Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My fat story -- the numbers part of it

My first memory of being overweight was when I was 12 years old. I remember being bigger than all the kids in elementary school, but I was also much taller than them. In 6th grade we were weighed. I weighed 135 pounds (oh my, how I would LOVE to weigh that now!). I was heavier than all the other girls.

It occured to me I might be overweight then.

I went through junior high & high school struggling with my weight. My mom tried various diets. We ate a lot of grilled chicken. In all reality, I don't really think I was that heavy then. I don't even think I was that heavy when I graduated high school weighing 165 pounds. I was 5 feet 6 inches then. Sure, my BMI was slightly "overweight." I was a size 12. I would LOVE to look like that.

Then, I went to college. I continued to gain 30 pounds my freshman year. This weight gain was fueled by eating out a lot. When I did eat in the cafeteria (and not Taco Bell), I had an all you can eat pass.

The next year, if I remember correctly, I did lose some weight. I moved in to my sorority house, food was limited.

By my 4th year of college (it was my 1st year of nursing school, so technically I got to be a junior for 2 years), I moved in with my parents. I was going to nursing school, so I was trying to save money and time. I needed to study a lot. My mom cooked healthy. We ate grilled chicken so much! I switched to the "healthier" (ha ha!) diet pop. I lost some weight that year.

The next year, I moved in with a friend. I don't really remember what my weight was like then, but I think it was steady. Somewhere in the next few years, I was back up to my freshman weight (195).

After I graduated and started working as a nurse, I worked out A LOT! I was working out (cardio & lifting weights) 4 times/week for one hour each time. I joined Weight Watchers. I got engaged! Just before my wedding (at the age of 26), I was down to my lowest weight ever. One hundred fifty pounds. I was at the highest weight Weight Watchers would allow me to be at. It was hard. I was there for ONE day (that tells you how likely I am to be there again!). I was within my 2 pounds for the 6-week weigh-in to become a lifetime member.

Slowly, after getting married, my weight crept back on. I got a job as a night-shift supervisor in a fast-paced labor and delivery. I gained some more weight. I weighed 185 pounds around this time.  I was 28 years old.

At 28, after being a supervisor for almost one year, I got a manager position. I went from working 3 nights/week to working 5 days/week. I worked 50 hour weeks. I ate. And I sat at a desk. I gained an astonishing 50 pounds in SIX MONTHS! I now weighed 235 pounds. Six months after getting the manager position, I was pregnant! We had been trying, but I was pregnant at 235 pounds. I gained 60 pounds during this pregnancy. I was unhealthy. My doctor talked to me about my diet, but I thought she was harrassing me about my weight. I was offended, so I didn't listen. I drank diet pop and ate what felt good. I had pre-eclampsia and ended up with a c-section.

After this pregnancy, I got down to 245. Then, three and half years later I got pregnant. At 245 pounds. I gained 50 pounds...most of it in the last month (I think I stopped caring...I was tired of being pregnant!). Now, here I am. I'm not going to say how much I weigh now. I have lost a lot of my pregnancy weight. I am over 200 pounds.

I believe the "dieting" in my late teens/early twenties scared my body. Now, I will struggle. I really ate what I wanted and gained very little then. I do not ever want my daughter to diet. I refuse to teach her about Weight Watchers. She will not count her points (but that's a whole other post!).

So, here's my fat least the numbers part of it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My here-it-is-I-am-fat post

This past weekend I had pictures taken of myself. This is something I generally avoid. I didn't really have a choice in the matter. My husband's step-grandmother wanted family pictures for his Grandpa. The whole family. We did a huge picture of everyone (those I can usually hide in, turn to the side, hold the baby). Then, we had to do small families. I thought I looked okay. Really, I did.

Then, I saw the pictures. I was fat. I looked bloated and pale. Now, let me just clarify one thing (or a few)...I am a huge advocate of health at every size. I believe your BMI can be high and  you can be healthy. I believe just because you have a "normal" BMI, you're not guaranteed health.

I've been in denial. I am obese. My blood pressure is good. My cholesterol is good. I must be healthy. I would really like to lose weight for my health, but my health has been good, so I haven't been motivated.

Until now. It may sound vain, so what. I am fat. I am being completely honest please don't judge.

I liked to think I had great eating habits. I ate organic. I tried to avoid aspartame and high-fructose corn syrup....unless they were in the pop I was (still am) so addicted to. I avoid nitrites. I only used milk without hormones or antibiotics. My meat was usually locally raised, without hormones or organic. I shopped at Whole Foods.

But, I am fat. I am addicted to food. Now, you can disagree with me, but I am here to tell you it does exist. I wake up thinking about what I'm going to eat. If I have a bad day, I can't wait to get my hands on sugar or a pop. I can't wait to eat the next meal. And not just in a foodie sense of way.

While I wish vanity didn't motivate me, I am thankful I haven't been told I have diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. Maybe vanity is a good thing. I need to be healthy for my kids. I need to be an example for them. I want them to choose healthy.

I am seemingly obsessed over the food my kids eat...especially my baby (I was that way when the big kid was a baby too). No formula. Ever. Cooper has only had healthy foods. In fact, he's only had one "jar" of baby food. My mom bought it for him. He's had fresh foods...mostly organic. Organic butternut squash, organic apples, sweet potatoes (some organic, some jarred). He's had the brown rice from Happy Baby (only when he has leftover breastmilk from day care). I've made some of Cooper's food (he hasn't eaten it yet though).

So why am I so lax about the way I eat? Why do I act like I care, but I don't? Why do I sneak food?

It feels good. Food is my friend. It's my comfort.

So here I am. Out here for the world to see. And now, I'm going to share with you my goals, so I can be accountable. They're only monthly goals, but they're a start.

December Goals
No pop (diet or regular)
Exercise three times per week for at least 30 minutes per day
Limit eating out to once per week
No fast food
No store-bought candy, homemade candy in moderation (it is Christmas afterall!)

I would like to lose 5 pounds. I would like to follow my goals.

