Thursday, June 30, 2011

Our Birth Plan

When I posted Campbell's birth story, I mentioned that I'd include our birth plan. I kind of forgot about doing that, but something reminded me of it today. We didn't get everything we outlined in our birth plan, but I expected it to not go 100% according to plan. I also have to say that I didn't come up with this plan by myself. The majority of it was from a birth plan that Angela, our Empowered Birth instructor, provided to us in class. I did make a few changes and asked Angela to look over them beforehand. Ultimately, this was the birth plan that Dr. Basham signed and we submitted to the hospital before and after my admission.

O. Family Birth Preferences

We would like to make the following requests to help our birth be as natural and personal as possible, assuming a normal, healthy labor and delivery. We understand that the unexpected might require certain medical interventions that may affect some or all of our requests. If that should happen, we ask that any problems be explained and our quesitons answered, so that we can give our informed consent.

Primary OB/GYN: J. Khristen Basham, M.D./ Heath Brown, M.D. (East End OB/GYN)

Patient/Mother: Erin O.

Attendants: David O. (Husband/Father); Cathy L. (Erin's mother)

First Stage of Labor:

  • Once admitted tot he hospital, we would like a heparine or saline lock. We prefer to stay hydrated by drinking clear fluids instead of an IV for as long as possible. (Dr. Basham amended the birth plan to say that I could not have fluids by mouth during labor...that was the only change she made.)

  • As long as baby and mom are doing fine, we'd like to request intermittent, rather than continuous fetal monitoring. Maintaining mobility (walking, rocking, up to bathroom, etc.) will be essential to coping with the labor without pain medication.

  • Please do not offer pain medications. We plan on using a variety of alternative techniques, including squatting, use of a birth ball, warm shower, relaxation, freedom of movement, and others as needed. We will request pain medication should it become necessary.

  • If possible, we would like to be assigned a nurse who enjoys working with women who desire to have a natural, unmedicated childbirth.

Second Stage of Labor:

  • We would like the pushing stage to be allowed to progress free of stringent time limits, as long as there are no serious concerns. We would like to wait to push until Erin feels the urge to do so.

  • Episiotomy: We would like to discuss the options before an incision is made, and we would appreciate assistance with pushing so that the perineum can stretch.

  • We would like a squatting/birth bar available if possible.

Third Stage of Labor:

  • We would like to delay clamping of the umbilical cord until it stops pulsating.

  • We prefer that the baby be given to us immediately after birth, putting of any procedures that aren't urgent.

  • We would like to try breastfeeding within the first hour after birth, and plan to breastfeed exclusively. No other supplements (bottles, pacifiers, etc.) should be given.

Baby Care:

  • We prefer minimal separation of mother and baby. We would like baby to "room in" with us 24/7, with baby only taken to the nursery when absolutely necessary.

  • If the baby must be taken away to receive medical treatment, one of us would like to accompany the baby at all times.

