Sunday, May 17, 2009

Thoughts on my labor.

So, I have lots of thoughts on labor...birth centers...etc... They keep coming and going, so I'm sure for several weeks I'll continue to post things....

On my labor: I had a great labor, yes. I'm thankful that God delivered just what I needed...a short labor, but was fast! About 3 hours start to finish. No tearing, perfect baby, great environment and support team. Everyone said I did so good, etc. But why is it I feel so - not dissatisfied, but - Okay, so for months I mentally prepared myself for labor. Like early - active - transition - delivery labor. Like I stated in my birth story, I spent two hours before bed the night of delivery making a playlist for delivery, which I never used. I had a "labor" outfit (sports bra & skirt), which I never used. I had gone through mental imagery every night for months of how I wanted my labor to be. I envisioned myself quiet and in control. I saw myself centered. What I got felt completely out of control, naturally, it appears I went zero to sixty pretty fast. I think that lack of control makes me feel like I failed myself in that area.

On the far other hand, it wasn't near as "bad" as I thought it would be! I had expected much more pain and suffering. And while there was pain and suffering and it is something I have no desire to redo in the near future, I never had that, "Oh my God I'm going to die" feeling. I feel like, while the pain was bad, in my mind I always knew it was for a purpose and was temporary.

On hospital deliveries: Okay, I don't mean to sound judgmental at all here, but can I just say I *TOTALLY* understand why girls in the hospital are getting epidurals?? Remember in my birth story how I said the most painful part of labor way on the bed?? I was on my side in bed and honestly was in the worst pain....and it was MAYBE 5 min!

Well, these girls go into the hospital and are put on all of these machines which require them to stay in the bed....and most of them on their backs. Duh - that's gonna hurt. Then, by being only in the bed, the baby isn't moving down as quickly, so labor is going longer. No doubt in my mind had I been strapped to a bed I would have asked for an epidural....holy tar that hurt!

I have seen some hospital deliveries where the women were allowed to move around and I'm sure that is fine but midwives...let me tell you about midwives....

Contraction log.

Just because I need a place to store it other than more phone.

Oh, iPhone has an application for labor called Labor Mate. It was awesome. All I had to do was press start and stop and it calculated how far apart they were and how long. It even has an average button so you don' have to think about it. It allowed me to email myself the log. I only have the long from the car ride. I had missed several while trying to get out the door so I cleared it. I SO wish I hadn't done that. Even the inaccurate data would have showed how fast things progressed.

4:12 AM Duration: 36.4 seconds Frequency:

4:16 AM Duration: 1 minute and 4.8 seconds Frequency: 3 minutes and 44.3 seconds

4:18 AM Duration: 50.1 seconds Frequency: 2 minutes and 23.7 seconds

4:20 AM Duration: 49.8 seconds Frequency: 1 minute and 28.5 seconds

4:22 AM Duration: 48.1 seconds Frequency: 1 minute and 49.6 seconds

4:24 AM Duration: 54.9 seconds Frequency: 2 minutes and 1.0 seconds

4:27 AM Duration: 59.7 seconds Frequency: 2 minutes and 59.8 seconds

4:29 AM Duration: 1 minute and 0.5 seconds Frequency: 2 minutes and 16.9 seconds

4:31 AM Duration: 1 minute and 3.7 seconds Frequency: 1 minute and 56.3 seconds

4:33 AM Duration: 1 minute and 4.0 seconds Frequency: 1 minute and 46.3 seconds

4:36 AM Duration: 1 minute and 4.3 seconds Frequency: 3 minutes and 3.3 seconds

4:39 AM Duration: 52.0 seconds Frequency: 3 minutes and 30.0 seconds

4:40 AM Last time I clicked it, which was the contraction when I was getting out of the car.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

wow. she's here.

**I started this at 10am yesterday, labor day....I haven't had time to edit at all so excuse all errors but I wanted to get it posted.***

Since I'm still too hyped up to sleep, I'm going to write this birth story out with a baby on my chest. if you don't want o read the nitty gritty...don't read this post. I'm writing it for me so i can remember.

Tuesday, May 12th: Appointment. Having good inconsistent contractions. 80% effaced, 2 cm dilated, -1 station

Thursday, May 14th: Mucous plug starts to come out.

