Posts tagged homebirth

24 Hours Old

Baby Reid Cameron Hanson was born just over 24 hours ago. He weighed 7 pounds exactly (after a big poo) and was 21 inches long. He’s quite skinny! Most of the newborns in my life up to now have been at least 8 pounds–including Daniel. It’s surprising how much of a difference one pound makes.

Reid’s head was smaller than Daniel’s, too. I don’t remember the exact measurements, but I’ll ask Margo when she comes to check on me tomorrow.

The night before Reid was born, my waves started getting stronger and more regular when I listened to one of the Hypnobabies scripts. I had set up a pillow nest in such a way that I could lay face down–my belly in a pit. I think it was the combination of being relaxed from the hypnosis and that position that jump-started things. The waves were about 10-15 minutes apart and I timed them for about an hour. It was after midnight and I was pretty sure I could sleep.

Though I woke up a few times to a strong wave and to go to the bathroom, there was no indication that “this was it”. But when I woke up in the morning around 7:30, the waves were still strong and continued to be about 10 minutes apart. They fluctuated from 15 minutes to 7 minutes apart all day and continued to get stronger and occasionally longer. I still wasn’t sure I had officially entered my birthing time because they weren’t regulating themselves and I’d heard that second babies can produce several false starts.

Sue came over and picked up Daniel so I could relax, just in case. I ate lightly all day, as well, just to be on the safe side. I had several soft BMs which did give me some indication that this was really it. After lunch, I took a little walk to the Paseo and actually ducked into some of the shops–not something I ever get to do with Daniel in tow. By the time I got back, I lost my mucous plug and was by then pretty confident that I would meet baby that day.

By the time I did my second Hibiclens rinse around 3, I gave myself an internal exam and discovered the bag of water was bulging and I was dilated to 5 or 6. I wasn’t really sure, since I didn’t have a lot of experience with measuring cervices.

I sent text messages to all my support people updating them with the news and Dan and I decided to head over to his parents’ house before things got too intense. I really didn’t like the car ride when I was birthing Daniel and wanted to avoid that.

When we got there, I sat on the birthing ball and waited for people to start showing up. By then, things had slowed down and I was only having waves every 15 minutes or so, though they were very strong by then. When Margo arrived around 6, she checked me and I was already at 7–even though things had never regulated or gotten closer together. Micaela was here by then, too, and I got in the tub and just chatted with her between waves. Except that the waves were strong and mostly in my back (and yes, they did hurt), in general, I was very comfortable and relaxed.

Besides practicing deep relaxation, I didn’t really use my Hypnobabies until the end. I probably should have tried using it sooner if I wanted more pain management, but I was really enjoying my very social birthing time and didn’t want to disrupt something that was so enjoyable.

My support people all ended up making it to the birth before I hit transition (something we were all worried wouldn’t happen due to Memorial Day traffic–they were coming from San Diego). At one point, I turned around in the tub so my back was facing everyone to allow someone to press on my back through my waves since all the pain was localized there. I was able to relax the pain away in my abdomen, but it was just too intense in my back for me to melt it away.

I decided I probably needed to use the Hypnobabies now, since there was not much socialization I could do at that point. Less than 30 minutes after putting my headphones in, I got an enormous wave that lasted for what seemed like an eternity. I was very vocal through that wave, and by the end of it, I was unintentionally pushing. Everyone knew exactly what that loud moan had meant, and I could tell there was a flurry of activity behind me. I pushed one more time in the tub and Margo felt to see if baby’s head was coming, and found baby ready to come out! My water burst on her finger and she told me if I didn’t want to have baby in the water, I needed to get out now because baby was coming out.

