Alex’s Birth Story

I’m so excited to finally be sharing Alex’s birth story!  He’s already nine weeks old, and I both can’t believe it’s been that long and can’t believe it’s only been that long.  Time definitely takes on another quality when you go into labor, and I’m convinced it doesn’t really return to normal afterward (probably because days and nights kind of merge together when you’re up every couple hours to nurse a newborn!).  I wanted to write and post this much sooner than now, but writing it felt overwhelming, probably because I was compelled to write down every detail.  It was also difficult to write because of my conflicting feelings in regards to the birth.

It’s super long (seriously long), but I’m not going to apologize.  I only mention it to warn you.  I wanted to write absolutely everything because this story is to make sure I don’t lose these memories.  I feel like they are seared into my brain, but I know my brain will eventually age (probably while I’m trying to keep up with a smart, energetic little boy) and they might grow hazy.

My birth experience with Alex was crazier than I ever could have imagined!  It was simultaneously everything I’d dreamed of and everything I’d feared.  Nothing, NOTHING could have prepared me for how it all turned out!

Note: Some of the pictures might be a little graphic, though I actually tried to use the least graphic ones.  Just a warning in case you’re squeamish or easily offended.  🙂

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On Tuesday December 11 I decided to do some Christmas shopping.  Nothing crazy- just one store for a couple of hours.  We’d had our 39 week midwife visit the night before and discussed how we hoped our baby would be born when my family was here (they were supposed to all be here by the 19th, which was also the due date).  My midwife, Stacia, had joked that I probably shouldn’t go Christmas shopping for 10 hours or anything if I didn’t want to go into labor, but I thought only 2 hours should be safe.  The baby was very low and in a great position for birth, and our midwives both kept saying that they didn’t expect me to go much past my due date.  I had had a feeling for several months that the baby would be early, but thought it was probably just a paranoid reaction after being afraid of preterm labor when we thought my uterus might be bicornuate.

While in the store trying to find a sweater for my mom, I began to have some cramping that felt like menstrual cramps.  This had been happening on and off for a few weeks, but it seemed a little more intense this time.  I got a strong feeling that the baby was coming soon.  When I got into my car, the cramping stopped, but I still texted my mom that I felt like I was going to have a baby very soon and I got a little emotional on the drive home thinking about it.  We went to sushi with friends that night, per usual.  They asked me how I felt and I said I felt like I was about to have a baby. 🙂

Back at home that night, we decided to have sex.  We weren’t sure if we should since the last time we did (the previous Saturday morning), I’d had cramps all during church.  We knew that semen would soften my cervix and wanted to wait until our due date to have a lot of sex, but we figured a little beforehand would be fine…. Well, shortly after we’d done the deed, I began to have cramps again.  The baby was also kicking the crap out of my insides as the little dear liked to do each evening, so I got out of bed and came downstairs and made paper snowflakes (yes, that was the last “project” I did before giving birth, ha!).  After that, I read a birth blog where a woman had blogged several times during her labor, which was really cool and gave me the idea to blog while I was in labor too.  I finally crawled into bed around 1:30am, feeling really tired.

I was partially awake at 5:55am for some reason, enough to feel a “pop” from inside.  My first thought was: “I wonder if that was my water?  No, surely not!”  I thought about walking to the bathroom, but hesitated a few seconds, and that’s when I felt a gush of amniotic fluid.  And then another.  Good thing I’d put that shower curtain under my sheets!  I grabbed the towel I had stashed by the bed, shoved it between my legs, and waddled to the bathroom.  Water soaked the towel and went into the toilet.  There were flecks of pinkish white in it, but otherwise it was clear- good!  No meconium!  (I actually have a picture of what I saw in the toilet, but I decided to refrain from sharing, haha! You’re welcome.) I sat there for a moment, absorbing this turn of events.  I had never expected my water to break before contractions started, so I was surprised!  I also now knew that my family wouldn’t be present for the birth.  They were going to be so disappointed!  After giving myself a minute to adjust to what was happening, I crept back to our bed, still using the towel to absorb the periodic gushes of fluid.  I whispered “Dennis, my water broke.”  He struggled to escape a deep sleep, “Really??  Should I still go to work?”  he babbled.  “Uh… NO!”  Silly Dennis.  😛

I got back into bed and Dennis and I lay there holding each other for awhile, excited that this was finally happening but trying to remain calm.  For some reason I began to shake violently even though I didn’t feel cold or stressed.  I’m still not sure why it happened- maybe because of something in my amniotic fluid?  Contractions began almost right away as I lay there.  They felt a lot like the cramps I’d been having but had a definite beginning and end.  They were very mild, but I didn’t want Dennis to talk or move during them.  They started out 4 or 5 minutes apart and about 1 minute long and pretty much stayed that way all through early and active labor.  After about an hour, Dennis got up and called Stacia and Erin, our doula, to let them know what was going on.  I called my parents and sister and texted 3 of my friends to tell them it was go time!

We got out of bed and Dennis began to run around getting stuff ready.  The hose for the pool was still outside and frozen, so he had to thaw it out.  He also vacuumed (bless him!), something that always makes me feel better (clean floors- ah!).  I don’t remember exactly what I did- just some puttering around in my bathrobe and putting away clutter.  I found the pile of freshly-cut snowflakes from the night before and cleared them from the kitchen table.  I probably brushed my teeth.  I was so happy that we’d mostly gotten everything important done early.  I put on a big pad to catch the fluid that was still periodically gushing out.  I tried eating a little bit- some trail mix type stuff- but threw it up.  This was disappointing because I’d always planned to eat in early labor to keep my strength up.  😦  Stacia had told Dennis that since my water was broken I shouldn’t take any baths or get into the pool until active labor, but that I could take a shower.  I wanted to take one, but decided to wait until a little later (time morphed from there and I never took one).

From here on out I get a little fuzzy about times, but I do know that I wrote a blog around 9am, and I said that I was beginning to feel different even between contractions, kind of in a daze, and everything felt hazy.  Around 10am I was no longer able to text people.  I kept trying to figure out where in labor I might be based on how I was feeling and acting, though I didn’t want to assume I was farther along than I was.  When contractions first began, I felt completely normal unless I was actually having one, so I knew I was progressing past early labor when I began to feel so out of it all the time.  I was in the “labor land” that women always talk about!  Your body really does take you to another place when you’re in labor- a merciful place where time loses its meaning and pain is relative.  I made sure I let myself stay there and remain detached from everything else happening around me.

