2013 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,700 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 45 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Dear Vivienne: You are 32 weeks old!


My sweet Vivienne! You are 7 1/2 months old! As usual, you are growing by leaps and bounds every day. I keep a list on my iPad with all the new things you do each week. I have to just to keep up! This week I started your baby book and really got going on decorating your room. My goal: to have your room done by the time you’re 8 months! haha!

You keep us laughing every day. You babble and coo, yell and scream, and make face after face that leaves us giggling every time. Your personality is certainly starting to show through. You are an independent little baby. Once you have something figured out, you would prefer not to be helped any more!

Sleep has been a challenge lately. You have started waking up in the middle of the night again and you’re wide awake! You also only seem to do this when your daddy is out of town and momma is here to fend for herself. I love you more than anything, but at 3 a.m. and wide awake, you can be quite frustrating! I still wouldn’t trade any second of it for the world, though. These moments are fleeting. I plan to savor each and every one. I still rock you to sleep every night and it is my absolute favorite. I look forward to it every night.

You are movin’ and groovin’ all over the place! You pull up on everything and you’ve even learned that you can hang on and walk along tables and other things to get where you want. You don’t care to be IN your walker, but you’ll pull up on it and then push it where you want to go. You also still do not crawl on your knees. You still have a modified bear crawl on your toes! You have now figured out that you can crawl behind me to follow me. This is good and bad! haha

Since the last time I wrote, you have learned SO much! Here are some highlights from this week:

  • Saying “bubba” or “baabaa” – You just sit and say “baa baa baa baa baa baa” followed by a loud scream and a smile, as demonstrated in these videos. It’s completely adorable! http://instagram.com/p/fGo9vUzLyh/ and http://instagram.com/p/fMgdUfzLx7/
  • You LOVE feeding yourself – This is one of those things that, once you figured it out, I have not been able to help you with it! We started Baby-Led Weaning last week and that has been one of the best decisions I’ve made! Pureés are for the birds! Your favorite thing to eat is tomatoes but you love green beans, purple sweet potato, raspberries, banana, oranges, lemons, and  host of other things you can grab and shove in your mouth!
  • Starting to sleep better — We started using the cry-it-out method for when you wake at night. I was going in and rocking you back to sleep each time, but momma’s got to sleep! So, for 2 nights we let you figure it out on your own and only going in to check on you every few minutes. By day 3, you slept until 6 a.m. Hopefully the pattern continues! It breaks my heart to hear you cry, but I know, in the long run, it will be best for you!
  • Reading – You love to read a couple of books before you go to bed. We always save “Baby Faces” for last because you get so excited every time we read it!  You coo and laugh when you see the babies’ faces! http://instagram.com/p/fO7HYTzL_3/
  • TEETH! – You’re getting a few more teeth! Your bottom left tooth has finally broken through and your two incisors have broken through! So, you’ve got two bottom teeth and two top teeth, but no two front teeth! You’re my little vampire baby. :)

That pretty much sums up this last week, but you’ve done so much in the last few weeks, I can’t not acknowledge it! So, here’s a quick, quick summary of how you’ve grown in the last few weeks…

Week 31 you…

  • Started learning the “b” sound this week and experimented with “baba” and “bebe.”
  • Still only have one bottom right tooth. No sign of the left one or your two top front teeth!
  • Had your first bad allergy attack. You had fever, sneezing, and a runny nose. Momma felt so bad for you because I know exactly how that feels. :(
  • Started clapping and tried to wave a couple of times
  • Had your first ride on the DART rail and your first visit to the Texas State Fair!! You also got to meet the brand new Big Tex AND you were interviewed on TV!
  • Ate green beans, pulled pork, oranges and tomatoes for the first time.
  • Started Baby-Led Weaning this week. Loving the tomatoes and anything citrus!

Week 30 you…

  • Slept 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. two nights in a row! ….but that was it. Then back to 1, 2, and/or 3 a.m. wakings
  • Got your first tooth! Bottom right!
  • Had your 7 month birthday
  • Had your first nights away from momma. You spent two nights at your Poppa and Grammy’s house while momma and daddy went to a wedding in Austin. I was so sad to leave you and I almost cried! I missed you to pieces and couldn’t wait to get home to you!

Week 29 you…

  • Said “Mama” for 2 days!!

Week 28 you…

  • Learned the “angry cry.” And boy is it mean!
  • Have been pulling up a lot!  You’re a mobile little toot!
  • Had your first road trip. We went to College Station, Austin, Houston, and Galveston!
  • Got to visit the beach for the first time and swim in the ocean!! You were not a fan of the sand. at. all.
  • Wore disposables for the first time since you were a newborn. I hated it! I couldn’t WAIT to get you back in cloth!!!!
  • Eating more puréed solids. Butternut squash and sweet potato are favorites.
  • Celebrated your daddy’s birthday! Happy 34 daddy!

Week 27 you…

  • Started really figuring out how to put the paci back in your mouth without my help. It was a bittersweet moment. We were in the car and you started crying because your paci had fallen out of your mouth. I started to reach back to pop it back in and before I could blink, you already did it on your own! It’s just the beginning of you not needing momma anymore!! *tears*
  • Started really crawling (well, bear crawling) around. Time to baby-proof!
  • Are sitting up on your own REALLY well!
  • Are starting to try to pull up. Where did my baby go?!?
  • Tried more purées. Carrots, Kale and Mango
  • Put yourself to sleep several times.
  • Are actually crawling TOWARDS things.

