And then there were 9...

Little Rachel is going to be a big sister! We are expecting baby #7 in May 2015. I'm 11 weeks and I had my first checkup this week, and uterus feels the right size and the midwife only found 1 heartbeat, so pretty sure it's only one. :) Plus it's been a very easy pregnancy so far, much like Rachel's (maybe another girl?!). I get to have an ultrasound in a few days, yay! So excited to see the little bean!

For now I'm seeing the same midwife that delivered Rachel. Despite being told by someone else that she doesn't take vba2c anymore, she never said anything about it to me, so maybe she's just not taking any new vba2c patients. I don't know. It's still likely I'll end up delivering somewhere else when we move (still waiting for someone to buy our house!), though if we are still within 30 minutes of her I'd like to just stay with her.

I would like to try to be surprised for this baby, since I've already got everything needed for a boy or girl and this will be our last one. I think it would be fun to wait until birth to find out what we're having.

I'm also already dealing with blood sugar issues this pregnancy, so we decided to just skip the yucky GD test and diagnose me with it. I already know how to eat for it and track my bs and everything, so hopefully I can keep it well controlled again like last time.

And yesterday I realized that I am due 3 days after Mother's Day. It would be so cool to have the baby on Mother's Day, what a fun present to myself! LOL And my sister found out a few weeks ago that she is also pg, due about a month after me (maybe she'll have a Father's Day baby haha). So excited to be pg with her again and have our babies close in age. :)


And time passes, and life changes...

Well, it's been almost a year since I lasted posted on here. My sweet Rachel just turned one last week! I can't believe how fast the year went! She has been such a doll, a cute and calm baby that everyone adores. She's walking a little bit and not saying any real words yet, but babbles more. It has been so much fun having a little girl! The clothes for one are much cuter and she has over 100 headbands, bows, and flowers. And she is such a cuddlebug still, and very much a mommy's girl. :) Here is a collage I made of her from her first year:

See, she's a total doll, right?!

Anyway, we have started thinking about having our next (and last) baby. It would be fun to have another girl so Rachel can have a sister, but obviously the odds favor me having a boy lol. We are not preventing so just letting it happen whenever. I've heard that the midwife who I had with Rachel no longer does VBA2C, which is a bummer. But we are planning to move soon so I would have probably needed to find a new one anyway. I'm already in the ICAN group for the area we are moving to, so hopefully they can give me some good referrals. I believe there is a birth center there that can take VBA2C so I'm going to look into that. We are planning to live in a more rural area so I'm not comfortable with trying a homebirth without a hospital close by, but a birth center would be wonderful if they'd take me.

I sometimes find it so odd to think that my last c/s was almost 6 years ago (Nathan will be 6 in a few months!) and my first was almost 10 years ago. Where has the time gone?! With the passing time I've found more peace with those experiences. I don't know if I ever would have done more research and learned more about birth if it hadn't been for that first c/s. And the 2nd one was truly necessary. Sometimes I still think back and imagine how it "should have gone" but it's more wistful instead of angry and sad. I know I would make the same decision over and over again for my baby. I have had so many different birth experiences that it helps me to be able to provide support and information for others during their pregnancies and birth. I can tell them what it's like to have an epidural or go natural, healing from tears, having a c/s with an epidural or general anesthesia, and what to expect from all those different recoveries. I have been with my sister through her deliveries to support and encourage. When my SIL had an emergency c/s I was able to talk to her about what helped me during my recoveries. My experiences have helped me learn and grow and be able to help others, and that is a wonderful thing!


Beautiful: The VBA2C Birth of Rachel

Rachel Kathleen, 8lb10oz, 21.5", Aug 9 2013
Our beautiful little girl Rachel Kathleen has joined the family! I ended up not going with the natural birth I'd planned, but it went perfectly.

Rachel was due August 23rd. Because I started my school semester on the 21st I really hoped she would make her entrance a few weeks sooner. Not only that but I had gestational diabetes this pregnancy and they don't like you going overdue if you have that. So my midwife agreed to try doing a membrane sweep at my appointment when I was 37w5d. It made me have some contractions and feel very crampy but that was it, so I went back the next day for another sweep, which also gave me crampy sporadic contractions. The cramping and contractions died down by bedtime that day and when I woke up on Friday the 9th at 38 wks, there was nothing at all going. I really felt that labor was not going to happen that day.


