My Pregnancy Journal - Due mid-to-end of May, 2000July 4, 1999 - first day of a normal cycle, lasting 31 days.
August 5, 1999 - LMP - It was a normal period, lasting approximately 6 days. Nothing out of the ordinary that I can remember. Had a negative PG test on August 4.
August 23, 1999 - I noticed that I had had to get up out of bed to go pee three nights in a row. Curious, as that is my first pregnancy symptom, but it is only 18 days into my cycle. Hmmm. Pregnancy is possible, but I won't have a + test for at least 2 weeks, since I have had negative tests until 5 days late for a period most of my pregnancies.
August 24 - Again, I had to get up to go pee during the night. Also, I noticed I needed to pee frequently during the day. (This is my only EARLY pregnancy symptom!!) Really wondering now, and even mentioned the situation to dh earlier in the day. Later on in the day, as I realized that I needed to pee yet again (!) and I had not been drinking anything more than usual, I decided to use one of the pregnancy test strips that I sell on my web site. I certainly did not expect to have a positive result, as I was only 19 days into my cycle, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to see what would happen. IT WAS POSITIVE!!!! I could not believe my eyes!! I was not really expecting it to turn positive. I was only 19 days into my cycle!!
This is too weird, I thought. Maybe the test is wrong! So I did another test with a new sample. STILL POSITIVE!!! Hmmm... these test strips are really super-sensitive to detect hCG at only 19 days since LMP!! But then, as I thought more about this, I began to wonder if perhaps I was pregnant during my last period on August 5th. I have heard that some women do continue to have periods for 3 or 4 months into a pregnancy and wondered if perhaps I had (that has never happened to me before, but anything is possible). But from what I have been able to find, these "periods" are not the usual "period," but more like heavy spotting. (If someone reading this has more info about this phenomenon, please email me.) Later on, as I continued to think about what could be going on, I remembered reading somewhere that one reason pregnancy tests might have a positive result early is because the hCG level could be elevated. One reason that hCG levels could be elevated is that there are 2 or more babies!! (There are other reasons that hCG could be elevated, but I like the twin aspect the best!!) Several times over the last few months, I had prayed that God would bless us with twin girls since I had been anticipating a pregnancy for sometime.
When dh got home that evening, I handed him a note which read: "Congratulations on your Promotion!!! It has been recently decided that you will be receiving a promotion. You'll still be working in the same area, but with increased supervisory and quality-control duties. You are to be congratulated for being considered faithful and being singled out for this great honor. Your responsibilities will increase and so will your benefits. You can begin training for this new position immediately, but the job change will be considered official around the middle to end of May 2000. Your new job title will be...Father of Eight!!" He read it, then asked me if his promotion also included a raise! I laughed and said, "Yeah! A raise in the number of gray hairs on your head!" Then we hugged and he said "Congratulations." Later on, he told me that he should start calling me "Ovary." "Why", I asked? "Because you get pregnant so easy, you might as well be a walking ovary!" he said.
August 25 - After some thought, I wanted to get a blood test done to get a better idea of how far along I may be. I called a local lab about having one done, but, just as I expected, they said I needed to have a doctor or midwife order the test. I called a couple of midwives in my area and they both told me that the blood test wouldn't be very good in this case, because the result is usually so wide-ranging that it is hard to pin-point a date anyway. They both recommended an ultrasound as the best method of figuring a more accurate due date. I told them I would not be having an u/s done (not for fear of exposure, but for cost, as we do not have insurance and will not be applying for any medical aid). So their next best advice was a bi-manual exam, which is a vaginal exam where the midwife puts one hand in as far as she can reach and lifts the uterus up, then feels from the outside with her other hand how big the uterus is. You can usually estimate, within a couple weeks, how far along a woman is by doing this kind of exam. Well, this is not for me, either. I have had 7 babies now and have acquired quite a considerable paunch in my lower abdominal area, so I know they would have a very hard time feeling my uterus through it anyway. So I have decided to just wait and see what happens. We have done our own prenatal care for the last 5 pregnancies, why should we do anything different now?? I am prepared to just go with the flow. If things look like I am further along, or if it appears to be multiple babies, we will decide what to do then (our plan is still UC). Otherwise, I will just go about like this a normal pregnancy and try to keep this journal updated at least once a month or so, until toward the end when I will write more often. Okay?? God bless!
September 2 - As I approach the day I would have expected my period, I worry that it will come anyway. I have never had a miscarriage before. Don't want one now. This is one reason I hear people give for not announcing their pregnancy early. If you lose the baby, you don't have the added grief of being reminded with cards and emails if nobody even knew! I am not having any problems to make me feel this way, just general dread.
Anyway, the only thing close to morning sickness that I get is loss of appetite. I could be really looking forward to a particular thing for dinner, then after a few bites... blah. I don't want anymore. This is good, in that it helps me to lose all the extra pounds that I added between pregnancies! I also lose my taste for coffee. I know caffeine is not the best thing in the world for the baby, but I have enjoyed coffee through most of my pregnancies and have had no problems. I just don't drink as much (instead of 2 cups a day, I only drink 1 a day!). I am not addicted to coffee, that's for sure!
The kids have wasted no time in telling the whole neighborhood that we are having another baby. The lady across the street is nice to me, but I have heard, through her grand daughter, that she thinks we have way too many kids already. I wonder what she said when she heard the most recent news? Another neighbor said she wishes us luck for another girl. Yeah! I agree! Make it two girls, please! LOL!
So, one sister not happy about my pregnancy, but you know what? I DON'T CARE!!! God sees us as fit enough to bless our home with another of His precious babies. Who am I to refuse it. I will love and cherish him/her all the days of their life. And lots more, too, if God blesses. Even if it means I never get to spend another day with my sister. With that kind of attitude, why would I want to spend any time with her, anyway? Enough rambling for today. I've got things to do. Bye.
September 7 - 33 days since LMP. No signs of my period, so I guess I can stop dreading. The other day, while cooking breakfast (fried potatoes and fried eggs), I had the biggest episode of loss of appetite I have ever had. I still didn't feel any nausea to speak of, but did not really want to finish cooking the food. After I served everybody, I left the room. It took several hours before I felt hungry, then I was ravenous!
At first I couldn't find anything that I wanted to eat. Then I spotted the "Lucky Charms" (well, actually, it was the store brand of that cereal), and I knew that was it! It definitely hit the spot. Not even an hour later, it was lunch-time, so I ate a tuna-fish sandwich, too. YUM! Lots of protein, something I should eat more of.
That night (or early the next morning- 3:30 am), I woke up feeling like I was starving to death! I never eat in the middle of the night, but I needed to do something to stop the pangs. I got up and put Kenny in the crib (we have been "helping" him learn to sleep in his crib over the last week or so), then went to the kitchen to see what I could have. Nothing looked appealing, so I just went back to bed. My stomach felt like it was eating itself!!
Then I remembered there was more cereal and I knew that was what I wanted, but now I did not want to get up again! So I laid there trying to sleep, but could not sleep because of the hunger. Finally, about 4:15, I heard Kenny beginning to stir in the kid's bedroom and I knew he would start crying any minute. I got him and proceeded to the kitchen where we both enjoyed a big bowl of cereal. I slept great after that. And when I prepared breakfast (fried potatoes and eggs again) in the morning, I did not lose my appetite.
September 21 - 2 more days until I am 7 weeks. I feel great. No complaints, except for the constant need to pee and the fatigue that hits in late afternoon. I try to take a nap when I can, but that doesn't happen very often. I have been trying to be more faithful with my vitamin and herbal supplements. I need to get drinking the pregnancy tea, but have decided to buy the herbs in bulk and mix them myself. It is so much cheaper to do it this way, but there will be the initial expense to buy the herbs. I'm hoping that dh will hurry up and bill a company he has done a lot of web work for. They owe him a lot of money. And I hope that they pay right away. Then I will be able to place my order.
