Saturday, August 23, 2014

Claire's Birth Story- Part One

"I'm definitely having this baby tonight!" were my words on a Tuesday evening to my friend, Heather, whom I was spending an afternoon with. These same words were repeated to my home birth team a few hours later, while I continued through early labor and into active. My contractions were steady, 4-6 minutes apart, about a minute long each. The pressure intense. One of my closest friends, whose job on the labor team was to help with Caydon's needs as well as apply counter pressure to my back when he wasn't being needy, came over with dinner and helped me relax. The contractions continued for a great while... and then, suddenly, started reversing. How one could be in the very beginning of active labor, having contractions that increased in frequency for over 7 hours, and then regress backwards past early to a dead stop the next day was beyond any of us. I felt like I had imagined all of the pain I just went through... but then, I KNEW I had and so did my labor team who was inquiring when they should come. Sometimes I like the dramatics, but this truly wasn't that in any form. Where in the world did my contractions go, and why did it is seem like she was going back up out of my pelvic area? Why was she lifting up, again? Why was this continuing to happen; it wasn't the first time?? This was honestly the story of my pregnancy since bed rest at 25 weeks. I would progress really hard, and then she'd just lift her cute self back up high and... nothing.
last bump pic... didn't realize it was my official last or I would have covered up more and shown my face!

My appointment on Thursday confirmed the worst. I was further along at 25 weeks than I was 3 days post my due date. I had reclosed and rethickened. It took everything I could to not be in tears, though I might have let one or two creep out. "Don't forget your kick counts! Just be patient and loving towards yourself!" my midwife reminded me.  Ohhh... those kick counts. I slacked the last two days because I thought it was go time. I'll be loving towards myself with a peanut butter oreo plus cookie dough Sonic milkshake, thankyouverymuch, stupid labor. And I'll love myself even more by not weighing myself after. Then, Clairelin will be all hyper for my kick count, and I won't have to sit still for too long counting and can get onward with my day.

Once back home, I laid on my left side waiting for the sugar high to kick in and for my little ballerina to do her work. I waited. Then waited... I only felt 5 slight movements in 2 hours.  How in the world is she so sleepy when she has 3 different kinds of goodness served to her in a milkshake? It just doesn't make sense.

I contacted my midwife since I already had the "glass of juice", who urged me to go get a Biophysical Profile. Biophysical = stage 2 ultrasound that monitors the baby's breathing movements, muscle tone, amniotic fluid, etc. and also often includes a NonStressTest. I originally was going to utilize our go-to ultrasound guy, Denzil, who isn't attached to any hospital, but a spark inside of me was full of panic. Don't wait. Just go. If it's nothing, the hospital will let me go home. If it's something, I won't regret it. The combination of this, plus bed rest, plus labor that keeps on regressing is too much...

I called my mom to confirm her as a babysitter for Cayd, then called Claire's dad and my doula while I grabbed my emergency hospital bags (one for Clairelin, one for me), packed a bag of clothes for Caydon, and stuffed my edited, but not yet retyped, birthing plan into my purse. Just in case.

"Hmmm... that doesn't look right" she said two minutes into monitoring Clairelin's heartbeat during our NonStressTest. The nurse monitored a little longer, then explained to me that if her heart rate keeps dropping whenever I have contractions, she'll have to consult a doctor. My doula, Ashley, who also happens to be one of my closest confidants, and I looked at each other, reading each other's minds without words. I know she could just feel the tears welling up behind my trying to be strong eyes. Dang it. WHY do I have to be right?! We started listening to the heartbeat versus just waiting for the ultrasound (aka pictures of my baby!) to start. You could actually hear the drop in her beats when I contracted. Buump bump. Buump bump. buump... bump... buump... bump... buump... bump. buump bump buump bump.  Her heart rate would seem fine ranging from 120-160, then slow down to anywhere from 60-90, and then blast off to 160+ to recover. That little spark that told me to get to the hospital burned deeper. Bigger. The nurse went for her consult, which is when Ashley braided and bunned my hair. I think we both knew we needed a distraction. She had been practicing this hairstyle for my labor for some time... it was surreal that we were in a hospital figuring it out versus at home in front of a mirror on a birthing ball, as planned. Might as well practice though, right?!

The nurse then came back with new news. "Well, we can't let you leave. You're going to have to be admitted and have the baby here...."   That spark started a blaze. It was completely right. Something was wrong and it wasn't just effecting my contractions, it was effecting her oxygen levels.

"Get some sleep now. Tomorrow you will need your strength for laboring. I will be there to help you and guide you as you need it. Stay calm and open minded, okay? Call me if your contractions increase to 5-1-1 or if you need anything. I'm going to get some sleep now, too," my midwife said, comforting me with her words and 20 years of birthing knowledge. Due to previous experiences with mainstream medicine, I already wasn't very trusting of hospital policies and doctors, let alone in the labor and delivery side of things where I viewed most of what happened as corrupt. My doula and I both agreed my midwife coming would be a huge blessing. We even got a little excited knowing we were about to witness her work her art of birthing. At this point, the obvious plan was to bring my home birth into the hospital. Everything was to be as close to Plan A as possible, just in a hospital setting where baby girl can be monitored close to emergency help.

