BAM Family

BAM Family

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Rush of Love: My VBAC Birth Story

I love to read birth stories. I read online birth stories voraciously  while I was pregnant, finding hope and strength in each woman's experience of bringing her child into the world. I read because I wanted to know what it was like to give birth vaginally because my twins were born via c-section 5 years ago and I really wanted a VBAC this time around.

I especially liked stories where the mom gave birth swiftly, serenely, and without meds. Because that's the kind of birth I wanted. 

This is not one of those birth stories. 

But that's ok. I am proud to have it as my birth story. 
Here it is: My 60 hour VBAC. 

I woke up on Monday morning, October 22nd, at 2am with a "different" contraction. Since I had been having strong Braxton Hicks contractions for weeks, I wondered if I would know the difference when real labor started.

I did. The contraction hurt and the bh contractions were just "intense." I was so excited! I was 40 weeks 6 days pregnant and so ready for him to be here. If you want to know how ready, read my bitter blog post about Stupid Labor Induction Ideas

I got up and labored in the living room until sunrise. I walked around, swaying and breathing through the contractions. They came about every 5-7 minutes. I was sure that I would be holding my baby by that afternoon. 

Oct 22nd. (Facebook update) 8am: Silas decided that today will be his birthday! Will update when he is here!!

I called my doula and she came over around 10am. I was smiling and still so happy, laboring on the birth ball. My twins didn't have school that day (teacher service day) so we called a friend and had them go over and play for the day. 

Aaron, Kate (my doula) and I spent the day laboring through the contractions. A hot bag of rice on my lower back became my best friend. We even took the rice bag on the two walks we took that day.  Kate would hold the rice bag on my back and Aaron would hold my hands. It was a beautiful fall day. (Aaron and Kate got a kick out of our neighbors and drivers rubberneck at me as I stopped and swayed through my contractions). 

Oct 22nd. 2pm: 12 hours into labor. Still at home and working through contractions with my doula and Aaron. Doing well!
Here I am, in between contractions on Oct 22nd. 
I want to say to myself, "Oh honey, you have no idea what a wild ride you are on..."

No baby by mid-afternoon but I was sure that by dinner time I would be holding my sweet Silas. My contractions were getting more intense as the day went on. I starting using low "oh" noises as a labor technique. The contractions were getting anywhere from 3-5 min apart. My goal was to labor at home as long as possible and hopefully get to the hospital when I was 6cm or so, maybe even in transition. 

Aaron was getting worried that I was going to squat and drop the baby at home so around 7pm we decided it was time to go to the hospital.

Oy! laboring in the car is a pain in the....butt? back? uterus? not sure but it sucked! Thankfully we are only about 10-15 min away but it was enough time for me to have 3 contractions on the way there. 

We got to the room and the nurse wanted to check me. I absolutely hate internal exams and even wrote on my birth plan "Wants minimum vaginal checks." I told her that she could check me as long as she was really gentle but I was sure that I was really far along.

"After all," I told her, "I've been in labor since 2am this  morning." 

"We'll see," she said. And checked. She was not gentle. And that wasn't even the worst part. 

"It feels like you are about a 2, and 80% effaced."

I was in total and complete shock. Stunned. Horrified. How could this happen? How could I only be at a 2???? And I had had no further effacement since my doctor's appointment five days prior. 

The nurse left (rather smugly, I thought) and I had my first emotional breakdown. How could I keep this up? It had been 18 hours already--could I even do this? I wanted the VBAC so badly! 

We stayed at the hospital for another 4 hours, the contractions coming every 5 minutes. My doctor was on call that night and she checked me at 10:30. 

"You're at a 3, 90% effaced. Do you want to go home? We could give you something to help you sleep."

After a few anguished glances at Aaron and Kate I decided that yes, I wanted to go home. 

"Ok," my doctor said. "I'll write you a prescription for Ambian. Go home, take a hot bath and come back when your contractions are stronger and closer together."

So we left. Another car ride in labor. 

Kate dropped me off at home and went to spend the night at a friend's house. Aaron went to get the prescription. My best friend, who was watching my boys for me, wished me luck and left too. Aaron called and said that the pharmacy was running really slowly and he wouldn't be home for about an hour and a half. I then realized that I didn't have any support at home. 

I labored in a hot bath alone (had to fill it up twice). It was pretty awful. I prayed,  "Lord, give me strength, give me strength" through every contraction. I prayed Aaron would get home soon. Soon. Soon!

He finally got home around midnight and I took the Ambian (it was a tiny pill) and we laid down on the couch to sleep. 