I remember saying that I didn’t care, but the water was too cool for him to be born in the water and the faucet wasn’t heating up fast enough. So I hobbled to the bed, and within 5 minutes, Reid was born! I really felt the ring of fire this time, which was not so pleasant, but I also felt baby’s head coming out bit by bit with every push, so I was very motivated to push through it. I could really feel my skin blipping over each of Reid’s features, his forehead, nose, chin–it was surreal. And then I felt his body slip out and I was so relieved. It was so different from Daniel’s birth where the episiotomy caused him to just blast right out of me.

I only tore a little bit with Reid, and although I’m sore today, it can’t even compare to how uncomfortable I was after Daniel.

Reid is nursing well, pooing a lot, and is so far an agreeable little guy. He does cry more than Daniel, but he’s fairly easy to sooth. I’m about to go to bed now. I’m hopeful for more than 4 hours of sleep tonight.

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37 Weeks Pregnant

I’m two days shy of 37 weeks!

I had my midwifery appointment today. As soon as she saw me, she commented on how baby has dropped. He certainly has! The upside to that is that I can breathe more easily and eat more food. The downsides include pelvic pressure, having to pee constantly, and almost losing my pants as they ride so low.

I’m feeling fairly patient right now waiting for baby to come. I still feel like I have at least another week, if not two, to go before he decides to come. I have been having a lot of pressure waves and they have been getting stronger and more frequent. They are completely welcome as I know they are already dilating me and getting me ready for the big event.

I’ve gotten a lot of things accomplished, but not nearly enough. This week will be a major work week for me getting everything set up and ready for baby. We’ve got all the necessities ready to go–I’m just trying to get all the little stuff taken care of that I know I won’t be able to do very easily after he gets here–I need to catch up on the laundry, change all the sheets, vacuum (which includes getting all the junk off the floors), mop, and deep clean the shower.

I’m so unmotivated to do any of that when I’m tired… and lately I’ve been tired. I’ve been staying up way too late. My midwife slapped me on the wrist for that today. I’m not allowed to let myself get so tired anymore. She says I need to always feel rested since I could begin my birthing time any day now. She told me she doesn’t think I’ll make it to my due date. I’m hoping she’s right. For some reason I keep thinking the 16th will be the day. We’ll see.

Daniel has been a dream lately. He still has his moments where I have to remind myself to be calm and patient, but the tantrums have ceased and he’s becoming more and more independent. He’s also clinging to Dan a lot more lately–which makes me so pleased. I’ve actually been able to go out a few times and stay out as late as I want! Until just a couple months ago, Dan had a hard time getting Daniel to go to bed without me around. But it seems that he’s gotten over that.

I’m really looking forward to the next few weeks and months.

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26 1/2 Weeks Pregnant

Blast! I got the news that my glucose test came back high again. It’s borderline, like it was with Daniel, but high enough that I have to start restricting my sugars. I’m so disappointed.

The obvious upside is that my overall nutrition will improve dramatically. No more peanut butter sandwich cookies at bed time. At least I got to enjoy a giant brownie a la mode last night before finding out my results this afternoon. The downside is that I’ll have a hard time meeting my calorie requirements without the aid of yummy treats. In my pregnancy with Daniel I fluctuated within one pound or so for nearly 3 months. I’m hoping to be able to gain at least a little more weight through the end of this pregnancy. I’m already at about a 30 pound gain, though, so I’ve got at least some stores to keep me going.

I’m rather looking forward to labor and birth this time around. Margo (my midwife) asked me why, and all I could come up with was that I believe I can handle it better this time. Most second births are shorter and easier than first births, so that’s in my favor. My first birth was rather painful, but it was tolerable for the most part. (Of course, transition doesn’t count.) This time I’m hoping to be able to meditate into a deep state of relaxation which should ease some (all???) of the pain. Of course, being able to labor and deliver in a comfortable space with all my closest female friends and family around me is pleasant in and of itself, but in the end I get a beautiful baby, to boot.

