Thursday, January 23, 2014

Feels like we've been to the moon and back: A Pregnant Pause {Conclusion}

Warning:  This post is LONG. . . and contains details regarding labor and birth.  If you are not comfortable with sitting for long periods of time or hearing juicy birth stories then this post is not for you.  You have been warned.
I am a perfectionist and when I need to complete something that is important to me and I want it to be perfect I’m usually paralyzed. . . until I finally convince myself to just get it over with. Does that ever happen to you?  That’s probably why it’s taken me so long to get this done. . . ok and the fact that I now have an almost 8 month old keeping me up all night a busy all day.
 I love Callie’s birth story and I want more than anything to document it for her.  We are a story telling family.  Claire LOVES to hear stories from our past and I have a feeling she will make sure her little sister will too.  This is why I want to make sure I do this story justice.  Not because it’s particularly amazing, but because I know it’s a story my girls will cherish throughout their lives.  Claire, someday I’ll get around to trying to remember all the happenings of your special day and get them down on the proverbial paper too.

Let’s start where I last left off.  I was teaching full time and enjoying the fun and challenging kids at my school.  I kept getting bigger and bigger and my students kept asking what would happen if I had the baby at school.  I knew that the likelihood of going into labor at school was miniscule and I would constantly reinforce this to my students.  Eighth graders get obsessed with the weird and crazy things in life.  That being said. . . as the days of school counted down I began to wear out and start to worry too. 
With each midwife visit Callie was measuring big and we had a feeling she would be early.  Claire was two weeks early and we had a feeling this lady would be early too.  I was having consistent Braxton hicks every afternoon and I knew the time was drawing near.  My due date was June 6th . . . which happened to be the last day of school too.  I knew that come June 6th there was no way in the world I wanted to be at that school. . . physically or emotionally.  I went to the principal’s secretary and said baby or no, I will not be in the last week of school.  We made arrangements and all was good. Or so I hoped.
Sunday, May 26th contractions started at around six in the evening and were becoming consistent and closer together.  By 9:30 I texted the midwife my contraction log and she suggested I try getting some sleep and to let her know if things progressed any further.  Not the answer I wanted to hear.  I wanted her to say come right in.  I’m glad she didn’t say that now, but at the time I was disappointed.  I texted Janie who lives 4+ hours away in Dallas and let her know what was happening.  She was planning on being my support person during the birth.  Let’s face it I was scared to death to have a natural birth and Dylan was too.  I knew Janie would be able to think clearly and help me reason when I wanted to give up.  Bless her heart she dropped everything and started the  four hour drive to Houston.  By the time she arrived at 2:30 a.m. all contractions had ceased.  I had actually had good sleep and didn’t hear her knock or call.  She slept in my parking lot in her car.  Waiting for me.  When I woke at four and realized I missed her I felt terrible. 
Monday, May 27th, Memorial day Janie and I tried every trick in the book to try and get things started again.  Lunges, squats, stairs, pumping, etc.  Contractions would come, but then they would taper off and end.  That afternoon, Janie packed up and headed back to Dallas and I felt totally and utterly defeated.  I felt horrible because she had come all the way here for nothing.  I also felt horrible because I had had my hopes up and I just did not want to go back to work the next day.  Jackie, my midwife, texted and said for sure she thought I would have texted to say it was time.  We were all disappointed. 
The next day I went to school.  I had my midwife appointment that afternoon and they stripped my membranes and said they really thought the baby could come anytime.  On the way home from the midwife my contractions became very intense.  I picked up Claire from the sitter hopeful I’d have to drop her back off in a few hours so we could go have a baby.  True to form though, Miss Callie kept the contractions going most of the evening and then settled down for bed.  That night I texted the secretary at work and told her I would not be back in, that they expected the baby to come anytime.  The waiting game began in earnest.
Wednesday morning I received a text from the midwife inquiring if the membrane stripping had worked.  I told her what had happened.  She said she really thought baby was ready and I was too.  We were both puzzled.  She said that I could try some castor oil if I wanted to.  I had heard horror stories and was afraid to try it, but I wanted this to be done.  Most women can relate. . . there comes a point in pregnancy when you. are. done!!!!!!  I was there.  I tried the castor oil and one small bout of diarrhea and then nothing.  This was now turning into a sick joke.  The rest of the week ticked on and I felt ridiculous for bailing out of work when there was no baby in sight. 
Tuesday, June 4th arrived and it was time for another appointment.  Still no baby.  I was in mourning and deep depression at this point.  (Looking back it cracks me up because I was not even to my due date yet!!!! I’m a dramatic idiot.)  The midwife stripped my membranes again, sent me home with some primrose oil  capsules to take and said hope we hear from you in a few hours, otherwise I want to see you on your due date.
Thursday, June 6th.  My due date.  The last day of school.  I headed to my appointment at 9 a.m. On the way I saw the most beautiful cloud in the shape of a heart and stopped to take a picture of it.  I had hoped it was a good omen or something.  A friend commented later that the cloud looked like a baby.  On close inspection I saw a baby too.  It was a quiet morning at the office, no one else had arrived.  Jackie met me early and for a quick visit before she headed to the island for the day to see patients.  We both sat and scratched our heads as to why this baby had not made an appearance yet.  She stripped my membranes yet again and stretched my cervix a little hoping that might do something. By now I was dilated to almost a five and fully effaced.  I had been that way for a week and both of us had resigned that baby was not coming. 
