Another birth story…

Two things keep coming to mind as recall the details of my second baby boy’s birth: childbirth is empowering and love is amazing.

Women are amazing beings. We’re strong mentally and physically. No matter how or where you birth a child; with or without medication, vaginally or via cesarian, at a hospital or at home; what our bodies go through physically as well as emotionally proves how strong we are. Childbirth is possibly the most empowering experience I’ve ever had in my life. I feel humbled to have experienced it twice and I feel strong and capable knowing I just brought a human life into the world.

Love. Just when I thought it wasn’t possible to love anyone or anything more than I love my first child… In an instant my heart quadruples in size and I love another being with the same depth and intensity that I love my first. Love is so amazing.

The story…

At 39 weeks pregnant I was sure that I would go past due again and not have a baby for 2 more weeks. But on Halloween our little man had different plans. At around 3:00pm I was on my way home from my 2.5 year old, Beau’s daycare Halloween party and I thought I felt a couple contractions in the car. I was sure they were contractions when they continued for the next few hours every 10-15 minutes. I told my husband when he got home and we decided to go ahead and get dressed and go trick or treating around our neighborhood. My contractions were mild enough and far enough apart that I could continue to let my little Buzz Lightyear have his fun night. When we got home we did our nighttime routine and I tucked Beau into bed around 8:00pm. We went ahead and notified my parents that I was in early labor so they could come be with Beau.

At 9:20pm I texted my doula to notify her and tried to lay down to get some sleep. I may have slept about an hour and started timing my contractions at 11:20pm.

I labored in bed for a few hours and we left for the hospital around 3:45am. I feel like I did a better job of relaxing in between contractions this time. Last time the pain seemed to be constant because I was so tense. This time I truly relaxed in bed and early labor was a better experience.

Once we got checked into the hospital and in our room I got straight in the labor tub. My contractions seemed to be less intense in the tub and I was able to relax in the warm water. My husband, Darren turned on our music and showed me videos of Beau while I labored in the tub. It was exactly what I needed in that moment. There’s something therapeutic to smiling and laughing while you’re going through physical pain.

Did I mention earlier that when I texted my doula she was 5 hours away at the beach? She graciously left the beach at 2:30am to come coach us through the birth. Darren kept her updated as my labor progressed and got more intense. She arrived around 8:20am when I was out of the tub and starting to feel the urge to push. Darren and I both sighed a breath of relief when her loving spirit walked in the room.

Our doula, Daphne immediately started coaching me through my contractions and it definitely made the most intense part of labor easier. I felt the urge to always be moving while on my hands and knees, I rocked back and forth and tried to take deep breaths. She coached me to relax and be still after the peak of a contraction to signal to my body to relax. She and Darren squeezed my hips for counter pressure, coached me through contractions, and she gently brushed her hands over my skin and coached Darren to do the same.

Soon after Daphne arrived, my doctor checked me and said I had one small bag of water on the side and if ruptured it would speed up my labor. I agreed to let her break my water and immediately my contractions became more intense and painful. I ended up moving from my hands and knees to my left side. My baby was positioned sideways (instead of face down to my spine) as he was coming through the birth canal so that added to the intensity. Daphne coached me to relax through the pain and Darren held my hand and gave me positive affirmations.

After only three pushes in this position my doctor told me she needed one more long push from me and my baby would be out. I remember pausing, looking her in the eyes and saying, “Really?” She shook her head and said that it wasn’t going to be like last time (i.e. 3.5 hours of pushing). The next push did seem to go on forever, with Darren saying “keep going babe, I can see his head, shoulders, keep going, he’s out, one more push…” and somehow I can also remember what Daphne was saying as well, coaching me not to vocalize and push that breath inwards to help make my push more efficient.

At 9:15am he was out and on my chest. All the pain and intensity was gone but my body didn’t relax immediately like last time. I felt shaky and tried to direct my attention to my new little guy on my chest. After Darren cut his umbilical cord and he was resting on my chest I told Daphne that I couldn’t stop shaking. She assured me it was adrenaline and it would fade in the next few minutes.

The next hour was calm and full of love. Daphne took pictures and I held my new little guy skin to skin and breastfed him for the first time. Darren and I ate a snack and gazed at our new little guy.

Did I also forget to mention that Daphne wouldn’t let us pay her? She said she would only do it for love. We are blessed to have such an amazing human be such an important part of both our boys’ birthdays.

img_8120

Our amazing doula, Daphne

Once we got settled into our room and ate a meal I took a shower and got ready for Beau to come meet his new baby brother. Since I labored all night and didn’t get any sleep I was very tired but the shower helped a lot. After my family visited and Beau met his brother, Darren and I both crashed hard.

