Thursday, February 9, 2012

rook's birth story

Rook's Birth Story
January 23, 2012
(sorry it is so fucking long....and not edited....I need to edit it before I send it to my doula for the website, but here is my rough draft for you guys :))

Bare with me....I tend to over talk things, but so much of Rook's birth was about the preparation that I feel like I can't leave anything out! :)
When I got pregnant with our oldest son, Cy, back in 2009, I knew immediately that I wanted a natural unmedicated child birth. I still wanted to go the hospital/OB route, but I wanted to do everything in my power to skip that "cascade of intervention" and avoid drugs and possible complications from said interventions. Chris and I signed up for Bradley Method classes and I was very hopeful for a positive outcome. I had some issues with my doctor and at 34 weeks, after a really awful appointment full of no's, I decided to switch to a new OBGYN. She seemed a lot better but still was pushing for induction if I hit my due date. I was so anxious at the arrival of said due date, and possible induction was the only thing on my mind. Long story short, I went into labor on my own the night before Cy's due date, labored for about 17 hours and freaked out. The pain became too much and the anxiety of the situation over took me. I caved and got the epidural. I ended up going from 5 cm to 10 cm in a matter of an hour after the epidural, and pushed out Cy in a few contractions. I knew I did what I had to do, with what I was given, and with my current knowledge, but I did feel pretty disappointed in myself. My recovery was pretty slow and painful and involved more drugs, lots of sitz baths, and a lot more time than I expected.
Fast forward to May 2011, Cy was 9 months old and we found out we were having another baby. I was over the moon and before the pee could dry on that stick, I was researching like a mad woman, trying to figure out how I could get that birth I had dreamed of with Cy...the kind of birth you read about and think "wow, she got lucky." But, in the back of mind, I knew that luck had nothing to do with it. I was still not very confident in my "abilities" but I knew I had to at least do everything I could to educate myself, to give myself and my baby the best possible options I could.
I got to talking with an old friend. It just so happened that my friend from high school, Kelly, who had had her first baby just a couple of months after I had Cy, was about to go through training to become a HypnoBirthing educator. She had had one of those "dream" births with her son and really made me think that it was possible for me too. She was also planning on training to become a doula in the near future and offered me a LOT of help. I also switched OB's and ended up with Dr. Cobb, who is pretty much amazing. I walked out of that first appointment with him feeling like I was on top of the world. He said something to the effect of, "I'm not sure how you picture your pregnancy and birth to go, but I am pretty hands off. We don't do a lot of unnecessary  tests and we won't induce without medical reason before 42 weeks." I was sold. I started reading birth stories and watching videos and obsessively talking about birth with my mom friends. This birth became a mission of mine. I am positive my husband thought I was looney but I didn't care....and he obliged me by reading the stories and books and info I was constantly throwing at him.
We started our hypnobirthing classes with Kelly when I was about 29 weeks. I say "we" loosely as Chris had started a second job and was working like a mad man - but I would come home and regurgitate everything and make him read the parts of our book that "really" mattered. We had gone through a birth before, so we kinda knew what to expect, but I have to say, this hypnobirthing stuff was a serious game changer. Through reading more and more, I realized that so much of Cy's birth had to do with my anxiety and fear and less to do with searing pain and contractions that just wouldn't stop. I started listening to my "Rainbow Relaxation" track every night and enjoyed hearing the birth affirmations over and over, to embed everything into my brain for "go time". Slowly but surely, I started to believe what the tracks were telling me...."my body was made to give birth"..."I am confident and will accept whatever turns my labor takes"...."I will have an easy birth because I am so relaxed."
The end of my pregnancy was a little rocky and I started to have doubts about being able to go through with everything. I ended up with some crazy infected jaw bone at 35 weeks that was super painful and required pain meds. I became pretty weak from the whole ordeal and was having a hard time imagining being able to go through with the birth I had hoped for. But, I kept repeating my affirmations and talked to anyone who would listen and could reassure me, and finally, started having that prodromal labor. I swear I must have had 6 "false alarms" and was wondering if I would ever know for sure if I was really in labor or just getting ready for the big day. Baby's guess date was January 25th, and my brother's birthday is January 23rd. Throughout my pregnancy, I kept thinking about how amazing it would be to have my baby be able to share a birthday with someone so special to me.
When I woke up at 3 am on January 23rd with some strong "surges" (what we call them in hypnobirthing but for some reason I never got the hang of!) I said a little prayer and repeated "I am ready to meet my baby" in my head over and over, before finally waking up Chris at around 4 am to tell him that I had been timing the contractions for an hour and they were about 3 minutes apart. He said "ok" and rolled back over. I shook him up and said "no, I think this is it". We both got up and showered and made sure we had a bag packed. I breathed through each contraction and found it increasingly easier and easier to snap in and out of my state of relaxation. It honestly amazed me, but I have to admit there was that little voice that kept saying "its gonna get worse"....which I tried to fend off with "My birth will be easy because I am so relaxed".
We got a hold of Kelly, who offered, so amazingly, to doula for us, and my mom who was coming for Cy. They were both here around 6 am, I think...time seemed to be slipping away at this point. I was feeling really energetic between each contraction and was able to snap into relaxation during each one, despite their increased intensity and shortening span of time between each one. We hung out, watched TV, and I just kept on breathing. At about 10 am or so, I decided to get in the bath, we turned on Rainbow Relaxation and I let the shower hit me while I laid in a tub of water. Contractions got more intense, but the warm water made it easier to get through them calmly. Kelly started pouring warm water over my belly during contractions and that was a HUGE help. It felt like the pressure was just melting away. By now, it was about 11:00 am or so and I decided that when I got out, it would be time to head to the hospital and get comfy there. I knew that it would not be as easy to relax without the water, so I wanted to head to another source of water at the hospital and hunker down there until baby got here.
