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!
Who wants them ..no 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!
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!
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.
I have been thinking a lot this week about this blog and wether to trek on blogging or to start fresh. This blog started out as my outlet. I had so much inside of me while struggling with infertility that I needed to release. Thank goodness I found this outlet. It was a huge healing mechanism and I am grateful to the blogging community for your support at that special time in my life. Now that I have successfully conceived and birthed my a child I feel my presence may be over stayed.
I am delighted to keep writing. Even if it is to only a couple people who may be reading. I worry about the silent readers who may not appreciate my delight or success. I do NOT want to cause anyone sorrow or again over stay my welcome.
It's been one week and five days since the birth of our little princess. As I sit here about to write about my delivery room experience I can't help but think back on when this journey really began. To pinpoint the exact moment is hard but after 100s of shots and blood draws, dozens upon dozens of 25 mile drives to my IVF clinic, a late miscarriage and chemical pregnancy, depression followed by deep soul searching and heart aching longing. Fighting between keeping faith and finding acceptance I have been struggling with my past and present. The guilt I feel when I walk around the mall with my new baby knowing at any time a girl like myself, who is struggling with conceiving, could walk by and see how happy I am with my newborn and feel pain.
It was a Monday morning. My husband and I were on our way to my final Dr.'s appointment. After having extremely high proteins in my urine, high uric acid, headaches and slightly elevated blood pressure we were asked. "So you ready to have this baby today?" "Why don't you take a walk across the way" My hospital was located across from my Dr.'s office. So we did! We were in shock! 38 weeks 5 days along we were close enough to the end. The walk was romantic in a corney sort of way. On this slow walk my husband and I spoke about our journey and how it was about to come to an end. By the end of the day I would be a mom! So we thought :)
I arrived 1cm dilated, 50% effaced and with a soft cervix. The Dr. also said my babies head was very low, anterior and my water was a very thin sac. This was all great news! She began "ripening" me at about 1pm and I quickly moved to 3cm in just a couple hours. Since I was contracting on my own (not that I felt much) they let me go on my own since my body was responding so well. My 15 year old step daughter arrived at about 4pm. We had arranged for her pick up from school where she lives so she could be a part of the big day. 7pm rolled around and after checking me I was still 3cm dilated. I had stalled! Our options were: I could get induced at 8pm. This would be the start of labour and after a full day of contracting I was very tired, but we would keep going! (or) They could give me some meds to get some good sleep and we could start in the morning, nice and rested. Needless to say I chose to sleep!
My husband and Abbigale stayed with me in the room for the night. We all woke up at about 7am. The Dr. checked me at about 8am. I was still 3cm, but 70% effaced now. The Dr. spoke about options as we decided we opted to get some food. Hospital food is always better if you walk down to the cafe so my husband and Abbigale walked down for us. While they were gone my water broke! I was now on the clock. By about 10am we started pitocin. It took some time to kick in and when it did they came on strong.
My doula had arrived by 11am as well as my mother. My doula was pushing for me to keep on track with my birth plan. We had already fallen off track with a few medical interventions (as needed) and my original goal was as few as possible. It was about 2pm -2:30pm when the nurses decided to turn up the pitocin and boy did the contractions come on hard and fast! Because I wanted few interventions I was not checked for dilation (Looking back I wish I was). I was only 20 minutes into my hard core contractions when I knew I wasn't going to be able to handle this for hours on end without relief. I thought I had to be transitioning since I couldn't imagine the pain getting any worse (as Ive read). The doula couldn't confirm or deny and told me to take it one contraction at a time. This all as I bounced on a birthing ball in the bathroom. From what I understood first labors can last hours on end and I needed relief! My birth plan was to not get an epidural but to opt for a narcotic that would give me temporary relief. In asking for the narcotic my dear husband spoke up. He did not want me getting a narcotic as the baby would get it into her blood stream as well as potentially needing narcan once born. I didn't flinch at his request and asked for the epidural. I just wish he had confirmed this prior when I went over my birth plan with him. Oh well..
It took over 1 hour for the anesthesiologist to enter the room. I had endured constant contractions 4 down to 2 minutes apart for about 60 seconds each. Every contraction was as hard as the next. I wasn't sure how I could get through the next. The moment I asked for the "relief" I was committed to just that. I wish I knew how long I had to wait as I may had not wished for it at all and taken up strength instead.
Once the epidural kicked in I was surprised to still feel my legs. Not what I had imagined. I could feel my babies head way low potentially in the canal. Telling the nurses they said "no honey, you have some time to go". After a few minutes a nurse came in to put a bag in for my urine. As she went to do so she was surprised to realize "It's time to push!" It was 3:30pm ish. She quickly got the Dr. Still not one contraction had been felt when it was told I was going to have to push. "Will I know when to push?" I asked. I was told I will feel it and she watched the screen as I felt my first contraction with the epidural. It was heightened pressure without the immense pain. After feeling the first one the Dr. told me to push for the next.
17 pushes and 30 minutes later she arrived! Her cord was short so I was unable to go skin to skin past my stomach. My husband cut the cord when it stopped pulsating and she was brought right to my chest. She had so much dark black hair. Immediately she put her thumb in her mouth! I had planned on breast feeding but could see how eager my husband was to hold her. I put her on my breast and she quickly latched and sucked away for 1 minute. That was good enough for me. The nurse took her away and cleaned her up. Baby was so calm it surprised us all. She loved being under the warmer.
Ripened for 21 hours 5 1/2 hours of labor followed by 30 minutes of pushing
Baby had fluid on her lungs from coming so fast.
I aslo hemorrhaged after she was born. Dr. got it under control.
In the end my husband, mother and step daughter witnessed the whole thing.
I know now that I could have easily gone without the epidural knowing now that the pain would have not lasted hours on end as I suspected but I have no regrets on the decisions that were made.
If I had received the narcotic as I requested the baby would had been born within the 2 hour time frame and would have needed the narcan shot. Thank Goodness I did not get it.