Pregnancy Classes

Times have changed and parents-to-be these days have a lot more options than just the basic Lamaze class. I hadn’t thought about it, but my midwife gave me a brochure and suggested I take some classes. The brochure was from PacifiCord, a local cord blood bank. (Side note: Cord blood banking is an interesting concept and seems to have a lot of utility. It may be something you want to check out. You can follow the link above to find out more about PacifiCord.) The classes were free so I thought I had nothing to lose really.

My preconceived notions were these:

  • It’s a free class how good could it be?
  • It’s sponsored by a business, so it will probably be a huge sales pitch with a little additonal info.
  • We will probably be pressured into buying their services.

I have to say that all of these notions were 100% wrong. The classes (after the first I signed up for another) were fantastic! Lead by labor and delivery nurse, doula, lactation consultant and mother of 3 Wendy Spry, the classes were extremely informative and entertaining. She also emailed everyone her materials after the class, because as you may know pregnancy does a number on your memory. At the end of her 2 hour presentation, she showed a quick video about cord blood banking and explained it briefly (total it was less than 10 minutes). Then she introduced Kevin, who could answer any questions we had and that was it. Class over, no sales pitch at all!

We ended up taking a breastfeeding class and a childbirth options class (going over the process of childbirth, what happens in a hospital, and what you can do to make the experience the best possible outcome). The classes were great and I recommend them to everyone.

Then I faced the challenge of choosing a childbirth methodology and find a class. Since I had chosen to try to have a natural childbirth experience, I explored Bradley, Hypnobirthing (recommended by my midwife) and Hypnobabies. As I mentioned in a previous post, Bradley is very involved and requires 12 classes. If there was a Bradley “Lite” that probably would have been perfect for me. Self-hypnosis did not seem like it was for me at all and I struggled with the recommendation. My midwife assured me that hypnosis was the method that she saw the most success with in her experience (which is considerable). So I tried to be open-minded.

Finding a class proved an even larger challenge. All of the classes I could find were in LA and I didn’t feel like fighting traffic and getting home at midnight. I found a few teachers that were willing to do a private class with my husband and I, but scheduling conflicts ruled out that option. The weeks ticked by and I was finding myself at a deadend. I emailed Wendy Spry and another childbirth educator (Sheridan from Enjoy Birth) and explained my dilemma. What was I going to do?

They both emailed me back and recommended the Hypnobabies Home Study Course. I ordered it immediately and Sheridan offered to do a review with me when I finished it. Finally, I had found an answer! The course materials could be a bit better organized (hint hint Hypnobabies), but all in all I really enjoyed the program. There were some cheesy parts I had to get past, but I found the deep relaxation that comes with self-hypnosis much more powerful than I had imagined. I was very happy that I was able to be open-minded about the process.

Pregnancy Websites

In addition to the many books, I also frequented websites to supplement my pregnancy learning. These are nice because you have the benefit of search and there are usually forums loaded with personal experiences. Some of my faves:

These all have general information and some have those cool emails you can sign up for that tells you what is going on with your baby that week (for both during the pregnancy and after the kid is born).

A couple other sites I like are:

  • momversation.com – Full of videos of moms talking about mom issues, both entertaining and informative.
  • lets-panic.com – This is just for fun, 2 bloggers started this site to poke fun at all of the stuff that moms get told to do and not to do.

Then there are the countless mommy blogs, some of my favorite:

Finally, since I have an iPhone, apps were put to good use during my pregnancy as well:

  • BabyBump – Similar to the websites above, just general information. Weekly updates, daily updates and forums.
  • BMotion – A kick-counter app for when you need to count such things.
  • A Contraction Counter – Read the fine print on this one. I opted for a free version and it only allowed me to time 10 contractions then required that I buy the paid version, which worked TOTALLY differently. This is not something you want to deal with while having contractions.
  • Similac Baby Journal – This is an awesome free app for all of the many things you need to chart once the baby is born.

