Monday, September 27, 2010



No time to write much especially since I'm typing with one hand but i had to post just to tell everyone who's still reading this how much i LOVE being a mother. these photos show the rewards i get and they mean more to me than any gifts I've ever received.

Moagie is a happy baby who sleeps 5-8 hours a night and cries infrequently. I know how lucky we are!! I thank heavens every single day. We've never been happier or more fulfilled!!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

She Smiles!!!

The first time my little girl smiled (on purpose) for her mommy and I had the camera rolling!!! I am so head over heals in love its just plain silly!!!!! :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

One Month Old!

Morgan has been here for a whole month already!! So hard to believe! Here is some of our month in pictures...

Last Belly pic taken on my due date (8-11-10) while I was in LABOR!

Morgan's first minutes on the outside!

Her First Outfit (1 day old)

First time at the park (11 days old)

First trip to the grocery store (1 week, 6 days old)

One of our first outings to a restaurant (3 weeks old)

I'm wearing my "push present" (the necklace) that Ben gave me after her birth...three stones: one big, one medium and one small (daddy, mommy and baby) that represent our little family. I LOVE it and I'm never taking it off!!

Her NFL Debut...
Her first Bengals Game!! (4 weeks old)

And finally, her ONE MONTH PHOTO:
She even gave me a smile!!

Happy One Month Birthday, Morgan!!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Part Two: Our Labor & Birth Story

Sorry to leave everyone hanging. I have been very eager to get back to typing this story up, but with the holiday weekend now is the soonest I found the opportunity. LABOR Day....ugh! Now that word will ALWAYS evoke a shiver down my spine!! Back to the story...

So, where did I leave off? Oh yeah, it's mid morning on Wednesday, August 12th, I've been laboring for 32.5 hours and my doula walks out the door since she is sure that I still have several hours before I'll really "need" her. I am in a puddle of tears in my living room sitting on my birthing ball as I wasn't aware of that until that moment. If I'd know what she was thinking all along maybe it wouldn't have felt so awful when she left me. I thought I was much further along and getting close to leaving for the hospital, but our doula wanted to see my body to make a few more changes before we'd leave. Ultimately she was waiting for my contractions to get closer together (3 minutes), for bloody show or for my water to break. She just kept encouraging me which I translated as, "you're almost there."

 After she left all the feelings I experienced while battling infertility came flooding over me. Our doula had not been available to me the evening before because she was with another woman who was pushing her baby out, and now she had just left me again because yet another woman was on the verge of delivering a baby. It was how I felt when everyone around me was getting pregnant and I was stuck in the cycle of month after month of getting bad news and feeling like we weren't getting anywhere. Now when I was in labor a similar pattern seemed to be happening. Contraction after painful contraction, like month after painful month, it seemed as though I was getting no where. And now my doula had just left me behind the way I felt left behind by all the women who moved into motherhood while Ben and I were stuck fighting the odds that infertility had dealt us.

It was a low, LOW point. I sobbed into Ben's chest both during and between my contractions. I cried because I was really pissed at the person I'd hired to help me had just left to help someone else. I cried for the pain, and for my exhaustion with the whole process. But most of all, I cried because I was reliving the leftover emotions that resided deep in my heart after enduring infertility for 3 years. 

Eventually I was able to pull myself together. I wiped my tears away and began to focus on my contractions. They were so intense that I could get really panicky if I didn't work to stay on top of each one. My mom, dad and husband were an incredible support group for me. I definitely wasn't alone even if my doula had gone. As I took in the support of my family I began to really regret hiring this stranger to help me through it. I dreaded her return.

She did get back to our house in a couple hours just like she said she would be, but by now I had convinced myself that I didn't need her and her presence was making me angry. I couldn't even make eye contact with her. The room was definitely tense. I knew everyone could sense it. The calming vibes that were there when she first arrived early that morning were out the window and now our rooms were filled with awkwardness. Lovely laboring environment, don't you think?

