Saturday, January 25, 2014

Just be grateful.. It was only a uterus.

A year ago today marks the first hemmorhage I had (not including the ones immediately after birth) at six weeks post partum.  It's hard to wrap my mind around still.  Rob and I were just watching a movie and unprovoked, I just started bleeding.  I replay that a lot in my mind.  I had black pants on tht thankfully hid the red blood all over them.  They were soaked from waist to bottom though.  I remember worrying that the ambulance gurney would have a bloody imprint of me.  Half way there the cramping started.  It was like a slow motion movie and still replays like that in my mind.  No one could see the blood or the 3 prefolds diapers I had soaked in blood before being loaded up in the ambulance.. And if they couldn't see it then I must be exaggerating.  The ER nurses asked me to strip and put my wet clothes in a bag.  Wet.  Like I had just spilled some water.  Just wet.. But to me it was more thought provoking and I don't think they gave it a thought.  An iv, fluids, left alone for hours to bleed with someone coming in every once in a while, looking at the pad under me and walking out.  At some point I was given dilaudid and don't remember much after that.  I remember the doctor coming in, the same who had manually taken my placenta out after lyndley was born and he sat in the chair at the foot of my bed talking about the baby, my life, his past work.  He had worked in DC before this, dealing with 'larger obstetrical traumas everyday'.  In my mid that meant he was qualified to say whether or not I was ok.  He wheeled me up for an ultrasound.. Chitter chattering until te ultrasound wand hit my belly.  He told me, I can't see anything.  Your uterus is too large and filled with blood.  Then he left the room.  I didn't get to ask what that meant.  I was taken to the ER room and waited.  I was brought a breast pump to store milk for my nursling at home.  A while later the doctor came back and told me he felt I was fine and to call on Monday for an appointment to see him that thuraday.  Then maybe we could discuss a d&c.  For what?  Why? Thank you.  Smile.  Get dressed.  Leave.  Go home... 
Two days later I was back.  The bleeding uncontrollable and passing clots the length of my forearm.  To which an ER nurse said, clots are normal after childbirth.  Normal.  Normal? What is normal.. The anxiety was crippling at this point.  No one was listening to me.. NO.ONE.  No one at four weeks PP when I told my midwife something wasn't right.  No one after the first hemmorhage.. No one now.  Wash rinse repeat.  My husband showed up with the baby at some point.  Shortly before I was wheeled off for this magical d&c that was supposed to fix everything.  I thought I was dying.  I kissed my husband goodbye for what I honestly thought was the last time before drifting off.  Waking up in intensive care I knew my uterus was gone before anyone said anything.  

Fast forward to now.. "You're ALIVE be GRATEFUL!"  "You have ENOUGH babies, be grateful."  "YOU were saved.. Be grateful!".  If only it were that simple.  If only 'just' my uterus was gone.  Mental stability is gone.  My sex life is gone.. At 28.  My energy, healthy body.. Gone.  Be grateful.  It's easy to say, harder to do.  Have you ever lived with flashbacks and nightmares of your four year old child telling you not to cry while she sops up your blood and you lay on the floor? Or the anxiety of not being listened to? Knowing something was wrong.. I knew it at 8weeks when I bled.. 30 weeks when I bled.. Delivery when the stabbing pain was unbearable.. Immediately after birth when I crashed.  I knew, and no one believed me.  No oversight, no double checking opinions or work or ultrasounds.. Nothing.  I'm alive but not quite living.  Medications, meditations, soul searching, prayer.. Nothing.
Maybe if I had been listened to, things would be different.  Maybe you don't feel the way I do.  A laundry list of questions with no answers.  Be grateful.  Don't mope, enjoy your kids.  Ignore the haunting, pray away the nightmares.  But the thing is, recovery is individual.  It's more than my scars healing.  It's not having to hear my son say "hey mom remember that time you almost died and we stayed at aunt Jen's?" Yea, yeah I do.  But it's just a uterus, cervix, ligaments, I have five kids.  Be grateful, son. Your memory is irrelevant, be grateful.  My daughter wakes screaming for the third time, for the umpteenth week in a row searching for you but you can't console her.  Be grateful, baby girl.  It was just a uterus, I'm here so be grateful.  Sorry, dear husband, I can't have sex.. I'm out of excuses now except that the pain is crazy.  But they only took my uterus so be grateful.  
Alive but not quite living.  But be grateful.  They saved me.
Some days it's easy to choose joy despite all of this.  Others it's a struggle and other, impossible.  But it was just a uterus, right?

