To Epidural or Not to Epidural?
These are all the words that go through my head every single day. Usually the thought train starts off much more positively, when I feel the little guy/gal squirm inside or when I have yet another strange craving that I must satisfy. Then it inevitably goes towards D-Day and wondering what the contractions will feel like and whether I’m going to be a screamer or just close my eyes and stay in my own little cervix dilating world. Will there be an epidural involved? Will there be an emergency C-section?
I will not know until the day it actually all goes down. In fact, nobody knows HOW it’s going to go down, but the one thing that is certain is that It Will Go Down. And about 24 hours later, there will be this whole other human being, slimy and pinkish grey, attached to you by a cord, and now your responsibility for the rest of your life.
How crazy is that?
So, to offset the anxiety about D-Day, the one thing that I try to do every single day is to prepare for labour. And what better way to prepare than to take care of one’s uterus? After all, it is the uterine muscles that are doing most of the work, contracting upwards to dilate the cervix and contracting downwards to push the little sucker out. The stronger the muscles, the more efficient each contraction and hopefully, Goddess willing, a little quicker (and maybe less painful?) the whole experience.
Which brings me to Red Raspberry Leaf Tea. I ordered a sh*t ton of this stuff, along with nettle leaf tea, in order to make myself a nice cuppa uterine-contracting-superjuice every single day. Some resources say that one can drink this every single day during the whole pregnancy, as there are no real contraindications with red raspberry leaf or with nettle. They are both high in iron, magnesium, calcium, B vitamins, Vitamin A, Folic Acid, Vitamin C…just to name a few, which is great for mommy and growing baby. Other more conservative sources say that because they are uterine tonics, that they should only be started after the 18th week as they could cause uterine contractions. I say use your instincts and go with what you think is right. I have been drinking this stuff since about the 8th week of pregnancy and so far so good. Also, I’m hoping that all of those stories that I’ve read about women who drank this throughout their labour and pregnancy had very short labours and almost painless birthing experiences.
One can hope, right?
Since it’s summer, I’ve started making pots and pots of this on the stove top, then filtering it through a sieve into a large glass jar and putting it in the fridge so that i have a nice cold glass of iced infusion every day. It’s been delicious.
Oh – and I combined raspberry leaf and nettle leaf which I found did help with the nausea towards the end of the first trimester. It also helped to give me the needed vitamins and minerals I needed since I wasn’t eating that much for the first 15 weeks (read about my first trimester experiences here) and mixed in with a little honey, it tastes great and is very very refreshing, hot or cold.
RECIPE RED RASPBERRY LEAF AND NETTLE LEAF TEA
6-8 cups water
6-8 teaspoons of red raspberry leaf, 4-5 teaspoons of nettle leaf
Bring water to a boil, then take off heat.
Throw in the herbs and cover to let steep for at least 30 minutes
Stir in some honey if you want, although I find that it tastes nice both with and without.
Drink hot, or sieve through and pour into glass jar (mason jar, re-used juice jar) and place in the fridge.
Enjoy 1 cup a day for the first trimester
Starting at about 18 weeks you can have 2 cups a day.
From about 30 weeks you can increase to 3-4 cups a day in order to prepare for labour