A Bit of This and That

This past weekend was very busy for our little zoo, we didn’t spend much time on the farm, instead we enjoyed visiting our family.

Saturday we awoke early and headed off to the Ogden Temple open house. We toured it with my parents and sibling, my sister and her family even traveled from South Dakota, it was so good to see them. We then spent the rest of the day visiting while the zoolings played with the cousins.

Sunday we went to my uncle’s ward (the name of an LDS congregation determined by geographical location) to hear my cousin speak. She just returned from an eighteen month long mission in Atlanta, Georgia. It was so good to see her again. We then went to their house for dinner. Most of my family were there, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins. It was great to see everyone, I love my family so much.

After dinner and a good long visit we had a little birthday party for Dadzoo’s mother, who turned 29 this year…..

Monday, the kids and I went on our usually Monday swimming outing with the family, for almost 25 years we have met Monday afternoon to swim with the kids.My aunts, cousins and their children are all there. Everyone has such a great time, swimming in the summer it very much looked forward to.

The very best of all our weekend activities: a visit to my midwife, where it was determined our little guy is growing big, strong, and healthy.  I love midwifery care  all of my concerns were addressed fully and “natural” or “crunchy” solutions given. I’m starting to feel as if I can relax, like this baby is really going to come. Its a good feeling.

This weekend was packed with fun and family, but now I must turn my attentions back to the farm and get things tied up before school starts in a week and I lose my helpers!

A summer thunder cloud rolling across our valley.

A summer thunder cloud rolling across our valley.

House in Order

 

I have 10 weeks until baby sister is to make her debu, I am feeling a great need to get my house in order, especially considering that we are planning a home birth.  However, I am finding that need to order and clean my home in sharp contrast and conflict to my great need of extra sleep.

Lydia’s Birth Story

If you read the post I wrote the day before Lydia was born, you will know how I felt about being induced and my great desire to go into labor on my own and have a totally unmedicated birth.  I realised that I had to come to terms with the fact that this birth may not go according to my plans, and that that would just fine and I needed to surrender to the process.  Once I had written the post I felt at great peace, I knew that all would go well, even if things didn’t go according to my plans, everything would work out for the best, and I would be happy.

During the day Thursday the 14th I noticed that I was having contractions, they were really far apart, and part of my surrendering to the process I wouldn’t allow myself to time them.  However I didn’t notice that they felt a little different, they were a little lower in my pelvis and back.  My frantic need to clean and organise had also subsided and I spent the day reading and napping, I just couldn’t muster any motivation to do anything.  Looking back I realize that my body didn’t want to be exhausted from a day of heavy cleaning and that I needed to be rested for the work ahead.

Later, Thurdsay evening, I couldn’t help but notice the contractions were getting stronger and closer together, I timed them for a bit, they were coming at about every 15 or 20 minutes, nothing too exciting, I had done that before, so I ignored them some more and went to get ready for bed.  I took a warm shower, which usually stops any contractions that I have, but this time it didn’t.  Do I dare to hope that this is it?  I read in bed for a while and timed my contractions, which were coming about every 10 to 15 minutes apart, but at this point I was still very comfortable and could sleep.  So I did just that, went to sleep, knowing that if this was the real thing I would need my rest and that stronger contractions would wake me up when I needed to be up.

Several times during the night I woke up to a contraction, and noticed that my back and legs were tired and aching, but I was able to go right back to sleep until about 6 am.  I lay on my side and started to time my contractions (there is a really cool app for timing contractions).  Dadzoo got up to get ready for work, I didn’t say anything and he just assumed I was still asleep.  When he was showered and came out of the bathroom around 7:00 I was sitting up in bed, the contractions were about 5 to 7 minutes apart, and I was unable to sleep through them.  He decided to stick around for a little bit to see if this was the real thing, and we quickly realized that they most likely were.  I took a shower, ate, moved around and still the contractions came.  I called my Mom and my Doula (my sister).  At 9:00 they were strong enough that I couldn’t talk through them and they demanded all my attention.  We got to the hospital around 10:30.  On the drive in my contractions all but stopped.  I think I had maybe one contraction on the 30 minute drive in, I was starting to worry that we might have made a mistake again.  We walked into the hospital, got changed and settled into the triage room, and maybe had another really light contraction.  Had my labor stopped?  I sure hoped not!

