A Birth Story

I’ve been absent for a bit, as some who occasionally browse this blog may have noticed. Considering the prodigious number of posts I’ve done on the impending arrival of my new little man, you might be able to guess the reason for my absence.

Finally, finally, finally, after 42 weeks even of pregnancy, our man arrived February 22nd at 12:56 pm. He was 9 lbs 13 oz and 22 3/4 inches long. A big boy for sure! However, he was  (and is) completely and utterly perfect.

The big question now might be if I got my VBAC or not. Wow, well, where to begin with that story. The short answer might be disappointing – no, I did not get my VBAC. However, I’m not sad about it, as I might have thought I would be a few months ago (or even a few weeks ago).

This is how it all went down.

As I entered my February break from work still pregnant and went to my last prenatal appointment that Tuesday, I was pretty much at my breaking point emotionally. I felt like I was never going to go into labor naturally. I just wanted my baby in my arms. My OB gave me the option of scheduling a c-section for Friday and if I went into labor before then, then I could proceed with attempting my VBAC as planned. If I didn’t schedule a c-section for Friday then I’d have to schedule one for the following Monday.

After a lot of thought, I went ahead and scheduled a section for Friday. I was having tremendous amounts of anxiety and just felt that if I didn’t go into labor on my own by Friday it likely wasn’t going to happen before Monday.

Well, lo-and-behold, I went into labor on my own (a big achievement, in my mind, since I felt I might not be capable of going into labor by myself) Thursday night. I went in to the hospital at my scheduled time for my c-section, but explained that I had started labor and was hoping that we could see how things were going to progress and possible even let me go home. My OB was on board so long as I had another biophysical profile done to check on the status of the baby.

Well, while the baby seemed to be doing pretty well, he was still measuring very large and his amniotic fluid was super low. My OB was very firm in that she wanted me to have a c-section, almost to the point where I felt a bit betrayed by her 180 degree turn on the VBAC front. That said, I was starting to feel like a c-section might be the best course of action…under certain stipulations.

I wanted, if there was nothing immediately wrong with the baby, to have him given to me right away. No whisking the baby off to be vigorously dried off, poked and prodded, and wrapped up tight so there was a thick swaddling blanket between the two of us as my husband dangled him overhead. I wanted the baby passed to me, I wanted to take him in my arms, just as I would if he had been born naturally, and have him lain across my chest, skin to skin. My OB agreed.

Everything happened very quickly after that. I signed consent forms, had an IV put in, talked to anesthesiology, got prepped for surgery, met a variety of nurses and doctors, and in what felt like a matter of seconds (though it was really probably just a bit over an hour) was taken into the OR.

I felt okay until I came into the OR. It didn’t feel regret or anything, but the sudden gravity of what was about to happen hit me in full force. A mix of “Holy crap I’m about to have a baby” and “Holy crap they’re about to slice me wide open.” I shook. I shook hard. I asked repeatedly, as they gave me a spinal, laid me down on the operating table, felt my legs and abdomen go numb, where my husband was, when I’d get to see him, when he’d be with me. I needed his strength and comfort. I tried really hard not to cry.

But eventually the hubs arrived, took my hands, and tried to not show his own nerves. I felt so relieved with him beside me, especially at first, but as we started to wait for the baby’s arrival, my anxiousness started rise once again.

For one, I still had a cold. I had been getting these nasty colds on and off throughout my pregnancy (you may recall my brutal sinus infection at the very beginning), and this one wasn’t too bad, but it led to a really stuffy nose and a cough. Have you ever needed to cough while having a spinal? Really, really uncomfortable and weird. Between that and the stuffy nose I felt like I was having an asthma attack, but because my oxygen was fine, there really wasn’t anything they could do.

Eventually, however, it didn’t matter, because my doctor began to deliver our little boy. I didn’t get to see him right away, because, of course, that blue curtain was in the way, but a few moments later, the curtain was quickly lowered and my little one was thrust into my arms, bloody, squirming, and shrieking his head off. Perfect.

He lay atop my chest and started to relax, nestling into my arms, falling asleep. I cried as I kissed his surprisingly hairy little head and told him repeatedly, almost idiotically, how beautiful he was. I’ve never experienced natural birth, and now that I’ve had a second cesarean, I likely never will, but I know there is supposed to be high after you give birth. Maybe what I felt wasn’t the same, like I said, I’ll never know, but I was about as high as Mt. Freaking Everest in that moment, and trust me, it wasn’t the pain killers.

