My Experiences With Natural Childbirth

So I’ve been thinking a lot the past few days about the childbirth process and reflecting on my experience last time.  I thought it would be nice to share my firstborn’s birth story on the blog.  It’s also nice because I already wrote this a long time ago so this post requires minimal work on my part ;).  I encourage everyone to read it, because natural childbirth is something that all women (and spouses/partners) should be educated on.  My story is an example of how things can go very well!  I hope you enjoy it!

The birth of her first child is undoubtedly one of THE defining moments of any woman’s life. I am so happy that I can now look back on that day as a completely positive experience. Everything about A’s birth was absolutely beautiful, and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
Let me start out by saying that anyone who is in relatively good health CAN and SHOULD deliver their babies naturally. I’m not gonna get into details here, but I highly recommend that anyone who ever plans to procreate (or anyone who has sex for that matter! I mean hey, I wasn’t planning it either!) watch The Business of Being Born. It is quite eye opening, and I guarantee you will learn something valuable.

Baby and Me
So aside from just being sort of “crunchy” myself, this movie was part of what guided me towards a natural birth. I wanted everything to happen as nature intended. I wanted what was safest for my baby and would result in the quickest recovery. I wanted to be totally “in the moment” rather than drugged out. But above all, I wanted to feel child labor as God intended – as every woman has done for thousands of years (well… up until modern times that is!) For me, it was sort of a “right of passage,” and I was determined to make sure that some medical institution didn’t get in my way of achieving this.
I did a significant amount of research and reading since my work schedule did not allow me to take a natural childbirth class. Instead of seeing an obstetrician, I sought the help of a Certified Nurse Midwife. Midwives are MUCH better equipped at handling natural births than OB’s, who are more equipped to handle medical problems and C-Sections. CNM’s accept insurance and deliver babies at hosptials just like a doctor would. The only difference is that they will be MUCH more supportive of your decision for a natrual childbirth… and believe me, you need their support. My midwife just happens to be like the most awesome person ever. Seriously, I lucked out.
I went into labor at 3:41 AM on Monday, September 24th; 2 days before my due date. I had been having Braxton-Hicks contractions for weeks, but I immediately knew this was a real one! Since the average woman’s first labor lasts 8 hours, I decided to try and get a couple more hours of sleep. 8 minutes later, contraction #2 arrived. These contractions were only a little painful, but I was just so excited that it was hard to go back to sleep. 5 minutes later was contraction #3. Crap! They weren’t supposed to jump down that quickly! I decided to wake up husband and tell him that I was having legit contractions. He agreed that we should try to rest some more. Oh wait, here comes contraction #4. And they’re only 3 minutes apart now. Time to get up!
The first thing I wanted to do was take a shower because A) I didn’t know how long it’d be before I got a chance to take one and B) I thought the water might help ease the pain. While in the shower, the contractions were getting starting to get PAINFUL, i.e. I was doubled over and couldn’t do anything else until they were over. I’m glad I decided not to wash my hair because there’s no way I would have been able to dry it. No way.
During the shower, husband had been calling family letting them know that I was in labor. My mom and sister (who live about 3.5 hours away) were planning on being there for the birth. After showering I quickly got dressed then headed back to the bed, where I rolled around in pain for quite some time. I started to feel nauseous so I decided to go back to the bathroom and hang out by the toilet. It was pretty much inevitable that I was going to throw up – I’ve always been a puker.
Disclaimer: I look kindof scary in these photos, but there is nothing graphic in this post!

Puking Syd
Sick Syd. Sad face 😦  Also – I spy an outie belly button!  Haha
It is really hard to remember everything that happened during this time. I know husband was running around packing last minute things while I just tried to focus on getting through contractions, which were coming 2 minutes apart or less. This was the position that seemed to work for me the best. Having counterpressure applied to my lower back seemed to be helpful as well. The best way I can describe labor contractions is this: it feels like you have the worst charlie horse ever all over your entire midsection and back. At the same time there is this INTENSE downward pressure from within. Like you can feel that baby pushing down. You feel a little relief, then it just happens again. And again. And again. And it gains intensity as time goes on. Lemme tell ya folks, natural labor is not for the faint of heart!
My favorite labor position was some variation of this attractive “hunched over” pose:

