Imminent labor Signs in Cows {and Huey the Hereford}

We are excited to introduce: Huey the Hereford! (Huey, as in Huey’s restaurants in memphis)Huey the Hereford

Huey was born on Monday, March 1, 2021.

We got to watch Dolly at the beginning of her labor because the kids were playing outside and she chose to lay in the barn yard. She did move to the barn, where she was more comfortable. It’s amazing how different cows and goats are-she didn’t make a sound, not a grunt or a moo. Goats are so dramatic.

When we began watching Dolly for labor, I searched the internet high and low for all the signs we needed to look for. She had them all!

  • tail hanging to the side, due to loss of ligaments
  • tail head looked flat, almost as flat as her back
  • vulva swollen (springing)
  • that morning she lost a lot of mucus plus, but was having discharge about 2-3 days prior
  • her udder was *swollen*
  • teats were full and sticking out (strutting)
  • belly looked low/less wide
  • right before pushing she was laying on her side, letting the calf get into position, within 30 minutes she was pushing

We had a few bumps getting Huey to nurse, because mama was so full, and she became frustrated after his first failed attempts. Our friends helped us get everything started, and there’s been no problems since.

We are still waiting on Jolene to calve, she has zero signs of calving anytime soon.

Signs of Calving Huey the Hereford

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Baby #5 {a birth story}

Let me preface with a few things-

  • Before this I’ve had 4 babies whose labors were 12.5, 13.5, 7 (my water broke doing spinning babies), and 16 hours.
  • the whole time Baby Sir was was in the womb, he was breech or transverse. He would go head down occasionally, but always flipped back to an unstable lie when I was at my midwife’s. Every. Time. He would go head down for ultrasounds, and immediately flip back transverse ?
  • the day before baby was born, I walked into my midwife’s office and she said, “what’s wrong, you look sad,” and I just started crying. Baby was transverse again, which she confirmed, and his movements had slowed dramatically. I hadn’t been scared or worried, so much as just frustrated about all the uncertainty. I just needed my last baby to come without all this stress.
  • She put me in touch with a doctor in town that would deliver breech if my labor stalled or something were to happen and we needed her at the hospital; they set me up for a BPP (biophysical ultrasound) to check on baby-all of that the same day, Tuesday June 9.
  • at the ultrasound baby flipped head down, from transverse just a few hours before; he was playing with his toes and sucking his fingers. He passed his test and I was sent home, expecting to see the doctor Wednesday.
  • Also, my husband was supposed to leave town for an over night trip the next morning …

Now the birth story (sorry so many details, I just want to remember everything so I am adding it all).

If you’re like me, you *love* a good birth story, and I enjoy documenting ours.

Wednesday, June 10 I woke up like a normal day. Wednesday’s here are cleaning day, so I was prepared to make baked oatmeal for the kids and start our cleaning routine. At about 8:00AM, I started having contraction like pains; although baby had not spent much time head down this pregnancy, when he was head down in previous weeks, I had to stop what I was doing often due to cramping, and what felt like cervical pain. It was as if he was really putting a lot of pressure on me with his head.

This morning’s cramps felt a lot like that so I wasn’t sure it meant anything.

By 8:15 I felt like maybe I should see if the pain was regular, like contractions. With my first my Braxton Hicks would be regular for almost 2 hours, but would die off, I figured if these lasted over 2 hours I would call my husband home. We were texting back and forth so he knew the plan. I texted my girlfriend to let her know we would probably be needing her to watch the kids (her husband was working from home, so that worked out well).

I continued cleaning the house- toilets and bathrooms, vacuumed and steamed floors, folded laundry, and the kids used our Norwex rags to do all the dusting/wiping like they always do. We had music going and I was really trying to get done cleaning (I love cleaning day, so this was important ha). My oldest daughter milked the goats because my cramping was too painful for me to sit and milk. I talked to my midwife; she advised I drink lots of water in case I was dehydrated and eat something so I had energy in case it was labor.

By 10:15AM I had to stop cleaning and lay down during contractions; I texted my husband to come home to tend to the kids because I couldn’t parent and breathe through contractions at the same time haha. My oldest (9yo) knew I was in labor, so she was doing her best to take care of the others while mama breathed and tried to relax.

I sent my husband a grocery list; we needed lunch meat and a few more things to have on hand for the kids to eat, and salad to go with the lasagna I bought for the midwife team’s meal. He stopped by Walmart on his way home, and when he got here it was about 11:10AM.