That afternoon I had to go pick up one of my foster sisters so she could stay at our house for the weekend while my mom was out of town. A few minutes after I got home with her I headed up to the bathroom and suddenly had a few small gushes of fluid. At first I thought I just took too long getting to the bathroom, but after I finished up my business and got changed and headed downstairs I had a few more gushes and started to believe my water had broken. It was about 2:15pm. This was a surprise to me as I've never had my water break until well into active labor/transition. I let Hubby know and told him that I wasn't having contractions yet so he could finish up at work and not to hurry. I also let my family know so that my mom and birth mom could head here from out of town and told Hubby to call my midwife (my phone had been dunked in the toilet a few days before and was dead, nice timing right?!) and to let his mom know too.

My sister Kelsey showed up with her husband and son around 4pm. I finished grabbing a few things for my hospital bag that was already packed and then they watched my kids while I hopped in the shower around 4:30 to see if I could get some consistent contractions. By the time I got out of the shower around 5 I was having contractions 4-5 mins apart. My brother and his wife had showed up by then (they were going to help watch the kids while I was in labor) and Hubby got home around 5:15. I ate a granola bar and grabbed my hospital bag and everything I was taking and we (me, Hubby, sister) left for the hospital around 6pm.

In Triage
Around 6:20 we got there, my midwife was already there for another birth and was excited to see me, and they put me in a triage room to check me and monitor contractions. I was 4cm and 80% and my water had definitely broken and contractions were about 4 mins apart. They finally moved me to a L&D room around 7:30 where I got hooked up to the monitors again and got my IV port (but no IV) put in. I sat in bed for a while, the contractions weren't too bad yet.

Passing the Time

My mom showed up soon after and we just talked and waited. Around 9 I asked to get up and walk around. I was 5cm and 90%. They hooked up the mobile monitors, but the contraction monitor would not pick up my contractions and I had to keep moving and holding the heartrate monitor because it would move out of place. I was very annoyed at the contraction monitor not working because I wanted to show them proof of how much I was hurting lol. My midwife told me the on call OB would come speak with me about vba2c risks and such, but when he came in we were in the middle of switching the monitors and he said he'd come back but never did lol. Around 9:30pm we got out the birth ball to sit on and I was hooked back up to the regular machine so at least I was able to stop holding the heartrate monitor in place, even though the contractions were still not showing up.

Sweet nurse Brooke on left, awesome midwife Julie on right
Near 10pm I could feel that I was getting close to transition. I was getting shaky and no longer wanted to go natural. I told them I wanted an epidural. I've had natural births and didn't need to prove myself to anyway, so I decided I wanted to enjoy the end of my labor instead of dreading each contractions. My nurse, Brooke, checked me and I was 6cm and 90%. She called for anesthesia and hooked up my IV to get some fluids in quickly. When the anesthesiologist came in I was in the middle of a contraction. He was asking me if I wanted the epidural strong or light. I held up a finger for him to wait a minute as I felt baby move down and my body started to push a little. I almost asked Brooke to check me again because I knew I was complete or close to it, but I decided I wanted my epidural anyway so I said nothing cuz I didn't want them to refuse for being too far along lol. Having to sit completely still while the anesthesiologist did the epidural and my body wanted to push was torture, but luckily he was very quick and the epidural took effect quickly. Each contraction got less intense until about 5 contractions in I could no longer feel them. Unfortunately I really couldn't feel anything, he had made it way stronger than I'd wanted. But I was happy to be out of pain. He put it in around 10:30 and my midwife came in around 10:45 to put in an internal monitor and found out I was ready to push.

Feeling good after the epidural

We decided to wait to push for a little bit because we were still waiting for my birth mom and mother-in-law to show up. Around 11pm my midwife said we should start pushing because Rachel's heartrate was dropping so we needed to get her out. Pushing is so much harder when you can't feel anything! Much easier to push effectively without the epidural. But they brought in a mirror so I was able to watch everything. Birth mom and mother-in-law were able to make it there while I was pushing. I finally was able to see her head and dark hair and slowly she made her way out.

Daddy assisting in the delivery

Hubby was gowned up and able to help deliver the baby with help from the midwife. Her shoulders got stuck a little so they had to push my knees way up by my head but she got unstuck quickly and at 11:30pm Hubby laid Rachel on me.

First cries and lots of vernix

She didn't cry much, was covered in thick vernix, and had a full head of hair. I helped rub her down with the nurse and talked to her as we waited for the cord to stop pulsing.

Daddy cutting the cord

Hubby was able to cut the cord and then Rachel was laid skin to skin on my chest.

Holding her skin to skin

Thrilled mommy and daddy

Her breathing was a little wet so we had to get her to cry so she could clear out her lungs, and she gave us some loud screams and sounded much better. I just held her while the placenta was delivered (which I didn't even notice) and I was cleaned up. I asked my midwife if I had any tears, and I didn't which was awesome since I tore with my other deliveries.

