Thursday, December 27, 2012

Baby III Week 33: Then I Died.

33 Weeks 

These should not be me complaining every week about being pregnant posts. I like being pregnant. I like feeling my mystery baby kung foo my tummy and wondering who this little one is. And who doesn't love not having to suck in your tummy at holiday parties or trying to fit into yet another pre-baby dress that may never fit, or fit right, again? Though, it just happens that sometimes... between the moments of glowing pregnancy bliss... the baby tries to destroy me.

Heartburn made my cry for the first time this week. I spent Christmas on ice because I over extended an already loose ligament. A few times I've literally thought I tore something in my abdomen while trying to get out of bed. All of these are pretty normal, or at least I understand why they are happening. What has me glued to google looking for answers are these episodes where I get incredibly nauseated and start blacking out. All I can do is lay on the bathroom floor and hope I don't puke all over Eric's legs because standing up near the toilet is not an option. Also accompanied by diarrhea, can't leave that out. It lasts an hour or two, I just pray for it to be over or to die... or to go into labor so that this won't happen again... then I'm fine. Exhausted, but able to function somewhat normally. I haven't fainted yet, but that feeling of almost blacking out and coming back is awful, like I'm dying every time.

Of course I'll be talking to my midwife and OB about this, especially because it's happened more than once, so it couldn't have just been food poisoning or something like that. I think it could have something to do with my intestines being squished, I did have dairy every time this happened.

Baby is really growing! It's felt like just a squirt up until this week. I think baby may have Eric, Milo, and Ash's big feet, that's what I feel the most, these big feet sticking out of the top of my uterus. I'm always telling Eric to feel them, it's just so crazy that that's one of our kids in there!

I'm up 34 pounds. Haven't gained much over the last 4 weeks or so. My blood sugar has been great, even if I have a cookie or ice cream! I haven't been feeling sick or dizzy like I was, which is nice.

Merry Christmas from the rapidly growing belly bean!
This week baby is supposed to be the size of a durian fruit... but I have no idea where to find one of those so I found a honeydew that is the same size. Baby should be around 18in and 4.5lbs

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Baby III Week 32: Let's Just Keep Doing This.

32 Weeks

I started this post (ok, just wrote the title) at the beginning of my 32nd week and it was going to be about how amazing I feel, I'm getting tons of sleep... why would I ever be anxious to to have this baby? I was in this not getting why moms ever get impatient thing, don't they (and past me) know you don't sleep after the new baby is born? This is great, let's do this forever.

I'm sure I doomed myself the moment I thought that, now I feel awful. The last couple days I'm suddenly feeling like I'm having lots of blood sugar spikes even though my "bad" numbers are still only like 114, and on average are closer to 90. Sometimes after I eat I feel sluggish and irritable and like my blood is molasses. Spikes induce panic attacks occasionally too. Feeling bad sucks but I'm also concerned as to why I feel so bad, because it doesn't make sense. I did run out of floridex, my iron supplement, but Eric just got laid off and it's super expensive so I'm not sure when I'll get more.

Baby is as active and wiggly as ever... I can kinda grab his or her foot sometimes. He or she was laying mostly transverse but I think baby has been mainly head down the last could days.

Nothing gained the last couple weeks, still holding at 33lbs.

You know how I'm doing this fruit thing? I'm starting to regret it. Apparently 31 weeks is a pineapple (really?) and 33 weeks is a mysterious boob like quash:

What is that? I have no idea where to even get that. So since I missed 31 weeks I did the pineapple.

Pineapple... or something...
Guess what next week is...

WHAT IS THAT??? According to The Bump it's a durian fruit. They are just making fruit up now.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Baby III Week 30: The Decision Week

30 Weeks

By 30 weeks I was supposed to contact the nurse-midwife at Dominican that I used for Ash to arrange a transfer of care. I had begun to waver a bit on whether I wanted to go to Natividad instead of Dominican because not being allowed to video the birth was a for sure deal breaker for us, as was a mandatory 48 hour stay without medical cause. I needed to talk to the OB at Natividad, Dr. Chandler, one more time before making a decision, and fortunately he had given me his cell.

I called Chandler a little freaked out about calling a doctor's cell. Am I supposed to help him remember me or just fire off the questions... no idea... I started, "Hi, I'm Cori, I saw you once 2 months ago..."


"I'm looking to transfer from my midwife."


"um.... I had 2 crazy boys that I was shoveling candy corn at and I have pink hair..."


*feels stupid*

I just continued that before I could make a decision I needed more information on some of the hospital policies. I brought up the video first because if there was no wiggle room there nothing else mattered. I asked if there was any way we could compromise and not video any part of that actual birth... like... vagina stuff (though I worded it more eloquently than that) and record from a position where it was just our reaction meeting the baby. Finally there was life on the other end of the phone and he said that was fine, everyone in the room just has to agree. So that's great news.

As for the mandatory 48-72 hour stay after an uncomplicated delivery, he said that is not the policy and asked who told me that. I gave her name and he said it was likely she was thinking just on average because obviously women have to stay longer after cesareans. What matters is when the OB is willing to release you and he seemed fine with 24 hours.

I also asked about the policies on Group B Strep. GBS is a bacteria that lives in about 25% of women's intestinal tracts and can sometimes travel to the vagina. If you are GBS positive during delivery it can potentially cause an infection in the baby that can be life threatening. Women are routinely screened around 35 weeks and the policies of most hospitals are to require the mother is on intravenous antibiotics while in labor to prevent infection to the baby, and that has been quite effective. Easy decision right?

Yeah those don't exist for me.

I've never been GBS positive but it is always a possibility. Even if you test negative today, you might be positive next week. So, I could be positive. Here's my problem: I don't want antibiotics. If I'm on antibiotics I always, every time, without exception will get a yeast infection. Annoying but whatever... right? Well antibiotics can also cause a type of painful yeast infection in the baby's mouth and mom's breast called thrush. So baby may not want to eat, I will be in more pain than neccessary, and this lasts for weeks. I feel like because of my history with yeast infections and antibiotics, antibiotics are just not a viable option especially when there are other treatment options available, just not preferred by hospitals in the US.

After researching and obsessing, I decided my GBS testing options were:

Don't test for GBS
-Pro: what the doctor doesn't know about he can't treat.
-Con: some hospitals will require mom and baby get antibiotics just in case and if you refuse they will call child protective services... no joke.

Test and refuse treatment if I'm positive
-Pro: if I'm negative, no worries! positive, at least I will know and we can be extra watchful of baby.
-Con: cps issue again, may refuse to to treat me, may hold baby for observation... or give me dirty looks.

I talked this over with Chandler and got a fairly shocking response. He listened and replied... totally not condescendingly, "those are very valid concerns."


