Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Phoebe's Birth Story- Part Two

So if you read Part One, you know we are waiting on this baby!

At this point we have now hit week 42 and are officially overdue.
Both Dr. Bo and Kathleen talked to me about fearing labor or having an emotional barrier that was keeping me from going into labor but thanks to Hypnobabies I had never been so unafraid about labor! As I thought about it and prayed about it though, I realized I had quite a bit of hurt and disappointment with different things that I had not let myself really experience and I needed to deal with some things.
Kathleen told me to go home and have a good cry and I thought that was probably a good idea. The next day Chase took the kids to work with him and I watched a sad movie and bawled my eyes out. That really didn't do it for me though. When Chase got home we talked about the things I hadn't let myself mourn. I needed to mourn the fact that I was bringing this sweet baby home to a travel trailer. I grieved the loss of a not-yet home and that I was disappointed. It was part of God's plan but I really, really, really didn't like it. :)
I mourned for a situation with adopted family and our old church where Chase and I were married that was really going through some hard things and I grieved over a church home that I felt would never be the same even if it was still good and I just didn't understand any of it. Just hard things. I knew God was in control and that everyone there had peace about it, but it was hard. 
And oh my, I hate to cry but when I finally let myself...boy do the flood gates open!!! So after a good cry and Chase comforting me, I felt much better. 

Our dear friend Steve had been offering to let me ride the lawnmower for awhile in an effort to jostle that baby out! Haha! And that evening I took him up on it! There is a bit of property around where we were staying so I rode that lawnmower up and down and around and fast!!! Suuuuper bumpy too! It was a lot of fun actually. Then I slowed down a little and mowed the fields for awhile. 
I had a lot of contractions but no labor. That was a Friday.

The next day Kathleen said that if baby didn't come by Monday we would go in and start pitocin to try to get me dilated past a three. 
I. Was. So. Upset. 
I totally understood the reasons but I haaaaaaate pitocin!!! Everyone else was relieved we were finally going to do something but I was ticked. This was nothing like what I had wanted or looked forward to or prayed for or prepared for. "Lord, what the heck???" Yeah. I'm pretty sure I said it to Him like that. More than once. 
Saturday night we went to church at Imago Dei. They use a different church's facilities so they have services on Saturday night. I was really glad to be there because I love that church and I needed to spend some time worshiping and being encouraged and strengthened. The sermon was really great and it was convicting and encouraging but what got me most was a woman sitting next to me. She came all by herself and was visiting the church. She just hugged me as we exchanged names and started telling me what a great job I was doing (????) and that she was praying for me. She was so sweet, going on about what blessings children are. She was very strangely calming to me and really encouraged me. After the service she hugged me and held me tight and said I was heavy on her heart and that she had been praying for me during the service and would continue to keep me in her prayers. :) 

The next morning came and still no baby but since it was Mother's Day we decided to go to my Aunt's church, Frisco Bible and surprise her! We had a great service there with great teaching and I had come to a "Que Sera Sera" kind of place with the birth situation. I prayed we would go into labor naturally but if not, the Lord was going to help me handle it.
We had a great lunch with my Aunt and her family, did some walking and headed back to the trailer. 
I rested a little bit then decided to finish the mowing I started. I mowed and rode some fast, bumpy laps before going inside to take a shower. On the property where we were staying Steve has a BIG garage with a few bays and an apartment attached. I went inside the apartment to shower, jumped in and my water broke! At least I was pretty sure it did, since I had a big gush and then nothing for a bit. It was 6:15 pm and texted Chase (in the trailer with the kids) and Kathleen and finished my shower. Kathleen finished her dinner and ran down to the birthing center. I wasn't having contractions yet so Chase brought the kids in to get showered quickly before we left. 
My water had definitely broken and I sat on the potty as much as I could while I helped the kids get in and out of the shower and dressed. Captain Awesome grabbed everything I would need and got it all in the car, got the kids in the car, brought me more clothes and yet another towel and got me in the car. At this point I was wondering if we were going to make it to the birthing center. Almost immediately after I got off the phone with Kathleen and told her I wasn't having contractions, they started! Big hairy ones and every two minutes and while my hypnobabies techniques made them feel like no big deal, I knew baby would be here soon! I prayed again to make it to the birthing center and in the water! 
Suddenly my contractions stopped totally for the drive until we pulled onto the road where the clinic was and then up they started again, every couple of minutes! :)

