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.

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.