Sunday, November 20, 2016

Layla's Birth Story...Finally!

If you haven't read Layla's Pregnancy Story, read about that HERE first. 

Well, I had just about the entire birth story completely type out, and blogger somehow deleted it.  That was back when Layla was still a newborn.  I was so mad, that I haven’t attempted to rewrite it.  My memory is now not nearly as clear as it was then, but I wanted to write what I can remember of her birth story so that I can have it documented.

When I arrived home from my doctor’s appointment, I finished packing up my bags.  Adam came home from work, and together we scarfed down some Wendy’s.  I hugged August and Jude and told them that daddy and I were headed to the hospital to get baby sister out of my belly.  My mom stayed at our house with the boys.    

As I thought about how the induction would go, I was very nervous.  I always carry our children to 40 weeks (and they always have to be kicked out for one reason or another) so I was very nervous about being induced at 38 weeks and 2 days.  I knew this is what needed to happen, so I wasn’t worried that we were making the wrong decision, I was just worried that my body would not respond appropriately.  I worried about the induction not working and having to have a c-section.  Most of all though, I was worried we may have waited too late.

As we arrived at the hospital, Adam prayed for us as we sat in the car.  This was the same hospital that we had Jude, and I remembered us sitting in that parking lot and praying, just 2 years ago.  We gathered up our things and headed in. 

Apparently the doctor’s office did not call the hospital and tell them we were coming.  Registration took a long time, and we were already late.  By the time we reached the nurse’s station, we were an hour late!  I saw my doctor talking with a nurse behind the counter, and I tried to smile at him.  He did not acknowledge me.  I was afraid we would be starting this induction off on the wrong foot!

The nurse walked us back to our room.  She asked me how far along I was, and I told her 38 weeks and 2 days.  She wanted to know why we were taking the baby out so early.

Cholestasis was my answer. 

Just as they like to do, we got right down to business.  I went into the bathroom and changed into the ever so flattering hospital gown. 

When I came out, I met my nurse who would be taking care of me.  She was an older nurse, and she said she actually wasn’t supposed to be working tonight.  She got called in because they were so busy.  I wasn’t thrilled with this news, because I was afraid it would mean that she would be in a bad mood for having to come into work, so I decided I would be as friendly as I could be, so that maybe she wouldn’t hold it against me! Thankfully, she would end up being one of the sweetest and most caring nurses I’ve ever had.

She started off with all of the questions that they ask you.  This part always takes forever.  Just as she was getting started with them, my OB came into the room.  My heart stopped for a minute because I had just gotten there.  I really wasn’t ready to get things going just yet! This was sometime around 7:45 p.m.

“Well, we thought maybe you weren’t gonna make it.  We thought you had gone out to some fancy restaurant or something,” he joked as he walked in.

“I’m sorry we’re late,” I answered.  “Adam had to get off work, and then we had to make it through registration.”

“That’s alright,” he said.  “I’m just gonna be sleeping in my room they’ve got here for me.  But before I can go sleep, we’ve gotta get this baby on her way.”

With that, he started putting his gloves on and asked the nurse for the amnio-hook.

I felt the color drain from my face as I felt the lump in my throat growing larger.

It didn’t hurt when I had my water broken with Jude.  But I wasn’t sure how it was going to go this time.  This time, I was just not mentally prepared.   

Before he inserted the amnio hook, he checked me.  And it HURT.

“How many centimeters did the midwife say you were yesterday?” he asked.

“Three.” I grunted.

“Hmm, that’s generous I think.  You must have closed up a little. I would say maybe 2.5”

Oh great, I thought.

He then inserted the amnio hook.  It hurt.  It hurt BAD.  I think he may have scraped me with that thing. 

After a second or two, water came pouring out.  I looked down.

All I saw was green and brown water with black in it.

It was meconium.

“Alright, it seems that the baby has already had her first bowel movement.  I don’t want you to worry.  When she is born, she may not cry.  We’ll have a team in here, and they’ll probably have to take her as soon as she’s out.  She may have this stuff stuck in her throat or lungs.”

I felt the panic rising up from my chest. 

I looked over at Adam.  I wondered if he remembered me telling him about this.  It’s one of the big risks with Cholestasis, and the cause for a lot of stillborn babies.  Cholestasis causes the baby to be in distress because they have reduced oxygen due to the failing placenta.  When babies in the womb are in distress, they poop.  Since they are “breathing” in the womb, there is a big likelihood of the baby inhaling the poop into their throat and lungs, which can cause the baby to die.

“Alright, let’s just see how it goes with breaking your water, and we’ll go from there.  Call me if you need anything, I’m going to bed!”  And with that, my OB left the room.

