Lucky’s Birth – Live!, with My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear

This special occasion made possible by the generous support of My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear.

 

Ever since we live streamed Sugarbaby’s birth 5 years ago, we have received message after message from people thanking us for showing how calm and beautiful birth can be. And ever since we announced this pregnancy, we have received message after message from people asking us if we are going to live stream Lucky’s birth too. Yes, it’s a private event for our family, but we also consider this a wonderful opportunity for us to do our part in re-normalizing birth as a biological event first, that is medicalized only if absolutely necessary. We consider it an educational opportunity for the masses!

We will start the live stream (below the Live Chat window) once labor officially kicks in. Labor could last just a few hours (or less!) and go for 24 hours or more. There’s no predicting just how long it’ll take. We have recruited some special help to keep things interesting. First we will have someone from our team interacting in the Live Chat window below, posting tidbits of information regarding the birth, and actively answering your questions.

Second, Lavinia is excited to act the part of interviewer for a number of short FB Live Streams were calling Featurettes. She’ll be discussing several topics with our birth team and family, from what the midwives need to do to get set up, to what our kids are doing to help celebrate their little sister’s birth (spoiler alert: there may be cake). These featurettes will be separate from the static live feed below.

Feel free to share this exciting event with your friends, family, and strangers online!

Below the Live Chat window and the Live feed, we are featuring a number of brands that believe in the importance of education relating to motherhood, family, and health – their featured products represent their commitment to supporting mothers and their families.

Enter your username

 

 

A huge thank you to our Title Sponsor: My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear.

To help celebrate Lucky’s arrival, My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear is offering 7 Rainbow Keepsake Kits, one for each of 7 Lucky winners!

The Rainbow Keepsake Kit is a beautiful way to celebrate or honor a life. Accessorize your Heartbeat Animal with a rainbow tutu, rainbow bowtie, or both. Comes with a 13-15″ stuffed animal of your choice and heart-shaped recorder. A $39.99 value. 

To enter this giveaway, please use the widget at the end of this post. 

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A big thank you to Earth Mama Organics and Andaluz Waterbirth Center for co-sponsoring Lucky’s big day!

Be sure to check on The Leaky Boob Facebook page for fun featurettes full of home birthing facts, thanks to My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear, Earth Mama Organics, and Andaluz.

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From the positive test to the big push, from the first latch to the thousandth diaper, Earth Mama effectively supports the miraculous wonders and common indignities of motherhood with effective, natural herbal care. They know the fierce love, gut-wrenching fear, and boundless joy, that are simultaneously present and part of the process, because they’ve been there. And they’re here to tell you:

You’ve got this
You’re not alone
And by the way: 
You’re amazing 

Hemorrhoids and all. 

Earth Mama wants you to know about the importance of Lying-in after birth. As defined on their website, “‘Lying-in’ is the period of time for a postpartum mama to heal and bond with her newborn. It’s a time to take care of the mama that made the miracle, and heal her body and soul while she gets to know every crease, dimple, and the sweet scent of her brand new baby.”

Read all about this important time on their blog.

Earth Mama has developed a range of products focused on healing and soothing postpartum mamas, including their Organic Monthly Comfort Tea and Postpartum Bath Herbs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We are thrilled to be on this baby journey with the amazing midwifery team at Andaluz Waterbirth Center here in Portland, Oregon. Their beautiful birth center, with its big birthing tubs and homey feel, would have easily swayed us into having our Lucky there if our hearts weren’t hard set on continuing our home birthing tradition! Anyone in the greater Portland area interested in having a midwife-assisted birth should definitely take the tour. Andaluz Waterbirth Center is just about as charming as its midwives, who embody the simplicity, beauty, and spirituality inherent in bringing new life into the world. There is an art between applying knowledge and letting nature take its course, and these competent midwives know just how to manage that balance.

Follow Andaluz Waterbirth Center on Facebook!

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Pregnancy Sonograms: What You Will Learn- Part 2

by Elizabeth MacDonald
This post made possible by the generous support of My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear
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This article originally published on mybabysheartbeatbear.com on November 10, 2015.

