Saturday, January 25, 2014

My Daughter's Natural Birth Story

Beautiful Girl!
We're adjusting really nicely to being a family of four. Our daughter is such a sweet and dare I say, easy baby. She's very content, sleeps very well, and is very happy.  Giving birth to her was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I told my husband that there is now no need for me to run a marathon. As giving birth to my daugther was one of the hardest but most rewarding things I've ever done! It felt like a marathon in and of itself. I gave birth to Blue Rock naturally and without drugs as well but it was a different experience. I don't know if I was just younger and since I didn't know what I was doing was able to block out more of the pain or what. Anyway, on with the story. By the way, if you have no interest in reading about this, please STOP here. :) If you're interested, scroll down and read on!

Before she was born

Now she's here!

Walking around the atrium after my water was broke
I love how as women, we have so many choices when giving birth. If we want to have a natural and drug free labor and delivery and everything is going well, we can.  If we want some medication to help with the pain, that's available too. Any choice a woman makes is usually very personal. There's no right or wrong way to get through one of the most exciting times in a woman's life. For me, I'm a huge fan of natural childbirth. Maybe partly because my own mother was and things like this tend to run in one's blood. I also didn't want to deal with the possible side effects. That is not to say that at certain times of my birthing experience I didn't secretly wish they would have given me an epidural. But overall I am so glad I was able to give birth to another child naturally.  Especially since this pregnancy I had to be on blood thinners and I really didn't want to risk anything by adding more drugs to my body. If you are considering a natural and drug free childbirth, you can do it! In the U.S., it seems like it's important to find an OB who is familiar with it and supportive or find a good midwife.

My baby's due date was January 23rd. She was born 10 days early, on January 13th. Although according to my first sonogram, they put her due date as January 26th. So she was anywhere from 10 to 13 days early. Either way I was 38 weeks along.

Eating crackers and drinking juice while being monitored
I had been having contractions for weeks. These were close contractions 2-3 minutes apart for hours. I had stopped taking my blood thinners two weeks before she was born since I had started dilating and having regular contractions. Being off blood thinners can be risky but so can giving birth and being on them. Since I've never had a blood clot, I just have two blood clotting disorders, I thought the risk of being on them was higher than getting off of them in time for birth. Saturday night I had horrible chest pains. I called the nurse on call to ask her about it. She said take Tylenol and see if that helps. Two hours later she called back and asked if I had blood clotting disorders. She had remembered my doctor talking about a patient who was having regular contractions and on blood thinners. I told her yes and she told me to go to the hospital. Blue Rock was already asleep and thankfully my sister was able to come and stay at our house with him. I got to the hospital and they made me stay the night. I think it was just my costochondritis acting up. In 2007 I found out I had it and it's very painful. The nurse told me my doctor would see me in the morning and probably induce me. My OB stopped by on her way to church and said she could break my water after church was over to start labor or I could go home. I was hungry and wanted to eat. The nurse told me I couldn't eat anything so I asked to leave. I was discharged and went and got a donut, something I rarely eat, went home, showered, and went to church.

Laboring on the birthing ball
Monday morning my OB's nurse called and asked if I wanted to have my water broken today and be induced. I had a dream the night before that my daughter was born. This originally wasn't my first choice but after thinking about how she would only get bigger the longer she was inside me and how utterly uncomfortable I was, I told her yes. Also my specialist would have wanted to induce me Thursday if she wasn't born by then so I figured, why wait? This is America after all. Also I have a 4-year old I had to find care for. I was still in a lot of pain from the chest pains and just tired. She told me to head to the hospital. I called my husband and he came home from work. We got there around 10:15am. At around 11am, a nurse came in and wanted to start me on some pitocin. I told her no and that from my understanding my doctor was going to just break my water and we'd go from there. She called my doctor and confirmed that's what I wanted. At 11:45am, my OB broke my water. What a mess! Ha! I'm glad I was there and not at home. After she broke it I went walking for 45 minutes. I was able to drink water and juice and eat crackers. My parents were at the hospital and so was my sister and Blue Rock. We all walked together for about 45 minutes. Then I told them to take Blue Rock and we'd call them once our baby was born. Labor can take a while and I knew since I wasn't getting pitocin it could be all day. My husband, of course stayed with me. He is the best birthing partner. Very encouraging and helpful. If you don't have a partner, hire a doula. You need someone who can be a strong support for you.

