Kayla’s pregnancy journey

Kayla's Pregnancy Journey | UPMC Health Plan

I had a wonderful pregnancy experience. I want to share my journey and shed some light on options for those who are expecting. What I am sharing is purely my findings and experiences. I strongly encourage you to do your own research. That may help you decide what’s best for you, your family, and your little bundle of joy!

  1. You’re Expecting… Now What?
  2. My Pregnancy Vision
  3. My Prenatal Care
  4. My Birthing Experience

15MKT0730-Banner_expecting_Kayla_s-Pregnancy-Journey

Let’s start at square one. I was being rather moody one day, according to my husband, who said, “You must be pregnant.” So we bought a home pregnancy test and, sure enough, we saw two pink lines! He was right, and believe me, he won’t hesitate to say so. I was filled with many thoughts and emotions, but my big question was, “OK, what now?”

We have so many options today from what we eat to what kind of car we drive. My husband literally spent three days researching vacuum cleaners before we finally bought one. No surprise, then, that we were going to look into options for prenatal care and delivery. I turned to Google, of course, where I found an endless supply of information. That much information can be pretty overwhelming. I learned about hospital births, home births, and birthing centers. There was information about medical professionals who could provide me prenatal care and care during delivery, for example, obstetricians, midwives, and doulas.

My mind was spinning. “I could have my baby at home. Huh, that might be kind of messy, and what about the dogs?” “Should I stay with my current gynecologist practice since it also offers obstetrics?” “Do I need a doula?” So many questions! To get the answers, I did some more digging.

Here’s what I found. An obstetrician is a medical doctor who specializes in care for women while they are pregnant, usually during labor and after giving birth. Obstetricians traditionally work in a hospital setting, and many of them are gynecologists.

A certified nurse midwife (CNM) is a nurse with additional education in midwifery who can provide well-woman care, prenatal care, and care through labor, birth, and after the birth. A CNM can work in hospitals, birthing centers, or private homes.

A doula typically does not have a medical background. A doula is trained in and familiar with aspects of pregnancy, labor, and birth. A doula’s focus is to provide physical and emotional support to the mom during this time. There are also postpartum doulas who provide care after a baby is born.

OK, so those are the people. What about places?

A typical hospital birth would probably include care from an obstetrician as well as other health care workers like nurses and possibly a midwife. From my research and speaking to other moms, I knew the baby would be monitored, probably limited by how much, or if, I could move around/change positions. There would be options for medications and procedures like epidurals as well as a Cesarean section if needed. Plus there would be advanced technology and medical care in case of an emergency. I also learned that some hospitals offer family-oriented birthing centers with a more laid back approach to labor and birth, depending on the type of medical staff.

Then there are free-standing birthing centers that are more like a home setting. They may offer well-woman care and prenatal care, as well as allow you to labor and birth there. They may also provide postpartum care to the mom. Each state has regulations for licensing and accrediting of free-standing birthing centers. If I planned to give birth there, I would have to meet the strict standards of a healthy, low-risk pregnancy. It’s important to find out your state’s requirements, the standards you need to meet to qualify for care there, and which hospital the birthing center is affiliated with.

Then there’s the option of home birth. I had watched several documentaries about pregnancy and birth and found there are strict standards for home births. You need to be having a healthy, low-risk pregnancy to qualify for a home birth. A midwife or CNM typically provides care and brings the necessary supplies to your home when you go into labor and, in case of an emergency, devises a plan for hospital transfer.

Before becoming pregnant, I didn’t know much about these options. I assumed I would have standard care from an ob-gyn and a typical hospital birth that may or may not involve medications. I now love to share my findings with others who are expecting (and even those who aren’t) so they become aware of the choices they have.
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15MKT0730-Banner_vision_Kayla_s-Pregnancy-Journey

After doing extensive research into the all my options, which consumed me for quite a while, I started to narrow down my choices.

I began to consider my feelings about pregnancy, labor, and birth, and I came to several conclusions. I personally feel it is an amazing gift for women to nurture and bring a child into this world. I know that every woman’s vision of pregnancy, labor, and birth are unique. I also realized that women have been dealing with pregnancy, labor, and birthing long before medicine and technology got involved in the process!

