Category Archives: pregnancy

Birthing from Within

I have learned a lot from this pregnancy, not only in the experiences of the day to day physical and spiritual growth through it, but I have spent a ton of time doing research this time around.  My research has been based in learning from what I experienced in my first birth experience, healing from birth trauma in areas I could tell were still a little raw from last time, and then also preparing and learning about new information in preparation for this upcoming birth.

During my pregnancy with Mirabelle I purchased a copy of “Birthing from Within” on the recommendation from a friend.  I started reading through it from cover to cover.  I tried reading it with an open mind but to be perfectly honest, 1/3 of the way in I decided I was done with “that new age garbage”.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I found a lot of value in much of the information I had read.  I think birth art is a great way to express pending thoughts and fears and release those, as well as connect you with your child.  I also love the Motherblessing ceremony/Blessingway.  We practice these at my church and one (my 2nd)will be hosted in my honor this coming Saturday.

It was during this pregnancy that I was reading another mom’s blog when I was inspired to pull back out my copy of “Birthing From Within”.  So, I dusted of the cover, skipped past to sections undiscovered and found a world unknown by me.  I learned there was invaluable information in this book, and had I given it a chance last pregnancy, I could have learned so much that could have helped in ways beyond my imagination now.

During my last pregnancy I was so avoidant of the possibility that a cescersan could happen to me that I skipped any reading or research on it.  I was ill prepared for both the surgery and the emotional scaring that would incur from that experience.  Not to mention, had I more thourghly read a book such as this one, I would have been more prepared for how I would have been treated in the hospital and the policies that are in place, as well as my options there.

In reading “Birthing From Within” these last couple months, I have especially concentrated on the chapters focuses on birthing through pain, positions in birth, and helping to better define my husbands role in labor.  Within these sections I have learned tons about how to write a more thurough birth plan as well as prepare for the possibility of a repeat ceserean birth.  In the case of another c-section however, they discuss how to make that a birth experience in itself rather than just another surgery (or loss of self and a loss of a birth experience which it often feels like instead).

In writing my birth plan, I added elements such as laboring in my own clothing, using upright positions to push in, not being timed for labor, immediate skin to skin contact, having DH or myself help catch baby, having APGAR testing be performed while baby is skin to skin, and several other non-standard practices.  I was much more “go-with-the-flow” at my last hospital birth which resulted in me having to fight for the immediate rooming-in we were promised in the first place!  So, this time, I’ve left no room for them to even remove him from my presence!  I have also attempted to try and add several elements to my labor that I would enjoy/benefit from in a home birth.

I am 38 weeks along today and growing more anxious each and every day to meet him.  Mirabelle told me the other day she was tired of waiting for her brother, she wants him to come NOW!  I concur..  Just as I felt last time, I am truly anxious and looking forward to the birthing experience, and can honestly say I am ready for just about ANYTHING and will take it as it comes.  The Lord has been good to us in blessing us with this 2nd child and however he must come into the world, I am ready for!

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9 months.

Side Note: Just a quick little rant that has nothing to do with my following post..I can’t believe how lame my blog posting frequency has been over the course of the last 6-12 months has been.  I remember a time (definitely pre-babies, but even since) when I used to make blogging a daily priority and now I can hardly scrounge up the time, energy, or thought to post on a monthly basis it seems.  I will occasionally come up with a brilliant topic in my head and think to post later, then talk myself out of it for controversy sake, or I am just simply too tired to complete a coherent thought!

With all that said, I really would like to start posting with MUCH greater frequency as I have said many many other times here before, I just don’t know when I can promise that will be.  I want boldness to be “controversal” in my posts and feel I don’t need to apologize for saying what I want to say.  And I feel that I have grown a lot in the last 9 months in many areas..particularly in the arenas such as birth advocacy and spiritually as a Christian as well.

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My 36 week baby bump!

I can’t believe I am quite literally in the “home-stretch” as some call it!  Our little baby boy is moving and growing like crazy.  I can’t wait to meet him.  I’ve mentioned it before but, since my first birth resulted in an unforseen cesarean, I will be attempting a VBAC this time around.  After much prayer and talk, my husband and I together chose to use an OB who was VBAC-friendly and birth in a hospital.  The truth of the matter is, I would be much more comfortable in the care of a midwife and I think I would be more relaxed and at peace laboring in my home.  However, considering this was my first VBAC, I have never spontaneously labored before (they induced me at 41.2 wks. last preg. because my fluid levels were too low),  and I was diagnosed with Epilepsy since my last pregnancy and have gone through med. changes during the pregnancy, we felt it would be best to have a hospital birth this go around just in case.

