Eighty-four percent of people love statistics.
OK. I made that one up; it’s just that this whole pregnancy and miscarriage thing has a lot of statistics associated with it. For example, Pea in the Podcast recently posted “The latest stats show over 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriages in the first trimester.”
If this is true then as a newly pregnant woman you quickly do the math and figure, “Whew. That means that more than 75% of pregnancies go beyond the first trimester.”
Or you might think, as I did, “OK – 100 women in a room and only 25, if not fewer, of them will have a miscarriage. Chances are, it’s not going to be me.” And then it is.
It happened to me and I can’t get past that. It happened to me. I am one of those 25 unfortunate women. How can that be? That’s what I spend my free time thinking about and ironically enough, it leads me to wonder what my odds are of this happening again.
My doctor tried to reassure me that a very large percent of women who miscarry with their first pregnancy go on to have a normal pregnancy and healthy baby in their next pregnancy. “Odds are…” she said. Yes. And the odds that I would miscarry were so low.
But it happened. And it happened to me.
So what’s a girl to believe? I can’t answer that question but I do know, as author Elizabeth McCracken writes in her book An Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination, “Once you’re on the losing side of great odds, you’ll never feel comforted by statistics again.” That’s something I believe.
Among the many decisions every expecting mother must make, how we choose to feed our new little bundles is one of the most important. It probably seems everyone in your life has an opinion on this: your mother, your neighbor, your grandmother, your co-worker, your friend, your friend’s co-workers’ grandmother… and the list goes on. While advice and opinions on this matter may be well-intentioned, they can also tend to be overwhelming for a mother-to-be. Each mother must carefully consider both options and make an informed decision on what is best for her and her baby.
We have all heard the motto “Breast is Best”. It is plastered on our ob/gyn’s wall, in our pregnancy books and we even hear it on television. However, there are pros and cons for breastfeeding and bottle-feeding alike.
There are so many decisions you have ahead of you with regards to yours and your baby’s well-being. You shouldn’t have to feel pressured to go one way or the other when it comes to whether you breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby. Every mother’s set of circumstances is different. Every baby is different. Choose which option is best for both of you and move on with this wonderful new phase of your life. Afterall, the most important thing you can give to your baby is your love and affection – and that isn’t hard at all!
It’s amazing how time flies when you’re not pregnant. The nine weeks I was pregnant passed with painstaking slowness; life after a miscarriage during the past two weeks, on the other hand, went by in a blur. I’ve been so busy with trying to stay busy, trying not to think, trying to move on with my life. There’s been one thing holding me back: my inability to naturally miscarry.
I had an appointment with the doctor a few days ago. She confirmed the missed miscarriage and offered me the option to continue to wait, to take a dose of Misoprostol, a drug to induce contractions, or to schedule a dilation and curettage procedure, (or D&C). Because I’ve been waiting for two weeks, I opted for the Misoprostol.
Deciding to take this drug was not an easy thing to do and so I planned nearly every detail of how I was going to handle the experience.
My husband and I would take the dog to my parents’ house. On the way home, we would pick up the prescription for Misoprostal and the one for Vicodin. Then, we would go to one of our favorite restaurants, a wine and tapas bar. After dinner, we would go home and watch some TV and at bedtime, I would swallow the pills and wake up the next morning in the throws of a miscarriage.
Everything went according to plan…until morning…Dinner was wonderful. I ate a trifecta of foods that are off limits during pregnancy: soft imported cheese, fresh salami, and wine. We topped off the meal with some crème brule and then headed home to watch the latest episode of Lost.
By 11:30 I could hardly keep my eyes open so I went upstairs and opened the brown pharmacy bottle. Three pills. I held them in my hand and couldn’t believe how hard it was to put them in my mouth. After several minutes of hesitation, I tossed them back and crawled into bed.
At 2:30 a.m., I was still awake, my heart racing with nerves and my mind with thoughts about when it was going to start and how much it would hurt. I decided to head off the pain with some nighttime pain reliever.
I woke up at 7:30 a.m. and didn’t feel anything. I went to the bathroom and noted some light spotting but nothing like what the doctor described. Throughout the day, I continued to lightly spot but had no cramps or heavy bleeding. At 2:30 p.m. I called the doctor and described what had happened so far. The doctor prescribed a second dose of the medication and told me to call in 48 hours if there is no change. If that’s the case, I will have to schedule a D&C.
