Archer's Birth Story

I realize that my blog is very out-of-the-loop, but I had another baby! Here is his birth story.

On Saturday, August 27th, I started having contractions that felt like more than Braxton-Hicks contractions. I felt them low across my abdomen, as opposed to just in the belly area. I started timing my regular contractions around 8:30pm, although they were about five minutes apart, not lasting too long, and were relatively easy to relax through (I was just reclining or lying down). My midwife was out of town, so I called her backup to let her know that I was pretty sure I was in very early labor. I also texted my doula, Megan, to have her on labor watch. Another indicator that this was the real thing was that my feet were cold. Normally, my feet are cold, but the last two months or so of this pregnancy my feet very often felt hot. So around 11:30, I decided to try to sleep if I could. Which I couldn't. Thankfully, I was still able to rest and didn't have to really focus on handling the contractions, even though they were still very regular and somewhat uncomfortable. I rested in bed, trying to sleep, for about an hour, when I decided to just get up instead of laying in my bed in the dark. I called the midwife again and gave her an update, and she suggested I time my contractions for a while and call her back. While I was resting, which was still possible, contractions were about five minutes apart (still), but while I was walking, they were closer to three minutes apart. I called her back and we decided to have her come over and sleep at my house, in the event that labor got serious quickly like it did with Ainsley. She arrived about 2:30am (I had to wake Adam up twice!) and we talked for a few minutes while she checked me out (took my temperature, and I think maybe my blood pressure? I don't remember) before we decided that I should try to sleep again, if I could. I laid down and I think I was able to actually get some sleep, dozing off and on, even through the still somewhat uncomfortable contractions. I woke up around 5:30 and waited in bed until the midwife woke up around 6:30. Since I was still in pretty much the same condition (regular contractions five minutes apart) as the night before, she did a vaginal check to see my progress. I was about 4 cm dilated and very effaced (I don't remember if she gave a percentage), but baby was still pretty high up. She said she still thought it could be a few hours, since he was so high, and that she thought she would go home for a while, but to call her and she'd come back. I figured that once I started walking, things would progress very quickly, but I thought I would let her run home and just have her come back in a little while and that we'd be fine. So she left around 7 or 7:30, and we called my doula Megan to come over. Meanwhile, the kids woke up around 7:15, and Declan started watching "So Dear to My Heart," and Ainsley went ouside with Adam. We called a friend from church to have her come get the kids, since labor was well under way. Then Megan arrived around 8, and I brought her up to speed with my labor and what the midwife had said. At this point, I was sitting up in bed, trying to see how I liked that for contractions. It was pretty uncomfortable, so I tried lying down for the next one, but that was also pretty uncomfortable, so I decided to get moving and try other things. Shortly after that, some of my contractions got stronger, so I called the midwife to come back. She lives about half an hour away, and she said she would get ready and head over. Pretty much as soon as I hung up with her, I had to really start focusing on handling my contractions. I tried going outside (I don't remember if it was just to see if I wanted to be outside, or if I had a reason to go outside), but came right back in and had a contraction as I was going up our entryway stairs, so I went on all fours at the top to finish out that contraction. Walking was ok, but once again I gravitated to the bathroom, and had Megan apply pressure to my back, since I started feeling a lot of pain there. I was sitting on the toilet for a strong contraction, and they started coming back to back with barely any break (for example, my contraction would end and I barely had a chance to get up off the toilet before the next strong contraction started). I had Megan get me a cool, wet washcloth, and I whipped my dress off, since I was feeling really hot. Our friend from church arrived to get the kids, and Adam got them out the door as I was loudly vocalizing (something between a roar and a yell) through the strong, back to back contractions. Just after they left, I came out of the bathroom into the kitchen, where Adam had set up a plastic-y tablecloth on the floor, and had another contraction with bad back labor. It must have been the next contraction that I had to push and baby's head came out, as I was standing up, leaning against the kitchen island for support. My mom, who had spent the night upstairs, had gone next door to my in-laws to get a cup of coffee, and came back in the door basically as this was happening, so she grabbed her camera, as Megan and Adam were there trying to catch the baby and encourage me not to breathe. I felt a really strong pressure on my butt and towards the front of my vagina as his head was born, and I said, "Oh baby, what are you doing to me?" I decided I didn't want to be standing up to deliver him, so I got down on my hands and knees for the rest of the birth, which was just a few contractions. My water had broken just prior to me leaving the bathroom for the kitchen, so baby's head came out with the deflated bag of waters on his face. Megan held baby while Adam got the bag off his face, and a couple of contractions after that, his shoulders and body were out. I flipped over onto my back and they put my newest little man onto my stomach. Archer Lyn was born at 9:05 am on August 28, weighing 7 lb, 8 oz, and measuring 20.5 inches long. Once again, the midwife missed the birth, and this time we didn't even have a chance to call her during for assistance. She arrived about ten minutes or so after he was born, and she was able to assist with delivering the placenta. My bleeding was minimal, I didn't tear (yay!) and I felt pretty good. Not as energetic as after I had Ainsley, but way better than after I had Declan. The active labor part of this labor was the fastest of my three, but it took more out of me than Ainsley's somewhat longer active labor.