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Reason For The Season

This wintery time of year seems to bring out the nostalgia in us all. Most make amends with family or friends they've been fighting with, treat people with more kindness, be quick to forgive, decorate their homes, sings songs they don't the rest of the year, and the list goes on.

This year though, my nostalgia has directed in another direction.  What IS the reason for the season.  Yes, history has come to show that Jesus was most likely born in a season other than this, and that the common Christmas tree is a ritual hijacked from pagans, giving gifts in the spirit or name of Saint Nicholas is worshiping a false God, and so on.  Some might say that the whole idea of modern day Christmas is anti Christian.  With biblical verses like this, who am I to argue?
 Is 66:15-17, Deut. 16:21, and many more.
So as a Christian, I had to stop and question...why am I celebrating something that the Bibile seems to abhor?

"-Because I want to."  

Here are my thoughts on it, my reason for the season so to speak.  I spend 365 days out of my year trying my best to live my life in a way that I personally feel as what God has sent me to do.  Please forgive the laundry list, but for me this means;  Teaching my children about ALL religions/spirituality/beliefs and giving them the freedom to explore all that is out there.  Not allowing my beliefs to shape their hopes and dreams.  Answer their questions honestly and explore answers that make sense.  Allow them space and room for their own spiritual growth.  Grow spiritually with my husband as one unit.  Grow individually in my faith.  Grow together spiritually as a family.
I spend every day in the year loving God and celebrating Jesus.  I don't need to circle a date on the calendar and throw him a birthday party.  I celebrate what we know as a modern day christmas season for these reasons.

-Because I want to.
-Because I feel that we are given the changing seasons and I give to others in spirit of that.  If my children decide to believe in santa or christmas magic, or whatever you want to call it, who am I to stop them?   Imaginative play is essential to learning and growth for children.  I don't stop them in the middle of a puppet show to tell them that there is no possible way that the purple princess can fly to the top of the castle.  Why would I set them down and tell them that christmas magic is all in their minds?
-Because I don't 'idolize' our Christmas tree.  Its a beautiful reminder to me of the changing of the seasons.  The twinkling lights on it remind me of the stars in the winter solstice sky.  If I were idolizing it or taking it to an alter in the way that the bible forbids, I feel I would have a much larger problems than my love of a decorative tree.
-Because I love giving to people.  One of my greatest joys is giving to others.  Giving to those less fortunate, equally fortunate, and more fortunate than myself.  I love teaching my children about the joys of giving...not just seasonal giving, but year round giving. So you mean to tell me when I give all of myself and our money to the church it's called tithing, but when I give to the poor, the equally fortunate, the less fortunate, or in the name of Jesus as the way he was given to us as a savior, or the way he gave himself to cleanse us, then it's somehow unholy?  Sorry..I don't align with that line of thinking.
-Because I love the earth.  There, I said it.  I love our beautiful giving earth.  In the spring and summer I celebrate it  by giving back to it with gardening (fruits, vegetables, flowers, plants, etc) by basking it, by enjoying each day.  I won't hide out and love the earth any less during the dark winter months.  I will celebrate it, the changes it gives us, the cleansing snow that melts into spring time.  By taking from it, and giving back.

"Do as you must, do what makes you feel good..but can you please do it from a loving place? "

Some people will condemn others or mock them for participating.  Do as you must, do what makes you feel good..but can you please do it from a loving place?  I don't celebrate to have a reason to buy extravagant gifts, to spend time with my family, to participate in consumerism, to perpetuate 'Santa loves rich kids' culture, or any other reason.  I also don't do it because of 'tradition'.  That is the most ridiculous reason to do something, if you don't agree with it.  If I did everything that I was taught growing up, I wouldn't be the person I am today.  Go ahead, ask my mom if you don't believe me! :)

 "I call this adhering to my own morality, living in the word of my interpretation of the bible and in the way that I feel is pleasing to the Lord."

