Saturday, July 28, 2012

DIY high contrast flash cards

Instead of paying for store bought flash cards,with just a couple sheets of poster board and paints you can design your own high contrast flash cards. These cards are great for early stages of infancy when they cannot see colors and darker shades are easier to differentiate. It isn't until around 6-8 weeks that a baby will begin to focus on items (although you can start using them at birth), so you can feel free to make only a handful (your time for crafts, like mine, may be limited) and then expand as baby ages.

Here are 6 flash cards I painted on black and white poster board cut-outs:

Later I may add upper and lower case lettering as I plan to create a card for each letter of the alphabet.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Generation to generation: all doing their best

My true thoughts and feelings come out when I am writing to my close friends. I approach writing for this blog as if I am talking directly to one of my friends.

After writing a text to another new mom my text touched my heart, and while I don't choose to edit the grammar of this text, I share it with you here:

"I truly love our healthy eating and living lifestyle. I think back to the processed microwave foods I ate and diet coke I drank as a teenager and think how happy I am that Alexandria is going to be so healthy and fit. And I think back to how sedentary my growing up was sitting I front of tv then I look at how busy we are getting out and trying new things. I like our weekly routine. We are going to plan one big outing a year to have her look forward to a family trip. As a kid we rarely traveled and parents were not good about exploring new places. I guess I am looking forward to giving Alexandria all that I wish I had and more because I've made the life that I wish I had growing up. It is what it is my past life. I am so happy to be living my life now. And it just keeps getting better."

Bigs hugs to you, me and all moms out there for doing their best! That's all a kid can ask and appreciate.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My new job as a food provider

During my pregnancy I was talking to a co-worker about being a mom and going back to work and she said, she personally needed to go back at least part-time, so she had additional responsibilities other than being a professional milk-maker. At the time, I thought that was a good point, but the magnitude of that statement did not hit me until after the baby was born.

I understood going into motherhood that a baby eats, sleeps and poops, but I did not grasp how much they eat. The first couple weeks after baby was born the answer to all fussing was she must be hungry - which amounted to a total of anywhere from 2 to 4 hours a day breastfeeding. Then, the baby settled into feeding 8 times a day for 20 to 30 minutes at a time, which made it predictable and manageable. It was not until I started pumping the third week, that my lady friends received the names Mildred (left) and Bessie (right). In a playful way, my husband and I check in on how Mildred and Bessie are providing. It is true, I have become a professional milk-maker. How do I know that? I strive to do my best to produce healthy and adequate supply* of breast milk for my baby.   

* exclusively breastfeeding or drinking my milk and baby has adequate weight gain.

Birth control post-baby

After six weeks of postpartum recovery, it's time to think about birth control. Breastfeeding is said to ward off a period, but not a proven birth control. After all ovulation happens before a period, and that's not easily detected, so time to think of a birth control method.

IUDCPCopperT380A.gifWhen I decided we wanted to get pregnant, I went off the birth control pill at least two months in advance in preparation for "trying" to get pregnant. After about 15 years on the pill it took a year for my cycles to regulate to the point that I could confidently know when I would ovulate. After that experience, I decided to never go back on the pill or any other hormone for that fact, so I had a non-hormonally-based intrauterine (IUD) inserted called a Paragard, or copper IUD. It is comforting to know that it is 99% effective and if I decide to have another baby I can start trying the day it is removed. I know that the later is true because I had the Paragard prior to pregnancy and had the IUD taken out a week before ovulation and we got pregnant that same month, with no complications. So six weeks postpartum and I went with the Paragard again. Now back to having sex...

Picture of a Paragard was found on wikipedia

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Postpartum recovery complete

Per the recommendation of my midwife, I have completed six weeks of recovery following the the c-section birth of my baby girl. I agree that I am healed from the surgery and ready to be more active. I do look forward to losing the remaining 20 pounds I gained during pregnancy, however according to my midwife I should expect to lose 10 more pounds and keep the remaining 10 on until after breastfeeding is complete. Well, 10 pounds seems achievable and I bet that will mean I can fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans (there will be a celebration when that happens.)

