Friday, December 27, 2013

Baby Girl's Birth Story (Part 3)



 

To catch up, part 1 and part 2

Susan and I made it to Labor and Delivery (after a quick confusing detour into the wrong hallway) and got me checked in.  Then nurses asked a series of annoying questions that I fail to understand the necessity of. (WHY did I preregister if you're just going to ask all this junk again??) This was all before they moved me into a room. During this time, I rode out a contraction and spent so much energy trying to breathe and not groan loudly, worrying about disturbing any others on the floor. In retrospect, if I had groaned, maybe they would have picked up the pace!

Just after getting into the room I had my next contraction as I tried to step out of the wheelchair and move to the bed. Right in the middle of loudly moaning through the contraction was when Kathy, my midwife came into the room. She praised my labor progression and instructed me to get into a gown. I considered asking to stick to my birth plan and continue laboring in my own clothes, but by this time I didn't care about the immodest hospital gowns. John met us in the room and helped me change in the restroom and then get into the bed.

I was coming into the hospital at shift change so my first nurse started everything, I can't even remember her name, then Jessica joined us and stayed through the rest of day. They wanted 20 minutes of monitored contractions so they had a baseline to if we needed continuous fetal monitoring later, so into bed I went. As I laid in bed Jessica, the other nurse and the head nurse asked me various questions. I was really struggling to deal with the contractions at this point, laying in bed was not helping anything and the fetal monitor pushing on my belly during contractions was painful. Kathy came in and saved the day! She was less than impressed that I was told I had to be in bed for this monitoring and Kathy set them straight that they are perfectly capable of running the tape with me out of the bed. After Kathy checked to see how dialated I was (7 cm!!), we were just about finished with the 20 minute requirement and at Susan's suggestion, we moved back into the bathroom.

I feel like we were in the bathroom for five minutes, but John assures me that it was at least an hour. At this point, Holli, the other Midwife came on shift and wanted to check how I had progressed since Kathy had left. I slowly made my way to the bed (can I just say that moving in contractions is no bueno!), I was at 10 cm and almost fully efaced!!

Holli worked with me on how to push and wanted me to do a few "practice pushes". I remember her telling me to "blow the baby out", encouraging me to use breathing to push down rather than yelling and wasting energy. During these practice pushes, my water broke but it really wasn't much. Unfortunatly they were pretty sure that it was myconium stained. Under hospital policy, Holli had to break the water a little more so they could be sure whether or not Cora had passed myconium in the water. This was something I didn't want but couldn't avoid. The exact reason I didn't want my water broken was the effect we found - Coras head shifted slightly as the water flowed out and now I had a lip of cervix that wasn't fully effaced.

Technically, I could have worked hard, pushed forever and gotten the baby out then with someone pushing that "lip" aside. BUT Holli is awesome and gave us some time to get the babys head moved back center and clear up that effacement issue. I say that she's awesome now, but I was so very disappointed when I knew I was fully dialated and she announced that she was going back to the office to see "a patient or two". I couldn't believe that she had time to see patients before I had a baby!

Susan & Cora
This is when I will forever be grateful for having an amazing Doula! Susan, being well educated in birth and understanding all the mumbo jumbo Holli was saying about how Cora's head shifted got me out of bed to shift the baby back to center! {I'd also like to point out that as great as my nurse, Jessica, was - she didn't understand what Holli was saying, she would have been no help to us in getting Cora's head straightened out} Since we knew my water was miconium stained, I had to have constant fetal monitoring (hospital policy), but the straps were just hurting so badly, so Jessica, my awesome nurse stood with me and held them in place as I lunged and squated for the next while. I was terrified my legs wouldn't support me as I squatted so John squatted right behind me holding me steady while Susan held the other end of Robozo across the bed from me. We were this way for about four contractions, until I started feeling Cora crown.

Susan started asking me questions about what I was feeling, I knew the baby was coming but I had trouble vocalizing that between contractions. As I squatted I was bearing down and Susan had noticed but Jessica didn't realize how close we were. Jessica checked and said I had a quarter size amount of baby's head showing and at her insistence we moved back into the bed. Susan suggested we call Holli back but Jessica thought we had more time to "labor down".

The thing about natural labor is, your body pushes that baby and the only way I found to cope with that intensity is to push and help that natural laboring of pushing the baby down and out. Once up in that bed I got on my side and started pushing. The room quickly filled with tons of hospital staff! I had okay-ed some nurses observing (later we learned they wanted to watch because they hadn't seen a natural birth before), plus Nursery staff that was doubled by the concerns about the myconium stains in the amniotic water. As I pushed I was encouraged to not push, to wait for the midwife to get there. About the third announcement of "wait" I yelled at no one in particular that I couldn't. All the while I laid there knowing full well that everyone in that room was trained to catch, I knew that if no one else stepped up Susan could catch the baby. I wasn't going to not push just because my midwife wasn't called in time. At some point they grabbed the on-call OB, she gowned up and stood at the ready incase Holli didn't make it in time.

When Holli arrived there was a giant sigh of relief in the room, She tossed her coat one direction while stepping into a gown being held open by a nurse. Two more pushes or so and we had our baby girl!!

When Cora was born she wasn't crying, this is somewhat common with natural born babies as I understand it. That compounded with the myconium stained fluid and the nursery staff insisted that the cord be cut immediately. They whisked her over to the warmer and started suctioning fluid from her mouth. John joined them while I finished up delivery. After they cleaned her up and worked on her for a while I got to hold her skin-to-skin for just a moment, long enough for Susan to snap a few pictures and then they whisked her off to the NICU.

Cora & Kathy
Turns out that Cora had TTN (transient tachypnea of the newborn) and had to spend some time in the NICU. Her first Apgar was a 6, second one was an 8. She improved greatly in the first 7 hours and was weaned off oxygen by just over 24 hours. Antibiotics were administered as a precaution for infection from the Myconium but all cultures came back negative for infection. I was ready for discharge at 24 hours after birth but stayed in-patient an extra day to make it easier to be with our daughter. Cora was discharged from the hospital four days after birth.

I loved my birthing experience, not so much right in the trenches of it - but coming out on the other side I knew within hours of being finished that not only could I do it again, I'm excited for it! I found birthing empowering and beautiful. All the major points of our birth plan were followed up until the complications surrounding Cora once she was born and none of those complications were as a result of birth. Looking back there are very few things we would change that are in our control. Doing it again I will for-sure hire a birth photographer!! I'm so sad we don't have more pictures of everything! I wouldn't change anything in our birth plan and really the only big thing that we would do differently is possibly the location of our birth. I'm seriously contemplating using a Birthing Center for our next child! I'm just sad that we would have to change midwifes for a different facility.





Coralie
8 lbs, 12 ounces
20 inches


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Workin' Momma Tales

This last month I returned to the office. I can honestly say that the first day was the most emotional drive to work ever! Every day I tell myself not to be dramatic, that thousands of moms return to work at six weeks and leave their babies but this is H.A.R.D. So much harder than I expected. And making it more complicated is the fact that thanks to doctor appointments and the "Icepocolypse 2013" as they're calling it, we haven't had enough "normal" days in a row to establish and maintain any form of a routine.