Physician Approval:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

An Adventure

I can't believe my little girl is two weeks old! (Actually, she's two weeks and one day old now!) Yesterday was David's birthday, and I hadn't gotten him a gift yet, so I decided that Campbell and I would take a trip out into the big, wide world. I needed to take back our little boy outfits, too, so I had planned that we'd go to Babies R Us, Kohl's and the Oxmoor Mall to Motherhood Maternity to get some nursing bras...all of those stores are within just a couple of miles from each other, but they're about 40 minutes from our house. I remember thinking (before Campbell was here) "How hard could it be to go shopping with a baby?" HA! I know now!
I started getting us ready at about 8am yesterday morning, beginning with Campbell's bath. She is such a good baby. Baths don't phase her a bit...I can even usually get several smiles out of her during them (whether or not they're real smiles I'm not sure, but I love them just the same!). I nursed her after her bath while she was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, then laid her down to nap while I got my shower. I've learned that showers are no longer a leisurely event...I'm usually in a mad rush to get through them, because I'm terrified that she'll either stop breathing or cry while I'm in there. I don't think I've shaved my legs since my Mom went home after our first week, because it just takes too long. Anyway, after I got my shower and got myself ready, I packed up the diaper bag (packing several changes of clothes with me), made sure I had all of my receipts, and nursed Campbell again so she'd be happy and content for the car ride. Usually she'll go 2 or 3 hours between feedings, so we left the house at a little around 11am. We got to Babies R Us around noon, and Miss Campbell had a meltdown in the parking lot. I got her carseat from the car into a shopping cart when I realized that I'd left my return items in the car. I went back to get them and she started squalling! (I'm guessing she gets her lack of patience from me.) A very nice young mother with a little girl (probably about 6 months old) had pulled in right next to us, and she offered to help me get all of my things gathered up...what a help she was! After we got everything together, I couldn't get Campbell to calm down with all of the usual tricks (sucking on my finger, singing the two lullabyes I can remember from my childhood, etc.) so I decided to abandon the mission momentarily to feed her again. So we unloaded everything back into the car, and I climbed into the back seat to nurse her. Luckily I had remembered to throw My Brest Friend into the car with us, so I put on the pillow and the nursing cover and she got some lunch. After her belly was full, we didn't have much trouble in Babies R Us, but we sure didn't waste any time getting our business taken care of there. I returned our little boy outfits and picked up a manual breast pump for nights like last week with Miss Campbell decides to sleep for a 5 hour stretch and can't be woken up. After the meltdown at BRU, and the fact that I was sweating like crazy (I have noticed since having her that I am burning up all.the.time), I decided that we'd nix the trip to Motherhood Maternity (I've gotten by 2 weeks without a nursing bra...surely I can get by for another week or two without them) and go to the Kohl's that's closer to our house.
When we got to Kohl's I drug the stroller out of the trunk and worked for a few minutes to get the thing open. I definitely should have practiced at home before we left! I got her car seat situated in the stroller and on the way into the store Campbell let loose one of her already famous poops. We went straight to the bathroom, where, wouldn't you know was closed for cleaning. She was quickly becoming Miss Cranky Pants (and I can't blame her, with a dirty diaper, a Mom who had no clue what she was doing, and being carted around the country at two weeks old) so I just asked the cleaning guy if I could come in long enough to change her diaper. We got the diaper changed (with a casualty to the adorable gray and pink striped pants, due to a leaky diaper) and headed out to pick up a few things for David's birthday. About 5 steps out into the store, she started to cry again. Usually she doesn't cry for long, so I thought she'd stop in a minute or so...but I was wrong. She's just not a cryer, so since her diaper was clean, I guessed she must be hungry. I'd left the My Brest Friend in the car, but I did have my nursing cover, so I headed back to the restroom, where there was a bench. The bathroom was still closed for cleaning, so I found a chair tucked back into a corner, got out my nursing cover, and got ready to feed the little girl. Just as I was unhooking my nursing tank (well concealed by the cover), a Kohl's employee asked me to move to the restroom. It had finally opened up again, so I obliged...even though I'd already gotten her out of the carseat and gotten myself half-undressed. At least the employee was nice enough to push the stroller into the bathroom for me. Another woman who was headed to the restroom heard the employee ask me to go to the restroom, and that got her all upset. She said, "You're just feeding your baby! It's no different than if you were giving that baby a bottle!" I wanted to say, "Lady, I agree completely, but my nerves are shot and I'll just go in here and sit in the (now clean) bathroom." But I didn't. I just kind of smiled and said, "Oh, it's no big deal." Nursing that wild baby without my nursing pillow (and being covered with the nursing cover) was pretty uncomfortable, but we got the job done! But I'm telling you, I was roasting by the time she was done...I was ready to strip down to my tank top. We didn't spend a whole lot of time browsing for clothes for was more of a quick glance to be sure the size was a Medium, then throw it in the stroller. That's what gift receipts are for, right?! After paying for our purchases, we high-tailed it out of there...and that's when I realized that I didn't have a clue how to fold up the stroller! I fumbled around in the parking lot for about 5 minutes with it and briefly entertained the idea of just leaving it in the parking lot...that's how frazzled I was. I was about 2 seconds away from calling my good friend Leslie to get her to talk me through folding it up when I found the magic button to fold the stroller. As I picked it up to put it in the trunk, the back wheels fell off! I was so frustrated that I just tossed them into the trunk and was thankful that they didn't fall off while I had Campbell in it.
Four hours after we left the house, we were back home safe and sound. I thought to myself about how, a month or so ago, that whole trip would have taken me an hour and a half at the most. Oh, how things have changed! As difficult as the trip was, I'm glad we did it. I was surprised at myself several times over the patience with Campbell as she cried in the store, my willingness to nurse in public, the fact that I didn't absolutely melt down. It was definitely a learning experience for me, and I figure future trips will go a little more smoothly each time. I'm sure that, before long, I won't think twice about packing her up and taking her somewhere.
Now, just because my baby girl is so darn cute, I'll leave you with a picture. I got this look several times yesterday on our shopping trip...and I can just imagine her saying, "Really, Mom? I've had enough. Let's go back home...this is crazy."