Daniel and I had a nice morning together. I’ve been pretty busy the last couple weeks babysitting twice a week, and running errands in between. I thought Daniel ought to have a relaxing just-for-him day. He wanted to get in the shower with me this morning. Usually, I try to persuade him to do other things instead so I get washed more quickly. But today I just let him get in. He wanted me to hold him and sing him songs… for over half and hour! Once I’d finish one song, he’d ask for another one. I went through all the kid songs I could think of, then started in on the hymns. We just swayed and sang. When we finally got out, we got dressed and headed to the zoo with grandma. Daniel’s favorite animal was the armadillo. It just kept running around and around the pen. He went back to see it several times, shouting, “It’s so wierd! Come on!” The “come on” was not an invitation to follow him, but more of a “what in the world?!?!” variety. I’m not really sure where he got that, but he’s said it before. It was quite amusing.

In the children’s area, there were two very strange looking animals–both deer-like and rather small. One was thin with a long neck, the other was shorter, rounder and less graceful-looking. The smaller of the two was continually licking the taller one’s behind. The taller one suddenly squatted and started to pee and the smaller one continued to lick… it was disgusting and altogether strange. Thankfully Daniel had no idea what they were doing. He just exclaimed, “Look Mama, he’s having his milk!” I was so relieved he didn’t ask me what they were doing. I don’t know what I would have said.

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22 Weeks Pregnant

Now that the holidays are over, time has definitely seemed to slow down with regards to my pregnancy. I am looking forward to birthing this child and think about it daily. I am hoping for a “painfree” birth this time around. I have been reading about HypnoBirthing and am not quite sure that’s the avenue I want to pursue, but some form of deep relaxation and perhaps meditation will be required. I don’t want to set my standard so high that I am disappointed if I should feel pain, but I am learning just how powerful the mind is, and what it can achieve.

I read recently in “Trick or Treatment” by Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst, MD, that the placebo effect is much more than someone misrepresenting how one feels when they believe they received a particular remedy or treatment. People often actually do get better–in a testable way–even if they have only received the placebo because the belief that something was done to relieve their suffering is powerfule enough to actually relieve their suffering. And so it can go with childbirth. If I really believe I can achieve a painfree birth, I may actually be able to achieve it.

I watched a program tonight that I saw a few times when I was pregnant with Daniel. It shows a handful of women who have chosen to birth either at home or in a birth center. As I watched each child be born, I wept and contracted. It was as if my mind, my emotions, or some force was triggering the contractions. But I also contract when I’m playing Tetris, so I suppose I shouldn’t read into it too much!

I will start drinking an infusion of red raspberry leaf in a few weeks to help strengthen and tone my uterus and pelvic floor for labor. I did drink the infusion when I was pregnant with Daniel and had a particularly efficient labor. Correlation does not neccessarily denote causation, but red raspberry leaf is full of vitamins and minerals (Vitamin C, Calcium, in particular), so even if it does no good for my muscle tone, I will still benefit.

Daniel threw a particularly nasty fit a couple nights ago when we were putting him to bed. I have never seen him so out of control. Earlier that day he threw a milder fit about taking a nap (he never actually slept). It seems that on the days he doesn’t nap, bed time is particularly difficult, but it’s never been so dramatic. Today, even after my laying with him for over an hour (trying to sleep myself), he refused to nap, so we were nervous about how bedtime would go. We were relieved that, although Daniel did express some frustrations at bedtime, they were relatively mild and he settled down very quickly.

I’ve been pretty patient regarding Daniel’s tantrums–which are thankfully few and far between–but I’m nervous about how I’ll be able to handle them when baby comes–especially if they result in waking baby or cause baby to be agitated or upset, too. I am hoping that all the patience I have learned from parenting Daniel will spill over into parenting two children. I may get a trial run pretty soon. I may be watching a friend’s baby girl for a couple days/week from February to April. I can earn a bit of extra money and better prepare myself for the tasks associated with parenting two children.

