Home Birth Q &A

So since yesterday’s post I have seen many of the same questions being asked over and over again and I figured I should just write them down so if you are curious, you can check it out 🙂

1. How does a midwife watch the baby’s heart rate  if she doesn’t have a fetal monitor?– Midwives bring along with them Doppler’s, and stethoscopes that are meant to listen to the baby’s heart beat externally. Since I am a VBAC they will be listening at the beginning of the contraction and at the end of the contraction to see how our little one is handling the contractions. If I was not a VBAC they would check intermittently and try to check after a set amount of time or if they feel they need to check for some unknown reason. Midwives are very educated on how to detect a baby in distress.

2. What if something goes wrong?

– Again Midwives are very educated in birth and know how to handle the majority of situations. If it’s something they can’t handle they would immediately send me to the hospital for the care that they couldn’t provide.  A very small number of their laboring women actually need to be sent to the hospital.

3. If something went wrong, how far from the hospital are you?

– We are actually in the optimal range for something like this. Less than 5 minutes from the nearest OB and NICU.

4. Doesn’t the idea of giving birth at home make you nervous?

-Actually no. I have been researching home births and water births since way before I got pregnant with our angel  baby and before we got pregnant with River. Through my research I discovered that Midwives in Birthing Centers and Home birth situations have the lowest fetal and maternal deaths and the least amount of emergency outcomes than even hospitals. I’m actually safer at home than in a hospital surrounded by nurses and doctors.  Don’t get me wrong, Obs are amazing, but there is no reason why a healthy pregnant mother needs an OB at her side during a natural birth. They are over kill for the majority of us 😉 When they are needed though, I’m very thankful we have them.

5. So what is your home birth going to look like: if all goes as planned?

-I envision my home dimly lit, Enya playing on the radio, my husband, my midwife and her assistant all there to support me through the labor and encouraging me through each contraction. I see me walking, laying in  my birthing tub, squatting and just doing what comes natural to me in the moment. I see my midwife checking the baby’s heart beat periodically and trying her best to not be intrusive and mess up the rhythm I’ve figured out. I see me telling them when I’m ready to push and giving birth to our newest princess in a perfectly calm, warm and gentle birthing tub with all of them standing by my side. I see being able to instantly bond with  my child and be the first to even touch her.

Everything about it says calm and peace to me. And that is the complete opposite of what Elenore came into the world with. If all goes as I want, River will be born into a loving environment. Just like God intended.

6. Where is Elenore in all of this?

– One of our wonderful friends has already told us that she would take our daughter when I go into labor so that I can concentrate without having to worry about my 2 year old. We have truly wonderful friends.  And if I go into labor at night I might just let Elenore sleep through it and than leave when she wakes up. All comes down to when River wants to make her debut.

If you  have anymore questions about Home birth in general, I’m very willing to answer them. Only respectful inquires please. I’m not going to debate with you, but I will have a conversation with curious minds 🙂

Much love,
Mama Berry

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We’re gonna take the plunge!

I debated even writing this since I know that I’m going to have people telling me that I’m nuts, but after some thought I figured, why not? I’ve been completely open with you guys up to this point, why not now?

So here it is: after a discussion with  my OB last week,  I came out of the experience feeling discouraged, scared, and completely let down. From the moment I knew I was pregnant she had been encouraging me and telling me that she would do everything in her  power to get me my VBAC and my 100% natural birth.  I was over joyed, I had found an amazing OB who was going to support me with my birth plan! I knew this was something that was rare, and I told everyone I knew that she was amazing and that she fully supported natural birth. She had even said to me that “she trusted women’s bodies to know what to do” and that was music to my ears.

Than it was like she flipped  a switch last week and wasn’t the same doctor. I went into the appointment anticipating to have the my birth plan discussed, have my questions answered and to come out feeling OK with my hospital birth. (Since the hospital birth has been a compromise with my husband from day one) Everything was going great until I started asking for specific percentages, and her specific ideas as to how my birth journey was going to go. It was like I was seeing a completely different OB. She suddenly wasn’t optimistic about my birth plan anymore and kept referring to her experience that was women who had previous c-sections couldn’t give  birth vaginally. When I asked her how many VBACs she had even seen she said only 3 and “only 1 made it, but she had had a vaginal birth before so….” I was shocked.  She didn’t even believe that I could make it and she was supposed to be a “VBAC supportive provider”?  That’s when she really started throwing wrenches into my birth plan:  I couldn’t walk past 6 cm or 5 cm if  my water had already broken, I was required to than lay down and have an internal monitor put on for the duration of my labor, (I.E break my water and screw a device into my child’s head), I couldn’t at that point use the labor tub or the shower, I was required to have an IV placed, (no option for Hep lock) and if “I didn’t progress” she was rushing me to c-section. No waiting, no chance to stand up and attempt to kick start my labor again, nothing.  I was to be prepped for surgery and that was it.