So after discussing the options I decided to test and if I'm positive we will not use antibiotics, but we will stay and let baby be observed for infection for 48 hours after birth, which I feel like is reasonable. Chances are I will not have to worry about all this, but I always feel better having a thoroughly thought out plan.

And that's it, I see Chandler December 28th and will likely only see him a couple times before the birth. I suppose this is not a technical transfer of care because I will continue with my midwife. I feel like this is a homebirth with a planned hospital transfer, it's like the best of both worlds for me.

I'm feeling good about the belly. It's big, I like it, I don't feel uncomfortable.

When baby kicks, or whatever it does... it feels like it's vibrating, it's weird.

I've given up on trying to cook meat, but have become a big fan of the rotisserie chickens at costco, so convenient and I'm getting some meat in my diet. I've been waking up at night starving sometimes too, growth spurt?

I think baby may have flipped, not sure, we will see what my midwife says.

Total of 33lbs gained so far.

Tanking baby out to a Christmas party.
Cucumber this week, about 3lbs and 15 3/4 inches.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Baby III Week 29: No Girl, No Pie.

29 Weeks

I really don't feel a whole lot has changed this week. I'm starting to get that crease at the top of my belly by my ribs when I sit, ok... it's there when I'm not sitting too... does anyone else get that? Let's say you all do so I don't feel alone.

Weirdest thing ever that I've been meaning to mention that I've been forgetting for like... 10 weeks... maybe I did mention it, but just in case I haven't... I always sleep on my side or my stomach, pregnant or not. I never sleep on my back, and if I'm pregnant, I can barely even lay on my back for any amount of time. It hurts. Well for months now I have been turning onto my back in my sleep. I wake up and sometimes I feel nauseated or sore from the pressure. It makes no sense too because my belly is so big, seems like it should be weighing me down, but it keeps bobbing up like a fat dead fish. This has never happened before, it's all very mysterious.

I was worried about my blood sugar and Thanksgiving. I felt a bit of a spike but by the time I tested that evening I was within the range of normal. All my numbers were perfect actually, and I really wasn't exercising that much. I started to get lulled into a false sense of blood sugar security so I went ahead and had white bread and pie at my parents on Sunday. Sugar not secure... I spiked like crazy and I thought I was going to die. I thought I could do pie... turns out... I can't.

I always ask other gestational diabetic moms if they can feel their blood sugar get too high and I never seem to get an answer. I don't know if I come off like "OMG I'm SO healthy that my blood sugar rising nearly sends me to the ER" or if they legitimately handle the sensations of blood converting to syrup better than I do (a Twilight and pancakes joke kinda tried to form and died in my head just now, let's assume it was hilarious). I feel a little jittery, dizzy, nauseous... it's overwhelming and almost panic attack inducing. I want to crawl out of my body. I ended up jogging around the block at 10pm and I eventually felt better. So... no cake on my birthday yesterday! I'm ok with that, who needs cake? My thighs definitely don't.

Didn't gain anything this week, baby was right on in the festive form of an acorn squash! Though... baby feels more like a 20lb turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving Baby!

Baby is about 15 inches and 2 1/2lbs.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Baby III Week 28: AKA, The Diabetes Week

28 Weeks

Twenty-eight is one of my favorite numbers, my second favorite actually... it's my birthday, Milo's birthday, date we found out we were pregnant with Ash... and it's double my favorite number, 14. But in the context of pregnancy it means one thing... ok two... third trimester (woo!) and diabetes (boo!). This was the diabetes week.

Most women are getting their glucose tolerance test this week, but I decided to opt out of it because honestly, I don't need to bleed off and on into a little tube for 3 hours to know that there's a good chance I'll have gestational diabetes again. Last time I fainted and I've never successfully made it through the test, so I decided to just self monitor.

Monitoring should be simple, this is science right? As a numbers and facts girl... I wish. Medicine is far more of a guessing game... and no one has the answer sheet. If you look up what the blood glucose (sugar) limits are half a dozen sources will give you different answers. Different doctors will also give you different answers. Some say a fasting glucose of 72-125 is normal, some say not over 89, the American Diabetes Association says under 100, the World Health Organization says not over 95. When to test is disagreed upon as well, with some doctors having their patients test one hour after eating and others two hours, and the after meal blood glucose level that is considered high varies widely as well. 

The meters are also inexact, you can test twice back to back and get a reading that is up to 10 points different.

It seems that doctors would recognize these inconsistencies and act accordingly, but that's not the case at all. Each doctor chooses which rules they want their patients to play by and let me tell you from experience.... when you are sitting with a doctor scowling at your chart, highlighting every blood sugar reading that is even 1 point over, and if you get 3 in a week they are going to put you and your baby on insulin, that's a huge problem. Even within the same practice I talked to doctors who disagreed, some thought I was doing fantastic, some treated me like I was shoving doughnuts through syringes into my veins. Doesn't it seem like if they knew how to treat this disease they would be able to at least define it? 

Honestly, I've done exactly what doctors have said twice and it did not positively affect my outcomes. I still had big babies who were born with low blood sugar. Their guessing game is doing nothing but costing me time and money (SO much money, about $500 after insurance each pregnancy) when I could be doing everything they are doing at home. I'm calling bullshit on the way doctors attempt to monitor gestational diabetes and this time around I'm not playing.

The results of my monitoring have been ok. Fasting has been under 95. At first I was going by what my last doctor suggested, not over 89, so my numbers were high according to that, but I've decided if it's under 100 I wont worry. I started testing two hours after eating and all my readings have been well within the range of normal. I'm still going to monitor throughout the rest of my pregnancy. I DO believe gestational diabetes is a real condition with real risks... what I don't believe is that doctors have more than a vague idea of how to treat it. 

Any natural hippie points I earn for sticking it to the medicine man and opting out of formal diabetes care I probably lose in dealing with heartburn. I can't do it guys... I can't be super awesome and eat herbs and drink milk (or not drink milk because it's puss and blood and cow abuse?) and put potatoes in ungodly places (oh, that was the natural hemorrhoid cure)... I got Pepcid... and it is so amazing... seriously, there is no way heroin is better than the feeling you get after popping one chewable Pepcid after weeks of mind altering acid reflux. Sorry hippies... you lose this one.

I'm up somewhere between 27-30lbs. I still weigh exactly the same as I did this week with Ash... and I was like... running still. Silly me. Never let me run when I'm that big again. Bobbing like a dead seal in a pool is ok though.

I think we are about due for another belly compare, yes?

28 weeks with baby three
28 weeks with Ash

A little over 27 weeks with Milo, I don't have a good 28 week one.
Baby is an eggplant. Gross. Hope next week's is better.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Baby III Week 27: Bigger in Texas

27 Weeks 

 Sorry this post is a bit late, I've been busy becoming a Birth Boot Camp instructor! I flew to Texas last Wednesday and passed my certification test! It was fantastic... I will post more about it later, but right now I'm pretty internetted out. I spent most of the day (the parts not caring for babies) working on my BBC instructor website. I'm using WordPress and we are having a rough start... I'll get there though... onto preggo stuff.