Monday, June 20, 2011

Campbell Adair's Birth Story

I suppose the best place to start with Campbell's birth story is Wednesday, June 8th, at my 41 week appointment with Dr. Brown. Dr. Brown isn't my primary OB, but Dr. Basham was out of the office and she wanted me to be seen before I got too far past 41 weeks. On the previous Friday, I had seen Dr. Basham, and after an internal exam, said that she didn't think I'd make it to June 8th without a baby. However, at that appointment, we did set an induction date for Saturday, June 11th just in case. She also told me that she felt certain that I wouldn't need to be induced. I was honestly more than a little disappointed that June 8th rolled around and I was still pregnant. (My due date was June 2nd.) At my appointment that morning, Dr. Brown told David and I that he was much less optimistic about my progress than Dr. Basham was, and he wanted to move up my induction date from the morning of the 11th to Friday, the 10th at 11pm. I was so frustrated and disappointed that I didn't really ask any questions. I came home from the appointment and just cried. I had prepared for a natural, intervention-free childbirth, and those dreams just seemed to be crushed. I wallowed for a day or so, mourning what I saw as the loss of my dream of a natural childbirth, but on the next day, Thursday, I rallied.

I was woken up Thursday morning at about 6am with contractions that were pretty close to about 7 minutes apart. They weren't terribly intense, but they were strong enough to rouse me from sleep. I guess you could say that I could "ignore" them and continue with my regular routine, but I knew that they were there. After a couple of trips to the restroom, I also realized that I was experiencing what's known as "bloody show," a sign of labor. The contractions and the bloody show were so encouraging to me...but I still wanted to be sure that I advocated for myself in the meantime, just in case it was a false alarm and I had to be induced. Throughout our Empowered Birth classes, one of my goals was to become a better advocate for myself. I have a tendency to never second-guess or question my doctors, but I knew that if there was a time for me to do so, it was now. I knew that the only way I would be okay with an induction was if I had done everything I could to keep it from happening. I called Dr. Basham's office to talk with her about Dr. Brown's decision to move the date/time, but she wasn't in the office. I did take the opportunity to ask a nurse to read Dr. Brown's orders for the induction. He'd ordered pitocin to be administered at 11pm on Friday night. When I heard that, I was ANGRY. During my internal exam, he told me that I had very little dilation and effacement. Based on what I'd learned in our childbirth classes, I knew that if that was the case, chances of a successful induction (meaning one that results in a vaginal birth rather than a c-section) were pretty low. I also knew that it meant that I was a good candidate for cervical ripeners first, before any administration of pitocin. That would be my best chance for a vaginal birth. I decided to call Angela, our Empowered Birth instructor, to talk with her about a plan of action. She was GREAT. She encouraged me to leave a message to talk with Dr. Basham (who wouldn't be in until Friday morning) and to try to get an appointment with her on Friday morning for another internal exam and second opinion. She was also very encouraged about my contractions and bloody show and gave me some hope about avoiding an induction. I also talked with my friend Leslie, who gave me lots of encouragement as well. Armed with Angela's suggestions and increased self-confidence, I called Dr. Basham's office back and told them that I wanted to talk with Dr. Basham when she got to the office. They wanted to push me off onto a nurse again, but I insisted on leaving a message for Dr. Basham. The nurse sounded a little perturbed when I insisted, and she said, "Well, what do you want to talk to her about?" I told her that I wanted to know if she knew that Dr. Brown moved the induction date, why he wanted to start pitocin immediately, why he wouldn't consider cervical ripeners, and why there was such a discrepancy about their assessments of my progress. After I made that call, I felt so much better about things. I knew that even if I did have to go in for the induction, I'd taken a stand for myself and my baby.

Throughout all of this, I was still having contractions, but nothing regular, and nothing incredibly intense. I called David to let him know that I was feeling encouraged about beating Dr. Brown's timeline. I also received an email from my cousin Lindsey, who offered me even more encouragement and support about a possible induction. She even sent me a link to some natural methods of labor induction, which I tried and I believe helped move things along! I didn't get a lot done at home that Thursday, because I was so preoccupied with whether or not I was in early labor. Late in the afternoon, my aunt called me to see if we wanted to go out for dinner with her, and I agreed. As soon as I hung up the phone, I started to wonder if it was a good idea. I started feeling really nauseous, but decided not to back out. She, David, and I went to a local Mexican restaurant (because I thought some spicy food would help) and had a nice dinner. I had pretty regular contractions throughout the meal, but again, nothing incredibly intense.