Week six is a turning point for me, not just in the means of being more active, but in motherhood and beyond. I have gained more confidence in these areas:

  • A better understanding of my baby's cues, schedule and needs. 
  • Ability to leave the house with baby and all of her needs packed. 
  • Resuming pre-baby activities with and without baby. 
  • Producing breast milk enough to satiate baby.
I understand that it took nine months to put on the weight, however I am not excited about it being said to take nine months to take off the weight. With that I am resuming my healthy eating and active lifestyle. You will find me riding my bike (how young can I attach a baby to the back of my bike?), in the yoga studio, walking, and on the soccer field. You will not find me eating cupcakes or sweets, except for once a week. Sweets were among my biggest craving during pregnancy, well basically anything I did not eat very often prior to pregnancy. 

I will leave you with a recipe for a healthy organic juice that I am drinking daily this week. It has protein, omega-3's and fiber from 2-3 servings of fruits and veggies. Combine the following ingredients into a blender (I have a Blendtec which juices, otherwise you would use a juice machine), in the following order, and run the juice mode:
            3 organic kale leaves
            1 banana;
            1/3 organic pear;
            3 stalks of organic celery 
            1/4 cup soy protein isolate powder;
            2 tbs. flax seeds 
            Handful of organic baby carrots
            Water - fill to cover half the ingredients
            Cup of ice

This recipe makes ~40 ounces or 5 cups of juice. You can also substitute water for coconut water. Or optionally add 1/4 tsp. of ginger powder and 1/8 cup of nutritional yeast. Flax seed and nutritional yeast are said to improve lactation. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

My birth plan

A birth plan is a list of accommodations and preferences that contains all of your wishes for the birthing process. This list is made for the ideal situation, but should also include your preferences for dealing with complications in the event that things don’t go as planned during the birth of your baby. As a new mom, it is best to have a good idea of what you would like, but don't get too set on the birth going according to plan - sometimes nature has its own course of events in mind. However, not getting too attached to the plan is easier said than done. I have to admit that this was the case for me (not to get ahead of myself, but my baby's birth did not go at all according to my birth plan).

To create my plan, I used a BabyCenter birth plan template and then typed it up into Microsoft Word so that I could share this electronically with my midwife. I also printed a hard copy of my birth plan and placed this in my hospital bag, which is important in case you are transferred to a hospital or a new doctor.

Here is a copy of my birth plan to give you an idea of what I wanted to have for the birth of my baby girl:

Birth Plan for [Insert Name] (I like to be called Jen), to a baby girl

Summary: I plan to have a vaginal birth with no medications or interventions at a birthing center. If needed, I will be informed of measures needed and make a call from there. Post-birth I plan to have my placenta encapsulated. I prefer to be told what is happening as it happens and have two-way feedback on how things are progressing.  

Attendees - The only people that will be allowed in the room during the birth will be:
·       (husband) 
[       (doula)

·        I have never been in an ambulance and I get anxiety at the thought of going in one. But, if needed I will go in one, with reassurance that it means I am getting help, not that I am helpless.
·        I do not want to see needles as they are injected. I prefer not to have an IV.
·        I do not wish to have medicine, to have my placenta as clean free of medicine as possible, but if need be I will accept medicine.
·        No cutting unless medically necessary

·        I will bring my own music (which may or may not be played)
·        Dim the lights and have candles (if oxygen is not on)
·        I will wear my own clothes during labor and delivery
·        husband or doula will be taking pictures/video