I got to hold my little man while the stitched me back up and got cleaned up. After a bit a nurse took him for just a moment to weight and measure him, then he was promptly returned to my arms and we were wheeled into recovery. Once in recovery I started to nurse him (a struggle at first, but now, nearly eight weeks later, we’re going strong) and bonding really began.

As I finish writing this (it’s taken me a few weeks, coming back and forth), I’m getting ready to start my last week of maternity leave. It’s been an amazing journey so far. I remember changing and learning a lot when E. was born (who, by the way, is an all star big sister), and the same is happening this time. I have learned so much about myself as a person and a mother. I am slowly coming to realize what is important, what my strengths are, and, most certainly, my weaknesses. Above all, I’ve come to see even more strongly, just how precious my little family is and how very lucky we are. I wouldn’t change it for anything and I’d happily do it all over again.


Week 32

Week 32 (December 14 – December 21) 

Estimated Due Date: February 8th, 2013

Symptoms: The babe is starting to do those twisty movements where I feel like my entire belly is shifting position. I’ve also been getting really crampy, as well as have more Braxton Hicks.

Body Changes: Achey hips and pelvic joints

Cravings: Carby carb carb carbs

High Point:  We had many lovely festivities at school and then Christmas break began! And I had a lovely appointment with my midwives in Bridgton. As always, it went well.

Low Point: Things have been cruising along nicely, and other than starting to feel a wee bit crampy (like, menstrual cramps), things have been good. I have been worrying that the cramps could be an indicator of early labor, but so far so good.

What I did to prepare this week: While I am very much aware of my pregnancy, Christmas has overshadowed a lot.

Paranoid Moment: None that I can think of.

What’s going on “in there”: The folks at BabyCenter say: “By now, your baby weighs 3.75 pounds (pick up a large jicama) and is about 16.7 inches long, taking up a lot of space in your uterus. You’re gaining about a pound a week and roughly half of that goes right to your baby. In fact, she’ll gain a third to half of her birth weight during the next 7 weeks as she fattens up for survival outside the womb. She now has toenails, fingernails, and real hair (or at least respectable peach fuzz). Her skin is becoming soft and smooth as she plumps up in preparation for birth.”

Week 28

Week 28 (November 16 – November 23) 

Estimated Due Date: February 8th, 2013

Symptoms: Braxton-Hicks and lots and lots of movement! I’m also having some serious shortness of breath, which is partially due to pregnancy, but also because of my icky cold.

Body Changes: Growing a belly and more milk production 

Cravings: Carby carb carb carbs 

High Point:  I saw my OB/GYN this week and it was, as always, a great appointment. I really like her and am starting to be able to maintain my confidence that she’s not going to suddenly say no to my VBAC. We discussed:

* Whether or not I want to be induced if I went over my due date. I don’t. My induction with E. was horrible and I ended up having a c-section anyway, so I don’t see the point. 

* How long she and I are willing to let me go over my due date. And apparently she’s willing to wait quite a while! This makes me really happy (no pressure to schedule a c-section earlier than necessary), but I hope I won’t have to wait that long! My due date, according to my OB’s office is the 12th, but according to when I believe I conceived and ultrasounds, my OB also has the 8th down. But, my OB is going by the 12th and she’s willing to let me go over two weeks. So, this baby and I could come really close to sharing a birthday (mine’s the 27th). 

* Continuous monitoring. So, I really couldn’t get her to budge on continuous monitoring, but she made me feel better about it in a couple of ways. For one, when I mentioned my fears about mobility she basically said, “I really don’t want to see you if you’re still able to walk around.” Meaning, she is totally encouraging me to labor for as long as I can manage at home, which is great. The other thing she brought up was that they could use telemetry monitoring (I know I’m spelling that wrong or giving it the wrong name), which is basically wireless continuous monitoring. I can walk around with it and even go in the shower, maybe even the tub!

* If I have to have a c-section. I had a few worries about having a c-section that I wanted to get out of the way and used this visit to get them out of the way. Unless absolutely necessary, I did NOT want my arms restrained. My doc said that shouldn’t be a problem. I also wanted to hold the baby while I was being sewn back up so I could have him skin to skin and possibly initiate nursing. She also said that shouldn’t be a problem. My last request was that the baby NOT be given any sort of sugar water or supplementary drink before I got a chance to feed him (this happened with E. and it still ticks me off). My doctor assured me that wouldn’t happen. 

