Friday, December 2, 2011

Pass the Milkshake, Big Mac, and Fries.... I'm eating for 2

     Go ahead, have the extra piece of pie, you're PREGNANT.  Yes, I'm pregnant, all the more reason to NOT have the extra piece of pie!  I'm eating for 2, and that second little person gets no say in what I put into my body.  So I need to make sure that its nutritious!  This little growing baby eats everything I eat.  My first somehow survived on ice cream and taco bell, but this kid is getting the good stuff.  Live and learn, right?
Suggested weight gain during pregnancy: 

If you are underweight- 27-40 pounds
If you are normal weight- 25-35 pounds
If you are over weight- 15-25 pounds

    How the weight is all distributed by the time you have the baby: (roughly)

    Baby: 7-8 pounds
    Placenta: 1-2 pounds
    Amniotic fluid: 2 pounds
    Uterus: 2 pounds
    Maternal breast tissue: 2 pounds
    Maternal blood : 4 pounds
    Fluids in maternal tissue: 4 poundsMaternal fat and nutrient stores: 7 pounds    =    ROUGHLY 31lbs

      Nearly 23 Weeks
      I consider myself at "normal weight" majority of the time.  With my first, I gained 60lbs.  I stopped looking when the scale tipped 200lbs.  *sigh*  I had no self control, and I certainly didn't have a 30lb uterus.  So, when I hear someone say "Go ahead, have another slice of pie, you're pregnant!"  it drives me crazy.  YES, I'm pregnant, so I should STEP AWAY from the pie.  I have 2 bodies to care for!  
      I have been the master of self control this pregnancy.  Okay, I'm not a master, but I am in the apprenticeship program!  I have gained about 4lbs, and I'm nearly 23 weeks.  With my first, I had already gained at least 20lbs.  Perhaps this is why everyone keeps saying "you look so great this pregnancy" or "you're all belly this time."  Maybe last time I was all side chub and belly.  (I swear, taco bell addiction is very real)    Don't worry, I do indulge, just not daily like I used to.  And I'm much more active, and that makes me more alert, and energized! As energized as a pregnant woman taking care of a toddler can be.  
      "Every night I crave chocolate, and every night I have an apple."-ME

      Wednesday, November 23, 2011

      And I've popped. Well, my belly button that is.

      Baby Girl!
      I am officially over the 1/2 way marker.  Hooray!  And, 2 weeks ago we found out that baby "f" is another girl!  That would have been my guess!  Now I guess its time to start decorating the baby room, one of my favorite parts.  Only 1/2 way through, and my belly button has popped out.  Lets hope the turkey "buttons" are more accurate that this one.  Whats even more exciting, is that by the end of the year, baby "f" and I will be entering the 3rd trimester.  Its amazing how pregnancy can go fast and slow at the same time.
      So far, feeling pretty good, random aches and pains, but overall good.  Seeing a chiropractor is helping.  Mild heartburn, acne, and dry hair about sums up this pregnancy so far.  I'm still walking, and doing a yoga tape at home.  My biggest accomplishment so far is watching what I'm eating.  I wouldn't say I'm "watching my weight", but I am being fully aware of what I shove down my face.  I had a starting weight of 148, then lost 4 lbs, and now I am back up to 148.  And 1/2 way through.  With my first, I had already gained 20+lbs.  I was also eating for seven.

      I have been doing kegels and squats, and really need to start sitting on that birth ball.  I have signed up to start Birthing From Within classes in a couple weeks, and I'm very excited about that.  It will be a 6 week course, and even after reading the book, I'm not sure what to expect.  (here is a link to their webpage if you want to read up  I have one doula interview in December, and need to set up a couple more.  You would think that working part time, I would have more time on my hands!!!!  With the holidays coming up, I'm sure that this pregnancy will start to fly!  I'll try to keep you updated during the busy times too.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

      Tuesday, November 1, 2011

      1 week=Forever

      18 weeks
      So, in one week and one day, we get to find out if we're expecting a boy or girl.  To me, that's when pregnancy seems real.  You get to buy things, pick out names, clothes, design the room, and start referring to your baby in a loving term, other than "it".  I have even felt "it" move!  Much earlier than the 24 weeks it took for me to feel G move.
      For fun, we tried the "baking soda test."  Apparently, you put 1tbsp of baking soda in the bottom of a disposable cup, pee on it, and see if it fizzes.  (To me, it sounds like a huge scam to get pregnant women to do silly things, but, I'll play along)  So, I peed on it.  No fizz.  I have my pregnant friend Amanda (due 4 weeks after me)  do the same thing.  Hers fizzed. Fizz is supposed to mean boy, no fizz means girl.  Only time will tell if this test is accurate!  After the research I did, it appeared to be 60-70% accurate.
      I will ask that you all say a prayer to make sure baby F is healthy, and growing like a weed.  (Although, I am sure he or she is)  My mother and father in law have been praying for this babies birth.  My father in law has been having a hard time "picturing" how the birth will go, but, he had a dream that I was tired and happy.  Hearing that nearly brings tears to my eyes.  I already feel so positive about this child and birth, but it is nice to have positive vibes all around.  My mother in law said she saw me pushing in a squatting position, as did I.
      I have contacted the local Birthing from Within teacher, and am all set up to start classes in January.  I'm very excited.  Sounds right up my alley!
      Pregnancy has been going well so far, except that I've gotten a cold with terrible congestion that is finally gone after 2 weeks, and some other throwing up ick that my daughter brought back from day care.  We are all finally feeling better, and I am hoping it continues!  I've been attending ICAN meetings every 2 weeks, and love getting together with the ladies!  Nothing more powerful than a bunch of pregnant ladies on their birthing journeys.

