Sunday, October 30, 2011

In Which an Unwanted Guest Returns (25w5d)

I'll check in for real (as in, a life update) sometime soon, but in the meantime....

Remember that whole "I'm off Zofran!" thing? Well, it was extremely short-lasting - 24 hours, to be precise. I've been back on the stuff ever since, and have actually had to increase the dosage - back to 8 mg Zofran and two Diclectin per day. And unfortunately, I've gone from "I'm feeling okay most of the time!" to "I'm feeling blech!" for about half of the day.

Not that that's anything to complain about. Because it's not! I have much to be grateful for. After all, HG has been avoided this pregnancy, and I'm pretty much completely functional - I'm eating, cooking, teaching, going places, doing a wee bit of housework - nothing to complain about.

So I'll keep my whining to a strict minimum, I promise!

But it is odd. I have never experienced the third-trimester NVP-return before, so it is odd that it seems to be occurring during my by-FAR easiest pregnancy ever. I don't really know what to expect (is it going to get worse? will it last till the end?) or what to do about it (besides the meds). Hopefully it will go away, because I was starting to finally enjoy this pregnancy!!

More later, right now it is NAP TIME, hurray!!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Birth Plan Rough Drafts: Home and Hospital and Transport, Oh My!

I've been working on these for ages - here they are, for your consideration and amusement!! Rough drafts only, hopefully to be finished up in the next 10 weeks or so so that they can be printed and ready to go.

A few notes (and I'll add more notes throughout the document):

- I have tried to utilize Rixa's "Just Do It!" principle, which I absolutely love. A quote from that:
"What if we simply stopped asking permission? What if we simply did what we wanted to? What if the mantra of laboring women became "don't ask, just do"?

"Don't ask if you can eat or drink. Just do it. Don't ask if you can get out of bed or walk around or go to the bathroom. Don't ask if you can change positions or give birth kneeling or squatting. Just do it.

"Do it with confidence. Do it with an "I know what I'm doing, and please don't mess with me!" attitude.

"Just do it."
 With that in mind, I have tried to eliminate everything from my birth plans that does not need the cooperation of hospital staff (this isn't an issue with homebirth). For example, I haven't written "I'll be eating and drinking" or "I'll be laboring in different positions" - in those cases, I would just do it. Good thing to remember! (Also cuts down on verbage.)

You will notice that I have a hospital birth plan in here as well as a transport plan - this is just for my own amusement (I love writing birth plans!), as we are not planning a hospital birth. A hospital birth plan is considerably different from a transport plan - for example, a hospital birth plan might say "no pain meds, no IV, etc. etc. etc.," but in case of a transport, we probably need whatever is being offered!

You will also notice that the homebirth plan is considerably different from a hospital or transport plan, and this is because (thank goodness!) I don't have to fight my homebirth midwives on the subject of unwanted interventions like restricted mobility, restricted food/liquid intake, routine IV insertion, continuous fetal monitoring, etc. etc. etc. Good stuff.

I have also tried not to mention anything that isn't vitally important to me. For example, you will see repeated mentions of delayed cord clamping - because that is extremely, extremely important to me. An absolute must. But birthing positions, on the other hand, are not important to me - and thus I have not mentioned them. It's not that I don't know that certain positions are better than others, but for me, by the time I get to pushing, I don't care what position I'm in simply because I loathe pushing so much (please remember that most women love the pushing phase!). So for me, I don't care if I'm squatting, lying down, whatever - so I didn't write about that.

I have also tried to (1) keep each plan brief (each is under one typed page), and (2) keep each plan friendly rather than combative/confrontational - both good things to do when interfacing with hospital staff.

I'd love some input here! Have I missed anything? Comments welcome!!


Homebirth Birth Plan

- Please take lots and lots of pictures and videos! Of anything and everything, both graphic and modest.

- I prefer to avoid cervical checks. In case it’s really necessary, please do not tell me my dilation unless it’s really necessary or it’s super-encouraging (i.e. complete!).
 - I really don't know how women can stand knowing their dilation - to me, anything other than "ten!" is incredibly discouraging. I learned that with my first birth, and now it's a must.
- I need lots of verbal support, coaching, and encouragement – please! And don’t be surprised that I’m really wimpy and extremely loud.

