Friday, July 15, 2011

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'

Baby Hendrik shocked me to death! Last week I put him on his belly and at the next feeding, he was on his back. At first I thought maybe I was delirious and had put him on his side, so I just didn't think more about it. Vivienne rolled over at 4 months old. Yesterday, Johannes told me that on the previous night, Hendrik rolled over! It was true! Little man is not so little. It's going so fast!

Vivienne is having a hard time, and I think it's because she is seeing me feeding Hendrik every 3 hours, for 30 minutes at a time, and in that time, I'm not able to play with her. It's hard on mamma too. My patience has definitely been tested as we are going through some terrible twos, if you will. But I am so proud of my baby girl. She is on day 2 of peeing on the potty, with only two accidents. I have to thank Margie who really pushed her and bought her some pony panties which she did NOT want to pee on. Okay. We are getting serious now. I'm going to really go for it with her. She knows and she is ready.

Tomorrow is going to be an exciting day for us! Vivienne gets to see Barney at Tweetsie! She is sooo excited! I hope she isn't scared of the big purple dinosaur in person. We scored two free tickets from a close friend, which is such a huge blessing. The tickets are $34 per adult - can you believe that???

Well, I'm on week 6 of being off work. Hendrik turned 5 weeks old last night. It's so hard to believe! He really woke up this past week. He is bright eyed and smiles and coos when we have eye contact. I love this part. We are bonding in such a sweet way.

The kids and I spent last week in WV with my parents. It was so needed and wonderful. My mom is off this summer because she is a teacher, so we had good quality time between the two of us as well. I cannot wait until a week from Monday when they come to NC. They decided to spend their vacation in NC with us instead of at the beach. They decided to because of the crazy high heat and because Alycen is due any day now and may not make it to her c-section date. She was 2-3 weeks early with both of the girls, so based on that, the last week of July is very possible. It would be much easier for them to drive home from 4 hours away instead of 13. I was bummed that we weren't going to the beach at first, but because Johannes and I are going with my sister and her family in a few weeks, I'm okay with it. I want to be at the beach so bad!! I am currently looking at things we can do while they are in town. Some things on the agenda: Asheboro Zoo, Shatley Springs, Winston or Hickory to shop, swimming in the indoor pool at their hotel! It will be good to have them here. I can't wait!

June flew by and now July is half gone. In the time it took from Hendrik's birth to now, will be the time it takes for me to go back to work. Oh my goodness, I'm sad about that. I want to stay at home more than anything, but it's just not possible. I need to keep my head up and realize many many moms have to do this. I think it will be good for Vivienne to go back to daycare because of her friends and the developmental activities, but it will be so hard to take Hendrik, as it was when Vivienne was a baby. Some other person holding and cuddling my baby boy... ugh. I never came to terms with that for Viv's first year, and I expect I won't for him either. I am praying we find the perfect person for him... a "grandma" rather than an "aunt".

Sunday, June 26, 2011


I have to brag on my sweet children. I have a daughter who is so sweet and funny, and my cuddle bug. I have a son who eats, sleeps, eats, sleeps, repeat. :) I am at peace and wonder if this is the Lord's way of saying - "You can do this several more times." :) I truly love being a mommy. What a blessing.

This week could be described as productive. I was able to accomplish a lot in the home, yet also get out and about for my own sanity reasons. I emptied out Hendrik's closet that was holding our winter coats. Bad news is that if we were running out of storage several months ago pre-second baby, we are definitely out of room now. Eek. Basically, I have a huge tub sitting on our front porch until I get down to the storage building to clear out space. Ah. I'm ready for a bigger house. We have to wait at least one more year or pay back the $8000 tax credit. I think it's worth waiting, but I might go insane in the process.

Hendrik was due yesterday officially. Thank the good Lord for early deliveries! You know with Vivienne, when I was officially "done" and told my boss I needed to start maternity leave, my water broke that night. With Hendrik, I packed my bags 2 days before my water broke. I was officially done in my mind on that Sunday. There is much to be said about mommy feelings in my opinion. People, if you are feeling that way, watch out! :)

This week I took both kids to walmart on my own. I had the babies and we were walking out to the car. I was aggravated because I waited in line forever then got up to the register and realized my wallet was out in the car. The lady wouldn't wait on me to get my wallet (though no one was behind us). I was so tempted to leave the kids there with her and run out to the car which was right outside the door, but I didn't! So we were walking out and this sad little old man was sitting on the bench with his head down. Vivienne was walking behind me while I was pushing the cart and telling her to hurry up. She continued walking real slow and my patience was tested. When we passed the man, she nearly came to a stop and was staring at him. When he looked up at her, she smiled and waved at him. I told Vivienne to come on and gave him a half smile, thinking about my frozen pizzas which must have been thawed out by now, and the baby who would wake to eat at any moment. All of the sudden, the man stood up and his demeanor changed. He had a huge smile on his face. He started talking to Vivienne and pulled out quarters to give to her. He then said to me, "Please take your kids to church before it's too late, will you?" and started crying. I just stood there stunned for a second and then got teary realizing what he was saying. He came to look at the baby in the cart, and said it again. I didn't know what to say to him. Vivienne said "TANKS!" and I smiled and told him "I will, I promise" and we walked out. I was thinking the whole time what I could say to him on my return, but when we got in, he was gone.

I learned a lesson today. Next time, I will sit and let my pizzas thaw out, and have a conversation. I had a great teaching opportunity today, and I passed it up. Actions sure speak louder than words when raising your children. Today, Vivienne's actions taught me.

On Thursday, I was talking to baby Hendrik during his few seconds of awake time every day (seriously, this child will not wake up!). He was staring at me and kicking away. All the sudden, he smiled and cooed. I couldn't believe it! We've been watching him smile in his sleep, but it shouldn't happen during awake time for a few more weeks. I think I have a genius child. ;) Just kidding - but please seriously overlook my bragging throughout this blog, but this is how I'm going to document all these fun moments.

So I have a few goals for this week. I am feeling 100% and ready to get on the fit camp bandwagon. I hope to go walk at least 3 days this week. Grandma and Grandpa Roten brought Vivienne some beautiful little girls furniture today. I'm going to finish her room this week and hopefully post pictures next. I'm so excited about it! I'm also going to pick up a futon we just purchased which will go perfectly in Hendrik's room in place of the guest bed. All this interspersed with the daily cleaning routine (how in the world does my house get to be such a mess after spending all day cleaning?) We leave on Friday for my parents and our first road trip with Hendrik. Dad wants to introduce him in our church (it's a new baby routine - we stand and get to show him off in front of 500 people). ;) I am very excited to go home and see the fam. I miss them!

July is going to be crazy. Mom and I are flying to Austin to see my younger sister sometime this month and then I am taking the kids to vacation with my parents at the end of this month. I wish Johannes could go with us, but he won't be able to take off. We go on our own family vacation in August.

So, happy due date, Baby Hendrik! I'm so thankful to God that He gave us 2 1/2 extra weeks with you. :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Week One

Just wanted to record my first week as a mommy to a little boy. Wow - what a week it has been!

We traveled home from High Point when Hendrik was 1 1/2 days old. The ride was a little hard because I had to sit for 2 hours straight. I was reeling from the whole birthing experience, recalling every little detail and thanking God for his goodness. I love Him so much. He is so faithful to us!

I am also thankful for my mommy. I can't tell you how much I love her. Mom stayed in NC from Wednesday the 8th through Thursday the 16th. She was so great. She made us dinner almost every night, cleaned my house, cuddled my babies, bought a ton of gifts/groceries/plants (to dress up my porch). My mom is wonderful. I don't know what I would have done without her this past week.

Monday was Hendrik's first appointment with Dr. Lonas. He weighed 7lb 2oz (lost 7 ounces since birth). I was pleasantly surprised. Vivienne lost nearly a pound her first three days and I was warned that if she didn't start gaining the following day, I would have to supplement with formula. This time was so different. Less expectation and anxiety, and not as hard to get out the door to the appointment on time. :) Dr. Lonas asked us about circumcision. I was able to ask a lot of questions, but realized this is a lot on my shoulders -- I did not want to make this decision. After a long talk with Johannes and my dad, we decided to go forward with it and scheduled his procedure for Wednesday. Mom and I went to the Blowing Rock outlets after the appointment. I was feeling great! Everyone who saw Hendrik (only 3 days old) couldn't believe we were out and about. Totally wouldn't have happened with a c-section. I didn't leave the house outside of doc appointments for 2 weeks with Vivienne. It's just so different. Don't get me wrong - there is definitely discomfort and some pain, but nothing unbearable. I am finding the more I get out, the better I feel.

Wednesday was C-Day. Dr. Lonas came in the room and asked if I wanted to stay in the procedure room with him. I told him I didn't think I could do it. He told me I could and said, "Come on, it won't be as bad as you think." I kept my head down the entire time and definitely cried at one point. You know, the thing is he didn't even cry when he was numbed and cut. He cried when they strapped him down though. Dr. Lonas was so great - he was talking to me about missions and other subjects to keep me occupied, I believe. When it was over, he came and gave me hug and said it would be okay and that tons of babies have this done. I love Dr. Lonas. I can't tell you how much he helped Vivienne, particularly when she was hospitalized at 2 weeks old, when they thought she had neuroblastoma at 4 months, and throughout her well-checks and all the fun things you deal with when you have a toddler (ear infections, diaper rash/yeast infections, colds, etc). He is a great doctor and I highly recommend him to everyone in this area. Plus, he is a Christian and there is no doubt about it. He is very open about his faith and he has prayed with us several times. We love him.

It has been hard in our house since his procedure Wednesday. It kills me everytime I change him and he screams and screams. I honestly don't think it's his "area" as much as he hates having his diaper off. He screams before I even clean his incision place. But it still kills mommy. :(

Also, I have developed mastitis over the past day. I've been running a fever from 100-102 and in excruciating pain!! I went to my doctor and they prescribed antibiotics and a pain killer. They told me to check into the hospital if the fever goes over 102, but I don't think it will (at least, I'm taking lots of Tylenol to avoid that!) They said it could be serious if not treated.

