Category: Pregnancy & new baby
While these might appear to be rather diverse topics, they have something in common - our Darling Daughter. Two weeks ago DD and our sweet grandbaby BC came to our house. Our Son in Love was going to youth camp with the kids in his church. He didn’t want DD to be at home alone with the baby, so we enjoyed four nights and five days with our grandson who was almost four months old.
DD said she had a request to make, if we had the emotional stamina to take it. That got our curiosity up. It turns out that BC, precious as he is, refused to sleep in his bed. When he was a newborn, they planned to have him sleep in a bassinet in their room. But he didn’t like sleeping on his back, the way they recommend newborns sleep these days. To keep him from crying they let him sleep in their arms or on their chests. While that might have been sweet and practical with a newborn, at four months it was getting tiring. DD would nurse him and he would fall asleep in her arms. She would transfer him to the bed and he would instantly wake, and if she didn’t pick him up he would cry inconsolably.
When my own children were little, it had become popular to “just let them cry it out.” “Put them in bed,” my friends said. “They will fuss for about 20 minutes and fall asleep. The next night they will fuss for 15, and in a couple of nights you will put them to bed and they will just fall asleep.” I tried this method with our Strong Son. He cried for five hours. My sleep deprived husband said, “I’m not going to be able to work tomorrow if I don’t get some sleep.” I nursed him, rocked him and said I would never do that again.
When DD was a baby again friends told me to “just let them cry it out.” Against my better judgment, I decided to try again. She cried hysterically for more than an hour, then suddenly the pitch of her cry changed. I was afraid she had hurt herself or caught her leg on her crib. I opened the door to a horrific smell. She had a dirty diaper and it had leaked all over the bed. It was on her pajamas, and in her hair. We bathed her, put on fresh clothes, changed the sheets and said never, never will we do this again.
I don’t know what has happened in the intervening years, but today parents are being given the same advice. One of DD’s friends has two boys, and the “cry it out” technique didn’t work with them either. But she did her own variation. She sat in a chair beside the bed the first night and sang to them until they fell asleep. She did the same in subsequent nights until her boys could put themselves to sleep. DD wanted to try this variation, but SIL couldn’t stand to hear his son cry. She hoped to try it at our house.
The first night she sat by his bed stroking his head and singing while he fussed, whimpered, and clutched a blanket. After 45 minutes he was asleep. He woke once to nurse in the night and went right back to sleep in his bed. The second night he fussed for 20 minutes with her sitting beside the bed assuring him he had not been abandoned. The fussy period was shorter the third night. The last night she put him in bed, he sighed, grabbed the blanket and went to sleep. When they got home, SIL was delighted at the change.
None of that has anything to do with the BTD, it’s just the best advice for getting a baby to put himself or herself to sleep that I know. I’ve wanted to share it in my blog, but wanted to make some kind of BTD connection. This week we are at DD’s house, babysitting while DD and SIL work on a service project with the youth in their church. BC still goes right to sleep in his bed, the way he did at our house.
One day for lunch, DD said, “Mom, would you like to try millet pancakes?” It turns out that a few weeks ago she had been craving millet cornbread, but didn’t have time to bake bread. She mixed up the batter, poured it out on a griddle like pancakes, and it cooked quickly. She told me it was delicious.
I made eggs, she made pancakes, I cut up fruit and we had a delicious brunch. You can get the millet corn bread recipe here. The only change DD makes is that instead of 1/3 cup honey she uses a little less than 1/3 cup agave.
It is a delicious breakfast or brunch for a mother who has enjoyed 8 hours of sleep because her 100% breastfed four month old can sleep through the night.
In the little Blood Type A book, Dr. D wrote that a Type As exercise regimen should be made up of calming centering exercises. In the little Blood Type O book, he says that a Type Os exercise regimen should be intense physical exercise.
When I first started the BTD, these two statements stood out to me because they were true in my family. My Strong Son and I, both Type Os, loved long runs, bicycling, swimming, and other kinds of aerobic exercise. My Honorable Husband and Darling Daughter, both Type As, preferred brisk walks and less stressful exercise. My daughter was a twirler at her school. She was very flexible and enjoyed dance as a form of exercise.
Seeing that we naturally gravitated to the forms of exercise that Dr. D said were best for us, confirmed the truth of his research to me.
However the summer after DD’s junior year in high school, she developed an exercise and eating disorder. She became obsessed with aerobic exercise. She ran long distances, worked hard on treadmill and elliptical machines, pushed her body every day to exercise more intensely.
Part of her recovery was being accountable to limit her exercise to 45 minutes a day. Emotionally that was difficult for her. She would say things like, “I can do 10 minutes of warm up before the 45 minutes and 10 minutes of cool down after, right?” Or, “I can do situps while I watch TV. That won’t count against my 45 minutes.”
When I reminded her of Dr. D’s Type A guidelines, she would either say that she didn’t think he was right or that he might be right for some Type As, but not for her. We negotiated constantly, and she drove a hard bargain.
She did recover, and after going more than three years without a period, her hormones begin to work again. We were so thankful for God’s healing - but those are all topics of other blogs from years past. She persisted in liking intense exercise. Though she was no longer obsessive, she still pushed her body beyond what I thought was advisable for a Type A.
