Thursday, July 30, 2015

Is An IV Necessary?

This is another common question that I hear frequently that has a simple yet complicated answer. Is an IV necessary?


However, very few hospitals will allow you to labor and deliver without one, even if you plan to have an un-medicated birth.


This is a precautionary measure, like not allowing you to eat, in case there is an emergency and you need a c-section or other surgery of some kind. IV access is important in those cases and can be difficult to get if needed quickly. This is why most doctors will require you to have access, known as an INT, a hep-lock or saline lock, if you are delivering at a hospital.

If you plan to be induced or plan to have an epidural, an IV is necessary because of the medicines given for induction, and an IV fluid bolus is necessary for an epidural.

For those who are healthy and have had an uncomplicated pregnancy who are completely opposed to an having an IV, consider a home birth or going to a birth center to avoid an IV.

What is your experience with IVs?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Can I Eat During Labor?

This is a very common question from first time moms, with both easy and complicated answers. Can you eat while in labor?


However, if you are in a hospital they will not let you have anything but clear liquids or Popsicles (find out what the rules are for where you are delivering). If you have an epidural, you cannot have anything but ice chips.

Why is this?

Primarily health care providers are concerned about the need for a c-section. If there is an emergency and intubation is needed there is a risk of aspiration, which is when stomach contents are thrown up and go into the lungs and can cause many problems. The likelihood of these things happening is not great, but hospitals are not likely to take chances with this.

Therefore, if you are wanting to eat while in labor, I recommend staying home as long as possible or plan to have a birth at home or in a birthing center that allows you to eat.

Did you eat during labor?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Can I Become Tolerant of Epidurals?

One of my friends who has four children asked me if it's possible for epidurals to become less effective because of becoming tolerant of the medicines in the epidural as hers had become less effective with each birth. I did not know the answer. So at one of my prenatal appointments I asked my doctor about this.

My doctor said that this is not really possible because of the way epidurals work. An epidural is a temporary block on the nerves that is there and then goes away. There is not a way to build up the medicine because it is not metabolized like medicines that you ingest. He said that it could be possible if you were given epidurals every day, but this is not likely for women having babies.

Why then were the epidurals less effective each time? I have no idea and neither did my doctor.

Have you had the experience of epidurals being less effective with each delivery?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Barrett's Birth Story

So, here's the story of how little WB came into this world.... I was scheduled to be induced Monday morning, since my specialist didn't want me to go past 40 weeks due to my history. I had planned a natural waterbirth and did everything to try to naturally induce my labor, but nothing worked. When We arrived at the hospital, they too, tried to start labor without drugs, the balloon method dialated me to 5cm but did not start labor, so, then came the pitocin! The one thing I wanted to avoid the most (besides epidural). So, finally after enduring 14 hours of pitocin induced labor, I hit transition (which is right when you are just about ready to deliver) it came hard and fast. We stopped the pitocin which made my contractions less intense, and I finally felt like I COULD continue to birth without asking for an epidural. However, during this time, most women throw up, myself included. I was throwing up and convulsing, my body decided to rip the muscle off of my rib bone, I heard a pop, and instantly felt EXCRUCIATING pain and pretty much became immobile. I continued to get sick, adding to the rib pain, while contracting causing more pain than than I could have ever imagined. Which meant there was literally no possible way at all I could have pushed through that pain even if wanted to. My body simply would not have let me if I tried. So, in came the epidural. Well, the anesthesiologist hit a nerve, thus, causing EVEN MORE extreme pain, and then yelled at me for moving because it made my back spasm, which was not something I could control. So he stuck me again and hit another nerve! He spent a full 2 minutes jabbing nerves, and me begging him to stop! At first, it only worked on half my body, but it finally caught up to the other side. So after a quick nap I was finally ready to push, the pain had subsided, and I just wanted him here. The nurses came in, I pushed for less than 10 mins, and then he was in my arms! FINALLY! So after everything we did to prepare for our peaceful, natural birth, we did not, however, prepare for craziness that actually happened. But in the end none of that even mattered, he's here safe and sound and I couldn't be more thankful.

When I asked Ivy about sharing her story this is what she said:
"I would love to share my story on your blog, I'm sure it will help other women understand that no matter what our plan is, essentially, it's out of our control."

~Shared by Ivy L.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

When Should I Get An Epidural?