Week 26 you…

  • Had your 6 month visit! You are 17 lbs and 27 inches long
  • Are confirmed to have crappy allergies just like your momma. :( Sorry baby girl!
  • Started puréed solids! Sweet potato and Carrots
  • Sat up all on your very own!! You go little girl!
  • Had your second ever shot. And I felt horrible!! Sorry baby girl.
  • Slept 7:30 p.m. to 8 a.m. one night. I was hoping it would last. It did not.

Week 25 you…

  • Are propping up on your hands and toes. It looks like a bear crawl position, but you’re not going anywhere!
  • Are almost sitting! You try but don’t quite make it there!

Birth Story Part 3


This is my birth story continued. See part 1 here and part 2 here. The same goes with this one as parts 1 and 2. I’ve only read through it once so I likely missed some editing errors. Please let me know and I’ll fix them!

The version you are reading here is the condensed, man-safe, squeamish-free version. The unabridged version is here, and the password is my name, all lower case. (If you have trouble accessing it, just let me know)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013. Inanna Birth & Women’s Care. (continued)

She came completely out in one fell swoop!

That was it!

She was out!

I was DONE!

She surprised everyone because since she was so big, they thought that her shoulders would be the hardest part of labor for me. They had two midwives there for that very reason! The midwives had planned on suctioning her nose and mouth with a machine when her head came out, but before her body came out. She had had a bowel movement in utero and they didn’t want her to breathe in the meconium so this suction would have ensured it was out of all of her orifices.  Well, she came out so quickly that they didn’t have a chance to use the machine. She went from tops of ears to completely out rather than stopping at the shoulders like they thought she would (or like most babies do). Immediately after she came out, both of them quickly suctioned her mouth and nose manually and luckily she did not have a chance to breathe in any meconium.

I wanted to hold my baby. At the time, I didn’t really know what they were doing and what was taking so long. I thought the second she came out, she would be on my belly! It felt like an eternity, even though I know it was only a few seconds. The short delay was necessary to ensure she didn’t breathe in the meconium. They put her on my tummy right after they cleared her airways and then put some warm towels over her and me.

Getting to hold her….

She laid on my chest and looked around and took everything in. She was so alert and interested in everything.  She was even trying to turn her head around! I’ve never seen anything like it! I still didn’t really know what she looked like. I really couldn’t get a good look at her face from the angle she was at but I didn’t want to move her. I wanted to hold her tight to my chest and never let her go. I was crying and at the same time shaking uncontrollably. I thought I might be cold but it turns out it was a side effect of something they had given me during labor that makes you shaky for a few minutes. The shakes subsided after about 20 or 30 minutes after she was born.

First picture of baby girl! She had a mushy face, but no cone head!

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Aftermath…

I talked to someone on the phone (my dad?) while she was laying there but I can’t exactly remember who. Around that time my mom came in as well. I’m glad that the hormones or whatever is running through your body make you just don’t care because if I were in my right mind, I probably wouldn’t have wanted her to come in until they cleaned everything up and got me a little more presentable. Somewhere in all that, maybe 5 minutes after she was born, it was time for the cord to be cut. I remember thinking how quickly it was happening. I thought it would take much longer for all the blood to transfer from the placenta to her. I even asked Betty because I was concerned. I absolutely didn’t want the cord cut until it had been drained and the cord stopped pulsing. But the midwife said she had confirmed it had stopped pulsing! So, Leighton cut her cord! I don’t really remember it happening, I just know he did it.

Anyway, about 5 minutes later, we gave her to her daddy, skin to skin, so that I could finish the birthing process. Yes, there’s more, but I won’t go into details here. :) Daddy took off his shirt and he took his baby girl into his arms for the first time. Now, this was very soon after her cord was cut and it ended up draining down his belly. We actually have a great picture of him making this awful face and my mom in the background with an expression of pure joy. Absolutely hilarious!

Next, they started doing, what I consider, the painful part (aside from birth). They checked my uterus to make sure it was shrinking and the bleeding was slowing by pressing and grabbing hard at my belly. After that, my mom handed me my baby girl so I could hold her some more.  Leighton had handed her to my mom so she could hold her while they were doing all the stuff to me. They continued check my uterus every few minutes for the next few hours and it was incredibly uncomfortable every time! Definitely my least favorite part about the whole thing.

Next, Betty started checking me out down there. I’m not really sure what all she and Jean did. I was talking to my mom, Leighton, calling dad, grandma and others…sending texts. Finally Betty let me know that I did tear, but it wasn’t serious. I can’t even remember what degree she assigned it…first or second. Probably second degree but no stitches!

After the initial checks, I don’t remember pain so much at this point but I remember numbness and being very uncomfortable. I had to get up and try to pee several times. I wasn’t allowed to leave until I went to the restroom. About this time, we decided to put a diaper on her just in case she decided to go potty. This is where we discovered just how big she was! All we had brought with us were newborn diapers! Well, those just barely fit her little hiney! Luckily we were next door to a Walgreens and my mom offered to go pick up a pack of size 1 diapers for us. For now, Betty somehow got the newborn diaper to fit her. Ha!

Food!

They told me that I needed to eat something now. Really, all I wanted to do was hold and look at my new baby…but, I knew better and that my body had just been through hell so it might be in my best interest to eat! I had brought a Marie Calendar’s Chicken Pot Pie. I just remember being so uninterested. I ate a couple bites here and there, but I really didn’t eat much at all. I may have eaten a third or even a quarter of it at the most. I’m not sure I ate anything until the next day…and I can’t even think of what that was!

