Friday, January 31, 2014

Guest Post - "A Breech Birth at Home"

I remember the first time I even heard about breach births. It was in one of my high school textbooks and it sounded scary. A couple years later I watched a documentary about “freebirthing.” One woman gave birth to her baby in the bath tub completely on her own, and the baby was breach. The baby was fine though. I remember thinking, “Is she crazy?! Her baby could have died!” Fast forward many years later... I’m already a mama of one precious boy, born in a hospital but with no drugs whatsoever. I’m pregnant with a baby girl and have decided that since I had such an easy time with my first labor that I’m going to go for a home birth. It’s funny how time and research can change your mind about anything. I never imagined as a teenager that I would be one of those women giving birth at home.

 As the time to give birth came closer and closer I was just excited as can be. All my midwife appointments were great, the pregnancy was progressing normally, and I was confident that everything would turn out just fine. Well, it did turn out fine, but not without one big surprise.

 My contractions started on a Monday morning and two hours later I was already in the birthing tub getting ready to push. I was in intense pain. With all my might I pushed that baby out and felt some relief. I looked down into the water and all I saw was legs and a body. Her head was still inside of me. I didn’t know what to think. There had never been any indication throughout my pregnancy that she was breach. “Is she stuck?!” were the only words I could manage to spit out. “No, push,” my midwife told me. So I did. And out she popped. I held my baby girl in my arms. She was perfect. I couldn’t believe she was breach. I couldn’t believe she had come out with such ease. I couldn’t believe this was our story and how blessed we were.

 I used to be afraid of breech birth, but through my own personal experience I learned that it doesn’t have to be scary. Thankfully my midwife knew what she was doing (she had recently completed some training on breach birthing) and didn’t panic. My home birth was the most amazing experience and it taught me that women are incredible and capable of so much.

Kristel is a stay-at-home wife (to Alex) and mom (to Liam and Isabel). She lives in Miami, FL and blogs about faith, family, and fun over at Glowing Light. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Check out more information on breech babies in this post, and read about Felicia's cesarean due to breech here. I hope this series has helped provide some insight into breech presentation and shown that the right environment and a supportive care provider can make the difference in getting the birth you want and deserve!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My Thoughts as a Pregnant Woman about Forgiving Myself

This is a post I wrote on the blog I was keeping throughout my pregnancy...little did I know that less 24 hours later, I would be admitted to the hospital and induced into labor...another story for another day. But this post is an example of how sometimes in pregnancy, like in any other aspect of life, things may not go how you plan and you have to accept that it's not always your fault, especially if you know and do your best.


Maybe not an epiphany, but…

…definitely a tough realization. I had “it” last night while talking to my sister…it was one of those things where you talk and talk so much that eventually something profound pops out of your mouth without even thinking about it.

I was explaining to my sister all the reasons why I want a completely unmedicated birth (in no particular order):
1) I want to avoid the slippery slope of unnecessary interventions. For example, if you are induced and they start you on Pitocin, your body is forced to labor before it is ready, which leads to much stronger and more painful contractions than you might have actually had if you had avoided the drugs. Now that the pain is SO strong, you feel like you need an Epidural, so you get one. the thing about an epidural (or any pain medication) is that it slows down your contractions, and before you know it, you’re being given MORE pitocin because you’ve plateaued or slowed down more than the hospital would like. The pain is back full force, so you get more pain medication. Lo and behold, the doctor walks in and tells you that the baby’s heartbeat has slowed/risen/become erratic, etc. and now you need an emergency c-section. What they won’t tell you is that the heartbeat got like that because the baby couldn’t handle the constant changes in the uterus due to the medications.  Now your baby is in danger and you need emergency surgery just because of one intervention that didn’t even need to happen.
2) It’s safer for the baby to labor naturally, not just because of the reasons I listed above, but because every medication you could be given (and there are LOTS of kinds, not just pitocin or an epidural) can leave your baby in a stupor for hours, even days after birth. I would rather bond with a baby that is more alert than know he has no clue who I am because I made sure he was born zonked out.
3) the most important reason in my gut is that I VALUE the hard work and dedication it takes to give birth naturally. I don’t know if it’s this city and it’s “get in, get out, get on with life” superficiality, or what…but there is ZERO support here for mothers that want to go natural. You’re likelier to be told you’re insane for trying (even by other moms) than receive any sort of support. There’s no natural-method birthing classes in the entire county, insurance doesn’t cover midwives (if you can FIND one), there’s no resources on cloth diapering or baby wearing…even breast-feeding past 3 months is weird and taboo here. I’ve spoken to two OBs and even hospital staff regarding my wishes for a natural birth, and every SINGLE time, I was answered that all my requests would depend on what drug(s) I was on at that particular stage of labor. So literally EVERY person I spoke to regarding my birth assumed that I would have some sort of drugs at some point of the labor, even when I had prefaced the conversation with “I want a natural birth, so…”

 I mentioned that earlier this week, I had a breakdown because I was so frustrated with the anxiety of the upcoming birth and not being able to plan for everything because every time I spoke to someone else about my birth plan, I was told at least a couple more things I could not count on having. While I was talking to my sister, I realized that my problem was the planning. I desperately want a natural, drug-free birth, but the fact is that all the books I’ve read on the topic and all the videos I’ve watched to prepare all assume that I will be among supportive people in an environment suitable for natural labor and delivery.

