Saturday, May 30, 2015

Nathanael's Birth

From the Archives

I was sick throughout the whole pregnancy.  I only required IV hydration once at the beginning, but was miserably nauseous all 9 months.  My husband remembers me losing my breakfast the morning he was preaching at church two weeks before our due date.  The nausea was actually reassuring to us though, as we had a miscarriage the year before and when I stopped being nauseous was when we lost the baby.

My mom was flying to Tampa the afternoon before the due date and she was to stay for a week.  It was a Sunday, and happened to be Pastor’s Anniversary dinner.  My in-laws went up to get my mom from the airport and brought her to our house.  She had enough time to change into fresh clothes and we headed to the party.  It was an evening of fun and hilarity.  I laughed so much my sides ached.

We returned home and I began making a jug of sweet tea.  I put the sugar in the old milk jug and the hot tea and screwed the lid on.  I gave it a couple big shakes to dissolve the sugar.  When I did I felt like I wet myself a bit.  So I went to the bathroom to check.  I was convinced my water had broken!  I came out to the living room and told my husband and mom that my water had broken and they both thought I was joking at first, till I asked for the phone so I could call the midwife. 

The midwife said to go ahead and go to the hospital to be evaluated so we packed up and went.  When I checked in the nurses didn’t really believe I was in labor.  I didn’t feel like I was either, just constantly leaking.  So they determined I had broken my water, and hooked me up to a monitor.  I was having small contractions every 8-10 minutes, so they finished up the paperwork to check me in. 

It took forever!  My water broke at home at 7pm, and by about 1am I was exhausted. I was determined to continue to have a “natural” birth but my confidence was waning as my desire for rest was increasing. I asked for my options and my husband and I decided to try phenergan so I could get some sleep.  I told my husband to take a nap, my mom and mother-in-law took over caring for me.  I napped between contractions and would wake as the contraction peaked.  That was more unpleasant than enduring the swell of pain and feeling the relief of it as it passed. 

About 7am I wanted to be done. The contractions were getting harder to breathe through, so we asked the midwife to come in, and she said it was time for baby to come.  I was so ready.  The nurses started filing in and preparing the room for a baby.  A nurse asked if I minded if a couple students watched, and I was too distracted to say no (I have since discovered I am too much of a push-over when in labor).  Looking back at pictures later, there were three students in the room.  I pushed and pushed and pushed for 3 hours. 

Finally at 10am, the midwife announced “It’s a boy!”  It was so overwhelming to hold my son.  I was privileged to have my mom and my husband’s mom in the room too.  He was perfect! My mom was taken back to our house, my mother-in-law went home, and all of us slept!

It was hard work, but I had lots of support and I trusted everything would be fine.  It was such a relief to hold my son after suffering the loss of a baby the year before.  God had been merciful to us.  We grew closer as a couple through our trials and closer to the Lord as well.

~Shared by Laura A. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Evening Primrose Oil

I turned 35 weeks this week, which always is exciting for me because it means I'm really close to meeting my new baby and I can start evening primrose oil (EPO). EPO comes from a plant in North America and Europe and is a natural source of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are what help the cervix ripen to be ready for labor. When I worked in Atlanta, I worked with many women from other countries and learned about this to help prepare your body for labor. I have taken it with everyone of my pregnancies and have started it this week for preparation. I have been very blessed to be able to dilate quickly with most of my labors, but cannot say for sure it is because of EPO or because it's how God designed my body, since I have taken it each time. I highly recommend taking it in preparation, but as with everything else, it may not help everyone.

How do you use EPO?

Starting at 35 weeks you can take two 500 mg capsules per day.
At 36-37 weeks, you can insert 1000 mg vaginally or take 500 mg and insert 500 mg vaginally. I was taught the second way, but the first is also used. You want to insert the capsule(s) at bed time so that it will dissolve by your cervix, not fall out and get the most benefit out of it.
No matter what your plans are for delivery, this can be very beneficial.

