VBAC Tips

VBAC

So as you may have read in my Birth Story I didn’t LOVE having a VBAC and actually spent several hours of my labor mad at myself for wanting it.  Immediately afterwards I had already decided if I were to get pregnant again I would schedule my c-section for 39 weeks.  Now months later I am glad I did the VBAC, it wasn’t fun, but neither was a c-section so if you asked me right now what I would choose I would do a VBAC again.  So now that I’ve cleared that up I’d like to offer you some tips for having a successful VBAC.

1.  This one is number one for a reason.  I believe this is the MOST important piece of advice for having a successful VBAC.  Are you listening really closely??  Ok here is it, get a supportive doctor.  Not just a doctor who is OK with a VBAC, but a VBAC loving doctor.  I won the JACKPOT in this area.  Not only does she love VBACs and believes they are the safest option, but she loves natural birth which is what I wanted.  If you are lucky enough to live in the Peoria area try your hardest to get in with Dr. Angela Martin at OSF.

2.  If you live in an area where you have choice in what hospital you go to this is the next most important thing you can choose.  I knew that one of the hospitals here would be totally cool with all of my natural birth requests and the other hospital would be hesitant and it would have been more of a fight.  Ask you super supportive VBAC doctor what their hospital preference is, they probably have one.  If you live in the Peoria area I would recommend Methodist.

3.  Go naturally, commit to no epidural.  Like I said before I believe whole heartedly that if I had an epidural I would have had a c-section.  Our bodies are designed to move around during labor and being flat on your back in bed is not at all helpful to get you dilated and get your baby turned properly.  If you want a natural birth, commit to it, if you go in saying, “we’ll see how it goes,” I can tell you how it will go….you will get an epidural.  UNLESS you have a super quick labor and your baby is crowning when you ask for one.  LABOR FREAKING HURTS.  I watched a show yesterday where a guy got his toes cut off, I turned to Andrew and said, “I bet my birth hurt a whole lot more than that”…he didn’t really believe me, but I’m convinced.

4.  Get your baby in position.  Go to Spinning Babies and read about positioning and do the inversions everyday starting around 30 weeks.  Vaughn was beautifully positioned.  This will seriously help shorten your pushing phase.  Another huge help for this is going to the Chiropractor.  My advice would be to go to one that practices the Webster technique.  Not only is it great for your labor, it made my pregnancy SO MUCH more bearable.

5.  If you have the money, hire a doula.  We couldn’t swing it this time around, but my nurse and doctor did many doula style things and if we go down this crazy road again I will hire a doula if we are financially able.  If it’s too late to hire one when you are reading this or it’s not a financial option, make sure you ask for a natural birth loving nurse (you can ask the charge nurse when you check in), she will be your best tool in labor.  Husbands are wonderful, but nurses are made for this type of assistance.  Utilize them.  I basically begged my nurse to stay with me because when she was there I just felt more in control.

6.  DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT GET INDUCED.  Yes you can have an induction with a VBAC, but I most definitely wouldn’t recommend it.  UNLESS you are 42 weeks and the option is either repeat cesarean or induction, in that case I MIGHT pick induction, but I would have to think really hard on that.  Seriously ladies, wait until you are 42 weeks to have any type of intervention done.  Unless of course your super supportive VBAC doctor tells you a LEGITIMATE medical reason why you should not wait that long.

7.  Believe you can do it.  My doctor would say to me at appointments that she believes a positive attitude goes a long way.  From the beginning I was confident that my body could do it.  I didn’t let myself think that it wasn’t possible.  I will say at 41 weeks 5 days when I was still completely closed I gave up hope, accepted the c-section, and then went into labor the next morning.  I think giving up was a very powerful natural induction tool…I’ve heard this from friends as well.

8.  Walk everyday.  I wish I had done this, but my child HATES riding in the stroller so I unfortunately did not keep this up.  I think there is a really good chance my labor would have been shortened if I had walked daily.  Also I’m pretty sure there is some research out there that a healthier pregnancy leads to a better delivery.  So eat right and exercise…..do as I say not as I did!

9.  Educate your husband and/or birth partner.  I think that Andrew being on board was so incredibly key.  A lot of people are uneducated about VBAC safety, so you will hear a lot of misinformation about them from people who mean well, but frankly don’t know what they are talking about.  So make sure that the people who are alongside of you through the whole VBAC journey are educated and on board.  Every time I would have doubts I would go to Andrew and he would talk me off the ledge.

10.  Last, but certainly not least.  PRAY.  The best phrase prayed over me during my VBAC hopes was, “don’t mourn what you haven’t lost.”  At 41 weeks I was already in mourning over the loss of my VBAC and this phrase got me through to 42 weeks, with as much hope as one can have that has a C-section on the books.

