Diastasis Recti

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I had heard about diastasis recti before, but I was hoping to escape it during pregnancy.  Well….I didn’t.  Somewhere in my second trimester I discovered that when I sat up, my stomach formed a peak.

Diastasis recti is when the abdominal muscles separate.  Between 35 and 62% of women have diastasis recti.  It is very important to know if you have it and to take the steps to heal it, as this abdominal separation is closely linked with the pelvic floor muscles.  If you get those muscles out of whack, you will potentially encounter other problems, such as incontinence or organ prolapse.

It is possible to close this gap, though, even if you have had it for years.

One might think that the best way to close this gap is to just work out your abdominal muscles.  I thought sit-ups should be able to quickly close gap.  It turns out, sit-ups can actually be detrimental.  The key is to close the diastasis recti working the muscles from the inside out, not the outside in (which is what sit-ups do).  If you focus on the outer abdominals, it is possible to actually make the diastasis separation worse.

Here is a great video that explains more about what diastasis recti is, how to see if you have it, and some great exercises for closing it.  This is a great post with information and accompanying photos.

One of my favorite workouts has been Lindsay Brin’s postnatal boot camp.  She also has a YouTube channel, Moms Into Fitness, with some great workout videos with some specifically tailored for those with diastasis.

-Bonnie

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The Wingman’s Birth Story

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Here is the birth story of our precious son. He was born on July 21st after a 19 hour labor. I know this is a very long version…but trust me, this is the edited down version. 😉 It was absolutely an amazing experience and I am so thankful for all that God did!

Visit Beauty Through Imperfection for more birth stories!

On Saturday, July 20th, at 6:30 in the morning I became aware while half asleep of some pain. Around 7:30 I became fully awake and realized that I had been having a lot of these pains. Were they possibly contractions? I woke up my husband to explain and told him I wasn’t sure if they were really contractions.

After taking a hot shower and still having the pains, The Pilot, my Mom and I all agreed that it looked like the beginning of labor. (Praise #1 – Going into labor on the weekend while my husband was at home!)

From the get go, they were pretty much between 5 and 8 minutes apart. That timing lasted pretty much the whole day.

During early labor, my husband was able to mow the lawn (a project that he’d been trying to do for 2 weeks). By the time he was almost done though I was ready for him to be with me again. It was definitely painful and uncomfortable and I wanted him close by. I spent quite a while lying down, alternating some on my sides. We tried a couple contractions lying on my back to see how far along I was by measuring the distance between my breast bone and the top of my uterus. The contractions were more painful on my back, so we only did that twice.

At first when I had a contraction, my Mom or the Pilot would gently rub my belly or my legs and it was very soothing. But I quickly reached a point where I didn’t want to be touched during contractions. I also wanted it quiet…no talking! I tried to really be conscious of my voice and tone…I didn’t want to become snappy or rude during labor.

The whole day was just very calm. I really appreciated that. I can’t imagine having labored all that time at the hospital. It was so nice having the comfort of our own home and the ability to be on our bed, our couch, our floor, our tub, etc. Throughout the day, the contractions gradually picked up in intensity. Several times I found myself laughing (solely on the inside) that the contractions that I could breathe through “easily” were the ones I thought were painful hours earlier.

It didn’t take long until I had to start concentrating on breathing through the contractions or low groaning. I was able to stay very relaxed through them. (Praise #2….usually I respond to pain by tensing up. I was able to just keep my face, hands, legs, and whole body relax and loose all day.)

Early afternoon, I tried the birth ball. I sat on it and rocked gently back and forth. I didn’t like the contractions while sitting but I figured at that point there wouldn’t really be any position where I would “like” the contractions. I was so exhausted that several times I almost fell asleep on the ball and i would catch myself before falling off. The Pilot and my mom were right next to me though just in case. We watched an episode of America’s Got Talent and it was nice to have a distraction if i wanted something to think about during contractions….or tune out of I wanted to….or even pause it while I made it through a contraction.
I tried hands and knees. This caused my only back labor. The Pilot tried applying counter pressure but it didn’t seem to help. On some contractions I liked him rubbing the area that hurt but on others I didn’t want to be touched. We tried various positions, squatting down and supporting myself on the Pilot’s legs, standing and leaning back onto his chest (this was great for several contractions!), etc.

