Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Leaving on a jet plane

We are on our first official all-family vacation! Corey had two days of meetings he needed to be in Manhattan for, and we thought...New York City at Christmas time?? Yes please! So we made a vacation out of it! We were supposed to be here Sunday night and leave Friday night, but due to a series of ridiculously unfortunate circumstances, we got stuck in San Francisco for a night and arrived Monday evening and will leave Saturday night now. The kids did awesome on the plane! Everett basically slept the whole time, and the kids stay busy with movies, iPad games, and looking out the window. I'm so proud of how they handled our travel days especially considering everything we went through to get here! I also brought the flight attendants on both flights chocolate so they would be nice to the insane family taking 3 small children on a plane. They were very kind and accommodating as a result, and I've got one package of chocolate left for our flight home. I definitely recommend bribing the flight crew if you plan to fly with small kids!

The three hour time change is a little bit rough on the girls. Everett couldn't care less. He just spends his day in the ergo and naps off and on. He's pretty chill about the whole thing. We haven't wanted to just stop our sightseeing to come back to the hotel for 3 hours. midday for the girls to nap, so they are a little sleep deprived, but they're doing really well considering the circumstances. It's been hard for Corey and I to fall asleep much before midnight (since that's 9pm pacific time), but we've all slept until 8:30ish, so can't complain there! 

We came without any baby gear except a carrier for Everett. You can rent most of that stuff here, and we knew we'd have our hands full at the airport with 3 kids and all our luggage. You also don't need car seats to ride in taxis here, and we didn't want to lug them around everywhere we went. There are car services here that can pick you up with reinstalled car seats too, which we might do for our ride back to the JFK airport since it takes an hour and a half in traffic. We have a rental double stroller coming today. Only $48 for 5 days, which is totally worth it to us! We tried to get by without it, but with the kids not napping, they're having a hard time with all the walking. Plus, we're ok walking two miles each way to do/see things and save money on the cab fares. Kiddos can't make it that far. They will be able to nap or take a rest in the stroller this way. Or I can take a break from having Everett in the carrier if one of the girls wants to walk. I'm going to need a serious neck/shoulder/back massage when I get home. I average wearing Everett in the ergo or wrap 10-12 hours a day. By the end of the day my back is dying. So it'll be nice to have the option to put him down. 

We went to an excellent coffee place yesterday...Intellegencia. Yum! I took the girls to see the Macy's Christmas window displays on W 34th just down the street from the coffee shop. We killed a half hour doing that while Corey was in meetings. They were enamored. I was really impressed with how involved the displays are! My pictures aren't really worth posting. It was hard to get a good angle while keeping track of the girls and not getting s reflection or glare. Look it up online. Amazing. We still need to go see the ones in Saks Fifth Ave. We also hit up Rockefeller Center last night and saw the tree and light show and the skating rink. We found another great coffee shop called Blue bottle coffee. Another great spot. We had dinner at Trattoria Trecolori in Times Square. Excellent food!! Best fettecine Alfredo I've ever had, and that was with gluten free noodles too! We took the kids to the Lego store, the Disney store (nicest workers in there!), and Toys R Us. Of course, they HAD to ride the Ferris wheel. So fun for them! They got their first pez dispensers...Dori for Eden and Nemo for Charlotte. We're hanging out at the hotel a bit today until Corey is done with work around 1 or 2, and I'm also waiting for our stroller to be delivered. We're planning to head to the southern part of the city to see the Statue of Liberty, the new One Worle Trade Center building, and the 9/11 memorial along with a couple other things in the area. We're skipping the 9/11 exhibit in th buillllding as we've been warned that its really graphic and not appropriate for small kids. We have plans to come back again without the kids and will do that by ourselves. We might try to hit Greenwich village today too. 

Tomorrow is Central Park and the Museum of Natural History. 

More later! Signing off for now. Kids are starving and ready to eat each other if I don't make them lunch soon (we're staying at a Residence Inn so we have an actual kitchen, and they offer free grocery shopping services, so we're saving money by eating breakfast and lunch in our room or packing it to take). 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Monday morning

Listening... I'm going back and forth between Mat Kearney's new single "Heartbeat" on repeat and the new Johnnyswim Christmas album that just came out this morning! It's a little early for Christmas music for me, but when it's Johnnyswim? I'll listen to this year-round probably. They are so gosh-darn talented. Saw them in concert at Triple Door back in May, and that was by far one of the best concerts I've ever been to!

Eating... A protein bar...not exactly the breakfast of champions, I know. But it's easy when I'm on the couch nursing Everett in the morning.