      Friday, October 7, 2011

      My birth was like "Rainbows and Unicorns"- BARF

      If I read one more "perfect" birth story I might throw up- and not just because I'm pregnant.  In case you haven't noticed, I read about birth, a lot.  At least an hour or so a day on blogs or books.  And I volunteer for the ICAN group.  At times, that requires research.  Oh, have I mentioned I'm a birth junkie?
      G, all milk drunk
      I discovered I was a birth junkie, when I first read the term birth junkie on a birth blog.  Probably my 30th birth blog.  In my birth junkie-ness, I read a lot of birth stories that talk about their "perfect" births.  "At that point, I reached down to touch the head, and with one more big push, our beautiful baby girl slid out into the water inter her fathers waiting hands."  BARF.  I've only read a couple stories that were honest, saying it hurt like hell, seemed endless, but they were proud of themselves.  To me, that's being honest!  That was the motivation behind this entire blog, being honest about my feelings.  Do I love being pregnant?  No.  I don't sleep well, I have constant heartburn, acne, gas, my hair turns into a dry mess, I pee 20 times a day, I get cranky, emotional, and I couldn't feel more un-sexy.  Oh, and I miss happy hour with my husband.  Is pregnancy worth it?  OF COURSE.  I also miss snuggling my baby, having a baby nap on me, wearing my baby, breastfeeding, and that newborn cry.
      14+ weeks
      If I'm not expecting a rainbows and unicorns birth, then what am I expecting?  I'm expecting this to be the hardest thing I've ever done.  (and trust me, that black belt test was NOT easy)  I'm expecting to be in pain for an undetermined amount of time, with limited mobility because of monitors, and still have the possibility of this ending up the same way it did last time.  I am 99% sure that this child will come out vaginally, but there are no guarantees with birth.  And I would be lying to myself if I tried to convince myself otherwise.
      Am I too cynical?  Probably, but that's the way I live my life.  I love my husband and daughter, we are very blessed.  Some people would say that they "have the best husband and daughter in world and couldn't be happier."  Those people, are living the rainbows and unicorns kind of life style.  For those of you who live in cynical sarcasm land with me, you'll probably enjoy this blog, my VBAC journey and, God willing, my birth story.

      Tuesday, September 27, 2011

      Let the VBAC Journey Begin!

       Let the journey truly begin!  After over a year of planning, studying, and preparing, we now get to put it all into action.  We are pregnant with baby number 2.  (We really do need a better nickname than #2)  Our babies "ETA" is April 7th 2012.  Don't worry, we will be finding out what we are having, we're not patient enough for that.  So far,  this pregnancy has been fairly uneventful.  Headaches, heartburn, and fatigue are the common symptoms at this point.  But, as we say good bye to the first trimester, and head into the second, hopefully I'll get some energy back.

      Emotionally, its been a mini roller coaster. I have ups and downs, and even went through a little bit of depression early on.  I even contemplated a repeat c-section (gasp!)  Thankfully, my husband always brings me back down to reality :)  The ICAN meetings help too.  I have found a new strength in myself, and am hoping I can keep in touch with that throughout the entire pregnancy.
      Mini Bump

      We are planning a natural, drug free birth in a hospital.  We will enlist the help of a doula to be a part of our support team.  I am walking a few times a week, doing yoga at home, and watching what I eat.  All things I did not do last time.  So far I have gained 1 lb.  With my first, I had already gained 12 lbs at this point. Don't worry, I'm eating, and even indulging at times.  I had cake with breakfast yesterday, just not FOR breakfast.  I will thank you all in advance for your support on our journey, because we're only taking positive words from here on out.

      Thursday, September 15, 2011

      Don't Rush Birth

      A friend of mine said (to a friend in labor)  "hang in there don't want to rush a VBAC and I give you so much props for doing what you are doing!"  Now this friend meant it.  You don't rush birth.  When you do, you end up with more interventions, more babies in the NICU, and ultimately, more c-sections.  Why are we so impatient?

