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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Luca's Birth in Pictures (Part 1)

All photos were taken courtesy of www.maysaphotography.com

I feel like the photos really speak for themselves, so I offer no descriptions. You can read my birth story here.




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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Luca's Birth Story

I'm trying to write this while it's still fresh in my mind. I'm still kind of in awe of everything that happened.

Two days before I had Luca, I lost my mucus plug and then lost more of it in bits and pieces the following day. I had a few contractions that just screamed, "These are different!" and I had the urge to call my midwife. I don't know why, because I knew that losing my mucus plug didn't mean anything, but I just had this intuition-like feeling that I needed to give her a head's up.

On Thursday&Friday, I got some important things done. I picked up the carseat and finished shopping for my daughter's Hayden's birthday present. I confirmed the information about Hayden's party. I cleaned my room.

Friday night, I had some weird pressure/pain. It was really bothering me, so I decided to take a shower and try to go to bed. I texted my friend, Maysa, and told her, "I don't know what's happening to me, but, it hurts. My legs, pelvis, and back hurt." It didn't feel like tightening, it felt ... weird. I felt like I desperately had to poop. Throughout the night, a contraction would wake me up and I'd go to sit down on the toilet. Finally, I pooped - and I felt so much better. I then had a contraction that woke me up at 5am and I couldn't go back to sleep.

I knew that I had to get up out of my bed at 5.30am. Unfortunately, my 2-year-old, Vincent, who had been in my bed, woke up too. I woke up my mom, who was there to keep an eye on my kids for the birth, and we went downstairs. I ended up on my hands and knees on the couch, contracting every 3-5minutes. It still didn't FEEL like contractions - it felt like a burning period cramp. I told my mom that I didn't remember contractions feeling like this. I was silent when working through them and I was talking in-between them, so I told my mom that it was too soon to call Mary (my midwife).

My mom called anyway and she asked me, "how painful are they on a scale from 1-10?" while I was having one. I said, kind of tense, "I don't know. 6 or 7?" I was annoyed that she asked me while I was contracting. Mary told my mom that she was getting dressed and she'd be right over. I then announced that I hate that stupid pain scale.

I decided to call my friends, Sarah & Maysa, but they both had an hour drive ahead of them and I didn't want them to leave if I wasn't in true labor - since my contractions felt so "different." I told them both that I'd call them back after Mary checked me. I remember scoffing/laughing when I spoke with Sarah, and then thinking, "There's no way I'm giving birth today. I'm in a good mood!" When I spoke with Maysa, I ended the conversation with, "I need to go before I have another contraction."

Vincent was awake the entire time and, surprisingly, didn't bother me. He sat with me a few times and hugged me. The damn cat came out into the living room, though, and SHE bothered me. I made my mom chase her down and lock her upstairs.

Alice, my mother-in-law (and who's home I gave birth in!) had been dropping a friend off at the airport and came home extremely surprised to find the house well-lit. When she figured out what was happening, she kind of squealed with delight. I had been coming from the bathroom, which always caused a heckuva contraction, and she embraced me in this excited hug. I returned to the couch and got back on my hands and knees and Alice asked me, "How are you feeling?" It annoyed the crap out of me and she must have seen my emotions on my face, because she left me alone.

Alice got kind of panicky in this moment and was asking my mom about what they should do. Luckily, Mary got there and eased the tension. I finished up a contraction (which I was still moving through silently at this point) and then we went to the bedroom. I expressed my concerns with Mary, that I wasn't very far along. I told her that my contractions felt "weird" and she said, very matter-of-factly, "I know." She remembered that I didn't want to know how many centimeters dilated that I was, so when she checked me, she said, "the baby's head is right there and your bag is bulging." She wanted to check me through a contraction, and I wasn't able to be silent through that one. Mary asked, "that wasn't a very strong one, was it?" and I said, "no - but it hurt really badly because I'm on my back." She then turned to Alice and said, "let's set everything up." She told me that when I felt like getting in the pool, just to let her know, and she'd check me again. After I had Luca, I learned that when she had checked me, I was 6cm.

I had my mom call Maysa, Sarah, and my doula, Victoria. I went upstairs to shower (and shouted from atop the stairs, "Oh, and call my husband!") The water felt so wonderful, but I hated having to stand. I remember thinking, "This is why people want to be in the birth pools." I put on my birth skirt and my sports bra and went downstairs. I asked for my mom to grab the exercise ball, and I sat on that, leaning against the bed. One of the birth assistant's checked the baby's heartrate (perfect) and then they continued to set up the bed and fill the pool. I was starting to make a little bit of noise during my contractions, but not too much. I didn't think they hurt that badly. Especially since the birth ball took pressure off my pelvis, and I was able to sway my hips. I swear on my life that contractions hurt less when you're at home.

