Being pregnant and having a routine pregnancy is hard enough as is. But when a pregnancy is labeled high-risk, worries and fears can steal away the joy of pregnancy because of the unknowns of what the labor and birth could be. My first two pregnancies were practically routine. A couple minor issues here and there, but I gave birth vaginally to both at 40 weeks with no issues. My last pregnancy, however, knocked me flat on my rear. Not only was it physically exhausting, but it was an emotional roller coaster for me and my partner. I realized that I was preparing for my baby in a slightly different way compared to my other pregnancies. This inspired me to share how I prepared for my birth during my high-risk pregnancy.
My last pregnancy was very high-risk. I became hypertensive at about 5 months and I had gestational diabetes. I had to see a specialist to help control my heart rate and blood pressure as well as a diabetic nutritionist to help keep my diabetes under control through my diet. I spent a lot of time resting because my doctors did not want my heart rate increasing any more than it already had. I also had severe sciatic nerve pain that prevented me from doing most things that I used to enjoy doing, like gardening and walking. My emotions were all over the place because it was hard for me to adjust to these health changes. My birth plan was thrown right out the window and was replaced with a new one- make it to 37 weeks. That was my new birth plan. As long as I could safely make it to 37 weeks, I could be give birth with a low chance of my baby needing to spend time in the NICU (and that discussion is not easy to have either).
One of the first things that I prepared for myself was my nursing chair. As a 3-time breastfeeding mom, I remembered long nursing sessions where I was planted in the same spot, sometimes for a few hours. I decided to set up a special space for me to comfortably nurse. I used a small couch chair and ottoman for my nursing chair. I also used it to take naps in during my pregnancy, or to rest in when my sciatic nurse pain was severe.
Tip: Find a chair that is comfortable to get in and out of. If you have a planned C-Section, try looking for a chair that won't suck you into it when you sit down. This could make it difficult to get out of the chair- especially if you won't have assistance.
After I picked out my nursing chair, I set up a small side table with a lamp. I loved having a little table to place things for me and my baby on.
Tip: I used a lamp that had an electrical outlet on the base of it. This was super convenient for me after I had my C-Section because I didn't have to bend over to plug anything in!
I then made a baby basket that I packed with diapering essentials like diapers, diaper cream, baby wipes, and extra onesies. I also included a swaddle, some receiving blankets, burp cloths, pacifiers, and a couple small baby toys.
Tip: Organize everything in a basket or caddy and place it on the side table so it's easy to grab when you need it!
After getting together diapering essentials, I added some breastfeeding essentials to the basket. I added washable organic breast pads, some disposable breast pads, milk bags, my breast pump and cords, organic nipple cream, and ice/heat gel packs for engorgement.
Tip: I had an allergic reaction to some brands of disposable breast pads, which is part of why I chose organic washable pads. Not only did it prevent allergic reactions, but it was also a more Earth-Friendly decision that I felt good about! I saved a lot of money with them, too!
In the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I prepared some freezer meals so dinner would be quick and easy for us as I recovered. I prepared meals like chicken enchiladas, chicken tikka masala, turkey burgers, turkey chili, and Italian chicken.
Tip: I purchased a large pack of disposable pans that I froze the meals in, as well as large freezer friendly bags.
The most important thing for me in my preparation process was creating a support system. Going through my high-risk pregnancy was medically challenging at times- and going through it during the COVID-19 crisis added an extra emotional difficulty to it. Not only did I have frequent appointments with specialists and nutritionists, but I had to go to each one alone. I was alone for every ultrasound, NST, lab draw, vitals check, and specialist appointment. I reached out to out-of-state family and friends for emotional support during my pregnancy to combat the feeling of loneliness. I knew there were people that I could call if I was having a hard time- including my team of doctors and nurses. This is such an important part of the preparation process, regardless of if you are having a C-Section or not. Simply writing down who was in my support group helped me tremendously.
Tip: Try writing down people that are in your support group that you can call or text when you need some help. I also had some activities to do, like coloring books and reading, that helped me find my calm again during moments of uncertainty.
Once my chair was set up in the place that I wanted it, I was able to do almost everything else on this list while in my chair- which made resting and nesting possible for me. Going through a high-risk pregnancy is emotionally and physically exhausting. It takes a lot of patience and courage to get through it. Because I prepared in these ways, my recovery after my C-Section was pretty smooth. Remember to take it one day at a time, be in close contact with your medical team, and reach out when you need help.
You've got this, momma.
Looking for breastfeeding tips? Check out my list of 7 Essentials for Your Breastfeeding Journey!
Earth Mama Organics Organic Nipple Butter is what I use for dry, cracked nipples during breastfeeding. I have used this product after each of my kids were born, and it works wonders for me! Click here for the affiliate link!
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