11 Weeks: Birth, Babies and Bumps?

March 7, 2012

My stomach is definitely starting to show. It’s getting harder to suck in, and while I can’t quite feel my uterus, I don’t think this is bloating alone. Or maybe it is, but it sure feels like pregnancy! I had two friends here in town tell me that they noticed my “tiny bump.”

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Sportin’ the maternity jeans!! Rolled down for photos.

11 weeks (bare normal)

Sucking in! No real bump there yet…

11 weeks (sucking in)

I’m starting to feel more like a pregnant woman in general – from the curved abdomen to the Pregtastic podcasts I am now obsessed with. I have them to thank for the hours of walking I’ve been doing! Each episode has a featured speaker or topic and also includes a panel of pregnant women talking about their ups and downs each week. I’ve already learned so much from listening to about 5 podcasts, and I can’t wait to go through them all!

I’ve started to feel dizzy a lot more frequently. I’m usually one to wake up in bed slowly, but as soon as I’m ready to get up, I LEAP out of bed. I think this is something I’m going to have to slow down because the past 3 mornings I’ve had to sit back down and wait for my sight to return!

Butterflies or Bubbles?

I was reading in a chair this afternoon and being very still when I felt a flutter go through my lower core. Right in the middle. Do you know those Christmas lights with the bubbles in them? My Grandma Younger used to have them on her tree – they must have been from the 70s.

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This feeling reminded me of the bubbles in those candles rising up and lasted a good 10 seconds. I’m sure this could have been gas, but it sure felt like a butterfly. I Googled the phrase “When can you first feel a baby” and several moms said they started to feel their babies at 10-11-12 weeks, although most reported around 15-16-17. Second time moms are supposed to be able to feel them sooner because they “know what to feel” but I don’t see why a first-time mom like me who pays close attention to a flutter or bubble couldn’t feel them that early too! A day later I felt what seemed like a thump to the uterus. I’m not sayin’ these are definitely the baby, but I’m not sayin’ they’re not either!

Birthing Business

We watched “The Business of Being Born” this morning. I agree, women should be goddesses of labor! And we should not fear childbirth. It’s sad to learn the stats of American childbirth interventions and the lack of midwives practicing these days. But I seriously doubt all doctors and hospitals are as evil as they are portrayed in the movie. I’ve heard from friends that our hospital – Martha Jefferson – is very supportive of natural birth, so I think I’m in as good of a place as I can be.

I think what I enjoyed most about the film was watching the births. I can’t WAIT to find out what labor is like. I read the following in the birth story of my friend Lynsie and was totally into her choice of words:

“I think it is vital to note that I have not once classified labor contractions as painful. I can honestly say that they were not. Incredibly intense? Yes. Lots of pressure? Yes. The only time I experienced pain was when I was forced to lay back on a hospital bed or when little Gabe was turning breech. Moving around for each contraction and attempting multiple positions helped immensely. The contractions themselves were difficult, intense, all encompassing, but NOT painful. I truly think this is so important to recognize as we are taught as women to fear labor. For me personally, I cannot wait to do it again.”

I hope to have a natural birth because I want to experience womanhood in its most raw state. However, I’m mentally prepared for every scenario and won’t really know what my body will do until I’m in the middle of it, so I’m not anti epidural epidural either. I think the determining factor is going to be my length of labor. If it’s short, I think going natural would be easier to push through, but if it’s really long – days – then I have heard midwives say they even lean towards epidurals then to give the mom a break. I’ve also heard women on Pregtastic say that the epidural actually jump-started a stalled labor because they could finally relax. Labor sounds absolutely exhausting, from not eating to not sleeping and the incredible physical and mental demand. And of course, if it comes down to C-section (which wouldn’t surprise me with my narrow hips and smallish frame!) then that’s what happens.

There is only one certified nurse midwife who delivers in hospitals here in Cville and she was booked when I called the week I got a positive test 🙁 Apparently she’s awesome and popular. So I’m going with one of the main OBGYN practices here, the one I have been seeing before I was pregnant, and hoping to hire a doula for that one-on-one attention. That’s really what I’m after most – someone who will stay by my side and know exactly what’s going on so she can act as a liaison to the doctor for me. I hope Matt can be my mental coach and the doula can be my physical one.

At the end of the film I asked Matt what he thought about the movie and laboring process and he said he’s even more overwhelmed than ever.  I think he was surprised at how complicated it is – not just during labor, but also all the factors that go into decision making and all the types of birth that are out there to choose from.

More on birth plans in future posts 🙂

Adventures in Babysitting

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I spent yesterday babysitting 2.5 month old Finn. I have loved babies my whole life and he is one of the cutest ever! When I was little, Larbs and I were obsessed with dolls. My mom is a doll lover too. I loved all the baby gear that came with dolls, and we would play all kinds of games. I don’t know if it was mother’s instinct or just something I picked up from the media, but I just love the feeling of putting doll clothes on a doll (and thus, real clothes on a baby!) I really enjoy changing diapers (in infants, anyways! And ones with doll “poop”.) Holding Finn had me thinking about my own baby. I cannot even imagine what it will be like to hold something that Matt and I grew from seeds.

Grapefruit Inside

Here I am on my last day of my 11th week and I THINK I can feel my uterus! I’ve been trying to feel it for weeks now. My doctor said to feel right above my pubic bone and it should start to “peek over” any day now. It’s pretty hard to feel your own internal organs though. I don’t know if my lower abs are just in the way or if my organs are just much deeper in there than I thought, but I wish I had a better understanding of what’s going on in there! I’ve studied anatomy photos and still can’t quite get the 3D image quite right in my mind.

