I want to start this by saying I took no notes during my labor, I was obviously a bit to distracted to do so. As a result, my timing could be slightly off. I could get a list from my midwife and go off that, but I wont. My birth story is just that, mine. I remember things a certain way, and regardless of what others tell me, I will always remember my birth as it is about to be written.
Why Baby Christmas Tree (BCT)? Up until the day that I went into labor, I had no idea what gender of my sweet baby was. As a mom of two boys, I had images of tutus, hairbows, and so much pink! However, I had somehow managed to hold strong and not find out. As a result, we decided to ask my four year old Adam what he wanted to call the baby. The options were Baby Christmas Tree or Baby Rat. The decision was not hard to make.
The births of my two sons had not gone as I planned. Adam had been born via c section because he was breech. I was able to have my second son, Chase, via VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) but even though he was born vaginally, I still did not have the labor I wanted. A VBAC mom is not granted the freedom to move around and labor as a mom that is going in for a routine vaginally delivery. As a result of these restrictions, we decided that the best option for us was going to be a homebirth. We took all the steps needed and found our amazing midwife Kim, a doula (Caryn), and a birth photographer (Christine). Up until the day I went into labor we prepped and prepared our families to accept that we would be having this baby at home. To our shock both of our families were on board and very supportive.
March 10 I woke up at 5am, and instantly made the three foot sprint to my bathroom. I then proceeded to throw up for what seemed like thirty minutes. An hour later I was back doing the same thing. At 10am I woke up for my day, and decided today was going to be very unenjoyable. I had been having off and on contractions for a few weeks, so I figured today was just going to be another uncomfortable and lousy day. So I shrugged it off and started getting read for the day.
I had plans with my work family to go out and have one last lunch date before the baby came. I got dressed, threw my hair in a messy bun, whined that I felt like I was dying, and walked out the door. At around 1pm I started having mild contractions. Nothing I couldn’t handle, more of a discomfort then anything. By 2pm they got a little more uncomfortable, but I was still able to function and act like nothing was really going o=n.
I arrived back at the house at 2:30pm and was starting to feel far more discomfort. My contractions were still not super strong, but pains were coming at 10-15min apart, I felt awful, and I was so tired from being sick all morning. At that point I decided I probably was in labor and started making phone calls. I called my doula, my photographer, my midwife, our parents, and our two friends who would be attending our birth to let them know to be ready. At around 5:30pm my contractions were 4-5min apart and lasting for about 45 seconds. I called Christine and Caryn and let them know that it was time.
At this point I realized I was now juggling to find places for my kids and dog to go. Our original sitters had things come up so we were scrambling last minute. Adams soon to be step mom came and got him around 7:30pm. We decided that we would let Chase just fall asleep here and keep him up in his room. At this point my contractions were not really changing. They were uncomfortable but I was still able to talk through them. I realized that he only way I could keep them going is by walking. The minute I sat down for to long the contractions would spread out and lose strength. I was so over walking back and fourth. My legs were starting to get tired, and I was quickly running out of energy. This is the point where everything went to hell.
Jared got our rented birth pool out, and started to set it up. We realized quickly that we had no way in which to blow it up. When the pool had been packed, the air pump had not been put back into the bag. I started to freak out that my plan to birth my baby in this pool was not going to happen. I talked to every neighbor, and started calling friends, nobody had an air pump we could borrow. My last phone call was to my friend Jess. Thank goodness for her because she recommended that we use my hairdryer. Why had I not thought of the hairdryer. We got the walls blown up, and my amazing photographer blew the bottom of the pool up by mouth.
At this point my contractions are slightly stronger and closer together, and I am ready to murder my dog. He will not stay out from under my feet. I am trying to move around and bam there is the dog. Chase has also decided that tonight of all nights he was going to refuse to go to bed. I am contracting, being tripped by my dog, and my son will not stop climbing up my leg. I was ready to scream, or cry. My friend Nichole came and took my dog to her house, and took Chase as well to try and get him to fall asleep. While she was gone Jared, Christine, and I go outside and start walking. I have no idea what time it is, and I am no longer paying attention to the timing of my contractions. I did know that they were not picking up. We got back in the house, and shortly after my best friend Mikey showed up, and Nichole came back with Chase.
