Home Birth Postpartum Update: Week 1

Snapshot 1 (3-20-2015 3-02 PM)

I can’t believe it! One week already since the home birth of Grace May!  I’m going to give an over view of this first postpartum week and how we are all adjusting to our newest member of our family.

Pain Management

I think one of the hardest things about having a baby is the pain immediately following the delivery.  The first 24 hours is always the hardest for me and this time was no different.  To manage my pain, I used a combination of a heating pad, Ibuprofen, and uterine massage.  That worked fairly well for the most part, but the pain was still a challenge to deal with. After I finally shook the cramps loose, I began to experience a lot of pain in my pelvis and hips.  Any walking up and down the stairs increased the pain and pressure.  I spoke to my midwife about this and she said that it was because of the hormones, causing all my joints to soften up.  Since I had been on bed rest for ten week, my muscles had also atrophied enough that I had nothing supporting my ligaments and joints. Pretty much, I have to rebuild my core from scratch because of all my bed rest. Grrrrr

Feeding Schedule

Grace pretty much nurses on demand which works out to be right around every two hours. However, sometimes she nurses more since her nursing sessions are only like 5 minutes long.  She tends to fall asleep while she nurses and then wakes up a few minutes later and nurses again. That whole process can take a good 30-40 minutes until I feel like she has finally eaten enough. I have had some soreness associated with some latching issues.  We think that it has to do with her very small mouth and not the lip tie that she has. We are just waiting and seeing if it improves with time or if we will need to do something surgical with her lip tie. At night, she has been getting up about three times in the night.  I would like to transition her to her bassinet at some point, but right now, she is nursing in bed next to me.  She seems to sleep wonderfully when she is extremely warm and cuddly. And honestly, I need some sleep so I can deal with the other kids in the morning.

Homeschooling

Since walking up and down the stairs is practically non-existent, school has not been happening.  I had planned on taking at least a week off from school when Grace was born. That was to give me time to recover and attempt to get back to normal.  Art has been home with the kids and I haven’t asked him to teach school since right now we are just in survival mode.  It isn’t like a new baby comes to our house all the time, so I’m just rolling with the punches for the time being. Hopefully, I can get a few days of teaching in during the next week.

Family Adjustments

Adjusting to a new baby has not been that huge of an adjustment. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I just had another baby less than two years ago.  Whatever the case is, the kids have been doing very well with the adjustment of baby Grace.  I was more concerned about how Mary was going to react to not having as much mommy time. She has done GREAT and has accepted Grace. I haven’t sensed any jealousy or resentment and Mary’s overall demeanor has been a very sweet, love towards her sister.  I hope it stays this way!!! The big kids are adjusting just fine since they have gone through it several times before.

Emotions

Emotionally, I have felt great!  Other than being tied down by the amount of pain that I have been experiencing, my brain is just roaring to go. I can’t wait to get back on my feet! Both my midwife and her assistant has stressed to me that I need to slow down and allow my body to heal. That has been hard since I have been cooped up for ten weeks! I keep waiting for the emotional low to hit and for me to turn into a mess, but it hasn’t yet.  I often wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that I had such an emotional low last year when my grandma died that this feels easy to me?!?!  Whatever the case is, I’m thrilled to not be feeling like this crazy, crying woman. Maybe that will change over the next week!!! We will see…

Baby’s Health

Grace was weighed when she was three days old.  She had lost 6oz during the first three days. Then she was weighed at a week old and she had gained 4oz. So she isn’t quite back up to her birth weight, but she is gaining. My midwife will be coming back when she is two weeks old to weigh her again to make sure that she made it back up to her birth weight.  She has been nursing very well so I suspect that she will surpass her birth weight at her next check. Grace also has a slight touch of jaundice.  All of my children have had it in some form or another.  Thankfully, Grace’s jaundice seems to be very mild. She hasn’t acted overly sleepy and is still waking up for all of her normal feedings.  I have had children where all they do is sleep and it makes it very hard to overcome the jaundice when the baby has no desire to eat.   Overall, I think we are all doing very well considering the circumstances. The next big hurdle will be to getting Art back to work to almost full time hours and resuming school and a normal routine.  The overall pregnancy certainly presented itself with many challenges on all fronts so now it’s time to find our groove as a family and try to thrive once again.