But today I decided that if my uterus is indeed the size of a grapefruit, I should be able to feel it. I pressed all around and while the top still feels flat and hard like abs, I think I felt it on the sides! I can definitely put my hands around something that feels round, and I’m guessing that’s it. It’s also much higher up than I’ve been poking for, so maybe I missed its initial arrival. Now that I know where to feel, I’m excited for it to make its appearance to my stomach. I’ve been stalking my friends’ blogs each week looking at their posts from 10,11,12 weeks. It seems most people had popped by 14/15 weeks with a real pregnant round bump by 17/18. That’s not that far away!

Shopping For Space

Karen and I went to the mall this week to Motherhood Maternity. I tried on tons of different outfits with the 3-month-add pillow strapped under my shirt. It gave me an instant belly! I can’t imagine having my stomach be that big all of the time, but I guess that’s what’s in store!

Here’s some advice to those thinking about pregnancy: buy maternity jeans early! They are SO much more comfortable than jeans + Beband or jeans + button tie closure. They are pretty cute too! So long as you wear a longer shirt, no one knows that you’re wearing stretch pants. I want to wear them forever!*

*I’m sure at 9 months I will never want to touch these jeans again

Speaking of clothes, check out what dear reader Rachel sent me!

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Baby’s first clothing!! This onesie is SO TINY I can’t even imagine the little body that will hopefully fit into it someday. I teared up when I held it in my arms baby-style.

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Previous weeks

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9 weeks 

10 weeks

{ 92 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Antonia @ healthinspirations March 7, 2012 at 8:03 am

Kath, I love reading about your pregnancy. It’s so nice to know what goes on behind the KERF scenes and how you are adjusting. All the best!!!!

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2 The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh March 7, 2012 at 8:17 am

I hope you get to have the type of birth you’re envisioning. I like the way your friend worded her birthing experience. What a sweet little onesie! Babies sure don’t stay in the “newborn” size for very long. I remember with all of my cousins it was like 2 weeks later and their lil baby chub was bustin’ out! The only exception were my preemie triplet niece and nephews who had to grow into them. I love ’em when they’re that little!

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3 AllisonK March 7, 2012 at 8:25 am

I used to love laying on my back and feeling for my uterus. Soon it will be unmistakeable. My husband and I also watched The Business of Being Born early in pregnancy…it helped solidify my desires for a natural birth. My husband didn’t seem too overwhelmed…but I think at that point the while birth part felt really far away for both of us. Now with 5-10 weeks to go (assuming one might deliver between 37 and 42 weeks) it is all seeming a lot more real for me!

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4 Marion March 7, 2012 at 8:28 am

Maybe you’ve already seen this, but I really enjoyed this animation when I was pregnant. Gives you a much better idea of what is going on in there than pictures can convey. http://www.msichicago.org/whats-here/exhibits/you/the-exhibit/your-beginning/make-room-for-baby/interactive/

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5 KERF March 7, 2012 at 8:29 am

I have – so cool!

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6 WHITNEY March 7, 2012 at 9:52 am

very cool! a true miracle! 🙂

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7 ashlynn March 7, 2012 at 8:37 am

My mom was very tiny (short, narrow hips, small all over!), and she didn’t have to have a C section with any of us kids. My sister, however, is larger framed, and she had to have a C section. I think there’s so much more to it than that and other factors that weigh in.

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8 Sarah March 7, 2012 at 8:50 am

Kath, I just wanted to say that I love reading this blog! I look forward to it every day and get excited when I get to work and open my reader and there is a new post 🙂 Hope you have a great day!

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9 haily March 7, 2012 at 9:01 am

I LOVE pregtastic also! I am through almost all 250+ episodes in 7 weeks. If you havent listened to episode 253 (i think) about Empowered Birth, you should do so. I am planning to go natural and the lady is so encouraging! Also, I am right there with you on the thirst wagon – cannot get enough. Any intuitions about what it will be? Are you and Kanz going to find out?

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10 KERF March 7, 2012 at 9:17 am

Are you sad you’ve listened to them all?

we are going to find out!

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11 Jennifer March 7, 2012 at 9:05 am

These posts are so sweet, and it’s fun to read as your pregnancy progresses. I love hearing your thoughts and it makes me feel like I “know you better” reading them (not meant in a creepy way). 🙂 Congrats again!

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12 Annalisa March 7, 2012 at 9:20 am

Childbirth was by far the most amazing experience of my life. I wanted a natural birth for the baby’s sake (and no epi can often prevent the need for medical intervention). When I interviewed doulas (best investment ever!) one said to me that in her experience, childbirth sets the tone for the first few weeks of the baby’s life. Having friends with babies, I see that now. I had an easy pregnancy, easy labor, and very easy delivery (38 weeks, 4 hours fast labor after a glorious 10 hours of sleep, no drugs, no tearing, super healthy baby). I have a mellow 9 mo. old and the newborn phase was not that bad. However, my friends that had long, intense labors (including unplanned c-sections) had a really hard time with their babies initially. I actually loved being pregnant and wish we could have another baby right now (exclusive BF delays ovulation so it’s nearly impossible right now). My biggest advice is make sure you trust your doctor (and/or his counterparts) and you feel like you are listened to NOW. I switched OBs (did not want a midwife – the practice here is a little wack-o and disorganized) at 32 weeks and we also drove an hour outside of our city to deliver in a small, country hospital where it was almost like delivering at home. I tell any woman about to give birth that if you are not comfortable at 20, 30, or 40 weeks pregnant with your doc, you won’t be comfortable with him or her when you are delivering. it’s your body and your dollars — you can control that decision. Good luck!

