My VBAC Birth Story

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After 6 months of trying to get pregnant, including one disappointing chemical pregnancy, I saw that beautiful pink line on the pregnancy test! I was pregnant, excited, and ready to begin my journey to a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean).

Side note: remember that fun trip to Vegas I took, full of spa time and boozing? Yeah, turns out I was pregnant then. I definitely worried for a while that I had poached my baby from my time in the hot tub.

The first notification went to the hubby. The next, was to my would-be doula, as well as the homebirth midwives I hoped to deliver with (because no way was I going back to a hospital). I had done my research on providers, so I wasted zero time notifying the people I wanted to help me have this VBAC.

My midwives didn’t begin prenatal visits until about 10 weeks. I’m incredibly impatient, and honestly a bit sensitive about early miscarriage, so I took that time to go visit my last practice and get confirmation of the pregnancy via sonogram at 7 weeks.

The visit was fine, but completely confirmed that they were not the right providers for me. The entire appointment, aside from the sonogram, was spent focused on irrelevant numbers. My advanced maternal age (because I would be 35 when giving birth), my weight (they recommended I only gain 15lbs) and my deadline delivery date (they won’t let a VBAC go past 41 weeks). No way was I going down the road of negativity again. I was going to build myself a birth bubble, and I knew better than to listen to anyone telling me that ANY of those numbers have anything to do with my ability to give birth vaginally.

My pregnancy this time around was relatively easy, physically speaking. I was going to see my chiropractor every other week, and I was weightlifting or running almost every day. I only gained about 20lbs total, and I was really proud of that. I knew I was in good enough shape to take on whatever my labor would be like this time.

It was my emotional state that was a bit of a mess. This time around, I had a new job that I actually liked, so I didn’t have work stress involved. I did however, have a lot of anxiety over my previous birth, and I needed to work through that with a lot of therapy.

Halfway through my third trimester, there was a concern the baby was breech, which of course sent me off the deep end. If the baby was breech, I wouldn’t be able to deliver with my midwives as they don’t do breech deliveries. It would be back to a hospital, which to me equaled surgery, and I couldn’t have that. All of my energy went towards daily mantras like “my baby is in optimal position for birth”, and doing inverted poses found on spinningbabies.com.

Thankfully, she was confirmed head down at my 36 week appointment. She was posterior, but she was head down, and that was enough to settle my nerves. Little did I know how much that posterior position was going to influence my labor and birth.

In the weeks leading up to my due date, I was still wrestling with the demons in my head. Thoughts about “what if I don’t go into labor” and “what if my body just doesn’t do this” were constantly popping up. Thankfully, the hubby was always there to recite some mantras with me, and help me stay in a positive mindset.

Between 39 and 40 weeks, I started to have Braxton Hicks contractions, and I couldn’t have been more excited. I had never experienced them at all during my first pregnancy, so each time I felt my belly tighten, I knew my body was getting ready to go into labor. I would just sit and enjoy this feeling, especially since there was no pain involved with them.

My due date came and went, but I know those dates mean basically nothing. It’s an approximation, and I wasn’t going to worry about it this time around. Thanks to having providers that didn’t have a deadline for how long they would “allow” me to be pregnant, all I had to do was sit and wait for baby to decide when she was ready to meet us. I won’t lie, I was impatiently waiting, I was ready to have this baby.

I woke up on the Saturday morning, two days after my due date, and had a small gush of fluids and what looked like the beginning of the bloody show. It wasn’t anything too exciting, but I knew my body was getting another step closer to going into labor. I was PUMPED. My body was working how it was meant to, and I was going to have this VBAC.

That day my football team had a game, so I threw on a pad and went on my merry way. Sitting, watching the game, I started having some small contractions. Everyone would ask me how I’m feeling and if I thought I would have the baby soon. Knowing that I didn’t want anyone involved in my labor, aside from the selected few I had on my “birth team”, I just replied “hopefully soon”.

Meanwhile, I was telling my close friends that were planning on helping with child #1, that they may be on call in the next few days. The contractions had become stronger during the day, enough to the point I had to start closing my eyes and breathing through them.