Where can you buy EPO?

You can buy it at any natural store, such as Whole Foods or Rainbow Blossom (or whatever is local to your area). This week I found some at Target for the first time, though the dosage is 1000 mg instead of 500 mg. Make sure you pay attention to the dosage you are buying, so that you take the proper amount.

Have you used EPO? Share your experience below.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

What Does Labor Feel Like?

This question came up during our last childbirth conversation and it's a really good one. With this question people answered from their experience, but no one could really answer the question.


Because, there are as many answers as there are women who have had babies. Labor is unique to each woman and in many ways unique to each birth. One of my friends when she found out about the first Childbirth Conversation I had she told me to tell the women there that it was the worst pain of your life. I obliged to share her experience, but that is not the case for everyone. For me it was like having a period that got intense toward the end, but not the worse pain I have ever had in my life.

Some women have dull aches in the front of their abdomen. Other women have sharp pains throughout their abdomen, perineum and back. Still other women have intense back pain. And every woman feels it differently. Therefore, unfortunately, I cannot tell you exactly what labor feels like. I can only tell you what it feels like for me.

How about you? Share what labor feels like to you.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Samuel's Birth

From the Archives

After having my last two children without any induction assistance I was all ready to have a natural delivery again. I had high hopes throughout the pregnancy that it would be similar to my others. I started having irregular contractions around 38 weeks. No surprise there. Unfortunately they did very little at that point.

My due date, April 10th, came and went. Thankfully I was beginning to dilate from the contractions and was 2-3 cm at that point. I was hopeful that labor would kick in. I begged and pleaded with God for labor to begin and still nothing. On Monday, April 14th, they did an ultrasound to make sure all was well with the baby and it was. They also were guessing the weight to be 9 lbs and 12 oz! Having had a 9 lb baby before I knew it would be wise to go ahead and induce sooner rather than later. There was also extra fluid. The combination told me from my experience that unless labor kicked in that night, I would need help having the baby. Dr. Brown asked me if I would allow her to help me, and I said yes. She checked my cervix and I was now a stretchy 4 cm, meaning I would only need pitocin and not cervadil. They arranged for me to be induced the next morning if nothing happened during the night.

I went home and began having contractions that felt promising. Again I was hopeful and I contracted well for about 2 hours. But then they began to space out. Again I begged God to bring the contractions back. I was up late and had to wake at 5 am to call and find out what time I could go in for the induction. 6:30 was my time, so Jim and I got up and ready to go. Thankfully the car was packed and ready,so we just had to pick up a couple of things.

Check in went quickly. My IV was started that hurt horribly. (Still is the worse part of having a baby, seriously!) Finally around 9 am the pitocin was started. I was hoping to just need a whiff of pit, but no go. The contractions did not get harder. I tried changing position. The baby was still so high. I just had to wait. Jim and I listened to music I had put together for labor and played a couple games together on his Ipad. I was so tired I began to fall asleep. Around 11 or so I took a good nap. I have never napped during labor! But clearly I needed it.

Contractions continued with no real progress. I knew if they broke my water things would move quickly, but at that point the baby was still floating, which is an unwise time to break water, especially when your fluid is high. I sat up again, hoping it would encourage the baby down. The contractions got a little harder, but still no real discomfort.

Finally around 4 pm I was about 6 cm and the baby's head was low enough the doctor felt safe to break my water. That's when the part began. I stood up beside the bed for awhile as the contractions increased in intensity. It took about 45 minutes for me to get really uncomfortable and need to get back in bed. At that point, I felt like I was dying. I have never had overly painful contractions, but this time I did. It was intense and I was hurting. I was so close to asking for pain meds. My mind was my enemy. Thankfully I was making gradual progress and so I told myself I would resist. With each contraction I was regretting the decision, but I cried out to God all the more. I had to remind myself that God was my only strength and He would get me through.

