Bear’s Birth Story

Continuing with the theme from my last post of Bear being a stubborn child, of course his birth was no different. The very fast, water-suddenly-breaking-and-barely-making-it-to-any-medical-facility-birth I expected did not happen. He had his own agenda.

I felt pretty good two days after my hospital stay. No bad nausea, my acid reflux was tolerable, and I was pretty well-rested. Sunday night, I stayed up a bit and monitored my contractions. Still no change from the what they were at the hospital. I was slightly afraid of my water breaking at 1 AM like Jack’s did, but really thought I had several more days before real labor would start. So I went to sleep like normal.

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Last bump pic!
Around 6 AM I woke up to more contractions. They didn’t hurt, I was more annoyed. I was sleeping very well and did not want to get up. Plus, Jack was all snuggled with me. I wanted to stay in bed with my sleeping angel face. Then I felt a weird gush. I was even more annoyed, but knew I had to get up. I went to the bathroom and was very surprised to see a tinge of pink when I wiped. I had another contractions and more pink stuff. I put a pad on and went to tell Michael. He didn’t seem too concerned, but told me to call midwife. I felt more stuff gush out so I checked my pad again. It wasn’t wet like when my water broke with Jack, but stuff was definitely coming out. I called my midwife and told her my water may have broke. She told me to come to the birth center just in case since I was already dilated to 4cm and have a history of fast labor.

The receptionist saw us pull-up and another midwife took us straight back to the birthing room we wanted. Shortly after, my midwife and her assistant came in. They took all my vitals and checked me. I hadn’t progressed more yet. And my water had not broke yet, but my bag was bulging and my contractions were closer together and hurting more.

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Contractions are annoying when you trying to enjoy 90s pop radio on Pandora.
I spent the next 3 hours progressing steadily in the birthing suite. I started out walking around, then moved to sitting on the couch. Then, once my contractions really started to pick up,  I laid down on the bed with some music on to try to rest between them.

DSCN3751Then it started to really get intense, so I decided to get in tub. Oh man, I can’t even begin to explain how awesome it felt. The water takes all the pressure off your body and soothes your pain. I stayed in there nearly two hours.

But as I was getting close to pushing, I needed a little relief to help me stay calm and focused. I originally told Michael I didn’t want to do the Nitrous Oxide, but at that moment I wanted it. The man did not hesitate and got my midwife quickly.  It doesn’t stop the pain like other pain relief methods, but just takes the edge off. It was too hard for me to hold the mask out of the water and have a contraction at the same time. So my body said get out of the tub.

As soon as I stood up, gravity kicked in and I could feel his head. I laid down on the bed and clung to the gas mask for dear life. A few more contractions later and my water a finally broke, just a trickle at first. Then my body went on autopilot. It started to push. My midwife asked me to spread my legs because I was baring down and I thought, “I am? Huh..I am…”

Suddenly, I felt the ring of fire. I had heard about it in many other birth stories, but oh man. It’s more than you can imagine. Literally feels like your labia are set on fire as baby crowns. Next my water came GUSHING out, followed by his head. Little stubborn guy got his shoulder stuck on my pelvis and decided that was the best time to try to take his first breath. My midwife quickly jumped in and rotated his shoulder to get him out. Then he slid out just fine and she placed him in my arms.

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Moment of disbelief.
I pulled him on to my chest and waves of love just hit me. He is here! He’s out. I’m done. The hardest thing I’ve ever worked for in my life. My beautiful rainbow baby. He made little peeps but didn’t scream like Jack. I knew right then this was indeed my quiet, stubborn child.

Then they had me push out my placenta. It came out whole but had long tails from where it burst
open from my water breaking. Took my midwife a bit to pull them out. After it was out, my uterus was “boggy”, meaning it was retaining all the fluids. My midwife tried a uterine massage to help it along, but it hurt way too much. She offered a pitocin shot instead and I agreed.
DSCN3767Bear started rooting so I started to position him to nurse…then I realized no one actually checked if he’s a boy! I was more concerned he came out safely and my midwife was more concerned he was okay for 36 weeker—no one looked right away! But we all looked, he was indeed a boy.  He latched on like a champ and I was so happy that it didn’t hurt like Jack’s first latch did. He nursed both sides then fell asleep. The nursing also helped my uterus to contract better and it started to “unbog”.

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We had a glorious two and half hours of truly uninterrupted skin-to-skin bonding time. They check our vitals quietly in the bed when needed, but no one really disturbed us. It was truly magically.

IMG_6303This is when my midwife suggested I go to the bathroom. So I handed Bear to Michael, and he smiled ear to ear to hold his second son. My midwife helped me to the bathroom. I walked pretty well on my own, much easier than after my epidural with Jack. However, unlike Jack’s birth, I was not numb down there this time. Sitting on the toilet hurt, everything was so swollen I couldn’t pee, and even the water from the peri bottle hurt.

Then I went back to the bed and my midwife did the newborn procedures. Checked him over, tested his oxygen levels and weighed him. I expected to hear 6 lbs or under, considering he was technically a preemie. But nope! He was 7 lbs 9 oz, only a pound smaller than Jack! My midwife concluded my due date had to be off, he was absolutely not a 36 weeker. She thinks he is closer to a 38.5 weeker.

IMG_6305Then my midwife handed us off to the postpartum midwife. The birthing center includes food delivery service, so we ordered from my favorite restaurant, Veggie Grill. One of the biggest acid reflux and nausea triggers this pregnancy was leafy greens. Do you know how much that sucks for a vegan? So when my Crispy Chickin’ Plate came, I dove into my steamed kale. It was amazing to eat without pain. I devoured everything and had no regrets. Best postpartum meal ever.

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He was so excited mommy had milkies again!
My parents and Jack came that evening. Jack looked at his little brother, but kinda didn’t care. He just wanted me. It had been a rough week without me and he needed me. I let him nurse while my parents held Bear. He was very happy to discover there was milk once again. He was upset to leave, he begged to stay the night with us. I hugged him, then told him tomorrow we will be home and all be a family.

Best sitz bath ever.
Best sitz bath ever.
We rested some more, had a very yummy ThaI food for dinner, and Bear had his first cluster feeding (followed by his first milk coma).  I had a very lovely herbal sitz bath that took down a lot of the swelling almost instantly.

Just sleeping like a baby while my uterus is trying to kill me.
Just sleeping like a baby while my uterus is trying to kill me.
I tried to take a big nap while Michael held Bear, but my uterus had other plans. I had started to have contractions so intense that I had to breath through them. The midwife gave me Motrin, Tylenol and Cramp Bark to ease the pain. I don’t recall any uterine pain like this after Jack was born. The midwife said your uterus has to work harder to go back to normal after each baby, so the pain tends to be worse. And of course Bear kept waking up to to nurse, making the my uterus contract more. I eventually got a couple hours of sleep towards the morning.

IMG_6316In the morning the midwife made us a very yummy breakfast, then I took the best shower of my life. I just stood under the hot water and let all the stress from this pregnancy just wash away. Then we asked about being discharged. I could have stayed a second night, but I was ready to go home to Jack. We were both healthy and doing great, no reason to stay. My normal midwife came to check on us and agreed we could go home. After some final checks and procedures,  I got to wrap Bear up to take him to the car. I had been dreaming of wearing my rainbow baby in the rainbow wrap I helped design for months. I teared up once I got him in. I will never forget that moment of relief for my heart.