During this time I had spoken with my midwife a few times, we agreed we would be having a baby today. We came up with a plan *this part is important* to meet at her office at 1PM, get checked, and then either labor some more, or go on to the birth center to labor in the tub.

I was laying on the bed (thankfully I just put fresh sheets on the day before, so that chore was done), in my gown with all my bags packed at the foot of the bed, when the husband came home. He was trying to ask me something, but I was focusing on a contraction with my hypno birthing track from YouTube playing in my ear. I think this is when he said, “Meghan, call Deidre (Midwife) I think we need to go before 1pm. Call (girlfriend) to come so we can leave when it’s time.”
——

Because we live in the middle of nowhere, he has been adamant that we were not having a baby at home. With baby 4, we had some scares and almost needed to transfer to the hospital after she was born, so he really wanted us to make it to the midwife team st the birth center.

I wasn’t certain if we needed to leave right away, but I couldn’t think straight. I kept thinking, “I just need the tub.” I’m pretty sure I said that out loud.

I started crying; when he asked what was wrong all I could get out was, “I’m not ready.”

“Not ready like … the house isn’t ready, or not ready like your body isn’t ready?”

My reply was a sobbing, “Everything,”

Not only had I never had a short labor, I had never had a baby before 40 weeks. They were always on time or late and big. #3 was 3 days early but that doesn’t really count haha.

So At 11:41AM I texted my midwife (I couldn’t really talk easily enough to call)…

So we got everyone in place for watching kids and birthing this baby. Husband continued doing some last minute chores so I wasn’t stressed when we got home, cause he’s good like that. Then he loaded the car; I wanted to lay down so he put a beach towel across the backseat and piled my bags and birth kit in the front seat. He grabbed the car seat and base, my friend pulled in at 12:08pm and we left.

When she came in, I think I managed something like, “it’s too cold for the pool, their schedule is on the counter if you want to use it, and crockpot stuff is on the counter. Thank you.” Husband helped me into the backseat and we left, it was about 12:10

At this point I didn’t have my hypnobirthing track because my cell doesn’t get reception until we hit the highway.

I had a few thoughts going through my mind

  • (Praying) God, I can’t do this for 6 more hours.
  • I’ve read and watched a thousand birth stories, and every time a woman says she can’t do this anymore, it is time to push. But I have long labors, so this is just the start of the hard part ?
  • If he hits one more freakin bump in the road, I’m going to lose my mind.
  • If I could just relax I would be okay
  • I really need to use the bathroom (my bladder was full thanks to all the water I drank at home)

Laying down in the backseat of the truck, it is impossible to relax through contractions. Relaxing through them is how I manage labor. I also tap my hand, and normally my husband squeezes my arm at the peak… but he was driving.

I knew when we crossed the highway because of the dips in the road.

My Hypnobirthing track kicked back on when my phone found reception, but just FYI- hypnobirthing isn’t very helpful when you are tence, trying to brace yourself in the backseat of a pickup truck while your husband drives 80mph down a country road. There is NO relaxing your muscles or jaw.

2 minutes later my water broke. Laying down nothing happened, just that really hard *pop.* Turns out I didn’t have to use the bathroom after all, the pressure had just been my water bag. Sweet relief.

I started getting nauseous… a few minutes later we were pulling up to the first light in town when I said, “I need to throw up.” Husband started to pull over- “No, don’t pull over! Roll down the window.” So he did. ? My water went everywhere when I sat up. I’ve never been sick during labor before- not fun. But I also knew from all the birth stories I had read that when women start throwing up, they’re usually in transition (going from 7-10cm), so I did NOT want my husband to pull over.

There are maybe 4 lights between that first intersection and the midwife’s office. It always takes me a while to get through the traffic there, but we made it in just a few minutes.

Husband pulled in, I asked if Deidre was there, he said he didn’t see her car but was going to see if anyone was inside.

I told him they’re closed on Wednesday.

But God had this amazing plan for Wednesday June 10, 2020.

The other midwife was in the office that day for an unexpected appointment- he asked her if Deidre was there, his wife was in labor.

Then he came out of the office and walked around to the passenger side where my feet were. He started putting on my shoes and I shouted, “No! No shoes! Get this thing off of me.” The day before, when baby decided to turn head down I put on my maternity FitSplint, to keep him in place. I had been wearing it ever since, and now I wanted it off! I lifted my shirt and he started pulling at the velcro to remove it. I climbed out of the truck and walked barefooted into the office.