The nurse checked me, she mentioned that the baby was really high, and had a hard time getting to my cervix.  She then smiled and said “well you are staying, your bag of waters broke” as I felt the warm liquid flow out of me “and you are at an 8+”.  Dadzoo and I looked at each other, and I had to ask the nurse if I heard her right, was I really at an 8?  Seriously?  Right then things started to happen really fast.  A wheelchair was brought in and packed with chucks pads and another nurse rushed in “Do you want an epidural?  You don’t have much time if you do.”  I thanked her and told her no.  I had gotten to an 8 with no pain, I could so do this without any pain medication and it was what I had been planning on all along.

After that everything seems like a dream.  I remember so much, but they come to me in impressions and feelings.  I did have to stay in bed for about 20 minutes so the nurse could get a good “strip”, meaning a good heart beat from the baby, and that would be the only time I would say I felt a lot of pain.  Laying in bed through the contractions was painful.  Once they had their heart beat I was able to get out of bed and I was much more comfortable.  My favorite position to labor in was standing right up, during the contractions I would put my arms around Dadzoo neck and hold on to him, my face in his neck.  He would rub my lower back and sides, which felt really good.  I found that moaning low through each contraction helped me cope with the sensations and to keep my face and bottom relaxed.  In between contractions, I rested on the birthing ball.  It was sitting on the bed and I just laid over it, while my sister softly rubbed my back and arms, helping to release endorphins, that felt really good and relaxing too.  It was amazing to me how one minute, I was completely wrapped up in the sensations of labor, then once the contraction was over, I was back to normal and could rest.  What a wonderful system, of work and rest, I can’t help but think how well designed that is.

Once I was complete and felt the push urges, it was as if my body and mind went to a place where instinct took over.  It was all very primal.  No amount of coaching, coaxing, or directions could have broken through the mind body connection.  All I could do was what my body told me to do.  It was intense and focused, I have never felt anything so powerful and exhilarating before in my life.  I gave three or four good pushes (I think….) and she flew out.  The doctor quickly checked her out and handed her to me, I was able to hold her, skin to skin and the doctor waited until the cord stopped pulsing to clamp it and have Dadzoo cut it.

I was so wonderful, the greatest birth experience I have had so far.  Next post will be some of impressions I had having an unmedicated birth, my thoughts and feeling about the whole process.

 

Surrender

 

I have never gone into labor on my own.  For all five of my previous births I have always had an induction, some were for medical reasons, others for convenience.  Three of my babies were born at about my due date, one was two weeks early (due to pre-eclamptia) and one was a week past.  For this baby, my sixth, I decided that I really wanted to go into labor on my own.  After reading and researching I had decided that letting my body go into labor when baby is ready was the best choice for me and my newest addition.  Talking it over with my doctor (who has the heart of a midwife, really) he was more than happy to let me go two weeks past “the date” and is willing  to help me deliver any way that I want to, excepting a homebirth.

So there I was happy to let nature do her thing, to wait until baby was ready, to happily gestate into  week 42 if I had to.  Or was I?  When week 37 hit was I going strong ready to have this baby, ready to let my body do its thing, and more than willing to try every folk remedy, wives tale and rumor out there to get baby here as soon as possible.  Every little twinge from my uterus made me stop, and if there were two twinges I was ready to time my “contractions”.  Was this it?  Would I know?  Would I go early?  Should I call Dadzoo, my doula, my Mom?  What should I try first to speed up these contractions, drink 2 gallons of raspberry tea instead of one?  Take extra Primrose oil? Castor oil?  Run the stairs?  Meditate on a flower opening?  Only to have all my excitement and hopes dashed in an hour or so when no more contractions came.