Sleep has been one of the biggest troubles for me–not just in this pregnancy, but in life. It’s not that I have trouble sleeping, I generally sleep well. But I have trouble deciding to go to bed–even when I am exhausted. I learned while I was still in college, that the feeling that I had something else to do (such as school work, house keeping, working) took over my subconscious mind while I was doing anything relaxing or restful (such as reading for pleasure, watching TV, or trying to get myself to bed), and I was unable to fully enjoy the activity. I think that is the feeling that neat-freaks talk about when they say they just can’t stand to be in a messy or cluttered environment. The problem for me is that while I feel that discomfort and discord, it’s not strong enough to motivate me to tidy up. It’s just strong enough for me to feel like I ought not be able to relax.

I have high hopes that before baby is born, I’ll be able to keep our home tidy (it’s MUCH tidier now than when Daniel was born), and that will do wonders for my ability to relax and feel like I accomplished whe I needed to in each day. Please, friends and family, feel free to ask about my progress and help keep me accountable. And if you want to stop by to help me get things in order, I’ll be sure to bake a fresh loaf of bread for you (I finally found a winning recipe…mmmmmm).

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Not Pregnant Anymore!

Welcome to the world, Daniel Lee Hanson, III!

Daniel was born on Friday, June 2 at 11:43pm. I went into labor at 6:40 in the morning. I knew immediately, from the strength of the contractions, that I was in labor. I started timing them–6-7 minutes apart, about 1 minute long, and strong. I spent most of the day just relaxing–storing up strength for when labor started to get difficult.

My mom and brother and sister drove up from San Diego and were at my house before lunch. My mom brought in lunch for us all and we ate together. I sent her to the grocery store for me while I took a warm bath and layed down to nap. I was able to get a couple of winks, but laying down made the contractions even stronger.

By about 5pm, my contractions shifted from every 6-7 minutes to every 2-3 minutes, and we knew it was getting close. I was still handling the contractions well and could almost still chat right through them–though concentrating on my breathing and relaxing was much easier–they certainly were hurting by then.

I called the midwives to let them know I was ready to go to Dan’s parents’ house, so they said they’d come over, too. When they checked me, I was dialated to 6.5! We didn’t expect that much progress to have been made since the contractions were fairly sporadic all day and also because the baby wasn’t in the optimal position. If he’d been looking straight back to my spine, he’d probably have already been born by then. Instead he was looking toward my left hip–almost looking back, but turned just enough that his head wouldn’t fit right in my pelvis.

By then, the contractions were really getting to me, so we were trying everything we could think of to get the baby to turn. I layed in various positions, I walked around swinging my hips back and forth trying to jiggle him around. I rocked on my hands and knees. Finally, when they checked me again around 9:30 or 10, I was dialated to 9 cm and he had finally turned.

At that point, I was so relieved because I knew the next centimeter would go quickly–but the pain was so intense, I was vomiting and feeling like I couldn’t go on. But everyone was so supportive and helped me through it.

I got in the bathtub to try to soothe some of the pain–I can’t say that I noticed any difference, but it felt good to be in the water, nonetheless. In less than 30 minutes, I felt like pushing.

I pushed lightly for a little while, just to get the hang of it. Once I really started to bear down, he came down really quickly. I was able to feel his head descending. My water didn’t break until his head was about 2 inches from coming out. I pushed for a little while longer in the tub, but the position I was in was awkward and I was getting tired. The midwives had me get out so I could lay on the bed and rest between the contractions. Getting out of the tub at that point was so wierd. I could literally feel his head between my legs and I had to walk from the bathroom to the bed… then climb into the bed! Once I was there, though, I was glad.

I pushed and pushed, but he refused to crown (crowning is when the biggest part of the baby’s head doesn’t retract after a contraction). My perineum just wouldn’t stretch and was about to tear in a very bad place that would have been extremely difficult to heal, so they gave me an episiotomy and the baby was out with the next push.

