Posts Tagged ‘pregnancy’

Postpartum Thoughts

Tessa is 10 days old today!

I LOVE this baby.

She is so happy! She’s only been waking up once per night, at about 3am, and usually goes right back to sleep after a diaper change and nursing. She loves the sling, and she loves hanging out on my lap, looking around. Her sisters love her, though they have expressed that they’re lonely, and there have been a few more fights and a little more crying than usual. Some quality time with the older girls is in order.

I feel so much more confident this time. I know how I want to do things, and don’t worry about much. We’re nursing on demand, and she’s falling right into a routine. She didn’t get a bit of jaundice – not sure why, but it’s nice. My other two were pretty yellow.

I’m recovering well. Tired still, and a little sore, but getting better every day. I had a few this-is-the-end-of-the-world cries with those fun pregnancy hormones, but since I knew that’s what it was, I was able to laugh at myself almost simultaneously, knowing it really wasn’t the end of the world, even though it felt like it was. Nick and I made some tough decisions over the weekend about his work schedule and our finances. We’re going to be making some changes, which is a relief to both of us though it might not be easy for a while.

We’re doing a 21-day cloth diaper trial from Jillian’s Drawers. I am loving it. Some of the diapers work better than others, some are expensive, some are hard to do, but they all have pluses and minuses. I love that I can try lots of different kinds. And the laundry hasn’t been difficult, I just start them before I go to bed at night and dry them in the morning. My mom did cloth with all five of us back in the 80’s, and I’ve always wanted to try it. They have so many options these days. And they just seem so much more comfy than disposables. Not to mention less trash, no chemicals, cheaper, and just cuter!

Mostly, I’m trying not to do too much. Haven’t left the house by myself yet, NO cleaning has been done (the dog hair is starting to get to me). I’m pretty okay with dishes, minimal cooking, laundry, and holding my tiny baby. πŸ™‚ I was able to stay in bed almost completely for five days like my midwife wanted me to – felt very luxurious and restful. She says I’ll physically recover much faster if I stay off my feet as much as I can. I’m excited to start yoga again when I get the go-ahead. Not getting any younger…need to get into an exercise routine. For real.

Well, off to read books and do naptime. I’ve been looking forward to that since 9 this morning. πŸ˜‰

Oh, and in case you haven’t seen it before, this poem sums up my thoughts pretty well right now…

Song for a Fifth Child

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth
empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
hang out the washing and butter the bread,
sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
and out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
but I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
for children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton


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As you can tell from the title, if you don’t wanna know, you shouldn’t keep reading. πŸ˜‰

My water broke at 6am Christmas morning. I had been uncomfortable and couldn’t sleep since about 4am, and was just laying there trying not to be frustrated with still being pregnant on Christmas. Suddenly I felt a cramp and two little pops and a trickle.”Oh boy…” I said, and Nick woke up and knew.

The contractions didn’t kick in hard right away like we expected. We called the midwife and then headed downstairs to open presents with the kids. We were done pretty quickly since we just bought stuff for the kids this year, and we made breakfast and ate. I was contracting every 10 minutes or so, and wanted to breathe through them, but it was nothing that intense.

At 10:30 my sister Holly and brother in law David came and got the big girls and took them to my parents for the family party. Then it was waaaay too quiet! Nick and I paced the house and went up and down the stairs hoping to intensify the contractions a bit. Toby our dog followed us from room to room.

At around 1pm Laura the midwife came and checked me. Only 4cm but very ripe. Baby was not as low as she had been. I got in the tub but it wasn’t that comfortable. I tried sitting on the birth ball and hated it. I paced around the house.

After about 3pm it’s all kind of a blur. It took everything I had not to fight the contractions. They hurt soooo badly. Since my water had broken we didn’t want to do any more internals than absolutely necessary so I didn’t know where I was at with dilation. Homebirth regulations only allow for 18 hours of labor with ruptured membranes before transporting to the hospital so the clock was ticking. With Audrey I never felt the urge to push and I kept wondering if that was happening again. Laura practically had to make me try the shower and that gave me a little relief until the water ran out. Laura suggested I try pushing a bit to see how it felt and it felt better, but I never felt the urge to push with Audrey and wasn’t sure I was doing it right. Nick climbed in there with me in his clothes, and I leaned on him and the wall of the shower. The cold wall on my face and the warmth on my back were helpful.