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13 KERF March 7, 2012 at 9:22 am

We can only hope for the best! Lucky you 🙂

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14 Katie March 7, 2012 at 9:42 am

That is wonderful that you had the births you desired-every woman deserves that! But I got an epidural, episiotomy (sp?), and still had a VERY mellow, relaxed child. Both of mine in fact were such easy-going children (not even the teething phase was all that rough with them!) But I wouldn’t neccessarily attribute that to that 1 day of being born and what happened there (though it was admittedly uneventful). I think if women can attribute anything to having easy going kids (which we are quick to take credit for that, but, hey, if they are difficult babies then it came out of nowhere:) I’d be more likely to attribute it to the overall attitude and personality of the mother (especially while pregnant). If you are pretty easy going and don’t get all hyped up and nervous about every little thing for those 9 months, I would think that would have more bearing on the behavior of the newborn child then the events of one day. Or, more logically, if your is easy-going, they were just born like that (and no one gets “credit”).

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15 Kaley March 7, 2012 at 11:01 am

I have to agree with Katie.. I definitely did not have the the perfect birth experience.. I was induced at 36 weeks due to complications, my labor was over 36 hours long, ended up with an epidural and internal contaction monitor (not cool), and it was very stressful toward the end because the baby had lots of heart rate decelerations right before she came out. And on top of all that we had a 2 week NICU stay. We had a rough start, but despite all of this, my little girl has been very laid-back and so so happy since day one.. I honestly don’t think I have ever been around an easier baby. On the other hand, a very close friend of mine had a very quick labor (<6 hours!), and her little guy is the total opposite. So I definitely don't think birth experience determines anything, which I am SO thankful for..

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16 ES March 7, 2012 at 9:43 am

KERF, I know you’re moderating comments because you are aiming for a respectful community and I totally understand that. So I do hope you publish this although it is a bit of a dissent.

I actually find Annalisa’s comment offensive as a mother who had a “long, intense labor” with an unplanned c-section. I don’t think there’s any medical evidence that suggests those factors have anything to do with how hard a time someone has with a newborn. This comment to me is very judgmental of those who didn’t have natural births. Although I do agree with the latter portion that it is very important to trust your doctor.

Maybe I’m just being the sort of woman Rush Limbaugh hates, but I don’t know why the pain of labor and birth is some sort of measure of what kind of woman you are. If you think about it, it’s a very patriarchal viewpoint. Is there a male equivalent of this? No, and there never will be. When I was going through labor pains I didn’t feel more like a woman, I felt tense and exhausted. When I got my epidural I felt much better and more able to enjoy the experience. It’s sort of crazy we live in a world where that decision is judged isn’t it? (I’m not saying you did…. I’m speaking in general terms).

Anyways, I wish you luck with whatever comes your way!

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17 Katie March 7, 2012 at 10:14 am

I felt completely and totally like a women when that baby emerged! I felt like a women when I saw their adorable faces for the first time and even though I wasn’t “womanly” enough to want to endure drug-free childbirth, I did in fact still push those children out of my body. I was a women in that moment to the fullest extent just as much as a women that chooses to go natural. And women that need to have C-sections – they carried that child for 9 months and lovingly provided a safe home for them. And a c-section is not a walk in the park either of course. They too – are still ‘women’.

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18 PKP March 7, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Dear ES:

Thanks so much for your articulate and honest comment. I felt just the same during the birth of my daughter–the epidural definitely enabled me to relax and be more present for the experience. Accepting the epidural didn’t diminish my personal sense of mother- or womanhood, or my pride in the accomplishment of carrying and bringing into the world a beautiful baby.

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19 Krista March 8, 2012 at 3:48 pm

I had a miserable pregnancy and a long, intense, emotionally traumatic labor that turned me off to ever having more than one child. And my son was the easiest, happiest baby I have ever known. He was, and still is, truly a perfect kid in every sense.
Your doula’s advice makes no sense and will unnecessarily worry a lot of moms to be.

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20 Rachel March 7, 2012 at 9:32 am

both the baby that you babysat and the onesie are just TOO cute 🙂

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21 Nicole M. March 7, 2012 at 9:44 am

I loved the Business of Being Born but didn’t watch it until after the birth of my daughter. Unfortunately, my doctors and hospital turned out to be a little less supportive of my choices than I had been lead to believe. I suggest finding written documents outlining your hospitals policies rather than going on what the doctors or nurses tell you. I thought it was ironic you mentioned having a c-section because of your small frame. From what I’ve learned, that’s another “myth” doctors have us believing. A woman’s body, no matter how small, can handle the size of her baby. Even babies that will eventually be a larger person, will fit through the mother’s birth canal. And you’ll be surprised how much your hips spread during pregnancy! Mine would ache and took a long time after birth to feel normal again.

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22 KERF March 7, 2012 at 10:07 am

My doctor told me that was a myth at my next appt 🙂

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23 KERF March 7, 2012 at 1:31 pm

I don’t think she was saying that all contractions are painful – but for HER labor they weren’t. The thing about labor is everyone is completely different, so we can only do so much to mentally and physically prepare.

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24 Katie March 7, 2012 at 9:50 am

I’m a tiny bit dismayed at the quote about the alleged pain of childbirth. I can definately see the point of her stating/clarifying about pain vs. pressure (which there is a hilarious bit about that by Brian Regan the comedian on youtube – it’s great!) to help make birth not so scary and give confidence to women – – all good things. But she sounds a tad condescending in calling contractions not painful. I’m willing to bet that mothers in the last thousands of years would call it painful and they didn’t have scary doctors and hospitals to make them more nervous or scared for childbirth. Sorry – but it hurts. Does it hurt forever? No. Billions of women have gone through it so obviously it’s not so completely horrible that they refuse to ever do it again – our species would cease to exist – but to suggest that it’s not “pain” you are feeling is doing a disservice to future moms as well on the other spectrum (and making the other billion of us that have been through it a time or two and classify it as painful as just big wimps:)

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25 Christianne March 7, 2012 at 9:19 pm

I have to say I completely agree with Katie on both points. That she sounds condescending and that it IS painful.

