Healing and Gratitude

After my daughter was born I remember looking up and seeing my husband standing at our bathroom door holding our two year old son.  My husband wasn’t there with me in that moment that she was born, or for the hardest part where I screamed and clawed at our couch, needing to hold onto something.  Our son woke up at 5:45 am (my screams woke him up) and my husband had to go tend to him.  Our sweet baby girl was born at 6:15.

After she was born, I looked up at my husband and my son.  When I saw my son I remember him looking very concerned and curious.  Probably wondering what all that noise was.  Wondering who all those people were.  Why I was naked in the shower holding a little crying baby.  He wasn’t scared though.  I kissed them and cried.

She’s perfect I said.

We then made our way to the bed where she latched immediately and I cried tears of gratitude and relief.  When my son was born he wouldn’t latch and it took us a long time to get the hang of it.  This little one, well, she was a champ right from the start.  We lay in bed together, her suckling for over an hour.

I don’t know why, but it took me a long time to recover from my sons birth.  Both physically and emotionally.  The physical recovery took well over two months, even though I didn’t tear.  I just felt really off – like my insides were going to fall out of me. (Sorry if that’s tmi!).  The emotional recovery took much longer.  I didn’t realize that I was still recovering until we started talking about having a second.  Which is why I started this blog, because I knew I still had some healing to do before I could have another baby.

And then I had her and it all went away.

Even though I have some not so great memories of the birth, the moment that she was born was something I will never forget.  I felt so light and free and normal.  And I have felt that way ever since.  It’s like she healed me.  Her birth was what I was waiting for.  I was waiting for her.

I feel so blessed and grateful for both of my children.  They have both given me so much, taught me so much, and will continue to do so for the rest of my life.

Processing

My sweet baby girl will be three months old on the 27th and I feel like I’m still processing her birth.

I’ll be laying in bed at night and an image will flash through my mind.

For those of you who don’t know, I had her at home.  It was a fast 4 hour birth and it was nothing like my first.

I think that’s one part that I’m processing – just how different it was.  It wasn’t zen.  It wasn’t beautiful.  It wasn’t gradual.  It was hard and intense and primal and my last.

Here are some of the recurring images:

  • blood coming out of the iv they put in my hand because I was GBS positive soaking through the facecloth, bright red
  • clutter of toys in the living room and clutter of people
  • food on the kitchen table that I asked my husband to put out for the midwives that went untouched
  • my dog barking barking barking
  • looking at the clock – 5:14 am – and wanting it to be over even though it had only been three hours
  • plastic laid out on the living room floor
  • kneeling on the plastic, taking my shirt off ready to push the baby out while leaning against the couch my husband no where near me tending to our son upstairs
  • grasping for something to hold on to and finding nothing while the contractions ripped through me
  • feeling for her head and finding nothing.  wondering why she wasn’t there
  • crawling naked up the stairs to get into water
  • desperately needing the water
  • stopping at the top of the stairs in unbearable pain, screaming
  • turning the shower on, stepping into the shower and feeling a release – my water broke
  • squatting in the shower screaming like I was being ripped in half and pushing pushing pushing needing that baby out of me
  • feeling her head
  • second push screaming, the student midwife telling me to move closer to her, someone telling her to turn the water off
  • blood on the shower wall
  • my baby.  my sweet beautiful dark haired baby girl.

I have more to say, but I’ll leave it at that for now.

 

Two Babies, Two Different Pregnancy, Birth and Post-Partum Experiences

Our little baby is one week old today.  I can’t get over how different things have felt this time around.  My experience with son, who is now 23 months old, was very different.  Different pregnancy, different birth, different post-partum experience.

Pregnancy

Big Brother: I felt amazing throughout.  I did yoga, I felt connected to the little baby growing in my belly, and I felt very emotional about the whole experience (in a good way).   I was obsessed with reading every pregnancy book I came across.  I had very little morning sickness – I felt good as long as I had food in my belly. I had clear aversions (yogurt, hummus, cakes and pastries) and clear cravings (grapefruit and eggs).  I felt beautiful, healthy, and full of energy – despite some sleepless nights. I did have about a month where I experienced extreme pain in my butt.  Like up at night crying kind of pain.  I didn’t get any stretch marks and my belly never really got that big – I think the biggest I measured was 35 (not good seeing as your fundal measurements should coincide with the weeks – and if they don’t they should at least progress, which it didn’t).

