This seems like a good place to review my pregnancy, delivery, and everything post-partum… so wondering minds may want to know…
Any stretch marks? Nope, well, not really. I have the <em>tiniest</em> little stretch mark in between my belly button ring holes (which now look like gaping canyons with how stretched out they got). It’s probably only a centimeter long and I’m imagining that once my stomach goes back to normal that it will be hidden underneath my belly button.
“Innie” or “Outie”? It turned into an “outie” in my last trimester. But now that baby boy is here, I have an “innie” again.
How much weight gain? 30 pounds. Thankfully most of my weight gain has been only in my stomach and I’m hoping that I will return to my pre-pregnancy size soon!
Cravings? I can’t say I necessarily had “cravings.” Actually I haven’t necessarily had the luxury of having “cravings.” We’re on a pretty tight budget, so there’s not extra money to run out and get me any late-night indulgences or anything of the sort. Thankfully, I haven’t had any really crazy cravings. I’ve eaten a lot of grapefruits (I think my body craves the sour), pickles (the vinegar?), pancakes (sugar), and ice cream (I throw that one in there but I’m not entirely certain that it has anything to do with being pregnant and entirely everything to do with the fact that America has excellent ice cream… while China does not).
How has the tattoo fared? Well, my tattoo artist did an excellent job of placing the tattoo along my natural curves, which has only gotten better during pregnancy. Obviously the flowers have stretched, but not in any way where they look less flower-like. They’re just bigger. I’m hoping that they’ll also shrink back down appropriately. But for now, I’m very pleased with how my tattoo has fared!
Pregnancy- loved it or hated it? LOVED IT. With a few small exceptions, I’m so thankful I’ve had an awesome pregnancy. It has been an amazing experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Trent and I have both really enjoyed this pregnancy journey and have shared some precious moments with our baby boy in my belly that I will miss once he’s out. I love feeling him move inside of me, I’ve loved watching my belly change and grow, I have loved being able to eat whatever I want (still within reason, of course) without people questioning me about quantity. I love not having to “suck-in” for photos or worry about “love handles” or a “muffin-top.” I have loved documenting each week of this journey and sharing it with all of you and my friends and family. I love that God chose Trent and I to be Jedidiah’s parents and to bless us with this little bundle of joy that he’s created. I have loved learning about the female body and what it is capable of… pregnancy, labor, breastfeeding… it’s all amazing (who else’s body actually grows a separate ORGAN just to create life!?!). I have loved even the hard parts of this pregnancy… the parts that made me question, that made me trust, where I had to walk by faith.
Medicines? I can honestly say that in the last 10 months I have only taken medication once. I took Tylenol for one killer headache I had when we were in China, but I only took half the dosage and I haven’t needed any pills or medication since. I am a firm believer that “we are what we eat” and that God gave us foods for medication. I have been using natural remedies when necessary, but really, during this pregnancy, I haven’t even really had the need for any medication (except for that one time). I have to say that it is amazing how good my body feels after detoxing from all the meds that society would like to prescribe for everyday ailments.
Exercise? I’ve been doing exercise from the beginning of my pregnancy- although nothing too extreme (minus climbing a few mountains, literally). In China we walked everywhere, so I got lots of exercise that way. We also hiked a lot because we had some awesome places to hike and explore. When we came back, I started doing zumba a few times a week and I’ve continued to walk and stay active for the duration of my pregnancy. Yes, I was even at zumba after having a night of contractions one week. I’m hoping that staying physically fit during this pregnancy will help with labor! (It did!)
Swelling? No swelling, except for when we flew back to the US from China. That time (and that time alone), I thought I’d developed elephantitis! My ankles looked like tree trunks! Thankfully it went back down within a day or two. I guess I also had some minor swelling in my fingers when I went out in the Texas heat for walks.
Wedding ring on or off? On! With no major swelling in my fingers (except when I walked outside in the heat and humidity), there was no need to take it off!
What am I looking forward to after pregnacy? Running! I definitely miss running outside. Well, I actually miss working out in general- like more than just zumba or walking- like SERIOUS working out. I can’t deny that I won’t mind having a glass of wine occasionally as well. I’m also excited to be able to hug my husband and cuddle with him without my big ol’ belly getting in the way.
How many inches around was my belly? 40 inches at the end of my pregnancy, measured around the largest part of my belly.
What did we do to prepare for the birth? We took birthing classes put on by Shelby Miller at the New Braunfels Family Birth Center. These were super helpful in preparing us for labor and delivery as well as what to expect after baby was born. Her breastfeeding class was also SUPER informative. Even Trent was walking around for a few days afterwards talking people’s ears off about all the cool stuff we learned in our classes.
Hospital, birth center or home birth? This time around we went with a birth center, but I’m thinking next time we may do a home birth. We found the birth center to be very comfortable and homey. If you want to read more about our birth, you can read our December post: A Birth Story.
Doctors or midwives? We preferred to go with midwives. Our pregnancy was low-risk, so we decided to go the more personable route, plus our midwives (and midwife-in-training)were awesome! A shout out to Amber, Galyn and Shelby at the New Braunfels Family Birth Center!