My personal feeling is that birth is a natural thing and that I should go about it in a natural way. Don’t get me wrong; there is definitely a time and a place for medical technology. But if I have an uncomplicated and healthy pregnancy, I really wouldn’t need that technology, would I? I decided no — women have this amazing ability — and I can do it!

Here is my labor and delivery vision:

  • I want to look back on this entire experience and appreciate every moment of it.
  • I want to tell my child a very positive story about how he or she came into this world.
  • I know pregnancy and labor are not all sunshine and rainbows, and I’m preparing myself for that.
  • I expect struggles along the way.
  • I know there will be pain involved during labor.
  • I plan to use my strength, my husband’s support, and a warm and peaceful environment to help get me through the pain and struggle of labor.
  • I want prenatal care that is focused on my concerns, my questions, and me.
  • It is important to me be in control of actions and choices that I will need to make throughout my labor and delivery.

Now, to apply the knowledge I gained from reading articles and searching websites. Where will I find the medical and emotional care that meets my vision of pregnancy, labor, and delivery? It’s important for me to find the support I desire. And it’s important for you, too. (more to come here too)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are not in whole or in part the opinions of UPMC Health Plan or its affiliates.

 

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15MKT0730-Banner_care_Kayla_s-Pregnancy-Journey

My husband and I attended an orientation at The Midwife Center for Birth & Women’s Health, and we made a definite decision to go there. We toured the center and received information about their values, practices, costs, and prenatal care and birth options. We also reviewed statistics for the Center, which showed very low rates for cesareans, low birth weight babies, and pre-term babies compared to the national average. We learned that the Center was equipped with oxygen and medication to stop excessive bleeding, and they had measures in place to handle emergencies.

A typical stay after a birth with no complications is 4 to 12 hours. Then I get to go home! That’s right, no multi-day stays. This was my only hesitation at first. But, after orientation, I was assured that the midwives have a great deal of experience. Midwives watch for certain details, or “red flags,” to either lead them to transfer me to UPMC Mercy or to give me the all clear to go home. So, in most cases, I will return home in 4 to 12 hours. Plus I get my first postpartum visit at home! And did I mention they’ll also cook me a phenomenal breakfast before I leave — no matter what time it is!

I truly look forward to my appointments. Each time I go for a regular prenatal checkup, I get to meet a different midwife. The midwives take turns being on call, so I don’t know who will be with me until I go into labor. The Center does a really good job of scheduling me with a different midwife each time so that I get to know them. After all the monthly, bi-weekly, and now weekly appointments, I see some of the midwives multiple times. No matter which midwife I meet, the appointment always begins with “what are your questions,” and, believe me, I always have questions. Anything from, can I eat beef jerky, to questions about herbal teas and placenta encapsulation. The midwife is always considerate of my questions no matter how silly or embarrassing they may seem, and she does her absolute best to provide we with answers and/or resources.

After my list of questions, she checks my blood pressure. Then I get to hear the baby’s heartbeat. The midwives use a Doppler at visits and during labor to monitor the baby’s heartbeat. This is my favorite part of each appointment, that little ba bum, ba bum noise is incredibly reassuring, especially in the early months when I wasn’t yet feeling any movement.

The Center does not do labs or ultrasounds. I was able to choose a facility that was convenient for me. Lab results are then sent to the midwives for review. The Midwife Center gave me access to my electronic chart where I can see the information and details of my care. I can even email them my questions. If I ever have any questions or concerns, I have unlimited access. I can call a midwife or nurse 24/7. Since this is my first pregnancy and everything is new to me, it’s very reassuring that I can call with a question anytime. I know that a midwife or nurse call me back in a short period of time, depending on the urgency of the matter.

I will soon be starting my educational classes for childbirth, newborn care, and breastfeeding. I am very excited about these classes and getting one step closer to meeting my baby girl. Yes, it’s a girl! I look forward to the moment they lay her on my chest, and I finally get to see her. I couldn’t be happier with the care and support that I am receiving. I am happy with my choice to use The Midwife Center.

