Thursday, June 19, 2014

My VBA2C

After I was able to convince my OB that I was a good candidate for a trial of labor, and he successfully convinced the other OBs and the hospital to allow it, I rested easier knowing that I would at least have a chance at having a VBA2C.  I was not against a C_section, IF it was medically indicated, and there were a few things that came up during the pregnancy that could have led to a C-section.  Aside from my past history of needing to be induced early for pre-eclampsia, I also developed gestational diabetes during this pregnancy, which also could have led to an early induction.  Part of getting the OBs to agree to my trial of labor, was that there could be no chemical induction.  I asked if the need for an induction arose and if I was dilated enough, could they just break my water and I was told that they did not expect me to make it that long.  However, I did not come down with pre-eclampsia this time and I was able to manage the diabetes with diet alone.  None-the-less, my OB and I were very happy to discover that I was 3 cm and 80% effaced at my 34 week check-up.  However, the baby was also breech at that time and I was told if they could not get him flipped back around (he had been head down until that point), I would be looking at surgery.  By 36 weeks, he had turned back to the proper position and I was up to 4 cm.

Over the next 4 weeks, I did not dilate any more and I did not go into labor on my own.  My OB was very concerned about the risk of uterine rupture and was not comfortable allowing me to go past 40 weeks gestation.  Two days before my due date, we decided to try a non-chemical induction (having my OB break my water).  He had stripped my membranes several times in the last 2 weeks of the pregnancy and I had tried drinking raspberry leaf tea and also castor oil, none of which had started labor.  Sex and walking had not helped either, so I felt that this was the safest option at that point, if I wanted my trial of labor.  I also had begun to suspect that something was going on with the baby's umbilical cord because throughout that last month, he would "drop", but then go back up, repeatedly.  On the morning of the induction, I had accepted that it might end in a C-section, but still wanted to try for the VBA2C.

I was told to come into the hospital at 10:30 in the morning, however once I arrived, I learned they did not have a labor nurse for me and there were other moms who had arrived in active labor.  I was admitted anyway and hooked up to the monitors while I waited for a labor nurse.  My OB was the OB on call until 8AM the following morning, so I knew I would be taken care of.  Finally, at 7 PM, a labor nurse was assigned to me, and it happened to be the same one I had with my 3rd daughter.  My OB came in at 7:30 and broke my water.  Over the next several hours, nothing exciting happened, although my contractions were slowly getting stronger and somewhat closer together, they were still not "regular".  Around 12:45AM, we had decided that my mom would take my girls (they were going to watch the delivery) home, since we were all pretty sure that nothing would happen until the morning.  After they left the room, my mom decided she did not want to leave until she knew how far dilated I was, so they decided to walk around the hospital instead.  At that time, my OB also had said he was ok with me getting up and moving around the room as long as they could still monitor the baby.  The baby had a few decelerations of his heart rate earlier in the night, but when they gave me some IV fluids, they stabilized again. However, due to that being a sign of uterine rupture, it was important to them to keep me monitored.  I decided to get up and use the bathroom before moving to the rocking chair.  As I was using the bathroom, I had a contraction where I felt pressure from the baby.  I decided I did not want the girls to leave yet and asked that my husband call my mom to tell her to stay.  He decided to go get her instead. 

After I left the bathroom, I sat in the rocking chair.  My mom had returned to the room to see what was going on and my husband remained in the hospital walking with the girls.  I had a couple more contractions and asked my mom to go get my husband.  Just after she left, I had another contraction and I stopped thinking clearly.  As the contraction ended, I noted that the monitor said the baby's heart rate was in the 60s (versus his normal 140s).  As I looked at the monitor, I also saw the Nurse's call button and thought I should push it.  When I realized I couldn't move to reach it, I thought I should ask my doula and friend to push it, but then realized I wasn't really up to talking either and I knew the nurse would be right in anyway since they were monitoring it from the nurse's station.  Just as I thought, the nurse came in right after and told me that I needed to get back in the bed so that they could figure out what was going on.  As I moved back to the bed, I again accepted that it was going to end in a C-section and I was truly ok with it.  More than anything, I wanted a healthy baby and I knew that he was in trouble.  The PA entered the room and attempted to put in an internal monitor, but she was unable to do so.  My OB quickly followed her and when he realized I was only 7 cm, he quietly told the nurses to open the OR.  He later told me that he was genuinely worried that I was rupturing and that he did not want to upset me.  He then proceeded to tell me that a moment later, I made a noise that indicated I needed to push.  He went to check me again and the baby's head was there.  I do remember him telling me to grab my legs and push, and I remember being unable to physically grab my left leg and telling him that I couldn't grab my legs.  Then I looked up to my right arm and realized that I was gripping the bed with it and that he probably wanted me to grab BOTH my legs.  Everything happened SOOOO fast, that I barely remember it.  I went from having contractions about every 5 minutes to delivery, in about 10 minute.  The baby was born at 1:18AM.  His heart rate decelerations were due to the fact that he had wrapped his cord around his neck 4 times tightly.  However, he still scored an 8 and a 9 on his APGARs, so he was good.   He weighed a healthy 7 lb 11oz and was 21" long (though he later measured to be closer to 20").  He does have some heart deformities, one of which we were aware of before birth, but they also are not causing him any problems.  They will need to be watched, but so far, he is doing great. 

