7.27.2015

The Last One: The VBA2C Of Our Gender-Surprise Baby

It is a bittersweet moment when you give birth to your last baby. Even knowing that I'm physically and mentally at my limit with 7 kids, it is sad to know that I will never experience feeling a baby move inside me or see my body grow a life inside it.

On the other hand, it is a relief to know that I will not have to deal with another pregnancy with gestational diabetes. With Rachel, it was easy to control with just diet changes. This time it was much more difficult and I ended up on meds, and a much stricter diet. The psychological toll that takes on me is just too much. The constant worry about what I eat and how much I eat and when I eat and when to test and the extra appointments and risks. I don't think I could handle going through that again.

But back to the birth story, the fun part!

I was due May 13th, but due to the GD knew I would not make it to that date. Because I was on meds they didn't want me passing 39wks and planned to induce me if it got to that point. Luckily I didn't even get to that point.

During my 37th week I started having prodromal labor. For anyone who doesn't know what that is, it's basically torture. I'd have frequent intense contractions for hours and start thinking, "Maybe this is it?!" and then they'd just stop. And of course it was the worst at night, to the point I was only getting maybe 2-3hrs of broken sleep each night. This went on for 5 days. I was sore, exhausted, huge, and so so ready to be done.

On Wednesday April 29th I turned 38wks. I was scheduled for an NST, AFI ultrasound, and regular checkup that afternoon. The night before my prodromal labor had been so intense I was sure I wouldn't even be making it to those appointments, but unfortunately the sun came up and the contractions died down, though this time didn't go away completely, staying 5-10 minutes apart and varying in intensity.

The baby passed the NST just fine, and showed my contractions 5 minutes apart, but the AFI ultrasound showed that I had way more fluid than normal. Normal is 5-25, my level was 32! The nurse immediately said my midwife might be wanting to induce me that day with a level that high. She tried calling my midwife but wasn't able to reach her so I went over to the office to see her for my regular checkup. She measured my belly which was also much more than expected. I measured 45wks! The previous week I'd measured 40. No wonder I'd felt so hugely miserable that week! She then checked me and I was 5cm! With the high AFI my midwife was afraid that if my water broke at home there was a higher chance of cord prolapse, which is very dangerous and not something you want when you are 1/2hr from the nearest hospital. She suggested that because I was already 5cm and contracting regularly that I could come to L&D that evening and she could break my water and I'd probably have a pretty quick labor from that point. Normally I'm against starting labor artificially, but technically I was in labor already, the fluid was just keeping the baby from engaging and progressing. And I was so exhausted the thought of even 1 more night of prodromal labor was enough to make me cry. So I agreed to come back a few hours later to do that. She did a membrane sweep as well to try to help things a bit faster.

On the way home I called my husband and explained the situation to him. Then I called my sister-in-law who would be watching the kids and she said they'd head over in a few hours. Made more calls to my birth team- mom, birth mom, mother-in-law and sister- to let them know the plan so they could come. I got home and finished grabbing some last minute items for my hospital bag. My older boys had pinewood derby that night and we were planning to head to the hospital after that, but my midwife called around 5 and let me know that it would be best if I came in asap because the OBs at that hospital don't really like being their for a vbac when they are on-call (since they have to be at the hospital the whole time) and to avoid the pressure from them to do a c/s it would be better to get things started soon. So I let her know that as soon as my brother and sister-in-law got there I was have my brother bring me and my husband could just meet us there since he was still at work.

Driving to the hospital was surreal. With all my others I was in obvious active labor when we went. Going in for a planned birth day just seemed odd, especially since I was being dropped off alone. As I walked up to L&D holding my bag and looking huge I saw people looking at me excited but seemed confused that I was alone. I got there around 6pm and they took me right back to a room and got me settled in. I got an IV port placed (but no IV, just access) and they put the monitors on. I was still contracting regularly about 5 minutes apart. The nurse went through all the admitting paperwork with me while we waited for everyone to show up. For a while I was all alone, which was odd. Then my mom showed up, then my sister, and my husband. My birth mom showed up a few hours later (and mother-in-law who had to drive the furthest just missed the birth).

My midwife came in at 7:30 (they hadn't notified her I was there earlier) and broke my water. The nurse had to hold the baby in position for a few minutes to make sure the cord wouldn't prolapse as the water drained. I immediately felt so much relief and could breathe better not having all the extra fluid in there. Then they just left us there to labor and chat. I decided to just stay in the bed for a while because I was exhausted from too many nights of very little sleep, and my contractions were still easy to breathe through. We just talked and it was calm and light-hearted.

