Thursday, December 26, 2013

Guest Post: "Baby After Bypass"

So I was fat. I still am fat (not that there's anything wrong with that!), but I was REALLY fat when I was little. I was born and raised in Jersey and I have a stubborn German for a father and a pile of moosh n' love for a mother. I heard a lot of crap from my dad about being heavy. "Put the food down." "You'll die big you know." "Try to lose weight so you can play with your friends..." I don't ever think he meant anything bad by it, but it really took a toll. And as for my mom: "lets go get ice cream so you won't be sad anymore.." (you can see how this snowballs, right?)

When I entered high school I had already had years of bullying. As if being big wasn't enough, I had pimples, I wore glasses, and I had super short hair. I was a target for sure. But as I went to doctors for check ups, we realized one thing: weighing 380 pounds when you were 15 years old was pretty darn unhealthy. It was literally killing me and I was scared.

Around this time gastric bypass was pretty knew, but something drastic needed done. I had all the visits and analyzing one could ever want, and I was in. I was going to get the Roux-En-Y gastric bypass procedure on December 13th, 2002. I went under the knife and came out alive. AND SUPER GASSY! In one week I lost 36 pounds. In one month I lost 90. In 6 months I lost 200 pounds. I could finally walk up the stairs and not be in pain and out of breath. My life had changed for the better.
I did have some complications but they were minor. I still have skin, 10 years later, that I'd like gone, but I'm married now and my husband loves me for what I am and he thinks I'm sexy. (I met my husband on and said hello because I thought his beard was AWESOME. It was love at first beard )

My husband and I said we wanted a family and we started TTC in january of 2012. Frustrated 3 months later we were told to relax and grab some champagne. We did...and voila! Pregnant! I had some concerns having had the surgery and being pregnant.
Also, trying to conceive wasnt difficult and it was fun my husband is big too so our positions are limited but our energy never is! We wanted a baby so bad so we tried all the time. The surgery had no impact on our ability to conceive.

 I asked all the doctors if I was safe and how to get my calories in. NOTHING that went in my mouth could be crap calories. Everything I ate had to be good for me and for baby. So that's what I did.
Everything I had was high in protein and I ate many small meals through the day. I drank protein too, tried to cut back on coffee (so hard!), and tried not to head to fast food too often. I did have my fair share of ice cream and pickles for sure, but I did crave healthy things too which helped a lot. I had a complication free pregnancy: no gestational diabetes, no problems whatsoever. I kept myself in check and made sure to do things right. This baby was too important to my husband and I.

In February I gave birth to a chubby 7 pound 13 ounce boy: Edward Remy. I was in labor for 2 hours before fully dilated, and pushed for 18 minutes until he came into this world. He truly is the most amazing thing. My husband and I can't wait to have another!

The gastric bypass was harder to deal with when it was initially done. I was young and didn't follow "the rules" like I should have, but I managed to keep the weight down (although I gained back a little bit). Once I got pregnant I didn't want anything to damage my tummy or my baby, so I kept in close contact with the gastric doctors and they helped me a lot. I would do BOTH of these things again if given the chance. I've never looked back!

This story was shared by Molly, momma of one from Levittown, PA. Molly is the owner of MollyCakes Bakery, find out more about her awesome cakes here.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Guest Post: “It was the worst of times…. Another infertility story”

There is a deep feeling of pain every month, one you hopefully will not become used to. But for many of us, it’s all to familiar a feeling: you got your period this month, again.

We had hit the 18 month mark before I had to stop counting. For the first few months, aunt flow came with all my familiar cramps and pains, and I would smile through the rest of the week with shrug: it was healthy not to get pregnant right away. Then the second half of that next year, I would get a little more down trodden, but I had nowhere to turn. By the end of the first year, I was a mess every month when the “crimson tide” started, because I knew it meant one thing…Not pregnant yet.

I didn’t have a lot of support. My family thought I was too young to start a family: every time it came up, the infamous “I’m too young to be a grandma” would rear its head, and I would just smile and nod, pretending that I wasn’t doing everything I could to get knocked up. My husband didn’t truly understand my anguish, because as a man you just don’t worry about these kinds of things. My girlfriends all had different agendas, finishing school and finding careers. My first doctor shrugged me off as a fat, young girl that needed to hold her horses. At 23, I was hit with this feeling that I would not ever get the family I had dreamed of as a kid.

I watched friend after friend post new baby updates, and with each one, I found the “hide” setting. I wanted to be happy for them, but I couldn’t be happy. My husband’s close friend from work had a new baby boy, and I broke down in our bedroom before going to see them, while he watched not sure what to say. A cousin in the family got pregnant: no job, not married, not readily paying her bills and moved back home with her mom shortly after finding out she was pregnant- and hasn’t left- and it was all on accident. Barely out of high school, she couldn’t take care of herself, much less the dead-beat father she was trying to support and a new baby. But she was given the greatest miracle in the world, to be a mom, and I was a bitter because I wanted it to be me!

It broke my heart. I cried myself to sleep. I laid awake guilt ridden at all hours of the night. I kept a journal about how unfair it all was, and how broken I felt. No matter how much I tried, or how much I wanted to get pregnant, my body just wouldn’t. I watched the months tick by, and knew that all these “delays” were adding up. It would make the difference between my husband’s Grandmother meeting our daughter –he was her favorite grandson- because her health did not allow her to stay with us that long. I blamed myself a lot, and brought myself down. I let myself hit the lowest of lows, truly believed that this was just not going to happen for us. In order to write this post, I went back through those old journals, and it made my heart hurt all over again.

I have mild PCOS: the cysts on my ovaries were not very large, and the extra chemical progesterone was only mildly over what it should have been. We had my thyroid tested, and all came back clear. I could grow facial hair like my husband, and had gained weight over the years that I really didn’t link up with the PCOS until now. I was one of the lucky ones, where in a 12 month span, I would only skip a period 2 or 3 times because I hadn’t ovulated that month. My first doctor did not run additional tests at all, other than the basic ultrasound, and left me with the diagnosis to see her again in a year and lose weight. Notice how I said first… if you don’t like or agree with your doctor now, do you think you will later, when you do get pregnant? Ditch any negative nancies now, and find a new OB/GYN that is willing to help!

After the close to two years of trying of trying, I really stopped counting. I looked up adoption, starting writing up a biography about us, and started looking up what kind of fees I would need to pay, and how I was going to save up for them. I forced my husband to see his doctor –and let me remind every one of you beautiful, hurting ladies: it takes two to tango here! His test results were similar to mine: again, we were sent away with a diagnosis of lose weight, try harder, and then it’ll work. I then turned into some sort of monster: I blamed him for not taking his vitamins, drinking one more soda than he should have, putting his left shoe on before his right… Things that were totally unrelated became a bullet point on my vendetta list. I went from sobbing emotional sad-sack to bitter bitch-zilla in a 10 minute span (influenced mildly by Clomid) and I was not fun to be around, even to myself, I would realize later.

