OBGYN

Dear Diary: My 3rd Trimester

Punk Mama Ashley M. welcomed little Eloise on September 16th, 2017. This is her third Dear Diary installment. If you haven’t read her previous entries, start here.

June 30th, 2017 – Third trimester, how did we get here? I HAVE NO IDEA, but, here we are! We get to meet this bebe in a few short months and somehow that feels like tomorrow and a thousand years away all at once.

July 5th, 2017 – I stayed home and I didn’t go to any parties, and I didn’t mind because I got to spend this time at home with my husband working on crafts for the nursery. I have spent a lot of time trying new crafts (none of them perfect) to help pass the time. Instead of being social today, I ended up stepping on a bee, having to take Benadryl, falling asleep while watching Titanic, and wetting the bed. Partying hard takes on a new meaning in the third trimester.

July 8th, 2017 – I found out about halfway through my pregnancy that a very close friend of mine was also expecting her first child. If you ever want to feel less clueless about becoming a first time mother or just being pregnant get yourself a pregnant friend. Mandy has been my savior – reminding me that no question is a stupid question and that no matter what weird thing that your body is doing, someone else who is pregnant has also had that same very strange thing happen to them [see previous entry about peeing the bed after a bad bee sting followed with allergy medicine; I feel better about this already (Thanks, Mandy!)].

July 31st, 2017 – Each time we see this babe during a sonogram appointment, it feels like she is more ours. The ultrasound tech switched to 3-D on us and I’m not trying to brag or anything but she definitely has my nose. 3-D ultrasounds are insane, kind of creepy, but so sweet. It’s hard for me to associate the extra weight that I am carrying around with the fact that an actual human is growing inside of me so seeing her helps with that, and each time it takes my breath away.

August 1st, 2017 – I went to a show at the Ottobar earlier in the pregnancy, but attending shows later in this pregnancy absolutely has me stressed. Bless my old bones, pregnant body, and just as old friends – we decided to cough up the extra money for seats. Granted these shows were not at a tiny bar but at a much larger venue, I was SO MUCH MORE comfortable. I got to live out my teenage daydream, seeing two of my most favorite bands – all while sitting on my butt. I recommend springing for the seats this late in the game but if seats aren’t available I wouldn’t let this stop you from having a good time. I just as easily could have survived standing – I just would have been an exhausted lady the following day. I will say that my tolerance for being surrounded by drunk morons dropped significantly from my early pregnancy show to this one. Yikes, people sure do get on my nerves pretty quickly these days but like I said – I survived. And bonus – I enjoyed myself!

August 6th, 2017 – Two very close friends of mine got together and threw us a baby shower; it was hands down one of the sweetest days of my life. Everything was perfect. To have friends and family together to celebrate Eloise was eye opening – she is so loved already. If you choose to have a baby shower, please choose to have someone else load up your car and their car because the amount of stuff you will receive is INSANE and overwhelming. Take the time to soak it in because (I’m not kidding) I’ve never felt so overwhelmed with gratitude in my life – not even at our wedding. The love that was present and in the air brought me to tears several times. I am a lucky person, this is not lost on me – I can’t believe that I get to raise Eloise surrounded by so many kind, generous, creative, inspiring, and incredible people.

August 20th, 2017 – I took a few days to be overwhelmed by the gifts that we received at the shower by stuffing them in the baby’s room and keeping the door shut to ignore the mess. When I was finally feeling brave enough, I went in ready to tackle the task. Over the course of about a week and a half I very slowly washed all of the clothes, organized all of the books, put everything where it needed to go, made space in the hallway closet, and the list goes on. I’d be lying if I said everything fell into place and was perfect and I never looked back, but I’m still rearranging trying to get everything to feel just perfect.

August 21st, 2017 – We did it! We graduated from baby classes! Wooooo! I cannot recommend baby classes enough. Most of what we learned was common sense or just like we were taking an advanced health class, but the classes left me feeling a little more confident in my ability to care for a child and for my body postpartum. This was also a great bonding experience for my husband and I – sounds cheesy but I’m just being honest.

