Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Spring-time means it is once again time for soccer! And no, I am not coaching this year. Skylar was a little upset when she learned that I wasn't coaching, but I'm pretty certain she was more upset about having to turn the bag of balls with a certain pink soccer ball in to the new coach.

She has done a pretty good job during practices, but other then getting on the field her first game to run hand-in-hand with her soccer BFF, she has yet to participate in any of her games…

Meanwhile, here is what the rest of us do:
Ken and Grey climb trees!

And Baby Wes sleeps.
Skylar frequently runs over to give Baby Wes kisses, hugs and handshakes. She wants to make sure that he is watching her...
I actually love this age in sports. I love how it takes all of the dads to corral the kiddos for practice! Makes you respect those Kindergarten teachers a bit more!
During the last game, Skylar said her ear was hurting (turns out she did have a major ear infection) and refused to play. She was in the game for about 5 minutes as long as I was holding her hand before she wanted to get out.

So instead, Skylar and her BFF chased each other around with the ball the rest of the game. At one point they even ran across the game field with their ball, playing.

If anyone has any ideas on how to get your child to play in the game… I'm all ears!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Wesley Sage: A birth story, part 4

As I kept thinking to myself that I couldn't finish this labor without help, a wonderful thing happened. I got help. Dearly wonderful, fervently needed, help.

Over the course of the next several hours, Amy and Ken took up their position to rub my back and put anti-pressure against all of the back labor I was having. Even my mom and grandmother got in on the action I believe. (I might have lost track of everything that occurred during this time frame forward.) I took turns standing up and sitting down, but eventually just sat on the stool and leaned over the bed.

The Pitocin took its sweet time in amping up my contractions. I could feel the difference in strength almost immediately, but they were still too far apart to really get the job done. When I stood up, I could feel the contractions getting stronger, but the uncontrollable urge to push, knowing that I was too early, scared me so much that I just chose to sit down. I'm sure my labor would have gone faster had I stood, but I was too scared at that point. Again, I wasn't conquering my fear. And I knew it.

I lost track of time at this point… but I will try to relay the rest of the story as accurately as possible!

Around 11:00, I started having multiple urges to push, while seated on the stool, and I looked at Amy, like, "what do I do now?" Do I call for the nurse, so she can check me and tell me I'm still too early? Do I try to stop pushing? After about five straight contractions of having to strain not to push, we decided to call for the nurse and the dreaded dilation, "check". I somehow managed to maneuver myself onto the bed and with equal dread and hope, listened for the news.

"You're a good 7."

Oh, my goodness. I could have died. I cried and looked at Amy and said, for the first time out loud, "I can't do this anymore" even as the next contraction hit and this weird animalistic sound came out of me as I tried not to push.

The nurse, bless her heart, was actually a fan of natural birth and urged me on, trying to tell me that my contractions really just started getting to a good point, this next phase will go fast, and why don't I try laying down on my side to see if the baby will move position a little and come down more and help push the cervix open??

Bless her heart. She gave me great advice that almost killed me. At least, that is how I felt.

So I tried laying down. I laid on my left side for about two minutes before deciding that was a fate worse than death and rolled over to my right. By the way, trying to "roll over" in bed while wearing a hospital gown and being strapped down my IV lines, blood pressure cuff lines, fetal monitor lines, etc. is next to impossible. Add horrendous contractions to that and it is truly the stuff nightmares are made of.

I'm on my right side. It feels better than the left, but not by much and then, all of a sudden, the worst pain imaginable hits me. I have a cramp. In my right butt cheek. That runs down the length of my leg. Every single time I have a contraction. Wow, I did not sign up for that one.

Imagine this: Me. Stoic, calm. Quiet through 99% of my labor. Butt cramp? Butt cramp = me screaming out at the top of my lungs, "rub my butt" before uttering an animalistic snarl as I'm trying with all of my might not to push against the inevitable. By body is pushing of its own accord. My poor body has had enough of me and is taking over.

Poor Amy and my nurse are trying to tell me how to breathe through the pushing to be effective and I'm only half able to hear them. All I can think about is the next contraction, the urge to push, the fight not to, and then the butt cramp that seizes my entire body.

I tell Amy I'm done. For real and she tells me to hold out for 30 more minutes, because we will probably have a baby by then and I relinquish. Okay, 30 more minutes. Although I have no idea how long 30 more minutes is because I can't concentrate enough to look at the clock.

Who knows how much time later, I'm screaming again, "I'm done! I want the epidural!" and Amy calmly says, "ok. Let's call the nurse in." So we do. The nurse comes back in, says to check my cervix one last time and I don't even care anymore.

Somewhere my mind registers as she says, "honey, you are not getting this epidural, you're at a 9, and ready to have this baby!" I'm positive my midwife had a lot to do with that. Bless her heart. Because I really, truly, did not want an epidural. I'm so thankful that I did not have one.

However, at that point, I could not endure anymore laying on my side, awaiting each horrible contraction and consequently, each cramp. So, with a lot of assistance, we raised the foot of my bed and I made it into a kneeling position over the back of the bed. Blessed, merciful relief!

The horrible butt cramp faded to a manageable cramp and I was finally able to push. I was in a strong position for pushing and I could literally feel my baby moving down my body. It was the best feeling I had all day. I was working. My body was working. I was doing this!

At some point, my doctor came in and wanted me to get on my back so that he would have better access to the baby should he/she get stuck. I still wasn't in a position to talk, but I just shook my head. No, I absolutely was not moving from this position. I finally felt like I could do this and birth this baby and I was not about to move.

My advocates negotiated some more time for me, but eventually everyone began telling me that I do have to move onto my back to push this baby out. This baby whose head was already low and that I really felt could crown with next good push. I wanted to stick up for myself and say, "no! I can do this, this way! This is my birth and I want this part to be right at least."

