Category Archives: pregnancy

Random Postpartum Thoughts

First random thought…all my thoughts are random right now. I think I have lost most of my ability to form a coherent thought.

Best random thought…I am enjoying having three kids even more than I enjoyed having two kids.

Favorite random thought…I got a great deal on a jogging stroller on Craigslist. I am so excited. Once I am cleared by my midwife, Patrice and I will be hitting the pavement.

Weirdest random thought…I miss running more than I miss being able to sit down and read a book!!!

Most urgent random thought…I miss being able to sleep. I don’t mean that in the “I have a newborn baby so get up to feed baby during the night” way. I miss it in the “I have a newborn to get up to feed and insomnia” sort of way. It kind of adds insult to injury to lay there watching baby sleep knowing that as soon as I fall asleep she will wake up to eat again. Ahhhh…my midwife is helping me find a solution.

Scariest random thought…I am taking all three girls by myself up north next week to meet the rest of my family. Did I mention I am going all by myself???? With three little girls????

Now all those other random thoughts…

Sue and Caitlyn are going to AWANA on Sunday nights. (Check out the AWANA blog here).  They are doing great learning their verses. Both have earned their vests to start collecting their badges. And they seem to love it. And daddy and I LOVE watching them learn!!!! They are in the same class to start out. It is great to see them together. Poor little Patrice will be on her own when she starts this stuff. When we first found out Sue was coming just 15 months after Caitlyn, I was freaked out at them being so close in age. Now, I am sad Patrice will not have a buddy so close to her age. Ahh well, the Lord will sort that out, huh?

I am back in my prepregnancy clothes. I still have a lot of pounds to lose, but am back to the regular clothes much sooner than ever before. I think it is because the girls and I are constantly going and doing. There have been very few days where we have not done something. It has been great. Man, I hate the days though where the fun is rewarded with a child throwing a fit when we get home. Or even worse, when we are still having fun. Umm, trust me children, not throwing a fit is a better way to say thank you than throwing a fit is.

We went to two cider mills last week. The first was one we have been to before, Yates. We got there about 30 minutes before they closed thanks to road construction. We had time to get donuts and cider, so successful in my hubby’s opinion. We did not have time to walk around much so kind of a dud in my opinion. There were some stinky goats to watch so a hit in Sue’s opinion. I think Caitlyn was mildly pleased. Patrice slept through the whole thing. The lady that used our picnic table to change her baby’s diaper was a definite downer. “For the record lady, there were other tables where no one was trying to eat. You could have changed the diaper on one of those.”

Then we went to one on Saturday with some friends. Dietz Cider Mill. It was a hike to get there, but totally worth it. I really like the people we met up with, so even if it would not have been any fun, it was a hit to me. Beyond that, it was fun. They had a craft show, pony rides, face painting, balloon animals, a playground and, oh yeah, cider and donuts.

Final random thought…Patrice is much happier in her swing now that I put new batteries in it and Caitlyn would like to be let out of her time out…here goes nothing…

Patrice’s Birth Story

Here is my version of Patrice’s birth story.  I say my version because parts of it are a blur.  And for all I know, the parts I think are clear, may have happened a little different than I perceived them.

Really her story begins with an e-mail I received Friday morning about 2 am.  My grandfather passed away Thursday night about 11:30. 

We had visited him in June as things did not look good, and my time of not being able to travel was quickly approaching.  During our visit, he and I talked about the coming baby.  I told him about our plans to name the baby with Dussel as the middle name if it was a boy (that is my dad’s side of the family’s last name).  My grandpa liked that.  And told me to bring that baby back to meet him when baby came.  A couple weeks later he was asking about us.  He rallied and we hoped he would make it for baby’s arrival.

It was heartbreaking, for me, to hear he went to Jesus before baby came, but I know he is enjoying his great reward now.

But, I did not get to sleep after getting that e-mail.  I was kept up by my whirling thoughts and some random contractions.  Then later that morning I talked to my mom and my other grandfather had a minor heart attack on Thursday as well.  To say I was a bit stressed by my midwife appointment would be an understatement.

I was not having any major contractions by the time hubby got up for work, so I told him to go ahead and we planned for him to meet us at the midwife office.  Thankfully I was able to get ahold of him when the office called to have us come in earlier.  So the whole family tromps in for our appointment.

They hooked me up to a non-stress test.  My midwife came in a couple times to buzz baby to see how baby’s heartrate was doing and how baby was handling the few contractions that came during the test.  Sue touched the machine a few times, so I leaned over to get her away from it.

Then they finished the NST.  My midwife came in and looked the printout over.  There were a few drops in heartrate that she found concerning.  I thought the dips were from when I had leaned over to get Sue. 
“Can’t we blame it on Sue?,” I said.
“No, there are too many for it to be that.”
She explained how those dips could be an indicator that my amniotic fluid level was low.  Fluid levels can be measured by ultrasound so she went and got the scanner.  First we got GOOD news, baby was still head down and in perfect position for delivery.  I was thrilled.  I mean, thrilled.  Then the news got a little dicey. She found a few pockets of fluid, but got just barely 5 when she measured, and that was the cutoff for needing to deliver a baby.  When the fluid levels get too low, it is possible for baby to crush their cord.  So we talked about possibly needing an induction. 

