Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Labor Notes from My Birth Doula

Parker's Birth Notes - February 26th, 2015

4:30-5 Gyro (Contractions started around 6 p.m.)
6:30-7 Pineapple smoothie
7 p.m. Water broke, lightly stained
7:21 Phone call from Jay, you'd like me to come. 
8:15 I arrive
8:30 I suggest we all leave you alone so you can rest in between. Contractions every 3 minutes, about 35 seconds. (Everyone except Jay, goes to the dining room to wait for labor to progress)
8:40 Casey leaves, says she can come back at any time.
10:09 "Last 8 contractions are lasting a minute or longer." - Jay 
10:17 Loud vocalization & I check in with you.
10:23 You want me to stay in the room with you.
10:35 I insist that you get up to use the restroom. You are not happy when I suggest you stay on the toilet for another contraction.
10:45 You say you're pushing during the contraction.
10:47 You request the tub, but I suggest waiting for Madeleine as I know she's nearly here.
11:09 Madeleine says baby is so low, you must be complete. Tammy suggest low sounds when you bear down.
11:10 Heart rate "Good!" Madeleine says
11:12 Madeleine suggest you make your hips wider as you push.
11:17 Madeleine says "He's right there"
11:26    "  asks if you want to touch his head, you do and exclaim "Oh my God!"
11:27 Heart rate check "great" Madeleine says
11:33 Madeleine attempts to feel for baby, you tell her not to touch & Madeleine tells Tammy she thought baby may be crowning
11:35 "I've never wanted anything out of my body so bad."
11:36 Madeleine: "This is great, he's just molding".
11:38 "I can feel him right there, it hurts so bad."
11:39 Madeleine dons her headlamp
11:47 Madeleine suggests getting out of the tub, maybe the stool? "Noooo!" You say. 
In between contractions you rest your head on your hands.
Extra long pushes.
11:51  You look at the clock & roll your eyes.
11:57 Madeleine suggests you hold the noise in, focus all your energy down.
11:58 Tammy suggests that you rock your hips.
11:59 "Gimme your hands" you tell Jay
February 27th
12:01 "I'm sorry"
12:02 Heart rate ✅ (Check) "He's very low in that canal"
12:08 "I felt like he was just going to come out" you say after this contraction. Jay says "That's good!" Madeleine again suggests changing position, perhaps the toilet, the hot water can exhaust you. "I feel like water makes them less intense" you say.
12:10 Change position, you move to sit on the tub "step" with Jay sitting behind you. Your wedding day picture mirrors the scene. 
Tammy: "I see his head, go ahead and feel him"
Jay: "That's all he was waiting for, the 27th!" 
Madeleine: "You're doing so great, He's right there!"
12:16 "it's cold" fan off
12:23 You ask: "Does he go back in?" Madeleine explains only slightly, to where he's comfortable.
12:25 Heart rate check, but stops as contraction starts.
12:27 Tammy explains that baby needs to come under your pubic bone, and to bring your pelvis forward . Heart rate good.
12:29 Madeleine suggests you change position, if only for a few minutes. You move to the birth stool.
12:32 "The urge to push is always there" you say, "I don't like this".
12:36 Heart rate check, "the heart rate is slow, let's get him out."
12:38 Move to the bed, with Jay sitting behind you

12:49 Baby born! "MOM!!!" you yell

1:27 Grandma (Gigi) gets to hold her brand new grandson 
1:28 Jay: "You smell like a bait shop!" - "I like you"

9lbs 4oz
22 inches long

-small tear
  Lidocaine used for repair

❤️ Lea

Saturday, March 7, 2015

My baby is here!

From about 38 weeks, I had been having contractions off and on. There were a few days when I truly believed Parker would be born that day but then the contractions would just fade away. As I got closer and closer to his estimated due date (February 24th), I got more and more anxious for him to arrive.

The morning of his due date, I was slightly discouraged to find that I woke up with very faint contractions, more like Braxton Hicks. I decided since I hadn't gone into labor yet that we should visit the birth stones in Wahiawa. Jay was working an early shift and arrived home at 1pm so we got the boys ready and headed to Target to get mom and Mayre (my sister) leis for their arrival that evening but we picked up one more lei to take with us to the birth stones as an offering. I let my doula know of my plan to go to the birth stones so she loads up her daughter and joins us up there. It was absolutely gorgeous and relaxing to be up there. I can definitely see why the Hawaiian Royalty would come here to give birth. There was just something so magical about that place. I asked the stones for a quick, healthy and beautiful home birth. I forgot to ask for it to be sooner than later but I figured the implication was there.