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The entire time I was in labor, I felt the contractions mostly in my lower back/pelvis area.   The baby was not posterior, so I wasn’t having the dreaded “back labor”.  In retrospect, I think I was feeling my pelvic bones moving apart.  The contractions were definitely happening in front as well, but I really don’t remember feeling them there because the sensations in my back were way more intense.  It felt right to lean forward during each one, which is what I did for the whole labor.  I spent some time in the kitchen where a heating vent blew air onto my feet and felt really good.  I could lean forward there and rest my forearms on the counter and move my hips.  About this time I started having Dennis put some counter pressure on my lower back/pelvis- it felt so good!  For the rest of labor, I always wanted someone to give me counter pressure during contractions.

Sometime around noon I got incredibly sleepy.  I was glad I’d had a few hours of sleep the night before, but really really wished I’d gone to bed a little earlier!  I moved to the living room where I tried leaning on my birth ball covered in a towel.  After that I leaned on a big cushy chair and pretty much slept between contractions, which was totally crazy!  Dennis was in the kitchen making himself some lunch- something with leeks in it.  The smell of those cooking leeks filled the house.  It seemed like it was taking forever and I just kept thinking: when is he going to be done cooking those leeks so he can come push on my back?!  That seemed like the longest part of labor for me.

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We weren’t sure when to call Stacia, Cynthia, and Erin to come over.  I wanted to labor alone with Dennis as long as possible.  Finally he called Stacia and she said she could come over just to check on the baby, and we said ok.  She arrived around 2:30 and ended up staying.  She sat with me during a few contractions and then told Dennis he might want to start filling up the pool.  I felt really excited when she said that because I figured it meant that I was in active labor or at least close.  I didn’t know for sure because I hadn’t had any internal checks yet, and I was ok with that.  Erin came around 3PM, I got into the pool around 3:30, and Cynthia, the assistant midwife, arrived shortly after.  The water felt so good!  I labored leaning on the side with my arms out of the water between contractions.  I think I was on my hands and knees a lot during contractions as well.   The temperature was sometimes perfect, sometimes too hot, and a couple times too chilly, but my birth team was great about adjusting the temperature when I asked them to.  We had a hose coming into the pool from the utility sink in our laundry room.

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Whenever I had a contraction, my birth team would take turns providing counter pressure on my lower back/upper pelvis.  Between contractions, Erin got a bowl of cold water and put cool washcloths on my forehead, back, and neck.  That felt really good!  I was so warm and so absorbed in what I was doing that for the most part I didn’t want anyone to touch me.  That surprised me a little bit.  I just felt like I wanted to put absolutely all of my attention on what was happening inside my body.

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The wee stocking I made 🙂

I hadn’t had any internal checks during my pregnancy or labor.  I hadn’t really wanted checks during labor because, if I wasn’t very dilated yet, I didn’t want to hear a disappointing number and feel discouraged.  I know that dilation doesn’t necessarily happen in a linear fashion, but in the midst of labor I might not remember that very rational thought and just think “Oh no, this is going to take forever- I can’t do it!”.  I could tell, though, that I was progressing just by the sounds I was making.  I’d begun to make sounds pretty early on, and the longer I was in labor the louder my sounds became.  I kept them low in tone, but I increased the volume and duration to match my contractions.  I remember at one point thinking, “Wow, I’m amazed that I’m able to make that loud of a sound for that long!”  I don’t think my contractions ever really got longer, except maybe at transition, but when they got more intense the period of time that I felt I needed to make a sound during one got longer, if that makes sense.  I was relieved that I didn’t feel too self-conscious to be vocal.  That was something I had worried about, along with whether or not I’d feel comfortable being naked in front of several people.  I needn’t have worried!  I had a bikini ready to wear in the pool, but when it came time to get in, I just threw my bathrobe out of the way and jumped right in; I didn’t care!

We videotaped some parts of the labor.  I haven't looked at it yet.

We videotaped some parts of the labor. I haven’t looked at it yet.

Dennis’ parents stopped by in the early evening with some food.  Stacia met them at the door and told them that it would be about an hour until Baby arrived!  I couldn’t believe that it was possible, but I was excited.  About this time as well, Stacia talked to us about whether my husband was going to be in or out of the pool to catch the baby.  She said she anticipated that there was still some time left before the birth, but she wanted to talk to us while I was still lucid.  I really didn’t feel very lucid at that point, but I figured she knew I’d be less lucid later on.  That was around 6:00 or 7:00pm.

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Dennis was feeling really excited and was looking into my eyes and kissing me and telling me how happy he was that we were about to meet our baby and how well I was doing, how proud he was of me.  He was so emotional.  That’s one of my favorite parts of laboring in the pool, though at the time I was just so focused on the work that I still had to do that it was tough for me to join him in his pre-celebration.  Erin was also really happy and told me that this was just how she had imagined that labor would go for me.  I remember feeling really proud of myself for how I’d handled labor so far, but I just wanted to get to the end and THEN be really happy!  I had no idea what was still ahead (and neither did anyone else, apparently).

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In most of the birth stories that I read in preparation for labor, I noticed a common theme in which each woman would reach a point, usually during transition, where she would doubt herself.  Sometimes those “I can’t do it” thoughts would only be in her head, but often she would vocalize them, usually to her husband.  A lot of women beg for the hospital or pain meds at this time.  I had warned my husband and family ahead of time that at some point I would probably say that it was too hard or that I couldn’t do it and that I just needed them to encourage me because I KNEW I COULD do it.  To my surprise, I never really reached the point where I felt that labor was impossible to handle.  I do think I know when I passed through transition, though, because I remember, after one particularly long and intense contraction, thinking “Wow, this is really intense!  I wonder how much more intense it’s going to get??”  There might have been a few contractions that were also closer together.

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That must have been the most difficult part though because then I began to think about pushing.  I decided to try it a little on the next contraction, just to see how it felt.  It felt ok…  At that point, though, it was definitely just a thought, not an urge…. Until it WAS!  After a few contractions of “thinking” about pushing, I was definitely pushing and I Could. Not. Stop.  When they say that your body takes over and pushes and there is nothing you can do about it, they aren’t kidding!  I’ve heard it compared to vomiting and that’s a pretty apt description!  As long as I pushed, I felt ok.