When I got out, I tried kneeling by the bed. It was awful. I was too tired (it had been more than 12 hours by now). Laura, her assistant, and Nick were all trying to encourage me but it was overwhelming me. I couldn’t keep my head wrapped around the fact that I was about to have a baby. She checked me again and I had a cervical lip just like i had with audrey. I was discouraged and frustrated. I couldn’t stop my legs from shaking with pent-up hormones and energy. I was praying for strength and suddenly knew what I needed. I stood up, climbed the half flight of stairs to Tessa’s room, and grabbed the blankie we had bought for her, the one that matches Hannah’s and audrey’s. I held it to my chest and ran up and down the stairs. I knelt on the stairs through a contraction and did it again. I had to get blood to my head again, to be by myself, to remember all the time I had spent preparing for her to come. And I had to make my legs quit shaking. I went back to the bedroom and was ready to push.

Pushing hadn’t hurt much with Audrey, but this time it felt like I was ripping open. Two good pushes had her crowning though. Once I knew she was really coming I was ok again. Laura wanted me to push on my back and pull my legs up but that was impossible. I flipped over to my hands and knees and within three pushes she was out. I heard Laura say something like, “ok, we need to….”

The pain was because Tessa’s hand was up by her face. Nick said when her head came out, there was a whole arm there too. In addition, the cord was wrapped around her neck, chest, and waist. They unwound her while I sat down and then placed her on my chest. I don’t think I will ever get over the feeling of a wet, warm baby being laid on me for the first time…

I only pushed for 18 minutes. Her apgars were 8 and 9, in spite of the cord. Over 14 hours of labor. She was born at 8:18pm, 7lbs 2 oz, 19 1/2 inches long.

More reasons I love homebirth: I would not have been able to do this if I couldn’t follow my instincts and do what I needed to do to make it work. If I had been placed on pitocin because of my slow labor, it likely would have caused distress to the baby because of the cord, and I would have been off to the OR before you knew it. I was able and even encouraged to eat and drink the whole time. I can’t imagine I could have done what I did after a whole day without food. I was at home. I had my bathroom, my bed, and Tessa’s room here. And I needed them.

This wasn’t the birth I was expecting, and that made it difficult too, but it was also so easy to see God’s hand in the whole thing.

So, I got my Christmas present. πŸ™‚ She is snuggly and warm and smells good. Nick is taking great care of all of us. In some ways it feels like a break to us, after Nick’s 60 hour weeks. We’re hanging out, sleeping a couple hours at a time, enjoying our family. It’s nice to feel like I know what I’m doing. Not too hard to remember what we need to do, and I don’t worry too much this time. πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for all your prayers! We can’t wait to show her off -call and come see us!

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The Plan

Though some people may be surprised by this, I almost always have a plan. Often, my plan is to have no plan. But that is a plan, just the same. If my plan is to have no plan, and you try to make me have a plan, um…good luck. (Incidentally, if there’s one thing Nick and I argue about the most, it’s probably that! πŸ™‚ He loves to have a plan. I love to have no plan!)

Ever since I found out I was pregnant with this baby, people’s responses to my due date, December 22nd, were things like, “Good job.” “Ooooohhhh…a Christmas baby. (With a sympathetic look)” “My sister has a birthday the day after Christmas. She’s always hated it.” Seriously. To a person, that’s been what we’ve heard. People, it wasn’t like we planned this for that date! We’d been trying to 6 months!

Anyway, I started telling myself, for HER sake, we’d do what we could to help her come earlier in the month. And we did. And it didn’t work. And well, here we are, 2 days before her due date, and 5 days before Christmas. I’ve had so many “is this it?” moments that I have quit counting them or even timing contractions, and just slept through contractions all night last night. To be quite honest, I have been so absorbed in thinking about my baby coming, that I haven’t given much thought to the Christmas season. It was irritating to me. Why did I have to be doing this at this time of year anyway? Couldn’t I just have her, so I could think about Christmas?

I started having this conversation with God a couple of days ago, and really got hit with conviction this morning. God likes to ask questions, I’ve found. He started asking ones like, “What if I wanted to give you and your family a baby for your Christmas gift?” “What if being born at Christmas is part of who she is, part of the calling I have on her life?” “What’s so wrong with being born at Christmas anyway?” “Aren’t you and Nick perfectly capable of still making her birthday special, no matter the time of year?”

Oh. Right.

