• A is for After-pains

    You just had a baby! Congratulations!

    The contractions and pain should be over, right? Not so fast...

    Afterpains (also known as involution) can be just as painful as when you were in labor.   While your uterus is shrinking back to its normal size, you may feel short, sharp, cramps in your abdomen a couple of days after giving birth, often while nursing. Your uterus is contracting and that helps it expel lochia (discharge of blood, mucus, and uterine tissue) and it helps your uterus get back to the right size. 

    Some first-time moms don't always feel them, but women that have had multiple children are more likely to feel them intensely. The hormone oxytocin, which is released by breastfeedingskin-to-skin contact with your baby and a few other things is what gets your uterus to contract.  Believe it or not, this is a good thing. Your body is going through the healing process, but that doesn't mean its enjoyable! 

    Thankfully, this will hopefully only last 5-7 days.   It feels different for every woman and is often worse with each subsequent pregnancy, but you can absolutely experience some relief. Talk to your doctor about the possibility of taking an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen. 

    If afterpains last longer than a week or you notice increased bleeding, foul smell or anything you feel is "off", contact your doctor or go into the ER.

     


  • Here’s what having gestational diabetes DOESN'T mean

    Gestational Diabetes is typically diagnosed between the 24th and 27th week of pregnancy, following a sugary drink and a blood test.  Pregnant people are naturally more resistant to insulin to help provide their baby with more glucose. In some though, their body stops responding to insulin or it doesn’t make enough insulin to give them the glucose that they need. When that happens, there is too much sugar in your blood. Gestational Diabetes means having to test your blood sugar frequently, it means that your baby's size will most likely be monitored more closely and it means that you will probably have a conversation with your doctor about a change in your diet and lifestyle for the remainder of your pregnancy.

    Here’s what having gestational diabetes DOESN'T mean:

    That you are gross, obese, unhealthy or any other mean, judgmental word.

    Researchers literally don’t know why some people develop Gestational Diabetes. Many people that are average weight and health develop it and even if you are considered overweight or obese, it doesn’t make you necessarily unhealthy and it doesn’t mean you are less than as a person! And it certainly doesn’t mean you are gross or that you are at fault for your gestational diabetes. There are plenty of people that are overweight that do not get diagnosed with it during their pregnancies. Please know that while your risks may be higher if you’re overweight, you’re not exempt from getting it if you’re average weight and it’s not a guarantee you will get it if you are overweight.

     

    That your baby will be a GIANT.

    While, yes, having gestational diabetes comes with the risk factor that your baby could have an increase in birth weight, it’s not a guarantee. And the fact of the matter is, after you get diagnosed, your care provider will talk with you about ways that you can try and manage your GB but that’s all you can do is to try and manage it and take care of yourself. It may happen, your baby might have a larger birth weight, but you have zero control over the size of your baby. Many people with Gestational Diabetes give birth to babies that are an average weight. Rest assured, if your doctor is concerned with your baby’s size, they will say something to you and if you’re concerned you can always ask.

     

    That you will HAVE TO have a c-section

    Having a cesarean is a concern of many that get diagnosed with GB, but it’s not a guarantee that it will happen. Being aware of risks and options can be helpful and is important to some but living in fear will not help anyone. All you can do is take care of yourself, follow your treatment plan and trust the team you have in place and trust your instincts. Having GB does increase the risk for a cecarean because of the risk of having a larger baby. In this scenario, the doctor might talk with you about how they feel that a c-section is the safest option for you and your baby.

     

    That you will have diabetes after your baby is born.

    Most people’s levels return to normal after the baby is born but having GB does increase your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life but its not a guarantee. Many people don’t develop it later in life. Also, many people that have gestational diabetes during one pregnancy don’t necessarily develop it in their other pregnancies.

     

    That you must deprive yourself during your pregnancy.

    If you get diagnosed with GB, your doctor will most likely give you a list of foods to avoid and then a list of foods you can still consume, but in moderation. Most people can still have fruit, you just need to be aware of how much you are eating and to keep track. You should maintain a healthy, balanced diet. Not eating, eating less calories than you should and trying to lose weight will not help during your pregnancy. In fact, doing that can come with a lot of risk and can be dangerous. If you are craving something for dessert, there are a lot of delicious sugar-free treats you can try or if you’re out to eat, ask for a few forks to split the dessert. While seriously limiting your sweet intake is highly recommended, most people will be ok if they enjoy a small piece of cake on their birthday.

     

    The reality is, Gestational Diabetes comes with risks like high birth weight, increased risk of cesarean and preeclampsia and more. These are important things to be aware of and its important to talk with your doctor about a food plan, medicine, exercise and other ways to manage your diagnosis. What Gestational Diabetes is NOT is a diagnosis that says anything about who you are as a person or a parent. There should be zero guilt or fault placed on a person diagnosed with this disease. It can be scary and hard to navigate, so a person in this situation needs empathy, support and understanding.