At a few points during the day, I had a couple times where contractions were back to back with no break. It would be strong for 30 seconds, then fade a bit for 30 seconds, then go back to strong.

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I tried getting in bed again, but they were more intense lying down. I was so tired though that I stayed. I was able to really relax in between contractions and get as close to sleeping as I could come. I didn’t know how much longer I would have to go and I was TIRED. I was so cold in between contractions, but as soon as a contraction came I got very hot and wanted the covers completely off me. Nothing touching me.

I started getting hungry but food didn’t sound good. My Mom offered to make a smoothie. I decided to try laboring in the tub again. While it didn’t soothe the contractions as well as before I really enjoyed the hot water. I drank my smoothie (which came back up later) and just sat, trying to alternate positions a little bit to find a more comfortable way to have the contractions. While in the tub I started to get discouraged. At that point I had been laboring for about 16 hours (although at the time I remember thinking that I didn’t want to count the hours because I didn’t want to know how long it had been). I didn’t know how much longer I had to keep going.

I heard Mom on the phone talking to my sister (Bradley teacher and doula). The Pilot came back in the room and filled me in on what they were thinking. It seemed like I was stalling in labor. They were discussing various options we could try to either slow it down so I could rest or speed it up. We would need to choose. When faced with the decision, for the first time I became scared. I didn’t want to choose to bring it on, because I knew it would only get more intense, but how much more I didn’t know.

Before we had time to make a decision, though, I had a big contraction. I yelled out. I knew that yelling was often a sign of transition, but I tried not to get my hopes up. Later my Mom told me that on the phone my sister said, “Is that Bonnie? I think she’s farther along than you thought!” After another 10 or 15 minutes I had had a few more of those big contractions.

The Pilot and my Mom said they thought it was time to head to the hospital. (Praise #3 – I had been praying that we would have wisdom to know when to go to the hospital. I didn’t want to get there too early or too late. The timing was perfect!) At that point I did not want to move. I didn’t want to stand up out of the tub, I didn’t want to walk. I didn’t want to go. The Pilot helped me get cleaned up and dressed so that I had to move as little as possible.

Finally we got in the car. My Mom and I both sat in the back seat. During the car ride I didn’t have any of the big, yelling out contractions. (Praise #4 – I had been worried about a really terribly uncomfortable car ride to the hospital. It really wasn’t bad.) I sat and moaned through them, some of them back to back again.

This was about 11:30 at night. Since it was after hospital hours, we pulled up at the ER. At the hospital tour they had told us that we wouldn’t get a wheelchair when we arrived so I would need to walk up there. Once again I didn’t even want to move to get out of the car. The Pilot went in and told them we were there and grabbed a wheelchair. I was able to get into it and the Pilot took me inside while Mom parked the car. There were other people there in the ER and I hoped I wouldn’t have loud contractions while there. There was a little girl standing there and I didn’t want to scare her. The Pilot went to go talk to the nurses and I heard him explaining that I was in labor. For some reason, they didn’t come to get me. I think I was in the foyer waiting for at least 10 minutes. At one point, the receptionist came over and saw me and was like, “Oh! You’re in LABOR.” I guess they hadn’t realized that the Pilot meant….right now!! She left and once again I sat.

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Suddenly my water broke right there in the lobby. (Praise #4 – I didn’t want my water to break early in labor because I didn’t want to be held to the 24 hour rule. And I did not want the doctor to break it. Once again, perfect timing!) I remember thinking I just hoped it wasn’t on the floor. When the Pilot came back I told him my water broke. He looked under the chair and said, “Yes, it did.” I wasn’t embarrassed, but I do remember wondering what all the people behind me in the waiting room were thinking. 🙂 I asked him to check and see if it was clear. It was. (Praise #6 – I had been concerned about meconium being in it. Our hospital doesn’t have a NICU if it had been bad.)

