eby’s birth story

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My pregnancy with Eby went really well.  I rarely had nausea, but Sea bands (and ginger tea) helped the nausea I did get.  I loved pregnancy from the moment I felt the first kicks.  Before that I was an anxious mess, wondering if Eby was ok.  I think it’s normal to feel anxious, especially when it’s taken so long to get pregnant.

Seabands: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001F731N0/ref=as_li_ss_il?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B001F731N0&linkCode=as2&tag=thepne-20

Papaya Enzymes helped my first trimester heart burn:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0014291SA/ref=as_li_ss_il?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0014291SA&linkCode=as2&tag=thepne-20

Right before my last trimester with Eby, I looked into what birthing classes were being offered.  I stumbled upon Bradley Classes in my quest and was very interested.  I had every intention of having a natural birth without drugs and I knew I wanted a water birth: so Bradley Classes sounded like the perfect complement. If you can’t afford the classes, or you can’t see yourself attending 12 classes, buy this book. It’s a good overview of what is covered in the class.  I highly recommend it!

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http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/055338516X/ref=as_li_tf_il?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=055338516X&linkCode=as2&tag=thepne-20″>

The classes were great.  It went above and beyond the book, looking at diet during pregnancy, the truth behind the commonly used pain medications, and homework exercises (some physical exercises, some bookwork).   Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to the last three classes.  Eby was three weeks early.

People say you are likely to be early or late based upon when your mom went.  My mom was 5 weeks early with me, so I had an idea I would go early. Eby’s due date was August 18th, 2012 (or August 22 by my calculations).

My water broke around midnight on July 31,2012.  I had just laid down to go to sleep whenI felt a trickle as though I was peeing myself.  Was this me peeing myself or was it time?  I waited to see before telling Dustin.  I wasn’t sure.  The peeing sensation continued. I told Dustin I thought it might be time.  He felt flustered and unprepared. I got up and went to the bathroom.  Sure enough it was the amniotic fluid.  I put a pad on and felt slightly panicked and excited; we were NOT ready.  Sure I had my bags packed roughly, but we weren’t sure what to do at all.  We hadn’t finished our Bradley class yet, so we missed a lot of the practical last minute stuff.  I wasn’t having contractions right away so I went and tried to pack the remaining stuff we would need (like food) and figure out what to do.  Contractions came, and they progressed quickly.  We decided to call the birthing center to find out when we should come in.  I had tested positive for Group B Strep, and elected not to do antibiotics.  Because we chose not to do antibiotics, we were encouraged to come in right away to do the hibiclens wash.  The hibiclens wash is just as effective as antibiotics; however it only depletes the birth canal of bacteria, not the entire body.  If I were to do it all over, I would have declined the hibiclens wash as well.  I think it could be one of the reasons Eby struggled with Reflux.  The bacteria babies get going through the birth canal is the first dose of good bacteria their little bodies get programmed with.  For Eby, her first dose of healthy bacteria would have been breastfeeding.

Back to the birth story: We arrived at the birth center around 2:30 am.  The midwife on call checked me and I was 2 cm.  The protocol at the birth center was in order to get in the birthing tub you have to be 4 cm.  So, the midwife left Dustin and I in our room to continue labor.  I had back pain with each contraction, so I sought to find the best position for the least amount of pain.  My place was in the shower with the water spraying directly on the tender spot in my back.  I pretty much camped out in the shower for the next 2 hours or so.  The next time the midwife checked me I believe I was 9 cm.  I was begging to get in the birthing tub.  However, Eby’s heart rate was up from the heat of the shower, so they filled the tub with lukewarm water to bring her heart rate down.  The lukewarm water was not an effective means of managing the back pain.  I encouraged Dustin to push on my back (and I mean full blown pushing as hard as he could) .  Once Eby’s heart rate was down,  I added some hot water.  The tub was not as effective at managing the back labor.  However, the midwife encouraged me to push.  (Looking back I wasn’t ready to push, I didn’t have the urge.  I should have waited.)  However, I pushed with each contraction for the next 6 hours, determined to have a water birth.  My contractions slowed down in the tub, so I wasn’t effectively laboring.  Around 2 or so, the midwife firmly suggested I get out of the tub and try pushing on the bed.  I didn’t want to lay down, as my back hurt worse.  However, I obeyed and pushed as hard as I could; and finally Eby Grace Eplee came out, sunny side up, eyes open with a strong healthy cry.  Dustin was beyond thrilled to deliver her.  It’s a special memory for us.  She came into the world at 3:20pm.

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I can’t say my birth story went anything like I had planned, but I did have a natural birth and didn’t need stitches!  If I had been at a hospital they wouldn’t have let me push for 6 hours.  I’m sure I would have either been cut or been taken for a c-section.  Thankfully that didn’t happen.  We were able to go home 6 hours after we had Eby.  I have fond memories of our birthing experience, and the pain, although hard at times is not unbearable.  You(women) can do it!

