When you are getting ready to have your first baby there is so much anticipation about the birth process. You can read and prepare but you really have no clue what it will really be like. Then with your second, you have the previous experience and thus you shape your expectations of the second birth off that first experience (whether it was good or bad) plus the wealth of knowledge that you’ve gained since then too. I had expectations for my second birth. I think we all do. But boy did God decide to show me how little control I have and how He ultimately knows what is best for us.
As I approached my due date, I began praying for specific things regarding our birth and labor experience. Slowly, each prayer I prayed kept getting denied and I’d have to adjust my expectations and trust that God knew what He was doing. There were so many things going against my anticipated plan that I nearly changed from delivering at the hospital birthing center to doing a home birth. But in the end, I trusted that God was still in control of the whole thing.
For some reason, I truly believed I would deliver early. When my 2.5 year old daughter told me God told her it would be on the 16th, I think that date became sort of ingrained in my head. However, that day came and went. As did the next 10 days between that and my due date… And then the 10 days after my due date. God taught me a lot in those 20 days. I prayed for patience and while I got it, it wasn’t in the form that I had anticipated…a nice head cold came my way from week 39-40. Then I subluxed a rib and had excruciating pain in my side limiting my movements. My grandparents came and went, without the arrival of our little baby. My dad came and went. My best friend and step mom came and went…still no baby.
I had literally tried everything to induce labor. Knowing that I would be traveling for a wedding in only a few weeks, I wanted my little newborn to be as strong as possible for the cross country adventure. Even as stupid as some of the natural induction method sounded, I was willing to give it a try…eating lots of pineapple, walking one foot on the curb and one off, coffee potty (google if you’re interested!), spicy food, Chinese food, Labor cookies (google!), red raspberry leaf, evening primrose oil, castor oil, etc. You get the idea.
Then finally…after 2 false labor starts, I started to feel the same thing again. My contractions weren’t really strong but they were frequent (like the 2 false starts), coming every 1-5 minutes. Joe and I went for a walk and they seemed to slow a little. They’d pick back up when I got in the shower. I was hopeful that it would be labor as I had my induction date scheduled and was really hoping that I’d go into labor before then. But at the same time, the way the contractions were (or weren’t really) progressing made me sort of doubtful.
I finally called my midwife and she suggested waiting another 30 minutes and see how things progressed. When I called back after 30 minutes, not much had changed. We decided we’d head in just to see how things were progressing at least for peace of mind. As we were driving to the hospital, I told Joe that I didn’t think it was the night. My contractions were getting further apart, now 6-7 minutes a part but feeling a little more intense. Walking into the emergency room, I was getting a little depressed. When I went in with my daughter, it was obvious I was in labor (I was 8 cm dilated at that point–of course it was obvious. Read my daughter’s birth story here).
When the midwife performed an exam, I was 4cm. Better than I had been at my appointment just a few days prior but not really what I’d been hoping to hear. She suggested admitting because my first labor went quickly and if things didn’t progress, I could go home. Being GBS positive, if I received 2 doses of antibiotics (which have to be given 4 hours apart), she’d discuss breaking my water if we needed to speed things along. It had been too long since my stress test so they did another one. He wasn’t responding well so they gave me some fluids until his heart rate started responding adequately.
We transferred to the birth center, Joe went to the car to get our stuff, and I was in the room all by myself, swaying on the side of the bed with each contraction, which seemed to be getting more and more intense. Within just a few minutes, my water broke. With my daughter, I had been in the birthing tub when my water broke so I never really had that same experience. The nurse came in and immediately called the midwife saying “light mec.” The midwife came and examined and determined that the amount of meconium in my fluid was to be expected being 10 days over and it wasn’t enough to exclude me from the birth center. Thank goodness!
With the time between my water breaking and delivering my daughter, and everyone anticipating this labor to be uber fast, I called my friend Rachel to let her know she could come down as she was planning to take pictures. She was there in no time and I labored in the shower and the tub for a few hours. I tried to eat a little snack to keep my energy up and be prepared. Bad idea, I threw it up all over the room before I could make it to the toilet.