I was already soaking the waterproof pads and everything with the nasty water coming out of me.  TMI (as if this entire story is not TMI), it smelled terrible.

After the nurse finished her questions, she came over to set me up with the IV port.  Just like with Jude’s birth, I requested the IV port with no fluids.  I request this because I don’t want to be tied to a pole, and I also don’t want to have to pee every 5 seconds.  I’ve also read that a lot of times when you receive IVs, the baby will be born weighing more than they normally would have because they are carrying more fluid from the IV.  Then, after they are born and lose weight, it looks like they have lost a lot of weight, when normally they wouldn’t have lost that much.  The weight loss is exaggerated because the baby came out weighing more due to the IV fluids.  Then the baby has to be supplemented with formula due to hospital policy.  Long story short, I forgo the fluids.

I warned her that my veins are extra squirty.  You may remember that from both August and Jude’s births.  Whenever they stick me, the blood shoots from my veins like a geyser.

I started sweating like crazy as she cleaned off the area for the port.  I looked away and told Adam not to watch as she began to stick it in.  I can’t stand it when he watches.  It makes me nervous and angry for some reason.

Surprisingly, it didn’t hurt!  Just a little sting. There was no eruption of blood all over the bed and floor.  I was so relieved!

From this point on, things are a little hazy in my memory.  I remember the time was passing faster than I felt it should.  I was afraid the doctor wouldn’t give me enough time to let me do this without intervention, so each contraction was welcomed for me.  At this point, contractions were usually still 5 minutes apart, but sometimes would stretch to 10 minutes apart.  Some of the time was spent sitting in the bed, hooked up to the monitors, and some of the time was spent connected to the wireless monitor, which failed more often than it worked. 

We had one visitor during the evening.  Our pastor’s wife came and brought coffee for Adam.  We really enjoyed her visit, and it helped to pass the time. My contractions were hurting, but not so much that I couldn’t talk, walk, or sit through them.  The constant gush of green and brown fluid was more than uncomfortable. It was a nasty reminder of how scary this situation might be.

I remember things taking a turn around 12:00 a.m.  The contractions got closer, coming every 2-3 minutes.  I could no longer focus on tv or talking, and I needed Adam close.  The nurse came in periodically to check on us, always wanting to help, but I didn’t have anything she could do.  She was very sweet and wanted to be helpful.  Unfortunately, all I could ask was for more pads and towels.  I was a leaky mess!

I spent the next few hours bouncing on the ball, standing up, swaying back and forth, sitting up in the bed, sitting on the toilet.  Lights out, trying to be relaxed.  I even tried sleeping, that was definitely not happening.

At this point, it had been over 4 hours since my water had been broken.  I had requested not to have any dilation checks because I found it to be painful, and it’s known to not really be an indicator of anything, only of progress or lack of progress.  My hope was to make it all the way to delivery with no checks. 

The time between 12:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. was excruciating.  Contractions were continuing every 2 to 3 minutes.  I have no specific memories from this 3 hour period.  I just remember the contractions were unbearable.  I was desperately searching for the feeling of transition.  It had to be close. 

I was so tired, so exhausted.  I honestly had not slept in weeks.  Every night, I would finally fall asleep around 5:00 a.m.  The itching had been so bad that all I could do was distract myself from it.  It was torture to lay in bed and try to sleep.  So every single night, I would sweep the floor and mop the floor.  I don’t know why, I just craved a clean floor, and it kept my hands busy so that I wouldn’t scratch.  The night before my induction, I did not sleep at all. Not at all. So at this point, I had been awake for almost 48 hours.

Finally, around 3:00 a.m., I asked the nurse to check me.  I thought I had to be close.  I had to be at least an 8, if not further.  I decided that if I was not at least a 7, I would get an epidural.  I needed sleep.  I knew once the baby arrived, it would be around the clock feedings, and I would be recovering.  We also didn’t know what kind of treatments she could be getting, so it could be a long few days or weeks coming up.  I decided I needed sleep.

The nurse seemed ready to see where things were.  She had been watching me labor naturally for the last 7 hours.  I didn’t tell her my plans of the epidural, I didn’t want her to be bias in her estimation of how far along I was.  I knew she was supporting me either way, but she really had been an excellent natural labor nurse.  Very hands off, which is how I like it.

Her face told me what I already feared.
“You’re at 5 centimeters,” she said.

“Five?  I’m only at a 5?” I answered.


“I want an epidural.  I need to sleep.  I’ve been going at this for over 7 hours, and I’m exhausted.  I’ve only gained about 2, maybe 3 centimeters in 7 hours.  I need to sleep.”