I have a VBAC board on pinterest.  It is my most rapidly growing following.  I would say almost daily another hopeful mama starts following this board and with hope in my heart I say a little prayer for them.  Please know that if there is ANYTHING I can do to help, you please don’t hesitate to shoot me an e-mail: lauracampbell2008@gmail.com.  I’d even be more than happy to send you my birth plan which I think was a super helpful tool for the hospital.

{While I wish a disclaimer weren’t necessary, unfortunately it is.  First of all, nothing I say is medical advice, I’m in no way a medical expert, so consult your doctor about everything.  Also please don’t hear what I’m not saying, I’m not saying everyone has to have a VBAC to validate themselves after a Cesarean.  If you want to schedule your repeat C-section, more power to you mama.  I wrote this for all the VBAC hopeful mama’s out there.}

The Ugly Truth About Vanity

First picture of L and Vaughn

I’ve been thinking about this a lot since posting the first picture of me and Vaughn to Facebook two weeks ago.  When I look at this picture, what I should see is a proud mama with her hour old baby.  I should see an accomplishment completed that I had been planning and hoping for since I had a c-section 2 years before.  I wish I looked at this picture and remembered how special I felt that Andrew at 5:00 in the morning after being up with me for so many hours thought to take this picture of me.  Pictures were the last thing I was thinking about, and it felt so sweet that he wanted to capture the moment for me.

Instead what I see in this picture….AGE SPOTS.  Yep, every time I look at this picture all I can see are the age spots that two pregnancies have left me with.  In fact every time I look in the mirror all I see is age spots.  I think a lot about how someday I would love to get this taken care of and how much money I would be willing to spend to “fix this problem.”  The ugly truth about vanity is it’s a real joy stealer.  I actually am embarrassed sometimes to go in public now without make up on and honestly I rarely find time to put it on in my daily life.  I really don’t want to be a mama who’s kids grow up and have no pictures with their mom because she always opted out of picture time.

There is this new app out that let’s you airbrush yourself into a “magazine quality photo.”  Basically it takes away all your blemishes, let’s you shave off pounds and basically completely alters your appearance so you can have the “perfect picture.”  Makes me sad that we live in a time where perfection is actually just fake.  I know I need to get myself in check before my girls are old enough to look in mirrors and make judgements about themselves based on their appearance.

I hope to someday soon look at this picture and see the proud happy mama that I was when it was taken.  Until then I’ll be liberally applying my age spot cream and hoping they eventually fade!

My Natural VBAC Birth Story

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Before you read this I want to be upfront with you.  The first thing I asked the nurse when the room cleared out and it was just me, her and Vaughn was, “If I EVER did this again would I be allowed to just schedule a c-section?”  So if you want a natural birth story/VBAC story that is filled with encouragement this MIGHT not be the story for you to read.  There are a lot of those online.  If you are looking for an honest story that details the good, the bad and the ugly about birth then read on.

Thursday was my scheduled cesarean.  You can read more about all of that HERE.  Wednesday morning I woke up really cramping and I thought my water broke.  I went to the bathroom and it wasn’t my water…I lost my plug (I know TMI.)  Now I know this doesn’t always mean something, but I was 41 weeks + 6 days and I just felt really off so I did think this might be signaling me that labor was coming.  I got up and had cramps for another hour and then the contractions started.  They were pretty consistent, about 10 minutes apart so I called my mom and dad and told them they might want to think about coming for the day instead of just coming for dinner that night in preparation for my cesarean.  They drove up and my mom drove me to my pre-op appointment.  I walked into my cesarean prep having contractions, which seemed somewhat silly, but if I showed up Thursday not dilated one bit I didn’t want to not have my surgery prep completed.

The rest of the day I contracted on and off, some I’d have to stop and breathe through, some were not very intense.  Around 4:00PM contractions started getting pretty steady and we started timing them.  I was still able to function, eat and play with Ellery, but they were around 7 minutes apart pretty consistently.  After Ellery went to bed they got pretty close together.  As in 4 to 5 minutes apart.  My mom and Andrew decided it was about time to go to the hospital so Andrew got the car all packed up and then…..they stalled.  Majorly stalled, as in went to 10 minutes apart and I went to bed.  I slept in 10 minute increments for about two hours and then the contractions got too intense to be lying in bed.  I came downstairs where my mom was sleeping and decided I’d sit with her and let Andrew sleep so he would be ready to go in the morning when “surely” I would be in full blown labor.  At this point I was in the time frame where I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink for the c-section that was scheduled at 9:30 the next morning and I was THIRSTY.  I called the midwife from my practice and she told me I needed to go to the hospital and be checked before I could eat or drink because of my scheduled c-section.  This was when I LOST IT.  Sobbing uncontrollably.  I wanted to wait to go to the hospital until the last possible minute, but I also really wanted to drink some water and I didn’t want to ruin the cesarean plan if I was going to have to have that in the morning.

