I was going to start one for you when you hit 36 weeks but it was the day of my baby shower and then I never could get back on.
So here it is!! Welcome to your birth lodge!!! Sorry it's late!
So excited to follow this birth of yours!
Yay! Welcome to your lodge!
~Joy~ DS1-8/5/05, DS2-10/18/10 (VBAC#1), DS3- 4/11/12 (VBAC#2!)
Yay!!! Welcome to your lodge Brittany!!
Krystal & Donovan - 12/2/06
Reagan - 10/2/02
Maximus - 3/10/05
Liberty - 12/11/08
My angel in Heaven 1/7/13
I am Brittany (26), married to DH, Tiatia (“tee-uh-tee-uh” just turned 29) for what will be six years in December. I have written intros in my prior lodges, but I am writing a new one here because the way we tell stories changes as time and experiences change our understanding of events.
DH and I met at college at BYU in Utah. His family lives in Utah and mine lived in Tennessee at the time—my parents moved to Florida in March 2010. I didn’t think DH was my “type” at all, but it turned out he was perfect for me. We are two extremely different people, but our differences compliment each other. Our first date was in April 2005. We spent a lot of our early relationship semi long distance. He moved home to his parents’ house (about half an hour away) and I stayed at school for spring term. He was usually only able to come see me on the weekends, so we had a lot of time on the phone—I think this was God’s way of forcing us to develop the emotional side of our relationship rather than just the physical . We had been dating for about two months when we first talked about getting married. During summer term, he moved back down to go to school and we had some time together when I was just working part time at Stan’s Diner down the street from the apartment complex (I didn’t have a car) before I had to go home to Tennessee for a family vacation, which was in the Carribean, so I didn’t have any phone access. When I got back and talked to him again, both of us just knew we wanted to get married after not talking to each other that long. He came to Tennessee to meet my family soon after, and that is when he technically asked me to marry him, though he didn’t have a ring yet. He asked me again with the whole official “down on one knee with the ring” thing at the Homecoming dance at Thanksgiving Point in the rose garden in a gazebo in the moonlight—it was really romantic. (Here is a picture of the garden: http://www.worldisround.com/articles/4619/photo1.html)
We were married December 30, 2005 in the Nashville, TN LDS temple. Here are a few pics from the wedding:
We were both in school when we got married. We wanted to wait about a year before we had kids, both so we could have some time to adjust to married life before bringing a baby into the mix, and also because I would be finished with my degree in Early Childhood Education by then. I was originally going to do an internship in a first grade class in place of student teaching, but I backed out when I found out that the principal changed it to a third grade internship. I’d had my practicum experience in a third grade classroom the semester before and didn’t have a very good experience—I find that age really hard to teach. I ended up doing half a semester in a third grade class (and it was a bit better because I got along a little better with my mentor teacher, but it was still hard), and the other half of the semester was in half day Kindergarten which I absolutely loved. Around this time I had a strong desire to go off birth control, even though we’d only been married about 8 months, so I did. I graduated in December, and around that time I had a false positive pregnancy test (the brand I used was later recalled for higher than average reports of false positives), but I believed I was pregnant for several weeks before finding out the truth (I was having really unusual cycles at the time), and although there was a teacher shortage and open jobs at the time, I was not going to start a teaching job pregnant. After finding out I was not pregnant (which was a traumatic ordeal), I tried to find a job to finish out the school year, but it was really too late. I got a job working part time at a daycare for the children of employees of the large hospital in the area (which paid significantly better than other daycare jobs, but still not great pay).
About six months later, after some visits to the gynecologist over my weird cycles, some blood tests, a PCOS diagnosis (which has never really affected me since?), some metformin, and charting one cycle, I got a real positive pregnancy test. I had some bleeding at about 6 weeks in that pregnancy, but everything was fine. I saw an OBGYN who’s office was close to where I lived and who offered free pregnancy tests for patients applying for Medicaid (since I didn’t have health insurance before I got pregnant). We were happy to find out we were having a girl.