We got there and inside about 7 pm and Chase got the kids situated in the next room while I was examined and they filled the tub. Kathleen said it would take about 15 minutes to fill the tub so I labored on the bed with my labor track playing and me just relaxing through my contractions. It was such an odd sensation to feel my body work SO powerfully but not have it hurt. At all. 
The track kept using the "peace" cue word, which I told you before I had changed to "The Prince of Peace" and wow, I told you before I had just pictured him standing next to me and giving me peace but instead I physically and spiritually felt fully wrapped in His arms. Sounds weird and is still a little touchy-feely for me to even type it out, but it was true. The Prince of Peace that I knew Him to be and verses that taught me those things, the Powerful, Mighty to Save, God of Power and Majesty was there. Just like always only I realized it like never before. He was indeed my Hiding Place and Rock that is Higher than I. I can't even fully explain what it was like, but I feel like I got a glimpse of Heaven-during labor no less! Lol!
Chase would come in and check on me and hold my hand. I couldn't believe the contractions were REALLY picking up but still no pain! I kept waiting for the real contractions to kick in and hurt...I think everyone else did too. :)
The tub was filled and I could get in! I wanted to use the potty chair first, just to be sure we didn't repeat the last birth! (Haha!) On the potty I felt the need to push and told Kathleen. She very sweetly and excitedly said, "Well, we can use the tub of water for your herbal bath afterward." And some other worldly creature came out of me and said "OHHHHH NO! I AM HAVING THIS BABY IN THE WATER! I AM GETTING IN IN JUST A SEC!"
"Oh, okay!" Kathleen said as she backed away from me a little and smiled. So glad she doesn't scare easily at this point and is totally a trooper! :)
So I got in the water...the wonderful, fabulous, amazing water. Had some more nothing contractions...they were taking a LOT more concentration but they still didn't hurt.
And thennnn...the pushing happened. Honestly the pushing totally took me by surprise. I was not in charge of the pushing like my other births, the pushing was in control of me.  It felt like a bus was sitting on top of me and squeezing me nearly to death. It jarred me and I lost concentration and it got SO painful! I suddenly realized that this huge baby was coming out of me and fast. I got very worried about tearing and full-on flipped out. The midwives, Kathleen and Lisa tried to calm me down and reassure me and then I heard my track playing again and heard "peace." Chase squeezed my shoulders, spoke some relaxation cue words in my ear, prayed for me and I was good again. I calmed down again between pushes and waited for a piano to land on me. Suddenly I was completely exhausted and didn't feel like I could push anymore but like I said- I was not in charge of the pushing. It just happened. A crazy powerful force would come over me and baby would come out more. My midwives mouths kinda dropped when I was talking to Chase and the baby and smiling in between pushes. We felt her little head in the water and got excited. Then a push would happen and it was all business. Very pressurized business, lol. I don't know how else to describe it. Pushing wasn't as easy as contractions, obviously but it still didn't really hurt...just was mega powerful. Then, tada! She was out! I pulled her up out of the water and then it gets blurry in my mind for a few minutes. Phoebe Mae was born at 7:54 pm. We called the kids in and they couldn't believe she was here and there had been NO screaming like last time! I was so proud and thankful and happy! We were supposed to sit in the water for a few minutes and were delaying cord clamping but my placenta detached early and we had to cut the cord and get out of the water to be sure to check blood loss.

Phoebe Mae 10lbs 2oz,  22 inches long

We got me in the bed and I got a shot of pit and another one to control the bleeding. Since we knew I am prone to hemorrhaging, the midwives got it under control right away with minimal uterus massaging. Also, there was no tearing!!! It was really fabulous. I got to nurse Phoebe right away and it was a little rough since she kept chewing on me. Kathleen noticed during Phoebe's exam that she had both a lip tie and a tongue tie and that is why she was chewing on me. She wasn't able to latch! She wasn't a happy baby her first couple of days but we had tie revision done and voila! She was a new baby-able to latch and nurse well and finally sleep. :)

Sidenote: We discovered while researching ties for Phoebs that Harmony had a tongue tie also and THAT was responsible for her speech issues! We had it fixed also and she is talking SO much better! :D

So...that is my birth story. So much answered prayer, if you remember the first post where I shared alllll the stuff I was worried about and/or wanted from this birth. This time I felt like a rockstar. It amazes me how God cares about what are my silly birth prayers in the grand scheme of things. 

