-folds are the cheapest option with the least initial expense.
There are TONS of different cloth diapering options — many more than when my mom got scared away by the extra work and ended up dusting instead. I won’t go over all those options here, but you can find more information about those options at this wonderful site, and you can buy all of those types here.
What did I choose? I chose, as mentioned above, a twelve pack of the one-size pocket diaper, the BumGenius 4.0. Why did I choose this?
Why BumGenius? Why cloth diapering?
1. They’re very popular among cloth-diapering mommas. Believe me, I’ve done my research. On Amazon, they are the most consistently well reviewed of cloth diapers, and they have the most reviews.
2. They’re easy. Yeah. A cloth diaper? Easy? Well check them out. They look exactly like a disposable diaper, and they have a REMOVABLE LINER! That means you don’t have to wash the cover every time you use it, and you can cycle through several liners in a day instead of several diapers. Neat, huh? You secure the liner in the pocket diaper, and you’ve got a dry baby’s butt. If you want even more convenience, you can put a flushable liner over the terrycloth liner so that you can just flush the liner with the inevitable poops, leaving your reusable liner mostly unstained.
3. They DO totally save money, compared to disposable diapers. Disposables will cost you about $60 – $75 a month for the first year, and yeah, that’s some dough. You should be able to use your one size diapers for about two years, so the initial cost of $200-$400 is a lot less in comparison. And it only takes about ten extra bucks to wash these guys per month. Not to mention they’ll probably last two kids. And finally, some person will buy them on Ebay since they’re so popular. Win, all the way around.
4. Going back to my last point, I can sell them on Ebay for just about as much as I got them for if I hate them.
5. As for the why on cloth diapering, I’m just generally squeamish about throwing stuff away that I don’t have to, especially plasticky stuff that’s not going to degrade well. I’m a long time fan of the keeper, and I’ve just ordered and received some reusable postpartum sanitary pads. Call me nuts, but that’s just how I roll. Think about it, if every woman in the world used a keeper or kept a supply of reusable pads, how much do you think that would cut down on waste in the landfill? Probably a lot. And if all of those women cloth-diapered their kids, how much more difference would that make? And for those of you who are icked out by the idea, I’m here to let you know I’m icked out by having that stuff in my trash can. To each her own ick.
5. It just seems nicer to put something soft against my baby’s skin.
6. They come in all sorts of cute colors!
7. Oh yeah, and these guys are one-size. A lot of cloth diapers are made to fit different aged babies. These have lots of available adjustments and fit kiddos from 7-35 lbs. Neato.
8. And I guess this really isn’t a reason … but just so you know my secret: I feel like I can use a disposable ANY TIME I WANT! At night, on the run, during a stomach virus, whenever. But I won’t have to buy loads and loads of the things. But I’m versatile to the max and excited about this new adventure.
Where did I find all of this information?
Well, I found out a lot through reading reviews on Amazon.
I also checked out All About Cloth Diapers, featuring a really cool post explaining the different types of BumGenius diapers.
After doing some serious soul searching, I decided to buy my cloth diapers NOT on Ebay. I also wanted a smaller lot than the 20 they sell on Amazon. (I figure 12 will allow me to get different kinds to supplement if I’m not fully satisfied with the BumGenius.) So I started some searching, and found the awesome at Kelly’s Closet. They have all kinds of diapers and accessories, free shipping, and they use PayPal. They also a free points system you can sign up for. With my initial purchase, I already have a $10 gift certificate for my next shopping trip. And they have a lovely blog with all sorts of information about cloth diapering.
For more info and shopping options check out:
http://www.diaperswappers.com/ — a site where you can browse the forums and trade cloth dipes.
http://www.diaperpin.com/ — all sorts of info and articles
http://diaperpages.com/ — great info from a mom’s perspective
and for other diapering options … http://www.greenmountaindiapers.com/
I’ll definitely be posting updates as we start using our new diapers and probably as we buy more! We’re ready to take the plunge …
As a pregnant lady, you may be interested in getting some good books. I mean, the internet just doesn’t cut it. And as I said, a lot of those sites end up with a bunch of scary comments about miscarriages and illness. I have known of pregnant ladies who stay away from reading any books or sites, but as you might have guessed, I’m not really that type of person. In fact, I highly recommend reading a good selection of books — but you don’t need to go overboard.