* Vocalized during contractions like I did with Declan
* Got up to pretty much the same weight (150-151 lbs) with all three pregnancies, regardless of starting weight, which has been different each time (117, 107, and 109 in order)

* Didn't get in the shower at all; used the shower for both previous labors
* Gave birth standing up and on all fours; previous births I was in a side-lying position
* Birthing contractions came back to back with no break (small breaks when I was on all fours); previous births I had much bigger breaks when I was pushing
* Felt pressure towards the front as opposed to the back when his head was born. That was weird. Maybe because I was standing up?


Ainsley's Birth Story

And the moment you've all been waiting for - Ainsley's birth story! Fair warning, I talk about bodily functions... Here we go!

November 11- Ainsley's due date. I woke up around 3:30 am and was having pretty regular short contractions, but was able to go back to sleep around 6. Had contractions for most of the day, but they didn't seem like they were productive (felt like Braxton hicks contractions). My midwife came to my house for my forty week checkup. All vitals were good, Ainsley was moving, etc. She did a cervical check, and I was about 1cm dilated, not effaced, and Ainsley was still pretty high up (she didn't give a specific for that). She didn't make an appointment for the next week, but said we would keep in touch. Contractions mostly died off and the rest of my day was normal.

November 12 - woke up with contractions at about 3 am. I could tell these contractions felt different than the day before, more like menstrual cramps with a little bit of backache occasionally. They weren't lasting very long, and I was able to go back to sleep around six again. Got up around seven and I think contractions were on and off at this point, still feeling more productive but still very short. I talked with Leah, then went out to breakfast and ran errands with my mom and Declan. Had contractions off and on, nothing that felt serious or that took any focus to handle. We got home around 1 and I laid down to nap. Was able to sleep for about an hour and woke up a little after two with more of the same type of contractions - short and somewhat sporadic. Around 4:30, I called the midwife because my contractions were short (less than thirty seconds long) but pretty close together- about 2-3 minutes apart. We talked it over and agreed that she probably didn't need to head over just yet. I also called my doula to give her a heads up. Shortly after I made those calls, my contractions started getting a little stronger and I was walking or sitting on the toilet to handle them. Adam got home from work around 5:15 and I told him I was pretty sure things were rolling and that tonight was the night. He put The Incredibles on for Declan, and Declan stayed in the living room for the rest of my labor. 