At this point she was really getting annoyed that I didn’t look as optimistic and that I was continuing to ask questions. That woman couldn’t get out of the room fast enough. I was utterly stunned. What happened to the OB that I had  been having great conversations with for the last 27 weeks of my pregnancy?!

I went home and just cried. It felt like she had pulled the rug out from under my feet. Matt wasn’t as stunned, apparently he had guessed she wasn’t what I thought she was and was just letting me figure it out on my own. I would have appreciated an heads up! haha He just held me and said we would figure something out.

That began the most frustrating, head ache inducing, intense round of deep conversations we have had in a long time. I felt like we were talking circles around each other: he wanted to stick with the Hospital birth and just go in ready to fight for what we wanted and to wait as long as possible at home so that I had a chance to labor naturally for as long as possible before they put the monitors on me and made me lay down. Sounds reasonable enough, but I had completely given up on the idea of having any kind of natural labor and delivery if we went to the hospital and had our OB calling the shots. I poured out all my fears, sorrows, disappointments and just lack of faith in the hospital. I didn’t trust the OB anymore and I really didn’t trust the nursing staff to let me do what I needed to do without a fight and a hostile environment unfolding in my hospital room.  Matt was just as dumbfounded. We were at a cross roads: we both knew what the other wanted and were both not willing to fold.

We slept on it Thursday night, brought it up again Friday night, got no where, slept on it again, mildly brought it up Saturday night, got a tiny bit of progress and than we made it to Sunday night and we decided to just sit down and talk till we had a solution. This talking in circles was getting exhausting.

I had been talking to other VBAC women, my mother and my Child birthing instructor and  had come to the conclusion that our only option was to get a midwife and have the home birth that I had been wanting from day one. I didn’t see any other solution that would not guarantee me a c-section at the end of a frustrating labor experience. I could tell I hadn’t shocked him, he had guessed that is where my thoughts had been going. His only concern was cost,  Midwives are not cheap. He informed me that he would have been perfectly fine with a home birth if our insurance had even covered a tiny bit of the cost. I didn’t think this was something he was willing to bend on and I was getting really hopeless. He than surprised me and told me he would look at our finances and see if it was even a possibility. I couldn’t believe it. He was at least looking!

After a long, agonizing 30 minutes on my part, I threw the idea of not eating out anymore and using that money for payments towards the midwife. That got me a reaction: he was all for it! Suddenly it was like he had a huge burden off his shoulders and we both could breathe.

We went to bed that night excited for the birth of River Lee, calm and utterly content in our decisions. We were doing it! We were going to have an all natural water/home birth with a midwife at our side.

I couldn’t be more a peace with our decision and for the first time since I talked to our OB last week I feel the fear, and tension leaving my body. I am getting what I wanted in the first place: a calm, 100% natural water birth in the comfort of our own home.

Yes, I do believe we have made the jump into the true realm of “hippie”. haha

Labor is just around the bend….

I can’t believe that I’m in the 3rd trimester! Time really flies by when you have a toddler to care for. haha

So today I was thinking about all the different things I have learned this pregnancy and the things I learned before I even got pregnant and thought, I should probably write them all down! So here is all the things I found absolutely fascinating and have stuck in my head for my upcoming labor and delivery 🙂

1. Red Raspberry Tea- Did you know that Red Raspberry tea drunk all throughout your pregnancy and 2-3 cups a day in your third trimester actually tones your uterus and can aid in labor? Wow! I love that! Reading posts from women who have drank the tea have all had wonderful labors, some even boasting that they had 4 hour labors! Now that is something I can jump on board with. haha (No desire to have another 18 hour labor ending in a “no progress” label and c-section)

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/red-raspberry-leaf-tea-benefits.html

2. Dates- Did you know that dates eaten the last trimester promotes a easier, faster, and more efficient labor? Yep! They recommend 6 dates a day for the last 4-6 weeks of your pregnancy for optimal benefits.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21280989

3. Evening Prime rose Oil- Evening Prime rose oil taken orally at the beginning of pregnancy can help break down scar tissue from previous interventions and c-sections. Also, when taken at the end of pregnancy (Orally or vaginally) its believed to soften the cervix and start labor.