Friday, May 15th: Lots of walking at Main Street Days. :) Had lots and lots of stares and smiles. Finished up work in the nursery and took a good nap. Got checked after I called questioning color of mucous plug. Was told "No change" but later found out dilation had reduced some. Having irregular contractions, loose stools, back pressure all afternoon. Ate some yummy orange chicken with my favorite gals (mom and meg) and headed to Target. After hitting up Target, more walking around the gym track while Chad played volleyball. All signs of early labor completely disappeared by 8:30. I spend all night working on a labor play list (**grin**). Bed around 11:30.

Saturday, May 16th
3:08 am - Something felt like it popped/snapped in my body. Whatever it was it shook me from sleep and hurt like crazy. I immediately feel crampy/contractions. I also notice it has just started to storm and am praying Kai doesn't wake up to get in bed with us.

I go potty and realize, "oh THESE are contractions." Lots more mucous now. I sit on the ball for a min but they are coming fast and strong so I yell at chad to run me a bath. (poor guy had only just come to bed!) I get in and contractions are 1 min longer approx 5 min apart....but they are so strong that i have to moan through them. I'm thinking, I can't be that mom that calls too early. Especially because I knew Ann had just birthed a baby earlier in the evening...I wanted her to have her rest. I tell Chad, a few more consistent contractions and then i want his mom there even if we aren't leaving soon. In my mind I'm wondering where the calm quiet labor I was expecting is. The next contractions rocks me and I tell him that this has to be labor and I want his mom there now...I also suddenly realize I *need* to be at the birth center. We call Ann.

Poor thing. I can tell over the phone how exhausted she sounds. I remember telling her "I don't want to do this in the car." Her response, "sounds like you're going to have to" I have two contractions on the phone and hand it back to Chad. I can tell she's saying you need to come in. And then it just went downhill. I was trying to gather everything and all the while am being brought to my knees in pain. It felt like forever until Merrilee got to our house. I go to kiss Kai, but become very afraid of waking him, so I just touch him and hurry out before doubling over again.

4 am - Merrilee gets there and i head straight to the car. Demand the ac on, water, a pillow, then I feel like I'm going to be sick. The rain is pouring and I can tell its going to be a long ride. I'm timing my own contractions on my phone (yes, there's an app for that Labor Mate). I remember my bottom hurting and not wanting to sit. I remember Chad running red lights. I remember the rain covering our street. I remember ripping the seat belt off. At some point I had demanded Chad call Ann and have a bath for me. No way I was getting anywhere but that tub. (I have the contraction log I'll post in a bit from the car ride)

4:40 am - We get to birth center and I can't get out of the car. No way I wanted to walk. I was shaking and felt sick. They helped me straight to the tub. Ah, the tub. My comfort and torture chamber (I kid). Ann checks me after a few contractions and tells someone in the room "8." Two things run through my brain, "How on earth?" and "Praise the Lord."

I don't really recall much about the next hour....or rather I recall WAY too much. I remember lots and lots of moaning. I remember frozen rags that I loved between contractions and hated during them. I remember being told my mom was there and saying, "i don't care" which is SO odd for me. I remember how peaceful it was between contractions and how once one started everyone cheering me on. I don't hardly remember opening my eyes while in the tub. I remember hating having to have the doppler put on even though I knew it was best for baby. I remember exactly when my water broke and what noise I made. I remember contraction after contraction....and then suddenly I'd had a small break and think, "what's wrong."

At some point Ann told me I needed to move positions, either in the tub or out. I had always intended to labor in the tub but knew a water birth really wasn't what I wanted, so after the next contraction I stood up and got out...once I got to the room another one started and I just collapsed. This must have been the hardest part for me. I was SO uncomfortable but I could honestly not will my body to move...everything hurt at that point. They were trying to get me comfortable but it just hurt worse and worse. Finally, I ended up on all fours...which let me say is the ONE position I did NOT want to be in when I had previously thought about labor (funny, I think I'll have to do an expectation post next.)

