Monthly Archives: January 2013

Hypnobirthing

Harry and Mom

I’ve had a lot of pregnant friends (and a few without a child growing inside their uterus) ask about my experience with Hypnobirthing. For those of you unfamiliar with the birthing technique, click on that link. There is a lot of good information there. Before I get into this though, I’d like to add a disclaimer. This is just my personal experience. I actually never had time to finish the course. There were parts of Hypnobirthing I really enjoyed, and parts I skimmed over. It’s all a very personal experience. That being said, here’s what I think about it.

I did a home study from HypnoBabies because there wasn’t a class close enough. Because it was a home study, it was all on me to listen to the hypnosis CD’s and daily affirmations, as well as read the book and do the lessons. I’ll be totally honest when I tell you I did not listen the the affirmations daily, though I did listen to them a few times a week. And as I said before, I ran out of time before finishing the course.

There was so much about it that I really loved and a little that was a bit much for me. I definitely think it helped me relax and focus for the first few hours of labor. I was able to use hypnosis to fully relax my body when contractions hit. Distract myself with my happy place. However, the last two hours of labor, my contractions were so close together and painful I couldn’t clear my mind in between them, making it hard to use the hypnobirthing techniques to relax.

Overall, I do think it lessened my pain, especially for the first five hours. Even in those last two hours, Jonathan was able to help me remember certain aspects of Hypnobirthing to help ease the pain a bit, even if I couldn’t fully use the techniques.

In addition, Hypnobirthing, from what I learned, has a few ideas it’s built upon. There is something called the “Bubble of Peace” which helped me out a lot when people started telling me their horror stories from labor & delivery. I was able to tune the stories out and remember that every birth is different. I didn’t take it as far as Hypnobirthing preaches to do (putting your hand up, stopping the horrific story, and informing the storyteller I wanted only positive birthing stories), but instead I used my hypnosis distraction techniques to tune out.

There were a few things I disagreed with concerning Hypnobirthing. It is seemingly very anti-hospital, anti-doctor, anti-medicine. Which is fine. I knew that going into it. However, there were times when I found myself reading terrible stories about C-sections in my HypnoBabies book. I used my “Bubble of Peace” and closed that chapter right up. If something went wrong during my delivery and I had to be wheeled away to the operating room, I didn’t want to have those terrible stories circling in my brain. Another thing I personally didn’t agree with was purging any movies, television shows, stories from friends and family that portrayed birth as something painful and scary. Some people might find this very useful, however, I did not. I knew these were movies. I knew every birth is different. These things did not affect me.

I’d definitely recommend Hypnobirthing. I’ll use it again with future children. The best advice I can give is to really have an open mind about it and really, really practice. It gets a little granola sometimes (says the lady who gave birth standing up with no medication and with the help of a midwife and a doula) but it can be very helpful!

Anyone else out there do Hypnobirthing?

xoxo, Mallory

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Harry’s First Trip to the Beach

Sunset

Just wanted to check in with a picture (courtesy of Anastasia Rae Photography) from Harry’s first sunset at the beach.

xoxo, Mallory

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Little Bitty

Well the time has come where it’s just Harry and I all day at home. Jonathan is back at work, there are no visitors, it’s just the two of us for a large portion of the day. I miss my husband like crazy when he’s working, but at least I have him at night. My sister was here visiting and bonding with her nephew last week and while she was here she shot this gem. The song has always been a bit of a joke between us.

I love it.

xoxo, Mallory

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Harry Days

Harry

Sitting here catching up on a few of my “daily” (notsodailyanymore ((now that I have a little man I would rather stare at all day))) blogs with my Harry sleeping next to me and all of a sudden I was overcome with emotion. Specifically love. You mothers and fathers know the kind. The kind of love that is completely indescribable, but absolutely perfect. Love that starts when that little one grows inside of you for those nine months, and then explodes into something huge, something unbelievable, something scary as soon as you see that little face. My life will never be the same. I will never be able to be as selfish as I was before. I will be waking up on someone else’s alarm clock. I will be arranging my day around someone else’s eating schedule (and forgoing my own hot meals for more than a while).

