Homebirth- Jolene

April 30th

I had a midwife appointment that morning. My grandma INSISTED that she go with me in case I went into labor in the car. I had contractions off and on and was generally uncomfortable. That night around dinner time I started having contractions that were between 5-10 minutes apart, but they weren’t totally consistent so I kept waiting to say anything. I nursed Luke before bed, which I hadn’t done in weeks to see if it would push me over into active labor. I spent the evening bouncing on the exercise ball for hours and since the contractions still weren’t getting closer or stronger I decided this wasn’t it and went to bed.

May 1st

2:30am- I woke up and used the bathroom and noticed my contractions were still hanging around. They were uncomfortable and as hard as I tried I couldn’t will myself back to sleep.

2:45- I woke Jon up and told him I was going to take a shower to see if it helped. I went to the bathroom and had a big contraction, only 3 minutes after the last one (previously they were still 5-10 minutes apart). I went back into the bedroom and asked Jon to come sit in the bathroom with me in case things got serious. He must have been asleep during our previous conversation, despite talking to me because he had no clue what was going on or why I was showering in the middle of the night. He came in the bathroom and I got in the shower. I told him to time my contractions and let me know what time it was each time one started.

3:30- After multiple contractions I asked Jon how far apart they were averaging… and he hadn’t written down a single contraction. I was kind of irritated lol. What was I supposed to tell the midwife? Jon thought they sounded legit though because I wasn’t talking through them and I was doing some moaning. I told him he could call the midwife then, I didn’t want to bug her.

3:35- He called the midwife and she asked to speak with me. She asked if I wanted her to come. I said I didn’t know. She asked if I would have a problem with her being there and I said no, so she said she would be on her way.

3:45- I called my mom. I told her I didn’t know if it was labor for sure, but the midwife was on her way. She said she’d be down.072

4:15- The midwife arrived. I was having contractions but between them I was holding full conversation and laughing. She listened to the baby’s heart beat for a while to get a handle on how it was handling contractions. Then she asked if I would mind if she checked me. I said go for it and she checked me without telling me how far I was dilated (I found out after I was 9 cm at  that point). My contractions were still 3-4 minutes apart and I was still very happy between them.

5:30- They told me the birth pool was ready for me if I wanted to get in (Jon, my mom and the midwife assistant filled it up). I said I would after the next contraction and a trip to the bathroom. I did just that and then made my way to the birth pool which was in the nursery. I hopped in the tub and felt immediate relief! My contractions spaced out a bit and I was very relaxed.009

After this, I don’t fully know times, but I started to go through transition. I was feeling a lot of pressure and was starting to really dislike the feeling of the contractions. I was also squatting in the tub and my feet were starting to go numb. I really wanted the pressure to subside and I wanted my water to break! I told my midwife and she said just reach down and break it then… so I did. I had a moment of relief from the pressure and then the baby moved down and the pressure was back! I started bearing down with contractions and flipped over on to my back and started pushing more. My midwife said I had a tiny lip of cervix left and she could push it over the baby’s head if I wanted. I said whatever would make it go faster! She pushed the cervix back (Holy ouch!) and I started really pushing and yelling please just get this baby out!!! After about 4 pushes, the baby was out and immediately placed on my chest! Born in the water, at 6:22am, May 1st….Miss Jolene!019

Funny side note- We spent our entire pregnancy thinking this baby was a boy. The ultrasound tech made a comment about how “brothers would be so nice” I mentioned to my midwife that I thought the tech slipped and we were having a boy and she nodded. I assumed this meant the ultrasound report said boy and she was confirming, but it didn’t! It was a miscommunication and based on that we thought we were having a boy! When Jolene was born, the midwife said, “Has anyone checked the plumbing?” We hadn’t and I lifted her up and said “it’s a boy….NO IT’S A GIRL!!!!!” The cord was in my way and I had it in my head that she was going to be a boy so I didn’t look closely enough and was shocked when I realized she…was a she!035031

We are so thrilled with our healthy baby girl, 8 pounds, and 4 ounces, 21 inches long.

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Oh and Luke woke up  minutes after the birth!  Slept through it all!

Breastfeeding while Pregnant

When I was pregnant for Luke, I had ever intention to breastfeed.  I worried about if I’d succeed, but it was one of those things I was really set on (I didn’t have any formula in our home, purposely.  We live 20 minutes from the closest store we could buy formula at.  I figured by making it hard to obtain I would be less likely to give up during a breastfeeding session).

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When Luke was born and we started breastfeeding it was hard.  Really,really hard.  I wanted to give up.  I was just going to pump and bottle feed.   In mentioning this to my midwife, she did everything in her power to prevent that.  She made every effort to help me through the difficulties and prevent me from going down the pump/bottle road (not that there is anything wrong with it, it’s just a really really hard thing to maintain long-term).  After about 6 weeks we were finally getting the hang of nursing.

The next big challenge we had occurred around the time Luke got his first teeth.  With those teeth came my first bite while nursing.  Lets just say that was tough!  I jumped and yelped and scared the daylights out of my little baby and he refused to nurse for 3 days!  I thought this was the end of our nursing but he finally went back to it.

My original goal was to breastfeed for one year.  That seemed like the right amount of time before we actually got there.  Once we got there, I was already about 6 weeks pregnant.  I seriously considered weaning, but it just didn’t seem like the right option.  I still appreciated the benefits of breastfeeding as far as Luke’s health was concerned and Luke still appreciated the comfort he got from nursing.  Neither of us had any real reason to give it up…so we didn’t.  Now 18 months later, 34 weeks pregnant we’re still breastfeeding.

Resources that offer information on breastfeeding during pregnancy are few and far between.  I hope that sharing what we’ve been through so far is helpful to someone! 