Overall this visit left me feeling at ease and at peace with a lot of worries I’d had previously. I’m still going to write up a birth plan to give to my OB at one of my visits over the next few weeks (I only have 9 left!), but it’s good that we’ve discussed a lot of this ahead of time, I think. 

Low Point: I ate my weight in turkey dinner this week on Thanksgiving and have been feeling a bit worried about my weight and food consumption. It’s not as good as it should be and I’m hoping to improve. 

What I did to prepare this week:  Well, we did a little Black Friday shopping with the hub’s grandparents and mom. We have established a tradition of heading into Target at a reasonable time (this year we were there at 11 am) and buying E.’s Christmas gifts in addition to picking out what we’d like. This year I chose a few things off my registry, namely: a Boppy pillow, a slipcover for the Boppy, Tommee Tippee bottles, and extra nipples for said bottles. While I can’t really play with any of this stuff until after Christmas, it’s very reassuring to know that the Boppy and bottles are sitting upstairs in my closet and the slipcover and bottle nipples are with my mother-in-law. 

Paranoid Moment: I was really worried about the results of my glucose test, which I took on Monday of this week, but I never got a call from my OB’s office, so I’m guessing everything is fine.   

What’s going on “in there”: The folks at BabyCenter say: “By this week, your baby weighs two and a quarter pounds (like a Chinese cabbage) and measures 14.8 inches from the top of her head to her heels. She can blink her eyes, which now sport lashes. With her eyesight developing, she may be able to see the light that filters in through your womb. She’s also developing billions of neurons in her brain and adding more body fat in preparation for life in the outside world.”

Week 26

Week 26 (November 2 – November 9) 

Estimated Due Date: February 8th, 2013

Symptoms: About the same

Body Changes: I might be the cutest pregnant lady ever. Or at least the cutest pregnant me.

Cravings: Carby carb carb carbs

High Point:  We started our birth ed. classes this week! We’re taking them through the Birth House in Bridgton, ME and the first class left a great impression on us. It was a much more intimate and relaxed set up than the class we took when I was pregnant with E. (which I took mostly because it was free) and I feel like the focus was far more on the inner workings of your mind rather than just the mechanics of birth (which I’m pretty familiar with at this point). While it was definitely a different experience for the hubs, I think he appreciates the fact that taking class styled as this one is helping me deal with my fears about labor and attempting a VBAC.

Low Point: A pretty good week overall.

What I did to prepare this week: Started those birth classes!!

Paranoid Moment: I’ve been feeling pretty good about life and pregnancy this week.

What’s going on “in there”: The folks at BabyCenter say: “The network of nerves in your baby’s ears is better developed and more sensitive than before. He may now be able to hear both your voice and your partner’s as you chat with each other. He’s inhaling and exhaling small amounts of amniotic fluid, which is essential for the development of his lungs. These so-called breathing movements are also good practice for when he’s born and takes that first gulp of air. And he’s continuing to put on baby fat. He now weighs about a pound and two-thirds and measures 14 inches (an English hothouse cucumber) from head to heel. If you’re having a boy, his testicles are beginning to descend into his scrotum — a trip that will take about two to three days.”


Week 17  (September 1 – 7)

Esitmated Due Date: February 8th, 2013

Symptoms: Still feeling pretty great, if occasionally a bit tired. Not a whole lot has changed here.

Body Changes: My eggo is pretty much preggo. I’m starting to show a bit more and I’m hoping that I’m maybe looking more pregnant than just extra chubby around the middle. I haven’t gained a ton of weight, at least in comparison to my pregnancy with E. (7 lbs. now vs. 20 lbs. then). But I’m still no skinny mini, so it’s hard to say, objectively, if I really look all that pregnant. Also, my skin is starting to get uncomfortably itchy at times on my tummy. I haven’t bothered with cocoa butter this time around because, frankly, it’s a lost cause – I’ve got enough stripes to put a tiger to shame – but, I bet that stuff would help with the itchies.

Cravings: Sour, salty, carbs. And cheese. You can never have enough cheese.

High Point: Primarily, I went to see my OB (well, I intended to see my OB, but instead saw a CNM, because my OB was called to do a delivery) and got to hear the baby’s heart beat (a solid and consistent 150 bpm). I got a concern cleared up (more on that in a minute) and left feeling pretty good about everything. In addition to that, I made my first solo trip (and actually my first trip driving period) into the “city” (it’s really, in comparison to most cities, just a very large town). This was a huge deal, because I get tons and tons of anxiety from driving to and through unfamiliar places, so the fact that I accomplished this without trying my damnedest to get someone else to take me first is a pretty huge deal.