      Lack of education.  I found it shocking that 75 percent of mothers actually think that 34 to 36 weeks is full-term. (although it is really 39 to 40 weeks)  Thankfully, hospitals are starting to ban elective inductions before 39 weeks.  Even friends I know that go into labor naturally are induced further because things aren't moving "fast enough."  Labor can last anywhere from 10 minutes (I have read about this) to 72+ hours.  When we induce, we are augmenting the natural process of labor.  Induction causes longer, stronger contractions that can cause your babies heart rate to drop (end; c-section), most likely causing you to need an epidural. (which can cause; a drop in blood pressure, shivering, ringing of the ears, backache, soreness where the needle is inserted or nausea just to name a few) Some find that having an epidural makes pushing more difficult and can increase interventions such as: forceps, vacuum extraction or cesarean sections.  Why are women volunteering for this?

      I have read countless times that "I was induced with all 3, 4, or 5 of my kids."  Why?  We take such good care of our unborn babies by avoiding sushi, lunch meat, alcohol, eggs over easy, brie and rare steaks.  We go to countless doctor appointment, take prenatal vitamins, fish oil, eat a ton of protein, walk, do kegels and take yoga. So, why are we willing to let them be exposed to epidural drugs, induction drugs and deprive them of nutrients (food/drink) while we are in labor?  I know why I ended up with the induced, epidural, cesarean birth.  Lack of education.  The only book I read was What to Expect When you're Expecting.  (which you can pretty much throw in the trash)  I also didn't do the work.  I didn't exercise, watch what I was eating, or mentally prepare.  I assumed all doctors wanted things to happen naturally.  (sigh)

      Are the last few weeks of pregnancy THAT terrible?  (anyone out there who is 41 weeks pregnant is saying yes)  I guess what I should be asking is:  Are the last few weeks of pregnancy so terrible that we would risk our babies choosing their birthday, having our births be intervention free (if possible)  or us going through major abdominal surgery?  I don't think so.   I hope those reading will learn to accept pregnancy as a temporary, beautiful state in which we learn to be as patient as possible.  We will all need that patience when our babies do choose to arrive.

      Monday, August 29, 2011

      US and THEM

      I knew within hours on my C-section that I wanted a vaginal birth for my next child.  In the next few weeks, I emailed VBAC friendly doctors, researched the VBAC laws in Arizona, joined ICAN, and did my best on recovering emotionally and physically from my daughters birth.
      A couple months after my daughter was born, I was out with a couple friends, and I was crying talking about my birth experience and plans for a natural birth in the future.  My friend (of a friend) said "that's ridiculous.  The second one is way easier than the first.  Just schedule your c-section and get it over with."  That was her response after I poured my heart out.
      What makes US different?  I feel the need to push a baby out of my vagina.  I want to hold my slippery, naked, cord still attached newborn.  I don't want an IV, an epidural, or pain medication.  I want to experience childbirth as natural as possible. (But still in a hospital)  I want the chance to stand, sit, squat, and push on all 4's.  And I'll fight for any women right to be able to do the same.
      And then there's THEM.  The people who want to schedule their child's birthday.  (4 weeks before their estimated due date)  People who go to the hospital one centimeter dilated and want an epidural.  One's who don't consider VBAC.  Those who would rather see their child after they have been weighed, bathed, and bundled.
      So, what is the difference?  I'm a c-section baby myself, so natural birth was not a part of my up-bringing.  My mom breastfed for a while, but I don't remember seeing anyone else breastfeeding while I was growing up.  Now I'm a huge breastfeeding fan.  We were a normal middle class family that ate fresh fruits and veggies along side of microwave dinners and tater tots.  Now I make my daughters food, we eat mostly organic (I still run to taco bell every once in a while)  and there's talks of raising chickens in our tiny back yard.  I don't own paper plates, we use cloth diapers, and we recycle.  I've only "turned green" since my daughter was born so I can't say that has everything to do with it.

      Where does the separation begin?  I can't speak for THEM, but my thoughts changed after I felt robbed of a vaginal birth. After reading countless books, blogs and forums.  After watching The Business of Being Born, and attending local ICAN meeting with women who felt the same way.

      So who's right?  US or THEM?  Thankfully, we both are.  We both want whats best for our children.  And for us.  We're just taking different routes to get there.  Mine just happens to be the "I prefer to let out my inner monkey and squat in a bush to give birth" kinda route.

      Tuesday, March 29, 2011

      Losing Faith in the Female Body

      Losing faith in the female body.  It sounds silly to write.  How can one lose faith in one's body?  Well, lets start with the fact that its ingrained in our brains from birth.  Especially us Americans!  Think of the way a movie goes when someone is pregnant.

      1.  Labor starts spontaneously  (lots of times her water breaks)
      2.  Instant intense, unbearable pain
      3.  Damsel in distress either calls ambulance or seeks help
      4.  Pregnant woman is whisked away to the hospital to be saved by Doctors.  How else could you have a healthy baby?