Lea took pictures of the whole area. It was beautiful and I was so ready for the baby to come! 

We picked up some Maui Mike's rotisserie chicken on our way home. When we got home, we had some dinner and relaxed a bit before heading down to the airport to pick up my mom and sister.  No labor that night or the next day. I was 40 weeks and 2 days when we decided to stop waiting for the baby and try to enjoy the island a little bit with family.

So, w
e drove up to the North Shore to see the surfers, had lunch at Haleiwa Joe's where they made me these awesome shrimp tacos (not on the menu/special order) and then we enjoyed some shave ice before we headed over to one of the surf shops. About that time, I noticed my ankles were beginning to swell a bit so I decided it was time to head home so I could rest. 

When we arrived home, I took a shower to rinse off the day and relax a bit before dinner. Around 5pm I ate some dinner and we all settled in to watch the movie, "Lucy". During the movie, I noticed my back was hurting so I laid down on a mattress on the floor my sister had been using to sleep on. I started having sporadic but painful contractions. About an hour into the movie, I decided I would feel better in my own bed so I got up and went to my bedroom. While standing at the end of my bed, I noticed a small gush and rushed into the bathroom just as my water broke into the toilet. It was slightly murky but not dark. It was a yellowy brown. I immediately called my midwife to tell her but she didn't answer. So I called her assistant, Jaymie and described what I was seeing. She couldn't see the pictures I sent her so she had me send them to Madeleine. She said the water was lightly stained but we didn't need to be alarmed.

I then had Jay call my doula, Lea and ask that she come right away. I texted a friend, Casey to bring me pads so I could be around the house without leaking fluid everywhere. I thought I'd have some time between my water breaking and the contractions becoming unbearable. I was wrong. Time then became unnoticed to me. I laid in bed, breathing through my contractions mostly on my hands and knees. My water broke right around 7 pm. I decided around 7:45 that we should get the boys ready for bed so I wasn't worried about them. My contractions had been around 3 minutes apart at that point but while the boys were saying good night to me, I had a 4 minute break. It's like the boys being near me slowed my labor enough so I could tend to them. We sent them to bed just before 8pm I think. 

Lea arrived at some point, maybe around 8pm right after we sent the kids to bed and she definitely helped me calm down. She suggested that I rest between contractions and had everyone leave the room except for Jay. I remember laying down with my pregnancy pillow between my knees and drifting to sleep between contractions. I'd get about 2-3.5 minutes of rest before I would yank myself up onto all fours to breathe through the contraction. Sometimes I would rock back and forth on my knees to help with the pain. I started having minute long contractions and I was beginning to struggle through my contractions for the next two to two and half hours when the urges to push began. I was begging for Madeleine so I could get into the tub. I wasn't sure if I was still to early and I didn't want to stall my labor by getting in too soon. It was now 11pm when Madeleine arrived and I had already had a few urges to push so Madeleine said to just go with them if they were coming.

Then I got into the tub and every contraction came with an urge to push. I tried to push in the tub and he'd make some progress but never could get him to crown. While in the tub, I asked Madeleine to see how far I was and she said I was complete and his head was right there. I reached down and felt his head for the first time! While in the tub, I would push and push but I never felt like he was going to come out. Only once or twice would I feel a sensation around my vagina that he might crown but it always went away when the pushing stopped. Between each contraction I would lay my head down on the side of the tub and just rest. I was exhausted. I don't think I've ever been as exhausted as I was during the pushing. 

After about an hour and half, Madeleine suggested I get on the birth stool to push. On my way out of the tub, a big surge hit and I was stuck standing in the tub half squatting while I pushed through the surge. Still no baby. Then I sat down on the stool and immediately knew that wasn't where I wanted to be. The surges hurt so much more there and I just didn't like it. I am pretty sure everyone in the house knew that I did not like the birth stool. I protested as soon as I sat down. Madeleine said that's how she knew I definitely had to be out of the tub, because the more uncomfortable I was, the more likely the baby would come. Evidently birthing a baby is not comfortable business. Who knew? 

