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

Breastfeeding…How to Push Yourself Through the Pain.

If you’re reading this, I’m guessing that you’re having trouble dealing with the pain of breastfeeding. Or maybe you’re pregnant and wanting to nurse your baby after she’s born. Oh, wait. I know. You’ve done it before and you’re dreading the pain and frustration of having to go through it again. Been there, done that.

So, let’s just go ahead and say it. Breastfeeding can hurt. It’s one of those things many women look forward to when they’re pregnant, but after three or four days of nursing every two hours, they begin to question if they can keep going. The pain becomes just too intense and that, combined with pregnancy hormones, can be the means to an end.

I’ve nursed all six of my babies, so it’s a breeze for me now, but in the beginning, I dealt with a lot of the issues you can read about in any book on pregnancy or breastfeeding. Pain. Dry, cracked nipples. Bleeding nipples. Clogged milk ducts. I remember it like it was yesterday.

When I was pregnant with my first child, Maggie, one of my biggest goals was to breastfeed her exclusively until starting solids. I was not going to give her an ounce of formula if she was able to nurse, no matter how much it hurt in the beginning. I was determined to do whatever I had to do to make it work. End of story.

The first few days were fine. She was doing a great job…and I thought I was doing a great job, too, but then things started to change drastically. I started out feeling just somewhat uncomfortable, but that feeling quickly spread to a hurt I had never felt before.

The pain was unreal. Every single time I would get ready to feed her, I would tense up and just hold my breath while she latched on. Sometimes I would do a long little squeal with my eyes tightly shut & I’d try to count to ten. Seemed like it took forever.

In the very beginning, I was taking a narcotic that I was given in the hospital after she was born. It covered up the pain in a magnificent way. But, when I stopped taking it, everything became very real. The honeymoon was over.

I’m not going to tell you how to nurse correctly or how to successfully latch your baby on so that the pain is minimal. You can Google a plethora of information and you may, or may not be prepared enough, but before I go any further…

Not all mothers can nurse. Not all babies can nurse. Sometimes what’s naturally supposed to happen just doesn’t for some reason. If your baby is not gaining weight, or worse, losing weight, something is wrong. If your baby nurses & doesn’t fall asleep, but instead cries after every feeding, something may be wrong. The good signs in the beginning follow a pattern: fuss, eat, sleep, poop…fuss, eat, sleep, poop. And the scale should be going up.

Okay. Now I’m going to tell you what you can do when the discomfort truly begins because getting through the pain is the hardest part physically, mentally, and emotionally.

  • Come to terms with yourself. If this is something you deeply want for your baby, you must mentally be ALL IN.
  • Realize that this is a huge awakening for your poor boobs. They aren’t use to feeding a baby. Even if your baby is the best nurser in the world, there will probably be pain in the beginning. Your boobs have got to toughen up. And they will.
  • Learn the tricks of the trade. I have a favorite: Get your nipples nice & cold with ice packs right before you get ready to feed your baby. This will numb the pain. It was the only thing that made latching on bearable for me. It really does work, girls.
  • Remember that you are going to have a huge hormonal shift. Getting emotional is going to happen. Your going to cry…you’re going to doubt yourself. But you can do this. You can. If you decide to quit during your most vulnerable time, you may regret it.
  • Don’t don’t Don’t give your baby a bottle just because you need a break. Pumping hurts worse, in my opinion, and the nipple on a bottle will cause nipple confusion. Pacifiers won’t. You can try one if your baby keeps sucking, but is clearly dosing off. Your baby won’t get confused when there’s clearly no milk coming out of a pacifier.
  • Get to know your lactation specialist. They are wonderful and will support you in every way. Call them if you feel the need.
  • Take a pain reliever around the clock. It will not hurt your baby, I promise.
  • I don’t buy nipple shields or anything like that because I just feel like it prolongs the goal I’m trying to accomplish, but if you hear that it’s helpful, then by all means..
  • Believe me when I say that one day soon, you’ll feed your baby & realize, Oh my gosh…that wasn’t so bad.

And it gets easier & easier. There is no magical potion. There is no set time frame. All it really takes is love and patience from you…

And a little bit of squeezing and high-pitched squealing from time to time…

And ice. Lots and lots of ice.

Lisa

The Broody Chick’s Very First Giveaway!

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So, I’ve decided to shake things up a bit.  I’m having my very first giveaway!

All you have to do to be entered, is comment on this blog post and enter your email so I have a way of contacting you if you are the winner, but I do want some specific information from you…

I’m wanting to know what you’d like me to write more about.  I am very passionate about pregnancy, birth, and being a wife and mother of lots of kids, but perhaps there are other specific areas related to these topics that you’d like to read more about.  I don’t want to write all about pregnancy or newborn complications if it’s nothing you’re interested in.  Hopefully that makes sense.

So what’s in it for you?  Well, Rooster and I have decided that we’re going to let the winner choose the gift they’d like best.  You will have 3 options to pick from….

The first is a $25.00 gift card to Starbucks, for all you caffeine addicts out there, like me and Maddie Wallace.

Starbucks coffee

By the way, did you know there’s a secret off menu item that you can order called a Unicorn Frappuccino?  Neither did I.

The second option is a $25.00 gift card to Toys R Us/Babies R Us.  Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, y’all.

Toys-R-Us

And the third option is a $25.00 gift card to Wal-Mart.   Save $25, live better.

Walmart

The random drawing will be held on Wednesday, November 1, 2017, and I will be posting the winner that afternoon…..with a drum roll…..

So, you know the rules, you know the prizes.  All you need to do now, is enter.  Easy Peasy, people….easy peasy.  Good luck!  🙂

Lisa

What Mamas Really Need for the Hospital…and What They Really Don’t

If this is your first baby, you’ve probably looked at a million lists of things you need for the hospital when you have your baby.

It’s been a long time since I’ve actually looked at one of those lists because I’ve got my “absolutely must-have” list and my “don’t-even-bother-with-it-because-you know-you-never-even-get-it-out-of-the bag” list permanently embedded into my brain.

Some items change with each rodeo, but there are staples that have made my later stays so much better than the early ones.

I’m not just going to give you a “what you need” list. I’m going to add the “why you need it” part, so that you can see why I recommend it, and then decide whether or not it’s something you want to include.

Packing my bags and the baby’s bags is a time I so look forward to, cause that means you can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

OK! So, let’s do this.

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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

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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