Not wanting to be the focal point of 4 sets of eyes in the weirdness that now surrounded us, Ben helped me get my ball upstairs and into our big shower like our doula had suggested we do. The hot water ran across my belly and down my back and my tears began to run down my cheeks again. I pleaded with Ben to agree with me that we had made a huge mistake hiring this person. The I was done with her and with this labor bull shit and that it was time to go to the hospital. It's infuriating to be in the middle of a very serious (one-way) conversation with your husband to be interrupted by yourself. I was in the middle of making a point and would be cut off by my own animal like sounds that would come from a place inside me that I didn't know existed. I wanted to yell, "shut up!! I was talking!" to myself. I wanted the contractions to stop! I wanted Ben to understand what I was going through. I wanted someone to understand me! I'll never forget sitting there naked, having my head against the tiles, exhausted, looking down at the drain as I fought what seemed like the millionth contraction. It felt like it was never going to end.

After about 20 minutes in the water I finally started to be able to relax some. The pain intensity eased enough and I was able to start to think straight again. Ben and I were able to have half normal conversation. We went back over our birth plan. He reminded me that I was determined and that I would be proud of myself for sticking it out. He encouraged me to forgive the doula and allow her to help us again. He pumped me back up and gave me the second wind I so dearly needed.

We came back down stair to find my parents having lunch with our doula. I told everyone that I felt stronger again and that I was able to keep going. Our doula acknowledged that she knew I was upset, but I was able to express to her that what I was really upset with wasn't about her. I was upset that my labor was taking so long and that's not her fault. She apologized for not being more clear when she left that she thought I was so well supported by my family that she wouldn't be missed. We made peace and the day picked up for a while.

We decided to put on a movie to help give me something else to focus on in between the 5 minute intervals I was riding. I chose to watch the Stepford Wives....GO FIGURE!?!? Perhaps I was wishing I was a robot incapable of feeling pain like the characters in the the movie instead of enduring the raw humanity I was in the midst of. Who knows! Ben instantly passed out on the couch as soon as the movie started. He was exhausted...poor guy. As the movie played I wasn't really able to pay attention. My mom and the doula would crack up together as they watched and I can't remember where my dad went, but no one was paying attention to me and for a few minutes it was nice to have that break even though I was still no getting any breaks from the pains.

Eventually the pain and fear of loosing control caught back up with me again. I looked at the clock and it read 3PM. I had been laboring like this for close to 40 hours and the thought of going into another night was almost too much for me to bare. I wanted to know EXACTLY how much I had progressed since doula's don't do cervical checks. I needed to know what was happening... 4cm? 6cm? How much longer could I do this?? I annouced to everyone that I was ready to go to triage to get checked. No more laboring blind...I needed to know! I couldn't go into another night of darkness without knowing something and I wanted to go now to avoid the rush hour traffic. Everyone was supportive and agreed it was time to go to the hospital.

My parents stayed behind and we agreed to call them as soon as we knew anything. The drive to the hospital really wasn't as awful as I anticipated. I was really affraid of having contractions in the car but somehow I got through them. I guess having a change of scenery after laboring in my livingroom for what seemed like forever was a nice change of pace. When we walked into the lobby of the hospital I was hit by another wrenching contraction. We had to stop right there and I put my hands on Ben's shoulder for support while our doula compressed my hips. Those deep gutteral moans rose up out of me again and it just didn't matter how many men, women and children were watching. "I'm in labor folks...sorry! Stare all you want!"

After a few contractions the three of us made it all the way up to triage. I was taken into to a room and was very happy to see the doctor's gloved hand headed towards me. Never thought I would ever think this, but after that long I was ready for the knowledge her hand could give me! She gently prodded around with her fingers while we waited for the verdict.

The following news caused all of our jaws to nearly hit floor:

 I was still only 1cm, 75% effaced. **GASP!**

That's right, after 40 hours of intense laboring my cervix hadn't budged. I was beyond devastated.We were instructed to go walk the halls while they called my OB to see what he thinks the next course of action should be.

Our doula gave us some privacy since we clearly needed it after news like that. I was too shocked to even cry. I couldn't believe that I had been through all that and NOTHING had changed. We were now fearful of being taken in for an emergency C-section (our biggest fear btw). Our minds were spinning and this all seemed like a sick joke. How could this really be? I was STILL dealing with my horrific contractions every 5 minutes but now my mental imagery had completely changed. Before I was visualizing her head coming down and my cervix streching open nicely, now all I could see (and FEEL) was her head being slammed down into my closed cervix. Just being pressed against a closed door over and over again. Ugh! I was DONE!! I didn't want to feel anymore....give my an epidural!!! I can't feel this anymore!! Every contraction was mocking me...a horribly painful reminder that my body wasn't working properly.

