Am I in Labor?: When To Go To The Hospital

I was at the mall today and this VERY PREGNANT lady sparked conversation with me in the checkout line.  She saw my son and asked if this was my first.

I gave her the usual reply, “I WISH!” and went on to tell her I have 4 kids 1-14.  She was a first time mom and asked, “How do you know when your’e in labor?”
I love this question from new moms, because it’s a very simple answer.  For educational purposes (because I did teach this stuff to first time moms) I will list the signs and symptoms of active labor.
However in a nutshell, (and veteran moms can nod your heads in agreement), the answer is a simple, “you know”.  After learning all the s/s of true vs. false labor, the best advice I give new mommies is this.
When you have pain that you can NO LONGER BEAR,  kick, scream, cry, yell, and curse, you are typically in labor”  
 
But, as promised here are the actual s/s of true labor:
  1. Your contractions are 5 minutes or LESS apart REGULARLY for at least an HOUR.
  2. The contractions start in THE BACK AND WRAP AROUND TO THE BELLY
  3. No matter what you do (rest, lie on your side, drink water etc) THE PAIN DOES NOT GO AWAY!
  4. You may notice a snotty, slimy red/pinkish blob in your underwear (mucous plug, I know gross)
  5. Water break: but just because your water break, it is a possibility you are not actually in labor. However, you want to go to the hospital IMMEDIATELY PAIN OR NOT.
These s/s listed are typically when you want to go to the hospital, and will not be sent home.  However, by all means always go to the hospital or consult with your ob whenever in doubt or you feel something is wrong.
Hope this helps someone out there!
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Medicated Labor

My first post was about all-natural labor, and this one will be about my experience with having an epidural for labor and delivery.

While I have experienced a NATURAL LABOR, I will be the first to say, “IT HURT”.  There is no sugar coating what a women experiences to bring a new life into this world.  With that being said, John Bonica is my hero! Who is he you ask? The man who developed the almighty EPIDURAL!

The epidural is a procedure done where pain medicine is infused into the space around the dura matter of the spine.  In a nutshell, you don’t feel any pain below the waist, during labor (when done correctly)

I had 3 epidurals, and all of them were relatively the same.

  • First thing to remember is you have to be EXTREMELY STILL during the insertion.  If not, you run the risk of getting paralyzed (rarely happens, but it is a risk).
  • The nurse will help you get into a sitting position on the side of the bed with you leaning forward, kinda like a fetal position.  This helps open the spinal column to get into the spaces.

 

  • The anesthesiologist will clean your back with a cold brown solution called beta dine to reduce the risk of introducing germs for your skin into you spinal cavity.
  • Then they will cover you a paper drape with a hole for where he will insert the needle
  • Next they will use inject you with a numbing agent a few times to help alleviate the pain of the epidural needle.
  • After this they will remind you again to be EXTREMELY STILL, because the needle is on its way in,  If you are in the middle of a contraction, tell them to wait!
  • The effectiveness and ease of insertion will depend on your size, and the experience of the anesthesiologist.
  • Then they will insert the needle, and once it’s into the epidural space, the needle will be removed and a plastic catheter will be left in place.  They will then tape the catheter to  your back to avoid it coming out.
  • Once inserted, you will be placed kinda leaning to one side, A bolus of medicine will be given to get you pain free, then a continuous infusion will run until its time to push
  • Then my friends, if everything went as planned, you will be in Heaven!
Now once the medicine begins to take effect, you will see the mountains of contractions on the monitor and not feel a thing.
Although, when it’s time to push, you may get a sensation or urge to do a number two.  With all of my kids, I never felt pain, just the urge to push or poop (with 2 of them I did poop!)
Now as for the effects on my baby, my oldest two were premies so they were whisked away.  Therefore, I can’t comment on them. My daughter or youngest son did not appear to be affected whatsoever!  Both latched on without a second thought, neither was drowsy (I know this because I did not get an ounce of sleep and they DID NOT LEAVE MY SIDE).
As far as I was concerned, after I delivered, I was in the shower cleaning up, except with my first son.  With him, it took the anesthesia a little longer to wear off.  With my daughter, I had residual pain at the insertion site for months after delivery.  However, it was not so bothersome where I refused an epidural with my last child.
For me, I do not like pain, especially unnecessary pain.  I do not feel like any less of a woman or mother for getting medication and avoiding that nonsense.  For those who want an all natural birth, I salute you, but me, I tip my hat and applaud John Bonica for his development of the all might epidural and accept it with open arms!

Packing for the Hospital

Everyone knows you should bring a bag to the hospital with them when having a baby, but everyone is not to sure about what exactly they need to pack.  Well as a mother of 3 and an RN who instructed first time mothers on situations such as this, here are my recommendations for mom, baby, and dad (if he stays).