The nurse and Adam tried to encourage me, but they could see it in my face, I needed to sleep.  The nurse hooked me up to the bag of IV fluids.  I asked her how many bags I would need before I could get the epidural.  I was ready right then.  She said I would only need one bag, and that she would turn it all the way up so I could get the fluids quickly.

Within 20 minutes or so, the anesthetist came into the room.  I recognized her from Jude’s birth. I didn’t have an epidural or any drugs with him, but this was the same lady that I had seen last time. 

After I signed all of the paperwork, I sat in the bed and slumped all the way over so she could insert the epidural. 

This part was horrible.  I still gag and my back gets sweaty when I think about it.

She gave me a numbing shot, which did hurt but it hurt just about as much as any other shot.

Then she started trying to get the epidural in.  I felt it go in, and then I felt a lot of pressure.  Like a lot.  I felt her hammering (yes, hammering!) it into my spine.

At this point, I was slumped over with sweat literally dripping off my face into the floor.  I was completely soaked in sweat.  I continued to feel her jamming it into my spine.

“Ok,” I heard finally, “Go ahead and sit up.”

I sat up.

Adam was shocked to see how sweaty I was.  He didn’t look so great himself.  I later learned that he was getting light headed and trying not to pass out.

“Ok, I need you to slump back over,” I heard the anesthetist say.  “I’m going to have to redo it.”

Oh. My. Word.  WHAT THE HECK?!! %$#@!@@$%@@

Yes, she pulled that whole big needle out and tried again.  I think I started crying, but I can’t remember.  I didn’t know what were tears and what was sweat.  The pressure was horrible.

“You have a very bony spine,” she explained. I’m having trouble getting it past one of your bones.”

I almost fainted.

After some trial, error, and force, she said it was in.

My gown and the bed were completely soaked in sweat.  She gave me a dial and showed me how I could turn up the epidural if I wanted to.  I had never heard of being able to do that.  It must be new since my epidural with August 3 years ago.

She left the room really quickly when she was finished.  I was just glad it was done.  I looked at the clock, and it was around 3:45 at this point.

After the epidural had some time to take effect, the nurse placed the catheter.  I absolutely detest catheters.  I had one with August but with no epidural!  They had to give me one since I was on magnesium sulfate.  They later gave me an epidural at 8 cm, but for the catheter I had no numbing.  It was awful.  Nightmarish.  I was thankful that this time the epidural at least took the edge off of having the catheter placed.

Adam came over and sat next to my bed as the nurse quietly left the room.  Just as I thought I was about to get some rest, my body started shaking.  Convulsing might actually be a better word.  My upper body was shivering, but I wasn’t cold.  It felt like adrenaline.  My lower body and legs were bouncing and squirming all over the bed.  I had no control over my body whatsoever. 

“What is going on?  What is wrong with me?” I asked Adam, panicked.

“I don’t know honey.  Are you cold?  You’re shaking!” he replied.

“No, I’m not cold.  I can’t stop my legs.  They won’t be still!”

Adam called the nurse in.  I was sure it was the epidural.  Some kind of side effect.

We told the nurse what was going on, and she could see my body violently shaking, out of control.  She told us it was the adrenaline and that I needed to try to relax.
I don’t remember much about the order of events or the comings and goings of the nurse.  I just remember I started praying out loud.  Crying and begging God to stop my body from shaking.  I have suffered from Restless Leg Syndrome for as long as I can remember, so I don’t know if it was just acting up on the extreme or what was going on.  Adam thinks it may have been a botched epidural since the nurse was having so much trouble with it.  I continued to cry and pray out loud.

After what seemed like forever of this, the nurse came in with some essential oils and some lotion.  She said she borrowed it from one of the nurses.  It was Peace from doTERRA. Up until this point, I had never tried essential oils.  I honestly did not believe that they work and thought they were just a scented placebo.  My nurse asked me if I would mind if she tried it for my restless legs.  I agreed, desperate to try anything.  My nurse lifted up the bed sheet and began massaging the oil into my legs with the lotion.  The scent of the oil was wonderful.  I felt my body relax a little bit.  I still felt shaky when she was done putting the oils on my skin, but it definitely took the edge off.  I now was having more spread out leg convulsions, rather than continuous. 

I’m not sure of the exact time at this point, I have a distinct memory at 5:40 a.m.  I felt very calm all of a sudden.  My legs stopped shaking.  I felt totally miserable being hooked up to the catheter.  I hate knowing I have one of those things in.  But I felt well enough to snap a picture of Adam sitting in the chair.  I took a picture of myself because I wanted to remember that moment.  I wanted to remind myself that I would look at that picture later, remembering where I had been, and it would all be over.  I wanted a picture of my face in that moment because it was the most desperate I think I’ve ever felt in my life.  My face looked so sad….so desperate.  I took a picture of my hand, taped up with tubes and ports.  5:41.  I wondered how long this would go on.