The contractions were about 10 minutes apart during the day. As night came, they were getting to be 6 minutes apart, and I had a hard time sleeping thanks to them. I was starting to believe that active labor was imminent, and Sunday could be the day we met our baby girl.

Sunday was not the day. Neither was Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or even Thursday. Those days were spent having contractions, with lots and lots of pain in my back. This posterior baby wasn’t moving no matter how hard my body was working to make her. Every 6-10 minutes my contractions would come, leaving me incapable of functioning during the day or sleeping at night. I was miserable and in so much pain.

The hubby had to take over all childcare and household activities, because I was spending all day in my bed, either on hands and knees, or attempting to sleep in between the contractions.

By Friday I felt so broken down. It had nearly a week of these contractions and I wasn’t going in to active labor. “What was wrong?”, “Should I go to the hospital?”, “Maybe this means I’m just not meant to give birth?” I was fighting the demons in my head more than ever, but I knew I didn’t want to give up on this VBAC.

This is when I called my doula. I was crying, I was tired, I was frustrated. She came over the next morning (now a full week since my fluid leaking/contractions began) to get me refocused and re-energized. She rebozoed my belly, tying a thick knot on the spot in my back that feeling the worst.

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Rebozed in Labor

We attached the Tens machine, in hopes of some physical relief (I ended up just feeling annoyed by the sensation, so didn’t use it very much). The biggest thing we did was get my head back in the game. She had me write down all my motivational sayings on pieces of paper and hung them all over my bedroom. I was strong, and I was capable, and I needed to see that everywhere I looked, so I could stay focused on my VBAC goal.

That night the movie Bridesmaids was on tv, and in the end there is a scene with Wilson Phillips singing their song “Hold On”. I began singing along, holding tight to the lyrics “hold on for one more day, things’ll go your way, hold on for one more day”. I needed to hold on, for one more day and things would go my way…right?

I went to bed that night after taking some Tylenol PM in hopes I could get some sleep between my ongoing contractions. Sunday morning I awoke from a dream feeling like I needed to push the baby out. I knew I didn’t really need to push, but the sensation was so strong I woke up my husband and said “fill up the pool, I’m having a fucking baby today”.

We filled up the birth tub, and I spent the day with my painful back labor contractions. Friends came to take the boy to allow me to focus on laboring. Being that it was a Sunday and my favorite football team the Buffalo Bills were playing, the hubby set up a mirror so that I could watch the game from the birth tub in the reflection. Honestly, my contractions were regular enough and intense enough that I didn’t watch the game (but really the game was wretched and not worth watching anyway). As the day went on, it became another Groundhog Day, with no baby making an appearance.

Going to bed after being so sure I was going to have a baby that day left me frustrated and impatient. I wanted this labor, I did. I wanted to let my body do what it needed to do, so I was thankful, but man I was over it. At about midnight I woke up to some painful contractions that were even more intense, and seemingly closer together. After timing them for an hour, and having consistent waves at least a minute long and 5 minutes apart, I called my doula and my midwife. The midwife advised us to continue timing them and call back in a couple of hours if things stayed consistent. They did, so I asked everyone to come over. It wasn’t showtime, but I really needed more support and reassurance everything was going well.

3am Monday morning my birth team arrived. Everything was going well until the sun came up. I was distracted by getting my son out the door; he was being taken by a friend to play and then to school. This would be the last time we see him until after the baby is born. I lost all momentum in the transition and was sent outside to take a walk to see if we could get contractions going again. It didn’t really work, and when I got back I cried to my team that I was worried if I didn’t start having contractions more regularly they would leave until I was more active. They reassured me they were all in until I had the baby and that made me feel so much better.

The entire day Monday was spent doing everything under the sun to get some real progress happening. I was in the tub in a variety of positions, I was on the floor on hands and knees. I walked, I crawled, I cried…and cried some more.

