Fox and Broom

A mom's adventures in keeping healthy, keeping her sanity, and making stuff.

Archive for the category “Natural Childbirth”

Oh Hai

It has been forever since I have written a blog. Well, almost a year. Which is pretty much forever in internet time.

With my last post, I had started the Couch 2 5K program again. Which, to be honest, I did not keep up with very well. I do my best at the gym if I go in the morning. I also like to take it easy in the morning with a cuppa and some Daily Show from the night before. Sooo. Yeah.

Anyway, on to May. My husband and I found out we were expecting our next baby the day before Mother’s Day. We made the decision to keep it quiet due to the miscarriage from the year before. It was really pretty traumatic for me to have to tell everyone about that. I know that for some people, it is a healing thing to be able to share experiences like that. Not so for me. In fact, it took me nearly a full year to even be able to mention the loss.

We told our close family when we were about 8 weeks along and we made it public at about 12 weeks after my first midwife appointment. I am now 31 weeks along. This new baby is due in January. And has caused me issues every. single. step. of the way. I am not sure if it is because I am considered an older mom. Or it might be because this is baby #4. Or it might just be because every pregnancy is different.

Just after we found out we were expecting, I had to set up a doctor appointment to figure out what was going on with an extreme headache. It was so bizarre. I started to call it a head pain because it was not a typical headache for me. The focal point would move around my head and radiate out. I called my general practitioner when the pain moved toward the front of my head and made eating difficult. As I was pregnant, there was not a lot he could do for me. He was concerned enough that he contacted the women’s clinic to see if it was safe enough for me to go in for an MRI. Doing my bit of research, I used my mom to contact an OB from the Mayo Clinic to be sure an MRI would be ok. I went through with it. And I now have proof that my brain is normal.

Along with the head pains, I got to work through some food aversions. My morning sickness was more acute than it usually is, but since I had so many food aversions, my trips to the toilet resulted mostly in dry heaves. I survived mostly on salad and protein shakes. I couldn’t even look at eggs, pizza, cheese, milk, tomatoes, and the list goes on. All sorts of smells would send me running to the bathroom. I lost somewhere around 11 pounds. At 31 weeks, I am still dealing with some of these aversions. Sometimes I can eat scrambled eggs, sometimes I can’t.

Once the morning sickness started to fade, I guess my body decided I needed some other inconvenience. So, my relaxin hormone production went into overdrive. It took me awhile to figure this out. I had a cold at the end of August, early September (back to school crud, yay!). That incident led to me actually sneezing so hard that I popped a rib out-of-place. It was so painful that I went into the ER. I honestly had no idea what was going on. I just knew that I suddenly couldn’t breathe and was in huge amounts of pain. That was a particularly pricey visit just to have someone tell me that my rib was knocked out and the pain was from muscle spasms. I got it under control with heat, ice, and a chiropractor.

The first rib incident was actually a clue for me about the relaxin. My rib has now popped out 3 times and my hips are trying to disconnect from my leg bones. If you are not totally sure about what relaxin does, it pretty much matches its name. It relaxes the ligaments connecting the bones to allow movement for childbirth. Why my body is prepping so early, I have no idea. It has made it very uncomfortable to walk and I am on a lifting restriction. Sitting, standing, and laying down are all also very uncomfortable.

The good news for this pregnancy is that Baby is doing incredibly well. We found out at my 20 week ultrasound that Baby is a boy, so this will be boy #4 in our family. He will have no lack of clothes. Though they may be a bit worn. He is super active and is constantly pushing out on my belly.

Other good news is that I do NOT have gestational diabetes. Not that it matters since chocolate and some other sweets give me massive heartburn. I joke that this baby is forcing me to eat healthy. Well, I mostly joke. I would kill for a doughnut. This whole eating healthier has been beneficial seeing as how I am not up for pretty much any exercise. I have not gained back much of the weight I lost during my morning sickness. Baby is still growing very well, so he is definitely getting the nutrients he needs. If I did not have the constant pain, I would actually feel really good. I’ve even been enjoying the onset of the Braxton Hicks contractions. Well, except for the one that hit me when I was grocery shopping. Whew. That was came out of nowhere and left a lingering pain. My body is prepping to bring this guy earthside. After all the issues I have had, I am really looking forward to meeting this new person.

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The comment that turned into a post.

This stated out as a comment on an article posted by one of my favorite blogs, Birth Without Fear. it turned into a full blown rant that deserved its own blog posting. Links will be added later when I am not on my iPad.

