Thursday, December 18, 2014

Baby 4 Week 40: Rejected Birth Story Beginnings

40 Weeks

I'm very aware that every contraction could be the beginning of the birth story I'll write. I don't know if other women think this way... maybe it's because I'm a writer and I'm always thinking about where the story is in normal life. Or maybe everyone is thinking this. Either way, it's something I'm aware of, and there's been a few times that I've been like... yeah... this is not how I want to start my birth story. I'll share a few examples...

There was Monday night when the nausea was so bad I spent the first half of the night making myself throw up in the bathroom until I couldn't anymore... and could finally sleep. Induction by bulimia... not charming.

My midwife said that she knows I don't want to drink castor oil, but it can also be applied vaginally because there's lots of prostaglandins... cut to "honey... you are going to put castor oil on your penis..." Eric really wanted to post about the whole thing after... but he's not me and chickened out. Of my rejected birth story beginnings I think this was my favorite.

For some reason a prenatal turned into comparing movies we love, and my midwife left A Dirty Shame at our place (and I sent her with The Brown Bunny... we are both weird I guess). So Eric and I are watching the movie and I'm having contractions and thinking "no... this cannot be how we start this..." Eric rounded out the evening with making us watch the Lonely Island Creeper video, which is inspired by maker of the film.

I hope I didn't just violate some kind of confidentiality thing...

I don't feel too pregnant. Physically, I feel pretty comfortable. I'm still working out, RIPPED and BodyPump.

Baby is very low but not uncomfortable low, like he or she is falling out... just settled in.

I am not frantically trying to induce, but we are very actively encouraging. I had a great acupuncture session with Maureen Manning on Tuesday, and yesterday I had a labor encouragement massage with Danielle Rodhouse. I also asked my midwife to do a membrane sweep... or stretch or strip... she calls is cervical stimulation because that is the most accurate description of what is happening. What's a fourth term I guess. Either way it was definitely different than the other 5-6 sweeps I've had in other pregnancies! Way more intense, which I appreciate because if we are going to do it, then let's do it well! She stretched me from a 2 to a 3, I'm 70-80% effaced, and baby is at 0 station. I've been a little crampy this morning... hopefully all our efforts amount to something... but it's ok if baby isn't ready too.

Baby is around 8.5-9 pounds, active and happy. I'm up around 10 pounds total.

40 week belly compare? Ok...

40 weeks with baby 4!
40 weeks with Indy!

Ash was already here!

40 weeks with Milo!

What this week was like with my other pregnancies:
             Milo, Week 40: Strip Tease
             Ash was here already!
             Indy, Week 40: So What If We Aren't Ready

- Cori

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Baby 4 Week 39: Puking Out The Baby

Week 39

So when we left off I was having contractions and writing my 38 week post around midnight, feeling like there was a decent chance I wouldn't make it to this post, let alone be able to wait til morning to post that one.

So hi... I'm still here... pregnant...

After I posted I went to bed, couldn't sleep, drank some water, got in the shower, the contractions changed to just one long, terrible cramp, with occasional stronger cramps... kinda like Pitocin contractions. I made Eric start cleaning the house... just in case... while I willed my body to chill the fuck out in the shower. This also came with mind numbing nausea. I was ok with baby coming, but that's not the birth I wanted so I was feeling pretty bummed. I don't want one of those labors where you puke the baby out... but I know I don't get to pick.

I decided to get back in bed and I'd call my midwife if I still couldn't sleep an hour later. I slept for 4 hours, until my alarm went off. I woke up still cramping, really sore, still terribly nauseated, so I called my midwife and she came over. She thought I had probably dilated a bunch, had a wave of hormones, basically my body was warming up.

Since then I've woken up nauseated every morning. I go between not wanting to eat anything... or waking up and falling asleep starving. The last few days it's been mostly starving and I hate it. It's not like I can snack constantly because I need to check my bloodsugar... and not gain a pound a day...which I will totally do. I know this will happen again when I'm breastfeeding but at least I wont have the bloodsugar to deal with and I'll have a couple weeks before that kicks in anyway.