I haven't struggled with any Postpartum Depression, and about the extent of my Baby Blues revolved around complete and total exhaustion. That being said, I truly question if I'm dealing with a bit of PPD in consideration of how poorly I'm dealing with this transition. As I was venting and talking it out with a friend I realized that much of my frustration is that after coming back to work almost all my time revolves around the fact I am working. I get home from work, spend 10 or 15 minutes hugging and cuddling Cora then I have household responsibilities I have to rush to in preparation for the next day of work. Pumping makes my milk supply go up so much that I have to pump at home to prevent engorgement, there's another 20 minutes pump time (two or three times while I'm home) and then storing milk and sanitizing pump parts and bottles for the next day is almost an hour of work each night. Many working moms I see have the expendable income to hire a housekeeper to reduce some of that evening chore load, they also eat out quite a bit to ease the time in the kitchen; these just aren't options for us.

Pumping breastmilk at work is also an adventure on its own! I'll have to do a seperate post on that later. If you were ever wondering why employers, by law have to provide a place other than the bathroom for a working mother to pump (and many large companies provide a place other than the persons office) - it's because pumping in your office can be very awkward! I figured it wouldn't be a big deal, I have a perfectly good door & pumping in my office would allow me to work while I pump. WELL... I rarely close my door, if anything I half close it to indicate I don't have time to talk and would rather not be disturbed. Nevermind that my door closed normally means I'm either not here or not available, I swear half the time I close it now to pump someone (always a man...) comes and knocks on the door! This leaves me sitting there thinking of an appropriate response because "just a minute" doesn't quite cut it and "I'm pumping" seems too personal/tmi. OR they know I'm pumping so rather than coming to my door, they buzz my phone to talk to me. As if it isn't horribly awkward to talk to someone while a machine is milking you.
My Crazy Daily Bag!

I'm also not ashamed to admit that I cried like a baby when I spilled 4 ounces of breast milk all over my desk. (It may or may not have also been a hard day and our cat died the night before...)

Everyday I look like I'm moving into my office! The bag holds my pump, pump parts & stored milk for in the fridge at work, lunch, purse and backup drives for the office I have to carry to and from work each day. 



My survival tips

Lists! Embrace that Mommy brain and start making lists now! They're the best and it's the only way I get everything ready for Coralie for the next day and all the stuff I haul to work for pumping each day. Not to mention any normal life things I need to remember!

Crock Pot! It's no secret that I have a slight love affair with my crock pot, it's been so nice that dinner is just a few quick steps away from finished many nights and I don't have to take the time to prepare something from start to finish. We've had several meals revolving around the things I've made multiple servings of in the good ol' crocker - Baked Potatoes, Buffalo Chicken, Taco Meat. Those three meal preps fed us for six nights with variations on the meal. Boring but efficient!

Moms, how do you do it? Does it get easier or will I always feel this resentful about working and leaving my daughter?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

52 Week Savings Goal for 2014

When I first started looking into the YNAB system, I read the e-book about the Four Rules of Budgeting written by the founder of You Need A Budget. He said that when you are making BIG purchases, no matter the reason, it's hard to stop and step back from spending that much money each month and refocus on living using less money and budgeting wisely. 

This past summer with Baby Cora on the way, we had some BIG purchases that needed to be made! Every month we were budgeting to drop almost all of our expendable income on something. From our Insurance Deductible to pay the Midwife, to paying for our Doula, nursery furniture, a new car... the list was endless. We depleted our savings in a hurry and haven't had a chance to build it back up. 

For 2014 our goal is to regain some financial balance. Rebuild our savings, which isn't nearly as easy to do as our budget is tighter than ever with baby related expenses and paying on those fabulous hospital bills we incurred back in October. 

SO, we have joined in the 52 Week Savings Challenge hosted by House of Rose!

I'm really confident we can complete it and I get a happy warm feeling inside thinking about having at least $1,378 in the bank at the end of 2014!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2013 A Year in Review

Displaying 2013yearinreview.jpg

What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
I'm sitting here trying to think of a less obvious answer than "Pregnancy & Childbirth", but really that's what this year revolved around. We also bought a mini-van, the first big-girl purchase I've made!

Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't really make resolutions at the new year, but I do something similar on my birthday (January 4, so basically New Years). Considering we weren't pregnant quite yet when I made that list, we met most of the goals that were realistic for the change.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yup - me! :) Also, my dear friend Tiffany gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Juliet!

Did anyone close to you die?
No.

What countries did you visit?

I didn't even leave Texas this year...

What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

I honestly cannot think of a single possession that I'd like that much. I'm very happy with my life and my little family!

What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory?
Monday, October 21 - the birth of my beautiful daughter!

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Becoming a Mother followed by a job promotion.

What was your biggest failure?
There isn't one thing that comes to mind, but I really struggled physically with Pregnancy and balancing all of that with work.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Outside of the normal pregnancy stuff (nausea, vomiting, exhaustion, etc.) I was actually really healthy this year!!

What was the best thing you bought?
Best and biggest... My Mommy-mobile - a Mini Van!

Whose behavior merited celebration?
I'm really proud of John and I for the amount of debt we paid off in the first of the year! Going into the summer we were free of credit card debt! Unfortunately, we've had to use them again but the debt isn't anywhere near what it was and we're paying it off quickly! It feels so nice using them as the financial tool they're made to be!

Where did most of your money go?
Into the nursery! Or medical bills associated with the pregnancy/birth.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Meeting our daughter!

What song will always remind you of 2013?
I can't think of one...

Compared to this time last year, are you:
 
Happier or sadder?
Happier!
Thinner or fatter?Thinner!
Richer or poorer?Poorer, which is ironic because we both made more money than we did in 2012!

What do you wish you’d done more of?
I wish we had traveled more and spent more time with our friends.

What do you wish you’d done less of?


I wish I spent less time worrying about anything & everything.

How will you be spending Christmas?
Christmas is quite the event this year! We will have a family get-together with John's side the Saturday before Christmas. The Sunday before Christmas, we're having a quasi family reunion with my Dad's family. Christmas Eve & Christmas Day we will spend with my immediate family & some local extended family.

Did you fall in love in 2013?
 Yes! With my beautiful baby girl!

How many one-night stands?
 bahaha... no.

Who were your best friends? 
 Lauren, Tiffany, Kim & Kim

What thing did you do that was meaningful to others?

I did my usual volunteer projects but I'm not sure what of that would stick out. This year we kind of took for ourselves, and honestly we needed to do that.

What were your favorite TV programs?
Greys Anatomy, Walking Dead, Revenge

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Nope.

What was the best book you read in 2013?
What to expect when your wife is expanding... My reading was pretty much centered around the pregnancy.

What was your greatest musical discovery?
How very annoying the music is on children's toys! Seriously, I think they commission the music for these toys with the request that it be the most repeatative and obnoxious as possible!

What did you want and get?
A natural birth!

What did you want but did NOT get?
 For the first time (practically ever), I coveted fashionable clothes. I was the size of two people, so I didn't get any.
I also wanted to go to Hawaii for our second honeymoon - we had a child instead. 

What was your favorite film of this year?
Catching Fire

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 24, I'm sure John and I went out to dinner that night but really we celebrated both our birthdays and anniversary later in the month. The day after my birthday I had a lovely massage and then went out with my friend Kimmi!