Traveling was really hard on preggo me this time... my hands and feet started swelling a lot from the flights and sitting in the workshops for long periods. My diet was very off... I had some caffeine, splenda, chick-fil-a... my body was just totally freaked out. I started getting heart palpitations and panic attacks and I spent probably a third of my trip in a bathroom. I swear to never even look at caffeine again. Coming home and eating normal for a couple days has been so nice.

I saw my midwife this week. I'm measuring 30 1/2 weeks, and baby sounds great. My blood sugar and blood pressure have been perfectly normal as well.

I'm up 25 pounds. I blame Texas, it makes everything bigger right? Something like that. I've kicked up my exercise, now that I'm not spending every free moment studying I can spend a little more time getting my sweat on :) Even if it means tons of debilitating braxton hicks.

Adios second trimester!

Baby is supposed to be a rutabaga this week, but I didn't have one handy so I found something about the same size (13-14in). Tastes better too :) 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Baby III Week 26: An Almost TMI Post

26 Weeks

Sixth month complete... and it decided to go out with a bang. My body is seriously malfunctioning and it's kinda amazing. I considered going through every disgusting detail, but I leave for Texas in about 6 hours and it's almost midnight... so you guys are all being spared only because I need to sleep... but a preview of the future TMI post should symptoms continue:

I live in the bathroom now, and it's always an emergency.

Epic acid burps that are ruining my esophagus and teeth and life.

Speaking of teeth... bloody swollen gums.

Mucous, in grosser ways than you'd like to imagine.

Stretch marks with stretch marks.

Swelling, not the feet this time.

Nose bleeds, because why not, right?

BH contractions that lead to the first issue on our list here.

I'm up 25 pounds. I will fill you in a little more next week... or the week after since my next post will likely be from Texas :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Baby III Week 25: Six down, three to go.

25 Weeks

I'm starting to feel a lot more pregnant this week, like that there has in fact been a hostile take over and my body is not my own. Baby feels huge and moves almost constantly, and in all directions. My belly has become a hazard, I slam it into stuff all the time and it responds violently with pretty angry Braxton-Hicks contractions. One of the daycare babies kicked me in the stomach and I thought I was going to die. I've started getting out of bed using five point turns and am now constructing my elaborate pillow configurations. I'm just really big, and I feel like it just happened suddenly, though I know it hasn't. I have pictures to prove it.

I think I complete my 6th month next week :)

I'm supposed to be a ghost, headed to Milo's Halloween 3rd birthday party.

Baby matches. Cauliflower this week.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Baby III Week 24: Danger

24 Weeks

I changed my hair this week, we went purple! I feel like my face is starting to get puffier so I thought darker hair would be more slimming... or distracting.

Robin Smitherman at Platinum Salon in Monterey is a magician, or of the devil... her skills are simply not of this world.

Baby is so active, I love it. When I'm busy and don't notice him or her for a while it freaks me out, I'm so used to almost constant movement!

I weigh exactly the same this week as I did at 24 weeks with Ash, only I've gained 21lbs and not 11lbs. It's weird, I've actually been gaining almost the same number of pounds each week as last time for the last month. My mom said that no matter what weighed she started pregnancies at she pretty much ended up at the same weight. Maybe that's happening.

I wish I was able to run more, or at all, I miss the definition in my legs. But I'm still able to keep up at nearly the same pace at kickboxing. I just tried piloxing, and loved it. It's pilates and kickboxing. I wish I could go every week... but with work it's almost impossible. Maybe I can find some piloxing youtube videos or something!

We likely have about 14 weeks to go. We still don't have a boy middle name locked down. Eric seriously suggested Danger last night. Suggestions very welcome. Please no one back Eric up on Danger.

Baby is about 12 inches long an weighs around 1.3lbs, approximately cantaloupe sized according to my sources.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The VBAC conversation I keep replaying over and over in my head

I don't have time to write this. This is stupid. I have tons more coursework to complete before my Birth Boot Camp certification in 15 days, and if I was going to write this post I should put a lot more time putting together statistics and studies, but I can't concentrate until I put this out here.

Last Saturday I received the text I have praying for: my friend is in labor. I've needed one more birth to observe before my BBC certification and her's was my last hope! She labored at home, we met at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, I got there and she was already pushing. Her sixth baby and first natural delivery. She did amazingly.

I was also thrilled with the attending OB, my OB during my first pregnancy and still the doctor I choose to see for all gynecological appointments, Dr. Gilbert. He didn't deliver Milo, but I've heard such wonderful things about him in the delivery room and I was glad to finally have the opportunity to see him work. I wasn't disappointed, he taught through much of the birth, pointing out the baby's unusual cord, the hand delivering up by her little neck, and the aspects of the placenta. I love his personality, but then another of those moments happened that reminded me while I don't deliver with this practice or that hospital.

A comment was made about me heading up to Santa Cruz for my birth, I mentioned that I actually think I will be going to Natividad.

"Just so you know, they say you can have a VBAC, then there tends to be some reason why you can't."

"I'm not having a VBAC (he seems to always forget that I delivered a 10lb baby vaginally, as if it cannot be done), but a 40% VBAC rate is better than 0%."

Cue the uterine rupture story.

I'm curious how many local women have heard this story, Gilbert has told it to me at least twice now. It's extremely sad, I don't want anyone to think I'm trying to lessen this incredibly tragic event. An OB from CHOMP was attending his daughter's VBAC in the bay area. Her uterus ruptured, she was rushed to surgery, the baby died. This has happened once at SVMH as well.

No disrespect is meant to the families who experienced loss in these scenarios, but this is like reminding someone about 9/11 when they are getting on a plane... these events are incredibly rare.

"The risk of rupture during a VBAC is less than 1% (actually 0.47%)"

"It may seem rare, but 1 in 100 babies is too much, all those babies add up."

I didn't want to start a debate in the delivery room while a mom bonds with her new baby, but I was stunned, and so upset, all at once. Did he really believe VBAC was that dangerous, or did he feel obligated to support the hospital's policy of not allowing VBAC (as nurses listen in) by playing up the risks and playing down... the truth? One in a 100 babies? Who has reported those kinds of perinatal mortality (death of a baby around birth) rates?

The perinatal mortality rate for VBAC is reported to be 3 out of 10,000. (The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer)

The risk of infant death after a repeat, planned cesarean just like they do every single day at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital and Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, is 3 out of 10,000.