Beau meeting his brother was everything I dreamed it would be. He was excited to see him and hold him for the first time. All of my worries about going into labor and how Beau would handle everything were not even a worry. My labor intensified after he went to bed, he did great spending the night at my parents and understanding that mommy and daddy had to stay in the hospital with baby brother, and my mom said that next morning when she told him we had gone to the hospital to have baby brother his response was “yay!” Followed by “where’s my breakfast?”

Introducing… big brother Beau

The first week home was a different story. Beau woke up at 4:00am on our first morning home with a 101.4 fever and was later diagnosed with Croup. I cried the first two nights when Beau needed me at bedtime and I could hear the baby crying, also needing me (or my boobs). At one point that first night I told Darren, “Could this be any harder?” And his response was “Are you talking about your boobs or this situation?” I had a giggle and said, “Both, but I was referring to the situation.” The first few days of breastfeeding are no joke. It’s nice to have a partner that can make you laugh in the hardest of situations. Also, trying to keep Beau from getting the baby sick while trying to not exclude him or deny his attempts to be sweet was very stressful.

We’re still getting the hang of life with two but it’s slowly and steadily getting easier. We are so thankful for friends and family that continue to help and stop by just to play with Beau, bring us food, or snuggle baby brother while I shower. I never truly understood the truth and meaning behind “it takes a village” but it truly does and I’m so thankful for our village.

In the end I’m happy to report that labor was shorter the second time around. The pushing, although hours shorter, was more intense in the few pushes it took to get him out but my body bounced back in record time just like before. It felt amazing to be able to shower hours after giving birth and walk around the room. I highly recommend a solid birthing team for natural labor. Knowing you’re loved and supported during labor makes all the difference in the world. My husband rocked it (again) and we were both very thankful to have Daphne on our team again. We may be complete as a family of four but if given the opportunity I would definitely go natural for a third time.

Baby brother, 2.5 weeks old {Ann Wade Photography}

Peace & baby snuggles,

Diary of a pregnant yogi, round II…

I never imagined being nervous about having a second child but with baby boy #2 on the way I’ve realized that fears of becoming a mother for the second time are very different yet just as real.

When we first found out I was pregnant again I only imagined how wonderful of a big brother Beau would be. He is kind, loving, inquisitive, helpful, and just a bright soul all around. I know he will be amazing and at the same time realizing that he will not quite be 3 years old when the new baby comes so there will be times when he acts… well, like a 3 year old.

So far, he’s very sweet about “baby brudder” and started to kiss my belly when I was barely showing. He went to our first ultrasound appointment with us and was unsure of me being on the table but when he heard the heartbeat a few minutes later he was very focused and quiet and said, “Baby?”

Celebrating after a healthy 20-week check up on baby brother!

.

The what-if’s…

In my case, with my first birth I had a wonderful labor and birth and bounced back immediately and was feeling great. One of my biggest fears this time around is if that doesn’t happen again. What if I’m laid up in the hospital bed, relatively helpless when Beau comes to meet his baby brother? Will it upset him? How will he handle the hospital even if I’m walking around and full of energy like last time? How will he handle being away for 2-3 days?

What if I go into labor while he’s home and he sees me in pain? Will he be helpful? Will he be scared? What if I’m alone with him? Will I be able to care for him?

What if I go into labor while he’s sleeping and he wakes up with Mommy & Daddy gone and my parents have to explain to him that Mommy went to the hospital while he was sleeping?

So many questions… I’ll let you know the answers after we live through it.

The labor…

With having gone through a natural labor and birth one time I feel prepared to do it again. However, the fear if it being different, medical interventions, and an overall not as wonderful of an experience as last time is very real.

We are planning a natural/unmedicated birth in the hospital just as the first time. Two things that I feel confident in from my last experience are that I have a wonderful doctor that supports my choices and a rock solid birthing partner in my husband.

We also had an amazing labor & delivery nurse for my first birth who has since retired. We were connected on Facebook so I reached out to her and she is going to be our doula for this birth! We are so excited to have her wisdom, experience, and loving spirit on our team again!

The childcare…

Most of my worries seem to revolve around my first born this time around. How will he react? Will this completely rock his world? One thing that puts me at ease is that we are very lucky to have family live close by. We have been practicing Beau spending nights away with my parents for most of my pregnancy. We have worked our way up to a weekend away (2 nights) and while it’s hard for me he absolutely loves it. I am so relieved that we have been able to prepare him well for nights away from us.

