7 Quick Takes Friday – Second Trimester!

I started this as a regular post yesterday, but then I realized that today is Friday, so I’m just going to turn them into 7 QT.

** 1 **

I am now 14 weeks and 4 days pregnant. One week ago I got to hear baby B’s heartbeat on the doppler. I entered the second trimester. It would seem that there’s going to be a small child making his or her grand entrance in about six months. Even though I’ve had two ultrasounds and heard the heartbeat, I still have a hard time accepting that I am *actually* pregnant.

I’m sub-fertile, remember? I think I started to identify myself with my failed fertility after trying for over a year (which I know compared to some people is nothing), so that now that everything seems to have worked the way its supposed to, I’m still a bit surprised.

I’ve been hesitating on thinking too much about baby items, what I might need, doulas, birthing methods, etc. because I didn’t want to get too into any of that stuff before I “knew everything would be ok.” So now, it’s the second trimester, and everything is ok. It’s time to get going.

** 2 **

So here I am friends, with an appeal for your opinions, suggestions and advice on some questions I’m having about this whole pregnancy/birthing a child/being a parent thing.

I am having nearly constant lower back pain. Is/has anyone experienced this while pregnant, even during the first and second trimester? Did you find anything that helped relieve the pain (other than tylenol?).

** 3 **

To doula or not to doula? I am giving birth in the hospital, and I will be induced one week early. I’m not 100% sold on “natural” birth; meaning, I’m open to an epidural at some point, though I’d like to go as long as I can without one.

Of course, all of this depends on the size of the baby. The biggest risk in diabetic women giving birth is large babies. SO, if I’m having some 10 pound monster on December 27…I don’t know. The doctor already told me that if the baby is huge, then she’ll want to do a c-section (her words exactly — “If it’s the size of a toddler, I’m not going to let you go too long”).

So if I end up needing a c-section (which I’m hoping I won’t), then is there even a point to having a doula? What exactly, does the doula do? (which sounds like a tongue twister!)

For currently pregnant ladies, are you using a doula? If you already have children, have you ever used one? What’s good/bad about it?

** 4 **

Has anyone gone the route of using an infant car seat with a stroller frame rather than using a regular stroller right off the bat? Did you like it? At what point did you switch to a regular stroller?

It seems like it’s cheaper, and since you HAVE to have a good infant car seat, it makes sense to me to just snap it into a frame and have your stroller.

But since you will need a regular stroller at some point, do you register for both?

** 5 **

What are the three parenting/new parent books I *have* to read before the baby is born?

I know I have about six months until then, but given the current state of my brain, it will probably take me that long to get through three!

** 6 **

What has surprised you the most about your experience being pregnant?

This time around being pregnant has been (so far) not really like what I expected. I thought that as soon as I found out I was pregnant I would immediately become the healthiest woman on the planet. No coffee, no sweets, no processed food, and exercising every day.

Then I went to Italy three days after finding out and ate pretty much nothing but pasta and gelato. Oops.

Even now I drink an occasional iced coffee and/or diet coke. I didn’t end up feeling the dire need to drastically alter my life that I thought I would before I was pregnant. It’s been a surprise.

** 7 **

and of course, what pregnancy related post would be complete without a belly shot? Here I am yesterday, at 14 weeks 3 days.

Happy Weekend all! Head over to Conversion Diary for more quick takes!

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  • Kaitlin @ More Like Mary

    We’re gonna go with a travel system (stroller and car seat) and a cheapo umbrella stroller. I have no idea if that’s the best option, but that’s my two cents! :)

  • Emily G

    1. Hey, I am STILL afraid to sort baby clothes. I have never stopped being afraid this time around. I’m glad you are coping so well. Enjoy shopping! Hint- yard sales. For everyday baby clothes, they grow so fast new is not important. Stuff with a little wear works fine. And if it costs 25-50 cents, so much the better.

    2. Heck yeah. And just wait-you may get hip pain too. My hips spread about 2 or 3 inches around 16-18 weeks, and the pain is killer. I try not to take Tylenol unless it’s really bad, even though they say it’s safe.

    3. I didn’t doula with Maria. However, I did have a nurse who made me realise that a doula might be an awesome thing if your hubby is not good with the whole helping you focus and relax deal. I would have liked one this time, but for cost we are not doing it. If you have one, I’d love to know what you thought of the experience!

    4. No help here, sorry. We used strollers.

    5. I hate parenting books. However, if you don’t have any baby experinence I guess you better read a little. I do heartily reccommend “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” though.

    6. Not sure, but anything I say is going to be TMI so I will pass. 😛

    7. Aw, you are so cute! Your bump is a really pregnant looking bump, not like a too much cookies bump.

    And I know nothing about diabetic pregnancy so I don’t know why I am bothering to say this since it’s probably something you can’t change, but after Pitocin with Maria, I would fight like a wildcat to keep that stuff out of me. What it does to your body is truly hellacious. If Pitocin is a must for you, I think an epidural will be too. I feel bad for you that your birth options are so limited, but I guess it’s best to concentrate on what matters: the birth of a healthy baby.

    Happy Weekend to you too!

  • http://catholicmutt.blogspot.com CM

    Well, I have no advice to give, but cute baby bump! :)

  • http://curmudgeonry.net Jordana

    I had a doula (or actually a friend training to be a doula) with my last birth and she’s going to help me with my current one as well. She kept me company and helped me get comfortable. My husband isn’t all that great at those things — it’s not what he’s trained to do, so it was nice to have someone else. However, doulas are definitely not necessary. I didn’t have one for my first four births. It might have been nice, but we managed without. And that’s especially true if you choose pain medication or wind up with a c-section. I can’t imagine what use a doula would be if you are having a cesarean.

    Also, pitocin inductions are different in every woman and every time. I’ve had several. Sometimes they hurt. Sometimes I barely felt a contraction until the baby was almost out.

    Good luck and welcome to the second trimester!

  • http://www.cordialkitten.com candice

    Hello, Sarah!

    2. I’m not sure what to do about the back pain. Do you think it is that sciatica that I hear about? I’m not sure if there’s anything you can do for it, other than giving birth, haha. I have some back pain, too, but not constant … think it’s related to leaning over too much at work, or while sitting at a desk, etc.

    3. I know doulas are really good when you are doing natural birth because they are there to help you “stick to your guns.” While I don’t think they are supposed to directly advocate for you to the doctors and nurses, they can help you keep a level head and keep the decisions that you made before you were in pain. I think it would probably still be helpful to have one even if you have an epidural, though. She will be hired to stay with you throughout your entire birth, unlike the doctors or nurses, who will cycle in and out if you’re there for hours and hours and hours. I’ve also heard they are better at reassuring you than a husband, since they won’t be so scared! haha. All that being said, we’re not going to have one, but we’ll have a midwife with us, which I think is going to be somewhat similar.

    4. I think those travel system strollers become strollers for bigger kids, don’t they? Like you can snap in the car seat when they’re an infant, but if you don’t snap it in there’s a regular seat for the bigger kid?

    6. I’m not being totally awesome about eating, either! I had super good intentions at the beginning, but they’ve all melted away. Don’t feel guilty! :)

  • http://thatmarriedcouple.blogspot.com/ That Married Couple

    Oh Sarah, you look so cute! I’m just going to go ahead and give detailed responses to some of these and not bother apologizing for the length, because, well, I like to read other people’s detailed responses myself :)

    2. No pain here. (Please don’t hate me.)

    3. I’ve heard that if you get induced, you are more likely to need an epidural. In your situation, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with not bothering to go natural. Childbirth choices are very personal decisions, and I think it’s good to be open to changing them depending on the situation once labor begins.

    If you aren’t adamant about having a natural childbirth, I’m not really sure that a doula would be worth the high price. From what I understand, her biggest job is to comfort you during labor and keep the doctor from performing unnecessary interventions. Then again, I think they also meet with you before the birth and can even come help out after the birth, so if you think you might want that and are comfortable with one, go for it. We decided not to get one, because my husband wants to be the go-to person during the birth, so it seemed like a waste of money.

    4. I’m going with a travel system. My pregnant friend is going with the snap-in frame because it’s lighter. Both allow you to keep the infant in the car seat/carrier when you’re going from car to stroller. Also, I hear that no matter what you start with you will inevitably buy more strollers later. (When we were at the store registering, an acquaintance of my husband’s walked in to purchase his fourth stroller. For two kids.) I figure later on I’ll either go with a cheapo umbrella stroller, a double stroller (depending on when number two comes), or a baby jogger.

    What else? Oh, I say register for everything. I don’t worry about looking greedy – I figure it’s best to plan for everything now, and whatever I don’t get, I won’t have to think about which kind to get later on – I’ll just reference my registry.

    Also, I’m totally clueless on baby weight. The car seats/carriers say they hold like 22 pounds for example – I have no idea how old of a child that is. So I am no help in any of that.

    5. The only actual parenting book I’ve read so far is “The Baby Book” by Dr. Sears. I’m really enjoying it so far. He plugs attachment parenting, which I initially reluctantly figured we’d do because of the need to breastfeed to space our children – but now I’m really excited about this style! I do like that it’s not as militant as other things that are out there – he wants you to make these things work for you and your own individual baby.

    I also want to look into two breastfeeding books “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” and “Breastfeeding and Catholic Motherhood.” Oh, and I think “Happiest Baby on the Block” is on my wishlist somewhere.

    6. I’ll have to think on this one. Off the top of my head, I expected my pregnancy to be much more prayerful. Also, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how good I feel physically.

  • http://www.rebecca-feelmylove.blogspot.com Rebecca

    I’m with CM – no advice, but loving the baby bump, so cute!

  • http://churchyear.blogspot.com Jessica Snell

    I had lower back pain with my pregnancy, and what made a real difference was doing cat-cow stretches every night. That’s where you go on all fours (hands and knees) and alternately arch and reverse-arch your back. So, basically, you’re tilting your pelvis backwards then forwards.

    I don’t know if it was because it strengthened the muscles involved or because it stretched them, but doing that regularly really helped me.

  • http://www.jandatell.blogspot.com Aubrey

    I’ve got a three month old now so I remember very clearly where you are!!

    A few thoughts:

    1. Since I like to jog, I just went with a jogging stroller that I can also clip the car seat into. I like only having one stroller – I didn’t want to get a travel system and another strolling to take running. Maybe eventually we’ll get a cheap umbrella stroller when he’s bigger.

    2. Back Pain is SUPER common during pregnancy – and stretching and yoga will probably help. I also had some mild back pain and pelvic pain – I did find that I felt better when I exercised.

    3. I did not use a doula. But my mom was there, and she used to be a nurse and is really, really good helping in situations like that. Plus she had four babies. My husband is not great in situations like that. If you don’t have someone like a mom or sister who can be there to encourage you and you know your husband is not that type, it might be worth it.

    4. I’m a physician and I drank coffee during my pregnancy. A limited amount of caffeine – the amount in a regular cup of coffee or soda is fine. I mostly drank half-decaf, but I drank it almost every morning. I had an occasional diet soda. So don’t worry about it. Although I enjoyed pregnancy, (until the last week before I was due and then the week AFTER I was due), I wasn’t one of those women who just adored it. But feeling the baby move around (and get hiccups!!) is an awesome experience. What has surprised me most is how much I LOVE nursing my sweet boy.

    5. For my maternity leave, I actually did a lot of reading. Mostly I read books about breast feeding. The womanly art of BF is pretty good, as is The ultimate BF answer book.

    6. After having infertility and a miscarriage, it also took me a long time to believe that we were actually going to get a baby. I didn’t buy anything until fairly late in the second trimester and I think I was in my third trimester before I registered. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

    You do look great! Congrats and have fun!

