An Update

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I said that I’d update everyone on how long I bled for after my miscarriage, but when it stopped, about 2 weeks later, I found myself in and out of depression and everything I wrote was sad.  When I wrote my original story, I was at peace with what had happened.  That peace seemed to come and go for a while. Like they say, “live in the past and you’ll be depressed, live in the future and you’ll be anxious, live in the present and you’ll be at peace”.  I still went through postpartum symptoms: hair loss, hormones, and itchy breasts to boot. Those things were hard to deal with. Those pesky hormones had me weeping all the time.   Also, I was battling a upper respiratory/sinus infection which left me with awful sinus headaches, loss of smell/taste, and a bad cough.  My body felt like a war zone.  My cold started a few days before my miscarriage and it raged on for a good month and a half before dying down into just sniffles and a little cough, that I still have now.  I was eating whole lemons covered in honey and sauteing garlic cloves in olive oil and eating them whole (lemons and honey are fantastic cold soothers and garlic is a natural antibiotic)  Since I was sick with a cold, I was worried that my uterus wasn’t healing properly because so much was going on with my body.  But thankfully, my uterus seemed to heal faster than my cold did.  Looking back, I’m impressed that I functioned as well as I did.  I should have taken time to rest, but every time I sat down my mind ran straight to sad thoughts.  Luckily, I have connections to an apple orchard and I was able to collect 4 free bushels of apples, so that kept me busy, and happy.

I’m currently experiencing my first period post miscarriage.  It’s more painful and heavier than my periods usually are, but so are most first periods postpartum.

After I shared my story, I heard from a lot of women who had experienced miscarriage, thanking me for sharing.  It was heart warming and saddening to hear these responses.  Miscarriage is a huge loss, even in my situation.  Too many women have to experience this.  I’m just very glad that I already have two healthy children.  I will never take them for granted.  Hopefully I’ll be blessed with more.

Natural Miscarriage of a Blighted Ovum

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It’s graphic by nature.  Consider yourself warned.

Only two months after my return to fertility (which was a whole 10 months after Carolines’  birth, thank you breastfeeding!) I started noticing pregnancy symptoms.  I couldn’t stop eating! I was so tired! I didn’t want to be touched or talked to! Ahh!  Okay, it really wasn’t that bad…but I knew something was up.  I knew exactly when I had ovulated and I knew that’s exactly the time when Adam and I were feeling extra intimate. So I knew there was a HUGE likely hood of pregnancy.

I took about 3 pregnancy tests in 7 weeks and they all were negative and I believed them, despite my other symptoms,  for the simple fact that my belly just didn’t feel pregnant.  But then the nausea hit and I knew for sure I was.  At 8 weeks I finally got a positive reading!  Which is really late for me, my other pregnancies were “officially” made known almost instantly.  But regardless of that, our family started making adjustments for the upcoming baby!  And I actually found a midwife who was willing to do a home birth with me despite Maryland’s law against home birth midwives!  However, I tried to find some connection to the new baby in my belly, but there just wasn’t one.  With my other pregnancies I felt a strong connection to each of them very early on.  I even had an idea of what gender they were (which has been right both times!)  Nothing with this one.  But every baby is different, every pregnancy is different.  the connection will come, I told myself.

At exactly 12 weeks, I went to the bathroom and saw blood.  A good amount of blood.  Not spotting.  Bleeding. “No No No No” I said shaking my head over and over again. Not this.  But when bleeding starts, there is no stopping it.  I knew I was miscarrying.  I pulled myself together and told Adam what was happening.  Then I googled “natural miscarriage”.  I had only a vague idea of what was involved in a miscarriage.  No one talks about it.  I knew that I didn’t not want a D&C    ( Just the thought of someone artificially opening my cervix and scrapping my insides out made me never want to spread my legs again!)  and I knew that it might take a few days before the baby came out.  But that’s pretty much all I knew.  The stories online that I found were horror stories.  Lots of blood and so much pain.  Great.  I was scared. I was so sad. I was mad.  I felt so guilty for not making my baby feel welcome enough in my belly.  I was so sorry for killing my baby.

During the next three days I was just bleeding like a normal period and I had absolutely no cramps.  “Maybe my baby is just fine, Maybe i’m just bleeding a little bit, that happens sometimes, right?”  “Maybe I have an ectopic pregnancy and I’m going to die any second”  ” when did my baby die, why did it die?”  “when will the pain start?”  so many questions and fears went through my mind.  I was mad with emotion.  I just wanted to crawl in a hole and never come out.

Friday afternoon the pain started, low pinchy cramps.  Blood started flowing faster.  Contractions came every 30 seconds and lasted for 30 seconds.  I was too uncomfortable to sit.  Or stand.  I told Adam he better come home now because I didn’t know how fast or slow this process would be.  Then I went to lay down with Caroline while she was waking up from her nap and I gathered myself together.  I told my body that I trusted it.  I told me body to let my baby out.  I told me body it had permission to do what it needed to do.  I surrendered to what was happening.