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Birth Tub Laboring

My greatest challenge during the day was the back labor. The pain was so intense in my lower back, and it started wrapping around my hips so much so I felt like I couldn’t move my legs to walk. I had to reach my arms up in the air to engage my abdominal muscles just so I could walk to the bathroom.

After hours of this (and listening to me whine) my midwife sat me down and told me about an option I had to alleviate the pain in my back. I was so desperate I was willing to try anything. It would be something that only stopped the pain for about an hour, but I could get some relief and use that time to either rest, or try and get some good contractions going. The catch, because there is always a catch, was that it is an incredibly painful option. She explained it would be 4 injections that would feel like incredibly bad bee stings. Saline would be injected into my skin around the area I was experiencing the back pain. I really thought there was nothing that could be more painful than what I was feeling in my back. WRONG. I screamed bloody murder and crushed my husbands hands as my midwife and doula each injected me simultaneously, two times. But you know what, that shit worked.

Immediately after they injected me I looked at them and asked if either of them have experienced that before. My midwife said “yes, I have” and I said “good”. It made me feel better knowing that she knew how awful that felt before inflicting it on me.

I was able to spend about an hour relaxing in bed with the hubby. What a difference it made not having pain radiate through my whole back and hips when having a contraction. Labor felt easy during that hour…I may have even dozed off in between contractions.

Now, I was very adamant that I didn’t want cervical checks during my labor. My team knew I wanted them there for support and positive reinforcement, but I did not want to be handled the way I had my first birth. They fully respected that. There were points that they thought it would be a good idea to be checked, but they asked me what I thought and how I was feeling, and if it would help me go on to know how far I had dilated. I knew I risked being discouraged, but at the same time, I also needed some motivation. Around 3p I was checked and was 7cm dilated. Not far to go!

As we approached the evening hours I knew things would pick up as they had every night before. I even overheard my doula saying she felt confident I would have the baby that night. By 11p I was having some crazy contractions that were so different than what I had experienced thus far. They really caught me off guard and I had an incredibly hard time breathing and figuring out how to adjust to deal with them.

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Using Hubby as a Table

One of the positions I found comfortable was to have the hubby be on hands and knees on the bed, and I draped myself over him like he was a table. There were some other acrobatic style positions I made him suffer through during that time, but he was a trooper and gave everything he had to support me.

Around 1a Tuesday I decided to get checked again. I was still at 7cm, only now my cervix was swollen. Knowing, but still wanting to hear it from her, I asked my midwife what that meant. She said that even if I dilated more a baby won’t make it through a swollen cervix. Our next move was try and reduce the swelling. I got back in the tub, as that was my safe space and where I was most comfortable.

I had to focus on letting the contractions come and go without pushing or putting any pressure or energy downward. Real easy when a watermelon is sitting in your pelvis, right? For two hours, I sat in the tub and I let each wave wash over me, thinking about being soft and holding onto how important all of this was to me.

The other thing I was thinking about was how tired I was. I hadn’t slept in days, my body had been working on moving this baby out for 10 days. I had to acknowledge to myself that even if I could reduce the swelling and dilated fully, I may not have the energy necessary to push out the baby.

That’s when a very important conversation happened. I asked my doula “hypothetically, if I were to go to the hospital, what would that look like?” She asked on a scale of 1 to 10, how much did I want to go to the hospital. In my head I was a 10. I wanted an epidural and I wanted a nap, but I was afraid of the hospital. I was afraid they would say I had been in labor too long, so something must be wrong and I would need to have another cesarean (I was being monitored regularly, and baby was fine). I was afraid that the moment I walked through the doors I would lose my chances for a VBAC. I told her I was a 6 on the scale. She got my midwife so we could have a real conversation about my options.

Side note: we had a conversation about my options. She did not tell me what to do at any point, and I could tell was very careful to make sure she was not emphasizing one option or another, allowing me to evaluate and decide all on my own. All women deserve this respect from their providers.