Low Point: This was actually a pretty awesome week all around…Wait until you hear about week 18…Slightly less awesome 😦

What I did to prepare this week: Not a whole lot got done. I continued on my laundry/cleaning schedule and it’s worked out really well so far. I’ve also been getting into the habit of giving E. a bath every other night, which is perfect and I’m hoping I’ll be able to do double bath duty with the kids once the baby comes, or maybe have them switch off nights…not sure yet, but having this habit ingrained by the time February rolls around will be good.

Paranoid Moment: So, as my good friend Bobbi put it, I’m in a pretty fertile household. Why, might you ask? Oh, because my cat had kittens behind our living room chair on September 2nd. I seriously went upstairs to take a shower and when I got out E. was shouting, “Mama!! Rosie had kittens!!” Now, we pretty much new Rosie was pregnant (and subsequently kicked ourselves for not getting her fixed sooner – we were waiting for me to get paid again before we did it…bad idea), but hadn’t figured she would deliver so soon, as we had only realized it a couple of weeks ago (and, keep in mind, she was barely a year old, had never seemed like she was in heat, AND we never saw any other cats around).

Anyway, what’s my point in all this? Well, the big pregnancy no-no is cats…or, more specifically, cat feces. And the hubs has been on cat poop duty all along, but I failed to consider until my mom exasperatedly pointed it out, was that kittens are like human babies – they poop and pee at will…all over themselves. And here I was holding those pwecious widdle kittens. Stupid, I know, but I will also point out that I wore gloves *most* of the time AND basically bathed myself and E. in hand sanitizer after spending any time with the cats, but still…I was really, really worried.

When I finally got in to see the doctor (or CNM in this case) I explained the situation. Her response is best summed up with an, “Eh…” Since I’ve had continual exposure to cats for the last four years or so, I’ve likely has exposure and built up an immunity to toxoplasmosis, which is the icky stuff cat feces can infect you and your fetus with and cause some serious problems. She said considering that and the fact that I had been washing my hands, wearing clothes, etc., I really didn’t have anything to worry about…so I stopped worrying. Well, you know, within what’s reasonable for a pregnant lady to “stop” worrying.

What’s going on “in there”: The folks at BabyCenter say: “Your baby’s skeleton is changing from soft cartilage to bone, and the umbilical cord — her lifeline to the placenta — is growing stronger and thicker. Your baby weighs 5 ounces now (about as much as a turnip), and she’s around 5 inches long from head to bottom. She can move her joints, and her sweat glands are starting to develop.

The (Almost) Worst Month Ever

I won’t go ahead and say it’s been the worst month ever, period, because, when I think of it, way worse things could have happened, but if you’re looking for an awesome way to be incredibly uncomfortable, might I reccomend being simultaneously pregnant and have a sinus infection/horrible cold?

So, please excuse my total lack of posts, baby updates, and other little rambling musings (I’m going to pretend there are people out there who actually did miss them). That said, allow me to give a very brief update of what was missed these last few weeks (pregnancy-wise – everything else in my life has sort of been at a stand still as I’ve not had the energy to do anything).

Weeks Six through 9 (June 18 – July 15)

Esitmated Due Date: February 11th, 2013

Symptoms:  Around the end of week six nausea “finally” settled in, and I’ve had it visiting me for a couple of hours, or, if I’m lucky, all day, every day. It varies from day to day, what I eat, and how much I’m in moving vehicles, and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to when it will show up during the course of the day. It sort of sucks. That said, I’m glad it’s here, because it was getting weird and a bit disconcerting to not have it. In addition to nausea, there is still breast sensitivity, some general aches and pains, exhaustion, and I can get really hungry and thirsty very fast.

Body Changes:  Boobs! And that’s about it. I actually lost the five pounds I gained earlier in pregnancy and while I was convinced I could feel my uterus, turns out I was wrong. My midwife told me that I have both a prominent pubic bone and hard and tight abdomen muscles (under that protective layer of fat), so when I thought I was feeling my uterus, it was likely one of those two things.

Cravings:  When I feel like eating, I mostly want carbs. I’m definitely loving my chicken salad again, which was a big love with E., especially chicken salad Italians with extra sour and salty pickles!