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After a few pushing contractions, Stacia told me that she could tell that the baby wasn’t moving down.  I still am amazed that she could tell so much from the outside.  She asked to check me and I agreed.  She found that I was about 9.5 centimeters dilated, but still had a cervical lip that I’d been pushing against and it was getting swollen.  She asked me to try NOT pushing for 3 contractions to see if it would move…..  WHAT??!!  Not push- are you KIDDING me??  I didn’t see how it was possible.  Erin explained to me, though, a way to breathe to keep myself from pushing.  It was a very very fast “hoo hoo hoo” sort of panting breathing.  So I tried it.  Man, not pushing was really rough, but I did the breathing and didn’t push.  I’d lose control a few times during each contraction and my body would push, but I’d just get things back under control and do the panting again.  Erin told me that’s exactly what I should be doing, so I felt really good about it.  Erin was so encouraging and supportive the entire time.  She was truly an emotional bolster, and I loved loved loved having her there!

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After 3 contractions of the horrible not-pushing, Stacia checked me again.  The lip was still there.  She wanted to keep her hand inside during a contraction and try to push it out of the way, and I said ok.  I kind of floated on my back in the pool with Dennis holding me under the arms and Erin and Cynthia holding my legs.  Stacia kept apologizing for the unpleasantness of her hand inside me during a contraction, but the funny thing was that it really didn’t hurt at all.  If anything it felt better.  I still haven’t figured that one out….  In any case, it worked!  I was fully dilated!  Back to pushing, for real this time.  I think that was around 9:00 or 9:30?

At about 10:30, the baby still unfortunately had not moved down and Stacia suggested getting out of the pool to try other positions.  …….And this was the point at which my lovely straightforward home water birth turned into a very difficult complicated birth……….

I had to go to the bathroom anyway, so I tried pushing on the toilet for awhile.  Dennis sat in there in the dark with me, as did Erin for awhile.  Stacia came in periodically with a flashlight to check the progress.  There wasn’t much.  We didn’t know exactly why the baby wasn’t coming down.  Stacia said that when he did come out we’d probably see what had been the problem, a hand by the face or something like that.  Finally Stacia suggested that we go upstairs and have me try pushing in the McRobert’s position.  This is the only back-lying position she would ever recommend.  We had talked about it during our prenatal visits.  Basically, you lie there like a cockroach with your legs up and knees pulled back toward your head.  This position allows the birth canal to be open, but also lets you get some rest.  Stacia herself had given birth to both of her children in this position.

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So we tried McRobert’s.  And we tried the birth stool.  And we tried the toilet again.  I was in the bathroom alone when I heard Stacia telling Dennis that they would have my try for a few more contractions and then begin talking about hospital transfer…  I felt so mad just hearing those words!!  At that point, I did NOT feel like giving up on my homebirth dream and I was DETERMINED to get that baby out right then and there!  When the next contraction came, I pushed and pushed and pushed for all I was worth and even tried to stretch my perineum with my fingers.  They came away bloody.  I didn’t know where they blood was coming from, and I didn’t care!  I just wanted to get the baby out, and my thoughts were no longer on the preservation of my body.  People, if willpower alone could have brought the baby into the world at that moment, it would have happened!  Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough.

I finally came out of the bathroom, feeling slightly defeated but still not ready to give up.  I was willing to do anything and everything that Stacia suggested.  I tried the McRobert’s position again, my birth team falling asleep between my contractions and then waking up to hold my legs while I pushed and pushed and pushed.  I remember kind of feeling badly for them.  It had been many hours at that point, and I knew they must be exhausted.  It’s odd that I was worried about them being exhausted, right?!  I remember Dennis on my left and Erin on my right, with Stacia and Cynthia down near the end of the bed.  Erin kept telling me how amazing I was, how strong I was.  She was really such a wonderful emotional support the entire time.  Dennis was trying to make sure I got some liquids in me between contractions.  I really had to pee, but hadn’t been able to for hours.  Finally Stacia put in a catheter just to drain my bladder.  I was pretty dehydrated at that point even though I was trying to take sips of water, tea, and an electrolyte drink whenever they were offered to me.

I pushed on hands and knees, I pushed leaning on the birthing ball, I pushed leaning on Dennis, I pushed in a full supported squat.  So many times everyone seemed really excited and told me they could see more of the baby’s head during a contraction- “We could see a lemon-sized portion of the head that time!  You are SO close! Push your baby out, Lydia!” –and I would keep trying to move the baby down.  I think they were really just trying to encourage me because Dennis told me later that it always looked about the same to him during those hours of pushing.

Yes, it had been hours and hours by now.  I remember looking at the clock and realizing that it was no longer December 12, but December 13.  My baby wouldn’t be born on 12-12-12.  Funny that this should be something to greatly disappoint me at that point, but somehow it made it all so much worse.

Finally Stacia began to talk to me about hospital transfer.  My birth plan had stated that I didn’t want any talk of transfer unless it was under the strong advisement of Stacia.  I knew that she had been thinking about it for awhile. I also knew that we had tried just about everything we could and that I was really exhausted and weak from not having eaten anything for almost 24 hours.  I had been keeping fluids down, but then I vomited during a contraction and lost what must have been everything in my stomach at that point.  It was time to get some help.  Stacia talked to us about what they would probably do at the hospital.  She said they would probably want to do an episiotomy and then assist the delivery with either vacuum or forceps.  She said she would do an episiotomy there in our home except she wasn’t sure that that was the only issue.  If the baby was stuck on bone and not just tissue (if he had an elbow up, for example, that was keeping him from coming through my pelvis), an episiotomy alone would not do the job.  The irony of actually asking my midwife for an episiotomy was not lost on me.  I remember her response to the episiotomy question when we first interviewed her: “Eckh!”

Once a transfer was decided on, everyone began to scurry around getting ready.  Stacia called ahead to the hospital to let them know we were coming, and Dennis began to gather the things we needed.  Of course I hadn’t packed a hospital bag, so they were asking me what I wanted to take.  It was difficult to think clearly about packing when I was still having regular pushing contractions.  I requested my bathrobe, the boy and girl blankets I’d made for the baby, and my chapstick (I believe I requested this several times to make sure I got it, haha!).  Cynthia was to stay behind and clean up while Stacia and Erin went to the hospital with us.  Erin sat by me on the bed with kindness in her eyes, and I remember just looking up at her and saying “I’m so disappointed.”  She said, “I know, this is hard.  But remember that it’s not over yet.”

I felt a little stunned that this was the thing that was making us transfer.  I had anticipated pain upon pushing, I had accepted the fact that I might tear upon crowning, and I had even come to terms with facing the famous “ring of fire”.  What I had never never imagined is that I would not even be able to move the baby far enough down to feel perineal pain or burning or to fully crown.  It was incredibly frustrating.  I’d been pushing all night and I just wanted to have my baby at home, but as we made transfer preparations that dream slipped away.  I’d been in labor for 24 hours.

