Comparing Birth Stories

I always knew that my mom had a difficult birth with me. The many times she reminded me that she nearly died while giving birth to me and how i had my cord stuck around my neck so i'd be grateful for the life she gave me was something that still seems to haunt her to do this day. When i asked her if she wanted to be at the birth center for my birth experience, her quick response "NO" followed by a hesitant "do you want me there?" was due to her own experiences in labor. I knew it was a tough time, but i never got the details of it...until recently.

With the past 13 days at home with Annabelle, my mother and I have had time to digest the fact that her baby is now a mom, and for me, that I am a mom. It's still very surreal.

Little pieces of my birth story started to come out and I realized the similarities to our stories as well as how different the outcomes were.

One of the things that the midwives ask you is how your mother's births were. I'm not sure how similar all mother daughter stories will be, but I guess the idea is that they could be similar and so that is how they get background on first time moms. I had no real details except that my mother hemorrhaged a lot and that i had the umbilical cord stuck around my neck. That was really all i knew.

Here is our stories side by side. Similarities and differences.
My Birth
  • I was 13 days late. 
  • Estimated due date: January 30th. Arrived February 12
  • Labor started with the bag of waters breaking. 
  • Hospital Birth
  • Interventions used: induction method (most likely pitocin) and epidural. 
  • Interventions likely caused fetal distress, Dr. suggested C-section.
  • Father refused, hostile birth environment, waiver signed after Dr. informed my father he was killing my mother and me by not allowing the C-section. 
  • Cord wrapped around my neck. 
  • Post Partum hemorrhaging required operation. 
  • Initial Dr. went on vacation, mother had post partum complications.
  • Different Dr. wanted to remove the uterus, father refused.
  • In essence, mom had something similar to a c-section even though i was delivered vaginally.
  • Mother is still traumatized from this birt
Annabelle's Birth
  • She was 17 days early.
  • Estimated due date: January 30th. Arrived January 13
  • Labor started with the bag of waters breaking
  • Birth Center Birth 
  • No interventions.
  • Used Castor oil and nipple stimulation to stimulate labor.
  • 22 hr labor in a positive birth environment.
  • Every time i was checked or we were trying a different position I was asked for consent. There was no threatening tones or language used to get me to along with their game plan. 
  • Delivered vaginally.
  • slight tear, no stitches required. 
  • Post Partum recovery at home and smooth.
  • Same midwife who assisted in birth, visited me post partum. 
  • Happy Birth story

Aside from our due dates (which to me is pretty cool)  and how we went into labor, our birth stories are polar opposites in our experience. However, I do think if i had gone to a hospital, my birth experience would have also been filled with interventions due to hospital policies/guidelines that require you to be in active labor within 12 hrs. I was 6 cm at 14 hrs, but 2 hrs prior i don't know if i was in active labor. And that policy single handedly could have dramatically changed the events of my birth experience.

When i called my mother that morning to tell her my bag of waters had broken, she had fear in her voice. I reassured her and she said she was just worried about getting to me on time, but the fear never left her voice. I figured she was just worried as all mothers would be. Even when i spoke to her later that night at about 10pm when she called to say she was at the condo in DC, I could still hear her fear. I didn't know why until this past week and now i totally understand why. She was scared for me. Her experience is still so fresh in her mind after 35 years, that she still shivers when telling me how awful it was for her. And her relief that Annabelle and I made it completely healthy and happy has given her a renewed faith in the birth experience.

I share this story only b/c i think its really neat that my mom and i do have similarities in our birth stories. Hopefully jotting this down here, Annabelle could always look back if she wanted to compare her birth story (when the time comes) to mine and her grandmothers.

Today is our Due Date...

and instead of expecting a bundle of joy, our precious little angel is already here... In our arms.

Here are a few photos from the past 17 days of our overly punctual little girl...

I still find it so surreal that Annabelle is here and not in my tummy, and every time I look at her, I can't believe we have been so blessed with this amazing miracle we created.

Annabelle's 2 week Pediatrician Visit

I was nervous about this visit. I knew her second PKU test was gonna happen and the sound of my little girl crying is just heart breaking for me. However, I knew the visit would be informative since we had several questions.

We had the Dr. check out her poop b/c it was not just yellow but a little green. I knew yellow was the appropriate color but wasn't sure about the green. She said that the color of green she had was ok, but should it become a truer green, be streaked with blood or more mucosy, then i may want to watch out b/c she could have digestive inflammation from a food allergy, likely dairy or soy. I told her that the night before I had sour cream and cheese with our tacos, and after 2 weeks of really eating mostly Korean food, i also had indigestion. She said it could be that, or it could be nothing. Just keep my eye on things to see if there are patterns.

We asked her about the little spots on Annabelle's cheek. The night before they looked like little mosquito bites, but went away quickly once i started to nurse. We figured it could be a reaction to Larry's shirt b/c it had writing on it. She said since it went away not to be too alarmed but of course, that it was good to notice things like that b/c it could be an allergy if it keeps happening.