But it’s all worth it. Looking into those eyes that are just starting to focus. Just starting to look for me. Look for dad. Feeling him sink into my shoulder as soon as I pick him up. Knowing that he will love me hard one day, if he already doesn’t yet. It’s just amazing.

I have plans for posts. We need to do the nursery tour. And I’d like to write up my own little review of Hypnobirthing. I’ve also had a few pregnant friends asking what I needed/didn’t need in the hospital, so I’m planning a post about everything I needed these first 9 days. And we will still have a few non-baby posts. But bare with me, this little guy is my life. Which means, he will not only be popping into most of my posts, but it might be a little slow going for a bit, because, forgive me, but I would rather snuggle my baby than sit at the computer.

xoxo, Mallory

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The Story

Harry’s birthday was the best day of my life. One of the hardest, but the best. Maybe tied with our wedding day. There are so many emotions involved with that day, but aside from the tears streaming down my face as I write this, it’s not as easy as I had thought it would be to express them in this post. But today, as my son is one whole week old, I would love to share his story with you.

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January 9, 2013. 12:30 am. I woke up with another contraction, a little worse than the rest. I thought to myself that labor was coming, but this definitely was not the beginning. The remainder of the night passed in 10 or so more contractions, and luckily I was able to sleep in between. I wasn’t timing because obviously, they were irregular (or so I thought) and this was not real labor. By the time I woke up at 6, there was definitely a pattern.

Contractions were about 10 minutes apart at 7am, so I got ready for the day and sent Jonathan off to work (promising to call if my contractions sped up at all) as I logged into Style Me Pretty thinking I could possibly be working my last day before maternity leave. I tied up a few loose ends, just in case. By 10am, my contractions were 3-5 minutes apart, but (blame it on all the movies with all the false labor) I was thoroughly convinced it was false labor. Or at least it was still super early and I still had hours (or days) to go.

I did let Jonathan know they were speeding up a bit, but again, I in denial that anything was really happening. He decided to come home and pack up the car with our hospital stuff, just in case my midwife wanted me to stay after my 11am appointment. By the time we left for that, we were facing contractions every 3 minutes.

Before we were called back to see Col. Rensch (my midwife) I looked to Jonathan and said “If I haven’t progressed more than a centimeter from last week, I will cry.” And with trepidation, we walked back to be checked out.

The poor nurse who was attending to me. I’m pretty sure I freaked her out when she asked me if I was contracting at all and I replied “Yes, about every three minutes.” Things moved a lot quicker in that little room after that.

Col. Rensch came in and brought an OB in training with her. She turned to him and said “Now, this is where you might see tears, if she’s not progressed as far as she thinks she has.” Jonathan and I looked at each other and laughed (albeit a little nervously). It was good news though, I was 100% effaced and about 5 centimeters. I was so relieved that I had made such great progress with my contracting, I wasn’t even concerned about the uncomfort that came with her massaging my membranes to “possibly cut up to 4 hours off labor.” And the fact that she wanted this new guy to check my dilation to see what it felt like, didn’t bother me in the least. I was half way there.

By this point, I was so distracted by the fact that I was progressing so well (oh, and the contractions every 3 minutes) that when Col. Rensch said we were going to have this baby soon and to call her when we were on our way in, I didn’t even realize she meant THAT NIGHT until Jonathan asked. I guess I should have realized that when she warned the trainee OB not to break my water 10 times. She told us we were more than ready to go upstairs to L&D or we could go home and labor there for a while. She knew I wanted a natural birth and that I was hypnobirthing, so staying home for as long as possible was always part of the plan.

We decided to go home so I could take a warm bath for those final few hours while Jonathan packed up the rest of our stuff and made cookies for the nurses. That was the plan. We got home around noon, I sent out a few emails for work, and Jonathan put a chicken in the oven for lunch. And that is when the contractions started coming fast. And hard.

I never got in my bath. It took me too long to get upstairs (through contractions) and get a bathing suit top on. By the time I was halfway undressed for the bath, I was in a lot of pain and starting to feel a little “pushy.” Luckily, our amazing doula and friend Angie had ignored Jonathan when he said it’d be an hour or two before we went to the hospital and came to check on us then. She found me laboring at the top of the stairs, in too much pain to get in the tub or down the stairs. That’s when she told Jonathan it was hospital time as she worked her relaxing fingers on my back.