 

In the article “Pregnancy Sonograms and What You Will Learn, Part 1” we talked about the different kinds of ultrasounds and their purpose, ending with more detail about the general anatomy scan common around 20 weeks of pregnancy. In this article, we’re taking a deeper look at the types of scans done prenatally and the reasons why your healthcare provider may recommend them as a diagnostic tool. These scans can provide valuable information on the health of your baby when necessary.

MBHBB- Preg. sonograms, June 2016

Your doctor or midwife may recommend one or more of the following sonograms throughout your pregnancy, for various reasons. You may not know when you conceived or may have suffered previous miscarriages. You may be over the age of 35 and your doctor requires extra screening. There may be genetic reasons for extra scans, or a low lying placenta that could threaten a vaginal delivery. Your little fetus may stubbornly decide to lay transverse and a late sonogram is needed to see position. There are numerous reasons to receive sonograms other than the 20 week anatomy scan.

  • Dating Scan: A dating scan is an ultrasound examination which is performed in order to establish the gestational age of the pregnancy. If you or your doctor/midwife is unsure of the date of your last menstrual cycle, if you have had an bleeding, are unsure of when you conceived or your estimated due date, you will receive a dating sonogram. This ultrasound will show you exactly how far along you are, and can see the start of a pregnancy as early as 4 weeks and 3 days along (but some pregnancy cannot be seen until 5 weeks). You will see the beginnings of a gestational sac, but no heartbeat or further fetal development yet at this stage. An embryo and fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as 6 weeks and 3 days, but may not be picked up until further along. You will also know the location of your pregnancy. If there is a chance that it is ectopic, you will find out now. At this stage of pregnancy, the dating scan will be done transvaginally, meaning the ultrasound wand will be inserted into the vagina to see the pregnancy. A dating scan can determine the number of gestational sacs present (which may decrease by the end of the 1st trimester, if there is more than one). Your cervix, uterus position, and ovaries will also be seen, and you will learn if there is any visible clotting or fibroids. A sonogram done before 9 weeks will be the most accurate to use for dating the pregnancy.
  • Breakdown of what can be seen:
    • At 5 ½ weeks gestation tiny sac can be seen in the uterus, but the baby and its heart beat may not be detected yet. 5 ½ weeks gestation means 5 ½ weeks from the first day of the last menstrual period, which is usually about 3 ½ weeks from the date of conception (confusing, isn’t it!).
    • By 6 to 7 weeks gestation the fetus is clearly seen on trans-vaginal ultrasound and the heart beat can be seen at this early stage (90 to 110 beats per minute under 6 to 7 weeks, then 110 to 200 beats per minute as the baby matures).
    • By 8 weeks gestationthe baby and its heart beat can be detected relatively easily with trans-abdominal and trans-vaginal examination.
    • This is presuming that the pregnancy is actually at this stage of development.
    • Sometimes a trans-vaginal examination shows that your pregnancy is less advanced than expected.
  • 1st Trimester Scan (Also known as a NT Scan): Having a transabdominal sonogram between 12-13 weeks is performed to confirm your baby’s heartbeat and conclude first trimester screening for chromosomal abnormalities. The screening is optional for one or all of the following: Down’s syndrome, Edward’s syndrome, and Patau’s syndrome. Down’s syndrome is also called Trisomy 21 or T21. Edwards’ syndrome is also called Trisomy 18 or T18, and Patau’s syndrome is also called Trisomy 13 or T13. The screening test offered at 11-14 weeks is called the combined test. It involves a blood test and an ultrasound scan. If a screening test shows that you have a higher risk of having a baby with Down’s, Edwards’ or Patau’s syndromes, you will be offered diagnostic tests to find out for certain if your baby has the condition. In addition to screening for these abnormalities, a portion of the test (known as the nuchal translucency) can assist in identifying other significant fetal abnormalities, such as cardiac disorders. The screening test does not detect neural tube defects. The combined accuracy rate for the screen to detect the chromosomal abnormalities mentioned above is approximately 85% with a false positive rate of 5%. A positive test means you have a 1/100 to 1/300 chance of experiencing one of the abnormalities.
  • Level II ScanWhile technically the anatomy scan is a Level II scan, there are other reasons to come in for a Level II sonogram. During your anatomy sonogram, you will learn if another Level II scan is needed. Level II scans are reserved for higher-risk mothers, but may be used to rule you out of the high-risk category. Common indications for a Level 2 ultrasound include family history of birth defects, maternal medical problems associated with birth defects (poorly controlled diabetes, for example), exposure to medications associated with birth defects, a maternal age of 35 or older, abnormal serum screening results, and birth defects suspected on a Level 1 ultrasound. While there is no ultrasound that can detect 100 percent of serious birth defects, most birth defects that are undetected with a Level 2 ultrasound usually are clinically less significant (such as a small hole in the heart which commonly closes on its own after birth or an isolated cleft palate with intact upper lip which can be fixed surgically after birth without any long-term complications). A survey of your baby’s internal organs will be conducted, as well as:
    • The umbilical cord
    • Amniotic fluid
    • Location of the placenta
    • Fetal heart rate

