Labor, Prodromal Labor, Hospital Trips, And Finally– Baby.

The last week of May was quite the trip.  After having the version, the contractions were finally noticeable, as though getting her to go the right direction was all that was missing in the effort to have her.

When I went to my doctors appointment on Wednesday, May 27th, I measured at a 2, which meant Baby could start coming at any moment.  My anticipation was colossal.
Finished shopping, went home on Wednesday, come Thursday night at 6:30ish I started contractions.  They were up to about 20 minutes apart all of the way through Friday until around 5pmish, and then they died off to roughly one an hour, but they were getting periodically stronger.  This continued on through Saturday, and Sunday morning around 2 they were every 2-5 minutes apart, so we went to the hospital.
At the hospital they measured me at 3.5, my contractions were phenomenal on the read out, and we waited for two hours for dilation progression.  Progression did not happen, and I was sent home— with the same strong contractions, though they were slowly spacing out again.

I had looked up start and stop labor on Friday evening, wondering why I was experiencing it.  My answer boiled down to stress.  Prodromal labor isn’t really pinned to one certain thing, so when I thought back on how my doctor had told me I was NOT a good candidate for induction based on how firm my cervix was, I figured stress had to be the key factor.

Sunday passed slowly along.  My frustration and agony in the seeming-inability to produce the right conditions for labor hanging over me like a cloud of doom.  Some women have had terrible experiences with prenatal triage, and I personally had a terrible experience my first go round.  At my local hospital, the staff had been wonderful, my attending nurse had been supportive, she had known I was experiencing labor even though I wasn’t actively progressing yet.  We lived twenty minutes away, there was no reason why I couldn’t progress at home….  but I still had no desire to go to the hospital and get sent home a second time.

That night in bed, I laid on my left side ((as I had been practicing for the last four nights)) waiting out the count of contractions.  Again, somewhere around 2ish, something felt immensely different.  The contractions didn’t necessarily hurt, but something about them said baby was on the way.  They came up to the 3-5 minute mark, I woke the house, we rushed off to the hospital again.

Sure enough, when they assessed me in triage, I was at a 7.  Two hours later, they broke my water and baby came along within the next ten minutes.

It was a trip. Lying in recovery after Baby was born, I found myself waiting for contractions. After spending four days in labor, it hadn’t quite clicked yet that it was finally over.

Here I am a week later, content to have my brand new daughter sweetly coddled in my arms.

My assessment of the situation boils down to a few tips to share with other mothers-to-be out there.

1) Circumstances Will Dictate Your Stress Levels

Life is full of ups and downs, and during pregnancy things amplify out of proportion.
My stress points are not at all “little things”.

We’re preparing to move; we need a job, a house, money to move on—
The move has my new daughter missplaced right now, sleeping in a bassinet in my room, using one drawer of her brothers dresser, and two shelves on my bookcase. All I wanted was to have a room for her. Set up, situated, decorated, ready to go. But we have to wait at least another month.

My husbands job has him gone a minimum of 100 hours a week. He has overnight trips, 12+ hour days, monthly military obligations– and all of this is expected of him on salary. No bonuses, no raises, no hope for advancement…. without his military check, we wouldn’t make ends meet.
Money is so tight, I can’t even figure out WHERE we’re going to find the extra bits to set aside for moving equipment, or a safety deposit. The cost of living in Texas has gone up, the jobs he’s looking at only start at $12 an hour….
The current outlook on this move is grim.

2) No Two Delivery Experiences Are The Same. Unless You Have A C-Section

With my first, labor was clockwork.
Contractions, plug, dilated, water broke, baby. 16 hours, it was over and done.
Previous experience was no help. Even the contractions were different.

3) Yoga Helps

I’ve said it before: DO YOGA. In hindsight, I would probably have been better primed for labor if I had continued in my prenatal yoga practice the entire pregnancy. Clearing mind, draining muscles, keeping blood and fluids circulating, and opening up the pelvic muscles might have positively influenced labor.

4) If You Had An Episiotomy The First Time, Expect A Second One

More on that in another blog.

I hope you and your pregnancy are blessed and that your birthing experience is smooth and successful.

Motherhood: Having a “Version”. Turning your baby

Since I have already made this blog mixed topic, from my endeavors as an author, my poetry, my insights on Christianity, and a mini-Fantasy series, I am going to write to mothers everywhere about my recent experience with a Version.