So, I got out, got dressed, got everything together, was still very strong and focused in between contractions and the ride to the hospital (which I was secretly dreading) was not that bad. I just remember thinking "your body is opening up and baby is moving down". It was raining lightly and I rolled down the windows and let my body get nice and cool and just put all of my focus into relaxation.
We arrived and checked in at the hospital at noon. We got into a room right away and at some point I think Chris talked to Dr. Cobb to let him know what was going on. I wanted to get into the jacuzzi immediately....and was really disappointed when Chris read a large sign out loud "Do not use jacuzzi tubs". Oh f*@#. I was bummed....Chris said he was certain I would blow up right there, but I kept it together and said - "eh its alright - just get me in that shower asap". They had to take some blood, and were insisting on a heparin lock, which I declined. But they insisted. I was not in the mood for a fight, so I picked my battles at that point. Alright...go for it. They tried twice and omigod, I am certain it was worse than contractions at that point. I wanted to hit the nurse. They ended up calling an anesthesiologist to get it in for me....he seemed pretty stoked to be called in for that - ha - poor guy. Then they still needed to draw some blood. Four pokes later and I was still hooked up to the monitors. Dr. Cobb asked for a cervical check at admission, so I said alright but told everyone in the room to not utter one word about how far along I was. I totally feel like knowing the centimeters while in labor with Cy really had a huge effect on me and how I could handle things mentally. I did not want to know how "far along" I was and wanted to just trust my body and know that I would know when baby was coming and that my baby and my body were doing their job and everything would move along at its own pace.
They finally unhooked me and I hopped in the shower fast. It had a little seat and a removable shower head, so during every surge (it was around this time I started accepting that terminology haha) I just swirled the shower head over my belly and in my head I was repeating "melt away melt away melt away" and sure enough each surge would melt away and I would snap back into reality. I started to get a little bit tired, but remember thinking "yea, I can do this for a few more hours". The thought of getting something to help the pain never even entered my head. I was in such a good place. I definitely started working harder and needing more focus at this point, but it was all very tolerable. I was so focused and in tune with everything.
I guess I had been in there about 40 minutes when the nurse came in and was asking if I felt "different" and told me to tell her if I felt anything "different". I remember thinking - SHOULD I be feeling something different?! I asked Kelly and she said....."well, you are really far along, you are doing so good". I said "I'm far? you know how dilated I was?" She said yes. So I begged her to tell me.....apparently I was at 8 cm at check in. I was shocked. I kinda burst into tears and thought "omigod its working...I'm doing it! My body is doing it". Then Chris told me that maybe I should think about getting out of the shower soon. They had to do some more monitoring, but apparently Chris says the look on my face could tell him I was getting really close.
So I hopped out, made a pit stop (with Chris' help) to go pee. I sat down, had a surge, and felt a pop. Chris had to jump out of the way as my water broke a little bit. I stood right up and said something to the effect of "I need to is right here".
I am not sure if they thought I was getting hysterical or what, but this was the only part of the birth in which I can say I kinda freaked out. It was Chris, Kelly, and I in the room and I sprawled out onto that bed fast. I remember Kelly telling me I should get into the position I wanted to push in, and I remember thinking - ha - I am not pushing, this baby is CHARGING out. The nurse rushed in, I think she was a bit surprised since she just saw me hanging out in the shower a couple minutes before. Baby was crowning. Dr. Cobb came rushing in as I was yelling "OMIGOD OMIGOD HELP ME HELP ME HELP ME" It was my one irrational moment during labor and I think it was because everything happened so quickly and I was so shocked that it was happening and that it was happening so fast. I barely had time to catch my breath....although everyone was trying to get me to. I remember Dr. Cobb saying "Chelle!! You need to breathe." I took some breaths and according to Chris, "baby came out on a wave". He literally, for lack of a better term, slipped right out. I don't remember really pushing or breathing baby down...he just came right out. Rook Drace Roman was born at 1:53 pm on January 23rd, his uncle Ryan's birthday, about an hour and half after we got to the hospital. Dr. Cobb said he took a gulp of fluid on the way out, so he was a little purple, but he got to come right onto my chest and hung out for a long time before he was checked out. We waited for the cord to stop pulsing before Chris cut it and the baby started nursing like a champ at his first try.
 I think I am still in shock. I can't believe I did it and it was so "easy". It was seriously a dream birth. Everything went so wonderfully and happened better than I could have imagined. Being able to not only make it through an unmedicated birth, but also having such an easy recovery, and being able to say I actually enjoyed my labor and delivery was not something I really thought was possible for me. Kelly told us in class that these women having these births are not special, they don't have crazy high tolerance for pain, and don't just get lucky and have this easy birth by chance. They are regular women who accept birth as a normal, natural, wonderful process that as women, our bodies are made to go through. I can easily say that giving birth to Rook was hard work, but I wouldn't describe it as painful, just uncomfortable at times. I never thought I could say that about something that, having already been through it with Cy, could only be described as excruciating and unmanageable.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Time Zoom