I came downstairs to four silly crazy kids ( I babysit a few extras) who wanted snacks, wanted to color, wanted to watch TV and I was just about to go crazy.  Where was my husband!  The bath tub was already calling my name.  But sitting on the toilet would have to do until he got home.  Caroline was feeling my distress and wouldn’t let me alone.  Then next thing I knew there was a knock at the door!  It was L here to pick up her kids, but she was an 1 1/2 early, so I wasn’t expecting her at all.  However I’m very thankful that L lets herself  in because I wasn’t being fast about getting out of the bathroom!  After saying goodbye to the kid I called Adam to see where he was at then headed back to the bathroom as fast as I could.

The contractions came so fast and so strong.  I found myself rocking and humming.  Then I heard Adams’ wonderful voice as he picked Caroline up and took her out of the room.  I got off the toilet, threw some towels on the floor, then eased into the hot water of the bath tub.   Instant relief!  The tub water soon turned red and the next thing I knew I was giving little pushes.  It amazed me that I still felt so much pressure on my bottom for not even delivering a full sized baby!  The sac came first (that’s where the baby grows)  Then the placenta.  Both were about the size of an extra large chicken egg.  The pain stopped immediately and was soon forgotten.

There I was sitting in a messy tub just staring at the “products of conception” that I had just birthed.  My dead baby hiding somewhere in the yolk sac.  Swaying gently in the water just like it did in my belly.  It was very emotional.  I sobbed to myself trying to gather up the courage to scoop it out of the water and say goodbye to my baby.  Would it be deformed?  How big would it be?  Could I handle seeing it’s little fingers, nose, and toes?  I knew that to fully heal from this I had to look.  I had to hold it. I had to say goodbye.  I looked about the bathroom trying to find something perfect to lay everything in.  I had wanted to grab one of my nice antique bowls for the occasion, but I forgot to.  The only thing was an ugly orange plastic bowl.  I scooped the placenta up first.  It was perfect and whole.  I wasn’t expecting that.  All the stories I read said that the placenta doesn’t completely form until the 4th month.  All the women said that it came out in pieces.  Mine didn’t.  It was perfect.  The fact that it was perfect made me sad.  Big sigh.  Then I picked up the sac.  Very strange.  I looked all around.  Inside and out.  Where was the baby?  The baby grows here.  There is no baby!  I searched the bathtub.  Nothing but Blood and clots floating around.  How can there not be a baby?  How could I have been pregnant for 12 weeks without a baby growing?   I mean, I never had an ultrasound or heard a heartbeat so I guess it’s possible.  How strangely wonderful.

I called out to Adam to see what time it was.  Only  45 minutes had passed since I felt the first twinge of pain.  I was amazed at how fast it had happened.  I got into the shower to rinse and wash.  Wrapped myself in my rob and stood about for a while.  I asked Adam if he wanted to see anything.  He came in and I explained what happened.  I remembered reading about this type of thing, but the miscarriage usually happened a lot earlier.  Sometimes before one even knew she was pregnant.  I cleaned up the towels, flushed the toilet, and drained the tub.  I emailed my midwife and searched the internet for a while.  We both came up with the same conclusion.  Blighted Ovum.

Sperm meets egg.  Pregnancy starts.  Hormones are sent out.  Placenta grows.  Sac grows.  Baby doesn’t.  Either sperm is infertile or egg is.  Since I had just returned to fertility, it is very possible that my egg was infertile.  The body usually sends out a few infertile eggs to get things “up and running” after a pregnancy.  So much makes sense now!  I never felt like there was a baby in my belly.  Because there wasn’t.  What wonderful intuition I have!  A sense of peace overcame me.  Happiness.  Thankfulness.  Gods plan is greater than all else.

I’d really like to reiterate that although this was an awful experience, it was not the horror that I had read about.  The pain wasn’t unbearable .  It was not scary.  The blood loss wasn’t terrible.  If there is anyone reading this who is going through a similar situation, trust your body, let it be.  My thoughts and love are with you.

I’m still bleeding now, 3 days after my miscarriage.  I expect to continue period type bleeding for a while.  And occasional cramps and a sore cervix.  I’ll update when the bleeding stops.

Through all the sadness of this last week, there were some very good things that happened.  Obviously the fact that there was no baby is a joy, but we still have to morn the loss of a baby either way.  The real good that came from this is the affirmation that my body knows what it’s doing.  My intuition is strong and I’m in tune with it.  And best of all…the love and compassion I felt from my family.  The hugs, the tears, the kind words.  It’s breathtaking.   And I’m very blessed.

