My Pregnancy in a Peanut Shell
By: Emily L
My husband, Ben, and I started taking pre-conception pills the last 2 weeks in August of 2018 and I stopped taking my birth control pills.
“I am ovulating on September 14th, we will start trying then!” I yell from the living room, while I am counting the days on my calendar.
We were so excited!
September 14th, 2019: ovulation day!
“I am really nervous, what happens if it works on the first try?! Are we really ready for this?!” I say with an excited look of nervousness to my husband.
“Yes! This is something we have talked about, and something we both really want. Sure it can happen on the first try, but we have to understand that it also may take some time,” my husband calmly says to me, in some words or another.
September 27th: the day we found out about our little bean! We made it happen on the first try! ON THE FIRST TRY!
We were beyond excited, we were nervous, we were beyond over the moon happy, we finally felt like we were on the right track to begin our family. It was all very clear that this was meant to be right now in our lives. We began looking at all things baby related. Looking up pregnancy tips, reading all the books, looking for the best of the best materials. Was it too early? Should we wait? We can’t be this excited yet, what if something happens?! We need to wait until our ultrasound…but it’s ok, because right now, we were pregnant.
A few weeks later, we found out that our due date was June 8th. We were SO excited throughout our pregnancy! We “felt” like it was a girl. I felt like the baby was a girl. Was it because we both wanted a girl as our first? We instantly knew a name, we knew that we both wanted, Aurora, for a girl. We loved the Aurora Borealis, we haven ever been, but just loved everything about it. We also are HUGE Disney fans, and loved how different Aurora was. We didn’t tell anyone of our name choice because, “oh you will change your mind when she is here.” (One of the many pieces of “advice” we were given.)
November 30th: “I don’t have any cravings or weird food aversions…but I can only eat these foods all together.” Check out my smorgasbord!
The further I was getting into pregnancy, the more “real” it was starting to feel. I had morning sickness, but it was at night. This was great because I was able to work just fine during the day, relax in the bathtub at night and go to sleep when my nausea kicked in. I had lost 5 pounds due to nausea and not feeling hungry, and solely living off of saltines for dinner. (Side note: I never ONCE vomited during my pregnancy, it was so strange and not what I was expecting. )
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019!
Our last New Year’s Eve just the two of us!
January 17th: the sex reveal ultrasound
We knew that we wanted to find out from the start of our pregnancy, because we had that hunch that it was a girl. We knew we would love our son or daughter no matter which sex they ended up being, and if they decide that one day that isn’t what they want, we are still going to love them regardless.
I say “our” and “we” because this pregnancy was just as much my husband’s as it was just the
baby and I.
“Don’t you mean your BABY’S due date?”
“YOU are carrying your daughter, not your husband.”
“This process is what YOU are physically going through.”
“He doesn’t understand what you are going through.”
“I hope he is doing everything at home, because you can’t.”
“He doesn’t fully understand what you are going through.”
Just a few of the things that I got when I phrased my sentences with “our” or “we.” You are right; he wasn’t carrying our child physically. BUT, he was working two jobs so we could save money for when the baby arrived because I was granted UNPAID leave. UNPAID. While working two jobs, he would come home to do all of the housework; the cleaning, the laundry, the dishes, taking out the trash, make dinner (yes he is the cook of the household), all while having to assist his pregnant wife. Because, that’s what he is supposed to do, right?
“I hope he is doing things at home, as he should be,” the midwife would say in reply to anything we discussed during prenatal appointments.
“I am a feminist, in case you didn’t know,” the midwife said at our 24th week appointment, as she only looked me in the eyes to say it, ignoring my husband’s presence.
The appointments my husband came to and sat idly by, as he was talked about like he didn’t exist, from the midwives.
He attended EVERY appointment. EVERY appointment he brought questions. EVERY appointment he would leave work, no matter how long the appointment would be, and not complain. He supported the process because this is something we wanted for a long time.
Here is my husband and I at our childbirth class, which he WANTED to attend to learn as much as possible to raise our daughter.
Living through the pregnancy process during a time when “males/men” are looked at negatively as a whole, was challenging. All of those “Miss Independent” ladies would come out of the wood cracks and speak their minds, only to not include my husband during MY pregnancy stories, in a positive way.
I got to a point in the pregnancy where I REQUIRED my husband’s assistance. I did absolutely depend on him the last trimester, especially after I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes on March 22nd. I struggled very hard with this diagnosis, only because we had been having an amazing pregnancy. So, I needed him. Not because I couldn’t do it myself, but I needed him for his loving support because I was too “blue” to pull myself up to do it myself. I needed the encouragement and support from him to help me through that change. To not feel like I failed my baby, my husband, and my own worst enemy, myself.
We worked together to make the 3rd trimester a breeze. Considering I am not generally a candy, dessert, or sweets of any kind type of person, the whole “NO” thing, made me want it even more. This added challenges to the final countdown, when all I cared about at times, was how delicious that brownie would taste following an ice cream M&M cookie sandwich, while eating some jujyfruits. At first, it was easy to switch up my diet, there wasn’t much to eliminate that was “horrible.” I was told that anyone no matter how big or small their bodies were, could get gestational diabetes. Since I didn’t have diabetes prior to the pregnancy, but was overweight, and didn’t want that to be the main focus of the diagnosis. I got depressed and it was challenging to enjoy the rest of my pregnancy without the constant worry.