I've found less conservative estimates too:
"The risk of neonatal death from cesarean section was found to be nearly three times higher than from vaginal delivery." Marian F. MacDorman, Eugene Declerq, et al., Infant and Neonatal Mortality for Primary Cesarean and Vaginal Births to Women with “No Indicated Risk,” 33 Birth 175 (2006). 
The way it was being presented, there was no risk to cesarean, and this is not the first time cesarean has been presented to me in this light from an obstetrician at Healthcare for Women. Not even the third time. I wonder what mothers needing accurate, unbiased information are getting? Not only do routine planned repeat cesareans not protect the baby, they put the mother in considerably more risk of death:
"The risk of maternal death from cesarean section is higher than for vaginal birth (in one study, four times higher), the rate of maternal complications is significantly higher with c-sections, and long term risks must be considered." Zelop & Heffner, The Downside of Cesarean delivery: Short- and Long-Term Complications Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vol 47, No. 2, June 2004, pp. 386-393.   
"The risks of severe maternal morbidity associated with planned cesarean delivery are  higher than those associated with planned vaginal delivery." Shiliang Liu, Robert M. Liston, et al., Maternal Mortality and Severe Morbidity Associated with LowRisk Planned Cesarean Delivery Versus Planned Vaginal Delivery at Term, Canadian Medical
Association. Journal. Ottawa: Feb 13, 2007. Vol. 176, Iss. 4; pg. 455.
A meta-analysis cited in Optimal Care in Childbirth by Henci Goer that included 380,000 women, at term, showed that 9 more women out of 100,000 died by opting for the planned repeat cesarean. A very large study showed that 21 more women out of 100,000 died. Not 21 out of 100,000... 21 MORE women died.

These are repeat cesareans, that means the mothers die leaving behind other children.  The complications associated with cesarean are so incredibly real yet are so consistently ignored. I'm so confused by educated, intelligent people who deny and downplay them, people that I like, that I want to recommend.

Truth be told, the nursing staff at SVMH were wonderful during and after the birth. The OB delivering did a fantastic job... but nothing went wrong that would require the mother to trust the judgement of the staff or her doctor, that's when having the best care counts. Considering that this practice and this hospital are not basing their VBAC policies on what is safest for women or babies, I'd be afraid to be in their care, even if I'm birthing with an unscarred uterus. They are either ignoring or not informing themselves in the science, studies, statistics, facts... of repeat cesareans; what else are they ignoring or have outdated information in? That makes me scared. It frustrates me that this information is there, the stories of hundreds of thousands of women... but they keep passing this one horror story on to women turning to their doctor for information they need to make a truly informed decision not just about their birth experience, their health, their future fertility, but about their LIFE, and their baby's life.

This keeps me up at night. I've considered writing letters, passing along books and studies... maybe when I'm done writing papers and working through this pile books and studies I'm required to read I will. There's just a slight nagging "I'm just one person, I'm not a doctor, I'm just a (perhaps overzealous) student, what will people think of me?" in my head.

Back to work.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Baby III Week 23: As long as we're pointing fingers...

23 Weeks

Body stuff: It's getting fat. That's all you really need to know. My wideness in particular has been commented one THREE times this week.

Birth stuff: I had a prenatal appointment with my midwife this week. We went over my birth plan to make sure it wasn't too hardcore. I'm not trying to be an asshole or control freak in the delivery room... but my births are like my Super Bowls and every aspect is exciting and super important to me. It's not just about the end result, it's the whole experience, and I'm running through plays and little details because I love it, and I'm so stoked, and I'm so worried that my enthusiasm comes off as obsessive. Also, because in the past my "we prefer..." and "if possible..." requests were ignored, I definitely used stronger language just because I want it clear that I am an informed mother capable of being an active participant in the birth of my baby.

My midwife agreed it was a great tool for interviewing a potential OB to make sure my expectations matched both his practices and hospital protocol, but to cut it down some for the nurses on the birth day... and I agreed.

Wait... back up... potential OB? Yes, I've been considering straying from the CNM that I love, and the hospital that I also love, to birth in Monterey County. I know that I will probably have a wonderful experience at Dominican, but I know using an out of county hospital is a bit of a protest. You are a consumer when you are choosing a hospital. I don't like the service/product that Salinas Valley Memorial or Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninula provide and I will not give them my business even though, I know that because I'm prepared, I could have a good birth, I just may have to fight against policy. However, over and over I kept hearing about Natividad Medical Center... I always had this article, The Holistic Hole, in the back of my head. The OB's and nurses are working so hard (and the hospital is spending so much money) to provide evidence based care that is better for mothers and babies than what SVMH and CHOMP are providing (whose approaches are better for the staff/ hospital/ insurance co.). What kind of birth advocate would I be if I'm here calling out the hospitals to make these changes, but then I don't support them with my business? A bit of a hypocritical one.

In addition to my own personal conviction about where I was birthing, I also wanted to see if all the hype was true. I didn't like the idea of telling one of my students "I hear Natividad is the place to go," when I myself was not taking that advice. I much prefer being able to say "I've birthed here, here and here... this is what my experienced were."

So yesterday I had my appointment to have a consultation with Dr. Chandler, who practices in the hospital. I was shocked by how nice the hospital is. I didn't get a tour of the rooms, but everything else that I saw was as nice if not nicer than SVMH or CHOMP. The wait was long, but well worth it. When I walked in a passed a purposeful looking doctor that I just got a good vibe from, I kinda hoped that was Chandler. It was. He and a resident came in, unfortunately after an over hour long wait and the babies were on the brink of meltdowns.

If you've read a book on birth, you've probably read a list of questions that are suggested you ask a potential OB. I've never been a big fan of those lists, I tend to feel like the answer you want shows a little... like... "What is your c-section rate?" You are basically saying "I'm about to judge you on a number that is determined by about a bazillion factors that may or may not have to do with you as a caregiver... choose your answer wisely." Who isn't going to feel defensive? I put together a list, though most of these were just answered in conversation. I decided if we made it through this list and I didn't feel like the doctor was silently hating me, I'd pull out my birth plan.

Is it hospital policy to have an IV or hep-lock, can the mother waive either?

Does the hospital require a blood draw/bank?

Is it the hospital’s policy to requite continuous fetal monitoring? Are there telemetry devices available?

Is fasting during labor required?

Are there showers or tubs?

If my water breaks at home but contractions have not started, what are my options?

If the baby seems to be in distress with no other no other signs of complications, what actions do you take?

Who can I have in the room with me? Photography or video allowed?

If the baby is discovered to be breech, what options are available to me?

Can I deliver in an upright or semi-upright position?

Can I or my husband assist in catching?

How often do your patients require episiotomies?

When do you use forceps or a vacuum, do you require an episiotomy?

How do you manage the third stage?

Is delayed cord clamping an option if there are no complications?

If I require a c-section, do you manually dilate the cervix.

Of course I have personal feelings on all these points, but I tried to word questions so that whoever I'm interviewing wouldn't feel challenged, or blamed, like "how often do patients require episiotomies" vs "how often do you do episiotomies."