I was a little concerned about the car ride- HOW was I supposed to sit in a car for 20 minutes with a baby’s head trying to come out of my vagina?!?  I mean, his head was right there, my perineum was bulging and swollen, and I could NOT sit without sitting on his head.  I walked out of our house wearing some mesh panties and a giant pad, my bathrobe, and snow boots.  It occurred to me that I must look ridiculous.  Oh, and I couldn’t really stand up and walk straight, thanks to aforementioned baby head.  Half walking, half leaning on Dennis, I made it to the car.  We had talked about me kneeling on the floor in front of the seat, but with the carseat in the back, there was no room to move my seat back (my car is kinda small), so I knelt backwards on the front seat leaning my torso on Dennis as he drove.  When a contraction started (I had 3 during the ride), I would grip the bars on the headrest of my seat and, bearing down with all my might, push and push and push.  I hated that I was still pushing!  If I couldn’t push the baby out without help I wanted to rest until we got the hospital, but I literally was powerless to stop.  The incredible birthing force would not relent in spite of my exhausted and spent body.  Each contraction, I could feel the baby’s head move down, and I actually reached down a few times to make sure it wasn’t all the way out!  I wondered how it would be to have the baby right there in the car!

Finally we pulled up in front of the hospital at about 6:30am.  Dennis told me he would let me out and then go park the car.  “HOW am I supposed to walk into that hospital??” I wondered, when out of the blue a man in scrubs appeared with a wheelchair.  I climbed onto it backwards just like I had been in the car, gripping the IV pole as he quickly wheeled me in the doors and into an elevator, where I had another massive contraction.  The unearthly roaring sound I made while I pushed echoed through the elevator and was released into the lobby when the doors opened.

The wheelchair-pusher stopped me in front of a desk, where they asked me to, yes, fill out some paperwork- ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?  I’m busy pushing out a baby here!  Right on cue, I had another contraction and my roars filled the waiting room.  The phrase “pushing in public” popped into my head, and I remember thinking that this was probably one of the things I’d laugh about later. J I almost laughed about it right then with Dennis and Erin when they appeared and, I think, took over the paperwork for me because I don’t remember doing much more than sign my name in the messiest way possible.

I guess they could tell that I was definitely having a baby because we got into a room very quickly.  The doctors and nurses began to poke and prod me, trying to figure out what the situation was, and they were not as gentle as Stacia had been.  They found out I hadn’t peed since Stacia catheterized me, so they catheterized me a second time to drain my bladder.  My pee was really concentrated.  I was really dehydrated, and so was the baby based on the way his heartbeat pattern looked on the monitor (his heartbeat was always good and strong during the entire labor, thankfully), so they gave me an IV.  They actually hoped that hydrating me would give my uterus some extra ooph to produce more powerful contractions and get the baby out.  I guess it didn’t work that way.

Shortly after we arrived, there was a shift change.  The new shift did everything the first shift had done all over again.  Poked and prodded.

The hospital staff was really nice, though.  They looked at our birth plan and tried to honor our requests as best as they could.  They saw that I wanted a dim environment with music, so they actually played music for me and dimmed the lights.  I count that as a kindness that I’ll never forget.  I guess there was one crabby nurse who seemed kinda mad that we homebirth transfer people had to come ruin her day, but I didn’t notice.  I did notice the one really nice nurse.

I felt so out of it during this time.  I literally was in such a dim hazy place that I felt like I wasn’t really there.  I rolled onto my side on the bed and fell asleep.  When a contraction came, I’d roll over onto my back again, throw off all my blankets, and call for someone to come hold my legs back.  Normally I would have wanted to be anywhere other than on my back, but I was too exhausted at that point not to be lying down.  I tried pushing on my side and they said it seemed to work well for me, but the hip pain after the contraction was excruciating.  I had hip pain in my sides after each pushing contraction, especially if I didn’t push until the contraction was completely passed (in hindsight maybe it was my pelvis expanding?), but while on my side it was much much worse.

During this time I threw up again when I stopped pushing before my contraction completely ended.  It was like if I didn’t direct the energy downward it had to go somewhere.

Finally the doctors on the second shift had examined me and determined that I need an episiotomy and forceps assistance.  I guess the baby’s head was too “stuck” for the vacuum.  I was ok with this.  The doctor mentioned something about the baby’s head being wedged behind my pubic bone, but that there was plenty of room posteriorly if they could just move the head in that direction.  Then they talked to me about pain medication.  At first I said no way, but they let me know that the main reason I needed it would be for the stitches I’d get afterward.  I talked it over with my birth team and the anesthesiologist and decided to get an epidural without the narcotic part.  I think.  That’s the best I understand it, anyway.  They wanted to go ahead and put the spinal in because that way if I needed a C-section they could just top me off instead of having to put me under general anesthesia.  I was so out of it that I had a tough time understanding exactly what I was and was not getting, but I did know that having a C-section while completely out would pretty much be worse worse case scenario.  I really never thought I was headed for a C-section, but if it ever did come to that, I definitely wanted to be awake for it!  I was concerned about the effect of the epidural upon the baby, but was reminded that the baby would hopefully not be in there for more than a few minutes after I got it.  Also, it’s not like an epidural was going to slow down my labor because I was already past that part.  I was taking medicine for what was basically a surgery, not for the natural labor process, and that’s the only thing that makes me feel better about having ANY drugs involved in the birth.

So then it was time to put the epidural in.  HOW in the world was I supposed to sit still while they did it if I had a contraction during the process??  I was really quite worried about this, but I obediently “sat” on the edge of the bed (I think a nurse was pretty much holding me up as I put the barest minimum of my butt on the bed.  Remember, there was still a baby head there.) as the anesthesiologist inserted the numbing stuff and then the needle.  Sure, it stung, but whatever.  I immediately felt a tingling warmth go through my legs.  It was nice to feel warm for the first time since we’d arrived at the hospital.  Right away I had another contraction, but only barely felt it and didn’t have the urge to push during it.  And that’s the last contraction I felt.

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Getting ready to finally push out our baby!

