Sunday, October 30, 2011

In Which an Unwanted Guest Returns (25w5d)

I'll check in for real (as in, a life update) sometime soon, but in the meantime....

Remember that whole "I'm off Zofran!" thing? Well, it was extremely short-lasting - 24 hours, to be precise. I've been back on the stuff ever since, and have actually had to increase the dosage - back to 8 mg Zofran and two Diclectin per day. And unfortunately, I've gone from "I'm feeling okay most of the time!" to "I'm feeling blech!" for about half of the day.

Not that that's anything to complain about. Because it's not! I have much to be grateful for. After all, HG has been avoided this pregnancy, and I'm pretty much completely functional - I'm eating, cooking, teaching, going places, doing a wee bit of housework - nothing to complain about.

So I'll keep my whining to a strict minimum, I promise!

But it is odd. I have never experienced the third-trimester NVP-return before, so it is odd that it seems to be occurring during my by-FAR easiest pregnancy ever. I don't really know what to expect (is it going to get worse? will it last till the end?) or what to do about it (besides the meds). Hopefully it will go away, because I was starting to finally enjoy this pregnancy!!

More later, right now it is NAP TIME, hurray!!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Birth Plan Rough Drafts: Home and Hospital and Transport, Oh My!

I've been working on these for ages - here they are, for your consideration and amusement!! Rough drafts only, hopefully to be finished up in the next 10 weeks or so so that they can be printed and ready to go.

A few notes (and I'll add more notes throughout the document):

- I have tried to utilize Rixa's "Just Do It!" principle, which I absolutely love. A quote from that:
"What if we simply stopped asking permission? What if we simply did what we wanted to? What if the mantra of laboring women became "don't ask, just do"?

"Don't ask if you can eat or drink. Just do it. Don't ask if you can get out of bed or walk around or go to the bathroom. Don't ask if you can change positions or give birth kneeling or squatting. Just do it.

"Do it with confidence. Do it with an "I know what I'm doing, and please don't mess with me!" attitude.

"Just do it."
 With that in mind, I have tried to eliminate everything from my birth plans that does not need the cooperation of hospital staff (this isn't an issue with homebirth). For example, I haven't written "I'll be eating and drinking" or "I'll be laboring in different positions" - in those cases, I would just do it. Good thing to remember! (Also cuts down on verbage.)

You will notice that I have a hospital birth plan in here as well as a transport plan - this is just for my own amusement (I love writing birth plans!), as we are not planning a hospital birth. A hospital birth plan is considerably different from a transport plan - for example, a hospital birth plan might say "no pain meds, no IV, etc. etc. etc.," but in case of a transport, we probably need whatever is being offered!

You will also notice that the homebirth plan is considerably different from a hospital or transport plan, and this is because (thank goodness!) I don't have to fight my homebirth midwives on the subject of unwanted interventions like restricted mobility, restricted food/liquid intake, routine IV insertion, continuous fetal monitoring, etc. etc. etc. Good stuff.

I have also tried not to mention anything that isn't vitally important to me. For example, you will see repeated mentions of delayed cord clamping - because that is extremely, extremely important to me. An absolute must. But birthing positions, on the other hand, are not important to me - and thus I have not mentioned them. It's not that I don't know that certain positions are better than others, but for me, by the time I get to pushing, I don't care what position I'm in simply because I loathe pushing so much (please remember that most women love the pushing phase!). So for me, I don't care if I'm squatting, lying down, whatever - so I didn't write about that.

I have also tried to (1) keep each plan brief (each is under one typed page), and (2) keep each plan friendly rather than combative/confrontational - both good things to do when interfacing with hospital staff.

I'd love some input here! Have I missed anything? Comments welcome!!


Homebirth Birth Plan

- Please take lots and lots of pictures and videos! Of anything and everything, both graphic and modest.