I headed home defeated.  On my way home the contractions began again and thinking it was the same as before I became very frustrated and started to get mad.  I was sure it was the same old thing.  I was home by 10 a.m. and the contractions were still consistent.  By 11 I had a feeling I needed to call Dylan.  I called him and I cried.  I told him I wanted him to come home but I felt stupid if it wasn’t really happening again.  I called Janie and told her Dylan was on his way and she said she was dropping her kiddos off and she would be on her way too.  Dylan was home in 20 min.  I decided to eat a bowl of yogurt and pineapple and the contractions were staying pretty regular.  In fact while I was eating lunch and talking to Dylan, I had to stop and catch my breath a few times.  I still felt like it definitely wasn’t time.
It was a half day of school and I had promised my friend I would pick up Claire and her girls from school so they could play at my house for the rest of the day.  It was time to get the girls from school so Dylan went to pick them up.  The moment he walked out of that door a contraction came with such force I thought I wanted to curl up and die.  I called Dylan and told him he had to come right back.  I called my friend Angie and told her she had to get the girls.  I texted the midwife and said that we were heading to the birth center.  She was still in Galveston but another midwife was at the birth center seeing patients.  Jackie said she was leaving Galveston and said she would meet us there. 
The contractions on the way to the birth center were intense.  VERY INTENSE.  True to my life, a funny thing happened on the way to the birth center. . . we got lost.  I had driven there from the direction we were coming several times, but Dylan never had because he always came from work.  I was delirious and out of my mind with debilitating contractions.   Dylan thought he knew where he was going.  So to make matters worse there may have been some crying and yelling and whipping out the GPS to get to the midwife. . . we were close. . . just not where we thought we were. 
When we finally arrived Camellia, another sweet midwife, was waiting for us and as we walked through the door  peace and calm overcame me.  We were escorted to our birthing room and relaxing music greeted us and a warm bath was running in the tub.   I quickly changed into my comfy nightgown and the contractions continued to intensify.  When I sat down on the bed I immediately felt like I was going to puke.  This was the one part I hated when I gave birth to Claire.  Throwing up during labor, I was not looking forward to it, but knew that it meant I was getting close.  I told Camellia that I thought I was going to throw up and she handed me a bowl.  Luckily, the wave of nausea quickly passed and I did not throw up. The contractions intensified.  Camellia asked if I wanted to get into the tub.  I remember thinking, “Really, I just changed my clothes and now you want me to change again!?!?!?” The thought of warm water sounded perfect and I changed into my swimsuit top and climbed in.  The contractions now intensified even greater. 
After climbing into the tub Marianne my other midwife arrived.  I had been working with Marianne and Jackie throughout my pregnancy and had got to know the other two midwives Camellia and Katy too.  I was so happy to see the woman that I had discussed my birth plan with and was completely put at ease as she explained what was going to happen.  It was at this point that I realized I was in transition and this baby was coming soon.  Marianne made sure that I received my antibiotics as I had tested positive for group b strep earlier.  It was during the administration of the antibiotics that the contractions started to become unbearable and at one point I felt my water break.  Soon after I knew it was time to push. 
You may be thinking, where was Dylan during all of this.  He was there, I could tell he wanted to help but didn’t know how.  At one point I remember trying to get comfortable after a contraction in the tub and he came to try to help me sit up and I told him to just get away from me.  I feel horrible about it now because when we were preparing for this moment I kept reiterating to him how I wanted and needed his support during labor and now when he offered I pushed him away.  I knew there was nothing he could do at this point to help.  They found him a stool to sit on at the end of the tub and he stroked my hair.  Man I love that guy.
Jackie arrived right when the time came to push and boy was I READY!!! I may have been a little overly dramatic, but man it was painful.  I was extremely afraid of tearing so just as I would make progress pushing I would get scared and back off.  Marianne asked if I wanted Jackie to take over and deliver and I remember saying, “I don’t care just get it out!”  I finally was able to get her head out but just could not get the shoulders out.  That was when they had me turn around in the tub to lean on the edge of the tub and push.  At this point they realized that the cord was around her neck and she needed to get out immediately.  I didn’t realize how serious the situation was, I just wanted her out.  I still was having no success pushing so they had me climb out of the tub . . . head between my legs and all. If I wasn’t the one having the baby I would have been laughing at the sight.  I got into a squatting position on the side of the tub and prayed and screamed with all my might as I finally pushed that stubborn little red headed girl out.  She was blue and not responding.  I was in a state of euphoria, happy it was over and happy to be holding my baby.  Not fully aware that the women around me were concerned and panicking about my blue baby.  While they administered oxygen to Callie, I held her and talked to her.  Finally we were able to get her to take a breath and start breathing.  It wasn’t until later talking with the midwives did I realize how serious things had become.  They jokingly said that they didn’t think they were going to have to call an ambulance for baby but maybe for dad who was sitting in the corner white as a ghost with tears streaming down his face. I can only imagine what it must have been like for Dylan to witness such a crazy scary scene. 

