Welcome to Risky Baby Business! As of last week, the topic here at More Cowbell each Saturday will be BABIES. Having a baby was some serious risky business for me. Though I wouldn’t change anything because I did get a fantastic daughter out of it, there are pieces of information that I wish I’d known much earlier.
In a nutshell, that’s what this Saturday series is about. . .All the stuff I wished people had told me.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a specifics girl. I like to at least have a ballpark idea of where to set my expectations. I don’t even mind when I have to set those suckers low but, like most control freaks, I like to have at least a glimmer of an idea about a situation before I get into it.
Unfortunately, pregnancy rarely works that way. High risk pregnancy NEVER works that way.
One of the downsides (for me) of having a baby is that the process differs from woman to woman and child to child. There is no possible way to set your expectations. Nope. You wake up one morning and find yourself strapped on the Pregnancy Surfboard, adrift in the Ocean of Gestation (and not anywhere near ready to ride the waves).
Whether you’re in calm waters or stormy riptides, you just have to roll with it and trust that things will be fine. Seriously.
To be fair, I believe God has a compassionate sense of humor and reserves the High Risk Riptides for the moms who can handle the crazy ride. And it is crazy when you think of all the stages and steps that occur in the development of a baby in the womb.
As my hubby told me when he compared computer projects to pregnancy:
We can’t get a project off the ground in nine months. And here you’ve conceived a life, built a placenta and grown a baby. That’s incredible!
Yeah, I felt pretty studly that day. Like Xena, the Warrior Princess Baby-Maker. Hug those Xena days close, Ladies. Treasure those moments and keep them ready – either for childbirth or when your child throws their first tantrum. Those are times when you NEED to feel like a Warrior Princess Baby-Maker.
Getting back to the “no way to plan” part of pregnancy…
Think about the things most normal first-time moms want to know:
- Will the baby be all right?
- Will I get morning sickness? If so, how long?
- What do I eat or not eat, drink or not drink?
- Will I look heinous through all this?
- Are there activities that are restricted?
- Can I have sex? Are there restrictions to that?
- What will I do with this child when they’re born?
Plus all the high-risk questions:
- “Will I get to keep this baby?”
- “Will I have to go on bed rest?”
- “Will I die?”
Most first-time moms are afraid to even utter most of these questions out loud. Like saying the words will make them true. So these moms read and read, looking for the answer to questions that are either unanswerable or just slightly off the beaten path.
Even when the amazing books like What To Expect When You’re Expecting cover a topic, there’s often a tiny disclaimer at the bottom that says, “Unless you have a high-risk pregnancy.”
I hated that disclaimer when I was pregnant. That disclaimer made me want to hyperventilate. It was the #1 source of calls to my high-risk OB.
That little seven-word disclaimer is the primary reason I’m writing a memoir about high-risk pregnancy.
Don’t get me wrong, you get a metric ton of information in nine short months. Some of it is important and useful (prize those people!), but a lot of it is not. People tell you ALL kinds of creepy details when you’re pregnant, whether you want to hear them or not.
Talk about kicking some poor lass when she’s down….Yeah, you know who you are, you torturous ladies that share war stories with first-time mamas. Just admit it…you do it when they’re too fat and slow to run away. I’m on to you.
Like I said, I was told hideous stories – everything from fetal demise to holes in the baby’s brain (not kidding for either of these). But the tidal wave of minutia people flooded me with had little to do with the things I really wanted to know. If every pregnancy is different, how can your 45 hour breech baby labor story do anything but scare the crap out of me? I’m just sayin…
This all brings me to the real point of this post:
The most important thing to know about pregnancy is how to manage your stress.
I got this lesson from my high-risk OB in my 15th week. Yep, if you do the math, you’ll realize I suffered through 3.5 months of CrazyTown Worry. I also suffered from vicious migraines, spending days at a time under ice and herbal packs because I couldn’t take any medication yet. Or so I thought…
When I went to my second monthly visit with the high-risk guy and we told him what was up with the migraines, he scolded me for the first and only time in my pregnancy. He was pretty forceful about it.
“Jenny,” he said, “the most amazing organ in the human body is the placenta. About twelve weeks into your term, the placenta takes over the whole project of pregnancy. It’s most important job is to regulate your baby’s environment.
“The placenta can correct for malnutrition. It can correct for dehydration. The one thing the placenta can NOT correct for is stress on the part of the mother, especially physical stress.
“Your pregnancy works like a parasite/host relationship. As the “parasite” your baby
will get what it needs from you, the host. UNLESS you undergo extreme stress. When the mother’s body is stressed, it triggers a fight or flight response that diverts blood flow from the parasite to the host.”
Keeping calm is the new mommy’s #1 job. Yes, you need to sleep as much as possible and eat really well but those are job #2 and #3.
How do you control your stress levels?
- By knowing that, in doing so, you are protecting your baby.
- Find your force field of Zen and step inside it. Carve that area of calm out like a nest in a tree and live inside it for the months that you’re pregnant. This is the most important thing you can do for your baby.
- Do whatever you must to find your Zen. Some women knit, some take up yoga. For me, it’s work that will keep my mind off problems. I started my current job when I was almost 5 months pregnant.
- Find that calm center and embrace it. It doesn’t matter whether it’s trashy magazines or meditation that keep you calm. I knew one pregnant woman who did loads of laundry multiple times because folding it soothed her.
Remember, God’s in charge of the pregnancy and you’re in charge of the Zen.
I hope all is well in your world. My regular More Cowbell readers know, I love hearing from you! Please do take a moment to say hi and let me know how you found Risky Baby Business. If you are having a difficult time getting pregnant, click here for one of my tips.
What things are the most worrisome to you about pregnancy in general and high-risk pregnancy specifically? What surprised you the most about pregnancy? Enquiring minds always want to know here at More Cowbell.
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This new series celebrates the adventure from your point of view. Take us on your journey through the sometimes irrational, decidedly demanding, high maintenance wonderment of pregnancy. Share the miracle of your body taking you to places you never thought it would; the lower back pains, mood swings, cravings, exhaustion and new-found appetites.
If you are at the end of your first or into your second trimester and within 40 miles of the greater Los Angeles area, you could be eligible to star in a new exciting series that celebrates the roller coaster ride of pregnancy. Email email@example.com or click here for more information.