Thursday, June 18, 2020

Postpartum Healing Supplies

Oh, hi there.

Okay, so I realize this is my first post in literally 4 years, but now that I'm about to birth my 3rd baby (2nd VBAC), I've had to dust off the ol' supplies list for that post-birth vag recovery. 

Rome, my first son, was born via c-section, so a lot of what I had anticipated in the recovery department didn't happen. West, however, was my first VBAC and I was immediately introduced to that sexy postpartum, my pelvis has been cracked in half, dear lord save my vagina and butthole, life.

In came the below products that helped me survive and get back to feeling like a human again.

1. Postpartum Bath Salt with essential oils: This is great to sit in the bath and soak (sometimes I'd do 2 soaks in one day) to help heal your nether regions. Tears are optional.

2. Angled Peribottle: They give you a squirt bottle at the hospital usually (for after you pee and it's too sore to wipe, so you just kinda squirt the pee and blood away.... so sexy, I know), but I've heard from several people that the angled bottle is key so you can get allllll of the areas. I ordered this one because it was cheaper than the Frida Mom brand and looks the exact same.

3. Tucks Cooling Pads or Naticura Cool Comfort (which is the more organic natural brand that I purchased this time around): Both have witch hazel which is what you really want for the "cooling and healing". Line a few of these on your pad throughout the day!

4. Perineal Cold Packs: Here's a pack of 24, which were the cheapest ones I found (again, Frida Mom is typically more costly). But these are great to just crack, get cold, and put on your pads. You can then put the witch hazel things right on top of this. Someone also suggested to run them under cold water after cracking as they'll get colder and stay colder longer!

5. Dermaplast Spray: Helps heal and soothe (especially if you tear)! I had a 9lb 1oz baby come out of my nether regions, so yeah, tear I did.

6. Frida Mom Perineal Healing Foam: This helps for cooling pain relief! I haven't tried this yet, but several people said it's amazing so I'm excited to use it.

7. At the hospital, they give you these "mesh undies", but they're so flimsy and they don't hold the pads very well. Last time I got these Depends Underwear and they're just as absorbent as pads and they hold everything else in really well throughout the day!

8. Nipple Gel Pads: These are great in those first 10 days of nursing (if you plan to) to help soothe. Once you get past those first 10 days, it's sooo much easier and doesn't hurt. They just feel really raw up until then. But power through and it'll be just fine!

9. You'll want some nipple cream too. I got this one. And it's totally safe for the baby to nurse while you have it on. This helps a ton if you crack or it just feels super raw.

I hope this helps any first-time mama's out there! Don't let this list scare you away. You are woman, hear you roar! You got this. Your body was made for this. Yes, it sucks the first week (or two, in my case), but each day gets better and better! Plus, you have a cute little snuggly babe to make everything 100x better.

**Feel free to leave any other must-haves in the comments! I'm not due until August 12, so I've got some time to add to this list!**

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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Rome Verner Dixon: A (really long) Birth Story

I was convinced, convinced, this kid would come early or right on time. Because "according to my calculations", whether it was based off the last missed period, the day we conceived (which, yes, I know the exact day), or the first ultrasound measurement, he was due to be born on either May 14, 15, or 16. So it had to be a sure thing, right? My baby would be born on that weekend. Nooooo doubt about it.

Well.If Motherhood doesn't teach you patience, I don't know what will.

May 14, 15, 16 came and went.

So did May 17, 18, 19, and 20. 

Then I was convinced I would become the first woman on the planet to NEVER GO INTO LABOR.

My induction was scheduled for Monday, May 23, and if I'm being honest, I really didn't want to be induced. It was something that I felt strongly about my entire pregnancy. I had heard too many negative stories about Pitocin, plus, I really just wanted to know what it was like for my body to do it on its own.

However, as the days kept going by and the baby kept cooking inside, I could feel myself becoming more and more okay with this induction talk.

Fortunately, on the morning of Saturday, May 21st, at approximately 9:45am, my body decided to get things going! I woke up with a contraction and from then on, they were coming every 4-6 minutes. They were only about 40 seconds long though, so I wasn't too sure if it was the real thing or not.

After a few hours of this, we called L&D and the nurse said to wait a few hours and then come in to be checked (especially because I was already almost a week late).

I walked around the kitchen, I bounced on my birthing ball, and the contractions kept coming. They weren't too painful, but definitely noticeable enough to make me stop for a second and breathe. Verner immediately started cleaning the kitchen (late nesting?) and packed up our stuff in the car. We took a shower, then off we went!

We made a last minute call to stop for a sandwich before heading to the hospital (BEST idea ever because the second you get admitted: no mas food for you).

Before officially admitting us, the nurse checked to see how dilated I was. Here was another time I was convinced of something only to be shut down. I thought I'd for sure be at least a 4, but nope. I was 2-2.5cm dilated. THAT'S IT. However, again, because I was almost a week late, she suggested we walk around the hospital for an hour and then they would officially admit me.

So off we walked. Which, by this time (around 1:45pm), the contractions were decently strong where I would stop in the hallway and have Verner press hard on my lower back while I breathed through them (about every 2-4 minutes).

At 2:45pm, the nurse checked me again and I was at a 3! Progress! I was admitted, the IV was started, and I hopped on the bouncy ball again.

A few more hours later, and some strong breathing slash jiggling of the leg, slash staring intently at a spot on the wall through each contraction, and I was 4cm dilated.

Annnnddd that's about when I said, "Well alright then, I've got a good idea on what labor feels like, no need to feel this anymore. Let's go ahead and get that epidural started."