My husband was great the whole time we were there. He let the nurses know a couple of things that were on my birth plan that I had wanted/not wanted so that I didn’t have to worry about talking and taking care of that while in labor.

I quickly figured out from listening to the baby’s heartbeat when a contraction was about to come. In between contractions, they put my Hep lock in and I signed some paperwork. (Praise #5 – I really really do not like needles. I was afraid that the Hep lock would make me so nervous that it would stall labor. It really was the last thing on my mind though and labor definitely did not stall since I was so far along.)

Very quickly every contraction became a yelling contraction. I definitely became a screamer. I tried so hard to concentrate on breathing or moaning, but it always turned into a full blown scream. I hoped that I wasn’t bothering anyone else on the floor who was in labor or recovery. During the contractions, Mom would give leg support and hold my leg up.

I had only been hooked up to the monitor for a short time when the Wingman’s heart rate went low on a contraction. The nurse immediately said that they needed to start an IV. I asked why and she explained about the heart rate. I said I wanted to give it more time. His heart rate never again went that low and I didn’t need the IV at all.

Only a few contractions in and I told her that I felt like I needed to push. Thankfully I was the only person in labor that night, so the nurse was able to stay with me the whole time. She was great. (Praise #6 – in so many things that I have heard, read, and seen, hospital births tend to be chaotic and loud. This was such a calm experience. Everyone stayed calm and quiet and it was great!)

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Pushing was definitely the hardest part. The Dr still hadn’t arrived (he apparently was in the ER with a patient) and the nurses started getting concerned. One of the nurses called him a couple times to check on where he was. I wasn’t worried. I didn’t care who caught the baby. The Pilot or my Mom could even do it!

I ended up pushing for about an hour. With each contraction, I grabbed tightly onto the hospital bed railings. One time I remember wondering if I was going to break the bed.

I remember asking several times “Why won’t he come out?” Everyone kept reassuring me that he was on his way. I just didn’t know how much longer it would take! Thankfully I was still able to rest in between contractions. At this point I was holding the Pilot’s hand and I remember that during contractions I was squeezing so hard.

Finally, the doctor arrived just as the Wingman was crowning. Somewhere in there I was told he had hair. I was surprised! I think I even mentioned then that I was expecting him to be bald.

Finally I had to push so much I finally figured out how to just close my mouth and push as hard as I could. The ring of fire was not as bad as I expected at all. But it still wasn’t pleasant. He reached that point and then the contraction was over so I stopped pushing. I didn’t want to have to feel that again. But with the next contraction or two, I was able to just keep pushing. I knew that if I could just keep going it would all be over soon. It was several intense seconds to get his head out. Everyone kept telling me he was right there and he was coming…to keep going and I could do this. Finally his head was out and then the rest of his body came out.  It was 1:22 am, July 21st.

After he was born it was kind of a blur. I couldn’t really see him down there but I was just so happy. The first thing I asked was, “Is he still a boy?” The Pilot confirmed and the Dr said, “Did someone tell you it was a girl?” I asked again about his hair and they told me he had a lot of hair. I was smiling and just so happy. I could hear them suctioning him…it sounded like he had a lot of mucus in there. Then I heard him cry. I was so happy to hear him and said something about his sweet cry.

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After about 5 minutes the doctor handed the Wingman to me and then cut the cord. I couldn’t believe it. He was finally there in my arms. I looked at the Pilot and was just so in love with my family. “Can you see him? Isn’t he cute?” I just looked and looked at our little boy. “Thank You, God.” I kept saying that over and over.

After about 15 minutes, they took the Wingman over to the table to weigh and measure him, etc. The Dr asked me to push to try to get the placenta out. I was a little incredulous. “You want me to push again?” But I gave a little push and the placenta immediately came out.

We kept watching to see what his weight was going to be. Finally they weighed him and the Pilot told me he weighed 7 pounds 8 ounces. I was so surprised! (Praise # 7 – This whole pregnancy I was saying how it would be awesome if I could have a baby in the 7 pound range. I really expected him to be bigger, though. God gave me my 7 pound baby!) He also was 20 inches long and his head was 14 in.