We discussed the different hospitals I could go to. One was 5 minutes from my house, and incredibly convenient should I need another cesarean (I did have to accept this was a realistic option), but was not known for being VBAC supportive. The other was a good 40+ minute drive, but had a great VBAC supportive midwifery group. It would have been hard if I ended up with a c-section, as I would be there for at least 3 days, and my husband would need to go back and forth in order to take care of the boy. I was actually torn on what to do. I didn’t want to be in a terribly inconvenient scenario after a potentially emotionally challenging repeat cesarean. I also didn’t want to hand over all of this hard work to a hospital that wouldn’t value my wishes for my birth. My husband looked at me and asked “do you still believe you can push this baby out of your vagina?”. I answered “YES” and our decision was made.

At 3a Tuesday morning we packed up and headed to the hospital. Because I was working very hard to believe in my planned home birth, I hadn’t packed a hospital bag. Needless to say, packing while having contractions every few minutes is not easy, so I ended up with the most random collection of my clothes and toiletries.

After spending a few hours in triage (yeesh!) I was admitted into a room and received my epidural. I was SO THANKFUL for that epidural…even though they had flubbed it the first time and had to redo it. For the hours leading up to it I kept telling everyone I just never wanted to feel another contraction ever again. EVER. Once that epidural kicked in and I stopped feeling like someone was smashing my lower back with a sledge hammer, I was relieved. My husband, doula and midwife joined me in the room and we turned down the lights and relaxed. The hospital staff did their best to let me be, and I was able to get some much needed rest.

When I was admitted, the midwife on call gave me a cervical exam. The plan was that I would be given lose dose pitocin and be monitored for a few hours, as would the baby. Once I had developed a strong pattern of strong contractions they would check me again to see how I was progressing. Well to my surprise, she would come back every few hours and tell me everything was going well, so she would come back later to check me. We were into the 4p hour and I hadn’t had another cervical check. I greatly appreciated that I was being left alone. I was good, baby was good, so no one felt the need to do any checks yet.

At a certain point the hubby and I started having the conversation about what would happen once I had the cervical exam. There was a chance that I would still be at 7c, and what that would mean for me. We had some really good conversations about the entire situation, and how far we had come. I acknowledged that if I was still at a 7 after all of this, there was a strong chance that I would need a c-section. It didn’t make me happy, but I felt at peace with it. I knew I had done everything I could. I had surrounded myself with a supportive birth team, I had stayed in great shape, I had learned tools to manage my pain, and I had spent time healing from my prior birth so I could accept this next birth as it would be. I had labored for 10+ days, so I had to accept my scenario, however it played out.

Around 630p the midwife came back and asked if I wanted to be checked by her before she left her shift, or the midwife coming on next. We decided to let her check, as she knew what she felt earlier. I did clarify with her that she was just looking for progress, and as long as there was some change and that baby and me were good, I could continue to labor without a conversation about what’s next.

So this was it. That moment in time that feels like it lasts forever because you’re so anxious to get to the end, the answer. Did any of this make a difference? As the midwife examined me her face showed no emotion. I was worried, normally they say something while they’re doing the exam. She removed her latex glove and looked at me and told me, I was fulled effaced and completely dilated, and baby was moving down. I was going to get to push. This news was everything to me.

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Dilated and Getting Pumped to Push!

I was very aware this didn’t mean I was getting my VBAC. So many women get to pushing, and for one reason or another still end up with a cesarean. I was excited to even have this opportunity to push. I was going to give it everything I had. Because I had a doula that took the time to get to know me, and understand what makes me tick, she knew to tap into my inner fire. We put on the workout playlist I had on my phone, full of Lady Gaga, Britney and Beyonce. I sang and sang. Anytime I started thinking too much, my doula reminded to start singing.

The midwife came in, along with several nurses, and I believe several students. Originally I set out to have this birth at home, with the only people there being my husband, doula and midwife. Now I was in a room with like ten people, but you know what, it was everything I needed at that moment. These people rooted for me, and cheered with each push. They told me I was doing great and that I was a rock star. To me, it was like being cheered for on the football field after making a great play, or catching a touchdown.