All of a sudden, I felt her move down.  I felt everything change.  I felt intense pressure.  It came out of nowhere.  And it was like my body new it was coming.  One moment I was shaking.  The next moment calm.  And then this pressure.  It was crazy.  I told Adam that I was starting to feel pressure.  I could still feel the waves of the contractions, the comings and goings, but not the sharp pain that used to accompany them.  But wow, the pressure, it was so intense until finally, I thought she was about to come bursting out of me!  If this sounds anticlimactic, that’s because it was!  It seriously came out of nowhere.


“What?  Are you sure? How can you tell?”


I started blowing out, trying not to push while Adam frantically searched for the remote that calls the nurse.  The remote is obviously attached to the bed, but we couldn’t find it anywhere in the sheets or pillows.

I could tell he didn’t want to do that and that he still wanted to find the remote.

“ADAM GO NOW.”  I was trying really hard to be patient and not get ugly with my sweet husband.  But he seriously did not get how serious I was. 

Finally he ran out the door and down the hallway.  Of course once he was out of earshot, I found the remote.  It had been on top of my pillow, above my head.  I pressed the button to call the nurse.

“Yes?” someone answered.

“I need my nurse!  I’m ready to push!” I answered back.

At this point, I was still trying really hard not to push.  But I was fully prepared to have that baby on my own, alone in that room.  I tried to think of what I would do if the cord was wrapped around her head.

Moments later, Adam and my nurse came running in the room.  She put quickly put some gloves on and lifted up the sheet, sliding her hand in to check me. 

“Yes, you’re complete, and I can already see the head!”

I knew it! 

She started getting the stirrups ready as other nurses started flooding into the room. 

“Where is my doctor?  Can I push?  I need to push!!!!” I tried not to yell.

I wish I could go back and see Adam’s face during all of this.  He later told me that he thought since I had the epidural that I couldn’t feel anything.  It’s true that the epidural takes the edge off of the contractions, but for me, the uncontrollable urge to push was still there.  I think epidurals work differently depending on the patient, the person giving the epidural, and just how the epidural lands.  My epidural with August was totally different than this one.

I started bearing down when I felt the urge, but I still didn’t give it a really good push.  I wanted my doctor to be there!

Minutes passed.  The warmer for the baby was on, the equipment was set up, my legs were positioned, and nurses filled the room.

“Where is the doctor?” I heard them all whispering. 

“He’s not known for getting into a rush,” I heard another say.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, he came in.

He casually walked over to the nurse as she “suited him up.”  He slowly (insert eye roll here) walked over to the bed, and said, “Alright, are you ready to push?”

“Yes!” I exclaimed. 

“Alright, give me a push, let’s see where we are.”

I gave the best push I had.  I screamed as I put everything into it.  Adam looked at me, puzzled.  He later asked me why I was screaming.  Once again, had to explain the epidural.  It just wasn’t the same as August’s.  Another reason why we think the reaction to the epidural was due to a botched placement.

“Woah, alright here she comes!”

And with that one push, out came her head.

I honestly can’t remember if the cord was around her neck.  I didn’t hear her cry, but I expected that.  They don’t normally cry with just the head out anyway.

“Alright Amanda, another push!”

With one massive push and a loud scream, I pushed her out.  Our beautiful Layla Abney Hare was born after 2 pushes, at 6:11 a.m. on October 14, 2015.  After 10 hours of active labor, weeks of sleepless nights with crazing itching, and a month of contractions it was over.

Layla is a name that I have loved for years.  I first heard it when I taught in a kindergarten classroom.  Abney is the maiden name of Adam’s mother, who tragically passed away 4 years earlier.

The doctor held her up for me.  I couldn’t believe how small she looked, but not small at the same time.  Being 2 weeks early, she was my smallest baby, but not by much.  She weighed 7 pounds 12 ounces.  August was 8 pounds, Jude was 8 pounds 8 ounces.  She definitely would have passed both of them.  The doctor’s estimation of her being over 9 pounds at 40 weeks would have been correct had she made it that far. 

I watched as they carried her over to the warmer.  She was still silent.  Adam left my side to go see her.

Finally, after some suctioning, I heard a cry.

The most beautiful, resounding, reassuring, desperate cry I’ve ever heard.  I wanted to hold her so badly. 

While Layla was being checked out, the doctor helped me deliver the placenta and checked me for tears.  I thankfully only had one or two small tears, and the doctor only had to do 2 stitches.  The tugging was unpleasant, but I was happy to have my epidural at that point.  Getting stitched up without an epidural is awful, as I learned from Jude’s birth. 

