The Birth of Jack Jack

Now that Jack Jack is almost 8 months old, I should probably write out his birth story! It’s not that I haven’t wanted to, it’s just that life with 2 was a bit more busy and different than I expected it to be. I’ll address that in a separate post!

Jack Jack

2:28 am

10lbs 13 oz

21 in.

42 weeks and 1 day (15 days overdue)

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As you know, I carried Jr. exactly 42 weeks. I felt as though I wasted 2 weeks of maternity leave sitting around and waiting. I wasn’t going to let that happen again! I told my district that I planned on working 1 week past my due date. Some called me crazy, some called me superwoman, but the truth of the matter is:

  1. My family can’t afford for me not to work if I am capable of working and
  2. I assumed that my baby would be late again, so why waste the leave?

On my due date, we took my brother in law and sister in law out to dinner for watching Jr. while we re-took our Bradley birthing classes. My back was killing me! I started thinking… hmm is this labor?! I hoped and prayed that it was. I wanted so badly for my body to do it by itself.

Alas, it was not. I continued on to my last week of work in a lot of pain, hoping each night that labor would start and each day hoping my water would break. I joked that I would say to my kindergarten class, “See! Like I told you at the beginning of the year…everyone has accidents.” I thought for sure I’d go into labor, but didn’t. I was 41 weeks pregnant…again. Going into my midwives clinic every other day for a non-stress test. I got my amniotic fluid level checked on Tuesday and it was at a 7. Anything less than 10 can be considered “Concerning”. They said they would check again in 2 days and if it was lower, then I would be induced. One of the midwives offered to have me induced that day (Wednesday) simply because the birth center had availability. I’m terrible at making this kind of decision. I feel like this isn’t how it is supposed to happen, they are supposed to come on their own! I’m not in charge of picking the date they enter the world, that’s not my responsibility!  I also sat on the fence because I was tired of being pregnant, but would never admit it and at the same time I wanted to wait because if I went 16 days over, it would be my grandpa’s birthday and was very special to me.

I decided not to be induced. We had to go in Thursday to have my fluid level checked again. I again hoped it would be low so that it wouldn’t be my decision to induce. Nope. It went up to a 13. They could not induce me because the birth center was too full (if my fluid would have been low it would have been an “Emergency induction” and they would not have been able to send me home.) So they put me on the books to be induced on Saturday at 42 weeks. I was told that if I didn’t hear from the birth center by 8 am to call them. 8am came. I called and the lady who answered said they could not accommodate me because they only had 3 beds available (Staff to patient ratio stuff) and they needed to be saved for women who were actually in labor. I was at peace with this, but Mr. Manly was not. He gets agitated easily when things don’t go his way (please read in a Fez from That 70’s Show voice…But what man doesn’t? Am I right ladies?!)

I decided to call around 10 am hoping there had been a shift change and I would get someone a little friendlier and I did! However, they were now – 3 beds, all but one ER OB triage room was full and they had at least 2 women laboring in the waiting room. HOLY COW! Apparently this is the time to have babies. I talked to the midwife on call and she said I was at the top of the induction list and I could only be bumped by someone with a more urgent medical condition. She also said that I still had to come in to get a non-stress test done. Really?! With all the crazy going on? I still had to come in knowing I wasn’t staying? Lame.

My sister took Jr. and we got to the hospital around 6pm. I hadn’t been hooked up to the NST for more than 5 minutes when they came in and said I could stay!! Hooray! We got set up in the best room ever! It was way bigger than the one where we had Jr.. Same hospital, same birth center, much better room! Also it was tucked away in a corner with only 1 other room nearby. Our nurse was amazing! I told her that the worst part was going to have an IV put in and she was so awesome that she went and found the nurse who was the best at putting in IVs for me! Just wait she gets more awesome as the night goes on!

8pm comes around and I ask if they can induce me by simply breaking my water. I was checked and dilated to a 6, between 50 and 75% effaced, but Jack Jack was too high up. They had to start pitocin… wawh, wawh, wawh. Stupid freaking pitocin! I was determined to not let it get the best of me and to be in control of my labor the whole time. I wasn’t going to let it run over me like it did the first time.

Just like starting a run, if I can get my breathing in a good pattern then I am golden!

I was breathing and moving and completely in control! Pitocin comes with stupid crap like continuous fetal monitoring. Those bands don’t stay in the right position, EVER, but what do amazing nurses do? They hold the monitor in the right spot and sway with you! Could she be more amazing?! The answer is NO! She was the best of the best!

It was getting harder to stand. Mr. Manly, being the awesome coach he is, remembered that I wanted to try laboring in a hands and knees position. They got me set up on the bed, kneeling while leaning forward kind of over the top of the bed. By this time I had to vocalize the contractions. The midwife came in around 10:30pm, checked me and he was still high. She said she would come back at 1:30am to break my water. It felt like 30 minutes and all of sudden it was 1:30. She came in, and broke my water.

That’s when stuff got REAL!

Contractions hurt way more!Unfortunately there was meconium in the amniotic fluid. Very typical of post term babies, but it means a NICU team present during delivery and no delayed cord clamping. I continued to labor while laying on my side. Mr. Manly held my hand and it felt so good when he breathed on me, it was like a nice cool breeze, so I begged him to continue! One of the most helpful things in staying relaxed during contractions was when my midwife would say “Soft Face” It was a gentle reminder to not tense up and to just let your body do what it was made to do.

