Saturday, June 12, 2010

My birth story...

Two years ago yesterday.  It's already and only been two years ago since my son made his grand appearance into this world!  What a wonderful experience it has been so far to be a mother to this little guy.  He is amazing and has my my family even more amazing.  I love his father more each day because of the man he is with his son.  I could not have DREAMED for a more perfect husband.

I have decided to share my birth story in remembrance of the amazing day/night he arrived.  Like I mentioned in the previous post, I did not have the most enjoyable pregnancy.  But, the birth was amazing.  It was still painful, believe me.  Unfortunately I was not one of the ones who experienced a pain-free birth.  But I would do it all over again tomorrow to have my little guy with us!  I wish more women got to experience childbirth the way our bodies were designed to handle it without the intervention and scare tactics of doctors.

Oh, and it's very long.  Very.  Warming - there are also pictures at the end.  Nothing graphic, but you'll see some of my skin, so watch out!  :)  Lots of pictures!

I was due Sunday, June 8th, 2008.  It came….and went. 
I only went “overdue” 2 days.  Labor began Tuesday, June 10th at 3:30 p.m.  The day began like usual.  I finally hoisted myself out of the mountain of pillows (I think we counted 11 at one point) and got up for the day.

My friend called and said she was coming by to take me to breakfast – yay, the outside world!  So she, my husband and I went to breakfast.

When we got back to the house, my friend gave me a little bag with some DVD’s to watch along with some brownies.  So of course I scarfed down two brownies immediately.  This was probably around 11 a.m.   I then had a little bathroom visit soon after breakfast and now looking back my body was definitely preparing for labor!  

My husband and I went to a friend’s house to get in the pool for some relief from my heavy belly.  Right when we walked in her front door (3:30 p.m.), my first contraction came.  I instantly knew it was real.  It wasn’t painful…just a mild version of the horrible menstrual cramps I used to have.  The Braxton-Hicks I’d been having for months were definitely more uncomfortable. I didn’t say anything though because I don’t want anyone to freak out.

We get in the pool... I know what most of you are thinking.  “WHAT?  Why aren’t you  headed to the hospital immediately?”  That’s another blog for another day!  I’d prepared myself to know labor is a normal, natural thing that is usually not an emergency.

There were only a few people there – my husband, friend, her daughter and my friend’s parents.  I tell my husband quietly that I was having contractions and I needed his watch to time them.  They were about 10 minutes apart for an hour.  The water was amazing.  I’m not sure if it was the water or if my contractions were just that mild.  They never hurt.  There was definitely a lot of pressure, but not painful at all.   We stay at my friend’s house for about an hour and a half.  Then I felt the need to empty my bladder, but I didn’t want to do it there.  Somehow I just had a feeling that I needed to get home!

I got home and immediately headed to the bathroom and had a lot of mucus plug/bloody show happening.  Very exciting and scary!  I hop in the shower – contractions are about 8 minutes apart.  Get out, decided to lie down – because that’s what I read – lie down and if contractions continue, it’s active (although I already knew it was at this point!)

I got on the couch and WHOA….something happened and my back started to feel as though it were breaking!  I guess he turned somehow.  It was instantly painful and there was no break between contractions.  (Um, hello?  Why didn’t I get those minutes in between peaks?)  

I leaned over my exercise ball on the bed to take pressure off my back but it didn’t help at all.  My husband was trying to time contractions – they were very sporadic.  Sometimes 2 minutes apart – sometimes 7.  Lasting different times.  Although because the pain never stopped, I’m not sure how accurate we were in timing them.  I still have the piece of paper from where my husband tried to keep up with my contractions and me!

I then called the birth center and told the midwife that I was definitely in labor, feeling pain and having contractions.  She said to continue on my hands and knees and wait until there was a more definite pattern.  Oh, and she made sure to demand that I eat!  I tried a leftover hamburger but could only eat half.  I then totally regretted not eating as soon as I felt that first contraction earlier in the day!