What is a “version”, you might ask?  To put it simply, it’s turning a breech baby while they’re in the womb.  It generally takes place at 37 weeks, as long as your baby is still pretty little.

I found out at 36 weeks that she was breech.  This was a rather annoying piece of information, as it’s really rather hard to tell which direction the baby is going by this time, and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that a c-section is not on my agenda unless it is ABSOLUTELY medically necessary.  So, when my doctor said, “you have options” I immediately told her I wanted the baby turned.  We scheduled my “version” and I went home to research how to make her turn before yesterday.

Between the blood rushing to my head, ending up going head first down a slide at a local playground, and playing music at the bottom of my tummy, there were a great deal of reactions from my baby, but none of them encouraged her to spin around.  I waited and waited in extreme nervousness, asking everyone I knew to pray for me and the baby, as I was getting desperate.

Thursday morning came.  I spent the two hours prior to the sonogram rolling the possible outcome of the morning through my head.  I was nervous, anxious, tense and made the pulse monitor beep a good three or four times– before the doctor arrived to turn the baby.  The sonogram was done, and sure enough her head was still positioned right smack-dab in the middle of my rib cage.  I had figured as much, when I would lay down to figure out what part of her might be where, it definitely felt like a head.

He explained to me what was going to happen, and then went to spinning the baby around.

Dear lord, did it hurt.  Which makes plenty of sense, you’re spinning head, shoulders, knees and toes around inside your uterus.  I couldn’t make it through the first attempt.  The rubbing of soft tissue on bones is what got me.  The other was being concerned for the baby, and being aware of her needs.
So, we took a breather, talked about options, and then tried again.  As I mentioned before, the c-section wasn’t an option, I was going to suffer through the pain and get the baby turned around.

A moment later, I took a deep breath, and continued to breathe deeply through the entire experience, making my insides as open as possible to help get her around.  ((Yoga is a GREAT way to practice deep breathing, and internal awareness of your body and it’s needs.  If you do not do yoga, I would highly consider it.))  Breathing deeply, as well as being primed from the first time, she made it around easily and pretty quickly.

Relief is a nice feeling.  It took the pulse monitor a good minute to stop beeping as I calmed down again.  When I finally did, I thanked God that it had been simple and quick.

My doctor felt I was a good candidate for having the baby turned.  The baby would still be small enough, I’m carrying low, and the space she had to move in was roomy enough.  When the doctor took the sonogram, HER conditions were great, she had clear space to rotate, and the chord was out of the way.  There wasn’t quite a great deal of fluid around her, ((I had spent the last six days getting it up, and didn’t even THINK about the fact that I had chamomile tea the night before so I could sleep through the night.  All my efforts lost in one night….  So don’t do this.  If you need a relaxing agent to sleep the night before your version, try a sachet of lavender or melatonin)) but it didn’t hinder her ability to rotate around.

During recovery, I had minor contractions, but baby and I looked great.
Today, during recovery, I am a bit on the sore side, from shifting the baby around of course, but nothing serious.  I’m not bleeding, or losing fluid.  The braxton contractions ache a bit more than they should, but nothing serious.

In summary, the pain is worth it, as long as it avoids a c-section.  You have options, don’t let your doctor push you into one way or the other.  Think about them, read about them, and become aware of what YOU can do.  If I had learned she was breech before 36 weeks, I might have had more time to flip her around on her own, avoiding the pain altogether.  But it’s so worth it.  Knowing she’s around, knowing she’ll be ready to go when labor starts…  I would recommend it in a heartbeat.

Stress Undressed

There are few words in life that accurately describe the emotional train wreck women experience during motherhood.
Currently,  stressed and anxious, I count down the days to my daughter’s birth.
Today, we learned that she’s breeched. I have one week to help manipulate her into turning, and if she doesn’t, I’m scheduled into an appointment for an inversion. The determination to get her to flip first is pretty high– as I’m avoiding a c-section at all costs unless it’s absolutely necessary. 36 weeks and 2-4 to go, I’m so ready to be done.

The absolute delight of being published is not lost on me, nor the anticipation for more opportunities to put together other anthologies with my dear friends and peers in Den of Quills.

However, current circumstances in my home have brought about the worst in me, creating despair.  Causing utter betrayal of my Game Face, ripping doors open to reveal the chaotic winds of “what if” that blow at hurricane strength in my heart.