Some might call this 'picking and choosing' from the bible.  Some might call this lots of things.  But here is the is NONE of my business what you think of me.  I have no desire to know.  I call this adhering to my own morality, living in the word of my interpretation of the bible and in the way that I feel is pleasing to the Lord.  The reason for the season can be whatever you would like it to be, but please act from your heart, what you think is right, and how you feel you will prosper.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Easy Homemade Lotion

Easy homemade lotion, versatile and customizeable :)

Large Mason jar
Natural Organic beeswax (preferably local)
raw, unrefined, cold pressed coconut oil
Sweet almond oil

raw shea butter
various essential oils (DoTerra brand recommended)
Organic Calendula oil (pre mixed with olive oil)

In mason jar, combine:
1/2 cup beeswax
1/2 cup almond oil
4 large tbsp coconut oil
3 chunks raw shea butter

Heat in pan of boiling water until well mixed (about 125 degrees), shaking or stiring occasionally.

Remove from water, cool to 110 degrees or about ten minutes, pour into containers.  Add essential oils immediately and stir with fork.  Let cool. and you're done!! :)

My preferential recipes:
Face Lotion - Calendula
Baby Lotion - Calendula, Lavender
Body Lotion - Calendula, Citrus Bliss, Lemongrass
Diaper 'cream' - Calendula, Tea Tree Oil. Lavender
Herbal Cold Lotion - Eucalyptus, Tea Tree Oil, Peppermint, Lavender
Sore Muscle Rub - Peppermint, Clove

Thursday, February 7, 2013

My Hysterectomy Story After Placenta Accreta/percreta

During Lyndley's pregnancy, we were at first planning another homebirth.  A series of events and intuition led me to find that we would probably have a placental condition called placenta acrreta.  Its where your placenta grows INTO the muscles of your uterus instead of just adhering to the lining. I hemorrhaged after birth and had manual placenta removal, but recovered seemingly well (my 5th natural birth). Around 5 weeks post partum I was concerned that I was still bleeding heavily and passing clots and went in to ask my midwife about it. She told me everything looked normal, my uterus was nice and firm, and to just ride it out. A week later I was in the e.r. via ambulance suffering from a massive hemmorhage.

In the emergency room, the bleeding slowed and we all thought it was maybe a fluke.  No one could have imagined what was actually going on.   The OB said I was to see him in the office a few days later to talk about a possible d&c for the next friday. I was ok with that, but pretty shaken up about the hemorrhage. My husbands work is so inflexible that he wasn't able to have even one day off whle I recovered from the hemorrhage.  I was terrified of being at home alone with all 5 kids, and really scared of bleeding to death in front of them. 

Three days after that hemorrhage I was nursing the baby and started to feel really crampy and lightheaded. All of a sudden, it was like a faucet between my legs turned on.  I could feel the blood pouring out of me.  I stood up to try and get to the phone to call someone and the blood was soaking my pants. I made my way over to the phone and called my husband first, told him I was hemorrhaging again and that he had to meet me at the hospital.  He works an hour away from the house, the opposite direction of the hospital.  I called my mom next while blood was literally pouring all over the kitchen floor. Four of the kids sat out in the living room oblivious to what was happening, but my oldest daughter (4 years old) sat beside me telling me it was ok, trying to put a bathrobe over the puddle of blood, telling me not to cry.  My mom arrived and made me lie down, trying to keep me calm but I really knew how fast I was losing blood and didn't want to take her suggestion that I wait for my husband to arrive.  I knew an ambulance would take too long and I suggested I call my dad.  My dad took about 15 minutes to arrive and I got out to his truck and climbed in the back.  I got into the hospital and we tried calling them to have someone from the e.r to come out and bring a wheelchair but they didn't seem to understand that I was hemorrhaging they were really confused so after about 5 minutes of talking on the phone I got up and somehow walked into the e.r. dripping blood on the ground the whole walk in.  They got the gist of it when I came walking in with sweatpants soaked in blood.  I passed lots of giant clots and the blood started to slow.  My OB was in surgery but came out of it asap as soon as they called to tell him I was here.  My husband showed up just after they started an i.v. and oxygen.  He brought our infant with him so I could nurse her.  We thought that at worst I would just have a D & C and go home that night.  The OB came down and just then, the bleeding started again and it was pouring out, soaking those blue sheet pads that they use.  He started a blood transfusion and prepped me for what we thought would be a 30 minute d & c proceedure.