- I prefer to avoid cervical checks. In case it’s really necessary, please do not tell me my dilation unless it’s really necessary or it’s super-encouraging (i.e. complete!).
 - I really don't know how women can stand knowing their dilation - to me, anything other than "ten!" is incredibly discouraging. I learned that with my first birth, and now it's a must.
- I need lots of verbal support, coaching, and encouragement – please! And don’t be surprised that I’m really wimpy and extremely loud.

- For afterpains: Placenta smoothie as soon as the placenta is available – yogurt and OJ in fridge, mixed berries and bananas in freezer, blender on counter. Thank you!!! Also, I’d like to take four Advil and some Arnica as soon as baby is out.
- With both my babes, extreme afterpains have prevented both immediate bonding and immediate breastfeeding. After I learned how much placenta medicine helped, I determined to make that an immediate priority. I'd like someday to be able to enjoy the immediate postpartum!

- Birth team – Snacks in fridge! Remember not to park on the street if it is Wednesday or Friday (use driveway or center section).

- J. would love to catch and also cut the cord (delayed!).

- C. (our son) may or may not want to be present for the birth (undecided).

- In case of hospital transport:
          o Someone grab the hospital bag, camera, and video camera
          o Nab the placenta pronto! Don’t let it get away! Very important!
          o Please do everything possible to advocate for delayed cord clamping, regardless of how the birth ends up (even with c/s).
          o I would love still to practice placenta medicine as soon as is humanly possible.


Hospital Transport Birth Preferences

- Parents: Diana J. & Joe J.

- To our hospital caregivers: Thank you for taking care of us!

- Our midwife is Stephanie ------ of --------- Birth Services (XXX-XXX-XXXX). Our doula is ------- (XXX-XXX-XXXX). We ask that one or both of them be able to stay with us at all times.

- I love verbal encouragement, the more the better.

- I tend to be rather loud during labor. Please just ignore me, I’ll be fine.

- I prefer to avoid cervical checks. In case it’s really necessary, please do not tell me my dilation unless it’s really necessary or it’s super-encouraging (i.e. complete!)

- Please do not clamp/cut the umbilical cord until it is completely finished pulsing, preferably until the placenta is out. We would love it if any neonatal resuscitation could be done near Diana so that the cord can remain intact. In case of cesarean, please still leave the cord to pulse as long as is possible. Joe would love to cut the cord.

- I would like an unmanaged 3rd stage and to deliver the placenta without assistance. Please, no Pitocin outside of emergency circumstances.
 - A lot of hospitals practice routine pitocin administration during 3rd stage, even during uncomplicated births. I would like to avoid that.

- We will take our placenta home with us.

- In case of cesarean birth: We would love still to have delayed cord clamping (as much as possible) during a cesarean birth.

- For Baby: Please, no Hep B shot, eye ointment, newborn screen (we will do this in a few days), or vitamin K (except in case of a physically traumatic birth). We will be breastfeeding. We would love uninterrupted mother-baby time immediately following the birth, baby’s health allowing. Please make sure in case of mother-baby separation that Joe stays with the baby.

- Thank you for your kindness, support, and care!


Hospital Birth Preferences

- Parents: Diana J. & Joe J.

- To our hospital caregivers: Thank you for taking care of us!

- No IV or heplock.
- This is an absolute must, no discussion allowed. And if someone did stick me with an IV, I would immediately rip it out. It is that important. Period.

- I love verbal encouragement, the more the better.

- Please don’t offer me drugs. I would love a third unmedicated birth, but I am a wimp around pain and don’t need the temptation.

- I tend to be rather loud during labor. Please just ignore me, I’ll be fine.

- I choose to decline routine cervical checks. If a check is medically necessary, please do not tell me my dilation unless it’s really necessary or it’s super-encouraging (i.e. complete!).

- Please do not clamp/cut the umbilical cord until it is completely finished pulsing, preferably until the placenta is out. We would love it if any neonatal resuscitation could be done near Diana so that the cord can remain intact. In case of cesarean, please still leave the cord to pulse as long as is possible. Joe would like to cut the cord.