After awhile, I noticed I was getting a lot of time in between my contractions. It was nice to have a little rest and everyone kept saying “it’s the calm before the storm.”
At 7, it was shift change and the midwives were trying to decide if they needed to have an extra midwife stay on (apparently the first week in March has been a busy time this year). So they did an exam and I was at 7-8cm. So we continued on…Joe providing counter pressure to my back with each contraction. We used a few oils here and there, finding great reprieve with the lavender, peppermint, and wild orange.
I was losing my steam and energy. I sort of had a gut inclination that things weren’t going well. I was still at 7cm and he was still at -2 station (where he’d been for the last 2 weeks when I’d had my membrane sweep in the office). For weeks, I’d been pretty sure he was in the posterior position and I had spent weeks trying to turn him to no avail. Something in my gut made me feel like he wasn’t getting into my pelvis because he was in the posterior position and that’s why labor wasn’t progressing. Between contractions I was walking and walking around in my room. With each contraction, I was performing lunges and squats and other maneuvers to try to get him to turn and engage. My contractions were getting farther and farther apart. I was now getting about 5-15 minutes between contractions. Despite my efforts, I didn’t feel like I was making progress. Sometimes during a contraction I’d bear down trying to make him progress. I could sometimes feel like he was engaging but as soon as the contraction let up, he’d bounce back up. Joe and my midwife were both great at trying to encourage me on. After while, I kept just repeating “I can’t do this. I can’t do this.” The breaks between such intense contractions was making it unbearable. I just kept wishing for more contractions because I knew the more I had the more productive it would be.
Eventually my midwife approached the subject of pitocin. She agreed we needed to get the contractions to pick back up and all the natural methods we’d tried just weren’t doing it, and my contractions were continually getting further and further apart. I had been in labor for 12 hours already and was tired! I knew pitocin contractions could be super intense and wasn’t sure I was up for doing that after having labored for 12 hours, when I was already ready to give up. In my head, I kept thinking….this labor was supposed to be faster than my first and I’m now at 12 hours and still have a ways to go….where is this baby???
It didn’t take much for me to feel comfortable with the idea of having an epidural and getting the pitocin. Before going into labor, my advice to people that wanted to do it natural was to go into the experience totally determined to push through and not let an epidural be an option in your head. I truly feel like God gave me the peace of mind about the decision. I feel he’d been setting up the whole experience thus far to prepare my heart for making that decision.
It was right as we were transferring to L&D that my mom (who had just landed from Sacramento) and my sister (drove down from OC), both showed up. I started crying as I told them we were transferring but feel it was more of grieving moment. Shedding off my expectations of birth and the amazing experience I had envisioned, and giving it up for whatever may come.
Up until this point, I was unable to tolerate a contraction without movement and Joe putting pressure on my back. But the contractions were dulling and I was able to maintain seated on the edge of the bed or in the wheelchair. Yet again, receiving reassurance that I was making the right decision to get the pitocin. And yet again, I threw up when I tried to drink some tea my sister had brought me.
The transfer from the birth center to L&D is when I sort of lost track of time so not sure exactly on all the timing. The anesthesiologist gave me my epidural but after awhile I was still feeling pain in one little slice near my hip. The anesthesiologist came back and gave me 2 more doses. I’ve never had any sort of pain med like that. It was a weird experience, still being able to move my legs a little, feel him moving in my belly, but no longer feeling contractions. Once I was good and numb, they started the pitocin. Slowly over the next few hours, my nurse would increase the pitocin, waiting for my contractions to get back to every 2-3 min. They kept lingering at around 3-5min apart.
My sister wandered over to the monitors and watched the contractions. She kept saying “you have to be able to feel that…that’s a huge contraction.” I had begun to feel a little pressure, so I was thinking that it would be getting close to the time. A few minutes later my nurse walked in and we told her what our conversation had been. She decided to do a quick exam and see if she could see the baby’s head at all. To our surprise….his head was half way out. The next few minutes were craziness! Joe had been asleep, so he scrambled to get awake. The nurses were scrambling for the midwife. When she wasn’t there quickly, they began calling for an OB. But just then the midwife walked in. She was shocked to find his head all the way out. They asked if I could push at all and I did my best but not sure if it did anything to help as he slithered is way out, in the anterior position nonetheless.
