Charisophia




The Story of Jack

April 25th, 2011

Jackson Bradford Dillon
April 2, 2011
2:43 am
8lbs, 8.2oz
20 inches

The last two weeks leading up to Jack’s birth were an emotional roller coaster. The first week, my midwife checked me and I was at 3cm. She said it may be another week, it may not. Monday of the second week came, and I was at 5cm. My midwife laughed and told me to get my rest, because this baby would be here any day. I was ecstatic!

Friday, Brad and I went to Ikea (in hopes of helping gravity to get things moving) and dinner, while Nevaeh stayed with my mom for the night. The whole evening I felt funny, and it kept going through my head that this was going to be the day.

10:45pm
We got home after dinner and were laying in bed getting ready to call it a night. I was checking out my pregnancy forums, like usual, and had just read a story about a woman’s water breaking that night and was wondering if mine would, since it didn’t with Nevaeh. I closed the app, and almost immediately, I felt a huge gush of warm fluid. There was no mistaking what it was. Then the excitement began!

I called my doula, Nadine, to let her know. I hadn’t had any painful contractions, so she said to rest and to let her know when they started getting uncomfortable, because we needed to get to the hospital. Everyone predicted it would be a quick labor and they didn’t want to take any chances. Of course, I was too excited to rest, so I took a shower, did my hair and make-up, and waited.

1am-ish
The contractions suddenly hit like a ton of bricks. I started timing them, while Brad got dressed and made himself some coffee. They started at 4 minutes apart, lasting a minute. I told Brad that I wanted to have five or ten before we left. For some reason, I still had it in my head that it might not be time yet. Brad said, no, we’re leaving now.

1:45am
We arrived at the hospital at the exact time as Nadine. My contractions were now every couple of minutes and, oh yes, they were all in my back. Back labor, for yet a second time! She helped us make our way to labor and delivery, stopping to put pressure on my back when I was having a contraction. The nurses were getting my room ready and I overheard one say to another, “we better hurry, she’s going to have this baby soon”. I was shaking really bad with every contraction and was already feeling the urge to push.

2am
My midwife, Diane Tandy, arrived and I was dilated to 6cm. I was so upset, because I thought it would be forever before I reached 10cm. She kept insisting to the nurses that they needed to fill the tub for me, but they wouldn’t, because the baby had not had the two heart accelerations and two decelerations that they require before allowing me in the tub. My midwife was explaining to them that he had descended too low and they weren’t going to get the strip they wanted, but they would not budge. At this point I was begging for an epidural. Every contraction was entirely in my back and I didn’t think I could take any more. I felt like I was being tortured. So Diane manually turned the baby to get his head off of my back. Amazingly, I could feel the relief as she did it, but I still wanted an epidural. Diane and Brad kept telling me that I didn’t want it and that I could do this. Diane was amazing. She kept talking to me right next to my face and had me focus on her during my contractions. I kept feeling the urge to push and she whispered in my ear to push if I wanted to. Her calmness and ability to totally take over were amazing. The whole time, I only heard her voice.

2:35am
The epidural team came in to get my blood and start the bag of fluids (note- the nurses weren’t exactly caring about my birth plan at this point, so they called for the epidural). Diane said, let me check you first. She checked me and said, you’re at 10cm, lets have this baby! I was shocked. So she sent the epidural team on their way and got me set up to start pushing.

2:40am
Pushing was what I was scared of most, before I went into labor. I had no idea what it would feel like and was scared it would hurt worse than the contractions. And frankly, I was terrified at the idea of tearing. But once I heard her say I could start pushing, I couldn’t wait. I knew it would be the end of the terrible contractions and I’d get to see our boy. I started pushing and felt every bit of it. I wouldn’t say it was painful, surprisingly. At that point, I was so focused on getting him out that maybe I just didn’t notice the pain, but it certainly wasn’t what I was expecting. After five minutes of pushing, his head came out and his cord was wrapped around his neck twice. Diane just unwrapped it and told me to push again for the shoulders. As his shoulders came out, she told me to reach down and pull my baby out. Without hesitation I pulled him right out and on to my chest. It was amazing. He was here and I had done it.

Brad and I sat there in awe of our boy. He looked like he belonged to us and he looked so much like his big sister. The nurses disappeared and it was just us with my mom, Diane and Nadine, chatting about the whirlwind that just occurred. Diane chuckled and said I wasn’t really at 10cm when she told me I was. She said I was almost there, but not quite. She knew that I was determined to go naturally and I needed that little bit of encouragement to push me through to the finish line. Diane and Nadine were amazing. They came together and helped carry me through the hardest and most amazing thing I will ever do in my life. With their help, Brad was able to be at my side, knowing I was being taken care of.