This question is one I get frequently from new moms wanting to make the best decision possible about getting an epidural. This is an easy and tough question all at the same time, so I will share my general guidelines from what I have seen in the hospital.

For first births I recommend waiting as long as possible simply because first births can take awhile so if you get it too early you could end up lying down for hours and prolonging your labor. If you are looking for dilation, I would recommend waiting until you are at least a good 4 cm dilated before getting an epidural for the same reason. If you are able to wait until 6 or 7 cm this is ideal because you will be getting it right around transition, which is the hardest part of labor, but is generally quick compared to the rest.

What if you are having trouble dilating? These recommendations are thrown out the window. If you are having trouble dilating, it is likely that your body is struggling to relax to dilate. In this case, an epidural may be very beneficial in helping you to dilate. This is not a, "I haven't made any progress in an hour" recommendation. This is a, "I have been stuck at 5 cm for a few hours" recommendation, because the first part of labor can be long and slow and can take quite some time to get to 5 or 6 cm, especially if it is your first.

Trouble dilating could also indicate there is some kind of complication, and having an epidural may be a good idea in case a c-section becomes necessary.

If you are being induced, then it does not matter as much when you get an epidural because your labor is being done for you. The question you need to ask yourself is how long to I want to be stuck in bed?

For subsequent births, there is a little more ambiguity. Your first birth will likely give you a good indication of when you should get an epidural with your next.

As with everything else, pray about when the best time to get an epidural is because everyone is different. These are my recommendations based on years of experience. Often times you will know if and when you need it, even with your first.

How did you decide when to get your epidural?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


What is an epidural?

An epidural is placed in the epidural space in your spine. A needle is used to place a catheter in this space and medicine is giving continuously through the catheter. What is put in the epidural depends on where you are and is typically a combination, for example, fentanyl (an opiod) and bupivacaine (a local anesthetic). Ask your provider what they use in their epidurals.

What are some pros of an epidural? 
  • If placed well there is complete pain relief with the ability to feel pressure when it's time to push (yes feeling this pressure is a good thing)
  • Ability to sleep/rest during your labor
  • If you have been in labor for a long time with out progressing it can help speed up dilation
  • If a c-section is needed you already have it in place
What are some cons of an epidural?
  • Can cause your blood pressure to drastically decrease- If too low can lead to distress with the baby
  • Unable to get out of bed in most places
  • Cannot eat or drink (ice chips only)
  • Can slow down labor process- (if this happens you may be given pitocin)
  • May not be able to feel to push
  • Catheter is needed to empty your bladder
  • Other unforeseen complications
When needed, epidurals are great tools to have. Again I encourage you to pray over whether or not this is the best option for you. 

What have been your experiences with epidurals?

Updated from "Epidurals" posted on February 19, 2014

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Keaton's Birth

From the Archives

We waited five very long years to begin trying for our second child. Wanting to be rid of our tiny, two bedroom duplex and secure in a house, my husband insisted on waiting for what felt like an eternity to me. Being a teacher, I had to consider and plan when the ideal time to become pregnant would be during the school year. We felt that February would be the earliest reasonable time for me to take maternity leave, so we counted down the days until May of 2006 when we could begin trying.

To our surprise conception occurred very quickly, after only a week and a half. I was suspicious that I was pregnant for several days before I decided to take a pregnancy test. I had been experiencing food aversions, intense fatigue, and endless weeping over unusual circumstances, such as watching a Memorial Day parade. My five year old and I went to Walgreen’s where I bought a pregnancy test for me and apple gum for him. I brought the test home and left it in the bathroom where I refused to think about it for two hours. In the middle of an episode of Oprah, I said a quick prayer, retrieved the Walgreen’s bag, and took the test, which was of course positive. I immediately dragged my husband off the computer to the bathroom where I showed him the test and then promptly burst into tears.

Almost two weeks after discovering that we were expecting, we told our son that “The Baby Boss” had answered his prayers and had put a baby in Mommy’s tummy. He was very excited and asked a lot of questions. That evening he gave my tummy a kiss, explaining that “the baby’s never had a kiss before.” After a few minutes of playing with his Legos, he changed his mind and said, “Actually, Mommy, that was probably the baby’s second kiss. I bet Jesus gave the baby his first kiss before he left heaven.” We knew then that he would be a very thoughtful big brother.