A plus about breastfeeding? I've lost 20 pounds since I checked into the hospital a week ago! I know most is the immediate effect of having a baby, but I also haven't had much of an appetite and feeding, feeding, feeding... I know I'm burning a ton of calories. I'm hoping to lose the last 10 pounds minimum before going to the beach with mom sometime in July! My biggest hope is to lose 20 more and get to my lowest weight when Vivienne was 7 months old. I felt so great then!

We did get some pretty amazing news today. Johannes interviewed for a job and by the end of the day, they called him with an offer. I have been praying about this for a year! Not this particular job, but something more in line with what he wants to do as a career. He isn't there yet, but this is a HUGE stepping stone. It will also be a better pay grade which puts me one step closer to the dream of staying home one day. I don't think it's happening anytime soon (not in the next few years), but we can work our way there. If God wills it, we will maybe have more children and the opportunity for me to be home for the first few years. There are so many what ifs that it's hard to say. It's hard to think about going back to work in September. I'm loving being home and taking care of things in my home. I hope God allows that one day, if just for a few years.

So outside of baby Hendrik's boo-boo and my painful breast, things are going great. Hendrik is definitely a mama's boy. I love him so much, but equal to my baby Vivienne. Tonight we had a moment. I was holding Hendrik on my chest and Vivienne climbed up on my lap and laid her head on the other side of my chest and hugged me tight, and said, "Mommy, mommy. Love you." I held them both and said "I love my only special little girl, and our only special baby boy." What a perfect moment.

Make sure to tune in to TLC on Sunday night for the Duggars first grandson's birth! Anna Duggar delivered both her babies at home / no drugs. I can't wait to watch it. I told Cortney, my doula, that I would totally consider it for the next baby (which is not happening for awhile, FYI). The awesome thing is that Cortney will be a certified midwife in August. She would be so perfect to have for a homebirth. She birthed 4 out of her 5 at home as well. Anyways, make sure and watch it!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Birth Day

I wanted to take this time and recount Thursday - Hendrik's birthday! I'm writing this to finish out the birthing story and encourage you section moms to try for a VBAC. You are going to see, if I can do this, you can do it.

My last update came to you on Wednesday morning, after they started me on the pitocin (low dose). Vivienne came to visit in the afternoon, which was awesome. We hadn't seen her since Tuesday morning. They left and by 3:30p that day, I really began to hurt. I texted my doula who asked if I could talk through the contractions. I told her I mainly wanted to hold my breath, but I didn't feel it necessary for her to run in (she was about 20 minutes away). I continued to contract at three minutes apart and walked around, focusing on my cervix opening up with each pain. I cannot stress this enough - relaxing every single body part/muscle is what helps you to get through it. You must also take it serious when people say to rest as much as possible. They started me off at 6mu/minute and by the end of the day, I was on 18mu/minute of pitocin. At around 5p., Dr. Dorn came in and asked how I was doing. I told him I was in a lot of pain but it was bearable. In my mind, I felt like at most I would be 1 cm, but I was praying praying praying for the minimum dilation/effacement that Dorn wanted to see as I remembered in Viv's labor when they checked me at one point and I thought I was 6 or 7 and only was 2 cm dilated.

He checked my cervix and I was 1 cm and 80% effaced. This was a huge accomplishment considering that same morning I was 0/0 - absolutely no signs of labor and cervix very high. This stage takes weeks in normal early labor, so I made it to the goal of the day. He stopped my pitocin and told me the nurse would give me an Ambien that night as he really wanted me to get a good sleep before starting the hard labor Thursday morning. He told me he was hopeful that my body would continue contracting or really pick up through the night. I ate a really good dinner and met someone who I feel is partially responsible for the wonderful outcome. My nurse Kathy came in and told me she heard my story and read my chart. She saw a book I had in my room called "Power of a Praying Wife". She asked if I was a Christian and I told her yes, and we had an hour long conversation that gave me a lot of peace. She was a VBAC mom as well. When it was time for me to go to bed, she asked if she could pray over me while holding my hand. It brought me to tears. When I looked up at her, she said she really felt the Lord leading her to do more and asked if she could tell her pastor my first name and spend time praying for me through the night and next day. She would be off shift by 7a. I was so touched and said, "Please do... it means so much to me." Through the next day, random nurses came in to tell me that Kathy called and asked for an update and to let me know she was fasting and praying. Gosh - I can't tell you what this meant. Back to physical updates...

So Wednesday night, my contractions slowly spaced out and became random. I only remembered waking up a few times with a painful contraction. I was discouraged when I woke up around 6a. the following morning. Though I slept a full night, I was groggy (from the Ambien) and had no contractions whatsoever. My nurse from the daytime before (Kristin) came in and said we are going to see this through. She was working until around 8p Thursday night and said she wanted to see my baby before the end of her shift. Oh my goodness, I loved her. She was a KEY player throughout the entire process. She had drug-free labors herself and said she was a huge fan of Dr. Dorn. She was hilarious, blunt, and helped me alongside the doula when things got tough. She went above and beyond being just my nurse. I'll talk about her more soon.

Thursday - Birth Day

7:30a. - Dr. Dorn came in and checked me. No changes from the night before. I was sad, but not surprised.

8:00a. - Pitocin was started at 8mu/minute and upped every 30 minutes to an hour.

10:00a - Starting to feel intense pain.

10:11a. - Texted my doula (Cortney) and asked if she would be able to come in by 12p. I perceived that things were going to transition to "unbearable" soon as I had to really focus on breathing through the pain. My sister Michelle was rubbing my back and helping me. This is the only reason I didn't ask her to come in right then. I felt my sister was doing a great job and was encouraging me along. It's not that I didn't want my doula - it's just that I hated to bring her in to sit in the room if nothing was going on.

10:59a. - Texted Cortney - "I don't know if I can do this." My nurse Kristin came in to help me get through contractions. They were every 2 minutes apart and hurting bad. This is when I started thinking about pain meds but kept scolding myself, saying that it would stall labor if I did. Cortney asked if I wanted her to come in.

11:20a - Texted Cortney, "12:30 okay?" I was thinking that the longer I could go without pain meds and professional help, the more progress I would have.

12:18p - Texted Cortney - "Should I take Stadol? I'm in too much pain right now." I had asked my nurse what other option was there outside of an epidural. She told me about Stadol but said it would make me feel really woosy. I asked her if it would stall labor and she said no, it would just take the edge off at MOST. My sister Michelle said, "MaryBeth, I would reconsider... that made me so delirious that I was seeing things in my labor. It was horrible and didn't help me at all." I asked my nurse to check me first before anything. I wanted to know if this hard labor meant anything. I was only at 2 cm by this point. Cortney texted back, "Stadol often makes people sick or feel out of control while not giving much relief. I am on my way now. Can you try breathing through until I arrive?"

12:24p. - I texted, "I just can't. I am barely making this. I am having horrible pain."

12:29p. - Cortney texted, "Have you recently had someone pray over you for peace?" I was wondering when she asked if she meant for the present, or if she sensed that someone had prayed over me. I remembered Kathy from the night before and remembered she was fasting for me. I got a charge from this and told myself I have to grit and bear it. I put my phone away and could NOT text and barely could talk through the following.

1p. - Cortney arrived with the birthing ball. Kristin was holding my hands and telling me, "MaryBeth, you have to breathe. Don't hold your breath. Relax your face, relax your legs, relax your hands." She would physically grab a body part that would tense/tighten up and make me relax it. This helped TREMENDOUSLY. You don't realize in what ways you physically react to pain because all you can think about is the pain itself which is intensified when you tighten up. It's bearable when your body/soul is at peace and accepting of the process. She asked if she could check me. It was painful to do this while I was contracting. I was 3 cm.

Appx 3p. - I asked for the Stadol. I told Cortney I needed help bad. As told by EVERYONE in my labor room, it sent me to the edge. I was loopy, extremely exhausted after taking it, and it did not even take the edge off of my contractions which were now down to 1-2 minutes apart. I asked Kristin to please turn my pitocin down and she told me no that pain was good and that I'm progressing as I hurt. She told me she would not let me quit. I was dozing off in between contractions even though just a minute break, then waking up with extreme pain. I was so aggravated that I was so tired and not able to tolerate it anymore because of the stadol knocking me out.

4:00p. - I told Cortney I couldn't go anymore and asked for the epidural. I was crying and nearly histerical. It hurt so bad. The problem was that I waited to get to this point to ask for the epidural.

4:30p - (It took about 30 more minutes for us to tell a nurse to get an anesthesiologist and for him/her to get up there.) I can't tell if you if the anesthesiologist was a male or female. I could not open my eyes. The only memory I have was that they had me lie on my side in bed and then it was all over. Johannes said as soon as the medicine took, I fell asleep. I don't remember any part of it.

6:00p - I woke up and saw that Cortney was the only one in my room. She was calm and smiled at me. I wanted to burst out crying. It felt like I was waking up after a horrible accident. It was just calm, as I said. I could feel the contractions happening, but no pain. I could move my right leg, but not my left. I felt 100% opposite of anything I had felt at 4:00. I asked her how long I had been out and she said 1 1/2 hours. I didn't believe it. It felt like it had been at least 4 hours because I was so rested. I was disappointed in myself for getting the epidural. I had resigned in my mind that things would most likely stall now and I would get a section that night.

7:00p - Dr. Dorn came in to check me. He asked how I was feeling and I said, totally different. I wasn't surprised to hear him say 3 cm. He said if I progress 1 cm per hour, I could deliver about 1a., but I didn't take it to heart as everything happened for me at 2 cm when I was laboring with Vivienne. I just didn't see any progress in my future. After that entire afternoon, I was still 3 cm... I was so disappointed.

HOWEVER, As soon as he left, Kristin (the nurse) said, "I'm sorry, but I'm going to re-check you. I just don't believe you are 3 cm." She said that his hands were bigger and to tell how much a person is progressing, you really need to have the same person check you. She had told Dr. Dorn that I was 3 cm earlier in the day. She checked me immediately after he left and she smiled so big and said "You are stinkin' 5 cm, not 3!" I said, "Don't lie - I'm serious, you need to tell me the truth." And she showed me how big she measured with her hands and said, this is what you were earlier and this is what you are now - that's 5 cm. You are going to progress from here!" I could have cried. I had read in books that once you get to about 4 or 5, typically things speed up. My goal was always 4 cm in my head - like it would be okay if I could just get there. I asked Kristin what she thought about it all. She said, "I suspect that you will continue to go slow, but I DO think you're gonna have this baby tonight and I'm gonna stay until it's born!" I just smiled! I had hope again!