My awesome birthing partner aka the man I love!!
Basically every 45 minutes I needed to be monitored for about 10-15 minutes to check on my contractions and the baby's heartbeat. Baby girl was a champ the whole time. Her heartbeat was steady the whole day. After getting monitored I sat on the birthing ball for about 45 minutes and walked around the room. Then was monitored again. Then ready to try walking the halls again. My contractions were getting stronger and I was only able to make it around the nurses station before walking back to my birthing room to sit on the birthing ball. About 2 hours before she was born the contractions starting getting more intense. An hour before she was born I thought I might die. I prayed and prayed to God to get through it. Okay, I really didn't think I was going to die but they were getting very strong, long, and painful. I'd breath and remind myself that the pain would all end once she was out. Finally the time came and it was time to push, she was born at 5:52pm. It was awesome how fast my doctor came in as well as the nurses. It took 4 pushes for her to get out. The ring of fire was absolutely horrible! But like I said it lasted a minute or so before time to push again. Even though in the moment you think the pain will never go away, it does. I ended up with a 2nd degree tear which was better than the 3rd degree I had with Blue Rock. My baby was immediately wipped down and placed on my chest. She was perfect and absolutely beautiful. Breastfeeding has been going well and we are so in love with her.

It's getting uncomfortable
One strange thing after she was born was how much pain medication the nurses tried to give me. One kind of pain medicine they said would take away any pain I was having. I thought after all the pain I just went through there is nothing more painful that I could be experiencing now. They also offered me Tylenol, which I also nicely refused. Not wanting drugs in my system or my baby's is important to me. I did use the Epifoam, ice pack, and spray. Again, no judgement of anyone who wants the pain medicine. People's level of pain differs. For me, personally, I just didn't want it.

Breathing and working on bringing the baby down
At the time I thought this would probably be the last time I could give birth. Now that it's been almost 2 weeks, I could go through it again. Of course I don't have the best track record for carrying babies to term. So for now, I am just so thankful to God for my two healthy children, an overall easy pregnancy and natural childbirth. When I found I was pregnant I was scared. Scared of losing her. I praise God for blessing us with her. Children are truly a gift from God.

I'm getting tired
She's here!! Hallelujah! I did it!

How sweet to hold a newborn baby!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Our Beautiful Daughter is Here!

After a long and prayerful 9 months, our rainbow baby has arrived! She was born on Monday, January 13, 2014, at 5:52pm. She weighed 7 lbs, 5 oz, and was 20.5 in long. She has beautiful dark brown hair and big blue eyes. She was born naturally and without any drugs, like her big brother. This was a harder labor than I had with Blue Rock but it is all well worth it! I'll write about her birth and my experience in an American hospital another time.

We are proud and exhausted parents. We were able to leave the hospital the next evening, around 7pm. She did not pass her bilirubin test so her first doctor's appointment was when she was 2 days old. Her bilirubin was still really high but not off the charts. She weighed 6 lbs, 12 oz. We had to get blood work done to check her levels to see if we needed a medical person to bring us a light station for jaundice. Thankfully her blood levels were good enough to come in the following day to the doctor when she was 3 days old. She weighed 6 lbs, 13 oz. and her bilirubin levels were getting better that we don't have to go back to the doctor until she is 2 weeks old.  My milk came in on day 3 and that should help her levels normalize according to the doctor.  Overall, I had a wonderful experience and look forward to documenting her birth. A few highlights include around 6 hours, 22 minutes of active labor from when my water broke. Since I was going natural and drug free I was able to walk around, use the birthing ball, eat crackers, and drink water and juice until I didn't want anymore or delivered. I was able to push her out in 4 pushes, it took me an hour of pushing with my son. I had a wonderful doctor who was 100% supportive of a natural and drug free labor and delivery. She helped "fight" for my wishes for my birthing experience. I didn't want pitocin unless absolutely necessary and a nurse tried to give it to me I told her no thanks and to talk to my doctor. Other than that, no other drugs were offered until after I gave birth, which was kind of strange. Although healing from giving birth is another story. I'll write more when I write about that experience.  One of my favorite memories will be Blue Rock's huge smile when he first met his sister. He was grinning ear-to-ear. He loves his sister and is one of the proudest big brothers I have ever seen. I wish I had a camera to capture his smile. After she was born, Blue Rock showed up with my parents, my older brother and his wife, and my sister and her husband. Her umbilical cord stump fell off today at 5 days old. We are so thankful to God for her safe arrival. Thank you all for praying for me and her. She is truly a gift.

Here are some pictures of our beautiful girl.

Before heading to the hospital

One of the first pictures with my daughter

First family picture

World's happiest dad!

First bath

Hearing test, she passed!