Ben said "I think how you feel right now....I felt this way when we first learned that I make really crappy sperm." It was a very sweet moment despite everything. We connected and truly felt for one another. Then we laughed at how bad we were at procreating. It's a bad joke, but in the moment it was comforting to ackowledge and laugh at how both of our bodies had completely let us down when it came to creating and birthing a baby.

45 minutes later we were back in our room in triage with word from my doctor. He thought that maybe there was scar tissue on my cervix that would cause it to be essentailly be glued shut. There was a procedure they could try ... basically scraping the inside of my cervix ... to see if that could get it to open, but that woud be way too painful to do unmedicated so I need to be admitted and given the epidural...fine!

This was when I totally turned myself over the medical process. My body had proven that it needed help. I had planned on avoiding all interventions unless they became medically necessary...well it was necessary to get the epidural! I was ready for some sweet relief and as far as I was concerned they couldn't get it in fast enough!

Luckily once we agreed to be admitted they moved pretty fast. The epidural was in within half an hour and oh my GOD the relief it brought!! I can't even explain how grateful I was. My doula was able to really commiserate with the pain I had been in. She said based on the contractions on the monitor she would have guessed that I was 8cm!

Now that I was numb it was time to scrape my cervix for scar tissue and strip my membranes (Stripping the membranes is when a doctor inserts two fingers into the vagina and makes a sweeping motion inside the cervix to loosen not only the mucus plug but the bag of water from the uterus.) After it was over Ben was really surprised by the amount of blood that came out of me and said, "Thank goodness you couldn't feel probably would have died!!!" They didn't find any scar tissue, but since she was able to force two fingers in my cervix they were hopeful that I coud start to dilate now.

Over the next couple hours they continued to watch my contractions and monitor the baby. My contractions stayed very intense, but like clockwork were STILL ONLY every 5 minutes. Baby's heartrate was high...not in distress, but still quiet high so that was concerning. After another cervical check I still had made no progress. Very disapointing.

At this point my doctor suggested that we try some Pitocin to increase the frequency of my contractions. I was concerned that the long hard contractions that pitocin can cause would put the baby over the edge since she was already showing early signs of distress. But in this situtation all I could do was fully trust my doctor. I had faith that he would take good care of both of us if an emergency c-section became nessecary. Again another medical invertion...Pitocin... that became totally necessary....birth plan out the window!!! Whatever!!

As soon as the pitocin was in my system I started contracting every 2-3 minutes! Baby tolerated it just fine and I finally began to dilate!! This was a huge relief...finally the fortress know as my cervix was looking like it might actually open up at let our baby out!!

Around midnight we heard a loud POP and that was my water breaking! I had no idea that it could break with enough force to literally be heard across the room!! Amazing. That was the final key and I went from 5cm to 10cm in just a couple hours.

Once it was finally time for me to push I felt a huge burst of energy. The only thing standing between me and holding my baby was my ability to push her out. Our doc thought it might take about two hours, but I had other plans. I was SO READY to meet my little girl that I pushed her out in 1/2 an hour. Using a mirror was great incentive and amazing to see!!

At 9:02 AM (after 55 hours of active labor) Morgan was placed on my chest. Her first apgar was a 6...poor baby was a little limp and blue after such a hard labor...but she quickly came around and was given a 9 for her second score. She nursed soon after that and has been beautifully healthy since.

Having Morgan home with us for 3.5 weeks now has been totally amazing. I am more in love with her each day. I didn't get my unmedicated birth, but I did a vaginal birth that delivered a healthy baby and that is all we really wanted. I am beyond grateful for modern medicine otherwise there is now way Ben and I could have created and birthed this beautiful child.

I thank God every day for this blessing.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Part One: Our Labor & Birth Story

At last!! I'm back to blogging!! This is the first time in 3 weeks when I've had the time and ability to write. I have either had visitors at my house, been way too exhausted to think, had a baby in my arms, or all of the above at the same time. Whew! Having some time to write is really nice!!