As you know from other blog posts, I am very set on natural childbirth if at all possible, so I was not thrilled with the thought of induction.  I was bummed when she checked my cervix to only be at 1 cm and 70% effaced, the same as the week before.  So no membrane sweeping to see if that would move things along.

But my midwife was very confident we could likely do an induction without any pitocin and regardless, it would be up to me how much pain medication I used.

She asked me how I felt about all of this.  I said, “honestly, I don’t know, all I know with this kid is not to expect anything.  I kind of expected blood pressure issues with this one, never had it, kind of expected sugar issues, didn’t have that either.  Instead we ended up with breech issues and now fluid levels.”

From there, she sent us to the hospital to get a more thorough scan to see if they could find more fluid and another NST.  The bright spot in all this was my midwife was on duty for deliveries that night.  And I wanted her there more than anything for this baby.

First, we made plans for the girls to stay with a friend while we went to the hospital, grabbed some lunch, I drank a ton of fluids and we headed off to the hospital.  We had to wait a long time for the scan, but the results came back quick, they got about 6 for a fluid level, still pretty low for that point in pregnancy.  My midwife, hubby and I talked again about how that could mean the placenta was starting to break down and/or may not be functioning properly.  She still felt we should have a baby that night; if she sent us home, we could not monitor baby, we wouldn’t know how baby was doing.  I knew if I went home, I would be totally stressed worrying non-stop about lack of movement, too much movement, etc.  So we opted for the induction.

They got me in a room.  Hubby left to take the girls to a friends house where they had stayed the night previously.

At my midwife’s insistence, I ordered dinner.  I found that reassuring the induction would go smoothly, otherwise I did not think they would want me to eat.

After I ate, I waited, for hubby, for my midwife, I waited.  Not patiently.  Then I started contracting and they hurt, they were enough that I had to walk around to get through them.  Someone came in to put in my hep lock for antibiotics I needed before baby was born.  It was hard to sit still for some of those contractions.  Then my midwife came back.  Hubby was still not there.  She asked me, “so is he coming back or is he planning to sleep at home?” 
She checked me and found I was already 3 cm. 
“So were you going to tell us you were in labor before the baby was born?”
“Well, I was hoping they were doing something, but I didn’t mention I was in labor til almost 6 cm with Sue.”
She gave me some medication to for the induction and told me to lay down for an hour and hooked me up to the monitors for two hours.  She also decided to start the penicillian at that point instead of waiting til I was 4 cm as originally planned.

Hubby arrived shortly after and the contractions were already really strong.  I only laid down for about 40 minutes and then had to get out of the bed to survive each one.  Baby’s heartrate dipped a bit, so they added 20 minutes to the monitoring time.  I can not even tell you how I hated that extra time.  I just wanted to be able to walk around. 

Hubby and I started our rhythm of counting each contraction.  We had learned during the birth of Sue, if he started counting when he saw a contraction hit me (my face is a good indicator), we would find out how high he had to count to get to the end and I would know how long I had to “survive.”  With Sue it was a count of 42.  With Patrice he counted slower to try and help me to slow down my breathing and focus, so it was about to 28.

I must say these contractions were much more overwhelming than Sue or even Caitlyn’s had been.  I was about 4 cm when I was unhooked from the monitors and could walk around.  I was having a horrible time “getting on top” of the contractions, I felt like each one overwhelmed me.  I knew from all my studying and preparation, it was counterproductive to scream, as it wasted energy that could be better used to get baby moved down and closer to being born.  Even during the labor, I knew that, but many times ended up giving in to the desire to yell.  This labor felt more primal.  It felt like the energy came from deep within and was washing over me each time.

My midwife suggested I try getting into the jacuzzi tub to labor. It did not take all the pain, or even a measurable amount, but it took some. After a bit more yelling at the beginning of each contraction, I was able to breathe through more of them, and even put my head down on the edge of the tub to rest for a bit. Then I did a few on all fours, with hubby counting and my midwife doing counter pressure. I got through a few more, about 1 1/2 hours of labor.

With my two previous births, I was proud to say I never yelled at anyone.  I can no longer say that.  I was yelling at hubby and at my midwife.  I kept yelling at hubby, “this hurts, no really, you don’t understand, this really hurts!!!”  And at one point, he didn’t start counting soon enough and I yelled “Count you Idiot!”  Now mind you, I do NOT think my hubby is an idiot, I think he is rather brilliant, but right then…

And I was begging for someone to help me with the pain.

I have never been so thankful to be surrounded by two people who knew my desires for unmedicated birth and helped me to stick with that.  I must admit there was a point that if someone would have said, do you want the epidural, I would have said yes, even though I did not want it.  Not really even at that moment.

They helped me breathe through several more.  And I kept crying that I couldn’t find my place.  With Sue, even when they hurt, I felt like I found this place where I climbed inside of myself and could survive each one.  A place where I didn’t care what went on around me.  This time I could not find that.  And missed it.  Cried for it.  My midwife said maybe this time the place would be different and reminded me these contractions were coming really fast which might make it harder to get on top of them.  I was frustrated, but felt affirmed to know there was a reason I was struggling.