The total score will help decide the overall health and well-being of your baby and help your doctor or midwife determine if your baby should be delivered sooner than planned.

  • Bpp Scan (Biophysical Profile)This sonogram combines an ultrasound evaluation with a non-stress test (NST) and is intended to determine fetal health during the third trimester. This test is performed if there is a question about fetal health and well-being resulting from either an earlier examination, maternal/fetal symptoms, or if the pregnancy is considered high risk. There are two parts to the BPP, a Non-stress Test (NST) and an ultrasound evaluation. The NST involves attaching one belt to the mother’s abdomen to measure fetal heart rate, and another belt to measure contractions. Movement, heart rate and “reactivity” of heart rate to movement are measured for 20-30 minutes. The ultrasound portion may take up to an hour, and the technician will watch for a variety of signs that are important in measuring the health of your baby. Usually, five specific fetal attributes are studied and “scored” during the BPP:

Biophysical Attribute- MBHBB 06.16

  • NST Scan: The Fetal Non-Stress Test is a simple, non-invasive test performed in pregnancies over 28 weeks gestation. As mentioned above, The NST involves attaching a belt to the mother’s abdomen to measure fetal heart rate, and another belt to measure contractions. Movement, heart rate and “reactivity” of heart rate to movement are measured for 20-30 minutes. A NST may be performed if:
    • You sense the baby is not moving as frequently as usual
    • You are overdue
    • There is any reason to suspect the placenta is not functioning adequately
    • You are high risk for any other reason

The test can indicate if the baby is not receiving enough oxygen because of placental or umbilical cord problems; it can also indicate other types of fetal distressThe primary goal of the test is to measure the heart rate of the fetus in response to its own movements. Healthy babies will respond with an increased heart rate during times of movement, and the heart rate will decrease at rest. The concept behind a non-stress test is that adequate oxygen is required for fetal activity and heart rate to be within normal ranges. When oxygen levels are low, the fetus may not respond normally. Low oxygen levels can often be caused by problems with the placenta or umbilical cord.

Many pregnancies progress just fine without ever having an ultrasound and health care providers use a wide array of skills and tests to ensure the safety and health of both the mother and the baby through pregnancy and birth. Having any of these scans done isn’t immediately an indication of a problem, it is just an opportunity to check. It is a gift to hear your baby’s heartbeat and see them developing, one to treasure. While it can be exciting to hear your baby’s heartbeat and to see them on the screen, the purpose of ultrasounds is to be an important tool in your prenatal care, not an entertainment experience. They may provide some answers to questions and concerns, reveal a potential problem or that everything is developing normally, and provide reassurance. Be sure you are using a reputable ultrasound technician to perform your scans, your healthcare provider should refer you to one they trust and use regularly if it is out of office. If you feel that a scan is unnecessary and are unsure you want to go through with it, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider about your concerns to better understand the purpose of the scan. If at any point there is something you don’t understand, speak up and let your healthcare provider know you have questions.

