Saturday, December 31, 2011

She's here (well, she's been here a while, this is a bit overdue!)

Anya Kathryn
Born 11/17/11 5:37 am
7lbs 2oz 19" long

I had been having fairly regular, labor like contractions the day before, overnight, and through the morning the day I was 39 weeks (Wednesday), so I had Maggie (my doula/student midwife/midwife's assistant) come over to check me around 2pm since she was eating lunch nearby with my midwife's other student, Michelle. At that time I was only 1cm and maybe 50% effaced which was frustrating because I KNEW this was the beginning. It felt a bit like last time where no one believed what I knew in my heart. Anyway, I decided to try to ignore them for as long as I could and have Nathan finish up his work stuff but to be ready to call in that it was time. By the time he was done with work I was really thinking that it was go time, but still was doubting myself. I sent him with Vala to publix and to pick up dinner from Moe's while I dealt with contractions by myself and talked to my awesome friends on this groupme text app that Nathan set up. Before he got home we had figured out I was having contractions about 3 minutes apart! I still didn't want to call Kelli (midwife) or Maggie, because I was sure that they would be coming out for nothing and I wanted them to rest since they had been at a birth the previous night. Once he got home, I ate between contractions and took some benadryl to try to get some rest. I had attempted to get Vala to sleep but my vocalizations kept waking her up, so I put her in bed with me and finally got her to sleep around 11:30pm. Nathan went to bed around the same time I think.

I probably got about 45 minutes of highly interrupted sleep before having to get up. I tried working through the contractions in any position I could come up with, but I kept having to run to the bathroom and pee between them but I couldn't stay on the toilet through them. I decided just to get in the bathtub at that point since the birth pool hadn't been set up and I still was trying to pretend that it wasn't really real (HA!). After about 3 hours (3am) of having a hard time handling contractions (with Nathan coming in and out of the bathroom because I kept waking Vala up and I wanted him to comfort her...though, my cats acted as doulas at the time, checking on me and letting me pet them) I told him to call Maggie because I didn't feel like I could handle them by myself anymore and by then I was just about sobbing at the end of every contractions because I thought I hadn't progressed at all and I would be going through this forever and I was just being a big wuss and I didn't want to bother the birth team and make them come out for nothing.

Well...15 minutes later I started having to squeeze my hips together during contractions and I felt her move down so I tried to feel for what was going on and had a bunch of bloody show and felt something hard not too far in. I made Nathan feel and he called Maggie exclaiming "I think her head is right there!". She arrived about 15 minutes after that and checked me and said that I was complete with an anterior cervical lip and that we were feeling the bag of waters bulging! So much for my fear of not having progressed!!! Kelli arrived shortly after and apparently Michelle did as well, but I didn't really notice. At this point I was dealing with contractions by kind of going into a zone attempting to breathe in between contractions by putting most of my face under water (oh, yeah, I NEVER got out of the tub...I was in there for like 6 hours. Haha.) and then vocalizing and squeezing Nathan's hand during contractions. Around the time they arrived I started to feel the urge to push. Kelli held back the cervical lip (which I was not happy about at the time because it was during a contraction, but happy that she did it) and my bag of water broke. I was on my back at this point, pretty much completely ignoring what everyone was saying (mostly because I was underwater when they were saying it and I couldn't hear them) because I literally COULD NOT not do anything I wasn't already doing. They were trying to figure out how to take off the stupid glass shower doors so they could access me, which couldn't happen because they only come off from the inside. I found it really irritating at the time, but now I find it hilarious that there were 5 people and sometimes Vala in my tiny bathroom all at once.