There is nothing better than to have a care provider that wants what you want, is very very competent and is compassionate. We have found that at Bella Births twice now and are so thankful for them!

Chase is stinking awesome. I say it all the time and it just keeps getting more true. This experience brought us closer still. I will see if I can have him share his side of the story sometime...I am interested to see what he will say.

Aunt Lisa the Fabulous!
 It was so fun to have family come right away and see us!!!

My cousins came to meet Phoebe! Or "Fifi" as Tony calls her. :)

Another blissful part of the Birthing Center is the glorious herbal bath. Honestly it is kind of like sitting in tea. But it is awesome, lol! It just feels so good after labor! If you didn't get one after your birth I am sorry.
Dr. Bo finally gets to meet Phoebe and give her first adjustment. 
After the bath and more checkups, we were given our discharge information and left around mindnight or one a.m. Some people think that is weird but it is so nice to go home to your own bed and spend the next morning as a family- at least if there is no medical reason not too!

So the whole birth and pregnancy was quite an experience. A lot of drama but it ended with a happy and healthy Momma, baby and family and THAT is quite a wonderful answer to prayer. :)

Thanks for letting me share with you guys!!!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Phoebe's Birth Story- Part One

I know...this is only part one. But I felt like to really grasp HOW AMAZING this birth was you had to know everything that went into it and there is a bit of background.

This pregnancy was uneventful and crazy, peaceful and stressful, wonderful and difficult! Much like parenting I suppose!
We had just hopped into missions from the youth pastorate and moved our belongings into storage in Colorado Springs. We moved our family into a 30 foot long travel trailer and began traveling as we raised support for our new ministry position. We were advised to not have more babies, especially while raising financial support because many people do not agree with large, growing families and we agreed that while that is not necessarily a biblical mindset, it is probably a common one and we should wait for awhile and see how the Lord would lead later-after we were settled-in a house-and fully supported. Looking back I am embarrassed at my lack of faith and am glad God gives us what we need many times in spite of us.

So we were just living life and fundraising and praying.
And then I was late. And I could smell everything. And I had morning sickness. And we knew.

I actually never took a test, just watched my belly grow!

While we are always excited about a baby, this news was hard to wrap our minds around. We were still adjusting to life in 240 square feet and mostly we were worried about how everyone would respond. (Again-what a lack of faith! Who cares what people think about what the Lord has brought about?)
We were thankful though for an outpouring of love and support from everyone.

So life went on, and surprisingly I was pretty chill about the whole thing. We traveled from one place to another. Living with family or in our travel trailer or with the Cook's since we started in July last year.

God worked it out that I was in a house during the worst of the morning sickness...throwing up in a tiny trailer bathroom and tiny trailer toilet is so not easy.

He provided an amazing house in a community that loves us while Chase went to India so I wouldn't have to worry about everything that comes with living in a travel trailer...while pregnant...with four kids...in the winter. ;) Seriously, God takes good care of me. :)

I went to a few different midwives here and there for check-ups and our ultrasound during our travels, always hoping that we would be back in Colorado living in a home by the time the baby came and that we would figure out our birth plans when we moved back.

But then...week 32 came, Chase was leaving for India for 16 days and we were not living in a house in Colorado any time soon.
All of the sudden it hit us...soooo....this super cute baby is coming! What are we going to do? Where are we going to have this baby?

We decided to consider and pray about it and decide when Chase got back from India.
Zoey loving on "her baby" and my very weird belly button.

If you know me at all, you know I have had some traumatic experiences when it comes to being a girl and also having babies, (just click on the "childbirth" label on the sidebar to read more about that.) So a safe, birth where I call the shots is very important to me. I research a LOT on find a care provider I can trust.

