Pro-life people weren’t there for me when I was hauled off to the ER during a Chorale rehearsal, my heart pounding at 160 BPM just to keep my blood flowing because I was so dehydrated.

Pro-life people didn’t offer to help pay my hospital bills and help me gain access to the IV nutrition and anti-nausea meds that might have allowed me to carry to term had I not miscarried.

Pro-life people do not care that I vomited a dozen (or more) times a day for 5 weeks straight. They’ve told me on several dozen occasions, when I share my story, that a “real” mother would have died rather than even consider abortion.

Pro-life people don’t care that I actually miscarried - they tell me that I’m still a murderer because I didn’t die for my “child.”

Pro-life people tell me that I just had “morning sickness” and that I should get my tubes tied since I couldn’t handle being pregnant.

Pro-life people did not help me when I vomited and vomited and continued to vomit until there was nothing left but bile and blood from the broken vessels in my esophagus.

Pro-choice people at Planned Parenthood took me under their care, gave me antibiotics when I miscarried, gave me another ultrasound to make sure that I hadn’t retained any tissue, and enabled me to get a prescription for birth control pills rather than continuing to use condoms and risk having another one break.

Pro-life people are there every time I go to Planned Parenthood for pap smears and birth control. They curse at me, tell me that I’m going to Hell, wave around their signs full of pictures of aborted fetuses, and threaten all of the other “sluts” and “whores” who go there, no matter what the reason.

Midwives talk about the “three delays” that can kill a mother in labor or her baby.The first delay stems from an assumption or hope that they can deliver at home without skilled assistance, so they do not go to a properly resourced medical facility when complications arise. Read more in Because Tomorrow Needs Her:

My wife and I went through a tragic experience. I believe we have to turn the bullshit of life into gold for others. So, I wrote an article about it.

This human alchemy is the only way I know how to deal with it. By confronting our loss, we hope others can be helped to do the same. (Via the Huffington Post)


A Guide to Pregnancy Complications

This post is in response to this. Ectopic pregnancies are awful but not the only condition that can lead to complications during a pregnancy and/or life-threatening situations.

The following text is from Discovery Health:

