Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Day we met. A birth story.

This is Rebekah Faith Wear's birth story, and it is a beautiful one indeed. Sadly, I do not have many photos from this day - I made sure with my second to hire a birth photographer, but if you have time here is our story! For you pregnant ladies out there who might be reading this it is safe to proceed. There is no horror story, blood or gore. And for those of you, some of my friends even, who did have to endure trauma during your labor and/or your delivery may this story be healing to you, and help dispense any fear, pain or hurt you endured during your experience.

Thursday January 31st - 38 week appointment

I remember when I felt Rebekah “drop” into place, it was around 36 weeks and I could feel the difference in my pelvic area. Walking presented new challenges, but it gave me hope she was coming early. I knew she was coming early. At my 38 week appointment I thought for sure I would be dilated but I was no more than 1/2 a centimeter dilated - nothing to write home about. My Mom, and doula, was prepared to come for the weekend following my appointment, but I called her after the quick appointment and told her not to come.

Friday February 1

I began to have tightening sensations about every hour for 15-30 seconds. They were very weak, almost unnoticible, but they were at regular hour intervals. I remember running to Target to pick up some last minute things; a changing table cover, gift for the nurses at the hospital. I called Mom as I was leaving and asked her to come for the weekend just in case this was a sign of my labor picking up. I remember not wanting to get my hopes up, curious, anxious if it was all really starting. Very unsure of myself and my body, and frankly I just needed my Mom there for comfort and reassurance.

Pre-Labor/ Early Labor
Saturday Feburary 2 - Monday February 4

Mom arrived in the morning. I was so excited, and yes, well rested. The tightening continued all day Saturday and Sunday with regular intervals, about every 7 minutes apart, but still very comfortable. Mild enough that I could nap during the day, and rest. But, by Monday, the surges slowed and I felt more frustrated than anything else. Unsure if labor was actually going to start “for real” or not. My Mom kept reminding me that it was “real” labor. It was all part of the story, all start of the process. Unsure if "the day" was one day away or one week away. It's like not knowing when Christmas is going to come.

Tuesday February 5

5 am - I woke up with regular surges. I went downstairs, ate a bowl of shredded wheat cereal and almond milk. Little did I know this would be the last thing I would eat for the next 28 hours. During the surges I got on my knees and laid across my red birth ball. I timed the tightening, and they were about 30 seconds long every 5 minutes. By 7 am I woke up Mom and Thomas, and we called the nurses -line. Because of the regularity and length of time I was having the regular contractions we went into the hospital. We packed up EVERYTHING.

Traffic was awful. It took us 45 minutes to get to the hospital. We brought everything up with us, registered, and went to the third floor to labor and delivery. As we got checked into triage, we were in formed that only Thomas could go back with me and that we could not leave our stuff - Mom had to carry it all downstairs with her to the first floor waiting room - I was annoyed they didn't tell us that when we arrived at Registration. Little miscommunications between Registration and the nurses continued like this throughout my hospital care. 

After putting on a hospital gown I was hooked up to two monitors  - one for the baby and one for my surges. The nurses asked me a million questions - most of which I cannot remember. I didn’t want to answer any of them. When they finally examined me I was only 1 centimeter dilated, but they confirmed that I was having regular conractions, and they would stay that regular or get slightly closer together and just increase in intensity. They urged me to go home since I wanted to do a natural labor and delivery. They said if I stayed at the hospital it would only increase my chances of intervention, induction, etc. So we left, and that’s when the race really kicked off.