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26 Alicia March 7, 2012 at 11:29 pm

It’s pain with a purpose, and you get breaks in between. I went pain-med free and the reason I’m glad I did is NOT because it’s not painless but because drugs don’t guarantee you a pain-free experience, and they limit you in many ways. I did have to get pain medication to have my placenta detached and I remember thinking that there was no way I could have been focused enough mentally to get through labor if I’d been on the same meds while I was going through stages 1 & 2.

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27 SB March 7, 2012 at 9:56 am

I think you would need to have a GIANT loaf baking in your oven for them to schedule a section just down to size. There are so many other factors to consider than the perceived size of the mom’s frame!

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28 Tonya March 7, 2012 at 10:05 am

Aww. My son is 14 but I can clearly remember the butterfly flutters. 🙂

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29 Stacey March 7, 2012 at 10:19 am

I saw your post about nursery ideas and wanted to share one quick thing. Today on Zulily (I joined once my daughter was born to shop great deals) they posted deals on wall art by Gus and Lola. More specifically, yellow and gray nursery wall art – so cute. Check them out on Zulily or through Etsy, http://www.etsy.com/shop/gusandlula

Have fun planning (and nesting)!

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30 Sarah @ Williamsburg Baby March 7, 2012 at 10:35 am

It’s interesting. I believe childbirth is a natural, awesome thing, and I would love to experience it without intervention/pain medication. That said, I was talking to a friend who’s had 3 babies and has a PHD in health care policy, and she said that when she was thinking about whether to get an epidural, she thought about the fact that there’s no other natural process that we expect people to go through now without pain relief. Meaning we don’t say, ‘well, people in the middle ages were amputated while biting on a stick, so I can sure do it.’ Or, ‘people have been having teeth pulled for thousands of years, so I can do it without novacaine.’ I thought she had a point. Obviously, childbirth is a natural and not medical process under normal circumstances. But it’s also one of the only things where there’s this sense that you’re somehow more badass for doing it without meds. Sure, there are a lot of things we could do naturally without medication, but we don’t because ew have the option.

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31 KERF March 7, 2012 at 10:48 am

That is a really good point!

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32 Allison K March 7, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Right, but people have been giving birth since the beginning of the human race. Our bodies were made for the act, they were NOT made for the act of pulling teeth. Your teeth are designed to fall out as a child (which is not painful, unless you tug on them), but not as an adult. I am not saying that childbirth is not painful, I am expecting it to be plenty painful, but I firmly believe it’s something our bodies were designed to do, and most of the time, they can do so with out help, and luckily for us, the times they do need help, we live in an era with that help available.

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33 Melissa @ HerGreenLife March 7, 2012 at 1:26 pm

There are actually a lot of medical reasons for avoiding the epidural because it often, though not always, is part of the “cascade” of interventions that explain part of the unnecessarily high Cesarean rates in the U.S.

As for comparing labor and vaginal delivery to amputations or other medical interventions, pain medicine, anesthesia, etc. does not interfere with those procedures the way that epidurals interfere with the process of labor and delivery.

Most women don’t avoid meds during labor to be “badass,” but rather in an attempt to have the best outcome for both themselves and their babies.

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34 Sarah @ Williamsburg Baby March 7, 2012 at 1:53 pm

I agree with both of you ladies…that pregnancy is natural and as I said I would love to do it naturally. I just thought my friend had an interesting point about the advent of pain medication. People have dealt with, say, headaches or menstrual cramps since the dawn of time. But we don’t consider them nuts if they reach for the Tylenol today. Of course, pregnancy is not like an amputation or a dental surgery. The trouble is there’s no analogy that really works. I guess my point was that pain is pain and if it’s too much for someone, there are medical advancements there for that. And back to the tooth thing (even though I know it’s not the same thing)…if someone you knew said, “Just do lots of yoga and breathe through your wisdom teeth removal and you’ll love it!” you might think they were insane. I get that there are different things going on hormonally during labor, but when humans are in pain their adrenaline kicks in as well, and they still often opt for medication. It’s not my stance, per se, I think it’s just an interesting debate.

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35 ES March 7, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Sure, as females, our body was made to birth. Also, as females, we were born with brains that allow us to say SweetFancyMoses this hurts!! is there something that can ease the pain? There is? YIPEEE!! Gimmeegimmee.

I don’t understand when people bring up “Since the beginning of time…” There are a lot of things that are different now than from the beginning of time and nearly all of them allow us to live healthier and longer lives.

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36 Alicia March 7, 2012 at 11:34 pm

The thing that my birth experience without pain meds taught me is that it was (is) more important to me to do it the way I thought it should be done rather than the way that was easiest for me. I’m learning this lesson in parenthood, too.

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37 Alicia March 7, 2012 at 11:33 pm

The pain of a tooth that needs to come out is unrelenting and comes on all at once.
The pain of labor is completely different. For most women, it escalates in a way that prepares you for what’s to come next. There are breaks in between for you to use to focus and rest, and it gets progressively more intense throughout.
I don’t shame any woman for choosing to have pain meds during labor, but to argue that we shouldn’t experience natural childbirth because we don’t have to misses the point that the experience itself is extremely valuable to some people, and that many people don’t think they can do it simply because they’ve been told their whole lives that they can’t.

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38 Jeanette March 10, 2012 at 3:10 am

Wow, I really love this!!

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39 Holly March 7, 2012 at 10:41 am

When I felt movement, it felt like bubbles or water boiling.

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40 Patty March 7, 2012 at 10:44 am

I will need to stop reading these at work. Tears again!