Breastfeeding

After we got her in a diaper, I got to try my hand at breastfeeding for the first time. I get teary eyed just thinking about it now. I remember thinking right before how I wish I’d read the breastfeeding books that I had. I had gotten just a few chapters into the Dr. Sears one. Well, lucky for me, this girl came out a pro. They gave her to me and this was the first time I really got a good look at her face. I remember how red she was, how very round her face was, and how squished up it was!  I was instantly in love. When I put her to my chest she opened wide and latched right on. I didn’t think she was latched correctly, though. Everything that I had read to that point said that it should not hurt. If it hurts, the latch is incorrect. Well, the birth assistant and my doula, Brittany, both checked her latch and said it was perfect! So, let me tell you, breastfeeding hurts at first. Not doubled-over-in-pain hurt. Just a dull pain. She nursed on my left side first. She nursed for, what I felt like, was a really long time at first! I didn’t think she would nurse long since her tummy is so small at this point. They let me know that, while she seemed to be nursing for a long time, not much was coming out. They said tiny drops at the most right now.  A little while later I nursed her again on the right side. I remember asking if I could hold her in the football position (like I had to ask permission or something! haha!) because I didn’t really know how to hold a baby in my right arm!  Well, she nursed great the second time as well.

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First outfit!

Once she had fed twice, once on each side, we decided to get her an outfit on. I would hopefully be leaving soon so we wanted to get her ready. When you birth at a birth center, you usually go home within 2 to 4 hours of giving birth. We were probably right at the 2 hour mark at this point. Anyway, I’m pretty savvy with babies because I’ve been around babies all my life. Leighton, on the other hand, had probably barely even held a baby at that point! So, Betty, or maybe it was the birth assistant, showed him how to change her diaper and how to get her dressed. It was absolutely precious! Nothing like seeing a daddy with his brand new baby girl. We had brought a newborn outfit and a 0-3 month outfit. Since she didn’t fit into newborn diapers, we put her in the 0-3 month outfit. Come to find out later, she would have fit in the newborn. It was so cute! Wish we had at least tried it! :)

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Waiting to be released

So at this point, we are just waiting to be released. My uterus had not shrunk back down enough to make way for my bladder (or, that’s what I remember them saying) so, until it had shrunk enough for that, it just wasn’t safe to send me home. While we waited, we filled out paperwork and also had to try and decide what her name would be. She still didn’t have a name! If you want to see the story of how she got her name, you can read it here. We named this beauty Vivienne Emma-Leigh. We decided we would call her Vivi for short. Shortly after we decided on her name, I was able to finally be released to go home.

Discharge

Before we left, the birth assistant went through all the medical stuff with us. What’s normal, what’s not, when to call, etc. Leighton packed everything up and started loading the car. I had put on my super soft, comfy black nightgown and my robe to go over it. I was wearing my new awesome shoes I had gotten at Journeys. They were so comfy! She taught us how to buckle her in her carseat, took a family photo, then sent us on our way!

Going Home

I remember stepping outside of the birthing center and immediately regretting not bringing a jacket! See, it was late February, but this is Texas! I don’t remember the exact temperature when I left for the birthing center, but I remember that I didn’t even need a light jacket. When I went outside after she was born, it was around midnight and it was FREEZING! I was so cold! I had to wait while Leighton got Vivienne buckled in. It was probably only 10 or 15 seconds, but it was enough to have me hopping around. After he got her in, I eased myself into the back seat next to my little angel. That’s a scary thing after giving birth. You know….sitting. I told Leighton to be very careful because bumps would hurt! He joked and said he was going to go 20 mph all the way home! I’m sure he was a nervous daddy driving his 4 1/2 hour-old baby home. He turned on 101.1 so it would be a soothing sound for her. In fact, the radio stayed on 101.1 for weeks afterwards. She was awake much, or maybe even all, of the ride home. Looking and taking it all in.

Home

When we got home we were greeted by my mom, my dad, and my sister, Cassie. My daddy had a nightcap on. What a goof! He was also still wearing a boot from where he had broken his ankle a few days before. I went to the restroom as soon as we got home while Leighton unbuckled our little girl and showed her off to them and also revealed her name. She let everyone hold her and then after a few minutes, started acting like she wanted to eat so I went in the dining room to feed her. The dining room was right behind our living room and for whatever reason, our glider was in there…so that’s where I went! After I fed her, my mom told us to get into bed and get some sleep. I remember thinking that, even though it’s almost 2 a.m., I am wide awake! My adrenaline was still pumping! I decided to take her advice, though. They all left and we went to bed.

Sleep

We had a cradle in our room right next to the bed. I put her in it and the minute I laid her down, she started to whine and fuss a little bit. I remember looking up at Leighton helpless. Like, “What do I do??” Neither of us knew what to do to get her to sleep without her crying. I looked at him and told him that I was just going to put her in bed with us. She didn’t cry when I held her and I didn’t have the energy to try to figure out ways to get her to sleep. In hindsight I’m SO glad I did that.  I cringe at the thought of my 7 hour old baby sleeping alone! Going from comfy, cozy, momma’s womb to a giant (relatively) cradle all alone! We all fell asleep pretty quickly. When we woke up, it was daylight. Leighton and I woke about the same time. The first thing I noticed was that neither of us had moved an inch the entire night! She was still cradled right between us in the bed. The second thing I noticed was that she was wide awake. She wasn’t fussing or crying. She was just looking. Studying. Taking it all in. I immediately thought about how blessed we were already. I asked Leighton what time it was and we learned that it was after 10 a.m.! What the…?? She slept over 7 hours?! I thought babies only slept 2 hours at a time!?!? Well, come to find out, many babies have a very long sleep the first night after being born. Birth was just as rough on them as it is momma! They’re pooped too! I will always be thankful my girl gave us nearly 8 hours sleep on our first night home. It made getting through the next few days much easier.