Next time I may have a home birth…if God blesses us with another.

By the way, I read a study that said weekly acupuncture at 36 weeks on has been shown to shorten the duration of labor.  I only had one session at 36 weeks. My labor was 15 hours which is around average for a first time mom.  Time goes by quickly.

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the pursuit of fertility (part two)

During my annual check up, I expressed my concern for not getting pregnant yet.  At this point, we were just shy of trying for a year.  I tried to rationalize by saying Dustin was away on a few business trips, but I still felt insecure and inadequate.  The CRNP was understanding and ordered an ultrasound to look at possible anatomy issues.

When the RN called with the results, She said it looked like I could possibly have PCOS.  It was not really confirmed.  So, I began to read everything I could on PCOS.  The symptoms did not match me (in my opinion).  However, I had recently read that people with cystic acne should avoid Dairy, and that is also a recommendation for those with PCOS.   I made the decision to eliminate dairy.  *sigh* I loved dairy, so this was really hard for me!  However, when I thought about having a baby and eliminating my acne versus my love of dairy, you could guess which one won.  I also tried to eliminate sugar around the same time, because both dairy and sugar are inflammatory.  It was not an easy road, but having a baby is a good driving factor to make healthy lifestyle changes!

Armed with the book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility, I also began charting my temperature upon waking in the morning.  This allows you to see potential issues (like progesterone deficiency, estrogen dominance, thyroid) and see when you are ovulating.  This info was empowering; but my charts looked normal.  Seriously, all women should have this book!  Go buy it here:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060881909/ref=as_li_tf_il?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0060881909&linkCode=as2&tag=thepne-20

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After a year and a half of negative pregnancy tests, I decided to try acupuncture.  I had read in two separate books that 6 months(+) of acupuncture was extremely effective in allowing couples who couldn’t conceive to be able to conceive.  Actually, the authors said to not expect results before 6 months.  After talking it over with Dustin, He was willing to let me try for 6 months; but then he wanted to see a Fertility doctor.  So, I went to google, like any modern day person would, and searched for an acupuncturist in the area.  Lucky for me, I found a Naturopathic Doctor who did (and continues to do) acupuncture as part of her therapy, AND her interest was in FERTILITY!  I hit the jackpot! I was very excited!

I was tired of trying to self diagnose, taking  vitamins, etc. by this point; so I welcomed the Naturopathic Doctor’s recommendations!  She looked at the whole picture, not just fertility.  You see, when one thing is off in your body, it can have a domino effect.  Its a matter of getting to the root cause, which, let’s face it, mainstream doctors just put a band-aid on things or do things against nature and cause other issues.  Acupuncture works to get the body functioning at its optimal level.

In addition to Acupuncture, I was taking high doses of vitamins (those linked to Fertility), taking homeopathics, while also on an Anti-Inflammatory diet.  I even tried herbs toward the end.  One herb I had to take 10 caps a day, so I opened them up and mixed it with water to get them down.  I also did a food sensitivity panel to find out which foods my body had a delayed reaction to.  I can certainly do another post just about food sensitivities.  Perhaps I’ll talk about it in the next post?

The closer and closer we got to the sixth month mark of working with the Naturopathic Doctor, the more unsure I was about reclaiming fertility naturally.  I saw a moving video by Focus On the Family regarding adoption during that time and felt like God was guiding us that direction.  At least he was opening my heart towards the idea of adoption. However, we were in no place financially to afford adoption through a service like Bethany.  Our only option was really fostering to adopt.  Dustin was not ready to surrender to the fact we weren’t going to have our own children, and I knew we weren’t in a place to foster a child at the time.  Dustin was persistent about going to a Fertility Doctor, so I scheduled one.  I figured it was only fair to go and be evaluated since He allowed me to try things naturally.  However, if you are familiar with Fertility Doctors around here, it takes months to get in.

One reason I was resistant to go to a fertility doctor is that I really believe fertility is a changing state.  When a doctor declares that someone will likely never have children, I cringe, because the health of eggs and sperm are ever changing.  The health of your sperm and eggs are related to things you did 3 months prior (I’m stating this from memory, so I may have the exact period of time wrong.)  So, the theory that you can reclaim your fertility is not a crazy one!  It can be rather complicated for some couples getting to the root of the cause.  Maybe you have an undiagnosed autoimmune disorder, maybe you have food sensitivities, maybe your hormones are out of whack thanks to taking birth control (this happens when you put synthetic hormones in your body, maybe you have an anatomy issue, maybe your body attacks your husbands sperm….THESE are just SOME of the many causes of infertility.

