Monday, July 15, 2013

Coming out of hiding...

Life with two kiddos sure is busy! It's been over 5 months since Lukas was born, and also since my last post. Time kept creeping (well, sailing) by, and I'd think about blogging again... but dreaded the "catching up" that there is to do. But, I think I'm back. I think (someday) I'll have time for crafts and recipes and stuff like that again, but for now... updates will likely be focused on the Little Ones and the fun things we are up to in this adventure called "life"! They are more fun than any craft or project anyway :) 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Birth of Lukas Cade

January 25th, 2013
8lbs, 19 3/4" 

I’m honestly not really sure when I should begin this birth story. I began having labor-like symptoms around Christmas, when I was 37 weeks. Although I had some Braxtion Hicks contractions around this time with my first pregnancy, these seemed to be the real deal… consistent, timable contractions… but, they were extremely weak and were barely even uncomfortable. But yet I thought for sure that labor couldn’t be far off, because it was so different from my first pregnancy. I shake my head and laugh at that now! I certainly wasn’t expecting to go ten days “late.”

As the weeks went on, the contractions went from being consistent and weak to inconsistent and stronger. I was frustrated because I wanted both: consistent and strong, obviously preferably at the same time! I had been sick the entire pregnancy, losing weight, and also having major pelvis and hip pain. So although I knew how blessed I was to be pregnant, I was struggling and not managing well. As my due date came and passed, I was discouraged and getting very mentally and emotionally exhausted. I knew it was just fine for baby to be “late” (I hate that term anyway since it's really just a "guess date"), and that it was very normal. If I had been totally healthy and just simply waiting for baby, I would have been fine going until my midwife allows for a home birth (42 weeks). But I was struggling very much, physically and emotionally, getting to the point where I was very discouraged to wake up in the mornings, pregnant another day, because it was so painful. I felt like I couldn't keep going. I prayed often for the grace to make it through the day, or even through the next five minutes. God was very gracious to me through my pain. It was bad, but God was there.

On Wednesday, January 23rd, we sat down to discuss some options with my midwife, Jenny. She was fine with me having a homebirth up until 42 weeks, which was that next Tuesday. She felt it was  a good idea for me to have a biophysical profile (BPP) done by that Friday so that we knew things were going well in there. I was starting to lose more weight (at this point I was 4lbs below my pre-pregnancy weight), my fundal height wasn’t changing, and I had a lot of ketones in my urine again as well… so she wanted to make sure that the placenta and baby were both healthy. But both Jake and I felt like the BPP was maybe not exactly the most necessary and would rather have tried some things to encourage my body to go into labor since baby was going to have to come out anyway. After some discussion between Jake and I, we decided to go ahead and do the BPP. We also decided that, if everything was fine with the baby, to have our “labor party” (basically, try to get labor started naturally) with Jenny on Friday because of how I was doing emotionally and physically. We made the decision that if nothing happened with our encouragement for labor, then we would try again another day, but for my emotional and physical health, it would be a good idea to try to encourage baby out. That’s how bad I was struggling. I needed to be done, if baby was willing to come. I’m usually very “intervention free” and I kind of surprised even myself that I was this ready. Jenny gave her thoughts and opinions and was on board with our decisions, since things were favorable.

We left our house in the wee hours of the morning on Friday, January 25th. I was 41 weeks and 3 days pregnant. The BPP went just fine and baby scored an 8 out of 8, the highest possible. I felt so relieved to know that things were just fine in there and that nothing should hinder a home birth.  We made a quick stop at Target on the way home to pick up a few things, and arrived back home around 10:15am. I changed into some comfortable clothes and picked up a few things around the house to keep myself busy. The student midwife, Holly, and our midwife, Jenny, arrived around 10:30am. My mom (who was staying with Ryan during our ultrasound) left.

Our labor party was (hopefully) about to begin!

We knew that I was already about 5cm dilated and about 60% effaced from my previous prenatal appointment earlier that week, so things were already starting off on a good note. It was very weird to think that I was basically already "halfway done."

We had an acupuncturist come to our house, because I had a treatment done both on Wednesday and Thursday, and my body responded well to it. The cool thing about acupuncture is that it won’t FORCE your body to go into labor, but it will just hopefully encourage your body to take the opportunity to go with it. The acupuncturist, Amy, was really great. I had never had acupuncture done before that week but I was pretty much willing to try all sorts of natural things to see what would happen. She was at our house for about an half an hour, doing her treatment, and then she left. This time, it didn’t seem to “do” much at the time. Jenny and Jake had just finished setting up the birth pool as she was leaving.