Drinking... Loads of water and cranberry juice. I've been trying to get rid of a UTI without antibiotics (don't worry...following instructions from my naturopath that include more than just cranberry juice) because I deal with yeast infections every time I have antibiotics...but it's not resolving on its own after a week, so I'm waiting on the RX she called in for me this morning. My naturopath agrees that there's definitely a time and place for antibiotics and prescription meds....and this is one of them. And I'm very thankful they exist when they're truly needed!

Wearing... Still in sweatpants and a nursing tank at the moment. I need to get dressed to get to the store for groceries and my medicine. I'm thinking I'll stick to comfy clothes while I'm still feeling crummy and go for jeans, a sweatshirt, and my rain boots.

Feeling... Kinda crummy from this UTI. Other than that...anxious to feel better and get out of the house. I'm going a little stir crazy after being home all last week thanks to my illness and the kids having colds! Also getting super excited for Christmas. Got about half our Christmas shopping done from the couch this week (thank you, amazon), and finally was able to budget in official fancy monogramed Christmas stockings for our whole family from Pottery Barn (and I managed to score them on sale for 30% off)! They come on Tuesday, and I'm torn on whether to go ahead and hang them up or wait a couple more weeks... I usually wait until after Thanksgiving to decorate, but it's hard to wait when you have kids who are going nuts with excitement because all the big box stores have all their Christmas stuff out before Halloween. And I'm excited because Corey and I have a date day scheduled for this coming Saturday. We'll have our little half pint tag-along named Everett, but he's so easy that it won't be a big deal at all. Girls will go to Grandpa and Grandma's and we have plans to hang out in Seattle for the day. It's much needed!!

Weather... It's been a pretty stormy couple days, but I see some blue skies from my couch. Looks sunny but chilly. My favorite fall weather! They're saying there's a chance of snow on Thursday thanks to that big storm in Alaska...I'll believe it when I see it, but it would sure be fun!

Wanting... A new pair of jeans. Since having Everett, I've got exactly one pair of jeans and one pair of leggings that fit me. That's it. I'm about 20 lbs heavier than I was when I got pregnant with him (I gained a total of 37 lbs with him, which was needed since I was underweight before), and I'm hoping to keep this weight on since pregnancy is about the only time I am able to gain weight...but as a result, none of my pre-pregnancy clothes fit. So some new clothes that fit me well would be awesome! And a new pair of boots. I've only had mine for 3 years, but they weren't the greatest quality and the soles are falling apart. They're so worn on the heels that there's plastic showing through that makes a "click click" sound when I sounds like I'm wearing high heels! And I'm wanting to work out to tone the "extra weight" I've kept on. I don't mind my actual size at all, but I'd like to look a little less flabby and a little more muscular. Mostly my tummy that's still kind of stretched out from 3 babies.

Needing... To get more serious and dedicated about potty training Charlotte. The girl is basically potty training herself. She's been going on the potty right before bath time for quite a while now. But in the last couple months she started putting Eden's underwear on over her diaper. Then she started running to the bathroom and sitting on the toilet (with her diaper still on) to poop and would come tell me afterward that she went. It's been tough with a new baby to run to the bathroom with her or clean up accidents when I'm nursing. I finally got her some undies of her own and she's been wearing them any time we're at home. She's only had a couple accidents. She goes to the bathroom, uses the step-stool and gets on the big potty (with no kiddo potty seat on it) by herself. Gets off, wipes, flushes, and washes her hands. On her own. She's just watched Eden. I've never taught her any of that. I am not really doing hardly anything except offering major praises and high fives every time she goes on the potty. Now I just need to get more dedicated and start practicing with her in public. She already tells me she has to go potty when we're out. I just haven't taken her out without a diaper yet. She's got to be the most independent and motivated kid I know. She's all about the "I want to do it myself" attitude (which can be good or bad). But in this situation, it's awesome. Can every kid be this easy to toilet train??

Thinking... About how fast time flies and how quickly my kids grow. Wishing I could stop time a little. Eden is 3 1/2 now, and she's no longer a toddler. She's a preschooler. A little girl. I can't get over it sometimes. She's just so grown up! It's good sometimes in that she is a really awesome helper in so many areas. It's not so fun sometimes in that she is also growing to have her own opinion and mindset and likes to argue with Daddy and I more and more. And Everett is not a newborn anymore. He's a whole 10 weeks old now, and he just looks huge to me! He's growing out of his 3 month clothes and is starting to fit into some 6 month clothes already. Slow down baby boy!!