I pushed for about an hour and 20 minutes, getting really frustrated every time she would move out and go back in...finally her head popped through and Nathan attempted to use both hands to catch her but I refused to let him go. So, he sort of guided her out with Kelli's assistance to flop onto the bottom of the tub (which had been drained at this point because I couldn't stop lifting up when I pushed and there was less water in the tub now). Then they lifted her to me and put her on my chest! She was perfect and wonderful and FINALLY the pain had stopped (this was at 5:37am Thursday morning). I delivered the placenta not long after and Nathan cut the cord long after it had stopped pulsing. We finally got me in bed and eating (and drinking a placenta smoothie). Then they did the newborn exam and I believe her APGARs were all 10 consistently. She weighed 7lbs 2oz and was 19 inches long. After her exam I got stitched up since I had a 2nd degree tear (because stubborn me pushed too fast and wouldn't get up off my back!), a small upwards tear and an internal skid mark.

It was AWESOME! I'm not quite at the "I'll do it again in a heartbeat" phase, but it was SO empowering that I KNEW and I did so much of it myself and I didn't really need anyone but myself until the end (though, it would have been nice to have Nathan's hand to hold, I think I would have been way more whiny about it had I been allowed the chance). So, anyway, A BABY CAME OUT OF MY VAGINA! WOOOOOO!!!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Birth Plans

I though I would share my birth plan(s) with you. During our childbirth education class I was asked to make two or three birth plans; a light hearted homebirth plan and a hospital transfer plan (and if we wished, a separate plan for the baby). Being that my husband and I are mega nerds, we went with a Star Trek theme for our homebirth plan.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

32 Week Update

It's been a while! Being pregnant with a toddler in tow is way more challenging that I could have ever imagined! I can't even fathom what it's going to be like next time!
Anyway, I just wanted to post a quick update...

-I'm still doing everything I listed in my last update to prepare for my VBAC (other than that the classes have now been completed). I've also added taking red raspberry leaf capsules and alfalfa capsules daily to my massive vitamin regime to ensure my uterus is as strong as possible and my blood clotting factors are good to help prevent hemorrhaging after birth as well as boosting baby's vitamin K levels naturally so we can avoid the shot.

-Baby is head down now and mostly favoring LOA (Left Occiput Anterior) or ROA (Right Occiput Anterior) positions which is promising since my placenta is anterior I've been a little paranoid about keeping up with techniques for preventing posterior positioning.

-We had a quick ultrasound to get a peek at our little cutie. She looks JUST like her sister!
-Had a baby shower, which was a total blast!

-Have a virtual mother blessing posted on facebook. If you would like to participate, please click here.

-I'm feeling a major nesting urge and more or less I'm very calm about the upcoming birth. It's kind of blowing my mind though that I could have a baby in my arms in 5-10 weeks!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Preparing for my VBAC

Not my belly! ;)

I'm 21 weeks pregnant today! Holy cow time is flying (yet somehow also dragging...)! Here are some things that I'm doing to prepare my VBAC (some of these things are on advice of my midwife or doula, some are from previous VBAC moms);

-Surrounding myself with a great support team that I can put my trust in 100%

-Attending events and meetings with my local ICAN chapter and participating in online discussions with them

-Staying away from negative or fear mongering pregnancy/birth forums

-Daily massage of my c-section scar with evening primrose oil

-Kegels as often as I remember to do them (usually while I'm nursing my daughter to sleep)

-At least a few minutes of yoga every day including pelvic tilts and squats

-Working hard to keep my posture in check and not leaning back as much as possible to encourage optimal fetal positioning

-Planning on scheduling chiropractic care weekly starting at 30 weeks (just trying to find a good chiropractor that isn't more pregnant than me at the moment!)

-Started a six week child birth/hypnobirthing class with my husband taught by my doula

-Daily practice of self hypnosis relaxation methods

-Covering my house with positive affirmations

-Assembling my birth altar to help me focus during labor (more about that when I get closer to being finished with it)

-Planning a mother blessing gathering closer to my guess date

What did you do (or are doing/planning on doing) to help prepare for VBAC?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Scars During Pregnancy

I asked my ICAN sisters to share their experiences with their scars during pregnancy and birth with me. I think their responses illustrate that "normal is a wide canyon" (an often thought of quote from my midwife) quite beautifully. 