On the way to the hospital contractions got to be 3 minutes apart which made me feel better about going to the hospital.  At least I didn’t feel like a total idiot like I would have if I’d shown up with contractions 5-7 minutes apart.  I got checked in and checked and the nurse told me I was 3cm, 90% effaced and Vaughn was at a 0 station.  Considering on Tuesday I had still been ZERO, this was REALLY good news.  I was in labor and allowed to VBAC instead of a c-section.  When they called my doctor she was so excited for me and decided to come in even though she didn’t have to do my c-section (it was her day off so I was surprised that she was coming anyway).

And then I was in active labor for 18 hours, yes, EIGHTEEN HOURS.  So everything I’ve talked about so far isn’t factored into that number.  All of that was just pre-labor.  They assigned me a fabulous nurse who loves natural labor and had lots of tricks to try and help with my pain management.  {For anyone who would like a natural birth, be sure to ask for a nurse who loves natural birth when you get to the hospital.  Only 10% of women birth without an epidural so they did everything to accommodate this request and I had all very supportive nurses.}  My first nurse assists the home births in town, my second nurse is the labor class teacher and my third nurse was a friend of one of our good friends so they all supported me completely and never once suggested an epidural.  In fact, in my weak moments towards the end my doctor and nurse definitely discouraged it and for that I’m super thankful.

For most of the day I was really in control.  I was breathing through contractions.  Cracking jokes in between.  Happy, and feeling really positive.  At one point my labor majorly stalled again and I got some rest.  After I had slept for a little bit (waking up with each contraction, but still resting) my labor saving nurse showed up and told me I had about 5 more minutes to rest and then we were going to get to work.  {If I didn’t have a natural birth loving doctor I would have had interventions by this point, but she believes that you should let your body dictate your birth so when my labor stalled she told me that was my body’s way of saying, it’s time to rest, and then it would pick back up again.}  Once I had rested a bit the nurse had me get on the birth ball and start doing hip circles.  My labor IMMEDIATELY picked back up.  It was crazy how effective this was.  About 20 minutes into hip circles my water broke.

And then the contractions got INTENSE.  My contractions in the hospital were rarely closer than 5 minutes apart.  My doctor was perfectly fine with this because she had a birth exactly like that and knew that it was just the normal for my body.  Some of these contractions would last for 2 full minutes which felt like eternity.  If transition is classified by being 7 centimeters then I was beginning transition at this point.  As much pain as I was in I was still doing really well and I thought surely I was getting decently close to meeting my little girl.  I knew that some people went from 7 to complete in an hour or less so I was feeling optimistic.  Then I was in the hell of transition for about 8 hours.  She kept checking me and I was 8 for several hours and then 9 for several hours.  We tried several different PAINFUL positions that I would have to lay in for 30 minutes each as I went through intense contractions.  I’d like to say I was in control during this time, but the truth is I screamed or cried through ALOT of this phase.  Some of it I actually was beautifully in control and I was breathing through contractions like a champ, but then I would get tired and lose control.  I uttered phrases like “I’m not in control,” “I’m panicking,”  “I can’t do this,” “why did I choose to do this,” “I’m SO MAD at myself that I didn’t pick the c-section,” “I was not prepared for this.”

At this point my doctor very hesitantly suggested pitocin.  She knew how we felt about pitocin, but also knew I had been in labor for a REALLY long time and I was getting so close.  She was worried that my contractions weren’t pushing down hard enough and asked if I would be willing to try a “whiff of pit.”  I had read about the use of this with a VBAC and while I really didn’t want to do it I also really wanted to push my baby out, so after thinking about it for a little bit I said, “fine, it’s worth a try.”  The contractions got a little bit harder, but never closer together like they had hoped.  When I had been on the pitocin for about an hour and was still a 9 she finally had me “grunt push.”  Not real pushes, just little grunts through each contraction as I moved around the room.  I “pushed” on all fours, squatting, up on the bed, and hanging on Andrew or my nurse.  The grunt pushing actually helped a little bit with the pain and I was able to feel a little more controlled.

At some point my body just kind of gave out and my vision of pushing not laying on my back was destroyed.  I have no idea how I ended up on my back, or at what point my doctor decided I was complete and I could start actually pushing, but I found myself lying on the bed with Andrew holding one leg and my sweet nurse holding the other and I began pushing with every ounce of energy I could muster.  I was so tired that I fell asleep between pushes.  My contractions were still 5 minutes apart so I would push 3 times and then sleep.  Then I would feel it coming on, say OK and everyone would assume their positions.  At this point my doctor had been with me for 17 hours ON HER DAY OFF so she would close her eyes between contractions too.  There were 8 people in the room  and most eyes were on my contraction monitor waiting for the next one.  I find this really silly because I didn’t have an epidural so it’s not like they had to tell me when I was needing to push.