Getting ready for her first car ride home

My doctor

Proud Granddad

My parents and their two grandkids

Saturday, January 11, 2014

38 weeks and going strong!

38 weeks!
We are getting close to meeting our sweet baby.  I keep telling myself that anyway.  I'm not sure if she will ever come. I'm in my 38th week, am 4 cm dilated, and 70% effaced.  I'm also having very regular contractions and have had to stop my blood thinners.  I'm exhausted, am having horrible heartburn and reflux, and am ready to meet my baby!  I know lots of women don't have their babies until 40 weeks or later.  That could be me!  I thought that would be what would happen when I was pregnant with Blue Rock but he came naturally at 38 weeks.  The labor I'm experiencing is called prodromal labor. Every day, many times, multiple times a day, I have regular hard contractions.  Sadly these contractions lead to nothing.  At least I'm dilating, I wish it was more.  My doctor swept my membranes on Thursday and said she thought she'd probably see me in the hospital this weekend. I'm not sure if that will happen or not. 

Friday I was bleeding quite a bit and I called and the nurse told me to get checked out.  I really didn't want to go to the hospital but I went and sure enough nothing really was progressing and thankfully the baby was fine.  After laying in bed for a while they checked my contractions and I had 2 strong ones in 15 minutes so I was able to leave.

Last week my OB said she could break my water on Monday if I wanted and hadn't had my baby yet. I don't think I'm going to do that. I'd rather he strip the membranes some more and see if something happens then. Since I need to be on blood thinners and can't, it's not good for me to go too many weeks not being on them. So maybe next Wednesday. I really don't want a lot of medical intervention but am also exhausted. I've also been drinking red raspberry leaf tea and taking evening primrose oil. I haven't today and should. But the past few days I have.

We finally saw our baby's sweet face on Thursday. I think she looks like Blue Rock did. She's been so low and hiding that we hadn't been able to see her. I think since we turned her some last Sunday she was at an angle we could see. Her poor face was smashed up against the inside of my belly but at least we saw her. Her nose and lips are not as big as the picture seems. When we saw her moving around and after she moved her hand away, her features weren't so exaggerated. None the less, she is beautiful. It was so neat to see her blinking her eyes too. She measured a little smaller than on Monday at 7 lbs, 2 oz. Seems like a perfect size to me! :) 

As my daughter's birthday is coming nearer every day, I am reminded how precious life is and how truly blessed I am to be pregnant and carrying a baby again.  I know many women would give an arm or leg to have a baby of their own. I think about my past and how a year ago I sort of gave up the hope of having a child. Then I ended up getting pregnant and now here we are. I'm also trying to enjoy these last days with Blue Rock who is so excited about having a sister. God has blessed us again. We are truly thankful to Him. And I want to hug and send my love to the women who are trying to conceive but haven't yet or who have lost a baby or more. I am sorry.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Long Labor and 10th Wedding Anniversary!

The baby is still not here. I'm learning to have more compassion toward women who have long drawn out labors. It's truly exhausting! This is such a different experience than I had with Blue Rock. We thought she might be coming on our anniversary and if I would have stayed at the hospital she would have! Friday night we thought my water broke. We headed to the hospital and the test came back positive. They had me lay in a bed and wanted to continuously monitor the baby's heartbeat and my contractions.  That was uncomfortable. Laying there they were a consistent 2 to 3 minutes apart. I was dilated at 2cm like Monday and about 85% effaced. However, I thought it was strange that more water wasn't coming out. I thought I'd be sitting in a puddle. I finally asked the nurse about it and she said they have gotten some false positives.  I asked if they could check again or open a new batch. She said it would be inconclusive if they had a positive and a negative. My doctor was away on family business and the doctor on-call agreed to do another kind of test like they used to. I told them that if my water hadn't broke I'd rather go home and labor there. The nurse wanted to keep me over night and induce me Saturday morning. When the old kind of test was done and came back negative I was told I could walk around a bit. I walked 30 minutes and came back my contractions were really strong at 1 to 2 minutes apart but I wasn't dilating anymore. I asked to go home. It was 1am. Finally about 1:30am they let me go and told me to come back in the morning. I was there 7 hours and nothing! It was nice to sleep in my own bed. There was no way I could sleep in the hospital bed with the monitors on my belly. My parents kept Blue Rock for the first time at their house. It was really nice of them.

