Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. - Psalm 127:4-5

Sunday, April 15, 2012

41 weeks, 2 days!

 Bennett's Birth Story.

It was Sunday morning, March 11th, ten days after my supposed due date.  5:30AM rolled around, and I woke up to mild back pain. Scott was still at work, as he usually walks in the door an hour later. A week earlier, I was woken up by somewhat of the same discomfort, so I didn’t expect today to be the day.. But it was! I lay in bed and felt the waves of back labor rise and fall. Scott got home and slipped into bed, and I wondered if I should let him sleep or clue him in. Within a half hour of him drifting off to sleep, I couldn’t wait any longer to tell him; unfortunately, this was the only half hour of sleep Scott got for two days. I wasn’t doing too hot myself, as I had only gotten three of hours of sleep before it all began. Scott was calm and collected when I told him I was in labor. Although I could sense his excitement, he took his position as labor coach and started helping me time the contractions and breathe my way through them. The odd thing was, the contractions never wrapped around towards my abdomen.. This was the start of hideous back labor that never went away.

By 8:30AM, we had been walking around the upstairs and the contractions weren’t subsiding: they were approximately 3 ½ - 4 minutes apart and lasting a full minute. The only thing I could do was stand and labor through each contraction. Scott insisted we call Loretta our doula and have her come over and help. It was a Sunday morning though, and I didn’t want her to miss church! Scott reminded me how silly I was being, and Loretta was there by 9AM. We snapped some photos, and the contractions grew more intense. We had called our midwife Christine and let her know what was going on. Three days earlier she had said I wasn’t anywhere near labor, and it’d probably be another week.. But Bennett had other plans in mind.

At 11:30AM my contractions were somewhere between 2 and 3 minutes apart and lasting a full minute and a half. Loretta said it was time to pack the car and head to the birth center. The half-hour ride there was extremely difficult, as I labored in the backseat of the car on all fours. Through tears, I called my dad on the way and let him know Bennett was coming soon!

The three of us arrived at the birth center at noon, and Christine met us immediately for an intake exam. Bennett’s heartbeat was great, and she checked me for dilation and effacement. To her total surprise, I was already 5cm dilated! We all headed into the bedroom where Christine and Loretta started to set up the birthing pool. I labored hard for the next three hours, working intently to breathe deeply and relax in the warm water. Scott was an amazing coach, as I held his arms and labored on the side of the pool.

By 3pm I had progressed to 9.5cm! We were all shocked, and expected Bennett to arrive almost immediately. Although I didn’t have the urge, Christine suggested I try pushing while in the water. Most unfortunately, my back labor made it almost impossible; each contraction and push felt like my back muscles were tearing. I tried pushing for a while, but nothing seemed to progress - it seems that the half a centimeter was complicating Bennett’s descent. I stepped out of the pool, and then tried pushing again on the bed lying on my side, but the pain was unbearable. As a team, we all decided it was best for me to stop pushing and allow the contractions to work on getting Bennett to descend. Christine had the sneaking suspicion that he was mal-positioned in the womb. The next handful of hours almost brought me to my breaking point. I remained in transition at 9.5cm dilated from 3pm to 8pm – five unbelievable hours! The labor was incredibly intense, and I struggled to stay on top of the contractions. There were a lot of tears, both mine and Scott’s. Since the back labor made it impossible to sit or lay down, I stayed standing almost the entire time outside of the birthing pool. Loretta suggested we try the yoga ball, but nothing relieved the pain. Christine had an idea or two up her sleeve to help with the back labor, but nothing seemed to work. She gave me two Tylenol hoping to take the edge off. Once that proved to be comically ineffective, she injected four shots of sterile water into the small of my back which also disappointingly accomplished nothing. I feared that Bennett wouldn’t descend and I’d have to head to the hospital for a C-section. At 8pm I had had it: It was time to push with all my might, despite the intense back pain.

For the third time, I returned to the birthing tub and pushed for two more hours. Eventually I made it to 10 centimeters, but still no Bennett. I’ve never known such frustration and exhaustion in all my life! I was convinced Bennett was stuck and wouldn’t be entering the world the way we had all hoped. One more time we all got back on the bed and I pushed until almost 11pm. On all fours gripping the headboard, I pushed with all my might. At 10:42pm, after seventeen hours of labor, Bennett slipped out on the bed in a pool of gook. Still attached to his umbilical cord, Christine and Scott lifted Bennett up onto my chest and I met my beautiful son for the first time.

The rest is history.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

40 weeks!

40 weeks = full term!  We made it.

What an awesome feeling to have made it to the finish line.. Almost. 
We didn't expect Bennett to come on his due date.