Then she became pregnant. Her first trimester she didn’t feel like exercising. In her second trimester she was so excited to exercise again - until the night that she overdid it and started spotting. She and her husband were scared, but again God blessed them and the spotting stopped. However, they both knew that there would be no more intense exercise during the pregnancy.
She walked a lot. She kept the intensity way down on the treadmill and elliptical. She modified when she used her collection of aerobic exercise videos. And she did lots of leg lifts when she watched movies on TV.
And to her surprise, her body loved the lower intensity exercise. Her muscle tone actually improved while she was pregnant. The baby is now 3 months old, and because she is nursing and eating right, she has lost all of her pregnancy weight. She told me sheepishly the other day that she is in better shape than she was during the years when she was pushing herself with intense exercise.
She finished by saying, “I think Dr. D is right after all. My body does respond better when I do serious, but less stressful exercise.”
Mother’s Day weekend was wonderful. I got to spend two days with both of my children. It was DD’s first Mother’s Day. It was Baby Dedication at their church, where parents of 14 babies dedicated themselves to raise their children according to the Bible, teaching them about the love of Jesus.
In the course of the weekend, the family did a lot of BTD eating and BTD exercising. BC is not ready to go to a restaurant yet. While he is likely to fall asleep in the car, there are no guarantees that he will sleep in a noisy environment. If he wakes, ready to nurse, that ends DD’s enjoyment of her meal. So we looked up menus on the internet, and ordered takeout. Saturday night we had Mexican food and Sunday lunch we had fresh seafood. It is encouraging to me to see family members making conscious choices about what they eat.
DD is being careful, eating all beneficials and neutrals. Even some beneficials and neutrals aggravated BC’s colic when he was a newborn. Now that he is 2 months old, he is able to tolerate his mother eating a wider variety of foods than he could in the early weeks. Our Strong Son made good choices on Mexican food, but chose fried fish over grilled. He said with a smile, “My philosophy is be careful what I eat during the week, and splurge on the weekend.” I can’t argue with that for a healthy young person. Far better to have that attitude about the BTD than to say “This is too hard” and quit altogether.
SS decided to train last winter for a triathlon. He has now done two triathlons, and been very competitive. He went for a long run, while DD and I did an exercise video in the living room. There were lots of squats and lunges in the video, and I was modifying quite a bit because squats and lunges often make my knees hurt.
My body naturally wants to do squats and lunges wrong. Whether it is physiological or whether I learned incorrectly; I don’t know, but when I do either a squat or a lunge, my knees go in front of my toes. Since my husband’s back surgery almost 30 years ago, he constantly reminds me to keep my back straight. If I literally keep my back straight doing a squat, my knees extend over my toes.
After we exercised, I asked SS about squats and lunges from his Physical Therapy perspective. Using his hands he demonstrated the joint action of knees when doing a squat or lunge correctly (lower leg bone perpendicular to the ground and knee never extending over toes) and incorrectly (knees go over toes). He described an incorrect squat or lunge as putting sheer force on knee cartilage.
He encouraged me to develop the muscles in my legs and retrain myself to do squats and lunges correctly. DD added that she naturally did them incorrectly as well, but had retrained herself. Here is what they advised me to do.
• Keep my weight far back on my heels.
• Practice as if I am going to sit in a chair. Back straight, weight on heels, lower leg bone perpendicular to the floor.
• Do wall squats, increasing the time I can hold the correct stationary position.
• Do wall squats with an exercise ball behind my back. This will let me practice the motion with correct form.
• For lunges consciously keep the front knee stationary with the lower leg bone perpendicular to the floor. Move only the back leg.
I can see that retraining is going to take some serious effort. My range of motion is really small when I do them correctly. SS assures me that as I practice and strengthen my muscles, my range will increase. He also tells me that learning to do squats and lunges correctly will help my patella femoral condition.
I wondered aloud whether I caused the patella femoral by doing squats wrong. He didn’t want to speculate about that - he is more interested in my learning to do them right. Sheer force on my knee joints is graphic - and highly motivating - language.
As DD began evaluating what else she might be eating that would affect her milk and make BC uncomfortable; lettuce was high on the list since SIL’s sister has Crohn’s Disease. Her Crohn’s is triggered by anything raw and green. Lettuce, spinach, broccoli, even herbs like parsley and cilantro will send her into agony. DD, who eats a big salad almost every day, can hardly imagine life without lettuce, but when she started the brown rice allergy elimination diet, salad, like everything else, was put on hold.
After finding out that eggs and soy do not agree with BC, she successfully added several foods one at a time. Then one of their church members brought dinner to the house and included a delicious looking salad. DD decided it was time to find out whether BC could tolerate lettuce. The first night went well. She was so excited that the next day she ate more salad, and she added celery. That night was disastrous. BC cried and cried and cried. None of them slept.
She backed off of salad until BC was back to normal. Then she ate lettuce again and there was no problem. A few days later she tried celery, again with terrible results. So, lettuce is in and celery is out.