We asked about her "wheezing" which is really not labored wheezing but just sounds when she breathes sometimes. It almost sounds like she needs to clear her throat. The Dr. said that unless it becomes labored or she turns blue around the mouth, it could just be dried milk or fluids she needs to get rid of and will do naturally on her own. Things we could do is keep her at an incline when sleeping, use a saline spray in her nose and use a humidifier at night. We have been doing everything but the saline spray so far and she still seems unbothered and a-ok.

Overall, the appointment went smoothly until we had the 2nd PKU. She cried a lot and it seemed to drag on forever. It hurt my heart so much to hear her cries, i wish there was something i could have done for her. I quickly nursed her afterwards and much to my relief, her tears stopped.

At this appointment our little bundle weighed in at 7lbs 8.5 ounces :) She is mightily growing and the Dr. checked her all over and said she "is a perfect 2 week old baby" !!!

Newborn Hearing Screen Test

Today our precious Annabelle had her hearing screening test. Typically this is done at the hospital before you are discharged but because we had Annabelle outside of a hospital, we had to get the referral and schedule an appointment after our first pediatrician's appointment.

Due to the MLK holiday weekend, today on the 24th, was the earliest appointment.

We arrived early and were told if she was sleeping it would take about 10 minutes but if she was awake and fussy, it can take much longer. She slept the whole way there, while there, and on the way back... here's a photo :)

The people at Sibley were all VERY nice and the experience overall was great.

They tested her left ear first but the result kept coming back "REFER" which I think is a nice way of saying FAIL! We tried the right ear and within 30 seconds a bright green "PASS" filled the screen. So she said that Annabelle may have fluids in her ears, so that could explain why this very sensitive test wasn't picking "things" up. So she tried the ABR test which takes a little longer but still not invasive and test the nerves.

The nurse/Dr who performed the tests talked us through the tests, basically reassuring us that nothing was wrong. As the result were being put on the screen, she said "we are looking for anything over 3"... the number went up to 5. She said "wow a 5, this is definitely a pass." The number kept going up. She said "i haven't seen over a 9 in a while." The number landed at 11.93 (i think it was .93 lol).

Larry beamed with pride as if she passed some serious test with flying colors, which in essence she did, but its just a hearing screening test.

So all in all, if my little one tries to act like she can't hear me later in life, i will bring up how well she did on this test and demand that she has bionic hearing so she can't lie to me about not listening LOL

Happy Lunar New Year

Today was my green light day... the day I was gonna green light our baby to come into this world. Silly of me really to think MY child would not have a mind of her own... she did everything I asked her not to
  • Come early
  • Come late in the week
  • Be a Capricorn (I'm an aquarian)
  • Be a Rabbit (I'm a dragon)
Yet, I love every darn thing about this little girl, even though she didn't listen to me. Hopefully this isn't a sign of what is to come for our relationship LOL

Happy New Year Y'all, may it be filled with as much love as I know mine will be!!

FryBean has arrived...

One week ago today, at 4:23 am - our world forever changed with our baby girl's arrival. While she was 17 days early, she is full term and a very healthy little girl. Weighing in at 7 lbs and 1 oz and 20 inches long, she is a bundle of great joy.

I've been trying to get the time to write my birth story, but alas, getting to know our little girl has been the priority... but i hope to share with y'all my story soon.

But for now, here is our beautiful Annabelle...

Annabelle's Pediatric Visit #3

5 days after Annabelle was born and Annabelle had her THIRD Dr's visit. Luckily this was a quick one, they weighed her in at 6 lbs 12 ounces (Yay, she had gained weight!) and the Dr. was not at all concerned with her coloring. I'm thinking the yellowness could be because, well hello?! I'm yellow.

Because we were in the clear, we made our 2 week appointment and brought a very happy little girl home.

And again, she dropped a poop bomb while at the pediatricians!

Here she is on that car ride...

Annabelle's 2nd Pediatric Visit

On Monday, 3 days after Annabelle was born, we took her back in to see the Dr. They wanted to do a weigh in and check her color as well as give me an opportunity to meet with the lactation consultant on site.

Needless to say, as new parents, we didn't time things right and were late. So our typically short visit became very long since we were tardy.

However, it was informative for me to get some nursing pointers and seeing as my milk had come in on Sunday afternoon (only 2.5 days after Annabelle's birth - i'm told that's quick lol), I was eager for the pointers b/c my nipples were sore and the milk was coming in!

Annabelle weighed in at 6 lbs and 8 oz. She was further down from her initial weigh in and the Dr. said she had slight yellowness.

Due to this, they asked to see us again 2 days later just to be cautious. We happily obliged as the weight loss was worrisome to me, although the Dr did not seem bothered by any of it.

Annabelle survived visit #2 and like clockwork, dropped a poop bomb while at the office visit.  Here she is on the way to Visit #2.

