Friday, January 27, 2012

Ethan's Debut

As many of you have been asking, and I have been eager to comply, here is the story as to how my little bundle of joy entered the world.

On Saturday, January 21, I woke up to contractions. They were not intense, but consistant and getting more as the day went on. By 11pm I was timing them less than 3 minutes apart and pretty intense (little did I know how much more intense they would get) so we headed to the birth center. When we arrived at the birth center Sandra, my midwife, took our vitals and she got a heartbeat for Ethan in the 90's (for those who are unsure of what it should be, 120 is low, and normal is 140-170) and so Sandra was terrified and we literally were on the way to the hospital within 2 minutes. The hospital was about a mile away and she had me on my hands and knees trying to change the heart rate. When we got to the hospital we never seen another heart beat that low, or anywhere out of normal. A consistant 150-160 bpm. However the nurse on duty said she was not completely satisfied with how he was responding to contractions. She wanted his heart beat to accelerate by 15 bpm for 15 seconds and Ethans was only doing 10 bpm for 10 seconds. Therefore she did not want to release me, but "I was not a prisioner" so I could leave, but I would have to sign an AMA (Against Medical Advice) and then insurance would probably not pay for the visit. So needless to say, Charles and I definitely felt like we were a "prisoner" and that made me super grumpy. However after my level headed husband and I talked about it more we realized that staying was not neccessarily the worst decision. We had set an appointment for induction on Monday anyhow and it was already Sunday morning. (Our ultrasound the week prior showed that my amoitic fluid was borderline dangerous for Ethan, so we had decided that if labor had not started on its own by Monday that we would go ahead with the induction (by then we would have been 42w1d anyhow).
About 330am, before being admitted in.

During our contemplation Sandra got a call from another patient of hers who was 36 weeks pregnant and her water had broke, so Sandra had to rush off to help her. Her partner midwife, was on call if/when we needed her to come in and be with us. So now it was just Charles and I (the only person I needed or wanted was right there holding my hand, LITERALLY the entire time).

1030am, I am trying to keep a smile, but you can see how exhausted I am.
Much worse picture of me, but better shows my status.
So we finally made the decision to be admitted into the hospital and start the induction. By 5am the doctor had given the order to start, very slowly, the pitocin. At this time I was a tight 3 cm dialated. By 9am, contractions got worse, and I was 5 cm. This is also when the doctor decided to break my water. Which was so low that there was hardly anything to come out. Ethan was ready to be born.  Charles said that when the nurse told me that I was 5 cm I looked so releived (and I was, I felt like I was half way there, and I could handle these contractions. I felt like I was doing just fine). Between 9am and 11am though, is when things started to take a turn for the worse for me. Contractions started to get much worse, and I was barely being able to handle them. I was looking forward to being checked again at 11am, because the nurses had told me that the average was a cm an hour and I was praying to be at 7 cm and that we were getting closer. But when I was checked at 11am, I was only 6 cm.

This is when I mentally and physically broke down. It had been 26 hours of being awake, constant contractions and over 12 hours since I had last eaten, and the contractions were literally 1.5 minutes apart and soooo intense. I was just spent. I needed a break and there was not a break to be seen. When the nurse left the room after that check, I turned to Charles and broke down crying, and telling him I needed the epidural. He knew how much I was against it, so he encouraged me to keep it up and telling me how awesome I was doing and that I could do it. I balled my eyes out and told him that at the VERY BEST I had 5+ hours left of this and I just couldn't do that without a break. I just needed to rest, and I knew that the epidural could allow a rest. I begged and begged. Once he realized that I was sure about my decision and knew I would not regret it, we told the nurse.

This was approximately noon and the nurse said that it would take about 30 minutes to get the guy in there to give it to me. Well that 30 minutes turned to an hour, and the contractions were still not giving me any break. I was crying, I was in pain, I just couldn't handle it. Finally he showed up and gave me the epidural, but it took him (and I promise you I am not exagerating at all here) 6 times to get the needle in the "right" spot on me. And if you have had an epidural before, you know they are painful, and you have to stay very still, ALL WHILE GOING THROUGH CONTRACTIONS. VERY intense contractions by this point. Finally he said that he got it in and I should be experiencing relief within minutes. And I was. Finally....I could breathe, I could handle a contraction without crying. But then within minutes, the pain returned, but only on one spot on my hip and right in the middle of my butt. And at first it was managable but still there, then just minutes later, they got to the point of crying again, and they said that I couldn't have anymore of the epidural then I had, but I was still feeling everything.

