Tag Archives: preparing for baby

The Pregnant Herbalist: What’s in my Hospital Bag


Here we go! About 37 weeks along now!

the countdown is on!

the countdown is on!

With my first pregnancy, I worked at a school till the very end (which at the time was a welcome distraction!), and as a result, I didn’t really have time to think about what went into my hospital bag.  I remember that my water broke after dinner time and twenty minuates later I was at the hospital with contractions about 2 minuates apart.  I had a bag, but don’t remember what I stuck in it in those few short moments I had to prepare at home. I don’t think I had a change of clothes for myself or the baby! Luckly I got lots of free supplies from the hospital!

So this time I plan to be much better prepared.

View from the side! 37 weeks and dropping!

View from the side! 37 weeks and dropping! And ugh! Are those what my feel look like?!


-comfy ( aka: granny underwear my hospital thankfully gives moms disposable underwear too!)

-nursing bras and nursing pads


-light robe ( I got this great one here: http://www.amazon.com/Jockey-Womens-Robe-Eggplant-Medium/dp/B00E1ZOUM4/ref=sr_1_2?s=apparel&ie=UTF8&qid=1422561500&sr=1-2&keywords=jockey+womens+robe)

– pj or yoga pants, maternity tights, undershirt, maternity sweater ( its is still winter after all and I am ALWAYS cold!)

-warm socks and/ or slippers

– clothes (and swim shorts for the labor tub) for my husband

Baby gear:

– a couple outfits ( the white one was actually my husband’s coming home outfit when he was just a wee one! I am so glad my mother-in-law saved this! Circa 1987!!)

baby clothes are so tiny!

baby clothes are so tiny!



– pre-installed car seat ( gotta get on that soon!)

-nipple cream (my homemade kind!)

-nursing pillow (boppy or breastfriend)



-print out copy of birth plan

-Ipod with speaker dock

– Our phones and chargers

-Cooler ( yes, a cooler.)  For taking home placenta for encapsulation

-Camera/ charger


Toiletries: ( this is becoming more of a ‘note to self’!)

-toothbrushes/ toothpaste


-hair ties/ head bands

– contacts/ glasses

– shampoo/ conditioner/ cleanser/ lotion

-plastic bag for laundry


Labor Support:

-labor-aide/ coconut water



Gonna try out these recipes:  http://www.naturalbirthandbabycare.com/laborade

-snacks ( honey sticks/ nuts)

-Raspberry Leaf Tea— drink to your heart’s content. Used to help organize contractions and tone the muscles of the uterus.


Natural medicine:

-Blue Cohosh

Blue Cohosh

Blue Cohosh

Blue Cohosh is used to help women unwind during childbirth as well as to alleviate labor pain. You may use blue cohosh individually or together with different preparations, for about two weeks before the expected date of childbirth, thrice daily. Caution: Never use blue cohosh during pregnancy, except just for a couple of weeks before delivery.

IMPORANT NOTE* very strong as a tincture or tea, better to try in homeopathic form first! For Blue Cohosh the homeopathic remedy is Caulophyllum (200X)

-Bach’s stress remedy. It’s safe and  always a go-to in times of need, which lets face it, birth can be one of those times! They gently restore the balance between mind and body by casting out negative emotions such as fear, worry, hatred and indecision which interfere with the equilibrium of the being as a whole. They work with the body on an energetic level.


These are the 5 Bach Flower Remedies in Rescue Remedy:

Star of Bethlehem – Orithogalum umbellatum
Rock Rose – Helianthemum
Cherry Plum – Prunus cerasifera
Impatiens – Impatiens gladulifera
Clematis – Clematis vitalba


Week 37 updates

Pros: Light at the end of tunnel, almost gonna meet this new human, finally!

– I am not teaching middle school full time anymore…

– When in the pool, I feel great!

Y can't I just live in the water till this thing comes out…?

Y can’t I just live in the water till this thing comes out…?

Cons: Where are my feet?

