Monday, September 22, 2014

Gil's Birth Story

But first, a disclaimer.

I absolutely love birth stories.  I just think they are so interesting to read, no matter how each person's story and choices are different than mine.  But after Jack's induction, labor, and then c-section, I really struggled for a while when reading birth stories.  I felt like so many of them took tons that made me feel like a failure.  I think some of that was me, and my processing and dealing with the outcome of Jack's birth (which wasn't what I was hoping for).  But I think sometimes it was the writer too.  It is really easy to be so excited about how everything worked for you, to the result that you come off sounding judgmental.

So I want to share my birth story and I am excited too, because it did actually turn out the way I wanted it to.  But, if it hadn't, it would have been okay.  I think moms that are able to have regular births are great.  And moms that choose repeat c-sections are great.  And moms that try for VBACs are great, whether or not that works out (because what a terrifying choice!).  And birth mothers are great.  And adoptive moms are great.  

I just hope that this story isn't judgmental sounding in the slightest (and please tell me if it is!).  No matter what your story is, I know that you endured 40 weeks of pain to get your baby into the world and that is pretty incredible!

Alright.  I mentioned before that I was hoping and planning for a VBAC.  Which really is a little terrifying--not because of uterine rupture.  I wasn't worried about that.  I was really more worried about going through labor again and then ending up with a c-section again, like with Jack.  And I was nervous about how I would feel if that was the outcome. 

From the beginning, I did research on what leads to a successful VBAC.  And the number one thing I kept finding was to have a doula.  So I researched local doulas and we interviewed a couple.  We ended up deciding on Corey Strouse.  All of the doulas we looked at seemed great, but we both just really like Corey.  And she had tons of VBAC experience.

Another tip for a successful VBAC is usually to not have an epidural.  I really wanted a natural birth with Jack, so I was behind this tip too.  I also tried to gain less this pregnancy and be more active (which happened anyway, with a toddler and move!).  I used some spinning babies techniques to help the baby get into the right position.

Thankfully, the local hospital here does support VBACs.  That doesn't mean every doctor is super encouraging--I found that at least one of the doctors in my practice was not--but on the whole, the other doctors were.  But the doctors here will not induce a VBAC, which I was actually on board with.  I was induced with Jack and I had NO desire to repeat that experience.  

When I got into my 3rd trimester, we scheduled a c-section date of September 25th, a week and a half past my due date.  I think some VBAC people would advise against that.  I was totally okay with having my section scheduled.  I think it helped me to know that I had that date down.

This pregnancy was so different from my pregnancy with Jack!  With Jack, I had very little progress and really no contractions leading up to his inducement.  With Gil, I had some progress and tons of Braxton Hicks and real contractions (again, I really think helped by being so much more active!).  We met with Corey, our doula, two weeks before my due date, and she was reminding me that second labors are usually much faster.  I didn't believe that this labor would be short at all, even though I had gotten to complete and pushed for an hour with Jack.  I just thought I was in for a looong labor (and was okay with that).

Okay, here's where I'm going to be honest with you.  The Thursday night before I was due, I took castor oil.  I know, I know, there are some people who have problems with this.  But I took a really small amount and drank lots of fluid.  It didn't really do anything at all, so I took another small dose Friday morning.  It worked its regular castor oil effects, but didn't give me extra contractions.  Finally, Saturday night, I took another small dose that did absolutely nothing.  So I have no idea if there is a direct connection or not.  

But Sunday morning, I woke up at 3 a.m. with really intense cramping.  I went to the bathroom and started a bath.  I began to notice that the cramping was coming in waves, so I started timing them and realized these were contractions!  For the first thirty minutes, the contractions were about 3 minutes apart.  Then for the next thirty minutes, they were 2 to 2 1/2 minutes apart.  By the time I woke Bech up at 4, they were 1 1/2 minutes apart and they were miserable.  For the next hour or so, I tried all of the pain helping techniques, including another bath and a shower, and nothing was really helping.  

In the meantime, I had Bech calling Corey and the on call doctor.  Corey said she would go ahead and head this way, either to meet us at home or at the hospital.  The on call doctor (who was the one I really wanted to deliver!  She had a VBAC herself.), after seeing that I was group B strep positive and a VBAC, said that we should probably head in.  And I was feeling a ton of pressure and some nausea, so I felt like it was time to head that way.

We called our neighbor, who came to sit downstairs in the living room until Jack woke up.  I threw the last of our toiletries in the hospital bag (which I had thankfully packed a day before!).  And Bech threw the trash away while I yelled at him (because seriously--I'm in labor!  Why are you taking the trash out?!?).