I promptly turned around and went back outside-it was hot in there and there were people (at this point I assumed the other midwife was there just because my midwife called her.) I needed air, it was 74 degrees and windy outside. I used the hood of the truck as a place to lean, tapping my hand on the hood.

There came a contraction and baby was on the way. I pushed, Cynthia walked outside and said in the sweetest, most calm voice, “let’s just go inside.” “But it’s so hot,” I replied. We stumbled in, I stopped behind a chair for a contraction and she encouraged me, “To the bathroom. Let’s go to the bathroom.”

I got to the bathroom, husband started taking off my clothes, I hit the floor on all fours. I heard Cynthia say, “Let’s just see where baby is. I’m going to see what I can feel… okay, I feel your baby’s head.” She asked me if I wanted to feel him (this can encourage women to push and continue with labor), but I said no. I just wanted him out!

I’m pretty sure I pushed 2-3 times for his head and once for his body? So about 4 pushes later baby was here. No one had a watch or phone handy, once we found one we called his birth at 12:45pm.

Somehow Cynthia managed to get on gloves, grab some supplies, and put pads down all over the floor before he was born.

After she passed baby to me, husband went to get my pillow from the truck, and Cynthia got me situated laying on the floor holding baby. About that time, Deidre and Bethany walked in- they had gone to the birth center! My text was not clear ??‍♀️ so they thought I meant I needed the tub at 12:30, not meet at the office at 12:30pm.

I think we were all in disbelief.

Baby 5 birth story

Sir was 9.0lb, 20” and 15 days early. Several people have asked if maybe my dates were wrong, but we know they are right because A) I track my cycle and b) Deidre taught me this-if you look at the bottom of a baby’s foot, they have lots of deep wrinkles when they’re full term. Sir’s were completely smooth except for one small, shallow wrinkle on the ball of each foot.

Baby foot creases at birth

— —

Baby had meconium, a lot of meconium; it had stained his fingernails and the placenta. Because it had been in there a while, Deidre said he was probably under stress like we suspected, prompting the BPP the day before, but since he passed his test no one knew for certain …

Yall, there were SO many people praying over this baby and his birth. The day before, I had posted in my Pregnancy fitness group about using the splint to keep baby head down, they’re the ones that suggested keeping it on until labor, and during. We are positive that splint holding his head down is what put me into labor when it did. If it hadn’t, who knows how long he would have been in utero with meconium. This could have ended so differently; God was at every single turn and decision.

 

We are so thankful for all of the people, friends included, that helped make Baby’s pregnancy and labor safe. It was for sure a crazy experience and blessing, too!

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Signs of Goat Labor {Officially on Baby Goat Watch 2019}

To say Lucy is about to pop would be an understatement.

Labor sign in Goats

This beauty is due to kid on May 20th, but I’m pretty sure (first timer here, her and me!) that her ligaments are gone, which would mean baby goats in 24 hours or so.

I’ve read, I’ve researched, I’ve watched who knows how many goat birthing videos… yep. So here is a regurgitation of what I take as signs of impending labor.

Signs to watch:

  • Ligaments- the ligaments that go from the tail base, down towards the hind legs (pin bones) are shaped like a V. Begin feelings these ligaments in the last month before due date; once labor is close these ligaments will go from hard like a pencil, to soft, to super squishy/not there. The pic below gives a general idea of where those ligaments are. They will be firm, the size of a pencil, and go down in a V towards the sides. Once they are close to labor (24 hours do so) those are nonexistent.
  • Swollen vulva- typically the goats vulva will increase in size once they are pregnant. But when labor is very near it will become swollen and very puffy. Below you can see her bag has been filling up and her vulva is enlarged. My other doe Wendy is 3 weeks out and neither her bag nor her vulva are as larger as Lucy’s. The color will turn very pink.
  • Discharge- Typically a goat will have discharge (mucus) from her vulva very near labor become very full before labor, more full than usual. Lucy’s udder is looking very full, but first fresheners don’t typically bag up as large until after labor (they say).
  • The tail- this is sort of part 2 of the ligaments. Once the ligaments are gone, and her body is prepping for labor, the tail does a sort of “dip”, instead of being straight.
  • Does will straighten back legs, stretching and arching back. This gets the kids into position. Lucy began doing this a little on May 16, this post was started on the 15th)
  • Bedding down/pawing- this one is tricky. All my goats “bed down” even my whether. However, I would expect the pawing to increase as their pain increases during contractions and labor. It is a sign of discomfort.
  • Active labor should look something like the tail dipping down and coming straight up, as if they’re going to potty, but instead they’re pushing through contractions. Lucy is doing this, but every time it is just her pooping … She is going potty NON stop, and I wonder if goats clean themselves out before labor like other animals, and sometimes people?
  • I’ve read they will also chew at their sides, and look at their rears a lot during early labor. Lucy has been doing this a lot today.

