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

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!