I sat in the living room and watched Chase play with my birth ball, ate some food, and listened to everyone joke around. I realized at that point that something was wrong. My contractions were stalling. There was to much noise, to much going on, and I was beyond stressed out. I wanted to cry. I felt like I had gotten excited for labor for no reason. Nichole could sense I was stressing out and offered to take Chase back to her house so he could sleep. Mikey realized that not a ton was occurring and to give me some space he went and slept in Adams room.
Once they were gone, Caryn and Christine suggested I go upstairs and take some time to myself. So at 1am feeling like a failure, I went up to my room and called my Dad. I always call my dad when I am in labor. I told him I was upset, and he told me to stay calm and just relax. Once we got off the phone I laid down and took a nap until 2am.
I got up and walked downstairs, and told everyone that I still was not contracting. Christine suggested I use ]Clary Sage Oil. It is meant to make contractions stronger and more effective. Jared and I went outside by ourselves and started walking up and down the street. My contractions started to pick up and get strong again. I went inside and asked Caryn and Christine to come out and walked with us. As the contractions started to become stronger, Caryn explained more comfortable ways for me to stand and lean on Jared to try an alleviate the pain. Contractions were getting closer together, and far stronger. It was a colder evening and I was so sick of walking that we went back inside.
We decided that I should try getting in the pool at 3 or 4am. The pool felt amazing. I was starting to get discomfort in my lower back, so having some of that pressure lifted was a blessing. I sat in the pool and found different ways to sit to get comfortable while I was contracting. Once I finally found a good position, it was much easier to relax. Then it happened again.
Around 5:00am my contractions stalled out again. I could not figure out what was wrong with me. How could my contractions be 3-4min apart and just stop like that. Not only once but twice! I was so frustrated that I started to cry. I was ready to give up. Christine and Caryn talked and decided it would be best if they went home. It would allow me to be alone with just Jared so I could relax. Even though they were not pressuring me, maybe in the back of my head just them being at the house was stalling my labor. Once they left, I curled up on my couch and fell asleep again. At 6:30am I woke up to the worst contractions I had had. I could not move from laying to standing until the contraction was finished.
I decided that it was time for everyone to come back and for me to call my midwife, Kim. Between 7:45am and 8:30am on March 11, Caryn, Christine, and Kim arrived at the house. Accompanying Kim was her assistant Hannah, and a training midwife Erica. I had gotten back in the pool shortly before Kim arrived. She asked if I wanted to be checked to see if I had dilated any. I normally am against being checked but felt I needed to know in order for me to be in the right mindset.
Shockingly I was 7-8cm dilated. I was in shock. It was nice to know the contractions and the stalling were worth it. That the frustration and annoying feelings were worth it. I was back in the right mindset and ready to go. About an hour after I was checked, my labor decided it was going to stall again. I was about over the stalling at this point. Kim had me lay on my couch and she checked me again. It turns out that I had a tiny bit of cervix that was not going to let me get to 10cm.
For about an hour Kim tried to hold my cervix aside so I could push and try to get the baby past that little lip of cervix. You cannot imagine the amount of pressure and pain. I was in tears and completely heart broken. I thought the baby was never going to come down. Each time I pushed my bag of waters would bulge out and BCT would suck bak up. When this happens there is nothing to push the cervix aside. At that point, as much as it broke my heart, I decided to have my water broken. I had been in labor for 21 hours, awake for 35 hours, and I was exhausted.
Once my water was broken, and two or three pushes BCT finally pushed past that last lip of cervix. Thank you god. I was in so much pain and so uncomfortable that I wanted this baby out. I got up off the couch, and hobbled to pool. I got one foot in the pool and a contraction came. With the help of Hannah, I launched my body into the pool and sat through my contraction. It was like everything kicked into gear. Contractions seemed to be coming one after the other with only a few brief minutes to regain any form of composure. It took me a bit to find a comfortable spot, but finally I realized that using my husbands arm as leverage was the best way for me to push.
