babies, birth, deployment birth, marine corps, military life, pregnancy, SAHM, Uncategorized, VBAC

Baby #4’s Story.

The test

 

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I wanted to be SURE

 

While finding out I was pregnant wasn’t a total shock, what made it a gut wrenching feeling for me was because I knew I would have him while Dan was deployed. Deep down inside I knew I wanted another one. It felt like Claire needed a sister/sibling to play with because I had been watching the boys play with each other for the last 3 years. As she got older they included her in some things but mainly they did their “twin thing” and stuck to themselves, would shut the door and tell her to go away because they were playing. My heart would hurt every time I saw them excluding her and it just didn’t feel right. I had always said that 4 was my magic number, the least amount of kids I wanted was 2 but  because I felt sort of robbed of the single baby experience, we went with 3. I used to joke with day “Hey, wouldn’t that be funny if I wanted another?” and then I’d laugh while he gave me the death stare. In my head I knew it was a crazy idea, things were already chaotic with 3 kids, how on earth could I manage 4?! Then I would get the idea out of my head, move on and just enjoy what I had. Then Dan would say things like “I want another little girl.” or “Claire needs a little sister or brother.” then we’d laugh and move on. That stuff went on for about a month before low and behold, I was pregnant! With the upcoming deployment I figured since after recruiting duty it’d be a breeze and for the most part, being pregnant would distract me from it all AND the bonus part would be that his birth would come at around the halfway point. I was thinking about the different positives about this. We told our families, were met with shock and awe and lots of “omg Stefanie, you’re going to be busy!” and “you’re a brave woman.”.

 

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Our announcement on FB

 

My birth plan

My birth plan with this one was pretty much identical to Claire’s. I wanted an all natural birth, little to no interventions, I would see a midwife again and hire a doula. For my other two births I saw civilian doctors because we were on recruiting duty so I was familiar with those practices but this time we were near a military base and I had to be seen at Naval. I was hesitant at first, I did my research about natural births and VBACs at local hospitals and at this particular hospital on base. I was able to see midwives again, I was so happy they had that option to see them for my care and quickly had one I loved. The odd thing i found was that you couldn’t be seen until you were at  least 8 weeks along. I wanted to get in early because I felt I was further along than I though. I wasn’t sure if it was because this was my third pregnancy OR I was further along because, I swear guys, I could feel this lil tadpole move around! I got in and it finds out I was further along by 2 weeks and was able to see a midwife a bit sooner. The pregnancy itself was another uneventful one but the main difference this time was that we were team green! I decided to go through with it this time because I had caved with Claire and with some hesitation from Dan, I added in that it would be motivation for me at birth because he’d be gone. That was the best decision I made because it really did get met through it all and it was a fun experience. Not knowing what sex your baby is a fun torture for everyone. Personally it was easier this time because I already had clothes for both sexes, so, why not? The whole pregnancy I was so sure it was a girl, SO SURE. Towards the end I had some 3D ultrasound photos taken to send to Dan as a surprise Christmas present. It was nice to see the baby but once I did, I started doubting my gender prediction.

As the months went by I hired a Doula, we had met a couple of times and we set up our plan. She knew Dan wouldn’t be there and it was a surprise gender birth so we added those things in the plan. Around that time I also decided, after much debate, to hire a birth photographer. Since Dan wasn’t going to be around, we didn’t have many pictures from the last two times, I was going to be alone and it was going to be the last thing on my mind, I though it would be a great thing to do. I had a mini maternity session included but decided to add in a lil family shoot as well to send him. They were difficult to wrangle but we were able to get in some shots.

I’m obsessed with how well the maternity photos turned out, especially the one of me in the gown. I was hesitant at first to wear it but I’m so glad I did!

