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Anna’s Birth Story: Sunny Side Up

Facing birth straight on. Literally.

Anna’s Birth Story: Sunny Side Up

I had never heard of the term “sunny-side up” in relation to childbirth until several weeks before my daughter was born. It was during a birthing class with my husband that I first learned about the position and the often-associated back pains. But throughout my entire pregnancy, and even during labor, I never experienced an ounce of back pain. So it was shocking to say the least when I was told my baby was in the occipitoposterior position (OP) during labor at the hospital with virtually no symptoms.

Thankfully my limited knowledge on the subject actually proved to be helpful because I didn’t fully understand how it would impact my labor. I had the sneaking suspicion that my doctor knew it would be a challenging birth, but we never discussed any of the potential complications or difficulties. As a first time mom, the less I knew at that point only helped keep my fears at bay and calm my nerves.

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What does “sunny-side up” mean exactly? If your baby is born OP, the baby is positioned head-down, but facing up towards mom’s abdomen. (It’s different from a breeched baby who is positioned head-up.) The odds of a baby maintaining the OP position at the time of birth for first-time moms are less than 5 percent.

In the weeks leading up to the delivery, my obstetricians had mentioned offhandedly that the opening of my pelvis was measuring small (or not an ideal shape) and that if my daughter ended up being over 8 lbs., a cesarean section might be my best option for a safe delivery. Still, I didn’t expect our birth to go the way it did.

I like to describe my labor and delivery process as “slow and steady” -- from start to finish, it lasted a little over 30 hours. It’s impossible to know exactly when the baby settled into the OP position, but it wasn’t discovered until after an epidural and about 20 hours into the labor process.

As with any labor and delivery, the unexpected is bound to happen. While I was certainly surprised to hear that my daughter was in the OP position, especially with no indicating symptoms, I had full confidence in my doctor and her team of nurses.

The nurses tried a few non-invasive techniques to entice the baby to flip over, including repositioning my body from side to side every 30 minutes, but to no avail. After a long wait and one persistent little girl, OP would be her chosen way to enter into the world.

The most difficult aspect of delivering an OP baby was that she continued to slip back into the birthing canal by after each push -- it took a long time to make any actual progress. Essentially, the head positioning of the OP baby presents a larger diameter to fit through the birth canal, which can prolong the labor process, increase the pain and the likelihood of needing to use forceps or a vacuum to delivery the baby.

Luckily in my case, I didn’t have to use either and was able to deliver the baby unassisted. I was given a “walking” epidural (a low dosage epidural designed to provide pain relief while preserving muscle strength), so while I was somewhat numb from the waist down, I could still feel the majority of the pushing pains. Let’s just say it was a long and painful two hours. Finally, my daughter emerged, weighing 7lbs, 13 oz.

Looking back on the experience three years later, I feel grateful that despite this unusual circumstance, I had a great team who helped support me through a challenging birth. Now, I have an interesting birth story to share...with a very happy ending.

Image Source: Stylish Hip Kids

 

These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.


Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin


Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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