The Home Birth Story of K, Baby Girl #3

My 3rd baby girl is 4 weeks old. Wow, that went fast. I can’t believe I have 3 girls! I go back and forth between thinking, “I have so many kids, how did this happen!?” …to “Oh, I want at least one more and if we don’t get a boy, maybe even another.”

But first, the short backstory on my prenatal care: I originally planned to have this baby at a birth center, but near the end of the pregnancy, I switched to a home birth because my last labor was so quick and I was afraid of not making it to the birth center in time. We planned to have 2 midwives attend the birth and I had preordered a home birthing kit, which included all the medical supplies they would need.

K was due on February 17th, which just slightly annoyed me because it’s an uneven number and that just felt off, and sometimes I care about those absolutely pointless things. But, she happened to be born on the 16th at 2:40pm, the day before my due date, so it all worked out. ANYWAY, I gained more weight with this pregnancy than my last. I was very uncomfortable at the end, major back pain, could not walk around for more than 10 minutes or so before I had to lay down on my left side and recover. I tried castor oil 3 times in the last 2 weeks of pregnancy. The first time did nothing, the 2nd time gave me mild contractions for about an hour, which then stopped. The third time was on the 16th and they did give me contractions, which turned into the real thing and then K was born shortly afterwards.

Her delivery was very fast. I started having mild contractions around 1pm on 1/16, a few hours after I took the castor oil. I wasn’t sure if they were the real thing, or just a fluke like the last time and since they weren’t extremely painful, I didn’t take them seriously until about 30 minutes before she was born when they turned very intense and there was no doubt it was the real thing. It was around 2pm when I texted my husband at work and I laugh now at what I wrote, because all I said was: “I’m having contractions and they are a little painful.” He immediately told his boss he had to leave and left work to come home, probably since he remembered how fast my last labor was (3 hours). While on his way home, I called the midwife. The office person answered and said she’d get the message to the on-call midwife right away. The moment my husband walked in the door, he started calling both midwives again on their personal cells and made sure they were leaving immediately.

My parents came to get the 2 older girls and when my Mom realized the baby was coming at any moment, she told Grandpa (my Dad) to take the girls to their place right away and she would stay. I don’t remember what she did while I was in labor, but I remember just a few minutes later, the baby was born, and she was saying, “Good job! Wow, good job!” as if I did a great job delivery her, haha!

The midwives did not make it before she was born. One arrived a few minutes after K came out but before the placenta was delivered. The other came about 10 minutes later. I was still having very painful contractions when the placenta was delivered and even for a little while after that. I continued to have afterpains during nursing and they really hurt. I did not have that with my 2 previous births, but I’ve heard that is normal and that the more children you have, the more painful the afterpains and contractions during breastfeeding can be. But, after a few days, they subsided and everything is fine now.

It was around 2:40 when K was actually born. I was on hands and knees on the floor in front of the bed. We had put blankets down everywhere on the floor. I didn’t even know she was coming until my water broke with one contraction, then with the next contraction her head was out and with the next contraction her whole body came out. It was very fast, but I remember the few seconds when just her head was out and that was the freakiest moment. I did not experience that with my previous birth because that baby came out completely in one push, so that moment of just her head being out was scary, but only a few seconds later she was all out.

During each contraction, I had to breathe very hard to deal with the pain. I was still having contractions when the placenta was coming and I remember the first midwife saying I needed to slow down my breathing or I would hyperventilate. I felt like that was very distracting and made the pain worse, so I was almost glad she wasn’t there when I was actually delivering the baby. This is the 2nd birth I’ve had unassisted, or with just my husband, since the last birth we didn’t make it to the hospital and then this time, we called the midwives but they didn’t make it until after she was born. I’m afraid I might like not being bothered while giving birth and if I have another one, I might be annoyed if my medical assistance actually gets there to “assist”. Even though they weren’t there during the birth, they were very helpful for the aftercare.