Not 30 minutes went by and I called the midwife back and told her I couldn’t take it any longer.  So she said she’d meet me at the center  – 40 minute drive.  I had to hold onto my husband’s shoulders to get out of the house and into the truck. I can only imagine what we looked like to passing cars!  He called our parents and my cousin who was supposed to come take pictures.  It was about 8:30 or so at this point, so very short from the time my first contraction started.  Sitting down was not pleasant to my back, however, the ride didn’t seem long, surprisingly. 

I'm checked and then heard the midwife say, “Oh, we’re definitely having a baby tonight, you’re 7 centimeters dilated!”  This was just after 9 p.m.  So not quite 6 hours past first contraction.  Thank goodness!  I could hear my husband breathe a huge sigh of relief!  

I go to the wonderfully large queen sized bed and strip off my shirt – I never understood why women always seem to get naked during natural births, but I get it now!  I had to lie down on my side; it’s the only thing that helped my back somewhat. 

I got a shot of nubaine, although now, looking back, I so wish I would have tried something first – tub, shower, etc.   It took the edge off and although it was still very painful, allowed my back to take a break between the contractions.

I think I was there for about an hour when our midwife suggested the tub.  She checked me first and I was 9 centimeters, so she wanted to break my water since I was so close and wanted to check for meconium (couldn’t deliver in tub if there was any present). 

Into the tub I went and I still remember how wonderful that felt.  Instant pain relief! I was full dilated in no time and began to feel the slight urge to push.  I started pushing when I felt like it, but didn’t feel quite right.  I was checked and still had lip of cervix, so that’s why it didn’t feel right. 

I started pushing again soon, but the tub wasn’t feeling great to push because of my back labor.  So I got back in bed.  I tried to push, but again, not quite right.  My wonderful midwife told me to just relax and rest and try to nap. I rested for about an hour!  It was so wonderful, I’m sure if I were with an OB in a hospital, they would have forced me to push immediately when I was fully dilated and I would have ended up with a horrible tear or worse!

I began feeling this incredible urge to push and it felt better this time!  It was a welcome relief!  I could feel a weird pressure in the front of my pelvis while pushing though.  It took me several pushes to finally get it right.  The best thing our midwife told me was to try to push him up to the ceiling.  When I tried it that way, I felt him move so much with each push!!!  Very motivating!

I was so exhausted though – due to my lack of food that day (really wish I would have chowed down immediately when I went into labor!) so between each push I would fall back down on the bed.  My husband and cousin had to hold each leg back during a push and the midwife knotted a sheet on two ends and she and I each pulled during my contraction.  It was so helpful because I was thoroughly exhausted!

After 42 minutes of pushing, my son was born at 2:00 a.m. on June 11. We realized why I had the front pressure/pain during pushing and why I had back labor.  He wasn’t quite posterior, but just cocked slightly.  His poor little cone head was waay off to the side and back!  

I held him for an hour!  Then the proud father finally received a chance to hold him. No one took him away, he stayed with us, we made the rules! My little family all got in bed and slept for several hours together.  We were so comfy, that we didn’t leave until 5:00 that afternoon!  I'd wanted to leave earlier and definitely felt fine, but I was just sleeping so wonderfully there!

Best experience ever!  

Oh, and remember my last blog entry about suspected "large" babies?  Well, I had a "large" baby of 9 pounds, 4 oz. and believe it or not, my pelvis is still in tact!  Not only did I "survive" but I went home the very same day and had a very easy recovery.  Thank goodness I was with a care provider that knew that birth was normal and not something to intervene in.  The midwives knew not to say ridiculous things like, "Wow, you've got a big one.  Hopefully we can get him out."  No estimates were ever made.  No fear was ever in my mind about a large baby.  My labor started and I pushed him out.  I knew I could do it.  My body was made to birth him!

