Monday, November 25, 2013

I am sorry for the neglect of this blog!

I have been busy with many things, but also am planning on writing a pregnancy book sometime here in the near future. I was thinking about different topics to include in the book. It seems often pregnancy books are just full of the same info, some books are considered outlandish, hippy, or just plain weird. Then there are the ones that the doctors office hands out, that mention to call your doctor if you have certain symptoms, but no explanation of what is going on. You try to call the doctor and the nurse informs you that it is normal, don't worry and discuss with doctor at the next appointment. Sometimes though, you will get a good care provider that is able to answer some of your questions, but sometimes you just wish there was a book that would give you some of those answers so you don't have to bother the doctor. That is the kind of book I want to write. Something that in layman's terms talks of the norms of pregnancy, the hard things and when the doctor or midwife really wants to see you! What topics do you want covered?

Friday, August 16, 2013

#1 reason I would want to pay for a doula....

Why would I want to pay for a doula? This is a question that many pregnant moms may ask themselves, I guarantee that their partner may ask it more often.

So, what is the reasoning behind paying for a doula. Often I hear the comment...."If you can't afford a doula, there are free or volunteer doulas to be had." While that is often true, I am hear to tell you that if you want the best experience, pay for one.

There are times when a close friend may be trained as a doula, and can, because of the closeness, be able to provide the same level of support that a paid doula can. But one of the interesting studies that talk about why you might want a doula, they found that while there was positives from having support from female relatives and friends, a companion that was not related to you had the best results.

Here is a link from DONA on some of the results....

But why would I say that it is important to pay your doula?

I am a frugal person! You can ask most anyone and I can usually find a way to save some money! I have scrimped and saved money like most people never even think of! But.....I have come to realize that when we pay for something, we appreciate it more. We tend to be more careful in how we might care for a table that we paid $300 for, rather than the table we got for free, even if the table we got for free is worth $300. It is something about the human mind that tends to cause us to believe that if others did not value their service or item for more than that, it is not really worth the cost. I have learned this over the years in doing some volunteer doula is those births that you can work yourself to the utmost, supporting the client in pregnancy, and the last minute, she forgets to call you when she is in labor or when you arrive, you find the family members are resentful of your presence as they were not notified of her desire. We are a culture that values what we pay for! Now, I am not encouraging you to go into debt to hire the most expensive doula you can find! I am encouraging you to think outside the box for paying your doula, but pay your doula!

Here are some alternative ideas to traditional payment: -Bartering- think of anything you could do for your doula. She is giving you a service, so think of a service you could do for her. Some ideas may be cleaning, handcrafts, haircuts, weeding a flower or vegetable garden or other things along that line.

- Home baked goods or freezer meals- If you are on a very low income, you may have extra food stuff and be able to offer this in exchange.

- A piece of nice furniture or other items

-Labor work- perhaps your partner or if you have older children have skills they would be willing to offer to do work such as painting, yard work etc. Someone suggested recently having a collection at your baby shower for a doula. I was thinking about it and we have often done raffle drawings for a small gift where the entry ticket was the bag of diapers or wipes at a shower. Another idea would be to do a similar raffle drawing with raffle tickets for $2 each for a prize, to help raise money for your doula. In the scheme of things, most of us really would have the money to pay for a doula if we look hard enough. But I have met people whom truly do not have it. I have been one of those people myself. Often though, while you are not really out being able to get a job at the moment, you usually can offer some services, once a month to help pay for your doula!!

Think outside the box and pay for your way or another! She is worth it....and you will be grateful for the extra care.

So, what is the #1 reason I would want to pay for a doula than for taking the cheapest and free doula? I truly believe you will both get better care and have a better experience. The doula will feel like you appreciate her service and will be on her top game. You will value what you paid for and be more on top of actually using the services you paid for!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Breastfeeding week events- Kalispell, MT

Our doula booth at the All about the Kids- breastfeeding event we held here in the Flathead. It was a wonderful day, despite ominous warnings about the weather. It stayed nice most of the afternoon, even though it was cool and cloudy. There were lots of moms visiting and checking out all the booths, the giveaways, raffles and other fun activities. There were activities for the kids to do as well! I really enjoyed visiting with the other moms that stopped by the booth as well as visiting and getting to know the others in the other booths. The Breastfeeding coalition group was amazing to get to work with!
I am so glad to see all the breastfeeding support available out there. What made your breastfeeding journey easier? Did it help to know other moms were there along side you? A link to the website about our event as well!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Recent events in our local doula community

We recently formed a doula group, where we could present a unified front of doulas to the community. We are hoping through this, to be able to give the public education and options to find the best doula fit for them! Our website is up and running and it is beautiful! Flathead Valley Doulas operates in the Flathead Valley, primarily in Kalispell, Whitefish and Columbia Falls, MT. But also, some of the doulas extend out to Libby, Eureka and other surrounding towns. If you are in the area and in search of a doula, check out our website and get an interview with one of our doulas! We are here and ready to support you!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

1 reason I would recommend hiring a doula...