I was recommended to go to a nutritionist, but it was basically mandatory for the first time so I could get a basis of foods to use as a resource.
The nutritionist said, “Well with your weight, gestational diabetes was probably to be expected.”
Call me sensitive or a pregnant monster, but I instantly shutdown and started snapping back at everything she said, in a rude and snippy way. How could you say that my weight was to blame, when it is common for any pregnant person? I had lost weight throughout my pregnancy and had only gained 3 pounds! What is going on?! Now, I felt like the last few weeks were going to be worse than I thought, as I watched her cross off all things delicious with a bright red sharpie as if I failed a spelling test in the 3rd grade. She told me I needed
However, this delicious strawberry poppyseed salad was exactly a perfect divide to a sweet and healthy treat that kept my numbers in great shape!
Our Baby Girl’s Baby Shower/Name Reveal!
My husband and I have always loved the Aurora Borealis, the northern lights. We always watch the live feeds of the Aurora Borealis and always say, “Someday we will go see them live.” We have never seen it in person, but we just love its natural beauty! We are also BIG Disney fans, and love Aurora as Sleeping Beauty. When we found out that our little bean was a girl, there was no doubt in our minds that Aurora was going to be her name, Rory for short. It was a name no one we knew had, and it wasn’t widely popular on the “Most popular name,” lists.
We chose her middle name, “Leigh,” after my sister’s middle name.
Our baby shower was held on Saturday, April 6th at my parent’s condo. It was well attended with my closest family and friends and it was storybook themed. I am a Children’s Librarian, so it was only fitting.
After the baby shower, things went by quickly. Before we knew it, we were having our last ultrasound. The last ultrasound to determine her size and make sure everything was going well. Below is a pic of our chunky-cheeked little bean! If you tilt your head to the right, you can see her looking right at you! It was so crazy!
Our little Rory Bean was measuring at 6.5 pounds! We still had a little was to go, and if she continued to measure ½ pound a week until her due date, she would be 9 pounds. NINE POUNDS! WHAT?!
The ultrasound tech shrugged her shoulders and said, “She could be give or take one or two pounds from that.” All I could think about was trying to control my sassy eye roll and lip pout out loud.
Since she was measuring large, the midwife thought it was best to do weekly non-stress tests, to be sure she was doing alright in there with her growth and wasn’t getting too squished. It was scary at first, being hooked up to machines and laying in a hospital bed watching the lines jump up and down with a beeping noise. Then suddenly I heard her heartbeating loud through the speakers. When she moved, I could hear her over the machine squirming to the other side of my belly. It was magical to hear her heartbeat for the 20 minute non-stress test, and everything turned out just fine.
Days flew by and the weeks were coming to a close, the non-stress tests were going great and the baby was doing fantastic. My husband and I decided to do an impromptu maternity photoshoot, with our own camera and tripod. Here are two of my favorites!
My last duty of pregnancy was to schedule a pedicure, so I was “delivery room ready.”
Our last appointment was on June 6th, with our due date being on Saturday, June 8th. We were told that I wasn’t very dilated, but they didn’t want me to go too much past my due date. At the end of that appointment, I was scheduled to be induced that Monday, June 10th! The look on my husbands face was hilarious and I wish I got a video of it! But by the feeling of a skip in my heartbeat of excitement, made me realize that mine probably looked similar.
Saturday, June 8th: DUE DATE!
We can’t wait to meet our little Rory Bean!
Monday, June 10th: Induction Day!
Our pregnancy journey was filled with so many exciting moments. As we were walking into the hospital for induction, I thought back to all of the key moments of our pregnancy. The highlights of the good and what we thought was “bad” at the time. It was all an experience to remember and in the moment there were times of worry that took away from the experience. Though those worries are inevitable for any soon-to-be mom, whether it is your first time or your 5th time, there will always be some worry. Please try to relax and enjoy each and every moment. It is a magical time that everyone should experience fully.
Emily is a wash-a-shore on Martha's Vineyard. After many years of vacationing on Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard as a child, Emily met her husband in college who was born and raised on Martha's Vineyard. Small world! Right before getting married, Emily and her husband relocated to Martha's Vineyard to settle down and start a family. They are new first time parents to their daughter, Aurora and cat parents to their gray and black tiger cat, Baby T.
Emily is a Children's Librarian on the island, as well as a kid's mindfulness and yoga instructor, and a former teacher. Being a life long and continuing learner, reading, being thrifty, crafty and fun is her specialty! Emily is always looking for new events and programs to get her and her family involved in the community. She started an advice and experience instagram page, called spillthebeansmom, at the end of her pregnancy to help use as an outlet to reach other moms and listen to what moms had to say based off of their experiences.
When I was pregnant with Hudson, I felt like I had a vague idea as to what to expect postpartum, or really just a lot of preconceived notions about what "postpartum life" would be like.
I had some sort of idea about how my life was going to change, but I was very intentional about making sure the baby fit into our life, and not the other way around.