- I would like an unmanaged 3rd stage and to deliver the placenta without assistance. Please, no Pitocin outside of emergency circumstances.

- We will take our placenta home with us.

- In case of cesarean birth: We would love still to have delayed cord clamping (as much as possible) during a cesarean birth.

- For Baby: Please, no Hep B shot, eye ointment, newborn screen (we will do this in a few days), or vitamin K (except in case of a physically traumatic birth). We will be breastfeeding. We would love uninterrupted mother-baby time immediately following the birth, baby’s health allowing. Please make sure in case of mother-baby separation that Joe stays with the baby.

- Thank you for your kindness, support, and care!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday (24w3d)

Hi, everyone! Sorry it has been so incredibly long since I checked in! Last week we had an impromptu visit from my parents, and life has just been incredibly busy around here with homeschooling and trying to reconstruct my life post-NVP (the usual!).

Speaking of NVP, today is (can you guess????)...... drum roll, please..... my first day without Zofran!!!! Yes!!! Really!!! (*Insert wild party dance here*) My nausea levels have been dropping even more drastically these past few weeks, allowing me to drop a medication dose every couple of days. So far today I have had only one Diclectin (Unisom), and if all goes well I'll be cutting that out soon too. Can you believe it?? Last time I was on Zofran till the early-thirty-something weeks; this time it has been so much sooner. I am so grateful!

Homeschooling is going pretty well.... considering the moderate dose of schooling that we're starting with, there aren't any huge difficulties to overcome (we're done each day in under an hour) - the true challenges will probably start next year - or rather, when our new babe arrives and I'm trying to homeschool a kindergartener with two babies underfoot. I think life is going to get pretty hairy after this new little one arrives!

Speaking of arrivals, the birth of this babe is looking a lot closer from this side of twenty weeks! Yikes!! Not only is the thought of birth intimidating (it always is!), but I have so much to do before then! Getting through the holidays, organizing my birth supplies, decluttering the house... more than I can ever possibly accomplish. But I'll do my best.

Speaking of decluttering, I have arisen out of the mists of NVP to find - as usual - that our house was trashed in the process. It gets worse with each child, I'm afraid! But unfortunately, my decluttering time also decreases with each child. So right now I'm using a method that works well for me - printing off a blank calendar and just trying to write in one small decluttering project that I've done each day, regardless of how small (usually it's just cleaning out one drawer, or some such thing). I'm also using the "Throw Out 100 Things" challenge - writing down things as I toss them in order to find further motivation.

Other family news:

Last week we had our first majorly-bleeding-child episode as parents. No one saw what happened, but it was something along the lines of run-slip-fall-crack in the kitchen, with the end result that our eldest ended up with a nice gash on his head that bled copiously - everywhere! When the blood was cleared up and staunched, it turned out to be only about an inch long, but my goodness - how it bled! Add into that mix a thoroughly hysterical child, and you'll get an idea of the fun we had. Thankfully my dad was around - he has absolutely no nerves (the end result of having grown up as a mortician's son and being trained in the business) and was able to take command of the situation beautifully. We didn't end up having to go into the hospital, and all is well.

Also last week, in the next episode of "the lost and found cat" - said cat is now, once again, lost. She managed to slip out of a cracked door, and despite an hour long hunt by DH, has once again vanished into the mist. We have no idea when or if we'll see her again.

I have mixed feelings on the subject. On the one hand, she is a great cat and I don't want her going hungry out there. On the other hand, I definitely was not thrilled to have another cat, especially as it is so difficult navigating between warring cats (our other cat is a bully) - should she come back, I will be actively searching for a new home for her. For now, we wait.

Big news of today - I finally got our little dude to voluntarily take some solid food, and without (too much) gagging!! It was thinly sliced quartered banana, and I got him to take it with each meal - by dinner time, he was eager for it! This is major, major, major improvement and progress, and super-exciting. I'm thinking of other things I can try - pear? watermelon? Anything to finally move forward!