This week was a tough one.  Although we knew not to rely on the due date, it's hard to see it come and go.  I thought March 1st would've been a great birthday for Bennett, but God obviously had other plans.  It was also very sad for me to arrive at my due date and know my mom wasn't around to celebrate with me.  
I cried a lot on March 1st.

Scott and I went to a kid's consignment fair this week and bought a bunch of discounted clothing for our little boy.  We got some great overalls and onesies, and a couple great newborn caps to cover his head.  Scott scouted out a great baby gate for half off!  That'll certainly come in handy when Bennett becomes mobile.  In the meantime, we'll probably set it up and give Fudge some independence in the house.  Our friend Natalie came with us, and she also found some great deals.  Last time we had gone to this consignment fair, we didn't know the gender..
But this time we were ALL over the little boy things!  

I also had some contractions this week.  The night of the consignment fair I was sorting through the clothing to be washed, and I was having some radiating pain throughout my lower back and around my hips.  It didn't stick around for very long, and there was no pattern to it.  But I had never felt anything like it before!  And then a morning or two later I woke up to rhythmic waves of back labor.  It was mild, but there was certainly a pattern.  I was hoping it was the real deal, but an hour later it subsided.. 
Oh well. 

Also continuing with walking this week.  Scott and I hit the gym yesterday and I did a number on the treadmill.  Boy was I sore after that!  And then today we took the dogs for a walk, and the pelvic pressure was really strong.  As of our last appointment with the midwife, I was only 1cm dilated.  But tomorrow I have another appointment, and we're hoping for more progress!  

I'll keep you all updated.

Bare belly at 40.5 weeks:

Thursday, March 1, 2012

39 weeks!

Wow!  I am truly almost there..  Can't believe this week is my due date.

I had a lot of movement going on this week.  Experienced some cramping and a BUNCH of Braxton Hicks contractions.  But nothing that resembled the real deal.  One of the girls from our child-birthing class had her little girl, and that really got the rest of us excited! 

Scott and I focused a bit on finishing our To-Do list.  I went to Kohl's and Walmart and bought two bed gowns to wear at the birth center and once I'm back home recovering.  They're certifiable mu-mu's with awful floral prints.  Eek!  But I'm getting so tired of clingy clothing, that I just wanted a tent or two to get lost in.  We also bought our non-perishable snacks for energy while in the process of labor.  Scott installed the car seat in the car, and I finished the "Thank You" cards for my church shower.  Our "hospital bag" is all packed and ready to go!  
.. All we need is a baby.

I've been pretty tired this week, and the swelling in my ankles is [at times] pretty comical.  I've been trying to take more naps when time permits, because one ever knows when labor is about to begin.  But it's recently come to my realization that my mom went "18 days late" with my older sister.  I've heard there can be correlations between a mother and daughter's laboring experiences.  I am TRULY hoping Bennett won't be a week or two late.

But I've been really doing my best to trust in God's timing these days. 
His timing is often strange and unpleasant to us, and I'd like to learn to handle it more gracefully. 

Here's me, at what I HOPE will be my largest: 46 pounds.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

38 weeks!

Still pregnant.

I can't believe I've still got a couple weeks to go!  I REALLY hope I won't be a 42-weeker..  The thought of it drives me nuts.  Not that I would ever go the route of inducing labor when it isn't ready, but I'm starting to see why people plan their labor and do it on their own terms.  
It isn't easy getting bigger and slower each week!

This week I've been experiencing some cramping and heaviness.  The other night I struggled to get out of the tub, and had to wait until the cramps passed.  I wondered if I was going into labor.. but it never went anywhere.  Hopefully my body's preparing itself and slowly dilating over time.  It'd be so nice for labor to start and already have half the work behind me! 

Scott and I have been very busy with our "To-Do" list this week..  Things like "finish the decals on the nursery wall", "write out Thank You cards from the church shower", "pack the baby bag", and "install the car seat".  I did bulk grocery shopping the other day, with plans to prepare and freeze a number of recipes.  That night, Scott and I attended a breastfeeding class and learned the basics.  Our instructor said nursing, in the first couple of weeks, can be as frequent as 12x a day for 40 minutes at a time!  That's a big commitment, but absolutely worth every second.  The benefits of breastfeeding for both the mother and child are innumerable. 

I stepped on the scale the other day at the birth center, and I was up by 44 pounds.  Good heavens!  I'm really hoping it's mostly water weight that'll come off quickly once Bennett's here.  I haven't been this weight in five years!  Of course I'm carrying much different these days, and it's mostly in my belly.  But there are only so many places 44 pounds can go.. 
Hopefully it'll start to slow down very soon. 

Still going to the gym when we can find the time.  I'm pretty impressed with myself on the treadmill.  I can't wait to get back to working out once Bennett arrives.  Zumba may not be on my list of things to do right away, but my plan is to return one day!