I knew I would be tired, pretty busy, but there was no way I could of ever prepared myself for exactly what life was going to be like. I knew my body was going to be a little different than it was before pregnancy. I knew that postpartum depression was a possibility and I knew breastfeeding was hard for some.
Reflecting back now as we are quickly approaching Hudsons first birthday (I can't believe it) I realize how clueless I really was going into the whole parenting thing. The truth is: having a baby is really one of the most incredible blessings that life has to offer, it's fun, exciting, beautiful and truly has provided me with the most happiness in the world. I feel blessed to have Hudson in our life, to have had the opportunity to birth him and to have the privilege to raise him.
Here is another truth: having a baby changes everything.
In amazing, blessed, difficult and challenging ways.
Anything that you assume about parenthood before having a child will be flipped around and turned upside down. What you thought your baby will like, will in reality be the opposite. I am certain that you will reflect back on what you thought postpartum life would be life and just laugh, like I do. The reality is, how could we have known right? We only set the best of intentions.
Hudson is a miraculous little boy. He is a wonderful sleeper and has been since day one. But the truth is even with a baby who is a wonderful sleeper, those first six-eight weeks they need to either wake or be woken up to eat. So you are still not getting anymore than 3 hours of sleep at most, at a time. And when Hudson got the okay from the pediatrician to let him sleep longer, Mama still needed to wake up every three hours and pump so my breasts didn't get engorged.
You will experience a level of exhaustion that you did not know was possible.
He was very easy to nurse, but he wanted to nurse 24/7. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY can prepare you for what life is like when nursing your little babe. Despite how time consuming and challenging it can be at times, I would never have changed my decision to nurse Hudson and I still intend to nurse our next baby. That being said, cluster feeding is no joke. I can remember days on end, nights on end even weeks on end where 4 o'clock would come around and it was time for Hudson to eat and he would stay on my breasts for nearly 8 to even 10 hours. I didn't see the dinner table most nights during that time because I was on the couch nursing him.
Your body will change, and it will in more ways than one. But that is OK. You may have stretch marks, and you will have some loose skin for a little while. You may decide that those tiny itty bitty bikinis that you once rocked no longer make you feel comfortable. Again, that is OK. You will still look six months pregnant for a few days (or weeks) after you have your baby because your uterus takes time to return to its normal size, but things will go back to the way they were. Every woman's body is so unique and so different, with this incredible capability to grow another human being inside. To create this beautiful life inside our bodies... Really think about that... it is SUCH a gift. Dealing with a little extra skin, or a stretch mark here or there is such a small sacrifice for the beautiful beings we bring into this world.
Your emotions will be all over the place and I am not saying that you will have postpartum depression, but you will feel overwhelming feelings of happiness, sadness, isolation, being overwhelmed and everything in between. It's ok to not feel ok. But if you do sense that you have some postpartum depression, that is OKtoo, and it is so important that you talk to someone about it and get some help. It's ok to need help.
You are about to experience a love that you have never imagined before. You will be absolutely consumed by and in love with your baby. Your life will change to accommodate that child. And yes, you’ll find ways to fit the baby into your word, but more likely you’ll find yourself navigating this strange new terrain for the first time WITH your baby. You will create a new world together. It is such a beautiful experience.
Postpartum life is full of a love that is so overwhelming and beautiful that you will not remember how you ever existed before it. It’s full of late nights, rocking your baby and forming a bond that can never be broken. It’s about going through a transformation, becoming a new person. You are a MOTHER. It’s going through an incredible, wonderful metamorphosis, and looking back a year later and thinking, THIS is who I was meant to be. It’s about learning so much about yourself and about what really matters in life.
It is about feeling incredibly accomplished when you cook a meal, finish the laundry or get out for a walk with your baby. It is about bursting at the seams with excitement every time your little human accomplishes another amazing milestone. The joy that I get from Hudsons amazing little accomplishments outweighs any joy I have ever felt before. His first smile, his first foods, his first steps, his first word...
Those newborn days are hard, and you will feel like you are in a fog. But let me tell you mama, that fog will clear and before you know it your baby will grow more and more independent by the day. You will sleep again. You can do this Mama. You are not alone.
You are embarking on life's most beautiful journey, motherhood. Embrace each and every little moment, and know that time has a way of picking up speed, and you don't want to miss a moment.
Katherine is a native Cape-Codder and mother to her beautiful one year old little boy Hudson. Katherine is a full-time mommy and entrepreneur running two local businesses. She works along side her father, John Perkins, at Bay State Merchant Services, where she is the Northeast Sales Director, working with local businesses and helping them save money on their credit card processing services. When she is not managing BSMS, she is inspiring other like minded individuals to think outside of the box and sharing the opportunity that Arbonne International has to offer: premier health and wellness products and an exceptional business opportunity. She is passionate about helping other people and has worked in the health and wellness field for over ten years, helping hundreds of people achieve their personal wellness goals. She loves empowering people to live their best life.
Katherine is an outdoor enthusiast. She loves spending her summers on the boat, riding her bike and competing in local races, paddle boarding with her Husband, participating in sprint triathalons and road races, but most of all spending time outside and enjoying the beauty of Cape Cod.