By about 6:25 a.m., the doctor was done and the nurses started clearing out.  I finally got to hold my sweet baby girl.  It was amazing.  She actually smiled, and I know you would never believe it, but we actually captured it in a picture.  It was a beautiful moment.  She seemed so happy to be in my arms and out of my belly. 

Above is a short video clip from shortly after her birth.  Hopefully it will play.

I too could not be happier. 

She latched right on and nursed like a champ from that moment on, praise the Lord!  I had never had a newborn nurse so well like she did.  The lactation consultant even came by and watched saying that Layla knew exactly what she was doing.  

We had several friends and family come visit us.  It was such a blessing to introduce her to them.

Proud big brother Jude!  He was sick, hence the flushed cheeks
And proud biggest brother, August!

Hare, Party of 5!

Our growing family with my mom and dad- Nana and Pa

We left the day after I had her, although looking back, I wish we had stayed longer.  I don’t think I was mentally prepared to leave.  I was still having some anxiety about the cholestasis, and postpartum hormones are not my friend.  But that may be for another post.  Postpartum hormones are horrible. 

As I finish writing this story, Layla is now 13 months old.  It took me this long.  Thank you to those who encouraged me to finish it.  I am relieved to have it documented.  Layla is now a feisty, sassy, loving, snuggly, talkative little girl.  We are over the moon in love with this precious girl.  Blessed is an understatement.  God is GOOD.  Thank you everyone for reading!


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Ear Infections and "That Mom"

Well, I promised Layla's birth story "soon" and then went missing.  Four antibiotics, three ear infections between two children, and one major holiday later, here I am.  If I don't make a lot of sense in this post, that's because it's 6:30 a.m., and I went to bed at 1:00 a.m. But if I don't get up before my kids wake me up, I am one angry mama bear.  So with my coffee steaming next to me, here I am.

Life with a three year old, two year old, and 6 week old (7 weeks tomorrow), doesn't allow for much blogging time, especially when they are sick. Jude is on his fourth antibiotic in 6 weeks, trying to kick a terrible double ear infection. The antibiotics have also given him a horrible (yeasty probably?) diaper rash.  Little baby Layla also has an ear infection and is on her first antibiotic.  So sad.  August, so far, has a bad cold, but I think it is turning into a sinus infection.  So life here is rough. If you have any ear infection tips, I'm all ears....haha 6:30 a.m. jokes.  But seriously, let me know what you have done for your kids who have had ear infections.  I've cut out Jude's dairy because a friend told me (and I have since read) that kids who have certain dairy intolerances are more susceptible to getting ear infections.  I also got the kids some probiotic drops since I know antibiotics kill the good and bad bacteria in their bodies, so I'm trying to replace the good bacteria that's been wiped out.

So that's where we are right now.  I've also been trying to take care of myself so that I don't get sick, and so that I can feel like a decent human being.  You moms know what I'm talking about.  Do you remember the days when taking care of yourself meant getting some Starbucks, going shopping, treating yourself, getting your nails done....No, that's not what I'm talking about here.  My "taking care of myself" now looks like brushing my noon. It looks like showering every 3 days or (gasp!) every other day. It looks like taking the time to make a smoothie for myself in the morning even though the boys are fighting and begging for seconds on cereal, the baby is fussing to be held, and I just want to stuff a Pop-Tart in my face and call it good. It looks like letting myself finish my morning coffee...ok that one is rare. I think I drive Adam nuts with all the wasted coffee.  Anyway, my idea of treating myself has come a long way in the last few years.  And that is ok.  I'm not complaining, I just think it's so funny to look back and see how things have changed.  It makes me smile an embarrassed smile when I think of how my life used to be.  All about me. I had no idea.

Speaking of looking I was nursing Layla about 30 minutes ago (thankfully she goes back to sleep if it's still before 7), I was reading a blog post that I found on Pinterest.  I believe the title of the post had something to do with "How to Get Your Baby to Sleep 12 Hours a Night by 8 Weeks Old."

Oh gag.

I clicked on it out of curiosity, just to see what this particular method was.

And then I saw the preface of this girl's blog post.  "This is my first child, and these methods may not work for every child...."

Did you catch that?  It's her first.

Now, I'm not dissing first time moms.  I promise.  I'm cringing because I was just like this girl.  Obsessed with getting 12 hours of sleep with a newborn, giving my newborn activities to do, schedules, uggggh all of it.  Eye roll.