I look forward to every post.

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41 Colleen March 7, 2012 at 10:59 am

I was always checking to see if I could feel anything. It is amazing what our bodies can do.

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42 RachelSD March 7, 2012 at 10:59 am

I’m really enjoying reading these posts! So glad you liked the onesie Kath! Can’t wait to see a little person in there. 🙂

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43 Ashley March 7, 2012 at 11:00 am

Great blog. Neat idea to do a separate one! I am enjoying the extra read!

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44 TinaD March 7, 2012 at 11:10 am

I had both my babies at Martha Jeff, and couldn’t have been more pleased. All the nurses and my doctor were respectful and supportive of my choices, and I felt no pressure to make my decisions. I spent a lot of my first labor in the tub, which really helped (that and counterpressure my husband gave my by pushing a tennis ball into my lower back during contractions). I chose to have epidurals with both of my girls, and I don’t think it slowed down my labor at all. I got my epidural around 7 cm with my second child, told my husband to go get something to eat, because I thought it would probably be a little while, and they had to call him over the intercom to come back to the room, because I progressed so quickly after that! When it comes to decisions regarding pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting, I try to live by the Eleanor Roosevelt quote, “Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway.”

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45 KERF March 7, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Still glad to hear good experiences at MJ! And love your quote!

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46 Molly L. March 8, 2012 at 12:39 pm

My brother-in-law’s wife delivered all three of our baby nieces & nephews at MJ! All good things to say about the experience.

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47 Stephanie Hobbs March 7, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Hey Kath! I was piqued by the quote you put about contractions. They are definitely intense, and you know, she’s right – they’re not what people typically consider ‘pain’, it’s something beyond that. It felt like waves, this tightening feeling, and I remember doing a lot of vocalization! By the time Pepper was born (after 16 hours!), my throat was totally hoarse. My throat was more painful than anything else! I did get an epidural after 13 hours, but I had been induced, so my contractions were on top of each other for that entire time! But the epidural wore off when I started to push, so I got to feel the birth – it was awesome! Totally painful, sure, but sooo worth being able to feel my daughter being born. They had a sort of mirror on the ceiling, so between pushing, as I caught my breath, I could look up at see how far she was out. It was really encouraging!

I had a Doula, and was so glad I did! My Mom and husband were at the birth, and were great help, but having someone as kind of an unbiased outside was great – she could take notes (for my birth story!), and recommended positions for me. When I got very nauseous, she wafted a linen with peppermint extract on it, and it totally cured me! She was great – I still talk to her 🙂

I will say this – if you have the option for a waterbirth, consider it! The WORST thing, worse than anything else, was having contractions on the toilet. THE worse pain I’ve ever felt, but I had to pee! If you were in a tub, you could just go! Haha

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48 Laura P March 7, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your first pregnancy with us! I look forward to reading this every day.
I’ve had two kids. I was all about the natural b/c I just didn’t want to give up the control. Let me just say this labor hurts, a lot! But it is a pain that does end the minute your child is born. My son is turing 11 in two weeks and I can still vividly recall the feeling of his feet leaving my body. That is the most ephoric feeling ever!!! I think I might have end told the doctor I loved him I was in such a happy foggy state. I feel very lucky to have been able to have natural childbirth. I think you are being very smart to realize that you may have to conssider other options. Another thing that helped was the low back rub my husband gave me. TinaD mentions it above using a tennis ball, my husband used his knuckles and it was wonderful. I tried a shower but the water never got hot enough so I ended up freezing w/ goose bumps so that wasn’t helpful for me, it could just be me and the fact that I love a scortching hot shower, too. We had a doula w/ our first child, too. But she and my husband talked mostly as I was just trying to survive labor but it was a comfort to know that she was there. TinaD is also spot on w/ that Elanor R quote, excellent words to live, love and parent by!

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49 Anna March 7, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Whether you are doing it at home in your tub or on the operating table at your local hopistal, giving birth to a child you have carried inside you for the past 9 months is an incredible experience. However, I find the experience of womahood in its most raw state actually comes after the birth altogether. The bond you form with your child, your emotional attachment and the fiercely protective instinct you develop (whether it occurs the second they are born, or if you need sometime getting there as many women sometimes do) – is womanhood at its most raw. As a mother to a beautiful four month-old girl, I rarely think think about the 40 hours I spent in labor without drugs or the c-section the ended up brining her into the world, and when I do – the experience of delivering her pales in comparison to the experience of raising her. Women do a great disservice to one another by participating in oneupsmanship surrounding childbirth, breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding, etc.

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50 ES March 7, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Absolutely Anna. Great comment.

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51 daphna March 7, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Yes, very good point!

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52 Christianne March 7, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Well said!!

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53 Jenny March 7, 2012 at 12:54 pm

The baby “bubbles” reminded me of the first time I felt the baby have the hiccups when I was pregnant. It’s so bizarre and wonderful, all at once. 🙂

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54 Christina March 7, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Kath, I’m really loving your babykerf blog! I’m 12 weeks now, and love hearing what other pregnant women are going through. I trained as a doula in January, which was a very empowering and educational experience. Please don’t worry about having a small frame or small hips. It is really the inner dimensions of the pelvis that matter…and believe it or not the inner pelvic opening is not related to hip size! Plus the pelvis is not a fixed structure…using different positions such as squating, all fours, etc, can expand the pelvis up to 30%. If you can eat during labor, even if it is just a nibble of something it will help. You will need the energy for the “marathon” of labor. Hiring a doula is the best thing you can do if you desire a natural birth. If doulas were a machine, every hospital would have them. Not sure if you know that the presence of a professional doula leads to 50% decrease in cesarean sections, 25% decrease in length of labor, & 40% decrease in use of pitocin. You seem very informed which is fantastic!

