Thursday, February 4, 2010

Maxwell's Birth Story

(Sorry this is long and detailed, it is also my way of preserving this memory!)

In March of 2003 I found out we were expecting our 1st baby. It was a bittersweet moment of panic while I held the pregnancy test in my hand while I sat on the bathroom floor with Matt (my boyfriend) on the other side of the door begging me to open it.
I came out with tears streaming down my face, but I was also smiling ear to ear, and he was too.

Matt and I had been together for 8 years, living together 6 of those years. I was in a bad place when I got pregnant...emotionally a mess, crying many hours of the day, emotional breakdowns, very depressed, hating my job and had a general distaste for life and unsure of my future. The long painful cancerous death of my father 6 years prior was still resonating within, I was still not over it...or all of the other issues from childhood, I just could not get past it all...

I was becoming self destructive and careless, experimenting with new drugs and drinking maybe too often, hanging with the wrong people and treating my boyfriend like crap. Of course when I became pregnant I stopped all of that immediately and my entire outlook on life did a complete 180 in a matter of a moment. There was now hope. There was love. I found myself under all the self pity and gray clouds and prepared myself for the future as a mother. I could not help but smiling as I looked at the pregnancy test. This pregnancy may have very well saved my life.

We were living in a 1br, 3rd floor, attic apartment, but I was content with staying here for a while, this was my home. My 1st place not living with my Dad. We decided to stay here and there would be plenty of room to bring a baby home to.

Being young and naive, I did not know there were alternatives to OBGYN practices and hospitals, oh if only I knew then what I know now. But I went ahead and made an appointment with the local OBGYN team of 8 or so Dr's. None of those I felt close to. I felt like a # in an assembly at a baby factory. The waiting room visits were long, the office visits were fast, they rarely looked me in the eye and saw me as a human. Matt accompanied me to my 1st appt, the one where they thoroughly check you out, and I asked Matt to stay in the room with me.

The remainder of my pregnancy was pretty uneventful. Everything went "normal" and complication free, with the exception of the 12 weeks of morning/day sickness. I felt great and super excited and anxious as any 1st time mom. I read the general 'What to Expect' books and the faithfully obsessed over those dreaded TLC birth shows.. (ugh...) I learned my lesson and personally now despise such shows and books...

I worked full time, on my feet most of the day until a week before baby was due. I gained about 30 lbs.

We had my Ultrasound on June 11th and was super excited to find out we would be expecting a son.

On November 8th, in the middle of the night I went to the bathroom, and was panicked to see "bloody show/mucus plug" in the toilet. I did not read about this anywhere and thought something was horribly wrong. I called the Dr's office and had the service call the Dr. on call. The one woman OBGYN on the team, called me back groggy, half-asleep and angry! I told her what happened, she basically called me stupid, said what it was, yelled at me for calling, and told me to go to bed.

On November 9th, one day past my EDD, Matt went to work, a nervous soon to be Dad, but I assured him all was fine and I would call him if anything happened. However, not long after he left I was having unusual back pain most of the morning and afternoon and called my sister. She was the only person I was close to that had experienced child birth, (4 times!) someone I felt I could trust.

She thought it was a good idea that I come to her house just in case it was real labor. Contractions soon became regular and my nephew, who was maybe 10 or 11 enjoyed documenting the contraction length and intervals for me. The pain was becoming very strong in my back and I found kneeling on her stairs a comfort.
Coincidentally, the same day, at 4pm, my older nephew was departing for the air force! His LT. came to pick him up and I was sad he would be leaving right before he got to meet my baby.

Matt arrived and at about 6 pm and we decided we should probably go to the hospital. So Matt, me, my 2 nieces, and nephew and sister all climbed in her van for the 20 minute trip to Forbes hospital.

Upon arrival I did not know which entrance to use. We went in and they found me a wheel chair and the administration nurse yelled at me for not calling ahead and for using the wrong entrance, and how had I not pre-registered! (I thought I had) I already felt like a failure as a parent.

