Friday, November 16, 2012

An tale of two births.

I've wanted to write this post for a long time. This is going to be long so if you can get through it, congrats!

I want to first say this. I hate 'comparing' the birth of my children. I mean, I feel sometimes I do that a lot because they were just night and day. The way my children were born really doesn't matter in how I love them or parent or what not. I love both of them. They are both amazing in their own ways and their births were both equally special to me. Both births were equally emotional in different ways and even both had moments where they were scary but all for different reasons. Oddly enough, even as rough everything after Brady's birth was, I wouldn't change a thing. It made me want to fight for the birth I hoped for the first time but I think in that, I bonded with Brady so very quickly because of it. Not to say I didn't bond with Ben, it was just different. I get asked a lot which delivery was 'easier' or 'better' or whatever word they would use to ask and I feel awkward in a way with my answer. I know how to answer that in terms of recovery but I think they are both equally perfect and amazing in their own ways. A child's birth (either through a natural birth, a c-section or through an adoption) is such an emotionally charged experience. I had a super easy recovery with Bennett and sometimes I do feel guilty for saying that because I don't want it to somehow lessen Brady's experience. It's such an odd feeling but as I've said, I look back and they are both so amazingly different and full of such raw beauty and joy.

If you want to read both birth stories, you can find both at the top of the blog.

So, back to this post. I've wanted to write it for many reasons. When I was looking into doing a VBAC, I found limited information, scary stories or not much at all. In talking to people about my hopes for Bennett's birth, they were surprised I was able to 'find a doctor to let me do that' or would ask 'is that safe?!?' I also want to remember if we ever decide to have a 3rd on why those contractions are worth it in the end.

I think with Brady's birth, many things went wrong and it was a combination of things that didn't happen that did with Bennett. For one, I never felt a single contraction with Brady. My water broke with Brady and nothing every happened in the next 24 hours. I often wonder if I had I not started spiking a fever, if I would have started to dilate. With Bennett, I went from basically barely a 1 to 10 in a few hours (after almost two days of early labor.) With Brady, membranes were swept a few days before my water broke. I think if I had not had that done, my body would have been more ready. Who knows, really.

When I went into my first appointment with Bennett, my OB looked at me and said, "VBAC?'' It was a no-brainer. Here were her 'requirements' if I was even going to attempt one.

  •  No induction, meaning, I had to go into labor on my own. I didn't feel like this would be an issue though I got nervous towards the end.
  •  With that, no pitocin as it can increase the risk of Uterine rupture.
  •  No complications.

Towards the end, I was a mess. I was crabby, anxious and just a mess. I hated that I didn't know if I was really going to have this chance at a VBAC or not. It was all I thought about and I wanted this baby out because I wanted his birth to be over with. I'm grateful that I was able to have the birth I wanted. I was able to hold Benny right after he was born and to try nursing immediately  Not to say that those with a c-section couldn't have those things  but I know if I would have had another c-section, things would not have gone well. Since I had have complications before, I was more at risk for those again and to make things more complicated, the hernia repair increased my risks for MORE complications.

I wanted to share why I think it worked out and maybe help someone else or make someone feel that it could be a possibility! I had never met anyone who had one and to say that the information I found was limited and scary. I think the hardest part of this all was not knowing what to expect or to not know if I was going to have a c-section or not but I think a lot of things all lined up right this time.

1. Supportive doctor: My OB wanted this for me almost as much as I did. With having had a c-section and then a hernia repair, cutting into that mesh from the repair was last on her list of things she wanted to do but also knew it was in my best interest to try a VBAC. It was her first thing that came out of her mouth after, "Congrats!"

2. Supportive nurses: I was worried about this as not every nurse is the same and with Brady I had been in labor so long, I had several. It was bascially a luck of a drawl and this time I got so lucky! When I got to the hospital the first time, I was mad they sent me home. I was just done. I was so nervous and I wanted to know in the end, we were all ok. So, when I came back and the contractions were awful and I she told me I was still a measly 1 cm, I lost it. I almost gave in and said, do whatever you want. I'm done. After a while, nothing was happening but my pain was just increasing and combined with no sleep in 24 hours and the anxiety of the unknown, I needed to relax. So, while they finally agreed to give me an epi, comment was made that it is going to lead me closer to a c-section. When the shift change happened, I was unsure and nervous but I had the most amazing nurse and I think I can thank her for helping to get me my VBAC.