Now if remember my last birth, you know I had a great experience aside from some hemorrhaging after labor that was REALLY painful to get under control even with using drugs. (I literally begged them to let me die. And I was even holding my new amazing baby. It hurt that badly.) I was sore for weeks and it really took away from what was otherwise a really great birth experience! (By the way, the hemorrhage was no one's fault-just one of those things.) My midwife told me that based on my previous births and now this one it looked like I had uterine atony. My understanding is that that usually means the uterus is basically worn out after the baby comes and it won't contract anymore to shrink the uterus back down and so you bleed.
Sometimes it is also complicated by removing the placenta before it has detached and causes more complications. There are also other factors that can cause hemorrhaging obviously, but uterine atony seems to be mine.

Uterine atony can also hamper going into labor which is also an issue for me. While I believe my body is meant to go over 40 weeks, it is really really really hard to get contractions started and have them dilate me.

So. Knowing this about myself and wanting to avoid torture before and after labor I started reading and researching and reading more. I read about uterine atony, postpartum hemorrhaging, what the causes were, how to prevent them, etc. I read medical studies and what mainstream medicine says and what 40 page long forums of women talking about their experiences and what dr's and midwives did for them.

I found out that I love learning about this stuff. Haha! Once I embraced my role of being a woman and working with the body God gave me, a whole new world opened up!  My Mom-in-love totally called it: we are looking into me eventually becoming a professional doula...*maybe* someday a mid-wife. We will see how the Lord leads.

Anyway, I think I will blog about that side of all this later-what I learned about causes, prevention and even healing. In my case, (and this is just based on my research. I am not trained or anything.) I believe my uterine atony is caused by an excessive amount of amniotic fluid, (always have a crazy amount that leaves the provider saying, "No wonder you were so big! You are all water!") a large baby, and then several pregnancies with no "uterine therapy" (I like to say) being done in between. It is just a lot of stress on an organ that is incredible but "human." :)

I will also say that many, many women are experiencing uterine atony after being induced with cytotec for their first birth and believe there may be a connection between that and never being able to go into labor naturally after that. It could totally be coincidental, but you may want to keep that in mind yourself. (Cytotec and pitocin were not made for labor induction, nor is that to be their primary purpose...sidenote.) I was given cytotec to induce my first birth but I don't believe it is the reason I don't start labor naturally. I say that because when my water breaks and all that pressure is relieved, my uterus hops into action and does just fine.

So that is what I decided- I would throw everything and the kitchen sink at my uterus and pray it would kick into gear on it's own or have my water break on it's own, but also recognize that labor very well may not happen until my water breaks so I need to throw everything at that to dilate enough to have my water broken if need be. My water had never broken on it's own before.

So I collected herbs and oils and date fruits (I will blog more specifically about what I used and why) and waited until it was safe and encouraged to use each thing and then went after it!

  I nourished my body in this way as best I could and prayyyyyyed my body would cooperate. I prayed to go into labor myself and not to hemorrhage again.

The other big part of this story is Hypnobabies. Many of you have heard or seen me carry on about the documentary, "The Business of Being Born." Totally phenomenal-every woman should watch it. It is wonderful. In it, a couple of the moms interviewed mentioned Hypnobabies and the first time I watched it, not long after Evan was born, I immediately blew it off because it sounded New Age and like hokum. ;) I continued to blow it off through Zoey's pregnancy and it wasn't until I was pregnant with Phoebe that I heard Christian friends had used it and had 100% pain-free births! So yes, it piqued my interest enough to decide to at least look into it and actually make an informed decision. (Ha!)

What I found was really interesting. "Hypno-anesthesia" is a real, medical thing. Doctors use hypnotic anesthesia on patients requiring surgery that are lethally allergic to anesthesia. They train their patients to use hypno-anesthesia to anesthetize themselves for surgery! No one "hypnotizes" you and it is unlike anything you have seen on tv. It is a choice you make for yourself and actually anesthetizes you. Crazy cool! Totally makes sense to use it during labor, right?
Hypnobabies not only teaches you how to anesthetize yourself but also to look at birth without fear. The classes and reading material (which I didn't get to use) also reinforce the re-training of your mind in how you view birth. We are inundated with horror stories from well-meaning people and faulty information and images from media.
(Watch "A Baby Story" anyone??? Don't.) Hypnobabies teaches you to trust your body and the process. They are definitely not a homebirth or granola type thing. Most women use Hypnobabies in the hospital with their OB. HB doesn't care where or how you have your baby-just that you are at peace and well-informed about the birth process and comfortable in whatever situation you choose.