We saw our midwife two weeks ago, and all is well with baby - perfect measurements, all looking well. I really enjoy talking with her and getting to know her better, and we're having a lot of fun.

Well, I'd probably be getting on with chores for the evening! I hope everyone is well, and I'll try to check in again soon!

Monday, October 3, 2011

HG Article

Knocked Up, Knocked Over posted a link to this article a few weeks ago, and I wanted to cross-post to make sure you all had the opportunity to see it. Enjoy! (Hat tip to Molly for posting, and to Ellen for reminding me of it! Thanks, ladies!)

Checking In (21w6d)

It seems to be the unfortunate truth that the crummy part of pregnancy passes more slowly than a small eternity, while the better part is over in a flash - I cannot believe how quickly time is passing!!

Feeling good, just nauseated most of the time - nothing to complain about. Life is good.

As of today.... we are an official homeschooling family! Hurray!!

I know I started "homeschooling" a month ago with homemade curricula, but let me say, friends.... never again. I am not a homemade-curriculum kind o' gal. It was time-consuming, confusing, and didn't go down very well with our son. You ladies out there who delight in researching and constructing your homeschool materials from scratch - I really take my hat off to you! You are amazing! It's just something that's not for me.

How did today go?

Not too badly, considering. The reading lesson went fairly smoothly, except for the last task which involved.... horror of horrors..... writing. That is, our son's most hated and loathed activity, to be avoided at all costs (which he systematically has done for his entire childhood). I thought "100 Easy Lessons" was non-writing, but there is a wee bit of writing in it. Oh well, we'll see.

The Sonlight curriculum went really quickly - much more so than I expected! Their real books selection is truly excellent and includes a wide variety of the best literature.

Two quick criticisms:

One, there is a lot of page-flipping in the lesson plan notebook - a bit cumbersome.

Two, we had major trauma when we reached the end of the first chapter of "The Boxcar Children" and then told our son "No more till tomorrow!" I guess it's a good thing that he was upset about that! At first I held to that, but later I threw caution to the wind and we read three more chapters. I figured that since I actually have the first 20 or so book in the series, we could just keep reading through the series when we run out of chapters in the first book.

I also skipped the discussion questions (the typical kind, "What kinds of food did the children have with them?" etc. etc. etc.) Right now, those are still in the "pulling teeth" category with our guy. May add them in at a later date, but for now he has made his comprehension completely clear by the fact that he is now basically living out the book series in his own fantasy world. Good stuff.

All in all, everything took only about 45 minutes. Perfect for now!

In other news...

We are now almost through our third week of being gluten-free (as a couple; we haven't tried to impose it on the kidlets). It has been fairly easy, especially after the uber-difficult VLC diet! Not bad at all.

Within days of starting, DH had started losing weight and noticed the disappearance of an arthritic complaint in his shoulder. And, most importantly - and amazingly! - by the end of the first five days, he was almost completely rid of the chronic stomach troubles which have plagued him for his entire adult life (far longer than the 10 years I've known him). WOW! We were completely amazed!!

But then I realized..... Oh, crumbs! We started out on this as a bit of a lark..... but having now noticed such amazing effects with DH, we are now going to have to stay GF (gluten-free) by necessity. Hobbies are a dangerous thing!!! Be forewarned!

So now we are starting off on the adventure of becoming a gluten-free family! Nothing strenuous, nothing at the celiac-level (i.e. cleansing one's entire house of every speck of gluten), but wheat is definitely out for DH, and I'm doing it too (though I'll probably cheat every now and then). It's fun, though! And I made some grain-free muffins on Sunday (almond flour!) that were honestly some of the best muffins I've ever eaten. So it's an adventure!