When the nurses were done in the room, they just quietly left. They were the greatest nurses. We took turns holding the Wingman and loving him. We just were resting and talking. 2 hours later we took our first family pictures. After that we tried to rest in the room for a little longer.

Praise #8 – I am so thankful that we were able to have a natural birth in the hospital. So many people are skeptical that it can happen. I do think that you have to be more firm yet open to compromise. But it can totally be done. While it isn’t what we first would have preferred, the Pilot and I knew that this is where God wanted us so we knew that the birth would be perfect whatever happened. It sure was. God answered so many prayer requests. We are just so thankful!

All in all it was an incredible birth experience. The day didn’t seem like a 19 hour labor. The contractions were not all “that bad.” I never once reached a point where I wished I had gotten the epidural. It was just an amazing, wonderful experience.  As I said at the beginning, this is only a tiny part of the story too….there are so many other answered prayers.  I am so thankful for how everything went!

I am so thankful for the Pilot and my Mom. I don’t know how I would have done it without them there. The Pilot was so helpful and encouraging the whole time. He is an incredible husband and is already an amazing father!!!

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-Bonnie

Introducing the Wingman!!

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We are so glad to announce the arrival of our precious son!

Our Little Wingman

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He was born after 19 hours of natural, unmedicated labor.
First family photo…about 2 hours old.

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Our little cutie!

He is the most perfectly precious baby.  We are absolutely
thrilled that he is here and we are completely in love.
God blessed the labor and delivery so much.  It was
an incredible experience!

A few posts are already scheduled for our blog…but
if there is a lull you will have to excuse us as we
are spending time with our little son.  🙂

Dear Wingman,
All these months and weeks of waiting for you 

were more than worth it.  You are perfectly created in the image
of God.  We can’t wait to see you grow and become a man.
It is still so surreal to know that only a few days ago
you were still inside the womb…and now we
get to see your precious face.  We love you, sweet boy!!
-Daddy and Mommy-

Low Carb Eating – What If We’re Eating Out?

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I posted earlier regarding my low carb life and some of the awesome recipes I’ve found.

But what about those times when you are eating out?  I remember on Valentine’s Day this year when I was still new to the low carb diet, I was so discouraged looking at restaurant nutrition guides.  My husband and I wanted to go on a date but everything that sounded good had such high carbs!!  (I actually ended up getting a somewhat high carb salad at Chili’s…and frozen yogurt….then we went on a big walk afterward.  But, hey!  It was Valentine’s Day!)

If you have gestational diabetes or for some other reason are watching your carbs, you don’t have to write off eating out on date nights!!  I actually printed off several nutritional charts from various restaurants and highlighted things in my low carb range for easy reference.  Here are a few things (beyond the basic “boring” salad) that I have found for eating out.

Chili’s –

  • Several soups
    -Chicken Enchilada Soup (13 carbs)
    -Loaded Baked Potato Soup (13 carbs)
    -Southwest Chicken and Sausage soup (14 carbs)
  • Classic Sirloin steak, 10 oz or 8 oz (2 and 1 carb, respectively)
  • Grilled Salmon w/ garlic and herbs (1 carb)
  • Half Rack of Baby Back Ribs (13 carbs)
  • Margarita Grilled Chicken (10 carbs)
  • Monterey Chicken (11 carbs) – I tried this one last week.  So good!!

