Ten Pregnancy Symptoms I Had Before I Took the Test

I have so much suppressed details to write about this pregnancy. Three months into it and I have not blogged about any maternity stuff, other than the announcement. That might not sound like a big deal, but I have a chronic case of documentia. It’s a disorder that I made up to label my impulse to document everything.

So I do plan to catch up on all the first trimester updates, but let’s just start with how I knew I was pregnant.

am I pregnant

First of all I was not expecting to be pregnant. Here is the TMI version of the story.

I don’t do birth control pills or anything like that. I did once when I was a newly wed and have decided against it for the past 14 years due to personal medical reasons. However, we were trying NOT to get pregnant through every NFP (natural family planning) method in the book. Now some of you might laugh and say “Yeah, that NFP stuff is a joke and it never works”, but let me repeat I have not been on birth control for 14 years and the three children that I have were not accidents. Let’s just say we had a good system going. At one point at the beginning of this year we discussed the idea of having another child soon. Except we decided it wasn’t good timing and we wanted to wait a bit to be completely ready. From that point on though I will admit to being a little more laid back with charting and all that. It’s not the first time I have taken the casual-trust-my-gut approach to NFP. However, it is the first time it resulted in an unexpected pregnancy.

I knew pretty early on what we were in for. I made this list on March 23 (which would have made me almost 5 weeks pregnant). I even titled it-

“Am I Pregnant?”

am i pregnant

1. Weird Dreams

2. Fatigue

3. Late period

My period used to be all over the place so this one isn’t that big of indicator for me, but I was expecting to start any day.

4. Nausea

5. Ear problems

This is something I commonly struggle with when I am pregnant. That is part of the reason I had to go to the Doctor recently.

6. Forgetfulness

Not that I want to attribute everything I do to pregnancy, but there have been some CRAZY mix ups. I feel like I am in such a fog.

7. Insomnia

I knew when I woke up at 3:30 am hungry and unable to sleep that something was definitely up.

8. Metallic taste

During those first few weeks I had a slight metallic taste in my mouth. Which was probably the biggest indicator.

9. Numb Arm

My right arm had a lingering numbness to it. It’s not even a pregnancy symptom I have ever felt in the past, but when I looked it up, sure enough, it’s a pregnancy symptom.

10. Gas

Bloating and intestinal issues. Bleh.

From there the list just grew and was of course later confirmed through a pregnancy test. Even though it was kind of a tough first trimester I considered all the symptoms a blessing because it was a constant reminder that this was real. I knew it probably meant I was having a very normal healthy pregnancy.

Did any of you other mamas have tell tale signs when you were expecting? Did you know right off the bat, or were you oblivious for the longest time like those women on the show I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant? Just kidding, don’t even get me started on all that craziness!

By | May 21st, 2015|My Life, Pregnancy & Birth, Uncategorized|8 Comments

My Top Ten Tips for Natural Birth

On instagram yesterday I had a question from a follower that is having her first baby.

This question comes from Brooke of stylehomeandhappiness . On a side note you should follow her IG account. She does a lot of pin it spin it, and she always looks so cute!

Anyway Brooke writes:

“How was your experience with an at home water birth? I am due in June and although I will be delivering at a hospital with no option of water birth, I still plan to delver drug-free. Any tips?”

To answer the first question having an at home water birth was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

 However, after having three natural births I’ve covered just about every scenario including one in the hospital and one that was not a water birth. So, even though all women, babies, and births are different I do hope that what helped me through labor and delivery might also help you and anyone else that is interested in labor techniques.

1. Commit

Just like marriage, running a race, or any endeavor that takes endurance you have to be all in. If you think, “Maybe I’ll just wait and see how I feel at the halfway point” then you will quit, because you probably will not feel good. This applies to a lot of scenarios. Some things take determination. If you do get an epidural or have some other form of intervention there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! I can’t stress that enough. However, if you are passionate about wanting to go natural then make that commitment ahead of time. This is critical!

2. Connect

Find other mother’s who had a natural hospital births and listen to their stories and advice. If you don’t know anyone personally check the web. You could spend days reading other women’s experiences on line. I have all three of my birth stories written in detail here on messy mom.

3. Prepare

You have to mentally and somewhat physically prepare yourself for the act of labor. This could mean childbirth classes, books, or online videos. You don’t want to go into childbirth without doing your homework.

4. Create Your Atmosphere

Even though you are going to be in a hospital you can still play music or have special momentos around you.