- For afterpains: Placenta smoothie as soon as the placenta is available – yogurt and OJ in fridge, mixed berries and bananas in freezer, blender on counter. Thank you!!! Also, I’d like to take four Advil and some Arnica as soon as baby is out.
- With both my babes, extreme afterpains have prevented both immediate bonding and immediate breastfeeding. After I learned how much placenta medicine helped, I determined to make that an immediate priority. I'd like someday to be able to enjoy the immediate postpartum!

- Birth team – Snacks in fridge! Remember not to park on the street if it is Wednesday or Friday (use driveway or center section).

- J. would love to catch and also cut the cord (delayed!).

- C. (our son) may or may not want to be present for the birth (undecided).

- In case of hospital transport:
          o Someone grab the hospital bag, camera, and video camera
          o Nab the placenta pronto! Don’t let it get away! Very important!
          o Please do everything possible to advocate for delayed cord clamping, regardless of how the birth ends up (even with c/s).
          o I would love still to practice placenta medicine as soon as is humanly possible.


Hospital Transport Birth Preferences

- Parents: Diana J. & Joe J.

- To our hospital caregivers: Thank you for taking care of us!

- Our midwife is Stephanie ------ of --------- Birth Services (XXX-XXX-XXXX). Our doula is ------- (XXX-XXX-XXXX). We ask that one or both of them be able to stay with us at all times.

- I love verbal encouragement, the more the better.

- I tend to be rather loud during labor. Please just ignore me, I’ll be fine.

- I prefer to avoid cervical checks. In case it’s really necessary, please do not tell me my dilation unless it’s really necessary or it’s super-encouraging (i.e. complete!)

- Please do not clamp/cut the umbilical cord until it is completely finished pulsing, preferably until the placenta is out. We would love it if any neonatal resuscitation could be done near Diana so that the cord can remain intact. In case of cesarean, please still leave the cord to pulse as long as is possible. Joe would love to cut the cord.

- I would like an unmanaged 3rd stage and to deliver the placenta without assistance. Please, no Pitocin outside of emergency circumstances.
 - A lot of hospitals practice routine pitocin administration during 3rd stage, even during uncomplicated births. I would like to avoid that.

- We will take our placenta home with us.

- In case of cesarean birth: We would love still to have delayed cord clamping (as much as possible) during a cesarean birth.

- For Baby: Please, no Hep B shot, eye ointment, newborn screen (we will do this in a few days), or vitamin K (except in case of a physically traumatic birth). We will be breastfeeding. We would love uninterrupted mother-baby time immediately following the birth, baby’s health allowing. Please make sure in case of mother-baby separation that Joe stays with the baby.

- Thank you for your kindness, support, and care!


Hospital Birth Preferences

- Parents: Diana J. & Joe J.

- To our hospital caregivers: Thank you for taking care of us!

- No IV or heplock.
- This is an absolute must, no discussion allowed. And if someone did stick me with an IV, I would immediately rip it out. It is that important. Period.

- I love verbal encouragement, the more the better.

- Please don’t offer me drugs. I would love a third unmedicated birth, but I am a wimp around pain and don’t need the temptation.

- I tend to be rather loud during labor. Please just ignore me, I’ll be fine.

- I choose to decline routine cervical checks. If a check is medically necessary, please do not tell me my dilation unless it’s really necessary or it’s super-encouraging (i.e. complete!).

- Please do not clamp/cut the umbilical cord until it is completely finished pulsing, preferably until the placenta is out. We would love it if any neonatal resuscitation could be done near Diana so that the cord can remain intact. In case of cesarean, please still leave the cord to pulse as long as is possible. Joe would like to cut the cord.

- I would like an unmanaged 3rd stage and to deliver the placenta without assistance. Please, no Pitocin outside of emergency circumstances.

- We will take our placenta home with us.

- In case of cesarean birth: We would love still to have delayed cord clamping (as much as possible) during a cesarean birth.

- For Baby: Please, no Hep B shot, eye ointment, newborn screen (we will do this in a few days), or vitamin K (except in case of a physically traumatic birth). We will be breastfeeding. We would love uninterrupted mother-baby time immediately following the birth, baby’s health allowing. Please make sure in case of mother-baby separation that Joe stays with the baby.

- Thank you for your kindness, support, and care!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday (24w3d)

Reposted from my personal blog!


Hi, everyone! Sorry it has been so incredibly long since I checked in! Last week we had an impromptu visit from my parents, and life has just been incredibly busy around here with homeschooling and trying to reconstruct my life post-NVP (the usual!).

