Friday, November 11, 2005

It's All About the Cleavage

If you don't feel as attractive or fashionable as you'd like during your pregnancy, here are some ways to help make you feel like the beautiful mom-to-be you are: One word: cleavage. Pregnancy provides the best opportunity you'll ever have to flaunt your increased cleavage, so try wearing scoop-neck t-shirts or sweaters. Try synthetic materials. Wear pants made of synthetic materials that stretch to fit your new curves.Think a little tighter. Over-sized, baggy clothes create a bulky look. For a sexier style that slims your silhouette and emphasizes your features that aren't expanding, wear snug-sleeved tops, skinnier pants, and knits that stretch to fit your form. These are both sexy and feminine. Dark Colors. Dark colors are slimming, so choose pants, skirts, and dresses in classic hues such as black, brown, navy, wine, forest green, and dark gray. Stripes. Avoid horizontal stripes, which will make you look wider than you really are.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

One of my favorite blogs is Mooshoopork - a blog that I recommend to everyone! A few weeks ago, I asked for labor stories from the PW Blog readers. Here is Courtney's delivery story for each son! Just goes to show you that each delivery is certainly a special and unique experience. - What were my deliveries like…I had two very different experiences. Two different states, two different doctors. One with drugs and one without. My first son was 14 days late. I started having very mild contractions 5 days before I was scheduled to be induced (a Saturday) They decided to go ahead and admit me and get things going. Before I go any further it is important to know this was in Williamsburg, VA. Why, you ask-well they are a bit behind medically and this fact really impacted my delivery. I was very unlucky to start the birthing process with no progress of my own. I had to have it all…a cervical insert, pitocin, breaking my waters, episiotomy, and two different pain killers. Pitocin sucks! It made my contractions very intense, close together and they weren’t very productive. The potocin started around 6 Saturday evening and I didn’t give birth until 6:46 the next morning. It was a long night of puking and general misery. I wanted very much to have a drug free birth, but with all the other medical interventions it made it very hard. Being strapped to your bed is no way to work through contractions. I can’t remember the name of the first drug, but it was supposed to not take away the pain but make it manageable-it did nothing-well except make me throw up. So at 5 centimeters I went for an epidural. After that all I felt was a lot of pressure but no more pain. During all this Lennox kept moving all around, knocking the monitor off and when they broke my water not much came out so they were also afraid that my water had broken earlier. I started to hear whispers about micomeum, and distress. So they decided to attach a monitor to Lennox’s little head still inside me. They did this before the epidural, and had to redo it numerous times-and my doctor was not at all gentle. Never once did anyone stop to reassure me that everything was ok or even let us in on what was going on. I felt like I had no control and was feeling like a failure for having the epidural. Finally it was time to push and before his head was even close my doctor did the episiotomy. She didn’t ask or warn me-just snip-which turned into a tear. I was very happy to finally have Lennox in my arms and for a while didn’t think about how disappointed I was about the delivery. Lennox even had a scratch on his head from the monitor they attached. The stitches my doctor gave me came loose and had to be fixed shortly after I came home. I found out later that episiotomies are rarely done these days and the practice is considered archaic, unless the baby is in trouble. Lennox was never in distress and the rest of the waters followed him out. I understand they were only doing their best, but lack of bedside manor made my first labor experience a bad one. I wasn’t expecting candies and rainbows-but being informed would have been nice. Now my second son was a whole different world…I was lucky enough to give birth in California, in a good hospital, with a great nurse (she pretty much delivered Aidan, doc came just in time to pull him out). This time I was right on time, 2am Friday night the contractions started. I lay in bed for about hour timing them before waking Evan. I knew it was really happening but had a hard time really believing it. We actually hung around for another couple hours and finally went to the hospital around 5am. I was actually enjoying my contractions, the pain was reassuring-soon Aidan would be here. I was having a natural experience and really wanted to embrace it, make up for what I missed before. I showered and could no longer talk through my contractions so we headed to the hospital. We checked in and sure enough I was in labor-YEEHEE went into labor all by myself! I got settled and a nurse checked me and I was 4 centimeters. I was doing an amazing job breathing through my contractions. It was already a very different experience then I had the first time around-very light and comfortable. It was just me, Evan, and Lennox. I felt like I had control over what was happening. I think that made a huge difference. That and Lennox running around and being silly. I got to 7 centimeters pretty quick and my water hadn’t broken yet so they decided to go ahead and break them and really get the show on the road. Wooohoo did that change things…the contractions no longer felt controllable. It was pain like nothing I’ve ever experienced and don’t know anything to compare it to. I had one contraction post waters breaking and decided I wanted an epidural. So I was checked again and still 7 centimeters so they called for the epi guy. No sooner had the nurse left the room did I feel the urge to push. She checked me again and sure enough Aidan was ready to make his entrance-drugs or not. With just a few pushes he was in my arms at 9am! No insert, no pitocin, no drugs, no episiotomy. I was told every step of the way what was happening-reassured that everything was going well. I even had an excellent nurse after the birth that made sure I understood everything that had happened, was happening and would happen. He made me very comfortable and let me focus on the wonderful thing I had just done. I felt so strong and proud of myself. Having now experienced labor from both perspectives I will only have natural births-if it’s possible. Not only did I heal physically faster but mentally it made me feel wonderful. That would be the most important thing I learned from my experiences. If I was to offer any advice it would be to make sure you have a great birthing environment surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people. Giving birth is an amazing miracle that I feel blessed to have experienced twice!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