DD sent this text this morning, “I think it is better just knowing he is colicky and that he does not hate life. We can laugh at him now when he goes from laughing, to crying, back to laughing, then to screaming for no apparent reason. We cuddle and bounce him, but we feel less stressed knowing that he is acting typical of a baby with colic.”
Changing the subject:
I have a friend with Parkinson’s disease. The county support group sponsored a 5k run and she sent out a message asking people to sign up and support the cause. I signed up as a member of her team. After the race, I checked the times and saw that I had the fastest time for women over 60. I didn’t get a medal because I hadn’t sighed up as an individual runner, but I have the satisfaction of knowing that I ran well - - for an old lady!
While my run was fun, I was more impressed with my friend who finished the course in spite of her Parkinson’s. She tells me that exercise increases the natural production of dopamine, so she makes herself walk two miles every day. She said, “My doctor says if I want to stay out of a wheel chair I have to keep exercising.” That takes courage and resolve. I am so proud of her. By the way, my friend’s team was second place in the event.
Both of my babies cried at night. I’m not talking about waking every 2-4 hours to eat. All breast fed babies do that. I’m talking about frantic crying as if they were angry or in pain.
My Mom was matter of fact. Babies do that. Their digestive systems are immature. They grow out of it. My husband’s Mom called it colic. She rocked and walked the floor with me, pitying the poor baby.
When BC got home from the hospital, he began to frantically cry in the evening and at night, I was fatalistic. It’s part of being a newborn. I had even read that a newborn’s intestines were the diameter of a pencil (or was it a pencil lead?). Don’t be surprised, the book said, that the tiniest gas bubble causes distress.
DD was not convinced. She believed that she was eating something that was getting in her milk and hurting BC. She went to the internet - and got more confused. “Mom, look at this,” she would say. “This website says eat broccoli and not cucumbers. This other website says eat cucumbers and not broccoli. What do I do?”
I began to wonder if some of my own children’s colic was caused by my eating avoid foods like cow’s milk, wheat, and oranges. But DD never eats avoids. Her diet is 75% beneficials and 25% neutrals.
HH & I returned to our home when BC was 10 days old. DD maintained her strong conviction that she was eating something wrong. Finally I suggested that she try the allergy elimination diet. Many years ago I read that when allergy tests were inconclusive, to eat only brown rice for a day or two. Almost no one is allergic to brown rice. Then you start to add foods one at a time. You journal to see what kind of reactions you have to each new food.
For the sake of milk production, DD was scared to go brown rice alone. Instead she spent the first day eating only brown rice, apples, carrots, and green beans. That night was the best night BC had had since they got home from the hospital.
We were elated. We talked the next day about what to add back into her diet. We decided on eggs. They are bland, and they contain lots of protein. For years DD has eaten an egg sandwich every other day.
She called the next morning. The night had been terrible. BC suffered horribly with gas. So on day three she went back to brown rice, apples, carrots, and green beans. That night was peaceful. Eggs? Really?
The problem now was that she was losing weight too fast. She needed calories. So she added almonds - both the nuts and almond milk. BC was happy. Next she added oatmeal, again they had a good night.
But when she added soy protein - another one of her staple foods - she and SIL spent the night walking the floor with an unhappy baby.
Since then she has added several fruits and vegetables, and all have agreed with BC. Eggs and soy are the only two culprits so far.
I am amazed - and I am so glad that DD persevered and did not accept night time crying as normal.
I still find myself fuming at the MD who was on call the day DD and SIL left the hospital with BC, and I am very thankful for the PA they saw the next day.
DD didn't think she would find hospital food to here liking, so she had packed beneficial foods in her suitcase. She was glad when there was salad on her tray, which she ate with EVOO from home. She made herself peanut butter sandwiches. She brought fresh fruit, nuts, and oatmeal. So she ate like an A for herself and her little A baby.
In addition to all of the amenities I mentioned before, each bathroom in the maternity ward has its own whirlpool tub. A couple of times a day she got to sit in warm swirling water, which helped her to heal rapidly. Granted she had a fast labor, but her soreness disappeared quickly.
Day two was busy. The nursing staff was constantly teaching them something - like how to bathe the baby until the cord fell off. There were diapers to change and feedings and paperwork and more feedings.
The second night BC was more active and not quite as content, so DD and SIL started the day a little sleep deprived. That's when they encountered the pediatrician on call from the clinic. She was rushed. She had several babies to release that morning. She seemed to be more interested in protecting herself from any possibility of a lawsuit, than in making this a joyful moment for the parents.
BC's bilirubin was 8. She told them that the limit was 10, and he was too close. She would release him, but they would have to take him to the doctor first thing the next morning and have him retested. She did not encourage breast feeding. She wanted lots of fluid and lots of protein in his system. Colostrum, God's plan for a baby's nourishment for the first 2-4 days, was not satisfactory for this pediatrician. She wanted them to start supplementing formula. By the time they had finished the checkout process they were worried and feeling inadequate.
We had a wonderful afternoon at home together, taking pictures and getting settled. But BC was not a happy baby his first night at home. He wanted to nurse often. He woke up whenever they put him down in the bassinet. He cried a lot.