I son't really know where all of the time went...but a lot has happened. My mom visited for a couple of weeks, our apartment flooded, we had a week long hotel stay due to the flood, everyone including the 4 cats have been sick, I have had a lot of recent orders, Cyler is SO MOBILE it is CRAZY, and I have tried really hard to stay busy and keep up with this crazy moving life! Needless to say, I am kinda exhausted. BUT, we are planning to move soon, which is awful and exciting at the same time. I am also going to be going back to school this summer to become a lactation consultant, which is so so so exciting. I can't wait. I am totally thrilled that I feel like I have finally figured out what I want to do with my life and it is something that has become so personal and such a huge part of my life, that I know I will be able to say I love my work when all is said and done. But, the juggling act is something I have never been good at, so thank GOD for Chris. He keeps me on track when all I want to do is lay around and cry haha.

On a wonderfully happy note, Cyler is turning into a little boy before our eyes. He is crawling like a MAD MAN and is SOOOO close to walking its crazy. He can stand on his own but is so cautious that he just eases himself into a squat when I let go of his little hands. He cruises the furniture like a champ and can get from point A to point B in record time! He waves "hi" to everyone and is just pure joy. His favorite thing to do these days seems to be anything with the kitties. He loves to crawl up to them and simply rest his head on them to give them little kitty hugs. When he happens upon one accidentally, like while he is cruising the couch - he squeals and bounces up and down with excitement. I still can't believe this little love is all mine. He is such a wonderful little baby and his little personality keeps looking better and better every day. Still not sure what we did to deserve such an awesome kid, but how lucky are we?!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

New things in 2011

So, a lot has been going on lately. I debated whether or not I would share this so publicly, but here it is....Chris and I have been going to couple therapy for various reasons, and pretty much immediately, our therapist suggested that it sounded as if I was suffering from PTSD. I was a little shocked and a little relieved. So, now I am in therapy with my own therapist, trying to make sense of it all and work through all this crap I have been pushing aside. I am so ready to have a life worth living. While the past few years have been wonderful for many reasons, I have been struggling, off and on, to maintain "happiness" or even contentment. I am looking forward to a brighter future and am now working on setting and keeping my goals, and trying to do things that can only influence my life in a positive way. I have so SO much to be thankful for and do feel so incredibly blessed to have a beautiful, amazing son (who is growing too fast) and a man who loves me and will stick by me to see me through to the "other side" of this mess.
On a lighter note, Cy has gotten past this awful "anti-sleep" phase it seems. He is finally sleeping better again and is such a happy, smiley baby. Now that he sits up on his own, he is much happier just sitting on the floor, playing with toys. It makes life a lot easier around here for sure! He is such a delight! I cannot believe he is almost 6 months old..half way to a year! And, of course, I am already planning his 1st birthday bash! Cannot even wait to plan a birthday party for a baby!
Also - check my etsy shop tomorrow - I am going to be making/posting a TON of new babylegs! :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Is (Almost) Here!