Little Sister: I did not enjoy being pregnant with her.  I felt tired all the time, I felt frumpy, and I was very sore. I wasn’t interested in reading any of my pregnancy books. I had awful morning sickness and keeping food in my belly did not help.  Nothing really helped.  I didn’t have any cravings.  I didn’t even enjoy food all that much.  I had a bit of the same butt pain, but I realized early on that the more I moved/exercised, the more I aggravated it.  So I didn’t do any exercises – at all.  And I for sure gained more weight, though I never weighed my self.  But I could feel it.  I didn’t get any stretch marks and my belly was bigger – which I was happy about.  I was measuring bang on for this little one.  All in all, there was simply no magic in this one and I couldn’t wait for this pregnancy to end.

Birth

Big Brother: His birth was amazing.  It was calm, it came on gradually and I felt very little pain.  It started with mild backache at 11pm which turned into contractions.  At 2 am I took a shower and zoned out, staring at the water droplets on the wall and just let each contraction flow over me.  I woke my husband up at 6 am and we headed to the birth centre at 8 am. I was 6 cm dilated and got right into the tub.  He was born into my arms in the water at 10:30.  He had some issues with his lungs so they took him right away and I shakily made my way out of the tub.  I was so cold, I couldnt’ stop shaking and my blood pressure dropped significantly.  They passed him back to me and I held him while they stitched me up (three small stitches).  Four hours later we were home in bed.

Little Sister: Hers was a little more primal.  It came on very quickly, no backache, just right to the contractions.  It started at 2 am and I woke my husband up at 3 am, knowing that this one could come quickly.  We called the midwives right away and told them we wanted to go to the birth centre, but I couldn’t get ahold of my sister to come watch our son, so we decided to stick with the home birth plan.  Three midwives – two I had never met – came to the house at 4:15 am.  My dog went crazy, barking and barking, and they made a lot of commotion setting every thing up.  It was not relaxing.  I spent the whole time feeling uncomfortable in our living room and the contractions picked up so quickly, the TENS machine wasn’t doing it for me.  I wanted her out so I tried pushing before I felt the urge.  Obviously no go.  I made my way upstairs (crawling naked, writhing through the pain) to get in the shower.  The second the water hit my back my water broke and two pushes later my baby girl was in my arms.  She had her cord wrapped all around her (like, multiple times) but that wasn’t a problem.  My husband then came into the bathroom with our son and I felt so relieved that it was over.  I had no tearing (yes!) and my vitals were all great.  She was doing incredibly well and the midwives hung out downstairs while we snuggled in bed.

Post-Partum

Big Brother: Right after he was born I felt shell shocked.  I didn’t recognize my eyes when I looked in the mirror and I felt really shook up.  It really hurt to pee (stitches) and I was very shaky, physically, for well over two weeks.  I had the worst hemorrhoids and I felt like my insides were going to fall out of me (tmi, sorry).  Even though I had a great birth experience, I had trouble processing it.  He had a lot of issues in that first week – jaundiced, lethargic, wouldn’t latch, wasn’t peeing or pooping as much as he should be and all that left me incredibly anxious.  I couldn’t sleep.  I lost my appetite.  I cried a lot. I was so consumed with a worry that didn’t go away until about three months in.

Little Sister: I can’t get over how great I feel.  My physical recovery has been extremely easy. Everything is pretty much back to normal down there and besides being tired I’m feeling really good.  Happy.  I was only weepy and emotional one day – the day my milk came in, and other than that things just feel really normal. She is an amazing breastfeeder – latched right after birth and stayed on the breast for over an hour.  She continues to nurse beautifully and she even sleeps on her own – without me needing to check on her every five minutes!

In the end..

We don’t get to chose our pregnancies, birth stories, babies temperaments, or hormonal reactions after we give birth – but we do get to chose how to feel about them.  And I’m done feeling negatively about the first few months of my sons life.  Yes, it was hard.  Yes, it was scary. But he’s amazing and always has been.  And I do wish things had gone differently with my daughters birth, but it brought me her and she’s incredible.

So all I’m choosing to feel is happy and forever grateful for these two perfect beings who I get to call mine.

 

My not so perfect home birth and my perfect baby

I’m writing this post on my phone while my sweet baby girl sleeps in my arms. She just finished nursing and fell right asleep, as newborns do.

