The Taynors

The Taynors

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Attempt for a Natural Labor and Deliver

When Ryan was born over 2 and half years ago, I thought I new a lot about labor and delivery and how to have a healthy pregnancy.  I took the childbirth classes, asked the doctors lots of questions, researched all my questions online, read the breastfeeding books, you get the point.  But what I have learned and the people I have met over the past 2 years has taught me soooooooooooo much about whats really going on.  I consider myself lucky to work in a place where I am surrounded by amazing, smart, professional, and knowledgeable birth experts.  I have decided that even though I had a pretty good labor with Ryan (all things considered), I want this birth to be different.  Here is my recap on how things went with Ryan, my new goals, and what I am doing to prepare myself!

Without re-telling my birth story, the short version is this...
My water broke at 3:30 am when I was just over 38 weeks pregnant.  Almost immediately I started with contractions about 4 minutes apart.  We left for the hospital at 4:30 am.  From 5 am- about 9:30 my labor progressed pretty normally.  Regular contractions, progressed from 1 cm dilated to about 6 cm in those 4 hours, and I was managing the pain.  Of course as the contractions got closer together and stronger, the pain increased... but nothing abnormal to labor.

At that point the nurses asked me again if I wanted an epidural.  I felt like I didn't truly NEED it at that time (I have a pretty good pain tolerance), but I wasn't sure if I could get through the next part without it.  She then told me I could get it then or I would have to wait a long time.  There was only 1 anesthesiologist working and he was about to go into surgery.  I felt like she gave me a now or never offer.  So I wimped out and got the epidural.  Without knowing ahead of time, they also gave me some Pitocin through my IV along with the epidural shot.

This is when things got interesting.  Since epidurals tend to slow down labor, they normally give the Pitocin along with it to keep things moving along (I know, that's crazy... the more interventions the more chance for troubles... but more on that in a minute).  This process caused two issues for me.  First the Pitocin made things move along very quickly... too quickly.  I went from 6 cm dilated to ready to push in about 30 minutes.  It got very intense very quickly.  Second issue was that the epidural didn't 100% work for me.  I still felt all of the pain on my right side, I could still move my legs, it didn't really offer any relief.

After these two drugs, I was pretty much ready to push... the problem was my VaJayJay was not quite ready because it didn't have time to prepare considering how fast things changed.  I did a few rounds of normal pushing, which lead to considerable tearing.  At that point Ryan's heart rate started to drop and the doctor got very nervous when we couldn't get it back up to normal.  So it became an emergency situation.  They gave me an episiotomy on top of the tearing I already had, and then used the vacuum to help deliver Ryan.  At 11:17am he was born.

It took about 45 minutes of stitches, I didn't get skin to skin time with Ryan, and before I knew it I had a room full of visitors. Its all a blur, but the naive me at the time thought this was all normal/standard procedure.  And of course, I was super happy to have a healthy baby in my arms.

Why I want something different...
What I have since learned about inductions, Pitocin, epidurals, assisted deliveries, C-sections, etc.  is that as soon as you do anything at all to interfere with the normal birth process, you are much more likely to cause distress to mom and/or baby which will then lead to even more interventions.  AND all of these interventions end up having lasting effects on mom and/or baby.

For example... I was proceeding with labor totally normally until I got the epidural...

-Once I got the epidural they thought things would slow down so they gave me Pitocin
-The Pitocin then made things speed up, but much faster than my body and the baby was ready for
-Because things moved so fast, Ryan wasn't in the right position to be pushed out (leading to the cord being wrapped around his neck and him going into distress with the heart rate)
-Also because it moved so fast, my lady areas were not prepared to push out a baby... leading to lots of tearing and an episiotomy
-Then because he was in distress they needed to use the vacuum
-The vacuum ultimately caused more damage and pain to my lady parts and ultimately caused neck and muscle issues for Ryan
-Once he was finally born, because I had so much tearing and the episiotomy I needed to be worked on for at least another 45 minutes
-Also because Ryan's birth needed intervention he needed to be with the doctors immediately for extra help/evaluation
-Because I needed to be stitched for so long and Ryan needed to be with the doctors, I didn't get to hold him in my arms, attempt to nurse, or do skin to skin time during the first hour (which is the most critical time to bond and get nursing off to a good start).

It is now very clear to me that the way Ryan was born definitely influenced my struggles to nurse, his mouth/jaw/latch issues, and my very long healing process.