I will be posting more about my struggles with my weight. I hope I can help someone. I hope someone chooses to join me in my get-health journey!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Past Week

It sucked. About 2 years ago I hurt my back. I'm not sure how, but it was jacked up for about a week. We had just returned from a few days in Vegas, then I had 2 extremely horribly busy days at work, then we went to the lake with my family. So, I had had a super busy week. On the drive home from the lake, my back was sore. I chalked it up to walking in Vegas a lot, flying, having crazy days at work, then playing at the lake. Just busy. By Monday, it was hard to walk. By Tuesday, walking was impossible. I was crawling. It sucked, big time. I spent a week at the chiropractors, almost literally. I was there every single day. But, it got better. I see my chiropractor (whom I was seeing before all that) regularly & I TRY to do my back exercises. I've never had any problems since then. Until last Sunday.

Again, busy day. We looked at houses. I wore Cooper all day (and he's a big boy). We went to the store. We had a fun day. But, my back was starting to hurt a little. By Sunday evening, I knew what I was in store for. Fortunately, last Monday I headed straight to the chiropractor. I was only there 3 days this time. I'm feeling better, but not 100%. It just sucks. I want to do laundry & dishes (yes, believe it or not). I desperately want to go to my clinicals. I need to.

After talking with my chiropractor, I'm realizing I'm a little stressed out. I do have a little too much on my plate. I am doing my clinicals (two days/week), teaching clinicals (1 day), doing pre-planning at the hospital with my students (1/2 day), grading care plans (as I fit them in, but it probably takes a full 6 hours to grade them all), studying (not enough), and doing my school work (still not enough). Oh, and I have a 5 1/2 month old baby and a 4 year old. And a husband who is very busy working. And, I try to keep up this blog. And of course, I have to keep up with my Pinterest addiction.

And still, there is no time for me. No exercise. No yoga. No meditation. No me time.

I do think that when we have weeks like these, our bodies are telling us something. I think mine was trying to say "SLOW DOWN!" Okay, I hear you, loud & clear. But, how do I slow down? How do I quit anything I have on my plate? I don't. How do I find time for me? Well, that's going to be hard, but I'm going to try. Really, I will.

Just as soon as I get back from the dentist. Because last night, as I was cuddling with my 4 year old, eating some Poppycock, I broke a damn tooth.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

15 Random (or not) Things About Me

My brain is not quite working well this morning, but I wanted to blog, so I thought I'd just make a fabulous list of random things about me. Some you may have known, but maybe not.

  1. I recently quit my job (to finish my school). I worked there for over 11 years. Before that, the longest I'd worked anywhere was probably 4 months (no lie).
  2. I'm adjunct faculty for a college of nursing (well, not just ANY, but THE University of Oklahoma). I've also taught for Oklahoma City University. I've done OB, peds, and now, med/surg clinicals. It's fun & I love watching the students grow. This semester is my first 7-3 clinical...we'll see how this not-a-morning person handles it!
  3. I love to read books. I just haven't had any time with school (and pinterest).
  4. I wanted, and seriously considered, becoming a vegetarian. Once I watched Food, Inc. I knew there was a better way to eat meat. I've never considered it since watching that movie. 
  5. There's very few foods I don't like. I hate black licorice & water chestnuts. I'm not big on weird food either. I don't eat raw sushi (although I have, I just don't like the texture). But, I will pick water chestnuts out of food. Water chestnuts are like styrofoam, they're just fillers. 
  6. Until last week I thought I didn't like nuts in my food. I had a dish at Pei Wei with peanuts (did not know they were in there) and LOVED it. Hmmm...still don't like water chestnuts though. 
  7. I was in a sorority in college. And I loved it. 
  8. I don't buy Nestle products. And Nestle owns just about everything. The hardest thing for me is Hot Pockets (my husband LOVES Hot Pockets, and yes, Nestle owns that brand) and San Pellegrino water (my daughter LOVES "fuzzy" water, and yes, Nestly owns that brand too). Shopping for Easter candy is not fun, but it can be done. Oh, and Nestle owns Coffee Mate. I could do a whole post over Nestle (maybe I will). Talk about the "big guy."
  9. My favorite pizza is ham & pineapple, but no one else in my family like it. So sad.
  10. The hardest thing I ever did was quit my job as a manager. But, it was also the best thing I ever did. Crazy how that works out, hunh?
  11. I love roller coasters. 
  12. I love all adventure rides. My husband & I rode the ejection seat on top of the Stratosphere. I'm glad I did it. BUT I WILL NEVER DO IT AGAIN! :) We've also ridden the roller coaster at the Stratosphere (those were the only two rides open there when we went) & the roller coaster at New York New York (no big deal). I'll ride just about any ride.
  13. Except ferris wheels. I hate them. I loathe them. Now, if they went really fast, I'd ride them. 
  14. I'm obsessed with iced coffee. Thanks Pioneer Woman.
  15. I love the mountains and the water. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Medela Pump-in-Style vs. Hygeia EnJoye

So, I've been having some pumping supply issues lately. When my father-in-law passed away, I knew I might have some supply issues. They didn't show up for nearly 3 weeks. I've now been dealing with them for about 2 weeks. I won (from Medela) a Pump-In-Style when my daughter was only a month or so old (I really don't remember, but it was very early on). I was in a video Medela produced about lactation consults. And yes, they gave me the pump. So, there it is. But, I was NOT paid my Medela to say what I'm about to say. I digress.

I've heard wonderful, wonderful things about Hygeia. I knew with over 16 months (probably closer to 17 months) use on my ole' Medela PIS, I might need to break down & buy a new one. I pumped with my DD for 15 months (so, about 14 months use with her) & I started pumping with DS when he was 1 month old, to get a freezer stash (so about 3 months with him).

And, I had flexible spending account money burning a hole in my pocket. I had to use it quickly. I bought the EnJoye. I just wanted to compare them for you all.

Medela Pump-In-Style Pros
The pump parts (flanges, etc) come apart. This makes for easier cleaning. It's easy to find Medela products. I don't have to get online to buy products. I never broke anything using it (I broke a filter adapter thingy on the Hygeia pump the first time I used it). There's no deciding how fast to go. It really is simple for first-time moms (and us second-timers too!). When you buy bottles, they come 4 to a pack. Three (like Hygeia sells) is not incredibly convenient.