Bear’s birth was as close to perfect as it could have been. I was respected, pampered, and truly cared for. No one argued me and no one did things without my consent. Because of this I never felt stressed or worried—no crying at 2 AM from exhaustion this time. This is what birth should always be, regardless of where you deliver.

Hyperemesis and Preterm Labor

This stubborn little child. He had his own agenda from the day he was conceived. I dreamed a pretty easy pregnancy like with Jack. Some nausea, acid reflux, and low blood pressure issues again. But nothing too crazy. I also wanted a very active pregnancy this time. I wanted to hike everyday with Jack and get my body as strong as possible. I envisioned going into labor on a trail somewhere….

…but nope. It started with bad hyperemesis right away. Followed by a stomach bug. Then migraines. Then worse hyperemesis. Then a UTI. Then even worse hyperemesis. Then vaginosis. Then the irritable uterus started up. Even worse hyperemesis. Horrible allergic reaction. Pulled a groin muscle and couldn’t walk. And then the throwing up acid at night from the worst acid reflux in my life.

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35 weeks
By the time I went to my 35 week midwife appointment, my body was exhausted. I was happy to have made it so far with a very healthy baby—my rainbow baby.  My midwife asked how I was doing, I answered “I am coughing up acid at night, I’m having a TON of Braxton-Hicks, I can’t eat much food because everything is so squished, I feel faint because I can’t eat or drink enough, and I can’t sleep at night. But overall, good.” She nodded, she knew I was exhausted. Then she said the good news—she did not believe I would go to my due date and I just had to deal with a few more weeks. This was Monday. After that Saturday, I would be 36 weeks, the legal gestational age to give birth in a birthing center in Oregon. I went home and planned on just sitting around relaxing until my appointment next week.

That Thursday, Jack had a playdate at a nearby park. Towards the end I got really tired. So we said goodbye a few minutes early and left. A few minutes later, it happened…

The worst thing that happened my whole pregnancy so far. I puked ALL over my car. Projectile vomited without warning when I stopped at a stop sign. And continued for 30 seconds. I couldn’t open the door or window, it just kept coming. When I finally stopped, a car had pulled up behind me so I had to go. Jack started laughing hysterically, “Mommy threw up! Mommy you are so silly!” I started crying and called my mom over the car speaker. I told her I was pulling up right now and I needed her help. I puked all over my car.

She sent me inside and told me to get cleaned up. She put Jack inside and cleaned my car.  I showered and laid down in bed. I kept throwing up every 30 minutes or so. I couldn’t keep anything down. A few hours later, I called my midwife. She told me to come up to be rehydrated. Michael picked me up and my mom watched Jack.

I threw up again when we got there. I was so dehydrated they once again couldn’t get a vein on me. The midwives are trained medical professionals, they knew what to do. But I am a hard stick even hydrated. So they started a rectal IV. But it started to kick up my Braxton-Hicks into real contractions so they quickly stopped it. I threw up several more times and was started to get very upset.

At the birth center, starting to get very worried.
At the birth center, starting to get very worried.
My midwife talked with the other midwives, and they decided it was time to transfer me to a hospital. I was still 35 weeks so I could not give birth there if it was the real deal. And if it was just dehydration, I needed IV fluids quickly to stop preterm labor. I was scared, but I understood.

A little while later I was in a wheelchair in Labor and Delivery at OHSU. As they took me to triage, I looked into all the delivery rooms and started to panic a little. This was not what I wanted. Why are you doing this to us, Bear? We could be at a wonderful birthing center of you could just wait a week or so!

Then I threw-up again and I knew this where we needed to be. My body needed helped. The nurse saw all needle pokes on my arms from the birth center and knew right away she needed to get the most experienced nurse possible. She brought in a 20+ year NICU/OB nurse who can get veins on 1 lbs premature babies. It still took her 3 tries. I really am that hard of a stick.

Stay in!!
Stay in!!
I was so happy once I could feel the fluid in my veins. They quickly gave me a Zofran shot and a Reglan shot for nausea. Then the OB came in. She checked my cervix , I was 3 cm. I was 1 at the birthing center three hours ago so this worried me. She also did a quick ultrasound, she said baby looked great, but was totally head down and engaged. She said they would not stop my labor if I continued to progress, but she hoped it would stop on its own once in hydrated. For that reason, the doctor suggested a Betamethasone shot. It is a steroid that helps develop baby’s lungs quickly. She explained all her reasons and the possible side effects, which I greatly appreciated. I felt very very respected and greatly appreciated her taking the time to inform me. As a result, I was not upset when they admitted me for the night for monitoring and continued fluids.

I threw up a few more times, so they gave me more medicine. Also, she added some acid reflux medicine because all that puking was triggering a major reflux attack. And this whole time I was having consistent, steady contractions. But they didn’t hurt, felt slightly stronger than the Braxton-Hicks/cramps I’ve had since 20 weeks. Then they gave me some medicine to help me sleep and I was out! Like didn’t even notice the nurse coming in a few hours later to change my IV bag and take my vitals kind of out.

IMG_6274The doctor woke me up at 6 AM before her shift ended to check me again. I hoped it was all good and I could leave in a few hours…but nope. My stubborn, stubborn child had other plans. I lost a huge chunk of my mucus plug overnight. And I dilated another centimeter and thinned out a tiny bit more. So I needed to stay for at least a few more hours and probably the night again. Good news was the doctor decided this was probably not a stomach virus or true labor. It was probably just my hyperemesis causing dehydration contractions (if you can call that good news). Actual good news was I hadn’t thrown up for several hours and I wanted breakfast! And I eat my entire breakfast and kept it down! Same with my lunch and dinner. I had horrible acid reflux and it took several medications to keep the acid from creeping up though. But I will take that over projectile vomiting any day.

A new OB checked me shortly before dinner and had more good news. I had not progressed, and my contractions had slowed and spaced out. They took me off the monitor and gave me instructions to let them know immediately if my contractions got worse. And they stopped my IV and told me to drink all that I could to stay hydrated. But, they wanted to keep me one more night just to be safe and give me the second dose of steroid shot for his lungs. My body was still exhausted so I didn’t argue. Everyone had treated me with such respect and honesty that I would not be upset if I had to deliver there. A much different hospital experience than with Jack.

Happy to be released!
Happy to be released!
They gave me more medicine to sleep and I was knocked out again. In the morning I got the best news, no more progression or change in contractions, so I was going home! She said I was really not likely to make it to my due date, but I would be more comfortable waiting for labor at home if I am not actively progressing. It was Saturday now, I was 36 weeks. So I asked if I could still deliver at my birth center birth like I planned. Without hesitation she said yes! As long as I listen to my midwife and no other complications arise, there was no reason why I couldn’t. I was so happy!

They released me quickly and we stopped for lunch on the way home (which I ate and kept down!). Jack was so happy to see us. He jumped on my lap and snuggled with me on the couch watching TV for a long time. This whole pregnancy was hard on him, too.

I planned on laying around for the next week or so, giving Bear a bit more time to cook. But he had other plans. Check out my next post for his birth story.