Enjoying... The baby boy sleeping on my lap while I type this. I will never grow tired of having sleepy snuggly children on me. It's one of the best things in the world. Being that he might very well be our last baby, I try to soak up and enjoy every one of these moments that I can!!

stole this from my blog friend Callie

Monday, October 20, 2014

Life lately

I'm feeling a little bit of an itch to blog more regularly again. I don't know how long it'll last or how realistic it is at the moment with a new babe, but at least I'm posting something...right?

Life with three's crazy and chaotic, and I love it. Sometimes I don't love it, but I still love having three kids. If that makes sense. I feel like the transition from 2 to 3 has been worlds easier than from 1 to 2. I know not all people have that same experience. I think it really depends on the kiddos and the ages. With Eden being 3 1/2 and Charlotte being 2, they are playing really well together. They're your typical sisters who fight and compete and sometimes hate each other, but they play, dance, spin in circles, laugh, are silly, and love each other more often than they fight. It's soooo helpful to have two older kiddos so close in age because they keep each other busy. I feel like they don't hardly even need me! (Well, ok, they still need me to get them food, change a diaper, be referee when they're fighting over a toy, etc.) They just don't need me to constantly be right there playing with them 24/7 anymore, which makes it easier to not feel like a bad mom if I want to snuggle Everett on the couch a little bit after I nurse him. Obviously, my girls still love it when I join in on their playtime or when we all sit and read books. But it's nice that they don't feel so neglected (at least they don't act like they feel that way). Eden is not independent. AT ALL. She needs constant attention or company. It's just how she is. She's been that way since day one. So it was a really hard transition for her to get used to me being attached a new baby who nursed constantly. She felt so neglected and replaced despite my best efforts. Charlotte was also an extremely challenging baby who screamed an average of 5-6 hours a day and 2-3 hours in the middle of every night until she was almost 6 months old.

Everett isn't the easiest baby in the world, but he is certainly the easiest of my three kids! He sleeps awesome. He's been sleeping at least 5 hours a night since he was born. Most nights he goes 7ish hours his first stretch. Then its 3-4 hours after that. And he naps for 3 hours at a time. It's amazing. As long as he is swaddled and in a swing, he's a dreamy sleeper. He won't sleep in the crib yet for more than 20 minutes or so. He either needs a warm body (aka me) or to be moving. But that's ok for now. I know he won't always need that to sleep, and neither of the girls would sleep in their cribs until 6ish months. The only downside is that because he sleeps so well, he wants to eat constantly when he IS every hour to hour and a half max. If we get close to the hour and a half point he starts getting hangry (angry hungry). So there is that, but he has gotten to the point of nursing much more efficiently, so he's nursing for 5-10 minutes each side rather than 20 minutes each side...which makes a huge difference!

Charlotte is doing well. She sure is a stubborn one. It's her way or the highway. With everything. There is no compromise with her. Period. If she can't get her way in the time she feels is appropriate (right now), she puts herself in timeout and pouts with her arms crossed and says quietly "I'm mad" and will stay in her self-proclaimed timeout on the stairs until she's worked past it or I can go sit with her and talk about it. Most often this happens if I'm nursing Everett and she wants to sit on my lap and snuggle. I always offer to have her come sit right next to me and I'll still snuggle her the best I can, but like I said, she's strong-willed. That's just one example, but that's life with her. She is also fiercely independent and wants to do everything herself...even if it's totally impossible or impractical. And she gets really upset when she's not able to do something on her own. While her strong-willed and independent personality can be a bit challenging for us as parents, I know that they will also work to her advantage and be great strengths when she's older. I love seeing her grow as a little person. She loves her brother so much. She's a great helper and big sister to him. She's also very sensitive. She feels everything very deeply. I love her little heart.

