How to Listen to a Birth Story

Women have been talking about their births for thousands of years. And yet somehow, as the tide of childbirth has shifted dramatically in the past 70 years, we’ve forgotten the importance of being on the listening end of a birth story.  The next time you hear a mother start to discuss the details of her birth, consider taking these recommendations to heart:

Take Responsibility For Your OWN Emotions! I cannot stress enough how important this is. Women should be free to share their birth stories without fear of “offending” another mom. For example, if a woman is sharing how she labored without any pain medication, please do not jump to the conclusion that she’s calling you a wimp for choosing an epidural! Whatever your birth experiences were, they are yours and yours alone. Maybe you’re still carrying disappointment or sadness about your births, for any number of reasons, and those emotions often resurface when hearing another woman’s story. But instead of projecting your emotions onto another mother (which we sometimes unknowingly do), own whatever emotions you’re experiencing and resolve to set aside time to work through those feelings. By doing so, you will be better able to objectively love and support other mothers.

Do Not “One-Up” Her Story With Yours! Do we really think it’s helpful  to say, “Oh 20 hours of labor, that’s nothing!! Listen to my whopper-of-a-birth-story…” Certainly it is in our nature as mothers to talk about our births.  Even elderly women will gladly share all the details of their births when asked. We want our stories to be heard and they should be heard! But choose with caution the opportunities to share your story. Instead, if you’re listening to another woman’s story, listen intently and remind yourself that this is her time.

Respond with Empathy. Many women are burdened with painful emotions they are carrying from their birth experiences. Often we feel uncomfortable when a person is sharing about their grief or sadness. In our discomfort, we end up saying things such as, “Well at least your baby is healthy” or “the best thing is just to move on.” But to a hurting woman, these well-intended words are like pouring salt into her wounds.  Instead, validate her emotions. Phrases like, “That must’ve been so scary for you” or “it’s understandable why you are disappointed” are reassuring and can aid in her healing. And if you really do not know what to say, you can always respond with, “I’m so sorry you experienced this.” Remember: you might be the very first person to respond to her pain with empathy and kindness.

“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. When we really listen to people there is an alternating current, and this recharges us so that we never get tired of each other. We are constantly being re-created.”

~Brenda Ueland

by Expert Mommy, Sarah Baker

First 4 Weeks of Motherhood

Hello from Mommyland! Riggs is four weeks old today. I don’t even know where to start. The delivery went amazingly well. I was in labor for eight hours and pushed for one. The hardest part was pushing with no feeling from the waist down. I had to play some pretty tricky mind games with myself to figure out how to do that..but I managed.

I visualized delivering a baby but I wouldn’t let myself think about it actually being my son. If I did, I would start crying and get all emotional. I had my Holding Hands bracelet on and I was able to focus on each woman who gave me a bead.. I could see their smiling faces and remember what they told me each bead represented. That too made me get emotional. So during the actual pushing…and I am not making this up.. I made them turn on channel 4 and turn the tv up really loud during the 5 o’clock news. I remember during one contraction screaming, “Oh my Gosh, Vickie got bangs.” I had to distract myself so I would stay focused. My husband at one point said, “This is it! Riggs is almost here…just a few more…” and I interrupted him with, “Don’t say HIS NAME! I have to focus…I don’t want to break down”  another memorable moment was when I made my doctor stop what he was doing and smile at me. You have to understand. Dr. Chadwick is a very happy man and always smiles. I had never seen him look serious and it was breaking my concentration. He gave me a fake half, smile and I made him do it again. I think I was getting on his nerves and the baby looked a little annoyed, too :)

But he made sure Baby Riggs (told you his name wasn’t really Skittles) was perfect…. Here he is just a few minutes after he was born.

After all those blogs about my worries and fears, I am happy to say that not one of them has come true. I mean yes, I am up feeding in the middle of the night and yes, sometimes it takes me an hour or more to get him back to sleep, and yes, my days are consumed with him and yes I am lucky to get a shower…yes, my husband and I don’t have alone time like we did… BUT I love all of it!