Back to my story:

Right before Christmas, close to two years after we first started trying, my period was late; but this was not unusual since I had started taking the herb vitex.  Vitex can change the length of your cycle, so I wasn’t getting my hopes up.  However, I did succumb to buying a dreaded pregnancy test from the Dollar store.  I was in no hurry to read another negative result.  When I did test, it was POSITIVE!? I literally said a not so nice word as my very first response.  I was in disbelief.  I thought, of course, the first time I buy a dollar store test, I get a positive result .  I refused to believe it.  I went out and bought an expensive $20 test to confirm.

The $20 test confirmed it, but I still didn’t believe it.  I refused to get excited.  However, I wrapped up the positive test result and a onesie I had bought two years prior with Dustin’s company logo on it as a way of breaking the news to him when he got home later that night.  Of course it was a day he was away and didn’t get home till really late.  I was mildly excited to share the news, but still trying to protect my heart in the event it wasn’t true.

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Around 9 weeks we had our first ultrasound and saw our “little gummy bear”.  We heard it’s heart beat and it was beginning to feel real.  Still I was rather emotionless.

I struggled the entire pregnancy to really accept and believe a precious baby was growing inside me.  The two years of infertility had made me put a protective wall up in my heart.  It wasn’t until I felt Eby kicking that I was reassured our fairy tale was real and more so when she was born.

I know several people who are struggling with infertility (and some even longer than two years).  Its a hard road.  For some, I feel like God is directing them to adopt.  I am a firm believer that God is trying to grow us through every circumstance (although I can’t say I always feel happy about my circumstances and I certainly wasn’t happy every month my period came).  I am still very open to adoption in the future and I am very excited to hear about people adopting.  It makes my heart happy! I think more people should.  So many children are out there without a “family”.  I also understand the desire to have your own children.  Interestingly enough, a lot of people adopt and then get pregnant.  Perhaps the stress of having a baby is no longer there and that was what once hindered them.

Fertility is a sensitive topic.  I really don’t know if ALL couples can be helped by natural means, but I do believe it’s worth a shot.  Yes, acupuncture can add up to be a lot of money over six months; but in comparison to fertility testing, IVF/IUI costs, acupuncture is the cheaper option.  And if it helps you to reclaim your health and nothing else, that is something!

Here are some of the books I read:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316024503/ref=as_li_ss_il?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0316024503&linkCode=as2&tag=thepne-20

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http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316159212/ref=as_li_ss_il?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0316159212&linkCode=as2&tag=thepne-20

 

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in pursuit of fertility

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I have always had a heart for children.  It’s the way God made me.  I never expected having my own children would be difficult.  When my husband and I were “ready”, we didn’t expect to get pregnant right away; but we certainly didn’t expect to wait two years!  It was a hard two years.  Luckily, I was surrounded by the right people to lift me up when I was feeling down.  Every month was disappointing, but each month also brought hope for another chance.

I never really had the desire to be a career woman.  I went to school to be an art teacher because it combined two things I loved :art and kids.  I didn’t meet Dustin till after college, so I didn’t know I’d have the possibility of having children.  When I met Dustin, I fell in love with him immediately because I just knew he’d be a fun, loving, and sweet daddy.  I felt like I was failing him for not being able to bear children.

You might be thinking “how’d you know the problem lied with you and not Dustin?”  Well, while we were living in State College, we participated in a fertility study and they gave us some results regarding Dustin that were positively glowing.  He clearly was not the problem, so I was.  Devastating.  I take things personally.

However, because I was identified as the issue, I was driven to research and do everything I could to increase our chances and rebuild my fertility naturally.

I, personally, was not willing to subject my body to a bunch of artificial hormones, or try IVF.  I am of the belief that if your body is protecting you from having a baby for some reason, you shouldn’t play God to instill a baby into a body that isn’t healthy enough to conceive.  That’s why so many IVFs and IUIs don’t take…and then you pay thousands of dollars just for a small chance it will take! I would rather pay money to adopt.

I was willing to try anything naturally.  I read everything I could get my hands on regarding fertility.

One of the first books I read that every woman should have on her bookshelf is Taking charge of your Fertility.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060881909/ref=as_li_tf_il?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0060881909&linkCode=as2&tag=thepne-20

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There is a website (http://www.TCOYF.com) related to the book that I found to be extremely helpful.  It’s a community of other women all trying to get pregnant.  I found it to be therapeutic, sharing this journey amongst other women.

If you are reading this and battling infertility, feel free to contact me personally for support.  I’ve been in your shoes, and it’s so nice to have someone that you can confide in who’s gone through it or going through it.

In my next post I will share the specifics of what changes I made and what things I tried in my quest for fertility.

(To Be Continued)