I was done with being pregnant. I was done with being in labor. I was getting that baby out of my body and I was doing it right fucking now. It took 26 minutes, but I did it. I had my baby on my belly, and I had pushed her out of my body myself.

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My “I Did it Face”

I don’t think I can fully articulate my elation in having accomplished my Vaginal Birth After Cesarean. I fought through so many doubts, so many fears and a complete draining of my physical self. I climbed my Mt Everest, and I felt incredible. I was walking soon after birth. I was even sent to bed by the hubby after he caught me rearranging the furniture in the hospital room.

My postpartum period was one of joy and bonding with my new baby. We slept, we nursed, we enjoyed getting to know each other. Sure, I was in pain, birth is no joke whichever way it happens. This time though, this pain was one I was prepared for, one I welcomed. I was able to walk, to laugh, and most importantly, I was able to care for my baby.

VBAC Baby

My VBAC Baby

This journey was spent doing everything I could to create the outcome that I wanted. In the end though, I needed to release the situation to the baby. I needed to find acceptance in however her birth was going to happen. I feel like I was gifted her cooperation and her birth, that I’m lucky to have had the experience I did, as painful as those 11 days were. I got everything I needed in this birth. I healed from my first birth and I learned that I was strong, I was capable and I was not broken.

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WTF Wednesday: Why Won’t You Sleep?

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When the boy was about 7 months old, we sleep trained him. It took us one day, two separate 45 minute sessions of gut wrenching torture, but it worked. We ended up with a baby that would sleep 12 hours a night, plus still take 2 naps a day. At one point I thought something was wrong with him because he was sleeping so much.

Fast forward exactly 3 years later, and we’re a mess. Our once sleepy headed little baby has become so stubborn against sleeping. We start a bedtime routine at 7pm, and after the stories, songs, final requests for milk and an extra hug (what parent says no to that?), we leave his room ready to have some adult time (you know, to watch Cutthroat Kitchen of course).

Then comes the click of the door knob, and the creek of the door opening, followed by little steps out into the hallway. The first time is “I need to use the potty”. That’s a guaranteed pass as we’re trying to encourage using the toilet. The next time is a request for something random like an ice pack (those blue things for the cooler) or another cup of milk. This repeats for the next 45 minutes with no requests at all, just pleas to not make him go to bed. It becomes SO draining to think you’ve got him down only to hear that click 15 minutes later.

The bonus is when he wakes up at 5am and refuses to go back to sleep. Every morning either begins with a tantrum over not going back to bed, or just sucking it up and getting up ass early. Where did our little sleepy head go? Will we ever see him again?

The torture doesn’t end there. Our little girl is also a source of the sleep deprivation. She was a great little sleeper the first few months of her life. I felt so lucky to have a baby that slept. Had. I had a baby that slept. What was once a girl on her way to sleeping a consistent 6 hours at a shot every night, is now waking up every 2 hours.

I know that part of this is my fault. She wakes and starts making noise, and because I’m desperate for her to not wake up the kid across the hall, I pop her on a boob until she falls asleep and then put her back in her co-sleeper (note: she is still sleeping in our room). It’s so easy, so it’s what I’ve always done.

But now, now I can’t escape the call of the boob. She expects to come to bed and get cuddly boobie time… and she’s starting to wake more frequently, like once an hour frequently. I’ve become a semi-functioning zombie person. The hubby wants to get back on the sleep train(ing), but I can’t bring myself to do it. Somehow I’ve developed a soul and I can’t imagine a night filled listening to her cries and laying there and doing nothing to soothe her.

I think the boy was such a colicky baby that I got used to hearing him cry. Once it came time to sleep train it was a relief because we no longer had to get up to walk him for an hour or two. The girl though, she’s never been much of a crier. And when she does, it pierces my soul like a thousand knives. I think I’ll emotional bleed out if I attempt to sleep train her. She’ll start sleeping through the night at some point, right? I mean, does anyone have an 8 year old that gets up 4 times a night? I just have to wait her out, and pray she starts sleeping more.