Apparently watching me labor was entertaining. I screamed like a crazy person. I am pretty sure I looked like I was possessed. During on push I screamed for Jesus to please take the baby out. I told my husband and birth team that I couldn’t do it anymore. I was exhausted, I felt like my vagina was being ripped in two, and I swear that baby was never going to come out. I pushed for what seemed like forever. Then finally with my last push I felt it. That feeling everyone talks about but I have never felt. Its a mixture of relief, joy, happiness, and about a million other feelings that I cannot even begin to put into words.
Finally after what felt like a millennium, my sweet little one was laying on my chest. I was still in minor disbelief. I was exhausted, but completely over joyed that my sweet baby was here. After about ten minutes, my mother-in-law reminded me that we still did know the gender of BCT. I was so exhausted that the last thing on my mind was gender. Slowly I lifted babies sweet little leg and looked. I looked up and was finally able to announce that BCT was a beautiful little boy. He had all ten finger and all ten toes, and he was perfect.
Shortly following the delivery of Nathan, I delivered my placenta. Not long after they told me that my placenta was healthy, and that it looked great. I also found out that not only was my placenta perfect, but it was al the shape of a heart. It was amazing to look at.
Once the newborn screening was done, I had taken a shower, and had time to get into bed I started to think about my birth. I had had a stressful labor. Should I choose to deliver at home, there are things I would choose to do differently and things I would keep the same. Overall, I was so happy and proud of myself. I had done what I thought I would never be able to do. Even though I had delivered Chase vaginally, this was different. I had set a birth plan, and followed it. I had so many people there to support me, but ultimately I had my baby my way.
I gave birth to Nathan Keith Mills on March 11, 2014 at 8lb 7oz and was 19.5in long. I gave birth to him in the privacy of my own home, with no drugs, and limited intervention. I birthed my baby the way I wanted to. It is a moment that I will never forget.
Maternity and Birth photos by Psalm 139 Studios
Newborn photos by Infinitus Photography
So when you first heard about women getting pregnant, you hear about the “Pregnant Glow.” When I heard the words “Pregnancy Glow”, I instantly got this image of Edward Cullen from Twilight stepping into the sun. So already, before I even am thinking about kids, I have this image that I am going to be 8 months pregnant and look like a model with glistening skin. So far pregnancy seems AMAZING. The day I found out I was pregnant with Adam I knew I would be ok. I am young, fit, and am totally ready for this “glow.” Pregnancy was going to be a breeze.
FALSE. My image could not have possibly be more wrong. Whoever coined the phrase Pregnancy Glow sucks. He or she is either blind or has a terrible sense of humor. Do not get me wrong, throughout my three pregnancies I have had my days of looking fabulous. Face it, someone as gorgeous as I am cannot look terrible all the time. However, more often than not, my hair looks like I stuck a fork in an electrical outlet, my eyes have bags that sag to my nose, my clothes may or may not match let alone fit, putting on a bra is a luxury, the pregnancy acne looks like it came from a before picture in a Proactive commercial, and the idea of wearing make-up makes me laugh. So in my expert opinion (three kids makes me an expert I think) the Pregnancy Glow is a fake ideal, created by someone with way too much free time.
The next lack of information I failed to receive was in regards to using the bathroom. I already knew that pregnant women pee more than a drunk person who just inhaled a case of beer. However, I was unaware that an intense need to pee could come out of nowhere, causing you to freak out in public because your terrified you would not make the bathroom in time. Those moments are fabulous. So fabulous in fact, that after not making it to said bathroom a few times, I have started keeping a spare pair of pants in my car incase of emergency.
