A Guide to Childbirth for the Overly Modest

Childbirth is a daunting thing to think about. Aside from the obvious dangers, and the fact that you are pushing a human being out of a very small opening (OUCH!), there is a room full of people who will be watching and helping. And to be honest with you, that thought stressed me out more than everything else involved in the process. I am a very modest person. To the point that even I know it is ridiculous and excessive. And if you don’t want to hear about the different levels of nudity in child birth, I would recommend you move along, and look at something else on this site, how about the last thing I wrote, about how you are not perfect and that’s ok! Right here!

I wrote this because I wish there would have been an article for me to read before I gave birth to know what to expect nudity wise. So I figured if I wanted it, other people probably do too!

First, let your doctor know about your concerns. They are being paid very good money to take care of you, (by you!) and there has been an even bigger emphasis on patient choice these days than there has been in the past. The doctors and nurses see all kinds of nudity, it does not phase them even a little bit. (The things that they see daily, nudity and more, would traumatize any other person, but they are medical professionals, they are tough and also used to it!) Also, remember that you are under no obligation to allow nursing students into the delivery room. They do need to learn, but you need to be comfortable and feel at ease as well. This is your day, mama! You call the shots.

Let’s break down what is going to happen, and what to expect.

When you get to the hospital, they will have you change into a hospital gown. However, they will let you keep a bra on if that makes you more comfortable. (I recommend getting a comfy nursing/sleeping bra).  The doctor may need to come in with what looks like a long straight stick to break your water if it did not happen on its own.

If you choose to get an epidural, you will need to sit forward with the whole back of your hospital gown open so they can insert the needle. I thought this would be stressful, because I chose a female doctor and I knew the nurses would be female, and I knew the anesthesiologist would most likely be male, and that stressed me out. They had given me Pitocin and I was in so much pain, that I didn’t care at all. I so badly wanted those drugs to stop the pain that it barely mattered to me.

The nurse will need to give you a catheter if you have been given an epidural. (Very necessary, you don’t want be peeing everywhere!) I had always pictured that they make you lay there half naked while you labor (Eek!). Not so! They allow you to stay covered, and they will probably give you a blanket too. (Hospitals are cold!) They will uncover you when they check to see how dilated you are, but then cover you right back up!

During the birth, you will obviously be exposed. Regularly, there will be two nurses and one doctor. If you have complications or if they expect complications, you can expect more bodies in the room. They will all help you, but one of the nurses is there for the baby once they are born. (And I am so grateful for our little man’s nurse, she was the one who realized that something wasn’t right and made sure he was sent to the NICU to get the help he needed).

Don’t be surprised if your doctor doesn’t show up until you have been pushing for a little bit, or once you start pushing. They may even be in and out while they chart for other patients. Nurses are amazing, and can totally handle it!

They will encourage you to be skin to skin with your baby after you’ve finished the hard work to get them out. So that will obviously involve some nudity too. But you can put them right in your hospital gown with you to keep them nice and cozy, kangaroo style!

After the birth, once your epidural has had a chance to wear off if you chose to get one (after you have been stitched up if necessary) the nurse will walk you to the bathroom, and spray you off. After that experience, you are mostly done with nudity! (Hooray!) They will come in and knead your stomach periodically, but you will get to stay covered. You can expect to have a nurse/lactation consultant in your personal space helping you figure out breast feeding if you are struggling. (I sure did! Read about it here).

You might be saying, but Hailey, I still care! This doesn’t make me feel any better about this! I’m even more worried now! This article did not help! Don’t worry, I got you girl! We aren’t done yet! I quite honestly felt the same way. I was convinced that it was going to be a humiliating experience, and that I was going to die in childbirth. (As I’ve mentioned before, I am very calm and collected and rational always!) And by the time I was 7 days overdue with my 9 pound 21.5 inch baby in the July heat, I was not nearly as stressed about it. I wanted that baby out of there! I was doing my daily lunch time walks around work, waddling around miserably and praying that I could please please just go into labor?? (Here’s some pictures to prove how gigantic I was!)

All I can say is, I made it through. It was just one day in the scheme of things for the birth portion! And now I have a beautiful, healthy baby boy. And if me, the shy, religious, overly modest woman that I am can make it through, you can too! Good luck lady :).

What were your experiences with modesty in childbirth? If you had a c-section, what were your experiences? Anything I missed? Let me know!