Hygeia EnJoye Pros
Feels like a mom & pop company (I'm not sure if it is, but, it just feels more personal). The standard flange size is 27mm (Medela's is 24). The pump is chargeable. You can charge it & then it runs on battery power (which makes this pump very portable...I've already used it in the car & I've walked around the house with it). You can control speed & strength. I'm discovering I actually get more milk when I use a faster speed the entire time. You can record your baby (not sure if I really like I have hit the play button a couple of hear a baby crying...and I've done it in public!!). It's a "green" pump. You can send it in to be recycled when you're done. Or, because it is designed for more than one user, you can sell it to someone when you're done. I already have someone who's asked to buy mine when I'm done. It seems a little bit lighter. Hygeia follows the WHO code about human milk.

About Both
They're both loud. They both come with a cute bag & a freezer bag. It sucks to pump. Really. I just wish I could get as much milk pumping as I know my baby gets. He's much more efficient than any pump will ever be! Here are links to BOTH websites: Hygeia & Medela.

The bad thing is, buy a pump is a huge investment. It will save you money. It is a hard decision. Please read about the companies.

Happy Pumping People!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

August Sucked

For so many reasons, I'm so glad it's September.  For one, August just plain sucked.  Yes, good things happened in August.  We celebrated my mother-in-laws birthday.  Addison started school.  And loved it.  My husband rode his first "century" (that's a 100 mile bicycle ride).  But, Oklahoma also "celebrated" it's 50th day of being over 100 degrees this summer.  And, worst of all, we lost my father-in-law.

On August 18, my husband called, frantically, asking if I was dressed.  I thought someone was coming over.  So, I said yes (and of course, I was dressed).  He said they were taking his dad to the hospital.  The chaplain called.  Well, if you know anything about healthcare & hospitals,  you know chaplains don't call just to shoot the breeze.  They don't call when someone comes in for a broken limb or something minor.  They call when something bad has happened.

I frantically got dressed (in more hospital-appropriate clothing), brushed my teeth, & thanked God my hair was long enough for a pony tail.  And I was off.  When I arrived, I found my husband sitting outside.  They wouldn't let anyone back until the entire family was there.  That's just about the hardes thing to have to deal with.  

I'll spare you the emotional details, but we were all there (minus my sister-in-law) when my very brave & strong mother-in-law forced the chaplain to quit the bullshit & tell us what happened.  I think we already knew.

As a nurse who works in a hospital, I often wondered what it felt like for families to leave the hospital after learning of a loved ones death.  The hospital I work in happens to be a children's hospital primarily (for the past few years) with women's services.  I see families walking around all the time.  It may sound gory, but I always wondered if they had just lost someone.  I thought how horrible it must be to just walk out of the hospital all alone, to go on your way, to grieve on your own, to not have a nurse or a doctor their to tell you what's going to happen next.  How horrible is that.  You're on your own.  And, your loved one is not walking out those doors with you.  

Unfortunately, I learned that day, exactly what it feels like.  Now, I realize it must be different for parents.  It must be different for people who walked in with the person they are leaving behind.  But, I still know what it feels like to walk out without the complete family.  It's sad.  It's lonely.  There's a lot of feeling like...what now.  And yet, a million things going through your mind about stuff you have to do.

Later that day, we all met at my in-laws.  This is the part where I'm going to get all "I love God & Jesus" on you can quit reading if you don't want to hear it.  But, I highly suggest, if you've made it this far, keep reading.  This really is the best part of the story.

People were already there.  People were bring food.  Comforting us.  Caring for us.  Crying with us.  Praying for us.  Being there for us.  It was simply amazing.

Over the next few days, we all, slowly, realized how God was watching over us.  Not just that day or that week.  But, forever.  Some things had happened in the months prior to make the transition to life without Scottie (that's my awesome father-in-law) a smidge bit easier.  And even now, in the weeks after, things are happening that make me KNOW without a shadow of a doubt, God is watching over us.  Things are good.  That's another thing.  I always ALWAYS wondered how people who had gone through a horrible loss could say God is good.  How?  How could they?  But, you know, God is good.  God placed people in our lives to make this easier.  God placed us where we were in our careers (all of us) to make this easier.  It's nearly overwhelming to think of that.  I have more faith now than I ever have.  

Well, I've told you a lot about how we felt and what we did, but I think I should share a little about Scottie.  He was stubborn as I'll get out (and I can totally see this in my husband & daughter, so I have a feeling I'll get to see his spirit live for a very very long time).  It was his way or the highway (well, not always, and he usually was right).  But, if he said he was going to do something, by golly he was.  He was so caring & helpful.  While my sister-in-law & I never had to participate in the "man school" of growing up, Scottie let us be girls.  He was raising organic, free-range chickens.  Now, Liz & I love to eat organic.  And we also refused (in a very nice, polite way) to kill the chickens.  Scottie never questioned us.  He may have given us a hard time, but when it came right down to it, we didn't have to kill any birds.  He even killed them humanely (now is not the time to debate humane killing, but it was the most humane way to kill chickens, and these were some stinkin' happy chickens) for me.  Scottie was instrumental in making sure our kids knew what it felt like to have fun outside.  Just this summer he picked Addison up one morning just to take her to pick peaches.  They had dirt piles for the kids to play in.  

There really wasn't much Scottie wouldn't do for someone.  Just this summer, there are two things that stick out.  One time, I took the kids to eat lunch (at a taco truck, so nothing inside).  Remember I said we've had over 50 days of 100+ degree temperatures?  Yeah, well, it was hot.  And my car died.  My husband was at work, 30 minutes away.  And besides, he wasn't really answering his phone.  So, I called Scottie.  He answered.  Other than to ask where I was, not one single question was asked when I told him what happened.  He dropped EVERYTHING he was doing to come jump my car.  I still had a few errands I had wanted to run (as it was the Friday before Father's Day & I needed to finish my husband's gift).  Scottie offered to follow me to the store to get what I needed.  He didn't have to do that. But he did.