Unfortunately, this is a common story.  Women are induced all of the time for many different reasons.  These inductions interfere with the normal process of labor and delivery, and complications almost always arise.  Because of these complications, you almost always end up with an episiotomy or an assisted delivery, or severe tearing, or a C-section.  The baby very often goes into distress because of the addition of all of the drugs and then of course the doctors have to step in to help the baby.

Don't get me wrong, I totally agree with intervening with there is truly an emergency... do anything to keep mom and baby safe.  I just feel like most of these issues could be avoided to begin with if we weren't so quick to interfere with natural labor.  If I did not get the epidural, leading to the Pitocin, I am sure I would have continued to labor normally... suffered through the pain and discomfort, but could have delivered Ryan without all of the other complications.

My attempt at a natural deliver...
This leads me to why it is important for me to try for a more natural delivery.  I have NO idea what will really happen when the day comes.  So many things can go wrong or I could totally wimp out and start screaming for the drugs.  But because of what I now know about the importance of natural delivery, the long term effects on the mom and baby, the importance of skin to skin bonding time immediately after delivery, the impact on post pardum depression, etc etc ( I could write a whole separate post on the long term effects of assisted deliveries and C-sections on the health of moms and babies, but I'll save that for another time.  It is definitely not as "side effect free" as people have been lead to believe).... I am really determined to be strong and to deliver this baby as close to naturally as I can!  Honestly, its a scary thought, but it is super important to me. 

How I am preparing...
The biggest thing I am doing differently is with my childbirth preparation.  With Ryan, I just took classes on birth and standard deliveries.  This time I am doing research and taking classes that are specifically geared towards a natural delivery.  I have been listening to webinars and interviews of midwives, doulas, OB's that all specialize in preparing for a natural birth.  I read blogs from moms that have had natural labors.  The information is priceless (thanks Dr. Rob for the connections to all of this information). 

We are also working with a Doula and taking her Hypnobirthing class.  I have worked with Nicole over the past 2 years through the chiropractor, and we have become friends.  This connection has helped because of course I trust her, but she is also giving me a great discounted price for both her doula and hynobirthing services.  Its now something we can afford and I feel its definitely worth it.  Having a support person in the room during labor, helping me through the hard parts and  keeping me calm and focused will be a huge help.  Tonight is our first hynobirthing class, so I will be able to explain in better after we do it... but my understanding is that it is a class based on teaching expectant parents how to stay calm and relaxed, the best birthing positions for an optimal labor, and what to really expect/how to get through all of the hard parts.  She will work with me to develop a birth plan, answer my questions, and give me things to do before labor to prepare my body.

Lastly, things are different this time because I am being more proactive.  I still exercise and stretch  a lot.  I do my kegels every day:)  I get adjusted weekly.  I am doing perineal massage to help avoid tearing/episiotomy.  And soon I will be doing whatever Nicole recommends at the hypnobirthing class.

Again, we will see... know one can predict how their labor will progress, but I have a much clearer picture of what I can control when it happens.  I will post all about the outcome when it happens!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

31 weeks

Not sure what happened, but I hit 31 weeks (exactly on Friday) and all of the pregnancy symptoms kicked up big time.  Overall, I still really feel pretty good... but now I feel super pregnant!

- Heart burn is officially waking me up at night.  Yuck, I am sleeping sitting up now.
-My back hearts (and of course Dr. Rob is on vacation this week, I sooo need an adjustment)
- The baby moves A LOT!  I really think it might be an octopus in there because I am feeling movement all over the place, and all the time. 
-The movement is starting to really hurt.  I have pretty tight stomach muscles, so the pressing and kicking against the tight spots gives me pretty sharp pains.
-I have officially gained 20 pounds as of last week.
-Baby's heart rate is about 155 still... pretty constant the whole pregnancy
-Sitting for any length of time is uncomfortable.
-Rolling over and getting in and our of bed is hard work... which is making my 10 pee breaks in the middle of the night more difficult
-I think my blood sugar levels are low again (like normal and like what I experienced with Ryan at this point).  I"m pretty light headed, and I see twinkly stars floating around when I start to feel yucky.  I need to be good with my diet from here on out!
-I am thirsty alllll of the time. 

My only other concern is the baby's position.  I really really want a natural delivery (more on this next post) and I know its still early... but I am starting to feel like the baby is not making its way into the head down, anterior position just yet.  I will talk to Dr. Rob and my doula about this next week just to make sure we are proactive in doing things to help the baby find a good position.