  • Pregnancy Complications in Older MothersIn recent years there has been a trend toward having babies later in life. But more pronounced chronic diseases in the mother, among other conditions, can have an adverse affect on the developing fetus. Fortunately, prenatal care is similar for women of all ages, but this page will tell you some symptoms that women older than 35 should watch out for.
  • Pregnancy Complications in Teenage MothersMost teenagers are not ready – physically or emotionally – to have children. As a result, birth weight is typically lower and babies of teens are more susceptible to certain illnesses. It will take an effort on the part of the teenage mom to ensure the health of her baby. This page tells you how to do it.
  • Preterm BirthAbout 11 to 12 percent of deliveries in the United States are classified as premature, which is a birth that occurs between the 20th and 36th weeks of pregnancy. This is a dangerous condition for the baby, which might not be able to survive outside of the womb. But modern medicine has helped many premature babies survive and grow up normally. On this page you’ll learn why you must go to the hospital immediately if you suspect you’re going into labor prematurely.
  • Postterm BirthIf a baby still has not arrived two weeks past its due date, it may be in danger of malnutrition or even pneumonia. There is no danger to the mother, but a doctor may choose to induce labor for the baby’s health. This page will tell you what happens in that case.
  • Ectopic PregnancyAn ectopic pregnancy is one in which the fertilized egg settles outside the uterus. This can be a very painful, and dangerous, condition for the mother, and if an ectopic pregnancy is detected the mother will be hospitalized immediately. This page will show you how to tell if you have an ectopic pregnancy, and what your doctor will do.
  • StillbirthsStillbirth, the death of a baby before it is born, is becoming rare thanks to improved prenatal care. However, this tragic outcome of a pregnancy can happen, usually when the flow of nutrition from the placenta is cut off. This page will tell you how a doctor will detect a stillbirth.
  • MiscarriagesAbout 15 percent of known births end in miscarriage, when a baby is born too early in the pregnancy to be viable. Although many doctors prescribe bed rest if they suspect a miscarriage is possible, most believe there is no way to prevent one. This page will tell you the different types of miscarriage and the factors that contribute to them.
  • Multiple BirthsTwins can double the joy of being a new mother, but they can also present health risks. The most common risk of a multiple birth is premature labor, and a breech birth – with the baby coming out feet first rather than head first – is common as well. Although the reasons for multiple births are not fully understood, this page will tell you what do to if you’re carrying more than one fetus.
  • Placenta ComplicationsA woman shouldn’t experience any vaginal bleeding during pregnancy. If you do, it may be a sign of placenta previa or placental abruption. These are two conditions in which the placenta does not behave normally, and they almost always lead to a cesarean section. Find out more about these abnormalities on this page.
  • Cesarean SectionAbout 30 percent of U.S. babies are born via cesarean section, in which a baby is removed through an incision in the mother’s abdomen. There are many reasons why this procedure would be necessary, but it’s always for the health of the baby or the mother and it’s extremely safe. This page goes over the reasons and explains the two types of cesarean section.
  • Birth DefectsBirth defects can affect the head, face, eyes, mouth, hands, feet, and internal organs. Some minor birth defects can be corrected and leave no trace, but others are more severe and stay with the baby for life. This page details numerous birth defects, from cleft palate and clubfoot to spina bifida and Down syndrome.
  • Rh IncompatibilityIf a mother and fetus don’t have compatible blood, there can be severe complications for the fetus. Furthermore, any fetus the mother carries in the future is at risk, too, unless a doctor takes the proper steps to sensitize the mother. Find out what Rh is, how it affects your pregnancy, and what your doctor will do about it on this page.
  • Deseases During PregnancyThe baby isn’t the only one who’s at risk. Pregnancy can cause health issues for the mother too, from simple swelling of the hands and feet to increased risk of heart and kidney disease. And existing conditions in the mother, such as diabetes, can endanger a fetus. Most mothers are healthy throughout their pregnancy, but this page will tell you how to stay that way.
  • Abnormalities of LaborLabor is a complicated process that can become difficult in several ways. If the baby and the umbilical cord are not positioned correctly, for example, the doctor may have to perform a cesarean section. Here you’ll see what your doctor will be looking for and what he or she will do to correct anything that goes wrong.

Information on Heart Problems from Mayo Clinic:

How does pregnancy affect the heart?

Pregnancy stresses your heart and circulatory system. During pregnancy, your blood volume increases by 30 to 50 percent to nourish your growing baby. The amount of blood your heart pumps each minute also increases by 30 to 50 percent. Your heart rate increases as well. These changes cause your heart to work harder.

Of course, labor and delivery add to your heart’s workload, too. During labor — particularly when you push — you’ll experience abrupt changes in blood flow and pressure. When your baby is born, decreased blood flow through the uterus also stresses your heart.

What are the risks?

The risks depend on the nature and severity of the underlying heart condition. For example:

  • Heart rhythm issues.Minor abnormalities in heart rhythm are common during pregnancy. They’re not usually cause for concern.
  • Heart valve issues.If you have an artificial heart valve or your heart or valves are scarred or malformed, you might face an increased risk of complications during pregnancy. If your valves aren’t working properly, you might have trouble tolerating the increased blood flow. In addition, artificial or abnormal valves carry an increased risk of endocarditis — a potentially life-threatening infection of the lining of the heart and heart valves. Mechanical artificial heart valves also pose serious risks during pregnancy due to the need to adjust use of blood thinners and the potential for life-threatening clotting (thrombosis) of heart valves.
  • Congestive heart failure.As blood volume increases, congestive heart failure can get worse.
  • Congenital heart defect.If you were born with a heart problem, your baby has a greater risk of developing some type of heart defect, too. You may also be at risk of premature delivery.

Other conditions that can lead to serious complications during a pregnant:

A few more sources:

Midwives talk about the “three delays” that can kill a mother in labor or her baby. The third delay is an absence of good quality care at a health facility. A mother could arrive at night when no skilled staff are present. There may be staff, but no drugs or equipment or it could be too expensive. Read about how MSF tries to prevent the third delay in Chapter 2 of  Because Tomorrow Needs Her:

Preterm contraction advice?

