Thursday, June 6, 2013

Tips for Dealing with a Complicated Pregnancy/Delivery

Hello lovely readers!
 Today you have the privilege of hearing from my friend Landon over at Living the Dream. I am excited about her guest post and feel that there are lots of helpful tips for those of you struggling through your pregnancy. Enjoy! 

Hi all - I'm Landon and I blog over at Living the Dream.  
I'm so excited to be guest blogging over here at All In A Day's Work!  
My sweet son Jackson just turned one in May.  He is my miracle baby!  

You see, I had an incredibly complicated pregnancy.  Shortly after I found I out I was pregnant, I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum.  My HG was so severe, that I was taken out of work and put on bed rest when I was 2 months pregnant.  I was given one hour a day that I was allowed to be on my feet.  In addition to HG, I also had Gestational Diabetes, blood clots, restless leg syndrome, blood poisoning, heart problems, insanely bad heart burn, migraines and chronic dehydration.  I had a PICC (permanent IV) line placed in my arm at 6 months and then I was in the hospital twice a week for IV hydration.  I swear, I was in the hospital more than I was home!

My delivery wasn't any less complicated (oh how I wish it was!).  At 36 weeks, my placenta abrupted and I started hemorrhaging.  My husband and I went straight to L&D and immediately everyone went to work.  I was started on pitocin, had an epidural line placed in case they needed an extra line for an emergency C-section (I ended up using the epidural line for an epidural), and had amniotic fluid pumped in (because I had none at this point).  Every time I contracted, my son's heart rate fell.  While I was able to deliver vaginally, it was only because my son's head was vacuumed out.  He entire little body was wrapped in the umbilical cord, and he was grey, not breathing, and not moving when he was born.  After a 4 day stay in the NICU, he was able to come home.  (If you want to read my full birth story, it's posted on my blog here.)

And that's why I'm hear today, ladies (and any gents who might be reading).  I'm here to offer my tips on how to deal with a complicated pregnancy and/or delivery.  
So in no particular order, here we go!
  • Here's the down and dirty stuff first: If you have restless leg, do not take benadryl, using heating pads, massage (a spouse can really help with this) and warm baths.  If you have heart burn, do not exceed the recommended dosage of TUMS.  If you have trouble staying hydrated, do not drink 0 calorie beverages.  If you have trouble with nausea/vomiting, you can try: vitamin B12, sour hard candies, soda crackers, ginger, and clear liquids (none of these worked for me, but I'll pass the suggestions along!).  Brush your teeth and floss while you're pregnant.  If the doctor says you need more iron, listen.  If the pre-natal vitamin makes you nauseous, try taking it with milk.  If you have trouble sleeping, you can take Tylenol PM or melatonin.  If you have trouble with adhesives, use paper tape and gauze.  
  • Find a doctor who listens to you.  My doctor really didn't know what to do with me - he had never had a patient with such severe HG.  He didn't always listen to me when I told him what was going on with my body, what I was feeling, experiencing, worried about, etc.  I had to fight pretty hard to get some of the things that I needed - and when you're already exhausted, that's not what you want to spend your energy doing.  Fortunately, my L&D doctors and nurses were awesome and totally listened, so I felt completely taken care of.
  • Find an advocate.  This might be your spouse.  This might be your mom, sister, or best friend.  But find someone who can fight with you and for you.  My husband was my greatest advocate and I don't know what I would've done if he hadn't been by my side.  He was also my son's advocate and would encourage me to make good choices for the benefit of my son. 
  • Use the InternetThis one might sound silly, especially if you're like me and look up every symptom you're experiencing and come to the conclusion that you're basically dying.  But what I recommend is using the internet to connect with other women who have had rough pregnancies.  There were two women in particular who I connected with via Facebook who were literally answers to prayers.  Both of them had had really difficult pregnancies and could empathize with me.  Also, I was on bed rest so I really couldn't do much as far as being social was concerned.  Use the internet to communicate with your friends and family so you don't feel isolated.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions.  While we're told "Because I said so!" from a young age, don't let your doctor say this to you!  If your doctor suggests or recommends something that you don't understand or agree with, ask more questions.
  • Be vocal.  Your doctors and/or nurses don't know how you're feeling or thinking unless you tell them.  They're not mind readers.  You have a say in what is happening during your pregnancy and delivery.  Speak up!  Don't be rude, but open your mouth.  If you don't, you can't be mad if you get steamrolled.  (Sorry, maybe that's a little harsh - but it's true!)
  • That all being said, Doctors and nurses went to school for a long time and aren't stupid.  Don't treat them like the enemy.  They want a positive outcome for you and your baby, just like you do.  Be kind and show trust and faith.
  • Remember there is an end.  Your pregnancy won't last indefinitely.  Neither will your labor.  There will be and ending and it will be awesome!
  • Focus on the positive.  Make a list of all your blessings.  Make a list of the people you love.  Make a list of your successes.  Whatever you can focus on that is positive, do it!
  • Let go and let God.  There are some things you cannot change.  You can't go back and change your C-section to a vaginal.  You can't change your difficult pregnancy to an easy one.  Honestly, while I was pregnant and during my labor, I honestly didn't think I would live to see my son.  Truly.  There were days, hours, minutes even when I would say to God, "I can't do this anymore!  I'm giving this all to you because I simply cannot do this."  And, God was there every time to help carry my burden.  Because He loves you and your baby more than you can comprehend.  He wants the best for both of you.  So let Him lead.  Trust that he sees a greater ending than you can imagine.  Pray alone.  Pray with your spouse.  Pray out loud.  Pray often.  
You will get through this.
You are strong.
You are capable. 
And, if you need a sympathetic ear, email me at landon.wheeler{at}gmail{dot}com.

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