The pushing: I can’t tell you how many people have told me they got the epidural because they were afraid of the pushing.  The pushing was seriously not painful compared to transition.  It was really hard work, but not painful.  Until the end….my doctor tries hard to save your lady parts so she made me wait to push her out and had me finish pushing her out over 3 contractions which was about 15 minutes because my contractions were far apart.  I screamed and dug my nails into Andrew as I waited for the right time.  Pushing her out was such a relief.  Once her bowling ball head came out it literally felt like an octopus flopped out of my body.  That was a really strange sensation.  My doctor laid her on my chest and I got to snuggle my sweet baby for at least a full hour before I shared her.  Within 10 minutes she was rooting to nurse and I got to nurse her for a long time while the doctor stitched me up.  I will be honest the stitching was TERRIBLE, I was not numb enough and even though I kept saying how much pain I was in she didn’t get me numb ever.

It was hands down the hardest and most painful days of my life.  It was completely not what I was expecting and I had high hopes that a natural birth would mean a shorter birth.  But I got my VBAC.  I thought that the VBAC would be extremely empowering, like I would complete this natural birth and feel like I conquered something.  I did not, I actually felt like a big whiney baby, as I was crying and screaming through contractions I kept thinking I sounded exactly like my two year old.  My doctor told me that a few days after the birth I would feel so proud of myself, I’m still not there 11 days later.  The positives I can share with you right now is that the recovery has been SO much easier this time around.  I got to hold my baby and nurse immediately which I didn’t have at all with Ellery.  As horrible of an experience as this was I did get to experience a natural birth which I always wanted and wondered if I could actually do.  Now I know I can make it through, the pain won’t kill me and the most important thing of all, I birthed a beautiful healthy baby!!

For those of you thinking: crazy woman, why didn’t you get an epidural?!?!  I’ll be honest, if I thought I could have had an epidural and still had a VBAC I likely would have had the epidural and slept through my labor.  However, I do not think that my particular body would birth a baby unless I was able to move around.  The only way we could get me to dilate was to try tons of different things.  The only other option with an epidural would be more pitocin and with a VBAC this just isn’t a super safe option.  I can tell you with 99% certainty that I would have had a cesarean if I had gotten an epidural, my body just doesn’t like to dilate!!!

If I could do it all over again would I still have chosen the VBAC? Well, yes.  Even though it was horrid, the what ifs that would have come with a scheduled cesarean would have mentally killed me.  And I don’t really know how I would have recovered from a c-section with a two year old, being able to drive has been super nice.  Will I ever sign up to do this again?  It’s too soon to say.  The newborn nugget phase has me all confused, I look at her and think I could do this 20 more times, but eventually reality will hit and I just might say no, never again.  I will say that my husband declared after the birth, “I will NEVER ever ask you to do this again.”  So at least there is absolutely no pressure!

This post has gotten insanely long.  I’m hoping to write one more post about some things that I think really helped me to succeed in having a VBAC, but since this post took me days I can’t promise I’ll write it very soon.  Hopefully this post hasn’t freaked you VBAC hopefuls out completely. I will say the nurses in the hospital referred to me as the marathon birth so it was definitely not the norm.

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Because I know people are curious and are trying to be as polite as possible I thought I’d just write a post about what is going on and what the plan is.  Today I am 11 days past my due date.  Last Wednesday I went to my doctor’s appointment and found out I was not inducible.  I didn’t know it was possible to be 41 weeks pregnant and not dilated even the slightest bit, but it is.  After I picked my jaw up off the floor I immediately scheduled a c-section for this Monday (today).  My doctor works today and I love her and trust her and have never met another doctor in the practice.  I knew if I waited until I hit 42 weeks on Thursday to do the c-section I would have a stranger operating on me and after a bit of a traumatic c-section last time Andrew and I felt like we should just schedule with our doctor. We were seeing the midwife on Wednesday and she scheduled us for a meeting with my doctor for that Friday.  I went home, slept on it, got up,  read about zero dilation at 41 weeks and changed my mind.  I went in Friday and before my doctor could say anything I blurted out, “I changed my mind, I don’t want the c-section on Monday.”