Around 11:00am, Jenny started me on some herbs. She also asked me to use my breast pump for stimulation to see if we could get consistent contractions that way. The plan was to pump for about an hour, doing 5 minutes on… one minute off… and pausing during a contraction. Not long later she also started me on an herb called cottonroot. Boy, that is some NASTY stuff. I had to hold it under my tongue for 5 seconds before swallowing… it burned. Lucky me, I got to take a dropper full of that goodness every 15 minutes! Thankfully I had some apple juice in the fridge to use as a chaser because water was just not cutting it. About an hour later, Jenny asked if I wanted to try some castor oil. This was the thing I was most fearful of consuming… I’ve heard so many uncomfortable about it! But she said the more things that we tried at once might be more beneficial than trying them one by one. So I decided to give it a try. Jake went to the grocery store and got some thick mango juice so Jenny could mix it up with some ice and the castor oil to make me a smoothie. The taste of the smoothie itself actually wasn’t that bad… but the smell, oh the smell! It was definitely oily. It took me 15 minutes to finish but I managed. I also picked up on using the breast pump again since we were giving my body a break during the time I was drinking my fabulous oil smoothie. I definitely was having contractions from all this, but they were far from anything intense and I was more than able to talk through them and do normal things. It was like we were just hanging out all day.

Around 2pm, Jake put Ryan down for his nap and we decided to have Jenny do a check. I was now about 7cm dilated, and she did a sweep with evening primrose oil and clary sage to help soften the cervix even more. She said my bag of waters was bulging and that baby was active (but that part I knew, ha!). Baby was -1 station and then after two contractions (which were 5 minutes apart), baby was at a 0 station.

Holly and Jenny decided to go get some lunch around 2:30pm, and told us to take a rest but to call us if we needed anything… even if we just simply wanted them to come back here. Jake and I picked up the house a little bit (the chaos was driving me insane!), and then I snuggled on the couch with Ryan while we snacked on a few things. I couldn’t believe that his little sibling could possibly be here within a few hours. FINALLY. I had been saying “it’s so soon!” for so long… but now it really WAS soon, whether it was today or a few days later… it was definitely going to be soon. I also spent much of this time in the bathroom, because the castor oil was having its effects on my system. I didn’t think there could possibly be anything else inside! 

Jenny and Holly arrived back around 4pm. We had all decided together earlier in the day that if nothing consistent was happening by 5pm, we’d call it a day and try again another time. When they got back, we discussed our options. After my midwife consulted with two other midwives over the phone, everyone came to the consensus that breaking my water (AROM) would be a legitimate decision, as long as I was dilated to what Jenny and we were comfortable with. So our options were... to stop trying to nudge him out and wait aper day... or continue.

Jake and I talked and prayed about what we should do. We both felt that it would be much harder for me, emotionally and physically, to stop everything and wait an entire day before trying again. My body had already gone so far that day (though I hadn’t really felt like I had done anything) and I really didn’t want to stop. We decided that we would do another check after a little while, and if I was 8cm, we would break my water. If not, the midwives would pack up and go home, to come back on Sunday and try again.

We all made some phone calls; my midwife to her assisting midwife, to have her come join us (as she didn’t want to break my water without the assisting midwife present, in case things went very quickly)… Jake called my friend, Gina, who was coming with her 2 year old daughter to be with Ryan in case we weren’t able to tend to him… and we called my sister, Erin, to come take some pictures of the labor and of the baby afterward. We had planned on having a professional photographer friend come, but she was only in town for a week after my due date and had to return out of state to her home. I didn’t exactly plan on baby coming ten days "late!"

I continued with the herbs and using the breast pump, and ate a few bites of food. I started to feel a little stressed at the upcoming potential decision to either stop or to break my water, and Ryan was also starting to get quite antsy with all the commotion. The midwives were setting up all of their equipment, and more people were coming, so things were a little hectic for a short time. Gina, her daughter, and Vicky (the assisting midwife) all arrived around 7:30pm. Ryan was excited to see his little friend and the three of them went upstairs to play with toys while we made our big decision.  Vicky, Holly, Jenny, Jake and I went to our room to do a check and talk some things through.

Jenny then did the check. I was 8cm dilated. After another long discussion, discussing the pros and cons of AROM yet again, we decided to go for it. I was at the pre-decided dilation point and I knew it would have been harder for me to stop all that we had been doing all day when so much progress had been made. We prayed that God would keep baby’s heart tones stable and that there would be no meconium in my water, so that I could still give birth at home and not have to transfer. So at 7:47pm, Jenny broke my water, which (praise God) was clear. Immediately I went to 9cm. AROM felt so much different than SROM (them breaking my water vs. it breaking on its own). With Ryan, my waters broke on their own and it felt like a huge POP inside of me, followed by an immense amount of pressure and the need to push. When Jenny broke my water, I felt nothing, except the warm liquid coming out. I did feel baby move lower, but there was no urgency to push or really any change in my contractions. They were still coming, strong but very tolerable, every few minutes. After using the bathroom, I waddled out to the living room where the pool was set up.