Birthing location: Puget Sound Birth Center

If I am transferred to a hospital:
·        My husband will stay with me and baby at all times
·        Only my practitioner, nurse, and attendees will be present
·        I want to eat if I wish
·        Stay hydrated with clear fluids instead of an IV
·        Be able to walk around and move around as I choose
·        To have a cot provided for my husband
·        All newborn procedures will take place in my presence
·        Delay clamping the cord by at least 5 minutes.(important)
·        Save placenta for encapsulation. (important) Do not fold placenta.
·        Have skin to skin post-birth
·        To breastfeed as soon as possible & only method of feeding (if not an option than a wide/slow flow nipple on a bottle is preferred) (important)
·        Have the baby sleep in room (24-hour room-in)
·        To stay in private room
·        I’d like to be discharged as soon as possible

Other interventions - If my baby and I are doing fine, I’dlike to:
·        Have intermittent rather than continuous fetal monitoring
·        Be allowed to progress free of stringent time limits and have my labor augmented only if necessary.

During my vaginal birth, I’d like:
·        Cheering and encouragement
·        Be able to view the birth using a mirror
·        Give birth without an episiotomy
·        Try multiple labor props:
o  Birthing stool
o  Birthing chair
o  Squatting bar
o  Birthing tub

After birth, I’d like:
·        To hold my baby skin-to-skin, or have my husband if I am not available to do so
·        I want to breastfeed as soon as possible
·        To wait until the 5 minutes at least to cut the umbilical cord before it is clamped and cut. I am not be donating my cord blood.
·        Not to get oxytocin (Pitocin) after I deliver the placenta unless it’s necessary
·        My placenta will be placed in a gallon Ziploc bag (I will provide), double bagged and placed in a brown paper bag for us to put on ice and return home with us. Do not fold the placenta, must lay flat.

·        All newborn procedures will take place in my presence
·        My partner to stay with the baby at all times if I cannot be there
·        To stay in a private room

Pain relief:
·        Bath/shower
·        Acupressure
·        Breathing deep/soft lions/meditative breathing
·        Hot/cold therapy
·        Meditation/self-hypnosis
·        Massage
·        Yoga (cat cow, squat, squat on a chair etc)
·        No light touch or tickling
·        Please don’t offer me pain medication
·        Walk/sway/humming

·        If I am comfortable and ready, I want to be able to push when I feel it needs to happen, & in my own time as long as my baby and I are doing fine.
·        I do not want to hold my breath during pushing
·        If I need to be coached, I will ask for instruction.
·        I’d like to try the following positions for pushing (in order of preference):
o  Squatting
o  Hands & knees
o  Side-lying position
o  Whatever feels right at the time

Feeding – I want to breastfeed exclusively. Do not offer my baby formula or a pacifier. Ask before you provide sugar water.  

Circumcision – We are having a girl, but if it turns out to be a boy, he will not be circumcised.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

When did you last breastfeed?

In the first few weeks to a month after your baby arrives, you will be learning baby's hunger cues. The feeding schedule may vary from 8-12 times a day. As a helpful reminder, knowing the last time you fed will give you a general sense of whether the fussiness, rooting, etc. are hunger cues.

To help, a friend made me a breastfeeding bracelet and imparted on me her wisdom as a new mom: your sleep-deprived mind will lose track of time and this bracelet will help you remember when your baby last fed and which boob was used for the last feeding.. Being six weeks into mommy-hood, I agree with her and thank her for making me this beautiful bracelet.

This breastfeeding bracelet has numbers 1-12 to represent the hours and 4 beads in between the hours representing 15 minute blocks of time. To use the bracelet, place the clasp (this one happens to have a charm that says "made w love") to the time your baby last fed and place the bracelet on the wrist that corresponds with the boob that was used for the last feeding. The bracelet is beautiful and to the passing eye it is just that - a bracelet. Little do others know it serves a purpose, too.

I prefer this low-tech way over using a smartphone application because it keeps things simple. The first week I used WebMD Baby (free app you can download at to track the exact minute I started and stopped breastfeeding, which provided a log of how long and how frequent feedings were. It was interesting to know how many hours a day were spent breastfeeding, but I found switching away from the mechanics of it all allowed me to focus on learning my baby's cues instead.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Birth Story Part 1: Deviation from the plan

I had a smooth pregnancy. I was active walking and doing yoga up until my 40th week. I did not have back pain or morning sickness. My mood was steady and I gained appropriate weight per my midwife. I planned to give birth at a birthing center with a midwife and my doula. Only catch was I needed to remain in the category of non-high risk pregnancy, which I was up until the 40th week...

