Becoming A Family of 4 - A Birth Story (FINALLY!)

So Peanut is 4 months old and I'm just getting around to putting the final touches on this...oops.
First and foremost I would like to say thank you. Thank you to everyone who we drove crazy because we didn't open the envelope and find out the gender of our peanut before birth. I know some of you were on the edge of your seats with anticipation. ;)

My reason for being away... {WW #66 + LINKY}

So I have been away from the blog for a few days and here is why...I had my baby on Thursday! A bouncing baby BOY weighing 7 lbs, 3 ounces (same as my daughter) and 19 inches long. 3 weeks early. Birth Story coming soon. Life with two has been easy some days and hard the next, but Hubby is here helping for a few days until I can adjust. So although I don't have a birth story to share right now, how about some cute baby pictures from the past few days. :D


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Bringing Home Baby: Birth Plans

Welcome back to our weekly series! This week we are discussing Birth Plans and why you should have one.
I had a birth plan when I had my daughter. But a lot of the things I wanted went out the window because I had to be induced, like being able to walk around to help alleviate labor pains. My mother-in-law scoffed at the idea when she found out I had one, but there are a ton of reasons why you should have one. So let's dig into them.

So what is a birth plan?
According to BabyCenter: "A birth plan is a document that tells your medical team your preferences for such things as how to manage labor pain. Of course, you can't control every aspect of labor and delivery, and you'll need to stay flexible in case something comes up that requires your birth team to depart from your plan. But a printed document gives you a place to make your wishes clear when you have a choice."
You should always talk to your doctor or midwife about your wishes before hand, but it's nice to have a birth plan when you go to the hospital just so the doctors and nurse can stay up to speed on your wishes and needs.

Why do you need a birth plan?
Do you want an epidural, no epidural, or go completely unmedicated?
Do you want a routine episiotomy?
Do you want to breastfeed or formula feed?
Do you want to circumcise or not?
Do you want to bank your child's cord blood?
Do you want to delay your baby's first bath?
Do you want to give your baby a pacifier or not?

These are all questions answered in your birth plan. Hospitals tend to have routines they like to stick to, but your labor is just that...yours. You don't want to feel robbed of a certain experience just because you didn't ask before hand, like having your baby cleaned on your chest so you can start bonding immediately or delay your baby's first bath so you can breastfeed as long as your baby wants to for that first time. Some of the things in a birth plan are routine. But you need to make sure everyone is on board. You have talked to your doctor about your plan and they understand your needs, but that doesn't mean the nurses at the hospital know. You should also talk to your partner/labor team and let them understand your birth plan, so they can get on board and help make sure unnecessary inventions aren't taking over. If you have no certain desires either way or you are a go-with-the-flow type of person, that's great! But even you should still have a birth plan too. It may not be as long or specific as others, but there will be some things that you will want to go one way or the other.

Here is a GREAT list of 10 FREE Printable Birth Plans.

I suggest going through each one and customizing one that's perfect for you.
Grab a GREAT & FREE Birth Plan from Earth Mama Angel Baby!

I had a birth plan and no not everything went according to plan, but I am so glad I had one. Some of the things on my birth plan weren't very specific because I truly was go with the flow on most of the topics, but the main things I wanted happened the way I wanted them to and that was because I had a birth plan. So do your research and make an educated decision before diving in. Remember women have been this forever, but you are unique and so is your labor.

Did you have a birth plan? Did everything go according to plan? Looking back, would you change your original birth plan?

Why I Want A Drug-Free Birth

Why I Want A Drug-Free Birth

People tell me I'm crazy because I don't want to find out the gender until birth and that because I don't want to have an epidural, I'm stupid because why would I take all that unnecessary pain when I don't have to. Well I have done my research. And this is why I have decided that I don't want to have an epidural this time around. I feel it is the mother's choice. And as long as you make an educated decision for your needs, then you are doing what is right for you. This is just why I have decided to go down this path this time around.

1. Epidurals can lead to sleepy babies which can be damaging to breastfeeding. I recently came across an article from Medical News Today that basically said just this. Sweet Pea was a super sleepy baby and it caused her to have a lazy latch which made it even more difficult considering she had lip tie. She would constantly fall asleep at the breast. And re-latching was uncomfortable, because you know being a first-time breastfeeding mom and all. Thank goodness we were able to make it 14 months, but I feel it could have been an easier process.

2. Back spasms...yikes! Reading all the stories on BabyCenter and WhatToExpect about other moms who had this happen to them, terrifies me. What if I'm not as lucky the second time around? This is what brought my husband on board with the no epidural ruling. He has back spasms periodically and so he knows I don't want to have to deal with that mess.