I am also thinking of taking the plunge and going dairy-free too.... not because I want to.... I have an even bigger love affair with dairy than I do with wheat.... but because the only time I saw my problem with fatigue vanish was when I was doing the Paleo diet (which is grain-free, sugar-free, and.... *sigh*.... dairy-free). Bummer! But worth an experiment. I'm so tired of dealing with fatigue!! So I'm going to give it a go as of Wednesday. I'll report back in.

DH is losing weight, but as for me - I am still gaining at an alarming pace! My body really seems to cling to every last calorie when I'm pregnant. Not thrilled about it, but it is sooooo much better than losing weight rapidly due to active HG! So I'm not complaining!

However, I'm tired of stressing about it, so I finally emailed our midwife and asked if I could stop keeping track of my weight. She said sure! Actually, I think her actual words were more along the lines of, "This is YOUR baby, YOUR body, and YOUR birth, so make your decisions and stop asking for permission to do things!" LOL We have the most awesome midwives around here! I love it.

We've rescheduled our vacation for November - I am already guessing that we'll get sick AGAIN just in time to have to cancel (as I said, we really have an uncanny ability to get sick just in time for holidays and planned events), but I'm going to do my best! AND by cutting one night off of our stay and going during the week, we are going to be able to shave $110 off of our hotel bill! Awesome!

Okay, I would write more, but I'm just feeling too nauseated at the moment! Love to all! Have a great week!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

An Amazing HG Story

This story comes from a client of my midwife, here in town, who had her babe two weeks ago. (She is a client of both my midwife and one of my doulas, also mentioned.) She has an amazing story, and I wanted to share it!

The more I delve into the HG world, the more I realize how blessed I was in regard to the "mildness" of my HG. When I came out of my HG pregnancy, I was under the impression that I had been to Hell and back and had personally grappled with Satan himself. That's what that pregnancy felt like. But when I read stories like this (and like the stories of lots of you mamas out there), I realize how easy I had it. You ladies out there are such amazing warriors for your little ones.

Here goes!

(I have put all names as initials to protect privacy.)


For those who don't know, I had a very challenging pregnancy. I struggled with hypermesis gravidarum (HG) for nearly the entire time. HG is basically a severe form of morning sickness. It is kind of like having food poisoning that lasts for weeks on end, but it's not. It is so much worse.

Please know that I haven't covered everything that I experienced or felt during my pregnancy. Some things are just too painful to rehash. However, I am trying really hard to heal from all the damage HG caused. I'm hoping by letting some of this out, I can help myself let it all go. I don't want to hold on to these feelings anymore, especially now that A. is here. It is her time now, and I don't want anything to come between us anymore.

I do also share what I believe is the proudest moment of my life. I am so thankful that I was able to give A a beautiful, quiet, peaceful, and loving birth. With everything that she had to experience while growing in my belly, it just fills me with joy to know she had the most perfect arrival.

Lastly, I talk a little about what is going on postpartum. To tell you the truth, I never expected to be dealing with my HG issues AFTER birth. Yes, I am not nauseous. Yes, I can eat anything I want. Yes, I'm not puking. Don't get me wrong, all these things are wonderful, but I still haven't healed emotionally. I knew HG had taken its toll on me, but I guess I didn't realize just how hurt I am by it all. I honestly thought once Aria was here, it would all fade away like a bad nightmare. Unfortunately that just hasn't been the case.