I know a lot of people have negative opinions about doctors, and are very pro-midwife for VBAC mama’s.  I will say that my doctor is my biggest advocate.  She came in prepared to try and talk me into waiting until 42 weeks and was really glad I had made the decision on my own.  I told her that I felt that if I did the c-section before 42 weeks I would regret it immediately.  She told me that one of her family members had just done a repeat c-section at a little over 41 weeks and basically immediately regretted not waiting.  (This is to say NOTHING against people who don’t VBAC and choose the repeat c-section, it’s just we have been planning a VBAC for nearly a year and she didn’t want me to regret my decision.  Birth is a personal decision and I respect how each person chooses to bring their babies into the world.)  One really cool thing that happened was we found out in this appointment that the hospital was booked Monday and Tuesday for c-sections so Wednesday would have been the earliest I could have had one anyway, so it was not even like I had to make a decision.  It felt very much meant to be.

I told my doctor I was really nervous about doing a c-section with a stranger and she told me she would come in ON HER DAY OFF and do it for me Thursday morning (which is the day I turn 42 weeks).  I couldn’t believe she would do that for me.  She also is willing to cater to my requests.  Skin to skin immediately, letting the cord pulse out before clamping, lowering the curtain so I can see her come out (or using a mirror, but I’m not sure how I feel about that), not having my arms strapped out to my sides, and having a spinal done instead of an epidural (because feeling the doctor cut me open was the worst part last time).  This is called a baby centered or mother centered cesarean.  A cesarean is not at all what I want, but if it comes to that at least it will be the best possible scenario for a not so great scenario.

What does this all mean?!?!?  I will be holding our sweet Vaughn Thursday at the latest.  I’ve done my best to stay positive through this process.  I wear a smile on my face because I decided that being nasty or sad all day wasn’t helpful and people tend to avoid people who are like that.  To be honest I feel pretty bummed everyday, and teeter back and forth between having hope that I will have the birth that I want and accepting that I am having a c-section on Thursday.  I feel good physically and if I didn’t have to have her in the next 3 days to escape the c-section fate I probably would be doing better mentally.  And yes I know SOME doctors let you go past 42 weeks, but our practice only goes until 42 weeks and Andrew and I are comfortable with that.  I feel like God knows that Thursday is when I have to have her and he can choose for her to come before that if he wants me to have a VBAC.  It’s possible his plan is for me to have a repeat c-section for a reason that we can’t understand.  So if Thursday rolls around and we have a planned c-section I will be ok with that, maybe not immediately, but at some point I will be ok with that.  I have had my heart set on delivering today all week so that’s where my prayers are focused today.  Thankfully my friends know how hard this time is for us and have been awesome with asking me to do things and making us dinner.  We’re so thankful for the distraction and help!  Looking forward to posting pictures of our beautiful babe this week!!!

 

I’m Due On Thursday

This is a whole new World for this pregnant lady.  When people ask me now,”so when are you due?”  My response is Thursday.  That’s pretty weird for this mama who was induced 3 weeks before her due date last time.  For some women this is the point where they dread people asking them when they are due, for me it feels like a major victory.  My body hasn’t failed me yet and I feel like it’s an answer to so many people’s prayers.  If you’ve been praying along with us so far I want to start by saying thank you, and then I want to ask you to stick with us a little longer and lift up some specific requests that I have for the impending birth.

1.  The number one thing I want prayer for is our SAFETY.  Regardless of how the birth turns out, whether it’s exactly what I’ve been hoping and praying for or if it goes completely different than I want, the ultimate goal is healthy mom/healthy baby.

2.  If you’d like to pray for the IDEAL birth for me please be praying for the following:  My water wouldn’t break until I’m pushing, Andrew and I would have a joint “knowing” of when it’s time to go to the hospital, Vaughn would be heads down and perfectly positioned, and I could avoid any kind of medical intervention.

3.  Please pray against FEAR.  I have had major surges of fear this time around and then also incredible amounts of peace.  I woke up this morning with the cramping type contractions and thought “oh yeah, I remember this part, ok we can do this.”  It was such a confidence booster to have a little prep session to remind me what it was like last time.  I forget that things start slow and progress, and your body has some time to ease into things.  I’m looking forward to letting my body do what it was made to do.

4.  Please be praying for all the LOGISTICS to get worked out.  It’s very different this time around because we have a 2 year old to worry about.  I want to labor at home as long as possible, but also don’t want to freak my child out, she is very concerned if I’m ok all the time.  I want my parents to get here in plenty of time and I really don’t want to call people with false alarms, especially in the middle of the night.  We have incredible friends here who are prepared to come over at any hour, but I would hate to call them at 3:00 in the morning only to send them home because I stopped contracting.

5.  Please pray for my sweet HUSBAND.  He was such a trooper last time when we had a marathon induction and c-section, but this time there are whole new elements because I’ve never labored without medical staff around and I’m sure it’s a little nerve wracking (especially when he hears stories of people not making it to the hospital in time and delivering babies on their floors or in the car).

