Sunday, February 6, 2011

My VBAC and CBE blogs

I have decided I am going to be a Child birth educator (CBE). I feel I'm being called to share information on birth and help expectant parents educate themselves and hopefully have a better birth experience in turn.

I have begun a blog specifically for keeping track of my thoughts on birth in general, information, and to document my journey to eventually becoming a CBE.

I plan to continue posting in this blog as well but I'm going to be using this blog for more information specific to VBACs. This will also provide a space for me to discuss some of emotions and memories of my c-sections, and allow me to "Get some things off my back" about my VBAC (as the blog title references).

I hope both blogs will help me to grow as a person and hopefully give someone else support and information they may need.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Happy New Year....a bit late

I know I haven't kept up with this blog like I planned to, but with 3 kids, chores, knitting, crochet, and various other projects in my life this became more a postponed work in progress.

I still have lots to say and lots to share and plan to use this blog for sure but for a bit it will be a slower progression. I apologize to the one person who may find this blog on google but bear with me.

This subject means a lot to me and I know even if I disappear for a bit I'll be back.

Friday, December 3, 2010

E's Birth Story: Our VBA2C

I figured my VBAC blog should include my VBAC birth story, VBA2C to be exact so here it is. Very long and detailed. I will add C and J's birth stories soon too though this one does give a little background on those births too. Enjoy.

E’s Birth Story Wednesday, September 15, 2010, 5:38pm
A little background:

July 2007: My first daughter, C, was delivered via c-section with EXIT procedure (we were both put to sleep and she was half delivered, intubated, and then fully delivered) due to a condition with her neck. She was 8lbs 2oz, 21 3/4 in. at 38 weeks gestation and had to spend a week in the NICU.

July 2008: My son, J, was delivered via scheduled c-section at 38 weeks 2 days, weighing 8lbs 4oz 20 1/2 in., due to my doctor at the time not wanting to do VBACs with only 12 months between and because he was going on vacation the following week. The doctor also said during surgery I could have VBAC-ed after all.

I switched to my current doctor for my third baby’s pregnancy at 15 weeks along and planned a VBA2C as soon as I found out I was expecting (at 9 weeks along).

The Days Before Labor and Birth:
I was feeling great. I had so much energy I thought I may be pregnant forever since I was feeling too good to go into labor anytime soon.

Monday, September 13th I had an appointment with My doctor. I brought C in the office with me, at her request, while Hubby took J to the hardware store with him and came back to get us afterward. All four women in the waiting room were 40 weeks (give or take a couple days) and all were expecting their third child. Amid lots of talk about contractions, hoping to go into labor soon, and going overdue, Mrs. Phyllis said “It doesn’t matter you'll have your baby in 2 days anyway.” Little did I know she was right.
My appointment was fairly uneventful otherwise. I had lost a couple more pounds (a trend of my last few appointments) and Eva was still fairly high. I refused checks saying it would do no good but give me something else to worry about or a number to google and overanalyze. My doctor said if I got checked though he could strip my membranes. I declined the offer and kept to the plan to wait it out.

After the appointment we went bowling with the kids. We had a great time and I loved the faces I got from the lane nearby as my toddlers and very pregnant me bowled (with 6 and 8lb balls so nothing to worry about but still amusing). After bowling I was craving Mexican food but put it off till next night.

Tuesday went by with our normal routine. I did get the chores done a bit faster than usual so got lots of time to relax and play with the kids. After Hubby got home we went out for Mexican food for dinner which was wonderful.

Dinner was good but a crazy experience. J was slipping out of his booster seat, C was grabbing tacos and chips as they fell apart in her hands. Everything seemed to be going crazy. And at the pinnacle point of the insanity C started freaking out about having taco meat in her shoe and pulled her bare foot up onto the table. In this moment of insanity Hubby and I looked at each other in desperation and just started laughing. We laughed long and hard and admitted we were nuts to take on three kids soon but were so happy despite even the most stressful moment.

Hubby later joked maybe I put myself into labor with laughter or I should say my daughter’s foot induced my labor.

