Archive | April 2013

Vera’s Ecstatic Almost Water Birth Story

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Hubby holding my hand while in the birthing pool

I feel so blessed and incredibly empowered by the amazing, loving, spiritual, and peaceful birth of my beautiful baby Vera. Birth doesn’t have to be scary, it can be the most incredible and ecstatic experience a woman can ever have, I am living proof!

Getting Labor Started

The week that Vera was born I had turned 39 weeks pregnant, which was messing with my head a lot at first because Elena was born in my 39th week of pregnancy. So I started trying some mild natural ways to move things along. On Sunday my doula came for a visit and I was feeling anxious and so excited for the birth because after talking about it with her, we decided to say “screw you!”, to my current scheduled place of birth so we could have our baby at the hospital with one of the lowest c-section rates in the state, and so I could labor in the water.

On Monday I had a prenatal massage, which actually wasn’t that great during, but I felt great after it was over! I tried to have a good cry for a release of emotions and stress hormones by watching a sad movie, so I put on The Pianist. I didn’t end up crying, just tearing up a little. But I had a good cry later that week, getting emotional about Elena and how I wanted so much to be the best mommy I could for her.

On Tuesday I took Elena to play at my mom’s house and she made us dinner and I got to sit and the backyard with my parents and Elena and just chill.

On Wednesday my dad came with Elena and I to Fairy Tale Town which was on my list of things to do before baby came. Later that day we met my mom and youngest sister for pizza downtown, it was such a fun time!

On Thursday I had my doctor’s appointment with my favorite OB that I had met so far. We found that I was now 3cm dilated after only being about a finger tip dilated two weeks before! Still 80% effaced and everything else looked great. She brought up having an induction if Vera didn’t come soon, and I said I would only be open to it if I passed the 41 week mark. Isn’t it strange that they just can’t expect a baby to come on its own the natural way? I started taking evening primrose that day and had some braxton hicks contractions later that evening. A false alarm! I was sad that the contractions stopped. That’s when I got emotional and had a good cry on my husband’s shoulder.

Our Birth Story

On Friday April 12th I took a beautiful evening walk around our apartment complex with Elena. She loves flowers and loves to pick them, so we walked around doing that and chasing ducks, and everything was calm and peaceful and warm. I got Elena to bed early that night so that my husband and I could have some alone time, which I must say was awesome! Later that night I was lying in bed trying to sleep when I started feeling contractions low in my uterus. I think they started around midnight, so I decided to continue lying down and focus on them so that they wouldn’t stop. They were fairly strong and already lasting a minute, and were about five minutes apart! It was around 1:00am when I got up to tell my husband who was on the computer in the living room. I relaxed on the couch while he timed my contractions, still lasting over a minute with five minutes in between, and they were strong. They slowed a little when I stopped focusing on them to call my mom and my doula, and to text everyone else who needed to know I was in labor. My husband was hurrying around getting things ready to go and cleaning up our kitchen while I sat on the birth ball laboring and talking to my mom who came over to stay with Elena.

My doula arrived soon after my mom and reminded me that my contractions were so strong and consistent already since I had been 3cm dilated and bypassed all the early labor contractions that I had with my first labor. We decided to leave a little earlier for the hospital in case Elena woke up because I didn’t want to have to leave her while she was upset and tired. We were on our way to the hospital around 3:30am. Contractions were strong, but I wouldn’t call any of my labor process painful. as long as I breathed through them and focused, I was handling them fine.

We got to the birth center and they monitored the baby and I for twenty minutes on a hospital bed. In between contractions My husband, my doula and I were talking and laughing. I said I had the song Afternoon Delight stuck in my head during one of our conversations and they laughed, and my doula said that now she had it stuck in her head! Ha ha! My husband was right there for every contraction, I couldn’t get through one without holding on to him at that point. My doula was there to talk me through the tougher contractions and it felt great when she rubbed my back in between. I got sick and threw up once, a sign that transition was either here or approaching quickly, and my doula said that she loved it when moms got sick because it helped dilation. Our wonderful nurse Juliette checked me and I was at 6cm dilated, and informed us that unfortunately I could not deliver Vera in the water because I was missing a blood test for some type of hepatitis that they did not do for me at the previous hospital, but I could still labor in there. So she got the birthing pool ready and left the room again. It almost over flowed, luckily my doula noticed and turned it off! They bailed off some water and helped me climb inside. And when I got in…euphoria! it was instant wonderful, tantalizing, heavenly relief! My doula said it was better than the epidural, and I can imagine that she is right! Wow, it felt amazing!

