Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Hey I'm not flipping light switches so shut up

I told myself I wasn't going to weigh myself for a month, remember?

Guess what happened.

I lasted 5 days.

Then I felt bad that I broke my vow and I didn't for 2 days, then I did... then 2 more days... then I did again... so I told Eric to get rid of it. He returned it to Costco (it was 3 years old, basically we don't buy from Costco, we borrow). Ahhh.... relief... look at my amazing self control! I am going to be such balanced spirit of light and self love.


For like a day.

Every morning after that I'd get up ready to find out how I was going to feel that day, and there was nothing to measure my success from the previous day by! It was like I was like life didn't count if I couldn't measure it. If I felt thinner I wanted to know how well I had done, and I felt fatter I wanted to know how bad. I started measuring and trying to see my weight in the mirror, seeing slight differences but not sure and wanting to know what it all means!!! Pretty sure that's totally missing the point right? I didn't care, I know it was totally compulsive. If I didn't do it I couldn't stop thinking about it and if I'd just do it I'd feel a little better... but a number would reaaally make me feel better.

So last week I couldn't take it and I sent Eric out for a scale. Not like... maybe we'll get a scale this weekend... it was GET ME A SCALE NOW!

This is all pathetic right? But here's my thing...

I force myself to face fears, be logical and rational and challenge myself 90% of the time. But 10% of the time I have to look myself in the mirror and say "You are crazy... but I'll give you this one." Eric goes camping with my brothers and friends on this mountain near a cliff. Like... you can see the cliff from your tent. I refuse to go. I know it's stupid, but I think I'll fall off. I don't know how... maybe I'll get up to pee and go towards the cliff instead of away from it but I just know I'd be lying in my sleeping bag thinking about that cliff... so though I love camping, I sit that one out. For every 9 controlled and rational decisions I make I allow myself to indulge in just one of my neuroses.

I have my scale back and I feel so much better. Maybe someday down the road I'll try this again, but right now I'm not ready. Think what you will about me, but doing something as irrational as weighing myself 4 times in a day somehow provides balance right now.... it could be worse.

Selfie with my friend.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ten Reasons Why Moms Should Run

On Saturday I went for my first long run since Indy was born. Five miles along the Monterey Bay coastline, I even took on the crazy switchback hill without slowing down. On the drive home I felt amazing, and all kinds reasons why all moms should run kept popping into my head.

So.... Why moms should run:

  1. Even if you work outside the home you need to exist somewhere that is not home, work, or the places between them... and I've been there... I know that's your life. If you stay home you need an escape that is not the bathroom... if that even counts when little arms are reaching under the door. You need to be in the world, outside, in the scenery, a part in a happy moving community along the rec trail.

  2. It's a mini adventure if you do it right. I hate when people list all the things they want to accomplish before they have kids, as if life ends with childbirth. It's a self fulfilling prophecy. Stop that. Once a week I go run someplace different. I don't just step out my front door and weave through the streets I know too well, I get in the car and pick a beach, a trail, or I even just drive 10 minutes to another neighborhood... it's different and it's enough of an adventure for me. Escape a loose dog or aggressive sea lion... bonus adventure!

  3. When was the last time you spent your Saturday morning driving home kinda sweaty and totally spent? Thought those days were done huh? They don't have to be. And no hangover!

  4. Running is a mental challenge, and after singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star 20,000 times last week, you could use a mental challenge. Tons of people say they can't run, they'd die... six miles are you INSANE? That's all in your head. I swear. Have you SEEN me? I have no business lacing up my Brooks and acting like I can do anything more athletic than rolling down a hill. But I got it in my head that I was gonna be a runner. Half a mile in I want to quit... every. single. time. And at a mile, and two and three but the somewhere between those miles you get to be in awe of what you are doing. How often do you get to be in awe of you?

  5. There comes a time when you have to stop seeing your body for what it looks like and see it for what it can do. When I'm taking on a gnarly hill the last thing I'm thinking about is the dermatitis on my arms or the loose skin on my tummy. Really. It all becomes about muscles and breathing and going just a little farther or a little faster and whatever the scale says at home doesn't matter because look at what you just did! You get to obsess over your body in a totally new kind of way.

  6. Food tastes better after a run. True story.

  7. I love to read, but in this home picking up a book is a signal for Ash to suddenly scream like his limbs are being removed from the backyard, or for Milo to climb into my lap and demand Row Row Row Your Boat til I forget what day it is, or for everyone to suddenly be starving. Books don't happen here. So how did I get through all of the Hunger Games or keep caught up on my favorite podcasts? Running.

  8. Moms should have at least one non-motherhood related community to be apart of, and the running community is an amazing one to join. I love my kids and getting them together with other kids, but lets face it, play groups aren't always the best for mom's self esteem... at least not mine. Between the mompeditors and gossip, there's usually a landmine or two ready to be stepped on when you get a group of moms together... and without fail I'll find each and every one of them. But when you join up with a group of runners there's no kids to judge you by and I've personally only found other runners encouraging and welcoming, even if I can't quite keep up! You can join training groups to benefit a cause or ask around about casual group of runners that just love hitting the trail with company.

  9. If running for yourself doesn't appeal to you, run for your kids. This is not a guilt thing, it's just an information thing. Working your cardiovascular system is so important to leading a long and healthy life. No matter how many door slams or "I hate you's" you endure, I guarantee your kids want you there to see them get married and have babies and you want to be there when they figure out you were right all along. You need to work your heart if you want it to stay healthy. Running also benefits your bones,  joints, blood pressure and runners are less likely to get many types of cancers. I like studies and numbers... and the numbers show that runners live longer, and that's more time with my kids.

  10. Because I need someone to run with. So... consider it.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Kill Your Scale

Do you have one of those friends that makes you think too much? Someone who puts a wrench in your perfectly constructed ideas about the world? I do, and her name is Janie. When she posts I always resist clicking because that link is going to probably lead me to a place where I question everything... and I have laundry and dishes to do... I don't have time to question everything.

But if you know me... you know I click.

Janie is a believer in Health At Every Size (HAES) and Intuitive Eating (IE) and I don't get it. It doesn't fit in my brain. Basically you just accept yourself as is, and for some people that will be fat, and they think they are healthy. Because my fat is symptom of my PCOS, to me fat is bad, always. Fat is messing with my hormones, my hormones are making me fatter and it's all going to kill me so I spend a lot of time fighting the cycle. So to have someone posting links to bloggers who are fat, and not trying to lose weight, and claim they are healthy... AND happy... it blows. my. mind.

I don't find IE shocking. Diets whose purpose is to help you drop weight fast are barely on my radar... like South Beach, Atkins, crazy stuff like the Cabbage Soup Diet (that soup is totally good though)... when I meet someone doing The Zone or anything like that I'm like "OMG... you guys still exist? Please... let me show you to the museum where you belong." We know that crap does not work long term... it'll make you  miserable and sick. But I do believe in finding what kind of diet, lifestyle... whatever... works for you and going with it. Listen to your body. Don't choose a pattern of eating because so and so got skinny doing it... do it because it's what appeals to you and makes you feel good.

But this HAES business... I really don't understand being fat and comfortable or fat and healthy. I want to believe those people (some of the blogs I've read are Dances With FatBody Love Wellness, and Shapely Prose, maybe half a dozen posts from each) are liars trying to fool themselves into feeling good about giving up. That's how much this doesn't fit in my head, that that's the best way I can justify their perspective. And what... I'm healthier for what I'm doing right?