After David and I got home, we settled in on the couch to watch the NBA finals, and at around 9pm, I asked him to start timing the contractions. We timed them for a little over an hour, but there was never any pattern...but I was reassured that by this time, I'd been having contractions for about 15 hours. I just prayed that they would begin to intensify and settle into a pattern so that we could avoid the induction which had been scheduled for the next night. After the game, we went to bed, but I didn't last long there. I just couldn't lay still for the contractions any longer. I had to get up and move around when they came, and they were coming about every 10 minutes. I wanted David to sleep, because I knew that he would need his energy one way or the other for the next day. I settled in on the couch for awhile, getting up to walk around during each contraction. Soon, the couch wasn't comfortable anymore, so I went and laid on the floor in Campbell's room. That wasn't comfortable between contractions, so I moved to the glider. That was actually a nice place to be during and between contractions for a little while. The rocking motion was comforting and soothing, and it gave me a rhythm to concentrate on. I guess I wandered around the house from about 11pm until 4:30am, working through the contractions on my own without much trouble. But at about 4:30, they started to really get intense. I had to be standing during them, and I started to vocalize softly throughout them. At 5am, I went in to our bedroom and woke David up, telling him that I needed help getting through the contractions. He was up and out of the bed in an instant! I think he felt pretty useless, but he was such a great support. For another 2 or 3 hours, the contractions were intense enough that I had to brace myself against the bar, sway, and vocalize throughout them, and David applied counterpressure to my lower back. Sometime around 8am, he went and got the birth ball, and I leaned over it for several contractions. Not long after that, my Mom called, and David asked her to come over. We'd been timing contractions for hours, and there was still no recognizable pattern. They were anywere from 4 minutes, 30 seconds apart to 15 minutes apart. Even though we planned to wait to go to the hospital until contractions were a minute long, 5 minutes apart, for 1 hour, I think David knew we'd be going to the hospital soon. I think I was in denial. I just didn't want to go to the hospital and be sent home. Not long after Mom got here, I went to the restroom and noticed that I'd passed a small bit of tissue, and that scared me to death. After talking to Mom and David, I decided to call Dr. Basham's office to see if they recommended that we head to the hospital. When I talked with one of the nurses there, she told me that they weren't all that concerned with a pattern of contractions, but rather how many I was having in an hour. When I told them I was having anywhere from 5 to 9 per hour, she told me that she'd call me right back. In less than 5 minutes, she returned my call, saying that Dr. Basham wanted us to head to the hospital. It was about 10am by this time, and I'd been having contractions for about 16 hours. They were really beginning to intensify, and I just couldn't sit down during a contraction. I felt so much pressure in my lower abdomen and back, and couldn't imagine how I'd sit in a car during the 40-minute trip.

Luckily, I made it through the car ride without too much discomfort, and we got checked in to the hospital without any trouble. We got to our labor/delivery/recovery room at about 11:15 and met Michelle, my nurse. I was so glad that she told me that she enjoyed working with women who wanted a natural, intervention-free birth. I gave her our birth plan (which I'll post sometime soon), and kind of held my breath as she read it. I was waiting for her to give me the side-eye or be skeptical about it. When she finished reading, she said, "Well, this is totally doable. Lots of times we get birth plans and we say 'This one's ending in a section,' but your birth plan is totally reasonable. It looks good." I breathed a sigh of relief then!

Once I was settled into the bed, she got me hooked up to a fetal heart monitor. My main concern with the monitor was that I wouldn't be able to move around, and I think I must have asked her this about 12 times. She told me that they wanted me to just lay in the bed for a few minutes to get a baseline reading, and then if everything looked okay, she would take it off and just put it on as needed for a reading. She also did an internal exam, which I was apprehensive about. I was terrified that she would say that I was only 3 cm dilated or something equally as disappointing. She asked what my last internal exam showed, and I told her that Dr. Basham said 2cm the week before, but a two days before, Dr. Brown said, "Maybe 1cm." During the exam, she got a funny look on her face and said, "What did the doctor say?" And when I repeated the 1cm line Dr. Brown fed me, she kind of laughed and said, "Well, you're about 6 cm now!" I could have hugged her! What a relief to know that I'd made that much progress...and was almost into transition! After the exam, Michelle asked me a ton of questions related to my health, etc. During this "interview" (for lack of a better word), Gretchen, another L&D nurse came in and said, "Hey, Michelle, you've gotten a few variables on the monitor in the last few minutes." I didn't really know what that meant, but Michelle explained to me that it meant that Campbell's heart rate had decelerated a couple of times. Michelle explained that this might change our birth plan a bit. She told me that a lot of times, it indicates that the baby had passed meconium due to some kind of distress. She started talking about having Dr. Basham break my water to move things along quicker. I so wanted to avoid having my water broken by the doctor...and to my amazement, just a few seconds after Michelle started talking about having Dr. Basham break my water, I felt a really warm gush, and I was pretty sure that I hadn't wet myself. I said, "Michelle, I just felt something...maybe my water broke!" She went to get some kind of paper that distinguishes amniotic fluid from urine to be sure...and sure enough, my water had broken on its own! She also gave us the good news that there was no meconium in the amniotic fluid. Because of the heart decelerations, she wanted me to lay in bed for a bit longer, just to determine whether or not they would continue. Those were by far some of the worst contractions. I was so glad that Michelle let me lay on my side, instead of flat on my back, because I really don't think I could have endured that. During those contractions, I held on to the bed rails and vocalized while my Mom and aunt applied counterpressure to my lower back and David held my hand. Between contractions, Michelle asked me to rate my pain on a scale of 0 - 10, with 0 being no pain, and a 10 being the most excruciating pain I could handle. I think I pretty consistently rated my pain at about a 4. I think I'm pretty much a wuss, and I don't think I handle pain all that well, but labor pain is a funny thing. It's amazing that once the contraction ends, the pain subsides completely and totally, and I think that's why I always rated it as a 4. If the pain had been constant, I definitely would have rated it a 10, but because I knew that it would go away and I'd get a break, it was completely tolerable.