"I had some twinges there for a while, I think in the second trimester. I don't remember if I had emotional issues about it...probably...I was pretty emotional in general. I remember it hurting the same way it did shortly after surgery. Which brought back a lot of freaky memories. At first each pain yanked me back into that time again, although only for a minute or so. I definitely hated mine for a long time. Now I think of it as a battle wound." Katie, 10 years between births

"I tried to focus more on living in the present...& on growing a healthy baby, on my upcoming vbac, on staying positive & letting go of past baggage.  I * still * have occasional pain in my scar, and when I was preggo, I thought it might rip open it felt soooo stretched. But I really tried to get those thoughts out of my brain quickly!! I only had 9 months between my pregnancies...and healed very, very slowly. I got pregnant right after I started to feel normal again!My c-section was 3 years ago & I was laying on the floor with the girls the other day. I moved wrong & had a super sharp pain in my scar! Ugh." Viva, 18 months between births

"My scar was so far below my enormous belly that I never thought about wasn't like I could ever see it. I didn't feel anything there. I don't now except on rare occasions. Oh- and I had a really intense massage done around it felt so flippin' strange. But maybe that really did help? My first scar was red and "angry" and puffy for a long time.  My second scar (ERCS, "window" rupture discovered during delivery) was a nice, thin white line from the start.   It totally mirrors the experiences I had, which I find interesting.  " Maggie, 21 months between births

"I had pulling and tugging during movement, and the occasional sharpish twinge in a certain spot. I've had a ton of massage work on my scar, though, so I imagine it would have been worse if I hadn't. Worse for the first one, though still present for the second. The first VBAC and second VBAC were just under three years apart." Missy, 3 years between births (twice)

"With my first scar, I think something happened when the nerves were reconnecting. I could not even touch it without giving myself the willies. It physically bothered me to touch it. I believe it also affected Katelyn when I was pregnant with her. I think she could feel it, too. When I did touch my scar,  I would get the strange nerve sensations and she would react. After my second c-section (ugh), I do not have the same nerve irritation. I do not think people realize that scars can physically hurt, even way after the initial pain is gone." Allison, 25 months between births

"My scar stayed very pink (red in places) and tender to touch for years.  Sometimes it would ache and throb for no apparent reason.  I had certain pairs of underwear and pants that I just couldn't wear anymore because of the pain.  When I became pregnant with my second in March of 2010 and as I started growing, the scar hurt worse and worse.  The way my pregnant belly seemed to abruptly "stop" right at the scar line made me feel like my scar was under tremendous pressure.  By the end of my pregnancy, I wondered if my scar would hold up.  As far as the emotions attached to the scar, when I consider it the work of  the OB, as if the scar belongs to him because he put it there, that makes me angry and I feel violated.  But, when I consider it the place where I birthed my precious daughter and see the scar is MINE, I can love it as part of my story.  After my VBAC with my 2nd baby, my scar has healed so quickly.  It is now white/flesh colored and is barely visible.  I also can put pressure against it and I feel no pain.  We can't always control the elements of our life stories (or we just don't know any better) but we can control what we take from it, how we grow from it and how we use it from that point on.  So I have to admit I kind of love my scar now." Jenna, 20 months between births 

