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Thursday, April 6, 2017

James Christopher's Birth Story Part 1

Part 1 will consist of important details leading up to labor starting.  I want to remember as many details as possible, so this is the easiest way to keep the posts from being too long.  Feel free to read my oldest's birth story and my middle child's birth story as well.

I knew I wanted an out of hospital birth with my third baby.  I had attempted a birth center birth with Genevieve, my oldest, but after 6 hours of pushing, I was a hospital transfer and ended up with a c-section.  With Benjamin, my middle child, money was an issue, so we opted for a hospital birth with wonderful midwives.  The providers who cared for me with Benjamin's birth also have a birth center, so I knew that was where I wanted to birth.

I made sure to take care of myself during pregnancy.  I continued to go to boot camp until around 35 weeks and my body told me it needed rest, so I listened.  I ate decently.  I was far from eating Paleo, but I made better choices than I did with my previous pregnancies.

Right before I found out I was pregnant, I learned that I have the MTHFR mutation.  Man, I wish I had known about this with my other pregnancies.  I knew that folic acid was a huge no-no and to take vitamins with methylfolate or folicinic acid instead.  My naturopath also prescribed 2 different vitamin Bs for me to take as well.

All was going well with my pregnancy and such; however, at 30 weeks, I learned that there might be an issue and VBACs might not be allowed at the birth center.  I definitely started to stress because I did not want to be at the hospital unless medically necessary.  It would be easier logistically to be at the birth center because we were planning on the kids being at the birth.  Thankfully I was informed at my 36 week appointment that I would be able to continue as a birth center patient.  Whew!

Then at my 38 week appointment, things changed.  When the midwife measured my fundal height, I was now measuring 2 weeks ahead.  For some people, this might not seem like a big deal, but with Genevieve I had polyhydraminos (poly for short) which is excess amniotic fluid.  There can be complications with poly.  The midwife had me do a quick ultrasound to check fluid levels.  Pretty much as soon as I saw the ultrasound on the screen, I knew I had a lot of fluid.  She did her measurements and sure enough, I had poly.  Again.  I was informed that I would not be able to birth at the birth center and would need to have the baby by 40 weeks or we would need to talk induction. Baby was also posterior, which is not a good position.  Immediately my mind went to "this is exactly what happened with Genevieve."  My midwife was very kind and reminded me that I have had a vaginal birth and this is not the same situation as Genevieve's birth.

Once I left the appointment, I met up with Chris for lunch and told him what was going on.  He was upset for me and also concerned about the baby.  Again, there are complications that can arise from poly.  I might be naive, but since we had been down this road before, I was not as worried as I was when I found out I had poly with Genevieve.

When I got home, I called a friend and we chatted.  We discussed how I had the stomach bug for the last week and was dehydrated.  Maybe the excess fluid was my body's way of protecting the baby while I was sick. Another friend suggested drinking a ton of water.  It sounds counter intuitive, but maybe drinking the extra water would help flush excess fluid.  I was willing to give anything a chance. I drank at least a gallon of water every day for the next week.  I infused my water with lemon or cucumbers and drank as much as I could.

The plan was to check at 39 weeks to see what was happening.  Maybe baby would turn into a better position, dispersing fluid levels.  Who knows.  I was viewing the 39 week appointment as the "big" appointment and tried everything to get baby out of the posterior position.  I went to my regular chiropractor every day.  The day of my 39 week appointment, I went to a different chiropractor who is amazing with pregnant mamas and babies.  This office was the one I went to with Benjamin's pregnancy, and I know they do more ligament work, which is what I felt I needed.

After the chiropractor appointment, I drove up to the birth center and met with a birth worker to do some energy and body work.  She tried to determine the baby's position and could tell baby was head down, but it was hard to determine anything else.  Baby still felt OP to me.  She had me get on my hands and knees and did some work on my low back and ligaments.  I could feel that the baby definitely shifted, but it still felt OP to me.  Something felt different though.

I went out to the waiting room to wait for my appointment with the midwife.  Chris met me there with the kids because I knew I needed support for this appointment, depending on what the outcome was.  When I stood up when they called me back, I felt the baby turn from OP to OA.  I didn't say anything, but inside, I was screaming "yay!" After the nurse took my vitals, I stood up because I was concerned baby would turn posterior when I sat.

When the MW came in and measured my fundal height, I was measuring right on track! She asked if I wanted to check the fluid via ultrasound and I definitely did. The only thing I could get would be the same news: excess fluid, or good news: normal fluid. She did her measurements, and guess what?  No poly!!! My fluid was normal-high, but still normal.  I couldn't believe it.  It is what I had hoped would happen, but not what I expected to happen.  She confirmed that I could birth at the birth center now.  Talk about a whirlwind of emotion! I made my 40 week appointment and was on my way.  I really didn't think I would make it to my 40 week appointment, but you never know!