I made it to most of the questions and was super impressed. I never felt like Chandler was defensive or judgmental. Two doctors can say "you don't have to have continuous fetal monitoring" but one can make you feel like they are tempted to call CPS on you for it. I can sense a stifled eye roll!

I handed him my birth plan, prefacing that this wasn't what I planned to bring to the hospital, but that it would help me decide if I had found a good match. I said I wasn't trying to order spaghetti at Chinese food restaurant and I totally understand if these needs can't be accommodated here.

Here it is:

Gentry Family Birth Plan

Thank you for allowing us to summarize our wishes for the birth of our third child. We are experienced in birthing naturally, we believe this is the safest method for the mother and child. Thank you for helping us in achieving our goals.

Labor Wishes in Stage 1

·         IV Fluids – We do not consent to routine IV fluids. The mother experienced significant edema in her first delivery which complicated breastfeeding and caused considerable discomfort during the initial bonding time. The excess fluid in the blood stream can dilute oxytocin, slowing labor, dilutes the concentration of red blood cells potentially leading to anemia, decreased oxygen to the uterus and baby, and possible excessive bleeding in the third stage. If at any time fluids are necessary, please consult the parents before taking action.

·         Hep-Lock – We understand having a hep-lock in place is often standard procedure and that hemorrhage or dehydration can complicate getting vein access in an emergency. We still do not consent to having a hep-lock in place during labor and will sign a release if necessary. The mother suffers from vasovagal syncope and reflex anoxic seizures in response to needles and labor is not a time to be coping with either. IV’s have also caused considerable discomfort and bruising. We have successfully labored without a hep-lock in place.

·         Continuous Fetal Monitoring – We do not consent to continuous external or internal fetal monitoring; intermittent monitoring has been proven to be just as effective. The use of continuous fetal monitoring has shown an increase in instrument and surgical delivery without an improvement in fetal outcomes.

·         Fetal Distress – In the case of a nonreassuring pattern during intermittent EFM without other obvious signs of an emergency situation (excessive maternal bleeding, cord prolapse), we ask that a fetal scalp blood sampling is done before cesarean is considered.

·         Vaginal Exams – We prefer vaginal exams to be used minimally. If membranes have spontaneously ruptured before the mother has the urge to push, we may not consent to any vaginal exams to prevent the risk of infection in a prolonged labor.

·         Augmentation of Labor – We do not consent to the use of Pitocin in the first stage of labor. Pitocin causes the uterus to contract longer and stronger than natural oxytocin causing more pain for the mother and may deprive the baby of oxygen. Prolonged use can contribute to postpartum hemorrhage in the third stage. We are informed in natural methods to strengthen contractions, however we also respect the natural flow of labor which occasionally includes plateaus. We do not consent to active management of labor.

·         Artificial Rupture of Membranes – We do not consent to the artificial rupture of membranes. Amniotomy can increase instances of abnormal fetal heart patterns, some studies show that early amniotomy can increase cesarean rate by 20%, and vaginal exams after amniotomy can lead to maternal infection. Labor is less painful with intact membranes. If membranes remain intact in the pushing stage we ask they remain so until the birth of the baby’s head at which time the membrane can be removed.

·         Food and Liquids by Mouth The mother does not wish to have food/liquids by mouth restricted while in labor. We understand the reasons this is often hospital policy is to avoid aspiration if an emergency cesarean is necessary. However, fasting during labor does not guarantee an empty stomach or that the mother will not instead aspirate stomach acid. Fasting during labor can cause maternal ketone levels to rise, can cause unnecessary discomfort during labor and may negatively affect labor progress.

·         Pain Management – Please do not offer any form of epidural or narcotic pain relief during labor. Both pose serious risks that we are not comfortable taking during labor. The mother wishes to be able to move freely and have access to shower/tub if available.

·         Residents & Students – As long as they do not cause any unnecessary noise or distraction, we welcome residents & students to see a natural birth in progress.

·         Photography & Video – As long as is it does not interfere with the birth and there are no emergencies, we would like to have a close friend present to video tape and photograph the birth.

Labor Wishes in Stage 2

·         Pushing Positions – The mother would like to push in whatever position is most comfortable to her at the time. This mother’s experience has been that the lithotomy position increased the pain of contractions and made controlled breathing (and therefore pushing) more difficult. The lithotomy position can reduce blood flow to the baby, narrow the pelvis, and increase instances of tears. We will likely choose a semi-sit/squat position.

·         Mother Directed Pushing – The mother will push with urges.  Please do not count out loud for her, the father/coach has been trained to coach the mother’s breathing and pushing. Please offer us a mirror if available, and the mother would like to be reminded to touch the baby’s head at crowing if possible. She loved encouragement, but please no “get angry” or “push like bowel movement.”

·         Episiotomy – We do not consent to an episiotomy, which can increase instance of perineal injuries and blood loss. We would appreciate the birth attendant try perineal massage, support, oil and warm compresses to assist in the birth of a large baby. If a forceps or vacuum delivery is necessary we ask it’s done without an episiotomy.

·         Delivery – If the delivery is uncomplicated, the father may like to assist in catching the baby, we greatly appreciated this offer by the birth attendant in our previous hospital delivery. We do not know the sex of the baby, the father would like to announce it.

Labor Wishes in Stage 3

·         Immediately Following Birth – We want our baby placed on the mother’s chest for skin to skin contact, even before the cord is cut. Any routine evaluations can be done on the mother or be delayed. If complications prevent the mother from having skin to skin with baby we ask the father takes the baby for skin to skin instead.

·       The Umbilical Cord – Please do not clamp the cord until the cord has stopped pulsing. Delayed cord clamping has positive effects on fetal iron stores, total red blood cell volume, and postpartum fetal blood pressure. The father would like to cut it.

·         Breastfeeding – The mother wishes to nurse her baby immediately. Breastfeeding stimulates oxytocin production which is aid in the delivery in the placenta and stop postpartum bleeding.

·         The Placenta – We do not want the placenta, but we would like to see it and take pictures of it.

Newborn Care

·         Rooming – We would like a private room. We want all medical procedures done at bedside. If our baby does need to be taken away for any reason, one or both of us would like to accompany him. We want our hospital stay to be as short as possible.

·         Eye Ointment – We would like eye ointment to not be applied until the end of the first hour after birth. We want erythromycin to be used, not silver nitrate.

·         Bottles & Pacifiers Please do not offer any bottles to the baby without parents' notification of a medical need. No pacifiers or artificial nipples please.

·         First Bath – We do not want our baby bathed.

·         Circumcision – If we have a son we will not be circumcising him.

Thank you for taking the time to help us achieve a natural childbirth for our third baby!

