Sunday, November 23, 2008


Friday, September 5, 2008

Birth Story

*What you are about to read is my incomplete account of the labour and delivery of my 2nd son. It is as fresh and just the bare facts are down on the page. At times, I've included too much detail simply because *I* want to remember every little bit. I hope to add to this and generally make it more readable, but that will have to wait.

From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I worked as hard as I could to insure a good outcome for this pregnancy - healthy baby, healthy mom, vaginal birth were my bottom line goals.

Early Tuesday morning, Sept 2, 2008, I was awakened by our dog who needed to be let out. I had been asleep for only 2 hrs at that point. In late pregnancy, I often can't fall back to sleep once awake and that's exactly what happened. I spent some time surfing the internet then decided to crawl back into bed and read. I was reading Growing Without Schooling by John Holt when I had a very bizarre sensation. It felt like someone had taken a large glass marble and clacked it on my pubic bone. I figured it was just some movement the baby had made and didn't think more about it. I began to feel damp between my legs and realized that there was a good amount of clear liquid with small white flecks. I decided to go to the bathroom to investigate further.

As I stood up, my underwear and the inside of my pajama pant legs got soaked. I still wasn't sure that the liquid wasn't either pee or normal discharge. I had been feeling a lot of pressure on my urethra the past two days, so I reasoned that perhaps I had wet myself. I used the toilet and when I stood up, liquid gushed out onto the floor. Having just emptied my bladder, I was reasonably sure the liquid wasn't pee. The puddle was tinged lightly pink against the beige bathroom floor tiles. It was then I knew my water had broken.

I was hit with a burst of energy. I decided not to wake my husband because I was feeling no contractions and knew he'd need whatever sleep he could get. I cleaned the kitchen and organized the living room. The night before we had inflated the birth pool to do a trial run. When we began to fill the pool, we realized the pilot light had gone out on the hot water heater - no trial run that night as it would be too late by the time the tank reheated.

Finally, at 6am I crawled into bed with my husband and told him my water had broken. "Mazal tov," he told me. :) He was excited and wondered why I hadn't woken him earlier. We decided to just go about our day as normally as possible and wait for things to start. I called my midwife and doula around 8 am just to let them know. We decided I should try to get in to see my acupuncturist to gently induce labour. I knew I couldn't wait forever with my water broken - infection would be a threat at some point.

The rest of the day passed normally. I began to have contractions on and off. Stronger than Braxton Hicks, but nothing that really stopped me in my tracks yet - more like pressure waves than anything else. They appeared and disappeared at random. I began to get seriously discouraged when contractions stopped altogether after my visit to the acupuncturist. I put my son in the stroller and decided to go for a 4 mile walk. The walk lifted my spirits and the pressure waves resumed.

I checked in with my doula, E, who mentioned a concoction of almond butter, castor oil, apricot juice, and verbena that purportedly "worked like a hot damn". I spoke with M, my midwife who said she'd like to give my cervix a full 24 hours to ripen before we tried anything like castor oil. I had been having pink-tinged discharge and bits of mucous, so I knew my cervix was doing its work. I agreed we should wait until morning.

By Wednesday morning, I was again having regular pressure waves about 5 min apart. I got into the shower and they completely stopped. I was very depressed at this point. I had an appt already scheduled with both my midwife and my acupuncturist that morning, so I decided to keep both as normal.

M wanted to check my cervix to see if we were ready for the castor oil cocktail. She couldn't even reach it and baby was still sitting above my pubic bone. We discussed all the "what ifs" and agreed that we were both comfortable letting things proceed another 72 hours or longer as long as my fluid stayed clear, baby's heartrate stayed normal, and I didn't get a fever. I would see the acupuncturist that afternoon and then take the first dose of the cocktail.

At the acupuncturist, my points were much more tender than they had been the day before. She said this was a good sign I was getting close as she had noticed this in lots of the pregnant women she saw. Back at home, I blended the cocktail and drank it at 2 pm. It wasn't too bad.

My husband took our son to the library and by the time they got back I was starting to have painful contractions that started in my back and wrapped around to concentrate in my pubic bone and flow down my legs. I scared my poor son when I had to yell through a few of them. I called my doula, midwife, and my husband called my mother-in-law to come get the boy.

M thought I was just having intestinal cramping since I hadn't had a bowel movement after taking the castor oil. I was pretty sure it wasn't intestinal, but I agreed to get in the tub to see if things settled down. I was kneeling in the bathtub when E showed up. She was awesome and helped me find something to focus on during the contractions. I laboured for a few contractions standing at the window at the end of the hallway. I swayed back and forth and tried to make my cries more moan-like. I closed my eyes and thought of my husband and how much I love him. At some point my MIL came to take Akiva to the park. He was scared of me at this point and wouldn't come near me. Poor baby. We had planned for him to go before I got to this point, but things were progressing so fast that there just wasn't time.

I wondered how I would be able to do this for another 12+ hours. Had I been in the hospital, I would've screamed for an epidural or a c-section. I knew I wouldn't be able to handle the ride in the car to the hospital, so I didn't say anything.

I went into the living room and sat on the couch. Contractions were much easier in this position and I laboured on the couch for a while. E was convinced I wasn't yet in active labour, so my husband decided to stimulate some points on my hands to help things along. I immediately had the most painful contraction yet and as it ebbed I made him take the seeds off the points. It never fully went away and peaked several times over the next twelve minutes. At this point E made me get off the couch and I thought "This is it." We're going to transport to the hospital and I'll have a c-section. It's over. On the way to the bedroom, I stopped to grab the mantle. My son had dragged his plastic potty into the living room earlier in the day. It was placed well and caught about half of what I violently vomited standing there.

E wanted me to lay down on the bed to rest. I knew this was a bad idea. Rhythm had become important to me during contractions and I couldn't move as well as I needed to lying down. E called M and she agreed to come over. They also agreed I could get in the pool at this point.

My MIL returned from the park with my son at this point and my husband scurried around packing him an overnight bag. M showed up and checked me. I was 4-5 cm and fully effaced. She could feel baby's head down low. At this point I hated changing positions because any large movement on my part started a new contraction. I was skeptical that getting in the pool would help, but I was willing to try anything. The pain wasn't really going away between contractions.

The pool was bliss. It slowed things down enough that I could rest between contractions. I found a rhythm by saying "whoa-whoa-whoa" and buzzing my lips as I moved my head from side to side. I continued to need counterpressure on my back.

For a while I laboured on my back and found a bit of relief there. I did need someone's hand on me during the contractions, though. "Touch me" I would call out as a contraction started and my husband or E would place a hand on my shoulder or knee.

It became clear that things were going along rapidly and M said she had to go back to her office to get her infant scales. My chiropractor was coming around 6:30 to see if we couldn't get baby to rotate that last bit. She adjusted my right side and I felt baby move. She pressed on my left round ligaments and it felt like torture. "Stop!" I yelled and turned on my side to have another contraction. Either during this contraction or the next I began to have the urge to push. I was afraid E would call 911 so I said nothing and did what I had to do. M still wasn't back. I had a few more contractions where I felt the need to push and did before M got back. When M came in she asked if I was feeling pushy. I said yes. She turned me on my back and checked me - I was fully dilated (I knew this already)! She phoned the back up midwife and started to set up for the birth.

I began pushing only on instinct and was ineffective at first. I remember M telling me that bracing my feet against the pool was actually sucking the baby back in. I needed help with holding my legs, but soon was pushing effectively. I could feel lots of pressure and kept waiting for the "ring of fire". I had been pushing for 4 or so contractions and was ready to be done. I didn't care at that point if I tore - the contractions had to stop. I mentally told myself that babe would be out next contraction. It hit and I pushed. His head was out and I pushed the rest of him out. He was immediately put to my chest already crying. I knew he was a boy but checked just in case.

It seemed seconds before the midwife was telling me the cord had stopped pulsing and she had my husband cut it. I got out of the pool and knelt in front of the sofa to deliver the placenta. I ended up with a small perineal tear and a larger labial tear - she stitched both. I was bleeding heavily and ended up w/ two shots of oxytocin.

It's now 74 hours later and I'm having mixed emotions. I'm overjoyed with the arrival of our son and with the experience itself. The memory of the pain is gone and I would do it again tomorrow if not for the soreness and stitches. I'm struggling with it being over, though. I worked so hard and achieved my dream - now I have to find a new focus. I'm also struggling with my feelings about bonding with the baby and my feelings toward my toddler. On one hand, I'm fiercely protective of the baby, but I feel horrible that my toddler's world has been tilted upside down. I know these feelings will pass.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Our second SON made his arrival into the birth pool in our living room tonight at 7:40. Labor started at 3 this afternoon and progressed quickly. He was 8 lbs 9 oz, 20.5 in long with a healthy 14.5 in head (yowie).

