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March 11, 2014 13 min read

Felix and Terri photoshoot

The night before I went into labor I noticed about 4 super mild cramps each about 9 minutes apart. Although they were very mild it was the first time I bothered to get out my phone and time them on the contraction app I had downloaded. I told Michael I had a feeling maybe tonight was going to be the night I went into labor. It was kind of humorous because it was the one and only day I was hoping not to go into labor! I had planned Jackson’s fifth birthday party  for Saturday morning. I knew it was a possibility that I would have a few day old baby, or still be pregnant and a VERY slim chance I would be in labor during the party! Our great friends that were coming to the party live right across the street so the plan was if I was in labor to just have everyone be at their house and our parents would help run the party. I think it may have been the most organized I have ever been! I had the whole party ready and planned out a week in advance just in case :) Not only was it not the most convenient day for me but it was also the one day my midwife joked that she had a very full schedule and any other day around it she was free. We should have all known that this would be the day!

We went to bed around 10 on Friday night and around 3:30 I woke up with a contraction. I decided not to wake Michael up because they were pretty mild contractions and I wanted him to be able to sleep as long as possible in case it was a long labor. I continued sleeping in between contractions for the next two hours with mild contractions coming every 10-15 minutes.. I texted our midwife Toni around 5:30am just letting her know that something was happening but nothing serious yet. I was able to sleep from 6-7 and didn’t have any more contractions until I got up that morning and started walking around, getting breakfast ready etc. Around 8 Toni let me know that her other mom that was also past her due date called and she was headed to her house because she was in labor as well! I decided to sit down and not do anything until the party to see if labor would slow down. Thankfully everything seemed to stop and we had the party as planned!

10-11:30 we were in full fire man rescue mode with 9 little rescuers running around the back yard. The party ended and although I was very happy that I got to have the party for one very excited 5 year old I was pretty bummed that I was 10 days past my due date and trying to take things easy to stop my labor!! I told Michael I wanted to be alone for a little bit so we got our parents to help clean up after the party and take the kids all out to lunch so we could have a little break. While they were gone Michael told me I should try and lay down for a little bit so I laid down on the couch for a short rest. I know from experience that I do not preform well under pressure and I felt like having both of our families here waiting to see if/when I went back into labor was just too stressful for me. We decided to have everyone go back home since they both only live about an hour away and we asked my parents to take the kids for the night just in case labor did start back up. 

It was around 2 o’clock so we decided to go grab a late lunch at Blue Baker and walk around the water fountain for a little bit. I got a sandwich with spicy sauce because every little bit helps right ?! hah. From when I laid down and rested through lunch I  was having contractions about every 30 mins so nothing to get too excited about. We walked around the water fountain about 3 times after lunch and contractions picked up to about every 6-12 minutes. We decided to run a couple more errands while we were out and kid free! We went to academy to make a return and joked about how we could have gotten to the front of the line in no time if I had announced I was in labor. But instead we waited while I leaned on shopping carts and the candy display through contractions. After Academy we drove back home. Earlier in the week I had ordered some essential oils and a diffuser.  Right after we got inside the delivery truck pulled up with my order! We got it out and diffused some lavender and Peace and Calming oils. It was so nice! Michael turned the lights down in the living room and made a palate on the floor. We had the oils diffusing on right by me. They smelt really great and the noise of them diffusing was very relaxing.

Living room labor

Leading up to my labor I had many friends tell me that they felt or were praying that I was going to have a very peaceful, labor without complications. I fully received all of that!