Why A Birth Center and Midwife

I want to be clear first: I think modern medicine and hospitals are awesome. Seriously, they have been my good friend this pregnancy. Rehydrated me 6 times now due to hyperemesis. My son bashed his chin open a few weeks ago and the wonderful local children’s hospital glued him back together. I had repeated tonsillitis and ear infections (so bad it was damaging my immune system) in college, my amazing ENT took out my tonsils and my hospital took great care of me afterwards. Seriously, wonderful and totally awesome when you need that kind of treatment. But I don’t view a pregnancy with no major complications as a something that needs that kind of treatment.

 

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Jack was a few hours old, both of us doing good.

Jack’s birth was good. Nothing horrible happened and we were both given reasonable care. It was very standard Medical Model of Care. They followed protocol and did all they could to ensure we both were healthy and alive. I gave birth in a very busy county hospital, so some resources took longer to get. But when they did come, they tried hard to give us good care with the limited time they had. Overall, I say it was just good.

However, now that I am more educated on birth, I want better than good. I want my requests respected (within reason). I want the Midwife Model of Care this time. In a nutshell, the Midwife Model of Care believes that birth is a natural process that your body already knows how to do on its own. You just need a little guidance and enough time to relax to do it. There is still medical care offered—a midwife doesn’t just leave you alone for 40 weeks and only show up if you have a problem in labor. Standard procedures like blood tests, ultrasounds, and exams are offered. The key difference is you build a closer relationship with your midwife, so you feel comfort and trust her during the birth process.

That last part was what drew me to midwife the most. My OB with Jack was not the person who delivered him. I adored her and wish she had delivered him, but that’s not how my clinic worked. The on-call OB at the hospital at the time delivered Jack. I had no idea anything about her, only her name and that she was a doctor. I didn’t know her stance on natural childbirth practices, c-section rate, or anything else. And I had no choice but to just trust this random woman when I was the most vulnerable. It was worked out okay, but it’s not something I want to do again. There are a few things I want to avoid now that I know better.

First of all, when I got to the hospital, they did not believe me that my water actually broke. The triage nurse looked at me like I was lying…despite the fact that I was carrying a SOAKED towel between my legs. She left me standing next to the bed leaking and gave me no instructions. I had a contraction, so I leaned over the bed and set my towel on the tray. She came back in and freaked out! Threw the towel at my husband and said NO NO NO! She immediately got cleaning supplies and sanitized everything again…leaving me hunched over wanting to cry from the contraction and still no instructions. Then she left again. I just grabbed the gown on the bed, got undressed, and laid down. She came back in and asked if I was having contractions. I looked at her crazy and said yes. I told her they were 2 minutes apart and 90 seconds long. She kinda rolled her eyes. She hooked me up and looked very surprised to see I was right. Then she asked for a urine sample. I told her I did not have to pee and really needed to lay down because my contractions were coming faster. She said I had to, they needed a urine sample to admit me. So Michael helped me hobble to the bathroom. I tried, but only got a big gush of fluid. I came out and told the nurse I couldn’t. She took the cup and said fine, she will check to see if it’s actually amniotic fluid. Then she announced it indeed amniotic fluid and without saying anything else really, she checked me. I was 2 cm. I was kinda bothered that she didn’t ask first, but it got me away from her faster so I didn’t argue. She left without saying anything again and came back close to an hour later. At this point, I was starting to transition. I couldn’t talk during my contractions and was started to shake. While Michael was asking if I wanted him to sign the epidural form just in case, I started to vomit. The nurse once again couldn’t believe it so she checked me again, I was close to 5 cm. They quickly took me to my room and I was so happy to be away from that nurse. Looking back, I can understand her attitude. She had to follow the Medical Model of Care and I was not following the procedure she was set to do. I didn’t come in as a women not sure if she was in labor who had the time wait as she checked all the boxes. That being said, she did have poor bedside manner.

In my room, I was progressing so fast and was exhausted. I knew I needed an epidural to relax. They needed my blood work results before the anesthesiologist could come. One nurse really fought for me. She put a STAT order on my blood work and refreshed the screen every 5 minutes to check. Then once the results came, she called the anesthesiologist immediately. She held me while the needle went in and stroked my hair when I had contraction at the same time. So, I know nurses can be very amazing and really help you when you need it.

 

Would you keep telling this face they need to flip on their back?
Would you keep telling this face they need to flip on their back?

However, there were some other issues. She and another nurse kept insisting that I had lay on my back for continuous monitoring. I physically couldn’t. That made contractions unbearable. Plus, I knew on your back is the worst position possible for labor progression. And continuous monitoring is unnecessary if there are no complications. I did go onto my back for a bit every hour or so to check if Jack was still okay, but flipped back on my side once they said it was good. I finally asked if there a major reason why and they said no, just protocol. Then they backed off. Once again, they didn’t do anything bad really. They had a system to follow, but my body’s needs didn’t fit into it.

 

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Taken the day I posted this. The red mark is permanent. It should have been our consent to give it to him.

I pushed for 1.5 hours and Jack was stuck with his 1 head inch out. The doctor stuck an external probe on Jack’s head to check his vitals since he had been in there so long. No one said anything to Michael and I, just told me to stop pushing for a second. At the time I didn’t really realize what she was doing. He was fine so she told me to push again. In general, I have no objection to having this done. He was stuck for awhile and it was important that she made sure he wasn’t in distress. But, it left a scar on Jack’s forehead. If anyone was going to make the choice to permanently mark our child, it should have been ours. I would have totally understood if they said “I’m going to stick this on his head to check his vitals, okay?” It was not an emergency situation, no one was rushing, they did have time to ask. I resent the lack of communication and consent, not the actual procedure.

 

About this time is when I saw what the IV bag said...
About this time is when I saw what the IV bag said…

After Jack finally came out, they plopped him on my chest and encouraged me to nurse him. I vaguely remember them saying my placenta came out intact and no excessive bleeding. I thought yeah yeah, I’m trying to feed my child. Then I looked up at my IV and saw the bag said Pitocin. I really wanted to get mad. I said out loud and in my birth plan that I did not want Pitocin unless it was truly necessary. They started a bag to get my placenta out quickly and never mentioned it to me. They gave me a medication I did not consent to. If they said something like, “We would like to start Pitocin right now to get your placenta out quickly because we need to make sure you are okay before the doctor has to leave for the next delivery”, I would have totally understood and said okay. I know this is standard Medical Model of Care, but I resent not being informed of what was happening to my own body.

I was one EXHAUSTED and stressed mama, don't let the smile fool you.
I was one EXHAUSTED and stressed mama, don’t let the smile fool you.

I also hated my hospital stay. The nurses were all super busy because the ward was full. Many of my questions and requests barely got answered. Also, being woken up to be checked every few hours stressed me out beyond all belief. I was exhausted and the hospital was not restful. The second night there, Michael went to sleep in the car because he was so exhausted and had to drive us home the next day. I was alone in the room with screaming Jack and so exhausted I couldn’t even think straight. I burst into tears and was shaking. The nurse came in and said I just needed to sleep. I explained that I can’t because he won’t calm down, and you are going to come back in shortly to check us. She just shrugged and left. I know there was nothing she could do, that was not her role and she was just following the Medical Model of Care once again. But it was stressful and hard for me in that moment. It made me feel like I was already a horrible mother.