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
 I can't think of something, this year was wonderful!

What kept you sane?
 Knowing that pregnancy would eventually end!

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
 ha, well I'm still not much of a Pop Culture follower so....???

What political issue stirred you the most?
The mess associated with Obamacare, trying to figure it out and how it will affect our office and our clients. It really has been a big mess!

Who did you miss?
 I missed my Mom a lot this year! Especially since Joshua graduated High School this year.

Who was the best new person you met this year?
 I'm really fond of our Doula, Susan! Life changing, really.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
Change isn't bad, sometimes it is coming, you can't help that change will happen and you should embrace it. I spent so much of the year scared with the changes that were coming and not knowing how to embrace them. I wish I had enjoyed my pregnancy more but I spent too much of it afraid. Afraid of how it affected our lives, marriage and of course afraid for the health of my child.

Quote that sums up your year:
1 Samuel 1:27
For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Coralie - 1 Month

This month has gone by so quickly! Cora is still so tiny but her development changes daily! She's grown so much, I can tell a huge difference in her from her newborn pictures to today!

Cora at One Month:
- Mommy finally got her scheduled & in for newborn pictures!
- She generally sleeps 6 or 7 hours at night! Sometimes we revert backwards to the every two or three hours for a feeding.
- She still sleeps in her bassinet or in Mommy & Daddy's bed.
-Her awake periods are much longer and she's very alert.  She will nap about 30 minutes between feedings on average with only an hour long nap in the morning and evening. 
-She still loves her swing and bouncer
- She can hold her head up unassisted for long periods of time and loves belly time, particularly with her Boppy Pillow for support.
- She exceeded her birth weight! At her weight check, she was up to 9.5 pounds!
- Went with Mommy & Daddy to her first movie at the Drive in Theater! Catching Fire!

Cora at 5 Weeks:
- Slept for 8 full hours one night (after a very busy day meeting her Uncle Mike, Aunt Val & cousin Matt!)
- First church Thanksgiving pot luck! (Second time to church!)
- Her first Thanksgiving!
- Joined Mom, Dad & Granda on a Black Friday Shopping trip!
- She outgrew her first Newborn outfit! 
- She is really fighting gas but we're learning techniques to help her rather than giving her gas drops all the time.

 1. One Month Old! 2. Thanksgiving pot luck at church 3. Uncle Jacob came home & brought this nifty shirt from NYC 4. Meeting Uncle Mike & Aunt Val 5. Cuddling with Grandpa during Black Friday shopping 6. Thanksgiving outfits 7. Going for a walk at Grandmas.

{Working} Mommy Tales:
Next week I have to return to work. Words can't describe how much I'm dreading this. For now, until she has shots & is a little older, my Dad will be keeping her. Even with knowing she is well taken care of by Grandpa, I'm still really emotional and uneasy about this. Since we got her out of NICU, I've never spent more than 2 hours apart from her, I have no desire to be away from her. I should be able to return just part time, working 3 days a week, but I need to get the go-ahead from my boss tomorrow morning.

I'm also quite nervous about how it is going to work moving from exclusively breast feeding with maybe one bottle a day, to most of her feedings by bottle and needing to pump at work. I've heard of so many moms that go back to work and the combination of stressors and lack of time to pump end up depleting or eliminating their milk supply. Financially and emotionally we can't afford for that to happen. I really want (and need) to continue breast feeding her until she's 6 months and we introduce solids.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

All Those Darn Bad Babies

Does that sound ridiculous to you too? A preposterous statement to pair with the equally annoying question "Is she a Good Baby?". As if there is such a thing as a "bad baby". 

I think this may be my soap box as a new mom!

I know exactly what the question means - "Does she cry much?" "Does she sleep through the night?"
Quite honestly, I have probably been guilty of using this exact phrase. I just couldn't help but share...

... This Mom-Rant is brought to you by Sleepless nights & Hormones!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Baby Girl's Birth Story (Part 2)



{See Part 1 Here}

I rode out several contractions in the tub, until the water began to grow cold. I knew that I could always get back in the tub later, as long as my water was intact, so we decided I'd get out and maybe walk around the house. We talked about a possible walk around the neighborhood, but it was cold & the middle of the night. My contractions were lasting roughly a minute each and were mostly four minutes apart, but weren't terribly consistent. John was still a little on the edge of believing that I was really in labor, he kept looking for a more set pattern in the time of my contractions. I knew I was in true labor (finally!) but was also aware that it could be a long haul before our daughter was born. I took a shower, knowing that it could be quite a while before I had the opportunity for another one.

Out of the tub the contractions were much more intense but reduced in time to about 30 seconds each. I was frustrated but was still certain this was it. The intensity was making me nervous about when we should go to the hospital and we wanted to labor at home as long as possible, ideally until I was dilated to a 6 or a 7. Susan, our Doula lives in Fort Worth, which is about an hour drive from our house so we decided to go ahead and call her to give her time to get to us. I called her at 2:47 am, while I was on the phone I had another contraction and was able to ride it out with deep breaths. Susan agreed that I was in early active labor and that she would go ahead and come our way.

The next little while I spent time between contractions stacking our last minute items for the hospital next to the door, making the bed etc. Our room is always warmer than the rest of the house and I was getting too hot so we moved to the living room. We let our dogs come into the house and sit with us in the living room. I just found something nice about having a "normal" family moment in the middle of this experience.

Once settled into the living room, I was under the delusion that sitting on my exercise ball would help me get through some of these contractions. Boy was I wrong! I loved it in false labor, but now that it was the real deal I could have drop kicked the darn ball down the street! (In retrospect, it was because it opened up my pelvis and made the contractions more intense - a good thing but I wasn't prepared for it!)

I knew I needed to be resting through contractions but I couldn't get comfortable anywhere. Finally I found that I could close my eyes and relax in the rocking chair, but sitting through a contraction was painful for me. Each time I had a contraction I would stand up as it began, which made it easier to handle but the movement itself was so painful! I was wearing out quickly and knew I was at a point that I needed Susan to get there. During one of these transitions from chair to standing, I yelled loudly in pain - that was the point John recalls knowing we were really in labor and going to have a baby. (Looking back, this is the only time I would say I was in "pain" during labor. Honestly the majority of the time the physical feelings were "intense" but so different from any other discomfort I had felt at any other time in my life) At some point during my time in the rocking chair, I threw up. I knew that vomiting was just part of labor but it was certainly less than fun heaving during a contraction.

When Susan arrived just before 4 am, I was loudly moaning through each contraction just to cope and I was quickly getting discouraged with our natural approach. I hadn't pulled out the "I can't" words yet, but I had them ready to go if whatever Susan was going to do didn't work. Just after walking in the door, I told her what was going on & where we were at in the process between contractions. She told me she hated the exercise ball in her labors too & that moving in a contraction always makes them worse in real labor - that movement brings on contractions. (WHY is this not common knowledge?!?) The first contraction she watched me in she recognized that I was tensing up in anticipation of the intensity. She gently reminded me to relax, and like a miracle when I encouraged my muscles to release the tension in a contraction, the intensity was much more manageable!

Susan set up her diffuser (Lavender & Geranium) and it was like the best medicine ever! It was so easy to relax my muscles through the contractions and I rode them out in the rocker for a while. At some point I stood through a few of them and Susan taught John how to do hip squeezes. Hip squeezes = amazing! It was so special that John was able to help me through each contraction in such a 'hands on' kind of way.