I am so excited about Christmas this year. Chris and I aren't really doing any gifts for each other, and our family is all far away (except Uncle Ryan of course) but I am so excited for my Cyler's first Christmas. Today, Alison and the kids gave Cy some AWESOME Christmas presents and he was so excited! It was so cute to see his eyes light up when the new things were opened up...he could not get enough of it! I cannot wait until Christmas morning to see my baby get all excited. We came home from work and showed Chris all of Cy's new things and they played for a while. And then, Cy decided he was going to stay sitting on his own - for quite some time! So, we officially have an unassisted sitter! He was so thrilled to be playing with his new "gumball machine" and stacking cups that he just sat and sat and sat! So sweet to watch him literally grow and change before my eyes. Next stop...crawling!! As much as I love having him as my little baby, I am starting to sloooowly see Chris' side and can't wait to see my little baby boy turn into a big kid.
Well, back to Christmas - so tomorrow, I am making Christmas Eve dinner and Ryan and my friend Angie are coming over. We have a 21 pound turkey and I am going to keep it easy other than that...mashed taters, some veggies, a couple pies. Then, I am going to make some "Santa" cookies and the breakfast casserole for Christmas morning. Can't wait! :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Smells like Christmas!

Wow, where has the time gone?!? I can't believe Christmas is in a couple of days! And I can't believe my Cyler is almost 5 months old! CRAZY! I am so excited about Christmas with him though....cannot WAIT to see him playing with all of that wrapping paper (and his new toys of course!). He is such a big boy now! He is sitting on his own for little bits of time, and is even hanging on to the edges of furniture and standing up when I set him down. His favorite toy right now is his Sophie Giraffe from Grammie Carol and his Razbaby teether....the kid likes to chew! He has given us a recent run for our money waking up at night...apparently this is some 4 month sleep regression that none of us are very happy about but he is such a love nonetheless. And, I can't complain, he still goes down for bed every night SO easily and when he does wake up, he just eats for a minute or takes his paci and goes right back to sleep. I still look at him at least 20 times a day and say something to the effect of "he is so wonderful" or "Chris, don't we have the most perfect baby?!" I think Chris is getting sick of my sappiness....but he IS wonderful and he IS the most perfect baby! Well, I admit, I am a BIT biased, but seriously, he is such a ball of love and I just can't get over how amazing being his mom really is.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

4 months (+)

So, I have been really bad about my little blog lately! Cy is already four months old - and a couple WEEKS! He is rolling and moving and almost able to sit without our help! Where is my little newborn!? AH! So much fun! He has been going through a little growth spurt and the sleep has been a little bit...ummm...interesting! Last week he had his first Santa experience. He was verrry confused but it was a memory never the less...a very pricey memory! $24.99 just for a CD with ONE image on it. Ah, they sure know how to get the money from mommy! Oh, well, one for the scrapbook. We also put up the tree this weekend and decorated for Christmas! I love it! Christmas is absolutely my most favorite time of the year. Here is the $25 shot!:

Also, side note, I have been crazy crafting and Alison had a party to showcase my clothes and kids accessories. It went pretty well, and I am still working on some orders. Hopefully I can really get this business step is putting everything on etsy to sell. Can't wait!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Well, my little baby is looking more like a little boy everyday! He figured out how to roll onto his tummy from his back on Saturday night and immediately flipped back over onto his back and has been flipping and flopping ever since! He is mobile and mommy was NOT ready yet! I cannot believe how much he grows and changes every single day. I am definitely cherishing every little moment with my little baby because I can tell that in the blink of an eye, he won't be a little baby anymore. Chris can't WAIT for him to be big and walking and talking, and don't get me wrong, I can't wait to see the little boy he is going to turn into, but I know that this baby phase is so short and so quick and I am loving every single little second.....even those 3 in the morning wake up calls!
He is such a happy baby and it puts a smile on my face that he literally makes everyone around him so happy. Random strangers at the grocery store or the mall are always stopping and checking him out and he smiles at everyone! It's so awesome to have such a happy baby, reassures me that Chris and I are doing a good job, I guess :).

On another note, Cyler has apparently entered into the "I only want my mom and dad" phase. Chris and I got to attend a winter gala for an organization called BOMA with some of his work colleagues and get all dressed up! Well, we left Cy with Uncle Ry and his friend, Lily, and apparently, he was not his easy-baby self. Chris and I had a great time, but when we got home well after 11pm, poor Cy was still awake and cranky! Once we got home, he was ok, but his sleep was still a little off that night. Apparently, Lily was a Godsend and I know Ry has a ton of patience, so I think it was alright, I just wish he had slept a little longer than normal.

On yet ANOTHER note, I have always hated the fact that people screw up my name. I would say 9.9 times out of 10, people think my name is Michelle, not Rachelle, and the other 1% of the time, people think my name is ROchelle....and when they read it, they say "Rachel." It has always been annoying, hence going by "Chelle." Well, I don't know how I missed this in naming Cyler, but apparently, he has this naming issue as well. First time I saw this in action was at his 1 month check up, when the doctor actually called him "Cycle." Really? Cycle?! Ugh. Then, I have people (like the insurance lady on the phone) who read it as "Kyler". Now, whenever I tell someone what his name is, they think I am saying "Skylar" or "Tyler". :( Bummer. Oh well, I love his name, and like calling him "Cy" which seems to be easier for nimrods to figure out....I hope :).