03/3/14
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Zoe’s birth story

Monday afternoon, 6 days past my due date, we went in for what happened to be our final pre-natal appointment. Being on the cusp of 41 weeks my midwife wanted to check my cervix for the first time and sweep my membrane to hopefully avoid having to induce a week later. I had a good check – was 2-3cm dilated, 80-90% effaced and she was head down + super low. When we left I was already beginning to feel crampy and having more contractions. That evening I took it easy since I was pretty uncomfortable from the membrane sweep.

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On Tuesday, the morning of my 41st week of being pregnant, Jacob, Hunter and I went into the hospital for my non-stress test – they check amniotic fluid and monitor her heart rate along with any contractions I might be having just to make sure everything is still looking good since I’m past term.

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The first test was amniotic fluid and it showed I was really low – lower than where they feel comfortable to let my pregnancy continue on another week. And with that, we were at the hospital to stay! Having not anticipated this at all I made some calls to my mom and sister in law to get Hunter picked up from the hospital and our hospital bag brought to us. I was on the monitors at this time and while I was probably smiling, I was definitely holding back some tears. It took me a good hour or so to adjust my mind to this happening. It’s not that I wasn’t excited to meet our girl, but I so wanted to naturally go into labor.  Also pregnant me = hormonal me so tears happen easily.

My midwife was open to just breaking my water in hopes that that would start my labor. We went though all the computer questions, got settled into our room and around 11:30am the midwife broke my water. Twenty minutes or so later contractions began. They weren’t too strong, only about a 2-3 pain level and spaced anywhere from 5-10 minutes apart. Jacob and I started to walk the halls, a lot. Gotta get this labor going! After lots of walking and not much change by afternoon, we decided to take short naps. Plus my feet were hurting a bit from all the walking.  I knew we were in for the long haul and I was already feeling a bit sleepy so the cat nap was nice. After that, back to more walking. I had been restricted to clear fluids which was rough. I was super hungry. Since my labor wasn’t picking up, really it was slowing down, the midwife let me eat some food. I scarfed down the peanut butter sandwich, yogurt with blueberries, banana and pb oatmeal bars I had on hand. I knew it would be the last I’d get to eat for a while. Around 6:30pm, right around the time we were getting a new nurse at shift change I got into the bath to relax, again with hopes it would pick my labor up. Labor didn’t change so I just used it as a time to relax and prepare for the long night.

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At 12 hours after my water was broken was when the midwife wanted to start pitocin. Since I ended up having to have it with Hunter I was already more okay with the idea than the first time. Obviously it wasn’t my first choice, but my body just doesn’t like to progress labor fast enough on its own. I was going to let them know I’d be fine starting pitocin a couple hours earlier since I didn’t see any changes happening, but my super awesome nurse Lisa encouraged me to continue trying different things and that my body could kick in on its own. I knew then that I was going to like her.

11:30pm came and no change. Onto the monitors for a while before getting pitocin started. I found a position I loved – sitting on the stability ball rocking forward/backward and side/side with my hands/elbows on the side of the birthing tub. More and more of my water kept seeping out and I felt a lot more pressure pushing down on my cervix when I’d rock forward. The only downside was that monitoring baby girl’s heart rate was almost impossible. Just almost impossible. It took a while to get the set up of straps and wraps around my belly, but Lisa did it. Once monitoring was done my pitocin started at 1am, at a level (or dose??) 2 I believe. I continued in that position for a little while longer but the monitors still had to be adjusted a lot. Contractions picked up a bit more in intensity and got a little closer together, maybe 5-7 minutes apart. With each contraction I focused on slow breathing and relaxing my upper body as I noticed my shoulders would tense up.

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Around 2am I went back to walking the halls. I told Jacob he could sleep earlier since I was able to manage the contractions on my own, so instead of waking him Lisa said she’d walk with me. Lisa was our rockstar throughout the whole night. They say your nurse can make or break what your experience is like, and she made ours spectacular. She took the time to get to know us, she was funny, supportive and helped us be at ease. In between each contraction, we just chatted which made time so much more enjoyable. With every lap around those halls the contractions picked up in intensity. I had been given 2 more increases of pitocin and was set into a 6. I could tell the contractions were getting tougher when instead of just stopped, closing my eyes and breathing through them, I had to hold onto the rail or wall. Then the next level of intensity came and I’d have to hold on and bend my knees a little more. The final lap happened around 4am when I didn’t think I could stay standing through the contractions anymore.

