Stories and thoughts from day to day life in the Bullard Family

Preparing for a Natural Birth February 17, 2011

Filed under: Self-care — parentsong @ 4:52 pm
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For my first pregnancy, my husband and I took Bradley Birth classes. I would highly recommend this to anyone, even if you aren’t planning a natural birth.  I think it is empowering. And since we don’t really witness births anymore in our society (aside from The Learning Channel), I think it is a good way to get to know the process and understand it.

In addition to general birthing education (such as what happens during birth), Bradley emphasizes relaxation techniques and having a coach (such as husband or partner). Nick and I never really practiced the relaxation techniques when I was pregnant with Briony. One night, we finally sat down together and he started reading a script. Then, my bag of waters started leaking and well, that was the end of that. Everything turned out and I had an unmedicated birth, but knowing now what I didn’t know then, I have been taking more time to practice relaxing and other methods of support during labor.

One new thing I am trying this time around is using aromatherapy.  When I was in college, I was way into essential oils and learning what different oils were good for and how to blend them. It had been so long, I ended up spending all of my Christmas gift money (thanks, Grandma!) on essential oils to aid in my labor and recovery processes. So far, I have been trying out different combinations and concentrations before bed each night to see how I feel about them. I just use a ceramic lamp diffuser (a bit of water with a couple drops of EO). When it gets too strong, I turn off the light.

I chose oils according to the book, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. For the labor room, suggested oils include rose, neroli, lavender, clary sage, and geranium. I collected all but rose. No doubt, lavender takes the cake for relaxation. It should also be good for pain and can be added to a bath or warm compress. Clary sage is also good for pain relief, and when combined with lavender in the diffuser, it has a nice smell, though I have yet to experience pain relief since I have not been in pain.

Geranium as a fantastic mood lifter; it was always one of my favorite oils. Surprisingly, when combined with lavender in the diffuser, I felt relaxed and stimulated at the same time: like an alert relaxed state. Might be good for entering that self-doubt stage just before the pushing starts.

That leaves us with Neroli. What a gorgeous fragrance! I did not blend this oil because I love the smell so much. It hasn’t done much for me in the line of relaxation, but it does make me feel like I am being pampered. I’ll probably use this one for post-partum recovery when I am feeling drained and need to feel like a queen!



In My Solitude February 12, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — parentsong @ 7:01 am
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Savoring what might be the last Saturday morning I have to myself in a while, I thought I’d write about what makes it so special for me. It is the one time during the week I can look forward and plan for nearly 2 hours of staying in the house by myself. Nick takes Briony to the playroom while he does yoga. When I was still going to yoga classes, I used this time to clean and catch up on things I couldn’t do with Briony in the house (she is terrified of the vacuum cleaner).
Since about 36 weeks pregnant, I have been using my Saturdays to practice yoga at home, mostly because illness kept me out of the studio (sinus infections and food poisoning and lovely things like that). So this morning, I enjoyed a quiet, focused yoga practice. Yoga is part of my self-care practice, both while pregnant and not. I have loved it since I started 10 years ago. Fortunately, I married a fantastic yoga teacher who has been so helpful to me in improving my practice. He’s also a source of inspiration because he can do some pretty wicked poses.
The funny thing about practicing yoga throughout the pregnancy is how poses drop off little by little as one passes through each trimester. I didn’t really become affected by the changes until toward the end here. I recently had to drop sirsasana (headstand), which is one of my favorite poses, especially with a big belly. At 39 weeks, I just can’t get up there anymore, but I enjoy the two dozen or so poses that I have left available to me. It gives my body a nice release, allows my mind to refresh and leaves me feeling centered. Just right, ahhhh.

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