Relaxed, Natural Home Birth: 6th Baby Birth Story and Video


Snapshot 1 (3-13-2015 11-56 AM)

They always say that every pregnancy and birth is different. That was certainly true for my sixth baby. Just when you think you have it down to a science this whole pregnancy, birth, baby thing, it get’s mixed up again.

My labor started around 30 weeks, after the death of my Grandpa.  I began having regular contractions for 28 hours straight. After consulting with my midwife, we decided that I needed to immediately go on bed rest until the contractions were well under control. I remained on modified bed rest until 36 weeks pregnant. During those six weeks, I had multiple episodes of recurrent contractions that resolved with rest and hydration.

Just when we thought we were almost in the clear, the baby engaged very low into my pelvis along with more contractions at 35 weeks. My midwife made it extremely clear that we would not be able to have a home birth at 35 weeks. After getting so close to 36 weeks I was very concerned about NOT going into labor that last week.

36 weeks rolled around and we finally got the OK to be able to have our home birth. But just like that, all signs of preterm labor were gone. Poof! After weeks of wondering if I was going to have a preemie, now this baby had absolutely NO desire to be born.  It was almost a cruel joke! I was, however, very happy that the baby wanted to cook a little bit longer.

Grace May

Grace May

At 38 weeks, I began having some regular runs of contractions but nothing came of them.  In fact, one day, I had my parents come down and hang out at the house all day because of all the contractions but after 12+ hours, they died down once again.  I asked my midwife if this was normal because I really had never had that happen with any of my other kids. She assured me that this was a normal part of pregnancy after having so many children.

On 39 weeks, 3 days, I began to have some regular contractions around 2pm.  They started out around 11-12 minutes apart and moved to about 8 minutes apart.  By 11pm, they were still very regular and picking up in intensity. My mom, who was going to be at the birth, came down to the house at 11:30pm so if I did go into active, active labor in the night, she was already there.  I was in contact with my midwife and told her that I was going to try to sleep and if they picked up I would call her.

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My midwife is close to an hour away so the timing of getting her to the house in time for the birth was crucial, considering my past history of extremely rapid labors.  At 3am, I woke up with contractions 5 minutes apart and strong. Art immediately called my midwife and we got the ball rolling.  This was it! I was excited to finally be in labor!!! My midwife showed about around 4:00 am, listened to the baby and just sat and observed my contractions. As we all chit chatted and waited, my contractions began to die down.  And by 9am, they were practically non-existent.  I was maybe 2cm dialated and 50% effaced.  It was honestly infuriating to be going through this and then having everything stop again! I felt like the girl who cried wolf just one too many times.

My midwife left since nothing was happening and I decided to just get up and start my day. My parents stayed for the morning to help watch the kids and make lunch. Since most everyone was running on about 2 hours or less of sleep, we decided to take a long nap in the afternoon and my parents went back home.

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Three o’clock rolls around and I wake up with very strong, labor like contractions. I contact my midwife once again and let her know what’s happening. She tells me to watch a movie and to distract myself to see if they will go away. I decided to go downstairs and make my groaning cake and then some sour dough cinnamon buns.  All the while having contractions 5-7 minutes apart. Around 4pm, Art decided to call Michelle and say that I can’t talk through my contractions anymore and that she should come back.  It just happened that it was also rush hour and we needed to plan for her to have enough time to get through all of the traffic.

She arrive a little after 5pm, checked the baby’s heart rate which sounded great and just hung out with us again.  She liked that I was starting to have to concentrate through contractions, but she wasn’t quite sure that labor wasn’t going to die out again. We all sat down for dinner and the contractions were still coming about every 5 minutes.  I didn’t feel like getting up and moving around, so Art and the kids cleaned up after dinner while I worked on posting a Facebook game.

Guess The Baby

I stayed sitting at the table with my birthing ball until 9:30pm and then the contractions were coming every three minutes.  I was still enjoying the conversation, but I was freezing cold and upstairs in my bedroom, it is so much warmer, so I headed upstairs and wrapped up in my bathrobe.  It was funny because my midwife never noticed that I had left and a little while later, she noticed and said that she had better head upstairs to check on me.

