Baby & Birth
Overall, I give pregnancy 1 out of 10 stars. Here’s the breakdown, by trimester:
Tri 1: Very terrible
Tri 2: A little less terrible
Tri 3: Marginally terrible, except month 9, which rates as very terrible
People who like bring pregnant are weird. Seriously. There are two good things about pregnancy: 1. Feeling the baby move and 2. Getting a baby at the end.
When I got pregnant I was not a “committed” vegan. I was probably 98%, but just hadn’t taken the full plunge. I struggled with major morning sickness and weird food aversions (leafy greens, most vegetables) that made my eating very bizarre. I ate white potatoes and frozen corn for many meals. I also craved “comfort” foods, like macaroni and cheese, and sweets. MAJOR sweets. Someone told me, ‘oh, you’re body craves what it needs during pregnancy.’ Really? I doubt my body needs 4 slices of chocolate cake and a pot of easy mac.
Anyway, luckily the sickness sort of passed and I managed leafy greens again and got off cheese. My doctors were supportive of my diet, and my only issue was low iron, which I’ve had all of my life. I tried an extra supplement which did NOT agree with me. My levels never really got up to where the doctors wanted them, but both FVB and I are fine. So, go figure. Now that I’m nursing I found a better multi vitamin that is gentle on my system. I struggle with the idea of vitamins, but I’m slowly getting on board.
I’m hopeful that with the next FVB, should there be one, pregnancy will be better. Now that I’m a committed vegan, it’ll be harder if all I crave is melted cheese. But, if I learned anything, it would definitely be that stressing out over your food intake is not worth it. If you have been a healthy eater up until morning sickness hits, you’re body (and baby) will manage without kale for a few weeks.
Don’t get scared by this title. I’m not going to give you all the gory details of FVB’s birth. You don’t want to know anyway. But, I do want to share a few things that may be helpful. Or interesting. Or funny. Or, perhaps, scary.
1. Take the birthing class at your hospital.
Hubs and I looked into classes on The Bradley Method to help prepare for labor/delivery. When we found out it was a 12 week course, once a week for 2.5 hours, we opted out. I mean, I’m all for being prepared…but that seemed like overkill. Instead we did a one day class at the hospital and bought the book on the Bradley method. I think I read a few pages…? I have a short attention span and I honestly just figured, I’m having this baby either way, whether or not I’m well read on the subject or not. So, we took the day long course and it really was helpful. It just gave an overview of the stages of labor and what to expect throughout the process. It made us feel a tiny bit more prepared without sacrificing too many hours of our lives. Plus, it’s nice to be warned in advance about the mesh underwear.
2. Birthing plans don’t mean sh## in the real world.
You will forget 95% of the stuff you learn in birth class once real labor starts and nothing will go according to your plan, or be what you thought it would be. I pretended I wasn’t in labor for 3-4 hours, until hubs insisted we call the doctor to check. We finally drove to the hospital at 1am, at which time we discovered I was 6cm dilated and obviously in labor (side note: labor does not feel like you would expect it to feel. I’m not sure what I expected, but I did not think that it would involve the clearing of my intestine). So, instead of the plans we had made (spa tub, massage with essential oils, a relaxing play list, sitting on a birthing ball), the majority of my labor was spent in the guest bathroom at my house texting back and forth with hubs. Transcript: Me: I think I might be in labor. Hubs: OK, I’m in here googling symptoms of labor. Me: Fine, but it’s probably a false alarm. I wound up only being in labor and delivery for less than 2 hours before FVB arrived. The only thing that went as planned was that I did it “all natural.” Do not believe anyone that tells you it’s possible to have a “pain free” labor/delivery. The Bradley method book told me this, and it was a lie.
3. The pain doesn’t magically stop when your baby finally emerges.
Yes, seeing your baby for the first time is incredible. But, within mere seconds after FVB arrived, the doctor was coming at me with a needle to stitch me up (yes, sometimes stitches are involved. You’ll learn about it in birth class). Needless to say it was NOT pain free. Plus, they push down on your stomach to check your uterus every 15 minutes for a long while after baby comes to ensure everything is A-OK. That pain is almost worse than labor. The fact that FVB was in my arms made it bearable.
In summary, labor/delivery sucks and there ain’t nothin’ you can do about it. Practice slow deep breathing, listen to your nurse, and remember, if the girls on “16 & pregnant” can deliver a baby, so can you.