Victoria got there and I asked her if she knew how to do french braids since I had a feeling that Maysa wasn't going to get there in time to do them. She did, and she pulled my hair back for me as I sat on the ball. It was distracting, which was nice. When she went to start on the second braid, I had a contraction that I really had to moan through. She told me, "I could tell that one was different." I chalked it up to it being a double-peak contraction. Around this time, my mom brought Hayden in and I gave her a hug. Vincent ran into a few times and then Andrea showed up. I told her, kind of harshly, to "get them out of here." I remember feeling extremely exasperated that no one was keeping them out of the room. My mom and Alice kept asking me questions, and I got extremely frustrated with them as well (do you know how hard it is to answer questions while you're in labor?) I know they were trying to be helpful, but I was not in the state of mind to think about whether I wanted to eat or not. After awhile, everyone seemed to realize that I wasn't going to be holding any valuable conversations.

I told Victoria that my butt really hurt and I thought it was because the baby was so low and my bag was bulging. She applied counter pressure with a tennis ball, and it felt heavenly. After another contraction that made me moan and groan, I requested to get in the pool. Mary asked me if I wanted to be checked, and I said no. She then said, "if you feel like getting in the pool, get in the pool!" I just stripped my skirt off at this point and sat in the water. It felt soooooo good. It wasn't deep enough, however, and I asked Victoria to fill it up more. She told me, "It's coming out ice cold. I'm going to have to go put a pot on the stove." I moaned through another contraction and then started laughing. I turned to her and said, "The faucet! It's backwards." I had forgotten that detail. She turned it the other direction and we got some hot water going. Once the water was over my butt, my "problem area," it felt awesome. Well, it didn't feel "nice" but it didn't hurt so much.

Victoria asked me if I wanted Sarah - who had just shown up- in the room, and I said yes. At this point, the only people in the bathroom were Victoria, Sarah, and me. It was really, really nice. I was extremely happy to see Sarah and I remember really wanting to be able to hold someone's hand - so I was really glad when Sarah offered hers. I also remember asking her to get my camera because no one had gotten any photos yet and one of my biggest fears was not getting a single photo of the birth. At some point, Alice came in and asked if I wanted music and all I could do was shake my head "no." Victoria mentioned that I wanted quiet. Somewhere in here, I saw that Maysa (who was photographing the birth) had shown up. I remember thinking, "Awesome. Photos" and that I was in a bad position for pictures - but, frankly, I didn't care. I was leaning over the pool with my head down and I didn't want to move.

It was amazing how out of this world I felt. Like I was in some distant universe. I did not care about how long my contractions were lasting, or how far apart they were. I didn't care how many I had. I didn't even care what time it was. All that mattered was what was happening to me at that moment.

During my contractions, I would just moan through them and sway my hips. I kept thinking that I couldn't be that far along because I still felt "aware" and 'with it.' However, I started crying. I don't even know why. It hurt, but was still manageable. Yet, I just started crying. I remember Victoria was really with it and got me tissues. I also remember passing my snotty tissues on to Sarah and feeling bad that she had to take them from me. I was holding back, so I was glad when Victoria told me, "sometimes, we just need a good cry. Just cry. Let it all out now." So, I did.

Mary came in at some point and told me that she could check me in the pool or on the bed. She then said something about how I didn't want to birth in the water. Victoria repeated what Mary said to me and included that I could change my mind (about birthing in the water) and I just shook my head. I was beyond words at this point (yet, I still thought I had awhile to go - I didn't believe I was close to pushing). After another contraction, I asked to get out. Mary came to help me and I wanted a bathrobe. I didn't want to be completely naked, because I was cold. Alice had a bathrobe that I ended up wearing (and, destroying. Luckily, it was old and she needed a new one anyway). I peed, which caused a horribly painful contraction, and I was thankful that Victoria came in the bathroom and helped me lean forward. I then made my way over to the bed.

I was in a side-lying position when Mary came to check me and I said, "I don't want to move!" and she told me that was fine. She said that I had a lip left that was behind the baby's head. She discussed 3 options with me. 1) I could try a different position to see if that resolved the lip 2) she could move it out of the way and I could push past it or 3) we could do nothing. I decided to get on my hands and knees. They brought over the birth ball and I leaned on that. Victoria was on my left and Sarah was on my right. It was at this point in labor that I hit the point of, "Oh, God.
This.is.it." I was screaming a bit more loudly, and kept hearing reminders to keep my voice low. I remember saying, "Ow" a few times. I could hear the kids outside and I wanted to shout, "Can someone SHUT THEM UP" but, I didn't.