Then I started begging for help again.  And yelling at hubby and my midwife.  I remember hearing my midwife ask hubby what the sta-dol had done for me during labor with Sue.  He explained that it did not noticably take any pain, but allowed me to relax in between contractions just a bit.  So she asked me if I wanted something in my IV.  At my agreement we started the process of getting out of the tub and across the room.  We had to stop several times as I got hit by contraction after contraction.  Even once I got laid down, I had to tell my midwife to wait before checking me, as I worked to get through each one as it came. 

By that time I was about 7 and progressing rapidly.  It was good to hear her say that I was at transition, which is the hardest, but quickest part of labor.  They started to give me a non-narcotic medication in the IV, but baby’s heartrate dropped, and they had to stop.  I got a little and it was enough. 

The next thing I know, I hear someone saying, “Get me an OR (operating room), get the OR opened now.”  I vaguely remember thinking, well how is that going to work, I’m not drugged and then it was time for more contractions.  Then there was talk of a vaccuum (extraction) but that faded away.  And then I heard, “push Charity, just push, don’t wait for a contraction, push now.”  And me thinking, I am pushing, what do you think I am doing here???  And then, “push for your baby, push NOW!”  And from somewhere I pushed more.  And out baby came.  The cord was wrapped around the neck, baby was blue. 

My midwife cut the cord, tied it off and handed baby off to the waiting team.  And Praise the Lord, by the time they got baby half way to the warming table, she was screaming her head off and nice and pink!!!

Miss Patrice was soon handed over to daddy and she was ours.  Our third daughter was here, safe and sound.

Ticker Missing, Been Replaced by Another Kidlet!

I am a week behind, but here is the big news around here…we welcomed a third daughter on Saturday August 7, 2010 3:52 am.  She weighed in at 7 lbs 5 ounces and 19 1/2 inches long. She was born at 40 weeks 5 days along.  Her labor from start to finish was 5 1/2 hours…a wild and crazy 5 1/2 hours, but amazing and yes, I would do it all again in less than a heartbeat.

We couldn’t be more thrilled.  I promise to get her birth story written soon, but for right now, here are a few pictures while I get back to holding our newest addition.  As with her sisters, here on the blog we will use her middle name, Patrice, to give a modicum of privacy.

Days of Pregnancy

I have entered that odd time in pregnancy, where the calendar says the time of baby’s arrival is coming very soon, but your mind and heart feel like it will be forever!!!!  Truth be told, baby will arrive no later than August 14 (42 weeks).  And that seems like a crazy amount of time.  A friend of mine had her baby recently.  Our last little ones were born within days of each other.  With the arrival of her beautiful girl, I am more antsy to find out if we are welcoming a third little girl or a boy to our clan.

Normally I hit the antsy time about 5 weeks before baby is born.  This time I got a hidden blessing.  About 5 1/2 weeks before my due date, we found out baby had moved out of the birth position, into a breech presentation.  That took away all my ansty-ness.  I did not want this baby to come one second before it got it’s little self into the proper position for birth. Nope, stay right there little one!!!

After the reveation of baby’s position, I spent two weeks going to chiropractors for adjustments called the Webster Technique.  I also spent hours on my hands and knees and in a swimming pool diving to the bottom and doing hand stands.  I did not even know I could do hand stands in a pool, but determination will get you far.  I played music to the bottom of my belly and several other ideas I researched.

I begged many for prayers, cried out to God and cried in general.  I know there are worse things than a breech birth.  I do.  I have watched several friends walk through immeasurably worse.  But in our lives, this was the struggle we were living.

Baby stayed breech.  So a manual turning of baby was scheduled.  Hubby and I were a bit concerned the position could be caused by the cord being wrapped or some other issue, so we decided to have a full ultrasound done before the turning at 37 1/2 weeks.  We got in to the ultrasound, and almost immediately, the tech asked, “why are you here?”  I told her because after a month of being in great position baby had turned breech and they were getting ready to turn baby in two days.  She said, “well baby’s not breech.”  I kept asking, are  you serious, are you sure, hubby did you hear that?  I started to cry.  She finally said, “that’s a good thing, right?”  Yes, oh yes, you have no idea how much time I have spent in the pool, at chiropractors, on my hands and knees.  Yes!!!!  I asked her several times through the scan, is baby still head down.  “Yes, but this baby sure moves a lot!”

My midwife had told me as soon as baby got into a good position, she would have me put on a belly brace and not take it off.  I didn’t even sit down between the scan and e-mailing my midwife to find out how to put the brace on.

That was Tuesday, my next midwife appointment was Friday.  Thankfully hubby had taken me seriously when after one of the appointments where baby was still breech I had sobbed to him that he had to come to my appointments because I couldn’t bear to face them alone anymore.  So, he left work early and came to my appointment.

At the beginning of the appointment, my midwife found the heartbeat at the bottom of my belly.  Then she said, do you want me to do a quick scan just to make sure baby is head down.  Yes, let’s do that.  And apparently in the time she got the ultrasound machine, baby moved again, and went breech.