As soon as I got home I tried to rest. Through each surge, I implimented my much practiced hypnobirth techniques. Light touch massage on my arms and legs was the only touch I could really handle. The birth ball was my companion and best friend, as I labored over it on my hands and knees most of the day. I took a few short naps, interrupted by my surges and trying to go deeper into myself. By 7 or 8  o’clock that evening I wanted to go to the hospital. My surges were strong and I was tired. We called the doctor and she was kind enough to just let us meet her at her office so we did’t have to go through triage again. 20 minutes in the car, with the seat heaters on seemed to acutally help my pelivic discomfort and ease me into my breathing. We got to  Dr. Wolf’s office and she checked me... I was only 2 cm dilated!!! I began to cry feeling like nothing was happening, and feeling very discouraged. My compassionate doctor held my warm wet face in her hands and said “You’re doing woderfully, go home.” She reminded me most women couldn’t even have labored this long naturally, and siad I was doing a beautiful job and that I just needed to keep going. So I did. My husband, mom and I walked (er -I waddled) out of the office and headed home. In the car we decided to just drive around for a bit since the car seemed to relax me. At this point the timing is all a blur. I was in and out of awareness - and can honestly attest to the power of the hynobirthing techniques at this point. My breathing would be so rhythmic at times I put my husband to sleep (once we were home of course).

When we got home my Mom encouraged Thomas to go to the basement and sleep, as we could have another long day ahead of us. Her and I slept in the comfort of the guest room where the soft worn in matress cradled my body and I would get 3 minute rests between surges. In those 2 or three minutes I sometime dozed. I tried to let Mom sleep as well, and I would often get up to go back into the master bedroom to work on the ball, or get in the tub. The night went on, the hours passed and I was unaware until about 5 am.

The 24 hour mark

Wednesday February 6

5 am - By the time I hit this benchmark in labor. I was tired and back labor had begun. I felt as though I was loosing focus and giving up on my body and myself. I would shake through my contractions and could not find a comfortable position. Any sitting or lying was unbearable. I asked to be taken to the hospital, and my physche flirted with the idea of escape via an epidural. I kept saying “I’m done now”. Thomas and Mom were patient, and calm as I felt like I was on the verge of loosing it. As much as I felt out of control, the baby bearing down on my pelvic floor, I kept it together on the outside. The videos of me show a completely calm shell. I seem drugged, and in no pain. Inside I was ready to stop. Looking back I was simply fatigued.

When we got to the hospital, I could barely get through registration. But I made it all the way to triage without a wheelchair. I could still walk and I continued to breathe. I continued to "run the race", one breath in front of the other, just keep going. The agony came when they had me hooked up to the monitors again. I could barely stand being on my back, lying down. The nurses checked me - two infact. I was completely thinned and they couldn’t get an exact on how dialted I was - they estimated 6-7 cm. That was a relief, but also discouraging. When they asked me if I wanted the epidural I said "yes", but Thomas said "no", and I stayed mad at him the remainder of the morning.

6:20 am - (Right before the nurses changed shifts at 7am)we were officially checked in to a LDR room (labor and delivery room)! Praise God. As they carted my bed off, the triage nurse went with me, and tried to re-hook me up to the monitors in the LDR room. I could not bare to be on my back. I needed to be on my knees draped over my birth ball, but the nurse was irritated that I wasn't being still enough to be monitored. Thomas and Mom advocated for me and luckily when the labor and delivery nurse came in she said I could be in any position I wanted to. She did not make me feel pressure, or bad for her missed agenda of getting the baby monitored.

The nurses changed shifts and Dr. Wolf came in to check me, commenting she doubted I was 6 cm. But when she did check me she said “Well good news! You are ready to push!” I was elated and in disbelief! She explained she would go get ready, and she would also be breaking my water.

I don’t know what time it was, but I remember the nurses coming in and setting up, the nurses were two girls in their young 20’s about my age. One was a nursing student, and the other was a sweet, lively nurse ready to go. I was glad they were both there to help and assit Dr. Wolf. We had a great team. Thomas was on my left and my Mom on my right. When Dr. Wolf broke my water I felt nothing, just saw a great flood - and Dr. Wolf explained there was merconium in the water and because of this the baby would not be able to have immediate skin to skin time with me, but would need to be seen (in room) by the NICU nurses right away. Thomas could be by her side the entire time. I was fine with all this, I just wanted to meet my baby at that point.