My 39 week appointment was on a Thursday.  As soon as we were finished, I texted my friend Kirsten to let her know the news.  She was so excited and predicted that I would go into labor Friday night and baby would be born on Saturday.  I said that's fine, I just want to get through Genevieve's Friday dance class and then it is game on for labor. The plan was for Kirsten to be at the birth to be a support for me and to help with the kids as needed.  I opted not to get a doula this time.  Kirsten and I chat a lot about birth and we both agreed that we would prefer to have a good friend at our next births.  I knew Kirsten would be strong enough to get through to me during labor and that's what I needed.

Friday came and I was having contractions throughout the day.  Not baby producing contractions, but definitely more than what I had been experiencing.  I even texted Chris saying "these contractions either need to stop or turn into real labor."  The kids and I ran errands in the morning.  Then we headed to dance class that afternoon.  That class was a parent observation class and the teacher had the girls come get a parent to dance with.  I was still having contractions and was not amused about this, but I did it anyway.

We drove home and as I turned on to our street, my gas light came on.  I don't like to let my gas get low, so I was surprised this happened.  I told Chris when I got home that we needed to go get gas after dinner. We ate dinner and then headed to get gas and ice cream.  It was the first time the kids had Dairy Queen and they loved it.  No surprise there! Lol.  Got home and I insisted on folding the 4 loads of laundry I had washed that day and Chris worked on getting the kids ready for bed.  Chris was laughing at me insisting on folding this laundry while I was having contractions.  Again, not strong contractions and I was able to talk through most of them, but still. Kids were in bed around 9:30 and I think I finally went to bed a little after 11 pm...




Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Results of removing yellow baby stains

I was somewhat horrified when I pulled out the clothes for baby #3 and discovered that anything my second child wore was covered in yellow stains. The clothes were certainly stain free when I packed them. Come to find out, those stains are from proteins (like milk and spit up) that were left behind. My second baby spit up non stop whereas my first child spit up maybe once in her first year of life.

I hit up Pinterest and Facebook for tried and true methods of stain removal. Lots of suggestions were given, so I thought I would test them all and report back with my findings.

A few notes: 
1) Everything was stained, but there were definitely items that were more stained than others.
2) I tried one non-white article of clothing on the method that seemed the most popular just because I was curious.
3) After soaking or scrubbing, I rinsed the article of clothing by hand. All items were then machine washed with mainstream detergent (which contains enzymes).
4) Wet items were set out in the sun to dry after being washed in detergent.
5) I did my best to capture the stains as best as I could in the photos. It really bothers me that the white balance does not match in the before and afters, but the before photos were taken on a cloudy day and the after photos on a very sunny day. When I adjusted the white balance, it made it more difficult to see the stains, so it is what it is. (Oh, and the photos were taken with an iPhone bc I was lazy.)



In order of least effective to most effective, here are the results:

Fels Naptha:
Fels Naptha did very little to lift this stain. I have used Fels Naptha with lots of success on wool items used for diapering. However, for this type of stain, it did not help very much.

Buncha Farmers Stain Stick:
Again, this did not do much for this stain. This stick works great on fresh stains, but did not do much here.

Powdered cascade:
This method definitely helped to lighten the stain, but it was still quite visible.

Borax: 
This one surprised me. I had some borax on hand because I will sometimes use it as a detergent booster, but never thought it did much. It definitely helped lighten the stain, but a little bit of the stain did remain.

Biz:
First, let me state my love for biz. This stuff is like oxiclean on steroids. It has enzymes, so I have found it works really well on stains. Even better than oxiclean. I will say that this was the darkest stain of all. Biz did a great job lifting most of the stain, but there was still the slightest hint of a stain remaining. Bummer!




Oxiclean: THE WINNER!
Oxiclean was the only method that completely removed the stains and did not leave a trace of it. 

After this experiment, I washed all the baby clothes in a mix of biz, borax, and oxiclean. I soaked for about 3 hours and then washed and dried. Nothing went into the sun this time and everything came out looking great! It might sound silly to have used all 3 methods together when the oxiclean by itself did the job. However, I did not have enough oxiclean on hand to use enough for all the clothes I needed to wash. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

How I am able to meal plan

I have tried several different methods of meal planning and grocery shopping and have finally figured out what works for me.