Hayden, who turned a 5 a day after I gave birth, had heard the noises I was making and kept saying that I was having the baby. Originally, I had decided to let her in the room while I was pushing, if she wanted to be in there. However, when my mom came in and asked if Hayden could come in, I said no. I didn't want her to see me so out of control. I think I would have been worried about what she was hearing/seeing if she were there - and that would have hindered my labor.

Plus, the room was packed full as it was (it didn't bother me though - it was a room full of women who were all respecting my birth process). I was really surprised at how quiet it was. The only person making noise was me. I heard words of encouragement from Victoria and Sarah. I heard them remind me to just let go, to take deep breaths for my baby, to use a low voice. I said, "I don't want to do this anymore" and I said, "I can't." I can't remember whether I wanted to be checked or if Mary offered, but I remember distinctly not wanting to push on hands and knees. Of all the positions in the world, I wanted to be on my back. I don't even know why, but that was where I wanted to be. Mary said okay, but made me sit up - so I was in a semi-reclining position. The lip was still there.

At this point, I asked her to break my bag of waters. I wanted to do anything and everything to get the baby out, because I couldn't go through one more contraction. As soon as she broke the amniotic sac, I started getting really long breaks between contractions. I remember discussing how nice the breaks were - they were just what I needed. Mary then mentioned how she could move the lip out of the way and everyone explained to me how this was probably in my best interests. I agreed to let her move it - I just wanted things to be over with.

During my next contraction, she moved it out of the way - and I screamed with all of my might for her to get out. It was the most painful thing that I have ever felt. Mary moved her hand away and said, 'Okay, okay.' I think this is when I started freaking out. I hit that point where I realized that if I didn't push my baby out, that meant that I was going to have to continue to be in labor - and, in pain. However, pushing my baby out was going to hurt. No matter what I chose, it was going to hurt. I started declaring that I couldn't do this and Mary said, "Cassie, you have to. And, by the time we got to the hospital, you wouldn't want to be there anymore, anyway." Victoria told me that once I pushed past the pain, it was over. I decided to try again.

With the next contraction, Mary moved the lip out of the way. I screamed and shouted and fought - but I somehow found it within me to push. I did this twice, maybe three times, and I felt instant relief. I could feel that the head was there, but not quite past the pubic bone. I remember Mary getting hot compresses and other things to protect my perineum. With my next contraction, the baby started crowning, and this is when I feel like I lost it. I screamed- shrill screams. Mary was trying to convince me to give little pushes. My rational mind knew that she was suggesting this as a way to help protect my perineum, but my instinctual mind was saying, "NOOOOOO way." I screamed and shouted and yelled - including the cliche statement, "GET IT OUT." I just wanted to push with all of my might, so, I did. I pushed and pushed until I felt the relief of the head come out. I felt like this took ages. Later, Mary would tell me that I only pushed for 12 minutes. I also found out later that Luca had her hand up by her face when she was born - no wonder it hurt! (However, I did not tear!)

I remember people asking me if I wanted to feel the head, and I didn't. I then heard Mary say that they were going to do this "without a contraction" because I had "too much power." She told me to push again, and I remember thinking, "You're crazy! I feel so much better now. I'm not pushing ever again" I did though, screaming again (my birth video is slightly embarrassing for me to watch because I can't believe how shrilly I shouted!) when the shoulders came out. Then, at 8.34am - just 3 hours after I began active labor - Mary told me to reach down and grab my baby, and, I did.

All of a sudden, everything just kind of disappeared. I think I started saying, "Oh my God, oh my God." She was on my belly, looking at me. She was pink and letting out little cries. They gave me a towel and I rubbed her back and she let out a few good cries. She had a ton of vernix, and I remember noting that. I heard Mary said, "What the heck?" and I asked if there was anything wrong, and she assured me that everything was fine. She told me, kind of sternly, to keep my legs open and "help her out." I was on a birth high and not really paying much attention to her, which I feel a little bad about because she was dealing with a kind of serious situation - I just didn't realize it. Mary saw pulsing blood and clamped the cord quickly (Alice cut it) and then gave me a shot of Cytotec in the leg. She then told me to pull my legs back and I pushed with a contraction, feeling the placenta come out. It almost hurt. The assistant took the placenta right away to make sure it was all there and Mary stayed to monitor my blood loss. Apparently, I had a partial placental abruption as Luca was born (which Mary says can happen even in the healthiest of pregnancies). I couldn't tell, but Maysa said there was a large blood gush as she came out and that there was blood pulsing out. I'm glad Mary did what she had to do to take care of it though and that I didn't need to transfer.