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Giving it everything I had…

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Waiting for the next contraction…

I’m sure it was only a few minutes before everyone was assembled and ready for me to deliver my baby, but it was nice to relax for a few minutes and not push for the first time since the night before!  I was numbed from the waist down, but I could still feel things, if that makes sense.  It definitely took the edge off, but I still felt everything that was going on down below.  They told me that they were going to help with the forceps but that I needed to push as well.  “You’re still going to push your baby out,” the doctor said, and those are the words I remember most.  They made me feel that I still had some control over the delivery and took some of the sting out of needing assistance.  First, the doctor (a woman doctor, which makes me happy somehow) inserted the huge salad-tong-looking forceps (that hurt!) and then we waited for the next contraction, my feet in the dreaded stirrups.  A nurse with her hand on my tummy and an eye on the monitor had to tell me when one was coming (kind of a buzz-kill).  The first contraction came and I pushed and pushed with everyone cheering me on.  I definitely gave it my all, and Dennis later told me that the doctor was putting so much force on the forceps that her arms were shaking.  That kind of freaks me out, so I’m glad I didn’t notice at the time.  The next contraction came and I knew this was it.  I pushed and pushed and I kept pushing, not caring whether I was contracting or not.  This baby had to come out!  I know I had been putting my everything, my 100%, into pushing for the last 12 hours (YES, 12!), but I think I probably reached even deeper and put about 120% into those final pushes.  I heard someone say “The head! …now the shoulders….” And then, accompanied by the most amazing sensation, I pushed/they pulled my baby out… of my butt!   That’s what it felt like, anyway- like that baby had literally been in my butt this whole time!  As the doctor lifted my baby up and out, I  Could. Not. Believe. How big and long that baby was!!  And the head- it was HUGE!  “That was what I was trying to push out??” I thought.

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Here’s where his head is coming out!!

And then I had my baby on my chest.  Well, on my tummy really, because the cord was kinda short.  The baby was screaming from the beginning and had a big beautiful pouting lower lip (that was the second thing I noticed, along with how heavy he felt).  It was a moment of shock and awe.  I heard someone say something about girl or boy and then it occurred to me to check.  I lifted him up to look and Dennis said, “It’s a boy!”  A boy!  We had a son!  And his name was Alexander.  He was bloody and slippery and crying and beautiful!

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I knew he would have the coniest conehead ever, and he certainly didn’t disappoint! Funny how quickly it changes, though. Also, I’m SO glad Erin was snapping these pictures for us or I never would have seen the look on Dennis’ face!

We had asked the doctors to please wait until the cord stopped pulsing to cut it.  It seemed like only a couple of minutes when they told us it had stopped pulsing, but they were really patient and waited a few more minutes still until we gave them to go-ahead.  I know from looking at the time stamp on the pictures that it was cut about 15 minutes after his birth.  Dennis was given the honor of cutting the cord as we had requested in our birth plan.

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They wanted to take Alex to the warming table to doing the Apgar and stuff.  I really kind of wish they had just left him on me, but I didn’t ask at that time.  Dennis was with him the whole time, though, and Alex recognized his voice and looked for him.

They pulled on my cord a bit to speed the delivery of the placenta, something I also didn’t want, but I’m not sure if they could wait because they were eager to get me stitched up.  I know that usually tears, at least minor ones, can wait until all that is finished, but I had a fourth-degree episiotomy.  For those of you fortunate enough to not know what that is, it’s basically the most extensive one they can do.  The cut went all the way from my vagina to my rectum, and extended through several layers of tissue. L  I thought they said that the stitching would take only 10 minutes, but they must have been talking about how long they’d have Alex over at the warming table because the stitching seemed to last FOREVER!  I don’t want to sound like a big baby, but it was really horrible!  I know I was numbed, but I still felt it really well!  It was a stinging/stabbing sensation over and over.  My feet were still in those stupid stirrups, and I was freezing cold.  I could stop shaking, and I couldn’t put a blanket over my legs to warm myself until they were finished.  Erin appeared by my head and reminded me to do my labor breathing- haha!  I thought it was funny that I had a tougher time with this than with labor, and I was glad I’d had the epidural to take the edge off at least.

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Notice how pale I am. This is when things got kinda sketchy.

Somewhere around that time I began to feel kind of funny and my hearing suddenly went dim, like my ears had gotten plugged.  I said, “Um, my ears feel plugged up!” to whomever was listening.  The nurses looked at the monitors and went into a small flurry of action because my heart rate had gone up to about 120 and my blood pressure was extremely low- 60/30 or something like that.  I was losing a ton of blood.  They gave me pitocin through my IV and I stabilized.  My husband said it was pretty scary.  I lost about twice the normal amount of blood, which I guess makes sense because I had so many things happen that can contribute to abnormal blood loss: a long labor, forceps delivery, cord traction and episiotomy.  I think that letting the placenta deliver naturally and leaving Alex on my chest and maybe having him nurse right away would have helped.  They had told me to massage my breasts, but when the stitching began to hurt a lot I quit.  I should have kept it up, but oh well.

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Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Alex was back on my chest.  It bothered me for weeks that I had no idea how long he was away from me or how long it was before he got a chance to nurse, but I finally looked at the timestamps on the pictures and saw that it was only about 30 minutes.  That’s not too bad, I guess, and Dennis was with him that entire time, but it still felt like way too long.

When all the chaos finally subsided- when I was all stitched up, Alex was back with me, and I was finally able to cover up and get warm again- that’s when Dennis and I finally stood  there together looking at the peaceful sleeping face of our son- OUR SON!  And I finally cried, with joy.

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Alexander Josip was born on Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 9:38 am.  He weighed 8 pounds, was 21 inches long, and had a 14 inch head!

What had caused the problems with delivery?  The best Stacia could tell, from watching the delivery and looking at the pattern of swelling on his head after he was out, was that he was asynclitic, meaning that his head, though facing the right direction and tucked well, was tilted a little to the side.  This meant that he was presenting a larger diameter of an already large head and I just couldn’t push it out that way without assistance.

During our two-day hospital stay and the weeks that have followed, I have had a lot of emotions to deal with concerning the way Alex’s birth ended.  I wish I could write that I am completely at peace with having to go to the hospital and that I don’t really care how he was born as long as he was healthy, but I have to be honest and say that I’m not at that place yet.  The birth story does matter, and it’s something that you cannot just forget or push aside.  I was SO confident that I would give birth at home and SO sure that everything would go well, that my disappointment was acute.  I’ll save more discussion of my feelings surrounding his birth for another time, though.

Nevertheless, I AM so happy for a healthy baby!  I always imagined that the only reason for transfer would be in case of an emergency, which to me would mean that something was wrong with my baby.  Praise God, he was fine the entire time, and for that I am so grateful.  It would have been so scary if something had been wrong with him.  As it was, I never felt afraid, it never felt like an emergency, and we were able to take our time and make our decisions thoughtfully.