16 hours later, our little boy was born! All 8lbs 13 oz of him! (My daughter had said 16 all along and I interpreted to be 2/16 as in February 16. Instead he was born at 2:16). He was immediately placed on my chest but wasn’t really breathing. The nurses and I were all trying to stimulate him to breath but he wasn’t making progress. The midwife immediately cut his cord and they took him to the table for some O2 and suctioning. It was a bummer to not have the delayed cord cutting and for my husband not to be able to do it.
After a few minutes they brought him back to me saying he was breathing better but still not great. I laid him on my chest, talking to him and praying he’d take a few good breaths. After a few coughs, his breathing no longer sounded wet. I put him near the breast and he immediately started nursing….and didn’t stop! It was amazing! My daughter and I struggled with breast feeding for weeks so it was amazing to see him latch on and go for it as if he had done it many times before.
I do feel in some ways I need to grieve the ideal experience I had been hoping and praying to have. I do feel blessed for how things went. An OB friend of mine suggested that the epidural and the pitocin could have what allowed him to turn, by relaxing my hips and creating more consistent and effective contractions. When I read all the possibilities that could occur during birth, things could have been worse. My experience wasn’t a bad one by any means, just different than what I had envisioned. Going through the whole process again in my head does make me sad for the birth I won’t have but grateful for the way it did go.
With my daughter I had lots of labor support. This time, I relied solely on my husband and I’m grateful for all he did. I couldn’t have done it without him.
I wrote about this book and CD in a recent blog posting about my preparations for a natural delivery. However, I wanted to highlight them again. They have been pretty profoundly powerful for me in the last few weeks.
The weeks surrounding Christmas, I was having a lot of belly pains. Thankfully my sciatica hip pain wasn’t as bad but the pain I was having in my belly was pretty profound. It was localized in one spot but felt like my tissue was literally ripping apart. I tried a few different essential oils, a bath, rest, etc. About the only thing that made it not hurt was lying down. But as soon as I stood back up, it’d hurt again…grr. Of course like most other people, I consulted Dr. Google. The only options I could come up with were 1). Round ligament pain (But in my mind this just felt different than what most people describe) 2). Just a normal part of pregnancy people experience 3). An umbilical hernia.
At my appointment with my midwife, I described how it felt, when I felt it, what made it feel better, etc. and her first thoughts were, “sounds like maybe the beginning of an umbilical hernia.” Yeah for me! Unfortunately, there isn’t much more than I can do to prevent it from getting worse because I was already wearing an abdominal belt, limiting my weight lifting (i.e. picking up my daughter), and overall body exertion. In that appointment, it was also discovered that our baby was most likely in the breech position. She couldn’t entirely tell because she couldn’t feel him very well but that was sort of her intuition from what she did feel. Being I’m only 33 weeks, I know there is time to flip still but we’re getting closer down to the wire here. I left that appointment feeling pretty down. It’s been a rough pregnancy and doesn’t seem to be getting any easier. My first pregnancy was so easy and such a breeze (relatively!) that it was weighing on me physically and mentally.
I had purchased “Childbirth in the Glory”. So I decided to start listening to it. Within the first few songs, I could feel my demeanor change. I began to feel like I could lay claim to some of these promises God had made and God does answer our prayers and responds to our faith. After a few days of listening, I can tell you, I have had very little pains. When I begin to face doubts of God’s faithfulness, I begin to experience pains. It only takes listening to the CD to remind myself that I can claim these truths.
As I started reading Supernatural Childbirth again, it began to do the same thing. I began to feel myself saying “yes Lord, you have given us the power to ask and receive miracles.”
I lay in bed last night feeling my belly, attempting to “belly map” my baby (it’s such a difficult task…I think mostly because I’m guessing he’s posterior, which means he’s up against my spine and difficult to find). I began to think “yeah, I think he’s in the breech position.” But then I reminded myself, that God is more powerful than waiting to rely on my midwife to do an external cephalic version or using essential oils to turn him or whatever random exercises I can find to turn a breech baby. God made my baby, placed him in my womb and will see that he is born healthy. By the time my husband came to bed, I was confident that God would give me a head down baby if I asked for one and believed that he would give me one. I told my husband “I think he’s head down.” I could somewhat feel what I thought might be him in a head down position, but I’m not sure exactly what I’m feeling. But God knows where he is and can make him move.
