Monthly Archives: April 2011

2 Months

I promise that I am busily working away on the final draft of Henry’s birth story. I don’t want to leave out a single detail so I’m taking a little bit of time to make sure it’s just right. Bear with me…I promise it’s full of fascinating detail, swear words and a fabulous descriptor of what delivering the placenta is like. You’re not as excited now, are you?

In the meantime, my little Jellybean turned 2 months old on Monday! He weighs 13 pounds 12 ounces and is almost 24 inches long! He’s officially grown out of the 3 month clothes and is laughing and smiling like crazy. It’s been amazing to watch how he changes everyday. At least once a day I stop and look at him and think, “I grew that.”

It’s both awesomely weird and amazing.

He likes his milk warm, his music loud and his swaddle tight.

I love being a mom. It is the most amazing thing I’ve ever done.

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Birth Story Part 2: 5-6 centimeters

February 18, 2o11

I wake up at 1 a.m. It’s snowing like crazy and I’m still feeling contractions. I lay in bed for a bit and then decide that it’s time to start tracking the contractions. I quietly make my way out to the living room and lay down on the floor. I have my birthing ball handy and my iPhone at the ready. I’ve downloaded the Contraction Master app.

The contractions are about 4-5 minutes apart. Sometimes closer. Sometimes longer. I try to relax as much as possible and listen to my Hypnobirthing meditations and affirmations. After about an hour I decide it’s time to get Travis. I go back to our bedroom and tell him that I’m having regular contractions and I think it’s time to call the midwife. He says something about am I sure and maybe we should wait awhile longer. I say ok. Then 5 minutes later I tell him that we need to call the midwife. This time he gets it.

We are having a baby today.

He grabs my phone and calls our midwife. She says that she will be over shortly.

I decide to take a shower. It is the best shower of my life. For whatever reason the feeling of hot water flowing over my back is amazing.

After the shower I get dressed in my birth outfit: swimsuit top, my favorite yoga pants and a beachy like cover up. I’m comfy and when the midwife shows up she meets me in our bedroom to check my cervix. I’m 5-6 cm dilated and 100% effaced. Woo-hoo! Let’s get this party going.

It’s been two months since Henry was born and I’m struggling to remember what contractions felt like during this time. I guess that should give you an inclination of the pain level at this point. I believe they felt like menstrual cramps. They came and went. During this time I continued listening to the hypnobirthing tracks and met each contraction with a really deep breath that I let out slowly until the contraction ended. I don’t remember being in any pain during this time. I wasn’t even uncomfortable.

The apprentice midwives show up and one starts tracking my contractions. This is a really relaxed time. The house is quiet and I freely move about. I labor on the birthing ball, on my feet, on the floor. I sway through each contraction, breathing deeply and mostly staying to myself. In between contractions I chat with Travis and the midwives.

At some point the midwives begin setting up the birthing tub. I’ve decided that I want to try and give birth in the water. Filling the tub takes a long time. At one point I go into the kitchen and realize that they are heating up water on the stove. I make a joke about how this is all starting to feel like Little House on the Prairie.

Around 6 or 7 a.m. the tub is full and the midwife says I can get in anytime. I’m still cracking jokes between contractions and I decide that I want to see what this whole birth tub is  about.

Into the tub I go and I feel an instant lightness. If I was hardly noticing land contractions, then water contractions are nothing. I boisterously comment that I don’t know why every woman doesn’t have a water birth. After all, I’m hardly feeling anything.

I continue to crack jokes and chit chat away.

Labor slows down a bit and I hang out in the tub. I continue with my breathing. My hypnobirthing instructor (who is also one of the apprentice midwives) tells me that I am handling labor so well that I should be on YouTube. She says she has a feeling that Henry will be here before I know it.

Then shit gets real. And I mean R-E-A-L.

Part 3 of the birth story is coming up next and this is where things get a little hazy. That amnesia thing that women talk about? It’s true.