Again, I had imagined in my head, pre-labor, that I wanted to try and get to like a 5 or 6cm dilated before getting an epidural. I didn't know if the epi would slow the labor down and part of me wanted to see if I could do it, but then when the actual moment was happening, I kind of just threw those thoughts out the window and did what felt right at the moment. "Don't be a hero," said my friends. Say no more.

About an hour later, the epidural man came. This epidural man liked to talk. A lot. But whatevs, kept me distracted. I always wonderered what it would feel like, but to be honest: not too shabby! Just a slight pinch and then you're done.

Here's the shitty part though: The epidural worked gloriously on the right side of my body. The left? Not so much. I could still feel each contraction in my lower left back and lower left abdomen. Ugh. So the epidural man came back after a few hours and jiggled the tube in my back to try and "reset" it. That seemed to help (at least for a few hours).

I was checked again, I think around 9pm, and I was 7cm dilated!

Things were progressing great; I was doing it on my own (aka no Pitocin), and I thought MAYBE I could be having my baby before midnight!

And then here's another part where you think one thing is going to happen, but then something else entirely does instead.

Around 11pm or so, they checked me again........Nothing. No progress whatsoever. In fact, the doctor checked this time (instead of the nurse), and she felt like I was more a 6-7cm, not a 7-8 like the nurse thought.


So THEN, the doc recommended she break my water and give me the lowest dose of Pitocin to try and help things along. She said they like to see SOME sort of progress every hour, and I had none. I was pretty exhuasted at this point and I really wanted my body to progress! So we thought about it for a few minutes and I decided we would give it a try.

She broke my water and started the Pit.

Oh and did I mention that the epidural stopped working again on my left side?
And did I also mention that I was throwing up almost every hour?

Anyway, fast forward through 6 hours of that and in came the doctor again to check me. Here we go, I thought. This is it! They're going to tell me it's almost go time!

....except the opposite of that happened. NO progress. None whatsoever. In fact, my cervix began to get irritated and swollen. My contractions were not getting stronger and my body just decided to stop dilating. 

This was around 5 in the morning, almost 20 hours of sleepless laboring. Egg-Sauce-Ted.

The sweet Dr. gently let me know that she strongly recommended a C section. That it wasn't normal for my body to not progress at all over 6+ hours time.

The good news? Baby was PERFECT throughout this whole experience. Never had any issues with his heart rate or movement. #majorrelief

She said if we went forward with a C section, I could see my baby in about 45 minutes. Having flashbacks of the YouTube videos I watched of C sections and how rough it looked on the baby to be "yanked" out of the womb made me say, "Will you promise to be extra gentle when pulling him out?"

She promised. I said, "Let's do this." Verner got scrubbed up.

As I was involuntarily shaking due to all of the drugs coursing through me, they wheeled me to the operating room. Strapped my arms in a T-Shape to my side, set up a blue curtain, had the epidural man FULLY numb me up, then brought Verner back in to sit by my head.

It was kind of a crazy experience. Not traumatic crazy, but just.... surreal crazy? I never in a million years imagined myself getting a C Section. You live through 9 months of a pregnancy telling yourself over and over the kind of birth you want, that you really believe it will happen that way. So when reality tells you otherwise, sometimes it's a little hard for your brain to keep up.

I felt tugging and pulling, I could hear the doctors chat about something unimportant, like co-workers do, then after about 20 minutes, they told Verner he could peek over and watch him come out!

At 5:53am, on May 22nd, our little Rome Verner Dixon was born! The second I heard him cry, this overwhelming happiness came over me and out poured my own tears. I couldn't believe I was actually hearing this little human cry for the first time. This little boy who had been living in me since he was smaller than a poppy seed is finally on the outside. All 9 pounds, 21 inches of him.

They left the umbilical cord a little longer (which never did get that "delayed clamp" I had wanted) so that Verner could experience cutting it. Then they let Verner bring him over to me, as they sewed me shut, so I could finally see our sweet boy.

And booooyyyyy was he puffy-eyed and cone-headed! I'm talking straight up boxer eyes after a 12-round fight, poor babe. Then off he went for immediate skin-to-skin with his dad while I was left to be finished up.

They finally wheeled me to the recovery room, as I was trying my hardest to stay awake through all the drugs and 20-hour labor exhaustion. And then Verner handed me our sweet boy and it was simply amazing. I did it. We did it. He was here. 

And then finally, something happened according to my birth plan!!! We had our skin-to-skin time and he immediately latched on and nursed! I had always wondered if the ol' boob job would hinder my feeding skills, but nope! Out came the food into this very hungry boy. Who basically hasn't stopped nursing since.

It's true what they say though, you never really know what your birth experience will be like until you go through it. And chances are? It will be completely different than what you thought it'd be.

But it's also true what they say. It doesn't matter how your baby gets here. As long as you're healthy and baby is healthy? It really doesn't matter. You didn't "fail" as a woman if you needed some assistance to get your babe. You aren't less of a woman if you decided to ease the pain through modern medicine. No matter what, You. Grew. A. Human! You birthed a human! You made life! How incredible is that?

I'm so thankful. I'm thankful for my incredible husband (which, I could write up a whole new blog post on just how amazing he was throughout this whole experience). I'm thankful for the nurses and doctors who made this experience so calm and pleasant throughout. I'm thankful for my mom and her support in the L&D room. And I'm thankful for this sweet son of mine for sleeping peacefully over the last hour and a half so I could write this post. 

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