FRANK PREGNANCY TALK Frank discussion of pregnancy symptoms, emotions, side-effects and oddities.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

One Week Post-Op

I’ve finally done it! I’ve fixed myself, in more ways than one. Medically speaking, I’ve had my herniated navel repaired once and for all. No more reaching into the back seat of the car to pick up a spilled sippy cup and having guts painfully pop out of my navel, only to have me push them back in again, and again. No more ugly, protruding belly button. No more sinking valley of muscle separation streaking down my torso.

Maternally speaking, I’m done with having children. This, subconsciously, could have been the reason I’ve waited so long to have the procedure done. I wanted to be really, really sure that I didn’t want any more babies. I’ve hit 40 and now I’m sure.

You ask, “Why can’t I have any more kids after this operation?” Well, to let you in on a little secret, it was much more than just the fixing of my umbilical hernia. I figured if the doc was going to be cutting me up anyway, I might as well get a tummy tuck and have the scarred and flabby skin chopped off. Now, since I have the flattest and tightest belly skin, my stomach won’t be able to accommodate the stretching for the gestation of another child, but I’ll look damned good in a bikini this summer!

Mentally speaking, this was a big thing I did for me. I feel that I am finally getting back to some sense of myself and my life after the most horrific summer. Of course I wouldn’t change it for the world. Every moment I spent with Lucia and her family was a gift and a memory that I’ll treasure forever. I did the best I could. We all did… and I think she knows it. We loved her to the very end and will continue honoring her memory and wishes. But, now it’s time to move on and focus on our own lives. We can no longer neglect our children, husbands, family and friends. We are still alive, so we must live our lives to the richest and fullest that they can be. We must take care of our bodies and engage in activities that bring us joy. We must love one another and be forever thankful for all the wonderful gifts that we have.

OK, OK, enough gushing, here’s some gore to balance out this post:

For those of you that have the stomach for it, click here for the before, during, and after the surgery photos. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


I must apologize for my recent lack of posts and lacking posts. I think I’m trying to do too much and thought I may placate you few and dwindling visitors with at least something pregnancy-related, but my heart wasn’t in it and it shows. I promise, no more lame posts.

With that said, I also have to let you know that I’ll be on sabbatical from this blog for the next few weeks, the next few months, the next year. Hell, I don’t know how long. At this point in my life I need to focus on a big project that’s very important to me. I’m writing my second book. It’s a fiction non-fiction. I always get those two mixed up! Don’t you think anything that starts with “non” should mean “not,” like not true? Although it is based on truths, like truths in my life, it is nothing like my first book. This one is serious. I’m not telling anyone what it’s about… yet. If you care to venture a guess, I’ll let you know if you’re right.

This book needs my devotion and attention to get finished so, something’s got to give, therefore my blog leave of absence. I’ll still post from time-to-time when I have something of interest that I want to share. For instance, on December 11th I’m finally having my umbilical hernia surgery and a tummy tuck. Perhaps you’d like to see the before and after pics and hear deets of the procedure?

So, I’ll see you in a few weeks! TTFN!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Fear of Pain

Pain. The pain of labor and delivery was number three on the top ten fears list. Who the heck doesn’t fear pain? Of course there are ways to control pain, and sometimes even stop it but, chances are, during labor and delivery you will experience some pain. To what degree is one part up to you, one part up to circumstance, and one part up to your doctor. Knowing what to expect and having a pain management plan is a good start. If you’ve never given birth before, I suggest taking some kind of Lamaze or labor and delivery class. They can educate you on what to expect during the stages of labor and advise you on what techniques are available to alleviate pain, such as: Lamaze breathing, meditation, hypnosis, distraction stimuli and drugs (Demerol, Nubane, Phenergan, Vistaril, and the oh, so glorious epidural!)

During my births I tried a combo of Lamaze breathing, meditation, squeezing the shit out of my husband’s arm and drugs. Yes, I admit it- I did drugs during labor! Personally, I am all for accepting pain medication during labor and delivery. It’s good to be able to relax and save your strength for the pushing stages. Some women get so physically exhausted during labor that they have no strength left to push the baby out.

Some of the drugs can make you sleepy or groggy, which may be a good thing if you need to get some rest. But, as with any drug, these can also have adverse effects like vomiting or creating feelings of excitability or anxiety. These depressant drugs can also have similar effects on the baby.

My all-time favorite pain medication is the epidural. What a wonderful invention! Within seconds, the body-traumatizing contractions fizzle into minor pressure cramps. The epidural can save you (and your partner) hours of physical and mental anguish. But, if you are going to have the epidural, you have to face that big, ol’ needle in the spine. Right? The thought of how creepy and painful it would be is a big concern, not to mention the fear of possible paralysis. My fear of paralysis diminished quickly when I found that the chances of that actually happening were just about the same as if a house fell from the sky and flattened me.