You’ll need …
A great reference book. I totally do NOT recommend What to Expect When You’re Expecting. It’s not written by doctors, and it just kinda tells moms to avoid every little thing possible. It’s information light, and condescension heavy. Instead, I highly recommend the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy. This book is a true treasure — if you only buy ONE book for your pregnancy, this is really the one you need. It is divided into three sections — pregnancy, childbirth, and your newborn. It’s written by health care professionals, and has a non-conversational this-is-what-you-need-to-know kind of tone. It provides information on every option for pregnancy and labor, has charts for when you should call the doctor according to the week of pregnancy, and it tells you what to do with your newborn once you get it home. It’s well organized, well laid out, has lots of great information, and it will help you chill out when you perceive a potential problem.
For natural birth planners, you’ll need: Your Best Birth by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein. Ricki Lake — she’s at her least ridiculous in this book — and Abby Epstein are the minds behind the eye-opening documentary, The Business of Being Born (available on Netflix instant). (I recommend this for natural birthers as well.) This is the companion book, which details why pregnancy and childbirth are treated differently in the U.S. than in other countries, and it tells American mothers about all of their options when it comes to their own births. Ricki and Abby both tell their own birth stories in Your Best Birth, all of which are vastly different experiences (hospital birth with an epidural, home birth with no medication, and an emergency c-section). The best part about this book to me was the lists of questions to ask your doctor, midwife, hospital, and doula. They also go over how to write a birth plan and the things you may want to include. A quick, easy, fun and thoroughly informative read!
For the natural birth planner, you’ll also want to read … Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. I’ve already written a full review of this fabulous classic, and yeah, I still think it’s pretty much the best thing ever. Ina May Gaskin is a total badass — a rogue, self-trained midwife who started her own birthing center at a commune in Tennessee. This book is her guide, her philosophy, and her experience. The best thing? The first third of the book is written by her patients, giving glimpses of their positive, natural birth experiences. Then, Ina May details all of the different ways and methods to cope with labor — particularly the more difficult labors. She is unflappably calm and amazingly creative, and gives you a lot of ideas to hold in your personal labor arsenal. For example, if you open your mouth during pushing, you’re less likely to tear. If you’re muscles are tight, and someone rocks you back and forth, you’re more likely to relax and have it easier. And you get to read Ina May’s amazing statistics for her commune birthing center at the end. Also, it’s well written and has a good sense of humor!
For coping with labor pain in a natural way, check out: Birthing from Within by Pam England and Rob Horowitz and Hypnobirthing by Marie Mongan. Both of these books are designed around a “method” to deal with labor, so you may want to choose one ore the other. However, I think checking out a little of both is important because it gives you a chance to gather more tools for your labor arsenal. Birthing from Within does have some wacky stuff about creating birth art to express your fear, which I’m not really into, but some people might find cool. What I really liked about Birthing from Within is the varied methods of coping with pain and the suggestions for how to cope with post-partum stress. Hypnobirthing has a lot about the history of childbirth, and it explains the self-hypnosis methods for dealing with labor. It has a great deal of wonderful information about pregnancy, and it explains meditation you can practice and use during childbirth. Also very well written and engaging. Highly recommended!
Breastfeeders will need … A good breastfeeding book. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding By La Leche League International comes highly recommended. It’s the one I have, and there’s a ton of great information in it … but … it gets a bit preachy. If you are someone who knows you’ll get cranky at super preachy breastfeeding dogma (i.e. “There’s no such thing as not producing enough milk. If you’re not producing enough milk, there’s something wrong with you.”), then don’t get this one. I haven’t checked any other ones, but The Nursing Mother’s Companion comes highly recommended as well, and I would definitely give Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding a good try since Ina May pretty much rules.
Everyone needs … Baby Bargains! As you know, I totally support Baby Bargains. The authors claim they’ll save you lots of dough when buying your baby gear, but I’m not sure if that’s the main benefit of this tome. The main benefit? I found out about everything available on the market, got familiar with brands, and got good ideas for what I needed and didn’t need. From this book, I got the crib recommendation that led me to choose Westwood, the idea to purchase the Arm’s Reach Mini Co-Sleeper, and the suggestions as to what brands to include on my registry. That said, the authors, Denise and Alan Fields, are parents and not consumer reports experts. It’s also good to get opinions from other sources — I choose friends and family, and Amazon reviews!