I decided to get in the shower around 5:40, which was helpful. I also got really emotional at this time, because Declan was going to go to my in-laws to stay the night, and I wanted to make sure I said goodbye, and he wasn't going to be my only baby anymore, and so on. I was trying to eat something, too, because I missed lunch, so I had my mom stand outside the shower and hold my plate of food (peanut butter toast with bananas!)  so I could eat and shower at the same time. After I ate a little, I handled contractions on my knees with my hands on the back of the tub, and I was also swaying my hips back and forth. Then I felt like I had to poop, so I was going between the shower and the toilet to handle my contractions. My contractions were still about 18-30 seconds long, but around 6:15 I had a couple of really, really intense contractions. I told Adam to call my doula and the midwife, because I figured they should head over (my midwife lives about 35 minutes away and my doula was about 45 minutes away). Shortly after that, I got a heat pack for my back and turned off the shower so I could just sit on the toilet for my contractions because I still wanted to poop. Around 6:25, I was wanting to poop, but it also felt like I was pushing while I was "pooping," so I was trying not to poop. All of a sudden, I felt what I thought was Ainsley's head crowning. I got down on all fours in the bathroom between the tub and the cabinet and called to my mom, "Mom, can you see if the baby is crowning?" And she comes and looks and says "yes!" So they called the midwife, who had not yet left her house, and she started to talk Adam through what to do. She told me to lie down, so I laid down on my left side, still between the tub and cabinet on the bathroom floor. Adam asked me if I wanted to try moving out into the kitchen (our bathroom is off of the kitchen) after my next contraction, and I said maybe. But after the contraction, I told him I really felt like I didn't want to move. So I was laying on my left side with my right leg up on Adam's shoulder, and Adam was on speakerphone with the midwife. It turned out that her head wasn't crowning, it was the bag of waters starting to bulge out. I had a contraction and tried hard not to push, but man, I wanted to push! So I was half pushing, half trying to not push by hissing. At this point, my contractions slowed down so I had a few minutes to rest in between, which was amazing! It was sometime around then that Adam asked my mom for some hot water, because he had not had a chance to wash his hands since he'd gotten home. I said, "Mom, just come hold my leg really quick while Adam washes his hands." So they switched for a minute while Adam washed up. I think it was on or just before the next contraction that I felt her head crowning, and her head was born, in the amniotic sac. The midwife told him to break the sac, which he did (although he said it wasn't easy to do!). On the next contraction, she was born to the waist. Either on or before that contraction, I felt her turn around inside of me, it was totally weird! But she was trying to get in a good position to be born, I guess. I remember the midwife asked a question some time around then, and I leaned up to try and help Adam answer it and saw her half-born! I don't remember if I actually had another contraction or if I just decided she needed to come out all the way, but I gave one last push and she was born! Adam handed her to me and I rolled onto my back, still on the bathroom floor, and put her on my chest, covered up with a towel. He still had to deal with watching for the placenta and checking my bleeding, so we didn't check to see if she was a boy or a girl until maybe fifteen minutes after she was born. My midwife and her assistant arrived about thirty minutes after Ainsley was born, and my doula arrived just a few minutes after that.

I am so thankful that we had a safe birth/delivery and that God gave us a healthy, beautiful girl. Ainsley Kay was born at 6:41 pm on 11/12/14, one day after her due date, weighing 7 lb, 11 oz, and 21 inches long. I found her name in a book I read when I was about eighteen and just loved it! I knew, when I had a girl one day, that I would name her Ainsley. I've been waiting for you for ten years, baby girl! Her middle name is Adam's mother's middle name. She is the first great-granddaughter for my grandparents and the first biological granddaughter for my parents. 

Interesting facts: 
*The umbilical cord was a velamentous cord insertion, which is very rare and can be dangerous depending on how the birth goes. The cord usually connects directly to the placenta, but her cord was connected indirectly to the placenta by blood vessels.
*Normally, labor is serious once contractions are lasting sixty seconds or longer. Granted I was timing my contractions myself, so there is room for error, but my longest contraction was about thirty seconds long.
*It is very fortunate that we were planning on a home birth, because we wouldn't have made it to the hospital given how quickly my labor progressed. This way, we had all the supplies we needed and knew where everything was, and we had a midwife who was able to talk us through everything.
*Our midwife has been at over 400 births and has only missed five, including mine.

*I pushed/delivered both Declan and Ainsley laying on my side (right side for Declan, left side for Ainsley).
*Once again, I am the poster child for the fact that it doesn't matter if you are effaced/dilated, labor can happen at any time. My OB did one cervical check for Declan, I was not dilated or effaced, and went into labor the next night. 

*I never saw Declan until he was given to me right after being born. 
*I pushed for much longer with Declan and felt like my pushing was much less effective. Ainsley took about six contractions to be born, and when I did push, it was very effective.
*Obviously, labor went much faster this time around. I talked about it with my midwife, but I don't remember if we said active labor started at 2 or 4, approximately. Either way, it was a really fast labor. My midwife said that for the next baby, they would basically head over as soon as contractions started to be on the safe side.
*I was much more aware during this labor than with Declan. By the time I was pushing with Declan, I was definitely in baby mode and would not really have been up for conversation. With Ainsley, I was talking normally between pushing contractions.
*I bled quite a bit after having Declan, but had only a normal amount of bleeding after Ainsley.
*I didn't tear!!! And overall, I feel much better physically than I did right after having Declan.