 

**Update: Post-miscarriage bleeding lasted 2 weeks.**

The Unassisted Home Birth of Caroline Anne

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I started getting Braxton Hicks contractions around 20 weeks and over the course of the following 21 weeks they got stronger and closer together.   At 30 weeks they were coming once every hour.  Yay! My uterus was getting ready for delivery!  By 35 weeks the contractions changed in intensity and came about every 45 minutes.  I thought for sure I’d go into labor early!  The house was always spotless at the end of the day.  My home birth kit and plan was ready.  My hospital bag and hospital birth plan was ready.  Every night I went to bed thinking I’d wake up in labor.  Then 40 weeks came and went .  Besides the contractions I didn’t have any other sign of labor.  I tried pretty much everything to get the baby to drop and start real labor: spicy food, walking and yoga, sex, pineapple… From my prenatal visits I knew I was 1 cm dilated but baby was still pretty high (just like Adam!)  My Dr. started talking about non stress test, ultrasounds and  induction.  Everything I was dreading.  All of my family and friends kept anxiously asking when baby would come,  like I actually had a say in the matter.  I was getting stressed out and emotional.  I wanted my baby to be born just as much as everyone else, but I certainly wasn’t going to let them induce me.  I agreed to an ultrasound to check how baby was doing and amniotic fluid levels.  Everything came back perfectly fine, so I just waited some more.  After the ultrasound I didn’t schedule any more appointments with my OB.  If I went to 42 weeks, I’d go back.  But for the next two weeks I just wanted to hibernate at home and relax my body and mind.

On Friday, September 7th,  I hit the 41 week mark.  That night Adam and I tried one more time to start labor.  In the early morning on Saturday I woke up a few times with sharp contractions.  I didn’t get excited because I was used to having contractions, I did admit that these contractions were different though.  When we all woke up around 8am,  I went to the bathroom and lost some mucous plug.  Contractions started coming every 3-5 minutes.  I made breakfast, did the dishes, vacuumed, and got the birth kit out and organized through the contractions.  I just went about my day normally.  I called my mom to let her know that things were starting and to pray for me.  I eventually got tired of walking around and bouncing on my birthing ball so I went to take a nap.  Contractions stayed 3-5 minutes apart but never got any stronger.  The rest of the day past by and it was time for bed.  I got little Adam all tucked in and told Big Adam to just go to bed also.  Then I went  back downstairs to labor in peace.  Contractions picked up and started becoming uncomfortable.  Adam decided he didn’t want to sleep and came back downstairs to be with me.  All night I labored, in many different positions, even in the bath tub. I tried to get some rest but the contractions were too uncomfortable for that.  I had a lot of back labor.

As soon as the sun came up on Sunday the 9th and little Adam got out of bed, my contractions slowed way down.  They spaced out to every 15-20 minutes and stayed at the same strength.  I was so annoyed! All the work I did the past 24 hours and still nothing?!  Audrey came over with food for us and then took little Adam home with her for a few hours.  Sunday went by and night came again.  As soon as the moon was up my contractions picked up again, 3-5 mins apart and uncomfortable, I got no rest.  The sun came up on Monday the 10th and my contractions slowed again.  I talked to my mom and told her I was tired of laboring like this, and she said “Well if you go to the hospital now, you know what they’ll do.”  Yes I did.  Since I was almost 2 weeks overdue and I’d been stuck in labor for the past 2 days, they’d push pitocin and maybe even a c-section. I didn’t want anything to do with either of those options so I decided to stick it out one more day.  (I’d just like to add that I’d been checking baby’s heartbeat every hour and it was always strong and regular)  Monday was such a beautiful day, the weather was perfect. Audrey, Zach, and Landon were here taking care of things and keeping us company.  They made us food and kept things tidy.  My contractions started picking up in intensity and I had to brace myself and concentrate through them.  Everyone left the house and left me alone for a few hours and things got even stronger.  Monday night I secluded myself in my “birth space” which was the bathroom/playroom area in our house.  It was around 8pm when I knew for sure that the baby would be in my arms soon.  I stayed up-right the whole time.  My belly, butt, back and thighs ached.  I walked, danced, rolled my hips, rocked on my chair.  I moaned through each contraction.  To anyone looking at me, I’m sure I looked like a wild animal (which is a good thing during labor!) but I felt so centered and connected to my baby and body the whole time.  I had no one there to “check me” and tell me how dilated I was, but I knew.  I felt myself open up, I felt my baby move down.  When things got really intense I’d stand in the door jam and push my back up against the frame and sink into a semi-squat.   I said to myself “open, open” again and again.  It helped me focus through the strong waves.  In between contractions I sat down on the glider chair and just rocked, as soon as a contraction started I had to jump up as fast as I could before I got “stuck” on the chair from the pain. I tried the bath tub again, and the water felt amazing!  But I couldn’t be in any position other than semi-reclined so I didn’t stay in there long.  Adam was with me near the end, he’d massage my hands and that would help me relax.  He’d tell me I was doing a good job, and I wanted to laugh because I KNEW I was doing a good job.  I felt great.  Contractions were intense and consumed every fiber of my being,  but never once did I think they were too painful.  Never once did the hospital cross my mind.  Never once did I want pain relief.  Never once did I want more support.   The things that bothered me the most during labor was that my mouth was so dry and I was so thirsty but water just didn’t quench my thirst.  My body would also flash between really cold and very hot.  I kept thinking how labor would be so much easier if I didn’t have a huge belly hindering my movement!  And unfortunately I had the worst song stuck in my head on repeat- “Bones” from the Bubble Guppies (one of my toddlers favorite shows) it goes, “Got a bunch of bones inside me, got a bunch of bones inside me, yeah, a whole bunch of bones that everyone owns underneath the skin that we’re in” I was constantly reminding myself that I had a bunch of bones inside me (baby) that I’d have to push out!