However, Daddy was not so thrilled. Larry and I got our DTAP Vaccinations while at the pediatricians. Luckily for me, I didn't feel a thing. Not even the needle. Unlucky for Larry, he didn't feel the needle but felt the vaccine for days afterwards!

Annabelle's 1st Pediatric Visit

The day after Annabelle was born, we had her first pediatric visit. Here she is bundled up in the car... She seems to do well in car rides (thus far, knock on wood).

Since this was an out of hospital birth, the convenience of a pediatrician coming to you while you are still in the hospital isn't there. But we had gone to the information session at Capital Medical Group and immediately loved Dr. Jones who is the head pediatrician in that practice.

When we arrived, they said to strip her down to her diaper. Of course she pooped, so eventually we had to change her. Then she pooped again mid way through.

She weighed in at 6lbs 10 oz which is down from her original weight of 7lbs 1 oz and measured the same 20 inches.

Dr. Jones was awesome. She was lying there fussing and he said "let's try something" and folded up her legs closely tucked to her belly. She fidgeted less but was still crying. So he said "if you don't mind, my hands are clean, but i bet she'll be comforted by this" and with our permission stuck his finger in her mouth. Immediately she was calm. No fussing. No crying. Happy as a clam. Then he tried to release her legs and immediately she began to cry again. Needless to say, she was one who would enjoy having her legs swaddled. Something I did not do the night before, and i was very exhausted for it.

She also was an avid sucker, something Dr. Jones also noted "your nipples are gonna be sore!" I responded "they already are". He said the strength with which she was sucking, he could have lifted her off the table with the finger. LOL Of course we beamed with pride at every little thing he noted about our precious little girl. He said a pacifier wouldn't hurt and could be helpful, especially if she was sucking to soothe. He also said that he had no problems with us co-sleeping b/c it was "obvious you aren't mentally ill, drug users or alcoholics." This was a relief b/c i had snuck her into bed with me the night before to get some rest and her and I both slept much better being near one another.

He gave us informational tidbits...Why do girls have hymens? It's really to keep the amniotic fluid out of the baby. He also said to take a look at her nipples, one was slightly more pronounced than the other. He wasn't sure but thought that either that would be the one to grow first or larger than the other one (it was her right nipple btw that was more pronounced). He told us not to worry about sneezes, since she was still getting rid of any amniotic fluid in her lungs.

After he left us, the nurse came in to give Annabelle her first PKU and her hepatitis B shot. She was a champ and the nurse was really good.

We were asked to come back in 2 days just to do a color check and weigh in. As new parents we were happy for the extra check ins, since we knew we'd be easily freaked out.

Annabelle's Birth Story {Photos}

I wanted to include some photos from Annabelle's Birth (post partum and all G-rated!)

While i attempted to tinkle on the potty, Larry attempted his first diaper EVER!

Then he attempted his first outfit ...
He did a great job...

Look at this proud papa!!!

Then we got her in her "beary cute" outfit... mind you she has a mismatched hat on and she looks like a baker.

But daddy still done good!

A photo of the 3 of us before we left the Birth Center

And this photo with the 2 women who guided me through this process! Claudia and Laura! Both amazing support and strength through the birth!

Annabelle's Birth Story {Post Partum Recovery}

Read all of Annabelle's Birth Story!  

So before I was "released" from BirthCare Birth Center I needed to eat and drink something and pee. I had finished my huge smart water and eaten the deliciously carb filled meal of Baked Ziti my husband prepared. Needless to say i was not hungry or thirsty, but I did as i was told.

So at 7am ish, all that was left for me to do was to pee. How hard could that be considering i'd been a peeing maniac the past year. Easy Peasy, right?


Apparently, there is what I like to call muscle confusion in your lower areas. Not only that, but apparently I was VERY swollen down there. Luckily, I had a very minor tear... so minor I didn't get stitched. So in that sense, I was lucky. However, if we wanted to leave (especially for that District Traffic hit) I had to pee ... and for some reason I couldn't. So they tried to give me a catheter... TWICE! Now, folks after just giving birth, this is obviously not that huge of a deal but it was a pain different than the pressure of "pooping out a bowling ball"...

It was after the unsuccessful attempts at putting the catheter in that we just resorted to me sitting on an ice pack.

This did the trick and I was able to pee shortly after sitting on the ice.

All in all, due to this minor hiccup - we arrived home at 9am that morning due to some traffic we encountered along the way...

Here is our Annabelle on her first car ride home...

Annabelle Birth Story {Part 3}

At 4:23 am on January 13, 2012, our beloved and precious Annabelle YooJin came into this world.

After only a short period of pushing (which really wasn't the hardest part), she came out of my body and into this world. As she was placed on my belly for our skin to skin contact, she had a healthy set of lungs which she exercised quite well. Her umbilical cord was short, so i couldn't have her to my chest and the placenta was still pulsating blood to her so we let her lay on my belly and she let the world know she arrived with her cries.