"I had no scar changes during my second pregnancy. I did oil my belly, hips, and butt daily with apricot kernel oil, in the hopes of avoiding stretch marks (happy to report, nary a one!). In doing so, I did also oil the scar, but never with a particular intention of improving its appearance. It looked so bad for so long, I kind of gave up on trying to make it look better.
Being able to communicate about it with Annika has really helped my acceptance. One day, she asked "Mommy what is this on your belly?" and I answered "It's a scar from where you came out of my belly. I couldn't push you out of my vagina like I did with Heidi [Annika was present at Heidi's birth, and watching when she came out], so the doctor cut my belly so we could get you out." She thought for a moment, then looked really sad and said "But Mommy, I don't want you to be cut". I replied "Sweetie, I didn't want to be cut either, but I tried and tried to push you out and I couldn't, and I really really wanted to meet you, so I'm glad the doctor was able to cut me so we could get you out." She thought about it some more, touched my scar again, and her face brightened. "I like it. It looks like a smile" Gotta love a 2.5 year old's outlook on life :)" Jen, 30 months between births

What have your experiences been with your scar during subsequent pregnancies? How did you handle them?

Meet My Scar- 751 days since my cesarean

Wow, I can hardly believe it's been that long! We just celebrated Vala's second birthday and I really can say I don't know where the time has gone. Before I had kids, I thought that was such a cliche thing to say, but really, WHERE IS MY LITTLE BABY?! I think birthdays of traumatically born babies are always an emotional time and this one was no different. In fact, I think that topic deserves it's very own post, so I'm saving that for later.

So, without further adu, on to talk of scars!

My scar is healing alright I suppose. My husband seems to think it's disappearing, but I think mentally I'll always see it as I did immediately after I took that bandage off for the first time.

I've been surprised that I haven't felt a lot of sensation yet in my scar, but I do anticipate that I as I get bigger with this pregnancy. I have been doing daily scar massage with evening primrose oil as suggested by my midwife to help break up scar tissue.

It's a...


Introducing Anya Kathryn!
We are totally overjoyed to know that Vala will have a sister! This one seems to be wildly different from Vala and was very shy in giving us a peek of her lady bits, but she did rock out to Metallica on the ultrasound video for us.
Her name means pure grace and of course, like Vala's name, comes from sci-fi television. If you get the references, bonus points to you! 

I have a few posts planned on VBAC info, scars during pregnancy and what I'm personally doing to try to help myself ensure a safe and happy birth this time around.So please, stay tuned for those!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I had a revelation last night regarding my c-section. It started because I was bored and stupidly decided to watch "I didn't know I was pregnant...". I know, I know. Terrible idea. Anyway, it made me think "what if I DID have preeclampsia?", so I dug out my medical records and tried to decipher them. My BP was higher on admission than I remember it being (150s/100) and while I can't find any notation of protein in my urine, it does state "severe preeclampsia" several places in the records. That morning at the birth center I tested my own urine and there was no protein. Which is why I've always doubted the diagnoses. However, I did have fairly severe pitting edema and I had a headache (which could have been from not sleeping , being stressed and not eating or drinking well). I always blamed the BP on the crazy morning I had that day dealing with my bank account being hacked and my friend finding out she was pregnant and then freaking out because my midwife basically abandoned me and shipped me off to the one place I was terrified of. 

If I really had preeclampsia, it means two things in my mind; One, that I did the right thing by going to the hospital for treatment, maybe ultimately the c-section WAS the right choice. Second, my body DID fail me. I've spent almost two years now being angry at the medical establishment, the nurses, the OB, the midwife because it was easier than being angry at myself. Perhaps though, I need to own up to some of the blame. Of course, the way I was treated was still deplorable...but maybe the actual treatments were necessary. Maybe I didn't really have a choice on the epidural because I did "need" it. Maybe I did have to be strapped down by the mag/sulfate.  How different would things have been with a doula? Would the same outcome have happened? Would I have still wound up with a baby in distress and ultimately a c-section? Perhaps. Though, I probably would have been more confident about the outcome and not been treated so poorly.

I always thought I was really in labor when I arrived at the hospital. I had progressed two cm from the time I was checked in the late morning to the time I arrived in triage in the early afternoon. The contractions I was having were different from the prodromal labor I had been experiencing and I just 'knew' something was different. But, what if I could have walked around like that for a few more days? Did I really let them induce me? Did the magnesium or the stress from being transferred cause Vala to pass the meconium? Was it my high BP that caused it? 