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Birth Story Part 1: 0-4 centimeters

Week of January 24

Feeling crampy. Like period cramps, but totally manageable. I’m told this is a good thing. My body getting ready for labor or something. I don’t think too much of it. On Friday, I head to the OB for my weekly exam. 3 cm and 90% effaced! Say what? How did that happen? The doctor says, “Well, that is some definite progress. Make your appointment for next week, but I don’t know if I will see you.”

Huh? I’m a first timer. Of course you will see me. You’ll see me up until Week 42 because first babies take forever. And I’m not being induced. And so yeah, I’ll see you next week, doc.

I go home. The cramps increase. One makes me reach out and hold onto the husband’s arm for a second. Then it’s done and I’m good to go. Was that a contraction? I have no idea.

Saturday, January 29

The husband wakes up early and takes the dogs to the living room to let me sleep. That’s awful sweet of him, but as happens about every 20 minutes these days, I must go to the bathroom. To avoid giving you too much detail I will just say that it was quite, the ahem, show. I’m in a little bit of disbelief and then I make my way to the living room. Peaking my head around the corner, I say to the husband, “Umm, so I think we might be having the baby soon.”

You know those cartoons where the character’s neck gets all long and their eyes get big. It was like that. “Why?” he says.

Insert detail here that I am too classy/modest/grossed out to share with you.

Now there is no going back to sleep and I hang out with the hubs on the couch until we head to town to now do some very urgent errands. I call our midwife. Explain to her the happenings of the morning, the results of my cervical exam and how I’m feeling.

She lets me know that research has shown that after the show, labor typically begins within 72 hours. Holy shit! That’s 3 days. This could really be happening. I had been expecting to feel scared and anxious. Instead I am completely calm and excitement comes over me. I can’t wait to have this baby! The midwife instructs me to rest up, drink a lot of fluids, eat well and take it easy. She wants me to be ready for labor.

I’m still a little shocked. Ready for labor? Already? We’re in the middle of Week 38.

The mind shift is almost immediate.

It’s go time. I’m ready for this. I’m prepared. I want this baby in my arms.

We head to town. On the day’s agenda:

  • Lowes – for some vent thing for the garage. Not my department. Thank you very much.
  • Bagels – more my department. Sustenance is necessary.
  • Chiropractor – the pelvis is out of alignment again and I need a little adjusting.
  • DSW – The hubs needs new running shoes. For the sympathy weight. For his heart health.
  • Babies ‘R Us – must return some items, get baby necessities that we have yet to purchase.
  • Walmart – Must purchase Tucks and a variety of other things needed for home birth, including snacks to have during labor.
  • Sushi – We figure this may be our last date for awhile. We feast. Ever seen the dirty looks people give a nine months pregnant woman in a sushi restaurant? Yeah, you know who you are. I didn’t eat the raw stuff, bitches.
  • Back to Walmart – Poor planning on our part resulted in both a dry and cold run to Walmart. Plus good motivation for this kid’s college fund.

Back home to…hurry up and wait? Is this going to happen?

Sunday, January 30

4:30 a.m. – I wake up with strong cramps. Maybe this is it? I listen to my hypnobirthing CD and try to rest, but thoughts of work creep in. If I have this baby today I am so leaving my coworkers in a lurch. I get out of bed at 5:30 and turn the laptop on. Time to get some work done. The cramping stops almost immediately. Damn it. After an hour or two of work I crawl back into bed and sleep until 9:30 in hopes that the cramping will start back up.

I spend most of the day on the couch. I nap. I watch movies. I wait. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Not even a cramp.

Monday, January 31

I head to work. I’m not too happy about this. We are in hour 48. Research shows that after the show labor typically starts within 72 hours. No such luck here. No labor. Just more cramping. Once at work I’m overwhelmed by the amount of work I need to get done. Realizing that there will never be the perfect time to take maternity leave I bust my ass all day trying to finish a complete web redesign. Who thought this redesign thing was a good idea? I work until we have our midwife appointment and then work some more when I get home. I’m over it.

