Friday, August 19, 2011

Emme's Birth Story

Emily Rose was born at 5:20am on Thursday, August 11, 2011 and it was not the labor and birth I was expecting!

Things started on Tuesday.  Early that day I started having Braxton Hicks contractions.  They were pretty regular and I got to thinking that maybe that night labor was going to start.  However, nothing happened except that during the night the contractions became uncomfortable enough that I couldn't sleep.  Wednesday started and I was tired but carried on with my usual day still with contractions.  I could feel them now but they were still very light.  Finally, Wednesday evening they picked up.  At about 7pm I had my first painful contraction.  I was super excited.  This was it I thought!  Within a few hours I'll be holding my baby.  Yet nothing seemed to be happening.  My contractions were very sporadic and were not progressing.  Around 11:00pm we called our doula to see if she could come and tell us what she thought and help get things going.  She got there around 11:30 and things actually seemed to be stalling out.  We went for a walk and my contractions somewhat picked up but the second we stopped my contractions would practically disappear.  I was feeling very disappointed that my labor wasn't officially starting.  At this point I thought I would probably have my baby by Friday.  After our walk, I marched up and down the stairs yet things seemed to be slowing down even more.  By 1am our doula suggested we just get some rest and I agreed it was probably a really good idea. I was going on almost two nights of no sleep and I still had the real part of labor ahead of me.  Discouraged I laid down around 2pm and took an hour and a half nap.  I had some light contractions during that time about 20mins or more apart, they were almost light enough to sleep through.  Then at 3:30 I was awoken by a massive contraction that caused me to roll off the bed and crawl around on the floor.  The intensity surprised me.  After a few more contractions like that we called our doula.  Even though the contractions were still sporadic and 10 mins apart or more I was feeling pressure so she rushed over.  It only took her 20 mins to get to our house and by that time I wasn't sure I could make it up the stairs out of our house and to our car in the garage. I was having massive contractions and kept having to stop and throw up.  My mother-in-law, who we called to come over and crawl in bed with Carson, put together a puke bucket and rag for me for the car.  Wise woman!  As we got in the car and started driving it dawned on me that holy crap, we have to call our midwife!  Josh made the call as we were driving and during this time my contractions were very strong.  My midwife heard me in the background and knew I was pretty far along.  We got to the hospital at 5am.  As I got out of the car in the parking garage, I was super emotional.  I thought I still had to go through transition.  Here I was determined to go natural and was thinking that I might just have to have an epidural. The contractions were much more painful than with Carson's birth and  I still thought the worst was ahead of me. The normal sign posts of transition just weren't there and they didn't show up until I was ready to push.  Little did I know, I walked into the hospital at 10cm.  They tried to get me admitted, but there was no time.  I went into the bathroom and my midwife checked me and said I was complete and I let out a very grateful and loud "thank God."  (During this time I was begging to get in the bath, I really didn't know how close I was to having a baby) Soon after I had a couple of really intense contractions and before I knew it, I was pushing.  The urge just completely took over my body.  Our midwife and nurses were urgent that I get to the bed.  Josh and my doula helped me over there.  I got over to the bed and they kept insisting that I sit down.  Yeah right!  I tried but I could tell I was clearly going to sit on Emme's head and I thought to myself, forget this, and turned around and crawled up on the bed and was on my hands and knees and instantly started pushing with all my strength.  It was something I could tell the labor and delivery nurse didn't see very often. Within a couple of pushes her head was out and everyone shouted out for me to slow down. I could feel her moving around, turning, trying to decide which way she wanted her shoulders to go.  Finally I had the go ahead and with just a few more pushes she was out.

My little sweetie had been posterior with her hand on her face which is why my labor had been so sporadic and the contractions had been more painful than with Carson.  Also, I'm glad I listened to my instincts and got on my hands and knees because it gave her more room to turn and come out and also prevented me from massively tearing which a posterior baby can do.  I barely had an abrasion.