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This time around, I know what I want in my birth experience. And unless there is an emergency, I don’t want the Medical Model of Care. There are women who truly need this type of care all along (my friend who has Sickle-Cell Anemia and fought infections most of her pregnancy definitely did). So, it is wonderful this type of care exists. However, I want something different this time. I want a connection with the person I am trusting to touch me when I am the most vulnerable and help bring my child into the world. I want her to know right off the top of her head that I do not want Pitocin. I want to labor on my side without question and not have to argue for occasional monitoring. And I want to recover in a relaxed, comfortable setting with my husband and newborn. I want my provider to believe me when I say something is happening. With the Midwife Model of Care at a birthing center, I get all this. They are not crazy things to ask for at all. I want to be respected, informed, and comfortable. All medical patients deserve this, especially women who just giving birth.

I really suggest you check out Birth Without Fear. It really changed my views on birth and helped me process some of the issues I had with Jack’s birth.

Grateful But Miserable

Yesterday I gave myself a Mother’s’ Day treat, attending Birth Without Fear Conference in Portland toddler-free. I attended last year and loved it. I really hoped to return this year pregant, and I was lucky enough for that to happen. But this is not quite the pregnancy I expected to come with at all. First of all, I never expected to be carrying a rainbow baby. Second, I never expected to be this miserable pregnant.

In November, I posted about how I had a miscarriage. As I mentioned, this totally blindsided me. I have no issues getting pregnant and already had a healthy baby. I never had much time to deal with what happened, I had to leave for babywearing training in Seattle the next day and was very busy after that. I became determined to get pregnant again as soon as possible, so I focused on that more than dealing with the loss. Two cycles later we got pregnant with this baby and I was happy…for the most part. I was happy but afraid. I waited for the 6 weeks 5 days mark (as far as I got with the miscarriage) to pass before I accepted mentally it was for real.

But do you know what also happened about this time? Hyperemesis kicked in.  There was no way I could get excited now. I was too busy trying not to throw up and die every day for months. I thought it will get better when I get to the second trimester—just get to 12 weeks I told myself. I thought all the nausea will go away and my chances of miscarriage drop way down, so I will be able to relax. Nope.

Guess what happened next? Shortly after I wrote my hyperemesis post, I went in for my another ER visit. I was having horrible stomach pain and they were concerned I had appendicitis. I got two bags of fluids, a Benadryl shot to calm my horrible headache, and a Zofran shot. Then an ultrasound to check baby and my appendix. But, she couldn’t find my appendix, so I got an MRI. Do you know how fun an MRI at 2 AM when you are exhausted and loopy from Benadryl?!?! I ended up just having extreme intestinal distress and I was told to just drink more water….great advice to someone who can’t hold down much.

A few weeks later, something really scary happened. I started to have slightly painful cramps. They were more than menstrual cramps, but less than contractions. It reminded me of the cramps I had the night my water broke with Jack, so I worried. I called my midwife who told me to rest and drink water to see if they stop. If I stayed laying down, they stopped. But as soon as I got up, they came back.

Jack assisting my midwife check my cervix
This went on for 2 days my midwife had me come in.  She became a bit concerned because I was 1cm dilated and had a lot of discharge she didn’t like. She took a vaginal swab and sent me for a ultrasound that day. I was so afraid. I had Jack with me so I needed to keep it together for him. I rushed to drop Jack with my mom and picked up Michael. I am one of those people who will totally lose it I panic so I just stayed calm and didn’t make it out to be a big deal to everyone. But I was so afraid. Terrified.

The ultrasound ended up being okay. I was very dehydrated so she couldn’t get all the pictures she needed. But my cervix was closed internally and high. I had a plenty of amniotic fluid and baby looked good. They could not confirm gender (we did genetic testing so we know it’s a boy). My midwife called a few days later to say I had a vaginosis and an irritable uterus. Neither is necessarily bad, but both can lead to preterm labor if untreated.Several more days of bed rest and more cramps plus antibiotics. And my parents went out of town so I couldn’t really rest like I needed because I had to chase Jack.

So, at 19 weeks pregnant , I spent an evening at my birthing center getting rehydrated for the FIFTH time this pregnancy. They couldn’t get a vein on me so they had to do it the other way. That’s right, they gave  me an enema. Took the needle off the IV and inserted the catheter right in my butt. I didn’t care though. My cramps stopped within minutes and I felt so much better. I’m in my second trimester, I’m supposed to be feeling the best my whole pregnancy right now and it’s only getting worse. And I am still worried that this constant getting dehydrated is going to cause real preterm labor. Now I am telling myself just get to 24 weeks, when most babies born early care considered viable. Then I can relax, hopefully.

I started to say to myself “I wish I wasn’t pregnant anymore. I am so miserable. I just want this over.” Then I realized the horror in what I said. I wished no longer be carrying my rainbow baby. I know this is not what  really meant, but even implying losing this baby was horrible to me. At this time, my best friend was afraid she would never be able to have children. She had just undergone exploratory surgery with fears should would lose both her ovaries and fallopian tubes (ended up only losing one of each). How could I say such things when she might never be able to have children period?!?!? I want to be clear that I want this baby with all my heart. I needed this baby. I am not ungrateful for this baby, I know how lucky I am to be pregnant and be able to have children. But I am miserable and still afraid.

At Birth Without Fear, there was a speaker on pregnancy loss. I debated the whole train ride to the convention center if I wanted to listen to it. I didn’t want to face my fears. I didn’t want to hear stories of babies who didn’t make it for fear I would actually lose this baby. I didn’t want to admit the horrible thing I said when I am lucky enough to be carrying my rainbow baby. Once I got there, and saw how many other women went into that session, I knew I needed to go. The speaker was Jessica Daggett, a Doula and a mom who has experienced two losses herself. She and other mom’s shared their stories. It was hard to hear at times and ramped up my fears, but it was also healing. It was healing to know she was afraid with her pregnancies after her losses.

Then later on in the afternoon was the harmony circle. I decided to sit at the loss group. Five other women, including Jessica, sat at the table. Each shared their stories, each one a little different, but all the feelings were the same. One mom was her in second trimester but afraid to enjoy it because she lost twin baby girls due to preterm labor. One had lost her baby in March. One was struggling with IV after having her one working tube wrongfully removed after a miscarriage.  One had a miscarriage from preeclampsia when she didn’t know she was even pregnant. But all of us felt fear, guilt, and sadness.

The greatest part was to hear them all say I was not a bad mother for not enjoying my pregnancy, and even hating it. And it’s okay for me to be afraid of losing my baby. The fact that I care enough to care that I hate it is proof. I want to repeat this:

It’s okay to not enjoy your pregnancy. Especially if you have hyperemesis or other complications.

It’s okay to fear loss. Especially if you have lost before.

But you need to deal with your emotions and not let them consume you forever. Please seek help from a professional if these feelings are interfering with your daily life. I have not gotten to that point, but it’s nice to know it’s okay to have these thoughts.

I am beyond grateful to have an amazing two-year-old and be pregnant with my rainbow baby on this Mother’s day. But I can’t wait until I am done being miserable.  Thank you Birth Without Fear, Jessica, and the other moms at my table for giving me the courage to write this post.

Pregnancy Belly Wrapping 

You are tired, sore, and swollen. And sometimes, you feel anything but pretty. It’s all part of the pregnancy experience. The only real cure is to get through it and deliver your baby. One thing can give you some temporary relief: belly wrapping.