And if you’re interested in a book for your partner … Get The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin. This is the to-go reference for the person in your life who will be supporting you through labor — significant other, friend, mom and dad … etc. This has all the information that that person can tell you throughout your pregnancy — exercises, health, nutrition, and all the stuff they can tell you about labor while you’re in it — medical interventions, options, and positions, and what you can expect after the birth — how to identify postpartum depression, how you can be supported in breastfeeding, and how to clean your baby. It’s good for that person in your life to have all the info. As much as you can cram in your brain, you won’t remember all of it, and it’s good to have someone there to remind you and make sure you’ve got what you need.
I’ll have another addition after Sam is born — the best books for having a baby!
The media portrays pregnancy (and childbirth, for that matter) in a very particular way. My advice is to trust none, or quite little, of what you see on television or in the movies. There are a lot of things that are partially accurate (you may puke in your first trimester, you may swell in your third), but there’s a lot you don’t see.
There’s a lot about pregnancy that you will not expect. I can by no means cover all of it here, but these are just a few of my experiences …
1. Nausea, food aversions, and strong reactions to smells may bug you throughout your entire pregnancy. Though I am not as ill at the thought of food as I was during the first thirteen weeks of my pregnancy, I often catch myself getting nauseous at the thought of certain foods, and I find myself very particular about what I eat. Don’t get me started on smells … that has stuck with me throughout the entire pregnancy. I can’t handle the smell of someone chewing minty gum, and I almost upchucked at the waft of a banana a couple of weeks ago. Of course, it’s not nearly as bad as it once was, but my system is still very different than it was before I got pregnant. As you may have expected, heartburn runs rampant any time it wants to.
2. You may not have a natural “glow” during pregnancy. At least I haven’t noticed any. In fact, my skin has gone oily and sticky, and my high school acne has returned. I definitely have to wash my face twice a day. Oh, and my hair looks exactly the same as it ever did.
3. Not all ladies vomit during the first trimester. According to Women’s Healthcare Topics, 75% of women experience nausea or vomiting. See the “or” in there? Not everyone hurls. I never did until I got a stomach virus in my second trimester. I got quite nauseous and even lost weight because of it in my first trimester, but the content of my stomach never expelled itself. So please, don’t worry if you don’t have vomiting. Don’t even worry if you don’t have nausea — you may be in the lucky 25% (hey, that’s like a lot of people) that never experiences it to begin with.
4. You might grow OUT of some of your maternity clothes. Now this one … this really gets to me. I haven’t gained all that much weight, but I swear to you I can’t fit a couple of the things I bought at the end of my first trimester. Remedy? Think about HOW you gain weight. If you gain it through your hips and legs as I am wont to do, you might want to purchase a size up from what the size charts say you should buy. Be wise about what you buy, and don’t buy too much when you’re not all that big.
5. Your “water” most likely won’t “break” in one big rush. Your bag of waters, or amniotic sac, is the thing that holds your baby during pregnancy. It provides a safe, warm place for him or her to swish around. It’s like a saline solution in there, and when the sac breaks, it can drip out slowly, or come in several larger gushes. As in, it probably won’t all gush out on your shoes in the middle of the street.
6. Your water can break at any time during your labor — even during the stage when you’re actually pushing. Your water can break right as you start having a few contractions here and there — when the hospital is a long, long way off. It can break a good couple of days before you really go into labor. Or, it can break when the baby is on its way out. In the TV and in the movies, we see the water break just as the woman heads off to the hospital to start her labor in earnest. Which is really just not the way things work.
7. You don’t have to give birth lying down. Actually, you can push in a whole lotta different positions — hands and knees, lying on your side, or squatting. You can even do these things when you’ve got an epidural going on — you just have to be careful and get some support. If you’re interested in an epidural, but don’t want to push lying down, you can request a “walking epidural” from the doctor. This may not let you fully walk, but you can get some more mobility in order to move around some. What’s the advantage of trying different positions to push? Well, think about it. A baby can be lodged or stuck in lots of ways, and the natural way to get him to move around and get on out of there is to move around yourself. The lying down position can actually be counterproductive since you’re not using gravity to your advantage. Take note and take charge!
There are a ton of other stuff as well, I’m quite and very sure! Anything you didn’t hear about pregnancy or childbirth that you’d like to share?
Hey everyone! I was just looking at my blog stats and saw that one of the more common searches that led people to my page was “best paint for pregnant ladies,” so hey, I give the people what they want.
The best paint for pregnant ladies is, of course, the lowest of the low-VOC, the paints that are qualified as no-VOC.
The paints that I have used are:
1. Benjamin Moore Natura — I got this guy mixed to match Glidden’s Fresh Guacamole for the nursery. The big advantage here is that you can get Natura mixed to match just about ANYTHING. Another advantage is that it has very little smell at all. Any paint sample you find anywhere? You can get it in Natura. The disadvantages are that you have to go to a Benjamin Moore store to get it, and it’s hella expensive at about 60 bucks a gallon.
2. C2 Lovo (available at Benjamin Moore Stores) — I used this for the master bedroom (in Potato Leek) and the nursery closet (in Chelsea). The advantages are that it comes in lovely colors and that it has very little smell. Again, you have to get it at Benjamin Moore stores, and it runs 55 bucks a gallon. And it’s low-VOC, not no-VOC. But it’s worked well for us in a couple of places.
3. Freshaire — Now, this is the best paint of the lot, I do believe. Major advantages include: you can get it at your local Home Depot, it has a small but very nice selection of colors, and it’s way cheaper at 30 bucks a gallon. It’s not going to be your cheapest option (you have to buy higher VOC paint options for that), but it’s probably down there with the cheapest of the cheap no-VOC options. Oh yeah, and for a cheaper paint, it’s super high quality, thick, and goes on smooth. And with absolutely no odor that we can detect! The only disadvantage I can see is that the color options are limited and somewhat muted. As in, you probably won’t be able to find a bright, charming nursery color — but if your tendency is toward the more subdued, you may be in luck.
A paint I’ve heard about a lot but have not used is Mythic Paint, found at Lowe’s. Check it out! I think it may have more color options than Freshaire, so it’s worth a look.
Of course, many of you pregnant ladies won’t have occasion to paint, or may be totally freaked out by the idea altogether. I will say that the no-VOC is just that. It has no volatile organic compounds, which is the nasty stuff that can give you headaches (and if you drink it, it probably won’t be good for your baby). But there’s no reason to shy away from using the no-VOC paint. It’s an excuse to exercise your nesting instinct in your baby’s room, and perhaps in other areas of your home. It’s water based, green, and non-toxic. As for painting, go for it! Get someone else to get up on the step stool, and take care of your back since you’re up and down a lot during the painting process. And enjoy!
For those of you who knew me before Eric and I started planning to get pregnant, you may have at least guessed that I wasn’t exactly a natural birth advocate. I thought the idea of a scheduled c-section sounded like a great idea, and the thought of breastfeeding totally creeped me out. I had a colleague who had had an all natural birth that lasted thirty-six hours, and that was enough to convince me that ALL THAT was something I did not want. After all, as Americans in the twenty-first century, we’ve been given the opportunity to do away with pain during labor. Why wouldn’t you want to do away with pain? Why wouldn’t you want to do away with the strangeness and ickiness of breastfeeding? Knock me out, and give me the drugs. That was quite and very much the way of my reasoning.
Fast forward to July 3, 2009. That’s right — almost exactly a year ago. Eric and I formally decided to go off of birth control that day. I only remember it because it was the one week in the summer that Eric was home from a business trip to San Diego (one that he thought I’d be able to go on, but that’s another story), and it was the night that we saw Away We Go, the day before the fourth of July. Yes, a baby. We decided we were going to have a baby in 2010. Exciting. As you might have guessed, I hadn’t given labor too much of a thought, except that I still thought it was a yucky, painful process. One that I clearly wanted to avoid.