It was the first of many adventures that she and I took together, getting her safely into our arms and she was a little warrior through it all. She knew exactly what she needed to do to arrive safely and although she came earlier than I had hoped, she came healthy and strong - 7 lbs 1 oz and 20 inches long. All i had to do was be patient and let her do her thing!

As the haze somewhat lifted, I asked Larry... "Is our baby a boy or a girl?" Through all the chaos of her arrival, we hadn't checked. Larry wanted to be the one to announce the gender. "It's a girl!!!" he said with great pride and love. Although he had wanted a boy initially (and 95% of our friends, family and even strangers predicted a boy), the sight of our baby girl was enough to bring tears to his eyes. He just kept telling me how much he loved me and our little girl.

Oddly, I did not cry. I just stared down at her in disbelief. I checked her out. She had long fingers like me. I told Larry "look at her piano hands!" (Now all we need is a piano). All 10 were accounted for. She had dark hair like me. Her head was cone shaped. "look at her conehead!" I made sure all of her was there. And she was all there! (Claudia later told me that its a normal process some women go through, similar to mothers in the animal kingdom, we check out our young to make sure they are all there, safe and sound)

At 4:34 am, her cord to her placenta was cut. Laura asked if I or Larry wanted to cut the cord and neither one of us really wanted to. Her placenta had stopped pulsating all the blood that was there to give and was ready to detach from the uterine wall. So Laura cut it for us.

At 4:40 am, I birthed Annabelle's placenta with a little assistance from Laura. That part wasn't fun but it was nothing compared to earlier. The haze was still lifting around me. 

At 4:42 am, I was given a shot of pitocin post partum to assist with the bleeding. While the skin to skin contact was helping my body release oxytocin, the pitocin would also assist with that. And since Annabelle was out of me, I was happy to accept the assistance.

At 5:05 am, Annabelle latched on to me for the first time and I began to nurse. She was an avid sucker and so bright eyed and alert. She just stared around looking all over as I gave her what she needed.
This was taken after her first feeding.
We had requested her erythromycin and vitamin K shot be given to her after her initial feeding so that we could focus on bonding first. So we got to see her beautiful steel gray/dark blue eyes (which will change to brown by month 9) and her eyes wide open staring all around.

It was an amazing life changing moment. I had survived. I felt so empowered and so strong. Although, it took a while for the haze to lift (and is still lifting), I am amazed and grateful for my body. After spending 34 years of my life wishing i was thinner or toned or this or that, i can finally say with 100% honesty that I love my body. And its because of the process of pregnancy to birth that has made me truly appreciate what GOD has given me.

I later asked Larry "Did i ever say I out loud that I didn't think i could do this?" and Larry said "nope not once, not at all! I'm so proud of you" and i responded "because it did cross my mind a couple of times." LOL

In all honesty, without Larry's unwavering support. He's complete faith in me and my ability to do this, I probably would have stalled out in my labor. He's so eeked out by the littlest drop of blood or the mere mention of poop, but he did not once look disgusted, scared or doubtful. And for that, I am so thankful. He was my strength when I thought I had none left.

And having a doula and midwife who knows their sh** was god-sent. They guided me through a process they've seen hundreds of times. Their knowledge and experience gave me the trust i needed in them to trust myself. Our birth would not have gone so smoothly without them, of this I am 100% sure.

Our birth story was ideal. While I had hoped she would have waited til week 39 to make an appearance, she came out healthy. While i wasn't thrilled that i gushed all over my bed and knew i had a 24 hr window frame to go into active labor, we survived. While I had hoped I would have had more control over the uncontrollable moments, I'm learning that not controlling things is probably what helped me survive the process.

I say that our birth story is "ideal" because i wanted a natural birth without any unnecessary interventions and that is what I got. I wanted to experience birth and walk away empowered and grateful, and that is what happened. I feel stronger. I have more faith and confidence in my body. And I love that i was part of every moment of the birthing process with Annabelle, hand in hand, as we both worked together to bring her into this world.

I've always said its great that we have so many options as to how we birth in this day and age. And I firmly stand by that. I don't care how you birth - in or out of the hospital, vaginally or a csection, with or without interventions... women are warriors. We enter into a process we know we won't have control of and that can bring us an extreme amount of pain, and yet we do it with love, grace and tenderness. Only a woman bears the strength to do what we mothers do, and i'm so grateful to be a part of such a strong community of woman.

Annabelle's Birth Story {Part 2}

The car ride over wasn't pleasant but it wasn't nearly as bad as I had worried about. You hear horror stories about how awful it is, so i was planning for the worst. But the drive over was timed perfectly. No traffic and my contractions were still about 5-6 minutes apart lasting about 60 seconds long. They were becoming more intense, but i was able to get myself through the first 30 seconds, I knew i'd survive. Focus and breathing helped a lot. Distractions made the feeling of the contractions much worse. 