I chose my doctor after receiving a glorious recommendation from a friend who was a current patient of hers, who was to deliver her 4th baby with her (3rd VBAC).  In the first several months I thought she was great!  She was upbeat and seemed very positive and encouraging about going forward with the VBAC.  Nearing the end of my 2nd trimester I realized I had forgot to ask some questions of her that I should have probably asked initially (such as, will I be required to have constant or intermittent monitoring, can I labor at home before coming in, and a few others I am forgetting right now).  She then proceeded to act confused and asked if I was even doing a “trial of labor”?  To which I gasped a resounding “YES!…I’m a VBAC.”  She turned around to her screen to double-check her chart and said, “Oh, I guess you are marked down to do a Trial of Labor.”.  I hate that phraseology by the way!!!  I wanted to cry right then and there…I couldn’t believe I had been on this journey for so long with this care provider thinking she knew me, was pro-VBAC, and here she was wanting me to rush into the hospital at the slightest hint of labor, sit there on monitors and hope for the best!  It was that day for the first time I felt she was no longer my partner and care provider in this, but yet another hurdle in this challenging pregnancy/birth that lies ahead.

Yesterday, things got much worse and I left her office in tears and I don’t believe I stopped crying for a good 4+ hours.  Yesterday was my 36 week appointment.  I woke up excited and encouraged!  I woke up thinking, only 1-6 weeks left!  I had a appointment with my doula the following day and was prepared with a few questions for the OB from that meeting.  (Meeting with my doula had me excited about preparing for labor…considering the dream scenario for labor is fun!  Even if you don’t get EVERYTHING you want, its fun to dream and begin to visualize the act of true natural labor.  I am really hoping and praying for an experience more closely matched to what I expected last time and what we discussed this week! ) I knew she would be performing the Beta Strep test that morning so after the routine weight, B/P, fetal HR check, they had me get undressed for the test.  When my OB performed the strep test she decided without warning OR CONSENT to also perform a vaginal exam to check progression and positioning!!  Needless to say, I was NOT happy!  Had she asked, I would have told her NO to performing an exam that early on.  However I would have loved for her to check positioning but obviously that’s not the best way to do that!  And, she has NEVER checked his positioning where as, my midwives last pregnancy were often checking Mirabelle’s positioning by poking and feeling around on my belly.  They could tell me where her legs and butt and head were. The only check my OB seems to ever do is the dumb tape measurement test I believe to be grossly inaccurate (which has nothing to do with positioning) for determining baby’s size..especially since I am a heavier woman.

After she performs these tests on me, she then sits me up and says,

“I need to tell you I am having concerns that your baby might be pretty big.”

I don’t really respond at this point other than a casual nod and maybe a smirk because all I can think is..”ah, the typical line you guys feed women to scare them into C-sections and I’m not buying it..”.

She then says, “I’m not saying we’re looking at a 10 pounder here, but if your pregnancy were to go much further, we could be.”  To which I responded, “You know, they told me a similar thing with Mirabelle. Well, they were saying she was going to be a healthy sized baby 8-9 pounds, and she wasn’t close!”.

Dr. “And how big was she?”

Me: “6 pounds 13 oz., and that was at 41.2 weeks.”

Dr. ” Oh well I can promise you, this baby has already well surpassed that and your only 36 weeks!”

At this point I am pretty sure I have not been shy about rolling my eyes!  To which she tries to make a cutesy joke of saying that I am free to go home and start contracting like crazy and have this baby, the sooner the better for my sake!  I then asked her, “uh, so how long are you going to allow this pregnancy to go?”  She responds with, “Well, normally I let me VBAC patients go to the 41st week but in your case and given the size of your baby, I can’t in good conscious let you go past 40 weeks!”.

This is when I lost it (on the inside that is).  One thing to know about me, I am entirely too quite when it comes to how I feel and when it comes to standing up for myself!  I usually clam up in the moment when I feel attacked or when I should be expressing my feelings or defending my opinions, basically because I go into shock I believe and/or I don’t have the right words or questions to ask until the moment is gone.