So what am I doing?

I'm eating what I love, lots of roasted veggies, fresh fruit, sweet potatoes, yogurt, beans and quinoa until I feel satisfied.

Working out 6 days a week. Running, yoga, and lifting... heavy. I'm not going to be afraid of muscles. I want to be strong.

I want to lose 40 pounds. I'm weighing myself every morning... and then after I work out... and sometimes after I pee... and then again before bed... and a visualize what I want the scale to be the next day.

yeah... wait for it... I'll get there...

I read this post today and it was a definite tap... tap... face punch moment. Body Love Wellness blogger Golda Poretsky interviewed Biggest Loser season 3 finalist Kai Hibbard on what it's really like on the ranch. It hit me kinda hard because there are times when I step on the scale and think "I'm working so hard, why can't I pull those numbers, or ever half that," referring to the ridiculous losses the Biggest Loser contestants experience. I know it's a show, but I want to believe it's real the way I know my husband want's to believe WWE wrestling is real. But just as my husband argues you can't fake some things those wrestlers do, the contestants can't be faking those results right?

I didn't expect this though:
I didn’t learn how to dehydrate until I got on the ranch. It was every week.  Every single week, this is what a weigh-in would look like: the real weigh-ins were at 10 o’clock in the morning and they were on a cattle scale at the ranch and they weren’t filmed... Most, if not everybody, had cut their water about 24 hours beforehand, if not 24 hours then at least by 5 o’clock the afternoon before.  And then, you would drink coffee if you had anything the night before, because (a) it would clean your system out and (b) it would dehydrate you. 
So after you did the 2 hours of working out in full sweat, sweating off as much as you can, you would go back to the house, shower, blow dry your hair, and strip down to the lightest clothing you could find, which was usually spandex shorts and a sports bra.  Then you’d go downstairs and you’d weigh yourself in and the second you got off that scale you would chug water because you were so dehydrated.
... it was [trainer] Kim [Lyons]‘s first season, and I remember Kim having a conversation with [trainer] Bob [Harper] where she said, and she said it to her team, ‘You know, look, let’s do this the right way this season — no dehydrating, let’s just do it the healthy way.’  And Bob completely agreed to it.  Then, right before our very first weigh in, Kim came over to us and she said, ‘Guys, I’m really, really, really sorry.  I know that Bob and I agreed not to dehydrate our teams, but I’m watching Bob, and if you look right now, he’s dehydrating his team.  And if you guys don’t dehydrate, you don’t stand a chance.  You’re going to get picked off one by one and have to leave.  And that’s when it started.
There's a lot more like this too, I highly recommend you read the posts: part 1part 2, and part 3.

My Biggest Loser envy stopped cold. Bob... reeaaaaally? Bob?!? But all I had to do was remember my trainers that I worked with (as a client then a colleague) years ago. They were really, really nice people, but they admitted to following and recommending starvation diets (less than 1000 calories) and suggested I look into liposuction when I was concerned about my weight jeopardizing my future as a fitness professional. They weren't evil, they just believed the means always justified the ends. Anything was healthier than being fat.
So what... did I become a HAES convert today? No, not yet... because I'm still not convinced that excess weight does not lead to more health issues. And I don't think I'll ever stop pursuing "my healthy weight." I'm listening though.

Kai's closed with this:
"Kill your scale.  It’s ridiculous to measure your worth based on a number in a little box that you get on in the morning.  It’s absolutely ridiculous. "
While I don't measure my self worth with a scale, I do measure my success. I know it's wrong, I know you gain muscle... etc etc... but you aren't going to stay at 200lbs and really change your body composition that much. So I weigh myself to see that I'm doing things right. Compulsively. If I get a high number, I get sad. Food doesn't make me sad, a missed work out doesn't make me sad... but that number does. So I'm not going to weigh myself for a month. The world is probably going to end, and I'll probably have some kind of anxiety over it... but maybe I'll reach some kind of enlightenment... without starving under a tree...

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Longest Week That's Ever Happened... Ever...

I'm not particularly skilled at being private, this blog is evidence of that. Sometimes I scroll back to posts from my college years and I cringe a little at how candid I was at times, but for me, once something is out there I don't have to worry about it anymore. I need therapy and I just choose to publish my issues instead of paying someone to listen to them.

Anyhow... I really should have started this post earlier in the week.

I had my postpartum check-up two weeks ago today. The OB said I looked like I had never had a child (lies) and that I was good to, as Amy Hayes puts it, "swim and screw." 

*fair warning, if you don't know a lot about fertility and the female body... some gross stuff might be ahead*

We aren't really using birth control. I'm allergic to latex and spermicide, please don't even suggest sheep skin, and hormonal birth controls wreak all kinds of havoc in my body. So we use natural family planning... tracking my cycle, watching for fertile cervical mucus, open cervix... and we just don't have sex when I'm ovulating. It works if you have any level of self control, we happen to have a thread and it somewhat gets us by between babies.

So of course we take advantage of getting the green light that same day and the next morning... egg whites, ie fertile cervical mucus. I check my cervix and it's wide open! I actually yelled "Are you kidding me? Fucking cervix!" 

It takes quite some time for most women to ovulate when they are breastfeeding, some don't ovulate at all until they wean, but usually only if you are nursing frequently. Indy nurses every 4-6 hours, sometimes longer. I knew I could ovulate... but really... what am I going to do? I rather get pregnant than suffer through what birth control does to me and I rather get pregnant than set my alarm and pump in the middle of the night because Indy wants his beauty rest. All seems like a reasonable risk until you are 7dpo (days past ovulation) and are light headed, nauseated, and spotting (possible implantation?), and you are 8dpo and the nausea is now accompanied with food aversions and then at 9dpo this happens:

I don't expect gasps, the line was very light but in person, Eric even said he saw it. But, the test was expired, and I've never had a "squinter." All my tests have been clearly negative then at 14dpo, or with Indy, not until 16dpo, I get a clear positive. Eric and I still freaked out. I didn't even get ONE drink!

I shared the picture with other moms that I knew loved squinting at tests and most of us were pretty certain we saw a line. I needed another test. I sent Eric out for one that night and Amy tossed some in the mail for me. My next test I took at night instead of the morning and there was no line. A whole day passed while I waited for Amy's tests to arrive (agony). When they arrived I took one immediately. At 5 minutes there was no line... but then a few hours later I went to the bathroom, noticed it on the counter, picked it up to toss it... and there was a line! I googled how long was too long for a line to "count" and I read 10 minutes. I took another test and at just under 10 minutes there was a light line, but it didn't look pink, so it could be an evaporation line. Ugh. I felt like my body was a magic 8 ball and every time I peed on a stick I got a "maybe" or "check back later."

In the meantime I am nauseated, exhausted, experiencing dizzy spells, would rather die than go near a lettuce leaf and my left ovary is throbbing. It was like that first week before we found out I was pregnant with Indy all over again. You all know how I feel about blood and needles, yesterday I was seriously considering going in for a blood test to confirm or rule out pregnancy once and for all... at this point I don't even care what the answer is, I just want to understand what is happening.

So... tomorrow is 14dpo, the absolute soonest I've ever had a positive... if I get negatives up through Monday (16dpo, the latest I've had a positive) I'll feel confidant that Indy will not have an Irish twin and Eric is taking me out for a drink... or three.