Most of you won’t care about this. I have found myself becoming a birthing advocate. Our country has a shameful C-section rate (approximately 30%, with one of our local hospitals, Kadlec, averaging ABOVE the national rate). Some of these are elective, and that is the parents’ choice. Some are true emergencies. Some BECAME emergencies due to what is known as the snowball effect (doctor insists on an induction – “baby is too big,” “you are two days past your due date,” “some other excuse.” Being induced is the absolutely worst pain I have ever experienced. And I have had my eyeball scraped with a razor blade. Which is also excruciating. spending two hours getting my tat felt like heaven compared to that. Being induced tends to lead to an epidural. Because it is the worst pain imaginable. Now… We have a few things that can happen at this point. I was lucky in that my body and my two older boys came through fine. What I found out later was that the pitocin can cause the baby to go into distress mode, leading to meconium in the amniotic fluid, leading to a rush into the operating room.

C-sections have become so mainstream that we don’t think of them as dangerous. They are an invasive surgery and usually take three times longer for recovery. Oh, the US is also a leader in infant and maternal death. go us. not sure what the stats are on this in relation to C-sections, but I think that would be an interesting stat to look into. There are a few theories out there as to why American docs seem so set on inducing: money from big pharma, vacation dates, even golf tee times have been thrown out there. I can’t answer that one. I do know that the second time I was induced, the doc was definitely in a hurry for baby to come (I was told it was for my health and that the baby was going to be big. Sammi was 7 lbs, 4 oz).
Don’t get me wrong, I am not against doctors. I have simply come to believe that a doctor is someone you see when you are sick. Pregnancy is not an illness. Now, some women have high risk pregnancies and should definitely be in the care of a doctor. And yes, sometimes there are complications that can arise during a natural birth that will lead to a trip to the hospital. A good midwife would actually be capable of handling most minor emergencies. In fact, a midwife is required to have an incredible birth kit.
After experiencing my own natural birth and how different labor was without pitocin, I definitely believe a midwife should be on a list of options for every pregnant woman. Or at least a supportive, natural hospital birth (I’ve known a few moms who had a natural hospital birth, yet was not fully supported in that decision by their doctors).
So, to end my rant, The Barefoot Bus is an awesome idea. I love it and the idea behind it. Every woman should have more than one option available to her for her birthing needs and desires.

That Crazy Girl Did What?!?! Without Drugs??!!!

I had a totally natural, stressless home birth. No drugs. Only my warm pool of water. I did it! Of course, I only did what females have been doing since mammals started having live births. Still, I am pretty proud of myself. I look at my beautiful new boy and think, “I did that. In MY home.”

The labor went pretty quickly. I started having light contractions on Nov 8 at about 4:30 am. I waited for an hour before calling my midwife, just to make sure they weren’t going away. She showed up around 7ish. I transitioned from light to hard at around 9:30 am. That would be when I went from being able to kind of talk to having to absolutely toning out everything. That was when I decided to get into the birthing tub. That warm water was an immediate relief. I felt so much more comfortable. I went into hard labor shortly after 11 am and baby J was born at 11:11 am IN MY HOME. Gotta admit – just as he started to crown, I started to have doubts that I could do this. Heh. A little late for those. I was so shocked to suddenly see a baby in the tub with me. I scooped him up myself. He did have the cord around his neck, but the midwife very quickly took care of that and he was fine. He started nursing like a pro before the placenta made an appearance.

I also had a wonderful support group on hand:

  • My husband. I can’t say enough about him. He was awesome. He also hurt the next day from being in an awkward position in order to let me hug him while I was in the tub heh.
  • C~ acted as a doula for me. She reminded me to breathe and to make lower sounds. The lower the moan, the easier it was to get through the contraction – on a more spiritual level, it helps to open up the chakras and get the energy flowing. I suppose it was less of a moan and more of an “Om” chant.
  • D~ took my birth pictures. She took over 400 pictures. It was awesome. I really owe her more than I could ever give to her for doing that for me.
  • My midwife and her assistant. They were both awesome.
  • Both of my mothers-in-law. I love them so much.

I do wish my mommy could have been there with me. It’s hard when she is 3000 miles away. This is another reason I was glad for the pictures. I get to share the birth with her through them.

I am also excited about sharing the pictures with my dad and stepmother. I know they wanted to be here and will not get to see J until April.