After a bit, Michelle decided that Campbell's heart rate looked okay and gave me the go-ahead to move around, but with the monitor on. We decided to try using the birth ball, and I'm so glad we did! I sat on the birth ball next to the bed and leaned over the edge of the bed during contractions. During each contraction, I swayed on the ball and vocalized while Mom and Paula applied counterpressure and David held my hand and talked me through them. The three of them were amazing! It made all the difference in the world to have them all there. Mom and Paula were great at counterpressure, and I'm pretty sure it's because Mom knew where the pain was (from her experience with my sister and me!). David was so supportive through each contraction, letting me know when it was almost over and encouraging me to keep up the good work. By this time, the contractions were really starting to hurt, but still nothing I couldn't tolerate. During each and every contraction, I told myself two things. The first was that each contraction would only last a minute or so, and I kept reminding myself that I could do anything for a minute. The second reminder to myself was that there was a precious baby on the other side of all of this pain.

After laboring on the birth ball for awhile, Michelle asked to do another internal exam. I was honestly a little disappointed when it revealed that I was still at 6cm after a couple of hours of laboring. She told me that I had what was called a "forebag," meaning that when my water broke, it didn't break completely, but pretty much just "sprung a leak" and Campbell's head was acting as a cork to keep it from rupturing completely. She told me that Dr. Basham could come and finish rupturing the amniotic sac to speed labor along, or I could just let it resolve on its own. She was so good about explaining everything to me between contractions and helped us work through the pros and cons. She explained that once the forebag was gone, the contractions would intensify and come closer together, but that this also meant I would deliver my baby sooner. Since my water had already broken on its own, I knew I was "on the clock" and didn't see any real reason to wait longer. I gave her the go ahead to ask Dr. Basham to come in and break my water, and she said that she didn't think it would be long before Dr. Basham was available. While Michelle was gone, I started to have a little crisis of self-confidence. I looked and Mom and said, "I don't know if I can do it if the contractions get stronger. I'm scared." She, Paula, and David all gathered around me and assured me that I could deliver her. It helped so much to know that they believed I could do it, so feeling much better, we waited for Dr. Basham. It seemed like it was taking forever for her to come in, and finally Michelle came back to let us know that there had been an emergency that Dr. Basham had to attend to, but would be with us soon. At some point during all of this waiting, my sister, Allison came in to the delivery room to be another support person, and I'm so glad she did!

Finally, Dr. Basham came in and broke my water with the amniohook. I was amazed at the amount of fluid that came with the rupture. I think I said, "Oh my gosh, that's incredible! How can there be that much fluid in there?!" She told me that she thought my labor would speed up considerably and that we would have a baby "sooner rather than later." I was so excited and scared at the same time. I knew that with one more centimeter of dilation I would be in transition, which is the shortest but toughest part of labor, and I tried to prepare myself. When the contractions started coming stronger, I was able to get on my knees and lean over the head of the bed, which had been raised. That was such a relief to be in that position. During those contractions, I continued to vocalize with my eyes closed, Mom and Paula applied counterpressure, and David kept on holding my hands and talking to me. At one point, I said, "I just want to push my feet up against something!" And my sweet little sister jumped to the foot of the bed and let me push against her hands during each contractions. I don't know why, but that helped so much. After each contraction, I would open my eyes and say, "That was a mean one." And they would tell me what a great job I'd done. I think that constant encouragment was what helped me get through. I don't know how long I was in transition, but it didn't seem to take all that long.

