False Labor & Cheeks for Days

Dear London June, 

This week has been a whirlwind of emotions.

Monday morning I woke up at 3am very nauseous and feeling really weird. I threw up and threw up and shortly after had some intense pressure waves (contractions). I also had some extreme lightning bolt type pain through my pelvis, lots of pressure and excruciating back pain. I was sure this was the onset of my ‘birthing time’ (labor). I called the midwife and she told me all the signs pointed toward GO but I needed to time my pressure waves, take a warm bath, drink water and see if I still progressed. After I got out of the bath I noticed the pressure waves dwindling and finally laid down and before I knew it I had fallen asleep from exhaustion. I woke up and the pressure waves had completely gone and I felt defeated, sad and unsure. I had given so much of my focus and hard work during the false labor and had gotten so excited that I would finally be meeting you. I called into work to let them know that there was no way I could come in after all of that and your Dad called in too so he could stay with me.

We took another early morning nap and when I woke up I felt the strong urge to walk. I don’t know where I got that burst of energy but that’s all I wanted to do. So we went to the local park and power walked about 2 miles in the hot sun. We came home, ate lunch and then got ready for my Midwife appointment that had already been scheduled. I was so hopeful that after all that hard work that I must be a little bit dilated. She checked me and nope, not dilated at all. I almost wept. So silly, I realize but I was sure I would just be a tad dilated. I was a little bit effaced though and that made me feel better. She checked to see if she was head down and was nearly sure she was but not 100% certain. I voiced my concern that it had felt like you had flipped or moved into a higher position because since 32 weeks you dropped really low but the past few days you have seemed to be up so very high. So she suggested an ordered ultrasound just to check and make sure you were not breach. Just her saying that made my stomach turn and I instantly agreed just so that I could have the peace of mind. So this morning your Daddy and I went for the ultrasound and she checked all your organs and measured your bones and checked your position. Sure enough, you were head down and I sighed a huge breath of relief.

When we went in for your 4D ultrasound at 30 weeks we discovered that the umbilical cord was lassoed around your neck. This was unnerving to see and I asked the Midwives if there was anything we could do. Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done while in utero but she assured me that this is quite common and most of the time they simply just unwrap the cord as they are delivered. I didn’t let this stress me out but it has lingered in my mind since and I have prayed that you would remain safe and healthy. So today, as she was conducting the ultrasound I asked if there was any way she could check to see if the cord was still wrapped around your neck and she surprised us by agreeing that she could and she switched to the 4D ultrasound. Thankfully, she said the umbilical cord was no longer wrapped around your neck but floating in front of your face. Once again, I breathed a huge sigh of relief!Image

I was even more surprised that she got a terrific angle of your sweet squished face! I really had no idea we would be able to see you because you were head down and facing my back. 

Let me tell you, I have never been so tickled in all my life! It was such a pleasant surprise and treat especially after my disappointment from earlier this week. We oohed and awed and giggled over your AMAZING, to die for chubby cheeks. There is NOTHING better than chubby baby cheeks and I was really hoping that you would inherit them from your Daddy and I. 

Here you are at 39 weeks and 4 days- just 3 days away from your due date! 

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The ultrasound tech also let us know that you have a head full of hair so we better get our bows ready. I failed to tell her that I already have a variety packed in your hospital bag ready to go. My Dad thought the black shadow around your head was your hair and I laughed and let him know that was just where the picture cut off because the rest of your head was too far into my pelvis to capture. If that was your hair I would laugh hysterically because it looks like an Elvis wig! Mom was concerned about the photo of you sucking your thumb because she though your eye looked like a frog eye and again we laughed. That is just the distortion of the ultrasound from where you were moving while they took the photo. I absolutely love that you were sucking your thumb and you really remind me of my sister, your Aunt Whinnie. Everyone is so smitten over how beautiful and cute you are…get ready for lots of cheek pinchers coming your way! I can not even express how smitten I am. Seeing your sweet, chubby face was exactly what I needed to get through this week and gives me something to focus on as I try to patiently await your arrival. 

