Thursday, May 26, 2011

Birthing Story - labor

Ready for a little bit more of my birthing story? I know you've been on the edge of your seat waiting...

Before I continue, let me tell you about a funny little detail of our arrival at the Farm that I just remembered. At my last prenatal visit, Pamela had given me the clicker to open the front gate just in case we needed to get in after hours. Haha, little did we know we'd be using it so soon! When we arrived at the front gate, I extracted the clicker and clicked. Nothing. Clicked again. Nothing. I started to panic a little. I made some calls and it was arranged that Pamela's husband would meet us at the gate and let us in. Stupid clicker!

So, sleep was quiet elusive the night that we arrived at the Farm, understandably so. After all, our baby was going to be born sometime the very next day. We woke up to a beautiful day. The temperature was mild. The sun was shining. The birds were singing. A good day for birthing a baby, if I do say so myself. Labor was still mild. Really no pain or even discomfort. I was having trouble telling if I was having a contraction, so under the circumstances, breakfast seemed to be a good idea. Best I remember, I ate yogurt and strawberries. Stacey came mid-morning and said that if my contractions weren't coming pretty regularly soon, we'd need to start some natural herbals to get them going. There was something of a time crunch since my water had broken. I had 24 hours after it breaking to get that baby out before the midwives started talking hospital transport. hospitals!

A few hours later and still no contractions, Stacey started me on a regiment of castor oil and blue cohash. I was to take both every half hour. My sister set her iPhone alarm to remind us and I diligently took the nasty stuff. The castor oil was not so bad, thick, but tasteless, especially in a little orange juice. But the blue cohosh tasted like dirt. Worse that earthworms that had eaten dirt. It was so bad, I made my sister and my husband taste it too, just so they knew the extent of the gross. But the stuff worked. Contractions started to be more regular.

We still had plenty of time. We took a leisurely stroll around the Farm grounds and enjoyed the afternoon. We played some Settlers of Catan, although I lost every game . Something about being preoccupied. We had sandwiches and chips and grapes. I can't even imagine the cruelty of withholding food from a woman in labor!

Next installment - active labor!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Being cute keeps me out of jams

I know you guys are waiting on the edge of your seat waiting for the next installment of my birthing's a good one, isn't it...and I will write more...even the whole thing. But right now, I've got a molar teething, walking learning toddler on my hands. You've been there...many of you. Clingy babe, put me down, pick me up, sleepless nights, tears, clumsy head bonking on the corners of drawers that have yet to be childproofed because two days ago they were safe. Wow! I tell you what, wow! Parenting is hard stuff. I love my little bug so fiercely it hurts, but sometimes I just have to quote her jammies, "being cute keeps me out of jams."

So please continue staying tuned for my birthing story...and feel free to ask questions. I know, it's a little different.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Birthing Story: Why midwives?

It occurred to me as I thought about how I've presented my story thus far, that I completely left out how I came to the decision to birth with midwives rather than in a hospital with a MD. You may or may not be interested, but it's part of the story nonetheless. Sorry you're getting the disjointed version! You can read it in order when I publish my book.

I began my prenatal care in Cheyenne, WY with a phone call to a random OB/GYN. I asked the nurse at the office if there was anything in particular that needed to happen before we started trying to conceive. I called the same OB/GYN when my pregnancy test came up positive (all 5 of them!) and scheduled an appointment to come in. It was then that I remembered my intense fear of MDs and medical anythings of all kinds. A deep-rooted fear. A fear so deep, that I actually had thought about NOT having kids because of the thought of having to go to the hospital. I mean, an Ativan sort of anxiety.

True to the overachiever/scholar in me, I began researching birthing options. I stumbled across Ina May's Guide to Natural Childbirth and immediately bought it. I didn't have to read much of it to realize that birthing at a birthing center with midwives was a really good option for me. I ran it by David and he was on board with it. I found a birthing center outside Denver and made an appointment. The birthing center was nice, the midwife, Laura, was darling...I was prepared to continue all of my prenatal care and ultimately deliver there.

And then life threw a HUGE curve ball that included dual unemployment, a move to TN, and moving in with my parents for what we thought would be no more than 3 months (ended up being 15 months! So go ahead...ask me about the economy and how to survive!) I scrambled to find a birthing center with which to continue my prenatal care and realized that I was a short 1.5 hours away from The Farm, the very midwifery center established by Ina May Gaskin and her fellow midwife cronies. I made a phone call. Spoke with Pamela Hunt, one of the original midwives in "The Caravan," and discussed my situation. Pamela and her daughter-in-law Stacy were to become some of my most trusted friends during my pregnancy, depending on them to support me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Oh, the tears and hugs that were exchanged during my care! So I found myself having my records from Denver being sent to The Farm. When I called Denver, the midwife exclaimed, "You're delivering at the Farm! You have to let us know how it goes!" I didn't realize how famous it was - yet!

So, to recap - I chose midwives and ultimately a home birth because I am terrified of hospitals and medical procedures, I was pregnant, not dying!, and I loved the option to make decisions based on what fit us as a family and me as a woman.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Birthing Story continued

This is the Farm RD, what you see when you first drive in to the Farm.
I'm sorry this is going to take me forever. So be patient please! My mother suggested that I explain a little bit more WHY is was such a big deal that my boxes and bags were not packed for the Bug's delivery. Again, we birthed at the Farm with the Farm midwives. Several months before my due date, Pamela and Stacey gave me a list of supplies to gather and bring with us when the time came. I'm kicking myself for getting rid of the list, but allow me to list what I can from memory:

sheets - 2 sets (one set should be ones you don't mind throwing away when you're done - and we did throw ours away!)
toilet paper
paper towels
gauze pads
underpads (you know, the big ones that go on the bed)
peri bottle
cotton balls
trash bags (lawn and leaf)
container (with lid) for the placenta (What!?)

