Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Old Wives Tales

While I was in DFW, Aunt K and I had fun trying everything we could think of (besides castor oil) to try to "induce labor."  We absolutely knew all of these things were old wives tales and the only thing that puts you in to labor is your baby and body being ready, but we figured I didn't have anything else to do so why not!

First, was the Tens Unit.  Aunt K is a physical therapist, so had a tens unit at her disposal.  We looked up the pressure points that are supposed to "send you in to labor" or "soften your cervix" and I would spend half an hour with them on those spots.  I have no idea what this pressure point is called, but it's the one about four fingers above the inside of your ankle.

My brother and Aunt K like to juice veggies and fruits.  While there, I had like FIVE whole pineapples,  with the entire core included!

Of course there was LOTS of ball bouncing the entire 3.5 weeks before my water broke.  Aunt K took this on St. Patty's Day (notice the green button) and wanted me to act like I was in "mid-bounce." hehe

Aunt K is an awesome cook and we decided to give fresh eggplant parmesan a shot.  Of course, we documented it just in case it really sent me in to labor (obviously, it did not).

Poor Aunt K burnt her fingers really bad on some hot olive oil :(

The final product was delicious!

When Daddy B showed up and surprised me the Thursday before the birth, he couldn't wait to give me my "push present."  So he told me he was rephrasing it my "push it out NOW present!" Aren't they beautiful?!

And finally a funny picture during a contraction a day or so before I went into true labor.  You could definitely see what side Baby B was hanging out on!

Next up, Baby C meeting his little brother!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

I got my VBAC!!!

I have daydreamed about making a post titled this. I can't believe it!  I DID IT!  I got my VBAC!!  Here's the very long story of the birth of our second son, Baby B!

Let me start out by saying the facts in this may be messed up, as I can't clearly remember a lot of the later part of my labor.  I will be getting some notes from Doula M and if I messed anything up, I'll let you know.  Aunt K also took lots of pictures during the labor and delivery, but I don't have copies of them yet.  She's coming to visit in a couple of weeks, so I'll make sure and do a post with them!