 

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15MKT0730-Banner_birth_Kayla_s-Pregnancy-Journey

As my belly grew, there were questions: “When are you due?” “Are you going to get induced soon?” “No baby yet?” The questions became more frequent.as my due date — July 15 — approached.

The night before my due date I went to bed crying and I woke up crying. But off to work I went, sobbing and wondering if my baby was ever going to come. During the day I reached my breaking point so I left the office to work from home the rest of the week. Little did I know that wasn’t going to happen. Later that night I went into labor.

I phoned the on-call midwife, who happened to be my favorite, and she advised me to get some rest. My husband then began frantically cleaning the house even though I had already cleaned it top to bottom about five times. I hoped all that cleaning would kick me into labor.

I began timing my contractions and calling family. My mom had a two-hour drive, and I advised her to get on the road immediately. About an hour into things, my contractions were really picking up and only about two minutes apart. My husband became apprehensive and said, “This is not normal! This is how babies are born at home! We have to leave now!” After two more calls to the midwife, we left. It was the most uncomfortable 15-minute car ride of my life. Thank goodness there was no traffic and the tunnel weren’t closed! We pulled into The Midwife Center at the same time as the midwife.

There were no other patients at the Center so I got my first choice of rooms. It was about midnight. The midwife and nurse checked me and said that I was definitely in active labor and I would finally get to meet my baby!

I got into the Jacuzzi and my husband poured water on my belly to ease the pain during contractions. My mom arrived a short time later. Every 15 minutes the nurse would check on my baby — my baby’s heart rate was perfect the whole time! Things progressed very quickly and after another hour, they checked me again. They asked if I wanted to push. Sure, I thought!

A half hour later the midwife told me it was going to be very hard work because of the baby’s position, but she thought I would be able to do it. More than two hours later, having used every ounce of strength I had, the midwife said, “Kayla, reach down and get your baby!” I almost didn’t believe the midwife. But there she was — a beautiful baby girl with a head full of hair! I will never forget the look on my husband’s face! Our baby girl had arrived at 5:46 a.m. She rested on my belly until her umbilical cord was ready to be cut. My husband did the honors.

For the next hour I held her close and admired the miracle she was! While the midwife attended to the minor repairs I needed, baby girl was weighed and measured. Beautiful and healthy baby at 7 lbs. 7 oz. and 19.5 inches long, she started nursing within a half hour of being born. Then she cuddled with me the rest of the morning. The midwife and nurse cooked us an amazing breakfast and we notified our family of the good news. We stayed until lunchtime, then headed home with our bundle of joy! The next day we took her to the pediatrician. The nurses from the Center made two home visits over the next couple days. They examined the baby and me and helped with questions about breastfeeding and other topics.

The experience is like nothing I could have predicted. It was the hardest yet most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I am incredibly proud of myself for going through with a natural labor and no medications. I am also proud of my strong baby girl who did half of the work!

If there is one piece of advice I could give to all expectant moms, it is to do your research, decide what you believe is the best care and environment for you and your baby, and find people who support your decision. No one else will have the same story as you do so there’s no need to listen to the scary things others may share. No matter how your baby enters the world, it’s worth every effort it took to get to that moment!

 
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My Vision of Pregnancy, Labor, and Birth

My Vision of Pregnancy, Labor, and Birth | UPMC Health Plan

After doing extensive research into the all my options, which consumed me for quite a while, I started to narrow down my choices.

I began to consider my feelings about pregnancy, labor, and birth, and I came to several conclusions. I personally feel it is an amazing gift for women to nurture and bring a child into this world. I know that every woman’s vision of pregnancy, labor, and birth are unique. I also realized that women have been dealing with pregnancy, labor, and birthing long before medicine and technology got involved in the process!

My personal feeling is that birth is a natural thing and that I should go about it in a natural way. Don’t get me wrong; there is definitely a time and a place for medical technology. But if I have an uncomplicated and healthy pregnancy, I really wouldn’t need that technology, would I? I decided no — women have this amazing ability — and I can do it!

Here is my labor and delivery vision:

  • I want to look back on this entire experience and appreciate every moment of it.
  • I want to tell my child a very positive story about how he or she came into this world.
  • I know pregnancy and labor are not all sunshine and rainbows, and I’m preparing myself for that.
  • I expect struggles along the way.
  • I know there will be pain involved during labor.
  • I plan to use my strength, my husband’s support, and a warm and peaceful environment to help get me through the pain and struggle of labor.
  • I want prenatal care that is focused on my concerns, my questions, and me.
  • It is important to me be in control of actions and choices that I will need to make throughout my labor and delivery.

Now, to apply the knowledge I gained from reading articles and searching websites. Where will I find the medical and emotional care that meets my vision of pregnancy, labor, and delivery? It’s important for me to find the support I desire. And it’s important for you, too. (more to come here too)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are not in whole or in part the opinions of UPMC Health Plan or its affiliates.

 

You’re expecting a baby. Now what?

You’re expecting a baby. Now what? | UPMC Health Plan

I am closing in on my 3rd trimester of pregnancy, and I have had a wonderful experience. I want to share my journey and shed some light on options for those who are expecting. What I am sharing is purely my findings and experiences. I strongly encourage you to do your own research. That may help you decide what’s best for you, your family, and your little bundle of joy!

Let’s start at square one. I was being rather moody one day, according to my husband, who said, “You must be pregnant.” So we bought a home pregnancy test and, sure enough, we saw two pink lines! He was right, and believe me, he won’t hesitate to say so. I was filled with many thoughts and emotions, but my big question was, “OK, what now?”

We have so many options today from what we eat to what kind of car we drive. My husband literally spent three days researching vacuum cleaners before we finally bought one. No surprise, then, that we were going to look into options for prenatal care and delivery. I turned to Google, of course, where I found an endless supply of information. That much information can be pretty overwhelming. I learned about hospital births, home births, and birthing centers. There was information about medical professionals who could provide me prenatal care and care during delivery, for example, obstetricians, midwives, and doulas.

My mind was spinning. “I could have my baby at home. Huh, that might be kind of messy, and what about the dogs?” “Should I stay with my current gynecologist practice since it also offers obstetrics?” “Do I need a doula?” So many questions! To get the answers, I did some more digging.

Here’s what I found. An obstetrician is a medical doctor who specializes in care for women while they are pregnant, usually during labor and after giving birth. Obstetricians traditionally work in a hospital setting, and many of them are gynecologists.

A certified nurse midwife (CNM) is a nurse with additional education in midwifery who can provide well-woman care, prenatal care, and care through labor, birth, and after the birth. A CNM can work in hospitals, birthing centers, or private homes.

A doula typically does not have a medical background. A doula is trained in and familiar with aspects of pregnancy, labor, and birth. A doula’s focus is to provide physical and emotional support to the mom during this time. There are also postpartum doulas who provide care after a baby is born.

OK, so those are the people. What about places?

A typical hospital birth would probably include care from an obstetrician as well as other health care workers like nurses and possibly a midwife. From my research and speaking to other moms, I knew the baby would be monitored, probably limited by how much, or if, I could move around/change positions. There would be options for medications and procedures like epidurals as well as a Cesarean section if needed. Plus there would be advanced technology and medical care in case of an emergency. I also learned that some hospitals offer family-oriented birthing centers with a more laid back approach to labor and birth, depending on the type of medical staff.

Then there are free-standing birthing centers that are more like a home setting. They may offer well-woman care and prenatal care, as well as allow you to labor and birth there. They may also provide postpartum care to the mom. Each state has regulations for licensing and accrediting of free-standing birthing centers. If I planned to give birth there, I would have to meet the strict standards of a healthy, low-risk pregnancy. It’s important to find out your state’s requirements, the standards you need to meet to qualify for care there, and which hospital the birthing center is affiliated with.

Then there’s the option of home birth. I had watched several documentaries about pregnancy and birth and found there are strict standards for home births. You need to be having a healthy, low-risk pregnancy to qualify for a home birth. A midwife or CNM typically provides care and brings the necessary supplies to your home when you go into labor and, in case of an emergency, devises a plan for hospital transfer.