Our midwives are amazing. They fill me with hope that I am close and are positive that the effacement and dilation are good signs. They tell us that typically first time moms are only 1 cm and 50% effaced on their due date. Up until this point I had been prepared to go full term plus some. Now my thoughts are filled with having this baby. I’m filled with so much excitement, but by Tuesday morning I’m disappointed. No contractions. Hour 72 has passed and I feel sad that nothing is happening. I’m wondering if the show was really brought on by my cervical exam and labor is in fact far off. No bueno.

The good news is that the baby’s head has completely descended into my pelvis and is in the perfect position. Thank you yoga!

I decide to heed my midwives’ advice and start booking fun activities for every 3 days or so. Acupuncture. Check. Massage. Check. Pedicure. Check.  Definitely need things to look forward to until our little man feels ready to enter the world.

Tuesday, February 1

It’s now February and my due date is 9 days away, which my coworkers are reminding me every time they see me waddle around the office. Hey – thanks pals! I almost forgot that I am due to have a baby. It’s so awesome that you reminded me.

My boss is amazing (one of the best I’ve ever had), but I’m delaying letting her know that I’m dilating like crazy and am hopeful that this baby will be an early arriver. I don’t like to see the panic in her eyes.

Throughout the day I’m starting to feel more intense cramps. Some of them almost feel like waves, a for sure peak followed by a valley. This is the way my midwife described contractions. Could it be? I’m not sure. On the drive home they get significantly stronger. I’m hopeful and for the rest of the night I have that same crampy feeling, but by the next morning it’s gone.

Son of a bitch…bring on the acupuncture.

Thursday, February 3 (also known as Eff You BabyCenter.com Day)

Week 39: Has your baby arrived yet? The email subject line says.

Are you mocking me BabyCenter? Do you know how badly I want him here? Do you understand the obnoxious co-workers I am dealing with everyday? The constant question from family. Do you know that my husband thinks I have some sort of womanly intuition on when this little baby is showing up? But I don’t! I have no clue!

Yesterday I had my first acupuncture treatment to try and get this party started. Usually acupuncture is quite relaxing, but this time my acupuncturist warned me that the points where she would be inserting needles would feel much different. She was right – acupuncture was a whole new ball game when it comes to getting the uterus going. The needles were inserted in my lower back and then she did some sort of activation to move the Chi (yes, Dad, I am THAT hippie). Instantaneously, I felt the nerves and muscles become more alive. The entire experience was intense as I felt the energy move from my lower back to my front. The acupuncturist told me that she has actually had a woman’s water break in her office after the treatment. Alas, that was not the case for me and I headed back to work.

I head to the OB’s office for my weekly appointment. I opt in for the cervical exam again. Damn. I promised myself I wouldn’t, but I just can’t resist the temptation. It turns out that she tries to give me a tonsillectomy. The baby is so low that she can’t reach my cervix. I ask for further clarification. She acts annoyed that she has to stay in the room and explain what a baby’s “station” is. It turns out that the station is the baby’s head position.

Side note: The doctor judges how low the baby is based on a scale of -5 to +5. +5 is crowning. The OB says I am at a 0 or +1. This still doesn’t mean much to me.

I get back to my office and attempt to find out more about the disappearing cervix. Is this normal? BabyCenter has no good info. I call our midwife. I love that I can call her anytime with questions like this. When I tell her that the baby is at a 0 or +1, she exclaims, “Holy Crap!”

So despite the fact that our little man hasn’t arrived yet, progress is being made. I’m hoping for a weekend baby.

Monday, February 7

No baby and I’ve come to the realization that it’s time to just trust my body and baby and stop worrying about when it’s going to happen. At our appointment today with the midwife, she reminds us that first time moms have an average gestation of 41 weeks and 1 day.

After hearing that statistic, I realize that despite the fact that my body is preparing, labor may still be a few weeks off. I’m slightly disappointed, but a little relieved too. I had been placing a lot of pressure on myself – feeling like since progress had started that I should be close to delivering.

The incessant comments at work never stop and are becoming increasingly annoying. I don’t want to hear one more person comment about how/why I’m still at work.