When we got home after the kids were in bed I did some drawing and writing. I had a point of realization and I let go of all my expectations of when I was going into labor etc. I prayed a lot and admitted that I had not been fully trusting God and the process. I had prayed for everything to happen when the time was right according to God but then adding "oh and let that be tomorrow" it seemed. I was still trying to put things on my terms instead of his. I let go of this at that point. I focused on putting aside my worries and trusting in his plan. I thought how he made my body and my baby and trusting in both was just an extension of trusting in him. I went to bed feeling at peace and better about everything. I was going to trust in his plan even if that was to go to 42+ weeks.
He knows what I need and what is best. God always answers prayers though it's not always the answer we want at the time. It's what he knows is best for us.

September 15th:
The Days Before Labor and Birth I was feeling great. I had so much energy I thought I may be pregnant forever since I was feeling too good to go into labor anytime soon. At my 40 week appointment Monday I declined checks but the baby was still very high it seemed. Tuesday was very relaxing and I had a wonderful dinner with my family.

I slept well that night then awoke at 2am on Wednesday September 15th (at 40 weeks 3 days gestation) with pressure and a contraction that made every other bout of contractions I'd had seem like nothing. I went to the bathroom and had a little cramping but thought nothing of it until I wiped and saw some light blood on the paper. There was a little more blood in the toilet and a couple chunks of pink mucus type stuff. I was freaked out a little but remembered bloody show from my birth class and books and that it could happen several days before actual labor so I tried not to get to excited or let myself be convinced that this was it. I woke Hubby up just to tell him what was up. My contractions continued though they weren’t too painful. I had a little bit of wine and tried to relax but they continued. Hubby had a contraction app on his droid and timed them after a bit and they were all about 2.5-3 minutes apart and 30-45 seconds long at this point. I could still talk through them to an extent so I still figured everything might die down in an hour or two as it had with my lesser contractions in the past weeks.

I tried to go back to sleep but couldn't through the contractions (which hurt more when I was laying down it seemed). So I went and took a bath and let hubby sleep, since as I told him he may still need to go to class in the morning and he figured he'd need the energy no matter what happened. I was very thankful my energy boost I'd been feeling since nesting began kept up so being up wasn't too bad. The bath made everything feel better but didn't deter the contractions. I didn't time again for a couple hours then hubby got up around 6 or so and checked on me and timed again. Still 2.5 to 3 minutes apart but now the contractions were closer to a minute in length and stronger. Also it seemed that the further the gap between, the longer the actual contraction would last and more intense it would be.

My doula had an appointment in the morning and I didn't want to wake her in case it wasn't the real thing but Hubby and I decided it would be better to be safe (and she had said to call her at 4am or earlier in the past). I waited till 6:45 or so to call and give her a heads up. Thankfully her appointment had been cancelled. I was still really talkative between contractions (though I'm very talkative in general so not sure that was a good indicator of where I was in labor, during them I could just do Uh huhs, yes, no, and breathing at this point for the most part) but with the way the contractions were, that they hadn't gone away or lessened in intensity, and with the bloody show my doula said she thought it was the real thing and would go about making plans for her childcare etc. and wanted us to keep her updated and she'd come over whenever we felt we needed her.

Hubby called my mom after my doula (since she's our child care and about an hour and a half away) just to give her a heads up we might need her later that day. I didn't call my doctor yet since I honestly still didn't want to think this was the real thing and get disappointed. Also I couldn't have gone in to get checked until after my mom arrived to watch C and J. My mom didn't answer but called back 30 minutes or so later and said she'd be ready.

So the next couple hours from 8-10ish we continued about our normal routine though a bit more lax then usual. Hubby stayed home and we watched a movie with the kids while I was having contractions. I used the birth ball but at this point was really enjoyed wall squats to ease through the pain. At this point in describing the contractions to Hubby I compared them to climbing a mountain. I could tell as they came on, reached their peak, and descended back down and felt like I was working through them progressively.