 He got me into the OR and found so much placenta, and described the blood as pouring out of me, there was SO many super calcified placenta 'fingers' still embedded in my uterus from the percreta. He clamped off the blood flow to my uterus and scraped and scraped at my uterus, but couldn't get the placenta out.  He unclamped it and he said blood literally just poured out of me again. I got two more bags in the o.r. while he reclamped it and went out to talk to my husband for permission to do a hysterectomy. My husband was very scared but said ok. I can't imagine how scared he must have been, being there alone with our infant.  He said that he basically clung to her for strength to not think about me dying.  The doctor told him I probably wouldn't live through another unclamping. So, he went back in and removed my cervix and uterus. About 5 hours total from start to finish and I was left with a bikini cut incision across my abdomen. After that I was taken to ICU where the doctor and anesthesiologist stayed with me and husband (who still had our infant with him) and prayed and waited for me to wake up.  As soon as I came to, I don't know why, but I asked if he took my uterus and they all told me yes and were very compassionate and very explanatory.

I am very lost and sad right now and in pain. I am SO thankful for my life and that I lived through it all, but very mournful of my fertility. I spent almost a week in the hospital, getting blood, resting and healing.  The nurses helped a lot with dealing with the trauma of bleeding to death in front of my children.  Now I have to find a way to help my oldest daughter deal with the trauma of seeing it.  I still am having intense boughts of anxiety and really painful nightmares, but I hope that these ease with time.  I still have my husband peek into my pants and see, then assure me that there is no blood in my pants, that i'm alive and well and here with him, that i'm safe.  I never had these things before. 

We had my first post op appointment and the placenta pathology just confirmed what the OB already knew, what we already knew...the placenta was so embedded and there was so much, it was impossible to remove.  It would have killed me and there was nothing that I could have done differently to prevent it.  The doctor removed my uterus, cervix, tubes, and ligaments. I could have bled to death in my sleep, easily. I am astounded that I didn't, to be honest. 

My childbearing days are over, but I am here to raise the five beautiful babies that we made.  I am sad that i'll never feel the rolling of baby legs inside my body or the pounding of the first time we hear a heartbeat, but i'm here to hold my children, see them laugh, cry, meet milestones and make accomplishments.  I'll never make, birth and hold a new baby that we made or have that first time nursing, those innocent baby-bliss filled days, but I have my life and that should be valued too.  I miss what will never be but cherish what we have.  God saved me with a purpose in mind...incase I ever forgot or forget, I am here for reason.  I am special and important in the lives of my children and my husband and what i'm doing here is making a difference.  What all of that means, i'm not sure yet.  I am ready to embark on what feels like a new life though and ready to find out.  I am so humbled and grateful. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lyndley Elizabeth's Hospital Birth Story

This pregnancy was amazing for me, in so many different ways.  We weren't shocked when we found out about expecting this baby, but incredibly excited.  I figured some people would share our excitement and others, well...others wouldn't.  But it didn't bother me much.  I had awful morning sickness this time and spent a lot of the first trimester trying to keep it together and off of the couch! I had a small sub chorionic bleed that made my first trimester nerve wracking.

We started out this pregnancy assuming that we would have this baby at home, too.  I loved our homebirth with Logan so so so much...the privacy, the intimacy, the freedom, and really our prenatal care too.  The massive blood loss I had afterward though and the feeling that I couldn't stand up for the first two days post partum were really daunting to me though, and it was a hard feeling to shake.  So we prayed a lot about it, for guidance and acceptance.  Ultimately, we chose to have the baby at home.  Then, we felt really guided toward maybe a UC (Unassisted Childbirth).  Next, we met a really wonderful hospital midwife, and thought maybe she would be able to catch our baby this time.  Rob and I spent most of the 1st and part of the second trimester tossing ideas around.  We had bought the supplies to manage most of our own prenatal care and got to have awesome intimate experiences of hearing the baby's heartbeat for the first time, totally alone, being able to use the fetoscope together, belly mapping together, and just all around connecting with the baby. 

Around 25-28ish weeks we went and had some blood work down after I had several really dizzy spells, extreme exhaustion, erratic womb behavior for our baby, and a variety of other symptoms.  At this point, we still weren't sure which route that we really wanted to go...assisted homebirth, unassisted homebirth, or hospital birth.  After we got the blood work results, combined with the post partum bleed we had last time, we knew in our hearts that it was time to accept the possibility of a midwife assisted hospital birth.  At first I was ok with it.  But, as weeks went on,  I was growing more anxious...would our wants, needs, and requirements be respected? Would be able to welcome our baby how we want or be stuck adhering to outdated hospital policy?  Would we have placental problems and hemmorhage again? Could I trust this new midwife to handle our lives?
Then our new midwife dropped the bomb, she would be unavailable to us right over my 40 week mark.  I cried when I got home.  I felt like our birth plans were all unravelling.  I was terrified of having the baby with the one OB in their practice who was on call over that time.  He had made me really uncomfortable during one visit that I had with him. 

