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Bellevue Blog

Positive Attitude

by Renee McEvilly 6. August 2014

32 Week Ultrasound

You hear a lot of things about your appearance when you are pregnant. It seems like all bets are off and you can tell a woman how you feel she looks. Big, small, tired, sore, nervous - pretty much anything that is descriptive. Though it is not usually ill intended, sometimes it is better to keep those thoughts inside.

I had an experience, not too long ago, which was actually very uplifting. Nothing about my looks, energy level, or size. Something I had never really given much thought to - my attitude. He said that he had never met someone so positive about being pregnant. It was quite possibly the most meaningful comment I have heard in my combined 73 weeks of pregnancy.

His feeling was that it is summertime, it is hot, it is hard having another child to run after and it is hard keeping that energy level up. I came back with “it is what it is!” Which truthfully is what brings me though it. Regardless of what is going on right nowm I owe it to myself to stay positive regardless of the situation. It is control in an uncontrollable situation.

Pregnancy means giving up a lot of control and trusting your body to know what it needs to do. In 32 weeks I have lost view of my feet, felt completely nauseated by my favorite foods,  craved and eaten the craziest combinations, watched my skin go from clear to unnoticeable, amongst other things, and I am not even close to labor yet!

Through all of it, I have chosen to remain in as much control as possible by the only way I know how; looking at the positives. All of those ailments are present now. They are not forever, I know, with this being our last pregnancy, which I will look back one day and realize how amazing everything was.

Some days are challenging and chaotic, some moments stop me in my tracks though I only stay as long as it is relevant. I firmly believe the energy you put into something is the energy you get out of it. The only control I have over this 40+/- week journey is my attitude and outlook. To be chosen to give birth to this person, and to be their mother is one of the biggest privileges I can ever hold. I trust my body to know that it is in control of the makings, and I trust myself to be in control of the outlook.

Photo: My 32 Week Ultrasound!

My Birth Story

by Krista Jevons 1. August 2014

As soon as I was pregnant I began visualizing my child’s birth in order to prepare myself. I researched birth plans and spoke to my doctors. I envisioned a relatively short labor with my husband by my side; our playlist of music on and dim lighting to help me relax. We bought a scent from Yankee candle to make the room more homey. I even had a stack of “wishes for the baby cards” from my shower that I had planned to read during labor to give me motivation. I was prepared- mentally and physically.

Then we found out that the baby was breech and the doctor recommended a Cesarean Section. I was devastated. I cried. The idea of surgery terrified me. I would never choose to have surgery- it would be a last resort.  My poor doctor was down on one knee consoling me, explaining the procedure and why it was the safest choice in this situation. I was crying so hard she had to get me tissues. I felt so stupid in there but I was so scared of having surgery and worried about the pain killers not working. We scheduled for a Tuesday and I went home and tried to mentally prepare myself. It felt odd to have scheduled the birth date and time. Wasn’t that supposed to be left up to chance? Had I chosen a good day? I wished that it had been left up to fate to decide, not me.  There was still time and I hoped the baby might move into position.

Saturday night was a full moon- a “super moon.” My husband and I went outside to watch and jokingly told the baby that if he wanted to see it he would have to be born! I still held out the hope that he would turn and had been doing exercises I found on the internet to help the baby get into position. I even had an appointment with an acupuncturist the next day to try and turn him. I was determined that surgery would be a last resort, and in my mind, wanted to exhaust all options.

At 2 AM, my husband and I went outside for one last look at the moon before sunrise. About 2 hours later, my contractions were consistent and getting stronger and my water had broken. My doctor wanted me to come in to the hospital. I still had hope the baby would turn.

We arrived to a calm and quiet labor and delivery floor. The nurse got me settled right away and checked to see the baby’s position. Still breech.  I was progressing fairly quickly and the nurse informed me the doctor would be over soon.

Preparations were made for surgery.  Internally I was freaking out about having surgery and was thinking of insisting on being put totally out. I was so terrified of surgery while awake- it sounded so painful. My doctor and the anesthesiologist came to speak to me and put me at ease.  I asked for one last check to make sure the baby was still breech before we went through with surgery- he was.

Everything happened fast after that and it was more smooth and painless than I could have imagined. The doctors and nurses had prepared me well enough that I was calm and knew what to expect at every moment. My husband was there for support. The procedure was completely painless. Hearing my son’s cry for the first time was one of the most emotional moments of my life. I was immediately thrilled that I was awake for the moment of his birth and able to share this experience with my husband. What many had told me I found to be true, though it was not reassuring at the time, that it did not matter how he had been born, but that he had been born.

I was able to spend my time in the recovery room holding my baby and I’ll never forget the first time I really looked into his eyes. We were truly impressed at the wonderful experience we had at Bellevue. The doctors, nurses and other staff were incredibly kind, caring, knowledgeable and helpful. The care we received was top of the line. In the end I could not have asked for a better birth experience. I had tried to plan my birth experience, but in the end it was more than I had hoped. I was able to experience what labor was like before ultimately having the C section. When we left the hospital it was like leaving a second home. We went to the nurses’ station to say goodbye to all of the people we had gotten to know. While it was not what I had planned, it was a great experience nonetheless. I am grateful to have a happy, healthy son and be well on my way to recovery.

Clara's New Room

by Renee McEvilly 30. July 2014

When I was pregnant with Clara, we chose to be surprised. The nursery is green with outdoorsy bedding which would fit either sex. The only thing we held out on was curtains and a rug. Purple or blue were the choices and worth the wait!

This time, since we are waiting again, Clara is getting a new room! She definitely knows what she likes and we are having a lot of fun picking out the theme and decorations for her new room! Doc McStuffins looks great within those Banana Split walls! I am so proud of her for looking out for what she likes and voicing what she does not care for and that little "Thank You" when we make something to her liking. Sometimes I need to remind myself that she is two!

The true movement that gets my heart is going through her drawers and switching her clothes and little nick-nacks from one room to the next. It is one physical act that signifies that she is growing up. She had no voice in her first room and now here she is, moving into a new space that is to her own liking. I only imagine how the college years are going to be!

In the same swift movement, I have been going through my gender neutral clothing. Some things I can recall the memories that are with them, mostly not being able to believe that Clara was that small!! I am looking forward to picture comparisons so she can see it too!

Physically and mentally, each pregnancy is different. I know the cliche is that 'they grow up so quickly.' The growth I have observed in our Clara has been on warp speed these past few months. No longer a baby, always my baby, the born leader, Clara Louise.

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!