Once we were settled back in bed snuggling with our baby I remembered Janie who was on her way.  Dylan quickly called her to tell her what was going on but before he could say anything she told him she was an hour away and she was trying to get here as fast as she could.  He told her that the baby had already arrived and to take her time.

We arrived at the birth center at 12:45 p.m. and Callie was born at 2:15, an hour and a half.  Many prayers were answered; the biggest prayer was that my labor would be quick.  I knew that there was no way I could handle going through contractions like that for hours on end.  Kudos to all you mommas that have done it, you are all my heroes!!! 

Janie arrived around 4 that afternoon.  It was such a relief to see her.  I know she wasn’t there when Callie was born, but I could not have made it through this pregnancy without her.  She was amazing, always answering lots of questions and coaching me all the way.  It was her voice I heard telling me to breath and relax as I fought through each contraction.

8:30 that evening we were home and getting settled.  My friend Angie brought Claire by to meet her new baby sister.  Claire tried to act unimpressed, but I could see love on her face as she held this little miracle for the first time.
Callie was a big girl.  9lbs and 2oz.  She was 21 ¾ inches long.  Her stubborn nature has persisted throughout the last seven months.  Everything is done on her terms.  She loves people and is always ready with a smile for new faces.  Claire loves being a big sister and always comes to find Callie first thing each morning. 

This baby has been such a blessing in our lives.  She has made me realize that Heavenly Father truly does know what we need and when we need it.  Most of all he does hear and answer our prayers.  When I had lost faith and given up hope he showed me that all was not lost.  I am so blessed to be a momma to two sweet amazing girls. 


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Feels Like We've Been to the Moon and Back: {Part Three} Going Against Everything I Ever Thought I Wanted in a Birth

This post took me a while to write and then to actually hit publish because, well, let's face it I care way too much about what other people think.  Way too much.  I know that this post may make me look naive or uneducated.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  There's a few things I believe.  First and foremost that having children is a very sacred responsibility.  Second, we can't always control the hand we're dealt and it's never our place to judge.  Third, and finally, at some point you just have to have faith and trust in God.  He knows us, He knows what we are capable of and His will and blessings for us are great if we do all that we can do!

Shortly after finding out about our pregnancy I was able to begin working as a long-term substitute for a nearby middle school.  Another amazing miracle.  I was hoping that this position would turn into something more permanent.  Health insurance was not included with substitute positions and having the hospital birth I wanted was going to be financially impossible without insurance.  I didn't know what to do.  I was frozen with fear.  I couldn't sleep at night because I didn't know how we were going to have this baby.  So I waited and waited and waited.

The reality of pregnancy began to kick in as the morning sickness arrived.  Working at a middle school and morning sickness is no fun.  Stinky teenagers sent me reeling daily.  Ginger Ale was my best friend. The parasite in my womb could not be ignored anymore.