Around 30 weeks, I woke up one morning to a pool of blood in my bed.  I freaked out and ran downstairs and listened to the baby's heartbeat with our Doppler while I cleaned myself up.  Rob was out of town and I texted him and told him what happened.  I called our midwives office but she was out for that day and I had to see a backup OB.  He didn't even address the bleeding.  He asked only about why I had refused the GD test.  I was scared and devestated! I went home really scared and called the office and told them I needed to talk to our midwife. I finally got through to her and at my next appointment had an ultrasound to check on baby.  Who was perfect.

I talked to Rob a lot about what the 'plan' would be for when I went into labor.  Plan, plan plan! hahha yeah right! 

On Dec. 10th I felt really really, emotional.  I was really irrational, really tired of peeing every 5 minutes, day and night, and like I didn't have enough time to get everything done.  I had an urgency to get things in order.  I was calling people, paying bills, buying last minute christmas things, did like 6 loads of laundry, and went to bed late that night after forcing Rob to clean the kitchen after a 10 hour shift at work (Sorry about that by the way!) :). 

I woke up when Rob went to work the morning of  Dec. 11th, and got the kids breakfast.  I literally couldn't keep my eyes open.  It wasn't an option.  I put the baby barrier gates up and laid down on the couch and slept for a half hour.  I woke up with the worst stomach cramps in the world.  Waddling/Running to the bathroom, trying to fenangle the baby barrier gates, I finally got to the bathroom and started puking.  I had several episodes of that and then felt the first light contractions.  They were hardly noticible, more like a stomach cramp/back ache.  I called Rob at work and told him I didn't feel well and that I thought the baby might be coming in the next day or two.  Exhausted from the night before and all my running around the day before, I sat around with the kids all day, playing puzzles, watching movies...anything that didn't require moving. 
I called my mom about 1:30 and told her that my contractions were about ten minutes apart and the baby might be here today or tomorrow.  She told me ok, and that she'd be ready just in case in ended up being the real thing. 
By 2:00pm I called Rob and told him he might want to consider coming home.  The contractions were getting longer and about 6 minutes apart.  He still didn't believe I was really in labor so he waited until his shift ended at 5pm to leave.  By the time he got home around 6, my contractions lasted about a minute and some change, and were 3-5 minutes apart. 
I was in the tub when he walked in the door, surrounded by our 6yo, 4yo, 2yo, and 1yo.  I must have looked hilarous!  Lol.  The kids were drawing pictures on the tub for the baby with bath tub crayons, Liam was using a cup to pour hot water over my belly during a contraction and he *literally* thought that the baby was coming,  I called our midwife and told her, maybe a baby today!  And promised to call back if we decided we needed to come in.
Rob took the roast out of the oven and put it out on the table, and I came out, ate a really fast dinner and laid down on the couch.  I slept for 10 minutes and woke up at the height of a contraction and I knew it would be time to go soon.  We called our midwife and told her when we would be coming in so she could meet us there.  I told Rob that after the kids went to bed, we would want to get going then.
My mom came over around 9pm and we headed out.  I laid back in the car and listened to christmas music, visualizing the baby twisting and turning and coming down.  I could feel *something* in my right hip, and knew the head was either tilted to the side or there was a hand up by the face.