First, I don't check the sales. If meat is on sale, I will stock up and freeze it. Trying to plan around weekly sales was not working for me.

I buy the bulk of our groceries at Aldi's and that list is pretty consistent. 

I buy our chicken and ground beef from Fresh Market on $2.99 Tuesday's. It is $2.99 a lb for the meat. It isn't organic, but it is fresh, never frozen, and antibiotic and hormone free.

Then there are a few items I have to pick up at Whole Foods or Trader Joes.  We have a Costco membership and I shop there every month or two.

Okay, now on to meal planning. I wrote down all of the recipes we use on index cards. Each color represents something. Pink is chicken, blue is soup/crockpot, yellow is fish, purple is red meat, and green is turkey or pork.

On the front of the index cards, I include any special notes about the cooking process. Things like if something needs to marinate or go in the fridge before cooking. On the back of the cards, I noted if there is anything that needs to be cooked or prepped beforehand. This includes things like a salmon cake recipe that needs a cup of cooked sweet potato or if I need to make mayo. I abbreviate the source of the recipe and the page number on the front of the card. On the top card in the photo below, it comes from Zenbelly cookbook, page 200.



Making these cards did take a few hours because I had to sort through all of my cookbooks and pins, but it was worth the time. Now when I sit down to meal plan, I have all of the recipes we enjoy right in front of me.

Having each meat as a different color is helpful too. It helps ensure that we don't eat chicken every night. :)

When I meal plan, I do 2 weeks at a time. I take stock of what we have in the fridge and freezer and make sure to use some of the frozen meat. Then I pull out 12-14 cards for dinners. I don't usually plan on a leftover night because we eat leftovers for lunch. We try not to eat out more than once a month and we plan it.

Once I have two weeks worth of recipe cards pulled, I then arrange them in an order I like. This helps ensure that we don't eat the same meat several nights in a row and breaks up the cuisine choices. You know, so we don't eat Italian food 3 nights in a row.

Our sides are almost always the same: sweet potatoes, broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower. Every now and then I will do something different, but I have found that this works well for us. I wash and cut the veggies on the weekend and dinner prep is much easier.

This is what a weekly meal plan looks like:
I write down the recipe source and any special notes from the front and backs of the cards.

Next I make my grocery list. One of my friends likes to tease me for my "professional shopping list," but it works for me. I divide my list by produce (the largest section), meat, dairy, and grocery. I go grocery shopping once a week and try to go on the weekends. I try to limit going to Whole Foods and Trader Joes to every other week because I always find things I "need" there that weren't on my list. When I make my list, I do it for a week at a time per list, but do the 2 weeks at a time. I go through my cookbooks and Pinterest and make my lists. Doing 2 weeks at a time helps me save time.

For lunches, we tend to eat leftovers or the kids get what they want. Breakfast is usually oatmeal or eggs for the kids and I have the Against All Grain Banana Nut Porridge.

This is the method that works for me and allows us to eat healthy, whole foods on a $125 a week budget. 

What works for you?



Monday, February 2, 2015

Whole 30 Round 2 and Fitness Progress Update


First off, what is whole 30?  Feel free to read about it here.  In short, it is no dairy, grains, legumes, sugar, added sweeteners like honey or syrup, or alcohol for 30 days.  Basically, nothing processed.  You make pretty much everything from scratch, including mayo and ketchup.

I did my first whole 30 back in August.  Feel free to read about it here.  However, it was more of a Paleo 30 than a whole 30.  It was still a huge change for me, nutrition wise, so I don't want to discount that experience.

However, after not eating the best during the holidays, I was ready for a reset.  I had been eating Paleo at home, but again, with the holidays, I didn't eat as well.  I decided that I would do a whole 30 in January and I would follow the rules and not cheat.

It was definitely hard.  Sugar is a difficult addiction to break.  My worst day was day 10.  We took the kids to a friend's kids' birthday party.  There was delicious smelling pizza and yummy looking cake and cupcakes.  I actually had to take a step outside for a few minutes because the smells were too much.  I started to get light headed just from the smell.  When I got home, I looked up the whole 30 timeline, and sure enough, day 10 is the worst day.  It is the day that the majority of quitters quit.  Thank goodness I took a step outside instead of giving in to temptation.

My cravings were very intense for about 18 days.  The worst time of day was in the afternoon, around 3 pm.  I also wanted something sweet after dinner, but those cravings were not as bad.  After about 18 days, I started to feel much better.