My Pregnancy

At 5 weeks, I am exhausted. Not just sleepy tired, but down right run down. All I could do was sleep. At 6 weeks the nausea and vomiting have started. By 9 weeks I can barely keep any food or drink down. At this point I see a doctor for a prescription of Zolfran to help calm my issues. The meds don’t seem to be helping and I go a couple days without being able to keep food or drink down. Exhausted and dehydrated I go to the ER. Weeks 10 through 12 are a huge struggle. I’m vomiting about 15 to 20 times a day. Nothing is staying down, not even water. I get a different prescription for Phenergan. This medication completely knocks me out. It was so hard to believe that a medication which had that strong of an effect on my body could truly be safe for my baby, but my hands were tied. Not eating and drinking wouldn’t be safe for the baby either. Week 13 and home health care has finally been setup and approved. A nurse comes out and hooks me up to an IV and Zolfran pump. I have the IV on and off for the next five weeks. The Zolfran pump stays for the next three months. Weeks 14 through 25 are horrible. Even with the medication and IV I am puking everything that passes my lips. At one point the only way I could keep small amounts of water down was to blend ice and eat the snow. I was a freaking mess. By 26 weeks I manage to be off the pump. I am still puking at least 4 times a day, but when you drop down from 20, 4 seems like a piece of cake. At least at this point I can keep food and water down. I am still taking oral meds once in a while, however I am trying really hard not to. Weeks 27 through 37 are better. By no means was I back to normal. I would still have some good days, and then have some crappy days (crappy really isn’t a strong enough word…). But again I was actually able to keep food and drink down, even though I was still vomiting. Weeks 38 through 41 and I feel much better. I only vomit a couple times during these weeks, but the nausea is still there.

Needless to say, being pregnant has been one of the worst things to happen to me. Thank you HG. HG robbed me of a time in my life that was supposed to be exciting, beautiful, fun, joyful, etc. HG took away my ability to connect with our unborn baby. How could I love something that was causing me such pain and sickness? At times I was actually resentful towards our baby. I would sit and cry for hours thinking about how horrible of a mom I was that I couldn't nurture and love this baby yet.

HG isolated me. Not just physically from the world around me, but also emotionally. Physically, I couldn't go anywhere. When you are puking all the time, it’s hard to leave the house. Then there was also the motion sickness. It was bad. I couldn't watch TV, look at a computer screen, read a book. It all made me horribly nauseous. Try passing time when all you can do it lay there. Well you can't. There was nothing to take my mind away from the HG, so I would sit there and just think about it all. Not good. Emotionally, I felt separated from everyone, especially any woman who was pregnant or had been pregnant. I HATED speaking to them about my pregnancy, especially when they started talking about theirs. They would talk about cute little cures like crackers and coke, or say they “know” how I felt because they puked too (although they still went to work, could drive, could eat and drink, you know pretty much function like a normal human being). It didn't help that I hated them and was jealous of them. It was really hard. It didn't feel like anyone could understand. But how could they?

HG almost took away A's homebirth. I'll never forget the appointment with my midwife where she looked at me and said something about 28 weeks. Honestly I don't remember her exact words, I just remember thinking I've got 10 weeks to pull myself together or I'm going to lose the homebirth too. That thought was almost unbearable. I was already super freaked about the amount of drugs being pumped into my body and the effects they were having on my baby. Then I had to start considering what would mostly likely happen at a hospital. Pitocin, epidural, IV's, antibiotics, high likely hood of c-section, oh and all the damn germs. I just didn't want that for my baby, but really it wasn't up to me. HG isn't something you can just "pony up" to and get over. You have no control, as much as you wish you did. Yet, by 26 weeks, I was off the pump and the home health care. I was still puking like 4 times a day, but that was manageable. Plus I could actually keep food and water down. The homebirth was saved. Thank God.

HG also forced me to compromise my morals. I am a vegetarian, but wasn't during my pregnancy. HG took that from me too. Beans, grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts would all come up. And I mean all of it. Still at 38 weeks I could barely choke down a banana or raw carrot without my nauseous levels skyrocketing and puking. With this forced diet change also came a HUGE load of guilt. I couldn't stand the fact that my diet, well when I could eat, consisted of processed foods and meat. That's it. I freaked every time I thought about the lack of nutrition that I was giving my body. I mean if I wasn't giving myself the proper nutrients, how on earth was my baby getting what she needs?