And, the creepy and painful part was really not bad at all. Contractions, and getting relief from contractions, were the only thing that I could focus on during labor. Having a needle put into my spine seemed so trivial at the time. I didn’t care if the needle had to be administered through my eyeball. I wanted it!

Every woman I know who has had the epidural cannot praise it enough and admits she would take the needle anywhere the doctor wanted to stick it. But it is a personal choice.

One more note on the epidural: if you do decide you want one, it should be one of the first things you tell the admitting nurse, so that preparations can get underway ASAP. If your labor is too far along or you are progressing too quickly, you may not be an epidural candidate.

Some women don’t require or want any pain medication at all. My friends Tammy and Bridget delivered all seven (between them) of their babies without any medications at all. They both claim that they never needed or wanted them. I wish all of us could be that lucky!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Fear Report, continued…

Our number two biggest fear during pregnancy was for the well being of the baby. If you’ve ever lost a pregnancy, had a child with birth defects, have a genetic disability in your family, or have a high-risk pregnancy, this may be your number one concern. I wish I could give you some magical solution to make all your fears dissipate. If only I could say, “Everything will be OK,” and have you believe it. But, time will tell. You’ll just have to wait out the 40 weeks with all of the other pregnant women stressing about their babies’ health.

Pregnancy is the time when we begin our worrying as mothers. It’s something that’s engrained in our gender. The worrying can be really obsessive and sickening at times and I hate to tell you this, but you’ll find the worrying gets worse after the baby is born. There are so many other outside factors to consider: What if the baby gets sick? What if I drop the baby on her head? What if she stops breathing in the middle of the night? What if she chokes to death on a button eye pulled off the new teddy bear Grandma gave her? What if someone kidnaps her? What if someone hurts her? What if someone ki… OK, you see where I’m going here. It can drive you crazy. When I start envisioning all the lurid and horrible things that may happen to my children, I just have to put on the breaks and force those thoughts away. It’s just not healthy.

As long as you’re a mother, the worrying never stops. So, relax and enjoy this very frequent and normal emotion of motherhood!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Doncha Just Love Charts?

I must admit, I’m a bit of a chart-aholic- especially if there are colorful graphics involved.

I’ve finally tallied up all our fears during pregnancy and am ready to present the results. I was waiting to get a good number of posts before ending this study; therefore I haven’t blogged in a while. I know, I know… excuses, excuses. Enough already… on with it!

Here are the results, based on categories of fears:
10. Will I ever get a decent night’s sleep again?
9. Will I be able to breast feed?
8. Will I have Post Partum depression?
7. Will my relationship with my husband/partner change?
6. Will I be able to handle a career and motherhood?
5. Will I be a bad mother?
4. How will my social life be affected by having a baby?
3. How much pain will I have during labor and delivery?
2. Will the baby have any serious health issues or be stillborn?
1. Will I get my body back after pregnancy?

I found it interesting and self-affirming that our number one fear was about the toll pregnancy may take on our bodies. After all, it does stretch, shift and sag considerably during those 40 long weeks. I still find it amazing that we are able to grow a little person inside ourselves.

I sometimes look at my oldest (now 6) and contemplate how would it be if she were inside me now. Could my body survive? Probably not. But, she once was inside me and grew to be almost 10lbs. before I popped her out. It did take a toll on my body. I do have stretch marks, wider hips, flatter feet, bigger and darker nipples, a looser vagina, a smattering of broken blood vessels and varicose veins, and skin sacks for boobs.

As I lay on the couch, spooning my once-upon-a-time baby, stroking her hair, and taking in the size of her now, I contemplate all my body went through to produce this beautiful, growing child with her father’s curls and mocha chocolate skin in the summertime. She doesn’t look too much like me. I scooch my legs up closer behind her and notice my purple varicose veins against her slim and smooth calves. Will pregnancy take a toll on her body someday, like it did mine? Will she come to me with her worries and concerns? If she does- I know what my answer will be to all of these fears: Pregnancy has changed things in my life more than I ever could have predicted, but it was absolutely worth it!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Top Ten Fears During Pregnancy

As most of you already know, pregnancy can be a very stressful time. It’s the hormones; it’s the fear of a changing lifestyle; it’s the worries about the baby; and it’s the fear of the actual delivery. OMG! My vagina has to stretch to the size of a ripe honeydew melon! I haven’t ever had anything bigger than a kielbasa in there… unless you count that basketball player in college. Oh, but we digress…

When I was pregnant the first time, this was my top ten list. What are (or were) your top ten fears, worries or concerns? I’d like to compile a collective top ten from as many pregnant (or formerly pregnant) women as possible. Then we can jointly tackle each item together.