  • http://www.LiveCatholic.net Marcy K.

    1. Congrats! I’m so happy for you both!

    2. Try going to the Chiropractor. I did that when I was pg with my first and it was great. I never had a back pain. They can do adjustments on you easily and having warm pads on you and a massage will do you great.

    3. Having a doula was nice. I did it with my second. She was my La Leche Leader at one time (you should really start going to La Leche League meetings now to get ready for breastfeeding – the information and help was invaluable to me). I wound up being induced and went for the epidural but having someone there who is “on your side” who actually knows what is going on is great. Husbands are great but they know even less then you do. Since I did not do the natural childbirth I thought I was going to do, I don’t know what exactly they do except help through the experience.

    4. With my first I used a big stroller. It was heavy and I used it mostly as a portable crib at home for the baby when he was little. He would fall asleep and I could wheel him from room to room. I hated using it out of the house.

    With my second, I remembered from somewhere “Every Graco car seat fits in every Graco stroller,” (I don’t know if this is still the case) I found a lightweight Graco stroller that I loved with a mesh area underneath to carry stuff and put the Graco car seat I chose into it and it just fit great. Yeah!! No problems and my back was saved and I could open it with one hand. I never needed more than that one stroller and gave it away when the baby turned like 3 years old. Think to yourself – less is more. Cupholders on strollers are great though.

    5. I would read books from Dr. Sears, and the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. Have nothing to do with the “What to Expect…” books. I don’t like the holier than thou tone and the guilt you get if you don’t do exactly/eat exactly what they tell you. Dr. Sears is wonderful. Such a loving, caring tone and the book about baby’s first year “The Baby Book” is SPOT ON about things you will need to know like how to take care of a sick child, what medicines to give, etc.

    Also: Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing

    http://www.amazon.com/Breastfeeding-Natural-Child-Spacing-Ecological/dp/0926412205

    If you are doing NFP this is a great book. I went 11 months with no cycles doing Ecological BF’ing. It was great. Read it now.

    Some advice:

    A. Take advice with a grain of salt and do what you think is best for you, your family and your baby and what works for all of you.

    B. Get lots of rest now and rest WHENEVER you can after the baby comes, even if the house is messy.

    C. Everything you think you know about how things will work and what will happen (this includes childbirth and child rearing) will probably be wrong or at least different than you thought they would be. Expect it.

    D. Give your hubby lots of love, not just now but all the time in the future. Don’t get busy and forget. It’s important.

    E. Give breastfeeding a try. My first could not suck and I wound up devastated, but my second was wonderful and we nursed for a VERY LONG time and it was one of the most fantastic experiences of my life. We had a lot of fun and love and laughs. Go to La Leche, read books, have an appointment with a lactation consultant set up ahead of time before birth to get a great start and even if it is hard (it may or may not be) don’t give up.

    F. If you want to sleep with the baby, do it. It is the most natural thing in the world. I caused myself untold grief by removing our son from our bed because everyone told me that is what I HAD to do. It was a living nightmare that went on for years and I did everything I was supposed to do. If I only did what I wanted to do in the first place (sleep with the baby – which I did with the second and had no problems later) life would have been better. Another example of taking advice from others (including and especially “experts”) with a grain of salt.

    God Bless and I hope all goes well with your pregnancy and birth.

  • http://nowealthbutlife.com Rae

    I love the picture!

    But unlike CM and Rebecca I can’t resist chiming in. I obviously know nothing from personal experience, but from a bit of research and a class in college (don’t you totally trust undergrad women’s studies classes to be a great source of practical advice for birthing options? ;-).

    There are actually different types of doulas who specialize in different things. If you were having a labor doula, then you would obviously want one who specialized in hospital births and perhaps even high-likelihood of cesarean. But there are also doulas who specialize just in the postpartum period and can really make all the difference in psychological ease of transition and breastfeeding success.

