POSTS WITH TAG: labor

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    I had a perfect pregnancy. I gained less than 20 pounds. My baby passed all the pre-natal tests with flying colors. I exercised often, ate well, got plenty of sleep, drank lots of water, and loved the feeling of my baby boy rolling around in my belly. I had but a fleeting moment of morning sickness and had no indigestion and very little discomfort up until the very last days.

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    I am the type of girl who can spot a knockoff handbag across the room with no hesitation. (What can I say? It’s a gift I gave myself while living in NYC so I didn’t waste real money on a fake.) I wasn’t so confident when I was pregnant. Once I hit my third trimester, I called everyone and their mother at the slightest twinge of possible labor pain because I didn’t want to be one of those moms who gave birth on the side of the road.

    Like most women, I had a few scares. I remember being convinced I was in labor while visiting my mom at the hospital at 37 weeks. I felt great being on location; I had no commute whatsoever to deliver if need be. Turns out it was only Braxton-Hicks, but it definitely didn’t feel that way that night.

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    Cameras in the delivery room are not a new thing. Countless parents are choosing to film the beautiful (and emotional, and let's be real, graphic) arrivals of their little ones to forever commemorate each and every detail of the process. But then, what do you do? When do you choose to view the birth video again? And better yet, when do you finally sit down and have your child watch their entrance into the world?

    There's currently a video going around of an 8-year-old girl watching her birth video with her mom. It's sweet and beautiful and she has all the emotions, but the most interesting part is that she's able come out (no pun intended) seemingly unscathed. Sure, it's a precious moment shared between a mother and her daughter, and no doubt, one that they'll both remember forever. But let's just pause for a second and really think about when parents should be showing birth videos to their children.

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    Two of my friends recently gave birth and both returned home from the hospital sharing similar, unbelievable stories: their babies had been kicked out of the hospital nursery for bad behavior. One of my friends had given birth naturally with no complications, and the other had had a difficult labor, followed by an emergency C-section. Recovery and need for sleep, be damned -- their babies were acting fussy and nurses returned them to mom in the middle of the night. 

    What's the big deal, you may be asking yourself. You're the one who actually had the baby. He or she is your baby -- so why shouldn't your baby be your responsibility? And you're right, of course. But while moms used to be able to count on enjoying a sliver of rest time right after giving birth, it seems fewer hospitals are treating use of the nursery as the norm. And, as a mom who relied on it after my first birth, I'm NOT looking forward to the peer pressure of rooming in my second time around.

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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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    Some of us want drugs during labor. And so drugs they get! There's a new drug of choice gaining popularity in labor and delivery rooms right now ... and it's one that was used long ago. It also was Demi Moore's apparent drug of choice a couple of years ago when she was apparently having a hard time with her Ashton Kutcher break-up. Not when she was pregnant. Say what? It's nitrous oxide. People call it whip-its or laughing gas. And they say it works wonders for mamas in labor. Even many natural birth advocates give it a thumbs up.

    Is it better than an epidural? Sure seems like it. And now more hospitals are offering it.

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    I've admitted it before: I didn't even want my husband around when I gave birth to our first child. I wanted him to wait, like a 1950s dad, in an adjacent room while I suffered and delivered surrounded by some of the strong and experienced women in my world whom I felt could provide a great deal of insight and support. Looking back now, I'm really happy I ultimately opted to throw that plan out the window in favor of something more traditional (or should I say something more "modern?" Maybe I'll call it the "new traditional") that included having my husband right by my side. 

    Still, there were things that freaked me out about giving birth. My husband, who told me beforehand that he was scared of feeling powerless during birth, was not at all shocked or insulted when I presented to him a list of rules -- we had a discussion about this, I didn't actually give him a handwritten list -- for what he could and could not do during labor and delivery.  

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    Hands down, this HAS to be one of the best military reunions I've seen to this day. In order to give his pregnant wife the surprise of her life, a Utah soldier dressed up as Santa and showed up at her birthday party, which was taking place at a Texas Roadhouse restaurant.

    Brittney Dalby was told to go sit on Santa's lap after his arrival, and she obliged -- though she definitely appeared to be a little shy about it. And then when "Santa" pulled off his beard and tried to kiss her, she did what any faithful pregnant wife would do. She turned her head.

    But then she figured out his true identity, and ... well, you might want to get the tissues ready before watching this video clip.

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    Despite centuries of advancements in medical science and countless babies born, the topic of childbirth has managed to remain, somehow, slightly mysterious. Why? Personally, I think it's because even though we have ultrasounds during pregnancy and fetal monitors during delivery, we still can't really see what's going on in there when push comes to shove (literally, sort of). Except someday in the not-too-distant future, all of that could change: There's a new computer program, recently developed by researchers in England, which uses 3D virtual reality to simulate human birth. Incorporating factors such as the size and shape of both the mother's and baby's bodies, the program could potentially save lives by helping doctors and midwives prepare for "unusual or dangerous births." Just check out this shot and you'll see why:

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    The birth of my first child was an absolute party. Basically, I invited everyone I knew to join us in the delivery room -- and bring a friend or "plus one," if they felt so inclined. Originally, I pictured all the women I loved to get together, bring their wit and experience and knowledge, and help me get through the scary process of actually delivering a baby from my body -- and then maybe they'd pour me a glass of bubbly afterward. So yeah, I thought birth should be a scene from Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. I don't even think I wanted my husband there because he doesn't have a vagina and, therefore, what could he offer? 

    And then the day came. And my mother and mother-in-law and husband were all there to offer support and encouragement. And I will never, ever have that many people present in the delivery room ever again. 

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