We headed out the door at 5:35, got to the hospital at 5:45, and got into a room at 6 a.m.  That car ride was the absolute worst.  If nothing was helping the pain at home, there was definitely nothing helping the pain in the car!  And I may have yelled a little more at Bech ("Run that light!" "Drive faster!").

In planning to go natural, I really thought I could do it because I thought the contractions would be spaced further apart.  I ended up getting the epidural with Jack because the contractions were literally right on top of each other, with no break in between.  I told Bech during this drive that if we got to the hospital, and I was barely dilated (like maybe a 4), then I was getting the epidural.  

But when we got there and got checked in, I was an 8!  I was also a total brat to the nurse, which is so not me.  When she told me that was going to put my IV in for the group B antibiotics, I snapped at her, "Well, you've got 1 minute before my next contraction!"  Sorry, Kaitlin, I am sure you are a very nice person even if you went to LSU (seriously, we had an LSU nurse in State College...small world...).

They did all the basic check in stuff (monitor for a tad bit, IV), and after 30 minutes, I told them that I needed to push.  They checked again and I was ready.

Y'all, contractions without pain meds aren't fun, but they are NOTHING compared to pushing without an epidural.  The only good thing was that I knew the only way to make it stop was to get that baby out of me.  I have never been more motivated in my life.  

Also, I may or may not have yelled some strange things during my pushing, like, "Get this baby out of here" and "It's too late for the epidural now, right?"  Oh well...

Also, the ring of fire is a very good descriptive term...

I pushed for 35 minutes, and at 7:09 a.m., Baby Gil was here!

Being able to immediately hold him made my VBAC so worth it!  That was the hardest part of Jack's c-section for me, not being able to hold him.  In fact, I had a small fever the very last time they took my temperature before the section, so he had to go to the NICU for several hours.  

With Gil, we just got to hold him for an hour and a half!  They didn't even weigh him until I asked them to (because I was curious).  

I also loved the natural high of giving birth.  I'm not sure how much of that was not having a section and how much was not having any medication.  But I loved it!

So there's my story.  4 hours of labor, 30 minutes of pushing, and a successful VBAC!  I still can't believe how fast everything went!

And sorry, Nurse Kaitlin and Bech, for yelling at y'all...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Baby Gil

Meet our newest family member...

Gilbert Blaise Evans

Born September 14th, 2014, at 7:09 a.m.

8 pounds, 14 ounces, 22 inches tall

As you can see, Jack is a big fan of his little brother!

Friday, September 12, 2014

5 on Friday

5 on Friday, my favorite!

O     N     E

As you can probably guess, no baby here yet.  And I am SO ready to get this baby out of me.

Someone the other day told me that I handled pregnancy well.  And I laughed.  Because that is definitely not true.  I have been SUCH a complainer lately.

Ahhh...soon, I know!

T     W     O

I know I've talked on here before about my love for Louise Penny.  She's a Montreal mystery writer.  I am not a fan of most modern mystery writers (give me Agatha Christy instead!), but her books are really good.  Not gory, not full of sex, not a ton of language.

She just released her newest book, The Long Way Home.

I finished it yesterday, and it was so good!  If you are looking for a new series to ready, start this one (I believe the first is Still Life).  Not only are the books great, but they will make you want to move to Quebec!

T     H     R     E     E

It is no secret that I love adore am obsessed with FALL!  

It is by far my favorite season.  And being father up north just makes fall that much more fun.

We are going to be in the 60's this weekend and the early part of next week.  It feels absolutely perfect outside.  I cannot wait to have this baby and (perhaps wishful thinking?) start wearing some of my fall clothes and boots.

F     O     U     R

We moved into graduate housing this summer, and cable is included.  And we get HGTV!

I have a new show I am obsessed with:

Are Chip and Joanna not the cutest?  

I love this show and I love the couple that does it.  I told Bech I want him to start looking for jobs in Waco, Texas, so that the Gaines could fix up a house for us!

Totally reasonable reason to want to move somewhere, right?

F     I     V     E

Honestly, all I can think right now is how much I want a fresh lemon sour snow cone from Snowhaven in Brookhaven.  I know, this shouldn't even count as a 5th point.  But it's going to have to.

I think I will go to Rita's instead...

Have a wonderful weekend!  Hopefully, I will have a baby this weekend...wouldn't that be great?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

39 Weeks

How Far Along: 
I am 39 weeks and 1 day!

