My first childbirth experience was the most painful, beautiful, and surreal 9 hours that I had ever known. But I hadn’t anticipated the fact that labor is just the first (very intense) part of the long transition into parenthood. My heart was throbbing with love for my baby, my ego was adjusting to the fact that I had to surrender everything–including sleep!–to this tiny being, and my exhausted body was trying to adapt to nursing and early parenthood.
And…I wished I would have stocked up on a few essentials. My midwife brought over a tube of Lansinoh Lanolin to sooth my bleeding skin after my son nursed for hours on end. Lanolin is also a great ointment for diaper rash and skin irritation, but it’s especially wonderful to help new mothers as they begin breastfeeding.
Hot baths were a treat that I tried to fit in whenever possible and Epsom Salt helped with post-pregnancy swelling and discomfort. It was difficult to give myself time, but I also realized that my physical recovery would help me feel better and give me the energy to make it through those difficult nights.
Oftentimes families are showered with meals during those first few weeks with a newborn, but I didn’t realize how thirsty I’d be because of breastfeeding. My husband went out and bought me a dozen bottles of Knudsen’s Recharge along with a bag of crushed ice and some drinking straws. It felt like such a treat to be surrounded by delicious, convenient beverages…especially at 3am.
Due to my extreme thriftiness, I can’t say I would have sprung for the Aimee Gowns Original Bra-less Nursing Gown, but I would have been happy to receive it as a gift! I spent a lot of time in pajamas over the course of the first month with my children, and a great deal of that time I had guests. Having really good quality loungewear with a built-in bra would be nice.
More than any of these items, it was wonderful to have people there to hold my baby while I napped or to cook us dinner. But I have to say that I look back on a few of these luxuries as survival tools during that first few shocking weeks. What were your favorite items during your early days as a parent? What do you give other pregnant friends to help ease their transition to parenthood?
When I was ten weeks pregnant, we excitedly stepped through the hospital’s revolving door to see our OB/GYN doctor. After a thirty minute wait, we met with a stressed out physician for ten minutes who asked us some routine questions. We were shuffled off to the front desk where we received a plastic bag full of brochures. When I imagined giving birth in that environment and it me nauseous (although it could have also been the morning sickness….) Luckily a friend told me about the Peacehealth Nurse Midwifery Birth Center.
This time we walked across the front porch of a beautiful old home, through a cut class door and into a completely different experience. We met with the midwife for about forty five minutes, most of which she spent listening to our questions. I was so thrilled to have found a clinic that didn’t treat me as though I had an illness, but embraced our excitement about having a child.
Both of my births were in the same room of that home and both were incredibly supportive and positive. Afterwards we also attended a free baby clinic where we met other new parents and bonded immediately like war veterans over lack of sleep, colic, and the challenge of showering every few days.
Peacehealth Nurse Midwifery Birth Center gets clinical support from their OB/GYN physician partners when needed and allows the mother to choose whether she’d like to deliver at the clinic or the hospital. They can also bill insurance, which makes them a great option for people who can’t pay for a midwife out of pocket. In the years since I delivered by babies, the Nurse Midwifery Birth Center has opened a new clinic nestled among thirty foot evergreens. It’s within two minutes of the hospital and can now facilitate water births.
I know there are incredible OB/GYN’s across the country and that midwifery births aren’t for everyone, but I do wish more people had access to midwives so that they could make their own choice. Did you have a wonderful experience with a midwife? Would you list the name of the clinic so that other readers can know about their options?
We had no intentions of sharing our small full size bed with a newborn, but fatigue quickly convinced us to co-sleep. My son’s nursery sat untouched for the first few months of his life, as he either slept in the sling or in bed with us. Any other attempts were encountered with hours of shrill tea kettle shrieks that drove us to comply with his terms.
With our daughter, we were thrilled to borrow a co-sleeper from friends. We blissfully imagined having the bed to ourselves while our newborn snoozed safely nearby. In the end, my daughter utterly refused to be anywhere except right up against me while she slept. We found this out after breaking the co-sleeper while setting it up and sending it back to the company for repairs that cost just as much as the item itself.