Pushing. Yeah. I didn't even realize it was time to push until they were telling me. Well, let me say, I realized it but I just kept assuming it was too soon...hadn't we just got there? I could hear the thunder outside and the hushed voices around me. Pushing was exactly what I had noises were not. :) Thankfully having such trained people around they coached me through even what noises to make. I realize that sounds odd, but it helped. I was holding Chad's hand when pushing and oh my how happy I am that he is strong. Judging on the soreness in my traps and bis, I'd say I wasn't focusing all of my efforts on pushing. I think they said the pushing only lasted 15 min. I was very aware of each movement being made, but each one felt like progress.

5:58 am - I'll never forget her first cry. I yelled, "She's out" cause it sure didn't feel like it. But, she wasn't...just very ready to be vocal (hum, wonder where she get THAT!). Two (?) more big pushes and she was out. My mom rushed into the room. My first thought was, "Is she really a girl?" And everyone laughed. Chad cried. I sat there in amazement that I was holding my baby.

"I did it." That is all I can/could think. After the discouragement of those around me doctors and peers alike....I did it. When I exclaimed in the room, "See a VBAC is possible!" I remember one of the midwives looking at me and saying, "I totally forgot you were a VBAC!"

After delivery they wait until the cord stops pulsing before cutting it....all the while I am holding my new baby. No rushing off to be weighed, no bright lights....just calm. I remember when they were examining me they were using a flashlight. In hindsight, I understand why but that's kinda funny!

Next I was shifted to my herbal bath where I got to bathe Kenlee. This is where she nursed he first time as well. It was so peaceful. Candles, my hubby and my new baby....I get teary thinking about how nice it was.

Following the herbal bath, I got back in the bed and invited my family that had arrived back for the newborn exam. I thought this was especially important for everyone to see how things were done. Ann asked if we had any guesses on weight, I did not but heard some of the others 6 lb 7 oz; 7 lbs....I think we were all a little shocked when we heard 8 lb 1 oz. SAY WHAT??

After the newborn exam, we had breakfast in bed and went through standard paperwork. Sometime Kai got there. I cleared the room and introduced Kai to Kenlee. He wasn't too interested. I mean, he looked at her, but I honestly think he was expecting a toddler! :) Then he was ready to go play with his toys. Ha. Kids!

We finished our paperwork and out the door by 8:15. We drove through the parking lot of Lyndee salon since it was right there (poor thing was the only one not to be able to make it!) so she could see the baby. I was home in my own bed by 9 am - a mere six hours from that earth shattering pop.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Something I said I'd never do.

Don't they always tell you, "never say never." I mean, especially after having a child you'd think I'd know this. But, in my current trend of doing everything I I always said I'd never know, midwife, cloth diapers...I let someone take pictures of my naked belly.

I must say I have always hated my pregnant body, but after seeing these...I think I've changed my mind. I just wasn't seeing me right... Enjoy...

Oh, and of course, all credit to Keri Duckett Photography

Friday, May 08, 2009


I'm so excited! For the last three weeks I've not been experiencing many contractions, which I was beginning to feel slightly anxious about. Like, will my body ever start this process?? It needs to practice.

In the last 24 hours I have been really aware of a change in my contractions. They are coming far more frequently, yet inconsistent. AND they are really starting to get uncomfortable. Not, hold on to something or bend over in pain hurt, but just "gosh, what is that?!?!"

I haven't had time to post yet my reasons I've chosen against induction and interventions...because, well, that's a whole other ball game now isn't it? But, as much as I'm wanting to do something to get this party started, something within me just can't do it. Like, I just really want to see if I can do this all alone. Let my body do what its meant to do.

Full moon tomorrow night, does that mean anything??

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Road to midwifery: Change in direction

I had a name. I had a personal reference. Then I hit my boards and the same name kept coming up. Well, several names came up, but my personal reference kept showing up, and we all like to go with someone we know someone else has used.

Ann Crowell
Gentle Beginnings Birth Center

So I google and find a website. Wait, she doesn't look like what I expected. (Sorry, Ann, you just look so friendly!) Then I read Ann's philosophy. First, she believes and loves my Lord and Creator. Second, she believes in the female body and that God created me to do this.

Then I read about the birth center she owns. You see, I'm not a huge fan of my house, therefore I'd never want to birth here. I love that its my home, but its old and I know that the things that drive me crazy now would multiply in labor. So, a birth center was a new concept to me. After looking at the pictures I decide, okay, it isn't a dungeon.. In fact, its kinda light and airy and welcoming.