High Point:  I’ve finally been in to see the two OB offices I want to check out and had my first appointment for supplemental care with the Birthwise midwives in Bridgton. I liked both offices that I visited, so far, and both seemed to have a positive outlook on VBACs, but the verdict is out until after I talk to the actual OBs I’ll be seeing this coming week. I loved, loved, loved my visit with the midwives in Bridgton. If you are in the southwestern area of Maine and are looking for good prenatal care, these ladies rock. I’m telling you now, no OB or CNM is going to sit with you for two hours and chat about your medical history and your desires for your pregnancy and birth. Their caring and compassion for pregnant women (and women in general) is incredible and they made me feel so great about everything I’m doing a pregnant mom and everything I have waiting ahead of me. And their just so helpful. And great.

Low Point: Just feeling generally miserable (though it’s started to diminish)…and having to shell out $40 for prescriptions (I’m on a antibiotic to get rid of this nasty cold).

Paranoid Moment:  While the last few weeks have been crummy, I haven’t had much reason to worry. I have had some crampiness, which made me nervous because I had gone so long without it, but there was nothing else to indicate a problem and I have chalked it up more to musclar/joint stuff and things continuing to shift and grow rather than anything serious.

What I did to prepare this week: I’ve just been getting to appointments and trying to stay alive at this point, haha. I’ve also tried to track down baby stuff on Craigslist if anything good crops up (nothing yet, though I’ve tried, but people are hard to get a hold of sometimes). I’ve also decided on what breast pump I’d like to get (these things are wicked expensive, though – I’m looking at spending $200, which really isn’t a lot, but it’s still A LOT!). Having a baby ain’t cheap, that’s for sure.

What’s going on “in there”: I’m not going to worry about copying and pasting a ton of info from the last couple of weeks, but I will post what BabyCenter has to say about week nine:

Your new resident is nearly an inch long — about the size of a grape — and weighs just a fraction of an ounce. She’s starting to look more and more human. Her essential body parts are accounted for, though they’ll go through plenty of fine-tuning in the coming months. Other changes abound: Your baby’s heart finishes dividing into four chambers, and the valves start to form — as do her tiny teeth. The embryonic “tail” is completely gone. Your baby’s organs, muscles, and nerves are kicking into gear. The external sex organs are there but won’t be distinguishable as male or female for another few weeks. Her eyes are fully formed, but her eyelids are fused shut and won’t open until 27 weeks. She has tiny earlobes, and her mouth, nose, and nostrils are more distinct. The placenta is developed enough now to take over most of the critical job of producing hormones. Now that your baby’s basic physiology is in place, she’s poised for rapid weight gain.

Woot! Week Five!


Week Five (June 11 – June 18)

Esitmated Due Date: February 11th, 2013

Symptoms: Muscle pulls in my abdomen, exhausted, moody, feeling like someone pierced me “up there” while I was sleeping, the beginnings of nausea, lower immune system as I’ve caught my first cold since this past winter, and headaches.

Body Changes: Extra booby and I swear I can feel the top of my uterus. I think it’s time to start those weekly photos!

Cravings: Savory, savory, savory…and sour! I had some delicious homemade pickles at our end of work BBQ on Thursday and I nearly died. They were that good!

High Point: Well, though it has very little to do with pregnancy, it was pretty great I could feel miserable at home as school is officially off until the end of August! And I was pretty excited after a few days of telephone tag I was able to schedule two appointments with All About Women and will be seeing them at the beginning and middle of July. I’m feeling a lot better about my prospects, though I did have a bit of a nightmare last night about having to have another c-section 😦

Low Point: This week I felt extra emotional. Not sure why, just very weepy and on edge. Part of me feels very silly for feeling this way, but another part wishes the people I’m around most would be a bit more understanding. I mean, I’m not intentionally being an emotional mess…I just am right now. Understanding would be appreciated.

Paranoid Moment: I’ve been surprisingly unparanoid this week. I’ve started to relax and have accepted that I am, in fact, pregnant and, hopefully, will stay that way until a healthy baby is ready to be born. I mean, I do still worry that I’ll go for my first ultrasound and there will be nothing to see, but as it stands right now, I have no reason to think that will be case.