Back into the room I woke Jacob up and returned to sitting on the ball with hands on the tub. However, this time I wasn’t able to sit through contractions anymore. The wave would come on and I’d lean forward, half way standing, Jacob would press my hips together and I’d try not to buckle through the pain. Remembering to breath and relax. I was always in my head telling myself to breath and relax.

Lisa worked on getting my birthing tub filled up and by 5am I was about to get in. I was 6-7 cm dilated and 100% effected. I needed the water for relief. And what a relief it was! I worked through the ever intensifying contractions with my arms hanging over the side of the tub, head resting on the side and belly floating facing down. I wanted to make sure she stayed in a good position, and it also was the most comfortable position for me to handle the contractions in. Maybe 5 or so contractions in I began having a big one with a shorter one right after, no rest in between. In my mind I thought transition was near with contractions like that, but I also thought it was way too fast. After just a couple more the intensity really peaked. I had one that left me groaning like an animal through the pain. I told Jacob to get Lisa. So intense. Another one came, same intensity, same sounds. By the time everyone was back in the room a third one came on and I told them I thought I wanted to push, so the midwife said ‘push your baby out!’.

At 6am pushing started. I had to work through one or two pushes to get the right feeling. I’d take a deep breath in through a contraction, hold it with my chin toward my chest, then bear down and push hard. Pretty sure I was loud throughout all this. I remember her head crowning and asking if the head was out. It’s such a weird feeling when the baby is half out! A couple more pushes and I hear the midwife tell me to lean back and get my baby. She was there! I pulled her out of the water and straight to my chest. All I could say was ‘oh my God, oh my God’ over and over again. I just looked at her in amazement. We did a little check to make sure she was in fact a girl. :). Jacob cut the umbilical cord and held her while I got out of the tub and into the bed. Then she was back on my chest almost instantly nursing. Perfect and amazing Zoe Louise was born Wednesday morning at 6:09am – just 9 minutes of pushing!

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Having a water birth was amazing. The water helped me cope with the contractions, I could move around easily and I had zero tearing too. I can’t imagine not having a water birth in the future again. I so recommend it! Zoe was born in the correct anterior position whereas Hunter was posterior which gave me tons of back labor. The baby’s position makes such a difference in labor pains and I’m so thankful this one was easier. Recovery has been easier too!

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Tomorrow Zoe will be 1 week old. Time is flying! We love every moment with this sweet little girl.  God has truly blessed our family with Zoe and the safe birth that brought her into the world.

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Heather

PS – If you love reading birth stories, here are the links to Hunters.

Hunter’s birth story: part 1

Hunter’s birth story: part 2

Hunter’s birth story: part 3

02/23/14
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My past due happening

Hello! My lack of posts doesn’t mean we have a baby yet, just means I’ve been lazy about hopping on the computer. :)  Still pregnant over here!

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Here’s a little look at what I’ve been up to lately since my due date passed on Tuesday. It’s been a nice mixture of staying busy + relaxing.  Perfect since I’m not teaching any more classes for a while. Of course it always includes lots of fun play with this cute guy.

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I made a personal little challenge for myself – every day I’m over due, sew something new!  I didn’t start it until I was a couple days past due, but here’s what I’ve accomplished thus far.

Swaddle blankets (2 white, 2 un-pictured black ones), cloth wipes and terry wash cloths.  The wash cloths are actually used for cleaning Hunter after he eats, not so much for bath time.

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Mustard hi-low pullover (some kind of cotton/polyester blend with a bit of stretch in it) – drafted this patten 100% by myself!  I am excited to see how it fits her (maybe around 3-6 months??) and then I’ll probably make a couple improvements to the pattern that I already know I want to make.