To give a little history this is my fourth baby. I have had really good pregnancies, but every pregnancy I get gestational Thrombocytopenia. Basically a fancy word for low platelets during pregnancy. In the past pregnancies I have had problems with bleeding after the baby is born. With Isabel it was the worst and my Dr told me I was very close to needing a blood transfusion. With Owen we were on the look out for that and right after his birth had a scary moment when we felt like if the bleeding didn’t stop we would need to go to the hospital. Toni told everyone to stop, prayed that God would let the bleeding stop and that if we needed to get assistance that we would be able to do that. As soon as she said amen the bleeding stopped! It was quite a miracle. This time around I wanted to do everything I could before hand to combat my low platelets and keep us from ever needing to make that decision. Around 28 weeks we ran blood work and things did not look good. My Iron levels were low, my platelets were down 92 (normal is 150-400) and my thyroid was very low. I was so discouraged. I wanted very badly to have a home birth, but I knew that platelets even in someone that does not suffer from low platelets during pregnancy typically decrease towards the end of pregnancy. I could not really afford to have a home birth if my platelets dropped much more, especially with a history of bleeding problems. Platelets are what help your blood clot when you start to bleed. Just because you have low platelets does not guarantee that you will have postpartum bleeding issues, but it does increase the risk. I researched so much. I found very little information on natural ways to increase your platelet count while pregnant. I did find things that might help, but from everything I saw people were only able to naturally raise their levels a few points while pregnant. I saw that some peoples Dr’s prescribe steroids at the end of pregnancy and have success in raising the platelets, but I was not interested in doing that. With the help of Heather, Toni and lots of researching we came up with a plan to try and increase my platelet count, iron and get my thyroid back in a healthy range. We started juicing 3-5 days each week (every day at the very end of my pregnancy) I cut out all tea and carbonated beverages, and we cut back on processed foods and sugar. I took my thyroid medication, prenatal vitamin, Hema Plex for iron, a B-complex to help with the platelets, and 10 alfalfa supplements every day. At the lowest my platelets got down to 84, but at 36 weeks when we retested by iron was back within a good range, my thyroid was good, and my platelets had gone up to 107!! I was overjoyed. Yes, 107 is still low, but with Owen they were at 92 so I was already in a better spot than my last pregnancy and we new we would keep doing all the things that we were doing to hopefully keep those numbers going up! The last time we ran my blood work they ran the labs within about 3 hours on when my blood was drawn. I feel that that also gave a more accurate reading the last time around.

Ok back to the labor day! I was looking very forward to having some fresh juice while in labor and had made sure that we would have everything to make some when the time came. So I had Michael make some juice: kale, carrots, apple, and orange (I seriously woke up a few times throughout my pregnancy craving fresh juice and wondering if the juicer would wake up everyone. I can’t get enough) At this point I texted Toni to give her another update that contractions had been about 8 mins apart for the past 2 hours. She asked if I wanted her to come check on me but I told her I thought I would wait a little bit longer until contractions were stronger and closer together and I told her that my pain level was about a 6 at that point. With Owen’s labor if I was not standing pretty much nothing was happening. I thought maybe we should walk around in the back yard a little bit. I figured if we walked and it sped things up great and then we could come back inside and rest a little and if it didn’t speed things up then we might as well just stay comfy in the living room. Well we walked around the yard a couple times and I only had about one contraction so I thought we should just go back inside and stay on the couch. Michael got me so comfortable with pillows all around me a nice blanket and a heating pad on my back. After a little while I worried I might actually be too comfortable hah, so I sat up and decided to try that for a little while. Sure enough sitting seemed to get the contractions closer together. Right around 7 I emailed a group of ladies that I had emailed ahead of time to be praying for me while I was in labor and praying specifically that I would not have any problems with bleeding after the birth. I let them know what had been going on all day and that there was also still the other mom in labor! Toni had let me know that she had a back up midwife in Houston on call, because Andrea who would normally fill in was out of town. Michael helped me to feel at peace that if we ended up both giving birth at the same time that God would put the right midwife at each birth equipped to handle that specific birth and mom post partumn. From as soon as I sent that email I felt like my labor really picked up. My contractions got closer together and they were much stronger. I texted Toni again at 9:20. I found the text off of my phone below, and a screen shot from my contraction timer from around 9:40-10.

Toni reminded me not to wait too long so she would have time to get set up, so we said why don’t you go ahead and come over check me and just set up and then if I am not that far along you can just come back later. She said Ok, and got here a little before 10. She checked me and I was a 6! She asked if I wanted to go ahead and call Heather and she told me that she thought we probably should, so I agreed :) I was so nervous about having other people around because I felt like with Owen’s birth I got tense and labor stopped. She told me that they could just set up and then we could be in the room alone. I know lots of people like having other people in the room helping get them through each contraction, giving them advice and encouragement. But for me I just want to get in my zone and have Michael by my side. So I thought that plan sounded great. Michael and me stayed in the living room while Toni and Heather set up the bed and got everything ready. I was still sitting through contractions, drinking so much water and snacking on some little oranges. Close to 11 I wanted to lay down. I laid down on the couch for just a little bit and had a contraction that lasted about 3 1/2 minutes! Man that was intense. My water had not broke and I was a little paranoid it was going to break on our new couch Michael’s sister had just given us so I told Michael I wanted to go lay down in bed. At that point I really didn’t mind that Toni and Heather stayed in the room which probably should have tipped me off that he was going to make his arrival soon! I kept laboring through contractions laying down on my side. It wasn’t cold to anyone else but I was super cold and shaky and so Michael brought me my favorite quilt to keep my legs covered but with all that water I was drinking I kept having to get up to go to the bathroom and would get so cold again. Toni would check Felix’s heart rate every so often and it stayed right at 128 the whole time. Heather said she could take some pictures if we wanted and I am SO glad I said yes. (All of the photos of me in labor were taken by Heather Hendrick) I have never had any pictures of me in labor and for me each labor has been one of the things that has grown my love for Michael so much stronger. It is such such a blessing to me to have these photos of me laboring and Michael right by my side.