Our labor support, Sarah, met us out front, and everyone we ran into on the trip up to OB had lots of small talk.  Our midwife met us right at the OB doors and took us back to our room.  She asked how I was feeling, if my water was leaking, etc.  She had already turned the lights down low and asked if I wanted to get into the whirlpool tub to soak.  I don't think anything could have sounded better.  She ran the bath for me, then asked if she could check my cervix and found it to be about 3-4cm, very soft, etc.  After that, we were alone to labor.  I felt really in and out of it, alternating between excitement, sleeping, and disbelief.  I kept using visualizations to help labor progress and I felt close to 6cm.  I got another vaginal exam around midnight and was 5-6 cm and got admitted then.  I labored in the dark, in and out of the water, alternating between the rocking chair, squatting, and the tub. 
Sometime around 3am I requested another exam and was 7-8cm.  I needed that encouragement, I was starting to fall into exhaustion and my contractions were getting erattic.  The babys position (posterior with hands around the face) was making the peak of them hard to keep on top of.  Around 5am at 8cm, my water broke.  Shortly after that, our midwife gave us suggestions to help baby get into a better position and asked if i'd try nipple stimulation to get my contractions on a good pattern and help spin the baby.  By dawn I was exhausted but couldnt sleep with the way baby's position was. Our midwife reminded us that pitocin was always an option, and I told her that I would strongly consider it.  I was snacking, staying hydrated, resting as I could, and the past few days were taking their toll on my body.  Our labor support had to leave at that point and Rob and I were alone.

After a while of working through contractions together, I started crying and asking him what he thought of me talking to the midwife about pain medication options.  He was a bit in disbelief.  The last time i'd used pain medication was 6 years ago during my first birth and it was never a question to never use it again!  I knew something was wrong though.  More than just positioning of baby or contraction pain.. But *something* was wrong.   I still needed to at least explore the option.  I couldn't go on anymore without help...physical and emotional support wasn't helping me anymore.  I cried for what felt like a long time while he hugged me and then we called the nurse in. 
We listened to all of the options and decided on an epidural.  I needed to sleep to be able to go on and something inside me was urging me to get one.  Texts were pouring in from well meaning friends and family, trying to talk me out of it and remind me of my goal.  I cried a lot because I felt I was somehow short changing the baby.  After my i.v. line was hooked into the hepLock in my arm, the anesthesiologist came in to talk to us, and worked very quickly, and an epidural went in without a hitch, in record time. I allowed them to start a low dose of pitocin as well.   Before I knew it, our midwife and nurse had helped make me comfortable in bed and I was fast asleep.  I woke up about maybe an hour or so later to a very strong contraction.  I was still numb in the legs and mostly the abdomen, but could feel my contractions again and the stabbing pain down by my right hip.    I knew that this meant I was close to meeting our baby

 I requeste an exam and was almost complete except for a lip, which I quickly pushed past.  I started pushing at 12:30pm, with the blinds down, lights off, just my husband, midwife, and nurse, in complete silence.  Afdter 4 pushes and 20 minutes later, we were holding our baby.  Our midwife asked us which we had, a boy or girl!  We quickly lookedand found out we were holding a beautiful baby GIRL!  She was born wth hands up on her head.  I was so happy that I still got to feel her being born and experience that moment that only mother and child share. She was 8lbs 10oz, 21", born at 38ish weeks on 12-12-12 at 12:50pm

About 30 minutes later, her cord was still pulsing so she remained attatched to me via her cord.  We had a knock at the door and our previous OB popped in and said congrats to us and had a peek at the baby.  Right after he left, I started to feel very strange.  I felt like A haze was coming over me or something...everyone was talking but it all sounded distant.  I commented that I felt weird, then heard something beeping and I remember telling Rob he had to cut the cord and take the baby.  They quickly responded.  I remember hearing "60's over 40's" and realizing they were talking about my blood pressure and then getting oxygen and laying down really flat.  The anesthesiologist came in and gave me two shots of something to help raise my bp.  I also remember saying something to the midwife but I can't really remember what it was.  Rob had taken baby girl across the room and they were bonding skin to skin and he was trying to ignore that something weird was happening. 

I remained feeling fuzzy and talking to our midwife about my placenta, and how long it was taking to come out now (around an hour at this point).  I gave a push and she could tell it was somewhat detatched.  I recall hearing her ask if my epidural was still on -- yes.  Then saying we needed to call Dr.SoAndSo in to manually remove my placenta because I was starting to bleed.  I vaugley remember him coming in to work on me but remember them talking about a placenta acretta after he had reached insid me and basically dug it out.  The nurse told my husband it was a very good thing I had an epidural, as it avoided me having to go in for surgical removal of my placenta.  I was given several things to stop the bleeding and once it started slowing, we were 'out of the woods'.  I was watched and monitored pretty closely for the next 6 hours.  Then more so for the rest of the time I was in the hospital, then discharged at 24 hours.