What is one reason I would recommend hiring a doula? There are many reasons, but the #1 reason that I would say stands out from all of the others, would be that you need one.

You may not know how much you need one. You may have even had great birth experiences without one. I will tell you, it is kind of like something you cannot explain or tell someone about, until you have experienced it.

A good doula is worth her weight in gold! They are worth the cost not only to the laboring mother, but also to the father. Someone said recently, "Hire a doula if your husband is not up to the task!" I would counter that statement with the thought..."Hire a doula if your husband is up to the task, but he wants to do better."

Do you think you might want more children later? Often a doula can help your husband to not see birth as a terrifying experience, but instead one that he felt empowered to succeed at, in helping his wife to give birth to their child. He may not remember the woman that helped him learn to support his wife, but he will remember that he did not feel helpless when she was giving birth. He was given a job to do and the instructions how to do it. The best doula is often the one you don't remember them talking much, their actions are smooth and subtle.

They may work tirelessly to be holding counter pressure on the laboring woman's back so the husband can look into her eyes and tell her what a wonderful job she is doing. They can run for the glass of water, pour water continuously over the belly, or do hip squeezes for hours on end. They can show them where to place your hands when a contraction comes over the laboring woman, and breathe through the crest.

A doula is someone that will be there for others, not just the laboring woman.

If you are looking for a doula in your area, there are many ways to find one. Doula Match is a good source for many areas.

In our local area, we created a website with a directory of doulas. Many areas have this as well. To view our website Flathead Valley Doulas you can view each different doulas skills and see if there is one that best fits your specific needs.

Google your area and see doulas that are available in your area. Also, check with local care providers as far as what doulas they recommend.

Checking through certification venues for doulas also, is another way to find them. CAPPA and DONA are two highly respected ones. If you do not see a doula listed in your area, give them a call as sometimes they have ones that did not finish certification, but are trained.

So, one reason I would recommend hiring a doula? I would recommend hiring a doula for a more positive birth experience, for all those involved.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Guest Post: Christy Ong- Home birth transfer story

We would love to welcome Christy to our blog today! She is going to share with us her beautiful birth story of her son Miles.

Sometimes when birth does not go exactly the way we planned, we can look back and learn from our experiences, take away the blessed moments and rejoice in them. I love how Christy shares her story and I hope you will as well!

January 18th was my official due date, though I had been telling everyone the 20th just because that was the original date I had come up with and 20ths are meaningful to us (dating and wedding anniversaries are both 20ths.) Both days came and went with nothing more than my traditional contractions that came every evening when my husband and I walked laps around our outdoor mall. They always went away after I got home and sat down.

I was very committed to waiting until baby was ready to come and tried really hard to not be impatient. At my 41wk midwife appointment I had the first twinge of really wanting to push things forward because once I hit 42wks I could no longer have a home birth by Colorado law. I trusted that God would direct the timing however and tried to quell my anxiousness. My midwife, Lisa, said that we would chat again on Friday (the 27th) and if nothing had happened we could discuss ways of starting some natural induction efforts.

I was also struggling with a horrible rash that we were assuming was PUPPPs. The itchiness was just about unbearable most nights and I would often lay awake in the dark crying and begging God for it to all be over. That rash was the absolute worst part of my pregnancy and was the biggest reason I wanted that baby OUT. I was told that it would disappear soon after birth, but in reality I continued to fight it for more than a month after my son was born.

I told myself I could make it at least until Friday. I wanted to give my baby all the time he/she needed. I knew God would give all the grace I needed to get through each moment. I did a lot of mental preparation that last week. I knew that birth was simply part of life and that God had given me everything I needed through Jesus. I repeated so many truths to myself over and over in those last weeks. I told myself that God would be near and give me strength. I told myself that pain is a necessary part of life and growth. I chose to embrace this birth as something I wanted and was choosing, not as something that was forced on me in order to get this child out of me. I told myself that I would accept and embrace the pain and choose to not take it out on anyone around me, but to let it do it’s work.

Despite all of this, I woke up Thursday morning with a feeling of urgency. Both God and my body were telling me it was time to take action. I felt that something wasn't quite right and I could no longer just wait for baby to pick the timing, but that I needed to step in and get things moving. I called my midwife and she was fully on board with following my gut and seeing what we could to do move things along, both for the baby’s sake, and because the rash was making me so miserable and exhausted. She, and the assisting midwife, Joanna, came over that afternoon to check me (first time that had been done) and strip my membranes. My midwife had actually never stripped membranes before but Joanna had and talked her through it. (Side note: I was truly struck at this point with how committed my midwife was to letting babies come on their own, and also how trusting she was of my gut feeling that something wasn't quite right, enough so to do something she had never done before.) She was very gentle and it hurt, but not too bad. Later Joanna did it again and I could tell she was much more confident. It hurt so, so much more that time! Lisa also had me start taking caster oil. That was the grossest thing I have ever put in my mouth. It is such a thick, oily stuff that I could hardly get it down without gagging and it coming right back up.