Susan suggested moving to the bathroom and sitting backwards on the toilet. She explained that it would make the contractions more intense because it would open up my pelvis and help labor along, but it would give me the wall and back of the toilet to relax on between contractions and John would have access to do hip squeezes. I agreed and it was the best idea ever. The time I spent on the toilet (both at home and later at the hospital) were honestly the easiest and best periods of labor! I was able to doze off laying on a pillow propped up on the tank of the toilet. It was quiet, dark and calming with the diffuser sitting just a couple of feet away on the sink. Between each contraction I would close my eyes and silently pray for strength "Strength, Jesus, Strength" as I drifted off until the next contraction.

Somewhere around 5:15 am I knew I was getting close to Transition in labor & Susan did too. We knew that it was time to get me to the hospital before contractions were too close or intense to make the move. I was dreading the 25 minute drive to the hospital, but we wanted to make sure we had plenty of time for the drive, I really didn't want a home birth (nor were we prepared for one) and I sure didn't want to deliver on the side of the road! At 5:35 am John called Kathy, our Midwife and told her my contractions were just over a minute long each with three minutes between and had been going on like this for roughly two hours. Kathy instructed to come on into the hospital we planned to deliver at and she'd meet us there.

I've never wanted a home birth, but it was beyond less than fun moving to the hospital this far into labor. I went to the restroom while John threw the last of our stuff into the van & made sure the dogs were good for the night and into the next day. Susan tied her Robozo around my hips nice and tight to help keep pressure there during the car ride and suggested sitting on the floor of the van and leaning into a seat. I rode out one more contraction in our living room, I remember being very aware that our neighbors were about to be leaving for work and I didn't want to be the crazy moaning lady in my front yard! After the contraction John got me situated in the back of the van & we headed off to the hospital with Susan following. The 20 minute ride to the hospital was honestly pretty uncomfortable. I was much less successful at relaxing during each contraction, I'd read that transitioning from home to the hospital can result in a regression of labor. Thinking about or my nagging worry that we'd get pulled over & I'd get a seat belt ticket sure wasn't helping the relaxation much! At some point, about half way through the drive I shifted and caught a whiff of the lingering essential oils from my hair and was able to relax and resist yelling & scaring the poo out of John for the rest of the drive in.

Once at the hospital, John dropped me off at the entrance to the ER while Susan parked & grabbed a wheel chair to take me up to Labor & Delivery.

{Part 3}


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Baby Girl's Birth Story (Part 1)



The last couple of weeks of pregnancy were less than fun for me, particularly because of all the contractions. We were also trying to do everything we could to naturally induce labor so I could get in the hospital we'd pre-registered at and have our Midwife or her backup deliver our daughter.

Friday 10/18, I took the day off work & went into the Midwife's office and had her sweep my membranes. I'd had the procedure before and each time it would result in some serious contractions that would last for hours. When I had been in her office the previous Wednesday, I was dilated to a 3, she said it was almost a 4. We were so hopeful that this last ditch effort Sweep would push me over the edge into active labor. After the sweep (at which I measured an easy 4, on my way to 5), I went and walked store after store and made my way over to the mall & walked the mall for a couple of hours trying to help the contractions along (it was raining). Unfortunately, my contractions never set up into a pattern. I'd had more intense contractions after the previous sweep, I was so disappointed. I spent the rest of the day Friday at home cleaning house and the rest of the weekend John and I just spent time together at home getting ready for the arrival of our Baby Girl.

Sunday (10/20) evening came & we had plans to go to some friends house for dinner (Brisket & fixings - yum! I ate a ton, which was very unusual for me to have an appetite). I hadn't really had any contractions all day, just one or two here & there. After dinner Momma Betty, Kim & I went for a walk around their farm talking about some of my concerns & nerves about becoming a mother. At the end of the walk, Betty prayed for the baby & I and some of my worries.

When John & I got home that night we watched TV & just hung out enjoying the time together. We talked about how we were worried that I'd be like my Mom & labor wouldn't progress the rest of the way naturally & we'd have to end up inducing. I was so frustrated that we were starting another work week and had "wasted" a weekend without going into labor. I was feeling really down that I was struggling to be productive at work because I was so uncomfortable and there would just be yet another wasted week in the office.

Neither of us was very tired but knew that we had to get some rest because Monday morning was quickly approaching. 11:30 or so I got up and gave John two Tylenol PM & I took one myself and we laid down to sleep. At midnight, like clockwork I had a contraction, the first in hours. I was so mad! I always had bouts of false labor throughout the night and I was just sure this was another repeat of every other night from the past few weeks. I breathed through the contraction & did my best to not disturb John. After several contractions I knew that they were much harder and just felt so different than what I'd previously experienced. To get through them I was groaning and John wasn't getting any rest.

I got out of bed and got in the bathtub to see if the hot water would calm them down so we could get some rest. Roughly two contractions into being in the tub I just knew it was real, that our baby girl was on the way! I called out to John and for about the next hour he poured water over my belly through the contractions and timed them starting at 12:50 am. With dark humor we realized we were probably in for a very long night and we'd both just taken Tylenol PM.

{Part 2}

Friday, November 8, 2013

Baby Girl - 2 Weeks Old!

Baby Girl turned two weeks old on Monday. This week John went back to work. It was emotionally hard to have him leave each morning but as far as taking care of Baby Girl, it wasn't too bad.

Last Sunday we took a short walk over to our church & took Baby Girl to Trunk or Treat. I really wanted to swing by and see my choir students since I hadn't been able to go to class the last three weeks (I had doctor appointments on Wednesdays and after Membrane Sweeps I was in enough false labor pain I couldn't make it to choir). We were there no more than 15 minutes, but it was nice to get out for a while (minus the fact that I walked too far and thought I was dying!)


Last Monday my Great Aunt & Uncle came over & helped me with everything. I got a much needed nap and they helped me get the house straigtened up from the crazy weekend. They headed back to Lubbock on Tuesday. Thursday (Halloween) we had to head back to the hospital for Baby Girls second PKU newborn screening and John's Mother came along to lend a hand. I was really nervous about Baby Girl and the heel stick but she did fantastic, she didn't even cry!!


Over the weekend we traveled to East Texas to visit my brother at College. The trip itself went great! Baby Girl traveled like a champ! The trip to Marshall was quite a bit longer than we anticipated thanks to Construction traffic, but even with that she slept most of the trip there. I also learned that my life will be much easier if I can successfully nurse in public. I just haven't quite figured it out.


We also learned just how difficult it can be to get out the door with a baby! I slept through an alarm for one of her feedings, she will sleep up to 5 hours during the night between feedings so she just slept on. I finally woke to her wanting food, over an hour past when we should have gotten up. In the process of feeding & changing her I ended up covered in milk and spit up and needed another shower (I had showered the night before in hopes that it would save time the next day) and Baby Girl peed all over our bed. By the time we made it out the door we were already running roughly two hours late.

Baby Girl is sleeping 4 and 5 hours at a time at night but wants to eat roughly every 3 during the day. Her awake periods are increasingly long & active. Her neck is so strong she can push up from being on her belly & turn her head left & right to see what's around her!