 Baby Size:

The baby is 7 pounds and 19 to 22 inches, about the size of a watermelon.

Maternity Clothes:
I have reached the point in which I have about, oh, 3 outfits that I rotate.  And I am okay with that.

Not great.  I have been having lots of pregnancy insomnia, where I wake up about 4 every morning and can't fall asleep until 5:30 or 6.  

But then last night, other than waking up a couple of times to go to the bathroom (thank you, bladder the size of a pea), I slept all night...yay!!!


Yes, but it definitely is starting to slow down.

Best Moment This Week:

I have gotten so much done already (nesting, perhaps?).  I think just knowing that everything is ready for this baby to get here makes me feel more relaxed.  I even finally packed my hospital bag.

Food Cravings:

Ice.  I love chewing ice.  Is that bad for your teeth?  I think so.  Oh well, I don't care.

Food Aversions:

Meat is still pretty gross to me.

What I Miss:
Margaritas.  SO SOON!

What I Am Looking Forward To:

Not being pregnant.  I hate feeling like an 80 year old woman.  Who knows?  Maybe 80 year old women feel even better than I do?


39 weeks is a milestone in and of itself.

Pregnancy Symptoms:

Heartburn, random contractions, back pain, etc.
A boy!

Weight Gain:
25 pounds. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day Randoms

My mind works best in random lists (not sure what that says about me...).  So here is a random list about what's been going on lately and what I'm into!

O     N     E

It's almost fall, y'all!  Which means all things pumpkin!

I love love LOVE this time of year.  Bech get's a little annoyed this time of year, because I make pumpkin everything and chili once a week.  I can't help only get fall once a year, you need to enjoy it!

I am not a huge PSL fan (I love those flavors, just not in a coffee drink), but the salted caramel mocha is out now as well.  I picked one up on Saturday, but make it a salted caramel white chocolate mocha...sooo good!

I also need to make a run by Bath and Body Works this week to pick up some fall scents.  I do this every year, and it's my favorite thing.  I love to get fall candles and fall soaps.  But, we live in grad housing now and can't have lit candles.  I have one of those candle warmer plates, but I don't think they work as well.

So I'm thinking about switching to some wall flowers.

What do ya'll think?  Anyone ever used these?  

T     W     O

I've waiting to go to Bath and Body Works, because I will have some time this week...because Jack starts preschool on Tuesday!

I am very excited about this.  He is going to preschool at his old daycare, and he LOVES that place.  I know that he will jump right in and enjoy it.  And I am excited because I need a little break, and I will have lots of time to focus on the baby when he gets here!

But I am sad, too.  When did my little baby grow up?

T     H     R     E     E

Jack has decided that he is officially a "big kid."

Here's the big kid himself, running around "neckins" at the Children's Garden!

He started calling me "Mom" (instead of "Mommy" or "Momma") and told me that's what big kids do. I think he could tell that I didn't like it, because he finally switched back to "Mommy" but told me to tell him "Thank you" for calling me that. 

And he definitely is a "big kid" in so many ways, many of which I am super thankful for.  I am glad not to have two boys in cribs or diapers.  And as long as Jack is still my little cuddle bug, he can call himself whatever he wants!

F     O     U     R

Bech, along with some other second year MFA's, organized a show for the beginning a show.  It was entitled Anti-Thesis and is in juxtaposition to the thesis shows the second years will put on in the spring.  Those will be serious and much more refined.  Bech wanted this show to be much more in progress and creative.

Here's his space from the event:

 I love this picture, because it's kind of like looking at our house.  That cup wrack hung in our dining room last year, and is now in our living room.  There is lots of african art on the wall, mixed in with pottery (some made by Bech and some by his favorite potters).

The show had an opening on Thursday night, which was fun and really different from most other openings.  A jazz band performed as well as a dance crew.

This fall, Bech has a second year show in October, and this his big thesis show at the beginning of April!

F     I     V     E

I am 38 weeks pregnant today...ohmylanta!

I do think I have most things ready.  I have met with my doula twice.  I have a freezer full of food.  Baby clothes are washed (stains out) and put up.  The hospital bags are mostly packed.  The car seat is installed.

All that's left on the list is:

* a big brother gift for Jack

* a couple of small sewing projects

* happies for the nurses (I want them to LOVE me!)

Not too bad, right?  And with Jack starting preschool this week, I think I can knock out that list pretty quickly

So that's what's going on here.  I hope y'all have a wonderful Labor Day!