Fighting for a VBA2C

If you have been reading The Happy Wife for a few years now, you might remember that my fifth baby was an emergency C-section, due to him tying his umbilical cord into a true knot.  What you might not have known, was that it was my 2nd C-section.  My first-born had also been a C-section due to my water breaking spontaneously, but my body failing to go into labor, despite several interventions to try to get labor started.  I was fortunate to have hospitals in my area and OBs that were favorable to VBACs and the 3 babies in between were all born via VBAC.  That included a 10+ pound baby, and 2 babies that were induced early due to pre-eclampsia (1 was severe pre-eclampsia with HELLP syndrome).  I know in many areas it is difficult to find hospitals and/or OBs that are willing to allow a VBAC, so I was very grateful to live in this area.  However, I also know that there are even fewer areas that have hospitals and OBs that are willing to attend a vaginal delivery when there has been more than 1 C-section. 

I also want to say that the OB I started going to when I was pregnant with #3, is someone that I have a lot of respect for and truly trust.  I also really like the hospital that he is affiliated with and wanted to deliver there as long as it was medically feasible.  The other hospitals in our area are good hospitals, but I have had much better birth experiences at my preferred hospital.  When I learned I was pregnant, I dreaded the upcoming conversation with my OB, as I was afraid that I was going to have to choose between finding a new doctor and my wish of being allowed a "trial of labor" in the hopes of having another successful VBAC.  I started by doing my research regarding VBA2Cs (vaginal birth after 2 C-sections) and the risks involved.  I learned that a successful VBAC had a better outcome than a repeat C-section, but a failed trial of labor , often had a worse outcome than a repeat C-section.  I also learned that in 2010 both ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) and the NIH (National Institute of Health) had issued statements regarding VBACs, including VBA2Cs.  ACOG's statement specifically states, "Attempting a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) is a safe and appropriate choice for most women who have had a prior cesarean delivery, including for some women who have had two previous cesareans."  The statement by the NIH discusses the risks and benefits of VBACs and what factors influence the success or failure of a trial of labor. 

I gathered my research and prepared myself for my first prenatal appointment with my OB.  My OB starts every primary prenatal appointment in his personal office before having you go to a room for the physical exam.  This gave me the opportunity to discuss my concerns with him.  When our meeting started, he stated that he had already heard that I wanted to try a VBAC (I had talked about it with the Nurse Practitioner when I came in to confirm the pregnancy.)  I stated that I did and steeled myself for a fight.  As I sat in his office, with tears streaming down my face, I tried to assure him that my decision was an educated one and not merely an emotional one. I left his office with the same fears I had entered with, but with a flicker of hope that he had promised to talk to the other doctors and to the hospital to see what could be done.  At my next appointment, he apologized because there had not been enough time at their meeting to bring up the VBA2C, but he promised he would do it.  A few nights later, he called me and told me that he had spoken with everyone who might be involved in my birth. I held my breath as I waited for him to tell me what they had decided.  I was beyond thrilled when he said that all of them were willing to support my decision to have a trial of labor.  He told me that he did not want to admit it the day we met in his office, but that I had been right about my risks being equal either way and that he used that information when he presented the situation to the other doctors.  He also stated that my successful VBACs in between the C-sections played a large role in the decision.

Sooooo...........did I end up with a successful VBA2C or did the pregnancy result in another C-section?  Stay tuned., the birth story will be the next post.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The past 8 months

It has been exactly 8 months since my last blog post.  During that time, I was working on a little project, and while I always intended to share along the way, time got away from me.  So what was the little project I was working on?  Here he is:
Meet baby #6 :)  He was born 2 weeks ago and weighed 7 lbs 11 ozs.  I will share his amazing birth story in another post soon.  The pregnancy itself was a little difficult, and brought new experiences to me, but overall, was a good and healthy pregnancy.  Landon himself, appears healthy overall, but does have some minor heart differences that we are keeping an eye on.  They are not causing him any physical issues at this point, so they just look yucky on paper and we are hopeful that they will either "heal" on their own or at least, continue to not cause any issues.