http://www.pregnanthealth.com/evening-primrose-oil/

4.  Spinning babies are techniques that help get a baby into optimal positioning for labor and delivery. They even can get a breech baby head down! I’ve been doing some of the moves for a few weeks now and River is most definitely head down now. haha

http://spinningbabies.com/

5. Pushing on your back is a big NO, NO! When you push in the normal hospital pushing position (on back, legs up) you are actually making it harder for the baby to descend into the birth canal and out.  They are forced down and than up again from the angle of your tail bone. This makes pushing harder on mommy and baby and can lead to a vacuum or forceps assist.  Optimal pushing position is in the birth squat. This position allows gravity to help the baby descend, keeps the baby’s head in the optimal descent position, and makes the angle of birthing straight down; aiding in mother’s pushing as well.

https://i0.wp.com/www.childbirthcare.com/mod/userpage/images/partner%20yoga-couple%20in%20squat.jpg

http://pregnancy.about.com/cs/laborbasics/a/squatting.htm

6. Keep moving during labor! Laying still in a bed and not allowing your body to move about between contractions can actually be detrimental to the labor process. Moving and doing what feels natural for you to do while laboring is the bed thing you can do to make sure you succeed and make it to the pushing phase. I know this is the reason why I stalled, I was laying in a bed and strapped to a monitor and IV so my body wasn’t able to progress naturally. I remember feeling the urge to move but was to scared to remove the monitor and get up. Not this time!

http://www.transitiontoparenthood.com/ttp/parented/pain/positions.htm

7. Drink lots of coconut water and/or another kind of electrolyte boosting and hydrating fluid while laboring. Your body will thank you for it!

8. Squat, squat, squat! Squatting now while pregnant will help you when you need to squat during labor. Prep those legs! 😉

9. Pelvic tilts- These are amazing. Not only do they prep your body for labor, but they relieve lower back ache! I literally was taught how to do them and within 3 reps I was back pain free! Lasted all night and when it sprouted up again I just did them again, and Poof! They were gone again 🙂 Yay for pain relief!

http://www.livestrong.com/article/262134-pelvic-tilt-exercises-during-pregnancy/

10.  A good Chiropractor could mean the difference between a long and painful labor or a fast and relatively pain free labor. I’m making sure I get a session in before February, that’s for sure!

 

And many more that I’m sure I’m forgetting right this moment. :p

River’s pregnancy really has been a learning experience for me and I can’t wait to tackle labor head on! Here’s to the last 12 weeks! Can’t wait to see you River ❤

Reflecting on “us”

The last few days I have been reflecting on how far as a couple and as a family we have come in our almost 5 years of marriage.

Looking back I love how much of a foundation that Matt and I had built up as a couple  before we even really got “serious”. For those of you that don’t know our story, we started out just as friends and hung out all the time as a big group. I loved being around him. He was such a energetic, strong and stable man and when he even would acknowledged my presence I would feel giddy. I fell in love with him from literally the moment he walked into our church and than had to wait around for him to 1. realize I was interested and 2. become a Christan. The latter happened first. I remember the weekend it happened, we were all on a fasting trip up in the mountains and all my friends and I were in the hot tub when Matt and a couple of the male leaders came around the corner after a long hike in the woods where not only did Matt accept Christ, but so did another boy. I remember feeling so joyous in that moment. The man I loved had just accepted Jesus. My heart just soared.

My knight in shining armor

My knight in shining armor

It was love at first sight

It was love at first sight

Than I waited another year until he finally figured out that I was interested in more than just being a friend.  This was after countless days of us just sitting in our cars facing each other talking till it was way past curfew. I knew everything about him. He was my best friend, the love of my life and I just wanted him to acknowledge the connection between us. When he finally did ask me out (in not the most articulate way, by the way,  I had to ask him if he was asking me out haha) I felt like I was on top of the world. It was seriously the greatest moment in my young life.

Before our first homecoming together

Before our first homecoming together

Our first dance

Our first dance

That was the moment when we started “dating”. I put it in quotation marks because I think of it as more of a courtship. He had told me in one of our many late night discussions that he wasn’t going to date a girl unless he felt like he could marry her, and that was why he had never dated in High school up to that point. So for him to ask me out was huge. I knew I was special and it made my heart soar. I was Matthew Berry’s one and only girlfriend. Talk about making a girl’s dreams come true. (Because literally he was my dream come true since the moment I set my eyes on him 2 years before)

Our courtship was devastatingly slow. Looking back on it I’m so happy with how slow we moved because we really knew each other before anything more physical came into our relationship. He didn’t hold my hand for 6 months, didn’t kiss me for 7 months, and it took him 3 YEARS for us to even make the jump to making out. haha When I said slow, I meant it. We were engaged to be married by that point. Yes, you just read that right. We didn’t’ even make out till we were engaged to be  married.