Happy Birthday to my sweet little boy who is more charming each day and has brought more joy to my life than I could have ever imagined!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Due Dates - our worst enemy

On this date two years ago, my husband and I got a million phone calls.  Okay, not really, but we were questioned so very much about reaching my due date and the baby wasn't here yet.  Shocking, I know, since most women these days feel as though they are going to immediately self-implode if they reach their due date and baby isn't here. 

Well, since I was pretty miserable during pregnancy and especially the end, I was sick and tired of the phone calls.  I know, I know, everyone just had innocent intentions but I wanted to shout, "Don't you think I want this baby out?" 

I was not one of those glowing women that we read about.  I was far from it.  During early pregnancy, I had the classic morning (all day) sickness.  I didn't even want anything touching my belly.  Exhaust from cars made me want to hurl and brushing my teeth had to be done over the toilet because for about a month I threw up every time I brushed my teeth.  In fact, it got so bad, I just bought mouthwash and rinsed for about a week so I didn't have to stick the toothbrush in my mouth!

Then I felt good for about two weeks after getting into my 2nd trimester.  Then I woke up throwing up.  Seriously, vomit in the mouth.  I guess it was then determined that I had acid reflux and something else that is escaping my memory right now.  It got so bad that I actually took some medication for it.  I do not, do not, do not like taking medication period and especially while I was pregnant, but it got so bad, I needed to do something allow me to eat.

Oh, and physically I HURT and ACHED.  I had what was called Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD).  Just to get out of bed was a challenge and not in the normal pregnant lady style.  I seriously couldn't move my legs without extreme pain.  My hip.  Oh, my hip.  It still hurts to this day.  I think my son was buried into my right hip most of the pregnancy. 

The swelling of the feet and legs.  Seriously?  I knew women talked about swelling happening.  I had NO clue it would be that extreme.  Thankfully it didn't develop into pre-eclampsia.  I wanted to be out and about, but the swelling, although it didn't hurt, was incredibly uncomfortable.  I only had one pair of flip flops that would fit and they would even leave an indention in my feet.  It got to the point that even in the morning after having my feet elevated most of the night, they were still swollen.  I began to really hate my couch at this point.  Really detested the living room.  I'd spent months at this point on that blasted couch.  Thank goodness for laptops!  I also played a lot of Super Mario Brothers on the Wii during the early sickness.  I guess it helped me focus on something and took my mind temporarily off of the nauseating feeling in my guts!

So why am I "complaining?"  I'm not really. I'm just telling the story of my pregnancy.  My long, sick, painful pregnancy.  And yet, I never considered induction.  Yes, I was absolutely miserable.  I couldn't WAIT to get that baby out of me.  But I knew that induction was not the answer.  This was a human life I was carrying.  Every single second in the womb is essential for development.  Baby knows when it's time to come. 

Yes, yes, I realize that there are extenuating circumstances where we MUST induce, but they are far and few between.  However, many Ob's are now convincing pregnant women that there are many reasons for induction.  My favorite - the suspected large baby.  An OB tells an almost full-term pregnant woman that he/she is in danger of not being able to deliver a large baby because of different reasons - broken pelvis, broken shoulder of the baby, horrendous tear or painful episiotomy, or the worst outcome - a C-section. So most of these women, terrified and rightfully so, agree to an induction before the due date, in most cases. And guess what happens in the majority of those cases - a C-section, exactly what the OB convinced the woman to induce to avoid. Rarely is the child a giant! 

If you don't believe me, start asking questions of the people you know who have children.  Of the ones you know who had a C-section, ask them if they were induced.  Chances are, yes there were.  Then ask why they were induced.  Most of these women truly believe their doctors were helping them by doing the induction.  Their doctors made them afraid of giving birth.  It makes me sad.   Our society has taken birth from us.  It's put birth in a hospital.  A hospital is for illnesses.  Again, yes, yes, I know that C-sections are sometimes necessary, but NOT at the rate it's currently at.  Over 1/3 of all deliveries are c-sections.  That is absolutely absurd.  One-third of all deliveries should not be c-sections.  

