I am so excited for your lodge!!! I have been waiting and waiting for it - I actually wanted to start it ( I think I started your first one) but I couldn't figure out when to start 35 or 36 weeks
I am cheering you on for you vbac and I am really excited for your second birth!
Mommy to three gorgeous girls
at 6 weeks 22/10/09
Taryl, yay for reaching 36 weeks! Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your pregnancy and VBAC
Wow, times flies! Congrats on your lodge!
Ericka~Mommy to David, Paul and Adam
Well thank you for the warm welcome everyone, I'll gather my linkage and give an intro shortly. Where the heck did the time go with this pregnancy?!
WooHoo!! I've been waiting for forever to read your lodge!! I can't wait to return the support and empathy you showed me during mine. And I can't wait to read more about you!
Zoe, Sasha and Gabriel
Get to know the real me HERE
Hola everyone, and thanks for such a warm welcome to my lodge. Seems like just yesterday I had another one of these!
Obviously, I'm Taryl, otherwise known as the short, fat snowbeast in the lineup of tall, skinny Germans:
As ascertained in the criminal lineup above, the super nerdy one is my WONDERFUL (geek) husband Peter, and our DD Callie at about 4 minutes old:
Aaaand now she's all grown up and already eating paintchips off her crib:
Let's see, DH and I were married in 2006 just shy of the 20th birthday. He's SUCH a cradle robber! We're currently 22 and 30, respectively, and live in the most fantastic place on earth (in my humble opinion) - Alaska! This will be our second baby in as many years and despite some ups and downs and basically beginning our married life together with a baby on the way we're THRILLED at how things has transpired. DH is a Structural Engineer and I am, among other things, a fiber artist by trade though my production has been laughably absent in light of little fingers being too fond of soft, fluffy wool.
I have ALWAYS been interested in birth - when I was a little girl I never planned my dream wedding or imagined an amazing, princely husband, I always figured those would come on their own. No, I dreamed about children! Lots of beautiful, healthy children. When I was a young teen I became very interested in midwifery and homebirth and studied it with vigor for several years, just waiting for the day I'd get my chance to have my own beautiful birth experiences. I still believe fairly strongly that when I am done having children I will consider becoming a direct-entry midwife. I just never saw it any other way, I was so convinced from a young age in the benefits of breastfeeding, waterbirthing, cosleeping, you name it, that when I DID become pregnant and the baby stuck I was down at the birth center talking with midwives a day later. Looking back, I think I intimidated them with my... studiousness on the subject
The pregnancy was mostly uneventful, though my short stature (5'1 on a good day) meant that I got EVERY physical ache a good 4 weeks sooner and always measured quite far ahead. I was one of those (lucky?) women who lost weight during the first two trimesters and gained maybe 12 pounds total the whole pregnancy. My only complaint, as with this time around, was severe pelvic pain from PSD and a whole lot of heartburn.
We were fully planning a homebirth, I just couldn't do it any other way, and my team of midwives were very good with normal, healthy births. But around 33 weeks problems began popping up. My daughter always flipped breech or transverse and my blood pressure began to creep up despite dietary management. I was also having regular BH and contractions, making every day just crawl by.
Around 37 weeks I was having full out prodromal labor - with an active labor pattern of 5 minute apart contractions for hours on end, only to peter our or not progress me at all. Callie's head was engaged at 37 weeks and DISENGAGED from there on out, she would not stay put and the lack of pressure on my cervix was why I wasn't really dilating despite hard contractions. In a better position it's likely I would have had a very good, timely progression towards birth and a no-problems vaginal birth, but it was not to be.
By around 40+ weeks I was beginning to get run down. I was having so many contractions I couldn't sleep and my immune system was shot from exhaustion, stress, and the creeping sense of failure with my body. My blood pressure started really going high and my general health was deteriorating appreciably. That, combined with a slightly less than ideal NST and a biophysical profile showing fair calcification of my placenta along with high end of normal fluid levels - my midwives officially turned over my care to an obstetrician, though they would attempt to attend me in a doula capacity in the hospital. Even thinking back, the amount of depression, frustration, and real emotional duress I was in while heading to the hospital is still so keen in my mind. Many of you witnessed my frustration on my last lodge - it wasn't pretty. Patience it not my strong suit.