Our 10 anniversary! I'm so tired here!
Saturday was our 10th anniversary. We spent our 5th at a castle in Germany and our 10th at the hospital mostly at home. I was pregnant with Blue Rock on our 5th and our daughter on our 10th. That's pretty neat. I should write a whole post about the last 10 years. They have been great! We exchanged gifts Friday night before going to the hospital. My husband gave me beautiful diamond stud earrings and a beautiful necklace with 1 Corinthians 13 on it. I gave him a Pebble watch and a Bento Box wrapped in foil. For modern gifts it's diamonds, for traditional gifts is aluminum and tin.  He went with modern and I went with traditional. Love him!! We woke up Saturday morning and got ready and picked Blue Rock up from my parents and went to lunch at Outback. Contractions were still going on but it mainly feels like lots of pressure with some pain. Saturday night my dad got back and he was able to watch Blue Rock so we could go to dinner. I wasn't very hungry so we ate at Boston Market. I'm so glad throughout our marriage we've eaten at so many nice restaurants. Originally we were planning on going to Del Friscos but since we weren't sure if the baby was going to come we needed to stay within about 10 minutes of the hospital and ate at Outback for lunch. We thought about going to Red Lobster that evening but I couldn't stomach it.

My parents were not able to keep Blue Rock Saturday night.  Thankfully, our preacher and his wife took Blue Rock Saturday night to their house. It was his first time to spend the night at a friend's house. They have 3 kids and he didn't want to go. I felt horrible making him go while he was crying and begging not to go. He knows them and their kids and has been to their house a number of times so I knew he'd be fine. They said he stopped crying shortly after he was in the car with them. The next day he told me he was scared but ended up having a lot of fun at their house. I was so glad! He wanted to go back over and play.

Meanwhile, Saturday night I was bleeding some. I decided to see if I bled a lot or my water broke before heading back to the hospital. I was still really tired from the night before and decided to just go to bed. Sunday morning I woke up with bad contractions and lots of back pain. I was hurting all over. We waited until 7am to go to the hospital since I didn't want to enter through the emergency entrance. I had a better experience Sunday morning. The head nurse was great and when I mentioned how bad my back hurt she said it sounded like the baby was sunny side up and if we could turn her the back pain should go away. She showed me how to do the runner's position and after about 15-20 minutes I felt her turn. When I sat up the pain went away. My contractions also slowed down. The nurse helping me Sunday morning was really nice. They wanted me to get a sonogram to check everything out. The baby looked perfect and since I was dilated to 3cm she gave me the option of going home and staying. If I was at a 4 then I would have had to stay. I told her I wanted to go home.

We made it to the end of church service and got Blue Rock. Then we went to lunch and I came home and rested all day. I took a shower and got in my pajamas. My back pain is mostly gone, the contractions are still going on but overall I'm feeling better.
Laying in a hospital bed will not help labor progress

This morning I had a doctor's appointment. My doctor said some women just have long labors. The baby seems like she'll come then will stop. She said since things moved fast with my son then I needed to be prepared to have her at home. She gave us cord clamps and a bulb syringe. She told my husband what to do if we got in that situation. She said she's right there and could come anytime. I asked about stripping the membranes. She said to come back Thursday if she's not born and she'll do it then since I'll be 38 weeks. That's a more natural way of helping move things along. The baby is measuring 7 lbs, 12 oz. By law she can't induce until 39 weeks unless one of my maternal fetal medicine doctors approve it. Which the older one in the group I go to most likely would. So if stripping the membranes didn't work she could break my water Monday and we'll have her then. However, I would rather have as little medical intervention as possible. So hopefully she'll either come before Monday or the stripping of the membranes will work. I also don't want to have a super big baby. Blue Rock came at 38 weeks naturally so maybe she will too. Thankfully her head is engaged my body just has to release her.

We are ready for anything!
When I was getting my sonogram this morning the nurse said, "your baby is really moving around!" I looked down and she was. Since she's constantly moving and I'm having constant contractions I've learned to block them out more.
Please pray for a safe delivery and a healthy baby and mama. When I was pregnant with Blue Rock and thinking about delivering in Germany I would remind myself about how Mary gave birth to Jesus in a barn with Joseph and most likely no doctors and lots of animals around. Not the most clean or ideal situation. I live in a clean house and the hospital is 10 minutes away. I didn't have any drugs with Blue Rock and I'm not planning on having any with this baby. If I'm induced I have heard that the pain increases greatly. I'm not opposed to pain medicine I just would rather not have any if I'm doing okay and the baby is. Now I'm going to go rest. I'm tired.

By the way, when we showed up at the hospital Friday night. There was a baby being wheeled into the nursery. Blue Rock asked, "is that my baby sister?" I told him, "nope, she's still in my belly." Haha!
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