Getting weighed, 8lb10oz, 21..5"

 let the nurses take her for a few minutes to weight and measure. She was 8lb 10oz and 21.5"! I was shocked at her size. Not only had I measured right on track this whole time (always measured 2wks ahead with my boys) but she was 2 weeks early too. I was thinking 7.5-8lbs tops, but she surprised us. If she'd gone to her due date she would have been my biggest baby! She was brought right back to me in a few minutes and I held her and attempted nursing. It took a few minutes to get her to latch on and then she nursed for a while.

Daddy getting some cuddles in

I finally let Hubby take her around 12:20am and he held and cuddled her for about 15 mins until they took her to be checked out at the warmer for a few minutes.

Checked out perfect, Apgars 8/9

They moved us to a mom and baby room around 1am and after letting the moms and my sister hold her for a while we settled in for a short night of little rest.

Brothers meeting her for the 1st time

Because of my gestational diabetes they had to check Rachel's blood sugar levels every 6 hrs the first day, and luckily they were always fine. She was also Coombs positive, which means we have different blood types that had gotten mixed during the birth which increased her chance of getting jaundice, so they had to test her bilirubin every 8 hrs during the stay. Again, luckily they were always at the low-intermediate risk level. With all those checks plus the normal vital checks for me and her, we really were not given much time to rest lol.

Daddy's already wrapped around her little finger

But Hubby and I enjoyed the time in the hospital to just hold her and do nothing else. Anytime I wasn't nursing she was in daddy's arms, it was so sweet.

Cute bow hospital cap a sweet nurse made for her

My milk started coming in the first day and she was eating really well, except for some trouble latching on my left side. She only got down to 8lb4oz by the time we left the hospital Sunday. At her 4 day checkup to get her bilirubin tested again she was already back to 8lb7oz, and by her 2 week checkup she was 9lb3oz. So she is a great eater.

Just home from the hospital

I have been loving having her here, cuddling, dressing her up in cute outfits, and kissing her adorable face. I don't think it's just bias that she is completely adorable, a beautiful little baby girl. The boys love her so much, always wanting to hold her and give her kisses. Here are some more pictures of her from the last 2 weeks (there's a lot!):


"Trust Birth"

On many natural birth messageboards I've been to, this phrase is often said- "Trust birth". They want you to trust that your body and baby know exactly what to do and that the majority of time things will go exactly as they should. While I agree that the majority of time an unmessed with labor will go just fine, I do not agree that you can "trust" that it will.

I do not trust birth. I've had too many differing birth experiences to trust it. Only one of my births has gone according to plan, my vbac with #2. All the others did not go at all as I'd planned. Even though the twins vba2c was so quick and easy, it was still not how I'd planned and at the time was very scary because of the quickness and not getting the epidural I'd thought I'd be getting.

Birth cannot be planned. Yes, we can do our best to prepare our bodies and minds, but in the end it is very much out of our control. Things can change in an instant. This is not meant to sound scary, just that no matter how you prepare, the most important thing is to be flexible and prepare for how you will react in any scenario that comes up so that if things stop going as planned you can still feel in control of the decisions you make at the time.

Right now I'm 37.5 weeks. As the birth of our little girl gets closer (yes, a girl this time!) I've found myself getting scared. Sure I've been through all these different births, so I should be used to taking whatever comes, but because I've been through 4 very different deliveries I know just how much I have no control over what is going to happen during this one. I am planning a natural birth again, but terrified of the what-ifs. How fast will my labor be? If I'm GBS+ again when should I go in? What if I need another c-section? What if the OB on call doesn't want to stick around for a vba2c? (I'm seeing a midwife who's supportive, but an OB has to be there the whole time too and some are more supportive than others.) Who will watch my kids while I'm in the hospital? (Because my family all have very different work schedules I'm not sure who will be available depending on the time I go into labor.) What if I have another fast labor and don't make it to the hospital and something goes wrong at home/in the car? What if my baby's blood sugar goes too low after birth and she has to go to the nursery instead of stay with me? (I have GD this time.) Will baby be born before my school semester starts in 2 weeks? What if I need to be induced?

I have a birth plan typed out and gave it to my midwife and she thought it was perfect. I know she will do everything she can to help me get the birth I want, but she has just as much control over it as I do, which isn't much lol. I've avoided doing anything to really prepare for the birth mentally. I know I can do a natural delivery, I've done it twice before, but I also know that it hurts like nothing else lol. But I haven't read any books, done any relaxations, etc. Things I did to prepare previously during pregnancy. And I have avoided thinking too much about what I'll do if things do not go as planned.

This has turned out much longer than I meant lol. Really, I am very excited my baby will be here soon. I can't wait to see what she looks like and hold and cuddle her. Although I'm freaked that the baby actually has to come out of me somehow lol, I know that soon it will be over and no matter what I will be so happy to have my little girl in my arms.


Preparing for #6!

I found out on December 10th, the day before my birthday, that we are expecting baby #6! We waited a few weeks to tell everyone because I had 2 chemical pregnancies previously and wanted to be sure this one was sticking before announcing. I'm currently 7.5 weeks and feeling mostly good so far. I got bloated right away this time, which never really happened with any of the others. Luckily I haven't had bad morning sickness, so far (though baby is not liking the smell of the homemade chicken noodle soup I have cooking right now!). I don't have my first appointment for another month, and I'm impatiently waiting. I'm going to the midwife that my sister has seen for her last two pregnancies. The hospital is closer than the one I went to last time, which will be nice, and they said they will support VBA2C. It doesn't quite feel real yet because I haven't had an ultrasound and haven't been too sick, so I'm hoping they do an ultrasound at my first appointment, if for nothing more than to check for twins again lol.


A short update

It's been a long time since I've written anything on here. Life gets busy with 5 little boys! The twins are amazing. I am so lucky to have them and all my boys! We decided to start trying for #6 (and maybe a girl finally?!) in June. I got pregnant in July but had an early miscarriage/chemical pregnancy about a week later. It threw me into a bit of a low time for a month or so, but we are still trying and praying the next one stays.

In the meantime, I've made this cute little video about the twins birth. :)


Fast and Furious: The Unexpected Natural VBA2C of My Twin Boys

I've been meaning to post my birth story for the last week, but life with two new babies can be a little hectic lol. My babies are 10 days old now and I'm going to try to get this written while I have a free minute. (This ended up taking about 6 hours to get written lol, life with 5 kids is busy!)
My final belly pic at 36 weeks
As I reached 35 weeks pregnant, I was suddenly so ready to be done. I was exhausted, sore, and huge. I still wanted my babies to stay in until 36 weeks, but I was also wanting them to come out so I wouldn't be so miserable. I had an appointment January 4th. I was checked and found to be 3cm dilated and 70% effaced. My OB discussed scheduling an induction for the following week, when I would be 38 weeks (according to their edd). Because I was so ready to be done I agreed to scheduling it for Thursday January 13th, when I would be 36w6d according to my dates, with the assurance that if I was not feeling comfortable with it at my next appointment and things were still going good, we could push it further off. I didn't really want to change it because it was nice having a date to look forward to no longer being pregnant, but because I really didn't want to be induced I just hoped I'd go into labor on my own by then.

Sunday January 9- I'd had some bloody show throughout the day. Around 6pm I notice I'm having some irregular contractions. They vary greatly in intensity and frequency. I take a bath to see what that does but it doesn't change anything. They stay irregular the whole evening, and space out even more by the time I go to bed. I hope that my body is getting ready for labor and that maybe the next day things will really start happening, but I don't even tell my husband about them because they don't feel like real labor. I've checked my cervix throughout the pregnancy and I do again but it feels the same as it has for the last week. I go to bed around 9:30. I'm up a few times to use the bathroom.

Monday January 10- My husband comes to bed at midnight. I return to bed after one of my bathroom trips. Just a after laying down I feel a painful thunk in my pelvis. Baby A, Isaac, has dropped. I get up, sure that something is going to happen now. I go to the kitchen, deciding I need to eat something while I time contractions. At this point I figure my long hours of early labor will start, like I've had before. As I eat my cereal I time contractions on the computer while checking email and messageboards. Contractions are about 4 minutes apart and pretty painful.

I decide to go take a bath to see if that makes the contractions hurt less since I thought I'd have many hours to go and didn't want to be in so much pain the whole time. About 12:45am as the water is running I check my cervix again and it is dilated a ton more than it had been just an hour before and his head is so low. I think to myself that maybe I shouldn't take a bath, but I push that aside and get in anyway. After just a few contractions just 2-3 minutes apart and pretty strong, I start to realize that maybe I won't have a long slow labor like I'd planned. I call for my husband but he doesn't hear me. I finally get out at 1am and wake him up. I tell him to go call my dad to come stay with the boys because we needed to go to the hospital because I was in labor. He goes downstairs while I get dressed and grab my hospital bag. I'm so glad I'd packed it 2 weeks before. Nate comes up and grabs some clothes and things for himself and we go downstairs to wait for my dad.