Around midnight on September 11th, I vocalized that I was done with labor.  I’d had enough, it was becoming too intense.  I was shaky and queasy.  I vomited, probably helping my body push that last bit of cervix out of the way.  Right after that, I knew I was fully dilated and ready to push my baby out.  My contractions slowed down and I could actually come out of “labor land”.  However, I just didn’t have the urge to push.  I gave a few sad attempts of a push in hopes my body would kick in and the expulsion contractions would start, but they didn’t.  My water hadn’t broken at this point yet either and I figured that was the reason I wasn’t ready to push yet, so I reached inside myself  to try to break the bag, but the film was too tight and I couldn’t.  My “thinking” mind kicked in and I started to worry.  My mind was running all over the place, and  I ignored what my body was telling me, which was just to rest.  Adam tried finding baby’s heartbeat a few times but he couldn’t and I was getting frustrated with him, the pain, and myself!  I took the stethoscope and soon found the heartbeat.  It was a little on the fast side, so I wanted to get her out soon.  Finally, after an hour and a half of craziness,  I decided I was done.  I wasn’t going to try anymore.  This baby wasn’t coming out.  I sat down and rested.  Then pop! My water broke!  My poor body just wanted to rest after three days of labor!  After it broke, I was ready to really push.  I got into a squat on the floor and soon my body just took over.  I screamed and groaned and cursed.  Audrey came into the room at that point and supported me as I pushed.  It was hard work, but it felt so GOOD.  Everything was happening so fast at that point.  As her head started to crown I could feel myself stretching to the max, I thought for sure I was tearing from front to back.  I put my hand down to feel what was happening.  Her head felt squishy and I thought it was her butt, but Adam confirmed it was her head.  I asked him what color the baby was and he told me white.  White means a dead baby!  So I pushed with all my might to get her out.  Out she gushed covered in blood and amniotic fluid right between my legs, all in one contraction.  I sat back  and scooped her up.   She was definitely NOT white besides the vernix that covered her back.  Her cord was still pulsing so I knew she was getting oxygen from me.  I lifted her to my chest and heard some mucous in her throat so I turned her onto her belly with her head lower than the rest of her body and rubbed her back.  She was breathing and pinking right up. I lifted her back to my chest and she let out a little cry then settled back down.  Oh and YES she is a girl!  I handed Caroline to Audrey as I checked out my blood loss and got a little more comfortable.  The amount of “blood” was alarming until I realized that most of it was amniotic fluid since only a tiny bit came out when my water  broke.  I felt fine, not a tad bit tired or dizzy.  Adam got the towels and blankets warm out of the dryer and wrapped her up and gave her back to me.  After her cord was done pulsing and had turned white, we tied it with sterile gauze and cut it with sterilized scissors.  Adam took her and I got onto the bed to push the placenta out.  With my next contraction it came out,  Audrey looked it over and it was whole.  I took some shepherds purse tincture (which helps with bleeding) and I made sure my uterus was starting to harden and shrink.  Audrey looked over my perineum and told me I tore.  After that I made my way to the shower and rinsed off.   Then I got a mirror and checked myself.  I did tear, but it only looked to be on the surface more like a skid mark than an actual tear.  I wasn’t worried about it.

After my shower Caroline and I got settled on the couch and she started nursing right away!  I drank some orange juice and ate some chicken soup.  I was in awe and amazement over what just happened, and the beautiful baby girl in my arms!  I was the first one to touch her.  She was never taken away from me and put on a table by herself.  She never had a syringe shoved up her nose and in her mouth. She was never stabbed or poked with needles or had unnecessary goop put in her eyes.  She was fresh out of the womb undisturbed.  She never once cried from pain or anger.  To this day, she is peaceful and sweet.  She sleeps and eats wonderfully.  She hardly cries.

While I was nursing, we called my mom, who was on the verge of tears with happiness, then we called Adam’s mom.   Audrey took care of the clean up.  Most of the “mess” was caught on chux pads and towels.  The bed had plastic on it under the sheet.  The floor did get messy in a few spots though, as well as the shower and tub. There was mostly just lots of laundry to do.

We didn’t actually look at the clock until we cut Caroline’s cord, but we determined she was born at 2:15am.  While I was in the shower they weighed her at 7lbs 12 oz.  After she nursed for the first time, we measured her at 20 inches.