Bennett and I at 38 weeks. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

37 weeks - TERM!

Wow, we made it!  I'm now considered "term". 

"Term" is when the baby's lungs are thought to be developed enough to survive without medical aid outside the womb; but most babies still aren't ready to come yet, even at this point.  They say the baby benefits from every added day in the womb.  But I wonder when Bennett will make his big arrival! 

So now I'm officially in my ninth month of pregnancy.  Praise the Lord for His kindness to all three of us in this pregnancy!  I truly never thought we'd make it this far, with all the anxiety about my chromosomes. 
But it seems God had different plans. 

Scott and I have read a lot about "due dates" in our natural child-birthing books.  The whole idea of 40 weeks was developed by a doctor in the 1900's.  It's since been proven to not be the most effective way of calculating the length of a pregnancy.  The truth is, it's actually ten lunar months.  My midwife says the new rule of thumb is "41-1".  41 weeks and 1 day is generally the average for expecting women, especially if it's their first child.  So we're not getting too caught up in expecting Bennett on his due date..
After all - only 5% of babies are actually born on their due date. 

I'm continuing to take the Raspberry Leaf tea.  I wasn't enjoying it hot, so I've learned to make an iced tea out of it.  That way I actually have a shot at the three to four recommended servings a day.  It's no easy task!  

Bennett's movements are less obvious these days.  He's getting relatively cramped in there, so I often feel more of a rolling sensation than a kicking one.  BUT he continues to hiccup frequently.  
I have to be honest and say I really don't love the way it feels. 

Let's see what this week holds! 
Theoretically, I can go into labor any day now...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

36 weeks!

36 weeks.  Just one week away from term!

This week was an exciting week, because it was also my birthday!  The same day I hit 36 weeks, I turned 28 years old.  I've been wondering recently if that's late to have your first child..  It all seems to depend upon who you ask, though.  Some women start having children young, in their early 20's..  But other women have told me they're glad they waited until they hit 30.  I guess I don't really have an opinion, either way. I'm just glad that I'm pregnant with my first, and will be meeting him soon.

Scott and I had a lovely birthday dinner.  Bennett and I both enjoyed P.F. Chang's Chinese food and a chocolatey dessert.  The time we had been there prior, the manager gave us a coupon for a free appetizer because I was pregnant!  This time we redeemed it.. 
There truly are some perks to being with child.  

Christine said everything is looking good.  I've hit 39 total pounds of weight gain, so far.  I guess I just carry it well though, because it's not as bad as it sounds..  Thank heavens.  My numbers are still great.  Sleep has gotten a bit easier, now that Bennett has dropped lower down.  I'm no longer desperate for air in certain sleeping positions. 
That has been a BIG relief these days. 

I've also started drinking Raspberry Leaf Tea.  It's supposed to help tone the uterus and prepare it for labor and post-labor recovery.  I've also started taking Evening Primrose Oil which intends to soften the cervix.  Both are supposed to prepare the body for labor and move things along.  So far I'm truly enjoying the natural route of herbs and supplements. 
I feel like it's the best thing I can do for Bennett and I. 

All dolled up for my birthday!

We're getting there!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

35 weeks!

Let's see.. How would I describe my 35th week of pregnancy?  
Breathing has gotten a little easier, sleeping has gotten a little easier, and Bennett's moving a ton!!

There was a day or two that I had insistent little feet sticking out the side of my stomach.  Sounds freakish, but it's actually quite neat.  Once or twice though, it pinched a little bit..  But otherwise, it was fun to behold.  I went to the dentist for a pre-natal cleaning, and Bennett was squirming about.  Maybe he was continuing to position himself for birth, but things have quieted down towards the end of the week. 
But that isn't a bad thing when it's 2AM and you're seriously needing sleep.

Scott and I also made it to the gym a couple times.  I'm impressing myself on the treadmill, because I really expected the worst.. but I guess I'm not as far behind as I thought!  I've also been doing some leg-strengthening machines to get ready for this impending labor. 

Scott and I attended our last Bradley child-birthing class.  I couldn't believe it!  We've learned so much over these past three months.  We all took a group shot at the end of class, which I'll share at the end of this entry.  Our teacher showed us a video of a woman giving natural birth at home to twins!  And the crazy thing was the second twin to come out was breech.  The woman took it in stride and gave birth on her bathroom floor.  It was a crazy sight to behold, but it really shows how women were designed for this. 
If she can do that, I can do this!

So it's February 1st, and Bennett's due March 1st.  Wow.. Time to get ready!  For those of you out there reading, please pray for a safe and happy labor for Bennett and I. 
Many thanks.