5. Wait it Out

It’s so hard to know whether or not you are actually in labor. The rule of thumb is wait until contractions are a minute long and three minutes a part. Don’t be surprised though if you never get those text book constant contractions they talk about. My labor was never consistent. You’ll know when it’s time though. The longer you wait the better your chances are of not getting that epidural.

6. Utilize

Make the most of the natural pain management the hospital offers and find out what that is ahead of time. There may be a birthing ball, rice sock, or shower. You can always bring your own stuff too, like a tennis ball or oils for massages. Unfortunately, you usually never know what helps you in the moment, until that moment!

7. Visualize

This one sounds cheesy, but it’s so true. I can’t say enough how much visualization helps me in labor. Practice before hand. This one can get kind of spiritual too, so my disclaimer is that I am a christian and I use prayer and scripture when I’m in labor, but I have also imagined flowers slowly opening up or butter melting until it’s completely liquefied. I’m really visual so using imagery like this helps me  focus.

8. Know the Stages of Labor


If you know what to expect then you can use that knowledge as a road map. Recognizing transition for example helps you know just how close you are to having that baby in your arms. Sometimes that is all the encouragement you need.

9. Have Help

Whether it’s a doula, your spouse, or a trusted friend don’t go into labor alone. Have someone with you that knows your birth plan and will be completely supportive of that.

10. Loosen Your Body

This goes hand in hand with number 4 and 7.


THE BEST ADVICE I HAVE REGARDING NATURAL CHILDBIRTH IS “Loose lips. Loose cervix” 

In the movies you always see women screaming their way through birth, and that’s part of the reality of it, but ideally you want to moan or make the “puh” sound. Screaming, clenching your teeth, straining your neck- all that is tightening up your body and when your body is scared and tight it is is no position to birth. I wrote a post a long time ago about eliminating fear during labor and there is more info there.

I would say this is my #1 tip out of all of them, just to do your best to relax. Make a motor boat sound (or “blow horse lips”) to help you keep those lips loose. That was a tremendous help when I was in labor. Your body will take over and do what it was made to do.

These are some practical tips that worked for me, but no matter what happens you are going to do a great job and I am sure you will be a fantastic mom! 

I hope this list was helpful. Anyone else that wants to chime in with advice please do so! As strange as it is, talking about birth never gets old to me.

By | March 5th, 2015|Pregnancy & Birth, Uncategorized|8 Comments

Ezie’s Birth Story

 

October 1, 2012
“Honey. Wake up! I don’t feel good. I’ve been throwing up. I think we should just head toward the hospital” 
It was 3:00 am and we had only been asleep for a couple hours, but all I knew was that I was already at least 4 cm dilated (according to my last check up) and had been having a few mild contractions. We live an hour away from the hospital. I didn’t want to take any chances.
The bags had already been packed and loaded up the day before and my parents were watching the kids, so we just hopped in the car and headed to Lexington. When we got there at 5:00 am we had no where to go. I wasn’t in labor yet, but at least we were now a safe distance away from the hospital if things did progress. We parked outside of one of our favorite restaurants and slept in the car until they opened at 7:00. After breakfast we headed to the midwives office to have a little meeting about where things were at and she encouraged us to head to the hospital. We spent the next couple hours of early labor shopping and timing contractions, which were around 6 minutes apart at this point. I was pumped.
We finally checked into the hospital and after getting poked and stabbed a few times for my IV and blood tests I took a nap thinking it would be a good idea to rest up before show time. I did get some rest, but I also felt like afterwards my body had decided to call it a day and close up shop. I wasn’t feeling any contractions at all. I started to panic, but the midwife came and J and I talked to her about my fears of being rushed, and how I was worried that they were going to break my water. The medical team reassured me that I could take as much time as I needed. So against their recommendations I declined having them break my bag of water, but I thought it would be okay to strip my membranes since I was already at a 5 anyway and it was a such a minimal form of intervention. If I didn’t progress any further and decided to check out this would not prevent me from leaving the hospital.
At around 6:30 pm things started to get a little more serious and I called in the troops (my midwife, mom, and sister in law).
This labor was completely different than either of my other two, but I was grateful to have been prepared with knowledge and research as things progressed almost completely by the book.
First my contractions were coming 3 minutes apart. I could talk, but I had to focus. During this part of active labor J massaged my back.
I stood up and rocked frequently. I danced the baby down taking breaks to sit on the labor ball which relieved a lot of pressure.

I wanted to pace myself and allow gravity to work on our behalf before moving into the tub.
About an hour later once I finished getting my 2nd round of antibiotics for the GBS I decided I was ready to get in the tub. My midwife encouraged a kneeling and leaning position since Ezra seemed to be laying a little twisted and not quite straight up and down.