Do any experienced mommas have any advice or want to share their experiences with bed rest after preterm contractions (no dilation) at/around 28 weeks? I’m still having some contractions, which they said is normal & fine as long as they don’t start coming 4 in an hour again.

It’s weird though…when I’m standing my abdomen feels kind of hard like a contraction, even when I’m not having one. So it makes it harder to monitor. When I was in the hospital the machine was picking up way more contractions than I was even feeling! It makes it harder to sense them and I’m afraid I might be missing some.

I’m so nervous though! I’m so afraid it’s going to happen again with dilation and little girl coming early, at the hospital instead of the birthing center, spending time in the NICU, etc.

Obviously I’m being WAY paranoid, I know. But it’s so hard not to when I start to feel tired and crampy when I’m up and walking around for just a few minutes!!!

Anyone care to comfort a neurotic first time mom?

This photo was taken about 30-45 minutes after Kaleb was born. He on life support. His body couldn’t breath on it’s own or keep itself warm. This was the second time I had seen him. This picture. I wasn’t even there when the photo was taken. this photo was literally the second time I had seem. ( I wasn’t allowed to leave the hospital bed until Kaleb was 2 hours old due to stitching being done) The first time I seen him he had no heart beat and didn’t until he was 12 mintues old.

Today Kaleb is a very healthy, very smart 23 month old. God has His strong, healing hands all over Kaleb long before my hands got to hold him at all. I get sad when I think that my baby didn’t get to feel his mother’s arms the moment he was born like so many other babies have gotten to. But instead he got to feel The Father’s hands first.

We are very lucky parents, and Kaleb is a lucky little boy. And God is ALWAYS good
baby/doctors/labor update

Everything went great at the ultrasound and while there I started having contractions !! They have been going going on for the last few hours and are 10mins apart.. so that is good, but I am still not dilated at all :( Hopefully these contractions will get things moving  because they gave me my induction date… September 18th. That is ten days way.. that is NOT happening lol Luckily my mama and the other doctor said that they think they will move the date up due to my blood pressure. So pray that he comes before that on his own or that they move the date up! Im dying to meet my little bear <3

HELLP Syndrome

HELLP Syndrome is a series of symptoms that make up a syndrome that can affect pregnant women. HELLP syndrome is thought to be a variant of preeclampsia, but it may be an entity all on its own. There are still many questions about the serious condition of HELLP syndrome. The cause is still unclear to many doctors and often HELLP syndrome is misdiagnosed. It is believed that HELLP syndrome affects about 0.2 to 0.6 percent of all pregnancies.

What is HELLP Syndrome?

The name HELLP stands for:

  • H- hemolysis ( breakdown of red blood cells)
  • EL- elevated liver enzymes (liver function)
  • LP- low platelets counts (platelets help the blood clot)

It is often assumed that HELLP Syndrome will always occur in connection with preeclampsia, but there are times when the symptoms of HELLP will occur without a diagnosis of preeclampsia being made. About 4-12% of women with diagnosed preeclampsia will develop HELLP syndrome. Unfortunately since the symptoms of HELLP syndrome may be the first sign of preeclampsia, this is what can often lead to a misdiagnoses. The symptoms of HELLP may cause misdiagnoses of other conditions such as hepatitis, gallbladder disease, or idiopathic/thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP, which is a bleeding disorder.)

What are the Symptoms of HELLP Syndrome?

The most common symptoms of HELLP syndrome include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting that continue to get worse (this may also feel like a serious case of the flu.)
  • Upper right abdominal pain or tenderness
  • Fatigue or malaise

A woman with HELLP may experience other symptoms that often can be attributed to other things such as normal pregnancy concerns or other pregnancy conditions. These symptoms may include:

  • Visual disturbances
  • High blood pressure
  • Protein in urine
  • Edema (swelling)
  • Severe headaches
  • Bleeding

How is HELLP Syndrome Diagnosed?

Because the symptoms of HELP can mimic many other conditions or complications, it is encouraged that physicians run a series of blood tests, including liver function, on any woman experiencing symptoms during the third trimester of pregnancy. HELLP syndrome may occur before the third trimester but it is rare. It also may occur within 48 hours of delivery, although symptoms may take up to 7 days to be evident.