Now that Landon is here and the majority of his "extra" appointments are over, I am hopeful that I will be able to get back to blogging again.  I have missed it greatly and have tons of post ideas.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Book Review: Retro Baby



Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This simply means that if you click on the link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. I also received a copy of the book to facilitate my review.


About Retro Baby (from Press Release)

While bouncers, walkers, carriers, electronic toys, and “educational” videos are intended to make parents’ lives easier and children smarter, according to a new book published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), parents should consider reducing their baby’s time spent with gadgets and bond the old fashioned way by going back to basics.

Leading pediatric occupational therapist and child development specialist Anne Zachry, PhD, OTR/L is the author of Retro Baby: Cut Back on All the Gear and Boost Your Baby’s Development With More Than 100 Time-Tested Activities (American Academy of Pediatrics, October 2013), a new book intended to help parents and caregivers understand the importance of one-on-one play with children during the early stages of life. With over 20 years experience, Zachry understands that each family and baby have different needs and in her book, she offers many flexible strategies and suggestions for playtime that provide lots of opportunities to spend valuable time with baby, creating that special bond that will last a lifetime. 

Incorporating the latest recommendations from the AAP with extensive research by Zachry and other experts in her field, Retro Baby covers how an infant’s brain, body, motor and sensory skills develop, explain the negative impacts of overusing certain baby gear, and provide specific instructions for play positions and activities that are appropriate for each developmental stage, giving parents both a starting point and guidelines to help them properly invest in their child’s development and future.

 Packed with more than 100 wonderful activities based on modern day research, Retro Baby is a comprehensive guide that will help parents and caregivers:
·      Learn how crucial connections are formed between a child’s brain and muscles during the first year of life.
·      Discover how the over use of some products can hinder infant exploration.
·      Observe how good old-fashioned play affects your baby’s development in a positive way.
·      Try a variety of ideas that enhance baby’s ability to learn.
·      See how to make traditional, handmade toys using common household items.

Retro Baby also includes chapters on keeping your sleeping baby safe, practicing tummy time and preventing positional skull deformities.

“I’ve discovered that many parents do not understand of the dangers of extended equipment use and overexposure to technology,” said Zachry.
She adds,  “All of the information in ‘Retro Baby’ will help parents play a role in building a solid foundation for their child’s future skills in school and in life. When you use this authoritative up-to-date source, you’ll be faithfully supporting- but not rushing- your baby’s mastery of developmental milestones.”

About the author, Anne H. Zachary



Anne H. Zachry, PhD, OTR/L is a pediatric occupational therapist and child development specialist with more than 20 years experience. Her research on this subject has been published in national peer-reviewed journals and her profession’s trade magazines as well as a number of parenting magazines. She cites and extensively supports AAP policy and is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association and has lectured at the University of Memphis and is a Professor of Occupational Therapy at the University of Tennessee Health and Science Center. Her blog, “Pediatric Occupational Therapy Tips: (www.drzachryspedsottips.blogspot.com) averages 30,000 hits monthly.
 

My thoughts on Retro Baby  

For a long time, I have felt as though all of our lives are being overrun with technology.  I miss the simplicity of the days gone by, and I am only talking about the days when *I* was younger.  As a wife and mom, I strive to bring back as much simplicity as possible, but also embrace the virtues of technology, at least for myself and my "older" kids.  Like Retro Baby, I do not see much value in electronic gadgets for babies.  As a mother of a 16 month old, I was thrilled to find that this book has information and ideas for babies up to two years of age. The ideas are great, and easy to make and/or do with a baby.  Many of the activities can be done anywhere, some require you to have materials and/or to make something, but the materials are often commonly found, some are even things you might otherwise dispose of, so they are inexpensive, making the activities appropriate for parents of all income levels.  My son loves playing with his homemade Choo Choo Train and enjoyed the activities that we have done together.  In addition to the educational chapters, which also have activity and homemade toy ideas, there are chapters that are specific for the different age groups, based on developmental growth.  

I highly recommend this to any parent who is looking to unplug, at least a little bit, and to connect with their baby on a more personal level.  You could replace several gadgets on a baby registry with this book and the baby would never know what he "missed out" on.  In fact, this may just become my new go-to baby shower gift.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Book Review: Not Guilty

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This simply means that if you click on the link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. I also received a copy of the book to facilitate my review.