At 2:30am I woke up in crazy pain, convinced that Greek gods had come into my living room and were dictating the script for each contraction. For Athena's contraction, I had to labor like this! Dionysis? Do this! Note to self: do not take Ambian while in labor. It makes you a little cray-cray.

The Greek gods left after about two hours but the rest of the night was kind of a blur to me. 

Oct 23. 8am: Going on 30 hours of labor. Hospital sent me home bc I was only at 3 at 10:30 last night. Please pray for strenghth and encouragement for me. Emtional stress is harder than pain right now.

Kate came back over around 8am and Aaron took the boys to school for the day. My contractions were sporatic through out the morning, around 9-10 minutes apart. I was able to doze in between them on the couch for a few hours. We decided to go for another walk (more rubbernecking from car drivers) and then I got serious about rehydrating.

After that the contractions picked up to about 5-7 minutes apart. They were getting more intense but not getting closer together. I had a few crying jags throughout the day, but I finally got my head in gear. The 22nd may not have been his birthday but the 23rd was going to be!!!

Kate had me do all kinds of positioning all afternoon on the 23rd. I did a hands and knees swaying pose (it was adorable. My huge ba-donk-a-donk swaying in the air as I rested on my elbows...) trying to get the baby to move into a better position. She try to manually move him over to the center of my belly because we thought he was posterior (sunny-side up). We tried manual manipulation. We tried ice on one side of my belly and a heat wrap on the other. He moved some, giving us hope but after 2-3 hours of positioning techniques and countless contractions, he seemed to settle right back into his previous position, on my right side, on his side/posterior.

Side note--Two funny memories from the 23rd: 

1. I was doing a lot of side to side swaying during my contractions. During one, I looked up and saw my bird, Luna, swaying side to side too. LOL!

2. The boys came home from school (they were soon picked up and taken to the park by my best friend's sister) but during an intense contraction I was doing some low "oh" sounds. Benji decided to help me out and make lots of "oh" sounds too. I started laughing, which was kind of painful during a contraction, but I was thankful for my little "labor helper." 

It was 7pm again, 24 hours since we first went to the hospital. I was over this. I needed to know what was going on, even though the contractions were still 7 minutes apart.

I texted my mom and said, "Going to the hospital again. Not coming home without the baby."Enter car ride 3 from hell.

We had an awesome nurse this time with a great sense of humor. She checked me.

"You are 3cm, 90% effaced."

Yep. Same as 24 hours ago.

My doctor was on call again that night. She came in and said, "You are in what we call "Dysfunctional Labor."

Me: "Ya think?!"

And that is when my birth plan went out the window. I had wanted a low intervention, med-free labor. I didn't want an epidural or have to be confined to the bed.

But in that moment, I didn't care. It wasn't just that I believed that "all that matters is a healthy baby!" That phrase annoyed me so much during my pregnancy. Yes, I did want a healthy baby (and his stats were awesome the whole labor!) but what I wanted mattered too! I DID want my ideal labor and birth experience.

But, I had given it a good try. I had labored over 40 hours without any type of intervention. And nothing was happening. So, we moved on to plan B, C, and D.

And that was ok.

Oct 23. 8pm: 42 hours of labor at home. Went to the hospital again and had not progressed in dialation in 24 hours. Doctor said I was in disfunctional labor. Currently have epidural to let me sleep and pitocin to help me dilate.

Que emotional breakdown 5 (6? 7?) while I got the epidural. Everything I was "losing" hit me in that moment, coupled with my phobia of needles. Thankfully Aaron and the nurse helped keep me from hyperventilating.

With the epidural in, I started to relax. My doctor really wanted me to sleep. I was so keyed up that I couldn't really fall asleep but I was able to doze. Doctor came in at 2am. I was at 4cm and she broke my water (another thing that was on my birth plan that I didn't want to happen but hey...whatever!)

Oct 24. 10am: Going on 54 hours. At 8. Epidural is helping me cope.

We were now in day 3. I was only dilating about 1cm every two hours. It was slow going. And the epidural was starting to wear off. I requested two "boosters" of pain relief. Sweet bliss...but they didn't last for long: one hour for the first and about 30 minutes for the second. Pretty soon all my pain relief was gone and my contractions were moving into the pushing stage.

In all those birth stories I read, this is when those birthing women said "things got intense."

Um...yes. "Intense" would be "a" word to use. A nice word. A word that doesn't really describe what it means to be in that stage of labor.

One of my greatest fears about labor was that I would feel out of control, whether that meant I felt like people were "doing things to me" or that I would feel like I couldn't handle the labor itself. (yes, I know, I am a control freak).