Blood pressure measurements and urine tests to check for protein are often monitored when diagnosing HELLP syndrome. But the following tests and results are what help a physician to make an accurate diagnosis of HELLP Syndrome:

Hemolysis -Red blood bells

  • Abnormal peripheral smear
  • Lacatate dehydrogenase >600 U/L
  • Bilirubin > 1.2 mg/dl

Elevated liver Enzyme levels

  • Serum aspartate amniotransferase >70 U/L
  • Lacatate dehydrogenase >600 U/L

Low Platelets

  • Platelet count

How is HELLP Syndrome Treated?

The treatment of HELLP Syndrome is primarily based on the gestation of the pregnancy, but delivery of the baby is the best way to stop this condition from causing any serious complications for mom and baby. Most symptoms and side effects of HELLP will subside within 2-3 days of delivery.

If the pregnancy is less than 34 weeks gestation, doctors usually try to evaluate lung function of baby to see how well delivery would be handled.

Treatment’s that may be used to manage HELLP until baby is delivered include:

  • Bed rest and admission into a medical facility to be monitored closely
  • Corticosteroid ( to help babies lungs develop more rapidly)
  • Magnesium Sulfate ( to help prevent seizures)
  • Blood transfusion if platelet count gets too low
  • Blood pressure medication
  • Fetal monitoring and tests including biophysical tests, sonograms, non stress tests and fetal movement evaluation

If pregnancy is over 34 weeks gestation or the symptoms of HELLP begin to worsen, delivery is the recommended course of treatment.

In the past, Cesarean delivery was the most common way for delivery of babies whose moms were dealing with HELLP syndrome. But it is now recommended that women, who are at least 34 weeks gestation and have a favorable cervix, should be given a “trial of labor” (TOL). HELLP syndrome does not cause reason for an automatic cesarean and in some situations, operative surgery may cause more complications due to the possibility of blood clotting problems related to low platelet counts. If a cesarean delivery is necessary and the platelet count is

What Causes HELLP Syndrome?

Doctors are still unclear on what exactly causes HELLP syndrome. Although it is more common in women who have preeclampsia or pregnancy induced hypertension, there are still a number of women who get it without previously showing signs of preeclampsia.

The following is a list of factors that are believed to increase the risk of a woman developing HELLP syndrome:

  • Previous pregnancy with HELLP Syndrome (19-27% chance of recurrence in each pregnancy)
  • Preeclampsia or pregnancy induced hypertension
  • Women over the age of 25
  • Caucasian
  • Multiparous (given birth two or more times)

What are the Risks and Complications of HELLP Syndrome?

If HELLP syndrome is undiagnosed or untreated, it can result in life threatening complications for both mother and baby. The most serious complications and risks of HELLP syndrome include:

  • Placental Abruption
  • Pulmonary Edema ( fluid buildup in the lungs)
  • Diseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC—blood clotting problems that result in hemorrhage)
  • Adult Respiratory distress syndrome (lung failure)
  • Ruptured liver hematoma
  • Acute renal failure
  • Intrauterine Growth restriction (IUGR)
  • Infant respiratory Distress syndrome (lung failure)
  • Blood transfusion

The maternal mortality rate is about 1.1% with HELLP syndrome. The infant morbidity and mortality rate is anywhere from 10-60% depending on many factors such as gestation of pregnancy, severity of symptoms and the promptness of treatment.

How can HELLP Syndrome be Prevented?

Because there is not a known cause for HELLP syndrome, there is also no identified way to prevent it. Early identification and treatment is the best way to keep HELLP syndrome from getting serious.

Since HELLP syndrome is believed to be related to preeclampsia, staying vigilant about diet, exercise and a healthy blood pressure can only help things!



For those that were wondering how I am holding up with the sudden onset of pregnancy edema swelling - here is my foot for you to see - and this is actually quite a bit better than it was on Easter Sunday when it suddenly set in within four hours.

It’s so incredibly painful to walk because of it, and both my feet, ankles and entire legs are like this.

