Journey of my Births, Part 6

25 02 2009

Feel free to ask me any questions if I don’t answer them. These are all questions I’ve been asked since my VBAC and questions I’ve asked myself.

WHY did I choose to have a VBAC and a natural delivery? I personally could not stand my c-section. I never thought that I ‘failed’ at labor or anything like that. I just hated having my body cut open and my baby ripped from me. I seriously thought by B’s birth, I had “dealt” with all the feelings, but, after visiting the hospital where K was born via c-section and having a near panic attack, I realize those feelings haven’t completely been dealt with. I chose a natural delivery because it’s so much better for mom and baby. I hated having the epidural with K. I hated having no control over my body and of course, I can’t help but ask the “what if’s”…(would I still have had a c-section? My OB was more than willing to allow position changes so I feel that had I not had an epidural, I could have maneuvered K into a better position…maybe? maybe not…) Once I made the decision to attempt a VBAC, I knew I WOULD only do it naturally. Drugs were not an option. Having already had a c-section, getting an epidural was setting myself up for a repeat.

Would I consider a homebirth? Before this delivery, the thought did cross my mind, however, now that both my boys have had cord issues (K’s being too short and B’s wrapped around his neck twice), it scares me to think what else could happen. I would love to give birth at home with a midwife (having seen that the only thing the midwife did was ask me to get out of the tub, and then the OB sat and watched the clock and ‘caught’ B…yeh…I could do with out the hour drive!)

Waterbirth? I want this more than anyone could imagine. It wasn’t allowed at UNC (I can’t remember if *I* couldn’t do it as a VBAC patient, or if it was hospital policy – I honestly wanted to labor in the tub as long as I possibly could and then “accidentally” give birth in there….maybe next time!) ๐Ÿ˜‰

Would you do it natural again? In a heartbeat. Basically, B was born, they checked him over (because of the decels), handed him to me, stitched me back up (I had 2nd degree tears), I nursed him during this process and then we slept for about 3 hours (they didn’t have a post partum room ready yet and we were MORE than willing to sleep where we were!)ย  In the middle of that 3 hours, I really had to go to the bathroom, I called a nurse and she was asking about my delivery and was curious what I would choose for the next birth, I all too excitedly said, “completely natural…over and over. It was amazing!” She just beamed ๐Ÿ™‚ I honestly can not wait to do it again!

What if you had to have another c-section? What about uterine rupture? Uterine rupture can happen to ANYone, not just women who’ve had a c-section. The actual risk is so low, (I found a chart once showing how you’re more likely to be struck by lightening twice before having rupture…**I’m NOT saying it doesn’t happen, it does! But, seriously, the risk is as low as .2%…meaning there’s a 99.8% chance I’ll deliver just fine…um, yeh, I’m taking that chance!**) With that being said – labor is SO good for mom and baby (I won’t use this as my soap box…yet! It’s coming, don’t you worry!) I would have much rather labored for 36+ hours again and ended up with another c-section than just scheduling myself for major surgery.

How did you prepare for your natural VBAC? Lots of praying, reading, researching & talking. I had friends and family praying for me (atleast I hope I did!…I asked them to! haha!) I did lots of reading. Some of my favorites (I can’t remember everything I read!) were Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth (PHE-nomenal!!! I could totally read this book every day! It is truly amazing!), The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth, The VBAC Companion, Don’t Cut Me Again!, Birthing From Within, some Bradley Method books (this one and the corresponding workbook – I have a friend who took the classes for her firstborn and lent me her materials) and tons of articles and other women’s VBAC stories. I made sure to surround myself with women (from church, the community, and bloggers) who had children naturally or VBAC. When I had people around me asking why in the world I’d want to put myself “through all that pain” was very discouraging. To some, it may not matter how baby gets out, and that’s fine. It did (and does) matter to me. I needed the positive thoughts in my head reminding me that women everywhere do this every hour of every day. Faye was great in reminding me that I was laboring with women all over the world (even right down the hall, as the other widwife’s patient delivered at the exact same moment!) I continually reminded myself, even while pushing that my body had been created my by Maker to do this – and I honestly felt as I pushed that sweet boy into the world (and then looked at Zach and said, “wait…that’s it??” (LOL – I seriously did this, I can’t believe it!) that I was created for this. (I will add that I had Zach read Robert Bradley’s Husband Coached Childbirth. He read it cover to cover and was AMAZING during my labor – both at home and the hospital – and during delivery!)