The birth

As December approached I was hoping id be going early or on time. I went to the midwife and things were going great. I ballooned to over 200lbs and was anxiously waiting for labor pains. By the time 39 weeks hit I started to take the EPO, bounce on my birth ball and start to panic a bit about getting close to 42 weeks. Time was ticking, 40 weeks came and went, so did 41. I was done. So over being pregnant, wanting to meet my baby boy and worried about getting too close to 42 weeks so I made the decision to induce. I was scared but I had reassurance from the midwife about the procedure and I went ahead and scheduled it. On the 25th I went in and was started on a low dose of Pitocin while my mom stayed home with the kids (she came to stay for a couple of months).

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My doulas arrived after they started the drip at 8 and we started the waiting game. She ended up coming with another doula and boy am I glad she did. It made the whole day go by faster, we all clicked and just laughed the day away with conversations and jokes. I said I was going to laugh this baby out from laughing so hard. Seriously, if you’re on Pitocin just have a comedian come in during that time because it makes the whole process easier. I felt the contractions come, they got stronger and soon the laughs stopped and it became time to focus on the contractions. With Claire I had all back labor and was happy that this time I didn’t! Seriously guys, to me regular labor was NOTHING compared to back labor. Back labor is brutal, now I see the light, now I understand why and now I can fully sympathize with women who say they felt contractions down their legs. Seriously, it’s like a lightening bolt feeling but still, I’ll take that over a knife stabbing sensation in my back any day. If I could have regular labor with all my babies, I’d have more………JOKING!Transition hit around 6 I think, not sure but I stopped staring at the clock. Now, have you heard the saying “You don’t really need to push, your body will do it for you!”? Well let me tell you that’s true! I remember reading about it in an Ina May Gaskins book and was thinking that sounded crazy! I mean, your body, pushing a baby out by itself?! Yup, that’s what happened to me. During the last bit of the transition phase I felt the urge to push. My doula quickly was trying to get the midwife because she could hear me grunting. I thought it was just my body’s way of dealing with the contraction but she said “I think you’re pushing!” and yup, she was right. My body was pushing for me, it was like someone was squeezing my belly while simultaneously pushing down on it.

As soon as she came in I had 2 more pushes and he was out, so about a total of 4 pushes, she got there just in time.

IT WAS A BOY!!!

The next pictures I have are just of me making ugly cry faces Kim K. style haha. I seriously couldn’t believe I had another boy! So many emotions went through me at that moment. Sadness, joy, love, excitement, shock and loneliness. I knew Dan wasn’t there and even though the room was full of people, I was still alone. I got ahold of Dan and shared the news, he was so happy and then as is the lifestyle, we said goodbye and went back to our realities. I cut the cord, which wasn’t as tough as I though it’d be, I played with my placenta and everyone slowly cleared out of the room.

Jacob Henry was born at 8:28pm on 1/25/16 weighing 7lbs 14oz and 20 1/2in long. He was healthy, had a little kitten cry and was born with some pimples on his body. He had some slight bruising on his face from the fast delivery.

The feels

The photo below holds a special place in my heart. My nurse was checking on me but this was the moment when everything had hit me. There’s video of me crying after the birth, the feeling I had was just a feeling of OMG. I was really by myself, no family, no husband, just myself and my baby in the post partum room. So to the military wife out there about to give birth to their baby, with no family or husband around, no friends to visit you in the hospital, I am there with you in spirit. All of us who have been in your shoes are. It was the loneliest feeling I’ve ever had and I still feel it to this day. I cried in my PP room, I was exhausted and had no one to talk to besides on the phone. It’s a surreal feeling doing this on your own, it’s lonely but in the end it’s worth it.

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This little baby, this lil happy boy helped me get through the deployment, taking care of his older 3 brothers and sister and curb my post partum depression. He makes me smile everyday, love him more each day and thankful every moment I get to spend with him. Life with 4 kids is hectic but right now, in this moment of reflection, it’s all worth it.

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babies, pregnancy, Uncategorized

Pregnant after twins and my birth plans

I know i’m not the only one in the world to have had a baby after twins but boy does it feel like it! Since having the boys as my first pregnancy, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect since I didn’t know of anyone personally who had twins for their first. So, I thought i’d do an update on how things are going this round because I was always so curious and anxious to know how different it would be having one baby vs. two in there. Plus, if this can calm some fears or curiosity for another FTM of twins whose planning on having more, hey, glad to help!

