Can you provide a quick intro on yourself?
My name is Regina Seaman, and as a full-time worker, part-time bartender, volunteer fire fighter, and workout enthusiast, my schedule has always been decently busy. Add in a new marriage with plans well disrupted by COVID, and a newborn exactly 40 weeks later, you could say my plate has definitely filled to the max. Although my days are busy, I do have more free time to spend with my family than one would think. My husband and I enjoy most of our time together playing with our daughter, enjoying all of the changes as she continues to grow. God always has the best plans for us and providing the best people in our corners is what helps get us through.
Where did you go for information or research prior to giving birth (books, social media, friends)?
Honestly, I didn’t look much into acquiring information throughout my pregnancy. The most information I did receive would have to be from friends, though. Knowing that every person’s experience is different, it was great to hear from multiple people.
I also downloaded a pregnancy app for the quick details of baby’s development. It’s amazing how many little things occur during the time baby is growing in the belly.
I tried not to look too much into researching everything about being pregnant and what to expect because I didn’t want to read something and think the worst outcomes would always be happening. It helped me to enjoy myself and be comfortable with what I continued to do. If I did question something, I always asked my doctor. Anything he couldn’t answer he would always suggest to ask my friends who had just recently had babies of their own. The best answers I could get were from him or another friend who just went through the same experience.
What were one (or a few) things you found helpful/true about pregnancy or early motherhood from your research?
I recently read a quote that said, “You’ll never look back and say ‘I spent too much time with my children.’”
Even on days that our home is a disaster I choose spending time playing with my daughter over finishing laundry or doing the dishes. Those messes are always going to be there, but the memories to make with your children won’t. It’s good to try and stay ahead on keeping things organized, but stressing over it rather than enjoying family time isn’t worth it.
When they say “Enjoy the little things,” remember that baby is the little thing, but not for long.
What do you wish someone had told you about pregnancy or early motherhood?
It was crazy for me during my pregnancy that I really didn’t feel like anything about my body changed except that my stomach was bigger. I was one of the lucky ones who never got sick or felt pain. I didn’t even know what heartburn actually was until my work nurse explained it, then I realized I actually did have that going on, I just didn’t think much of it. I never knew a pregnancy could be so...not challenging. I learned that pregnancy doesn’t always consist of crazy cravings or the dramatic movie freak outs. Unless your body is experiencing a difficult time, everything you do can be continued without concern. I worked, went to the gym, and continued to play volleyball and softball all the up to my delivery date.
What were some of the challenges you faced during pregnancy or early motherhood and how did you overcome them?
I had a lady come out on the softball field trying to tell me I couldn’t play because I was pregnant. I was 31 weeks pregnant and just a week prior completed the Murph at Rx (without the weight vest...baby already added that). I never met this woman before so she had no history on my athleticism or how my pregnancy had been going. It was the first time I truly experienced that Mama Bear anger. I worked out and continued my leagues with caution. If a concern of playing would have come up, I would have been done right away. Surprisingly, I made it through every league I played, winter and summer, before baby came. Only missing games due to being gone, never from my actual pregnancy.
My biggest challenge faced was delivery. We all thought I’d go in, have a baby, and go home. This didn’t happen at all. Delivery was extremely difficult on both myself and my daughter. My daughter didn’t react like my doctor wanted her to after how our delivery went, and after doing every test he was capable of, he talked to us about sending her to a bigger hospital better equipped for some extra testing. The morning after she was life flighted is when my problems started.
I developed an infection called Endometritis. That’s not a typo. In fact, it’s an infection common for women who have a C-section to get. In a quick read I found, it stated that women getting a C-section are often offered the antibiotics for it beforehand to help keep them from getting it. It was rare for me to develop this because I delivered normally.
I’m not sure if Endometritis affects every body the same, but for myself I couldn’t use my muscles in my abdomen or lower body. It is an infection on the uterus lining that caused extreme pain in my muscles. My doctor explained that infections inside our body cause pain in places other than where they are because of all our nerves. After going through labor, I didn’t think I could experience any other pain that hurt so bad, but this did.
For a couple days I couldn’t move myself. I needed my husband and the nurses to pull me up in bed and get me in and out of bed to use the restroom or, after I was transferred to the same hospital as my daughter, get me down to visit her. Each day my muscles improved a little bit with the following week, at my daughter’s one week checkup, being the first time I walked without support.
It took about a whole month before I could sleep in my bed again because I couldn’t even lay on my side, and another two months before I felt as though I could move normally again. Each walk we went on was a test to see how much better I was and each time I had improved from the day before.
I was fortunate to have this show up before being discharged, but in my quick read for a little more understanding, plus what my doctor at the second hospital told me, if endometritis isn’t treated right away, it can cause extreme damage, including infertility.
Endometritis put my husband and I through our first really big challenge of both marriage and parenthood. I had never heard of it before but now that I’ve experienced it, I hope to share with others that with a quick diagnosis and treatment, there is a great place of healing. It’s a scary thing to go through, but time and patience will allow the body to fix itself.
Did you turn to anyone for advice or help during the more challenging times?
An old friend of mine from our middle school days actually ended up being one of my nurses. She’s been extremely helpful with all of my questions, especially if it’s something that is best to see or hear in person. Rather than rushing to the hospital because the hospital’s online platform doesn’t take videos, only photos, I am able to have her review things and pass on to my doctor if she can’t answer.
I have a couple other friends who helped get me through our first week of being stuck in the hospital as well. Unfortunately, I lost one of those friends a couple months ago and since then have had many more questions to reach out to her for.
It’s difficult to ask questions because you don’t want to be the weird one that seems to have everything going wrong, but talking to your other mom friends can really help. You can determine if there’s maybe something more going on with your body than normal or if it’s the natural healing process.
If you had to give advice to new moms, what would it be?
There’s no such thing as being paranoid. You’re a mom. That’s all it is. When you worry about your baby it’s because that’s a natural instinct. Don’t feel bad for struggling to relax when baby is sleeping or playing.
Most other mom’s will give the advice that when baby sleeps, mom sleeps. For myself that typically meant 5-10 minutes then checking that baby was still breathing. You’re worried for your child’s well-being and you have every right to be. As time goes on those worries will change, but a mother’s instinct to check on their child isn’t paranoia. It’s being a mom and that will never change, no matter how old your child is.
Any other general thoughts on this topic?
Pregnancy and motherhood are the best gifts God has ever given me and I hope all parents feel the same. The excitement of meeting your child and watching them grow, develop, and learn cannot be put into words. Enjoy every minute, even the tough ones, because they go by too fast.
What were your thoughts on What is the Way?
I absolutely love Annie and Katrin's book What is the Way? I've already shared it with my daughter a couple times and my husband even joined it. It is such an inspirational story written in a creative way for children to understand. I will be reading it with my baby for years to come. I'm even looking at having the rhyme on one of the last pages put on a board so my daughter can grow up always seeing it.