The Blue Angels jets thundered over my head, practicing their performance for our local “international” air show last week. I was filled with patriotic pride. Then, I started weeping, thinking about my baby growing up to be a pilot. We live so close to the airport, maybe our son and daughter will want to take pilot lessons. Or maybe they will become an engineer, teacher, artist, or biologist. The future possibilities are endless! My tears only lasted a moment, as I began laughing at myself soon after. Ah, pregnancy hormones!
Yes, I’m now almost four months pregnant. It’s a miracle, an amazing testimony to God’s faithfulness and blessing in our lives. We are looking forward to meeting our precious little one in early January 2016.
Those of you who have followed my blog the last couple years know I struggled with infertility due to uterine fibroids. In April of 2015, I had a myomectomy surgery, after suffering for over three years. There was the physical pain of heavy bleeding and long cycles, and then there was the emotion toll of knowing I couldn’t have children. The largest fibroid blocked any chance for a fertilize egg to implant successfully. And then there was the insurance piece. For the longest time, we didn’t have suitable insurance that would cover such an expensive surgery. So, we waited. I waited. Jim waited. Even after my fibroids were removed, we were told there was no guarantee we could have children. There could be other complications. After all, I’m 39 years old. We continued to pray, along with our wonderful Christian friends and family. And God answered. Here I am pregnant and feeling good. We are ecstatic and grateful for the opportunity to become parents. Jim has shown more excitement than he has in quite a while. As soon as we started announcing our pregnancy, he told everyone from his coworkers to our church friends to our dentist in the first week! 😉 (Read previous posts about my journey in these links.)
- My Uterine Fibroids Journey (Part 1) – A Common Story
- My Uterine Fibroids Journey (Part 2) – Surgery and Recovery
First Trimester Blessings
For the most part, my pregnancy has been uneventful and healthy. Beside moments of extreme fatigue and hot flashes interrupting my sleep, I’ve had no morning sickness and no major pain. In some ways, I think I feel better being pregnant! (I’ve heard this is often true for women who have low thyroid and progesterone conditions, like me.) I can grow a baby and feel better too. Nice!
Eating for Two
People who see me eat, especially my husband, know that I eat a lot of food. Now that I’m pregnant, I eat even more. Or more correctly put, I’m eating more often. I was told by my midwife that I didn’t need to “eat for two,” but since baby is sourcing nutrients from my real food diet, I need regular intake to keep myself well nourished. I notice that my energy levels are more stable when I eat every three to four hours like clockwork. Even at night. At about week 10, I started waking up at 3:00am and couldn’t go back to sleep. Or I would wake up with itching all over my body. I soon realized that a small protein snack put me right back to sleep. Now, I pack a small lunch sack with an ice pack to keep beside my bed every night. When hypoglycemia symptoms strike, I eat and go back to sleep.
So, what am I eating? Lots of healthy protein from grass-fed beef and lamb, and organic chicken. Lots of vegetables, always more vegetables, mostly cooked. I’m consuming more healthy fats like eggs, avocados, coconut, tallow (beef fat) and liver to keep up my iron stores. (Can you say liver pate? It’s really very good.) I’m eating far more fruit (’tis the season for berries!) and carbs than I was eating before my pregnancy. That quickly solved my constipation problem early on in the first weeks.
A book that has been very helpful in explaining the nutritional needs required for pregnancy is The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care by Sally Fallon and Dr. Thomas Cowan. It’s based on the work of Dr. Weston A Price, who traveled the world in the early 20th century researching the real food diets of traditional cultures untouched by Western society. It’s amazing to read about the special pre-natal foods that tribal women consumed, in preparation for a healthy birth and baby. I wish we would consider conception and pregnancy planning so sacred in our culture! While you may not agree with all the advice for our modern world, I recommend the book for all mothers and mothers-to-be. It’s well researched and fascinating.
Preparing for our New Arrival
I’ve been blessed to have friends give me bags of maternity clothes, and cute ones at that! I’m almost done sorting, washing, and organizing my clothes closet to wear my new “I’m finally pregnant” wardrobe.