I leaned over the tub on my knees, holding on to Vlad who was on the other side, not in the water. My doula was to my right side and she had lit all of the candles surrounding me in the tub. Vlad asked me to turn and look behind me, but I didn’t want to move. I didn’t want to break the labor spell so to speak, to lose my focus and thus lose my control over the waves of contractions. I had to stay on top, focus on my breathing. I was shocked to find that I had minutes of rest in between contractions after being dehydrated in my first labor had sent them one on top of another. I wasn’t in the water long before I could feel that I was in transition. I could feel my body opening up and my baby descending with each incredible wave. The feeling was indescribable and powerful. It wasn’t painful, it was transcendent. Juliette checked the baby’s heartbeat with a doppler in the water. Then I started to feel the need to push, and those contractions were admittedly a little scary, thank goodness for my husband and doula to keep me focused and grounded, for keeping my pushing noises and moans low and effective. I felt my water break, felt the little pop and the water rushing out around me.While I was still in the water I reached down a couple of times to feel for the baby’s head. If I wasn’t afraid of what my body was doing I think I would have pushed her head out right there in the water! But I was holding back a little, and Juliette came in and wanted to check my progress. I could not speak or explain to anyone that her head was right there! I was hoping they would understand by what I was doing (reaching to check for her head) and by the sounds I was making.

They helped me out of the water, and I had a contraction right there in front of the tub, and suddenly her head was crowning and I was paralyzed, I could not move my legs! The only thing I could say was, “I can’t move, I can’t move!”. They wanted me to squat down, but I couldn’t get myself to move, I couldn’t say she was coming even though I knew, I couldn’t speak. Then suddenly I birthed her head with the next contraction and I heard Juliette yell for the OB who came in the room fast. I heard the OB say that she didn’t think I was in a very good position to push, and well, I knew I wasn’t and couldn’t go anywhere else! As soon as I heard my doula say that her head was out and all I needed to do was let her come, I let go of the fear that was gripping my body and just let it do its thing. I moved my left leg open and to the side and delivered my baby with the next contraction! She was put into my arms, and I walked over to the bed to lie down with my baby on my chest, her cord still attached.

!I felt like I was in a dream, I told everyone that I was afraid I was going to wake up pregnant because every thing felt so surreal. It was unbelievable! We got to the hospital sometime before 4am and Vera was delivered at exactly 6:30am, weighed 7lbs 8 ounces and was a little over 19 inches long. It was such an incredible experience, more beautiful than I thought my birth experience could possibly be, but definitely the birth that I had prepared for, hoped for, and prayed for.

Vera is the sweetest and calmest little baby, and we are all so in love with her. I am so happy I could give her such a beautiful entrance into life in this world. A welcoming that was so gentle, peaceful and loving. The whole experience and my two girls are truly a miracle and a gift from God, and I will be grateful every day of my life for these blessings.

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The birthing pool surrounded by candles

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Minutes after Vera’s birth

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Later that day in the postpartum recovery room

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Sweet baby Vera

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April Birthdays and Pregnancy Reflections

BFP at 12dpo, my first positive test!

BFP at 12dpo, my first positive test!

I have been counting down to April using special events as markers of progress or milestones reached, most of which were holidays or fun events for our family to do with Elena. The first half was slow until we reached the holidays and time seemed to go a little faster, and even faster after the New Year.

Looking back on this pregnancy, I see a long and tough first trimester with things turning around at the very beginning of the third trimester. I was having horrible morning sickness all day and night and most of the time I was dead tired and could pretty much sleep any time any where. My husband really helped me through by stepping up and taking over the kitchen completely, becoming the family chef and dish washer, and being a great daddy.

He really came through for Elena’s 2nd Birthday Party in September (as he always does), and even though he got really sick that day himself, but through our misery I got so much joy from seeing Elena have fun and from being with my most wonderful family at the park in the shade.