  • Having A Rainbow Baby Doesn't Delete My Grief

    My husband and I are no strangers to pregnancy loss. This past February we lost a set of twins and we have experienced two other miscarriages in our seven years of marriage. We also have four beautiful, live children. One 16 year old from my husband’s previous marriage and then we have a 6, 4 and 2 year old as well. We are BUSY, sometimes overwhelmed and stressed and we are grateful. But when I think about our many, many blessings, I also think about our sorrow. Our family should be so much larger, our family pictures fuller and our home should be much louder. I wish I could be giving birth to my twins this year and I long for the noise and laughter of my 5 year old and 3 year old that were never born.

    I can tell you that I am very familiar with the term Rainbow Babyas I have two of them, and they are such huge blessings in my life! I have had the opportunity to grieve my losses and to reflect on them, and to also celebrate the joy I have for the lives of both of my rainbow babies. I can also tell you that my pregnancies with both were very different than my first baby. I had intermediate worry, anxiety and fear while also experiencing immense hope, joy and excitement. I was waiting for the ball to drop while simultaneously feeling wedding-like bliss. That’s not everyone’s experience, I can only speak from mine.

    The thing is, having my two rainbow babies doesn’t take away from the sorrow and grief I have experienced, and it certainly doesn’t replace the babies I have lost. I think those sorts of comments often come from those who have never experienced pregnancy losses. I not only grieved on the day I lost my babies, but I grieve the person they might have been, the memories we don’t get to have and the milestones we, so obviously, have to miss: wedding days, graduations, ALL of the “firsts”, etc.

    I cannot imagine the sadness and struggles of trying to conceive and feeling defeated time and time again and I certainly can’t begin to tell you how my heart aches for those mothers and fathers that have only ever experienced pregnancy loss and have never experienced the joy of bringing their baby home with them. I can’t speak on that and my heart is burdened and breaks for these families. Their grief is immeasurable, I’m sure.

    I’m not sad every day. Sometimes I go a week without thinking about it and then I’ll have a really hard day, where I don’t want to get out of bed even though I have three children waiting for me to make them breakfast. I still get up though, but those are the days you’ll find me at home in my pajamas, doing the bare minimum I can get by with. That’s just me and my grief though; yours probably looks a little different and that’s ok.

    As for my rainbow babies, they bring me so much joy! I am so thankful I was able to have them, and I celebrate them, wholeheartedly!

    The reason I have rainbow babies, though, is because I have experienced loss. It’s ok to acknowledge that and to live in that truth. I am confident that acknowledging my grief and my loss doesn’t make me unappreciative of the children that I have here on earth with me. Speaking about the children I wish were present in my home doesn’t mean that I am ungrateful for the ones that are. I can experience both grief and joy at the same time and I can long for the could’ve beens and would’ve beens while still being present and filled with joy for the moments happening right in front of me, right now. I am fully and inexpressibly grateful for every single child I have, both unliving and living. And the living rainbows that are my youngest, living children have brought and restored joy and hope for me in the depths of my being.


  • Lets Talk About Tummy Time

    We've all heard how important it is to place your baby on their backs for sleep. In the crib, pack n play, stroller, car seat, swing - babies are on their backs a whole lot. Having intentional time on their stomachs, while awake, can help with developing strong neck muscles, shoulder muscles and core muscles. It can also help them work on their motor skills. With all that said, it’s clear that tummy time is important!

    You can start having tummy time with your baby almost right away, for a few minutes at a time. When your baby is a newborn start with thirty seconds or one-minute sessions. Pro tip: Don't do it right after they eat. You'll thank me later. 

    We hear "my baby hates tummy time" a lot and we get it!

    But guess what? You're not alone! Most babies don't like tummy time at first.

    Consistency is key, as well as a gradual introduction to it. When they're two weeks old, start laying them flat on your chest or your legs when they're together. Do it for 30 seconds a few times a day and then gradually lengthen the time, then move them to the floor on a blanket or play mat - keeping all tiny toys out of reach. 

    The reality is, with all the advice in the world, your baby might still dislike tummy time. Not being able to move in the way they are trying to or not being able to get the toy that’s just out of reach can be frustrating for them. Tummy time not being your baby's favorite activity doesn't mean it should be avoided, though. A lot of babies don’t like getting their diapers changed, but we know it's the best thing for them, so we do it anyway. Normally, its quick and painless and then they can get on with what they really love to do. The same goes for doing tummy time with your baby. 

    A few ways to make tummy time more enjoyable:

    -Lay down next to your baby on the floor.

    -Stay with them and talk to/reassure them throughout their tummy time experience.

    -Do it multiple times a day for short periods of time.

    -Place a soft book in front of them on the floor and read it to them

    -Get them a fun, interactive play mat like this one here or a tummy time toy like this one from Crate&Kids

     

    Tummy time is an important part of your baby's growth and development. And while, they may hate it now, that could always change, and tummy time may become their favorite activity. Or not – and that’s OK.



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