January 7, 2013
11 days ago my son was delivered via c-section. Since this is a major surgery I am not permitted to drive for 2 weeks. The first few days inside were fine as the city was still climbing out from under the heaviest snow that we’d had in 18 years. But as the days go by cabin fever is starting to set in and I’m anxious to get out. The idea of not being able to drive or leave when I want and having to depend on other people to take me to and fro began to overwhelm me.
Fortunately a good friend stopped by yesterday to rescue me and the baby from our “house rest”. Our first outing was to none other than Target. Ordinarily I could stay in Target and browse for a couple of hours. Hit up the clearance racks and the end caps in housewares. Maybe even try on an item of clothing or two. But not yesterday. LOL. 20 minutes into the shopping excursion my son wakes up and is ready to nurse. Suddenly I was aware that there are no lactation rooms or breast feeding areas for nursing moms. The first time he wanted to eat I went to the cafe, found a table isolated in the corner and draped myself with the privacy cover so that he could nurse. We were there for a good 20 minutes and then he dozed off. Initially I thought that he would be okay until I was done browsing, but he’s 10 day old tummy was only satisfied for a short while. By the time he woke up again I was somewhere between the home improvement and furniture aisles. Not wanting to subject him to another long trip to the front of the store and back to that corner table in the cafe, I decided to park it in the display chair and prop my feet on the display ottoman so that he could eat. Although I was draped I felt like I was on display as well.
As I sat there I began to brainstorm, maybe they could turn 1 or 2 of their fitting rooms in the women’s department into nursing rooms for moms. That would be ideal and give moms and babies the privacy they needed. I also thought about the awkwardness of the shopping cart itself and the lack of room to place items in the cart especially when the baby’s car seat is in there. I ended up grabbing a smaller, hand-held basket that I placed beneath the cart. The positive side of that is that it limits the amount of items you can purchase and thus the amount of money you spend:-)
While I was very grateful to get out of the house and do some light shopping I was also slightly overwhelmed by my lack of a second pair of hands, which every new mom could use from time to time. Our trip to Target lasted almost two hours. At least 45 minutes was spent nursing my son. Yes, the third nursing session occurred in the health and beauty aid section near the pharmacy. At least it was more secluded than the display chair in the furniture department. LOL.
It’s been nearly 12 years since I had a newborn. I have forgotten some of the nuances that go along with shopping with baby. But I remain so happy for the experience of being a mom again.
Thanks for reading!
January 2, 2013
Having gone through now two c-sections I feel that I have a pretty good grasp of what questions to ask the doctor prior to your c-section delivery.
I had my first c-section 11 years ago and my second only six days ago! So what has changed in those 11 years?
- My age. I was 26 when I gave birth to my daughter and my recovery seemed speedier. At 37 I was considered advanced for maternal age and as a result, was at risk for greater pregnancy related complications and my son at risk for greater birth defects.
- My OB. The doctor who delivered my daughter was not longer seeing OB patients, only GYN patients.
In my opinion there are many advantages to having the same OB manage your prenatal care and, if required, to perform your c-section. Should your doctor change OR if you are considering or must have a c-section here are some questions to ask your doctor:
- If you have previously had a c-section inquire about the hospital’s and your doctor’s personal philosophy and comfort level with performing VBAC. Hospitals are required to have certain staffing ratios and a specific composition of care team staff on hand to manage a VBAC. In my case, my doctor personally preferred c-section deliveries and by her own admission elected to have two of them. There were even a few instances where she strongly encouraged me to simplify things by just opting for a second c-section. If your doctor holds these beliefs they may not support your desires/wishes to have a VBAC.
- For when will my c-section be scheduled and are the dates flexible? My doctor scheduled mine for me one day prior to the original due date. We did not discuss my preference for dates, but given that my due date was sandwiched between Christmas and New Year’s Eve I figured that the date was a matter of when the OR suite and staff were available.
- How many support persons can I have in the OR room with me during delivery? Are photos and/or video recording allowed?
- What type of incision will you make? If your c-section is emergency or if your baby is in a transverse position your doctor may use a vertical incision. This may also be required in other instances. The most common approach is a horizontal incision that is slightly below the bikini line. Both of mine were horizontal incisions.