They left for the doctor's office sleep deprived and scared. Why wasn't her milk in? Was he dehydrated? Would he have to go back to the hospital? Was his umbilical cord ok? Was his circumcision infected? BC looked like a normal, healthy newborn to me, but the doubts planted by that pediatrician dominated the thoughts of these two new parents.
At the doctor's office, BC was examined by a PA. The PA explained that all babies have an oversupply of red blood cells when they are born, and as those cells break down the bilirubin level goes up. No need to worry unless it gets really high. No need to supplement formula. Milk for first time mothers comes in at 3 - 5 days. Until then colostrum is just what a baby needs. Everything looked great, and he told them they were doing a good job as parents.
They were still sleep deprived when they got back to the house, but they were happy and confident again. What a difference bedside manner makes. Both the MD and the PA saw the same baby and the same lab reports. One focused on all the things that might go wrong. The other encouraged and informed.
I want my medical advisors to be knowledgeable. I want them to tell the truth and not hide things from me. I need to know when something is wrong. I need to know what danger signs to look for.
At the same time, I want them to tell me how I can be proactive. I need a reminder that worst case scenarios don't usually happen, and that I am competent to take care of my body.
The phone rang at 4:50 Tuesday morning. HH and I were instantly awake. DD said, "I think you are going to be grandparents today."
She wasn't having painful contractions yet, but other signs indicated that active labor had started. HH and I began packing our bags and preparing to close up the house. We were on the road before 7:30. I texted DD that we were on the way. SIL texted back two words - 9 cm. Oh my! Labor was progressing fast! As we drove we were praying for a safe delivery for both our daughter and her baby.
We were not even half way there when we got another text. BC is a Boy! We have a grandson. He is healthy and our daughter is fine. HH was laughing, I was crying, and we were both praising God.
I loved the hospital where she delivered. They want baby and mother to have skin to skin contact immediately. They barely wiped BC off before they put him on her chest and covered them both with a blanket. Nurses put his first diaper on him, but after that DD and SIL changed him as needed. There is a nursery, but the nursing staff urges mothers to keep their babies in the room with them all the time. There was even a fold out bed in the room for SIL. The hospital strongly encourages breastfeeding, and BC had already had his first meal by the time we arrived.
Those things may sound routine to young people, but when I had my first child - less than 30 years ago - none of that was normal. My son was already wrapped in a blanket when he was put in my arms. I never changed a diaper, and I didn't even see his toes until I got him home. I made the nurses unhappy when I insisted that they not give him any formula. I think I was viewed as a radical.
I knew in my heart that DD's easy labor and healthy baby were a result of the care she took throughout her pregnancy to eat right and exercise wisely. It's one thing for her mother to feel that way, but even members of the hospital staff affirmed that her muscle tone made her labor go so smoothly.
I do not have words to describe what it was like to hold BC for the first time. All babies are little miracles - but holding the next generation of my family in my arms is….just GRAND!
We asked the nurse about his blood type. He is an A. DD is delighted.
DD and SIL chose not to find out whether they were having a boy or a girl. When they had their sonogram, the technician knew that they didn’t want to know. At one point she got a good look, smiled, and said, “Your baby has gender!” But she blocked that part of the video, and deleted reference to it in her report.
Everyone is now trying to guess whether BC is a boy or a girl. Speculation is running about 80% for a boy. DD put a picture on facebook last night and asked her friends to post their guess. Boy is winning on facebook as well.
I don’t have a gut feel about gender. Perhaps I lean a little toward girl, but I think that’s mostly because I’m such a contrarian.
I have a son and a daughter. Both were fun babies. Both are delightful adults. I am content with whatever God has given.
However, I do find myself increasingly curious about whether we have a Type A or a Type O.
Are we going to have a carnivore or an herbivore? Will I be taking BC out for barbeque or salad bars? Am I going to be fixing hamburgers or peanut butter sandwiches?
Either way will be fine with me. We will bake cookies with neutral flour. We can roll power balls before we walk to the mailbox.
A few years ago at a Tupperware party I bought a set of forms to make my own popsicles. They have been waiting in the back of the cabinet for the first grandbaby to arrive. I’m going to eat my share of pineapple and grape juice popsicles on the back porch.
Have you ever really wanted a product to work, and eventually had to admit that it just made you feel bad? I am that way about a mayonnaise substitute.
I love chicken salad, tuna salad, and carrot salad. I have been using a canola mayonnaise that doesn't have any avoids except a little white vinegar way down at the bottom of the ingredient list. I chose canola because it is neutral for me, and it has a lot of Omega 3. The only problem is that the one Tablespoon serving size isn't nearly enough to make salads as creamy as I like them, so I always use too much.
One day I saw an ad for a mayonnaise substitute, and I got excited. It wasn't a chemical concoction. It was made with real ingredients that I could pronounce. The ad said it was creamy, just like mayonnaise, but it had zero fat and zero calories. Though the ingredients were real food, there were several avoids, but I chose to ignore them. I know better than to ignore that many avoids! But this was a new product, and I really wanted it to work. I bought a jar.