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Modified the geranium top pattern a tad and added long sleeves (mustard linen fabric).  It just needs buttons + button holes added to the back.

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Baby bunny bonnet – modified this baby bonnet pattern I had made once + drafted the ears to add.  Easter is just 2 months away!

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I have some grey linen baby pants in the works today. Gotta keep busy myself busy and utilize all this free (nap)time I have!

I went to a water aerobics class on Wednesday and also swam Saturday morning. I have LOVED being back in the water. Plus it makes me feel weightless, not a common thing for a 9.5 month pregnant lady.

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Lots of walking has been happening too.

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It’s been my goal to walk every day or swim (or both!) and I’ve been making that goal happen. I’m hoping the rain stays away a little longer but it’s predicted to return on Tuesday.  Boo.  Saturday I met with my friend Megan for an at least 1.5 hour walk along the waterfront and downtown.  I had to stop and pee 3 times along the way – pregnancy bladder like whoa. Hunter and Mabel tagged along in the strollers. :)

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All the extra walking and swimming makes me sleepy!  I’ve been totally taking advantage of getting a quick nap in while Hunter naps. I don’t always fall asleep, but just resting has been wonderful.

I did my normal weekly grocery haul on Friday with meals planned for the week. I figured I better get it done since I have a feeling I’ll still be pregnant a little while longer.  And a girl’s gotta eat.  I picked up this new to me tuna and absolutely love it!

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Bonus for it being on sale. I’ll have to keep my eyes out for more $1 sales on it because it’s definitely more spending than I’d normally pay for a can of tuna ($2.70).  The quality is awesome though – more meaty and less watery than the tuna I normally buy.

I’m so thankful that I feel really comfortable still. If I was uncomfortable and past due, I may not be as cheerful and relaxed about it. I had a massage and chiropractic adjustment on Thursday and left feeling the best I’ve felt these past couple months. Assuming I’m still pregnant tomorrow (which would not be a surprise), I’m going back again!

So those are the happenings as of late. We have a midwife appointment tomorrow, so unless labor happens in the near future I’ll probably pop in again before baby girl arrives. But I say probably, I’m totally on a non-schedule right now.   Everything is up in the air with this waiting game. Thankful I’ve been enjoying every minute of it though!

What are some of your happenings lately?

Heather

PS: I loved this post Whitney wrote (she’s currently a couple days further past due than I am).  I have to say, I agree with it 100%.

02/18/14
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2nd pregnancy: weeks 38-40

Happy due date to me, happy due date to meeeeeee! No surprise, I’m still pregnant. At least at this current moment.  It is just the afternoon but I’m sure nothing will change by Wednesday. Let’s take a look at what’s new and been happening these past few weeks.

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Midwife appointments

We had our 40 week check up yesterday and everything is looking good and normal. She sounded good and my belly is still growing, but like it’s always been, on the smaller end (38 cm yesterday). I wonder if part of the small measurements is because she is so low. At every appointment the midwives have to ask me if I’ve been checked to make sure she’s head down because she’s that low they can’t really feel her head. Luckily at my 36 week appointment they did a quick ultrasound and made sure she was. I have yet to be checked for dilation this pregnancy, so it’s a surprise for everyone whether I’m dilated at all. The midwives are fine not knowing (so far) and I kind I don’t want to know yet. Even if I was dilated a few cm, it wouldn’t necessarily mean baby would come right away so keeping it a mystery keeps me more relaxed. However, if/when I hit 41 weeks maybe they would want to check??

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One thing that’s steadily been climbing these past few weeks is my blood pressure. Not anywhere near a concerning number, but it’s been high for me. My typical BP throughout the majority of this pregnancy was around 105-110/60. Nice and low. And it’s normally a tad lower when I’m not pregnant. Starting a few weeks ago it began creeping into the 120s/70s, then yesterday is was 136/80. The midwife said it was totally normal, but still, in my mind that’s high for me! I’ve noticed I feel a bit more swelling some evenings in my hands and feet, so maybe that has something to do with it too. Total weight gain is around 35 pounds so far.

