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Welcome to your lodge - can't wait to read more of your story!
Ethan - June 21, 2009
Olivia - December 5, 2010
5w3d - October/November 2012
My Ovulation Chart
We all were at BYU at the same time! I was there from Jan 03-Dec 04 (obviously I didn't finish).
Ok, here's the next part! Sorry it's taken so long...I haven't been around my computer all weekend, and then I had to deal with a sick family (including myself)!
So DH and I officially started trying after my meeting with the OB. No luck in June so I started temping and charting. I got the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility and was so amazed how much they don’t teach you about the female body and reproductive system/cycle! In August, we did a really good job on our timing, and I went out of town a little over a week after ovulation. I was really irritable that weekend, but I just figured it was from being with my sisters and that AF was about to show up. The day after I got back was Labor Day (11 DPO – my luteal phase is 11 days), and I told myself I would test if I hadn’t started my period by then. So, I did that morning, and the test was positive! I wrote “Good Morning Daddy!” on the bathroom mirror and taped the test below. When he got up to go to the bathroom, of course he saw it, and was extremely excited!
DH wasn’t comfortable at a birth center, and to be honest, it didn’t really cross my mind to research the possibilities in the area. So I just found a midwife practice that was right across the street from where we lived at the hospital. There were 3 of them and they were all great! My official due date was May 16, 2007. I had a fairly uneventful pregnancy. At 14.5 weeks, I had some bleeding. After hours waiting in the ER, they did an ultrasound and found that everything was just fine. The bleeding was just from the placenta attaching to the uterus and made a little pocket. My midwives wanted me to go in for a checkup ultrasound 3 weeks later, so they just did the 20 week ultrasound then (at 17.5 weeks). They told us we were having a girl! We were very excited – we both wanted to have a girl first.
Between November 2006 and May 2007 I did a lot of research and preparation. I read a good amount of books…preparing myself for labor. It wasn’t necessarily scary to me because I was pretty sure I could do it. My sister did it 3 times naturally, my mom had 6 babies without epidurals (well, 2 of those were twins where she was knocked out completely)…so I was fairly confident in my ability to give birth naturally. Plus, every time I would tell someone that I didn’t plan on getting an epidural and their response was something like “Good luck – you’ll need it. You’ll be begging for that epidural once you feel that first contraction!” – that just fueled my fire even more because I am an extremely stubborn person! I read Baby Catcher, whose birth stories really helped boost my confidence. I also read Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way, which helped me to understand what the body does during labor and where the ‘pain’ comes from. We took a hospital childbirth class that didn’t tell me much that I didn’t already know (I suppose it was more for DH!). It didn’t even cross my mind to look into other kinds of classes. I trusted my body and knew I could do it.
Warning: This part is ridiculously long because it's my full birth story with Lily. And you'll be able to tell I wasn't as educated as I am now...but this is what I wrote 3 years ago, so I wanted to keep the same wording.
So, May 16th came and I had an appointment with my midwives. She checked me and told me I was 2cm dilated and 60-70% effaced…which I kinda had been for a few weeks. The rest is my birth story that I wrote out after Lily was born:
On Saturday, May 19, I woke up and was bleeding. It wasn’t a lot, but definitely enough to make me slightly worry. I called my midwife – Wendy was on call, and she wanted me to come in for an NST. NST was fine, and it showed that I was having contractions (very light ones) every 5 minutes! They discharged us and we went to a local art festival where we did a LOT of walking. Contractions were getting pretty strong at times where I had to concentrate on walking, but every time we sat down or stopped, they pretty much went away. They continued off and on for the rest of the night, but definitely nothing consistent. So Jonathan and I went to bed. I got up at 4:00 and was having them about every 6-7 minutes or so. And they weren’t intense so I fell back asleep. A little after 5:00, I woke up and they were definitely stronger. After a couple of hours, they went from the “is this a contraction or a Braxton Hicks?” to “yep, this is definitely labor!” By 7:00 they were about 3-4 minutes apart. So I called Wendy and she wanted me to come in to the hospital. We got our things ready and got there about 8:30am.
We didn’t take any of our bags and things in because I figured they would do some monitoring, check my cervix and see if I was ready to be admitted. When we walked in, the nurse asked me how far apart they were and then asked “do you think you’re in labor?” I said yes, and she said “well, come on back!” So we went back to the room and I got changed in the gown. She put some monitors on me (wireless!!!) to get a reading. She checked me and I was a 4 (wahoo!). On her way out, we asked her if we were staying or not and she said “Oh yeah! You guys are going to have this baby today!” So we called my sister in law and my sister – I asked both of them to be there for labor & delivery. When Sara (my sil) got there, Jonny went out to the car and got our bags and things. I got an IV and contractions were getting stronger. Wendy came in shortly after. She said that Janis was very accurate and that she trusted her measurement. She basically said hi and that we were going to have a baby today! My sister (Brie) got there around 11am. Shortly after that, Wendy came in and checked me – I was a 5!