At 8:05pm, the birth pool was at a good temperature. It took emptying out our water heater three times in order to get it full. I got in… it felt really nice. I had wanted to be in a tub big enough to submerge my whole body for some time (like 9 months!!)… so this was awesome! Our puny bath tub just doesn’t cut it. We had a bunch of candles lit, and “The Piano Guys” station was playing on Pandora. The room was dimly lit, and it was so peaceful. Just the kind of atmosphere we wanted to bring our little person into.

I sat with my back against one of the sides of the pool. My midwife wrote in her notes at 8:15pm: “Still doesn’t look like she is working hard at all, but is doing some deeper breathing with the contractions now.” Ryan, Gina and her daughter came down from playing upstairs to get some snacks. The midwives were sitting on the couches across the room, talking and laughing quietly. I liked listening to their chatter in between contractions. It was nice to have my space, but I appreciated knowing that they were right there if I needed them. I overheard them making jokes about whether or not I was going to tell them when the baby was coming out.

At 8:28pm, leaning forward over the edge of the tub is what started to feel the best. I was on my knees, laying my head on my arms. My midwife brought me a popsicle and I shared it with Ryan… but he stole a few bites from me while I had my eyes closed, focusing on a contraction. Little stinker!

Around 9:00pm, I thought Jake should probably try putting Ryan down for bed, because Ryan was getting very tired. I normally put him to bed, so between all of the abnormalities in the house and having daddy put him down instead of me, Ryan wasn’t really having it. After Jake tried for a while, I wanted so much to tell them to get Jake for me, that Ryan could stay up. I felt like I needed Jake there but I couldn’t vocalize it. At 9:12pm, Jenny asked me to see if I could feel how low the baby was. I reached inside and felt baby’s head about two knuckles in. Things were finally to the “intense” point. The point where I thought to myself in my head, “You know… I don’t really feel like doing this anymore! Can I be done now??” Jenny mentioned that since my labor was so different, I might never get the urge to push. She said that if it felt okay, I could try bearing down with the contractions. Jenny also asked Gina to go get Jake, for which I was thankful. Jake appeared by my side. He grabbed my “birthing affirmations” booklet that I made, filled with encouraging scripture and quotes, and started to read one… but I held up my finger to ask him to stop. I needed to focus. His strong presence, his hand rubbing my arm like he was doing, was what I needed in that moment, not something else to think about.

I started lightly bearing down around 9:15pm. With the first gentle push, there was a release of more amniotic fluid and a small amount of… well, the effects from the castor oil. I felt Jenny scoop it out with her little net, and I said to her with a chuckle (while I still had my head laying on my arm and eyes closed), “THAT’S what you get for giving me CASTOR OIL!” Everyone laughed quietly, and Jenny later told me that she knew things were close at that point because of my snarkiness ;]

There was one contraction that I’ll especially remember… I started to raise my body out of the tub, as if trying to get away from it instead of trying to work with it. Jenny gently reminded me to not try and run away from the pain but to use it and to gently bear down with it. Even though it was starting to hurt, I felt so… calm, and in control. With Ryan’s birth, I had no say over my body and felt like I was spiraling out of control. It was a great birth, but I’ll never forget feeling like things were moving on without me, whether I was ready or not. I remember feeling slightly afraid, thinking I wouldn’t be able to catch up. This time, I felt on top of everything, and there was no fear. I felt pretty comfortable with what was happening. 

With Jenny’s encouragement, I pushed gently with the next contraction. I felt the baby’s head start to emerge, and I gently held it in my hand while supporting myself. I was so focused, and “in the birthing zone,” that I couldn’t tell who was around me or what was going on. All I could hear was the music, playing in the background. It was still “The Piano Guys” station on Pandora, and one of my favorite songs of theirs was playing: their rendition of Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” (I’ve never heard the original but I love their version). Still bearing down, the head came out completely. “Oh, there’s his head!” I said, not thinking about not using gender specific pronouns anymore. Another slight push, “and his body too!”  It was 9:38pm.