I felt a lot of relief when Michelle told me that I was at 10 centimeters and was ready to push. One of the things in my birth plan was that I wanted to wait to push until I felt the urge to do so...and at that point, I didn't. There was a huge flurry of activity in the room, and when I turned around from my position of hanging over the head of the bed, there were a ton of people in the room, a table full of surgical instruments, and very bright lights on overhead. I'm not sure how it happened, but they all talked me in to trying to push. They got a squatting bar for me, which I requested in our birth plan. I tried squatting and pushing, and that was HORRIBLE. I think it was a combination of not feeling like I had to push and being too darn short for the bar. Dr. Basham suggested bracing my feet against the bar, hooking a sheet over the bar, and pulling on the sheet while I pushed. I tried that for a couple of contractions, and that's where I would say I kind of lost control and focus over the whole thing. It just didn't feel right to be pushing, and the position was uncomfortable. I'm pretty sure I screamed like pregnant women scream on sitcoms when they're in labor...only it wasn't funny. It was frustrating and terrifying. Apparently during my pushing episodes, Campbell's heart rate decelerated significantly and she did pass meconium. Dr. Basham put her hand on my calf, looked at me over her glasses, and said calmly and quietly, "Erin, you have got so much energy, but I need you to focus that energy right now. Your baby has to be born RIGHT NOW. You've got to push and get her out." I still didn't feel like I needed to push, but I took her comment to mean that if I couldn't push her out, I'd be delivering Campbell by c-section anyway. One of the nurses said, "When the contraction comes, take a deep breath like you're going to swim a long way under water and just push as hard as you can!" When I felt the contraction coming, I said a prayer to ask for strength and comfort, then took a deep breath and pushed. It felt like I pushed forever, and then I opened my eyes and there she was! She wasn't crying, and Dr. Basham was working furiously. Campbell had been born with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, and I heard Dr. Basham say, "Hurry, Dad!" I looked down to see David cutting the cord, then they whisked her away to a warmer where two neonatologists were waiting to look her over. I hadn't heard anyone say whether or not she was a boy or a girl, so I asked. I guess I was too caught up in pushing to hear Dr. Basham say, "It's a beautiful baby girl!" but everyone else heard it! I remember looking at my mom and asking why she wasn't crying. Soon after that, she did start to cry, and everyone said she was fine. I really thought I would be shocked that we'd had a girl, but I think I was just so relieved that she was okay that it didn't matter! It seemed like an eternity before they handed her to me, but it must have only been a few minutes. I thought I knew what love was before that moment, but nothing compares to the incredible love I felt for Campbell when I first held her. It's a love so strong it nearly hurts. When they told us she weighed 8lbs., 11 oz., I was sh0cked and SO glad that no one had estimated her weight! On more than one occasion, Dr. Brown told me that an 8 pound baby would "buy me a c-section." We proved him wrong again!

I'm still kind of in shock that I delivered this beautiful baby girl, and honestly, pretty proud of myself that I did it with no medication! I really didn't think I had it in me. The first medication I got was the lidocaine I asked for when I saw Dr. Basham coming at me with what looked like one of my father-in-law's fish hooks to repair a couple of third-degree tears. I told her that these would be the first stitches I'd ever had, and she said, "Well, you've made your first stitches count!" Recovery has been pretty easy over all, and I can't complain about anything. While we didn't get everything we'd outlined in our birth plan, I couldn't have asked for a better experience. I look back over it all and I can see how things could have gone down a very different path, and I count myself lucky. Michelle, our nurse, was a great advocate and support during labor and delivery, and I told her that I would vote her Nurse of the Year if I could. I know that things would have turned out differently if it hadn't been for her. I remember hearing her advocate to Dr. Basham for me, and I will be eternally grateful to her for that.

The whole experience was amazing, exhilirating, empowering, and exhausting. I can't say that I want to do it again anytime soon, but I am so happy that I delivered our little girl without medication. The nurses commented more than once about how alert she was compared to most babies born in a medicated birth, and I think it helped us establish breastfeeding pretty easily. While we were in recovery, Campbell did the "breast crawl" and it was amazing. She crawled to my breast and latched on completely independently...something I'd seen in a video, but never imagined I would see my own baby do.

We're settling into a routine at home now ( least as much of a routine as you can get with a newborn), and things are going well. She's regained her birth weight (and then some!), and she sleeps pretty well. We've had a few little meltdowns (she and I both!), but I think that's to be expected as we adjust to this new phase of life. But overall, I'm enjoying every moment I have with her because I know it'll go by all to quickly!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sprout is Here!