I sobbed.  My midwife just hugged me and agreed this was a horrible situation and talked about our options if baby continued to be in unstable lie, meaning moving in and out of birth position.  She then told me to call the chiropractor right away to see if I could get in that day.  And we scheduled the manual turning for Monday morning.

So I went to the chiropractor that night and Sunday morning.  And Monday morning before the scheduled turning.  As I walked into the chiropractor appointment, I got some horrible cramps.  They doubled me over, but then were gone.

We got to the hospital.  The nurse noticed I seemed very upset.  I told her I did not want the turning, I did not want all the meds they were going to pump into me, and as a consequence the baby, and I hated the whole deal.  She offered to send in the midwife on duty to talk to me.

We talked for a while, about how we did not have to use all the medications, how I could tell them to stop at any time, and that I still had options.  She told us a story about a woman she attended where the baby was breech up until 42 weeks, turned on it’s own at church, and was born the next day weighing 13 lbs, so that in her mind, there is never really a time where baby is too big to turn!  That was reassuring, though I would like to avoid a 13 pound baby!!!  She tried to palpate, check baby’s position with her hands on my belly, but was unable to do so.  So time for another ultrasound.  And there was baby, just as head down as could be!!! 

Yup, another turning procedure that wasn’t.  I put the brace back on.

The next day was my regular appointment with a midwife, not mine.  I refused an ultrasound, but the heartbeat was low in my belly, meaning the head was down where it belonged.

And a week later, at 39 weeks 1 day, head was still down where it belonged, so my midwife told me I could quit wearing the brace.

Since then, I have been relieved to not wear the brace, thanking the Lord for answered prayers and asking Him to keep baby in the proper position and to get labor started!!!!!!!!!

I must admit there is still a roller coaster in my emotions and heart.  Sometimes the baby does not move much at all and I freak out.  Other times, baby moves like crazy and I freak out, what if it turns out of position again????

Here I am, one day before my due date, 2 days before my oldest birthday, wondering and waiting.

I know the Lord is faithful, and without Him, the prayers of so many and the support of my great midwife and chiropractor, I know I would be going nuts…I am close enough as it is.  Thank you Lord for not making me walk this alone!!!!

Weight Gain in my First Babe

Recently I have had a couple friends dealing with slow gaining babies where doctors are wanting to do lots of tests, interventions, etc.  I have had two experiences with slow gaining babies.  I thought I would share one of my experiences today (I’ll get to Sue’s another day).  Please know I do not mean for this to be any type of medical advice and I absolutely know there are times that require intervention.  I am only speaking from my experience.

Caitlyn was 6 lbs 8 ounces at birth.  She gained the 1 ounce per day the doctors like to see from the beginning.  It was amazing to see how fast she grew.  Then at 6-7 months, she stopped expressing hunger.  It was weird.  I would realize, from looking at the clock, she had not eaten in 5 hours and she was happily playing and doing her thing. So I started to watch the clock a little more closely, but we kept nursing and introducing solids.

Then I took her for her 9 month check up with a new pediatrician.  The pediatrician freaked out.  I mean freaked.  Caitlyn had only gained about 5 ounces since her records showed at her 6 month appointment.  The woman told me to wean her immediately and give her whole milk (yeah, at 9 months) and that if Caitlyn did not like the cow’s milk, to put strawberry or chocolate syrup in it.

I was in shock.  Really.  I asked the doctor questions about how you wean a baby but not much about her idea of cow milk…

Then as I drove home I started to freak out and cry.  What was wrong with my baby?  How desperate was our situation if I was being told to bribe her with chocolate milk at 9 months old????  I cried for days.  I just could not bear to wean her.

By this point I was pregnant with Sue and had a midwife appointment just a few days after the doctor appointment.  So, I took Caitlyn with me.  I held her up to my midwife and sobbed out my story.  How the doctor wanted me to put her on cow milk with chocolate syrup and wanted her assessed for developmental delays.

My midwife, you know the one I adore, said, “she looks healthy to me.  Here is the name of my family doctor, call her and tell her I sent you.”  I called the next day…try as I could to not cry on the phone, I fell apart.  We had an appointment the next day.

This doctor, who I have grown to adore as much as my midwife, looked at my daughter, and said, “yes, her lack of growth is concerning, but no, we are not going to try cow’s milk, nor are we going to put chocolate syrup in anything.  And she does not have to be weaned.” 

She looked at our entire situation, talked to me about nursing and pumping, and we sorted out I was having low milk supply due to the change in hormones caused by my pregnancy.  Not all women see a milk drop, I did.  So we did add formula, but only after nursing.  Caitlyn and I kept going 2 more months before she weaned herself.  And we were both satisfied with the outcome.  We had made the choice that was best for us.  This time around, due to her young age, and our bonus pregnancy, formula was part of the answer.  But it did not have to be traumatic as an immediate weaning would have been.

Did I like the formula route, heck no.  Is that always the answer, definitely not, as my story with Sue will show…

What were the main lessons I took from this?  It is absolutely necessary to have a doctor you trust.  One that resonates with you.  Who trusts your intuition.  Who knows how to communicate with you so when something is needed, you understand why and are willing to walk that way.