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55 KERF March 7, 2012 at 1:28 pm

My doctor told me the same thing about the pelvic opening.

Do you want to be my doula!?

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56 Christina March 7, 2012 at 3:41 pm

I would love to be your doula! Thanks, but I live in Bermuda and I’m sure you would want someone who lives near you. I trained with http://www.tolabor.com They have a provider directory on their website. I checked and there are a few right in Charlottsville. Do not be concerned where it says, certified /non-certified. All of the women have been through training and are qualified to attend births. It is best to interview a few doulas and find who you click with the best. Feel free to ask me any questions you might have. I’m happy to help.

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57 KERF March 7, 2012 at 3:44 pm

🙂 I was partially kidding – although you could have been from Cville?! I have a list of 5 I’m going to email and interview soon. I definitely want to have one.

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58 vegtastic March 7, 2012 at 3:11 pm

It is also very important to consider your caloric needs in growing a baby that is the right size for your body. Most pregnant women need only 100-300 extra calories per day to sustain a healthy growing fetus – that’s just an extra dollop or two of peanut butter! Keeping a food diary, and making good food choices are the best way to grow a healthy baby and not one that is too big to deliver vaginally. As an RD, I am sure you have all the tools at hand to do just that!

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59 Jessica @ The Process of Healing March 7, 2012 at 1:11 pm

I have a very small frame and small hips as well, so I’m personally interested in how this turns out for you. I’m hoping for the best!!!

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60 Robyn March 7, 2012 at 1:31 pm

I love your maternity jeans! Where did you get them – they are cute!

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61 KERF March 7, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Kohl’s. They are Oh Baby brand by Motherhood and the best mat. jeans I’ve found yet!

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62 Beth March 8, 2012 at 9:27 pm

I was going to ask the same thing! I’m heading to Kohls this weekend 🙂

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63 Jennifer (take the day off) March 7, 2012 at 1:55 pm

I didn’t feel our little one kick until I was about 20 weeks! It made me a little worried, but because of the position of the placenta, i couldn’t feel a thing–other than little bubbles which I self-diagnosed as gas. Now she moves all the time, and it is so reassuring to know that everything is alright in there.

And I totally agree with your advice about buying maternity jeans early. I waited until I was about 20 weeks and I had no idea what I was missing until I put them on. MUCH better!

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64 Paige March 7, 2012 at 3:07 pm

I’m so happy to hear that you’re hoping for a natural birth! I had a completely natural birth with a certified nurse midwife and a doula. I agree with your friend about contractions. Mine were never ever painful. Intense, but never painful. I think too many women make birth out to be incredibly painful, but it doesn’t have to be as long as you keep moving around. I only felt pain for about 5 minutes when my son was crowning. Congratulations on baby KERF! I love reading your posts.

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65 Nikki March 7, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Hi Kath!
I _love_ your new blog–like another reader said, I look forward to reading it every day!
My fiancee and I are beginning to think about babies, and I was wondering what brand of prenatal vitamin you take? Did you do a lot of research about which ones are better, or are they all pretty similar? Also, how soon did you take it before you started “trying?”
Thanks!

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66 KERF March 7, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Hey Nikki,
I take Whole Foods Prenatals. I didn’t do a TON of research – I asked my doctor and she said any prenatal from a reputable brand would be fine. I like this one because it’s got some plant in it and DHA as well (although not a ton). I started taking it in February, and we started trying in September. You definitely want to take it before you get pregnant for a good amount of months.

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67 KB March 7, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Kath,
I have been a long-time reader (you’ve given me such great ideas and inspiration over the years!), but this is my first time to comment.

I, too, think that Annalisa’s comment was borderline offensive and extremely biased. I am happy for any woman whose delivery goes just as they dreamed, but It is my opinion that after having an “easy pregnancy, easy labor and easy delivery” she’s clearly not experienced to comment on any other type of delivery. After having an easy pregnancy, my water broke (and fyi, it wasn’t at all like you see in the movies or on televsion – no huge gush of liquid, although I do have a couple of friends whose water broke that way!) at 38 weeks and I labored for about seven hours before having an emergency c-section. After having an epidural (I truly believe to each his own, but after speaking with my doctor, my friends who had gone through labor, my mother and my husband, who is a physician, I knew that I wanted an epidural from the start) and fully dilating over the course of the night, it was determined that my baby’s heart rate was dropping too low during contractions and he needed to come out right.that.minute. My doctor was SO very apologetic when he told me we’d have to have a c-section, but I honestly could not have cared any less! As I think most mothers would agree, that doctor could have told me that in order to get my baby out safely he’d have to chop off both of my legs and I would have been 100% fine with that – whatever means necessary to ensure the health of my child.

My son could not (and at nearly two years old, still is – most of the time!) have been a more perfect baby. The first few days, weeks, months at home were nothing short of bliss. He was the most easy going and sweet tempered baby! Friends, family, and COMPLETE STRANGERS commented on how mellow he was! I think it’s nothing short of ignorance to imply that women who have long, intense labors have difficult children initially. I trusted my doctor 100% and in retrospect am SO VERY THANKFUL that I did have the epidural, because had I not, I likely would have been put under general anesthesia for the c-section (there was not enough time at that point to give me an epidural, wait for it to begin working, test which areas were numb enough, etc.) and would not have even been awake to witness my son’s entrance into the world!

That is all purely my experience, and is surely not intended to offend anyone – as I think each woman’s birth plan – and more importantly delivery (because no amount of planning in the world can change what may or may not happen in those moments!) – is a personal decision. I just don’t think it’s fair/right for anyone to lump all women who’ve had c-sections/epidurals/whatever into a category and say that it will effect our children negatively.