About an hour after giving birth I was up and ready to get moving. I didn’t feel like I had just given birth. I guess part of it was a hormonal high, but I felt exhilarated. It was one of the most amazing and surreal moments of my life and I felt so proud.

Lying on a bed of arsenic?

January 26th, 2011

When I first became pregnant with Nevie, I started educating myself on everything imaginable. Something that had always bothered me was the “back to sleep” campaign. For generations, mothers have been putting their babies to sleep on their tummies. So why the sudden rise of SIDS in recent years sparking this new campaign? Well, it must be that babies are suffocating on their tummies (all of the sudden). That makes the most sense, right? Not to me. What pediatricians and the government are failing to talk about is the chemicals used in producing crib mattresses. BPA, arsenic and fire-retardant materials, among other things are being used in the production of crib mattresses. If a baby is on their tummy breathing in these harmful chemicals, surely there could be deadly side effects. And there were. When the back to sleep campaign started making its way around the country there was a decrease in SIDS, because babies were no longer breathing in as much of those chemicals. Government-forbid manufacturers start producing mattresses without these harmful chemicals, instead let’s just tell parents their children may die if they sleep on their tummy.

This topic really got me fired-up when I first became a parent. It made no sense to me to put my baby on her back to sleep. When babies sleep on their back it creates a feeling of falling. They are used to being tucked away tightly in their mother’s womb. The closest way to recreate that feeling is to put a baby on her tummy. Also, being on their tummy aids in digestion. On her back a baby is much more likely to develop reflux. Many parents have suffered sleepless nights, because their baby just simply needed to be put on her tummy to relieve her little tummy. Babies made to sleep on their backs also develop flat heads and in some cases never learn to crawl, because they don’t get that much needed tummy time to learn to push up.

So what’s the solution? Some suggest putting a few layers of 100% cotton towels on top of the crib mattress before placing a tight fitting sheet over it. Another solution are plastic mattress covers with holes on the underside to allow the mattress to breath. And more recently, companies such as Target have started producing 100% cotton, bpa-free, less-toxic fire retardant mattresses at a reasonable price.

When you are a new parent, you worry about everything. The chemicals in crib mattresses shouldn’t be one of them. I purchased a plastic mattress cover for Nevie’s crib mattress. With this new baby, I’ll be getting one of the new natural mattresses and place layers of cotton towels on top of that, under the sheet. As a parent, YOU and only YOU know what’s best for your baby. If you sleep better at night with your baby on her back, then that is totally up to you. More importantly we need to raise awareness of how our every day items are being produced. One of the best things a parent can do is educate themselves. You can’t always trust the info being fed to you through parenting magazines and pamphlets. If something doesn’t seem right in your gut, then it probably isn’t.

Suggested reading:

http://www.babysake.com

http://www.stopsidsnow.com

http://www.healthychild.com/toxic-sleep/has-the-cause-of-crib-death-sids-been-found/

Cathartic

January 21st, 2011

So much has changed since I last blogged…so in the words of Meg Ryan (circa, before she botoxed her face beyond the point of recognition), “Dear Friend, I like to start my notes to you as if we’re already in the middle of a conversation. I pretend that we’re the oldest and dearest friends.…”

Jack will be here in about 2 1/2 months. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little scared. OK, a lot scared. This pregnancy has been so good, but being the pessimist that I am, surely he’s going to be a difficult baby and I’m going to go nuts and have to start prozac or something. I tend to think that if things are going really well now, surely they’re about to get really bad. Thankfully I married an optimist who is good at reminding me, at times like these, when my pessimism is taking over.

I really don’t know what to expect with having two children. Nevie has been the easiest baby from the very start. She was never much of a crier, nursed well, has always been a great sleeper and has always been so sweet and independent. What will this baby be like? Am I going to get so overwhelmed that I fall apart? Am I just giving in to my pessimistic attitude and thinking about the most unlikely of outcomes? In defense of my pessimism, or realistic nature as I like to refer to it, if I prepare for the very worst there won’t be any surprises. If the best of outcomes occurs, I’ll be that much more thankful. See, it makes sense… right?

But then I think, well kids are part nature and part nurture. So perhaps the reason Nevie is who she is, is partly because of our parenting and isn’t entirely just her nature. Or did God give us such an easy baby the first time, because he knew the second would be much harder? See! The pessimistic part of me always seems to trump the little bit of optimism I try to grasp.

What I am (practicing) keeping in my mind, is that no matter who this little person is, I will love him just as much as I love my Nevie. He’s a part of ALL of us. God has given us this little boy for a reason. Who he is and who we are is part of why we’re perfectly matched for one another. Perhaps he’ll be my little “mini-me”, since Nevie is 85% Brad and only about 15% me. To be honest though, I wouldn’t mind another little Brad running around. I quite like those.