Finally I was given permission to push with my body. It took no time at all as my body and I pushed. At 5:31 pm the baby was born. Jim looked at me and said "It's a boy!" To which I responded, "Are you sure?" (No, seriously. We all thought the baby was a girl.) But it is a precious little boy we had. Samuel Hezekiah weighed in at 9 lbs (thankfully the ultrasound was a little off) and is 21 inches tall. I was so thankful he was here and healthy. It is also special that his birthday is April 15th as that was my grandmother's birthday.

God is so faithful and I am blessed beyond belief.

 Big thank you to my friend Gidget for the pictures!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

How Can We Be Prepared Spiritually?

From the Archives

From the moment you know you are pregnant, pray like you have never prayed before! God is the One who has made your child and it is not a surprise to Him that you are expecting a baby. He is the One who will grow and nurture your baby in your womb. He is the One who knows what your birth will be like. He knows!

Since God knows, you need to be connected to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. When we  place our faith in Christ, God's Holy Spirit indwells in us and we have a direct connection to God. God is our strength and our redeemer. So to be prepared spiritually first and foremost, we must have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Once we have a relationship with God we need to call out to Him, worship Him, praise Him, trust Him. We need to seek God day in and day out. Pray to God constantly. Ask Him for what you need. Tell Him your fears. Grow your relationship with God as you commune with Him.

We must also grow in knowledge of God by knowing His Word. Satan likes to attack women with lies and this seems to be even more true of pregnant women. We must fill our head with God's Word to combat those lies and trust God to do what is best and will bring Him glory. Learn Scripture and hide it in your heart.

Another important thing is admit your fears to God. Let Him know how you are feeling, what you are thinking. Tell God what you desire for your birth. Be open and honest with God and let Him be your strength and your courage.

What do you need to do to begin preparing spiritually for pregnancy and/or childbirth?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Conversation Follow-up

This past Saturday I hosted my first Childbirth Conversation in over a year and it was wonderful. God really blessed that time and used it to strengthen and encourage me, as I hope it did those who attended. Eight ladies from many different backgrounds and experiences gathered together to talk about birth and other things related to pregnancy and birth. Great questions were asked, great advice from those who have gone before was given. It was far more than I could have hoped and prayed for. God is so good and blesses obedience.

I look forward to having another conversation later this year, either late summer or early fall. The idea was shared of including a time for husbands to come and talk with other men in the future, and it was received well. I hope to be able to include this next time!

If you have been part of one of these conversations, please share your experience with others and write in the comments below!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Gabriel's Birth

From the Archives

One week and two days before my due date, God decided to surprise us with the birth of our 4th child! It started as a normal morning with the Lillian wake up call at 5:30am, Bible reading, prayer, Jamey's appearance around 6am, little play time, breakfast, Reuben waking up at 7am and getting ready for my weekly doctor's appointment. School had to be by-passed since the appointment was scheduled for 8:45.

Jim and I left the house just after 8 to go to my appointment. With this pregnancy I have had contractions here and there for weeks so I thought nothing of the fact that I had a couple of contractions during the morning and on the way to the office (which is thankfully connected to the hospital). I signed in and sat to wait to be called back. I was so tired and was just trying to stay awake. I remember thinking I hope they call me back soon and then had a contraction that caused my water to break. That I was not expecting. Jim told the people at the front desk. They got towels and a wheel chair and whisked me down to labor and delivery. I went to triage first to get admitted and checked out. Though I was not contracting regularly I was around 4cm. They soon moved me over to my designated labor and delivery room and the waiting began. Thankfully my body responded and began to contract regularly after an hour or so. God gave me strength and thankfully held off very intense contractions until the end. Because of my water being broken I was not able to move around as much as I would have liked in the hospital setting, but I was able to move around in the bed to help bring the baby down. Praise the Lord, I did not need anything to augment my labor. It took a little while, but by God's grace my body did what God designed it to do. Around 1:30 I felt the rest of the water break and the baby moved into place. I knew it would not be long.
I am very blessed that when that happens it is quick and at 2:07 pm the baby made it's way into the world. I looked down and Jim said, "It's a boy!" "It's a boy," I responded laughing. I could not believe I had another boy. I really thought this one was a girl based on my pregnancy, though I had had some doubts. But a boy he is and a beautiful one. This labor was so different, but a blessing as God helped me to give birth a fourth time.