I love this new baby blog and it’s making me eager to start trying for #2! Best wishes to you and Matt!

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68 daphna March 7, 2012 at 3:23 pm

I’m really enjoying reading all of your posts, Kath! I feel like we have a lot in common (I got married a week after you on 6/10/07, I’m also 29, and we’re both shorties–I’m 5’1”). I also remember we were both taking ochem at the same time too! I was just wondering if it was hard for you to wait so long to have a baby after getting married? I’m very impressed that you did, because you seem to be as baby crazy as me. 😉

I have 2-yr-old twins and love it! My only contribution to your labor discussion is that I had my first twin drug-free and vaginally and my second twin 18 minutes later via c-section under general anesthesia because he switched his position to sideways after his brother was born. The whole experience and recovery was obviously MUCH easier with my first baby. 🙂 I was surprised at how much effort it took to push the first one out, but I wasn’t in pain per-se.

You are giving me the baby crazies all over again. I really want to have another baby but not until I’ve completed my second year of med school and taken my boards.

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69 TC March 7, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Oh man I love this blog, even more than KERF! I am still too young to be thinking about having a baby, and to be honest I have never even really cared, but since reading this blog I am sooooo interested in everything about it! Is it possible you could do a post with some links to interesting websites you have found. I know you have posted some forum links but I can’t find them 🙁

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70 KERF March 7, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Glad to hear it!

What kinds of sites? I haven’t used too many – I mostly look to blogs for info, or Google.

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71 TC March 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Any blogs you like in particular?

Also, my sister watched a video about epidurals when she was pregnant, and she said it was one of the most disturbing things she had ever seen and there was no way she would have one! Although she had a very long and difficult birth and was given an epidural and said the labour was like a walk in the park afterwards!

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72 Allison March 7, 2012 at 4:19 pm

I just felt the need to comment, after the comment from your friend that labor didn’t really hurt. Yes, for some people it really hurts A LOT! I did natural child birth with both of my kids (Bradley). My son was 9 1/2 lbs and my daughter was 8lb 13…it hurts! Tearing hurts, contractions really hurt. I had a very good friend who told me that it didn’t really hurt. Honestly, I was happy to hear that when she had her second, it hurt like hell! Every labor and delivery is different, just as every child is different. Just because your friend only felt some discomfort doesn’t mean that is how you will feel. You might have a totally easy, painless delivery and you might not, but honestly, no one should tell you that “contractions don’t hurt” because everyone is different. Also, my labor with my son was 30+ hard hours and the delivery was pretty awful (lots of screaming) and he was a totally chill baby who was sleeping 8 hours at 5 weeks and there was no looking back.

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73 KERF March 7, 2012 at 4:36 pm

Well she wasn’t telling me that mine won’t hurt – she was just sharing that hers didn’t in the context of her birth story. I had never heard anyone speak of contractions like that before, so I wanted to share it.

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74 Jenn March 7, 2012 at 11:27 pm

I think it really depends on how you define “pain”. To me, pain has negative connotations, and there really wasn’t anything negative about the feelings I had in my 2nd labour. I would describe it as intense and requiring all of my concentration, and perhaps uncomfortable, but not painful. Like your friend Kath, I am simply saying how it was for me, not saying someone else might not experience it differently.

On the epidural front, its a good idea to research how they can affect the rest of the labour, in particular being the beginning of the “cascade of intervention”. I have had one birth with an epidural and one without and definitely preferred the “without” experience.

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75 Jenn March 7, 2012 at 11:28 pm

I was also going to all, both my babies were large (10lbs 11oz and 11lbs) and I have a small frame, and they both came out fine!!

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76 Amanda Cowan March 7, 2012 at 5:24 pm

I’m a long time reader and I just wanted to say congratulations!! How exciting! I have 3 girls and they’re my little loves! As for the butterflies.. I didn’t feel my oldest (as in “I’m SURE that’s the baby”) until about 15-16 weeks.. but my second I felt “for sure” at about 13 and my 3rd I was feeling at about 11 weeks. So I think in your case, being that you were completely still and would notice.. plus since you are in excellent shape to begin with.. I personally don’t see any reason that you couldn’t have felt your little peanut already. You’re very in tune with you body. I say call it! Of course, I’m not a doctor or anything.. hehe. Best wishes for a healthy and happy pregnancy and beyond!

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77 Erin Motz March 7, 2012 at 7:28 pm

I say baby bump. Way more fun than bloating, haha. ;-]

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78 Stef March 7, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Kath–I was so happy to read that you and Matt are considering hiring a doula! I may be a little tiny bit biased, because, well, I happen to be a birth doula. If you have any questions about doula stuff I would be happy to point you in the right direction. I’m in CT and I don’t know any doulas in your area, but I’m sure there are a few to choose from. My recommendation is to go to the DONA international website http://www.dona.org and you can search for certified doulas in your area. The most important part of it is to meet each doula in person and find one that you are comfortable and “click” with. 🙂 Best of luck!

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79 KERF March 7, 2012 at 9:13 pm

I need to get on that research soon!

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80 Alicia March 7, 2012 at 11:37 pm

A doula is a great tool during labor. I thought of mine as an ambassador. She had been to tons of births, so everything that I was going through was territory she’d already seen. Also, most women become very open to suggestion during labor, and having a doula there to guide you is incredibly helpful!

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81 Alicia March 7, 2012 at 9:31 pm

I have noticed in the pictures that with each week the area you are able to suck in is getting smaller and smaller.

When I had my little boy, we studied the Bradley method, but did not take Bradley classes. I was able to have him natural despite the fact that my labor was augmented with pitocin (water broke before the contractions came and 12 hours later, I was still not contracting well). My hubby told everyone for weeks after that that I was the Zen master. For me labor was most comfy sitting up and swaying back and forth. As long as I kept my mind focused internally and blocked out all the external stuff happening around me, I was able to feel empowered and in control.