Update: My friend Anna gave me a fancy shmancy First Response test and it was negative! No little occupants quite yet and I don't have to bemoan the fact that I didn't even get one drink between pregnancies.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Welcome Indiana

Eric wanted to title this "Indiana Gentry and the Womb of Doom" but since he already got to name our baby Indiana, I'm going to at least draw the line at my uterus being referred to as the Womb of Doom.

Here is the story of how we met our third baby, Indy.

I wanted very much for this birth to begin spontaneously. Despite having gestational diabetes for the third time, it was completely diet controlled and my doctor, midwife, and I believed baby was not overly big and that we were both healthy. However, as 42 weeks came and went it looked like an induction may be the best option for me considering my medical history. We had a 9:00pm appointment for February 22nd, 42 weeks and 1 day, but Natividad Labor and Delivery called and said their rooms were full. They'd call us when they had space. We heard from them again just before midnight.

The first doctor we saw was a resident, Dr. Davis. She explained that she was a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) and I immediately felt more comfortable with her. I didn't know much about DO's, but I did know they were more hands on like a chiropractor or midwife. She was the first doctor to palpate my belly during my exam. She felt my head and throat and did a cervical check. I was 5cm dilated, 50% effaced, and baby was -1 to -2 station. Her recommendation was to start Pitocin at a low dose and I agreed.

I requested an anesthesiologist to place my IV since I am sensitive to blood and needles and needed someone who could be quick. A nurse anesthetist was sent in, not the same but whatever. The first thing she did was mock me for having tattoos but being sensitive over needles. Again, not the same... but whatever. I should have sent her out then but I didn't. She placed the IV and said, "see, it's ok to look" but I looked up at Eric instead and he shook his head no. She then realized that she needed to replace it, I started to feel dizzy and said I needed a break. She gripped my hand and started looking for a vein and I said no, I needed some time. She didn't let go right away, but eventually did, maybe irritated over the fact that she wasn't allowed to complete her challenge. Some medical professionals seem to forget we are people, not puzzles.

An hour later I was ready to try again with another nurse. She placed the IV quickly but it was excruciating. I started to feel like I was going to pass out and I told her to remove it. Eric and I decided to walk for a while so I could calm down.

Back in the room we met another doctor, a fellow, Dr. Rushton. She simply introduced herself as Jill, she was a very calm presence. She thought I was a little less dilated, 4cm. I told her we wanted to think about our options a little more. It had already been a long night so Eric and I rested a bit. I eventually got up to walk by myself while Eric slept. My nurse, Ruby, stopped me in the hall and said that we could just go ahead and break my water. I think she and the doctors knew that I was going to have a very hard time attempting an IV again.

My friend Anna arrived. She was interested in becoming a birth photographer and doula and my birth was going to be her first other than her own to attend. She was visiting family in Fresno and drove three hours in the middle of the night to be with me. It was wonderful to not only have a friend but someone else who loved birth with me.

Dr. Davis and Dr. Rushton came in a little after 7am. They discussed who was going to get to break my water, then Dr. Davis was called out so Dr. Rushton won. There was no big gush like I experienced in the past. Even when I stood there was only a small trickle. I'm not sure which happened next, if Anna and I started walking or if I took a nap, but both happened. I thought I had napped forever, but it was only around 30 minutes. Despite being exhausted I was anxious to get labor going. I knew a lot could go wrong between a rupture and birth.

I woke Eric and told him we needed to do this. Once we were walking contractions picked up immediately and were about 4-2 minutes apart. I hated the feeling of having my water broken. Compared to my first natural birth where my membrane remained intact for most of my labor, these contractions were much stronger and even between contractions my whole pelvis was achy and uncomfortable. Despite the intensity I was encouraged that it looked like I wouldn't need Pitocin. When contractions came I stopped and hung on Eric, it was the only place I could somewhat relax. I focused on trying to let my belly hang the way I did in our second birth but no matter how hard I tried I couldn't quite get to that level of relaxation.

About two hours in, around 11:00am, my body began to bear down at the peak of contractions. I told Anna and Eric and they both said I sounded like I was pushing. I had felt this before, twice, and both times I was complete. Could we be there already? I told our new nurse, Caren, and asked if I should get checked and she said she wanted to monitor the baby and my contractions first, we had agreed to monitor for 20 minutes of every hour.

The contractions on the monitor were irregular and didn't look strong, but they felt overwhelming. I couldn't lay down, all I could do was sit on the edge of the bed and hold onto Eric. By noon my contractions were no longer building and peaking. I would get a very short indication one was coming and no matter how much I fought it or relaxed or panted, my body bore down with more intensity than I had ever experienced in my life. And not once, but three, four times in one contraction in varied intervals. I tried to maintain control through vocalizations but my moans were lost and I began whimpering sometimes screaming in pain.

At noon I was checked. I had fully effaced but I was still only 5cm and baby was -2 station. I was devastated and confused. I was terrified of these contractions. They were unpredictable and unlike anything I had ever heard of. I didn't know what I could do other than to get out of my head and just figure out how to work with them as they came. This is the birth I was given and I was meant to do this.

I sat on the edge of the bed and tried to relax as deeply as I could using Eric as support. I was so tired that I could almost fall asleep between contractions. I tried to stay as out of it for the early part of each contraction and not respond to the urges, but I lost every single battle and my body would begin its frantic heaving. I thought maybe the shower might help relax my body. I got in and Eric held my hand from just outside. I panicked if he wasn't in arms reach. I was able to focus on the water and be calm a little longer into each contraction, but each one still ended in frantic pushing. I kept looking down expecting to see blood or something awful. I felt like my body and the baby were crushing each other. Occasionally something in my pelvis popped or cracked at the peak of a push, I was sure either baby or I would be horribly injured. Everything that happened built upon my fear. I know of so many variations in labor and this was nothing I had ever heard of. I don't remember when I started to let myself cry, I was just so scared.

Jill, my midwife, arrived while I was in the shower. I don't remember if I even said hi when I came out. My brother, Jon, and his fiance, Lauren, came in too. That morning Lauren had said she wasn't coming and I didn't think my brother would want to so I was surprised, but too out of it to address it. I guess Eric had texted them again. I tried some more positions: leaning on the ball, on my hands and knees, lying on my side. While on my side my hip popped loudly again, Eric heard it too. He said I looked terrified and asked what did that. It felt like I was breaking. I sat on the edge of the bed and held onto Eric. Sometimes I would try to lean onto the bed because I was just so tired, I wanted to sleep, but I would bolt up in pain even if there was no contraction. Jill tried to prop pillows for me but I had to keep my torso totally upright. I could stand or sit straight.

By 3:00pm I knew in my head something had to be terribly wrong. I asked to be checked again. I believe I was 6cm, but baby still hadn't come down at all. Baby was not descending despite the immense pressure my body was putting on it.

When I told Eric I couldn't do this he reminded me that I already was. He knew exactly what to say. He, Jill, and Anna reminded me to eat and drink, made position suggestions, encouraged me, working as a web to support me. But they didn't know what was happening inside me. I started telling them they were all wrong, I wasn't doing this, something was wrong. I was on my hands and knees crying and Eric got in my face. I said something had to happen, I'm scared, something about my body is not right and I can't stop it. I need something to stop it. I knew an epidural was an option to relax these urges so baby could come down, but that meant IV, a blood test, and an entire route I desperately didn't want to take.