I am not. And I will not. And as much as I blame myself for that, it is unreasonable to because there’s nothing I can do about it.

The hospital requires continuous fetal monitoring. They don’t have wireless OR waterproof monitors. This means that once I am admitted to the hospital, I will literally be strapped to a bed in one position until I have the baby. In my original birth plan, I wanted to labor in a tub, or at least in a shower because I’ve found throughout the pregnancy that all my pains can be eased substantially with warm water. Well, there ARE no tubs, and I am not ALLOWED to shower until after the baby is out, “considering whatever drugs you’re on have worn off at that point”. Why? “Hospital rules.” That’s it. I’ve not once been given a legit medical reason why I can’t do X, Y, Z…all I get is “it’s hospital policy and they’re not flexible” which is basically they’re way of saying “don’t try to fight us on this, you’re going to lose.” In fact, I was even told by one of the doctors that if I want to labor in the shower, I better “stay at home as long as possible”. Hmm.

Because the hospital requires continuous monitoring, I am also not allowed to walk, squat, or otherwise change position at all because I cannot take the monitor off. Every resource I’ve come across says that changing positions can be the difference between tolerable and intolerable contractions, and that laying on your back is the absolute WORST and most PAINFUL way to labor. Well, that’s apparently the only choice I have.

I’ve been mentally preparing for the fact that labor is going to be hard and painful and will require a LOT of determination on my part, but that’s considering that I’d have the ability to labor in a way that would encourage or facilitate what I want/need. In my current situation, I’m fighting an uphill battle because I’m putting pressure on myself to do something that’s ALREADY so difficult, PLUS I have the hospital policy pushing back at me. It’s an uphill battle at best.

So what conclusion did I come to?

I cannot plan. I should not worry. I am as prepared as I can be, but I do not know what to expect, and I shouldn’t expect anything because it will only lead to disappointment if/when things don’t go the way I thought they would.

So I am still going to do my best to cope with the pain naturally using the techniques that I have been focusing on for months. But I am also trying to come to peace with the fact that I might feel I need pain medication, and that I shouldn’t hate myself or feel disappointed if I go that path. As it is right now, I know I will feel like an absolute failure if I opt for pain medication, but I realize I need to cut myself some slack because the hospital is literally making everything as backwards to what I need as they can, and there’s nothing I can do about that.

As soon as I said out loud to my sister that I should try to forgive myself in advance in case I DO opt for pain medications, a calm came over me. As long as Bu gets here healthy, I should focus on that and not HOW he got here, though I do still feel it’s so important to do my best and go natural for the both of us. I’m not 100% ok with being this flexible yet, but I can’t  regret something I haven’t even done yet, and if I DO do it, I can only use it as a learning experience for next time.

And by next time, I mean I am NEVER setting foot in an OB or hospital again when it comes to having children. I must find support for a more natural path here, otherwise I foresee all of Bu’s future siblings being born outside this city. This pregnancy has made so many beautiful things in my life, but it has also made me deeply dislike this city and it’s attitude, and I’d love nothing more than to give my children a chance to live AWAY from it and it’s influence.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Superfoods and Supplements - Coconut Oil

 If you can't see the video above, please check it out on YouTube HERE.

This is the first post of...well, many...about superfoods and supplements. As promised, I'm going to detail different things we give our son to fill holes in his nutrition that his diet might leave to be desired. There's also benefits to mommas including most of these in their own diets as well!

This post is dedicated to COCONUT OIL.

Coconut oil has been demonized in the past because it contains saturated fat. In fact, coconut oil is one of the richest sources of saturated fat known to man, with almost 90% of the fatty acids in it being saturated. It contains so-called Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) – which are fatty acids of a medium length (duh LOL). Most of the fatty acids in our diets are so-called long-chain fatty acids, but the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are metabolized differently. They go straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they are used as a quick source energy or turned into so-called ketone bodies, which can have therapeutic effects on brain disorders like epilepsy, autism and Alzheimer’s.