– Falling asleep and staying asleep can be challenging… but my body is getting used to it’s soon to be reality…

-Peeing is constant

-easily annoyed ( I try to stay off the roads…!)

– When I am not in a pool- I feel like a huge whale…

that about sums it up...

that about sums it up…


– Packing:  ( besides the hospital bag and such…) essentials such as starter diapers and wipes, disposable and re-usable, although we intend to use reusable and / or get on a diaper service for the 1st few months, I remember how often newborns tend to poo and pee, so we stocked up on some disposable options as well.  *For the reusable wipes I got some Thirsties and some Bum genius and I plan on making my own bum/ wipe spray ( more on that in a future blog post!)

– Preparing: Sleeping, resting… snow days are okay by me!  Knocking off the books on my reading list for the first time since grad school!  Also, washing lots of baby stuff, sorting and putting things away- reading positive birth stories, swimming and yoga.

getting in the zone for baby-time

getting in the zone for baby-time

-Dr apts: are more often now in the last month ( weekly) I declined an ultra-sound to determine (or not so accurately) guess the baby’s size/ weight cause I didn’t see a need for it- especially considering it’s not very accurate AND given my recent experience with the glucose tests showing false positives in my 1 hr blood exam (with that nasty sugar drink), while the fasting 3-hour test showed I had normal blood sugar (TWICE!!! Yes I am doubl-ly normal!!).

In other words, I am going with my gut and declining what I feel are unnecessary tests again!

–  Weekly Pelvic Floor Physical therapy helping make sure my back and pelvis stay aligned for birth time.  Also, working on stretching out my perineal scar from those 3rd degree lacerations (almost 6 yrs ago now…) I am confident this time will be much better and much less damaging to my pelvic floor! For one thing, I am pretty sure this baby will be smaller than 9lbs, 9 oz!

And more importantly, I feel much more confident in my support system and birth team this time around…

go team go!

go team go!

Next time:   Sibling prep, baby gear, herbal support for the labor and postpartum period, final weeks updates and more!


Almost There: 3rd Trimester Pregnancy Update


Happy Winter Solstice!

Happy Solstice!

Happy Solstice!


3rd Trimester: only about 8 weeks to go and the days are flying by!


32 weeks and counting...

32 weeks and counting…


Happy Holidays!

The fam at Christmas!

The fam at Christmas!


Pros: Not as emotional, feeling “settled”, love feeling the baby’s movements, energy level is still pretty good.

Cons: still peeing alllll the time! Sleep is sometimes a challenge, I am carrying high so my lungs and stomach feel a bit compressed…

How I’ve tried to cope:

-cutting caffeine

-going to bed at roughly the same time most nights- easy to do when I am in my teaching routine, not so much when I am on holiday break and want to stay up to watch netflix!

-regular excercise.  Hands down the best thing for me to fall asleep and stay asleep.

-journaling, routine of writing- getting my to-do lists and rants out of the way via the written word is a good way to clear my mind in time for bed- no need to have drama or a busy day follow me into bedtime!


opening gifts! Baby already has so much cute stuff!

opening gifts! Baby already has so much cute stuff!


Third Trimester’s Activities:

Meeting with Doula: Jessica Fuss is our doula and I couldn’t be happier! She is everything I needed and so much more and I have learned so much from her already.  Also a cloth diapering expert, she will help us transition to using more cloth diapers this time around. Learn more about her services here: http://www.softtouchdoula.com

Switching Dr’s:  Have you ever had a lingering feeling that something was just off or missing from your birth plans? (or anything for that matter?)  In my 2nd Trimester, I found myself regretting not having enough time to research other places to birth (besides our monolith Woman and Infants Hospital here in Providence).  Although it’s a great place, I was disappointed that I “risked out” of being about to use their Alternative Birthing Center at the hospital (because my son was born after a pretty rough shoulder dystochi- he was 9 lbs, 9 oz!