I’m not sure what time it was but they kept losing Jack Jack’s heart rate and ended up needing to use internal fetal monitoring. Not gonna lie, it felt real weird having a cord in my vaginal canal! She checked me again, but I was ONLY at a 9.5. I was devastated. I just wanted to be at a ten. I whined “I’m not there yet!”  while everyone reassured me I’d be there soon. Soon felt like right then because all of a sudden I felt like I had to push. The midwife and nurses kept saying “Don’t push! Don’t push!”, but there was no stopping it! I tried because i didn’t want to tear my cervix, but my body took over and started pushing. It was like everything went into hyper drive. The nurses moved faster, the midwife sent for the NICU team very urgently saying “Tell them P2(or G2, I don’t remember)!” I can only assume it meant that it was my second baby and they they needed to get there ASAP!

Two nurses were holding my feet and telling me to use them as leverage. The only problem with that is that my legs are incredibly strong and the cute little asian nurse holding my left foot might as well of not been there! She couldn’t give me any counter resistance. It was like I kept kicking her away!

My biggest fear in childbirth is shoulder dystocia. That’s when the head is out, but the shoulders get stuck. If it lasts longer than 2 minutes it’s an emergency c-section no questions asked. Well… my biggest fear became my reality. All I heard was “ Shoulder!, Shoulder! SHOULDER!” in that instance it felt like they all jumped on me and then flipped me upside down, but they got him out!! After he was born I heard someone telling everyone 40 seconds. Jack Jack’s shoulder was stuck for 40 seconds. Phew!! Thank heavens for a team that knows what to do!!

I only needed 2 stitches for a small labial tear near my urethra, but ended up only getting 1 because the catheter fell out. They suctioned out my baby and I finally got to hold him! He just cried and cried, didn’t want to nurse, just wanted to cry! My midwife, who was also pregnant at the time, could barely lift my placenta to show me. She said it was very thick and probably weighed 3-4 lbs.They weighed the baby and when I looked over I swear the scale read 10lbs and 1.3oz. I didn’t have my glasses on. I thought to myself, “Oh not too much bigger than Jr. (9lbs. 11 oz).” The nurse then told everyone, “He’s 10lbs 13oz!!” I could not believe my ears! WHAT? I just had a baby that weighed almost 11 lbs!

 

I felt great! I legitimately left the hospital 30 hours later, at my pre-pregnancy weight. In retrospect it was a very pleasant experience. I’ve come to terms with the fact that no matter how it happens my brain will always find something that wasn’t quite good enough and that’s ok. It was as perfect as it could have been. And if…. (a very strong if, for now) I have another baby I am going to ask to be induced sometime between 40 and 41 weeks. Hoping my body will go into labor naturally is not worth the hassle of going in almost every day and paying for test after test. I have had two huge babies on pitocin without epidurals. Pitocin and I have become close friends and I am willing to just deal with it!

Katie’s Birth Story

Katie is my oldest girl. Her due date was May 8th, 2014, but she decided she wanted to join us early!

My labor ‘started’ on April 17th. I went to L&D because of increasing back pain and just really not feeling well. I was checked, and was 4cm! I was told this was definitely beginning of labor, but to go home and rest and labor at home as long as possible, because once I was admitted, I was stuck there. I went home, and walked and walked, and walked some more. My husband worked all day, and when he came home at 7, I told him we needed to go back. I was miserable and just knew it was time to get ready to go. We made dinner, cleaned up the house, and got to the hospital around 9:30. I was checked again and was 6cm! I was admitted, taken to a delivery room, and was told she should be here sometime during the middle of the night.

Contractions weren’t bad, I just felt cramping and some back pain, so thought this was a breeze! I was told I couldn’t get up except to go to the bathroom, so I laid in bed and tried to rest. They checked me again just after midnight, and I was 8cm. Still talking and acting like I wasn’t in even in labor!

We updated family, and we’re expecting her to be here any time. We waited, waited, and waited… I was checked at 7am and was still 8cm. Was checked again at 10, and was STILL 8cm. They decided it’d be best to break my water, because I obviously wasn’t progressing. They did that at 10:30. I finally was actually feeling contractions and acting like I was in labor, but at 11:30 I still hadn’t progressed, so they asked if I consented to a low dose of pitocin. I agreed, and they started that.

THAT is when labor really kicked in.

I got no breaks between contractions and couldn’t do anything but cry and moan. I refused the epidural though. They checked at 12:30 and I was FINALLY at 10cm. I thought I was ready to push, so I did.

Andddd I pushed for 3 hours…

They started to talk about a c-section, so I gave it my all, and finally at 3:39pm on April 19th, Katherine Eileen was born, weighing 6lb11oz, 19in long. I had a second degree tear, which took the whole 6 weeks to recover. Labor was easy with her (until the pitocin), and delivery was pretty easy too. Recovery was the hardest part with her.

Looking back, I realized the reason I stalled for so long was that they wouldn’t let me move! I was ‘stuck in bed’ for hours and couldn’t do a thing. There was absolutely no reason I should have been confined to bed, but as a first time mom with no support system besides my husband, we didn’t know we could speak up.

 

You can speak up, even as a first time mom, trust yourself!

One of THOSE Days

One of THOSE daysIt’s been one of THOSE days. You know the kind I’m talking about. The days that start at 4:30am because the baby wakes up and will not go back to sleep. Having already been up for an hour and half, you’re clearly ready to find that the toddler you’re trying to potty train has soaked his big boy underpants, his jammies, the sheets and his favorite stuffed animal. You take a breath in deep with hopes of trying to keep your cool, then stub your toe gathering the FIRST laundry load of the day and muttering curse words under your breath because you know it’s one of THOSE days.

As the day drags on if one of them is quiet, the other one is crying or whining or screaming. You haven’t even really had the chance to get dressed or brush your teeth or put deodorant on, but you can’t because your to-do list keeps racking up items that need your attention. You really need to get some dishes done and as you try to begin you realize that the dishwasher was not unloaded by a certain someone for about the 4th time in row. You start to unload the dishes and from down the hall you hear the cutest little voice saying, “Mahhhhh-meeeee! I poooo-oooped!” You exhale and go as quickly as you can…maybe it made it in the potty. No it didn’t, because it’s one of THOSE days.  