I think that you are going to do excellent, but should you decide you need an epidural, or a little shot of pain killer in the end, don’t beat yourself up about it.

On another note, I remember my wise old midwife friend telling me that women with low iron while preggers should drink an occasional dark beer, because it helps. Even my OBGYN said an occasional glass of wine was fine, and reminded me that the baby’s blood alcohol level is gonna be the same as yours.

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82 KERF March 7, 2012 at 9:48 pm

🙂

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83 Jen March 7, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Hey Kath,

Not sure if you plan to breastfeed, but I just found this site that prepares you (as much as possible) for breastfeeding before Baby is born. I’ve been reading through the “Booby Traps” posts in preparation for Baby #2, and they’re great.

If you’re not planning to nurse, then disregard! 🙂

http://www.bestforbabes.org/

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84 KERF March 7, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Definitely going to try everything possible to nurse. Thanks!

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85 Angel7 March 8, 2012 at 9:00 am

I bought pregnancy jeans early this time, because being that this is our second child, I knew that I wanted to be comfortable!

Baby BERF’s first outfit… So cute! I cannot imagine if you will have a little girl or little boy. Do you have a mother’s instinct on what gender the baby will be?

http://faithfulsolutions.blogspot.com/

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86 Nikki T March 8, 2012 at 10:47 am

Hey Kath, what kind of maternity jeans did you get? I’m at week 5 now and definately want to make sure I’m comfortable rather than pulling at my too-tight jeans as the weeks go on!

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87 KERF March 8, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Oh baby from kohls. Love them!

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88 Shannon Bell March 8, 2012 at 10:57 am

I love that you said, “women should be goddesses of labor! ”

I think the discussion that’s happening is so interesting. Each woman’s experience cannot be devalued by another woman’s, but the key to having a good experience is to know what you want, have your needs and desires respected, and have comfort in knowing what occurred was OK with you. That can be different for every woman!

I think something that’s important to note (just to add to this discussion about pain meds in amputations etc….) is that pregnancy is a physiological process, NOT a pathological one. This means that it is a very normal process that our bodies are completely prepared to deal with (or rather, the baby is in charge in this one!) vs something like cancer or and amputation or a huge injury, where that is pathologic–there is a process behind it that does not naturally occur in our bodies. This means that the use of pain meds (in particular the epidural–not so much a topical med) is going to interfere with the process.

Epidurals basically numb the bottom half of your body–NOT the nerves that are doing the contractions. BUT they are numbing the sensory neurons which means the natural process of your uterus feeling the baby come closer into descent and then signaling to your brain for your brain to send out more action for the uterus to contract–that pathway is significantly disrupted, which is why so many woman have several more interventions after an epidural, especially piton, it’s because they need them to keep labor going. Not every woman, but most.

Additionally, the interruption of that hormone for contractions: oxytocin, is problematic right after the baby is born (and I think this is where the comment was coming from in terms of how the birth can predict how the baby is). This is what our body sends out to give that incredible high you feel, the high that bonds you with your baby in a very unique way–its just a different deal with drugs. This can affect breast feeding greatly and thus you and your baby!

Lastly, when using pitocin the contractions are so incredibly strong (not physiological in nature, but much worse) it’s very understandable that women want an epidural after that. The piton creates strong contractions (much stronger than anything normal–which is great when it’s used for what it’s primary purpose is–to save lives!!) but that means in a normal natural labor that will put unnecessary pressure and stress on the baby, leading to perhaps more abnormal fetal heart rates, and thus more interventions.

It’s just a slippery slope. No one is saying that being in pain defines your labor process or makes you more of a woman, but the reality is that this is a painful process, but that is what it’s meant to be for your body–not for men, not for society, but for the baby and the natural physiological processes that need to occur. In medicine, we always say pain is a gift because that can tell us so much about what is going on–in this case it tells you what an incredible process your body is going through. Thankfully we have amazing things in place to care for a woman and baby that are struggling or need the help.

Love the posts about your journey Kath!!

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89 Meagan March 8, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Hello,

Not sure if this has been mentioned, but you may want to look into Bradley Method Birth Classes… they are great for learning all about the birth process and help to train your husband to assist you (similar to the way a doula would). My husband and I took them and they were great.. however, as with anything, need to be taken with a grain of salt. Only YOU have the power to make your birth a positive experience, no matter the circumstances (baring a full out ER of course!). Learning all you can will help to do that. BUT, I have to say, after all the training, reading, researching and two completely different births… for me, it was pretty hard to do much but get through it. I had heard of some people who don’t experience true pain, but not many. I knew it would hurt, but nothing could prepare me for how badly… I am not trying to scare anyone, but I think is important also to be honest… it’s worth it, but the pain is unimaginable. But as I always told myself… what can I do now? This baby is coming no matter what!!! No mstter what you do, don’t do, read or don’t read, you will birth your baby one way or another! 😉

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90 KERF March 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm

I don’t believe we have Bradley here : (

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91 Nicole March 8, 2012 at 5:29 pm

You MUST read this article by famed midwife Gloria Lemay. It’s all about the size of a woman’s pelvis and how irrelevant it really is to whether or not a woman can birth vaginally. It’s one of my favorites that I give to my childbirth couples because SO many women have the fear of “the baby not fitting” but what usually is the real cause of that is the mom being stuck in bed, in the same position, for hours and hours on end–thus not allowing her pelvis to open or her baby to get to move into a good position for birth. Movement and gravity is KEY! Here’s the article:

http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/pelvis.asp

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92 KERF March 8, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Thanks I’ll check it out!

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