It was creamy, though not creamy in the same way real mayonnaise is creamy. The taste was acceptable, but again not quite like real mayonnaise. It had more vinegar tang than I like. However, by the time I mixed in the celery, apple, and walnuts, it made a good chicken salad.
In spite of my high expectations, it didn't settle well in my stomach. It reminded me of the way I felt before the BTD when my digestive system was always inflamed. I wanted this product to work. I tried it again. In fact I tried it several times, but the results were always the same.
People sometimes ask me how I can stay on the BTD and forego eating wheat and most dairy. I tell them that pain is an excellent motivator. When I eat wheat and dairy, my stomach hurts, and I don't like pain.
As enticing as the idea of low calorie, low fat chicken and tuna salad is to me, the pain is just not worth it. I'm going to discard the mayonnaise substitute.
Before I close, I will give you a quick baby update. DD is now three weeks from her due date. BC has turned and is head down. DD is 1 cm dilated, and is feeling a few Braxton Hicks contractions. While we are all very eager for this baby's birth, we also hope BC will stay in the womb for another two weeks.
We are waiting and praying and smiling.
BC - my precious grandbaby - is at 34 weeks. Six more weeks in the womb, and BC will get to see us! It’s interesting that we have seen that cute little face, with nose pressed up against the wall of DD’s uterus, in sonogram pictures, but though eyes are now fully functioning, BC can’t see us. However, BC hears us responds to familiar voices, but we won’t hear BC until “birth day.”
DD sent a text that BC is now the size of a butternut squash. I picked up a butternut squash in the grocery and held it. The curves did make me think of a little head and a bottom. I like the way this app points expectant mothers to think of fresh fruits and vegetables every week. Just a subtle reminder to forego chips or cookies and eat right for your baby
DD says she feels wonderful. She has lots of energy. She worries sometimes that she is not as hungry as her friends say that they were. But her doctor is pleased with both her weight gain and the baby’s size. I think that the reason she is not famished is because everything she eats is thought out for maximum health for herself and the baby. There is no junk food in her diet. No wasted calories.
The doctor’s assistant warned her that the baby would become less active in these last few weeks. DD laughs and says that BC is more active than ever. Last weekend they took the youth from their church to an event that included a several popular Christian bands. BC was very active during the loud music. When DD bends over a counter to cook or the edge of the bathtub to clean, BC pushes against the hard surface.
Most delightful to me is that twice when DD has had her phone in her pocket, BC has kicked the phone, dialing my number. My precious pre-born grandbaby has called Gram Graham. I just love it!
A new gym opened in their town, and was running some enticing introductory specials. DD and SIL signed up. Even now, on cold days, it gives them a place to safely exercise indoors. But I think they were mainly looking ahead to after the baby is born and DD is cleared to exercise. She has been diligent to put the baby first for all of these weeks, disciplining herself not to obsess about things she used to obsess about. Having a place to exercise will give her a structured way to lose baby weight in a healthy manner without cutting calories which would interfere with her ability to nurse.
Their hospital offers several free classes to expectant parents. It amazes me. The hospital where I gave birth was considered cutting edge because it offered a Lamaze class. DD has already been to a lactation class and a newborn care class. She sends me her notes, which is really great, because I need a refresher course. I haven’t diapered or bathed a newborn in 24 years!
I read back over this blog, and realize I have become a stereotypical gushing grandmother. I can’t help it, and I don’t apologize!
Yesterday as we came out of church, a friend of my husband’s motioned us over to his car. He grows plantains, and had brought a trunk full to share with friends. Plantains look so much like bananas, that I was anticipating a beneficial treat. However, when I got home and looked at the food lists, I saw that plantains are avoid for both Type As and Type Os. They are toxic for Hunters and marginal for Gatherers (the two GenoType I find myself stuck in between). It looks like plantains are just not good for us.
Since I had them, I sautéed one in butter and olive oil. I took a bite, expecting it to taste like a banana, but it was mostly tasteless. This is an avoid I can easily do without. I’ll peel the rest of the plantains and put them in the back yard for the deer and the bunnies. As cold as it is, they will be happy to get them.
Eggplant is avoid for Type As and avoid for menopausal Type Os. However, there is an exception that lets us love one particular eggplant.
DD found a pregnancy app that gives a weekly update on how her unborn baby is developing. Today she is 26 weeks. BC is about 14 inches long and weighs about 2 pounds. His (or her) eyes are forming and will soon open. The app equates the baby’s size to a fruit or vegetable. The first time DD sent me results, BC was the size of a blueberry. How cute is that? BC has grown from a lime, to an onion, to a papaya. This week BC is the size of an eggplant.
What an active little eggplant BC is! The first time DD became aware of this was at her sonogram. The technician commented that it was hard to get certain views because the baby was moving so much.
SIL could hardly wait to feel his baby move. It wasn’t long until DD would put his hand on her belly and he could feel the kicks. Then he discovered that if he pushed, BC would push back. They began to “play” together. BC learned the sound of Daddy’s voice, and responds by kicking and punching. When SIL is preaching, BC moves a lot, responding to the sound of the voice that is already familiar in his (or her) little ears.