We conceived our baby in July, and I announced that we were pregnant in August when I got my first real positive test and everyone (my family) was driving to Santa Cruz that day, while we were fixed to leave the next day. Those early weeks were so awesome food wise because I was not yet sick and I was putting away food like an elephant! And speaking of elephant as we made our way to Santa Cruz that next day we had the best lunch at the Ele.phant Bar in a back room alone where we enjoyed ourselves and Elena could be her toddler self.

When I saw her on the beach looking at the ocean for the first time, she was so so excited and happy that it is a moment I will never forget and I have been dying to go back to the beach ever since! She also had a blast on the rides and we got a lot of video of her sweet smiles and waving at us.

In October it was Elena’s first time trick or treating and she was a pro, dressed as Rapunzel with a jack-o-lantern candy bag. She has been candy obsessed ever since I got pregnant really, since I was too tired to be super strict about it. Vlad also celebrated is 32nd birthday that night and we all had a lot of fun.

I cooked a feast for Thanksgiving including stuffing, ham, green bean casserole, a couple other dishes, and hubby made a most succulent turkey. My dad and grandpa came over to eat and later we got to go to my aunt’s for more great family and food. I was so happy that I was able to eat and not feeling as sick at that point, though I was completely exhausted!

In December I bought tons of dollar store Christmas decor for our tree and apartment. I made a gingerbread house and cookies with Elena, though she was interested more in eating the candy than decorating with it. We watched lots of Christmas movies and Elena’s first song sung ever ended up being Santa Claus is Coming to town, to which she would add the words, “to bring presents me!”. Too adorable! Seeing her open her own gifts Christmas morning and being excited was also something I will never forget. We rung in the New Year at my mom’s and I was really wishing I could have had some wine or champagne that night.

For Valentines Day my grandma and mom joined Elena, hubby and I to Dis.ney on ice which featured Elena’s favorite princesses. Too much cotton candy made an intermission meltdown, but we made it through without a scratch lol. She was so cute though, clapping and turning around to make sure that every single one of us was clapping too! When Vlad and I took Elena to the ice show the first time it was much more of a success in that there was no meltdown and it was a great first family moment. That first show was around her birthday sometime in the fall.

I had been telling Elena throughout the pregnancy that baby Vera would come out after the Easter Bunny came to hide eggs, so March was a huge milestone to pass up in this pregnancy. We colored eggs for the first time together in our kitchen the night before Easter, and Elena was very proud of them. We had the best Easter morning at my mom’s with an amazing home-made breakfast. It was a relaxing Easter morning and the sky was gorgeous and heavenly after a night of a thunder and lightning rain storm. Then we went exploring Old Sac with Vlad’s best friends and Elena’s God papa and had a nice seafood dinner.

Throughout my pregnancy I have been worried about Elena and making sure I do lots of fun things for her before the baby is born. Reflecting on this pregnancy has really given me a better perspective because it is so hard to see the big picture on a day-to-day basis when I want some time for myself, or having to take time to clean the apartment, and some days not making it to the park or even making it outside on some days. But looking back now I can see that I have been putting her first the whole time, and I am still trying.

My birthday marked the very last milestone I was waiting to get to before the baby is born because it also marked the beginning of week 38! Elena was born during my 39th week of pregnancy. I was hoping for some special moments with her yesterday on my birthday and we definitely got some memorable ones. My mom took us to pick up the cake and then my family just relaxed and drank tea here while the kids played for a while. Then we were outside and Elena was throwing things in the duck pond, got too close, and fell in for the first time! Poor thing! At least it was shallow, she sort of walked/tripped into the water up to her chest.

Probably the best moments for her and I were relaxing on the couch after her bath, and then this morning when she woke up happy and calm and we just stayed in bed for a while chatting and cuddling. I told her that baby Vera was getting big and that she would come out soon and she replied, “No she not big, just little!”. And she is right, though I know Vera has been growing because I woke up to some new birthday stretch marks yesterday ha ha! She really likes my left side, and she was a very busy girl after 10:00 last night.

Before my birthday I was so worried about how hard and stressful things might be with Elena after the baby is born, but I’m not any more. I feel like she will be a wonderful big sister and that the welcoming of Vera into our family will be a smooth and happy one. I am looking forward to her birth and my husband and doula being by my side. The next big thing for Elena will be meeting her baby sister for the first time, and I can’t wait to see how happy and fascinated she will be with baby Vera!