I called my doula again to check in around 11 when the contractions had gotten stronger and were all past a minute in length. I couldn't talk through them at this point and wanted to know what I should do next. She said to trust in myself and what I felt I needed to do. I thought I wanted my Mom to head down since I felt worried about my other kids and they had started getting worried about me at this point and noticing Mommy was in pain. C kept coming up to me and saying "This will make you feel better Mommy!" and trying to give me toys. Both kids asked why I hurt and I told them because their little sister was coming today. This excited them but they still were worried when Mommy couldn't talk to them during the contractions. I also needed Hubby to apply pressure to my lower back or sides of my thighs at this point or do hip squeezes for some contractions. I was getting sharper pains on the side of my thighs as labor progressed which were the most irritating part of the pain at this point.

We called my mom and asked her to come down. She had to finish some things at work first but planned to leave shortly.

I continued to work through the contractions with Hubby’s help more and more. I took a shower and have never been so grateful to have an adjustable shower head in my life. The massage spray on my lower back was heaven.
My doula called periodically to ask when we wanted her to come over and gave us tips on making the contractions more effective (making low sounds through them, breathing deep and slow, relaxing, and many other great bits of advice). I told her I'd call her to come over after my mom arrived. I felt I needed my kids taken care of first then Hubby and I would be ready to completely focus on labor.

My mom arrived at 1pm. This was great timing since the kids were getting antsy and I needed Hubby more and more at this point. I called my doula a little after that, and told her we were ready for her as well.

My doula arrived around 1:45; again PERFECT timing. The contractions had gotten strong enough at this point that I was getting more vocal during them and Hubby and I needed the extra help and hands to massage, apply pressure etc. through the contractions. She came in right as I started having a contraction and started performing her magic. It was as if the contractions split in half pain wise. Hubby and my doula were amazing. Both gave me encouragement and manipulated my body to get through the pains and focus on moving forward.

I remember telling my doula if this wasn't real labor I wasn't sure I could do the real version. She assured me it was the real thing. Hubby called my doctor's office at 2:21pm. I was getting more nervous about riding to the hospital at this point and distracting Hubby with my contractions while we drove the 30 minutes or so. My doula agreed that I might be holding myself back with the nervousness about the trip. We told the receptionist that we would head to the hospital and be there in about an hour. Eva was still positioned very high with her knee sticking out on the front of my belly and back to the right side so I figured we had a ways to go since she hadn't dropped etc.

The drive to the hospital wasn't as bad as I expected. I did pretty well getting through the pains in the back seat and the bumps on the road actually felt good massaging my back somewhat. Hubby was an amazing coach from the front seat telling me how amazing I was and that I was doing it! He did make one wrong turn though that added a little time to the trip. I remember seeing the hospital name on the side of the building in the sky and yelling at Hubby to go that way. It was a relief to see.

We arrived a bit after 3:30pm at the hospital. I still felt I had hours ahead of me but was glad we were there and this trip was no longer a worry. We got checked in fairly easily and quickly though we took the wrong elevator at first. My contractions continued at about 2-3 minutes apart (not sure on length but getting longer and stronger). We had stopped using our Contraction timer app. hours before thankfully.

We got from triage to labor and delivery very quickly though I did have a couple contractions I made some louder noises through in the hallway on the way.
I was checked and was dilated 6/7. I was amazed since the baby was still really high it seemed. Also we were told my waters were bulging.

At this point I started to accept that this was the real thing. The contractions continued to get stronger. I asked my doula to post on our ICAN group forum to ask for prayers and ELVs but every time she started typing I'd have a contraction and she'd have to run back to me.

Hubby would apply pressure on my thighs and my doula would apply it to my lower back and then they'd switch occasionally. It worked out really well and I honestly couldn’t have done it without both of them I think.

I compared the contractions then to ocean waves instead of the mountain like ones of earlier. They would overtake me more suddenly and unexpectedly and I had to just let my body go with the flow and let them take me with the tide, not fight them.

About 20-30 minutes after the first check I was checked again for my doctor and was still 6/7 and was told my doctor was planning on leaving his office for the hospital soon. Everything seemed to be going quicker now even though I hadn't dilated anymore. It was becoming harder and harder to find relief from the contractions. I began getting angry during the contractions and yelling and growling more than the low tones of earlier.