And of course all the normal stuff:
clothes for us
clothes for babe
hiking shoes
(no joke, those were on the list)

I know I'm forgetting some, but you get the gist.
Okay, you may be asking, "Why did you have to bring all that?"

This is the cabin where I delivered my daughter. Yep, no medical supplies.

The Farm is not a medical facility. They do not provide the medical supplies. When it came time to deliver, Stacey came with her midwife kit (More on that later) and that's it. We had to pack out all of our waste and dispose of the placenta (also more on that to come). It was imperative that I bring all of it or, I don't know, I guess I'd still be pregnant! Fortunately, most of the medical stuffs WERE packed. You know what I didn't have? The baby's bag! Mom packed up some little ditties that worked temporarily. Haha, and once I got to the Farm, I realized that my suitcase was packed with underwire bras! Really! Who wears those after delivering!

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Toddler This Week

How many of you get these emails from Baby Center? My email popped up in my inbox today and said
Your 1-year-old followed by my toddler this week
Tears - literally. I started crying. No more messages saying my baby this week. Am I ready for this?

But my intention for this post was to start telling my birthing story. I had grand plans to write and publish a whole book on the subject, but someone overestimated the amount of free time she would have in the coming weeks years!

My birthing story is a little different and may be inspiring to you or it may totally freak you out. You'll have to let me know.

Last year, April 18th was on a Sunday. I was 38 weeks pregnant. I remember vividly walking into church at 8:15 am and joining the praise team. Lisa looked at me and said, "You look so ready to have that baby." Well, yeah! I can't breathe, she's sitting on my sciatic nerve, nothing's comfortable. You know the drill. But I was not due for another 2 weeks and seeing as it was my first babe AND the midwife had said I would probably be overdue, I wasn't expecting the Bug to come for at least 4 more weeks. The thought was excruciating.

My sister and niece were in town. We went to the park where I played like a child - going down the slide, trying to pull myself across the monkey bars, swinging. Those poor people who had to look at the HUGELY pregnant woman! After the sister and niece left, I decided to take an epsom salt bath because I was feeling sore and swollen. The midwife said I could take as many epsom salt baths as I wanted. It was nice despite the beached whale feeling! I went to bed early (7:30 pm or so) as had become the norm. I woke up around 9 pm to use the bathroom (also the norm!) and hmmm...that's different...lots of water. I called for David and told him that I thought my water had broken and to call the midwife. I was shaking too badly to try to maneuver a phone. David explained the situation to Pamela, the midwife, and she said to get in the car and get down there ASAP.

Okay, so "down there" was The Farm in Summertown, TN. We were delivering with the Farm midwives, renowned for there expertise in all things baby-bearing. "Down there" was 1.5 hours away! This was NOT the plan. I wasn't done packing the boxes for our extended stay in our cabin in the woods. (We were staying for at least a week.) Our cabin wasn't even going to be ready for another 2 weeks! Where would they put us? We have to drive while I'm in labor? I was freaking out a little!

I called to my mother, who was in her room, "Mom, I need a little help." She came out fully expecting to help me bend down to pick something up or make a cup of tea, something "normal." I said, "My water just broke and I need a little help packing." Haha! She sprung into action, grabbing the list of things that needed to come with us and packing a suitcase for us. David's still on the phone with Pamela who's now telling him that we need to get in the car NOW and start driving. We decided that Mom could bring anything else we needed when she came later. We got in the car.

Now the good news was I was NOT having contractions of any significance yet, so the drive was not painful or scary, but really exciting. David and I chatted all the way down about what was to come. I mean, we were giddy! I called my sister - remember, the one who had just left to drive back to her home 3 hours away! - and told her that I was in labor. She had been planning on being there for the birth. She quick packed up and bag, turned around, and headed for Summertown. What a good sister!

This was our cabin
We made it to The Farm by about 11:45 pm and Pamela showed us the little cabin that we were going to have our little Bug in. It was her cabin just a few steps away from the door to her own house! We got settled in, waited for the sister (who got there around 2 am, I think) and tried to get some sleep!

Stay tuned for the next installment. It gets good - I promise.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

First Birthday Alert!

Hello my dear blog followers,

I must admit Undercover Month wore me out a little and I had to take a little break from blogging. I really have a new respect for you guys who put out blog posts every day! How do you do it?

Some things have been running through my brain recently. One big one is the Bug's first birthday. Many of you have reached this milestone already with your little ones. Some of you haven't. It's a first for me since she's my first child. I know people told me and continue to tell me how fast time goes and I shrugged and smiled. But time really does fly! I can't believe that my "tiny child" turns ONE next week! How is that possible? I talked to my attending midwife yesterday on the phone and we marveled at how it both seemed so long ago and just yesterday that The Bug made her appearance in the world.

I'm planning a "party" for her. Of course, it's more for the adults than for LB and a chance for the Hubs to showcase his first home brew! But I'm excited. Stay tuned for really adorable pictures of a newly one year old in her first tutu! In the meantime, any of you have a good recipe for a one year old's first cake? I'm looking for something with natural sugar, fruit, gluten free if possible. I think she would enjoy this based on her new found love for broccoli!

What did you do for your babe's first birthday?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Earth Day: Grandma

Getting geared up for my Earth Day event. Come on out and join - Saturday, 4/16 from 1-2 or Friday, 4/22 from 6-7 - and learn how to make your home (and the planet) a healthier and safer place for you and your family.

Shaklee Videos: Earth Day: Grandma