Sixteen-ish Weeks

Had my 16 week midwife appointment last week. I'm up to 120 lbs, feeling really good. My acne is getting a little worse, and it may be due to a number of things: hormones (I'm pretty sure this is the biggest factor), eating spelt (gluten!) relatively frequently, and slacking on my facial cleansing routine. Even on the days I am home with Declan, sometimes I don't get around to doing my raw-honey face wash in the morning. I need to get back on track with that. I also still have my back-acne. Lame.

We got to hear Baby's heartbeat! Leah has an assistant who is almost a certified midwife herself, and she listened with the doppler and let me listen as well. I believe Baby's heart rate was right around 150 bpm. And then Leah used a fetoscope, a type of amplified stethoscope, to hear it. I can't seem to get an image to post here, but go to this site and imagine your midwife almost pressing her forehead into your belly and asking you to stay quiet so she can hear. I was trying to withhold laughter the entire time, it was so funny looking! But she could hear it with the fetoscope, even though she said it was a little early to hear it with that, which I think means my baby has a really strong heartbeat. Way to go, Baby!

We leave for California tomorrow! Will be there for a week for my cousin's wedding. I am excited, although a little nervous because Declan and I are supposed to share a seat, unless the flight is not full and there is an empty seat next to me. And he's 17 months old and won't want to sit with me. And I am pregnant and have less lap than I normally do. Prayers would be appreciated!


Deja Vu

March 6, 2014 - Last night I said to Adam, "When we find out I'm pregnant, we should go out for steak dinner to celebrate." And he was fine with that. This morning, I took a test (I actually took two because the first one gave me an error! Nerve-wracking!) and it came back positive :-) I came out of the bathroom hiding the test in my shirt sleeve, and said to Adam, "I think we should go out for steak tonight, because I'm pregnant," and handed him the test. He said, "What, no way!" and was generally very excited. We'd been trying since January, so it wasn't really a "surprise," but I did tell him when he wasn't expecting it. We are both very excited and can't wait to meet Baby #2! According to my ovulation date (I started fertility charting in January), Baby is due sometime early-mid November. I am going to keep the actual due date secret for the most part, since it's just an estimate anyway :-) Have had a very small amount of brown spotting, so I am praying everything is ok and that Baby is safe and healthy.

March 7 - first belly pic!

March 12 & 13 - we told Ian & Kathryn that I'm pregnant and found out that Kathryn is pregnant, too! She is due about three weeks before me :) How fun is that??

March 15 - We told my family today - my mom, Ken, and Taryn in the morning, and my dad's side of the family (including both sets of grandparents) at lunch. It was a fun day!

March 27 - a friend asked me if I'm losing weight. haha! If only they knew...

March 31 - First appointment with Leah, my midwife. It went pretty well. She took a general history and we talked for a while. She tried to get a blood sample but I got extremely lightheaded (I guess I needed to eat!) so she said she would get it next time. My urine sample came back clean (from my non-medical viewing of the results) and everything is looking good! Declan came with me and mostly what he wanted to do was play with her dog and nurse. She is very nice. Next appointment in about a month!

Early-mid April - I don't know if it's because I'm pregnant or what, but I have been having major wheat cravings! All I want to eat is pizza, pasta, and bread! Thankfully I have been having gluten-free (or wheat-free) substitutions that satisfy, for the most part, but something in me just wants a really good, regular PIZZA! I might have to give in... Baby wants wheat, what can I do? :-) I probably won't, but we'll see.

April 16 - told my supervisor that I'm pregnant. She's happy for me, but a little concerned only because my due date means I will be out for holidays and year-end processing. Not much I can do about that, though!

April 28 - Second midwife appointment. Leah (my midwife) has an assistant who is working towards being certified as a midwife who will be helping her do my checkups (Linda), and another woman who is just starting the training to become a midwife (Erica) who will mostly be observing. They will both be at my labor (hopefully). I'm excited, I say the more the merrier (when it comes to midwives)! I am growing well and feeling well. Barely any nausea.

May 4 - we tried to tell everyone at church today, but it didn't work exactly like we had planned, so we'll tell them next week.

May 7 - told most of my coworkers today! They are very excited for me.

May 11 - made the big "public/Facebook" announcement today (Mother's Day)! We are very happy to finally share our news! More updates to come :-)



I am not very good about keeping up with my blog. I have plenty of things to say but rarely do I sit down and take the time to type them out. Also, I have been sick for almost two weeks, so I'm trying to catch up around the house from that. Being sick and taking care of a very active toddler is not the easiest. And I only have ONE HOUR of sick time left at work (thanks primarily to Declan's chicken pox and not-exactly-pink-eye).