And that is what I stress to mama’s when I share my story, to make sure you trust your doctor.  That their philosophy does not always include formula as an intervention.  That respects the personality of the mother and the child.  It truly makes all the difference, whether you end up needing to intervene with a health situation or you find a solution that does not require intervention.

When have you had to trust your intuition?  Have you had to change doctors because you knew something just wasn’t right?

Random Baby 3 Thoughts

I had my 32 week appointment yesterday.  I just wanted to hear baby was head down and positioned well.  Praise the Lord, that is exactly what I heard.  Then I forgot to mention I was getting the pregnancy itchies.  Why remember to ask your questions while there…oh yeah, because a few hours later the itching will be so bad you truly can not function at work.  I was debating whether to e-mail my midwife or just tough it out…and her office called to give me test results from the thyroid test and I was able to ask!!  And the answer was yes, I could use benadryl cream.  Thank you Lord for that perfectly timed phone call!!!!

Then while I am at the store, wondering what else I can do, my midwife e-mails me and tells me I can also take benadryl tablets and to let her know if I don’t get relief.  I once again was praising the Lord for her timing.  And for the blessing she is to me.

The benadryl tablets help a little bit…not completely but I can function.  Except for being so sleepy, but honestly that is better than being so itchy.  You are probably thinking it is my growing belly that is itching, nope, everywhere but my belly.  I had this with Caitlyn.  I remember laying in bed in tears because I itched so bad.  I never thought to ask if there was something more than lotion I could try.

This baby is very, very active.  Sometimes to the point of pleasant discomfort.  Owie from the force of it, but it brings so much joy to see him or her movin’ and groovin’.  And a joy I never had with the girls, I can SEE the baby moving my belly.  I don’t just feel the kicks, I see them.  And can even tell sometimes that it is a foot.  That is soooo cool and such a gift from the Lord. 

Thank you Lord for babies and for just added gifts.  I often whine about parts of pregnancy, but then you give the gift of movement from my little one.  Thank you!!!!

Pregnancy random thoughts

Not a whole lot to say, but hey…I can not believe I am under 10 weeks from my due date with baby 3!  Yay!  And apparently baby decided to celebrate yesterday with tons and tons of activity.  Honestly, I think the baby only stopped moving about an hour all day long.  This of course irritated my fussy uterus.  And the braxton hicks contractions started.  Wowzers.  I mean, wowzers. 

I started the day not feeling great, ended the day remembering how amazingly strong braxton hicks contractions can be.  I would like to talk to those pregnancy book writers whugh o say braxton hicks contractions are not painful.  They are either men or it has been a long time since they were pregnant.  Actually, it doesn’t even have to be a long time.  I swear there is a hormone released at various stages of labor and pregnancy to help you forget the challenges. 

You have to forget.  First, you have to forget the angst of trying to get pregnant or you will never subject yourself to that stressful waiting game.  Then you have to forget how bad morning sickness and first trimester exhaustion can be.  Next you have to forget how the blissful period of second trimester is not exaclty perfect.  Then you have to forget the trauma of seeing your body change from the form you know to this blimp sized thing.  Oh and the contractions, the braxton hicks contractions and then the actual contractons.

And blssfully, you do forget!!!  The Lord is gracious, and you forget so you are more than willing to go through every step of it. 

You are willing to go through every ache and pain. Every emotional up and down.  Every mood swing that makes you feel nuts.  Through every braxton hicks contraction.  Every moment of low baby movement that makes you worry something has happened in utero. 

Does the forgetting happen in stages or does it happen all in one moment when you hold the baby?  When you give him or her their name?

I don’t know.  I really don’t.  But I know the Lord is gracious.  He knows pregnancy can hold lots of challenges and he provides a way for us to forget. 

Then again, maybe I do know.  I think it is the overwhelming love for your child.  I have friends who have adopted.  That process, I think, would have challenges that make some of pregnancy stuff, seem like a walk in the park.  But many of those same friends, decide to walk the walk again.  So, yes, it is the love for the child God has given you, no matter how He gives Him.

The Lord is gracious and good.  Thank you Lord for love.,  For making a way when we don’t see a way.

Caitlyn is top picture, Sue is bottom.