As I was getting my hair trimmed today, Amanda my hair dresser & friend brought up a great point. She reminded me that Monday night, although disappointing, might just be God’s way of giving my body and mind a final dress rehearsal. That totally clicked and made sense to me and even though I am a bit disappointed you aren’t here to cuddle with, I am blessed that I got a chance to prepare myself for what’s to come. And when I look back on it, I am pretty proud at how I did and how calm and relaxed I remained. It gives me hope that I can really do Hypnobirthing and have a safe, quick and easy birthing. 

So my little chubby cheeked cherub, I will cherish the very few moments, movements & hiccups I feel inside of me because I know I will miss them and feel empty without you in there. I will feel good that you will never be more safe and cared for than you are now in my womb. I will take joy in the anticipation of awaiting your arrival and gawk at your chubby cheeks a thousand more times before I get to see, kiss and squeeze them on this side of the world. 

Love you always, 

Your very excited Mama xo 

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HypnoBirthing & My Birth Plan

Dear London,

You are still comfortable in my tummy and I am happy to make you feel at home there for long as you need. Of course, I am ready to count your leg rolls and kiss your cheeks too. Whenever your ready sweet love…you are the best teacher of patience I have ever had. 

I wanted to share today about my “planned” method of birthing you. After watching “The Business of Being Born” I started to completely re-evaluate my preconceived knowledge, ideas and perception of how I pictured my pregnancy, labor and delivery experience. I used to just instantly assume I would want an epidural and that was pretty much the extent of my plan of birth. I just assumed I would arrive at the hospital, ask them to hook me up to the good stuff and let the doctors take it from there. Since then, I have consumed myself in research, reading and asking a lot of moms who all had very different births a lot of questions. From there, I started researching what type of birth would be best for me and my nature. I no longer wanted to just blindly trust the doctors and hospital with this because A. they don’t know me B. I don’t know them C. I feel like I should be highly involved in the planning of my birth.

I’m pretty sure I have planned this more than I did my wedding. And girl, did I plan my wedding.

My first best move was to pair with the Vanderbilt Midwives for my prenatal care. When I first became pregnant we decided not to share our news with anyone until I was 12 weeks. So, finding prenatal care was a little lonely and difficult since I couldn’t ask around without giving away that I was pregnant. So off to the internet web search I went. I searched high and low of  reviews of countless OBs and it just didn’t feel right. And then I stumbled upon a glowing review…several reviews about how wonderful and unique the Vandy Midwives were. At first, I wasn’t really sure what a midwife was or if it would be the right fit. After visiting their website and reading tens of birth stories and their philosophy, I knew I wanted to meet with them. I was blown away by the amount of care and concern they had for me and baby Blueberry and I loved that I could talk to them woman to woman instead of doctor to patient. I continue to be amazed by the calming spirit they provide and the reassurance they give to me that my body was made to birth and that labor doesn’t have to be a scary medical emergency.

I would say half my pregnancy (until about week 20) I was still all go for an epidural as my birth plan. Honestly, I was so focused of growing you that I intentionally blocked out delivery because it scared the life out of me. But the more I read and researched and heard story after story of women birthing healthily, the more confident and curious I became about my own delivery. Also, I realized that I would have to face it eventually, so I better go ahead and plan it-this isn’t something you procrastinate on. I started researching different pain management options and labor techniques and it was a bit overwhelming because there are SO many options today. Bradley Method, Water Birth, Alpha Childbirth, Lamaze and Hypnobirthing to name just a few.

Hypnobirthing kept drawing my curiosity in and I was really compelled by other couples’ testimonies and birth stories. I was highly skeptical also. So I bought a book about it and began reading (HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method by Marie Mongan) and by the second chapter I knew this was the right method for Lucas and I. It just made sense to me. As someone with knowingly very low pain tolerance, I surprised myself (and continue to do so) that I even considered a natural method of pain management, especially something like self-hypnosis and deep relaxation techniques.

So what is Hypnobirthing?