Lucy has been grunting non stop, panting, and laying a lot. This could be because she’s miserably pregnant (ha, I know how you feel sweet girl) or, she’s close to labor. I supposed my next update will include what was early labor, actual labor, and just misery.

Below are some too cute pics- Wendy being jealous of Lucy getting attention, and the puppies laying with the goats. We have 4 boys left for sale as of today and they’re just all so impressive. I love watching them and learning about their behaviors.

 

Livestock Guardian Pups with Goats

Livestock Guardian Pups with Goats

Signs of Goat Labor

Homeschooling Through Transitions: the hard times and the happy ones

4 Practical Tips for Homeschooling Through Family Transitions

**Originally published February 2016** I enjoy these practical tips, even now, during seasons of what feels like temporary chaos. My children are older now, we have a small farm, and much more on our plate in this season than normal. These have been wonderful reminders for me! Maybe they will help you as well!

My oldest child is soon turning 5 years old (say whaaaaa?).  I am by no means a homeschool expert; I have researched and read since I was 3 months pregnant with my first child, played around with schedules, dreamed of homeschool room ideas, used a few different curricula and tried different learning activities for my two oldest to try and find them the best personalized learning solutions so that they don’t miss out on their education.

And still, I am a no expert; I don’t think we become experts until we have graduated at least 1 homeschooled child! Haha

In the last few years we have had several family transitions- 2 babies born, rather large moves (one cross country), and job changes for the husband (one job that meant a LOT of travel)- that means we have “schooled” through some tough changes.

No matter how uncomfortable or scary our changes have been for the kids, I have found that homeschool ALWAYS makes our home feel like, well … home.  After the latest move my daughter told us she didn’t like this rent house, it wasn’t home.  So, as any mama would do I stayed up that night contemplating what would make all the kids (because she was surely expressing what her 2 year old brother was feeling but couldn’t say himself), feel comfortable again, feel at home.

And I almost immediately knew it was school- school, our Bible, reading, activities, learning and working their brains together, that is what made our house home and gave our days intention.  Homeschooling isn’t just school- it is a lifestyle, it is IN the center of our home, of which the central focus is Jesus Christ.

Schooling Through Transitions:

1. Prioritize:

What is most important to your family?  For us it is reading/phonics, math, handwriting, and Bible/read alouds.  My kids are still very young (though my oldest is ambitious), so our main subjects that require “work” are only for the oldest: reading/phonics, math, handwriting, and copywork.

Science and art are on the back burner until the fall, after we move and get settled in the home we are buying.  (I did this because getting out all the things we need for science and art is a mess while living out of boxes, and keeping the  baby hands off of it in a home that is not exactly set up for homeschooling is hard!  But if your children are older and can work independently and more responsibly, then go for it.) 

Also, make sure you are doing work that everyone loves- because otherwise you are less likely to make it work during the transition.

2.  Start earlier than scheduled in the year:

Even year-round schoolers like us take a break and have a specific date in mind for introducing their full-on school year.  When you are expecting a new baby, or making a move, you know school is going to get delayed at some point.  For us, we have always moved school earlier, again prioritizing the most important subjects, and then taken a break when needed (the week OF moving/baby being born) and then slowly gotten back into the groove of things.

3. Get back into routine:

Most homeschoolers I have talked with or asked have said getting back into the routine of school after a big life event is not only comforting, but helps all the kids behavior wise as well. (And that is definitely true in our home!) 

Most kids do well with structure and expectations, so it would make sense that their routine at home helps with behavior and a sense of stability.

4.  Relax:

At this time, it will do everyone good to relax (I know, easier said than done).  We kept a general routine, but some days I had to get meals made for the week or things packed up for a move, so the kids just colored while we talked about the letters they heard in words I called out.  I know mine are young, but this would be okay to do with olders too!  Reviewing math facts, memory work, having them do copy work and art, etc can get you by until things become more formal after your transitions.  The beauty of homeschool is that in general, we can take breaks when needed and always have time to catch back up (there aren’t hours spent standing in lines, taking bathroom breaks, etc so we can do double the work in half the time when we really need to!). 

