Jack be nimble, Jack be QUICK!

So apparently all my uterus needed was a firm but loving lecture about letting go, because my son was born the day after I posted my missive. Looking back, I was probably in early labor all day Sunday. I’d had contractions all day, but nothing too regular and nothing painful.

Things felt different on Monday morning. I had one of The Signs that labor might be imminent, which was very exciting. All morning, my contractions were about 4-6 minutes apart, but not painful. Still, something told me to skip my workout and just kick it. I made sure the hospital bag was completely packed and my labor playlist perfected. I was ready.

mom colt

Contractions started getting a little more painful around noon. Nothing big, but a noticeable change. I had an OB appointment at 3:00, so I figured I’d wait until then and see what they said. I had to meet Bryce at 2:30 to drop one of the cars off for service; by then the contractions made it a little hard to drive.

At the appointment, I was a little disappointed to find out I was only dilated to a 2. However, the nurse practitioner said she could feel the bag of waters. I figured that was a good sign, and she said it was up to me whether I went to L&D now or later. This was at 3:45, and I decided to go home and wait.

After my appointment, the contractions started coming every 3-5 minutes. And they got progressively more painful. I spent some time in the shower, on my exercise ball, on all fours. Around 5ish, I decided we needed to go in. When the L&D nurse checked me (at around 5:30), I was dilated to a 4 and she said my membranes were “bulging.” Time to be admitted! Which meant a half hour’s worth of stupid questions in between increasingly worsening contractions.

I also couldn’t get the epidural until they admitted me, took blood and got the bloodwork back. Son of a bitch. I had originally planned to do a natural birth, but at one point I looked at Bryce and said, “Fuck it, I want the epidural.” He nodded, eyes big and terrified. Good move. Unfortunately, it took so damn long to do all the paperwork stuff that I think it was about 7:00 by the time it was placed and the drugs flowing.

I was doing ok with the contractions. I focused on my breathing and when one would start, would chant in my head, It’ll be over soon. I think I had back labor, because my lower back and hips were in agony. I just prayed that the epidural kick in before my water broke. I was seriously terrified of what the pain would be when my water broke, because I remember how horrendous it was with Colt. When my water broke around 7:23, I was still feeling everything…sigh.

The nurse checked me then, and I was an 8. That’s when shit started going down, according to my husband (I was too focused on the intense, crushing pain in my back/hips to notice). He said about 6 nurses burst in and one started gloving up in these special brown gloves. Then the doctor ran in and pretty much jumped into his gown and gloves. He was a little surprised, because with Colt I didn’t start pushing until I was dilated to a 10.

At some point during this, they put my legs into the stirrups and it was time to push. This is when I was losing my head. I began screaming with each contraction because it hurt more than any pain I could have ever imagined. My husband said he’d never heard anyone scream so loud. At one point, I yelled that I couldn’t do it and honestly thought I was going to lose it.

Thank God the OB was a good one. He calmly and gently told me, “You can scream if you want, but when you do it actually makes the baby move up a little, makes it harder. It’d be better if you held your breath, grabbed your legs, put your chin to your chest and just pushed.” Something made me stop and trust him (even though this was the first time we’d met; my regular OB was on vacation). I quieted down and said, “Ok.” I did everything he said, and Jack was born about 3-4 pushes later at 7:33. In less than 4 hours, my body had gone from barely dilated to baby. I guess it’s true – when the baby is ready, he’ll come!

In a way, I got the natural birth I thought I wanted. The epidural didn’t numb anything except my left thigh, and that occurred after the birth. Now that I’ve done natural birth, I don’t think I want to do it again. That was pretty damn intense. And painful. More power to the mamas who do it and feel like warriors afterward, but I’m just happy I made it through without completely going crazy! He was 8lb, which helped (his older brother was 10lb 3oz, so 8lb seemed small!).

jack

We didn’t get immediate skin to skin, which was disappointing. They said he was floppy at birth, so they took him to get examined while I was stitched up. But once he was placed in my arms, I didn’t care that it wasn’t right away. He was soft and beautiful and absolutely perfect, and I’m madly in love.

mom jack

A Letter To My Uterus

Dear Uterus,

I want to commend you for a job well done. For just about forty weeks now, you’ve nourished what is undoubtedly a beautiful baby boy. From all the pictures we’ve seen, he’s grown well and all the necessary bits are intact. You’ve done splendidly.

However, it’s time to let go.

You can’t have him forever. He’s going to keep growing and you can only stretch so far! It’s already getting pretty cramped in there, according to the rest of my abdomen. Bladder is especially insistent that her days as a trampoline come to an end soon.