      How are we to trust that are capable of natural childbirth when childbirth is so taboo?  Why is it the one thing no one talks about?  When you see someone with a newborn you ask, boy/girl?  how much did she weigh?  how long?  whats her name?  how old is she?  While these are also important questions, one we should be asking is "How was your birth experience?"
      I have to admit that before I went through this whole process I had never seen a vaginal birth.  But who hasn't seen a live c-section?  Its on TV 24/7.  You can show me the inside of someones uterus but not a baby being born naturally?  Heaven forbid we see a baby breastfeeding either.  I had never seen someone breastfeed until I took the breastfeeding class at the hospital.  After the class I felt slightly more confident that I could do it, but not much!
      When I go back and think about it now, I'm sure I'd lost faith in my body before I was even induced.

      1. Being induced in the first place was my body failing.  I didn't go into labor.
      2. I needed an epidural.  I couldn't handle the contractions on my own.
      3. I pushed to no avail.
      4. I needed a c-section.
      5. The 1st few breastfeeding attempts didn't work.
      After all of these "failures" in less than 24 hours, how could I trust my body?  It had let me down in every way.  Just as I had seen in SEVERAL tv shows about real women.  Why did I feel like a failure when they seemed like they were on cloud nine?  Why DO I crave such a natural birth process now?  More importantly, why do I feel like such an outcast for wanting a natural birth?

      I'll go back through the 1-5 on a positive note now that I'm in a happier place than delivery day.
      1. My body didn't fail with needing to be induced.  My Doctor failed by not letting labor happen naturally.
      2. I needed an epidural because being induced is ridiculously painful.  Also, I didn't take any pain management classes, so I didn't know what I was getting myself into.
      3. I pushed lying flat on my back.  The worst possible position.  I pushed before I felt the urge.  Because I was told to.
      4. I needed a c-section because my Doctor was impatient. Impatient in many ways.
      5. This was the 1st time I had breastfed a baby, and the 1st time my baby had tried to breastfeed.  We were learning together.  No one says its easy.

      Now I can sit here and blame my Doctor all I want.  But I am also to blame here.  I needed to be more informed about childbirth, to ask more questions about things that were being done to me, and to ultimately choose a Doctor that had a natural approach to childbirth.  Going to an Obstetrician that mostly does vaginal re-constructive surgery for a natural birth is like fitting a square peg into a round hole.

      So, how does one regain faith in their body?  I've started by absorbing all the knowledge I can.  I've read countless books, magazines, blogs and birth stories.  I've started exercising.  I have and am successfully breastfeeding my now 9 month old baby.  I have a mantra.  (I am healthy, healed, and am able to give birth vaginally)  I have lost all 55 lbs I gained during pregnancy, and 10 lbs extra!  I have been drinking red raspberry leaf tea because its one of the few things out there that can help strengthen and tone the uterus. (mostly proven by midwives)  And lastly, I've found a Doctor that not only allows VBACS, but SUPPORTS them.  (and delivers over 30% VBACS a year)  I am now confident in my bodies ability to grow, support, and nurture a baby.  Finally I'm at the point where I'm excited to have another baby, to give my body a fair chance at childbirth.  A fair, supportive, loving, nurturing chance.

      Tuesday, March 8, 2011

      Having all 7 stages of grief, at the same time

      My daughter is now 8 months old. She weighs nearly 20lbs, is eating finger foods, crawling, saying "mama and dada", standing up, and working on walking.  Time flies when it comes to her growing up, but not to my healing. That is truly a day to day process.
      So, how can I be stuck on all 7 stages of grief, all at the same time?

      1. Shock and Denial-  Some parts of me still can't believe I had a c-section.  I wanted such a natural birth.  I also have wide hips.  I really thought I would push twice, and my baby would come right out.  (nothing like being hopeful)

      2.  Pain & Guilt-  Pain.  I never knew pain could hurt so deep.  Not physical pain, (that I can handle, I am a read head!)  but emotional pain.  I can only imagine that this is what a bone marrow donation would feel like.  Like someone is scraping out your very core.  I still cry when someone I know goes into labor.  I cry harder when I find out they had a vaginal birth.  Then I feel guilty for "wishing" they had a c-section too.  Always hoping someone could sympathize with me.  
      3.  Anger & Bargaining-  Some days I feel very angry.  I'm angry at my Doctor for loosing faith in a womans body.  Angry at the entire system.  Angry that induction has a 50% success rate, and that's what we use.  When is 50% ever good enough?  Apparently when it comes to birth.  I'm angry I never went into natural labor.  I'm angry that I have a horrible scar on my body.  I'm angry that I spent the first 3 months of my daughters life so depressed that I didn't get to enjoy so many of her firsts.  I'm angry I didn't eat better, walk more, learn more, sleep more, and exercise more while pregnant.  I'm angry that I didn't stand up for myself in the hospital when I felt like things weren't gong right.  I'm angry that I didn't research doctors before giving birth.  I'm angry that I trusted MY doctor and not MY body.  I bargain all the time that I could have done things differently.  The "ifs" are what get me.  If only I'd: Refused to be induced.  Refused to have my water broken.  Birthed on my hands and knees.  Asked more questions.  If I could bargain to change these things, could I bargain for my vaginal birth?