7:30p - Cortney and I had a wonderful conversation. I was at peace and I really got to know her. This was a special time between us. One theme stayed consistent for all three days that I was in the hospital. God was so present. Our conversations in the labor room focused around the Lord.

8:00p - I told Cortney I felt like I needed to have a bowel movement. We laughed and continued with our conversation. A few minutes later, I felt like it again and told her. She went and got Kristin who said, "Are you sure?? Usually people only feel this when they are ready to push, If you feel this way in a bit, let me know and we'll check you. It's only been an hour since we checked you last."

8:30p. - I called for Kristin. I told her and Cortney that I really felt I had to go. She agreed to check me and even prefaced by saying, "Don't be surprised if you haven't changed much." At this time, Dr. Dorn came in and she told him what I was feeling. He said he would go ahead and check me. He looked up at me and said, "You're fully."

I was like, "Full of what? What do you mean?"

Kristin said, "MaryBeth! You are fully dilated!" I looked at Cortney and she just smiled ear to ear and whispered, "You did it! You're going to have a VBAC!"

I was stunned and speechless! Totally totally unexpected. I kept asking over and over again and Kristin and Cortney were just so excited and pumping me up. Dorn had told me in the meantime that I was still at a station -2 and we needed the baby to descend and it would probably take another 1-2 hours before being ready to push. Kristin told me with every contraction, if I had that "need to go" feeling, to lightly bear down and it should help him descend - only if I had that urge.

9:30p - I told Kristin that I needed to push. She checked me and his head was right there. She went and got Dr. Dorn. Everything was so awesome and light hearted. Cortney, Dr. Dorn, Kristin, and Johannes were joking and taking bets on the exact minute. I would interrupt the funny conversations only to tell them I had a contraction coming. They would all jump into position, pull my legs up and get serious. It was really humorous from my point of view, but so awesome that it was such a great atmosphere. Dr. Dorn turned the light off. It was only us 4 in the room - no one coming in and out.

9:55p - Kristin and Cortney told me to reach down and grab him. I pulled him up to my chest. Dr. Dorn wasn't even the first person to hold Hendrik. I was the very first person to hold my son. I pulled him to my chest and Dorn waited for the cord to stop pulsing before having Johannes cut it. In those moments, Hendrik just looked around. He was silently laying on my chest and Johannes and I were in awe. Tears were streaming down my face. After the cord was cut, we heard his first little cry. It was so beautiful.

My water broke at 3:30a. on Tuesday morning. Hendrik was born at 9:55p. on Thurday night. Early labor took over two days, but I progressed from 5 to 10 cm in 1 1/2 hours. I only pushed for 20 minutes. I never ever thought that any part of this was going to go fast. God blessed me with this big finale. I am not exaggerating or even bragging when I say that everything was SO perfect in the final hours.

I have never been so proud of having a cone-headed baby. The mark of pride.

Johannes brought him back to me after they measured him, then they placed a matching bracelet on me.

Please don't rob yourself of attempting to experience this miracle. It is so possible. I know many c-sections are necessary and can also give you a beautiful moment. But I can't even describe fully the euphoria of bringing my son into this world from my own hands. I have never experienced a high like that moment. I will never ever forget it.

I have posted some pics I would never post on Facebook. I look horrendous, but I wanted you to walk with me to the end of this road as you all began this process with me not many months ago.

Thank you for what you have done. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your support and encouragement. You are every bit as responsible as Dr. Dorn to help bring Hendrik to this world. The Lord heard our prayers and God, I thank YOU for allowing me this great opportunity!!!! You are SO GOOD! Birth is truly a miracle and we recognize that every good thing comes from YOU!

BORN ON JUNE 9, 2011 AT 9:55P
7 LB, 8,5 OZ.

Proud Pappa - Johannes Slabbert
Proud Sister - Vivienne Slabbert

Just Proud - His VBAC Mommy

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Coming soon...

I had random contractions throughout the night, but nothing picked up. This morning Dr. Dorn came in and did an ultrasound. My fluid levels were low, which meant - definitely not going home. My cervix had not changed from yesterday. He started me on a low dose of pit. He said he wants me to be 1cm dilated by tonight, which means the main goal for today is to soften and efface my cervix (which is at 0% right now). They are going to do a re-check tonight and if all is well, they will take me off of pit and let me sleep through the night, then start it up on the high dosage tomorrow to kick start real labor. He said we are going to take it easy today.

When I got up after he left, my water completely broke, which is good since my fluids aren't building back up. It means the baby will be pushing down harder on my cervix and helping me to efface (that's the hope). He has not got me on any time line. He said as long as my CBC is good, no fever, and no signs of distress, we are going to really try for this. He is augmenting labor, but in the hopes that things will get going before the low fluid level affects the baby.

When I had Vivienne, they started me on a high dosage of pit and after 8 hours, I went from a "fingertip" to 2 cm. Dr. Dorn said I didn't get a good chance to labor through it, and he noted that for this time. Johannes even brought up the thought, what would have happened if they had let me keep going instead of keeping me on that deadline with Vivienne? Would I have had a c-section? I don't know.

I have been on pit now for a total of 2 hours and my contractions have become frequent and are currently 5 minutes apart. I'm not in pain - just crampy and it takes my breath away when they peak. I think part of it is the fact that I know this could possibly go on for another day or two and that it's going to get much much worse. The doula is aware of everything, but I have not called her in yet. She gave me some good exercises to do here during contractions to try and maneuver the baby down. My current nurse (4th) is awesome and definitely helping to keep me comfortable and informed. She overheard me on the phone telling someone that maybe if things don't progress by tomorrow, they could do a c-section, and she interrupted me and said, "That's not true! Dorn said he will go as long as possible - even another day or two if your vitals stay great!"

I'm encouraged that at the very least, contractions have begun. My specific prayer request is that things will pick up and I start effacing and dilating, and labor continues when they stop the pit this evening. Please pray with me!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fun in High Point

My water broke early this morning around 3:30a. I had non-frequent contractions that at times were 8-13 minutes apart, but not painful. When we checked in at the doctor's office around 11:30a., he wanted us to head over and be admitted into the hospital. They did the immediate test and confirmed that I was leaking amniotic fluid. Dr. Dorn came in about an hour later and checked my cervix - no dilation and cervix high. He said when he pushed up, the baby was "floating" meaning that there was a lot of fluid still surrounding him. He wanted them to do an internal swab test that is more accurate in confirming that the sac was ruptured. It was confirmed. He said he wanted my body to start labor on its own. There were several hours of the 8-13 min contractions, then it stopped, then one hour of contractions every 5 minutes, then stopped. I got a good nap in around 5p. Dr. Dorn came in to see if any progress on monitors. I stopped leaking fluid and my vitals are great. He didn't want to do another cervical check unless there were consistent contractions. This is what he told us in brief:

1. He has a suspicion that I have a "high leak" meaning that the upper part of my amniotic sac has ruptured and the baby moved and "plugged" it up. Naturally, the baby's descent with ruptured membranes causes your body to contract and dilate. Neither of these things are happening - or they are at least happening very slowly, as my nurse believes from other physical signs.

2. He definitely wants to continue monitoring me through the night and revisit things tomorrow morning. He said it's more likely than the above that contractions will start and things will progress, but slowly. Apparently this high leak is really uncommon.

However, tomorrow morning if there are no signs of infection (CBC good, no fever) and I'm still not leaking, he is going to send me home and have me check my temp every day. Could possibly continue leaking fluids until delivery, but really wants to avoid any possibility of induction because I'm a VBAC patient.

If I had been dilated, this entire story would have turned out differently. He would have felt to see if the lower sac was ruptured or in tact. If in tact and still leaking, because of concern of infection, he would have ruptured the rest of my membranes and let labor progress. Because I'm completely closed, there is no option for this.

So right now, I'm writing from the hospital. I'm tired, bored and hanging out here. Johannes went on a drive because there is not much happening. I've been hooked up to an IV of antibiotics, but can walk around at will.

I have never heard of this or read about this - even having trouble finding medical articles about high ruptures on google, but I'm finding several blogs that this has happened to several women. Ironic that this should happen to me, again. Water breaks and no consistent contractions. However, with Vivienne, I had a full rupture and I was dilated, though slight. Can you imagine having your water break, but still a FALSE ALARM? Isn't that insane????

I am so so thankful for a doctor who really sincerely cares about my wishes and also wants this to progress naturally. I have had two amaaaazing nurses, both Christians. My current nurse said she has seen high ruptures a couple times and the docs did send them home after a time. She has a feeling it's the same for me, but said you can't count your chickens until the bloodwork is done. :)

Keep in mind there is a good possibility of c-section should I develop signs of infection or labor starts, I start dilating, or I continue leaking fluid. As Dr. Dorn said, there are so many "what ifs" right now that it's hard to come up with a Plan A, B, and C. There are like three options to every scenario!

Keep us in your prayers! Vivienne has an ear infection and my sis had to take her to the pediatrician today (my sis was in town visiting and has to leave tomorrow for work). Johannes is stressed to the max and I think more tired than I am. My parents were ready to come, and I called them and said to wait - I really don't think anything is happening! My mom only has two days left teaching for the summer.

That's the update for now. What fun we're having in High Point. :) Hard to tell what will happen tonight, but I greatly appreciate your prayers. Please no FB posting as this is a select group of FB readers. I really don't want to repeat this story a million times nor share my intimate details with the public. :-0 Also don't want others to think I'm having a baby tomorrow if I'm not. I still have two and a half weeks until my due date. That's a long time to go if nothing happens tomorrow! :::Sigh:::

Sunday, June 5, 2011


I'm ready. I hit 37 weeks yesterday. Physically ready. Mentally ready. Bags are packed. Car seat installed.

I think one of my biggest fears in the beginning was trying a drug-free delivery. I'm not scared anymore. My biggest fear now is that my water will break first and labor will not progress, like last time. I have read a story in one of my books about what to do in case of this, and also recently saw a Baby Story on one. I'm praying (and please join me) that contractions start the show this time around. In regards to drugs, I've really been motivated and encouraged by blogs (thank you Jess), videos on homebirths, Baby Story (2010 shows only -- they have been great to post some homebirth and VBAC stories!), and books, of course. I'm not worried. It's natural - it's normal - and just up until last century, drug-free was pretty much the only option. It's done every day, by choice and also some that are not planned.