I also talked to my Christian friends (that I felt confident in their spiritual discretion) about their experiences and why it was "safe" and how it aligned with Christianity and the Bible. I really appreciated my friend Emily who shared that Hypnobabies teaches you to think about birth the way we are to think about anything: "Whatever is true, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good report, praiseworthy..."  and if I could go into birth trusting the Lord and not fearful for His plan for me than wouldn't that be the spiritual thing to do?
I started listening to the tracks shared with me and still waited to hear something major that would make it all turn out to be voodoo I shouldn't mess with but really, the only thing I disagreed with was one of the "birthing affirmations" that says, "I deserve an easy and comfortable birthing." I believe the Bible teaches that we deserve only hell. God is good to give us anything more than that-not to mention redemption of sin and punishment!!! So when that line was said, I always mentally changed it to "I can have an easy and comfortable birthing."

Hypnobabies is cool in that it is totally non-religious but you can make it religious yourself if you choose. It is great to learn to be more peaceful in stressful circumstances and even better if you focus on the Prince of Peace to do so. So I added in favorite verses on peace or depending on the Lord and the other verses I like to use while preparing for and during birth. The program uses the cue-word "peace" as a word you learn to use when you need immediate, complete relaxation physically, mentally and emotionally. During that training track I changed it to "Prince Of Peace," one of my favorite names of God and the picture of Him I lean on the most. Again, I used the verses that describe Him as such and used them to remind me of Who HE is and thus that I am safe and secure regardless of the circumstances. I hate to use the word meditate in the same paragraph as "hypno" (haha!) but my Prince of Peace cue word led into Bible meditation and thankfulness for Who He is.

Kind of funny, during those times of practicing the "hypnosis" and choosing to see Him in those moments of stressfulness or pain I would start to picture myself in His arms but always decided that was a little too touchy-feely and I wanted to just picture Him there next to me. Giant in my mind, but there, a perfect vision of everything every verse says about what it is to be Peace and Safety...but not holding me...just standing there in case I really needed Him. Haha! I will talk about that more later....

So I used my HB listening tracks and practiced and worried that I wasn't practicing enough or didn't know well enough what I was doing since I couldn't go to class or read the material. I watched videos on YouTube of HB births and some of an HB instructor and learned tips from her and still I worried it wasn't going to work and it would all be for nothing.

I just prayed that He would give me strength and peace for whatever kind of birth He chose for me if He decided an "easy, comfortable HB birth" wasn't for me. But yeah, I also prayed for an easy, comfortable, pain-free birth. 

My other big thing was waterbirth! I have been wanting a waterbirth since my very first pregnancy and have never gotten one. It is probably the first "crunchy/granola/natural" thing I had ever embraced. For some reason being in the water is my very favorite thing- seriously even soaking my feet is just the best! I live for warm showers and baths and thank the Lord regularly that I live in a country where I can take them for granted. I LOVE swimming (as long as there is no threat of sharks...or snakes or anything else that will eat you...worrying about that really messes up the experience. ;) and just being around water. My top two camping experiences were ones where we camped next to running water- once the ocean in Del Mar and the other by this beautiful stream in the mountains of Colorado. Oh so the best!

Anyhow, I think you know what I mean when I say I love water. So the idea of a waterbirth (and hearing gobs of stories from women who all said you should never birth any other way) just made sense to me. Plus it is less painful, easier on baby and your body, blah blah blah WATER BIRTH.
And yet four babies and I still had never had one. In the hospital with the first three births I was allowed to labor in the water but not deliver in there. I am always an easy going, total push-over patient. I hate to feel like I am being a pain or in anyone's way, and that is amplified when I am the one that is supposed to be cared for. I just feel like I am being needy or something. Anyway...that does not apply when it comes to being in the water. The nurses would come and literally drag me out as I whined and carried on and asked how long I had to wait before they would let me get back in. I would turn into a total baby. Being able to labor in the tub was awesome but I never got to deliver in there like I wanted...even "accidentally." ;)

We were all set-up with Zoey-I was having my waterbirth!!!! And then the poop hit the fan...kind of. I already blogged that birth story! ;) Read that story here!
So no...once again I was able to labor in the water but that was it.

