Mama Wisdom

Voices of Our Families: Walk, Walk, Walk by Brittany N, mother of 5 children

Like watching each of my children grow from babies to toddlers to students, each pregnancy has certain predictable stages; but also like the children, each pregnancy comes with its own set of delights and challenges that makes it unique and memorable.  I have experienced varying levels of morning sickness, headaches, heartburn, and discomfort in each of them. During my second pregnancy I had pain that I had not experienced during my first one. It almost felt like my right hip was out of joint all the time. It was a constant nagging irritation. It would intensify into a shooting pain around my pubic bone when performing routine activities that we take for granted in our every-day (non-pregnant) lives, like using one foot to kick the shoe off of the other or carrying just about anything, not just the items Tosi forbad me from carrying, but simple things like a bag of groceries or an 18-month old son. Just like heartburn and the other pregnancy discomforts, it just went away after labor, or maybe the pain just paled in comparison to the awful contractions, either way it was gone.  The problem seemed to come earlier and get more unbearable during my third pregnancy.

A thick pillow-top mattress pad for our bed seemed to offer some relief to get the pain more manageable, but it was still persistent. One of the best forms of relief was lying on my back and having my husband gently pull on each leg for 20-30 seconds. By the end of each pregnancy I was definitely ready for my new little miracle and freedom from the discomfort.

My fourth pregnancy had its own unique “personality” just like with my previous 3 children. At about the halfway point things were going great for the most part. I experienced only mild nausea from weeks 8 to 10 followed by regular headaches (some relief was received thanks to the half cup of coffee Rachel F-T recommended) up to about week 23.  Maybe my body knew I did not have time for anything more extreme while rearing my boys (Matthew, 8, and Joshua, 6) and my busy little Lizzy (3)? The debilitating pelvic pains had not been felt at all to this point.  At about the 24 week mark the hip and pelvic pains suddenly weaseled their way into this near-perfect pregnancy! They were just as severe as they had been before. 16 weeks to go and I was not looking forward to enduring these pains each and every remaining day. Just like that we were back into the routine of my husband pulling my legs at the end of another taxing day in our little paradise. So with a recommendation from Tosi, I set up an appointment with a chiropractor – but in the meantime I began getting up before the kids to walk so I could get that much needed quiet time that a mother needs! 

Despite the cold, rain, mud and fog as well as the initial physical discomfort, I began walking every day. After a week or so I started noticing that my aches were dissipating. So I decided I’d cancel the chiropractor to see if they would permanently go away. Next I realized that I had not been enlisting my husband for the once common leg-pulling routine. On some days a subtle ache would remind me late in the evening that I had forgotten to walk due to the day’s goings on. That helped cause me to be very diligent about my walking regimen. Sometimes my walks would be up and down my hallway or in large circles around my yard with the assistance of a pedometer (I aimed for 955 steps, just 0.45 miles) at 9 O’ Clock at night. At 32 weeks my prenatal log quotes me as saying “I feel amazing - it feels so much better than my last two pregnancies.”  Also, at full term, I gained 8 less pounds than my previous pregnancies. I kept it up right through the 40th week and 4th day when my 3rd baby boy, Gideon Jay, was born on March 28th.  Another “I feel amazing” quote was written on my log soon after he was born, which I totally attribute to my walking.  If we are blessed with additional pregnancies in the future, walking will most assuredly be one of the predictable steps and hopefully the unique and memorable parts include little to no nausea, no headaches, no heartburn and absolutely no pelvic pain.  While I am thrilled to have finally met my wonderful new baby boy, I partially find myself desiring to still be pregnant. I attribute those feelings to not only wanting to avoid having to wean myself from my midwives, but also because I felt so good throughout this pregnancy. What a wonderful blessing it is to be able to cherish and enjoy this miraculous process! 

Voices of Our Families: Prenatal Care with a Midwife Vs. OB by Emma K

Comparing my 1st pregnancy with my 2nd:

Less Stress as a Stay-at-Home Mom and Excellent Home-based Prenatal Care

I can honestly say that this pregnancy has been so much easier and better than my first.  It really has been a fantastic pregnancy.  The lack of stress and hours on my feet has honestly made all the difference.  You would think that with a toddler it would be harder, but I can spend hours reading her books, singing, going for walks to the park, and countless other activities that I feel helped my womb baby adjust to the sounds and activities of our daily life, while giving me the exercise I need to stay fit for an un-medicated home birth.  Yes, the budget has been tight, but family time has been plentiful. I have enjoyed almost every moment of it (I have to say “almost” because yes, there are always toddler meltdowns and refusal-to-nap days, and finals week in which my husband has to be MIA all week long).

Another benefit with this pregnancy has been the prenatal home-visits of my midwives.  Unlike seeing an OB or a midwife in a doctor’s office or clinic, my home birth midwives schedule to see me in my own home.  My toddler can play with her own toys, help take my blood pressure, and even gets the chance to listen to the baby with the fetoscope. The midwives also let her lie down and pretend to do what mommy does, such as get her belly listened to. I don’t have to worry about being exposed to icky germs in a doctor’s office.  If my daughter needs a diaper change, I don’t have to lug my cloth diapers around with me and can change her in the middle of a visit, or sit her on the potty to try on her own.  The visits often last over an hour as we chat about questions and concerns and anything else on my mind at a leisurely pace, unlike traditional doctor’s visits in which I get 5 minutes to try to remember all the questions I have while trying to keep my daughter from opening all the drawers, ripping the paper off the exam table, and climbing the furniture.  I can discuss my natural options without being judged, and get advice on tandem nursing for when baby is born.  The midwives keep a prenatal record and provide information packets to read at my leisure, and all records are kept with me so I can browse them at any time (unlike a doctor’s office at which you must request them and often do not get copies until weeks later).  I can honestly say I have been extremely happy with my choice of home birth this time around, and the reassurance and copies of research studies they have given me have helped me feel even more comfortable with my choice of VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) at home.  Often I am told of the risks and danger of home birth by friends and relatives, but being within a 10-15 minute drive to a hospital and midwives with plenty of experience transporting to hospitals in emergency, I feel perfectly safe.