She is vocal about everything! Eating, sleeping, sucking on her passi... Breastfeeding is going great! I'm reducing how much I pump. I know I'll just have to start again soon to get ready for going back to work, but it's just too much for me to manage to pump right after I feed her. It always ends up being almost an hour later that I have time to come back and pump and by then it's so close to time to feed again... it's just not working.

Postpartum wise I'm doing well! Towards the end of the day, or if I'm on my feet too much I can really tell. One dose of Advil a day is all I need, but I still get really uncomfortable from time to time.

At some point each day I think about how old she is getting and how quickly time is passing and then connect the fact that I'm X days/weeks from having to go back to work and I just want to cry. I can't imagine leaving her but me not working isn't an option. However, me going back part time is so we're starting to really consider that for at least a while.

A look at our week from my phone -



Friday, November 1, 2013

Baby Girl - 1 Week Old!

A few hours old
Baby Girl turned one week on Monday of this week! We spent the first few days in the hospital with some respiratory issues, but we got out days earlier than anticipated and came home on Thursday afternoon (and I bawled all the way home that we were finally leaving the hospital & getting to take our baby home). 

She hasn't lost any of her hair that I can tell, she is vocal about everything! She "talks" to us when she eats, sleeps - everything. There are very few times she isn't making a noise of some kind! She sleeps wherever we put her! Crib, bassinet, pack & play, swing & bouncer! She loves her Boppy infant positioner & that will make her happy when nothing else will! While she loves her Bouncer she hates the vibration feature on it! I never knew it was possible to love anyone or anything as much as I love her! And seeing John with her makes me love him all the more!

Having a newborn has overall been easier than I honestly expected! The first night we got to room-in at the hospital, it was really rough! We were transitioning off of formula supplementation & to breast milk supplementation only, so she wasn't feeling full and wanted to cluster feed all night long. I think we may have slept a whole hour, maybe two out of the entire night. Now that we're home, night time feedings are difficult, I have trouble prying my eyes open & sitting up to tend to her needs, but the more I heal the easier it is! At night, she sleeps at least 4 hours between feedings, sometimes as much as 5 hours! Her awake periods during the day are more & more alert and lengthy as each day passes.
40 hours without sleep!

Nursing is going great! I was really concerned about it at first since we didn't get skin to skin contact after delivery (with the complications) and we couldn't hold her for over 24 hours. My first time pumping we were able to get a few ml of Colostrum for her to be fed by syringe but after that I  couldn't much of anything while pumping ... until my milk started coming in & now I swear I could feed twins! She only had to have supplementation with formula for a few feedings and we haven't had to use any since we came home! We've also gotten the okay from our Pediatrician to exclusively breastfeed & not supplement anymore. I'm having to use a nipple guard to get her latched well, I'm attempting to wean her off, but she only latches well without it about every one out of four times. It's slow, but it's progress!
 
She has become a pacifier baby. I *really* didn't want that, but since we moved her off the passifier that the hospital put her on {(without my permission... grrr...) Part of the reason the first night rooming-in was so awful} we've fixed her latch & suck with the help of the amazing Lactation Consultant at the hospital. I've put her on Mam passifiers & we don't seem to have any new suck/latch problems.
Coming Home!
When we took her to the Pediatrician last Friday, she was down to 8 pounds, 3.5 ounces from her original birth weight of 8 pounds, 12 ounces. It is considered an acceptable weight loss, but I'm hopeful that she is putting some of it back on before her next appointment this upcoming Monday (I really don't want to revisit supplementation or formula!).

We had a busy, busy first week with lots of visitors! We truly loved seeing everyone, but it's been nice that this week it has slowed down some & we have been able to scheudule our visits less often & with fewer people at a time. It has made life much easier on this Momma and I've done better emotionally now that I get more cuddles with my little pumpkin and am not just having her passed back to me when she is crying or needing something just to have her being cuddled by someone else the moment the need was met. 

Tomorrow we're taking Baby Girl on her first day trip! My brother is the Drum Major at his college & when we went to see him a few weeks ago the football game was rained out so I haven't gotten to see him conduct this year. Tomorrow is the last game of the season so we're headed to Marshall (3.5 hour drive) - wish us luck!

Postpartum: Day 1 - 3 was really rough! I had a natural vaginal delivery with no complications. I can't imagine the added soreness if there had been issues or stitches or anything really. In a lot of ways I found recovery way worse than the actual labor or delivery! With contractions at least you get a break between them, recovery pain is constant.
Medication wise, one dose of Advil usually does the trick & gets me through the day.

 (It's not a great picture, but I love it - My Dad's family that gathered on Saturday to meet Baby Girl. In true form, we couldn't get the timer feature to work on the camera & couldn't really reach the corded shutter release.)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Baby Girl!

It has been a very crazy week(!!) so I'm just now getting to post this:

Baby Girl arrived Monday, October 21 at 10:57 am
(the day before her due date!)


8 Pounds, 12 Ounces
Skin to Skin with Daddy before Mommy could be there

20 Inches Long

Long Brown Hair, Dark Grey eyes (I'm expecting them to turn Brown like Daddy's), Long fingernails & toe nails!  She loves vocalizing about everything - the cutest little squeeks ever! A good Baby, she is already doing great with her schedule and doesn't cry unless there's a reason! Breastfeeding like a champ, especially considering the late start we got with the stay in NICU!

There were some respiratory issues at first, it was scary and such an unexpected issue. Birth was perfect, so for some reason I never anticipated there being any other issues. I never considered the idea of my baby being sick, I only prepared for the various complications I may experience. BUT, she is doing so well! We were able to leave the NICU days earlier than anticipated & we are all home now! We are just very, very in love with our Precious Baby Girl!

I hope that this week will be a little less crazy and we will start settling down into a routine and maybe, just maybe I'll find time for showers for Mommy and a little blogging! I can't wait to share her birth story & how our Natural Birth Plan turned out.

Thank you all so much, so many of you saw our posts on Facebook or Instagram and have reached out and offered support and concern. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! I feel so blessed that Blogging has afforded me the opportunity to meet so many wonderful ladies and make such great friends!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Bumpdate {39 weeks}

We went to see the Midwife today and while I'm showing progress and could go into labor any time, we could also be weeks away from our Baby Girl joining us.  We're 6 days from our due date and 7 days away from when we would need to switch hospitals & our Midwife wouldn't be able to deliver our baby (explanation here).  She is giving us options for inducing labor as early as Sunday night if we want to. She's confidant that a small dose of Pitocin would be enough to get my body into active labor & it would just take it from there. We agreed to schedule an extra appointment with her for Friday to have my Membranes Swept if I haven't gone into labor before then & hopefully that would get the ball rolling through the weekend. I'm really trying to hold out from the frustration of all the false labor, not knowing when she will come and the possibility of not knowing the doctor that will deliver our child and keep from giving into the offer of Pitocin. Unfortunately my blood pressure is also taking a sudden rise that we're going to have to watch closely. 
So, if you would, please pray that my body takes the hint & we go into labor naturally in the next 48 hours or so!

The Doggies are ready to meet their Sissy!

Date:10/16/13

Due Date: 10/22 - 6 days away

How far along?: 39 weeks 1 day

Weight Gain: I was down 3 pounds from last week, so up a pound overall for the pregnancy.