God blessed me with a very easy going baby… he caught on to breastfeeding right away and latched on perfectly. My husband gets up with me during EVERY feeding… he changes his diaper while I get ready to feed him… and we take turns putting him back to sleep. That little boy loves his daddy.

I catch my husband just smiling at me while I am talking to the baby. And I swear he has told me how much he loves me in the last four weeks more than the entire pregnancy. Not that he didn’t before but he is much more affectionate and tells me daily what a great mommy I am.

I am not bragging I am just telling you that husbands really do love you even more once they see you with their child. Oh! and he just up out of no where arranged for my sister and brother-in-law to watch Riggs while we have our first date night tonight.  That is definetely out of character and I didn’t even have to say anything to him.

My mother being here for the fist week and a half was a huge help.

Just watching her and how she reacted to his cries like during his first bath… taught me how to respond and not over react.

Also, all of the advice from Zen and Practical Mommy has really helped. I felt so much more at ease and prepared once he was finally here. My friendships with those two wonderful women have changed me. They encouraged me to trust God and my instincts to guide me. They also made me realize how much your child can guide you.  I also appreciate my son more… because I am not spending my time worrying.

I would have to say that the worst part was recovering from the delivery. I was in pain… and things just weren’t the same. But four weeks out and I am feeling close to normal. I am walking two miles every other day or so…I wear a lot of yoga pants… anything with elastic. But throwing on a hat and sweats every day is a vacation in itself!

My biggest concern is how I will fit the feedings and pumping into my crazy work schedule and how I will get Riggs adjusted to it. But I have seven weeks of maternity leave left and I am not spending them stressing about work.

I am so in love with this little boy and his father! Life is good! Thank you for all of your words of encouragement!

Virginia Kerr is a morning news anchor on News 4. You can watch her Monday – Friday from 5AM to 7AM.

40 Weeks: In the Hospital Right Now!!!

Well hello from the delivery room! It’s 7:30 in the morning. They just started my Potocin drip about 30 minutes ago. I’m being induced on my due date. I’m having contractions but I can’t feel them.

I’m amazingly calm right now.

I have the nurse who was here when I came in for a stress test several weeks ago. Missy. She is awesome! Doctor just came by to check. I really like him, too.

Last night, my mother and sister drove in from Alabama. Yesterday felt like the day before my wedding. I was so excited but busy trying to get everything done. Knowing my life was going to change and I was going to have another amazing person to spend it with.

I can’t believe I will  see Skittles face today! I keep hearing about the natural high and indescribable feeling I will have when he is delivered. That’s what I focus on..that moment I get to touch him and rest him on my chest. It’s the reoccurring thought that I often have to block from my mind because it gets me so worked up. It seems to enter my mind every other hour and today I will finally experience it!

It’s funny, my always calm and relaxed husband is a little nervous this morning.  He’s just quiet and I can tell his mind is racing.

Okay. I can feel them now. These are different. I used to feel menstraul type cramps when they weren’t the real thing. These are lower and they sting. At least that is how they are right now. Like all your nerves in your pelvic area are being pulled. And here is another one. Not so bad but they are closer than I expected this soon.

I think every four minutes. That’s what the monitor indicates. It’s taken me a while to write this because they have to keep readjusting the sensors and now these hurt.

Yep. i was right. Every four minutes. So now it is 8:30 and you know what? I am asking for that epidural. I am not trying to be superwoman. Call me a wuss. I don’t care. I hear it takes a while to get the pain relief to kick in and the way this is going I bettter ask now. I will check in later.

Oh the baby is coming!!!!! and so are the tears!!!

39 Weeks: New Niece This Week, New Son Next

OH MY GOODNESS! My sister in law had her baby. Wow is she a trooper! Those doctors had her pushing for five hours yesterday! But her beautiful baby girl is here and healthy as can be.

Remember this is the baby that doctors thought they would have to take at 26 weeks because she had a parasitic twin taking her blood.  (The twin was never a fully developed baby.)