Then, there was the time this summer when our washing machine went out.  Again, my husband was at work.  They were worried about me being home alone with the repair man (now, I really think I could have handled it, but they would have nothing of it).  So, Scottie came over & literally WATCHED THE MAN WORK!  He stood right there in the laundry room & watched him do his thing.  When the repair man was done, Scottie came to me and said he needed money.  He was there to protect me (even if I didn't think I needed it).  I really appreciated it.  

He was a good man.  He still is.  I'm so proud his spirit will live on in my husband.  I'm so proud he taught my husband how to work and be a man.  I'm so proud my husband learned everything he could from his dad.  I know Greg will pass this on to our children.  And for that, I am eternally grateful.

Monday, July 4, 2011

I'm not a hero...but I pushed a baby out of my vagina!

As I contemplate the events of the past few years, and especially the event that happened almost 3 weeks, I am overwhelmed with emotion.  I still can't believe this happened to me.  I still can't believe I did it!

Since the birth of my daughter, I knew I would VBAC (well, shortly after her birth).  I sought out to learn everything I could about VBAC.  I found a provider who would support VBAC.  When we got pregnant, I was excited to learn our baby was due in April....Cesarean Awareness Month.

Because this pregnancy was VERY planned (I know the exact day I ovulated and the exact day I conceived).  I was nursing my daughter "still" and I knew I was pregnant at about 3 weeks (about 1 week before I missed a period).  I just felt different.  I was very excited, but didn't want to get my hopes up.  I had only had 5 periods since I got pregnant with my daughter over 3 years before.  I could've been wrong, but I didn't think so.

This pregnancy was completely different than my first, from the start.  For one, I was so nauseous for the first 13 weeks.  At first I was just nauseous.  Horribly nauseous.  Then, about 8 or 9 weeks, I started throwing up.  I threw up at the drop of a hat.  If I coughed, I'd vomit.  If I swallowed something wrong, I'd throw up.

I failed my 1 hour glucose test.  While I thought about refusing all glucose testing, I knew that because I am overweight, it'd constantly be an issue.  I wanted to prove people wrong.  I passed the 3 hour glucose test with flying colors.

I was doing 24 hour urine tests (to rule out pre-eclampsia) every trimester.  I was eating (and drinking) completely differently.  I exercised.  I felt great! I loved being pregnant.  I even told a couple people I wanted to be pregnant until 42 weeks.  I was in school and needed more time!

As my "due" date approached, I hired a doula.  I started taking evening primrose oil and drinking red raspberry leaf tea.  As the date got closer and closer, I began doing more and more things to help kick start labor.  I got a massage using aromatherapy and pressure points that are supposed to start labor.  Many people talked to the baby, asking him to come out.  I ate pineapple, Chinese food, Mexican food, and Italian food (eggplant & chicken parmesean).  We had sex.  I walked.  I did squats.  We used aromatherapy and pressure points.  I pumped.  I bounced on my exercise ball.  I went to a chiropractor.  I went to a chiropractor who specialized in needle-less acupuncture.  We had a date night, we had a date day.  I drank wine.  I listened to hypnosis.  I soaked in a bath.  I read non-birth books.  I TRIED to relax.  I took naps.

As I approached 42 weeks, we decided (my midwife and I) to schedule an induction.  My induction was scheduled for the day I would be 42 weeks.  My husband & I arrived at the hospital early.  Pitocin was started at around 8 am.  Because I was GBS positive, I needed antibiotics.  My midwife was not going to check me until I had my second dose of antibiotics (which would be around 3pm).  I was on the pitocin all day.  I was contracting about every 3 minutes, but they were not painful.  I managed.  At 3, I was 5 cm dilated.  So, we kept going.  Things got a little more intense around 6.  I texted my doula and told her we might need her.  She said she'd get some dinner and come to the hospital then.  Our families showed up around 6 (with our daughter) and things stopped.  My contractions really stopped, even though I was still on pitocin.  As a side note (and I really hope I don't offend anyone here, but this is my honest birth story)...I really didn't want anyone there.  I was worried about people "waiting" on my during my labor & birth.  Despite me saying it was okay for everyone to show up, I think it still made me anxious.  I got out of my groove.

Around 7 or so, my midwife checked me.  I was about 6 cm, but my midwife thought my cervix was more posterior than before.  We kept going with the pitocin.  I would be checked again around midnight.  At  midnight, I was checked and I was still 6 cm.  We decided to turn the pitocin off and rest.  I felt bad for calling my doula so soon.  Now, she was at the hospital and I wasn't even in labor.  She did encourage us to rest some.  I was very grateful for that.  I would've kept going and going without her encouragement to rest.

About 2 am or so, we turned the pitocin back on.  It really wasn't doing a whole lot this time.  I started having some contractions, but not like the day before.  I should say that I moved the whole time I was in labor.  I walked a lot.  I did some half-squats and half-lunges.  I did hands & knees.  I did pelvic tilts.  I bounced on the ball.  I took baths.  It was an amazing difference from being in bed for an entire labor!

My midwife came and checked me about 3 am.  I was till 6 cm.  We said we'd check again about 6.  At 6 am, I was still 6 cm.  At that point, I told my doula I was bored.  I was ready to do something.  If it had been the week before, I would have just gone home, but I was 42 weeks and 1 day pregnant at this point.  I was so ready to have a baby in my arms.

So, about 5 am, my midwife broke my water. (I thought it was 6, but my doula said 5, but it was just 1 hour) Just like with Addison, my contractions became very intense.  I got back in the tub.  I got out.  I sat on the ball.  I begged for pain medication.  I did get one dose of Nubain.  Around 6:30am, I started BEGGING for an epidural.  It was incredibly intense.  I started just saying I thought I wanted an epidural.  After every contraction, I would beg a little more.  My husband and doula knew I really didn't want one, so they really just ignored me!