I assumed I would definitely get an epidural, because I had been effectively scared by American birth culture. I also had never been told my mom’s birth stories (she had chosen to have a natural birth with a nurse midwife with my youngest brother), and most of what I knew about birth came from the media or from the stories of the few friends I had who had given birth (and all of them had given birth there, in Provo, where the birth culture is…interesting). I got exposed to natural birth, partly through message boards, including preg.org, and also through a info session I went to at Babies R Us with a Hypnobirthing instructor, and I began to see the benefits of natural birth and started to think that maybe giving birth naturally was not as bad as I thought. We were attending a generic “prenatal class” at the hospital where I worked at the daycare and where the OB I was seeing did births. I started reading natural birth books, and realized I needed to ask my OB some questions. This guy had probably been “delivering babies” for 20+ years. I always waited about an hour to see him for five minutes, he would go to lift up my shirt to use the Doppler without saying anything (made me uncomfortable), and he routinely used awkward humor to try to make things less awkward, which didn’t work. Needless to say his answers to my questions about interventions and natural birth were less than satisfactory (understatement…he guessed his episiotomy rate was about a third to half of all his patients…) I had joined this board, and a few ladies here (Winky_the_Houself in particular) directed me to a great group of CNMs who attend births at another hospital owned by the same company as the one I was planning on using (so the Medicaid plan I had chosen still covered it). Oh, I forgot to mention I was 34 weeks pregnant at this point. I tried to get appointments with all of the midwives in the group so I could meet them all before the birth, but there was one who I saw a few times and one I never met. Luckily (or through divine providence…) DD was born when the one who I had seen the most was on call.
DD’s birth is a long story that involves me feeling like I was leaking fluid for three days and testing negative for the presence of amniotic fluid twice before going to the hospital for contractions that had kept me up all night to learn that I was 2 cm and fully effaced but my fluid was, in fact, leaking. The hospital policy was that they were not supposed to send anyone home with ruptured membranes. My midwife said that the OB who was on call that weekend (this was a Saturday) was not one she usually worked with and she knew he was not going to be very supportive of natural birth. She said he wanted to start pitocin, but I cried and begged to be given some time. That afternoon, there had been no change, so she ruptured my membranes completely and hooked me up to a very low dose of pitocin. I learned that my “contractions” up to this point had been NOTHING, and that was scary. I figured out a system for coping that involved deep breathing and bouncing rhythmically on the birth ball. I was pretty miserable and exhausted, though, and the way I reacted when the midwife checked me after a few hours and there was no progress so the pitocin dose needed to be increased let her know that it was time to suggest pain medication. She talked to my husband about it, then sent him to talk to me about it. One of the things she told him was that the on call OB was talking c-section, and an epidural would probably prevent that. We chose to do the epidural and then the midwife increased the pitocin a lot. I had no issues with the epidural. They did a good job giving me the right amount so that I could still feel the pressure of the baby coming down, (the midwife checked me and I had a cervical lip, so we waited for it to go away), and when it came time to push, I had enough sensation that I could tell when a contraction. DD was born at 9:54 pm on Feb 2, 2010 with only first degree tearing after about an hour of pushing. I was happy to meet my baby and glad it was all over.