At this point we had already been through our first trial of our relationship. Matt had left for basic, gone to tech school and we had one of our first fights through letters and texts. Talk about a trial. We couldn’t even address the issue till he was in Tech school and had access to his own cell phone again. Than it was nightly conversations till we had everything leveled out again. I wouldn’t change that time though, we grew so much as a couple.

First time seeing each other after Basic

First time seeing each other after Basic

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Than he moved to Mt. home to be close to me and we got married that December.

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Our wedding was everything I imagined it would be and more. That day literally couldn’t have been more perfect, I was in heaven. Than our beautiful honeymoon up on the border of Canada and Washington. A full week of walking the beach, relaxing together, eating smoked salmon, brie and bread, and just getting to know each other on a more deep level. We were in bliss.

Together on our honeymoon

Together on our honeymoon

Jump forward 6 months and we had our first deployment together. That was one of the hardest moments of my life. Still considered a newlywed and having to say goodbye to the man I loved so deeply. I cried for days and than learned to get back up and live life without him. Those 7 months were the biggest trial of our marriage, I had no friends on base, I was traveling to and from Mt. home to  my school in Nampa, it felt like I was all alone in this deployment. My only joy came from the time I got to talk to him via skype and emails. We fought through emails, we learned to forgive through skype, we learned that our love could handle this and grow. I found friends that understood what I was going through, I found a rhythm to live that fulfilled me and made me know that I could live this life. I was strong enough to be a military wife, I could do this and thrive. It was a profound learning experience for both of us in our own lives and the life we had together.

He returned  home and we had to relearn how to be together. It wasn’t easy, but we came out of it stronger than before. We than decided it was time to start trying for a child. We were so excited.

Than the cycle of waiting happened. No one but my mother and Mother in law knew what was going on, but we struggled with infertility.

Month after month of negative pregnancy tests where I felt like I was dying and failing at life each time.

I joined a swim team randomly because of a email I received about a spouse wanting to start  a team. I responded and that started the connection I needed just at that moment. Her husband was the fertility expert on base and I didn’t know it than but it was an answer to my desperate prayers each month. Over a dinner conversation Darren asked us if we were trying to start to have a family soon. At this point we had been trying for 9 agonizing months. We joked about it and he casually told us that if we needed help he was there and to give his office a call if we hit the year mark of no success. I took the information and just stored it away in my mind. I had hit the hopeless point.

Our little swim team

Our little swim team

Than the year mark hit and I remembered what he had said. At this point I adored his whole family and the swim team was starting to form and we were all super excited about the future of the team. I trusted him and decided to give his office a call.

On our first appointment he eased all my fears. He told me that he would have me pregnant within 6 months tops. I couldn’t believe my ears. After  a year of failure it seemed to good be to true. After countless tests on Matt and I’s part he was confident that it wasn’t me and it wasn’t Matt. Just some random interference that clomid could fix. I started that month and we literally had a positive pregnancy test by month 5. Which was a blessing and mourning experience for us since I got pregnant and 5 short weeks later Matt deployed again. He missed every ultrasound, every first, and every milestone of our precious new child’s growth in my womb. He missed the 20 week ultrasound where Elenore sucked her thumb and the tech told us “its a girl!” (my mother was there for my 10 week appointment and my 20 week) and he missed when I found out I had gestational diabetes and had to fight the low and high numbers for the last 2 months of my pregnancy.

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Our last day together before his 2nd deployment

But through it all I had support. I had  found a group of women who became like family to me. All our men were deployed together and we spent every waking moment, it felt like, together. They joined in with our celebrations on the gender, my woes of GD, our fears and our desires while separated from our men and just were always there for each other through everything. I knew that if I went into labor early they would be at the hospital in a heartbeat to hold my hand through it all. I also had my job as a nanny for a wonderful family in Boise. I loved their dear baby boy and found friendship in his mother. All of them got me though this deployment feeling like I could do this.

8 months pregnant

8 months pregnant

Matthew got home 3 days before Elenore was born. He was sick, (had caught something in Kuwait, no idea what) and stressed, but oh so happy to have made it. Our reunion was really joyous and was even caught on camera for the local news.

Matt homecoming

Home at last

Elenore’s birth was not the best experience out there, but we were just as  happy to see our baby girl.  No matter how she finally made her appearance.

