Monthly Archives: August 2010

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.

A Children’s Book Giveaway on Another Blog

I found this contest through a post on facebook by the Creation Museum.  Our family has not had a chance to visit the Creation Museum, but one of my siblings has and LOVES it.

A new book by Ken Ham, Charlie and Trike, In the Grand Canyon Adventure sounds really fun and educational, what more could you ask for???

Check out the review and giveaway over on the blog, Reviews and Reflections.

Now I am off to hold Patrice some more!!!!

Getting to Know YOU

These days are filled with busyness, joy and love.  And dirty diapers, feeding baby and holding baby.  And play-doh, cartoons and coloring.

When we were at the doctor earlier this week for Patrice’s check up, the doctor gave us that little sheet about baby’s development.  One of the things it said to do was get to know your baby.  And that is what we are doing.  Here is some of what we have learned:

Patrice likes to be held.  She doesn’t sleep much otherwise.  She likes the baby wearing wrap.
Patrice likes to eat, and eat and eat and eat.  We’ve never had a baby who liked to eat at this young of an age.  Our older two slept most of their first weeks, getting them to eat was a challenge with a capital C!

Patrice gains weight.  At 6 days old she was within one ounce of her birth weight.  Sue was still losing at that age, Caitlyn was just starting to think about gaining.  At 10 days old, Patrice was 7 ounces over her birth weight.  I am amazed.  She is doing so well, we do not have to go back to the doctor until she is 2 months old.  Both the doctor and I commented how we have never been set loose this early.  We have always been in every week or so until about 3 months old to check weight gain, particularly with Sue.

What I have learned about myself:

I can handle 3 kids, and enjoy it, a lot!!!!!!  Today is the first day I thought I might go crazy but that feeling has passed.  Thank you Mr. Play-doh, Mr. Sidewalk Chalk and Mr. Coloring Books.  You are providing much needed distraction for the older kids.

I feel very accomplished for doing cloth diapers with Patrice.  Does it make me a better mom?  No way.  Is it something I thought about doing with Caitlyn and Sue, but wimped out on, yes.  But thanks to a dear friend I feel less clueless this time and have a great set of supplies.  The earth and my wallet thank her.
I love my littlest girls’ name more and more every day, especially her middle name.  Thank you honey for indulging me in naming her after our midwife.  Actually, I adore the names of all my girls, and each of them, their middle name, holds extra significance.  Caitlyn is the combination of names from three special ladies from my high school years that were great encouragement to me in my Christian walk.  Sue is my mom’s name (and my middle name).  And then there is Patrice. 
Now, maybe most would not think to name their daughter after their midwife, but my midwife has given me a great deal.  She gave me the opportunity to learn my body could handle and do a lot.  With my history of MS, I got told a lot I could not do this or that, enter any number of things, but when I first approached my midwife, who I found through an internet search, she saw me as a person and simply acknowledged the MS existed, giving it no more importance than it needed.  She helped even my neurologist see it did not have to hold me back. She has encouraged me along the  way when I struggled with some postpartum depression with my oldest, and when Sue was not gaining weight she helped me brainstorm ideas on how to help our little one.  She has answered so many e-mails, too many to count really.  She also helped us find solutions for Patrice’s breech position, never giving up and saying we would have to have a c-section. And she invests herself in the mom’s who are privileged to know her.  She has, in short, become a friend. And that does not even begin to touch her role in our birth story (which I am almost done getting written).
I know there is much more to learn about Patrice and about ourselves as we do the family dance, but there are some glimpses in our first 12 days.

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.

Happy Birthday my Darling Girl

My oldest turns 4 today.  We did not plan much, because if you notice, my ticker down there says I am one day overdue with baby 3.  We just weren’t sure if I would be here or what we would be prepared to do.  So honestly, I still don’t know what we are doing…my poor little one is begging me for her friends to come over…Mama’s heart is breaking.

I have many things my heart wants to say right now, but for this moment, I will just include this song.  I know it is written from the daddy perspective, but this Mama bawled and bawled when it came out. 

I Loved Her First

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!!!!