The Most Brilliant Way to Naturally Induce Your Labor

I have been pregnant for 1,786 days to date….one-thousand, seven-hundred and eighty-six days…

I’m not complaining. Just merely stating a fact.

However, many many many of those days, were spent wishing that I were not so pregnant anymore. This is a feeling that I’m pretty sure 99.999% of all expectant mothers eventually feel. There just comes a time when we are DONE.

I’m 25 weeks pregnant with my 7th baby right now, so I haven’t reached the point of no return just yet, but I’m getting there a lot quicker this go round. I’m already starting to waddle and swell when I sit for too long. I was walking/waddling up to our barn this afternoon and I couldn’t believe how tough the last few steps had become. It made me a bit nauseous.

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Constipation During Pregnancy…I Have the Cure, Girls.

I promise that this is not a joke. I would never joke about constipation. I have suffered way too much to write a blog post on this subject & not give you a solution to the problem.

I do joke a lot about pregnancy symptoms because some are just way over the top in ridiculousness as far as I’m concerned, but this one can straight up put you in the hospital.

Okay…that’s the only joke, I promise.

So, I started having horrible- horrible-HORRIBLE constipation when I was pregnant with my fourth baby. How I managed to bypass it with my first three is quite the mystery, but I do know how it all started when I was pregnant with this little darling.

Those curls are tighter than I ever thought possible and my pregnancy with her was more horrible than I ever imagined.

I was so sick the entire 9 months and I had 3 children that were my full time job. I had no sick days, yet every day I was sick.

I couldn’t get through a day alone, so my doctor prescribed Zofran. The first time I took it was on the way home from my 8 week appointment. Three minutes later, I felt like a completely different person. The nausea vanished entirely. It was crazy.

It was also crazy two days later, after I had taken 4 doses of the medication. I went to the bathroom and three minutes into that situation, I felt like a completely different person. The ability to go vanished entirely…it just wasn’t gonna happen. That was crazier.

Have you ever tried to poop out a softball? I know, I know. How gross. But, y’all. That is how I felt. It was one of the scariest things I have ever experienced. I just knew I was going to have to get that stuff surgically removed.

I did everything I knew to do. I drank tons of water. I ate prunes like they were candy. I ate bowls & bowls of Raisin Bran cereal and when that didn’t work, I moved to plain old nasty Bran. (Makes me gag just thinking about it.) I tried suppositories. Enemas. Stool softeners. Laxatives. I would eventually become able to go, but the process was grueling.

So, why not just stop taking the Zofran you ask? Well, because I’d take being constipated over being nauseated any day.

Anyway, after weeks and weeks of having to go through all the scheduled bathroom rituals, one day I was able to go. Like, naturally. And I was totally confused.

I was in my second trimester by this time and experiencing a UTI. The only thing I had been doing differently was drinking cranberry juice. Tons of it.

I wasn’t sure if the cranberry juice was helping or not, but I kept drinking it.

It totally cleaned me out. Like 100%. It was a miracle, y’all. Like on 34th Street.

If I stopped drinking it for a few days, I would end up right back where I was. It only took a few times to figure all of this out in detail.

And this has been my situation with each pregnancy thereafter. I’ve taken Zofran every time, become constipated days later, and added cranberry juice to the grocery list.

This picture was taken just about an hour ago.

At 24 weeks pregnant, I am once again drinking this on a daily basis. Notice that this is 100% Cranberry Juice. Cranapple juice won’t work. Cranberry juice won’t work unless the label says “100%”. Trust me, I’ve tried.

This particular one works perfectly for me. I’ve tried other natural cranberry juices and they’ve also worked, but this one is easily found in grocery stores, so I always recommend it.

So, if you are needing some serious relief, I would start out drinking 2-3 glasses of juice, consecutively. Then water for the rest of the day. You may need more to start out, you may need less. It is pretty powerful stuff, so don’t go and drink the entire bottle. You might wind up hating me.

You will improve each day and will probably visit the potty more than once a day. This is a good thing, but when you find yourself needing to go more often, taper back.

As each day goes by, it will get easier and easier and then almost effortless. When you reach this point, you may need just one small glass a day or every other day. You just have to see what works for you.