Kats blog, https://livingwhatyoulovewithkat.weebly.com, is focused on sharing her journey of attracting abundence into her life to inspire you to do the same. She will work with you to help you achieve your ideal life and optimal health through business development coaching, personal development techniques, wholesome nutrition and mindfulness practices. Her hope is that through your readings here, she will leave you with a little inspiration, a new workout to try, maybe a delicious recipe or a good laugh from her silly adventures with her boys.
"True success is when you reach back and bring someone along with you."- Joel Osteen
Check out more about her businesses here:
With the Cape Cod Parent Resource Fair rapidly approaching we will be sharing blog posts on our participating sponsors, vendors and nonprofits. You will find out more about these amazing businesses and what they offer to our community. They will be sharing their services, advice, what challenges face our community as well as upcoming events they will be having. Make sure to check out our virtual program and resource guide ahead of the event so you can plan for what you want to see! We hope to see you at the Resource Fair!
1. Tell us about your business/non profit and how it benefits local families?
I provide birth & postpartum doula services for growing families. This means I provide:
-in-home prenatal education
-holistic care for families seeking a less invasive birth
-hand-picked resources based on your needs as a family
-on-call 24/7 attention within 2 weeks of anticipated due date
-physical presence in early labor lasting until delivery of baby
-In-Home Postpartum Care modified to suit the needs of each family.
-Education for Safe Sleeping, Baby Wearing, Bathing, Feeding & Swaddling
-Screening for Postpartum Mood Disorders
-Overnight Baby Coverage
-Light Cleaning, Cooking & Errands
Doula involvement in childbirth has been shown to decrease the demand for medical pain relief, risk of c-section, and postpartum depression. The support of a doula benefits the entire family by reducing a women's time in labor, increasing confidence as a new parent and providing emotional support in an overwhelmingly medicalized field of childbirth.
2. Where is it located?
Located in Falmouth; serving families throughout Cape Cod, Boston area, South Shore, North Shore & Rhode Island
3. What is your favorite part about our community?
I love the loyalty of families and their commitment to including others.
4. How else do you get involved with the community?
I work at Shuckers World Famous Raw Bar in Woods Hole during summer. I provide childcare to many local families and you may see me at the Cape Cod Children's Museum, Woods Hole Aquarium, or any local playground with children in tow.
5. What are the biggest challenges facing parents in our community?
Lack of community! We feel like parents need to do everything on their own, which is simply not true. Parenthood is hard, and deserving of support!
6. What is your favorite memory or story over the years involving you and your business?
Every baby that is born under my care and assistance is important to me. My business is extremely personal, and results in deep relationships with parents, children & families.
7. What advice would you give parents and care givers in our community?
Trust your instincts!!! You are the expert on your child, and your intuition is incredibly valuable.
Self-care is incredibly valuable. Time away to take care of yourself, is beneficial to your entire family. Do not neglect your own needs! You, and your family deserve a happy, healthy, and present parent.
By: Ryan Beck
I wrote this poem a few months after I had my second son. I think it resonates with me still today. As women we put so much pressure on ourselves to return to our previous physical within an unrealistic timeframe. For me it helped me realize that it is a process. It is a season. I hope this helps new moms.
I am a healing body.
It is my round hips that shake and groove to the music with my children.
My plentiful breasts that have nourished two preemies and kept them healthy.
My strong arms that lift, carry, swing and rock my boys.
My thick thighs that bounce my babes all while I watch their faces stretch with a smile.
The pinches of skin they grasp with their little fingers, the indentations my supple body produces when pressed by their strengthening legs, the smile that these little moments produce, and the giggles that result are the things that make me a happy mama.
I have a man who loves me. His gentle caresses translate between the two of us. He understands the journey.
I am a healing body.
My strong legs that can run for miles will return. My plentiful breasts will shrink. It will be only moments until my firm thighs, stomach, arms, and cesarean scar will only whisper the memory of these early times with my little ones. My body will return. I have to remember.
But right now, I am a healing body.
I have partnered with the doctors that created ProActiv on their new clinical skin care line Rodan and Fields. They are now doing for aging what they did for acne. I like to call it my “nap time job.” It has allowed me to continue to stay home with my children and still significantly contribute to our family’s bottom line. All sharing, emailing and social media. No parties, no inventory. The products and business are backed by a 60 day money back guarantee. I am looking to train 3 motivated individuals this month. Please email me to learn more: email@example.com;
By: Maurene Merritt, RN & Yoga Teacher
They're two peak experiences for us, conception and childbirth. For many women, the intensity of our desire to have a baby is so powerful that when we conceive, it feels like a dream has come true for us, and when our babies slip out of our bodies, we describe it as euphoria.
Can we influence how much joy we receive in these rare, spectacular moments? Isn't that what the experiences are all about, joy? Consider the following exercise to help optimize your experiences.
It's all about the Joy
Answer these 3 questions
At birth blessings yoga,
It seems so benign, slowing down, breathing, and feeling. But if you remember how strongly you wanted something in your more formative years, when desire was fresh and free and you dared to reach for what you wanted in this world, than you'll understand the power of intention to help manifest your dreams.