The kids and I spent a few hours at my sister R.'s house today. They purchased their own place several months ago and I had yet to go over and see it. She was very tolerant of having the kids around, but I could tell she had reached her limit by the time we left. We watched a really funny Tim Allen movie called "Jungle 2 Jungle." We had never seen it before. The funniest thing about the movie was watching my kids laugh so hard at the various parts. They were practically rolling on the floor. We have chosen to not have a tv in our home, as we have proven to ourselves that we are couch potatoes when one is available. The only time we see a movie is if we go to someone elses house.
Kenny is back to our bed full-time. He just did not take to the crib like I had hoped. I'm not worried about it. I have plenty of time before the new baby comes to get him to sleep with one of his siblings. Maybe after he is weaned, he will no longer feel the need to sleep with momma. I have never tandem nursed (nursing a newborn and a toddler at the same time) and don't intend to this time either. We are in a queen-size bed and dh only just tolerates Kenny's presence, as long as he does not wake up with an arm in his face or an elbow in his back.
October 21 - Today I am 11 weeks since LMP. I received an email last week from someone wondering if I was doing okay, because it had been some time since I last wrote. I am doing great! The reason I have not written earlier is because we have had some computer problems, which are still not fully resolved, but at least I have access to the internet again.
Our computer is nearly 3 years old and has been giving dh fits for some time. It really needs to be replaced and we are praying God will meet this need soon. Last week, the day after I was 10 weeks, I found that my uterus had risen up out of my pelvis. I was very excited because, normally this is not supposed to happen until around 12 weeks.
After mentioning this to the ladies on the UC Forum, I got an email from someone who is due around the same time as me, and who has also had several babies. She said that the same thing has happened to her and that she doesn't think it is twins as much as she thinks it is just that the uterus has stretched out so many times already, it just naturally gets bigger faster. Hmmmm. Could be, but still, this is my 8th pregnancy. It seems like this should have happened in at least my last pregnancy. If I am remembering right, I was not able to feel my uterus until around 13 weeks or so.
Needless to say, I am anxiously awaiting some tell-tale kicks. Well, during the past few weeks that I was not able to write, I had many things come to my mind that I wanted to tell you, but now that I am actually here writing, I CAN'T REMEMBER WHAT THEY WERE! Bummer! Must not have been very important, right?
Oh, yeah! I was finally able to order the herbs that I wanted to make the pregnancy tea. This tea is loaded with lots of vitamins and minerals that nourish both me and the baby. It also has lots of Red Raspberry Leaves, which is an herb that has been proven to strengthen the uterine and pelvic muscles and make for an easier and quicker labor and birth. I drank these same herbs as a tea during my last pregnancy and it was my fastest, easiest birth. I bought a large batch and am selling some, if you or anyone you know may be interested. Blessed Beginnings Herbal Tea for Pregnancy You can buy a very similar tea called Traditional Medicinal's Pregnancy Tea at most health food stores, but it is so expensive! It costs over $4 an ounce! I am selling this tea for $8.50 a pound. Big difference in price, here! Well, this is all the time I have for now. It is getting late and I need to get the kids to bed. Until next time, then! -Oct 21
November 12 - Well, I have received a few emails saying I need to update this, so here goes: I am now 15 weeks as of yesterday. I think that if I were having twins, I would have felt some movement by now. The earliest I have felt any of my babies move was 17 weeks. That was a date that I happened to write down, though (I may have felt movement earlier, but I can't recall off the top of my head.). And that baby was born at only 41½ weeks gestation! I have felt nothing yet, except for some bowel movement.
At first I would get my hopes up of it being a kick, but it soon became evident that it was not. A few weeks ago, I did "The Famous Bob & Tom Draino Test" and it said that I am having a girl. I will not get my hopes up TOO high, but it is nice to think about. I know that it can't be very accurate, but several ladies said that it was right for them! We shall see! I can now feel my uterus at my belly button. This is not supposed to happen until much later (usually around 20 weeks), so I still have the hope that I will have the baby closer to 40 weeks instead of my usual 42-43.
Kenny (my 16 month old) is now nearly completely weaned. He nurses only once or twice during the day (but even that will be cut out here within the next week or so). He was to the point of wanting to nurse the entire night through and my nipples were so sore! I finally have him starting the night out in his sister Sally's bed. Then he wakes up sometime around midnight-1 am and I bring him to bed with me. I give him a bottle so he will not be rooting on me. I will gradually work him into remaining in Sally's bed the entire night, but I have several months to work on that.
This is all I have time for right now. I will update when I feel definite movement. I guess there a lot of you reading this journal now. I get several emails a week from different ones. That's neat!! Just realize, though, that I am having limited computer time, so if I don't respond right away, I'm not just ignoring you! Thanks for your encouraging notes. I like to hear how my pregnancy is similar to yours. Love to all, ~ Charity
November 22 - Okay! I only have a couple of minutes, so I'll write fast. I felt the baby move last Wednesday night! I'm so happy, because I usually get real worried as the weeks go by and I don't feel anything. This is earlier than I normally feel movement, but not much. It was the night before I was 16 weeks. I was lying in bed while dh was reading one of his computer magazines. While I was lying there, I was poking and prodding my belly, just to see if I could feel anything going on in there. Suddenly I felt 3 sharp pokes (kicks, really). I exclaimed to dh "I just felt it!" He said, "What?" He didn't even know what I was doing (he must have figured I was trying to go to sleep). "The baby! It kicked me!!" "Good!" then he went back to reading! I am really having my doubts as to any possibility of twins now. Even though this was a little early, I think I would be feeling lots more movement.
This morning the baby was very active. Must have been doing somersaults in there, because I could feel it real good without even poking. We ordered a fetoscope to listen to the baby's heartbeat and are awaiting delivery. I can hardly wait to get it, because we have always used a stethoscope in the past and it is hard to find the heartbeat until late in the pregnancy. Well, I need to go get the kids some dinner.
Oh, yeah. There are a lot of you reading now, and someone asked if we home school. Yes, we are a homeschooling family. Until next time! ~ Charity
December 9 - Okay, I have a few minutes to update (there's not a whole lot happening, but I got several emails telling me I need to update more often!), so here goes: We got our fetoscope last week and have listened to the baby's heart several times. We didn't count or anything, just listened for for the fun of it. Dh got it out one evening and let the kids listen. They thought it was really neat!
The pregnancy is becoming more real to them all the time. I am showing more now and some of the kids have felt the baby kick. They liked that. My son, Nathan (4 years old), says I'm fat. He's so funny. Abby (3) is not really interested in what's going on. Kenny (17 mos) hasn't a clue (poor guy!). But Roy (11 on 30th of Dec.), Sally (9½), Jason (8), and Jonny (6½) talk about the coming baby all the time, especially now that it is more obvious that I am pregnant.
I have wanted my own doppler for several years, but could never afford to get one (they cost upwards of $500 brand new!). So I have been watching eBay and finally won a bid for one! YEAH! I don't have all the money right now, but the seller is allowing me to make several payments until it is paid for, then he will send it to me. I don't expect to use it often, but it will be nice to be able to find the heart tones quick if there is ever a need to.
There are over 66 people reading this journal. Most of you are interested in birth in general, while some of you know me personally and just want to keep tabs on my progress. I was told that I need to update more often, but I don't know what I would talk about if I did. I could just ramble about my thoughts and feeling, I guess, but I feel like that would be a waste of all of our time. "Just the facts, Ma'am!" Plus, I don't always have much time to sit here and write. I have several book ideas I would someday like to start, but just the thought of the hours that would take really puts a damper on those ideas real quick.
Well, I should get to bed. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention how Kenny is doing sleeping with his siblings! I have him totally out of my bed now. He has been starting the night with either Sally or Jason, then coming in to my bed later on in the night. But the last couple of nights, I just put him back in their bed and he would sleep for a little while longer before trying to come to me again. The first time it was 5 times I took him back, and last night only 3. So we'll see how tonight goes. As long as I never give in and let him stay, he'll eventually catch on that he is supposed to stay in the bed the whole night! Okay, now I think I am finished. Until next time, then! ~Charity
January 8 - Tomorrow it will be a whole month since I last posted! Guess I better get busy! I am past the 22 week point. Baby moves quite a bit and the kids love to feel him kick. I have a hunch it's another boy, but hope I'm wrong! Sometimes he rolls over with his knee or elbow sticking out and I can feel the whole pointy lump move across my belly. It's usually pretty neat (when it doesn't hurt!).