When DD was about 6 months old, and we moved to Phoenix for grad school for DH, I had some weird constant spotting. After a completely unhelpful clinic visit for it, I did some research on the internet and decided to try the herbal remedy vitex/chasteberry when she was about 10 months old. It stopped the spotting and cause my cycles to return. When DD was about 11 mo, we decided to stop using protection and JLIH. About six months later, I was not keeping super close track of my cycles, but I realized one day that AF was probably late, so I took a dollar store test, which immediately turned dark positive. I took a second one just to be sure, and it was positive, too. I went to a group of nurse-midwives there in Phoenix and got a dating ultrasound (it turns out I was only about 4 weeks when I tested positive …go figure). A few months later, DH finished his grad school program (he was doing an accelerated program, so it only took 1 year), and was offered a job as a hospital administrator in Washington State! So, the nurse practitioner at the midwife office gave me my records and I brought them up here with me. The hospital where DH works does not have a L&D department, so the best thing to do with our insurance was to go to the small hospital owned by the same company about 25 min away. I called the hospital and talked to a nurse and also talked to a doula who was in the process of retiring at the time, and both recommended Dr. I. Dr. I was awesome. She was really supportive of natural birth. We were thrilled to find out we were having a boy this time. I had a perfectly healthy pregnancy. I did the Hypnobabies homestudy course, which I loved. We had professional maternity pics taken when I was about 34 weeks:
My birthing time (labor) with DS lasted 11 hours. I stayed at home for the first seven hours until my pressure waves (contractions) were 2 min apart. Hypnobabies helped a ton with my focus and relaxation and thinking about the sensations in a different way. I was 8cm dilated when we arrived at the hospital and the nurse was completely shocked to hear I was that far along because I was so calm. I was listening to Hypnobabies on my headphones and just relaxing and breathing deeply during the pressure waves. The nurse asked DH what I was listening to, because it was clearly working for me. It turns out Dr. I had failed to tell me that I had tested positive for GBS, and so I had an IV with antibiotics, but there was only time for one dose. The only real symptoms of “transition” I had were vomiting and shaking—I didn’t experience any emotional freaking out or anything like that at that point. I started vocalizing, which gave Dr. I a clue that I would be pushing soon. She asked if I was feeling downward pressure, and I said not yet, but then I did with the next wave. Dr. I checked me and I had a cervical lip. That was not fun, neither was my Dr.’s version of “perineal massage,” which hurt. Then I didn’t want to move out of the semi-sitting position, so I ended up pushing like that, which I think made pushing harder, and the nurse ended up instructing me to hold my breath and use my abdominal muscles. That worked, and DS was born at 1:42 am on March 6, 2010. The baby nurse said she needed to take him to the warmer, and I agreed because I didn’t want to get in her way if he really needed help (he came out blue and not crying). I was given pitocin in my IV and later a shot of IM methergine, because the dr and nurse were not comfortable with my bleeding (one of my my current midwives told me she thinks I was probably fine, but the standard of “normal postpartum bleeding” in the hospital is screwed up). At the time, I was absolutely thrilled that I got my goal of an unmedicated birth. But looking back, I see that it was far from the definition of natural birth that I consider ideal (I had continuous monitoring from the time I got to the hospital room on, as well). Some isolated moments were a little traumatic, actually, but overall, when I look at the birth as a whole, my feelings about it are of pride.
I have some beautiful pictures of right after DS’s birth where I am nursing him, but I am too uncomfortable with the amount of breast they show to put them on the internet. This is the day we left the hospital (48 hours after he was born, because of the GBS+ status and not completing the antibiotic protocol).
My periods returned when DS was only 3 months old. We started using fertility awareness as birth control a few months later. I saw that my luteal phase was short, so I decided to try vitex again to see if that helped, and it did. The next cycle, when DS had just turned 1, we decided to JLIH again, but were surprised to get a positive the first cycle this time! I was happy to be pregnant, but a little nervous about the close spacing. I was super lucky to have pretty much no morning sickness with this pregnany, but I have had fatigue issues and a lot of irritability and difficulty dealing with my other kids. DD especially has had a lot of issues lately, with tantrums and especially with potty training, and I have really wondered how I will ever handle three. I believe I may have had prenatal depression for a while, but I am feeling better now. I think that the supplements my midwives have me on (a very high dose of Vitamin D, Omega oils, iodine, magnesium, and Floradix liquid iron) have helped a lot. I don’t get very big when I am pregnant, so I don’t typically get terribly uncomfortable. I think Hypnobabies helps with that, too. But I am feeling pretty good now. I have a lot left to do before the baby comes. We have decided to keep the baby’s gender a surprise, and I am really looking forward to finding out if my prediction is right when the baby is born. We are planning our first homebirth with licensed midwives (here in WA state, the training and requirements for midwifery are really exceptional compared to most other states in the U.S.). I have ordered my birth kit, so it should be arriving any day now, and I should be getting the birth pool at my next midwife appointment, which will be on Friday, and that will also be when we will do the GBS swab.