(Original birth story from The Manor Manor)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Drink Water

I don't know why it took 6 pregnancies to get this into my head, but with my current pregnancy I have realized how important drinking water is. With my previous 5 I was not able to "stomach" the water, causing heart burn or nausea. This pregnancy has been far different than the others, and I have made myself drink water. I have found that when I drink the water and push through the nausea it actually goes away and I feel better. During the first trimester this was not so much the case, but I still was able to push through many times and keep myself hydrated. When I stay hydrated I feel better and I can eat better and keep up better. I have found drinking water to really help me this time and in hindsight wish I had pushed myself more with previous pregnancies to drink water in spite of how I felt. We are told everywhere how important drinking water is in general, and I would say it is even more important in pregnancy.

Keep yourself hydrated and drink plenty of water!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Reuben's Birth

From the Archives 
God's hand was completely in this as He is in all births and I am excited to share how God showed His glory and favor to us. Both of my other children had to be induced for different reasons and I desired so much in my heart to go into labor unassisted medically. God designed birth and I knew that He could put my body into labor without medical assistance and I prayed so hard for this. Not only were Jim and I praying for this, many of our wonderful friends were praying the same thing for us. I prayed that it would bring God glory to do this. We were narrowing in on the day that a decision had to be made and I continued to pray that God would see it bring Him glory for my body to do what He designed it to do.
I had been contracting off and on for a couple of weeks. On Tuesday I noticed that they were much more frequent around 3:00, but they were no stronger than the ones I had been having for the past couple of weeks. I debated and debated but decided it was nothing to call about and went to bed around 11:00 to get a good nights sleep in my own bed before we had to decide what we should do. Praise the Lord I slept! What a beautiful thing. And I felt mostly rested when I got up in the morning and I was still having contractions. This was great! I was so excited and hoping I would be about 3cm dilated at my appointment since I had apparently been contracting all night. Rebekah came to watch the kids for my appointment and Jim and I left. On the way there the contractions started to change a little bit. Just a little bit stronger and needing a little more concentration. We checked in and they looked at me and asked if I was in labor. I said maybe but I wasn't sure. They got me back and I had to wait a few minutes for the doctor but while I was waiting the contractions felt a little stronger. Dr. Pridham came in and listened to the baby and checked my cervix. I was 6cm dilated! I was rejoicing that the Lord had given me the desire of my heart and had put my body into labor as He had designed it to do! He told me to go to check out to get a copy of my chart and head over to labor and delivery.  I had intentionally not taken my bags because I really was not expecting to be that far along and was going to go home to labor for a bit. So I called Rebekah and her mother came to watch the kids. Rebekah got all of our stuff together and took care of things at the apartment arranging childcare for the rest of the day.

And so my time in the hospital began. They knew I wanted a natural delivery and they completely respected that and worked with me. I had a wonderful nurse, Debbie, who loved that I had been an L&D nurse. She put me on the monitor to check the baby and gave me a saline lock. Since I was going natural they allowed me to walk and drink water. I even got to have a Popsicle! The nurses at the station heard I had been an L&D nurse and talked to me about it. It was really neat for them to be excited about that and they were super nice to me. I walked until I really could not stand through my contractions any more. I went back to my room and struggled through positioning as the contractions continued to grow in strength. Transition came on strong (I will add my water was still intact). It became difficult not to push but God gave me the strength to resist and hold off until my water did break. It was perfect timing, God's timing. I had a very strong contraction that broke my water. At that moment my doctor was walking by my room from a C-section and came in. I have never screamed in labor before but that day I did. All I could say was "God help me!" My wonderful husband whispered in my ear "He will." And He did. It was time to push and about 10 minutes later Reuben was born! God gave me the strength to endure and gave us a son to care for for Him. What a wonder! What a blessing! Birth is so amazing and God is so amazing.
I will admit that this was my most challenging labor. With the inductions they were so fast it was almost as if I had no time to feel anything. This one was longer, but it was in God's timing and gradual. Reuben tolerated it so well and we both did wonderfully. I also did not feel as tired afterward. Reuben fed within an hour of birth with no problem. They did not even give me pitocin after the birth and I had no complications. God is so good!