September 1st, 2017 – One of the reasons I started this journaling is because no one really discusses all of the weird stuff that happens to your body. And maybe I’m naïve, or maybe I just haven’t read enough, but, wow, who knew that your vagina would feel like it was beaten with a bat and then was left to just fall out of your body. Ow, ow, ow, OW, OW OW. This does not make rolling over in bed easy, getting out of bed doesn’t feel great, and moving around at a regular pace is just cruel. So if you’ve never been pregnant and you want to do everything in your power to prepare, this is my heads up to you, a warning if you will, your vagina is going to feel like one huge bruise. Yep.

September 6th, 2017 – I haven’t stopped peeing in days, and days, and days. We preregistered at the hospital and I 100% recommend doing this if given the option. Handing all of that paperwork in early helped me feel less stressed while also providing me another chance to ask any questions at the hospital.

September 7th, 2017 – I met with my doctor today and we came up with a plan for induction. I trust my doctor wholeheartedly and have much love for her, so I left my appointment feeling very confident in our plan and what to expect in the upcoming week. I shared these plans with a few close friends/family members and soon began to feel less than confident, upset, and angry. Here’s the deal – your body, your rules. No exceptions. It took me a few days but I got over it and then I was very clear that I would be sticking with my initial plan. My body, my limits. Don’t let people make you feel like you aren’t in control of your body. Don’t let people make you feel less confident in your choices. The only people that have opinions that matter with regards to laboring are you, your partner, and your doctor. At the end of the day, do what makes you most comfortable, ask as many questions as you want, and don’t be afraid to let people know how you feel. If I could do it over I would have only shared our hospital plans with my husband and doctor. Some may choose to tell the world, some may keep it to themselves – but everyone should do what makes them feel best. Something else to note about this appointment, it was the first time I was checked to see if I had dilated at all. I read a lot of the internet about this being painful but honestly it was not painful at all and was over within seconds. I really hyped myself up and was so nervous but honestly this was the least stressful thing.

September 11th, 2017 – I didn’t write about these individually because they were no big deal but starting at 36 weeks I had to have non-stress tests and ultrasounds done twice a week because of my weight. These are irritating because you’re at the baby’s mercy. They are annoying because they’re boring and you’re hooked up to a machine and can’t move much. Anyway, I passed them all with flying colors, and today was my last one. One step closer!

September 13th, 2017 – MY LAST APPOINTMENT! I was checked, we went over final plans, and I asked all of my questions. I cannot believe that tomorrow is induction day. In a few days we will get to meet our daughter, and our world as we know it will never be the same. Here are my final thoughts going into this journey and leaving pregnancy behind:

  • Time flies – I’m not kidding! I feel like I just found out ten minutes ago about being pregnant. Time flies and then the last three weeks will go so incredibly slow you might think that you’re losing your mind. I have lost a lot of sleep these last few weeks due to being uncomfortable but also because I’m so nervous and so anxious about becoming a parent.
  • Ultimately at the end of the day only YOU know what is best. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you don’t know best. You did it – you carried this baby every step of the way and only you have experienced every movement, funny feeling, and ache. No one else did this for you. If you’re anything like me, you’re going to feel defeated, like you’re not going to make it and that it’s never going to happen, but I promise you, you will reach the end of pregnancy and it will be worth every awkward poke at your body and every ache and pain.
  • I would like to thank Punk Mamas and Sarah Clarke, for asking me to keep a journal of my pregnancy. I wouldn’t have written this much down if they hadn’t asked, and I am already so thankful that I will have this journal to reflect back on.
Advertisements