I'll post the whole story when the dust has settled.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008


My water broke at 3:30 this morning. The dog woke me up just after midnight to go outside and I couldn't get back to sleep. I was laying in bed reading "Growing Without Schooling" when I felt like someone took a huge marble and smacked it against my pubic bone. I figured the baby had just done something weird and ignored it. I began to feel, uh, slightly damp and wondered if I had waited too long to get up and pee... When I stood, fluid ran down my legs.

I've been continuing to gush all day and contracting intermittently. I saw the acupuncturist and took a 4 mile walk. I am actually contemplating castor oil. I'll keep you posted. Hoping for a baby before dawn.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Can it be?

I really do feel great for someone who is 38 weeks pregnant. With the exception of incident described in an earlier post, I mostly move without pain/real restriction. Rolling over in bed is the exception, but even that is still tolerable. I can walk miles, am still wearing my rings, have no significant heartburn. I really can't complain.

I am now more pregnant than I ever have been. The Hippo was born at exactly 38 weeks and I'm officially 38 weeks and 3 days...

I am, however, ready to be done. I've moved past the "oh it's so wonderful to be pregnant" and on to the "I want the baby already!" phase. I've been looking at pics of the Hippo as a newborn and I can't wait for this babe. I was such a mess for at least his first month. I don't recall really leaving my bedroom for days and days. In retrospect, I probably had some form of mild PPD at the very least.

Trying to figure out sleeping arrangements for our family bed. Right now we have a king and the Hippo sleeps between us. He still nurses occasionally at night and seems to like being able to roll between us. I'm thinking to put up a toddler rail and have new baby sleep between it and me with me facing new baby and my back to the Hippo unless he desperately needs a boob in the night.

The other option is moving the Hippo to the other side of DH and putting new baby in the middle. Or switching sides of the bed and putting the Hippo between me and the railing and new baby between me and DH.

We own a pack n play with the bassinet feature that I plan to set up next to the bed for naptime and such so I suppose having the baby sleep there is an option as well...

My midwife got deliriously excited when I mentioned I was totally jonesing for a bagel with cream cheese. I said that if I wanted a good one, I'd have to make them myself because the only kosher bagels available in our city come in a plastic bag on the grocery store shelf. "You should make them to have right after you have the baby!!!" She almost fell off the couch. Bagels and cream cheese all around, I guess. I had been wondering what to make to feed the birth crowd (ok, not crowd: midwife, doula, DH, me, and possibly MIL and the Hippo if they are here). And, if the baby's a boy...I can just make a triple batch and freeze them for the bris! I'm so not one of THOSE people (who make and freeze stuff months in advance of the event), but this sounds fairly clever even to me.

True confessions: right now it feels like I'll be pregnant forever. My brain is refusing to process that at some point within the next 4 weeks (for some reason I doubt I'll go over 42 weeks), I'll have a baby. Last night I dreamt that DH and I were, um, trying to be intimate eight days postpartum. In the dream I reasoned out that I had a c-section, so I wouldn't be sore... Hello, after the Hippo we waited 3 friggin' months. What was my brain thinking - 8 days...! Silly brain. In any case, I hope I'm good and sore in the right place 8 days after giving birth and that the pain is not a result of an incision (epis. or abdo.).

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Forgot to mention...

that I'm feeling better. I'm more tired than usual, but this is not surprising. I can still walk and do most everything (excluding bending over) most of the time. It seems to depend on where baby is sitting - in or out of my pelvis. In any case, we're back to business as usual and I'm trying to wrap my mind around the fact that this baby really could come at any time. Craziness.

Slightly up?

Saw the midwife today. My bp was 130/84. This is fine, but the trend seems to be upward. The last four visits have been 120/84, 125/76, 130/80, and now today's number.

I'm doin' it all - walking, eating vegetables and protein, keeping my blood sugar down, seeing an acupuncturist...

Oh well. If all else fails, I'll insist on labetalol but by then we're already in the hospital. I'll have to bring my ass-kicking boots.

Feeling great. Heading out for a long walk in an hour when the Hippo wakes up. 38 weeks tomorrow.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

0 to miserable in 24 hours...

Ok, maybe that's a slight exaggeration. I saw the midwife Wednesday. Fine. BP 130/80. Weight gain: 15 lbs so far. Baby's heartrate: not sure - baby was hiccuping every 3-4 beats and we were laughing at that so I forgot to ask. Sounded about the same as last week, though (130-140).

I'm starting to swell just a bit. Can't get my rings off right now but I have been able to for the past few days (since the swelling started).

I saw my chiro on Friday. She adjusted my pubic bone (in addition to my pelvis and back) and then I went for a big (think 6 km) walk. Mistake? I think so. I felt great during most of the walk but I was pretty scared that baby was going to fall out near the end. Now, that would be TOTALLY fine with me. I was picturing myself trying to get my underwear off under my long jean skirt without really alerting other walkers as to what I was doing...

I was an emotional wreck Friday night. Still managed to snap at DH even though he was a saint and took the Hippo out for a few hours so I could reset my sanity by tidying the kitchen and cooking. After the Hippo went to bed, I sobbed to DH about what a horrible person I am and why can't I just be nice. Turns out he still loves me (even though he didn't appreciate being snapped at ) and I am very thankful for that.

I've gone from "I don't feel pregnant as long as I'm moving around" to "The baby is sitting on my bladder and on my rectum so I pretty much always feel like I have to pee and poo". My lower back has started to ache. DH is learning the virtues of counterpressure. Not only did he give me a backrub yesterday afternoon, he let me nap for two hours while he played with the Hippo in the living room. I love my husband.

I'm having more and more BH contrax. I can feel them down low and they make my scar area feel sore. I'm not sure why this is. The Hippo was never this low. Am I sore because of the scar or would I have been this sore if the Hippo had ever unwedged his feel from my ribs? I was pretty tender when the chiro was adjusting me on Friday.

My feet don't look too swollen - they look like I've been standing all day on a hot day. I think I'm going to climb into the bathtub and see if I can soak some of the swelling away. I have NOT worked this hard and come this far only to swell up like a balloon at 37.5 weeks. With the Hippo I was swollen much, much earlier (30ish weeks, I think?) and it was REAL swelling.

A final thought: in 5 days I will be more pregnant than I have ever been. Hippo was extracted at 38 weeks exactly.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Short Active Labour? 36 wks 5 days

I finally questioned my mother in-depth about her births. I knew the basics (I was induced via AROM, my brother came when she was sick with the flu), but I didn't know how each labour progressed. Turns out she had a 2 hour active phase with me and about 15 minutes of active labour with my brother.

With me, the doctor ruptured her membranes around 10 am. She finally had regular contractions at 12ish. Things got serious at 6 and I was born at 8pm (33 years ago today!!).

With my brother, she went to the hospital late at night and he was born the next morning. When the doctor finally showed up, he checked her and she was less than 5 cm so he said he was going to get some breakfast. Before he hit the elevator she was in transition and my brother was born 5 contractions later.

Not sure if I have inherited these birthing genes, but I'm hopeful.

I decided to take the GBS test just for my own info. We discussed what would happen if we had to transfer and they found out I had refused antibiotics. My midwife assured me that they would only want to monitor baby and perhaps run blood test after 12 hours or so. I'm taking echinacea, burdock root, and astragulus tinctures to help build my immune system.

All is well on the blood sugar front. I haven't been as vigilant about testing the past 4 days because I haven't eaten anything that sets me off. I need to go buy more strips tomorrow, though. My fasting numbers have dropped back down considerably. Not sure if this is in response to stress reduction or having been off wheat for long enough that it's out of my system. I wasn't really any more stressed out before than I am now. My bp at the last visit was 120/84. The 84 has me a touch worried that I'm on an upward trend, but my midwife wasn't at all alarmed. I see the acupuncturist Wed and will ask her specifically to focus on bp. I also had a cup of coffee before the reading at the midwife so I suspect that could have done it (caffeine has been known to raise my blood pressure before).

I have no swelling to speak of so far. At this point last time I was swollen up like a balloon. I can still get my rings on and off. On the warmer days I do get a touch swollen, but this would happen even if I weren't pregnant.

I pulled out the birth pool today and read the instructions. We went shopping for a hose-faucet attachment and a tarp for the floor, but we got frustrated at not being able to find anything at Canadian Tire so we left. A local store offers a basket full of the homebirth supplies required by our midwife, so I'll buy that instead of dragging the Hippo in and out of a bunch of stores. It's a little more expensive, but the extra $20 is likely worth the aggravation and fuel.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Hangin' In There

All is well here, thank G-d. I've been seeing the chiro and babe is quite low (I've had almost no heartburn!!!!). When I stand, baby's bum is only a few inches above my belly button. I felt pressure on my cervix for the first time ever a few days ago while riding in the car.