You know, I was never open to the homebirth option because "it's just not me", until now. I'm sticking with the plan to go to the hospital, but I have very strict criteria set out about what I expect. It is not a guideline for the doctor - it's, "please consider _____ and ____ before administering (such and such) plan", etc. I want them to know my heart desires before pumping me full of stuff. I have learned the importance of having an advocate. I have a supportive doc and a VBAC mom doula, and I'm ready. As most of you know, things happen really fast in the hospital, especially in regards to labor and delivery. Decisions are made in instants. It may have to happen, but you need to be mentally prepared. You need to be able to say, I tried all options before we had to get to that step.

For now, I patiently await the signs. I never thought I would look forward to that first painful contraction or the "other" things. :) I don't expect much, but AGH, I will sink to the floor if my water breaks or starts leaking. Is that crazy? I wanted my water to break so bad with Vivienne! They say fewer than 15% of laboring women begin with ruptured membranes. I'm hoping it's different this time.

Scenario #2 that would really stink is if I get to 41 weeks and nothing. That means they will try to augment my labor or sign me up for a c-section, depending on several factors. It's obviously not ideal to try and medically stimulate labor with a c-sec scar (although it's in great condition and thick with no windows).

Right now, I'm leaning on prayer, visualization (read about this), and very positive thoughts (NO STRESS!). My work temp is trained - we have lots we can go over, but she is ready. She is great. I'm going to focus on walking at least twice a day at work (though I'm dealing with horrible swelling). I've pulled out the support hose and gonna suck it up. I'm on the birthing ball the majority of the day at the desk. I need to get my mind completely off of the future and focus on the present day - staying happy, focused on other things, and spending time with my baby girl whose life will change completely in a few short weeks.

Choosing joy leads to a happy environment and a happy environment leads to a baby who wants to join it. (Overlook my hippie moment today - I'm just excited that my bags are packed, finally. Hahaha. I'm going with it... Go with it too before I start telling you everything I hate about this stage.) :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Week 46, I mean 36

Hitting week 36 has not been as fun as it was with Viv. "Fun", meaning the final countdown, anticipation of going into labor at any moment, and getting all those last minute things ready. I was looking forward to 36 hitting on this Memorial Day weekend so that I could do all these things with a day off in between, but, ugh...

I developed a UTI yesterday and have just been miserable. I decided to take off work in the afternoon and I went out to my car and literally could not come back in. It hurt so bad to sit upright that I just e-mailed from my blackberry that I'm taking off, but not driving out of the parking lot. I called Dr. Dorn and they said I wouldn't make it to High Point before they closed for the day, so I got my family physician in Boone to fit me in. They confirmed the UTI and started me on antibiotics. Thank the Lord for that, seriously. I was debating on going in, but I guess the baby laying on my bladder was causing so much pain, and then they said if it turned into a kidney infection, that means hospitilization for any prego. Gah, no thanks. Got to get this knocked out before anything "real" happens.

I finished out the Twilight books this week. :) Ahhh... those books were so good, and YES better than the movies! I thoroughly enjoyed spending my last trimester reading that series. I can't believe I read 4 huge books in that amount of time, though. That gives you an idea to how good they are.

Last night, when I couldn't sleep because of the constant ups and downs to the bathroom, I decided to finish out one of the VBAC books I started before Twilight (I've read several now). It's really good. I went to the index and found a section on "Posterior Babies" and read all about the labors and difficulties attributing to the posterior baby position in labor, and what you can do to try and shift them around beforehand. Their main suggestion was to get on all fours and stay there while the baby is moving. Well, as I was reading that, he was fluttering away so I tried it. I shifted my hips back and forth too, to encourage any kind of big movement. This morning I woke up to his hiccups really prominent from the outside. I wonder if it worked??? Normally, I feel them down deep, meaning his back to my back. It's so hard to tell though. I don't know how docs can feel around and point out exactly where they're at. I feel for the two hard lumps, which are supposed to be the butt and the head, but I'm not finding anything. The only thing really prominent to me is a little leg or arm, but they say it's so hard to tell between the two.

Well, this weekend the plans are to pack the hospital/baby bag, install the infant car seat base, pack Vivienne's overnight bag, and put together the changing dresser we ordered last week. My brother and his wife and kids are coming to visit (yay) - first time hosting them at my home. I am still aggravated about wanting to scrub the fan blades in our house, so I imagine the bladder infection hasn't gotten in the way of my nesting instincts. I've gotta fit that in at some point.

On Tuesday when we come back to work, my temp replacement begins training with me. She'll be here officially until I return to work in September. I need to make it one week and I'll be okay to leave work. I just want to make sure she is oriented really well first. There is so much to be done and gone over.

I'll update again in the next two weeks. My 37 week appointment (next one) will be a week from Wednesday. I don't think anything telling will happen there. This doc doesn't like to check the cervix unless requested by the patient. I'm okay with it. However, I would really like to know his positioning. That is on my mind about every minute of every day! I wish I had a mobile u/s machine!!!

OH, and we have a pool going on at work. Whoever guesses the right due date could receive my exercise ball, since it's apparently very popular around here. You should see people when they sit on it. hehehe. Anyways, they are also guessing weight and no one has predicted under 9lb 2oz so far, and only one thinks I'll go past my due date. My prediction is June 14th (a very special day to me, and also Flag Day, as Vivienne was born on St. Patty's Day). I'm guessing he'll weigh 9lb 8oz no matter when he comes. That weight is stuck in my mind. I can't imagine 9 8 at 2 weeks early though. Sheesh. I really need to have him between June 9th and 15th. June 15th is the next full-moon. June 9th is when my mom is done teaching for the summer and is free to come. Also, my Ashe county parents leave for the beach on the 15th. I really want them to be here - mainly to help with Vivienne should my parents need a day to get down.

Alrighty. Over and out, readers.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

My Spinning Baby

Today was my 35 week appointment with Dr. Dorn. I am SO happy to be at his practice now. I hope this isn't TMI, but they gave me the Group B Strep test in a packet and sent me to the bathroom to do it on my own and give it to the nurse. I know I'm having a baby and all, but there is nothing I dread worse than the "zone" appointments. I have been debating for these past two weeks about asking him to check my cervix while he did this test. Just not sure if I really want to know, knowing it doesn't necessarily indicate anything - but still curious! I hadn't decided until they handed me the test. Woo hoo! No invasiveness today

I had no expectations of an ultrasound this appointment until Dorn came in to go over my records from Wilkes on my 33 week appointment and see what questions I had. I gave him the brief overview of the huge uterus experience and told him I've been having contractions nearly every day for 1-2 hours at times, about 10-12 minutes apart. I told him my back was achy, but they didn't really "hurt". The main reason was to explain that my uterus feels up to my neck, I've hit the point where I can barely breathe, and now I get the fun of feeling like he is being squeezed to death when I go through the contractions. I was hoping for some words of comfort. I explained that I didn't really feel this way this early with Vivienne - maybe the last few weeks, but not 5 weeks before.

He said, "Let's do an ultrasound and see what's going on in there!" Didn't even palpate my uterus size! Nice.

The first thing to note was verification of big baby boy. He is currently measuring 6 pounds 7 ounces. Now I know that these ultrasounds can be completely inaccurate on weight, but considering Viv's size and comparison at this stage, we are well on our way to at least 9 lbs and 8 oz, if they gain 1/2 pound every week and if I deliver at 40. Seriously - 8 pounds is small to me, so I wasn't shocked. I'm more concerned about how it's gonna feel to push out a 10 pound baby *without drugs. I told him that I was a little worried - he said that he has seen really small babies get hung up on hip bones and experience really bad deliveries and had 10 pounders "fall out" at times. He said size is not a factor, to a certain extent.

So the next part was the positioning. The good news is that he is definitely head down and fluid levels good. He said the one thing is that Baby Slabbert is in a partial Occiput Posterior position (OP), meaning he is not sunny-side up, but face is facing out to my side instead of towards my back.

This is not uncommon at this point because they usually don't get face down until labor, but OP and partial OP positioning can mean very long labor, back labor pain, and that your pelvis has to open up maybe twice as much as what it would for OA (Occiput Anterior Positioning). He told me he wants me to do some research on and showed me the webpage and what to look for. I had heard of this before - one of my friends' babies presented breech at 34 weeks and she tried methods on this page and it worked for a breech baby! Check out this website - sooo much information for anyone close to delivery!

As far as the positioning goes, it mentions sitting on a birthing ball as much as possible, which is great because I've been doing this the past week at work. :) Whoopie. I love it. There are other things such as doing lunges and other movements, but from what I've researched online, I read that the reason for so many labor issues is because of this positioning and one website even goes as far to say that it relates to why Americans have so many c-sections - we are a people of comfort. Most women back in the day were still scrubbing floors on their hands and knees, bending over the sink to wash dishes, giving their babies baths, etc (things causing them to lean forward and the gravity moving the baby into the right position). This certain website believes that we have gotten so used to all these big pillows propping us up to sleep (still on our back, but reclined), our bucket seat cars, and office jobs leading to most women having these long torturous labors ending in c-section. A lot of these docs will claim it has to do with the size of the baby, when in fact it's the size the pelvis has to extend to in order to deliver the largest part of the head, which can get "hung up" while the baby is lying in this position.

Speaking of facts while I'm on my soapbox... I MUST recommend a documentary for EVERY couple/woman. A friend at work asked if I had ever heard of The Business of Being Born, a documentary about hospital vs homebirths. I wasn't too excited to watch this as I am not interested in birthing at home. This documentary is unbelievable. The facts... statistics... history... etc. I promise this will open your eyes to so many things you have probably never thought of. Please everyone, watch it. You can rent it from netflix or have to pre-order at Blockbuster. It was worth every minute of my time. I would love to give you all the facts/stats, but you just need to see for yourself. Viewer beware - there are some graphic parts.

So the plan -I guess I can succumb to my nesting insticts and get down on my hands and knees and scrub these floors, as uncomfortable as this is going to be at this stage. Again, not a huge concern since I'm not in labor, but any excuse I have to get my mind off things.