The resources…

I found The Second Baby Book by Sarah Ockwell-Smith to be very helpful. A lot of my “what-if” questions were eased by this book. The biggest one being that our bodies tend to know when it is “safe” to go into labor (i.e. when your first baby is safe, with someone you trust, and/or asleep).

The yoga…

Here it is! The yoga section. So, my practice since becoming a mother has not come back quite the same. I never went back to teaching yoga and I rarely make it to a yoga class. My practice consists of nap-time practices (when I choose yoga over household chores) and trying to practice with a toddler on top of me… or asking me to get a toy from under the couch, or asking me to get him a snack, or just plainly requesting me to, “Get up, Mommy.” What I’m trying to say is, yoga doesn’t happen as long or as often as it used to. But it’s good in its own delightfully fun way. We have also planned for me to attend a prenatal yoga class once weekly at my local beloved Villager Yoga.

The asanaPoses that feel wonderful this time around (in no particular order).

Virasana & Supta VirasanaHero pose is my favorite pose. The thighs, the knees, the feet… feels so good all over.

Virabhadrasana I & IIThe Warriors to strengthen the legs for labor. {It feels good to move and flow in these poses. Inhale to straighten the bent knee, exhale deep bend back into the knee/full pose. Repeat.}

Pranayama… Lots of deep breathing at the beginning and end of a practice and anytime I have a quiet moment.

Surya Namaskar A & BSun Salutations fill me with energy and make me feel like I can take on the world (or nap time).

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (variation)… My hips have been very tight this pregnancy. Pigeon pose hits all the right spots. Every. Single. Time.

BalasanaChild’s pose with wide knees and deep breaths. Take a break, mama.

VrksasanaTree pose for balance, grace, and stability.

Adho Mukha SvanasanaDown dog requires its own mention outside of the Sun Salutations because I hang out here for long periods of time. Moving my hips and knees, stretching, breathing (and it’s Beau’s favorite).

MalasanaGarland pose to release the lower back and hips. This yoga squat stretches in all the right places for a pregnant yogi. {Just as in the warrior poses I move and flow in this pose. Inhale reach up, exhale deep squat down, inhale and exhale in the pose, inhale and rise to stand tall, exhale hands at my heart. Repeat.}

Bundles of love,

Stay tuned for “Another birth story…” coming sometime in November!

Related post: “Diary of a pregnant yogi…” (round I)

Yogini mama…

I finally posted a statement on my ‘yoga classes’ tab: “Currently taking a sabbatical from teaching to spend every moment possible with my toddler.” I realized that it’s been 15 months and I still can’t stand to be away from him. It was time to make my non-return to teaching website official.

I planned to return to teaching when he was 8-12 weeks old but I felt this overwhelming pull to spend as much time with him as possible. Especially after returning to work full-time when he was 5 months old.

We practice here and there together and it’s a blast. We have even made it to a few ‘mommy and me’ classes. And every once in a while I’ll squeeze in a home practice during nap time. It’s always exactly what I need.

I don’t see myself going back anytime in the near future but I do miss teaching. I miss the dedicated yogis that I saw every week. I laughed with them, cried with them, celebrated with them, and saw their yoga practice grow and transform their lives. I’ve made so many great friends through yoga.

I haven’t attended an adult yoga class in over a year. I know one day I’ll return and I’ll wonder why it took me so long to go back. And then I’ll remember that I was doing the best teaching of all. Teaching my own little human to be a positive force in the world. To shine bright on someone’s cloudy day. To love and be kind to everyone no matter the circumstance.

Making memories with my little guy

If you’re in a yoga-lull and miss the good ole days when you could attend a 2 hour class at 6pm I’m right there with you. But I challenge you to be in the present moment. Do what life calls you to do right now. Be a mom, be a dad, be a student, be a friend, be whatever life is calling you to do even if it means you miss your yoga practice. You’re doing important emotional growing and you’ll be a better person for it. Yoga will be there when you come back to your mat.

Yoga will wait.

Peace,

A birth story… 

14 hours of labor starting at 10:00am, ending with 3.5 hours of pushing and the most amazing ending at 11:57pm on February 25, 2017.

You should know that the majority of this post comes from writing on my wordpress phone app during 2am nursing sessions. I apologize in advance for typos and grammatical errors… let’s just call it baby induced insomnia writing.