Speaking of NVP, today is (can you guess????)...... drum roll, please..... my first day without Zofran!!!! Yes!!! Really!!! (*Insert wild party dance here*) My nausea levels have been dropping even more drastically these past few weeks, allowing me to drop a medication dose every couple of days. So far today I have had only one Diclectin (Unisom), and if all goes well I'll be cutting that out soon too. Can you believe it?? Last time I was on Zofran till the early-thirty-something weeks; this time it has been so much sooner. I am so grateful!

Homeschooling is going pretty well.... considering the moderate dose of schooling that we're starting with, there aren't any huge difficulties to overcome (we're done each day in under an hour) - the true challenges will probably start next year - or rather, when our new babe arrives and I'm trying to homeschool a kindergartener with two babies underfoot. I think life is going to get pretty hairy after this new little one arrives!

Speaking of arrivals, the birth of this babe is looking a lot closer from this side of twenty weeks! Yikes!! Not only is the thought of birth intimidating (it always is!), but I have so much to do before then! Getting through the holidays, organizing my birth supplies, decluttering the house... more than I can ever possibly accomplish. But I'll do my best.

Speaking of decluttering, I have arisen out of the mists of NVP to find - as usual - that our house was trashed in the process. It gets worse with each child, I'm afraid! But unfortunately, my decluttering time also decreases with each child. So right now I'm using a method that works well for me - printing off a blank calendar and just trying to write in one small decluttering project that I've done each day, regardless of how small (usually it's just cleaning out one drawer, or some such thing). I'm also using the "Throw Out 100 Things" challenge - writing down things as I toss them in order to find further motivation.

Other family news:

Last week we had our first majorly-bleeding-child episode as parents. No one saw what happened, but it was something along the lines of run-slip-fall-crack in the kitchen, with the end result that our eldest ended up with a nice gash on his head that bled copiously - everywhere! When the blood was cleared up and staunched, it turned out to be only about an inch long, but my goodness - how it bled! Add into that mix a thoroughly hysterical child, and you'll get an idea of the fun we had. Thankfully my dad was around - he has absolutely no nerves (the end result of having grown up as a mortician's son and being trained in the business) and was able to take command of the situation beautifully. We didn't end up having to go into the hospital, and all is well.

Also last week, in the next episode of "the lost and found cat" - said cat is now, once again, lost. She managed to slip out of a cracked door, and despite an hour long hunt by DH, has once again vanished into the mist. We have no idea when or if we'll see her again.

I have mixed feelings on the subject. On the one hand, she is a great cat and I don't want her going hungry out there. On the other hand, I definitely was not thrilled to have another cat, especially as it is so difficult navigating between warring cats (our other cat is a bully) - should she come back, I will be actively searching for a new home for her. For now, we wait.

Big news of today - I finally got our little dude to voluntarily take some solid food, and without (too much) gagging!! It was thinly sliced quartered banana, and I got him to take it with each meal - by dinner time, he was eager for it! This is major, major, major improvement and progress, and super-exciting. I'm thinking of other things I can try - pear? watermelon? Anything to finally move forward!

We saw our midwife two weeks ago, and all is well with baby - perfect measurements, all looking well. I really enjoy talking with her and getting to know her better, and we're having a lot of fun.

Well, I'd probably be getting on with chores for the evening! I hope everyone is well, and I'll try to check in again soon!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Placenta Medicine Awesomeness

Have I ever omitted to post anything and everything that I find on placenta medicine? No, I have not!

Why not?

Because placenta medicine is so amazingly awesome - I want the world to know about it! Once one gets over the "eww yuck" factor, there are so many wonderful benefits from this practice.

And so, without further ado.....

An article by one of my wonderful doulas, Nikki:

The Placenta Lady

And, if you can believe it, this article was posted on the blogs of one of our local OB practices. Is that not amazing, wonderful, superb? Hurray for Boojum Obstetrics!

Nikki says:

"My own personal experience was enough to convince me that placental medicine works. I had my daughter at a time in my life when emotions were high. My mother in law died unexpectedly 2 weeks before my due date. She and my father in law were supposed to visit our new daughter and us shortly after her due date. Obviously, that didn’t happen. My father in law and sister in law came instead and I spent a good part of my recovery from a difficult vaginal birth entertaining heartbroken relatives while trying to grieve myself. Amazingly, even through all of that, I experienced only 1 weepy day. Previously, postpartum, for me, meant 2-3 weeks of crying non-stop until I ended up using medications. I was so surprised and encouraged that it worked!"

Good stuff!