What I did to prepare this week: I finally got in touch with All About Women and got those appointments scheduled. I also started looking at maternity clothes/accessories as I’ll probably need real maternity clothes this time since I’ll be, you know, going in public (unlike in my first pregnancy, where I became a hermit and just watched a lot of Law and Order). I also started reading The Pregnancy Book which is awesome and I highly reccomend it to expecting mommies. It has far less of the doom and gloom of “What to Expect” while still providing great information. I do think it’s missing the extra information on fetal development, but I have Your Pregnancy Week-by-Week, so that supplements what the book is missing. Also, it’s a tad bit dated, since it was written in ’97 and does repeatedly say, “The ’90s are a great time to have a baby!” This totally cracked me up since, really, there are women who could read this book and have been born themselves in the ’90s. I mean, I was born in ’88! However, that’s not say it’s not true. I’ll have to ask my mom if the ’90s is the lost decade of great childbirth experiences…

Also, I have a tentative plan of how this whole birth thing will go down, or at least who will be there. Namely, I will not be having a midwife, as far as I know, present. I will be utilizing the supplementary care provided by The Birth House in Bridgton (got to schedule an appointment, in fact). I will be having a doula. I plan to deliver, as it stands now (I may change my mind, or circumstances may change it for me), I’d like to deliver with a OB from All About Women at Mercy Hospital. I will be taking birth classes through The Birth House in Bridgton. I’m hoping this is the right combination to lead me to a successful and fulfilling and safe birthing experience for me, my baby, and my family.

What’s going on “in there”: The folks of BabyCenter say: Deep in your uterus your embryo is growing at a furious pace. At this point, he’s about the size of a sesame seed, and he looks more like a tiny tadpole than a human. He’s now made up of three layers — the ectoderm, the mesoderm, and the endoderm — which will later form all of his organs and tissues.

The neural tube — from which your baby’s brain, spinal cord, nerves, and backbone will sprout — is starting to develop in the top layer, called the ectoderm. This layer will also give rise to his skin, hair, nails, mammary and sweat glands, and tooth enamel.

His heart and circulatory system begin to form in the middle layer, or mesoderm. (This week, in fact, his tiny heart begins to divide into chambers and beat and pump blood.) The mesoderm will also form your baby’s muscles, cartilage, bone, and subcutaneous (under skin) tissue.

The third layer, or endoderm, will house his lungs, intestines, and rudimentary urinary system, as well as his thyroid, liver, and pancreas. In the meantime, the primitive placenta and umbilical cord, which deliver nourishment and oxygen to your baby, are already on the job.”

We Made it to Week FOUR!


Week 3 (June 3 – June 10)

Esitmated Due Date: February 11th, 2013

Symptoms: Cramps, a very tender upper top half (okay, fine, I’ll say it…breasts), headaches, being super, unbearably hungry (but losing weight, which is nice, I guess), and the moodiness is still here (the hubs is already cowering in fear of preggers Kirsten). It’s very much like what I remember from being pregnant with E., though I think there is more general discomfort this time around. Lots of crampy twinges all over that I don’t seem to remember from before.

Body Changes: About the same as last week, bloaty and booby.

Cravings: My love for salty things continues. I definitely find myself hankering for comfort foods where as the idea of sweets doesn’t do it for me quite as much (though, again, I won’t turn down chocolate…ever).

High Point: Getting to meet with the midwives of The Birth House in Bridgton. While the hubs and I have pretty much decided it isn’t in the cards for those lovely ladies to deliver baby #2 (darn insurance), they do offer FREE prenatal care and super inexpensive doulas (only $50!!!). We’ll definitely be seeing more of The Birth House for those reasons!

Low Point: This. Still kind of mad about it, too, but I think, assuming I can get into their practice, All About Women in Portland will be a good option for us. They deliver at Mercy Hospital and seem to have a pretty good view on c-sections and VBACs.

Paranoid Moment: Worrying that every little uncomfortable twinge is a sign of something horrible. I had myself convinced for about two days that I must have an ectopic pregnancy, but then I realized two things: one, it would probably be too early to know, and two, I think if I were dealing with an ectopic pregnancy I would know I was dealing with an ectopic pregnancy, not just worry about it.

What I did to prepare this week: I called and made appointments with a couple of places and am still waiting to hear back from another (All About Women). I also had, as I mentioned that appointment at The Birth House. While I’ll probably only keep one or two of the appointments I made (the others sort of seem pointless now that I know people’s policies of VBACs), it was a good experience to get in touch with all the places I did, because I have a better scope on what’s available out there for me in terms of maternity care (and what I need to start fighting for if I ever become some sort of lobbyist for women’s health organizations).