Before becoming pregnant, I didn’t know much about these options. I assumed I would have standard care from an ob-gyn and a typical hospital birth that may or may not involve medications. I now love to share my findings with others who are expecting (and even those who aren’t) so they become aware of the choices they have.

Stay tuned to learn more about the route I chose and why, as I continue to share my story with you!

12 tips for traveling with babies

12 tips for traveling with babies  | UPMC Health Plan

No one really likes long car trips. Add an infant to the mix, and it can really be stressful! My in-laws are a five- or six-hour drive from us. We’ve made the trek with Baby several times already, and while I am certainly not an expert on infant travel, I have found some tricks that make our trip go a little smoother. I put together the following list, hoping it might help some new parents out there!

  1. If possible, plan to start your trip at naptime. That way, Baby can sleep for at least the first leg of your journey. If you wait to start your travel right after naptime, you will be dealing with a wide awake and easily bored (read: fussy) baby for hours. I can tell you this from experience!
  2. If Baby is sleeping, don’t stop! We have found that our son will sleep for about half of our trip if we don’t stop. So we fuel up before leaving, and limit our fluids so we can drive for as long as Baby allows.
  3. Change that diaper every two hours max! I know this might seem at odds with my last point, but it’s not something to ignore. Sometimes we can push it to two and a half hours if he’s sleeping, but much more and we’ll end up with a wet car seat. Figure on one diaper for every hour of travel, plus a few extra just in case.
  4. Have someone sit in the backseat with Baby. Once Baby wakes up from his nap, and is clean and dry, I usually move to the backseat with him. That way, I can take care of many of his needs without us having to keep stopping. I fish toys from between the car seat and the door, give him water or food, make sure he’s not too hot or cold, play peek-a-boo, etc.
  5. Use removable sun screens for the side windows.* No one wants to have the sun in his eyes for six hours straight. And your little one’s eyes are more sensitive to sunlight than yours are. I bought some for about five dollars each, and they work great!
  6. If you’re breastfeeding, pack enough water to keep yourself well hydrated and extra snacks if you need. You’ll need a cover and a receiving blanket for pit-stop feedings — Baby should never be out of his car seat while the car is moving!
  7. If you’re bottle feeding, bring enough formula and bottles to get to your destination or to where you can clean and sanitize everything. If you premix formula, make sure to keep it cold with ice in a cooler until you’re ready to use it.
  8. Pack at least one change of clothes — for Baby and for you. If your baby is older than about two hours, you know why!
  9. Bring a few gallon-sized zipper bags. These are great for temporarily storing messy items like dirty diapers or clothing, and bibs.
  10. Don’t forget a pacifier if your baby uses one. This can help equalize the pressure in his ears if you’re changing elevation, or just soothe him if he’s getting tired or cranky.
  11. Remove Baby’s coat once in the car so he doesn’t overheat, and so the car seat buckle fits properly.
  12. Pack smart! New parents tend to over-pack. The first car trip we took with our son, I think we brought his entire nursery with us! Since then, we have pared down what we pack. My in-laws have many necessities they don’t mind us borrowing, and we can always buy most things there if we run out or forget. See my recommended packing list here!

What tips do you have to make traveling with an infant less stressful?

*disclaimer: make sure sun shades are legal in your state. 

Healthy eating for new parents

Healthy Eating for New Parents | UPMC Health Plan

Eating healthy is challenging. But when you have a new baby it’s impossible! Or is it?

Having a baby changes everything. That tiny, helpless human takes over your life in ways you never imagined it would. You have become adept at doing all of your housework silently — except for vacuuming, which you’ve found you can accomplish when Baby is fussy. It puts her right to sleep! You go to bed now at 8 p.m., because that’s when Baby goes down — and you want to sleep as much as possible before she’s up again. Your idea of a good time has changed; the best part of your day is lying on the floor beside a play gym with hanging noisemakers, and the greatest conversation you’ve ever had is, “Maaaaaaaagaaaaaaa!” Eating? Well, you might get to shovel down a bowl of cereal standing in the kitchen when Baby is asleep for three minutes, right?