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Conclusion

I could keep writing and writing about her first day, her first few days, her first few weeks…but I suppose I need to stop somewhere and I guess this is where I should stop! In conclusion, I will say this…

Home? So fast??

Some people question why or how I went home so quickly. That they can’t imagine being made to get up and leave so quickly! I, however, cannot imagine it the other way around. I was ready to go home 2 hours after she was born. I wanted out of there! I was ready to be in my own home, in my own bed. Also, I know if I had been in a hospital, I wouldn’t have gotten a full night’s rest the first night. I think its a huge misconception that, by staying in the hospital, you get more sleep. I just don’t know how you could with people coming in and poking, prodding, and bugging you every hour or two!

Birth Center

I loved my experience at the birth center and I would absolutely do it again in a heartbeat. I wouldn’t change anything about it. It was perfect and it was beautiful. I feel great about the way in which my daughter was born into this world. No drugs, no intervention, nothing. Now, I don’t judge if you do use or do any of those things, I just don’t think they’re what is best for the baby in 90% (maybe more) of the cases. Your body knows what to do. It’s time we start trusting our bodies!

Pain

Ohhh the pain. The questions about the pain. I get so many. The pain hurt. Yes, it hurt. A watermelon came out of a tiny hole in my body. It’s gonna hurt. However, this pain is much different than any other. It is pain with a purpose. It is pain with a light at the end of the tunnel. It is manageable pain. To be successful at it, you have to go in with the mindset that intervention is not an option. (within reason. I’m not a crazy anti-any-intervention-ever person) If you say in the back of your head that “if it gets bad enough” you’ll get an epidural, you’ll get an epidural. I think coaching and support has a lot to do with it as well. My doula and my husband (and maybe a small fear of needles) were HUGE parts in keeping my eyes on the goal. My entire birth team was supportive of the decision I was making and they all knew my exact wishes and supported them 100%. I had a great birth prep class and I had also read quite a bit about it. I think this all contributed to the success of an intervention-free, drug-free birth. I think the alertness of my daughter showed the success of a drug-free birth as well. That’s all I’ll say about that before I get on my soapbox!! ;)

Well, there you have it ladies & gents. Part 3! She’s home, she’s healthy, she’s amazing. Six months and going strong!

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Protected: Birth Story Part 3 (unabridged)


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Birth Story Part 2


This is my birth story continued. See part 1 here. The same goes with this one as part 1. I’ve only read through it once so I likely missed some editing errors. Please let me know and I’ll fix them!

The version you are reading here is the condensed, man-safe, squeamish-safe version. The unabridged version is here, and the password is my husband’s name, all lower case. (If you have trouble accessing it, just let me know)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013. Inanna Birth & Women’s Care.

3:45 p.m.

We finally arrived at Inanna. On the way in we had to stop once or twice for a contraction to pass. At this point, I was VERY vocal during my contractions. I consider myself to have a relatively high tolerance for pain. I know, especially now, that nothing compares to child birth. However, I figured I would be more of a grunter and teeth clencher than a screamer. Not. So. We finally got inside and went directly back to the main birthing room to be checked. As I walked in I remember seeing a girl leaving her appointment and another just coming in for hers. I heard the office manager say something to the effect of, “THERE she is. I thought that was what heard outside!” haha

When I got to the birthing room, Betty checked me and said I was almost dilated to an 8! I’m not sure if I said it, but my first thought was, “THANK GOD!!!!” Up to that point, I had thought I was still in the first or second stage of labor. This meant BIG things! Hard, fast, close contractions, plus being dilated to an 8 meant TRANSITION!!! (stage 3) I remember feeling incredibly relieved that the pain I was feeling now was the worst of it. Mind you, that didn’t make it hurt LESS, but I took some comfort knowing that this is as bad as it gets. (Although, at the time, I still questioned what people said about this being the worst part of labor. I mean, seriously. Pushing a baby out doesn’t hurt worse than this? Riiiight…) The second thing I thought was, I was relieved I was in the large birthing room. I had lots of room to move around and the bathroom with the shower was very close by.

Side note: After the birth, Betty told me that when I had called earlier, she called the birthing team to let them know we would probably have a baby tonight but that I was a first time mom so there wouldn’t be any rush and I would probably be in labor for a while. She told them she would call me when I was closer. With this new bit of information (Wowza! Way further along than she or I, for that matter, expected!), Betty left the room to call the birth team and update them to let them know I was very close and to come immediately!

A couple of weeks prior, I had tested positive for Group B Strep, which meant that I needed to get at least two doses of antibiotic, four hours apart before I gave birth. I have a horrible fear of needles so this is the part of the birth I looked forward to the least. Amidst all the pain of childbirth, I was still terrified of this needle that Betty was about to stick in me! She wanted to get the port (or whatever it was) in me ASAP since I was much further along already than anticipated. It was unlikely I would still be in labor 8 hours from now! Well, Betty started to try to start the IV, but she couldn’t get my veins. She didn’t want to poke and prod me 100 times so she said we would wait for Jean to get there because she was much better and could probably get it in one try. This was probably my fault as I had not drank much water that day so I’m sure my veins were hiding and hard to get at!