Any semblance of Sanity I might produce gets formed to the written page in stories of free and frivolous characters.  My latest being Keegan Brand and Farah.  Ever since these two paired up in my imagination for the DoQ anthology,  more stories and adventures desire to be told.  They’re fun, new and interesting,  which has been refreshing in the midst of Life.
We all need a bit of therapeutic indulgence from time to time-though I wish very much that Trillian and Yulissa would spark my Muse again as they are currently waiting for an episode to finish!

The Cast of Eldegras sit quietly in their green room, waiting for me to pick their series back up as well.  High Fantasy, fully plotted out, with well defined world building finished, and character plots, sub-character plots, supporting cast…..  All of it hanging in the shadow, waiting on me to have the courage to produce it.

Priorities align when you set the emotional roller-coaster aside and allow yourself to decide what is most important.
In writing, the self-doubt and lack of confidence that creeps in can hamper your desire to produce what you love.
Will the fear of rejection put your stories on a shelf in your brain,  where no one else will ever experience them?
Will the efforts you put into your books be lost when you watch enthusiasm for your stories die out?

Right now, life in the Villa-Smith home is filled with uncertainty, worry, doubt, anxious anticipation– so many things are happening or waiting to happen.
I’m allowing the circumstances to dictate how I feel in a given moment,  which in turn separates me from doing the things I love most.  Writing of course, being one of them.

Don’t let your stress do that to you.  It’s not worth it.  If you have a hobby you absolutely enjoy,  the core of your being thrives on it, don’t ever back burner to Life.  Use it in the quiet moments to unwind and unlock what you’ve been holding onto.  Pursue Yourself in the stillness when you can hide away in time to yourself. Make a point to not think about the things going on outside of your control,  and just hold on to focusing on You.
It’s difficult,  but after a while, realizing that you and your sanity are more important than your circumstances will help to make the most of every quiet moment you have.

~ * ~ * ~
36 weeks pregnant with my second child, a newly published author, and a frazzled housewife raising a toddler, I do hope that my goings-on inspire you to push through and accomplish your dreams.  There are no excuses, if housewives with young children can do it, so can you.

When You Just Can’t Glow

I’m counting down the final weeks of my second pregnancy.  Lord knows I’m done.  With a minimum of two months left, an extremely active baby and a not-so-careful, active toddler, I want my body back.  Pushed, pulled, kicked and smacked from the outside; pushed, elbowed and kicked from the inside, I just want to scream “Enough!”  Especially since I haven’t had my own body to myself for two years and ten months.

When other mothers on social media seem to have great pregnancies, or appear to be doing everything right, always positive and upbeat,  it can make you feel like a terrible mother for not being able to keep up your exercises,  or afford your pregnancy tea, or being incapable of managing your toddler’s every need.
Discouraged, bloated, swollen, tired, cranky, hot and just plain miserable,  you scroll further down your newsfeed hoping somebody else is falling apart.  Surely you can’t be the only person in your circle who hates life today?

Books, toys, complaints, among a plethora of other things, are shoved in my face, forcefully smacked into my limbs, grabbed for across my bulging stomach, or thrown in my direction.
The rumblings of discomfort become more frequent as the “flutterings” of a rolling, stretching, growing baby start to feel more like earthquakes.
Prayers for an early delivery billow more like smoke from a forest fire, as opposed to a waiver from incense.  Each reminder that you’re not glowing and excited making you want to boycott the internet.  When does the misery end?

I read an article from Everyday Family this afternoon,  giving me permission to feel this way.  Finally,  I’m not alone.  And it’s okay to be done.

http://www.everydayfamily.com/blog/ok-like-pregnancy/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=2030&utm_campaign=Blog&gaui=7589455&tc=120085

My friends try to perk me up, some of them never having been pregnant and others who never will experience pregnancy.  It’s nice to be encouraged or focused on other things, but come the end of the day, you’re still pregnant,  you’re still raising a toddler, and you’re still miserable.
The neverending cycle of housework stacking up laundry and dishes, sprinkling dust in the air, mashing food into the floors, pushing toys under the couch, scattering things all over the floors. 
When all one wants is a nap, where is there time to enjoy the phenomenon of Life?

One day, it will end and I can stand straight up and down again.  I’ll be free to bend, stretch, lift and move!
Until then, I endure the moments by remembering my son won’t always be a toddler, he isn’t going to have Mommy to himself much longer, and Mommy isn’t going to have the same kind of time and energy -however difficult it is to come by right now- to spend with him like I do now.  There wont be enough space to crawl into my lap for his afternoon nap, or to watch movies.  He won’t have the same amount of room to snuggle into Mommy’s bed in the middle of the night.  He won’t be the only one demanding my attention.