Even when I was screaming not a single nurse or doctor suggested pain medications. No one was about to let me give in. I let myself say I needed an epidural... Eric asked if I was sure and the nurse reminded me it would be at least 30 minutes for the blood test to get back. I said no, I don't want it, I'd get back in the shower. Minutes in I realized there was no way around it though. We had to do something to stop what was happening. Eric got that this wasn't giving in, we needed to do this.

I asked for Fentanyl before the nurse started the IV. It worked. It made me dizzy, as I knew it would, but it helped me get through the blood draw and IV.

I don't know how he did it, but the anesthesiologist was able to place the epidural between contractions. Even through my fog I was worried about what would happen if I began bearing down with a needle navigating my spine. The nurse said it would take about three contractions for it to take full effect. By the fourth contraction I felt baby descend. It had only been about 20 minutes. I was still pushing a little with every contraction, but much less and it was easier to resist the urge.

I was checked, baby was 0 station and I was complete. I could push.

As baby descended some pretty worrisome heart decelerations came up on the monitor. Another DO, Dr. Zwolack, came in and explained to me what has happening, but I knew. He didn't want to say it and I didn't want him to, but I needed to push this baby out or we needed to do a cesarean section. The conversation was not a threat, I really felt like he wanted me to have the vaginal birth I wanted.

I was given oxygen and started pushing. Baby was not staying on the monitor so the doctor asked if he could put a monitor on the baby's head and I agreed. I tried a few pushes on my back and on my side. Dr. Zwolack wanted me to push only every other contraction so that the baby had more time to recover. This didn't last long and it was decided that I needed to push baby out.

The doctor left and I asked the nurse for the squat bar. I barely felt numb and had no problem supporting myself. One contraction and three pushes and I was able to push baby to a near crown. I'm not sure I could have effectively brought baby down lying on my back. Dr. Zwolack was immediately called back in.

The doctor checked again, and I believe the OB, Dr. Heiner, came in as well. Whoever checked me was impressed, none of us knew if I could bring this baby down or not. I got on the bar again and pushed the baby to a crown. I reached down and felt a soft squishy head, squishier than I expected. The OB said that a caput had formed, some swelling in the scalp from being pressed against my cervix.

From here everything, and everyone, moved quickly. Dr. Heiner said they would not use a vacuum. If nature could not bring this baby down they would not force it, and I understood completely. That meant I pushed this baby out or they would do a c-section. No pressure. Baby was having a hard time for a reason and we did not know what that reason was. As the room filled the doctor explained there would be more people in the room than previously expected because baby was struggling.

I sat back and pushed. There was so much excitement in Eric's voice as he told me I was doing it and the head was right there that I knew I must have been really doing it. There were lots of voices encouraging me and I needed every one of them. It did not feel like I could get baby out. I think both doctors had their hands in me stretching and maneuvering.  I heard Dr. Heiner say to someone he was going to drain my bladder to make more room and the birth fanatic in me though "That's so cool, I wish I could see!" though the woman with a baby head halfway out of her thought "Oh my god what???"

With every contraction I pushed until I thought I was going to pass out. While the image of the woman on her back with her feet in the air stirs many negative feelings in the natural birth community, I really needed someone pushing my legs back like that. This baby just felt so big. Dr. Heiner said he did not want to cut an episiotomy but he would numb my perineum just in case. No scissors necessary, finally the head was out.

I heard Dr. Heiner say to clamp the cord. I immediately knew this meant the baby had a very tight cord around its neck and it needed to be cut before the body could be born. As soon as I had the ok I began pushing as hard as I could. I wish I could have watched what was happening. One shoulder out, a doctor cursed, another shoulder, and I swear I pushed out every inch of that baby all the way to its toes. And at 6:48pm our baby was here! The emotional relief greatly outweighed the physical. Our baby was here.

I was anxious to see who we had, a little boy or little girl, but before I could look someone said baby was having difficulty breathing. I think Eric and I saw at the same time just as the nurse lifted baby off my chest. Eric said "We have another son!" He didn't yell it, it was just to me and it was so sweet to hear his excitement.

The nurses resuscitate our son and when we finally got a glimpse our little boy was pink, but clearly struggling to breathe. My midwife called to me and reminded me to talk him and I did. His tummy was sucking in and he was wheezing loudly, it was nothing like when Milo had a little trouble breathing. The nurse said they might need to take him to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. His first APGAR score was 2, which is very low. He finally cried, three times, and they decided to have me try skin to skin instead of taking him away.


His second APGAR was 8. It was a rough start but he was ok. I don't remember when they weighed him, before or after they gave him to me but when they did voices were raised in surprise and it took me a while to figure out what was happening... I think I may have been in the middle of pushing out the placenta. Eric finally told me, he weighed 11 pounds, 5 ounces! We were shocked! He was 21 3/4 inches with a 39 cm head and 39 cm chest. His head was the biggest our nurse had measured in 38 years. I didn't have any excessive bleeding, though I was given Pitocin right away, and had no tears!

The placenta did not look aged by the way. I reminded the doctors that I wanted the placenta and I was told it had to go through pathology. I said we needed to get it home to clean because I was going to eat it. I suppose I forget how shocking fairly accepted behavior in the natural world is because the busy room froze. A nurse in the back said "What?!" I said I was going to have it encapsulated  The looks of horror, disgust, and confusion were priceless.

We were still not decided on a name. I liked Everett, Eric liked Indiana... yes after Indiana Jones. I was holding my ground on Everett but I had that night alone with the baby to think about it. I really liked our tradition of Eric naming our sons, which is Biblical. Eric also was amazing during the birth. He was a coach when he needed to be, he never left me to eat or rest, I'm not even sure he peed the entire time. He loved and supported me so much, and he may not have pushed out this baby himself but I'm certain I wouldn't have had the strength or confidence to do it without him.

And honestly, if any baby deserved to be named Indiana, this one was it. We also kept our tradition of choosing a Hebrew middle name. Eric chose Jacob, which is also my grandmother's grandfather's name.

So this is where I have to process this birth. I believe every birth is a lesson, which is one of the many reasons I take issue with routinely medicating and detaching women from their births. We are meant to trust birth. We are meant to learn from birth. But I realize that when I say that part of me sets birth apart as an outside entity. I know that there were several hours where I had already decided something was wrong but I didn't want to disrupt the birth process. There was me, and there was the birth. I put my design over my intuition, which is really one of the most important aspects of our design! It's easy to tell a woman to trust herself but when it's you that is in a very scary place and no one can tell you what is happening because no one can feel what you are feeling it's not so clear. I still don't understand why my labor progressed the way it did, I haven't been able to look it up and give it a name or a reason. However I did come away with a new found respect for a mother's ability to read her baby and her body. Before a monitor could confirm it I knew my body and baby were not working together.

I love natural birth. It never occurred to me that after experiencing a natural birth I'd then have a medicated one. If I did know that, I would assume that I'd mourn the birth I thought I would have... but I'm not. I support natural birth because it's what I believe is safest, but none of us, not even midwives, doulas, or childbirth educators, are guaranteed an uncomplicated birth. I'm going to be honest, it feels very weird to me that I can't say it was another natural birth, but that's just a title. It was a hard, complicated, scary day, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a good birth. I had a lot to learn and God crammed it into an intense 12 hour lesson. I'm grateful for the experience, for the amazing team I had with me, the courageous doctors who could have easily justified a cesarean, for Eric's confidence in me, and for this sweet new baby boy, Indy.