Please don't misunderstand me...I loved all the family and friends who came visiting for days on end and I LOVE the hours I spend tending to all my new baby's needs, no matter how tired it makes me, but having a few quiet minutes to reflect and write about the experience I've been through, i.e. LABOR AND DELIVERY, is important to me.

From the beginning, I have planned on trying to go unmedicated and I wanted to labor at home for as long as possible with the assistance of a doula who has 26 years experience working with laboring women. Ideally we wanted to arrive at the hospital just prior to pushing. This is our story...

Tuesday, August 10th
For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, maybe you'll remember where I was when I got the call from my RE's office informing us that our second IVF was successful and that I was pregnant...Walmart. Yup, well as luck would have it, that's where I was...that same exact store... when the Braxton Hicks contractions I'd been having for weeks turned into labor pains. It's not like I even go to Walmart that!?!?! Anyway, at the time I remember the contractions being strong enough that they would stop me in my tracks in the isles, but by that time in my pregnancy (39 weeks 6 days) I was so used to the frequency of the Braxton Hicks that I didn't think too much about it other than, "wow that one hurt!"

When we got home from the notorious Walmart I was exhausted and decided to lay down for a nap. (This will be the last time I get any rest for literally a week!) As I'm laying in bed a couple more of those painful BH contractions come and at this point I start watching the clock. "Hmmm, they are coming ever 10 minutes...that's different." We have dinner that night and go about the evening normally all the while these intense BH contractions keep coming. Ben and I go to bed.

Wednesday, August 11th
I tossed and turned in restless sleep and finally at 2AM the contractions have gotten too intense to stay in bed. (This is the time we officially start counting the beginning of my labor.) I would start to drift off then be awoken at the height of the pain during another contraction. It was terrible to be caught off guard by the pain....I'd wake up screaming because I wasn't prepared. The pain would paralyze me if it caught me while I was still on my back. Sometimes I would be able to scramble to my feet just prior to the peak and I would slump over my bed in agony....but still standing was WAY better than laying down. It really sucked to woken up like this repeatedly so I chose to stay awake since by now I KNEW this was not just painful BH contractions....this was LABOR. I wanted to be conscious so that I could feel the onset of another contraction and prepare myself for the pain. This made them bearable as I could concentrate and breath through them.

We were both excited. It was our official due date and something was really happening. I was aware that we might have a ways to go since some of my contractions were still 10 minutes apart, but I was encouraged that some would come as close as 5 minutes. I knew that the early stages of labor can sometime take hours (especially for first time mamas) for contractions to get consistently close together, so I knew I needed to be patient and just ride them out. A call to my doula at 8:30AM confirmed this. She encouraged us to just keep doing what we were doing and call her if they got 3-5 minutes apart for an hour straight. The morning quickly turned into the afternoon as we timed each contraction using the contraction master website. Since we already had our regularly scheduled weekly OB appt that afternoon at 1PM we decided to just go see my doc instead of calling him. We loaded up the car with all our hospital bags just in case he sent us straight there. By now my contractions had gotten closer together but still not consistent, every 5-8 minutes, but were definitely picking up in intensity. I was eager to have my doc check me to see how much I had dilated now that I'd been having really painful contractions for almost 12 hours.

When we got there I was aware the other women in the waiting room were probably thinking, "uh, lady, you go to the hospital when you're in labor not the doctor's office!" as I was clearly having to focus intensely on each breath when contractions came. I'm sure I looked crazy, but I didn't care. Soon we were escorted back to the exam room. My doctor looked pleased when he came in and half-jokingly said, "So I hear you're having some contractions...a delivery tonight would be great timing for me!" He proceeded to check my cervix...

Only 1 cm and about 75% effaced. I was really disappointed. No change since my appointment last week and I'd suffered through 12 hours already?? ugh!! He told me not to get discouraged....that sometime early labor just takes a long time. "Boo!! It's already been a long time!!" We were sent home to labor some more and instructed to call him if my water broke or if my contractions get to be consistently under 5 minutes apart.

On our way home at 3PM we called our doula again to give her an update and we learned that she was already at another birth. Great. She told me to stay in touch and she could send her backup if necessary, but the mama she was with was close to pushing so she didn't think she'd be too much longer.