My second pregnancy proved to be very different from my first. I suffered from severe “morning sickness” that occurred from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed at night. Not only was I ravenously hungry but also intensely repulsed at even the idea of food. I was thrilled when this misery finally stopped at 14 weeks. During the second and third trimesters, I experienced the typical pregnancy ailments: Heartburn, leg cramps, back pain, and an inability to take deep breaths. I was very much looking forward to the conclusion of my pregnancy.

At twenty weeks, my mother, husband, son, and I gathered in the ultrasound room in my OB/GYN’s office. After several minutes of checking the baby’s heartbeat and measurements, the technician informed us that another little boy was on his way. After pausing a moment, my son excitedly declared, “Mommy, it’s a boy fiesta!” Laughing, we all agreed with him.

My due date was Sunday, February 4th. Unfortunately, that day came and went without a contraction. My doctor scheduled an induction for the following Friday. Having heard multiple horror stories about inductions, I prayed that one would not be necessary and that my little boy would appear on his own.    

On Tuesday, February 6th, I went to work as usual, feeling very annoyed that I was still hugely pregnant and having to teach. After school, I went to Target to pick up curtain rods for the nursery as the curtains had just been delivered, and they were the final item I needed to finish the nursery. That evening I went back to school for my grade level’s PTA performance. Despite being over 40 weeks pregnant, I conducted over 80 second graders as they sang a Japanese song about frogs. Occasionally, I would experience a contraction, but none that made me think that my baby would arrive soon.

That night I went to bed irritated that I would have to teach the next day when I would have much preferred to stay home and mentally prepare myself for my baby’s arrival. I fell asleep quickly about eleven o’clock. At three o’clock, just four hours later, I was awakened by my first real contraction. This contraction was painful, but I chose to ignore it, because I was convinced that this baby would come out only by an induction. Ten minutes later I experienced another contraction that was as painful as the first. At 3:30, I experienced a third contraction that was followed by a noisy pop. Having read hundreds of birth stories during my pregnancy, I knew this sound was my water breaking. The pop was followed by a loud and very painful clanking sound, which was the baby’s head descending into the birth canal. I knew at this point the baby was finally on his way and an induction was not going to be necessary.

I chose not wake my husband yet because I assumed that we had many hours until we would have to leave for the hospital. I was even considering going into work for a few hours. Having had a 39 hour labor with my first son, I was not in a rush to leave for the hospital.

After hearing the pop and feeling the baby start his descent into the birth canal, I got out of bed and waddled down the hall to the bathroom. I noticed I had a slow leak and then decided to crawl back into bed to rest for a while longer. After getting back into bed, my contractions immediately increased in frequency and intensity. I grabbed my husband’s hand and squeezed through each one. Around 4:00, he awoke and asked me groggily if this was it.

By 4:30, I was crying and telling my husband that this labor was so much worse than my first and that I couldn’t bear it. If I had paid closer attention to what I was saying and how I was feeling, I would have realized that I was probably in transition at this point and should have rushed to the hospital. Instead I headed for the shower, insisting that I needed to be fresh and clean for my delivery.

The shower was a miserable experience. Each flurry of cleaning was halted by an excruciating contraction. I turned the shower massager on full blast and let the spray hit my stomach where the pain was most intense, desperately trying to find some relief. Repeatedly, I mumbled through my tears “What time I am afraid, I put my trust in Thee.” After an agonizing thirty minutes, I was finally shampooed, conditioned, scrubbed, and able to leave the shower. 

Upon exiting the shower, I instructed my husband to call our families and his boss. Between contractions I quickly texted my friends and co-workers, letting them know my water had broken. My mother-in-law was due to arrive soon to pick up our son, while my mom was getting ready to meet us at the hospital later that morning.

Our son woke up during this time and was very excited to learn that his baby brother was on his way. However, I was unnerved at the thought of him watching me in pain. I told my husband to keep him out of the room as much as possible. Before he left to put on his clothes, my son said a prayer for me, asking God to “help Mommy be very brave.”

While I struggled to put on my makeup and fix my hair, my husband called his boss to notify him that he would not be coming into work. While he was on the phone, I yelled at him to hang up and hold my hand because my contractions were more than I could bear alone. At this point, I told my husband there was no time for him to take a shower and to call his mother to question where she was.