Around 8:10 am - Before I knew it I was pushing. Three 10 second count pushes for every wave of contractions. By the second wave I had a mirror that I could watch the process - Dr. Wolf said it would help me push better, and it did.  Although I fought her on it at first, I didnt want to watch my body unfold itself - but she said "You can and you will" even when I insisted I couldn’t watch. The hardest part was that I was tired, for being up so long.The pain was nothing in compared to the race I had been running for the past day - the finish line was in sight. My body shook after pushing, and my team would coach me to go limp and relax, reserve my energy for the next surge. Toward the end - waiting to push with her so low seemed impossible, but I remained calm and in control. I willed myself to keep going, still in disbelief the moment was here. The moment was now.

At 8:47 am Rebekah Faith Wear was born. 7 lbs 13 oz. 22 inches long. A head full of blonde hair. She was perfect. She was mine. She was ours. Her Daddy talked to her as she got examined by the nurses. He was her comfort amidst the confusion of not getting to meet me right away.

Dr. Wolf and my Mom stayed with me, and I delivered the placenta. I was shaking, and was buzzing, and in shock that it was over. That I had had a natural, peaceful and calm birthing. I did tear but I didn’t feel it when it happened, and it was minor. After the placenta was birthed they gave me pitocin because I bled a good bit, but I was well. She was healthy, I was healthy - the room was warm with the sunlight of morning and the birth of my baby girl.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Skinny Jeans, Baby Weight & Body Image

The journey to "lose the baby weight" has been interesting thus far. My daughter will be 4 months old in one week, and I only have 6-8 lbs to go to my PRE-Prego weight but really want to lose 15 more lbs since I was about 10 lbs heavier than what I wanted to be before I got pregnant. I wanted to write on this topic because I know how hard it is (now) to feel good about yourself in this stage of life. I wanted to offer a realistic view of what it looks like during this time, and so other woman can be encouraged by this post. Whatever you do - don't give up, and remember The Story of the Little Engine That Could - "I think I can, I think I can!"

Me a week or two before giving birth- Jan 2013 (I maxed out at 178 lbs - which was a 34lb gain my entire pregnancy -this is also my first pregnancy) 

I will be doing a couple posts on this topic because it was very difficult for me after I had her to deal with my body image. Luckily Thomas had two weeks off work and my Mom and his Mom were here to help us with the new baby, and that gave me a chance to shower every morning and do my hair and makeup. Even when Thomas went back to work and all the help left, baby girl had a really great morning nap routine and that is when I would still take my shower and do my hair and makeup. It was the ONE thing a day that made me feel somewhat okay about myself. Even though my face was puffier, and rounder than normal - styling my hair and putting on a face made all the difference.

The most challenging thing for me post-baby was how surprised I was by the 6-weeks of no exercise & & how crummy I felt about my body. I am NOT one of those women who started walking, running, exercising pre 6 weeks. NO NO NO. The one thing I heard from all the women in my life, including my doctor was "TAKE IT EASY". My own Mother was nuts about me NOT using the stairs, as was my Grandmother. It has a lot to do with the pelvic floor, and the truth is we just aren't sure how much damage we do to it until we are older, so the recovery time post labor and delivery is incredibly important. That all being said I hated (with a passion) not being able to exercise.

Here are some pictures from my journey thus far, and how I felt at every stage. I will be posting later on how to dress, and style yourself to feel BETTER during these phases.

The day I gave birth - February 6, 2013 - I was on a high. My body was the last thing I was thinking about. I had a 28 hour completely natural vaginal birth using Hypnobirthing. 

Me 4 days after giving birth - you can see my belly still swollen. At this point the water retention was intense, and I remember putting on that tank top and thinking - "this is interesting", but it still didn't phase me at this point. I was still 10 lbs down from when I was full term. 