So the guy called his boss in to check it out, and they decided to poke me AGAIN to try to get the epidural in the right spot. So I get stuck a seventh time, and an eight time (not kidding). But finally it worked, and finally (its 1:30-2:00 by now) I get relief, I could rest. God answered my prayer. I felt like I could handle anything now that I could take a break from the constant pain.

At 3pm the nurse checked me again....still 6 cm. I had been at 6 cm now for 4 hours and not progressing. So the doctor came in and explained to me that I was nearly at my max dosage of pitocin (38 cc) and not progressing at all. She said, she knew I did not want a c-section and it was completely my choice, but from the looks of things it looked like we could continue like this for days with no progress. Ethan had JUST started showing slight signs of distress from the contractions, so it was just up to us. Charles looked at me, and said, "I think we need to do it hun" and I agreed. So we told the doctor that we could go ahead and do the c-section.

Minutes prior to the surgery
The next step was to call my sister and mother in law so they knew what was going on (Charles had kept them updated through out the night as well). And they both promised prayers, as well as Ethan's Godmother and my Aunt Trixie (the same wonderful woman). And right before I was being taken away the "on call midwife" showed up and prayed with me. And Charles and I prayed together. A lot of prayers were going up on my behalf, and those were the only ones that prayed with me, or directly IN THE MOMENT told me they were praying, but I know that many others were as well.

Dad scrubbed up, and ready to go

Now I got wheeled off for the surgery, and honestly, I was scared. I had never had surgery before and did not know what to expect but knew I was not mentally prepared for it. The entire time to the room, in the room, and during surgery I was praying over those hands being laid on me and in me. I know that to some a c-section is normal but its major surgery, and there could be complications, and I could have died from it. I was so scared. Finally they brought Charles in and he sat right there by my head, and prayed for me/with me. The surgery itself was very odd to me, I felt so much, but I know that in reality I felt barely anything.

The next thing I knew the doctor said "Dad, would you like to see your son" and Charles stood up and looked over the curtain, and I just heard Ethan crying. They let Charles go over and do whatever they do over there, and hear I was laying on a operating table balling my eyes out because all I can do is hear the nurses say that he was "a big boy", Ethan crying his little heart out, and Daddy saying that Ethan was "grumpy". My little boy was over there and I couldn't see him or hold him or comfort him or anything. I just wanted to see him. Or have Charles tell me something. Anything, but I was stuck.

Within minutes though, Charles brought him over and showed him to me, and I cried even harder.  There he was, my little boy, the little boy that Charles and I had prayed over for months and months, that I wanted my entire life, he was RIGHT THERE. Charles said "the nurses say they think hes about 10 lbs" and we both were in just tears over this miracle that was in his arms. I doubt either of us expected that much love, and emotion that quickly. It was amazing.
 Me meeting my precious son for the first time
Our first family picture

Ethan Michael Henry was born on January 22 at 4:34pm. He was 21.5 inches long and officially weighed 8lb 13oz (the nurses were a bit off). And at that moment, our lives were complete.

Charles then went off with Ethan while they finished putting me back together and then I waited for him to bring the little guy back into my room, for the longest 45 minutes of my life.

Me feeding my boy for the first time
We learned after the fact, that the reason I was not dialating was because Ethan was crooked inside me. With every contraction it was pushing his head into my pelvic bone (poor guy).

Now, this is not the birth story I wanted, nor planned. In fact it was my "worse case senario" but I see that God planned it this way. He was right there the entire time and played everything the way I needed it so that I would not have regrets or anger about this exeperience. He gave me the right nurses and doctors to listen to me, and allow me to control the pace and not feel pushed or rushed into any decision.  It was not my way, but it was God's way, and I would not have it anyother way. Not to mention that the end goal had always been Ethan, and guess who is right here next to me....a beautiful healthy Ethan.

Lastly when going through pictures, I found this treasure. Dad videoed this for me, and I didnt know until now. It literally made me cry.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Waiting Game

As I sit here 40+2 pregnant, I am anxious, to say the least, to meet my little guy. And earlier this morning I was on a pregnancy forum, and many women who were my same pregnant (give or take a day) were all talking about how they were going to get induced within the next few days. This made me think about how Charles and I are choosing to have our birthing experience and how vastly different it will be compared to many women.

First of all, we are having our baby at a birthing center, (a center staffed by midwives certified in birthing) and unless something goes wrong, there will be no doctors or drugs. Those two facts alone make most American women freak out. But as my very good friend says, "Giving birth is a natural bodily function for women, and doesn't need a doctor. Do you go to the doctor when you have to take a poop?"