They got me to L&D and I felt like I had lost all control over what happened to me, I was whisked around and had IV's inserted and I was scared and afraid to ask more questions. They checked and found I was only at 4 cm. But they kept me.
My baby was posterior and causing insane pain and pressure on my lower back, I wanted someone to sit on my back.

As labor progressed I wanted to crawl under the hospital bed, I stared at the tiles and envisioned crawling under them...thinking this would somehow stop the pain. But the pain was not unbearable, I was toughing it out with the great support of my boyfriend and sister.

This is a bit of a blur thanks to 6 yrs and Demerol, but i believe at 11 pm, although things were going as normal, regular contractions and progressing...but Dr's and nurses decided for me I should rest, as I had been laboring all day. Had they not decided I needed to rest (which I think was for their own reason as the Dr was leaving) I think baby would have came in a few hours. Instead they told me they were just giving me a little something to take the edge off so I could relax and rest between contractions. I had to pry out of them what 'this' was, as did Matt, because we agreed we did not want meds.
It was Demerol, they kept telling me how mild it was, mild my ass, it knocked me out, but not before I felt like someone snuck me some hardcore drugs. I felt like I was hallucinating.

Whilst questioning and telling them no thanks the nurse just ignored me as she injected it into my thigh. It burned, it burned bad and made my whole leg ache, maybe she hit a muscle...this injection spot ached for weeks after his birth.

I awoke some time the next morning where they had to give me pitocin to restart the contractions the demoral had stopped. But babies hb was still strong and I was still bearing through the pain. I so badly wanted to get out of the bed and move and they laughed and said no.
The nurses became very adamant that I needed an epidural. I kindly declined many offers and became annoyed with their drug dealer style of pressuring me into it. They began using scare tactics and finally presented it to me as a now or never situation. They actually had the anisth. come to my room to tell me he was leaving the floor, last chance...I caved.

Having the epidural inserted was the worst experience. Two big nurses laid me on my side and forcefully held me in the fetal position while he prepared, he stuck me right when I was having a contraction and those nurses squeezed me so very tight so I would not move. I felt the cold sensation and went completely numb from the belly down, sweet relief and sadness overcame me at the same time. I would not feel a thing, I already felt so disconnected with my babies birth.

By 10:45am I was fully dilated and they prepared me for delivery. They had to lift my legs into the stirrups, they were like huge chunks of meat I could not feel or move, I had the shakes...I was hungry, I was thirsty and I was scared.

The Dr came in, one of the men Dr's I probably only met once, I did not know his name, he was a stranger to me. He took his time putting on all that gear, the face mask frightened me even more. Being a learning hospital, 10 or so students filed into the back of the room against the wall, pen and clipboards in hand...staring at my open legs...I felt mortified.

I argued to allow 3 family members into the room for support, I got my way and they bitched about me breaking the 2 person rule. I insisted on having Matt there, and my sister, who taped it, and my 16 yo niece, who I promised for 9 months could watch.

The Dr. made a smart ass comment about there "being a lot of hair...and it's not the babies..hahaha", asshole. how dare he. He kept telling me I could do better...he is the same ass that argued with us about choosing to not mutilate my new babies penis and the same ass that ignored our "request" to not give our baby the hep B vax....

The final stage of delivery went very fast, I pushed maybe 3 or 4 times...with about 6 people screaming at me to push, one of the things I really did not want was all the people yelling to push. I felt nothing but pressure, more of that disconnected feeling...and feeling like I was under a spotlight, oh wait, I really was.

In my birth video the Dr says 'I have to cut you' and I freak and say no and ask if he really has to, he ignores me and cuts away. The nurse mumbles I was tearing and I say I'd rather tear, again, they ignore me... (Matt was near hitting the floor at this point, to this day I cannot say the 'E' word to him)

Finally my precious baby emerged and they laid his beautiful body on my chest, he was purple and not crying, I remember telling them to make him cry, he finally let out a wail, and pinkend up, Matt and I marvelled at his gorgeous puffy face and cried together. It seemed like such a brief moment while they immediately cut the cord and whisked him away.(matt was unable to cut it as he was near passing out) After watching the video he was on my chest for 5 seconds. And I have learned since to not let them immediately cut the cord!