Sprout is here, and she's a beautiful little girl! Things are hectic around here, and we're adjusting to life with a newborn, so this will be short and sweet for now. I'll do my best to post her birth story soon. But until then, here's the basic information about our little angel.
Campbell Adair was born on Friday, June 10th at 5:40pm. She weighed 8 pounds, 11 ounces and is 21 inches long. She's got beautiful blue eyes and the softest brown hair. We're absolutely in love with this little sweetheart!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

41 Weeks, Still No Baby, and Some Disappointment

So here we are at 41 weeks, and still no baby! I had really, REALLY, REALLY hoped that by now Sprout would have made his or her big debut, but it looks like we've got a stubborn one on our hands. Or it could be that I have an incredibly hospitable uterus. Either way, baby is still tucked away in there with no signs of budging.

My 41 week appointment this morning sucked. Sorry...there's just no way around it. Last week, I saw Dr. Basham, and she was Ms. Optimism. She said that I was about 2 centimeters dilated and that Sprout's head was "packed down in there." She decided that I probably would have Sprout before Wednesday (the 8th), but wanted to see me on that date if I hadn't. She also went ahead and set an induction date for Saturday the 11th, but said she felt certain that I wouldn't make it that far. She even said, "If we have to induce you on the 11th, it won't take much because you're so favorable." I left that appointment on Cloud 9. I really believed that Sprout would come on his or her own in a matter of days.

But no. I went to my appointment today with Dr. Brown, who told me that I'm "maybe 1cm dilated and 50% effaced" and that Sprout is "still pretty high." He told me that he's much less optimistic about my not needing an induction. So much less optimistic that he moved it up from Saturday morning to Friday night at 11pm because I "have a lot of laboring to do." Pardon my blog language, but WTF?! How can two highly educated and experienced individuals give me such different ideas about what's going on here? Methinks someone is blowing smoke up my rear, and I think I know who it is.

I have really been struggling with this news today, and I feel like nobody gets it. So many people have said, "Oh, it'll be fine. Lots of people are induced." Or, "But at least you know when it's going to happen!" Or, "Just just a few days you'll be holding your precious baby!" Or, "The most important thing is that the baby gets here." Yeah, people, I get it. But it still is hard news to swallow, especially since I've spent so much time and energy focusing on getting this baby here as naturally and intervention-free as possible...because I know THAT'S the birth that will be best for my baby. I waver between thinking that I'm thinking only about ME and the birth that I want, but I want a natural, intervention-free birth so badly because I know that's what's best for my baby. And what hurts the most is that I feel like I've been defeated before I even got the chance to TRY.

So anyway, anyone who knows me personally would never accuse me of being an optimist. I am an eternal pessimist, and I have embraced that fact. My rationale is this: if I'm pessimistic, then I am never disappointed. It drives my husband crazy...but his eternal optimism drives me crazy, too. Anyway, here's how things will go in my mind: induction starts at 11pm Friday night-->contractions on pitocin are much stronger/longer than "real ones", so I cave and get an epidural-->epidural slows down labor-->doctors/nurses grow impatient and decide that they have to break my water to speed things up-->with water broken, I'm now "on the clock" and at their mercy-->doctors/nurses get tired of my laboring and say I have to have a c-section-->have the c-section and miss out on skin-to-skin with my baby (and breastfeeding) for at least an hour-->baby has trouble latching because he/she is groggy from the drugs and we've missed the golden hour and we have trouble establishing breastfeeding-->I'm so discouraged with my stupid c-section and problems breastfeeding that I'm depressed and can't even enjoy my baby-->give up on breastfeeding and give formula-->baby doesn't get all of the benefits of breastmilk and grows up to have allergies, a low IQ, and doesn't have a good relationship with me. Most folks out there would say that I've given a very dramatic (maybe over the top) scenario, but I know that it's not totally out of the realm of possibility (except maybe the low IQ/bad relationship thing).

I'm also struggling with the fact that in a way, I see this as my body failing me again. A woman's body was created to have babies...I just think that's the bottom line. My body failed me in February 2010 when it couldn't keep our first baby alive. Now it's failing me again because it won't HAVE the healthy baby that it's grown for the past 9 months. I'm just so darn frustrated!

Let's go back to this comment I've heard several times, "Well, at least you KNOW when the baby will be here!" Yes...and that's part of the problem. You see, while I want this baby desperately, and I can't wait to have him/her here, I'm really not too keen on the getting him/her here. When I have to do something that I don't want to do (either because I think it'll be too hard, or too boring, or too uncomfortable, etc.) I just don't think about it. I will prepare for it, but during the preparation, I don't actually think about the fact that I'll be doing whatever thing it is I'm preparing for. Then, all of a sudden, it's happening, and I'm doing it, and I haven't gotten worked up over it because I didn't let myself think that it would actually happen. I think I've done a really good job of doing that the last 9 months. I mean, I know that this baby's got to come out somehow, but I haven't really let myself think about the pain involved. I was really hoping that I would wake up in the middle of the night with contractions about 5 minutes apart. That would give me no time to think about "going into labor" and I would be forced to just go with the flow. With this scheduled induction I have nothing but time to think about it and dwell on the pain, what could go wrong, the fact that I'm not sure that I can do it, that I will consider myself a failure if I have a c-section, etc.