It was the perfect birth.  Not at all what I was expecting.  I figured once labor actually started it would steadily progress from there until the birth of our child.  I pictured laboring through transition in the jacuzzi tub at the hospital.   However, it worked out for the best.  We had planned to do most of our laboring at home to prevent interventions like IV fluids and pitocin (or augmentation of any kind) or even an epidural.  Showing up ready to push definitley prevented a lot.  Plus, I got to labor like I wanted. Although it was a very short time, it was calm, quiet, and peaceful at our house.  I listened to the birth mix I had put together and Josh helped me work through each contraction. When I got to the hospital, my labor wasn't interrupted by a hep-lock or by being strapped to a fetal monitor.  It was a great compromise to the home birth I really wanted and Emme got to be born in the same hospital her Dad was born at 28 years earlier.

It was a special time for Josh and I.  We got to really bond with this birth and I showed up to the hospital in peace.  After Emme was born it was so relaxed.  After a short time of clearing fluids and wiping her off, they gave her to me and I held her and we talked while we waited for the cord to stop pulsing.  Josh then got to cut the cord which is something he didn't get to do with Carson.  I held her a bit longer and then Josh got to take her over to be weighed and put on her first diaper. (He was beaming!  I don't think I've ever seen him so happy)   She was never taken away for tests or shots.  After things settled down, the nurse asked "alright, can I finally get you admitted."  It was really special.  I listened to her birth mix again today and I almost cried.  We knew what we wanted but God knew what we needed. His plans are always so much better than our own.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Can we do without plastic toys?

Carson's toys have been the greatest challenge.  Despite trying to be careful, the majority of his toys are plastic and from China.   Plus he doesn't just have a few.  He has A LOT of toys.  The other day we were up at one of my favorite stores located on a farm with lots of cozy and beautiful nick knacks.   This store has a small section for children.  Carson was immediately drawn to that area and picked out a Noah's ark set that was made of fabric.  Carson loved it and it was really cute, plus not plastic so I figured we could splurge.  As we were driving home I read the tags on one of the animals, the outside was polyester, no surprise there, the inside was made of PVC beads.  WHAT!?  I was shocked.  Although I'm not sure why.

PVC contains high levels of lead and a lot of other nasty stuff as well.  PVC, lead paint, phtlalates, and BPA, a substantial hormone disruptor make up the majority of plastic toys available.  Plastic toys are cheap, easy to obtain (easy for kids to spot), and a favorite it seems by Grandmas.  Some of Carson's favorite toys are plastic, like his fire truck and play kitchen.   Plus what do you do when your little girl grows up and wants a Barbie.

The chemicals in toys seem to be getting worse and kids are actually dealing with lead poisoning.  The majority of kids' plastic toys have been found to exceed the legal lead limit, yet unless it is extremely high, the toy company is not required to do a recall.  I also recently read that even if something is labeled BPA free does not mean it is safe.  The chemical BPA is then replaced with another chemical that is just as highly toxic. Nice marketing right!

So what do we do?  It seems almost impossible to completely restrict plastic.  The whole toy department is filled with them.  Plus gifts from others, especially family.  Do you put on party invitations, no plastic please?  Does this all seem too over the top?  Sometimes I rationalize that I played with plastic toys and I'm fine, but am I really?  I have several health issues caused by hormone disruption.  Maybe toys played a part, maybe not.

It makes me want to throw out all of Carson's toys and start anew.  He might just be better off too.  Less toys means more creativity.  Growing up my mom had a small toy box for me.  I was only allowed to own however many toys would fit in the box.  I despised her growing up for this but now as an adult I really appreciate what she did.  I learned to be creative, think outside the box, and go outside to play.  A lot of those qualities are lacking in children growing up presently.

Thankfully there is a brand gaining popularity which is Green Toys.  Their toys are manufactured in the USA and contain no traceable amounts of PVC, BPA, or phthalates.  They are a good alternative to the ever so popular toxic plastic.

Do you think you could do a toy overhaul?  Is it something you find important?