Thursday, March 25, 2010
Welcoming Our Newest Family Addition!
My little girl, Isabella Lily Asmus entered this world on Sunday, March 21st at 8:57 p.m. Hurray! I'm extremely thankful she is finally here! My patience has been tested as I started having contractions around 32 weeks and had them stopped at the hospital. We didn't want to have our little girl quite that early. Then at 36 weeks the contractions became extremely intense again and we were back at the hospital. Still no baby, instead just an "aggravated uterus," whatever that is supposed to mean. The week before she was born my contractions were becoming very painful and were often about 10 minutes apart. Everyday the thought was, "is this it?" and it never was. Finally, a little after midnight Saturday night, things went into high gear. When we woke up at 5 a.m. on Sunday morning we thought we might have a little girl before lunch. However, things slowed down again so I decided to go to church and try not to focus on how I was feeling. There wasn't much I could do to make things progress faster. I'm glad we went to church because our pastor had the perfect sermon on patience that day! Soon after we got home from church and had eaten some lunch my contractions quickly increased to the point that it was hard to stand and I was basically in tears from the pain. We decided it was time to head to the hospital. We got there about 5 PM.
The experience of this birth was entirely different than the birth of my son, Noah. In both cases I wanted to have a natural birth, but with my son nothing progressed as planned and I ended up with quite a bit of intervention. I did all that I could to avoid a cesarean section, which I thankfully didn't have to have. With my little girl everything happened completely naturally with zero intervention. I was able to labor in a birthing tub, which if you are going to be having a baby and are looking at ways to go about laboring without pain medication, the birthing tub is great. Does it take the pain away, no not at all, but your body isn't so stressed out from the pain and you can relax more between contractions. This can help things progress more quickly. There were times when I thought there was no way I was going to be able to keep going without some pain medication. My husband was a great support during those times. Thankfully my water broke finally and it was time to push with the next contraction. A half-dozen contractions later, I had a little girl in my arms.
I want to give a salute to St. Joseph's Hospital in St. Paul and the staff there -especially Lisa Matke, the midwife who delivered Isabella. She and Mary Ann, the nurse, allowed my body to dictate the birthing process and encouraged me the whole time. We delivered at a different hospital with our son and the experience was just okay. We had a midwife for the first birth, too, but were left feeling frustrated about the whole experience.
Part of why I am sharing this information is to say that I truly believe that a large part of why the birth of my daughter went so much better than the birth of my son was from the changes I made to my diet. I was eating pretty well with my son, but was still in the early learning stages of how to best keep my body healthy while pregnant. Armed with a lot more information for round two, I think I started the pregnancy out on the right foot with eating the right types of food. So what where those foods? Lots of healthy organic fats such as organic butter from cows exclusively grass fed, organic unrefined coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil. Organic grass fed meat, organic raw milk from an excellent milk farmer, organic free-range eggs, high-vitamin cod liver oil and butter oil, yogurt, keifer, fermented foods like sauerkraut and sourdough bread, beef and chicken broth/stock and of course lots of organic vegetables.
For all the foods that I made sure were in my diet, there were also plenty of foods I avoided. As important as it is to incorporate the healthiest foods possible into your diet, it's just as important to not eat the foods that are bad for us. What types of food am I talking about? Well, for one, anything with high-fructose corn syrup which is found in an amazing number of foods, especially condiments. Read your labels and you might be shocked at how often you find it listed in the ingredient list. What else? Soy – just about all types and mono sodium glutamate (MSG). MSG is a much harder ingredient to avoid unless you know how to identify it on the ingredient list. By law, they can put MSG under the heading of "natural flavorings," which is what most companies do. A good rule of thumb to avoiding this terrible flavor enhancer is to not eat anything that lists "natural flavorings" under their ingredient list. Think about it, why don't they just tell you exactly what's in the food you're eating? Fishy, fishy if you ask me. I don't like it when companies aren't straight forward with what's in their product. Finally, I avoided processed food of any type as much as possible. This rule can be difficult to consistently follow, but I did my best to eat whole food made from scratch whenever possible.
Where does that leave me? After following these rules of thumb for my diet I now have a healthy little girl, who was nursing perfectly within 5 minutes of being born, and within hours could lift her head and turn it from side to side. We had our first doctor's appointment today and the nurse was pretty amazed that Isabella was only an ounce away from her birth weight, which she said normally takes babies 2 weeks to get back to. Plus, I'm doing great too! It will takes time for my body to heal and get all my energy back, but all in all, I'm doing fabulous. My body went from hardly being able to deliver my son, to having no problems at all with my daughter. Sure, it's always easier the second time, but not necessarily this much easier.
Okay, enough of my ramblings! How about some pictures? More will be coming soon, but here is what I have for now.