I also bought five books: The Pregnancy Book, by Dr. Sears (I have The Baby Book, which I love, and I wanted an alternative to “What to Expect”, which I hated); Birthing from Within (yep, bought a crunch/granola pregnancy book); The Breastfeeding Book, also by Dr. Sears (I never had a book on this topic when I had E. and I didn’t have as much success breastfeeding as I wanted, so I hope with will help); What’s Inside Mommy’s Tummy (a book for E.; she has lots of questions and I think a good book about what’s happening will be helpful); and A Baby on the Way, another one by Dr. Sears (Are you sensing a pattern yet? And yes, another book for E.)

What’s going on “in there”: Your Pregnancy Week-by-Week explains: “Fetal development is still in the very early stages, but great changes are taking place! The blastocyst is embedded more deeply into the linning of your uterus, and the amniotic sac, which will fill with amniotic fluid, is starting to form.
“The placenta is forming; it plays an important role in the hormone production and transport of oxygen and nutrients. Networks that contain maternal blood are becoming established. Development of the baby’s nervous system (brain and other structures, such as the spinal cord) begins.
“Germ layers are developing. They develop into specialized parts of your baby’s body, such as organs. The three germ layers are the ectoderm, endoderm, and mesoderm.
“The ectoderm becomes the nervous system (including the brain), the skin and the hair. The endoderm develops into the lining of the intestinal tract, the liver, pancreas and thyroid. The mesoderm becomes the skeleton, connective tissues, blood system, urogenital system and most of the muscles.”

Baby Drama

Have you ever had a picture in your mind of exactly how something ought to go and then have it dashed in one fell swoop?

Welcome to my day.

When I found out I was pregnant I had three places I was planning on checking out for giving birth, a birth that I had planned on being a vaginal birth after a c-section (VBAC) and I wanted to go completely naturally. (I have reasons for all this, but I’m not going to list them now, maybe that will be another post.) Those three places were:

1.) The Birth House in Bridgton, Maine
2.) My family practitioner, also in Bridgton
3.) Western Maine Midwives, through Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, Maine

Well, now none of these are on the table, except for maybe The Birth House (which was my ideal choice, but that is now dependent on finances…which we don’t really have). Let me explain how this all unraveled.

Let’s start with The Birth House, which, as mentioned above, is still sort of viable. The Birth House does perform VBACS, both at their birth center and at home. However, it will cost me roughly $2500. That’s $2500 we don’t really have lying around and insurance won’t cover it up front. They might however, reimburse us, which, honestly, doesn’t really help. The hubs and I have to discuss if we’re willing to pay this much when we could pay far less at a hospital.

Which leads me to option number two. Well, first of all, my family practitioner doesn’t do OB work. Fine. Well, maybe she can recommend an OB for me to work with? Well, sure, but guess what? Bridgton Hospital doesn’t allow VBACs. What. The. Hell??? Does no one know the freaking risks in repeated c-sections?? This is ridiculous!! I’m sorry, but I like my uterus, and the fewer people I have unnecessarily cutting it open, the better!

Now, I am by no means anti-cesarean. There are times when they are necessary. BUT just because you had a previous c-section does not make you a candidate for another. That’s ridiculous.

Anyway, once I realized that my FP wouldn’t be an option, I looked for another one. I had heard good things about the midwives and maternity group at St. Mary’s, also in Lewiston. I called, got an appointment, but while I was on the phone scheduling, I was told that I would have to have a c-section if I delivered at St. Mary’s. Again, no VBAC. No thanks!!

So, this leads us to choice three. I called, got an appointment for the the 15th of this month for an intake visit and then another “official” visit with a midwife. Sounded great. But after finding out St. Mary’s doesn’t do VBACs I decided to call CMMC back to see if they do VBACs. Well, they do. But not with the midwives. Which makes no freaking sense at all. The midwifery style of care is WAY more conducive to successful VBACs (as has been proven in numerous studies).

And that leaves me here, with no idea what I’m going to do, with few options, and feeling pretty crappy. I have a very clear idea of what I’d like my birth experience to be like. And I do understand there are always outstanding reasons for why a birth may not go the way wanted or expected, BUT there are lots of things you can do to help things go the way you want and I’m being kept from those choices!! It’s extremely frustrating and heart breaking.

I am going to call two more hospitals/practices to see if their midwifery groups are allowed to perform VBACs, but I’m not holding my breath, as it seems those practices that do allow for VBACs list them on their sites and the two places I’m calling tomorrow don’t say anything about VBACs on their sites. But we’ll see.