Birth stories continued…can’t leave Sue out of the fun

Last week we started with Caitlyn’s story and this week is Sue’s turn…we’ll have to wait about 79 more days, give or take a few, for baby #3.
Sue is our bonus baby.  I was a little surprised to have Sue coming just 15 1/2 months after Caitlyn.  I got to my pre-baby weight with Caitlyn the day I found out I was expecting the baby who turned out to be Sue.
We again planned a low intervention, midwife attended, birthing center birth.  And I really hoped to get it this time.  I was thrilled to be working with my midwife again.  She was out on her own maternity leave when I found out we would be seeing her again.  I had a “mental” health check appointment scheduled with her before she went out to have her baby, but by the time she came back she said, “wow, I was a little surprised to see you in my OB list today!”  Yup, a little surprised to be in the OB list :)
I thought my pregnancy was much easier with Sue.  The morning sickness was again not so much fun, but it seemed a little easier and ended 2 weeks sooner than with Caitlyn!  Yay!!!!
It was a bit shocking at about 26 weeks, to start contracting!  For the next few weeks I went in several times to have the contractions monitored.  There were definitely contractions, but thankfully they were not making any changes.  Whew.  I spent a lot of the pregnancy laying in a warm tub to get my “irritated” uterus to chill out.  
This time around, I did not pass my blood glucose test, so I had to go for the 3 hour test.  I passed all but one of those tests.  I found out I was going to have to test my sugar and follow a diet to make sure things stayed healthy.  I felt very betrayed by my body.  I have spent so much of my life sick and now my body was struggling with staying in-line for pregnancy.
Honestly, the diet was annoying, as it took a lot more thought for what I was going to eat when, making sure I had protein with carbohydrates at each of 6 mini-meals a day.  The one time I saw the OB during my pregnancy, she told me I had to test my sugar all the time and would need to get an ultrasound later in the pregnancy to make sure the baby was not too big.
I knew from other friends experiences that ultrasounds tended to measure babies much larger than they are, and since I was planning a unmedicated birth, I did not want to find out or think ahead of time that I would be birthing a huge baby. 
At my next appointment with my midwife, I asked her if I had to have the ultrasound.  “No way, we wouldn’t do an elective c-section unless the baby was 11 pounds, and you are not having an 11 pound baby!”  So, then I asked about testing my sugar 3 times a day, every day.  “I do not want you testing all the time.  Your sugar is not going crazy and hormones can cause swings that have nothing to do with food.  I don’t want you to obsesss.”
Have I mentioned I love my midwife???
Then, on our wedding anniversary, my blood pressure popped up, really up.  I cried and cried, terrified we were headed toward preeclampsia again. And it did look like that was possible.  I was given strict orders not to go to work if my blood pressure was over certain numbers.  “Can I work from home?”  If you can do so laying on your left side.  Actually I can, so a few days I did.  I took my blood pressure every morning to make sure we were still okay.  I ended up in the hospital to be monitored a few times for that.  Each time the hospital would have me lay on my left side, then take it.  Well, laying on your left side will typically drop it like a rock, so every time I went in, they got a much lower reading.  I at one point told my midwife I was not going in anymore for the blood pressure.  She said, “oh yes you are.  You have to protect your baby.  And they [the hospital] are really cheating because they are having you lay there for a long time, but that is an artificially low reading, because you don’t live your life on your left side.”
Have I mentioned I love my midwife?
So, I was in her office twice a week for a non-stress test.  And almost every time, the baby required waking up.  Which then caused contractions to start up.  So we ended up monitoring both, the babies tolerance of my blood pressure and my level of contraction activity.  At first, I hated being in there so much, but then I realized, this was my time with the baby.  To hear the heartbeat tripping along and to see the contraction activity mapped out….they really were there, I wasn’t crazy.
Along came Thanksgiving.  I had been contracting almost every night for the week before.  Between 4 and 7 each night they would start, and settle into a nice pattern for a few hours, so every night, I would ask hubby if we should take Caitlyn to his parents and head to the birthing center or risk having to wake her up in the middle of the night.  Needless to say, for Thanksgiving, I was not up to being away from home.  I took a nap and hubby made us a beautiful dinner.
It was perfect.
Then my original due date came and went with not a single contraction.  But they were back the next day.
Monday night I contracted all night.  I told hubby on Tuesday I thought he should stay home, just in case.  The contractions, of course, stopped.  But I decided I HAD to make Amish friendship bread.  Right now.  But I was missing a few ingredients.  So asked hubby to head to the store.  He said, “why don’t we all go, see if we can get this baby moving and hav a baby in the produce section.”  So off we went.  No baby in the produce section.  And a few hours later, it was time for another midwife appointment.  Caitlyn and daddy went with me.  Caitlyn was really antsy, so daddy took her out.  My midwife found I was at 5 cm (out of 10 needed).  She said, “you’re one of those women who are going to be at 7 cm before you bother to really go into labor, aren’t you?”  Ummmm….I told her I was ready to get this baby out.  He or she had baked 2 days longer than Caitlyn.  Hotel mommy says to get out!  And my blood pressure was a little crazy and I was spilling some protein, so we agreed to sweep the membranes.  If the body is ready, this will start labor, if not, it will do a whole lot of nothing.  And if that didn’t work, the next morning I was supposed to drink 4 ounces of castor oil. I was really hoping to have a baby before I had to do that.  She did a quick ultrasound because she thought she felt baby’s hand near the head,  but it was just the ear, so she moved baby to get him/her straight.  Wowzers.  That was an experience.
So we headed home.  Hubby called his mom to give her an update.  I thought that was wierd because we didn’t normally do that.  I realized later he was warning his mom in case we needed her to come watch Caitlyn while we had a baby.  Ok, sometimes I am a little slow.
When we got home, I was antsy, just couldn’t settle down.  Finally about 9 pm, I went to bed.  I woke up about 11 and couldn’t get back to sleep so I watched TV until about midnight.  Then woke up again at 2:36 am.  Wow, oh wow.  Something was happening.  I told hubby I needed his help timing contractions.  When he didn’t move, I said, “fine, I’ll time my own stupid contractions.”  In his defense, we had done this a few times in the days leading up, but in my defense, these suckers were DIFFERENT!!!!!
So, I grabbed my laptop, which had a bookmarked website for timing contractions.  I thought I would time them for a while, but soon realized they were coming every 2 minutes and were 1 minute long.  I had thought I would watch a recorded webcast for work while timing contractions, but soon slammed the laptop shut and said, “I can’t do this right now.”  By this time hubby was with me.  I told him to call the midwife on-call line.  He did.  They normally want to talk to the mama, but they heard me yell, “tell them we’re not asking, tell them we’re coming!”  I took a quick shower (useless attempt), told hubby to call the neighbors because I didn’t have time for his mom to get there, they didn’t answer, I told him to run over there because I needed to go now.  But his mom got there really fast, so the neighbors got to sleep.  I yelled at hubby about something, woke up Caitlyn, felt terrible, hugged her and cried that mama was sorry.  Then headed out to the car.  I did not even wait for his mom to get in the house.  She said hello and I growled back, “what was I thinking?”
We started driving and I swear hubby intentionally hit every red light.  Sitting through those was horrible!!!!  I remember thinking, as we passed a hospital to go to the one with the birthing center, “man I wish I was going there, so I could just get out of this car!!!”  (Found out later I actually said that out loud…oooppps)
We got there, they rushed me in, got me up to the birthing center.  I was already at 6 cm.  Tried the labor pool, hated it, tried to lay down.  Hubby had to catch my head before I went under.  Got out.  Staggered to the bed, laid on my left side and that is how I labored the whole time.  Hubby said I would flail around between contractions, but as soon as one hit, I settled right back on my side.  I was really thirsty so hubby got me some water.  His main job was to pull it away when a contraction hit so it did not go all over me. 
I went into my own world.  I was totally unaware of the nurse or midwife being there.  Thought hubby left.  Didn’t care.  Felt like I got above the pain at some point.  Hubby started counting when a contraction would start.  I realized if I could make it to 42, I would not die and would get a break.  Then soon got confused because he would get to 42, and I wouldn’t get my break.  Was aware of my water breaking.  Didn’t know midwife was there so tried to explain it to hubby.  Turns out Sue was born immediately after water breaking, so no one really cared.
She was here. 3 hours and 47 minutes after I first woke up at home.  2 hours and 19 minutes after getting to the birthing center.  An hour after hubby called my mom to let her know to come (ummm, she didn’t quite make it in time for the birth).
She was here.  Natural birth was as amazing and empowering as I had hoped or dreamed it would be.  My body had done it.  I had done it.  She was here!!!!