A few minutes before six, my mother-in-law arrived and took our son to her house. After having my husband snap my last pregnancy picture, I headed for the car. My husband grabbed my bags, tossed them in the back seat, and quickly took off. Giving him instructions to drive fast, I suffered through several contractions on the short ride to the hospital. As he drove, I begged my husband to pray that I was at least four centimeters and could get an epidural upon arriving. I was convinced that in the five years since my son was born I had become a complete wimp as this labor was so much more intense than I ever experienced with my first child.

We pulled into the hospital parking lot at 6:10. After struggling through a contraction, I quickly exited the car and headed for the registration desk. To my dismay, no one was at the desk when we entered the lobby. After two or three very long minutes passed, a receptionist meandered up to the desk and inquired about my social security number. Unable to speak for myself, my husband managed to correctly supply this information after three failed attempts. I was extremely agitated that he could not remember my social security number, but I was neither able to voice my frustration nor the needed numbers. The receptionist took my insurance card and after I endured fifteen minutes of painful and very loud contractions, she declared that I was ready to go to triage. The receptionist questioned if I wanted a wheelchair. I asked her if she could get me one quickly. Her response was so slow that I determined walking would be faster and barked at my husband to get me to the elevator.

Upon entering triage at 6:30, I was met by the gazes of five nurses. I noted that I was their only patient and hoped that this meant I would be checked and given my epidural quickly.  I was shown a room, given a gown, and told to undress. I quickly shed my clothes and put on the hospital gown between contractions. I lay down on the bed, grateful to be in a horizontal position to endure my contractions. When the nurse entered my room to hook me up to the monitor, I asked her to check me. She explained that she had to ask me a few questions first.

With agonizing slowness, the nurse inquired when my water had broken, when I had last drank anything, what my religious affiliation was, and when I had last had a b.m. At this last question, I lost my patience and yelled that I needed to be checked immediately because the baby was right there. While the nurse was scrambling to find someone to check me, I demanded that my husband pray for me and then promptly yelled at him because I could not hear his prayer over my own moans and screams.

A new nurse entered the room and had me roll on to my back. Upon checking me, she said, “She’s nine centimeters, 100% effaced, and at a plus one station! Get her to delivery!” I was shocked to learn of my status, and then in the next moment my body was consumed by its first urge to push.  As several nurses ran me from triage to the delivery room, I asked, “Am I going to be able to get my epidural?” I knew the answer even before the nurse replied, “Honey, you’ll have this baby before the anesthesiologist can even get up here.” Unhappily, I resigned myself to a natural child birth.

As I was rolled into the delivery room, I told my husband to call my mother and tell her to hurry. Medical personnel scurried around the room as I lay on my side and screamed through what felt like never-ending contractions and an all-consuming urge to push. I begged for water or ice chips as my throat was completely dry from my continuous screams, but I was ignored.  

The nurse checked me again and said, “She just has a small lip left.” My body paid her no attention as it pushed of its own accord. The midwife hurried into the room and had me begin pushing along with my body. After my first intentional push on my side, I realized that I was solely responsible for getting this baby out of my body and for ending my pain. I rolled on my back to be able to push more effectively. With the next contraction, I pushed as hard as I could, screaming, “Get out!” as he crowned. My mother ran into the room at this moment, having been directed upon exiting the elevator to “follow the screams.” She ran quickly to me to support my neck as my husband and a nurse supported my legs. 

As I cried and gasped for breath before my final contraction, the midwife asked if I wanted to touch the baby’s head, and I quickly replied, “No!” I knew that doing so would make the delivery longer than necessary, and I wanted it over immediately. With one more push and several screams of “Get him out,” Keaton Parker entered this world at 7:08 a.m., just four hours after my first contraction.

My little boy weighed 8 pounds 2 ounces and was 20 and ½ inches long. His arrival was unexpectedly fast and extremely tough.  However, God knew that this baby would be an enormous blessing to our family and worth every painful contraction. I am grateful that He was right. 

~ Shared by Ashley B.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Ways to Help Naturally Induce Labor

You are past your due date and your provider is talking about induction and yet you do not want to induce if possible. The question that comes after this talk: is there anything I can do to start labor on my own? There is a lot of question about this as some things work well for some people while others have no success. With my first I tried a lot to make myself go into labor, but nothing worked. I have talked to others that the first thing they tried helped them go into labor. Ultimately, only God can start your labor and sometimes He allows your efforts to push you on over.