I pulled him up into my arms and sat back against the side of the tub. Jenny came over and started to rub him with a towel. His cord was a little short and he was obviously very slippery, so I felt like a newbie baby holder as I tried to adjust him against my body. I couldn’t believe he was finally here! After such a long, hard pregnancy, but fairly easy labor, he was finally, finally, finally here. I kept talking to him, telling him he did such a good job and I knew it was hard work but that he could rest now. And I couldn’t stop kissing him or telling him how much I loved him and how happy I was! Ryan came over from the other room to meet his new brother. He was a little hesitant at first, but then got very excited! I was so glad that he was so close by that he could meet his new little brother so soon after the birth. I think it made for an easier adjustment. It was such a special experience for all of us. After a while, he was far more interested in sticking his hands in the water and splashing around.

I held our new son while he was being checked out, and then he and I just sat in the tub and relaxed together for a while. He was able to nurse for a short time but it wasn’t really comfortable for me in the tub with such a slipper little person. Erin was busy snapping pictures, and everyone else just seemed to soak in the moment of a new baby being born. There was no rush at all, it was just peaceful and relaxed. I started to feel a little cold, so I wanted to get out of the tub. It was 28 minutes after delivery that my midwife clamped the cord and Jake cut it. With another kiss, I handed our boy off to his papa and slowly stood up to deliver the placenta. Just like I remembered, it was like giving birth to a boneless mass… extremely weird but satisfying, in a way.

With some help, I made my way to our room and laid down in bed. I nursed him again for a short time and then it was time to check both of us out more thoroughly. I faired well and only had a couple very small, minor “splits” in the skin that did not need much attention. Jenny thought it would be best to use some soaked seaweed placed inside just to help things heal well, so that’s what we did. I hardly bled during the birth and wasn’t having much now either. Not long later, Jenny had to leave because of an emergency with another client, but we were in good hands with Vicky and Holly there.

Then it was our little guy’s turn to get checked out. We were all surprised when he was weighed… everyone thought he looked so little (although he definitely had some rolls!), but he was 8lbs on the nose. He was 19 ¾” long, which also surprised me because that was almost 2” shorter than what Ryan was. He was perfect, though! Everything checked out just fine.

Gina and her daughter left not much after that… and then the midwives gave us our post-partum instructions. It was probably about 1:30am before they left. Ryan had just fallen asleep on our bed, completely exhausted from the day’s events and a extremely late bedtime. Jake scooped him up and brought him into his room to lay him in his bed. 

Then… just like that... it just felt so surreal. I had just given birth a few hours ago, and here we were… at our quiet home, in our own bed, with now TWO SONS… it was so exciting and weird all at the same time. But we are so blessed and so thankful! Our home birth was such a fantastic and special event in our lives and we are so thankful for a healthy baby boy!! 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Introducing Lukas Cade

Lukas Cade

Our bundle of squish has {finally} arrived! Lukas Cade was born here at home into mama's hands at 9:38pm on January 25th, 2013. He weighed 8lbs and was 19 3/4" long. We are all doing well and are so excited to have Lukas join our family! Thank you, Lord, for this gift of life!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

{ 40 weeks }

It kind of feels surreal to say that today is my due date... I've been anxiously awaiting this date (and the weeks to come after it, since I correctly assumed baby would not show up before or on his/her due date)... and now it's here! NOW I can REALLY say, "it will be any day!"

Rather than dread today that I am "*groan* STILL PREGNANT..." I've decided to make today a celebration! So happy due date to me! We've made it this far, baby... yahoo!

Not much to update other than that... I have an appointment on Thursday evening. Still having a lot of prodromal labor (cramps, contractions, nausea/vomiting, etc)... but that doesn't mean anything to me anymore. ;] I'll update later in the week after our appointment... or hopefully, to make a baby announcement!! 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

{ 39 weeks }

I had my 39 week appointment yesterday. Everything still looks fine; we're just waiting on baby, whenever baby decides it's time to arrive :] I think I'm past the impatient stage... I'm feeling okay right now... because I know it's in baby's best interest to come when he/she is ready to, and that "due dates" are total guesses with very little accuracy. I still wouldn't mind sooner rather than later, mostly just because of the pelvis/hip/back pain. The nausea comes and goes but hasn't been AS bad.

I haven't gone anywhere this week, except for my appointment, and don't really plan on going many (if any) places before baby is born. I kind of tend to "hibernate" at the end of my pregnancies. Getting out and about is a lot of work with a toddler (especially with such terrible pain!), and I just don't really have the energy for it right now... that, and part of me just feels sort of... anti-social, in a way... sometimes I can be pretty emotional and I know only certain people can handle my "grumpiness," so I usually just stick at home to rest and prepare.

I thought this was funny on "the"

The urge to nest. Don't stress though -- you'll never get everything done.