He's had hiccups several times already, and I have begun to feel Braxton Hicks contractions more frequently. I am still waiting for my doppler and hope to have it by the end of next week. It will be fun to hear the heartbeat over a speaker rather than through ear pieces. Its so hard to locate sometimes, then when we do locate it, its so faint you have to really strain to hear it. Also, with a doppler we will be able to know whether there are two separate heartbeats in there. I am not expecting there to be two, but I will definitely check very carefully. I have heard of doctors and midwives missing twins even though checking with a doppler, so I will probably have to check several times before I am *really* sure. I'm pretty big, but haven't measured my fundal height for a couple months. My fundus is a good 4-5 inches above my umbilicus, though.
Dh likes to mention how there is someone between us again. And when he hugs me, he mentions something about the "bump". We will be taking my blood pressure reading within the next couple of weeks, so we can have a base-line reading to go by as we approach the end of this pregnancy. Then if I have any swelling, we can check to see how my BP is doing. I have never had a problem with high blood pressure, but realize there is a first time for everything!
We will record my fundal height, too, while we're at it. I need to be more faithful with my vitamin and herbal supplements. I always have this problem. Even though all the bottles are sitting in a neat little row on the counter top ("so I will see them and remember to take them every day"), I still manage to forget most of the time. I usually get better at remembering as I get closer to the end, when I suddenly realize that they can't give any benefit if they are not being used.
That's about all I have time for today. I will try to update a little more often as we approach the end. I'm over the halfway point!! Yeah! It's all downhill from here! I hope the time goes quickly, but then slows WWAAAYYY down when the baby arrives.
February 4 - TRYING NOT TO GET MY HOPES UP, BUT... we found a heartbeat in 2 different places. (I finally got my doppler earlier this week - what a long wait!) At first, when I pointed out to dh that I was picking up 2 heartbeats, he said I must be aiming it at the same spot, so it would be the same baby. Then he tried it and we found that it was NOT aiming at the same spot. He is trying to be VERY optimistic, saying that it was probably only the cord that was being picked up, as the second spot was not as crisp sounding as the one side (lower right) where we are sure the (one) baby is. I am just huge.
The other day when dh mentioned something about my belly being in the way, I told him to take a good look at my belly, then realize that I supposedly have over 3 months left to go. His eyes got big (he never pays much attention to my pregnancies until I announce "The baby is due in about 2 weeks" -then he starts to get real nervous and act real paternally) and he said, "Wow! You'll end up being out to here!" (hands about 2 feet in front of me). LOL!
I am 26 weeks yesterday and 32 cm. I have been consistently large for dates, showed early, felt movement early, tested positive early. I would really love to have twins, but it all seems so weird that it *might* be a possibility. A few months before I conceived, I prayed one of those selfish-type prayers that you really don't think God will answer, that He would bless me with twins. Hmmm... AND... I do have a way to find out for sure!! An acquaintance of ours used to work for a place not too far away (well, an hour and a half drive) where they manufacture ultrasound equipment. They offer *FREE* ultrasounds to pregnant women, so they can test the equipment to make sure it passes quality checks. I am hoping to do this. I called the place today to try to get an appointment, but they didn't return my call yet. My mom is so anxious to know, too, that she even said she will take me there and we can make a day of it. We might as well check out the sex of the baby while we're looking, too. But I might have to keep that a secret so you'll all have something to look forward to.
The only MD I found that would do an ultrasound for me (with no obligation to continue care) wanted $300. AACKK!! Not! I'd rather wait and be surprised! I figure getting the US will also let me know where the placenta is, since I could hear it low down near the cervix on my left side. It takes about a month to get an appointment with this place, so by then the placenta will have moved more toward where it will end up being at labor time.
I stopped at the local pharmacy's blood pressure machine the other day and it registered my normal, healthy 106/70 reading. So far, everything is normal (well, except for being so BIG) and I am feeling great. I'll write more when I know what's going to happen!
February 18 - I am now 28 weeks as of yesterday. In my last update, I said I had found possibly 2 heartbeats with my doppler and that I was going to try to get an ultrasound so we could know what we are dealing with.
Well, I finally talked to the lady in charge of scheduling appointments for that ultrasound manufacturing company and found that they will not do one for me without what basically works out to be a "permission slip" from my doctor. Something to do with not wanting liability if they found anything wrong. They would want to be able to call my doctor to let him know there was a problem. So I called another place I learned about that does $75 ultrasounds, just so the mother can have pictures/video and find out the sex of the baby. But this place would not do one without a "permission slip", either. This really bothered me at first, but I have come to the point of accepting this as God shutting the door. If He wanted me to have an ultrasound, it wouldn't be so hard to get one. Maybe someone will rear-end me in the car and then I can go to the ER and have their insurance co. pay for me to see my baby? I'm not worried about it either way.
Dh was feeling my belly last week and there is a lot of space around the baby. I think if there were 2 babies, there wouldn't be a whole lot of room like that. Also, I am not really growing anymore, centimeter-wise. I am still 32 cm. at 28 weeks. I really think I just have a lot of water. Dh thinks I am a month further ahead than my dates indicate, as he says the baby is a pretty good size already, but I will not count on this too heavily. If I am, then I will get to hold my baby sooner than I originally thought. If I'm not, then dh will have a very long month waiting for me to pop.
March 14 - In two days, I will be 32 weeks. YEAH!! Time is going fast now! There's not much happening. I'm still big, and feeling bulkier all the time. When the baby stretches, I get a foot all the way up on the outside of my rib cage. I feel lots of pressure against my cervix sometimes, too; almost like the feeling just before the membranes break. I just noticed this evening that my ankles are starting to swell a little. Its the end of the day, so that's not surprising. This always happens near the end of my pregnancies.
We'll be sure to keep tabs on my BP and if it is high, we will get some dip-sticks to watch for protein in the urine. I haven't measured my fundal height yet this week, but at 30 weeks it was 36 cm. We are pretty sure I am going to have this baby "early." It wouldn't really be early as far as the baby is concerned, but it would seem early to me. Particularly after always going late! If my guess is right, I should really be almost 36 weeks right now. So taking into account my tendency to go 43 weeks, I might be having this baby within the next month and a half! That would be wonderful!
I'm really trying not to get too hopeful about this, but I can't imagine going another 2½ months when I am as big as I am already! In a way, its kind of neat to not be real sure when this baby will decide to show up. It is a fantasy of mine to have this baby when I am alone. Not that I don't want to share this joyous moment with my hubby, but there's just something about being alone and nobody there to "take turns" holding the baby. Nobody to say, "Don't push yet! You don't want to tear!" That's always very annoying!
Dh is real paranoid about me hemorrhaging after the birth (this is my eigth baby, after all). He wants to be there, if only for the help he would be should I bleed too much. I can understand this. But still, with me not knowing for sure when to expect this baby, and seeing as my last labor went so fast that my mother and sisters did not get there in time to see the birth, dh might not be home when I go into labor! I could very well have that solo birth! I don't think I would intentionally not call him if he were away (he has a cell-phone), but he could be so far away that he wouldn't make it back in time! Could happen!
Anyway, I haven't given another thought to seeking an US. I am almost positive that there is only one baby. I will be just as surprised as everybody else if there turns out to be two babies. I'll go for now.
April 13 - Well, I have received several emails saying I need to update. I know, but it is so hard to find the time. It is 11:15 pm right now. I should be in bed, but I need to get this updated. I am 36 weeks today. I have not measured my fundal height this week, but last week it was 39 cm. I have been consistently measuring ahead and dh is convinced that I am off on my menstrual dates. I know I am not but do agree with him that I will probably have the baby by the end of this month.