After the surge ended while on the birth stool, Madeleine checked his heart rate and he wasn't doing so great so she said I had to get him out soon. We went back and forth about where I should move to next since I was extremely unhappy on the birth stool. They suggested the toilet but that didn't seem feasible to me. They suggested the bed but all I could think about was getting back into the tub. Finally, I asked to move to the bed. Once on the bed, Jay was told to get pillows and sit behind me so I could lean on him while pushing. So Jay held me up while Madeleine, Tammy (midwife assistant) and Lea all held my legs up and out while I curled into each surge (much to my discomfort!)! After a few pushes his head came through and since his face was in a puddle of fluid, they asked me to push without a contraction and during the pushing, another surge came along with the birth of my baby. I pulled him into me and just laid there against my husband holding our newborn baby.

The bleeding seemed to be more than Madeleine liked but not bad enough for Madeleine to feel the need to administer pitocin. After what felt like forever (probably 20-30 minutes), I delivered the placenta with help from Madeleine. I had a slight tear that was stitched up and then I nursed Parker. I've been riding the birth high ever since. 

He was born at 12:49am 27 February 2015. He was 9lbs 4oz and 22" long. My big baby came with a massive noggin measuring 14.25"! I gave birth after just under 6 hours of labor and lots of fighting through thoughts of defeat. I can honestly say this was one of the hardest things I've ever done!! My beautiful home birth after 2 cesareans!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Approaching 40 weeks pregnant

As I'm sure many people are wondering how I'm doing as I approach my 40th week of pregnancy, I'm over being asked. At 38 weeks, I deactivated my Facebook page and went silent for the most part. The constant question of if I've had the baby yet is really annoying and I was becoming irritable. As I get closer to my due date, people have taken to asking my close friends and family if I've had the baby yet. 

When did this stop being MY news to share? No, I have not had Parker yet. Please don't call or text my mom or husband (or anyone else) to ask if I have. We will tell the world when we are ready. I do understand that everyone is excited and trust me no one is more ready for this baby to be born than I am. But I am not just having another baby here, I am overcoming eight, yes...EIGHT years of birth trauma. I am gearing up to do one of the hardest yet most rewarding things I will ever do in my whole life. I don't need the constant questions or check ups. I need love, support and my peace. Almost exactly eight years ago I was taken down a path in my birth I wasn't mentally, emotionally or physically ready to go down. I spent several months with postpartum depression and I was on antidepressants after giving birth to Jayson. I am taking control of that path and changing the outcome this time. This takes so much mental and emotional energy on top of just being pregnant that I can't handle the constant questions, comments and concerns of the people peering in. I'm sorry I've shut you all out but I really have done so for my benefit. 

Maybe I'll have him tomorrow. Maybe I won't. When he's here and I am ready to share my story, don't for one second think you'll get out of hearing all about it. I am a sharer, some would say an over-sharer but this is one time in my life where I need the highest amount of privacy and consideration. 

Know that I love you all and I will be back to chat with you all soon. 

Until then, 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Why hiring MY doula was life changing

It's been about a month since I posted. I am 33 weeks and 5 days pregnant. Parker and myself are doing great! We're perfectly healthy. Jay is a bit busy focusing on his health and fitness journey. I'm glad he has something to focus on other than me. Honestly, being the guy during a pregnancy has to suck. Everything is their fault and everything falls on them to pick up the slack when the exhaustion, nausea or just irritation sets in. He's handled it like a boss and I'm so proud to have my awesome partner during this pregnancy. Kudos to him for trying so hard to be full of grace and love during my ups and downs of this pregnancy.

During this past month, I've made some huge strides in my inner well being and have come to peace with my decision to home birth. Surprised? I am too! I thought I was resolved and at peace with having a home birth. It's amazing how much you don't know about yourself until you've been put to the test! I started this pregnancy and this journey really, believing that I'd be most comfortable with a home birth if I had a hospital that followed my pregnancy and had a completely history in case I needed to transfer. That was a guise I told myself and the world to hide the fear I felt inside. Deep inside I was using that as my safety net for my fear of not being able to handle a home birth. I was terrified I would freak out, give up and give in to a hospital birth and probably ultimately another cesarean. This fear was so ugly that I kept it from the world. I didn't tell my midwife, my husband or even myself. I couldn't face it. Then the small little tidbit comments started from my doctor at Tripler. If my surgical records weren't there in time, she felt as though my only option was a repeat cesarean. That scared the shit out of me. I came home a complete wreck. With all my knowledge, with all the facts and all the support, it wasn't enough. My confidence wasn't there. I didn't believe *I* could do it. So I let those words shatter my whole world for that day. My midwife tried to reason with me but her truth wasn't my truth, yet. That day I found my confidence and I didn't know it yet. I met a doula on facebook through mutual friends on accident when I was looking at a Hawaii Military Wives group. The day the friend request was accepted was the day I let my doctor shake me to the core. She calmed me, chatted with me and reassured me. She didn't even KNOW me! Even if she didn't, I feel as though she saw how broken I was in that moment and knew I needed the support of someone only like herself. I could be raw and open with her without her questioning why I'm doing this if I'm not sure of it. Jay and I met her soon after and decided immediately that we needed her for this birth. She's already taught us so much. But the biggest thing she's done for us, for me really, is just be there and support my every decision.

