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Bellevue Blog

Pregnancy Life Hacks

by Krista Jevons 14. July 2014

I am very close to the end of my pregnancy, which is both exciting and sad. I thought now would be a good time to make a list of pregnancy tips and things I’ve learned along the way.

  • To avoid bending down, pick up and move as many items as possible with your feet.
  • Wear slip on shoes. Always.
  • Get a pedicure. Or several of them.
  • Let someone else carry everything. After all, you will probably drop it.
  • Stash. Tums. everywhere. You should probably just buy them in bulk at a whole sale club. Ditto for ginger candy in trimester one.
  • Blame things on the baby, for example, “I want to cook dinner but standing on front of the stove on a humid July evening is just too hot for the baby.” This helps you to avoid feeling lazy while giving the other person a sense of helpfulness- who would want a baby to spend time in front of a hot stove?
  • Instead of carrying things downstairs, just toss them over the banister. You need your hands to hold the railing while going down anyway.
  • Plan out errands with bathrooms in mind.
  • Speaking of bathrooms, knowing which public places have the cleanest bathrooms will help you plan out your route.
  • Always carry water and a snack. Better yet, have someone else carry them!
  • Your belly is way too big to clean the shower. This is now your husband’s job.
  • If someone else offers to drive, let them.
  • Keep a camp chair in your car. You never know when you might need it.
  • “I’m 9 months pregnant” is a valid excuse for almost anything.

 

What’s in your hospital bag?

by Krista Jevons 4. July 2014

As my due date is quickly approaching (it’s his birth month already! July 18th is so close!) I started to become concerned with packing my hospital bag. First off, staying multiple nights in a hospital is not typically something I look forward to. I’ve done it a few times and it has yet to be fun. Maybe this time will be better since there is a reward- my son! Second, this time would be different, as I’ve never given birth before and I’ve never been to this hospital. I, of course, in my desire to acquire wisdom on this topic made the mistake of searching the web for a list of items to bring with me when I go for delivery. 

After reading through several lists I was confused- and concerned that my backpack was much too small. Do people really break out their large rolling suitcases for their hospital stay? The lists I had found were truly lengthy- and costly. 3 pairs of nursing pajamas, pillows, delivery gown, magazines, bikini, slippers, socks, bathrobe, makeup, tissues, toilet paper, hot packs, cold packs- just to name a few, and we have not even gotten to the baby’s things yet! The baby would need blankets, clothing, diapers, wipes, pacifiers, socks, baby oil, petroleum jelly and of course a car seat.  Then there are all the things Dad will need…..

I couldn’t help but wonder about some of this stuff. What hospital in America does not supply a newborn with diapers? Or petroleum jelly? And toilet paper? Come on, who brings their own toilet paper with them to the hospital? Some lists also included extravagances such as champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. At least I can see the logic here- hospitals probably don’t have these items; the birth of a baby is a celebration and well, chocolate covered strawberries are always welcome! 

Some of the lists provided conflicting information as well. I decided to take matters into my own hands and tap into a source of infinite wisdom and years of combined child birthing experience. I asked Facebook. Good news! No conflicting information here; a few hygiene products for me plus some clothes. The baby needs almost nothing except a car seat. No one mentioned diapers or toilet paper so they must feel very confident about the presence of these essentials. As for dad? Let him worry about himself! He’ll be fine with nothing, anyway. His job is to worry about me and he’ll be there to run out and get anything I forgot. My post even received several comments that since I would be at Bellevue, I’d truly have a great experience!  

Thanks to the advice I received my bag is now fully packed. It consists of one backpack for me and the baby, and true to my past I’ve still probably over packed. It is light and small and eagerly waiting to be thrown into the trunk very soon! Preferably before July 18th. My husband is on his own. Oh, and as for the chocolate covered strawberries and champagne- I was told family members are supposed to supply those essentials, not me! 

Breastfeeding Choices

by Renee McEvilly 1. July 2014

Roughly 20 months 10 days and 12 hours. That is how long I nursed for, until Clara self weaned. During that time, I learned more about myself and my body than I had in my 30 years of prior existence. 

I have had major surgeries, at 22 I had a laminectomy which left me with extensive nerve damage then again at 26, I had a spinal fusion which has repaired my Lumbar spine to the best of its ability. The 8-year struggle against my body left me very weary to trust it, though I was determined to breastfeed.