Sugar control has been pretty easy. I cut out all wheat and wheat products. Obviously I'm off sugar, too. It's totally doable at this point. I can still eat fruit in combo with protein and some on its own (melons). Quinoa, spelt, rye, and kamut are grains my body tolerates well so far (haven't tried any others). At first I felt hungry all the time until I realized there were grains out there that worked for me.

I'm hemming and hawing about the Group B strep test. I was barely positive last time ("scant growth"). This time my midwife gave me a protocol to follow that helps keep down the GBS, but it sounds like a huge hassle considering all the rest of the things I'm dealing with. That said, I don't think I'd go to the hospital for the prophylactic antibiotics unless I was totally rife with the bacteria. I just would like to know so that I can keep an eye on babe if I am GBS+.

I'm feeling more and more like this birth will happen at home. I'm starting to ask the necessary questions and make the necessary preparations. I've decided to set up the birth pool we bought just in case. Not sure I'll want to be in it, but my doula thought it would be a nice option. I have a feeling that gravity will play an important role for me in birthing since baby drops noticeably the more I walk during the day then floats back up at night when I'm lying down.

I had a dream the other night where I was telling someone I'd had a dream that I had a repeat c/s. In the same night, I dreamt that I had baby at home and she came out fast and without any pain... In the dream I called my mom and told her that giving birth didn't hurt at all...

I'm currently 35.5 weeks. At this point in my first pregnancy, the Hippo was 2.5 weeks away from being born (though I didn't know it at the time). It's a little crazy to think of it that way, especially since I'm planning to be pregnant for at least 5.5 more weeks.

All in all, I feel fantastic. The only time I really feel pregnant is when I'm bending over or I'm rolling over in bed. If I'm out walking, I feel awesome and have had very few low-energy days.

The Hippo and I belong to a group of 5 moms and toddlers. Until Friday, all the moms were pregnant for the second time. The first mama had her baby at home in the water on Friday. I'm next by due date and the third mama is due about 2.5 weeks after I am. The other two aren't due until March. All of them had vaginal births the first time (yippee!!) - even though one babe was an undiagnosed frank breech. Let's see if we can make it 5/5 vaginal births this time! I also have two friends due in December - one with her third (first two were vag) and one with her first.

Off to bed!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Gestational Diabetes

So, wherever you fall in the "does gestational diabetes really exist?" debate, I'm here to tell you that there is at least some truth to some mamas getting abnormal sugar readings in late pregnancy. I'm now one of them. About 10 days ago, I discovered that I'm no longer tolerant of any wheat - I'd sworn off white flour ages ago, but I'm a baking fanatic and plain whole wheat artisan bread is pretty much a staple of our diet. Not anymore - not for me, at least. I made the mistake of having a peanut butter sandwich a few days ago - whoa. I've never felt my blood sugar spike before, but I could surely feel this. It almost felt the same as when I know my blood sugar is low (shaky, unable to think clearly). It was scary.

Kamut seems to sit nicely, as does quinoa (in limited quantities). I've made some kamut bread and will try some this morning to see what it does to the blood sugar. I'm hoping to be able to tolerate at least a slice.

The hardest part right now is feeling full - I pretty much never feel full. I'm hoping the kamut bread will help with this (is it just psychological or do I really need some form of grain to feel satiated?). I've been mostly combining protein sources and vegetables with some fruit thrown in (fruit doesn't seem to cause a spike in me for now), but I'm starving again 2 hours later.

Oy. This too shall pass and my baby and I will be healthier for it.

Friday, July 25, 2008


As of the last 8 days, baby is head down. Well, almost down. She sometimes hangs out with her head in my hip, but this is fine by me for now. My amazing chiropractor and the magical Webster technique did the trick. I had a treatment last Thursday and another on Tuesday. I go again today. I also think that baby passed the magical weight mark where her head is now the heaviest part. She's back to being Party Baby. She wakes me up often in the night with her dancing. The Hippo didn't do this, but his placenta was anterior, so he had less scope for dancing, I suppose.

I'm back to troubleshooting blood sugar. My fasting numbers have been up for about a week. My post-meal numbers have been slightly elevated, but not above my midwife's cut-off. Is it stress? Not enough exercise? I've walked every day, but not the mammoth lengths that I have in previous weeks (only because I haven't wanted to go without friends and everyone is in the middle of their 9th month, vacation, or something else). Whatever. I took two cinnamon capsules last night before bed and my fasting number was down this morning. Yay for alternative remedies!

I feel fabulous (aside from a little more tired than usual, but I'm not concerned about that). I can still take my rings on and off (somehow this is a sign to me that all is well with my body - go figure).

I'm off to make smoothies for breakfast. I've totally become addicted to these and they make great popsicles, too. I would say combine the ingredients to your taste:

strawberries (or raspberries, cherries, whatever other fruit you have to hand)
cottage cheese
Balkan style yogourt

If your bananas aren't quite ripe, add a teaspoon of honey. I also find that pureeing the cottage cheese first gets the lumps out. Cottage cheese adds lots of protein while the yogourt adds a nice creaminess and tang. I prefer to make this with an electric hand blender, but mine broke so I've been using my big blender until I get a new hand blender.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Face all your fears...

I've had the nagging sense that I should be doing research on breech. Sure enough, babe has been breech for the past week. I can feel her wobbly little head above my belly button and her feet down below.

At first, I panicked, seeing my HBAC plans fly out the window, but then I calmed down and decided that I should research, find a provider who catches vaginal breech, and try to do everything I can to turn the baby.

The good news: I'm only 32 weeks, so there's lots of time left. Babe has lots of room.

The not-so-good news: No one in my community will catch a vaginal breech, so I need to go farther afield. My midwife is helping me find someone in/near Vancouver and I'm even looking as far away as Washington state. The practitioner will have to be either an OB or an unregistered midwife as registered midwives are prohibited by the BC College of Midwives from attending vaginal breech births.

Off to do breech tilts.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Update: No news

All is well, thank G-d. BP=normal. Blood sugar=normal. Weight gain to date=11 lbs. Baby was less active last week and appears to have had a growth spurt. We're now back to our regularly scheduled dancing (maybe I should name her Ginger if she's, in fact, a girl?) and my belly-button is sporting a scab where the skin tore as it expanded.

As of last Wednesday, Ginger is head down and is rapidly running out of room. I haven't felt her turn since then, but I could be wrong. All the same, I invested in a yoga ball for proper posture when sitting (though I'm currently enjoying the comfy chair in the living room) and I'm contemplating doing some pelvic tilts, swimming, and other general good-positioning exercises. Still seeing the chiro and acupuncturist regularly.

Back to gestating in peace (which lately means lots and lots of time to myself since I can't seem to sleep in later than 3am...).

Friday, June 27, 2008


I had a breakdown in the midwife's office last week. It all suddenly became too much for me - I had gained 8 lbs in a month (bringing my total to 12 lbs gained for this pregnancy so far), my blood sugar was slightly elevated, and I generally felt scared that I wouldn't be able to escape what happened last time.

She listened and assured me that, even if we ended up in the hospital, she wouldn't abandon us. She also told me that I'm doing everything possible to ensure a good outcome and that I needed to let go of controlling the process.

She was right. I thought long and hard that day and made the decision to completely surrender this birth to G-d. The results were almost immediate. The sun seemed brighter, my step was lighter, it was easier to pick up the Hippo, and I slept peacefully at night. My blood sugar numbers went down.

I have been living like this for a week now and I'm a much calmer and happier person. I have made the word "surrender" into my mantra. I can now visualize the birth taking place here in my house.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Just when I think I've dealt with all the c-section fallout...

I really don't spend my life being afraid. I do worry too much and I do have an overactive imagination (mostly when it comes to worrying about the Hippo).

I've been trying to uncover and process any remaining "stuff" left over from the Hippo's birth. I've reached the conclusion that I can dwell on how much it sucked, or I can accept it and move on. I'm rapidly reaching the point where the sequence of events makes no difference in my life (almost to the point of "just be happy your baby is healthy - but not quite ;).


I want to make sure I've sufficiently dealt with anything from the Hippo's birth that might relate to this birth - hence the blood sugar drama, the visits to the chiro and acupuncturist, the walking, obsessive vegetable eating, etc.

I've pretty much gotten past the blood sugar. Yes, it is a little elevated from where it was 4 weeks ago, but everything I've read points to the fact that this is absolutely normal in the 3rd trimester. I'm not planning to binge on donuts every week (though I did indulge on our vacation simply because we can't get kosher donuts here), but I've also decided that cutting out any whole wheat bread or other sensible grains is not productive.

