Parenting Series: Journey to Motherhood, the Birthing Story!!!

Today makes 17 weeks and 2 days of absolute adorableness, breastfeeding, crying (baby + me), and diapers for this new, first time mom!  (In that time, we’ve only had two projectile poop explosions, but boy were they of epic proportions! Three if you count the little gift Malachi left on a pair of his Nanty’s favorite jeans…while she was wearing them and holding him. Good times. Good times!)
There are moments, when it seems like my son has been with me forever, and I find my mommying groove. But there are still very much moments when all the newness of this sacred position overwhelms me with exhaustion, or worry, and a lot of times, both.  But even with the postpartum challenges (the crazy hormones, the sore breasts, the foreign body, the lack of sleep, and the list goes on…) I have never been so full. I look at the beautiful baby boy my husband and I went half on, and my heart bursts at the seams with all the love I feel.
Somewhere between Saturday morning cartoons as a child and bonding with my mother over “Say Yes to the Dress” in college, I fell in love with the TV show “A Baby Story.” A baby story came on TLC and would feature the stories of new parents around the time of their baby’s delivery.  The episodes were only 30 minutes (so you know the true reality of it all was spliced and diced and then stitched back together in a neat little TV package) and censored out all the real educational bits in the delivery room (lol). But still, I enjoyed watching the happy couple bringing home their bundle of joy, and the one-minute long check in a few weeks later at the end of the show. And of course both mama and baby were camera ready. 
(Malachi is always camera ready. Me? Not so much. But hey, I’ve kept a completely dependent human alive for quarter of a year now, so give me some credit.)
So here’s my true life “A Baby Story.”
(To read our birth story skip to Part II here.)
PREGNANCY SYMPTOMS: Except for two days of feeling like “death due to food poisoning,” I had no early pregnancy symptoms. Two days was enough, and apparently all I needed. On day 3, a Monday morning, at my husband Daniel’s urging I took a pregnancy test and we got a positive!
Several months earlier, my OB-GYN had talked to me about infertility (there are different types and varying degrees of infertility), and there was even talk of doing further testing, which I simply never got around to. I had taken a few pregnancy tests over the years, and with Danny’s excited anticipation and then each negative result, my heart would break a little bit at a time. So when we got the positive test result, I cried tears of joy.
An easy pregnancy.

My main symptom was insomnia. It started early in the first trimester and subsided a little when my brother gifted me with a pregnancy pillow in my second trimester, but ramped up again towards the end of the pregnancy.   My body also ached. I got round ligament pains super early on (about week 8) and ended up needing a maternity belt. There were some days when I just could not get comfortable in any position—sitting, standing, laying down, walking—it all hurt.

Food: I had food aversions early on, especially to meat. But I never really craved anything consistently.  Although, I lived on baked potatoes, with sour cream (And I never eat sour cream!), for like a month when I couldn’t stomach meat.
Even when the food aversion went away, I wanted shrimp (not strange) and ate whole grains, fruit and veggies more than anything else.  In the third trimester, I had a few days of an intense hotdog craving (I never eat hotdogs), and was able to have that satisfied in the best way—100% beef from Farm Burger in Atlanta and the classic from a NY street vendor.
I only had a handful of vomiting spells in the second and third trimesters, so all in all it was an easy pregnancy. 
Physical Activity:  I was running 4 miles about three times a week when we got the positive pregnancy test.
I wanted to keep up with the running for as long as I could but around week 12 those 4 miles dropped to 3 because of the intense round ligament pain.
And then the run turned into more of a walk-jog and I was able to keep that up until about week 24. The exhaustion I was already experiencing without exerting extra energy for 3 miles became more than enough.  Instead, I turned to Yoga, to try to get some physical activity in. My “go-to”s were this prenatal yoga workout video and this best stretches video that was amazing in relieving some of the back aches I was experiencing.
Towards the end of the pregnancy, even the yoga stopped. But when I remembered, I did 30 squats at a time.  I put on about 30 lbs during the pregnancy, and lost about 15 lbs after the first week postpartum.
PREPARATION: A first pregnancy is a lot like wedding planning before getting married. So much emphasis is placed on labor and delivery, like it is on the wedding day, that it can be easy to forget the more important part that comes afterward—parenthood, and in the case of weddings, marriage.   I did a better job at preparing for marriage than I did with preparing for life after baby arrived. I was nervous about delivery (I wanted an non-medicated childbirth) and I also worried that I wouldn’t know when to go to the hospital.  I read a lot of articles online, mainly about labor and delivery. One of my favorite online resources was Evidenced Based Birth. It solidified my desire for a water birth (which didn’t happen).

Books: I read one book and no exaggeration, I finished it, the night before I went into labor.