I was new to the area and had no insurance.  I didn't know a good OB/GYN so I started asking around.  I received a few referrals and starting calling different doctors for self-pay pricing.  No one wanted me.  This was devastating. I felt like a second class citizen as I called doctor after doctor and no one wanted to take me as a patient after they asked the question, "and what insurance do you carry?"  To which I would reply that I was self-pay.  I would hear, fumbling around and then they would either say were are not taking new patients or be quoted astronomical prices and be discouraged from coming to their practice. 

I just kept waiting to find someone to go to.  I started to get a little depressed.  With my first child I knew who I wanted to see, I went in after being pregnant for six weeks and I was excited.  It wasn't like this with this baby.  I was scared.  

I also need to add, that with Claire, my first, I had a very traditional OB/GYN that I loved.  He was funny and had a great bedside manner.  I had decent insurance through work and so all options were on the table.  We took a birth class, I knew I wanted an epidural immediately and I knew what to expect.  I loved and trusted my Doctor and knew he would make the right decisions for me.  When Claire came everything went as planned and I was happy with my experience.  It was the kind of experience I wanted again.  Yet, with no insurance this time around, it was going to cost me $15,000 or more by the time it was all said and done.  

I knew this would destroy my family financially, but I still did not know what to do.  Having this baby was the blessing we had been asking for for so long, but we really did not believe it would happen.  The timing was just, ugh!!!!

My good friend had suggested I visit a midwife in my area that she had met.  I thought my friend was CRAZY.  A MIDWIFE!!! Me!!!!! No way!!!!!  Yet, as my pregnancy progressed I new I needed to make a decision.  I shopped around a little more and still was not happy with the way I was being treated and the $$$$$$ we were facing.  After calling the local hospital and being transferred from one person to the next I was DONE!!!!  I bit the bullet and called the midwife my friend suggested.  

As I spoke with the kind caring woman on the other end of the phone my heart and mind started to change and soften.  Mary, the office manager, willingly explained cost and procedure and made me feel like a mom trying to have a baby.  That probably sounds ridiculous.  After I had called so many places who made me feel like a low-life vagrant who got knocked up and had no insurance, talking to Mary is exactly what I needed.

I made an appointment to come and take a look and make a decision, although from the conversation I had with that angel on the phone, a decision had already been made.  That decision was affirmed when I met with the amazing Jackie at Bay Area Birth Center.  I knew this was the place for me.  

Over the next seven months I learned more about birth than I ever dreamed.  I learned more about myself too.  Reading, The Gift of Giving Life opened my mind and helped me understand that as women we are capable of so much, especially having babies.  However, you choose to have one.  

Next up. . . the story you've been waiting for. . . or not.
My birth story.
Short, sweet and to the point.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Feels Like We've Been to the Moon and Back: Part Two- Reality Sets In

"When you come to the edge of all that you know, you must believe one of two things:  either there will be firm ground to stand on, or you will be given wings to fly."

After eight years of hoping and praying for a baby we had reached our breaking point.  Our last experience made us believe it would take a lot of money or a miracle to have a baby. 
We felt like a baby was in our future and adoption just never felt right, but we weren't getting pregnant. 

After a lot of soul searching we figured our hang-up with adoption must just be us being afraid of the process and we decided to bite the bullet and start the paperwork. The week I discovered I was pregnant I had actually called LDS Social Services to pursue adoption.  When I only got a voicemail I got scared and hung up.  A few days later I found out I was pregnant. 

As stated in the previous post when we found out, we were in shock and we were happy and excited.  Dylan came home from his business trip and it still had not set in.  In fact even after Callie was home with us it took a while for it to really sink in. 

Reality of things however, quickly set in.  Here we were, in a small apartment in a rather scary place and I didn't have a job or insurance.  How in the world were we going to pay for and have a baby?  We were totally not prepared.  To make matters worse, right after we found out we were pregnant our apartment was robbed.

The robbery made us begin to doubt.  Getting pregnant was something we had prayed for daily for years and now we were questioning.  Looking back it seems so ungrateful that we questioned.  We just knew that there had been times in our lives when we felt we were more prepared to have this baby, but we knew that Heavenly Father had a plan.  We quickly realized that he would bless us beyond measure with this baby and he would help us. 

Many miracles happened throughout my pregnancy.  Most of them little miracles, but miracles nonetheless. 

One such miracle happened shortly after our good news. I found a long term substitute teaching job, that eventually turned into a full-time position. As a result of this job we could afford prenatal care and with the long term job insurance.

Initially I did not have insurance and did not know how we would do this without it. 

Next up: My choice to go against everything I ever thought I wanted or
in birth.