Basically, it is a really fresh but natural way to view pregnancy, birth and delivery. The first thing about the philosophy of Hypnobirthing that caught my attention was this idea: When there is fear, there is pain. When there is no fear, there is no pain. The author went onto to explain the physical aspect of this theory- when we are scared what do we do? We tense our muscles which can lead to unnecessary pain. Such a simple but revolutionary idea. As a society that views labor has a scary medical procedure via T.V. shows, youtube clips and exaggerated scenes on comedies we subconsciously internalize the fear and pain that is played out and we believe it. So when we birth, we go into it fearing the very worse. And when we fear….we tense up…and when we tense up we end up laboring far more painfully than need be. So hypnobirthing is less about techniques (although it does provide some wonderful mediation, relaxation and positions) and more about a complete revival of our view of birth. Hypnobirthing advocates that birth can be a life altering, beautiful, healing and even comfortable experience. They advocate that with enough positive mindset women can achieve birth with OUT pain. Yes, you read right. And although, I sometimes have my doubts because the way I have been conditioned to view labor negatively and the horror stories I have heard have affected me, I have also heard countless accounts about how amazing this method truly works for millions of couples.

Just a few weeks ago, I was reading the book while waiting to be seen my the midwives when a husband of one of the women also waiting shared how it truly works and how he or the hospital staff could not tell she was having contractions by her state but only by the machine that monitors them. He went on to gush about how wonderful and calming it was for both of them and their baby. After talking with them, I just became more confident that I could do this! Little ole me that tears up when she gets her eyebrows waxed might just have the chance to birth naturally.

Am I above an epidural? Absolutely not. But do I want to try to birth without any medication? Absolutely. If anything, I just want to give it my very best shot and surprise myself. There are many obvious health benefits of not using interventions too that I am too intimidated to go into in fear that this post will end up being 20 pages long. And if I end up asking for an epidural, then Hypnobirthing has been totally worth it just for my pregnancy. As a very anxious person, I have surprisingly been very calm throughout my pregnancy. I have actually enjoyed and embraced it. I listen to my self-hypnosis (and at first, I was totally turned off by them because it sounded SO cheesy but I let go and allowed myself to listen past that) almost daily and nearly every time I fall asleep because it relaxes me so much. I always wake up after feeling refreshed with energy and I have a more positive outlook on the rest of the day/evening. Because of the hypnosis tapes and book, I have gone from having zero confidence that natural birth was a possibility for me to believing that I absolutely can with the help of Lucas and regular practice of self-hypnosis and deep relaxation.

And although I can’t share the outcome of my birthing experience yet, I already highly recommend it to pregnant couples just to feel empowered and relaxed through out your pregnancy. Never, and I mean never did I think I would even investigate natural birth plans, let alone pursue this path but Hypnobirthing has completely won me over and I am really looking forward to my birthing time. I am not scared or nervous about it at all and that is enough for me to click my heels and exclaim about it. That is a huge accomplishment for me. I think if I hadn’t pursued this path, I would be suffering some major anxiety/panic attacks.

If you are curious about this method, I highly recommend watching this video of an actual hypnobirthing. You will hear them refer to “Pressure Waves” and that is just a Hypnobirth term for “Contractions”. Another way to change your mindset of birth is to change the language associated with general births which can have deeply negative connotations.

So now that you know a little bit of Hypnobirthing, (I feel like I gave a very inadequate summary of it so I challenge you to research it yourself) I wanted to also include a copy of our birth plan. We have already gone over it with one of midwives and she really liked it and scanned it so that it will already be on file when we arrive at the hospital. A birth plan is just that: a plan. It exists so that all the nurses, midwives and staff can be on the same page of how they couple wishes their birth to be like.

Sydney’s Birth Plan

 The people who will be present during labor and delivery are Lucas Hutson (Husband) and Heather Dawbarn (Mother).

 

Hypnobirthing

We have chosen Hypnobirthing as our method of birthing. Because we have chosen this method we ask that there be as few people in the room as possible in order to maintain calm and deep relaxation (No students please). We also ask that when communicating important matters you speak with Lucas first and he will communicate to Sydney. 

 

Environment

 

  • Dim Lighting
  • Soft Voices
  • Music
  • No Speaking During Actual Delivery. (Unless Necessary)

 

Induction

If induction becomes necessary I would like to try natural induction techniques first.

 

  • Walking
  • Breast Stimulation
  • Enema
  • Castor Oil

 If medical induction becomes necessary we would like to avoid using pitocin and only use it as absolute last resort. 

 

Pain Relief

 Please do not offer pain medication options unless I request them. I am attempting to manage pain using natural methods. If I choose to use pain relief I would like to use nitrous gas. An epidural would be a last resort effort.