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me
Elizabeth is mom to four breathtakingly-beautiful children, and wife to one lucky man. She is a research writer, blogger, and a ghost writer of books.  As a natural-minded woman, Elizabeth takes pride in spreading factual information that may benefit other mothers and future generations.  She has spent the last seven years (and counting) growing babies in the womb and/or with breastmilk.  When she is not writing, she enjoys drinking wine, running, cooking, reading, homeschooling, and loving her family and friends.
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Pregnancy Sonograms: What You Will Learn- Part 1

This post made possible by the generous support of My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear
IMG_4531
This article originally published on mybabysheartbeatbear.com on November 10, 2015.

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There is something so exciting about seeing your little jelly bean bouncing around on the ultrasound screen! Counting down the days until you can watch your baby swim around is something almost all couples do.You get pictures and possibly a video with the heartbeat. All of it just solidifies that you truly are carrying a little life inside.

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Healthy, low-risk pregnant women are recommended to only receive a sonogram at 20 weeks, but there are times when other scans are needed to check on the baby. There are six common sonograms performed throughout pregnancies, and one or more may be recommended to you. I’m going to break them down and explain their individual purposes and what you can expect to leave knowing after having one.

Before describing the sonograms in the next article, in this first article we’re going to talk about the difference between a sonogram and an ultrasound and explain the most common sonograms utilized in prenatal care. A sonogram is the image generated during ultrasonography, which is a diagnostic imaging technique that uses ultrasound to visualize anything inside the body. Ultrasound is a sound frequency above the range audible to humans, which is about 20 kHz. Both terms are used interchangeably by most people, but in layman’s terms an ultrasound is using sound waves to see or hear something inside the body. A sonogram is the actual visual picture of what the ultrasound is picking up. There are seven types of ultrasounds that may be performed during pregnancy:

Standard Ultrasound  Traditional ultrasound exam which uses a transducer over the abdomen to generate 2-D images of the developing fetus .

Advanced Ultrasound – This exam is similar to the standard ultrasound, but the exam targets a suspected problem and uses more sophisticated equipment.

Doppler Ultrasound   This imaging procedure measures slight changes in the frequency of the ultrasound waves as they bounce off moving objects, such as blood cells.

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3-D Ultrasound  Uses specially designed probes and software to generate 3-D images of the developing fetus.

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4-D or Dynamic 3-D Ultrasound  Uses specially designed scanners to look at the face and movements of the baby prior to delivery.

Fetal Echocardiography  Uses ultrasound waves to assess the baby’s heart anatomy and function. This is used to help assess suspected congenital heart defects.

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Your doctor or midwife will likely use the Doppler during each prenatal visit to pick up the baby’s heartbeat. Generally, they keep it short and use this as reassurance to you that your baby is doing well. This is very common, but can be denied if you feel the urge not to have it done. (As an almost fourth time mom here, I’ll tell you just how amazing it is to hear that little heartbeat every few weeks!)

While many women will receive other ultrasounds during their pregnancy, other than the Doppler to check heart tone at prenatal exams, the standard ultrasound anatomy scan around 20 weeks is the most common. See below for more information about the anatomy scan.

  • Anatomy Scan: Between 18-21 weeks, you will have a more in-depth ultrasound done to determine the baby’s size, weight, and to measure growth ensuring the fetus is developing according to plan. In addition, the anatomic ultrasound looks at and takes measurements of many different anatomic parts of the fetus. The technician or the doctor will be looking for any signs of slower than normal development. The skeleton should be hardening at this point and the sex of the baby may be visible. In many cases, the baby may have its legs crossed or be facing away from the abdomen and thus the sexual organs will not be visible during the anatomic ultrasound. But fingers crossed, you will learn the gender! On the plus side, you’ll receive many pictures of your little one during this scan. The following fetal parts are checked during the anatomy ultrasound:
    • Face: Depending on the positioning of your baby, the technician may or may not be able to detect if your baby has a cleft lip. Rarely are they able to detect if there is a cleft of the palate.
    • Brain: The technician will be assessing the fluid-filled spaces inside the brain and the shape of the cerebellum, which is in the back of the brain. He or she will also be able to identify if any cysts are in the choroid plexus, which is a tissue in the brain that produces cerebrospinal fluid. Fetal cysts may indicate an increased risk for a chromosome abnormality; however, the majority of these cysts disappear by the 28th week of pregnancy with no effect on the baby.
    • Skull (shape, integrity, BPD and HC measurements)
    • Neck (nuchal fold thickness)
    • Spine: Your baby’s spine will be evaluated in the long view and in a cross section. The technician will be looking to make sure that the vertebrae are in alignment and that the skin covers the spine at the back.
    • Heart (rate, rhythm, 4-chamber views, outflow tract): Congenital Heart Defects are one of the leading causes of birth defects and infant death. A prenatal diagnosis can prepare you and your medical team to provide your infant with the best medical care possible throughout your pregnancy and after birth.
    • Thorax (shape, lungs, diaphragm)
    • Abdomen (stomach, kidneys, liver, bladder, wall, umbilicus, cord, abdominal circumference AC)
    • Limbs (femur, tibia, fibia, humerus, radius, ulna, hands, feet, femur length FL)
    • Genitals (gender, abnormality)
    • Cervix (length and opening)