I don’t know how long this is going to drag on and what I want more than anything in the whole wide world is closure to this chapter so we can start a new one. My husband says every now and then he slips into this space where he wonders how our life would be different this very moment if none of this happened. I can’t help but wonder the same thing. What would the pregnant us be doing? Would we be looking at nursery furniture? Counting down the days until we spilled the beans? Going out to eat and sighing because the wine list looks so good, but beaming because I’d rather be pregnant than drink wine?
Realistically, the pregnant me wouldn’t be doing anything drastically different than the not-pregnant me but that doesn’t stop us from wondering and wishing things were different.
My favorite time of day is the five seconds between when I wake up and when my brain becomes aware of reality. If I’m lucky, I’ll make it to ten seconds before the haze of what the day will hold lifts and I’m wide awake with the choice to lay in bed and stare at the ceiling, or get up, pull myself together and get on with the day.
It’s been just a few days since we found out that the baby had no heartbeat; three days to be exact. When I asked my husband how long he thought it would take for us to start to feel better he said, “Well, I use the rule of 1 day for every month you were involved.” According to his theory, we’d feel better today.
I guess I feel better than I have for the past two days. Using tears as a marker, I cried only once today and it wasn’t a heaving, sobbing, snot running out of my nose cry. It was a much more subtle misty-eyed cry, a cry of acceptance that life goes on and so we must as well.
I decided to take advantage of my employer’s participation in a program that provides psychological counseling free of charge up to six times a year. I called to make the appointment and it was the first time I used the word ‘miscarriage’ in reference to myself. It was painful to say and even more painful to try to explain that I hadn’t yet had a miscarriage but was going to in the near future. “No, I’m not worried it’s going to happen. It IS going to happen.” Sigh.
Sitting on the psychologist’s couch I had two realizations: One–I am in the wrong profession. This woman sat with me for an hour as I iterated my innermost feelings, frustrations, and fears. She asked about four questions in the course of an hour and I talked. Two–Going to a psychologist is highly underrated. I said things to her that I had been thinking but unable to articulate to anyone because I thought they would sound ridiculous. She never commented or judged. She simply asked questions that led me down a path where I was finally able to admit to myself that my feelings are mostly ones of frustration.
When I commit to something, I’m in 100 percent. And so it was with this pregnancy. From the moment we made the decision to start a family to the weeks and days I waited to take a pregnancy test, to the first, and second, and third positive, I was fully committed and invested in the idea of being pregnant and having a baby. And then from the first appointment with the OB coordinator to the moment I started spotting, to the first time we saw the baby on ultrasound, I was obsessed with sustaining the pregnancy and convinced that statistically-speaking, IT wouldn’t happen to me.
In my head, I had already made the transition from yuppie to mommy and was committed to what that future held. I had already started divesting myself from work and being more committed to my home life – a real change from being an over-achieving work-a-holic. Most importantly, I had made peace with those two things and was excited about starting a new chapter of my life.
Now that there is no pregnancy, what I can’t get my mind around is that I have nothing I am 100 percent committed to and invested in. I had all my eggs in one basket and the basket is gone, at least that’s the way I feel.
I have a follow-up appointment with psychologist on April 16. That would have been the end of my first trimester. I know that sometime between now and then I will naturally, or with the help of medication, miscarry. What I’m hoping is that by the time these two things happen, I can find something else to be committed to, even if it’s committing to simply relaxing and being kind to myself.
As you draw closer to your due date, your caregivers might have asked if you have written or created a birth plan. A birth plan is a communication tool that is used by everyone involved with your labor and the birth of your baby. Your birth plan effectively puts everyone on the “same page” when it comes to you and your partner’s preferences regarding the different options available to you during the course of your labor, birth and even after-care of your baby.
Why write a birth plan? First, it allows you and your partner to get in sync with one another before your baby’s birth. Creating a plan will give you a chance to bring up any fears, strong desires, etc. that you may have not talked about up to this point. It also allows you to create a “team approach” with your caregivers. More than likely, different people involved with your labor, delivery and aftercare. As new caregivers join in to assist you, they will be able to know your preferences no matter what stage you are in.
Of course, a birth plan is not a set of orders to be followed, but it does give you reminders as to what is important in an ideal birth situation. To get started, make sure you and your partner have some time to talk about your ideal birth story. Read up on the subject and/or take a childbirth class with your partner so that you are aware of all options available to you. Once you have a rough-draft, schedule time to review your birth plan with your care provider. They can suggest any changes based on hospital guidelines, etc. When your final birth plan is complete, make sure that you have copies for yourself, additional support persons/doula and your caregiver. It is also helpful to pack an additional one in your hospital bag for the caregivers that will be attending to you.
