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Where did I come from?

One of the most common questions a kid can ask is “Where do babies come from?”  It’s actually a very simple question, and one that is asked quite understandably.  But it’s often a question that freaks parents out.  The answers run the gamut from the absurd (the stork)  to the heteronormative (when a mommy and a daddy love each other very much) to the religious (God) to any number of other answers.

I’m proud to have backed What Makes a Baby via kickstarter when I was pregnant with my younger daughter.

I’m even more excited to share that it is available for pre-order from Amazon and BookDepository!.

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I think this is the perfect book to start an honest discussion with your child about where they came from.

  • It uses non gender specific language (some bodies have eggs, some bodies do not)
  • It doesn’t assume that the bio parent is the person actually parenting the child (never uses the terms mommy/daddy)
  • It mentions that sometimes the new thing made by a sperm and an egg doesn’t grow (which is important to me as the mom of a baby lost via miscarriage)
  • It notes that all babies grown differently (which is a way to open a discussion about children with special needs)
  • It notes that babies can be born via the vagina or through a special cut (Older daughter was a vaginal birth, her sister was a C-section)
  • It asks “who was happy you were born?” rather than telling you that mommy and daddy or some sort of stereotype was what awaited the child.

In doing so, it legitimizes every child.  Adopted, born of IVF, being raised by a parent and a step parent, the child of a single parent, and so forth.

I think this is a great book for kids 2-8.  Obviously as they age, they’ll want to know more, but this is the only book I like that’s out there for the youngest kids.  Please support Cory and Fiona and pre-order your copy for your child or a child in your life!

When your kid doesn’t care where babies come from…

The LM was fascinated by the idea that I had a baby in my uterus.  She was curious (ish) about how the baby was going to come out.

She never once asked me how the baby got in there.

I will admit to being a bit deflated over this as I had my sex positive, age-appropriate answer all ready to go.

But just as sometimes our kids will ask us a question we are not prepared to answer, sometimes they’re not going to ask a question you are prepared to answer.  The struggle is to know when to push to have a discussion and when to let it go.

The LM just turned three, so I’m okay with her lack of interest in how the baby got into my uterus.  If she were five or six, I might have made a point of asking her if she had any questions about how the baby got into my uterus or what she knew about how babies get into a mommy’s uterus.  With an older child, I might use a pregnancy as a jumping off point for a discussion about safe sex and having children when you want them.

If your child hasn’t asked you about sex, think about how old they are and question where they ARE getting their information from.  Because chances are it’s probably full of misinformation.  When I taught sex education to middle school students, I heard plenty of old myths that persist; you can’t get pregnant your first time (yes, you can), you can’t get pregnant when having your period (rare, but not impossible depending on your body’s fertility cycle, if it’s a true period as opposed to breakthrough bleeding, etc), and so forth.  Knowledge is power, and it’s important to arm your child with age appropriate knowledge.

For now, it’s enough that the LM knows that babies grow in a woman’s uterus, that they can come out through the vulva or sometimes a doctor has to cut into the Mommy’s uterus (BG was a C-section so it was a necessary discussion) to take the baby out, and that they can drink milk from a bottle or from Mommy’s breasts.  When she’s ready, we’ll bring up how her baby sister got there.

 

Birth Control

I know a lot of pregnant women are shocked when asked about their post-baby birth control plans.  Birth control hasn’t been a part of your life in a long time (depending on how hard-won your baby is, possibly in a VERY long time).

However, there is a term for people who don’t have a game plan about post-baby birth control–parents of another kid.

Yes, breastfeeding CAN suppress ovulation.  Until six months or the FIRST time you go six hours between start of feed and start of feed.  That suppression is not effective in 100% of women.  You can’t rely on breastfeeding to be your birth control.  Even if you’d like another child-there are many reasons to wait 18-24 months before getting pregnant–another pregnancy so soon will be very difficult on your body and raises your chances of problems during pregnancy and pre-term birth.

If you’re on the fence about what method you want to use or are interested in a new option, may I strongly encourage you to check out Planned Parenthood’s website on birth control?