At my 39 weeks the concern was raised about my elevating blood pressure. I started pregnancy at 102/68 and never had a history of high blood pressure. Today my blood pressure is 128/90, but went down to a bottom number of 86 as the doctor appointment went on. While the concern was raised we were just watching it as it started to creep the last 3 routine weekly appointments. I was to take calcium magnesium and return in a week, or have a baby by then. I felt fine. I was told to let them know if I experienced headache, abdominal pain, sudden increase in swelling, visual changes, or changes in baby's movement. I never felt any of those warning signs of pre-eclampsia, so I returned at 40 weeks. 

At this appointment my blood pressure rose to 138/92 and discussions around me potentially moving into the high risk category. The conversation became elevated when my reflex test came back abnormal, with what I call a double kick - instead of moving out smoothly it felt like I had a twitch or a double movement of my leg as it extended. From there out I was counseled on hypertension and what my next steps would be. We had a phone conference to include my husband, and my midwife went through the effects and complications of hypertension including decreased blood flow to the baby, intrauterine growth restriction, fetal distress during labor, maternal strokes and placental eruption. At this point, I had blood drawn to retest for pre-eclampsia and Group B Strep (Group B Strep was a routine retest at 40 weeks and not too much of a concern for how to proceed with pregnancy, just an issue when delivering vaginal whether to give antibiotics). The concern was the hypertension or high blood pressure, not pre-eclamsia. My midwife consulted an OB and within a matter of hours I was put on a waiting list for a hospital bed at University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC) labor and delivery unit specializing in hypertension. My blood tests had come back as showing the first signs of pre-eclampsia, which the only way to cure is to deliver the placenta, ie the baby. With hypertension and now the elevated concern of pre-eclampsia, 

The first thing I did upon meeting my nurse, was to hand her my hard copy of my birth plan and start discussing which parts of it could be met in a hospital setting. I was happy to learn that all of it could be met! The highlights of what I wanted: I had a tub to labor in (not give birth in), cloth diapers were available, skin-to-skin is encouraged, baby can room in, there was a long, soft window seat that doubled as a bed for my husband and a pull-out cot for my doula, formula is looked at as medicine, delayed cord clamping could happen and placenta was able to come home with me. The hard copy was placed in my file and was read by each nurse and doctor as they started their shift.  

Birth Story Part 2: All stages of labor

Day 1 at 11 pm - Check-in at the Hospital
Due to hypertension and beginning signs of preeclampsia, I checked into UWMC to be induced. The baby was full-term and the only way to cure my symptoms was to give birth to the baby. My first cervical exam showed that my cervix was closed or 1 cm dilated, in need of effacing or ripening of the cervix before pitocin, and the baby was at a -3 station. A intravenous tube was inserted and I was started on magnesium to lower my blood pressure. Two monitors were placed externally on my stomach, one to monitor the baby (an electronic fetal monitor or EFM) and another to monitor my contractions; both of which were able to be wireless to allow for mobility.  

Up until the time that I had the contraction monitor attached I thought I had no signs of labor, mainly no Braxton Hicks contractions. I was wrong! On the monitor, I was having contractions. The pain level was a zero Face of Pain and what I had said for the past month or more was my "silly baby moving around." It had always been described to me as menstrual cramp like feeling and I was having none of those. Or, another description is a hardening of the stomach - which is really hard to explain or understand, so in the end the contractions did actually feel more like a hardening of the stomach. Hardening of the stomach feels like to the touch that you contracted your abs, but you did no such thing. When the contractions are light, the surface of that contraction will be smaller. Internally it feels like a full body movement by the baby. 