Oh, I did experience the "hangover" that is typical around day 3.  This time though, it only lasted a few hours.  I made myself get up and go to the gym and just drank a ton of water.  It passed.  :)

I followed all of the rules 99.9% of the time.  The only rule that I broke was regarding smoothies.  A few days into the program, I was a raging, cranky mess.  Then I realized that I had stopped taking my fermented cod liver oil (FCLO) because I normally put it in a smoothie.  That afternoon, I made a smoothie and had half a shot glass of smoothie with my FCLO.  My mood improved shortly after that.  So yes, I had a half a shot glass of smoothie every day.  Smoothies are not whole 30 approved even though my ingredients were.  Other than that, I followed the rules, so I will call this a success.

Results from the whole30: very few cravings now.  It is so nice not to crave sugar, bread, and all of the bad stuff.  Things taste different now too.  I have more energy and am overall less moody.  I'll get to the numbers results in a minute.

Things that were helpful to me with this whole 30.  I started making the Against All Grain Banana Nut Porridge for breakfast.  I found that this filled me up and was easier to make than my normal breakfast of 3 eggs, bacon, and veggies or fruit.  Lots of times I would have my egg, bacon, and veggie meal for lunch instead.  I try to keep dinners as simple as possible.  I wash and cut all of my veggies on the weekend.  I spiralize my sweet potatoes in a bulk batch as well.  They keep for a few days and it makes dinner prep and clean up so much easier.  I meal plan 2 weeks at a time.  This is key for me to stay on track and on budget.  I began to eat a Lara bar before my 6:15 am workout.

I started drinking sparkling water with a squeeze of fresh lime with dinner.  I used to enjoy a beer with dinner, but the sparkling water is a fantastic swap.  I started drinking herbal tea without sweetener.  (This is crazy to me.  I always loved to put a giant spoonful of honey in my tea.)  Another thing I discovered is that I love coffee.  I have never been a big coffee drinker because it upsets my stomach.  Turns out it wasn't the coffee that was the issue, it was the crap I put in the coffee.  Now I blend a tablespoon of coconut cream with my coffee in the magic bullet.  It gets nice and foamy, just like a latte.  Tastes great and doesn't hurt my tummy.  Big win!

What I love about the Whole 30 is that you shouldn't be hungry.  Yes, you will have cravings, but cravings are not the same as hunger.

Now for the numbers and pictures.  I will say that I don't see a huge difference between the September and January pictures, but my clothes tell a different story.  :)  (Also, I look better with a tan.  Lol.)

I go to bootcamp five days a week and started going in May of 2014.  Since May 2014, I have lost a total of 27 inches and 16.2 pounds.  I am 5'2".  Breakdown of numbers:
Weight: 16.2 pounds
Body fat: 6.7%
BMI: 2.7
Underarm: 4.5"
Bust: 4.5"
Underbust: 3"
Waist: 7.5"
Hips: 3"
Thigh: 2.75"
Bicep: 1.75"

From my January Whole 30, I lost a total of 7 inches and 5.8 pounds.
Weight: 5.8 pounds
Body fat: 2.7%
BMI: 1
Underarm: 1.5"
Bust: 1.25"
Underbust:1"
Waist: 1"
Hips: 1"
Thigh: .75"
Bicep: .5"

It has been great to see improvement in my workouts.  When I started bootcamp, I couldn't hold a plank for 10 seconds.  I have now been able to hold a plank for 5 minutes.  I can consistently hold a plank for a minute and a half.  My form has gotten better.  My stamina has improved.  When I do squats, I do a full squat.

In the September photos, I am wearing the same shorts as the original photos.  The January photos are different shorts.  :)

 









Friday, September 5, 2014

Fitness progress

I reached the point where something had to change.  I was always exhausted and on edge.  My 14 month old still doesn't sleep well, so I know that I am tired, but this exhaustion was something different.  I just didn't want to do anything.

A friend posted a link for a groupon for a month of bootcamp.  I hesitated because it would require me to get up around 5:30 in the morning.  It just seemed impossible.  However, then I changed my thinking to "let's give this a try for a month, maybe it is the jump start I need."  So I bought the groupon.

Then came the first day of class.  I had a bit of trouble finding the location (thanks GPS) and once I arrived, I was still seriously debating about leaving.  Thankfully I decided to stay.  I was worried that the trainers would be more like drill sergeants, so I was nervous.  I received a warm welcome from my trainer and started to relax.  

At first, the plan was to go 2-3 times a week.  After my first class, I decided that I should go everyday so that my body would adjust to getting up early everyday.  Plus, exercise everyday is a good thing.  I found that working out early actually gives me more energy and starts my day on a positive note.