Also of interest is the fact that another great source of Medium Chain Fatty Acids is… breast milk!
Breast milk is rich in Lauric acid, the same fatty acid found in coconut oil...and it’s there because, in addition to easily digestible nourishment, it provides immunity against infection. the Medium Chain Fatty Acids in coconut oil are believed to help with the body’s absorption of vitamins and minerals from other foods.

According to the research, when a lactating woman adds foods rich in lauric acid to her diet, the amount of lauric acid available in her breast milk increases substantially to levels three times the original level and nearly double the amount of capric acid. A single meal of coconut oil can significantly affect the breast milk fatty acid compositions for 1 to 3 days with the maximum increase occurring during the first 10 hours. This data supports the hypothesis that diet directly affects the quality of human milk and possibly the womb environment.

Also, coconut oil can be used to ease dry skin, diaper rash, cradle cap, even to moisturize nipples after breastfeeding or pumping!

This is my favorite way to use coconut oil, because it stays liquid even when cold or blended into smoothies...although Costco sells HUGE tubs of organic coconut oil for about $15...much cheaper than I've found organic coconut oil anywhere, even Trader Joe's. It's important to try to get organic or at least cold-pressed or virgin, because the cheaper stuff is usually extracted with chemicals.

Sources: 1, 2

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Guest Post - "Cesarean SOLELY Due to Breech"

 In 2009, I was pregnant with my first daughter. It was a very uneventful pregnancy even though I gained about 50lbs during the 9 months making me 300lbs at the time of birth. She was head down from somewhere around 35 weeks till 42 and I was starting to dilate and efface. I went in to my 42 week OB appointment at which they did a U/S to check on the baby. Turned out she was had flipped to breech at 42 weeks.

It all happened so fast in the office, after they found out she was breech they wouldn't check me at all because suddenly now my only option was a c-section. The OB brought us into his office to talk about it and told me I was going to have a c-section because I was 42 weeks and she was breech, if she hadn't been breech they would have let me be. I started crying right there, I hadn't ever thought I would be having a c-section... I had a textbook perfect pregnancy and she had been head down!

I asked if there was anything we could do and I was told no. He told me to stop crying because I was crying for no reason at all but that didn't help, I knew this was a major surgery. I remember my husband commenting after we got out of there that he wanted to punch the OB because of how he was acting. He was very rude and made me feel stupid for crying when they told me I had to have a major abdominal surgery I had not been expecting. I cried off and on for the next two days, I was scared because I'd never had a surgery in my life and now I had to have this one. I had been looking forward to going into labor so I could meet my sweet little girl but now I was dreading giving birth.

When I showed up for the c-section they put me on monitors, checked that she was still breech and told me I was having contractions I just couldn't feel them yet. I was crying a little bit when she was born, I hadn't wanted it this way but she was healthy and I was going to be ok so I thought maybe that was all that mattered right then. I didn't find out about ECV (external cephalic version), or that I could have just not gone to the c-section because they can not do anything without your consent until after my surgery. I was so angry when I found out there had indeed been stuff I could have tried to turn her back to breech and avoided that surgery. I was angry that I never got to experience labor, I was angry at myself for having not switched OBs like I had thought about earlier in the pregnancy and vowed to never let myself be talked into another c-section.

I had learned that I couldn't just rely on the word of the people I was seeing, I had to research for myself these things and stand up for what I wanted so in 2013 I gave birth again this time vaginally because I had this previous experience my next one went exactly how I wanted. I didn't let anyone stand in my way, even went so far as not having a OB from 26weeks to 34weeks because the first OB tried to schedule me for a c-section at 40+3 days and I knew because of my older daughter that I likely wouldn't be going into labor till 42 weeks. I did what I had to to find someone who would support me properly so now I try to help other women out there by giving them the knowledge I didn't have during my first pregnancy to prevent them from having unnecessary c-sections.

Felicia is a mother of two little girls living in the Midwest.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Breech Presentation...What? Why? How?

A baby in "breech" position is basically considered an automatic cesarean, at least in the United States. Many doctors are no longer trained in breech deliveries, and so the immediate conclusion that they come to is that mom will need major abdominal surgery due to their lack of training. It is what it is, right?


What is Breech?
  • Frank Breech, which tends to be the most favorable. This is when baby’s bottom presents first and feet are by the head.
  • Footling Breech is when baby has one or both feet presenting first.
  • Complete Breech is when your baby is comfy sitting cross legged.

Why won’t my doctor do a vaginal breech birth?
This could be due to a variety of reasons:

  • They may not have a lot of experience attending vaginal breech births.
  • May not feel comfortable attending vaginal breech births.
  • May have had a bad experience in the past.
  • There may not be suitable back-up at the hospital where they practice (on call anesthetists, pediatricians, experienced midwives, 24 hour operating room staff).
  • They may not believe in vaginal breech birth.
  • Defensive practice in current childbirth culture means that doctors are more likely to err on the side of intervention (cesarean section) rather than non-intervention (vaginal birth).
  • It is easier for a doctor to perform a cesarean section than a skilled vaginal breech birth.
  • Cesarean is an accepted birth method in today’s culture.

