Let’s get this out in the open…

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I’ve struggled with writing this post for more than half a year now. Wondering what words are right, fearing the emotions that would come with it, and being utterly ashamed of the way I felt, even if only briefly.

I struggled to get pregnant. TTC (trying to conceive, for anyone unfamiliar with the infertility world,) for 1.5 years. I had a hard pregnancy, where my OB thought my son might come early (too early.) My labor was straight from a dramatic scene you would see in Grey’s Anatomy, where my son’s heart rate was dropping low because he had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. And post partum? Sheesh. My son had bad reflux– the kind where they choke on their own spit up and you’re terrified that they could do it in the middle of the night and you can’t get to them quickly enough.

My first week home was fine. No major problems. Typical insomnia, but OH so much love for that tiny human of mine. I cried happy tears, because the outcome of my labor could have been vastly different. I came home with a happy, healthy little baby. I was beyond thankful.

After a week or so I noticed my hormones tanking. I was upset all the time. I was sleep deprived to the point of psychosis. I didn’t eat. I didn’t do anything. I was paralyzed with the crippling fear of keeping my son happy and healthy. He ate all the time, slept on a crazy schedule. He spit up more than he ate. I had lost interest in everything other than taking care of my guy.

I lost my identity completely.

I went from being this strong, independent woman… to being afraid to leave the house for fear of strangers with germs, car accidents, my child throwing a fit in the store, etc etc etc. There was so much unknown.

And while I can say that I never had thoughts of harming my child, I did sit rocking him with tears flowing (often on him,) wondering what I was doing wrong. Googling all hours of the night ways to help him sleep, and feel content and not be so refluxy. Untitled.png

I didn’t want company. I didn’t want to talk, hang, let other people hold him. I didn’t want their germs, their advice, their opinions. I didn’t want it.

My mom helped often, and I went to check-ups with my OB to make sure my hormones were getting balanced out. Otherwise, I’m not sure how I would have made it through.

Dealing with the baby blues and postpartum depression absolutely does not correlate with whether or not you love your child. Anyone that knows me can tell you that my world revolves around my little boy. I love him more than I could ever put into words. I would do anything for him. I need him all the time, and I miss him when I’m away from him for even a few minutes.

But PPD takes over your mind completely. Thoughts become irrational and finite, and looking past the temporary situation is near impossible. There is an immense struggle to adapt, because it all happens so quickly.

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Post partum depression is still a taboo topic. If you have a happy, healthy baby… then you should just be happy. But the brain doesn’t understand that. It just doesn’t. And while PPD usually subsides within a few months when hormones level out, sometimes it requires medication and lasts a much longer span of time (a really amazing crusader that has spoken out about her long battle with PPD is Hayden Panettiere. Also, Brooke Shields wrote a great book on her PPD.) Not saying that it takes a celebrity to realize that this is a problem, but I’m glad that a few celebrities are using their fame to open up about their struggles.)

Realizing that there is a problem is important. Letting people know that you need a support system is the best way through it. Go to your doctor and get a check-up. Talk to other women that have had PPD and the baby blues. Get out. Seriously… don’t worry about strangers at Target when you’re waltzing through in your yoga pants, mom bun, and your child is screaming. And baby wear— baby wearing helped me SO much. I felt like I gained some independence back when I started wearing my son around everywhere. It’s great bonding, and allows you to move around freely.

If you have a spouse/significant other, make sure you explain to them how you are feeling so that they know when and where they can help. Take all the help you can get. Make parenting a bonding experience, and try to avoid frustration in times of chaos. This is a learning experience for him as much as it is for you. My husband was a wonderful support. And while he wasn’t always as quick to run to our crying baby, he helped and he really stepped up when I asked for extra support with taking care of our newborn. I am forever thankful to him for being such a wonderful dad.

And lastly… don’t be ashamed. As moms we are entirely too hard on ourselves. We created and gave life, and we’re putting another human’s needs above our own. Most of us have insane hormonal imbalances after having our little ones, so we need to give ourselves some credit. Take care of yourself! You cannot serve from an empty vessel.

I’d also like to reach out to adoptive parents here, because it’s totally possible to have PPD as an adoptive parent! There are a ton of articles out there on this, but here is one that I liked.

If you have a severe form of PPD that leads to unusual anger/rage, I encourage you to get help as soon as possible. There are all kinds of agencies that specialize in getting women with PPD the help that they need.

PPD/Baby Blues lasted roughly 3 months for me. After which point, I noticed my hormones leveling back out. I was able to resume normal life activities, and being a mother finally felt natural. I have a happy one year old son who is my everything. “This too shall pass” was my happy motto, and I’m so glad that I was right. Life has never been better.

-Katie

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My Birth Control Journey/Paraguard {Product review}

**I am definitely not a medical professional. This article is based on my personal experience. As always, please talk to your doctor before making any medical decisions for yourself**

“The best way to reduce the risk of unintended pregnancy among women who are sexually active is to use effective birth control correctly and consistently……..”

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BK#1 was conceived with combined oral contraceptive. That “typical failure rate of 9%”, yeah that is me. I took my pill daily, and had alarm set on my phone so even if I was busy, I couldn’t forget. She is a blessing, we adore her, and in no way is she an “oops”, “accident” or many other things I have heard. The pill simply didn’t work for me.

After she was born I went on a progestin only pill (because I was nursing BK#1) AND we used condoms!

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8 months later I found out I was pregnant with BK#2!! >>> Insert chaos here<<<<

Okay CDC I got you…I am the 9% and apparently in the 18% also?!?!

Our babies are our WORLD and we wouldn’t have it any other way!! Birth control, in general, just infuriates me and scares me. Why spend all this money, if planning your life for your children doesn’t work! God obviously wanted these babies, and they better become lawyers or the president or something.

For those who have a very hard time TTC, or can’t I am truly sorry. This post is not to make you feel bad, but to make woman aware of the stats, and the reality of birth control failure.