- Will you use stitches, staples or dermabond (glue)? I had dermabond with my first and staples with the second.
- If you have previously had a c-section ask the doctor if he/she will use the existing scar. During my prenatal visits the OB would jokingly say, you already have a scar, just have another c-section. This led me to erroneously assume that she would use my existing scar. Imagine my surprise when the bandages were removed and I realized that I had a brand new incision! The nurses on the unit and the doctor who made rounds that weekend could not explain to me WHY the doctor had made a new incision, but assured me that the doctor will assess to see if this is the best approach. I have this on my list of questions to ask at my follow-up visit and have done some research just to see if this was standard practice. It seems that in most instances the previous scar is used, but in others a new one is made. I couldn’t find any evidence based practice articles on the subject, but did consistently see that new scars heal faster. Either way, this is something to ask your doctor BEFORE hand to avoid any post-op surprises.
- What type of anesthesia will be used? I personally had a spinal block. With my first c-section I could not move my legs for 6 hours following delivery. The nurse anesthetist explained that the amount of time varies depending on the amount of anesthesia that was used. In my case I received duramorph and it made me itch both the first and second time. This is a normal reaction to the drug.
- How soon after will I be able to drive? I was told two weeks due to the spinal block anesthesia that was used. Make sure you have someone to help you in those two weeks following delivery as your baby’s first doctor’s visit will usually occur within the first few days after delivery.
- What are my weight lifting restrictions? I was told 10 lbs or nothing that weighs more than baby and car seat.
These are the questions that first came to mind. Hope these are helpful and good luck on your c-section delivery!
January 2, 2013
The moment that I learned I was pregnant with my second child I was certain that I wanted to have a vaginal delivery. Since my first pregnancy required a c-section delivery I knew that chances were likely that I would need a second one. Still I wanted to try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section).
When I initially met with my OB she informed me of the criteria for VBAC: low transverse incision (also referred to as the bikini cut). Since my first delivery was done in this manner I knew that vaginal birth was a possibility for me. The remaining criteria that we reviewed included me going into labor naturally and not going over my due date. Women who have had previous c-section deliveries cannot have their labor induced as other women because the drugs that they give to induce labor (e.g. Pitocin) can cause the previous c-section scar to ruputure. The final criteria was a non-breech presentation.
As my pregnancy progressed I was excited about the possiblity of VBAC. The baby was in the right position as I neared my third trimester and I had not encountered any complications such as gestational diabetes, pre-term labor, or pre-eclampsia. When I reached 36 weeks I began seeing the OB weekly. At the 36 week visit I was quite disappointed to learn that while my cervix had softened it had not began to dilate and my hopes of VBAC began to fade. The doctor advised me of some natural remedies that I could use to promote dilation (nipple stimulation with a breast pump, sex, walking and so on). With the exception of sex (which wasn’t an option given my break up with the ‘father’) I tried everything she suggested PLUS squats, lunges, and painting! LOL. 37 weeks rolled around and I was hopeful that something had changed. The doctor decided not to examine my cervix at that visit, but pre-scheduled me for a c-section just in case. She then advised me that she would attempt membrane rupture if I had dilated any by 38 weeks. Time was running out and my hopes for the type of delivery that I wanted were far from reality.
Wednesday, Dec 26th, two days before my son’s original due date and one day before the pre-scheduled c-section my city was hit with the biggest snow storm in 18 years. The OBs office called to reschedule my appointment, but I insisted on making the 5 minute drive just to see if I had made any progress. After an uncomfortable vaginal exam I learned that my cervix still had not dilated. When the nurse practitioner left the room I cried and the last hopes that I had held onto for a VBAC faded permanently. Despite all of my efforts I had not been able to experience the kind of delivery that I wanted.
The rational and logical part of me knew that having a healthy and safe delivery was most important for both my son and I. But the reality of being a single mom who would be on driving, lifting and activity restrictions for two weeks following a c-section delivery heightened my anxiety.
Happily my son Reid was born Thursday, December 27th at 4:39 pm. He weighed 7lbs 4 oz and was 20″ long. It’s hard to believe that he will be a week old already tomorrow. We have been home for three days now and are getting adjusted to our new life. As for me, I am trying to take it easy and rest so that my body can heal and that I can enjoy my new bundle.
While I did not have the type of delivery that I wanted, I have everything that I need.