Me (& my gorgeous sister in law) 7 weeks post baby. My weight was 161lbs at this point, and I felt gross. By the 5/6 post partum mark I was completely over not being able to exercise. Note: I did NOT eat well during those 6 weeks which is something I would totally change with my next post partum recovery period. If I had not had so many DANG Potbelly Sugar Cookies I would have been in the 150's at that point - but hey! I was enjoying the sweets. To make you feel better there was one day where I think I had three sugar cookies from Potbelly - and those things are 550 calories A POP. The fact that I wasn't gaining made me excited - so I took advantage. 

Okay I hate this picture (I am second from the left)- I about died when I saw it but I am posting it for a reason. I want SHOW other women out there that YES your body does change, your belly pouches, and you may feel crummy about yourself but be patient, and be KIND to yourself.  I know you have heard it a thousand times but here is another reminder: You brought a living human being into this world. You carried a miracle. Genesis tells us that both man and woman were created in God's image, and you know what image we reflect of God? The ability to create life! It is an amazing and powerful, and sacred gift, and we need to be kind and loving to our vessel that carries these sweet children. Even if you don't believe it - there are days when I don't, and I was scared - Your body WILL change back. I am not fully there yet, but even in the past 3 weeks (from when this picture was taken) I see a difference, and my body is changing, and the skin is going back to the muscle, and that fat is melting. 

Mothers Day 2013 - I still have about 10 lbs. to lose in this picture to be at my pre-baby weight
13 weeks post-partum. At this point I have been very disciplined about exercise and I am at 153-156 in this picture. I am also a nursing mother, so learning what to eat, and when has been interesting. You can see how and what I am eating in my next post! 

This is me today - down to 151. Still have 7lbs to go to my pre-pregnancy weight but I had a major victory today. These jeans are my "skinny-fat" jeans. Lol - what are "skinny-fat" jeans? They are the Pre-pregnancy jeans I fit into (at 11 weeks) but also my "fat jeans" - I am NOT in my skinny-skinny jeans yet! Back in 2011 I lost 20 lbs and I looked & felt amazing. I got ride of all my "fat" clothes, and as I was losing weight I bought these pair of jeans to transition (since I knew I wanted to lose more). They are Madewell Jeans and so I didn't want to throw them away when I lost all the weight. So I kept them around. I wore them in the first trimester of pregnancy (when I had put on about 8 lbs), and now I fit them! It's still a tight squeeze but they are totally wearable! This picture also shows my tummy - you can still see there is a lot of work to be done, but it is an improvement from three weeks ago, and from all the reading I've done it takes about one full year (ugh) for the skin to return 90% back to the muscle. Don't get me wrong that is not all skin, I have about 10% body fat I also need to lose, but it all ties into each other. 

 If you are a new Mom, or just had a baby and are struggling with your body image I hope by me "putting it all out there" it has been an encouragement. I think all women (as some point in their life) struggle with this - especially after having babies, but take heart and just keep moving forward. Now that I have been through, and am still going through this, I think TIME does more good for our bodies than any amount of exercise or trying to eat perfect. Keep in mind if you are breastfeeding to be cautious with dieting, make sure you are getting plenty of carbs and drinking enough water. This is not the time to "low carb" it - you can do that AFTER you stop nursing. Remember you are beautifully made and say nice things to yourself - change the inner-dialogue. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Photos & Mothers Day

So I have been using pinterest and other Mommy blogs to help me stay and get motivated to get rid of the baby weight. I realized the ones that get the most traffic and most useful to me are the ones that update regularly and POST Photos! So I will be doing BOTH of those things more often - I SWEAR!

So here are pics from my first mothers day. I had the wonderful joy to share the day with my Mama, and my Grandmother whom I call "Luli". Also my Aunt Gigi was in town from Seattle.

 Me & Baby Girl on My first mothers Day 

Four Generations of Women - What a Special Picture. 

 Baby Rebekah & her Lala... so sweet.
Laughing! Love this one :)
 Rebekah and Aunt. Gigi