It went so well. Only issues, apparently fetal scalp blood sampling isn't really done anymore... so once again I made myself look a little dumb by having old information. Totally not as bad as the enema encounter at SVMH though. Also, they don't like video of the actual birth, like SVMH. I think we can work with that, but I will be bringing it up again because I really want that moment that we find out if we have a little boy or girl recorded.

I hope this wasn't all too good to be true, because honestly so many of his comments were shockingly fantastic. He asked if I had a doula and when I said no said "we really like our mothers to have doulas, but it shouldn't be a problem, you sound well prepared." He was totally fine with me delivering in whatever position I wanted (ie, not on my back). He mentioned having wanted to attend the recent Midwives Alliance of North America conference that I went to and that he recently watched and loved The Business of Being Born. Part of me wondered if he was reading from the "in case of natural mama" script... but with so many people saying to many wonderful things, I think this may be the real deal.

So, I think I'm sold. I still need to tour the hospital, but I feel really good about all this.

Here's my 23 week pic, all ready to go celebrate 5 years of marriage with Eric

Baby is grapefruit... or giant onion sized.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Baby III Week 22: Mid-pregnancy Nest Fest

22 Weeks

I'm on turbo drive and it's a fantastic change of pace from beached whale drive.

I decided that the bathroom neeeeeeeded to be remodeled before this baby gets here... most importantly, that it's demolded. It's gross, there's mold under the disintegrating sealant in the shower and the moldy walls are literally crumbling into the tub below. We typically would take on this job ourselves, but with Eric working so much there is no time, so we called Skip Wilcox at 3W Builders. I know his wife, they are super cool people, and I like giving business to cool people whenever possible.

So Skip comes out and we show him the bathroom, and decide as long as he's here, we'll show him the kitchen which needs to be done some time in the future. About 5 minutes into the conversation I decide the kitchen has to be done now. Like... can we demo tonight? It really makes perfect sense, my daycare is down to one kid until December, I don't have a newborn, the project should take 6 or so weeks...

I also show him where we want to move the laundry into the hall from the garage... it's If You Give a Cori a Cookie all over again... and yes I was pregnant when I posted that one... and yes I got my new front door.

Skip leaves and I'm pumped, because seriously, our oven could burst into flames any day now and occasionally our range actually does. Eric is less so.

Now I'm the more frugal one in the family, so don't start thinking I'm one of those wives that goes crazy with my husband's money. Last night I had a significant meltdown in Costco because our tv broke, it would be $400 to fix it, and Eric said it would be $500 to get a new one of the same quality. So I think, new one for just $100 more, duh... Eric hears "new" and goes for the $1500 tv, which is his reasonable compromise tv by the way... He's shocked I'd consider the $500 (it's actually $599, so he falsely advertised it to me) tv and make us "suffer with a shitty tv" for another 7 years, I can't believe he wants to spend $1500 on a tv, which we have zero time to watch anyway, and does not serve any kind of truly important role in our family esp when we have an oven in menopause that seriously cannot make it through a batch of cookies without a hot flash. That tv is an oven and a half of a new fridge!

We are getting the cheap (cheaper, I don't think $600 is cheap) tv.

Back to after Skip leaves though. So Eric is skeptical over doing the kitchen, he is the one that sees our bank account after all... and he also is the only one who has seen it since we bought his new car (2008 Prius! Just in time for gas to hit $4.50). We went over what we have saved and I think we have a plan. Normally we try to pay cash for everything, so we take out of our savings and then replenish it, and since Eric should be working for a while, that should not be a problem. However, things happen, and I can see why he is concerned with taking out too much so I think to be super safe we are going to get a loan from our credit union, which should thrill the loan guy there because he loves Eric, he even stops him at Wal-mart to talk to him. Eric's charms are irresistible to all.

So now we are both happy and I can satisfy my need to prepare my nest. Some women paint and hang curtains, I rip out walls. It will be awesome.

In the meantime I am cleaning like crazy. I was cleaning in the garage until 1am. We are having a garage sale this weekend, purging is a big part of pregnancy for me.

So I think I'm up 4lbs from 20 weeks, kinda following the same pattern as the last pregnancy, it's not awesome but considering that I was training for a 10k last time and right now I'm not doing much more than walking, I feel good that I'm not gaining more. I guess no matter what my body just wants to gain in a certain pattern, which is kinda interesting.

Baby is a papaya this week. Fun fact, there are different kinds of papaya and some are very, very big. That's what Eric came home with... did he really think the baby was that big already? I should have held them both up so you can see the difference, but you can kinda tell how big the small papaya is, that's what I'm holding, then the comparison pic.

It's about newborn sized. Both are disgusting by the way...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Baby III Week 21: Surprises

21 Weeks

This week we got our ultrasound! We choose to go to Healthcare For Women for our ultrasounds because they have the best equipment and tech in my opinion. If there is anything wrong I'm confidant she will catch it. We would never go to one of those 3/4D ultrasounds that are done for entertainment purposes (those people are untrained, it's not considered safe, but it's not illegal), but it's an added perk that this ultrasound does 3D so we can get a better look at the baby's face. So meet Baby Gentry #3!

The ultrasound went great. Baby is measuring right on (a little big in the torso, we have a chunky baby) and everything looks perfect, even the placenta, which was a huge relief because my last placenta was huge with extra lobes and a velamentous cord insertion, all of which may have had to do with my postpartum hemorrhage+ after delivering Ash and the placenta. So, good news! 

No we don't know if baby is a boy or a girl, a few people (other than God and the baby) do though! My friend, Jasmine, that I visited in New York for her birth last month said I should send her what the baby is so she can make gender specific stuff for the baby (she sews, check out her shop, Cherished Style). Her suggestion was so crazy because for some reason I was thinking how fun and random it would be to send the results to her. I wont see her before the birth so I couldn't read it on her face, and she doesn't know my family so no one can get to her (though I realize they could always facebook harass her, don't please!). I love fun random things so I told the tech to write down the results and we literally drove straight to the post office and sent it before I could tear into it myself! I was afraid to even look in the direction of that little yellow taped up post-it. Jasmine didn't know that I had sent it, it was fun surprising her!

It will be fun to be able to bring whatever little gender specific thing she dreams up in a box and open it after the birth!

I had my first ever chiropractor appointment this week. He said I have inflammation in my back and now I've been icing. I feel a ton better... though I hate icing.

Baby is super active, his or her kicks feel like tiny little bombs going off that rumble my tummy, it's very different. Forgot to weigh myself, I say I'm probably up another pound or two though.

Baby is the size of a pomegranate, I guess we must be going by weight not length or something. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

An Induction, a Beautiful Birth, & a Retained Placenta - a little graphic, a lot amazing.

I've been sharing birth stories from moms in Monterey County, but I just had to share the birth of my friend's baby, Ziva Claire, even though they had her in New York. This is the first person I've met with a retained placenta. It's something that I don't love reading about in my books because it always makes me a little queasy, so knowing a mom that actually experienced it just makes me want to bow down to her. If you ever meet Ali Enoch, buy her a drink, or at least give her a high five. For the squeamish mamas, this one is a little graphic.