Applebee’s –

  • Shrimp ‘n Parmesan Sirloin (5 carbs)  – While definitely more pricey than what I usually order, this is SO yummy.
  • Soups
    -Broccoli Cheddar Soup in a bowl (20 carbs)
    -Clam Chowder in a bowl (25 carbs)
    -Chicken Tortilla Soup (25 carbs)
  • Zesty Roma Chicken and Shrimp (23 carbs)

McDonald’s –

  • Bacon Ranch Salad (grilled chicken) – 10 carbs
  • Bacon Ranch Salad (crispy chicken) – 24 carbs
  • Chicken McNuggets (4 piece) – 12 carbs
  • French Vanilla Iced Coffee (small) – 20 carbs (I order it sugar free)

Obviously, most of these things are in the “Under 25 Carb” range.  That is what generally works for me.  Obviously if you’ve been watching your blood sugar, you know the things to generally watch out for at restaurants…bread, potatoes, tortillas, salad dressing, breaded meat….etc.  These things aren’t necessarily bad…you just have to find what works for you.

Most restaurants or fast food places have nutritional information online.  Definitely check those out! 🙂

-Bonnie

Low Carb Eating – It Doesn’t Have to be Boring

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Generally speaking, when people hear the word “diet” they don’t have very positive thoughts.  Images of all their favorite foods with a big red “X” crossing them out….or climbing onto a scale and dreading the number….or bland food day after day….or meals full of just veggies….etc.

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I have been on a diet for the past several months.  Because of the fact that my Mom is Type 2 diabetic and my sisters were both borderline gestational diabetic, my Mom sent me a kit so that I could be monitoring my own glucose levels.  Sure enough…long about beginning to mid second trimester I realized that I was dealing with high blood sugar.

*sigh*

NOT fun.  Especially when you’re pregnant.  And craving food.  Like Doritos.

After the initial breakdown, I buckled down and started trying to find ways to eat to keep my blood sugar under control.  At first it was extremely overwhelming and I thought I would never be able to enjoy eating again.  At least until the end of the pregnancy.  But I have discovered that there are a LOT of super yummy meals that I can make that are low in carbohydrates.

Having high blood sugar does not mean that you can’t enjoy your food or that you can never have sweets again.  And that is good news for me!!

So for anybody with gestational diabetes or just wanting to cut down on carbs….here are some of the recipes and things that have worked for me the past few months!

If you are dealing with blood sugar issues, of course make sure that you don’t just take my word for it.  Everybody’s body responds differently to foods, so just because these work for me doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you.

Not only are these recipes (generally) under 10 carbs, they tend to be easy to make and not require a lot of ingredients.  If I look at a recipe and it has a huge list of ingredients……I immediately close it.  Too overwhelming.  😉  I also don’t give a second glance to the recipes that require “odd” ingredients or those super healthy things that cost an arm and a leg.  (Although I do hope to start slowly working some of these things into our budget and diet!)

Please note that most people will generally need to supplement with side dishes or between meal snacks to get enough carbs throughout the day.

  1. Stir Fry Vegetables with Cashews – One of the first recipes I discovered.  The recipe says that it has 20 carbs.  When I make this, I leave out the pak choi (or cabbage if you want to substitute) and mushrooms.
  2. Grilled “Smothered” Chicken – 5 carbs per serving.
  3. Crockpot Chicken Tacos – 4.8 carbs per serving.  I ate mine without tortillas.  Supposedly HEB has low carb tortillas with only 4 carbs…but I have yet to make it down there to find them.  Be careful with “low carb” tortillas.  I got some at Walmart with that label and it was (if I remember correctly) 14 carbs per tortilla.
  4. Green Enchilada Chicken – 6 carbs per serving.
  5. Salsa Chicken –  6 carbs per serving.
  6. Salsa Verde Chicken Wraps – The recipe says it’s 50 carbs per serving…but if you look at the ingredients, a large portion of that is tortilla and avocado.  Again, if you have the low carb tortillas that will cut down.  And I am allergic to avocado so that was easy for me to cut out.
  7. Rotel Chicken – 3 carbs per serving.  This wasn’t bad…but not amazing.  The only ingredients are chicken and Rotel.  It’s great for a night when you don’t really feel like cooking and want to just throw something together.  But you might need a dipping sauce.  (Perfect for us, because my husband loves dipping almost anything in Ranch dressing anyway!)
  8. Crockpot Creamy Italian Chicken – 7.1 carbs per serving.
  9. Baked Meatballs – trace carbs per serving.  This was my first time making meatballs from scratch…super easy and fun!
  10. Cheesy Beef Bake – 6.55 carbs per serving.  The Pilot loved this one!
  11. Tuna Patties – 1.91 carbs per serving.
  12. Cheesy Bacon Chicken Breasts – 0.2 carbs per serving.  Recipe calls for bacon bits…I just used real bacon.
  13. Low Carb Taco Bake – 3.7 carbs per serving.  One of my favorites!
  14. Low Carb Mexican Beef and Spinach Casserole – 7.2 carbs per serving.  Another one The Pilot really enjoyed.
  15. Hawaiian Pizza Stuffed Peppers – 8.5 carbs per serving.  This was kind of fun.  It actually tasted like pizza….but without the crust.  Honestly though I didn’t miss the crust at all.  I did substitute real bacon for Canadian bacon.
  16. Quick Low Carb Dinner – Sausage, onion, and green beans
  17. Amy’s Chicken Parm – 5 carbs per serving
  18. Bacon Wrapped Chicken with Cream Cheese – 3.5 grams of carbs
  19. Low Carb Crock Pot Italian Buffalo Chicken – trace amount of carbs
  20. Low Carb Dinner Balsamic Chicken and Peppers
  21. Flower Power Eggs
  22. Basic chicken salad – canned chicken, mayo, green onion.  Mix together.  Yum.