Shortly after meeting and hiring my doula (Lea), Madeleine started opening up to me more. Our meetings went from patient/doctor to friends and confidants. She started telling me stories of her births and reassuring my fears in a way a friend would. A very medically knowledgeable and brilliant friend but with the kindness and love a friend would show. I attribute this to Lea's presence in my life.

Then during my most recent visit with my doctor, my fear took a tight hold of me and elevated my blood pressure. It wasn't "high" but it was higher. Enough for the doctor to comment on it, remind herself that I had pre-eclampsia with my first pregnancy and make a note to watch my BP for further hints of complications. I broke down. Madeleine and Lea have become my go-to people in my crisis mode after speaking with the doctor at Tripler. They're my safe haven. They're my anchor. They're why this birth is going to be the most epic thing in my life. I know things might not go the way I envision them but if Madeleine and Lea are by my side, this birth will be amazing compared to any other I've experienced.

Of course not everyone can have Lea specifically but now I understand the very strong push from the natural birthing community for moms-to-be to hire a doula. If you find the doula that meshes and syncs with you so beautifully they are down right essential. It's such a spiritual bond that it's almost difficult to put into words. Maybe I'm just lucky and Lea was literally sent to me for a reason but I urge everyone to find that person who you bond with instantly over tears and sorrow. Those are the people that will be the most supportive and raw people in your life. It's life changing. My doula won't necessarily be that for you but there is a doula out there like this for you. It was honestly terrifying to think of meeting and getting to know doulas because it such an intimate relationship that finding one is almost like dating. That's scary! But believe me when I say the reward is so worth the heartache of searching.

Of course I had the knowledge, I had the reasons and the right ideas, I just need the right frame of mind. No research can give you that. I'm as bull headed as they come but deep down I still have insecurities and fears. I let those chip away at me until the doctor found that chip and starting chiseling away too. Lea has helped me seal up those cracks in my resolve and I'm feeling more confident than ever about this birth.

So much so that I'm considering not seeing the hospital anymore after 35 weeks. I've come so far, I don't need or want the negative energy in my pregnancy, in my head or sneaking into my birth.

Last night during our most recent meeting with Lea, I remembered how much I've been through to get to this place in my pregnancy, in my life and in this birth. This month marks two years since Jay and I decided to get the vasectomy reversal and to try to expand our family. It took us until June to get the reversal, then another year of tears and heartache to get pregnant. I did NOT go through all of that to give up now. If anything those months of emotional roller coaster rides gave me the strength to push through, I just needed to figure out how to access it. Everything has been building up to this birth and I can't let myself down now.

The support from my friends has been absolutely amazing and I have to say thank you for not doubting me. Those that doubt me, it's alright. I feel like you've never experienced the trauma that I have and I pray you never do. Just know that each birth is yours and you alone have the power to decide how that baby is coming into the world, be it naturally, induction, c-section or any other method. Become educated about your options, decide what is best for you and your family and don't let a doctor or anyone else try to coerce you into something you aren't comfortable with.

I honestly want nothing but the best for each and every one of you. So if you have any questions about my research, my findings and my informed decisions, feel free to ask!

Until next time!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Almost one third of the way done!

Today I am 28 weeks pregnant with our little VR baby. He is healthy and going strong. Everything with me seems fine and dandy. My physician put in for my glucose test to be done this week. I just have to decide when I'm going to go in to do it. I hate these tests but I'm just gonna do it since I've never had any issues with them being negative before. I sort of just want to get it over with.