About Not Guilty

It's 1974 and Carrie Shepherd, daughter of the minister at Windspree Community Church, is a college senior with plans to be a missionary in Africa. Raped by a masked assailant, Carrie is so traumatized she tells no one until she realizes she's pregnant. Refusing to have an abortion, she must find the courage to face her family, her fiance, her friends and a gossiping, angry congregation which may include her attacker.

My thoughts on Not Guilty

I really liked the characters in the book and found parts of it to be very believable, but some parts, particularly towards the end, of it were rather unbelievable.  However, the topics covered, particularly race and the way some Christians judge others, are timeless and you would not have known the story took place in 1974, if you had not been told.  I do like books that include discussion questions and I found the questions in Not Guilty to be thorough and thought provoking.  I also enjoyed the epilogue at the end of the book which gave a sentence or two about what happened in each character's life after the book ended.  One thing I will warn about is that this is a piece of "preachy" Christian literature.  Those of you who have read my reviews know that I enjoy Christian literature and do not mind a bit of preachiness, but this one is heavy with it.  The characters work at converting just about everyone they meet in every interaction.  I am of the belief that it is great to share your beliefs, when it is appropriate, and it is better to live by example.  I just found the way the characters did it to be too much.  In real life, they are the people I would have avoided, especially before I truly began to know Christ.  If people avoid you, your example is lost to them.  As for a recommendation, overall, the book was ok, but not one I would recommend running out and buying it.  If you have the chance to borrow it, it is a decent read though.

Unit Study: Sonia Sotomayor (Hispanic Heritage Month)

Reading:

Read the biography of Sonia Sotomayor, and answer the following questions:
  1. When and where was she born? (6/25/1954 in the Bronx, NY) 
  2. What is her heritage? (her parents are Puerto Rican)
  3. What law school did she graduate from? (Yale Law)
  4. Which president nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court? (Barack Obama)
  5. When was she confirmed by the US Senate, making her the first Latina justice on the Supreme Court? (August 2009)

English and Writing:

Learn how to do research and create a research project on either a case that the US Supreme Court has ruled on or the life of another Supreme Court justice (past or present, but not Sonia Sotomayor.)

Spelling and Vocabulary:

Be able to spell, define, and use each of the following words in a sentence: justice, docket, unanimous, verdict, prosecutor

Spanish: 

judge: el juez(male)/la jueza (female); to judge: juzgar; school: la escuela; college: la universidad; to learn: aprender

Social Studies: 

Learn about the U.S. Supreme Court.  Be able to name 9 justices (at least by last name) and describe how a case gets to the Supreme Court.

Art:

Learn about Puerto Rican art history.

Music:

Learn about the various musical instruments common in Puerto Rican music. (There is a list on the left hand side.  You need to click on each one.)

Health:

Learn about stress and healthy ways to deal with it.

Math:

We will be working on percentages, particularly what percentage of the court ruled which way on various cases throughout history.  There is also a nice lesson here on teaching percentages.

Domestic Arts:

Learn where your family comes from and create a family tree.  Be sure to include place of birth of each person.  See how far back you can go.

Physical Education:

We will work on personal health this week by participating in a variety of physical activities and games.

Science:

Learn about hurricanes and make your own.

Book Review: God Gave Us So Much

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This simply means that if you click on the link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. I also received a copy of the book to facilitate my review.


 

About God Gave Us So Much

Three Adorable Tales for Children of All Ages!

Through the eyes of a curious little polar bear, young readers are invited into engaging journeys through the Arctic North Pole to explore some of their most tender-hearted and important questions.

Mama, Papa, and Grampa Bear, the ever-loving and wise guides for Little Cub’s adventures, share with her the incredible miracles of God’s creation and the depths of His love for her. 

This limited edition treasury of the best-selling God Gave Us series includes three complete charming tales. With heart and humor, the stories reveal the beauty of diversity throughout the world, the incredible gift of love, and the wonderment of our Heavenly home to come.

All three books are available in this exclusive treasury for the price of two!

God Gave Us the World
God Gave Us Love
God Gave Us Heaven

My thoughts on God Gave Us So Much

We were given the book, God Gave Us You, when one of our daughter's was born.  We really enjoy that book, so I was excited to receive this 3-book collection.  In God Gave Us the World, the child is taught about all the wonderful things God has given us in this world, such as the animals and the seasons.  In God Gave Us Love, we learn about the different types of love and how when we show love, even to those who we may not like, we are sharing His love.  In God Gave Us Heaven, the child learns about how Heaven is different from Earth.  The book also gently deals with the topic of death.  This was particularly helpful for us, when my then 4 year old was dealing with the death of her best friend.  The book is beautifully illustrated.  Theologically speaking, there are some differences in what I believe, but overall, the book does a great job of answering questions children may have.