I was so uncomfortable about a week and half ago that I was almost in tears at one point wishing this was over already. I always get a really bad pain in my left lower rib every pregnancy (I think I might have injured/fractured the rib in a bicycle accident I had when I was about 11 years old. If so, it was never discovered). I couldn't get comfortable in bed for several nights and almost went to sleep on the couch so I wouldn't disturb dh"s sleep.
Anyway, this pregnancy has been the worst yet. I cannot bend over very far without wincing in pain. I have given up even trying to tie the kids shoes (have that task to my older 3 kids). I have to get right down on the floor with Kenny to change his diaper so I won't have so far to bend over. But I am not as uncomfortable anymore, and I believe that to be because the baby has dropped down further. I still get a lot of pushing up against the ribs, but it is not constant like it was a couple weeks ago.
Several ladies at church have mentioned that it looks like the baby has dropped. I certainly feel like it has! I got the baby clothes out of the shed today and washed and organized them. It was so fun pulling each item out of the laundry basket and the kids exclaiming, "Ohhh! Look how tiny!" and "Did I wear that?" They are really getting excited now. Even Abby (3½) has been talking about it - "when the new baby comes, it will be this tiny!" (hands about 5 inches apart, LOL!).
I got my birth supplies ordered and delivered a couple weeks ago, so now we are ready! I have been taking my herbal supplements to prepare my body and build my blood supply. Dh is always worried about a post-partum hemhorrage, so I like to do everything I can to build my iron stores. I have been taking Evening Primrose Oil orally for a couple of weeks. I will begin inserting them vaginally starting tonight when I go to bed. It is supposed to soften the cervix in preparation for labor.
Who knows! Maybe my next update will be an announcement! I'm trying not to get my hopes too high, but I know with all the differences this pregnancy has had compared to my previous ones, I really think I am due soon.
April 27 - Had the baby yesterday!
May 13 - I haven't gotten the birth story done yet. I hope to get it finished by the end of next week. Keep checking back. I *will* get to it.
Aug 30 - Due to some major computer and various other un-related problems, I am unable to add the birth story at this time. I am fine, baby is GREAT and growing- 19 lbs. at 4 months now. Sorry. I did want to get the story up in a timely manner, but circumstances have prevented this.
Feb 9th - Charles is now over 9 mos old. He weighs about 24 lbs and is still mostly breastfed. He is gradually getting more and more table foods and is crawling around, getting into anything and everything.
I very reluctantly decided to take another dose of castor oil on Saturday afternoon. Both times I had a good contraction pattern going the previous week, it was the morning after taking a dose of castor oil. Only then it didn't do any dilation. I had, since then, been having lots of mucus discharge, was dilated to 3 cm., 60% effaced, and just sitting there, doing NOTHING!
I was 20 days late, which is the latest I've been and twice. I figured the castor oil wouldn't hurt, other than the getting it down part (disgusting), but if it did work, I would be holding my little one soon.
So, 2 p.m. I chug-a-lugged it down mixed with a home-made Orange Julius. I had not been having any contractions except for an occasional Braxton-Hicks (BH), maybe 1 every other hour. It had been like that for days. I was a little discouraged, because from what I had heard from others, drinking raspberry leaf tea was supposed to make you have more BH contractions. I had had more during other pregnancies. This was the first pregnancy that I drank the raspberry leaf tea.
We left for my mom and dad's house for a family get-together/bbq. about 3:30 p.m. I noticed a couple of contractions on the way, but they were nothing to write home about, so I attributed them to BH. I had several more over the next few hours. They felt like nothing more than BH, too, so I didn't get excited about them. I told my mom and sisters that I had taken castor oil again, and they were a little excited about maybe being the real thing this time. I was reluctant to get my hopes up.
It was only a week since the last castor oil attempt that had caused lots of contractions that eventually petered out. It had gotten me all excited for nothing. Around 6:30 p.m., I mentioned to my mom that the contractions were getting closer together now, but were still nothing as far as being strong or anything. I didn't even want to start timing them, for fear that I would just get excited for nothing again.
We left for home, which is only a 15 minute drive, about 7:30. I had several more contractions on the way home, but still nothing to get excited about, strength-wise. When we got home, I asked d to check me to see if the contractions were doing anything, or if I should just forget about having a baby that night.
Labor? Could It Really Be?
When he checked, he said that there might be a slight change in the effacement, but not much else. There was more watery mucus than there had been before, though. He decided to wait to check during a contraction, and when I had one just a couple minutes later, he said he could feel the difference in the cervix during a contraction. He said he believed I was for sure going this time.
Based on my previous labors, starting out from where I was right then, I figured I had at least a good 10 hours or more of labor ahead of me. I called my mom and two sisters who would be coming to the birth and told them not to get too excited yet. I said I was having regular contractions but it would probably take all night. I would have dh check me again in a few hours, then I would call them the let them know if there was any change. That was about 8 p.m.
Dh asked why I called them and I told him I wanted them to be prepared in case it was tonight. Then he told me that he wasn't really sure that it would be tonight, since there was so little change, and now my mom and sisters wouldn't be able to sleep very well because they would be waiting for me to call them.
Well, that put a damper on my mood real fast. First, he told me he was sure it would be this time, then he said he wasn't so sure. (It just goes to show how predictable labor really is, right?)
The contractions were continuing to come, but now I noticed a low ache in my back each time. I still was not timing them, but I could tell they were getting closer together. I had what felt like a little water dripping out, and when I checked my underwear, there was a wet spot. I had just gone potty not five minutes before, so I knew it wasn't pee. I figured if it was my water, it would gush pretty soon, since that is what happened in my 5th labor, my water broke early on. I had a leaking feeling, then a few minutes later, the water poured out . I walked around in the house, just puttering, actually, and they were still coming pretty constant. A little stronger each time.
I could feel them in my back, real low, but still not too bad. I had a few more feelings of dripping, with the wet spot getting bigger each time. I was waiting for a gush, but it never came. I knew this was real labor now, but thought I had a long time to go.
A Waiting Game
About 9 p.m. I went downstairs to where dh was using the computer in his office and told him that my water might be leaking and I wanted him to check me at about 9:30. But I had forgotten about the hour-long radio program we always listen to at 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Since I didn't want to miss any of the program, I put off the check until 10. I continued to have low back-ache type contractions throughout the hour, but still not too bad, with more leaking.
When we sent the kids to bed, I told them that if the baby came tonight, we would wake them up so they could watch the birth. Dh checked me shortly after 10 p.m. He said I had not dilated much, but I was definitely effacing more, and when he pulled out there was a lot of watery mucus. I was excited to be in real labor, finally, but dreaded the hours to come.
Dh started setting up the birth tub, but he said I shouldn't call anyone yet, because I still had a long time to go. I said I wanted to at least call my mom, because I had told her I would let her know if there had been any change before she went to bed. I called her house, but the phone was busy. "Wouldn't you know it, she's on the internet," I thought.
I waited a while and tried again. Still busy. "Come on, Mom. You're expecting a call from me. Get off the internet." I waited a little while more, the contractions were getting stronger each time. I tried to call again about 10:30. Still busy. "MOM!" I called my sister, A., who would be riding over with mom when the time came, and I told her that I was definitely in labor, but I couldn't get hold of mom to tell her. I told her I thought I still had several hours to go, if not all night. She said that she would keep trying to call mom and have her call me when she gets hold of her.
I turned my attention to getting the video camera set up. I noticed that the time was wrong and started messing with the buttons, trying to reset it. I had a pretty strong contraction, way low in the back that I almost had to moan with to keep on top of it. “Wow,” I thought, “I don't have to moan with contractions until late in labor.”
I continued fussing with the camera. The next contraction took my breath away. [I forgot to mention, since about 6 p.m., the castor oil was having its effects on my system, and I had to visit the toilet about every ½ hr.] I found the camera's instruction booklet and grabbed it on the run to the toilet. As I was sitting there, reading the instructions for setting the time, I have another very strong contraction that I really have to moan through.