Since I'm healthy and Parker is healthy as of now, I've been thinking a lot about the "what ifs". I know what if's aren't necessarily a good thing to focus on but I want to have a plan, at least a general plan, in place IF something goes wrong. Like *IF* Parker is Breech?! What do I do? Tripler won't let women deliver a baby vaginally breech, no matter what their previous history is. My midwife isn't comfortable doing it at home since I've never delivered vaginally before. So do I succumb to giving birth via repeat cesarean again or do I fight tooth and nail for a vaginal birth because babies turn even in the last minutes?

Last week, I saw my physician for my 27 week check up and she made it clear that if she didn't have my surgical records from my previous cesareans then we would have to schedule a repeat c-section. That was a hard blow for me. Fortunately, when I went down stairs to records they had received my surgical records for my last cesarean but not for my first. Hopefully, that is the best option if we only get one. Wouldn't she want at minimum the most recent surgical record since it'll detail what it was like in surgery after the first surgery healed? Of course I worry anyway. What if we don't get my surgical records from eight years ago? Will she be set on scheduling a repeat surgery? Should I start looking for new doctors now or wait until I see her again to decide?

Then I have my fears. My past experiences haunt me. I won't give up my dreams of giving birth vaginally but my fears still sneak up from time to time. My biggest fear is another emergency c-section. That is the scariest (and more possible) outcome to me. Of course I find death of myself or my baby to be terrifying but it's not as likely a scenario.

I've had two deliveries, of those two deliveries the failure and emergency c-section was the worst. Not only is it soul crushing to fail (for me at least) but the recovery of an 'emergency cesarean' after hours of your body working tirelessly to give birth vaginally is excruciating and depressing. Lifting my infant was a painful chore for weeks, imagine being here with two very active older children on top of a newborn who is in desperate need of my attention at all times. Walking was damn near impossible for almost a week after the emergency cesarean, imagine trying to do anything outside of the home with three children, two of which are active and some what hyper. I couldn't maintain order the way a parent is supposed to. How would I grocery shop, run errands or go to doctors visits?

Of course, I want to give birth vaginally but to fail and end up in a c-section anyway is scary. There is no way to know if that will or won't happen. There is no guarantee that everything will go as planned. I'm preparing myself as best as I can but at the end of the day, I'm still scared of enduring that pain again. Hopefully this time around, I'll have my husband home to help me if I do have to have a c-section. He does get ten days paternity leave, with little to no leave left after our emergency leave. If I am lucky, my mom and sister will be here during the birth or at the very least after he's born (hopefully!) to help me out some but they're only here for a week. Hopefully Jay will be able to help even after his paternity leave by having shorter days or changing shifts to accommodate the family's needs. Only time will tell.

These are just a few of the things on my mind as I near the end of the pregnancy. In the end, things always work out and I'm far more resilient than I give myself credit for. Look at my track record, I've given birth via c-section twice to my babies while my husband was in a war zone. I think that gives me a little bit of "street cred". LOL!

Until next time,

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

20-21 Weeks

I just saw my PCM today after my ultrasound on Friday. Baby is doing great. My uterus is the size it's supposed to be for 21 weeks and everything sounds good with baby.

At 20 weeks and 3 days he was approximately 12 oz and 10 inches long. He's measuring about 4 days ahead of schedule but he has a really tall family so I'm not surprised at all there.

During the ultrasound, they noticed my cervix is shorter than they like it to be but still in their "okay" range. They want it to be no shorter than 2.5 but prefer it to be greater than 3 and I'm at a 2.6. I go back in on Friday to make sure it's not getting shorter because if it is shortening already that could cause some issues. It is one of the signs of preterm labor. The doctor was explaining to me today that if it is getting shorter, I'll have to go on bed rest and/or eventually have my cervix sewn shut to prevent preterm labor before baby is ready. Of course the one ultrasound is just a snap shot but the follow up on Friday should reveal whether or not I'm at risk. I'm curious if all of this is due to the stress I've been under plus all the traveling I've done the past month.

On the plus side, Parker is still doing great. He heart rate was strong today and I'm gaining weight instead of losing finally! I'm still one pound under what my pre-pregnancy weight was but doctor didn't seem concerned at all.

20 Weeks and going strong!

Until Next Time!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

12 down, 28 to go!

This week I hit 12 weeks into the pregnancy. The chance of miscarriage drops greatly after this week, which is a huge relief. Baby's heartbeat is going strong and I even got a peek at baby at my OB appointment during week 11! 