We retested after taking lots of probiotics and I'm still GBS+. That's ok. So we didn't do a sweep this week and instead we were ordered to have sex and I booked a labor encouragement massage for Monday and an acupuncture appointment for Tuesday. Normally we would not have to be ordered to have sex, but Eric has been very "that'll make you have a baby, and we aren't ready" and my hormones have been so weird... I'm just like... meh... fine... snore... or just cut to snore. If I wasn't me I would totally be lecturing myself... I've lectured plenty of classes and I've ranted on this blog about how important this is. Anyhow, we've been called out...

I'm also eating dates everyday... which I'm super into.

So we are encouraging baby at this point... this also means trying to drink plenty of water and sleeping enough so my hormones all work as they are supposed to. It doesn't mean I'm frantically bouncing on a ball using a breast pump like last time, we are being much more relaxed now.

I only made it to the gym once. With everything going on in my body I felt like I needed to rest, and then as soon as I had a calm day I went to BodyPump. If felt good to feel my body do something that was normal to me.

Baby seems to be around 8 pounds now, and he or she is very low... like my midwife was shocked. She had me feel where baby's head was. I don't feel much bigger, but I gained almost 2 pounds.

I don't mind being pregnant so much... but I think I'm done now... mostly because not knowing when it'll happen, which something is happening all the time... is hard.

What this week was like with my other pregnancies:
             Milo, Week 39: The Good, The Bad, & The Girl That Screams at Strangers
             Ash was here already!
             Indy, Week 39: Puffer Fish

- Cori

Friday, December 5, 2014

Baby 4 Week 38: Then I Lose All Birth Cred...

Week 38

There are things birth workers hear women say all the time that become these cliches... these lies that many women believe are true. And we here them all the time so sometimes we have to try to not roll our eyes when we hear them... it's nothing personal... it's more about our birth culture and medical system than about you...

"The cord was around the baby's neck, so (insert dramatic outcome)."

"I would have died if I was at home."

"I just don't go into labor."

Nuchal cords (cord around the neck) are normal and almost never are a cause for concern; it's impossible to compare hospital and home birth outcomes because midwifery care has better outcomes, so those hospital complications would have happened; and... no one is pregnant forever...

All true.

Doesn't matter... I still have beliefs about my body that I can't seem to shake. For me, it's that I will not go into labor on my own. My midwife said it at this last appointment "no one is pregnant forever." Totally true, I've said it myself and if a woman came up to me and said "I just don't go into labor" I would explain to her about due dates, and cycles, and 40 weeks is not a deadline, that she probably would have eventually gone into labor... all of it... and I believe it... just not for me... which bothers me. What bothers me most is not the idea of not going into labor on my own... it's that I believe I won't. Will I then definitely not because I believe it?

Lots of birthy people would say yes. I hope they aren't right.

Here are my thoughts and why I don't think this is an irrational fear. I have long cycles... Stupid long cycles... 32-40 day cycles. Long cycles can mean longer pregnancies... from what I've heard. I don't believe that I would NEVER go into labor on my own... but I think it's very possible that if left to our own devices... baby and my body may not get the show on the road until 43-44 weeks... which can be normal and fine for some women.

I also have gestational diabetes and grow big babies. Normal woman at 43 weeks... probably normal birth... me at 43 weeks... 12 pound baby that I did not naturally grow, it had help from the GD and therefore more likely to have some issues. And 12 lb baby from a mom without GD... probably uncomplicated because it's what her body naturally grew.

I am not easily swayed by other people... and I'm not easily swayed by myself... I've been trying to tell myself that I totally could go into labor, I can get 90% of myself being like "YEAH this could TOTALLY happen! It's only 38 weeks but I should have that living room clean and laundry done because tonight COULD BE THE NIGHT!" #trustbirth #optimism #earthmamaenergy

And 10% is a grumpy cat meme telling the 90% to shut the fuck up and shave your legs.

Again... I'm not as concerned about not going into labor as I am concerned about believing that I won't... I really did trust everything last time... to pretty much the bitter end. And I don't want to even talk about this because I don't want anyone to be like "Ooooh... yeah she hasn't processed her last birth and her birth fears are going to (insert all content of Ina May's Guide to Childbirth)." No. Stop please. I processed the shit out of my first birth and I feel great about it. But clean slates don't exist. My body has a track record. I'm allowed to learn from its patterns. That doesn't mean I'm processing... it means I've processed and learned something.