Day 2 at 2 am - Induction Process Started
My cervix was unfavorable for induction, so medicine was needed to mimic prostaglandin, the hormone the body releases to ripen the cervix. With three options to ripen the cervix: a pill placed next to the cervix (misoprostol), a gel attached to a string placed next to the cervix (dinoprostone), or a non medicinal approach of a Foley balloon catheter; we had to start with Cervidil due to the rate at which I was having contractions. Cervidil was inserted into my cervix where it would sit for 12 hours. Upon reexamination at 2 pm, I was not fully effaced, so we went with misoprostol which would take 4 hours of waiting, however while waiting for the doctor to insert, my contractions picked up and we had to proceed with balloon insertion as a result. After four tries of inserting the speculum and two insertions of the balloon - both fell out prematurely, even though they are to fall out when the cervix is ripened - we had to change pace and insert the pill instead. My preference from the beginning was to have the balloon catheter inserted since this required no medicine and mimic the pressure that the baby's head otherwise would have been placing on my cervix to naturally ripen the cervix. I knew from the beginning that I otherwise had no say in what would happen, but could make decisions as they happen; this is something that I dealt with well as the laboring process continued, as there were many decisions to be made as the day continues.

Day 3 at 2 am - Contractions Pick-up
After the gel and pill did its job at ripening my cervix, I was ready for starting labor/contractions with the use of Pitocin. In waiting for the doctor to place the order for pitocin, my body started to have more frequent and intense contractions. My doula came into the hospital at 2 am, which was good because the show was just getting started. As I was sitting in bed, I felt what I thought was the baby punching my vagina and in a playful way I said just that to the nurse, doula and husband. A few minutes later as I adjusted myself to prepare for a cervical exam, it felt like I was urinating, and the doctor confirmed with a medical stripe that the fluid was amniotic fluid. I was only 2 cm dilated when my water broke. From that point on when I would move, I had to adjust myself to ensure I was not causing the baby's heart rate to drop (due to her contact with the umbilical cord). In addition there was another level of discomfort as the loss of fluid made it the baby's movements more pronounced, as I was now aware there was a baby in my belly - it felt sharp. I was administered antibiotics since my water broke so early and there was the risk that meconium poop could be expelled by the baby into the amniotic fluid. 

Contractions picked up to the point that when the Pitocin order was finally filled, the nurse waited on administering it until the contractions slowed down. The whole time I was in the hospital I did not track the timing of my contractions, this was told to me by the nurses to be their job and not something that I would need to be concerned about; the contraction monitor was doing the job for me. I did lose track of time and had no sense of time from that point on. My doula would tell me that that one lasted a minute and a half or two minutes, and I thought it was a matter of seconds. I was doing textbook style deep breath in and moan out as the pain came in and I washed it out. I envisioned the pain coming from the top of my head and rushing down through my lower half of my body. I did my best to not tense up as this increased the pain. For most of it I was lying on my side with my doula massaging my lower back/pelvic area. My husband was placing pressure on my mid-back. I was having back labor, and what later would be confirmed due to the position of the baby. As the sun came up, I moved to my hands and knees to encourage the baby's position to change and the pain to lesson; however it did not.  As contractions picked up, I experienced a Face of Pain of 10 with pitocin, so the nurse backed off the pitocin as myself and the baby could not endure consistent intensity of contractions. When I was asked if I wanted the epidural, I was ready and willing - something I was unsure I would accept going into this as I had planned a non-medicated birth. The joy that came over me when I heard the epidural man wheel in his cart, it was like hearing the ice cream truck signing a tune through the neighborhood, was noticeable as I hurried to get out of the bathroom (where I was when he came in) and had a leap in my step as I got onto the bed. 

