Wednesday, August 13th, 2014....8:59 a.m.
Our lives will never be the same again and we couldn't be happier about it. I have so many different thoughts, memories and reflections about that day...and the day before for that matter!!
Contractions started around 3:00 am on Tuesday, August 12th. ALOT had happened leading up to that point mainly because Eli wanted to wait until he was good and ready...and 15 days past his "due date"! Because we were giving birth at a hospital we had to schedule an induction at the 2 week mark, but our midwives were pretty amazing and flexible and we were able to negotiate with them to wait just a little bit longer, so the actual induction was scheduled for Wednesday, August 13th. We were planning to try an herbal induction at 6:00 am on Tuesday and I really wasn't looking forward to drinking castor oil so I'm glad he decided to come on his own!
We labored at home until about noon and the contractions were 3-4 minutes apart. At that point, I thought things would keep progressing but boy was I wrong! Contractions slowed and almost stopped on the 20 minute drive to the hospital and then we had to wait in the lobby for about 20 minutes because there were no triage rooms available. We got settled into the triage room so they could monitor me and check on progress. Our midwife, Anna, stopped in and after watching the monitor for a little bit and checking me...found that I was already at 6 cm. She told us that when she first saw me she was so close to just sending us home because she didn't really think I was in labor. Apparently I managed the pain well :)
We finally got settled into our normal room and had steady contractions all afternoon/evening. I snacked on a few things but just like everyone said, I just wasn't hungry for anything....so I drank a lot of water and snacked on fruit from what I remember. Dan did go get dinner from the cafeteria and brought it up to the room. I remember smelling something REALLY nasty and found out he had gotten broccoli. Ugh. That was the one time I remember being a bit bitchy and just asked him to leave. Haha!
I had really wanted to be able to move around with the contractions so we tried a lot of different things...including walking, using the labor ball, showering, getting into the tub (which btw was AMAZING except for the fact that the tub was so big and hard it was hard to find a good position for contractions), and having Dan help with a few positions etc....Around 11:00 pm our nurse and midwife came in for a chat to figure out what our next steps would be since my water still hadn't broken. My contractions were slowing a bit, so we decided to try to sleep for a few hours since I'd been up since about 3 am and then get back after it in the early morning . And just like that...an hour later my water broke while I was sleeping! Unfortunately there was a tiny bit of meconium in the fluid so that automatically meant I wouldn't get to do the water birth I had wanted...disappointing...but we definitely just tried to roll with it.
After my water broke, contractions did get a bit more intense and time seemed to just flow together. The birth center was SO busy that night so they were actually having to turn people away to two different hospitals, which meant our midwife had been in and out of our room maybe two or three times the entire night. Because of this, I was so so SO glad we had decided to get a doula...Julie Colby, from Lady's Slipper Wellness, was our doula and she was AMAZING. She provided so much support for both Dan and I...and was with us the entire labor. Our midwife did come in around 3 am (I think) and checked Eli's position. She realized then that he was sunny-side up....which would explain the horrible back labor I'd been having. We tried a few different techniques to get him to turn (which were very uncomfortable btw) and they didn't really work so we just went with it. Around 4 or 5 am I remember just not being able to keep my eyes open. I was so tired and really wasn't sure if I could do it!! Julie, my mom and Megan (our photographer) had just gotten back to the room from getting coffee and were a little hopped up on the caffeine :) so Julie went to talk to the midwife and they decided that NOW was the time to get moving. I guess I had thought my body would tell me when to start pushing but I had absolutely no idea what that "feeling" would be...so I had just been focusing on getting through all the contractions.
We started pushing on the toilet (yep..the toilet) to try and get a feel for what this pushing business was all about....but contractions decided to slow once again. At this point, 6:30 a.m., we had to do something to keep the contractions coming so we decided to start a small amount of pitocin to help with that. I remember not wanting to, but honestly at that point, we had to do something. The pitocin did change the contractions a bit and made them more intense so we started pushing again...this time on a birthing stool. I do remember at one point being SO annoyed that the contractions were so far apart because having to wait for the next contraction to push was NOT fun. I think pushing lasted for about 4-5 hours and Eli graced us with his presence (FINALLY) at 8:59 am!! Those last few pushes were pretty intense and I remember this amazing feeling of relief once he finally arrived! They did have to whisk him away for about 30 seconds to make sure he hadn't ingested some of the meconium but he was back in my arms so fast and everything was fine!! I'll spare you all the details after this point, but I do remember being STARVING almost immediately and could not wait to eat!! I think I ordered pancakes and eggs :) I also remember the warm blankets being absolutely incredible...I'm pretty sure I had about 3 of them on me at one point. Ha!
We spent the morning just staring at Eli's sweet face and letting the nana/papa (my parents) and grandma/grandpa (Dan's parents) meet the little guy!
I honestly can't say enough about the support team I had...They were all there pretty much the entire 22 hours of labor at the hospital: Dan, Julie, my mom and Megan. Dan was an AMAZING support the entire time and I know I couldn't have done it without him!! Julie supported both Dan and I and was such a blessing before the birth, during the birth and even after! I remember looking up multiple times to see my mama there and just praying...that in and of itself was incredible. And Megan had 3 other births that same night...but she somehow juggled those and then came back in the middle of the night to be with us!
I know doing an all-natural birth is not for everyone...but I don't regret doing it at all...Yes, it was TOUGH. The hardest thing I've ever done. Would I want to do it again tomorrow? Hell no :) but that's mainly because it was so long! Being able to actually feel everything was kinda incredible. The human body is crazy amazing and the way it all just works together makes me even more in awe of this God we serve!!
Eli is now 4 weeks old TODAY...Happy Birthday buddy! We cannot imagine life without his sweet face....right now he grunts a lot but there is a fleeting smile and he's starting to kind of "talk" to us which is really fun. He's starting to get a few more rolls in his arms and legs and can find his thumb every once in a while. He loves to be in the Boba and dad has gotten really good at putting him to sleep in the fleece sling. We can't wait for all the other new things he's going to be experiencing over the next few months!!
I found this quote at the very beginning of my pregnancy and it stuck with me the entire time. This might sound weird coming from a pregnant woman, but the time really seemed to just fly by...and I wanted it to just slow down a little bit! Today seemed like the perfect day to post this because today is my due date...but did you know...only 5% of women actually give birth on their due date? From the very beginning I've said I would go at least a week late, so we'll see if my prediction comes true. The feelings I've had the last few days I'm sure are to be expected but I'm just now fully realizing that at any time now, I transform into a "mama"....and to think about what that actually means is sort of mind blowing :) Also, I know everyone says it, but just thinking about it and visualizing how our every day lives are going to change SO MUCH is so excited and a bit frightening. I can't wait and I know Dan feels the exact same way!
I have wanted to write this blog for a while but kept putting it off....but I wanted to share with you all the "stuff" that I learned going through this process. I'm obviously not an expert and you might not agree with my thoughts 100%, but that's COMPLETELY fine. I know that everyone is different and what worked for me might not work for you. However, the one thing I HAVE to stress:
So many people just go with what is "normal" and don't ever think about WHY it's done! Even if you read through everything and think I'm crazy :) that's OK...at least you read through it and formed your own opinion!
I may be a little different than most people because I knew years ago that I wanted an all natural, water birth with a midwife. This was basically because of the influence of my older sister (she had 3 home, water births) but honestly, the thought of laying on my back with my legs up in the air with a handful of people standing around, watching me go through one of the most amazing and life changing experiences...did not sound like my cup of tea. So that played a part as well! I love the midwifery approach and it's definitely something that I wanted to be a part of. Midwives view pregnancy and birth as normal life events that are best protected through education and support. They use medical procedures only when there is a specific concern for the health of the mother or baby.
I did A LOT of research on my own to figure out what I wanted and didn't want, I asked tons of questions and read a few books. I found out that quite a few of the tests and procedures that hospitals do while you're pregnant, during labor and even after labor are unnecessary and have NO medical benefit...AND guess what? You don't HAVE to do everything they tell you. Yep...the rebel in me came out and I declined quite a few things!! Personally, I didn't feel comfortable just going through the slew of tests without first knowing WHY they were doing them and the more I dug into the facts, the more empowered I felt. I also shared everything I learned with Dan and we made these decisions together! Please also keep in mind that I'm referring to low-risk, healthy pregnancies...there is definitely a time and place for doctors in birth and if you're high-risk some of what I'm saying might not apply to you.
This is one blog that has been seriously amazing for me. It provided a lot of really great information! http://wellnessmama.com/6214/pregnancy-prenatal-care/
Check it out!
Here is an overview of the stuff we did or did not do during this pregnancy:
My midwife looked at the ingredients in Shakeology and she was completely fine with me continuing to drink it and use it as my prenatal vitamin. I just supplemented with some DHA. I also did buy some raw prenatals off of Amazon and used those sporadically on days where I didn't drink Shakeology. A few weeks ago I started to get heartburn from it and it was messing with my stomach a little so I decided to just stop drinking it for now and take the prenatals.