After BK#2 was born we made the decision that I would get an IUD. We were not ready to get anything permanent, and make the decision to be done having babies, but SOMETHING had to be done! My body is still recovering 6 months later. A pregnancy a year is not easy on the body, at all. Doctors say it takes a woman’s body 18 months to completely heal…..well BK#1 and BK#2 are only 17 months apart. So, even though I was scared of getting an IUD because of the risk factors, I chose to get one for my health, and sanity!

After months of talking with my  DH, doctor,  and midwife, we decided that I would get a Paragard.BurritoBuzz Paragard2

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Pros: Its more than 99% effective! I like those odds a little better. The string is a cotton string unlike most IUD’s. It is still stiff at first, but it does soften up after a few weeks. Even though it caused a little discomfort at first with my husband, after a week or so it was fine! It lasts for 10 years.  No more alarms going off to take my pill, no more counting days and checking the calendar to see if I missed a day, or if the pack is right, and no more taking pills!!!! YES PLEASE.

There are no hormones, because it is a copper device. >>> No weight gain, mood swings, etc. that come along with a hormone based birth control.

I have had no spotting, or periods since the initial spotting after insertion. I don’t know if that is due to still breastfeeding, or the IUD.

I had no “adjustment time”. No cramping or pain later. BUrritoBuzz Paragard.png

6 months after being pregnant, and I’m not pregnant!!!!!!

My insurance paid for it in FULL! We don’t have that great of insurance either, so be sure to contact them first!

Cons: It hurt like you wouldn’t believe getting it put in! I had two natural births , and I was crying while it was getting put in, I almost passed out, I puked after she was done, and I sat in the office for 30 minutes after it was done to calm down so I could leave.

There are a lot of horror stories about IUD implanting in the uterus etc., but never did I read anything about how I felt that day.

When you get it put in after birth you have to wait a month or so. I scheduled my insertion promptly after delivery, and my midwife and OBGYN insured me that it would be super easy to insert, because of just delivering a huge baby.

IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN EASY FOR THEM!

Honestly, I felt bad for my doctor. I was a mess, but I couldn’t help it! When they dilated my cervix and inserted it I could have swore she was trying to rip out my uterus.

I suggest asking to be numbed, and some valium if you are getting it!

There are the horror stories of IUDs, but that comes with anything. There are even  horror stories for the pill. Its really how you take care of yourself, and making sure you go for your regular checks, and are checking yourself!

The pain of insertion is the only bad thing I have to say about Paragard!

Would I do it again?  Maybe? If they could drug me up, or knock me out! I think its worth it for 10 years.

Be sure to talk about all of your options with your doctor, and educate yourself before putting anything into your body! I hope my experiences can help you!!

~Amanda~

 

 

 

 

What you Didn’t Expect, when you were Expecting

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Here’s the truth: You can read every pregnancy/labor & delivery book out there, and there will STILL be something that surprises you or catches you off-guard. Guaranteed.

Bringing a child into the world is a mix of beautiful, unbelievable, and disgusting. So, here are just a few of the things that I wish someone would have prepared me for (not necessarily all that will happen to you, but that definitely could happen!):

  1. Nosebleeds. Most women know about the nausea, headaches, sore boobs, etc. (the more well-known side-effects of growing a human.) What people won’t tell you is that other things can also happen that are pretty out-of-the-ordinary: Nosebleeds. Floaters in your eyes. Spots and skin tags. Tailbone pain. Round-ligament pain. Tender gums (and restrictions at the dentist. Most require you to have written and signed consent from your OB before performing any procedures, including routine cleanings.)
  2. Old Wives Tales: Most aren’t true. One that is, however, is the concept of heartburn meaning your child will have hair. So, try not to take too much stock in most old-wives tales, but this one is a good one to pay attention to.
  3. You won’t have as many ultrasounds as you want. Most often, your insurance will pay for two. Unless you have an unusual circumstance around your pregnancy, you’ll likely only see your little one on the screen twice.
  4. Hunger, and Lack of Hunger: Pregnancy is often portrayed the same way, all the time. Women that have insane appetites, and binge on whatever craving they have that day. Sometimes this is true, but not always. Some women are sick for so long that the idea of food is the farthest thing from their minds. In fact, some women struggle to keep on the needed weight for pregnancy. For these women, medication is often required so that you can continue to have a healthy pregnancy.
  5. Not all testing is required. Some OBs will try to convince you that all testing is mandatory, but often this isn’t the case. Do your research and decide what is best for you. I did all the testing of my own volition, but some parents would prefer to avoid some of these tests.
  6. You may not have the same OB your entire pregnancy. I was shocked to find that most clinics have OBs on a rotation, so you may see a different doctor every time. It makes sense; doctors are busy people. But, it was important to me to have the same OB my entire pregnancy and at the birth of my child. I spent a significant amount of time trying to find a clinic that allowed this, and was thrilled when I finally did. If this is important to you, be prepared to do some digging to find the right obstetrician for you.
  7. Most doctors will not let you go past 41 weeks. Most of us want to wait for our babies to come on their own, but a great many doctors will absolutely put their foot down. Why? There are some risks, which you can read about here.
  8. When you’re ready to deliver: be prepared to be examined by 10 or more nurses, a handful of doctors, and possibly some medical students. If this isn’t what you want, make sure you talk to your hospital in advance.
  9. Labor and Delivery might not be what you expected, in a variety of ways. If you’re like me, I expected to have the cinema-style birthing experience where the actress has her water break, and baby arrives in a dramatic scene within a few hours. More often, your water will leak all day, and all through your labor, you’ll spend hours bored, in pain, eating popsicles and watching reruns of Friends.
  10. If you have an epidural, you’ll likely have a catheter at some point. Some hospitals keep them in, others just use them periodically. Most often, too much is going on for you to even care.uventet1.png
  11. Be prepared to be unprepared. You can plan for nine months how your labor is going to happen, but most often you’ll have to do what your doctor or midwife thinks is best. If this means a cesarean, episiotomy, etc., sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. And sometimes, like with my labor and delivery, things can get complicated QUICKLY. Ask your nurses and doctors to explain fully what is happening instead of tip-toeing around you. My son was both face-up, and had the umbilical cord tightly wrapped around his neck. This meant that I had a positioning specialist, internal monitors, and saline injected back into my uterus. I wish I had known more about things that can go wrong in L&D, though I think many people might want the opposite: to not know at all, and not worry about it (I’m just not that person.)
  12. enhanced-buzz-7951-1440537069-6Things like the “husband stitch” still exist. Sex after childbirth is usually fairly unpleasant the first few times for most people. This will make it worse, so ensure that you have a doctor that doesn’t practice this.
  13. Post-partum. OH post-partum. It can be a crazy ride, that’s for sure. If anything, know what to expect. Knowing now to care for yourself both physically and mentally are crucial to both your well-being and your child’s. Know the signs of post-partum depression and don’t be afraid to talk about it and ask for help. Accept help. Also, know that post-partum pain and bleeding can last a decently long time. Be prepared for it so that you aren’t trying to run to the store last-minute toting a newborn with you.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. What shocked you about your own pregnancy and labor & delivery?