By: Corinne Cameron
You would think that as much as needs to be accomplished on any given day that I would prioritize my tasks
accordingly, right? Yeah that doesn't seem to happen, as evidenced by the hour and quarter I just spent
meticulously figuring out the exact nutritional information for my son's oatmeal mix as if I was about to report
my findings to a Weight Watchers meeting. I was actually nervous! What if it was too many points or that I was making a seemingly good meal worse with all my “additives”?
Then, with a head shake in order to physically empty it out, I realized that: 1) He is two and doesn't have to
watch his weight, 2) All my “additives” were healthy additions and 3) Where in the world did the Weight
Watchers thought come from? I'm not in the program nor is anyone in my household. I dabbled once about 10 years ago, but when it became my own personal game of “how few points can Corinne eat today” I realized it wasn't for me, as I don't think that was the program creator's “point” (no pun intended).
If you read my first post, you'll see what I wrote about digressing...well insert the same sentiment here. I
digressed so much in this blog post that I had to go and change the entire subject matter! Like right now with what I was writing, I had a few paragraphs about priorities and organization, asking questions about how you,
the reader, handle these things and such. I ended up realizing that I had wanted to formally introduce my little
miracle, Remy. The segue into talking about him was actually quite smooth and appropriate but youʼll have to
take my word on it since with a swift “Command X” it was cut out of this post and plunked into the next one,
albeit needing to be re-worked a bit.
So now needing a new lead into gushing about my toddler, Iʼll start with the following: In my immediate family,
which comprises of: my husband, Rob; my 2 year old; and my boy/girl 15 year old twin step children, William
and Samantha and myself, of course, we are passionate about all things theatre. Rob and Samantha both
fully enjoy acting on the community theatre (and on the high school stage for Samantha) stages on the Cape,
both enjoying their fair share of success and lead roles. William has also participated in the past but rather
watch the productions than perform; however, he is turning into a nice little critic! My background involves a
brief stint in the professional acting world and a resume full of acting, stage managing and directing in
community theatre, here on Cape Cod. Collectively, we have learned, from both personal “hands on”
experience as well as observing others' personal drama throughout many productions, that there is a delicate balance between life and theatre. Being in production has a way of sweeping you up, completely enveloping you and if you're not careful, it can overtake you and cause some questionable decision making. I offer this warning more to parents of teens because I remember being in shows back then (a looong time ago) and totally living in a fantasy world and needing to be shocked into reality when it was over. It was a tough adjustment at times, especially as you go through the pains of puberty, and it usually had heart break with some boy associated with it too.
Iʼm going to take a moment to say something important here. Theatre brings so much joy and has more
positives then I can even think. So I encourage people who have never been on stage or adults that haven't
graced it (the stage) since high school, to go out and give it a try. HOWEVER, please do so fully knowing the
time and energy commitment involved and with the support of your partner, if you have one, and even your
kids. I would hate for someone to find a new passion and their family be resentful for the time away from
them. That's why shows with children in them are so great! It is something you can participate in as a family,
even if not everyone is on stage as there are plenty of behind the scene duties available. Also, if you're having difficulties in your relationship, getting involved in a theatre production may not be the activity you want to start, in order to take some time and space to think about things...Let's leave it at that.
The reason I am writing about the commitment is to give some explanation for the following story. Some may
shake their head reading some of it and question our decision-making, but I wouldn't change a thing if I
could go back and do it all over again. With that…..
Meet my two year old, Remy. He was born on 11/11/11, 4 weeks early. I know everyone says their child is a miracle, because they all are, but he was a miracle in that he beat all the odds for existence. After 8 miscarriages and 3 years of complete infertility during my first marriage, he was not only conceived but done so while I was on the Depo shot! I hadn't been with my current husband that long and we had talked about the struggles I had had and our plans to try conceiving the following year. Well he had other plans!
Despite the birth control, which was used for regulation purposes, Remy and our journey began. As each week passed with hcg levels going up and strong heart beats seen and then heard on the different ultrasounds, we were in complete awe of this incredible blessing. Now I, unfortunately had one of my miscarriages at 11 weeks, so I worked really hard not to get my hopes up until we got to that magic “Week 13”. Which is irony isnʼt it? In any other context the number 13 would be dreaded. I mean they purposely skip numbering the 13th floor in tall buildings, when all it's doing is screwing with the psyche of the people on the 14th floor.
Anyway, the second trimester came and went without too much incident and then BAM, welcome the third
trimester. I should mention that my past fertility issues were not the only reason my pregnancy was high
risk. I was “advanced maternal age” at 35 years old (I guess the whole “35 is the new 25” doesnʼt apply in
gynecology), have Lupus and also suffered disabling injuries from a bad car wreck in 2007. So the doctors
were always on their guard with me and, self-fulfilling prophecy or not, I ended up with pre-eclampsia and
was put on restricted activity.