I will say that after my first few classes, I felt awful.  Not only was I sore, but I was very nauseous.  I figured that feeling would pass and I was correct. I started going 5-6 days a week for the 45 min bootcamp.  After 6 weeks, I could definitely see some changes and was happy with my progress.  

I knew I was going to have to take the month of July off bc of traveling and such, so I planned on starting a Whole30 in August.  I started researching and looking up recipes in May.  I checked out lots of books and cookbooks from the library to determine what was right for me.  

I read It Starts with Food and wasn't sure how exactly I would be able to complete the Whole30.  No grains, breads, pasta for 30 days?  How in the world would I do this?  I was already dairy free, so that part wasn't hard, but the grains and sugars were very intimidating.

I started stocking my pantry with things like coconut flour, almond flour, coconut milk, ghee, etc.  (If you are looking for a good place to buy stuff like this, I highly recommend vitacost.  Referral link: http://goo.gl/OplHv9.  Don't forget to use ebates!  (Another referral link: http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=yyu9RTW6T6hs6lJv%2FeSZqg%3D%3D&eeid=26471)

According to the ISWF book, the only fruit I was supposed to consume were green apples and green bananas.  I was also not supposed to use any honey or drink smoothies.  I will say that I did not stick with those couple of rules.  Morning smoothies were very helpful for me and on Saturdays, I would make coconut flour pancakes.  Other than that, I was able to stick with it.

For anyone that knows me, you will understand how huge this is for me.  I ate a lot of bread and pasta.  I used to eat a lot of candy, but that stopped after having children.  I drank soda and ate junk food every now and then.  We used to eat out a few times a week.  We ate out once in August and that was completely planned.  I am thrilled with how I feel.  We are going to continue eating a Paleo lifestyle while at home and will limit dining out to two times a month.  And yes, this includes lunches too.  No more Chick-Fil-A for me!

I also signed up for a year of bootcamp.  I am only a couple of months in and am excited to see changes over the coming months.  I used to go to the gym a lot, but never saw results.  I am now seeing results.  I am healthier.  When I started, I couldn't hold a plank for more than 15 sec.  Now I can easily do a minute and have made it to the two minute mark a couple of times.  I am seeing muscle definition.  My waist and chest have gotten smaller (this has never happened at the gym before).  I am stronger.  Chris now says that I am more fit than him and I have to agree.  :)

Now for the numbers:
Body fat: down 6% (it is now under 20% and I am soooo happy with that)
Weight: down about 13-14 lbs.  My weight fluctuates a lot, so this changes.
Waist: down 8"
Hips: down 2 1/4"
Thighs: down 1"
Arms: down 1 1/4"
Underarm (top of chest): down 5"
Bust: down 4"
Underbust (bra band area): down 2"

In the photos, I am wearing the same shorts.  I had to wear a different shirt, because the gray shirt is now longer than my shorts.  That wouldn't exactly work.





Thursday, July 18, 2013

You ate what?!?

It seems to be becoming somewhat of a fad nowadays, but is definitely far from mainstream.  I'm talking about placenta encapsulation.  I first heard about placenta encapsulation when I was suffering with severe postpartum depression (PPD) after having Genevieve.  Wait, what?  People consume their placenta.  Yep, they sure do and there are a lot of benefits of doing so.  Here is a great article that goes over the benefits: http://placentabenefits.info/articles.asp.

To summarize, the benefits are:
-Decreases PPD/PPA (postpartum depression/postpartum anxiety)
-Increased milk supply
-Increased energy
-Decreased postpartum bleeding
-Can prevent postpartum hemorrhaging
-Can be used during menopause to help balance hormones

The two benefits I was most interested in were helping with PPD/PPA and increasing milk supply.  I never had an issue with milk supply with G except when my period returned.  However, it took almost a week for my milk to come in and I was hoping to avoid that the second time around.

My original plan was to have a friend encapsulate my placenta.  However, we ended up moving before B was born and we had extra birth related expenses because of that.  I decided that Chris and I would encapsulate my placenta.  (I encapsulate placentas, so this is no biggie to me.)  I also have 2 tinctures that are processing.

I ended up not completely finishing the encapsulating process until about 3 weeks postpartum.  I had ordered the empty capsules from Amazon, but they took almost a month to be delivered.

I started noticing that I was having some signs of PPD/PPA.  I was crying way more than I think is normal.  I was also very, very irritable and angry.  I finally starting taking my pills and noticed a big difference within a couple of hours.  It has also helped give me energy.  I am still tired and somewhat cranky due to lack of sleep and adjusting to life with a 2 year old and a newborn, but it is nothing like the extreme irritability I was experiencing.