How precious the moments, even in the tempest of misery.

The other things I look forward to, and anticipate with extreme delight, are various postpartum accessories to aid in feeling better about having two children, without the guilt staring at me from the mirror.  From tummy wraps to a hip corset, I’m looking forward to getting MY body back sooner.  Followed up with a better diet this particular time around, and not making the same mistakes I did the first time.
So far so good and I look better than I did the first time by managing a healthier choice of diet.  Ladies, I don’t care what they say, whatever you put on has to come back off, and it don’t just fall of.  You aren’t eating for two, eat for YOU.
So there is solace, and there is a brightside.  But I’m done.
And I hope every day she comes early.  Healthy of course, but early.

My Life As A Human Spawn Point

Going back to Mommy Ramblings for a moment, the trip to Ohio wore me down.  Normal things, such as getting out of the car, eating, and sitting were uncomfortable.  Why is it when you’re pregnant, bloating is ten times worse?
Rest Areas are usually found every 76 miles, but sometimes that’s just not soon enough.
I remember being pregnant with Isaias on the road to Ohio, we always stopped three miles BEFORE every Rest Area.
This is the second time I’ve had to travel across the country pregnant, for a death in the family.   My doctor said I’m not allowed to have the baby this time, but considering I still have 16 weeks of pregnancy left, I don’t see that being a problem

Between trying to raise a toddler, spawning a baby, and being away from home I am worn out.  My poor son probably thinks I’m the Thing From The Black Lagoon first thing in the morning, what with having to give up coffee.  I sneak a cup in here or there, but honestly that’s probably doing more bad than good to my sanity.
Why is it that when we have children, we feel as though our sanity has disappeared?   I am a Stay-at-home mom which makes my loss of sanity that much worse, as I literally spend every waking hour – and more – with my child.  The husband is off and away for everything and anything while I am at home raising his family.  When God cursed Eve and said, “I will increase your pains in child bearing” what he meant was, “When you’re on your period, it will be hell.  When you’re pregnant, it will be hell.  When you’re giving birth, you’ll wish you were dead.  When you recover from birth, you’ll hate yourself.  When you raise your child, you will love your child, but Free Will means your kid is going to push every button in your emotional body, and it will be hell.  Then, you’ll get pregnant with the next one and the cycle will plunge you into insanity.”

…..so, maybe he didn’t mean that, but heaven and all its occupants know I’m not prepared to have two toddlers running around testing my patience every chance they get.
Did I mention I’m having a little girl?
I get the best of both worlds,  but I’m going to endure Night and Day difference the moment she develops her personality.  I look forward to having a baby again,  but then I remember they grow up.

When you’re pregnant,  you really have to pick your battles with your toddler wisely.  There isn’t enough of you to go around.  Literally.  Your body is growing another child, and it slowly suckles away your energy, your ability to move quickly,  your ability to think clearly, and your ability to keep your emotions balanced ((I don’t know, maybe that’s just me)).
I’m tired.  I’m worn out.  I’m just ready to have my body and it’s needs back.  I went from breastfeeding, back to pregnant with only a month in between.  ((My husband couldn’t handle the thought of the depravity of his wife on our Anniversary.   I said I didn’t want to get pregnant.   But men have this way of guilt tripping you for holding out on them during important days in your relationship.   An anniversary is a pretty big thing to have to skip out on, apparently…..  like he couldn’t have waited two more days…..))
The things that comfort and care for me are coffee, and the occasional Mikes Hard Lemonade, or red Moscato.
I also thoroughly enjoy rigorous exercise, yoga and pursuing a slim, toned figure.
Those are the things I do for me.  Things that I have to wait for again.
Why is it that the things we love most are the ones we have to give up so we can bring children into this world?
When do I get to be me again?
When can I look in the mirror and love how I look?  How I feel?

Am I the only one who feels like this?  Should I feel guilty for needing to do for me, when I have to look after everyone else?  Why must coffee be a “guilty pleasure”?  Or two glasses of wine on the occasional Saturday night dangerous?
This is the punishment we endure for nine months, when the hormones are raging, the toddler’s misbehaving,  and the husband won’t do his share to make things easier.
Somebody tell me it gets better.  Because right now, I don’t see it.  And I’ve still got 16 long weeks to go.