What is even better is when you are eight months pregnant and have to run the whole way across the mall. I should not say run, because lets face it, walking is hard enough let alone running. So lets say, when you very unattractively speed waddle across the mall and finally find the bathroom. You sit down to go, out of breath and sore because you just waddled five miles feeling as though you are going to pee your pants, to hear that sound. The sound of all 3 drops of pee. That huge urge to go was no more than your baby playing jokes on you. So here you sit, out of breath and exhausted, and ready to cry. If you are like mike me your most likely thinking to yourself that next time you are just going to pee your pants. Lets face it you have an excuse, and hormones. Let someone say something.
The third piece of information poorly described regards heartburn and acid reflux. If you have been pregnant and not experienced heartburn, I hate you. I have had the thrill of experiencing it in all three pregnancies. There is a vast difference between normal heartburn, and heartburn experienced by a pregnant woman. The first time I experienced it, I was about 30 weeks pregnant with Adam. It started out as normal mild heartburn. I figured one tums would do the trick. Not true. Within thirty minutes I had heartburn and acid reflux that felt as though it was coursing through my whole body. What made it worse was that no matter what I tried, it took hours for it to go away. O and because heartburn only seems to come at bedtime, I have spent more nights during my pregnancy dying in pain then I have peacefully falling asleep. Removing my stomach and esophagus seems far more comfortable then this particular torture.
For these reasons I have a love/hate relationship with my pregnancies. I would love to say that after experiencing all these problems through my first pregnancy I was better prepared through my second and third. However, that would be a lie. So my only piece of advice is this, realize that pregnancy is not all fun and games. Actually its rather unenjoyable a lot of the time. The outcome however, is totally worth all the pain, lack of sleep, and embarrassing moments.
No pictures this time as I feel they are not really needed. 🙂
I have had a few people ask me why I took as much time as I did writing out Chase and Adams birth story. A few people thought that writing all of it out was pointless because its not like I would not remember it. Another person told me there was no point because I was never going to read it again. Another said I did it for attention. All reason were incredibly WRONG. As a result of these false accusations, I decided to explain my own personal reasoning.
When you are sitting and preparing to have a baby, there are so many things going through your head. Most women have a birth plan of some form. Even if it is not written on paper, they still have an idea of the way they need their birth to go. For some women the road to that perfect birth is not as easy as they hoped. I am one of those women.
The way I birthed Adam, for lack of a better explanation, was chosen for me. Adam was frank breech. This means that his feet were coming before his head. As a result I was an immediate c section. I had no other options. No chance to flip him, no time to cope with the fact that the all natural birth I was dreaming of was not going to happen. I ended up with a severe infection, PPD, and a fear to ever have to deliver another child.
A few years later I became pregnant with Chase. I was terrified at the impending c section. I could not go through that again. At the time I was unaware of a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC). I was heartbroken at a time where I should be feeling nothing but overwhelming joy. A few months later I realized that I was misinformed about having to have a repeat c section. Even though I eventually fought the fight and was able to deliver vaginally, I still did not get everything I wanted. It was a step in the right direction though.
Once I had a few months to reflect on both births I decided I needed to write my stories. Although both births occurred at different times, they group into one large story. The first birth, pushed me to go for the birth I had with Chase. The birth with Chase pushed me to go for the Homebirth I am having with Baby Christmas Tree (named by my 4 year old). Reading my story about Adam helped me to heal and understand that I had done nothing wrong. I was put into a situation that had no other options.
By writing my story I can share my hardships with other moms and show them that birth is not black and white. That on the day she feels alone or that there is no hope, there in fact is someone who may not 100% understand what she is going through, but there is someone who understands the feelings she feels.
My thought and hope was that my story would at least empower and uplift one mom, and that would make the time it took me to write it was worth it. Little did I know that story would empower one women, that women was myself. My story showed me that I am amazing. I am strong and a fighter. Even when those who should have supported me did not, I was strong enough to support myself. As amazing as it is that other moms have read my story and learned from it, it does not compare to what I have taught myself. So yes writing my birth story may seem pointless to everyone else, but it was important to me. That ultimately is all that matters.
So to sum it up, this is why I wrote my birth stories. Reason one, to teach and inform other moms that they have rights. Reason number two, to heal and learn from births that did not go the way I had dreamed. The number 3 and most important reason, to restore faith in myself.