No idea what times were at this point so, I’ll just name the time periods… Also, this comes the point where my memory started to get fuzzy. I may have events slightly out of order but in the end, it’s all the same!

The Shower.

After the attempt at the IV, someone asked if I wanted to get in the shower. Or maybe I wanted to get in the shower and asked. I can’t remember. Either way, someone started the shower for me and I couldn’t wait to get in! I remembered how much better I felt in my own shower during contractions so I was looking forward to getting in the shower. After they told me it was ready, I made my way to the shower, got in and stood with my back to the warm water. I immediately felt waves of relief. I felt SO much better.

Also, random…but there was a smell that I would get a whiff of once in a while. It smelled so good! I actually looked forward to smelling it! Later, I learned it was one of those automatic air fresheners. Ha!

The Poke.

The second midwife, Jean, had finally arrived while I was in the shower. Since she was there, I had to get out of the shower so Jean could put the port (IV? whatever it was…I’m calling it a port) in for the antibiotics. I put on my gown and laid down to get poked (my ONLY poke during labor! Thank goodness!). Jean was amazing, and I don’t remember much from the stick. She got the antibiotics ready and injected them into the port. I didn’t feel any of that but Leighton had told me that he remembers thinking that it was A LOT of fluid they injected!

The Shower Part Deux.

After the poke, I wanted to get back in the shower so I headed back into the bathroom to get into the shower. I think by this time, my doula had arrived. If I remember correctly, my mom arrived around the same time. Leighton left and went to talk to her and then asked me if she could come in and see me. I said yes. I don’t remember what she said, or I said or even if we talked! But I know she went back into the parlor after being in there for a minute. I still didn’t want her to be right by me at the time, but I was glad she was there and did want her at the birthing center just in case I needed her.

See, the birthing center is in an old, old house that has been converted into a birthing center. The walls are thin…the doors are thin. You can hear pretty much everything from one room to the next. It’s not like a hospital where you wait down the hall in a nice cushy waiting room with cable and coffee. It’s a parlor with a dining table and chairs and an old chaise lounge. So, mom, sitting in the very next room, had the pleasure of enduring and listening to me labor from, I’m assuming was around 5 or 5:30 (since she came after work) until I gave birth. A few days later she told me it’s one of the hardest things she’s ever had to sit through. I can imagine, though! Your kid (or anyone, really!) is in the worst pain of her life and the only thing you can do is sit and listen! I don’t know how she did it. I really don’t!

The Peanut Labor.

Anyways, after I was in the shower for a few minutes (I think??), I started to feel like I had to force myself to hold back and not push. It’s a very strange feeling when your body takes over and just does something on its own like that. So weird! Since I was feeling the urge to push, they told me it was time to get out of the shower. I dried off and went back to the bed. Once I was on the bed, Betty checked me to see if my cervix was ready for me to push. I still had a little bit of dilation to do so they put me on my side with my legs on either side of the peanut (a peanut shaped yoga ball). Also, while checking her heartbeat, they saw that she had rotated a little off-center so we needed to get her to turn the right way. Laboring in this position was going to help her turn back to where she should be. Of course she’s in the exact right position for birth my entire pregnancy up until it’s time to give birth! Thanks, Miss May Bee!! hehe!

I was on my side for a while and the whole time, I was very vocal during the contractions. However, the position I was in was really helping me through them. I didn’t want to open my eyes or speak to anyone. I heard what everyone was saying, but I didn’t respond, or really even acknowledge anyone was talking to me. I was listening and I absolutely appreciated the encouraging words and everything they were saying, I just had no desire to respond. At one point, Betty came up to me and got right in my face. She said, “Jennilee, look at me. Open your eyes and look at me.” I think she said that 3 or 4 times before I finally did it. I looked at Betty, and she told me that when I had a contraction, I needed to deepen my voice. Make low grunting and moaning sounds and it would help me through the contraction better. Up to that point, my “moans,” or whatever you want to call them, were very high-pitched. My first thought was, “This lady is crazy.” But, I tried it anyway. Amazingly it really did help get me through the contractions. I continued this technique throughout the rest of my labor and I could definitely tell when I wasn’t moaning “low” enough.

Breaking of the Waters.

Every few minutes (I’m assuming every 15-20 minutes?), Betty or the birth assistant was checking baby girl’s heart rate with the doppler. They would check my cervix when I showed signs of having progressed and dilated. I remember her checking maybe 3 times before I was fully dilated. One of the things I LOVED about my birth experience is that they asked me before they did ANY type of intervention. Also, before the birth, they asked me which ones I was okay with and which ones I wasn’t. Breaking of the waters was one that I told them I wanted to decide then if I wanted it done or not. I wanted to keep things as natural as possible.

At this point, I was pretty much dilated and ready to push but Miss May Bee had still not dropped into the birth canal. There were two possible reasons why she still hadn’t dropped. Either she was too big for the birth canal or she was possibly sitting on a pouch of fluids from the bag of waters. Jean asked me if I wanted her to break my water. I thought about it for a second or two. I wanted as few interventions as possible but after I quickly thought about it, I decided that it was probably best that she break my water. Especially if that was what was keeping my girl from dropping into the birth canal. The labor would not progress until she dropped. So, I told Jean to go ahead and break my water.