Oh wait!! Did I fail to mention that I was in the middle of directing a production of Guys and Dolls at the
time? Yeah, it took me a bit to wrap my head around the fact that I, a director that is very hands-on,
showing actors physically what I want, had to do this while restricted. And as these things go, eventually
ended up on full bed-rest as my blood pressure and my belly grew. After arguing with my doctors, we came to a happy medium. I could go to rehearsals as long as I didnʼt move while there and any other time stayed on strict bed rest. Enter my incredible husband, who after securing a big comfy chair on wheels that also lounged backwards, would bring me into the building, settle me in my new chair with my legs propped up and would wheel me anywhere I needed (usually the bathroom) to go. The experience actually taught me a lot. I
needed to learn how to explain things instead of physically showing them. In other words it made me think on
my feet rather than being on them. Theatre tends to do that, you end up learning things that can be useful
in many factions of life while also growing as a director, actor or whatever other discipline you are
undertaking. My husband always says, and I fully agree with it, that if he ever stops learning and growing as an actor then it would be time to give it up.
Well I made it through...almost. The show opened and had a very successful opening weekend. The
reviews were quite positive and I was so proud of Rob whom I couldnʼt take my eyes off each night as he
portrayed the suave, Sky Masterson. Anyway, on Thursday the 10th I had my last ultra sound appointment
with my maternal fetal medicine specialist. Everything looked great, however she said “Well now we will
look for reasons to take him out as when things go down-hill they go down fast”. Little did I know how the
next 24hours would turn out..again with that self-fulfilling prophecy thing.
After a long night with little sleep as my blood pressure was through the roof, I awoke to a great article in the
CC Times talking about the show. The bulk of the article was about directing in my third trimester and she
ironically summed it up saying that we all hoped that the baby would wait until the show closed to make his
opening appearance. I got dressed and headed out the door to the OBʼs office, sending my husband to
work and assuring him all would be all right.
Ok, I knew it was the day, but I'm an actor and did a real good job at calming him, plus he needed to be on
stage that night at 8pm to start off our second weekend of performances. From the office I was sent over to
maternity at the hospital for some monitoring, texting my husband frequently with no news, as they kept
saying “Let's wait and see”. He made it until about noon when he called saying he was going to get packed
up as he wasn't being productive (he was in Woods Hole) and drive to get the twins from their mother's
house in Yarmouth and await news as to what was going to happen.
Well at 2:30 everything sprung into action. Nurses came in and out, poking me and asking questions. When
I expressed my concern about my husband not arriving yet, they assured me not to worry as we had to wait
for the surgical team which could take a bit. Two minutes later (of course) the surgical team and the anesthesiologist came popping in saying “Ready to go” and I yelled a resounding “No”! Then, after breaking many speed limits, my husband and step kids came running into the room at about 3pm. Nurses
threw a surgical gown at him and at 3:24pm, Veterans Day or 11/11/11, our miracle arrived.
Unfortunately, as is common with Caucasian boys in their 36th week, he had breathing complications soon
after birth. Because I had a spinal for my C-section, I obviously couldnʼt move, so I was not able to be in the
special care nursery with my precious Remy as they gave him oxygen. Rob and the older kids took turns
coming back into my room with photos and video of his first hours of life.
Now is where that balance thing comes in… It was time for Rob and Samantha (who was also in the show)
to leave for the theatre. The pediatrician assured them and me that Remy would be fine and to have a good
show. I chuckled as, after all I went through to get the production off the ground, there wasnʼt much that
would make me cancel a performance. Well, not 20 minutes after they left, the doctor came back in and
gave me the horrible news that Remy needed to go to Tufts Medical Center in Boston because of his lung
function. He again assured me that this was common and that he would be fine but needed extra support.
I had to battle whether to tell my husband or not. Here he had to entertain a hundred plus theatre patrons, singing and dancing, but he deserved to know what was happening with our little boy. To make a long story short, he as the incredible performer that he is , got up on stage and submerged himself into the world of gambling and gangsters. Right after the show he returned to stay with me at the hospital as it would take until the following day for me to be transferred up to our son.
Remy had a 25 day struggle in the NICU at Tufts and special care nursery at Jordan but came home on
December 7th, his due date. Since then he has grown and flourished and is a perfectly healthy 2 year old
boy. Since his birth I have directed 3 more shows and starred as an actor in one while his dad has starred in
5 shows! Remy has also made appearances in 2 shows to date! Theatre is a special part of my family's life
and I hope that it will be an integral part in Remyʼs life as he grows up in it.
If you have any questions about how to find a theatre or production for you or your children please donʼt hesitate to comment, find me on Face Book or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you enjoyed this post please “like” it on FB so I know you want to hear more!
By: Maurene Merritt, RN & Yoga Teacher
I did not give birth the way that I had imagined, in a full, wide open squat like the 21st century contemporary hybrid creature that I was, half hippie and the other, a high-heeled, disheartened business woman. I tried, with one of my arms wrapped around Candyce's father, and my other one around Maura, my doula. But the force moving my baby out of my body was so strong that my spine arched back like a running, overextended fishing rod! So instead I squatted by baby out with a fully extended spine behind me, like the unintentional leaning tower of Pisa! I didn't know it at the time, and wouldn't find out for at least another decade, but I had just performed one of the ultimate class of poses in yoga called, "backbends". It makes perfect sense now, of course, that my body would take the form of something so vital and beautiful and outrageously untamed
with such rare, cosmic force moving through my body.