Eden has been...challenging. I love that girl to death, and 3.5 is a fun age in that she's really able to be more independent and is able to be a really good helper (in ways that are actually helpful). She can be a good helper in the kitchen sometimes. She is my dedicated garlic peeler. She is seriously pro at it, and I hate peeling garlic. It takes forever and is plain annoying. She's always happy to do that for me while I prep other aspects of a meal. She is great at helping me empty the dishwasher and put away dishes. She likes to help clean the dining table after we eat a meal. She just loves being my shadow. Which can also be annoying and bothersome sometimes, but you have to pick and choose your battles. I can't believe how old she looks. She's not a toddler anymore. She's a preschooler. It's crazy to see them change from baby to toddler to an actual little kid. She's funny and silly and intelligent. She has more energy than I know what to do with. I seriously don't know where she gets it. This fall and winter is going to be tough when it's raining and I can't take them to the park to run all their energy out in the mornings. She literally runs in circles around the house...for an hour at a time. Sometimes it drives me nuts because I am mentally topped out with her and Charlotte running around yelling, but other times it's funny and I'm glad they have figured out a way to work all those wiggles out! Three is also very challenging. Whoever invented the phrase "terrible twos" had not yet reached the age of three. She is smart enough to manipulate, be sneaky and mischievous, lie, be sassy and talk back, instigate, and boss her sister around. It's been a tough few months with her. We feel like we are constantly disciplining. We've had to come up with new ways to discipline because the things that used to work don't have the desired affect anymore. She definitely keeps us on our toes! Despite the challenges, we love her and enjoy her (most of the time).

Corey is doing great. We've been through a lot of changes recently with his job. He was promoted to a senior level design engineer at the beginning of summer. Then right before Everett was born he was promoted to manager of his department. And the end of last week he put in his two weeks notice to move to a different company. His current company does a much broader scope of work, and the company he's going to is just a consulting firm. So what he does is the only thing they do. It'll give him the opportunity to learn a lot more and expand his horizons a bit. He wasn't actually looking to leave his current employer at all. He enjoys working at this company and loves his team. He was sought out by two different consulting firms and both offered him positions after a couple meetings (none of which I would classify as interviews...he just got coffee with the owner of each company and had a couple follow-up phone calls). He's great at what he does and has really good customer relationships with some very big companies, so a lot of people want him in hopes of bringing the business of the other companies with him. Leaving his current job is bittersweet. He's kind of topped out where he's at and doesn't really have a good mentor or person to look up to or learn from, and he really wants that. He desires to learn and grow and receive constructive criticism. His new employer will be able to offer that and he has more opportunity for advancement. The best part is the work situation. He will have to commute to Seattle (which in traffic is about an hour and a half if he takes the train) every day for the first 6 months just because they have a particular client who wants the consultant working in their office. After 6 months though, he'll transition out of that position and take on other clients and will work from home. Permanently. He's starting out up in Seattle because he has an excellent relationship with that client and can really help build his company up with them (sorry I'm being so vague about company names...I can't legally tell all of the internet who he's working with for security reasons). He will still travel with this job, which actually something he didn't want to lose the ability to do. He really enjoys traveling. And I don't mind it as long as it's not excessive (it'll be 15-25% of the time, so that's not bad at all). It means we get to build all kinds of travel points with airline miles, hotels, rental cars, etc so that we get to vacation for next to nothing. That's how we went to Italy in April! And hopefully in the not-too-distant future, I'll be able to travel with him a little bit. When I'm not nursing a baby anymore. And maybe the kids can join us when Everett is a little older and we don't need to haul around a ton of baby equipment. I'm super excited to have him working at home. He does that now a few days a month or will work at home if I have some doctor appointments and the grandparents weren't available to babysit. It's so nice when he doesn't have to commute. The girls are early risers, so we all get up and eat breakfast together before he heads down to his office in the basement. He comes up to join us for lunch. And then when he's done working for the evening, he just walks upstairs. There's no commute! It's awesome. So we're both really excited for that. Of course, he got a pretty decent raise with the new employer, which is awesome too.

I'd say the last thing worth noting is house stuff. We just discovered in the last week that we have a water leak in our basement. We will be spending some time this week taking down plywood and drywall (our basement is partially finished) to determine if the leak is coming from pipes to the girls' bathroom (the only place in the house without updated's still galvanized pipe in there) or if the water is actually coming in from the foundation. Obviously, both issues are pretty major and not fun to deal with, but we'd much prefer the plumbing issue to a foundation problem. Nonetheless, we have some structural (foundation) specialists scheduled to come out next week to look at it and quote the repairs if we can't find a leak to the bathroom. So that's a pretty not fun issue. Prayers appreciated that we can find the problem and resolve it without too much hassle and expense!

I've got something else on my mind church related (since you all know we go to Mars Hill), but that's a whole different post for a different day.

Sorry for the novel. I guess if I blogged more, I wouldn't have to write so much at once!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

My Hospital Vaginal Breech Delivery

Here is Everett's birth story! disclaimer: if you're squeamish, you may want to stop reading now.