We’ve also have the privilege of borrowing a co-sleeper crib that attaches to our bed for baby’s early months and an 80-year old wood crib to use for later as our baby grows into sleeping on his/her own. Thank you to my parents and siblings! We are also planning on purchasing a Baby Safe crib mattress cover to reduce exposure to toxic flame retardants and minimize the risk of SIDS, as well as 100 percent cotton baby clothes for the same reasons. Keeper of the Home has an informative post about why flame retardants in children’s sleepwear is a major health hazard.
Of course, there are car seats and strollers to think about, but I’m not concerned about finding used options in good condition. I’m all about second-hand, especially if it saves us money. We would also like to try cloth diapering, but I’m still researching the best brands and would prefer an all-cotton diaper, if possible.
Planning for Gentle Surgical Birth
My pre-natal care is being handled by a mid-wife. We have been grateful for her cooperation with our naturally-minded perspective on pregnancy. I have refused a flu-shot and the awful gestational diabetes glucose drink. (Who would give a fasting pregnant woman 50 ounces of sugar in one sitting?!) In some cases, she has been gracious to offer alternative tests that will be sufficient in managing my health.
At some point in the third trimester, we will need to meet with an OB/GYN who specializes in cesarean section deliveries. Because of my fibroid surgery and excess scar tissue on my endometrium, a natural birth is not recommended. Uterine rupture is a very real risk, especially during labor and heavy contractions. Every nurse and doctor (including our midwife) we have spoken to has urged us to have a C-section birth. For women that have had a laparoscopic myomectomy with removal of fibroids outside the uterine cavity only, there is potential opportunity for a vaginal delivery. I have read about such stories in my research. In my case, however, I had an abdominal myomectomy with a deep incision in the center of my uterus to remove the largest fibroid. I wish a natural birth was possible, but I don’t want to risk my life or the life of my baby.
Can you have a more “natural” cesarean birth? Yes, you can! More doctors are aiming to make this medical procedure, also called a “gentle cesarean,” as close to the real thing as possible. With a detailed birth plan, you can request specific, natural practices. We will be asking for the following:
- Immediate skin-to-skin contact with the mother (both in the operating and recovery room)
- Delayed umbilical cord clamping (at least 2 minutes, but until it stops pulsing is ideal)
- No washing of the baby until the antibacterial protective skin coating (called the vernix caseoso) flakes off naturally
- Wrapping the baby in blankets from home with mom’s bacteria on them
- Swabbing the vagina before IV antibiotics to share mother’s bacterial flora with the baby (This mimics the effects of travel through the birth canal. Place in baby’s mouth and nose directly or on breast before nursing.)
- No hepatitis B vaccine (I personally do not want to inject my newborn when his/her immune system is so under-developed. It’s a rare disease and this particular vaccine is not necessary unless the mother is a drug user or has had multiple sexual encounters. We may consent to additional vaccines in the future, but not this one at birth.)
- Constant contact with one of the parents (I want to nurse right away but if I am resting at some point after surgery, Jim can watch our baby.)
To learn more about natural C-section options, browse these helpful links:
- How to Have a Natural and Gentle Cesarean – Wellness Mama
- Cesarean: It’s Still Your Birth and Your Baby – Becoming Kindred
- How to Have a Natural Cesarean – Well Rounded Birth Prep
- Gentle Cesarean: How to Have a More Natural C-Section – Mama Natural
After learning that a C-section was necessary to birth my baby, I was especially encouraged by this video. It’s twelve minutes long, but worth the time. I encourage all mothers to be prepared for this potential surgery, whether it’s scheduled or not. Every time I watch this, I cry when the baby is born. Enjoy!
Your Prayers are Appreciated
My uterine fibroids story has been quite the journey and it’s not over. In some ways, I feel like it is just the beginning. Now that we have a baby on the way, we have much to look forward to. Thank you so much for your support of our family. We covet your continued prayers for a healthy Mama, baby, and birth experience.
It’s been a privilege to share my hurts and joys with you. I hope, in some small way, I have encouraged you, especially if you are woman struggling with the pain of fibroids and/or infertility. I would also love to hear your stories. Please share in the comments below or send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition to the unfailing strength and love of God in our lives, our common experiences give us hope.
“If we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” Romans 8:25