I won’t sit here and tell you what the magic trick is to being okay with not being okay. Take a moment to yourself, don’t just pretend and smile through the day. There are days you are going to need to cry it all out, nights you just need loud music, or a quiet hot bath. It gets much harder before it will ever be easier, but it does make victory so much sweeter. Here’s the thing: you can throw as much as you want into your fertility, but there’s never a guarantee that it’ll be enough. Take each month in stride, make positive changes, and do what you can to help yourself.

I’m no expert, but I do have some experience in the area. If your doctor is unwilling to help you, there are a lot of things you can do to help yourself. Start by knowing as much as you can about fertility: learn how to track your cycles, find those ‘super foods’ the internet talks about, cut out the bad things from your life, like smoking, before you begin to try. My favorite book was “The Impatient Woman's Guide to Getting Pregnant” by Heidi Murkoff. I read it three times through or more. There’s certainly a lot to learn, and a lot to change. Because it takes two, you also want to help your partner make changes too: quitting smoking, reducing alcohol and coffee intake, even switching to different underwear. I highly suggest you both take a prenatal vitamin: part of this suggestion though, I would use an empty bottle of vitamin whatever and fill it with prenatals, if your partner isn’t as on board as you are. Folic acid for him is equally as good as it is for you! Sperm is, however, made in advance, so what you are using today was actually “created” 3 months prior. Changes on your partners side will take effect 2 to 3 months later.

Use the time you have before being pregnant to do things you wanted to learn to do: I am thankful I had a chance to learn to crochet before we had baby-on-board. I got a second dog, and trained him before we got pregnant (another blessing in so many ways!). I could financially prepare for what we were going to need, and the delay was a good thing,  that allowed my husband to change jobs to something more reliable, with a higher wage which was nice too. Maybe it’s a trip to Hawaii you’ve always been dreaming of, or learning professional photography. Keep your partners feelings in mind too: maybe there’s something he would like to do before baby too, and squeeze these simple pleasures and new hobbies in beforehand. For secondary infertility, enjoy your first child just a little longer. Make a few fun outings that you don’t normally, like a road trip to the beach, and just enjoy their excitement. Soon, you’ll have to try to find time for two, and you’ll miss these days.

In the end, do what makes sense to you. Your mind knows what it wants. If you just need to rant, or cry, or hit something, find a constructive way to do it! You are doing all you can, and good things really do take time. Surround yourself with people you can talk to, doctors whom you trust and respect their advice, and who are there to help you through your struggle, not just shrug you off with a “lose weight” or “get older” verdict. There is no magic trick to getting pregnant, no wonderful pill you can take and make it easier. Anyone who has never had trouble getting pregnant has no idea what it feels like, and they give bad advice –take it with a grain of salt. Talk about it, even if it’s just to a word document on your computer, or a notebook at home, and let go of all your frustrations and unwind! You are not ever, ever alone in this journey!

So, my last piece of advice. Go into the bathroom, look at yourself in the mirror. Tell yourself that “We are going to do this!”. Repeat every day. You really are going to be able to do this, in your body’s own time. And, that feeling every month? It makes it totally worth it in the end!

Amanda P. is a soon-to-be mom from Arizona. She works at an airline call center and also has a website that you can check out here. Sending Amanda lots of well wishes, as she is due to give birth February 2014!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Supplements for Toddlers?

I recently read an article about how a very popular children's vitamin (actually, the one I always took as a kid) is actually full of GMOs, aspartame, and a slew of other really nasty stuff that I wouldn't ever knowingly give my child. 

My son is a very picky eater (he only willingly eats fruits, veggies and cheese) so I worry about his protein and fat intake. Every morning, I make Bu "tremenda mezcla" ("a huge mixture" in Spanish, that's what my dad calls it) of stuff, but it works out for us and he loves it. I mix 1 fruit, 1 vegetable and 1 protein baby food/puree (all organic) with 2 teaspoons of Michaels Pediavites (a lemon flavored liquid multivitamin), 1 tablespoon of Blue Ice infused coconut oil (organic coconut oil that has fermented cod liver oil in it) and 1 teaspoon of Baby Bifidactyl Probiotics, with just enough water to make it all drinkable.

It always looks and smells NASTY, but Bu loves it and I know once he drinks that, he can eat any sort of baby snack or stuff off Daddy's (not usually health-focused) plate the rest of the day and I won't worry whatsoever because he got so much nutrition first thing in the morning.

Lately, I've started making him smoothies with frozen organic produce and experimenting with fat/proteins/grains. I find that not only have I saved money (DIY is much cheaper than 3 jars of baby food a day) but it justs feels nice that I know exactly what Bu is getting. The only real drawback is that he's a stickler for texture and even temperature (he likes his drinks room temperature! LOL), and flavor combos are sometimes not as successful as I foresee.

Do you give your babies/toddlers/kids any supplements? Why or why not?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Food for thought on vaccinating...

Disclaimer: the following is simply meant to get parents to consider all their choices and alternatives before choosing whether or not to vaccinate. To each their own and like I always say, as long as a choice is informed and it sits well with a parent as what's best for their family after considering all the alternatives, then that parent is doing their best and nothing more can be asked of them. -MF

To provide a counterpoint: all the "epidemics" they're talking about here happened to both vaccinated and unvaccinated children. They're blaming it on the unvaccinated children spreading it but if the vaccine worked to begin with, half of the cases (the vaccinated children) shouldn't have caught it. So all that proves is that wherever the start of the epidemic came from, the vaccine didn't provide the protection it was supposed to for the kids that WERE vaccinated. 

And as far as the abroad studies, you can't compare the general medical care and environment here to the Middle East slums. Vaccinated or not, children over there are bound to be less healthy and THATS going to make them susceptible to disease, not whether or not they have their shots.

I usually ignore stuff like this because it's something that's a touchy subject, but that headline is so aggressive (and the article has so many holes in it) that I wanted to speak up, if only to urge whoever is reading this to do their OWN research and not just rely on tradition to make their choice on vaccinating. You can always do it later or at least do it more slowly and spaced out rather than bombarding teeny kids with all those chemicals at once, which most doctors don't let you know that you have that choice and it is your choice to make! :)

Thursday, December 12, 2013


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Guest Post : "Cold Weather Babywearing Tips"

Babywearing is awesome. It's so wonderful to have your little one so close and snug. It's like a constant hug without having to tire your arms. That is, provided your little one isn't struggling the whole time to get down and run around... Not that that ever happens to me. 

This year babywearing my 18 month old daughter, Athena,  is a very different experience than wearing her last year. Now, all she wants to do is run around and hates any sort of confinement. That's just how she rolls, I guess. Probably her way of letting us know that she is no longer a "baby" so, come on mom and dad, you can stop trying to "baby"wear me now... 

But last year, it was AWESOME. I baby wore her all fall and winter long. We kept each other warm and I got to see her little face look in awe at the great, wide world around her. Then she would doze to sleep while still on me and we would continue to walk together, me listening to her calm breathing, and her listening to the pounding of my heart.