For mom:
1. Lose fitting clothes: sweats and favorite tee-shirt, a dress, me being a nurse, I took scrubs.  Basically something quick and easy to wear home.
2. Indoor/Outdoor slide on shoe and socks- while some are just fine with the socks the hospital gives you, I prefer to be comfortable at all times when away from home, which means my own belongings. The soft socks fuzzy socks (I call them slippies), are by far my favorite!
3. A couple night gowns, for after delivery, unless you prefer to wear the hospital issued back open over-sized gowns. I suggest one with buttons, especially for moms who plan on nursing.
4. Underwear for going HOME: I STRONGLY recommend using whatever the hospital issue you for undergarment to avoid ruining yours until time to go home.  There will be a great deal of bleeding and possibly some urine accidents.  By discharge it usually slows down and you are less accident prone to blood or urine.
5. Always with Wings Super Infinity brand sanitary napkins.  I love these for you barely know they are there and absorbs WELL.  You do have to keep in mind you did just deliver a baby so you will have to change your pad frequently regardless of what brand of sanitary napkin you choose to use.
6. Personal Toiletries- Shampoo, conditioner, lotion (hospital water is drying), toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, brush, make-up and nail polish  (if you wear it for picture day), floss, hair tie (especially for labor, and afterwards), and for some hair scarf.
7. Camera and charger (make sure it’s charged and has the memory card inside).  A disposable camera  would also suffice  if you do not own a camera.
8. Cellphone CHARGER- To give your friends and family the good news via Facebook and twitter, and to snap a few quick photos to upload along with the news.
9, List of important numbers- I know this sounds silly, but from experience I left my charger home, thus my phone died and had such a post-partum brain, I couldn’t remember my own mother’s number.  Which all lead to a fit full of tears!
10. Ipad, books, crossword puzzles, magazines etc. for entertainment when you all alone and bored
11. Snacks- Hospital food is not the best, and some snacks to get you through until the next meal or late at night may come in very handy!
12. The Birthing Plan (if you have one)- explaining to everyone who is apart of your delivery and stay exactly how you want things to go.
13. A warm blanket….it gets EXTREMELY COLD in those hospital rooms! This thing saved my life!

14. The hubby- you will need a ride- it’s very difficult to drive with contractions, trust me!
For the bundle of joy:
Let me put it like this, the baby will get EVERYTHING HE OR SHE NEEDS OF GREAT QUALITY while in the hospital unlike you.  The only things you really need to pack are
1. Going home outfit- make sure you have layers depending on the time of year you deliver and a newborn hat
2. The carseat- most hospitals will not discharge mom without one.
3. Diaper bag if you are not going directly home after discharge from the hospital (we’ll discuss what to pack in the diaper bag in another post).
4. Change of clothes for hospital stay- this is totally not necessary, for the baby will be getting assessed frequently and the sleepers and clothes are just another layer for the staff to tussle with, the t-shirts given in the hospital are just fine
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5. A soft photogenic blanket and outfit for pictures- the outfit really is not necessary for the hospital pictures, I really feel the “birthday suit” look turns out to look the best.  However, it’s whatever suits’ your preference.

The baby book- I say bring this so you can get the footprints in the book for a keepsake when the hospital staff are making the birth record!

 

For Dad:
Usually dad does not stay the entire stay, although in most hospitals he’s welcomed to.  If he does, he may need ALMOST everything as mom will need (minus the sanitary napkins, and nightgowns), but a a guy usually some clean clothes, a toothbrush (you guys can share toothpaste), and a change of underwear will get him through his stay.  You guys can share the rest or make sure you pack enough for two in mom’s bag!
If anyone has any other suggestions, please feel free to comment! Oh and make sure your nails are done, for the hospital photographers almost always take a picture with you holding the baby’s foot, or the baby holding your finger….ENJOY!

Cooling the Burn! #Heartburn

Heartburn….nothing like it sounds. If I had to describe it, it would be an upset, non-digesting, sour stomach, giving me a false sense of nausea and vomiting, with burps of whatever you ate last on the side. For some, simple home remedies will cure it, but of course not for me.  So like my last post, I will give you insight on my experience dealing with heartburn.

Soon after the storm of the first trimester nausea and vomiting was over, Hurricane Irene showed up on my doorstep.  At 14 weeks or so, I got to ditch my Phenergan and Zofran, but my Zantac was located in my purse, my dresser, upstairs, downstairs, glove department and the list goes on! Being the forgetful person I am, I had to compensate to prevent misery.
Now the non-medicinal remedies I’ve tried consist of
1. Smaller meals
2. Avoidance of spicy and acidic foods (including garlic and tomato sauces)
3. Not lying down directly after eating (wait about 45 mins)
4. Drink Water
5. Apple Cider Vinegar (just couldn’t get it down)
6. Water
While these should be tried first, and I’m sure there are a variety of other remedies existing, but this is what I tried and honestly NONE, made a difference.
The medicinal methods tried are
1. Pepcid (this worked my first 3 pregnancies, but did absolutely NOTHING this pregnancy)
2. Zantac (this has helped tremendously until around weeks 28, and I was taking 300mg a day)
3. Prilosec/Omeprazole (this by itself did not work, and the capsules left a horrible after taste that made       me nauseated).
So MY cocktail now consists of a Walmart brand Omeprazole 20mg(which I get twice the amount for the same price than from the pharmacy) and 150mg of Zantac once a day.  This has been talked over and approved with and by my OB just for the recored.  Before figuring this out (within the last 2 weeks) I haven’t been eating or drinking and gained absolutely no weight in the past 3 weeks.  Hopefully, I’ll get back on track with eating, drinking and dare I mumble (weight gaining), to ensure my baby is healthy.
Hope someone benefits from this!
My Lifesavers!