Dh, who had been in the kitchen setting up the tub, came in to take a look-see. When he saw me on the toilet, he said, “You better not have my kid in the toilet.” When I was done, I fixed the time on the video camera, 11 p.m., but not before having several more very strong contractions that required some breathing through.
Notifying Birth Attendees
I had tried to call my mom a few more times, but the phone was still busy. I told dh, frustratedly, "I can't get hold of mom. She's on the internet. She knows I was going to call."
Dh asked why I didn't email her since she gets her email almost instantly. It was about 11:10 p.m. when I went downstairs to dh's office (and our only computer at the time) to email mom. I had several more good contractions that I had to breathe hard and moan through. They were real intense in my back area, but dh was not with me to put counter-pressure on my back. I got the email program running, but didn't have to type anything because (thank goodness we have 2 lines) our phone rang. It was mom, "What's up? A. said you want me to call." (It turned out it was my dad on the internet, and mom had gone to bed. Since A. didn't have internet, she called my other sister, R., who was planning to come to the birth, too, and asked her to email mom to tell her to call me. WHEW!! What a hassle!)
Oh, I was so glad to hear her voice. I said, "I'm in labor!" She asked how far along, and I started to tell her that at 10 p.m. I wasn't very far, but now I'm not too sure, but I had another very strong contraction and had to put the phone down so I could grip the arms on the chair that I was sitting in. My mom could hear me moaning pretty loud. When it was over, I picked up the phone and she said she would be over by midnight. I asked her if she would pick up S., a teenage girl I had invited to see the birth. She said she would, but I needed to call S. to let her know that they were coming and when. Before we got off the phone, I had another very strong contraction.
I called S. and talked to her mom. Another contraction. They were very close now, but I still wasn't timing them. Probably about 3 minutes apart and lasting a minute or more. I called R., to let her know everyone was on their way, but I could not talk long because a contraction was coming. She called my mom, "What's going on? Charity's not telling me much." Mom told her I was in labor and couldn't carry on a conversation right then. They decided that R. would pick up S., so she wouldn't have to drive alone.
After I was done calling everybody, I decided to make a quick post to my Unassisted Childbirth Forum to let anyone know who might check, that I was definitely in labor. If you go read the post, it is at 11:19 p.m. and it is titled "It worked!" In it, I said that I was in labor and hoped to be holding my baby by morning. Little did I know how soon it really would be. When I finished the post, I got up to go back up stairs, where dh had remained the whole time.
I didn't get far before another strong contraction gripped me. I had to stop and moan. I thought dh would hear me and come help me, but he didn't. When it was over, I started up the stairs, but ½ way up, another one. I had to kneel on the stairs and moan through it. When it was over, I finished climbing the stairs, but as I got to the kitchen, another one. “Oh, man,” I thought, “these are pretty strong.” I didn't dare hope that I was very far along. I was wondering how I was going to make it several more hours if it was this bad already. I got to dh, who was lying down on the sofa, looking at a book, and told him he needed to check me again, because it seemed like it was going pretty fast.
It was about 11:25. I told him everyone was on their way and they should be here around midnight. As we went in to the bedroom, another good contraction hits. I lunged for the edge of the bed to kneel next to it and insisted that dh give me some good back counter pressure. Oh, it felt so much better when he did that. When it was over, I took my underwear off and started to climb on the bed when another contraction hits "I hate this," I said to dh, "YOU did this to me!" He laughed and said, "Yeah, that's what you say every time."
When he checked me, he was in there only a few seconds when he said, "Oh yeah. You're at least 5 cm, maybe more, but at least 5." I felt some relief at that point, because with my last baby, I went from 5 cm. to baby in an hour. That was in the birth tub. The tub was only half filled right then, so dh scrambled up to put more water in it. I said to him as he was leaving the room, "Well, we’ve got about an hour." He said, "You got maybe 15-20 minutes max." “Yeah, right,” I thought, “I’ve never gone that fast.” I suddenly felt effects of the castor oil doing its work again, and told dh, "I need to poop." "Don't have my baby in the toilet," he reminded me.
As I was sitting there, I got another real strong contraction that I felt a slight pushing urge with it. "No," I thought, "It can't be time yet." As I finished wiping, another one, with a stronger urge, this time. I grunt with it, "UUHHGGG!!!." Dh came in to check on me, and I groaned "Bear down!!" "No!” Dh exclaimed, “Don't bear down yet, its too soon!" I finished in the bathroom, and called out to him, "Don't forget to wake the kids, at least the older 3, when the time is near. I told them they could watch." Dh came out of the bedroom with the video camera, trying to get it set up. "Okay," he said.
It's Time!I walked out into the living room as dh went back into the bedroom to get a few more video items. Suddenly, I was gripped by the strongest contraction yet, and went down on one knee, near the sofa. As I was going down, I felt and saw at the same time the water pouring out all over the living room/hallway carpet. At the same time, I had an irresistible urge to push. I called out to dh, as I was groaning with the push, "Uughh, the water broke!" I felt an extreme amount of pressure. Dh was coming out of the bedroom just as it was happening.
He looked down and saw a head. I didn't realize that the head was even out yet. I heard him say, "Oh, Charity! Down on all fours!" I complied. He got behind me to hold the head so the baby wouldn't just plop out on the floor. I felt another contraction and pushed and that was when I realized the head was already out. I reached through my legs and felt this wonderful, warm, wet, fuzzy ball. “My baby is almost here,” I thought.
Dh suddenly remembered the kids. "Sally! Sally, if you're awake, come here!" They had only been in bed a little over an hour and a half, so I was hoping they were awake. "Roy! Hey, Roy, come see the baby be born!" I heard a noise from Sally's room and thought she was coming, but instead it was Abby, our 20 month old. We were in the hallway, not 4 feet from her bedroom door. She just stood there and watched the rest of the birth transpire.
I wanted the baby out, so I began to push, but dh said, " No, don't push." (He is always concerned that the birth happen slowly so I won’t tear. This is not a concern of mine, since I birthed a 10½ lb. boy with no tears.) I said, "I asked you not to say that this time." So he gave in and as the next contraction came, I pushed with all my strength. Out slid my wonderful little baby. The blood and fluids spilled out all over the carpet. Dh had to rush to get a towel for me to sit on, so I wouldn't make the floor any worse than I already had.
Abby was staring wide-eyed. I didn’t know what she was thinking, so I pointed to the baby and said, "Look! Mommy's baby came out." We had been talking about mommy's baby coming out for weeks, so she understood that much. She would put her mouth on my belly and say, "Come out, Baby!" I pointed to it and said, "Mommy's baby came out!" I asked dh what it was, as he had flipped the baby over onto its belly to help the fluids drain. "Its a boy!" He said it, like, "Of course, what did you expect?!" I was slightly disappointed, but that didn't last long.
I scooped him up and held him for the first time. "Oh, baby, I've been waiting so long to hold you!" Abby came over close to take a look-see. The baby started crying as soon as it was born, even before I could flip over. He had a good strong cry and pinked up immediately. I asked dh for the time, but since we didn't look immediately at the time of birth, he guessed that 2 minutes had gone by and that the time of birth would have been 11:42 p.m. July 11, 1998.
Dh got an absorbent pad from our birth kit and laid it out on the floor in the living room for me to sit on, as the towel and floor where we were was totally drenched with fluids. As I was sitting there, I nursed the baby. We were waiting for my mom, sisters and friend to arrive, as well as the placenta. It was almost like a race to see which got here first.
It wasn't even 10 minutes after the birth when the placenta slid out. It came with no problems, but the membranes were still adhering somewhere. We left it alone for a few minutes and then did some uterine massage until it, too, let go and came out.
You Missed It!