With that being said, here are some things that may or may not help you go into labor.

First I suggest you pray, because God is the one who will make labor happen!

Walking- This one is completely up in the air as to whether or not it helps, hinders or has no effect at all on labor. Do not walk until exhaustion, but feel free to try walking as it will not hurt you.

Sex- Sex is one of the best options as long as you are healthy for a few reasons. Semen has prostaglandins in it that help prepare the cervix for labor and can then kick you into labor. It also helps with intimacy and preparing you together for what's to come. There are other techniques I will mention that can be implemented during your time together.

Nipple stimulation- This can be very effective as it releases oxytocin, which is the natural form of pitocin, into your body. You must pay very close attention to your body so you do not over stimulate your uterus leading to contractions that are too long or too frequent. This site has a good basic process to follow.

Acupressure- This can actually feel really nice as it is more of a massage technique. There are 2 primary places to use: 1) The webbing between the thumb and forefinger and 2) 4 fingers above the ankle on the inside of your leg. The spot on your leg is really nice for helping to relax while someone massages your ankles. See this link to learn the process.

Food- There are some foods that may help you go into labor. Some that are out there include: pineapple, spicy food, eggplant parmesan, date fruit, curry, Chinese food and licorice. There is no definitive research to back up any of these, but it can't hurt to try.

Blue or Black Cohash- These are herbs and need to be handled with great care. Please consult your healthcare provider before trying one of these.

Castor Oil- This is another method that should be used with great care. You drink castor oil  or add it to your food causing the bowels to be stimulated, which stimulates the uterus. I have talked to many women who have had success with this. It can cause severe diarrhea. There is also some question as to whether or not it can cause the baby to have a bowel movement in utero. Ask your care provider before using it and use wisdom.

These are just a few well known options. Again pray for wisdom and for God to bring out labor. If you are unsure of anything ask your health care provider.

Have you tried to induce labor naturally? What did you use? Was it successful?

Updated from "Are There Ways To Induce Naturally" on February 18, 2014

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Inductions Updated

What is induction of labor? 

This is when medical interventions are taken to cause a woman to go into labor.

When are inductions necessary?

There is certainly some subjectivity to this question, but some cases that may need an induction of labor would include developing pre-eclampsia or pregnancy induced hypertenstion (PIH), low or high amniotic fluid, the baby being too big or too small, and going far over your due date. This is not an exhaustive list but more of the common reasons why induction may be considered.

What medicines are used to induce labor?

Depending on the circumstances different medicines may be used.

Cervidil is used to help prepare the cervix for labor. It is put inside of the woman behind the cervix and left in for up to 12 hours.

Cytotec is also used to prepare the cervix for labor as well. It can be put behind the cervix and absorbed or taken orally. This can be given every 4 hours minimum, depending on contractions.

Pitocin is a synthetic form of the hormone secreted by women to cause labor. It is given through an IV and the dose depends on the provider and how labor is progressing.

A balloon catheter is another device used for induction that does not involve medicine but can be used in conjunction with pitocin to aid in inducing labor. A balloon catheter is inserted by a doctor or midwife into the cervix so that the balloon that is inflated puts pressure on the cervix to aid it in opening.

Three of my births thus far have been inductions and were completely different experiences. I so desired not to be induced, but God taught me so much through them. From my personal experience I definitely would not recommend having an elective induction as my recoveries were a lot easier when I was not induced. Whether or not you should be induced should be a matter of prayer, seeking God's wisdom.

What is your experience with induction?