It killed me to hear him screaming on the other side of the room, I could not see him and just wanted to hold him! They roughed him up, cleaned him off and did the inking etc while my niece took pics and my sis tried to video it while I delivered the placenta and was being stitched.

They finally handed me by sweet little boy, 6lb 14oz and 20" long, a little peanut bundled in too many blankets...I wanted to see his body, feel his skin on mine...I wanted to feel my legs. I wanted my body to stop shaking from the drugs. But Matt and I started into his calm big eyes and cried more.

My iv was causing a lot of pain and itched, the blood pressure thing on my arm was super tight and they ignored me about it all as I complained. My leg still ached from the demerol injection. I was hungry, thirsty, exhausted and wanted nothing more than for everyone but Matt to leave the room to sit and marvel at my new baby, to breastfeed.

My sister in law arrived immediately after his birth, followed by my in laws. I watched my new baby get passed from person to person before I got to cuddle, bond and put him to my breast. They moved me to my room and after an hour I finally got to nurse and he latched like a champ. But soon after, more and more visitors took my new baby and passed him around for 2 days. I wanted everyone to go away.

The nurses were not kind. I had to argue for him to stay in my room. I had to argue to let him sleep on me. I had to argue for them to not take him or give him a pacifier or a bottle. I got little to no sleep with all the machines, announcements, people in the hallways, the constant checks on me and baby every 2 hrs through the night. The phone rang much too often. Too many visitors, although I know they meant well and wanted to meet Max asap. I wanted to get out of there and be home!

I was finally released and Matt and I and our new baby were finally in the comfort of our own home. As first time parents, caring for a baby came quite natural to us. Matt had a whole month off of work to be with us.

Not knowing at the time there was a name for the style of parenting that came naturally to us, co-cleeping, baby wearing etc, it was interesting to read about Attachment parenting when I got pregnant with #2 :)

Samuel's Birth Story

(Sam, 5 hours old)

Sorry this is also a bit long and detailed :)

In May of 2005 Matt and I made the sporadic decision to transfer to the Whole Foods in Charlottesville, VA. I am not sure exactly why we thought this was the best decision for our little family. I thought it would be an easy thing to do. Thought the grass would be greener, even though it was not all that brown in Pittsburgh...

Max was 19 months old when we made the move. We said our good-byes to friends and family, who we're supportive but so sad to see us go. Matt drove the U-haul, Max and I in one car, and my good friend Jodi drove our other car and we all made the 6+ hour drive South.

A few weeks into our new apt., the place Matt went and picked out prior to our moving there, which was on a busy road and above a chain smoking blind man...I got pregnant with baby #2. Another surprise but welcomed little blessing. Like #1 I knew within days of conceiving that I was pregnant. But a dollar store test let us know for sure and we were both so excited to find out we would be having another baby!

The morning/all day sickness was horrible. The heat in VA, was record highs for that summer, the exhaust from the road outside made me so much more sick, as did the lingering smell of tobacco from the floor below.

I felt lonely, lost and miserable in this new town. I panicked at the thought of having another baby w/o friends and family close by. A month or so later, and some convincing to Matt, he asked WF to be re-relocated back to the 'Burgh. They were awesome and understanding about it. Just before we broke our lease and left after being there just 3 months, we got married by the Sheriff at the town Hall. Jodi and Max being our only "wedding" guests on a 103 degree day.
I'll save a marriage post for another day, but I always believed that piece of paper was not necessary possibly a jinx on a perfect relationship....until I needed insurance :)

I then drove home with Max in late August and stayed with my mom-in-law while Matt finished his 2 work weeks. I found our new home, a block from the apt. we lived in for 6 years and just moved out of 3 months prior. I signed the lease and Matt joined me two weeks later and we settled into the big brick 4 br duplex on the corner.

Prior to leaving VA, I knew I had to make arrangements to find a Dr back home. I knew I did not want another hospital birth and after some online searching I discovered The Midwife Center in Pittsburgh. A free standing birth center in the Strip District (in the city) that had a team of Midwives. To me this sounded completely ideal for us and I made my appt before we even left VA. My morning sickness went away after 12 weeks, just as it did with my 1st pregnancy. My mother in law joined me in going to the midwife for my 1st visit, as Matt was still in VA. She also accompanied me to the orientation and tour. She was very supportive of my choice to birth here.

At 19 weeks we went for our 1st ultrasound. After a miserable long wait in the waiting room with a crazy toddler, Matt and me with a bladder so full I was crying, we went in. After some probing around and a silent and serious US tech who made me think something was horribly wrong with my baby b/c she called in a Dr to finish.. but alas all was fine and we were told it was another boy.

Now, I will be honest here, a single tear streamed down my face when I was told this. This tear held happiness that all was well with this baby, but my husband also knew this tear held some disappointment as I was pretty open about hoping for a girl. He wiped my tear and gave me an understanding smile and kiss on my forehead.

The rest of my pregnancy went very well with no complications at all. I gained 40 lbs (started at 120 went to 160!) Although I was still quite active chasing my toddler around.

Sam's BIRTH day.

Two days past my EDD (estimated due date, same as baby #1)

5:30 am, Sunday March 12th - Woke up with with pretty strong contractions. I let Matt sleep and also tried to get more rest, but was still in denial that this was probably it.

6:30 am - Contractions increasing in pain and were getting longer and closer so I woke Matt up, who said ok, rolled over and went back to sleep :) I got out of bed and the pain hit, I was holding and pressing my face onto the walls of my bedroom, the coolness of the plaster eased my pain to a small degree. I continued to pace my room and hang on the bed...

8:30 am - I woke Matt up again telling him I needed him to get up and I think we had to call the MW. He then realized this was it and jumped out of bed.

I called and gave my info and they asked me if I wanted to labor for longer at home and I told them I had a feeling I should come, esp since the drive was about 20-30 minutes. I got dressed and went downstairs to make tea and to wake my mother who was temporarily living with us. She is not good in these situations and was pacing around me looking like she was in pain.

Waiting on Matt to get everything ready I managed to crawl under the dining room table during a contraction (since I was a kid, I found comfort in crawling under things I used to pout under our armchair :), while in labor with Max in the hospital I remember wanting to crawl under the hospital bed and seriously envisioned crawling under the floor tiles)

My mom was starting to panic, I yelled at her and asked her to go away. I believe she then tended to Max, who was 28 months old and watching TV in the living room. Most woman want their mom to comfort them during labor....we just do not have that kind of relationship.
Matt called his Mom to come stay with Max too. As much as I love my mother, she is not the best sitter...I'll save the Schizo-Mama drama for another entry...

9 am - Matt and I got in the car and headed to the parkway to get downtown. The car ride was horrible. I swore like a trucker at my poor panicky husband every time he hit a bump, I may have flipped off a few drivers who were going too slow and swore at a few innocent people who were probably headed to church. Thank goodness it was a Sunday or we would have been caught in horrible traffic as it was rush hour.

9:30 am - We pulled up outside and the midwife (Anne) and her student were there to greet us. They assisted me to the back room where my 1st instinct was to strip ALL of my clothes off. I am usually a modest person but at that point all inhibitions went out the window and I felt most comfortable naked.

(the room I had him in)

I laid on the comfy bed so they could see how far I had progressed, expecting to hear maybe 5, I was told I was already at 10cm, good thing we left when we did! They were a bit shocked I was this far along. I paced around the room and had very bad back labor, this baby, like Max, was posterior, facing the wrong way and causing horrible pressure on my back. Matt and the mw and her asst took turns massaging and creating counter-pressure on my lower back.

I decided I wanted to try the jacuzzi so they filled it up. While waiting they brought me the birthing (yoga) ball and this was my best friend, I hung over that thing while kneeling on the bed for most of my labor.

When the tub was filled I got in and I felt very hot, I think I was transitioning at this point and I could not get comfortable and wanted out. I was only in there less than 5 minutes. They helped me on the birthing stool and I felt like it was time to push.

My waters still had not fully broken, like Max I was a slow leaker, their heads prevented the bag from breaking fully. So the mw told me to lay on the bed, which I wanted to do anyways, I felt exhausted at this point and Matt was holding me up.

They doppler checked babies heartbeat every few minutes and I could see the concern in their face...his heart rate was increasing than dipping and they tried not to scare me but told me baby had to come out now. That he was stressed and the cord may be around his neck!

I felt panicked for my babies well being and got my 2nd wind. Although I did not want to deliver on my back I was beat and could not get up. It was close to 12:30 and my waters finally broke more.

This is where the pain really hit, he crowned and the ring of fire feeling set in and I screamed and yelled and felt that I may have been scaring the 1st time mom laboring in the next room, who had arrived at some point while I was there.

They did an excellent job at preventing any tears with the use of oils and warm compresses, which to me was amazing since I had so much scar tissue from the unneccessary episiotomy 2.5 years prior.

At 12:54 pm my sweet baby boy made his gentle entrance earthside. Matt was barely able to stand so the plan for him to catch the baby was out the window :) With a final push I assisted in pulling his little slimy body to my chest. He did not cry at first but just looked at me calmly with his wide eyes. After some stimulation he then let out a cry and cried pretty hard for about 20 minutes while lying on my chest.

I took off the oxygen mask, which they placed on me at some point and cried with Matt as we marveled over our precious new son...who still did not have a name!
They waited about 20 minutes to cut the cord, until it stopped pulsating and I tried to breastfeed, but he was not interested in latching on yet.

The mw gave me a very painful shot of pitocin in my leg as my bleeding was not letting up and placenta was not coming out.

After they cleaned me up they left Matt and I alone in our quaint little room with our sweet new baby.
We called our Moms and sent out texts announcing baby boy Millers arrival. After about 2 hours they came back to weigh and measure and check the baby out. Surprisingly he was 8lbs and 6oz and 20.5 inches long! I did not think he looked that big, considering my 1st was 6-14 and 20" long.

I was in baby bliss, all pain had been forgotten the moment I laid eyes onto him. I let him lay on Matts chest while I showered and just 4 hrs after delivery we decided we were ready to go home to our other baby :) I felt like wonder woman. I felt so exhausted and horrible after my 1st baby that I could not believe this euphoric baby bliss high I was on. My body felt wonderful.

(even though I look a bit exhausted here :)

The mw wanted his name to write on the chalkboard and we thought maybe Oliver, and that was what she wrote. About 5 days later we decided on Samuel Owen.

When we arrived home there were seriously a dozen people waiting, I did not want to get out of the car, but I wanted to see my big guy Max. We went in and to my dismay my 5 hr old baby was passed around to all of these people. Blood still in his hair...flashes going off, all kinds of commotion and loudness, all I wanted was for the 4 of us to be alone and lay in our big bed together as a family.

Max was excited to see us and held his baby brother with a look of pride and joy in his face.

(Big Brother Max and my mom in law)

Finally everyone left and my new baby, big boy and husband went to lay in our bed upstairs.

(Matt and Baby Sam)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Coming soon....

Ok, I have wanted to create a blog for a long time...and I just keep thinking, there are soo many great mommy, crafty, photography, veg/healthy living, home/unschooling...etc blogs out there, why create another?! And how can mine ever be as good as the ones I follow!
Well I have put way too much thought and energy into it and decided why not. I know deep down I feel the need to blurt out what I think, feel, believe in and do on a daily basis in my life.
So stay tuned and in the near future I will start my blogging :)
Now, if I just knew anything about making my blog pretty :)