What was I doing wrong, why wouldn’t baby come?  I was ready, the house cleaned, closets de-junked, all necessary items washed, sewn, pressed and put away all awaiting the arrival of my baby.  My freezer is full, the nursery painted and decorated, children taken care of, laundry done.  I was practicing relaxation, eating well, resting as much as I could, thinking positive thoughts, loving my man, reading all the birthing books and blogs I could.  I am ready, really ready, where is she?

Then came Monday night.  That evening I started to contract, sporadically at first, then it settled into a nice pattern of 10 minutes apart.  They weren’t uncomfortable, but enough that I noticed them.  Figuring that I should sleep while I could I went to bed, only to be woken up at about 3:30 am with some hard contractions about 3 or 4 minutes apart.  I lay in bed for about two hours, timing and contracting, they were very consistent, 3 to 4 minutes apart, but weren’t particularly hard, however they did command my attention.  Was this it?  It had to be, right?  Remember, I don’t know what it feels like to go into labor on my own, in this aspect I feel like a first time mom.  At about 5:30 am I got up, cleaned the kitchen, bathroom, checked my bags and walked the hall waiting for Dadzoo to wake up.  When he woke up, I told him I was pretty sure I was in labor, could he work from home today in case?  He was more than happy to do so and I continued to walk the hall, contracting, getting more and more excited.  This HAD to be it!

About 8:00, I noticed that the contractions I had been timing for about 4 hours started to be less noticeable, and were stretching to 5 or 6 minutes apart and I was completely exhausted.  I lay down for a little bit, fell to sleep and they stopped completely.  At 9:30 I got up and got ready, I had a doctor appointment that morning and I was hoping that I had dilated a little bit, knowing that early labor will sometimes stop and start and maybe I was just so tired that my body decided to give me a little rest….right….?  Dadzoo came with me to the appointment, and while I had a few more contractions in the car, nothing really started up.  My doctor examined me and I hadn’t changed, I am (was) still dialated to a “1” like I had been for the past two weeks and soft.  Here I am, 39 weeks pregnant, with my SIXTH baby and only dialated to a ONE! 

I. Was. Crushed.

My doctor was kind. Dadzoo was disappointed.  I wondered what I had been doing wrong and what is wrong with my cervix!

Dadzoo drove me home and when we got there I went right to bed, so very mad.  Luckily Dadzoo could work from home that day, he took care of everything, while I holed up in the bedroom and licked my wounds, wallowed in the discouragement and did a little thinking and praying.

The whole appeal of letting my labor start of naturally, and laboring unmedicated wasn’t something I came up with lightly.  It isn’t some romantic ideal, an endurance competition or bragging rights.  I really feel that it is best for my baby and for my body.  In the frantic last weeks of my pregnancy I had been forgetting something very important.  It is the idea of surrendering myself, my control, my body to something that is bigger than myself.  This world is all about schedules, timing, fast quick and easy, having what we want NOW, and being in complete control all the time no matter what.  Pregnancy and child birth, in its natural form is none of those things.  From the first moments of conception we give ourselves over to this tiny little soul that grows within our body.  We give ourselves over to morning sickness, fatigue, sore backs, pelvises and breasts all for the sake of a child, our child, our Heavenly Father’s child.  I understood that about pregnancy, but I wasn’t treating the idea of birth in the same light.  Birth happens slowly, sometimes over the course of weeks, we slowly open ourselves, we give up control of our body and its functions, we surrender to the great forces of nature and its timing, not ours.

So while I am not giving up completely on the old folk remedies, and I don’t condemn anyone for choosing an induction, for me and this baby I am learning a great life lesson.

That sometimes you just need to surrender.