At that point, it was almost 10pm and I was on my knees, leaning on my ball just rocking back and forth.  My back felt better leaning on the ball during contractions but I was going stir crazy just waiting. Art pulled out Skip-Bo and we all played Skip-Bo right until that last 20 minutes of labor. I loved playing a game since it provided a great distraction through contractions. At some point, my midwife texted her assistant that she thought I was close to delivering.

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I found out later that the assistant arrived at 11:06pm and baby Grace was born at 11:25pm.  I remember chit chatting with her assistant after she arrived about local happenings in the area until my water broke at 11:21pm.  At that point, labor got extremely intense and I immediately began to push.  With maybe four pushes through one contraction, Grace’s head began to crown.  I stopped pushing at the point and let my body do the rest of the work for me.  Art and the midwife were trying to get the cord off of her neck before she was born, but she just gracefully slipped out and did a somersault right into my midwife’s hands.

It was amazing how quick the actual delivery went! The one thing that I noticed with this labor was just before my water broke, the contractions spaced out but became longer in duration.  Usually, my contractions just come one right after another. But having a few minutes between the contractions was a welcome break.  The other thing I noticed was how calm I felt.  The contractions were intense but nothing that was unbearable. Looking back, I thoroughly enjoyed my evening visiting with Michelle and my parents. I had this nagging fear in the back of my head that these contractions were going to stop because they weren’t unbearable.  I felt very calm, relaxed and almost impatient for something more to be happening.

Even though we had a 20 week ultrasound, we choose not to find out the gender.  But, based on how I felt in this pregnancy compared to other pregnancies, I was convinced I was having a BOY! In fact, I was so sure that it was a boy that I only washed the boy clothes.  Imagine my surprise when I found out it was a girl! Absolutely SHOCKED! I never, ever dreamed that it was going to be a girl. Grace May

After the birth was over and I was settled into my bed, it was hard for me to grasp what had just transpired. Nine months of anxiety mixed with anticipation and pain was gone in just four long and intense minutes of labor. It was almost like I hadn’t worked hard enough to have my beautiful baby in my arms. Words can’t describe the emotions that were going through my head that night. It was almost like the was a dream and I was just waiting to wake up.

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For the week following the delivery, I suffered with quite a bit of pain.  Pain from afterbirth cramping, pelvic and hip joint pain and breastfeeding pain. Grace has a upper lip tie causing some nursing difficulties that we have had to overcome. Despite my mental energy of wanting to get moving on all those things that I hadn’t been able to do over the past 10 weeks, physically, the pain kept me from doing much of anything.

I feel extremely blessed to be surrounded by my family and midwives during this time. They all provided outstanding care for both me and Grace.  By far, this was the best home birth experience I have had. I am also thankful for all of you…my readers and watchers who both cheered me on and helped me to stay motivated even when the pregnancy got very difficult at the end.  To each and every one of you…THANK YOU FOR BEING THERE!!!

Lydia (3.5 years) holding Grace for the first time

Lydia (3.5 years) holding Grace for the first time

Peter (almost 7) admiring baby Grace

Peter (almost 7) admiring baby Grace

 

 

 

Long and Lean and Pregnancy Food and Cravings Pregnancy Update Week 39

Snapshot 1 (3-9-2015 11-44 AM)

I finally got to see my midwife this week after her long sunny vacation!  Everything looked really good and her prediction was a long, lean baby, weighing in around 7 pounds. After experiencing early labor symptoms this past Wednesday and then having labor STOP(!!!), I was more than emotionally drained.  My midwife offered up some suggestions on how to handle these next couple of days while waiting for labor.  Honestly, I was so glad that she came to my house. It gave me that emotional boost that I really needed and after she left, I was really in the mood to pass the time with cooking. I ended up making three different things (while my ever so sweet husband cleaned up my mess!).

Saturday’s are my day to cook my sour dough bread. It came out even better this week! I’m thinking that it rises better the older it gets?!?!

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Then for lunch, I made a pumpkin curry soup with homemade sour dough croutons.  The croutons were made out of the left-over sour dough bread from last week.

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After that, I had a hankering for something sweet, so that’s when I made a pumpkin cheese coffee cake.IMG_2529

 

I was tired after doing all that cooking, but it felt good to get back into the kitchen again. Of course, I couldn’t have done all that without the help of my VERY patient and loving husband!!!!