There is much debate about how to feed a child. The constant repeat of 'Breast is Best' is daunting. I personally do not believe that breast is best, I believe that breast is normal. The 'best' is family specific. Whatever works for your family is best whether it is a mother's milk, donated milk or formula. It matters that a child is fed with love and the family is supported.

In our case, we chose to breastfeed. It was not an easy start, there was so much to learn about this new relationship though I knew with my husbands support, there was really nothing that would stop us. Through mastitis, low supply, societal norms, we really were able to persevere. 

I feel during this time I truly reclaimed my body and gained a greater respect for everything that it can do. It was not towards the end that I realized that, to me my 'broken body', had grown, birthed and nourished a child! 

I believe that experience makes this pregnancy different in that I learned to trust my body. Clara was late, because she needed some extra time. She nursed into early toddlerhood because she needed it. Currently, Blue is growing on track, passing all of the tests and moving all around, because of my amazing body's ability to do so.

Learning to let go and trust was not an easy road though by doing so, I can now actually enjoy this pregnancy! I am looking forward to what this one will teach me bringing my previous experience into it. 

Car Seat Safety

by Renee McEvilly 26. June 2014

A few weeks ago a horrible car crash was in the news and the child involved, survived, thanks to a booster seat. I never had any reason to inform myself about car seat safety before children though when I became a parent it seems I became flooded with it, and I was overwhelmed! I believe that everyone needs to do what is the right for their family. After my research this is what works for ours.

Clara is 2 years old and statistically it is 500 times safer for her to be rear facing. In this position her seat better supports her head  neck and spine because it distributes the force of a collision over the entire body. I was not comfortable turning her at her first birthday, she was long though she was not even 20 pounds, even though she had out grown her infant car seat. My dilemma was, like many parents, which is the best, safest and highest rated car seat? Turns out, in my research, all of the above vary depending on the child. The best car seat does not depend on price it depends on the fit.  It truly does depend on what works for the family. It is important to buy new, you can never be sure that a seat has not been in an accident which would make it defective, and it is important to keep an eye on the expiration date.

I learned a lot during her first winter. You know all of those beautiful blankets you have from your baby shower? Use them to bundle your baby after they are properly strapped in their car seat! Heavy coats and snow suits compromise the straps in a car seat leaving lag between your child and the strap. I did not believe it until I tried. I put Clara in her snow suit and strapped her in. Then I unstrapped her, took the snow suit off and placed her back in the seat without adjusting the straps, she could have fallen right out. The straps should be 'snug as a hug' without a coat. 

Though the aforementioned accident was extremely unfortunate, the simple safety measure saved a precious life. As the number of cars increase on the roads and the distractions increase, it seems only in direct correlation that the safety measures for our children to ride safe evolve to fit the changing road ways.

 

 

 

Exercise While Pregnant

by Krista Jevons 20. June 2014

Before I became pregnant I was a 5- 6 days a week kind of work out gal. I work out at home and enjoyed programs that really pushed you. During my first trimester, I completed a program called T25. It’s a pretty intense cardio workout and I simply toned it down a little.  I wanted to be careful to not over-do it, so I went to YouTube to find some pregnancy workouts. I was shocked at how easy they seemed! As if they were not already easy enough many of them had a modifier! How on earth can this be a workout, I wondered? I mean really, some of them even included pillows! And the weights? 3 pounds? How could that be effective? The stretches were a joke too.

Now that I am entering month 9 I can tell you those work outs have been awesome, especially the stretches. Today, I did a prenatal abs workout, one that included the use of pillows. At this point, I not only understand the reason for the pillows, but I actually had to add another one. My belly has become so large that this abs workout, which until this week hadn’t actually seemed that bad, was quite difficult. I actually complained to my husband that it was the hardest workout I’d ever done. “Really?” He asked incredulously, knowing firsthand the type of workouts I normally do. “Well, it feels like it right now!” Bringing my knees to my chest for the stretch after felt like an impossible feat. And the bicycle never hurt my lower back so much.

I am thankful for the ‘easy’ pregnancy workouts after all. I understand why 3 pounds is plenty when you are already carrying an extra 20+. The use of pillow is necessary when you can no longer lay on your back or get up without rolling over. My favorite part of all is the stretching, it feels so good on your aching back and tight obliques. I sent some of the workouts to my sister-in-law, raving about them, but she’s still in her first trimester and doing T25 so she will probably thinks they are too easy. 