Anyway, back to my baby high. I realized after holding Luca for a minute that I didn't know what she was. I couldn't really move her to tell because of the position she was in, so I just stuck my hand down by her butt and start searching frantically for a scrotum. I felt and felt and felt and couldn't find her balls. Then it hit me and I announced, "is it a girl???" I wanted someone to verify it for me, and I heard Mary let out a small, "Yep" and then heard squeals. I couldn't believe it. I was seriously stunned. At this point, I had someone call Jarrod and I said, "Honey, you do make girls!" I then asked if that's what the doctor had written down. A week or so earlier, Jarrod had 'slipped' and said, "Tell him to hang on longer." He then made kind of a big deal about our boy name. I didn't tell Jarrod that I heard his "oops'es" - but I was convinced that this baby was a boy. I found out later that Jarrod made those "errors" on purpose. I should have expected that. That sounds like something he would do. I'm glad he did, too. I can't even begin to explain the utter celebration that was the moment of her birth. Obviously, we would have loved a boy all the same- but I wanted a girl and I was so attached to her name. It's been 5 years since I've had a baby girl, so I wanted another. Discovering that she was, indeed, a little girl was such a cool moment. I'll never forget it.

I basked in my baby for awhile, nursing her and staring at her, and then I handed her over to Alice so that I could clean up quickly. I took a quick shower and I changed into a nursing gown and got back in the bed. They did the newborn exam. When she was first born, she looked tiny. She looked short and tiny. Even Mary said that she was probably 7.5lbs. However, when they did the exam, she said she changed her mind - she appeared bigger. Luca was 20.5 inches long (same length as Vincent) and 8lbs even. My smallest baby yet!

I actually kind of wonder if my dates were off (which is completely possible - I did use the due date of February 4th for awhile). Luca was covered in vernix and her earlobes were soft and given her weight, I'm curious if to maybe she was a 38-weeker and not 39 weeks. Anyway, not that it matters since she decided to be born. (Can I say how happy this makes me? I did absolutely nothing to even encourage labor, aside from walking, maybe. Luca came when Luca was ready).

I nursed her again and then handed her off so I could eat my first meal (HoneySmacks cereal, ha!). The kids came in to meet Luca. Hayden was told that it was, indeed, a sister. Vincent didn't really care. I got them out of there soon though because I was in a lot of discomfort. My afterpains were horrendous. I think that if you have a natural birth, you should be exempt from having contractions afterward. People were beginning to leave at this point and, eventually, it was just Maysa and me (and Luca). I was thankful for that because I was able to kind of talk out my emotions (such as the fact that I felt horrible that my pains were so bad, it was hard for me to focus on the baby). I took some pain medication and drank some water and just kind of relaxed. Maysa left soon after that and I nursed the baby and then we both took a nap. When I woke up, I felt a ton better - and I stayed in bed just staring at Luca and looking her over. I called Jarrod back and we talked about how she looked like him and about how cute she was. He asked if my birth went well and I told him, "You know, I'm proud of myself" and he said, "Yeah - and I'm proud of you too."

Looking back on my birth, I'm really, really pleased with how it went. I'm thrilled that my daughter was born safely at home. I can't begin to explain the "birth high" that accompanies natural birth - and the recovery has been excellent. Quick and easy. It really was a beautiful, intense birth.

I do wish that Jarrod would have been here - but, what could I do? And, I did have a group of people that offered amazing support. Some probably think that I had far too many people there, but I wouldn't have had it any other way. Everyone respected what was happening - and everyone knew when to be quiet and when to offer words of encouragement. Another thing that makes me a little sad is that the cord did not stop pulsating before it was clamped and cut - however, I'm not hung up about it. I had blood pulsing out of me and Mary was concerned that there was a tear in the cord - which would have meant that the baby was losing blood. I would have clamped it too. I'm also a little confused as to why I wanted to push on my back. I always envisioned myself pushing on my hands and knees, or squatting. I did what I felt like doing though, I'm just curious as to why listening to my body put me on my back! Everything else went perfectly.

It really was just an amazing experience. Having a homebirth makes me want to have 10 more homebirths. I don't even know how to put it into words - there isn't a sentence I could write that would explain how awesome I feel. How beautiful it was. How perfect she is.


Luca Lynn Hope
Born at home on 1.22.11 at 8.34am
8lbs0oz
20.5 inches long

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Guest Post: Reflections on a Homebirth

My good friend, Sarah, had her first homebirth in November. She was certain she'd go overdue and her baby caught everyone by surprise when she decided to come early, before any of Sarah's support had arrived, on Thanksgiving Day (Sarah even had a turkey in the oven and everything!) After giving birth to her 2nd daughter, Lucy, they were transferred unexpectedly to the hospital. Sarah's full birth story can be found HERE.