An hour after the epi, I had gone from 0-4 and my water had broke. The nurse and midwife on staff there looked at me and I felt like they were giving me the okay, that this was really going to happen. I felt like they were cheering me on. It was JUST what I needed. During labor, my nurse kept positioning me and I was getting frustrated at this odd way she had me but I think it truly helped me move that baby down. I tried bouncing on a ball with both births and other things but I think this was key for me along with relaxing.

3. Minimized interventions: I was one who always planned on having an epi but with Brady, I was so nervous and I had so much against me, I think it all just snowballed. With Bennett, I was glad that I couldn't get pitocin or anything because it gave my body the chance to do what it needed. I also requested not to have my membranes swept this time because I'm truly convinced that is what led me to where I got with Brady. I'm glad I also didn't let them keep me after the first hospital visit because it could have very well snowballed from there too. I went home, relaxed, slept a teeny bit and that is when things kicked into gear!

4. Epidural. Oddly enough, I think the epi was key to getting where I needed to be. I was nervous about getting it this time because I was worried it would lead me to a c-section again (even as the first nurse I had said!) but after being in labor for over 30 hours and NO sleep, my body was exhausted. Your uterus is a big muscle and when they tire, they don't function as they need to be. So, basically, I was contracting but my body was so exhausted, it wasn't do it's job of dilating. I find it odd enough that once I got the epi and could really relax, I went from basically 0-10 in a few hours. It was just what I needed!

5. Supportive family: Blake was amazing through all of this. Having not been in this position the first time, he had no idea what to expect and I think it truly bonded us even more. My family was great in giving me the space (well, most of them, ha ha!) I needed when I was trying to relax and get through contractions. I wanted no one there and most of them heard my requests. I wanted to be able to focus and relax the best I could and I think that helped!

6. My own desire for a VBAC because of my past experience: I know a lot of women are determined to have a natural birth or want something to go their way but these sweet babies of ours have their own plans. I think that me wanting this so bad was key in no giving up. I've admit, there were times I considered giving in, especially in the heat of the moment after 30 hours of constant contractions and pain, I was so over it. I kept reminding myself of WHY I wanted this so badly. Why I needed to do this. I think that is what helped me in those most difficult moments and even though it was easy to say screw it, I knew deep down inside, I had to give myself the chance. I knew I would regret it if I didn't and I also knew that I had come so far, there was no turning back. I was terrified. I mean they tell you about the risks all the time and who wants to hear about 'uterine rupture' but without remembering all I went through after Brady's birth, I would not have gotten through it.

7. Brady: I knew with Brady I would love him regardless but as a new mommy, I had no idea the force that you love your own child with and I was excited for that again but at the same time, I wanted to be able to be the best mommy I could for Brady after especially because it was going to change his life. I knew there was a chance with a c-section, the complications were possible and I didn't want that to happen again for his sake. It helped  a lot during it all to picture his face and all the things we were going to do as a family of four when things got tough!

To be honest, after he was out, it was the most amazing feeling, I've ever felt. A rush of pride, joy, elation, relief and peace rushed to me all at once. The contractions sucked, yes, but knowing that I was able to do this for myself and my boys was the most amazing thing. Granted, I know it doesn't work out for everyone and there were things that could have prevented me from it as well but I'm so grateful that it was something I even pursued! So, I think the last two things were key in it all. If things were not so hard the first time around, I might not have even thought of trying for a VBAC!

I'll write another whole post about recovery because that is a whole post in itself but this time around, everything was so easy, it made the transition much easier for our whole family.

These kids are so worth it all though. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. In.a.heartbeat!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


If you remember, Bennett's newborn screening came back not only for hypothyroidism but also his hemoglobin test came back with a few unspecified cells. We were told to retest between 3-6 months.