My baby is the size of a: Baby!

Symptoms: My swelling is pretty under control. I'm very tired and the constant bouts of false labor really don't help this much. My nausea is still here, but I do get some breaks from it so I'll take this over first trimester any day.

Cravings/Aversions:
I'm not really craving anything, but meat in just about any form is pretty revolting this week. I made a beef stew the other day and proceeded to not eat any of it. Everyone else says it was good!
Sleep:
I'm going to bed about 9 or 10 at the latest, but I'm up a minimum of 4 times a night and I have lots of contractions during the night so I'm awake about once an hour. It's really no surprise I'm so tired.


I miss: I can't decide what I want John to go get me first when Baby Girl comes. Sushi sounds really good, but so does a Monster (why don't they sell them in smaller cans?!?) I really miss simple things like bending over & putting on socks & shoes without sounding so pathetic, and getting out of bed with ease. I can't wait!!

I am looking forward to:
Greeting my baby girl, not being pregnant anymore & having the marathon of labor behind us!

I'm freaking out about:
All the uncertainty revolving around our delivery & end of pregnancy.

Emotions:
Nerves, frustration, emotional exhaustion

Milestones:
I'm 3 full cm. Our Midwife said that she would almost consider it 4 cm because we're so close but recorded it as 3.5 cm since we aren't in active labor yet (4 cm marks the point of active labor). My Cervix is ripe & very "stretchy" (attractive huh?). Baby is in a good position & I'm measuring 39 cm.

My Chiropractor said that my pelvis isn't as loose as she sees it with many women ready to deliver, but agrees that Baby Girl is lined up & ready to go!

Exercise:
I'm walking every chance I get & today is a day off for us from work (yesterday was our last major tax deadline of the year!) so I plan to spend the rest of the day on my feet encouraging the contractions & cleaning the house.

Goals for the upcoming week:
Having this baby!!

Bump watch:

 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Day in My Life at 39 Weeks Pregnant

Somedays I can't decide if I want to laugh or cry at what my life has become and the ridiculousness that imitates a "daily routine" - This is a day in my life at 39 weeks pregnant.

5:45 am  John's alarm clock goes off, I reach across the bed {who am I kidding, I'm in the middle of the bed attempting to find a comfortable position, my poor husband his huddled in his corner nugget of bed I still allow him to have} and smack my soundly sleeping husband. After all that annoying alarm is waking me up too and I've been up no less than 4 times during the night to pee the half ounce that my bladder currently holds. 

6:00 am Ugh. It's useless, I have to pee again now that I've been woken up. I loudly grunt and groan as I attempt to sit up in bed while simultaneously roll to the side. Realize that my bladder is about to explode and I have to hurry! Barge into the bathroom where my husband is showering, pee - loudly exclaim "you've got to be kidding me!" because I think I may have expelled a whole two tablespoons. How could that have felt so urgent??
While washing my hands, John and I discuss the night; 
"how many times did you get up hun?"
"I think this makes 5"
"Contractions last night?"
"yup, all night long. At least one an hour that woke me up"

I honestly don't know if he says anything after this, because I've already stumbled from the surface of the Sun that is our bathroom with the lights on and back into our dark, warm bed.

6:15 am I'm finally beginning to nod back of to sleep, John stops by to say goodbye and give my belly & I a kiss. We quickly discuss anything important about the day and he heads out the door. 
I spend the next 3 minutes contemplating whether or not I should get up and pee again, and finally conclude that I'll sleep better if I do; back to the bathroom I go, then back to bed.

{in a Non-Pregnancy World, this is about the time I should be getting up to head out for work}

7:30 am My alarm wakes me up, I do a quick mental check of everything I have on my desk at work and decide if I can go back to sleep or if I must drag myself in. To be honest, it doesn't matter much what work is waiting on me. I can barely hold my eyes open, back to sleep I go.

8:45 am The office has been open for 15 minutes now, my daughter has decided to push on my right hip bone with her hands and my left ribs with her feet. I can feel the bottom ribs displacing again - I'll have to remember to get the Chiropractor to put them back in place later this week. Roll back over, adjust her to somewhere *slightly* less uncomfortable in my too-small belly, go back to sleep.

9:15 am Wake up, realize I'm going to throw up, like right this very second. Barely make it to the toilet. Mentally grumble about the last 8 months of morning sickness but remember that this is so much better than it has been. Clean up, text my office a quick message "alive, no baby, will be in eventually". Go attempt to eat breakfast. Throw that up. Text John a similar message as what I sent to the office because he has sent me no less than 4 texts worrying that I haven't texted yet. 
Respond to the 9 or so texts I've received during the night (aka early morning that I'm still sleeping), assuring everyone that no, the baby is not here. Yes, I'm still showing signs of labor. Yes, I promise that we will let them know when we're on our way to the hospital/certain it's the real thing/baby has arrived.
Drink a bottle of water on John's urging to not let the vomiting let me get dehydrated. Shower and dress while trying to keep the water down. 

9:45 - 11:30 am (Depending on the day & how many times I've thrown up)
Arrive at the office, do a few things before sitting down at my desk beginning my work day. At some point, get up to go out the front to the mailbox (I try to group my work into two categories, sitting and standing so I'm not always up and down). As I'm standing at the mailbox, have a horrible contraction out of nowhere! Realize that there are clients in the parking lot behind me, try to nonchalantly lean on the mail box while breathing through the contraction, all the while thinking please don't notice me, I'm not doing anything strange
Client is leaving, now is my chance. I make a break back for the front door to safely make it to my office. Half way there have these weird stabbing pains down both my legs as my daughters head burrows deeper into my pelvis don't fall, don't fall. Almost to the door.  Of course there are clients around to notice you acting strangely - if you can just make it into the office you can hide before they come in from the parking lot Oh I hope they don't think me rude to not wait & hold the door for them. And just your luck, right about now you feel another strong contraction coming on, you know it's going to be a bad one.
                                                                                                                       
Make it into the waiting area but you have to stop and lean on the front desk because the contraction is here and it mixed with that stabbing pain has you doubled over. On the count of three, you have to move. One, Two, MOVE - clients are coming in the door, you can't scare them! (never mind that it is most definitely only glass between you & them, so they can already see you!) You are lucky enough to stand up *almost* straight and hobble to the hallway, out of sight you can finish being in pain in private here - but wait, you forgot that you work in an office with other people. They see you leaning on the wall attempting those ridiculous breathing exercises. They've gotten mostly accustomed to this, but you still see their looks of concern as they asses whether or not you're about to have that baby here & now.

Afternoon My afternoon continues similarly to the morning. Though I'm careful to stay away from areas that I will likely run into clients. By 3:30 I summon one of the interns or Cora at the front desk to do just about anything that involves standing or walking. "Will you please come here? Can you take this to the stack of out going mail?" "Can you take this to so & so's office". Even I hate how needy I have become but every time I get up, hard contractions start & we have a similar episode to my morning. I attempt to comfort my wallowing self that this is almost over and you can bake cookies or something to make it up to everyone for how needy you've been for the past couple of weeks. Then those far too logical thoughts creep in but remember, Rebekah, prodrominal labor like this can last weeks and you aren't even to your due date yet!