When looking back on her birth experience, Sarah offered valuable insight and wisdom that I wanted to share with all of you. Though she refers specifically to homebirth, all of her suggestions apply to every woman.

Simply put: 1) You need to plan for back-up support 2) When it comes to a care provider, don't "settle" and 3) Be prepared for the unexpected because, even when moms are empowered and calling the shots, birth is still unpredictable.



Every now and then (and it's usually when I'm in the shower and have time to think), I start thinking about my birth and what I could have/should have done differently. I'm about 80% satisfied with my birth experience and the things that I'm unsatisfied with are things that don't matter much in the long run (like not getting birth photos or having my placenta encapsulated). Still, there are things that I would like to do differently next time and I'm already starting to think about those things.

For Baby #3, I need to have not only a plan, but a back up plan.

I was so certain that Lucy would come after her due date that I didn't make any kind of back up plan in case she came early - before my support system arrived. I mentioned to my doula, Cassie, that I felt like I didn't handle my labor very well and she said that she thought it was because I was mentally unprepared. I think she's right. When I finally admitted to myself that I was in labor (which I'm going to guess was at about 8-9cm dilated and maybe 2 hours before Lucy was born), I basically saw my entire birth plan fall apart right in front of me and because of that, I think I was subconsciously trying to fight or escape labor. My mom wasn't there, meaning that my husband, Jon, had to take care of our daughter, Arianna. He needed to tend to her needs as well as mine. There were times when Arianna whined about things during my contractions and I got irritated and snapped at her. Then, immediately after I snapped, I would feel horrible and start crying about what a bad mother I was. Cassie wasn't there, which meant that I didn't have my doula, my photographer, or my placenta encapsulator. Actually, I was relying on Cassie for a lot of different things and only now do I realize how unfair that was - not only to myself, but to her. That's a lot of pressure to put on someone, especially when they have to travel to attend your birth (can I tell you how hard it is to plan travel around something as unpredictable as birth?). I should have had a backup doula, a backup photographer, and a backup placenta encapsulator lined up, just in case. Of course, I still would have rather had Cassie there simply because she's a friend and someone that I trust, but I think if I had backups, I would have accepted that I was in labor much sooner and possibly handled it better.

For Baby #3, I will spare NO cost.

I WILL interview several different midwives until I find a perfect fit and I won't choose a midwife solely based on whether or not my insurance will cover her. Don't get me wrong, I still think that my midwives are good midwives. I think that for some women, they are a really good fit and I've read testimonials from women who have had amazing birth experiences with them. I just don't know that they were the perfect fit for me. First, the practice is made up of six different midwives meaning that I saw a different midwife at just about every appointment. I also didn't get to choose who attended my birth, I just got whoever was on call that day. I definitely preferred seeing a midwife (or, midwives) over seeing an OB for my prenatal care. There was never a long wait to see them and I could easily decline tests and procedures that I felt unnecessary. Also, in some aspects, the care was more personalized - but the experience still wasn't perfect. I would like to find a midwife that works on her own, or maybe with one other midwife or assistant. Then I can really get to know the person who will attend my birth.

The midwife who attended my birth yelled at me while I was pushing. Lucy was starting to crown and I started to freak out a little bit, getting loud and saying that I couldn't do this anymore. She yelled, "SARAH! Now, STOP IT! Push! Now breathe! NOW PUSH! BREATHE!" At the time, it didn't bother me because I was focused on getting the baby out. However, looking back on it, it bothers me a lot and was definitely not part of the gentle birth that I had planned for (although, all of the screaming that I was doing was also not part of my "vision"). It wasn't just the volume of her voice either, it was the tone in which she said it. I felt like a child being scolded. She also didn't remember that she had attended my birth when I saw her at my postpartum appointment. She was looking through my records and said, "Okay, so who attended the birth? Oh, I did! Haha!" Not only am I uncertain about how you could forget that you attended someone's birth, mine was also on Thanksgiving! I would have thought she would have remembered it, just based on that!

For baby #3, I need to prepare and have a plan in case a transfer becomes necessary.