A few weeks ago, Blake and I were tested to see if we were carriers of a hemoglobin disease. If we were carriers and Ben still had these funky cells in his blood, it could mean a combination of things or really not much at all. Try telling that to a mom a little over a month post partum without freaking her out. Then, tell her you'll have to wait a while to even find out if anything is wrong.

 One of them, thalassemia occurs in those of Mediterranean decent and being that we are both Italian, it concerned me a bit more than others. I tried to put it in the back of my mind but it was always there. I wasn't sure what exactly to be worried about, which I think helped in preventing me worry more by consulting Dr. Google more than I needed to because there was such an unknown other than possible hemoglobin disease.  

The test sucked more so because we had to do his thyroid levels at the same time and filling two vials.....sigh. It took a while and not to mention it was awful timing and he was hungry/tired and there was lots of screaming. Ugh. 2 years and 7 more months of blood work minimum for this kid. Blah.

I figured it would be a while before we heard but low and behold, it came back. 

Neither Blake and I are carriers!!

 Bennett's still has some fetal hemoglobin cells or something or another but she said that those usually go away before he is a year old. We'll retest around then just to be sure but, praise the lord!

Last night, I nursed him to sleep and laid him down in the pack n play right beside my bed and he woke up, which he rarely does at bedtime. I was preparing for him to start crying and ready to pick him back up but he didn't. He looked up at me, smiled, closed his eyes and then drifted peacefully back to sleep. A little moment that made a huge impact on this momma's heart. A special one indeed.

Then, he started sleeping like this. Little hands clasped together.
I find it so perfect as I've done so much praying about this little boy,which started before he was even born and he continues to show me on a daily basis, how truly blessed I am.

Friday, November 2, 2012


Four months
(only two weeks late, yay, me!)

Likes: Mommy, Daddy, Brady, milk, Sophie, music, kisses, watching people, laughing, being tickled, holding toys, putting things in his mouth, his hands, toys.

Apparently, it gets harder to take pictures of them both as he gets older and Brady looks tasty. 

Sleep: Sigh. Two words. Reverse cycle. He's practically nursing all night. Thank you, cosleeping for making it bearable and luckily, I don't feel more exhausted but he does have nights where he's having a hard time settling. I'm back to swaddling him, with one arm out in hopes to slowly wean him from it. Naps are all over the place but I'm blaming our child care (uh, more on this later and the reason for the reverse cycling) and I'm working on that end. Though, he's now almost 4 1/2 months and things are getting much better a few days after he's been at home (rather than at my IL's who watch him.) 
Dislikes: Still not fond of the carseat, being without Mommy, being overtired, strangers, the Dog's barking at Nana's, loud noises that make him jump, bottles (though he'll take them, he just prefers drinking it from the source!) and pacifiers.
Yummies: Still nursing! I'm so happy we've made it this far. We made it through my first month back at work and though it's been hard with being sick so many times since I've been back, the stress of pumping AND some feeding issues with people who watch him, we are making it. He still prefers mommy but will take a bottle. He generally will drink 2 bottles while I'm gone, sometimes more or less but he really sleeps more during the day, which I'm okay with to keep this going. He eats every 3 hours when I'm home. A typical work day, we'll get up for the day between 530-6 and he had just fallen back asleep. I get up, shower, he's up and I try to top him off before I leave.  He has a bottle or two while I'm gone. I get home between 4 and 4:30, he eats then and clusters the rest of the night before he goes down 730/8. Up again around 10/10:30 (which is new!) and then a decent 3 hours and then from about 2/3 on, he's filling his belly. 