Once I got to the hospital Callie's bad positioning continued to be a real problem for us through induction. I'll go ahead let my birth story typed a few weeks after she was born tell the rest:
Friday, March 30: I was finally able to have my membranes swept by my midwife, and my contractions kicked back up. Despite fears about Callie's size, the obstetricians I had to see that day decided I would be better served by going into labor on my own, if possible, than by being induced or c-sectioned the next day.
Saturday, March 31: After much walking and contractions, I lost my plug in full bloody show rather than in little spots here and there. I was so excited! My strength felt like it was flagging a little, however, with all the continued contractions. But the show convinced me that the end would soon be near.
Sunday, April 1: Still having contractions, but not feeling any progress. The swelling in my legs and hands was getting painful and I was feeling exceptionally run down, like I had the flu.
Monday, April 2: The symptoms of Sunday continued, and the flu feeling increased as well as feeling faint. I called my midwife and she did a blood pressure check, which yielded 150/100 or so. She called the obstetrician right away to set up a consultation and discern a course of action. My body was no longer tolerating all this prolonged labor and it looked like Callie had run out of time to come on her own, with the midwives. We met with Dr. Welling right after that appt, at around 5:00 Monday night, and he scheduled me to begin inductions at the hospital that evening. I was exhausted from the weekend as well as my hips hurting too badly to sleep, but I pushed th induction back a few hours to grab a quick nap at home. We checked into Bartlett Regional Hospital at around 8:30 that night.
Beginning at 9:00, my vitals were taken and the nurses started Pitocin. I was on that until 2:00 am, with horrid results. My midwives had estimated my cervix at 3 cm and 80% effacement, otherwise they wouldn't have been able to have the membrane sweep. But the nurses and Dr. Welling insisted that was maybe 3 cm on the outside and funneled closed on the inside, with maybe 20% effacement. They couldn't get a finger in. Consequently, they couldn't see HOW Kaye could have swept me. I am familiar with the phenomenon of a woman dilating for one attendant and clamping closed for another, and I am sure that the tension of the day and the unfamiliar hands caused me to lose progress, despite the fact that the nurses say it isn't possible.
My blood pressure was still high but they had decided the Pitocin wasn't working, so they planned to let me rest that evening and start trying Cervadil, for a slower but more complete induction, at 7:00 in the morning. I was so tense, tired, and stressed from the day's events that I got no rest between the Pitocin and Cervadil. Contractions as always continued throughout the night.
Tuesday, April 3: Cervadil began at 7:00 am and by noon my contractions strong and around 3 minutes apart. I was encouraged. However a check at 4:00 by a nurse showed I had made NO PROGRESS, despite the 9 hours of Cervadil and 4 hours of Pitocin. They left me on the Cervadil for another 5 hours but still, no progress. In addition, Callie was moving so much that the external monitors they had me on kept constantly losing her, so I couldn't get up and move for fear that we'd have to yet again reposition the stupid EFM. It was probably more stressful than the labor, itself, having to move that sucker every five minutes. The nurses hovering constantly for vitals didn't help either, and the IV lines were driving me nuts. I was absolutely exhausted, moreso emotionally than physically, and the complete lack of any progress was so demoralizing it wasn't even funny. I got 3 cm ON MY OWN and yet with all the chemicals they had in their bags I somehow DIGRESSED?!
To make matters worse, they were aiming for the contractions to get strong enough to drop her head and apply cervical pressure, or at least get her engaged enough for a fetal scalp electrode, which would cause my water to break AND make Callie easier to track. When the doctor checked me he said her head was indeed lower, but they could wiggle it back and forth which made no sense to any of them, but made them too nervous to do the amniotomy for fear of a cord prolapse. So after all that crap my very last option was one they were too scared to try. I was so fed up by midnight that I just sat in the bed cussing, crying, and generally cursing the medical profession.
Wednesday, April 4: More Pitocin, over 16 hours of 1-2 minutes apart contractions of around 1 minute long per piece, and still no progress besides some slight additional effacement. I told Dr. Schneider, the attending physician, in no uncertain terms that the chance of a prolapse was so minimal it was laughable, and if my water broke on its own the same risk would apply, and that if they couldn't do the amniotomy I would end up with a c-section anyway, so what was the difference? A possible emergency c-section and my last chance at vaginal birth, or straight to a section without exhausting every single option? He claimed he wasn't comfortable trying to amniotomy without consulting some other doctors, so Peter and I waited out the night, still contracting like crazy, for the doctor to give us his answer at 8:00 the next morning. I got maybe 3 hours of sleep in little bits, and at this point was feeling so weak and exhausted I could hardly see straight, but I knew one way or the other it would end the next day.
Thursday, April 5: Dr. Schneider got the go-ahead from the surgeon to do the amniotomy, and the theater was set up for the c-section just in case. Dr. Schneider expected me to gush fluid horribly, as my abdomen was SO distended and my fluid volume was unusually high. But when the electrode was fixed there was hardly a trickle. When I contracted more did gush out, but no much-feared prolapse, and no instant dropping of baby. I told Dr. Schneider that I would give the labor a solid go until noon and then, if I had still made little to no progress, I would have a c-section that afternoon.
Breaking my water definitely intensified my labor, and my contractions, sped up by Pitocin, were around 1 minutes apart and a minute and a half in length. It was the most awful experience of my life. The breaks were shorter than the labor itself, and I was having ALL BACK LABOR! It was burning, shooting pain down my back and thighs, hardly any sensation in my cervix. The pain was actually much worse of my right side, for reasons we didn't find out until later in the day. I had no pain relief through the four days of induced labor thus far and none for this, but man was I tempted! Finally, at noon I knew in my heart I had no progress. I wouldn't even let the nurses check me because I was terrified of having one of those brutal contractions while on my back. I breathed and moaned through them with all my might but still I felt like I was barely hanging on. And in between them I was in a half-conscious daze, exhausted and out of my head. It was what I had thought laborland to be, but with a tinge of despair I hadn't anticipated. By then, I had fully surrendered myself to the c-section. I really had tried my best.
The doctor agreed to it, but scheduled it for 3:00 pm. I was in so much pain I only partly heard him. I had asked for an epidural for those three hours in between so I could rest before the surgery, but apparently he and the anesthesiologist had decided I would just have a spinal right before the operation. Then the anesthesiologist was called away to an emergency and I was stranded with no pain relief and no reason left to endure the horrid contractions. To my horror, I finally started to panic. I had reached far beyond the limits of my mental and physical strength, and each contraction felt like I was dying. My legs were too weak to move, the flu-like symptoms I had made my throat close up and dry out and my head feel like lead. The nurses kept coming in and breaking my concentration for vital signs when Callie would move away from the monitors, and I was seriously contemplating murdering the nurses and doctors there. Through it all Peter was pushing on my back and whispering encouragements to me, and that really sustained me. Lorna, one of the midwives, was there too, but she kind of faded into the background.
Finally I asked the nurses for some Stadol to take the edge off, which it did, but barely. Each hour they gave me more, which was horrid in and of itself because the effects would wear off around 15 minutes before the new dose would come. To make matters worse the nurses forbid me from any food from Midnight the night before and no water from 9:00 that morning, which made me even weaker and my throat was so raw all I could do was whisper. At this point I was just crying like crazy, barely coherent and hardly able to breathe. It was the worst experience of my life.
The nurses finally came in for pre-surgery prep with the anesthesiologist, and about time too! It was 2:30, and they wheeled me into the theater. The spinal anesthesia, which I had dreaded for so many years, was the EASIEST anesthesia I ever had. No pain going in, good and solid short term effects, and no lingering catheter like an epidural, so less chance of infection. Soon my legs wouldn't lift, I couldn't feel my abs, and since the anesthesiologist applied the shot a little high my arms were partially numbed as well. The catheter went in and I felt some weird abdominal sensations. I asked them to pinch my skin to make sure I could feel nothing and my husband then informed me that the point was a little moot as her head was coming out!
They went about the whole thing so fast I didn't even know they were doing it!
At 4:18 she was out, and I heard one shrill cry. The rest was kind of a blur. After ten minutes my husband told them to let me see her... I think they forgot about me! They popped her around the drapes for a moment and then whisked her back. She was perfectly healthy despite the HOURS and DAYS of labor, weighed in at 8 pounds 15 ounces, and was 19.5 inches long. Dr. Schneider checked me while I was numb and announced that I was only 5 cm or so and no more effaced than I was over a day before, after being in what was equivalent to transition for HALF A DAY! He further concluded that only a small portion of the right side of her head was molded, she had been coming down at an angle (hence the unusually strong pain on only one side -she was trying to come out my hip!). And that if they hadn't done the c-section then I would have gone through 20 hours or so of more labor only to end in a section anyway, there was no WAY she was coming down on her own.
As for the high weight estimates, the could only conclude her weird position and high fluid volume skewed the measurements.
Callie was perfect, I was exhausted, couldn't talk, and had been sliced open. But I have NO regrets about the c-section, I can truly say I did my very best and fought as hard as I could for every centimeter. And despite some hiccups along the way and some bumps in the postpartum, things have been fabulous ever since and get better every day!
Well, in new mommy daze and some shame I definitely wasn't being honest with myself in the postpartum. I was bitterly disappointed in my c-section, and upon just a little bit of investigation I discovered how LITTLE had actually been done to help with Callie's obviously bad positioning, and how ineffective my midwife had been in support. I basically realized that it was entirely likely given a few other attempts at positioning as well as trying the epidural to let me rest and my muscles unclench BEFORE heading for the knife I may have well avoided a c-section altogether.
I had horrible postpartum depression, the gals who were waiting here on my lodge may remember it took me two weeks to even get online, I couldn't bear to deal with the other March mommies who had the experiences I wanted or didn't seem to mind that their births were less than ideal. Breastfeeding was so stressful and I struggled badly with my supply, I felt completely disconnected from my baby and didn't even want to hold her or touch her. I just felt numb and distant, and then I felt like a HORRIBLE mother for thinking that way about her. I can't say I even really took time to actually enjoy her or snuggle beyond the basics until she was almost a month old. I honestly didn't feel any love for my child and couldn't figure out why.
My husband, bless his heart, was amazing with her and worked so hard to maintain both of us. He couldn't tell if what I was feeling was normal because I was an overwhelmed new mom or upset about the surgery or if it really was postpartum depression and I flat out lied to my midwives in all my followup appointments out of shame for my feelings on the subject. In addition to having a baby, an anniversary and my 21st birthday within a month we were also trying to mount a massive move further north when Callie was 5 weeks old. So we were packing, selling a house and leaving our entire support system during my biggest emotional turmoil. I am not sure if it was a blessing or not, but getting on the ferry with our guinea pigs, a baby, and a few suitcases and watching Juneau recede in the distance was really closing a nightmarish page of my life. I felt like I was leaving some of the despair and frustration behind me.
When we got to Anchorage we stayed with DH's parents which was tough, but soon were in a house of our own and settled. I finally emerged fully from my depression and started feeling competent as a parent and spouse again, and could evaluate my situation with a level head. I realized that I wasn't as terrible of a failure as a mom as I thought and that I had been mired in bad post partum depression. I also realized that even given enough time I couldn't move on from the pain and frustration of the last days of my pregnancy and traumatic birth without PROVING to myself I could do otherwise. I was, quite frankly, feeling pretty broken and knew the only full fix would be another baby and a whole lot more preparedness going into it.
Even with all my studying of midwifery methods, birth interventions, the perfect natural plan and even a solid concept of what possible things could go wrong I was still pretty woefully underprepared. Knowing what I know now about dealing with a situation like I found myself in I have had a lot more peace throughout this pregnancy.
I decided that my mind and emotions were going to be the biggest barrier in this pregnancy and birth, and decided to use Hypnobabies as my management technique during the entire process. Maybe it's been the Hypnobabies, maybe it's just been time and prayer, but I can honestly say I am so much more at peace during this pregnancy than I ever was with Callie. Coming off a miscarriage literally weeks before her I spen t the entire pregnancy on edge, ticking off one milestone to another and just completely unable to enjoy it fgor what it was. And then I was eager for the end, for the birth, and took the last few precious weeks for granted in my frustration and exhaustion. This time around I feel SO much better, even with the normal aches and pains I have such a greater appreciation for the miracle of pregnancy and birth and the closeness I have with this baby that I will never have with him/her again. In many ways, seeing my beautiful, amazing daughter grow through this pregnancy has given me more focus - I *know* what I have to look forward to now, I know how amazing this whole thing is, and how tenuous and brief. She has given me perspective on this I couldn't have had prior to having a child, and knowing how I dazes away her earliest days I am committed to not allowing that to happen again, and the people who love me know what to look for if I begin slipping away into PPD this time around.