So breathe, Mama- relax and find learning opportunities in everyday life to make your life easier through this transition!

How does your family school through big life events?

Our favourite Apps for Homeschooling iOS and Android

Pregnancy Update- 39 weeks {last days as a family of 4}

Yes.  Hello there!  Coming at yah (still) 39 weeks 4 days pregnant.  Sunday the 14th will be 40 weeks.

39 weeks

one day I will be glad I posted this picture …

I will be honest, I didn’t think I would be pregnant this long, y’all.  I was sure baby would be here by now …  and I am trying VERY hard to be patient.  It is difficult, but the last few days I have felt better.  The baby has dropped so my ribs don’t feel like they are about to break in a million pieces anymore.  After 18 weeks of excruciating rib pain, that makes being pregnant a little more bearable.  I am also trying to savor the last days with my two oldest.

I’ve been having lots of contractions for the last week- and I don’t think they’re braxton hicks.  They tend to be painful & some nights I wake up thinking “oh, this is it!” … and it’s not.  They continue 5-10 minutes a part for hours and then just stop.  With baby dropping and evidence that I maybe have dilated a bit, I am encouraged that baby will be here before 41 weeks, but OH I hope it is sooner!  haha

I’ve been doing different exercises from Spinning Babies website to help get everything in balanced and in position; if there is no baby by tomorrow morning, I am probably going to run to my chiro and get adjusted.  Maybe that will get things going.

My doctor appointments have been fine- baby’s heart rate is good (140s), fundus height is measuring perfectly, my blood pressure is good, yadda yadda.  I had one pelvic exam at 37 weeks, but I won’t have anymore until labor.  Oddly, I saw a different doctor this week (my dr just didn’t have appointments I guess) and he said they don’t usually do an exam every week unless mom requests it.  In my experience all pelvic exams do is burst my baby-birthing bubble, because I never dilate or thin/soften much before labor anyway, they’re painful, and having a “stretch and sweep” has never resulted in me going into labor.  Baby will get here when baby gets here.

Thankfully, it seems they don’t push a lot of medical intervention here unless necessary, so I am hopeful the doctor will let me get to at least 41 weeks before he talks about induction.  The head of labor and delivery said they really encourage mom to walk around and move to labor, vs laying in bed (that’s a welcome change to what I had in AR!), you can have a nurse with you most of the time if you want (which I don’t…), and they will massage your back, hips, etc during labor!  (sweet!). So, I am looking forward to that part I think.  There are perks to delivering in a small town with more nurses than patients.  =)

I have been “nesting” I guess.  J.Tom cleaned out and organized the garage a few weeks ago, on Labor Day he helped me get all the light fixtures and fans down & cleaned, he dusted all the door frames and doors, and vacuumed the stairs.  He helped me get the curtains hung and the glider put in the nursery from downstairs.  I have all the baby clothes (boy and girl) clean and put away, and bought some newborn diapers for the weeks before we start cloth diapering.  The kids did the footprint paintings for the nursery- I’m not crazy about them, but it will do for now.  After baby comes and we finally settle on a name, I may make a wooden name for the nursery wall, but I am not sure yet.  We are all trying to keep the house semi-picked up and clean so there isn’t much to do once baby is here (aka, I can let it all go!).  The freezer is pretty full and the pantry is stocked.  Hopefully we are ready!

Then, the dog has gone into heat … so that is fun!  I am hoping that ends quickly!  She is wearing Lexie’s left over pull ups.  But, she is driving me nuts!  She is so … anxious.  And worrisome.  Poor girl, but we have done a lot of reading and just don’t feel comfortable spaying her this young.  JTom explained to Lexie that Charlie needed the diaper because she was ready to have pupppies, but mommy and daddy don’t want her to have puppies.  She didn’t ask about anything else, so we left it at that.. *whew* I expected a million questions like everything else …  Glad that didn’t happen!

There it is, our 39 week update.  Hopefully there won’t be a need for a 40 week update!  =)  We shall see …

Here are a few pictures from our last days (week) as a family of four!

last days as a family of 4

adventures!

last days as a family of 4

bubbles with Charlie!

last days as a family of 4

My little (tom-boy) lady

last days as a family of 4

wrong way!

last days as a family of 4

riding while daddy washes cars

last days as a family of 4

*aaah*

last days as a family of 4

York Children’s Museum

last days as a family of 4

driving on a “long trip” @ York Children’s Museum

last days as a family of 4

Cowboys!