I can’t say that I don’t still experience daily aches that should be expected when you are carrying 20-30 more pounds than you normally do on days when I do a little too much, but I can say that the excruciating pain I was having in my belly and my hip have both been significantly reduced or at times completely subsided! Praise the Lord for healing and miracles!
Natural childbirth, supernatural childbirth, or childbirth in any form is a daunting task. There are many fears, doubts, moments of triumph as well as feelings of defeat. My advice to people considering a natural childbirth is to commit with your whole heart, and not even allow yourself the thought that you’d choose an epidural or pain meds if you needed. Your heart and mind needs to be invested in order to overcome the amount of intensity experienced during birth. This CD and book, are an EXCELLENT way to prepare for that, and even more so, a supernatural childbirth. If you are pregnant, please read Supernatural Childbirth and listen to Childbirth in the Glory.
Do I think that someone could have a painless pregnancy? I think frame of mine makes a huge difference. I had read Supernatural Childbirth pretty early on in my pregnancy with my daughter, and as I said before, had a pretty easy pregnancy. Not to say this is the reason the pregnancies are different, but I truly think it made a difference. I believe God will answer prayers and fulfill promises and truths that we can lay hold of in the Bible. God has the desire to bring about healing. But, I also believe God has given us tools within our world to use to help combat some of the aches that come along with pregnancy. We shouldn’t be negligent to say God will heal us without using any of the tools He’s given us.
You may have heard of them but not really sure what they are. You may know they aren’t good for you but aren’t really sure why or how. I did a little exploring and research and thought I’d share my findings. I was actually surprised at what I found because I was in the group described above!
We tried to stop eating foods that contained Nitrates and Nitrites when I was pregnant a few years ago. At the time, I didn’t really know why or what it was about them but we stopped eating them. And figured if it wasn’t safe to eat during pregnancy, it may not be safe to eat otherwise. Hence, we haven’t really eaten them since. But now I know a little more about why. (and I was surprised to find out that some of the fruits and veggies we commonly eat have them but in non-harmful ways)
They are naturally occurring in some foods. They are used artificially to help preserve foods, most commonly hot dogs and deli meats.
So a few of the details…..Sodium nitrates convert to nitrites when consumed or added to foods and when nitrites are exposed to high heat, they can convert to nitrosamines. Nitrosamines are a known carcinogenic.
There is mixed research regarding if these nitrites and nitrates actually cause cancers or other health disorders, but the general consensus is that they don’t do good to the body.
Some produce contains them but it’s not as much of an issue in naturally occurring foods. Because the vitamin C in the foods prevent the nitrites from converting to nitrosamines.
Here’s the tricky part though, oftentimes foods that label their foods as “uncured” or nitrate free oftentimes use celery juice which can contain the same if not more than those foods with nitrates added. (This was new information for me!)
Also, nitrates can be found in your drinking water because it is found in fertilizers used at many farms. The run off can then be found in your food.
Pregnant woman should be especially careful of their consumption because of the nitrosamines. Some have found an increase in infant tumors and other birth defects with high levels of nitrates during pregnancy. Children are also most susceptible to the effects of the nitrates.
The number one take away is in order to combat the effects of nitrate in foods is to make sure to eat as organic as possible and to eat foods high in antioxidants and vitamins such as vitamin C. LOAD up on the fruits and veggies! Limit your consumption of cured meats and cook your meats (such as bacon) slower on a lower temperature to reduce the amount of conversion to nitrosamines during cooking. Choose to eat fresh chicken or turkey on sandwiches versus deli meats.
So in the end are they something to be afraid of?? Well, my answer would be maybe. It depends on the rest of your diet. If you are eating a primarily veggie based diet, and only eating nitrate preserved foods occasionally, I wouldn’t worry. If you eat them consistently, it might be something to rethink.