Did we get induced? Nope, although we tried nearly everything we possibly could to naturally induce labor (when we thought we were over 40 weeks). If you want, you can read about what we tried in our post Inducing labor… naturally. We truly found that babies will come when they’re ready. They know and your body knows what it needs to deliver the baby safely.
Did we hire a doula? No… not exactly. We aren’t exactly rolling in the dough at this moment in life… in fact, quite the opposite. We couldn’t afford to hire a doula. Thankfully, since we were using midwives anyways, they already knew what we wanted out of our birth experience and we didn’t so much need someone to advocate for us. Our midwife also did massage and other helpful things to help me cope with labor pains. That being said, we kind of “lucked out” because the doula who taught our birthing class, Shelby Miller, (bloomingwaterlilies.com) is also a midwife apprentice and she was able to be present at our birth. We were super thankful that she was there to share the experience with us!
Did I use drugs? Nope. In fact, you might think this is crazy, but I didn’t even once think about drugs during my labor experience. I think part of it is the mindset I had going into the whole thing… I knew that if I wanted to deliver in the birthing center, that drugs were not an option. I also didn’t want to use the drugs because after all I’ve learned that a woman’s body is capable of, it was really empowering to give birth naturally.
Am I happy with my birth experience? Absolutely. It was hard… the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but also, by far the most rewarding. I had amazing encouragement from Amber and Shelby, my mother-in-law, Trent and my girlfriend Heather. Most importantly, it brought me my sweet baby boy!
What was the hardest part? For me it wasn’t so much the labor (although it was in no way, shape, or form “easy”), but the pushing. After I got past the intensity of the contractions caused by the castor oil, I opened up pretty quickly- in only a few hours. However, I pushed for 3 1/2 hours, and that is where I felt like I wanted to give up! Thankfully, I knew I couldn’t. I had to keep pushing, I had to get my baby out. There was no other option!
Did I tear? Yes, but only a little bit., not enough to need repair. I almost wish I would have just torn more significantly just so I wouldn’t have had to push so dang long! But my body knew that Jedidiah would have to come down and out slowly so that I could stretch accordingly. I’m glad that my body and my baby knew what to do.
What was my biggest fear? Well, the pain… duh. But after I was pushing for so long, my fear was that he would go into distress or that I physically wouldn’t be able to push him out. Thank goodness Jedidiah’s heart rate never spiked or dropped significantly… he always recovered very well from each contraction. And even though we talked about cutting me, we ended up not needing to and Jedi came out on his own!
Who was present at our birth? Well, obviously our midwife, Amber Reidel and doula/midwife apprentice Shelby Miller. Other than the two of them, we had our friend Heather Mosby there to take photos for us. And although originally I hadn’t wanted anyone else there (I just wanted it to be Trent and I), I am super thankful that my mother-in-law was also present.
Visitors? We chose not to have visitors while we were at the birth center, only because we wanted to have time to rest, recover and bond as a family. I don’t regret that decision one bit. Trent, Jedi and I treasured that time together.
What was I least prepared for? I could not believe how sore my body was over the next few days! WOW… I could barely move. And I’m not just talking about “down there,” no, this was a whole-body, just did an Iron-Man, got hit by a Mack truck kind of pain. My arms were sore from bracing myself to push, even my neck was sore from that!
How much weight have I lost? Well, just over a month after having him, I’ve lost 23 pounds of my baby weight. I’m only 7 pounds over my starting weight, but I can’t fit into any of my pre-pregnancy pants yet.
Breastfeeding? Yes, exclusively. Breastfeeding is HARD. Again, WOW. It could be a full-time job for how much our little man eats! The first two weeks were the hardest… man, my nipples hurt so bad. But little man’s latch was good, I just needed to build up my endurance. Now things have gotten much easier (I didn’t say “easy,” but “easier…”) and we are into more of a rhythm.
Other challenges? For me pumping was a challenge. I was worried about my supply, but my midwives suggested that I pump on one breasts while he’s feeding on the other. Apparently, the pump by itself just couldn’t trigger a let-down. So, now we’ve figured that out. Also, we purposely waited to introduce a pacifier until his breastfeeding routines were established, but now he really doesn’t take one. We’ve tried many times and have only been successful a few times. He doesn’t like the pacifier (and we’ve tried several different kinds)!
How am I now? I feel great! Well, tired, of course, but great otherwise. My only complaint is that my tail bone still hurts quite a bit, so sitting for long periods of time, or in hard chairs hurts quite a bit. My midwives said that this is from the high amounts of relaxin released to prepare my body for delivery. They said that this hormone can remain in the body for up to 6 months after delivery.
What was most helpful? MEALS!!! Thank you to everyone who cooked for us or brought us something to eat. That helped us survive for those first few weeks. We would have been eating PB & J’s or cereal every meal otherwise. We also had people do other amazing things for us, like mowing our lawn. 🙂
Do I miss being pregnant? I thought I would, but I haven’t missed it as much as I thought I might. Don’t get me wrong, I deeply treasured the time I was pregnant, but now that my little man is here, I’m so thankful and love spending time cuddling and playing with him that I don’t hardly have time to miss it!
Thank you to everyone who followed our pregnancy story through our weekly and monthly “Bumpdates.” If you have any other questions you’d like me to answer, leave a comment and I’ll try to respond. Thanks for reading!