Rocking the baby, getting the toddler to the potty, making lunches, nursing the baby, cleaning the toddler’s face… and his hands… and his tray… and the floor… and taking him out of the clothes that got dirty in the 5 minutes you left to clean up the baby’s blowout. Laundry load #2. Getting the toddler to the potty, again, and then down for a nap and quietly praying he stays dry, all while the baby cries because he got left alone for a few moments. Nap time! Should be mellow right? No it won’t, because it’s one of THOSE days.

You try to keep up with a family text that’s blowing up your phone, but isn’t really that important, but every time your phone buzzes you think,”What if it’s important or an emergency?” so you check it. Returning e-mails about a family reunion that’s 10 months away, but you can’t get one sentence done without the baby crying because he rolled over and got his arm stuck. You re-position him and notice the thank you notes for the school fundraiser that should have been done like 2 or 3 months ago. Maybe you can start them today. Not likely, because it’s one of THOSE days.

You put the baby down in his crib for a nap. As soon as you sit down to finish those e-mails you hear crying from the kids shared room and feel the stress of not having a house and not being able to buy despite your savings, good credit and hard work because the market is crazy and won’t be slowing down anytime soon. You’ve been priced out of even buying a fixer upper and though it rarely ever happens, the one crying, in the shared room, WILL wake up the other. Why? Because it’s one of THOSE days!

The baby is awake and crying, but the toddler is still asleep! You pick him up, he burps, and then spits up what you can only describe as cottage cheese, but you’re in luck! You just so happen to be wearing a burp cloth over your shoulder, but it’s one of THOSE days so of course it missed and hit your arm, your pants, your foot and the floor. You put the baby down to clean up and gather what will be laundry load #3. He’s crying because you put him down and the toddler wakes up, but he’s dry! Score! Praises are his to be had and you take him to go potty. He can sit there while you gathering at least one of the piles of your laundry. Does he stay there? No way, because it’s one of THOSE days.

While you’re quickly grabbing clothes for the load he stands up and tries to go down his little steps with his big boy underpants around his ankles. You hear the crash, run to the bathroom and  assess the damage. You hold him while he sobs “I don’t have to go potty.” You remember the baby is still crying and probably needs a change. You both get up and walk towards the room, but before you get to the crib you hear the sound of pee hitting the carpet. Why? Because it’s one of THOSE days!

Everything is cleaned up, the baby is fed, the toddler got his snack and you see the clock. 5pm? Already? You should have started dinner about 30 minutes ago. Oh and you forgot to defrost the chicken. It’s ok, just switch tonight’s dinner for tomorrow and tomorrow’s dinner for today, but tomorrow’s dinner takes more time and therefore you probably should have started 45 minutes to an hour ago. Oh and it’s a fairly involved meal with a sauce recipe you haven’t made for a year or two so it will take even longer to make dinner because it’s one of THOSE days.

Your dear husband gets home, and there’s a chance you might get a tiny break from the kids to get dinner done. Unfortunately men don’t adapt well and therefore he follows his daily routine of giving you your mail in the middle of whatever you’re doing, taking off his pants and going to the bathroom to do his business and watch YouTube videos because he has no clue that it’s one of THOSE days.

The toddler’s in the kitchen asking for food, but you’re going to eat dinner within the hour and don’t want to ruin his appetite.He whines and pouts and you have to keep him out of the fridge, but he starts crying because he doesn’t want to leave the kitchen. Finally dad comes to the rescue … sort of… if by rescue you mean turning on That 70’s Show, then yes he comes to the rescue. You eat late. Maybe your husband noticed the chaos, maybe he didn’t. It doesn’t matter because it’s 7pm. You’d hoped to go to the park because of the nice weather, but you’re not going to get out of the house because it’s too close to bedtime. Your husband is frustrated because the toddler is climbing on him and the baby won’t stop crying so he asks, “Has it been like this all day?” The answer is yes, because it’s one of THOSE days.

You put the toddler down and then get the baby ready, but you can’t find the swaddle wrap that actually fits, so the small one will have to do. You rock him, you lay him down and his pacifier falls out. NOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Luckily for you he stays asleep! You notice his cute little mouth is still making the sucking motions. Then you glance over at the handsome little boy that is all too quickly becoming a big boy.

You finally go to your bed and kneel down with the intentions of letting the Lord know exactly what kind of day it has been, but let yourself be overcome by a sense of humble gratitude.Thankful for the roof over your head, the clothes you wear and the food you eat.Thankful for the snoring man across the bed and how hard he works. Thankful for the two little ones in the room next door.  Thankful that the Lord has trusted you with caring for all 3 of them and thankful that he has given you the strength to do so, even when it’s one of THOSE days.

SMEP

Many people know that I tend to be a little bit of a TMI kind of person. Not like the gross people who tell you every disgusting thing without you even asking about it, no. I simply answer people’s questions with more information than they expected to get, especially if it comes to a topic I am very enthusiastic about! Such as… getting pregnant!

I like things to happen according to my plan and on my time line. Of course, this is all with the underlying acceptance that my plan and my time line might not be God’s plan or time line for me. Getting pregnant was one of those things that I wanted to have happen WHEN I wanted it to happen.  Mr. Manly and I have been very blessed to get pregnant quickly. With Jr. it took 2 cycles and with this baby it was cycle 1. I know that not everyone is as fortunate and that it doesn’t always go so smoothly.