If we have another, I don’t know if I’ll do a home birth again. I liked the home birth experience for the actual delivery because I think being left alone to labor how my body needs has helped my labors be quick and effective, but I missed being taken care of in the hospital for the next 48 hours after birthing. The midwives were only there for a few hours after the birth, which was okay, but then we were alone and my husband had to help with getting me food and drink constantly and helping me go to the bathroom and taking our temperatures and all that. The midwives also helped clean everything up, but there were still a lot of things we had to clean from the home experience. In the hospital of course you use all their supplies and don’t have to clean up anything. I’m worried that the hospital would try to push interventions, which I obviously did not need, and a hospital birth is more expensive, but I wouldn’t say that birthing at home is the only way I’d do it again.

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I’m going to re-write this story in a time-line list format, because that is how my brain is working. I can’t seem to write intelligent sentences that don’t run-on forever and have innumerable unnecessary words in them. So, this is the same story, but might be easier to read.

Thursday, February 16, 2017:

7am: Wake up, get girls ready, eat breakfast

8am: Coffee. Oh wait, coffee made me sick at the end of my pregnancy, so I hadn’t had it for a few months.

9am: Took 3 tablespoons of castor oil in milk, let’s see what it does…

10am-12noon: Not sure what happened during this time.

1pm: Started having contractions. Used an app on my phone to time them, they were regular right away and about 5 min apart.

1:45pm: Contractions were painful so I thought it might be the real deal. Texted my husband that: “I’m having contractions and they are a little painful”. He immediately leaves work to come home.

1:50pm: Contractions are 3 to 5 min apart and very painful. I call midwife office. I have one contraction while on phone. I tell her to wait a min because I’m having a contraction. When I come back on the line she says I did a good job breathing through that one. She says she is calling the on-call midwife right away.

2pm: My husband is home and he’s calling both midwives again on their personal cell to make sure they are coming now. My parents arrive and Grandpa takes the older girls home with him and my Mom stays here.

2:20pm: I’m in the bath tub because I think I’m going to have a water birth in our big tub (because the midwife said I could do that) and I’m in so much pain I feel like I just have to be in the water now. My husband immediately calls the midwife, who is on her way, to ask her if it’s okay I’m in the tub. She says no, don’t get in the tub now, because she’s not there to assist me and she is worried about an unassisted birth in the tub. She says tub is fine, but she wants to be there first. My husband yells at me to get out and I say wait because I’m having another contraction. After that contraction I get out. I’m wearing a long tank top and I put a big towel around me since I’m all wet now.

2:30pm-ish: I immediately have to be on the floor on hands and knees because that’s what my body wants to do during contractions. My husband says to get on the bed. It’s all ready with plastic protection and old sheets on top. I don’t want to be on the bed, I want to be on the floor on a hard surface. So, I stay on the floor at the foot of the bed. I lean with my face against the bed and knees on floor. This is the position that feels best.

2:35pm: I know the baby is coming because I start screaming with each contraction and have that feeling that my hips are ripping apart. My water breaks with the next contraction.

2:40pm: With the next contraction the baby’s head comes out. The head is only out for a few seconds but it feels like eternity. I feel the head and wonder what I should do. I have another contraction and the rest of the baby comes out.

2:41pm: The baby is out and on the floor and my husband is putting a towel on her. She is crying and bright purple. I am still in shock, still having contractions, and shaking and feel like I can’t move. I try to lay down on my side to see the baby but I can hardly move. The placenta has not come out yet and I’m still having painful contractions so I feel like I can’t focus on the baby.

2:42pm: I finally am able to lay down on my side for a few seconds and look at the baby and the midwife arrives. She is happy and says we did a great job. She immediately looks at the baby and wraps her in the towel and then does some other stuff that I don’t remember.

2:45pm: I have many more very painful contractions. It’s hard to focus on my new baby because I still feel like I’m in labor. Finally the placenta is delivered. A few minutes later the midwife cuts the cord and they help me move to the bed and lay down with baby.

3pm: The 2nd midwife arrives and she does the newborn exam and they both busy themselves cleaning up and other things. I take an herbal bath which is basically just a bath with a pack of herbs steeped in the bath water. It makes the water brown and I smell like tea, it’s very relaxing. The midwife uses an ink pad to make stamps of the baby’s feet, then gives me the baby in the bath to wash off.