Updated from Inductions posted on February 17, 2014

Saturday, July 4, 2015

McLain's Birth

         From the Archives

          As long as I can remember, I wanted to be a mommy and have lots of babies. Growing up, I practiced mothering on my two brothers, my two cousins, and my multitude of dolls. I baby-sat almost every weekend for a decade and loved every minute of these opportunities to fine tune my diaper changing and bottle warming skills. At 22, I learned that I would be able to use this expertise in April of 2001 on a sweet baby of my own. I was both terrified and absolutely thrilled.
          During the nine months of my pregnancy, I prepared for the arrival of our first addition. As would later become my tradition with every pregnancy, I watched A Baby Story every weekday. I read What to Expect While You’re Expecting until I was so frightened by the possibilities of what could go wrong that Clay took the book away from me and hid it until after our baby was born. I washed loads of baby clothes in Dreft, painted bookshelves, and organized and reorganized the beautiful nursery that Clay and I decorated in stars and moons.
          In December, Clay and I went to the OB/GYN for our baby’s five month sonogram. As the ultrasound tech scanned our baby’s body, we learned that we were going to have a little boy. Knowing we had a son on the way made the idea of parenting a lot more real.
          At 6:00 am Monday, April 2nd, I awoke briefly to cramping feelings in my back. As they were not too uncomfortable, I went back to sleep until 10:00. At this time, I awoke and put in a recorded tape of Survivor. Snuggling with my husband, we watched the reality show while I experienced continued contractions. Shortly after the show began, I felt my baby make a big turn, perhaps moving his head in the necessary position for exiting. At that point, the contractions moved from my back to my abdomen.
          As I was still six days from my due date and this was my first child, I was uncertain if these contractions were truly labor or a false alarm. Clay began timing them at 10:23, and we noticed that while they were not spaced perfectly apart, they were consistently coming. I called my mom to let her know what was happening, and she agreed to go with Clay and me to my previously scheduled doctor visit that afternoon.
          Hoping that we could speed labor along, my husband and I decided to take a walk. We dressed in shorts and t-shirts, and then I slowly waddled up my street with him, holding his hand. Every two to three minutes I had to pause for a contraction. I was surprised at how close together they were, having expected them to start far apart like all the books, Lamaze instructors, and doctors had said they would.
          After finishing our mile long walk, I went back to our house to shower. My grandmother had since learned that I was in labor and was convinced that if I took a shower that I might very well have the baby in the bathtub. Instead of letting me relax in the shower, she stood her ground in the bathroom and talked to me while I shampooed, conditioned, and shaved my legs. There was no privacy as I readied myself for my OB/GYN appointment.
          At 3:00, nine hours after my first contraction, I went in for my scheduled doctor visit with Clay and my mother. I was nervous in the waiting room and even more anxious in the exam room. While I waited alone for the doctor to enter the room, my contractions continued, and I lay down to ease them. They were not very painful yet, but they were nothing I could ignore.
          The doctor examined me and determined that I was a “loose” one centimeter, 25 percent effaced, and probably in labor. All I could think was nine hours of contractions and only one centimeter? This mama was not happy.
          After the doctor’s visit, Mom, Clay, and I went to Chick-Fil-A. I ate soup and French fries, feeling annoyance and contractions throughout our meal. I knew my baby was on his way, but I had no idea how long it would be before he arrived.
          When we got home, Clay and I went for another walk. Again, I experienced a contraction every two to three minutes, but their intensity wasn’t strong enough to even justify a call to the doctor.  My contractions continued throughout the afternoon and into the evening.
          At dinner time, we went next door to my mom’s house. My mother had made my favorite vegetable soup, which I ate not knowing that this would be my last meal for the next 26 hours. Clay talked on the phone to a friend while we were there, giving him the details of my labor. As my contractions continued, so did my frustration with Clay being on the phone. After I snapped at him, he quickly hung up, and we headed back to our home.
          Throughout the day, my contractions had slowly increased in intensity but not significantly.  Nevertheless, I was exhausted from the day’s emotions and 18 hours of labor. I crawled into bed at midnight and slept until my bladder woke me up at 3:30 AM. Initially, I thought my water may have broken, but this being my first baby I wasn’t sure. 21 and ½ hours of contractions though prompted Clay and me to ready ourselves for the hospital whether it was my water or my bladder that had broken.  
          After making this decision, I called my mom to give her the update. She said that she would get ready and shortly be over. Clay called his parents, and they made plans to meet us later in the morning at the hospital.
I waddled to the shower and again readied myself. As I sat in my rocking chair and curled my hair, I wondered when my baby was going to make his appearance. A few minutes later, my mom knocked on the door, and we all piled in our car. I was determined that I would not come back home without my baby.
          On the way to the hospital, Clay mentioned that he was hungry. He stopped at the Quik Trip that we passed and went inside to buy powered doughnuts. I was annoyed.
          At 5:00 AM, we arrived at the hospital, a long 23 hours after my first contraction. I was assigned a triage room, and after I changed into a gown, a nurse checked me. She determined that my water had not broken (apparently it had just been my bladder) and that I was still at one centimeter. I was so disappointed. However, the nurse could see that my contractions were painful, so she instructed me to walk the maternity floor for an hour to see if I could further my dilation. And so began the hour of hell.
          Around and around the floor, my mom, Clay, and I walked. Each time a contraction gripped me, I had to stop and cling to Clay. The more I walked the stronger the contractions became. At one point, I claimed to have to use the bathroom and just went into the waiting room restroom to escape having to walk. I was stunned by how horrible the pain was and was ready to run away if there had been any way for me to do so. Reluctantly, I left the bathroom after ten minutes to continue the most painful walk of my 23 years.
          Because my contractions had developed a steady pattern, I would experience one every time I passed the triage station. The nurses witnessed my being able to neither walk nor talk through the pain. I thought nothing of that at the time, but their seeing my physical distress while walking apparently convinced them that I was not experiencing false labor.  