And another short article on the same subject:

Placentophagia: Benefits of Eating the Placenta

From that article:

"In Western cultures, eating the placenta is often viewed as barbaric, but thanks to new information about the surprising benefits, there has been a recent push among young mothers to eat the placenta after giving birth. While many Western doctors discourage placentophagia with the claim that it carries no inherent benefits, studies have shown that eating the placenta can curb postpartum depression, replenish nutrients, increase milk production, and slow postpartum hemmorrhage." (emphasis mine)

And on the "risks" associated with placentophagia:

"Many doctors, especially in Western culture, have expressed some concern that eating the placenta may spread disease such as HIV, hepatitis, and other blood-borne illness. However, placentophagia is traditionally practiced only by the mother and not by other parties, so there is no risk of spreading disease. If she has a disease, she cannot reinfect herself, and if she is not currently ill, she cannot become ill from eating her own placenta."

So, to summarize: Placenta medicine has no risks and a plethora of benefits - it is something that needs to make it out there to the general public! I simply could not believe the difference that placenta medicine made for me after my second birth - it was night and day difference after I started to use it, and I will never voluntarily omit it from my postpartum regimen!

If you haven't looked into this yet, please do!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Reaching that Magical Week

This week we reach 24 WEEKS - a very, very exciting time - namely, in American terms, the week of fetal viability!

One midwife I know calls the 24th week the "magical week of fetal viability." In very approximate terms, the babe who is born at 24w0d has a 10% chance of survival, and of those who survive, only 10% will survive without longterm problems. But the babe who is born at 24w6d will have an 80% chance of survival, and of those who survive, 80% will survive without longterm problems. What an enormous difference a week brings! A magical week indeed - and today we start our journey through that week.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Quote on Miscarriage

Today, as I flipped through my Vision Forum catalog, I came across the following quote regarding miscarriage, taken from the CD "The Biblical Theology of Miscarriage: How to Have Hope in Tragedy":

"What if miscarriage was God's means of showing mercy and love on a human soul, and if He chose you to be the honored vehicle to usher that child into eternity? Miscarriage is for a moment, a soul is forever."

- Doug Phillips

Something about that really struck home with me - I loved it. I believe that human life begins at conception and is fully human, unique, sacred and precious from that moment. Unborn babies who are lost to miscarriage, early or late, are just as human - and as special and precious - as the babes whom we eventually get to hold in our arms. I love to remember that, especially as modern attitudes toward miscarriage tend more towards "It wasn't really a baby yet anyway" or "It's better this way, you wouldn't want an unhealthy child, right?" etc. etc. etc. The above quote is a really interesting perspective, and I'd love to hear more.

Hopefully I'll get to hear the whole CD sometime!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Article List on Delayed Cord Clamping

A few weeks ago, at the request of a friend, I put together a short list of internet articles on the subject of delayed umbilical cord clamping - one of my huge, overwhelming passions that I am enthusiastically committed to championing (as my Facebook acquaintances know only too well). Women out there, if you do not know the risks of immediate cord clamping (still the usual in-hospital practice), then please - do your research and find a practitioner who will support physiologic cord clamping for your baby (this is when the cord is not clamped until the placenta has delivered the full volume of the baby's blood back to the baby, rather than clamping the cord immediately and depriving the baby of a vast amount of blood that it would otherwise receive.)

To start, here is probably one of the best visual aids on the subject, posted two days ago by my midwife. Check it out, and you will see the "why" of delayed cord clamping - an awesome picture record of the process of natural cord clamping!

Magic Umbilical Cords

A couple more articles I have recently found:

Another Reason to Delay Cord Clamping

Could Early Cord Clamping Harm Neonatal Stabilization?

Giving You Newborn the Best Start: Delayed Cord Clamping

OMG, You Did Not Just Cut Off a Third of My Baby's Blood Supply! 

Also, from my midwife - check out #4 on cord clamping (the other points are great too!):


And now the letter that I sent to my friend, with accompanying links:


Hi, M.!

Three Facebook groups for delayed cord clamping (the first two are the most active):

Delayed Cord Clamping

Cord Clamping
(Accompanying website:

Save the Shoelaces

Best article on the subject of delayed cord clamping:

Delayed Cord Clamping Should Be Standard Practice in Obstetrics/

And here is the same OB/GYN giving a talk on the same:

Delayed Cord Clamping Grand Rounds

Another top article by an L&D Nurse (this is a great blog):

The Deal With Delayed Cord Cutting or Hey Doctor Leave That Cord Alone

A news summary of a recent article in the British Medical Journal:

Don't Clamp Umbilical Cords Straight After Birth, Urges Expert

And a couple more:

Wait to Cut Umbilical Cord, Study Says

Do We Cut the Umbilical Cord Too Soon?