Thanks for reading!
December 22, 2012
Last fall I took my daughter to the urgent care center because she was having neck stiffness and shoulder pain. I thought it was musculoskeletal, but she was in tears so I wanted to be sure as life threatening conditions such as meningitis, which can often present as a stiff neck. Anyway, the MD prescribed 10 mg of Flexeril. When the nurse gave us our discharge instructions I questioned her twice. Is this an acceptable dose for children?! I asked because I was recently prescribed 10 mg of Flexeril for muscle spasms and I am an adult. I DID NOT get this script filled and am so glad that I didn’t bc according to Drugs.com: •Flexeril should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 15 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
Just bc the doctor orders it does not mean it’s right. ASK QUESTIONS AND RESEARCH your prescriptions!!!!
Read more about Flexeril at http://www.drugs.com/cdi/flexeril.html
December 20, 2012
As a doctoral student I am often seeking additional sources of grant funding to support my studies. Below I have compiled a quick list of best practices that can be used when asking for letters of reference or support for grants, scholarships, or graduate school applications.
- Start early-consider the individuals who are familiar with your work and who can clearly articulate (in writing) your strengths, areas in need of improvement, and who can speak to your potential as an applicant.
- Avoid asking people to write a letter for you at the last minute. Everyone is busy so it is not fair to expect people to turn out a letter for you at the last minute.
- Prepare a draft or letter template that your reviewers can use as a starting point. This saves them time and increases the likelihood that they will submit a letter for you again in the future.
- Give the reviewer a brief description of the grant, scholarship, and so on for which you are applying so that they can tailor the letter to the mission and goals of the funder.
- The letter of reference (especially for grant applications) should address your potential as a independent researcher, your potential to contribute new knowledge to your specified discipline through your proposed research, and your commitment to your academics (if still in school) or completing your proposed research objectives.
December 19, 2012
As the year draws to a close I reflect on how much my life has changed over 12 short months. Shortly after I started dating the ex I began journaling again. It was the only way that I could express my thoughts and feelings without being chided. While I feel that journaling is a healthy form of expression I do not feel that it should be a substitute for open, honest dialogue in a relationship. But that’s how I began to use the process. This should have been my first clue that I was in an unhealthy relationship and the moment I discovered this I should have left. But I didn’t. I stayed and tried desparately to make things work. In the end I realize that my intuition was attempting to navigate me away from a traumatic destination, but in silencing myself I also silenced that inner voice that serves to protect us from dangerous situations.
Below is an excerpt from a journal entry that I made in February of this year. At the time the ex and I had been together a little over 2 months. Over the next four months our relationship continued to spiral out of control. There were accusations of cheating, numerous break-ups and make-ups, and attempts (by him) to extort money from me. By July the constant ups and downs of the relationship led to a dead end. He sent me a text and told me that he could no longer afford to be a part of my life and could no longer tolerate the constant emotional scarring that I had inflicted on him. Looking back it’s laughable how he always painted himself as the victim, yet never took accountability for his actions. What made things even more complicated was the fact that I was 14 weeks pregnant at the time we broke up. After initially supporting and expressing happiness about our (unplanned) pregnancy he quickly turned on me and tried to force me to terminate the pregnancy. When I did not go along with his plans he cut off all ties with me and told me that I should just “disappear”. That he wanted nothing more to do with me or the baby. He said so many hurtful things to me, but one of the most damaging was his suggestion that when “my child” grows up and ask about its father to tell him or her that I went to a sperm bank. That one pierced me like a dagger. I could go on recalling that conversation, but that is not the point of this entry. This entry is about “silencing”. My silencing. And while I admit that there is a time and place for silence an abusive relationship is not one of them.
Journal entry Feb 2012
I silenced myself for a reason. No longer comfortable with verbalizing my inner most thoughts for fear of chastisement I kept quiet. At that point I turned reverted back to my native form of expression…writing. A series of events led me back to this place; this space where I was free to share my thoughts no matter how fleeting, random, or repetitive. Between the sharp contrast of black words against white and single spaced lines I found my voice again. It was both a relief and disappointment. Relief for being back home in my introverted world and disappointment for ever having left in the first place.