BC does NOT like the pressure of seatbelts or tight pants, and is quick to let DD know when she (or he) is uncomfortable. I have joked that they had better have a quick route for the hospital, because once the contractions of labor start, BC is going to be looking for the quickest way out.
This is not a blob of tissue. This is a baby who is already revealing preferences and personality traits. This may be the size of an eggplant, but this is not a fruit or a vegetable. This is a baby, who we love already and will get to hold in just 3 more months.
All babies are miracles. In this Christmas season, I find myself thinking of Mary. She would have been two weeks from delivery. What fruit or vegetable would the app have used to describe the Son of God? Was Jesus active or patient in the womb? Did she smile when she felt the kicks and punches?
Before I get to the topic of this blog - Pregnancy and Constipation - I have to tell you that I saw the 18 week sonogram picture of my grandbaby yesterday. When I was pregnant with my first child, sonograms were for high risk pregnancies only. When I was pregnant with my second child, they were more common, but still very expensive. I opted not to have one.
When I look at pictures of heads and feet, beautifully formed in the womb. When I hear the good news that all four quadrants of the brain have formed perfectly, that the heart is beating normally, that liver and kidneys are functioning, I am amazed. While this child weighs less than a pound, it is very much a human being.
Not only that - BC has personality. SIL raced bicycles in college. DD tells me that BC's little legs were going constantly throughout the sonogram, so much so that it was hard for the doctor to count all ten toes! He told DD, your little one is bouncing off the walls. I'll need to have lots of energy to keep up when BC comes to visit.
I have learned something about my Darling Daughter during this pregnancy. She has battled constipation all her life. How did I not know that? How did I not take action, given the colon cancer issues in our family? Constipation is just not a thing that teenage girls or young women want to talk about with their mothers. But pregnancy lowers modesty barriers, and we have had some very honest talks.
Until she found out she was pregnant at about 6 weeks, her bowels had been normal - for her - which to my way of thinking is not anywhere close to acceptable. She only had bowel movements on days when her morning routine was normal - in other words work days when the traffic got her to the office calm and on time. Nothing on weekends, nothing on holidays. Even at that, she did not have a bowel movement every day - so for years she had been having 3-4 per week.
Her diet changed dramatically at 6 weeks pregnant. At first grain and fruit were the only things that tasted good. Then she began to crave meat. Salad, which had been a big part of her diet didn't taste good at all. Neither did raw vegetables. Eventually she complained to me that she was really constipated.
Dr. D recommends wheat bran for Type A constipation. DD didn't like the way it made her feel and it didn't help. Same for larch and acacia fiber, both of which work really well for Type O me. Psyllium products irritate both of us. Chewable Calcium Magnesium made her stomach feel inflamed. She was eating 8-10 prunes a day. They tasted good but didn't help the constipation. She was drinking lots of water.
One morning I got a text that said, "I was queasy yesterday and today, but I don't think it was morning sickness. It is more like indigestion, and I think it is related to my being constipated for so long." She went on to say that she couldn't drink water that morning. She was sipping, but that if she took a big drink of water it bubbled back up in her throat.
She said she had researched laxatives on the internet and they were not recommended for pregnant women because when they started muscle contractions in the bowels it could simulate labor and could cause miscarriage.
I was starting to get worried. I had no idea that her normal state was constipated. What she was describing sounded serious to me. She certainly did not need a blockage when she was pregnant. I had exhausted everything I knew to do.
We agreed it was time to email her OB. The doctor emailed back and recommended a stool softener called Colace. It is safe for pregnancy. DD started with the maximum dose. Even at that it took several days before she had any results. It was two weeks before she felt like her intestines were cleaned out.
She tried to cut back on the dose, but the constipation quickly came back. We have accepted the fact that she will just have to stay on a stool softener through this pregnancy. Frankly with our family history, I think she may need to keep Colace on hand for the rest of her life. From what I read, fecal material remaining too long in the colon is the single greatest risk factor for colon cancer.
After the baby comes, I would like to see her give fiber products another try. However, I am glad to know about a product that works and is considered safe even for mothers and their unborn babies.
When DD was coming out of her exercise and eating disorder, we had no idea whether she would ever be able to have a baby. She told me, even back then, that if God ever allowed her to get pregnant knowing how much to exercise would be the hardest thing for her. That has turned out to be true.
Before she got pregnant, DD and SIL were doing regular, strenuous exercise. The first text DD sent about exercise came on her only bad day of Morning Sickness. She wrote, "Don't worry about me exercising. I'm more worried about eating...ever again."
As she got queasiness under control, she began to exercise again. "BC liked the exercise video we did tonight. We have a much happier baby now." Another text said, "Mental image for you: While I do an exercise video, BC is swinging around like Tarzan on the umbilical cord."
One Monday DD did an exercise video that involved a lot of jumping around. On Tuesday, she did an aerobic workout on an exercise bicycle. That night I got a panicked phone call. DD had some mild spotting. It was only a few drops, but it frightened us all.
The next day I got this text, "So far this morning, all is OK, I am just nervous. This little life was so precious to me before - and now, when something might be wrong, I realize how even more precious it is. I love BC with all of my heart. This little unexpected life means the world to me. Oh Lord, please keep little BC safe in my womb."