The midwives left for a while to give me some space and my mom and youngest brothers came over for a bit and walked around the yard with me. It was sweet to see how excited my mom was for her first born to have her first baby! I told Chris I would let him know when things started picking up, but he was too excited and just came home at lunch time. Mom and the boys left a bit after Chris got there. The midwives came back and checked me again, set up the birth room, and said to get some rest and call them later. Chris and I watched something on Netflix and then headed to bed about 9.

I had just put my nightgown on and was walking around the end of the bed when the first real contraction hit and stopped me in my tracks. I looked up at Chris with wide eyes. He asked, “A contraction?” and I just nodded. Once it passed I told him to call Lisa. She said to time them for a while and try to sleep if we could. I was completely exhausted from a long day of anticipation and walking and everything else (besides I was always exhausted at the end of the day at that point,) but I simply could not sleep. I don’t think it was even an hour before I asked Chris to call Lisa back and ask her to come. I’m not sure why I felt like I needed her there so soon, but I suddenly felt that she was my security blanket and I really wanted her to be there for my peace of mind.

I moved downstairs to the guestroom that was set up as our birth room. I quickly wanted nothing to do with moving around at all and spent the next few hours on my side only half conscious between contractions. Every hour or so I would have a particularly strong one that would make me vomit. I don’t know if that was a side affect of the caster oil or just the way my body responds to pain but it was icky either way. If I hadn't been so tired going into it I would have liked to try to be up and moving around but I was so very exhausted from the very beginning and slept as best I could between contractions. I never knew I could sleep for two minute snatches like that. Some time during the night Lisa said I could go ahead and get in the birthing pool and see if it helped me relax. I loved that thing and wasn't too happy when she wanted me to get back out a couple hours later so she could check me.

Breathing was my best friend during labor. The harder a contraction, the more I would relax and breathe through it. Sometimes I felt like I was hardly conscious, hardly “there” at all. Chris could not even tell when I was having contractions most of the night except when Lisa was having us time them. I had wondered frequently how I would handle the pain of labor but I found that as things got more intense I was able to completely pull into myself and focus on breathing and coping and stay totally calm. I know all my mental preparation in the weeks before really helped. I had no conscious thoughts of talking myself through things during labor (I hardly had any conscious thoughts at all) but I know the truth was there, embedded in my subconscious, and was a huge part of my ability to stay calm and relaxed.

I had terrible back labor almost from the start. I hardly even noticed my stomach contracting because the back pain was so awful. At some point in the early morning hours I remember thinking that I wasn’t sure how much longer my back could take that kind of intense cramping. I asked Lisa how much longer she thought it might be. She said it didn’t seem like things were progressing very quickly based on my pain level. She said it needed to get a lot worse before much was going to happen. I was disappointed and a little overwhelmed because I didn’t know if I could handle much worse. If I lost control I knew bad things would happen. I wondered if she just couldn’t tell how bad it really was, but I figured I probably just had no idea how bad it was really going to get. Looking back I think I just hid pain really well because I was progressing faster than we thought.

I moved back and forth between the pool and lying on my side on the bed most of the night. Chris sat in a chair near me. I probably seemed to ignore him, but I was always relieved each time I opened my eyes and saw him there. I needed his presence.

At one point Lisa came in and sent Chris upstairs to rest for a bit, saying she would sit with me. I was semi-reclining in the pool with my eyes closed most of the time. We suddenly heard a really strange noise. I opened my eyes and looked at Lisa. We were both puzzled by it. She got up and looked around the room. We wondered if it could be an alarm of some kind. It was just a steady, sort of high pitched whine. Eventually we realized that it was a hole in the side of the pool leaking air! She asked me if we had any duct tape and I was able to tell her exactly where I had last seen it. She teased me about it later. Here I was in hard labor, hardly able to speak most of the time, and describing exactly on what shelf in the laundry room the duct tape was sitting.

I lost all concept of time during most of my labor but I remember the sun finally coming up and a little bit later Lisa and Joanna checked me again. I was getting a feeling that Lisa was concerned I wasn’t progressing very fast. I felt like there was a little bit of tension in the room. Finally Lisa announced that I was about 9cm and almost completely effaced. Everyone was so relieved. I had been feeling that I was getting close but I was unsure of myself because I had never done this before. Joanna gave me a back rub and some counter pressure during contractions and I was amazed to find how much it helped. I wished I had thought to ask for that before. From then on things seemed to get moving and everyone was much more involved. I had someone press on my back with every contraction. I was relieved to find that help and thought maybe I could handle more after all.