Why do you want to be a doula? To encourage other women, especially women who’veย  had a c-section and want to attempt a VBAC, that they CAN do this! (that’s my summary!) ๐Ÿ™‚


The Journey of My Births, Part 4

11 02 2009

For the past month, I’ve been recounting my first pregnancy. You can read my first 3 parts here.

When I found out that we were pregnant with #2 – we were very shocked and surprised. This was not in *our* plans. We wanted to wait til K was a bit older – older than 7 months! – before ‘trying’ again! After the shock wore off, we were very excited (this took about 12 hours, lol)

I went back to see the OB that delivered K and we sat down to talk about a VBAC. He was all for it – we were thrilled!

We found out around 18 weeks that we were having another boy – we were beyond elated!

About 10 weeks later, at a routine OB appointment, my OB (the same that delivered K) mentioned that B was measuring a bit big and if he continued to do so, we’d just schedule another c-section. I asked about the VBAC and he said there was “no way” I’d push out a baby over 6lbs. I told him then and there I would get a second opinion. He snickered and said OK.

I’d been seeing a chiropractor throughout this pregnancy due to various aches and pains – mostly my sciatic nerve pain. I talked with her about it as well as some ladies in the ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) group I am a part of. I made the decision to switch to a midwifery practice in the area.

I was so thrilled at my first appointment when the midwife informed me that my OB had no idea what I could or couldn’t push out and cutting me off at 6lbs, knowing my first son was 8lbs.9oz., was absurd. She promised me she would do all she could to be certain I got my VBAC – barring any emergencies. She helped me realize that I would be fine with a repeat c-section in an emergency situation, which I was thankful for.

Then, began my search for a doula. I had a playdate with a lady in the ICAN group to talk about her HBAC (Home Birth After Cesarean) and seek encouragement. She informed me that she was a doula and would love to help me in any way, even be our doula. We got along great and it was settled – she would be the one!

About a month before my due date, a friend from church contacted us about being our doula. She was completing her Doula training and needed some ‘observation’ hours. I was hesitant at first, but decided to give it a go.

I met with both doulas to go over my birth plan. Faye (from ICAN) encouraged me to not have the “traditional” birth plans that you find on the internet that can turn into 3 pages of “I would like”‘s, but have 2-3 MUST HAVES and focus on those. For me those must haves were:

1. Avoid a c-section at all costs, barring any emergency, and if there is time, seek a 2nd opinion before agreeing to the c-section

2. Have a completely natural, drug-free birth

As my due date drew near, I was anticipating going “past” my “due date” again, as I did with Keaton. B’s due date was August 16th – imagine my surprise when I woke with contractions at 345am on the 14th!

Join me next week for a recap of my birth story with B!

The Journey of My Births, Part 2

21 01 2009

I’m sharing the long versions of my pregnancies and births. You can read part 1 of my first pregnancy here.

We ran around packing last minute items – tooth brush, pillows, etcโ€ฆand backed out of our parking spot at 12am, Easter Sunday morning to head to the hospitalโ€ฆ.

My contractions moved to 3 minutes apart on the ride to the hospital. I can remember, not the pain so much, but with every contraction saying, “What are we doing?? We’re having a kid! WE can’t have a kid!!!” lol

We got to the hospital and went to triage to monitor my contractions, check my progress and make sure I was indeed in labor. We found out that I was 4cm dilated (10 is the goal, lol) and 80% effaced (cervical thinness). I was kind of irritated that was all the progress I had made since 4pm Friday (now around 1am Sunday). The nurse asked if I wanted an epidural and I told her I wanted to ‘see’ how long I could make it.

We got to our room, called family and they began their trek to Raleigh (2.5 hours for Zach’s parents and almost 4 for my mom)

I continued to labor. At the time, I thought I was doing what I was supposed to, but I now know how much more active I can be (and SHOULD be) while in labor! I just laid in bed and waited for a nurse to tell me to do something or to have another check.

Around 3am, I was getting very tired (since only sleeping 4 hours since waking up Friday morning) and I wasn’t really sure how much longer I was going to be laboring. I knew I would have no energy to push when the time came. The nurse asked if I wanted an epidural. She informed me that I would have a better chance of resting and preparing for pushing.

They checked me to make sure I wasn’t more than 8cm (too late for an epidural). I was 6cm so I agreed to the epidural. As soon as it was in, I realized I hated it. I hated having no control over the bottom half of my body. I felt like a beached whale. In two words – it sucked. But I was so tired, I didn’t know what else to do.

Family arrived around 5am or so.