Birth trauma survey

Punk Mama Jennifer Lynn Frye is a student midwife finishing her didactic work at WomanCraft Midwifery. As part of her advanced course, she is studying various forms of trauma in birthing persons during the childbearing year (pregnancy, birth, and three months postpartum). She has created a survey that will help her learn more. The survey is open to the public to participate, as long as you are over the age of 18 and have given birth; in or out of facility (birth center or home), with midwives, obstetricians, or unassisted, etc. Jennifer is looking to better understand how women are treated during pregnancy and childbirth by care providers – so whether it was how you were spoken to, made to feel, or treated at any time, your feedback can help her better serve families in the future. The survey is totally anonymous and voluntary and you may cancel participation at any time. She is not asking for any identifying information and these answers will only be used for school related research.
To participate in the survey, please visit: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdfKgQLebjh5dDPPfkekEVBzP81_0nYwnk5sDTdCnuJVCeJCw/viewform?embedded=true 

Dear Diary: My 1st Trimester

Punk Mama Ashley M. has just passed into her second trimester and has shared her first trimester diary with us!  We look forward to future installments from her as her pregnancy progresses and she meets her little one!

December 15th, 2016 – Approximate conception.

January 8th, 2017 – Here’s the thing, if you’re going to pee on a pregnancy test, you’ve really got to commit the next 5 minutes of your life to that stick.  I don’t think that most people would have this problem but to no surprise – I peed on the stick and then just forgot about it and got into the bath.  My husband came in to ask me about how it had gone and before he had finished his question, he saw the stick.  Just like that, positive, and he knew before me.

January 9th, 2017 – No matter how you’re feeling it’s best you call and schedule an appointment right away.  I am horrible at facing anything head on and this was no exception.  After about three hours I gathered up enough courage and called to schedule the appointment.  I cried a bunch because I was so nervous but also because this was probably the most important phone call I have made in my 28 years of life – at least that’s how it felt.  It’s better to bite the bullet than to have it just lingering around weighing heavy on your shoulders.  But, I couldn’t get to the doctors for two and a half weeks!  What the heck?!  How on earth was I supposed to survive the next two weeks?  I’ll tell you how, with about 30 pregnancy tests and a gallon of ice cream.  There isn’t much you can do, so even if it seems hard just try to push it to the back of your mind and distract yourself.  Take your vitamins, eat well, and rest rest rest.  All I want to do these days is sleep – I’m serious.  I have dreams about sleeping.  So, just take a deep breath and roll with it.

Today I decided which prenatal vitamins to buy, with the help of my friend, Google.  Oh, ye olde faithful Google – a double edged sword.  Take this, don’t eat that, you might be dying, that’s not normal, “statistics”.  It was there in the Target vitamin aisle that I had my first pregnancy break down.  I think this is normal and expected, and to be honest it helped relieve some of the pressure that I could feel building up.  I came to, gathered my vitamins, wiped my tears and continued in to the depths of my Target black hole.

January 27th, 2017: 6 weeks & 1 day – I was so emotional while scheduling my first appointment that I am lucky I was even able to take down the date let alone what was going to happen.  I showed up prepared to pee in yet another cup but that’s about it.  That was the easy part!  They asked questions about how I had been feeling, my family history, my medical history – just general stuff.  Morning sickness?  Nope!  None!  I’ve just felt tired but other than that, great!  (Boy, I am seriously regretting how amped up I was about that – I was pretty much asking for it.)  However, I was not prepared whatsoever about what happened next.  The nurse explained to me that I just needed to get an ultrasound done to make sure everything was where it was supposed to be and then I could be on my way.  Sure!  Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.  I walked into the room and the tech informed me that it was going to an internal exam.  WOOF.  When I say that I was not prepared, I mean it.  Ultrasound?  Isn’t that supposed to be OUTSIDE of the body?  I hadn’t taken a shower in at least a day and the last time I had done any grooming I got bored half way through and quit.  I was in no shape for a stranger to be poking around in my nether regions.  Here’s the deal, the instrument looks horrifying and you may not be groomed to your liking, but once you get past this and you see the heartbeat – it. is. WORTH IT.  My husband and I high fived and right there, in that moment (maybe only for that moment), I didn’t have any other cares in the world.