If you know us in real life and we lose our train of thought mid sentence, make absolutely no sense during a conversation, or look like a hot mess, it’s because we are. I blame the children. The beautiful, wonderful, horrible children.

My First Birth Story, Part 3

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Part III; The Axe Forgets, the Tree Remembers

After all the preparation, the classes, the research. None of it mattered. My body didn’t respond to any of the induction tactics, and I was going to have to have a cesarean. At that moment in time, I was crushed. Every one from the hospital was being positive and reminding me that soon I was going to meet my baby and how exciting that was, so I played along. I put on a smile and agreed. Continue reading

My First Birth Story, Part 2

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Part II; Freedom is Control in Your Own Life

Over our final dinner as a family of two, my husband made the suggestion/joke that we should go rouge. I considered it. The underlying fear of what happens if I become the “bad” patient and don’t go in as scheduled won out over my desire to just wait it out.

We arrived at the hospital, and after a bit of a wait, were checked into a room. Then out came the attachments; I had a blood pressure band on my right arm, IV in my left arm, and both a contraction monitor and an electronic fetal monitor wrapped around my belly. My intention was to still have as natural of a labor as possible, but it was going to be a challenge to move around with all these machines and wires. Continue reading

My First Birth Story, Part 1

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Part I; If You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail?

Preparing for my second birth, I was advised to seek therapy regarding my first birth. It was an experience that left a mark on me, and changed me as a person. I knew therapy was a good idea, and that I was going to be pushed to face the memories of that day. One of my homework assignments from my therapist was to finally write the boy’s birth story. Though it was hard for me to do, and I procrastinated and pushed back, I did it. With April being Cesarean Awareness Month, I thought it’d be a good time to finally share the story on my blog. Continue reading

3 Things: Loving Your (Mom) Body

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I still remember when my body issues began. I was probably about 7 or 8 and had been spending the day with my girlfriends and one of their houses. There was a conversation about drinking milk, and I shared that I didn’t really like milk and I never drank it. The girls quickly came to the consensus that I would be thinner and in better shape if I would drink milk, specifically fat free milk.

At 7 or 8 years old, I believed myself to be fat. I wasn’t. I look back at pictures and I had long legs and arms, along with a round belly. No, I wasn’t skinny like my friends were, but I wasn’t fat. Instead of standing up for myself, I believed them and started down a road of body hatred. Continue reading

2015 Wrap Up

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What good is having a blog if you don’t take a moment to collect your thoughts and reflect everything that has happened over the past year?

2015 was interesting and exciting year for our family. In January we were on month #6 of trying to get pregnant, and after a very early miscarriage in November I was convinced something was wrong with me. Luckily, within the first two weeks of the year, I got pregnant (Although I didn’t know it until after a weekend in Vegas- figures huh)!

One thing I never shared was that my husband’s grandmother passed away in early January. I remember it was during one of my prime times for getting preggers, and I sort of wondered if we would conceive about the same time she passed… and we did, and with a little girl. I really felt a big “circle of life” moment when I did find out I was pregnant.

In April, the hubby had shoulder surgery to fix years of pain and dislocations he had been suffering with. It was a really challenging time for us; I struggled being the caretaker for him, our son, and keeping up with my job and the house work (and let’s be honest, the house work was kept to a minimum). Hubby struggled to watch me, and not be able to do much to help (and he couldn’t wait to be the one doing the cooking again).

The rest of the year we spent a lot of time working, preparing not only for a new baby, but the birth itself, and spending as much time as we could with the toddler while he was still an only child. We took a trip to our favorite beach town Cape May, NJ, and celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary with an overnight trip to DC (and went to a restaurant that did not have children). In between were midwife appointments, trips to the physical therapist for hubby and chiropractor for me.

It’s crazy how quickly the summer months passed. It felt like all of a sudden I was face to face with my due date and just waiting day after day for our lives to change again.  Eventually baby girl made her entrance earth side, and we’ve begun a whole new balancing act.