I gave birth to her friday morning – 4 days before her due date. I’m still processing it and will probably write a lot more about it in the future but I’ll say this: it was nothing like the zen hypno birth I had with my son. It was fast – 5 hours in total with 5 minutes of pushing. It was scary – I didn’t plan for or expect the pain. I needed the water and our tub and shower suck so I only got in the shower at the end. As soon as I felt the water on my back my water broke and I immediately pushed her out in a very loud and primal manner.

And then she was in my arms and all the pain and anguish went away. I was flooded with love and when my husband came into the bathroom carrying our son my heart just swelled.

My family is complete.

Preparing for a Home Birth

I’m now 38 weeks and 3 days.  I had my son at 39 weeks exactly and I’m kind of expecting this one to come early as well.  I’m still a bit on the fence on whether or not I want a home birth or if I’ll go to the birth centre, but this week I’m leaning more towards home birth.

Before becoming pregnant with my first I never thought I would even consider a home birth.  And here I am planning for one.

One of the main reasons is that my midwives think she’s going to come really fast.  For my first I was only in active labour for about three hours and I only pushed for 20 minutes.  Mind you, it didn’t all happen that quickly.  I had a very progressive labour for about six hours up until the active part started – but because the active part was so quick they are telling me it could all go a lot faster this time around.

So there’s that.

And if my labour is like my first, then I really don’t feel like I need to go anywhere.  As much as I loved being in the water, I’m not planning for another water birth and I really like the idea of just staying put.

Preparing for a Home Birth – The Stuff

So my midwives have given me a home birth kit.  In it there are some birthing supplies (a shower curtain, bed pads, and IV saline solution), post partum supplies (garbage bags, peri bottle, adult diapers and pads), and GBS positive stuff.  Oh yeah, I didn’t mention – I’m GBS positive (again) so that sucks.  With my first I didn’t have time for the meds, but this time around we’re going to really try to get at least some of the treatment in me.  More on that in another post…

There are a number of things they recommend I have on hand, which I need to gather.  These include:

  • plastic container for the placenta
  • bright portable light
  • old towels
  • wash cloths
  • receiving blankets
  • baby hats
  • sheets for the birth bed
  • food and drink – for me and my birthing team
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • large bowl
  • newborn diapers

There are some things they also list that I won’t bother with – like a hand mirror, music, oil and hot water bottle.

Preparing for a Home Birth – The Mental Stuff

When I first started thinking about it I couldn’t quite picture birthing at home.  Where would I be?  In the living room? In our bedroom?  I know I won’t be in the tub because our tub and bathroom are pretty awful (one of the main reasons why I’d consider going to the birth centre really is to use their beautiful amazing tub again – the water helped so much!).

And now when I think about it I can see myself in the living room.  I picture it happening at night. Lights dim.  My son sleeping upstairs.  I’d do what I did first time around.  Pace the room and stop during contractions to lean against the table.  I’d use the exercise ball.  And the TENS machine – it’ll be great to have this earlier on this time around.  When it gets intense I’ll be on the floor, pushing against the couch during contractions and resting against it in between.  I’ll then deliver my baby girl on all fours or in a half squat position. I’ll lay back right away and put her to my chest.  We’ll make our way onto the couch and meet one another for the first time – I hope breastfeeding goes well right away this time.

I’ll then eat muffins that I’ll make tomorrow and have a glass of orange juice.  We’ll also have fruit, muffins and croissants out for our midwives.

I’ll have a shower, and climb into bed with my baby girl and hopefully catch a few hours sleep (though unlikely – I was wired after my first).  My son will then wake and he’ll come into the room to meet his baby sister and give me kisses (he’s very generous with his kisses these days I love it).

Ideally this will be Monday morning and he’ll be off to daycare that morning.  My husband will get him ready and drop him off.  When he gets back we’d all then sleeeeeep.

I know I’m not guaranteed a great experience like I had with my first, but I’m hoping.  I”m feeling really positive and you know, if shit happens we’ll do what we need to do.  I have an amazing birth team and I trust them, so we’ll see.

It’s going to happen so soon!!! I’m excited!

My Hospital Bag

So with my first I didn’t put any thought at all into packing a hospital bag.  First off, I wasn’t planning on going to the hospital, and second, I thought I still had time to get my shit together.

I also think people put wayyyyy too much thought and effort into this.  But if it makes people feel prepared, then all the power to them.