Landrey Faith is 8 pounds!  She clearly has the strength and tenacity of her mother Christy.

I saw her for the first time last night.

So cute! I won’t go into detail but let’s just say Christy had just about every thing thrown at her during delivery and yet nothing was bad enough to make her slow down!

I also got a preview of what my husband will be like when he meets our son (Great. I am now crying profusely in the news room)..anyway Landrey was crying when we got there.  Jason picked her up and got her to stop crying in seconds!

He held her a long time..I’m telling you this boy was born to be a father! I never wanted kids until I met him! He’s also in full blown nesting mode. After we left the hospital, he asked me to tell him everything I wanted to get done so he could help me finish my list this weekend. I think I have little Landrey to thank for that.  Reality hit Jason at the hospital. Our baby is probably going to be here in the next seven days!

I’m really surprised Skittles isn’t here already based on the contractions and pains I have had..but I’m fine. Tomorrow is my last day at work.

I just hope Skittles gives me a few days to get some regular sleep so I am ready for the big day.

I will keep you posted!

Virginia Kerr is a morning news anchor on News 4. You can watch her Monday – Friday from 5AM to 7AM.

38 Weeks: Contraction Confusion

I have been having contractions for a while now and I know they aren’t the real thing because they come and go and they ease when I lie down.

Well, this morning I didn’t know what to think.  I went to bed with mild contractions last night. They’re a combination of intense menstrual like cramps and severe lower back pain.  I woke up and still had back pain. Then the cramps returned on my way into work around 3.  I had a hard time walking up the stairs because now it feels like Skittles is planted about as far as he can go without coming out all together.

The pain came and went and then got really intense during the show.

As John and I were tossing to a reporter’s story around 5:15  this morning I almost burst into tears…here is the moment.

You can see the veins popping out of my arms because I am pressing down trying not to lose it.

I broke during the story and then some how got it together to read a quick 10 second story on camera.

Okay…so at this point my producer asks if I am going to be okay. I say “Yes, I don’t know, it just hurts.”

I kept going.  They continued to come every 15 minutes.  Now it just feels like the baby is stretching and pushing my insides down.  I’m confused. Is this the beginning of the real deal? Or is this just what I can expect for the next two weeks? It’s weird I want it to be the real thing and I don’t. I want to see his face but I’m also scared..This is all so unreal.

I keep thinking of the episode of  “A Baby Story” I watched yesterday with a woman in mega pain for 12 hours before she was even close enough to go to the hospital.  Of course I was sobbing by the end. Good tears.

Oh! My sister in law Christy is going to be induced Tuesday. She says her gut is telling her that I will go before her or on the same day. She is usually right about everything.  So who knows…

It’s 8:25 AM and as of now my back still hurts and the cramps continue to come and go but they aren’t worse. I hear if they don’t get worse they aren’t the real deal…..Let me know what you think.  I PROMISE  I will update this if there is breaking news!

Virginia Kerr is a morning news anchor on News 4. You can watch her Monday – Friday from 5AM to 7AM.

How to Pack Your Bags for the Hospital

If you are pregnant and find yourself well into your third trimester, I want you to say these two words aloud with me: “It’s TIME!!!” Fun, huh? Okay, so maybe it’s not time for you to GO to the hospital quite yet, but at least you can prepare for it. Let’s pack your bags.

Truly you are preparing for three events: 1) giving birth 2) a shorter than short stay in the hospital and 3) the big trip home with your new bundle of love. Alright… let’s get packing!!!


Comfie clothes.

Think ahead about the outfit you want to wear driving to the hospital so when it’s time, you can just get dressed and go. Put an old towel and a plastic bag by the outfit to take with you in the car so if your water breaks on the ride to the hospital, you’ll be prepared. [Read more…]

37 Weeks: We’re in the Red Zone Now!

In the red zone. My Alabama running back has the ball and is making his way to the end zone…doctor says he could score that touchdown at anytime!

When he told me that yesterday. I cried. That’s a shocker. Little dude is about to be a big reality!