I'm having contractions 2 minutes apart and very painful already. I have Nate push on my lower back during some to get some relief. He calls the hospital to let them know I'm in labor and we will be there in about an hour. The lady asks him if we want to talk to a nurse to make sure it's time and I yell at the phone that it is definitely labor. Each contraction feels more intense than the last and I realize that things are going much faster than I'd expected. My dad calls to ask if he has time to go pick up one of my sisters to stay at the house and Nate tells him no. At 1:15am I call a neighbor to come stay with the boys until my dad can get there, because I really felt we needed to go asap. She gets there about 10 minutes later and we leave at 1:30am.

The hospital I am delivering at is usually about 45minutes away. I briefly think about going to a closer hospital but decide I want to stick with the one I know won't give me an automatic c-section. Luckily because it's the middle of the night it only takes 30 minutes to get there. Unfortunately I am having contractions every 1-2 minutes that are extremely intense. My water breaks in the car, and I realize that one towel is not enough to protect a car seat lol. I'm starting to feel the urge to push with my contractions and try hard to just breathe through them one at a time. We are afraid I'll end up delivering in the car.

We arrive at the hospital and I hop in a wheelchair for Nate to wheel me in. We go in through the ER and there is nobody there. Finally a guy shows up and we ask him how to get to L&D from there. He asks if we want someone to come show us the way and I say, "No, let's just go!" We hurry through the hospital and get up to L&D finally. They have a room ready for us and I hurry and strip off my clothes and throw on the gown. They check me and say I'm fully dilated and I say, "I know!" We rush back to the OR (they deliver all twins in the OR just in case) as they are asking me all the questions about pregnancy and allergies and stuff. They have me get on the hard flat operating table and I complain that it does not look comfortable lol. I'm still trying hard not to push and beg them to let me push.
They are finally ready and I get to start pushing. It's excruciating and I put all my effort into it because I just want it over with. I push for maybe 10 minutes and then Isaac's head is out but his shoulders are stuck. They push me into even more painful positions to get him unstuck and finally out he pops at 2:21am.
All I could see was that he was dark purple, which scares me for a second until he lets out a nice healthy scream. They tell me he is ok. I get a short break from contractions while they finally have time to get an IV going, break Baby B's water to get him to descend and I think they started a little pitocin to get the contractions going again. I complain that I don't want to do it again. I push for about 10 more minutes. Caleb's heartrate drops and they decide to use the vacuum to help him out. He arrives at 2:36am and I get to touch him for a minute before he is whisked away.
I try to check out my babies while we wait for the placenta to come out (and I again complain about having to push something else out lol). Isaac's face is very bruised from him dropping so hard into my pelvis and Caleb has a little squeaky cry. After my placenta is delivered they stitch up the small 1st degree tear I had then tell me they are taking the babies to the nursery for observation for just a little while.
Around 3am they go to the nursery while I'm taken back to a room. I'm shaking uncontrollably from the shock of such a quick delivery, but so happy. I can hardly believe my babies have just arrived. They bring the babies back around 3:30am. The hospital encourages skin-to-skin contact as soon as possible, so my little boys are laid against my chest and I get to hold and cuddle them for the first time. They are so precious and I can tell right away they are not identical. They tell me the birth weights. Isaac was 7lb9oz and 18.5" and Caleb was 7lb1oz and 20.67". I was surprised because this whole time I'd expected Caleb to be heavier because of his measurements, but instead he was longer and skinny while Isaac was short and chubby. I nurse them one at a time while Nate, my mom, my brother and sister-in-law take turns holding the other baby.
We had a steady stream of visitors most of the day, and I was happy to see them even though I was exhausted. I loved showing off my boys and recounting our crazy night. Because I hadn't had time for antibiotics in labor for GBS they wanted us to stay 2 days so they could watch the boys and get some blood cultures to make sure they didn't get it. Isaac had a mild tongue-tie that was making it harder for him to nurse so we had them clip it before we left and he has been such a piggy ever since. Caleb has a little bit of jaundice but they weren't worried. I'm trying to nurse him more to get it out of his system but he's a lazy little guy and would go probably 5hrs between eating if I'd let him.
So far things are going wonderfully. I am so in love with my little boys and the other boys are doing great with them. I'm still somewhat in shock that they are here already and arrived so quickly. This was by far my most painful delivery, and I still think I would have chosen to get an epidural if I'd had time. I definitely will never be jealous of people who have short labors ever again because I now know how intense and painful it can be. But I'm also proud of myself for doing it. I am so thankful for the hospital and staff for being supportive of a VBA2C with twins and for taking such good care of us.