family, labor and delivery, pregnancy, Uncategorized

More Amazing Pregnancy Lessons from a mom of 5

So, you have read my first 2 pregnancy and labor experiences. And I’m sitting here thinking, three more to go.  Can I write anything new and different and fun? And I’m sure you are thinking, “Goodness! Do we have to read 3 more of her pregnancies?”  I’m going to save both of us the trouble and decided to combine my last 3 experiences into one blog with a few more tips.

Fast forward to my last doctor’s visit with my third pregnancy. She wanted me to get an ultrasound because I was measuring low when she checked my fundal height. Lesson #1. Fundal height is where the top of your uterus is felt.  It correlates with how many weeks you are into your pregnancy.  For me, it was the amount of amniotic fluid, surrounding my baby.  At the ultrasound, the fluid was low enough that my doctor wanted to induce me.  I was admitted, started on Pitocin and felt my contractions quick and strong. Lesson #2.  Pitocin is a medication that is used to start contractions.  And the contractions are usually stronger because of the medicine.  All of a sudden, the whole team came rushing in because my baby wasn’t tolerating the labor and his heart rate was dropping.  They rushed me to the operating room about to do a cesarean section.  Everything was chaos, I didn’t know where Eric was and I was left speechless.  My doctor came rushing in and said I was going to deliver this baby vaginally because I “was a good pusher.” Lesson #3. I’m sure there’s a lesson in here about an emergency, trying to stay calm, etc… for the sake of time, I’ll let you do some self-learning.  Ultimately, I had my baby and everything ended up wonderful.  My third boy was here and joined our chaotic, loving household.

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My fourth labor started out the same as my last. I needed to be induced because my fluid was again low.  But this time, it was even lower and I started worrying if the same thing would happen.  My doctor actually sat in the room this time waiting.  She and my husband were talking and my contractions were off and running.  My doctor asked if I was ok.  I actually gave in this time and said that I would like something for pain.  Her response was, “Pitocin does make your contractions stronger and closer.  Your contractions are 1-3 minutes apart.”  Then she started talking with my husband again.  Umm. My pain medicine?! They were so busy talking, I didn’t know how to interrupt them. Finally, they stopped talking and I said I would like something for pain.  Lesson#4.  Don’t be afraid to ask for pain medicine, whether during labor or after delivery. It’s hard to be in the moment when you’re in pain.  The nurse gave me something through my IV and the next thing I was pushing.  The fourth boy arrived with no complications and healthy.  Now I felt our family was complete.  I was a happy mother of four boys.  I wasn’t going to get my girl, but I knew our family was complete.

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#TEAM WALTON!

After talking and debating and almost getting a tubal ligation, my husband decided to get a vasectomy. One week before his procedure, I found out I was pregnant! I’m not going to lie, I took the test a few times, bought different brands. I used it first thing in the morning and the last thing at night.  I finally showed Eric the last test I took, it had a bright pink positive sign.  I think Eric was a little stunned also because he was like, “Positive, so that means good.  You’re not pregnant?”  As you could guess, we weren’t quite ready or expecting another addition.  Another boy?! Another busy, loud, messy boy?! We came to grips with our new reality, we were told the baby was a girl, friends and family were excited.  I wasn’t going to believe it until I saw my baby.

I was older, working 12 hour shifts and pregnant. I would text Eric and see how quickly he would respond so when the time came I knew he would be available.  I started looking for a back up because he wasn’t passing the practice runs.  I had a couple people willing to watch the other kids when the time came to go to the hospital. Lesson #5.  Know who you are able to call to watch your other kids when you go into labor.  Remember, you could go into labor any time so it might be helpful to have someone ready during the day and someone willing to do the midnight shift if needed. 

The day came. I made it to my OB visit and told my midwife I think I was having contractions.  She checked me and said yes, you’re 3 cm dilated.  Then I felt something and she said she stripped my membranes.  Lesson #6.  Stripping your membranes is done to help labor progress.  What?! I still had to pick up my kids from school, I can’t go to the hospital yet! She said, well you know when you need to come in.  That put a lot of pressure on me because I really don’t know when I needed to come in.  Lesson #7.  Learn when you should go to the hospital, whether your water breaks, how far apart your contractions are, and especially warning signs for going to labor delivery.  I picked up my kids and then called Eric and then my friend.  My friend came to the house before Eric.  I called him again and he said he was about to leave the school! Oh no! He wasn’t even on his way yet! He is totally failing this final exam! He came home and we took off hoping we wouldn’t run into traffic.  We arrived to labor and delivery, the midwife on call came to assess me and said, “So you think you’re in labor?” The way she said it, made me doubt myself, my water hadn’t broken, maybe I’m not.  She checked me and I was 9cm dilated! I had my baby 45 minutes later.  The first thing I did was look to see and was ecstatic to find a girl! She was so small, only 6 lbs 2oz.  The midwife asked about my medical history, I didn’t have any, because my placenta was calcified and “looked old.” Lesson #7. If you’re older and pregnant, it’s very important you eat well, rest, and monitor medical health especially blood pressure and blood sugar.

