Prego in San Diego Labor: The Aftermath and 5 Lessons Learned

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This past weekend, the mysterious and long-awaited Baby C chose a warm, sunny Saturday morning to enter into the world. Today I’m ecstatic to announce that Antonio and I have a healthy, beautiful baby girl, Xaviana Rose! Accordingly, I will be taking a hiatus from Prego in San Diego–at least until I’m pregnant with Baby C #2, that is. ūüôā And, of course, I want to share the most important lessons I learned throughout pregnancy and labor.

Xaviana Rose newborn photo collage

But first: Xavi’s birth story… Xavi was an easy pregnancy, and labor started out that way as well. Mild contractions had begun the previous night after Antonio and I had enjoyed a huge steak and lobster dinner at Hunter Steakhouse, which was incidentally where we’d celebrated when I’d found out I was pregnant!

The contractions became stronger the next morning, and I told Antonio, “I wonder if Baby C will break the water to let us know that he or she is coming.” About two seconds later, I felt a small trickle and started laughing; it was as if Baby C had heard us.

In the hospital, my labor proceeded smoothly for the first few hours. I had told the nurse that I was interested in an epidural only if necessary; the contractions were within my pain tolerance for the first hour or so, but I certainly wasn’t shy about requesting the epidural when my body told me enough was enough.

However, as the contractions intensified and Xavi’s head began to descend into the birth canal, her heart rate plummeted below 100 beats per minute, and the doctor and nurses¬†treated this situation as an emergency. Xavi’s umbilical cord had wrapped around her neck, and the doctor gravely informed me that he might have to perform a C-section. I was rushed upstairs to the operating room in a flurry of medical personnel; it was truly one of the scariest moments of my life.

However, the doctors and nurses took several steps to avoid the C-section. First, I was infused with a fluid similar in composition to amniotic fluid, so Xavi was cushioned and was able to float slightly upward and untangle herself from the umbilical cord. Second, they gave me terbutaline, a medication that stops contractions. The drug, combined with the urgency and stress, caused me to shake from head to toe. Luckily, Antonio was right there with me, holding my hand. We prayed continuously, and he urged me to remember my labor mantra, serenity and strength.

Antonio squeezed my hand, filling me with support, love, and healing energy, and as I prayed for Baby C’s safety, I saw an image of Jesus, radiating golden light. Channeling all of my strength, I focused on serenity, repeating the word internally until my shaking subsided.

After that, things turned around. Xavi’s heart rate¬†rose to the healthy 150’s and the terbutaline wore off. Soon, it was time to push–and there, the strength came in.

I had been preparing for labor ever since I’d found out that I was pregnant, making sure to maintain my muscle tone and stay well nourished. I treated the pushing as an ab workout, and a long-awaited one at that–although I performed prenatal yoga, side planks, and core strengthening, I had really missed the intense ab workouts I’d done before pregnancy. I pushed three times with each contraction, and my active labor lasted about 40 minutes. Antonio, the nurses, and I set a goal of getting the baby out by 6 PM, and we actually beat the goal by six minutes. Since Xavi was still considered high-risk, the doctor helped us out a bit by using the vacuum to assist the delivery at the end.

I was beginning to feel a mild pain by this time, and I’d just screamed, “It hurts!” when the doctor pulled out a crying, alert Xaviana. My first words were an ecstatic, “It’s a girl!” I’d prayed for a little girl before I’d even been pregnant. Antonio and I were so happy that our little angel had been delivered safe and sound; the scare really made us appreciate how blessed we were.

Preg moms out there, may God be with you when you deliver your beautiful babies. The most important lessons I learned during my pregnancy were as follows:

  1. Maintain your health and fitness throughout your pregnancy. Pushing will be infinitely easier.
  2. Create a labor mantra,¬†and don’t forget to repeat it to yourself in the heat of the moment. A lot of labor and delivery is your mindset.
  3. Trust in your healthcare providers. The best things in life seldom proceed according to plan, and your doctors and nurses are prepared for complications.
  4. Have a support system. Antonio was the driving force during my labor; his calming influence and encouraging words, combined with our deep spiritual link, helped me immeasurably.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for an epidural.¬†They are magical. I did not feel any pain from the contractions or the pushing. Only during the final pushes, when the epidural was finally starting to wear off, did I feel a twinge of pain.

So there you have it! Best of luck throughout your pregnancies, and I will see you again in a year or two. ūüôā

Labor Mindset: Creating a Mantra

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One of my favorite parts of¬†yoga class is when the instructor tells us to create a mantra, a word or phrase that we can repeat to ourselves to maintain focus and optimize our yoga practice. Mantras are so powerful because they’re a simple way of reminding us what we want to achieve, especially when the task at hand seems demanding or insurmountable.