"Delayed" Cord Clamping and Stem Cells - When to Cut the Cord?

Also, if you google "benefits delayed cord clamping," you will come up with a TON of articles!!

Best wishes to J. and her little one!!! :)



Ladies out there - got any more that I should have listed?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Awesome Article for National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day

This article on miscarriage and pregnancy loss was written by a good friend of mine, who has lost five babies through miscarriage, and I just loved it! Check it out here.

Here's a snippet from the article itself:

"1 in 4 lose a child, and yet the American dialogue remains largely silent on the subject. I think that's one of the reasons that it's rather hard to cope with. I can't speak to losing a child I've carried to term, but at least in the case of miscarriage, there are no pictures. There are few to no pleasant memories. In early miscarriage, there's not even visible physical evidence of your child's existence. There are no funerals. There's just a void in your heart for the baby you loved the moment you knew of her existence. A void that only that child can fill. Though Matthew fills up my whole heart, there are still simultaneously 5 baby-shaped, whole-heart sized holes that are reserved for his siblings.

"But the world keeps going. It's maddening. You want everything to stop so that you can process what just happened, but the rest of the world keeps going, without even knowing your child existed. I remember the night of my first miscarriage, we'd been in the hospital all day and I'd lost a ton of blood. I left weak and hungry, so we went to a restaurant. They asked us if it was "just the two of us" and I nearly lost my head with the realization that the answer was "yes" even though hours before, it had been "no." Miscarriage grief can be a very lonely, silent kind of pain. Most of the world answers it with, "Goodness, get over it already. It's not like it was a REAL baby," as though your child was not yet old or big enough to have caused you pain to lose. Or, "you can have another baby," as if a new baby could take that baby's place. Or "Maybe there was something wrong with that baby, so thank God He took the baby early." Or the ever-generic, "these things happen for a reason." Especially among people who claim to be pro-life, it blows my mind to hear them. Or, people just say nothing. No matter how early in their life they are born to heaven, he or she is still a real baby who has died. Empty arms and an empty cradle await the parents who were so anxious to meet their little one."

Great stuff. Read and pass along!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Beautiful Birth Story in Pictures

Just had to check in really quickly to post a link to this birth story that my midwife posted on her birth blog - it is lovely, and is also really great birth photography - very clear pics of a waterbirth! These should be used to teach classes!! Someone needs to pic up on these for use in midwifery/med schools! Congrats to this family as they welcome their new little one.

Quick update on me: I am not dead, regardless of the evidence otherwise, and am starting to feel much better as the NVP gradually leaves. The next time I blog on my personal blog, I am going to start cross-posting the posts here, so that I can record my pregnancy on both blogs as it goes along. We are now 23 weeks, and the finish line is looking waaaayyyyy too close from here! Too much to do!

Love to all, I will check in soon!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Delayed Cord Clamping Article

Just really quickly had to post this article that I saw posted on Facebook regarding delayed cord clamping. Great stuff, and even better pictures! Check it out, and share!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

An Amazing Story

Cross-posting this from my hyperemesis blog, ladies! It is my strong belief that every birth professional and birth junkie needs to have a working knowledge of hyperemesis gravidarum, because ignorance in this area causes mothers acute suffering and can cost lives. Definitely take the time to go through this story!!

This story comes from a client of my midwife, here in town, who had her babe two weeks ago. (She is a client of both my midwife and one of my doulas, also mentioned.) She has an amazing story, and I wanted to share it!

The more I delve into the HG world, the more I realize how blessed I was in regard to the "mildness" of my HG. When I came out of my HG pregnancy, I was under the impression that I had been to Hell and back and had personally grappled with Satan himself. That's what that pregnancy felt like. But when I read stories like this (and like the stories of lots of you mamas out there), I realize how easy I had it. You ladies out there are such amazing warriors for your little ones.

Here goes!

(I have put all names as initials to protect privacy.)


For those who don't know, I had a very challenging pregnancy. I struggled with hypermesis gravidarum (HG) for nearly the entire time. HG is basically a severe form of morning sickness. It is kind of like having food poisoning that lasts for weeks on end, but it's not. It is so much worse.