Then we headed off to our new church (something else we had resisted God about for awhile – are You SURE, God?), where someone I didn’t even know walked right up to me, and asked if I was feeling better, and said she’d had a tooth problem like that before, and knew how bad it hurt. I guess I got added to the prayer list this week. I have no idea how she knew who I was. After the service the woman down the row, an older woman with a kind smile, came up and asked when I was due. When I told her, she looked me right in the eye and said, “This is a great time of year to have a baby.” I almost burst into tears, and thanked her. Maybe someday I’ll know her well enough to explain why I responded that way? Maybe she already knew?

The fact is, physically I feel fine. Of course carrying a baby is heavy and I get tired, but I have almost no aches and pains to speak of. The baby is in perfect shape. I’ve had no pregnancy issues whatsoever. My family is healthy and strong. My teeth are fixed. (I got a tooth AND a baby for Christmas. Ha!) I know this baby will come in the next few days. The midwife says the baby and I are very ready, and that labor, once it starts, will most likely be easy and fast.

It’s a bit like being in the midst of a temper tantrum, opening your eyes and realizing everything is really just wonderful, and feeling a bit sheepish that you were throwing the fit to begin with. God is so patient with us!

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Happy Birthday to Hannah

My day three years ago actually started two weeks before that… (Warning: birth story following)

I woke up on Easter morning, nearly nine months pregnant, the day after my sister’s wedding, to a little trickle that sure felt like my water breaking. I got up, more water. Then I had some bloody show. Anytime I moved around, more water. We called the midwife. She was unsure. “Sometimes this happens and your water isn’t really broken.” So, she came and checked. It certainly SEEMED like my water was broken, but there was no confirmation from that little paper test.

We had two options: 1, go to the hospital and have a more complex test done. If I tested positive, I would be admitted and induced within 24 hours to be safe from infection. I was 35 weeks pregnant (of 40). I would have a preemie. Or 2, I could wait, and hope to go into labor. Midwives in Colorado can deliver babies at home at 37 weeks, but due dates are always a little iffy (although I personally was positive of both of mine) She said every day made a difference, each day I could keep Hannah safely inside is another day for her lungs to develop. I was at a low risk for infection – no internal exams, no ahem…intimacy (don’t want weirdos finding my site), and no baths. I should say here, especially because of the bloody show, everyone expected me to go into labor within a couple of days.

After that everything became a blur. I would absolutely soak a pad an hour, sometimes through my pants. I was vaguely aware that my water must have broken for real, but didn’t know what to do differently. My belly was smaller than it had been. We did an ultrasound every couple days to make sure there was enough fluid. We were fine. I drank more water than I’ve ever drank in my life, to keep those fluid levels up. I would begin having contractions in the middle of the night every other night, and they would get to 5 minutes apart and then stop as the sun came up. Finally, after nearly TWO WEEKS of this, we drove the 45 minutes to Dr P for acupuncture to start my labor.

Dr P does electro-acupuncture, meaning he hooks up a faint electric charge to the needles. It is more powerful stimulation. During that process (which I’d had before and have had since – it started my labor with Audrey, finally), I blacked out. With my history of seizures, everybody got really scared. My blood sugar was low because I hadn’t eaten recently, and I was just so wiped out.

Then we went home and waited. We called the midwife who said since we had done acupuncture, maybe (intimacy) would help speed the process along? That was Saturday.

At 3am Monday morning, I woke up with a bit of a start. It took a while to figure out what had woken me. I got up and went to the bathroom and realized I was shaking and shivering uncontrollably. I was also having contractions that felt stronger than they had before – still not painful, but strong. I took my temperature and it was 103.5! We called the midwife, panicking a little. She had me take some tylenol and get in the bath to hopefully calm things down. An hour later I still had high fever and solid contractions. It was time to go to the hospital.

The day before, we had a spring blizzard. There was about a foot of snow in our apartment parking lot. We weren’t at all sure we could even get out. Nick went and started the car (it was around 5:30am by this point) and worked to clear the car off. In his hurry he didn’t take any gloves. By now my contractions were 3 minutes apart for the first time. I was finally in labor.

We had a normally 15 minute drive to the hospital. The streets were solid ice so it took us nearly 30. Nick’s hands were so cold he was practically yelling with the pain. I continued to have contractions. On the way I vividly remember seeing a picture in my head of me having a c-section. I didn’t know what that would look like, but that was it, and I had a feeling that was what was going to happen. I tried to push the thought aside, but there was also some comfort in knowing ahead of time that’s what might happen.