Thanks for the sweet comments about my whiny, sex post. I am in a much better place this week.   I realize that it would be hard for anyone to feel sexy when they wear this every day.

This is the outfit my poor husband has to look at EVERY SINGLE DAY. Target tee shirt (I have this in five colors), pair of his boxer briefs and my Heineken trucker hat. Now that’s hot!

I took this picture so I could show Skittles how classy his mom was while she was carrying him..Oh and here is the ONE AND ONLY belly shot.

I swore I would never do that but my Gosh at this point..WHO CARES??!!

Kitchen is done, too! and as promised I took some pictures. I swear it looks better in person! Here we go..Before: oak cabinets, yellow laminate counter tops, brass ceiling fan and little decor.

After: Antique white, glazed rustic cabinets, black granite counter tops, updated ceiling fan and pops of color.

Now I am entering the nesting cleaning phase.  I have to clean out closets this weekend.

Three more weeks! Three more football games! This weekend is a big one. #1 Bama vs #10 Arkansas. My Arkansas friend Jill is coming over.  She is 8 months pregnant. With all the SEC passions and pregnancy hormones this could get ugly!!!!!!

Roll Tide!!!

Virginia Kerr is a morning news anchor on News 4. You can watch her Monday – Friday from 5AM to 7AM.

36 Weeks: Let’s Talk About Sex

Wow! I have hit crazy. Not every day, not every moment but I can cry like nobody’s business so easily now. If you want to see me cry just play..Brad Paisley’s song “If He’s Anything Like Me,” make me watch an episode of  “Baby Story,” , ask me one more time, “Are you ready??????” or get me talking about about sex

The sex thing is simple. I am no longer sexual. I think I can do it..and then I just over think it and lose all desire.

Even though I have kept my weight in check, I just don’t feel sexy and I can’t understand why my husband would want me. I know that sounds awful but it is so true. Not to mention it doesn’t feel good. I mean it’s kind of hard to get in that position that used to do it for you every time if you have a 6 pound baby between the two of you. And then I freak out that I will never enjoy it the same way again because people keep telling me it will never feel the same way it did before you were pregnant! Or they just  laugh and say…”Sex! Who said you would have anytime to have sex?” And of course I worry he is going to get bored with me.

And that’s when the crazy kicks in… Don’t get me wrong I am sooo excited to start my family and to see Skittles but with all the excitement comes the fear of the unknown. How else will I change, will I ever be the same person again? Will I turn into a totally different person? I mean, when people keep saying, “your entire life will never be the same” I kind of get freaked out.

THAT IS WHY…I am still obsessed with my kitchen redo and making lists. I now have  lists of things to do and things to pack last minute for the hospital on my phone and in my bathroom and in my hospital bag… just in case I can’t remember where the other lists are.

This whole nesting thing is just a great distraction of what is about to come. In fact, my husband and I call my Pottery Barn catalogs my porn magazines and he bought me the best kitchen porn at Lowe’s the other day! Seriously, I am can look at  every page every day and never get bored…and I do look at it every day.

But no matter what happens, I will have a super cute baby to keep me company. Here is Skittles at last week’s appointment.

He doesn’t take clear pictures now that he’s almost 6 pounds. Doctor said one choroid plexus cyst is totally gone and the other is almost gone. That’s good! He also says the baby has dropped.

Oh and I cried there, too. Not when I was getting the ultrasound, when they were taking my blood pressure. Blood pressure is fine. But for some reason it just hit me that he was going to be here in a few weeks and I WASN’T READY!!

And then I went back to decorating the kitchen. I think the people at Hobby Lobby are going to start restricting me to just two trips a week. I made four picture frames, redid all of them twice and one three times! I’m only using one.  I just don’t like the others at all now. I have to work on a few bare spots on the wall and then I am done. I will have that finished next week and then I will show you the before and after pictures.

Now I have to go to Hobby Lobby.. I’ have to redo the table centerpiece.