What about when you just want dessert like a normal person?  Here are some recipes I have found…

  1. Low Carb Cheesecake – 3.4 carbs.  If you think of it as cheesecake, you might be disappointed.  But if you are just wanting something yummy to satisfy a sweet tooth….this is good!!
  2. Tony’s Quick and Easy No Bake Cheesecake – 5 carbs.
  3. Low Carb Peanut Butter Cookies – 3.65 carbs
  4. Peanut Butter Chocolate Thumbprints – 1. 8 carbs
  5. Primal Fudge – Now this one does have “odd” ingredients.  Coconut oil, almond butter, and raw honey or maple syrup.  I included it on the list though because it’s SO good.  I first had it at my sister’s house…..and when I came home and tried it I thought my ingredients wouldn’t matter.  Yeah….the difference between raw honey and “regular” store bought honey….HUGE carb difference.

Or if you want a smoothie for a snack?

  1. Strawberry Raspberry Pineapple Smoothie – There are actually several smoothie recipes on here but the only one I have tried (so far) is the one I titled.  Obviously….this is fruit filled and fruit does have sugar and carbs.  When I made this, I waited about an hour and a half after eating a low carb lunch and it was fine for my glucose levels.
  2. Low Carb Green Smoothie – 5.5 carbs.  Perfect for a hot summer day!
  3. Almond Raspberry Smoothie – 11.6 carbs

In a way I’m sad this pregnancy is almost over because after the Wingman is born I won’t be “forced” to eat low carb.  (I do definitely plan to keep a bunch of these recipes in my repertoire, though!)  I’m just now finding such a wealth of recipes!  It took a while to get into the swing of things, but now I’ve discovered so many recipes, tips, and tricks.

I have some other thoughts regarding low carb eating but will save them for another post.  Hopefully these recipes will encourage anyone who is trying to reduce their carbs for whatever reason!

-Bonnie

Joining up today with Titus 2sdays at Timewarp Wife and Hearts for Home at Graced Simplicity!

Graced Simplicity

Pregnancy Update: Week 36

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IMG_3688The Wingman is now gaining about an ounce a day, weighing
around 6 pounds.  He is about 18 1/2 inches long.  His skin
is becoming smooth and soft and his gums are now hardening.
His liver, kidneys, circulatory system and immune system
are in good working order.

It’s so crazy to realize that my estimated due date is only four weeks away!
Which means six weeks maximum until we meet our little boy!
This pregnancy has certainly flown by!

My amazing husband put our jogger together.  It and the car
seat are both sitting in our entryway.  Every time I walk by I
think about how we’ll soon have a baby!!