My HG also took its toll on C. (husband). He was forced to take care of everything, and I mean everything. Working a full time job, feeding us, keeping the house clean, taking care of the animals, and the hardest part—taking care of me. Cleaning out bowls and bowls of puke. Helping me in and out of bed because the Zolfran pump made me so sore I couldn't do it alone. Plus, at times, I was even attached to an IV. Sore, strapped to a pump and connected to an IV… it's almost impossible to get around. He had to stab me every day with a needle, because the Zolfran injection sites cause so much trauma to your body that they have to be moved just about every day. Two months off the pump, and you could still feel the bumps in my legs. He would help me shower (when I actually could stand it, and even then I would often vomit afterwards), help me dress, brush my hair, help me to the toilet, you name it, C. had to do it for me. On top of all that, he had to deal with how mentally unstable I was. I was a wreck. I was sick, I was scared, I was sad, depressed, and worried. I was angry, helpless, fearful. I hated the guilt, the resentfulness towards baby and others. Really I was a MESS. Try and console that. You can't. You have to sit there and watch me cry, sit there and take it when I scream. Sit there and just watch me fall into a depression. Oh and of course I knew all this. I knew just how much stress I was putting on C., and it killed me.

I feel like I could go on and on about all the layers and layers of unhappiness, guilt, fear, sadness, and resentfulness that I feel about my pregnancy. I'm working really hard to let it all go, especially now that I have my beautiful daughter in my arms, but it is hard. I mean just the other day (yes I am taking about AFTER A's birth), I woke three times in the middle of the night to the sound of my Zofran pump going off. Each time it took me a while to shake all the bad feelings. Healing is a process I guess.

A's Birth

Sunday September 18th

I awake to what I thought were cramps. I soon realize these pressure waves are different. They are requiring a little more of my concentration, but I can still function quite normally. My midwife had promised me I would "know" when I was in labor, and since I was still questioning it I thought for sure it wasn't time yet. So I go about my day. My mom comes over for a visit. We order Mexican food, watch football (C's idea), chat and relax. It was a nice and relaxing day. That evening the pressure waves continue to get stronger, but again, I was still questioning it. I decide to make cupcakes and cookies for our doula and midwives. I was secretly hoping that if I made these treats my birthing time would start right away.

Monday September 19th

I text Rose (our doula) at 11 AM telling her the pressure waves are averaging 9 minutes apart. I've got ants in my pants just sitting at home, so C. and I head out for our two favorite things. Cassanova Pizza and Bergies Coffee. Pizza and coffee in hand we head back home. At 1 PM I text Rose that I can't exactly talk during the pressure waves anymore, but that they are still about 10 minutes apart. At 7 PM I text again saying they are 7 minutes apart and strong. I still remember during all this time not having that "ah ha" moment, and thinking well this can't be it then. But Rose suggested I give Stephanie (our midwife) a heads up, so I text her as well. 9pm and pressure waves are super strong and 4 minutes apart. 10 PM I call Rose and ask her to come over. At 11 PM Rose is over and she and C. work on setting up the pool.

Tuesday September 20th

My times are going to get murky now, but I have a rough idea of what went on. We have a very small water heater which meant it was going to take forever to heat the pool up, so C. went to put some water on the stove. Of course I just assumed that he was going to use our giant canning pot to heat up the water, but as I look over to the kitchen I see him filling up this tiny little pot of water. I start cracking up. I'm laughing so hard, I can barely speak. Here is my husband trying to fill this giant pool with a pot that holds about 12 cups of water. Good luck with that hunnie! It just seemed so silly to me, but it was really nice to have a good laugh. We eventually get the pool filled up and I get in. It feels good to be in the water, and the pressure waves seem to be slowing down and becoming less intense. I start chatting with Rose about if she should stay or go since things seemed to be slowing down. I just didn't know what to do.

