Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Parenting with less stress {Before they arrived, Pregnancy and Preparation}

When Ken and I got married we decided that we weren't going to do anything to prevent children from arriving, so... 9 months and 11 days after our wedding, Maranatha, our first child arrived.

 After I found out I was pregnant we of course wanted to do things to prepare. There were maternity clothes needed as well as Baby gear and clothes. I also had not previously given much thought to childbirth and I needed to study all the options and chose the method I thought was best.

 This was a busy time for us, we were both going to Bible College full time as well as working part-time jobs. Money was pretty limited. It was a very fun time too, and I have no regrets with getting married while we were still young and in school and having children right away.

 I love to read and so that was a big part of my getting ready for this new venture in our lives. My mom gave me the book Husband-Coached Childbirth by Dr. Robert Bradley. I found this book fascinating! For one that had never really thought about childbirth before this really got me interested (along with the fact that I was going to have to go through it!). I read it very carefully and then shared things with Ken (who wasn't really interested in reading it himself). Dr. Bradley advocates natural childbirth with learning how to relax and using deep breathing. He also recommends having the husband very involved in the process as the coach. I greatly recommend this book! I think I read it over a couple of times before Mara arrived and then I read it before each of my other babies too.

 Another book I enjoyed was Your Pregnancy Week by Week by Glade B. Curtis M.D. This book just basically tells your what is going on in your body and how your baby is growing. I especially enjoyed the pencil drawings of the baby in the womb.

I was very blessed with very easy pregnancies for the most part. I had some nauseousness but actually only threw up once because of it and that was the extent of throwing up for all 4 pregnancies. I know. I was very, very blessed! With the first pregnancy I did have one hard thing to deal with and that was getting kidney stones. That did cause throwing up and all sorts of pain and I figured I must be losing the baby. We were very thankful to find out I wasn't but I did have to be hospitalized for a while. With the next pregnancy the challenge I had was migraine headaches. With my hormones all out of wac they came on very strong. One lasted for a week and I was afraid I might go crazy but God was there and I was so very thankful when that went away! Other than that I dealt with being big and uncomfortable, pinched nerves in my legs but really I just enjoyed the new life that God was creating inside of me.

Here is a picture of my sister Anna and I. We were both expecting our 3 child in this picture. They arrived less than 2 weeks apart. It was fun to share that pregnancy time and it has been fun to have children close in age. With my last pregnancy I got to share that time with my sister Martha who gave birth to a son less than a month after Megan was born.

 With maternity clothes I was blessed to never have to spend much money. I was loaned some and then an older lady from my home church made me some (That was a ministry of hers for many years: sewing maternity clothes) and then I found some inexpensively and I made some and then just made do with what I had. I remember confiscating some of Ken's old t-shirts. :-)

 As far as getting ready for the baby I found it amazing how I really didn't have to buy much of anything. We found a few things (Stroller, highchair) at garage sales but with the first baby I was given 4 baby showers (One at each of our home churches in MN and NV, one in IA where we were and then one at my work) and then people gave us hand-me-downs too. We were overflowing with stuff! If you are at all short on money I would say to just get the minimum and then do a wait and see approach. There is so much baby stuff available and most people get way too much and then babies hardly wear it.

One book that Ken and I read together (well I read out loud) was To Train Up a Child by Micheal and Debi Pearl. We took a long trip together and this was our entertainment for that trip. :-) This is another book that I really recommend reading during pregnancy (or before). This book has tons of great practical, biblical advice on raising children. What was really nice about reading it together was the opportunity for Ken and I to discuss what we read. We were blessed to both come from christian homes and had a very similar background in many ways but reading this together and discussing it really helped us to come up with a plan for how we would raise our children. One of the things we think it very important in raising kids is that the parents be unified in discipline and training. Having this opportunity to really discuss it really has helped us to be united.

Other thoughts on pregnancy... Keep active! (As long as you are physically able.) Being active helps you to feel better and aids in an easier delivery. I worked (full time in the summer) during my whole pregnancy and I had lots of fun doing it. It was fun to have the older ladies at work (I was a designer in a florist shop) chide me for climbing up to get things and stuff like that. I lived just about 5 blocks or so from work and so I would walk there each day (and to home and back for lunch as well) which helped to add to the exercise. They day I went into labor I was at work and having some back pain. My supervisor thought maybe I should just go home but I didn't feel like just sitting it out there so I did go home and take a nap and then went back.

Eat well! I don't know that I did so well on this my first time but I did work on it with the later pregnancies. Drink lots of water too! And well we are thinking about eating I greatly recommend making ahead meals and freezing them for the days right after that baby arrives. My grandma did this for me the first time and then I tried to do this for the next pregnancies.

So.. what worked for me?
  • Starting a family right away.
  • Reading "Husband coached Childbirth" and pursuing natural childbirth.
  • Not spending much money on stuff for me or baby.
  • Ken and I reading and discussing "To Train Up a Child".
  • Keeping active.
  • Pursuing a healthy lifestyle.
  • Soaking in a cold tub of water in 114 degree weather with no air conditioning.
I would love to hear about your pregnancies and what you think is the best way to prepare for a baby. Please share!

"For Thou didst form my inward parts;
Thou didst weave me in my mother's womb.
I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from Thee, when I was made in secret,
and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth.
Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance;
and in Thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me,
when as yet there was not one of them."
Psalm 139:13-14


JDaniel4's Mom said...

What great books. I haven't heard of them before.

Martha Jane said...

Was that Jonathan when you were in the cold bath with 114 degree weather? oofta. The heat didn't bother me any more than it did the other people around me when I was pregnant with Heidi. I really enjoyed all those books too. plus the more in depth books by those same people or the same plans.

Nola said...

Great ideas! I also have enjoyed looking at that book "your pregnancy week by week" for the pencil drawings. Its neat too for an older sibling to see so they can sort of know what is going on.

I'm glad I got married young too, although its definately not the norm anymore.

Probably the biggest "what works for me" is breastfeeding and cloth diapering. I don't know what I would do without those two things, they have really worked well for us and I also enjoy them both so much.

Jackie said...

Thanks so much for this series and for sharing your thoughts. Love the pregnancy pictures!

Anna said...

Beatrice was deffinately my best labor and delivery and I credit that to Dr. Bradley's book. Travis and I both read it before her birth. I agree that lots exercise makes you feel a whole lot better during and after your pregnancy!

trooppetrie said...

We love to train up a child. I love to see other families talk about it

Anonymous said...

I check your site occasionally as it was recommended by a friend. I also enjoyed "To Train Up a Child" and the "Husband Coached Childbirth" (although I didn't find out about the Bradley method till pregnant with twins (#3 & 4). It made a huge difference!) I recommend doing your own research on doctor's visits, etc... Don't just take a doctor's word for it and you don't have to do everything they say if you don't want to. Cloth diapers are a great way to save money too!
-Someone in North Dakota


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