Around 9 in the morning Joanna checked me again, said I was complete, and broke my water. Only a couple minutes later I felt the urge to push, however Lisa and Joanna came back in the room with some hard news. Lisa said that there was quite a bit of meconium in the water which could mean the baby was under stress, and also be dangerous if the baby had aspirated any of it. She said everything was probably just fine but she wanted us to transfer to the hospital just in case the baby needed extra care. I think Chris and I just stared blankly for a minute. We felt we were so close to meeting our little one, and now everything was changing. We totally trusted Lisa’s judgment and knew this was a very hard decision for her and I remember nodding in agreement because I knew she wouldn’t make us transfer unless she really felt it was necessary. At the same time I remember thinking that maybe if I just pushed that baby out right there she couldn’t make me go. I did not see how I could possibly get dressed, get in the car and go to the hospital right then. Chris brought me dry clothes and tried to help me get dressed and moved to the car. I glared at him and mostly refused to move. My contractions were right on top of each other and I was not the least bit happy about what they were making me do. I’m sure I made it difficult. I was practically dragged across the house. They did finally get me in the car on my hands and knees and Lisa sat next to me while Chris drove and Joanna followed behind. I was so thankful the hospital was only 7 minutes away. It seemed like such a long 7 minutes.

I had told myself over and over in the last weeks of pregnancy that no matter how I felt I did not need to take it out on others. I remember quietly asking Lisa to push on my back (though maybe with a tinge of desperation,) even though I felt like screaming at the world. I was honestly shocked at how well I was able to stay calm and composed. Something in me just new that the moment I gave in to the pain I would loose all control and it would be a fast down hill road. Things did seem to slow down a bit on the car ride and until I got up to the hospital room. I assume my body kinda put things on hold while everything was changing. I know labors can get stuck if there is too much distracting mom, and I really appreciated that at the moment!

We got to the hospital, found a wheel chair, and had a hard time getting passed the front desk. They wanted all my information right then and didn’t seem to understand that I was not only in labor but ready to push. Apparently they thought I was too calm. I wondered if I needed to start screaming to get the point across. Someone finally wheeled me upstairs to a room. I remember her saying “You can tell me if you have a contraction.” I didn’t say anything but I was thinking “First of all, what good would that do? And second, I’ve already had 3 while you’ve been pushing me.” Chris pulled me out of the wheelchair and helped get my pants off and I climbed onto the bed on my hands and knees. I knew right then that I was gonna push that baby out no matter what anyone said. I announced my intention and the room was suddenly a flurry of activity. It all got kinda hazy at that point. I know there were people around me, flipping me onto my back, strapping on a monitor, clipping things on my finger, etc. I remember a nurse asking where the doctor was and telling someone to find him right away – multiple times. I remember Chris behind me and leaning against him. I remember being told to push, and push harder. Pretty much the only conscious thought I can remember was about the pushing. Lisa had told me at an appointment that we would take it really slow and carefully, and I remember thinking this was NOT slow, as the nurse next to me yelled “Push! Push! Push!” I was thinking “I AM pushing!” I remember feeling Chris’ excitement and people saying they could see the head. I wished I could be excited too, but I was working too hard to have any emotion at the moment. The nurse asked me multiple times if I wanted to reach down and feel my baby's head. I half wished I could, but I was too focused on pushing to even try to divert enough brain power to do that. There was a sudden whoosh of release, and the doctor announced it was a boy, Chris cut the cord (spraying blood everywhere,) and they whisked the baby off to the other side of the room to make sure he was ok. We had only been at the hospital for about 30 minutes.

This was the worst part of the whole experience for me, because suddenly, I was alone, Chris had gone to see the baby, the doctor was pushing on my stomach and it seemed even more painful than the whole labor process. The nurse stuck some needle into my leg (something to try to get the bleeding stop) and I started to realize the doctor was a little concerned about how much blood I was loosing. I started crying a little bit then. I just wanted my husband and my baby and for all the pain and strangers to melt away.

Chris came over and said “He definitely looks like a Miles. I think we should name him Miles.” (We had two boy names that I hadn’t been able to choose between. Miles had always been Chris’ favorite.) I was so frustrated because I hadn’t even SEEN him yet. The doctor, nurses, and my husband all got to hold him before I did. I hated that. I was his mama and I had such a hard time giving up that right to be the first to hold my baby. I tried to watch him over there with the nurses, Chris standing over their shoulders, but I was too distracted by the pain from the doctor pushing on my stomach and the stitches.

Pretty soon Chris brought him over and I held him for the first time. My little Miles. My son. All 10lbs 5oz of him. And that 15″ head. Yeah. No wonder I tore.

My mom had come to the hospital when we did and was waiting outside. The doctor talked to her on his way out, and it was only from that conversation that I ever had any idea how much blood I really lost. He said he was just thankful they didn't need to do a transfusion. He told my mom that he had only ever heard one little "ouch" out of me the whole time. "They don't make women like that any more." He said. My mom was so proud. Chris asked me if she could come in a few minutes later and I was so happy to see her. It was so special to have her there after all I had just been through and know I was her baby, and then get to introduce my baby to her.

Miles was just fine, but because of all my bleeding I needed to be at the hospital and would have likely ended up as an emergency transfer if we were not already there. That kiddo was just so big. God knew. He orchestrated all the timing just as I knew He would.

We finally got home two days later and I felt that life could begin again. I really don’t like hospitals. I’m thankful it was there when I needed it, and I do not truly regret the way things happened. I know I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome with circumstances as they were.

It was an amazing time getting to know this child, who was ours. To know him, as Miles, and not just “little one” or “the baby.” He is so precious.