I really have no excuse for why I didn't prepare myself for a transfer other than the fact that, like most people, I never thought it would happen to me. When I found out that we were transferring, everything suddenly felt surreal. Since the ambulance that picked us up came from on base, they showed up less than five minutes after the midwife placed the call and we were thrown into chaos. Jon was frantically trying to pack a hospital bag while also trying to keep Arianna out of the way. The midwife and the birth assistant were calling out things that Jon needed to grab so he wouldn't forget ("Carseat! Clothes for the baby! Cell phone charger!"). I was trying to find clothes to put on since all I had on was the thin dress that I had given birth in. Even though it's something that I pray doesn't happen with the third baby, I need to prepare for it just in case it does. It wouldn't hurt to have a hospital bag packed and have everything in one place in case we need to grab stuff and go. It won't make me any happier about a transfer, but at least then the transition might be a little bit calmer.

I also need to prepare for what I might encounter at the hospital. I was all geared up to advocate and fight for Lucy, but I never thought about having to fight for myself. I was prepared to refuse formula, fight the hospital on vaccines, and demand that my daughter be allowed to room in. Interestingly enough, I didn't have to fight for any of those things. The NICU nurses and neonatologist were WONDERFUL. Jon made it clear that nothing was to be done to Lucy without it being cleared with me first (unless of course it needed to be done to save her life, but she wasn't in that much danger) and they respected our wishes 100%. It was the OB who attended me that I was not prepared for and I'm angry with myself for not telling her where to stick it. I was just so overwhelmed by that time and I was all alone. I was longing to be with my baby and was pretty much willing to do whatever I was told to do in order to make that happen.

So that's really all I've got so far, though I'm sure I'll add to it as I learn more. I'm going to do everything in my power to make my next birth an empowering and healing experience.

We often read about women who have reflected on their hospital births and wished that they had done things differently - but we forget that there is still something to be learned from all birth experiences.

Looking back on your own birth/s, is there anything you learned "the hard way" that you'd like to share?

Friday, January 14, 2011

The "Everyone on Twitter is Having Babies List" 2011

...because SOMEONE had to do it.

To find out more about the people on the list, click their names and head over to their websites or Twitter accounts.

*if you would like to be added to the Pregnancy List - let me know your EDD, what gender you're expecting (if you know), and your birth plans. Also let me know what URL you want me to link to

PREGGOS
2011

JANUARY GUESS DATES
tea4tamara - due January 28th (with a girl!) and planning a hypnobirth (hopefully in the water) at home with a midwife

FEBRUARY GUESS DATES
LaurenDJohnson - due February 5th with her 2nd daughter and is planning a waterbirth (possibly at home)

ChaoticKarma23 - due February 11th with her 1st child and is planning a natural hospital birth
TempestBeauty - due February 12th with her 2nd, a girl, and planning a midwife-led birth center birth
OneCrunchyMama - due February 13th with baby #2 (her first girl!) and planning a midwife-attended homebirth
measamommy - due February 14th with her second child (and first girl) and hoping for a VBAC
BirthFaith
- due mid-February with baby #4 and planning her 2nd midwife-attended homebirth
ANaturalPush - due February 25th with her first baby and planning an all-natural homebirth
SugarSweetBaby - due February 26th (with a boy!) and is planning a natural, water birth at a birth center
GoGoMumma - due February 28th and planning a homebirth with an independent midwife
BluebirdMama - due the end of February with her 3rd baby and planning her 3rd, midwife-attended homebirth

MARCH GUESS DATES

shelleyjan1980 - due March 1st with baby #2 (first girl!) and planning to go-with-the-flow
hilmarhan - due March 5th with baby #2 and is planning her 2nd natural birth in a hospital
quazydellasue - due March 9th and planning a home waterbirth with a CNM and doula
FreeChildhood - due March 10th with baby #2 and is planning her 2nd homebirth
Waddlebug - due March 15th (a girl!) and is planning a wate
rbirth at a hospital with a CNM
WeatherGirlKena - due March 18th with her second boy and planning a VBAC
monsterchew - due March 19th with with baby #4 (her 2nd boy!) and having a Cesarean
deannamenyes - due March 28th with her first child (a girl) and hoping for a natural birth in a hospital
3ticklemepink3 - due March 29th with her second boy and planning a natural birth at a hospital

APRIL GUESS DATES
beansprouthair - due April 7th(ish) with her 1st girl and planning her 2nd homebirth with a midwife
FeministBreeder - due mid-April with baby #3 (her 1st girl!) and planning a homebirth (her second VBAC)
ramills08
- due April 20th with baby #2 and planning a homebirth with a CNM
milkmaidmomma - due April 22nd (with a boy!) and planning a VBAC
kaizenwithjen - due April 22nd with her 1st baby (a girl!) and planning a natural hospital birth with a midwife
babywearingitup - due April 29th with baby #3 and planning her 3rd CPM-attended homebirth (and, possibly, a waterbirth)
granolamom - due April 27th with baby #3 (a boy) and planning a natural VBA2C (vaginal birth after 2 cesareans)