Trying to conceive is not something that everyone is comfortable discussing especially if they have been struggling. My heart breaks for and goes out to those who want so badly to be pregnant, but for whatever reason it just isn’t happening. Your fertility is none of my business, but I wish you knew that you could talk to me. I have no clue what you are going through, but I’m a good listener and never judgmental. I will hold you and you can cry on my shoulder.

For us, it was made easy by a specific plan. We tried for one cycle with Jr. before we found this method and got pregnant the first cycle we tried it. With this baby, we tried it on cycle 1 and got pregnant. The method is called Sperm Meets Egg Plan or SMEP. This plan uses timed intercourse to conceive and also requires the use of OPKs (Ovulation Predictor Kits). SMEP was originally created to help women who were trying to conceive after having a miscarriage, but it can help anyone.

The SMEP website states, “Anyone can do SMEP but it helps if you are not battling untreated infertility problems. If you do not have fertility problems, are TTC#2 or more, or are TTC after a miscarriage, the Sperm Meets Egg Plan method may be just what you’ve been looking for.”

Here is the “How To” of SMEP:

  1. Day 1 of your cycle is the first day of your period. Mark this on your calendar or in your tracking app!
  2. Day 8: Have sex every other day starting on Day 8!
  3. Day 10: Begin to take OPK tests every day until you get a positive test!
  4. Once you get a positive OPK have sex 3 days in a row then skip 1 day and do it once more just for good measure!

At first it might seem complicated, but take some time to go over it slowly. It’s actually very easy! If you have any questions about this method please e-mail me, thedoitalldolly@gmail.com , and I’ll do my very best to answer them!

The Birth of Claire

I had an OB appointment at 41 weeks and my OB measured my contractions and did an ultrasound. She could see that I was having inconsistent contractions and estimated that the baby was at least 8 lbs. Those factors combined with the fact that I was experiencing severe sacroiliac joint pain, which impeded my ability to walk without help, made her decide that it was time for me to go to the hospital and be induced.

When I arrived at the hospital, the on-call OB (not mine, but he ended up being great) introduced himself and told me they told me they would induce me by placing Foley Catheter to dilate my cervix. He said it would need to stay in place for 12 hours as their aim was to dilate my cervix as much as possible. They warned me that insertion would be painful, but I actually found that it was only uncomfortable. Insertion of the catheter did start stronger contractions, but not strong or regular enough to mean business.

So I dozed off and on during the night, frequently woken by small contractions. In the morning, the catheter had done it’s job and I was 6 CM dilated. They removed it and continued to monitor my contractions. My contractions were now strong but irregular, so they started me on a small dose of Pitocin.

That did the trick and my contractions started hard and consistent. I felt them in my back only, no abdomen pain at all. But the back pain was incredibly intense from the get go. I was surprised as everything I had read and learned about in birth classes said that contractions slowly build up to being very painful, rather than immediately start that way. Well, Pitocin-induced back labor is a different story and I have since read that this combo is very much like the intensely painful transition period that most women experience right before the pushing stage.

I was open to the use of medication and the nurses offered me Fentanyl. I was hesitant at first because I had heard stories of mothers who took Fentanyl during labor and became disoriented, scared, and were unable to remember the birth of their baby. But, my hesitations didn’t last long as the labor pain was very intense and the nurses said it would be a while yet before my baby would arrive. So I accepted the Fentanyl. Luckily for me it didn’t disorient me a bit, although it didn’t do much for the pain either. It took the edge off and made me feel deliriously happy, which was an improvement. It didn’t last long though, and they couldn’t give me much.  My Pitocin dose was increased and after about an hour I told the nurses I was ready for an epidural. I was now 9 cm dilated.

The anesthesiologist was a no-nonsense guy and wouldn’t let my husband watch (which was fine by him). The hardest part was lying very still and not reacting to contractions. He was very quick and smooth, there was some pain but the most uncomfortable part was that as the tube brushed one of my nerves my left leg twitched involuntarily and it felt like it had been shocked. He had warned me this might happen, but it was not pleasant!

Within ten minutes, all of my pain was gone. The anesthesiologist did a great job and I could move my legs just a little, and feel every contraction as pressure, but no pain at all. Shortly thereafter the OB came in and broke my water, which I did not feel at all. Not long after that he did a check and told me I was 10 CM with very strong, close contractions and it was time to push.

So with each contraction I pushed. And pushed. After two hours the nurse said, “honey, you can some strong pushes and baby should be on the way, but she isn’t.” The OB came in and had me push while doing an exam (and this OB had the largest hands I have ever seen on a human being, epidural or not, this part was very uncomfortable). He told me “You have exceptionally good abdominal muscles and very strong pushes. This baby should be here by now. If she’s not here in an hour I’m going to do a more thorough exam.” So I pushed for another hour. The OB came back and did his “thorough exam,” which again, giant hands so very uncomfortable this time as he was feeling the baby’s head. He said “Ah! That ear is not where I was expecting, this baby is sunny side up! Also slightly transverse. So here’s the deal – you are fully dilated, your pushes are great. But,  her positioning is slightly off and I see that she’s getting some bruising on her head from hitting your pelvic bone. So I will let you try another hour, but if she’s not here is an hour, we will have to do a c-section. So I pushed for another hour. If you’re counting, that’s four hours. He came back and did another exam, and said “As we said, her positioning is off, but something else is going on and I can’t say what. I’m not comfortable doing a vacuum extraction, I think it would do more harm than good.” I was glad to hear this because I too was not comfortable with vacuum extraction!

 

Then he sat down next to me and held my hand and said “We’re going to have to do a c-section now. There is nothing wrong with you or your body, you have a great pelvis and strong muscles and there is no reason you can’t go on to have another baby vaginally if you choose. There is some issue with the baby’s positioning that is making it impossible for her head to make it past your cervix. That happens sometimes. But I can’t let you push any longer than four hours with Baby’s head bruising like that.”