----- It has been 16 months now since Miles was born and I am 5 months pregnant with our second. Looking back at how everything played out I am truly thankful. It was hard for me to not get the home birth I had dreamed of, and sure, there were things that happened at the hospital that I would never have chosen (such as no delayed cord clamping, having to fight to keep my baby with me, oh and the BILLS!) but all things considered I had nothing to truly regret. Now that I look toward the birth of our second I find I am finally struggling through some of the emotions and fears I expected after coming home from the hospital. I'm afraid I'll never get my home birth. I felt so prepared last time and then everything changed out side of my control, and I have no assurances that it won't happen again. When I picture introducing Miles to his little sibling it is always in a hospital setting, because that is all I've known. I am working hard to purge that picture from my mind. My midwife assures me that there is no reason for anything to go wrong this time and that we will accomplish our beautiful birth at home. I know I just have to trust God with these emotions, and to work through them as best I can. I know that LIFE is worth every struggle and it is such a privilege to be a mama and such a integral part of bringing life into the world.

Wow, what a journey! Thank you so much for sharing with us! Please leave Christy a comment here, if this story encouraged you! Also, you may want to visit her blog.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Guest posts...What topics would you like to see?

You may have noticed a few guest blog posts the last couple of weeks! I hope you have been enjoying them like I have.

What type of blog topics would you like to see things posted on?

There are so many topics relating to pregnancy, birth, childrearing, healthy eating etc. that could fall into these categories, but we would love to cater to our readers!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Guest Post from Janelle- Natural Birth after Medicated one- My Story!

We are excited to have Janelle Troyer here to share with us about her birth experiences as well as having a natural birth after a medicated one. Welcome to the blog, Janelle!

I’m the proud mommy to 6 wonderful blessings ranging in age from 11 to 8 months old. When I started having children, I never thought I’d have 3 children, let alone 6. We had the very typical mind-set of “We’ll have 2, 3 if the first 2 are the same gender…maybe”. My view toward child birth was also very typical. With my first, I watched A Baby Story and Birth Day on Discovery Health and learned all I could about this very “medical” process of child birth. I learned all about the interventions that are very common in a hospital birth (which, of course, I was having—who gives birth in any other way?). As my due date got closer, I wrote up my birth plan. I knew I wanted my baby to nurse as soon as possible. I didn’t want her to have any pacifiers, lest she get “nipple confusion”, and I had decided that an epidural sounded like a very good option. I’d tough it out as long as I could and when I couldn’t stand it any longer (but no sooner than 6cm!), I’d get an epidural. That’s what I learned on the shows and it sounded good to me.

I ended up going 10 days overdue (which was WAY more than enough for me) and was thrilled when they decided to admit me and induce my labor. I was so excited to meet my baby girl, and so tired of being pregnant that I just wanted to get the show on the road. I had no idea what to expect. It was painful! I knew it’d be painful, so that wasn’t surprising…but when they finally checked me and said that I was at a 6, I was THRILLED to see the anesthesiologist and get my epidural. Everything went as it was supposed, I progressed quickly and gave birth with no pain and no real sensation. So that is how it’s done. Not too shabby, eh?

When I gave birth to baby #2, I went for an induction again. This time it was for a different reason. With my first, my husband was deployed and was halfway across the world when our daughter was born. It was very difficult and I was not risking him missing the birth of our second baby…so I was induced 2 days before my due date. With this one, I had heard about something called an intrathecal. It’s similar to an epidural in that it goes in your back, but it’s a one time shot and lasts for a shorter period of time. I thought it sounded like a good option—my cousin had one and she raved about it. Well then, if it was good for her, it was good for me! I again toughed it out as long as I could, got the intrathecal at around 5-6cm and was shocked when it wore off in 45 minutes!! They came in to give me another shot, but before they could do it, I had to push. A couple of pushes later, my second beautiful daughter came into the world. This time I was able to experience the thrill of the urge to push. I felt her being born and honestly, it was a high like no other! I realized what I had missed in having an epidural with NO sensation with my first. “If” I ever had another baby, I thought that maybe I could be one of those crazy ladies who chooses to deliver without ANY meds. What a revolutionary idea!

Praise the Lord, we decided to try for a boy. The Lord blessed us with what we desired with a precious baby boy for baby #3. This was the first baby I really, really wanted to give birth to without medication. I thought I could do it, but when the Pitocin kicked in (yes, I was induced again), my uterus was hyper-stimulated and I could NOT endure the constant, long contractions. I have a fairly high pain threshold, but I could not open my eyes I was in so much pain. I was BEGGING for an epidural. They told me they needed to get a bolus going and once the fluids were in, I could have my epidural. I remember saying, “Give me the bag of fluid, I’ll DRINK it!” I needed that epidural. As soon as the epidural was inserted, my face started getting tingly. I told the anesthesiologist that and his response was, “Hmmm, interesting”. Not something you really want to hear. The nurses were all quiet and watching my monitors. My blood pressure dropped to 90/30. They turned me to my left side and I started praying. I was so upset. I kept thinking, “Because I wimped out and went for the epidural, now I’m going to die!!!’ I had to give myself a mental kick in the pants and remind myself that I was giving BIRTH here…LIFE was going on, not death. Within a short period of time, my blood pressure came back up and I was ready to push. Praise the Lord, from that point forward, everything went fine and my darling little boy was in my arms, as perfect as can be.