MAY GUESS DATES
prairiemama -
due early May with baby #5 (a boy!) and planning a homebirth
havenlilianna - due May 7th with baby #2 and planning a homebirth
BirthBabiesBlog - due May 10th with baby #3 (her 1st girl!) and having her 3rd Cesarean
OMyFamily - due May 11th with her 2nd boy and planning a natural (possibl
e water) birth at a hospital, attended by a CNM and a doula
totallypregnant - due May 12th with her first child (a girl!) and planning a natural birth attended by a doula in the hospital
AromaticHealth - due May 15th with her 2nd child (thinks it's a boy!) and planning a natural birth

JUNE GUESS DATES
Hobo_Mama -
due June 1st-ish with baby #2 and planning a Hypnobabies homebirth with a midwife
girliemama - due June 4th with her 3rd daughter and planning a homebirth
laurie_sanders - due June 11th with baby #2 and is planning a homebirth

JULY GUESS DATES
FertilityFlower
- due July 30th and planning an unmedicated hospital birth

AUGUST
Jenners26 - due mid-August with baby #5 and planning another unassisted birth
Kerisma - due mid-late August with her 2nd child and planning a homebirth


*if you would like to be added to the "births" list, please give me whatever stats you want posted and give me the URL you'd like to link to (preferably to the birth story, if you have it written down!) Pictures are welcome (click to enlarge them)



BIRTHS

JANUARY


ChildbirthEdu gave birth to her son, Benjamin John, at home on January 2nd at 1.45am. He weighed 9lbs5oz, was 21.5 inches long, and had a 14.5inch head!

mamacupcakes
gave birth to her daughter, Mia Emeline, in a home waterbirth, on January 17th at 5.25am. She weighed 7lbs9oz and was 20 inches long
theonlyericka gave birth to her son, Dylan, on January 19th. He weighed 6lbs 9oz

cassiethedoula
gave birth to her daughter, Luca Lynn Hope, at home on January 21st at 8.34am. She was 8lbs even and 20.5 inches long



Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Caspian's Birth Story

Over on the "Everyone on Twitter is Having Babies" list - I allow women the option to link to their birth story. Recently, a Twitter fave of mine had her 3rd child, a son, and wanted to share her birth story but didn't have a blog to post it on. I offered up space on my own blog (since I rarely use this thing any way... I should really get on that).

This is Rhaissa's (forks_n_spoons) birth story of her son. An epidural-free induction!

Caspian Manuel Antonio

7lbs 15oz

20.5in

12/20/2010 8:20pm

I won't bore with details since most of ya'll have kept up with my pregnancy from the moment I got the faint lines. So jump to Monday morning [12/20] went in for my final appt. Had the NST & BPP done. While everything looked okay, Dr M was still not liking the NST results and left me with two choices -- stay at the hospital til wednesday hooked on that machine [for monitoring] or induction. I felt it was just better safe than sorry plus contractions were already s-l-o-w-l-y picking up so I figured labor wouldn't last too long.

Got home, got the bags, stalled because I was deathly nervous seeing as I've never been induced, called my mom to have her come up [she's in tampa so 4hrs away], stalled some more, then around 2pm finally got the balls to go to the hospital. once checked in etc etc etc, it was around 4pm pitocin was started on the lowest dosage possible. the fun begins...

Really though I've labored through 6cm without an epidural [i.e. fiona] so the pain while PAINFUL was tolerable though TBT I have a high level of tolerance when it comes to pain. MW came to check me I was a 5cm dilated but my mom had yet to arrive so I waited on having her break my water. Once my mom arrived, I had progressed to an 8, MW broke my water and this is where it becomes intense.

Contractions kick into high gear, but thankfully steady and with a natural rhythm. Because of no epidural, I was able to walk around the room, got in the tub for awhile, peed in the toilet [that made me excited...those who've had epis know catheters are NOT fun]. I labored some parts while on all fours because it eased the pain in my back. Did I beg for an epidural? Oh God did I ever. But in my birthing plans, in huge CAPS LOCK I wrote to my Dr/MW, unless needed medically DO NOT INTERFERE with MEDS...and boy did they take me seriously.

As per God's instructions, my body did what it is designed to do. Carry Life & Bring Life into the World. so about 4hrs later, I was ready to push. This was not the typical do three pushes and breathe, take a break, and do it again. Being a natural birth, it was all depending on my body & baby. So I pushed when I felt that need and rested when I had a "break". My hips felt like they were going to snap [baby locking through the pelvis]. Then I asked my MW if I could get into a squatting position [just something my body was naturally telling me it wanted]. So she lowered the bottom half of the hospital bed and I was able to squat. Then came the big show...