 

I cried a little, just because I was at 32 hours of labor at this point, exhausted, and in the motherhood culture of today c-sections are so often seen as a failure on the mother’s part. I already felt some guilt for using all the pain medication, as that too is often seen as a weakness. My birth classes had really enforced those philosophies, the teacher declined to show the class the epidural kit she had on hand in order to prevent “pre-trauma.” I was very grateful for the doctor’s compassion and reassurance. My husband was there holding my hand and reminded me that in the end, we just wanted a healthy baby to be born.

 

So off we went to the OR for the c-section. They used my epidural drip to do a spinal block which is a completely different thing than an epidural. When they did the spinal block I felt literally nothing from my belly button down. It was like I had no hips or legs at all. There was no pain, but there were some unpleasant parts. I had to lie in an awkward position – like Jesus on the cross with my arms spread to the sides. This did cause my arms to ache after a few minutes. When they started the incision, I could smell the cauterizing tool, meaning I could smell the burning tissue. Although I had initially felt nothing, I did feel them tugging on the baby – she was descended so far into my pelvis that they had to pull her back up to get her out. This didn’t hurt at all but was absolutely unnerving, I felt like a part of my body was being yanked out, which was more or less true.

My OB suddenly exclaimed “AHHHHH IT WAS THE HANDS!” A second later my husband exclaimed “LOOK AT THOSE FEET!” I was worried about those hands and feet, but then the baby cried and I felt the most amazing instantaneous wave of love overtake me. It was the most amazing emotional experience I have ever felt, I never before understood how it was possible to love someone at first sight (or sound).  I tried to prop myself up to see her, but the doctor and nurses quickly told me to lie still. After a c-section the baby needs to be suctioned because the fluid in the lungs that is usually squeezed out as the baby descends through the birth canal is still there. So I couldn’t hold her right away.

At that point I began to shake violently and my husband was afraid I was having a seizure. The doctor said that the shaking was normal – a product of my body going into shock after a long labor and major surgery. I was also freezing cold, but the nurses put a heated blanket on my chest, which helped. Baby Claire was ready to be held, but I was shaking too hard so my husband got to hold her first. I am glad they had that special moment of bonding, from then on she has been the light of his life.

He held her by my head and I cried and talked to her. She was chewing on her fist, and her hands looked fine. I asked my husband about her feet. “Oh!” he said “They are identical to mine, I was just amazed.” The OB came around where I could see him and said “She had both hands up by her temples with her elbows out. No amount of pushing could get out a head, two fists, and a couple of elbows out a 10 cm opening! I knew something wasn’t quite right.”

I recovered from the c-section very well. I had no complications, and was up and moving, holding, nursing, and caring for my baby within a day. I needed to keep up with my pain medication schedule, but did very well as long as I did. My lower abdomen was numb around the incision for about 6 weeks, but then returned to normal. The incision is about 5 inches long, below my underwear line, and healed nicely. A year later, it’s flesh-colored, pencil-thin line, only slightly raised to the touch.

I am pregnant again, and will have a repeat c-section. Although the OB originally said it would be totally fine to do a VBAC, I did not wait the recommended time between pregnancies (1 year to 18 months) which increases my risk for uterine rupture. For this reason my OB urged me to do a RCS, and I am willing to do so. Without the 32 hours of labor beforehand I imagine it won’t be bad at all.

My OB wasn’t on call, I didn’t want an induction, I didn’t want Pitocin, I didn’t want a c-section, I wanted to delay cord clamping (can’t do that with c-section), I wish someone figured out Claire was sunny side up before sending me to be induced…the list goes on. Basically nothing went as planned. After some soul-searching I decided that I wouldn’t let this traumatize or embitter me. I had an narcotic pain medication. I had an epidural. I had a c-section. I wasn’t able to breastfeed long because I never produced enough milk (which can happen after a c-section). Yet, one amazing year later, Claire is a healthy, happy, well-fed one year old.
When all is said done I couldn’t ask for anything more.   

Jr.’s Birth Story

This is my own personal birth story! I’m excited about the stories I’ve received and can’t wait for you to share in the love, joy and excitement that is giving birth.

The birth of Jr.

Born at 7:52pm

9lbs 11oz and 21.5 inches long

My first baby and no epidural!!

!!!WARNING!!!

The following contains information pertaining to childbirth. If you can’t handle words like cervix, urethra, perineum or labia, then you should stop reading now!

41 weeks and 5 days pregnant:

Mr. Manly and I went in to get yet another Fetal Non-Stress test. This was number 3 because Jr. seemed to not want to be born. He was happy on the inside and had plenty of amniotic fluid. I was dilated to a 4 and my cervix was soft, but just a few Braxton hicks contractions here and there. The midwife said I was really on the brink of starting labor so I had her strip my membranes in hopes of getting labor started without having to be induced. I did not want to be induced, but Thursday was the latest I could go. That night the power went out and my lower back was killing me! I thought for sure labor was starting so I went to bed hoping to be woken up with contractions or my water breaking or something!

41 weeks and 6 days pregnant:

No such luck chuck. The pain had subsided, no contractions and the power was still out, so Mr. Manly went to work. My sister called me wondering if I wanted to drive around with her and my nephew simply to keep warm because their power was out too. Plus this enabled us to charge our phones in the car! We ended up picking up my mom and going out to lunch.  While on our way out, one of my midwives called me and asked if we could be induced that day. Apparently the birth center had 5 other women on the books to be induced Thursday and none of them were far enough along to be induced a day early. We would only be able to go in after Mr. Manly got off from work. I called him and he said okay. So we arrived at the hospital at 6 o clock and were shown to our room.