When we give birth to our babies, I believe that the release is so powerful that the spine has no choice but to move into extension followed by a springing action back into forward flexion.
It is here, if we wait and allow our attention to be expansive coiled in our origins, that we are privy to experience all of the energy accumulated in our bodies from giving birth before it dissipates into space.
It's why backbends are highly sought on a yoga mat, because they provide for the same energy release except in a much less exaggerated form; there is not approximately 8.5 pounds of substance moving out of the body! However, if one chooses to
remember their experience by journaling, contemplating and articulating, they'll deepen and enliven the newly opened pathway created in their nervous system. Then, more and more, opportunity will exist to strengthen and intensify the energy, clarity and happiness that backbending provides for.
It is with this in mind that I have created "The Star Gazer", a sequence of poses that simulates the actual birth experience and the subsequent release of energy.
We will soon be celebrating my daughter's 25th birthday. It feels like yesterday, that I had her in my arms and all to myself. And although she has left my arms, she will forever remain in my heart, along with my longing to recapture and live those rare precious moments, over and over again.
Together, forever, in our hearts,
*reprinted with full permission from http://www.birthblessingsyoga.blogspot.com/
By: Maurene Merritt, RN
How do you handle intense frustration? Do you give up at the first sign of difficulty, or lean more towards the opposite end of remaining steadfast to the very end? Or maybe you tow the middle ground in fall somewhere in between?
I recall in my formative years, this feeling was so uncomfortable for me that I would give up at the first sign of difficulty. Often it was with math problems or writing, endeavors that require so much fortitude and tenacity to remain in times of not knowing, and to push past giving up. It wasn't until childbirth that I was able to change this very disheartening, debilitating pattern.
I dilated like a model for an OB or midwifery textbook to 9 centimeters. Then, gradually my contractions slowed to waves that served children on the seashore and not the tidal wave ones that I needed to
open up my body!
I remained there, walking, showering, talking, breathing for 6 hours to no avail. Finally, my doula encouraged me to get back into a position that I found extremely painful hours prior. It worked, and I gave birth to my daughter 20 minutes later.
Over time, I found myself returning to the physics problems and more recently creative writing, actually enjoying the tug-of-war it takes to get to
resolution. It's been such a huge shift for me, it makes me feel sometimes like a puppet on new, golden threads that moves me down camouflaged pathways that I wouldn't have dreamed of going down before giving birth. Often they hold the most pleasant surprises - one in particular, as big as my birth!
When I'm pushed to tears for the words to flow, I remember the words of one of my teachers, Bonnie Bridge Cohen of BodyMindCentering. She says that when there's a block and you remove the block, that there is this huge release of energy. I love this teaching, and like to imagine my frustration a dam that holds back water, and that when I release the dam, there is a flood of movement. In my mind, I can hear the roar and feel the spray of joy and satisfaction that comes with the release.
Consider the following;
*When you give birth to your baby, you very well may experience frustration since "failure to progess", often a benign category is, according to the World Heath Organization, the number one reason for a 30% ceserean section rate in this country.
*Birth, like any art demands a commitment to the process. You may practice the discipline required of continously coming back to something by establishing a daily, regular meditation practice.
*Childbirth is a highly charged experience that touches the very
heart of a woman. It's a golden opportunity to revisit those patterns
established at a time when belief and hope reigned high and rekindle their power.
If you want natural childbirth, and you get stuck, try the following;
1. Make sure you have the privacy and quiet required for the intense focus required of any serious artist.
In other words, keep your door closed and noise and family and staff to a minimum.
2. Whatever you are doing, if you have been doing it for a time, do something different. Remember, your perception of time is very different then those around you. Take your cues from those you trust.
3. Keep your flame of intention high, your very deepest desire.
4. Let go of outcomes and stay present in the moment with your breath. It's such a dichotomy, but birth requires the perfect balance of yielding while moving towards a definitive goal.
5. Change happens in a moment. Never give up, until the very "sweet" end.
Together, forever and our hearts,
*reprinted with full permission from http://www.birthblessingsyoga.blogspot.com/
By: Maurene Merritt, RN
It's so big to give birth, our ability to surrender. Yet, somehow I couldn't neatly package the recent "aha" moment that I had with a friend about it, that surrender is not being submissive, forced action rooted in
fear but rather expansion, that we become so enraptured in something that we are rekindled to the kind of enthusiasm that we all once had when we were children, that we loved so much that it was indeed a pleasure to give. Where and how could I fit such a powerful, lofty characteristic about surrender into an experience that is so heavily draped in contraction? It had to fit somewhere into the equation though, since love is what got us here in the beginning, and if we chose, it is love that will carry us through to the end!
My teacher says that our ability to surrender requires our attention and effort and is a conscious choice on our part. Help yourself surrender to birth with the following ritual.
At some point in the last trimester of pregnancy, after you feel complete that you have done everything in your power to give birth the way you intend to, let it go and give it over to the god of your understanding. To help strengthen your surrender, consider integrating ritual. For example, if your tendency was to explore every appropriate childbirth preparation book under the sun, take three flowers, each one representing the corresponding zodiac flowers for you, your partner, and your baby and place them in a page of your most inspiring, frequently visited pages. Or, if you are the scrap booking type, place them in your baby photo book. Or if you're like me and enjoy creative writing, place them in your journal.