Let me rewind a little bit...
At 37 weeks, we found out via ultrasound that Everett was breech (bottom in my pelvis, head up in my ribs). We tried everything we could to turn him. I saw a chiropractor who used the Webster technique. I saw an acupuncturist for moxibustion acupuncture. I did the spinning babies protocols at home. I shined a bright flash light on my lower belly multiple times a day. I took a homeopathic supplement that's supposed to encourage flipping. I drank 100+ ounces of water a day to up my amniotic fluid levels to give him more room to move. And last of all, we tried an ECV. (External cephalic version...done in the hospital with monitors and ultrasound. They inject you with a muscle relaxer and attempt to manually flip baby from outside your belly.) Everything was totally unsuccessful in turning him. He was stubborn and comfortable in his breech position.

Typically, a breech baby these days means a c-section. But I was being told that I was THE perfect candidate to attempt a vaginal breech delivery...if I could find an experienced doctor willing to do it. Immediately after that 37 week ultrasound, I started calling every OB in our city (we live in a big city). After dozens of phone calls and lots of "no's", I found someone willing to meet with me to discuss it. We met and after a thorough health history discussion and an extensive examination, we all decided I was a good candidate and we'd do a trial of labor and see how things went (there's no guarantee that baby will tolerate labor well in that position). In the mean time, we did all those things I listed to turn him, and then about 39 weeks, the priority went from turning him to encouraging labor to come on it's own (no inductions allowed with a breech, you must go into labor on your own). My doctor was scheduled to leave the country on 9/3, so we had a scheduled c-section for 9/1. If he wasn't here to deliver, I'd end up with a cesarean anyway. I had a deadline for getting this baby out naturally!

I had off and on contractions starting around 38.5 weeks, but nothing that stuck around (much like my pregnancy with Charlotte). On Thursday (9/28...39 weeks 3 days), I saw my doc and he did an internal exam to check for dilation. I was 3-4cm but not very effaced. Baby was engaged in my pelvis, but we think not having the pressure of his head on my cervix probably kept me from thinning out like I normally would.

I had some crampy contractions after the internal check (which was at 4pm), but I figured my cervix was just irritated, and they'd go away. We went for a long walk after my appointment to try to get things moving. By 7pm I was still feeling them and they were definitely painful. In the back of my mind I knew they were the real thing, but I didn't want to jump the gun. I took a long shower after the kids went to bed, did some cleaning (who wants to come home with a new baby to a messy house?), and a little laundry. By 11pm they were spacing out quite a bit to just a few an hour but still pretty painful. We decided to go to bed and get some sleep. I said a prayer and asked the little boy in my belly to allow me at least a few hours of sleep. But I kinda knew that wouldn't happen. When had he cooperated up to that point?! I maybe slept 30 minutes before a hard contraction woke me up. Then maybe another 20 minutes and another 15 before I gave up and couldn't stand to be laying down any longer. I grabbed my phone and sat up in bed timing them and trying to distract myself from the slight nervousness starting to creep in. Around 2am I decided I was truly in labor with contractions 7ish minutes apart and it was time to pack the last minute stuff and wake Corey up. I let him know what was going on and decided to take another shower because I was having terrible back labor and the water on my back sounded nice.

I paged my midwife at 2:15am, and she thought it would be a good idea to come to the house and do an internal exam and see where I was at. We called Corey's mom to come over and sleep on the couch until the girls woke up. I started to get a little nervous that it was a false alarm because my labor pattern was so weird and different from anything I'd experienced before (which I found out later was totally normal for a breech baby). By the time both of them were here, my midwife determined I was 6cm and my water was bulging. And as soon as everyone arrived, my contractions were picking up in frequency and intensity, so we decided to head to the hospital since my labors move fast. By the time we got there and got into a room, it was almost 4am.

Despite my history of quickly progressing labors and the fact that I was once again GBS positive and needed antibiotics, the L&D nurse completely ignored me. She got me in a room, asked me for a urine sample, and left. We didn't see her again for 45 minutes (she was too busy chatting with the ladies outside). And she only came into the room at that point because my water had broken and I still didn't have an IV line inserted, and I was definitely going through transition. I was incredulous when she told me I had to SIT in the bed while they monitored my and baby's vitals for 20 straight minutes to make sure he was tolerating labor well before I could go ahead with a breech delivery. HELLO!! Why didn't she tell me that and get that going the second I got in there?!?! Now I had to sit there for TWENTY a minutes while going through TRANSITION????? I was ready to scream and bite her head off and I made sure she knew I was pissed. She then proceeded to try to get an IV going...the first time she couldn't get the vein. The second spot she tried my vein blew and there was blood gushing and dripping down my arm. If I had not been in terrible labor pain and distracted as a result, I'd have definitely passed out. Then she stuck me a THIRD time and was only able to get the needle in half way, but it was enough to get stuff in me so she left it. She was very vocal about how long it took to get a vein since I refused to let her stab me during a contraction (which were coming every 90ish seconds at that point). It was clear early on that this lady and I were not going to get along. I was just SO glad my midwife was there to support me, help me stay sane, and be a mediator between me and this awful nurse. By the time she had me hooked up, she said if they didn't get me moved to a delivery room ASAP I might end up having the baby right there. But due to the intensity and frequency of my contractions, it took me 15ish minutes to even get out of the bed and into a wheel chair for her to move me. Which she was clearly annoyed by and also very vocal about.