      4.  Depression, Reflection, Loneliness-  Depression, thats a word I understand more now than I ever wanted to.  The most amazing part is to feel happy while depressed.  I'm in love with my beautiful daughter, but yet so sad about the way she came into this world.  I feel like I let down the most important person in my life down from the beginning.  I look back so often on this day.  I try to make myself feel better about it.  Who doesn't feel alone when they're depressed?  I think birth is amazing for the fact that no two births are the same.  They are all so different, even if they have 1 of 2 outcomes.  I ended up with #2, and so did 32% of the population, so why do I feel so alone?

      5.  The Upward Turn-  I started the upward turn about 4 months after my daughter was born.  After absorbing about as much information as my brain can handle, I realized VBAC is the way to go.  For me.  I read a few stories that were similar to mine, and those gave me hope.  HOPE.  A word I haven't used in a while.

      6.  Reconstruction and Working Through-  Research, research, research.  Ask me stats, I know them.  Ask me what doctors in the valley have the best VBAC rates, I know those too.  I'm reading books, blogs, articles and just about every story ICAN has to offer.  I'm reading the good and the bad.  Trying to be prepared as possible.  Somehow, even reading the bad can make you feel better.

      7.  Acceptance and Hope-  I can't say I'm all in on this one.  Acceptance?  Not every part of the word's meaning yet.  I do "acknowledge" what happened.  But accept, eh, thats hard yet.  Hope, I'm all over hope!  I hope that we can get pregnant without a hitch.  I hope that the baby stays head down.  I hope that I can remain active during pregnancy, along with eating better.  I hope (AND KNOW) that I can have a successful, drug free, natural birth.  Now hope, I CAN do.

      Sunday, March 6, 2011

      Physical Healing. Check. Emotional Healing........

      I feel the same way Ginny.
      Here I am six weeks postpartum.  Feeling depressed as ever.  The only connection I've felt with my child is through breastfeeding.  Thank God I was able to breastfeed.  I can't imagine how hard the depression would be without that.  I knew having a baby would be hard, but I didn't expect to go through the worst depression of my life six weeks in.  Crying every time I take a shower, every commercial I see, crying at just about everything.  I realize I need to talk about this.  With everyone.

      Talking has to help.

      The craziest thing to me was that no one seemed to notice.  I told my mom that I was upset, and she said she thought something was up.  I talked to her about it for a little bit, and she said she felt the same way (at least a bit) when me and my brother were born.  We were both via c-section.  That got me thinking, I didn't think any less of my mother for having a c-section.  Not one iota.  Why did I feel like such a failure?

      Me and my standing 8 week old
      I hate that when someone asks about my baby, they also ask about her birth.  And then I say that I had a c-section, they immediately ask how big she was, and say "at least you didn't mess up your vagina".  Yeah, THANK GOODNESS for that.  Because this giant scar isn't a scarlet letter.  And people say "at least you have a healthy baby".  Do you think I'm not thankful for that?  But as my friend Stephanie said, "your birth and your baby are two different things.  You can be ecstatic for your baby and traumatized by your birth."

      I was reading everything my husband could find on c-section depression.  It made me feel a little better.  I told my other sister in law (who was also pregnant) that I had read that I needed to mourn the loss of my birth.  I over heard my brother in law saying that he was mourning the loss of his Friday night.  I cried about that when I got home.  This road to healing was going to be harder than expected.

      I started researching VBAC.  (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean)  Then I started to look up to see if my OB did VBAC.  Of course not.  I thought I hit a wall.  Then I thought, WHY would I even think of going back to that doctor in the first place??? The doctor that made me feel like we had a c-section because it was supper time. I fired him.  He didn't know it, but he was fired.

      Someone had great neck control for an 8wk old.
      I was spending my maternity leave with my sister in law Sharon and her newborn.  We talked and shared emotions.  She didn't have a c-section but she was so supportive and non judging of my feelings.  On Sept. 7th my other SIL Ruth gave birth (vaginally) to my beautiful niece.  One week later my best friend gave birth (vaginally) to her precious baby girl.  I really broke down.  Why could EVERYONE do this but me?  This was the first time I cried in front of my baby.  She cried too.  Then I really felt like crap.  I just wanted a do-over.  Another chance.  I wanted to give birth again right then and there.  I wanted to stand up for my self and say "no, don't induce me until 42 weeks.  Don't break my water.  Don't rush this babies birth.  Let me get up and walk around to move this baby down. Don't lie to me and tell me its time to push when its obviously not time."  My husband had been dong even more research and found the ICAN network.  I read story after story.  None were the same as mine, but a couple were close.  I joined the local group on facebook and nervously awaited the first meeting.

      The first meeting was in November.  I almost didn't go.  I'm not good with groups, and I get so nervous that my stomach gets upset.  My SIL was supposed to go with me, but couldn't, and I forgot my phone at home.  I almost turned around.  There were a few more people there than I expected, about 12 I think.  We did introductions and the people who had successfully had VBACs shared their stories.  They were great to hear.  Two of them were hospital births, two were at home.  It was great to be around people that felt similar to me.  Not all the same.  But similar.  Some were more traumatized by the actual surgery, the interventions, and the loss of their births.  This meeting opened up my eyes to choices.  Choices I didn't know I had.  I didn't feel like I was stuck anymore.