Please know that I haven't covered everything that I experienced or felt during my pregnancy. Some things are just too painful to rehash. However, I am trying really hard to heal from all the damage HG caused. I'm hoping by letting some of this out, I can help myself let it all go. I don't want to hold on to these feelings anymore, especially now that A. is here. It is her time now, and I don't want anything to come between us anymore.

I do also share what I believe is the proudest moment of my life. I am so thankful that I was able to give A a beautiful, quiet, peaceful, and loving birth. With everything that she had to experience while growing in my belly, it just fills me with joy to know she had the most perfect arrival.

Lastly, I talk a little about what is going on postpartum. To tell you the truth, I never expected to be dealing with my HG issues AFTER birth. Yes, I am not nauseous. Yes, I can eat anything I want. Yes, I'm not puking. Don't get me wrong, all these things are wonderful, but I still haven't healed emotionally. I knew HG had taken its toll on me, but I guess I didn't realize just how hurt I am by it all. I honestly thought once Aria was here, it would all fade away like a bad nightmare. Unfortunately that just hasn't been the case.

My Pregnancy

At 5 weeks, I am exhausted. Not just sleepy tired, but down right run down. All I could do was sleep. At 6 weeks the nausea and vomiting have started. By 9 weeks I can barely keep any food or drink down. At this point I see a doctor for a prescription of Zolfran to help calm my issues. The meds don’t seem to be helping and I go a couple days without being able to keep food or drink down. Exhausted and dehydrated I go to the ER. Weeks 10 through 12 are a huge struggle. I’m vomiting about 15 to 20 times a day. Nothing is staying down, not even water. I get a different prescription for Phenergan. This medication completely knocks me out. It was so hard to believe that a medication which had that strong of an effect on my body could truly be safe for my baby, but my hands were tied. Not eating and drinking wouldn’t be safe for the baby either. Week 13 and home health care has finally been setup and approved. A nurse comes out and hooks me up to an IV and Zolfran pump. I have the IV on and off for the next five weeks. The Zolfran pump stays for the next three months. Weeks 14 through 25 are horrible. Even with the medication and IV I am puking everything that passes my lips. At one point the only way I could keep small amounts of water down was to blend ice and eat the snow. I was a freaking mess. By 26 weeks I manage to be off the pump. I am still puking at least 4 times a day, but when you drop down from 20, 4 seems like a piece of cake. At least at this point I can keep food and water down. I am still taking oral meds once in a while, however I am trying really hard not to. Weeks 27 through 37 are better. By no means was I back to normal. I would still have some good days, and then have some crappy days (crappy really isn’t a strong enough word…). But again I was actually able to keep food and drink down, even though I was still vomiting. Weeks 38 through 41 and I feel much better. I only vomit a couple times during these weeks, but the nausea is still there.

Needless to say, being pregnant has been one of the worst things to happen to me. Thank you HG. HG robbed me of a time in my life that was supposed to be exciting, beautiful, fun, joyful, etc. HG took away my ability to connect with our unborn baby. How could I love something that was causing me such pain and sickness? At times I was actually resentful towards our baby. I would sit and cry for hours thinking about how horrible of a mom I was that I couldn't nurture and love this baby yet.

HG isolated me. Not just physically from the world around me, but also emotionally. Physically, I couldn't go anywhere. When you are puking all the time, it’s hard to leave the house. Then there was also the motion sickness. It was bad. I couldn't watch TV, look at a computer screen, read a book. It all made me horribly nauseous. Try passing time when all you can do it lay there. Well you can't. There was nothing to take my mind away from the HG, so I would sit there and just think about it all. Not good. Emotionally, I felt separated from everyone, especially any woman who was pregnant or had been pregnant. I HATED speaking to them about my pregnancy, especially when they started talking about theirs. They would talk about cute little cures like crackers and coke, or say they “know” how I felt because they puked too (although they still went to work, could drive, could eat and drink, you know pretty much function like a normal human being). It didn't help that I hated them and was jealous of them. It was really hard. It didn't feel like anyone could understand. But how could they?

HG almost took away A's homebirth. I'll never forget the appointment with my midwife where she looked at me and said something about 28 weeks. Honestly I don't remember her exact words, I just remember thinking I've got 10 weeks to pull myself together or I'm going to lose the homebirth too. That thought was almost unbearable. I was already super freaked about the amount of drugs being pumped into my body and the effects they were having on my baby. Then I had to start considering what would mostly likely happen at a hospital. Pitocin, epidural, IV's, antibiotics, high likely hood of c-section, oh and all the damn germs. I just didn't want that for my baby, but really it wasn't up to me. HG isn't something you can just "pony up" to and get over. You have no control, as much as you wish you did. Yet, by 26 weeks, I was off the pump and the home health care. I was still puking like 4 times a day, but that was manageable. Plus I could actually keep food and water down. The homebirth was saved. Thank God.