PregnancyWeekly Guest Writer - Jennifer

I get so many stories of inspiration and miracles - it's a good thing I have a box of kleenex at my desk! Thanks Jennifer for this great story.

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Our Miracle Baby

After several surgeries I felt like my body would never just "not" have problems. I was constantly in and out of the emergency room with severe bladder infections and I had two infected bartholin glands that I had to have surgery on. The doctor never knew why I kept getting sick. About a year later after the madness my fiance and I conceived we were shocked because it came as a shock to the both of us. Two weeks after knowing that I was pregnant I started to have brown discharge, again I was rushed to the emergency room and they put me on bedrest.

A few days later I started to bleed bright red blood and I was in a lot of pain, I couldn't even walk upright. I figured I miscarried the baby and I was again rushed to the emergency room. The doctor gave me a pregnancy test and took my blood pressure, they then suddenly rushed me into the back room to administer fluids through an IV and they put me on a heart monitor Thery stated that I was dehydrated and my blood pressure was high. The nurses and OB/GYN on call checked my cervix and it was so painful I was in tears the whole time balling my eyes out while me fiance watched me in despair because there was nothing he could do. I couldn't understand why bad stuff like this kept happening to me. After about what seemed like forever I was sent to get a vaginal ultra-sound which was even more painful than the examination I had before to see if I was still pregnant.

I was sent back to my room and waited still teary eyed for the results. Then the doctor came in and revealed that I had an etopic pregnancy and my pelvis was full of blood! After that shocking, devastating news I was rushed into surgery to save my life. I had to have part of my fallopian tube removed and the doctor didn't know why it happened. I regained some strength after surgery and read the articles the nurses supplied me on tubal pregnancies and saw the odds were high for me developing another one and losing all chances of ever having children.

I felt like I'd never have children, that for the last two years my body was a complete failure and it would continue in that pattern. Another year passed and my fiance still wanted a child, but he didn't seem to understand how I felt. I never wanted to experience what happened the year earlier again. I declined his advances to have a child several times. I started to have irregular menstrual cycles that lasted about 35-40 days before I actually came on my period.

One day I just didn't come on my period. I didn't think of it but then 38 days become 42 days and so on. My fiance suggested I should take a pregnancy test. I just knew it was a waste of time but I took it just to shut him up and to my surprise those two pink lines showed up on the strip. I was shocked and scared. I feared a repeat and quickly made a doctor appointment. After a few weeks of no sleep and worrying my fiance and I went to the doctor and I was examined. She said everything was fine, but I just couldn't accept that my body would do something right for once.

Into my 12th week I had some breakthrough bleeding I just knew that was going to happen and I was going to lose the baby. I called my doctor and she said to make an appointment and rest. After seeing her again in the office she said nothing was wrong.