At 11:55, we heard the first car pull up. I was sitting in straight view of the front door, holding the baby. I couldn't wait to see the expressions on their faces when they realized they missed the whole thing. It was my mom and A., A.had been to 3 of my home births already, so knows how long I usually take to labor.Mom walked in first, and we said, "Hi. Sorry, but you missed the whole thing." (They told us afterward that they thought we were kidding.) It took a minute before they realized I was holding the baby. "WOW! I can't believe you had it already! That was so fast!" A. said to mom, "You shouldn't have stopped for gas!" At 12:10, R. and S. showed up. I felt bad about S. missing it, because she had been looking forward to watching the birth since I first invited her, back in April. They, too, were surprised it was already over.
Everyone had brought their breakfasts, figuring they would still be there in the morning. We weighed him. He weighed 8 lb. 12 oz. just one oz. less than Abby. It was 12:40am when everyone went back home. He was an hour old already. Since I didn't want to waste the water that was in the birth tub, I climbed in with the baby and cleaned up a little.
I would estimate his gestation (using the clinical gestation guide) to be about 41 weeks. He had vernix in his creases, but most of the rest was washed off. He had a little dry skin, too. But otherwise looked to be right on time. So I am going to plan that my next baby won't show up until 43 weeks, and I won't get my hopes up about having an earlier birth.
A New Way To Birth
In January and February of 1996, I took a 'Labor Support Course' offered through the Seattle Midwifery School. One of my goals is to become a midwife one day, but, being a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother of 5 small children, I knew it wouldn't be feasible for a long time. Working as a doula (a woman who gives emotional support to a woman in labor) would give me some extra experience in the childbirth field. At the training course, we viewed several different videos of women laboring and giving birth. One such video was of a water birth. The woman giving birth in the birthing tub looked so relaxed and in control that I was awestruck. I had given birth to 5 babies myself (the last three had been unassisted home births), and was anticipating a 6th pregnancy at any time. The video so impressed me that I decided I wanted to birth my next baby into water.
Wouldn't you know it but the very next week I found out I was indeed pregnant already. I am always excited to discover that we are to be blessed with a new baby in our home, but this time I think I was even more excited. The first time I mentioned birthing into water to my husband, he did not react favorably to the idea. I didn't pursue it much at first, but would just mention from time to time that I really wanted to try a water birth. He would give me a look as if to say, "You're crazy." At our public library, I checked out a few books dealing with waterbirth and, after reading them myself, left them lying about for dh to pick up and read. He wouldn't do it. I didn't want to waste my time trying to locate a birthing tub if he wasn't game to give it a try. One day I read to him a small portion of one of the books and he asked a couple of questions that were of concern to him, like: what if the baby inhales water as it is being born?; and, how do you know how much blood the mother loses?, ...etc. After answering all his questions through the borrowed books, he was more open to the idea. In fact, he even began to defend it when my mother and others expressed the same concerns that he had had.
Searching for a Birth Tub
After dh was more agreeable to having a water birth, I began to seek a way to have one. I didn't know of anywhere that I could rent a birth tub, and I had to keep in mind that we had very limited funds available. With the baby due in late October, by August I still had no definite plans. I was starting to despair of being able to do it this time around. Then one day in August I was talking to an acquaintance about how I couldn't locate anywhere to rent a birth tub. She mentioned that a local friend of hers had rented a birth tub from somewhere in Seattle, then gave me the woman's phone number. That woman gave me the number of a book shop in Seattle, about 60 miles away. This shop also sells baby-related items and rents birth pools! I was so excited! But after talking with the proprietor about rental fees, $150, I knew we couldn't afford it. While it is definitely worth every penny, we just didn't have that kind of money for a luxury item. I went looking for end-of-summer clearances on children's pools, but everyone was out-of-stock.
Finally in September, with the birth looming ever nearer, I called back to the owner of the store in Seattle. I explained how I wanted to have a water birth so bad but just could not afford the rental fee. When I asked if there was any way that we could work out some kind of arrangement, she offered to rent me a tub that she had in storage and did not use anymore. It was a different kind than the ones she normally rents out, and I could rent this one for $50. Wow! Talk about excited, I really was then! She even agreed to sell it to me if I liked it, as she would probably never use it again.
Well, I figured my due date to be October 15 (40 weeks after LMP), but since I am always late, I knew it would be at least late October. I kept telling everyone that if I hadn't had it by the 30th, I wanted it to wait until November 1st, because I didn't want a Halloween baby. Well, as it turned out, even November 1st came and went. For days I had been having Braxton-Hicks contractions, starting about mid-afternoon and continuing until after I went to bed that night, only to be gone upon awakening in the morning. I was getting a little frustrated with it as I remembered it had happened the last two pregnancies, also. As before, the baby's head was not engaged in the cervix. The last time, I tried to encourage contractions using nipple stimulation, and it had worked. (At that time I didn't realize that if I had kept up the stimulation, I probably would have had the baby a lot sooner than I did.)
Dh had been checking my cervix for any changes every couple of days, and found it to be getting softer. We believe the main reason that the contractions were not more effective was because the baby's head was not engaged. It was not putting any direct pressure on the cervix. There was no mucus plug that he could dislodge to try to encourage labor. On Saturday night, November 2, I tried to stimulate some contractions by twisting my nipples. After only about 5 minutes, they began coming, and kept coming on a consistent basis about every 7-8 minutes. This was after not having any contractions the whole day long. After about an hour, we quit and went to bed. I was hoping that the contractions would continue and awaken me later, but I awoke in the morning with no more contractions.
Now I was really frustrated. At church that morning, I asked a friend of ours, a labor and delivery nurse at a local hospital and also a childbirth educator, for some advice. I told her that it was nearly 43 weeks since my LMP, and that I was 2-3 cm. with no engagement of the head. I also told her I could start contractions using nipple stimulation, but they would peter-out after I quit doing it. She said that I needed to keep up the stimulation for much longer, until the contractions were well established and I was at least 5 centimeters dilated. We decided that we would attempt to induce the labor that very afternoon.
Inducing with Nipple Stimulation
Since dh is our church's choir director, we would have to leave our house by 4:15 p.m. to have choir practice at 4:45. At 2 p.m., I began the stimulation by twisting and pulling on the nipples. The contractions started within 10 minutes, and were consistent as long as I kept up the stimulation. I noticed if I quit for a while, they slowed down, and when I began again, the contractions would pick up again. By 3:30, my contractions were consistent at 8-10 minutes apart and I had shown some definite effacement and dilation to 4 centimeters. I also began to have some pink mucus, so we decided to cancel choir practice and stay home from church. I wanted to work on having this baby already. We told my sister, A., and our friend, L., that we would call them when we thought they would be out of church, to let them know of our progress. They would be coming to video and photograph, and just be here if we needed to transport to the hospital or anything.
Around 4:30, dh began to set up the birth tub in the kitchen. It was a large inflatable-type. It took over 5 hours to completely set up, what with pumping it up, disinfecting it, and then filling it with hot tap water. I had been a little worried that dh would change his mind at the last minute about me birthing into the water. But now that he was spending all this time to prepare it for me, I knew he loved me and was going to let me do it.
All this time, I kept doing the nipple twisting and pulling, with an occasional 5 minute break now and then. By 9 p.m. I was 5 cm. dilated with contractions about 6-8 minutes apart, but the head was still not engaged in the cervix. We asked A. and L. to come over, and my mom and our friend M. came to get the kids. As my mom was leaving, I asked her if she wanted me to call her in the middle of the night to tell her when I had the baby. She said, "How about calling me at noon when you have it." I was a little shocked and hurt by her comment, then she added, "Hey, this is Charity's labor were talking about." (She was remembering that my last 2 labors had been over 24 hours long.) I was hoping to have this baby by 6 a.m. at the latest.
Around 10:30 p.m, dh checked my cervix again and found it to be the same as it had been the last time, so we decided to try some fundal pressure. We had done this during the labor of our 4th baby and it had resulted in getting the baby's head to engage. He was born about 3 hours later. During a contraction, dh would put pressure on the top of the fundus (the top part of the uterus) and hold for the duration of the contraction. We would do this for about 30 minutes, checking the baby's heart rate every 4-5 minutes or so. Afterward, dh checked for progress, but there wasn't any, so we decided we would try again later.