Hunched Over
We decided that since my contractions were so close together, it was time to head to the hospital. My plan was to labor at home for as long as possible to prevent uneccessary medical interventions to accelerate labor. (I’m lookin’ at you, pitocin!) So after a few more puking sessions, we hopped in the car and drove to the hospital.
That was by far the worst car ride of my life. Not being able to move during contractions was the worst thing ever. Once we got there, I could hardly even walk from the parking lot to the front door. I remember seeing a pregnant woman casually walking in with her bags packed, ready for her scheduled induction and thinking of how much I loathed her. Funny. Anyways, we went up to the registration desk on the 2nd floor and started registering. Oh wait, excuse me while I run to the bathroom mid-sentence to go throw up. Okay. At that point I gave up and let husband handle the paperwork. I went into the lounge area and hunched over on one of the couches. I’m sure I was scaring the shit out the people in the waiting room, but I obviously didn’t care.
A few minutes later, a nurse came to fetch me and bring me to Labor & Delivery. She conveniently provided me with a barf-bag (which I later utilized!) and a hospital gown to change into. Not long after, my nurse came in to triage me and check to see how far along I was. I was 6 cm dilated and 100% effaced. Yes! (For those of you who don’t know, you have to go from 0 to 10cm dilated and be 100% effaced in order to start pushing the baby out; I suggest googling “dilation and effacement” if you don’t know what these terms mean.) We were excited that the baby would be on its way soon!
Sidenote: during this entire process, I was going through excrutiating amounts of pain. It was difficult to even answer simple questions, and I thought I was going to die when I had to lay on my back for the nurse to check me.
I remember being asked to rate my pain during contractions on a scale from 1-10, but before I could even answer, the nurse said, “from the looks of things, I’d say that’s a 10.” She was right. I was at my limit. I rated my pain between contractions a 6. They asked if I wanted any pain control or epidural, and they were totally fine with me saying no. However, I could tell that they assumed I was going to come begging for an epidural later. They started explaining that they were going to give me a hep-lock to give me fluids or blood if needed. I then interjected saying that I did not want any needles in my arm at all. The charge nurse went through this spiel about how I could die and it’s a matter of seconds… blah blah blah. I just politely replied, “Thank you, but I am still going to decline.” Funny enough, I was totally scared of becoming a total psycho bitch while I was in labor, when in reality I was very nice, polite, and gentle. Go figure.
The nurses left husband and I alone. I alternated between my classic hunched over position, lying on my side, and a little walking around to get through contractions. So remember that 10 rating I threw out earlier? Well it turns out that the pain scale actually goes up to like 11 of 12, because somehow it continued to get worse. I NEEDED husband to give me a back massage during EVERY contraction or I felt like I was going to die. This is the last picture we managed to take before things got out of control. How fake does that smile look?

Fake smile
The home stretch of labor was probably the most mentally and physically challenging thing I have ever endured.  (Update… running a full marathon on only 3 weeks of training might be close!). It was probably somewhere around 8:30AM when I said to husband, “I don’t know how many more of these contractions I can handle!” This is the one and only time I was negative during labor. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, I also believe this is the point where I reached transition (in other words, I was dilating to that last 10th cm). From what I’ve heard, it is not uncommon for women to experience a complete nuclear meltdown during transition. I’m glad this didn’t happen to me.
I was in a lot of pain and thought it might help to try a new position – I had read that squatting can be helpful. So I tried that and felt the urge to push. It was only 4-5 hours into labor so I thought it was way too early to push. Husband was kind of freaking out because we hadn’t seen a nurse in quite some time. He ran out into the hallway and told them that I felt like pushing. The nurse immediately came in and checked me. 10 cm! Call the midwife ASAP! Thank goodness it was during work hours and her office was right across the street. The midwife arrived in 10 minutes.
Those 10 minutes were NO JOKE. I was hurtin. But when Noel (the midwife) entered the room, I immediately felt calm and relaxed. I don’t know what it was about her presence that comforted me, but from that point on, labor was a breeze. We discussed birth positions, and I told her that I didn’t want to be on my back due to an increased risk of a tear/episiotomy and that squatting felt uncomfortable for me. We decided to go with a side-lying position. However, when I got in this position, I didn’t really feel the urge to push anymore. Figures. Noel suggested that whenever the next contraction comes that I should try pushing a little bit just to see how it feels. The instant I started to push, my water FINALLY broke! It was a TON of fluid.
After that happened, the urge to push returned with a vengeance. Noel coached me to inhale deeply, then hold my breath for 10 seconds while pushing as hard as I could. Then take one deep breath and repeat until the contraction is over. It was so hard to hold my breath for that 10 seconds, which is funny because earlier I wanted to hold my breath through every contraction (which is NOT what you’re supposed to do!) It was exciting because with every push I could feel her moving farther down the birth canal.
By some miracle, I also felt awesome during the pushing phase. I was not tired and I was not in pain. I remember asking husband for something to drink between contractions. I am so so so glad that I chose a natural birth so that I could fully enjoy this moment. During the 3rd contraction since that initial push, husband and Noel reported that they could see the head. I tried not to get too excited since I knew I still had a long way to go (most women push for about an hour). I was mentally prepared for an endurance event.
On the next push, I felt the most deep, intense, sharp pain. It felt as if my hip bones were being pried apart. I let out a short (but MEGA loud) scream. Noel was saying, “Sydney, reach down and pull out your baby!” but I was in such disbelief that I didn’t make it up there in time to catch her! (Noel caught her, of course). I was overwhelmed with shock and joy – I had no idea she would come so quickly.  My sweet little girl was born at 9:06 AM. She was immediately placed on my chest and it was love at first sight!
Here she is at about 5 seconds old!