 

"Do Not Lose Yourself in Motherhood"

by Renee McEvilly 13. June 2014

There were many pieces of advice I received while I was pregnant. One that really sticks out is, “Renee, do not lose yourself in motherhood, always remember who you were before.” I have not forgotten about the woman I was before I had Clara, though I can say that my child has made me into the person I always wanted to be. I believe I found myself in motherhood. I love being a mother, even more, I love being the wife of the man who made me a mother.

Many things I thought were important, when it comes down to it, really are not at all. I have an opportunity to start my life over and see the wonder and amazement through our daughter’s eyes. Everything is new - colors, noises, animals, places I have visited, time and time again; nothing is what it was two years ago, back when I knew everything.

Clara has taught me to slow down. If there is something new to explore, it deserves utmost attention. After all, my hundredth experience now becomes my first because it is through her that I truly absorb the experience. She has taught me the value of a sunny day and the lesser need for a spotless house. Now, our house is clean, though it is lived in. I hope she takes that with her in her lifetime because enjoying a beautiful day outside creates more memories than the stress of an immaculate house.

As a wife, being on this journey with my husband is one of the greatest gifts to each other. Our time together is more meaningful through the new found admiration we have towards each other as we embark on this journey of parenthood together. Up until we became parents our journeys had always been quite adventurous, though this one takes the cake. We are learning together that being a parent is, to us, an honor and a privilege. While we are busy showing her how to live, she truly is teaching us what life is all about.

 

You know you are eight months pregnant when:

by Krista Jevons 10. June 2014
  • The sweet baby movements you loved feeling early on now sometimes hurt
  • You need to keep antacids by your bedside
  • Other people offer to help you carry heavy items
  • Your husband hands you your grandmother’s easy reach claw tool so you no longer have to bend down (even my Pre K students voluntarily hold their feet up in the air when they need me to tie their shoes)
  • You have to plan your tasks around when you will need to pee next
  • You need to pee nearly every time you stand up
  • EVERYONE tells you that you now waddle
  • People comment that “it’s going to be soon” then ask your due date
  • The phrase “put your feet up” is not a metaphor for relaxing, but a necessary activity
  • The fact that your comfortable shoes don’t really look good with your outfit is a fleeting thought
  • Pedicures are now mandatory
  • The countdown to your due date makes you both happy and nervous
  • You’re really getting to know your doctor well!

Finding Out the Gender

by Renee McEvilly 9. June 2014

Surprise, surprise! I do not like surprises, I like to know what is going on, for the most part, and I don't like to be caught off guard. However, my husband and I do not want to know the gender of our baby. All we want to know are the standard, everyone wants-to-know things - that the baby is healthy and right on target. All too often we are told we are crazy and asked how we can plan? I do not believe you can really plan for a new human to come into your life and it is textbook, they will have their own specific set of needs and it’s all a bigger learning experience for everyone.

I believe it is because this is the ultimate surprise and there are so many variables beyond my control that it is best just to leave it up to the end result. I do not know when our baby will arrive, I do not know how the labor is going to go, I do not know where I am going to be when my water breaks. (Oh geez what a thought!) I feel that not knowing the gender is one in the same of those other variables. What will be, will be and we shall see!

We did not find out the gender with Clara, and it was a lot of fun listening to people's predictions.  With Clara I practically became a bacon cheeseburger! I feel this time around I will turn into a chicken salad with raspberries! I filled out everywhere the first time around, arms, legs, neck, EVERYWHERE! So far, the second time around, everything is concentrated in my midsection.

My husband has the turn on names this time around though. The night he proposed to me, on our third date, he asked me what I thought about a Ronald Charles III.  I said as long as I can have a Clara Louise. Now that we have a Clara Louise he gets next pick for a girl’s name. So what will it be: Kelly Erin or Ronald Charles III? We still have a few weeks until we know for sure, though, for now, I love hearing the predictions!