How should I approach my child's breech position?
*Do nothing.
Depending how many weeks pregnant you are, you may decide just to wait for your baby to turn. The majority of babies turn spontaneously pre-term.

*Non-medical turning
Alternatively, there are various non-medical turning techniques you can try.  You can read more on Spinning Babies

*Look for a care-provider who will support you in whatever option you choose
Many maternity care-providers do not support vaginal breech birth and will advise a planned cesarean section at 38 or 39 weeks if your baby does not turn.  This is partly because most obstetricians and midwives do not possess skills in vaginal breech birth and so they are unable to offer this option safely. However, depending on various maternal and fetal factors, vaginal breech birth is not necessarily any riskier than cesarean section, particularly with the support of an experienced attendant. 

Before 37 weeks of pregnancy, breech presentation is much more common - about 20% of babies at 28 weeks are breech, and 15% at 32 weeks. Before term, which is defined as 37 weeks, it doesn't matter if the baby is breech, as there is always a good chance that she will turn spontaneously. Some babies do turn by themselves after this time, but it is much less likely, and some preparations should be made to decide how delivery is going to take place. About 10% to 15% of breech babies are discovered for the first time late in labor!

Very soon, I will post two guest birth stories. One of these stories is from Felicia, who had a cookie-cutter, non-complicated pregnancy but was forced into cesarean delivery solely due to a breech presentation. The second is from Kristel, whose daughter came out booty-first at home in the water. These ladies are examples of how having supportive care providers can make the difference between the birth experience you want and the experience that is forced upon you.

Further Reading:
Spinning Babies 
The Webster Technique
Breech Decision Making Sheet

UPDATE: Please click HERE for the Breech Babies tab, so you can read the birth stories mentioned above and any other resources on this site regarding breech babies.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Guest Post: "A Home Birth Worth Waiting For"

Well, where do I start? Let’s see, I have been having “false” or prodromal labor since 36 ½ weeks. At 36 ½ weeks, my midwife was over and checked me, to make sure I wasn’t actually in labor, as I would have had to transfer to a hospital if I was. In Colorado you have to be 37-42 weeks for a midwife attended homebirth. My first edd by LMP was 8-22-11. BUT I was charting the cycle I conceived, and I KNEW I didn’t O til cd 24, making my EDD 10 days later than that, at 9-1-11. Sure enough, the ultrasounds matched MY edd, from charting.

I saw my OB from my first two pregnancies to start, I had gotten Hyperemesis AGAIN, and had a PICC line placed, only to have it out 5 days later when it made my Superior Vena Cave swell, and almost killed me-NOT FUN. After that, I got care from a CPM, just for Hyperemesis. She started me on Milk Thistles (not blessed thistle, blessed is FOR milk supply, MILK thistle is for live function) and I was on around 20 carpels a day at first, BUT it took care of things wonderfully. I was not comfortable with a CPM for my birth, as I have MTHFR and it can present more issues than a “normal” person. So I found my CNM, Janet Schwab. Surprisingly, she is NOT very medical, and more natural than MOST of the CPMs I know.
I hired her when I was 14 wks. It would have been sooner, but I interviewed several midwives, and I also was in the hospital in Feb (on Valentine’s Day) for a few days, I had Flu type A, and also Swedish hospital tanked my potassium. I went in for hydration my “K” (potassium) was 3.4 normal is 3.5 and up (don’t remember the upper range) well they pumped me full of 4 bags of just water. NO K in it at all. Surprise surprise when that night I ended up at a different hospital, due to heart issues, only to find out my K was down to a 2.9. They gave me 3 bags of IV K, BURNS LIKE HELL. And sent me home. They next day I saw the OB I was seeing, and we had my labs sent in again, only to have them tell me to get to the hospital I needed to be admitted. I was + for Flu A, and my K was now a 2.7! So I was in for 2 nights, and got around 11 bags of K, plus the 3 from the ER the night before. 14 total bags got me to a 3.7, but hey it was range. The next day I hired Janet. Went to 1 more apt with Dr. B. and fired him.

The rest of my pregnancy was normal for once. I did see my midwife's back up OB, who ironically was my mother OB when she was pregnant with me. He was wonderful, and believed in homebirth, I wonder if his wife being a midwife has anything to do with that lol. I got my anatomy scan, decided to find out what we were having, and it was gonna be our 3rd girl! We were so excited! Familiar territory!