This will work with chronic constipation of you have it, or occasional bouts. It should work whether you’re pregnant or not. If you have a child that is having issues, it may help them. And if you are a man reading this, well, yes. It should work for you, too, bud.

I am not a doctor, so by all means, ask your physician about this first if you are the least bit worried about drinking some fruit juice. If you are extremely sensitive to sugar, ask your doctor. If you have diabetes or gestational diabetes, please talk to your physician, and if you are allergic to cranberries, people, please don’t drink cranberry juice.

Cause that right there could straight up put you in the hospital. No joke.

Lisa

The 20 Week Ultrasound…My Bump is Over the Half-Way Hump!

Last week marked my 20th week in this pregnancy and you know what that means…..my time for the big ultrasound had come.

I used to get excited about having ultrasounds, but the more pregnancies I have, the more I sort-of dread them.

Well, I don’t really dread them. That’s probably pushing it a bit, but I definitely get that nervous gut feeling as it approaches.

During my earlier pregnancies, I knew very little. Well, I wasn’t stupid, but let’s just say that I was very naive. I just expected to go in and see the baby’s body parts & hear the heartbeat, you know…that sort of stuff. I didn’t even think about the possibility that something might not be just right, but the older I get, the more I fear that I’m going to find out that something is wrong with the baby.

It’s probably mostly because of my age.

Oh. I should probably not announce that on Sunday, I will turn thirty-eight. 38, people! Go ahead & round that one up. It’s absolutely depressing. I never thought I’d ever get this old. I use to joke about people getting “Over the Hill.” Geez Louise. It’s been bothering me all week…and Rooster started celebrating it last night…five days early. Thanks, buddy.


Please accept my apologies for having a mini blog breakdown.


So, here’s a profile picture of our newest chick. Or rooster. If you read my blog regularly, you know we don’t find out the baby’s gender. Sorry, y’all, that’s just the way it is. Here’s for surprises!

Do you see that big blob at the top? That is my placenta. Well, some of it. The medical term is anterior placenta. It has caused me much stress this go round & here’s why…

The location of an anterior placenta is in the front of the uterus, closest to your skin. As the 20 week mark approaches, we expect to feel some kicks in there. Well, if your placenta is attached in the front, it’s like a big, soft, fluffy pillow for your baby, and karate chopping through that thing just-ain’t-gonna-happen when the baby is that little.

I usually feel my babies kick around 17 weeks & those kicks become much stronger as the 20th week draws near, but it was not so this time. I had an anterior placenta with my last pregnancy as well, so I had a pretty good idea that was the reason for me not feeling much movement.

Anyway, the ultrasound, which I found out is actually called the Anatomy Ultrasound, was quite long. And I go to them alone because, well, someone has to stay with the kids.

And because it gives me some time alone, which I so desperately need these days.

Thankfully, all was well. The baby has all his or her fingers & toes, and the heart, kidneys, brain, spine…etc…are all developing as they should.

The nose and lips are fine, so there’s no cleft lip. I always worry about this because a dear friend of mine had a baby with a cleft lip and cleft palate. She didn’t find out until just weeks before he was born & it was devastating for her. She couldn’t nurse him & had to actually learn how to feed him using a special bottle. Surgeries and speech issues were all things she had to learn about in a short amount of time. I ask them to please check mainly because I know I would need a lot of time to prepare for that situation before delivery.

The baby’s heart rate was 143 bpm, which makes me wonder if it’s a boy. 🤗 Baby was squirming all over the place, so it wasn’t a resting heart rate. My girls all had heart rates of 155 and higher, no matter what, and Jack’s was always much lower. That really is a thing, y’all. It’s not 100%, but it’s really exciting seeing that big of a difference, even if I am carrying another baby girl.

The baby measured right where it he or she was supposed to. My due date stayed exactly the same, and his or her weight was 12 oz, although that’s not always very accurate on ultrasound. I believe one of my books reads that 9 oz. is average for 20 weeks.

My amniotic fluid was good…once I measured 4 weeks ahead & found out that my amniotic fluid was high, which didn’t cause a problem, but had to be checked a few times.