When we got to the hospital, I walked in and told them I was in labor. I was more afraid of the hospital than the labor. I was very calm so they took their time. When they hooked me up to the machine, there were my contractions. The nurse actually had the nerve to say to me, “do you know you’re having contractions every three minutes?” Duh.

I was on the monitor for about an hour when the doctor came in. Hannah’s heart rate was not doing well with the contractions. I was dilated only to 3. It was time for the c-section.

They wheeled me into the OR, put in the epidural (which hurts like anything when you’re not already hurting) and Hannah was out in seconds with the cord wrapped around her neck. They held her next to my head for a few seconds, and then whisked her away. Nick walked over to see her while they were bathing her and happened to look behind him at my opened-up body. I did not want her to be alone, so Nick went with her while I went to recovery. While in recovery, with the sudden sensation of my empty body, no baby, and no husband, I went into shock. I was shaking uncontrollably again, and crying. They sedated me and I went to sleep.

The midwife finally arrived while I slept. She had been snowed in, unable to get out of her driveway. My family came and I woke up a little, enough to say things that made no sense and make everybody laugh. Five hours later I finally came to and began asking about my baby, who was in the NICU. It took an hour to find a nurse who would say, “oh yeah, as soon as she can get into a wheelchair she can go see the baby.” I was PAINFULLY in a wheelchair in 2 minutes.

Nursing was tough. Hannah was only 6 lbs, 2 oz, and she just didn’t get it. It didn’t help that I had to try to nurse for the first time in the NICU, with screens set up for privacy. The lactation consultant kept hovering saying things like, “if she doesn’t get it, we can always give her a bottle of formula.” I know she was trying to help, but I eventually snapped, “This is how we’re doing it.” After that she left me alone. My mom was there helping coach me. I couldn’t sit there all day, so I had to leave my baby alone in that room. They kept telling me to sleep and let them take care of her, but I got up every 2 hours while we were there and went to the NICU to nurse her. When I couldn’t, I was pumping with the awful hospital pump. (Crying for the first time here.) We had lots of wonderful visitors and flowers and the nurses were kind for the most part.

On the third day we were going to go home. They had to take the staples out of my incision. They were training a nurse who was in school and she pinched me with the pliers and I screamed. Repeatedly. Then the results of Hannah’s culture and the placenta’s culture came back. The placenta was totally infected, which was the reason for the fever. Hannah had no infection whatsoever. That was a miracle. They had given her antibiotics preemptively but took her off when she turned out to be okay. We went home, finally. C-sections and particularly recovering from them, stinks. We slept a lot. With all that trauma, bonding with Hannah was tough. I remember the feeling, “where did this baby come from and why do I have to take care of her?” I missed being pregnant! It was many months before I didn’t cry every time I thought about it, and I don’t think I fully healed until Audrey was born – a VBAC at home. I still wish it had been different. I am thankful though, that we were healthy and safe. It was quite the ordeal. And it didn’t really end there. Hannah was back in the hospital with RSV at 5 weeks old. But that’s another story.

This is a long story – I had lots to tell! Thanks for reading it.

So, happy birthday to our Hannah. In spite of her tough beginnings, she is an incredibly sensitive, thoughtful little girl. She watches out for other people. She loves to think about things and do projects. She is already a worshipper. She is the baby I prayed for and longed for. We knew her name was Hannah Kay before she was even conceived. Her name means Grace of God, rejoice!

Today we are opening presents and having cake. Tomorrow (when the snow melts) we’re setting up her new swing set and playing outside hopefully. Happy Birthday Hannah!

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God is cool

My friend Thea has such a cool story to tell that I asked her if I could share it. For the past several months, she’s been dealing with a posterior placenta previa in her second pregnancy. If you don’t understand previa, here’s a place to read about it. She was scheduled for her second c-section next week. (And if you know anything about c-sections, each one you have makes it less and less likely that you will ever safely have a regular birth. The scar tissue can also cause miscarriages and all kind of stuff. There are people who have regular births after two, but it’s not common and considered rather dangerous.) But, God worked a miracle here. This is her story:

“They agreed to do the final ultrasound today to see where things were in relation to the previa since I had been so adamant about checking at the last minute. Everyone was pretty certain nothing would have changed because it is nearly impossible for the posterior part of a uterus to grow enough in 2 weeks to give us the clearance we needed. Still, the doctor was kind and allowed the final ultrasound for my peace of mind.