I was still doing nipple stimulation periodically to keep things going. I felt if I stopped, the contractions might slow way down. Around 11:30, dh laid down to take a short nap, so I got into the tub. Oh! It felt so wonderful to have my entire body immersed in the warm water. (Remembering it just now makes me long for a nice hot bath.) I felt totally weightless, and it was so easy to move about to different positions. After only 20 minutes of this bliss, dh wanted me to get out so he could check my progress again, and try more fundal pressure if needed. He found me to still be the same as before. We again attempted to get the baby's head to engage, but it would not.
I was beginning to despair of having the baby before 6 a.m. This was at midnight and I was so tired that I just wanted labor to stop for the night so I could get some rest. I laid down on my bed and tried to snooze between contractions, but rest was impossible now. The contractions suddenly began to come more frequently, about 4-5 minutes apart now, and I needed to really concentrate in order to handle them. I got up and walked around for a little while, but was not comfortable at all. I did not need to do anymore stimulation.
At 1:30 a.m., I decided I needed to get into the water. It looked so inviting. L. had been timing my contractions for about ½ an hour, and they were consistent at 3 minutes apart now. After getting into the tub, I didn't have another contraction for 8 minutes. L. and A. were telling me I should get out, as it had slowed my labor down. I didn't want to get out, though. The water was so warm and relaxing, and I was finally able to rest. Not for long, though, for the contractions soon returned. After sitting with me for awhile, dh went to rest in the living room.
L., A., and I talked about babies, and what we were going to name this one, and just visiting. We were interrupted by contractions, though, as they were now coming faster. I was amazed at how much easier these contractions were to handle. Being in the relaxing water made all the difference. I get real vocal when I go through transition; and when dh heard the loud moans coming from the kitchen, he knew that it was time to check on my progress. It was now about 2:20 a.m., and I was sure I would have this baby within 2 hours.
When dh checked my cervix, he took a while feeling it. There was a weird expression on his face, and he shook his head, indicating that there was no change. I about lost it! All that work and pain, with nothing to show for it! This baby would never come! But he still was in there feeling around when he said, "Wait a minute, I think your complete." After confirming that I was, I was in disbelief. "Are you sure?" "Yes," he said. (Afterward, when I asked him why he thought at first there had been no change, he said that the cervix felt different when I was in the water.)
It's Baby Time!
After the announcement that I was ready, things started happening real fast. I asked dh to add more cold water, as I thought it was too warm for the baby to be born into. A. was videotaping; and L. was just gawking, having forgotten all about taking photos. We didn't realize that we had not even set out the supplies we usually have on hand, they were still in the box in my bedroom.
Within minutes, the urge to push came, but dh wanted me to breathe instead of pushing. That is very hard to do, when every urge in your body says, "PUSH!" He was afraid that I would tear as the head was born, so he wanted me to push slowly. With the first push, I felt a gush come out, and dh and I announced at the same time, "The water just broke." I noticed that it was much harder to push under water than it had been for my 5 dry births. (The books on water birth had mentioned this, but now I was experiencing it.)
After 2 pushes, the baby's head was out, and I decided it might be easier to push if I was on my hands and knees. Because we didn't have the tub full, the baby's face was above the surface of the water. We had planned to birth the baby completely under the water, but the books advised against allowing the baby's face to go under water after it had been exposed to the air. The cold air might trigger the breathing reflex. After one more push, the baby slid into daddy's hands, at 2:34 a.m. on November 4. The first thing dh said was, "Its a girl!"
I was so excited! L. and A. were screaming and cheering, as they knew I had wanted to have another girl so bad. We named her Abigail, and she weighed 8 lb. 13 oz. We did not take her to the 'Well-Child Clinic' as we had the other children. We did register her birth and get her S.S #, though.
I am definitely a water birth proponent now. That labor was by far the easiest one I've had. We decided to purchase the tub so it will be available to me if I should ever need it again. She is working out a special payment plan for us. Also, I will rent it out to others in my community who want to experience the joy of water birthing. I recommend a water birth to anyone.
A Big Baby
In September of 1994, we discovered that God was blessing us with baby #5. After having our last two at home, unassisted, we never even gave it a thought as to where this baby would be born. During our monthly checks to make sure everything was progressing normally, we found that my fundal height was larger than my weeks gestation. We wondered if perhaps I was farther along than we suspected. We checked for a second heartbeat a couple of times, but were pretty sure that there was only one baby. It was just on the large side. I had already had a 9 lb. 12 oz. boy in the hospital, and a 9 lb. 2 oz. boy at home, so I wasn't very concerned about it being too large.
Using my LMP as a guide, I figured the due date to be around June 8. But since all of my babies have been late, I didn't expect it before the 15th. During the last few weeks, I was getting Braxton-Hicks contractions increasingly stronger and closer together, so that I was never sure when I would go into real labor. My cervix wasn't changing all that much, as my husband would check almost every day, for his own peace of mind. He could feel that this baby's head was not engaged, and we wondered if this was the reason why the contractions were ineffective. I was getting tired of calling my friend, L., to tell her, "Maybe tonight," only to wake up in the morning with no contractions at all. My sister, R., was going to videotape the birth, so I was calling her, too, to make sure she would be prepared for whenever it happened. I tried using castor oil to make myself go into labor, but all it did was make me sick. I was so huge with this baby that I just wanted it to be over. My belly went straight out above my pubic bone, and you could feel some part of the baby's body hung up on it.
On June 15, I was so tired of being pregnant that I decided to try to start some contractions with nipple stimulation. I had read in several different midwifery textbooks about using nipple stimulation to get a sluggish labor going, so I thought I would give it a try. Around 11 a.m, I twisted and pulled on my nipples for about 10 minutes, while I was soaking in the bathtub. I noticed a few contractions, but they weren't very hard, so I didn't really give them much thought. They did continue to come while I was soaking in the tub, so I tried the stimulation a little more after I got out. The contractions were definitely getting stronger, and then they started coming closer together.
This Is It!
It was now around noon and dh was at work, a 45 minute drive, with several errands to run on the way home. I wanted him to come home to be with me, as it seemed like things were starting to happen. I called him and told him,"No hurry, just do the errands, then come home." Not long after that, contractions started coming faster, 4-5 minutes apart. I was starting to get a little concerned, as I thought I might have to deliver the baby by myself if things kept up like this. I knew dh had left work already and probably wouldn't be home for at least an hour and a half. My 4 children were all gathered around me asking what was the matter. I asked them to go play quietly as Mommy wasn't feeling very well.
I called my mom and asked her to come get the kids, and also called L. and R. to come, as it looked like the baby would be here very soon. I told them that I was worried that dh wouldn't make it and I didn't want to be alone. L. arrived first and asked if there was anything she could do to help me. The contractions were 2 minutes apart and very strong. I asked her to entertain the kids in the other room, because it was getting hard to concentrate. I told her that if dh didn't get home soon she might be delivering a baby. My mom and R. got there shortly after.
This whole time, I had been sitting in my recliner chair, breathing through each contraction. My mom commented that by the looks of me, I would deliver within the hour. Not long after, dh arrived and was surprised by all the commotion. We explained the situation, and then I got up to go to the bedroom for him to check me. I was sure that I would be completely dilated, by the feel of the contractions. After getting up and moving around, I felt the contractions lighten-up. He checked and informed me that while there was some change since the last time he checked me, I was only about 3 cm. dilated. That was a big disappointment.
The contractions gradually slowed down to about 10 minutes apart. --[Too bad I didn't know then what I figured out in a subsequent labor- if had I kept up the nipple stimulation, I probably would have had the baby much sooner.]-- After my mom took the kids home, we began to try the fundal pressure that had caused my last baby to engage, but this one wouldn't budge. We could feel that some part of the large baby was hung up on my pubic bone.