Sunday, April 1, 2012 was a hard day for me.  I was 41 weeks, 2 days pregnant and I had been experiencing prodromal labor all week.  I lost my mucous plug on Friday and had been having a bloody discharge ever since.  After contracting 7 minutes apart all day on Saturday and waking up Sunday morning not in labor, I felt completely defeated.  Daddy B had driven in and surprised me on Thursday and planned to stay through Sunday.  We felt sure everything would start while he was there.  I called Doula M and we talked through everything.  I had reached the end of my rope emotionally and physically and was simply tired of the waiting game, as I had literally been by myself at my brother’s house waiting to go in to labor since March 9th at 38 weeks.  Dr. C was out of town and I had declined an offered induction before he left so was taking my chances that I would either get the on-call doctor , decide to go to a birth center or still be pregnant when he returned the following Wednesday.  The normal fears about being so far in to the pregnancy were starting to creep in to my head and Doula M, Daddy B and I decided it would be a good idea for me to call Dr. C Monday morning (he had given me a way to reach him while he was out of town) and get in to see one of his partner physicians to get a biophysical profile ultrasound done to make sure baby looked good and have a cervical check to see if things were moving forward.  Then, I was going to ask to be induced Wednesday morning at 41 weeks 5 days if I was a favorable candidate.  Doula M told me while I was getting off the phone that she hoped to hear from me during the night that I was in labor, but I told her not to get her hopes up.  I talked to my mom that night too and told her the same thing when she said maybe I’d go in to labor that night.  I went to bed feeling slightly defeated, but happy that I had an end in sight.  Daddy B decided to go ahead and start his week of vacation so he could be with me and support me through the next couple of days.  
At 2am, my body woke me slightly from sleep and I noticed I felt a small gush of fluid.  I reached down and realized that my underwear was wet and realized immediately my water had broken!  I got out of bed quickly and even made it to the bathroom before anything got on the floor!  As I was walking out of the room, I turned to Daddy B and said, “Babe, my water just broke.”  He JUMPED up and said “Okay!  I’m ready! I’ll go get Aunt K!” I told him not to go get Aunt K, that things could take a while and made my way to the bathroom.  He brought me my phone and then disappeared.  I called Doula M and she told me to try to get some rest until contractions started and warned me it could take awhile.  I look up while on the phone and literally within the span of a few minutes, Aunt K had appeared in the bathroom and Daddy B was fully dressed!  I told them to calm down, sent Aunt K back to bed (after she made me put on a ridiculous looking Depends diaper she brought home from work “just in case”  haha) and Daddy B and I tried laying back down.  Contractions started about 3:30am and were 7 minutes apart and growing in intensity.  I had been reading for a while and had just started to feel tired again when I realized that things were picking up.  I laid there for about an hour timing them and about 4:30am, asked Daddy B if he was asleep, which he immediately replied, “No.”  We decided to get up, take showers and take our time getting things organized and put together for the hospital.  At 5:30am we were all packed and ready and contractions were about 6 minutes apart but still tolerable.  I knew it wasn’t time to leave yet, so Daddy B and I decided to go to IHOP and have breakfast (don't worry, I took off the Depends!).  I contracted throughout the meal, but everything tasted so good and I knew I was going to have a long day ahead of me.  I called Dr. C around 6am Texas time (he was in Florida) and told him what was going on.  He told me to wait until contractions were about 4 minutes apart and then start the hour drive to the hospital.  By 7:30am, contractions were getting stronger and were about 3:45 minutes apart.  Although we knew it was rush hour in DFW, I didn’t feel comfortable with waiting any longer and Aunt K, Daddy B and I headed to the hospital.  The drive took 2 hours and laboring in the car was horrible!  Contractions spaced out some while in the car, but the intensity was growing still.  At 9:30am, Doula M met us in the lobby and we got settled in to a room.  They did the initial cervical check and I was 3cm and 70% effaced, baby was at -3 station.  Definitely NOT the news I wanted to hear!  I thought I had to be at least 4cm and was bummed baby was up so high still.  The nurse sent me to walk for 45 minutes or so and then I needed to come back and be on the monitors for 20 minutes.  Doula M and I went to the skywalk that connects the Center for Women to the hospital and I did sort of modified “elephant walking” to try to open my pelvis and let the baby drop.  After monitoring, I was sent out to walk again until about 12:35pm.  Doula M thinks that during that time walking, I entered in to active labor.  Things were getting stronger and more uncomfortable and getting through each contraction took more focus to stay relaxed.  When I got back to the room, I was checked out by the doctor on call, Dr. B.  She had a great personality and really contributed to a good birth atmosphere.  Unfortunately I was still 3cm and baby was still at -3.  I kept laboring in different positions to try to open my pelvis, but at 2pm, my water had been broken for 12 hours and Dr. B wanted to start pitocin to try to pick the labor up.  I hated the idea, but Doula M and Dr. B reassured me that Dr. C would be doing the same thing.  It was also around this time that Amiga C made it up to the hospital.
Contractions definitely picked up after the pitocin started and were starting to become consistent at 3 minutes apart.  I labored all around the bed, sitting on my birth ball, standing, having one foot up on a trash can to open things (and be called Captain Morgan!).  They checked me at 5pm and I was 4cm, 80% effaced and baby was at -2 station.  Not much progress.  I was starting to experience a lot of pain and my mantra of “relax in to the pain” wasn’t working as effectively.  I was really discouraged because I couldn’t believe I wasn’t even half way there!  We suspected the baby to be big and Dr. B said the most important thing in VBAC deliveries with big babies is for the baby to be moving down the birth canal and in my case, we were aiming for a birth within 24 hours of my water breaking due to increased risk of infection.  At one point, I had gone to the bathroom and spent quite a few contractions laboring on the toilet trying to let things open and I was making really loud, low noises trying to get through each contraction.  I started to lose my composure and was very, very tired.  I realized after that cervical check that I felt I needed some kind of pain relief in order to let the contractions due what they needed to do.  Doula M, Aunt K, Amiga C, Daddy B and I all talked about it over and over.  I decided to wait an hour and try hands and knees and use the squat bar to get the baby to come down, which felt horrible!  