I felt like I needed to use the bathroom and empty my bladder more often as well. (I didn’t have any bowel movements during the whole process surprisingly).The nurses were very chill about us being off the monitors in the bathroom. I think this was because they knew my doula would let them know if anything happened suddenly. I had a heplock but was never connected to an IV or anything other than the baby for that matter (crazy to think of in comparison to my cesarean deliveries). I went in the bathroom some time after being checked the second time and had lots of discharge, mucus and blood. Thank goodness my doula could tell Hubby and I that this was normal.

At this point I started asking if it would be okay if I did end up asking for pain relief in the future. My doula and Hubby were reminding me that I was doing it and didn't need the drugs. I begged to get in the shower or bath and my doula said she thought it better we didn't and I might be too far along.

I still wanted a natural birth but those pain killers were looking better and better. I was very vocal during the contractions and wondered if anyone could hear me in the other rooms but also didn't care at that point. I prayed out loud and called on God to help me. My doula told me this was the worst part. I didn't believe her. I was using the metal bar in the bathroom to stand on and yell through my contractions. The baby was feeling a little lower but not that much. I was worried she may go posterior when she descended or might not descend at all.

I had lots of fears I was dealing with at this point: of giving into the pain killers, of going on without the pain killers, of having another c-section, etc. etc. Despite all the books and classes I didn't realize this was obviously transition. At the time I just kept thinking it was going to get worse. During my contractions standing I started feeling more pressure. I yelled through one and some blood splashed out onto the floor between my legs. My doula said we needed to get me back to the room and on the monitors. She and Hubby tried to help me back into the room. I started having another contraction and ended up on the floor on the birth ball and all fours. I yelled "Something's happening!" My doula tried to plug in the monitors and paged the nurses. During this contraction I felt an eruption of sorts (though Hubby says it wasn't that much water). My doula confirmed my water had broke. Hubby was still there massaging, applying pressure and talking to me the whole time. People started swarming into the room it felt like, though they seemed featureless at the time. It was only 5 o'clock. An hour or so since my first check, maybe 20 minutes since the second. I was yelling for the PCB or Epidural only to be told (when checked while on the floor) that I had no cervix left to put it in and the epidural wouldn't take effect before the baby arrived. They wanted me on the bed but the trip of just a few feet seemed huge. I made it with Hubby and my doula's help. I couldn't sit though with the pain in my lower stomach, back, and piercing pain in the sides of my thighs. I ended up facing the wall kneeling against the back of the bed (it was in the sitting position). Hubby was to my left so I could see him but he could still apply pressure to my back. My doula was in front of me between the bed and the wall. I kept telling her to get me the drugs and she kept telling me it was too late and I didn't need them. Hubby kept assuring me how wonderful I was doing and massaging my back. I remember the doctor introducing herself but I didn't register her name at that point, just that she wasn't my doctor and was female. I was told to push when I felt like it.

Hubby asked the doctor not to direct my pushing, though I didn't hear her or pay attention to her any way. I did yell at her saying something to the effect of "Bitch get your hands out of me," when she checked me and the head position during a couple contractions. I honestly felt like my anus was going to explode because of the pressure and all I could do was yell through the pain and push. I remember one contraction I yelled "I....wannnnt Meeeeddd-ihhh-caaaa-tioon!" And another point saying to my doula "Pray for me!" She assured me she had been the whole time. The doctor suggested I turn around and try holding my legs back. No way was that happening with the pain in my back and sides. They were having issues keeping the baby on the monitor because she dropped very quickly from my final contractions in the bathroom to when I hit the floor and my water broke. The nurse to my right had to hold the monitor on my stomach which got in my way when I wanted to apply counter pressure. I was scared and my fear was holding me back some on pushing but Hubby and my doula kept telling me it wasn't going to stop until I pushed her out. I could feel the head and was told by the doctor they saw blonde hair. In a moment of strange calmness I said "That's weird." Then went back to the crazy contraction pushing place. I finally got past the fear and thought back to every birth book and video and story and imagined those moms getting past the head then the rest of the baby slipping out. This became my goal. I pushed and held her there then pushed again with all my might and she was out. Eva was here!