 

Pregnancy week 4-12:

During this time breastfeeding was virtually the same for me as it was before pregnancy.  Luke was nursing 6 times a day at this point and I was still producing a good bit of milk.  At 12 weeks pregnant I was in a wedding and wasn’t home to nurse Luke.  I pumped that night for the missed feeding and got 7 ounces of milk (I was shocked!).  At this point the nipple pain wasn’t too bad and my nausea from morning sickness was close to the same whether or not I was nursing. 

 

Pregnancy week 13-24

My morning sickness got really bad during this time and it would intensify while breastfeeding.  Between the morning sickness and the calorie demand for breastfeeding I had a really difficult time eating enough.  I lost 10lbs and didn’t start gaining weight in this pregnancy until 20 weeks.  I remember one night I ran and dropped Luke into Jon’s arms mid nurse so that I could hightail it to the bathroom.  In addition to that the pain during nursing was really, really intense during this period.  It was agonizing and I had to talk myself up for each session.  During this time we cut back from 6 to 3 nursing sessions a day and I very seriously considered weaning.  It was like the pain of first learning to breastfeed combined with the feeling of Luke having a mouth full of razors.  I am really surprised that I didn’t wean during this time, but Luke really didn’t seem ready.  I lived one nursing session at a time and often sat there thinking “if I just make it through this session, I’ll consider weaning and a technique in time for the next session” and yet I always nursed just one more time.  My milk significantly decreased in amount during this timeframe too.  I was probably lucky to get an ounce of milk/colostrum? 

 

Pregnancy week 25- now at 34 weeks

During this time breastfeeding got better.  It didn’t go back to normal but it’s not nearly as painful.  Rather than excruciating pain throughout the whole session I just brace myself when he latches and then the pain reduces.  We’re still nursing 3 times a day although Luke will now ask to “neh” (nurse) more often.  I’ve never fulfilled a request to nurse outside of his normal times.  My milk (which I’m pretty sure is totally colostrum at this point) has increased in volume again.  It’s not nearly as much as it used to be, but I can hear Luke gulping again while nursing which indicates that he is getting more.  A new side effect of nursing that started around 30 weeks is the contractions.  Nursing releases similar hormones as those released during labor and as a result it can cause the uterus to contract.  I’ve had some very strong contractions during nursing sessions.  They don’t cause any alarm as they always stop within 15-30 minutes of a nursing session, but they can make it very difficult to lift Luke into his crib before bed!

Another side effect of nursing at this time is the laxative effect of colostrum.  Colostrum is an excellent laxative to help newborn babies remove meconium from their bodies.  Lets just say that it has the same effect on toddlers but it’s a  lot more work when they also eat a full diet of normal food….

 

Our nursing future:

I have no timeframe on weaning anymore.  I never thought I’d nurse a baby for this long and I’m not sure how much longer we’ll go for.  I now know it isn’t worth trying to pinpoint a date.  It will happen when it happens.  I have full intentions to tandem nurse once the new baby arrives.  I wish there were more resources available in regards to tandem nursing but it seems to be a learn as you go type process!  I am thankful that my midwife has nursed through pregnancy and tandem nursed and offers a wealth of information.  Please be sure to speak with your midwife/ob about breastfeeding during pregnancy.  While it has been deemed safe for me to follow this path I know some woman (such as those at risk for preterm labor) may not be good candidates.

 

I often get asked if I’m still nursing and when I’m going to stop.  My go to answer has been, “we figure he won’t nurse when he goes to college.”  This tends to end the conversation pretty quickly Winking smile

Toddler Mittens That Stay On

Mittens are such a pain when it comes to small children!  We tried every brand and style and we couldn’t come up with anything that Luke would keep on his hands.  Finally we have a solution though…. Daddy’s socks!  Men’s tall socks are the best mittens around.  If it’s really cold out just add more layers!  For Luke we usually layer two pairs on Jon’s work socks.  The key is to put them on under the jacket and they are virtually impossible for him to pull off.  We stretch the socks all the way past his elbow.  Such a cheap and simple solution to a constant problem.  Now if I could just find something to keep his shoes on in the car…

 

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In Need of Spring

I get this way at the end of every season, I just can’t wait for the next one to arrive.  Winter is the hardest though.  It makes everything a whole lot harder and it always seems to be the longest season of all.  I know in theory that spring will come, but it sure doesn’t feel like it when it’s about 5 degrees, the hose is frozen, the wind is whipping and I have to take my gloves off to mess around with the water hydrant and my numb fingers are sticking to the metal and soaked!!

 

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Second Pregnancy Update

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I’m just a bit over 32 weeks pregnant (although this picture is from about 29 weeks)!  This pregnancy is pretty similar to Luke’s in the way I am carrying and the symptoms that I’m feeling.  Generally I feel pretty decent at this point but I do have some pretty uncomfortable moments.  I’m getting a bit of morning sickness back (I had morning sickness for the first 20+ weeks), some sciatic pain and a bit of carpal tunnel in my hands.  The carpal tunnel is significantly better this time though.  A combination of getting my wrists adjusted by the chiropractor, not being pregnant in the middle of summer and no longer working in an office position I’m sure.  My blood pressure is much lower with this pregnancy as well which is great.  With Luke’s pregnancy I was on modified bed rest at the end to control my blood pressure.  It was definitely not fun!  Chasing a toddler while pregnant is certainly not a joke, I’m down right exhausted by the end of the day but overall I really am doing pretty well.  I’m 3lbs under the weight I was with Luke at this point so I’m guessing I’ll end up at about the same weight in the end.  Hopefully it comes off as easily this time, but I hear it gets harder with each pregnancy!  I’m due next month!  Ah!!