By 6pm, I wanted an epidural.  My support team asked me over and over if I was sure and I said I was.  After they placed the epidural, I was checked again and was 6 cm, 80% effaced and baby was still at -2 station.  Dr. B discovered I had developed a fore-bag of waters and we decided to break that in hopes baby would drop lower.  The epidural was good and wasn’t too strong for me to not feel each contraction or move myself around in the bed, but really took the edge off and let me relax.  Close to 8pm, I was checked again and was 7cm, 90% effaced and baby was at -1.  I knew at that point I had made the right decision because I obviously needed to relax more through the contractions for them to be effective.  My 9pm, I was 8cm and 95% effaced, baby still at -1 station.  At some point during this time, I received a dose of antibiotics to prevent any infection that could be sneaking up because of my water being broken.  At 10pm, I was 9 1/2 cm, 100% effaced and baby was at 0 station.  The nurse was able to push the last lip of my cervix past baby’s head and said we should be pushing in an hour.  I was thrilled!  Doula M told me that she also had thought it was time for me to get an epidural, but wanted it to be completely my decision.  She also said she believed if Dr. C had been there, he would have recommended an epidural.  Doula M said she felt I was having transition strength contractions for close to two hours and in a normal delivery that moved quicker, a mom would have those for an hour and be ready to push.
This is when things got sort of crazy and my memory gets fuzzy. Around 11pm, my epidural medicine ran out and the decision was made not to give me any more pain relief so I could be effective at pushing.  We all thought I would start pushing around 11pm, but the nurse told us Dr. B might want me to “labor down” for a couple of hours to try to let the baby move down further.  The nurse also started talking to me about things that they could have to do with the suspected big baby like breaking their clavicle bone in their shoulder or pushing on my stomach while I pushed to get the baby to descend.  I got so frustrated with her!  I asked her to drop it, I hadn’t even started pushing yet and we didn’t know how big this baby was.  At that point, I didn’t have much of an epidural left and I was NOT in the mood to hear all those scare tactics, which she said she just had to warn me in case they needed to.  I felt it was unnecessary.  She left the room and around 11:30 pm, I really started to feel the need to push.  I started to feel nauseous and running a low grade fever, which I was told were both signs I was ready to push.  I was very uncomfortable and we were half an hour past when we thought we would start pushing.  All of us were annoyed it was taking so long for them to come in so Doula M told me that if I felt like I needed to push, to just start pushing through each contraction.  She talked me through how to do it and so for the next 30 minutes, I pushed three times through each contraction.  It really was a relief from the pain and pressure! Finally, at 12:05am, the nurse came in and we started active pushing.  The baby was moving down well while pushing, but was “turtling” every time I’d stop.  Pressure was building and building and by this point I was back to a natural delivery with no epidural.  As the minutes passed, I was getting exhausted and any time I wasn’t pushing I was in agony.  I was so ready for this to be over!  Dr. B wanted me to get another round of antibiotics and I adamantly said no because the first dose burned really badly coming through the IV. 
The whole team in the delivery room started cheering me on and kept me going.  I had to pull energy from the depths of my being to keep pushing and felt truly exhausted.  I could see Aunt K and Amiga C in my peripheral vision and knew I had to be getting close because they were starting to get excited, covering their mouths and crying.  At some point, I was told to reach down and feel my baby’s head!  I had dreamt about that moment!  I soon felt the much anticipated “Ring of Fire” and it is no joke!  Everyone kept telling me I was so close but I just wanted someone to tell me how much longer.  Doula M must have read my mind because she looked me in the eye and said, “You’re going to meet your baby in two minutes.”  That gave me the motivation I needed to push through the last bit and pushed non stop until the baby came out.  I remember feeling the head and hearing “The head is out,” pushing twice more and then at 1:23am and 23 hours of labor, my VBAC baby was born!  I looked down and Daddy B and I saw we were blessed with a second son!!  Doula M had undone my gown and Baby B was put directly on to my chest.  I just kept crying and saying, “Oh my God!  Oh my God!” Everyone was telling me “You did it!”  I was so wrapped up in everything that it didn’t even phase me that Baby B was born a little floppy, scoring an initial apgar score of 7, but as soon as he was on me, he came to life and by his second apgar score, he scored a 9.  Unfortunately him being a little floppy prevented my much desired delayed cord clamping, but Daddy B did still get to cut the cord.  I had him on my chest for quite awhile, probably due to the fact that the whole team in the delivery room was so caught up in my VBAC that no one called the nursery!  We thought that was hilarious!  The nursery nurse was awesome and came and asked my permission to take Baby B to weigh him.  I took the opportunity to call my mom, as she couldn’t be there and five minutes later, Baby B was given back to me.  He weighed 8lbs 14oz and was 21” long.  He was 5 oz bigger than Baby C!  I felt so justified!  I just birthed a baby bigger than my “big baby” who I was lead to believe couldn’t fit through my so-called curved and shallow pelvis.  Everyone said I should take a picture of me flipping off the camera and holding Baby B and send it to my old OB who sectioned me with Baby C!  
I birthed the placenta (which felt amazing for some reason) and had a second degree tear.  Everyone laughed when I jumped at the lidocain shot for the stitches because of everything I had just been through, but I told them that sharp stick of pain was way different than what I had just experienced and caught me off guard!
Baby B was brought back to me and I got to witness the amazing miracle of watching a baby move themselves towards the breast to start feeding.  Aunt K and Amiga C headed home and doula M helped get us latched on and nursing and then said her goodbyes.  Finally, it was down to Daddy B, Baby B and I.  What was really cool was that I was able to get myself out of bed and go with the nurses to the rest room to get a dressing put on before going to my postpartum room.  Yes, I was sore, but I was up walking around immediately after birth!  It was incredible compared to a c-section!  The recovery has continued to be great and I am constantly amazed with how good I feel.  One of the weirdest parts for me was in the day following delivery, every muscle in my body was sore like I had just ran a marathon and lifted a ton of weights!  I guess I did kind of get a work out!  haha
Daddy B cuddling Baby B in the hospital.  Baby B was working up to a good cry.  hehe