I hope this helps anyone who cared to read better understand why I wrote out my stories, and hopefully pushed a few of you to write out your own. No negatives can come from it, and in my opinion is worth the time to write.
On Monday October 28, 2013 I woke up ready to go. Today was the day. I was going in to have my gender ultrasound. I have two beautiful boys right now. Many moms in my situation will tell you that they are praying to go Team Pink with their third baby. After all, what woman does not want tutus and hair bows.
This appointment was more than that to me though. Up until this point, I had only had one ultrasound, and the machine was so small and old I might as well have not had it at all. For most women, that first ultrasound is the moment when you realize that the pregnancy is for real. The twenty five pregnancy tests you took, that came back positive, were correct. At that moment, at least in my opinion, is when you start to feel like a mom. Feeling the way I do about that first visual, and being so disappointed in mine, left me with a disconnect from my pregnancy. Today would be the day that awful feeling would finally go away.
I went about my morning as I usual do. Talked to my kids, yelled at my dog for not giving personal space, and sat on my couch and fought sleep. (I have wicked bad pregnancy exhaustion. All I want to do is sleep.) About an hour before my appointment, I remembered that I am suppose to drink 32oz of water….and not pee. O joy. So I start to chug. I make it through my first 16oz. I felt a headache coming on and decided it was acceptable to drink coffee for my second 16oz. Starbucks iced coffee with cream and sugar was the best choice I have ever made! For anyone who knows me Starbucks is my own personal heaven. Due to that small bit of awesome, I could finally walk out the door feeling ready.
At this point our best friend Mikey had joined our ultrasound party. We would shortly be joined by baby Chases god mom Nichole as well. We got to the appointment on time, which is a miracle in our household. That in itself should have been a good sign! I signed in and sat there in anticipation. I could not believe that we were finally going to see our baby.
The four of us joked and had a good old time in the waiting room until it hit me. My appointment was 30 minutes late. I have had 32oz of fluid sitting in my tummy and now my bladder for 1.5 hours!!! Of course I could not use the restroom at this point. I was starting to get worried that my bladder would fail me and I would shortly embarrass myself if to much more time passed. Luckily the tech came ten minutes later! Never in a million years, have I ever jumped out of a chair as fast as I did when my name was called.
I layed on the table as soon as we walked in and the appointment began. She put the warm goo on my tummy, and put the wand on. In an instant we saw the top of our sweet babies head. I got soooo excited. We went through and found two arms, two legs, the heartbeat, fingers, toes, and all the other important things you look for on your child. So far everything was great. Then the time to discover the gender of our baby finally came. Everything looked good, and all the parts were there. As a mom all you want to hear is that your baby is happy and healthy. This ultrasound had been a success!
When the appointment was done I jumped off the table and ran to the nearest bathroom. Holy sweet relief. I have never been more thrilled to see a bathroom in my whole life. As amazing as my ultrasound was, having all that pressure applied to your bladder is no fun. Now that my restroom situation was handled, we could finally go home and show our baby to the world. We thanked the tech on our way out the door then the four of us stood by our cars and chatted about how the appointment had gone. All were happy with the outcome. Jared and I thanked Mikey and Nichole and we all headed on our way.
The time had come to share the gender of our baby with our parents. After all this waiting to see our baby and happily tell people if we are going Team Blue or Pink we could proudly announce that we were going to be Team Green. Suprise 🙂
I was so thrilled to be going to the doctor this morning. I had so much wonderful information I needed to share with my AMAZING midwife Kim. I jumped in the car, and away we went. On the way I got this intense craving for a cheeseburger. Lucky me that McDonalds is like 4 blocks away from the doctor. Ten points for the worlds healthiest meal ever. Don’t judge me. It tasted amazing and I would totally do it again.
At the doctors office I went through all the normal steps. For those who have never been pregnant, or been the partner of a pregnant woman, you do not know the joys of a doctor visit. You get to pee in a cup, get weighed, have your blood pressure taken, and in some cases you get asked if you have the urge to eat dirt, chalk or any other non food. So far this appointment was going off without a hitch.