I really have no idea how I got down those stairs. With the help of Angie (while Jonathan was throwing last minute things in the car – bras, shoes, camera, water bottles, no cookies for the nurses for there was no time) I was able to get down the stairs in between contractions and get shoes on my feet. Next thing I knew, we were in the car on the way to the hospital.

Contractions were coming fast and I was having very short relief in between, timing them was out the window, and I was feeling pushy as we drove the five minutes to the hospital. Knowing I wouldn’t be able to walk all the way to labor and delivery, Jonathan pulled into the pick up/drop off, no parking zone and bolted into the lobby to grab a wheelchair. He grabbed me, my purse, and a towel and took off. Panicking a little that someone would steal our car (which had the engine running and the door wide open) I had enough energy left to yell “The car!”

As we wheeled frantically by an O-5 in the Navy (pretty high up for those of you not in the know) Jon stopped and said “Sir, are you busy?” Then proceeded to ask him to park our car, and drop off the keys to the front desk. I later learned he had not only done that, but brought our bags up to L&D. We were the talk of the unit after that valet service.

The rest of my labor passed in a very painful blur. I was wheeled up to the third floor, into my room, which was already set up and ready to go, thanks to my wonderful nurse (and neighbor) Katy, and was checked by Col. Rensch. At 7 centimeters, I still had some time to go, but I was beyond comforting. I moved around from leaning over the bed, to laboring on the toilet, to kneeling on the bed, to standing next to the bed. At one point, I was unbelievably uncomfortable while kneeling on the bed, so I got off just in time for my water to burst all over the floor, shoes, my own bare feet, and who knows what else.

Throughout this time, Harry’s heart rate was being monitored when I was near enough to the monitor, but that was it. No IV. No contraction monitoring. No meds. And finally, I looked at Katy and said “I feel like I need to go to the bathroom. I have to push.” I love her for simply replying “Do what you need to do.”

Col. Rensch came back as Katy was checking my progress and she encouraged me to labor on the toilet again – which worked wonders. Shortly thereafter, she came into the bathroom and told me I had to stand up, because I could not deliver this baby into the toilet. I remember asking if I was that close and hearing yes. That’s all I needed. I stood up, she pulled a stool up behind me and I pushed. I had no idea how long I was pushing before she said “I see a bunch of black hair!” And I was done. As soon as she said she saw hair, I shakily cried “He has hair?!” and pushed him out into this world. I needed to see that hair.

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The feeling of seeing Harry for the very first time, all wrinkly and messy, with a mouth open wide in a squawk, was indescribable. The best feeling ever (and not just because I was done pushing him out). He was absolutely beautiful – and still is – and my heart exploded with love. I don’t remember much of anything else aside from his face for the next hour. We fed, he looked at me, and I fell in love harder than I ever thought possible. He is perfect.

One thing I know is that this birth would have been exponentially harder if I didn’t have the best birthing partner in the world. Jonathan knew exactly what I needed. He knew when to distract me by counting. He knew to remind me that my thumb didn’t hurt. He knew when to just look into my eyes and be supportive. He knew to rub my back, hold my hips, and squeeze my hand. He just knew me. And having his face to focus on, especially when I though I just couldn’t do it anymore, was what got me through the worst of it.

I found out later the timing of our birth. We got to the hospital right around 1:25pm, I had him at 2:38pm. I still have no clue how long I pushed, but Jon guesses 15 minutes. No medication, no drugs, just how I had wanted it. But not necessarily because it was on my birth plan, but because there was no time. It was fast. It was intense. But now, I have the most beautiful son, with the most amazing black hair.

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Images of the three of us courtesy of Angela Iverson.

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40 Weeks

40 weeks

How far along: 40 Weeks. Oh, and I had a baby last week.

How big is baby: Actual. He was 7 pounds 4 ounces and 20.8 inches long when he was born. And with a ridiculous amount of hair. Which I love.

Total weight gain: Total weight gain was about 25lbs. I was down a few pounds on my delivery day, but we’ll say total weight gain was 25.

Maternity Clothes: Just ordered another nursing camisole.