Shortly after 7am, my midwife and day nurse came in.  I had an urge to push.  I couldn't help it.  My midwife checked me then and said I was 9cm, completely effaced, and plus one station.  I knew I would never believe my VBAC would be possible until I passed the point where I was in my last birth.  I knew that getting past a zero station would be the hurdle I needed to cross.  I couldn't NOT push at this point, so I just pushed and pushed.  And pushed.  I pushed in the tub.  At some point in the tub, my husband said he had to go for a walk to stretch his legs.  I thought it was odd, as he NEVER had said that during the previous 24 hours.  He had been right there, with me or very nearby.  I briefly thought, people are here.  Then, I MADE myself quit thinking about that.  I willed that thought out of my mind.  I kept pushing.  I pushed on hands & knees.  Unfortunately, the most comfortable pushing position was on my back.  It felt like I had constant sacral pressure and it helped with back pain so much.

Everything is so clear.  I remember pushing.  I remember being aware.  I love that.  I hope I remember it forever.  I asked for a mirror to watch.  I really think it helped.  So I watched.  At some point, I asked my midwife about the ring of fire.  She said I should be feeling it at the moment.  I said it wasn't that bad then.  Then, with the next contraction, well, THAT WAS THE RING OF FIRE!!! Wow!  But, for some reason, it actually felt good.  Yes, it hurt like crazy.  But, 2 things happened at that moment, at the moment I felt that extreme burning, fiery sensation.  Physically, it took so much of the pain off of my back.  Just not having the back pain was a welcome relief.  More importantly, that ring of fire felt good because it was a very emotional and psychological turning point in my labor.  I knew this baby was coming out of my vagina.  I knew there was no turning back.

After FIVE hours of pushing, my beautiful baby boy was born!  My midwife made sure his head & shoulders were out, then my husband caught our little baby and placed him on my belly.  Sweet relief!  It was an instant high!  I can not even begin to explain how incredibly amazing I felt.  He had a short cord, so I couldn't really see him (he only made it to my belly).  Once the cord was done pulsing, my midwife cut the cord so I could finally see my little boy.  He was (and still is) so beautiful.

Unfortunately, I had some bleeding after this baby (I had severe postpartum hemorrhage after Addison).  We did skin to skin until I felt dizzy.  My placenta was just not coming out.  At some point, I asked (okay, maybe I told him) to take his shirt off.  He and baby C did skin to skin while my midwife called the on-call physician.  As they encouraged me to push (I kept saying my push button was not working any more!) my placenta out, my boys got to bond.  I was feeling incredibly dizzy, but still very jealous of their bonding time.  Eventually, my stubborn placenta came out.

The next few hours I spent trying to sit up, getting dizzy, laying down, riding the incredibly embarrassing lift machine to the bathroom (oh, and I was completely naked!), trying to pee, riding the machine back to bed, eating dinner, sleeping, just trying to feel better.  After about 4 hours, I felt much better.  I walked to bathroom with only a little bit of help from my husband.

It took a few days to not feel the pounding in my head when I stood up.  From experience, I know this happens when I bleed a little bit.

It also took a few days to not cry everytime I thought about what I had done.  I was so amazed at myself and what my body could do.  I realize VBAC isn't for everyone and not everyone who wants to VBAC gets a VBAC.  I am amazed at what I accomplished, at my determination, my strength.  I am amazed at what I can do when I put my mind to it!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Almost 4 years later...

Because I need to write my birth story, it's going to be hard to write without talking about my daughter's birth.  Her birth (and I did not give birth to her, she was extracted from my body) changed me forever.  Here is how I recall it....

As with any VBAC birth story, this birth was ONLY the way it was because of my first "birth" story.  Since I'm not really sure I've ever written my first birth story, I'll share the short version of it.  I was induced at 39 weeks & 4 days with pre-eclampsia.  My blood pressure had been creeping up.  The weekend before my induction, I had a really bad headache.  I knew the time was coming.  I must also say during my pregnancy I was very unhealthy.  I had a very stressful job (I was a manager of a busy busy nursing unit).  I worked long hours.  I took little time for myself.  I ate what I wanted, when I wanted.  My doctor did discuss my diet with me, but I thought it was because she was concerned about my weight.  I thought she wanted me to limit my weight gain.  So, I really ignored her advice (eat a high protein diet, nothing to drink except black coffee, unsweetened tea, milk, or water).  I didn't exercise, except for the few prenatal yoga classes I took starting at about 32 weeks.  According to my Bishop's score (I was 4 cm, 90% effaced, and minus 1 station), I had a favorable cervix.  I should have had a "successful" induction.  After discussing the plan with my doctor, we would use cytotec to induce.  I know, I know.  However, this was 4 years ago.  The plan was for me to have 1 or 2 doses of cytotec and then labor on my own.  Our plan was to not have to start pitocin.  After my appointment, with my headache, high blood pressure, and protein in my urine, we were sent home to get our things.  My husband & I went to eat some lunch then headed to the hospital.  My mom was there before we were.  We were all very excited!

At about 1:30pm, the first dose of cytotec was placed.  I started contracting about every 5 minutes.  My contractions were not painful at all.  My doctor (and I) decided to break my water.  Almost immediately the contractions became unbearable.  Unfortunately, at the same time, I was placed on magnesium sulfate for my pre-eclampsia.  I was stuck in bed.  This was not in my plan.  However, I moved a lot.  I was constantly rolling from side-to-side.  And, my cervix was changing.  Then, the pain became unbearable.  I first had a dose of Nubain.  After about 3 hours, I was begging for my epidural.  I think I was about 7 cm dilated and it was about 11 pm.  The epidural was instant relief.  My family & my husband's family came in to visit (they had been there the entire time).  We really thought I'd have a baby soon.