Luckily my prescription edema compression panty hoses are finally in four me to pick them up tomorrow morning. I’m hoping that they help my case and force the extra fluids back into my system so that I can finally flush them out and have my body back to being healthy.

The edema caused me to gain twelve pounds so far from it happening until my appointment for days later and my body is not holding up with all this extra weight - those twelve pounds of edema in four days from swelling is as much weight as I gained in the entire 8.5 months of the pregnancy so far, and I’m normally a petite girl so it’s causing extra damage to my body.

During pregnancy a weight gain of more than five pounds in a week is dangerous and I more than doubled that in about half the time.

I’m really worried but trying to stay calm to not worsen any issues with extra stress.

doctor/hospital/baby update (in bullet form cause Im exhausted!)
  • Went to my normal doctor’s appt on Tuesday am and my blood pressure was 140/92 and I had +1 proteins in my urine. I jokingly asked her if we could just induce me this week and she says absolutely not and leaves the room.
  • Comes back and says “how would you like to be induced today?” So even though I know being induced isnt the best, I get excited because hey, I want to have my boy in my arms! So she explains that they will be putting a little pill in my cervix every 4hrs for 24hrs and then switching to pitocin. She tells me that I will probably be here 2 or 3 days before things start really getting intense and that I absolutely will not be leaving the hospital until I have my son (she stresses this).
  • So I get all excited and we go to the L&D floor and go to triage to wait for a room for me. While there, they hook me up to the monitors and all of that jazz and check my cervix. I wasnt dilated at all and my cervix was just starting to soften. After sitting in triage for a couple of hours, the nurse says we are going to move into an actual L&D room and the doctor tells her no. Change of plans guys, we arent inducing you. you can go home. Apparently my blood pressure wasnt as high as it was previously and they want to make sure that I am preclamptic before inducing me. I was bummedbut hey, wahtever. So they give me a jug to collect my urine for 24hrs and bring back.
  • So I wake up the next day (Wednesday) with an AWFUL migraine. When I get to the hospital and give them the urine jug the nurse is like “uh where is the rest of it?” and I was like “that’s everything”. Apparently 350ccs isnt a good urine output for a pregnant woman so they tell me to get comfty because they are admitting me because hey, now my kidneys appear to be acting up.
  • So they admit me and I stay overnight.. at 2am the nurse comes in and tells me the doctor wants to put a catheter in because I wasnt peeing enough. I freak out and we make a deal - they come in and wake me every 2 hrs and as long as i pee a little bit, no catheter. So we do this.
  • 6am rolls around  and they do an ultrasound.. my fluids are borderline low and my second 24 urine collection was 500cc which still sucked. I hangout all day and then the nurse is telling me how they will most likely keep me because my urines kept showing protiens on and off, my urine output was concerning, and my blood pressure kept going high and then being okay and then going high.
  • Wrong again, they sent me home again, which instructions to come in some time on Saturday to have another ultrasound done to check the fluids again and then come again to the doctor on Tuesday am and that if my BP is still up we will figure things out then. He said that the reason they dont want to induce me just yet is my cervix not being soft enough.. he feels that i would end up in labor for several days and then end up needing an emergency c-section.

So Im exhausted, on bed rest until Tuesday, and just frustrated over all. I know that going naturally is best for both Owen and I, but I did get excited about meeting him sooner than I thought. Oh well. My mom (she is a nurse) is also frustrated because I have met all the criteria for preclampsia and needing to be induced (and then some lol) and the doctors are blowing it off. Not to mention, something funny is going on with my body.. I drank soooo much fluids this afternoon and I was able to pee out 50ccs?! That’s INSANE. I dont know. Im frustrated and tired and my little man is going crazy in there. See, he cant wait to be in his mama’s arms either :) haha On a better note, the doctor told me that he doesnt think I will go past the next 5-7 days. He thinks that if everything keeps on the track it’s been on that they will start induction within a few days.. he just wasnt comfortable because of the cervix/csection thing. He was very very nice though.

finally went to get checked out because of the swelling and such

I have a small amount of proteins in my urine and my BP is a little bit higher than normal and I have had a headache on and off for days and despite the fact that I have hardly been eating all weekend (because of feeling crappy), I managed to gain almost 8lbs in four days? Interesting.. She sent me home with a lovely jug that I have to pee in for 24 hours. So I have a doctors appt at 9:50am tomorrow and then I have to go baaaaack to L&D at 11pm to turn in my urine jug and have some tests done.