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The Princess Arrived !

If I thought my family was complete with four boys, that one girl added a whole new dynamic to my family. She is hard headed, tough, rambunctious, loud–not what you think a girl should be. She’s also caring, funny, smart and a true princess; everything a girl should be.  I would not have my family any other way.  Yes, there’s challenges. Yes, there’s yelling.  There’s hair pulling (me pulling my hair), there’s sibling rivalry, there’s noise.  There’s also laughter, love, kisses and hugs. 

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My Family / My Love

Kristine Walton,RN , BSN

Wife/Mother of 5/ Registered Nurse

Contact Kristine @ kkd_2426@hotmail.com

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labor and delivery, pregnancy, Uncategorized

Amazing Pregnancy Lessons for #2 from a Mom of 5

My first pregnancy was perfect. My labor experience came straight out of a text book.  My delivery was a breeze.  Because I did what I was supposed to and everything came out fine, I thought, “Ehhh, I can let go a little bit.”

 

My first indulgence was drinking my beloved Coca Cola. Now I didn’t go hog wild, I drank 1 20oz bottle a day.  My child is now 10 years old and he is probably the most hyper of my kids.  So my immediate take away Lesson #1. When the nurse and doctor recommend not eating or drinking something during pregnancy, listen. There’s a reason why there are diet and food restrictions. They tell you to limit caffeine. Now I know why.

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I also didn’t eat as healthy. I ate more junk food.  I did gain the recommended weight gain of 25-30 lbs but the difference came in my baby’s birth weight.  My first baby weighed 8lbs 5oz and my second baby weighed 7lbs.  A significant difference.  Lesson #2. The foods and drinks you put in your body affect your baby’s development and health.

 

I found it harder to take naps with a toddler at home and still working 12 hour shifts. I found myself being tired more easily and probably a little bit more irritable–or so my husband says.

Lesson #3. Learn to take naps.  If you have a toddler, take a nap when they nap.  The chores can wait.  Remember, you’re making a baby and that takes energy.

 

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One day, my water broke. I was confused. I wasn’t have contractions, how can my water break? I called my doctor (her number was again posted on my fridge).  She told me to go to labor and delivery and be evaluated.  It was determined my water indeed broke and I won a stay in the hospital. I asked if I could go home until I started having contractions.  I was told,”No, your water broke and we need to monitor you.” Lesson #3.  Once your water breaks, you will probably be admitted to monitor the progress of your labor.  If labor does not progress after 24 hours, the chances of an infection increases.  Your baby was kept safe inside your uterus protected by the amniotic fluid and your mucous plug.  Once those walls of safety are gone, bacteria can more easily enter and cause an infection.  I started walking once again, hoping to start my labor.  When I had a cervical check, I anticipated 6-7 cm, the nurse told me I was an outstanding 3 cm!? WHAT?! I told my husband, we’re going to be here forever!

 

I started walking, again. I started feeling those twinges but nothing that told me I was anywhere close to delivering. This time, I was able to eat dinner alongside my husband.  Unlike him, I wasn’t overly thrilled.  My nurse came back and monitored my baby with a Doppler.  Lesson #4. If you are having a low risk pregnancy, your baby can probably be monitored with a Doppler that checks on the baby’s heart beat to make sure it is not too slow or too fast.  You don’t necessarily have to hooked up to those huge monitors and be confined to bed.

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It was getting close to 12 hours since my water broke. My nurse said if my labor doesn’t start soon, I would have to be induced.  She suggested using a breast pump.  Yes! The same breast pump you use for pumping milk.  She said the nipple stimulation can start your contractions.  I used the breast pump for 10-15 minutes each side.  Afterwards, I felt my contraction!

Lesson #5. Again, listen to your nurse.  She knows what she’s doing.  I was checked again and still 3 cm dilated.  It is now 3am!!  I predicted I would be in labor for another 6-7 hours.  Sad face emoji.