Babywearing in winter is definitely a different animal then baby wearing in the warm summer months. Brian and I learned very quickly that we needed to do things a little differently. Babywearing in winter doesn't have to be complicated, and for the most part any tips I can give you would come to you simply from listening to your "parental instinct". But, just in case someone might find it helpful to learn from my own experience, here are 

Ten Tips for Babywearing in Winter

  • Head. Always have a hat for baby. Make sure it is snug around their face so it cannot easily slide down and cover their eyes and thick enough to keep their head warm. Even though it is a myth that we loose heat faster through our head, it is still very important to keep your baby's head nice and warm. No one enjoys being outside if their ears and face are freezing.  
  • Hands. Little babies fingers get cold very easily. Try and find a pair of gloves that fit snugly, but not too tight, on your baby's little hands. Tuck the gloves into their shirt so their wrists do not get exposed to the cold air accidentally. If your baby refuses to wear gloves, like mine often did, just make sure they can tuck their arms inside the carrier if they get cold.
  • Legs. It's easy to keep baby's core warm since it is right up against you, and you can always draw their arms into the carrier to stay warmer, but their legs have no choice but to stay outside the carrier. Therefore, it is super important that you put on lots of layers for their legs. Depending on how cold it is outside this might look like two pairs of pants and leg warmers and then socks. It simply depends on how cold it is outside. 
  • Toes. Very warm shoes and socks are a must. Baby's toes can get cold very quickly. If you don't have good shoes or socks that fit baby (they grow fast and surprise you sometimes...)  you can always improvise. Several times when Athena's warm socks were in the wash, or simply AWOL, I put a pair of my own warm socks around her feet by doubling them up. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. And no one ever creates more necessity than a baby. :)
  • Layers are a must. Babywearing is great because it helps keep everyone involved warm. Your baby will be like a little heater to you and vice versa. This is why it's extremely important that you both wear layers. Last winter when I took Athena on a hike up a butte it was freezing out, but by the time we got to the top we were both sweating. I was very thankful that we could both shed a few layers. 

  • Wear an appropriately sized coat. I know that companies sell specially designed coats for baby wearing, but personally, I never found that necessary. Now, for someone who lives in an area where it snows all the time, this might be something worth investing in. However, for my purposes I found that really all I needed was an oversized coat. When Athena was very little and I carried her in front in the Ergo, I wore the same coat I used when I was very pregnant with her to put around both of us. I couldn't quite zip it all the way up, but enough so that it kept both of us warm. Maybe not the most fashionable choice... but who cares about such things when you are out enjoying the sunshine and the fresh cold air on a wintery day? Not me.
  • Allow for air. I am guessing that this goes without saying, but make sure your baby is breathing comfortably. Make sure no sweaters, coats, or scarves slip and obstruct air flow to baby. If they are positioned in front, this is easier to monitor.  If your baby is on your back, have a partner or friend check them for you.
  • Check baby regularly. Most parents do this without needing to be told, but check your baby regularly to make sure they are staying warm and comfortable. No one enjoys being freezing. A cozy, warm baby (for the most part..) will be a happy baby. 
  • Bring a blanket. This is not specifically related to babywearing, but something that is very important to remember since we have been talking about keeping baby very warm with lots of layers. Make sure, however, when your baby is in the carseat that you do not have lots of layers on them, as this can make the carseat safety measure ineffective in case of an accident. Always put coats on when you have arrived at your destination. During the ride simply put a cozy blanket over baby to keep them warm. 
  • Do it! The last and final tip I want to leave you with is simply this: "Do it!". Babywearing is wonderful and you will only be able to do it for a short period of time. Just last year I was holding Athena close and snug, and now she's off and running. When else will you have a more perfect excuse to snuggle your baby than when it's cold outside? Enjoy those little moments. Treasure them as best you can. 

If you enjoyed reading my tips for babywearing in the winter, be sure and check out my blog for more awesome posts, including how to make your own Homemade Baby Care ProductsHow to Wash Cloth Diapers, and How to Turn a Receiving Blanket into a Diaper (no-sew method!)

Here's to staying warm this winter season! <3

Thanks so much for reading! My name is Jacquelyn (aka 'crunchy momma') and this is my baby girl, Athena (who we call 'little owl'). I am a wife, a mother a dancer, a lover of good books, a self-educated student of nutrition, a thinker, and a cook. I share bits of my life at along with healthy recipes, kitchen tips and much more.

I would love for you to join in our adventures. You can find me on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram.

<3 The Crunchy Momma

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Guest Post: "Road to Surrogacy"

I was 19 when my husband and I got pregnant with my son. I had an amazing pregnancy. You hear all these bad things about pregnancy and all these complications that go along with it and I lucked out. I only had morning sickness for a few weeks and nothing else was bad. I got induced 2 weeks early and he came out at 8 lbs 4 oz and as healthy as a horse. This was 16 months ago. I am now 21 and loving life with a very energetic toddler. I want more kids, but not now. I'm going back to school and want to have a career before I take the plunge and have another child.

 I've always thought about doing surrogacy ever since I had my son. I was just scared to ask my husband. I figured he wouldn't be okay with me doing it so I just put it on the back burner and left it there. On Easter Sunday of this year, I went to my relatives house and I was talking to one of my cousins who was due with her child in about 2 weeks and I just kept saying to my husband how much I missed being pregnant. He knew I didn't want another kid at the moment. So when we left, he was the one who told me I should look into being a surrogate. The more I looked into it, the more scared I was. There are a lot of stories out there of people who carried children and then something horrific went wrong and they were never able to carry another one of their children again. But, the more and more I read and learned about everything, the more I realized that I have to do this.There is NO way that I CANNOT do this.  I honestly believe this is my calling. Truly. So, I researched and researched some more and I had a few agencies that I liked but its so expensive for the parents to do that. 

I found this message board online where you can post an ad of where your located and whether your a GS (Gestational Surrogate) or TS (Traditional Surrogate) looking for intended parents or parents looking for a surrogate. I wanted the GS way, I always thought I could do this as long as the child wasn't related to me. It would just be that much harder. So, I posted an ad saying where I was from and I'm looking to be a GS and I've got quite a bit of emails, but only 1 stuck out to me.

This woman emailed me and said she was from the same state about 3 towns over. about 30 miles from me. I could not believe it!!! That's what I wanted. I wanted parents that could be with me throughout the entire pregnancy. Not just talk on the phone or email once a week. I want to see them and hang out with them. I emailed her back and we hit it off instantly. We met one day and we were amazing how much we are like the same person. 

I was a little nervous not going through an agency but I realized everything would be okay. We got through our psychological evaluation, all of the labs for the fertility doctor (We thankfully worked with one of the best fertility offices in our state), the transfer and then the pregnancy test. A few weeks ago we found out we were pregnant. They could not be any happier!!!! We are moving right along in this pregnancy too. I am 8 weeks and at the ultrasound I am already measuring 3 days ahead.