If you know anything about my husband you know he has many things that he is particular about. One is even numbers. Don’t know where is comes from, he’s not OCD, he just likes even numbers. Well he was ecstatic that our room number was 2346! And on top of that, 46 was 23 doubled, he said it was good luck! Our moms had arranged their schedules to be there with us too! (Lesson learned about having too many people in the delivery room!) Unfortunately when you make a choice like being induced you automatically give up other choices you once had, such as IV fluids and continuous fetal monitoring.  I had to have an IV anyway because I was GBS positive and needed antibiotics before I delivered, but still! I would say it was the worst part, not the most painful, obviously, but definitely the worst because I hate needles and I hate feeling confined and boy did I end up feeling confined! Also, because I was being induced with Pitocin I had to have continuous fetal monitoring.

They finally started the Pitocin around 8pm. I asked if they could give me the smallest dose possible and they did. They started with 1 ml and went up by 1 every 30 minutes when they normally start with 2 ml and go up by 2 every 30 minutes. In hindsight, that was just prolonging the process, but I was still praying that my body wouldn’t need much to push it over the edge into labor. Eventually they started going up by 2 and I would have a few contractions here and there.

Mr. Manly and I tried to go for a walk to help speed things along. I had to take the IV drip and the Fetal Monitor with me and unfortunately the monitor kept picking up my heart rate instead of the baby’s so we became confined to our room… waah waah waah!

Sometime in the night the midwife checked me again and I was dilated to 7cm and contractions were coming at regular intervals, but I was still smiling and talking, which is apparently not normal for most women when they are dilated to a 7. I thought this was a good sign and that maybe I had a huge pain threshold that would carry me through birth and that it would only get a little worse! It got a lot worst.

42 weeks pregnant:

Now just to let you know, I was going through the midwives clinic at my hospital for my care and at our first appointment the we met with L. and she said that we would click with some of the midwives better than others and that babies had a way of waiting to be born with your favorite. I loved 5 out of the 6 and still liked the 1 just not as much as the others because our personalities were too different. We had most of our appointments with R. and K. and they were my faves!  It just so happened that R. was on call Wednesday and K. was on call Thursday. So really, Jr. waited to be born with one of our favorites!

Well the morning came and I still hadn’t had a baby! K. came on shift at 7 am and we decided that since my contractions were regular and I was at 17 ml of Pitocin (They usually don’t let people go pass 20 ml) that we would stop Pitocin and hope my body continued in labor. This was a great decision because it allowed me to take a nice shower! However, the catch was that if my body didn’t continue in labor that we would break my water (another intervention I wanted to avoid, but eventually saw it as necessary in order to progress). Well 10 am came and my labor had basically stopped. It had been an hour since I had my last contraction therefore we were going to break my water, but stay off Pitocin. The midwife tried to break my water, and she thought she had, but there wasn’t a huge gush and she was afraid of hurting the baby if she continued to try. So we let it be and again hoped that my bag of waters was broken and simply leaking instead of gushing. Again my labor had done much of anything and we decided that my water was not broken and she was going to try again. This time it worked and there was a big gush and it was clear! Clear fluid meant there was no meconium, which is pretty rare for an overdue baby! We also asked to start Pitocin again just in case breaking the water didn’t actually help me progress.

Finally labor really started! I decided to stand with a birth ball on the bed and sway. This is when my back pain really kicked in like it had Tuesday night. Thankfully Mr.Manly was there to do counter pressure! Not sure if you know this, but my husband is inhumanly strong and therefore amazing at counter pressure! The nurse asked if I wanted a peanut ball because it might be easier than using a big round ball. It was much easier and way more comfortable, but my back pain was getting worse. Because of the Pitocin I again had to be on continuous fetal monitoring which is what really made labor difficult. I wasn’t able to move around and change position freely because then the monitor would lose the Jr.’s heartbeat. It was very frustrating!

Severe back pain during labor can be a sign of a posterior baby. In case he was posterior, we decided to try a sideline position to try to coax him into a better position. I liked this idea because most of the relaxation practice I had done was in this position and I thought I could manage my pain better. In the process of changing positions I had to stop for a contraction. I suppose it’s weird to say it was my favorite contraction, but let me explain. I was trying to breathe through my contractions like I had practiced. I was finding that either I controlled the contraction or the contraction controlled me and I wanted to be in charge, but my deep abdominal breathing was proving to be very difficult if I wasn’t ready when the contraction started. This particular contraction was one that I controlled. I owned it!

Once in the sideline position I tried relaxing. My legs and feet did not like that idea and decided they were going to try to absorb the pain, but that just makes it more painful and I knew that, but I honestly couldn’t stop it. The contractions were getting stronger and closer together and I couldn’t control any of them. It felt like once I finished one I didn’t have time to regroup for the next. It was like playing defense against a powerful no-huddle offense in overtime! I couldn’t keep up and I felt helpless. The nurse was trying to help me breath but she was not doing deep abdominal breathing she was doing more like Lamaze and I didn’t want to do that but she was all I could focus on. Because I wasn’t breathing properly I started to hyperventilate which caused my hands to tingle. That was weird.

I had watched many natural birth videos on YouTube and there were a few where the women were so loud and vocal that I had to turn them off because it was straight up annoying to listen to…. I was that woman in labor. I didn’t want to be, but I was.

From our Bradley classes we had this amazing “Overview of Labor and Birth”. It takes you stage by stage through the process and explains physical, mental and emotional sign posts. The final phase before you start pushing is called transition. During this phase the woman typically experiences self-doubt, confusion and basically surrenders to the labor. The overview described some things you might hear a woman in transition say such as, “I give up” “I want to go home”. I specially remember feeling like this and I was thinking, “I don’t want to be here anymore”, “I’m done” “I can’t do this anymore”. I must have been saying these things out loud because I remember my mom (who was reading our Bradley book) said, “I think this is transition!” I could hear the midwife’s voice but I have no clue what she was saying.