Ziva’s Story

Day 1:
So, I went in for the induction on June 15 at 41 weeks and 4 days.  I really didn’t want to do the induction because I knew it went against everything I wanted – laboring at home, no IVs, no monitors, etc.  But, the midwives pointed out that I was healthy now and that we’d have a better outcome if I did it. 

41w4d, off to the hospital!
We got there around 6:45pm and waited and waited.  I went to triage, a nurse blew 2 veins trying to hook me up to an IV.  I told her she had one more chance or I was going home.  She brought in another nurse who got me right in the side of the wrist so now I was weirded out to move my hand/put too much pressure on my wrist for the next few days.  Oh well. 

Mark and I were brought to a room.   I got hooked up to the fetal and contraction monitor.  Jessica, a midwife I knew, inserted the cervidil around 10pm.  They gave me some benedryl so I could sleep but it was so uncomfortable and I was so completely aware of the monitor and IV that I barely slept.  I also kept getting horrible heartburn.  Mark was stuck on a recliner that barely reclined and they didn’t have a sheet or pillow for him. 

The nurse, Pam, came in and woke Mark up at one point to show him that I was having tiny contractions.  “Look Mark, Ali has hills!”  Because we kept watching the other rooms and seeing all the strong contractions while my line was pretty flat.

Day 2:
Another midwife, also named Pam, who I’d never met, was on duty.  She removed my cervidil and told us the bad news – no progress.  Still maybe 50% effaced and 1 cm dilated.  She asked if I wanted to eat or start the second cervidil.  It was already noon so I didn’t want to eat and then have to wait until 4pm to insert the cervidil – I opted for the liquid diet (Italian ices, broth, juice) and just went for the cervidil.

That afternoon my mom and sister showed up.  By the evening I was sitting on a birthing ball and bouncing and rocking around and starting to feel random contractions.  We were all thinking maybe I could do this without the dreaded pitocin. 

A new midwife was on that night to take out my cervidil – Ann.  I liked her.  She checked me and said I was fully thinned out and about 2cms.  Slow progress but progress none the less.  She told me to get something to eat and we’d wait an hour or two before starting pitocin because maybe my body would take over on its own. 

Mark and Melissa went down to the cafĂ© to get me food while my mom hung around.  This was around midnight.  My body was kicking into labor.  By the time they got back I was getting uncomfortable.  Contractions were coming around 3-4 minutes apart – they weren’t painful, they were just there.  I ended up eating about an inch of the bagel and couldn’t stomach any more of it.  The midwife came in excited I was having contractions but when she checked me there was no difference. 

She suggested we start the pitocin.  Mark asked if there was something I could have to help me sleep for a little bit because I was already exhausted.  She suggested Stadol.    I just let them do it since I was so tired.

I slept solidly for about 2 hours.  Then the contractions started to hurt like hell.  I would wake up and scream to Mark “Get the nurse, something is broken!” and by the time he could turn his head I would be passed out.  I had incredibly vivid 2 minute dreams and would try to explain them to Mark but instead would say things like “new appliances” or “Mark you’re wrong,” He was confused and amused.  He sat by my bed and rubbed my leg and tried to comfort me during every contraction.  They were coming probably around 2-3 minutes apart. 

Day 3: Friday
Sometime that morning, the midwife suggested that we call the doula cause it was going to start getting rough for me.  I remember Mark saying that Danielle was on her way and then it felt like hours until she showed up – really it was about an hour.  I also kept saying I wanted to get up and pee.  They wouldn’t let me walk cause of all the drugs so the nurse wanted to give me a bedpan.  I refused but kept insisting I was fine enough to get up and walk.  Luckily, I was way too out of it to even try to get out of bed on my own. 

The midwife came in to check me around 8am and I was 3cm dilated but the baby was still -2.  Her head was caput?  Basically her head was starting to form to my cervix – generally this doesn’t happen so early on unless it’s a huge head/baby or your body just isn’t going to work.  This really wasn’t great news at all.  The baby was starting to have a few heart decels as well.  All things were not going well but I was trying.  I was crying cause of all the pain.

The midwife said she’d come back in 3 hours to check me again.  I turned to Mark and Danielle and said “I can’t do this.  The thought of three more hours of this is unbearable.  I just can’t.”  But I really didn’t want the epidural.  All signs were pointing to me ending up with a c-section even if I wasn’t aware of it at that point.  I didn’t want to go through 3 days of pain and then get an epidural.  Why not just get it now so I’m comfortable.   I was standing and sleeping between contractions.  Mark and Danielle were holding me up while I slept and providing hip pressure/rubbing when I had contractions.   Mark, although he didn’t want to, suggested an epidural.  I said "yes get me one now."  The pitocin is a bitch and my contractions were still about 2 minutes apart.  There was no real break. 

The anesthesiologist came in and read me a consent form.  I started crying.  I was scared and everyone had to leave the room.  It wasn’t nearly as bad as I had imagined.  It felt like seconds but apparently it was close to an hour before Mark and Danielle could come back in.

When they did I said “Look at me, I’m just riding the rollercoaster of interventions!  We all know where this will end up”  I’m always so positive.   The epidural was fantastic and allowed me to relax.  I was checked again and was 7cm dilated but the baby was still -2.  I was so excited.  I was progressing. 

Melissa and my mom showed up and I told them.  They were super excited.  I told Melissa I was beating her and she was happy.  The nurses didn’t love that I had 4 people with me but the midwives didn’t care.  Melissa was going to leave once I was ready to push so it would just be Mark, my mom, and Danielle.  They were fine with that.  We mostly sat around talking and chatting.  I know they left to get food at some point. 

Goldie came back in and checked me again before her shift was over.  She said I had an anterior lip and the baby was -1 station.  Goldie quickly went over the caput thing again with the baby’s head, she mentioned shoulder dystocia, and other bad things that could happen – just so I’d be prepared.  It sounds crazy, but I did appreciate it.  She also mentioned that, at some point, my water had broken because it was nowhere to be found.  I never felt it break so I have no idea how/when that happened.

At one point, Mark went to get food and the baby’s oxygen levels were decreasing.  He walked back in the room and a ton of people were there moving me (I had no control to move my body) and rolling me on my side, I had an oxygen mask on and it was scary.  He had no idea what was going on so he freaked out a little bit (reasonably so).  But, once I rolled onto my left side, everything was okay.  They could monitor the baby, I just had to be on oxygen so the baby could get it easier.  Easy enough.  (Side note, months later Mark told me that they were wheeling a bed into my room because they were about to rush me into an emergency c-section but the midwife stopped them and repositioned me.  I’m grateful for that).