Growth:  I go back and forth on this. This month again, he's in the 5th percentile at 12 pounds 9 ounces and then a few days later at his endocrinologist appointment, he was already 12lbs 13 oz and 25 inches. So, he's growing from his lowest of 6lbs 5 oz and starting length of 20.5. In the great span of things, he's gained 6 pounds since birth so that is great! It's just hard for me since Brady was already high on growth charts and it's hard not to second guess myself sometimes. His doctor isn't worried but sometimes that isn't enough to reassure mommy. He sure makes it disappear when he does a new trick though!
This month, he got baptized. I mean, how cute is this outfit? 
Thyroid stuff:
We finally met with the endocrinologist last week. He will have to remain on Synthroid until he is three. At that point, we can drop it and see if his numbers stay down. If they do, he can stay off but if they go up, well, he'll most likely have to stay on it for most of his life. He is thinking though, since his numbers were just a wee bit high, that he does have transient and won't have to be on it for life. It's the most common thing for babies to have but it still isn't one thing I wish we had to go through. We also went and were tested for the Hemoglobin disease that came back from the newborn screening and I'm sure that will take awhile to come back. Blood draws are so quick (seriously the kid's hospital is amazing) but it still is hard to see him be stuck. We'll see the endo every 3-4 months and do bloodwork every 2-3 for a while. Luckily, the sticks at our children's hospital are so quick, it's been much easier on all of us. It's worth going out of our way and waiting forever to be seen. 

Month three to four is like night and day. Newborn no more. We've had several instances where he didn't scream in the car. The first time was when Blake drove him to my IL's and he, GASP, SLEPT in the car. That was miraculous! Then, we ran to Target and he gabbed but didn't scream. Please, let it be nearing the end. Though, we've had some days where he screamed bloody murder again but I'm hoping we are near the end. I've noticed now it's more so when he's really tired and sometimes he'll eventually fall asleep. 

This past month, he started grabbing toys and holding them. He will bring them to his mouth and chew them. I love it. Love, love it! He is really fond of Sophie, much more than Brady ever was. 

Squealing! It cracks me up! 

His first cold. This wasn't too bad other than a runny nose but I've been sick so many times since I've been back at work, which is odd for our family since we never get sick!

Blowing raspberries! His raspberry face is priceless!

Lastly, little laughs. Little laughs that melt your heart. The smiles are plenty and I swear, he has the most amazing smile that lights up the room. That kid, he sure is special and I'm so blessed to watch him grow!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Halloween post.

How can you dress your kiddos up and not post about it? I've been looking forward to this for a while. Brady's at that age where he is so much fun, gets so excited about things and is just so funny.
Brady's first pumpkin carving attempt. Well, he didn't carve it but he helped draw the face. I just loved it. It's ready to go in the trash but had to wait till after Halloween so we could avoid a total meltdown.
A coworker gave me a few clothes from her three boys and I had to try it on and have fun with this one. I might be biased but he's the cutest pumpkin I've seen!

When we started talking about Halloween, Brady heard candy and didn't care much about it other than wanting candy right NOW! Then, it got closer and we started talking more about it.

He had told me he wanted to a be a train from the get-go but every time I asked him what train, I'd get a different answer.

Thomas. Percy. Hiro. James. Rosie. Emily. Percy. Kevin.

I wondered who the heck this Kevin guy he had been talking about!

Finally, he went back and forth between Percy and Thomas.

A few days ago, his vote was Percy. Then, we went out and bought paint and he picked, blue for Thomas.

Then, he told me he wanted to be Percy.

Sigh. So, we agreed he'd be Thomas since we already had the paint.

It's funny because months ago, I thought I was ahead of the game. I had a few tutorials (here and  here ) saved and the boxes and most of the pieces ready to go. Uh, then the kitchen stuff happened, we've had sickness, after sickness go through our house and then, there was no time.

I had put the 'train' together and needed to paint and put all the details on it, which finally happened the night before. Oh well. I might have lost sleep and the house looked like a train hit (har har) but it was all worth it.

He told me he had SO much fun. "Mommy, I had lotsa fun!"

 "I have to say, 'Cheeeeeese, mommy!" He was so excited, I think he could hardly contain himself!!!
 I mean, how cute is Benny as Sir Tophem Hat? I can't handle the hat. I'm obsessed with it.
 I was so suprised he wore it. I had asked him before I spent time on the details and he told me he would wear it. Wear it he did! He was such a trooper and I had even asked him if I could carry it for him and he said, No! By the end of the night and after about 45 minutes, he was done and ready to reap his rewards.

Blinded by the flash, Thomas lost his head after the 2nd house. Poor Thomas. I've promised to put him back on so that he could continue to play with him.

I swear, this was the best Halloween ever. I said that last year but this year was double the fun.