Indy's birth video:

And yes... we know Indiana was the dog.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Baby III Week 42: AMA

Week 42

I considered just leaving my laptop in the bag or just putting out a vague, "we're fine, we'll let you know when baby is here," post... but I know if I knew me I would hate me for that. I'd want to know what happened... and according to the 52 notifications on my facebook and the inbox on my cell, some of you do to.

Eric called Natividad just before we were set to leave. The nurse was not happy that we missed our prior appointment and now wanted to come in without one. Eric said we didn't know it would be a problem because on Saturday we came in for an non stress test and they wanted to admit me for an induction. Eric mentioned I was 42 weeks and she asked how that was allowed to happen... which Eric didn't address. We had agreed  to take on a "do not engage" attitude about this and just let things be said, but hold our ground on what was done. She said come in and we called our OB, Dr. Chandler, on the way and left a message for him.

In the elevator a nurse whose look I really liked said "Oh, another one! I'm headed up there too," clarifying she was a labor and delivery nurse starting her shift. She asked if I was in labor and I said no, asked why I came in and I explained the 42 weeks thing and she said "Oh! You are the one that didn't want to come in!" When Eric called he got a couple other nurses who knew who I was too, apparently I'm building a reputation.

Labor and delivery was full and it seemed there was a lot going on. We understood why they weren't happy about us popping in. We waited about an hour for a room. While we waited Dr. Chandler called and said he had wanted to meet me here but we got there a little later than expected. The on call doctor is  Dr. Heiner and I should like him, he thinks they assigned me a nurse who is also a midwife. Dr. Chandler said he talked to Dr. Heiner and he should be familiar with why I am there. I thanked him and he said he'd be in in the morning.

Waiting next to all the kids they wont let in L&D because of flu season.  I literally watched one put his hands in his on the floor and then lick them

We were set up in our room. One thing that is nice about Natividad is that nurses, residents, and OBs tend to ask you if you have a birth plan and are interested in seeing it. We went over ours and while I don't think I got the nurse that was also a midwife, she was supportive of all our choices. She checked my cervix and I was surprised to hear I was now 3cm, not 4 or more which is of course what I was hoping for. I was hooked up to the monitors and I waited for the OB.

At least an hour went by and I had to pee. As I came out of the bathroom a resident came in and said she saw me go off her monitor so she came to check on me. Being checked on any way would be nice, but whatever. She said that my contractions do not look regular and are still only 7-8 minutes apart. Confused, I told her we knew. She said why don't I walk around to see how I progress and then maybe start Pitocin. I realized she didn't know that I was not in labor. I don't remember this, but Eric said I actually blurted out, "Wait, you think I'm in labor!?" I was kinda offended she thought I thought this was labor, but then how is she supposed to know what I know... either way someone should had told the doctor who is now in here wanting to help me make induction choices that I'm not in labor. I filled her in on the last few days and why we believed we were there.

She did a lot of mirroring questions back to me at this point, and I wondered if it was because she knew nothing. I asked her what my options were with my dilation, effacement, etc. and she'd say "Well what options are you comfortable with?" We talked in circles until she mentioned baby's -2 station. I stopped her and said I thought baby was at a 0. She said no. I told her I needed to see Dr. Heiner and I wanted to be checked by him. Obviously I'm not going to be asking for my membranes to be ruptured if for some reason baby has sucked back up two stations.

It was 10:30pm, almost four hours in that we saw an OB for the first time. At this point I was confused, frustrated, and exhausted. I liked him, he reminded me of Chandler in that he is obviously keeping abreast of research and brought up some various studies not in a "I know stuff, shut up patient" kinda way but in a "here's some information that might help us make a decision here" kinda way. He shared some of his history, he came from a hospital in El Paso with a cesarean rate of 12% and said he was one of the more pro-vaginal OBs. At this point I knew my options were probably slim since I was not as far along as I had thought. He said he wanted to try a low dose Pitocin regimen keep me at a 2 milliunit/minute throughout the night. He said there's some good information out there supporting this approach vs increasing the dosage until the desired pattern is achieved. He added that he has friends who swear by this approach. I shared my history and my concerns about Pitocin's affects on the baby, but deep down I just knew that the thought of being tethered to a bed with an IV in my arm was devastating and the science didn't matter. This was the first time where I realized I might really be losing this birth.

We were at a bit of a stand still, I realized I was standing on the opposite side of the bed with my arms crossed, and probably looked a little confrontational even though that wasn't my intention. He was offering an option and I had nothing to counter with. He suggested that he double check my cervix and I jumped on the bed, hoping the nurse was wrong. He said I was 3cm, maybe 4, 50% effaced (from 80% Monday) and -2 station. He said it wouldn't be the easiest rupture he'd done and I told him no, with those numbers I wouldn't ask him to try. Not wanting to cry in front him him, the grumpy resident, and the nurse I told him that Eric and I needed to talk for a minute.

And by talk, I mean I needed to sob for nearly an hour.

I don't even want to write everything I had to think about, or am still thinking about. I'm already crying again trying to put these sentences together. I don't want to expose myself or the baby to Pitocin. I know though we sing its evils all the time that it has a time and a place, I just don't want either to apply to me or my baby. I know the risks, I know how I responded in the past, and I don't want to take myself there again.

I also knew I had finally fallen into the pit I'd been teetering on the edge of for days. My body is failing me and the baby. I would tell a million women that their body is not a mistake, and I believe it, but between the polycystic ovary syndrome  gestational diabetes, and now this... mine is without a doubt flawed and I hate it. All I want is to be able to take part in this miracle set apart for us women and I can't, and there are so many other women who can and don't. I would give anything to work through one really hard contraction and the satisfaction of getting through it and in the rooms that line the hall just outside my crumbling universe there are women choosing detachment and numbness over that incredible experience. Somewhere between self pity and bitter jealousy I completely broke and mourned the birth I had been looking forward to for over 10 months.

When the nurse asked what we decided I said through pitiful sniffles that we needed to go home. The OB had pleaded, literally put his hands together in prayer, that I at least get an ultrasound and I had no problem with that. Unfortunately, it would be two more hours of sitting in my gown, in a cold chair staring at the wall just losing my mind before anyone could come get us for it.

The ultrasound table was hard and it took forever. I got nauseated and dizzy laying flat for so long. The tech told us nothing. The nurse took us to our room and gave us papers to sign since we were leaving AMA, against medical advice. I asked about the ultrasound results and she said the resident said it was fine for us to leave. I asked how the placenta looked, after all, one of the main reasons for the ultrasound was to check for calcification on the placenta. The nurse came back and said the resident didn't know, but it looked fine. It was almost 2am, I wanted to at least know what the ultrasound said. The resident came back, clearly annoyed by me and snapped, "I'm not an OB, I can't read an ultrasound, I don't know what this says." I asked how she knew it was ok for us to leave, didn't the tech put anything about the placenta? She said "Look, it's a 2-3 grade placenta, it has extensive calcification just like I told you it would because that's what happens when you are 42 weeks." I officially hate residents.

She left and now I'm standing there, dressed, bag in hand, ready to leave and the placenta has extensive calcification?" Am I even safe to go? I looked at the nurse totally confused, speechless. What is wrong with this place? I'm glad she could read my face, she said it's night, no one is here that can really read the ultrasound.

I had to just piece together for myself that the fluid was good, though lower than it was, baby was very active, I could at least go home and sleep.

On the way out I decided to avoid all this again and make, and promise to keep, another appointment to induce. I didn't know what to think about my placenta, but I did know my fluid had come down quite a bit. The next opening was 9pm Friday, and the on call OB was Dr. Aguliera, the OB that had encouraged me to have a homebirth and said if I came in that he hoped he could be there. Maybe this was a sign.