    I don’t think that there is any one thing that doulas do that can’t be replaced by someone else. The question then is whether you will have all the people you need (very considerate doctor and nursers, husband who is good at typically feminine sorts of caring as well as advocating for you without stressing you, access to a good lactation consultant, etc.) in order to meet all of your needs. If so, then there’s not much point in a doula. But most people do not have such a network!

    Also, it sounds as if you’re pretty much set on a c-section (and I know that I could be misreading you). If that’s the case, then I think that you’re right that there is no point in talking to doulas who specialize in birth (as opposed to postpartum). BUT if you would prefer a vaginal birth, then a doula could make the difference in whether you’re able to be induced and not have a cesarean. From what I’ve read on the stats I think it would be ideal to have someone who could support you through induction, and most likely epidural, and try to avoid episiotomy, cesarean, and other not-so-great complications. The presence of a doula really does make a difference in outcomes in such situations, though obviously some of that must be due to the sort of women who would chose to have a doula being perhaps more eager to avoid cesarean, but anecdotally there is strong support for the idea that the doula can make all the difference in the world.

    Since I’m rambling so much anyway, I will also note that there are so many different types of doulas in terms of training/education/experience as well. You might be most comfortable with some older Catholic woman who has simply been to a lot of births and read a lot of books. If I were hiring a doula I would want someone who was trained and certified through someplace like http://dona.org/

  • http://joyinthemorning-joy.blogspot.com/ Joy

    Happy 2nd Trimester!!

    #3~Did not use a doula last time, though since I go to a midwifery practice, they are happy to provide labor support as is my husband. Epidurals work best when you are already in active labor (dilated 4 cms or greater) so having a plan for managing early labor be it doula or something else is a good idea.

    #4: Have a travel system and love it.

    #5: Will echo others recommendation of Sear’s Baby Book, and Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

    #6: I’ve been surprised how different my two pregnancies have been, less heartburn more hip pain this time around.

    #7: Cute picture!!

  • Emilie

    Hi Sarah, you know my husband (Dan Martin) and I have been following your blog for a few months now. (I randomly commented once before, sorry for being creepy!)

    Anyway, I am a doula and I want to say that they are totally worth the money whether you go natural, get an epidural, get induced or even have a planned C-Section. I had a doula at my birth and she was able to comfot me in a way my husband could not. It is very difficult for most men to see the woman they love go through the pain of childbirth and know there is not much they can do to help. So besides emotional support, a doula can offer positional techniques for labor and birth and provide lactation support. I would love to give you more information about doulas and the benefits of doulas, etc. if you are interested.(You can email me at emilieamartin at gmail.com)

    As far as the back pain goes, I definitely recommend a chiropractor and prenatal massage!

    And as long as I am offering unsolicited advice, I wanted to mention that I did/still do a lot of babywearing as opposed to using the stroller. At first I used a Moby wrap, a HotSling and a Baby Bjorn and now I use a Beco (because the weight limit is higher). My main reason for babywearing was convenience. As a new mom it is nice to have your hands free (and your baby close!). Sometimes the only way I could get Tessie to sleep was to put her in the sling. I wouldn’t exclusively use baby carriers (we have a simple stroller too) but most people I’ve talked to love having the option to “wear” the baby. (I also hate that term “babywearing” but there isn’t really anything better to call it.)

  • Stitchwort

    I’m a big fan of doulas. Had one with my second; wish I had had one with my first. Yes, your husband is there to support you, but with very few exceptions childbirth is a completely alien experience to men. A doula has the training and experience to understand the birth process as it takes place before her, and while she is very much there to support you, she isn’t so deeply invested emotionally in you as your husband. And in my experience a doula is much better than a nurse or doctor in knowing the natural ways of helping the process along and avoiding interventions if possible.

    For example, during my first labour, I started getting the “shakes” with every contraction, and it disrupted my focus and breathing to the point where I had to have an epidural. During the second labour, it started again. The doula observed for a minute or two, said something like “you’re not getting enough oxygen” and coached me into a different breathing pattern. End of the shakes, and a fast, completely natural birth. But the nurses the first time around didn’t know enough of the natural process to help me.