Nausea is still hanging around but it's not too terrible. It's mostly just random spouts of dry heaving. It's not fun but much more tolerable than actually getting sick.

During my OB visit, my OB and I discussed a few things. One of those things is my Medullary Sponge Kidney and how it might affect this pregnancy. Of course, this is something I've had all my life but we recently found out about in the past two years. Since she wasn't sure if it would or wouldn't affect me, she put me in for a consult with Antepartum Diagnosis Center to be sure. Next, we discussed if she felt comfortable with my decision to VBA2C. While I do plan on having a home birth, I need to go into this journey knowing I have back ups if something falls through. If I become to nervous or anxious to birth at home, I want to know that I'm not signing consent to surgery just because I walk into the hospital. She seemed uncomfortable and that's mostly because she's NOT an OB/GYN. She's a family physician that delivers babies. She said she would discuss this with some high risk OBs and see if she can get someone to back her up so that I can TOLAC (Trial of labor after cesarean) and if anything goes wrong, there are surgeons and other emergent medical staff there to assist where my physician can not. I completely understand that. It makes absolute sense to me.

I saw the Antepartum OB this passed Friday and I had a WONDERFUL conversation with him. While walking to his office, he told me he is resident high risk OB. I immediately decided I would bring my plans to VBA2C. Of course we first discussed how my diagnosis could affect my pregnancy, he doesn't believe it will. He suggests that we go forward with this pregnancy just like any other normal healthy pregnancy and if something comes up at my 20 week anatomy scan then we will go from there. Then I told him about my plans to VBAC and asked what I should do since my physician seemed a little nervous about the idea. We discussed my previous births and why I had cesareans. When that was covered, he said I sound like an excellent candidate for TOLAC and that my physician will be completely backed up by OB since they're the ones on call. He even said he'd write her a note stating such. He really made me feel like I could do this! Which I was sooo happy to hear. He was such a great doctor who didn't try to scare me. He did go over the risks of a VBAC but he ALSO went over the risks of a third cesarean! He said as long as I know the risks of my choice, he and the OB clinic would support my decision. Such a wonderful and relieving visit.

To some this might sound silly that I'm so excited about this visit to see my doctors but having someone supportive means the WORLD. There was such a weight on my shoulders that I was worrying myself over how things would go if I didn't have a supportive hospital to back me up if I chickened out of the home birth. I like safety nets.

Now to move forward with my plans and prepare as much as possible before this little monkey arrives! 

Until next time! 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Be Still My Heart

After over a week of trying and searching for the baby's heart beat, I finally broke down and called Crystal to find out what exactly I'm looking for! I've read about it until I thought I knew what I was looking for but evidently I was wrong. I thought I was looking for a fast heart beat of about 150 to 170 bpm but I found out that it can vary depending on the age of the fetus and that as low as 90 bpm to 110 bpm is normal for weeks 7 - 8 but during week 8 it starts to pick up and by weeks 9 - 10  it should be up to 140 to 170 bpm. Of course we are no doctors and we may have even missed a few beats but I had Jay time himself and count the beats for a whole minute and it came out around 91-95 bpm and when we check my pulse to ensure we weren't accidentally listening to my heart beat, mine was about high 70's to low 80's.

Once we were pretty sure we had found the heart beat, we sat and listened for a while. I was the one holding onto the fetal doppler and the probe that locates the heart beat. I found a good spot and just let it sit there. While listening, I didn't move the probe at all and the heart beat started fading in and out and getting stronger and lighter. We were pretty sure by that point that it was baby and not one of my veins or arteries because they wouldn't move around like that. Jay was pretty excited.

For those that don't know, Jay and I have had two boys together but each time I found out I was pregnant Jay was on his way to Iraq. He's missed both pregnancies and births of our first two children and he has no idea what this is like at all. So last night, was his first time hearing one of his babies' heart beats from in the womb.  As we enter the time of midwife appointments, ultrasounds, and OB appointments, Jay will start to see some of the stuff I went through with both previous pregnancies. So far this first trimester has been a little of both my previous ones. With Jayson, I wouldn't have known I was pregnant besides the exhaustion. With Eli, I was sick as a dog most of the time and by the time the 2nd trimester came, I had lost a little bit of weight because of how nauseous I was. This pregnancy has had a little nausea here and there but sometimes I can't tell I'm pregnant except for I KNOW I saw the two lines and I haven't had my cycle since May! lol