The Wingman gets the hiccups a lot.  And I think I finally figured
out what his little hand/arm feels like.  I never recognized
a body part until yesterday.  It was amazing!

I can’t wait to see The Pilot be a Dad!  He is so excited
to meet The Wingman  It’s the sweetest thing.

We were able to get some maternity photos taken
two weeks ago.  They turned out great and I am so
glad we were able to capture this pregnancy on camera!

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Dear Wingman,
We are unbelievably excited 
to meet you.  Only a few more weeks!!!  Now 
when you move I think about how I can 
soon cuddle you in my arms and kiss your face.
I’m praying that you will grow strong in the Lord
and in His wisdom.  We love you!!
-Mommy

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Super Mom vs. Epidural?

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“Don’t try to be Super Mom.  You don’t need to prove anything.  You can go for the epidural.”

This was said to me toward the beginning of my pregnancy.  I was a little taken aback…a little confused…and at the time even a little offended.  Super Mom?  I wasn’t trying to prove anything by desiring a natural birth.  What did this person mean?

Since then I have had many people encourage me and other friends to get the epidural.

Now, hear me on this.  I am planning a natural birth.  For me, this includes not receiving an epidural.  But do I think there is anything inherently wrong with an epidural?  Nope!!  They are not wretched, sinful inventions designed to ruin a woman’s birth experience.  Do I think women who use them are in the wrong or somehow less of a woman?  Nope!!  Birth is an intense process even with an epidural.  A friend pointed out…no matter how you have your baby…you ARE Super Mom!

So why am I not going with an epidural?  Personally, I think that knowledge is power.  For me the issue isn’t if a woman chooses to get an epidural or not, or has a hospital or a home birth…or even gets a C-section.  For me the issue is being aware of all the options and what is involved so that each woman and each couple can make an informed decision, whether that’s an informed “yes” or an informed “no.”

Here are a few things I have discovered while researching epidurals.

During labor, there are many many hormones that are going crazy in the mother’s body.  (In fact, it is some of her hormones that start labor in the first place!)  God designed these hormones to keep labor progressing, to keep the mother’s adrenaline up, and even to help with the intense bonding of mother and baby during and immediately following birth.  It’s pretty incredible.

An epidural messes with these hormones.  It cancels out much of them.  Because of this, epidurals are often known to stall labor.  Yes, the pain has gone down, but with it some of the progress in labor has also slowed or even stopped.  Studies have shown that epidurals also increase the woman’s overall time of labor, because the drugs are interfering with the mother’s natural labor hormones.

So what are some of the risks that can come from an epidural?

Everything that goes into the mother’s body and blood stream is directly transferred to the little one.  What are some of the effects an epidural can have on baby?

Here is another great article that succinctly discusses some of the risks of an epidural to the baby.

Interestingly enough, studies have shown that women who received epidurals were more dissatisfied with their birth experience than women who received no epidural.

The World Health Organization has said, “epidural analgesia is one of the most striking examples of the medicalization of normal birth, transforming a physiological event into a medical procedure.”  (Quote taken from this article by Dr. Sarah Buckley, who cites her sources at the bottom.)

There is much much more that could be said on the topic, but this will suffice for now.

Do I think that I am Super Mom?  Not at all.  In fact, I’m going to share something with the blogosphere that really makes me nervous to share because it is so personal.  Guess what?  Sometimes I get rather terrified thinking about the pain that is about to come my way.  This is going to be the hardest thing I will ever go through.  But to me…it’s worth it.  God created and designed my body to do this.  I know that He can and will get me through this birth, no matter what happens.

Again, please do not come away from this post feeling judged.  My goal is not to guilt trip women into coming over to “my side” of the issue.  My goal is simply to share part of the journey we have been on as we have been researching and making birth decisions.  My goal is simply to share information to help others out.  I have found that most women are not even told the possible risks and side effects to hospital/medical procedures.  I believe every woman has the right to know what is going on in her body, what all the options are, and what the pros and cons are.  Ultimately, as with all life decisions, the final decision is between the woman, her husband, and God.

God bless.

-Bonnie