I spent those hours bonding with baby, slipping in and out of sleep, and falling in love with her and my husband (again).  My birth didn't go as planned at all.  Sometimes I feel like I let myself and my baby down by accepting drugs, but I know in my heart that it was a good choice. I don't regret it for a second.  I feel like we were respected and our babys birth was honored and that was beyond important to us.  Foremost, I feel incredibly grateful that we had a hospital to be at.  As much as I loved our homebirth, a placenta acretta and post partum hemmorhage aren't something I am willing to have handled at home (although, I realize skilled midwives can handle those things), the risk was not something I would have been willing to accept.  She's sleeping on my chest right now, and all I can think is how incredibly, totally, completely in love I am with her.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

35-37 weeks pregnant!

I am feeling pretty good at this point!  More tired than I would like, but I get to take an extra nap each day :)  The kids are getting anxious to find out if baby is a boy or girl and help us choose a name.  Baby is super active still!  I'm running out of room lol.  Heart rate is 140-150's and me and baby are super healthy.  at 35 weeks we went to NJ for a family Thanksgiving and baby held out till well after :)  I am so excited to see this baby and welcome him or her into our family.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Creating A Hospital Natural Birth Plan

We tend to hear some negativity when it comes to drafting a 'Birth Plan'.  Some say it's ineffective, some say that it's more likely to lead to a cesarean section, and some even go as far to call it 'selfish', implying that you are somehow requesting your wishes over the safety of the baby. 

Reality though, shows that none of those things are true. 

So, what is a birth plan?

A birth plan is a simple outline of the way that you want to be treated during labor, the way that you wish to labor, and the way that you require that you're baby be treated and handled in the moments after birth and during your hospital stay. 

The best type of birth plan, is a short one.  It lists your wishes, requests, and requirements precisely and to the point. Because lets be honest, unless you're being admitted for an induction, time may be limited for the staff to read your plan.  Not that your plan doesn't matter, but most maternity ward and generally busy places, and if you want all  of your wishes read, keep it short.  

To draft a birth plan, you will want to start with 5 topics.
-Pain management
-Birth (including what to do if a cesarean becomes necessary)
-Newborn Care
-Post Partum Care

You can ommit one if you choose (I ommit Post-partum care because I have always been of sound mind to speak up for myself during that time.)  You will want to write down at LEAST 4 wishes/wants/religious requests or ideals under each heading, and then go from there.

Writing a birth plan with tact and respect is essential.  You aren't using your birth plan to boss people around, rather you are using it to relay a LOT of information that is important to you, in a short amount of time, to all of the staff members.

Review your birth plan with your Midwife or Doctor for the first time at 30 weeks.  This gives you AMPLE time to discuss hospital policy's, make sure that they are on board, that your wants and needs are clear and concice and also time to find a new provider if you all of a sudden find that your beliefs do not match as closely as you thought that they would. 

If you have a Doula you should draw on her expertise in drafting your birth plan.  It will also be HER job (and make sure she's aware) to distribute copies of your birth plan to staff at the hospital.  If you don't have a Doula, it will be your partners job or birthing coach's job.

What happens if there is an emergency and my birth plan is deviated from?  This is a question, that, as a Doula, I get a LOT.  This is a situation that you need to mentally prepare for, and learn how to avoid interventions (which lead to many emergency's) and keep an open mind.  There are some things on your birth plan though that do not need to be thrown to the wind.  This includes:
-Any religious requests
-Newborn Care
-Environment (requesting that the OR staff be respectful and keep chit chat to a minimum during your surgery)
-Letting the available parent, partner, or otherwise be the first to hold the baby and start immediate skin to skin bonding (barring any newborn illness)
-Newborn access & rooming in
...and MUCH more.

Review your birth plan again at 36 weeks to ensure that your provider is aware of your wishes and/or beliefs, so that there is no confusion.

Below is a copy of the hospital birthing plan i'm using for our upcoming 5th pregnancy and birth.  Feel free to replicate it and tailor it to you if you are in need of one.  There are also other samples in Dr. Sears The Birth Book.

Contact me with any questions, and happy birthing!