And last, but certainly not least.  Please pray that she comes by OCTOBER 26th.  That’s 10 days past my due date and at that point we will have to have some conversations about what we are going to do to get this little sweetie out of my body.

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2nd Pregnancy Thoughts

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The second pregnancy is different.  I’m sure there will come a day, probably soon, where I am physically ready to have a baby.  I’m sure I’ll be miserable, swollen, sleep deprived and so incredibly ready for the birth.  However, I don’t know when I’ll be emotionally ready for Vaughn’s arrival.  There are so many aspects to this birth and family change that didn’t exist with Ellery.  One of which is I’ve had to go to appointment after appointment where they ask me if I am aware that I can die and my baby can die from giving birth this time?  Um yes, but there is a baby inside my body right now and no matter what she has to come out.  I am planning for a VBAC which apparently is not a very popular choice.  I read a statistic last night that only 26% of women choose a VBAC over a planned repeat cesarean.  It finally made sense why people have tried to discourage me from this.  I thought that by choosing a group of midwives I would have a bunch of cheerleaders that would be excited to help me attempt to have the birth I wanted the first time around.  So far this has not been the case.  Instead, surprisingly, the biggest advocate for my VBAC is my OB doctor.

I saw her yesterday and I am feeling SO much better.  She is amazing and a complete Godsend.  We talked over all the options and she reiterated that the safest thing I can do is go into labor on my own and have a VBAC.  The next safest is a planned cesarean and the least safe is to attempt a VBAC and end in a C-section.  So after talking it over with her and Andrew I am feeling like sticking with the VBAC plan that we had from the beginning is my best option for us.  Why this practice of midwives is unsupportive and unfriendly, I have no idea, but there are only 2 “popular” options for VBACs in this town and when I first started out on this journey I wasn’t comfortable with the other option (now I would totally go with the other practice, but it’s too late).  As of today I am officially 8 weeks from my due date and I am nervous to say the least.  I’ve been having contractions throughout the pregnancy and each time I have one I think, “I don’t want to go through labor again,” but I’m sure just like last time I’ll look at my sweet little girl’s face and know that whatever I had to do was completely worth it.

If you are the praying type I have a HUGE request: please be praying that this particular doctor is at the hospital when I go into labor.  I found out today that even though I “chose the midwives” I can use the doctor instead when I get to the hospital and so far my experiences with the midwives have been negative enough that I will likely go with a doctor unless I get the vibe that they are not VBAC friendly.

And now for a few really positive things about my second pregnancy:

1.  I already had stretch marks from Ellery so I haven’t even really thought about getting more, which I’m now finding new ones starting this week and I really don’t care about them.

2.  I don’t have depression and anxiety like a did last time so even though I’m moody like a typical pregnant person it is SO much more manageable and I’ve really been able to enjoy our last season as a family of 3.

3.  The round ligament pain is so much less severe this time around, I guess because they’ve stretched out once already.

4.  Because I was completely not concerned with getting my abs put back together after Ellery I haven’t had that horrible ab ripping feeling like last time, that was so painful the first time around.

5.  Besides the fact that I’m having a VBAC I have been pretty calm about this pregnancy because I have already been through this once and I knew what to expect.  I’ve also been so busy with Ellery that I haven’t thought much about being pregnant and people don’t focus on your pregnancy the second time around because they are focused on that cute kid that you already have.

I’m not saying I would be pregnant a third time, but also as of right now I’m not saying that I wouldn’t.  People have asked if we will try to have a third and the answer is honestly, “I don’t know.”  We’ve always talked about adoption and/or foster care so it really depends on when we feel we should pursue that.

My Relationship with Yoga

When I was in high school a friend and I attended a yoga class at Gold’s Gym.  If I remember right it was an hour long session and it was my first time ever doing yoga.  I walked out of that class, declared that Yoga had to be straight from the devil, and vowed to never do it again.  I thought it was super painful, in no way was it relaxing, and she played very new age style music which just creeped me out.

Fast forward to January, I got pregnant.  I had a not so fantastic first pregnancy and birth experience and the thought of being pregnant for nine months was less than desirable.  When I was almost 12 weeks along we had dinner with a friend who was much further along in her pregnancy and she recommended these 10 minute pregnancy yoga videos.  I LOVE THEM.  I have done a complete 180 in my view of Yoga and intend to continue at least 10 minute yoga sessions even after Vaughn arrives.  It’s amazing what it does for all the little kinks and pains in my body and when I’m feeling a bit stressed out I find that episode 1 in particular really relaxes me.  When my hips hurt episode 4 is what I turn to.  The videos I like have this adorable pregnant woman with a fantastic accent and her word choices are amazing.  She uses terms like “undulating”, “niggles” and “this might feel a bit tangy.”  If you are pregnant I highly recommend doing these as many times a week as possible, you can find the videos HERE.