3. Risk being disconnected from labor because I can't feel contractions. PLUS being too numb can make you have trouble pushing which can lead to a possible cesarean. And I am terrified of c-sections.

4. Prove it to myself. "You won't win a medal for not having an epidural." True. But I feel it will be an empowering experience. I dilated to 9cm without an epidural when I was in labor with Sweet Pea and I felt that was brag worthy. Now my intentions are not to be able to brag, I just want to see if I can do it. I felt the ring of fire, I was getting into that mind set of just going to push the baby out, then the anesthesiologist came in. Machines failed me last time and so did medical intervention. The nurses said I wasn't even in labor because the machine wasn't picking up my contractions. I knew I was, but because I was a first time mom the nurses ignored me. I trust my body more than machines or medicine because of this.
Someone posted this comment on TheBump and I just loved it: "Why go through the pain if you don't have to?" "Why cook dinner when you could just get takeout or go to a restaurant? Why not watch TV instead of going to the gym? Because I like the challenge too."

5. Big needle in my back? No thanks! I was scared of this with Sweet Pea. And that's my main fear this time.

I was induced due to complications of pre-eclampsia with Sweet Pea. I want more than anything to be able to go into labor on my own. Going into this with the knowledge I have, I feel I can do it. More than anyone pressuring me to do what they want, I feel like I'm making an educated decision. Call me crazy, but our bodies were designed for this. I'm having a hospital birth, so if there are any complications my doctor will be right there. I'm learning that exercise before hand and breathing are the most important things to help me through this so I have been amping up my cardio. I know how to push this time, so I think I can beat my previous time of 45 minutes.

What are your thoughts on a non-epidural birth? What do you think about a mother's choice during labor? Tell me about your birth story, I'd love to hear it!

Welcome to the October 2013 Carnival of Natural Mothering! 

This article is a part of the Carnival of Natural Mothering hosted by GrowingSlower, Every Breath I Take, I Thought I Knew Mama, African Babies Don't Cry, and Adventures of Captain Destructo. This month's topic is Natural Birth Choices. Be sure to check out all of the participants' posts through the links at the bottom of this page.

Bloggers, visit GrowingSlower to sign up to be a part of next month's carnival. 

Love is..., A #WordlessWednesday #Linky, Week #19 + Feature

This week one of our Instagram pictures was featured at A Night Owl's Instagram Blog Hop. The prompt was "Love is...".

Love is Wordless Wednesday

{♥ on Instagram}

An oldie but a goodie. :)
Taken the day SweetPea was born.
You can view her birth story HERE. :)

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7 Things I Won't Feel Guilty About

I was going through my Facebook feed and I follow babycenter. They posted an interesting blog, so I thought I would share my views. :)

"I always knew that the moment I held my baby in my arms for the first time I’d feel love like never before. What I didn’t know was that with great love, comes paralyzing fear and massive guilt. Wasn’t quite prepared for that." - read more posted in Honor of BabyCenter's Guilt-Free Parenting Week. So here are the things I won't feel guilty about as a new mom:

Making Parenting Mistakes 1. Making Mistakes. (At least I'll try not to feel guilty.) This is my first baby so I'm going to make mistakes. Example: We took Sweet Pea to the park on Sunday. It was windy and sunny. We forgot a sun hat. I rocked her to sleep on the swing, making sure to cover her face, and then I put her in her stroller so the wind and sun would be off her. As they say, 'You live and learn.'

2. Breastfeeding. Sometimes I have to nurse in public. My baby doesn't take a bottle from me. And I am a terrible pumper (or it could be my pump). Why would she when mommy is so close by? She is also already developing a stranger anxiety with people she doesn't see often (I didn't know they developed it this early but apparently they do). So please explain to me what I'm suppose to do? I cover up and it's the most natural thing in the world. All mammals do it. If it makes you feel uncomfortable, don't look.

Daddy Helping Out 3. Passing her off to Daddy when he gets home from work. Two reasons this doesn’t bother me: One, being the only caregiver all night and day is tiring, and I am appropriately exhausted by the time someone else walks in the door, and two, I know daddy misses his baby time as much as Sweet Pea misses her daddy time. :]

Not Doing Housework 4. Not Doing Housework. I won’t feel guilty about putting my baby before my housework. Some things are more important in life. She will only be this age once, the housework will still be there.

5. Letting her be a Kid. I will not feel guilty about her watching TV or eating out every once in a while when she gets older. I did when I was a kid and so did my husband and we are capable, functioning adults. I will raise my kid and not have the TV do it for me. I will not feel guilty about letting her get dirty and be a kid. Jumping in puddles is dirty and fun. And as I said before they are only this age once.