-Katie

Becoming Mother: Book Review

As I sit here with my 10 month old son, who is currently whining non-stop due to a sinus infection, I think back to my days before being a mother. Did they exist? I barely remember them now. Though, that wasn’t always the case. While pregnant I just went through the motions. Once my tiny human arrived into the world I was in a total state of shock by how suddenly and immensely my life had changed. I thought about my days before being a mother frequently, and sometimes lustfully. Longing for days of quiet, missing the boredom that I used to complain of.

The parenting books that I had skimmed merely told me the motions that I was already going through. What to plan for in pregnancy and labor and delivery, how to care for my new baby, various milestones and expectations. Some of these books I could barely relate to, and quite frankly seemed like they were written by men who have obviously never been pregnant or dealt with labor and delivery or post-partum hormones.

51+8Ctf3yjL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgI was thrilled when Sharon sent me her book, Becoming Mother. The title alone gave me comfort– and reassured me that being a mother is actually a process for most. I identified closely with Sharon’s journey into motherhood, including the discomforts of pregnancy and trying to stay active, to the disappointments of care in labor and delivery, and, as she puts it “Just the plain, messy truth of what it’s like for one to become two.”

Becoming Mother isn’t candy-coated. It’s the simple truth of her story of bringing her child into the world. In its rawest form, motherhood is full of decisions that can be questioned by both yourself and others. Sharon talks about various choices that she made, including natural childbirth and the empowerment that comes from it, to the necessity of formula-feeding and the judgement that she initially put upon herself (I myself formula fed, and identified so well with feeling like you have to justify your decision to others. The truth is, you don’t, and it’s not anyone else’s business.) What’s best for one mother, or baby, may not be best for another.

I admire her reflections in this book because she portrays her experience with all of the blemishes, mishaps, and frustrations that come with becoming a mother. We live in a generation where a perfect life can be contrived on Facebook through simple statuses and photos; we can eliminate the bad and only portray the good. When, in fact, motherhood is full of ups and downs. While I personally was SO in love with my new tiny human, I was exhausted, frustrated at my labor experience, and definitely suffering from some post baby blues and hormone imbalances. I was in a foreign land, from a life previously filled with only my own needs. It was hard to adjust at first, but here, nearly a year later with my son, we have found our new normal. He brings so much love an joy into our lives. It’s important for new moms to know that it gets easier.

Thank you to Sharon for an accurate portrayal of what it’s really like to become a mother. Your candid writing gave me comfort in knowing that there are others with stories just like mine. I highly recommend this read to any new mother or soon to be mother.

-Katie

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences with a product and we never guarantee a positive review.**

 

Parenting Advice: Guilty?

8cbae746b97a743e4ea5dd0d19b52680I’m a first-time parent, and if I wasn’t already sure of that before, having received parenting advice from virtually every individual I know with a child, I am definitely sure of it now.

The first few months after having a baby, especially your first baby, are overwhelming. My husband and I were together nearly 10 years before welcoming our son into the world. Though a very wanted, and awaited change to our lives, we found ourselves treading water. My thoughts were a jumbled mess, which were due to a nice combination of fatigue, hormones, and flat out doubt of my parenting-abilities.

I spent many nights reading, Googling endlessly for ways to do things. Was I swaddling correctly? Should my baby be drinking this much? Drinking this little? Why is he crying so much? Should he be making these wheezing noises? When does cradle cap end? If I could have a running list of things I typed into Google, it would certainly span the lengths of encyclopedias. And more likely than not, I’d laugh at some of those questions now as a more experienced, more comfortable new parent.

So let me tell all of you new parents: It gets easier. It’s hard to believe now, and I definitely rolled my eyes at a few forum posts similar to this one when I was in those first few “survival months”… which we will refer to as the “dark ages.”

So, being a new parent I wasn’t prepared for all of the VERY assertive new-parent-advice that I would receive. Let me explain. There is a difference between saying “oh, this is how I did it as a parent. Maybe try this way!” and saying “no, you’re doing this wrong. You need to do________.” Or, even better, when an individual tells you how they did it, and then gossips behind your back about how wrong you’re doing everything.

So recently I conducted a survey with numerous questions, ranging from birth, to feeding, to weaning, to sleeping, etc. Responses by those that participated were so varied. Some parents used a birth plan, some didn’t. Some had medicated births, some didn’t. (You get the point.) There was NO PATTERN. What worked for each parent was extremely different than what worked for the rest.

My last question on the survey was “Do you often get unwanted parenting advice?” I allowed the answers of “Yes” “No” and “No, it’s always welcomed.” I got a few that responded with the latter two, but the overwhelming majority replied with “Yes.” 

My point? I have several.

  1. We’re all in this boat together. Sometimes this boat is a sinking ship. Sometimes we have to emit an SOS. Sometimes, we repair the leaks in our boat and keep on cruising. Don’t be critical of other moms just because your way isn’t their way.
  2. If you give advice: 1. Be kind. 2. Be understanding. 3. Don’t assume your way is best for all. 4. If someone is dropping hints that they don’t want advice, then stop.
  3. If you want advice: make sure you’re talking to individuals that won’t condemn you for your choices. Look for mothers that have had children recently. The hardest part of receiving advice from our own mothers and grandmothers is that it’s sometimes very outdated advice. (Some of it is great advice, don’t get me wrong– but some advice isn’t safe or medically advised.)
  4. If you’re a mom looking for solutions: there are other moms out there looking for the same solutions. Utilize forums and get a range of advice, it will help you to pick out the bad advice from the good. I’ve found Facebook groups to be particularly useful.
  5. If you’re a stranger, and you see a new parent out: generally, advice is not wanted. Instead offer encouragement. Being out in public with small children is already stressful enough, so try to be kind and understanding.

You’re doing great, parents. Google will be your best friend for a short time, but in a few months you’ll have this parenting thing mastered (it only took me 10 months, and I’m still learning every day.)

-Katie

 

One and Done

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It is not okay to guilt people into having children ever. Under no circumstance is it acceptable to make a person feel like a lesser person for having no children, a lot of children, a few children, or in my case… one child.

One, single child.

One amazing, beautiful child.

He is not “just one.” He is not EVER to have the describing characteristic of being one of those only children.

He is our one and only. Our entire world, in one tiny human.

Making the decision to have children is very personal. Perhaps the most personal decision you will ever make as a couple. To anyone that elects to have no children, I commend you on fully knowing what you want in life.

My husband and I decided to start trying to have a baby a few years back. I hoped that I would have a few months to ease into the idea of possibly being a mother, but was in no way prepared for the year and a half it took us to actually get pregnant. It wasn’t easy. (You can read more about my infertility struggle here.) I was in denial that we might not have children. I didn’t want to see doctors, and flat out didn’t want to deal with the fact that we might need some intervention (thankfully, though we waited some time, we ended up pregnant on Vitex.)

Those that knew we had been trying to get pregnant were few. The pressure to have a child when people know you are trying to get pregnant only increases the stress (at least it did for me.) Month after month of saying “no, not yet” really wears on you. And the people that say things like “just relax and it’ll happen” or “it’ll happen when it’s supposed to”… not helpful. Actually really frustrating. Just remember, you don’t know who is fighting a silent battle– who is trying to get pregnant, who is unable to get pregnant, who has lost angel babies. You don’t know.

So, assuming to understand an individual’s reproductive abilities or personal choices is something that has to stop. It has to. I’m guilty– and as much as we struggled, I’ve definitely asked friends if they think children are in their future. I try hard not to now, because I know how painful the question can be.

So there’s a high probability that my husband and I are one and done. Both by choice, and by reproductive ability. Why? 

  1. We know that we can financially provide for our one child. The rising cost of health care, education, housing, food, etc. is sometimes difficult to stomach. I want to leave him better off– not just financially, but with more opportunity. I don’t plan on having a spoiled single child, but I do fully plan on giving him every opportunity I  can.
  2. We had a hard time having one child. I’m content with one. More than content, I’m beaming that we have a healthy child. So, I’d prefer not to think we might be able to have a second to only be disappointed and unable.
  3. I’m not worried about my son’s social ability as a single child. He has cousins close in age,  and we fully plan on giving him plenty of social opportunities.
  4. We had a very difficult labor and delivery. My son had his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, and we are lucky he is here. You can read about that story here. My postpartum weeks were also marked with some post partum blues (those hormones… whoosh!)

Things that people with single children don’t want to hear?

  1. Aren’t you afraid of him being alone when you and your husband pass away some day? Answer: No. Having siblings doesn’t mean you will be close with your siblings. Financially? I hope to plan for any financial situation so that he isn’t left with all kinds of loose ends to tie up. I know that he’ll have other family, friends, and hopefully a family of his own someday.
  2. Won’t he be spoiled? Answer: I plan on teaching him the value of a dollar and how to work hard for what he wants. That being said, money can buy opportunity, and if I can help him here and there with things such as schooling, I will.
  3. THE WORST: What if your child passes away? Then you have no children. Answer: This question is ridiculous, so please don’t ever ask it. Having other children doesn’t mean you won’t miss your child that has passed away just as much. It doesn’t. You don’t have children to be “backup children” in case something happens. I treasure each day with my son, and that will never change.

So here’s the thing: treat everyone as if you don’t know what their story is. Just simply not asking unless the person on the receiving end brings it up or wants to talk about it. Listen to them. Try to be understanding. Step into their shoes. Children are a beautiful, amazing gift. Children aren’t for everyone. And, children aren’t always easy to have. Simple understanding can bring us a long way.

-Katie

The Birth you Want

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Labor and delivery mostly sucks. Let’s face it, outside of finally meeting your tiny human and snuggling them into your arms, there is nothing very appealing about having your body go through so much pain. I love the movement “Birthing Without Fear” and really, to those women, you are awesome. I am not that woman. Other than wanting to get my son into the world, there was no major motivation for me to “want” the pain of labor and delivery. I’d just rather be… eating Chipotle not in pain. Or like, anything else really.

I was lucky to have the same OB my entire pregnancy, and the same OB at the birth of my son. I told her from the get-go, that she’s the medical expert and I did research on doctors for so long so that I could leave it all in her hands. I didn’t go in with a birth plan, and I had no restrictions. I told my doctor to “do what she needed to do to get my son into the world safely.” (I’m not at all belittling anyone that goes in with a birth plan, but that’s just not me.) I trusted my OB, and that’s the important thing.

Even with that mindset, my birth was NOT what I had planned or envisioned.

I was on restricted activity from 33 weeks on, because I was at risk for preterm labor. Strangely enough, I needed to be induced at 40+6. I went to the hospital prepared at 8AM for them to break my water. I started Pitocin, had my water broken, and shortly after everything got a little crazy. The cord was wrapped around my son’s neck, and after my water broke the cord got much tighter. His heart rate was dropping drastically down from 160BPM to 50BPM. I had a positioning specialist, internal monitors, and saline being injected back into my uterus (it’s about as fun as it sounds.) At one point, they had to stop my labor completely to get his BPM back up. After labor started again I dilated SO quickly from 4-9 in a matter of minutes (which made me throw up for the rest of my labor.) All the while, both anesthesiologists were busy, so I didn’t get my epidural until it was so late in the game that it was barely worth it (and, it wore off within the last few minutes of labor because they didn’t have enough. (Great timing. Thanks guys.) I had so many doctors at one point in that room, as well as students, that I was totally overwhelmed with everything that was happening. (I was in labor 14 hours, and pushed for 3.)

My doctor and nurses were everything I could have wanted. Amazing individuals, and I’ll never forget my L&D nurse. Some of the other personnel I could have done without. My doctor advocated for me the entire time she was there. She is an incredibly, intelligent woman and I couldn’t have possibly had a better OB.

My labor left me feeling intensely traumatized afterwards. I was not prepared, and wish I would have known all of the things that can go wrong. I’m thankful I was in a hospital with the professionals I had, and that my son made it into this world safely. It was just NOT the peaceful day I had envisioned, and I wanted the epidural WAY sooner than I ended up getting it.

My labor was a little out-of-the-ordinary because of the cord circumstances, and I just count myself among the lucky to have my healthy child at home with me. While my labor wasn’t what I wanted, nothing matters other than my healthy son being in this world with me.

Here are some other labor and delivery stories. Thank you to these kind ladies for being willing to share, in hopes that it guides some other soon-to-be momma in the right direction of what is best for her and her child:

Amanda Velain
Neither of my births went like I thought like they were going to, but I think as women we plan for chaos or calm, and you never usually get what you are planning for. With my first I had everything planned for any number of circumstances, down to the minute. I had multiple people on standby, my natural birthplan, bags packed two months in advance, house baby-ready, and all I did was research and take everything in I possibly could so I knew exactly what to do. My first baby came and my plans went out the window. There was water all over the kitchen, my husband was an hour away, my parents thought I was talking about the literal plumbing and didn’t believe that I really needed a ride, the hospital didn’t think my water broke, and during labor I was in and out of a tub and in a million positions. I was in labor for 17 hours! NOT planned! It is an amazing story though. But looking back I would have moved around more. I sat in the tub way too long, and got too comfortable. So second baby, a year later, I didn’t even go into the tub. I walked around target, and was in denial about being in labor for most of the actual labor. It was a good thing I had planned on going natural, because I got to the hospital and there really wasn’t a whole lot of time! I mean I had hours left, but not many! I planned for calm and I got chaos! I wouldn’t have changed anything about my second birth though. It was hard and extremely painful, but I was surrounded by loved ones (husband, mom and midwife), and my little boy came into this world and it was all worth it!

Kiersten Offineer

I would have stayed at home until the pain was unbearable. I went in way too early. I ended up being in labor for 30 hours. Next time I’ll relax and take a bath until I can’t stand the pain. I wanted to go natural. I stuck it out for 24 hours then gave in to the epidural.

Ashley Stoll

Well I have 3 kiddos so this might get a little lengthy, so I apologize.
With my first I was young and dumb and just went into it with zero research. Basically, whatever interventions they wanted to do to were fine with me. They were afraid my baby was going to be too big so they induced me 5 days early. I had an epidural (took him 35+ minutes to put in it correctly,) which literally only made my legs numb and did nothing else. So I felt the labor and everything but I was unable to move, change positions or walk. It was frustrating and made things much more difficult than they needed to be. But I can’t complain too much because after only pushing for a few minutes, my baby boy was born at 2am, healthy and perfect. 8lbs 13oz, 19 1/4in long.

With my second I decided that I would do everything I could to avoid an epidural. So I researched like crazy and decided to do a natural hospital birth. Again they were afraid of me having a huge baby for some reason and convinced me to be induced a few days early. We tried to induce by just breaking my water first, to avoid pitocin, but I didn’t progress fast enough and ended up having to have it anyways. Labor was very intense but was so much more manageable without being restricted by the epidural. And again after only about 5 minutes of pushing, my second perfect, healthy baby boy was born at 9:27pm. 8lbs 14oz 20 1/2in long.
With my third I decided I wasn’t going to be talked into unnecessary interventions. I wanted to go as natural as possible. I found a birth center and midwife in Boardman and after a ton of research we decided to go with them for this birth. I went 9 days past my due date which was 2 weeks longer than I got to go with my first two! I woke up at 4:30am having decent contractions. So I got up and got ready to go. My husband woke up shortly after I did and I told him I was labor. We got ready and were taking the kids to my mom’s on the way to the birth center when all of sudden my contractions started coming really close together and we still had an hour drive. I started to get really worried that I was going to have the baby in the car! Thankfully, we made it to the birth center in time. Though I was 7cm upon arrival, I labored in a tub for a while and then got out when things started getting intense. When I felt the urge to push, my contractions pushed for me and I didn’t feel any need to physically make myself push. After about ten or 15 minutes, my perfect, beautiful baby girl was born, without one single “real push” and en caul, which is when the water doesn’t break and the baby is born inside the intact bag of water! Once her shoulders were out, my midwife broke the bag and lifted her out and into my arms. Pretty awesome! 2:22 pm 8 lbs 14.5oz, 20 1/2 inches long.

Looking back now I wish I would’ve went the birth center route for all three. I know it’s not for everyone but for me, it was perfect. It was just so nice and calm/relaxing but also reassuring because they have all the medical stuff right there, ready to go in case of an emergency. And the hospital is a block away. So I felt like I got the best of both worlds there. I also really regret inducing the boys early and of course I regret that epidural. Looking at how intense the pitocin made my labor with the first two compared to how much easier the third was for me without it, makes me wish I wouldn’t have agreed to getting it at all. Oh well. At the end of the day the only thing that actually matters is getting the baby out safe and sound and into loving arms. I have three gorgeous, happy, healthy babies, so I really have nothing at all to complain about.

Kaylee DiPietro

From the time I got to the hospital to the time he was born was 12 hrs. My plan was to wait as long as I could to get the epidural since I heard it slows dilation. However, it was 1am and the nurse talked me into it so I could get some sleep and I’m glad she did, because within 2 hours I went from 3 cm to 9 and it would have been too late. The hardest part was pushing for 2.5 hours…but as soon as you hear that first cry, you don’t care how long it took or how much pain you are in…it’s the most amazing experience of your life! Also, I was one that didn’t really have a set birth plan and I think that’s good…I know someone that was completely against a c section and ended up having one. She was so upset because it wasn’t her plan, she cried for a week after. It was just too much added stress on her…the first week is hard and she made it harder on herself..

Chelsea Woodruff

I knew I was having a scheduled C-section before I was even pregnant. I have mild to moderate hip dysplasia and the stretch of giving birth was a potential danger to my pelvis. Shockingly, I made it to my scheduled surgery day without so much as a contraction. No water breaking, none of that (I know, some of you want to strangle me right now). However, my surgery was EXTREMELY painful. I was not able to lie flat on my back for the majority of my pregnancy and being strapped down on the table with pressure being placed on my trunk to get the baby out caused me a LOT of pain. I was screaming at the anesthesiologist for more pain meds (this is after my epidural) and he said I already had enough to knock out a 200lb man. I’m sure it didn’t help that my OBGYN, expecting my baby to be between 6-7 lbs, cut a tiny incision and the child was 8lbs 7oz. One of the assisting doctors was standing on the edge of the bed using her full body weight to press the baby out. My OB was literally grabbing drs passing in the hall saying “come look at this tiny incision I just pulled this baby out of!” Umm..could we not?! Needless to say, pain. Pain was all I felt for about the next 3 weeks.

After my baby was born, I felt like I vanished in the eyes of the nurses. My one regret is not speaking up more. My nurses were always behind on my pain meds and I was literally in tears calling them on my radio thing asking when the next round was coming and getting snarky comments back that it was “shift change.” Listen, I’ve worked in a hospital before that would have NEVER flown. Shift change shouldn’t take 45 mins and you have a patient in misery. I left after a day and a half because I knew I would get better care from my family at home. Upon discharge, a different dr from my OB’s practice wrote my orders and DID NOT EVEN CHECK MY INCISION! I don’t even think she knew I had a C-section. I wasn’t given any aftercare instructions, nothing.

Bottom line, speak up. If you are in pain or have a concern, say something. Don’t be afraid to ask a million questions. I wish I would have and it is my one regret during my birthing experience.

So in closing, know your body. Educate yourself (and your partner!) Ask questions, do research, and follow your intuition. There is no WRONG way to bring your baby into this world, but there are ways that you will be more or less comfortable with. Plan and prepare, but know that what you envision might not be what ends up happening.

Good luck Mommas!

-Katie

Natural Birth ~ A birth story.

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“Cut it off! Just cut it off!” I am still in shock that those words came out of my mouth about my own leg. I was having so much pain and that dang charley horse was just annoying. The logical thing to do is just to cut it off! In my mind anyway. In the middle of pushing my second baby out of a very small hole the logical words that came out of my mouth were to chop off a very necessary part of my body for chasing around my 17mo old! Oh, the things labor pains make you say.

I love reading birth stories, and BK#2 is still very fresh in my mind, so I thought I would share all the good, bad and dirty details with you. {I will share BK#1 in the future} When I was pregnant with BK#1 every time I indulged in a birth story, I felt even more confident that our bodies really are made to give birth naturally, and that I could do it too. Unfortunately, not everyone on the internet holds the experience of childbirth in such admiration, especially when it comes to doing it naturally. The fear mongering of horror stories about labor can be hard to avoid, and that is the last thing a pregnant mom who is preparing for natural childbirth needs to hear. So, if you don’t want to know, and just want to do it on your own stop reading now!

BK#1 was born all natural. It began with my water breaking all over my kitchen floor and lasted for seventeen hours! When it came to getting ready for BK#2 I was pretty confident that I could do it again, and that I knew what I was getting into. We planned for a natural hospital birth again. I had no worries that I could do it, but this time around I found myself so anxious, because I knew what was coming! For about a three weeks my house was spotless, my bags were packed, about twenty possible scenarios were planned for BK#1, I had plenty of food in the fridge, husband’s time off got approved (in his line of work who knows if they are going to get coverage), and my mom was even scheduled to come help the week after my husband went back to work. I should have been so calm, but no I was a nervous wreck.

My body is going to start this process and I am not going to have any say in when, or how, or who is going to be around, or what plan I am going to have to initiate. It was all just a cluster in my head.

So I treated every day as if it were D- day. I don’t recommend it ladies! You will just make yourself sick.

The day before BK#2 was born was a Sunday. (10 days early) Church had been out of the question for a few weeks, because I just couldn’t sit still. BK#2 was HUGE! I was measuring 40 weeks at 38 weeks, they were estimating that he was already 8lbs. I was just miserable and had the “center of gravity of a jersey cow”. (Points to you if you know where that little quote came from) 20150627_140151Nevertheless I was still planning on Sunday dinner at my parents. I had been having BH and back pain for ohhh 3 months now, and had been having inconsistent first stages of labor contractions for about a week. (At my last OBGYN appointment 3 days prior I was 3cm and 80% effaced) So, when I woke up that morning uncomfortable and having to stop walking up the stairs for a contraction or two, I didn’t think anything of it. Around 2pm the contractions were getting more regular and were about 15 min apart. Although, they would drift off and not appear again for 30 min. I was excited and so frustrated. I knew it was coming, but my body was just taking its good ol time about it. When it was time to leave the house and head to my parent’s it was around 4pm and the contractions were still only around 15 min apart, but they were definitely stronger. I had to make sure I thought about breathing and couldn’t talk through them. That’s how you know they are real. When you have no option but to focus on your body and that contraction. I grabbed BK#1’s pre- packed bag and tossed it in the car with her diaper bag, just in case things progressed. All the while my husband is saying “Are you sure we shouldn’t call Louann?” (My midwife) Of course I said no. The contractions weren’t 10 min apart and lasting for an hour at 10 min apart, so all she would tell me to do is watch them.

On the twenty minute drive to my parents’ house I had two contractions. Looking back now, I was totally in denial about how far in the first stage of labor I actually was! I was totally further along than I thought I was at the time. We got there, I’m walking around, can’t sit still, and pretty sure I’m freaking my dad and brothers out. My husband and mom are looking at each other laughing and asking me what they want me to do. “Should we eat dinner?”, “Do you want to go for a walk?”, “Those contractions were close to 9 min apart Amanda!”, “Seriously, what do you want us to do????”

I was totally in the zone, breathing and doing all the things I was doing during my first labor at home! I was laughing, enjoying myself, eating, surrounded by the people I loved, and in my own clothes. It was bliss and dang it I just wanted it to last another hour or so! Ha! Well, with my DH and mom in my ear, and worrying about if I was going to have my baby in my parent’s house it finally clicked that this was the real deal. I needed to take some action and stop enjoying the bliss of first stage labor. My mom and I decided to make a target run to walk and get BK#1 a few things she would need. At this point I called my midwife and told her how my day had been, and she told me it was my decision. Come to the hospital, or wait it out till the contractions were closer together and call her and she will meet us at the hospital. I told her we were about a minute away from target and we were going to walk it out a little to see what that did for me. After about 10 minutes in target my contractions leaped to around 6 min apart. Fun times! Still these contractions weren’t horrible. A lot of pressure and I had to focus, but meh lets finish our target run! I have a target problem, what can I say? Don’t we all?

We head back to their house, and I start BK#1’s bath and get her bedtime routine. I know, I’m crazy. But dang it, I didn’t want to leave my other baby! I got her in the tub told her I loved her and went to leave. I was a weeping mess! Hormones do some crazy things to a women’s body. This was not one of my plans for her. She had no idea what was going on. She is still my BABY! I can’t leave her!! She was in fabulous hands, my parents have kept her over night before, but the unknown for my toddler was freaking me out!

DH and I got in the car and head home to get bags and let the doggies out. I called my midwife at that time and told her we were on our way and to meet us. By the time we got to the hospital I was having contractions every 3 minutes, at least. I couldn’t get from the car to the door without having a contraction. We get into intake and when they checked me I was 6cm and 90% effaced. Wahoo!!! I was so happy! That took me 14 hours with my first baby!20150705_203816

It’s around 8pm now and we are talking to the nurse telling her about our birth plan. For me, my birth plan was more of guide so they knew I wanted a natural birth, so I could focus on what I was doing, and so I didn’t have to answer a million questions. And let’s face it. I’m a little bit of a control freak. This nurse wanted to give me an IV. NO! What part of hep lock can you not read? I agree that in case of an emergency they need to have access when in a hospital, but you aren’t chaining me to a pole. She agrees that she will just do the hep lock finally and then I look over in the middle of her failing to stick me, and there is 3 bags of saline on the counter…..ummm…. “WHAT are those for?” She proceeds to tell me that she had to do an IV before she can do a hep lock. Not true! I pulled the hand that she kept failing at getting the needle in away and told her that I wasn’t getting an IV. Man, I was hot! “Fine, we will see what the doctor says when you get up to your room.” Mwahaha you STILL aren’t paying attention. I have a midwife not a doctor. All of this through contractions every few minutes. It was a blast! Thankfully my midwife walked in the same time as we were walking into my room. The nurse goes at her about how its hospital policy, and what if there is an emergency and on and on and on. Louann looked at her “She doesn’t want it, leave her alone.” Midwives are the best. They really are YOUR advocate! Now that the annoying by-the-book nurse was out of my hair I could focus on labor and who I should be texting/calling. We told my mom to come once BK#1 went down for bed, we wanted her there for support during labor, and I am so grateful that she was there for me. So, she was on her way. My best friend was supposed to come and take photographs just during labor and after he was born, but labor was progressing so quickly and my pain was so intense, I really just didn’t want that photographed anymore. I texted her, had someone dim the lights, turned on some worship music and got on my labor ball and bounced. I was leaning on the bed, DH was rubbing my back when he could tell I was having a contraction, and it was peaceful and quiet and everything I wanted my labor to be. And then I got up to pee….

My water broke all over that labor ball, the floor, me, and the side of the bed. It was gross! Thankfully it was clear and no meconium. And I still had to go to the bathroom. By the time that I got back into the room from the bathroom I knew that not only had my water broke, but I was in transition. The pain had tripled and the pressure was insane! I got in the bed and Louanne checked me. It was around 11:30pm and I was close to 8cm and fully effaced.

This is the point where all I could think about was breathing and each contraction. I had my eyes shut from that point on and I barely had 30seconds between contractions. I moved from my hands and knees, to draping my body over the ball and then finally on my left side with my right leg propped up. The labor was so intense I was shaking, and furious that I was shaking. I was puking and crying because I puked. I really couldn’t have done it without my DH sitting in front of me whispering sweet nothings and telling me that I could do it over and over again. At one point I was saying “Bucket, I need the bucket” and he thought I said F*** it. He is looking at my mom like is she really cussing? (I am not one to cuss on a regular basis, much less drop the F bomb) Poor guy almost got puked on. I just wanted to push. The pressure and pain was seriously getting to me. There was no breathing and catching your breath in between contractions any more. It was in out in out, listening to his breath and hearing my mom and midwife remind me to breathe that got me through the next hour. Louanne checked me again and told me I could push! Hallelujah! For those of you who haven’t had a baby, or don’t know, pushing is heaven when it comes to natural birth. The pain goes away for the most part, and the end is in sight. You finally get to do something with those contractions instead of just being miserable through them. When I started pushing I got THE WORST charley horse in my leg I have ever had in my life. My mom was rubbing it as my midwife told me I could push. She was originally going to leave the room when it was time to push. She asked me if she should go. Apparently I yelled “Don’t you dare go anywhere” oops. At about the same time is when I told them to go ahead and just cut my leg off. I was trying to push and all I could think about was my leg! My stupid leg hurt more than my baby coming into this world did! I pushed and pushed and pushed. Like I said, this dude was big. I was so frustrated because I could feel him descend and then slide back up. Then my midwife said “I’m not sure he is going to fit”

You’re not sure he’s going to fit??????? Come again?

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That swirl!!