I’m not talking about those weight loss shrink wraps or coreset waist trainers. (Your supposed to get a big belly while pregnant, it’s unsafe to try to prevent it). I’m talking about supporting your belly gently while it grows with a babywearing wrap.

It is a safe way to give you little extra support. It’s similar to belly bands and belts commonly found it in maternity stores. They are so much prettier and easier to adjust to your body shape. It’s also a great way to break in a new wrap before baby comes!

There are several ways to wrap your belly during pregnancy. There is no best method, it will depend on your body’s needs and personal preference. Here are four basic methods, give them each a try and see what you like. However, there are two schools of thought when it comes to this subject: cover the belly or not. Some believe that it’s bad for mother and baby to have the entire belly covered. Stating it constricts fetal movement, possibly effecting growth and causing stress. Others believe that as long as you don’t over tighten and cause pain, there is nothing wrong with covering your entire belly. Most maternity pants cover all the belly, often with elastic to add tension support. There is little scientific evidence to proof/disproof either school of thought, so at this time it is not fair to say either one is correct. As for my personal opinion as an educator, I am comfortable recommending the entire belly covered as long as the wearer can still move easily and the wrap is truly giving her relief.  I will post some links at the end of this post for more information.

This first one uses a stretchy wrap to basically do a Front Wrap Cross Carry without a baby.This carry provides full upper body support. The cross in the back provides support to your back and shoulder, while the giving your belly an extra lift at the same time. Great for back pain and general muscle pain from carrying a heavy belly around. I really recommend a stretchy wrap over a woven wrap for this. I find a woven wrap just does not get as tight over your shoulder to give you that nice lift.This would work with a Moby, Boba, or other stretchy brands. I am using a Wrapsody Hybrid Stella One Size. This wrap is equal to a size 8 woven wrap or 5.7 meters. For this carry, your need a long wrap. As you can see in the video, I had a lot of tail left over.  I’m petite and only 19 weeks along in this video. On a non-short person who is further along, there would be less left over and tying in front would not be an issue.

Next is a long woven wrap. I guess this would be similar to a Torso Carry, just around your belly without a baby.This one provides support to your lower back, belly, and most importantly the pelvic area. It’s great for round ligament pain, too. Just a little lift, without all the passes limiting your range of motions on your shoulders.The key to this one is getting the bottom rail nice and tight. This carry should be done with your base size (keeping in mind that during pregnancy it may change, I went from a base 5 to a 6).  If you want a less bulky knot, use a thinner wrap. I used a Bijou Babywearing Wildthing Crush Size 6.

The last of the fully belly support is the ring sling. It’s pretty much like doing a front carry in a ring sling, but on your belly and not cover one shoulder. The ring sling provides all over, even belly support for those days it feels like your skin is about to burst into pieces. And there is the added bonus of no bulky knot getting in your way. Just make sure the rings a laying flat so they don’t dig into your side (threading properly will keep them from turning into you). There isn’t much lift, but a gently tug keeping everything supported. Any ring sling that fits around your belly will work for this carry. I recommend medium size rings if possible,  the smaller the rings the less likely they will be to dig into your side. I used a Wrapsody Cara Ring Sling 78″ (about a size Medium).

Lastly, a carry that does not cover the whole belly. There really is no babywearing carry like this, it’s more like a support belt. This is perfect for those days when your body starts loosen all the joints and your hips feel like they are going to rip apart. Just enough tension to gently push them back together so you can walk without pain. It also offers a dash of back support to keep you from wanting to cry stand-up to go to the bathroom for the millionth time. And your baby is free from constrictions, able to move and grow as they please. I am using a Little Frog Pyrope Size 3. I recommend a base minus 2 for this carry. Keep in mind what I said earlier though, your base size may have changed from your pre-pregnancy size. I had to tie on the tails because I guessed too small, a size 4 would have fit much better.

There you go! Four ways to wrap your belly during pregnancy. I hope of them gives you relief and you use a wrap that makes you feel beautiful.

Here are some links on belly wrapping:

Healthline, “5 Reasons You a Pregnancy Belly Bands”

Midwife At Your Doorstep, “Belly Binding for Optimal Fetal Positioning”

Beyond Birth Support, “A Few Thoughts on Prenatal Belly Wrapping”

LiveStrong, “Neagative Effects of Tight Clothes on Pregnant Women”

Babywearing International of Cleveland, “Belly Wrapping for Pregnancy Support”

And lastly a link on Woven Wrap Sizes.

Dealing with Hyperemesis 

As soon as I found out I was pregnant this time, I braced myself for the horrible, horrible morning sickness again. But two weeks went by and nothing really happened. I

I reread my Dealing with Morning Sickness post from when I was pregnant with Jack.  I made electrolyte ice cubes, bought ginger tea, started taking a probiotic in preparation. I though I was on top of it and had it totally under control.

I was wrong. Oh, so very wrong….

Six-and-half-weeks along and it hit me like a freight train. All day nausea. I managed to throw up very little, but only because I couldn’t eat much. I tried to drink as much as I could keep down, which wasn’t a lot. The only thing I could do was lay on the couch and rest. I spent a lot at my mom’s, mainly so she could take care of Jack for me.  It was just miserable, but manageable. I thought just a few more weeks likes this, it won’t be so bad. This was similar to what I had with Jack and I survived all alone most days.

Then one evening I got bad diarrhea that lasted into the next day. I felt weak and tired. I knew this was not good, so I went to Urgent Care. I was badly dehydrated—like after two full bags of fluids I didn’t even have to pee. Doctor said I had Hyperemesis and a stomach virus.I should have been diagnosed with Hyperemesis with Jack, but never told the doctor because I didn’t know any better. The doctor said I needed to rest and stay hydrated, and the virus should pass on its own. She also prescribed Zofran so I could start eating again. There are some warnings that Zofran causes birth defects, but I was so sick I knew for the baby’s and my health, I needed it.

I also tested positive for a UTI, but I had no symptoms at the time. My midwife said to keep an eye out but the test came back so high, it might be a false positive. A few days later, the stomach virus went away but I still felt awful. Then my lower abdomen started to hurt, so I called my midwife. She told me try a homeopathic method first since it seemed mild. It really helped the first day, but a few days later it started it hurt when I peed. So antibiotics. I felt less weak and the pain went away the next day.

I started to feel pretty good after that. I was 9.5 weeks—about the time my morning sickness cleared with Jack— so I thought I was in the clear! Wrong. Wrong again.

One afternoon at my mom’s house, I got the worse headache of my life. I had thrown up that morning, the first time in over a week, and just fell apart after that. I spent most of the day laying on the couch and feeling horrible that my mom had to care for my child yet again. My head just kept getting worse and worse. Nothing was helping. Not Tylenol, tea, heating pad, ice pack, or lavender oil.

About 8 PM, I couldn’t take it anymore.  I called Michael at work (he works nights) and he took me to Emergency room. The only plus side to this visit was we got an ultrasound. The doctor wanted to make sure these were not symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy. We say a very active healthy baby inside the uterus where it should be—even measuring a little big! But I was still in rough shape. Dehydrated again, so another IV of fluids. They also gave me a Zofran shot in the IV so I could keep some water down too. And some extra strength Tylenol at a higher dose to curb my headache. The doctor also prescribed Diclegis, a nausea medication designed for pregnancy. He told me to take that daily until I feel better, and take the Zofran for breakthrough nausea only. I didn’t get home until 1 AM that night and was exhausted. My parents kept Jack the next day so I could rest.