My mom came to get filled in and check on "her girls" while a nurse consulted with me. We both agreed to using Cervadil as a method of induction. My birth plan had no intention of induction as everything was to happen naturally and without meds; however, I also recognized that we could potentially be there for days since my cervix had rethickened the day before. Ashley has two other babes to tend to, I have Caydon, and my mom has a classroom full of students... we couldn't sit around in a hospital for days waiting for natural labor to restart. It wasn't realistic and would only have been selfish of me to do otherwise.  Cervadil was the go-to because it was on a string even when inserted into my cervix, which meant that if baby didn't tolerate it then we could pull it out and tend to her needs.  It was the safest form of induction per the situation.

Before bedtime, we all enjoyed yummy salads, anticipating it as my last time eating even though my birth plan requested otherwise.  Then it was off to dreamland until morning, or so I thought.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Feeling in-between
I needed this tonight... As I lie in bed hoping for sleep and a moment without pressure, thankful for my one and only little man wanting to snuggle up to me to bring me comfort and peace. It's times like these that I am celebrating what I do have, but long for what should be. Where I can't stop hoping the current contraction is closer and longer than the last, but where I also dream of being able to just keep carrying her, pain or not, where she is safe from the drama and heartache that is lurking around the corner. Where I can't wait to see her face, count her fingers and toes, breathe her in... but secretly hope she, too, looks just like me so my heart doesn't break a little bit each time her face reminds me of what could have been.  Where I am thankful for my son for wanting... trying... to be the man of the house, but also can't help but feel resentful and guilty, as it's not his job to grow up so quickly to fill. It's hard to find a balance of thankfulness when your heart is so heavy for your children that it could explode. Where you beg for more time with one dad and cry for protection from another, fully aware of the inconsistency. Where your emotions are so raw, so pure, so real... but you still hope pregnancy can explain them and they will soon be a distant thought. Where you are so thankful for your blessings and so disappointed with who you have to share them with. I can't express how ready I am to meet my little girl, knowing she will bring as much joy to life as my son, but how much my heart breaks at the thought of the pain she will sooner than later experience. Single parenthood isn't a small feat. My birthing pool is ready to be pumped, all of our candles, playlist, sterilized tools, birthing kit.. waiting to be used. Our fridge, once again, stocked full of healthy food, Cayd's big brother gifts wrapped and his sister's cake asking to be baked and frosted... 

I'm glad someone thought of the name for this time period. I'm glad I'm not just an unexplained bottle of emotion waiting to burst. I need to reserve this energy for pushing, but it's so hard when you don't know when the reserve will be opened. Where all of my worries and fears will be thin, and the thickness of this world will efface away. Where my life, along with my body, will reopen to a whole new life as a mommy of two. I'm so ready for more physical pain to justify the current,  and am so ready to meet my anticipated surprise. 

I'm so ready to be past this state of in-between.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Building a Crib onto the Bed

I decided that I would rather have Clairelin's crib built onto my bed rather than standing alone in our room. First of all, it saves space by a LOT. It feels half as cramped by putting the crib into the corner of my room. Second, it makes more sense for our family since we are co-sleepers anyway. Giving Claire her own space to sleep that has a barrier (me) between her brother and her is ideal. This allows that, while also giving me direct access to her for night time feedings.
For those of you interested in co-sleeping, I HIGHLY suggest you read through the Safe Sleep Seven, which is a guideline on how to ensure that co-sleeping is not only right for your family, but also as safe as possible. Since I'm a breastfeeding mom who might have a glass of wine once a month, never smokes or consumes pills, etc. this works for us. This format of sleeping is just as safe as an other since I follow the guidelines to a tee.

That being said, my inspiration for building her crib onto my bed is simple and common.
The supplies I needed were simple:

  • crib. I stuck with an Ikea crib that I bought for cheap and used from a friend.
  • nylon straps with a ratchet so that I can tighten it easily

I first removed both beds' mattresses and pushed the beds close together, but still apart with enough space for me to get in. I attached her crib to my bed and my headboard (again, no spaces between the three) with the nylon straps. I would dive deeper into instructions on this, but there really wasn't a method to the madness, and I think everyone's bed setup differs.

Once all was attached, I pushed my bed close to her crib since she is in the corner of my room. I then tightened the nylon straps so that my bed was snug close to hers.  

Since I opted out of drilling new holes like some other people do (I'm not that wood savvy), I needed an alternative to lift the bed up another inch. It is important that both the bed's mattress and the crib's mattress are even heights. There should be no gaps of fabric or differences in leveling. This is when I decided to use a piece of wood that fits the width and length of the crib. I put in between the wood slabs and the crib mattress. 
excuse the wrinkles... I was trying out bedding ;)

I am paranoid about her bed's stability, so I filled in the space underneath with boxes stacked underneath. I also chose to do this for extra security in case she is a jumper one day and for extra storage. I hide all of her "too big" boxes of clothes under it.
I then replaced the mattresses and sheets. Ready for baby!!