    I was also blessed to be with my daughter for the births of both her children and again saw the value of both husband and doula being present.

    I also second the advice to attend La Leche meetings ahead of time, if you plan to breastfeed.

    My daughter has the Greco system, plus a cheap umbrella stroller. So in my limited experience of present-day choices, the Greco looks good.

    Congratulations. I had several miscarriages, so I understand your hesitation about getting too excited too early.

  • http://www.thesteeds.net Jen @ Happy Little Homemaker

    Yeah! Congrats on the little one!

    1. I didn’t have a ton of back pain in the beginning but toward the end, I spent a lot of time on my hands and knees, going in and out of cat pose in Yoga.

    2. We had a doula of sorts with our first and she just helped DH navigate the hospital regulations and what we wanted to do. This time we are giving birth at home and probably won’t have a doula at the birth but will have post-birth help with cleaning, cooking, errands, etc.

    3. no opinion, other than I got one car seat good from rear facing all the way to booster seat. I never had a removable one; they’re heavy!

    4. None. Seriously; trust your gut. Get “The Baby Book” from Dr. Sears and keep it on hand for questions when the time comes. If you are leaning toward a “granola” approach (babywearing, nursing, etc.), you could try “Attachment Parenting” by Dr. Sears. Otherwise, the rest are garbage IMHO.

  • http://www.eafromtheheart.blogspot.com Maggie

    Hey! Sorry my comment is so late!

    1. YAY!

    2. I had some back pain, but not a lot. Walking helped!

    3. I’m not sure what a doula does either. I had to go to labor and delivery a couple weeks ago and they asked me some questions. I said I wasn’t planning on having an epidural, and they suggested to use a doula the hospital provides. I’m sure they are helpful, but I don’t want too many people in the room… especially someone I don’t know.

    4. I registered for the stroller/travel system. I also found a cute umbrella stroller at a garage sale that I will use when he gets older!

    6. I think the answer to this question could turn into a blog post!

    7. You are looking fabulous!

  • http://youtube/musicdacia.com Dacia

    First congrats!!! I have a 4 month old son now and miscarried with our daughter Ellen last year. All this is still fresh for me so I will do my best to help!

    2. I had a very easy pregnancy with my son so I can’t help here.

    3. I original plan was to not use a doula because my husband is so supportive and to Bradley Method Natural Childbirth classes with me. But when my beloved Catholic NFP midwife’s position was eliminated from the clinic I was going to it forced me to go to a doc that was not at all supportive of the natural thing. My midwife offered to be my doula (for free!!) so of course I said yes. she was amazing. I had a wonderful fast and furious 6 hr labor-drug free- and she was a great advocate. For instance when they wanted to break my water to get things to move faster (even though it was already going so fast) she told me something to do to try and break it naturally and it happened immediatly! Also she did things that the doc could care less about and my husband didn’t really know to do. Anyway to make a long story longer I loved my doula and would use her again in a heart beat! I also love natural childbirth, but with that being said I didn’t have the high risk pregnancy factor like you do and was not induced. I made up my mind that it was what I was going to do and wasn’t even tempted otherwise, but at the end of the day, no matter how the baby comes out, you have a baby and it really doesn’t matter! :)

    4. I have the Chico car seat stroller system and it is great. The stroller can be used when my little Dominic is old too. It is expensive but was a shower gift so well worth it!

    5. I agree with everyone else, Dr Sears books (The baby book, vaccine book etc). Also The Womenly Art of Breastfeeding. For pregnancy I loved Your Labor of Love from TAN.

    6. I loved every second till the end and can’t wait to do it again! For me it was a very spiritual time and I focused a lot on the Nativity (a great focal point for me in labor too!).

    7. How cute you look! I look forward to more baby bump pictures! Grats again!

  • http://songofasunflower.blogspot.com Katie

    Look at you! Ahh! Love the picture! Happy second tri! And, by the way, cute hair!