DD's OB has an email address where patients can ask questions and get an immediate response from her staff. By 8:30 DD had sent all of her symptoms to the office. The doctor herself called and said she was not worried unless the spotting got heavier. She mentioned several things that could cause spotting in the second trimester, and one of them was exercise.
DD sent this text, "I need to be careful. Tonight I am resting. Tomorrow, maybe some leg lifts...maybe. I think I will stay off cardio equipment for at least a week. This really shook me up."
Once the crisis was past, I sent her my comments:
When we first read about BTD, Dr. D'Adamo said that Type As should do calming, centering exercise. In the early days we noticed this was true in our family. The Type Os gravitated toward more strenuous exercise than the Type As.
During your exercise/eating disorder you pushed yourself to excel in cardio exercise. You adapted to intense physical exercise. Your muscle tone was incredible. I stopped trying to convince you to act like an A, because you were doing so well. You might want to revisit this while you are pregnant. I suggest you slow things down. Do some pilates. Walk - either outside or on the treadmill. Do back exercises - you'll really be glad you did when you get to third trimester. Focus on strength and flexibility rather than aerobic.
The book What to Expect When You're Expecting had a lot of exercises that concentrate on those goals. Eat Right for your Baby allows some low impact for Type As, but also has a list of cautions. Dr. D'Adamo doesn't recommend weights (except very light weights) for 2nd or 3rd trimester. After yesterday, I would be cautious.
DD looked up spotting on The Bump. One of the comments she liked said:
I was running, walking, and going to the gym regularly early in my pregnancy when I experienced spotting after a run. I called my OB and she told me to try a week of rest (no sex or exercise) and to call if it did not go away. It went away in a couple of days and I gradually ramped my exercise back up but stayed away from anything high impact (no step aerobics or running) and stuck to walking, elliptical machine and got a prenatal strength video. I have not had any problems since. Running was not worth the health of my child and I figured I can get back to it as soon as she is born.
Since that episode there has been no more spotting. DD has a daily struggle to find the right balance between exercising enough and not overdoing it. As she predicted long before she became pregnant, moderation in exercise is hard for her.
I've given her many ideas - it's hard for a future grandmother to keep quiet. I think two of them have been helpful enough to mention here.
DD was concerned that she could see what she thought were dimpled fat cells. It reminded her of how her legs used to look. I knew that she was eating a balanced and healthy diet. She was not overeating to the level of adding fat cells. I reminded her that during pregnancy not only was the baby growing, but she would be storing fluid. She needed that fluid for increased blood supply and other physical changes that are normal in pregnancy. I suggested that what she was seeing was more likely to be cells filled with fluid than fat cells.
Some exercise equipment shows visual patterns representing levels of intensity. I suggested that DD exercise in the shape of a pyramid. Start slow, give her body plenty of time to warm up. Gradually increase intensity. Don't stay at peak intensity for long, like at the peak of the pyramid. Gradually decrease intensity, letting her body slowly return to normal. She has tried this for several days and tells me it makes her feel good.
DD has her next doctor appointment in a few days. I'm curious to see what the doctor says about exercise. But as DD said so well in a text, "I know exercise is important, so I want to workout, but BC is even more important."
When I was pregnant with our first child I was working as a commission sales person for a radio station. I would schedule my morning appointments close to home so I could sleep late except for the mornings we had sales meetings. If I was wiped out in the afternoon, I would go home and take a nap. I was not cheating my employer because I continued to meet my sales quota. I was, however, able to listen to my body, and in the first trimester my body wanted lots of rest.
Before the end of the first trimester, my Honorable Husband said I could quit my job if I wanted to. We had saved enough money to pay for the baby. I was planning to be an at home Mom. If I continued working there would be extra expenses of a professional maternity wardrobe. I had a head full of ideas for making all of the nursery decorations. I thought about his offer for a minute or two and said, "Yes!"
Between high doses of Vitamin B6 and lots of sleep, I didn't have morning sickness, just occasionally a queasy feeling.
DD did not have that luxury in her first trimester. She works in advertising and marketing. She must be at work on time. She has a one hour commute from home to office. This meant she got up early - about 5:30 and got home late - about 7:00. There was no way she could get eight hours of sleep, much less the amount of sleep that BC wanted.
One day I got a text that said, "I cannot get enough sleep. All I want to do is curl up and sleep for the next 2-3 months." On Saturday afternoon I got another text: "Sleeping until 11 makes us feel so good."
She came up with several creative ideas that let her get a little extra rest. Some mornings she would leave for work extra early to avoid the traffic. Then she would sleep in her car until time for work. Her office has a fitness center for employees. Every day at lunch she would curl up on the mats and sleep for an hour. Often in the afternoon, she would go to sleep on the mats giving the traffic time to thin out. It meant she got home late, but she spent less time sitting in the car and got extra sleep.
Friends warned her about sleeping on either her stomach or her back. Those, of course are her favorite sleep positions. Last week I got this text: "I have a new pregnancy problem. Sleeping on my sides is making my hips, knees, shoulders, and elbows hurt. Not my joints, but pressure points on my skin. I tried pillows. No luck."