Based upon the results of the measurements, the gestational age of the baby will be predicted based upon the average size of other babies scanned during the 20th week of pregnancy. If any abnormalities are found, additional examinations are indicated.

In our next article, we’ll go more in depth into the other Sonograms some women experience in pregnancy and their purpose. No matter what kind of scan you’re given, it can be an exciting time and a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Hearing and seeing how your baby is doing can be both nerve-wrecking and encouraging. Read here for more potential emotional impact of a prenatal ultrasound experience.

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me
Elizabeth is mom to four breathtakingly-beautiful children, and wife to one lucky man. She is a research writer, blogger, and a ghost writer of books.  As a natural-minded woman, Elizabeth takes pride in spreading factual information that may benefit other mothers and future generations.  She has spent the last seven years (and counting) growing babies in the womb and/or with breastmilk.  When she is not writing, she enjoys drinking wine, running, cooking, reading, homeschooling, and loving her family and friends.
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Exploring The Potential Emotional Impact Of The Prenatal Ultrasound

This post made possible by the generous support of My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear
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This article originally published on mybabysheartbeatbear.com on January 2, 2016.

 

The day has come to say hello, to see the one who’s still so small.

A heartbeat will bring many tears, but still will come all the fears.

Will she grow strong and tall? Will we lose him… and my heart will fall?

Are there two or three? Will my birth choice be mine to make free?

My arms ache to hold you. My heart aches to know you.

Above all else though, I know you are mine.

I will love you in every way, no matter what the doctor will say.

Today is the day that I will see your face, tiny and real, you will move to a place

A place in my heart I had never found…

Until today’s ultrasound.

-E.MacDonald

Ultrasound

Ultrasound Day:

Seeing a heartbeat.

Seeing multiple heartbeats.

Not seeing a heartbeat at all.

Revealing a gender.

Fighting the urge to discover the gender.

Learning devastating news.

Counting ten fingers and toes.

There is no denying that a pregnancy ultrasound will change your life.  While most women may check it off as just another day of pregnancy, even seeing a healthy little baby swim around should spark a light of life-changing emotions. The miracle of life is one our society tends to shrug off and sometimes the effects can cause us to become unaware of how we truly feel towards seeing this tiny human being on a screen.

Technology is a wonderful (and scary) tool.  We learn so much in a matter of moments, whether it is a healthy or unhealthy pregnancy, if baby is growing well, whether vaginal labor will be a safe option, if the gender we dreamt of is what exists, and if everything is okay with the mother.  Primarily a diagnostic tool, the necessity of prenatal ultrasounds may be heavily debated but there is no doubt that as routine as they have become, the prenatal ultrasound is a significant moment in the lives of parents-to-be while providing information to care-givers to help the parents make informed decisions.  Along with this education comes the anxiety and fears before the truth is learned.  And what’s worse is that after this brief moment of time, the heart and mind will create a new laundry list of emotions based off of what was discovered during the ultrasound.

Let me state this: There is no right or wrong emotion to feel – Sadness to be pregnant, panic to be pregnant with multiples, triumph to have a healthy baby past a certain date, pride that you created this being, even confusion on whether to keep or adopt.  Emotions are a very personal thing, and you have a right to not feel guilty about any of them.

It is ok to let the tears fall.