I wish I could remember (or have the energy to go search for it) the statistic about first time moms.  Typically, first time moms go into labor after 41 weeks.  I'm thinking it's 41 weeks, 1 day (maybe 2 days).   That's a FULL week after the due date.  Oh the horror!  There is a reason babies are born when they are.  The NEED the development.  Why strip them out a week or two early.  A woman is only pregnant for 40 weeks on average.  One week can be huge for development.

So do me a favor.  Educate yourself.  Don't agree to an induction, or worse yet, ask for one.  I know you may be miserable.  Seriously, I have a video of myself at the end of my pregnancy.  I remember.  It was tough.  But it's so very temporary and so very important to your baby's development.  If your OB scares you with the whole "large baby" thing and tells your horror stories of what *could* happen, ask your OB how many babies he/she has delivered that had broken shoulders or how many women had her pelvis broken.  Ask about the true risks...chances are they are very low.  

Get back to the basics especially here.  Baby will let you know when it's time to be born!  Enjoy the anticipation (even though it may be hell sometimes!)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Learning to sew...

I feel like I'm not even qualified to mention the word 'sewing'.  I seriously can't even sew on a button.  OK, I can, but it wouldn't be pretty, and I'm not even sure it would stay on for long.

Sewing is on my list of things to learn.  My father's mother sewed and made my sister and I several dresses when we were younger.  Why do  most of the women I know not know how to sew?  I guess when households transformed and went to both husband and wife having a full-time job, sewing went out the window as well as most other domestic things.  Now, I'm not saying that women have to stay at home and the men have to work.  I'm just making an observation.

I think we rely too much on others and pay too much for what we need in life.  I don't think I even know anyone who could sew me a simple skirt if I wanted.  I have no desire to become a sewing legend but it would be nice to be able to take some of my husband's clothes that are now too big and make them fit again.  We paid too much money for them to just sit around now because they are an inch or two too large.  I know we could use a seamstress, but why pay money to someone when I'm sure I could learn to do it myself?  Also, if you saw my poor son in pants that are way too short, you'd probably encourage me to learn to sew the poor boy some clothes that fit!

So, I have signed up for sewing classes at an incredibly charming store called Fabrika in downtown Savannah.  The fabrics alone sold me.  I don't know about you, but most of the fabric stores I've seen don't have any "fun" fabrics.  I am taking the Saturday and Sunday class in July if anyone wants to join me.  :)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Friend to the

I had a very interesting conversation with one of my closest friends the other day.  During it, I discovered that she thought I was all natural and into saving the environment.  Although now I am definitely more eco-friendly, I didn't start out becoming that way to save the earth!  The real reason we do the things we do is to save money, plain and simple.  However because of the changes we've made to our lifestyle, we've come to realize that we are indeed nicer to the environment than most and we're kind of liking it now!

How did it start?  We had a baby.  We realized we didn't want to put baby into daycare.  However we could not live off of my husband's salary alone, so we were forced to cut where we could.  First change - cloth diapers.  I know, I know, but they are not like the cloth diapers of yesteryear, I promise!  In fact, they are now ridiculously cute.  So much so that at one point I thought I was actually going to be spending more than if we were to have used disposables!  I am a bargain shopper so I scored some great deals off of eBay for brand new cloth diapers.  I bought 10 of them for $11 each, which was a savings from the $16.96 regular retail price!  The best part about that purchase - I sold them a few months ago for $10 each on!!!!  Isn't that fantastic?  I've also bought several off of diaperswappers which is the best way to try out the different styles of cloth diapers.  I'm telling you, these aren't the white squares that you use pins for.  They are CUTE and easy to use.  So after switching to cloth diapers, we learned that the average disposable diaper takes up to 500 years in a landfill to decompose.  500 years.  Think about all of the disposable diapers you've thrown away....yeah, it adds up.  Then you add in the poop in the diaper.  That's not good.  We're throwing poop into our landfills which means the birds and flying bugs that frequent our landfills could be contaminated with the bad stuff that happens with poop.  Yuck.

