Hey All!  It’s been so long since we last connected and for that I apologize!  I seem to be apologizing a lot for things lately, and typically I would say I have no excuse, but this time I DO!

If you don’t already know, I, Meryl, is expecting my second child in early May!  It’s right around that corner and I am ready, scared and soaking up all of the information I can, as it has been FIVE YEARS since my last baby!

It is truly a time for excitement, as we were pretty confidant that we would not be having any other children, but then we said… “Wow, we feel incomplete.  Let’s add a Brown!”  So, that is the quick story.

As I said, it’s been five years since the birth of our last daughter/pregnancy and I feel as though I forgot so much, but I was able to really revel in the knowledge train and learn all sorts of new things that I would like to share with you!  I wanted to share some links and services that I think are helpful when going through pregnancy and childbirth.  *The links in this post are mostly local, but the ideas can be applied all over!

1. A Good Doctor or Midwife:

My doctor and I have a pretty awesome relationship.  We are not friends, but rather teammates.  Her philosophies have differed from mine on occasion, however, I had the birth I wanted with my first daughter and anticipate having the birth I want this time around as well.  She reassures me in my times of uncertainty, and validates my feelings, even though I think she feels I am a bit neurotic! She will take the time to answer my questions and helps me to understand what will happen.  The biggest thing is that she understands my fear of medical intervention, yet need for the clinical setting (picture: natural birth in a hospital) and will be honest if she thinks some of my methods or thoughts are wacky! If you feel uncomfortable in your care and are unsure of your stance with a variety of things, CHANGE YOUR DOC!

2. A Solid and Friendly Birth Class:

During our first birth we took the birth class given by the hospital.  My husband and I were pretty uncomfortable with the setting, as most of the talk turned to epidurals and medical interventions.  We felt that our methods were not validated and that when push came to shove (haha) we would be met with people fearful of letting me do things I felt my body wanted to do.  The breathing techniques we learned were a bit outdated and I didn’t use any of them during my first birth.  However, we met some great people in that class (other parents) and when we entered daycare several months after, they were all in the same one (great minds think a like!) and now we are still friends to this day.  This time around, my husband and I are taking a class online: Birth Boot Camp.  We were unable to get into a live class, as my due date didn’t line up with what was being offered in my small town, however this is one of very few classes where videos are offered online.  Though we miss the face to face interaction of a student and other classmates, it is really nice to skip through some of the “this is birth and what happens when you dilate” parts that we already are familiar with.  We even got a really great book to read through as well.  If you are NOT seeking natural birth methods, DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS!  I feel that sometimes they scare us into going natural.  Just my honest opinion.  However, if natural is your choice, TAKE THIS CLASS!  It’s ridiculously full with information, videos of births in a variety of settings, audio versions of relaxation techniques and a breastfeeding DVD that we will be revisiting shortly.

3. A Doula:

A lot of people keep asking why I am having a doula for this second birth when we succeeded in the birth we wanted for our first daughter.  My answer: A have to help my hubby out!  (And possibly feed into my neurosis).  My husband, bless him, was an amazing trooper as he marched up and down that hallway for hours on end, skipping meals to make sure I was comfortable and skipping out on sleep when he didn’t want me to be awake alone.  When it came time to be hands on, he was exhausted, and while he was present and helpful, I feel there was more he could have done if given the energy.  So, we have hired Carrie, of Beautiful Birth Doula Services.  She will be able to assist Mike with techniques to make contractions easier to get through, offer ways to get things moving a bit faster if I happen to slow down, and even feed me at times 🙂  In addition, she provides support for me throughout my pregnancy if needed, as evidenced by her super helpful lavender oil drop-off two weeks ago when I decided it would be cool to run a 5k and send myself into mild contractions.  Our doula rocks and is super supportive, just like my doctor, but without the medical side of things.  I HIGHLY encourage a doula to anyone who wants a more comfortable birth (natural or not!).

4. Snoogle:

This pillow is a MUST HAVE! Seriously, if you don’t own this, you are really missing out.  It provides support for your head, your back, your belly and helps to keep your knees from knocking.  No more explanation needed, just go get it, trust me, you’ll thank me.

5. Full Panel Maternity Pants:

Seriously, these are the best thing on earth.  I was not wise during my first pregnancy and bought a bunch of “under the belly” pants and honestly, I have never gone to the bathroom so much in my life!  And, they hurt!  By the end of my pregnancy I was actually in pain from them digging into me.  Now this time, being at about 32 weeks, I am so comfortable and I am extremely happy that I am not visiting the facilities every five minutes!  Besides, the full panels provide you a little bit of support, so I have been able to avoid a maternity belt and back pain.  In fact, my running pants have a full panel and coupled with a belly band, was provided enough support to complete a 5k at 30 weeks with my ever growing belly. *This was the last running I will do before baby comes 🙁

6. A Gift Registry in several stores!:

We are not having another baby shower, even though we pretty much gave away or sold everything from the first baby.  But I believe that showers should be for the first child and that alone.  So why a gift registry if we aren’t sharing it?  Well, I have severe baby brain and if I don’t put all of the things we need on a list, I will forget to buy them!  And, you get coupons from the stores where you make a registry as you near your due date, so then you get to save money on all of the things you didn’t buy!  We just started getting our coupons for the items “remaining” on our registry, some even worth 20%! Win-Win!

7. Support Circle:

We have been very fortunate to have made some amazing friends here in town and while some have moved on and transferred to other states, we have many who are still local.  In our situation, we don’t have family to help out all of the time and so when I go into labor the question has been, “Where will Farrah go?!”. Well the grand plan is that my parents and in-laws will be here in plenty of time, but if not… we have friends with a mattress on the floor. When told of this possibility, Farrah jumped for joy at her first “sleepover”!  It’s also nice to have a support circle that involves men and women who have been in the birth process before and aren’t afraid to discuss your fears and excitement!

So there, my Top 7 Developing Babies must-haves!  Did I forget something?  Leave a comment below and let me know what has helped YOU through your birth!