Both her eyes were a little bloodshot from being pushed out so fast, but other than that she was perfect right from the start.  When she was 3 days old I had a midwife come over and give her a proper check up.  She was already up to 8lbs and healthy as could be.  Five days after her birth a woman from the Dept. of Health stopped by to do birth certificate paper work. We never once had to leave home :)

As for me, right after I gave birth I felt wonderful!  I was a little sore “down there” but I had so much energy, I was so happy!  I instantly fell in love with my daughter.  The next day, my muscles were sore from the work of labor and my bottom was still a little sore.  By the  3rd day I felt completely normal.  My bottom was itchy because it was healing, but I was not sore at all.  My nipples were sore from establishing breastfeeding, but that’s it.  Oh, and I had the weird feeling of my organs shifting back into there proper place .  I couldn’t believe how wonderful I felt, especially comparing it to Adam’s birth and recovery.  It took me two months then to feel as great as I felt in two days this time.  Comparing this fast recovery to my last, is enough reason in itself to have a natural delivery.  The pain and discomfort of a 3 day labor is much better than the pain and discomfort of an 8 week healing time.

I get butterflies in my stomach when I think about what I accomplished.  I’m so happy with the way every thing went.  Even though I was in labor for 3 whole days, I don’t consider that labor was very painful and unbearable, only uncomfortable.  I never felt exhausted.  I’d go through all that again in a heart beat.  I only wish I would have listened to my body and rested instead of worrying during that last  2 hours.  It also would have been nice to have a Midwife there to reassure me that my body knew what it was doing, and also to take the stress off of Adam and Audrey.  They were worried that I’d lost too much blood and were a little too “rush, rush” with everything.  I felt fine, I knew I was fine, I knew Caroline was fine.  I just wanted to take things slow.

This was the right way for ME to give birth this time.  I’ll have a home birth again in a heart beat if I have a healthy pregnancy and my intuition doesn’t tell me differently.  Hopefully by the time we have more babies, if we do, Maryland won’t be so hostile towards Midwives.

Pregnancy with Caroline

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I started having “baby fever” in August so we started trying to conceive baby number 2!  By December I was pregnant :)  I was 2 weeks along when I realized I was pregnant with Caroline.  I just knew it, I felt it all through my body.  Around 4 weeks I took a pregnancy test and It was positive!  I was excited, but in a different way then when I was pregnant with Adam.  I was a little mournful that it wouldn’t just be he and I any longer.  Life was once again going to change.

I had some morning sickness in the first 10 weeks.  After that, and until around week 25, I didn’t feel pregnant at all.  I didn’t gain much weight and I was too busy running after Adam to think about it.  Around 30 weeks we moved into our house. I did all the packing and unpacking, and most likely over did it.  After that my pregnant body never felt good.  My hips, pelvis, and butt hurt so bad I had to stop most of my prenatal yoga.  Walking hurt, sitting hurt, sleeping hurt.  I was ready to not be pregnant any more and to have my baby in my arms.

I was a little more  lenient with what I ate this time, I still ate clean, but I wasn’t as paranoid that I was going to poison my baby with “no-no” foods.  I craved bagels and cream cheese, I’m sure that’s were the weight I put on came from…

I knew that this birth would not be like Adam’s, I had too much knowledge to let that happen again.  Thanks to my sister and her home birth in the first month of my pregnancy, I already knew two great home birth midwives and a doula.  I scheduled an appointment with one of the midwives, everything went great and I was looking forward to seeing more of her.  However, as it turned out, Maryland doesn’t like home birth midwives.  They are in the process of making it illegal for midwives to attend home births.  Can you believe that?  Want an abortion? We’ll help you any way we can, it’s your body , your choice!  But want to give birth to your baby at home?!? OMG no way is that happening! So Anni, my midwife, was uncomfortable seeing me any longer and said there was no way I could have a home birth.  She offered that I give birth in her house, which is in PA, but I was uncomfortable with that.   I was heart broken that I couldn’t have a home birth after all the preparation I’d done.  I decided then and there that I’d have to go to extremes…that meaning a hospital birth.  l battled back and forth over which direction I would take, whether I’d try for a natural hospital birth or if I’d just let the doctors win and have an epidural and all that goes with it.  In the long run, I knew I could never subject myself (or my baby) to an epidural.  So I started the hunt for a hospital midwife where my chances of a natural birth would be higher than with an OB.  There is a birthing center about 2 hours from where we live in MD but other than that, the hospitals don’t even have Midwives. I had to go to PA to find a hospital midwife.  My first appointment with a midwife was with York hospital.  After I explained what I wanted to her and told her Adam’s birth story, she told me to just schedule a C-section.  She said that since I had such a hard time delivering a 7 lb baby my body could never naturally deliver a baby any heavier than that.  I was floored.  Pissed.  How could a MIDWIFE say that?  I don’t even think an OB would tell me to just have a c-section.  Needless to say I high tailed it out of there as fast as I could…in tears.  I was already half way through my pregnancy at this point with absolutely no idea where I would give birth.