HG also forced me to compromise my morals. I am a vegetarian, but wasn't during my pregnancy. HG took that from me too. Beans, grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts would all come up. And I mean all of it. Still at 38 weeks I could barely choke down a banana or raw carrot without my nauseous levels skyrocketing and puking. With this forced diet change also came a HUGE load of guilt. I couldn't stand the fact that my diet, well when I could eat, consisted of processed foods and meat. That's it. I freaked every time I thought about the lack of nutrition that I was giving my body. I mean if I wasn't giving myself the proper nutrients, how on earth was my baby getting what she needs?

My HG also took its toll on C. (husband). He was forced to take care of everything, and I mean everything. Working a full time job, feeding us, keeping the house clean, taking care of the animals, and the hardest part—taking care of me. Cleaning out bowls and bowls of puke. Helping me in and out of bed because the Zolfran pump made me so sore I couldn't do it alone. Plus, at times, I was even attached to an IV. Sore, strapped to a pump and connected to an IV… it's almost impossible to get around. He had to stab me every day with a needle, because the Zolfran injection sites cause so much trauma to your body that they have to be moved just about every day. Two months off the pump, and you could still feel the bumps in my legs. He would help me shower (when I actually could stand it, and even then I would often vomit afterwards), help me dress, brush my hair, help me to the toilet, you name it, C. had to do it for me. On top of all that, he had to deal with how mentally unstable I was. I was a wreck. I was sick, I was scared, I was sad, depressed, and worried. I was angry, helpless, fearful. I hated the guilt, the resentfulness towards baby and others. Really I was a MESS. Try and console that. You can't. You have to sit there and watch me cry, sit there and take it when I scream. Sit there and just watch me fall into a depression. Oh and of course I knew all this. I knew just how much stress I was putting on C., and it killed me.

I feel like I could go on and on about all the layers and layers of unhappiness, guilt, fear, sadness, and resentfulness that I feel about my pregnancy. I'm working really hard to let it all go, especially now that I have my beautiful daughter in my arms, but it is hard. I mean just the other day (yes I am taking about AFTER A's birth), I woke three times in the middle of the night to the sound of my Zofran pump going off. Each time it took me a while to shake all the bad feelings. Healing is a process I guess.

A's Birth

Sunday September 18th

I awake to what I thought were cramps. I soon realize these pressure waves are different. They are requiring a little more of my concentration, but I can still function quite normally. My midwife had promised me I would "know" when I was in labor, and since I was still questioning it I thought for sure it wasn't time yet. So I go about my day. My mom comes over for a visit. We order Mexican food, watch football (C's idea), chat and relax. It was a nice and relaxing day. That evening the pressure waves continue to get stronger, but again, I was still questioning it. I decide to make cupcakes and cookies for our doula and midwives. I was secretly hoping that if I made these treats my birthing time would start right away.

Monday September 19th

I text Rose (our doula) at 11 AM telling her the pressure waves are averaging 9 minutes apart. I've got ants in my pants just sitting at home, so C. and I head out for our two favorite things. Cassanova Pizza and Bergies Coffee. Pizza and coffee in hand we head back home. At 1 PM I text Rose that I can't exactly talk during the pressure waves anymore, but that they are still about 10 minutes apart. At 7 PM I text again saying they are 7 minutes apart and strong. I still remember during all this time not having that "ah ha" moment, and thinking well this can't be it then. But Rose suggested I give Stephanie (our midwife) a heads up, so I text her as well. 9pm and pressure waves are super strong and 4 minutes apart. 10 PM I call Rose and ask her to come over. At 11 PM Rose is over and she and C. work on setting up the pool.

Tuesday September 20th

My times are going to get murky now, but I have a rough idea of what went on. We have a very small water heater which meant it was going to take forever to heat the pool up, so C. went to put some water on the stove. Of course I just assumed that he was going to use our giant canning pot to heat up the water, but as I look over to the kitchen I see him filling up this tiny little pot of water. I start cracking up. I'm laughing so hard, I can barely speak. Here is my husband trying to fill this giant pool with a pot that holds about 12 cups of water. Good luck with that hunnie! It just seemed so silly to me, but it was really nice to have a good laugh. We eventually get the pool filled up and I get in. It feels good to be in the water, and the pressure waves seem to be slowing down and becoming less intense. I start chatting with Rose about if she should stay or go since things seemed to be slowing down. I just didn't know what to do.