Chad has been raised on natural things. So, I knew getting him on board for even exploring this wouldn't be hard. But, I didn't want to tell anyone else. I wanted to make a completely unswayed decision. What I still laugh at is Chad's face when we were sitting on the couch that night and I said, "I'm looking at a midwife and birthing center, how do you feel about it?" He said, "are you serious?" and we both knew it wasn't because he disapproved it was 100% "are you my wife?" So, like the great husband he is, he encourages me to pray and seek God about it and that he'd support any decision I made...but it was MY decision to make. (I LOVE HIM!)

I wake up the next morning, drop Kai off at preschool and start my errands, which just so happen to be in the area of the birth center. I called to set-up an appointment with Ann thinking it would be a week or two, but she had an appointment open in an hour. Oh. I didn't even have a list of questions ready!!

My initial interview changed me forever regarding midwives and their practice. Ann must have thought I was crazy. I just came in and threw up all about my past c-section, what was driving me to look into midwifery....I asked questions about fatalities and transfers and babies with problems and do you miss births and and and.......and all the while she sat there calmly answering my questions with a smile. I started to feel really comfortable. She started telling me about how God created me to do this, about how I'm low risk, about how long she'd been doing this.... and God just covered me in peace. I'm not sure it was just one thing that changed me, but suddenly all I wanted to do was have that woman deliver my baby!! We stood up after an hour and she hugged me and said, "good luck in your decision." I replied my decision had been made. :)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Road to midwifery: Background

I get asked all of the time what led me to go with a Midwife this time around. This questions normally comes with stares of confusion and concern (ha!) and tons of other questions. Naturally, the sames reactions I once had. This will be long, but hopefully helpful to others.

About five years ago, shortly after I married my husband, my mother-in-law started teaching me more and more about natures remedies. I learned a lot about herbs, our bodies, good digestion and its affect on the body etc. In the last few years, I've become more inclined to try a natural route to fixing something in my body before calling or going to the doctor. Does that mean that is what I always do, no, sometimes you just need a doctor.

So when my OBGYN announced that I'd need a c-section with my son Kai because of his breech position, I did what every other person trusting their doctors would do...I went along with it. I late blogged about this decision **click here** That blog says several things I want to point out. First, it shows my initial disappointment about not starting to labor. Then, it shows how completely fine and in control I began to feel about the c-section. But, lastly, it shows that I realize my bonding with the baby doesn't get to begin right away. I'll never forget when I realized that....I threatened Chad's life that no one could touch the baby (besides him) before we were in the mother baby room...I told him this frantic over the phone one day (is it weird that I remember exactly where I was on the highway when this conversation took place??).

My planned C-Section went as perfectly as they could. Easy, little stress, healthy baby...But there are parts that I have never felt right about. How scared I was when they took my into the OR alone to get a spinal. I remember wanting to cry as I was hunched over thinking, "where is my husband?" How I saw Kai and took a few pictures but then he was wisked to the nursery for clean up. I remember sitting alone in the recovery room because obviously everyone wanted to see the baby and feeling alone. I remember my mom being the only one to come back and check on me while everyone was still looking at the baby. And then, the IV drugs started coming...I remember everyone in my room and me dry heaving in front of my pastor...which really hurt considering my incision. I remember the nurse trying to deal with a drugged me and a sleepy baby for a good nursing session and forcing my boob in his mouth. I "remember" the day, but its all cloudy after I left recovery. I was drugged heavily and saying odd things....which I remember saying even though they were so dumb. I remember the day, but in no way is it clear to me.

What's funny is even after all of those things I can easily remember disliking, I still always swore I'd have another c-section. Why not, was my thought.

Flash forward to 2008. It was becoming increasingly more clear that Chad and I were going to stay self-employed which means self-employed health insurance. We'd been kinda holding out on baby #2 hoping to get better insurance (you know, to cover the c-section I wanted) and, well, the full on fever hadn't hit yet. I remember the day the "I have to have another baby right now" feeling came about. It was right when I was starting to see progress with Kai's speech in April of last year. So, I started calling around to my Dr. and asking questions about prenatal care and delivery costs and then the hospital for average stay costs. See, self-employed insurance will not cover maternity care. They'll cover complications due to pregnancy, but nothing else....NICE. So glad I give them $300/month. Clearly, a c-section was not a option for me any more. I mean, I could buy a car for the going rate of a c-section. I just wanted a baby!