#4 was another induction—are you seeing a theme here? I hadn’t yet caught onto the whole idea of waiting for the Lord’s timing. I’d get so impatient at the end of a pregnancy, there was always a good reason to “get the show on the road”. This was no exception. We were moving…we needed to have this baby and move, so when induction was mentioned, I jumped on the idea. I really didn’t want an epidural this time. I actually asked for an intrathecal due to what had happened with my previous epidural, but I was told that an epidural is a much better option, they could give me less medication, they’d monitor my blood pressure and so on and so forth. Unfortunately, I had another bad experience. The placement was all wrong. One leg was completely dead while I still felt the other as well as all of the contractions. At one point my leg was lifted and let go of and nearly fell off of my bed (that sure would have been very painful to my poor, overstretched hips) because I was so numb I could do NOTHING to stop it. Thankfully someone was there and caught it. It was horrible. It took at least 6 hours after delivery before I could walk again.

With #5 I was NOT going to have an epidural. But I was induced again at 10 days overdue. I was feeling extreme pressure and like I was sure I was in transition, but when the nurse came in and checked me and told me I was only at a 5, I gave up. “There is no way I can do this if I’m only at a 5”. The anesthesiologist was called. She was wonderful. She assured me everything was going to be just fine. She inserted the epidural with me lying in the fetal position—let me just say, any anesthesiologist who does it in any other way than this during labor is just mean. This was the ONLY time I’ve had it done in this manner, and it was so much better than the “bend over and arch your back and hold very still” method. While she was inserting it, I kept saying, “I need to push, I need to push”. As soon as she was done, the nurse called the doctor who was 20 minutes away to come in. That wasn’t going to work…when I said I needed to push, I NEEDED to push. They grabbed the nearest doctor out of the hallway and my baby girl was delivered!!! The epidural was removed immediately and I was so glad that I got to experience the intensity of the urge to push again and so happy that the epidural didn’t seem to have any ill effect. I knew that I should have trusted my instincts that although I was told I was only at a 5, delivery was imminent. Apparently I’m not one of those women who is in tune with my body…I had believed what the nurse had said and had caved to the thought that I was not strong enough to endure. I had been told, “Just when you think you can’t do it another minute, that’s when you know it’s almost over” and I ignored that wisdom.

Thankfully, God in His wonderful love and mercy decided to bless us with another child…and give me another chance to trust Him and the natural birth process He had created. This time I decided that no one was getting Pitocin anywhere near me. A friend of mine who had also been induced with all of her babies had recently given birth at home (on accident!) and assured me that it childbirth without Pitocin is a horse of a different color. Boy was she right! God was also merciful to me in that I only went 3 days overdue with this baby. I didn’t even know that I was in labor. I was having contractions whenever I’d stand or walk, but as long as I sat, nothing happened. I called my parents and told my husband that I thought we should go to the hospital, just to have them check me. He didn’t think it was anything, but decided to humor me. While I waited for my husband to put our son to bed and waited for my friend to arrive to watch my children, I went for a walk around the block with my son. I had to stop every 1-2 minutes. WHEW! I still didn’t think it was full blown labor though. It took us quite a while to get home and when I sat down, the contractions stopped. Just what I thought…just a false alarm. Oh well, we were going to the hospital regardless—can you believe I even told my parents that since they were coming down, I’d go ahead and be induced if it was nothing?!??! Hadn’t I learned my lesson?? Thankfully God is good—always! I had not a one contraction on the way to the hospital. As soon as I got out of the car, I had a big one. I had them every 1-2 minutes on the walk to labor and delivery. They hemmed and hawed about whether to put me in a room or to keep me in triage. Thankfully they decided on a room. They did not think I was in labor—at all. They checked me and said I was at 4cm. They told me to walk for 1 hour and they’d check me again. I walked and I stopped, walked and breathed. The contractions were coming steady and strong, but still very bearable. After the hour they checked me and told me I was at a 6—so definitely active labor!! I could not believe it. It was NOTHING like the induced labors I had experienced in the past. I had never made it to 6 without begging for mercy!! They had me get into bed so that they could start my IV and I had a quick bite to eat. I had one very strong contraction that kind of surprised me, but in general they were painful, but nothing like I’d experienced in the past. I labored for a short time while we waited for my doctor to arrive to break my water. The contractions continued, but were still bearable. Definitely nothing I’d want to have pain relief for. When my doctor arrived and checked me, he informed me that I was at an 8. WHAT?!?! 8cm with relatively little pain? Was this even possible? He broke my water and said, “Call me when you need me!” This is the same doctor who missed my previous delivery, so I joked with him not to go too far. The contractions came fast and strong. It was hurting. It was hurting pretty bad…it was hurting pretty bad, but OH THE PRESSURE. THE PRESSURE. Oh my, I needed to push….NOW. With no medication masking the natural process, it was so clear what my body was doing. I was so in tune to my body. Someone ran for the doctor and even though he was only at the nurses station, he barely made it in time to catch my beautiful baby boy in his arms. It was the most wonderful experience I had. My body knew exactly what to do…it sent all the signals I needed because I had not interfered with the process. It was perfect. This was also the only birth were I did not tear. I was up and out of bed within a very short period of time because I didn’t have any medication to recover from. I felt FANASTIC! I even realized that I was still wearing my street clothes because everything had happened so fast, I hadn’t even had a chance to change.