Big Sister to "Blue"

by Renee McEvilly 2. June 2014

The fact that our daughter is going to be a big sister warms my heart so many times over. As I watch her with other children and especially animals, her kindness shows through. She is very loving and caring by nature I am excited to see her with a sibling. So far 20 weeks have gone by, she has been to every appointment, every ultrasound, and makes sure when you are in our kitchen she points out the 'baby' pictures on the fridge. These actions melt my heart though recent proceedings have just turned my emotional self into a puddle. 

Lately at night, when I am settling down before bedtime, I have a snuggle buddy. Maybe I should paint a better picture, my belly buddy has a snuggle buddy. Clara comes over to me, pulls up my shirt, lays her head on my expanding belly and cuddles it. Slowly rubbing and patting the former place where she used to call home. We are always talking about the baby and how she can be a helper; though the affection she has already shown is beyond anything I would have imagined. I asked her what she would name the baby and she said, 'Blue'. This is how we refer to her sibling now. It is our baby Blue.

The random hugs and kisses to me are one thing; though she says good-bye twice. One hug and kiss around my neck and another around my belly. As “Blue” becomes more and more active I am waiting for the day when she will be able to experience the kicks from the outside. For now I will cherish this bond that she shares with her Blue and the extra kisses and the help when I am applying my lotion to my ever expanding midsection. 

Our lives are going to change for sure though her life is going to change even more. Keeping her involved in every step seems the only way to keep this transition going in the smooth direction. Our family is growing and out little girl is growing up. It is all a bag of mixed emotions, but, wait, I am pregnant, emotions are my thing right now!

Infant Care Class and First World Problems

by Krista Jevons 29. May 2014

We decided to try the infant care class mainly for two reasons; 1) it is only a time commitment of two days; and 2) I thought it might be beneficial for my husband especially. I am by no means an expert, but I do have a lot more experience with children than he does. So we took this class for him.

The first day of the class was all about the basics. While there were some couples there taking notes, it was nothing that was tremendously new. We learned about diapering, how to swaddle, when it is time to call the pediatrician, the importance of proper car seat install, how to bathe an infant, etc. We even got a model baby to practice on! Our baby was grumpy, but by the end of class two he had grown on me.  

The instructor and other students were very nice and it was good to be reminded of all these things. I can imagine the days between giving birth and settling in are a whirlwind in which you would not want to suddenly realize you don’t know how to clean or diaper your child and forgot to buy an infant bath tub! There was also some talk of choosing a daycare or babysitter, which many couples found extremely helpful.

Day two of the class was more relaxed, probably because we had all been there before and we felt more comfortable speaking to each other. On this day, we talked more about feeding and soothing the baby. We also watched a video about car seat installation and had a follow up discussion.

We had an informal question and answer session, which was my favorite part.  The instructor encouraged us to ask her ‘anything’ so we went for it. Luckily, one particularly inquisitive girl got us started on the pro and cons of glass versus plastic bottles, and the rest of us jumped on from there. Which nipple flow do we need? Which formula is best? Which breast pump is best?  Are baby swings good and can I get away without one? What are the actual baby essentials, because there are so many products out there it is overwhelming? Are disposable diapers really so bad? Which diaper cream should I get? Sprinkled in the conversation were vents about the sale of crib bumpers even though you should not use them, etc.

Many of the women in the class were also due in July and, to my dismay, most had already had their baby showers! They were ready to go- nurseries and items set up and organized! *#*^!!! My type-A, go getter personality, was stressed. My shower isn’t for another month- and my nursery is empty except for the construction tools my husband plans on using in there…..soon. My son has no bedroom and no place to sleep- I’m a bad mom! My only consolation was that when we talked about nursery colors I was one of only two people who had not chosen the color grey. Win for me! I’m creative! I may not be prepared, but at least I have creativity on my side!

Really, though, it’s not that bad. This is a “first world problem.” I have a house- a nice, fairly large house, with heat and electricity!  It’s ridiculous to think he has no place to sleep! Many babies of the world live happily ever after in homes the size of my shed, but not built as well. Even if he is born into a bedroom empty except for tools, he will be just fine.

When we left my husband was very pleased that we had decided to take the class. We learned a lot. Some of the things we already knew, but taking the class provided us an avenue to speak about them together, which we might not have done otherwise. I was grateful to hear from and speak to other mothers. It was nice to realize that they were in the same position as me (except for the fact that they had their nurseries set up!): first time moms who where simply trying to navigate the world of baby in the most productive, educated and responsible way possible.  

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