4pm or later: My memory is blurry about what we did the rest of the day, but I remember I ate some scrambled eggs and laid in bed with baby and nursed. She was very fussy the first night but when my milk came in the next day, she was much happier and slept better.

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Random thoughts and memories with no chronological order:

  • At one point, I was annoyed that my husband would not use my very nice camera to take pictures. I have been a photographer and have a professional camera, but it’s very big and he doesn’t like using it. He’s probably intimidated by it, so we only have crappy cell phone pics from the birth that I’d never show to anyone.
  • I was extremely hungry and thirsty for several days after birthing. I woke up every hour or so to pee and then drink an entire bottle of a water/juice mixture. I would fill a large bottle with mostly water and maybe 1/4 cranberry juice.
  • I was overly confident about breastfeeding, because I never had a problem breastfeeding my other two, so I introduced a pacifier to baby girl a day after my milk came in. I wanted to make sure she would take the pacifier, so I didn’t want to wait too long to let her try it. But, that made her confused and she forgot how to latch on and she was confused for another day or so. I totally stopped the pacifier and struggled to get her to learn how to latch on again. I was sad because I know I caused that problem and I should have just waited for the pacifier. But, all is good now, she’s a breast feeding expert again and I waited another week and gave her the pacifier again so now we are great with both of them. Now I have to remember to try to pump and try a bottle. I hate pumping, it’s so boring/annoying/time-consuming, but I’d like the ability to give a bottle to grandma if I want to go out for a few hours in the future.
  • I feel really fat. I know it’s only 4 weeks after her birth, but that’s the truth, I hate how I look. There is no clothing in the world that helps me feel attractive. I feel best in long cotton stretchy dresses with a pair of cotton shorts underneath. It’s hot in the south here so a stretchy tank dress is working out well. I just pull down the front for nursing and cover with a baby blanket if out in public. I feel like the long dress sorta covers all the bumps that will take a while to go away. And it makes me feel feminine and nothing is restrictive. I only wear flip flips. I hate all shoes. My feet were big to begin with and with my last pregnancy they became a size bigger and stayed that way. I have to admit to myself that I now wear a size 12 women’s shoe, yes, shocking, get over it. I am tall, 5’10, but not super tall, just have big feet. I was always a size 11, but after pregnancies, my feet are probably a permanent 12. I do not buy shoes in stores. Well, actually I don’t ever buy shoes, I only wear flip flops. Enough with the big feet rant.
  • I hate going out with all 3 girls. Pain in the butt to get them all ready and get all the crap we need and then get all 3 of them in the car. So, I do everything possible to not go out with all of them. I try to have grandma take the 2 year old if I have to take the 5 year old to ballet, then I only have to take the baby with me. Or, I wait until my husband is home in the evening and I can run out if I have to get something at the store. But, actually I never do that anymore, because I’ve discovered Kroger’s click list ordering service, so I can order our groceries online and then go pick them up.
  • It’s only been a month but I feel like this baby has been with us forever. I have had moments where I’m embarrassed that someone notices I have 3 kids. As if 3 kids were a lot! Ha! I even want one more, but I feel like I can’t admit that to anyone who has 3 or less. So ridiculous. I have friends with 4 kids and I feel like they are crazy, how can they have so many kids?! But, they only have 1 more than me! What am I talking about?! I honestly, secretly, in my imagination, would like 6 kids, but mostly because I want to have lots of kids when I’m older so that I have a big family around me, lots of grandkids and I want to feel like I’m a part of a big family. I always wished I had more siblings as a kid, so maybe that’s part of it. But, hey, I have 3 girls now, so that’s a good start.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sadness of miscarriage, not wallowing in the pain, and thoughts of eternity

At 10 weeks, we had an ultrasound, but there was no heartbeat and the baby only measured 6 weeks. We had a few HCG tests to verify that levels were going down, so we knew the baby wasn’t alive.

It is very sad, but I’m glad it happened early, as it would have been more devastating if the baby grew much bigger and then passed away. Any type of loss is hard. I’ve spoken with several friends who have also lost a baby, so it is sad how common it is, but God is in control.

I am okay about it and I’m taking it as an opportunity to focus on healing, recovery, and improving my health and looking for God’s direction in my life. I started the Whole30 nutritional program and am on day 5 today. I’ve always loved food, cooking, and health. I have followed a similar diet in the past that eliminated dairy and grains, and I did it for about a year and felt great, but I fell into bad habits again.

If anyone is reading this and is interested in doing the Whole30 program with a group of about 18 other women, I created a FB group where we are supporting each other while going through the program. We are sharing our progress, recipes and tips as we go along. You can join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/990424614371281/

Another area in my life that I am unsettled about is whether I should continue being a stay at home mom or go back to work. I do still have our internet business and it is doing okay, but it’s been stalled and I’m running out of interest in it. I have a very busy mind and it is hard for me to just be at home all the time and not be creating something or working on some project. I had an interview and was even offered one position, but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted, so I declined and haven’t done anything further with looking. I also am not settled about my youngest attending child care every day. My oldest loves school and I’m sure she’d do fine, but my 20 month old is still my baby and needs to be with me.

Right in the middle of considering going back to work and finding out details and having an interview and considering one option, I found out I was pregnant and then miscarried, so it really put all of that on hold and my mind is not even close to being back there to consider it again.

When I think about options in my life, there are always 2 ways to look at things. Am I looking at this option from my position on earth, wanting earthly things, more money, or am I looking at this from a view of eternity? As a Christian, this is not our home. We will live on this earth for a temporary time, and then we’ll be in heaven for eternity where the amount of money or gain on earth will not matter. It is so trivial. Of course, let’s be wise with our money and do our best with our time here, but let’s also be content with what we have and not always looking for more on earth. I will be honest, my reason for going back to work would be to make more money, so we could buy a bigger house, so I could pay for more activities for my kids, but also for personal recognition. I might be smart and gifted, but no one will know unless I get a real “job” and can show others my skills. All of that is okay, but I don’t need to do that and it can become self-centered, always looking at myself. My husband makes a good income and I am blessed to not have to work outside the home. I am blessed to be able to have started a business at home, since all businesses require some starting capital.

Some things in life require a trigger, some kind of deep hurt or pain to propel you toward something better. I want to use this pain for good. I’m praying for wisdom and practicing focusing my mind on heavenly things, so I can make these earthly decisions in light of where I am going, not just where I am now.

Moved to Texas and Baby #3

We moved to Texas the week of Christmas. We are renting a nice big house. We lived in a condo before, so everything here looks so big. We have a back yard, how cool is that?

Everyone here is so nice, and we love the warmer weather. It’s sunny most of the time, unless there is a tornado warning. There are tons of things to do in this city, so many restaurants, shopping, parks, everything. There is a church and preschool on every corner.

We also found out that we are expecting baby #3. It was quite a shock and I still can’t believe it. I did have a blood test to confirm but also going this week to hear the heartbeat to completely confirm.

 

Where have I been?

celebrate

Life has been busy. I started 2 businesses. One was just helping my Dad to start up a business that he is running for himself. I helped him set up the legal documents, website, advertising, etc. The other is a business of my own that I’ve been researching for several months. I’ve always wanted to work from home with my own business where I make the decisions and I (hopefully) determine my own success, so now is the time. (Well, probably 5 years ago was the time, but no point in entertaining regret.)

I actually have been working from home the past few years, but I was working for another organization, paid by the hour, and there were a list of things that I did not enjoy and I couldn’t do a thing about them. Now I am creating something new, and it is fun! I have been researching/obsessing/evaluating business ideas and plans for several months now. I had one business model I was going to follow for a while, but then somehow, I’m not even sure how exactly, I fell upon this other idea that I now know is the right thing. I’m not going to say exactly what it is yet, because I’m just starting and don’t want to share too much, but hopefully I’ll elaborate more in the future.