I was supposed to have an appointment with the OB yesterday but they called and rescheduled it for August 5th since they want me to be past 10 weeks and I'm not yet. Today marks 8 weeks and 4 days so I will be 11 weeks on the day of my OB appointment. I also have a Midwife appointment on August 2nd and I have already scheduled our 3D/4D ultrasound (we didn't do this with the first two) to find out the gender at 15 weeks. Hopefully we'll be able to find out then, they said they can tell as early as 13 weeks but that seems way too early to me. I'm tempted to change our appointment so it's after I'm 16 weeks but I'm just too anxious to wait! When would you do it? After 16 weeks or after 18 weeks or just wait for the normal 20 week ultrasound?

Let me hear what you have to say!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The First Trimester Fears

I am now a little bit over the half way mark in my first trimester. The nausea has been off and on for about two or three weeks now. Yesterday was the first time I wasn't able to keep down my meal which wasn't fun at all. The heartburn has been pretty vicious but I have chronic acid reflux anyway so I can't tell if it's from the pregnancy or just my everyday life. I've been trying to not take Nexium as much since it blocks the absorption of iron and my prenatal labs came back borderline anemic. Other than the nausea, heartburn and mood swings, I can hardly tell I'm pregnant! LOL Oh and the random hits of extreme exhaustion. Those all seem like very easily remedied things. There are times when I seriously wonder if this is all real. If this is the baby I've been fighting for this past year. Not that I don't believe that I'm pregnant, it's just so hard to wrap my head around after such a long time of trying for this. There is no heartbeat to listen to (that can really be found yet), our insurance only covers ONE ultrasound and that's to check to make sure growth and size are appropriate around 20 weeks. I can't feel the baby yet, that won't happen for at least eight to ten week, if I'm lucky. I just feel like I'm in limbo until something shows me that everything is progressing the right way in there. It's quite scary after reading blogs, forums and groups of women going through the same thing and lots of them end up in miscarriage. The internet can be valuable to research but also, ignorance is bliss. Not knowing what could happen is so much nicer than knowing the odds of something going wrong.

I've been trying very hard to not live in a perpetual state of worry and stress. Most of the time I'm not, but sometimes that desire to know what's going on is just very overwhelming. I purchased a fetal doppler but of course I'm not far enough along to be able to hear the heartbeat on my own yet. I hear the earliest is about 9 weeks and I'm 6 weeks 5 days. According to the hospital, which goes by the LMP, I'm about week later at 7 weeks 4 days.  The conception date or ovulation date is more accurate but hospitals don't typically expect a woman to know when she ovulated so they don't even ask for that. I plan on informing them once I see an actually doctor or midwife instead of an in-take nurse.

In preparation for our HBA2C, Jay and I have been watching documentaries out the wahzoo! We've watched Business of Being Born, More Business of Being Born and Pregnant in America. They're all very informative and inspiring! I am probably as close to the hospital as I could be in this area so I have no concerns there. And as of right now, the hospital it self (represented by the few nurses I've spoke to in person and over the phone) seems very VBAC friendly but I'm just waiting on that good ol' "bait and switch"! I fully expect the doctor to be supportive but express concerns or restrictions on me to VBAC. Then as time progresses the doctor will slowly seem less and less supportive of my desire to labor naturally and eventually try to talk me into scheduling either a repeat c-section or an induction of labor. Both of which are wildly outside of what I feel comfortable with and what I have learned to be the correct route towards a natural birth. Inductions actually increase the risk of c-section by 67%! That's insane! One wrong decision and you're more than 50% likely to end in an surgery! So no inductions for me! JUST SAY NO TO DRUGS! Where did all of THAT education go?! I'm starting to go off on a tangent. My point is natural birth is what is supposed to happen! Yes, complications do arise and the medical interventions are wonderful to have in those RARE cases but these medical interventions are becoming heavily relied on to make the life easier, not on the mother, not on the baby or family but on the doctors! They get to have a nice and tidy 30 minute to an hour c-section and then they are on their merry way to their next patient or home for the night. Look at the statistics! Even my own mother is a statistic! Doctors induce labor during the week to avoid having to come into the hospital over the weekend, especially holiday or long weekends! My mother was induced to avoid labor and birth over Labor day. The doctors wanted their three or four day weekend to be uninterrupted, so what did they do? They induced my mother so she would have her baby earlier. Thankfully nothing went wrong but the risks were there. Were those risks fully explained to the patient before consent was given? Probably not, so many of the risks of induction and c-section are down played due to the doctor/surgeon feeling confident of their methods. But why are they so much more confident in artificial labor and surgical operations than natural labor?! What has happened in the past thirty years that have caused this spike in inductions and c-sections? Medical technology? Maybe, but I think it's more of the doctors relying on this technology rather than them trusting in nature. Pregnant in America really showed how backwards our medical system has become when it comes to births. I'm sure there are amazing interventions out there for things we had never dreamed of fighting but birth isn't an illness to be fought or cured.