The insertion of the epidural was not as painful as the stories I had heard. The pain was the extent of lidocaine to numb the spinal area, which I thought was no big deal after having my IV inserted three times (starting with lidocaine) before the line was established. Going into it I was fearful of how I could manage to be still during insertion of the epidural while having contractions. This too was not so bad thanks to my amazing doula and nurse: my doula was right there in eye-sight talking me through it with focus, it was like we were playing "let's see who could flinch first" and my nurse had her forehead to mine during contractions for me to use counterbalance to get through the pain. After two contractions, the epidural was in and I was feeling relief. What contractions? I was having contractions on the monitor, but could not feel them. I was told that the IV would administer the drug, so I would not feel anything all the way up until the placenta was delivered and if I did need more "juice" I could push a button to add more to the line every 10 minutes to self-manage the pain. For now and the next two hours, I would take a nap and enjoy the next two hours, when the epidural is the most effective, and be examined after that time. 

As I sipped my broth and drank Ensure - no solids during an epidural - my body all-over started to shake and developed cold sweats. This was a good thing, as my body was ready for labor. This was confirmed with a cervical exam that put me at 10 cm dilated and a station of 1+. 

Day 3 at 2 pm -  Active Labor Begins
With my oxygen mask, to benefit the baby, I geared up for pushing with a sync between my doula, husband and nurses in terms of my wishes for active labor (per my birth plan). I took deep meditative breaths and visualized a smooth, quick birth. With a wish to start in squatting position (which I had done many times during prenatal yoga with the idea of birthing this way), active labor started off with a bust. I guess I had wanted to have progress fast after hearing stories of 15 minutes of pushing the baby came out. Well that position did not work, so on to the leg up on a bar, the other leg pushing into my husband who is counter-balancing my strength, both hands pulling myself up doing an abdominal push-up, and pushing. Okay seriously, it has been 10 months since I had done ab work and now I am asked to do an intense crunch! This position was encouraging as the room got excited when we could see her head. I had to shift position whenever the baby's heart rate would drop. The nurses had a constant monitor on her from the external monitor, but half way through put a probe on her head to monitor since the external kept shifting. I was monitored via regular blood draws and vital checks. The doctor kept coming in to check on my progress. The chief of staff came in to check contraction rate, the strength of my pushing and position of baby. The external monitor was replaced with an internal monitor (catheter) to track the true intensity of the contractions. The question was coming up, can I continue to push and get this baby out. There was enough room and I was pushing well, so we continued. However, as the time passed my condition continued to decline. I developed a fever and was feeling like I could pass out at any point. I started pushing with no feeling of where or if I was pushing correctly, so I let up on the epidural to feel the contractions. It was a good thing we did because I was started to understand the whole concept of holding your breath while giving three good pushes. I was on hands and knees and really giving it my all to push down, but nothing. I was thankful for the oxygen mask because I felt horrible. I wanted to give up, but knew there was no option. Then, the baby's heart rate started to drop with every contraction, so I was told I needed to stop pushing. The pain was beyond what the epidural could do for me. I could not breath through the contractions like in early stages of labor and I could not push to relieve the pain, all I could do was sit in it. I managed the pain through moaning and displacing the pain by smacking my doula's hand (thank you doula!). After an hour and a half of this, I called it quits with the decision to go forward with a Cesarean delivery. I guess I was not the only one with this idea as the doctors presented this to me as their plan of action too. This whole time the doctors had said that I was getting more sick, but it did not register what that meant. It was not until they had told me that they had blood on-hand in case I needed a blood transfusion during the c-section for my blood plate-lattes had dropped so low that I ran the risk of not clotting blood. I was very thankful that from the time I made the decision for c-section to the time I was prepped for surgery, it took only 30 minutes. As soon as I signed the consent paper, I was given pain medication through the epidural and two contractions later I had sweet relief! Her position remained at 1+ station. In five and a half hours of pushing she had not moved any further down in my pelvic. 