(Originally from The Manor Manor)

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Lillian's Birth- Listen to the Holy Spirit

From the Archives

I put a subtitle on this birth because Lillian's birth was the one that showed me only God knows completely what is going on 100% of the time. Saturday, May 1, 2010, I woke feeling foggy and weird. I was used to be tired, but this morning something was different. I got Jamey up was getting him ready to go to the grocery store to pick up a few needed things. While we were getting ready my nose began to bleed a little bit. This clued me in that something was not right as I have never, to my knowledge, had a nose bleed. Since I was going to Publix, I decided to have the clinic there check my blood pressure. Jim was unavailable as he was working nights and at the time sleeping at my grandmother's condo in case someone called wanting to see the house. At Publix, the nurse practitioner checked my blood pressure: 140/100. I normally ran 110/60, so this was quite high for me. She waited 10 minutes, and checked again. The same. I got the few things I needed, went home and called my midwife. Thankfully it was Harriet on call and she knew me well. With my blood pressure that high she told me to go on to the hospital as we both expected I was developing pre-eclampsia (or PIH). I called Jim to wake him and was able to get one of my sisters to the house to watch Jamey. I don't remember the time but sometime in the afternoon we got to Northside and checked in.

I was put on the antepartum side to be evaluated. Thankfully there was nothing horrible in my blood work, but I was clearly developing pre-eclampsia and at 38 weeks and 5 days I would not be going home.

I should interject here that I was bound and determined not to be induced again and had begged God to not make me go through it a second time. This is God's sense of humor.

Since I would not be going home Jim and I decided it would be best to go ahead and be induced. The Holy Spirit was clearly telling me to do it as well, as much as I hated the idea. They moved me to a labor room and got me ready for the overnight medicine to help the cervix. I was blessed to have nurses and knew and loved (though I was no longer working when I had Lillian). I opted to take an Ambien and slept very well all night long.

In the morning I was 4cm! I was so thankful for that. I was able to get up and shower before the pitocin got started. Around 6 am or so everything got going. I dozed between contractions and waited for midwife change of shift. I was so thankful to have Kristy! When she came in she asked the dreaded question, "Do you want me to break your water?"

I NEVER wanted to have my water broken. It was on my "thou shalt not" list. Thankfully she gave me some time to think and talk to Jim. I was torn because I had a feeling it would really speed up my labor but if it didn't I was scared of being on the clock to deliver. Again, the Holy Spirit clearly said to me, let them break your water. Jim encouraged the same. So I agreed and at 8:45 my water was broken by the midwife.

Labor moved VERY quickly and an hour later, Lillian was born without me having to push at all! It was amazing!

Then the cord came out without the placenta! It turned out she had a velamentous insertion of the cord, meaning it was not inserted into the placenta but had made a path to the placenta through the amniotic sac. Her cord was not protected. I knew that this could have ended badly for both of us had things not happened as they did. But God, in His grace, provided a safe delivery for both Lillian and I.

As Christians we have to be in tune to the Holy Spirit and be willing to relinquish our plans into His hands. I could have fought it, but I don't want to think what could have happened if I had not heeded His voice or my husband's opinion. Today, Lillian is a vibrant and healthy 3 year old and I am so blessed to have a daughter!

Listen to the Holy Spirit!