I know I need a VBAC to prove to myself that I'm not broken and failed in this process. But truth be told? Even if I have another c-section just knowing that every avenue really was explored and having an amazing, resourceful team of new midwives behind me makes the difference. Because of state law I HAVE to have an in hospital birth, unless I go unattended I can never have a homebirth again, which breaks my heart as it's always been my dream and I feel cheated of it. But being with midwives who work IN the hospital and do VBACs regularly, who believe in my body and have a bag of tricks tailored just to cases such as mine is so amazing. They have an 80% success rate with their VBAC moms and that is as good of odds as I could ever hope for. Even with a tricky presentation again and some hiccups along the way the odds are SO in my favor of having a completely normal vaginal birth.
And truth be told, though it pains me to say, in some sense knowing I am doing this at the hospital gives me some small peace. I am not afraid of a homebirth again, but the pressure of needing everything to be just perfect to have the birth I planned last time around was a real weight on my shoulders. This time there's no pressure, there's no inherent failure, there's no situation in which my midwives have to abandon my care and the entire thing goes up in smoke. The nervous, scared part of me *needs* some structure this time around to rebuild my confidence in birth and myself.
I can safely say I am SO happy this pregnancy. I feel great, I have a plan, life is going so well and I know every day is truly a blessing I can enjoy with TWO amazing children. Despite my fears I really do have all the encouragement in the world that this will be just fine, I'll be just fine, and God is in control of it all. Every time I feel myself giving into frustration or doubt prayer and my Hypnobabies cues kick in, moving me back to where I need to be.
My only regret is that I am super lazy on the aforementioned course and haven't practiced as much as I should. Hopefully that won't bite me in the end.
To conclude this MONSTER of a post (omg, any of you who actually read through this have the patience of a saint) I will leave you with my most recent (read: only) belly shot.
It's poor quality, in a dimly lit and messy bathroom, but this is me at 33-34 weeks. The scale is somewhat deceptive given how huge my breasts are (I think I'm at an F now?) but I am measuring around 38 weeks, as I always measure ahead:
I have an appointment in a few days and I will give you a new belly pic and updates on my Hypnobabies laziness fairly soon. I look forward to this lodge and everyone support - this is my FAVORITE birth related board on Preg.org and is, in my humble opinion, a stellar group of mommies. Much love, my fingers are going to fall off now!
Oooh and can I give my first rant?
Unfortunately, just like last pregnancy I have to avoid my birth board like the plague at the end. So much complaining and negativity, and SO many moms getting induced with their first, with NO medical need, at 37-39 weeks. I have to bite my tongue SO HARD to not caution them all of the dangers of induction and that it IS a big deal and can make for brutal labor, bad outcomes, and compromised health of the baby. It takes every ounce of my willpower not to verbally shake some sense into them - and it breaks my heart knowing a good 1/3 of them will end up with c-sections that will negatively impact the REST of their reproductive life and make every future birth more dangerous, all because they didn't want to research or have a little patience.
And the climate of the boards, though so many of the women on them are SO sweet and supportive... when it seems like EVERYONE is going into labor but you it makes the impatience and urgency all the worse. It basically is going against my Bubble of Peace to be anywhere near there most days.
*sigh* I worry about some of them, and I want to be supportive and follow many of them but it's such a bad environment for encouraging letting one's body work
I hear your rant about BB. It's hard. I find it easy to be a member in the beginning and harder towards the end...especially as a momma who goes to her EDD, if not way past it. LOL!
Good intro! Thanks for posting your birth story too!
Taryl, great intro! I remember those tough days you had with Callie's pregnancy. Way to go on preparing for your VBAC.
I hope it's ok that I told Jenny that you are expecting again. (I told her that I thought you were in a different practice now because of a move.)