Category Archives: Pregnancy, Labor, Birth.

Emily May

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Life with three little children was filled to the brim with fun and love! I really couldn’t imagine my life with a fourth baby, but I also acknowledge God as the creator of life and if it is His will that I have more babies, then I’m not stopping him, past what I see as a responsible way of natural child spacing and family planning.  After Samuel was born I really struggled with what our “birth control” plan should be.  His birth was pretty tough at the end and I could still “feel” the discomfort of it and wasn’t excited about giving birth again.  However, through lots (and lots) of prayers and tears I heard the calling of another child, a girl.  I didn’t know when it would happen but I knew that I couldn’t stop her from coming earth-side.

Adam told me I was pregnant before I took a test, like he has done every single time.  There was a part of me that didn’t want to be pregnant and a part of me that was overjoyed with the gift of a new life.  The busyness of life as it was took precedence over my swelling belly.  We had just started our second year of home school and were in the throws of Fall harvest. Pregnancy symptoms weren’t very prominent besides being tired and slightly nauseous.

I told my extended family at Thanksgiving and had my fist prenatal appointment the following day at around 12 weeks.

I started feeling movement around 18 weeks.

All routine test results came back perfect, though with a decent vitamin D deficiency that I worked on correcting (which explained my pretty extreme tiredness) Sugar, blood pressure, protein, etc. were all great.

I was measuring 5 weeks ahead of schedule around the 20 week mark, which isn’t unusual for me, my uterus just seems to like that spot. Nevertheless I had an ultrasound at 23 weeks to just track baby’s size.  Baby measured right on schedule but was breech. We DID NOT find out the baby’s sex although I really wanted to this time around for convinces sake more than anything else.  Even though many babies are usually breech at 23 weeks, none of my other babies were, so it caused me some really great anxiety for a long time.  I was already practicing a lot of spinning-babies techniques to make sure baby was in an optimal delivery presentation.  Then, when I found out baby was breech, I started to go to the Chiropractor for some pretty intense pubic and pelvic bone adjustments. I did Forward Leaning Inversions, Breech Tilts, and even took some homeopathic medicine supposed to shape and relax the uterus to encourage baby to turn.  I looked into which hospital I’d have a c-section at and what my options were in that regard.  But finally, the baby turned at 34 weeks. Whether it was just timing or if it was all those crazy things I did, we will never know…but I was THRILLED!

Feeling this baby move in my belly was so different compared to my other babies because my placenta was in the back.  I could feel the little legs and fists instead of just big bulges and bumps.  I had Braxton Hicks since 25 weeks but no other body cramps, Hallelujah!

My due date neared and I was trying not to get excited about it because I tend to deliver late. I was also still a little nervous about giving birth and I wasn’t in too much discomfort-though my belly had grown to a size even bigger than my previous pregnancies! But the date was coming and I tried my best to get myself ready emotionally for it.

In the evening on Wednesday June 14th, the day after my first sons birthday, I was finishing up the novel that I was reading when I felt the first “real” contraction.  They started coming every 10 minutes but were not getting any stronger than a slight twinge of discomfort. Through the evening and all night long they stayed the same.  I went to bed around 11pm and at 2am I came down to my “birth room” to finish sleeping.  No changes.   I was kind of thankful for that because I just wasn’t ready to give birth yet.  In the morning contractions got lighter and about 20-40 minutes apart.  I was in no rush to get things going and I think that attitude is what kept things stringing along so slowly, but I’m sure those contractions weren’t in vain and did aid in dilation.  My mom came and got the big kids around 11am (Thursday the 15th).  After that I didn’t know if I wanted to lay down and sleep or start walking to get contractions moving. In the end, laying down won. Then, when that got boring, I walked around the house. I cleaned the kids bedrooms.  Took a shower.  Put on some mascara.  Checked over my birth supplies again. Around 7pm I was ready to get things moving.  I was bored and figured there wasn’t a better time than now!  So far contractions were still weak and 20-40 minutes apart. (This is were things get really interesting!) I was laying down looking at the clock and I told my body that it was time for a good contraction.  I started deep breathing and then I got one! Then I told my body that I needed them to come every 5 minutes.  When the time came, I started deep breathing and sure enough a contraction would roll in. I stayed focused on them for an hour then they just took over and I was in full fledged labor!  At 9:30pm my Midwife said she was coming over. I prayed a Mercy Chaplet and for all of the special intentions that were on my list and my own personal intention.  Through this labor standing and walking felt the best and counter-pressure on my back helped immensely.  I was just doing my thing.  Praying.  Walking.  Leaning.  My amazing midwife arrived around 10:15pm and her assistant around 11pm.  It was dark and cozy in the house and I welcomed each contraction while everyone else whispered softly, read books, and watched TV.  They checked on me every once in a while to hear the baby’s heartbeat and to see if I needed anything. They came into the birth room and set up everything that was needed for birth when my midwife knew that birth was close.  My contractions were right on top of each other at this point and it was very exciting.  I didn’t know what time it was but I knew labor was moving fast!  My midwife was asking me how my energy levels were and if I wanted to eat or drink anything.  Adam suggesting a few things to eat and just the thought of them made me want to throw up.  And so I did.  I had one HUGE contraction and called for the puke bucket.  Then, because I’m a mom and it’s ingrained in me, I walked myself to the bathroom and flushed that stuff down the toilet and rinsed the bucket all the while thinking to myself how silly it was that I was doing that. But that’s life, baby.  Just as I was getting tired of the contractions they slowed down and I was getting pushy.  I was so happy and it was very peaceful. I was standing up holding onto Adam for support and I knew our baby would be here soon.  Contractions started getting intense again and I was instantly drenched in sweat.  My MW was about to do a vaginal check when my bag of waters bulged out still intact like a softball between my legs (gross!) That’s when Adam, so like himself, said “Well, that’s what it feels like to be a man!”.  Through a few more contractions it popped and fell away. That’s when I got leg cramps from laying and sitting on the bed awkwardly, and let me tell ya, they felt worse than the contractions did! I made my way to the floor on my hands and knees and instantly felt better.  Through a few contractions and a lot of hard pushes, Baby emerged, very slowly. Forehead, chin, neck.  Then I lifted on leg up and shoulders came out followed by the rest of her.  Adam caught her and handed her up to me.  My new, beautiful, slippery, newborn.  A girl! I rubbed her and talked to her. So much happens in that little moment; towels being passed around,  heartbeats counted,  happy and relieved sighs, excitement all around. But it is also one of the rare moments when time stands still.  The hardest work is over but the hardest work has also just begun.

Emily May Raver – June 16, 2017 – 1:54 am – 8lbs 4oz – 20 inches long

Last pregnant profilephone 6-17 177

Just in labor… no big deal :)phone 6-17 180

Birth suppliesphone 6-17 176

Minutes old having skin to skin with DaddyADAMS PICS 194

 

Charting, measuring, picture taking. Probably an hour after birth. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

ADAMS PICS 201

early morning snuggles

phone 6-17 212

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.

 

 

 

 

Hello World!

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602436_483583428334887_1338027653_n.jpgI wanted a place to tell my story.  For my own pleasure,  for my family and friends, and for my children.  My biggest hope for this blog is to possibly reach someone who has experienced similar situations, to promote healing, and to instill in women that we are naturally strong and able to accomplish anything!

 

* I am not a medical professional.  Please do your own research.  Listen to your own intuition.  Do what you feel safe and comfortable doing*