February 10, 2011

40 Weeks

Henry, today is your due date and it would appear that we are in the 50% percentile of women who deliver after their due date. No pressure, kiddo, but momma needs you to make your debut. My OB started talking induction last week and although the midwife is comfortable in letting us go to 42 weeks, I honestly can’t imagine having to wait to meet you for that much longer. I will if you need me to, but anytime now I’m ready for you.

February 17, 2011

I am beyond over being pregnant. I am over my coworkers. I am over anyone who asks me when my baby is being born. Hell if I know!

I woke up today and did the Hypnobabies Baby Come Out meditation. I head to work late, but not long after I get there I feel as if I may be having contractions. I’ve felt this way for weeks, but these are coming more frequently. I text my friend Jenna to find out what this feeling is all about. After describing it to her she writes, “Those sound like contractions! I bet he will be here by tomorrow.”

Yeah, right, I think. At this point this baby is never coming out. I decide in that moment that this is my last day at work. Whether this baby comes or not, I absolutely cannot handle my coworkers anymore. I schedule an afternoon pedicure and leave the office.

The ladies at the pedicure shop freak when I tell them that I was due last week. I’m trying to enjoy my pedicure, but when the front desk girl asks, “So what’s the plan?” I turn to her and say, “Uh, have a baby.”

Pregnancy hormones suit me well. Real well.

I throw in an eyebrow wax for good measure. Gots to look good for labor.

I head home after the pedicure and feel the contractions start up again. This is good. Real good.

I eat and eat and eat. Travis comes home and we eat some more. We hang out in front of the T.V. and the contractions continue. Around 8 p.m. I use the bathroom and have the real show. The show that happened weeks ago was not the real deal.

I call our midwife. She instructs me to get to bed early and call her when the contractions get closer together.

In the next chapter this whole having a baby thing gets real.

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Choice

I’m about to publish our birth story, but first I have to fill in some of the missing puzzle pieces so our story doesn’t leave you scratching your head saying, “That bitch be crazy.”

We were planning a home birth.

There. Now that’s out in the open.

I’ve crafted a dozen posts about home birth. I included facts and figures, links to websites and forums, and book recommendations. I’ll post the references that I found most helpful in the future. I never posted the material I wrote about choosing home birth because I was afraid of ridicule. I struggle with what should be public and what should be private on this blog. After sharing our decision with close friends, family and even neighbors, Travis and I decided that this was one of those things that was best kept to ourselves.

Some people were more than supportive. Others were not. And that hurt.

It made me question if we were making the right decision. It sent me on a mad Googling spree. It made my Catholic guilt flare up like a bad case of Athlete’s Foot.

So I will say this:

We decided to try a home birth because we felt it was what was best for our baby, my health, and Travis’s role as a supportive partner. We decided that we would continue seeing our OBGYN in case we needed to transfer to the hospital and because we liked the combination of care. The OB’s philosophy and the midwife’s are very different. I’m convinced that somewhere in between the two is the perfect solution for obstetrics care.

The more I read about the current state of giving birth in the U.S., the more fearful I became of hospitals and unnecessary interventions. I wanted the opportunity to let my body do what it was meant to.

Here’s a great video that gives some great info:

I don’t want to use this blog to get on a soap box about what is the right or wrong way to give birth because there is no right or wrong way. There is only the right or wrong way for you.

However, it’s so important that women stop being passive about giving birth. It isn’t something to be feared.  My best advice is to educate yourself. Research birth and common interventions. Think about hiring a doula or midwife. Even research home birth if it’s something that you are interested in. I can’t stress how important it is to trust your body and to ask questions. Your doctor or midwife will do their best to steer you in the right direction, but when it comes down to it, you must trust your gut.

Now that I have all of that out in the open we can proceed to the birth story. I promise that it is full of suspense, intrigue and an ultimate happy ending!

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Redemption

This makes the sore nipples, sleepless nights, complete emotional upheaval, and the pain of a drug free delivery worth it…

Smiling baby

Sleepy smile.

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