This week I am going to write those feelings and questions down and hopefully drag my husband along to my next appointment so I can get all that out with her.  I feel she made a bad assessment about the size of my baby based on a measurement that is going to be inaccurate on a person like myself, and I think she is trying to assert power over me because she doesn’t appreciate the fact that I have been managing my care as much as I have been.  I have refused several tests that most women blindly submit to because they are simply offered to them and pitched as basic prenatal care and I think that bothers her.  There was also an incident where she was listening to baby’s heartbeat on the doppler around 30 weeks and said she could hear hiccups.  After a few minutes she changed her mind and decided it could be a heart murmur and wanted me to submit to an expensive ultrasound to decipher the murmur from hiccups!  She said it wouldn’t change anything about the pregnancy, but I think she was looking for one more thing to write up on my chart to bully me into a planned c-section!

So, with all that hashed out….I now have to find a way to relax enough over the next 4 weeks to actually GO into labor.  I am so tense right now I wouldn’t know how that could happen.  Lots of walks for us and loving my daughter while its just the two of us!  I love being pregnant and I love being a mom…but I will be glad when I am no longer a VBAC advocate from this side of the spectrum.  And, if all goes well, I will definitely be HBAC’ing next time!!

My baby boy @36wks.

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Good Morning 3rd Trimester!

Today marked the beginning of my 3rd trimester.  I started the day excited and stunned at how quickly this pregnancy has flown by, despite some of the odd health blunders I had in the 1st trimester (which were not pregnancy related btw).  I am in a desperate search for a Doula right now which is becoming a little frustrating and frightening because I really do not want to go into this birth without one.  Before we even left the hospital after my c-section with Mirabelle, my husband and I discussed details about our next birth experience and how we would definitely plan for a VBAC and to hire a Doula.   I have put 4 calls into some recommended assistants that have not panned out for one reason or another, and I have two more to call and then I am out of options at this time.  EEK!

As today progress, I found myself growing more and more depressed.  My mind was churning with terrible thoughts about myself, my capabilities or lack thereof, fears about this upcoming birth, and my shortcomings as a woman (including the roles I fill day in and day out).  Tonight I have summed it up to, I am under a deep spiritual attack that will very likely carry on throughout the rest of my pregnancy until I give birth.  How I get through this time though is entirely up to me!  It doesn’t necessarily mean this has to be a dark season for me…but I have A LOT of pray and work to do in letting go of the past and giving this pending labor over to God to guide me through or everything that I fear that is burdening me today will in fact come to pass.

I am spending more time now reading about birth, I am going to being spending a lot more time praying and meditating on what God wants to teach me and is asking of me and of my body during this season, as well as doing the things to prime my body physically that I have been concerned could be stumbling blocks during my physical labor.  In this revelation I have felt a heavy sense of peace and I feel that if I truly move forward in the next few months as a trusting child of God, I will successfully birth as He intends me to.  And if I end up in surgery again, I will not be heavy-laden with grief as I fear today.  I will have already allowed myself the grace I need, and He will guide my soul to a place of immediate peace and healing.

Now..completely off topic, I realized I haven’t posted any recent pictures of Mirabelle (I think its been a good 6 months!!).  So here are a few:

Headed out to play in the snow..it actually snowed in Houston!!

I asked her to smile..THIS is what I got!!

Our family Advent worship..Mirabelle loved singing "O Come, O Come Emmanuel"

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Quick Catch-up:

Its been a very long time since I have posted on this blog.  I never intended to take such a long break away.  Then it seemed like it was one thing after another! Unfortunately the end of the 1st trimester did not lend way to a relief in symptoms or life’s complications.  So here is a bullet point breakdown of what’s happened the last two months.

– The heartburn and acid reflux got so bad (that I mentioned in my last post) I was able to eat only very soft foods or liquids so my OB sent me to an ENT.  After a very uncomfortable procedure (camera down the throat) they put me on Nexium and it seems to have relieved most of my problems.

– During the worst of it I lost 20 pounds in a 3wk. period of time

–  At my 3 month check-up  I went in complaining about a sore lump on my leg.  It turned out to be a severe case of Staph

– I was checked in to the hospital for 48 hrs. of IV antibotics

– I ended up staying for 6 days and having to have surgery on the wound!

– Haven’t gained any weight back but I’ve stopped losing and I am eating about 60% better than I was when I was down to liquids.

–  With all the drama I have been through thus far this pregnancy, I feel like I have a very negative focus that I did NOT have during my first pregnancy.  I feel like I am worrying constantly ALL THE TIME.  (I feel like every pain, every twinge, or the fact that I don’t really feel the baby move yet (at least I don’t think I have) means something terrible is/has/was/will happen!)