I didn't wake up once from when I got in bed til the phone woke me around 10am. Today and tomorrow I'm just going to rest. I'm wondering if everything I've tried to start labor over the last week has had the opposite affect. No excessive walking, herbs, bouncing, pumping, or eating anything weird today. I probably won't be online much, there won't be a 42 weeks + 1 day post... I just need to not think about birth for a little bit. I know I could still go into labor and I hope that happens, but if I have to make that death march up to labor and delivery at 9pm tomorrow night I have to go in ready to do whatever it takes. Don't worry, I haven't given up on myself or my baby and I know I have choices. I know if I need Pitocin I can have it turned off if we establish contractions, I know I can eat and do the best I can to move and take an active role. I haven't forgotten any of that... this is just one very heavy compromise that I never intended to face again.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Baby III Week 41 + 6 Days: Starting This Birth Story

41 Weeks + 6 Days

The cohosh didn't work, obviously.

Sorry this isn't a baby picture, there's a uterus in the way.

I even accidentally took too much. I thought it was 20 drops every hour instead of every other hour. Only took me 4 hours to figure it out. Gave me some good contractions but like every other night, they stopped when I went to sleep.

I had already made the decision that we would go to the hospital tonight so I spent this morning cleaning the house and getting ready. About two hours ago I had a severely painful cramp/contraction that was predominately on my left side. It was so strong it actually made me empty my bladder, not like I lost control out of distraction, it squeezed it out of me. There was a split second where I hoped it was my water breaking, but it wasn't. Disappointment on multiple levels. It radiated to the rest of my uterus... but is was mostly on my left. It freaked me out.

I called Eric, who is working in San Jose, to come home. He went to tell his boss. As he said "I'm going to have to leave" she told him to not to bother telling her, get the fuck outa here and have a baby! Can you tell he's in construction?

All the daycare kids were sleeping so I quickly jumped in the shower since I'd just peed everywhere. I was still getting contractions but mostly on my left.

I've called daycare parents and we are getting the kids ready. We likely wont leave for another couple hours unless something happens. I'm mostly concerned about the fact that these don't feel right, or familiar, and I've had a lot of contractions and different kinds. I'm feeling baby, but a little less than normal.

So this birth story is going to begin with me peeing all over myself. We're off to a great start.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Baby III Week 41 + 5 Days: If You See A Nurse, I Went That Way

41 Weeks + 5 Days

I had lots of contractions after my massage last night. I walked up and down Alisal trying to keep them going. I pumped, bounced on my ball, had sex, walked... by midnight they weren't going anywhere so I took a hot shower per midwife's orders and went to bed. 

Woke up to lots of mucus, no blood, still very pregnant. I called Natividad and moved my noon induction to 9pm. The nurse called my back and said it had to be 6pm, someone else had 9pm. It was 10am, I had time and agreed. 

I spent the day pumping for at least 20 minutes of every hour and trying to not sit too much, or sit on my ball.   My blood glucose readings were perfect, making the decision to go in or not really difficult. If they were bad, my decision would be made for me. By noon I was thinking I might never go into labor. When I hear women say "I just don't go into labor" it drives me insane, and now I'm sitting here thinking it. 

Eric called on his lunch break and I asked him what we should do, what if the baby dies? I know shocking coming from me but my few years of education can only do so much against the massive weight of our culture's mistrust in our bodies and while I struggle back and forth, sometimes I start to succumb to it. That's why surrounding yourself with supportive people is so important. 

Eric reminded me that if this baby is supposed to die it's going to die. We are doing everything right according to our faith and our knowledge in birth. He said some other stuff and I honestly don't remember what, but it was comforting. It's weird how I come in and out of functioning right now.

At 3:30pm Eric called again. I told him he could call and cancel because I just didn't want to have that conversation. I said he could say what he wanted, whether it was truthful or not. He said he'd just say I was in labor already and that we'd come in later. 

Apparently the nurses did not like that and said I was very post dates. Actually, I'm not at all post dates, which is after 42 weeks. I asked Eric if she was going to come get me. He said she wanted to. I'm glad I didn't call. Eric gently held his ground.

I had wanted to take blue and black cohosh last night but by the time I could send Eric out Whole Foods would be closing. Eric picked up some black cohosh on the way home today and I'm on my second dose. I'm taking it every hour and so far I'm getting some good contractions. I wish they had blue cohosh as well, but they didn't. Black gets contractions going/makes them stronger, blue regulates them. Between the two I'm glad they had black.

Baby had a long episode of hiccups earlier and is just as active as ever. Kick counts are pointless, baby hits his/her quota in minutes. It's comforting knowing that baby is still strong and happy.

I am really struggling with my leg. Every evening the nerve in my right hip socket which I thought was linked to my sciatic nerve, my chiro doesn't think so, begins pinching. It is unbearable sometimes. That's my only real physical discomfort.

I told my girlfriend Amy that she should make a Never Ending Story parody for my pregnancy .. really, our pregnancies because she's never delivered before 40 weeks and I think had her second 10 or 12 days "over." I demanded choreography too. She did it, that's a true friend.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Baby III Week 41 + 4 Days: Like If Your Lifeguard Drowned

41 Weeks + 4 Days

It's amazing what a day can change, or the number of times in can change in just a twelve hour period.

I woke up to high fasting numbers, 119 mg/dL... 40 points over my normal and 20 points over what is safe. We did spend part of the night in the ER with a sick baby (Ashley was struggling to breathe, croup) causing an adrenaline spike and stress, and I didn't get much sleep, all of which can cause high numbers, but this still concerned me. A high after meal is one thing, high fastings are another. I am not in a place in my pregnancy where I feel like it's safe to give it time so I started to seriously think about induction options.

I talked with my midwife and she agreed to come over and strip my membranes again and also do her famous induction massage that she has practiced and taught all over the world. She has an 80% success rate. In the meantime, I started to mentally lay out a plan if my numbers continue to be high today and tomorrow... what kind of medical intervention am I ok with?

I went for a walk. I know I don't want an induction, I don't feel comfortable with the risks involved, but I know there is another level to why it is such an upsetting option. Natural birth is my passion and I love the process of birth. I am not getting down on myself as a failure in anyway, actually, I think the fact that I can take such an active role in making these decisions is a testament to the importance of birth education... but there is a definite sadness in the thought of potentially losing out on part of the process I am so in love with. It's like if Jillian Michaels got fat for some unavoidable reason. Even if she knew to not blame herself, she loves fitness, it's what she is passionate about... but is being forced to struggle in. And I do think about the fact that I'm an educator, I already feel like I will need to defend my induction even though I do truly believe all these interventions exist to help some people, I don't want to be one of those people. One of my friends or a student can be, but I don't want it. Who wants a lifeguard who nearly drowned and needed to be saved? I know this is a me thing, that no one who knows me will think I took the easy way out or chose an unnecessary intervention, but it is in the back of my head when you've met 20 people, all needlessly induced, it's hard being that one person who is like, "no I really needed it." So many levels... I'm not even touching on the physical risks baby and I are facing.

I decided to leave all of that on the side walk and make some decisions despite how I or anyone else might feel. If my numbers are high tomorrow, I'll go in tomorrow evening for an induction. I know the OB on call during the day is one I don't know and one I haven't heard the best things about, maybe someone better will be there by evening. Women are more likely to respond favorably to inductions at night, and hopefully staff would be more likely to leave me alone. If baby is at 0 station (engaged in my pelvis), I'm going to ask them to break my water instead of starting pitocin. I don't even want an IV if possible.