I've also started to wonder about the contents of the IV I was given while being pumped full of pitocin. It's not on any medical records I have, but I'm beginning to wonder if there was a glucose drip. After all, the local hospital doesn't "allow" you to eat during labour (or during an induction attempt) - a glucose drip would make sense from that point of view, wouldn't it?

The Hippo spent 48 hours in the NICU for persistent hypoglycemia after he was born. Yes, he was a big boy (9 lbs 8 oz at 38 weeks), but a random blood sugar taken (without my consent or knowledge) 5 days prior to his birth revealed my levels to be 4.0 mmol/l - you can't get more perfect than that. I don't pretend to understand the mechanics of blood sugar, but that number doesn't really point to gestational diabetes.

I'm left wondering if the glucose drip kept our joint blood sugar elevated during the induction and that in combination with his size (like more due to my poor nutrition and perhaps a little genetics than anything else) made his body unprepared for life off the glucose drip.

Ah well, this is all speculation and just another question I need to ask the midwife when I see her today.

My other issue I'm trying to deal with is the fact that the Hippo never dropped into my pelvis. The op report says that, at the time of extraction, he was in the LOT position - his head was turned so that he couldn't drop into the pelvis. This makes sense to me and since I was planning on carrying him to nearly 42 weeks based on family gestation periods, he still had plenty of time left to drop.

BUT - here's the glitch - the midwife I had for that pregnancy said, "If the baby hasn't dropped by now, he probably won't". In my head I know this is crap. I even know it in my heart. Yet, as I approach 28 weeks with this pregnancy I'm starting to wonder when this baby will drop. I know it can happen moments before birth and I shouldn't expect it until then, but I'm also worried that I have a mental block now and that I will somehow mentally keep this baby from dropping...

Time to get out the visualization tools.

I actually had a really healing dream about a year ago where I was pregnant and the baby had dropped into my pelvis - I could feel it in my dream. Maybe I should focus on that.

I'm almost past the "what if the baby doesn't drop" nagging thought (I hesitate to use the word fear) and I feel like I'm almost mentally ready for this birth. It helps to write everything out - committing it to the computer makes it take up less space in my brain. I feel somehow as if I've crossed an imaginary line in the past few weeks in my healing from the Hippo's birth. I can't quite describe it, but the pain is less gut-squeezing when I revisit that week in my mind. I still cry when recounting the story, but it hurts less.

So, here's my list of things to discuss with my midwife at the appt today:
* blood sugar - what's ok, what's not both in terms of nutrition and numbers - I just can't live out this pregnancy on cottage cheese and cantaloupe
* some, ah, bumps I've developed that I think are just skin tags, but which I worry might be HPV (I suppose I could've picked it up in college and it was dormant all these years...). Gut says skin tags which isn't really any better because I've heard they don't go away by themselves after pregnancy... ew.
* the baby-dropping-into-the-pelvis scenario from the Hippo's birth
* position - just for my own info - she's still pretty mobile now and I sometimes feel like I'm carrying siamese twins.
* ???

Thursday, June 5, 2008


So I took a week off from checking my blood sugar (somehow knowing I would have to be diligent about it soon enough...) since it had been fine. Imagine my surprise when I tested 1 hr after breakfast (measured from the beginning of the meal) on Monday and found that my blood sugar was hovering close to the "uh-oh" line.

I panicked. Things evened out the rest of the day (all numbers were completely normal), so my worry abated...a little.

Tuesday, ALL my post-meal numbers were high-ish (official cut-off is 7.8 and I was near 7.6 on the metric scale - I think the units are mmol/l but I'm no scientist) no matter what I ate (unless, obviously, it was pure protein).

Wednesday, my fasting number continued to be completely normal and I ate 1/2 cup of cottage cheese and 1/5 of a cantaloupe for breakfast. Numbers were fine (5.9 1 hr post-meal), but I forgot to pack a snack for myself and was seriously hungry by the time we got home for lunch. I ate 1 c. lentils, brown rice, and yogourt. Numbers went back up.

Crap. Lentils?!?!? I freaking ate lentils! Where is the "legumes+rice are supposed to equal the perfect protein"???? Was I doomed to cottage cheese, steak, and chicken for the rest of this pregnancy? Ugh. I had made peace with no sweets, but I would like the occasional piece of whole wheat bread, for crying out loud!

I called my midwife just to check on the accepted standards for gestational diabetes control in our community (I had been going off info published by the province, but anyone who has looked into GD will know that standards of care and acceptable numbers vary widely). I had retested at 1 hr 15 min after the lentils and, surprise, my numbers were way down to within normal range. My chief question for the midwife was whether I should be counting the hour from the beginning or the end of the meal (my logic being that my numbers would be fine if I could only have those extra 15 minutes without endangering the baby or my health!).

My midwife was awesome. She said I should definitely time from the *end* of my meals and that I should wait 2 hours before testing after a meal and that as long as the number was under 7.5, I was golden. She said it's totally normal for my blood sugar to go up since I'm about to enter the 3rd trimester - nearly every pregnant woman experiences some rise in blood sugar. I *knew* this, but it was reassuring to hear it from her. It's not necessarily indicative of GD, but it does bear watching since the Hippo was in the NICU unable to maintain his blood sugar for 48 hours after he was born - an experience I definitely don't want to repeat with this baby.

You can't imagine how relieved I was. My two hour numbers are always below 7.0, even after gorging on ice cream and cake (I've only done it once, I promise...).

So, now I'm down to testing 2x a day - fasting and we agreed on two hours after lunch. I hope all stays well. I'm still going to avoid sweets, but the odd bit of therapeutic dark chocolate may not come amiss...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Midwife visit - 24 weeks

All is well. We saw the midwife yesterday. Heartbeat is in the 140s-150s. I gave her my updated weight and a printout of the blood sugar readings I've taken in May along with a copy of the guidelines I've been using. She was pleased with my numbers and with the guidelines. I think bringing her this simple piece of paper did a lot to establish trust with our midwife-client relationship.

So far, I've only gained 3 lbs. My blood pressure was a healthy 112/76. I'm back at the acupuncturist next week - hopefully we can keep a lid on the blood pressure. I think it didn't start to go up in my last pregnancy until I was 34 weeks or so.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Another Birth Dream and Putting Things in Boxes

I dreamt last night that we were visiting the midwife at her clinic - I had never been to this particular place before and there were tons of people around. I was in labour and I think I had gone to the clinic to get IV antibiotics for testing positive for Group B strep (I was positive in my last pregnancy and suspect I will be for this one, too).

Soulmate was with me, but disappeared somewhere. The midwife from my last pregnancy was seeing me but had to go see other clients. I was walking around trying to have a baby. I kept trying to push while standing up, but nothing was happening, so I went into another room to try to find something to hang from while squatting. I squatted and pushed for a while and finally decided to see if I could reach the baby's head. I could and was able to feel the head move forward as I pushed. I stopped and she slid back. I pushed again and her head came out. I checked to see if the cord was around her neck - it wasn't. I pushed again and her shoulders started to emerge. At this point I felt she was stuck and I called for someone to help me.

A young guy who worked at the clinic came over (I was in a room out of the main area, but the door was open and people were milling about). I told him the baby was stuck. He stood in the doorway and looked at me. I asked him if he was going to help me. He replied that I was capable of handling the situation myself. Sure enough, I was able to hook my thumbs under her armpits and pull her out.

She was quite long, had lots of dark hair, and seemed to have a skin condition (we have a friend whose toddler has eczema all over his body - this is what she looked like). She seemed happy and I estimated her weight to be "8 lbs and change". She opened her eyes and smiled at me. I fed her and then decided I wanted a shower. I found the semi-private showers at the clinic and kept trying to shower, but a bunch of people kept walking in and I couldn't wash what needed to be washed... I had set the baby on a towel next to me. The dream either ended here or I woke up - I don't remember anything else.

I find it interesting that this is the second dream I've had where I gave birth pretty much alone. Of course it didn't hurt - I've never felt contractions other than Braxton-Hicks, so I guess my brain didn't know how to fill in the blanks.

I have a feeling (perhaps a naive and optimistic one) that I won't have a lot of pain and my labour will go pretty quickly, but so quickly that neither my husband nor my midwife will have time to get here? It could happen, I suppose.

I never dream that I'm trying to escape while giving birth, even though this is one of my real-life fears. I've mentioned here before that I spend sleepless nights figuring out escape routes should we end up in the hospital.

I'm trying to figure out what to do with these thoughts. I don't think they are especially productive, but somehow I feel the need to Be Prepared for any eventuality. I think it's sabotaging my ability and my need to gestate in peace. I'm toying with the idea of writing a birth plan where we end up in the hospital. Then, I'll put it in a box on the top shelf of my closet and think no more about the hospital. I'll focus on birthing at home.