I was glad to be in the water, but within a few contractions I felt nauseated and they brought a bag for me to throw up in. Vomiting during and in between contractions was not pretty or fun, but as I trembled and felt so depleted I was also encouraged. This could only mean one thing. Transition.
At this point I was praying and visualizing as I went from one wave of intensity to the next trying to groan and moan instead of quit, which wasn’t an option anyway. I felt like this next stage of intense pain was taking too long, but between each contraction I would relax and soak up the moment of rest before opening up to the next one. Remember the closer they come the closer you are to the end I told myself. All the while J was there telling me how amazing I was, how beautiful I looked, and reminding me to breath and keep my lips loose. He was my hero! The best labor coach anyone could ask for, and we never even studied the Bradley method. At this point I was so uncomfortable I was at the point of swearing off anymore children and I told myself I would count down 10 more contractions. I don’t know what my plan would be after that, but I was just trying to break it down into sizable intervals and distract myself like when you are running long distance.

After about 45 minutes of that transition stage I felt it. The urge to push. I started to smile. I almost laughed. My body was working FOR me and I was grateful to it.

 It is such a feeling of empowerment, but before we get to our happy ending I had a few strong pushes where I was bearing down with everything in me and then came the next stage which I was familiar with, but had never quite experienced to this degree.
The ring of fire.
This is the intensely excruciating climax of childbirth. Still, I knew that this meant it was about to be over, except I pushed a few more times and it wasn’t over. Still no baby. This is when I lost control. I had followed all of the rules and thought I knew each stage, but why was a I still feeling like my innards were being ripped out of me!? I heard the midwife and nurse whisper something to each other. Finally I screamed “What is going on!?” I am not usually that typical pregnant woman you see in the movies, but I needed information! I needed to know if something was wrong and if not I needed the encouragement that I was about to meet my baby. Luckily I got the latter answer. A couple of pushes later I felt his head and body come out all in one swoop. At 10:35 pm Ezra was born.

The relief was instant, as was the love and adoration that I felt for my son. I can write paragraphs and tell stories about the birth, but no words can describe the emotion that comes with bringing a new life into this world!

The 24 hours leading up to Ezra’s birth were a lot more intense than with my other two. It wasn’t easy, but it was a privilege.

By | October 6th, 2012|My Life, Natural Living, Pregnancy & Birth|4 Comments

SJ’s Birth Story

Wednesday morning I woke up to a contraction at 7:17 am. I know the time because I wrote it down in my pregnancy planner and I continued to write each one down all throughout the day. I don’t normally do this, because of braxton hicks and all, but for some reason on that day I decided to keep track.

All day they went up and down, ranging anywhere from an hour to 15 minutes apart. Not too consistent or intense, but enough to give me the lingering thought of “I wonder if this will be the day?” By the afternoon I told my mom “Well I guess I will be going to church tonight because this just isn’t progressing.” and off I went. I continued to time them all throughout church. The contraction were coming about 10 minutes apart, but no one knew that I was in labor, not even me.

When I arrived home there was a plate of eggplant parmesan waiting for me, a dish that is known for it’s labor inducing affects. My parents had ordered take out from Maggiano’s and whether or not the old wives tale is true, I am not one to turn down good Italian. At this point we reverted to the iphone app for timing contractions and I suggested we play a game to keep me distracted. As my parents, husband, and I played bananagram we talked and laughed and the contractions were ranging anywhere from 10 to 6 minutes apart. At 11:45 pm they were 5 minutes apart and I thought I should take a warm bath to see if they would stop. After I got up though the next contraction was a lot more intense. I called my midwife at 12:00 am and told her details, I also casually mentioned that she could wait until after I took my bath. Luckily she insisted that she was going to leave immediately. After that the next contraction was tons of pressure and I told my mom to make up the bed and get my music ready. I was finally convinced that I was about to have a baby. I told J to call my midwife again and update her. The contractions started coming one on top of the other and I sat in the tub praying and trying to focus on relaxation. I was so worried about having the baby before my midwife who was still 15 minutes away could get there. I told J how scared I was, but he comforted me and helped me with my breathing techniques.

All of a sudden I shouted “UH OH! I HAVE TO PUSH” and right then my midwife burst in the door in her scrubs and gloves calm and ready to go. She dipped her hand into the water and told me the baby’s head was right there. I declined the offer to move to the bed, I wasn’t going anywhere at that point. They helped me lean back in the tub so that I could push which only took once and the head was out. She told me I just needed one more push. In disbelief I said “are you sure? I don’t have to hold back?” and having been given the okay I pushed once more and at 12:40 am J reached down, grabbed Sedona, and laid her on my chest.