I guess I don't have much to say rightnowthisverysecond, but stay tuned for more from my brain.


Feburary 14th

I remember when I was pretty little, 4 or 5 I want to say, I used to say "Happy Valentime's Day!" Then, my grandma gave me a book about Valentime's, and I loved that book, but I looked at the cover and thought, "That's not right, it has an 'N' where the 'M' should be!" I recall asking one of my parents about it, and they corrected me so that I now knew that it was Valentine's Day. I've never liked it as much as how I used to say it.

So, Happy Valentime's Day!



Generally speaking, I am not very good at sharing food.

I don't really know why this is. If you ask me, chances are I'm more than happy to let you have some of my food (unless it's like, my birthday steak at a restaurant, in which case I might be a little hesitant). But in general, I don't usually offer to share my food. When I think about it, it seems kind of weird. I'm not concerned that I won't have enough to eat -  thankfully, I have plenty of food in my house, and it's not like I'll be going hungry if I give you one of crackers. I never had a time in my life when my next meal wasn't a guarantee, so I'm not reacting to a difficult time in my past. Why am I so weird about food? Is anyone else secretly like this?



I just started praying for a revival.

It sounds old-fashioned, but I pray God stirs the hearts of people where I live, and I pray that He uses me. I pray we see many lives changed and that it spreads across this state and across this country, and around the world. I definitely think we should be praying for missionaries and for other countries, but I am going to focus on praying for a change right here.

It may seem impossible, or too difficult. Maybe you think it could never happen where you live. But I believe that with God, all things are possible.

I want it to start in my own home, in my own family. I want to display Christ's love and model that for Declan, and I want it to be contagious.

If you want to, I would love it if you would join me. Please pray for your family and your town. Pray for the non-Christians you encounter every day. God can soften even the hardest heart.



I am considering doing a home birth for my next baby. No, I'm not pregnant.

A home birth is, to me, one of the pinnacles of crunchiness (aka natural living or being a hippie). I'm not actually opposed to giving birth in the hospital again, but I would like to avoid driving in the car trying to handle contractions. If I were to go the hospital route again, I would want to use a midwife, but I don't know of any in the area that practice in a hospital. Which, once again, leans me towards doing a home birth. Finally, with my new health care, I am trying to find the least expensive health care options available. A home birth is a great deal cheaper than giving birth in a hospital. I think I was charged around $8,000 just for delivery when I had Declan, and I was only in the hospital for three hours before he was born. If I do decide on a home birth, I will definitely miss the hospital food, which sounds weird, I know, but the food was really good AND I didn't have to cook or clean any of it! Best part!

The only other hesitation I have for doing a home birth is that our house is pretty small, and if I wanted a labor pool (or whatever you call them) for a water birth option, I'm not sure where it would go. So, if I can find a midwife that I click with and feel comfortable using, I will probably be having a home birth for my next baby. Whenever that may be.


Not for me, thanks

So I will not be drinking alcohol for a while. No, I'm not pregnant.

Adam and I recently switched from insurance through my employer to Samaritan Ministries. We started looking into it last year, and made the switch this year. I'm really excited about it. It is a Christian organization that allocates money among its members as health costs arise, while encouraging prayer and making healthy lifestyle choices to decrease health costs. The application includes a statement of faith, as well as your commitment to not use tobacco and either not consume alcohol, or consume alcohol only in moderation. I don't think it's wrong to drink alcohol, but I think it's just easier to not drink it at all. I think it's very easy for people to go from "a few" to "a few too many."

Reasons I decided to stop drinking:
1. Save money. Holla.
2. I can always be the designated driver, no matter what.
3. When I do get pregnant, me not drinking won't be a dead giveaway.
4. Much like wheat, I don't miss it. I have had about four drinks/sips of alcohol in the past two years (much of that time I was pregnant or breastfeeding often), and even around Christmas when I had my last glass of wine as a "farewell" to drinking, I had maybe half a glass and thought, yep, really not gonna miss this.

So it may not be forever, but as long as we're members of Samaritan Ministries, you can call me for a ride home if you've had too much (assuming someone is home to stay with my sleeping child!) :-)