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A Birth Story: My Crazy Adventure in Birthing

Baby "E"

Still wearing my favorite maternity shirt complete with a "what the hell just happened" expression.

A scream that the baby is coming. Tires squealing out of the driveway. Racing to the freeway. Running red lights. Barreling towards the hospital at 100 miles an hour. Throwing the car keys at the ER valet. Getting rushed to a hospital room. Nurses scrambling and the doctor rushing in mid-push.

These things aren’t supposed to happen during labor. The birth of a baby isn’t usually a crazy emergency situation…or, at least, that’s what they tell us in all those birthing classes. But it can happen like that. I know, because it happened to me.

It’s a good thing I didn’t have a birth plan for my baby boy. Because no amount of planning could have prepared me for what happened the night my son “E” was born. My son was born on October 14th, his initial due date, at 11:27 pm. We arrived at the hospital at 11:20 pm. Want to know how that happened? Read on:

Knowing that my doctor would plan an induction if I went past my due date, I spent the week leading up to 14th trying out some natural induction methods. The past few weeks had been filled with a surge of Braxton Hicks contractions and I felt optimistic that I could go into natural labor before the doctor broke out the pitocin. So, I visited my acupuncturist/chiropractor. I ate eggplant parmigiana and pineapple. I went for long walks and bribed seduced my husband. A friend of mine swore by the breast pump to kick-start things, which I tried the morning on October 13th. Later that afternoon, I visited a reflexologist for an hour long massage. By that evening my contractions were coming along more steadily and intensely, but never painfully. I didn’t think much of it since I had been dealing with pre-labor signs for weeks.

The morning of the 14th, I had two appointments – one with my OB/GYN and another with a Maternal Fetal Health Clinic. Due to my elderly maternal age of 35 and Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension, I had been deemed “high-risk” and had been monitored with NST and ultrasound exams twice a week since early September. My doctor checked me and I was barely dilated nor effaced, which wasn’t a total surprise. I was barely dilated with my first son 90 minutes before he was born. We discussed my previous labor, which we had discussed many times already, and talked about the plan to induce the following week if the baby didn’t arrive on his own. I then headed to another floor for my NST exam. The nurses noticed a decrease in the baby’s movement. I had felt him several times that morning and even during the exam, but their concern had me worried. After a discussion with my doctor, they scheduled me to go to L&D the next morning for further monitoring. I knew there was a good chance that they would keep me in L&D and induce me at the first sign of a problem. I silently begged my body and my baby to get things rolling.

I was home by 1:00pm and started timing my still relatively painless contractions. The Dude had stayed home from work that day and my mom stopped by to watch the Monkey.  We took our dog for a long walk, which got the contractions coming a little more consistently and intensely. By 5:00 pm, my mom had left and I was getting restless so I decided to go to Trader Joe’s with the Monkey. While waiting in line to check out, a woman with three small children started chatting me up. A contraction came during that time and she must have read my expression because she asked if I was in labor. I replied that I didn’t think so because the contractions didn’t really hurt. She gave me a look as if to say “uh, yeah you are!” and wished my luck.  When I returned home, the Dude decided to run out and grab us some Indian take-out. By the time he returned at 7:00pm, I felt things were moving more quickly and that we needed to visit the hospital. When he pulled the car in the drive way, I yelled out to him to leave the car there and not bother pulling it into the garage – we were going soon. While the Dude quickly ate, we called his mom to come over and watch the Monkey. She was there within minutes and we took off. We arrived at the hospital at 7:30 pm.

The admitting nurse checked me and I was at 2cm dilated and 60% effaced. My mom had met us at the hospital since I thought for sure things would be moving quickly. The contractions were coming along between 2-4 minutes apart and had become stronger and somewhat painful. I walked around the halls with the Dude. I would brace myself against a wall during a contraction while he massaged the pain in my lower back. The nurse checked me again after an hour. No change. My doctor stopped by at that point and could see that I was in pain and the contractions were coming on more regularly. She ordered a shot of Demoral to take the edge off  and then told me that I should go home and labor for a few more hours and then come back. She also told me that she would probably see me later that night or early the next morning but, because I was still at 2cm, they couldn’t admit me yet unless I was in a serious amount of pain. My contractions were painful, but not unbearable, however the Demoral did nothing for me except make me a little woozy. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep through the contractions, but I thought I could at least go home and be comfortable while I labored. I joked about getting some Krispy Kreme donuts on the way home as a last calorie-busting hurrah before starting my post-baby diet. The nurse kept asking me my pain scale number and mentioned a few times that she thought I had a high tolerance for pain. I thought it was a weird comment since I was only at 2cm but, looking back, I realize she was trying to clue me into saying that my pain level was higher than I said so they would have to admit me. I wish I had.

We left the hospital at 10:30pm. I would be giving birth in less than an hour. (continues…)

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My Birth Plan? No Plan At All.


What just happened? The Monkey and me, shortly after he made his dramatic entrance into the world.

My maternal great-grandmother gave birth to 13 children. All but #13 were born at home and none of them were delivered with medicinal pain relief.

My maternal grandmother delivered 3 children without any medicinal pain relief.

My own mother delivered two out of three of her children without any medicinal pain relief.