If I had known we were going to co-sleep I may have been tempted to buy gear that my babies would have refused to use. We transitioned them to a secondhand crib at around five months, so the nursery did get plenty of use.
Did you use your co-sleeper? Did you keep a bassinet or a moses basket in your bedroom, or did you put your infant to sleep in a traditional crib? (If so, how did you handle all those night feedings?) Were you blessed with a newborn who enjoyed sleeping for long stretches in a separate space from you?
Happy birthday to us! We’re celebrating three years of blogging (as of last Friday) by reviewing our top ten posts of all time here on the Green Baby Guide. Now, according to our stats, A Fan of Fans has the most views of any post, but we chalk that up to a Googling fluke. So how to do we measure the success of a post? By the reception it gets from you, our dedicated readers! Here are the top ten most-commented-upon posts of all time!*
Four of our most popular posts were about . . . you guessed it: diapers
#10, tied with 23 comments each:
#9, with 25 comments:
#8, with 26 comments:
#7, with 31 comments:
#6, with 32 comments:
#5, tied with 33 comments each:
#4, with 34 comments
#3, tied with 37 comments each
#2, with 46 action-packed comments, is this recent post:
#1, the most popular post of all time, with 54 comments, is. . .
What do you make of these most commented-upon posts? Any trends you see? Four of the thirteen posts mentioned here are about diapers. Four are about washing dishes or doing laundry. Other than that, the topics that elicit the most comments are all over the map.
Thank you, dear readers, for reading our posts and commenting on them! We’ll aspire to more comment-inspiring posts for 2011!
*Not including giveaway posts, which can receive up to 300 comments.
I see you everywhere, your bellies budging, your skin glowing, and your eyes lingering on my chubby baby. The secret smile we exchange signifies that we both know that you’re on your way to my new native land: motherhood.
For me, in the beginning, it seemed as though my baby would never arrive. And then, it happened. Suddenly we were hurtling forward in a free fall towards the biggest transition of our life. My biggest maternity clothes didn’t fit, but even more immense than my belly was the feeling that I might just not be ready.
Not ready to push this person out of my body, or settle it into the incomplete nursery. Not ready for the sleep loss, and not ready for giving up everything (and I mean everything) I once thought was my own. (That includes sleep, time, personal space, and clothes not covered in kid-generated goo.)
If you’re expecting a baby, you may feel the desperate need to buy more stuff to brace yourself for the shift. Don’t. Of course, we won’t be offended if you purchase our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, and give it a read, but if you’re short on time, here’s the summary. You can do this. You don’t need stuff. In fact, it will just require you to take care of a whole bunch of objects in addition to your child. All you really need is a few diapers, a place for baby to rest, a few clothes, the crook of your arm, and the croon of your voice. Welcome! You’re going to be great at this!
It’s hard to quantify just how much I love the Nurse Midwifery Birth Center here in Eugene, Oregon. Their supportive and empowering staff helped my family welcome our two children into the world. Throughout my entire pregnancy and birth we never felt rushed but enjoyed long leisurely appointments that educated us and allowed us to make our own choices.
The new Midwifery Birth Center opened its doors today on May 1st. It’s situated close to the new hospital, in a stand of old trees, and is built to support ongoing natural birth. It’s complete with a birthing tub for water births, a nature path among the old pines, and a classic interior.
The best part of all is that our entire community came together to support the clinic and did tremendous fundraising to be able to build and open the center. Nurses and midwives were flexible as they moved to the hospital for the year while the center was built. Many of the moms who helped fundraise were due during the construction and so weren’t able to have their babies at the clinic. Still they put in time and energy so that new birth center would open their doors to new families in time for Mother’s Day.
While natural labor and childbirth are the ideal for many women, we know that sometimes the health of the baby or the mother dictates intervention. Still, there’s so much pressure these days to opt for an epidural or a C-section that it’s nice when you are able to have support for your birth plan. Did you manage to have a natural labor? If so, did you have to fight for it or were your physician or midwife on your side? Feel free to tell your birth story! We love to hear them! What would you tell someone who is right in the middle of her first pregnancy? Any tips?