I’ve started applying mantras to other areas of life as well. For example, when Antonio and I set our weekly goals together, we often create a mantra for the week. And, naturally, I have decided upon a labor mantra.

Baby C, mysterious creature that he or she is, has decided to keep us in suspense; the due date was two days ago, but he/she is still chillaxing in utero. I’m perfectly okay with Baby C extending his or her stay, since these last few days have been the optimal opportunity to finish tasks and tie up loose ends before I go into a Baby C haze. ūüėČ I was able to finish writing¬†The Mermaid’s Curse, and I also revised the book all the way to¬†the final draft, using the comments my editor had suggested. In addition, I’ve been able to keep up all my usual indie author duties, and I’ve had time to go on dates with Antonio and hang out with friends.

I really am in no hurry to go into labor, even though Baby C is sending me subtle signs that he or she is **thinking** about coming out. But when Baby C does decide to make an appearance, I feel ready, largely because I have created a labor mantra.

Creating a labor mantra will allow you to enjoy every step of the journey.

Creating a labor mantra will allow you to enjoy every step of the journey.

My mantra will be “serenity and strength.” Especially for first-time moms, the very thought of labor can be daunting, just because of its unfamiliarity combined with the horror stories we’ve heard over the years. But I feel as though our mindsets going into labor are just¬†as important as the physical aspects. I believe that maintaining serenity during labor will enable me to trust in God and the people who will be there to help me. Although I told my doctor my preferences, I did not make a specific-to-the-last-detail birth plan because some things just can’t be controlled or planned for. In fact, most wonderful parts¬†of life, whether weddings, relationships, or labors, deviate from the plan somewhat, and I’m fully ready for that.

I included strength in my mantra because labor is like a marathon, requiring intense physical and mental stamina. Throughout my pregnancy, I have practiced strengthening exercises, cardio, and yoga, to ensure that I’ll be in optimum preg condition for the big day. Now, all I have to do is depend on my body and let God do the rest.

Full-term moms out there, have you created a labor mantra? Did this post inspire you to do so, and if so, what will be your mantra? I’d love to hear your opinions!

Harnessing the Energy of the 39-Week Surge

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I’m now at 39 weeks and one day, but who’s counting? ūüėČ Currently, I’m experiencing yet another interesting prego phenomenon: the¬†39-Week Energy Surge. As far as I know, I’m the only one who has coined this exact phrase, but I have read numerous articles and blog posts about “nesting” right before the baby is due and having sudden spurts of energy, so I’m thinking that my surge fits into this category.

My mom told me that, right before she had my brother and me, she started “nesting”–cleaning compulsively and making sure that all the baby stuff¬†was ready. Antonio and I already feel prepped for Baby C’s arrival, so my energy has been directed at my writing–namely¬†finishing the first draft and preliminary edit of my new teen romance, “The Mermaid’s Curse,”¬†by 10/10/14, exactly four days before Baby C’s due date.

I’m no stranger to pumping out books; after all, since I retired from pharmacy last September, writing has been my full-time job, and I’ve been able to release at least one new Kindle eBook per month since last October. However, I wrote my mermaid book faster than any of my Amish romances. I started it on September 15th, overlapping with edits of my latest eBook, Amish Awakening, and am anticipating completing the first draft today and the preliminary edits tomorrow and Friday, before I submit it to my editor. Additionally, “The Mermaid’s Curse” will be about 34,000 words, much longer than any of my Amish novellas.

The 39-week energy surge is definitely real, and my theory is that it applies to moms and dads alike. So get out there and do something fun with all that energy ;)

The 39-week energy surge is definitely real, and my theory is that it applies to moms and dads alike. So get out there and do something fun with all that energy ūüėČ

I attribute this crazy level of productivity to two things. First of all, I’m super-inspired to write about mermaids. After writing eleven Amish books, I was ready for a change of pace, and lately, I’ve been saturating myself in all things mermaid. Plus, the So-Cal lifestyle is so conducive to dreaming up stories set in an ocean environment; every time I swim in the pool or go to the beach, I’m instantly inspired!

But the other reason for the productivity is that I harnessed that 39-Week Energy Surge. For the last few weeks, I’ve been writing practically all day, feeling the impending deadline of Baby C’s arrival. When I was writing my Amish books, I would finish two or three new chapters on an average day; lately, I’ve been writing four or five, and last Friday, I wrote six!

And, apparently, this phenomenon extends to daddies-to-be as well; Antonio reported that he has been laser-focused and proactive at work, to finish up as many projects as he can before Baby C comes.

Full-term¬†moms, what do you think? What are your personal experiences with the 39-Week Energy Surge, and what awesome personal goals do you hope to accomplish before Baby¬†arrives? As always, I’d love to hear what you think!