Just Born
My sister made it to the delivery room like literally 1 minute after she was born. My mom followed about 20 minutes later. I was kind of glad that they weren’t there during labor though. I would’ve killed my mom.  Oh it would’ve been a fight.
The first thing she did when she was born was both pee AND poop on mommy. Lol what a sweetie. Since she was placed skin-to-skin, my body naturally produced the oxytocin needed to deliver the placenta without an injection. Noel also informed me that I wouldn’t need any stitches at all (natural birth for the win!) Baby received perfect 10’s on both of her APGAR scores, and latched on to nurse within the hour. She was only removed from my arms briefly to be weighed.

Gettting weighed
After she nursed, the nurse helped me clean up and I was moved to the postpartum recovery floor. It was incredible how quickly I recovered – I was up walking around almost immediately. I felt great and was so happy that I didn’t have to deal with any medicine side-effects or epidural sites. All I had to do was enjoy the company of my new baby and our many visitors in the hospital. The baby and I were doing so well that we were discharged from the hospital the very next day, which is rare for a woman’s first delivery.
All in all, it was such a beautiful and amazing experience. Seriously ladies – natural is the way to go! You won’t regret it.

Okay, so did I sell anyone on natural childbirth?  Thoughts?

Anyone ever had a home birth?  I really wanted to do it at home, but insurance doesn’t cover it here.

If you’ve had children, what would you like to do differently from last time?

 

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Just Tryin To Hang In There!

Hey guys!  Long time, no post huh?  I’m sure it’s no huge surprise that my horrible morning sickness is the culprit behind my absence.  I’ve had a couple people ask me if I’m still blogging, and I’ve honestly had to think about it.  I don’t want to quit blogging, but I really am not able to commit to it like I used to.  I also don’t feel like my content is going to “fit” the original purpose of my blog, which was a “journey of recovery from restrictive and disordered eating.”

Of course, we all know that ED recovery is a seemingly never-ending journey.  It something that may disappear for quite some time, until some event in your life causes those old patterns of thinking and behavior to creep back in without you noticing.  I have no doubt that I will eventually have to face those behaviors again in my life.  But right now, there isn’t the slightest trace of ED ideation in my head.  I am basically in survival mode here – I am doing everything I can in my power to get (and keep!) ANY food down whatsoever.

I know that many a few people read this blog as a source of inspiration, motivation, or support through their own recovery.  And I hope that in the future, I can continue to be that source.  But for now, it’s just going to be about me trying to stay as healthy as possible throughout this pregnancy.  I also feel like I’m not being a very good blog friend by not reading and commenting as I normally do.  No offense at all people, but most of the blogs in my reader are full of yummy food pictures.  I just can’t look at it anymore guys.  The smell or sight of foods that don’t sit right with me at the moment are enough to send me running for the bathroom.  So nothing personal, but I’m probably going to limit my blog reading to those rare instances (like now!  hooray!) when I feel a least a little bit okay.

Still friends???  Gah I promise I will be back eventually!

So it’s also obvious then that my posts will be fewer and farther between.  So since I don’t know when I’ll be back, I’ll go ahead and give you a little update on how things are going.

We had our first appointment with my midwife yesterday.  Everything looks good – we even got to do an early ultrasound and hear the teeny little baby’s heartbeat.  Yes!  There is a heartbeat at 6.5 weeks!  Even though he’s pretty much just a little bean at this point.

photo(7)

I was also right on the money with my prediction about when I ovulated.  Due date is officially December 18th… 1 week before Christmas!  The ultrasound tech was able to confirm which ovary the egg came from… the left.  So crazy because I totally felt it on the left side!  It blows my mind how it’s like I just knew exactly what was going on this time, when last time I was just like “HOW ON EARTH COULD THIS POSSIBLY HAVE HAPPENED!?!?!?!”