But, with the epidural my movement stopped.  When my movement stopped, my contractions stopped.  My cervix stopped changing.  At some point in the night, pitocin was started.  Eventually, I was completely dilated, but with no urge to push.  I think this was around 8 am.  But, I pushed.  I pushed in hands & knees, using the squatting bar, and on my back.  I pushed with all my might.  I pushed for 2 and a half hours.  I did not move my daughter at all after 2 and a half hours.  I was exhausted.  I begged for a vacuum (she was too high...never got past 0 station).  Finally, my doctor said it was up to me, but she didn't think I'd move her any more.  She said I could go ahead & push for another hour or so, but I probably wouldn't get her any lower than where she was.  At this point, I decided a c-section was what would be best.  But, before we went to the OR, my doctor told me I would VBAC with my next baby.  I didn't believe her.  I didn't believe there would EVER be another baby.

My c-section was awful.  While I did not feel pain, I had post-partum hemorrhage.  I lost a lot of blood.  That's what happens when you have magnesium, an epidural, pitocin, and you've pushed for 2.5 hours.  Throughout my post-partum stay (over the next four days), I would receive Hespan (a starch that is supposed to thicken your blood...I think) and 4 units of blood.  My hematocrit and hemoglobin dropped to dangerously low levels.  It took me 48 hours to even get out of bed.  I could not care for my daughter. I could not breastfeed.  I couldn't use the bathroom by myself.  I needed so much help.

As my doctor was discharging me, she told me again that I would VBAC with my next baby.  Yeah, right.  There won't be a next baby, is all I could think.  She told me used 2 layers of sutures, just because she knew I'd want to VBAC.

I went home feeling awful.  We had such a hard time caring for our precious daughter.  I was having a horrible time breastfeeding (never really got that under control until she was about 2 months old).  Then, I got depressed, really depressed.  Not so much as in how some people have depression, but I was depressed about my birth.  I knew very soon that I was not happy with my birth experience.  I felt like I missed out on something, something very important, something very valuable.

At this point, I started searching for a c-section support group.  I googled "c-section support group" and that's how I found ICAN.  Of course, there wasn't an ICAN chapter nearby, but I found support immediately.  This was a group of women who completely understood how I felt.  They got it.  I loved my daughter with all my heart and soul (although bonding was difficult), but I did not love the way she was brought into this world.  I think it's very similar to having a horrible wedding day, but still loving your spouse.  Just because the day doesn't go as planned, doesn't mean you don't love the outcome.

Slowly, I realized I would VBAC my next baby.  Then, I started an ICAN chapter in my area.  I became educated and empowered.  I learned more about birth, c-sections, and VBAC during the next few years than some learn in their whole life.  I was dedicated to having better birth outcomes.

I still do not feel completely healed from my c-section.  I am sad beyond belief that I missed out on such an important time in my daughter's life.  I am sad that I was not the relaxed parent that I am now.  I really feel like I missed out on so much just because of my c-section.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

  • "When you gonna pop?" I realized today how much I despise this.  I mean, I've always hated this, but seriously?  Pop? Balloons pop, not pregnant women.
  • "Is your water going to break?"  Well, let's see, if I knew, I'd tell you.  And, if I knew, I probably would be at home, relaxing, or walking...all wearing a pad. 
  • "Are you ready?" Um, no. 41 weeks of pregnancy is blissful.  I love the amazing sleep I'm getting.  I love my heartburn.  I love it take all the effort I have just to freakin' roll over in bed.  I love that I have to pee every 45 seconds.  I love that I'm eating the weirdest things....Chinese food for breakfast today.  I love that I'm too tired to work, and I'm bored out of my mind.  I love it, really, I do.  No really, the only thing I do absolutely love is the idea there is a beautiful little baby growing inside my uterus.  I love feeling his kicks and knowing I am nourishing him.
Well, those are the big ones for now.  I am irritable.  I am grumpy.  I may be slightly sarcastic if you ask me any of the following.  No, I have no idea when the baby's coming.  I am not sick.  I feel good (okay, except  for the rolling over at night & my grumpiness).  My body knows what to do.  My baby knows what to do.  

Friday, April 29, 2011

41 weeks

Well, I never thought I'd make it to 41 weeks.  Never.  Ever.  It's annoying that I'm still pregnant, but I know I should enjoy each and every second of this miracle.  It'll more than likely be the last time I'm ever pregnant, so I need to cherish it.

I woke up really crampy today, having some contractions.  I thought it might be a good thing.  I spoke it, then it disappeared.  Guess I won't be live-tweeting-my-birth!  It seems like every time I say something about what might be happening, my uterus gets all shy on me.  I did have an NST today, which was beautiful if I must say so myself.

I have another appointment on Monday with my midwife.  I do "officially" have an induction scheduled for next Friday, when I'm 42 weeks.  Part of me thinks I'll be doing the induction, part of me doesn't.  At this point, I really have no idea.  I'm thinking of having my midwife check me & maybe strip my membranes on Monday.  Just want to give things a kick start....I don't know though.

It is quite satisfying to tell people my due date WAS last Friday and I don't know what I'm dilated to.  I love it.  I love that my midwife trusts me and my body so much.  She's not getting worked up about anything.  She wanted to know how long I was comfortable being pregnant.  It's really quite empowering.  Everyone should have the opportunity to receive care like I've received this pregnancy.  It's amazing.  And, I had a really really awesome OB when I was pregnant with my daughter.  There's just something different about the way a midwife takes care of you...but that's a whole other post!

Monday, April 25, 2011

40 weeks, 3 days

I never thought I'd be pregnant this long.  I don't know why I thought I'd have a baby before now, I just did.  But, I also have had a fear of NOT GOING INTO LABOR.  So many people (okay, the ones who don't know about VBAC safety) have asked if I'm scared of labor.  No.  My answer is always no.  I know the statistics, I know VBAC is safe.  I know (in real life and form twitter-land and facebook) so many people who have had successful VBACs.  I know it's a safer option for me.

So, I am afraid I won't go into labor.  I've had contractions off and on (nothing painful, some uncomfortable though) for a few weeks now.  It's annoying.  I'll start having contractions, start timing them, then they quit.  I've tried NOT timing them & the damn things still quit.  I've had no bloody show, no mucous plug, no diarrhea, and no nesting.  Nothing.  Just these annoying little contractions.  And I've experienced both a full moon AND a huge drop in the barometric pressure (both are believed to cause some to go in to a former L&D nurse and current high-risk OB nurse, I hate working on full moons and when it's raining).