I do know that I could be wrong, and I am open to that and fully welcome that. However... the truest, most honest part of me is nervous to take this pregnancy to 40 weeks, and nervous to even try to induce naturally because that has totally failed twice, and nervous to not do a membrane sweep because that worked so well, and most of all nervous of what I and everyone will think about my worries. When I had my plan, that I established as soon as I had an EDD, to start herbs two weeks ago and do a membrane sweep today... I worried about zero things... well some things... but nothing big. Now I'm having to face stuff.

So there's my big confession. I cannot believe I'm even writing this... I'm sure someone is already well into writing their nuchal cord horror story in the comments and is totally missing the point... and someone else is probably already pitying my birth that I'm totally ruining with my stupid thoughts.

I'm still excited. My birth team is awesome. I believe I'm going to have a great birth and I'm so excited to meet this baby... and I am trying to be welcoming to this baby. I'm trying to not tell this baby it can't come until (insert whatever I want to get done) and make sure baby knows we are ready for him or her... though a little part of that is still a lie... because I'd love to get a few things finished here. I hope that he or she just doesn't listen to me... baby you can't trust me right now... I'm too pregnant.

Physically I'm overall ok. If I was a first time mom I might be complaining more but I know everything I feel in my pelvis, legs, sometimes back are totally normal and will be gone soon. Baby is super in my pelvis. I have tons of space by my ribs which is nice. We are re-testing for GBS on Monday, been taking probiotics from every direction. I may have a doula. Lots of good things. Don't judge me too harshly. Sharing here means I don't have to worry about it.

These contractions I'm having right now will probably be "it" and this will be the most ironic post ever.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Baby 4 Week 37: The GBS+ Post

Week 37

We found out at this week's appointment that I am for the first time, GBS+. Actually, I found out via a facebook message from my midwife... because we are super modern. I have extensively explored my options with GBS in the past even though I ended up not having it, I wanted to know what I would do if I did.

Basicly, GBS is Group B Step, a group of bacteria that 10-30% of women carry in their digestive track. You can be a carrier always, or it can come and go, it can even come and go during your pregnancy.

Standard hospital protocol is to treat all women that are GBS+ with IV antibiotics every 4 hours. I had decided in prior pregnancies that I would choose to not have IV anitbiotics unless there I had added risk factors, and that we would instead monitor the baby for signs of infection. I'm choosing the same route this time. Even though I am having a home birth, my midwife can start an IV of antibiotics if, for example if my water has been broken for a very long time, which normally would not be an issue. We also wont be doing any cervical checks and very likely not doing a membrane sweep which was something I was planning on.

Of course with this happening Eric had a night of "OMG, should we have a home birth? Are we going to have a dead baby?" Being informed and having reassuring (and sometimes not reassuring, because GBS can be really scary) stats and studies sometimes doesn't matter. Eric was great and read all the literature I gave him, a really helpful article my midwife gave to me on the risks and options, as well as Evidence Based Birth's article. Once we reviewed all the information we felt good about our decision... very few babies will have an infection, 1/200 if I don't have antibiotics (though this is compared to 1/500 with antibiotics). If baby does have an infection we will know almost immediately, unless the baby has late onset, for which antibiotics in labor would have done nothing for anyway. Antibiotics in labor also does not make it less likely that a baby will die, even though death is a risk factor of infection... which I get is weird. It seems that the babies who are not going to be able to fight off the infection will not be able to whether mom has antibiotics or not. Considering how negatively I react to antibiotics, and IV's... we feel like we are making a reasonable choice.

We are also choosing to retest, maybe at 38 1/2 weeks? We need to talk more about it. And I can always change my mind.

This week we also took our maternity/family pictures. All I can say is that Kirsten is amazing and if you want wedding, family, maternity, birth, or newborn pictures... you should look her up. She will also be doing our birth pictures... here is one she recently shot... I'm so excited.

Here are a couple teasers...

I haven't been to the gym much this week because we have been so busy getting the house ready. I will have to kick things back up this week.

I swear this baby is the most active. Eric says I always say that. It's really crazy though, like... there's probably 10 babies in there.

Baby is still measuring right on, 6.5-7pounds. I'm up 6 pounds.

Oh... crazy leg cramps... hamstring... nothing relieves it... so insane. Taking a liquid magnesium now.

What this week was like with my other pregnancies:
             Milo, Week 377 Engagement Party

- Cori