And then I read this post on one of my favorite blogs. (And this one and this incredible, beautiful conclusion to follow up. If you read one of those posts, read the last one, please. Yes. So amazing.) And with those words, and her experience, I began to question what I once knew. When I went to stay with my husband his last week in San Diego, I told him that I thought I wanted a natural birth. Of course, he’s always been a big supporter of this, pretty much calling me crazy for wanting a c-section — I mean, that’s major surgery, and why would you want to schedule that when you don’t have to?
Fast forward again to January 2010. I find out I’m pregnant on the day that we go to visit Eric’s family. I read What to Expect When You’re Expecting that weekend, and it only makes me nervous. After that, I start to do my research in earnest. I read everything I can get my hands on about healthy pregnancy, natural birth, and labor: Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin, Birthing from Within by Pam England and Rob Horowitz, Your Best Birth by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, Pushed by Jennifer Block, Hypnobirthing by Marie Mongan, and The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin for my husband and coach. (And I just got The Birth Book by William Sears.)
I began to realize that I was seriously under-educated about pregnancy and childbirth. I began to realize that most of us — women and men — are seriously under-educated about childbirth. As Americans, we’ve also been seriously mis-educated, misled, and misguided about PAIN. We hear a lot of cliches about labor in particular, and we see them on our television and movie screens. We hear this: “You wouldn’t undergo a root canal without anesthesia, right?” or “It would be like trying to push a watermelon out of your nostril.” We hear about how painful it is, how it’s unlike any other pain you’ve experienced, how it’s pure insanity to go it without pain relief. We see women in terrible pain on A Baby Story, lying back as the doctors swoop in to save the day. We see Ellen Page in Juno and Katherine Heigl in Knocked Up begging for epidurals when they go into labor (and Amy Poehler in Baby Mama celebrating her choice to have one in a rather public way). Think about it: do you see any positive portrayals of natural birth in the media? Do you see any portrayals of women being empowered as they choose the way their child comes into the world?
Let me know if you think of some. I can’t.
In fact, I would posit that we’ve been taught to fear labor, fear the natural signals of our bodies, and fear the pain that is associated with those natural signals. We’ve put our trust instead in doctors, who are incidentally, mostly dudes. (Side note: there are lots of great doctors, and natural-friendly ones to boot. But there are plenty who keep on pushing the fear.) By putting trust in someone other than ourselves, and by passively absorbing the fearful images we see in the media, we give up a valuable part of our birth experiences. We get swept away in the wave of fearing pain, and we don’t give ourselves the opportunity to become educated, take control, and guide our birth experience as captain, rather than passenger.
When you fear something, it gets a lot worse, right? It hurts worse, it feels more painful, it is more intimidating, more frightening … so it is with labor. If you fear it, you will automatically tighten up, which works against the natural contractions your body is producing to guide your baby forward. When you work against your own body, and cannot relax, it can hurt a lot worse. Common sense, right? But still, over nine months (and indeed, the many years before we get pregnant), we are developing an image of an intensely painful experience that we cannot cope with, that will control us, that is compared to an illness in the medical world. How can one be expected to work against that fear when it comes to the day of labor?
Adrenaline plays a role here too. If you see a bunch of people you don’t know in your labor room, you get scared at the onset of a painful contraction, or your doctor gives you a rough exam while you are laboring, it can trigger an adrenaline rush. According to Birthing Naturally, “Adrenaline is the “fight or flight” hormone that humans produce to help ensure survival. Women who feel threatened during labor (for example by fear or severe pain) may produce high levels of adrenaline. Adrenaline can slow labor or stop it altogether.” And if your labor stops, you need the drugs, right? So say the doctors.
Well what’s wrong with the drugs? Pitocin and pain relief medications of all varieties help a tremendous amount of women through labor, but they can also mess with your body a bit in ways you might not expect. I’ll comment here about pitocin — it’s a synthetic version of the natural hormone that makes your uterus contract. But it doesn’t work in the same way that your natural hormone, oxytocin, does. It makes your whole uterus contract rapidly and all at once. You might guess that causes pain — not so great pain that might cause you to start seriously needing the pain meds. Pitocin also doesn’t trigger the natural pain relief mechanism your body has to offer — endorphins. So when you get the pitocin, you start needing the epidural, and the epidural, while innocuous to the body in many ways, can slow labor as much as 25%. And when labor slows? That’s right … “emergency c-section.” Sounds nuts right? It certainly happens.