The sonographer said the baby’s head was too low for her to see the placenta and she kept saying “where is it?” “I don’t see anything” so she finally got measurements and had to manually push the baby’s head up and the placenta hadn’t moved the 2.1 centimeters I had been praying for but the measurements show closer to 2.5-3 centimeters of movement which is beyond possible considering the max growth generally allows for a movement of .3cm per week. She kept measuring and measuring and brought the dr in and he didn’t believe her, saying “What? That’s impossible for it to move that much in 2 weeks…” and lo and behold…he saw the measurements for himself and cancelled the surgery. I told them it must be prayer since there’s no other explanation – they went back and checked the older ultrasounds and sure enough it had moved – every medical study I can find and that I am aware of shows that at this point and later in pregnancy a posterior previa (what I have had) does not move…I cannot tell you how excited and relieved I was to leave scheduling an appointment for next week but cancelling a surgery. πŸ™‚ We have gone from a life-threatening situation worrying about hemmorhage every day and the concerns of a baby that may need time in the NICU to a healthy pregnancy with everything looking perfect…what an awesome God we serve πŸ™‚

I am elated and now…praying for a safe and timely delivery of our little girl :)”

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Another headline

The U.S. maternal death rate is higher than in European countries. Interesting. Even more interesting is the list they give of the cause of death.

“The major direct causes of U.S. pregnancy-related deaths are blood clots, hemorrhage, complications of medical conditions, and eclampsia and pre-eclampsia, which are marked by dangerously high blood pressure.”

How many of these deaths could be prevented by a change in our diets? I already talked about eclampsia last week. Hemorrhage is scary, but in theory should be solved with proper vitamin intake and absorption. Many medical conditions are a result of poor overall health…

I’m sure we cannot keep ALL of these from happening, but obviously, even with our high-tech hospitals, we are doing something wrong. After all, we are all humans. If other humans are experiencing a better rate, let’s figure out what they’re doing and DO it.

And, although it wasn’t mentioned… dare I bring up homebirth here? Many of those same European countries do homebirths for all routine pregnancies. Hmmm…

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Diet for moms

Betcha thought this post was about how to lose weight. Well, it’s not.

Kim at Starry Sky Ranch posted a series a while back about Home Management Notebooks. This, I have found, is a secret of moms with lotsa kids. They don’t keep it all in their heads – they write out everything they know. πŸ™‚

Anyway, this morning I was looking through the info I downloaded from her. One of the things she included was a “WAP diet for pregnant and nursing moms.”

Before copying it here, I want to make a couple of observations. First, midwives all over know that this diet keeps pregnant women from getting eclampsia. The high blood pressure issues that cause doctors to induce labor to “keep the mom and baby safe,” (even though these inductions often end in c-section, but that’s another post) these issues can be solved through just a couple of days with a diet like this. You must have protein and fat to make a healthy baby. Nursing is a similar story.

I ate similarly to this during both pregnancies, gained about 30-35 pounds both times, and lost it easily by four or five months postpartum, partially thanks to breastfeeding. I had no swelling whatsoever, and my blood pressure never went above 118/80 ish.

So, here’s the diet, straight from Kim’s download:

Diet for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers

Cod Liver Oil to supply 20,000 IU vitamin A and 2000 IU vitamin D per day

1 quart (or 32 ounces) whole milk daily, preferably raw and from pasture-fed cows

4 tablespoons butter daily, preferably from pasture-fed cows

2 or more eggs daily, preferably from pastured chickens

Additional egg yolks daily, added to smoothies, salad dressings, scrambled eggs, etc.

3-4 ounces fresh liver, once or twice per week

Fresh seafood, 2-4 times per week, particularly wild salmon, shellfish and fish eggs

Fresh beef or lamb daily, always consumed with the fat

Oily fish or lard daily, for vitamin D

2 tablespoons coconut oil daily, used in cooking or smoothies, etc.

Lacto-fermented condiments and beverages

Bone broths used in soups, stews and sauces

Soaked whole grains

Fresh vegetables and fruits


  • Trans fatty acids (e.g., hydrogenated oils)
  • Junk foods
  • Commercial fried foods
  • Sugar /White flour
  • Soft drinks
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Cigarettes
  • Drugs (even prescription drugs)

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