She talked about how after the baby's first morning feed they did "school." Gag. Me. Now.  After Layla's first morning feed, she sits in the Rock N Play so she doesn't puke all over herself while I change the boys' diapers and clothes, make them pick up their room they trashed already, get their breakfast ready, trip over a car, put some clothes on myself, climb Mt. Laundrymonjaro, make my smoothie, take sips of coffee.....we don't have time for my 6 week old to do school.

She talked about all the things she does during the day for her newborn's schedule. This mom talked about how her newborn sleeps 12 hours, so the momma has her evenings free with her husband, and then she gets 7-8 hours of sleep straight because she needs it. Girlfriend, it was a celebration when Layla slept 3 hours straight.  Best sleep I ever had.  I will say that Layla now consistently sleeps 4-5 hours at a time (on the rare occassion 6 hours!), and I will not complain one bit.  It's heavenly.

Anyway, as I was gagging and trying not to let my snickers disturb my little nursling, my heart stopped and my face turned hot.  I remembered....

I've written almost this same exact blog post.

Yep, after I had August.  Oh no.  I'm that girl.  I'm that mom.

I'll go ahead and link to it, since I know you'll want to look it up anyway.  Ugh.

See, this is why I love and hate blogging.

I love having an outlet.  I love writing.  I love documenting our lives.  I enjoy it. growth as a mom and a human being is out there.  All my "I have it all figured out moments and I'm going to tell you how to do everything" moments are documented in this blog.  Moments that aren't me anymore.  Moments that are embarrassing.  That I want to act like I didn't say or do.  They're archived here in this blog.

So it makes it hard to write about things, because I know one day I'll look back and roll my eyes.  I'll be embarrassed that I said or did that.  Like now.

But, I don't think that should stop me...or any other veteran or first time moms...from writing.  So I'll ask 2 things from you.

1.) First, the practical.  Check the date.  Check the date of blog posts.  For me or anyone else.  We change and our thoughts change so much as time changes!

And then

2.) Show some grace.  (Like I'm trying to do with myself.) Remember we are all in different seasons.  Some of us think we have it figured out, some of us are trying to have it all figured out, and some of us are having palm to forehead moments like I did this morning.  Show "2012 Amanda" some grace, show yourself some grace, and show all these "my baby sleeps 12 hours a night" mommas some grace.  Because we all need it!

Anyway, this post may or may not have made a lot of sense.  Let me know your thoughts on any of this- ear infections, "2012 you"....or whatever moms, baby sleep, blogging, any of it.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.  A lot of days your comments are the only adult interaction I have. :)

On that note, I just finished my coffee, and I think I'll make a second cup, just because I can.  (That right there, is taking care of myself!) Oh wait, I just heard the boys. And they're yelling, so the baby will be getting up too. Yep, there she is. Sigh.

Y'all have a great day, enjoy a second cup of coffee for me, and give another momma some grace and  a pat on the back! :)

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Our Miracle Baby: Layla's Pregnancy

Our little Layla is one month old today! I don't know where to begin!  I will be writing her birth story soon, because I can't imagine not documenting it like I did the boys' birth stories, but I feel like I need to start with her pregnancy, because it will help to explain her birth story.  All birth stories are so different.  If you remember, August was induced at 40 weeks and 2 days due to his size and my PUPPPs rash, and at the hospital we found out I had preeclampsia.  Jude was induced at 40 weeks by my midwife breaking my water, and I went all natural from there.  Layla, of course has her own story that has changed the way I look at birth, and I am eager to share that with you soon.  Her birth has been the hardest for me to process.  She is our little miracle, even from her earliest weeks.

My Pregnancy with Layla: Hemorrhage and Cholestasis

Just like with the boys, I knew I was pregnant before the test even told me.  Vivid dreams are always my first sign.  Then the waking to use the bathroom, followed by exhaustion, cramping, back pain, overly emotional, and my skin acting different.  There was no doubt in my mind I was pregnant.  For some reason though, it took me a good 2 weeks to get a positive on a pregnancy test.  I have no idea why.  But as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I prayed for a girl.  It was probably already determined at that point, but God does what He wants, and He already knew I would pray that prayer!  I promised God if He would bless me with a little girl, I would turn around and give her right back to Him.  I would dedicate my time with her to raising a Godly woman. 

I was able to get a doctor's appointment a couple weeks after the positive test.  My first ultrasound did not show a baby in the womb. It showed the yolk sac, but no baby.  That was very strange since I had a positive test 2 weeks prior, and symptoms starting long before that. The ultrasound dated the pregnancy as not even 5 weeks along!   I was shocked.  Of course I went home and googled like crazy. I would have to wait another week before they would give me another ultrasound.