Birth Stories–I’ve got 2 and a 3rd on the way

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I missed the blog hop yesterday hosted by Mama M but I liked the idea, so thought I would share mine today.  (You can head over to her blog to read lots of them where other mama’s shared and linked up.)

Let’s start by saying, I have 87 days until my due date with baby 3.  Thanks, just had to get that out there…

My two stories diverge and merge at various points.

During my first pregnancy, I didn’t know where to even start.  I had never gone to an OB/GYN, just a family doctor, so what to do.  I started by going to my family doctor to confirm there was in fact a new family member coming and then said, what do I do now?  She gave me the name of an OB.  The ladies in the office kept saying how wonderful he was.  No one ever mentioned he had a partner that was, well, nasty and rotten, and probably should be employed in a job that DOES NOT involve people.  Anyway…

I went to my first few appointments.  Sometimes I saw him and he seemed nice enough.  As I began to research labor and deliivery and realized I wanted to go as unmedical as possible, he seemed supportive.  She, on the other hand was not.  I asked once, “what can I do to avoid a C-section?”  “Don’t gain too much weight.”  Helpful, thanks.  Really thought about that answer, huh? 

Then early on I started to swell, a lot.  Not the some that I see other women swell, I mean A LOT!  Each time I asked, they just said, well some women swell more.  Okay, people, I am telling you this was not normal…nope.

It turned out I needed to travel to France for work during my 2nd trimester.  I checked with them right away.  They said it was fine, checked with them again, still fine.  Then had the OB (insert witchy woman) write me a letter for the airlines.  I watched her write it on her script pad.

It was time for me to travel.  I swelled more.  I could not even wear my tennis shoes.  I was getting pretty freaked out.  I had hubby call the OB.  They said, “she’s in France?  We didn’t know she was going there.” 

Yeah, thanks.  I had been thinking about changing to a midwife before that happened.  At that moment I decided to make the switch even if I was 30+ weeks along.  There had to be better care out there.

So as soon as I got home I contacted a midwife I found on-line.  She worked at a local hospital that also had a birthing center.  Things I had dreamed of for my delivery, but seemed impossible, were standard practice for them.  We made the switch.  Best decision we ever made.