labor breathing

Michael helping me stay relaxed and breath deep through my contractions. Lots of friends have asked what I do during labor to get through contractions and this is what it looks like. Michael helps me to relax between contractions and makes sure I am not tensing up anywhere, I always just close my eyes during contractions and he helps remind me to breath as deeply as possible. Don’t get me wrong it is tough! But that’s our approach to getting through each contraction. Sometimes he tells me sweet stories about our kids, or our honeymoon and those are always nice too :) With Isabel and Jackson’s labors I remember anything touching me at all felt uncomfortable, but this time around I told him I wanted him to keep his hand somewhere on me so I would know he was close by the whole time and I really liked that.

talking between contractions

And then talking in between contractions.

Embrace

Every time I would sit up to go to the bathroom I would immediately have a contraction. I would just lean onto Michael and try to rest all my weight on him and relax and breath through it. For the weeks leading up to labor I had told Michael I really want to meet Felix and go into labor, but I don’t want to have to push :( For me pushing has always been the worst part. I have heard from lots of women that have given birth naturally that pushing was the best part for them. They say that the whole labor you feel like you are fighting what your body is trying to do and then during pushing you get to work with your body and don’t have to fight off the urge to push. Well that simply has never been the case for me. Michael told me that maybe this time would be different and pushing would be a good experience for me. Probably 20 minutes before I started pushing (no idea at the time it would be that soon) I told Toni and Heather that I really didn’t want to push. haha. I knew that that was not really an option but I think I needed to hear them tell me that I could do it and that it would be ok. Toni said something to the effect of , well that’s kind of the most important last step to getting to meet him. They let me know that I could do it and that I just needed to not fight it. The next 2 contractions I felt a slight urge to push. I told Toni so she said she should probably check me. She checked me (at 12:09 I believe she later told me) and sure enough I was at a 10. We had briefly discussed using the birthing stool because I just really wanted to try something different and see if it made it a little easier. After she checked me I had another contraction and knew that there was no chance I was getting off that bed.

bradley coaching

kiss on the forehead

I only had about 3 contractions that I pushed through. It was a pretty amazing experience. I had my eyes closed and I felt like I could hear all the things the nurses and Dr’s, Toni, and other people at my births had told me during each of my labors. I could hear Toni saying you need to get him out on this contraction from Owen’s birth, the nurse from Jackson saying I can see the head, he has hair! You’re almost there! The nurses from Isabel telling me I was doing great and breathing wonderfully. I didn’t even realize that was what was going through my mind until later than night when I though back on everything, but it was really great. It was less than 10 minutes later and he was here!!

Holding baby felix

I couldn’t believe it! When they handed him to me I said, “That was so easy!” Which I later thought… did I actually SAY that?!? Labor was NOT easy, but pushing was so much better this time around! Oh and my water didn’t end up breaking until he was coming out! The whole labor was very peaceful and straight forward.

Holding felix

I had seen a Dr at 36 weeks and was prescribed a few medications in case I had problems with bleeding so Toni went ahead gave me a shot of pitocin in my hip which we had planned on because of my past history of bleeding. They also rubbed cypress, an essential oil, on my stomach that can help with post partum bleeding.

midwives

With that I did not end up having any problems with bleeding! It was the least bleeding I have had out of all of my births and my quickest recovery. I really feel like all the measures we took ahead of time with juicing, diet change, and supplements really made a big difference. And of course all the friends that I had praying specifically for that issue :) This was the first time that I was able to hold and nurse my baby right away which I was so thankful for! After labor I was able to get up go to the bathroom and shower off. I think it is the first time I was able to do all of that without being lightheaded. Michael got to hold Felix and show him around the house while I did all of that.

dad holding baby

At this point it was about 1:30 in the morning and I was tired and hungry so Michael made me a little snack Toni and Heather finished Felix’s newborn little check up, cleaned up and were ready to head home by 2 and we were ready to get some sleep.

holding baby in bed

“Little” Felix was born at 12:14am on 2/23/14, weighed 9lbs 7oz and was 22″ long.

felix at 5 months

Here he is, our foxy little Felix at 5 days old (Photo by Ari Jones).


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