If they break my water that would be the most like natural labor, after all, it would be possible for my water to break at the start of labor. If no one does cervical checks, I should not have to worry about infection. Contractions will have a more normal pattern than with Pitocin, and I wont be strapped to monitors. I have a history of postpartum hemorrhage so rupturing my membranes is more favorable to Pitocin there as well.

Breaking my water does come with risks. Baby has to be at 0 station or the umbilical cord could prolapse--come through my cervix and cut off oxygen to baby. That's instant cesarean. Even if that does not happen baby could get stuck in a less than favorable position or begin to distress, though that is also possible with Pitocin. Contractions will also be more intense. There is a small risk of placental abruption, slightly higher for me since I have gestational diabetes.

Kinda sounds like ignorance would be at least temporary bliss, huh? It's too late, I already know too much.

It was nice to have made a decision though.

My midwife got here to do my massage around 3pm. The massage incorporates I believe 40 acupressure points. Other midwives in the area send their overdue mamas to her and or call her to come during a stalled out homebirth. I'm sure you are all wondering why I didn't do this last week... I just really didn't think I needed to... and I wanted to go into labor totally spontaneously.

I've heard from a friend this massage hurts. While something like a "vigorous membrane sweep" won't bother me, a chiropractic adjustment or massage has me twitching in pain or irritation the whole time. This wasn't as bad as I thought, but some pressure points are definitely uncomfortable, like between rib bones. However I rather feel something than nothing! It was very weird feeling how one pressure point would affect another area of my body. Definitely made me feel like something was happening.

Afterwards I asked her to check my cervix, baby's station, and strip my membranes again is possible. She said my cervix was very posterior. The OB said it wasn't but I've always heard it was! Poor Eric was sent in to get a nearly unreachable cervix. She said I was 4cm, 80% effaced, and now baby had come down two stations from -2 to 0! Great news, that means if it comes to it, I'd be a candidate for breaking my water instead of Pitocin. She said that I had been thoroughly swept and couldn't detatch any more of the membrane. Ok... so maybe that OB did an ok job.

She said there was no reason why I shouldn't be going into labor. I got dressed and started to have some mild cramping. Now I'm having some mild contractions. Going for a walk and I may take some cohosh which strengthens contractions.

The day was definitely a roller coaster. Sometimes I was really discouraged or concerned, especially at that first glucose reading this morning. Sometimes I felt really motivated to make something happen and ready to take on whatever the next 48 hours was going to bring. Right now I feel like I've done all the thinking I've needed to do today and now it's time to just work with my body. It isn't even one day at a time right now, it's a half day, a morning, an afternoon, an evening at a time. If I wake up pregnant tomorrow morning, we will be able to take that on too, even if we have no idea what that will look like.

Ash helping. So cute. Milo was doing the same thing every so often.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Baby III Week 41 + 3 Days: Got My Badass Back

41 Weeks + 3 Days

My midwife called yesterday and said she talked to my OB and he was calling me. He made it clear I could choose to refuse all of this but he wanted me to come in for a non stress test, biophysical profile and cervical check. I told him I would need to think about it and talked it over with Eric. We decided to go. My OB said he'd call ahead and let the on call OB know what our wishes were so I wouldn't have to explain them again... basically, what not to say to us.

We arrived at the nurses station and immediately they were shocked that I was over 41 weeks. They were nice, but all chimed in with comments about me being over due and baby being overcooked, to which I responded with a smile and a totally not sarcastic laugh and "oh some babies just need a little more time" and the smiles quickly disappeared. Tough crowd.

The nurse took us into our room and said "I don't think you'll be leaving, we will probably induce you tonight." I heard a dungeon door in my head.

"Oh, we are leaving, and we are not being induced, Dr. Chandler just wanted some tests run."

*taking blood pressure* "Oh you are gestational diabetic, we like you delivered by 41 weeks and you are 41 weeks and 2 days." pause for the weight of those 2 days to sink in, as if I hadn't heard I was officially dangerously pregnant.

BP: 144/97.

my normal is closer to 115/70

A nurse we had seen before and liked came in and laughed at the conversation she had just overheard and said she would retake my BP since obviously the subject matter had something to do with it. She started the machine just in time for a resident to come in and start another induction speech. I admit, I did not expect anyone to want to induce me right then. I knew they'd want me to schedule one, which I did, "Oh sure yes put us on for 9am Tuesday." ... so I can call and cancel on Monday... but I couldn't believe we came in for a couple tests and they were ready to hook up the Pitocin.

Baby looked great on the monitor. Nurses exclaimed "oh you are contracting!" I told them I knew, I've been in prodromal labor for 11 days, in my best "let's all be proud of my body" voice. The resident checked my fluid and I had plenty. Basically, the consensus was that baby and I were perfectly healthy. I held up my end of the agreement, let me out!

In came another OB, the one we saw 3 weeks ago that I really liked, "We really want to induce you now."


"Baby and I are doing great, so no, we will wait." And why do they always say "We want to..." Just to let me know they have me outnumbered?

I was still laughing and joking with them but was very firm. He said there are risks to continuing passed 41 weeks and I countered that there were very real and serious risks to inducing and at this point the risks of continuing the pregnancy did not outweigh the risks of inducing.

He said that my risk of stillbirth doubled after 41 weeks, which I knew was true for gestational diabetics. That is still only about 3 per 1000 births (1/1000 from 40-42 weeks in normal pregnancies). I didn't feel confidant enough to argue statistics and I didn't feel it was necessary, but I believed that as someone who was diet controlled this did not even apply to me, but wasn't positive. When I got home I confirmed. He was  not even addressing the risks of induction and exaggerating risks of normal pregnancy, a tactic that infuriates me. As a diet controlled gestational diabetic my risk of stillbirth is the same as in a term normal pregnancy. The risk of stillbirth is increased by poorly controlled GD wearing on the placenta. My vigorous baby and abundant fluid points to a very healthy placenta. There was no medical reason for an induction yet the pressure was being turned up. I now had 2 OBs sitting at my bedside but I had enough information on my side that I never wavered.

I suggested we check my dilation and maybe we will strip my membranes depending on how dilated I am. It was a compromise he seemed happy with.

Just before going in he said "you know, we could just break your water."

"I'll kick you in the head if you try to break my water. I want my membranes intact."

"Well if you want to avoid pitocin..." the resident chimed in.

"I also don't want to risk infection, and contractions are more painful after membranes rupture."

"It's an option."

"I know, thank you."

He turned to Eric and asked him to come hold my hand. I laughed and asked why. He said he was going to do a very vigorous strip. I told him a regular strip would be fine and he said he wanted to make sure he was thorough. It was fine, he said I was tough. There was no blood like in the past. I think he thought a little much of his stripping skills.

I was 4 cm dilated, 70% effaced and -2 station. I should have asked if he wanted to break my water based on those numbers, just to test him. A mother's water should not be broken before baby is at 0 station, but some OBs will do it anyway.

I think I exhausted everyone involved, but I wasn't aggressive! I told the nurse I like that I'm not here to argue with anyone, I don't want to ruffle any feathers, but we know what we want. She seemed to be the only one who got it.