But man, Diclegis works wonders. I actually wanted to go out for brunch the next day! And I ate most of my meal! That hadn’t happened in over a month. I thought for sure I was done with being ridiculously sick. The next few days went pretty good, I was very tired but very little nausea. Wrong again

I woke up one morning and new I was going to puke. I asked Michael to bring me a Zofran in bed, but as soon as it hit my lips I threw up. A lot. I just started crying and went back to bed. I felt horrible. A little while later I went to the couch and forced some water down. Then something weird happened. Every face on TV went all blurry. I looked away, and realized it wasn’t the TV. Everything was blurry in my left eye. It looked like static feedback. It really scared me. I told Michael and he said it sounded like a migraine, he gets them every so often. I called my midwife, she said it sounded like a ocular migraine too, but I still go get checked out at an Urgent Care.

So my parents came to pick up Jack and off we went again. On the car ride over, my head started pounding again and I became sensitive to light. Doctor pretty quickly said it was indeed a migraine, pregnancy often induces migraines on people who have never had them in their life before. Good news was I was not dehydrated and did not need an IV. But she said to take Tylenol every day until the headache goes away, so I can eat and drink normally and not end up dehydrated again. So also prescribed me Codeine to take if my migraine became unbearable. Codeine is Category C pregnancy drug, meaning its not totally unsafe, but there is no good evidence to prove it is safe. I took one later that night to help me sleep since my head was still killing me, but I haven’t taken one since. I am glad I have them, but understand the risks and will take them only if really needed.

I am 11.5 weeks today and feeling mostly better. The nausea is starting to go down, but I am still taking the Diclegis. I hope to be able to stop it sometime next week or the week  after. I haven’t taken any zofran in several days–knock on wood. I am still getting moderate headaches, but no full blown migraines in a week or so. I had an acupuncture session yesterday for migraines and it helped A LOT.

This whole first trimester knocked me on my ass in ways I never imagined. I was prepared for Hyperemesis to be bad like with Jack, but not for all the other crap. Seriously, extreme nausea, stomach virus, UTI, and migraines all in 5 weeks? Why! That’s just cruel an unusual punishment. The only thing I learned from this is that every pregnancy really is different. I heard people say that over and over, and didn’t believe it. But it’s so true.  I have my fingers crossed that there will be no more crazy surprises this pregnancy. I am preparing myself for the horrible acid reflux and the low blood pressure fainting I had with Jack, but cross your fingers nothing else happen!

 

 

 

I Never Thought I Would Need A Rainbow Baby

This is not the post I wanted to write. I was hoping to announce that we are expecting our second child. I was hoping to talk about morning sickness, sore boobs, and how much it sucks to chase a toddler when exhausted. But I am not. Instead I am writing about having a miscarriage.

I know it sounds cliche, but I really never thought this would happened to me. I know that even though many women chose not to talk about it, it is a fairly common. I recall learning somewhere that as many as 1 out of 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. So, majority of women walking around on the planet experienced a pregnancy loss in their life. But this really blindsided me.

Jack was a surprise, we didn’t even have to try.  I had no major complications, everything went pretty good. I figured I wouldn’t have any issues having another baby. We got pregnant the first month we tried and it all seemed to go according to plan. I was so happy, so ready to have another baby. I was so happy to tell Michael, he was so happy too. I was happy to tell my two best friends. And, a few other friends and family as well. I figured we would do a big cute reveal in a few weeks to everyone else.

The day after telling people, I started spotting. I didn’t know that to do. I Googled “spotting in early pregnancy” and read that is was most likely a normal pregnancy symptom. So I took a bath and tried to stay calm. But something felt wrong. I woke up Michael (he works night shift now and sleeps during the day) and asked my mom to watch Jack.

We went to the ER. It felt like an out of body experience. This was not happening to me. I was seen quickly. Everyone was nice and took good care of me. But I was terrified.

I didn’t know what was happening. The doctor came in and asked several questions that I don’t remember. Then she said it. “Your pregnancy test was negative. You are most likely having a very early miscarriage. Probably a chemical pregnancy.” And I don’t really remember anything else she said after that. I didn’t need to know anything else at that moment. I was already devastated.

She handed me information on miscarriages and they discharge me. I think she told me to rest and take ibuprofen if I needed it. I was shaking so bad Michael had to help me get dressed. We drove home in silence. I felt very numb, I could not believe this as happening to me.

Mom hugged me when we got home and told me to go take a nap with Jack. I took him to our bed and nursed him to sleep. I held him tight and kiss his head. I tried to tell myself to be grateful to have a beautiful, healthy child. But that just made me feel more numb. I just went about the rest of my day—I didn’t know what else to do.

I hoped maybe the bleeding would stop and it was all not true, but I knew in my heart it was. I just wasn’t ready to deal with it yet. This was just horrible timing, I was leaving the next day for babywearing training in Seattle. I didn’t have time for this right now.

Michael asked if I wanted to still go, I said yes. I shelled out a lot of money for this training and needed this certification for my future career goals. Michael would have let me cancel the whole thing, no questions asked— even if it meant we couldn’t get our money back. But I knew I needed to go. If I stayed home I would have just moped around the house. Being around educated, strong women was what I needed. So I left bright and early the next morning.

About half way into my drive the worst possible song came on the radio. Sarah McLachlan, ” In The Arms of The Angel.” I lost it. I started bawling my eyes out and had to pull over for a while. Later, I arrived, got lunch, and went to my training. I tried so hard to pay attention and act normal, but inside I still felt numb.

That night I was excited to actually get a full night’s rest. But when got into bed, I felt so lonely without my husband and son.

I tried hard the next day to pay attention again, but I kept thinking about it. And thinking about it. And that night when I got home it was all I could think about. I went to work on some homework from the training and pulled out a wrap—the worst possible wrap. I have been eyeing  this Vanamo for months now, I loved it the moment I saw it. I got to borrow it for the night. I have been putting off getting it until I had more money.

But when I pulled it out, I realized it was covered in rainbows. A “rainbow baby” is a baby born after a miscarriage. Like the beauty that comes after a storm. Needless to say I finally accepted what had happened. I lost a baby. Yes, I was barely 5 weeks pregnant, but it was still my baby. A baby I really really wanted. I cried. I cried and cried.

I took the rest of the night to have some “me” time. Do some non-mom things.  I watched some Hulu, got a glass of wine, and took a long hot shower. I reflected on everything that happened in the past week.

I am glad that I told the people I did. I needed these people. I needed my mom to tell me it was okay to be hurt. I needed my best friends to ask me how I was feeling. I needed my other friends to tell me they are sorry. This is hard for me to get through, and it would have been crippling without others to lean on.

The rest of the training was easier to get through. I was so glad I went. I needed to company of compassionate, understanding women. Even though they had no idea what I was going through, listening to their stories and lives helped me more than they can understand.

I ended up buying the rainbow wrap. I kept it next to me in the front seat as I drove home, just in case a hard song came on the radio again, I had something to wipe my tears this time. I kept looking at it thinking how lovely it will look on Jack and I. And how lovely it would have been to wrap that lost baby in it. But most importantly, how lovely it will look on my rainbow baby.

It is important I mourn and deal with my emotions properly, but I need to remember that this is not the end of line. Majority of women go on to have healthy babies after a loss. Hopefully soon I will sharing the happy news that we will having another baby.