By 4:00, I have horrible indigestion (from water?? Yeah, pretty sure it's from water!) & have to pee (again). Can I hold it? Maybe. Do I really need those tums? Yes - you've already learned (more than once) that if you don't take care of the heart burn you will throw up! No one in the office needs to see me throw up again (most had that pleasure earlier in the pregnancy), so you make a "standing" pile of things to do while you're up out of your chair. I get up, take care of the 4 or so things that have to be done including a Tums expedition to the kitchen & the restroom. Realize you're completely drained, don't possibly have the energy to start another project & start working towards going home.

5:00 You have tried for the last hour to get out of the office, but something always gets in the way. Everyone knows, just like you do, that labor is imminent, so if they need something from you they know it has to happen before you go out the door for the day (unless it could wait 6 weeks...). Did I just pee my pants a little or did my water start leaking?? Oh well, at this point I don't even care. Thank all things good & holy for panty liners!

5:15 You begin your drive home, realize the car is on Empty and contemplate stopping for gas. No way do you have energy for that, and contractions are in full swing again. You know stopping risks having a mailbox episode at the gas station. You give in and stop. It would certainly be worse to run out of gas and you already feel awful for how needy you are to your husband who is so helpful already so you don't want to have to beg him to do it for you.

5:45 - 9:00  
- Get a plate of food & veg out in one of my three rotating spots: the couch, bouncing/rocking/swaying on the exercise ball or in bed.
(Crock pot meals are all my family is eating now, fortunately I compiled the recipes & ingredients before my episodes of false labor were this bad so John or I can have the next days meal in the crockpot waiting to be turned on in about 10 minutes.)
- Pray that labor comes during the night because you just don't know how you can have another day like today.
- Try to spend quality time with husband, after all, this may be the last day just the two of you.
- In bed by 8:30, asleep by 9:00.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Serving in your Church & Community

 
It isn't a secret that I have trouble saying "no" when someone comes to me needing help with something. Usually this takes the form of some leadership responsibility role that quite simply, I don't have time for. I love serving others, I believe it is my Spiritual Gift; so I usually don't mind - it can just make things hard when dates start stacking on top of each other & I look like Mrs. Frizzle from Magic School Bus trying to get it all done.

During my pregnancy, I have had a life lesson and have had to learn to prioritize. I cut back on my responsibilities wherever I could and let things go that I would have really rather not to have lost. I did this for a couple of reasons. While God has blessed us with a healthy pregnancy, I've been quite sick throughout the whole thing. Physically, I just couldn't stand up to the requirements of some of my usual commitments. Many of my commitments that I usually make throughout the year come up in the Fall & Winter, the tale end of my pregnancy and the first chapter of our lives as a family of three. As much as it hurt me to have to say no, I knew that my Husband and my Daughter deserve my attention and I just couldn't make that commitment, it wasn't fair to the project or my family.

Usually I think it's awesome when someone is strong enough to stand up against pressure and say "no, I just can't". A simple concept to some, saying "no" - but obviously a complex issue for me. However, here of late hearing others say "no" has become so frustrating.  People have become so reliant on people like me that when those willing to serve can't there isn't anyone there to take their place. This isn't exclusive to me attempting to get my remaining responsibilities covered for when Baby Girl arrives. This has become an epidemic in our churches and communities. 
When the do-er can't do anymore the project that everyone agrees is great, wonderful and necessary falls apart or is cancelled entirely.

That just isn't fair. It isn't fair to the people who have spent years holding up that project for everyone's benefit, just to helplessly stand aside and watch it crumble when their "can't" is legitimate and no one will step up to the plate & take their place. 

Today I challenge you, next time you are asked to take a role or a responsibility - don't just brush it aside because it will take time. What worth-while cause doesn't take a commitment of time?
If it is time you don't feel you "have", ask yourself what you would be doing with that time otherwise? Does it cut into time you spend serving others or the Lord? Does it conflict with your job? Or is it simply an inconvenience?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Bumpdate {38 weeks}

Don't forget to go enter the Baby Arrival Guess Poll! It closes tomorrow!

I honestly never got it before! Before I was pregnant, before I was in my 3rd trimester and particularly not until I was past my 35th week. I get why people like scheduled inductions & knowing exactly when your baby will be coming!  This past Monday I woke up at about 4 am with contractions. It's pretty normal for me to have contractions these days, even multiple per day. This was different. They had a pattern to them & lasted for hours! I called into work and thought that we'd be meeting our little girl! I knew better than to think it would be soon, I figured we were about a day or so off since the contractions weren't quickly moving together. Boy was I disappointed! By that evening it was obvious that I had just had an entire day of false labor. A day of work lost when we're just 8 days off from the last major tax deadline of the year.  My patience is gone and at this point I'm not sure how exactly I'm going to make it to my due date {14 days away!} much less after that if Baby Girl decides she likes it better inside me than out.

10/8/13

Due Date:
October 22
How far along?:
38 Weeks!!
Weight Gain:
5 pounds since my last appointment. Which is a lot in a week - we're hopeful I'm retaining water! That makes it 4 pounds overall for the pregnancy.

My baby is the size of a:
Baby!

Maternity Clothes:
A necessity and too small for me! I bought a few postpartum nursing camis the other day and just stared at them. It seems so crazy that I should be small enough to fit in normal people clothes again soon! I even bought them for a size larger than I think I'll need & it still seems so foreign to me!

Wedding Ring on or off:
On, but some days it does seem quite tight.

Symptoms:
Really, other than being very large this week has been great! I have contractions and when I'm on my feet too much I'm swelling a little. My appetite is okay, sleep is better than it's been in a long time (I only have to get up and pee twice a night!! Yay for TMI!). I'm just so frustrated and beyond ready to meet my little girl!

Cravings: 
Chocolate! This has been the first time in the pregnancy that sweets have really been my craving, but yesterday I'd have killed for a chocolate chip cookie!
I am loving:
That even if it feels like an eternity, we're only 14 days from her due date!! The nursery is finished! We're *so close* to being a family of three!!
I miss:
Being able to roll over in bed without great effort, really just being not pregnant.
I am looking forward to:
Her arrival!
I'm freaking out about:
Not much, work has me a little stressed. I've learned that if I shut my office door and turn on some music I can manage the anxiety that currently comes with being in the office. I think most of it roots itself in not knowing if I will be back at my desk in the next six weeks or not after I leave for the evening.
Best moment this week:
Hearing that we're progressing!! Our midwife is betting that we will have her by the end of the weekend! She is low and I'm 3 cm dialated and according to the Midwife, my Cervix "looks great!"

Worst moment this week:
All the false labor!

Emotions:
Frustration at not controlling or knowing when she will be coming!
Excitement over knowing that we're so very close to our little girls birth!
Anxiety over work stuff.
Exercise:
I'm walking, a lot! I'd say two or more miles a day on average. I'd walk more but my huge belly is a lot of work for my round ligaments to hold up, so that usually puts the kabosh on that.
Diet:
Pretty good! I don't eat a lot, but we're eating well (except for that chocolate & candy corn craving...). We've been cooking at home a lot since I'm doubling recipes & freezing them for after Baby Girls arrival. It's been really nice to come home to good "real" food and knowing that it will be easily available to me again soon!
Goals for the upcoming week:
We have some things left on our to-do lists, but we got a LOT knocked out last weekend. If she came tomorrow, it would be fine!
Nursery:
It's all finished! I can't wait to show it off soon!