As a side note, during this all this time our cat had been put away so he wouldn't be bothersome while setting everything up. Then the cat got let in. Less than two minutes in the room and our stinking cat jumps on the pool and puts three very nice puncture holes in the pool. So C. and Rose get to work breaking down the pool and setting up her other one. I have no idea how much time passes here. I just remember the pressure waves getting stronger again. Rose suggests I get back in the pool. The pressure waves are really taking my concentration now. Again, I have no idea how much time passes here, but around 3:15 AM I feel a pop. My water has broken. The pressure waves come and they come strong. Finally I have my "ah ha" moment. I know it is my birthing time now! Rose asks me to tell her when I start to feel pressure. I think I remember feeling that pressure right away, which I didn't like. It felt like I needed to use the bathroom. I was terrified of accidentally going to the bathroom in the pool. I know this can be a normal process for any woman in labor, pool or not, but I just couldn't do it. So C. helps me to the bathroom and I labor on the toilet. I was horrified that my husband had to see me in this position, but I was also horrified of going to the bathroom in the pool. Then eventually the pressure waves made me not care anymore.

Back in the pool and I try a new position leaning back against the pool. I sit through one pressure wave and it is horrible, so I tell myself I am going to "finger drop" for the next one. I don't know how I did it, since I hadn't been practicing my hypnobabies (Thank you HG) but I manage to "finger drop" getting through the pressure wave much easier. The next pressure wave comes and I am back on my knees leaning over the pool hanging on to C's hands. No more hypnobabies (sorry Noelia, but I did try!) I remember crying and cussing. The pressure waves sucked. Then C. asked Jen (our other midwife) a question. I don't know what he said, but I remember her saying that I would feel burning. Next pressure wave in and I feel the burning. Pressure wave after pressure wave and I feel more burning and more pressure. It was time to push. Jen tells me that I can take control. It felt so good to hear that. My entire pregnancy had been out of my control, and I just got permission to take the reins and do what I wanted/needed. 18 minutes of pushing and at 5:01 am our baby was born right into her daddy's arms and passed to me. C. says "it’s a boy,” and for the next 15 minutes we think we have a sweet little boy. It is time to cut the cord and I move our little boy… SURPRISE! It's a girl! C. cuts her cord and then I snuggle back up to her.

At this point I still have not birthed the placenta and I am getting quite frustrated and annoyed. I would like to focus on my beautiful daughter, but I couldn't because of my placenta. So C. takes our daughter tight in his arms. I remember feeling horrible that I couldn't spend these precious moments with my daughter, but I also knew she was safe in her daddy's arms. I'm not sure how much time passes but finally, with a little help, I am able to birth the placenta. My daughter is back in my arms. I was in a state of shock. It was hard to believe HG was over, and that here in my arms was our beautiful daughter.


The one thing that I held on to throughout my pregnancy was this idea that once the baby is here it is all over. This idea that I'll finally get to bond and connect with my baby. That I will finally get to love on her and enjoy what I have been trying to for the past 10 months. I never prepared myself for the reality of what it is like after a baby. I had no idea just how painful and miserable breastfeeding could be. For 10 months I had been telling myself when she's here I finally get to love her and enjoy her. Yet I found that at least every two hours my baby was still causing me pain. During these moments that I wanted to be bonding with my daughter, all I could think about is how much I wanted her off me. I hated it. Then all those HG feelings just rushed back to the surface and I was drowning in them. I would see my husband all cuddled up to his daughter telling her how much he loves her and I would just ball. I wanted to do that, but my breasts were so sore I couldn't hold her close. I wanted to tell her I love her, but I couldn't. It took me a week to say "I love you" to her. Of course it is not because I don't love my daughter. I do. More than anything. It is just really hard for me to put all my emotions aside. I'm scarred pretty deep. My wounds are still fresh and trying to heal, and they are easily torn open.

Lots of moms keep telling me you will soon forgot all the troubles you went through. That everything will be worth it. I'll agree with that second part. A. has been worth it all, but I won't forget. Perhaps the details of my pregnancy and postpartum issues will get murky, but I sure won't forget. I guess only time will tell. Until then, I'm going to take it day by day.