So, I leave you now with this thought: If/when you’re expecting, and you want all options available to you in regards to your maternity care, avoid a c-section at all costs, because, in some areas, once you have that done, you’re spent in the eyes of a lot of doctors and hospitals. It’s really, really sad.

Well, That Was Fast…

Let me start by saying this: Our family should probably buy stock in Clear Blue and First Repsonse pregnancy tests. I would be embarrassed to admit just how many I’ve taken over the last week. But when you’ve been waiting to be able to at least try to get pregnant for roughly three and a half years (I was ready to go when E. was about six months) and you think, maybe, when you take that first test, that there might just be a smidge of a line, you can’t resist the temptation to test…and test…and then test quite a bit more. You test, in fact, until one day you finally pee on a stick one morning and the lines that had formally been so very, very faint are not so faint any more (i.e. you don’t have to stand directly under a light and squint). That’s when I decided, sort of spontaneously that same day, to take one of the digitals I’d been saving for when I missed my period.

I don’t know what it is about the digital appearance of the word “pregnant” on a test that made what I had been seeing all week anyway more real, but somehow, at that moment, the reality of the situation hit me. I was, in fact, pregnant. All those pangs I’d been feeling all week, along with the exhaustion, were totally legitimate, not just the fabrication of a hopeful heart. I guess it was all the more surprising because this was the first month we actually tried. I don’t know why, but I always assumed that getting pregnant with number two was going to take forever. And I do realize that just because I’m pregnant now doesn’t mean it will stay that way. The earlier I know the more likely I’ll know I miscarried, rather than assuming I just got my period late.

That said…I really think this is going to stick. I’m not quite four weeks, but I don’t think I could feel more pregnant if I tried. And I’m really hoping the general, crummy, almost flu-like feeling I’m dealing with will dissipate after a couple of weeks (by the way, I don’t actually have the flu, in case you thought that; no fever!).

All right, let’s get to the good stuff:

Week 3 (May 26 – June 2) *

*This is just a guesstimate according to when I think I ovulated and when I *think* implantation might have occurred. Hopefully after my first prenatal visit I’ll have a better sense of how far along I am.

Esitmated Due Date: February 11th, 2013

Symptoms: Crampiness (I remember this from E.’s pregnancy – very annoying); peeing…a lot; very tired; headaches; swinging between feeling sick at the sight of food to being so ravenous I easily ate everything in my Chinese take-out meal last night; being very tender up top and already starting to have major changes there, too; very, very, very emotional…like, bad

Body Changes: Feeling a wee bit bloaty and my upper top half is experiencing some major changes as well, and it’s a pain, literally.

Cravings: Not much yet, other than I definitely am prefering savory over sweet. Anything too sweet sort of grosses me out, though, of course, I still love chocolate.

High Point: Getting repeated positive pregnancy tests all week!! And telling the family – E.’s super excited!

Low Point: Sobbing uncontrollably at work because I had to be an aid on an hour long bus run while I was already feeling incredibly naseous AND am very susceptible to motion sickness even without being pregnant.

Paranoid Moment: Worried that I’m jinxing myself by being so open so early about being pregnant and that this whole grand adventure will be done long before I want it to be 😦 I’m trying to not think like that though and just enjoy everything, even though it’s making me feel lousy.

What I did to prepare this week: I got out ALL of E.’s old baby clothes and started sorting through them. More to do, but at least I got a start. I also started researching strollers since we’ll need a new, non-jogging one.

What’s going on “in there”: The folks at BabyCenter say: “What’s going on in your womb now? A lot. Your baby-in-the-making is just a tiny ball consisting of several hundred cells that are multiplying madly. Once the ball of cells (called a blastocyst) takes up residence in your uterus, the part of it that will develop into the placenta starts producing the pregnancy hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), which tells your ovaries to stop releasing eggs and triggers increased production of estrogen and progesterone (which keep your uterus from shedding its lining — and its tiny passenger — and stimulates placental growth). HCG is the hormone that turns a pregnancy test positive; by the end of this week, you may be able to take one and get a positive result! (If your test is negative and you still haven’t gotten your period in two or three days, try again then.)

Meanwhile, amniotic fluid is beginning to collect around your ball of cells in the cavity that will become the amniotic sac. This fluid will cushion your baby in the weeks and months ahead. Right now, your little blastocyst is receiving oxygen and nutrients (and discarding waste products) through a primitive circulation system made up of microscopic tunnels that connect your developing baby to the blood vessels in your uterine wall. The placenta won’t be developed enough to take over this task until the end of next week.