Yet, I wonder if I need to face my hospital fears. Is it healthy and productive to wrap them up and put them away? I'm just not sure.

In the mean time, I have to go turn down the radio before the Hippo gets woken up from his nap.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


This post is more for me than for you (I guess the rest of this blog is, too). I finally borrowed a copy of Birthing From Within by Pam England.

I've been feeling for some time that I had done all I could on paper to prepare for this birth. I interviewed and found a supportive midwife. I hired a doula. I'm getting regular chiropractic care and going for prophylactic acupuncture lest my blood pressure decided to creep up. I'm taking vitamins and eating more protein and vegetables. I'm eating less sugar and white flour/rice/pasta.

I mentally quarterback countless situations - I imagine myself giving birth in each room of my house; I plan what to say to a pushy nurse if I end up in the hospital; I wonder if the hospital bathrooms have locks on the doors so no one can force me into anything. I also try out different birthing positions - squatting, sitting, standing leaning on the stove and the counter.

I didn't do any of this imagining when pregnant with the Hippo. I'm not sure, but I think I was too scared that something would go haywire if I thought about it too much. Lo and behold, something did go haywire and I was woefully under-prepared. It's almost as though I knew throughout my pregnancy that I would end up with a c-section, even though I desperately didn't want one. I didn't know how to save myself and I depended on other people to save me. I didn't even depend on G-d to save me from my ignorance. I don't recall praying at all during that pregnancy, though I must have from time to time.

Here I am now trying to figure out how to will myself into a homebirth. I pray nearly every day that my baby be born healthy and vaginally here at home. As I mentioned above, on paper, I'm ready to go. I don't think I've consciously examined my fears, though. Fear is driving me at this point. I'm afraid:

* that I'll lose control and allow others to make decisions for me that I wouldn't have made for myself
* that I'll somehow fail physically
* that I'll disappoint myself and my husband (even though I know he would never be disappointed)
* that I'll disappoint my children ("my mom couldn't give birth - she had all her babies by c-section")
* that I'll never experience the primal experience of giving birth
* that I won't be able to cope if I have another c-section
* that I'll realize after the fact that any medical interventions were unnecessary

Most of my fears are related to losing control. I recently discussed with my husband that I want to wait to call the midwife until labour is well-established and I'm progressing (I'll do my own cervical checks assuming I can still reach...). This strikes me as dishonest and maybe the plan will become clearer as time goes on. Perhaps the midwife will only want a call to let her know I'm in labour and then I'll get to decide when to call her to come.

I can't remember if I already posted this and I'm too lazy to go look. A few months ago I dreamt that my water broke. I wasn't having any contractions and I started to panic that I would be put on the infamous 24-hour timeline. I decided to try pushing to see what happened. I reached down and felt just a lip of cervix over the baby's head. I pushed it back and my daughter fell out into my hands. I called for my husband - wherever we were it was just the two of us. I don't remember his reaction. I vaguely remember thinking - no one will believe me because no one was here to see it!

This was an important dream for me. I had contemplated asking my former midwife (the one of the pair that I like and respect - who was genuinely sad and sorry after the fact) to be the back-up midwife for my current mw (who doesn't have a set back-up). Then I realized that by "inviting" her to my birth, I was turning it into a show - a feat of strength. "See? I can do this and you didn't believe me."

I realized this was dangerous to what I wanted for my birth - a healthy baby, peace, and a vaginal delivery. The dream gave me this insight. It also helped nourish my inner hope that I'm secretly a birthing powerhouse - babies just fall out of me big and healthy and plump - if I'm left alone. I try to focus on this image. Nevertheless, I know it's important to recognize my fears and find a way through them. Odds are my baby won't just fall out like in the dream and I will experience at least some discomfort. Strangely, the pain doesn't phase me. Thank G-d I've never experienced severe pain so I have absolutely NO idea what I'm in for. That said, I have faith that my body was designed to give birth and can handle the pain involved.

Whew. I guess that's enough introspection for one night.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


One thing I left out of my previous post about my midwife visit last week was a remark she made at the end.

She told me, "As long as everything keeps going like this, you shouldn't have any problems. A smaller baby would be nice, though." The Hippo was 9 lbs. 8 oz. - lovely and chubby.

I can't let go of this. In reply, I looked her in the eye and said, "The baby will be whatever size it is."

In my view, this remark means that she's automatically thinks I'll have a larger baby because I'm overweight. The remark also implies that I should do something about it.

What about trusting that my body will create a baby that it can birth? What about the fact that I'm checking my blood sugar and my numbers are all fine, even after things like ice cream and cake (which I don't eat very often)?

I want to confront her and see if this really will be an issue for her. I don't want anyone coming to my birth who a) is afraid of shoulder dystocia or any other perceived complications of a "large" baby, b) doesn't know how to deal with shoulder dystocia should it arise (which it does even in babies who weigh 6 lbs!).

I talked to Soulmate about this and he's ok with us waiting to call her until I'm well into labour.

I've thought about finding another midwife, but I have no other options unless I want to use a traditional birth attendant (unregistered midwife). I don't feel comfortable doing this partly because my doula has made it clear she won't attend my birth if I don't use a registered attendant (midwife or doctor).

So, I WILL confront my midwife - I just have to figure out if I should do it now over the phone or wait until the end of May when I have my next appt.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

MW appt today

After a stressful sleep (Soulmate is out of town) where I dreamt that my blood pressure was high already at 20 weeks, I was relieved to find all was well at the midwife today. My MIL came along to entertain the Hippo (who was VERY watchful whenever anyone did anything to Mommy).

BP is 120/70
Babe's heartrate is 140ish
I'm still a pound down from my pre-preg weight (I'm tracking my own weight and reporting it to her)
My blood sugar is totally normal (now that I've figured out how to wash my hands properly...)

So, I'm off to climb into the bath. Hippo fell asleep right at 8. I'm hoping he's down for the night...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Situation normal all f-ed up...

No, not me. I'm on an email list and someone wrote a message complaining about doctors at a certain hospital who, when they arrive to find a woman labouring on her hands in knees, or squatting, or in some other unapproved position, remark, "Well, how am I supposed to deliver this baby if you're in that position?"

I thought up a great comeback lying in bed last night.

"Just make sure the baby doesn't hit the floor. If you can't do that, my husband will."

I'm not sure how I am in labour - I've never done it. My son was born by c-section after 12 hours of pitocin did exactly...nothing (except lower his heartrate).

HOWEVER, I suspect my true response from my true labour self (who's totally DONE being nice to ANYBODY at a hospital) would be:

"Fuck off. If you can't fucking catch a baby, get the hell out!"

Yeah. That's me.

Good thing I'm planning a homebirth.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Ok, I've known our doula for almost two years now. She knows the entire story of the Hippo's unnecesarean. She's seen me cry over some aspect of it dozens of times. She's a bit like the village wise woman and I have always felt respected in her presence.

We had our first formal doula-client meeting a few days ago and I was a little bothered. I was joking about how big my uterus was and that I was worried about the whole twins/HBAC dilemma I may face.

I also told her how I knew exactly where the baby was positioned when we first heard the heartbeat. She poopooed this a bit and said that just because the doppler was positioned about 4 inches to the left of my belly button, it didn't mean the baby was exactly there. Ok. I get that, but I *know* where the baby was.

Am I the only pregnant woman ever to figure out that your uterus gets hard during orgasm and it becomes absurdly easy to find the small lump of baby that's in there - even at 14 weeks?

I guess I should just stop talking about baby positioning unless I want to have to explain exactly how I know.

What bothers me more is the fact that she didn't trust me to know my own body. What's that all about?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Between You and Me

My fundus is now at least 3 cm above my belly button - this is since my visit to the midwife a week ago when my fundus was AT my belly button.

There is a definite baby head at the top, but there's something resembling a baby head about the length of my hand below the definite baby head. Logic says this could be the baby's bum, but:
1. the baby is only supposed to be 5 in long right now, I think (16 wks 3 days), and
2. their heads are so much bigger than their bums at this point that I really don't think it's a bum...

I've considered the possibility that our date are off, but here's the problem with that:
1. I had a definite period that started on Dec 6
2. I was charting my temp and had a definite ovulation spike on Dec 20 (plus my temps before then had been my normal pre-ov temps).

So, I'm now seriously considering the possibility that it's twins. Here's the problem: my midwife is not legally allowed to deliver twins. I desperately don't want to deliver in the hospital, and I'm nervous about using a "traditional birth attendant" (unlicensed midwife). My doula of choice won't attend a birth with a traditional birth attendant and I'm not sure I'm comfortable with that scenario, either. I guess I'm not as ballsy as I had thought.