Ina May Gaskin is a renowned midwife. The book has rave reviews, and is totally worth owning; although, I simply checked out a copy from my local library.  I personally fell in love with the book upon reading in the introduction that unless there is a true medical condition, the cervix of even a smaller woman is not too small to do the work of giving birth.
I also liked that part one was filled with real, unfiltered birth stories, and they weren’t the horror stories most women hear. They were encouraging, uplifting, and empowering. Part two of the book, detailed the technical aspects of childbirth, including facts surrounding C-sections, epidurals, and maternal death (See link to purchase:  Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth) .
I also thumbed through The Birth Partner, which Danny purchased for himself, mainly for the water birth section, oops :Kanye shrug, and enjoyed the book’s breakdown of the different stages labor.   We did not do any childbirth education courses. I heard mixed reviews about taking a class from Been There Done That Parents, still our provider encouraged it. In all truth, the value of the class probably depends on the (type of) class itself. There are a lot of class options out there.
Breathing:  I heard Hypnobabies in particular, and hypnobirthing classes in general, were helpful, particularly because of the breathing techniques. I also heard that the breathing techniques weren’t all that special so I looked them up on YouTube.  My favorite videos came from The Positive Birth Company Channel. Siobahn made it easy for me— Up breathing for early labor and down breathing when it’s time to push. Aside from Jesus, and my amazing birthing team, Siobahn’s videos were the key to being able to have an non-medicated birth!
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Bio: When Jamaican native Cara-Marie Findlay is not using her blog Findlay House to inspire, or snorting from laughing too much, she is harnessing the power of words to create positive change. She is an accomplished freelance Communications Specialist, specializing in nonprofits and other mission-driven clients. Say hi to her on Instagram & Twitter
  • Kesha
    August 28, 2018

    Congratulations on your baby! New mothers have so many new experiences in that first year. I totally remember the early days of breastfeeding. Both me and my son cried daily until we FINALLY got it right. Love this article.

  • Evelyn
    August 29, 2018

    You are blessed to not have had morning sickness, I had it from day one until my 5 month.

  • Katie
    August 29, 2018

    I loved meeting each of my little ones and appreciated a straightforward birth experience. It’s different for everyone and so many resources are available.

  • Catherine Santiago Jose
    August 29, 2018

    Everyone has different experiences with pregnancy and giving birth. Me, I have a lot of uncomfortable days during my pregnancy and after giving birth. Sometimes I cried when my baby was crying but after months I’ve learned how to manage it.

  • Joanna
    August 29, 2018

    I don’t have children so I don’t know how being pregnant feels like or how you should prepare for the birth. It’s good that you have had an easy pregnancy and you could enjoy this time without being sick.

  • Chloe
    August 29, 2018

    Prenatal yoga sounds really interesting. I myself am a runner so I really enjoyed that portion of your post, since now I know some options.

  • Jyoti kiran
    August 29, 2018

    Really very informative for would mothers.
    Loved it. ♥

  • Ramona Cruz-Peters
    August 29, 2018

    Your pregnancy story sounds a lot like mine! I also used to love that show A Baby Story.

    August 29, 2018

    Awww.. little babies are such a blessing. I have 2 little ones and I’ve had my share of those poop explosions! Lawd! But both my births were tough with having to have c-sections for both. Enjoy your precious baby.. they grow up so fast! Thanks for sharing!

  • Monidipa Dutta
    August 29, 2018

    Parenting is definitely not a cake walk but it’s an awesome experience. Becoming parents for first time must have been quite overwhelming. Some activities you described sounds fun. Wish you all the best with your baby boy.

  • Nati
    August 30, 2018

    Birth and Delivery stories are always so special! I also wished non medicated births, but my dilatation was slow and after 27 hours of labour, the doctor thought it was time to help things out. I got occytocine and asked for self-dosing epidural, normally people ask for that to put in MORE, but I did that to put in LESS medication. So I could give birth standing on my feet as I wished. For my second child everything happened so fast nobody saw it coming and in about 8 minutes in the hospital room, my baby was crying in my arms!!

  • Laila
    August 30, 2018

    I can’t wait to experience being pregnant and bringing life into this world.I hope that I also have an easy pregnancy and birth.

  • Nikki
    August 30, 2018

    Welcome to motherhood! If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been pee’d on I’d be rich! I agree with you, it’s easy to feel like your little has been with you forever in just a short period of time. It becomes hard to imagine life without them. Congrats!

  • Viv
    August 30, 2018

    Can totally relate as a mom. It wasn’t that long ago. Thank you for sharing your journey!

  • Cia Black
    August 30, 2018

    I have had 4 stories and not one have anything in common. I love hearing and sharing stories.

  • Indu
    August 30, 2018

    Journey to motherhood should always be cherished one. I enjoy immensely reading about mothers experiences.

  • pujarini
    August 31, 2018

    The pregnancy journey is a roller coaster ride. Some days are beautiful and some days feel really low. Thanks for sharing your story, I enjoyed reading it.

  • Elizabeth O
    August 31, 2018

    I love reading other peoples stories. It is interesting to read how different other peoples births are. It really is a beautiful thing.

  • Szebastian
    August 31, 2018

    One day when I have my little ones besides the semi-adopted one I do, I will be thinking of this article and smiling.

  • Mariànne
    August 31, 2018

    Wow this is such a detailed guide. I wish I had this when I had my baby 10years ago. It’s interesting how different our everybody’s story is.

  • Hailey
    September 1, 2018

    I loved ready through your experience! Every mother has such a difference experience it’s fun to hear it from so many different perspectives. It’s really special that you have this written down. 🙂

  • Dr. N
    September 1, 2018

    Each birth experience is so different even between ine’s own babies! Wishing you lots of love and positive vibes on this motherhood journey, mama! <3

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