Aweeeesome! Of course I feel like driving 20mins to the city and sitting there for a few hours. Im not exhausted or anything :( Just need to stay calm, relax, and keep my eye on the prize. Sure, the prize is 7 weeks away, but my baby boy will be here before I know it and I cannot wait :) :) I love him so much

I’ve been a little on and off with my blog lately, but, I’m proud to report, that I’ve started writing for the Denver Metro Moms Blog.  Check out my first post over there!

anonymous asked:

What would be the signs of going in to labor and what are some risks of childbirth.

Everyone’s different and every pregnancy they have is different, and that means some people can have labour sneak up on them right until they find themselves on the ground almost through it all.

But that doesn’t often happen, despite what Hollywood likes to claim.

Here’s a list of signs one could have if they’re going into labour:

  • Lower back and abdominal pain, like you’d have with a period, including cramps.
  • Contractions that are painful, and regular and with little time in between, and all this increasing (more pain, more strength, more regularity, less time between contractions).
  • Water breaking, which you may feel or you may not. Some people gush, others have only a trickle like wetting themselves a little.
  • Bloody mucous discharge.
  • Nausea or loose bowels.
  • Increasing moments of moodiness and emotional intensity.
  • Disrupted and difficult sleeping.

As for the risks of childbirth, again it’s dependent per person, and per pregnancy. Some people have more risk, some have less, sometimes you have a pregnancy with more risk than previous or future pregnancies, etc.

You also have to consider the added risks your choice of birthing may have. C-section and vaginal birth both have their pros and cons, as does hospital vs home birth, as does refusing vs accepting certain procedures, and so on. It’s a very individual experience with every pregnancy.

Some standard risks with childbirth in general are:

  • Prolonged labour, which at the most minor may cause infection, and at the most major may cause asphyxiation of the baby. There is also failure to progress, which in some cases means your labour stops at a certain point and doesn’t continue, which can cause severe issues for you and baby.
  • Abnormal positioning, such as breeching, which makes vaginal birth difficult and risky for both the pregnant person and the child, but not impossible. You could give birth just as well, or you could break your child’s arms, or you could asphyxiation your child. However, abnormal positioning usually causes a more painful and prolonged vaginal birth.
  • The umbilical cord being expelled before the baby. This may completely hinder vaginal birth as well as risk the baby’s life. Other umbilical cord incidents include when it has accidentally wrapped around the fetus, causing strangulation or loss of bloodflow to limbs, or when it gets squished and thus weakens your baby because of the cut in supply of nutrients.
  • Placenta issues such as losing supply of nutrients, causing severe blood loss, or blocking the way for a vaginal birth.
  • Being overdue. Generally not an alarming situation, but sometimes being overdue can cause health issues in you or the baby. Most often, though, it’s just very uncomfortable.
  • Mental health issues. There’s some influence from how your childbirth goes (did the doctor listen to you? did you feel safe and validated? were you allowed to see your baby soon?) or the situation you are in (are you being forced to have a baby or give it up? are you pregnant as a result of rape? will the baby permanently tie you to your abuser?), but it’s not uncommon for people to be traumatized by childbirth. What’s most common is postpartum depression, though.

Those are the main issues a person generally faces, but there are a plethora of problems that can present themselves. Gestational diabetes, fetal death/necrosis and sepsis, pelvic inflammatory disease, miscarriage that damages the uterus or risks death from blood loss, loss of multiples (it’s not uncommon to only have one child survive out of two or more, sadly), and so on, up to and including sudden death of either the pregnant person or the fetus.

This link (gendered language) is an overview of a good lot of things that could happen to a pregnant person. This Wikipedia article (gendered language again) gives an overview of childbirth as a process and includes information on some complications, practices and recommendations, and social issues surrounding childbirth, though it is a very long read.