 I love doing this. I wouldn't trade doing this for anything in the world. Now that I look back at where I was in the beginning, with all my doubts about what will I do if something happens to me or my baby making and carrying abilities, I will know that I did this for an excellent reason and that reason is good enough for me. If I can't have another child its because I choose to help someone else have the thing that makes my life worth living. My son is the reason I wake up in the morning and the reason my hair is falling out    :)      but I'm just glad that I had this chance of a lifetime to have and to hold him. Its not necessarily about giving birth to him. It's about seeing that first smile in the morning when you walk in the room, the boo boos you kiss and make them feel better, that cackle of laughter when you find that one ticklish spot and its the "I love you, mommy" before bedtime that makes this whole life seem to fall perfectly in place. And I'm giving this special gift to someone who can't. This makes doing surrogacy worth the risk.

I got a little teary eyed writing this myself. If anyone is interested in doing this please send them my way and I can help them through this.

The strong woman that contributed this post wishes to remain anonymous, but if anyone would like to speak to her or ask any questions in order to help your own decision or journey through surrogacy, please contact Momma Friendly (comment or email) and I will connect both parties. Thank you.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Factors for VBAC success, Part 1/2

In this post, I will discuss why each of the following factors are important in VBAC success:

*reasons for previous c-sections
*arriving at the hospital as late into labor as possible
*not having continuous fetal monitoring
*epidural as late as possible into the labor, if at all
*no induction or acceleration
*previous vaginal birth

*Reasons for previous cesareans
If previous cesareans happened because of something unlikely to reoccur, like the baby being breech (which is a whole other topic, and I will be featuring both facts on breech babies and a couple of guest post on the topic next month), you have a pretty good chance of a successful VBAC. Something like CPD (a medical condition where one's pelvis is actually too small to allow a baby to pass) can make a VBAC more difficult, but it is still not impossible. According to The VBAC Handbook, as many as 2/3 of women with CPD that attempt VBACs are successful!

*Arriving at the hospital as late into labor as possible
The reason for this is simple. The longer you labor at home, the less opportunity the hospital/doctors/nurses have to "help" you with a cascade of interventions that could just lead to a RCS.

*Not having continuous fetal monitoring
Continuous monitoring restricts your mobility, which is a huge problem because being able to move around in labor is a necessity to help labor progress. You might also experience more pain/discomfort constantly laying on your back because you're stuck in bed, hooked up to a monitor. 15 minutes an hour is more than sufficient to give care providers an idea of how baby is doing, and then momma can focus the other 45 minutes of the hour on LABORING how she's most comfortable. Another reason to avoid monitoring if you can help it is that results are often misread, which leads to more cesareans unnecessarily.

*Epidural as late as possible into the labor, if at all
Epidurals usually require continuous fetal monitoring so that the laboring moms lowered blood pressure (a side effect of the epidural) can be checked regularly, along with it's effect on the baby. Because you don't want CFM (see above), you should wait as late as you can to get the epidural, if you get one at all. Epidurals have also been shown to stall labor.

*No induction or acceleration
Any sort of induction or acceleration of labor, including artificial rupture of membranes (AROM, or having your water broken) can raise the risk of the previous cesarean scar "unzipping". Some doctors might want to administer pitocin once a labor really gets going to speed things up, but be aware of the risks before you consent to ANY sort of augmentation!!!

*Previous vaginal birth
If you have had a vaginal birth before your cesarean, you are likelier to have a successful VBAC. You are also likelier to have a successful VBAC if you've already had a VBAC! Crazy, huh? ;) Not much help for mommas like me, that had an unnecesarean right out of the gate, but perhaps good news for other mommas out there!

The next post will finish up the list of factors and the reasons behind them. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the list so far!

Monday, December 2, 2013

"Once a C-section, ALWAYS a C-section"

Is there any truth to this common misconception about labor and delivery?

In short, no. And here's why:

Routine "Repeat Cesarean Section" (RCS) came into practice in the early 1900s because back then. cesareans were done in a vertical cut. This cut is much more prone to rupture, so cesareans became the norm for every mother who had already previously delivered by cesarean in order to prevent rupture during labor.

Today, most c-sections are done with a "bikini-cut", which is a low, horizontal cut on or along the bikini line. It is much less vulnerable to rupture or "unsealing" during labor. The World Health Organization actually declared over 20 years ago that "there is no evidence that cesareans are required after a previous transverse low segment c-section cut".

So what is your option after a cesarean, if not another? Certainly, there is a time and place for RCS, but usually, a safer alternative is VBAC, or Vaginal Birth after Cesarean.

Success of VBAC depends upon:
*reasons for previous c-sections
*arriving at the hospital as late into labor as possible
*not having continuous fetal monitoring
*epidural as late as possible into the labor, if at all
*no induction or acceleration
*previous vaginal birth
*being able to eat, drink and move in labor
*no time restraints
*good relationship with your care providers
*the use of midwives

In the next two posts, I will go deeper into the success factors listed above so there is a better understanding of each and why they are important for the success of a VBAC.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Product I Love: Groovebook!

Highly recommended! A book of 100 photos for $2.99. It's a subscription service that lets to add photos from your iPhone as you go along and once a month, the photos are ordered and you receive the book 2 weeks later.

 I took advantage of my FREE book (yes, using my code gives you your first book FREE) to make a book of our trip to Disney for Bu's birthday, but I'm continuing my subscription so I can have books of his every month, the same way I've always made his albums. The difference is the albums usually cost me $20-40, but this is $2.99! And they're 4X6, so I can put them all in his yearly "time capsule" boxes that I keep for him, but you could just as easily tear out the pics to give to grandparents, etc. You could even tear out the photos eventually and put them in a scrapbook or photo album, but they're kept organized and in order in the meantime.

As always, this is not a sponsored post, just a product I love that I thought I'd share with my readers

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Guest Post: "Swollen to full capacity"

Swollen to full capacity
Stirring, moving life inside.
Stretched, marred with creation.
Blemished beautifully, and changed.
A mothers body, the evolution,
Grasping the transformation.
The meaning of a new skin,
Showing without, what once was within.
Battle wounds, large hips, tender chest, a mother's breast. 
Accepting the new as a bold declaration.
Not wistfully wishing, 
Fondly remembering,
And proudly remembering 
this new mothering skin.
So amazingly capable of bringing forth life!
I will not detest,
I shall not disguise,
And I will PROUDLY wear...
This mother's skin.
This beautiful poem was written by Miranda Irvin. I read it and LOVED it, and asked her immediately for permission to repost! In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to post it this week as it is a beautiful reminder and example of being proud and grateful for the incredible thing our bodies can do: creating, sustaining and bringing forth new life! I hope you all love it as well, please check out her blog to see more from this wonderful crunchy momma!

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Something to consider...there's "on schedule", "delayed schedule" and "non vax" parents, but everyone has to do their research and follow their instincts when it comes to vaccinating their children.

It's a hot topic, which is way I try (and I mean try, though I think it's usually obvious where I lean personally) to encourage parents to really research ingredients, possible side effects, etc before taking a course of action. The most important thing though is of you're not 100% certain where you stand, WAIT. You can always start vaccinating later but you can't take it back if you do it and then decide its not the best choice for your family.

I leave you with this graphic from the Facebook group "Educate before you Vaccinate"...believe it or don't, but hopefully it at least piques your curiosity enough to look into it for yourself :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Top Baby Blogs!