Now I'm in my 29th week of pregnancy! And my new baby boy will be born sometime in January. I'm so happy that some good has come to my fiance and I and now we are going to be a family. After all I (we) went through God blessed us with a new life! That's why he is called my miracle baby!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Scuba Diving? Soccer? Horseback Riding? Dos and Donts of Exercise During Pregnancy

Summary of guidelines for exercising while pregnant from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: * Pregnant women who don't have risk factors, such as lung disease and premature labor, are encouraged to exercise moderately for 30 minutes or more a day on most, if not all, days of the week. * After the first trimester, pregnant women should avoid supine (on your back) positions during exercise as much as possible. Motionless standing should be avoided as well. * Pregnant women can safely participate in a wide range of recreational activities. But activities with a high risk for falling or potential for physical contact should be avoided, including ice hockey, soccer, gymnastics, horseback riding, downhill skiing and vigorous racquet sports. * Scuba diving should not be done throughout pregnancy because the fetus is at increased risk for decompression sickness. * Exertion at altitudes of up to 6,000 feet appears to be safe, but physical activity at higher altitudes carries some risks. Strategies for healthy exercise during your pregnancy 1. Keep workouts under 45 minutes so the body's temperature doesn't increase beyond safe levels. Exercise should be moderate enough to allow you to carry on a normal conversation. 2. Drink enough water to keep the body's temperature at a safe level. Dehydration can lead to overheating. A temperature of 102 degrees or above may cause fetal damage. 3. Pregnancy is the time for fit women to maintain -- not dramatically improve -- their physical fitness. It's not the time to begin training for or engaging in a marathon. 4. All women should check with their doctors about the type and intensity of exercise before they launch a workout routine. Elite athletes should be monitored more closely than others. 5. Exercise isn't recommended to control weight during pregnancy, but it's important to overall wellness. Source: Dr. Raul Artal, lead author of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' guidelines on exercise for pregnant women, and chair of St. Louis University School of Medicine's department of obstetrics, gynecology and women's health. Warning signs to stop exercising while pregnant * Vaginal bleeding * Shortness of breath prior to exertion * Dizziness * Chest pain * Headache * Muscle weakness * Calf pain or swelling * Preterm labor * Decreased fetal movement * Amniotic fluid leakage Source: Indystar.com

PregnancyWeekly Guest Writer - Megan!

Megan wrote a truly inspiration article for those who might be feeling down in their pregnancy. Thanks Megan! - It was the night before my due date and I was in church. I was feeling some small contractions, but by this point, I kind of felt as if the baby would never come. There was a lady in my church and that came and prayed for me. That night/early morning I went into labor. About 3 AM, my husband I were on the way to the hospital. My labor progressed well and I felt as if everything was going good. When it was time to start pushing, the baby's heart rate started to drop. It was a scary time, but somehow, I was comforted. I had to deliver the baby as soon as I could. About 15 - 20 minutes later, I had a beautiful baby girl. When my midwife delivered her, the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. I guess with the joy of having a new child, it didn't really set in. I believe the Lord sent my sister in the church to pray for my child. God was very gracious to us that day, he gave us a beautiful healthy baby girl. When we get down, we should always count our blessings.

Monday, November 07, 2005

My PregnancyWeekly Newsletter

I'm not pregnant anymore and so I receive Baby newsletters about the development of my baby -but I still like to read over the pregnancy newsletters. PregnancyWeekly recently relaunched their newsletters in HTML and they look fantastic! Plus I love all the little details in the newsletters. For example, here's what you would read in Week 16 in how your baby is developing: Your baby now weighs about 2.8 ounces, and measures about 4.3 to 4.6 inches long. You may have an ultrasound scheduled soon and this procedure may tell you, if you want to know, whether it is a boy or a girl. Your baby's fingernails and toenails are now fully formed. Internally, your baby's urinary tract and bladder are functioning, emptying about once every hour. Not yet a subscriber to PregnancyWeekly? Sign up HERE and it's totally free!

PregnancyWeekly Guest Writer - Amanda!

I love this clever ode that Amanda wrote. I will certainly think more about my belly button from now on! Thanks Amanda! - An Ode to My Belly Button I never really thought much about my belly button until it recently started it's oh so imminent transformation from an innie to an outie. Many people pierce them and tattoo them and flaunt them with their short belly shirts. I've just left mine alone and let it be, well, a belly button. I guess it's sort of a scar; the last remnants of the quite literal attachment we have with our mothers. Now that mine has asked for my attention, I can't help but think that maybe a lifelong scar is nature's way of reminding us of the first real attachment and dependence we have on another person. Thanks mom!