In addition, the ultrasound indicated I'm not in labor. :) He has not dropped, which I figured so much. I've also gained no weight. He asked about my diet and I said I did really good at first and have been slacking off this past week. He encouraged me to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetable and lean meats, not just for watching weight gain, but to prepare for the delivery. If you are a fan of his on Facebook, you'll see he is really into diet and whole foods.

I see him again in two weeks. At that time, I'm gonna go check out the hospital, located right across the street, and turn in my registration forms. I also signed a VBAC consent today, which was interesting. I couldn't help but notice him roll his eyes as he handed it over. He made sure to tell me it came from the hospital. Something interesting to note is that they have raised the successful VBAC statistic to 70%. That's interesting considering the c-section rate in America is one in every 3 births. If only more people knew....

Maybe I'll be a doula one day. Maybe a VBAC educator. One thing at a time. Let's get a VBAC first. One more month!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011



Lord, I need some patience, peace, trust, endurance!

Yesterday was my 33/34 week appointment. No weight gain in 4 weeks now - which is great since I cannot stop thinking about those Almond Joy bite sized candies and cheesecake(thank you BFF who is supposed to inhibit, not encourage). BP was 102/60.

My uterus however... oh uterus. I'm measuring 36/37 weeks. This is not the same post like last time - that post was all about baby measurements. This is my UTERUS! Well, a 10 pound baby sounds more feasible with every appointment.

The doctor in Wilkes (they are still seeing me for convenience) has started the weekly appointments. They are going to do the Group B Strep test next week and also check my cervix since I have been having a lot of contractions this past week. At one point, I was timing every 10 minute for 2 hours. I didn't feel it was labor, so I didn't call. I really don't want bed rest right now!!

I honestly believe there will be no changes - no signs of imminency. It just means that I have to pay more money to go to more appointments or figure out a way around it, which is aggravating.

Plan A: Call the doc office and delay the appointment due to being "out of town". I am technically out of town every day since I travel to Boone for work.
Plan B: Go ahead and start the High Point appointments. At least he doesn't see us for every 3 weeks. I'm already scheduled to see him at 37. I guess I could schedule 35 with him and get things going.
Plan C: Stick with convenience and go to the next 2 appointments down in Wilkes.

I don't think they'll fall for Plan A. They were adamant about it yesterday.

Dr. Polidoro said I needed to go ahead and pack my hospital bag and install the car seat. I think it's a little premature, but it did make me grimace. I'm not worried about having this baby early as much as I worry about being ready to go, then waiting waiting waiting and nothing happening. It was the longest trimester with Vivienne. I have purposely avoided giving out my due date and I took off the baby tracker from Facebook. :( Just for my own sanity. Ha. I also stopped going up to the cafeteria for lunch (that's where I receive the most comments/questions and looks of shock when I tell them I'm not due until the end of next month) and I stay in the back of devotions each morning. Am I a fuddy-dud??? I'm starting to wonder.

I do love being pregnant and I'm so thankful. I'm just ready to get the show on the road!

Monday, April 25, 2011

The VBAC Consult

Okay. I promise this is my last post for awhile. Thanks for keeping up with me. Just so much to write about this week!!!

I had my appointment in Winston with Dr. Dorn. It was AWESOME!!! He went over my surgery notes and current prenatals and determined I was a great candidate for a VBAC. He said based on all the information he has received, he really doesn't think I was given a good chance to labor. Knowing the history of my family genes (big babies and long labors), he said the baby probably just wasn't ready to come, i.e., in a high station since I was laying flat pretty soon after my water broke. I mentioned to him about the thought of scar tissue and he said, any person can have constricted dilation if the baby isn't imminent.

He was very encouraged by several things:

1. My mom's ability to deliver 5 babies, two of them over 9 pounds. He said this is a great factor to determine if I'm able to do the same. Thanks mom for good genes!!
2. An ultrasound determined the thickness of the uterine wall at the incision site was optimum. Minimum is 3 cm. Mine was 7 cm. There were no open windows at the incision site.
3. Weight gain is perfect. Vitals are perfect. He felt I was a very healthy candidate at this point.
4. An ultrasound showed the baby to be HEAD DOWN!!! Thank you Lord!!! Thank you thank you thank you! Thank you to all who prayed, and please amend that prayer to include a prayer of thanks and request for him to stay put. I sincerely appreciate you all! I have some mighty prayer warriors and I am so blessed to have you petitioning on my behalf!

We were in the office with him for over an hour. He was just great. Very very supportive of VBACs and my desires to deliver naturally. The appointment went better than I imagined, thanks to your prayers. I received an unexpected blessing at this appointment, outside of the baby turning down. Dr. Dorn said he felt bad for us having to drive so far to deliver a VBAC. He couldn't believe there were no hospitals in our area who would support that. He asked how well I worked with my current OB, Dr. Horton. Dr. Dorn said he would be completely fine if Horton continued seeing me until 37 weeks since the checks would be mainly vitals until then. And then at 37, he said he would see me every other week as he is not a huge believer in frequent cervical checks towards the end - because you're dilating doesn't mean the baby is coming any sooner. People can walk around at 4 centimeters for weeks. I just couldn't believe that he would support that, meaning he would miss out on the money he would receive for those appointments.

Another blessing was his open communication with Johannes. When he found out Johannes is from South Africa, he immediately started in on the rugby chat as he lived in New Zealand at one time. That was the moment I knew that Johannes was completely sold. ;-)

So the concerning factor: He did an ultrasound to take a look at baby Slabbert because I had mentioned he was positioned breech and said he may be able to turn him easily at this point. So obviously, that part wasn't the worry. The measurements were a little concerning, though - at least for mama. The thigh bone is how they accurately measure the gestational age at this point. He was right on target at 31 weeks. The head and torso, however, were a different story. He is measuring at 35 and 36 weeks for both!! At first I was thinking, he is disproportionate and something is wrong. But he said the measurements only indicate that the baby is going to be a big one. He is measuring 5 weeks ahead at this point and believes that I will have a 9 or 10 pound baby! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. At this stage, babies should weigh around 3 1/2 pounds. Baby Slabbert is measuring 4 1/2 pounds. Dr. Dorn wasn't much surprised based on Vivienne's weight and my mother's pregnancy history. They say that baby boys and second babies are both bigger, so that has definitely been confirmed.

And in regards to meeting the doula:

She was as great in person as she was on the phone. We heard her birthing stories and her comparisons of the hospitals in the area and doctors. It did nothing but confirm it for me AND Johannes. Johannes thinks I'm going to kick myself for not having an advocate and support in the room should things go south quickly. He knows me too well. His support of the doula was crucial for me because typically, the main people who have problems with the doulas are not the docs -- they're the husbands. I could write on and on about her... she was really great.

In regards to the new hospital policy on doulas. She believes it will not be a problem and said they can't kick her out if she is my "friend". She also works very well with Dr. Dorn and he was really upset about the new policy, so if anything, he would be the advocate for MY advocate. Dr. Dorn is very supportive of midwifery and labor assistance. Something that also impressed me about her is that she would give me a name of a DONA certified doula in case that was an issue for me. She said the important thing is that I have the support, no matter who it is. I feel this is especially important in an unknown hospital, and should Dr. Dorn be out of town when I go into labor.

I am so so tired that I am barely holding my eyes open. It's been quite a day. But I had to write about it while it's fresh on my mind. This is totally an answer to prayer and I recognize the importance of recording it. God has been really good to us. Even if things change, I am so thankful to really know and understand this process. I feel a great deal of peace and I'm so thankful for all the support.

30+ hour labor or not, this baby will come. I recognize the importance of physically being ready - I really need to walk more and exercise. I need to be on a healthier diet - not cutting calories, but cutting out junk. If the labor is long, I'll need stamina and energy. So here we go. I'll post again when there is something new to tell. :-) Hopefully that won't be anytime soon.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Your Physician and Advocate

I have a doctor's appointment scheduled with Dr. Dorn on Monday, and meeting the doula immediately afterwards. It's going to be a big day. We will know on Monday if he officially accepts me as a VBAC patient.

I don't feel as nervous about the consult as I do about meeting with the doula. I just found out that the hospital where Dr. Dorn delivers has banned all non-DONA certified doulas from assisting with labor and delivery just last month.

DONA - Doulas of North America

This particular doula that I'm talking to has so many great qualities. She has had 4 VBACs herself, two of those were homebirths. She has assisted over 200 deliveries. She is a member of the Christian Doula Association. I feel very comfortable talking candidly with her even over the phone. She has invited me to meet her in her own home, which was a comfort to me as well. She said one of the reasons she chose not to be DONA certified is because she could not agree to the required scope of practice, which includes stipulations like not recommending herbal teas and etc., and not being able to go against a doctors opinion. So I asked a very important question - will they kick her out of the labor room, even if she was a "friend" rather than doula? She didn't think so, but couldn't guarantee it. We are going to discuss this in great detail when we meet. In our few phone calls, she has been a huge encouragement to me and I'm already sold. I hate going back to square one on that.

Something else I had to tell you is that I found out that Dr. Dorn does versions even on VBAC deliveries.

"version" = External Cephalic Version: A procedure used to turn a fetus from a breech position or side-lying (transverse) position into a head-down (vertex) position before labor begins. When successful, version makes it possible for you to try a vaginal birth. Version is done most often before labor begins, generally around 36 to 37 weeks. Version is sometimes used during labor before the amniotic sac has ruptured. This can be a good time to use version, when labor is constantly monitored and a cesarean delivery (C-section) can be done right away if necessary. But the chance to do the version can be lost if labor speeds up or the amniotic sac ruptures.

A scheduled cesarean is used to deliver most breech births if a version doesn't work.1 But trying a version at 36 or more completed weeks of pregnancy may increase your chances of being able to deliver vaginally. (WebMD)

The version "success rate" is anywhere between 58-65%.

Some good news: The baby is now side-to-side, which has strengthened my hopes that things can change at any time in the next 5 weeks, and that some of my breech exercises have worked, i.e., elevating my pelvis up high for 15 minutes when I feel him active and while on an empty stomach. I'm also going to start prenatal swimming excercises with the group at our local hospital. If not just for breech, I will appreciate the weightlessness! We'll see what happens at the end of the day. I'm not totally resigned yet.