The business I’m creating I didn’t even know I could create. I didn’t know I was allowed to without some special authority. I thought I had to be “someone” who did those things. But, I’m learning that is not the case. I’ve learned about all the legal requirements and how, in some ways, things are much easier to do than I thought. The perfect thing about this business is that I can start as small as I want and I can control how much it scales. More to come on that…

About my two girls

Well, Eva turned 3 in January and we had a big party and she’s been talking about parties ever since. Pretty much every day she has her own “party” and sets up her animals and tea set and says “happy birthday”. So, the party lives on! We bought Eva a big-girl bed. A twin size with new sheets and everything. She had zero issues transitioning, so no big deal and she still sleeps great. I kept her in her crib as long as humanly possible, but Grace really needed to move to the big crib and was getting too small for the bassinet, so we made the switch really quick when Grace was ready.

Grace is 7 months and crawling everywhere. She is the happiest baby. Everyone calls her the chill baby. When we go out, everyone wants to hold her because she just sits and is calm. What a blessing to have such a calm and happy baby!

We had a long tortuous winter as normal. (I hate snow and I especially hate the cold.) But, it has started to melt and spring is coming. Every year I imagine when we’re going to move somewhere warmer.

We started going to a new church! Eva is in an amazing preschool class and Grace is her totally-chill self in the nursery! Eva loves it and even asks throughout the week if we are going to the “new church” today. They have an Awana program that we might put her in next year.

A Curse of Motherhood: Why I am Now an Idiot

Before I had children, I considered myself intelligent, sharp, easily able to notice details, find solutions to problems and remember the names of my friends.  Since I have birthed 2 children, and it’s only gotten worse with the second, I know nothing. I can’t remember what day is it, I can’t remember if I ate breakfast today, or that I might need to cook dinner tonight for my family. If you are my friend and I have forgotten your name, I am sorry, because apparently my brain has decided that is not important information at this time in my life. Birthdays? No way, people don’t have birthdays, that is hilarious, and definitely not something my brain would ever remember.

The week before Christmas, I decided to make cookies for, like, every person that I know. All the neighbors, all friends and relatives nearby. I decided I would quadruple the recipe and attempt to smash 4 times the ingredients into my mixer, because that was normal.  Needless to say, half of the batter was mixed in the bowl and the other half oozed out over the side and made Eva laugh hysterically. I had the normal response, cry and then attempt to take turns mixing ¼ of the explosion and then stirring it all together by hand. Yum.

I also made some homemade skin lotions for gifts this Christmas and I printed a nice label to put on the tins. I forgot to list one key ingredient and I wrote the wrong year on the expiration date. Who cares! I’m done wasting labels! No one will notice that it supposedly expired 6 months ago! And if they do, I won’t care or even remember! So, if you get one from me, you’ll know how much anxiety and forgetfulness went into making it. Prior to children, I never would have made mistakes like this. Typos? Forgotten words in writing? Never! I handed out some to some ladies at our church, and I tried to give one to a lady twice because I didn’t remember that I had just given her one 5 minutes ago. Yes, it’s that bad.

I used to love to cook and try new recipes. Now we eat eggs for dinner a lot. Oh, we already ate scrambled eggs 3 times this week? Well, I don’t remember anything about that, so it doesn’t count!

Tell me it gets better and the brain does eventually return to its prior state of health. It’s possible I had this same problem after having Eva and it got better, but clearly, I don’t remember that transition.

I love my children dearly, but I really miss my mind.

How I Met My Husband

I am posting this on December 20th, because my husband and I were legally married on that day in 2006. We then planned our wedding ceremony for May 26, 2007, 5 months later, and that now is the date that we celebrate our anniversary. We went to the court in Lynchburg, Virginia, and were legally married, because it would make a few other legal things easier since Danail was not a US Citizen at the time (he is now) and since we knew we were going to be married, we got the legal part completed so we could plan other things.

Now, on to the story of how we met. I met my husband in the spring of 2005 in an Entrepreneurship class. We both majored in Finance and he went on to graduate that spring, but I took another 2 years until I graduated in 2007. I always say that I met him just in time, because he soon graduated and moved near Washington DC to work in finance right after college.

There were 2 funny situations that happened that brought him to my attention. I had a very funny, extremely extroverted roommate who knew almost everyone, and she loved to very loudly say hello so-and-so to whoever she would pass by. And if that person did not respond, she would say it again more loudly, pretty much yelling at them to say hello. She knew my husband before I did so he was one of the lucky ones that she would yell hello at when he’d walk anywhere near us. I wasn’t as extroverted so I just said hello and nothing more, but I remember he was very tall, handsome and I loved his voice with his strong accent. I had no idea what strange country he was from (Bulgaria). He probably told me at that time, but I was so ignorant of where it was, I probably forgot immediately.

The next incident where we ran into each other was an almost car accident. I have to admit that I was a little bit of a crazy driver in my 20s. I drove fast. I was a good driver, so I never had any accidents, but I drove too fast back then and now I drive like a grandma. Anyway, I was driving my black Buick Regal into the class parking lot and I almost ran into him in his little car. What struck me was that he was driving an 80s (I don’t know what year) Plymouth Horizon that looked like this:

horizon

This was hilarious to me because this was the same exact car that my grandmother had and it was the car that I learned to drive on. I drove it when I was 17 to my job at the local grocery store in NY. I don’t know anything about cars, so I will sound ignorant when I try to explain this but there was some valve that would constantly pop off and the car would stall out. So, I’d randomly be driving and have to pull over, pop the hood and close some valve or something, then get back in and keep driving. And he was driving that same car when I almost ran into him. This was a memorable moment because his car brought back all those memories.

Since I hadn’t actually hit him, we just exchanged greetings/apologies from the windows and kept on our way. Later in class I apologized for almost running him over and I told him about this car and we really laughed about it. So, that was our first conversation that day. It was close to the end of that semester so we didn’t even ever talk again and he graduated and moved to DC to work.

A few months later in the fall of 2005 I got a random message from him asking if I remembered him, the guy I almost ran over in the parking lot. He then said that he was coming back to visit our school for homecoming and could he give me a call? I said sure and gave him my number, but I never expected him to call me. He called me the next day and asked if I wanted to meet him to go watch the football game. I said I’m not into football, but sure I’ll go. We didn’t end up going to the football game, but instead sat and watched a tennis match and I learned that he was a skilled tennis player and loved the game, and neither of us were interested in football.

He had planned to stay there the whole weekend and was staying at a friend’s house, so we ended up spending the whole weekend together doing random things. I have short memories of going to a movie, eating ice cream, and walking around and meeting several of his friends. He seemed to have a lot of friends that were girls (probably because he was so cute). I think we even went to church together that Sunday before he had to drive back to DC, which was a 3 hour drive from our school. We kept in touch and had a lot of long phone conversations and then eventually started visiting each other every few weeks. He’d drive back to school to see me or I’d go to DC for a weekend to see him. I have a lot of nice memories from our “long-distance” dating time. I loved where he lived in Arlington, it was so close to the city and so fun to wander around with him. I remember that we’d buy a $5 foot long sandwich from Subway and share it. He lived in the tiniest apartment room and he paid $500 rent in one of the most expensive areas near DC. He used to buy this raspberry flavored iced tea that he called juice. He had never heard of iced tea, didn’t know what that was when I told him.

He was on a work visa for 1 year so he could not stay at the job he had in DC, so after that 1 year he moved back to our college and enrolled in a masters program, so that he could extend his student visa to stay in the US. At that time, I had a full time job at the college, and when we became engaged, we decided to complete the legal marriage so that he could have the benefit of free tuition as a spouse of an employee at the college and then we had our wedding ceremony a few months later. That all happened in Virginia and then in May 2007, I graduated with my degree in Finance, quit my job and the next weekend we moved to Michigan and had our wedding ceremony and started our new life. I can’t believe it’ll be 10 years next year since we met.