About 36 ½ weeks, I had contractions after going to the zoo. We went to the Zoo about 100 times this summer- can I just say I LOVE the zoo pass-all I ever needed was the gas to get there, and I could walk, as well as make the girls happy all at the same time! The contractions seemed like “business” and I was spotting with them, so I called Janet, who came right over and checked me. I was closed, and there was nothing to worry about. This Contracting and spotting kept up until I reached 40w3d. However, there were 2-3 times, where we thought she was coming before then, only to have me try to sleep and wake up still pregnant.

Sure enough, on Sept 4th, 2011, at 40w3d pregnant, my baby decided she would come out. I woke up around 430 to come contractions, but this had been normal so I blew it off. Woke up to another around 5, another at 530 and it kept up that way until around 8am when I woke up David and we had 1 final round of “fun” to move things along. Let me tell ya, that was all my body needed that day! After I started contracting, but it was different, it was ALL low, before they had been low and high, but these were ALL LOW. And there started out, 5-6 min apart! I called my Midwife, My Doula Jessica, and let my parents know what was going on. Part of me just felt different. David and I took a walk, to where the contractions picked up to 3 min apart, and I could hardly move through them. We called the team back, and everyone was on their way.

This was my first non-induced labor. Azalynn was 35 weeks after 5 wks in the hospital for a montage of issues. Kaydence was 38 ½ wks due to PIH that was turning pre-e. So I had no clue what to expect. My midwife and her assistant got to my house around 1030, my doula around 1130. I got a little panicked, seeing everything being set up, but the ctx were hurting so bad, I got over it pretty fast.  Ctx were around 3 min apart, I wasn’t checked, as I said my mw is very non-medical. But after about 2 hours, I asked to be checked. I was only 4 cm, BUT 100% thinned and baby was at a 0 station.  I HAD to get in the tub, because I was not dealing with them well at all. Honestly, the pit was about the same as MY own ctx. So really, I don’t buy the “Pit is so much worse” line anymore.

An hour later, I felt a TON of pressure, so I asked to be checked, but I was only a 5, but a +1 station.  I was happy cause I made it a whole cm in an hour, oh and she would not have checked me if I didn’t ask. About an hour and a half later, I had a feeling I could no longer do this. I figured I was in transition, then my body started to push on its own, but something didn’t feel right. I asked to be checked again. Turns out I was only 6cm, with a bulging bag.  But my body was pushing. I couldn’t help it. I tried millions of positions, the tub, the toilet-other than tub, toilet was the BEST spot. An hour later, same thing, but more intense, guess what? Still 6cm. I was staring to lose it, thinking I needed to transfer because I was worried my cervix was going to swell shut, since I couldn’t stop my body from pushing in the ctx. I just could not help it. I asked, well more like demanded to transfer so I 1 wouldn’t swell shut, 2 to get rid of the pain. I was in a “CANT DO THIS” state of mind for an hour and could not take anymore. My midwife, her assistant, and my doula somehow convinced me to go for a walk outside with my husband. I had 3 ctx just between the front door and the end of our property; I turned around said “I WANT TO GO NOW” and headed back to the house to get ready to go to the hospital.

 I had 1 more ctx on the way to the door,  and one more right when we got inside, the one inside is when I finally gave up and gave in. I was standing in front of the swamp cooler (god that was a nice feeling) and I told David I was sorry for wasting $4,000. I made it down stairs to the toilet again, where I felt I really had to poop. Thinking too bad I do need to poop and I know it’s not the baby, seeing as I was 6cm 15 min before.  My midwife came in to see how I felt after the walk, I told her I give up, I’m ready to transfer, this could be hours more. I asked her to check me one more time, and then we could go. In my mind I said “if I’m at least an 8 I won’t go” so I got to the bed, had another ctx-a WHOPPING one. That lasted 2 min long. Then I laid down on the bed for her to check me. With the most shocked look on her face, she said “you can push if you want” all I could do is say “REALLY????” I must have asked if she was sure about 10 times. My doula said the look on my face was priceless. I did have a small right anterior lip, just like with Kaydence. I hopped up, and hopped into the tub, I had a ctx as I was going from the bed to the tub, but I just wanted in the dam tub!!!! I debated just diving in instead of climbing in lol.