Having said that, this time around I would like to be just little more prepared.  With my first I ended up a bunch of stuff shoved into a couple of grocery bags thank you to my husband who, when I told him that the stuff was on our dresser, he grabbed literally everything from off the dresser and threw it in a few random plastic bags (so classy!) as we were heading out the door.  He also had to search for his car keys…so we’re going to make sure that doesn’t happen again!

If I remember correctly I had put aside my notes from my midwife, an outfit for the baby (diaper, undershirt, onesie, and hat), a shirt and pair of pants for myself, a labouring dress (which I didn’t end up wearing because I preferred to just get naked right away), a hair elastic and a headband, some lip gloss, a pair of socks, and some snacks.  This totally sufficed as I didn’t go to a hospital, but to a birth centre, and I was home within 4 hours of giving birth.

So I am still looking to avoid a trip to the hospital and am leaning towards a homebirth, and if not that then for sure birth centre again, but you never know.  So if I do actually end up at a hospital, here’s what I’m thinking of packing:

  • health card and credit card for parking
  • notes from my midwives (all in a folder)
  • phone, charger and headphones
  • labouring dress – I might not be so inclined to strip naked at a hospital
  • hair elastics
  • lip gloss
  • TENS machine  – already rented from our midwives, I plan to use this at home first and will probably use it in the car en route
  • depends (though I’m pretty sure they’ll give me some at the hospital, they did at the birth centre for my first)
  • water bottle
  • snacks – I wasn’t interested in eating at all during labour, but was up for munching after (the birth centre gave me a menu to chose a meal but I didn’t have much of an appetite). I’m thinking I’ll pick up some of those fruit bar things, a protein bar for my husband, a dark chocolate bar, smoothie drink, and cocount water
  • a couple of baby diapers (though pretty sure they’ll provide these)
  • baby outfits – two undershirts, three sleepers (itty bitty, nb, and 0-3 month because I have no idea how big this one will be – my first was itty bitty.  The itty bitty clothes we brought for him were actually too big!), and two hats (again, itty bitty and nb)
  • swaddle blanket
  • slippers/socks
  • something to sleep in
  • toothbrush and toothpaste
  • neutr0gena face wipes
  • comfy pants and a comfy shirt to come home in
  • warm blanket for in the car
  • carseat (obviously!)

I think that’s it. Like I said, I’m not planning to go to the hospital, but you never know.  Just because my first was quick and easy does not mean I’ll be so lucky this time around, though here’s hoping!

GAH I can’t believe I’m nearly 37 weeks already!!!!!!

Thoughts on Giving Birth: The Second Time Around

When I was approaching my due date with my first I felt a lot of things.  Anticipation, excitement, nervousness, and uncertainty.  I didn’t know how it was going to go, what it would feel like, or how long it would take.

I did know that whatever happened, I could handle it. If anything, I was looking forward to seeing just how much I could handle.  I had no fear going in and I was ready to face whatever lay ahead.

This time around I have more knowledge.  I know what the start of labour feels like (lots of backache and period like cramps).  I know what a strong contraction feels like (gradual building of cramps which peak and then subside).  I know what transition feels like (the urge to throw up followed by a bit of anxiety). I know what it feels like to have the urge to push (an overwhelming desire to push! ha).  And I know how it feels to push a baby out (lots of pressure, some burning, and a whole lot of effort!).  But most of all – I know I can handle it.

Knowing what I know, I’m ready to do it all again.

When I visualize the birth this time around I can’t decide if I’m at home or at the birth centre.  I would like to labour at home for as long as I can (as I did with my first), and then go to the birth centre to use their tub and hanging cloth apparatus (which helped SO MUCH with the pushing).  But then I’d like to be instantly and magically transported to my own bed.

Basically I would love for everything to go exactly as it did with my first labour, minus the after birth.  Not that it was bad, I just couldn’t relax.  My husband couldn’t relax!  I remember he went and started the car to get it warmed up at least an hour before we were ready to leave.  He started it so early in fact that he had to go get gas before we could leave.  I knew he was anxious to go and that in turn made me anxious.  Meanwhile my blood pressure had dropped and I was in no condition to go home quite yet.

We did end up leaving 4.5 hours after the baby was born, which really is not so bad.  But I would love to just be home, in my bed cuddling with our new baby girl right away.

I can’t believe we get to meet her in less than 8 weeks.  I really can’t wait 🙂