 

As my contractions continued, they became stronger. So strong I wondered how I did this medication free with my first one.  I was confined to being balled up in my bed.  I was on the brink of giving into the relief of pain medication when my nurse came back at 5am to check me again.  She came back up proclaiming, “Oh my! You’re already 10 cm! I need to call your doctor!” The doctor on call came in and told me my doctor was on her way.  I said, “I feel like I have to push.” The nurse said, don’t push yet.  Excuse me?!  How can I not push when I feel this huge urge to push?!  I was told to breathe.  So I breathed.  It did help.  If you’re breathing, you literally can not push. Try it. Lesson #6. If they say you’re not ready to push yet for whatever reason, breath.  HeHeHe. Puff puff puff. Whatever is easier for you.

 

My baby came a little after 5am. Eric was able to cut the umbilical cord this time.  Again that feeling of overwhelming love.  Again, Eric held his second son throughout the night. 

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When our first son came to visit the next day, there was a gift for him from his baby brother. Lesson #7. It is a cute idea to give a gift for your first child from his sibling.  It lets your first child know, they will not be left out with a new arrival.  Let them help in a capacity that is appropriate for their age.

 

Breast feeding was painful. What was I doing wrong? I endured the pain.  Pain that made my toes curl with each feed.  I started bleeding. I wanted to give up.  Then I called the lactation consultant.  She told me to come in so she could see what I was doing.  She cringed when she saw me.  I put my baby to breast and felt the familiar pain.  The lactation consultant, without breaking the latch, adjusted my arms and miraculously the pain instantly disappeared. I looked amazed because she explained what was wrong.  I could have cried because I didn’t have to give up and it was so easy when I had help. Lesson #8.  Get help with breastfeeding.  That’s why there are nurses and lactation consultants–they there to help.  Know community resources available for breast feeding help and/or support.

 

 

 

Though my second pregnancy experience was not perfect and there were a few hiccups along the way, I learned to accept help. I learned how to manage 2 young boys, maybe not perfectly. They were beautiful, lovable boys.  They were my sons.  I was enjoying my life and I didn’t even know my third one was coming soon.

 

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Kristine Walton, RN, BSN

Wife/Mother of 5/ Registered Nurse

Contact Kristine @ kkd_2426@Hotmail.com

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family, labor and delivery, pregnancy, Uncategorized

Amazing Pregnancy Lessons from A Mom of 5

Pregnancy is a wonderful soulful miracle. Whether you’re religious or spiritual, we can all agree that carrying this precious tiny human affirms how spectacular life is and will always be.  Everyone says each pregnancy is different. Each labor is different. Each child is different. And what you do, what you eat and how you feel affects your pregnancy.  I’m here to let you know from my experience, that those statements are so very true.  I’ve had five pregnancies, five deliveries and five children. And each one was different.  I hope some of the things I went through can help in a small way with your pregnancy, make your labor and delivery a little less scary and give a slight piece of parenting help.  Because we all know, any help is appreciated. 

I was 29 when I became pregnant; shortly after becoming married and after deciding we would wait since babies are expensive and we had just bought our first house. Lesson #1— Pregnancy rarely happens when you expect or plan it.  A miracle does happen when you least expect it. We were excited; I did everything right. Ate the recommended foods, eliminated my favorite beverage-Coca-Cola; which was the hardest thing for me. My one indulgence was eating coney dogs with chili cheese fries while working midnights at the hospital. It was so deliciously delightful though. My one craving. My one sin.  

I went to Child Birth Education Classes.   Childbirth Education Classes helped me help myself. Lesson #2–please go to this class especially if you are a first time mom. I truly believe that knowledge is power and will lessen any fear of the unknown. Fear increases pain which may slow labor down. Labor is already a long process without anything slowing it down! If you have the opportunity to attend a breast feeding class, I would recommend it also.

I created my birthing plan; which included Eric cutting the umbilical cord. I wanted to do skin to skin, where your baby is placed immediately on your bare skin as long as everything is fine. I wanted to breast feed. I did not want an episiotomy, a surgical cut made at the opening of the vagina during childbirth, to aid a difficult delivery and prevent rupture of tissues. I did not want any medication. I wanted to try to have a natural birth. I thought women have had babies for centuries and were able to go through labor without medication; to me women bodies knew what do, if we let them.

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Lesson #3–have a birthing plan, know what you want but at the same time allow flexibility.   In my experience as a nurse, patients that had extensive super detailed plans and who were set on only doing things they planned, always ended up with a C-section. Those moms were always disappointed in their birthing experience and we, as nurses, always had to reinforce that they have a beautiful healthy baby–that’s what mattered in the end.