It’s time to move into phase 2: expelling your precious cargo. Now, I know this requires more physical work than you’ve been doing. You’re going to have to use those muscles you’ve been working on for about 20 weeks now (yes, I’ve noticed your many, many sessions of Braxton Hicks, especially the ones when I was trying to sleep – your dedication has been commendable). You should have Olympic powerlifting levels of strength by now, so it really shouldn’t be too physically demanding for you to squeeze him out. I’ll even help (I’m sure you’ve noticed my own grueling workouts – all those lifting sessions were training for labor).

You held on too long with Colt, and remember how that turned out? I had to come at you with a Foley bulb and Pitocin. I really don’t want to have to do that again. Don’t make me use interventions! I know you have it in you to do it on your own.

I promise you, we will take good care of that sweet baby once he is out of you. He will be loved and cherished by everyone who is anxiously waiting to meet him – me, his daddy, his big brother, grandparents, aunts, uncles and of course anyone who is on social media. He will go straight from you to my chest, where I will hold him close and help him transition to this scary new world.

Are you holding on because this might be your last baby? Does it sadden you to think your Big Job in life might be done for good? I get it – I have similar feelings. But remember, there was a time we thought this baby might not happen. You never know what will happen in life!

So please, dear Uterus, let my baby go. I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done so far, and we’ll work together to bring him earthside.

Love,

Sara

uterus

P.S. No need to worry about how well he’ll be nourished outside of you. The Boobs wanted me to tell you they’ve got this. Judging by the amount of wet spots on my shirts lately, I have to agree with them.

Who are the jerks? Well…

I recently read an article titled, “Should We Stop Acting Like Breastfeeding is a Big Deal?” It’s an intriguing question and a well-written article, and when it was posted on the Best for Babes Facebook page, it sparked some interesting conversations. From the comments, it seems a lot of women have only experienced positive, open-minded breastfeeding support, which is AWESOME, but left them wondering why this was even an issue. One comment that jumped out at me was:

Just to ask a question: who ARE those “pushy rude judgmental” people?

*Raises hand* Reformed, pushy jerk here. Truth: I once was a BA (breastfeeding a-hole).

I used to be one of those hyper-judgmental women who thought breastfeeding was the only way to go and formula feeding was bad, mmkay? Then I had a kid, started my own breastfeeding journey, became an IBCLC and realized how wrong I was (I plan to write a more nuanced post about my evolution as a breastfeeding advocate at some point in the future). But, my point is that there are people out there who are more “strident” in their support. I think they are the minority, thankfully; also, obviously it’s not just on the breastfeeding end of the feeding spectrum that you see this level of “enthusiasm.” (Using euphemisms and quotations to avoid making overt negative statements about passionate activists – negativity never keeps the conversation going!).

Me, in the middle of my evolution

Me, in the middle of my evolution

I did see the author’s point that widely publicized incidents of nursing in public (NIP) issues may scare some moms off of NIP or breastfeeding in general; in my personal experience I’ve had mom friends say that very thing. I don’t think that’s a reason to stop the advocacy efforts altogether; as another commenter posted, we don’t want to leave the mom who was harassed while NIP hanging in the wind! Maybe we need to get more creative and find additional ways to make the point that nursing in public is not a crime?

HOWEVER, I do think there most definitely is a place for breastfeeding advocacy, as we still have a LOT of work to do to make this biological norm the cultural norm as well.

Breastfeeding Management: It’s so much more than just the latch

sjm:

Love this…breastfeeding support needs to be holistic and not just focused on the mechanics of breastfeeding!

Originally posted on Breastfeeding Medicine:

Breastfeeding initiation and the period of the first month after birth for the mother and infant can often be complicated by medical and psychosocial challenges which may be difficult for lactation specialists alone to address. In a published article in March 2014 in the Journal of Human Lactation, we describe an integrated mental health approach which we have coined the ‘Trifecta†Approach’ as a model of breastfeeding management. († We borrow the term Trifecta which is a betting term for predicting 1st , 2nd and 3rd places in a horse race. It is also synonymous with the likes of winning an Oscar award for a movie). Our breastfeeding consultation clinic developed a multidisciplinary team comprised of : 1) a pediatrician specializing in breastfeeding medicine (myself), 2) a lactation consultant (nurse with IBCLC), and 3) a clinical psychologist specializing in infant mental health and child development.

The Trifecta

The Trifecta Conceptual Model

The lactation…

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repair relationship

Repairing the relationship at night

My son and I are very much alike in personality. Too much alike, sometimes. We are both ridiculously stubborn (him because he’s 3, me because I’ve been doing it for 32 years). We both assume we are always “right” and know what’s best. We both like to “win” and hate giving in. Throw in my pregnancy hormones and his immature reasoning, and…yikes.