 

10 Ways to Survive Distance

As many of you know, I’m from Northern California (any Californian will differentiate!) and we currently live in Idaho. I love my adopted town, and I have WONDERFUL in-laws, but there is no getting around the fact that IT SUCKS to live far away from your family. Currently, my parents live in California, my sisters are going to college 30 minutes away (But they will both be moving states shortly), and my brother is in yet another state! Here are some tips I’ve learned on how to survive the distance!

1. Have a specific time set aside to talk.

In our family, that is Sunday! Instead of “Oh, I’ll get to it eventually”, and falling out of contact, we talk on a set day every week, and it works really well for us. With all four of their kids living out of state, my parents are handing phones between them to talk to everyone. And back when I first moved out and everyone else still lived at home, my siblings and parents would hand the phone around and take turns talking to me.

2. Send pictures!

With our little bubs being the first grandbaby, we send TONS of pictures to my parents. Videos of him giggling, kicking around on the changing table, figuring out rolling over, and cuddling the puppy. Before we had our kiddo, we sent pictures too. (But they were not nearly as cute!)

3. Text!

If you see something that reminds you of them, text them! If you think of them, call them! I heard a corny commercial, so I texted my dad and told him it reminded me of him. I read a hysterical laffy taffy joke, and I texted it to my sister. I saw an obnoxious Christmas decoration that reminded me of my brother, so I texted it to him. It helps show them that you are thinking about them, and gives you a little bit more contact!

4. Take turns visiting.

It’s rough to make the drive from our house to my parents (12 hours!) especially with a baby, and airfares are expensive, so sometimes we go there and sometimes they come here! It splits up the driving, lowers the financial burden of traveling for everyone, and we get to take turns spending time in each other’s homes. It doesn’t hurt to surprise each other or show up early…but don’t tell my mom that I told you that! 😉

5. Celebrate the holidays!

Even if it’s not on the actual day, and even if you are not together! Jeff is a nurse, so he often has to work holidays. So generally Christmas with my parents and siblings is not on actual Christmas. But we do it anyway, and keep our traditions going strong! We also make sure to talk on the holidays, whether it be on the phone or just a text rife with emojis!

6. Social Media!

Facebook can get aggravating, but what keeps it awesome is my family’s posts. I LOVE seeing pictures of my grandma’s chickens, my mom’s funny posts about life, and beautiful pictures of my sisters! It helps me to feel more in touch with them to know what is going on.

7. Email!

I email my grandma every now and again, and keep in touch to know what she and my grandpa are up to. This is something I need to improve at with other family members as well! It’s an awesome way to stay in touch!

8. Birthdays!

A text or a phone call goes a long way to letting your loved ones know that you are thinking about them and that distance didn’t make you forget their special day!

9. Keep track of what is going on with them, and follow up!

We’ve all had kind of a nutso time this past year, so there has been a ton to keep track of. Job changes, moving, flooding…its been pretty bananas. Make an effort to keep track of what is happening with big and small events, and follow up.

10. Send packages and letters!

This is one that I seriously need to improve on. It is SO FUN to receive things in the mail and makes me feel so special to know that someone took the time to send me something!

How do you keep the distance from getting between you and the people you love? Did I miss any? Let me know below!

30 Things to do When You Are About to Lose it

Self-care is always essential, but as a new mom I am realizing even more how important it is. While taking care of my family is my number one priority, I’ve come to realize that I can’t take care of them if I don’t take care of myself. Here is a list of things to do when you are at your wits end. We all find ourselves about to lose it, especially those of us with small children! So if you find your sanity escaping, take a deep breath, and choose one of the below activities!

1. Go for a drive
2. Paint your nails
3. Do 10 jumping jacks
4. Write in your journal
5. Take a bubble bath
6. Step outside
7. Color a picture
8. Call a friend
9. Go for a run (or walk)
10. Play a game on your phone
11. Read a blog post 😉
12. Rearrange the furniture
13. Start a new book (or begin to re-read an old favorite)
14. Curl your hair
15. Write a letter to an out of state friend
16. Look at pictures of puppies
17. Watch a funny video
18. Eat some chocolate
19. Buy a cute outfit
20. Match your pile of socks
21. Write a note to your husband
22. Give your pet 15 minutes of undivided affection
23. Use google street view in a different country
24. Bake some cookies (No guilt in eating some of the dough!)
25. Briefly research a type of technology you are curious about
26. Read about a significant historical event
27. Knit/crochet a scarf
28. Adopt a new catch phrase
29. Read scripture
30. Pray

Remember, there is nothing wrong with taking a break from the activity that is causing you stress, or simply setting the crying baby down and taking a few minutes to collect yourself. What did I miss? What activities do you do when you are at your wits end? I’d love to hear from you!