So Monday will tell... I will update by Tuesday to give you the 411. I can't believe I'm almost 8 months pregnant.

I hope the above has given some mommies-to-be some ideas on labor preparation. Again - I can't say this enough. It's not always the doctor. Check into hospital policies and procedures where you will deliver. Ask these questions to determine if you need an advocate in L&D:

1.At what point do you recommend that I come to the hospital/birth center?
2.How soon after I come to the hospital will my OB see me?
3.Am I allowed to get out of bed to labor and what are the circumstances in which i won't be allowed?
4.Will I be IV'd, and when?
5.How much time will the health care provider spend with me during labor? (note that nurses can make or break this experience because they spend more time with you than the doc, and one nurse can be completely opposite than another - I had 4 throughout my labor and only one served as a huge support to me)
6.If I write a birth plan, will it be honored?
7.How often are vaginal exams performed during labor? (If you've read your stuff, you'll know that this is very important!)
8.Are showering and bathing allowed during labor?
9.How many people are allowed to be with me during labor and delivery? How many people are allowed to be with me during a cesarean delivery?
10.What is the birth center or hospital's policy regarding other children attending the birth?
11.Are eating and drinking allowed during labor? (Key question!)
12.Is video taping allowed?
13.Can my partner cut the umbilical cord?
14.How long will I be able to stay in the hospital? Can I leave earlier if I want to?
15.How long does the baby need to remain in the hospital after delivery?
16.Will my baby be able to stay in the room with me throughout the stay?

I think the list can go on and on, but these are the key questions you need to ask. If you don't know why I've mentioned some of these, then you need to read about it or ask someone who knows. Please don't go to the hospital unprepared. Questions #3 and 4 changed everything for me and I had no idea it would have been such a big deal.

Happy Easter everyone. He conquered death so that we can have eternal life. I hope you know who your TRUE Advocate and Great Physician is. He is all-powerful and all-knowing. Trust in Him. He will NEVER fail you.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Day Full of Surprises

160 bpm, and... BREECH! Not side to side breech. Head up, feet down. We had an ultrasound to see if it was true, and yep.

I knew it.

Sunday night was horrible. I was up all night. The baby was moving and it was hurting. I was having a lot of contractions, but not the painful kind. I would doze off and wake up about 30 minutes later trying to shift sides because I felt something stretching my innards to the max. At 3:30a., I gave up and cleaned until it was time to go to work. Vivienne was up throughout the night as well with nightmares. It was an awful night.

I kept having these weird feelings and started to wonder if the baby had shifted to an entirely different position. I noticed that the movements were very distinct in certain places, and it has stayed there the past two days.

Mom and Dad have been in town and she wanted to go to the appointment with me. I thought, "great". This is my mom, the one who thinks a VBAC is a horrible horrible thing and questions why I am going forward with it. She has been trying to talk me out of it since before I was pregnant.

I decided I was not going to talk about it with Dr. Horton if she walked back to the exam room with me. When the moment came and the nurse asked if she wanted to go back, I thought my heart was going to stop. She said "okay!"


As soon as Dr. Horton walked in, he said... well, I have some good news. We are going to go ahead and send you out to Winston as the high risk group we work with has moved up their "week" in regards to starting VBAC care. Great! Well, moment of truth... I had a huge smile of course, but my mom just started pounding him with questions. It turned out to be a good thing! Dr. Horton encouraged the VBAC and said he would do it himself if hospital policy allowed. He said the risk for uterine rupture is .7%. The risk for complications in a c-section is much higher. After she drilled him, she just looked at me and said, "Whatever!" Dr. Horton started laughing, but he was so great. What an answer to prayer.

"Dr. Horton. Would you be offended if I am interested in going to a doc in High Point instead of Winston?" He looked at me and smiled and asked why. I asked him if it's true that I probably won't see the same doc twice and probably will be delivered by a resident. He said, you most likely will be delivered by a resident, and yes, you are correct. I'm not sure who you will see and know you won't have much say on it. I told him why I wanted to see Dorn (see previous post). He said, you know what? Schedule a consult and feel him out in person, and if you want to do it, then I think it's a great idea! He encouraged me to schedule the appointment asap - within 2 weeks - as a consult visit, not a prenatal one. If I'm not comfortable with him, he said to call him back and he would schedule the first appt with the docs at Forsythe.

So then the exam. I'm right on target in uterine size and that's when he asked where I was feeling the movement. I told him very specifically and when he found the heartbeat, he said.. hmmm... I think this baby is upside down!

I laughed and said, "Seriously? Seriously???" He said, let's go do an ultrasound just to see. I asked him what it means in regards to the appointment scheduling. He said he can still turn... and he told me about his wife.

At 34 weeks, her baby turned from the breech position. Dr. Horton couldn't drive because he had worked an all-nighter, and they were on the side of the road for 30 minutes because she thought she was in labor.

"Are you serious?"

"Yep. That's what I meant by 'noticeable'."

Well, I'm not as far along as she was, but still. It doesn't feel like there is much room in there for the baby to turn around.

I need you all to pray again! :-) Are you tired of me asking you this??? Haha. I know all things work together for good to those who love God. And I do! And I know He has a great plan for me and this baby.

So the good news if he stays breech... Dr. Horton said I can do a few visits in Winston or High Point and if he stays breech at 36 weeks, I can return to Wilkes for prenatal and delivery. Takes an hour off the drive, right? Scheduled birthday. That's good... I guess. No surprises. All my family can be here. No unprepared overnights for Vivienne. Well, let's look at the good. Gosh, this is hard... but I am going to be at peace with this, as I've said all along.

Surprisingly, I was fine with the news. I know it's not official official, but I was surprised at my reaction. I asked God for peace throughout this journey, right?

Man, God is good.

In the meantime, I am SO excited! I saw my baby boy's face again. I did not have to have the awkward appointment. And now I can go check out Dorn just in case. Things are at least moving forward. Maybe God is preparing me now for what's to come in regards to the baby's positioning. I am thankful. But still prayerful.

Can't wait to tell you all about Dr. Dorn in the next post!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Lions, Tigers, and Doctors... oh my!

30 weeks. A lot has transpired the past two weeks in regards to preparing for delivery. I wanted to share with all of you, particularly those who are considering or planning on a VBAC… and especially those who live in my area.

Since the pregnancy began, I’ve read two HUGE books, done a ton of research online on natural delivery, explored ICAN’s website, checked out local doulas, and have recorded every Baby Story episode on DVR and found about 4 in regards to VBACs and drug-free labors. Through all of this, I’ve really learned a lot. I’ve been encouraged, and I’ve been educated. I would say that the theme of every successful delivery is relaxation and patience. Knowing how it went with Vivienne, that’s almost impossible to imagine, but something you can train and prepare yourself for when the time comes.

I have had some amazing conversations this week and I mainly wanted to update you on where I stand.

My first call was to a doula I found online. Her name is Cortney. She has had 4 successful VBACs herself, and specializes in assisting VBAC mothers. I told her my story and my desires and she told me her story is similar… but almost all are. She was encouraging and positive and said she was planning to send me a packet in the mail. Problem #1 – Cost. For two prenatal home visits, her assistance through my entire labor, delivery, and hospital stay, and a follow-up visit, we are talking $550. In the scheme of things, it’s not a lot of money. Break it down to hourly pay, distance traveled, and being my advocate… it doesn’t seem a lot. But it is. I am going forward with it if I’m transferred to the high risk group in Winston.

When I began to realize that I really need to get a plan in place in regards to labor assistance and situational matters, Dr. Henry Dorn kept coming to my mind.

Several months ago while exploring the web, I found a lone soldier… a true advocate of a mom’s right to deliver her baby. Dr. Henry Dorn. He is a promoter of “The Unnecessarian” and specializes in VBACs as well. He supports natural labor but also administers drugs if needed. He watches closely for true signs and symptoms of needing a cesarean. He has delivered babies after FOUR c-sections. FOUR. (Ladies, it’s never too late to explore this option!!) I was mostly impressed recently when he posted an article about doctors pushing sections to get home at the “end of workday”. He gets it. He has a team of midwives in his practice as well.

Since my first e-mails and calls to him several months ago, I haven’t been able to shake the idea off my mind. Here are some challenges: 1. Location – he is in High Point… 20 minutes further than Winston. I’m already looking at a 2 hour drive. But for those of us in western North Carolina, this is awesome. It is rare to have a physician like this within driving distance. Ladies, keep him in mind. Check him out. 2. Telling my doctor. My current OB works with a high-risk group where he was going to transfer my care. I want to continue my regular care with my current OB after all is said and done. I really do feel comfortable with him and he is truly supportive. But I don’t want to offend him. The nurse at Dorn’s office suggested that I tell my current OB that I would like to go to High Point instead of Winston – to leave out the reasons behind my desires to change particular doctors. It’s a good idea!

I have checked out this high risk group, and there are several concerning factors. There is no guarantee that I will ever see the same doc. They operate out of the hospital and not an office. There is no personalization of care because they see such a large number of patients. No offense against residents, but I was told by a nurse in the labor department that the group works with a team of residents who assist in labor and delivery. That is scary to me to have all these people in and out. I mean for sure… I would not do this without a doula. There are too many unknowns to let me relax. (Remember my first paragraph?) I can only imagine if I had a long labor again how many doctors AND nurses would be coming in and out.

So that keeps pushing me back to Dr. Dorn. So I decided a few days ago that I was going to call again. For awhile, I thought I was speaking with the receptionist when she interrupted me to tell me that she is the nurse and wanted to hear my whole situation including fears, concerns, etc. So I did. It was a good long conversation. And after hanging up the phone, I was 90% sure I was going to go forward with talking to my current OB about moving my care to Dorn’s office. She put me at ease. She said in their office, they are a team. Dr. Dorn sits down with every patient and LISTENS and advises. She said I need to schedule a consult and bring my hospital notes from last delivery and he could give his recommendation. I have to do this. And plus… if I transfer care there, it’s like having a team of your own personal labor assistants. It wouldn’t be necessary to hire a doula when I already have the support and encouragement from my team.