I felt like I was flirting with that out-of-control crazy feeling. Not quite Greek gods crazy but just a little bit...out of control.

I alternative prayed silently "God, help me! Give me strength, give me strength" in the 1-2 minute respite I had in between contractions or repeated out loud "I can do this. I can do this. Damn-it-I-can-do-this!"

The praying and swearing seemed to work pretty well.

I started pushing at hour 59. During that final hour, my husband, doula and two nurses kept telling me I was doing great. All I could think was, "Am I doing anything??? Is it ever going to end?? Oh, God it has to end!!"

I slipped over into the out-of-control. I had my final emotional breakdown. But it was almost over. Through my tears and two gut-wrenching screams, when I thought I had no strength left, I pushed my baby into the world (and the nurse who told me to stop screaming? I kinda wanted to punch her in the face).

Oct 24. 1:52pm: Silas is here!!! Brit and baby are well. Thanks for all the prayers and encouragement. Silas came in at 8-3.
I said and felt so many things in those first moments. My first thought when I saw my son when the doctor held him up?

"He has a little butt!"

Ok, let me explain this weird, first thought. My twins were so tiny when they were born (3 lbs 13 oz and 4 lbs 12 oz) and they were so skinny that they had no fat, no butt cheeks. They were so frail and weak.

But Silas had cheeks.

I got to hold him on my chest right after he was born. And in that moment, I realized that this is what I wanted out of my birth. Not the low-intervention, labor-in-the-tub, no-epidural, push-the-way-I-want-to-push, whatever. I wanted to feel that instant rush of love and connection that I missed when my twins were born via c-section and rushed away to the NICU without even a kiss from their terrified new mother.

But this time, the rush was there. Through tears and exclamations of "Precious baby! Happy Birthday! I am so freakin' glad that is over!" I fell in love with my son.

Oct. 24. 3pm: Got to have Silas skin to skin for an hour after he was born and he nursed wonderfully. Filled with love. However, I feel like I got hit by a semi....three times.

My labor didn't go the way I wanted it to. I didn't get my birth plan.

But I got my moment. My rush of love.

 After 60 hours of labor, I got to meet my precious, wonderful son, Silas Edward Meng. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sewing for kids: Soft balls

New a simple project that both little boys or girls would love? How about a sewing a soft ball? 
I actually made 3 balls today for a little girl who is turning one. (wish I had taken pictures before I wrapped them up for the party!) I used scraps of fabric (perfect stash busting project!), using different textures such as corduroy and fleece along with cotton. 

Then I made some balls for my boys out of left over fleece: Two big ones for my 5 year old twins and a little one for our baby (who has yet to make his appearance...40 weeks and 4 days....come on, kiddo!). 

Here is the tutorial and pattern I used (I actually had the PDF saved for a few months and am not sure where I got it....a quick google search came up this this pattern/tutorial). 
These balls are super simple to sew and a fast project that kids love! Plus they are so soft that there is no damage done when they are thrown in the house or at someone's head (can you tell I am a mom of boys???)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Thoughts on (STUPID) Self-Inducement ideas

Pregnant women are crazy. Especially in the last month of pregnancy. Once you pass that magical date that puts you at  37 weeks, just about every pregnant women thinks, "Is today going to be the day?"

Every twinge is obsessed about. Every "symptom" is googled: is this a sign of impending labor?

The answer is YES! Everything is a sign of impending labor!

AF-type Cramps? Yes!
Loose BMs? Yes!
Braxton Hicks contractions? Yes! (Times 1000 in my case. Every day. For weeks. And weeks)
Baby dropping? Yes!
Peeing more? Yes!
Sharp, stabbing pains in your cervix? Yes!
Nausea? Yes!
Hunger? Yes!
Exhaustion? Yes!
Increased energy? Yes!
Feeling serene? Yes!
Feeling anxious and crazy? Yes!

In fact, if you feel it, obsess about it, google it, post on pregnancy boards, and talk to your mommy friends, SOMEONE will tell you that "yes, I had that too! and I went into labor SOON!"

Well, if all of these symptoms are signs of early labor then I have been in early labor for about 4 weeks.

Everyone tells you when you are 37, 38, 39, 40 (and beyond?) weeks pregnant that you are ALMOST there! The baby will be here SOON!

Yes. In theory, this is true.

Except for the only "SOON" that means anything to the extremely pregnant woman is "today." Anything that is not "today" is NOT SOON!

Because pregnant women are crazy. Having the baby is all we can think about.