My Third Trimester

I can’t tell you how happy I am to no longer be pregnant. Don’t get me wrong, I am totally in love with my son and so happy to have him. But I hated being pregnant. And I think the third trimester was the worst by far. Now it’s all over so I thought I would share some advice like I did for my First Trimester and Second Trimester.

Things I would do again:

Taking Zantac: My acid reflux kept getting worse and worse. First it was just spicy foods at made it act up. Then it was acidic foods. Then it was the amount of food. Then it was practically every food. Then I started waking up in the middle of the night to throw up acid. I had a prop myself up with pillows and wedges, and only lay on my left side to just be comfortable to even think of falling asleep. I wasn’t losing weight but I hadn’t gained any weight in 2 weeks at my 34 week appointment. So my OB/GYN said I could take Zantac daily. It wasn’t complete relief, more like 50% better. But it was so bad that something was better than nothing. I could eat smaller, bland meals without throwing them up most days.

Walking Everyday: My husband and I work for the same company, so everyday we went for walks on our breaks. Just around the building. It was great exercise and time for us to chat about the baby. Plus neither of us have windows at our desks, so it was nice to have some sunshine. I really think daily walks helped Jack turn downward and get into position for labor.

Prenatal Massage: My mom got me another prenatal massage when I was 37 weeks. Oh boy, did I need one! The way I had to lay at night to be comfortable put a lot of pressure on my hips. And I was starting to have braxton-hicks contractions in my back. It was so nice to just lay on the table for an hour and have all the pain melt away. If I had the money, I would have gotten a massage every week while pregnant.

Going On Leave Early: In my maternity leave post, I mentioned my original plan was to work up until I went into labor. But Jack was measuring big and I was uncomfortable that I decided it was for the best to go on leave earlier. So I set-up to go on leave at 38 weeks, but then at 36 weeks couldn’t take much more. I went on leave at 37 weeks and it was probably the best decision of my whole pregnancy. I rested up a bit and got to focus on preparing for labor—and considering how fast my labor went, this was very helpful. I am so glad I listened to my body.

Things I would do differently:

Eating Out So Much: I don’t mean in terms of calories and weight gain. I had such bad acid reflux I was lucky if got more than just breakfast down most days and barely gained 6 pounds my last trimester. What I do mean is that I was just crabby and nothing sounded good most days. The acid reflux left a weird taste in my mouth that ruined most of my favorite foods. And my stomach was just so squished that I had little room for food. I could fit in a very small meal at best. So I figured since I was so miserable I should just eat whatever I wanted. And I didn’t want to cook so this mean take-out. I still ate pretty healthy so it was not that big of a deal. But it would have been nice to save that money

More Baths: I loved taking a nice Epsom salt bath in the evening to relax and relax my muscles. A little nice music and same candles too.  I wouldn’t have the water that hot and had a glass of ice water with me so I didn’t overheat. I have no idea why I didn’t take one every night! One night I was really crappy and Michael pretty much put me in the tub to calm me down. Next baby, I will just make this a nightly ritual from the start.

More Sleep: Between the hip pain, acid reflux, and the over 8 pound baby squishing all my organs, I got very little sleep. I also started having Braxton-Hicks and cramps at night. A few night a week I would end up on the couch. Not because it was more comfortable, but to let Michael sleep without my tossing and turning. Even on maternity leave I didn’t get much sleep–which totally came back to bite me in the ass for labor. I was so tired that I didn’t have the strength and patiences to do my all natural birth plan. I needed an epidural to calm me down enough to push. I really wish I was more well-rested. I am not sure how I could have accomplished this–besides taking serious sleep medication–but it’s my own regret my whole pregnancy so far.

The thing I am not sure about:

Support Belt: My back started to hurt sitting at my desk at work. So Michael got me a support belt. It did relieve the back pain. And took some of the pressure of my belly off my pelvis and bladder. But it dug into my back side when I sat down. And if I moved from side to side too much, it would unvelcro itself. And was a bit impractical to put over clothes sometimes and look weird under clothes. I ended up only using it when I was going to be walking around a lot, like for our Babymoon. Not sure it was worth the money.

Jack’s Birth Story: What To Do When Your Birth Plan Doesn’t Work Out

I was going to do update last week about how my maternity leave is going but…I had my baby!

At 39 weeks and 4 days along, bright and early in the morning, Jack made his entrance into this world. My labor and delivery did not go as I had planned, but it ended up all working out. All that matters is Jack and I are both safe and healthy. AND that my wishes were respected all along. Birth trauma is a real, serious issue. If you feel you were disrespected or even harmed during your birth, speak out and get help! Some links are listed below. I am referring to when thinks don’t go according to plan due to natural circumstances.

I had made a birth plan on babycenter.com and was pretty intent on sticking to it. I wanted to labor at home as long as possible. I wanted to try for an unmedicated, natural birth. I wanted to be free to move about and labor in any position I wanted if possible. I wanted to be able to push in any position possible too. I only wanted an episiotomy if I was not tearing cleanly. I wanted only Michael present in the delivery room and for him to cut the cord. I also wanted to breastfeed as soon as possible.
Out of that list, only the last two sentence came true.
That Monday I had been a little extra crampy. My mom said that was a good thing and her labors started that way. Random braxton-hicks would start up, then die out. Overall I knew my body was getting ready for labor but I didn’t think too much of it. I was looking for the timable contractions.
That night I was up administering Spring recruitment for my sorority online until about 11 PM. I had to sit up on the couch because my cramps bothered me more laying down. I thought about walking around the house to get them to turn into contractions, but was too exhausted. I went to bed. Oddly enough, Michael was exhausted that day too. He came home from work and took a 3 hour nap randomly. My mom joked he subconsciously knew he would be up soon to take me to the hospital.
I woke up around 1:30 AM because my cramps were suddenly horrible. Then I felt something wet, I assumed I peed a little. So I went to the bathroom and the minute I sat on the toilet a small gush of clear liquid came out. I put on a new pad and decided if I soaked the pad again quickly, it was for sure my water. I woke up Michael and as I was telling him I noticed I had already soaked the pad. So he jumped out of bed and I woke my mom to tell her we were off to the hospital. I went to the car and I started having contractions as soon as I sat down. Four minutes apart and lasting 1 minutes instantly. I slowly leaked amniotic fluid with each one too. I am so glad I grabbed a towel to sit on so I didn’t ruin my car.

We got the hospital in only 15 minutes. There is no traffic in the Bay Area at 2 AM luckily. If it had been rush hour, it could have taken an hour. Also luckily, there was no one else going into labor when I got there so I was taken back to be checked quickly.

The triage nurse had me do the standard pee in a cup, take your vitals, and get hooked up to the monitor. All while my pain is getting more and more intense, and I am leaking more and more fluid. The nurse did a swab to confirm water broke and then got the doctor. The doctor checked my cervix, I was at 2 cm. Then they told me I would be admitted shortly.

Here is where my birth plan went totally out the window. I was already in a lot of pain and knew there was no way this was going to take long. And I was still exhausted as I only had 2 hours of sleep. I also started to throw up a bit too. So when the nurse asked if I wanted to go ahead with the epidural paperwork, I instantly said yes. It took an hour get my admitting paperwork, the epidural paperwork (both of which Michael signed because I was already kind of out of it from the pain), and draw my blood. In the mean time, they gave me shot of pain medicine and Zofran for the nausea in my IV. I was very grateful to say the least.