All the sudden at 36-37 weeks that swelling every one ignored, became a big issue.  I developed reflex issues, and started spilling protein and my blood pressure went crazy.  At 38 weeks I was put on bedrest.  I went in at 38 weeks 6 days just for a test, and asked them to check my blood pressure since I was there.  All the sudden all heck broke loose.  I went from, can you check my blood pressure to the OB coming in and saying, “we need to get this baby born today.  You need to go to the hospital.”  This was the only appointment hubby did not come to because it wasn’t really an appointment.  I called him hysterical from the parking lot.  “They say I have to be induced. I have to have the baby right now.”  He came and got me.  We came home, cleaned up the house, went to lunch (brilliant) and headed there.

Everything was so different than what I expected.  All the sudden they wanted IVs, monitors, drugs, all the interventions we did not want.  I saw my birthing center birth slipping away.

At 9 pm they started the induction.  Contractions started about 3 hours later.  About 2 hours after that I woke up hubby as I needed help coping through the contractions.  I still wanted to go without an epidural if I could.  I made it 12 hours without meds.  Then I decided to try the Sta-dol as that was a med they even had in the birthing center.  The 45 minutes of relief I got was so nice, I asked hubby if maybe after that wore off I could try an epidural.  He said, “of course you can, why not?”  I said, “but we had planned to go with no meds.” 

Thankfully that Labor and Delivery was known for their “walking epidural” which means you get some relief but still have feeling and know what is going on.

My blood pressure kept going up, even with the magnesium sulfate, but the midwives, who were with me even in labor and delivery, let me keep going since I was still, just barely, in the safe zone.  Apparently I become very inter-focussed when I am in labor.  I did not notice looks or comments between people, I didn’t really care what was going on while I dealt with contractions.

At one point my mom asked the midwife, “when are we in trouble?”  The midwife said, “when that bottom number (of my BP) hits 110, all heck breaks loose.”  It was 107. 

I kept going.  Even when one midwife went off duty telling me I was 9 cm, and the next came in and said I was 6 or 7.  My mom was mad as she said it looked like all the fight went out of me, but honestly, I don’t remember it changing anything.  I argued with the midwife and went back to work.  It seemed to me those 3 cm went by really fast the second time around.

Then all the sudden, it seemed like the contractions changed, like in order to survive them, I needed to push.  But I knew if you pushed too soon it could cause problems.  It just happened at that moment there were no midwives or nurses around.  I tried to tell hubby and my mom to get the midwife because things seemed different, but they didn’t seem to understand.  They just told me I was doing a good job.  So I explained again.  “You need to get the midwife now.  I am telling you, things are different,” so off went hubby.  Turns out it was time to push!!!

So, as discussed beforehand, everyone left, expect hubby, the nurse and midwife…and me of course.

I must say, I hated directed pushing.  There were times I really wanted to push and the midwife would say no, not yet.  But I knew I needed to push.  I thought at one point, they moved me to another bed and I went through a tunnel.  Ummm, later, everyone told me no, no one moved you.  Like I said, I go into my own world when I am having a baby.

I remember asking the nurse once if the baby was almost here.  She said, “well Jessica (the midwife) just went to get her garb on, and that means it is almost time.”  Those were great words.

They offered me a mirror to see my baby being born.  Heck no.

Hubby said he had no idea where I got the strength to continue, but I just kept diggind down inside and giving it a bit more.  I knew I just wanted to find out if my baby was a girl or a boy, and wanted to be done and wanted to have done it without a c-section.

And finally, I was done.  And they were putting a baby on my belly.  And I was asking what it was, a girl or a boy…and the midwife said, “we’re waiting for your hubby to get over here and tell you.”  And then he said beautiful words, “it’s a girl.”  My response, “are you sure?”  Hubby said, “yup.”  Jessica said, “I say it’s a girl.”  The nurse said, “It’s a girl.”  Jessica said, “that’s three of us, it’s a girl.”

“Can we use the name we planned,” I asked.

“Yes, we can.” 

And that is how we finally got Caitlyn here, 25 1/2 hours of labor, but she was here.

And as my precious girl lay on my chest, I said, “we love you and we pray you come to know Jesus as your Savior very young, that’s all that matters.”

This post has ended up being very long, so I think we should save Sue for another day.  My two girls, my wonderful hubby and this baby to come, mean the world to me.  I pray they always, always know that.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Our beautiful girl.

Braxton Hicks Not Me Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Check out my Braxton Hicks Not Me Monday thoughts as part of the fun.

I did not randomly realize I was crying while coping with braxton hicks contractions walking through the grocery store Thursday afternoon. No, I know that I contract early and often in my pregnancies. I did not again cry while having lots of contractions Friday night too. Again, I know for me this is normal. I was not completely overwhelmed by the thought of 3 more months of this on and off. No, I know pregnancy is a gift and I will cherish it. I was not minutes away from telling my hubby we had to go to the hospital to get the contractions checked out Friday night. No way, I am going to keep my promise to my husband to not freak out at every contraction, so I would never overreact already! I was not then so overwhelmed with relief when my midwife e-mailed me back late Friday night that I started to cry. No, I am much more calm, cool and collected than that! I did not then spend Saturday and Sunday afraid every twinge was the beginning of several more hours of contractions. Oh no.

Oh no, this is not going to be a very long 3 months until baby is safely here.

Me at 25 weeks 6 days.