When she broke my water, she saw that there was a small amount of meconium (baby poop) in the amniotic fluid. It wasn’t very much, so they weren’t concerned. However, Betty did come tell me that once her head was out, but before I pushed her shoulders out, they would need to suction her mouth and nose with a machine to make sure she did not breathe in the meconium. She turned the machine on for me so I could hear it and it would be a familiar sound when we got to that point and they had to use it.

The Labor and Progress.

After she broke my water, I rocked back to my side and labored there for a little longer. The first contraction I got after she broke my water was the worst contraction I had of my entire labor.

Terrible.

Awful.

Excruciating.

I can’t even describe it.

I really thought I wouldn’t make it through that one. Sixty seconds never lasted so long! After a while on my side, they moved me to my knees to where I was leaning on peanut with my chest and arms.

What’s Everyone Else Doing??

Leighton: While in this position I remembering wanting a sip of water after every contraction. I don’t know if I wanted this while I was on my side, but I definitely remember wanting it in this position. I’m pretty sure the only words I said my entire labor were “water” and then I told my husband, “water after every time.” Or something like that…which he and Brittany deducted that I meant after every contraction.

Brittany: Speaking encouraging words to me. Most of my birth I heard no one but her. She has a very soft, soothing voice and it was very calming and reassuring to me. I’m sure there were other things, but that is what stands out.

Betty, Jean, the birth assistant & the student midwife: I have no idea! hahaha….

It was at this point, Betty told me to go ahead and start pushing with the contractions. I really thought it was going to hurt worse, but it actually made the contractions much, much less painful. Now, the kind of pushing I was doing was not, what I’ll call, active pushing…like, get a baby out pushing…I was just pushing with the contraction. Betty gave me more coaching on productive vocalization during contractions. Hold your breath, lower your voice, etc. Betty hadn’t checked me in a while so she told me I needed to get to my back so she could see if I was fully dilated now. In order to check me, I had to move to my back. I was not looking forward to the move. I was comfortable where I was and didn’t want to get into any other position. I reluctantly moved to my back, finally. When she checked me, I was pretty much dilated (or darn close to done) and I ended up staying in that position because the thought of moving again was terrible. Plus, with Miss May Bee’s positioning, Betty thought it would be a good position to birth anyway.

The Birth.

I went through a few more really painful contractions and then suddenly they became less and less painful and it became easier to push. In fact, while I was pushing, I felt very little pain at all. Now they were instructing me on how to push more effectively and moving my legs into different positions to get her to come out easier. I realized that this was it! This was the real thing and I was about to meet my precious baby girl!

What’s Everyone Else Doing??

Leighton: He was at my side. Most of the time his hand was on me. On my head, on my shoulder, on my chest (not my boobs! LOL…my chest!) or my arm. He didn’t say much but I really didn’t need him to. He kissed me on the head a few times and would give my shoulders a little rub here and there. Everything he did was perfect.

Brittany: Continued to speak encouragement and reassurance. Held my left leg for most of the time I was pushing.

Student Midwife: Held my left leg after Brittany took a bathroom break (she was VERY pregnant!!).

Jean: Sitting next to me on the bed holding my right leg during contractions.

Betty & the Birth Assistant: I have no idea! They were “down there” somewhere doing “something.” hahahaha

I started to push for real now. It took me a little while to get the right push down. You kind of have to teach yourself what is right. It’s one of those things that you don’t exactly know what it’s supposed to feel like but once you get it right, you know you got it right and you try to do it the same way every time after that!

The Crowning.

After pushing for what seemed like a relatively short time, she began to crown. From what I’m told, she had one sprig of hair poking out straight up! I heard everyone start giggling (keep in mind, my eyes were closed pretty much the ENTIRE time). I remember thinking, “What in the HECK could be so dang funny? What are they laughing at?!?” They eventually told me that she had a full head of hair and she had one alfalfa-like hair sticking straight up! This point of pushing was two steps forward, one step back. I would push and she would crown some and then retreat back in. Over and over.

Anyway, we stayed at this point for a while and the real pain of pushing her out had not yet started but the pain of transition had subsided. Even though she had started crowning, it wasn’t her entire head yet. Mind you, this was not painless, it was just this in between time where it wasn’t as painful as before and the pain of the actual birth hadn’t begun.

The Ring of Fire.

After some big pushes, from what I’m told, this is the point where she came out about to her hairline or the tops of her ears. That’s when the pain of actual child birth started. I had heard about the “ring of fire” and that’s exactly what it felt like! The only way I can describe it to someone that hasn’t had a baby is, it feels like an Indian rug burn. Really. It felt just like that!

I felt like we were in this position forever! I didn’t feel like we were making any progress. In reality, I think it was only a few minutes…if even that. Towards the end I really started to get tired. They got me a juice box to give me a burst of energy because I was really running out. they handed me the juice box and I remember seeing the juice box and thinking, “Ugh. Wal-mart brand.” I didn’t want to drink it! Hahaha… anyway….

The Final Pushes.

When her head was about halfway out, I skipped pushing for a set of contractions. I genuinely did not think I could finish this job. I opened my eyes, looked over and told Jean (crying) that I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t finish it. I didn’t have anything left in me. She looked at me and gave me some encouraging words. I don’t remember exactly what she said, but she basically told me that I, in fact, could. I remembered at that point all the stories of previous births they had told us. They had told us that just when you think you can’t do it anymore and you don’t have anything else left in you, that’s when you’re almost done. When you’re at the very end and about to meet your little one.