Virginia Kerr is a morning news anchor on News 4. You can watch her Monday – Friday from 5AM to 7AM.

35 Weeks: Losing My Mind

I thought I knew sleep deprivation and acid reflux but apparently we weren’t formally introduced until this week.

Now I know them all too well.  They have left my brain scrambled, by mouth filled with canker sores and my face looking a year older.

I have spent the last two nights propped up on pillows, sleeping on my side only to be awakened by a gush of acid gagging me every 30 minutes. And it burns. Wednesday night I finally just got up at midnight because it hurt so much to be in bed.

I worked a 9 1/2 hour shift on less than two hours of sleep yesterday. It was the longest day ever.

But here’s what is driving me crazy. I am in nesting mode. Not cleaning nesting, redecorating nesting. My husband and I are making over the kitchen. We know we have less than five weeks to get it done before Skittles comes and takes over the house and our lives.

We’ve had the counter tops and light fixtures replaced. Now we are painting and glazing the cabinets.  I spent his past weekend making picture frames and framing black and whites I took in our yard  and of our dog. I have this modern, french country theme going. I’m obsessed with blogs of crafty women who share my taste. I take their home decor ideas and then recreate them with my personal touch.

But NO ONE  has seen it. I don’t share pictures, I don’t ask for advice, I don’t have people over. I’m waiting for the big reveal.

Well, now I’ve convinced myself that it looks terrible and I don’t know what I am doing. Last night I told my husband I may redo all the picture frames. He convinced me to wait.

I tried to take pictures to post but I couldn’t do it. This has to be a pregnancy thing..right? I’m hormonal and tired and stressed about going into labor. Maybe that is it. I found a distraction to keep my mind off  going into labor and now that the end is near for both my makeover and pregnancy I am subconsciously finding another distraction.

I don’t care so much today because I leave for the doctor in a half hour to get another ultra sound.  I GET TO SEE SKITTLES AGAIN! The doctor wants to check on the choroid plexus cysts again. Six weeks ago they appeared to be shrinking.

I will tell you about our doctor visit tomorrow and post pictures of Skittles..Can’t wait to see him!

I MIGHT  show you before and afters of the kitchen next week. We should have the cabinets done by then and one of the wall decor items I secretly ordered (I told my husband I was finished buying decorations) off Ebay should be in.

Virginia Kerr is a morning news anchor on News 4. You can watch her Monday – Friday from 5AM to 7AM.

34 Weeks: Stress and Football

Scary moments on Monday. I had to go to the hospital because I was having major cramping and back pain during the morning show. They  hooked me up to monitor Skittles and me. He was okay but the doctor said my uterus was very active and irritable. He told me that getting up at 1:15 in the morning for work and the routine stress during my shift is causing it.

Well, I can’t avoid those two things so I am playing mind games with myself in the morning to try and stay calm.

The natural adrenaline rush television reporters get while they are on air isn’t unhealthy but apparently pregnant woman have more adrenaline in them any way so the combo is too much.

A lot of people think morning news anchors just show up, do their hair and read.

John and I get to work earlier than most morning anchors. We are here by 3AM and help write the two hour show plus we read over the scripts and rewrite them. We are never done by show time so we are also writing during the show when we aren’t on camera.  I’ve been anchoring this show for four years so I’m used to the stress… but Skittles apparently doesn’t care for it.

I told you how he kicked my so hard last week I was doubled over in pain. I think that was him telling my to be quiet and let him sleep 😉


ROLL TIDE!! There are six Alabama games until Skittles gets here. I think he will be here on game day #7. You better believe he will be wearing one of these that day.

Who knows, he’s already a kicker and if he has his dad’s football skills, he may be playing for the Alabama Crimson Tide one least he could go to school there. I’m still working on his father about that. Can you believe that? We are already discussing where he will go to college!

Oh My Gosh! I just can’t wait to see his face! And now I’m crying….6 more weeks!

Virginia Kerr is a morning news anchor on News 4. You can watch her Monday – Friday from 5AM to 7AM.