As far as milk supply goes, my milk came in within 12 hours after B's birth, so I didn't need the pills for that.  I have also had zero issue with supply thus far, so it hasn't been needed for that.

I am definitely glad that I chose to encapsulate my placenta.  Next time though (if there is a next time), I will probably pay someone else to do it.  Finding time to encapsulate it was quite difficult in the first couple of days after giving birth.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Benjamin Thomas's Birth Story

This will probably be long because I want to remember every detail.  Also, it's a birth story, so keep that in mind.  :)

BACKGROUND:
Benjamin's birth story starts with Genevieve's birth story.  For those who haven't read it and are curious, here it is: http://advinrandomness.blogspot.com/2011/07/genevieves-birth-story.html.  The reason I say that B's story starts here is that I ended up with a c-section with G.  Once you have a c/s, your birth options become very limited.  I knew that I wanted to try for a VBAC with B.  A VBAC is a vaginal birth after cesarean.  I won't get into VBAC vs repeat c-section and too much of the "political" nonsense surrounding this topic.  Let's just start with the fact that finding VBAC providers is difficult.

In FL, there are 2 options if you want to have a VBAC.  You can have a home birth (HBAC) with a midwife (MW) or a hospital birth with an OB.  If you choose the hospital route, your options for OBs are limited, although the options in Central FL seem to be expanding.  Also, your best bet for a successful hospital VBAC is to show up to the hospital as close to pushing as possible.  We decided to opt for the hospital choice for a few reasons.  I found a physician that seemed to be decently supportive or at least went along with my wishes.

All was looking well, but at 30 weeks, we ended up moving from FL to NC.  I only had a couple of weeks to research my birth options.  I discovered that the 2 options in NC are either a birth center birth or a hospital birth.  Everything I read seemed to support the idea that hospital VBACs are very difficult in NC.  I attempted to contact the Charlotte chapter of ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) to locate a provider, but never heard anything back.  I found a birth center (apparently only 1 of 2 in NC) that is only 30 minutes from us.  They have an OB and 2 CNMs (certified nurse midwives) and do VBACs.  Perfect.

So we planned for a birth center birth.  However, at my 38 week appointment, I was told I needed to pay my balance that day or I couldn't be a birth center patient.  I wasn't aware of this policy and this was the first that I had heard of this.  I wasn't able to pay the entire birth center fee that day, so I became a hospital patient.  (The birth center is not in network with our insurance, so we would have to pay a big chunk out of pocket.)  I was very upset at the last minute change in plans, but reminded myself that everything happens for a reason and God has a plan.

LABOR & DELIVERY:
Around 38 weeks, I had about 12-18 hours where we thought labor was starting.  I had pretty good contractions that were about 4 min apart and lasted 60-90 seconds.  However, that fizzled out, so we just waited.  I would oftentimes have contractions at night, sometimes all night, but nothing ever came of it.

I was due June 21st and pretty much assumed I would go a week or two late since G came at 41 weeks 5 days.  On June 18th, I started having some mild contractions around 1 am.  They were kind of more like gas pains, but they were uncomfortable and there was no sleeping through them.  Around 3:45, I woke up with stomach issues and then started having some very strong contractions.  I woke Chris up at 4 to tell him I thought things were starting up and I was going to head to the tub to relax.

Once in the tub, things started slowing down, but the contractions were strong.  I decided I didn't want to stay in the tub and instead decided  to bounce on the birth ball.  I leaned over the bed during contractions and swayed.  Also, I started to have bloody show while in the tub.  With G, I never saw any blood until I was about 8 cm.  Chris texted the doula at 4:22 am to let her know that things had picked up and I had bloody show.  Chris spoke with the doula around 4:45 because she hadn't responded to our text.  I think at this point contractions were about 3-4 min apart and strong.  Chris told the doula she probably had a couple of hours, but we would contact her when we needed her to head over.  Chris called her about 15 min later to ask her to come and she arrived around 6 am.

When the doula arrived, I was in the tub and was already having the "I can't do this" thoughts.  When she came in to see me, I voiced my concern with the 30 minute drive to the hospital.  Around this time, I started getting the shakes.  She asked what my transition signs were with G and I couldn't really say because I went from barely any labor to transition.  She left and said she'd be right back and apparently this is when she told Chris we needed to get to the hospital because things were happening fast.  She came up and said I should get out and get dressed.  I sat down on the birthing ball during a contraction and had to run to throw up in the sink.  We definitely needed to leave!