I couldn't believe it. I felt like I was kneeling in a puddle as I turned and saw the long cord from me to my baby beneath me. The doctor caught her and placed her on the bed. In a matter of seconds I was holding her. Hubby spoke up and asked to cut the cord before the doctor did it. He did it. We were both in shock. She's here! Vaginally, without pain killers! Without issue. Without my doctor even lol.

She is perfect, beautiful, and here. It was like a dream.

It only took 3-4 pushes till she was out over the course of 15-20 minutes.
I was the first to hold our baby. Then Hubby held her. We declined letting the nurses take her when they asked. We held her for a long time. Her apgars were 8/9. Everything went really fast. I was at the hospital less than 2 hours and went from 6/7 to fully dilated in less than an hour. I pushed for 15 minutes or so. My doctor didn't have time to make it but directed the amazing resident doctor from the phone on the way over.

I did get a second degree tear and had to be stitched up (which wasn't fun) but I got to have my baby on me the whole time. I got to nurse her immediately. My doctor arrived after I was stitched up. I told him I came to the hospital soon enough etc. just no one expected everything to rush by so suddenly since my two checks showed no difference. He was happy for us despite missing it. Everyone left but Hubby, Eva, my doula, and I. We got to wait till later to call the nurse back to do the baby's stats (8 pounds 11 ounces, 20 inches long).

It was amazing. We declined the bath and gave E her first bath ourselves just an hour before being discharged the next day. I was never apart from my daughter the whole time. I could walk and eat so soon after delivery. Everything was so different from my first two births. I definitely prefer this version though each was a blessing as well.

I got to go home 24 hours after delivering. I am now home with all three of my wonderful amazing children around me. I feel great. At this point my last two deliveries I still needed help getting to the bathroom.

I am so happy and so amazingly blessed. E is beautiful and such a good baby. My other children are head over heels in love with "their baby." We are so blessed. My VBA2C went wonderfully when God chose it to and at His pace. I trusted in Him and everything went perfectly. My daughter is perfect. And I am still amazed at the many miracles my family experienced welcoming Eva into the world.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Birth Days

Today is my birthday. Since becoming a mother this day has become more about my mother and I no longer feel I only have one birthday but 4, my own and one for each of my children.

When I had my first child it was her birth day but it was mine as well. On that day I was reborn and became a mother. Before having children had someone told me this simple truth I would've nodded my head in agreement but never understood the full extent of it. Until I experienced bringing a child into the world myself I didn't realize how huge an impact my birth and my siblings' births made on my mother.

Birth is one of the most incredible experiences in the world and no matter how it occurs it is miracle. I have had three very different births but each one has been amazing and wonderful, whether it was the birth I would've chosen or not, because that's the way my child came into the world. I think this is how each mother feels to an extent. We can have many things we like and dislike that happened in our birth experiences, but the fact our children was born is the most important factor in the end. However, it's not the only factor.

Just because our children are healthy does not mean the birth experience doesn't matter. We have a right to be upset about how it turned out, to be angry. And we have the right to learn from what happened, to educate ourselves and whether we go on to have the perfect birth experience or not to know we did everything in our power to give our children and us the best birth possible.

Neither of my first two birth experiences were what I wanted. The first was what my daughter needed though. Our plan was a natural delivery with a midwife. The best delivery for C ended up being a c-section under general anesthesia with EXIT procedure. I went to sleep and woke up a Mommy. I first met C in the hospital hallway in a red transport incubator. I had her at 8 am and didn't get to hold her in the NICU until that night. She had to be tube fed then bottle fed then finally was allowed to breastfeed when she was 5 days old and go home at a week old. As a birth experience it sucked honestly. I pray my daughters and daughter in laws don't go through what we did but I can't change it and I don't regret it. It was what she needed and that's what in the end made the difference in my feelings about the experience. It was a miraculous birth as is she.