Around 9:30 the nurse came in and I asked her to check me and told her I'd like to get up to use the restroom then sit on a birth ball. I was 6cm and I think completely effaced. After going to the bathroom I just sat on the ball leaning against the bed while the chatter continued. The contractions were starting to become more intense and as time passed I had to zone out more during each one. I was able to handle it so well though. I had prepared myself by reading a bunch of birth affirmations and during the contractions I would repeat them to myself and focus on relaxing and breathing deep and letting my body do what it was supposed to. What helped the most was repeating over and over, "My body is strong. My contractions are strong because they are part of me. My contractions are not stronger than me because they are me. My body is working to bring my baby out to me. Each contraction is bringing my baby closer to being born." I was even surprised at my own ability to relax through each contraction, even as I felt transition and then my body starting to push. I would smile to myself and just keep repeating my mantra over and over.

I waited a few contractions after I felt my body starting to push before I interrupted the conversation from my family to tell my husband to push the nurse call button so I could let them know it was time to push. This was probably around 10:45. The nurses and my midwife came in and started prepping the bed and my midwife asked if I'd like to push on my hands and knees. I started pushing around 10:50-10:55ish. It was only during pushing that I had a harder time being in control, and actually felt like it hurt instead of just intense. After a few minutes my midwife asked if I wanted to try pushing on my side as she could see that my legs were shaky and tired and I agreed. My pushes were very effective in that position and I could feel my baby moving down more with each push. They brought a mirror over for me to watch but there were too many people for me to see it. My husband got ready to help catch and held the baby's head as it came out.

Quickly things changed. The baby was stuck. Baby's head was out but the shoulders were not passing through. My husband had to step aside while my midwife tried rotating the baby to unstick the shoulders. She had me roll to my back so a nurse could provide fundal pressure to help push him out and I pushed with all my might. Baby was still stuck. I don't know how long but it felt like so long to me, afraid of the complications that I knew could happen from a severe shoulder dystocia. At this point it was extremely painful and I roared through each push, channeling every ounce of my strength to safely get my baby out. I saw the nurse push her call button and say into it, "We need help!" and my heart dropped.

With one more mighty push though, suddenly my baby was out and placed on my belly at 11:05pm. The relief from everyone in the room was palpable. I had planned to let my husband announce the babies gender but I was so relieved to have a baby placed safely on me that I looked and saw what I had felt strongly- it was a boy! I told everyone, "It's a boy! I knew it!" He blinked his eyes and looked very upset about what had just happened and we rubbed him until he gave us a good cry. For 5 minutes he got to lay on me while we waited for the cord to stop pulsing and Nate cut it. I was so thrilled to have him alive in my arms that I didn't care that I had another boy and Rachel would remain our only girl. I talked to him and rubbed his warm sticky body.

We could tell right away that his left arm was not moving like it should and his breathing was a bit fast so they took him to the warmer to have a neonatologist look him over for about 10-15 minutes. We were afraid he may have had a broken collarbone, but besides that he was doing very well. The weighed and measured him. 9lb 6oz and 20.5"- my heaviest baby despite being 2 weeks early! He had very broad shoulders, everyone kept calling him a little linebacker. My midwife stitched up a small tear I had while I waited for him to be brought back.

He was brought back to me and I was able to nurse him and hold him for a while. Then Nate got to hold him and my family held him for a bit while they got us ready to go to our mom and baby room. Because of my gestational diabetes they checked his blood sugar about an hour after he was born. It was low (37) so they told me to nurse him some more and they would check in an hour. Luckily it got up to acceptable levels and all his other checks were normal. We didn't get much sleep that night, I was too full of adrenaline to sleep.

We did not decide what to name him until the next day. We chose Michael Thayne. Michael was the only first name that felt right after much discussion, and Thayne is my dad's middle name. He was very excited to finally have a grandchild named after him.

The following day he had to have an xray done of his arm to check if his collarbone was broken, but it wasn't. He did have quite a bit of bruising on his arm and ribs, and was diagnosed with Erb's palsy. For the first few days he could barely move his left arm at all, but it slowly got better and by his 2 week checkup it was almost to full strength. He also had jaundice and ended up needing a biliblanket for 3 days from 5-8 days old. Besides those issued he has been healthy and gained weight just fine.

I ended up with diabetes that stuck around unfortunately, which has solidified my resolve that he is my last baby. It would not be healthy for me to have any more. But my recovery went very well and he has been so great. A bit serious and grumpy but still a joy.

Since this has taken me almost 3 months to write this birth story I'm going to get it posted now and hopefully get pictures posted with it soon.

10.24.2014

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. :)

8.13.2014

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!

8.26.2013

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.


37w2d



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!):













8.06.2013

"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.

1.08.2013

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.

9.05.2012

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. :)