We left the house around 6:40 am.  I was in denial that I was really in labor and knew that I would be 1-2 cm when we got to the hospital.  One of Chris's co-workers was going to watch G for us and she was meeting us at the hospital.  I was on all fours in the backseat and G was in her carseat.  I was definitely vocal and G would just say "mommy, baby, work."  Yes G, mommy was working on getting the baby out.  We got to the hospital a few minutes after 7 and Chris's co-worker got G's stuff out of the car.  I sat on the birth ball in the parking lot next to the car to make it through contractions.

The hospital I was going to doesn't pre-register, so we had been told to go to the ER and then we would be taken up to l&d.  We had to give all of our insurance and personal info.  Meanwhile, the nurses from l&d were on their way down to get me.  I was offered a wheelchair several times, but walking felt much better than sitting down.  I had to stop a few times on the walk to l&d to work through contractions and a few hospital workers came to make sure everything was ok.

We made it up to l&d and the nurse needed to check me to let the MW know my status.  She checked me around 7:15 am and I was at 7 cm.  I couldn't believe it!  I shouted "hot damn!"  lol.  The hospital has jacuzzi tubs, so my doula was getting mine filled for me.  I went in after being checked.  The water felt very good, but the contractions were super intense.  I know I started asking for the epidural at this point and said I couldn't do it.  They said they wanted to check me first and then we would decide a course of action after.  Also, the nurse had originally said that I could decline the IV access, but was then told by my OB that I would need a hep-loc.  When she first attempted to put the line in, she hit a nerve.  This was the first time I literally screamed and it was a very loud "Owww! Shit!  What are you doing?!?"  She pulled that out and tried a different vein and was successful.

Around 8 am, the MW checked me and said "you ready to push?"  You're at 9 1/2 cm.  Ummm, what? No, I'm not ready to push.  Lol.  I didn't feel the urge to push yet and decided to lean over the back of the bed while on my knees.  After just a couple of minutes, my water broke.  At this point, a bunch of people came running into the room with all of the delivery equipment.  However, contractions actually became much easier to deal with and they spaced out quite a bit.  We all did a bit of chit chatting and I just did some gentle nudges or bearing down during contractions.  This lasted a couple of hours before they decided to re-check my cervix.  After checking, they told me I was back at 7 cm.  Ummm, what?  No, that's not right!  Apparently my bag of waters was what was making me dilate so fast.  The baby's head was high and not dilating my cervix.

It was now around 11:30 am.  I believe contractions started picking up and were quite painful.  I was told not to push or anything because my cervix was swollen.  I was having a hard time not pushing.  Pushing was what gave me some relief.  I started asking more seriously for the epidural.  My doula suggested I get back in the tub, so I agreed to give that a try.  The contractions were very intense and uncomfortable.  I was in the tub begging for the epidural because I could not fight against the urge to push.  It was not fun.  I was having low back pain during contractions, so Chris and the doula would use a tennis ball to massage my lower back.  It definitely helped.

I started begging for some relief.  We talked about Fentanyl via IV to give me some relief.  The nurse was really trying everything to help me stick to my desire to go epi-free.  I knew I needed something, so I agreed.  Also, they had already started fluids at this point.  My BP was really low (like 80 or 90ish/30 or 40ish).  The fentanyl gave me about 45 min of relief.  I still felt the super strong contractions, but was able to rest in between.  During this time, some twit came in to draw my blood.  I saw twit because she would not wait for my contraction to be done before drawing my blood.  I now have the biggest bruise from her.  Not cool.

They gave me another dose of fentanyl around 2 and it lasted for about 45 min.  At that time, I said I was serious about the epi and did not want anymore fentanyl.  I did not want to continue to fight the urge to push and I had not dilated anymore.  My MW came and asked me "Is this what you really want?" and my answer was yes.  The anesthesiologist came in and had me lay on my side.  Just an FYI...if you ever have an anesthesiologist ask you to do this, it is b/c they are lazy.  Ask for someone else.  I had to attempt to curl into a ball while laying on my side and having very intense and close contractions.  He had difficulty with the epi.  He said something was blocking it and was unable to put the meds in.  He pulled back on the catheter a bit and was then able to get the meds in.  This took about 45 min to an hour.  I think it was around 3 pm when the epi was placed.

The epi was good, but it wasn't heavenly.  I could still feel lots, but it wasn't nearly as bad.  We had the anesthesiologist come back in bc the epi was not working properly.  He gave me a bolus and that seemed to help.  When he came in, I asked if there was anyone else that could do it and he said no.  That was a flat out lie bc they had a nurse anesthesist that could have done it.  When my nurse heard what he told me, she called his supervisor and we got the ok to go over the anesthesiologist's head and ask directly for the nurse anesthetist (crna).  The CRNA was great.  I didn't want the epi re-done (in hindsight I should have had it redone), but he kept me comfy.