Day 3 at 8:03 pm - C-section baby girl is born
Off to surgery I went, nauseous from the pain medicine. I was put on the operating table with my arms out to my side and my body curtained off, just like you see on television. I am the type that does not like to see the needle when giving blood as I may pass-out, so the idea of being awake for the surgery was scary. I did not want to hear what was going on, which I was able to tune-out; 1. I felt like I was going to pass-out and 2. my doula kept me talking so I could hear my baby's first cry. There were so many people in the room, two sets to care for me and her. I saw my husband come into the room as the baby was pulled out. There was no cry at first as she was limp, but she came around (APGAR score of 4 then up to 7). I was hoping for delayed cord clamping, but that was not an option with an emergency c-section. Because my water broke so early, at 2 cm, and time had passed, the baby had her first bowel movement while in the womb; it was mot an issue as it was a small amount, which they were able to remove. and antibiotics were already administered to me in the event this happened. There was not much body space of my own for skin-to-skin, so my husband put the baby on my cheek. Seeing my baby staring back at me was beautiful! She was so close to me that I was seeing double, but it did not matter; she was very alert and already I felt a connection to her. I will hold with me forever the picture of her looking at me, with big eyes. 

The experience of having a c-section was traumatic to say the least, but one question lingered with me - why did it feel like my incision was by my ribs? I wanted to know what went on in there. A few days after delivery, I spoke with the OB who performed the c-section and this helped put my mind at ease. I could not feel pain during the operation, but felt pressure in my upper abdomen and plenty of movement thereabouts. All-in-all the reason for my back labor and the movement I felt during the c-section was due to the position of the baby - the baby was in an occiput posterior (OP) position, but she had her head craned back, instead of having her chin tucked under. Due to a combination of her position and how well lodged she was, it took three people to back her out of my pelvic. Then, due to her position, they could not deliver head first through the incision they made, above my pubic bone. Instead they had to turn her around and deliver her breech or feet first. And, this turning movement was what I was feeling in my abdomen. I felt at peace knowing what happened. 

I had planned to take my placenta home for encapsulation, but pathology confirmed that my placenta was infected. In addition the idea of ingesting the placenta, which essentially caused my sickness, or needed to be delivered for me to feel better just did not sit well with me. My placenta was discarded; just another thing that did not go per plan. 

I was wheeled off to recovery with my baby. I would spend the night with my nurse tending to me and my baby. Thankfully I was able to nurse and co-sleep with her as my nurse was monitoring us 24/7. My baby girl immediately found my nipple and we were able to intimately bond nursing. After four days of recovery I was able to go home with a prescription for blood pressure medicine and the most precious baby girl!

For information on why an induction process was needed, my birth plan, and my feelings around deviating from the birth plan, see Birth Story Part 1: Deviation from the plan. Or, for information on how to create a birth plan and what my original plan was for birth, you can read My birth plan.

Friday, July 6, 2012

DIY Hands-free pumping bra

As a new mom, most of your time will be spent feeding your baby. You will be a professional milk maker, seriously I call my boobs Mildred and Bessie. When newborns eat 8-12 times a day and anywhere from 5-45 minutes a feeding, the time can add up. Then, add on top of that 5-10 minutes post breastfeeding to pump or express to stimulate more milk supply - the time adds up! To save yourself time, you can double pump and cut the time in half. If you are only pumping, your will especially love the time savings!

Hands-free bras can run anywhere from $25 to $50. You could go cheaply ($18) with the hands-free attachment to a nursing bra using Pump-A-Pair, but I have found the set-up to not be ideal (loose I would say or not secure enough for my comfort that I found myself holding onto the pumps anyways).

To save money you can take an old sports bra, pre-pregnancy or snug, and turn this into a hands-free bra for no money. .

How to make your own hands-free bra:
1. Put on the sports bra
2. Mark where your nipples are (Tip: align your nipples straight before marking)
3. Take off the bra to cut an X where you marked the spot, large enough to fit the size breast shield

I found it easy to lube the ladies after I put on the bra, but before the shields. And it was simple to place the shields on them and slip them through the snugly made openings, then attaching the other pump parts. 

What will you do with your extra time?! Brush your teeth, take a shower...necessities are must do, try a fun to do too. Happy pumping!