It came time to push around 7am and that’s when I really hated my epidural. I didn’t like having someone tell me when I was having a contraction and for how long to push.

The more I pushed, the more K’s heart rate dropped. When we arrived, it was in the 150’s, the more I pushed, it dropped to 120’s, to 100’s, to 90’s and on down.

He started to crown and my OB brought the mirror over so I could see his head. I got to watch through1 more contraction and then my OB pushed the mirror out of the way. He informed me that he needed to use a ‘kiwi vacuum’ to get him out and that this vacuum was a ‘smaller’ version of a tradition (birthing) vacuum. Meanwhile, K’s heart rate continued to fall. My OB worked using this vacuum for about 30 minutes and as this progressed, nurses from the NICU began entering our room should he need to be taken.

After 2 hours of pushing, K’s heart rate had fallen to the 40’s and was not rising again. I was on the verge of telling my OB that I wanted to stop when he called for a c-section.ย  In 10 seconds it went from a semi-calm delivery setting to alarms sounding, scrubs being thrown at Zach, phone calls being made, K being shoved back inside of me and my bed being put back together. (Yes, it was dramatic and traumatic as it sounds) My OB (who happened to be my favorite at this particular office of 5 doctors) took a couple of seconds to come to my head and inform me that K was alright and he was GOING to be alright, but we needed to get him out now. He told me I was going to have to have a c-section and he knew how much I didn’t want that but he really felt he waited as long as he possibly could before making the call. He also told me that Zach could be in the room with me, but would have to wait outside while I was being prepped.

They ran me down the hall to the OR and began prepping me. My arms were strapped to a table, a sheet was raised at my neck, blinding lights were all around me and a new nurse who I didn’t know was trying to tell me everything was going to be OK. All I could do was scream for my husband.

They finally let Zach in. He was crying, I was bawling. He tried his best to comfort me, but nothing was working at that point.

The nurse by my head tried to keep me aware of everything that was going on. My OB said they were going to start making the incision. I couldn’t feel the actual cutting, but I felt the tugging. She told me ‘in a minute’ it would feel as if someone were sitting on my chest and that was when they were pulling him out. It was more than ‘someone sitting on my chest’, it felt like someone knocked the wind out of me. It was horrible and only made me cry more.

Within seconds, he was screaming and that was the most amazing sound ever. The tears of fear turned to joy. I wanted to rip down that curtain and see my baby.

The momentary comic relief came when the nurse said, “Oh, she’s beautiful…” I screamed, “SHE???? He’s a HE!!!!” She chuckled and said, “Oh there it is!” Not sure how you missed IT, but whatever!

They brought him by so I could see him before they took him to clean him up and monitor him.

Zach and I had joked the entire pregnancy that it would be great if he had red hair (Zach’s father had red hair into his 20’s, so it was a definite possibility). My sweet pea, indeed had a head full of peach fuzz, red hair!

Zach went with them as they cleaned him and checked him over and they worked on putting me back together.

Now that the emergency was over, what happened was weighing heavily on my mind. I asked my OB if I could have a vaginal birth the next time. He laughed, peeked around the curtain and said, “Next time, already??” then got very serious and said, “Yes, you absolutely can.” And went on to inform me about how he was stitching me so that a VBAC would be possible.

Zach came in and they unstrapped my arm so I could touch K. He was screaming until I placed my finger on his cheek and he immediately stopped. They gave me about 3 more seconds to look at him and then took him back to our room to monitor him.

They moved me to a cleaner bed and bundled me up, as I was starting to get ‘the shakes’ (not sure if from adrenaline, the meds, or what). They began to wheel me back to my room.

I saw my mom first and she had tears in her eyes (I was a c-section baby too, she had prepared for a completely natural birth only to find out I was breech).

They got me set up in my room for recovery, I had to stay there for a couple hours for monitoring because of my c-section. K was in the room with us, but on the other side. They had to keep him under the lights for a bit and monitor him because of labored breathing.

I think it was well over 90 minutes before I actually got to hold him. It was beyond agonizing to just lay there and watch him from across the room.

Finally, I was able to hold him and nurse him. He took to nursing immediately and it was so sweet to be able to finally HOLD him.

They got us set up in our post-partum room and that’s when it set in. We. Were. Parents!

I basically stayed in bed all day that Sunday as friends and family came to visit.

On Monday, I was instructed to walk the halls twice and sit in a chair as much as possible. More friends and family came to visit and it was such a joy to share our sweet boy with them. I also got a shower and, as weird as it sounds, I was scared to! But it felt so good to get refreshed.