And now we wait, and wait, and wait.  We pretty much assumed that he had turned posterior (OP) bc of the quite visible lump in my belly.  We started turning from side to side every 30 minutes or so to try to get him to turn.  None of that was helping.  Then I remembered that peppermint essential oil on the low back is supposed to get OP babies to turn.  I asked my doula to get my peppermint and rub some on my low back.  It was around 9 pm.  (Chris had gone home to take care of the dog.)  Meanwhile I was texting my new chiropractor in NC and my former chiro in FL.  My chiro in FL told me to apply clary sage & cedar wood to the top of my head, fennel on my ankles, and valor on my chest.  I had Chris do all of these when he returned.

While Chris was gone, my doula asked me how I would feel if they suggest pitocin.  I wanted to avoid pit, but if pitocin was going to help me get my VBAC, I was okay with it.  I wanted to know I had tried everything to avoid a c-section.  Around 10 pm, the MW came in and made the suggestion that we start pitocin.  I was okay with it.  She said that they are very conservative and will only do the minimum to get things moving along.

I asked my current chiro to come adjust me bc something was causing him to not descend.  The chiro came around 11 pm and adjusted my tailbone.  My tailbone had been good for at least a couple of weeks, so we think this might have been holding things up.  She hung out for a bit and we all chatted and then she adjusted me again before leaving.

At some point, I developed a fever and needed antibiotics.  I was having the shakes pretty bad, but I had been having that for a while.  It took a couple of doses of abx, but the fever did come down.  Also, my contractions increased in intensity when the epi was in place.  That was a good thing.

Everyone decided to get some rest.  I tried to rest as much as I could.  I was exhausted.  I could still feel contractions and was starting to have some back pain.  I was also having a lot of low pressure.  I kept saying that I needed to poop, but that obviously wasn't the case.

Around 4 am, I was rechecked and the OB told me I was complete.  She asked if I wanted to start pushing.  I was still exhausted, so I asked if I could get another boost on the epi to get an hour of rest and then we would start pushing.  You would think I would be super excited to push, but I knew that I would need my strength.  She said "great, sounds like a plan."  The CRNA came in to give my epi a boost.

After about 20 min, there was no way for me to stop the urge to push.  The OB came in and checked and said I was complete and at +1 station.  She had the nurse come in to work with me on pushing.  I pushed for about 20-30 min before the doula suggested I turn on my side.  I was having excruciating back pain on the left side.  Once I rolled over, I asked the nurse to let me do my thing for a bit.  I just worked with the contractions and gently nudged/beared down.  Around 5 am, the back pain became even worse and I began to have a burning sensation along the left side of my uterine scar.  The nurse went to get the OB bc this can be a sign of uterine rupture.

The OB came in and checked me and said the head is right there.  She became exactly what I needed.  She was stern and forceful without being too much.  When I would push, she would say "don't stop, don't stop, don't you stop!"  It might have been too much for some people, but it is exactly what I needed.  I really felt like I was going to rip in two.  I was screaming like a crazy person and swearing.  Oh yes, I turned into that lady.  I was also in denial that this was happening.  I asked if I was close to crowning and the OB was like "ummm, you are crowning."  Thank goodness.  She asked if I wanted to reach down and feel his head and I said no.  Again, I was in denial that this was happening.  I gave a few more pushes and out he came.  The OB told me to reach down and grab my baby.  I said no b/c again, I was in denial.  She kind of threw him in my hands and I put him on my chest.  He was born at 5:20 am on June 19th.

Holy cow, did this just happen?!?  The first words out of my mouth were "I did it!"  Any VBAC mom knows the feeling.  To go from feeling that I am defective to the realization that there is nothing wrong with me is amazing.  He started crying right away and was pink right away.  He got 9 & 9 on his apgars.  We waited a few minutes for the cord to completely stop pulsing and then Chris cut it.  I asked him to take the baby because I had the shakes so bad.  I was scared I would drop him.  He had a head full of red hair, just like his daddy.  We named him Benjamin Thomas.  :)

I just had to deliver the placenta which was no biggie.  Then the OB had to put in a couple of stitches and that was that.  

Remember how I said everything happens for a reason?  Yep, I truly believe that.  I know that if I had had any other provider, I would have had another c-section.  While we were waiting for my body to get to 10 cm, the OB told me that there was no reason to cut this baby out.

Oh, his stats were 7 lbs 4 oz, 20 1/4 inches, so he was a bit smaller than his sister, but he came exactly 2 weeks earlier than G.