Well, a week later, they found our little baby with a heartbeat!  I was so relieved and excited!  I had thought for sure I was going to miscarry.  My due date would be Sunday, October 25th, 2015.  However, when my midwife came in to discuss my ultrasound results, my smile quickly disappeared from my face when I met her eyes.  She told me that I had a hemorrhage and that it was pretty large.  I cried as she explained to me that I would be on bed rest until further notice.  Bed rest?  At the time, I had an 18 month old and an almost 3 year old.  How could I be on bed rest?

The white dot in the upper black area is the yolk sac.  The black area below that is the hemorrhage.   

Morning sickness set in around 7 weeks.  I ended up throwing up everyday....all day...until I was 24 weeks pregnant. 

The following weeks (weeks 6 through 13), I went in for weekly ultrasounds and stayed on bed rest.  The hemorrhage was not shrinking, but the baby was tolerating it well.  The baby's heartbeat was always good, and the baby was growing.  My mom and my grandmother came over to help me with the boys and with housework.  I hated laying on the couch, but I knew it was what was best for the baby.  Thankfully, I never saw any blood.  The bleed stayed inside my uterus.  Not good either, but it helped me not to panic. 

Finally, after 7 weeks of bed rest, the hemorrhage was gone!  My body had absorbed the bleed, and baby was thriving! I was so thankful and so relieved.

We learned around 14 weeks that we were having a baby girl!  It wouldn't be confirmed until 16 weeks, so we kept it a secret from everyone.  It was of course confirmed 2 weeks later, and we had a gender reveal party.  It was so much fun!  My family and friends were just as thrilled as we were!

The following weeks would be the easiest of my pregnancy, even though I was still throwing up all the time.  I was able to go for walks with the boys, and I was still able to get out and about.  

8 weeks

Not sure...12 weeks?

20 weeks

Not sure....somewhere around 20 weeks

28 weeks

30 weeks

Somewhere around 25 weeks, I developed a painful corn on the bottom of my foot.  That's gross, I know.  I think it had something to do with my weight.  I started this pregnancy the heaviest I've ever started a pregnancy.  The corn stayed with me until I delivered.  It was debilitating.  Most days I couldn't even walk.  If you want to know how I got rid of it, one week of soaking it in a cotton ball dipped in apple cider vinegar.  Cotton ball changed out every few're welcome.   

From about 30 weeks to 35 weeks, my butt was kicked.  The aches and pains were intense.  But I was starting to see the end in sight.  I nested like crazy this pregnancy.  I think knowing we were about to be completely outnumbered made me want to be as prepared as possible.  So I wore myself out every day getting the house ready.  I overhauled and organized all of the closets, finished the boys' room, decluttered our bedroom, cleaned like crazy, and eventually finished the nursery (just in time).  I did all of this while hobbling around on the side of my left foot. 

Around 35 weeks, I noticed I was itching.  OH NO.  Puppps.  It's back.  Do y'all remember that from August's pregnancy?  I started to develop it with Jude's pregnancy, but I used a soap called Grandpa's Pine Tar soap, and the rash cleared up.  I quickly ordered some off of Amazon, but to my dismay, it did not work.  However, I noticed there was actually no rash.  I was just itching.  I laid awake at night, scratching my whole body, specifically my hands and feet, until they bled.  I had just started using a new laundry detergent (Gain).  My husband said I needed to quit using that and that I was probably allergic.  He didn't like the smell of it anyway.  (I LOVE THE SMELL OF GAIN! So clean!)  I usually make my own laundry detergent, but I just love the scent of Gain. So I discontinued the Gain and went back to my homemade stuff.  

But the itching got worse.

I knew something was off.  As I laid awake one night scratching, I googled "pregnancy itching but no rash."  My search gave me some grim answers.  


My symptoms matched perfectly.  

Cholestasis is where the liver quits functioning properly, or doesn't function anymore at all.  It causes bile acids to overflow into the mother's blood stream which causes severe itching.  Since blood crosses the placenta, the bile acids cause the placenta to quit functioning, which causes still birth in babies.  Still birth is very common with cholestasis.  The only cure for cholestasis is for the baby to be born. Most cholestasis babies are delivered between 35 and 37 weeks if not before.  Mothers with cholestasis have a 60-90% chance of developing cholestasis in future pregnancies.  Risks for the mother include hemorrhage because the mother is no longer able to properly absorb vitamin K, which helps with blood clotting.  

(This is a great website if would like to read about Cholestasis:

I called my midwife the very next morning and requested to come in.  They took me in that afternoon.  I saw the OB that was in the office that day.  He said it was probably just PUPPPS, but they would do some bloodwork to make sure.  I doubled checked that he would do the 2 blood tests I had read about, and he said yes.  One of the blood tests would be a 24 hour waiting period for results, and the other would take a week to get results back!  I was not looking forward to the itching and the waiting.