We arrived in one piece. And I made way through the back door entrance, Larry started to unload the car. We had two bags full of stuff for us and the baby, and tons of food in case this was gonna be for the long haul. I don't know how many trips Larry took, but he was a trooper. 
We got settled in upstairs in the farthest room and I tried to stay upbeat. The contractions were coming and i was breathing and gripping my way through them. They still weren't overly intense and I was still able to focus my way through the waves that would come on.

Laura wanted to check me before we did anything else. I agreed to this as I knew this would only be one of the few times I was checked (as to avoid infection since my bag of waters was broken) and because I was curious where I was. 

Again you hear horror stories about how women think they are near the end, get to the hospital and are told they are 3 cm. So i was gripping myself for some bad news and then the cervadil and a long night ahead of us.

I always think, hope for the best but prepare yourself for the worst... and in most cases this works well for me. 

So, Laura checks me... and she is pleasantly surprised. "You are about 5cm, I can stretch you to 6cm... you are in active labor! I don't think we have a need for the cervadil!" I was also 100% effaced at this time.

PRAISE THE LORD! HALLELUJAH! That moment was very encouraging for me. I felt that without too much strain, pain or effort I had made it to the halfway mark. I had prepared myself for 3-4cm, so this was much happier news and I was renewed with a burst of energy. This was about 8:15pm. 

Shortly after this, my doula Claudia arrived and checked in on us. Because i was able to fall asleep between contractions, Laura decided to let Larry and I have the room to ourselves. He needed rest as did I, and sometimes with too many eyes on one thing - well its like watching a pot of water boil and can prolong things. So i continued to labor for the next few hours... the intensity of my contractions increased, and it became harder to just breathe or focus my way through the contractions. I found that a low deep moan helped me breathe my way through the waves of pressure. I also found that a slow hand rub sometimes helped but sometimes didn't. In fact, I told my husband to just hold my hand or apply pressure in one spot versus the rubbing. He took all direction and instruction like a champ and continued to be so supportive.

At about 12:15am, Claudia and Laura had prepared the jacuzzi tub for me to labor in. Unfortunately, the water wasn't super warm initially, but when we filled it again mid way through, it was nice and steamy.  However, as much as I love the idea of soaking in a nice hot tub, the reality is, I usually don't stay in there long. So after about an hour, I was ready to go back to the bedroom. 

Throughout this time, the hardest part was getting to and from the bathroom or changing positions. While it is often necessary to change positions to help the baby transcend further down, adjusting to the new sensations that position brought on during a contraction was not easy. Timing movement was also not easy because movement brought on faster contractions. But with the help of Larry, Laura and Claudia who were so encouraging and supportive in just the right way I was able to transition as comfortably as possible. 

As my contractions intensified, Laura checked me again at 1:30 AM. With her very tender hands, she checked me and I was about 8cm, 100% effaced and baby was still in 0 station. I also had some anterior lip, so both Claudia and Laura suggested i labor on the birth ball or labor on all fours. I really really really did not want to do this because laboring like this intensified the pressure throughout a contraction but i knew it would speed labor along. I may have moaned once or twice that i didn't want to switch into that position, all the while making my way into that position with the help of Larry, Laura and Claudia. I stayed in that position for 15 minutes or so and then returned to side lying on my right side.

At 2:40 am I was checked again. The anterior lip was hanging around and baby was still in 0 station. Again, I moved into an all four forward position. 

In trying to describe the feeling of the most intense pressure I ever felt in my life... all I can say is that it is an indescribable and uncontrollable wave of pressure that washed over me. It was towards the end of each contraction that my body would convulse b/c i had this urge to push but this pressure along my front abdomen would stop me.  In essence I was fighting the urge, and my body and mind were fighting each other. When describing this feeling, Laura stated that it was the anterior lip that was causing that feeling so laboring on all fours was essential. I tried to stay on all fours, legs spread wide and just fall head first into the contractions. It was hard. It was intense. I was in a haze. It all became blurry. And there were moments, I was not sure I could do it. 

The moments where I doubted my own ability are crystal clear in my mind today. At the same time I doubted if i could do what i was already doing, I remembered that my Bradley chart stated in TRANSITION STAGE was when you may have doubts. Realizing this, I knew I was close to the end so i kept on keeping on. 

At about 3:40 am, as I was side lying on my right side holding my left leg up in the air by my knee, I began to push. 

At about 3:54 am, i reverted back to a hands and knees position and tried a few pushes in that position. All my movements were suggested to me by either Laura or Claudia or both. In efforts to ease any discomfort or pain, they both encouraged me to focus my grunts/groans/moans, to try different positions and guided my motions. Their presence was essential in making things move along. 

That position was not as comfortable, so i returned to my side lying position. 

At 4:04 am, I began to push "effectively". In essence, I was able to focus my strength in my bottom and actually make progress in pushing the baby out. 