Tuesday, I was ordered to walk the halls 5 times – we did it 6 times for good measure.

Wednesday, the nurses showed up at 6am to remove my staples from my incision. We started the check out process and finally got to leave for home shortly after lunch.


Join me next Wednesday, for my thoughts on my c-section (more like my journey of thoughts), including the reason for it, and what I felt I could do to help, in retrospect…

The Journey of My Births, Part 1

14 01 2009

I have decided to share about my pregnancies, births and ‘after’ births (not THAT kind, lol) of my boys. It has become one of my favorite topics to discuss…

Today, it’ll be my pregnancy & early labor with Keaton.
Next Wednesday, I’ll share my active labor & delivery of Keaton, as well as after thoughts & reflections.
The follow two weeks will be the same, except with Benjamin’s story.

For a ‘warning’, I will be completely candid here, since it is BIRTH ๐Ÿ™‚ So, if you don’t want to hear about IT, I suggest skipping these posts ๐Ÿ™‚

When we first found out we were pregnant (with Keaton, obviously, not knowing he was a he at that early in the game!) we were stoked to say the least! I enjoyed every moment of my pregnancy (I’m one of those weird people who actually LOVES being pregnant! Both times, I was sad when labor began because I knew I wouldn’t be pregnant much longer). I had occasional aches and pains and my OB suggested I see a chiropractor. I flat out refused. I saw horrible things that chiropractors did on TV and that wasn’t happening to me! I dealt with my aches and pains and just accepted them as part of being pregnant.

When we had our ‘big’ ultrasound to determine gender, as well as to check for any abnormalities, we were both convinced we were having a girl! We had her name all picked out and even would talk to my belly and say, “she” and “her” and “Abi”…she was a she! Imagine our surprise when the ultrasound tech found Keaton’s ‘parts’ and said, “What do you think that is???” I said, “Is that…” She said, “THAT is a BOY!!!!” I cried on the way home thinking that I could NEVER be a boy mom. After about 24 hours, the thought of a boy was AWESOME! (and for the record, I can’t picture having a girl, now! lol)

We attended a childbirth class put on by our hospital. Our plan was to attempt a natural childbirth, but knowing I didn’t get an award when I left for a drug-free birth, the goal was to just get my baby out – somehow.

I had an estimated due date of April 4, 2007.

I had been experiencing Braxton-Hicks contractions for around 10 weeks.

The Thursday before my due date, I woke up and upon my first bathroom visit, I lost my mucous plug. I tried to remind myself that it meant NOTHING!

April 6th – Good Friday. I woke up that morning with bloody show. I called my OB and was told that as long as I wasn’t ‘gushing’ blood, it was fine and he expected to see me that weekend. He wanted to set me up for an induction the next day, but I told him that wasn’t necessary since nothing was medically wrong. Around 4pm, I was at a friend’s house and then I noticed my contractions were 10 mins apart for awhile. I decided to head home and see if taking a shower would stop them. It didn’t stop them, but it did space them out some. Around 930pm, they did officially stop. I was bummed, but glad that I was going to get some sleep.

I fell asleep around 10pm, only to be woken up midnight (Sat. morning) with a very painful contraction. I went downstairs to time them. They were between 8-10 minutes apart. Zach had to work that Saturday morning, so he got up around 6am. My contractions were once again subsiding, so I went to lay down when he left for work.

I woke around 8am with another very sharp contraction. After timing them, I noticed I was back to the 8-10 mins apart pattern.

Zach arrived home around 12noon and that is when my back labor began. It was horrendous. At that point, I was done with being pregnant. Heat wasn’t helping. Showers weren’t helping. Walking wasn’t helping. Being on all fours wasn’t helping. My contractions were sporadic, at best – 5mins apart, 2 mins apart, 12 mins apart, etc….

I continued to labor throughout the day, trying to rest and save up my energy for pushing. We watched about 6 movies, I remember telling a nurse that I took 7 showers that day to ease the back labor.

Zach called the Worship Pastor at our church, since he was supposed to play the next morning to let him know that he wouldn’t be there – baby or not. They were informing us to go to the hospital because her contractions were the same way in labor and then, there were her babies! I didn’t want to be at the hospital until I absolutely needed to be – less intervention.

At 1115pm, I went and got another shower. I got out at 1130pm. I looked at Zach’s watch as I had a contraction. As I dried off and got dressed – another 1135pm. I combed my hair – 1140pm. I headed downstairs to tell Zach that we needed to think about heading to the hospital. I sat down on the couch and had the worst contraction to that point. All I could say was, “NOW…We go NOW!”