The other amazing thing has been how well nursing has been going.  I struggled so much with Baby C and Baby B has been latching on like a champ.  Our hospital stay was about 36 hours, mainly due to the fact that I delivered at 1:23am and had to stay 24 hours.  I saw the lactation consultant three times during my stay and she said I had things down perfect and it would just be a matter of practice and getting through the first couple of weeks until things got easier.  

One crazy thing that happened on Baby B's birthday are the storms that moved through DFW and caused like 13 tornados.  We all had to evacuate in to the hallway of the hospital!  Luckily, the storms missed us.  
Here's us "evacuated." This picture really speaks to me.  If you notice, there is a c-section mom behind my shoulder.  That could have been me if I hadn't educated myself on VBAC.  Instead of being rolled out in a bed, I walked out of the room carrying my baby!

We spent Wednesday night at my brother and Aunt K’s and I let Daddy B get a full night’s rest for the drive home the next day.  Aunt K only had to come help me once during the night and it was to work her Auntie magic and hold Baby B so I could use the restroom.  We left Thursday morning around 10:30am and the drive went well.  We made a stop every couple of hours to nurse and let me use the restroom and made it home about 6pm. 

Baby B on the way home.

 MIL had made us an amazing dinner of roast, mashed potatoes, green beans and gooey butter cake and had the house spotless!  I felt so blessed!  My parents sent a huge bouquet of yellow roses congratulating me on a job well done and of course on our new addition. When I called them they made sure to tell me that those flowers were for ME and that they were very proud of me.  It is so wonderful to have so many people understand what I just accomplished in my VBAC.  Baby C is pretty interested in his baby brother, but would rather be coloring or watching Mickey Mouse at this point.  I'll do another post with pictures of them meeting for the first time.

The coolest thing that happened on the drive was that my milk came in!  It took 6 days with Baby C and was nothing by that point due to the supplementing and pumping.  It took 2 days with Baby B and we haven’t looked back!  Last night he had some gas and wasn’t too interested in latching on for a good stretch, by we massaged his belly and got some of that worked out and by this morning he was nursing well again.  I'm having to increase how often I'm nursing because we aren't seeing as many dirty diapers as we need to, but I'm determined to stay committed and we will get there together.
My milk drunk baby

Overall, my birth experience was exactly what I wanted it to be.  Yes, I wish I could have done without pitocin and an epidural, but I felt they were both used correctly medically and contributed to a positive birth outcome.  My experience reiterated to me that medical interventions in birth have a time and a place when used right.  My plan was to have an unmedicated birth, but I have always said I am open to my plan changing and adapting to what my body told me I needed.  I couldn’t be more pleased with how everything turned out!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Early Labor

41 weeks, 2 days.

I know I have so many wonderful friends and family that are anxious to hear that the baby has been born, but I just don't have much to tell you yet.  I started having contractions yesterday around 12pm, started timing them around 3pm and they were 7 minutes apart.  I called Doula M and we felt sure this was it and she told me to call her when they were about 5 minutes apart.  They never got closer together and I went to bed around 12:30 am.  I woke up about every hour or so from a strong contraction, but did get relatively good sleep.  At 7am, I texted Doula M, timed a few and they were still 7 minutes apart.  They have been much stronger today, but have varied in time intervals.

I am very frustrated.  I felt sure this baby would be here by now and feel like people think I'm crazy for waiting so long. 

On a VERY good note, on Thursday afternoon I was here at my brother's by myself trying to keep occupied by watching a movie.  My brother travels Tuesday-Thursday and was due to be home around 4:30pm.  Well around 2pm, I heard the garage door open.  I figured my brother caught an earlier flight and was already home (which he does often.)  I heard the door to the house open said, "Hello?" and Daddy B walked around the corner!!  He has this weekend off and as much as I wanted to ask him to come to Texas, I wasn't going to because his mom is at our house with Baby C.  We went on a date Thursday night, went out to lunch yesterday and have just really been enjoying spending time together after three weeks apart.  He is definitely my rock.  His support these past few days through all these contractions has been so, so comforting to me.  I like just waking up in the night and feeling him next to me, asking if I'm alright after my many bathroom trips and holding me when I cry because I want my baby here so bad.  He keeps reminding me the baby is healthy and moving and that I'm not on a time limit.  I get really upset at the thought of him having to leave without me because the baby didn't make their apperance this weekend, but he decided to go ahead and start his week of vacation beginning tomorrow and stay.  We know it HAS to be soon.  I've had so many good signs that active labor is near.

I just love my husband, my brother, and Aunt K who have been putting up with me all weekend and encouraging me to hang in there.  I know my close friends and family know that I'm at the end of my rope with this pregnancy and appreciate their prayers.

Hopefully my next post will be this stubborn baby's birth story! ;)