We sat around like this for a few more hours.  Susan came on shift.  She was the first midwife I met with and was the one who set up the induction for Wednesday.  I was glad to see her.   She told me she’d come and check soon but if I felt constant pressure to poop that probably meant I was ready to push and to let someone know.  I was excited and scared at the thought of pushing. 

I was definitely feeling pressure.  Melissa was so excited that I was in pain WITH an epidural.  Everyone would take turns holding my hand or rubbing my side/leg.  It was nice.  I just felt incredibly supported.  I was still scared of having to push out a baby (or it getting stuck) but I felt very loved.  Mark put on the soothing/slow songs labor mix he had made for me.  It was all calming.  Finally, I was getting uncomfortable a lot more often.  A few times I felt my body push without me doing anything – that was weird.  The nurse said Susan would be in soon but it took about an hour.  She checked me – baby was +1.  She said we could start pushing. 

I was so confused.  How could we be pushing already?  They told me how to do it.  Mark grabbed a leg and Danielle grabbed the other.  The nurse was annoying me and kept telling me when to breathe and push which I didn’t love but I just went with it.  There was a shift change at one point that nurse left and Pam (the nurse from the first night) came in all excited that she could be there for the beginning and the end.  Melissa stayed in the room but out of the midwife’s way and my mom was all about staring at my crotch every time I pushed.  Very weird haha. 

Between contractions they had been putting my legs down, it got to the point where I’m like no you need to keep holding them up!  The baby’s head was crowning.. the energy in the room was getting excited.  I wanted contractions to come quicker so I could get the baby out already.  I just wanted to know what he/she was!  The baby’s head was almost out.  They asked if I wanted to touch it.  I said "No I want to push it out shut up!"   Susan said “The baby’s head is out Ali, you’re doing great.” I kind of freaked out.  I kept thinking about giant baby shoulders and the baby getting stuck then I said “Oh fuck I want this thing out of me” and gave a good push and the baby came flying out.  I yelled “Holy shit I pushed it out!  I did it!  What is it??”  Susan turned the baby to Mark and said “well, Mark what’s your baby” and he’s said "It’s a boy!"  We all yelled "It’s a boy OMG It’s a boy!"  Susan was like "Mark, look again!"  (it was all very confusing, I would’ve done the same thing)  Mark was like "It’s a girl! " The room erupted in cheers again all yelled "It’s a girl it’s a girl!!"  Unfortunately, she had pooped so the NICU was there and Mark couldn’t cut the cord and she couldn’t go directly on me.  I just stared at her until she started crying and Susan kept saying "She’s doing great, Ali she’s doing great!"

Once she was crying (APGAR was 8 and 9) Mark got to hold her and you could just see the love on his face as he brought her over to me.   He handed her over and I started to cry.  I did it.  I pushed a baby out!  I took every freaking intervention offered to me (and even the epidural that wasn’t) and was still able to do it!  I was there for 48 hours and pushed for a little over an hour.  Ziva Claire was born at 7:35pm on June 17, 2011 and weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce and was 19.75 inches long.

It was an amazing feeling.  Unfortunately, although I can push a baby out, I cannot push a placenta out.  We tried for about 45 minutes to an hour and finally the midwife said she had to call a doctor in because it wasn’t coming out.  I wasn’t really sure what that would entail but part of me is glad they didn’t warn me.  The doctor (luckily a small woman) suited up and literally stuck her arm in and up (between her elbow and her shoulder) and pulled out my placenta.  For all I know she was tickling my tonsils at this point.

I know I was very quiet/calm/relaxed while pushing out Ziva  (my sister took video and I’m barely making noises)– at this point I was screaming bloody murder and damning everyone to hell.  I know Mark was holding my hand and kept trying to press my epidural button (I was later told that it had already worn off by this point that’s why it was so horrible).  Melissa and Danielle were on either side of me trying to calm me, make me breathe, and literally hold me down.  The doctor was using such force that the bed was moving.  She yelled to the nurse to lock the bed and that’s when the nurse yelled “It is locked!”.  I’m pretty sure it was at this point when Mark said blood was just pouring out of me.  Lovely, right?

Once that was over, you’d think they’d let me rest.  Nope.  Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum decide to come in and do my stitches.  They had no idea what they were doing.  It hurt like hell and I kept screaming at them.  My sister said it looked like how she would stitch someone up – meaning that they had NO idea what they were doing and were just randomly pulling and stitching.  I started yelling at them to just “Fucking stop.  Maybe if you give it a break I’ll stop bleeding on my own.” This was shortly after they told me I was very tense and should relax.  I wanted to kick them in the head.  Finally, they decided it’d be easier if I just went to the operating room for a “quick 10-20 minute procedure.” 

I got wheeled in, the anesthesiologist gave me drugs so I wouldn’t feel anything.  He also nicely rubbed my head throughout the operation and kept me calm/sane whenever I was actually awake.  I was shaking from being cold and having lost a ton of blood so he got me a warm blanket.  I remember the surgeon came in, looked down and said “What happened here?”  At that point, I just closed my eyes because I didn’t want to hear anything else.  The midwife came in and held my hand and talked to me for a while.  Finally, I was done – after about 2 hours of stitching and bleeding.  I was on my way to recovery.  But, I couldn’t see Ziva since she was already released to postpartum with Mark.  I cried. 

I was stuck in recovery from midnight until 12:30pm the next day and they wouldn’t let me see Ziva.  Mark texted me pictures because I was crying and upset .  The nurse was cleaning me up and telling me all about Ziva and how pretty she was and how awesome of a job I did.  I was trying to remain positive, I pushed my little girl out, but I was hooked up to so many machines and monitors that it was incredibly hard to stay positive.  Especially when the woman next to me in recovery had a c-section and was in and out within 2-3 hours and could see her baby.  I was still stuck there.

In the end, Ziva was born at 7:35pm and I got to be with her for a little bit.  Once the placenta issue happened I didn’t hold her again until the next day at 12:30pm and that sucked.  I had a horrible nurse yell at me around 1pm that I wasn’t feeding her enough and she should be latched for 10 minutes on each side.  I calmly tried telling her that I hadn’t seen her in 16 hours so she didn’t know who I even was.

I was given a ton of fluid, my legs/feet were so swollen I couldn’t walk for days and cried getting in/out of bed or going up/down the stairs.  I ended up gaining 15lbs by the time I got home from the hospital.  I know I was given platelets in the OR and they wanted to do a blood transfusion as well but I opted out of that.  Instead, I took iron pills twice a day for the next 6-8ish weeks.  Breastfeeding didn’t work out like I wanted it to, but, with the blood loss and everything we went through, I’m lucky to be alive.  I’m okay with not really breastfeeding her at this point.  In fact, at 3am, it was rather nice to roll over and say to Mark “It’s your turn” and then go back to sleep.