 Uuuum... actually, I think everything IS done... and has been done over and over again. Haha! There really isn't much "to do" to get ready for a baby... but some things are really nice to have organized and ready to go. I did some freezer cooking and have a nice little stock set up... I've also cleaned basically every corner of this house. I'm kind of getting a little bored :] Thankfully, Ryan is good at making a mess (as toddlers/boys should be), so I at least have something to clean and re-clean.

 Some of the "getting ready..."

 [Ryan's closet with baby's dresser inside]

 [where baby will sleep when he/she isn't sleeping with us]

[the birth supplies!]

[more birth supplies; this is the "emergency basket" we'll grab in case the midwife doesn't make it on time. that won't happen though, right?!] 

Other than preparing myself mentally and getting my house ready, I've been trying to prepare spiritually for this new little one coming into the world. I am so blessed to have carried this child for this long. As I hear stories of women losing their newly discovered babies, or babies just being ready to be born, my heart aches with how much I've wanted this one OUT! God knows the exact time that he/she will be born, and it will be perfect... I don't need to be anxious about it. I should be thankful for every single minute I'm a mama to this little one and not be desperate for the next moment.

I get a little emotional every time I put Ryan to bed. "Is this the last time I'll rock him before sleep as my 'only' child?" I don't doubt that I will love this new baby very much (I already do!), but change is hard... even when it's GOOD and exciting change. Ryan is SO much fun and such a blessing to us... it's sometimes difficult to imagine how life is going to change. It will be hard. But it will be beautiful, as long as Christ is the focus of our family. We are so blessed! 

I would love your prayers as this pregnancy journey ends... whenever that will be... that the labor and delivery go smoothly, and that baby will be born healthy!! 

And now, I shall continue my hibernation. :] 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

{ 38 weeks } hello, goodbye!

[I think that "weight average" listed above is ridiculous... 9.2lbs at 38 weeks? Goodness, I hope not!]

This week I'm saying hello and goodbye to a few things. The most important/exciting thing so far...


I wouldn't say I'm eating as much as a normal, 38 week pregnant woman should. But considering how little I've been able to eat the last nine months, eating at least one full ("full" is probably a stretch) meal a day + snacks is a drastic change for me! I'm actually hungry sometimes now! It's kind of exciting for food to actually sound good. I'm still dealing with nausea on a daily basis but at least now I'm able to eat some. I'm browsing Pinterest at the moment... this is a big deal that I can look at {most} food without feeling like death.  I'm still trying to eat least make a small protein shake when I'm not feeling well enough to eat.

I'm sad that I have had to say...


Up until now, I've been able to sleep on my stomach at night time... but it's actually not comfortable anymore, unless baby is in some random position. I'm glad to have been able to enjoy it this long, but am sad  to see it go! 



It kind of stinks to have energy and not be able to use it (because of the hip/pelvis pain), but it's nice to not be absolutely exhausted allll of the time. I'm in a better mood and that's always a good thing :] 



A lot of people tell me that because I don't have a huge belly, bending over should really be no big deal... but it totally is! Considering I have the same sized baby in me that may be in you, except mine is squished up all in my internal organs, does not make it easier to bend over... let's get this fact straight ;] Baby definitely protests hardcore if I bend over for too long.

Everything seems to be going well. Minus the fact that I, well, haven't had the baby yet ;] I know, I know, I'm just setting myself up for disappointment to already be SO anxious over the birth of this child. I fully expect to go to my "due date" and maybe well over it. I try to look at it this way: if I'm pregnant to the last possible point that they will "let" me be, I won't be pregnant longer than a month. I try to think of this as a positive thing... but I usually have to grit my teeth to say it ;]

This pregnancy is pretty different than Ryan's... the sickness is the same, but the hip/pelvis pain is new this time around. Also, I've been basically in "pre labor" since the 28th of December. With Ryan, I didn't really have any "signs of labor" until my midwife did a membrane sweep and I went into labor that night. This time...

Contractions? Check.
Back pain? Check.
"Digestive issues?" Check. 
Nesting? Check. 

Baby? Not yet.

Predromal labor is common and can be annoying, but thankfully, it's not "in vain." Maybe my body is doing all this piddly stuff now, and we'll have a super fast (but not TOO fast!) and easy delivery when the time comes. That would rock.

Thankfully, God knows the time and day that this baby will be born... and I can rest in that! I try to remind myself how wonderful this time is, a time I will never be able to get back. I really do enjoy feeling baby's movements inside of me; it's probably my favorite thing. Although I am anxious to meet this little one face to face, I'm trying to be content with the timing of everything and that this is precious time. 

{38 weeks}