That’s pretty awesome of them. But, as for me? Bring on the meds. Maybe.

I’m in the homestretch of my pregnancy and expect to meet baby #2 within 2 weeks (or possibly later tonight if that famous eggplant parmigiana recipe really works). If I were to have a birth plan, the only plan would be to ask for the epidural as soon as I check into the hospital. You see, my last labor and delivery, which was an induced labor at 41 weeks, was approximately 90 minutes from the time the pitocin hit to when my son made his entrance. Going from 0 to delivery in an hour and a half was excruciating and exhausting and the epidural that I managed to beg for when I could actually catch my breath came much too late. It was not the birth experience that I had wanted and certainly did not anticipate. Considering my doctor barely made it in time (and my doula never made it at all), no one anticipated it. In the end, all that mattered was that my son was born healthy and I was OK…but it would have been nice if our first introduction to one another was during a much less dramatic circumstance. (continues…)

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A Private Pregnancy

I’m going through a very exciting time in my life, which kinda makes it all the more strange why I haven’t been blogging much lately. I found out in January that I’m expecting child #2 in October. Yes, I’m halfway through my 2nd pregnancy and I have yet to shout it through the blogosphere.

When I first found out, I couldn’t wait to share the news. But then something changed. I wanted to keep it private, which is probably very unusual for a blogger. Especially a “mommy blogger.” We tend to share everything. Overshare, actually. But this pregnancy made me want to embrace privacy and anonymity. Perhaps it was just the mama-bear instinct that often kicks in as soon as we read the positive pregnancy test.  Who knows. But what I do know is that I wasn’t ready to share the news until now.

When I started sharing the news with family and friends, I was somewhat surprised about some of the responses we received. I think some of the personal questions people asked me prompted me to keep this pregnancy more private than I originally intended, both off and online. It also motivated me to write a list of things you ought not to say to an expectant mother and couple. I understand that pregnancy often brings out curiosity in others, but it’s pretty obvious that some people don’t understand that their questions are rather personal and that many people would like the answers to remain private.  Here are a few rather personal questions that people have asked me so far:

1) Was it planned? (continues…)

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Big Brother (Part II)

A  few months ago, I wrote about my internal debate about whether or not to make the Monkey a big brother.

The debate still rages within.

I have never been so conflicted about anything in my life. Ever since I decided to become a mother, I assumed that I would have two children. No more, no less.  My reasons for not wanting more children may be considered selfish, but they are still valid reasons nonetheless.

I don’t want to be pregnant again. It was an incredible experience to be pregnant but it wasn’t necessarily enjoyable. Simply put, the lack of control over my body was an unpleasant experience. This may have something to do with my OCD tendencies, but I think a lot of women feel this way with or without acknowledging it. I felt the same way about breastfeeding for nine months. For 18 months, my body belonged to another human being. Now that another 18 months have gone by in which I’ve had complete control over my body, I’m not so sure I want to rent it out again.

I enjoy sleeping again. I enjoy having personal time for myself and time for the Dude. Getting time for myself, let alone with my husband, is a luxury. Infants and toddlers tend to put a marriage/partnership on the back-burner when it really needs to be a priority. All marriages/partnerships suffer when children come along and there is a big part of me that doesn’t want my marriage to be affected any more than it has already. Introducing children into your world can be the most beautiful thing in the world, but it can also create a huge strain on family dynamics. (continues…)

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Want to Feel Great? Try Needles and Crack.

This feels much better than it looks

This feels much better than it looks

Being poked, prodded, and cracked is a great way to spend an hour or two.

As most parents or caretakers of small children know, nothing puts wear and tear on your muscles and joints like a kid. And, if you’ve been pregnant, you probably know that it starts in the womb. By the time I reached my 3rd trimester, I was regularly seeing a chiropractor, acupuncturist, and masseuse. And by regularly, I mean weekly. Sometimes multiple times a week. Yes, I clearly used to have both the time and the money to devote to myself.

Now that my pregnancy aches and pains have morphed into the ailments associated with lugging around a wiggly and arm-flailing 25-pounder who prefers to be carried, I still get tune-ups when the need arises.

A few months ago, I had the brilliant idea to show my Monkey some tricks on the monkey bars (tricks that have not been practiced in 20 years).  I woke up with muscle spasms in my back so severe that I could barely walk, so I immediately called my doctor who is both an acupuncturist and chiropractor (find one of those!). I was back to normal within minutes after my session. I was good to go for a few months until just the other day when old neck and upper back injuries flared up again. After a session of electro-acupuncture and a quick adjustment, I was back to chasing my kid around without any problem.

Some people do not believe in the power of acupuncture or chiropractic care. I’m guessing they have either not tried it or haven’t gone to the right doctor. For me, there is nothing else that can compare. For aches, pains, and sore muscles, I much prefer alternative methods that are healing and restorative rather than rely on conventional medical methods, like prescription drugs. For the same price as a few prescription bottles of Flexiril or Vicodin, I would much rather be stuck with a few needles and have my spine cracked. The best part of all, the healing effects of treatment last much longer than the duration of any prescription drug.

Have you tried acupuncture or chiropractic care? If not, what’s stopping you?

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