I am also VERY thankful that Alex and I were able to experience a vaginal birth and reap all the associated benefits.  I really never ever thought that we were in danger of having a cesarean section, but it could have easily happened.  A few weeks later, when Stacia was doing a prenatal visit in our home, she was telling my family that they should have been there to see how amazing I was (that comment alone made me feel pretty good! :)).  She then told them that anyone else would have had a cesarean.  It was only because of all my hours and hours and hours of pushing that I was able to push Alex down far enough to have a vaginal birth.  I was pretty much floored when I heard this, and I had to struggle to keep from crying because hearing that made me feel like I had accomplished something during all of that pushing that I thought was fruitless.  I had fought for a vaginal birth and I had earned it for us!  That made me feel SO good!  🙂  As acute as my disappointment has been over losing the home birth I’d dreamed of, having to give up a vaginal birth as well would have been so much more difficult to come to terms with, so I thank God for that blessing!

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After my first post-labor shower

Giving birth was simultaneously the most difficult thing I’ve done and the most wonderful time of my life!  I was on a birth high for days, and so was Dennis.  I felt like he and I bonded emotionally in a way that I’d never expected or even hoped for.  Sometimes I wish I could go back and experience it again because all the bad was more than worth the good.  We completely fell in love with our son during those first few emotionally charged days the three of us spent alone before family arrived, and we continue to do so now.  He has brought us an incredible amount of joy already, and we are so proud of our strong sweet boy as we see him grow up little by little each day. 🙂

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38 Weeks, 6 Days: Labor is Closer!

December 9, just 10 days from our due date!  Everything is so exciting now because I know that birth can happen any time and that the more time goes on, the closer we are to meeting our baby.  🙂  My sister and her boyfriend were here for the weekend, so that was really fun!  It also pushed us to go ahead and finish up all the big stuff we had to do before Baby is born.  We still have some little things we wouldn’t mind finishing, but I think both my husband and I feel pretty relaxed now and ok with the baby coming at any time.  I would like for my mom and sister to be here, mostly because I know that they really want to be.  I’m sure that I’ll really appreciate their support as well when the time comes, but the thought of it just being me and my husband doesn’t bother me at all.  Our midwife talked to me at her visit last Wednesday about when to call her and that she wouldn’t want us to be panicking that she wouldn’t get there in time…. Yeah, that doesn’t worry me at all.  I would almost feel fine about no one but my husband being there, but because I’ve never had a baby before or even seen a birth I feel that it’s smart to have someone there to know what’s normal and what’s not.  Our midwife will also know what to do in case something is not normal.  But I definitely don’t worry about her not arriving in time (such as if I had a crazy fast birth or something, not that I expect that at all).

The midwife also told me that she doesn’t expect this baby to be born much past the due date (she knocked on wood as she said it, lol).  Her reasons for thinking this are that that baby is in a great position and already very low, I’ve been contracting for months now, and I’m not a large person (I guess that makes babies more likely to want to be born so they can start getting some milk and keep growing 🙂 ).  I don’t have a whole lot of water, she said, but the baby has a very reactive heartbeat (it goes up every time he moves) and is still moving around a ton, both signs that Baby is doing just fine.  I’ve been feeling a bit paranoid about my water levels, and I’m really trying to drink enough water every day.

For a few nights, Baby was kicking me so brutally that it was becoming an extremely painful experience!  I was getting clobbered in the ribs, belly button, round ligament, sciatic nerve, bladder, and cervix- sometimes all at once.  I kinda dreaded going to bed because I knew I’d be attacked from the inside again as soon as I lay down.  One night it was so awful and I was so frustrated that I finally just sat up in bed and cried.  My midwife suggested not eating late (and indeed, I had eaten a whole plate of food right before bed the night it was really bad).  I tried her suggestion, and I think it might have helped some.  Either that or baby is finally accepting the lack of space and settling down a bit.  I’m still getting plenty of movement, night and day, but it has felt a little gentler lately.  Whew.

I keep feeling like the baby may be early, but we are getting so close to the end of “early”, so maybe not.  Still, there are some new things happening that I feel signal labor is closer.  Yesterday morning we had sex and afterward I had some quite crampy contractions all during church and lunch.  Braxton Hicks have been feeling lower down and crampier at times for the past week ever since I really noticed how much Baby has dropped, but yesterday’s were just a little bit stronger and more noticeable.  We had a choir concert for church and I really loved it when the crescendo of the voices matched the peak of my contraction- makes me wish I could have a choir sing to my labor- ha!  😀  By last night, however, most of the crampiness was gone.  I feel like I have a tough time telling whether I’m having cramps because something is happening with my cervix or because I need to poop (yeah, we’re going to talk about that).  Pooping is feeling a little different lately, and sometimes quite painful, probably because the baby’s head is so far down in my pelvis that he is totally crowding all my vaginal and rectal space.   Silly baby 🙂

This morning after breakfast we watched a little TV with my sis and her boyfriend and the whole time (a couple of hours) I had rather painful Braxton-Hicks-like contractions, but it only hurt on my right side.  I assumed it was my right round ligament being all tight, or maybe the baby was in a position that pressed against my ligament during a contraction.  Either way, I felt a little distracted from the TV by what I was feeling.  I sat on my exercise ball and moved my hips in circles for a long time.  I experienced this same feeling last Wednesday night while I was trying to go to sleep- every Braxton Hicks (and I was having a lot of them) made my right side hurt like a fire poker.  I finally got up from bed, walked around the house, did hip circles while sitting on my exercise ball (and I feel super tired in an almost drugged way the whole time, which was weird), the cat pose exercises my chiropractor gave me to do, and finally was able to get to sleep.  I assumed that was my round ligament too, but who knows.  I love for these cramps and pains to be a sign that something is happening with my cervix!  I’ve done some self-checks lately, but while I’m able to feel the baby’s head with no effort at all, I can only just barely reach what I think is the very edge of my cervix.  I can tell that it’s extremely soft, but I can’t get to the middle of it to see if I’m dilated at all.  Oh well.  That will happen when it will.  I think as soon as my family is all here we’ll start having as much sex as we can to help my cervix soften up really well.  It’s tempting to start doing stuff like that now, but I really have no reason to rush the start of labor (as if I could), so I’ll just wait.

My nipples are really leaky tonight too.

One thing I’ve found strange lately has been the lack of cervical mucus.  I thought I’d have TONS of it at this point in pregnancy, but I’ve had even less than I did earlier.  So weird.  I’m hoping at least that will make it really easy to tell if I lose my mucus plug.

I put plastic under the sheets on our bed (just a simple shower curtain), a towel beside the bed, and have begun sitting on a towel in my car- all ready in case my water breaks in a gush!  I kinda down expect it to, though, because my mom’s never broke before labor.  Hers never broke spontaneously, actually, because during both her births they ruptured it in the hospital.  It will be interesting to see when mine breaks.  I wouldn’t mind it staying intact during the first part of labor if it will make things a little easier on me.