I woke up one morning; Mother’s Day, May 9, 2004 with a little twinge. It came again. I thought, let me go back to sleep and if that twinge is still there, I would call my doctor. I woke up later and still felt these cramps so Eric and I decided to call my doctor. She said to go to labor and delivery once my contractions became about 5 minutes apart.

Lesson #4–have phone numbers readily available. It is important to have your doctor’s number and labor and delivery number easily assessable. Post it on the fridge so both you and your partner can find it easily because you’ll both be excited and anxious and probably not thinking straight.

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What are the Numbers?!!!??!!

Lesson #5–learn to time your contractions, because the nurses WILL ask you. Have your partner learn to because you may not be in your right mind to be counting and timing. I called labor and delivery and they asked me how far apart my contractions were and then if my water broke. I answered, “No.” they told me don’t come in until your water breaks. I must have had a stunned moment of silence, not expecting them to tell me NOT to come to the hospital?! They then explained there were no beds available but if I wanted to come in I could. I decided not to because less time in the hospital, the better. Eric and I walked. And walked. And walked. And walked. Lesson #6–walking during early labor will help speed up the labor process.

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My water broke. Not as a big gush that you see in movies but I felt like a peed but didn’t have the urge and couldn’t stop it. We went to the hospital. Upon examining, doing a cervical check, I was 6 cm dilated. Lesson #7–cervical checks are THE most uncomfortable experience both physically and mentally. It may feel like your doctor is elbow deep in your vagina. Let’s hope your doctor and nurses have small hands–Check them out during your doctor’s visit.

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I was having back labor. My nurse told me to get on my hands and knees with my head down. I can promise you, this was uncomfortable, and I thought, “What is this nurse doing?!” She came back in about 20 minutes later and told me I could sit up. Wait! Where’s my back labor?! They were gone!     Lesson#8–listen to your nurse. They are there to help you. Believe me, they want your labor to progress just as quickly as you do!

I used the birthing ball. I breathed during each contraction. Eric was eating dinner and came over leaning down, close to my face and said, “I don’t know about you, but this meatloaf sure is good!” My nurse was thoughtful enough to say in a kind way, “She’s going through labor. I don’t think she really cares about eating.” Because otherwise, Eric’s dinner may have been thrown across the room if I had to say something.   Lesson #9–be prepared that your partner may not be the help you thought and hoped. You may have to be specific in telling them want you want and need.

Throughout my labor, because, I did not want an episiotomy, the nurses would massage my vagina with warm wash clothes and olive oil to slowly stretch my vaginal opening to allow an easier delivery of the head. It came time for me to push..Lesson #10 when you start pushing, push like you’re having a bowel movement, keep your eyes open and even smile or grimace. Making that guttural sound helps. Be prepared that you may actually have a bowel movement.  But don’t worry, your nurse is discreet and will take care of things for you, so you don’t even know.

The doctor told me push, push, push, and I felt this burning sensation! Lesson #11— yes you will feel the burning sensation and it is your baby’s head coming out and true to it’s name—the ring of fire! Imagine the size of a baby’s head and how big your vagina is…yes it will burn.

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Feel The Burn

Then my son came! Eric was ecstatic but was too overwhelmed to cut the cord. Lesson #12–your partner will see your vagina in a whole different light when they see a baby come out of it! “The wait 6 weeks until resuming intercourse” is for the benefit of your partner. It allows them time to process the experience, allows them to recover from what they just witnessed. When I was a nursing student, I saw my first delivery and told Eric how the father cried. His response, “Why? Did it smell?”–that is how men view labor.

Once you get to hold your baby, a feeling overcomes you, a feeling you never knew you had. Unquestionable, undying love. Your partner will feel it too. I remember Eric staying up all night holding and rocking his first son, tears in his eyes.

 

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A Father’s Love

Lesson #13–if your partner is a father, let him be part of his child’s life no matter the relationship you may have with him. A child needs his father. A son can only learn to become a man from a man. A daughter learns how she should be treated when her father protects her, helps her, and tells her how beautiful she is. She learns to not accept anything less from any man.

This was my first pregnancy and labor experience. I felt everything was text book, everything went according to what I expected. Breast feeding was a breeze, no problems with latching on, no pain or discomfort. This was my first. My second would be a whole different experience.