First trimester:

With twins-

I had it pretty easy with the boys, mainly because I guess my body was just built for breeding and because since it was my first, everything was intact and in shape. I had been working out right before I got pregnant, decent ab strength and living on the 4th floor at the time, I was getting plenty of exercise. I had only threw up a handful of times and my nausea was mainly the kind you got between meals. Overall, the first trimester was a breeze!!

With one baby-

Since I think because i’m having a girl, I had more nausea this time. Although I haven’t thrown up at all, I did have a lot more of it but orange juice or drinking water would make it go away. I also had bad FATIGUE!!! I’m not sure if it was just because of the pregnancy or taking care of two kids this time but I was always exhausted. Seriously, like laying on the floor trying to nap while they were climbing over me exhausted! I also had a lot of round ligament pain early on, something I didn’t have any problems with the first time but since it’s not my first rodeo, I figured that’s why. Another thing I found amazing/weird was I felt her wiggle around in there very early on, like, 12 weeks early on. Some people may call that crazy and say “Oh no, that wasn’t the baby, are you stupid? You were feeling gas, that’s all.” but i’m telling you, it felt like a fish was swimming in there. It didn’t happen too often but it definitely was something because I would only feel it when concentrating at night while laying in bed.

Second trimester:

With twins-

This is where I had a lot of round ligament pain and I could feel my abdominal muscles being ripped apart. They were moving around a lot by this time, lots of kicks and rolls but towards the end of the trimester, it was mainly just rolling and cervix kicks. My appetite, as I have said previously, was ravenous and that part was slightly enjoyable. Ok, it was really enjoyable because I didn’t have to worry about calories too much and after reading up on twin diet and protein needs, I scarfed down every burger I could get my hands on. Needless to say my diet wasn’t great but hey, when you’re hungry, EAT! By the end of this trimester my belly was pretty large but never felt totally uncomfortable, maybe because of my body frame but I really felt like I was made to carry twins. Some cruel joke being played on me, that sort of thing.

With one baby-

I FELT HUGE, yup, i’ve felt huge as soon as my belly started to grow out. Totally irrational, I know, how could you feel bigger than when you had twins?! I seriously felt, and still feel, huge and bigger than I was with the boys. Looking at pictures there is a difference but I guess with my body already knowing where to stretch, that’s why I felt like that. My energy came back in this trimester and i had a brief period of “nesting” that was quickly squashed by the reality of my life. The boys were going through growth spurts and with their birthday, this is the trimester where I really lost track of time and how fast it had been going! Overall, feeling fine during this time but as it closed I really was starting to feel tired. I also haven’t really had any appetite, maybe it’s a girl thing but i’ve had to sneak and squeeze in meals when I haven’t felt up to eating them. I have tried to be better about eating this time though and exercising but with the losing track of time and trying to remember now to take it too hard, I let a lot of days go without working out. I will say though, I have felt her move during this trimester A LOT more than I did with the boys. It has to be because she’s not squished in there but I still find it funny that she’s so active compared to what I felt with them.

Third trimester:

With twins-

I didn’t make it too far into this trimester but I do remember the swelling I was getting with all the weight from the boys. Other than that, I was still feeling good, moving around even while on bed rest but my belly was making sleeping difficult.

With one baby-

Not too far into this trimester but I can feel the fatigue coming back, especially with the boys on the move now I see why veteran moms are tired when they’re pregnant with kids to watch. Her kicks and jabs have started to slow down into more rolling actions but we’ve found out she’s head down! She better stay that way too!