Personally, I’m getting another Mirena

I have tried many forms of birth control over the years, and this is the easiest by far.  Yes, it hurts to have it inserted, and it’s a good idea to plan to be home in bed that day (and possibly one more day).  BUT, once it is in, you are clear for sex without any secondary measures (like condoms) and you are pregnancy-free for five years before you need to get it re-moved and new one inserted.

I don’t plan to have more children, but if you want another (as I did after the LM), you can just get it removed and fertility returns immediately.  I got pregnant 2 months after my last Mirena was removed.

I am not being paid to shill for Mirena–this is a product I’ve used and that I like.  I suck at the take a birth control pill every day, much less every day at the exact same time.  The shot can cause issues with bone density. I didn’t like the ring.  The patch irritated my skin and gave me a rash.  Condoms are too easily forgotten in the heat of the moment.  The copper IUD isn’t recommended for women who have bleeding disorders (as I do).  Hence, Mirena is really my best option.

If we were in the US, I would likely be getting the Essure female sterilization procedure done, but no one in my current home country is licensed to perform it, so back to Mirena I go.

Post Partum Sex–Vaginal Dryness

Post-partum vaginal dryness–almost universally experienced, almost never discussed.

Many women incorrectly attribute vaginal dryness, and the accompanying painful sex to a lack of desire for sex, or a lack of desire for their partner.  For some women (especially first time moms), this begins a downward spiral that is easily coupled with lack of sleep, fragile self-esteem as a mom, and a change in self-perception (who am I now that I’m also someone’s mom?) where a sexual relationship with their partner becomes harder and harder to recover.

I’m here to prevent that from happening.

First of all, you’re as attracted to your partner as you ever were.  Possibly more, if you’re feeling sentimental about creating new life with them.  New, exhausting life that has you sleep deprived (also a libido killer), possibly suffering from Post Partum Depression (also a libido killer), and suffering from the kind of estrogen drop you won’t experience again until menopause.  That’s right, an estrogen drop.

Estrogen is the number one hormone responsible for vaginal lubrication.

You are not experiencing vaginal dryness because of lack of desire for sex or for your partner…you are experiencing it because your body is producing very little estrogen.

Repeat this as often as you need to hear it.

How long will it last?

Vaginal dryness lasts anywhere from 3-12 months post-partum.  It can depend on a variety of factors…breastfeeding tends to prolong it, for example.  It is one of the tools evolution has come up with to prevent you from getting pregnant again too quickly (evolution has not caught up with modern day birth control methods…sorry).

What can I do about it?

Your best bet is to purchase water-based lubricant (available almost universally at grocery stores and pharmacies/drug stores, not just “adult” stores) and use it prior to sexual contact with your partner.  If it is interfering with your pleasure during masturbation, try lube then as well.

A quick note–avoid silicon-based lubees as they can break down latex in condoms and sex toys.

 

Hopefully knowing that your lack of lubrication is not your fault, your partner’s fault, or unnatural in any way will help you on your journey back to sexuality post-partum.

Baby Girl has arrived

Arriving 5 weeks ahead of schedule, the new baby has arrived.

I had a c-section after pre-eclampsia set in, and my blood pressure proved too high for a vaginal induction to be safe.  Not the birth I had wanted or hoped for, but considering it resulted in a healthy mom and a healthy baby, I can accept that life is what happens when you make other plans.

Breastfeeding has begun and is going well, unlike my experiences with the LM.

Some upcoming topics on Delilah Night

  • Post birth sexuality prior to being cleared for intercourse
  • When your breasts become public property
  • The Madison Young breastfeeding photo brouhaha and how my new position as a breastfeeding mom is affecting my opinion
  • The differences between a C section and Vaginal birth and how each can affect post-birth sexuality

Nauseau and Sexual Desire…First trimester woes…

I am somewhere around 8 weeks pregnant.  I’m so nauseous that I’ve begun taking the prescription anti-nauseau drugs that kept me out of the hospital during my last pregnancy, when I threw up so much that I was dropping weight at an alarming rate and could keep nothing down.  While these medications have kept the violent upchucking at bay, they can’t stop the nausea entirely.

Nausea versus desire is the intersection of my pregnancy and my sexuality, and there have recently been epic battles between the two.

On one hand, my nausea is such that sex, even masturbation, is not even remotely high on my list of priorities.