My birth experience with my son's birth wasn't what I wanted and it wasn't what he needed and for that I can only blame myself. I do not regret his birth, I regret that I didn't educate myself and I didn't question my doctor at the time. I trusted him when he told me I needed another c-section. I now know that it was not necessary at all unless you consider a doctor's vacation schedule to be a good reason to do major abdominal surgery and deliver a baby whose lungs may be immature. Despite the issues I have looking back though I still think this birth was another miracle. It's a miracle my son was healthy and perfect. It's a miracle I didn't have any complications from the surgery and it's a miracle he was born into the world.

My third miracle and fourth birth day finally was the best of both worlds. I got to experience the miracle of birth once again, but I also got the birth experience I wanted which was also the best delivery option for my baby. I will add my VBA2C story soon so others can read my experience.

I have learned and grown from each of my children's births and our birth experiences and I will continue to celebrate my main birthday as well as each of my Birth days. I will always say "Happy Anniversary of becoming a Mother/Father" to my friends and family members when their children turn a year older. And I know that each birth is about the birth of a mother, the miraculous birth of a child, and the birth experience. It all matters, it all affects the mother, who she is and who she will become. It doesn't always work out but if you educate yourself so you know it was truly honestly the best delivery option for you and your child it will make a difference.

Who am I?

I'm sure I will go into more detail about each of my births but right now I'll start with a brief introduction.

I am L or Mrs. Baker. I am a 25 year old stay at home mother to three beautiful children, ages 3, 2, and 2 1/2 months. Online I refer to my kids as C, J, and E. C and E are my daughters and J is my son. I am married to my high school sweetheart and love of my life. He is my partner in life and best friend and I am so thankful for his love and support.

I have had three births. My first delivery in July 2007 was a planned necessary c-section with EXIT procedure. I was put under general anesthesia for the surgery (put to sleep) and my daughter C spent a week in the NICU. She was born at 38 weeks gestation and weighed 8lbs 2oz and was 21 3/4 inches long.

My second delivery in July 2008 was an unnecessary scheduled c-section 12 months and 2 days after my first. I didn't ask enough questions or do enough research and my son's life was put at risk. I thank God he was okay. J was born at 38 weeks 2 days gestation and was 20 1/2 inches long.

Before J's birth I thought I could trust every doctor to put the best interest of the patient first in every decision and learned unfortunately this is not the case. There are some trustworthy doctors still out there but they aren't all. I learned I have to put forth the effort and educate myself to make sure the doctors who are taking care of my family and I are truly doing what is best for us.

In 2010 I found out I was unexpectedly expecting after a miscarriage. I had been educating myself on birth options since my son's birth in 2008. I joined the Atlanta Chapter of ICAN (The International Cesarean Network)and found a supportive care provider in Dr. Joseph Tate.

I continued to research and plan for every possible situation that might come up in my delivery. I found an amazing doula, Talitha, who was also an ICAN member. My husband and I took an Intuitive Birth Class through BabySteps. I also kept a stack of my favorite birth books at my bed side. And in September at 40 weeks 3 days gestation E arrived after a fairly quick labor via natural VBA2C. She was 8lbs 11oz 20 inches long.

I am thankful for each of my children's births. All my children are perfect and healthy and their birth experiences have made me who I am today. Honestly I do still have some resentment over the unnecessary risks taken with my son's delivery but I have learned a lot from it and grown since it. I am looking forward to continuing to educate myself and talk with women who've been through all kinds of birth experiences.

I got my VBAC, now what?

This was the topic of last night's Atlanta ICAN meeting. We've done so much and worked so hard for our VBACs and we did it! So what happens now? How do we continue our birth activism?

Some ladies have gone on to become doulas and childbirth educators. Some have signed up to do volunteer work with ICAN. Some people try to inform their friends, family, and colleagues to stay as informed about their birth options.

As a stay at home mother of three I decided I would try to do the latter of these, sharing information through a blog. So that's the reason for this blog.

I am not a medical professional and I have no problem with cesareans when necessary. I do think in most cases vaginal delivery is the best option but not in all. I do have a problem with people not educating themselves before their births and just thinking "Oh it won't happen to me." I am planning to use this blog to share my birth stories, how I got to my VBA2C, and random information I find on VBAC, Cesarean, and Birth in general.

And I hope sharing my stories and thoughts can maybe help someone else get the best birth for them and their baby as well.