We've tried everything....evening primrose oil, red raspberry leaf tea, natural prostaglandins & natural oxytocin, pineapple, chicken parmesan (I realize most people say eggplant, but I find eggplant parmesan to be so greasy and we have good, free-range, organic, fresh chicken available).  I've gotten a 40-weeks and counting massage that focuses on pressure points to help with contractions and uses aromatherapy (specifically clary sage, lavender, and rose) that is supposed to help with labor.  I've done a self-hypnosis podcast (which only resulted in my falling asleep, but it was a good sleep).  I've done essentially private yoga classes (no one else showed up!!) that were focused around encouraging labor (a ton of squatting).

I'm officially giving up.  Throwing in the towel.  I meet with my midwife on Wednesday.  I think I'm going to have her check my cervix (I will be 40 weeks & 5 days).  And, I think I will schedule an induction for 41 weeks, 6 days.  I'm quite sad I'm going to schedule an induction, but mentally I think it may help me "give up."

I know my chances of a successful VBAC decrease with induction.  And they decrease after 40 weeks.  So, I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't, right?  I'm already past the 40 week mark.  I want a healthy baby AND a healthy birth.  And trust me, I want, more than anything, for this baby to be born from my vagina, not from an incision in my belly.  For some reason, I'm not anxious about passing the 40 week mark and having a VBAC, I'm just not.

I still have some trust in my body.  While my c-section took a lot of that trust away, breastfeeding and nourishing my daughter for nearly 3 1/2 years brought so much of that trust back.  My body does work, the way it's supposed to.  For now, I'm trusting, yet not really getting too excited about anything.

Friday, April 15, 2011

39 weeks....blah! blah! blah!

I've been thinking this baby was coming for about the past week.  It's getting old, old, old!  I'm contracting, but nothing regular.  Last night, I did start contracting fairly regularly, so I called into work.  Then the contractions quit.  This is truly testing my patience.  Maybe if I wasn't VBACing I wouldn't be so worried/anxious/nervous/excited about this all.  Actually, I'm NOT worried or anxious or nervous about labor starting, I'm more worried, anxious, and nervous about it NOT starting.  I know my chances of having a successful VBAC are significantly increased if labor starts on its own.  Now, don't ask me for the statistics, I just know I've read it in a million places.

And, it's hard to realize that IF I would've wanted a repeat c-section, today would be the day.  Since most people do repeat c-sections at 39 weeks, today would be Baby C's birthday.  But, that's okay, because who wants to be born ELECTIVELY on tax day?  Surely not my child!  Now, if he chooses, that's fine...besides since I've been married we've never actually filed our taxes on tax day (love those extensions, but that's a whole other story).  It's just hard to know that.

Then, there's all the people posting on facebook about being induced around 39 weeks or right at 40 weeks.  I am choosing not to be induced early (before 41 weeks) unless there is a problem.  I am choosing to trust my body and be patient with it.  I can do this.  (I think I can do this!)

I'm also choosing to not be checked for dilation & effacement.  With A, I was checked early and weekly.  I was 4 centimeters starting the induction...and we all know how that ended.  As a nurse, I've done plenty of inductions starting at closed/thick/high (closed & thick cervix, high baby) that ended in a vaginal birth the next day.  Pre-labor cervical dilation tells you NOTHING about the outcome.  I don't want to be disappointed in my cervix and I definitely don't want to get my hopes up about anything.  I want contractions, regular contractions, to be a clue to my labor progress.

Yes, I am doing things a bit differently this time and I like it.  It's against the "grain" so to speak.  It's different than what a lot of my friends do, but I'm comfortable with it.  I feel supported in my decisions.

I still am a little freaked out that this baby could very well come out of my vagina.  While I know that's funny to think about, since it's the NORMAL way to be born, I'm so anxious to experience it.  I'm so excited to VBAC, even to labor.  I am so excited to do the work that millions of women before me have done.  I'm excited to do the work that is actually threatened in our society today because of the alarming number of c-sections.  And more importantly, I can't wait to hold my little guy.  I can't wait to see his big sister meet him for the first time.  I can't wait to become a family of four!

Monday, March 21, 2011

35 weeks and counting

Sometimes I wonder how on earth I got to be 35 weeks pregnant! This pregnancy has totally flown by.  Well, minus the first 13 weeks when I was incredibly nauseous.  I guess I've just been super busy this pregnancy.  And, it's really amazing how having a child can distract you.  Not that I don't care about this pregnancy and this baby, it's just that my current child requires a lot of my attention.  That and, oh, yeah, school.  I'm working way less this pregnancy than the last pregnancy, but that makes me a very very happy momma.  My stress level is way less this pregnancy, despite having some stressful situations.  This pregnancy has just been different.

I'm more active this pregnancy & I can tell a big difference.  Not only have I been doing yoga since 16 weeks this pregnancy (started at about 32 weeks with first pregnancy).  While I haven't walked in a long time, I have walked more this pregnancy than I walked the entire first pregnancy.  In general, I'm just more active.

I have enjoyed this pregnancy more.  It's sad to say, but I don't really want this pregnancy to end.  I know I probably won't ever be pregnant again.  I'm savoring every moment (except those first 13 weeks).  I'm enjoying every kick.  Sleepless nights don't bother me so much.  I love the crazy kicks this baby gives me.  While I can't wait to meet him, I'm loving being a pregnant momma.

So, yeah, this pregnancy has FLOWN by!  I'm really working on pregnancy affirmations right now.  I know it may sound corny, but I have to do this.  I think labor is going to be as much a mental battle as a physical journey.  I am planning a VBAC and I have to wrap my mind around the fact my body can and will do this (when it's ready).  I think about the absolutely perfect timing of this pregnancy.  Absolutely perfect.  And, I know that he will come when the timing is absolutely perfect.  When my body feels safe and secure.  I will be surrounded by those people who support me.  I know that people who aren't there will be supporting me in their own way.