I feel that I’ve done just about as much preparing for birth as I can do.  I’m still reading Birthing From Within, so that would probably be a good book to finish, but even if I don’t it’s ok.  I’ve also ordered a belly mold kit that I’d like to be able to do, but there will hopefully be another baby if we don’t get the chance.  I think my husband and I are both starting to feel pretty ready to give birth so we can see our baby…. bring it on, labor!

Bicornuate Uterus?- Ultrasound on Tuesday

After I stressed about the possibility of a bicornuate or septate uterus for a few days, my husband and I decided that, rather than wait until our next appointment to see if the baby was still breech, we’d rather know now what is going on.  I e-mailed our midwife and she recommended an obstetrician who will usually see her patients and told us what to tell him- that we are planning a homebirth, but our midwife is concerned about the size and shape of my uterus and would like a second opinion.

We have a consultation scheduled for this Tuesday afternoon.  Either we will see  that my uterus is completely normal and we can breath a sigh of relief; or we will see that it’s not, be able to see the degree to which it is bicornuate or septate, and go from there.  From what I read, the time to turn a breech baby in a bicornuate uterus is during the SECOND trimester, not the third.  By the time we would have had our next appointment we would be into the third trimester already, so I’d feel better knowing now what we’re dealing with and having the chance to be more proactive.

Also, I just feel that knowing is always better than not knowing.  If there is an issue, I will know to be more on the lookout for preterm labor, and if not then I can relax a bit.  I believe I’ve been having Braxton Hicks (BH) contractions for several weeks and didn’t really know it.  I wouldn’t describe them as painful, just uncomfortable and strange-feeling.  It dawned on me on Wednesday as I was driving home that maybe those tight feelings I get every once in awhile aren’t just Baby moving forward!  I tried to describe what they felt like to my midwife in an e-mail because, of course, I freaked out thinking I wouldn’t recognize preterm labor if it happened, and she said that they were Braxton Hicks.  Alright then.  She told me not to worry unless they are painful and accompanied by bleeding, so I’m trying to relax even though I have read that sometimes early labor is NOT painful for awhile, but is still dilating your cervix.  Ugh.  I really shouldn’t read message boards right now.  I kept having BH last night pretty frequently- maybe because I was tired or a little dehydrated?  Who knows.  I do seem to feel them more in the later afternoon and evenings, it seems.  I’m a little bummed because they are kinda cool to feel and I really just want to enjoy them without wondering if everything is ok.

My husband got home Friday evening, and I immediately felt better to have him around.  It makes such a difference to know that I won’t have to go through anything alone.  I also had spent awhile thinking and praying while relaxing in my bath Thursday night.  These are my thoughts: I can’t deny that sometimes babies die.  I have to be honest.  Sometimes it happens, and if it happened to my baby, I wouldn’t understand.  I just wouldn’t, and I don’t think I could be expected to understand.  But I would still trust God.  I would have to, and I would know that He was still with me.

That being said, babies also live.  They live despite the odds, despite the complications, and even despite the mistakes of those caring for them.  If God meant for me to grow this baby, birth this baby, and care for this baby, He will have given me a body capable of doing the job.  He doesn’t call us to do anything without giving us the strength, the resources, and the ability to accomplish it.  So, I will assume that God means for me to carry this baby long enough and well enough and trust that He has given me a uterus adequate to the task.  I guess if everything went perfectly during this pregnancy or if I never had anything to be scared of, I would never have the opportunity to build my trust in Him.  So this has been a beneficial experience even if everything is completely normal.  And I am coming to realize that this trust in God, this belief that my baby is God’s to care for, is something that I will need to have and keep working on for the rest of my life.  No matter the age of our children, we will always have to surrender them and their lives to God.

Thank you for your prayers.  I appreciate and need them so much!

23 Weeks: Is My Uterus Bicornuate??

So I seem to be recovering from the intense round ligament/muscle pain I experienced this weekend, as I’ve been feeling a little better each day.  It’s a good thing, too, because after my midwife appointment last night I have something new to worry about :/

After we talked about all my symptoms and how we are going to get Rhogam, I lay on the table for our midwife to feel the baby and listen to the heartbeat.  We found the heartbeat on the left side, accompanied by a hard bump which was the head.  The butt was down, and the legs/knees were on the right side (accompanied by the biggest kicks).  So basically, as my midwife put it, my baby is sitting like a taco.  This is also known as a frank breech position (but his legs aren’t all squished up by his head because he still has some space in there), and also kinda transverse I guess.  Not a big deal at this point.  BUT… she said I might have a bicornuate uterus or a partial septate uterus.  Might.  It could seem that way because of the position baby was in, or baby could be in that position because of the way my uterus is shaped.  At our next appointment (four long agonizing weeks from now!), if baby is still favoring the taco position, our midwife will probably recommend an ultrasound (something we weren’t planning to get) just so we can see exactly what’s going on.  The two things that could happen with a heart-shaped uterus (as it is commonly called) are preterm labor and a breech presentation.  Reasons for this: as the baby grows, he must choose one side or the other to occupy and there isn’t as much space in there as there would be in a normal one-roomed uterus.  So as the baby runs out of space he may irritate the uterine walls and cause contractions.  Also, it’s difficult for a baby to turn during third trimester in a bicornuate uterus, so he will basically be stuck in whatever position he gets into during second trimester.

Great.  Neither of those things are things I anticipated or want.  And even though she told me not to worry about it yet, I did.  How could I not?  I know that she will tell me ahead of time of any possible problems she anticipates (like when my bloodwork came back with platelets on the very low end of normal and she told me about a possible autoimmune disease where your body destroys your platelets during pregnancy, but that we wouldn’t know if there was actually a problem until later in the pregnancy when we test them again), and I do appreciate this because it means that any complications won’t just be suddenly thrown at me without warning.  However, I will worry about things.  The platelets, not so much.  I haven’t had any symptoms of super low platelets- like frequent nosebleeds, easy bruising, or bleeding gums.  The possibility of a bicornuate uterus, however… Yeah, it freaks me out.  I stayed up half the night last night researching it.  What drives me crazy is that, although I don’t know for sure yet if I have this issue, I should begin now to encourage a vertex position if I do.  I’m afraid that by the time I knew, it would be too late to change it.  Would I give birth vaginally to a breech baby?  I’d sure as heck try.  Would I do it at home?  Not as sure, but I do know that the home environment is the one I very much long to birth in.  I just don’t want to have to make a difficult decision like that.  I also don’t want a preterm baby.  I suspect my baby will be tiny anyway, and I really feel like anything less than term just wouldn’t be good.