The option left to me is to play dumb, I guess. My midwife likely won't look for twins and I can refuse an ultrasound if she's bound by the College of Midwives' Scope of Practice regulations to ask for one. Then, assuming all is well, it would be "Oops, it's twins!" when two babies come out. I likely would know before then since I seem to be pretty good at telling what position the baby is in (I knew for sure with Hippo that he was left occipito-something - turns out it was occipitotransverse - which would be why he hadn't yet dropped into my pelvis).

The suspense is driving crazy. What would you do in my position?

Friday, March 28, 2008


I've been feeling very emotional the past few weeks. I cry at news stories at the drop of a hat. I know this is fairly cliche for pregnancy, but being this emotional made it hard the other day for me to make yet another round of calls trying to find a home for Natasha, our lab-pointer mix who nipped my son last week.

Natasha is sweet in the right environment, but she's been on a reign of terror since DH and I married and moved in together two years ago. In the first year, she nearly killed Soulmate (my DH)'s dog, Ceilidh - a much smaller dog than Natasha, several times. Then, DS (let's call him Hippo) came along. With Hippo's arrival, Natasha began pooping in the house with regularity. It's not that she would ask and we would ignore her (though admittedly we sometimes would). She would stand up, look us in the eye, and poop on the floor right in front of us with no warning. Yeah.

When Hippo started to walk, she upped the ante and started peeing on the floor as well. If Hippo comes within 4 feet of her, she growls. We'd been looking for a new home for her since Hippo was 3 mo old. When he started walking, we decided it was time to really, seriously try to rehome Natasha.

We hired a company called Last Chance Dog Rehoming. We paid them $60 for an initial evaluation where we were told we'd receive advice on how to cope with her until she left. The advice: don't let her near the baby. Uh, no shit. Then we paid them $100 to write an ad to be posted on the local pet adoption websites. The ad was a joke. They referred to her horrible home several times in the posting. Now, I'll admit I'm not a great dog mama at this stage in my life - it's all I can do to be an adequate mama to Hippo - but Natasha is fed, taken out, walked on occasion, and has a host of comfy couches to sleep on. She could use more exercise, but she's hardly abused. I emailed and asked them to take out the references to her home life. They did, but they didn't get why I was mad.

Fast forward to last week. Hippo was marauding about the house and I thought I had a handle on the situation, but he got too close to Natasha too fast and she snapped at him. I don't believe she intended to bite him, but her teeth connected with him when she snapped causing a minor scrape. Still, a bite is a bite and I called Last Chance and anyone else I could think of to help us find her a new home with no kids. Last Chance said, "Sorry, we don't have any foster homes right now." Remember we are paying these people and we've offered to pay for food and vet expenses while she's being fostered.

So, I emailed everyone I know again. Soulmate placed ads in the local online marketplaces. I called some more rescues in town. Finally, someone suggested the SPCA. They said that they had the same kind of problem with their dog when their daughter was born and the SPCA was able to find a home for the dog within a day. I called and must've talked to the bitchiest employee there. This is where the emotion comes in. The woman flat out didn't listen to me. She wouldn't let me finish telling her about Natasha and her needs. She just said, "I've heard enough." and told me I was cruel to think of rehoming her and just delaying the inevitable - putting her down. She said that if I "took the easy way out and pawned her off on someone else" that person would end up having to put her down. I lost it and was sobbing at this point. I ended up hanging up on her because the conversation was pointless.

In the mean time, I felt backed up against a wall. I didn't want to put her down, but she'd not safe around my child and I can't have her in my house. I called the vet and told them I was thinking of putting her down. After they established that I had already talked to all the rescues in town, they told me to bring her in for a physical assessment by the doctor. In the meantime, they would see if they could help out at all.

About an hour later I received a call from Last Chance. They had heard that I had an appointment to put Natasha down and were upset by this. I explained the situation - that I was taking Natasha in for a physical assessment and that, yes, I had talked to the receptionist at the vet about putting her down. Miraculously, Last Chance now thought they had a foster home available. I was sobbing throughout this conversation as well. I knew I couldn't put Natasha down myself - I'd have to have Soulmate or his dad take her if it came to that.

Nevertheless, I took Natasha to the vet that afternoon with a lighter heart - hoping that this was the light at the end of the tunnel. The vet found her delightful. We updated her vaccines and he said he understood why we were rehoming her and that he thought we'd find a place. She wasn't a lost cause. While we were there, Last Chance called the vet to make sure we weren't putting her down. They assured the receptionist they would have a foster home within a few days.

That was Tuesday. It's Friday now. I emailed Last Chance Tuesday night to tell them what the vet had said. I haven't heard from them. I emailed them again this morning. We'll see if they get back to me.

I honestly don't know what to do. I feel like I'm stuck at the bottom of a well and yelling. I can see people walking by, but they aren't responding to me. I don't want to put her down, but I feel backed against a wall. No one will take her and I can't keep her. What's left? I can't abandon her to a shelter - she'll be completely unadoptable if she's in a cage all day (I know this about her as she came to me initially as my foster dog years ago). They'll end up having to put her down anyway. It seems less cruel to me to do it while she still lives with us.

The thought makes me sick.


So I'm feeling lots of stretching in my lower abdomen these days. It seems baby decided to leave his/her little corner of my uterus (upper left) and settle more in the middle. I can feel her position any time my uterus contracts (Braxton-Hicks-style). Maybe I'll finally start to look pregnant. By this time with DS, I already looked like I had a tidy little baby bump. But that was back when I had some stomach muscles. A few weeks agao my muscles gave up the ghost and stretched out to where they were when I was 6 mo pregnant with DS. Now, it looks like I just had a big lunch because these muscles are all floppy with no baby behind them. Nevertheless, I've had to bust out the maternity tops because they are the only thing that cover my jiggling abdomen. Good times.

In other good news, my fasting blood sugar numbers have gotten WAY better. They were rarely ever above the GD cut-off (5.0-5.3 m/mol) anyway, but now they are fab-u-lous (today's was 3.6 m/mol). I rock. Not sure why the change, but I suspect one of two things:
1. I've always washed my hands before testing, but I've been paying more attention the past few days to specifically scrubbing the sides of my fingers.
2. I started taking my prenatals again after having had the flu for several weeks (they make me somewhat nauseous and I just couldn't handle any more nausea after not eating for 5 days, barely eating for 10, and losing 5 lbs). Along with the prenatals, I'm taking a vitamin protocol recommended by my husband and his TCM colleagues to help regulate blood sugar (cinnamon, calcium magnesium, zinc citrate and chromium something-or-other).

Whatever's going on, I guess it's working.

Monday, March 24, 2008

15 wks 4 days - GD, fundus, milk:(

I've mentioned this before, but I've been taking my blood sugar throughout this pregnancy ever since they threw the "gestational diabetes" diagnosis at me retroactively for daring to have a 9.5 lb baby. There was not a shred of lab evidence to support this since I refused the GD screening. A random glucose taken 4 days before my son's birth was 4.0 mmol/l (corresponds to 72 whatever-measurements-they-use-in-the-US). Yeah. I totally had GD. Not. AND I didn't consent to them taking a random blood glucose (and was never asked).

Anyway, I conducted my own little glucose tolerance test today just to see. I woke up at 5 am and there was chocolate cake with frosting leftover from the weekend. So, I had a generous slice and a glass of milk to wash it all down. I even crawled back into bed to wait to take the readings at 1 hr post-cake and 2 hrs post-cake (I've heard that they often make you lie down after taking the regular GTT). I passed with flying colours.

That said, due to the illnesses, I've been eating complete crap and found myself craving leafy greens shortly after my cake escapades this morning. For lunch, I'm proud to say I made salmon salad with chopped cucumber and tomato. It was delicious.

I'm also at the point in pregnancy where my digestion really slows down. I ate a normal-sized grilled cheese and tomato sandwich for supper last night and it took HOURS to digest. It felt like a rock in my stomach all night. So, for my own comfort I really need to watch my portions and make sure I'm getting extra water.

In other news, my fundus is at my navel. I'm only 15 weeks. The midwife didn't seem to flinch at this, but neither did she keep the doppler out after we very quickly found the baby's heartbeat on Thursday (i.e. she didn't try to look for twins). Smart lady. We're refusing ultrasounds unless a very compelling reason comes up (more compelling than possible twins). I got some reassurance from my best friends on the ICAN list that a fundus at the navel this early in a 2nd pregnancy isn't anything to even think twice about.

Sadly, my milk seems to be drying up. Usually I can get it to squirt across the room if I try to express, now, I'm lucky to get one or two big white drops. Eating oatmeal has been recommended to me (did that today) along with Motherlove's Mother's Milk Two for moms nursing while pregnant. DS hasn't yet started to complain, but he's not staying at the boob quite as long as he used to. I'm determined to do what I can to keep my supply. Any suggestions are eagerly appreciated.

