My Personal Tips for an Easier Labour

This is all my personal opinion. 
I did extensive research trying to discover the secret to an easier or faster labor, delivery and recovery. I was willing to do just about anything to help my body along for labor.  

I dreamed of a natural, drug free birth, and although I knew I would be open to intervention and changes in plan I did truly want to, at the least, try. To my surprise I had an extremely hard time finding support. I actually found none. Only in hiring a doula did I find the support I desired, maybe too much as she didn't digest my openness to the needed change in any plans. (another story)

One of my biggest concerns was the length of labour.  It was going to hurt ...bad!  What could I do to help my body? Well I did tons of research and found great information.  I tried a lot and would love to share!

What worked for me:

Walking, walk walk walk: In my 3rd trimester I would walk 2-3 miles a day right up unit the end. Not only does this help your endurance but the swaying of your hips not only moves baby into place but down low into your cervix. This will help soften your cervix and ready your body.

Evening Primrose Oil:  I took 1 pill a day at week 30.  This is way earlier than recommended.  I upped my dose regularly and by week 38 I was taking 2 pills twice a day.

Mama organic tea: This is a great brand of teas and I started in the 3rd trimester

Dates:  I had a hard time eating these but had read in multiple places how Dates help Ripen the cervix preparing it for labor.  This would clearly speed the process along when the time came.  I ended up slicing them into steal cut oatmeal each morning.  They would taste more like raisins! 

Water Lots of Water:  Hydration should be no surprise.  

Laying on my left side only: The benefits of laying on your left side when pregnant is well known.   Supports organ function 

Birthing Ball: Bouncing on a birthing ball 

Education: I read many books.  The one I loved the most was  "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" I also recommend the movie "The Business of Being Born" in these and more I found understanding which put my mind to ease, I knew I could do this!  

Warm Epson Salt Baths: I forget where I read this but I took them all the time!  

Relaxation with music:  To relax in pregnancy I would listen to Hawaiian music so naturally when in labour when I needed to relax I listened to Hawaiian music.  It is like a lullaby! 

Realizing... I am scared straight.

It's wild!  I'm a mom.  Everything I ever wanted and she is an angel.  She sleeps, eats, poops and smiles ...then all over again.  I am getting good sleep at night and offered tons of babysitting.  Heck I'm already working.

I have dodged the baby blues (for now) 

So why do I feel so on edge.  Why do I feel unable to just relax? 

If you have followed my blog then you know of my IVF struggle.  See here for recap.  Then there was my struggles in pregnancy. Is that it? I was so guilt ridden from IVF that I never really let myself say outloud that my PREGNANCY WAS HARD!  Very hard on both me and my husband.   

It all started with our IVF surgeries. The typical recoveries into the 2 week wait before the big pregnancy test.  In this time my grandfather had suddenly gone down hill and was admitted to a hospice. Naturally I wanted to be there when he passed and I was. The next morning I had the worst flu of my life. 102 temperature and sick for 3 days I was certain that this round had failed. I am happy to report I was wrong!!!
Fast forward to week 14 pregnant. I had some major gushing bleeding episodes, once a week for about 5 weeks.  No conclusion for sure what it was but I was treated as if it was a placenta abruption.  I was put on pelvic rest until the 3rd trimester. No working out. No intercourse. 
As the weeks went on and my belly started to grow I started having bad ligament pains. They were so bad and were joined by a pelvic hernia at about 16 weeks. I didn't know what it was until almost the 3rd trimester. Funny I thought it was ligament pains as well.  
Last but not the least in the second trimester the Dr.'s saw some extra fluid around our baby's brain. All ended well but I was heavily monitored and sent to Boston Children's Hospital for a MRI and ultrasounds on top of the many ultrasounds leading up to it and after.

Through it all I was pregnant! That's what I told myself at least. I have no business complaining, I would think and tell myself.  So I didn't.  I had no place, no safe place to be scared, tired or uneasy. My tough times aka: IVF were over... Right?  I was suppose to glow and be the super grateful person everyone around me wanted to see.

I sit here typing with one hand and holding my baby in the other. You are not alone, I hope to tell you. Who ever you are at what ever point in your journey. This journey is never ending and the pains we felt/feel does carry on in a small way. Maybe to protect the future in a backwards way. Accepting my journey and moving on is my goal at hand now.

I don't miss being pregnant. I know this since people asking made me ponder on this. I wish I did but it's ok to be honest. Things still didn't go as planned, even after the positive test. I am no longer living in fear. I know this now. I was walking around scared straight all the time. I walk with enjoyment now! It was all worth it.

I follow so many blogs. Many have suffered great loss or are continuing their struggles with infertility. I'm not sure who follows me and who doesn't but my heart goes out to all of you as at times like this I think about the circle of infertility.