Once I was in the tub, things spaced way out. We tried different positions, to get the bit of cervical lip gone, none were working, but ctx were so spaced out at that point, I just was happy I had rest time. When I had one, I tried pushing, it hurt, so I stopped which hurt more, so I tried again. I told the mw I thought I brought her down a bit again, and asked her to check and see, I had, but the lip was holding her back a bit, my mw offered to hold it out of the way, and I said “YES PLEASE!” so next ctx when I started to push I told her, and she held it back, then things really got insane pain wise. I just wanted her out. I took her from at the lip, (so a +2 station) to crowning in 1 huge push. OMG it hurt to have her sit there. They told me to reach down and touch her head, I did, the bag was still intact at that point! It was awesome to feel. Next ctx my waters broke, which I didn’t feel at all because I was in the water, but then it hurt even worse. I actually screamed “JUST PULL HER OUT!!!!” to the midwives, but she wasn’t even out yet lol. I gave one more push; I didn’t want to wait for a ctx, period. So I just pushed, I could feel myself stretching, and feel her trying to come out, I was screaming one of the “EGHHHHHHHH” screams, and everyone in unison told me to breath, I took 1 huge breath and went at pushing with everything I had again, my hand still on her head! And then her head just popped out! I didn’t want to stop, it still hurt bad. So I pushed again, and felt her rotate (k that was kinda cool) and then she was out. Next thing I know there is a splash and my baby is being handed to me. The position I was in was kinda half on my right side, right leg somewhat folded up under me, left leg digging into the bottom of the pool hard. Wednesday Sky was earthside at 413pm, 13” head, with a nuchal hand.  BEST LOOKING cord out of any of my kids (can we say proper nutrition?) her placenta was somewhat of a heart shape too-awesome!

 I got out of the tub about 15 min later, after sitting there in awe amazed I did it, and even more amazed that *I* did it. I went into labor on my own, my child picked her birthday, I dealt with the pain, even if I did beg/demand to transfer at one point, I did it at home in the water!!!! Just like I WANTED too. Her APGAR’s were a 9 and 10. Just for the record, a 10 in Colorado, is HARD to get. But yes she was a 9 at 1 min, and a 10 at 5 min. We got me out of the tub to deliver the placenta, on the birth stool. It came right out. Easy with a plop!

Then I got in bed, where I ate a grilled cheese, and snuggled and nursed my baby. It was about 50 min from birth til when she latched, but she was happy and not interested sooner. Then we worked on looking at me, sure enough, 2 tears, SAME spots as Azalynn and Kaydence. Labial, so OUCH for peeing lol. But they already feel better. Hardly any swelling, it’s great! We did her exam, she checked out as a 40 wker! So perfect for dates, and then we measured her, 6 lbs 14 oz, and 18 ½ inches long. Not a long as Kaydence, longer than Azalynn, but the heaviest of all, and largest head of all.
Wednesday did get a vit K shot, because I have to take Aspirin for MTHFR, so I’m in a higher risk group for a VKDB (Vit K Deficiency Bleed) baby, so for me it was the right choice for the baby. Oral vit K isn’t really studied, the doses are always changing, and it screws up a virgin gut right off the bat, so we did the injection- ALL babies are born Vit k deficient, the difference is if you’re on certain meds, the risk of a bleed happening is higher.

Getting the pool emptied was an adventure. My dad’s drill pump broke, but he decided to go get a submersion pump for us (THANK YOU DADDY!) and David held it in place for almost 2 hours emptying the pool. Once it was low enough to move, the carried it outside and dumped the rest in the garden. I got my post-partum sitz bath, the herbs are really helping the tears. It’s amazing!-OH and a bit of wonderful advice I got, DEPENDS- So much better than pads and panties lol.

I forgot to add, the girls and my parents came down just minutes after she was earthside, so they got to meet her while I was still in the pool. The girls were so excited. I hope it made a permanent imprint on what normal birth is- and yes I’m glad they were not there when I was pushing her out, they could not have dealt with that at all.

I am so thankful for my wonderful birth team. Jessica, Janet and Bergen, They really held me together when I hit my wall, and I’m even more grateful for how wonderful David was through it all. He really was my rock.

Story reposted with permission of original author, Felicia. Felicia is a size -friendly doula located in Colorado, please check out her business site to contact her and have her attend your birth!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Do Your Research and Question ALL the Things!

I was a bit disappointed, if I'm being honest, about a post Improving Birth did today about Florida birth. The Facebook page stated matter-of-factly that no, ladies in Florida, vaginal birth is not illegal for you. Duh. (That's the tone I took from it, but maybe I'm sensitive). 

Anyway, the fact is that vaginal birth after cesarean in birth centers IS in fact illegal in Florida. True, it's one form of birth among many different types, places, etc. But my gripe is that Improving Birth is a resource for a lot of women, and one that many take at it's word as experts. How disappointed would I personally be to get my hopes up that Improving Birth says the birth I want is legal, only to find out it's not? 

I posted my response there about how it should be my right to birth where and how I want if I'm otherwise healthy, and that doing so would make me feel safe and raise the chance of my successful VBAC, but I don't like that most women won't read the comments and learn specifics. Usually when I make a fuss about VBAC restrictions in Florida, I'm met with "well, you could always do a homebirth!" I was met with just that here...The thing is that going "off the grid" shouldn't have to be our only option, though. Home births are great, but for those of us that would like to be near emergency care in case we LEGITIMATELY (not routinely) need it, we should be allowed that simple, not at all outrageous, scenario to feel safe in our labors, which is what most likely would result in successful VBACs.

The bottom line is: I feel like the message shouldn't have been delivered in such a "duh!" way when there's obviously stipulations and it's been shown time and time again that where and how you birth is incredibly important and indicative of your outcome. My two cents.

What do you think about VBAC restrictions? What sort of opposition have you come across in your pregnancy or labor/birth experience, VBAC-related or otherwise?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Frequently Used Abbreviations

Thanks to Kristina Sharrer for compiling the list for us! I added a couple as well, if there's any we're missing, please comment so they can be added. 

ACA = Anti-Cardiolipin Antibodies
ACOG = American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
ACTH = Adrenal Corticotropic Hormone
AH, AZH = Assisted Hatching
AI = Artificial Insemination
ANA = Anti-Nuclear Antibodies
AO= Annovulatory
AP= Attachment Parenting
APA = Anti-Phospholipid Antibodies
APTT = Activated Partial Thromboplastin Time
ART = Assisted Reproductive Technology
ASA = Anti-Sperm Antibody
ASRM = American Society of Reproductive Medicine
ATA = Anti-Thyroid Antibody
AVA = Anti-Ovarian Antibody

BBT = Basal Body Temperature
BBC = Baby Center
BC = Birth Control
BCP = Birth Control Pills
BFP = big fat positive
BFN = big fat negative

CAH = Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia
CASA = Computer-Assisted Semen Analysis
CCCT= Clomiphene Citrate Challenge Test(Clomid Challenge)
CD = Cycle Day
CF = Cervical Fluid Chromo = Chromopertubation
CL = Corpus luteum
CM = Cervical Mucus
CMV = Cytomegalovirus
CNM = Certified Nurse Midwife
CP = Cervical position
CVS = Chorionic Villi Sampling
CY = Cycle

D&C = Dilation and Curettage
D&E = Dilation and Evacuation
DE = Donor Eggs
DES = Diethylstilbestrol (a synthetic estrogen)
DI = Donor Insemination
DIPI = Direct Intra-Peritoneal Insemination
DOST = Direct Oocyte-Sperm Transfer
DPO = Days Post-Ovulation
Dx = Diagnosis

E2 = Estradiol
EB, EMB = Endometrial Biopsy
EDD = Estimated Due Date
Endo = Endometriosis
EPT = Early Pregnancy Test
ET = Embryo Transfer
ETA = Embryo Toxicity Assay
ETF = Embryo Toxic Factor
ETLA = Enhanced TLA
EW = Egg White Consistency (refering to CM)
EWCM = Egg-white cervical mucus

FAQ = Frequently asked Questions
FET = Frozen Embryo Transfer
FM = Fertility Monitor
FMU = First morning urine
FP = Follicular Phase
FRE = First Response Early
FSH = Follicle Stimulating Hormone

GCT = Glucose Challenge Test
GIFT = Gamete Intra-Fallopian Transfer
GnRH = Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone
GP = General Practitioner
GTT = Glucose Tolerance Test

HVBAC= Home vaginal birth after c-section
HBAC = home birth after c-section
HCG = Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (pregnancy hormone)
HEPA = Hamster Egg Penetration Assay
HMG = Human Menopausal Gonadotropin
HPT = Home Pregnancy Test
HRT = Hormone Replacement Therapy
HSC = Hysterosco
HSG = Hysterosalpingogram
HSG = Hysterosalpingogram
Hx = History

ICI = Intra-Cervical Insemination
ICSI = Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection
ICSI = Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection
IF = Infertility
IM = Intramuscular (injections)
INF - Infertility
IOR = Immature Oocyte Retrieval
ITI = Intra-tubal Insemination
IUGR = Intrauterine Growth Restriction
IUI = Intrauterine Insemination
IVF = In Vitro Fertilization
IVIg = Intravenous Immunoglobulin



LAD = Leukocyte Antibody Detection Assay
LAP = Laparoscopy
LH = Luteinizing Hormone
LIT = Leukocyte Immunization Therapy
LMP = Last Menstrual Period (start date)
LP = Luteal phase
LPD = Luteal Phase Defect
LUF = Luteinized Unruptured Follicle

MC, m/c, misc. = Miscarriage
MESA = Microsurgical Epididymal Sperm Aspiration
MF = Male Factor
MFM = Maternal-Fetal Medicine (High Risk Ob)
MS = Morning Sickness