Those are my experiences, anyway. And while I wouldn’t trade them for the world, healthy eating can’t take a backseat — now, especially. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to. For me, the key is making sure that when I do have a minute for a meal, there is something healthy ready to go. Here are some tips that I have found helpful:

  • Cook in bulk. When I cook, I now make lots of leftovers: rice, veggies, pasta, chicken breasts, etc. That way, we have healthy meals for several nights without having to cook every night.
  • Stock your kitchen with healthy food. This might seem rather basic, but if your kitchen is full of pre-packaged processed “junk,” that’s what you’re going to eat. If you don’t buy it, you likely won’t eat it.
  • Prep meals before Baby comes. I used some of my pre-baby energy to prep some slow cooker meals to freeze. That way, once the baby did come, it was simple to pull out a meal, throw it in the slow cooker, and have a delicious, healthy meal for dinner. Casseroles and soups lend themselves well to freezing also.
  • Build a library of quick, easy meals. Meals that take less than 30 minutes are ideal. Sometimes my whole meal is only three ingredients: grilled chicken, brown rice, and steamed broccoli. You don’t have to be a culinary master!
  • Buy frozen vegetables. The truth is, I may have the best of intentions to make those fresh green beans, but by the time I get to them, they’re no good anymore. Frozen veggies are just as nutritious as fresh, and you won’t have to worry about them going bad before you get to cook them.
  • Use your slow cooker. Even if you weren’t able to prep slow cooker meals for the freezer, it’s still a great way to have a meal all cooked for you when dinner rolls around — whether you are going back to work or not! Stick to recipes that don’t use cream soups or other high-calorie sauces.
  • Just say, “Yes.”  Family and friends may offer to bring you meals or pick up some groceries. Accept the offer.
  • Ask for help. Ask your partner to help you with meal preparation if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Your sanity is important, too!
  • Make snacks count. Snack on high quality foods, like fruit, nuts, veggies and hummus, or whole grain toast with all-fruit jelly or peanut butter. When meal times can be so variable, it’s important to not reach the “I’ll-eat-anything-including-a-bottle-of-ketchup” stage.
  • Keep water by you at all times. It was so easy for me to forget to drink. Keeping a water bottle with you at all times can help you remember to stay hydrated.
  • Recognize your limitations and forgive yourself! Even if this isn’t your first baby, every baby has unique challenges. If you fall off the healthy eating wagon, don’t beat yourself up! It happens to all of us! Don’t let the snowball continue, though. Get back on the wagon the next time you can.

What are your tips for eating healthy when a new baby comes into your life?

Baby social cues

Contributing author: Melissa Andersen, PhD of Children’s Hospital of UPMC

If you’re a new parent like Coach Laura, you’re probably eager to get to know the tiny person who changed your life. But how do you “socialize” with a newborn?

True, your baby is not ready to build towers or act out stories with toys. But playing is important from birth. Having things to look at, listen to, and touch helps a baby’s brain develop. As your baby enters his second month, he gets more interested in the world around him.

You will learn how your baby likes to be handled in each of her different moods. If he gets fussy, that’s his way of saying, “Too much!” Watch for signs that your baby is becoming overwhelmed, and remember tricks that help her calm down.

lets_play gimme_a_break

“Let’s play!”

“I need a break!”

  • Bright-eyed
  • Looking at you
  • Normal skin color
  • Hand touching face
  • Sucking
  • Relaxed arms and legs
  • Smooth, relaxed movements
  • Color changes in skin: skin getting flushed or mottled (spots of flushed skin over body)
  • Changes in breathing rate
  • Hiccupping
  • Sneezing
  • Yawning
  • Looking away
  • Arching back
  • Squirming
  • Coughing
  • Spitting up
  • “Stop” hand sign
  • Arms and legs either very tense/pushing out or very loose/floppy

Preeclampsia and Life as a New Mom

Baby-GraysonI am now almost four weeks postpartum. I went to the doctor for a routine prenatal checkup, and was diagnosed with preeclampsia. This is a condition that affects some pregnant women, marked by swelling in the hands, legs, and feet, high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Having preeclampsia increases the risk to both mother and baby and the only cure is delivery, so I was admitted to Magee that morning to be induced. Preeclampsia carries an increased risk of a woman having seizures during delivery, so to prevent that, I was placed on a magnesium oxide IV. Once this was administered, I wasn’t permitted to get out of bed, because the medication can cause dizziness and weakness, increasing the possibility of falls.