Before I ever cracked it open, I was impressed that the first two ingredients are olive oil (which we’ve recommended before as a homemade solution for diaper rash) and calendula oil. It’s also loaded with essential oils, shea butter and jojoba.
The cream has a heavenly lavender smell, a smooth consistency and good coverage, which makes the diaper changing experience just a bit more pleasant. Located right here in my home state of Oregon, Earth Mama, Angel Baby Organics is a small company that specializes in natural products for mothers and infants.
I also love that the company makes Earth Mama Bottom Balm for recovering mothers. Since many of us had to deal with episiotomies, hemorrhoids and other delightful post partum injuries, it’s nice to know there’s a natural option.
But are either of these products worth the price? It depends on how much your little one is struggling with diaper rash or how much you need some soothing care after your labor. It seems a bit pricey at ten bucks an ounce, but it may be worth it to you depending on your circumstances.
Have any of you tried natural diaper creams or creams for post partum moms? What would you recommend? Thanks for your thoughts!
For the last two and half weeks I’ve been wallowing in the haze of sleeplessness, too exhausted to personally share the news of our second child’s birth. As you may have already read from Rebecca’s announcement, Jovi Nilprabhassorn arrived on June 8th after nine hours of labor, loads of encouragement, and some uncontrolled screaming towards the end.
After my first child’s birth I thought I knew what to expect with the second. Wrong! From the beginning she established herself as unique with lots of small contractions for hours before labor really intensified.
Even after we arrived at the Midwifery Birth Center, I remember thinking, “This whole labor thing really isn’t that hard! Why did I think this was such a struggle last time?” Within a few hours, I remembered just how painful it could get and realized at one point that I might not make it to the other side of each contraction.
Jett spent the entire time pushing our electric massager (purchased at a thrift store) up against my tailbone and squeezing my hip bones together, both of which were incredibly helpful. My mom, a longtime Lamaze teacher, reminded me to breathe and kept uttering the perfect words of encouragement throughout.
At around 11:50 am I asked to have my water broken and things quickly moved along. At this point, I totally freaked out. Luckily, my midwife gently but firmly coached me through pushing and she arrived just fifteen minutes later after some hysterical screaming. Whew!
After all that, I can’t say I feel like a hero. Instead it puts me in awe of women who have labors that are three or four times as long as mine with lots of complications. How do they do it? How do some women manage labor when they already several children and can’t stop their lives to take the time to recover? It’s humbling!
We are now very tired, but quite happy to have our Jovi in our arms instead of just gazing at her ultrasound image. It wasn’t easy to bring her into the world, she doesn’t exactly sleep at night and she cries a lot, but in the end she’s totally worth it.
We attend birthing classes, read books on natural childbirth, practice our breathing, and then the big day arrives. What happens when things don’t go as planned? When you’re whisked off to C-section after hours of labor? Or when the pain exhausts you to the point that you need an epidural to continue?
While I had a great experience with our local midwifery clinic and would highly recommend natural childbirth, I was lucky to have several stories to reflect upon before I went into labor. My sister-in-law, who worked as a family physician for some time, shared that women often experience a sense of failure when things don’t go as planned and they aren’t able to labor naturally. She encouraged me to make a birth plan, educate myself, and then be willing to let go of expectations if things suddenly changed.
Rebecca had to face that outcome in the midst of labor because she had broken her ankle just a few weeks before delivering, which limited her movement and made the pain of childbirth more intense. Although she still planned on delivering naturally, the pain exhausted her to the point that she was utterly unable to move forward. With the help of an epidural, she got through labor and ended up with a lovely baby girl.
While it’s important for women to know that natural birth is possible, we have to be careful not to judge people who choose other birthing options. Nor should we idolize people who are able to labor naturally. As any woman who has gone through a traumatic childbirth experience can share, all that matters in the end is that they were handed a beautiful baby.