Monday, March 17, 2008

I'm better, at least

So I didn't fully recover until this past Thursday. I can't recall a time in my life when I've been actively sick for over a week. At least ds didn't get it. DH did and is recovering.

So, my uterus is well on its way toward my belly button. I'm assuming that it's normal for it to grow a little faster in a second pregnancy... The other thing that worries me is that the baby is all on one side near the top of my uterus. I've been able to feel her (no, we don't know the sex) move periodically. At least I know that my placenta is well-away from my scar. But why isn't she taking advantage of her space while she has it?

I see the midwife again this week - my pregnant self lost the appointment slip, so I have to call.

All is well.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The flu that wouldn't leave

It began over a week ago. My poor ds refusing lunch and then throwing up over both of us when I tried to take him out of his carseat. No sooner had he recovered than I succumbed. It wasn't horrible. A day of nausea with only one trip driving the porcelain bus followed by 4-5 days of general fatigue (worse than my usual pregnancy fatigue).

I'm not the kind of person who gets sick. I can count on two fingers the amount of times I've thrown up from illness in the past 15 years.

Yet, on Friday (two days ago - a mere 6 days after my bout with the "flu"), my throat began to tickle. I felt fine otherwise, so I ignored it. Yesterday, I had no appetite and felt achy and exhausted all day. DH played with ds in the afternoon so I could lie down. I spent 1.5 hours dutifully in bed with my eyes closed. No sleep.

I forced myself to eat some chickpea salad when I woke up wondering if I was in desperate need of proper (read: vegetables and protein) food. I did feel better for about 3 hours, but the throat tickle had turned into a full-blown cough and a slight fever.

Last night, I finally managed to fall asleep around 11:30 (I started trying at 10:30). Then, I woke up at 3:30 to pee and I haven't been able to get back to sleep since.

The exacerbating circumstance is this: I've been waking up this early every morning for the past two weeks. If it's not up to pee, it's up from a nightmare of the family-members-losing-limbs variety. In the end of my pregnancy with ds, I would wake up every morning before 5. I didn't set an alarm, it just happened. I didn't have to be up, I just woke up. I would eventually get back to sleep around 6:30-7:00 and sleep as long as I needed. Now, I have a baby who sleeps really well, but often wakes by 8:00. If I can manage to get back to sleep, I'm lucky if I make up 30 minutes.


I just want to sleep. I want sleep to be easy and pleasant. So, now I'm sipping herbal tea with honey and hoping that when I crawl back into bed, sleep comes quickly and completely. I can't take another 6 months of 5 hours/night.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Put that in your "big baby" pipe and smoke it!

Doctors love to pull the "big baby" card these days. Frequently, the mother gets pinned with gestational diabetes whether or not she passed the glucose tolerance test (GTT) if her baby is more than about 8.5 lbs. Some doctors even go so far as to recommend a c/s even in first-time moms or moms who've delivered vaginally before if they suspect a "big baby". Here's the fly in that ointment:

J Obstet Gynaecol. 2007 May;27(4):374- 8. Recurrence of fetal macrosomia in
non-diabetic pregnancies.

Walsh CA, Mahony RT, Foley ME, Daly L, O'Herlihy C.
National Maternity Hospital Dublin, Ireland.

Fetal macrosomia (birth weight >/=4,500 g) is known to increase a number of
adverse maternal and perinatal outcomes. Although there is a clear
association between maternal diabetes mellitus and fetal macrosomia, the
majority of macrosomic infants are born to non-diabetic mothers. We wished
to determine the recurrence rate of macrosomia in non-diabetic pregnancy and
to see if a history of multiple prior macrosomic infants confers additional

A retrospective analysis of 14,461 term, singleton, infants born to
non-diabetic mothers in 1997 and 1998 was performed, using a computerised
hospital database. Among 14,461 term pregnancies, 529 infants (3.7%) were
macrosomic, and the incidence was significantly higher in parous women
(4.6%) compared with nulliparas (2.4%, p < 0.0001).

Over the next 5 years, 164 of these women returned for another delivery.
Women with a history of one macrosomic infant are at significantly increased
risk of another macrosomic infant in a subsequent pregnancy (OR 15.8, 95% CI
11.45 - 21.91, p < 0.0001). For women with two or more macrosomic infants,
the risk is even greater (OR 47.4, 95% CI 19.9 - 112.89, p < 0.0001).
Macrosomia was associated with increased rates of instrumental delivery and
anal sphincter injury regardless of parity, and additionally with increased
rates of caesarean delivery and shoulder dystocia among nulliparas.

Overall, 88% of women who laboured with a macrosomic infant achieved vaginal

Hmm. 88% of women achieved vaginal delivery. Sounds perfectly sensible to me and well within the WHO guidelines that c/s is necessary in 10-15% of births.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

One more since I'm on a roll

For my third post of the night: I came across this little study on PubMed entitled "Suspected macrosomia? Better not tell."

Now, I have only seen the abstract (reprinted here for your viewing pleasure) and the study was small, but there's at least one real gem right in the conclusion:

Sadeh-Mestechkin D, Walfisch A, Shachar R, Shoham-Vardi I, Vardi H, Hallak M.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Soroka University Medical Center, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel,

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the management policy of delivery in a suspected macrosomic fetus and to describe the outcome of this policy.

STUDY DESIGN: For this prospective observational study we followed the management by reviewing the medical records of 145 women and their infants. The study population included women at term admitted to the obstetrics department with suspected macrosomic infants, as was diagnosed by an obstetrician and/or by fetal sonographic weight estimation of >/=4,000 g. The comparison group (n = 5,943) consisted of all women who gave birth during the data collection period.

RESULTS: Induction of labor and cesarean delivery rates in the macrosomic pregnancies (actual birth weight >4,000 g) of the study group were significantly higher when compared with the macrosomic pregnancies of the comparison group. When comparing the non-macrosomic to the macrosomic pregnancies (actual birth weight 4,000 g) of the study group no significant difference was demonstrated regarding maternal or infant complications. The sensitivity, specificity and positive predictive value of the methods used for detecting macrosomia were 21.6, 98.6 and 43.5%, respectively.

CONCLUSION: Our ability to predict macrosomia is poor. Our management policy of suspected macrosomic pregnancies raises induction of labor and cesarean delivery rates without improving maternal or fetal outcome.

It speaks for itself.

Finally a heartbeat

It was a beautiful sound. Today, at 12 weeks and 5 days, we heard the heartbeat of our second child. DH teared up and I only didn't because I was trying to keep our first child from biting my nipple.

It's finally real. I've gone through days over the past few weeks where I've thought I really wasn't pregnant - that maybe I was one of those women who convince themselves that they're pregnant until their bodies start to show the signs. Heck, I'm even showing already (more from my muscles' pregnancy recall than the baby, but I'll take what I can get).

So, it's real. I'm here. I told my parents. Dad was a bit of a trip. I may have to only speak to him through my stepmom for the duration of the pregnancy. He doesn't believe I've done my research or that I know what I am choosing. Oh well, I can't let that add to my stress.

Anyway, I'm back.

The real question: how do you have two nursing kids in a family bed without rolling over constantly? I'm contemplating night-weaning ds, but I think I need another month or two (or three).


If you're out there and still reading, Liza (who commented on my last post - yay comments!), I'm sorry for being such a loser and not updating my blog. I'm about to write a post about just that. In the mean time, I'll answer your questions.

Re: *knowing* you found the right midwife - I thought I had the right one the first time, too. Turns out she was way too afraid of the OBs at the hospital. She would've shaved me and prepped me for surgery herself if she thought it would make them happy.

Before getting pregnant, I studied VBACs. Seriously. I lived on the ICAN yahoo group and read the research. I learned how to use PubMed so I could find studies/evidence on my own.

Then, I went looking for a midwife. I interviewed 4 and all gave me the feeling that I would end up in the hospital (and probably not progressing due to the stressful environment). They were afraid of failure more than I was. When I met my current midwife, she listened to my story and said, "Oh! So you'll be just like a first time mom giving birth!" That was all I needed to hear. No trying to convince me that I'd end up with high blood pressure again. No telling me that she doesn't attend HBACs because "HBAC moms don't go to the hospital when the midwife tells them to" (all real life things I got from one midwife I interviewed). I grilled her and made sure she knew I'd done my homework. We spent a good 30 minutes after my appointment discussing why the c/s rate is so high in our city.

So, that's how I knew. I also kept/am keeping an open mind. I can change providers at will if I get uncomfortable with her for any reason. I suspect this won't happen because we've already had several frank and honest discussions. I showed her my cards and she showed me hers. Time will tell if we're the right pair.