Well, I drank the rest of the juice down and the next contraction I pushed as hard as I could!

Nothing.

The next contraction I gave absolutely every last thing I had in me…

Stay tuned for the final installment…Part 3!! ;)

Protected: Birth Story Part 2 (unabridged)


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Birth Story Part 1


I’ve debated different ways of writing my birth story. I wasn’t sure if it should start the day of the birth, before the birth, or even just the labor itself. Well, I decided to start it a week before and give a sort of timeline! So, here it finally is…almost 6 months later! Ha! It will probably be in three parts.

Also, there will be 2 versions. The version you are reading here is the condensed, man-safe, squeamish-safe version. The unabridged version is here, and the password is my daughter’s name, all lower case. (If you have trouble accessing it, just let me know)

This is very long…even edited. It’s already taken me almost 6 months to write it so I’ve only read through it once for editing. If I made any mistakes, I apologize in advance. Also, let me know if there are any bad mistakes so I can fix and not look like an idiot. hahaha….

Now, this is my birth story as I remember it. I also have Leighton’s version to post in a separate post and his may be a little more accurate on the little details. But, this is my version!

As you may or may not know, I went well past my due date with my sweet girl. So this starts a little over a week past my due date.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013. Inanna appointment with Kathleen.

I had my weekly appointment at Inanna today and the full-time midwives were not there at the time. Most of the staff was at a funeral of a mutual friend so the midwife that was there, Kathleen, only worked at the center a few hours a month. At my appointment, I basically learned 2 things.

  1. The baby is perfectly healthy.
  2. She shows no signs of coming out any time soon.

Kathleen tried to assure me that babies come in their own time. Sometimes, even if you show no signs, they decide to come that very night! I hoped for that night every night.  Since she was so overdue, they scheduled me for a non-stress test the following Friday to make sure she was doing good. I cried when she told me that there had been no progress. I was so upset. I asked her what we could do to help speed things along. I had heard of people taking evening primrose oil or stripping membranes. She said that we couldn’t do anything since I was group B strep positive. I was so mad! Here I am, nearly two weeks overdue and nothing! No dilation, no effacement, no drop, no nothing. Gah!

Friday, February 15, 2013. Inanna appointment with Susan.

The full-time midwives were not there this day so my appointment was with Susan. I did the 20 minute non-stress test and Miss May Bee passed with flying colors. The non-stress test was odd to me. Since I was using midwives at a birthing center, I hadn’t had any intervention or medical-type activities during my pregnancy, so being hooked up to this machine with cords, things wrapped around my belly and such, was odd! Anyway, it wasn’t bad, it was just odd for me! That was the most “medical” I had experienced during my pregnancy so far! LOL

After the test was finished, I asked the midwife to check me to see if I had made any progress. Midwives don’t usually check your cervix unless you have signs of labor, but I asked her to check anyway. As of my last appointment, I had not dilated or effaced and she had not dropped. Unfortunately, I had still made zero progress. Again, I started to get teary eyed. I wanted this baby to come!! Susan assigned lots of walking, squatting, yoga ball exercises and, to my surprise, she told me I could start using evening primrose oil to help efface my cervix over the weekend. Yay! There were, in fact, things I could do! Susan told me that I actually could take evening primrose oil. She said they also could strip my membranes but I would have to stay there and start my antibiotics for group B strep if they did that. Before I left, she scheduled a biophysical profile ultrasound for Monday so we could make sure she was still a-ok going into my 43rd week of pregnancy.

Saturday, February 16 – Sunday, February 17, 3013. At home, the mall, and Target.

Well, I did as I was told and we did a lot of walking, squatting, yoga ball exercises and primrose oil-ing. On Saturday, we walked the mall and after the mall closed, we walked the aisles of Target. Sunday, we walked a couple laps around our neighborhood. Luckily it’s Texas and we had a pretty mild winter. It wasn’t too cold to walk around outside. Even after all that walking, bouncing, squatting and oil-ing, I didn’t feel much different.  I wasn’t hopeful for the results of my midwife appointment on Monday and fully expected that I would have to be induced that week. I was excited, however, to get to see my baby girl again during the ultrasound!

Monday, February 18, 2013. Morning. The Womens Centre.

At the sonogram, we learned that Miss May Bee was perfectly healthy and was just sitting happy as she could be. The sonographer estimated her to be at 9 ½ lbs (jeez!) and showed us a pretty cool picture of her hair! She confirmed that she was, in fact, still a girl! She had gotten a new ultrasound machine and gave us some 3D pictures for free. For the record, I still think 3D sonograms are creepy. I dislike them very much. I love, love, love my sweet baby but those pictures were just plain creepy!! She also asked why I wasn’t already being induced because her measurements and calculations put me overdue by over two weeks. However, by the midwives’ calculations, I was right at about 2 weeks overdue. Either way, midwives don’t necessarily induce just because you’re 2 weeks overdue. As long as mom and baby are healthy, there really is no reason to induce. I am extremely thankful for the discretion that my midwives showed in letting my girl bake as long as she wanted to. I think this attributed to the success of my labor and the happiness and healthiness of my daughter.

Monday, February 18, 2013. Afternoon. Inanna.

