Friday, December 1, 2017

Pregnancy Bump Photos

Starting when I first got my positive test, I began taking bump photos. This was something I had looked forward to so much - getting to document my changing belly! I just realized I had never posted all of these together, so here they are!

I really enjoy looking back on these photos. Pregnancy seems like it goes by so fast. I miss my bump so much, but I'm so happy to have my baby here with me now.

Here's all the photos together in a video:

I always get questions about which app I used to make my photos - it was called "Baby Story". The last I checked, they had added even more options for bump photos, including a cute one with colored fruits!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Birth Story of Emmett Raymond

I meant to post our birth story much, much sooner. But once our little one was born, this blog really got put on the back burner! I apologize for taking so long to get this posted! I had originally written it out just a couple days after he was born, so I am copying it exactly as I had written it.

Birth Story of Emmett Raymond 

I had been having irregular contractions for about a week, and hoped it was my body prepping for labor. On Thursday afternoon, I lost a big piece of my mucus plug, which one of my midwives said was likey to happen with the contractions I had been having. When I left my midwife appointment on Friday, I had no idea I would be going to bed that night and waking up in labor! I went to bed with contractions, but that was nothing new. I woke up at 4am Saturday morning, planning on a quick trip to the bathroom. I noticed things were a little wet, but didn't think anything of it. Until I stood up and had a ton of fluid come out! I pretty much stood there in disbelief while it just dripped into my PJs. I finally called to my husband who was also in disbelief. We were still more than 2 weeks from my due date! Funnily enough, the last thing they said to me was if my water broke in the middle of the night, to just go back to bed. So I cleaned up, put on a pad, laid down a puppy pad, and tried to go back to sleep. I was having contractions about every 10 minutes at that point. I basically spent the next few hours between being wide awake and in complete disbelief it was happening, to dosing off.

Around 8:30am I called the midwife, who said that they prefer me to come in for a quick non stress test to be sure the baby was not bothered by my water being broke. So my husband and I had some waffles for breakfast and then headed down to see the midwife around 10am. He looked great during the non stress test! I had a few contractions while hooked up to it too. I asked the midwife how long people usually have to go after their water breaks until they have the baby. She told me most people are in active labor within 24 hours but a small percentage take 48 hours. It was up to us how long we were comfortable waiting. But she said for us, her guess was that we'd be holding a baby at 3am.... and she was right!

So we went back home and waited for my contractions to pick up. My husband cleaned the house and got things ready in the car. Slowly throughout the day, my contractions got more intense. Around dinner time, they were much closer together, between 5-7 minutes apart. I had some soup to eat, but as things continued to pick up, I wasn't able to keep anything down. After HG during the pregnancy I was certainly not surprised to be puking during labor!

Once the contractions were 4 minutes apart for awhile, we called the midwife back, who agreed we should drive down (45 minutes away). I was very nervous for the car ride because I had heard from other people how awful it was to have contractions in the car! But I was happy and surprised that I handled them very well. I kept telling myself that they did not actually hurt... that it was really just sensations of tightening. Repeating that to myself really helped! And when I really concentrated on them, I found that the contractions did not actually hurt. It was just pressure and tightening!

Once we got to the birth center, our midwife wanted to check me to see how much I was dilated. They want to be sure you are progressing before they admit you, (since it's technically an out patient facility, you have only 12 hours to be admitted due to insurance rules) that way you have as much time as you need. I was a little disappointed to find I was only a 4! After being in labor all day! But my contractions were really intense so my midwife felt I'd be progressing quickly very soon. To give us extra time, she had me use the birth ball in the living room outside the birthing room, which I did for about 30-45 minutes. At that point she admitted me, and checked me again, and I was 5.5cm dilated. She suggested a shower, which I quickly agreed too. It helped so much! There was so much pressure with my contractions from the baby's head. Again, not really pain, but intense pressure! I was in the shower for over an hour.

Next I moved to the bed, where I squatted and was on all fours, just moving into different positions. Again, the pressure was even more intense! I remember looking at the clock at that point and it was around 10:20 pm. My midwife checked me again and I was at 7cm. I decided to try the tub for awhile. The water felt nice, but not as nice as I had hoped. The pressure from my baby's head was incredible! I was in the tub for awhile, and started to feel "pushy". It helped to relieve some of the pressure during contractions. I wanted my midwife to check me... I had only progressed to 8cm, which was disappointing to me. Our midwife said that the baby's head was locked up tight against my cervix, and she felt like we had to move him up a little bit so I could continue dilating the rest of the way. So I got out of the tub!

I sat on the toilet for a few contractions so I could be in a squatting position without having to really put any effort in. Then I moved to the bed and got in a side lying position with two big pillows between my knees and one between my arms. Our midwife warned me that the contractions may feel more intense this way, due to the change in position and not really being mobile while lying down. But she said "stick with it and it will work". The contractions lying down were the most intense I had and the toughest to handle. I laid like that for an hour until getting checked again. I was almost there! I just had a tiny cervical lip!

Our midwife was confident that if I started pushing, she could pop the lip right up over our baby's head. So I moved into my back, on an incline, with my knees pulled up, and started to push on my next contraction. It took a handful of pushes over 3 contractions and then the lip popped up and over! Instantly the contractions felt totally different once his head had moved past my cervix. There was no longer the period type crampy feeling with them, just a very intense pressure feeling from his head. My contractions also spaced out to 5 minutes apart, which I initially didn't even realize.