I’d love to hear about your favorites.

Pregnancy Books

The learning curve for pregnancy is pretty steep for something that is only going to be a very small part of your life. I, personally, tried to learn just about everything I could. Gathering a varitable library on the subject, I read the better part of around a dozen books. Here are some of the books I would recommend:

  • What to Expect When You’re Expecting- Tried and true. More than a page-turner, this is a good reference book. You can look up just about anything.
  • The Pregnancy Book – There is a whole series of books by Dr. Sears and his wife (who went through this a few times) and I found them all to be a very good overview.
  • The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy – Casual and easy to read, it will answer some of the less “technical” questions about this wild process.
  • Belly Laughs – This is just a funny personal account by Jenny McCarthy.

Then there were the childbirth books, which I was very interested in because I had decided to try to have a natural childbirth (more on this later).

  • Birthing from Within – A little to artsy fartsy for me, but an interesting approach to the childbirth process.
  • The Bradley Way – About the Bradley method of childbirth. It was a good overview and I think it would have been interesting to take a class about it. Bradley classes are 12 sessions, and that was a bit overwhelming so I didn’t end up going this route.
  • Hypnobirthing – Recommended by my midwife and a family member, but unfortunately I couldn’t find a class.
  • Hypnobabies Home Study – If you decide to go the hypnosis route, I preferred Hypnobabies to Hypnobirthing. I felt that they gave you a clearer understanding of how to achieve the goals of hypnosis and how to practice.
  • Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth – This is an amazing book by a very famous midwife and her immense wisdom gives so much information that is NOT in any of the other books I read. Her book gave me a whole new perspective on childbirth.
  • The Birth Book – Dr. Sears again, this book had very good suggestions for pain management techniques and very good overall information.

The last 2 books are definately my favorites. Happy reading!

Baby Shower(s)

When my friends asked what I wanted for my baby shower, I paused and said, “I don’t know if I’m going to have one. I’ll just buy whatever I need.” I quickly learned that that was the wrong answer. “Oh, you’re HAVING a shower” they said. I thought of it as a burden to those who would throw it, but I came to find out that my friends were excited to throw a party in my honor. How awesome my friends are! So from that point on I was nothing but grateful, very grateful.

As it turned out, I ended up having 3 awesome baby showers! Work friends (we tried to identify our co-workers from baby photos), friends (a Wizard of Oz themed par-tay), and church friends (awesome mexican food) all gathered to celebrate with me. So thankful for the beautiful people in my life. What a blessing!

Glucose Testing

I had my Glucose Tolerance Screening and it showed that I was at risk for Gestational Diabetes, so I had to have a Glucose Tolerance Test. I was very upset about these results because I knew that Gestational Diabetes would hinder my chances at a natural child birth in the birth center. So I read up on the test and found as much as I could.

Here is how the screening test goes. You do not have to fast for this test. They give you a bottle of solution, mine was orange flavored. It tasted like orange soda without the fizz. You drink it fairly quickly, then they take your blood and measure your glucose. If it is over a certain amount (it can vary a bit), they will have you take the Glucose Tolerance Test.

For the GTT, you will need to fast for 12 hours before. You will get another solution to drink that will be twice as sweet as the first (yuck!). They will take your blood before you drink the solution, then at 2 or 3 intervals afterward. It takes a couple hours. You are not allowed to eat during the test, you might be allowed to take small sips of water. They will measure your body’s response to the big hit of sugar and determine whether or not you have Gestational Diabetes.

Some things to note:

  • Do not eat a low carb/sugar diet in the days before the GTT. It will cause your insulin levels to lower and cause a larger blood sugar reaction when you take the test.
  • Taking some grapefruit juice the night before (before the fast begins) may help to stabalize your blood sugar for the next 24 hours.
  • If you are allowed to sip water throughout the test, do it. It can help you feel better and dilute the sugar in your tummy. Just don’t break the rules and negate the test. You don’t want to have to take it again.
  •  Finally, if they will let you, walk around during the test. It may help you feel better.

