Louisiana Bride: My Pregnancy & Postpartum Essentials

Monday, March 16, 2015

My Pregnancy & Postpartum Essentials

I wanted to wait until after I had Harrison to even blog about what helped me survive pregnancy. I kid you not, I would rather have a baby than be pregnant.

Labor was an actual relief after 9 months of feeling awful.

I scoured the Internet and books looking for relief from every pregnancy symptom I was experiencing with no avail. I just didn't have mild symptoms and what everyone said to do was apparently for milk pregnancy sickness.

So today I thought I'd share a few things that worked for me, advice that actually worked, and some of the products I loved during pregnancy and right now in the postpartum phase.

Pregnancy

This one was the doozy.

During the first trimester I did everything I could to feel better. Lucky for me I have a husband who was willing to cook for himself and take care of me for several months while I was either asleep and trying to not throw up, or eating chips for every meal because it was the only appealing food at the time.

If I learned anything from the first trimester it is that you have found the right man if he is willing to literally pick you up off the floor to put you back in bed and then clean the bathroom after the horrific things that the first trimester of pregnancy just caused in there.

Everyone also talks about foods that worked for them, crackers were all fine and dandy until they became a food aversion. Eventually everything was a food aversion except for tortilla chips. I literally ate tortilla chips for a month for every meal.

1st Trimester Life Savers::
- pickle juice - I figured out that I could take my nausea meds with pickle juice and it wouldn't make me throw up. Odd, but it worked.

- Carb load - I was eating mostly Paleo when I got pregnant and meat quickly became the enemy. Accept that your diet isn't going to be the same and just eat what is appealing at the time.

 - Green apples were something I actually wanted for several weeks, later on I found out they are known to help with nausea.

- ginger candy, or whatever sour candy you can put in your mouth and not puke. I still had to teach and there were many days that I was constantly walking back to my desk to stick some food item in my mouth to keep from puking.

- Take the meds! I was on Zofran (yes I know there is suddenly controversy over it) and Diclegis, even with both of those I was insanely sick and had to take them with pickle juice to not throw them up.

- Sleep - If I started getting sick I had to go to sleep immediately or I would actually puke. Sleep was the only thing that could stop the puking when it started.

My second trimester was a breeze. The third is where life got tricky again.

At that point I found new things that kept me from getting sick. I had terrible indigestion/acid reflux and it caused the same symptoms I had in the first trimester.

3rd Trimester Life Savers::
 - Ice Chips - the ice machine at my school actually makes Sonic like ice so I was in heaven. I was unable to drink more than a few sips of water before it would make me throw up, but I could eat ice all day. This is the sole reason I didn't dehydrate.

- Buy a support belt - it took some of the pressure off of my bladder, but it definitely helped with recess duty and being on my feet to teach.

- Ditch the Tums and get Prevacid - or whatever else your doctor will allow. Tums was a joke but I could take an OTC medicine for acid reflux and basically be good to go throughout the day.

- Maternity Pillow - I started using it in the 2nd trimester, but by the 3rd I had added two pillows under my feet in an attempt to reduce the swelling, and another pillow under my stomach & behind my back for extra support.

- Mountain Meadow Herbs Gentle Birth - I started taking this at 35 weeks and managed to progress to 2 cm and 50% effaced in the two weeks before I had to deliver. You're supposed to take it for 5 weeks, but having to be induced at 37 due to my blood pressure put an damper on that. I even took some before my induction and I attribute it greatly to making labor progress like it did, I was even able to manage my pain pretty decently up to 5 cm and could have gone longer without medicine.

- Heating Pad - Get yourself a decent one, I found one for $10 at Walmart and cuddle with it. I had a lot of upper abdominal pain from stretching muscles, as well as back pain and carpel tunnel. This saved my life.

- Pedicures - I only got clear polish once I couldn't reach my feet to take it off, but the main purpose of getting a pedicure was strictly to move fluid out of my legs and feet. This helped big time before the edema that nearly passed my knees set in.

- Detox Baths - I like to soak for 20-30 minutes in a good cup of epsom salt, 1/2 cup baking soda, and 3-4 drops of lavendar essential oil every night. It helped ease pain and I tended to sleep better afterwards.

Labor & Delivery

My initial goal was to go as long as possible, and even forgo the epidural, but I knew as soon as they said piticon I was going to need the epidural at some point. Especially since my contractions were less than a minute apart for probably 95% of my labor.

I attribute the birthing ball big time to helping progress my labor. I had been on Piticon for maybe two hours when my OB came in to break my water. At that point I was still 2 cm and 50%, I immediately got the nurse to help me out of bed and onto my birthing ball and after an hour of hip circles and bouncing on it I was up to 5cm and 80%.

At that point I asked for pain meds, but wanted something that would allow me to stay on the ball. The nurse strongly suggested I get an epidural if I had any plans on one just because we were seeing dilation progress so quickly. By the time I got the epidural I was having severe enough pelvic pain that I really attribute my ability to relax from the lack of pain the epidural doled out. Within another two-ish hours I was fully dilated.

Postpartum

 - Belly Bandit - I had an innie belly button within 4 hours of wearing the belt for the first time. It has helped majorly with back support and I should taken a photo, but by a week postpartum my stomach was no longer pregnant looking.

- After Pain - I wanted to use this so badly, and brought it with me to the hospital. I've heard amazing things about it, but I was in so much pain from my 2nd degree tear that I had to take some legit pain meds, if I skipped a full dose my blood pressure jumped back up. I wanted to go home... so the real stuff was needed. Next baby though, I'm giving this another shot.

- Honest Company Nipple Balm - I am swearing by this! Everyone talked about using Lanolin, but I really can't see putting chemicals on my boobs and then feeding my baby. Honest Company's Nipple Balm is food grade safe and you don't have to wipe it off. Plus, big plus, if I use it after ever feed I have zero nipple pain. It helps to speed healing and made a huge difference. I actually skipped about 3 uses back to back and could tell a major difference. I even used it on Harrison's face after he scratched himself and overnight the puffiness and mark has nearly vanished.

- Target Nursing Tanks - Get them, get several of them. I'm not going anywhere the first few weeks so by not wear something comfy that you can easily nurse in. Even bigger bonus is that they are comfortable to sleep in, and I don't say that about many things that mimic a sports bra.

 - Johnson and Johnson Nursing Pads - I've tried a few brands and this is the one my girlfriends swear by. I really thought Medela pads would be nice, but they were more life thick coffee filters. Lansinoh has a pink backing and when I soaked through them during the night they dyed my nursing tank pink. I still have a box of Nuk to try, but right now J&J is winning.

- Tea Tree Essential Oil - I'm not pushing the brand hype everyone is into, I've bought what I use at the local health food store for ages. That being said, the edema left my legs insanely itchy and caused these odd little liquid filled blisters. Tea Tree Oil, applied to a cotton ball and wiped over my skin, really helped to speed healing and reduce the itching that hydrocortizone wouldn't stop. Also, be aware of what essential oils you use during pregnancy, there are many articles that say not to use Tea Tree while you're pregnant which is why I held off until after I had the baby. I had the same symptoms from the edema the last few weeks, but suffered through it because I didn't want to use an oil I needed to stay away from.

Now, I've shared some of my favorites.

So tell me, what are some of your favorite pregnancy and postpartum products! 

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