My due date was Monday, February 20 and this magical thing happened… pregnancy became unbearably annoying. I was cruising along loving pregnancy except for the occasional ache and back pain. But on Monday my body decided to rebel against being pregnant and I was miserable. My back hurt constantly, I couldn’t sleeep, and I just felt enormous. Four days of this and I was ready to get this baby out! Maybe that’s what the third trimester is for… mentally preparing you for the next stage.

On Saturday morning my husband, Darren had gone to the office to get a few things done and I was hanging on the couch with my heating pad trying to get comfortable. At about 10:00am I started to have intense period like cramps but didn’t think they were contractions. As they got more intense and seemed to come in waves I called a friend for advice. I invisioned contractions being this whole-belly tightening like I had experienced with Braxton Hicks but for me that wasn’t the case. My friend said it sounded like early labor to her and so I started timing my contractions.

I was sitting on an exercise ball and leaning on the couch for support during the contractions and thought I had it under control… until I called my husband. It’s like hearing his voice made me realize how much I needed him and I broke down in tears. He rushed home and started packing the car, completing his list of things to do, and cleaning up my vomit (yep).

After talking with the doctor we headed to the hospital at about 1:00pm. I rode to the hospital in the back seat on my knees hugging the head rest. My water broke in the car and it wasn’t like I imagined either. There was no gush of fluid, just a feeling like I had just accidentally wet myself.

When we finally got to the delivery room I was freezing. I had been cold most of the morning and had a blanket around me and it definitely didn’t get better in that paper gown. As soon as they finished my hep lock IV port I got in the labor tub. The warm water felt amazing. I stayed in the tub for a few hours and it made the contractions much more bearable.

Labor tub

When I got out of the tub I had progressed from 3cm to 6cm dilated. Once in the bed I moved from my hands & knees to laying on my side to squatting to standing… whatever worked. I was constantly moving.

You hear about women cursing their husbands during labor and I’m happy to report that I had exactly the opposite experience. We had this unspoken communication during the whole thing. He gave me water, put a cold cloth on my head, held my hand, told me how amazing I was, squeezed my hips for counter pressure… he was completely amazing. I’ve never been more in love with him.

In the end I ended up on my back for delivery because that’s where I made the most progress with pushing. I had an amazing labor & delivery nurse that recommended me pulling on a towel “tug of war” style while pushing. She looped it around and I pulled on one end while she pulled back. In between contractions it was so uncomfortable to lay on my back that I stood up on the bed using the squatting bar for support. When I felt another contraction coming I would reach my hand over to Darren and he would help me back down. That was the most intense part of my labor. My doctor liked this up and down movement because the baby’s heartbeat dropped slightly between contractions when I stayed on my back. When I stood up his heartbeat returned to normal. I think it’s amazing that my body knew what I needed to do to keep myself and my baby healthy.

After 3.5 hours of pushing he was finally on my chest and just like that all the pain and intensity was gone. The next few minutes were scary and seemed to last forever. I noticed that the number of nurses in the room had multiplied and they were all looking at my baby. My doctor quickly explained “I know you wanted to delay cord clamping but we need to get him…” then it became a blur. I shook my head enthusiastically thinking “yes, do it!” I could feel the worry in the room. They took him to the warmer and suctioned, rubbed, and gave him the APGAR test. Darren stayed by my side and I assured him that I was fine and to go get a closer look. After what seemed like an eternity I saw his little arm move and heard a little cry. A few minutes later he was back on my chest and we spent the next 2 hours skin to skin. It turns out that my doctor called in for extra support when he was in the birth canal for so long. She was worried that he might get stuck at the shoulders and need assistance coming out. He came out on his own but I am very thankful for the help of the NICU nurses in that moment.

We arrived in our hospital room around 2:30am and the most amazing thing is that I, who can’t even stay awake during a movie, wasn’t even tired. I think women’s bodies and brains are wired with this survival/nurturing/protecting instinct that can run on literally no sleep. I stayed wide awake with him skin to skin, completely in awe of this tiny little human, for the rest of the night. I got approximately 5 hours of sleep in the span of our 2 day hospital stay and still didn’t feel tired.

The next morning I felt wonderful. After refueling with a big breakfast (hospital food is surprisingly good) I took a shower while my little man spent some  skin to skin time with his daddy. Going through labor and delivery without medication was definitely worth how good and energized I felt the next day.

And then there were three…

And now, 5 weeks later I still remember the events that transpired, but the memory of labor and pain has faded. And I’m left with this amazing little dude to love and care for. Darren asked me after that experience if I would go natural and unmedicated again. Absolutely. Labor is supposed to be shorter the second time around, right?

048

2 weeks old, Ann Wade Photography

Lots of love,

signature