Sleep

My sleep’s been okay. I wake up about 3-4 times a night to pee. I’m having less trouble falling asleep than I had been, but I’ve had more mornings where I wake up at 4-5am and just can’t go back to sleep. My brain starts going and just won’t turn off.

I find every night before going to bed I have to take a couple tums. Even if I don’t have heartburn going on, the instant I lay down the burning feeling begins, then it’s tums to the rescue!

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Food

Of course, I’ve been loving sweets daily, but also veggies! I can’t remember the last time I ate so many salads. We had salmon caesar salads for dinner one time last week, and I even picked up a big container of baby spinach and have been eating salads almost daily. I think the yummy poppyseed dressing I have helps too. Toss on some fresh strawberries and I’m in heaven.

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Fitness

I taught my last body pump class (and class in general yesterday). I actually felt really good the entire class, although my lower back was pretty sore from it yesterday. Like I mentioned yesterday, I’ve loved teaching this whole time, but am looking forward to some easier exercise. I still plan to keep moving everyday, but now with walking, water aerobics and swimming. But who knows, maybe I’ll miss lifting and classes and actually go to another instructors class for fun!

Signs of labor?

I was telling Jacob this yesterday, I feel like most evenings when I go to bed, I’m a bit more uncomfortable, my lower back is aching and I wonder, will this be the night? Then, I wake up in the morning feeling better and am still pregnant. I’ve had maybe 2-3 kind of uncomfortable contractions, but nothing that makes me actually think I’m going to go into labor. I’m feeling lots of pelvic pressure with her being so low. I’ve also been feeling what I describe as ‘cervical scratching’ these past couple weeks. Sounds bad, but just feels like she’s scratching me a bit down there. I remember having the same feeling with Hunter. [cover your eyes if you get grossed out easily] Also, more discharge since Sunday so that’s a good sign of change happening!

We attended the water birth class for the hospital last week so now we’re all set for that when the time comes. I didn’t do water birth with Hunter, although I had planned to, but hope I get the chance to this time. The class was great and really has me looking forward to it.

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{{ 40 weeks today! }}

Relaxed and ready

I’m in a total state of relaxation about this sweet little baby coming. I feel 100% okay still being pregnant, and kind of anticipate being pregnant a little while longer. I know that at most I’ve got 2 more weeks to go now and am just going to enjoy these last couple days or weeks of extra home and Hunter time while I can.  Today we went the story time at the library, played there a bit, then had a hot cocoa date with friend.  So fun.

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I’m looking forward to not much of an agenda – although I’ve already filled most of this week up with a get together, planned a water aerobics class to go to, massage + chiropractic and a day of errands. Clearly I’m thinking baby won’t make an arrival yet. :). I even have things I want Jacob to finish up around the nursery on Saturday if nothing has happened. He doesn’t know it yet. :)

Because of the snow storm last weekend my baby shower got postponed until March so baby girl will actually get to be there for that. I’ve made lots of little baby pants and scored 10 onesies for $10 yesterday. We didn’t have many newborn and 0-3 month long sleeve onesies (probably because Hunter was more of a summer baby) so now I’m set. I’m totally cool with gently used clothes for a deal like that! Plus baby clothes (especially newborn size) are barely worn.  And I love all the neutral colors.  There’s an awesome moose print, skull and cross bone and embroidered fox and bird onesie hiding in there too. :)

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Alrighty, enough for now. Clearly I’m a bit wordy when I wake up at 5am (when I started writing this) and can’t go back to sleep. :). Hopefully my next update will be with a baby in my arms, but if I go past 41 weeks, I’ll be sure to share more!

Was there a point in your pregnancy you just felt done and ready for baby to come out? Hunter was just 3 days late so thankfully I never got to that point, but I wonder if I will this time since she’s dropped lower a lot sooner?

What’s you’re guess on weight? The midwife yesterday guessed she wasn’t going to be bigger than 6.5-7 lb, but I’m thinking she’ll be bigger than 7lb only because Hunter was 7 lb 12 oz.

Heather

Want to read more? Check out my previous 2nd pregnancy posts: