Saturday, August 10, 2013

Our newest addition

6 months, wow it's been 6 months already!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

I've said this again and again...time really does fly!

My little O baby isn't so little any more and I am not really sure what to do with myself.  I know, I know, I have a little one napping upstairs (woo hoo) but Jackson is growing up and I just cannot believe it!

My O boy just stated camp this summer and he is away from home 8-5pm three days a week.  It is crazy, emotional, and evident that time doesn't just fly in our world, it is on turbo boost.  On days that he is in camp the house is weirdly quiet and I find myself, dare I say it,  a little bored at times.  I know there are several of you sitting there reading this thinking, "Is she crazy?"  Listen, don't get me wrong, it is nice to be home with just Elliot, who naps like a champ and is an all around easy baby, but I do miss my little man...his spunk, his laugh, his spontaneity.  Of course talk to me about 1 hour after he has come off the bus...because ladies and gentlemen, he is not exhausted and ready for bed, it is quite the opposite.  Somewhere between his snack and a little Disney Junior a second wind arrives and it is like his day has just begun. 

Here are a couple pictures of Jackson going and coming from camp.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

New or Old Omphalocele moms...check this out!

Shannon McFarlane Photography in the Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia area is offering location portrait sessions for MOO (Mother's of Omphalocele) families during August at no cost.  Check out her website and contact her for more information.

You can read more about Shannon on her blog as well.  Thanks Shannon for doing this and giving back to the Omphalocele community.  I too feel truly blessed to have such an incredible miracle Omphalocele baby...who is now just my healthy, incredible almost 4 year old boy.

Please tell her that Omphalocele Mom sent you!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Fun day with my O baby!!

Jackson loved, loved, loved the museum. His favorite part was the amphibians and reptiles wing!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Sleeping in his great grandma Mimi's bassinet

Elliot is down for his morning nap on our first day of vacation, it's 11 am and Jackson is already swimming in the lake, and Daddy made breakfast while I did my 7 minute workout.  Starting our vacation right...

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Breast feeding Saga take 2

Well if you are a reader of my blog than you know the struggles I went through breastfeeding Jackson.  Since this was going to be a whole new birth and baby my dreams of breastfeeding were on overload...I knew things could be very different this time around.  Since I knew what was coming I was very proactive with my breastfeeding health.  One of my midwives is a certified lactation consultant, I asked her to read my medical report from the lactation consultant I saw with Jackson so we could get things started off right.  One thing that stood out to her was the information about inverted nipples, she said that wasn't that big of a deal since there were thing we could do to help that so I would be ready to pop my baby on the boob.

Before Elliot was born I wore supple cups every day for the two weeks before Elliot was born...I manually tried to get colostrum out of my breasts, which to my midwife's surprise was not easy and barely even showed.  I massaged, rubbed, applied heat, and pumped once to try and get my breasts ready. All that time I was barely seeing anything expel from my breast.  My midwife didn't seem worried but she did think it was a little strange that I wasn't getting anything out of my nipples so close to having my baby. 

Cut to Elliot being born, and putting him right on my breast...ahh, tears are forming in my eyes as I think about that moment.

This was what I had always bliss.  I was only in the hospital for about 22 hours before I left but I made sure to have that lactation consultant come in to me every time I was going to feed Elliot.  Elliot had a good latch and a lot of sucking breasts were sore, my nipples were sore, but I knew what I was getting into and I wanted it badly.

Below you will find my breastfeeding experience through text messages with my doula, these messages took place over about a 12 day period:

Me: Gail I fed Elliot at 3:00 and tried again at 6:50. He just doesn't want to wake up to eat. Should I let him sleep or wake him now and try again?

Gail: If he's sleeping , he's not hungry. You can put him skin to skin and see if he will dream feed, but, unless you feel he needs it, you do not have to wake him. Trust your instinct. :)
First 24 hrs he's quite sleepy. It's ok. :)

Me: Ok thanks. He's sleeping right on me.

Gail: Perfect!
You're amazing. I must tell you how honored I was to be in your presence today. You are an inspiration.

Me: Awww thanks Gail.

Gail: Can I share (no names) your successful natural VBAC on my page? I'm so proud, but will only share if its ok with u. If not, that's ok. :)

Me: Of course. I'd be honored!

Gail: Wonderful. Will do so later. .. As soon as I'm home. Was Jackson excited?
Did u rest?

Me: Got some sleep between feedings. Thanks

Gail: Glad to hear. :)

Gail:  Nursing going well?

Me:  It is. My nips hurt but it's way better than Jackson's nursing experience.

Gail:  Sore is ok. Pain is not. If it hurts throughout the feeding we need to readjust latch. Rub the colostrum/milk on them. It's liquid gold. :) let me know if u need any help. Can't wait to see you again soon. :)

Me:  I've had lactation in here several times. Elliot is latching well I think I'm just a baby. He may have shallow latched a couple times.  My right one hurts and it looks like I'm getting a blister.

Gail:  You are definitely not a baby!!!!!... I watched you navigate natural labor like a freakin rock star!! Have the lactation consultant look at the latch on the right side especially, .., a blister is usually an indication that an adjustment might need to be made on the latch. Usually an easy fix. Lets "nip" ( get it?) it now, to stop it from getting worse. :)

Me:  She said she wants to check his tongue and she showed me that I should try to scoop my boob into his mouth to help fix the latch.

Gail:  K. Just keep an eye. You're doing a great job!

Me:  Lactation specialist said he has a lip tie. It's not horrible but it may be wants causing the pain. She told me to talk to my pediatrician.

Gail:  Interesting. Could def b causing the pain. Not a huge deal and pretty common. Have ped verify it .. I have some great recs of ent's who will "snip" it. Very simple if that's what you decide he needs. No biggie. Many of babies have it, usually it's not identified and they have trouble Breastfeeding , at least u will know. :)

Me:  Great thanks!!

Me:  So I breast fed on both sides for almost 40 minutes. With in 5 mins he was crying and rooting and searching for Chris's nipple. I then breastfed again for another 15-20 mins and he is still acting like he is hungry and crying. He fell asleep hardcore during this third feeding and I know he wasn't eating at the end. I want to give him a pacifier my boobs really need a break. I have like a hickie mark on my aeriola. Help!!!

Gail:  The mark definitely indicates not great latch. The priority is him eating. You can pump colostrum and feed him from a spoon or a small cup (like the ones from children's medicine bottles). He should be having 4 -6 wet dispersal in a 24 hr period. That's how u know he's eating enough. I would advise against paci at gnus time because it signals to his brain that he's full, when he actually may not be. Pump and cup or spoon feed. If he is lip tied, he may not be able to latch properly. When do u see ped?

Me:  Not until Tuesday. It was the earliest we could get in.
I took him off the boob and relatched because it hurt so bad. That is when I found the mark. It took me 3-4 times to get the latch manageable.
He just burped like 7 times and finally stopped crying.

Gail:  K. Check the wet diapers. He needs to be peeing 3-5 times and pooping 3-4 times in a 24 hr period. Try to feed him before he cries.. Watch for feeding cues.. Readjust the latch to make sure your areola is in his mouth, and not just nipple. But, if u feel he can't get on right , pump, and cup or even dropper feed him. The most impt thing is that he eats. Did the lactation consultant day the lip tie was interfering with latch?
It's totally a learning curve for both of you. Yes. Sometimes it can take 5-10 times of readjusting before you get the latch right.
Yay for burps.
If it hurts, take him off and readjust until it doesn't hurt.
It's a learning curve... For both of you.
Stay calm because he can sense your anxiety. Take a breath and keep trying. Also, when in doubt , get naked. Both of you. Skin to skin is like "rebooting" him.

Me:  Consultant said he had a good latch but when I told her how painful it is every time she looked and saw him tongue tie and said he may not be getting enough around the aereola. I'm very concerned about him not getting enough food especially with this storm. The docs also said at 2 days old he should have two pee diapers which he has had today. He's passed out right now. I'm starting to get nervous.

Gail:  Don't get nervous. He's fine. If he's not peeing then cup feed him. His belly is the size of a marble right now, so that the only amount you need. He's ok. Trust your intuition to do what u need to do.

Me:  Ok thanks

Gail:  Keep me posted. He will be fine. :)
Start keeping track of the wet diapers.... Remember it's in a 24 hour period your watching.

Me:  I pumped and was able to give him barely a teaspoon. I'm starting to get very worried.

Gail:  He didn't want more?

Me:  He didn't nuzzle for more but he was crying when Chris took him so I could get the pump off
No he's laying on Chris burping and farting trying to sleep

Gail:  Just keep offering him. Has he had a wet diaper since you've been home?

Me:  No he had one big wet diaper right before we left the hospital.

Gail:  K. That's good. Remember you're looking for the wet diapers in a 24 hr period. He's ok. Keep offering. Watch his behavior and the wet diapers. Just keep offering it to him.
Keep pumping too.
Is he acting any differently then when you guys were in the hosp?

Me:  He's acting fussier today than yesterday.  But he's sleeping now. I'm so anxious to offer boob because it hurts so bad when we try to breastfeed and then he just acts like it isn't satisfying. I got that half a teaspoon from my left breast only. Could salvage but a drop from my right.

Gail:  I don't want u to be in any pain. Try to pump every 2 hrs. For 15 min each, and see what u get. He will be fussier now then in hosp.... He's "waking up", but trust your intuition regarding if he's still hungry or not. You will know. Follow your gut feeling.
Keep offering in a cup, syringe or bottle frequently, and check for the wet diapers.
Take a deep breath, ... He will be ok. Trust your intuition.

Me:  Ok thank you. I gave it to him in a little spoon is that ok?

Gail:  That's perfect. As long as he gets it. :)

Me:  I just found my nipple shield. Should I try that?

Gail:  If it is indeed lip/tongue tie , that prob won't help. I'm not a huge shield fan because it can mask the problem, but if its the only way he will eat, you certainly can try, if you want to. Maybe try getting him more used to the spoon, cup and see how it goes before changing it on him again, I'm going to send u a video on cup feeding later so u can see it.

Me:  Ok thank you. I don't know  what I'd do right now if I couldn't ask you this stuff.

Gail:  I'm so happy to be here for you guys. :) ask anything , anytime. :)
So I just had him nurse for almost 30 mins on left side. I know he got stuff out. It was on my nipple. How long is too long to nurse on one side? Wasn't as painful for sure but he's crying now. But does not want other side. He just fell asleep next to my other boob. And we had a pee.

Me:  All sounds perfectly wonderfully normal. No set Amt of time for any one side. When he's done (which it seems like he is.., ie falling asleep). Switch sides for when he awakes.
Ok great
Yay for peepee!!! He's doing great! So are you. Just emailed you some videos. Hang in there! You are amazing!

Me:  We had a very very difficult night. At 4:00 he awoke drooling and was choking a little. He felt hot, i was concerned about dehydration. Took temp it was normal but I was scared because the feed before was not so great.  I got scared. Gave a teaspoon of formula then breast fed and pumped. Got a little milk so spoon fed him that. He woke about two hours later and we breastfed for 30 mins both sides. Manageable pain working hard to get a good latch. He seemed very satisfied. He fell back asleep with me and is still asleep. About to wake to feed again. Hour nursing sessions ok? I was nervous that he wasn't getting enough/any out of my breasts but at last feeding there was white on each nipple.

Gail:  It sounds like you are both doing great! Only wake to feed if you feel u need to. Otherwise he will wake when he's hungry. The pee output and his behavior is how u check for dehydration. He will feed more frequently sometimes and less others. He will also eat different amounts. Remember his belly is the size of a marble. But, his peeing and pooping is the main thing to watch. Trust your intuition. Try to take one moment at a time. :)

Me:  Is there a cue to know when to take him off a boob? Like he's been on my left boob since 10:07 and he's still nursing.

Gail:  Nope. He will either take himself off or fall asleep and loose the latch. It feels like all you do is have him on the boob. :) It's so soothing, they fall asleep, then, kinda arouse, them suck, them fall asleep, ... Nursing is not just about the intake but the comfort he gets too. :)
And the timing of feelings are from beginning to beginning.

Me:  Sorry one more ques. He just popped himself off put his fingers on his mouth. It's almost been an hour. Now he's crying. Should. Offer my other boob?

Gail:  Offer. If he's hungry he will take it. If not, then just burp him , and walk him.. Sooth him. :)
Totally normal to be nursing for over an hr. then nurse again soon after .

Gail:  How's it going?

Me:  Better my cousin came over to help me nurse. She made me feel much better.

Gail:  Awesome. Trust your body and yourself mama!

Me:  So early this morning I gave Elliot a bottle of formula in a breastfeeding bottle. My milk was coming in last night and he was not relieving me at all. My boobs and back were killing me. I pumped while Chris gave him the bottle he ate one ounce and then I pumped about .5 ounces and he ate that. I'm going to try to pump right before I feed him just for 5 mins so it will pull my nipple out for me and maybe it will hurt less when he latches on. What do you think? I can feel the milk coming in my boobs are very hot a very sore (a different sore than before) my nipples are killing me still. They are very raw and red but I really think he's getting as much aureola in his mouth as possible.

Gail:  I think that's a great idea. See if the pump gets the nipple out. They should not be feeling that bad. If he doesn't get much milk out, pump as much as you to relieve the fullness. You're doing a great job. Yay for milk coming in. :)

How's it going?

Me:  I've hit another bump. My nipples are scabby and in terrible pain. Elliot had an orange colored pee diaper that scared me. We called our pediatrician and he said that's common for breast fed babies. I made the decision to pump and bottle feed it. It's still not enough I get about .5 oz and he drinks about another 1oz of formula. That's when he's satisfied.

So this was a VERY scary moment for me...the orange pee threw me for a loop.  I started freaking out almost not able to breath myself.  My mind was racing and going everywhere from what if Elliot is dying to what am I doing wrong, my baby is starving.

Gail:  Yes. The orange pee is common. Can u get him in tomorrow to assess for the tongue tie. If indeed that us what he has, he won't be able to latch properly and it will cause pain for you. I don't want u in pain. I could also see if I could find a Lactation Consultant to come tomorrow if u want, because I could not get there until later in the week. Are your nipples hurting when u pump? Can u try sending Chrus to babies r us to get larger size flanges for the pump? Sometimes that is the problem? The standard size flange is med, and mist nipples are bigger than that. If nipples are smushed in the flange while pumping, you won't get as much milk. Maybe that is why. Thoughts?

Me:  I have all the size flanges here from last time. I've been reading about the lip tie watching those latch videos, I feel like he isn't getting his mouth wide enough open? I'm trying to get to a lac specialist on Tuesday but I won't know until Monday if I can get in. I'm starting to lose hope and feeling like I'm going to have to pump and bottle feed all over again. Is scabbed nipples a sign of bad latch?
The first 4-8 sucks are toe curling and then after that they just hurt (tolerable somewhat) but I just keep going. I've relatched 1000 times tried different positions. The thought of brining him to my boob makes me cry. I procrastinate at his feeding and have bowed out of trying this last feed because it hurts too much. I also feel like he isn't getting the amt he needs from me as I pump .5 oz and he then needs to drink another ounce of formula to feel satisfied.
I do need help and if you can get anyone to come here ASAP I don't care the cost I would appreciate it

Gail:  I'm going to see if I can get someone there tomorrow.

Me:  Thank you. I don't want to give up but all I do is cry thinking about it. I can't even enjoy my son because I worry about his feedings

Gail:  How are you doing mama? When is Deirdre coming? You're amazing! Hang in there. (Hugs)

Me:  Deirdre is coming at 11:30. I breast fed this morning twice once was totally pain free on one side.
Gail:  Great! Hang in there! Remember to breathe. You and Elliot are both doing great! :) Please keep me posted.                                                                                                                                                        
Gail:  How did it go?                                                                                                                                             

Me:  Deirdre was great. Thanks for helping me.

Gail:  I'm so happy. Keep me posted.

Gail:  Can I come by next week sometime? We can plan it later in the week. Would love to see you.

Me:  Sure

Gail:  Keep me posted with how musing is going. :)
Lol.. Nursing.

Gail:  What did Deirdre say?

Me:  She said anatomically he looks fine, good latch, my milk hasn't come in yet, breastfeed every 3 hours to get supply. Seeing her again at Zatz's office and a weight check later this week.

Gail:  All wonderful! :)

Me:  My breasts feel like there is nothing left in them. Elliot fed at 1am and then again at 2:30-4am. Then at 6 and then at 8:40 (very difficult feed, latching unlatching). I want to try again but this morning feeds seem to end with him still hungry and my breasts burning. My supply still hasn't "come" in. I'm getting frustrated. One step forward one step back?

Gail:  I don't think it's a step back. Not every feed will be "perfect". Just keep doing what you're doing. There will be some feeds he will need every hour, some longer. Your milk is coming. Hang on there. You are doing great. Don't get discouraged. Sounds normal. :)

Me:  Ok I'm sorry to bother you. I know your SIL just had a baby. I felt so encouraged yesterday and feel so confused and discouraged today. I don't know if he's tired or lathargic, still hungry or fussy, if I let him sleep or wake. I'm so confused.

Gail:  No bother at all. I think trying to figure it out always is an exercise in futility and frustration for you. You can still be encouraged. No reason not to be. Hills and valleys... But, you are doing a great job. Every feeding may be slightly different. That's ok. He's ok. Trust yourself and your body. It's ok to feel like all u do is feed him. Breastfeeding a newborn is a 24 hr a day job. You are really doing a great job. Just keep doing what you're doing and try not to dissect each feeding. If he still seems hungry , try again. :)

Gail:  How are you doing?

Me:  I wish I could say well. I gave a bottle and pumped. I can't get past the pain again. It's a vicious cycle. I put off feeding him bc it hurts so bad. I feel guilty and terrible and sad for Jackson bc he practically has lost his mom all so I can breastfeed which I'm starting to feel like I just don't want to do anymore. I know it's best for baby but everybody is suffering at this point.

Gail:  You have to be ok. That is the bottom line. Do u need to contact Deirdre re: pain.?

Me:  I'm going to see her tomorrow at dr. Zatz.

Gail:  K, good. I'm sorry it's been so difficult for you. Morgan, the bottom line is for you to be ok. If you are not, nobody is. Take deep breaths. One thing at a time. One moment at a time.

Me:  I don't know. Anytime I try to talk I just cry and cry and cry.

Gail:  Are there other things going on too? Or is the sadness all related to the nursing challenges?
All- 90% nursing and 10% guilt about Jackson not being able to spend time with me.
Because all I'm doing is trying to nurse.
 Jackson will be absolutely find. We will always have "sibling guilt".. No matter what u do. Siblings are a gift. He will be fine. What changed with the nursing from the time Deirdre left? Nursing is a 24 hr a day job, but it does get easier. All a newborn basically does is nurse. You're doing it right. When you're nursing you can just put a show on and just sit next to Jackson. Set him up with his cars and nurse next to him. I guarantee you, he is fine. :)
You are a great mom, and finding the balance with 2 is hard.
Someone will get more of the attention sometimes... Soon it will be Jackson and Elliott will be the accessory. It's a balance, you're doing a great job.

Me:  I slept through my alarm twice and didn't feed Elliot for 4 hours instead of 3. He was asleep too, then it all spirals from there. I start to think My supply isn't going to increase, he hasn't pooped in two days, he's not getting enough milk from me, and then add the initial pain of the latch on ( I can't emotionally get myself past the pain) then he nurses for an hour and I have to start all over again in two hours that go so quickly and then the cycle begins again. Pain...guilt.

Gail:  You really have to use some if that great self talk and power I saw in labor to literally stop the negative thoughts and counteract them. Push them out! Don't let yourself go into this spiral.
You are so strong Morgan. . Recognize how wonderful you are. You are doing a great job and when neg thought come , tell them , "f you!". ;)
This is hard , but , you will get through it. Look at what you did. You are a great mommy! You are doing the best you can , which is pretty damn good. One moment at a time. Everyone is ok. But, you have to b ok. (Hugs)

Gail:  You ok?

Me:  Trying. I just gave him another bottle and plan on pumping in a bit. I'm fighting feelings of guilt. I tried to put him on my boob but I just couldn't do it. The pain overwhelms me.
Have you contacted Deirdre re: the increase in amt of pain today?

Gail:  Morgan, you need to b ok. You need to do what u need to do.
I emailed her but I'm feeling like I disappointed her she came all the way here yesterday helping me and there I go and give formula in a bottle.
It's about helping you meet your goals, not hers. You are not disappointing anyone. It's not about anyone else except you! :)

The fact of the matter was that I was NOT okay at all.  I was in a very dark time and I saw no light at the end of the tunnel.  Everything was going downhill fast and I couldn't stop it.  I sat all day in my bed naked from the belly up crying and struggling with getting Elliot to breastfeed, to be satisfied.  If you can imagine a whirlpool in movies in an ocean?  I was at the center sinking very quickly...a rope would come and pull me up a foot and a couple moments later I would sink 3 more feet.  I was sinking and I didn't know how to get myself out.
Gail:  How are you?

Me:  Went to doc today. Elliot's good, lost ALOT of weight.  We all talked and I'm switching to organic formula my sadness is too much and too overwhelming...I am depressed and it's just getting worse.

Gail:  I think that is a wise choice. Like I was saying yesterday, You have to be ok. If u are not ok, nothing else matters. It's a hard decision, I know. You are an amazingly strong woman... I hope u know that. Lets set a plan for my visit.

Me:  THANK you. Chris and I had a long heart to heart yesterday when he came home from work. When I decided this it was as if the sun was finally starting to peak out of a cloud.

Gail:  Then that is what you need to do. I'm very happy to hear that. Very proud of you.
I'm trying to take the baby to the chiro Friday. Thurs circumcision at 2:15. What day is good for you to get together?

Gail:  Next week , right?

Me:  Next week is good for me.

Gail:  Great! How about Tues. ... 11ish?

Gail:  Sure! Tuesday 11ish is great

Thank goodness Gail was there to help me and answer my questions and support me in any decision I needed to make.

Gail was not the only one who I continued to text and receive help support from on a daily basis...Danielle and Rebecca cheered me on and gave me recommendations as did my cousins Kathy and Kristin. 

That is the short version of my story this time around.  No one ever said breastfeeding is easy...and I KNOW that...hello, read my story about breastfeeding Jackson.  And YES, I know breast is is engrained in my brain...but I couldn't get out of that dark place for almost two weeks.

When I went to see my midwife for my two week check up, the one who is also a lactation consultant.   I told her every thing that went on for me...she looked me straight in the eyes and said...Morgan, listen, we knew you had issues with supply with Jackson and even with all the teas, vitamins, and prescription you took to help your supply.  All of that minimally assisted, you still had to supplement with Jackson.  Your body just doesn't produce the amount of milk your babies need, you are physically lacking the amount of mammary glands (I am paraphrasing this because I cannot remember the exact wording).  You need to take it easy of yourself.

All through my milking days with Jackson I kept thinking there has to be something medically wrong with is it possible with all I am doing I still do not have enough milk.  BUT people do not talk about always just hear, "You are not pumping enough, the baby needs to be on your breast ALL the time, drink mother's milk, take Fenugreek, eat lactation cookies, drink beer, try different latch positions, use warm rice bags, cool compresses, nipple cream, massage your breasts, and  RELAX that is the funniest one to me.  YOU see if all you dreamed about was breastfeeding your baby and it isn't working out for you, how are you supposed to relax?  I DID all of the above and nothing, nothing helped to increase my supply. No one ever tells you that there could actually be something physically wrong with you that you cannot make the milk that you need for your babies.  Instead you just feel inadequate because they keep telling you the same thing and nothing works...that is and was how I felt.

I do not know if my midwife was just saying the above to make me feel better about switching to formula but it was what I needed to hear to help myself begin to heal from this trauma.   

I still envy people who breastfeed and I mourn that loss about once a week...a friend of mine told me recently that she wanted to offer me her excess breastmilk but didn't know how to ask me if I wanted it at the time...I cried.  That is the most unselfish thing I have been offered...feelings of "maybe I didn't do enough started to rise in my head."  And so I wrote this blog is my baby...formula fed and healthy...formula fed and NOT over weight, formula fed and at 4 months wants to stand, formula fed and is teething, formula fed filled with joy...formula fed and LOVED with a Mama who can love him back and his brother because she climbed her way out of that black hole.

Breastfeeding moms have no idea that one of the most hurtful things to say to me,  a non breastfeeding desperately wanting to breastfeed mom are, "I know it would just be easier for me to give a bottle..."  You know what?  It isn't easier to just give a bottle!  It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made and I think about it all the time. 


I am not going to apologize for my formula fed baby...I may mourn the loss of breastfeeding him once in a blue moon but I will NOT apologize for doing what I needed to do to be there as a whole person for my family. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Birth Story

It's hard to know where to start when you are trying to retell your birth story.  With Jackson I started from when I found out about his birth defect...but where do I start when I have a...wait, do I dare say it...normal, boring old pregnancy?

I guess I will begin with the book, Birthing from Within.  I read this book in the early weeks of being pregnant with Jackson because that was going to be my dream birth and labor.  Of course as many of you know that dream floated away when Jackson's omphalocele was discovered and I was told to have a c-section.

This time I reread Birthing from Within with fresh eyes because at 15 weeks all blood tests, and sonograms came back clear.  I knew that I was going to be able to try to have the birth that I dreamed of having with Jackson.

I remember watching, The Business of Being Born when I was pregnant with Jackson and just crying through the movie or rather mourning the birth that I had wanted to have with my first little one.  Now was my chance to have my baby, my way...for me a homebirth was out of the question because I wanted to be near or in a hospital setting because of my prior c-section.  Therefore it was pertinent for me to be at a practice and hospital that allowed and supported VBAC's  because I WAS going to have a VBAC. 