So, that's what started us off.  With the cloth diapers came a clothes line.  The diapers last longer if you don't blast them in the heated dryer, so we started hanging them to dry.  And imagine my surprise when the sun got rid of the stains!  Wow, who knew?  So, we started paying attention.  If our diapers would last longer, then obviously our clothes would last longer, so we started hanging our clothes out too.  If you have an "old-fashioned" electric meter, go take a look at it spinning around super fast when your clothes dryer is running and then look at it when it's not.  That look helped us realized we needed avoid the dryer as much as possible.  Since we moved back into our house the last week of March, I think we've used our dryer maybe 10 times and part of that was because we had tons of laundry we had to do and it was raining!

Other things we do:
- unplug things that we don't use all the time - toaster, cell chargers, coffee pots, hair dryer, etc.  WAIT, did you just say coffee pot, hair dryer and cell phone charger?  Yes, I did and yes, we use them every day, however we don't leave them plugged in when not using them.  It really wasn't that difficult to get in the habit.  Now, as soon as I pour the last cup of coffee, I unplug the coffee maker.  When finished drying my hair, I now automatically unplug the dryer.

- Use the quickest setting on the dishwasher and turn it off as soon as it hits the dry part of the cycle.  I certainly don't need to pay for 20 minutes of electricity just to have heat setting not even dry my dishes all the way.  I open it up and slide the racks out and let them air dry.

- We don't fill up both areas in our dishwasher with the soap.  We only use the main one and only fill it halfway up.  Good for us, our dishes, the environment, and our wallet!

- We keep our air set at 78.   I think we turned it on once in April, but we've had it on recently because it has gotten quite stuffy.  We keep the blinds closed where the sun shines in so the heat from the sun isn't working against our a/c.  And we use ceiling fans to help circulate the air better

- We eat real food.  I know you are wondering how this is friendly to the environment.  Well, we don't throw away tons of packaging anymore like we did when we were eating processed stuff.  We don't even throw away our vegetable scraps anymore.  They go into a freezer bag for when I make vegetable or chicken stock.

- We now grow our own food.  Again, cheap and we know what's going in our food.  We are therefore not buying food that has been shipped using fuel to get it to it's destination.  We buy local as much as we possibly can.

- We use cloth napkins and try to use plates more than once.  Obviously if either gets too dirty, then we get a new one!  But if I have a plate that I've just eaten a sandwich off of, then I'll brush the crumbs away and put it on the counter for the next meal.

- We buy used clothes.  Especially for our growing son!  We love consignment sales and stores.  I love paying $1-2 per clothes item for my son and love it even more when I'm packing them away again in 4 months because he's outgrown them!  We have recently discovered Goodwill and love the prices!  Although, my friend has told me that once I start going to yard sales, that I'll think Goodwill is too expensive.   :)  Still haven't managed to drag my butt out of bed early enough to hit them up yet!  I think this friendly to the environment because we are using second hand clothes that could have easily been thrown away and we are not buying new things to add to things that will eventually end up in the landfills.

- We have no TV.  Yet more electricity we are not using.  And we get to spend more quality time together and use our imagination and find things to do.  It's nice.  And we do not miss TV at all.

- Oh, I forgot dryer balls!  We no longer use fabric softener sheets.  Again, it wasn't to save the earth, although we do feel good that we are helping to reduce waste by not using 1-2 dryers sheets per load!  We are saving lots of money there...dryer sheets are expensive!

So the bottom line is everything we do is purely selfish!  We need to save money and by doing that, we are in turn saving our earth.  We are realizing with every choice we've made we are being "earthy" people.  We certainly didn't start out that way, but we kind of like where we've come!