Pregnancy Yoga

Glad I Was/Am Crazy

This week I’ve been thanking my crazy personality.  I’ve been going through all of Ellery’s clothes bins and I’ve been thankful for two things.  I was an insane minimalist and I was psycho about hanging all of Ellery’s clothes (besides sweats, onesies and pajamas).  In case you are wondering why I’m going through Ellery’s clothes it’s because we are having a GIRL in October.  Most of you probably know this, but I realize some of my readers don’t follow me on instagram or facebook.  We are excited and terrified to have SISTERS in our house.  Something neither Andrew or I have ever experienced before.  Girls, never in my life would I have dreamed that I’d have girls.  I always pictured myself as a mom to a house full of boys, but God had different plans and for that I’m so happy.  I spent my week going through all my bins, writing lists, purging things that would not ever work season wise, listing a few things on ebay, putting other things in garage sale boxes, soaking the few things that had stains on them, and getting excited that I will get to buy a few new things, but that I don’t HAVE to buy very much.  And thanks to my bestie Steph my bins that were just about empty after this purge week are almost filled thanks to her little girls ADORABLE hand me downs.  After going through everything and realizing how much I still need for our new addition I’m amazed at how much having the same gender child saves you!  Check back this week for the What’s in a Name: Part Two post.  Where I explain what her name is, how we came up with it, and you realize how incredibly crazy I really am….

What I’ve been up to lately

I can’t really tell you what I have been up to, but I can tell you what I haven’t been up to lately.  Cleaning.  My house is so dirty it’s crazy really (as in you can write your name on every piece of furniture).  I haven’t made our bed on a consistent basis since Christmas.  I always was a daily bed maker until this year.  I would say since the beginning of January I have maybe made the bed 5 times.  I also haven’t changed my sheets weekly this year either, and I used to be psycho about clean sheets.  I haven’t been working.  It’s been a bummer really, I really enjoy my job, but instead of working many days I’ve taken naps and in the last 2 weeks I’ve been so sick there was no way I could work.  I couldn’t even take care of Ellery.  My mom and dad took care of us all last week while I had a crazy painful case of TMJ.  Cooking, haven’t done much of that this year.  We’ve had more PB&J sandwiches for dinner than I’d like to admit and a couple weeks ago it occurred to me that I could buy chicken salad at the deli and have that for dinner on croissants and it looked like I tried a little harder.  Frozen pizza has been our friend and for the first time in our lives so has the drive thru.  Our eating out budget has definitely had to borrow a lot of money from our grocery budget lately.  Cloth Diapers, haven’t been doing those.  Gave myself the month off because I had over purchased size 3 and just down right didn’t feel like dealing with washing them.  Exercise, gave that up too.  I was exercising 5 days a week.  Got up every morning and did a video first thing before we started the day.  Quit that at the end of January.  Clearly I haven’t been doing a whole lot!

What have I been up to lately? Growing a little person inside my body.  Crazy how growing a life really takes it out of you.  I’ll be 14 weeks on Thursday, second trimester, can’t wait!  Baby Campbell due October 16, 2014.

My Raw Birth Story

So when Ellery was born I wrote our birth story. I read it probably once a month and it is very accurate. I still feel mostly that way about how it happened, but recently I have felt the need to write down the real raw story of how our Ellery came into the world. I’m writing this for me and I’m writing it for her and I’m writing it to never forget, but please don’t feel obligated to read it. Although you are more than welcome to.

My labor was done to me, it didn’t happen. I can no longer watch torture scenes in movies or television shows because it reminds me of my birth experience. The nurses came in every 30 minutes on the dot to increase the pitocin and near the end I would beg them to give me just 5 more minutes. They always said no, “I had to keep on track” and within a minute or two my contractions would get more severe, it especially stunk that the pitocin did just about nothing for my dilation so it was completely pointless.

I will likely never again get an epidural. Not because it wasn’t the most magical drug ever because it.was.magical. But because if by chance I have to have another c-section after laboring all day long I want a spinal, getting a c-section with an epidural was absolutely terrible. Here are the gory details of this hour in our life.

The doctor came in and told me it was time for a c-section, it was around 2 o’clock the morning of Ellery’s birthday. I signed some paperwork, she went over the risks and we were off. They wheeled me into the c-section room down the hall and assured me they would get Andrew before we began. I was glad I had previously had surgeries because I don’t remember feeling scared. Once I was in there a team of people hoisted my dead weight body from one bed to the other. I remember feeling extremely awkward and very heavy. I thought I was mentally prepared for a c-section, I had seen them on television, but somehow missed two details. The first was they strap your arms down at the wrists like you are on a cross. The second was how close the curtain is to your face. Like suffocatingly close. I vaguely remember asking if they had to strap my arms like that and he said yes in case I needed an IV or something. Looking back I would have preferred to have no curtain at all, I would have really liked to have seen my doctor, but maybe the blood would have freaked me out, I don’t know. There were 15 people in the room, some dressed in plain old street clothes, not sure how that was sterile. I knew there were a lot, Andrew told me later 15.