NEST = Non-surgical Embryonic Selective Thinning
NK = Natural Killer Cells (CD56+)
NO = No Ovulation
NORIF = Non-Stimulated Oocyte Retrieval in (office) Fertilization
NP = Nurse Practitioner
NSA = Non-Surgical Sperm Aspiration
NST = Non-Stress Test

O = Ovulation
OB = Obstetrician
OB/GYN = Obstetrician/Gynecologist
OC = Oral Contraceptives
OCT = Oxytocin Challenge Test
OHSS = Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome
OPK = Ovulation Predictor Kit
OTC = Over-the-counter

P4 = Progesterone
PA = Physician's Assistant
PC = Post-Coital
PCO, PCOD = Polycystic Ovary Disease
PCOS = Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
PCP = Primary Care Physician
PCT = Post-Coital Test
PESA = Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration
PG = Pregnant
PGD = Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis
PI = Primary Infertility
PID = Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
PIO = Progesterone In Oil
PLI = Paternal Leukocyte Immunization
PMS = Pre-Menstrual Syndrome
POAS = Pee On A Stick
POF = Premature Ovarian Failure
PROM = Premature Rupture of Membranes


RE = Reproductive Endocrinologist (Infertility specialist)
R-hFSH = Recombinant Human Follicle Stimulating Hormone
RI = Reproductive Immunologist
ROS = Reactive Oxygen Species
ROTBA Reality on the Blink Again
RPL = Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
RSA = Recurrent Spontaneous Abortion
Rx = Prescription

S/A = Sperm/semen analysis
SA = Semen Analysis
SART = Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology
SHG = Sonohysterogram
SI = Secondary Infertility
SLE = Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Sono HSG = Sonohysterogram
SOP =Standard Operational Procedure
SPA = Sperm Penetration Assay
STD = Sexually Transmitted Disease
SUZI = Sub-Zonal Insertion

TeBG = Testosterone-Estradiol-Binding Globulin
TESE = Testicular Sperm Extraction
TET = Tubal Embryo Transfer
TL = Tubal Ligation
TORCH = Toxoplasmosis, Other, Rubella, Cytomegalovirus, and Herpes test
TR = Tubal Reversal
TRH = Thyroid Releasing Hormone
TSH = Thyroid Stimulating Hormone
TTC = Trying to Conceive
TUFT = Trans-Uterine Fallopian Transfer
Tx = Treatment

US, u/s = Ultrasound or ultrasonography
UTI = Urinary Tract Infection

V = Vasectomy
VBAC= Vaginal Birth After C-section
VBA2C= Vaginal Birth After 2 -section
VR = Vasectomy Reversal

WBC = White Blood Cells


YI = Yeast Infection

ZIFT = Zygote Intra-Fallopian Transfer

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Rice Cereal...not the best choice!

It is popular opinion among older generations and many pediatricians alike that cereal, rice cereal in particular, is the ideal first food for babies.Mommas are advised to put it in the bottles of their 6 month old, 4 month old, even 2 week old babies(!) to help them sleep! Not only is that a choking hazard, but research shows that tummies that teeny aren't able to properly digest grains.

Here's a few more reasons why you might rethink rice cereal as the first food your baby experiences:

What was your childs first food? Was it well tolerated? Would you do anything different?

Friday, January 3, 2014

My two cents on the "Jenny McCarthy thing"

Because now THREE people have sent me the Jenny McCarthy article asking for my thoughts, here they are.

Jenny McCarthy is NOT why we don't vaccinate. The idea that I base my kids health choices on a "celebrity" is insulting.

The article is from 2010. Why anyone cares today is beyond me, but the article has popped up on my newsfeed 100000 times.

She posted the attached tweets today, so according to her, she never lied, which is why she never apologized.

Regardless of what her kid has or doesn't, she is the mother of an unwell child. Not one of us understands what it must be like to live with her child. I actually feel for her deeply, because I know what it's like to go from specialist to specialist to try to help your child. She's a mother who has been through hell trying to do what's best for her kid in hopeless circumstances. Why people are always so quick to judge and attack is beyond me.

Mad she speaks against vaccines? GOOD. Maybe it'll get YOU to do your own research and make an informed choice one way or the other. But don't deny her struggle and jump to discredit her experience just because you disagree with her.

So yeah. The first time I was sent the article, I didn't think anything of it. But the fact that THREE PEOPLE (none parents, oddly) thought I might like to comment on it has me a bit fired up and I thought I'd publicly share the two cents everyone is so interested in.

Series on Nutritional Supplements for Toddlers

If you cannot see the video above, please click here to see it on YouTube.

This is not to be taken as medical advice, as I am not a medical professional. I am only sharing what I do with my family, and what we find works for us. Please share in the comments what your own experience has been with picky eating, due to sensory sensitivities or otherwise, and what you do to help overcome any "holes" in your child's nutrition.