Thanks for reading :)

Our Last Minute Baby Halloween Costume

Happy Halloween!  
From Vivian

The Cutest Newborn Infant Halloween Costume
Mean Girls - Regina George

Fetch is never going to happen

You can't sit with us! 

Raise your hand if you've been 
personally victimized by Regina George

Onsie and headpiece previously bought on 

How I avoided getting stretch marks when the odds were against me!

Ok so before I get into gloating over how I didn't get any stretch marks after being totally scared my whole pregnancy ..well life that I would get them, let me say a few things... Yes it was a long road of infertility treatments to get here and yes I would take stretch marks any day (tons of them even) just to have my little girl here.  I realize how vein I am and have been but I also know that I am not alone!  I mean who want them really?  Now I realize it may have been dumb luck, good genes or maybe just possibly I helped prevent with my tips here!

Stretch Marks!   
Who wants them one!  How can they be prevented? I truly think no one has the answers.  I searched the web far and wide and spoke to as many people as I could.  
"you will take after your mother" most people would say
"there is nothing you can do"  "moisturize" 

My family history of stretch marks:

Mother  -  my mom is covered by stretch marks. She has told me that it happened with her first (of 5 of us) She also laughs and says how in her day no one cared!  It was part of life.  There was also no creams or trying to prevent.  She did not drink water or moisturize.  My mom is a heavy set woman.

Mother's Mother  -  I am told she was covered!  She was very petite

Sister  - One of my sisters is covered.  She is very small and the extra skin that was left just hangs. (with large visual marks all around her whole midsection)  She got them all with her first (of 4) pregnancies.  She gave birth at 37 weeks and says they all came in the final week.  She did not get one until that final week.

Sister  -  Another sister of mine had twins. She is not covered badly but did get some stretch marks. This sister is a little heavier set.

Fathers Side  -  I have not spoken to my aunts directly but I am told that yes they got them.  To what extent I do not know.

What I did to try and prevent stretch marks  

I quit coffee and tea  -  Dehydrators. Plus they are fertility risks. I stopped about 3 months before conceiving and did not have a cup until after giving birth!  Can't say it was easy but worth it!  Did it help? who knows but since it is a dehydrator I can only imagine it did.

Mothers nature oil  -  I read an article that Brooke Burke used this and swore by it. I always had used neutrogena oil so the change was small.  It was much thicker of an oil and I felt it stayed on and set in better.  I would put it on after a shower or put it in my baths.

Palmers butter moisturizer  -  This I see in the store everywhere and commercials. I am skeptical if it does much more than moisturize but couldn't hurt!  This is the moisturizer everyone has heard of and seem to think works due to the cow-coa butter .yet my sister used this like crazy and was covered in stretch marks.

Vitamin E  -  About 20 weeks this was brought to my attention.  I bought capules and used 1 - 2 a day. By 30 weeks I also used vitamin E oil as well.  I continued using this after giving birth.

Apricot Scrub  -  I figured if I could exfoliate any dead skin new skin would be created which may have more elasticity.  Now this may not be true what so ever. This was my own thoughts.  I used this from the time I found out I was pregnant throughout the entire pregnancy.  Just a little bit on my belly each and every shower.

Drinking Water  -  This one is important.  I drank tons of water and I mean more than a person would think humanly possible.  The sooner you can start the better.

Massage  -  Early in pregnancy I would stimulate my skin around my belly.  I totally lost interest and forgot I intended to do this after 1st trimester.  I do want to include this as I did do it often early on.

No Itching - This one was not a problem for most all of pregnancy.  Then the 3rd trimester hit!  So.. itchy!  It was so hard not to itch but I would tell myself "don't do it ..stretch marks"  Who knows if its true or not but I did not want to risk it! I never itched! 

The outcome...

I am happy to report that I did not get one single stretch mark!   Wooowho..!!   I am still in shock.  I truly feel that the odds were against me.  If there is any truth is prevention then I am sure it is mixed in what I did in preventative measures.

Some pictures of my belly.

I thought for sure the splotchy look below would turn into stretch marks!  
This only made me obsess more on my regimen 
37 weeks

36 weeks

I will add one of my belly now soon! 
No Stretch Marks!  Not one!   

2 Week Baby Update

Well it has been 2 weeks since my world has been turned upside down!

I am in LOVE as simple as that!
I have cried more tears than I can't count. All tears of joy.
We have been blessed by a miracle.
She sleeps well and barely cries! What have I done to deserve her?  
I know these moments will go by fast....

I have started an email for Vivian. I have and plan on sending emails throughout the weeks months and years and one day we will give her the email with password.

Sadly just 5 days after my little love was born, her name sake, my grandmother passed away.
She had contracted pneumonia the day we were released from the hospital and never got the chance to meet her in person.  Luckily my mother was there for her birth and shared the story along with may pictures.  I know Baby Vivian is kissed by her angel great grandmother as well as her great grandfather Dino who passed away the day we found out we were pregnant.

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