 

 

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1st Baby Boy Walton

 

Kristine Walton,RN,BSN

Wife/Mother of 5/ Registered Nurse

Contact Kristine @ kd_2426@hotmail.com

Find her on this blog “The Amazing Adventures of Pregnancy” every Wednesday

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doula, labor and delivery, pregnancy, Uncategorized

To Doula or Not to Doula?

To Doula or Not to Doula?

That is the question.

Benefits of having a Doula from a RN

As a former Labor and Delivery Nurse, it was my honor and privilege to be the nurse at your side helping you as you labor and deliver. It was my joy to be the one to breathe with you and help you summon your strength and push to delivery. However, there are times when Labor and Delivery would take a turn; and as the Nurse I had to spring into action to help you and baby-stay healthy ,alive, and safe. During that time, I would keep you informed but would also multitask. 

A Doula is not medical and therefore , the focus will not be on the medical aspect of delivery. The Doula’s priority is to remain at your side, be your advocate and support you during Labor and Delivery. Basically, a Doula will be all about you. This collaboration of care by the Nurses, Doctors and Doula offers more resources to keep mom happy, stress free and promote a healthy outcome. I for one will always promote: Healthy Mom/Healthy Baby.

However, first thing first? You may have heard about Doula’s and wonder exactly who and what is a Doula?

A Doula is a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible (DONA International,2017). 

 

A Doula is not a Registered Nurse/Midwife or Doctor (but can be). A Doula’s main focus is not deliver your baby or medically take care of you ; but to provide support, care and be your advocate during pregnancy/labor and delivery and postpartum.

A Doula and Midwife are not the same. A Midwife is a certified, license practitioner who provides care and delivers your baby. (More on Midwifery on another blog post). While a Doula does not have to be licensed, but many are certified through organizations such as DONA International,2017; and Doulas do not deliver your baby.

Pregnancy, Labor and Delivery and Postpartum are one of the most miraculous seasons of your life; as you grow a life. A Doula is someone who can offer support and help you navigate the journey of these phases.

American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), 2014 states one of the most effective tools to improve labor and delivery outcomes is the continuous presence of support personnel. A doula is one who can provide such support (DONA International, 2017).

To Doula or Not to Doula….is the Question

This decision is a personal one for you and your family to decide. I encourage you to speak with your family and doctor on their thoughts regarding having a Doula with you in the delivery room.

6 Benefits of having a Doula from a RN View:

  • A Doula is NOT medical and does not offer medical advice or tell you to not follow medical advice. A Doula will work with your Nurse and Doctor to provide you with the best birthing experience.
  • A Doula is committed to you for the duration of your labor and will not leave for “shift change”. You are their only “patient”image
  • A Doula will make it about you and your partner- she will support you and your family. A Doula do not take the place of your partner or family, but will work with them.
  • A Doula can help you have the birth you envision and if there is an emergency, the Doula can keep you informed, stay by your side and help you understand what is happening.
  • A Doula is like your coach in a big game- along with your Nurse; your Doula will cheer you to the end and celebrate in your victory.
  • Pre-delivery- your Doula will get to know you and help you understand what to expect for each stage of your pregnancy.  

“Women with Doula support have lower odds of nonindicated cesareans than those who did not have doula as well as those who desired but did not have doula support. Increasing awareness of doula care and access to support from a Doula may facilitate decreases in non-indicated cesarean rates”

(Am J Manag Care.2014;20(6):e340-e352)

To Doula or Not to Doula?  Is a question you may encounter during your journey of pregnancy. The choice is yours and whatever decision you make is the right one.  The goal is to reach the end of your journey as a Healthy Mom with a Healthy Baby.

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Mary E., RN,BSN, MSN

Wife/Mother/Nurse/Champion of All Pregnant Women

contact: theamazingadventuresopregnancy@yahoo.com

References:

Safe prevention of the primary cesarean delivery. Obstetric Care Consensus No.1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol 2014; 123: 693-711. Found on http://www.acog.org/~/media/Obstetric%20Care%20Consensus%20Series/oc001.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20140220T0709497934

Hunter,L.P.(2016). The Womb Whisperers: Why More More Pregnant Women Are Hiring Doulas. Essence, November 22,2016. Found: www.essence.com. www. amp.timeinc.net

Kozhimannil,K.B.Phd.,Attanasio,L.B.,BA.,Jou,J.,MPH;Joarnt,L.K.,Johnson,P.J.,Phd.,Gjerdingen,D.K.,MD.(2014). Potential Benefits of Increased Access to Doula Support During Childbirth. American Journal of Managed Care. Published Online: August 28,2014. Found online: http://www.ajmc.com