By the time I got to a delivery room they were prepped and ready to go. My doc checked me and I was 10 cm but had a lip on my cervix still and was told I could NOT push yet. Because he was bottom first, it was very important to be fully effaced so we didn't risk head entrapment. When baby is head down, you can usually push past a lip. I had THE worst back labor I have ever had. The level of pain I was experiencing (I assume because of his position) was in another realm from what I'd experienced with Eden or Charlotte. I wasn't able to labor in water because I was so close, and a water birth was out of the question this time around. I started to lose my cool in a way I've never done before in labor. And then I was involuntarily pushing and could not stop. They checked me again but I still had a lip and wasn't supposed to be pushing. It was at that point that I did something I never thought I'd do...I asked for an epidural. (I got THE rudest most disapproving glare and shake of the head from that awful nurse. I was ready to bite her head off!) I was in so much pain that I was actually starting to go crazy and I knew the only way I'd be able to not push was to not feel the contractions. I was feeling guilty, but my midwife assured me that it was TOTALLY reasonable to want an epidural this time around and at least I had made it almost the whole way without. She said I likely would not have the drugs in my system long enough for them to cross the placenta and affect the baby. It's not standard practice to give a woman an epidural at 10 cm, but this was a special case. There was a chance of needing an episiotomy to make room for baby's head as well as the possibility that the doc would need to stick his hand up there to flex baby's head or use forceps for the same reason if baby wasn't flexing his head on his own. And I didn't want to feel all that going on. They had an anesthesiologist on standby in the room in case I wanted it for these exact reasons, so as soon as I said the word, they got to work. He was pretty quick, but it was still agonizing to try and sit still through those contractions while he placed the catheter. Let me just say, one of my biggest motivating factors for natural drug-free childbirth (outside from the whole idea of it's better for baby to not be doped up) was my fear of needles and the idea of getting one put in my SPINE. wasn't bad. AT ALL. I don't even know why I was so scared (of course, in the moment, all I wanted was that needle in there to start the drugs flowing). And within 5-10 minutes of that being put in, I started to smile and sat back and said "so THIS is why people get these things!!" Hahahaha! It was SUCH a relief. They gave me a low enough dose to still feel the contractions a bit so I knew when to push, but enough to be totally numb in my lady regions. And because I was able to finally relax a little and take some deep breaths, that lip on my cervix was gone in minutes. It was time to push.

Throughout my laboring at the hospital, I'd had several nurses and doctors ask my permission to witness the birth (since a breech delivery is pretty rare). And I said ok to everyone who asked. I figured, it was a learning experience for all, and if it resulted in more women being able to do a vaginal breech delivery, than I was happy to pave the way and be the guinea pig. Corey was really tempted to take full-room selfie but wasn't sure everyone would appreciate it (particularly that evil L&D nurse). I think it would've been pretty funny though! So with an audience of 4 doctors, 3 midwives, and another 4 or 5 nurses plus my own midwife and husband, I pushed with all my might! It was pretty weird to feel/watch him coming out bottom first. Once his bottom and legs were out I kept pushing to his shoulder blade. He was just kind of sitting almost cross-legged on the bed waiting for his head to come out...moving a bit but not frantic or anything. Kind of strange and really cool all at the same time. I think it was at that point that the doc gave me a very small episiotomy, but I can't remember for sure. It might have been earlier. All I remember is that I was pushing this baby out like my life depended on it...because HIS did. Once he was out to his head, I had 3 minutes to push his head out before he'd run out of oxygen. I remember the doctor telling someone to watch the clock and said out loud to me "ok Amber, we've got 3 minutes. Plenty of time. You're doing great. Let's just finish up the job." He then used forceps to flex his head as he was not flexing on his own, and about 30 seconds later, he was out! I think I pushed a total of 3-5 minutes from start to finish. He had zero breathing problems and apgar scores of a 9 and 10. He was immediately placed on my chest while I delivered the placenta and got stitched up. I'm not a crier. It was the only time I've ever cried at one of my childrens' births. Not because I'm not emotional or ridiculously happy, I just don't express my feelings with tears usually. But this time I was just SO relieved and happy that he was here safe and sound that I couldn't help it.