At 4:20 am, our baby began crowning. The feeling of having a baby's head in your bottom is the weirdest most amazing feeling. I didn't want to close my leg in fear i'd smush something, which I guess i couldn't do b/c Laura and Claudia encouraged me to rest. I tried but it was during this time I was really becoming exhausted. 

It was at this point, a thought crossed my mind. "Larry better like whatever this baby's gender is because he may not be getting any more after this one!"

During the actual second stage of labor, the pushing stage - the animal instinct takes over. Even when I was asked to resist the urge to push, it was difficult to do so. To minimize tearing, Claudia and Laura were guiding me through this stage. And even with the knowledge that as i was pushing, the baby would come out and then go back in, and then with the next push come out further and then retract back in... the feeling of defeat when that happened was very distinct in my mind. When i first felt the baby retract back in after all that pushing, I could have cried. I kept thinking "noooooo don't go back in!!!" But the next push, the baby just came back to where she left off and my pushing efforts resumed from there. It's amazing what your body is capable of. And as I continued to push, which I think in essence was only a few real contractions that went by the urge became harder to control. 

Laura and Claudia are both telling me to control my pushes, to slow down. Larry is next to me telling me that I can do this and that I have control. All the while, I'm not feeling in control and I say out loud that I can't control my urge to push. This is met with "we don't want you to tear" and my very loud response was "I DON'T CARE!!!" and i succumbed to the need to push. I was only able to control it when i knew they needed to check for the cord and even then it was too hard to not push. I used small grunts/pushes to try and control things. I felt that i was unable to control myself, but was later told that I actually did a great job controlling my pushes! After another push or two, i was then encouraged to continue pushing as the baby's head was on the way out... 

Stay Tuned for Part 3 of Annabelle's Birth Story.

Annabelle's Birth Story {Part 1}

It was a typical Thursday morning when I woke up on January 12, 2012 at about 5:50 am. Annoyed that yet again, my urge to pee woke me before my alarm clock at 6am... and we all know that 10 minutes in the morning can make a difference. But by this time, I was used to it. I sleepily made my way to the bathroom. Tinkled and felt something weird, so i went to turn on the light to make sure i wasn't releasing any bloody show or other such things. Nada...

As I laid back in bed, Larry asked "is everything alright?"

I responded "yup, just had to pee."

and as soon as i finished that sentence... GUSH!!!!!!!

"Oh crap, my water just broke!" I said.

Larry jumped up a bit and said "ok what do we do!"

I laid there thinking "this little kid is sooooo uncooperative." Yup, my first thought. My second thought was the realization that earlier that morning around 3 am, after another tinkle break in the middle of the night, the menstrual like sensations I had and I noticed were slightly different than in the previous weeks, were in fact different. I did notice they came at me like waves instead of on overall aura or sensation... and it was as i fell back asleep at 3am that i thought, "if this is different, this kid could come on Friday the 13th"...

So i said "could you get me a towel?"

Larry ran up, got me a towel and we worked to try to get it under me, all the while more water gushed out of me. It was during this time, the words of my Bradley teacher came to me... "it won't be like the movies, it may not be a gush... it could just be a trickle." And i thought, this is definitely a gush not a trickle.

So Larry is hovering by the bed and I ask for another towel to put on the ground so i can get out of bed. I tell him we need to check the towel for any color to see if there is meconium in the bag of waters that just broke. We check, and the water is clear with a slight pink hue. I make my way to the bathroom as i continue to leak like a wet leaky faucet and am able to get a pad on.

Larry asks me what we should do... so I calmly tell him "I'm going to walk Kota, to see if that gets anything really started. Why don't you shower and get ready for work?" He's hesitant, but i told him that this could go all day, so he may as well get a few billable hours in... so he agrees.
Kota's last walk before his baby sister arrived!
I walk Kota, all the while i could feel myself leaking onto the pad (luckily its absorbing it) and feeling very minor waves of contractions. I get back home and go through my BirthCare packet. Instructions on what to do when you are in labor... and in bold CAPS it states "CALL IMMEDIATELY IF YOUR WATER BREAKS". Oops, my bad... So i call.

I speak to Marsha, a midwife at BirthCare and then to my doula, Claudia - both of whom say to rest and to call back when things start to progress. I send Larry to work, although he's really excited and anxious and doesn't want to go. I start figuring out new flight plans for my mom and wake my brother. All in all, i do things to keep myself busy as i enter the first stage of early labor.

I pull out my Bradley book to look at the chart to help figure out where I am in the process. I sit back, text and IM with friends. I'm still working on getting my birth bag ready (yup, obviously not prepared for this little girl) and we haven't even cooked our Birth Day meal to eat after the birth.

Larry comes home a couple hours later. He begins to prepare our Birth Day meal of Baked Ziti (yay Carbs!).  When he is done, we decide we should eat and have lunch as well. Things start to progress a little bit, so I start to time things, but I realize that if i walk about my contractions were coming on stronger but shorter and if I laid down they were further apart but longer and more intense. Soon after lunch, we both realize how exhausted we are from the early morning excitement. So we try to take a nap...this is about 1pm.