The only labor picture I let Michael take.

The doctor came back to check me and I was now 4 cm. She quickly got me to a room since I progressed so fast. My bloodwork was still not processed yet so I still couldn’t have my epidural. I was crying for it at this point, and I mean seriously crying. I asked for another pain medicine shot since the first was wearing off, but they were having a hard time picking up Jack on the monitor. I couldn’t have another until they could track him better. They wanted me to lay on my back to pick him up better, but that was SO uncomfortable I couldn’t do it. I wanted to sit up or stand, but they said I couldn’t because of the medicine. Finally they got a good read on him and gave me another shot.

The doctors checked on me again about an hour later and I was at 6 cm already. The nurse kept refreshing her screen for my lab results so I could have my epidural. I was seriously pleading for it at this point. I am not a wimp when it comes to pain at all, but this was something different. It was happening so fast and was so intense.

Another hour went by and I suddenly felt the urge to push. The doctor came in to check me, I was at 9 cm with just a slight lip left. She let me try pushing, but it was not working. I wanted to push on my side, but the doctor said that I needed to be on my back because of the way he was positioned. But it did not help. I was too tired. I did not have the energy. I asked if I could still have the epidural and the doctor said yes. I was elated, I needed to relax and calm down before I could push effectively.

I laid back down and dealt with the contractions for like an 30 minutes. Then suddenly the nurses sat me up and said the anesthesiologist was coming right then. He was squeezing me in quickly. He did everything quickly and efficiently. He gave me only a half dose so I would still feel the pressure to push. The doctor then gave me 10 minutes for everything to kick in and for me to relax. It was a huge relief. I calmed down and actually wanted to push.

I did not get pushing right away. I was pushing into my legs. The nurses kept telling me I need to push into my butt, “Like you need to take the biggest poop of your life!” one kept saying. His head was 1/3 of the way out for the longest time. Then finally—over an hour later— I got the pushing thing right and he started coming out faster.

At this point is when I looked over at Michael. I noticed he was getting a little pale. He doesn’t do that well with blood. He had been holding my leg and encouraging me the whole time though. He was exhausted too and I think it all got to him. The nurses told him to sit down for a minute to recover.

And suddenly, they said Jack was coming out. The doctor told me to keep pushing continuously and Michael to come back over quickly. Then Jack popped out! Just like that. They cleaned his nose and mouth, then put him on my chest. I started crying, I couldn’t believe it.

I can’t even explain the joy I felt.

He was prefect. He looked just like Michael, just in like the ultrasounds. I loved him instantly.

They started a line of Pitocin (which was not on my birth plan either actually) and delivered my placenta. I tore cleanly and naturally, but the doctor did a small episiotomy to give Jack some more room. So she had to stitched me up down there, but I didn’t even notice. I was just mesmerized by Jack.

Then they sat me up a little so I could breastfeed. Jack was rooting and sucking his fist as soon they had put him on my chest so he had very little trouble latching on. Not gonna lie though, it hurt like hell and he did bruise my nipple. But I didn’t mind, I was happy to have that bonding experience.

So, am I upset that Jack came into this world totally not like I planned? No. Not at all.

It would have been nice to have followed my plan, but all I cared about was having a healthy baby. It happened so fast, I was so tired, and I was in so much pain that my plan was not practical. I am glad I made a plan though. I educated myself on giving birth and knew the options open to me. I also knew the possible procedures that could be done so I was not freaked out when they did something new (like the Pitocin).

My advice for any expecting mom is to have a birth plan so you can be your own advocate, but in the end do what your body tells you. My body said it was too tired to handle such an intense and rapid experience on its own. Don’t be upset if your birth reality doesn’t match your birth plan. Just focus on what needs to be done to have a healthy baby.

I will do a post about my postpartum recovery soon. But right now I want to go snuggle my son 🙂

Informed Birth and Birth Trauma Information:

Dealing with Severe Acid Reflux

Around 10 weeks, I got some very mild heartburn. It happened maybe twice a week and would ago away easily with antacids.  I also figured out what foods triggered it pretty quickly. One of the wonderful delights in the Bay Area is garlic fries, but raw/not totally cooked garlic quickly became a no-no. Mainly because your husband will not appreciate going down to the car at 2 AM to get your Tums while staying overnight at his sister’s house.

It started to get a little worse around 20 weeks, but a few more antacids would usually do the trick. We went to my parents’ house for Christmas when I was 26 weeks. I didn’t overeat, but I ate 3 full-sized meals a day, which lead to more nights of me sitting up with horrible heartburn. My mom bought me a bottle of Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar Drink one day when it was really bad. It helped tame the throat burn, but didn’t really settle my stomach. When I got back home, I started eating smaller meals, which worked great for a few weeks.

Then one night when I was 29 weeks, I woke up coughing and suddenly realized stomach acid was rising in my throat. Michael asked if I was okay, as I was quickly racing out of bed, but all I could was shake my head no. I made it to the bathroom just in time to throw up a bunch of stomach acid. It hurt so bad, I started crying instantly. Michael calmed me down, gave me antacids and soy milk, and helped me prop myself up pretty much vertical in the bed. But my stomach/throat hurt so bad, there was no way I was going back to sleep.

The next day all I could eat was plain toast for breakfast, plain ramen noodles for lunch, and a grilled cheese (vegan) for dinner. Even water upset my stomach and burned my throat. After a few days of this my stomach felt better, but I was getting more dizzy. That Friday I had doctors appointment and brought it up. She said I am probably getting more dizzy because I am not eating enough, which is not good for someone with low blood pressure. She said I could take Zantac everyday from now on. And if that doesn’t help, she will send me to a specialist.

We bought Zantac that night it started working within an hour. I ate a decent dinner that night and felt a lot better. The box says to take 2 pills every 8-12 hours as needed, but when I woke up in the morning I felt fine so I didn’t take one. Half way through work that morning, my throat/stomach were on fire again. I took another one as soon as we got home that night and the relief came back. I decided from now on, I need to just take two everyday so I can eat/drink enough and not be in pain. I have been doing that for a week now and it’s been going well. I hope this treatment sticks, I don’t want to go to a specialist.

Heartburn and acid reflux are common problems during pregnancy. Usually caused by increased hormone levels effecting your digestive system. Or, the baby could be shoving your organs out of the way to make room to grow. My brother actually permanently moved my mom’s esophagus, causing a lot of stomach problems for years to come. Since Jack is measuring big and he is growing more into my body rather than outward, I was expecting this to happen. However, I was not expecting it to this painful!

Here is my advice for anyone else experience severe acid reflux:

  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals of simple but more nutritious foods. I try for 6 smaller meals every 2-3 hours.  See my food blog here for meal suggestions.
  • Sleep with your head propped up above your stomach. This can be done with pillow, foam wedges, or Dr. Oz. suggests putting something under your actual mattress.
  • Try a bit of apple cider vinegar mixed with some apple juice.
  • Also try some aloe vera juice. It didn’t stop the burn, but afterwards it helped sooth/heal my stomach and throat.
  • For fast acting relief, take a few antacids. I really like Tums Smoothies, taste good and dissolve easier in your mouth.
  • If get’s really bad, ask your doctor what other medicines you can take.