I spent the next few hours laboring on my birth ball, bothered by the nurse who was constantly wanting to monitor me and the baby, and becoming pruny in the bath. The bathtub, while it wasn’t a jetted tub, was awesome. It really lessened the intensity of my contractions…but they were becoming further apart than when I was outside of the tub – about 4-5 minutes. We talked to Wendy about it, she didn’t seem too worried. Everyone joined me in the bathroom – I needed them to, since it helped me for everyone to keep doing what they were doing during the contractions instead of being quiet. I could concentrate on them and what they were saying – it kept my mind off of the contraction. I also needed them there so that they could push on my lower back with each contraction, as I was having serious back labor. I think if it weren’t for the back labor, I could’ve handled every contraction with no problem. Anyway, when I started to get too pruny, I got out and labored some more on the birth ball. Wendy came in and checked me between 2-3…I was still a 5. She asked if I wanted her to break my water, as that would speed up labor, but I said no. Another 3 hours passed of the same types of things – annoying monitoring (Janis would put the monitors on me, and Wendy would come in and take them off…haha), laboring in the bathtub, etc. At 5:30ish, Wendy came back in and checked me again. I was STILL a 5. She said she could stretch me to a 6, but I was still a 5. So we opted to break my water. I was really nervous for her to do it, as I wasn’t sure what it would feel like. I had heard it wouldn’t hurt…and it didn’t! I didn’t even feel it at all – all I felt was a gush of very warm water. It was pretty cool. Wendy said that it was clear, which was good – it meant no meconium.
The very next contraction, I felt the difference – it was SO much more intense! Each contraction was a little harder than the last. I found myself moaning much more with each one. The back labor got worse, but I had my support there to apply counter-pressure. I sat on the ball and leaned on the bed, which was a great position. Brie stroked my arms, helping me to relax, and Jonny (mainly) applied the pressure on my back. At around 6:30, Wendy checked me again – I was an 8!! A couple contractions later, I felt like I needed to push. They didn’t let me, though. During each one, I had to fight the natural urge – I think it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Brie would yell in my ear to not push, which actually really helped. Wendy suggested I get back in the bathtub. So, I did, and one contraction later, she wanted me to get out. The contraction in the tub was very strong and I guess my moaning had changed to the point where she knew I was ready. We made it out of the bathroom and onto the bed – and when she checked me, she said “You’re a 10 – there’s NO cervix there. You can push!” Oh my goodness, that was the best thing I had ever heard in my entire life. It was now about 7:00pm.
So with the next contraction, I pushed, and it felt SO good. Within a few contractions, we could see the head. Contraction after contraction, I continued to push, and made very little progress. A new nurse had come in to replace Janis, as her shift was up. I can’t remember her name now, but she works with the midwives, which was great! I continued to push…and push. I was assured that she would be out in no time…but we made little progress. After a while, I could look down and see half of her head sticking out – but she wasn’t budging. I asked if I could feel it – Wendy said that the look on my face was priceless, she wishes she had a picture of it! Her head was very slimy, it was so weird. Wendy constantly applied KY jelly to my vagina to stretch it out so I wouldn’t tear. Oh goodness, that hurt SO much. I kept pushing…and when the contraction ended, I didn’t want to stop because they pain of Lily’s head stretching me was so strong. It was a continuous “ring of fire.” The nurse was monitoring Lily’s heartrate…and it was getting progressively slower. Wendy told me that if she wasn’t out soon, that she would have to assist me (meaning forceps, I think). So I pushed with everything I had with the next contractions…nothing. They had me hold on to my thighs as I pushed, instead of Jonny’s and Brie’s hands. That helped a bit…but she still wasn’t coming out. Wendy told me to push in between contractions – that was really hard, but doable. With each minute, Lily’s heartrate became lower and lower. It was under 100, I think. Wendy finally threatened me with an episiotomy if she wasn’t out soon. And once I heard that, Lily was out with the next contraction! I expected her head to come out with one push, and then her body with the next, but she came out all at once. I looked up, shocked that I did it, and Wendy was holding her. She was so pale and limp…Wendy said “Oh, you’re going to go see Auntie Karen.” Karen was the nursery nurse that was attending the birth in case of any problems. Wendy quickly cut the cord and they took her over to the warmer. Brie and Sara were constantly assuring me that she was fine – Brie said there was a bubble coming out of her nose, which meant she was breathing. Jonny accompanied Lily to the warmer and watched everything they did. They called in the NICU doctor so he could check her out. They said she may need to go to the NICU if she didn’t get “better.” She was born at 8:44pm – I pushed for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Her APGAR scores were 5, 7, and 8 (not sure why they took 3). They brought her over to me so I could hold her – and I got to for maybe 15-30 seconds. Then they took her to the nursery. Jonny went with her. While they were gone, I got fluids through my IV, delivered the placenta (SO weird) – and when Wendy would pull on the cord to see if it was ready to come out…OUCH – and Wendy stitched me up. I did tear, but not in my perineum where the normal tears are. I guess I tore my labia, and it was a really weird tear – kind of like the San Francisco Bay…haha. Wendy gave me a local anesthetic shot (which really really hurt!!!) and took what felt like forever to stitch me up. The shots didn’t completely numb me, so it was still a little painful.