 

Next time there will be three babies in our pictures!  =)

Please welcome… Lexie Raye!

I woke up about 5:20 with some painful pms-like cramps.  Little did I know in almost exactly 12 hours I would be holding my baby girl!  The cramps were not like the contractions I had been having for the last 2 months, and that let me know that this was probably labor.  I decided after they were regular and 5 min apart for about 20 minutes that I would get a shower and see if they quit.  Contractions continued through the HOT shower and I knew this was the real deal.  I pittled around the house, finished some laundry, organized the hospital bag (AGAIN), made the bed, etc.  About 7:00 I heard J.Tom stirring downstairs where he has been sleeping since his back surgery.  I went down and peeked around the door and said, “I think we may be having a baby today!”  He said, “Really?  Are you sure?”  Well, no I wasn’t SURE, but I was almost sure…  That counts, right?

We both messed around the house, he got a shower, called a friend because he had to tell someone (and I wouldn’t let him call family yet).  I made a protein smoothie and some toast but was unable to finish either, so I gave the rest to J.Tom.  When my contractions were about 4 minutes apart I decided to call the doctor.  We had an appointment that morning at 9:15 to check my progress and schedule an induction in case she didn’t come on her own over the weekend. The office said to go ahead and come on in.  So about 8:45am we headed to the doctor with all our bags packed and in the car.  The dog and cat were fed, the house was clean, organized, and ready to welcome our new addition.  I still couldn’t believe it might be real and was so afraid of being sent home.. which is why I wouldn’t let J.Tom call family because that would be embarrassing for me!

We arrived at the doctor’s office and the doctor came in after about 5 min of waiting.  He didn’t seem convinced that I was in labor; however you have to know my doctor.  He is wonderful, calm, and does not get excited over anything, which makes him hard to read.  After checking my cervix, he says (just like this was any other visit) “well, you’re 4cm and about 80% effaced.”  I was astonished, “Wait, what?  4 cm?  Already?  Really?!”  I was SO excited!!

Up until this point I kinda felt like a failure… for weeks I had been bouncing on my exercise ball, drinking red raspberry leaf tea (to prepare for contractions), taking evening primrose oil capsules to soften my cervix (which seemed to be helping a bit), and walking like a mad man at the gym.  Despite my efforts, this baby was NOT coming out anytime soon, in my book.  I had mentally prepared myself for an induction, petocin, and ultimately an epidural (simply because during an induction I would not be able to move with labor to ease the pain….)

So back to the labor…  The doctor shook our hands and said he would see us in a bit.  Turns out, it was his weekend to be on call, so not only were things going well, they were great because I would have MY doctor, which eased my mind times a zillion.  A cute little nurse walked us over to labor and delivery, stopping to let me lean on the wall and sway during contractions- I am sure I looked like a crazy person although I didn’t much care, nor should I.  At home contractions had been 5 min apart while sitting and 3-4 minutes while walking.  I was sure they were now 3-4 minutes no matter what I was doing.

Once we got to the labor and delivery, they took us straight to our room where I put on the infamous hospital gown and got in bed.  I tested positive for Group B strep at a previous appointment, this (if you google you will see) is just a bacteria found in the natural flora of the of some women.  It isn’t a problem or danger to adults, but to a baby going through the birth canal it can be fatal.  So, I had to have antibiotics through an IV-crappy circumstance number one.

I had 2 nurses hooking me up and entering information into the computer.  The nurse hooking me up to everything tried 2 different times to get an IV in, she missed once, the vein collapsed once, and the third time the other nurse finally got it in.  I was a litte frustrated by that point, but okay.  Shortly after, the doctor came in to break my water, since the bag was “bulging” but not doing anything on its own any time soon.  It was SUCH a relief, once they broke my water the pressure during and inbetween contractions was not as intense.  However, I could not get out of bed to move with contractions either…

I was dealing really well with the contractions, tapping my hand to get though them and having J.Tom squeeze my arm.  It was working great until about 6 cm, then I began having a hard time relaxing during contractions; I knew that being tense could slow or stop progress.  The anesthesiologist came in just to talk to me- he said that once I get an epidural, he can stop future pains but that the contractions I was currently feeling may not subside; so if I let the pain go longer I may have to deal with that for hours to come.  That scared the crap out of me. 