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Some of the responses to WIO/CIO...

"I think it's about paying attention to what your kid needs that day/night. Like there are nights when my kid is sick and I'll do whatever it takes to get them to sleep...even if that means holding them up on my chest all night. Or if my son is feeling especially anxious or scared about something I will let him sleep in our bed. But there are times when absolutely nothing is wrong and all their needs have been met and maybe they're just overstimulated and need to be alone in their crib/bed and they will probably cry until they fall asleep. And that's actually what they need in that moment. And we mustn't neglect the needs of the mom and dad. Sometimes a parent desperately needs sleep so they can function properly and that might mean they have their kid CIO/sleep train. Or maybe a couple really needs their alone time so that means no co-sleeping. There's no way you can know every single family's needs/dynamic. People can't judge parents who CIO or cosleep or whatever they choose because you don't know what that family's needs are. And every mom knows their own baby best not some stranger or "sleep expert."' -KA

"I'm definitely against CIO. Babies and children need nurturing and by crying, they are showing that they are in need...Studies show that babies who have more physical touch with caretakers and who have not been left to CIO are more stable as they grow. Society today is in too much of a rush to push their children out of the nest so to say. And more 4 month old breastfed son does sleep through the night so a child's sleep pattern should be natural, not forced upon him by making him feel alone and helpless. However, parents who dont believe in crying it out, if at all for any reason they feel as if they might snap or get violent that then they should put the child down then. CIO is better than physically harming a child." - MVC

"We did CIO with our daughter at 6 mo. Well she would cry for like a minute and just fall asleep and now at 3 she sleeps perfect and there's nothing wrong with her. and my son is 18 mo and we didn't have to do it. We just let him sleep in her room and he must have took notes from her." -CG

What are your opinions on Waiting It Out (WIO) versus Crying It Out (CIO)? It's a controversial topic that divides a lot of parents, and even a lot of households, but I am curious to get a RESPECTFUL dialogue going about sleep training/teaching/coaching your child or waiting for them to settle into their own rhythm...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

My Birth Plan Revisited

 Originally posted in 2011 at Plus Size Preggo

 Spoke to an OB at my practice yesterday (they rotate so you get to know everyone), and I was pretty disappointed with what I was told about my birth plan, even PO’ed at one point…As I told my sister, who came to the appointment with me: “Unless something magical happens during birth that makes me want to blow everyone in that hospital, I am NOT going to do a hospital birth with the next baby!” (Blunt but true story LOL)

* I’d like the following people to be present during labor and/or birth: My husband, my sister, and my mother. “OK”

* I’d like to wear my own clothes during labor and delivery. "OK, but you probably won’t want to"

* I’d like to take pictures and/or video during labor and delivery. “Only allowed BEFORE labor, AFTER birth and NOT during newborn tests”

* I’d like the option of returning home if I’m not in active labor. "OK"
* Once I’m admitted, I’d like my partner to be allowed to stay with me at all times. "OK"

* Once I’m admitted, I’d like to eat if I wish to. "Not going to happen"

* Once I’m admitted, I’d like to try to stay hydrated by drinking clear fluids instead of having an IV. "Not going to happen, either"

* Once I’m admitted, I’d like to walk and move around as I choose. “You’ll be strapped to a monitor so you can walk as long as you’re not far from the edge of the bed” read: NO.

* As long as the baby and I are doing fine, I’d like to have intermittent rather than continuous electronic fetal monitoring. "We can do it, but it’d be a nuisance." read: "Not going to happen"

* As long as the baby and I are doing fine, I’d like to be allowed to progress free of stringent time limits and have my labor augmented only if necessary. "OK"

* If available, I’d like to try a birthing ball, birthing stool, squatting bar, and/or a birthing tub/pool. “What are these things?” I WISH I was kidding.

* I’d like to try the following pain-management techniques: bath/shower, hot/cold therapy, massage. "No bathing or showering, stay home and do that until you MUST come to the hospital"
* Please don’t offer me pain medication. I’ll request it if I need it. "Make sure you tell them that at the hospital" I thought that’s what the point of THIS was?

* If I decide I want medicinal pain relief, I’d prefer regional analgesia (an epidural and/or spinal block). "OK"

* When it’s time to push, I’d like to be coached on when to push and for how long. "OK"

* I’d like to try the following positions for pushing (and birth): semi-reclining, squatting, hands and knees, whatever feels right at the time… "We’re not equipped for that" read: "Not going to happen"

* During delivery, I’d like to give birth without an episiotomy. Again, “Make sure you tell them that”. Um, will do.

* After birth, I’d like to hold my baby right away, putting off any procedures that aren’t urgent. "OK"

* After birth, I’d like to breastfeed as soon as possible. "OK"

* After birth, I’d like not to get oxytocin (Pitocin) after I deliver the placenta unless it’s necessary. This is where I got pissed. "Well, we will do that so you don’t bleed. I mean, you’re going to bleed anyway…but we’re physicians. This is what we do." Uh-huh. So basically, fuck yourself. We’re medicating you one way or the other.

* After birth, I’d like my partner to cut the umbilical cord. "OK"

* If I have a c-section, I’d like my partner present at all times during the operation. "OK"
* If I have a c-section, I’d like the baby to be given to my partner as soon as he’s dried, if appropriate. "OK"

* If I have a c-section, I’d like to breastfeed my baby in the recovery room. "OK"

* I’m planning to bank cord blood privately. "OK"

* After delivery, I’d like all newborn procedures to take place in my presence. "OK"

* After delivery, I’d like my partner to stay with the baby at all times if I can’t be there. "OK"

* I’d like 24-hour rooming-in with my baby. "After the birth, ALL babies go to the nursery for a bit, but then he’s all yours" I almost clawed at her face when she said that. I’m going to fight this one.

* I plan to breastfeed EXCLUSIVELY. "OK"

* Do not offer my baby: formula, sugar water, a pacifier. "OK"

* I do NOT want my baby circumcised. "OK"

* I’d like to wait and see how I feel before deciding about the timing of hospital discharge. "OK"

So I reiterate…I knew I’d be disappointed because I was expecting too much from a hospital, but for the most part, I expected this. Next go round, once I know I can successfully have a birth without complications, it’s birthing center all the way!!!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

My Birth Plan

 Originally posted in 2011 at Plus Size Preggo

* I’d like the following people to be present during labor and/or birth: My husband, my sister, and my mother.

* I’d like to wear my own clothes during labor and delivery.

* I’d like to take pictures and/or video during labor and delivery.

* I’d like the option of returning home if I’m not in active labor.

* Once I’m admitted, I’d like my partner to be allowed to stay with me at all times.

* Once I’m admitted, I’d like to eat if I wish to.

* Once I’m admitted, I’d like to try to stay hydrated by drinking clear fluids instead of having an IV.

* Once I’m admitted, I’d like to walk and move around as I choose.

* As long as the baby and I are doing fine, I’d like to have intermittent rather than continuous electronic fetal monitoring.

* As long as the baby and I are doing fine, I’d like to be allowed to progress free of stringent time limits and have my labor augmented only if necessary.