The next little bit is a little blurry. I remember looking at the placenta with Wendy, getting a shirt on, going to the bathroom, putting on the “hospital diaper,” getting in a wheelchair and going to the postpartum room. Brie left before we moved to get cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory, and Jonny was with Lily in the nursery, so it was just Sara and me. They pushed me over to my postpartum room. I remember not wanting to go over the bumps because they hurt. I’m not sure when they told me, but sometime, they told me that she had the umbilical cord wrapped around either her neck or neck and shoulder – that’s not very clear to any of us. After I was settled in my room, Brie came back and we ate cheesecake. At about 11:30, Sara left to go home, and 11:45pm, Jonny finally came in with Lily. They said they almost had to take her to the NICU, but she was a fighter. She weighed 7 lbs 9.4 oz and was 20.5 in long. I sat and held her and just stared at her. Before Brie left, she held me to nurse her…that was weird! She has a great rooting reflex and was a natural breastfeeder from the start. I stayed in the hospital all of Monday and until about 4 on Tuesday. My iron levels were low, so they needed me to stay a little later on Tuesday so they could take my blood again. I was visited by Paula on Monday and Margie on Tuesday. Wendy also called me to see how I was doing. The blinds and curtains were closed most of my stay, so I really got confused on what time of day it was. We went to an infant care class on Tuesday at 11…and I really didn’t know if it was daytime or nighttime! That was also the first time I had gotten up besides to go to the bathroom. It took me a really long time to walk. Every time I had to get up, it was a chore. My pelvic bones hurt, and I was really swollen. I actually had to get someone to help me every time I needed to feed Lily, because I couldn’t pick her up by myself. Also, every time I had to go to the bathroom, I needed help. I needed someone to literally pick up my legs and slide them over the edge of the bed so I could get up, and vice versa when I had to get back into bed.
Jonny changed every diaper in the hospital – I couldn’t do it myself because I couldn’t reach her bassinet. The first time I held her standing up and helped change her diaper was right before we were about to leave to go home on Tuesday.
All in all, it was an absolutely great experience. I did it 100% naturally, despite almost 2 hours of intense pushing. I’m a little bummed that I wasn’t able to hold her right after delivery and that she was away from me for 3 hours, but I know it was for the best.
Thanks for sharing your first birth story. I see what you mean about how there were things you didn't know then. It's still awesome that you had a natural birth with your first, though.
So, like I said, there was a lot of stuff that happened that would and should have been different had I known more. I thought I was so educated, lol. And I was, compared to a lot of women, but I just wasn’t quite educated enough to avoid the problems that arose. I’ve since learned that the combination of the way Lily was turned, the position I was pushing, and the force of my support team on my legs caused my symphasis pubis to separate more than the normal amount. That’s why I couldn’t move my legs easily or walk normally. Had someone just told me to sit upright and squatted, or got on my hands and knees – or been in ANY other position besides that one, that, as well as the long pushing stage, could’ve been easily avoided.
And it’s interesting to read my own thoughts after the birth. I said that I knew it was all for the best – her going to the nursery for 3 hours. I definitely know better than that now! There’s no reason why she should’ve been away from me for that long. She was fine and probably would’ve done better with me! And also the whole not pushing thing. I should’ve been able to bear down a little to give myself some relief. But I didn’t know that.
One thing I forgot to mention was that after Lily was born the nurse asked Wendy (the midwife) if I needed pitocin. Wendy said no then left the room, and the nurse put it in my IV anyway. It wasn’t until she had done it that I realized what she had done. That’s the main reason I refuse to have an IV or HepLock unless absolutely necessary.