The 24 hour test came back normal.  After a week of itching, crying, and getting very little if any sleep at night, the results for the second test came back.  Sure enough, my levels were elevated.  My midwife called me Friday evening, October 9, to tell me the news.  I was 37 weeks and 5 days.  She told me she consulted with the OB, and the OB consulted with a high risk doctor.  They decided I would be induced in one 39 weeks.  

I asked my midwife why we were waiting so long.  From what I had read online, if just one of the tests came back high, especially the second test, that means I have Cholestasis and we need to get the baby out ASAP.  She said that since only one of my tests was high, they would wait until I was 39 weeks to get the baby out. This was the conclusion the OB and the high risk doctor had come to.  
37 weeks 6 days

When we got off the phone, I did not feel at peace with waiting a week to induce.  Of course under normal circumstances I would choose not to be induced at all, but from my research I realized that every day is a risk leaving the baby in the womb.  I had a doctor's appointment scheduled with my midwife that Monday, and I prepared myself to make my case to be induced earlier.  I brought my instincts and my husband with me!

That Monday, October 12, I cried as I told my midwife that something was wrong, and I felt we needed to get the baby out now.  She completely understood, and she trusted that the Holy Spirit (yes, she said that!!!) was telling me that this baby needed to come out.  However, since I was only 38 weeks 1 day pregnant, she could not induce me.  I would have to discuss this with the OB.  I asked her if we could redo the 24 hour test so I could meet with the OB the next day and discuss the results. She agreed.  I had my blood drawn and headed home, not feeling hopeful for an earlier induction.  

On my way back home, my midwife called me and asked me to come back so they could put me on the monitor.  She told me she couldn't go home and relax until she knew she had checked on the baby.  I wondered what this meant, so I turned around and headed back to the office.  They put hooked the monitors up to my belly and left me to relax.  

I was having contractions, as I had been for about 2 weeks.  In the evening, I was having consistent contractions that were 5 minutes apart.  The monitor was picking up the contractions and confirmed them to be about 5 minutes apart.  I had a little button I pressed every time I felt her move.  I thought things were going well since I could feel her little nudges.

After about 15 minutes, the nurse came in and said they had been watching the monitor from their office.  She said the baby's heart rate and baby's activity were not fluctuating like they wanted.  She brought me a Coke and asked me to drink it to see if we could get baby to be more active.  This same situation had happened 2 weeks prior during an ultrasound.  During the 20 minute ultrasound, the baby had not moved at all.  She was breathing, but no movement whatsoever.  So during that appointment, they had me drink a Coke and eat a muffin.  I wondered why I was having to do this again to get her to be active like she was supposed to be.  

After 45 more minutes of monitoring, the midwife decided the baby was moving as she should after having the Coke and muffin. My midwife was glad I was seeing the OB the next day, and we were all eager to get the results of the repeated 24 hour blood test.  I went home, ate Zaxby's with my family, and stayed awake the rest of the night scratching and worrying. 

The next morning felt like a normal morning.  It was Tuesday, October 13, and I was 38 weeks and 2 days pregnant.  I started a load of laundry and decided to just snuggle in bed with the boys.  I let the boys play some games on the tablet and tried to catch up on a little sleep.  

August pretending to sleep...with his tongue out.  Haha.

My appointment with the OB was at 2:50 that afternoon.  Adam once again came with me, and we were put in a room and anxiously waited for the OB to come in.  Finally there was a knock on the door, and he entered along with his nurse.

He was very friendly, and told the nurse to check the heartbeat.  

He sat down next to Adam and asked Adam what he was doing tonight.  

"What are the results of my blood test?" I asked impatiently.

"Wait just a minute, let me build some suspense here," he replied.

"Umm...I guess I'll do some homework, maybe cut the grass..."Adam answered.

"Well, how would you like to have a baby tonight?" asked the OB.

"Are you serious?!  Really?  Were my numbers high?" I butted in.

"Your numbers have tripled since your last blood draw, and you are within 3 points of the situation being very dangerous.  If we had waited until Saturday, you probably would have had liver failure," he informed me.

"So I do have Cholestasis?" I asked, looking for verification. 

"Yes, it is Cholestasis," he answered. 

I sat there stunned.  I couldn't believe I finally got my diagnosis.  I couldn't believe how serious it was, too.

"When do we go to the hospital?" I asked.

"Well, I'll see you there in about 2 hours.  How's that?" he replied.

"Sounds good!" I answered, relieved but extremely nervous.

To be continued (soon!) in Layla's birth story....

Images by Freepik