      My tattoo/scar 5 days post op.  Not a pretty
      picture but that's what it looked like.
      I researched doctors for weeks and finally found one that I'm happy with.  That being said I'm no where close to being pregnant yet.  But at least I have a game plan now.  The worst thing is that I'm not the best candidate for a VBAC.  I got to the pushing stage, and she didn't come out.  So its all unknown from here.  Is my pelvis too small to birth a baby?  Because I feel like my body will only create a child that is able to fit through the birth canal.  I don't think it will be easy, but I also don't think it's impossible.  I have a tattoo that reads, "fear less, hope more."  I used to follow those rules, but now its hard to do.

      And we're home! The first 6 weeks.

      My mom cleaned our house while we were in the hospital.  Thanks mom!  She also cooked us some supper and stayed the night to help out.  I can't say that I've ever seen her so elated.  She's such a happy, proud grandma.  Things were good.

      I tried to lie on my side to go to bed and I felt like my insides were going to fall out of my body.  I created a propped area on the bed and was able to sleep while the baby was sleeping.  My milk finally came in on day five, so we stopped supplementing formula.  There was plenty to go around.  My boobs didn't look like a part of my own body anymore.  So foreign.  Dan helped me take a shower and clean the c-section wound with some Hibiclens.  It looked like a war zone.  This was the 1st time that I cried about everything.  I sat in the shower and sobbed about the delivery.  And then felt bad about crying because I had a healthy baby, what was I upset about?

      G didn't sleep too well but Dan and I took turns taking care of her and he woke me up when she needed to eat.  She ended up being diagnosed with acid reflux and was put on Zantac to help. Thank goodness.  We started to get some good four hour stretches of sleep.  Maternity leave was going well.

      My dad and stepmom came to visit from Ohio to meet their new granddaughter.  It was nice to have some help and get an extra nap or two in.  My dad took her swimming for the first time because I was still healing.

      I was still feeling down when the baby was sleeping, but never questioned my ability to take care of her.  I sent my husband this email when she was 3 weeks old because every time I tried to say it out loud, I welled up with tears:
      "i havent figured how to say it outloud- but i feel like a failure for having a c-section.  
      i know i'm not supposed to, but i cry about it daily.  i feel like i missed out on that 
      first 'connection' with g.  i feel like my body failed me.  it makes me afraid to 
      have another child, to go through the c-section again.  i don't want to go through it 
      again, and not because of the pain, but because i feel like i missed out, like i didnt 
      'earn' it.  like i took the easy way out. i run the whole day through my head over 
      and over wondering where i went wrong, wondering what i could have done.  i just 
      can't get over it. i know others don't think this way about me.  i know these things.  
      but it doesnt help me feel better about it.  i don't know if this is considered depressed 
      or baby blues, but i thought i should tell you." 

      His response:
      "I love you so much babe.  I know I can't say anything you haven't thought of.  Just remember that you did what was best for G.  She is here, healthy (chubby baby), and loves us more every day. Just like
      I love you more every day.  Your first connection was far before the delivery.  You carried her and nurtured her for over 9 months.  She heard you and felt you for 9  months.  You continue to hold and nurture her in a way more intimate than anyone else ever can.  I don't know if there is a Dad alive who can say he is not jealous of the connection a Mom has with her child.
      Don't hold in emotions for too long.  Your ability to feel and express yourself will benefit you, G, and everyone around you.  Crying is not a bad thing...
      Loving you more every day,


      As sweet as my husband is, it didn't help me feel much better.  On July 30th, my sister in law went into spontaneous labor.  Sure, she had her membranes stripped but her body was already one upping mine.  She went to the hospital, was further induced, and after pushing through 2 contractions she had a healthy baby boy.  My nephew was here.  I was so excited for her.  And yet all I could do was cry.  I sobbed on my husbands chest for hours.  Not only was I upset about my childs birth, but I felt like shit because I couldn't just be happy for my sister in law.  How awful of a person am I?  What is this?  Birth envy?  The fact that I secretly hope that everyone has a c-section because I had to? Because I wanted it so badly and no one else seemed to care?  I reached out to 2 of my friends that had c-sections as well and they didn't feel this way.

      It came time for me to go to my six week follow up at my O.B.'s and I thought for sure that they would be able to tell that I was depressed.  The nurses weighed me in and I was down 40ish lbs already.  WOO HOO.  First excitement I had felt in a while.  The doctor came in and did his incision check and again reminded me how lucky I was that he did a c-section.  Because he would have had to "cut me from end to end" to get that baby out.  From end to end.  Was that a threat?  I said nothing.  Right after that he asked me if I was depressed.  He didn't look at my face while he asked this question.  If he would have, he would've gotten his answer.  

      The Next 3 Days

      We were in the hospital.  We had our beautiful baby.  We were, of course, getting zero sleep.  I don't think I'd slept in over 48 hours.  Dan kept saying I gave birth twice.  I had pushed and I had a c-section.  Every time I almost fell asleep, some pressure cuff would go off.  I had two on my legs to prevent blood clots, and one on my arm for blood pressure monitoring.  Then when I would start to doze off, the baby would need to eat.  Thankfully, she started to latch on, because I didn't have a whole lot of fight left in me for something I'd never done before.  She was eating every hour or so, and she pooped about 8 times the first 24 hours.  All systems were go.  I'm very glad they gave her a bath in our room, so that I could see it.

      I was finally allowed to drink water.  They told me to go slow.  I chugged it.  I needed it.  I was later allowed soup, and finally some "pre-approved" food.  I was confined to the bed for the first 24 hours.  I kept begging to be allowed to get up. Eventually they came in to take the catheter out and let me try to get up.  They said that if I felt dizzy at all, to let them know.  (I felt dizzy but kept my mouth shut, I wanted to change a diaper!!!!)  I made the long walk to the bathroom and tried to go pee, to no avail.  I made the long walk back to my bed.  People came to visit and hold the baby.  She slept beautifully while people were there. Of course.

      After about four attempts, I was finally able to go pee.  It was shocking how swollen EVERYTHING was.  I mustered up the strength to take a shower.  I don't think I was actually clean, but I felt better.  We posted baby pictures to facebook, and loved on our baby girl.  The more that wires and tubes that were removed the more I felt human again.  We were there a total of four days, and were ready to go home.  I wasn't really in any pain from the surgery.  I was taking some painkillers twice a day, so I was feeling fine.

      They came in to remove my staples and put on some steri strips.  The strips were way more comfortable.  I expected the removal of the staples to hurt a little but, but it did not.  I tried putting on my maternity pants that I wore to the hospital, but I couldn't get them over my swollen thighs because of all the IV fluids.  I had to wear some gigantic pajama pants that still barely fit.

      We put G in her coming home outfit and we were on our way.  The drive home was terrifying.  Nothing like a newborn in the car to make you feel like everyone is out to get you.

      Induction Day

      At 1am on June 21st, 2010 we got the call from the hospital to come in for our induction.  We were still awake anyhow, with bags all packed and in the car, so we took off to have our baby!  We had a quiet drive there, in awe at the fact that we would be bringing home our baby.  We arrived at the hospital around 1:30am and finished checking in by 2am.  The nursing staff hooked me up to an IV with some antibiotics for the group b strep, a fetal monitor, and a cervix check.  I was dilated to 3cm already, so only 7 more to go.  Around 7am they started the pitocin, and moved me into a labor and delivery room.  I started having contractions regularly and they kept upping the pitocin.  At 8am they told me someone would be in to break my water to "help get things going".  (Were they not going already?)  I remember asking questions about them breaking my water, feeling concerned about it, and everyone assured me that this was the next step.  So of course I agreed, because it seemed like the only "option".  About 30 minutes later things really started to pick up.  Contractions were becoming painful, I could no longer talk through them, and every time I tried to move the nurse would come in and tell me to be still because the fetal monitor was coming off.

      One and a half hours of severe contractions later, I caved and ordered the epidural.  The unfortunate part was I was 3rd in line and had to wait almost 2 hours to get it.  The whole epidural process was unpleasant. From the rude anesthesiologist telling someone in labor to relax their back to the legs going numb, just about everything involved with it made me uncomfortable.  With epidural in place I was able to nap for an hour or two.  Around 3pm I was checked and was told that I was at 10cm.  They said that the baby was sunny side up and needed to come down a little before I pushed.  They put me on the peanut ball to allow the baby to come down.  About 30 minutes on each side.  After that they told me I was ready to start pushing.  The baby was doing good, I had an OK practice push, I was happy with OK since I couldn't feel hardly anything. They were still increasing the pitocin at this point too.  I remember my husband saying, "she's almost here!" and my response was, "not yet."  I had seen enough baby shows to know that about 50% of the time (that was my brain exaggerating) it all ended in a c-section.  So I pushed, and pushed, and pushed, and pushed.  I was sure that I had popped a blood vessel in my eye from pushing.

      What felt like 20 minutes later, my doctor came in and said, "Well, this isn't working now is it?  I can let you keep trying for a little bit longer but this baby isn't coming out this way."  I was discouraged.  Apparently I had been pushing for almost 1 1/2 hours with little to no progress.  I kept trying, for another hour, until I was totally exhausted.  My doctor came in and said it was time to call it.  (my birth attempt was dead, at least that's what I was thinking)  He also mentioned then that the baby never moved from the +1 station.  Only a little after pushing.  This is when the questions started going through my head. Why was I pushing in the first place?  Why had we not waited longer?