We ran around packing last minute items – tooth brush, pillows, etc…and backed out of our parking spot at 12am, Easter Sunday morning to head to the hospital….

Baby time!

20 12 2008

NO, we are NOT pregnant (ask me how I know…and I’ll tell you, lol)

However, Marcy suggested I write about how we knew it was time/how we decided to have children. For fun, I decided to tackle this tonight because there are two really simple easy answers – one for each child.

Let me start by sharing our “birth control.” Before we got married, March to be exact, I started on the pill. I never had any of the side affects that many people experience. In September of ’05, I started getting really bad migraine-like headaches once a month (wink wink, nudge nudge) – so bad that I couldn’t go to work. It was awful. In Feb. of ’06, I had my ‘yearly’ and talked to the OB about it. She decided that it was an estrogen overdose- she checked what I was taking and found out that I was on the lowest amount of estrogen possible. So she put me on a higher dosage (ie: different birth control). this only made things worse. The head aches weren’t “once” a month, they were almost everyday for about 2 weeks (the time frame I took the new birth control). Finally one night, Zach came home and decided for us that I was no longer taking the hormonal birth control (this was a decision made not only from my “side affects” but from a class we were taking, “Ethics in Marriage and Family”). We decided that Natural Family Planning (NFP) was the way to go (I can discuss this more in the future if anyone is truly interested). We used NFP from March – May to prevent a pregnancy….

Keaton’s story (he is now 20 months) – Zach and I were married June 4, 2005. We agreed from the start we’d wait at least 2 years before trying to have children. Shortly after (and I mean like MAYBE 2 months) we got married, we made the decision to move to NC to start Seminary. In this planning, we agreed we would wait until Seminary was finished, we each had our Masters (mine in Biblical Counseling, his M.Div.) and he was in a full time ministry position. “No way” could we do Seminary AND have children. Imagine our surprise upon moving into our apartment and finding neighbors with children…and I don’t mean 1 or 2…I mean 4, 5, 6, one neighbor 8 children! Granted these people had been in Seminary for EVER, but, they had beautiful families! Par for the course, I got baby fever. BAD. I kept my wanting at bay. On June 3, 2006, my room mate from college got married. We attended her wedding and came back home. We decided, on a whim that we would go out to eat that night to celebrate our 1 year anniversary. We got home from the wedding and had some down time. We were watching TV and talking. Zach got very serious and said, “So I’ve been thinking…” (NOT a good thing…usually…) “I think we should try to have a baby…” Imagine my surprise! I just looked at him and said, “Reallly?!” We talked about it for a few minutes, I of course was all for it. We decided to make a go of it and see what would happen. We were truly blessed with no fertility problems and 6 weeks later, I was holding a “stick” with two lines on it! In April of ’07, on Easter Sunday morning, we welcomed Zachary “Keaton” into the world after 36 hours of labor and an emergency c-section. I honestly couldn’t tell you what we talked about that June afternoon. Zach said, “baby” I said “OK!”

Benjamin’s story (he is currently 4 months old) – I was still nursing Keaton at the time. We were again using NFP (for the record, NFP is super hard whlie breastfeeding, I’d just like to say!) I had one cycle in October and at the end of November, after spending the night in the bathroom sick to my stomach after spaghetti, I tested. I was indeed pregnant. That’ss how we decided on having Benjamin! ๐Ÿ™‚

Were we scared? I think I was more scared than Zach. He was pretty excited. I was worried what I was going to do with 2 under 2! I was also very concerned because I had a c-section with Keaton and desired a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) for my next birth. The “desired” wait time is 18 months between births.

What are we using for birth control this time? You guessed it…we’re rolling the dice again ๐Ÿ˜‰

Sorry, Marcy. I wasn’t a lot of help ๐Ÿ™‚ I guess I can say this, in response to your comment. We knew that if we waited for the “right” time, that time would never come. There would always be something that made it the wrong time.

We’ve had to sacrifice some things. I’m no longer in school working towards my Masters. I miss it so much, but I can’t imagine doing anything else right now, other than staying home with my sweet boys. I’m also not “working” (not getting paid – you bet your sweet bippy I’m WORKING, lol) so we don’t have all the luxeries we’d LIKE to have. Do we have everything we NEED? Yes. We are not WANTING for anything. Are there things we WANT (ie: desire) that we can’t have/can’t do? Absolutely, but those sacrifices have been totally worth it.

Was that a bit better answer? ๐Ÿ™‚