My test went well and I passed. No Gestational Diabetes! Yes!

If you do have it, don’t worry too much. You can try to control your sugar with diet, oral medications and if all else fails insulin. The doctors will tell you that you are at risk for having a large (macrosomic) baby, but if you can control your weight gain and the baby is on track for growth, you should be fine. Note: I am not a doctor, just a fellow Mom.

Baby Registry

Turns out you need a lot of stuff for a baby, but everyone has a slightly different opinion of what you need. I started researching the basic baby registry items necessary for a newborn. We have a small house and I wasn’t about to store tricycles and high chairs for months or years to come. I went through my pregnancy books, searched the web and came up with what I thought was a pretty good list of baby items. Note: Babies R Us will give you a “list” of needed items, but it is more like a catalog of what’s in the store and is complete overkill.

You will get clothes from everyone, so don’t register for them. My list doesn’t include decorations or toys as I am a “necessities-only” kinda chick. :

  • Boppy – Don’t get “My Brest Friend” other moms have said it’s lame. Might want to get a cover too.
  • Swing – Not a “must-have” unless your baby is fussy.
  • Pack & Play/Sheets – This is what my baby sleeps in until he is ready for a crib. No need for a bassinett. I also recommend getting one with the changing apparatus.
  • Diaper Genie – Or other diaper pail for when they start solids or formula. Exclusive breastfeeders don’t make smelly diapers, yay!
  • Butt Paste – Works great, but my baby did have one rash it didn’t work for so we bought the Aveeno one and that did it. Trial and error.
  • Pacifiers – We bought Nuk, but he hates them. Loves the Mam brand. Again, trial and error.
  • Receiving Blankets
  • Baby Towels – I haven’t found a need for more than 2.
  • Cloth Diapers (for spit-up, etc.) – Need about 20 of these 🙂 Also, some have a thick strip down the middle, those
    are not as useful.
  • Swaddling Blankets – A must for when they get larger. We have 3, that’s plenty.
  • Car Seat – The law 🙂
  • Onsies – I didn’t need nearly as many of these as I thought. I would say just register for 1 pack, you can get more if needed before D-day.
  • Kimono Shirts – The idea here is not to have to pull shirts over baby’s new little head and until the umbilical cord falls off, you might want shirts instead of onsies.
  • Caps – Babies need hats. They sleep in them at first cause they lose heat fast.
  • Mittens – Pretty much useless. Just make sure you have some onsies with the mitts at the end of long sleeves.
  • Socks – It’s hard to find tiny ones.
  • Dreft – Or other baby- friendly detergent.
  • Stroller – I love the stroller frame that you put the car seat on. Simple, light, cheap and he can graduate to something else when he is larger. The travel systems with car seat that snaps onto the stroller are heavy and expensive.
  • Rearview mirror – Love this, even if you are the passenger, it just helps to see what’s going on back there.
  • Bottle Warmer – Tried it once, haven’t used it since. I would recommend getting one that you can control the time. Ours thinks it knows what’s best and I hate that. Plus it beeps loud.
  • Front Carrier – So far the Baby Bjorn is a hit.
  • Changing Pad – Need one for on the go and maybe one for the house.
  • Diaper Bag – We love ours, but it is overkill for a quick trip, so we have a MUCH smaller one that just has essentials.
  • Breast Pump – I’m still using a manual on rare occasions. Haven’t ponied up for an electric.
  • Bath Tub – This one is tough because everyone had a different opinion, here are the 3 recommendations we got: small and manageable, maybe try the “Comfort Bather” it folds up; OR one of those sponge inserts in the kitchen sink; OR the Euro bath, a large molded tub that holds the baby in place when young and later when he can sit up.
  • Crib/Mattress/Sheets – Not an immediate necessity. Baby should sleep in a bassinet or the Pack N Play in your room until he is about 4 months. For the mattress, get organic, since the baby will spend a large amount of time with their face pressed against it.
  • Glider/Rocker
  • Bottles – If you are doing formula, just go with whatever pacifier brand he likes. For breastfeeding, I just use the Medela ones that go with the pump.
  • Pacifier Clips – Good to have.
  • Bottle Brush
  • Wipes – COSTCO brand unscented. Love.
  • Diapers – My favorite so far have been the Target brand, no joke. They are rad and cheap.
  • Washcloths – Again, don’t need more than 3
  • Baby Tylenol – Good to have on hand in case you get a middle of the night fever.
  • Nail Clippers – A must. Nails grow like crazy.
  • Baby Shampoo/Wash
  • Baby Lotion
  • Bouncer
  • Milk Storage Bags/Bottles (Breastfeeding)
  • Shopping Cart Cover – Not using it yet, but I had to have this. Don’t like cooties.
  • Nursing Pads – I am using the disposables, but have some (3 pair) cloth ones in case I run out. These are a total necessity. Leaking is not sexy 🙂
  • Nursing Bra – You will need to wear a bra 24/7 if you are nursing. I have 2 stretchy sports-type bras to sleep in and I started with a stretchy daytime one until you get a feel for what size you will be. You need at least one before you come home from the hospital.
  • Nursing Cover – Rad for nursing in public. Unless you are the exhibitionist type 🙂
  • Night Light – You will need to see at night, but not want to turn on huge lights and wake baby. We also made great use of a clip-on book light here.
  • Neck Donut – The thing that goes around his head in the car seat, I just bought the “Boppy Noggin Nest” which has a hole in the back to prevent flat spots.
  • Bulb Syringe – You should get a rad one from the hospital.
  • Drawstring Nightgowns – I couldn’t find these, but I think they would be good for night time changing.
  • Monitor – We got the Avent one that doesn’t broadcast, so the neighbors don’t hear you in their monitor (an earlier problem we had with a cheapie model). Also, knowing how I am now, I might get a video one. They are not cheap, but sometimes I think it would be so nice to just look at the monitor and not have to get out of bed to see if he’s ok.
  • Baby thermometer – Get an ear one or forehead scanner, so you don’t have to put anything in his tush.