The next day she said, "I went to sleep sitting up. At some point in the night I went to my side. It was better, but now my neck hurts." Obviously sitting up was not going to solve the problem.
HH and I went to see her last weekend. We took an egg crate from our camping equipment. That worked great on the pressure points. No more sore spots in the mornings. I showed her how to put pillows behind her back when she was on her side. She can lean back on them so that she is technically on her side, but she feels support on her back. That seemed to help as well.
Now that she has entered the second trimester, she isn't as tired. In fact I would say that last weekend she was a little hyper. It was good to see all of her energy.
Modern women certainly have many advantages in terms of opportunity, creativity, and income. Our grandmothers and great grandmothers worked from home. They contributed to family economics in many ways, but rarely got recognition. The advantage they had was being able to listen to their bodies and accommodate their unborn baby's need for rest.
I have so much I want to share about what DD is eating, how the BTD is benefitting her and her baby, how she is trying to resolve the annoyances of pregnancy, as well as her new exercise and sleep patterns. She is at the end of her first trimester. I got a text yesterday that said, "Just heard my favorite sound in the world - a healthy baby heartbeat."
I'm sure every prospective grandparent is flooded with joy when they hear those words, but I think I have just a little more cause for thanksgiving than most. I've been blogging on the BTD site since 2004. DD was in middle school back then. I wrote about how she liked my new eating plan because I no longer pushed her to drink milk or eat beef. We had never had a lot of junk food in our house, so she adapted easily and became a fan of this Blood Type lifestyle.
However, the summer before she was a senior in high school, she succumbed to an exercise/eating disorder. She was never anorexic - and often reminded me that she only missed one meal. She was never bulimic - she turns her head if someone vomits in a movie. But she exercised too much and lost way too much weight. She stopped having periods in November, 2007. Her thyroid began to malfunction in the fall of 2008 - both a direct result of low BMI. Her circulation was affected.
I blogged many times about DD during those painful days. She overcame the spiritual problems that led to this disorder, and began to gain weight. In the summer of 2010 she met SIL. One of the hardest things she has ever had to do was confess to him what she had done to her body, and tell him she wasn't sure if she could ever have children. They cried together and prayed together. He said that he loved HER, and that if she couldn't have children, they would find a way to adopt.
DD and SIL got engaged in the summer of 2011. In the fall of 2011 she began to have periods again. They gradually became more regular, but there was no way to know how much damage had been done to her reproductive system. They married in June, 2012.
Do you get just a glimpse of the joy and thankfulness we have for this precious baby growing in DD?
However, all of that joy did not make her first trimester any easier. One day we got a call that she was pregnant. The next day I got a text saying, "I am not actually sick-sick. But I am very queasy. I couldn't go to church last night. I felt horrible. This is the weirdest feeling. I am hungry and queasy at the same time. Although I know I need food, it is repulsive. This is going to be a long 2-3 months."
She found an obstetrician who accepted her medical insurance and scheduled an appointment. She told them about her morning sickness. The first question the nurse asked was if she was taking Vitamin B6. Right away I knew I liked this doctor. I believe B6 is very effective at relieving morning sickness symptoms.
However, DD is a working mother-to-be. She has a long commute in the car. She can't lie down and take a nap any time she feels queasy. B6 alone was not enough. The first thing the OB said to add was an over the counter sleeping medication called Unisom. DD was told to take 1/2 a dose once a day. The pills were so small and she felt so bad, that the first day she took a whole pill. The combination of B6 and Unisom worked. She felt good. But then she worried that she had taken a full dose. She worried about the baby on a sleep medication. She worried that she would fall asleep driving to work.
The OB's next suggestion was Zofran. It is a prescription medication that stops nausea and vomiting. It is given to pregnant women, cancer patients, and babies as young as one month. The dosage for pregnant women is one pill three times a day. DD found she could function with one pill every other day. She did not like any taking medication, and felt guilty about it part of the time. But in the long run, it let her eat and drink fluids. That, she decided, was better for BC than risking dehydration.
She quickly learned that one of the best things she could do was get carbs in her stomach at the first sign of queasiness. This has been a source of great amusement to me. DD, raised by a health food fanatic mother, never ate many desserts. During and after her eating disorder, she shunned desserts and breads, eating beneficial fruit, nuts, and vegetables instead.
Her first funny text said, "One of the ladies who knows of my plight brought me two oatmeal raisin cookies. Normally I would not eat them, but I tried a bite - and it tasted good. I'm going to eat one and save one." In less than five minutes I got another text, "Yummy, both in my tummy. My baby will love oatmeal!" A few minutes later my phone went off again, "Now I have my first craving - more oatmeal raisin cookies."
The next morning I got a text, "I am happily nibbling on my last piece of carrot wedding cake. There is something about baked cinnamon that appeals to us." A little later I read, "Goodness BC is hungry today. I go from not eating to wiping out a piece of carrot bread and moving on to cereal. My tummy actually hurts more when I'm not eating. Go figure. "
More pregnancy news next time. Let me close this long blog with one more expression of thanksgiving for health and humor and God's mercies in all things.