Co-Sleeping 6. Co-sleeping. Nursing has been great for us so far but I was completely incapable of sitting up to nurse at 12, 2, 4, and 6 when she was a newborn. We figured out the side-lying nursing thing and haven’t looked back. Now she doesn't sleep in our bed the entire night like she did when she was a newborn but I enjoyed every minute of it when she did and I actually miss it now.

Our Birth Story 7. My Birth Story. Lastly, I was induced because of my blood pressure, I had an epidural because I'm a wuss. I only wanted my husband in there with me because no one was there when we created her. I love my birth story and no one is going to make me feel guilty or try to steal my joy about it one way or the other. And that is that.

So mommas or soon-to-bes, what are some things you refuse to feel guilty about?

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I'm a MOMMY!!!

This is my birth story:

So Wednesday (Dec. 8th) at 9:15 a.m. I had an OB appointment. I had noticed that I was more swollen, I had been having some unusual nauseous, and I had been having consistent headaches in the front of my head, PLUS I fell on Sunday even though I had no bleeding, pain, or less baby movement.

I told the doctor all about this. I had protein in my urine and my blood pressure was elevated. So my doctor (Dr. Gabriel) sent me to the hospital (Southern Regional). They decided to induce me in triage (BTW I go to a practice and the first time I met Dr. Youngblood was at triage...and he had to check me. Talk about shaking hands, right?) and I was admitted into L&D.

When the nurse put in the IV so I could get fluids and antibiotics, I was so swollen she had to dig into my arm and THEN the vein wasn't good and was getting swollen so she had to dig into my hand. I cried a LOT. My mom and MIL had to leave the room. My mom went to try and find another nurse. lol But since I was so swollen it was like 'digging in the dark'.

Then she put in a Cervadil and said it may be a while since I was only 30% effaced and 0cm dilated. They thought they were going to have to put more than one in but they started me on pitocin after the 12 hours (actually 13 because they gave me an hour to eat and walk around since I wasn't allowed to on the Cervadil and wouldn't be able to on the pitocin). I had started having contractions on the Cervadil even though they weren't showing up on the monitor. They gave me something to help me sleep that night that made me feel warm and loopy but it was to calm my body (they gave it to me later that day but it didn't help much since I was having regular contractions at that point although it did help me sleep in between contractions). My sister and my mom stayed the night (I got very annoyed with them and my husband but it was because I was in pain and they were laughing at me not being nice).

I'm glad they were there though because since my contractions weren't showing up on the monitor the nurses didn't think I was progressing. So my sister and husband pushed the issue. Then a nurse came in and told me to tell her when I was having a contraction, when I was they moved the monitor and YUP I was having one. Then she asked me to do it again and she had to move it again but YUP I was having one. So they decided to check me. I was 5 cm dilated. And I asked if this meant I could have a epidural. lol If my sister hadn't pushed the issue and I hadn't asked then I wouldn't have got one because by the time the anesthesiologist came and put in my epidural I was dilated to 9cm. No one was allowed to be in there when I was getting the epidural except my husband and the anesthesiologist had FOUR other people ahead of me (and they kept saying he would be there any minute, HA!). It took longer to get than expected but they didn't rush because no one thought I was far along as I was. So once they put in my catheter and broke my water they checked me again and I was at 10 cm. They said all we had to do was wait for her to come down the canal!

I actually fell asleep and woke myself up snoring at that point. I couldn't feel any pain. And getting the epidural was not scary at all. I guess because I was in so much pain by the time I got it. I was in so much pain I was begging Hubby to run down and find the anesthesiologist. lol

I could feel when she came down, I could feel my contractions, I could feel her head come out but not in a painful way. My epidural was just enough so that I had an awesome birthing experience. I pushed for 45 minutes (pushing is NOT like taking a poop, BTW, regardless of what the baby books tell you - DO YOUR KEGELS!). Elizabeth Nicole was born at 2:56 p.m. on December 9th, she weighed 7 pounds 3 ounces and was 18 and a half inches long.

Clean up took longer than expected and even Hubby wasn't allowed to hold her at first because she was having trouble breathing because of fluid in her lungs. But she has no problem breathing now, she's a screamer! :) I only had to have six internal stitches. I didn't need an episiotomy. I'm breastfeeding and it's going...we are both still learning but she's going potty like a champ! So I know she's getting something. :)

I can't believe my little one is here. I'm so happy and it all feels so surreal. More pictures to come soon! :)