So Tuesday, I have my 30 week appointment with my current OB. We weren’t supposed to discuss transfer until week 32, but at that visit, I’m scheduled to see the alternate doc in our practice. A lady physician who thinks I’m crazy for wanting a vaginal delivery, which is odd to me. So I haven’t talked with her at all about this throughout the appointments. If I don’t handle this now, then I’ll have to wait another month to talk to my OB and then transfer care at 36 weeks. I just want to move forward.

I want to do THIS!!! I want to relax and wait for the baby to say, “Mom… I’m ready to come out now.” There are millions of women today who do drug-free deliveries, some of those without an option. Don’t tell me I’m not capable. I may change my mind in the middle of it, but I am capable. We are all capable. God designed us to be able to do this. It’s not bad if you have a c-section, and it’s not bad if you decide to go for the drugs. But I’ve had the c-section and I say no thank you to #2 – at least I’m not signing up for it. And as for the drugs… I just don’t want anything to be a factor in leading up to another c-section. I do have to note here that I labored 14-15 hours without drugs and did not progress, even on pitocin. However, with two IVs and not allowed to get out of bed, I can’t help but think that the gravity would have helped some. No drugs = freedom to walk around and something to preoccupy my mind.

So I’ll let you know how the next appointment goes. I’m thankful for the support of my co-workers and some of you reading along. I’ve been given some STRONG opinions on how I’m a horrible person for trying a risky VBAC and that things will go horribly wrong…. Please. Please. Just pray. If the Lord doesn’t want me to try, then I won’t. The best thing you can do instead of telling me how horrible I am is to encourage me through prayer. Please pray that His will is done!

PS - WE HAVE A NAME! And we aren't telling. :-)

Friday, April 1, 2011

3rd Trimester

I am happy to announce the FINAL COUNTDOWN to baby boy Slabbert's arrival. :-) I have finally reached the last few months and I'm so excited as I look forward to seeing his sweet face.

I've had a pretty good 2nd trimester. I haven't been too uncomfortable. No pregnancy issues or concerns. Doctor's appointments went well and he is certainly growing. He is most likely settled in the birthing position by now, which is head down. He can always turn, but the doctor said it will be very noticeable if it happens at this point. Let's pray it stays! I constantly feel kicks near my ribs on the right side. The other night, I felt a knee or heel on the palm of my hand, and he quickly moved it away. I have definitely felt a little butt and I'm glad to know it wasn't his head that I pushed down out of my rib cage. Sorry baby.

The body pillow has been a life-saver. For all you new and growing mommies, you need to get one. Johannes hates it - I mean, absolutely hates it. I cannot go to bed without one.

There have been a lot of changes in mindset since my first pregnancy. Things that seemed so important to me have not crossed my mind. "Will I be ready? What happens next? When is this baby coming?" I now know the answers are... no, anything, and at some point! I find that in my first pregnancy, I was mostly focused on the pregnancy itself, with little thought to the afterwards. I found myself completely unprepared for breastfeeding issues, adjustment in the house, and wished I had read those life-saving books earlier, such as BabyWise and Happiest Baby on the Block. I remember spending my time reading the pregnancy week-to-week books, being very worried if I missed taking my vitamins, worried if I ate the wrong things, worried at every sign, symptom, and movement... and lack thereof sometimes.

I have to sadly admit that I have not touched a pregnancy week-to-week book since the first trimester... I consume several things that you first-timers might scream about... I think I took my vitamins last night... but it might have been the night before.. or Monday? I'm not totally sure. Sometimes I forget I'm pregnant and find myself on the ground before I realize it. A little off-balance these days. :-)

Let me tell you what my mind has been on:

1. Lord, please don't let Vivienne feel left out when I'm in the hospital.

2. Two day care expenses at one time - oh my word.

3. Please God, don't let me have two in diapers.

4. Summer maternity leave = summer vacations... finally!!!!

5. What in the world are we going to name this child????

6. Where am I going to put stuff? My house is getting cramped!!!

Things have changed. I think before, I would have passed out if the baby came before 37 weeks. Now my arms are open and my heart is ready if he wanted to arrive today. Let's not do that, baby boy. You still need a name and some time to gain weight! But just know that your mommy can handle it.

And the big event itself... you all know from previous posts where my heart is in regards to delivery. As mentioned, I have given this to the Lord, and I'm giving Him complete control of my mind and heart. Yes, I want to deliver him as God intended women to deliver babies... but I am so thankful that God has given us great docs who recognized the signs and symptoms of danger and need for immediate delivery. In about 4-6 weeks, I will be assessed and recommended to Winston, or they will keep my c-section date which has already been scheduled. I have a great support system medically and personally. I have no doubt that the right decision will be made and complete awareness that things can change no matter which path is chosen for me at that time. I am already praying now for peace later. I think peace is something that can expire quickly. Though I'm at peace now, I have no idea how it will be in those final moments. I need your prayers. I do not want to be laying strapped on that table, screaming inside. If I have to be on that table, I want to be excited, not nervous... I want to be fully aware of the outcome of this pregnancy, and not the procedure itself.

Finally, I want to give some praise to whom it's due:

1. Thank you Lord for a healthy baby.

2. Thank you Lord that you have given us this child.

3. Thank you Lord for your peace.

4. Thank you Lord for working out a maternity leave replacement so that I can have some help the last month and be worry-free the time that I'm out.

5. Thank you Lord for the things we have been given, loaned, and handed down.

6. Thank you Lord for Vivienne's sweet demeanor throughout this pregnancy.

7. Thank you Lord for tolerance and grace through the two stomach viruses, croup, bronchitis, ear infections, and surgery (includes family) this winter.

8. Thank you Lord for my support system in regards to delivery wishes.

9. Thank you Lord for a husband who has always gone above and beyond to help with Vivienne.

10. Thank you Lord for my heritage so that we can instruct our children in Your ways.

Hope to update again later with news of a new doctor, or a scheduled birth date. No matter what, I'll have something to write about, for sure. :-)

And something fun... here's the crib (ours is in a cherry finish which is a bit darker):

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Week 23

According to, Baby Boy Slabbert is about the size of a Mango. A little over 1 pound and approximately 11 inches long.

At almost 5 months pregnant, I have started the tossing and turning through the night = bye bye uninterrupted sleep! I love feeling him move more often and watching my belly morph into weird shapes when he starts tumbling. I started imagining him as a newborn... how we'll decorate his room, how Vivienne will look holding him, all the teeny tiny diapers again... it's surreal.

The name hunt is so difficult. It seems there are so many more options for a girl than a boy, and I have a completely different mindset. With Vivienne, I searched for ideas that were very feminine, elegant, and unique. With this little boy, I'm just having the hardest time. We've decided not to announce his name whenever it's been chosen. From our experience with Vivienne, it's just best to keep it to ourselves, especially since I'm a pretty emotional prego. I didn't handle all the faces and comments very well when we were telling people her name was Vivienne at 5 months along. Everyone sure has an opinion!! I started seriously doubting that name towards the end, but I'm so glad we kept it.

She is such a Vivienne, which means "full of life". She is a southern girl who likes her fingernails painted and for mommy to put blush on her while doing make-up each morning. The babysitter is known as MISS Rhonda, and we are trying to keep that going for everyone she meets. She's a "Vivian Lee", a.k.a. Scarlett O'hare, if I've ever met one. (PS - we did NOT name her after the Gone with the Wind character).

Anyways, the name options remain secret. I guess that can be your big surprise when he's born (assuming that Johannes keeps quiet). I will say that there is one I really love. I hope it can be this little one's name, but so far I haven't convinced Johannes. Maybe one day I'll have a little boy who can carry the name. The meaning is what is so amazing to me.

It's crazy to think I only have 2 appointments left before I start seeing my OB every 2 weeks. There's a reason they start seeing you more often, and the reason is... it's getting close! :-) (I have to keep telling myself that). Still reading, praying, planning for a VBAC. I've had a lot of discouragement from trying because of the risk, but I have to keep giving them the statistics on c-sec risk versus VBAC risk. It is much much different. Whose to say, though. The biggest point is... I have faith in my God and I've asked Him to lead, guide and direct this delivery. I know he will.

On my final note of recent happenings, I have to share my recent Facebook post. December/January/February have been three really difficult months for me personally. I don't mean this is any bad or selfish way, but it has been a hard adjustment living in a small house with my mother-in-law for a month. We got along well, but it's just hard, even if it were my own mother or sister living with us. Then we got a phone call in the middle of the night on her 3rd week with us saying that her mother passed away. She wanted to go home, so she left a week early, which ironically was very hard as well. It's hard saying goodbye early knowing we probably won't see her again for 2 years. Then soon after, we got the dreaded stomach bug and it wreaked havoc on our home, especially for me being pregnant. Constantly in my mind, I'm thinking about the baby I'm carrying and how I HAVE to keep drinking fluids as not to start having contractions. I could not hold an ounce for 24 hours. That was my first stomach bug (at least that bad - I had a perception that you throw up everything and then it's over). Johannes then had his citizenship interview, which was one of the biggest events in our lives. He has been in the US for 9 years. Over $20,000 later, and after many many obstacles and difficulties, it came time to finalize it. It would have been easier and cheaper for him to come over illegally and stay. He would have never been questioned, detained, and interrogated... but we wanted to do it right, and after all of that... he's American! That was a very stressful time. A week later, he was in the hospital for a hernia surgery. Two days after his recovery, Vivienne got round two of stomach virus, then it hit mama. Oh, I prayed so hard for protection over Johannes, and God answered that. I did not want him back in the hospital because of ruptured stitches. The surgeon's office told us if he started having symptoms, to go to the hospital asap. The hardest part about that was having to take care of her on my own. I seriously respect single mothers doing this everyday, especially those with multiple kids, and especially those that are pregnant!

Anyways, through all of this, I have been really growing in my relationship with the Lord. I have been doing the Beth Moore study on Daniel and God has been changing my life. I have made a lot of commitments to the Lord lately, and it's been hard through all of the above to stay focused. I remember about a week ago, as I was praying, that I specifically thanked the Lord for all the people praying for me and asked God to bless them. This past Monday at work, I was approached by Debbie Smith in my church, leader of the Prayer Shawl Group, who presented me with a prayer shawl and handmade baby blanket (which included booties, mittens, a bib, and a hat). I wish I had the note with me to tell you what it specifically said, but it touched me to tears. I knew it. I knew I was being prayed for, even though I'm sure some of the ladies who helped with it did not know all that was going on in our house. The prayers were specifically towards my pregnancy and delivery, which was another huge blessing about the whole ordeal. In the middle of what we were dealing with, someone was not just praying for us, but praying for the baby and keeping my own prayers going for my delivery.