They started cutting me open, as they are cutting the anesthesiologist starts asking who is going to “get the dad” someone says I’ll go in a minute and he said, someone needs to get him NOW! I remember starting to panic at this point. I knew I was cut open and facing the door so Andrew would see my cut open bleeding belly when he came through the door. My husband passes out nearly every time he gives blood so I completely expected him to hit the floor when he walked in, luckily he did not, he did however see my cut open belly, yikes! How did I know that I was being cut open? I felt it, not pressure like people talk about, but pain and felt every bit of the cutting on my right side. I had a friend that communicated her pain to the doctor and they knocked her out so I decided to very calmly let them know I was in pain. Every minute I would calmly say, “I have pain on my right side,” he would put more meds in my drip, and this continued for a bit until I gave up. I was so determined to see her that I didn’t really care if I could feel the pain of her cutting me open. I was secretly panicking, but didn’t want to say anything for fear of not seeing Ellery in her first moments. Andrew was nowhere near me (or that’s how it felt) and he was too tired to talk to me. Luckily the anesthesiologist sat right next to me and did his best to distract me and keep me calm.

Here she comes…I again expected pressure, um not so much. I screamed the whole time they were pulling her out and the doctor kept saying breath like it’s a contraction. They were pulling, I was screaming, and finally she was out. My OBGYN came around the curtain holding my sweet girl, in a childish voice she said,”here’s your baby” and then she was whisked away. After they did her tests and weighed her Andrew held her and I caught my first glimpse of her, I remember saying,”oh my goodness, she’s so precious.” And then they essentially put me to sleep. The doctor pumped me so full of Benadryl that I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I think he did this because he knew I was in pain, but maybe this is standard. Then I woke up on and off and would say,”I have to nurse my baby.” It amazes me that motherly instinct is that strong. I probably couldn’t have told you my name at that point, but I knew my baby needed to eat. After I did this several times my OBGYN leaned over the curtain, looked me in my eyes and said,”Laura you can’t nurse your baby right now, your job is to sleep. Your baby needs to breathe better before she can eat, you will nurse her as soon as she can.” It didn’t register with me that something was wrong with Elle, she was having breathing problems, a c-section complication, so I was pretty mad that I couldn’t feed her because our agreement was within the 1st hour I got to nurse.

It was time to go back to the room, hospital policy says only staff can carry babies in the hallways, so Andrew couldn’t carry her. My doctor asked if I wanted to hold her back to the room since I was being wheeled and I sadly told her I couldn’t because my arms weren’t working. I’m pretty sure I fell asleep in the 30 feet from the operating room to my room, I would have likely dropped her. Then they started working on Elle to clear her lungs, they did a chest x-ray and had her on oxygen, I would wake up periodically and ask Andrew to show me a picture of her because she was too far away to see. Then I came up with a plan. I told Andrew to go get some ice and shove as much in my mouth as possible. I wanted to nurse her so bad and I wanted to be alert enough to hold her. This didn’t really work like I had hoped and I continued to be extremely out of it. I remember at 4:30 the medical staff had cleared out and Ellery was left alone with us in her warming bed hooked up to stuff and had oxygen in her nose. My OBGYN came in and I asked if my family who was STILL in the waiting room could come see her. She said yes if I was sure I wanted people to come in, I said “of course” considering they had been there since noon the previous day and were waiting to see our sweetie. I vaguely remember them coming in, no one could hold Ellery because of all her tubes, so they saw her and told me they’d be back after they got a little sleep. I soon held Ellery for a few minutes with the assistance of our nurse, but after a few minutes my arms stopped working again and I had to put her back in her warm bed. Then I fell asleep holding her sweet little foot and every time she cried I would wake up, say “mommy’s here” and she would immediately settle down.

Looking back I feel like I was robbed. At the time I felt rescued. Time gives clarity, I’ve processed this for nearly nine months, and now it’s time to heal. I still love and respect my doctor, I still have no regrets about the day of the actual birth (we really did do everything we could), I don’t feel like a c-section hurt my bond with my child in anyway what so ever, and even though it wasn’t in my time frame I still got to nurse and she never had formula. I still got a beautiful, healthy, awesome kid out of the whole ordeal and I’d do it all over again for her without a second thought. Now I’m on a quest for an awesome OBGYN in our new town who will help me VBAC with our future babies or baby…one at a time.

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