I never mentioned I was a childbirth educator. I have nothing to prove, and really... how stupid does it sound for me to flaunt my credentials to doctors. We know how much more I know about facilitating normal, healthy birth than most OBs do, but trying to tell them that will win no friends and I'd like to keep my relationship with them as positive as possible.

I did wake up at 4am terrified of going back for the birth. I didn't leave upset, or scared, we held our own but it was a fight for our choices in the end. I have given myself the option to head over to Dominican if I feel uncomfortable with Natividad when the time comes.

The whole experience did boost my confidence and it was nice to confirm what I already knew, baby and I are healthy.

This morning I woke up with belly still very big, but a little lower. I think it's bigger first thing in the morning and I thought I'd take a picture while it's still here.

I kept saying this pregnancy I am posting mucus plug pictures... because I think they are fascinating. Making good on my promise. Went to the bathroom and there was just a little blood and plug. Nothing like last time, but enough to get a little hopeful over. Few contractions all day. Hoping it's the calm before the storm.

And in case you are tempted to worry about my poor deteriorating placenta and my weak, fading baby... here's a video of baby boy or baby girl getting some wiggles out before bed last night. Yeah I really don't think we have anything to worry about.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Baby III Week 41 + 2 Days: Cervix:1 Eric:0

41 Weeks + 2 Days

I had a bit of a mental breakdown last night, just being frustrated that I don't feel fully confidant in my decision to trust my pregnancy because I don't feel like I have enough support. My midwife is supposed to be consulting with my OB sometime in the next few days, hopefully they both feel good about things. Isn't it crazy how we need an expert to feel better about our own informed choices when we get to a vulnerable state like this? I guess I'm no exception. That's my only complaint, I feel much better today. It's really helpful when friends share "I was 10 days over," I was 8 days over," "so and so delivered at 42 weeks."

I do kinda enjoy doing the silly old wives tale natural induction stuff though. Last night we went out for a spicy meal. I really just wanted to go out, but since we just went out for Valentines Day it was nice to have an excuse. We decided to meet my brother and his fiance at Bubba Gumps. I asked what their spiciest dishes were. I got the jambalaya even though it really didn't appeal to me.

It was definitely really spicy. Eating it was like work. I made it through more than half then pushed it towards Eric. Then we set out walking around Monterey. I had only a few contractions. I got home and checked my blood sugar and it was 152! Way high for me! The sauce must have had tons of sugar. Seventeen dollars for something that didn't taste good and made me feel sick. Boo.

I checked my butt for that purple line. I have a pink line. No one said anything about that. I'm going to say the test was inconclusive.

I came out of the bathroom frustrated because baby feels so low, my cervix hurts, and my contractions feel so strong... something must be happening.

I told Eric he's checking my cervix.

He asked if he could check my butt line instead and said no, get in the bedroom.

He asked why he had to and I said because I couldn't reach, GET IN THERE!

Before you think I'm the weirdest girl ever, understand I come from a world where I know quite a few women whose husbands are fine with checking. I follow a website where boyfriends/husbands help document their girl's cervical changes with pictures (not for fun, for science). I don't think this stuff is weird and I'm totally desensitized to any weirdness. And it's not like Eric and I are not familiar with each other's bodies, we aren't shy with each other, so I don't think my demands were unreasonable.

We probably should have looked at a website on how to do this because now I'm trying to describe how to find my cervix using his hand held in a cylinder shape and I just keep saying "how do you NOT know where my cervix is?"

He keeps saying "I'm not asking you to check my prostate!"

Not a fair comparison, but it doesn't matter.. "I would if you wanted me to! Pay attention!"

Eric makes his attempt, like 2 seconds, "I can't find it." Gives up.

"It's in there! Try again. Where are you looking?"

He uses his nose to poke my belly, and I laugh so hard I have to get up and pee.

Right now I'm sitting here watching Safety Not Guaranteed while Eric works on some pressure points on my feet. Going to go for a walk after.

I wish I could have ice cream right now.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Baby III Week 41 + 1 Day: Probably More Than You Need To Know

41 Weeks + 1 Day

If I have it in me maybe I'll do some daily posts til baby arrives. Why not right?

This post will probably (definitely) be filled with some stuff you might not want to know... but for my braver slash birth obsessed friends.... enjoy.

No luck on getting Eric anywhere near my cervix... but sitting here I just remembered about the purple line trick! Have I talked about it here? I think I have. Basically as a woman dilates she gets a purple line up her butt crack. There's a picture here. I'm in a public place right now but as soon as I'm home I'm checking... stay tuned.

I forgot to share my Operation Get This Baby Out regimen. I'm on day 2.

1. Sex
2. Squats (sometimes combined with #1)
3. Breastpump while bouncing on the ball
4. Acupressure
5. Walk or squats (usually picking up toys)
6. Pump and bounce and acupressure
6. Sex
7. Walk

Tonight I might add eat a whole pineapple... even though that didn't work for me before.

My midwife said to rub castor oil on my belly... which sounds... disgusting.

I also wanted to share my weird foot with you. So over the last weeks this joint in my foot by my big toe has started sticking out more and more. It looks horrible and sometimes it hurts. Anyone ever see anything like this?

... and if you know where I took this pic of my foot... I'll buy you something there.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Baby III Week 41: Where's My Bomb Shelter?

41 Weeks!

When I found out I was pregnant I thought I was due on Valentines Day. I was pretty bummed when I recounted the weeks and figured out I was off by a week. There was no way I'd go over a week, I didn't think we'd make it into February. Well we made it to Valentines Day, and unless something miraculous happens, we aren't having a Valentines baby. Oh well.

I saw my midwife on Monday and everything looked good still. I'm measuring 42 weeks, baby is definitely growing. Head was still a little floaty but baby has moved down. She would like me to go in for a non-stress test... if I'm still pregnant next week maybe I will.

I've read many birth stories where the woman goes "over due" and she has to go into hiding because of people hounding her over when she is going to have the baby or horrified that the woman is being "allowed" to go passed that magic date. I never totally got it. I thought those women must be weak. They are just words. Ignore them.

I get it.

I thought it would be the physical discomfort that would be taking me down at this point, but it's the emotional discomfort. What all those concerned friends and family miss is that it's not like WE as the ticking time bomb are unaware of what society sees as normal birth and that we are stepping outside our culture's comfort zone. Despite everything I know to be true about what really is normal birth, and about what is safe... I have moments at 4am where I'm scared. Where I second guess everything and I don't want to trust birth anymore because trust is hard. I want the easy way out that I KNOW is not the safest, but it's a known... and what if something happens while I'm waiting? Everyone will blame me. I wont blame me. I trust me... and that's just where I have to keep circling back to. This is like my birth transition (just before pushing, when most women panic, don't think they can go on) in my pregnancy... no matter how much I know... I'm doubting... and I don't need anyone doubting with me.

I have been in and out of what feels like labor all week. It's super confusing. Sometimes during contractions I actually feel pushy, baby feels that low right now! Today I feel like I'm walking around at 7cm... actually... funny story...

So I really want to know what's going on with my cervix. I know it means nothing, but I want to know... but I don't want anyone to check. But I want to... so for the third pregnancy in a row I've tried to check and I just can't reach. So.... I asked Eric to do it.

He won't.

He said anything in that area is only supposed to be sexy and he wont play doctor. I told him that someday he's going to need me to do something gross and I'm going to do it... and besides... he's seen me give birth.

Eric said he is still getting over that.


I'm going to keep working on him...

This should be the last post... right?

This looks about right.