Now, this is where it may get weird for some who are at this point. Since having the boys i’ve become more “crunchy”, meaning i’ve started to do things the more natural way. With the boys I could have had a vaginal birth if baby A was head down but since they decided to flip at the last minute, I had a c-section. When I found out I was pregnant I knew I wanted to go for a NUCB (natural unmedicated child birth) VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) and in order to do that I would have to prepare not only mentally but physically as well. Hence why I’ve been TRYING to eat better and exercise more in order to prepare my body for the labor ahead. Dan was not on board with the no medication thing because he doesn’t want to see me in pain so I knew then I would look into hiring a doula. For those who don’t know what a doula is they act as a coach, someone who advocates your wants and needs to the nurses/Drs and is there to help coach you through labor. I have been seeing a midwife for this pregnancy but I know that she won’t be able to be there all the time so having a doula there with me, coaching me through the hard parts, was something I would need. Now that i’m in my 3rd trimester I have met with one and am in the process of hiring her (paperwork, contracts, fees) and I couldn’t be more excited! She is a military spouse who is working on her DONA certification so her services are at a discounted rate due to that. I’m all for helping someone further their education so she was a great candidate along with wanting to help out a military spouse, why not! We’ve met with her and both like her, PLUS she has had her babies delivered by my midwife and has worked with her practice in the past, how cool is that?!!! So now I feel completely at ease with this process and I am excited to share my experience with you all.

Birth plans

For the really weird part I was telling you about, this time, I’m planning on eating my own placenta *cue crickets*. While this sounds totally disgusting and sounds like something you’d only see on national geographic, it’s actually a really neat thing to look into, seriously. Let me explain why I plan on doing this: With the boys I had PPD, mild but nevertheless, PPD. It’s definitely something I want to avoid this time and eating your placenta can help with that. It can also help with milk production, help to contract your uterus, level out hormones and has an overall affect on your mood, plus, it’s completely natural! If you’re into the natural stuff then this is the ticket for you. Granted, I didn’t do this with the boys since it totally grossed me out then, but I have talked to others who did and they swear by it, even my doula. She shared her own experience with it and tells me her clients rave about it. I will link some info at the end about placenta encapsulation but as gross as it sounds, I’m totally excited to eat it haha. It’s not like i’m going to cook it on the grill and tear into it like a steak, I promise! You actually can steam/boil it, dehydrate it and put it into pills to take that way but there is also tinctures you can do with parts of it (I don’t plan on doing this because it just sounds like too much for me).

So there you have it, an update about my pregnancy so far and my birth plans. While I have been reading some books on the process, along with breastfeeding, I know it’s going to be a ride. It’s quite scary actually since I wasn’t able to go through labor with the boys and now, I have no idea what to expect but I feel completely confident I can do this with my husband and doula by my side. If you’ve had a natural birth and would like to share your story with me or comment, please do!

Now, for some pictures!!

Baby #3

This is just a glimpse of the belly difference between two vs. one at 32 weeks in each photo

Tomorrow is a big milestone for me, i’ll be 33 weeks and hoping I don’t get woken up by that bulging water feeling! *crosses fingers*

Links to doulas, placenta encapsulation, midwifery:

Doula information

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doula

http://www.dona.org/mothers/why_use_a_doula.php

http://parentables.howstuffworks.com/health-wellness/why-hiring-doula-for-birth-is-good-idea.html

http://www.dona.org/mothers/find_a_doula.php

 

Placenta encapsulation info

http://placentabenefits.info/articles.asp

http://www.placentawise.com/research-studies-supporting-placenta-encapsulation/

Blog post about placenta encapsulation- http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/2011/10/the-benefits-of-placenta-encapsulation-for-postpartum-healing.html

DIY placenta encapsulation

http://www.justmommies.com/pregnancy/postpartum/placenta-encapsulation-instructions-benefits-and-reasons-to-give-it-try

http://www.alternative-mama.com/placenta-encapsulation/

 

Midwifery/Midwives info

http://www.midwife.org/WhatIsAMidwife

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midwifery

http://parenting.allwomenstalk.com/pros-and-cons-of-midwives-vs-doctors

http://www.fitpregnancy.com/pregnancy/labor-delivery/ob-or-midwife

http://www.midwife.org/rp/find.cfm