Long story short, at 33 weeks I had my VBAC consult with my OB/Midwife practice (my doula had told me that she didn't like the sound of it) and I thought I knew what I was about to go into at the appointment.  I knew he was going to tell me all the dangers of having a VBAC (3 years ago when I had to sign my c-section consent form I asked about a VBAC and he said it was possible but again listed the myriad of dangers then).  So I patiently sat in the waiting room for an hour and then another 15 minutes in the exam room to finally be brought into his office to discuss my plan.  Clenching onto my birth preference sheet I listened as my doctor listed the dangers (I was totally prepared for this) and the benefits.  Then he began to tell me his stipulations to having a VBAC:  no laboring at home, epidural must be put into place right when you come into the hospital, no bath during labor, no moving around or walking during labor, and you will be scheduled for a c-section on your due date so you better have your baby before your due date or a c-section is inevitable.  You see for 33 weeks I had been told I could VBAC and how I was a perfect candidate.  So I wasn't really thinking about how this consultation was going to go.  I figured I was going in to read the form over with my doctor.  I quickly learned that I was TOTALLY WRONG.   I began to cry and slowly tucked my birth preference sheet into my pocketbook only to look up as he was saying, "I do not understand, what is the hold up?"  I told him that none of that was in my plan and that I had already met with the hospital who didn't tell me any of these requirements that I am being told about now.  Infact, they pretty much told me the opposite and was very excited to have me, "VBAC there in their new holistic birthing center with his practice."  Someone was playing me like a fiddle, was it my OB practice or the Holistic Birthing Center at the hospital?  I don't know, and honestly I do not think I want to know.  Either way, both should be ashamed of themselves for leading me on like the did. 

I abruptly wiped my tears and said, "Well I am not signing this consent form" to which he replied, "I'll see you in two weeks, you can give me the form then."

I walked out while texting my husband, "OMG I have to find a new practice. Worst appointment ever!"  I then called my doula and told her what happened and said, I need you to help me find a new practice, I replayed everything my doctor told me and she was in shock.  Gail being the leveled headed woman she is said, "First, take a deep breath.  Don't make any decisions right now."  But I think Gail knew that my mind was already made up, I asked her to email names of VBAC friendly practices because I knew that I was leaving that practice.

That night Gail emailed me a few names and I recognized one.  I called that office the next day, went in for a talk that day, and transferred my records as I was walking out of my consultation with The Childbirth and Women's Wellness Center in Clifton, NJ.

To say that these women were my birthing saviors would be putting it lightly.  Though I only got to see them a handful of times before my little man was born and the founding midwife goddess herself Lonnie the evening my water broke, I feel like I have known them for my whole mothering life.  Perhaps it is because my mom delivered me at Lonnie's first ever stand alone birthing center 35 years ago (I know I look pretty good for my age huh?) or it was Rachel's non-wavering support during my consult and birth preferences discussion or Myriam's proactive approach to helping me breastfeed before my son was born?  I may never figure out this answer and perhaps I do not need to.  I love these women for helping me make my dreams come true!

At 8:30pm on February 5th I felt a gush and immediately knew that my waters were breaking.  I called my midwife and told her the news...she told me the standard, if you do not have the baby in 12 hours come into the hospital, if you have contractions lasting 1 minute 2-4 minutes apart call her. I called my doula and her directions were to relax and try to get some rest because I was about to do a lot of work.  At 9:30pm the contractions started...they were shallow and inconsistent but as the evening went on and my waters was still breaking (at this point I have on one of Jackson's old diapers) they became more intense and steady.  Chris looked at me and at around 1:30am and asked me how far apart my contractions were...HA!  I had no idea but I could tell that he was starting to get a little concerned.  Chris decided to keep track and for about 45 minutes the were 1-4 minutes apart lasting 45 seconds to 1 minute.  Chris encouraged me to call my midwife and against my own idea I did just that.

After relaying my contraction information to Rachel, she told me it was time to come to the hospital.  I of course was not convinced...I didn't want to get there too early and be pushed into doing something that I did not want to do.  I called my doula and told her I was heading to the hospital and she was going to meet us.

The car ride there seemed to take forever and as we were getting off the highway my contractions began to change...I was not able to answer Chris's question to me and my breathing became intimately important to help with the waves of pain.

We got the the hospital and I walked into the ER where they promptly put me in a wheel chair and asked me what I thought to be redundant questions since I already preregistered.  Chris ran out to bring in all our bags and then to find a parking spot.  The admittance nurses asked me questions about my labor and were astonished that my doctor was "letting me have a VBAC."  PAHLEASE....they obviously didn't know how hard I worked to have one and that I had found the best midwives around!