Sleep: We’re getting about 3.5 hour spurts at night. Sometimes a little less. So far though, I can’t complain. Such a good little sleeper.

Best moment of the week: Tuesday at 1438 (The birth of my son was pretty awesome).

Food Cravings: Does water count? I down it like it’s going out of style every time he feeds.

Food Aversions: Nada.

Symptoms: Feeling pretty good. A little sore, a little emotional, but overall I feel so much better than I was expecting.

Movement: So much! And so much snuggling.

What I’m looking forward to: Being a mother to this sweet, sweet little boy. I love him to death.

What I miss: Nothing.

xoxo, Mallory

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Meet Harry

Born 2:38pm on January 9.
7 pounds, 4 ounces.
20.8 inches of beautiful boy.

Owen Harold III

Better known simply as Harry.

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Better Left Unsaid

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What is it about being pregnant that is so similar to being a magnet for word vomit? People are so very open (and often, so very rude) because I’ve got a little one growing inside me. Even people who I know (ahem, men) have never had a little one growing inside of them. It’s like seeing the bump makes people forget their manners. So in case any of you run into a pregnant woman anytime soon (believe it or not, they do let us out in public like any normal person, so you’re bound to run into us at some point or another) please, please do not say:

“You’re getting so big!” or “Any day now, huh?” or “You look ready to pop!” or any variation. Yes, I realize my stomach is the size of a watermelon. I realize this baby is getting bigger by the minute. But I don’t need to be reminded that I’m ready to pop (or worse, that I still have 10 weeks to go). I am dealing with my weight gain, something not easy for women to deal with – even if it is for a wonderful reason – on my own. And to some of these people, I really want to retort snottily “Yes, I am getting so big. This baby is 7+ lbs. What is your excuse?”

“Oh, just wait.” This one might be my biggest peeve. I’m uncomfortable. I have to pee. I’m hot and I’ve got a baby bouncing happily on the beanbag chair that is my bladder. Please don’t tell me to wait. That it’s just going to get worse. I’m not saying I’m in the worst pain of my life. I’m not even saying I’m in worse pain that you were in. I’m just saying, there is a lot of pressure happening and I need to get to a bathroom or I will pee my pants… and aim for your shoe.

“My labor was 128 hours with 17 hours of pushing and all this nasty, terrible, horrific stuff happened.” I’m about to have a baby. I realize, this is my first child so I’m not really privy on what exactly labor is going to be like, but I do know this. Every labor is different. And you’re just being rude telling me how terrible yours was. I’m not sure if this is a “Look how tough I was” thing or a “I’m going to one up you” thing or what. But it is rude. And it can be scary. So shh.

“Be careful working out!” Can I take a moment to say, “Um, duh.” I’ve been a runner since fourth grade. I’ve been in the gym hitting weights for 6+ years. I don’t think there is ever a workout, pregnant or not, that I have NOT been careful. I know my body. I’ve talked to my doctor. We’re fine in that gym. And while you’re at it, please refrain from telling me “Now, don’t let your water break while you’re here!” I’ll do my best, sir.

“I wish I was as lucky as you – I gained 75 pounds when I was pregnant!” Not luck. Work. Running into my eighth month. Spinning to the bitter end. Getting into the gym five mornings a week. And not giving into every single craving. That is how I kept my weight gain manageable. Not luck.

“You still have time to get fat.” Thanks.

“May I touch your stomach?” First of all, thank you for asking instead of just touching (most people don’t bother with the question). I appreciate it. But really, you’re a stranger. I know you think you’re touching a baby, but really, you’re just touching my stomach. And if this baby were on the outside, would you come up to me and ask “May I touch your baby?” No. Personal space should still exist even when sharing your body with another human. If I want you to touch my stomach, I’ll tell you.

Now here is my disclaimer: Most of what people have said to me about my pregnancy has been very, very positive. I’m very grateful for all of you and your wonderfully supportive comments throughout this pregnancy. If you have said any of these things to me, it’s okay. I still love you and I promise my annoyance was probably very short-lived. I have heard all of these multiple, multiple times (mainly from strangers), so I don’t even remember who has said what to me. Just remember this next time you see a pregnant woman walking down the street (read:sarcasm… kind of).

xoxo, Mallory

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