* If available, I’d like to try a birthing ball, birthing stool, squatting bar, and/or a birthing tub/pool.

* I’d like to try the following pain-management techniques: bath/shower, hot/cold therapy, massage.

* Please don’t offer me pain medication. I’ll request it if I need it.

* If I decide I want medicinal pain relief, I’d prefer regional analgesia (an epidural and/or spinal block).

* When it’s time to push, I’d like to be coached on when to push and for how long.

* I’d like to try the following positions for pushing (and birth): semi-reclining, squatting, hands and knees, whatever feels right at the time…

* During delivery, I’d like to give birth without an episiotomy.

* After birth, I’d like to hold my baby right away, putting off any procedures that aren’t urgent.

* After birth, I’d like to breastfeed as soon as possible.

* After birth, I’d like not to get oxytocin (Pitocin) after I deliver the placenta unless it’s necessary.

* After birth, I’d like my partner to cut the umbilical cord.

* If I have a c-section, I’d like my partner present at all times during the operation.

* If I have a c-section, I’d like the baby to be given to my partner as soon as he’s dried, if appropriate.

* If I have a c-section, I’d like to breastfeed my baby in the recovery room.

* I’m planning to bank cord blood privately.

* After delivery, I’d like all newborn procedures to take place in my presence.

* After delivery, I’d like my partner to stay with the baby at all times if I can’t be there.

* I’d like 24-hour rooming-in with my baby.

* I plan to breastfeed EXCLUSIVELY.

* Do not offer my baby: formula, sugar water, a pacifier.

* I do NOT want my baby circumcised.

* I’d like to wait and see how I feel before deciding about the timing of hospital discharge.

I’ m sure a lot of these won’t be do-able (I’m looking at YOU, eating during labor and no IV!) but I’m going to take this to my OB appointment tomorrow and talk everything over with my doctor to see what I am willing to compromise and what MUST be.

(This nifty PDF was a big help in articulating just what I wanted during my labor and delivery.)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

From the Interwebs: "Teach Me How to Breastfeed"

I posted this on the Facebook page a while back, but it's worth reposting! I love how informative AND funny this video is, plus the song is super catchy.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Guest Post: "Henry Louis' Birth"

I was told on Monday that my OB does not "allow" pregnancies to go beyond 42 weeks, and while this wasn't news to me it made me antsy because my first son was so eager to be here he came rushing out the day after his due date. This one was more than content on staying put.

Induction was set for 730am Friday. My waters broken at 9:18am and I was told there was meconium in the fluids. This altered my plans for intermittent monitoring. I would now be hooked up to wireless fetal heart rate monitors that would dictate the remainder of my labor. My contractions came on strong and hard, piggy-backing 2 and sometimes 3 without a break in between.  I was checked at 11am and found to be at only 5cm, they began talks of pitocin and augmentation of labor. This jumped my BP up and I began to panic. I remembered from all my readings, especially Ina May's words, fear and panic are the worst enemies of progression in labor. So I dug down, and found my mantra, "OOOOOPENNNNN".

After being checked again at 1:45 I was found at 7+ fully effaced and baby was at 0 station - here's what I had been dreading - transition. I knew it would be painful, but I didn't know it would be so short this time!! At 2:22pm I brought my son Henry Earthside in two pushes with the guidance of my midwife, husband and mother. He was born perfectly healthy, APGAR of 9, 7lbs even 21.5 inches long. And every once a little gentleman.

It may not have been my ideal way to go into birth, and the start of labor shocked my body so that my contractions were honestly way more painful than that of a naturally progressing labor, but it was short sweet and to the point! I labored for 5 hours 4 mins with no augmentation (other than AROM) no tearing, no medical interventions or drugs. I'm a birth Amazon 😁

This post was written by Megan from CT. She previously worked in healthcare but is now a SAHM to her two little boys. She plans to be a certified doula by the end of 2014 and her life goal is to become an independent midwife and attend home births. You can find out more about Megan at her blog.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Join me on Kiwi Crate! Monthly gifts for your child to do crafts and learn while having fun!

In case anyone has toddlers/preschoolers at home! Every month you get a themed box with crafts and learning activities for your kids, my guy loves them!

We EACH get $10 off if you sign up with my link! I figured I'd share here since I know a bunch of us have some older babies at home.

DISCLAIMER: I am not affiliated with Kiwi Crate in any way, nor am I getting compensated for sharing this here (other than the aforementioned $10 we each get by signing up). I just really like their products, as does my 2 year old :)

Please CLICK HERE to get your $10 off your Kiwi Crate box!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A vent about the "Mommy Wars"

So tired of the freaking mommy wars!!!! 

I know someone whose infant twins are fed breastmilk (she's exclusively pumps because they won't latch, as some preemies tend to do) and formula to supplement. The formula isn't agreeing with them, so she's asking in preemie mom groups, multiples mom groups, etc for suggestions and they're all just giving her sh*t for formula feeding!!!!

I'm all for EBF, and ideally every child would be EBF! But sometimes it can't happen!!! Where's the support for the women that are doing their best and HAVE to supplement as a last resort??? I had horribly low supply and tried EVERYTHING I could think of, and I was able to BF until 9 months but supplemented all the while because the pediatrician was scared that my son was failing to thrive. I cried and suffered so much, but I got no support ANYWHERE. One set of people gave me hell for still insisting on BFing, and the other set gave me hell for "succumbing" to formula, as if I wanted to! 

Ridiculous that even among women that SHOULD understand her, all she gets is judgment. If she were making the amount of milk she's getting (almost a liter a day!!!!!!) with a singleton, she'd be GOLDEN. But because its twins, everyone feels compelled to judge because she's not making enough and needs to feed her children.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Disney While Pregnant

I'm a bit obsessed with Disney World and try to go often, since I'm in relatively close proximity. Earlier this year, we took our then-19 month old son for his first time, along with my then VERY pregnant sister. Not just pregnant, but pregnant with twins! I put together this video with some tips based on what she did while on the trip to keep comfortable and have the best possible time.

If anyone has any other tips, I'd love to hear them!

In case you can't see the video above, you can see it directly on YouTube here.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Guest Post: "A Story of Strength: Know Your Options"

Hello, my name is Brittney Horn and this is my birth story.

I am a 27 year old stay at home mother to one amazingly smart 3 year old little girl. I am married to the love of my life, TJ. We have been together for nine years, married for five. One year into our marriage, we decided to try for our first child. First time was a charm for us. We got pregnant right off the bat but my first trimester was extremely hard on me due to the nausea. Was in and out of the hospital getting iv fluids to maintain hydration. I couldn't hold water down. Second trimester was amazing! Loved it! Then the third trimester hit.

I had just started my 34th week of pregnancy, on our way home from the hospital tour and as we approached a green light, the car in front of us locked his brakes. We had to do the same resulting in my seatbelt tightening around my stomach.  Later that night I felt pain, didn't think anything of it. 

During the night, the pain got worse. I got up the next morning, got ready for work and went about my normal day, with continued pain. After four hours at work, I drove myself across town to the hospital where they said I was in preterm labor with contractions less than two minutes apart. I was dilated to one cm. After what seemed like forever, I was sent home on bed rest. The next five days were just a repeat. Labor starting and being stopped. 