J is now 1 month old and growing like a weed. He is already so strong and so very alert. My milk came in about 2 days after he was born. This was really great. It had been a struggle with my previous two. There was lots of pumping and I had to supplement as they both lost too much weight. I have not looked at studies, but I suspect my previous issues with breastfeeding had to do with being induced. I now have so much milk coming in that I pump every once in a while just to have some extra on hand so I can go out for a few hours. We have experimented with a bottle to make sure he was ok with that. He is. If food comes out when he sucks on it, he seems fine with it. Greedy little leech.

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The birthing tub.

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Working through a lighter contraction.

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Contractions are getting harder.

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The hard labor begins.

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Freshly made baby!

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Baby J.

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Getting ready to be weighed.

I have not abandoned you!

I have been busy. Also, I have not been able to get on my regular computer very much at all. If any of you have ever tried to type a full post on an iPod or iPhone, then you may forgive me for not giving more updates. I have been stewing in a few ideas these past few months. I like my idea of posting about healthy, cheap meals and that idea + my pregnancy have led to posting about healthy, cheap, diabetic-friendly meals. I have not been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, yet, but it is on my mind. I will be tested for it at my next prenatal visit. *crossed fingers* I have tried to be healthier for this pregnancy, but I am also aware of the stats. Once you have already had gestational diabetes, you are more likely to be diagnosed with it in your next pregnancies. So, I have been munching on protein-rich foods and have tried to curb those dumb cravings for chocolate… Not too successfully. And dammit, sometimes you just need a candy bar.

This pregnancy has been very uncomplicated and is going smoothly, so far. No bleeding, no cramps, no scares. The ultrasound pics showed us a very healthy baby and proved my due date to still be around Nov 10th, 11th, 12th area. I have been doing mostly good with keeping up with exercising. Until 2 weeks ago, I had been able to make regular trips to the gym for swimming, and I have kept up with walking and hiking. I had to stop running about a month ago. My lungs couldn’t keep up with me, even on easy jogs. I will just keep up with my walking and restart the C25K program after baby is born.

Now for a bit of controversy. I am planning to home birth this baby. Before I start getting nasty comments, I have done the hospital birthing with my 2 older boys. I grew weary of the rushing to get that baby out with the last one. They were not overall terrible experiences, I just started to put a little more thought into how I wanted my birth experience to be. I also discovered I do not feel comfortable in a hospital setting for more than a day. I had thought I wouldn’t mind it too much as I practically grew up in a hospital (mom was a nurse), but I just want to get home as soon as that baby gets out of me.

So, after thinking through these thoughts, I started to do some research on home births. Home births are, for the most part, extraordinarily safe. Midwives, at least the ones in my area, will NOT consider working with mothers who have high-risk pregnancies, most will not work with twins, and most will not work with mothers who are having very large babies. These are cases where a doctor’s care is needed and quite possibly a hospital setting. Midwives are not against hospitals and doctors, hospitals and doctors just have their place. So, I now have a wonderful mid-wife who is also a naturopathic doctor. As a doctor, she is also able to bill my insurance, which is one less thing for me to worry about. She has set my husband mostly at ease with the idea of a home birth. We do live only about 10-15 minutes from our hospital and she is prepared in case of any emergency that may require us to rush there. A WA state midwife also has a pretty extensive list of what to bring to a birth:

I have also heard the “what if the cord is wrapped around the neck?” question. Yes, it happens. No, it is actually not always an emergency. An experienced midwife will quickly and efficiently take care of that.

“What about the pain?” Well, pain is a part of it. Even with a hospital birth, there will be pain. Get over it, accept it. There are ways to ease it without the use of an epidural (I still feel pain in the area my last epidural went in, btw): warm baths, back rubs, using a yoga/pilates ball, meditation, and in one of my favorite birth stories, singing. I am actually looking forward to experiencing the pain. I was induced with both of my previous births and the pain from the pitocin was pretty unbearable. I had experienced natural contractions with my 2nd kiddo, until the docs wanted it to go faster. The natural contractions were uncomfortable, but not even in the same class as the forced contractions. It was this second birth that really made me look at what I  wanted. If I had been more educated and maybe even a little more willful, I think I would have told the docs to wait. Baby was getting ready on his terms, there really was NO need to rush it. However, I was tired of being pregnant and I was excited by the idea of finally meeting this new one face-to-face. I just need to exercise patience.

Hmm. This blog post has taken me 3 days to write. Mostly because I can not type when Sammi is awake. He is such a button-pushing monkey. He is no longer allowed in the office heh. I had a lot more to write about, but those things will have to be put into a blog of their own.

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