(include names of all parties involved)

*We appreciate your help and professionalism in helping us respect our religious ideals and birthing wishes.  This birthing guide has been read and approved by our midwife.  We do not want anyone permitted to come back to our room that is not the Father, Labor Support, or medical professional. Please, no students and keep the number of medical staff to a complete minimum.  Thank you so much for helping us achieve these things

Pain Management:
Please help us by:
-NOT offering pain medication at any point in time during the labor or delivery
-Respecting my (the mother’s) desire to be alone with my husband and labor support
-Not speaking to me during contractions
-Encouraging us to use the shower/tub

Pain relief techniques we will use:
-Deep/guided relaxation
-Birthing Ball

Please help us honor our baby by:
-No talking at the time of delivery to honor our religious and philosophical beliefs.
-Letting my Husband catch/help catch the baby (with consent of our Midwife)
-Letting our baby hear the parents voices first
-Placing the baby and mother together for an unrestricted amount of time
-Leaving the baby’s umbilical cord intact for at least 20 min., even if the cord has appeared to stop pulsating
-I reserve the right to eat and/or drink as I see fit during the course of my labor.
-Letting the Father discover the baby’s sex
-Having the baby evaluated on my chest
-No suctioning of the baby unless respiratory distress is clearly happening

Birthing Wishes:
-We do not consent to an episiotomy under any circumstance
-We wish to labor/birth in any position in any part of the room that we wish without commentary
-We do not consent to constant fetal monitoring of any kind, unless Pitocin use becomes necessary, then we will follow the hospital policy for monitoring. 
-We DO consent to intermittent monitoring with a handheld Doppler or Fetoscope.
-We will be taking our baby’s placenta home with us and will bring an appropriate, safe container in which to do so. Please do not comment on our choice in which to do so.

If a Cesarean Birth becomes necessary:
-Please, no small talk or unnecessary talk between staff members in the operating room. 
-Unless medically indicated, the baby should be place, immediately, skin to skin with my Husband.
-I would like unrestricted access to my newborn in the recovery room and would be willing to sign any legal consent or liability forms.  
Please help us keep the room restful by:
-No loud voices
-Please knocking before entering
-Keeping the lights low
-Not forwarding any phone calls to our room, please
-I prefer to wear my own clothes of choice during the labor/birth. 
-I do not consent to an IV unless I am being induced.  I will consent to a HepLock
Newborn Care:
Please understand:
-We do NOT consent to any injections or vaccinations of ANY kind to be given to our child.  It violates our moral, philosophical and religious beliefs.
-We do NOT consent to any antibiotic, cream, or prophylactic to be placed in our baby’s eyes or anywhere on the skin. 
-We do NOT consent to anyone bathing our baby
-If baby is Male, we do NOT consent to genital cutting (circumcision) of any kind, nor any foreskin retraction.

Monday, October 22, 2012

31 to 33 weeks pregnant!

We;re in the home stretch now!  The baby is in my rib cage and deep in my pelvis all at the same time!  We nicknamed baby the 'Giant Baby'.  We can't wait to meet him or her.  I feel pretty good right now other than the constant pee'ing, constant tiredness, etc.  :)

Our wishes for an unassisted birth are out the window, though.  :( I have an increased risk of post partum hemmorhage.  A risk that neither of us are comfortable taking.  So, we'll be birthing our baby in the hospital.  I have been a little upset about it..mostly because I just want to be left alone and i'm hoping that this will be able to happen in the hospital.

We had an ultrasound to check the placenta (after a few episodes of heavy bleeding) and found the baby's guesstimate weight to be at 5lbs.  5lbs!  Now, ultrasounds can be off by 5lbs either way, but its always fun to guess.  The baby slept the whole ultrasound. I can't wait to meet this baby!

Monday, September 10, 2012

25 (maybe 27?) weeks

Woop!  Bring on the bigness!  I am feeling large about now, but my husband assures me the biggest is yet to come ;)  I am tired a lot now though.  We have been doing the majority of our own prenatal care.  The babys heart rate is around 156-158bpm so we are suspecting a GIRL!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

18 weeks! Almost half way...

Baby is, theoretically, almost 6 inches long now and has already turned life upside down! Between intense all day vomitting (which i've started taking medicine for now, none of the natural remedies I have in my belt worked), and hip/back pain (which i'm guessing is magnesium deficiency from all the vom), it makes baby's little movements all the more welcome.
We have been doing our own prenatal care now and everything is right on schedule.  Baby heart rate is around 148-153, my bp and urine are all fine, and my belly getting nice and round lol. We haven't decided yet about the where to deliver and who will catch the baby, but i'm sure it will all come together.  Maybe we'll end up with the UC I keep having dreams about?