Thursday, October 5, 2017

Because Of Las Vegas

This probably sounds cliché and a bit morbid, but I can't stop thinking about the parents that died senselessly in Las Vegas on the weekend; Young vibrant people with small carefree children. What a huge shift in day-to-day reality these families must be experiencing now.
It makes me, selfishly, think about how if I was to leave tomorrow, my kids might not have a memory of me. And it hurts me so deeply for them.
I've been quite open about how parenthood has been challenging for me, but the challenges have always been because of my own shit, never ever because of them. They are the most amazing kids. They make me laugh every single day, and at least once a day I think of how lucky I am to have them in my life.
I tell them probably a hundred times a day that I love them. Every night I whisper in my oldest's ear 'I love you so much'. We joke back and forth 'I love youuuuu more!', but I know I will always love him more. My youngest can't talk yet, but he brings so much joy to my world I actually can't even comprehend it myself. He's the happiest baby and my heart bursts thinking of him.
Parenting can be really difficult, and it's easy to get caught up in the bad moments when life is busy and crazy. But in spite of all the complexities, nothing can ever change how much I love my family. I can only hope that one day I get the opportunity to express that immense love to my children, when they are old enough to truly understand it.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Roy's Home Birth Story

*Disclaimer: Trigger warning for those that have dealt with birth loss or birth trauma. 

I had been worried sick about going into labour naturally since I found out I was pregnant for the second time. Being induced with my first son was one of the toughest experiences of my life, and I wanted to try to avoid it at all costs. So much so, that I planned for an all natural no med home birth. I'm not really a 'granola' person, I just knew that my first birth had all the drugs in the world and was in the hospital ... and it still sucked big time; there had to be a better way. So I figured, why not try the complete opposite?

My biggest fear was that my body just wasn't built to go into labour on its own, and the same medical induction process would have to happen with baby number 2. As a result of my paranoia, for about a week leading up to Roy's birth I tried all the old wives tale tricks to 'naturally' get things going: dates, evening primrose oil, sex, walking, acupuncture, bouncing on a yoga ball... you name it.

The morning I went into labour I had gone to chiro and then for a 30min walk. As soon as I got home, around 11am, I started having contractions 10 minutes apart. They weren't too strong, especially compared to the manufactured contractions I experienced with my first birth, but they were regular enough to pay attention and start timing. I didn't want to get my hopes up, but I was excited. Maybe I could trust my body after all...

The contractions got closer together and around 2:30pm I called my midwife Tiffany to say maybe this was it. She listened to a contraction and told me to call her back in an hour or when things were unbearable. At 3:30pm I called and told her to come check me - things were getting intense. It took Tiffany an hour to get to the house because it was now rush hour. By the time she got through the door things had ramped up a whole lot. I was moaning and really needed to focus to get through each surge. At one point I remember looking into my own eyes in the bathroom mirror between contractions and saying 'you can do this' over and over. At another I remember puking pretty hard. At another I remember feeling so infinitely tired, and another every single part of my body shaking.

When Tiffany first checked me around 4:30pm I was 7cm dilated. In the midst of the intensity I was so happy my birth was actually going as I had hoped, but was super scared to be doing it drug free. Fortunately things were happening so fast that I didn't really have time to opt for a different plan even if I had wanted to. Tiffany told me to switch positions every 15 min: shower, stairs, hands and knees, etc, until I made the transition to 10cm. This is when shit got real; Not only because of how overwhelming the labour process was, but because just a few minutes later we lost the sound of Roy's heartbeat on the doppler.

My husband called our doula Sydney, and she arrived around 5pm. At this point I'm on my bed in the fetal position. Trying to change positions at this deep in the game was pure agony, but I had to because we weren't getting a good reading of the baby's heart rate. When I moved to my hands and knees the primal urge to start pushing kicked in, and it was like nothing I have ever felt or can accurately explain. In this position the heartbeat was gone completely. The other problem was Tiffany's back up midwife had not yet arrived to help deliver, so she was on her own.

At this point things get a bit blurry, but I remember being told to lie down and push the baby out RIGHT NOW. Sydney was instructed to call 911 for fetal heart rate. During my first contraction pushing Tiffany told me I needed to push harder; but I was giving it everything I had. I thought to myself that I was failing my baby, I wasn't doing my job good enough, and I wouldn't be able to get him out in time to save his life. On my second contraction I pushed with everything I had in the whole fucking universe, and he actually came out.  Not only did he come out, but he came out just a screamin'. I heard my husband say "You did it, you did so good!" I've never been so happy to hear a baby cry in my entire life. He was perfect - strong heartbeat, big, healthy. I had pushed out a 8lb 7oz, 21" boy in 10 minutes. It's absolutely amazing what our bodies can do.

Just a few minutes later both EMS and the second midwife arrived. They were told the baby was all good, but checked him out just to be sure. At this point it was placenta time (yay!), however nothing seemed to be happening in my body to facilitate this process. The midwife flagged the problem to the EMS attendants and asked them to stay just in case I needed to go to the hospital; apparently the placenta should be 'born' 15-30 minutes after birth, otherwise there is a risk of bleeding. Time was ticking away and it was still inside of me, and a lot of blood started pooling behind it in my uterus. Then a bunch of stuff happened really quickly which included the midwives hands and arms inside my lady bits, and I got an oxytocin IV to slow the bleeding. Then the cord broke off the placenta, which was apparently very bad, and I was told I was being transferred to the hospital.

I somehow managed to walk down my stairs and was then loaded up onto the stretcher and pushed into the ambulance. Just then, I felt major cramping and suddenly out came the placenta. Because we hadn't drove away yet my midwife asked if we could just wait in the back of the ambulance for 10 minutes in front of the house. My blood loss leveled out, and I was brought back to my bed with my new baby boy... all in all I lost 600cc's of blood. I guess we just had to put on a show for the neighbours before wrapping everything up.

Even with all the unexpected events, and no medication, this birth experience was better than my first. It was powerful, emotional, scary, and intense, but I was actually in control of everything. Even though at times my body took over, and I was forced to go along for the ride and not know where it would end up, it was better than being forced to lie on my back in a hospital bed for hours on end trying to manage contractions that weren't actually doing anything. 
Roy Zander - 8lbs 7oz

I know some people will read this and think these scary moments could have gone way worse because I was at home rather than the hospital. But I trusted my midwife immensely, and although the transfer time in the ambulance would have been a factor, she would have been administering the same medical attention as a doctor would have during that time. Obviously you can't predict what will happen, at home or in a hospital. I'm just grateful that my boy is healthy, I was surrounded by caring knowledgeable people during one of the craziest days of my life, including my husband, midwife, and doula. I had a healthy baby boy and am recovering well, and I actually got to experience the birth I wanted. 

Above all else, in spite of being so happy to have my 2 sons and the crazy life giving experiences that go along with them, I am extremely ecstatic that I never ever ever ever have to be pregnant and give birth again.

If you have any questions about how I prepared for my home birth (there were many things that actually really helped) please feel free to message me or post a question in the comments.