I labored about two more hours, got to 6cm and decided to get the epidural.  I was upset about it and immediately regretted getting it.  The entire process was miserable-crappy circumstance number 2.  How do they expect a 10 month (nearly 41 weeks) pregnant woman to sit on the side of the bed with her back curved (like a cat), chin tucked, during contractions which are 2 minutes apart and lasting at least minute, sometimes more?!  I was in this position, with tears in my eyes for about 7-10 minutes, which is about 5 contractions.  J.Tom was holding me trying to convince me it would be okay, while I was in pain that seemed worse than the contractions I was having to begin with!!  I wanted to ask that damn anesthesiologist what the freakin point was in the epidural if I was more miserable now than before?! Grrr  After I got the epidural, I immediately became cold, nauseous, and could not stop shaking.  I was just about in tears asking J.Tom why I did this to myself and my baby.  About an hour later, all was wonderful and I was feeling much better.  No more pain, contractions were more intense, going off the chart, and I wasn’t feeling them!  The nausea had mostly subsided.  I did NOT like the sensation of no feeling in my legs, it was hard to sit up in bed, and J.Tom (with his back in such conditions) could not really help me much.  However, despite all the negatives, I would def do the epidural again.  My upset over the epidural was not that I felt weak or like a failure, I was afraid that labor would now slow down and other interventions would take place-scary thought.

After the epidural, the nurse said she would leave us to relax and have some time together.  Then, the other nurse came back in.  She told us I had to have a catheter since I got the epidural and could no longer feel the urge to potty- crappy circumstance number 3.  I kinda freaked.  I had a bad experience once in Memphis with a catheter and I was dreading it this time, too.  She left the room to check on the second round of antibiotics (which she forgot about… grr again) and did not return for nearly an hour.  I did not remind her or the other nurse about the catheter because I didn’t want it.  However, about 2:30 pm she came in and remembered…  At this point the baby had moved down so much more that when she put the catheter in, it was incredibly painful.  Even with the epidural I could feel it; it was like a nonstop burning sensation.  She said give it 10 minutes and if it wasn’t better she would take it out and just empty my bladder every so often.  Ten minutes later it was still very uncomfortable so she took it out- aaaah sweet relief!  After a few minutes the burning went away and I felt better.

Once I got to feeling better, we let some family in to visit.  Initially I did not want anyone in the room, and everyone knew that.  But I wanted to see my dad and in order to see him, I kinda had to see everyone (no offense everyone).  So, in small groups of 2 they came in to see us, which was nice.  I had learned at this point nothing was really going the way I had planned or expected, so letting family in would probably be fine, too.

About 2 more hours pass and the nurse says I am 10 cm, but she needs to move a small lip of the cervix from around the baby’s head so she can come on down into the birth canal.  While she did that, she had me practice-push with contractions.  Well, after that I felt the need to push every contraction, so she said we could begin but she needed to alert the doctor so he could be prepared.  At about 4:55 she came back and we started pushing!  At first, it was fine… I had my legs in those legs holder things (not stirrups but like things that you lay your legs in) and I had handles to hold onto-those helped A LOT.

OH YEA- I almost forgot, at 9cm I was feeling my contractions again!  I could tell you when they were starting and I was feeling a lot of aching and pressure in my back, despite the freakin epi.  The nurse wouldn’t call the anesthesiologist to re-administer another full dose of the epi because I “would be pushing and having the baby soon, so there was no need.”  Well, let me just freakin tell you THERE WAS A NEED!!!!crappy circumstance number 4. So, I got about 45 minutes into pushing and decided I couldn’t do it anymore.  I told J.Tom I just couldn’t do it- every time I pushed she came down and then moved back some.  The nurse was telling me she had hair (I started crying), then she said she “has lots of hair!!” and then it was “She has LONG hair!”.  I continued to push and each time the nurse would say “you’re almost there, she is almost here!!  Once more!”
After an hour and fifteen minutes of pushing I decided she was a compulsive liar and this baby was never coming. J.Tom wasn’t “watching” persay, but he could see the baby crowning from beside the bed and he was convinced she would be born just any minute, so he too was telling me “one more time!”  I wanted to say “Yall are EFFING LIARS!”   But couldn’t find the energy so I just kept shaking my head as if to say “no, she’s not and no, I can’t!” They had me taking a BIG deep breath, letting it out, and then taking one more to hold while they counted to ten and I pushed.  But by the time we got to 8 or 9 during the count I was out of energy and couldn’t hold my breath anymore.  J.Tom had been trying to help me push by holding my back up and I was holding my legs- this was just not fun, at all… but seemed to be helping some.