Anyways, we are holding off on bloodwork until next visit on June 2nd.  For now, we just got my baseline weight, blood pressure, etc.  Unfortunately, the weight is still dropping slowly.  Fortunately, it is not dangerous to lose weight in the first trimester (unless it is drastic of course!)  As long as I can get SOME food down, take my vitamins, and stay hydrated, I have no need to worry.  We also decided to hold off on taking nausea medications for as long as possible.  I am going to do my best to make it through the first trimester.  I am quite adamant about natural pregnancy and birth, so I’ll have to be pretty desperate before I resort to Zofran.  I took it in the second trimester last pregnancy up until about week 20.  I had already lost my job, and was afraid I’d lose my new one if I didn’t do something about the morning sickness.  Thankfully it did the trick!

So that’s all for now.  Til next time, I’ll just try & hang in there!

Morning Sickness, We Meet Again Old Friend… (Recovery Progress Check)

Morning sickness…. oh how I loathe you.  You sure know how to ruin an appetite.  You even know how to ruin the sight or smell of food.  You can render me completely useless at all but the most menial of tasks.

So you can blame morning sickness for my lack of a WIAW post.  Because today it would be more like “What I didn’t eat Wednesday.”

Since I’d rather not think about food, I think it’s a good idea to reevaluate my recovery progress given the fact that the game has changed a great deal.  It’s been roughly 2 months since I made the decision to completely rid myself of restrictive and disordered eating and finally heal the damage it has caused to my body.  One of the major components of this was for my fertility to return, and that has happened far quicker than I could possibly imagined (and for that I am so so thankful!)

Tomorrow I will be 6 weeks pregnant, and so much has changed for me in the 2 short weeks that I have known about it.  My good old friend morning sickness decided to hit me like a freight train the day after Easter.  I have had perpetual nausea since then, though the severity seems to go up and down throughout the day.  But in general, mornings are awful and late in the evening is pretty bad too.  I had it pretty bad with my last pregnancy too, all the way up until 20 weeks.  It seems to have hit me earlier this time around, so hopefully it will end sooner as well?? (Please?!)

Another thing that MS is capable of is effectively ridding me of any desire to restrict food whatsoever.  It is so hard to get even a small meal down.  My mindset has completely switched over to “you need to eat as much as you can to nourish this baby!”  Of course, easier said than done.  Lucky for me, this isn’t my first rodeo, so I have a few tricks up my sleeve to help.

  • Eating in bed before waking up.  A few crackers and sips of juice.  Take about 20 minutes to digest the little snack before even attempting to get up.  Unfortunately this means getting up before the toddler does, but it’s worth it.
  • Not letting my stomach ever be completely empty.  Sips of juice or even soda (grape soda and ginger ale are best for me) throughout the day can be helpful.
  • Eating what sounds good in the moment or what I think I can tolerate.  Sometimes that means going out of my way to get what I want.  Sometimes that means going to get food elsewhere despite the fact that you had a homemade meal planned for the evening.  Sometimes that means making flippin biscuits from scratch because you literally don’t think you can choke down any other breakfast foods in the house <– helloo, that was my Monday morning!
  • Doing what you can to avoid smells or foods that may trigger MS.  Sometimes that means cooking food that has a less pronounced smell or flavor.  Sometimes that means buying already cooked food.  Sometimes that means asking your husband to cook (gasp!) while you lay in bed upstairs with your toddler doing kamikaze jumps off the bed frame.

So right now, my goal is to do what I can to maintain my weight or gain a few pounds if I can.  Since the day I felt myself ovulate, my weight was stable at 148 for several weeks.  My weight seemed to redistribute during that time from my tummy to my legs and butt and even my arms.  My arms are so much thicker!  They look like they did when I was in high school (pre-ED). But there’s a fair amount of muscle under there so it’s cool.  I definitely don’t have defined ab muscles, but my stomach has flattened out considerably.  (That ain’t gonna last long!)  And my butt has outgrown the vast majority of my pants.  I even have a pair of maternity shorts that are too small!  Crazy.