We successfully fall asleep and are awoken to a call from Marsha asking how things were going. I explained that while nothing was consistently getting stronger because movement would give me strong short frequent contractions while laying gave me longer but less frequent contractions. She suggested nipple stimulation and castor oil.

So Larry and I get up, leash Kota and walk to the CVS closest to us. During this walk, my contractions are stronger but i'm still able to get to and from without too much hesitation.

We first try nipple stimulation which definitely works but is hard to do for a really long period of time, so after a while of that, we decide to try the castor oil - fun!!!

Now while Castor Oil doesn't cause labor and pretty much only causes massive diarrhea, the idea is that it stimulates your body and may cause contractions in your uterus. It doesn't taste good and keeps you close to the toilet. I'm not really sure if it did anything that wasn't already happening.

So About 3pm, the castor oil is down and I was told to touch base with them again as soon as I had my first movement. About 4pm, I give them a call to let them know my progress. At this time, I am talking to Laura, another midwife with BirthCare who i had just seen earlier in the week. I give her my status report and then she says, "well why don't we have you come in after traffic dies down around 7:30 pm. We'd like to check you. If you aren't progressing enough, we may want to give you cervadil to move things along. Are you ok with this?" I respond with "while I don't want to do any interventions, I think you are right. We will be there in a couple hours." But before that I would also call at about 5:30 to update my progress should there be any changes.

Not much changes, i'm still having waves of contractions that are increasing in intensity but i wasn't completely aware of how intense they were actually getting. So I checked in at 5:30 with the same status, that the contractions seem to increase but they change when i move about. So we make plans that Larry and I will head out after traffic to arrive at the Birth Center.

Just to point something out, as a first time mom, I had no idea what to expect or how to explain my contractions. My Bradley chart said that my contractions would increase with frequency and length. Because I felt that my movement changed the strength, length and frequency of the contractions, I wasn't sure if i was really moving along in the stages. I became a little hung up on figuring out where in the chart I was, that the doubt crept into my voice and the midwives felt that i just wasn't progressing as we would have liked with my descriptions.

NOTE TO SELF: you may not fit neatly into any particular phase of labor, but that doesn't mean you aren't progressing.

Stay tuned for the second part of my story!

Weekly Midwife Appointment

Yesterday I went in for my weekly check up. The final stretch means once a week check ups until the little one arrives. Since we made it to 37 full completed weeks and 1 day, we were in the clear... however, we did want to keep the baby "Fry"ing inside for another 2-3 weeks.

The check up involved going over the GBS results from the swab taken last week. My results came out GBS Negative. So there is nothing further to do. If it did come out positive, we would just need to make sure i was given an antibiotic before I birthed to ensure I did not pass this on to the baby.

My hemoglobin a1c results came back 5.5% which did not change from the last test I took in early November. I am below the cut off, however, my back up OB wanted to double check the numbers. The odd thing is, since blood red cells lifespans are 90-120 days, it didn't really make sense to test before that time, as we're testing the same red blood cells... so when I found that out, I did not feel so bad that my last few months of dieting had made no changes to the a1c result.

Other updates from the check up... the baby's heartbeat is great, still in the lower 130-140's range. My Blood sugars (aside from one result) are all in range. My blood pressure is normal and good. My iron levels were good.

Fundal height measured at 36cm and weight dropped a little. So i'm still growing and still at about 17-18lbs total weight gain for the pregnancy. Baby is still head down and moving a bunch. Definitely a wiggler and a shaker.

Stay tuned... hopefully, another week of uneventful mild cramping will go by but FryBean will stay put! :)

Baby Watch: Week 38

YAY! We have made it to a full 37 completed WEEKS! Big news b/c this means we are FULL TERM! The baby could come out, and its no problemo...

Of course we are hoping that the baby fully bakes or in our case "Fry-s"... brain development is still occurring until the 39th week so while it is safe for the baby to be born now, it is great if the baby stays put.

After the dramatic surprise of finding out I was already 90% effaced, I took it easy. No gym and just work and slowed down my pace when walking the pup or walking to work. We have made it!!!

My weight is back down under 17 lbs total weight gain instead of 18 pounds of weight gain probably due to the PMS aura i had all weekend, which ladies most of you know what that means (TMI: Loose BM's)... but Saturday afternoon I had some serious menstrual type cramps. I sucked it up and they eventually went away. Good thing b/c we had guests visiting this past weekend :)

Our goal is to get to the 39th FULL completed week... which is in 14 days. January 23rd... so wish us luck!