Going rate for an OB in my area for cash customers $3k. Average hospital stay for mom and baby after an uncomplicated delivery $3-5k. Ouch, but not impossible.

My next step was meeting with my doctor (whom I LOVE). First thing he says is, "Great, when you get pregnant will just schedule your next c-section!" Um, wait a minute? So I ask about a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section)....his face turns, "Why would you want to do that??" Okay, this isn't the response I had wanted at all. I mean, I know I was all pro-csection, but...don't I get an option. He finally said he'd let me try, but if anything starts to go awry at first sign its another c-section....oh, and no epidural (what, are they trying to scare me here?!??!). So, we start trying to have a baby. In the mail the following month my OB drops my insurance. Bummer.

Over the summer, while talking to some friends with two young daughters, I discovered she used a midwife. Huh? But she's so young and hip (go ahead, judge, I'm being honest!). Most of the midwife users (who I all love - BTW!!) in know are my church friends (not to mention my crunchy mother-in-law), these are the first people from my outside life that have gone this direction. (not that it matters, but i think the point is I realized it wasn't just for the church going homeschool *crunchy* moms) She's starts telling me about her experiences and how great they were. She'd had a previous hospital birth and said that as nervous as she was about birthing at home (her husband was the original midwife promoter), the experience was far better with her homebirths. Then she explains birthing centers to me. Wait, there is an option that is not at home and not at a hospital?? So, a seed was laid.

Once I'm pregnant, I'm completely excited about having a vaginal birth. Getting to have that experience that I missed the time before is pumping me up. So, time to find a new OB. I choose a DO whom I had heard was much more on the natural side of things. I go in, all is going well, I announce the desire to have a VBAC and again, the tone changes.

Let me interject here, I totally get that some women are not good candidates for a VBAC. Especially those women that may have had an emergency c-section, but remember, that isn't my case...I just had a breech baby, period!

So doctor #2 says, "Well that is fine, if you'd like to try, BUT: no epidural, if you don't go into labor on your own by your due date we'll cesection you that day, and at the first sign of any distress you'll have another csection." Way to have confidence in my body people!! But, I agree.

In the meantime, I start looking for a doula. Heck, if I have to labor without an epidural I'm going to have someone trained in natural labor by my side since you know the doctor isn't going to be there during labor. While looking for a doula everything kept coming up midwives.

Ah, midwives, long skirted, no makeup-ed, hippie ladies who arrive at your home and catch your baby in the dark and leave you, right?!?! It was then that I started to reflect back to my summer conversation with a friend...maybe I should research this a little more. So, I get the name of the midwife she used and get to googling.

The homestretch...

Well, I'm here. Kenlee is still baking nicely away. I'm due in 12 days, but what does that mean really?? I'm huge and uncomfortable, but what else is to be expected at this point in pregnancy, right?

I'm overall doing okay. Sleep has been the worst thing affecting my life at this point. I'll have like three or four really horrible nights of sleep and then one rock solid night. Heartburn or just general discomfort seem to be the biggest two culprits.

This morning, Kai woke me up as usual and we spent about 30 min cuddling, dozing and watching cartoons. When Chad got up to make his breakfast, I rolled over and fell asleep. Probably the best hour of sleep in weeks. I missed my BSF today because of it, but it was SO worth it to me.

Saturday I'm having some maternity pictures taken. I swore I would never do it. I hate my pregnant body, BUT I have been convinced and now I'm kinda into it. I hope to be able to say, "These were taken days before you were born."

I have decided that this baby can come anytime after the tenth (like I have a say!). I want the pictures to be done. I want my midwife assistant, Abby, to be in town. I want to enjoy Mother's Day with both my families. I was saying the 12th because that was my hair appointment, but Lyndee was kind enough to do it early for the now I don't have to wait anymore.

I swear I will write my blog on my road to midwifery. I've been meaning to do it for months and I really want to have it done before the birth because I know I'll have so much more to write after the birth. I just can't decide where to start... Do I start with my last c-section? Do I start when I found out I was pregnant?

And honestly, typing isn't easy anymore. I don't know how to hold my computer! HA!