After the sonogram, I headed to the birthing center to see if I had made any progress over the weekend and, if necessary, to make plans for a non-medical induction later that week. When I got there, Betty checked me and… (drum roll please…) good news!! I had made progress! After she checked me, we started talking about our options for the birth. With the sonogram results, Betty only had one concern. Her size. She still had not dropped into the birth canal and this was likely due to one of two reasons. Either her head and/or shoulders were too big or she just hadn’t dropped yet! Betty said that if I still chose to birth at the birthing center, when I went into labor that they would have two midwives there just as a precaution in case it turned out to be a more difficult labor. She looked like she was going to be a big baby (Betty estimated her at 9 lbs) with wide shoulders, and they didn’t want to take a chance of her getting stuck at the shoulders when she started to come out. She asked me if I still felt comfortable delivering at the birthing center and I told her that as long as they felt like I was okay, then I was okay with it! So, we decided that if Miss May Bee didn’t come on her own by Thursday, then I would go in at 8:30 Thursday morning to start being non-medically induced. Non-medical inductions include stripping of the membranes, walking, squats, movements with the yoga ball, etc. Friday would have been 43 weeks + 1 day so it was time.

Monday, February 18 – Tuesday, February 19, 2013. At home.

Monday and Tuesday, Leighton and I continued to do a lot of walking and I continued bouncing on the yoga ball. I didn’t feel like I was making any progress at all. It was very frustrating. VERY.

Wednesday, February 20. At home.

11 a.m.

My mom called from work to check on me and to see if I had made any progress. Nope. None. Nada. Nothing. I felt no different. I promised to call her as soon as something started to happen. This was one of about 10 daily calls or texts I got from people asking if I had the baby yet. Fun!

12:30 p.m.

I felt my first contraction. It felt like menstrual cramps at first. In fact, my initial thought was, man, I need to take some Tylenol for these cramps! Ha! Soon after the first contraction, I lost my plug. I went into the living room and told Leighton that I might be in labor because I started feeling cramps. I texted my doula, Brittany, just to give her a heads up that I might finally be in labor. She told me to drink a big glass of water and take a warm shower just to make sure this was the real thing. I drank some water and then got in the shower. The hot water felt so good on my back during the contractions, but the shower did not stop nor slow them. In fact, they very quickly got much more intense and closer together. So intense that I had to stop and hang on to something until they passed. After I got out of the shower and got dressed, the contractions intensified even more.

1:30ish p.m.

I told Leighton we better start timing the contractions. To me, I felt like they were coming one right after another. Almost on top of each other. The first contractions we timed were about 3 ½ minutes apart and 45 seconds long. The midwives said to not call until the contractions were less than 5 minutes apart and lasting for about a minute and I couldn’t talk through a contraction. I was pretty much already to the point where it was very difficult to talk through them, but they weren’t quite a minute long. I was so scared…I wasn’t even an hour into this thing and my contractions were already so intense! I wondered if I should call the midwife but wanted to time them for a solid hour before we did anything.

2:30 p.m.

Well, they stayed consistent and got closer together, longer, and much stronger. I called Betty and she said to go ahead and come on in. I found out after the birth that Betty went ahead and called the birth team to let them know I was coming in and we would probably have a baby tonight. She told them not to rush. I was a first time mom, so it would probably be a bit before baby was ready to come.

My friend Rachel V. was bringing me dinner that day. When my labor started, I figured this was going to be a very long process so I figured we would still be here around 4:00 when she was planning on coming. So, I texted her to tell her that we were on our way to the birthing center, and we would need to reschedule.

Leighton and I started gathering everything we needed for the birthing center. Everything was pretty much packed and ready to go, we just needed to get it in the car. Luckily, I made a list of every bag and item we needed to leave with so we wouldn’t be scrambling to remember every last thing. I don’t remember a whole lot but I do remember us having to stop every couple of minutes (literally) to get me through a contraction. Finally we had gathered everything and Leighton just had to get it all into the car.

Right before we left, I remember at one point I was on my knees on the floor leaning on the couch. It hurt SO bad! I started to cry and told my husband, “I don’t think I can do this! I can’t do it!” He tried to comfort me and did everything he could to relieve the pain and help me through contractions. He told me that I could, in fact, do it. I WAS doing it.

To give you an idea of where my head was at this point, I will tell you this. During my pregnancy, I learned from all sorts of places what the stages of labor were and approximate length of each stage. I do understand approximation and I do understand every labor is different. I also understood that this was my first baby and first babies often take longer to birth than subsequent births. With that being said, I planned on the first stage of labor lasting 5-6 hours, active labor (2nd stage) to last 3-5 hours, transition (3rd stage and most painful) lasting 1-2 hours and pushing (4th stage) to last 30 min-2 hours. In my head, I was still in the first stage. So that’s where my head was when…

I was on my knees thinking, “How could ANYONE endure THIS pain for another 5-10 hours?? And the transition stage is supposed to be WORSE than this??” I really didn’t think I could do it…but I did NOT want a needle stuck in my back (even during the throes of that pain, I didn’t want it!).

3:20 p.m.

We finally left the house. As we left, I couldn’t help but think of how thankful I was that it wasn’t anywhere near 5:00 traffic. I was SO not looking forward to this drive, though. I had to sit in a seat, with my seatbelt on, I couldn’t bend over, I couldn’t lay down or crawl around…nothing! I made sure to text my doula and let her know that I was headed to the birthing center and let her know that she better go ahead and head to Denton. I told her that if this isn’t it, I don’t know what is!! I think around this time is when Leighton told his mom and my mom that we were headed to the birthing center. I’m not certain about that, but…maybe?

Well…that’s part 1. Stay tuned for part 2 later this week!

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