I wasn’t dilated at all, and there were no signs the baby was going to make an appearance on his own, so I was given more medication to soften the cervix enough for delivery, and for dilation to occur. This seemed to take forever, but by the next day things were finally progressing! Then the contractions started. I found it really difficult to deal with the pain, since I was unable to get out of bed to use many of the coping techniques we learned in class. I tried breathing and repositioning for a while before opting for an epidural. The anesthesia team came really quickly, which was wonderful because I was exhausted by this point. But after a while I started having contractions in my back, and it was determined the baby was positioned occiput posterior. That means the baby was head down, but facing my abdomen instead of my back. After dilating to 9 centimeters (full dilation is 10 centimeters), progress stopped. The doctor told me it was likely the baby would not rotate into a more favorable position, and that I would probably not dilate any more. He recommended a cesarean section at that point.

It wasn’t long before they were prepping me for surgery. Thankfully, I had opted for the epidural earlier, because they just administered additional anesthesia through the line already there. In the operating room, the doctor told me my blood pressure was dropping quickly, and the baby’s heart rate was also falling. They were going to get him out immediately. My husband made it in just as they were starting to operate. The whole operation took about 15 minutes, and at 9:08 p.m., the day after I was admitted, baby Grayson finally came into the world! I was awake during the operation, and I could hear him cry when he was born. It was very emotional, and it was hard that I couldn’t hold him then. My husband still got to cut the umbilical cord, and he got to hold him, and bring him over for me to see.

Once the operation was over, Grayson and I were brought back to the delivery room, and I was able to hold him for the first time, and start feeding him. It was amazing to finally have him in my arms after all we went through. The staff and Magee made every effort to honor our birth plan, but at the end of the day, it just wasn’t possible to follow most of it because of the complications. We are so thankful, though, for being there. I know it was the best possible place I could have been.

Recovering from major surgery added another challenge to adjusting to being a new mom. My husband had to help me a lot in the first few days, handing Grayson to me for feeding, and doing most of the diaper changes. But we are now settling into a routine at home. My husband stays home a couple days a week, and my mom comes a couple days a week, since I’m still recovering and unable to drive, but I should be fully released in a couple weeks. Nights are a little trying sometimes, but we are enjoying being parents. I love spending my days with Grayson! We’re still working on figuring out what all his different cries mean. He’s spending more time awake now, and learning about his environment by observing. He has so many facial expressions, but none are purposeful yet. I can’t wait for that first purposeful smile!

It’s been a long road to get here with a few bumps along the way, but everything turned out well in the end, thanks to a great team of doctors and other health care providers, and the steadfast support of friends and family.

Here’s to starting a new chapter in our lives!

 

INFOGRAPHIC: Baby Talk Decoded

Contributing author: Melissa Andersen, PhD of Children’s Hospital of UPMC

Babies have their own way of communicating — here’s how to decode what their actions say about their moods.

babytalk

What to pack for delivery

There are more than a few things to keep track of when you’re expecting to deliver a baby! Like what to bring to the hospital. Newly minted mom Coach Laura worked with the experts at Magee Women’s Hospital of UPMC to make a checklist. She wouldn’t want to forget her camera — or snacks for her husband.

Use this checklist as a starting point. Your personal list may include more (or fewer) items.

Delivery-Bag-Packing-Tips

Baby Grayson!

Help us welcome Baby Grayson! Born on March 14th, weighing in at 7 pounds, 3 ounces. Congratulations to Coach Laura and her husband! Mom and baby are doing well; she’ll be sharing more of her experience “From Here to Maternity” soon.


Laura-and-baby

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