A Healthy Pregnancy:  A healthy “typical” ultrasound will have you crying tears of joy; especially if you were terrified going into it.  It can also leave a woman experiencing an unplanned pregnancy in agony, as she will be filled with choices, fears, and guilt.

Multiples: Multiple heartbeats found on the screen may lead to disbelief, panic, excitement, and many many questions. Fear of placenta(s) and sac(s) and nutrients may dance through your mind endlessly.

An Unhealthy or High Risk Pregnancy:  Knowing you will be closely monitored may either be reassuring or cause further anxiety.  When the baby or mother is at risk, the emotional rollercoaster typically picks up quite a few more passengers. Bearing the weight of your own emotions, along with your family and friends will become all encompassing. Reaching out for support and having a safe sounding board to cry to will allow you the ability to have the healthiest version of this pregnancy possible.

A Miscarriage: Expecting to see a flicker of blinking light on the screen where there is none can be devastating.  It doesn’t matter if you are 9 weeks or 15 weeks when you see that the life you thought was growing has stopped. You are no less of a mother. It does not matter that others say, “The next one will stick” or “At least it ended this way instead of a sick baby.”  There was life within you.  Mourn in the ways you need to.

A Pending Loss:  To learn that your child will not survive the pregnancy will bring forth unexpected emotions – Joy that you will still have time to grow and love this baby, but so much heartache that you will never know him earth side.  There will be anger and fear, but hope that things will change. There will be days of normalcy, but so many of confusion and pain.

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A Genetic Marker or Cause for Concern:  Sheer panic may occur; heart-racing fears and a lifetime of scary images may cross your mind.  Stress will be unavoidable, but handling it well will be needed.  Further testing will be done, causing more emotions, more tears, and more prayers.

Gender Disappointment:  Gender disappointment is real. (Ask me how I know.) No one should make you feel guilty for your feelings of desire toward a certain gender. You know that you will love the baby that is growing, and that he was meant to be.  However, the heart will mourn the fact that you will not have ribbons and bows and tutus.  Taking the time to let go of those feelings will help you welcome the baby you are growing without resentment or sadness.

Placenta Complications:  A healthy baby.  A healthy mother. But a placenta that is covering the cervix or attached to the uterine wall improperly. This is a recipe for a mess of emotions.  Knowing everyone is absolutely healthy is reason enough to yell from the roof tops, but knowing there is absolutely nothing you can do to prevent a cesarean section from occurring will bring about lots of birth emotions and fears.

Fetal Positioning:  While at a normal 20 week ultrasound, there is no need for baby to be in birth position, if your midwife or doctor suspects an awkward position later in pregnancy, an ultrasound will be done to verify.  If you are planning a natural birth, this ultrasound may send you into panic mode.  There is always time, even during labor, for baby to turn correctly, but the fears will be real.  Letting go of stress will help the body relax, chiropractic care, specific exercises, and manual manipulation are all available to help.

No matter what you learn during your ultrasound, your pregnancy journey will be changed.  Sorting the emotions will be an ongoing (and hormonal) battle that can potentially affect your labor and delivery. Taking the time to accept your feelings and live through them will benefit your mind body and soul.  Try to handle your emotions by talking through them, living a healthy lifestyle, practicing a mind-centering exercise such as yoga, seeking acupuncture or chiropractic care, and finding support.  Your pregnancy and baby will be all the stronger if you can do this.

May your ultrasound be filled with many happy emotions, but be real with yourself.  Do not hide or feel ashamed with any emotion that comes rolling out.  Find support if you feel alone in your emotions.  Share your fears and sadness right alongside of the joy and excitement.  Let sorrows be known and heartache be felt for you will not truly experience the highest level of happiness until you have worked through all of your other emotions.

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me
Elizabeth is mom to four breathtakingly-beautiful children, and wife to one lucky man. She is a research writer, blogger, and a ghost writer of books.  As a natural-minded woman, Elizabeth takes pride in spreading factual information that may benefit other mothers and future generations.  She has spent the last seven years (and counting) growing babies in the womb and/or with breastmilk.  When she is not writing, she enjoys drinking wine, running, cooking, reading, homeschooling, and loving her family and friends.
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