My cervix was thick and closed and my anterior placenta wasn’t low-lying, which is concerning because that situation can cause problems. And that’s another post all together.

And that was pretty much it. Seeing the little miracle growing inside me was nothing short of amazing. No matter how many times I see it, it never loses its luster.

So now that the ultrasound is over and my bump is over the half-way hump, I finally feel like this is all really happening.

Again. ❤️

Lisa

Having a Miscarriage…Stories and Signs

One of the hardest things about pregnancy, for me, is worrying that I may miscarry.  When I see those two pink lines, I’m elated! but then the fear starts to take over and getting to that “safe” point seems like an eternity.

I worry about having a miscarriage because I’ve had four of them.  I actually miscarried my very first pregnancy, which was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever been through.  If you have been in my shoes, my heart breaks for you.  It is truly devastating.

If you’ve read any of my posts, you may have figured out that I kind-of enjoy having babies.  It’s only, like, my favorite thing to do.  So, becoming pregnant for the first time ever was absolutely the most exciting thing ever.

I remember that day…it was surreal.  I could not WAIT to wear maternity clothes.  I could not wait to feel the baby kick.  I could not WAIT to tell people that Rooster and I were expecting, so I didn’t.  I believe the secret–that was never going to be a secret–was out just days after I had a positive pregnancy test.  I wanted to the whole world to know.

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Braxton Hicks vs True Labor Contractions

Every pregnant woman probably wonders about this at least a few times during their third trimester. Are these Braxton Hicks, or am I really going into labor???

I have been there way too many times. It took 4 pregnancies before I finally realized the true difference between the two.

I remember having my first contractions when I was 25 weeks with my first baby. I had NO idea what I was feeling. I seriously thought that the baby turned over & that the hard-as-a-rock area on my belly was her pushing her back against me. I was so clueless.

Braxton Hicks are real contractions, but they aren’t strong enough to change your cervix. They are the “practice” contractions. Your uterus starts contracting very early on, but feeling them at first is difficult. I mean, you probably would never notice.

I’m almost 17 weeks and I just had one. They don’t hurt. The uterus just tightens up and then releases. Just practicing for the big day.

But why do so many women confuse the two?

It’s very easy.

As you approach your due date, Braxton Hicks become stronger and more frequent. They can take your breath away & that right there is very concerning. They can come at regular intervals, too, making you wonder what in the heck is going on.

I have an irritable uterus, which basically means that I have contractions very early on..but they become much more regular between 25 and 30 weeks. I’ll have days when I contract 30-50 times. Some are mild, some are quite strong, and come anywhere from 20 minutes apart all the way to 1 or 2 minutes apart, consistently.

They have sent me to the hospital on several, several occasions, only to be sent home because my cervix was softened, but not dilating. This can get extremely frustrating, especially if you are beyond 37 weeks because by that time we WANT THE BABY OUT.

Having 3O contractions a day is not the norm, so if you are experiencing this, you must tell your doctor. Even if they don’t hurt. The problem with having so many, so often is that they can soften your cervix.

When you’re pregnant, your cervix becomes thick to protect your uterus. When you approach the end of your pregnancy, your cervix will begin to soften (efface). It must efface some before you can begin to dilate. Braxton Hicks contractions can help get this started. The problem occurs if the cervix thins out too much too soon because of these practice contractions.

When I was on my 3rd pregnancy, I was experiencing frequent Braxton Hicks. Some were strong, some weren’t, but I just felt like I was having too many. When I was 28 weeks, I told my doctor. He was concerned and wanted to check my cervix via ultrasound. I was 75% effaced….I should have been 0% effaced.

I was put on bed rest immediately and had to take medication. I also had to come in every week to have my cervix checked. It was very scary time. The medication didn’t help, nor did bed rest.

I ended up going to the emergency room at 30 weeks because the contractions would not slow down. That situation put me into the hospital for 3 days. It deserves its own post, which I will be writing very soon.

Ok. So, real contractions vs Braxton Hicks.

Before I get into this, please understand that this has been my experience. Every pregnancy is different and your situation may not mirror mine. If you are ever concerned, call your doctor.