I think about how I started this year feeling sad and frustrated. I spent a weekend in Vegas for work, and it was the first time in a long time I wasn’t trapped in my head, and I was just having fun (and in meetings of course). Two days after, a little pee stick changed everything and my year was brighter.

I’m so happy to have my amazing husband, and our two amazing children. 2015 has been a good year, and I hope 2016 brings just as much joy and love.

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PS: I also saw Dave Matthews Band for the 11th time, and the Bills have missed the playoffs for the 16th year in a row. Unfortunately, the DMB shows don’t outweigh the playoffs.

 

 

The Birth Bubble

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You may have noticed I haven’t posted in a while…or maybe you haven’t. Either way it’s been too long, so I’m back. I’ve had a baby and have tons of thoughts and experiences I’d like to share.

The first thing I’d like to share is why I went so long without posting. I’m sure it’s partially obvious that after my 30 weeks pregnant post, that I would at some point be having a baby. Originally I promised a 40 weeks pregnant post, but when I reached that point in my pregnancy I didn’t want to bring attention to myself.  I had stepped into my birth bubble.

By the time a woman has reached 38 weeks she has been asked numerous times “when is that baby going to come out?” or received the infamous “you look like you’re about to pop” comments. I didn’t enjoy it during my first pregnancy, so I knew I needed to avoid the comments however possible in my second.

I didn’t post to Facebook about how uncomfortable I was, or how I had yet again gone past my due date. I didn’t want friends and family texting me every day asking if there were any updates (because people, when the baby comes you will hear about it). I wanted to be left alone, to continue in my pursuit to gestate in peace.

There was also another reason I didn’t want to share too much as I reached the end of my pregnancy. I had a birth planned that stepped outside our societal norms, and I didn’t have any interest in hearing anyones opinion about it. I was planning a home birth; I did a lot of research, assembled an outstanding birth team, and worked really hard to prepare as best I could to have the birth I desired. There was no room in my world for naysayers.

My first birth experience was not what I had hoped for, and I was unprepared for the unexpected. I was pushed into doing things I didn’t want because of the protocol of my providers and the hospital. I ended up with a cesarean that I didn’t want, wasn’t sure I needed, and it was physically and psychologically damaging. I knew before the surgeon cut me open that I was not planning on returning to a hospital for my next birth.

The birth bubble is a term I learned from a Facebook group dedicated to mamas that have had cesareans and were looking to have vaginal births in the future (VBAC). You’d be amazed at the negativity so many of these women faced; from their doctors, their family, their friends, and some even from their spouses. People are so quick to tell you it’s not possible (so you should just schedule your repeat cesarean now), or that it’s not safe (you’re going to kill your baby and/or yourself) when they don’t have evidence on their side to back their scare tactics.

Attempting a vaginal birth when you believe your body is broken is not easy. It requires nothing but positivity and support. Enter the birth bubble. I spoke with friends and family openly about my intention to have a vaginal birth at home (HBAC), and anyone that had doubts, I would assure them I had done my research and had a team of people supporting me that had the appropriate experience for this endeavor. Anyone that I didn’t think could offer me the positive energy I needed, I didn’t tell or engage with.

Ultimately, I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of support I received. If anyone did have any real doubts about what I was doing, I didn’t hear about it. And spoiler alert, I did have a VBAC, and though it didn’t go as I had pictured, it was everything I needed it to be. I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and I couldn’t be more proud of myself, and my definitely not broken body.Toddler_Baby

 

 

30 Weeks…and Counting

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Why hello there! I hope I still have some readers left considering I’ve been completely MIA for a month or so. I have the best of intentions of writing more, but then life gets in the way… or I’m taking a nap. What can I say? I’m 30 weeks pregnant now AND I FEEL IT.

I’m sure you’ve been anxiously awaiting my pregnancy update since my last one was at the 20 week mark, so here’s what I’ve been feeling!

Symptoms I’m tired, my hips ache, my lower back hurts, my vagina is being punched from the inside and I STILL HAVE NAUSEA. If I eat, it goes away…

Cravings I’m still craving sugar, but in no particular form. Sometimes its popsicles, sometimes its Sundae Cones, sometimes its cake. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told I should avoid sugar, but this kiddo wants her sweets.