The Business of My Birth

May 15th, 2009

I finally had the nerve to sit down and watch The Business of Being Born. I hesitated for a long time. Honestly I was scared of hearing that everything I did was wrong. I’m such a self-contious mother. I try so hard to ALWAYS make the right choices for Nevie. I haven’t yet excepted that it’s okay to make a mistake. I was relieved to find this documentary encouraging. I related to everything they talked about. I was so happy to see that I was not the only one who felt the way I did after my birthing experience.

So here’s my birthing story:
Before I was pregnant I had already decided on going completely natural for the birth of my babies. My mom did it, so I thought that I should be able to also. When we conceived I started doing lots of research on natural births. I had decided on a water birth. I read so many positive articles and books on the subject. So we took a water birth class, which was required to be allowed to deliver that way at our hospital. After the class we felt really great about our decision.

Well the big day came on August 4, 2008. It began at 5:30 am with contractions about ten minutes apart. Soon they became five minutes apart. At that time we contacted (or should I say tried) to contact my midwife. We had one number to call that was supposed to notify the midwife of my impeding delivery. After almost an hour and a half of trying to get in touch with her (apparently she wasn’t given the message) we finally got in touch and she told us to head to the hospital. I took a shower and shaved my legs ( I wasn’t about to have hairy legs on my delivery day!). The contractions hurt like mad, but I was handling it. The ten minute trip to the hospital seemed to take forever. The contractions were getting much harder and longer. I just wanted to get out of the damn car. So, we arrived at the hospital and the walk to the maternity ward took about ten minutes. Little did we know, the maternity ward is located on the BACK of the hospital with no outside accessibility (apparently to keep people from stealing babies… go figure).

I was offered a wheelchair twice, but my pride got in the way and I was determined to walk the whole way. My contractions didn’t hurt quite as bad while I was walking, so I figured if I kept moving I’d be better off anyway. We got there and they hooked me up to monitors for about fifteen minutes, to ensure I was truly in labor. At about that time my midwife showed up and checked my progress. I was 5 cm and in active labor. Well apparently Nevaeh wasn’t moving as much as they’d like, so they made me guzzle down some ginger ale and sit on the monitors a while longer. The contractions were agony while I laid there unable to move around. Finally they got what they were looking for from the monitors and I made my way to my room.

After about six hours of labor I couldn’t take the back pain any longer. I didn’t feel a single contraction in my abdomen. Every  contraction was directly across my lower back. At that point I threw my idea of a natural birth right out of that tinted window of my labor room. The contractions were coming less than a minute apart and I couldn’t take it. My nurse put an IV for fluids in my arm. I was starting to bloat like a whale (although I felt like one before the fluids). About 30 minutes later an anesthesiologist came strolling in. We talked about baseball (don’t ask-I know nothing about it). He placed the large needle in my spine (painful, but not nearly as bad as the contractions). After about 3 minutes I felt no pain at all. I was on cloud nine.

I had lots of visitor come in to see me. It was nice to be able to socialize while my body was preparing to birth a baby. Amazing how that happens.

A little while later my nurse came in with a pouch in her hand. She says, “I’m giving you pitocin because your contractions have slowed down”. She hooked me up before I could even say I didn’t want it. To be honest, at that point, I didn’t care what they did to me. Maybe it was the epidural or maybe it was my sheer excitement of seeing my baby soon. I don’t know. Regardless, I wasn’t even consulted about it. They just hooked me up like it was nothing.

About an hour later they noticed I had a fever and the baby’s heart rate was increasing. They gave me oxygen and penicillin. They checked me again and I was 10 cm and ready to push. I pushed with the nurse by my side for about fifteen minutes. Then my midwife came rushing in telling me we had to get this baby out soon or I was going to have to be taken to surgery. Thirty minutes later I pushed my little girl out. I never felt pain, only a little pressure as she came out. I’ll admit, I didn’t mind not feeling the “ring of fire” that I heard so much about.

They immediately took the baby behind a curtain to suction and be sure she was okay. I didn’t even get to see her until about five minutes later. After about ten minutes of introducing her to the family they immediately took her away to record her measurements and bathe her. After about thirty minutes a nurse came to inform me that the baby had an infection and would be given an IV port in her hand so they could administer antibiotic. It wasn’t for another hour that I got to just sit and hold my baby. I felt so disconnected from her. I knew she was my baby, but I felt like I was missing that immediate love I heard so much about. I also wasn’t able to nurse her immediately like I had hoped. They took her away so quickly that it was over an hour before I could begin that so very important bonding time.