Lastly, I am trying to really enjoy these last 2 months of pregnancy.  Life goes by sooo fast (pregnancy, children growing up, all of the stages) and I want to take it all in and enjoy the special moment.  It is so easy to get caught up in the hard parts of being pregnant, but its such a short blip on the radar of my life, I don't want to rush it away.  Who knows if we will do this again or not, so I'm going to try to push away the other stresses and life in the moment of excitement and anticipation!

30 week picture

 30 week comparison... looks pretty much the same to me
 Not the best picture, it was the end of the night... but Mike and I at a wedding at 31 weeks

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Building our Home- The First Decision

The process has officially begun!  We are building this house.  I am super excited, but a part of me is still not letting myself get to excited/attached until we know for sure what we are doing with our current home (Dear Lord... please send the right buyer to buy our home as soon as possible).

Anyway, in order to stay positive and excited, I want to document the whole building process.

A little bit of background....We have been eyeing this neighborhood for a couple of years now.  Our best buds have lived in the neighborhood since it started being built about 5 years ago.  Over the years we have considered buying at least 5 different properties in the neighborhood, but for one reason of another, all of the other homes have fallen through.  In May, we saw the listing for the property we are now in contact to buy/build.  A builder came in and bought 4 lots and was building a custom home on each of the lots. 

On May 7, 2013 we met with the builder and fell in love with the basic home they were offering... and even better, the price was right.  As we all know, that was the same week I found out I was pregnant.

Anyway, to make a long story short.  We went into contract in May but it was contingent on the sale of our home.  On September 1 we removed the contingency and gave them a go ahead to start the process.  It took about 6 weeks to go through all of the different permits and they officially broke ground on  October 18.

Here is the lot before anything was touched. 

Here is the lot the day after they started clearing.
And here is the lot as of this week... its hard to tell but the basement is dug our for foundation.

So now that the process has officially started, we need to start making some decisions.  The first upgrade we made right from the beginning was for a deeper basement.  We want to make the space very usable, so we upgraded for an additional few blocks of basement.

We met with the builders again 3 weeks ago to start picking out some of the options.  They went over things like exterior siding, roof, kitchen cabinets, floors, etc.  At this meeting we also approved the home design and added any changes we want to the structure of the home.  For the most part, we stayed with the design.  Two changes we did make were 1.  We are not going to have a wall that separates the living room and the dining room, instead we opted for the open floor plan where one room just flows to the next.  2.  We added additional cabinets to the kitchen to include a pantry.  This make the kitchen a little bit bigger and the dining room just a little bit smaller.  For the most part we can make a lot of these options decisions as we are going along, but we do have to pick out the exterior choices now.

Siding, roofing, shingles, and stone-  This is the first official decision we have to make.  Who would have thought it would be a hard one.

Since May, I kind of had my heart set on a darker gray siding for the house.  Here is an example of what I had in mind (this is not our house, just and example of the color I found online).

Buttttt of course, that color is not one of the basic options.  We have about 20 colors to choose from, but the darker gray is not one of them.  We quickly decided and upgrade on the siding color was not something we wanted to do (we would rather save that money for the kitchen and bathroom upgrades).  I needed to get past this color and pick one of the basics.

Our top two choices were the "Sterling Gray" and "Natural Clay". 

At first I was leaning towards the lighter gray color, but the more I saw example of it, the more I was leaning towards it being to light.  I really want some kind of color to the house, not a super light, blah color.  Here is an example of the "Sterling Gray".

That left us with "Natural Clay" as the winning siding color.  We like that it is not too light and still pretty neutral.  Here is the color  and an example of a house with the siding.

Lets hope we made the right decision once it is done.  Pictures to come in a few weeks.
After we picked the siding, the shutters and roof were pretty simple.  Because of the layout of the front of the house, we only have two windows with shutters.  That made it easy, because if we really hate what we pick, its not an expensive change in the future.  We picked a very dark brown/taupe kind of color.  Its sticking in the neutral families but a nice dark contrast against the house.  Then, I let Mike pick the roof color because I am pretty clueless.  He went with a darker brown/gray color... again to give a contrast against the siding.
I can't wait to see it all put together.  We still need to pick the stone color for the little bit of stone that will be on the front of the house, but we need to go back to the sales office to see the options first. 
Phew... glad step one is done :)