It took me 6 children to realize the innate strength and wisdom the Lord has put into our bodies. While I don’t think there is anything inherently “wrong” with pain relief in child birth, I realized that it had inhibited me from being fully aware and present in the process and I missed out on so much. The Lord has blessed us with another pregnancy and if I get the honor of giving birth yet another time, I now know the difference between a birth with medical intervention and one where my body does what it has been created to do naturally. And knowing what I know now, I’d never choose any other way.

Wow, those are quite the stories, Janelle! Thank you so much for sharing those with us! We really appreciate it!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Guest Post- Learning curve- 4 things to remember when breastfeeding after a c-section

Guest Blog post from Anne-Marie from the UK

Please welcome Anne-Marie, whom is visiting our blog today and sharing her story of having a c-section, after vaginal births. She has some good tips for us on recovery after a c-section as well as breastfeeding, which can sometimes be harder after a c-section than a vaginal birth. Thank you for sharing with us, Anne-Marie!

Anne Marie's story: To start, it's probably best to say that I'm British, living in the UK and I have had all five of our children in British hospitals or midwife-led units. Over here, if you are considered low risk in pregnancy, you usually have the choice to either deliver at home, in a midwife unit or in hospital. Pain relief is discussed during prenatal classes and included in your birth plan. At midwife units, you are only able to use entonox, a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide that gives a mild analgesic effect at the height of contractions, or in some units pethidine injections. Epidurals are only available at consultant led units and then are fairly uncommon.

Sorry that was so long winded, but it sets the scene for how our deliveries took place. Our first and fourth babies we delivered at a midwife led unit, spontaneous onset of labour and I laboured using breathing techniques and during transition entonox to take the edge off of the pain of pushing, however to be honest, once I really concentrated I was able to deal with the pains and each baby was derived after about an hour and a half of pushing. Baby one delivered back to back and baby four with hands at the side of his face. So not your traditional presentation, but manageable with natural methods, it can be done :)

Babies two and three had fairly straight forward deliveries, however I went overdue by 15 days and 10 days respectively, so I was asked to consider induction. Thankfully each time, the midwives were able to break my waters in order to establish labour. Both babies were delivered after about 14 hours, without pain relief. Due to the term of my pregnancies, I had to deliver at a consultant led unit.

Baby five was a different matter, after my waters breaking, I laboured for about 48 hours with some progress, but everything then stopped. The consultant wanted me to have an epidural to accompany the syntocinon (The UK name for Pitocin) as they were concerned the contractions would be too strong to cope with. When the epidural was in place however, labour recommenced and I dilated to 8cm. The drip was then started after 8 hours, within 10 minutes baby's heartbeat become raised and the consultant decided that I would need an immediate c-section.

From the decision being made, it took just 20 minutes for baby to be delivered. She was perfectly healthy, her cord was approximately 20cm in length and was therefore unable to descend into the birth canal, my placenta had begun to abrupt so praise God for the consultant's quick decision to section me.

Having only had natural deliveries, the recovery time after baby 5 , has been much longer. She took longer to take to nursing then my other babies and I needed to learn to hand express, feed her from my finger tips to encourage her to learn how to latch onto my breast, after a couple of days struggle, she began nursing like a pro and is still exclusively breastfed at 5 months old. It can be done :)

Some tips for breastfeeding after a c-section....

-Use a lanolin based cream to prepare your nipples from about 38 weeks, then after every feed when baby has been born, this helped avoid cracked nipples

- Tummy to Mummy, nose to nipple, helped to ensure better position

-Big mouth, fishy lips was mine and my husband's joke, to get baby to latch better, meaning baby had to open his/her mouth wide and his/her lips should look a bit like a fishes when attached to the breast!

- I asked a midwife to demonstrate how to hand express for baby 5, as I'd never had success with this before, actual showing me really helped and reassured me that I'd got colostrum there for her. Ask for help if you don't know how to do this! It can really boost your confidence.

For recovery after c-section, I would do things a lot differently if I had another! I came out of hospital after 24 hours, wanting to be home with my family, however if I'd have stayed in a little longer I may well have rested more. Again I was used to natural delivery, where I have a 3 hour discharge and 24 hours felt like forever! I got a scar infection, not sure but I think this was probably because I tried to do too much too quickly. I would definately rest more if I had another section and not try to be supermum!