So this is what I think happened:
1. I was given an epidural (by my choice) and I contracted an infection. The epidural slowed my labor, which was already progressing well on it’s own.
2. I was given pitocin (not my choice).
3. The combination of the infection and the intense contractions brought on by the pitocin put my baby in distress.
4. After being on the IVs for so long I had ballooned from all the fluids, as did my baby (who was born 9lbs 3oz, and 4 days later dropped to 8 lbs 4 oz, once the fluids were out of her body).
5. Because of the size of my baby and the BACK ONLY position I wasn’t allowed to move from, I had to get an episiotomy or else I would have suffered a terrible rip.

What I wished had happened:
1. I had hoped my midwife would be more involved throughout the whole process. I saw her about 4 times total. It really didn’t seem any different than having a regular doctor. She did a great job delivering me, but didn’t offer much else aside from that.
2. I needed a calming and encouraging medical-oriented coach. Brad was a great coach, but he also didn’t want to see his wife in pain. So when I asked for the epidural he didn’t argue. I really needed a calming influence that wasn’t emotionally involved to help me through the pain.
3. I wish that I was allowed to have as many people in the room as I wanted.
4. I wish I never got the epidural. At the time I would have married that cold tube of fluid flowing into my spine, but I didn’t know just how much it would affect everything.
5. I wish that I was able to breast feed my baby immediately and get to experience that immediate bonding that comes when a baby is handed directly to her mother.
6. I wish that Brad didn’t have to tell me what was going on when I delivered my baby, after the fact. Things went on that I wasn’t even aware of because I was so out of it, though I didn’t think so at the time.

All of this said (kuddos to those that have been able to read thus far), I plan to have a home birth next go round. I want the person delivering my baby to be by my side the entire time. I don’t want to feel pressured into having any meds. I want to be able to hold my baby immediately after giving birth. I want to conquer this task that my body was built for.  I felt traumatized after Nevaeh’s birth. I felt like I had gone through a whirlwind and I wasn’t in Kansas anymore (thank you, limb numbing drugs).

The way a mother gives birth should be by her choice and not what’s convenient for the hospital staff.

I’m thankful that our daughter is perfect and healthy in every way. I pray that with our next child, God-willing, I will have the strength to follow through with my plan. I want what’s best for my baby and myself. I know that giving birth the way God designed me to is just that, the best.

Regardless of how she came to this earth, I think I would be lost without her…
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Wean Me Gently

April 28th, 2009

This weekend Brad and I decided it was time to start weaning Nevie. It’s been such a struggle for me to come to a decision with this. I’m very proud that I’ve exclusively breast-fed my daughter for 9 months straight. The only time she’s had a bottle was while she was a newborn and my milk was taking it’s sweet time to come in. Since then, she has been a boob-only baby. Well, as of last week she has started trying to stand while she nurses. This doesn’t work very well because my boobs don’t stretch that far. So nursing time has become quite a workout for us both. She’s very interested in breast-feeding, but she’s equally interested in practicing her mobility at the same time.

My plan was to breast-feed for a year, and to be honest, I’ve been counting down the days until that one year mark. I’m just over it. I haven’t had my body to myself in almost 2 years. Monitoring everything I put in my body as safe for baby or not, to not be able to leave Nevie for more than a few hours at a time; we’ve only seen a movie in an actual theater once since she was born because I can’t be gone that long. I need a break. I need myself back.

So as we began the weaning process I’ve felt like such a bad mother. What’s her pediatrician (also a lactation specialist) going to think of me? What are other moms going to think of me? Am I hurting my child by taking away the very best thing she can eat? Should I just deal with her lack of concentration to eat and try to force her anyway? Am I being selfish? Am I not trying hard enough? These thoughts have been plaguing my head for days now.

This is such a bittersweet stage in motherhood. I’m excited about my freedoms, but I’m also sort of mourning the loss of being so needed and feeling such a closeness to my little one. It also reminds me that she’s not going to be a baby much longer.

Brad’s been really great at supporting me. I think it’s easier for men to not care what others think of them- especially as parents. Men can’t relate to the pride that comes along with sustaining your child her entire existence to this point. He continues to reassure me and remind me of what a good job I’ve been doing and that it’s okay if I want a break.

For now, Nevie is nursing when she wakes up and before she goes to bed. Between those times she gets formula. She’s still learning how to use the bottle. She doesn’t quite realize that she’s suppose to drink from it instead of banging it on things. She’s getting better at it though. I haven’t decided how long I want to stick with this schedule before weaning completely to a bottle. I think I will give it at least a month before I decide. Until then, I plan to relish in the little bit of freedom I now have. I think even a movie might be in our near future.