Aversions No real aversions to speak of. Like I said my nausea comes from being hungry, so once I eat my cake (or drink my protein shake like a good preggo), I usually feel better.

Weight The last time I stepped on a scale I had gained 9 pounds, and that was about a week ago. I do make sure I do it first thing in the morning (and after I’ve pooped, because well, every little bit counts right?).

Exercise I have to say, I’ve been a rockstar this pregnancy compared to last time. I was running up until 25 weeks (now I’m walking 2-3 days a week), I still go to spin class, yoga class and I can still squat my three sets 85lbs, in addition to my other weight lifting activities (I have given doing dead lifts a break till post baby).

Belly My belly is definitely one of a preggo. I’ve actually been called “cute” this pregnancy, which makes my day considering at this point in my previous pregnancy all the comments were about how I looked like I was about to pop or that I must be having twins. I will take cute any fucking day over that shit.

Movement I am growing a ninja. I kid you not, I considered naming her Beatrix after Uma Thurman’s character in Kill Bill. The hubby wants to name her Danielle to be the girl version of Daniel, The Karate Kid. The good part is, her big brother is a brut so she’ll handle life with him just fine.

Belly Pics- Weeks 23, 25, 27 and 29 (23 is on the right, 29 on the left)

Belly Pics- Weeks 23, 25, 27 and 29 (23 is on the right, 29 on the left)

And since I’m pregnant, and soon to be giving birth, pardon me while many of my posts from here on out are about those topics… that is, if I even write any posts. If I don’t, I will be sure to get the baby pics up soon after her birthday!

Six Reasons We’ve Been Married for Six Years

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This weekend the hubby and I celebrated six years of wedded bliss staying married. Marriage isn’t easy and so I thought I’d share six things that have brought us to a successful six years. (All views are from my perspective, he was not consulted on this post- surprise, surprise).

1. We remember everything is temporary. The times that things seem too tough to go on. The moments that we feel invincible. The highs and the lows are part of the roller coaster ride that is marriage. I think it’s been important that we acknowledge both while we’re in the moment and to remind ourselves each day will have the potential to bring a new challenge or a new success.

2. He lets me win. I like to be right…mostly because I know I am. But, even when I’m not (rare), he will let me win because he knows the conversation will not end until I feel like I’ve accomplished victory.

3. We both hate people. We don’t hate ALL people, just the morons that are roaming the earth that constantly interrupt the flow of our day with their stupidity. Sometimes it’s our neighbors, sometimes it’s our clients, mostly it’s random strangers that park too close to our car in the parking lot or meander down the grocery aisle with two carts side by side blocking the aisle completely. We bond on the daily frustrations we endure with the general public, and it makes us a stronger team.

4. He refuses to answer questions that have no right answer. He has fallen victim to the “does this make me look fat?” many times. Unfortunately for him, the expectedly correct response of “no” is not in fact correct. Even when he’s made the attempt to tell me I look fine, I will nitpick. His exact words, the tone he said them, how long he looked at me before head said them, or I will just straight out reject his opinion and conclude that I do indeed look fat and that he is a horrible person for almost letting me leave the house looking like that. Now when I ask questions like this his response is to remind me no matter what he says I won’t be happy, so he pleads the fifth.

5. Yin and Yang is legit. We are opposites in most aspects of life. I love the beach, he loves the forest. I spew all of my feelings in a dramatic fashion, he quietly keeps his annoyances to himself. We really do balance each other out; left to our own devices either of us could self destruct. Because we have the other, there is someone there to equalize the energy and bring a perspective that our own brain would never consider.

6. We both choose to continue to love each other.  It’s really that simple. Every day we choose to continue in this relationship. There are good days and bad days, but everyday we work at this marriage. I’m so thankful to have a partner that won’t give up on me when I suck, so I in turn won’t give up on him when he sucks.

RayandRicky

Now let’s hope I didn’t just jinx it all.