I am not sure if she said this out of truth or to motivate me, but 3 pushes later our not so little, amd hairy man entered this world! He was quiet and didn’t cry until he was in my arms. So beyond perfect. He was bright eyed and gorgeous and in that moment all the pain was gone and all was right in the world again. I felt so much relief and awe at what had just happened, again! My body had made a baby and he was finally here.

I am so grateful that we had such a great labor and little mister got earth side safely.

Birth stories aren’t a guide to how your birth will go, but they definitely give you a sense of the intense roller coaster of emotions when giving birth. It is OK on the most beautiful day of your life to feel scared, anxious, angry, bitter, and lonely and so much more.

WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GIVE BIRTH

  1. Birth won’t go as planned. But it is still helpful to have a birth plan so you can think about the decisions you might have to make in advance.
  2. Hospitals are not relaxing. Relax as much as you can beforehand and plan on staying in bed as much as you can when you get home.
  3. You and your DH may be on your own sometimes. Not all midwives can stay with you the entire time, and doctors are just there to check and catch basically. It can be scary and lonely, have someone there who is experienced and can help you through labor.
  4. Birth is messy. Every imaginable body fluid will come out one end and/or the other. Yes, it’s disgusting, but its natural and they have seen it all before.
  5. Have a plan to try and relax. Breathing and staying calm is the best thing you can do for yourself.
  6. Have lots of skin time with baby. Having struggled to breastfeed at first with my second, I am convinced the best way to help most new babies feed is skin to skin contact on your chest rather than stressing about positioning and latch
  7. Babies can be very sleepy and distressed after a C-section. I didn’t have to have one, but I have friends who have. It’s good to know. Things take just a little more time, and that’s okay!
  8. Your DH needs attention too! Don’t forget that you didn’t just have a baby, he did too! Share the cuddles, and make sure he eats and rests too!
  9. You need super thick pads. Forget how immaculate Kate Middleton looked within hours of giving birth, you are going to have seriously heavy discharge after birth and need proper maternity pads …
  10. It’s natural to feel crazy anxious about everything … don’t be surprised if you have a complete anxiety meltdown the first time you step outside with your tiny little bundle of joy, I certainly did … as new moms we’re hard wired to feel anxious about every possible threat to our babies. Just make sure you don’t let it get out of hand. Check out my PPD post for more on that.

Nothing will ever be the same again momma. It’s the most momentous day of your life and you will have every possible emotion compressed into the experience. Enjoy it, and savor it.

~Amanda

Intuition

After TTC for about a year and a half, it’s easy to understand the apprehension in being excited over pregnancy. I had taken so many pregnancy tests out of habit. So, when I took a test (before even missing a period, because my periods were irregular,) I expected another negative indefinitely. That amazing, wonderful morning, I took a test thinking “unlikely, but maybe,” and then hopped into the shower. Forgetting about my test entirely, I continued to get ready after my shower. While doing my makeup I looked down to see two, TWO, glaring pink lines. My heart may have actually stopped. I quickly dismissed it as an “evap line” (which really happens more often with blue ink tests, and had happened to me twice in the past.) I took two more tests that morning, which both showed faint positives. I still wasn’t sure. I took two more. And then another. All different brands… ya’ know, just because I didn’t trust them. So, like $40 later in pregnancy tests I finally believed it. It was real. After it was confirmed at 6 weeks pregnant at my doctor’s appointment, I finally felt some relief.

Yet, I knew something was wrong. I knew. In my gut.

My entire pregnancy I was apprehensive. I had purchased a fetal Doppler on eBay (awesome, and only about $30. Totally worth the money.) I listened to my little guy’s heartbeat at least weekly. It was the reassurance I needed. I spent days worth of my life researching cord accidents. It consumed my thoughts entirely. For some odd reason, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

At around 33 weeks my guy moved head down. He had gone from a total wiggle-worm, to rarely moving throughout the day. I was dilated, effaced, and my doctor feared he was coming too early. I had a stress test done, and they monitored his movement. It wasn’t great, or at least not what they wanted to see. They watched him closely. I ended up going past my due date, ironically, and was induced. Thank God I was induced. Thank God for the medical professionals that knew what they were doing, and the research I had done to find an amazing OB. They broke my water in the hospital, and things suddenly changed. The loss of amniotic fluid tightened the cord on Lucas, which was around his neck. His heart rate kept dropping dramatically, down to 50BPM. I had nurses, doctors, positioning specialists, all trying to get it sorted out. I ended up in CRAZY positions trying to help loosen that cord (I mean, on all 4s face down after having an epidural. Yeah. That happened.) They put internal monitors on him, and started injecting saline back into my uterus to loosen that cord up.

Ryan and I were scared. Our family was scared. But I trusted my doctor, and feel like my intuition had been preparing me for this moment. I was seconds away from the operating room if they decided he needed to come out quickly.

I pushed for 3 hours, with close monitoring. When I got to my last two sets of pushing my doctor told me he HAD to come out. It’s amazing what the female body can do. I knew that I couldn’t push anymore, that my body didn’t have the strength, but my body got that tiny guy out. The doctors quickly pulled the cord off and got him to start breathing. That screaming baby was the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard. My Lucas was healthy. Here. He was here and in my arms.

Intuition.

I’m not saying that I generally believe in intuition. But this time, it was spot on. My body knew something was wrong.

Cord accidents are common. They estimate that 1 in 3 babies will have the cord wrapped around them. It’s less frequent for them to have the cord around their neck, and even less common for it to actually cause problems. The cord is naturally lubricated, making it slide and slip around easily, as to not get stuck around the baby.

My situation was compounded by Lucas being born face up, 1 in 20.

The scary: Cord accidents cannot be prevented.

The not-so-scary: They are rare.

I cannot stress it enough: If you feel like something isn’t right, be absolutely relentless with your doctor. If you can’t get the reassurance you need, keep on them.

I got lucky; things happened in a way that likely saved my LOs life. Had I not been induced and my water broken naturally, I may not have gotten the saline that I needed to keep my guy’s heart rate going and to keep that cord loose enough. I had medical professionals that knew how to work these stressful situations, and I was in a facility that is top-notch for infant care.

We were luckier than some. We don’t take a single day for granted with our guy.