So what do you get when two stubborn people are together pretty much 24/7? And one of them is working on learning common sense, and the other is a small child?

You get tears. And frustration. And anger, annoyance, rage, whining, pouting, door-slamming, toy-throwing, mean-mugging, and a less-than-enjoyable day.

It’s not always like this; otherwise I’d probably have myself committed. Usually we get along famously. But on Those Days, where everything is a challenge and I struggle to stay polite in my words, I start counting down the minutes until Dada gets home from work. Then, at least, the two of them can go play their rough-and-tumble games and I can get a little time to myself to decompress (even if it is over the stove while cooking dinner).

On Those Days, I often skip out of story time. Dada does all the reading anyway; I just lay there and sometimes get a cuddle (or an elbow). More alone time = WIN.

But no matter how bad Those Days are, I always lay with him after story. Dada get his kisses and hugs, shuts off the lights, makes sure Bumblebee nightlight is activated, turns on the Avengers spotlight so Iron Man is on the ceiling, and then Colt and I lay together.

repair relationship

It’s a holdover from our nursing days, when I would often nurse him to sleep. When we stopped nursing, we transitioned to cuddling before bed. It’s my favorite thing. Especially on Those Days.

I always seem to lay with him longer on days that were particularly bad. If I give him a kiss or move slightly, he whispers, “Can you lay with me a little bit?” It’s like we both realize we need that quiet time together to sort of “mend” the relationship. Sometimes I leave before he falls asleep. Often on Those Days, I stay and watch his eyes flutter as he fights sleep. I get to see when they finally close, those gorgeous long lashes sweeping his soft cheeks. I hear the pattern of his breathing slow and deepen. I look at his angelic, sleeping face and my heart feels like it might burst. All the icky stuff of the day melts away, and all I’m left with is the love.

I treasure those nights. I know there will come a time when he won’t want Mama to lay with him. We’ll still have Those Days, but we’ll figure out another way to mend the relationship. Until then, I will savor our quiet moments at night together.

Wondering how to become an IBCLC?

sjm:

I often get asked how to become an IBCLC. And I love it! But my responses were often long and cumbersome. Now, ILCA has a straightforward article about becoming an IBCLC with links to more in-depth information when necessary. I’ll always happily answer questions on how to become an IBCLC, but this article is a great place to start!

Originally posted on :

Wondering How To Become An IBCLC-
Are you an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®) who gets questions about how to join the profession? Or are you considering becoming an IBCLC?

The International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) has a number of resources to help you become an IBCLC and prepare for the certification examination.

The basic requirements needed to become an IBCLC

To become an IBCLC, you’ll need to take certain health science courses, acquire lactation education hours, obtain clinical hours supporting breastfeeding families, and sit for the certification exam. The exam is developed and overseen by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® (IBLCE®).

There are three pathways to becoming an IBCLC. The one you choose may depend on whether you have a background in health sciences and how you plan to obtain your clinical hours. You can learn more about the three pathways here at IBLCE’s site.

Finding the right course for you to become an…

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A Little Less Lost and Alone

I attended a conference called Project Mom today. It was a day for moms to get out sans kids, get some swag and hear speakers on relevant topics. You know, typical conference stuff. I skipped the breakout sessions, but caught the beginning and ending keynote speakers. The message I got from them was “you are the perfect mom for your child” and “get connected so you don’t feel so alone.”

The first one is good, because I do need the reminder that I’m not royally screwing up my kid. There is a reason he, with all his endearing-yet-maddening personality traits, was given to me. I’m not a perfect parent, but I am the perfect parent for him. Helps keep the suicidal thoughts away (only joking here, right?).

The second message brought into sharp focus just how alone I feel. I’ve never been good at connecting with people. I forced myself to learn how to do it superficially (alcohol helped; relearning it in sobriety was even harder), but really letting people IN has always been hard. I lost some close friendships in the past year, which has made it even harder. Though I know the loss was partly my fault, and we’re mending the friendships slowly, the pain of losing women I considered sisters makes me not want to get close to anyone else. I don’t want to get hurt again.

So, I’ve lost my two closest friends. I’m in a new town and don’t know many people. Family and other friends are far away. When I’m in those low moments that seem to happen all-too-often with this pregnancy, I feel completely and utterly alone. I laid on my bed sobbing last week, wanting to reach out to someone but not coming up with any names. And it’s frightening. I guess I just haven’t figured out what is more frightening – opening up and telling someone I need help, or continuing on with these overwhelming feelings on my own.

Luckily, I went to Project Mom with a friend. She’s in a similar situation, and I feel like our friendship deepened a little with our shared experience today. I don’t feel quite so lost and alone, knowing there’s at least one other mom out there who shares my fears.