This is the moment. Right before the baby is born, where you feel like you can't go on. Like you just don't have it in you to finish this race. The hallway corridor that keeps extending. I must have had the saddest look on my face when I thought out loud "I don't know if I can do this." My husband's next five words will be five words I will never forget "the baby needs you to". I looked at him. Saw the belief that he had in me...ME...that I could do this....that I was made for this....that I WOULD do this. And that's when you cross that line from almost quitting the race, to hitting booster ignite. I did the first big push [RING OF FIRE OMG], MW told me to open my eyes...I see my baby's head/hair....Another really good push....baby is turning into position....I see the biggest brown eyes in the world...and with that final push....and with my hands around his head, I guided Caspian Manuel Antonio into this world...onto my chest...and I have never felt more empowered in my life.

I remember looking at him in this state of amazement. Not so much on that the baby was finally here, but that I was the first hand he felt. That I was the first chest he touched. My finger was the first thing his fingers held a grasp on. My lips were the first to kiss his little nose. I kept saying it in my head "I did this....I did this". My husband was filled with tears and kissed me what seemed at least a million times. If I was in amazement of myself, Michael was 10x that of me.

[and yes both bebes were in the room & both SLEPT through the delivery]

So that's my birth story for the final bambino.

No tearing. Showered within an hour of delivering. Ate pizza for dinner. Felt ready to be home by morning...though by law we have to wait...lol

Even with having to be induced [which placenta was beautiful and could have kept going for the rest of the week] and using pitocin, I still was blessed with the birthing I wanted and a healthy beautiful perfection.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

about my baby's parts

Sometimes, rarely, I get annoyed that I don't know what I'm having. Except, it's more annoying that Jarrod, my husband, knows something that I don't. However, for the most part, I am extremely pleased that I did not find out what I'm having. There's something exciting about feeling this baby move and trying to guess if it's a boy or a girl.

About a boy
- I feel boy. I think I'm carrying "boy" and this pregnancy closely resembles the one I had with Vincent. I think another boy would be great in the sense that Vincent, my son, could have a brother to play with - and I'm not sure how Hayden, my daughter, would feel if she weren't the only girl. However, another boy scares me in the sense that I keep imagining another Vincent and I don't know if I couldn't handle two Vincents. It's kind of a ridiculous fear because I know no 2 kids are the same, but, I can't help but wonder how exhausted I'd be.

About a girl (
- I see girl. When I envision my birth, I see girl. I dreamt that I told Jarrod, "See, you do make girls!" I am far more attached to our girl name then I am our boy name - and it came to me very easily. However, I don't see myself with girls. I've always seen myself with more boys. Even Hayden is a "tomboy." I think maybe I keep seeing a girl because it would be more of a surprise - since I keep thinking I'll have boys. And, surprises are fun.

It's interesting how everyone has an opinion too. I love guessing the sex of growing fetuses. (And, for the most part, I guess correctly - as long as the kid isn't one growing in my uterus). About half the people I know guess girl and the other half guess boy. I'd guess half of them are right.

In any sense, I really like not knowing. I wish I had stuck to my guns and not found out with Hayden or Vincent. I know that a lot of people can't wait. I also know a lot of people who would want it to be a surprise if they already have "one of each." I also get excited and giddy when I found out someone I know is going to their ultrasound appointment and will be finding out. However, honestly, I strongly recommend waiting. There's just something nice about having all this mystery around you. I also like the idea that no one is telling me what sex my baby is. I can not wait to hold my baby in my arms and look for myself. I can't wait to be the one who announces, "It's a boy!" Or girl. Who knows.

Did you find out the sex of your baby before the birth? Why or why not?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Vincent - Then to Now (a photo essay)

The Short Version:




The long version:



33 weeks pregnant


10 minutes old


1 month old


2 months old - his first Christmas


2.5 months old - his first time seeing snow


3 months old


4.5 months old


5 months old


7 months old


7 months old


7.5 months old


mr. Stoic


8 months old


9 months old - first time in real grass


9.5 months old


10.5 months old - in his tuxedo, which he wore as the ringbearer at Sarah's wedding


His 1st birthday


14 months old - his 2nd Christmas


14 months old - a regular comedian


14.5 months old - his second wedding!


16 months old


16.5 months old


16.5 months old


17.5 months - Disneyland!


19 months - courtesy of Sarah


19 months - our last nursing photo


21 months


24 months


AKA - 2 years old

I love you, little man