Our bodies, women, are designed by the creator to give birth to babies, we do not need doctor interference, and we especially do not need drug interference. There are SO many side effects that are never taken into consideration with Pictocin and the Epidural (two of the most common drugs given to women) and instead of these given to women as an exception, they are the norm. If you go into a hospital and say "I don't want any drugs", its difficult to get support, they will keep coming back asking and asking, until (a lot of the time) in a moment of weakness, you give in. Its so frustrating to me.

Another thing that gets my blood boiling is the medical interference of Cesarean's. I believe that C-sections are a wonderful invention, when needed. They have saved many babies and mamas lives. I am all for that. That being said, they are being used way to often. The U.S has a rate of 31.5% (as of 2004), an all time high. For a very long time the World Health Organization (WHO) had said that the optimum rate for C-sections was 5-10%, this has recently been changed.

 Now here is where I choose to be very much a conspiracy theorist. I truly believe this is because doctors in America are lazy. There was this graph that I saw once (and I cannot find it now for the life of me) that showed that C-sections go through the roof after 5PM and Friday afternoon. This tells me that the doctors hate no being able to control birth, they want to go home for the day/weekend, and a c-section can be done in minutes as compared to a vaginal birth which can sometimes take 20-30+ hours. Now, let me restate that I know this is not all inclusive, and that not all doctors are out to cut me. But I think the rising rates in C-sections is just plain alarming. (And little side note: You can have a baby vaginally after a C-section, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.)

And another thing, if women were allowed to get up and move around during labor, instead of trapped on the bed, giving birth in the most convenience position for doctor, but awful for mama and baby, I completely believe that labors would be much easier for all involved. But because of "liability" or blah blah blah, you have to be strapped to a fetal monitoring device (which btw have no stastical benefit to mom or baby) which allows little movement. Let mama get up and move around, it will help her during labor.

Next soap box I choose to stand on is induction of labor. (But this is also a subject that is bothering me quite a bit right now for moral reasons. It is one topic that I will state my opinion, and then tell my struggle). There is no reason for a woman to be physically or medically induced just because she is 40 weeks pregnant. There is no danger for the baby until 42 weeks (minimum). I recently read an interesting article on this topic (Estimated Due Dates) and we truly need to just be patient and let our body do what it needs to do.

Now here is my struggle. I hate inducing labor with drugs, and honestly I think I just don't trust them. I think that any birth inducing drug that has a side effect of "death" for mama or baby, should not be used. I also think that God will bring your baby into this world when He's good and ready to. Now that being said, I am SO tempted to try the Castor Oil Method of induction tonight. And I fight, because although it is "natural" way to induce labor, how is it really any different than having a doctor medically induce me. Aren't I still saying to God, "You are taking to long, let me try?" Isn't that exactly what Sarah did when God promised her a baby, and she gave her maidservant to Abraham because she was to old to have a baby? (Genesis 16) But I am just so dang ready to meet my little boy, and I rationalize it by saying, "its still natural, I'm just giving my body a little push in the right direction" Therefore, here I stand, at a stalemate. Feel free to give me your input on the topic.

Now my last little fit I will throw before leaving you today is how you speak to a pregnant woman.

When a woman tells you here birthing option, and its different than what you know, or your way, do not just immediately put her down. I have heard so often that I will be unable to do this, that I will be begging for the drugs. The best thing in my option, is that drugs are not an option. In order for me to get drugs, I must leave the birth center, get in my car, drive the mile to the hospital, check myself in, and then ask for them. By that time, I am sure the baby will just be here.

Also, quit telling women how big they are, that it looks like twins, they are all belly, or anything of the sort. Your best option is to not say anything about weight at all. I realize that you mean it as a compliment, but it is not taken that way. I have a weight complex no matter what, now that I am carrying nearly 60+ pounds and being constantly reminded about it, DOES NOT HELP. You would think that women that have been pregnant before would be more considerate about this, but no, they seem to be the worse. And honestly, men are much more considerate. They've learned there lesson, I assume.

Now I pray that this is the last blog I shall write as a pregnant lady, and soon, very soon, I will be holding my little boy. One more thing on this, I am not an expert, just a girl that is very passionate about this topic. If you should disagree with me, feel free to express your opinions in a respectful manner, and if I should have any facts incorrect, also feel free to correct me.