Understandably, many remain frightened of the pain. But many remain unaware of the benefits of laboring sans drugs. You heal faster, you can walk around and try out different positions, you don’t have to have a catheter to pee, you can get in and out of the shower or tub, and you can sneak in a snack or a drink of water every once in a while. Too, you can listen to the signals of pain that your body gives you as positive markers of where you are in your labor. Finally, you are connected to the millions of women who have come before you — your ancestors — who labored naturally. But how do you cope with the pain in a society that tells you pain is unnecessary? Well, that’s the question. How can you?
In all the books I listed above, there are tons of relaxation techniques, exercises, and guided meditation that many women say can help. The Bradley Method encourages slow, abdominal breathing, while Hypnobirthing touts self-hypnosis. Birthing from Within tells about non-focused awareness. There are a lot of options out there. Hypnobirthing even claims that labor was never meant to be painful, and Mongan’s book all but promises a pain-free labor. (We’ll see about that … ha.) Whatever the technique is, the important thing to me is that I get to choose it. I manage the pain, and it doesn’t manage me.
I can’t tell you where I got so confident about this decision, but it happened early on in my pregnancy. I didn’t want this to be something that happened TO me, but rather a whole event that I guided in the best ways I knew how. I’ll state here that I’m not belittling anyone who chooses a different path — we’re all trying to be mothers in the ways that we think will benefit our children the most. I’m also not going to say that I won’t consider pain relief if I’ve been laboring for 36 hours. And I’ll certainly go with a c-section if my baby’s life is in danger. But the important thing to me is that I have chosen to become educated about my options, and not close my eyes in order to let someone else manage the process for me.
That’s all for now.
A plug for this amazing iron supplement …
Over fifty percent of pregnant ladies have anemia at some point in their pregnancy. I am one of those ladies. For weeks, and weeks, I have been feeling like total crap. Worn down, drug out, and totally fatigued. I found out I had low hemoglobin on Monday and started taking the iron pills my doctor recommended last night. Today, I’ve felt better than I have in a long time. (Just like my doc said I would.) Anyway, of course ask your doc what to do when you’re preggers and anemic, but I’m loving this supplement. It’s supposed to be a little less harsh on the stomach than most iron supplements, and it releases slowly throughout the day.
Of course, it’s cheaper on Amazon. Find it here.
I’m definitely making my own baby bag with my massive sewing skillz, but I just couldn’t resist this guy right here:
Delicious huh? As you can see, Ms. Bradley charges around $100 for this lovely bag, but this savvy mom got it on Ebay for $59. That’s right! New with tags …
My cousin has the same bag in a different print, and I got to check it out last weekend. Since a lady’s got to have at least two bags to choose from, I figured I’d go with it if I could find it for a few bucks less on Ebay. And I did. So I got it. Pretty fabulous, right?
I so highly recommend Ebay to those who are in a childbearing way. So far I’ve gotten: my Baby Bjorn carrier ($16 — $60-$80 in stores), my Maya Wrap ($32 — $60 in stores), my favorite Joe’s Jeans maternity jeans ($70 — $220 in stores), my Arm’s Reach Mini Co-Sleeper Bassinet ($89 — $159 in stores), the organic mattress for the co-sleeper ($100 — $200+ in stores), my Earth Shoes ($50 — $100+ in stores), and some Barely There breathable undies for the summer — don’t worry — they were new with tags and individually wrapped in plastic — for half their in store price. Alright, that’s like my fiftieth pitch for buying from Ebay.
Sorry about the delay in posting … I’ve been writing thank you notes and nesting mightily over the past week and have neglected my writing duties!
Welcome to the Savvy Mom Space
I’m a liberal feminist that believes that liberal, feminist ideals should gel with embracing your gender and motherhood (if that’s what you feel like doing). I support all kinds of moms and dads and parents. Oh and, although I totally love that natural vibe and not harming the environment, I supplement my organic milk and fresh fruits and veggies with the occasional Twix, the frequent Oreo, and the daily Coke Zero. I’m opinionated, not easily offended, and a loudmouth in person and on the internet. I am what I am. Welcome.