So because we are thinking about it so manically, we start to think, "How can I just get this baby out???"

Then the googling starts: How to Induce labor at home/naturally/myself

The internet will bring you SO many ideas! Ideas upon ideas! And testimonials from women who went into labor SOON (see above for definition of "SOON")!

However, if you spend enough hours with these self-inducement testimonials, you will see those Negative Nancy nay-sayers who say (insert snotty, high pitched voice here): "I tried that and it DIDN'T WORK FOR ME!"

"Pshaw, Negative Nancy!" You, the heavily pregnant woman, think. "Whatever! This will work for ME!"

So you try things. Things that I have tried with great hope!

And things that didn't work.

Let's start, shall we?

Fresh Pineapple: Along with pregnancy board mamas who SWEAR by this, I have personal friends who have eaten fresh pineapple and gone into labor SOON! In fact, one friend put a piece of pineapple in her mouth and her water broke (That was SO not a coincidence!)!

I thought, "Holy crap! I am trying this! Plus, I like pineapple a lot!

I didn't realize how much "a lot" a whole pineapple is. A whole pineapple is like 7 cups of fruit. In my wisdom, I divided it up into morning and evening doses. I ate and ate and ate those 7 cups of pineapple.  It was yummy!

It was really acidic.
In fact, my gums itched.
My tongue starting hurting.
My mouth felt kind of numb. 
By the end of my evening dose, I had a gigantic acid burn on my tongue.

But by golly, I was going to go into labor SOON! In fact, my water was going to break that night (since it didn't break the moment I put the pineapple in my mouth).

In fact, I think this is the night that I brought a bunch of towels into the bed with me because I was convinced that my water had broken.
Except when I woke up in the morning, there were no towels.
At all.
Stupid pregnancy dreams!

Well, along with the acid burn, the only thing the pineapple did was clear out my bowels the next day. Twice.

Ok. So much for that. I decided to move on. As in literally "move on."

Walking: Preggies swear by this. "WALK THAT BABY OUT! I walked and went into labor SOON!"

The only thing is, walking miles right before you go into labor contradicts with the other thing people tell you to do right before you have a baby: Rest.

So are you supposed to rest or walk?

I decided to walk. And walk.
And then I was exhausted. And then I thought, "If I am wearing myself out, how am I going to have energy to labor for hours and push that baby out?"

So I stopped walking. In fact, walking made my braxton hicks stop. Whatever. Stupid uterus doesn't know a good self-induction when it sees one.

Sex: You will see this idea all over the internet (that sounds dirty....not what I meant).

Well-meaning friends and relatives will give you a wink-wink-nudge-nudge and talk about doing "the big 'S'"

While there is actually scientific studies that show that DTD (doing the deed) will help kick-start your labor, I think people forget how unsexy 40 weeks pregnant is.

If you would like to be reminded, duct tape a 35 pound medicine ball to your stomach and then get your sexy on! Yep! Sizzlin' hot, right? Easy to do, right?


Caster Oil: I am not this desperate. I heard it basically tears you a new one. With hemorrhoids.

I could go on:
Evening Primrose oil? Been taking that for 3 weeks. Nada
Eggplant? not a fan.
Eating spicy food? I regularly eat spicy food so...that would be nothing new.
Spreading my legs wide, pushing on my belly, and screaming "GET OUT!"? Yeah, my sister-in-law tried that. She said it didn't work.

Basically what those pregnancy boards, friends, family, and my doula actually revealed is this: If the baby isn't ready to come, he won't come.

If the at home labor inducement techniques "worked," it probably meant that you were going to go into labor SOON anyways. Early labor is all hormonal, not instigated by anything a woman tortures herself with.

So, here I wait. At that lovely number: 40.
Who knows? Maybe writing seriously bitter blog posts about stupid self-inducement ideas will put me into labor.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Meng Menu

Monday: Fried pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn
Tuesday: Shepherd’s pie, rolls
Wednesday: Parmesan chicken, parmesan rice, broccoli
Thursday: Roasted Turkey breast, stuffing, green beans
Friday: Pork chops, rice, broccoli
Saturday: Frozen pizza, salad
Sunday: Sandwiches, chips, fruit

I have discovered the universal truth that life doesn't stop because you are almost 40 weeks pregnant. Hence, menu planning this week! I am using some of the meat I bought and froze two weeks ago, including the turkey breast! Yum! 