I wanted to push but I didn’t want to say that because I was afraid it wasn’t time and that I wouldn’t be dilated enough to push. I felt the largest need to go poop. I said, “I need to go poop!” They said, “Do you want to go to the bathroom?” No I definitely did not want to get up and go to the bathroom, but I had to poop so they said, “Why don’t you just go poop?” The midwife said that after my next contraction she was going to check me to see if I was dilated enough to push. I think it took 2 contractions because I didn’t really want to be checked, but she checked me and said I was dilated to 9 and 3/4 cm. SERIOUSLY?! I’m not sure how you can tell the difference between 3/4 cm and 1 cm because that is less than an 1/8 of an inch difference, but I couldn’t hold it anymore my body needed to push and so I got to my hands and knees and started to push. They kept telling me that I was going to need to turn around in between my next contraction, but that took like 3 or 4 contractions. When I turned around I remember looking at the clock and seeing that it was 7 pm, but after that I closed my eyes and pretty much kept them shut the rest of the time.

Pushing was the greatest part! I felt so in control of my body and the situation. It was nice to feel in charge again. I didn’t hear this and my husband said it was because she whispered it, but around 7:15 the midwife said her prediction was that the baby would be born at 7:53 and he was born at 7:52! They placed him on me and he felt so small!

The cord had been wrapped around his neck and the midwife said, “Elliette, he’s not breathing we have to take him for a few moments.” Mr. Manly quickly cut the cord and Jr. was given to a NICU team in the room who immediately began suctioning him out really good. He had apparently pooped right as he was born and his first breath inhaled the meconium. The NICU team pulled pieces of meconium out of his lungs and he started crying. They listened to his lungs and then pulled out more.

Meanwhile, I needed some stitching. I only needed a few in my perineum, but I had labial tearing and needed stitches in many delicate places. After delivering the placenta the midwife gave me lidocaine to numb me, but it wasn’t extremely effective. She began stitching and then asked someone to go get Dr. L.  She told me that because the tearing was so close to my urethra, she wanted the OB to stitch it. I didn’t hear the Dr. say I was hemorrhaging, but that was what my mother-in-law claims he said. They gave me 4 pills to chew up while also giving me some sort of IV drug which I think was to help numb me, but I am not sure. The pills tasted like cotton and I remember saying out loud, “This tastes like cotton!” Both the midwife and the doctor made me feel as though everything was not that bad and I’m sure they’ve seen worse!

Reflections and Moral of My Story:

The first two weeks after Jr. was born were difficult for me as I tried to recall everything that happened during my labor and delivery. You would think that it would be easy to feel extremely awesome about my accomplishment. I mean really… I freaking gave birth to a 9lb 11oz baby without pain medicine! However, being a perfectionist, I tore myself up about my experience because it was not what I wanted. It was nowhere close to the calm, beautiful experience I had envisioned and dreamed about for me and Mr. Manly. I knew it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park, I’m not stupid, but I had hoped for so much more and expected so much more from myself and had therefore been very disappointed. It was potentially exacerbated by a little postpartum depression.

I definitely made the mistake of listening to the comments and partial criticism of others, when I should have just let it be someone else’s opinion and not a fact. My experience was somehow traumatizing to others. My mother she said that if any of her daughters decide to do natural childbirth again, she will not be attending. And my mother-in-law was and I quote…Scared for me… because I could have died. I don’t know which one said it, but someone made the comment about how they should have given me an episiotomy to make it go faster.

I finally came to the conclusion that it is absolutely unacceptable for any woman to ever feel bad or disappointed about her birth experience. Let me say that again…

IT IS ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE FOR ANY WOMAN TO EVER FEEL BAD OR DISAPPOINTED ABOUT HER BIRTH EXPERIENCE!

I don’t care if she has her baby via C-section, with an epidural, without pain meds, in a hospital, in a birth center, in water, at home, in the woods or whatever the case may be. If she survived then by damn it, she HAS succeeded! My friend J. once said, “My goal in childbirth is to not die.” I agree!

I made it out alive. I succeeded!

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This is why I have started the Birth Stories section of this blog! Sharing stories and learning more about each other’s experiences can help us be at peace with what we go through as women bringing new life into this world! Each story is unique and beautiful in its own way!

If you are willing to share in my small attempt to help other women be at peace with their experiences please e-mail your birth stories to me at thedoitalldolly@gmail.com !

Super Sand Removal Trick

We just got back from our annual trip to the Oregon coast with my in-laws and I love being there and spending time on the beach!  The sound of the ocean waves crashing on the shore and the relaxing exfoliation of the sand between my toes are just 2 of the reasons I love being there! It’s so peaceful and calming… until I have to leave and can’t seem to get rid of all the little grains stuck to me or Jr.!  Despite how relaxing being on the sand is, it gets EVERYWHERE! You can try to brush it off, but that only does so much and you will still find it 3 weeks later. Sand everywhere is the worst part about going to the beach, but what are you going to do? Not go to the beach? Yeah that doesn’t work for me. Thankfully my sister-in-law shared this amazing trick with me and I want to share it with you!

Sand Removal


!! BABY POWDER !!


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Am I the only one in awe?! That’s it? Just baby powder?! YES that’s all there is to it! My sister-in-law has spent the last year in Grenada while her hubby, my brother-in-law, attends med school there. Being on an island meant lot of beach living for her and her 2 kiddos! This also meant dealing with a ton of sand and a baby in sand can be somewhat of a nightmare! It gets in their diaper and then they have to ride home with it chaffing their skin! The powder feels so soft after spending a day in the exfoliating sand! 