Blogs or Items of interest on the topic (amazing movie on the topic of home births) (my birth center. My midwife is Sandra TallBear)

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year, New Start

I love New Years. I realize its just another day, but its something about that day that makes people (especially me) reflect on life and want to make positive changes in the future. It allows us to look at the last year and critic the good and the bad. What to do again, and what to never look at again. That being said, 2011 was a whirlwind of a year. It began with the worst year of my life (being abandoned, and getting a divorce) and ended the best I could ever even imagine (finding the love of my life, and beginning a family with him). Therefore it is hard to really look back at this year. But all the bad that happened just makes me even more hopeful about the upcoming year. My life is not that same as it was a year ago, and I cannot think of a single thing that could make it turn into that life again. All that being said, I am going to lay out some resolutions here for this year. I choose to write them in a blog, because I feel that it will hold me more accountable.

2012 New Year's Resolutions
(in no particular order)

1. Become a mother. And do the best job I know how to do at it. Consult others, learn what I can learn, make mistakes and grow from that. I pray that I am receptive to the teachings that come my way, but that I do whats right for my family. I pray that Charles and I are in unity about all parenting decisions that are made and I do not "take" over the job. Most of all, when I am unsure of the right answer, go to the one that has the answer: God.

2. Be strong and submissive. When Charles and I got married he made me a promise to be the leader of this family (as I asked him to be). I have never had a person leading my spiritual life, and its the best feeling ever, and sometimes its hard for my stubborn self. So I resolve, to continue to grow in Christ and do what I need to do to become who he made me be, AND be submissive to the biblical athority that God has given Charles, and he has agreed to hold.

3. Lose this baby weight. My family has a hard time losing weight after a baby. We tend to have a 5 year old (or older) and still blame the overweight status on the baby weight. My goal is to get to prepregnancy size by the end of the year (or sooner, but in a healthy way). This resolution has a part two: I would like to show Ethan a healthy lifestyle as a parent. No eating out. Eating Healthier around the house. Adding physical fitness to a regular part of life, even just small additions of walking more.

4. Thrive to be a better wife. I know that if you ask Charles, he would say that I do a wonderful job as a wife, and I am glad that I make him happy, but in every job in our lives we could always do better. And I do not want to become "comfortable" in our marriage. I want to continue to grow as a wife and as a couple. Our relationship is fairly new still and has so much potential and I want to continue as great as we have been so far.

5. Go home. By the end of 2012 I want to be in a home, that we can call home long term, in Michigan. Neither of us are "happy" in Texas, and we both want to move. And Michigan is my home, and after a visit there, Charles agrees to make it home for us. I miss my sister. I want Ethan to grow up near his 4 month older cousin.

6. Make a sizable dent into our debt. I do not have unrealistic expectations and I know that with me not working for a chunk of the new year, and a move deleting our debt is pretty impossible, but I would like to start 2013 with less debt than we are going into 2012.

7. Read more. Watch TV less. I feel so much better about myself if I spend 8 hours in a book than if I spend 8 hours watching TV. And I know that when I read more, I read more Christian Self Help books, which make me a better person. My goal is at least, AT LEAST, 3 books a month. Thats 36 books in a year. And if even one of those 3 are a self help book, thats 12 books that I have read that make me better.

8. Continue reading the bible daily. Over the last 2 years this has been a committment of mine. And in 2010 I read everyday except, maybe 5 days. In 2011 I hit a rough patch in my spiritual journey and did much worse off, but since August 1, 2011 we (my husband and I) have read everyday. This is a habit that dramatically affects my life. I can't (or dont) go off God's course for me, if I keep him in my everyday life. Not to mention, I want Ethan to grow up and see that his mom and dad were in God's word EVERY DAY.

9. Do not eat the bread of idleness. This comes from Proverbs 31. In God's discription of a Godly Wife he states that she does not eat the bread of idleness. I fail miserable at this. I procrastinate, spend way to much time on the computer when I should be doing other things (like now for example). My realistic goal here is, if I know something needs to be done, do it. And then play later. For example, how often do you put off doing the dishes, when in all honesty, it probably takes 15 minutes to do them (max), and if you just do it. Then you can enjoy your down time better without thinking the whole time, "Man, I know I should be doing the dishes", also if you just keep up on things, it makes it so much easier.

10. Lastly, be more open with Christ to others. I want to  bring others to God, and I want to be a role model as a Christian for others. I do not want to be ashamed or quiet about my faith. I want to speak up. Bring others in. So this goal is bluntly, OPEN MY MOUTH about Jesus.

Now friends and loved ones, I ask that you help hold me accountable to these 10 goals. I would like to look back each month at this list and evaluate how I am doing. I dont want to just let these go. Also, if you made resolutions and would also like an accountability partner, I'd love to team up on this. Let me know!