I wish I had been this educated before I walked into Madigan Army Medical Center in labor with Jayson. I would have known to say no to the epidural, especially as early as 4-5 cm! I would have known it could stall my labor, which it did and I would have known that the pitocin used to start up my stalled labor could send the baby into distress, which it did. So yes my "emergency c-section" was probably necessary, but it was only necessary to save my baby and myself from the interventions that shouldn't have been used on me.

So here I am, almost 8 years later, pregnant with my third child and terrified of what might happen all over again. This time I am educated and supported. I am stronger and wiser. But at the end of the day, I can't predict how this will all go down, no matter how educated and prepared I am. I'm just hoping that my body does what it is supposed to do and I have a HBA2C that goes smoothly and without a hitch.  I have hired a midwife, who just in one meeting hit it off well with me and I can see us having a very special bond that I really just can't explain. I have a dear friend that has already stepped up and said she'll come out and be my labor support (aka doula). She isn't a doula but she is a wonderful friend who has given birth to 5 beautiful children, two of which were home births. As of right now, besides my midwife, her assistant and my husband, I plan on having my friend Crystal and my mother there with me. I am beyond terrified of my support system failing and breaking my spirit in a moment of weakness but this is a fear that I have due to past experiences. I can't let the past haunt the future. I have to have faith that everyone will hold strong for me and that I can draw that strength in my greatest time of need.

But for now, I just wonder if little one in there is doing alright and I can't wait to hear and see them!  I'm still torn on whether or not I want to know the sex but Jay wants to know so I feel bad if I withhold that from him. I found out on the last two and he was in Iraq so I feel almost obligated to give him this small part of the pregnancy.

Until next time,

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


My dreams of a natural birth are coming true! I met and hired my midwife today. I knew while in the office that she was the one and that I didn't need to shop around at all. I felt at ease, excited and confident while speaking with her. She spoke to me as a peer and not as an uneducated child who needed to be managed by her superior education, which I loved! She answered ALL of my questions and told me how the whole process would go. I absolutely adored her and we have only met once so far.

I really feel that this is the right path. I've never felt so confident in my body before today! I just finished the intake paperwork on their website and schedule my first appointment to see her. Today was just an interview/consultation. Not only is she a midwife but she is a Naturopathic Doctor also, which is very refreshing. I plan on keeping her on as baby's pediatrician for the first year so I don't have to hear all the lectures about a delayed immunization plan. She was very accepting of the idea and I loved how laid back and go with the flow she was. Never once did I feel judged for my decisions but instead I felt supported and encouraged to follow my intuition.

Now to ensure I have a healthy diet, exercise plan and positive mood surrounding this pregnancy to prepare me for labor. It will have been eight years since I've experienced labor by the time I have this baby. I think this time I will prepare better for labor pain management. Feel free to share the methods or classes you took to prepare yourself for labor. I didn't do anything before Jayson and I managed the pain fairly well up until I was "coerced" into an early epidural. I honestly believe that my sheer stubbornness and will to do this naturally COULD pull me through this but I'd prefer to be as prepared as possible instead of believing my body will tell me what to do when I get there.

I am approximately 4 weeks along, which is very early and the risk of miscarriage is still high. The risk should drop as I near and go past 12 weeks. Even with being fairly early, the exhaustion, heart burn and slight nausea have kicked in. So far it hasn't been unbearable but I feel like it will become difficult as I approach 12 weeks.

I'm feeling excited, relaxed and very sure about the path I have chosen for my birth. Even if we end up in the hospital, at least I KNOW I did all that I could to avoid unnecessary medical interventions. My midwife seems very sure about when and why we would want to do a hospital transfer and with everything we discussed today, I feel confident in following her guidance. Jay also seemed very at ease with everything too which gave me even more clarity about the path we have chosen.

Until next time,