      I did not shed a tear as the decision was made to do a c-section.  I was tired.  I had tried.  People started to file into the room within seconds.  As if they were waiting right outside my room for me to fail.  The anesthesiologist came in and started injecting something cold without telling me, which was the only thing I panicked about.  He told me (after I asked) that it was going to make me numb.  We passed my mom in the hallway who was going to leave because it was getting so late.  I saw tears creep up in her eyes and I told her it was OK to go if she needed too, that things would be fine.  That almost made me cry seeing my mom.  I wasn't expecting it.  I had to leave Dan for a couple minutes while they prepped me for surgery.  I was in a bright, cold steel room with strangers and they were blaring some awful country music.  I could still feel my toes and that made me panic a little, but they assured me that everything else was numb and not to worry.

      The next thing I knew Dan was back by my side.  I was shaking uncontrollably from the medication, but I was still anxious to meet our daughter.  I told Dan it smelled like the dentist office in there.  He said nothing.  He later told me it was because the smell was coming from the laser they used to cut my flesh to get the baby out.  I'm glad he said nothing.  It took four hard, operating table bouncing pulls, for the doctors to get the baby out.  All the while another doctor had to go in vaginally and push the opposite direction to get her out.  (It makes me wonder how close she actually was.)

      Within seconds she was out and screaming.  To my surprise, my doctor did not show her to me, he just passed her off to be cleaned up.  I looked over to the pink screaming hands and feet (that was all I could see) and told Dan to get over there and make sure she's okay.

      Dan came back over and told me that she was healthy, beautiful, and that she had the smallest birthmark on her side. That made me smile.  Which is apparently when he took this horrid picture.  Between my puffiness, the worst glasses choice for childbirth, and the hair cap, I think I looked like a quite happy man going through surgery!

      What seemed like at least 20 minutes later they brought our little bundle over for Dan to hold.  I tried to look at her.  I was too tired. Too drugged.  I don't remember if I actually looked at her face or not.  All I remember is the anesthesiologist complaining that his iphone email wasn't working properly. That and I was pretty sure I had pulled a muscle in my neck from shaking so hard.  He then informed us that if the shaking got too bad that he could give me something to make it stop.  I kept dozing in and out.  There my new baby was and I couldn't look at her!  Time went on and our new family sat there in silence.
      After what seemed like hours, we were taken into the post op room where we decided we should name this child.  I still don't remember looking at her face all too well, but I remember it was chubby and round and that her little face reminded me of my Grandma.  This baby was G.
      We had a blur of family coming in ogling over the baby.  (my mom stayed to make sure I was OK, I was glad she did)
      Some time during the ogling I started to "come to" and this is the first time I remember seeing her face.  Its still spotty, but this picture is in my memory.  People were saying they were proud of me and I couldn't understand why.  What did I do?  I didn't birth this baby.
      I felt like I was going to die from dehydration, and the nurses wouldn't give me water, only ice chips.  Thanks!  Like that helps.  I was taking mouth fulls and trying to get them to melt, but it wasn't helping.  Not one bit.  After family started to filter out, they said I needed to try and nurse her.  I thought they were crazy!  I couldn't keep my arms still, let alone try and nurse our new, fragile little G!  The first attempt was pretty much a nurse holding the baby with one hand and my boob with the other, trying to get G to latch.  It didn't work.  They wrapped her back up and we moved into our recovery room where we would spend the remainder of our stay.  Happy Birthday to our 8lb 9oz perfect baby girl.

      Friday, March 4, 2011

      Pre Baby G

      I thought I would start with a little pre ginny before I get down to business.  Or maybe I'm just avoiding writing her birth story.  We found out we were expecting in early October 2009.  Right after I got back from a trip to vegas.  (sorry baby)  We were 99% sure we conceived on our 1 year wedding anniversary.  So the moment we found out, we quit smoking, and the bottles of wine started collecting dust.  We weren't ready to tell anyone the good news until we made it to the 2nd trimester.  My sister in law had just miscarried earlier that year, after trying for over a year, so we didn't want to rub it in her face.  "Hey everyone, we accidentally got pregnant and you can't." So we camped out in our apartment waiting for our eight week ultrasound that seemed years away.

      I didn't look for a doctor, I just kept going to the same OB practice that I had my annual pap test at.  My "OB interview" consisted of me saying "You guys deliver babies, right?"  We saw our little peanut, everything looked normal, and time inched on.  We looked for a house, I slept, and ate.  At each appointment we were right on par, normal size, heart rate, blood pressure, etc.  I was gaining a little more weight than everyone expected, but doing fine.
      In preparation for birth, I watched episodes of 'A Baby Story' on TLC, read 'What to Expect When Your Expecting', and that was about it.  I thought that I knew enough, my doctor said he was on board with my natural birth plan, and all we were doing was waiting.  We moved into our new house, painted the baby room, and got as ready as possible.  I took one yoga class a week and called it good as far as exercise.

      My OB didn't tell me to do anything, so I didn't.  Might be the reason I gained over 50 lbs.  Week 37 went by, 38, 39, 40, and here we were at 41.  41 weeks and 1 day.
      Overdue with only a few contractions a day, and as far as I knew, my time was up.  I never thought I would go late, but here we were!    Monday June 21st, 2010.  Induction Day.