So I officially began pushing! I ended up staying on my back (which I actually had originally not wanted to deliver in that position, but at the time it was working just fine!). I could feel our baby move down and the pressure changed depending on where he was. The absolute strangest thing was when he decided to start wiggling around and turning his head! I could feel his whole body moving! It was the strangest feeling I've ever felt. At one point I heard our midwife mention the baby's hair to my husband, and I was like what?! You can see his head? My husband had been taking photos the whole time, so he showed me a few. I was shocked! I didn't realize he was right there! So I reached down and got to feel him! For the rest of pushing I would reach down and feel his head off and on.

Once I knew he was right there, I was in disbelief he was about to be born, and I felt like my progress pushing slowed down a little bit due to my emotions. The lower he got down, the more intense the pressure got internally. The spaced out contractions were actually a blessing, because it allowed me to stretch out very slowly. That plus the oil and warm compresses our midwife used seemed to really help my skin stretch. When I felt him start to crown, I did get a little nervous about tearing. I could feel my skin stretching out and I felt a tightness and a bit of a stinging feeling. But I couldn't help but think that it didn't feel how people had described it to me (I didn't think it hurt for example), but it was just a really intense sensation.

I pushed for about an hour, but it really didn't seem like very long because my contractions were so spaced out (5-6 mins apart). So I'd push during a contraction, and then his head would just sit there between them. I could actually feel my skin stretch and relax during that time! Once he was crowning and I pushed his head out, the rest of him quickly followed (it literally felt like he slithered out!), and my husband was able to grab him (with our midwife watching) and place him on my chest!!

He immediately started crying, which was a relief to hear. I kept asking if he was okay (over and over) and I was in disbelief I had a real live baby squirming on my chest! My placenta came out 7 minutes after he was born, and I didn't even realize it. I had one tiny little tear and my midwife popped a couple stitches in it. Afterwards, they told me I had very little blood loss and zero swelling to my lady parts. So they were not expecting me to have much discomfort from the birth, and they were right! I've felt pretty normal down there since day 1.

We were left alone for the most part after he was born, and I was discharged about 6 hours later and we brought our little boy home!! One of the midwives came to our house to check on him the next day and then he went for our first pediatrician appointment the day after that. We still don't really believe that after everything, we really have our own little baby! Breastfeeding has been going pretty well - he gained weight very quickly and still is. The hardest part has been worrying if he's getting enough! I know he is, due to all his wet/poopy diapers and weight gain, but I can't help but worry. We just love him SO much! We loved our experience delivering him and bringing him into the world as gently as possible. His labor/birth was the most exhilarating and amazing things I've ever done!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

36 Week Pregnancy Update!

I've made it to 36 weeks! I hadn't done many updates on my youtube channel during this pregnancy, although I had wanted to. I finally had some time, so I did a video update! I had originally vlogged our IVF cycles, but after getting a positive pregnancy test, I suddenly was terrified to make any videos about it out of fear of "jinxing" things. Ridiculous I know! But I figured I'd pick back up doing videos weekly once I was released from our RE at nine weeks.. but I hadn't counted on getting so sick with HG. Once I was pretty much in survival mode, making weekly bumpdate videos were the last thing on my mind!

So other than a few quick updates, such as our heartbeat ultrasounds and gender reveal, I hadn't done any on youtube. I figured it was really time to do one! There's also a sneak peak at some of our maternity photos in the video. I'm planning on sharing some on here too! Hopefully next week :)

It still feels so surreal to be this far into pregnancy. The first half went so slowly when I was sick, both physically and with worry about damaging the pregnancy. But time really did pick up once I started to feel better. And once I hit 37 weeks, I'm eligible to give birth at our birth center. Again, it seems so surreal that it's so close! I can't wait to find out when our little guy decides to make his arrival!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Visual Birth Plan

Making a birth plan can be a great way to learn about what type of birth you and your partner are hoping to have. Making it together can be helpful to be sure that both of you are on the same page about your birth preferences. When I made mine, I looked through a lot of birth plans made by others to get ideas. One of the first things that stuck out to me, was that a lot of the birth plans that were typed out just seemed so long. I had a hard time believing that anyone would really want to read such an in depth plan, especially in a hospital or birth center, where there is a lot going on.

But then I saw visual birth plans, which consisted of small icons that got right to the point. No excessive explanation needed. You can simply quickly look at the icons and get all of the information needed.

These icons were created by someone named Seanna, who has also created a birth plan generator as well. If you'd rather just make the plan yourself, the icons are available for free for everyone.

The easiest way to make your visual birth plan, is to save the icons you'd like to use to your computer, then insert them into a word document. We wrote a few sentences on the top as well, introducing ourselves and explaining that these are simply our preferences in an ideal birthing situation, and that we understand birth is unpredictable and situations may arise where we may need to deviate from these preferences.

I also like to call them our birth "preferences" rather than birth plan. With how unpredictable birth is, it seems like it would be impossible to really plan anything. We are hoping to go into the birth of our baby with a flexible mindset and we were hoping our birth "plan" would reflect that.

Here's a closer look at the icons we included in our birth plan. It might be helpful to note that we are planning to use a local birth center and midwives rather than a hospital (although our birth center has a good relationship with the hospital and is just across the street).

I did tweak the colors of the icons a bit, just because I thought it looked nice! I also may make a hospital version of this plan (which would remove the water birth aspect, but I would still labor in the tub) as well as a c-section plan. Again, just to be prepared for all possibilities.