As a side note, during this all this time our cat had been put away so he wouldn't be bothersome while setting everything up. Then the cat got let in. Less than two minutes in the room and our stinking cat jumps on the pool and puts three very nice puncture holes in the pool. So C. and Rose get to work breaking down the pool and setting up her other one. I have no idea how much time passes here. I just remember the pressure waves getting stronger again. Rose suggests I get back in the pool. The pressure waves are really taking my concentration now. Again, I have no idea how much time passes here, but around 3:15 AM I feel a pop. My water has broken. The pressure waves come and they come strong. Finally I have my "ah ha" moment. I know it is my birthing time now! Rose asks me to tell her when I start to feel pressure. I think I remember feeling that pressure right away, which I didn't like. It felt like I needed to use the bathroom. I was terrified of accidentally going to the bathroom in the pool. I know this can be a normal process for any woman in labor, pool or not, but I just couldn't do it. So C. helps me to the bathroom and I labor on the toilet. I was horrified that my husband had to see me in this position, but I was also horrified of going to the bathroom in the pool. Then eventually the pressure waves made me not care anymore.

Back in the pool and I try a new position leaning back against the pool. I sit through one pressure wave and it is horrible, so I tell myself I am going to "finger drop" for the next one. I don't know how I did it, since I hadn't been practicing my hypnobabies (Thank you HG) but I manage to "finger drop" getting through the pressure wave much easier. The next pressure wave comes and I am back on my knees leaning over the pool hanging on to C's hands. No more hypnobabies (sorry Noelia, but I did try!) I remember crying and cussing. The pressure waves sucked. Then C. asked Jen (our other midwife) a question. I don't know what he said, but I remember her saying that I would feel burning. Next pressure wave in and I feel the burning. Pressure wave after pressure wave and I feel more burning and more pressure. It was time to push. Jen tells me that I can take control. It felt so good to hear that. My entire pregnancy had been out of my control, and I just got permission to take the reins and do what I wanted/needed. 18 minutes of pushing and at 5:01 am our baby was born right into her daddy's arms and passed to me. C. says "it’s a boy,” and for the next 15 minutes we think we have a sweet little boy. It is time to cut the cord and I move our little boy… SURPRISE! It's a girl! C. cuts her cord and then I snuggle back up to her.

At this point I still have not birthed the placenta and I am getting quite frustrated and annoyed. I would like to focus on my beautiful daughter, but I couldn't because of my placenta. So C. takes our daughter tight in his arms. I remember feeling horrible that I couldn't spend these precious moments with my daughter, but I also knew she was safe in her daddy's arms. I'm not sure how much time passes but finally, with a little help, I am able to birth the placenta. My daughter is back in my arms. I was in a state of shock. It was hard to believe HG was over, and that here in my arms was our beautiful daughter.


The one thing that I held on to throughout my pregnancy was this idea that once the baby is here it is all over. This idea that I'll finally get to bond and connect with my baby. That I will finally get to love on her and enjoy what I have been trying to for the past 10 months. I never prepared myself for the reality of what it is like after a baby. I had no idea just how painful and miserable breastfeeding could be. For 10 months I had been telling myself when she's here I finally get to love her and enjoy her. Yet I found that at least every two hours my baby was still causing me pain. During these moments that I wanted to be bonding with my daughter, all I could think about is how much I wanted her off me. I hated it. Then all those HG feelings just rushed back to the surface and I was drowning in them. I would see my husband all cuddled up to his daughter telling her how much he loves her and I would just ball. I wanted to do that, but my breasts were so sore I couldn't hold her close. I wanted to tell her I love her, but I couldn't. It took me a week to say "I love you" to her. Of course it is not because I don't love my daughter. I do. More than anything. It is just really hard for me to put all my emotions aside. I'm scarred pretty deep. My wounds are still fresh and trying to heal, and they are easily torn open.

Lots of moms keep telling me you will soon forgot all the troubles you went through. That everything will be worth it. I'll agree with that second part. A. has been worth it all, but I won't forget. Perhaps the details of my pregnancy and postpartum issues will get murky, but I sure won't forget. I guess only time will tell. Until then, I'm going to take it day by day.