Real contractions usually, but not always, hurt. They usually start out mild and get stronger and stronger & closer together.

Braxton Hicks usually don’t hurt. They are kind of all over the place. I have so many pieces of paper in my pregnancy journals that show the timing of my Braxton Hicks. They may be 6 minutes apart, then 3 minutes apart, then back to 6, then down to 2, then back to 7…etc. There’s little to no consistency.

Real contractions feel just like menstrual cramps. You will feel it start, peak, then go back down. They may start out 20 minutes apart or more, but they will get closer & closer together, not further & further apart. So, you could have your first real contraction at 1:00pm, the next at 1:20pm, then one at 1:40pm…all 20 minutes apart. But the next one may be at 1:55pm, just 15 minutes later. They will also gradually get stronger….they will eventually be much, much, much stronger than any menstrual cramp you’ve ever had. If you start experiencing anything like this, just go straight to the emergency room. Or immediately call your midwife if you’re having a home birth…etc.

I waited WAY too long the first time I ever went into labor. I was 38 weeks, so I wasn’t absolutely sure that this was it. Very soon, I realized that it was the real thing because my contractions made a drastic turn as far as pain was concerned. I made it to the hospital & had the baby 30 minutes after walking in the emergency room doors—without an epidural, which was not fun. If you want an epidural, I wouldn’t mess around with that stuff. Get to the hospital. The worse thing they’ll do is send you home if it’s not the real thing.

If you are having a lot of Braxton Hicks, there are a few things you can do to try to calm them down.

  • Drink a lot of water. Even if you are the slightest bit dehydrated, your uterus can become irritated. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t.
  • Take Motrin or Alieve and lay down on. Swap sides as you become uncomfortable, but being on your left side is best.
  • Take a warm bath. The heat helps calm contractions.

So, Braxton Hicks & labor contractions are different, but you can have a Braxton Hicks one minute and a true labor contraction the next. There should be something that sets them apart, but it may be more subtle than I have described. Just pay close attention and be ready to have that baby!

Lisa

What To Expect After a Hospital Delivery…The Stuff No One Talks About

There is so much that I could say in this post. There is so much that no one talked about before I had my first baby–I mean, SOMEONE could have told me these things that I’m about to tell you. You can thank me later. (wink)

Ahhh….after delivery….the baby is here…everyone is elated! You’re so in love with this new bundle of joy and it’s smooth sailing until real life begins at home. Well, not quite, pretty mama.

Now don’t get me wrong, Rooster and I LOVE our post-delivery stay at the hospital. I mean, it’s like a vacation to us. Come on–no kids for 3 days…you get to order whatever you want for breakfast, lunch, and dinner…they bring it to you and pick it up when you’re finished. Family & friends bring you food, drinks, gifts, flowers…hospital staff take out your trash & replace the trash bag….they bring you your pain meds….give you diapers and a bunch of other baby stuff…they clean up your accidents, mamas (more on that soon)…nurses help you to the bathroom…I mean, what’s not to love?

Well….there are a few things that aren’t so pleasant. I think I’ll just make a list and see how many I can come up with.  All I know is what I know, though, so this list is just an idea of some things you can expect. (more…)

The Danger of Low Progesterone Levels in Early Pregnancy

One of the scariest things that often occurs in early pregnancy is spotting.  Any amount of blood, any color of blood or discharge draws concern to a new mother.  Worrying about losing the baby takes over and the worst thing about it all is the fact that once it starts, you really just have to wait and see.  Knowing that you have no control makes you feel helpless and desperate.  Praying for everything to be okay is really all you can do, but sometimes what was hoped for..what you had fallen so in love with, suddenly ends.

The reason for miscarriage is often unknown.  Sometimes it happens because something went wrong very early on.  Sometimes it happens because the baby never even really began to grow.  Sometimes it is due to complications with the mother.  And then sometimes it occurs because of low hormone levels, many times low progesterone levels.

In all seriousness, this post should have been the first one that I published.  There are so many women who have no idea of what low progesterone levels are or what those three words even mean.  I certainly didn’t know until I did extensive research on my own, trying to find answers to some major problems that I was having.

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