Now, as for scheduling at 39 weeks. *Most* women will not go into labour on their own by 39 weeks. Often, I've heard of providers telling women they can VBAC as long as they go into labour by their due date (40 weeks). Gee, uh, thanks. I don't have the study to hand, but I do recall reading that most Caucasian women gestate beyond 40 weeks. It's known on the ICAN list as "the old bait and switch". Doc says, "Sure you can have a VBAC! I love VBACs! Then, at 36 weeks, Doc says, "Baby's getting awfully big. You better have an ultrasound before we let you grow this monster any bigger. You better go into labour soon, or baby just won't fit." Then, at 37 weeks, we should use pelvimetry (see ICAN website on CPD for references to why pelvimetry is complete bullshit) to see if your pelvis is big enough."

Bait and switch. Mom ends up with a c/s unless she has some major guts and can outrun this knife-wielding, fear-mongering physician.

But, this doesn't answer your question. Why schedule? Why not wait for labour if you're bound and determined to have a c/s? Baby will be more likely to be fully developed (i.e. lungs will function properly) and there's evidence, I believe, that shows that the oxytocin mom and baby share during labour provide some benefits after birth (you'd have to address that question specifically to the ICAN list).

Why 39 weeks? Are they afraid you'll explode if you gestate to, say, 40 weeks and 5 days?

Ok, I'm one person trying to represent the thousands of women on the ICAN list. I recommend you post your two questions (or at least the one about why 39 weeks?) to the list and watch the replies flood in. Go to Yahoo Groups and search for ICAN. Subscribe. It's like entering a whole other world where the birth process is celebrated - not feared.

My wish for you, dear Liza, dear Liza? That you change midwives - fast. FTP is no reason not to VBAC. There's a TON of preparation you can do to make sure your baby is in the right position, that your uterus is toned, and that you're limber and can move into different positions easily. Beyond that, I wish for you that you will go on to experience a glorious birth in spite of all the naysaying you've heard expressed by your care providers. You CAN do it!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

10 weeks today

We've made it to 10 weeks. My skirts are just starting to get snug in my lower belly. I haven't gained any weight (I think I have enough to begin with!) and my blood sugar is looking fab. I've really noticed that I feel much better having increased the amount of vegetables in my diet. I find myself craving them now. I'm also eating more fruit quite happily.

I've been having trouble getting excited about meat, though. I have just enough nausea that having to come up with a meat dish for supper makes my head hurt. My poor DH has to come up with the supper ideas and often even cook them himself :(

I'm still pretty fatigued. Have a hard time getting my a$$ off the couch some days. My DS who is 14 months plays quite nicely on his own and the idea of doing housework also makes my head hurt. Guess I'm a little lazy. I've succumbed to the wet, coolish weather (40s) we have here and haven't really been dressing appropriately (no socks, for one) which makes going outside miserable. I know, I know. Suck it up. Put on some leggings and the boots and get outside! DS SOOO loves to be outside.

This blog is listed at Babes in Blogland and I was surfing the other Sept 2008 blogs. One mama is trying to decide whether or not to have a VBAC. Her medwife already told her she wasn't a good candidate due to FTP. Ugh and double ugh. I just can't go there right now. I can't read about women scheduling c-sections at 39 weeks. I just can't. She'll somehow have to make it through without my advice. Unless I cave.

we have our next m/w appt on Tuesday. I'm crossing my fingers that we'll hear the heartbeat with the Doppler, but I'm petrified that we won't since it's a drop early.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

New Midwife

I was told that when I found the right midwife I would just *know*. I didn't really believe anyone who told me that, but now I see they were right. It wasn't until after we'd left the office that I realized a tremendous weight of fear had been lifted from my shoulders. I no longer felt that this baby was going to be born in the hospital. The odds of him being born at home went up a huge amount.

I'll call her M. She was understanding, compassionate, knowledgeable, and proactive. She gave me names of a chiropractor and an acupuncturist. She agreed that I probably didn't have pre-eclampsia last time - just hypertension. Unfortunately, unlike pre-e, PIH can repeat in subsequent pregnancies. She suggested ongoing acupuncture in addition to Brewer's Diet.

M also suggested chiro care and yoga to strengthen my core and align my pelvis in case it's gotten wonky from years of sedentary lifestyle (my description, not hers).

She even said that, should I "risk out" of homebirth in the end, I could likely stay at home to labour as long as possible and if the baby was born at home, so be it.

I told her that I was so afraid of be treated like crap in the hospital that if I showed up before I was 8-9 cm dilated, I knew my labour would stall. I also told her that the only place I could see myself comfortably labouring in the hospital was if I locked myself in the bathroom. She got it.

I feel like my chances of having this baby at home have gone up from about 15% to about 80%.

In other news, we've hired a very experienced doula, E. I've known her for over a year. She knows the whole story surrounding Hippo's birth (my 13 mo old ds) and how much I want to avoid another c-section.

I'm thinking of actually writing a birth plan this time with the idea that, if I have a clear focus on what I want to happen, the likelihood of it happening the way I want will go up. Make sense? Maybe not. But it can't hurt to articulate what I really, really want.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Change in Plans?

So, we're back to the drawing board with choosing a midwife. The midwife I spoke to last week was very nice and open, but I can't shake the feeling that she was less-than-enthusiastic about a HBAC. I only want to set foot in that hospital if I absolutely have to for a medical reason.

I called the last 3 midwives on my list this morning and am still waiting to hear back from 2 of them. One, with whom I'll meet next week, listened to the brief synopsis of my first birth and responded, "Oh, then you'll be just like someone with a first vaginal birth!"

To sum up: I was induced at 37 weeks and 4 days for PIH - pregnancy induced hypertension - the induction failed. I never went into labour and was sectioned because they kept hyping on about how the baby was "so big" (my son was 9 lbs. 8 oz when he was born).

In other news, the nausea arrived right on time. I thought I remembered it starting at 6 weeks with my son and I'm six weeks today with this pregnancy. It's annoying, yet comforting - I wasn't really having any other pregnancy "symptoms" (didn't have any last time, either). I'm off to choke down my salmon salad in my constant quest for protein.

Monday, January 14, 2008

5 weeks 4 days

I think I have a midwife. I spoke at length to her partner on the phone. She is coming tomorrow for an interview.

I spent time last week working out why I was having anxiety attacks whenever I thought about/interviewed a midwife. Turns out I had some unresolved issues with trusting them. I thought that wouldn't be an issue - I'm pretty much going to take care of myself this pregnancy - but I was wrong. I still need to be able to trust that the advice they give me is based on honesty and medical fact - not fear for their career.

I'll post again after the interview tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

13 DPO

I started having just the barest hint of nausea this morning while standing in line at Starbucks. I had forgotten what pregnancy nausea was like for me - not real puking-my-guts-out nausea, just a feeling that I'm so NOT hungry. Only had it for 6ish weeks last time and I think it started around Week 6.

Called both midwifery practices - one called back already to get my info. They will call tomorrow to schedule an appointment.

I have been feeling a certain amount of fear the past day or so. This morning I was walking my son to a storytime and I realized that being fearful will get me nowhere. I have to approach this birth with confidence. I have to see it happening. I've even already picked out a spot in the house, I think.

More later.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A Little Bit Pregnant

Yep. Yesterday at 11DPO I got a very faint line on a cheapo grocery store test. I wasn't convinced that it was a positive - thought it might be one of the infamous evaporation lines. Showed it to Soulmate and he thought the line looked pink (evap lines are reputedly gray). Off we went to buy an expensive First Response Early Results. Within 90 seconds of peeing on the test, I saw a faint positive!

I did buy a two-pack, so I'll use the second one on Friday just to confirm (15 DPO).

I'm so excited. With my first, I never had the what-have-I-done feeling. We wanted him so badly. We want this baby badly, too. But, my life is perfect now, right? Wonderful hubby. Fabulous toddler. What more do we need? I'm so excited to see how this baby will help us improve on perfection.

This baby will also be, G-d willing, my HBAC (homebirth after cesarean) baby. I planned a homebirth with AY (my 12 month old son), but we jumped the rails in crazy fashion around 37 weeks and I ended up with an unnecesarian at 38 weeks due to PIH ( pregnancy induced hypertension) and doctors who were looking to cross me off their Xmas list (I was due Dec 24).

This time around I'm eating better (lots of protein, leafy greens, and whole grains as per Dr. Brewer). I'm exercising more. I'm choosing new midwives. I'm going to get chiropractic care and possibly massage therapy (AY never "dropped" into my pelvis and I wonder if my pelvis is out of whack from years of sedentary lifestyle). I'm taking my vitamins. Most importantly, I'm visualizing what it will be like to feel the baby drop into my pelvis and what it will feel like to push the baby out.

Stay tuned for more exciting adventures on Canadian HBAC!