When the time came to finally talk to Kim I was ready! The question I was waiting for finally came; She asked me how I was feeling….poor poor Kim. She got the joys of listening to me unload all of the wonderful information I had stored inside. I am suffering from multiple migraines a week, I feel like I am going to throw up for at least three fourths of my day, I am exhausted constantly, and the government shutdown is sucking out my soul. That last one had NOTHING to do with my appointment, but I was finally able to unload my frustration about it onto someone.
Right after this share of emotions, Kim paid me back for my emotional baggage on her. She let me know that I had to get blood drawn. I HATE having my blood drawn. How bad could a few vials of blood being taken be? I shortly found out that a few vials blood actually translates to eight. I was not at all excited about this. I do not give blood well at all. Generally, I get light headed, throw up, and then pass out. Not like pass out pass out, but fall asleep for 4 hours pass out. It seemed like I was in that chair for almost ten minutes. At one point my lovely vain decided it did not want to let anymore blood out, and she had to readjust the needle while it was in my arm. I remembered thinking, “Is this real life?”
By this point, I am ready to hurl on the floor. I am maintaining composure to the best of my ability but I can feel the calm slowly slipping away from me. At the last moment of calm I had, she took the needle out of my arm and we were done. I was ready to hobble myself to the car. I get this almost instant drunk feeling when I give blood. It is not pleasant.
I walked to the car and told my husband it was time to go home. So much for spending money at the mall. We made a quick trip to the DMV, and an hour and half later we were on the way home. During the car ride home I realize my arm is starting to bruise because my vain is stupid, I have a migraine, I am dizzy as can be, and I want to die. All because during my perfect appointment, I had to give blood.
It was a bit of shock to me when I was sitting on my couch and the realization that my monthly visitor had not yet graced me for the month. I handled this realization the same way any other strong mentally stable would have. I flipped the heck out. At that point Chase was only 8 months old, and adding a third child was not on my list of things to do. I called my darling fiance, Jared, and dropped the bomb on him. Like every good husband, he insisted that I was crazy. There was no way that I was possibly pregnant again. We are super cautious, and have no time to have mommy/daddy time as it is. However, being the amazing man that he is, he just bought the test to pacify my crazy need to test.
I have never ripped a box open faster in my entire life. Not only was I anxious to test, but in the thirty minutes it took him to get home with it, I had downed at least 800 gallons of water. So I hauled butt into the bathroom ripped open the plastic holding the test and took it! I knew it was going to take forever for the results to come up. Well, that long amount of time was not so long. Before the screen could even fill, that dreadful little line appeared. I was without a doubt pregnant.
I instantly lost it. I have never cried so hard in my entire life. I am a firm believer that all children are a blessing. I love my boys more than life itself. I was not ready for this though. I was not ready to have two in diapers again. Not ready to have my body inhabited by another being. Not ready for sickness, exhaustion, and having to make a million decisions. However, here I found myself pregnant yet again. I gathered the courage to go and tell Jared the news. I knew that he was going to take it hard, so I gathered my composure the best I could. Alas, wrong again. He was thrilled. He grinned from ear to ear. He held me as I cried, but I can tell he was not as disappointed as I was.
Of course the next logical step at 1 am was to call my father. I do not even know how that poor man understood a word coming out of my mouth. I cried the whole time I talked to him. Even through him telling me it would be ok, that Jared and I would be fine. I cried and cried and cried. Jared had also called his mom and shared the news with her. We got support and love from her as well. At this point Jared and I both knew we had support from the two most important people in our lives. We knew from then on that we would be ok.
I find myself now just under 16 weeks pregnant, and still nervous as hell and not 100% sure on what will happen down the road. What we do know though, is that sometime in March our sweet baby will be born at home; we will learn babies gender the day he or she is born; and that we could not be happier to have baby joining us. So here is to the final 24ish weeks of pregnancy I have left. Cant wait to see what they have to bring.