– I am 17weeks and 5 days along now!

 

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oh the joy…

That 1st trimester is full of joy, which I say with both honesty and scarcasm!  I love being pregnant and am so excited about the coming addition to our family!  However, this pregnancy thus far has proven to be a bit more eventful.  As usual, I am dealing with the normal severe exahustion.  I wake up tired, take a nap midday with my toddler, and then go to bed tired in the evening.  But, I am also struggling with a lot of heartburn.  It became so severe recently that I started having trouble eating.  When I would try to swallow my food it would feel as if I was choking!  It was the oddest thing I have ever experienced.  I am on a course of Nexium that should help correct this.  I am ready to hit that 2nd trimester already and start getting my baby bump and start getting my energy back!

To add insult to injury, I am fighting my first cold of the season…my wonderful MIL took my daughter for the afternoon so I could rest.  I just woke from a nap and I think I am going to take advantage of the peace by finishing up my “Creative Family” book and start “Dirt”.

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Baby on TV.

This past week we had our first OB appointment for this pregnancy.  Its really strange to be talking about an OB since I have never been under the care of one before.  However, since we have decided to do a hospital-VBAC we will have to use an OB.  I really liked her though and felt very comfortable with her care thus far.  I will definitely be hiring a doula this time around though.

We discussed why I had a c-section with my first pregnancy and she said it sounded like an “induction fail” and we would have no trouble going forward with laboring on this birth.  She will review the charts from the OB who performed my c-section.  Hearing her mention my induction made me squeamish..I was so angry about having to do that but I am past it now.

She went ahead and performed an ultrasound so we were able to see the baby’s heartbeat.  I appreciated that because, since I have so few pregnancy symptoms, I always have so many fears and lingering doubts up until I can see or hear that beautiful heartbeat.  The best part of this ended up being Mirabelle’s reaction to seeing the baby on the screen.  Ever since we found out we were expecting, we have started to drop hints to her that she is going to be a sister so she can start to understand the concept.  Well, when she saw that baby on the screen she cried out “Oh, look!!  There’s the baby!  Yea!!  That’s great!!”.

It made my day!  And she hasn’t stopped talking about it since Wednesday.  Also, when we asked her tonight where Momma’s baby was she said “In Momma’s tummy.”, so it sounds like she is catching on quite well!

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ok ok ok..

So I stink at commitment when it comes to this blog.  I wanted to do a 35 day photo posting thinking that would both dedicate me to posting every day, and also give me time to gear up for posting true, substantial and heart-felt blog posts but that didn’t work as you have seen!

Not to mention we got some really big and exciting news in the midst of this that I have been dying to share and now that we have finally told family the news I can share it with you… I AM PREGNANT WITH BABY #2!

It was fun to tell my husband this time around..I surprised him when he came home from work with the news.  I dressed up our daughter in a t-shirt that read “I’m The Big Sister” but it took him a good 5-7 minutes to notice it.  I actually  had to point out to him she had a new shirt on before he actually read it!  Then he finally caught on..

We are very excited and feel truly blessed by this precious gift.  But I need to lay a very serious prayer request out there for anyone still reading.  This is hard for me to share since so few people actually know about this to date. Last year I was diagnosed with Epilepsy.  I am under the care of a Neurologist and am taking AED medications.  I still have a lot of doubts about the validity of my diagnosis and was looking into getting a 2nd opinion when I found out I was pregnant.  Because my current DR. is very certain I am having seizures and no on will question this or make adjustments to my current regimen while I am pregnant, this means I will have to stay on my AED medication throughout my pregnancy.  While I happen to be on one of the safest of the AED meds. on the market (and I am only on ONE vs. multiple prescriptions), there are still elevated risks of birth defects as compared to if I was on no medication.  basically my risk goes from 3-5% to 10%.

One risk is a neural tube defect.  I have my  first doctors appt. on 9/2 and we will be past the point in the pregnancy when the neural tube should have closed so we will know by that point if we are out of the woods there.  The other big concern will be a cleft lip and/or palate and we should have our answer concerning that at our 20 week anatomy ultrasound.  When I first began reading about these defects and statistics I grew petrified.  I started having anxiety attacks!  I have since remembered that regardless of the outcome, there is new life that God has created and He is in control.  He has a beautiful plan for this child and I know he is protecting us. Also, there is so much more research in our favor that he/she will be completely healthy and brilliant!!  So, I ask you to join me in praying for my child and for me to continue to trust in God.

Thank You!

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