As if all of those thoughts and fears weren't floating around in my brain, I'm trying to reconcile all of this with my faith. I know that it's all in God's hands, and that He can do absolutely anything. He can make this baby come any time and in any way He wants. He could put me into labor right this minute (please!), or maybe this whole induction thing is part of His plan. I wonder if maybe He's still working on teaching me to trust in His time and not mine? Probably so. So...I've wondered today, do I pray to go into labor on my own? Do I pray for the induction to go ahead as scheduled? Do I pray just to avoid a c-section? I've thought all of those things, but the prayer I think I'm supposed to pray (which, I'll be honest, I don't want to do) is that His will is done and that He helps me to be okay with it, whatever it is. It's so hard for me to remember that He knows what's best...I just think I know what's best. I feel like he's saying to me, "Trust me. Just trust me." So, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go humble myself and pray the prayer I don't want to pray.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

40 Weeks (and no baby yet)'s June 2nd. That means I'm 40 weeks pregnant, and my due date is today. And no baby just yet, but I know that shouldn't come as a surprise. Only 5% of babies arrive on their due date, so I can't be too disappointed. I never really thought Sprout would show up today, but it would have been nice. I'm hoping that this will be the last belly picture for the blog! Here's what my 40 week belly looks like:
During our Empowered Birth classes, Angela encouraged us to plan something special for our due date, because she knew it would be likely that it would come and go with no baby. David and I got a gift card to Red Lobster for Easter, and I told him that if Sprout wasn't here by/on June 2nd, we'd go out to eat. And so we did. Tonight after work, we headed into Louisville for what will probably be our last "date night" as a couple. I'm sure we'll go out alone in the future, but we'll be someone's mom and dad by then (gulp!). It was really nice. We gorged ourselves on seafood, cheddar bay biscuits (YUM!), and a chocolate chip lava cookie. Afterward, we ran by Kohl's to pick up a few gifts for June birthdays and Father's Day, then headed home. When we pulled into the driveway, it looked like we'd left a bunch of lights on. We both were sure that we'd turned off all the lights, so we were a little stumped. Then, we saw taillights in the driveway. I just knew we were getting robbed again, but David recognized it as my Mom's SUV. He said, "You think she's moving in to wait on Sprout?" I couldn't figure out what she would be doing at our house at 9:30 on a Thursday night. When we pulled in, Chet, my stepdad met us at the garage door and told us to close our eyes. He led us into the living room and told us to open our eyes, and this is what we saw:

He'd built a cradle for Sprout! It's absolutely beautiful. He's been working on it in his woodworking shop for about 3 months, and just got it finished last night. I can't wait to see our sweet baby snoozing in it!

Here's a different angle so you can get a closer look. It comes completely apart so that it can be stored flat once Sprout outgrows it. It's seriously a beautiful cradle. I can't imagine how much time he's got in it. It's certainly destined to be an heirloom.
On Monday night, I got a text message from our friend, Kristin Sexton, saying that our maternity photos were ready! We went down to Campbellsville a few weeks ago to meet up with her and Benson to visit and to take pictures, which was a lot of fun. I am amazed at the pictures she took. She's an absolutely gifted photographer, and it's going to be so hard to decide which ones to have printed. Here are a few of my favorites:

We go to the doctor tomorrow morning for my 40 week appointment. Last week, Dr. Brown told us that we'll need to pick an induction date at tomorrow's appointment. When I asked him when they'd want to do an induction, he said that they're obligated to do one sometime within the 41st week. As much as I don't want to be induced, I completely understand why it would need to be done, and I would definitely deal with it if it's in Sprout's best interest. I know that the research shows that the placenta doesn't function as well once it's close to 42 weeks. I know that the majority of stillbirths happen between 37 and 42 weeks. We haven't come this far to lose our little one now, and I'll do anything necessary to bring a living, breathing baby home with me...even if that means I don't get the birth experience of my dreams. But that doesn't keep me from hoping and praying that Sprout comes on his/her own time...and soon!

Not too much else has gone on around here this week. We're just waiting for Sprout to decide to arrive. We just can't wait to meet this baby, and it's hard for me to believe that, one way or another, he or she will be here in just a little over a week. I have thoroughly enjoyed the whole pregnancy experience (even with all the anxiety involved), but I'm ready for our baby to be here! Hopefully my next blog post will be a birth story!
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