          When the hour was up, I returned to my triage room. Walking even one extra step was not an option to me. I was immediately checked by a triage nurse. She stated that I was still a “loose one,” but she also said that I was now 80% effaced and my cervix was soft. She also explained that because my contractions were clearly regular that I was in labor and here to stay. I was so grateful that a medical person finally believed that I was in labor, something that I had known since my first contraction 24 hours earlier. Briefly, my in-laws came in the triage room, and Clay explained that I was being admitted and that their grandson was on his way.  
          Because I was not eligible for an epidural yet, the nurse offered me a narcotic shot. After having experienced such horrible contractions while walking, I gladly accepted her offer. She gave me the shot in my right hip, and I could feel the medicine’s impact almost immediately. The nurse forbid me to try to walk to my labor and delivery room, even though I had just been doing laps around the hospital floor. In the words of my nurse, “You’re drunk, and you’re not walking anywhere.” Without argument, I sat down in my wheel chair and rode to my new room.
          The narcotic shot was not what I expected. The nurse had told me that that it would “take the edge off” my contractions. However, my pain did not diminish but my ability to stay awake did. Instead of being able to try to relax as the intensity of each contraction built, I would wake at the peak of each one, groggy and terrified of the inescapable pain. I would fuss at my husband to hold my hand as I tried to endure the pain and then would promptly shove him away, so I could go back to sleep as soon as the contraction was over. This cycle continued for ten hours. The frustration of being unable to relieve my interminable exhaustion or pain was the most difficult part of my labor for Clay.
          Throughout the morning and afternoon, many parents, in-laws, siblings, and friends were in and out of my room. This long stretch of labor was painful and hazy to me, especially after I received a second narcotic shot. I remember waking to see my mother-in-law in a rocking chair, my husband eating Taco Bell (which he was forbidden to ever bring into a labor and delivery room again), and my baby brother and little sister in law telling me how they had snuck away from the waiting room to play on the elevator and had gotten in trouble. 
          Brandi, my best friend from high school was at the hospital and didn’t want to miss her opportunity to video the birth. She asked the doctor if she could go to class without missing it. The doctor said, “You could drive to Tennessee and back and this baby still won’t be here.” She went to class and made it back with hours to spare.
          At 3:00, the labor and delivery nurse checked me. After 33 hours of contractions, I was finally deemed to be four centimeters. I was equally grateful to learn that my body was progressing and that I was ready for my epidural. However, I had to endure another hour of contractions before the anesthesiologist arrived at 4:00 to give me the relief I so desperately wanted.  
          As the nurse and anesthesiologist set up my room and readied me for the procedure, I became nervous. My mom told me, “Don’t worry. As soon as you get the epidural, you won’t feel any more pain. The hard part will be over.” I clung to what she said and was later relieved when her comforting words proved to be true.
          Receiving the epidural was nerve wracking. As I sat on the edge of the hospital bed with a pillow in my lap, I tightly gripped the hands of my nurse. She encouraged me to stay curled up like a ball so that the needle could be easily inserted into my spine. However, staying relaxed and in this uncomfortable position while being hit with a contraction was almost impossible. Thankfully, the anesthesiologist was patient and able to place my epidural between contractions. The procedure was quickly finished. More importantly, the contractions I experienced while I received my epidural were the last ones I felt during this labor. My mother was right. The pain was over. 
          After receiving my epidural, I was happier and willing to interact with my visitors between my drug induced naps. My family and friends periodically came in to talk to me. However, I was still very tired because of the narcotics and slept the majority of the evening, waking periodically to scratch my face or my chest. Itchiness proved to be a side effect of the medication in the epidural, but I hid that information from the nurses as I did not want them to turn it off. I much preferred itchiness over pain.
          Not long after getting my epidural, my body began to relax and my contractions grew less frequent. My nurse followed my doctor’s orders and added Pitocin to my IV to help reregulate my contractions. In less than four hours after this medicine was administered, I went from four to ten centimeters. I was ready to push but unfortunately the medical staff was not.
          Not surprisingly, multiple women were in labor at the same time I was.  Because of them, I had to wait until other women delivered before my midwife or nurse could prepare my room and me for my son’s delivery.  During this time, I started shaking. My exhaustion and nerves were reaching their peak. I was ready for this long labor to be over and to meet my baby. Testiness began to overwhelm me before I even began to push.
          At about 7:45, I was finally prepped and ready. My labor and delivery nurse sat on the end of my bed and instructed me when to breathe, when to push, and when to relax. Clay and my mom stood on either side of me while Brandi stood back and to the left of the bed with a video camera. Through my narcotic haze, I began pushing. It was awkward. It was difficult. It was also extremely embarrassing to be that exposed to so many people in my room.
          I pushed and was encouraged. I pushed and was cheered on. This cycle continued and still I had no baby after an hour had passed. The nurse coached me to try long pushes while holding my breath. Still no baby. The midwife told me to try short pushes with every other contraction. Still no baby. My frustration could not be contained as I told everyone in the room to be quiet and threatened to kick my mother out of the room if she made one more joke. This exhausted mama was about to lose it.
          Because my laboring was taking so long, my midwife and nurse could not stay in my room the entire time. They began checking on other mothers, leaving me in the room with just Clay, my mom, and Brandi. Despite their absence, I continued my pushes with each contraction and finally saw my son’s head begin to emerge. I was so completely ready to be finished with this labor that I was unconcerned if there was any medical staff in the room to deliver my son or not. I kept pushing. 
          The nurse returned and immediately summoned the midwife who was surprised by my obvious progress when she reentered my room. As she quickly slipped on her gloves and delivery garb, she told me to relax and not to push. I was aggravated and just wanted this delivery to be over. After what seemed like an eternity to me, my midwife instructed me to push with my next contraction.
          With Clay and my mother each holding one of my legs, I pushed with every ounce of strength I had remaining. Slowly and through several more contractions, my baby finally made his entrance with a great rush of amniotic fluid that sprayed all over his daddy’s arm. I was overwhelmed at the sweet sight of him.