He was born at 6:25am. He was gorgeous. It was weird not seeing a cone-shaped head on him. He nursed almost immediately like a pro.

We were somewhat like celebrities among the hospital staff during our stay ("oh!! YOU are the breech delivery????!! Congrats and way to go!!!") but in a good way. Recovery has been tougher with the episiotomy. I had one with Eden, but I wasn't chasing two toddlers around while trying to heal. But I wouldn't trade the vaginal delivery for anything. Sooo glad we did it and so thankful we found a doc willing to do it!!

Feel free to ask questions in the comments. I want my experience to help empower other ladies to have breech deliveries if they're the right candidate for it!

Sorry it took me a whole month to get that up. Life with three is crazy! But I LOVE it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Our newest addition to the family...

Everett Allen
Born 8/29/14 at 6:25am
6lbs 8oz, 19" long
(Born via a vaginal breech delivery!)

He's the cutest thing, and all four of us are completely in love. He's a great baby and is sleeping awesome at night. Birth story coming soon. Sorry I didn't post an announcement sooner! Just spaced. Life with 3 kiddos under 4 years old is a little busy!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

still pregnant...

I hit the 39 week mark yesterday, and sadly, I'm still pregnant.

Here's the latest...

  • Despite chiropractic, acupuncture, home exercises, homeopathics, and attempting an ECV (after meeting with a total of 3 docs, 2 of the 3 recommended trying it, so we did, and it was not successful), this baby boy is still BREECH.
  • I've started shining a super bright LED flashlight on the bottom of my belly a few times a day (sounds silly, I know), and he's been crazy active when I do that. Maybe there's still hope he'll turn?
  • My fluid levels are back up and look great thanks to lots of h2o, so that's no longer a concern.
  • We officially have an OB who is willing to allow us an attempted vaginal breech delivery at the hospital. The hospital has approved his request (most hospitals won't actually allow it), and we have a birth plan in long as he comes this week! Our doc has been extremely thorough in making sure all possible concerns about a breech delivery have been checked out to make sure I'm the right candidate for this...and I am!
  • Our OB is very supportive of our desire to deliver naturally. He personally calls me to check in on me, and I've either seen or talked to him every single day since we transferred care to him. He's done some breech births before, so while he's not crazy experienced, he is comfortable with everything.
  • I cannot tell you how much I love my midwives and how supportive they've been through this whole thing. We've hired one of them to be our doula through labor at the hospital. And we plan to transfer care right back to them after this baby is born for all postpartum and breastfeeding support. I am not sure I could do this without them! I talk via phone or email with them almost daily.
  • In the event that this little guy doesn't come on his own by his due date, I'll be heading to the hospital for a scheduled c-section. The concern is that past 40 weeks, babies get bigger and a bigger baby could mean more complicating factors for a breech delivery. And my OB also happens to leave town on 9/4 (I'm due 9/1), and there isn't anyone else who is going to deliver me. So if I went into labor after he was gone, I'd have an emergency c-section anyway. Our scheduled c-section is ON my due date...Monday, September 1st at 8am. So that's my deadline to get this kiddo to vacate my body on his own terms.
  • Just like I had with Charlotte, I've had several rounds of contractions that last a couple hours but then either go away entirely or slow down. So we'll see what happens. Hopefully these contractions are at least productive in that I'm dilating and effacing and not going through the discomfort for no reason!

If I can be totally honest for a minute...I'm terrified. I don't do very well with the unknown or unplanned. If he was head-down....I'd be not exactly looking forward to labor and delivery because I know what's coming, but I wouldn't be scared of it...because I've done this twice already! But this is kind of a whole knew ballgame. I don't know if labor will feel the same? Different? Be more difficult? Will pushing take longer? Will pushing hurt more? Will I need an episiotomy (this tends to be a more commonly used tactic with breech babies)? Sometimes I wonder...can I even do this?? Am I insane for wanting to do this? Will I be able to do this unmedicated?