On the other, when my sex drive manages to get a toehold, the nausea can interfere with the successful pursuance and completion of that desire.  Nothing says “ooh baby, ooh baby” like feeling your bile rise from the physical motion of intercourse.

Are there solutions?  Yes and no…

First the bad news.  I have no magic cure all that will restore your sex goddesshood without complication or interruption.

I *do* have some suggestions that have worked

  • Timing.  If you need medical (ie prescription) aid, wait for that short window where meds have kicked in but have not yet begun to wane and whip out the toys/throw your partner down.
  • Manual manipulation/toys.  If you can handle being manually manipulated, that can be a workable solution if the physical movements of intercourse are too nausea inducing for you.
  • Talking.  Talking through fantasies with your partner…basically doing the verbal version of sexting or erotic im-ing.  Walk through what you’d like to do, no matter how out of the realm of possibility it is for you in the moment.  Connecting with your partner is what’s important.
  • Watch porn with your parnter–If you are comfortable with porn (and not everyone is) watching a dvd that appeals to both of you can be a great shared erotic experience.

 

Finally…perhaps the most pragmatic advice…this too, shall pass.  Eventually.

 

Dating your pregnancy…why LMP isn’t terribly effective for many women

I’m in the midst of my own pregnancy dating quandry, so I thought I would share with you why dating your pregnancy is largely a useless excercise as measured by LMP (or last menstrual period).

LMP dating is based on the idea that a woman has a 28 day cycle and ovulates on day 14.  Which might be true of some women (some of you must be the statistical average, right?), but is often not true of most of us.  Some of us have shorter or longer cycles and many of us don’t have the perfect 14 days before you bleed ovulation.

There are, of course, ways to know when you ovulated.

  • You can do Basal Body Temping and keeping an eye on your cervical mucus You really need to do both methods as temp charting will only alert you to ovulation after it has occurred, which is impractical as you want to have having a lot of sex for the five days preceding ovulation.
  • You can use the pee-stick ovulation predictor kits These alert you to the hormone surge when you hit the luteal phase, giving you roughly 48 hours of notice (although not always 48..sometimes as little as 24)
  • You can keep track of your periods over time and get a sense of what your “normal” cycle is, and subtract 14 (imperfect, but close) and then target your get pregnant sex to 5 days prior and 2 days post that magic 14.  (there are plenty of period apps if you have a smartphone, or you can just use a calendar).
  • If you keep an eye on the pattern of your sexual drive, you may also get an idea of when you actually ovulate, if you (like me) have a sex drive that correlates to your ovulation (again, use this in conjunction with a calendar or period app).

Obviously this works better for those of us who were trying to get pregnant, and were keeping track of their period.

My cycle is usually 35 days with ovulation likely occurring on day 21/22.

Of course, the period that I got pregnant with broke all the rules.  I was on day 48/49 of my cycle before I got a damn positive…2 weeks later than I SHOULD have been able to get a positive.  Looking at my sex drive and the frequency of our sex, I had already theorized that I ovulated later than normal.

I had guesstimated that I was 5 weeks pregnant last week, but my hormone levels and ultrasound results gave me some doubts that were further put into doubt this week.  I showed progression, but progression that put me about a week behind my guess (as did last week’s results…giving me consistent positive progress, but not on pace with where I expected to be).

So how do you discover the baby’s “real” due date?

Early ultrasound is the best technique.  Until the end of the first trimester, babies develop at a predictable rate of development, and dating is relatively easy.  The problem is that we are talking about ridiculously small measurements, where a mistake can mean a dating error.  It’s best to have 2-3 early dating ultrasounds that corroborate progress and infer your due date from that.  Easily done in a country like Singapore, but not so in the US.

Why is dating so important?  If you’re looking at a C, or a scheduled induction because of a complication like diabetes (we tend to experience placental breakdown post 40 weeks, making it dangerous for us to go over full term), you want to make certain that you’re not being induced too early (which could mean the baby’s lungs are not yet fully developed) or too late (if you have risk factors).  The good news is that high risk women tend to get more ultrasounds under American insurance, which helps with dating.

If you’re low risk, it’s not a big deal to go a few weeks “late” (which you might not be).

So take that EDD (estimated due date) with a grain of salt.  If you know your body, you may be able to better calculate your due date than any of those silly circles our OBs like to use.