So my midwife told me: ” There’s nothing we can do about it if your uterus is heart-shaped.  All we can do is deal with the issued as they come.”  If I have any contractions at all or other signs of preterm labor, I should call her immediately and she’ll tell me what to do- even from Hawaii.  There was one encouraging bit in there, I guess, because she didn’t think that going to Hawaii was a bad idea (our babymoon/honeymoon trip starts next week!!!).  And if my uterus ends up being bicornuate or septate, we’ll then work on getting baby head-down.  She’s very confident and reassuring, which is really nice.  I just wish that my husband could have been there with me.  He is really the best person to calm me and help me to focus on positives.  I really need him right now because the truth is that I feel very discouraged.  I had a night filled with dreams that were all about turning breech babies….

I feel that I am probably rambling a lot about this, but I have more to say.  About a year about I had a transvaginal sonogram (yes, the fun on where they take you into a dimly-lit room and stick a condom-sheathed wand into your lady parts and move it around) to check for ovarian cysts, and wouldn’t they have seen and told me then if there was anything funky about my uterus??

I came across a page on Spinning Babies last night about a bicornuate uterus.  Basically, I need to be doing all the balancing exercises immediately, including the breech tilt, and drinking 12-16 glasses of water a day (yowza!).  This is where I wish I already knew if I have this issue or not, but most of this stuff is good to do now anyway, so I’m just going to do it.  I guess I wouldn’t be surprised if I did have a bicornuate because I have suspected for awhile that baby is sideways/taco-ish, and I really only feel her on either side and not in the middle.  Is she still flipping around this way and that?  Possibly?  I do know that often she slides around more so that her head is kinda down and most of her body is on the right.  That’s when it hurts like heck because she’s right on my poor aching right ligaments.  I’ve stopped trying to push her out of that corner, though, because now I’m thinking it might be the easiest side for her to occupy head-down and I’ll not be stopping that action- to heck with the pain!

Has anyone else been told they had a bicornuate or septate uterus??  I desperately want to some non-breech, full-term, home birth success stories to give me courage, but this isn’t a common condition- only 0.1%-0.5% of women ever have the diagnosis…

Pregnancy, as I have been discovering throughout, is an exercise in trust.  Trust in my body, and trust in God who designed it.  Trust in my baby, and trust in God who gave this little one life.  But sometimes it is so difficult.  I called my mom last night and told her my worries.  Before we hung up, she prayed with me a beautiful prayer and claimed this Bible promise: “Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.” Jeremiah 17:14.

Round Ligament Pain Nightmare

So I know that when the round ligament (which supports the uterus) gets stretched out, it can cause pain.  The ligament can also irritate surrounding nerves.  I’ve been experiencing round ligament pain since the early part of second trimester, usually as a dull ache after standing or walking for more than an hour (more recently, anything more than 30 minutes) and occasionally as a sharper pain when I sneeze or move the wrong way.  HOWEVER, yesterday morning when I emerged from the car to walk into church, I had such an intense pain in my right side that I couldn’t even stand up straight.  My first thought (hope), since I’d never felt this before, was that it was a major gas bubble that would pass soon.  I hobbled into church and made a beeline for the bathroom.  Unfortunately, however,  that didn’t help.  I felt better when I sat down in the pew, but every time I had to stand (why are we constantly up and down in church anyway?) it was extremely painful.  And that has been the story of my entire weekend.  I ended up leaving a family gathering yesterday to come home and curl up in bed.  I slept for over two hours and did feel better while I was lying there, but as soon as I tried to stand up… BAM!  Pain that started around my right ovary and extended along my hip all the way into my right lower back.  It’s crippling.  During the night I also experienced the same pain whenever I peed.  Pretty intense.  That part has eased off today, thankfully.

I researched all the different stuff that this could be and I’m pretty sure it’s some bad round ligament pain, but I thankfully have my prenatal exam tomorrow and can discuss this agony with my midwife.  The one thing I’m worried about is that my husband will be gone on a business trip all week, so I’ll be on my own, including driving myself to my appointment.  I think I’ll be ok, but I wish he could be here.  Why is the ligament pain so so bad all of a sudden?  I’ve been asking myself that.  All did was sit in the car and then get out (slowly and carefully like I always do).  I do know that I really overdid it last week.  I was super busy- both at work and after- and I got very very sore and tired every day.  Maybe that was it.  Or maybe it was foolish to try to wear heels to church.  No more heels for me, I think.  Boo.

Anyway, I didn’t know round ligament pain could get this bad, but it feels a lot like having a bad stitch in my side (and back)- one that doesn’t go away until I lie down or sit (and even then the soreness lingers).  It sucketh.  Today is maybe a little better.  By that I mean that about 50% of the time, if I prepare myself correctly, I can stand up straight and walk fairly normally without wanting to cry.  I’m being extremely careful with my movements and trying not to stay in one position for too long.  I’ve been pushing baby to the left all day.  The little angel likes to hang out on the right side.  Not sure why, but I guess it’s common for the uterus to be tipped to the right.  Whatever the reason, it makes sense that there would be more strain on the right side of my ligaments.  That’s also the side I had endo on and the side that I almost always feel the achy ligament pain on.  I’ll have to ask my midwife if there might be an endo connection.

Can anyone relate to my experience?  I know they say that round ligament pain should always subside within a few minutes, but I’ve found plenty of people in forums saying that it lasted for hours or longer for them.

Oh, I also tried The Inversion from Spinning Babies, and it did help somewhat, albeit temporarily.  I’m going to keep doing every day, though, because it can only help and will also help my baby to eventually get into a good position for labor.

Book Review- Labor of Love: a Midwife’s Memoir

Cara Muhlhahn, the midwife made famous by the documentary The Business of Being Born, writes the story of her life.  The entirety of it is a tale of all that led her to answer her calling as a midwife.  She opens up about her own pregnancies, family, relationships, and feelings about motherhood.  She describes to us the joy of assisting each mother in bringing her new baby into the world, the challenges involved in running her own business, and how she came to be the featured midwife in a major documentary.  She also confides her sorrow and agony over losing her first baby as a midwife.

The book shares some great information concerning natural birth and really opens up the world of midwifery.  One of the strongest impressions I came away with is that it’s a TOUGH job!  Anyone who is a midwife really must feel called to the profession.  It becomes a part of her life, and it’s definitely not a day at the office.  Cara inspired me with her confidence and helped me to realize that midwives are educated, competent, and intuitive.  In short, they can be trusted to do what they do.  I hope that when the time comes for me to find a midwife that I can find a great one like Cara!

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