It's been hard not knowing the answers to all those questions. I've been struggling with a lot of anxiety over it all. I've had some emotional breakdowns (sorry to my midwife who talked me through one on the phone yesterday!) due to stress and anxiety. A part of me just wants to have the c-section because maybe that will be easier. I haven't had one before, but at least I know it's not a matter of whether or not I can do it. But then I also know that recovery with a cesarean is harder and longer than a regular delivery. I'll be up and mobile and feeling better faster with a regular delivery. Breastfeeding will be easier and come more naturally. I won't have to worry about complicating factors for another baby if we had a #4. VBACs are allowed and practiced regularly in our state (only at one hospital in the state, but it happens to be the one that's 5 minutes from our house), so it wouldn't be out of the question...but it would be harder. And more complicated. And I wouldn't be able to do a birth center delivery. And there are plenty of risks with a c-section as well. 

I feel like I have Jekyll and Hyde on my shoulders whispering the risks and downfalls of each type of delivery. Makes it hard to look forward to having this baby in either form! I just wish he'd flip around already! 

So that's where I'm at. My midwife has suggested, and I agree it's entirely possible, that I'm stalling my own labor due to my fear and anxiety of this whole birth. Corey and I have been praying together, and I'm trying to seek Jesus in the moments where I feel overwhelmed by everything. It's hard to let go of the birth experience I thought I was going to have and so badly wanted. It's hard not knowing what will happen. It's hard giving up control. 

So that's where I'm at. I've got a couple more doctor appointments this week, I've started in on some homeopathics to help encourage labor (as prescribed by my midwife). I've got a labor induction acupuncture appointment for Friday afternoon. And now it's just a matter of letting go, trusting God, and waiting. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

almost there!

I am 37.5 weeks pregnant. This little guy has decided to make things a bit more exciting...we found out by chance on Monday via ultrasound that he is breech (butt down instead of head down)! We had NO idea, so it was rather shocking! My midwives were also very surprised as I did not display any other signs of having a breech baby. He's perfectly healthy and everything else is fine. But my whole birth plan is going out the window...

I am currently doing home exercises (thanks to encourage him to flip. I'm seeing a chiropractor who practices the Webster technique. And I've got some acupuncture appointments set up for next week. Doing everything we possibly can to get him to turn so we can stay with our midwives and deliver at the birthing center...but I don't have a whole lot of time. We did see a specialist about doing an ECV (aka a version) where they give you a muscle relaxer and attempt to manually flip your baby from outside your belly. But due to my amniotic fluid being a little on the low side, and how wedged in my pelvis this guy's butt is, he did not think it would be successful and is not recommending it for our particular situation. Normally, the procedure has a pretty good success rate for subsequent babies (not much success with first time moms though), so that was a little disappointing.

The plan is currently to attempt a breech vaginal delivery at a hospital (it's against the law to have a breech baby at a birthing center in Washington) IF he doesn't turn head down. It's not something that's very common or done very often, and I had a HECK of a time trying to find a doctor that would even meet with me to discuss the possibility of it. I've got a day full of appointments on Monday with 2 consults with 2 different docs, a chiropractic appointment, and an acupuncture appointment. According to my midwives, I am THE ideal candidate to attempt a breech delivery if I can find a doc who has experience with it. I've had 2 successful vaginal births before, so we know a baby can fit through my pelvis just the risk of his head getting stuck is pretty slim. He's in the optimal breech position (frank breech) for an attempted vaginal birth, I have a history of quick labors that progress normally, his head is not disproportionately larger than the rest of his body, he has no abnormalities that could be detected via ultrasound, etc. So I have a lot going for me. We know we could still end up with a c-section if labor doesn't progress normally or if he gets stressed out by labor, and that's ok. I've come to terms with a c-section if it's necessary, but I really want to try and do it the old-fashioned way first. At the very least, going into labor first triggers a lot of beneficial hormones in both mom and baby (like signaling baby's immune system to kick in, contractions can help push some of the fluid out of their lungs so they don't go into respiratory distress after a cesarean, etc) even if I ended up in the OR after attempting. I'd rather try it first than go straight for the surgery. Surgery is a big deal. Cesareans are no small thing. They are considered major abdominal surgery, so I would like to avoid it if possible. I have 2 toddlers running around, and recovering with them would be difficult! Plus, if we ended up deciding that we wanted a 4th, having had a previous cesarean can complicate things.

So that's where we're at. Any prayers you could send our way for this baby to flip would be greatly appreciated! All in all, we just want him here safe and healthy in whatever form that comes. That's more important than HOW he arrives. Hopefully I'll be updating soon with a birth announcement :)