So again we planned and prepped for a waterbirth and I prayyyyyyed for a waterbirth. 

The other things that were important to me that I prayed for:

-to make it to the clinic for one thing...because otherwise no waterbirth. (lol!)
-to make it with time to fill the tub...because otherwise no waterbirth.
-that we wouldn't have to use castor oil and if we did it wouldn't mess up....my waterbirth. (Seriously, I have a problem.)
-that even if it wasn't the pain-free birth I was working on and hoping for, that it would be a better example to my kids of what having a baby can be and that birth doesn't have to be scary and awful
-that it would be a good time for both my family and for my fabulous midwife Kathleen and her team. (Seriously, I don't like to be an imposition.)

So that is pretty much what my pregnancy consisted of...lots of research, worrying....and then prayer.
Also...getting super excited about a baby!!! There was that too, of course!

After Chase got back from India we decided to go back to Texas. I was 34 weeks pregnant at that point and we had had friends offer up a spot and hookups for the trailer if we needed them. We took them up on their generous offer and headed that way. I made an appointment with my midwife from before and made arrangements to use the Bella Births Birthing Center there in McKinney, Texas. Even though Kathleen was booked solid she so graciously made room for me and my birth. We picked up where we left off immediately. I just love her to pieces!

The other great thing about being in McKinney was I got to go see the world's best chiropractor, Dr. Bo Brantley. I tend to have a LOT of hip and pelvic pain during pregnancy and Dr. Bo knows how to fix it! Plus even better I love that he has lots of pregnancy and birth experience from his family and was a huge source of peace and encouragement to me. And even better than THAT, he prays over me and baby during adjustments. He is fabulous.

There in McKinney we have dear church friends and my fabulous Aunt Lisa and her wonderful family! So it was great to see and visit them while we were there! We visited churches galore and Chase worked a couple of different jobs during our time there as well as met with Pastors during the week. Our two favorite churches that we visited were Frisco Bible Church and Imago Dei -in case you live in that area and are church hunting. :)

My Aunt also threw me a surprise gift card shower that knocked my socks off!!! So many of her friends gave just knowing we were Lisa's and were in missions!!! The sweetest thing ever! We were also spoiled by friends there too! We are just so blessed by so many people in our lives. :)

Back to birth story...Week 40 came and went...and week 41...and I was obviously annoyed. I had really wanted her born in April. Preferably April 22 which was my Great Grandpa Joe's birthday AND Chase's Great Grandma Dot's birthday.
But no...we just waited-and took a lot of selfies. LOL

And I got bigger and more miserable and my family grew scared of me for reasons I did not understand. Strangers went from annoyingly telling me how huge I was and "Don't have that baby here!" And "Are you sure there is only one in there?"to avoiding eye contact completely and hiding their kids behind them as I waddled by. I must've been a tad grouchy.

We did everything from herbal tinctures that work 95% of the time to acupressure to walking to climbing stairs two at a time sideways. I did baby spinning techniques and the Miles Circuit to help her drop (and they did!) I used essential oils to turn her around into position and to start contractions but nothing. We even did the dreaded castor oil that I swore I would never do again. Nothing.
I would have contractions get to two minutes apart for a half hour and then nothing. I really believed labor wouldn't start until my water broke because of the uterine atony but I wasn't even dilating enough to have my water broken! This baby was not ready.

Some people were freaking out which made me want to freak out so I did more research on due dates and safety which reminded me that I was fine. Even ACOG states that you aren't even overdue until after week 42! We did non-stress tests and Phoebe was passing with flying colors. She was acting like a seventh month gestated baby and not at all like a 9 and a half! Suuuuuper active chicky!

So, since we were all fine (aside from me being angry) there was no reason to really push it. 

So we waited some more...

Part Two coming Tuesday!!! What did you pray for during your pregnancies?

Love you guys!