At this point, the thought crossed my mind to just have this baby at home anyway, with no one there besides me.  I thought that was crazy and pushed it out of my mind.  For a little while.

I found another midwife at Hanover hospital and decided to check her out.  She was so sweet and told me everything I wanted to hear.   I decided to go with her.  Turns out though that I’ll get anyone who is on call at the time of my delivery.  There was only a 1 in 6 chance that I’d even have her deliver.  Whatever, I didn’t care. I needed some place to go for prenatal check ups.  I eventually saw every OB there, but never the midwife, for my appointments.

I started researching more about unassisted childbirth, which is also called “free birthing”.  It’s exactly what it sounds like.  Home birth without any medical managing. No midwife.  To my surprise, there are a lot of women who do this.  There is also A LOT of information about it online, in books, everywhere.  I ordered several books from Amazon and read them all, read every single unassisted childbirth story I could get my hands on, talked to many women online who had done this, and made it a point to know everything about birth inside-out.  I did so much praying, soul searching, reading, researching, you name it-I did it.  I spent a lot of time inside myself, talking to my baby, listening to my intuition.  I felt that this was the right thing to do.  I continued to see the doctors at Hanover hospital, but I also started doing my own prenatal care.  I bough a stethoscope to hear baby’s heart beat and I kept track of my own health.  I took my pregnancy into my own hands, I took full responsibility.

I talked to Adam about it, and he was on bored.  I talked to my mom and sister briefly about it.  Besides that, I didn’t really tell anyone my plan.  I wasn’t being sneaky or lying. I was making sure there was not one negative thought in my head that could hinder my ability to give birth.  I didn’t need people questioning me.  Trust me, I already had all those questions and I found the answers.  I didn’t need to defend myself.  I knew what I was doing, I knew risks and the benefits.  I also still left in the possibility of going to the hospital to deliver.  I was prepared for both.  I knew for sure that I would labor at home as long as I could, and if something inside me told me to go to the hospital then I would.  I gathered birth supplies over the next few months and prepared a birth plan.

Preparing for a Second Pregnancy

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After Adam’s traumatizing birth, I was determined to dig deeper and educate myself more on what actually happened during his birth and why.  I found a lot of answers!  It’s actually scary how much expecting mothers don’t know, and how much doctors won’t tell.  It makes sense though, if you think like a business.  Hospitals are a business, especially in labor and delivery.  It’s a baby production line with lots of room for mistakes, law suits, and dead babies.  So it makes sense that any OB would prefer to just lay a woman down and cut her baby out of her ( c-section) it makes sense that any OB wouldn’t want to wait 20+ hours for a woman to labor and birth her baby naturally. Epidurals and pitocin make sense because they can speed things up and make it a pain free experience.  Unfortunately epidurals, pitocin, and every other “intervention” done in hospitals negatively effect babies and mothers, like long term negative effects.

Here is an example of what I’ve found usually happens to first time moms:  41 weeks gestation rolls around and there is no sign of labor (but are you really 41 weeks? due dates are just a guess anyway) The mother becomes anxious and stressed out by all the concerned family and friends who constantly ask, “Where is this baby?”   An induction date is set,  other means of trying to induce labor are tried, but don’t usually work, because baby just isn’t ready yet.  But anyway, Pitocin is started.  Pitocin usually leads to an epidural.  An epidural means laying flat on your back (something that every pregnant woman is told NOT to do) which means baby is not getting proper oxygen.  Also laying flat on your back means your body is working against your contractions to move baby down. With an epidural, Pit is usually given in higher doses because the mother can’t feel it anyway.  With more pitocin, the baby becomes distressed.   At this point you may be dilated enough to start pushing, but you have an epidural so you don’t feel the urge.  An episiotomy is cut, severely traumatizing the perineum.   Forceps or vacuum extractors are used, causing more trauma to your infant.  Or if you aren’t dilated enough, a c-section is ordered. ( Most people think a c-section is the easiest way to have a baby, but in reality more mothers and babies die each year from complications due to a c-section than any vaginal birth) After all that, the mother sucks up her disappointment and learns not to care.  She is made to believe that her body just didn’t do it’s job and that the doctor saved her baby’s life.  However, it was the doctor and normal hospital “protocol” who likely caused the mess.  Women are made to believe that their birth experience doesn’t matter, only a living baby matters.  This is how women lose their power, their God given power to bring life into this world.

Don’t get me wrong, some women are at a high risk, some women NEED interventions to save their life and their baby’s life.  Doctors and hospitals are a blessing in those situations.  Some women do beautifully with an epidural and their labor goes on with out a hitch.  Some women are truly happy with their c-section.

My wish is that women would educate themselves from a source other than their doctor or the condescending book “what to except when you’re expecting” (which unfortunately was my pregnancy bible with baby #1) Get the information and make your own decision.  No matter what choice you make, having the knowledge to properly make that choice will lead to many more happy mommies.  Happy mommies are what is important.