Movement

After a few weeks of wondering. I’m pretty sure I finally felt the baby move. I wouldn’t describe it as “flutters” like the books do, but more like someone flicking me with their finger gently, but, you know, from inside my belly. Just another little joy to give thanks for on Thanksgiving eve. I have nicknamed him, Baby Kick-Kick.

It’s a Boy!

We did the ring test the night before and then ultrasound confirmed, it’s a boy! I couldn’t believe it! I thought it was a girl, but we are honestly so happy! I think I actually said to the tech, “Really? Are you sure?”This was a very pleasant surprise, mostly because a boy will allow a blood relative to carry on the family name. Also, we are rock solid on our boy’s name, Nathaniel Anthony. So bring out the blue!!

Boy or Girl

We may know the answer to this question in just few short days. It seems weird that we will finally know. Everyone has guesses. I have mine too, but truly I will be happy with either. I actually really like the fact that this was something we had no control over. I suppose once we know then we can start planning a little more and buying stuff. Sometimes I think about how big a change this is going to be and it freaks me out a little, but I think it will be good. 🙂

Mirror Mirror

Today as I was leaving the parking structure, I did something that many people have done. I ran into one of the large cement posts with my car. Several people we know have had “run-ins” so to speak, with these overgrown posts. They seem to jump out from nowhere. Anyway, I backed up and caught my passenger side mirror on the postand the mirror (the glass part) popped off. I hopped out of the car and picked it up, then had to continue on to my meeting. Later when I had a moment to assess the situation, I found that even though it was cracked and so was the hosing, I could snap it back into place. Everything still works, yay! Sometimes it pays to have an older car that you really don’t care much about.