          After 39 ½ very long hours of labor and an hour and twenty minutes of pushing, Bryan McLain entered my world at 7 pounds 4 ounces and 20 inches long. God blessed his father and me with a strong, healthy, incredible son that captured my heart from the moment I first looked at him, forever changing me from daughter, sister, and wife to mom. I am so eternally grateful that God chose me to be McLain’s mother and cannot imagine my life without him. 

~Shared by Ashley B.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Vitamin B6 and Unisom

Morning sickness is a common problem among most women in early pregnancy and everyone wants to know what to do to help. There are many things to try from ginger to Phenergan. In my last pregnancy the combination of vitamin B6 and Unisom was suggested to me if I did not want to take stronger medicines. I had been told B6 could help with nausea during my 3rd trimester with my 5th pregnancy but it did not seem to help and I was not told about Unisom. I was a little skeptical about it, but decided to give it a try. I was shocked that it worked!

Here is what you do. Take a tablet of B6 three times a day with meals and take the Unisom right before bed.

I do not think anyone really knows why it works, but it helped me so much this time. My guess is that it helps you get really deep sleep. I still had to eat first thing in the morning, but it helped me to actually be hungry so I could eat. Make sure you eat something high protein with a good carb to help keep the nausea away the rest of the day. This helps in keeping other medications from being needed if you are wanting to avoid them.

Have you tried this combination for nausea? Did it work for you?