10 Things to Consider When Choosing Childcare

 

So you have children and you are going to work. Maybe by choice, maybe out of necessity? You have a kiddo (or kiddos?) so what do you do with them while you are at work? What on earth do you look for in a quality child care? When my hubby and I were trying to choose a daycare for our little man, we had no clue where to start. We didn’t know which questions to ask, or what to watch out for. We were flying blind. Here’s a list of our experiences with finding childcare, to hopefully make this less stressful for you.

A good portion of choosing childcare is personal preference, so I have included some questions for you to consider. (Note: You may be wondering who the heck I am to tell you how to choose quality care. I’m a Licensed Master Social Worker, and part of my training included surveying environments. )

1. Location

Are you comfortable with the neighborhood? Is it important to you that the daycare be near your place of work? Would you rather the daycare were on a main road, or a side street? Our little man goes to a daycare that is relatively close to where I work, because I felt better about him not being too far away. It’s not incredibly close, even though there are many good daycare centers that are closer I chose the one that I was most comfortable with.

2. Cleanliness

How clean does it need to be? When my husband and I were searching for a daycare, we visited one that was well known in the community. We walked in and it was FILTHY. I am not a cleanliness snob by any means, but it was much too dirty for me to consider sending my baby there. The one we ultimately chose was beautifully clean. Cleaner than my house will ever be, for sure. (Not that my house is super dirty, the daycare is just SUPER CLEAN). We visited on my lunch break, and even though the kids had just finished eating that place was spotless.

3. Policies

It important to know the daycare’s policies in order to know if you agree. What kind of discipline do they use? Do they require the children to be immunized? Do they allow kids to come while they are sick? Do they have a room where you can breastfeed your baby on your lunch break? Most daycare’s have manuals available that you can peruse to gather this information.

4. Recommendations

Our two favorite daycare’s during our decision process both came heavily recommended from friends. Talk to people you know (Friends, co-workers, neighbors, members of your church congregation) and see where they take their kids.

5. Staff

How do the staff look? Do they look clean and kind? How are the staff treating the children when you look around? I had someone tell me once that when they were searching for a daycare for their baby, they saw a staff member cramming a baby into a chair. She said the baby was screaming, and the staff just kept attempting to shove them in the chair. I shudder when I think about this, because if this is happening when people are touring, imagine what is happening when no one is watching? Staff ratios are important to ask about as well. Each state has their own laws on ratios, but they are generally very minimal so it is important to know the daycare’s ratios.

6. Cost

There are always exceptions to this, but be careful with going with the best bargain. Quality care is expensive. Again there are exceptions, but in the world of child care, you generally get what you pay for. A lot of parents (who are the second income of their household) have to consider what amount of their paycheck is going to childcare, and if it is worth it to them to continue to work. Most states have programs that help low income parents pay for childcare, so that is worth looking into if you are in that situation. (Note: If you live in Idaho, here is the link for information on ICCP)

7. Layout

Many daycare’s are broken up into rooms by age. Some are more open. Would you prefer an open layout, or separate rooms for age groups? If you have more than one child attending, you may prefer it to be more open so they can spend time together and are not isolated from one another. It is also important to consider the future, and if you are planning on having more kids it could be good to consider this as well.

8. Size of the childcare facility 

What size of center are you looking for? Do you want your child to be at a more personal daycare, maybe an in home or small center? Or would you prefer the streamlined processes of a larger center?

9. Organization

Are kids items separated? How do they remind you of payment due, or if you need to bring more diapers, formula/pumped breast milk, extra outfits? You definitely only want to be bringing supplies for your child, not the entire daycare so organization is very important.

10. How do you feel when you walk in the door?

If everything else on the list is perfect on paper but there is something about the place that you just don’t like, get out of there and keep looking! Whether you call that nagging feeling in your stomach the holy ghost, your gut, your conscience (Jiminy Cricket!) or whatever, LISTEN TO IT!

Did I miss anything? I would love to hear your experiences with choosing a daycare for your kiddos. Let me know! 🙂

*photo credit Katy Cooper Photography*