I tried adapting to life as an introvert in an extroverted world, but often I found myself perplexed by the callousness and emotionally wounded by the caustic critique of others. Was my destiny to live in isolation and only love others from afar? This question I have asked myself numerous times over the years.
What are the issues that keep me in this perpetual state of fearing the outside world and being afraid to express myself? Why do I often resort to emotional distancing and silence? I believe that the answers to these questions will help me unlock the source of my fear and anger and allow me to experience a healthy relationship void of anger.
December 18, 2012
Last fall my daughter tried out for the role of Kaa in the Jungle Book. She told me that she froze on stage and ran off crying. She explained to me that I “did not know” what it was like to mess up and that she felt like a failure. I laughed to myself because I remember numerous times of being embarassed as a child and EVEN as an adult.
What she said to me made me realize that kids often see their parents as having no faults or inadequacies and as much as they may disagree with us at times, they have this wild idea that we are perfect. I simply shared with her several instances of me forgetting my lines for Easter speeches, freezing when I was asked to give a prayer in front of a packed church, missing notes and having a squeeky pitch with my clarinet when I tried out for All City orchestra. My point to her was this…what she is seeing in me is the product of lessons that were learned from mistakes over the years and that I too make mistakes, forget things, and feel embarassed at times. Before we had our talk she had made up her mind that she was NOT going to try out again the following day, but I told her that the greatest failure is not in failing, but rather in not trying at all.
When we aspire to achieve a certain goal, yet talk ourselves out of it because we are scared that we might mess up we will forever be haunted by those “what ifs” and “only ifs”. Regardless of how our attempts end, it is in our failures that we build character, learn more about our capabilities. and discover our true selves. Be an inspiration to someone today. Encourage them to pursue those goals that they have long sought after. Who knows you may not have to go too far outside of your reflection in the mirror:)
December 18, 2012
That moment when you realize that your relationship was fake is the moment that you realize that you were in love with a narcissist. They fall in love quickly, shower you with gifts, pull you into their trap, and then suck the emotional life out of you. Once you realize what’s happened they will be hard at work pursuing their next victim.
The term narcissist is one that I have heard throughout various times in my life, but it was generally in regards to personalities in the work place. Never did I imagine that I would have encountered one in a romantic relationship. I came to this realization AFTER the relationship ended. I was, as many people do these days, seeking answers via the Internet on why my ex behaved the way he did. What I knew was that I had endured a great amount of verbal and emotional abuse and that the person I came face to face with in the end of the relationship was NOT the person who I’d met six months before. The guy that I met before was loving and doting. He called me his queen and told me how much he loved me. By the time things ended between us he was cold and calloused. The more I read the more the term “narcissist” kept popping up. The following article helped me gain clarity on the situation: Do you love a narcissist? Accessible via: http://psychcentral.com/lib/2012/do-you-love-a-narcissist/
December 18, 2012
As we go through the day and life’s many challenges let us remember that anything “worth” having requires hard work. The operative word is “worth”. So if we are feeling overwhelmed by all the hard work, then maybe it’s time for us to reevaluate our priorities. Ask yourself, “is everything that I am working towards, fighting for, fighting over, losing sleep over REALLY “worth” it?”
December 16, 2012
This year began with prospects of new love and an expanded family. As the year draws to a close I say farewell to the love that I had thought I found and prepare to greet the beautiful life that was created during the short course of this romance.
It was so grand in the beginning. Just like any other ‘new’ love. The first few months bursting with excitement of what the other person would do next, long conversations that neither party wanted to end, and dreams of creating many happy memories together.
In hindsight (always 20/20) things happened too fast. The relationship was moving at the speed of light and I was enjoying the ride so much that I missed some critical red flags in the relationship. How many of you can relate to those missed opportunities to make your exit? I know for me there were several, but the hopeless romantic little girl who resides within me just didn’t want to see them.
At the time it all began I had been divorced for three years and had not been in a serious committed relationship since. I was ready (so I thought) to give love another chance. I wanted someone to love, to share my life with and to grow with. Sadly, in the end, I was left alone and pregnant. The pregnancy aspect added a new dimension to the challenges that emerge following a break-up. Over the next several blogs I will share my experiences. I use writing as an outlet for healing, but in doing so I hope to inspire, increase awareness, or help save others from enduring a similar heart break.
Thanks for reading!