Matt and Elle first hug

First moment together as father and daughter

Immediately life decided to throw some curve balls at us but we held on together made some hard decisions and moved on. Those first few months of Elenore’s life were the most joyous and stressful of our life. But we wouldn’t change a moment of it.

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Than when Elle was 6 months old the military decided to throw another curve ball at us. Matt was being sent to Korea again for a few weeks and it would be the first time I was alone with our daughter for an extended amount of time.  I knew I could do it and we parted ways with only a few tears. I remember congratulating myself on that. I was getting better at this! haha

I went home for a week or so to see my family and than on the way back we had another life changing moment. I wont specify as to what exactly happened since it’s so personal but it almost tore us apart as a couple and family. I ran straight to my friend whom was at my side through Matt’s whole deployment and she pulled me from the abyss that was my mind. It was OK, we would be alright. Our marriage would make it and we would pull through this. Her words were the only thing that kept me sane till Matt and I could talk face to face and get everything squared away. We struggled for months but came out on top. We still encounter the repercussions of the incident years later, but we are way stronger and know we can handle it when it rears its ugly head every few months or so.

Jump forward to now. We are now in San Angelo Texas, own our home, have another precious princess on the way and couldn’t be happier.

Berry (16) Berry (19) Berry (30)

We have had our share of trials in Texas too, don’t get me wrong. Between encountering drama filled “friends”, to a fire in our home, to our second round of infertility trials, a miscarriage, and countless mini life altering instances that change your perspective on life, we have had our share of trial here. lol But we are truly happy. As we approach our 5 year anniversary I can’t help to think of the upcoming years. The ups, the downs, the trials, the love, the hope, the laughter, the joy, and the knowledge that I wouldn’t want to share my life with anyone else.

I love you Matthew Berry and can’t wait to celebrate our 5 year anniversary in a short month and see where this crazy life is going to take us. We have each other, our precious children, our crazy dogs and family and most importantly a God who loves us.

Here’s to the rest of life!

Christmas 2010 091 Disneyland and Universal 2011 073

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Entering the Holiday Season

Why hello  November!

I’m sure I’m not the only one that absolutely loves the Holiday season.  From October-January 1st you have nonstop family traditions, joy, gifts, fun and beautiful decorations, amazing food, and just all around fun.

We start out with Halloween. Oh how I love Halloween. You have a day full of community, fun, imagination and the idea of being giving all over the place. What other time of the year do we get to dress up as whatever we want like children again, go crazy passing out candy to adorable children, get to spend hours outdoors playing with pumpkins, going on hay rides, corn mazes etc. etc. I love the whole family affair. Its great.

This year Elenore was Cinderella and daddy dressed up with her. Not just once, but twice! We were really excited to have the chance to have 2 days be full of Halloween fun.  The first day (the Saturday  before Halloween) we got to go to our base’s Halloween Carnival at the Fire Training facility. Matt went as a Roman soldier and loved chasing Elenore around while she played on bounce houses and did trunk or treat.

Then actual Halloween hit and we got the chance to dress up again! Matt and I were Minnie and Micky this time around and we headed over to our Church’s Halloween Carvival. This time around Elle got to do a cupcake walk, some carnival games,  bounced on a bounce house and spent the next couple hours walking up and own our street and the street across from our Church getting candy from door to door. She passed out cold when we got home.

It was truly a magical 2 days. I’m so excited to show River  Halloween next year. Its going to be a blast!

 

And than we have November and Thanksgiving. A whole month where we are encouraged to look at what we are thankful for and tell everyone about  it.  Facebook is full of posts where people say what they are thankful for and you get to see really how blessed we all are. And than there is fun Fall decorations and getting together with family and friends and eating an amazing dinner.

Than we jump right into the best Holiday of all: Christmas.

Christmas trees, peppermint mocha’s, Christmas carols, if your lucky: snow, Nativity scenes, the story of Jesus’ birth, beautiful church sermons, gift giving, another amazing dinner, Santa, and lots of Christmas baking.

This year I’m making all homemade gifts and I’m SO excited! Plus, Matt and I decided that instead of buying each other something we would pool that money together and get something that we both have been wanting. Its super exciting

Than for Matt and I it’s our 5 year anniversary. Really looking forward to a date night with my man this year.

And than its New years. Another night of fun with friends and lots of good food.

And if you wanted to keep going its than Valentines day. February this year is going to be extra special since our newest little Angel: River will be joining us sometime that first few weeks of Feb. We couldn’t be more excited to meet our newest princess!

 

What is your favorite thing about the Holiday season??