Back to what I found out about Adam’s birth:  Pitocin contractions made it so he couldn’t move his arm away from his face, Pitocin contractions are what distressed him.  Laying in bed made my body work against the good efforts of my contractions, prolonging labor.  Demerol made Adam sleeping and “drunk”.   Demerol affected his heart as well as his first 24 hours of life.  His body had to work over time to get it out of his system.  He was too sluggish to nurse properly, resulting in weight loss. (the effects of an epidural on an infant are similar)  I learned that the position a woman is in during delivery makes a huge difference in the way her baby is born.  No woman should delivery on her back, it makes the  passage for baby so much smaller!  The only reason we deliver that way is because it’s easier for the doctor to see what’s going on.  I found out that in my situation, with Adam being stuck, all I would have had to do was flip over onto my hands and knees and he would have come right out ( medically called the “Gaskin Maneuver” )  Every bad thing with his birth could have been prevented and handled more safely than it did in that hospital room. Everything. If only I was left alone to labor as my body told me to.  LIGHT  BULB!  If I want to experience a natural and SAFE birth, for my baby and myself,  I can’t be in a hospital.  I don’t even go to the doctors, let alone a hospital, when I’m sick, so why would I go to a hospital to birth a baby.  Birth is natural, birth is not a disease.  Hospitals cause problems in an otherwise healthy pregnancy and birth.

Meanwhile through my journey to find answers, my sister got pregnant and started her own journey.  She started planning a home birth. It was so wonderful to have someone so close to me who wanted the same thing and was strong enough to go against the flow to achieve what she thought was the best thing for herself and her baby.

The month she was due to have her baby, I found out I was expecting baby #2.

The Hospital Birth of Adam Franklin

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I woke up to my water breaking at midnight on June 13th.  I woke Adam (Sr.) up and we both were wide awake in an instant.  I didn’t have much of a hospital bag packed, so once we got up (and I put a towel in between my legs) we started packing.  I got a quick shower and contractions started.  They were about 3-5 minutes apart right away but they weren’t painful. I was so excited to be in labor, I was excited to feel contractions. I never once had a braxton hicks contractions during pregnancy, so I had no idea what it would feel like.

We arrived at the hospital around 2 am and then all the hustle and bustle started.  My Midwife just so happened to be away that weekend, so I didn’t have her at all, I was have an OB who I’d never met before.  I was soon hooked up to monitors and machines, given an IV, pumped full of antibiotics, and was “checked” (which is the most painful thing to endure during labor, in my opinion) I was 1cm and 90% effaced.  I wanted to labor as much as I could on my feet, to let gravity help.  So after being monitored for a few hours, up I went with wires and tubes attaching me to an annoying and squeaky IV tower.  Then I started walking the halls.  Contractions still were not painful.  Soon I was taken back into my room and checked again.  Baby was very high and I hadn’t progressed much, so they asked me to lay in bed.  More time went by, contractions were the same.  I was given Pitocin somewhere around 8am. More time went by, I couldn’t tell how much.  My mom, sister,  and brother-in-law showed up at some point.  I still wasn’t making much progress, they gave me even more Pit.  Then the mind splitting, earth shattering, “i’m being ripped apart” stabbing pain started.  I remember just laying there, semi reclined with my knees bent, absolutely dreading when the next contraction would start.  But of course one would start and I’d completely tense up.  I’d try to breath but that wasn’t easy.  My good friend showed up around then too.  From the pain and all the “medication” they were pumping into my body, I was so out of it.  I tried talking and smiling, but nothing made sense to me.  I was checked again sometime around there and was only 3cm dilated. I started doubting myself and started thinking about an epidural.  I knew I would end up regretting it, so I never asked for one.  But nurse after nurse came in and asked me over and over again If I wanted an epidural, what my pain level was, this, that, blah blah.  I couldn’t focus on myself.  I was frustrated and in so much PAIN!  To shut the nurses up and to calm some of my pain, I said yes to Demoral, a few good doses of it too.  Demoral is a pain killer, that actually made  me feel pretty out of it, almost drunk.  It didn’t really dull the contraction pain, but it completely knocked me out in between them.  More time went by, and I was in so much unimaginable pain, I was at the point where I didn’t care about the baby I was birthing, I didn’t care about anything other than “I’ll do anything to make this pain stop!”  There was a constant battle in my head between actually going through this birth “naturally” (which I was already NOT doing) or begging the Doctor to just “cut this thing out of me!” Labor was torture, agony, I literally just wanted to die. I remember throwing up and hyperventilating, clutching Adam’s hand, and my head spinning.  I remember feeling uncomfortable with everyone who was in the room.  I’d hear them whisper, move, check their phones.  I was so annoyed but I didn’t have the words or the energy to tell them.