As I rolled into labor and delivery there was Rachel eating a snack behind the desk; she followed me into the room as the nurses helped me out of the wheel chair.  I changed and began to talk to the women there, I arrived at 6 cm and stood for an hour breathing my baby down...moaning (like an animal or so I was told) rocking, and holding my doula and husband's hands...squeezing them, breathing through the contractions.  Rachel stayed by my side the entire time writing notes, talking to me through the waves.  At one point I looked up at her and said, "I can't do it anymore, I just can't."  That is when she looked me in the eye and said, "That means it is almost over."  She asked me if I wanted to be checked and I did...I was about 9 cm and we decided that I was going to start to try and get this baby out.

Breathing, and not breathing, legs up, legs down, moaning and being silent...I did it all...I was crying...I just wanted to get this baby out!  Gail pulled out the Robozo and suggested that we play tug of war because Rachel was starting to get a little nervous.  After a contraction the baby's heart rate would go down...she wanted this baby out NOW...and so did I.  Rachel threatened me with another c-section, she was kind and tried to schmooze me into pushing the baby out, she tried to bribe me but honestly I just wasn't listening to her...not until I heard her whisper to the nurses, "Call the surgeon."  That is when I knew that I had to get this baby out, and NOW.  I grabbed that Robozo, pulled  and I pushed like no one's business.  I felt a pop, a gush and I heard his beautiful cry.  The surgeon walked in and Rachel turned and said, "We don't need you, she just had the baby." The doctor turned to me said, "Congratulation, " shook Chris's hand, and spinned right out of the room.

Two hours after I arrived at the hospital Elliot Ray was born, 5:36 am weighing 7lbs 19.5 inches long.  He was perfect...I DID it, I DID it MY drugs, vaginally with a midwife...This is my victory, this is my dream come true.  I did have to have a little episiotomy...I yelled at Rachel as she stitched me up...but how I felt giving birth the way I wanted to trumped it all.


So I can now say that I birthed both ways and each has its difficulties. Vaginally for me, was the better of the two.  I was alert and awake seconds after giving birth, as was my baby, like it was any other day...was it painful?  YES of course it was, but it was a different kind of had a purpose.  Birthing without drugs is not for everyone and I totally understand that.  I never preach about my birthing choice, infact, I rarely tell people that I VBAC'd with out drugs because I really do not enjoy hearing people tell me I am crazy and then retell their own traumatic birth story.  I listen to them as they tell me about how terrible their birth experience was and then smile and say, "That sounds difficult but that is wasn't my experience."  I do not even really talk about it too much with my friends because I do not want to come off sounding like I am preaching...but since this is my blog, I can brag all I want...I am F'in proud of myself, that's right...I dug down deep, held to my convictions, fought for my rights as a birthing mom, and in the words of the great Lonnie Morris, "I took back my birth!"

I want to extend my deepest thank you to The Childbirth and Women Wellness Center especially my goddess midwife Rachel for supporting me through our short journey together.  Thank you Gail Cirlin-Lazerus, my doula at Mother's Intuition for her quick thinking and pulling out that Robozo even when I gave her the eyes of death when she suggested it, Katherine Yannalfo of Photography by SKY for getting to my birth as fast as she could and documenting the most intimate moment without making me feel uncomfortable.  Thank you to my mom and dad for raising a hippie, granola crunching daughter who isn't afraid to stand up for what she believes in and to fight for what is right.  Chelsea and Ian who came to our house late at night when my water broke to make sure Jackson would be taken care of when we had to leave...and of course, THANK YOU to my husband Chris...he never questions my hippie sensibilities, stands up for me when I need it, and lets me shine in my own quirky way.

And, thank you, thank you, thank you will always be my little baby.  I love you more than words can express.  You are already an incredible big brother.

Props to University of Hackensack Mountainside for trusting its midwives and letting them run the are truly a Mother=Baby Friendly hospital!  Gracious thanks to the nurses who didn't try to push me to do anything I didn't want to do...Kelly you rock, in her words, "S*#*t you did a VBAC, I mean I gave up cursing for lent but S*#*t you had  a VBAC!" You made me feel so cool!

All photos taken by Kat Yannalfo

"Mothers of earth, take back your birth." Lonnie Morris

 Get educated and make the choice to birth the way that is right for you and your baby.  My choice may not be for you and that is alright but you can certainly be informed and be comfortable with how you are going to give birth.

Birth on friends!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Wigglies

Jackson's hand fell asleep for the first time. He is crying and can't understand why it's tingling. It's so cute. I told him to put some water on it. He just came back and said, "Mama my hand feels better from the wigglies."

Thursday, March 28, 2013

My boys...

Elliot Ray and Jackson sweet babes.