Bump watch:


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Our Natural Birth Plan




 This is the birth plan that John and I have prepared. We want as natural of a birth as possible and will be having a hospital birth after we labor at home as long as we can. I'm happy to answer any questions about our preferences or why we made a particular selection or decision. 

(Look for my *notes* for commentary on a particular decision or wording)

I know that all over the internet you read that you shouldn't let your birth plan go more than one page. We talked to our Midwife about this - she said she didn't mind a longer birth plan. Particularly since we broke ours out into stages of labor, so if you don't have time to read it all - you can get the highlights of what is relevant at the time. We went ahead and broke out each part onto it's own page so that once we moved past that stage, it wasn't there as a distraction if someone needed to read it quickly.

We wrote our birth plan using several different resources out there - there's no point in reinventing the wheel if you don't have to. Check out some of these other great natural birth plans that we used when researching: Our Biggest Influence - Young Nesters
A great printable Birthplan check list if you'd rather go that route! Ultimate Guide to Mommy Survival
Another great birth plan & some excellent ideas on what you should include - Going Green with the Grizls 
And in regards to what newborn procedures we wanted - Modern Alternative Pregnancy


Our Birth Preferences


Pre-Admission Requests


  • To only entertain the idea of artificial induction of labor if: Labor is unusually delayed & there is medical urgency.
    • If induction of labor is necessary, breaking the sack of waters and wait a reasonable period of time to see if labor can progress without the use of artificial induction medications (such as pitocin).
  • If there are no signs of infection after the sac of water breaks, to delay induction for a reasonable period of time. 

    *We never intend for our birth preferences to be the final word, we recognize that birth is a natural process and at times "going with the flow" is necessary. By phrasing "reasonable period of time" we felt that we were flexible to what the doctors recommend, but still expressing that we'd really like to not use artificial induction if at all possible. I really like that it leaves a wide gap of flexibility to decide in the moment if necessary*
  • To remain at home as long as possible before going to the hospital.


For Hospital Admission & Throughout Labor
We request:


  • For our nurses, doctors and support staff to support our goal of a natural birth and in the absence of medical urgency, not preform any procedures that could unnecessarily prevent or prohibit our desire for the most natural birth possible. 
    • The opportunity to discuss our birth preferences with our assigned nurse.
  • To return home until labor progresses if less than 4 cm dilated and no medical reason to suggest a hospital admission is warranted.
  • To self-hydrate after admission and opt for a Hep Lock rather than the routine IV preparations. 

    *I would have preferred to not have a Hep Lock either, I'm not a fan of stuff in my veins - it's very uncomfortable for me. However, it's our hospitals policy that at least a Hep lock be in place for an emergency situation. I can be flexible & I understand their concern so we conceited on this issue*
  • To have only intermittent monitoring of FHR after admission & To be free of blood-pressure cuff between readings.
  • Maintain dimmed lights and a quiet environment in the room during labor. 
    To be allowed to wear my own gown and be afforded as much modesty as possible.

    *I wish I didn't have to put the part about modesty in here, BUT, after a visit to L&D I learned the hard way that if I don't want to be exposed to a whole host of strangers that I still have no clue why they were in my room, I should go ahead and mention that I'd like my lady bits covered when possible.* 
     
  • To have my husband, John and Doula, Susan present during birth.
  • To respectfully decline to participate in the taking of pain scale information and any offer of medication or labor-enhancing procedures unless requested.
    *This was a hot topic issue for me! I did not want the distraction from focusing on things other than the pain or my coping techniques to have to stop and think about how much pain am I in to answer a question that I think is inaccurate anyway. My pain level 5 may not be anyone elses, the medical staff has nothing in my background to compare what I respond with to my ability to cope with pain and therefore is null in my opinion. I also don't want someone offering drugs because I look like I'm in "pain" or that what I'm doing is "hard". I don't want to be given the options to distract from what I'm working towards. I of course know that the options are there & what options there are so if I decide I need assistance, I know how to ask for it*


During First-Stage Labor


  • To walk and move freely during labor.
  • To change positions and assume labor positions of choice.
  • Minimal number of vaginal exams-with permission-to avoid premature rupture of membranes and increased risk of infection.
  • In the event labor stalls, I prefer to try as many natural methods as possible to stimulate labor.
  • To be fully apprised, consulted and afforded the time to make an educated decision (barring medical urgency) before the introduction of any medical procedure.
  • To enjoy labor tub or shower.
  • The option for music (I will provide).
  • My husband to be allowed to photograph or take video.
                     For Pain Relief I’d like to use:
      • Acupressure
      • Breathing techniques
      • Self Hypnosis
      • Massage
      • Bath/Shower
      • Natural suggestions given by Doula/Midwife.


During Birthing


  • To assume a birthing position of choice.
  • To push instinctively and to be allowed to progress without time constraints as long as Baby & Mom are doing fine.
  • To not have an episiotomy.
  • To allow amniotic sac to rupture on its own.

Following Birthing


  • Immediate skin-to-skin contact, with baby placed on mom’s chest.
  • Delayed Cord Cutting - the cord to be clamped and cut only after pulsation has ceased.
    • Once the cord stops pulsating, Dad cuts cord.
  • Wait for natural placenta delivery without intervention
    • No cord traction, manual removal or use of Pitocin for removal of placenta unless necessary and only after consulting Mom.
     
     
For Baby
We request:


  • To have bright lights temporarily removed at moment of birth and until baby is moved to mother’s chest.
  • All Newborn procedures to be done in our presence:
    • If birth went as planned and Baby is healthy: APGARs & cleaning to happen at my chest.
    • Please only perform PKU, Vitamin K & hearing/sight test on baby after bonding time, no Prophylactic Eye Ointment administered
    • Delay Hep B immunization until after hospital stay
      Option to delay or abstain from bath, or if administered, do so in the room with Mom 
  • That father and baby stay with mother throughout the hospital stay.
  • Breastfeeding several times during the first few hours of baby’s life.
  • Breastfeeding only.  No bottles, formula, pacifier, or artificial nipples.

    *For newborn procedures we opted in for the Vitamin K shot & PKU tests because of our increased risk for Cystic Fibrosis. We would need to know ASAP if baby girl does have CF which would be made known through the PKU, or heel stick, test. As for Vit K; CF patients tend to have lower levels of naturally occurring Vit K, plus newborns tend to be Vit K deficient anyway. We figured it couldn't hurt.*

In the event of a C-Section I would like:

         
To make sure other options have been exhausted
An epidural for anesthesia

In the event that a C-Section is necessitated, that father will hold the baby after C-section birth and bring baby to mom for viewing and eye contact.  In absence of urgency, father continues to hold baby for bonding.

  *For the C-Section part, we put this on an entirely different page to stick behind the rest of the plan. I didn't really consider having an "incase of" plan for Cesarian, but our Doula encouraged it - she is a VBAC mom and never planned on having her own c-section. While I really don't want a C-section and lots would have to go wrong for us to make it to that point, it's still nice to know that the things that matter most to me in the event that it is necessary are noted & that I've given it thought.*