IMG_4033

 January 28th, 2017: 6 weeks & 2 days – …and then “morning” sickness hit except it wasn’t morning and I was asleep.  I shot out of bed at about 12:30 am and darted to the bathroom, barely making it.  Up came dinner, actually it seemed that everything I had ever eaten was coming up.  I felt better after about 45 minutes and I went back to sleep.  Since then, morning sickness rears its ugly head a few hours before bedtime, so when I start to feel it begin, I stop everything and just lay still in bed with no screens, not much sound, and just pet snuggles.  This seems to be helping but who knows what will happen tomorrow?

January 29th, 2017: …and everyday since… – Morning sickness is a strange beast – kind of like that John Green quote from The Fault in Our Stars?  “I fell in love (got sick) the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”  I mean it was just slow building and then quick explosion – didn’t matter where I was.  In the shower, at Target, driving my car.  E. V. E. R. Y. W. H. E. R. E.  Morning sickness does not discriminate.  I suffer from chronic rhinitis which is hell, but apparently there is also pregnancy rhinitis that just amplifies chronic rhinitis so I spend a lot of time thinking about how I may just drown in my own mucus.  Great, just how I always wanted to go; put it on my tombstone: “Ashley Brown, death by snot.”  Oh, and I had a pretty serious reaction to lemonade – my throat got itchy, I swelled up, it was hell.  And everything these days tastes like metal – doesn’t matter what I eat or when I eat it, it just feels like I am just sucking on metal flavored cough drops constantly.

February 16th, 2017: 9 weeks – Second baby appointment!  I showered this time and did some grooming – didn’t shave my legs though so it wasn’t very well thought out.  This appointment lasted TWO HOURS AND THIRTY ONE MINUTES!  WHAT THE HECK?!  And I was alone because I thought it was going to be a quick in and out.  If I had a dollar for every time that I was wrong or regretted something during an appointment, I would have approximately ten dollars at this point.  I peed in a cup, they checked my sugars, we went through a detailed family history, the doctor filled me in on all of the great tests that I would have to have done and THEN she informed me that she needed to perform a PAP.  UGH THE WORST.  It passed quickly as she tried to talk to me about my job.  But I just cried.  Being a woman is great 98.1% of the time – I am going to say that 1.99% of the time that being a woman sucks (see previous sentences about being at the doctor’s office and getting an unexpected PAP while pregnant).  I reminded myself that this is her job, it’s normal to her, and there’s not much that she hasn’t seen – I am sure.

February 24th, 2017: 10 weeks & 1 day – “My first pregnancy meltdown, what a FUN TIME!” …said pretty much no one.  Steve took too long to help me out with something (he actually took about three seconds so I don’t know what happened here) and I took this as a sign that he hated me and didn’t want to have a baby.  I cried, I told him he was the WORST PERSON THAT I HAVE EVER MET and then I just got in the car and left him in Hanover, PA (about a half an hour away from home).  When I say that I cried, that’s putting it lightly – I cried, I screamed, I turned my phone off, and then got mad when I turned it back on two minutes later and there wasn’t a single missed message (HOW DARE HE!).  After about twenty minutes and a phone call that let me know he had a ride home, I calmed down.  I met him and his ride halfway to pick him up to head home.  And he had snacks for me.  Pregnancy hormones are no joke.  Disclaimer: My husband is a saint.

March 8th, 2017: 11 weeks & 6 days – One final first trimester to-do left!  Bloodwork – holy cow!  This lady took NINE TUBES OF BLOOD.  N. I. N. E.  You can’t drink during pregnancy but I’ll tell you what – getting nine tubes of blood drawn feels like drinking an entire box of wine.  Woof.  Glad that’s over with.  (Yes, I know that there will be more in the future, but shhh… we don’t need to think about that right now.)

The first trimester has come and gone; three months down and six to go.  Overall, it was by no means a walk in the park, but it wasn’t awful either.  If the remainder of my pregnancy goes this way, I won’t be mad, I’ll just continue to be shocked and surprised by my body and my doctor appointments.  I still don’t really feel pregnant, just oddly ill.  I look forward to the developing connection with my body, my baby, and the world outside.

IMG_6024