I had a gut feeling that I wasn’t going to get the type of birth experience I was comfortable with in the regular hospital even though over the past 5 years Woman and Infants has undergone major culture shifts.  Now they allow rooming-in, encouraging skin to skin contact and breastfeeding to name a few. I still recall the days of my son’s birth when a  fetal monitoring belt was attached to me, making it hard to move around.  After the drama of calling all the nurses on that floor to try to get his shoulder unstuck, I didn’t get to see Ali till after he was checked, washed and swaddled.  I didn’t even get to hold him till about 8 hours after, and I feel that as a result, breastfeeding was a huge learning curve for us.   I realize there were many factors at play around his birth that didn’t all have to do with the hospital ( like his size for one!)  and thankfully we both came out of that experience alright-but I just couldn’t shake the feeling that I had been in a different environment things would have felt, and maybe even turned out, differently.

After talking to Jessica about my options, I learned that a smaller, local hospital ( only a couple of miles down the street from us) is known as being a woman centered birthing option. One that views birth as a natural, highly evolved process, not a disaster waiting to happen.  That foundational cultural difference is exactly what I was looking for.  The more I thought about it, the more I knew it was time for a change.  I have met my new Dr. and so far have been really happy and have felt a difference in communication styles and perspective.  Even though I was working with a midwife group before, it didn’t feel like the best fit due to the fact that they work out of Women and Infants.  I loved the midwives, but couldn’t say the say about that massive hospital. I am glad I listened to my gut on this one and feel much more comfortable about my birth plan. Since then, I have had conversations with other moms who have had either birthed at Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket or had my Dr., and everyone has been speaking very positively about their experiences.


Drafting my Birth Plan:  I Drafted this birth plan with the help of my doula:)

Some of the highlights of the plan are below (short and to the point!)


-would like to labor in pool/tub or have a room with a shower

-self directed pushing

-Dad would like to be part of birth/ help catch baby/ would like to cut cord

After Birth:

-skin to skin with baby immediately after delivery

-delayed cord clamping

-Save placenta (will be encapsulated)

-I would like to breastfeed as soon as possible after delivery


super excited about his flippy hat!

super excited about his flippy hat!

Preparing for new human!

-hospital bag – I didn’t do this till the last moment with my first!  (another post on that coming up soon)

-assembling family/friend support, organizing roles for childcare, meal prep, errands…

– stocking up on needed baby gear (will also be featured in more detail in a future blog post)

what will I really need?!

what will I really need?!

Herbal Support: What’s in my prego herbal blend:

*for iron: Dandelion


* for calcium and for its calming effects: Oatstraw

Unknown-4 *overall tonic: Nettle

stinging nettles!

stinging nettles!

* digestive, immune, and emotional support: Tulsi/ Holy Basil


*rock star uterus- Red Raspberry

anything to do with this plant is awesome for pregy peoples!

anything to do with this plant is awesome for pregy peoples!

*digestive support- Peppermint



Best activity so far this Trimester: Being on Holiday Vacaaaation! Sleeping in!!! Chilling oooutt! Whoop!!

Excercise accommodations: Walking, swimming, yoga with room for belly- gentle Yoga at my local YMCA and dailyburn prego yoga-  and  twerking on the Birth ball. Cause yay! Baby is already head down!


Twerk that birthball!

going around in circles and doing figure 8’s on an exercise ball…just like twerking…sorta


What I learned the 2nd time around

-dont sweat the small stuff

-hand me downs for baby gear are awesome and better than new stuff!

– Its important to speak up when unsure or uncomfortable about anything related to medical care- most of the time there are other options!

-getting a doula is very worth it

-self-care, self-care, self-care!   For me, that means finally using a body work massage gift certificate I got way back in the summer, making time to get my hair done, checking in with friends, keeping up with my “want to read” pile, making time for my writing, and crafting… speaking of which:

Next Post:  The How to Edition:  I try to make all natural nipple butter! Also, what’s in my hospital bag and must have baby gear!

" your making nipple wha…"?

” your making nipple wha…”?

Want to share helpful pregy or baby advice? What did you pack in your hospital bag? What has been your experience using herbs?