 

Second Stage Labor

 As long as the baby and I are healthy I prefer to have no time limits on pushing. Please no staff lead coaching or cheering while delivering. When cervical checks are performed please relay information to Lucas and not Sydney. 

To help prevent tearing please apply hot compresses and perform perineal massages.

 

Delivery

 

  • I would like the room to be silent as our baby is born.
  • We would like our voices to be the first ones our baby hears.
  • I would like to touch my baby’s head as it crowns.
  • I would like to push instinctively and would not like to be prompted to push.
  • My husband will be catching our baby and cutting the cord after it is allowed to pulse.

 

Newborn Procedures

 Golden Hour

 We want to bond with our baby by using the Golden Hour.

 Administration of eye drops

Please do not administer eye drops to my baby. I am willing to sign a waiver form if need be.

 Vitamin K

Please do not administer Vitamin K to my baby. I am willing to sign a waiver form if need be.

 Immunizations

 I prefer all immunizations be postponed to a later time.

 Bathing Baby

 We would like to give our baby her first bath using our own baby products.

 

Thank you for respecting our birth plan. We appreciate all that you do.

You might have noticed that we are denying the Vitamin K shot, eye drops and postponing the Hep B vaccine. If you have any questions, please ask but please do not attack our decisions. We decided upon these huge decisions after a TON of research, consultation with our midwives and deep personal conviction. I would love to share why we decided the way we did if you are curious! We really feel like we are making the best decisions for our family which may look different than yours and we think thats perfectly okay. 🙂

20 Weeks with you, London June

Dear London June,

This past week we have celebrated 20 weeks with you which included seeing you for the very first time, finding out that you are a sweet little girl and buying you sweet vintage dresses. I’m 21 weeks today but wanted to recap this milestone.

20 weeks

 

How far along?  20 weeks, 1 day
Total weight gain/loss? 4 pounds gained
Maternity clothes?  A few pieces but still rocking a lot of my dresses with leggings and maxi skirts!
Stretch marks? A tiny few that I got in the beginning but no more since- yay!
Sleep? What’s that? Getting up 2-3 times a night to pee and then tossing and turning for the rest of it- also having horrible nightmares EVERY night.
Best moment last week? Seeing you for the 1st time, finding out that you are a London June and sharing it with our friends!
Movement?  Yes, everyday! Usually about 30 minutes after I eat. I love every kick and sometimes it takes my breath away! Daddy is still jealous he can’t feel them yet.
Food cravings? Sweet things which is so abnormal for me since I’ve always been a salty person!
Gender? GIRL!
Labor signs? Oh lordy, no.
Belly button in/out? In.
What I miss: Sleep, my clarity of thought, my brain (better get used to all of it)
What I am looking forward to: Holding you for the 1st time, seeing you move from the outside, daddy being able to feel you kick
Milestones: Half way there baby!!!

My evening ritual is soaking in a hot bath to relieve some of the aches and pain and decompress from the stress I’ve been feeling. This past week is the first time I’ve really felt pregnant. My belly is stretching and aching and round ligament pain is a daily occurrence (OMG!).  Your Daddy is a hero though, and massages my sore feet before I go to bed. Heaven sent.

I’ve entered an odd stage of life where joy and pain collide and I often find myself clueless on how to merge the two. It is a confusing journey that is riddled with guilt and submerged in grey. You are our joy- it abounds and runneth over. The pain involves relationship turmoil and illness of a loved one. Then add in major life decisions (job and upcoming house purchase and relocation), pregnancy hormones  and lack of sleep and this mama is on the breaking point. Whenever I feel the joy abounding, the guilt quickly sets in and asks “have you forgotten the pain?” I know this is preparing my heart for a lifetime of weaving the joy and pain together but knowing that truth doesn’t make it easier. I know this isn’t the first time joy and pain have collided in my life but never has it been so tangibly apparent. You will find yourself in this place one day, sweet girl, and I hope you rely on the love that surrounds you. I hope the pain isn’t so lethal that it steals your joy away. Nothing and no once could steal the joy we have because of you.

As I trudge through the joy and pain and try to make sense of it all, I love you through it all. The changes my body is going through mirror my soul search. Your growth and health cause my body pain and make my bones ache but it is that pain that is bringing me close to my joy, my baby. You are my biggest life lesson, you are God revealed, you are my revelation.

Love you London June.

Mom