I'm still working through a bunch of emotional stuff right now.  Hopefully, my mind will be settled and peaceful when this baby arrives.  I need comfort.  Until then, I will wait patiently for my perfectly timed baby.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I'm a LITTLE fat bias has affected me!

Yea, I'm a "big" girl.  I always have been.  I remember being taller (and probably bigger) than EVERYONE in kindergarten.  That is my first memory of my size.  My mom tells me my pediatrician told her to put me on a diet when I was two.  I would've fired him then and there...but I was only two.  When I was 12, in 6th grade, I remember being weighed.  I remember, exactly, weighing in at 135 lbs.  I don't remember my height, but I couldn't have been a whole lot shorter than I am now (5'6").  But, I remember being considered "overweight."  Two memories, years apart, and my issues with fat start.

The ONLY thin people in my family are the athletes.  There are quite a few athletic people in my family.  But, God decided not to even out the talent, and just gave a few of them a lot of ability!  My brother and a few cousins played sports at the college level.  Not me, and not really most of us.  The rest of us, well, we're pleasantly plump.

But (and isn't there always a but?), I AM healthy.  I've always had a healthy blood pressure (except those last few weeks of my first pregnancy).  I've never had high cholesterol.  Nothing at all.  So, my health insurance at work was offering a health screening.  You get weighed.  You get your blood pressure taken.  You get some labs drawn (a lipid profile, nicotine, cotine, & blood sugar).  No big deal...right?  Well, I got the results back today.  And, as expected ALL of my lab results were considered normal.

But wait....aren't ALL fat people unhealthy?  Shouldn't my blood pressure be high?  Shouldn't my LDL be through the roof?  And surely my fasting blood sugar should indicate I have diabetes, right?  Well, they don't.  Of course they don't.  I am healthy.  But, I'm fat.

So, I have to have a physician (yep, it specifically says physician) referral before I get any of the (monetary) benefits of having this health screening.  Why?  I'm fat.  I'm also 31 weeks pregnant & WILL not participate in ANY weight loss program until my child is on the outside!  Also, I refuse to take part of any aggressive weight loss while I am breast feeding.  (Which is likely to be a long time!)

My other issue is with the fact it's a "Physician Referral Notice."  It even says "M.D." signature.  As a nurse practitioner student and a patient of a Certified Nurse Midwife, I should be able to have any qualified health professional look at this & set REASONABLE goals with me.  I should be able to see an NP, a CNM, a PA, or even a DO, if I want.

And, this isn't the first time I've been affected by fat bias.  I was declined for health insurance (which we ultimately declined them, so I'm not even sure if that counts) because of my weight.  That was the first time I really felt fat bias.  I was hurt.  I was devastated.  It meant I had to work part-time while attending school full-time, just to have health insurance.  I've done it.  And I've utilized less health care than anyone in my family during the past year.

Why is all this bias coming from insurance companies?  Well, I just think they don't care about people.  They care about the all-mighty dollar.  Everything is black and white to insurance companies.  Wow, her BMI is high.  I bet she's gonna have a stroke any day.  If she doesn't have a stroke, surely she'll have diabetes.  And, I bet she doesn't eat healthy.  And definitely doesn't exercise.  Nope, not the fat ones.  They eat junk food & watch TV all day, every day.

While I was griping about this to my husband, he laughs, and brings up a friend of ours who by any insurance standards would be considered "obese."  He's a police officer in a very large metropolitan city.  He's also a body builder.  He is probably 5'10" and weighs probably 220 pounds.  I calculated a BMI based on those measurements.  It's 31.6.  So, maybe he could get health insurance....if he cut is leg off.  In all reality, this nameless police officer probably has a waist circumference of 30" (my guess) and probably has less than 5% body fat.  Now, I'm not saying he is HEALTHY, because I think that's just gross.  And he is doing weird things to his body (we are NOT supposed to look like that!).  But, he is NOT fat.  Not in any way shape or form.  But, if you look at his BMI, he's obese.  Really? Come on!

So, my thoughts.....THE BMI SUCKS!!!!

It's a horrible indicator of health.  It tells you nothing, except how a ratio of height to weight.  It does not take into account muscle mass, body type, or health.  Nothing.  I hate it.  I know skinny people who are more unhealthy than I am.

When I'm in practice, I refuse to use the BMI as a health indicator.  There's my promise to all of you.  Come see me (in about a year and half) and I will not calculate your BMI.  I may not even weigh you.

Monday, February 21, 2011


What?!? Okay, I'm not exactly the most consistent blogger, but really, TWO MONTHS? Well, I guess life has been happening to I haven't done anything...well, blog wise.  So, here's what's been up....

I'm currently 31 weeks pregnant (and I need to be about 24)....we're not ready.  There's just not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything that needs to be accomplished before baby arrives.  And no, I'm not necessarily concerned with stocking his closet or anything like that.  Now, I would like to have a name.  A name would be good, right?  Also (and this IS crazy), I'd like to have his room ready.  I'm really not sure why on this one.  Our daughter doesn't sleep in her room at the age of 3.  But, we have bedding picked out & just need to get it!  I don't care if his room is painted or not.  I would love for my husband to get the bassinet/co-sleeper ready before the baby arrives.  So, once the crib (like I said, the one he's NOT going to use) is ready & we have a few diapers, I'm good.

Now about school....I've been crazy busy with school this term.  In the past terms, school was primarily a Monday through Friday deal for me.  I quit studying late afternoon.  Rarely did I do school-work in the evenings or on the weekends.  This term...all 8 hours of taking me under!  Of course, I am in the middle of the 2 busiest weeks of the term.  Once March gets here, it's all down hill.  My classes are good & I think I'm learning! :) I still feel overwhelmed by the thought of having to KNOW this stuff! And to be able to use it. is work.  We've been rather busy for most of the year.  But, we haven't had anything horrible or been so overwhelmed there.  Just busy.  I've had really awesome patients lately, and that makes me one happy girl.

So, that's about it for me.  Maybe it won't be 2 months until I blog again.  But, if it is, I'll probably be the mom of 2! (Aaagggghhhhh!!!!!!)