10. Will pregnancy ruin my cute and perky boobs?
9. Can I manage a career and motherhood?
8. Will having a baby end my social life?
7. Will I still be attractive after motherhood?
6. Will I be a bad mother?
5. What if the baby has birth defects?
4. What if I lost the baby?
3. What if my hemorrhoids exploded during delivery?
2. What if I pooped on the delivery table?
1. How much was the delivery really going to HURT!?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Lucia's Angels

While I’m moving, maybe you’d like to take a look at what else I’m working on- it’s the Lucia’s Angels foundation. We’re starting the first chapter locally, here on Eastern Long Island and have big hopes of reaching many women and their families across the country. Thanks in advance for reading!

Providing comfort and support to women and families going through the final stages of breast cancer.

Mission Statement:
Lucia’s Angels is a new foundation, under the umbrella of the South Fork Breast Health Coalition, created in loving memory of Lucia Terzi Bagan. Lucia was a very giving person- not only of the material sense but also of herself and her heart. It’s no wonder she had so many friends and family surrounding her in her final days. It’s Lucia’s wish that other women and their families could have that same kind of love and support through their toughest times.

Lucia’s Angels can provide assistance to women and families going through the final stages of breast cancer*. From last wishes like one more trip to the beach, to providing extra child-care, to the holding of a hand, Lucia’s spirit and Angels will be there.

Lucia’s Angels believes it’s very important to support and encourage women going through breast cancer to strive for healing and wellness. There are already several charities in place for breast cancer research, awareness and early detection, and support through treatment and healing. Currently, there are no charitable organizations to help end-stage breast cancer patients. Lucia’s Angels would like to be there for women and families going through this often-harrowing time of need.

Menu of Services**:

Individual Services:

Hair Styling
Manicures and Pedicures
Music Therapy
Ambulatory Trip
Other wishes or needs

Family Services***:

Child Care
Recreational Classes for Children
Clothing for Children
Other wishes or needs

*Women eligible for Lucia’s Angels support are those women who: live on the Eastern End of Long Island, have breast cancer, are eligible for Hospice-type services.

**Lucia’s Angels provides funding for the outsourced services listed and may or may not participate in the arranging or scheduling of said services.

***Family services may continue up to 30 days after the passing of their loved one.

As many of you already may know, my best friend, Lucia Terzi Bagan recently lost her three-and-a-half-year battle with breast cancer. It’s not that she wasn’t a fighter. In fact, she was one of the strongest, most giving, loving and independent “doers” that I know. She was always the one to organize our “girls” dinners, trips and birthday celebrations. She sent hand-embroidered thank you notes for having a simple chicken dinner at my house. She bought presents for everyone she knows for each birthday, anniversary, baptism, Bar Mitzvah, confirmation, graduation, baby naming, memorial or holiday.

Lucia and I became really close during our second pregnancies. We shared every baby kick, bout of heartburn, horrormonal hysteria and hating our husbands. Later, we even shared those precious times just wondering at our newborn babies.

While breastfeeding together one day Lucia asked, “Have you ever had a blocked milk duct?” Yes, I had. They’re usually quite painful. Her lump wasn’t painful. “Feel this. What do you think?” she had asked. I leaned over and felt the hard node on her breast. It felt solid and black and cold. It was cancer.

Lucia was never one to complain and she took on the task of managing her treatments and life the best she could without burdening her family or friends. She would pretend to be well, show up at my house to help me cook for a dinner party and then sneak off to the bathroom to be sick. She never wanted to put a damper on anyone’s good time.

Over time Lucia became much more sick and did finally accept some help from her family and friends.
We tried our best to be there for her kids and her doctors’ appointments. When she was moved to the hospice facility, we took turns visiting her and spending over-nights to make sure she was never alone. We fixed her hair and nails, gave her massages, read to her and brought her all her favorite foods, lotions and flowers. We provided dinners and play dates for the kids. We arranged an ambulance ride so that she could spend one last day at her home in Southampton. We tried our best to just be there for her, like she was for us, throughout our lives.

Lucia was also a huge advocate of the local Breast Health Coalitions and was very involved in many fundraisers, to her dying day. Lucia had me take over collecting local donations for Ellen’s Run this year. Even though she could barely speak, she told me what stores to visit, how much to ask for and that I absolutely must, “play the cancer card.”

“You tell them that I’m dying and that they must give,” she said.

So, on Lucia’s behalf, I’m asking you now- Please find it in your hearts to give a very generous donation to Lucia’ Angels to help support other women and families suffering from end-stage breast cancer. There are currently three families on the East End, including Lucia’s, that are very much in need of Lucia’s Angels help.
Thanks so much.

Stacy Quarty

Donations can be mailed to:
South Fork Breast Health Coalition
Lucia’s Angels
35 Farmstead Lane
Water Mill, NY 11976

For more info go to: