Happy, Healthy Mom = Happy, Healthy Family

My birth experience delivering Bella at Anne Arundel Medical Center was a very positive experience – in fact, it was a breeze.

Even though this was our second child, my husband and I took a parenting class as a refresher course, and we would definitely recommend it. Our instructor was informative, warm and entertaining.

One Wonderful Day

I remember I went into labor very early in the morning. I waited a couple of hours at home to make sure it was the real thing. Then I had my husband pack up the car, I woke up our school-age son, and we got ready to go to the hospital.

Upon arrival at the Thomas J. Frank Family Birth Center at AAMC, the nurses promptly brought me back to the triage area and confirmed (to no surprise) that I was in labor and dilated. The nurses were great about checking on my son, who was waiting outside the room until more of my family could arrive.

My contractions were very intense, and I was having the dreadfully painful back labor. My nurse was so wonderful and calming while I waited to get my epidural. I remember her gently pressing down on my shoulders during the peak of my contractions and giving me words of encouragement. Somehow, that weight of her on my shoulders helped to make the pain more bearable.

My epidural was a dream, and within minutes of getting it I was completely relaxed. I can truly say I was able to enjoy my labor — even being able to take a little nap and converse with family members. (Thank you, anesthesiologist!)

My nurses were just the right balance of knowing when to let me rest and when to bring humor and lightness into the room.

After 11 hours of labor and five minutes of pushing, we had our beautiful Bella in our arms. We had exactly the birth that we had wanted, and my doctors and nurses followed our birth plan to the tee.

I had planned to breastfeed, so we had a lactation consultant pop into our hospital room before we left to make sure Bella was latching on properly, and to refresh me on breastfeeding basics. The lactation consultant was helpful and friendly.

Advice For New Parents

If I were to give advice to expectant moms and new parents, I would say remember to make time for you. Both pregnancy and parenthood are wonderful, joyous times. But they can also be both stressful and depleting. Remember that a healthy, happy mom makes for a healthy, happy family. As difficult as it may be to schedule in time just for you — even if it’s only 15 minutes — this goes a long way. And, never underestimate the power of three deep breaths to help you re-center and stay grounded.

Staying Healthy

My family and I stay healthy by making sure to get plenty of movement, eat healthy meals and receive acupuncture. My husband and I are both acupuncturists, and it is a true gift to be able to care for our family with this wonderful form of medicine.

Our biggest teaching to our kids in terms of health and wellness is to listen to your body. Your body knows what it needs. If we ignore it, that’s when symptoms arise. It sounds simple, but so many of us override these messages. Get good rest, exercise, eat whole foods, drink enough water and balance work with play.

Melissa Perilla is an acupuncturist in Annapolis.  

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