About 5:15 pm the doctor came in, said we were going to have a baby and was letting me tell him when I needed to push.  I felt when he did the small episiotomy and when I tore-obviously I wasn’t feeling the full contractions or the full tearing sensation but it was a burning sensation that I would like to never experience again!  Finally, Dr. G said “just one more time Meghan” and because he had been honest with me and had not said that the whole time, I knew he was being sincere.  One more big push and Lexie Raye Wright was born kicking, screaming, and trying to nurse! This was the biggest relief in the whole world and an incredibly strange sensation at the same time.

My adrenaline was going 90 to nothing, I was shaking and exhausted but full of excitement too.  J.Tom said she was beautiful, and I remember looking over at them rubbing her with that towel and said “She is SO big!  How much does she weigh?!”  A minute later the baby nurse had her on the scale and said she was 9lbs even.  I looked at J.Tom and said “What?! How much?”  He repeated what the nurse said and I was completely shocked.  She was a whopping 9lbs and 20.5″.  I said with a sadness in my voice, “How am I going to do this when I have a boy?!”  They all laughed and said it must not have been so bad if I was already contemplating birthing my next baby… No, that is why I was contemplating it!!  haha

Do you remember me mentioning that at one of my doc apointments I asked if we could find out how big she was, and Dr. G said “sure, when she’s born we’ll weigh her for yah.”?  Yea, so we very unexpectedly had 9lb baby…

While they cleaned her up I asked my doctor how bad my tear was, he calmly said “oh, it wasn’t that bad, just a small tear.”  He didn’t seem concerned that I knew I had a tear.  The nurse said something and he replied that it was a deep second degree.. I have not yet had the nerve to google that because the thought freaks me out.  Then, as he did the stitches he said “Meg, next time we won’t let you go so long, okay?  Since we know you’re going to have bigger babies.”  Wow, doc that helps relieve me of the burning pain I have right now! <--sarcasim (but it did make me feel better). So, that is our baby birthing experience-icky details and all but I know I won’t forget them now that it is in print. It was wonderful and considering what others have gone through it was super easy.  Below is a schedule I had J.Tom write out during the day as we labored.  Our teacher told us we may want to do that so we could keep up with events and times, etc and not get them all jumbled and confused later.  I am SO glad we did (plus some of them are kinda cute). I am also attaching a video of J.Tom with Lexie after she was born.

J.Tom’s Labor Notes
9-3-10
5:30 am       Contractions Start
6:00             Got a shower and contractions did not stop
6:00-7:00    Worked around the house
7:00 am      J.Tom woke up- “I think we are having a baby today!”
7:15             J.Tom ate peanut butter granola bar and water
8:45            Went to doctor’s appointment as scheduled; 4 Cm AND 80% EFFACED!!!!  4 min   contractions- YAY!
9:15             checked into hospital
9:55             the doctor came in to break water
10:00           Began calling family
10:45           3 min contractions, 5cm dilated, 80% effaced
11:25          mom (J.Tom’s mom) brought bags up from car (because J.Tom not allowed to lift)
11:30           5Cm, checked Meghan again
12:00           got epidural
1:00            between 6-7 cm, contractions have beomce less intense so start Petocin
2:00            same dilation, 100% effaced; tried catheter-BAD
2:20            adjust catheter (better but still BAD)
2:35           Come in to remove catheter (MUCH better)
2:50           Cathleen visit mom to be
3:00           Dad to be makes coffee; full 7 cm, 100% effaced (Daddy, Auntie, Paul show up in waiting room)
3:15           Daddy, Auntie visit mommy
3:25           Dr. Examines, 7cm, Baby dropped “substantially” since 12:00pm, good report
4:55           Start pushing, 100% dilated; nurse moves “lip” of cervix from around baby’s (big ole) head
5:00           found out she’s got hair, mom cries (haha)
5:07            Dad stops to take notes, we’re excited!
5:18            Mom’s tired, doing good, yawning a lot.  Getting close!!  Can feel baby moving down on her own between contractions
6:24 pm      BABY LEXIE ARRIVES!!!

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