I was in shock! I couldn’t believe that I was holding my baby! It seemed too quick, too easy, and too good to be true. After a minute of these thoughts, it finally sunk in that this was not a dream. I looked down at my daughter, my beautiful healthy baby girl and I welcomed her home.

By | March 7th, 2010|Natural Living, Pregnancy & Birth|10 Comments

Top 5 Complaints

I don’t like to be a whiner, but sometimes you just have to let it all out. Like nurmisur commented when I announced the pregnancy

“Good thing about having blog is that you can complain about morning sickness, cramps, and the whole thing as much as you want”

So I am going to take her up on that and list my top 5 pregnancy complaints for the first trimester.

1. Obviously nausea is a biggie. So far no actual vomiting unlike my last pregnancy. I still feel really sick though if I haven’t eaten in a few hours, and then it’s hard to find something I actually feel like eating. Oh, and then there is brushing the teeth and flossing, talk about a gag fest.

2. I am really in between clothes right now. I am definitely out of my regular clothes, but the maternity clothes are still too big. I have a few items that I wear over and over at this time.

3. No one likes having to go to the bathroom every 5 minutes. Maybe it’s not that bad, but it feels like it, especially at night.

4. Speaking of night, I am still having those weird dreams. They range from bizarre dreams to night mares. Sometimes they startle me and I will wake up gasping. Needless to say between that and the ongoing emptying of the bladder I get very little sleep.

5. I have saved the strangest for last. I have struggled with having headaches during this pregnancy, but mostly when I am on Facebook. I know it sounds crazy, but I guess it’s the small photos, combined with scrolling and reading. I can’t do it anymore. I have to read slowly then stop and scroll down. ‘Scrolling” linked with nausea. I guess that is not a pregnancy symptom of our ancestors.

By | August 27th, 2009|My Life, Pregnancy & Birth, Uncategorized|3 Comments

Z’s Birth Story

The Birth Story of Mr. Z

It all started on September 3, 2007. It was Labor day (what a coincidence). We were going to my sister in law’s house for a family get to together. I knew I was having some kind of contractions, so I brought my suitcase just in case. The feelings continued when we got there, but I really thought it was false labor. I took a walk, a hot bath, and laid down, but they didn’t stop. I sat in a room with 6 moms and one nurse sharing their stories and trying to help me figure out if this was really it.

That night on the way home the contractions were coming around 4 minutes apart. By that time everyone had finally talked me into stopping by the birth center. Once we got there the midwife examined me and I was 5 cm dilated, 95% effaced. I guess I really was in labor! After that, things progressed pretty quickly. Everything was coming strong and fast and I started to throw up. We went upstairs to where I would deliver and I threw up several more times, but finally it stopped.

My favorite part of labor was when we played the song from our wedding “Still The One” and it was just me and my husband taking in the magnitude of the moment, our lives were about to be changed forever!

I proceeded to lie down in the bed as the moment drew closer. I thought my water had broken and it turned out to be blood loss and because of this they decided to break my water because it was time for the baby to come out!

I pushed for about 20 minutes. I was in so much pain and ready for it to be over. They had to put me on oxygen for a little while. Once I saw my baby though it really did all go away. My husband was the one that “caught” the baby with the help of our midwife, and he was the one that placed our newborn in my arms, it was AMAZING!

We loved him before he was even here, but to be able to hold him at last was indescribable. Everything was going as I hoped it would, I had done it all naturally. My husband was by my side, my baby was in my arms…

but then things took a turn for the worse. I was told that the placenta was not coming out on it’s own. At this time I don’t even know what happened. Everyone said I looked gray, like I was going to pass out. They hooked me up to an IV, gave me more oxygen, gave me oral liquid supplements. I had to get out of the bed and start pushing again. All that is fine when you have the baby as motivation, but having to go through all the breathing and pushing for the PLACENTA!? It was not fun, and it was not coming either. It was almost to the point of having to be transferred to the ER, when my midwife started praying out loud. She was calm and yet very authoritative, everyone in the room started praying- and that was the moment that the placenta was delivered!!!
From there, our parents joined us and the baby was examined. He weighed 8lbs 11 oz and was 21.25 inches. None of us expected him to be that big.

I was exhausted. The 3 of us slept together at the birth center that night and the next day at noon we went home with our perfect baby boy.

So that is pretty much the whole story of the day we became parents.

By | September 9th, 2008|Lifestyle, My Life, Natural Living, Pregnancy & Birth|3 Comments