POSTS WITH TAG: 3rd trimester

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    There's no shame in admitting you would rather slice off your arm than deliver a baby without the help of heavy drugs. When I gave birth to my first child, there was no doubt in my mind that I would get an epidural -- if it's good enough for more than 50 percent of women who give birth in hospitals, I thought, it's good enough for me. And it did deliver what it promised: my contractions were so painless, I had to be told when to push.

    But the epi also made my body a bit of a wreck after birth -- a shaky, feverish, low blood-pressured wreck. How do I know it was the epidural, you ask? Oh, because when I delivered my son a few days ago -- and I had every intention of getting drugs -- I was denied an epi because I had dilated too quickly. My recovery was amazingly quick and I felt great right away -- but this happy discovery didn't make labor any less frightening. Here are 21 thoughts you just might have if, like me, you discover -- surprise! -- they'll be no drugs for you, missy.

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    Mom, I’m going to start by saying your choice of breakfast, lunch, and dinner is driving me to do things I’d rather not: like wonder whether I’ve been adopted before I’ve even been born. Really, what was that excuse for food you sent down my tube thing the other day? Because it tasted like hummus mixed with eggs and raisins -- but that can’t be, right? I don’t know much about life on your planet yet, but surely that isn’t food meant for human consumption?

    And then there is this habit you have of only walking around during certain times of the day. What am I supposed to do when the sun goes down? It gets boring in here! I may as well lay it all on the line for you while I’m still here in your cocoon. I have a few more gripes and it’s about time someone (cough, cough) starts paying attention to them.

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    I was visiting a friend this past weekend and we got to talking about baby advice. As you might guess, with four kids, I often get asked what tips I'd give to new moms.

    Over the years, I've come up with some pretty great answers, but the advice my friend gave at a recent baby shower topped any of mine. In fact, it's so awesome, I'll be doling it out whenever I can (with credit to her, of course).

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    It's the most horrifying thing that can happen to a pregnant woman: carrying your child to term only to deliver a stillborn. It's unimaginable. Though, as scary as it is to think about, it's a monstrous reality some women face. The day before her scheduled c-section, Deanna Slifka had no indication something was wrong. She felt her baby move. She thought everything was fine. But during delivery, the baby's heart inexplicably stopped and the doctors could not revive her. Needless to say, Slifka and her husband were wracked with grief. Though what they decided to do next may come as a shock to many.

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    There's nothing quite like being eight or nine months pregnant and feeling as if your body has been taken over by extraterrestrial forces. Muscles in your hips that you never knew you had ache, you can barely walk a block without wanting to die of exhaustion, and society is still forcing you to get dressed in the morning -- when you'd really love nothing more than to rock a snuggly robe everywhere you go.

    Most sane people know better than to mess with you when you're in the third trimester. They're usually supremely nice and accommodating and you may even find they can help restore your faith in humanity. That's the good news.

    The bad news is that you will almost certainly hear at least one insane, ridiculous comment or question uttered from the mouth of someone so clueless you can't help but wonder how he or she made it this far in life. Resist the urge to bump him/her with your belly and smile on. Here are 10 of the craziest comments/questions we've heard from real women.

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    Okay, Olivia Wilde needs to stop being so damn cute. Seriously, would you stop it, Olivia! The actress recently posted an incredibly adorable photo to Facebook, where she's showing off her growing belly, along with the caption: "Sure I've looked like this after Mexican food but this time it's a BABY. #almostcooked #nineweekstogo #holyfu&$." Not only is Olivia Wilde's baby bump really quite precious, she just looks so happy! Yay, Olivia! Yay, babies! 

    Oh, and I think every woman can relate to the Mexican food comparison, amiright?

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    Anyone who is pregnant and has been subjected to a barrage of tests may have a difficult time understanding the paradox of the following two words: "entertainment ultrasound." Lord knows most procedures and moments associated with pregnancy and childbirth -- aside from that glorious second you finally meet your baby -- aren't a walk in the park. Yet that term could apply to any number of unnecessary ultrasounds that pregnant moms can choose to get, including 3-D fetal videos and sonograms performed at "non-medical clinics" that can tell you your baby's gender quicker than ever before. It's no wonder some doctors are railing against these procedures -- but women should be up in arms about them, as well. 

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    When your name is Gwen Stefani, it makes no difference if you're pregnant with your first, second, or ninth child. If you want to bask in the glow of your celebrity friends at a swanky baby shower thrown in your honor, then gosh darnit, you'll make no apologies about doing so! The No Doubt singer was treated to an elegant soiree at Hotel Bel Air this weekend to celebrate the upcoming birth of her third child, another boy. The guestlist at her baby shower sounds identical to one you'd imagine surfacing for an Academy Awards after-party: Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow, Nicole Richie, Kate Beckinsale, and Rachel Zoe were among the celebs who joined her for lunch, wine, blue-frosted donuts, and baby shower games (I'm dying to know what they gave out as prizes for winning baby Bingo). 

    But hold on a minute. Is anyone on earth -- celeb or not -- supposed to have a baby shower to celebrate baby #3? Aren't there strict unspoken rules about this? 

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    Mark and Britt Sherman are not only a super adorable couple, they're actually pretty inspirational as well. They've served as missionaries in Papua New Guinea and Tanzania, and plan to head back to east Africa as soon as possible. They're also prolific bloggers with amazing stories to tell over at Those Crazy Shermans.

    But they've had something else going on in their lives too -- a new baby! After spending years thinking they didn't want kids, they had a change of heart and captured Britt's pregnancy in the best time-lapse "growing belly" video I've ever seen.

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    A cruicial moment leading up to the birth of your baby is when you decide to go to the hospital. Going too soon or even too late could be the difference between having the birth you want and having unwanted medical interventions. So you have to know when it's really time to go.

    I had a chat with Samantha Huggins, DONA certified birth doula and one of the directors at Carriage House Birth in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to get her trusted advice on this critical time so mamas-to-be are well informed. To know is to be empowered. To be empowered gives you a better chance of having a beautiful birth experience. Here's what Samantha and I put together to guide you through your contractions during early labor and help you decide when to go to the hospital.

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