So in December 2007, while we were at a church Christmas party, I had a very strong feeling that we should move back to Utah. That’s where Jonny’s family was and his dad has never been in very good health. I was so reluctant to admit it to Jonny because when we left Utah we said we would NEVER move back. But I told him and we agreed that that’s what we should do. Over the next few months we found him a job and moved at the end of March 2008. Long story fairly short: We moved in with his parents, were building a house and were set to close at the end of July. In May, we found out we were pregnant again, due January 29, 2009! A week before closing on the house, Jonny lost his job so we lost the house and our down payment, and had to stay with his parents for longer than expected. He finally found another job 3 months later. We found a townhome that worked perfectly for us and moved a week later…as soon as we could!
Luckily, I was able to get on Medicaid because he didn’t have a job, so the whole pregnancy and hospital stay was covered! I found a practice of CNMs just right up the street from me. I had great care there. By this time, I had become much more interested in childbirth, and was educating myself more about everything labor/delivery. I knew how to relax and, even though I was scared to have another experience like Lily’s, I was confident I could do it. So, my due date came and went (again). The hospital I could deliver at changed on February 1, and it was the closer one to me and better one in the area. I was hoping to deliver there, but I had to make it to February. Well, January 31 came and I was not in labor, so chances were good! The next morning (February 1), I woke up around 3am with mild contractions. I always have a ton of BHs, so I was sure I was having another ‘episode’ of frequent ones. But they didn’t go away. I always thought that once you’ve been in labor before there will be no question of being in labor again. Boy, was I wrong! It took me 2 hours to admit to Jonny that I was in labor. We called the midwife around 5am and called his brother and his wife to come watch Lily. They got here around 5:30am and we just sat and talked while I labored (I like to listen to other people talk during contractions instead of everyone getting quiet and focusing on me). Around 6:15am, I decided it was time to go to the hospital. We got into triage, she checked me – I was a 6, almost a 7 – and got situated in the room. I sat on the bed and Abby (midwife) came in shortly after. She asked me if it was ok to call a woman who was working on becoming a CNM. That didn’t bother me, so Honey showed up a little while later. My nurse was awesome. I barely remember her bothering me at all. The only thing was that she insisted I be hooked up to the monitor because the baby had a dip in her heartrate during the test strip in triage. Abby told her it wasn’t necessary – that it was just a small dip, but I told them I didn’t care because I was comfortable in the bed. If I wanted to get up, I would have had them take it off. I had bad back labor, again, and Abby showed us how to do the knee press on the bed. It was instant relief and that was all I wanted done with each contraction. And Jonny was grateful he could do that instead of having to put counterpressure on my back! Honey came and basically became my doula. I remember Abby there, but not much. Honey told me that they never HAD to check me – they would just be able to tell from my contractions when I’d be ready to push. She reminded me to relax my eyes and face – which get the most tense. Then after one contraction, I looked at Honey and she said “That one seemed a little different, do you want me to check you?” I agreed that it had been a little different, and when she checked me I was a 10! I was so shocked – I had expected things to feel like they had with Lily – the uncontrollable urge to push before it was time. It was 7:50am. But it was so serene. Things transitioned so easily. The whole atmosphere was very calm. I scooted to the end of the bed and sat on it to support my perineum, while I was in a supported squatting position. They told me I could push and to just listen to my body. I didn’t have the urge to push right away. I imagine my body was taking the break that I’ve read about, but I didn’t know about that (until recently), so I pushed with the next contraction. The contraction after that, the urge definitely came, and the one after that, she was born! It was 8:00am. I will never forget the feeling of her sliding out. It was amazing! They put her right up on my chest…well, not quite my chest because she had a short cord, and she was perfect. She had long fingers and toes. They asked what her name was and Jonny and I looked at each other and said Hannah Rose. We waited for the cord to stop pulsing and Jonny was able to cut it. She weighed 7 lbs 4 oz and was 19.5 in long. The placenta detached and I got a shot of pitocin to help with the bleeding. Jonny went with her to the nursery while I cleaned up then met them down there.
I tore again in the same spot that I did with Lily, but only a few stitches. And my recovery was amazing compared to the first! The nurse came in to give me pain meds and was a little shocked when I told her I didn’t want any! I didn’t even take Motrin…I just didn’t feel like I needed it. We went home the next morning.
The whole experience was completely different that my first birth. The atmosphere, my knowledge, everything. I'm sure it helped that it was only 5 hours long, too! And I think having Honey there acting as my doula made a huge difference.