My records state that I had a 10% placental abruption. What caused that? Did it happen during the surgery? Before? After? Was that why she passed meconium? Was that the reason she was distressed?

Something else the records state is that Vala's cord was "around her shoulder", though the OB told me after the surgery that "he thought the cord was somehow pinched between her shoulder and my pelvis"...what am I to believe? What if her cord really WAS wrapped around her shoulder? Would there have been any chance for a vaginal delivery if the other challenges weren't present? 

I still doubt her APGARs. 1 at one minute, 3 at three minutes, 4 at ten minutes and 5 at fifteen minutes. She was immediately screaming, kicking and pink so I just can't see how she could have had an APGAR of 1...

...But I digress...I suppose knowing any of this for sure won't change a thing, or does it?

I see two options; I can be angry at the establishment for railroading me and causing all my suffering, I can be the victim OR I can take responsibility for doing what I thought was best at the time and that my body failed me and there's no way my daughter could have been born vaginally. I really hate that second option, but the more I learn, the more it seems true to me. 

All I can do is to do everything in my power to prevent these things from occurring again with this pregnancy. As soon as my "morning" sickness allows I will be following a brewer like diet high in protein and I've already started taking vitamin D and calcium/magnesium. I'm also going to ask my midwife about dandelion leaf and any other things I can start doing now to ensure a healthier pregnancy and birth. 

I do feel 100% safer in the care of my current midwife and doula. I KNOW they won't just drop my care at a slight issue and even if I do need to transfer, they'll be at my side the whole way. The biggest issue I see in hindsight from the last time was that I felt a lack of trust in my birth team but I didn't follow my gut. Always follow your gut!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Big News!

Guess what?! After 11 months of trying unsuccessfully (thanks to a lack of cycles due to breastfeeding), I'm finally pregnant!

There will be a lot more blogging going on here in regards to pregnancy after cesarean, physically and emotionally preparing for a VBAC and my planned HBAC (Home Birth After Cesarean).

I'm about to leave on vacation for a week, but I wanted to give you the big news before I head out. I'm really looking forward to blogging my journey!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Meet My Scar- Day ?

Wow! I haven't posted a scar pic since JULY! Um...sorry about that. Life is crazy, as always.

Here's my scar today-
I haven't done anything to it for quite some time. I did finish the silicone sheet treatment. I feel "eh" about that over all.

This picture was taken standing so you can see the part that bothers me the most. That little pucker. Underneath is a nice, painful lump of adhesions. I hate that part. The other side is slowly going silvery.

It has been 598 days since my daughter was cut out of me. I definitely have ups and downs with the emotional side of recovery and as for the physical side? Well...I still have numbness, tingling, random pain, not to mention the stabby adhesion pain. It's not fun. I really had hoped by this far out from surgery, things would be back to normal. I'm not saying this is normal, or that every woman that has had a c-section will have issues after a year and half (wow, I can't believe my baby is that old...), it's just my personal experience.

My husband and I have been trying to conceive our next child for many months now and I sometimes wonder how the c-section is affecting my fertility. Or maybe it's my mental hangups that are keeping me from getting pregnant again. It's most likely that my cycle has yet to return, but my mind loves to go to those "nothing will ever be ok again" places. *sigh*

I'm planning something very exciting for the blog, which will mostly likely be happening this spring. Stay tuned for details!

Some days every little thing is a trigger...

If you have experienced birth trauma, do you find you have triggers that bring you back to the moment(s) of suffering you experienced?

Today several things triggered me, mostly because I'm in a rather emotional state lately. I drove past the hospital where my daughter was torn from me, I caught a glance of my scar in the mirror and I heard this song;

I'm trying to find ways for things that trigger me to somehow empower me along the way. It's an uphill battle most days. I'm still fighting though, and that's what's important.