I needed lots of stitches due to lots of tears and the final cut, but I was able to hold baby Daniel and nurse him through the whole process. He didn’t cry for the first hour of his life outside the womb–he just cooed and sighed. He only started crying when they took him away from me to weigh and measured him (8 lbs., 2 oz., 20.5 in long).

After it was all over, we all made our way downstairs and fell asleep.

I’m now at home adjusting gleefully to parenthood.

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33 Weeks Pregnant

In 4 weeks, I will be full term. My due date is in 7 weeks. WOW. I didn’t expect time to have gone by so quickly. Staring ahead, the road seems SO long, but looking back, I realize how short it really was.

Sometimes I can really feel pressure where the baby’s head is pressing–especially if I have to pee–and he hasn’t even dropped yet. His kicks are pretty strong still. He’s almost always facing my left side, and insists on kicking his legs out as straight as they will go. Occasionally he’ll flip around and face my right side, but that only lasts for a few minutes before he’ll flip back over.

The baby gets the hiccups almost every day–sometimes two or three times in a day. He’s hiccuping right now. I read somewhere that hiccups in utero can be a sign of food allergies or sensitivities. I’ve tried paying attention to what I’ve eaten when he starts hiccuping to see if I can find any correlation, and so far, there’s not much to go on. About half the time, I’ve had some kind of dairy, but I’ve yet to test that theory. A dairy intolerance would be a bummer… since I love milk, cheese and ice cream. But after he’s weaned, a dairy intolerance is the easiest to deal with since Dan has a dairy intolerance himself.

We’re currently looking for a Pediatrician. We were given a list of Pediatricians in our area that are more accepting of attachment parenting and selective vaccinations, but I’m nervous about what we’ll find. I’d really like to find someone who’s actually supportive, not just accepting. But from what I’ve been hearing, there’s the kind who are a bit over-the-top (even advocating for no vaccinations at all) or the kind who are just accepting of AP and a parent’s involvement in the vaccination schedule. I’ve made appointments with 4 doctors so we can meet them to see if we’re a good fit. I’ve got two on reserve to call if none of the first 4 work out. One is a more conservative (very pro-vac) the other is not at all (one of the no-vac types). Hopefully I won’t have to go that route. It would be ideal to be able to see one of the Drs. Sears… but their practice is in San Clemente–a bit far–and they’re usually booked solid on account of their bajillion books and being known as leading experts in the field. They’re very pro-AP (the senior Dr. Sears & his wife coined the term!) as well as being more conservative with vaccinations. A perfect combination for us. Ah well, stop dreaming. I’m sure we’ll find an acceptable doctor in our area.

We purchased the first part of our birthing kit a few days ago. There are still several things we need to gather and have ready before week 37 rolls around. Because we’re birthing at home (well… Dan’s parent’s house), we’ve got to have all kinds of supplies handy–old towels, plastic bags, vomit bowls, etc. My list is two pages long. Page one is taken care of (the stuff that come from the medical supply company), and the regular household items from page two are accounted for.

We had our first baby shower last weekend at my aunt’s house in San Diego. It was quite an ecclectic group of people–Nathan’s mother and sister, two friends from high school, my aunt’s mother-in-law, a friend of my mom’s, Enrique & her sister, my mother-in-law, and my SD family (mom, sister, aunt, cousins). It was fun for me–seeing people I don’t get to see on a regular basis–but I wonder how awkward it was for everyone else. And now we have a ton of baby stuff… and 3 more showers to go, YIKES. I’m thinking about asking the last two to be more thematic–cloth diapers, children’s books and well wishes. Mmmm. That sounds good.

I do have one stretch mark now–it vertically connects the top and bottom hole where my belly ring used to be. I guess because the skin was “injured” the layer of skin where stretch marks occur just couldn’t keep it together (ha! a pun). Since there are no other “injury” sites on my belly, I’m pretty confident that’ll be the only one… we’ll see.

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