Total this week was $111. YEA! Even better under-budget. On a side note, is it just me or are grocery prices going up? 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

DIY Wild Kratt's Creature Power Suit

Have you seen the PBS show "Wild Kratts"? 
My boys love it! The show is based on two brothers who (in real and animated life) are animal explorers. When they are learning about or rescuing an animal, the Kratt brothers don "Creature Power Suits," insert a "Creature Power Disk" and then take on the powers of the animal. 
It is a fun concept and show, as well as educational. Plus, pure fun for active little boys!
So, for their birthday, I made Creature Power Suits for the boys. I saw several examples online of other moms who made vests like these and after viewing their pictures, I just made up my own pattern by tracing a large version of one of the boys' shirts. 
I made them out of polar fleece though I have seen other people make vests out of felt, or even a t-shirt with the arms cut out. I wanted my vests to be washable (just in case) so I sewed everything on but hot glue would work too for a fun, dress up outfit. 
The best part about the Creature Power Suits is the Power Disks!
Some wonderful bloggers have designed Power Disks and made them available on their blogs for free printing. 
I got my disks from here and here.
We don't have a color printer so I got them printed on card stock and laminated at a local print shop for under $4. Sweet!
We hot glued the soft side of velcro on the backside of the disks (sticky side was sewn on the middle circle of the vest). I sewed a small pocket on the side of the vest to keep the disks in--easy access to change your Creature Power quickly!
The best part? I think this picture says it all!! Both of them are sporting CHEETAH POWER!

Ok, I just had to include this picture because it was funny.....picture taking problems at 39 weeks pregnant. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Happy 5th Birthday Micah and Benji!

Micah and Benji turned 5 today!!! 
Here is a look at their past five birthdays....
Happy FIRST Birthday!
Happy SECOND Birthday!
Happy THIRD Birthday!
Happy FOURTH Birthday!
And (TODAY!) Happy FIFTH Birthday!
 The boys modeling their new Wild Kratt's Creature Power Vests (I made these! Blog post coming soon....)
 Birthday party at Kids Cove today. "Happy Birthday to you....!"
(We sang to Benji. Micah doesn't like birthday singing. Oh, my little son...)
 Their favorite part!
 All our wonderful friends who came to our party!
And.......a little pic of how I looked today. 39 weeks pregnant. 
Ok, Silas. Your brothers turned five. You can come any day now. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Our first Jack-o-Lanterns!

See these happy faces? We carved our first pumpkins today! The boys got these pumpkins on their Pumpkin Patch field trip at school yesterday. 
We have gotten pumpkins every year of the boys' life but we've never carved them. I just didn't want to deal with the mess, or something. But it was really fun! The boys picked which shapes they wanted for the eyes, ears, and mouth and I cut them out.

True to their personalities, Micah asked for a smily face and Benji asked for a scary face. :D

(I must say, as the boys get older, this whole parenting thing is getting a lot more fun. ;)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Meng Menu

Monday: Sloppy joes, baked fries, fruit salad
Tuesday: Chicken parmesan, pasta, salad
Wednesday: Pot luck: Spinach lasagna rolls
Thursday: Chicken fajitas
Friday: Biscuits and gravy, fruit salad
Saturday: Pork chops, rice, green beans
Sunday: Homemade Clam chowder, yeast bread

I am going to try sloppy joes again this week. I meant to make them for Aaron's birthday. He requests them every year (and every week). Well, I started making the meal last Wednesday and went to get the meat out of the fridge. No hamburger, anywhere! I was like, what??? Apparently "Pregnancy Brain" struck again!

Nope. I was in full control of my brain last week. I actually DID buy hamburger! 

I just didn't get it out of my car. 

On Thursday Aaron said, "Your car smells like butt." I thought maybe it was a bit stale in there. By Friday though, the smell was worse. Aaron and I got to spend the whole afternoon together (sans kids!) and kept asking each other, "What is that smell??" What IS that smell??" 

Then it hit me. OH. NO. I bet the hamburger is still in the trunk. 

Well, sure enough! We got home from shopping and Aaron looked in. WAY in the back there was the hamburger, blown up the the size of a small football (thank God it didn't explode!) and smelling like....well, I'm sure you can imagine. 

So, we're trying sloppy joes again this week. I made sure that I got all the meat out of the trunk today. 

Price-wise, I was over budget at $148 total. Kroger was having a meat sale so I stocked up on meats. I'm thinking since I am almost 38 weeks pregnant, that might be a good idea. So, in addition to meats for this weeks dinners, I have a london broil, one dinner of chicken breasts, 3 dinners of pork chops, and a 6.5 pound turkey breast in the freezer! Plus, my grocery bill included toilet paper, oxi-clean, paper towels, vitamins, and kleenex. So, overall, I think I did pretty well! 

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