So as we enter into our 38th week... which is really 37 weeks and a day, and then 37 weeks and 2 days and so on, the baby is probably the length of Swiss Chard...
Source: Baby Center

A Christmas present to my Husband

This Christmas, I came up with some very clever and sweet Christmas presents for the Husband. Nothing was overly expensive, so it stayed with in budget - but it was all things I knew he'd love...

the first is our family photo... I made it into a canvas print.

I got this photo of Juneau framed. We put it in the "foyer" of our home... right when you walk in, so that Juneau can continue to watch over us.

and the best part of the gift was that I made this photo album/kid book. This little book was made so that we can show the photos to our baby and read to him/her about his/her biggest brother...

I narrated it in a way that made it seem it was from Juneau. and added as many adorable photos as I could find!

This page had us both weepy when we read it ... it really made us miss our boy!!!

It wasn't an elaborate or expensive gift, but i think it was one of the best gifts I have gotten the Husband !!! He loved it!

36 Week Appointment

Today marks 36 weeks and 2 days. As of this coming Monday, I will be considered full term at 37 FULL weeks completed. However, what I learned today at my midwife appointment was that should I go into labor before Friday, I would need to birth at a hospital, but as long as I go into labor after Friday, I could still deliver at the birth center.

The 36 week appointment is the appointment where they do a swab to check for Group B Strep. It is not a sexually transmitted disease and not harmful for the mothers, but can be very harmful for the baby. Should you be GBS positive, you are given antibiodics prior to birth (during labor) to prevent passing this on to your child.

Also for me, I had to do a blood draw for my hemoglobin A1C due to my gestational diabetes.

In addition to these two tests, we did an external exam for the baby's position as well as checking for the baby's heart rate. We could tell the baby was probably head down, or at least transverse. But we also did an internal exam today to confirm baby's position. While doing this, I asked if we could also check for cervical dilation and effacement.

So the midwife nicely did so... and it wasn't so bad. Very gentle. no pain. we confirmed that not only was nbaby head down, but baby was in 0 Position. In other words, the midwife could feel that the baby's head was engaged lowly in my pelvis. This could be because i have a short pelvis or it could be that the baby is just READY!!

Imagine my surprise when she also said that i was 90% EFFACED. We did not check for dilation as to avoid encouraging labor. But basically, from here til Friday - no more exercise, taking it very easy, no more raspberry leaf tea and no evening primrose oil.

In other words, this baby seems more ready than I am to enter this world... LAWD HELP ME!!!

Is this what you call nesting?

So to start the new year, I had this incredible urge to clean our condo. It's not a big space, and what we'd like to call "small space living" or city living. We have a 1 bedroom condo in a great building, but we are expecting a child. That means - no nursery and shared space for our family including our little pup Kota.

That being said, and because I'm a bit of a pack rat, we get clutter - VERY EASILY.  I was moved with an urge to declutter this past weekend. I forced the Husband to go to Ikea friday last minute to get some book shelves and we came home. He put together the bigger one and I began to go through all our baby shower gifts, clothes, books, toys and items we had for the baby.

The next morning we had an appointment to have our car detailed. Husband has a nice sturdy Jeep Cherokee, but he's had it for a while... with a Husky (about 10 years). And anybody with a snow dog knows, the amount of hair that can accumulate. So the car being detailed was his Christmas gift from his parents (thank GOD for my in-laws!).

While the car was getting detailed, I convinced my Husband it was a great idea for me to put together the smaller book shelf while he was at work (po' guy had to work on NYE)... and I did.

Here is the final result of our bedroom... a little space carved out for the FryBean.

As you can see, there is a needlepoint that Husband's mom made for us that we have hanging over the changing area - which really is just the top of our dresser. The new shelf has all the babies receiving blankets, toys, books, diapers and my nursing cover hanging on the side.  A small space of heaven for the baby that is somewhat baby like. Not quite a nursery but it'll have to do.

Once we got the car back later that afternoon (several hours later and VERY CLEAN), Husband and I headed down to our parking garage to install our baby's car seat...

And thirty minutes later... (ok maybe longer than 30 minutes, these little contraptions are confusing!!!) TA DA!!!

a nicely installed, secured infant car seat - ready to go should the baby arrive any day now !

So I guess we can say I did have an urge of "nesting" with the New Year. Our place is decluttered (mostly), we've got the car seat in, the birth bag mostly packed and we are ready to go... now to just hold out for at least 20 days ... for both my mom's arrival, the lunar new year, and the completed 39th week... Fingers Crossed! :)

Baby Watch: 37 Weeks

Finished our 36th COMPLETE week and now we are onto 36 weeks and a day, i.e., our 37th week.  What does this mean? as of today we have 28 days left... HOLY CRAP!

This past week I gained like 2 pounds, still under the 18 pound mark of total weight gain, but 2 lbs, one week... WOAH. I guess Little Frybean is growing well. I measured my belly and it was 44.5 inches... i'm only 65 inches long, so that's like 2/3 my height!! LOL.

This week they said the baby is like the weight of a Crenshaw Melon (6 lbs)
Source: Baby Center