We got home and the routine continued. I contracted sporadically, every 5-8 minutes, and each one seemed to hurt worse then the prior one. It wasn't able to eat much and I certainly was NOT able to sleep. Our doula called us at 6PM to tell us that she was home and HAD to sleep for at least 4 hours since she had been up 24 straight. She gave me the number of her backup, but I was not planning on calling a person to my house whom I had never met. I was on the fence about hiring a doula in the first place, but Ben convinced me that having an experienced coach there would be good for both of us...well fine, I like the one we hired, but I wasn't prepared to have to try to get to know and trust someone else in my current condition.

This update I posted seems to sum up the night pretty well:

"It's 3:30 AM....I'm still home, still laboring, and still no doula. It's been 25.5 straight hours of contractions and I'm exhausted. My body is shaking and nauseous from the pain that has gotten close to unbearable. I'm starting to think that it's time to go to the I'm gonna call and wake up our doula to see what she says. My contractions are still wavering between 5 and 8 minutes apart, but they last more than 60 seconds and I'm barely able to make it through them..."

We called our doula at 4AM and I told her that I needed her now. I couldn't wait any longer. She was appreciative that I waited so long so that she could get some sleep. She arrived an hour later. Her presence brought a calming vibe over our house. I felt re-empowered to keep going despite my exhaustion and the raw pain of it all. For hours I'd been going back and forth from the birthing ball to standing using Ben's shoulders for support. When I was on the ball I could sway or bounce my hips to help ease the pain and I envisioned each movement helping to bring my baby down closer to coming out. The rhythm of my movements and intensity of the contractions put me into the trace-like state. My sunglasses helped dim the world around me and helped me focus more inward. Since I already looked a little goofy, my doula thought it would be funny if I put on the special party hat that my hostess made for me for my shower and took a picture while I labored. She was right...I'm glad to have this picture now. (Since I'm smiling, this pic was clearly taken  between contractions...)
By 7 or 8 AM my contractions were steadily 5 minutes after another and another they coursed through me with wrenching pain. I tried to envision the pain as a productive, good pain. Believing that the stronger the pain to more productive is was and telling myself that this was good...this means that our baby is getting closer with each contraction to coming into the world!!

I held on to this strength and positivity for a couple of hours as I allowed the contractions to crash over me. Welcoming their intensity and force, they were the power that was going to bring me my baby. I chose to work with them and not fight it. I became comfortable with the deep sounds that were instinctively coming out of me. I made peace with this primal version of myself that needed to appear for this labor to happen. I was determined not to loose control of myself and in order for that to happen I had to let my instincts take over. I had to let go of my conscious mind and let my body do the work.

I really thought we were getting close to when my doula would say, "Ok, it's time we head out to the hospital. I think you're very close to the end!"

It turns out, not so much...

All morning my doula kept asking if I'd had any bloody show and I hadn't, but I did tell her that I'd noticed my cervix plug passed earlier in the morning before she's arrived. My contractions were STILL just 5 minutes closer, and my water hadn't ruptured. These were all signs to her that I wasn't as far along as I thought that I was.  (HUGE MISCOMMUNICATION....wish I could turn back time and fix this one.)

Throughout the morning my doula had been answering her cell and stepping out of the room...I hadn't thought much about it until at 10:30 AM when she asked me if it would be alright if she left for a couple hours to help another mama who was on her way to the hospital and feeling the urge to push already. She told me that she was sure I still had plenty of hours and that she'd be back before I knew it.....I was totally stunned!!!

"You're leaving me and I still have a long way to go? WHAT??"

There I was sitting on my birthing ball groaning my way through each horrid contraction thinking I was getting very close to having my baby and the doula I'd hired felt comfortable enough to leave me! Really?!?!

I agreed for her to leave since I didn't want to make a scene and I only had a couple minutes before I had to prepare for another gut wrenching contraction. I didn't have the ability to communicate verbal thoughts...I just had to stay inside myself to focus on the pain at hand or I was going to loose control.

Out the door she went....

Leaving me behind...

I totally lost it...Tears and more tears compounded by hideous contractions. It was one of the lowest moments of my life. I was ready to give up. I was exhausted, DONE, and I really didn't believe I could get though one more contraction...

Little did I know, it would still be another 23 hours before Morgan was delivered.