A birth plan should include the following:
Your birth plan will be best received when it is kept short and sweet. Too much wording is hard for caregivers to read and discern what is truly important to you. Short and direct sentences or “bullet points” allow all of those involved to quickly reference your preferences at each step. Keep in mind that a birth plan are your wishes under normal birthing circumstances. Labor is unpredictable and the birth plan should not be a list of orders that restrict the caregiver’s ability to keep you and baby healthy.
Not sure where to get started? There are some great birth plan templates available on the web to choose from. Because they can get lengthy covering so much material, it is a good idea to print one out, make the selections you desire and then type those preferences to create your own birth plan.
Just when you were getting used to wearing compression stockings for varicose veins on your legs, the pregnancy police blindsides you with yet another secret; hemorrhoids. Yes ladies, the hemorrhoid is actually a varicose vein that makes its lovely appearance on your rectum. And, you thought your belly would be the only place to grow a bump. You may be asking what causes these painful little guys to appear and why are they so darn itchy?
By now you are wondering how you can treat and prevent these horrible buggers from ever occurring again. Below is a list of ways to comfort your symptoms as well as tips for changing your lifestyle so that they never come back.
Hemorrhoids usually get better with the methods above, but if not you may need to seek out a specialist for treatment. Although rare, minor surgery may be required to correct the problem.
Milkstars is a line of functional, yet trendy, breastfeeding tops created by a brand new mom. Featuring a functional structure that allows nursing mothers easy access when it’s time to feed the baby. These tops come in a variety of colors and styles and are made from soft rayon/spandex blend. This material not only gives these shirts a more comfortable fit, but also conceal the leaks and sweat stains common for new nursing moms. Visit MilkStars.com for more information.
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College is expensive. Though in-state schools can run as “little” as $9,000 a year according to the College Board, the average tuition at a private college or university easily tops $35,000. And while scholarships and financial aid can offset the cost of a college degree, the average debt load carried by recent college grads exceeds $20,000. Being so deep in debt is hardly a good position to start off one’s career. Many new parents are often daunted by the expenses related to raising their child; saving for college may become a secondary priority.
Here are three easy ways to start saving for your baby now—even before he or she is born—that will be easy on your wallet while still producing a nice chunk of change over time.
Upromise has partnered with hundreds of retailers and product manufacturers in its percentage-back program. For your purchase of products enrolled as Upromise partners, 1-25% of the purchase price is set aside in an education account for your child.Every time you shop online—for books, music, movies, car rentals and other travel-related services, clothing, and dozens of other items—you earn money if you make sure you have Upromise’s Turbo Saver tool bar installed. Upromise also has restaurant and retail partners—Exxon, Publix, and many more, who particpate in the program and offer percent-back options, too.You can set your account up before your baby is even born. But perhaps the very best feature of Upromise is the fact that you can have friends and family help earn, too. If they enroll in Upromise, their purchases divert percentage points into your child’s account.
They are overseen by states, and each of the 50 states has at least one 529 option available to its residents. Though the terms of the plan (and their associated tax benefits) vary from state to state, a 529 is an ideal and easy way to start saving money for your child’s education even before he or she is born. Setting up a 529 plan is typically fast and hassle-free, and you can let family and friends know that the account is available for gift-giving. A contribution to the 529 may be tax-deductible (again, depending on your state’s regulations), so family and friends may be more inclined to give a gift to your child’s 529 than a collection of baby bibs or the like. Generally speaking, the minimum deposit for establishing an account is very low. Also, if you’ve also set up a Upromise account—and since it’s free, why not?– your Upromise account can be linked directly to your 529, with Upromise earnings sent directly to your 529.
First is a direct savings plan, which you can open as soon as your child is born and has a Social Security number. You can set up automatic withdrawals from your own checking or savings account on a weekly or monthly basis in any amount: even just $20.00. ING Direct also offers two investment plan for children, one called a Custodial Plan and the other an Educational Savings account. Regardless of the plan you choose, there’s no start-up minimum, no account balance minimum that has to be maintained, and no account inactivity fees. According to the bank’s own data, if you were to invest $100 a month at the rate of 8% return on investment, the account would be worth $33,441 in just 15 years and $56,923 in 20 years. At about $25 a week, that’s not too shabby. Takes care of at least a year of college!