Fast forward almost six weeks to five days before my due date. At exactly midnight my water broke. I didn't want to be sent home from the hospital again so I allowed my husband to sleep while I paced the house and sat on my birthing ball for five and a half hours. I then woke him up and off to the hospital we went. Once there, the rest of my water broke. At 3 cm I was taken to get an epidural. My contractions were about one minute apart. The anesthesiologist missed the first epidural. Second one was a success until the pump they had me on died. I started feeling my legs, third epidural on its way along with pitocin. Neither worked because by that time I was stuck at 8cm, my daughter flipped her head and was stuck in the birth canal. My temperature starting skyrocketing and I couldn't stop shaking. The doctor said emergency c section and I saw 5 nurses and 3 doctors running in. 

It was such a rush to the operating room. Once placed on the table and drape was up, I was crying for my husband whom they said was getting in his coverups. After a few minutes of prep, the doctor informed me that they couldn't wait and were going to do the first cut. He did so and I about flew off the table. It was like I had absolutely no pain meds or anything on board. I screamed and the last thing I remember was the doctor yelling stop, she feels it, she needs to go under. 

At 6:55 pm on February 21st 2010 our beautiful daughter, Audrey Lynn was born weighing in at 7lbs 5oz, 20 and a quarter inches in length. She was pulled out by her right foot due to being stuck in my birth canal. I woke up eight hours later on a sleep apnea machine. I never heard my girls first cries, I never got to feed her her first meal or change her first diaper. Thank God my husband was there to do all of that. Having my daughter was a true blessing, just wish I could remember the most important parts of it. I refuse to go back to that hospital and I am now researching midwives and doulas. My husband and I are trying for our second child and I want nothing more than to have her/him naturally. With C-Sections growing by the day, we all need to know what our options are. I now know that I have other options and I hope to be able to use a better one for our second child. 
Thank you for reading my long story. Its not easy for me to talk about.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Dollar Store and Target Haul for Toddler Activities

What do you do with your young children instead of tv time? Any tips on other activities I could do with the stuff I got? Thanks!

In case you can't see the video above, you can see it directly on YouTube here.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Guest Post - "Heartache and Hope; Sara-Marie's Story"

We conceived our first child by complete accident. I had been told by doctors and specialists that I may never conceive due to scar tissue on my uterus, so to find out after only being with my (then boyfriend) fiancé for a few months I was so shocked. We had used protection but it failed. After a rough pregnancy first daughter was born vaginally 9 months later in July of 2010 at 41 weeks.

Several months after our first was born I had the Mirena IUD put in. A few months later I had pregnancy symptoms, so to calm my nerves took an at home test... positive. We immediately called the doctors office. They couldn't get me in for a week... Within 24 hours I started cramping and had my first miscarriage. I saw my doctor and had the IUD removed, as now my body was trying to reject it and I had a very unpleasant internal infection... 

About a year or so after our first was born, and only a few months after the IUD nightmare, we decided to try for baby 2. A few months later, a late period, a positive test. Called the doctor. Within 12 hours I started cramping. Second miscarriage. Heart break. This happened 2 more times, bringing my miscarriage total to 4. I demanded every test possible be run to find out why I wasn't carrying past 8 weeks... Turns out I had MRSA, a real pain in the arse type of staph infection that I most likely picked up at the hospital after having my first daughter. More antibiotics. That was November 2011.

Now we're at January 2012. We stopped trying because my heart was still so broken from my 4 losses. I started thinking I might be pregnant again, even though we weren't trying, but wasn't about to get my hopes up again. I got a call from an old friend of mine that week... Another friend I'd grown up with and was close with for 16 years unexpectedly passed away. More heartache. His funeral was in a week. 3 days after the phone call I decided I needed to take a pregnancy test as I was late and had enough to deal with. I figured I was just under a lot of stress. Positive. Great. 3 days after that I went to my friends funeral. I was a wreck. Emotional. Preparing for another miscarriage and saying goodbye to someone I'd seen as family and loved very much. After we got home I called the doctors office, preparing for the telltale cramping to start within 24 hours. Nothing. Went to my doctor and had an ultrasound set up. I was still prepared for the worst. We told no one at this point.

When we went in, we saw a heart fluttering in a little black sack... I couldn't believe it. 5 weeks and 6 days along... Scheduled another ultrasound for about 2 months later along with reoccurring hcg monitoring. Up, up, up. Next ultrasound. Saw her body and little limbs and a strong heart. We were finally having our second baby! At 37 weeks and 4 days I was rushed in for an emergency cesarean. Turned out her umbilical was wrapped around her stomach, shoulder and almost doubled around her neck and was strangling her with every contraction I had. The c-section, and the quick choice of the OB-GYN saved her life. We had our second beautiful daughter in September 2012.

We decided we wanted to wait a few years before trying one more time for a boy. We set August 2015 for our wedding and decided after that would be perfect to try again. 4 months after my second daughter was born a friend brought me into the hospital. I was so dizzy and sick I couldn't walk... So I gave a urine sample, had some blood taken and we waited. As it was late at night they had to phone the doctor to come in. He arrived and came right in. He looked me right in the face, and all calmly and nonchalant he explains to us that there are 3 things going on that could be causing my symptoms. My lymphocytes were elevated, I'm pregnant, and my white blood cell count is high. Umm... Okay... Wait... What?! What was that second thing?! My period wasn't even due to start for approximately 2 days... At the earliest!! Blood work confirmed a few weeks later that I was around 5 weeks. 

At 19 weeks I had severe cramping, I had the runs and was vomiting with contractions. I went to the hospital. I felt like I was in labour. To my horror I was told I was miscarrying, even though baby's heart was strong and I could feel his kicks. The doctor wouldn't even bother to come in and see me. I was told to go home and let it progress. There was nothing they could do. I was beyond devastated... I drove over 2 hours to get to my home town and see my usual doctor. I went to the emergency since it was after hours, where I was rushed for an ultrasound and hooked to IV fluids. Baby was doing just fine. No miscarriage, just severe food poisoning from a steak most likely... Talk about a roller-coaster of emotion... Relief. Anger. Resentment. Frustration. But I'm now 30 weeks with an active little boy. I will be having a scheduled cesarean early November 2013 and having my tubes removed at the same time.

It's been quite the road. Going from believing I'll never be able to have kids, losing 4, and soon to be a mother of 3 beautiful children. If its taught me anything, it's that anything is possible and to not give up. Things happen for a reason, even if that reason isn't clear.

Sara-Marie describes herself as a fluffy stay at home momma of two gorgeous little girls, Madison and Miley, (her M&M's), and a little boy, Lane, on the way. Born and raised in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. Sketching people and painting landscapes are two of her favorite hobbies, but most of all, she loves being a mom, friend, and (soon to be official!) wife! You can check out Sara-Marie's sketches at her website.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Guest Post: "Gestational Diabetes"

"Look around the room.  You are not alone!  There are many other moms going through exactly the same thing,"  the movie comforted.  I had to laugh.  This would have been more comforting if I wasn't the only one in the Gestational Diabetes educational meeting.  There was one other pregnant woman who was supposed to attend but she got a flat tire, they told me.