Today Jr. had a play date who’s back yard has a sand box he could not resist.  Of course at the end of the date he had sand from his head to his Keens!  I normally would have dreaded putting him in his car seat with sand everywhere, but not anymore! It truly is as simple as sprinkling baby powder on your hands and rubbing it on any sandy areas! It works everywhere, even in hair and on shoes! I powdered him up and we were good to go! 

Going to the beach is fabulous, but leaving with sand everywhere is uncomfortable! Leaving doesn’t have to be as horrible anymore with your new trick! Use baby powder to get rid of the sand! It’s a comfortable and soothing way to end a fabulous trip to the beach… or sand box!


I personally recommend using Johnson’s Baby Powder with Soothing Aloe & Vitamin E! It leaves your skin feeling extra soft and dry! 

This content uses referral links. Read my disclosure policy for more info.

A Few Announcements

I have some announcements to make!

First….I’m pregnant! I’m about to start my 2nd trimester and am excited to be basically over my morning/ All day sickness. I had to take a break from blogging because it was just too much. But wait.. I’m a “do it all dolly” so how could it be “too much” for someone who does it all?

I’m not ignorant enough to actually believe I can do it all. I want to do it all, but guess what doing it all leads to… overload and breakdown. Being a “do it all dolly” also means managing your time and your life wisely!

Jr.’s pregnancy was a walk in the park compared to baby #2. I could have been pregnant with Jr. forever and would not have minded. I threw up maybe twice and only because I brushed my tongue a little too far back! I was nauseated but nothing like this pregnancy! At it’s worst I threw up 8 times in one day! I threw up even when I didn’t eat! Have you ever seen or tasted yellow bile? I’d wish it upon my enemies! I couldn’t keep anything down… including my prenatal and my anti-depressant! So think about that for a moment… I couldn’t eat without puking, I wasn’t getting all my vitamins that my body is used to getting and I was dealing with my mental health issues all while trying to work full time as a kindergarten teacher and keep my home and family running. I don’t know how I made it to the end of the school year, but I do know it wasn’t pretty! I am still picking up the pieces and am having difficulty putting them back together.

My second announcement is that I will be limiting Do It All Dolly posts to 3 times every 2 week. (I will explain how that will work after announcement #3!) I felt so awesome pumping out 3 posts a week and was proud of how my blog was turning out, but the reality is that I am not able to do that and maintain the other areas of my life especially now that I am pregnant. It will take longer for this to really get off the ground and to the level I wish it was, but I am at peace with this.

The last announcement is I am adding a new component to the Do It All Dolly blog! I am adding birth stories! After I had Jr. I reflected on how my birth experience had gone and wrote his birth story. It wasn’t perfect, but I learned so much about the reality of giving birth. After posting his story someone, I don’t remember who, said, “ It’s important for us (women) to share these with one another.” I am totally feeling that way! It is important to share your experience. I will be starting with my own and then family and friends! If you feel inspired to share your birth story with me I’d love to post it one here! Please email me your story at thedoitalldolly@gmail.com !
That is the end of the announcements! I regret to have to disable comments due to spam I have been receiving, but this will only be until I figure out how to require approval for all comments! I look forward to the future and all the posts I have milling around in my head! I hope you are doing well and that this post inspires you to believe in yourself and work hard for the things that you want! 

No Time For Trolls

My apologizes for the long break, I will resume posting in a week a so. The last month or so has been terribly busy! The end of the school year is a hailstorm of everyone wanting everything from you! Also, some of the posts have been receiving comments from someone with an unknown agenda and poor communication skills. So until I learn how to manage such unwanted admirers I will not be posting!

Thank you for your continued love and support!

Bedtime Routine Ideas

Children thrive on routines and having a bedtime routine can take a lot of struggle out of any bedtime war. When Jr. was a baby I struggled to create a bedtime routine that was simple enough to do every, single night and long enough to allow him time to settle down. We tried many combinations to see what suited us best and now we have one that works great. I think it is important to have a bedtime routine that is easy to shorten or lengthen as needed. Some nights there simply isn’t enough time for our whole routine so I cut out parts that I feel are less crucial than others. Here is a list of possible bedtime routine activities that might help guide you in your quest for a functional bedtime routine for you and your little ones. Remember that the routine might change as your baby becomes a toddler and then a little kid and then a big kid!

Bedtime Routine Ideas

  • Family prayer
  • Reading scriptures
  • Bath
  • Brush teeth
  • Wash face
  • Potty/change diaper
  • Baby massage, moisturize skin
  • Snuggle
  • Sing a song – could be a different song every night or the same one
  • Listen to quiet music
  • Read a story
  • Love yous and kisses
  • Talk about your day/tomorrow – favorite part, least favorite part, plan for tomorrow
  • Pick out pajamas
  • Set out clothes for tomorrow
  • Turning off the lights – to ease any nervousness about the dark, make sure children have a heads up about when the lights will be turned off, involving them can help!
  • Put toys away
  • Baby yoga or stretching

 

Right now Jr.’s 18 months old and his routine is as follows:

-Brush/floss teeth

-Diaper change

-Pajamas

-Read scriptures (Family scripture study)

-Family prayer

-Read book of his choice

-He turns out the light

-Sing the nigh night song “Give Said the Little Stream”

-Love you and kisses

Remember to try out the routine for a couple of weeks before changing directions because it takes time to establish an effective routine. A bedtime routine should be between 15 and 30 minutes in length. However, when reality comes into play, which it often does, and you don’t have 15 minutes because your baby needed to be in bed an hour ago, don’t get discouraged. Pick one or two items that you will always do before bed. The two items we pick when we are pressed for time are the last two pieces of our routine. We sing the nigh night song, say love yous and give kisses!

Do you include something in your routine that’s not on my list? Let me know!