The thing I’m starting to worry about now is that I might actually lose weight instead of gain during the first trimester.  It is normal in singleton pregnancies to gain 0-5 pounds in the first trimester.  I have done my best to eat what I can when I can over the past 3 days, but I have already lost 1 lb.  I am hoping that this is just due to being less hydrated than usual rather than true fat loss.  I know that it is usually harmless to lose weight in the beginning as long as you make up for it later, but I’m really worried given the fact that I just managed to hit my healthy weight before becoming pregnant.  Is it possible to ever NOT worry about the baby?  Sheesh.  Fortunately, MS is a good sign of a healthy, thriving fetus so at least there’s that.  I also have my first appointment on Tuesday with my midwife, so she will be able to answer all my questions.  She is wonderful.

So yes, the game has changed quite a bit.  But in a way it is still the same.  I’m still trying to gain weight.  It’s just that before, I had mental roadblocks to weight gain.  Now the obstacles are all purely physical.  The stakes have changed too, though.  Before it was just my own health I was concerned with.  Now, I have to do what’s healthy for both baby and me.

For now, I can be at ease with the fact that I probably won’t have to deal with ED related thoughts until after the baby is born.  Hopefully this time around, I can do things better.  I have learned a lot!

Oh!  Almost forgot!  Happiest of happy birthdays to my wonderful husband, who is already doing an awesome job of helping with the things I’m unable to do.  I am so grateful and so lucky!

Pregnancy Update – 5 Weeks

How Far Along? 5 weeks – this is my estimated calculation based off when I felt myself ovulate.

Symptoms: Bigger boobies!  Good riddance, A-cups! 😉 They’re also a little bit sore.  Maybe tiny little hints of nausea here and there, but I’m hoping it’s just all in my head.  Also, fatigue.  So tired.  I need rest breaks like all the time.  So much different when you have a toddler to chase after!

Total Weight Gain/Loss:  Nada.  Once I ovulated my weight finally stabilized.  It has been the same the past 3 weeks or so.  Only a matter of time before it starts going up up up!  My BMI is now 21.5.  It was 19.3 the last time I got pregnant!  But my body has obviously let me know that it can’t sustain all it’s biological functions on that level of body fat!

Sleep: I actually seem to be sleeping better, as long as I can manage to turn my brain off at night.  I sometimes have to pee twice in the middle of the night, but that is not totally unusual for me anyway.  The nice thing is that I’ve been able to fall back asleep faster.  I’ve also had some crazy weird dreams.

Food Cravings: Fruit.  And fruit juice or fizzy fruit drinks.  I’ve started wanting fruit for dessert <– not normal!  I’ve always been a chocolate, cake, & cookies type of girl.

Food Aversions:  None really.

Best Moment This Week: I guess telling my family about it.  Last time I hid it from them until 8 weeks and secrets secrets are no fun.  Also announcing it on the blog 🙂

Movement: None.  The baby is the size of a grain of rice, y’all.

Labor Signs:  Absolutely not.

Gender: Way too early to tell.  We want a boy.  We wanted a boy last time too.  But now that I have a girl, I know how awesome and adorable they can be, so it’s not like I’m gonna be disappointed if that’s how it goes.

Belly Button In Or Out? In.  Stay innnnn please.

What I Miss: This is strange, but lunch meat deli sandwiches.  You can’t have luncheon meats when your pregnant because of the risk of listeria. Laaaaammmmeee.  I’m just really lazy and don’t want to cook chicken for my sandwiches/wraps.

What I Am Looking Forward To: First midwife appointment… she will be so excited!  They may or may not do an ultrasound to determine the gestational age, but I doubt it since I’m fairly certain I know when I ovulated.

What’s Different From Last Time?  Well last time I was in a glass cage of emotion about it (it was unplanned and we weren’t married yet).  They also suspected a miscarriage, so I remember them taking blood samples 2 days apart to check to make sure my hcg levels were rising appropriately.  Those two days were terrible!  Glad I don’t have all the anxiety this time.

Last Words of Wisdom:  I am so thankful that I decided to gain weight, eat more, and exercise less.  It obviously works.  I may be softer and heavier now, but gosh darn it I am fertile and I am happy.  Who knows how long it would’ve taken had I kept doing what I was doing before?

Belly Pics!

April 007 April 008

Haha apologies for the dirty bathroom counter and mirror.  We’ve been renovating the other upstairs bathroom, so this one has fallen to the wayside.  I also look tired as crap.  I like to take belly pics first thing in the morning because A.) the baby is still in her bed and she won’t beg for the phone B.) I won’t forget and C.) my belly is usually not bloated in the morning.  I’d like to see my actual pregnancy developing, not just a pseudo-bloat baby.

Does you stomach tend to be flatter in the morning too?

Do you feel like your hormones influence your food cravings?