Soon the baby’s  heartbeat started to slow down and he became distressed.  I was asked to turn onto my left side.  When I turned to my side, the pain shot right through me like a bullet. I know I cried out but I’m not sure if there were real tears or not.  After I turned, I soon felt the urge to push. The Doctor checked me, I was ready.  On came the lights and the bed I was on was transformed into a delivery table.  A nurse hooked up a “squatting bar” to the bed and I got into a squat ( I really don’t know how I even did that)  I pushed like that for a contraction or two. I was too exhausted and weak to stay in that position ( I wish I was encouraged to stay in that position though)  Soon I was back on my back with my feet in the stirrups.  I spent another hour or so pushing with no progression.  Baby’s head would start to crown then go back like a yo-yo.  A nurse started counting. I looked around at all the people in the room- nurses, family- searching for some sort of encouragement.   All I saw were blank, white, drained faces.  Scared faces.  I was scared too.  I couldn’t tell what was going on.  All I knew was that I was tired. I was pushing so hard and nothing was happening.  I didn’t know if I could push any harder or give anything else.  The Doctor asked if she could give me an episiotomy, I said yes.  A few shots of numbing medicine and I couldn’t feel anything.  I heard the scissors making their cut and felt some pressure as the Doctor reached up inside me to manipulate and pull my poor baby out.  At 8:55pm after 21 hours of labor my baby was born and placed on my chest, he cried and cried.  I was so exhausted and still in pain from the whole thing that I didn’t even care about the beautiful baby on my chest.  It took me a few minutes to even realize what just happened and that there even was a baby on my chest.  I tried to nurse him, but a nurse told me not to.  He was taken from me and put in a warming bassinet.  I pushed out the placenta and had a very vigorous uterus massage.  Then I was stitched up.  I just wanted to cry but I was too tired.  I was so weak.  My in-laws came in the room at some point after I was stitched up (I think) They were so happy to have a grandson, but I just didn’t want them there. I didn’t want anyone there. I didn’t want to smile, I didn’t want to act happy.  I felt like death.

We went to our room, I cuddled my baby for the first real time, and I tried to get comfortable.  I was afraid to go to the bathroom, I was afraid to move my legs, I was afraid to sit down.  Rightfully so, I was a mess down there.  After getting a few hours of sleep and some food I felt better.  The next day brought some joy and happiness.  I shoved labor out of my mind for as long as I could.  Adam was the most beautiful baby I’d ever seen, perfect 7lbs 4 oz, 21 inches long, head full of long dark hair.  I felt clueless as to what to do with him though and  being in the hospital was so uncomfortable and intrusive.  He tried, but just wouldn’t latch on to nurse. The lactation consultant came in and started twisting my nipples and manipulating my breasts to try to get him to latch.  It was painful and embarrassing.   Soon I was given a nipple shield, which is a silicone artificial nipple that you put over your own to help baby nurse.  That helped, but Adam just didn’t want to nurse.  He slept.

Turns out he had pretty bad shoulder dystocia.  His poor little arm was stuck up by his head.  With the pitocin contractions (which are harder, stronger and closer together than natural contractions) he never had the opportunity to move his arm back into place because he kept getting squeezed and pushed too soon and for too long.  He was really stuck.  Pitocin contractions also distressed him.  During a natural contraction a baby’s heart beat might slow down, but soon recovers after a contraction.  Throw in super unnatural pitocin contractions and expect a baby’s heart to recover 100%? I don’t think so. Babies aren’t stupid, they know how to be born safely.   They just don’t always have the chance.   It also turns out that Demoral goes directly to the baby, making them loopy and sleepy.  It’s been proven that Demoral is a key factor in babies who don’t want to latch on and nurse properly.

It was pretty easy for me to transition into mommy mood after we left the hospital. However, It took my body 2 months to stop hurting and bleeding. 3 months to wean Adam off the nipple shield. And it took 9 months to feel comfortable in my post baby body.  It took me a year to even consider having more babies, and I knew that when I did have more babies I would do so many things differently.

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Pregnancy with Adam

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I loved every single minute of my first pregnancy.  I embraced my growing belly (and body).  I was excited to be pregnant and to soon be a mom.  I read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” front to back more than once and I followed it’s advice to a T.     I carefully watched what I ate and drank.  I never had more than a few caffeinated beverages in that whole 9 months. I didn’t eat any meat that wasn’t completely dead. I stayed away from deli meats and hot dogs, soft cheeses and anything  unpasteurized.  I made a tight connection with my midwife.  I was very calm and at ease around her and knew that my birth would be beautiful in her hands.  Her office was sweet and homey, nothing “medical” about it.  She knew I wanted a natural birth and we talked about my birth plan more than once.  I took a child birthing class and a breastfeeding class  I thought I was doing everything right during my pregnancy and everything I could in preparation for the birth of my baby.  I took the very best vitamins and drank Red Raspberry Leaf tea to strengthen my uterus.  I did prenatal yoga and deep breathing to prepare my body for birth.  I never let the aches and pains get to me,  I was too in love with being pregnant!  When my midwife told me I’d probably be 2 weeks late, I was kind of happy.

However, to everyone’s surprise, I wasn’t 2 weeks late. I was actually 3 days early.