I was already eating a pretty healthy diet before becoming pregnant so I didn't have to change much...other than eating just a little bit more! Technically you only need to eat 200-300 more calories except I was working out still 4-5 days a week so I ate just a bit more than that to make sure. Honestly, I can't tell you how many times I heard "Oh just eat it...baby wants it"...or "You're eating for 2 now! You should really eat that." It drove me bonkers because if anything, pregnancy is when you should really focus on eating the GOOD STUFF....loads of real, nutrient dense food that not only fuels you and gives you energy, but it feeds your body, your baby and helps them grow. I ate ALOT of these foods:
I really didn't have any weird cravings...which I really do attribute to paying attention to my body and what it was asking for...instead of what my brain would tell me sometimes (NO, you do NOT need Taco Johns at 10:30 at night) and I've gained roughly 28 lbs as of right now....which is exactly what I was shooting for.
Being active before pregnancy definitely makes it easier to KEEP being active, so if you're not currently doing anything 3-5 days a week to move your body....you should really think about changing that!! I was doing T25 and doing some lifting before getting pregnant so I just kept doing that as long as I could. When I couldn't do the jumping in T25 any more, I just followed the low impact modifier. I did wear a heart rate monitor all through the first trimester because I had heard keeping your heart rate a bit lower was a good idea...but that ended up not being entirely true :) so I stopped wearing it and just listened to my body. Towards the end, I started doing more yoga and alot of lower impact workouts and just doing them at my pace.
Unless your activity is dangerous to the baby or yourself, there is no need to quit working out when you're pregnant...but make sure you talk to your midwife or doctor about what you're doing!
The necessity and safety of routine ultrasounds in a low-risk pregnancy is something that a lot of people don't know much about. They've become so routine and normal, it's now expected that you'll get multiple ultrasounds over the span of a pregnancy. After reading quite a few different articles about the risks vs benefits, I had decided not to have any (except to allow the midwife to check the heartbeat at appointments). But at 22 weeks the midwives I was seeing at the time, told me they weren't sure that my due date was correct so if I wanted to have a chance at a water birth I had to consent to do a dating ultrasound....which we did. We ended up doing the shorter version which was roughly 15-20 minutes long. If I'm being completely honest, it was fun to see the profile of our little one but it still pissed me off that I was forced into doing something I didn't really want...and then they only changed my due date by 1 day :)
Here are a few articles that I read through:
I've chosen to forego all internal exams (cervical checks) mainly because I feel like it messes with your mind more than anything (especially towards the end of the pregnancy). They could tell you that you're 3-4 cm dilated and you could walk around like that for weeks....or they could tell you you're not dilated at all and then you could go into labor the next day!! Your body is in control and knows when the baby is ready. TRUST it.
This is one test where most people don't realize that they have options. The traditional method is to drink 50 grams of a nasty, orange glucose solution and then an hour later they draw your blood to check how your body processed the glucose. Because we eat pretty healthy, there's no reason I would ever consume that amount of sugar and carbohydrates in 5 minutes, so who knows how my body would react. The risk of a false positive is definitely there and if that happened, that would require a 3 hour long test....plus I've heard it just tastes horrible.
I chose instead to do an alternative test which I had to suggest. I don't even remember where I read about it, but my midwife agreed to it, so it's worth suggesting if you don't want to drink the orange crap. The alternative test that I did was a 2 hour test where they drew my blood and then within 20 minutes I had to eat an entire bagel, a banana and plain greek yogurt which I added a tiny bit of honey to. I then sat and read a book for 2 hours, went back to get my blood drawn and I was on my way!
There are a few other tests that they offer (CVS, CF, Downs Syndrome) and we declined all of them. Basically if it wasn't medically necessary we decided not to do it. Some of them are outlined in this article...but we basically declined them because if he/she did test positive for any of them it wouldn't change the outcome of our pregnancy....and there is always the chance for a false positive which would cause more stress than needed. http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/prenatal-tests.aspx
Testing for Newborns
There are quite a few tests that hospitals will automatically do when your baby is born...sometimes without your consent. After doing research on all of them here is what we decided to decline and why:
Eye Drops/Ointment: Only needed if the mom is at risk of having sexual transmitted infections like gonorrhea and chlamydia.
Vitamin K Shot: Helps prevent Hemorrhagic Disease but if you're having a natural birth (no c-section, no epidural, no forceps, no suction) and allow the umbilical cord to stop pulsing before cutting as well as eating foods that are rich in Vitamin K, you shouldn't have to give this to your newborn. If you have to, go for the oral option and not the shot.
Hepatitis B Vaccine: Not necessary if mother has tested negative. More info here: http://kellybroganmd.com/article/hepatitis-b-vaccine-for-your-newborn/
And I think that's it! If you made it to the end, good for you :) That was a bit longer than I planned on!! Happy to answer ANY questions if you have some!!
The Cook & The Coach
Healthy is a LIFESTYLE.