I didn't know much about GD except that I didn't want it.  I had to switch my Ob/Gyn when we moved from Buffalo to CT, and at my first appointment with the new Ob/Gyn, they gave me the slip for the infamous Glucose Tolerance Test.  Of course, I googled my way through the information on the test from fasting a full day before to sitting completely still during the test.  The most important advice was from a mom saying that there is no sense in trying to "trick" the test, one way or another.    
Research shows that you are at an increased risk for GD if you have a strong family history of diabetes, you are non-white, you are overweight, or are older than 25 years old.  I have one family member with diabetes, but otherwise I considered myself to have a healthy diet and was keeping up with walking while pregnant.  When I found out that I tested slightly higher than the threshold set by my Ob/Gyn, I was crushed.  They gave me another slip to go for the three-hour glucose test.

When I found out that I tested slightly high again, I was devastated.  I felt guilty that I wasn't giving my perfect baby boy a healthy place to grow.  I felt like I let him down.  Most of all, I felt overwhelmed.  I was to attend the Diabetes clinic to learn about my diagnosis (this is where I watched my educational GD movie.)
Basically, the placenta and hormone madness of pregnancy interfere with the insulin's ability to process sugars.  If the baby gets too much sugar, they are at risk for health problems, including a difficult birth and high birth weight.  My Ob/Gyn took this very seriously and was not going to negotiate my treatment.  I was given a glucose monitor and finger pricks and was to check my sugars four times per day for 2 weeks and report them to the clinic.  I was given a strict diet and was instructed on how to count my carb intake.  At the time,  I couldn't imagine how I would do this during the workday.  
When I reported my sugars for the first week, the nutritionist told me that she thought I needed to start insulin.  What?  Why?  My fasting numbers (the morning numbers, the sugar levels you report after not eating for the entire night) were the high numbers.  These were the levels that could not be controlled by diet and exercise alone.  
My first reaction was to stop all carb intake, but this is not recommended as the baby needs carbs for proper growth and development.  I asked if I could wake up at 2 am and walk on the treadmill...would that help?  She said it might but that she would personally make sure that I would not do that.    
The nurse showed me how to inject insulin.  I assumed I would just use my thigh or arm.  No, you stick it in your belly.  I started to cry, and told her that that's where my baby was, as if I were carrying my baby differently than any other pregnant woman.  She reassured me that the baby couldn't feel anything.  It was not painful for me either, you just avoid the stretch mark areas and use a new area each time.  I did my injection before bed, but some people have to do them before meals as well.  
The kicker is that when you start insulin (at least in my Ob/Gyn practice), you have to come for Non-stress tests (NSTs) twice per week.  This is when they strap a monitor to your stomach and record the baby's heart rate as they move.  Of course if that baby is sleeping or inactive at that time, these can take a long time!  I brought cold water and a clementine to speed things up.  Otherwise they manually jiggle him around a bit or bang something loud to encourage movement, which I enjoyed much less.  I also had an ultrasound once per week to check the fluid levels and make sure Luke wasn't being affected in any way.  
I did not know much about diabetes.  I give people with diabetes who are working to control their sugar a lot of credit.  The counting of foods, the blood sugar pricking, that is not easy.  The silver lining?  Luke could not so much as make a funny face without the doctor recording it.  They had everything measured, monitored and tracked.  Nothing was going to go unseen with all of these appointments.  I also got to meet many wonderful people in the diabetes clinic that educated me, and was able to meet every doctor in the practice so that whoever delivered me was going to be a very familiar face.  Luke was not affected by the GD.  He was a perfect size and the delivery was (fairly) uneventful.  I also lost my pregnancy weight quickly since I was on such a strict diet.  
I had to repeat the glucose test 12 weeks postpartum.  The funny part was how my perspective changed.  Pre-Luke, I brought books with me and played with my phone during the testing.  Post-Luke, I enjoyed sitting and having a few hours of me time, even if it involved blood work and a terrible sugary drink.  I am so thankful that my postpartum blood work came back normal.  This is the case for many people with GD.  I am at a higher risk for GD for subsequent pregnancies and diabetes later in life, but if there is a next time, I'll be armed with much more information.  

I can share more about my actual diet if you are interested.  For now I would say:

1.  Be prepared when going out for meals.  One time I had a salad with tuna on top with no dressing and my sugar level SPIKED.  There must have been sugar in the tuna, something I did not anticipate, so explain your needs to the server.

2.  Try out Diabetes Lifestyle bread from Stop&Shop.  It has about the same amount of carbs as certain breads but must be processed differently in the body since it didn't cause a sugar spike.  I felt like it took too much experimentation to find foods that worked for me so I stuck with a routine diet and reminded myself that it was temporary (hopefully).

3.  I was SO AGAINST insulin injection even though I didn't know anything about it.  It felt like a medication that I didn't want my baby exposed to.  I felt like starting insulin meant that I had failed, that I tried to control everything with diet and exercise but couldn't.  In reality, do your best and then do what you gotta do.  I regret wasting any time or thought in self pity; this is for the baby!   Even when the nurse told me I had to start insulin, I said I needed to call my dad and check with him first.  I explained the appointment to him and he said "yes, take it, do what they say."  And I did.  I needed someone I trusted to "okay" the whole thing.  Not all medical professionals understand gestational diabetes to the same extent, and the thresholds for treatment seem to vary as well.  Make sure you trust your Ob/Gyn's judgement as this could become very serious if not treated.  Be aware that starting insulin does not mean you can relax and stop checking your sugars.  The placenta/hormone madness changes throughout the pregnancy as do the insulin needs.  Towards the end of my pregnancy, I dropped my insulin dose a few units each week because my sugar was getting too low (as directed by the Ob/Gyn).  Make sure you know the signs of low sugar and that you have an emergency dose of sugar (like juice) with you.

4.  Since I had just started my new job, I could only think about how I would check my sugars at work, how I would have my 15g of carbs spaced throughout the day while seeing patients, and how I would fit in my 2+ appointments per week.  I had to cut down to part time, and I had to speak to HR and my co-workers about taking time during the day to check sugars and eat my snacks.  I was so blessed to have an understanding employer and I realize not all offices make such accommodations for their employees.  My advice on this would be get everything in writing from your doctor and stay in open communication with HR/co-workers.  If your job cannot make accommodations, then you have have to make it work another way.  It's temporary (again, hopefully), and your baby's health depends on your compliance.

Please feel free to leave any GD questions or insight!  I was hesitant to share my experience but feel that it is worth it to be open if I can help even one person.

This website is helpful:

and I did not have this book but it seems informative:

***This is all written from experience only, I am not qualified to give medical advice on GD.  Ask your Ob/Gyn before doing anything!***

This is my blog editor, Luke.  

This post was reposted with permission by the original author, Lindsay Gill, momma to Luke. Please read more about Lindsay at her blog, Wedding Rings to Teething Rings.