I don't know what protocol is after sections in the US but here I had to get up, remove the dressing and take a shower after 12 hours, personally getting the scar wet seems to make it more uncomfortable, just my opinion though. I'd take my full dose of pain relief after delivery, as I again tried to cut them out asap, we didn't really get any advice about this, but I was concerned about becoming reliant on them! taking arnica tablets from 38 weeks and for 2 weeks postnatally has always helped my body recover, so I did that after my section too, not sure how much it helped but it certainly didn't hinder.- Anne Marie

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Anne-Marie! I hope that it gives mother's some encouragement that even when birth does not go quite the way you planned, it does not have to prevent you from breastfeeding with following a few tips that can help.

Be sure to ask for the support, even if you did not need it in previous births or pregnancies. Remember that everyone is different.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Parenting is not for the faint of heart...

I think sometimes we get through labor, delivery, beginning breastfeeding and suddenly we find we are the focus of many, many questions.

"What are you going to do for diapers? Everyone knows cloth is best!" "Are you crazy? You are using cloth diapers? That is so much work!"

"When are you going to feed your baby solids?" "I fed my baby solids at 3 months and he slept all night and he is fine."

"You mean you are never going to give your baby a bottle?" "You are using a bottle? Don't you know that will rot his teeth?"

The list goes on and on. You are faced from questions from anyone. It is not only well meaning family and friends, it is the man that delivers your water to the postmaster behind the counter. You have to defend your ideas to the pediatrician and explain why you want to do things a wee bit differently.

So, if you are not tired of hearing are a few that I have learned over the years.

1. You are probably not going to convince a doctor, that has gone to many, many years of schooling, that your way is the right way. When they ask you about something, if you don't really know why you don't want to do it, if you want to do or just don't feel like it at the moment...thank them. Ask for more info and tell them you will let them know. Always, always be polite. They went to much more school to be a doctor, and it can be insulting if you act like you, someone from the internet or the lady from your mom's group knows more than him.

2. Do your own research. If you have questions, ask professionals. Don't assume that grandma must know that rice cereal is best for babies, since she raised 12 of her own babies. Check out articles on why they are thinking it might be wise to avoid it now. Why ditch the Infant cereals?

3. Don't just ignore people across the board, but also, don't listen to what everyone says. Use wisdom. There are a lot of parenting techniques that are really bad. Just because someone raised their child a certain way and they turned out "okay" (Whatever that means anyhow..), does not make it a good parenting practice. Thank them for their advise and think about it for your own child. See if it works with your parenting style and your child.

4. If you do need to go against the curve, educate yourself so throughly that they will know that you really are not just haphazardly throwing out ideas. You are thinking, looking into all aspects of the issue and made a decision. This is especially important if it is one that is not readily accepted.

5. Reserve the right to change your mind. Remember what worked for one child, may not be what is needed for another.

6. If all else fails, look up a good friend and commiserate about your parenting failures and triumphs over chocolate. Everything looks better tomorrow, no matter how bad the day is today!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Nurses intend to support women- 97 nurses polled

in labor continuously. Support for women In this study 97 nurses were used in this study.

I found the study interesting as I truly believe nurses intend to provide constant labor support for women, but often are unable to for many reasons!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Christian Mama's guide to having a baby by Erin MacPherson

The Christian Mama's Guide to having a baby

By Erin MacPherson

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

Book Description: Everything you need to know about pregnancy—from weight gain to stretch marks to figuring out how to rely on Christ through the ups and downs of the next nine months. This comprehensive guide is packed with information that every newly pregnant Christian mama needs—including: help for pregnancy insomnia, morning sickness, weight gain and more advice on how to maintain a godly attitude and outlook during pregnancy—even when you're feeling anything but godly what to expect from doctor check-ups, your encounters with the scale and labor and delivery tips on how to survive food cravings, aversions, and even dreaded pregnancy exercise healthy eating advice for pregnancy that doesn't outright ban ice cream sundaes ideas on how to keep your marriage a priority when you're pregnant, including a guide for Christian dads-to-be and even pregnancy sex tips This detailed guide takes you through each trimester with helpful tips, humorous accounts, and supportive spiritual advice--all with a girlfriend-to-girlfriend approach that will help moms feel comfortable as they navigate this life-changing time.

My Review: Do you ever read pregnancy books and wish that they were more down to earth or on your level? When I picked up this book, I found myself laughing through it. This is not a medical birth book, but more a guide from people who have been there.....there is sections for your husband, by the husbands as well as covering all sorts of other topics. I loved the fact that she covered midwives and birth centers along with hospitals and gave you several different options for birth. I was vaguely disappointed she did not mention anything about doulas...I know the education is lacking on doulas and would love to see more pregnancy books talking about them. Over all, this book was a fun, happy way of looking at pregnancy and the discomforts of it. In it's fun happy way of writing, it has a down to earth feeling though as well. It is not terribly deep, but it is one I highly recommend for a pregnant mom to read and enjoy. You will find yourself as I did, curled up and giggling through it. I received this book for review from BookSneeze. The opinions given are my own. I review for BookSneeze®