As you close your chosen book with the flowers that are destined to become a very special triad book mark in its pages, verbally state your intention of letting go of your birth experience.
Say it out loud with feeling so that it becomes your mantra, words that protect, enliven, and guide.
"I surrender all my thoughts and concerns and energies about giving birth over to the almighty power that conceived my baby."
With your days and nights leading up to birth, continue to steady your mind on surrender by repeating your mantra over and over again. I think that what you will find with approaching your labor in this way is that you
will be more likely to surrender to an experience like Nicole's who described herself as "euphoric" just seconds after giving birth.
Together, forever, in our hearts,
*reprinted with full permission from http://www.birthblessingsyoga.blogspot.com/
By: Emily Accrocco
It’s tough being a doula. Not only do you work long, unpredictable hours, you may be required to stay up all night, face serious birth complications and challenging hospital situations. While juggling all these tasks during a birth, advocacy is important for the mother and family.
A few things doulas advocate for:
Taking childbirth education classes: A doula who wishes to become certified through an organization is usually required to take a childbirth class or to take a childbirth educator class (CBE). Some doulas include CBE in their agreement to accept services and may tag on an extra fee. Taking a series provides clients with a minimum understanding of what they are going to go through in the months to come. Topics include stages and phases of labor, behavioral and emotional characteristics of each phase, specific positions and comfort measures, relaxation techniques, what to expect immediately postpartum, newborn procedures and more! (Doula International Magazine, DONA, Vol 21, Issue 2, 2013). Taking a course helps ensure that there is informed consent or choice in the way your labor and delivery pans out. You will know the risks and
benefits of many hospital procedures and will be encouraged by your doula to ask probing questions if you are unsure about a specific one. Ask your doula to provide you with referrals to CBE classes and teachers in your area. Your doula may also offer access to her extensive lending library and educational DVDs.
Writing a Birth Wish/Preference, not PLAN: We doulas don’t like to call a birth “plan” a “birth plan”. Birth rarely goes as planned so it’s easier to call it a wish or a preference. There are plenty of tools online, such as:
which have templates and guides to help you write one. I always assist my clients with their preferences
at the second prenatal meeting. I remind them of items they may have left out, like whether or not to circumcise their little boy, or newborn medicines, such as a vitamin K shot, or eye drops put in soon after birth which can make a newborn’s vision blurry. And mamas, you want that baby to be able to see you
immediately after delivery to enhance the bonding! I advise my clients to bring at least six copies of their birth wish to the hospital or birth center because of nurse/doctor shift changes. When I’m at a birth, to every new face, I introduce myself and then ask if they have reviewed the family’s birth preference.
Avoiding unnecessary inductions: I know from experience that the last couple weeks of pregnancy are bru-tal. I was in North Carolina, during hot, hot summer for my third trimester. With no A/C in my car, I was a big,
sweaty, (but beautiful!) beast. Mamas, it is very important to wait it out and let your baby come when he or she is ready. Your body and baby will work together at the right time. Check with your provider to make sure no bar mitzvahs or vacations are scheduled around your due date. If that is the case, meet a second provider or back up for your provider. A fetus’s lungs aren’t developed til week 34 in your pregnancy and babies born before this week may have various breathing difficulties and will most likely require a stay in the
NICU. However, if there are certain complications, induction may be medically necessary. According to the
March of Dimes, “Babies born after 37 weeks of pregnancy are full-term. However, new research has shown that a baby’s brain nearly doubles in weight in the last few weeks of pregnancy.” So, keep bakin’ that baby! A doula can help remind you of natural ways to induce your labor, such as herbs, tinctures and the various
hospital procedures that are nonmedical like a foley catheter or breaking your water, as long as she’s within the scope of practice of her agency.
Mamas, be well prepared for your birth! Wait out your pregnancy. Don’t make hasty decisions during labor. Review your preferences with your doula, provider and partner so they can remind you of what you wanted before all that pain began! Birth can profoundly transform a woman, strengthening her faith and deepening her identity, so make sure you’ve educated yourself on these topics. And hire a doula!
Did y’all hear about:
The mother in Minnesota who lost her newborn for five days because she tested positive for drugs after eating a poppy seed bagel?! Don’t worry, she received a settlement AND got her baby girl back!
What about the woman who went into labor at a Rolling Stones concert in the U.K.?
OR the mother whose twin son was pronounced dead and she was able to revive him after TWO hours using skin-to-skin contact?!?!
Emily grew up in Barnstable, Cape Cod and after graduation, attended University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She earned a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Women's Studies. In 2010, she gave birth to her daughter Lena Rose with the assistance of a doula. She had never considered or been educated about natural childbirth or hiring a doula. Emily had an amazing experience and it motivated her to become a doula herself. Her dream was to work with teen girls and as a labor and delivery nurse, but found doula-ing satisfies both passions. Emily believes in the transitive powers of
Cape Cod Moms