We all tried to rest as my contractions continued throughout the night, but by morning I was only about 5 cm. It looked like it would be awhile still, so L. and R. decided to go home and shower, and said they would come back as soon as we needed them. I thought I might take a walk, as I knew that walking was good for stimulating contractions.
They left around 8 a.m. and within minutes of them driving away, my water broke. I was real excited then, because I knew the baby would definitely come soon. Dh checked me with a sterile glove and found that the cord did not come down with the water. I was relieved. (That is the main concern with the water breaking early in labor or before the head is engaged. If the cord prolapses, the pressure of the baby's head against it pinches off the oxygen, then the baby could die or be brain damaged. It is a definite obstetrical emergency.) One of my friends is a Labor and Delivery nurse at a local hospital, so dh called her to get some advice about how to handle this situation most effectively. She told us to check the heart rate more frequently than usual, and to drink lots of fluids.
We called L. and R., and they came back immediately. My contractions gradually picked up their frequency, and by 2:30 p.m. I was almost completely dilated. I had planned to try to squat to deliver the baby, but I was so large that it was very uncomfortable, and we also attempted to try it too soon. So dh had me sit upright on some kitchen chairs that he had rigged up as a kind of birthing stool. We had delivered our last baby this same way and it worked really well.
Time To Push!
R. began videotaping about 3:15. When I felt the urge to push, dh said to push slowly. He was remembering that our last baby had come so fast he almost dropped him and he didn't want to have that happen again. When I began to push, I expected the baby to come right away, as my other babies had taken only 2 or 3 pushes. But I pushed very hard and this baby hardly moved at all. After several pushes, the head was out, and what a very large head it was. Dh helped ease it out to try to keep me from tearing. After about a minute, I tried to push the rest of the baby out, but with all my strength, it wouldn't move. [I remembered with dread that my first baby had been very large and gotten stuck. The doctor had a nurse push on my belly just above the pubic bone (called "supra-pubic pressure") to help get him out.] Dh had L. push very hard right above my pubic bone area as I pushed, but the baby still wouldn't come. This was all happening in a matter of about 2-3 minutes.
I thought that it might be easier for me to push if I laid down on the floor. So, with the baby's head hanging out of me, I started to stand up to get down on the floor. As I stood up, I felt something shift inside and decided to try to push again. I said, "Wait a minute," then pushed. The baby slid out at 3:31 p.m, right into daddy's hands. All 10 lb. 8 oz. of him! I was so glad that was over! And not a single tear to show for it.
It's A Boy!
We named him Nathan, and he let the world know that he arrived with a loud, lusty cry. (He is still a very loud crier today.) L. cut the cord this time, and the placenta arrived with no complications. Before he was 2 weeks old, we took him to the 'Well-Child Clinic', where he was pronounced 'healthy'. They didn't like it that I refused a PKU test and immunizations, but we feel they are unnecessary. We applied for his birth certificate and S.S.# shortly after. We felt euphoric, and thankful that God had given us another blessing.
We had intended to have photos taken, but in the hurry and excitement of the moments, they were forgotten. I am very thankful for the video, though. It came out nice, and I will show Nathan his birth when he is older.
In July of 1992, we discovered that we were expecting another baby. After two easy hospital births, we had had our third baby at home, unassisted. At that time, our main reason for having an unassisted birth was the lack of medical insurance, which caused us to seek out God's will for us concerning the place of birth. We felt God leading us to just stay home and birth the baby into his daddy's hands. Now, we still didn't have any medical insurance, but even if we did, I knew that home was where I wanted to birth my baby. We prayed and asked God to lead us differently if we were not to do the same again, but He never led different, so we prepared as we did before.
My pregnancy progressed normally, with us doing our own prenatal care. We would keep a record of my B/P, my pulse, the fetal heart tones, my fundal height, my weight..., everything that an OB checks, except for blood and urine tests.
Toward the end of my pregnancy my husband would periodically check for any changes in my cervix. Using my LMP date, I estimated the due date to be around March 8. Two of my previous babies had been a week late, one was two weeks late, so I was not surprised when March 8 came and went. When I got to be 2 weeks "late", I was starting to imagine all kinds of possible reasons (there are a few deformities that have post-dates as one of the complications).
While the baby's head was not engaged in the cervix, my Braxton-Hicks contractions were increasing every day and my husband was noting slight changes in the cervix. We continued to ask God to bless with a healthy baby, and so I tried to be patient and not fret about being so "late."
Signs of Labor
On the evening of March 26, I noticed some pinkish mucus and had dh check. I was slightly more effaced than I had been the night before, and a lot more 'mucusy'. After a couple of hours, I realized that my contractions were getting closer together, so we called for my mom to come get the kids. Also, my friend, M., came to stay the night, in case things picked up. My sister opted to stay home, with the promise to come first thing in the morning if she hadn't heard anything from us.
As it was still very early labor, dh went to bed, after telling me to wake him if anything changed. M. went to sleep in our recliner rocker, but I was too excited to rest for long. While the contractions were coming at regular intervals, they were still 10 minutes apart with no engagement of the head. I knew that I should have been resting, but I wanted to see if I could get my labor going by walking around. By morning, there was some dilation to about 3 cm. with contractions averaging about 8 min. apart. Now I was very tired with a lot of labor left to go. After my sister arrived, our mother called, expecting to hear news of a baby.
Engaging the Head
At 4 p.m. I was only at 5 cm. and had been there for a couple of hours. I was very tired after not sleeping all night, but was not able to rest now. The baby's heart rate was still good, so we weren't worried about the length of time. Dh could feel that the baby's head was still not engaged in the cervix, and we figured that that was why it was taking so long for my cervix to dilate. There was no direct pressure on the cervix to push it open. (We could feel that this baby was smaller than my previous babies. Both of my boys had been over 9 lb., so I was hoping this baby was a girl.) We decided to try to get the head to engage by pressing down on the top of the fundus during a contraction and holding it there. After doing that for a few contractions, we found that we did push the head lower. Dh checked the heart-rate, and it was still good. After a second attempt, we succeeded in getting the head to engage. We held it in place for about 4 contractions to make sure it wouldn't go back up. The baby's heart-rate remained good.
A Swift Delivery
After this, the contractions really started to pick up. They were soon coming one on top of the other. Around 6:30 p.m, dh checked and found me to be completely dilated. (I probably had been for some time, but he had been giving computer technical help to someone over the phone, and only came to check after being informed he was desperately needed to help deliver a baby.)
After setting out our supplies, he rigged up a sort of "birthing stool" in the kitchen, and had me sit so I could deliver upright, with the help of gravity. All this time I had felt no urge to push, so he told me to go ahead and give a little push to see what would happen. I gave a little push, and the head moved down some. Then he said to push a little more, so I did. I'm glad M. was ready with the camera, because this time the urge to push came, and the baby started to come real fast. Dh was shouting "Stop pushing! Stop pushing! Breathe! Breathe!," but I couldn't stop. My body just took over. Suddenly, the baby shot out, along with the amniotic fluid from the sac breaking. Dh almost dropped the baby, because he came shooting out so fast. He was unprepared for such a quick delivery.
Welcome, Little One!
At 7:11 p.m. on March 27, 1993, we welcomed our fourth baby, and third son, Jonathan, into the world. He weighed 7 lb. 8 oz., my smallest baby. He was very vocal about his long hard day. We have a wonderful series of photos taken of the whole thing, showing the gush of fluid over the baby's face, and of daddy's quick catch. After examining me for tears, and finding none, Scott scolded me for pushing when he said to stop. I explained that it wasn't me, but my body was just doing what it was supposed to do. We clamped the cord, and this time I got to cut it. The placenta came soon with no problems.
After a visit with the Well-Child Clinic, it was discovered that he had a club foot. We were referred to Children's Hospital, in Seattle, and his foot was corrected using casting and a brace. At first we were told that he had a 50% chance of needing surgery to fully correct it, but Praise God, he didn't need surgery after all. We filed for his birth certificate and S.S #, and thanked God for another blessing born into his own father's hands.
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