God knows the desires of my heart. I really want to do this. I want the Lord to start my labor on its own, prior to water breaking. I want the Lord to give me strength to labor at home for awhile. I want God to give me freedom from stress and fear. I am not against medicine or intervention, but I want the Lord to progress labor without the help of doctors or hospitals. It seems so much to ask for some of you readers, but maybe simple requests to the rest of you. To me, it's nothing for the Lord to grant those requests... but more than anything, I just want His will to be done. If it's His will that I have another c-section, I am content with that! So please pray for me to have peace with the final results. Pray that I stay healthy and the baby thrives. Pray that in the next two months, he will settle to the correct, head-down position.

Thanks for your continued prayers. I know I have pretty amazing prayer warriors. I hope you know you are also being prayed for, daily. I pray God's blessings on you. You just wait and see what happens!!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Week 18

According to, this week, my baby is the size of a bell pepper.

This pregnancy has been sooo different than with Vivienne. I have been sick non-stop until week 16. I started to worry after week 14 because they say it stops with the first trimester. Umm, no. I remember a co-worker of mine suffering through extreme nausea her entire pregnancy. My thought is, “Oh my goodness. I’m at week 15 and I’m still sick. Does this mean??? :::Gasp::: NO!!”

But thankfully, this week the only nausea I faced was from a stomach virus passed on to mommy and pappa from my dear Vivienne. Nausea was the easiest part of that 24 hours. Blah. Thankfully, it has passed. Literally. J

My burgeoning bump has forced me out of my regular clothes. Most of my prego friends get pretty excited about this. For me, paying $40 for a pair of maternity pants “on sale” just doesn’t cut it. I lucked out with Vivienne’s pregnancy. A friend of my sisters gave her a ton of maternity clothes, and my wonderful sister passed them on for me to borrow. Other than that, I was able to purchase a few empire-waist shirts that cut it until third trimester. (Ladies, check out the clearance racks at Macy’s, Belk, or JCPenneys. Thankfully we have four seasons here, so the clearance clothes from last season still work for this one. Also, check out craigslist. I often see women posting “large bag of maternity clothes for $30” or something along those lines. You have to check it out first though.) I look forward to borrowing some clothes again this time…. I hope!

I am a total believer of boys carrying lower than girls. My doc sent me back for an ultrasound at 12 weeks because he couldn’t find his heartbeat. Turns out he was so low, that the sonar wasn’t able to pick it up. Those minutes about sent me into a panic attack!

Also, the kicks I have been feeling have been really low…. I mean, really really low. Sometimes so low there is no possible way to try and feel it. Know what I’m sayin?

I felt little man’s flutter for the first time at 12 weeks. With Vivienne, it was week 14. First time moms, don’t freak out if you haven’t felt him/her yet.

*~The average time frame to feel first movement is 18-20 weeks.~*

I think I’m very sensitive to my body, hence why I felt it earlier. Even with Vivienne, I didn’t KNOW for sure until week 16 when it was really obvious. The funny thing with Viv is that the first two times I felt her were during presidential debates while Obama was speaking. Yeah, she is a prophet…. Wish she could have literally kicked him out. Oh well. (My blog, my freedom of speech, thank you very much).

So far, all is well.

For my pregnant friends… when are you due?

(Must have a Google, AIM, or other account as specified below to post – sorry about that. Most of you have AIM though, right? Just type in your username, that’s all).

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The History

I'm starting this blog almost half-way through my pregnancy, but I want to journal this, as I did with Vivienne. The reason I'm blogging and not journaling is because I want to share this experience, as I'm hoping it will be much different than my first birth.

Before I start my focus on baby #2, I need to tell you how it all began with my darling Vivi. My L&D: Water broke at 8p, on March 16. I was due on March 18th. I called the hospital who instructed me to come in immediately. I was IV'd and bed ridden as soon as I entered my room (not by my choice). I wasn't allowed to walk around, not even to use the restroom. I was not allowed to eat - but I was starving and restless the entire night. I was having very light, non-frequent contractions until 5a. when the nurse came in and said that Doc instructed pitocin to get my labor started. When I checked into the hosp., I was at 1 cm. By 11a. I was contracting strongly, no meds, in major pain trying to breath it through. Doc came in and checked me. I had only gotten to 2cm. I was shocked. Contractions were every 2 minutes and strong and I swore I was at least a 6, if not 8. It was the first time I was asked if I have ever had a surgery. I asked what he meant, and he said he thought something was causing constriction on my cervix. I had never had surgery, trauma, or anything that would have caused that. It was mentioned once again later by a nurse who was checking me. I was thinking... how come no one has mentioned this before? Is that what "tight" means when they said, "tight 2cm"? I remembered my last regular appt when I was dilated a "tight" fingertip (less than 1cm).

After doc left from checking me in the hospital at 11a, the nurse came in and explained that sometimes your body stresses to the pain, and relaxation is what can help with dilation. She recommended an epidural, then stated that if things didn't change real soon, a c-section would be inevitable. I asked if I could please get up and walk around, but I was told that the hospital has a policy that if you come in with ruptured membranes, they put you in the bed so as not to heighten risk of a prolapsed cord. If I had known that prolapse cord means c-section anyways (not death to me or baby), then I would have gotten up out of bed anyways. I'll mention this later, but I was not ready for all the challenges I now read about in labor and delivery. I consented to the epidural in hopes that it would relax my body for dilation. Oh, it was wonderful. No pain, but I could still feel and move my legs and feel my contractions. I napped a little and prayed a lot.

By 5p., the doc came in. I was still at 2cm. He sat on my bedside and said we were at a crossroads. They don't like ruptured membranes longer than 24 hours because of risk of infection. After reading about this, there is no doubt that this is a huge and valid concern with as much as I was being checked. He explained that the risk to baby was elevated, but there were no current signs of distress. I was in tears. He said he would give me a little more time and I told him we needed to pray and think about it. For the next hour, I was praying, Johannes was praying, and I was shifting and turning in bed as much as I could to see if I could somehow control the baby's movement down towards my pelvis.

At 6p, he came in and asked what we had decided. He checked again, and there was no progression. I couldn't even speak, but looked at Johannes and we knew. He told doc that we were ready and we just wanted a healthy baby.

On March 17th at 6:29p, Vivienne was born. 9lbs, 3 oz, and 23 inches long. She was a big girl. Doc later said... "no wonder."

It's a lot to process.. at least it is for me everytime I recount this story.

I won't go into the minute details on why I do not want another c-section, but I will mention three brief points that apply to me alone. I am not trying to offend anyone who had or asked for a c-section. All I know is my experience, and my heart...

1. Healing - Pain was horrible for me. It was hard to bond with Vivienne. The Percoset caused drowsiness in Vivienne. She wouldn't stay awake for a feeding after I took the pain pill. It was the hardest week in my life. I couldn't stand upright for almost a week. I had the continuous feeling that my incision would open when I would stand up to do something.

2. Cost - With my insurance, I paid more than $500 out of pocket than I would have for a vaginal delivery. This year it will be even more, with the increase in out of pocket coverage for 2011.

3. Risk - The risk for problems to occur in c-sections are much greater than for problems to occur in VBACs (vaginal birth after cesearean). People always talk about the risk of a VBAC, but look at the statistics.

I have 3 main reasons why I want to try for a VBAC. I am not an ideal candidate. Ideal is a breech positioned baby for 1st c-section. My c-section was termed "failure to progress", but we have to ask the question, "why?". Why did I fail to progress? Was it my body? Was it the fact that I was flat on my back for 22 hours, afraid to even pee because I was humiliated to use a bed pan with the nurse standing over me? Was it the fact that I wasn't allowed to eat even a cracker and hadn't eaten for 36 hours from the last meal?

And in regards to the scar tissue. I recently asked in my appt., "Can you tell me more about this scar tissue?" The doctor said he wasn't completely convinced that it was the problem or that I actually had scar tissue. He explained what he felt, but said it wasn't obvious like most patients with this issue. He then explained that he felt that the baby was big and wouldn't descend, and this was the reason for failure to progress. It's a hard thing for me to process. Do I have it, or don't I? Is it the cause, or is it not?

Surprisingly, my OB is very supportive of a VBAC. He is already in communication with a high-risk group who can perform VBACs in Winston (nearly 2 hours drive away). The problem is not the doc, it's the hospital. Most hospitals in the US are not legally equipped for a VBAC situation. Several reasons why, but the most is having "emergency" personnel available and present in the hospital 24/7 while the patient is in labor. For small hospitals with only 1 or 2 anesthesiologists, this is not a possibility.

My main goal is to be educated this time around. I have been reading a very pro-VBAC book called Silent Knife. It is dated and against c-sections (i am not completely against ceseareans), so I am not taking it word for word... but the statistics, history, and stories that were sent in can not be questioned. I have read stories much like mine with successful VBAC endings. The common threads in these VBAC women are education on our rights and bodies, a positive outlook, healthy pregnancy, and support.

I have been looking into hiring a doula. I trust Johannes, but I need unfailing support should another unplanned event happen during labor. What I love about Johannes is that he will do anything to protect me from pain or danger. But we need someone who recognizes "real" danger is in those moments where we have to make a decision outside from our emotions. We need someone who can explain without bias.

So, now you have my history on labor and delivery. The experience changed my life in so many ways. First and foremost, I received my precious baby girl... healthy, on the most beautiful day. Her arrival was perfect.

However, my life has also been full of "what ifs" since March 17th. Though her arrival was perfect, the events leading up to it were less than. I won't take the day back, but I won't resign to a c-section because that's my "only option". It's not.

This blog is for you, my friends. I want to encourage you to think about your labor and delivery, whether it has happened or not even thought of yet. I want you to be informed and prepared. If my second attempt ends in a c-section, I will be okay because I'll know that it truly WAS my only option because of all the research I have done and books I have read. If my story helps one person avoid the mental anguish and second guessing, it was worth it.

And besides all of the above... I'm gonna get my baby boy out of this. You get to join us on the ride! How awesome is that??