I remember reading all about shoulder dystocia, which is a common occurrence in larger babies, where the shoulders get stuck after the head has emerged. The best position to get your baby out without damaging their shoulders is on your hands and knees. So why would I move?

Because I was not at home. This was my birth… my now hospital birth. And my birth is now being dictated by what is best for the doctor. Not me. Not my baby. Positioning me on my back helped my doctor see better. It is not an effective pushing position and my strength and energy was zapped in about two pushes.

As I lay there, with people pulling my legs back and pushing my head forward to the point where I couldn't breathe, I somehow managed to get the babies head out. And all I wanted to do at that point was rest. I was burning, hurting, aching, and completely out of breath.

And then a team of nurses rushed into the room, I heard an alarm go off somewhere and wondered if that was for me and my baby and was that why there were suddenly so many more people in here?

People began yelling at me to push. Not to stop until they tell me too. Don't yell out, you're wasting your energy, and for goodness sakes, keep pushing! To which I yelled back, "I can't" and they returned with, "you can't say that now. You just have to do it!" I needed to take a breath and couldn't because someone was pushing my head forward to my belly. I needed to wait a moment and get my energy back up so that I could focus enough to push with real strength. But someone else was pushing for me. Hands were all over the place, pushing on my belly, pulling back on my legs, pushing forward on my head. And I was lost in the shuffle, but trying my best to stay with them.

Until, finally, I feel the plop of my baby coming out and immediate relief. I don't get to see him yet, but I know its a boy because Ken is yelling at me, "you did it! We have another son! Can you believe its another boy!"

My boy gets taken away by all the nurses and is cleaned up and inspected for several minutes while I lay there wondering how did it get to this? I am happy that he is here and I can hear him crying. I'm in awe because everyone is talking about how big he is and I still haven't seen him yet. And I'm just drained. Physically, emotionally, mentally. Drained. How did I get here?

Ken brings him over so I can see him, but I don't have the strength to hold him yet. I tell him, I can't take him yet because I know that I will not be able to hold him up. A few more contractions and the placenta is out and twenty minutes later, I'm stitched up and covered in warm blankets because I can't stop shaking. And I finally can hold my baby. My apparently very large boy baby.

And while I'm ecstatic over my son, I'm still trying to process everything that happened. And I don't know how I feel. Cheated? Safe? Did we make the right decision going to the hospital?

I believe that this birth happened exactly as it was supposed to. This was God's plan. But I still wonder why? Why couldn't I have the home birth where the woman is ecstatically happy after birthing her baby. The one where things are calm and soothing. I'll never know. And I need to accept that. I still learning how to accept that. And post-natal hormones don't help!

Don't get me wrong. I'm grateful to everyone in the hospital that helped me birth my big boy. Especially to my doctor and nurses who did what they thought was best for me and babe. We were given excellent care at the hospital and quite honestly, it was nice to be a little more pampered after that birth!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wesley Sage: A birth story, part 3

We arrive at the hospital and are escorted upstairs to labor and delivery. Amy joined us in the lobby and I have rarely been happier to see someone. I really needed the support of her presence in the hospital.

You see, one of the main reasons why I wanted, thought I needed, a home birth was because of fear. Fear of not being able to resist the temptation of "pain relief" that was at hand in the hospital. Fear of not begin able to control what is determined medically necessary by a medical doctor.

I needed the support of someone who understood what I wanted and would help me achieve that, without me having to tell her what to do or say. Amy was that person for me.

Shortly after we got up to the room, the L&D nurse came in and immediately started attaching monitors, telling me to strip down to the hospital gown, pee in a cup, and she'd be right back in with my IV line. No offense to nurses, but it was all very business-like and procedure for them, whereas this was the loss of a dream for me along with the excitement of a new life. When I asked why I needed the IV line, the nurse had no clue other than to say, "we just do it for everyone". Procedure. Medically necessary. That was what I had become.

The IV line went in, along with antibiotics since I had not been tested for GBS+ and we were planning on and had been treating me at home as though I were positive. The monitors went on and I was to be monitored for at least 30 minutes. Luckily, the baby's heartbeat was healthy and strong and until the nurse checked my cervix, there was no concern about a C-section at this point.

My contractions were still going strong, although I had long since abandoned my droid contraction timer app. My water continued to leak in large gushes all over the floor and, I inevitably gave up on wearing my own clothes for this labor as I kept ruining my pants and I only brought two pairs. Wearing my own clothes was my personal way of trying to maintain my labor and my birth. Every time I went to pee, I felt a huge burst of pressure and a small urge to push.

The nurse came back in about 45 minutes later and checked my cervix to find that the baby was indeed head down, and I was dilated to 6-7 and almost fully effaced. The first ray of light in a dreary place! I might have already made it to the transition phase and just need to push through the next few hours until I would have my baby in my arms! I was excited!

Ken's dad took over for my mom with the kids so she could come be at the hospital with me and Ken's mom arrived as well. We walked the halls for awhile until I felt that I couldn't walk anymore and needed to just hold onto something, breathe through each contraction and sway back and forth. For some reason this helped me relax through each contraction. I reached a point where I basically stopped talking all together and just concentrated on what my body was doing.

A little while later, I had a huge urge to push and thought, "this is it! I remember this part with Grey." We called the nurse back in and she checked me again and said the last thing I wanted to hear: "you're still a seven."

For some reason, that really psyched me out to the point where I was scared to stand and walk around because it brought on a huge amount of pressure and then the urge to push, even though I knew that it wasn't time for that yet. So, I opted to sit down on a stool or on the edge of the bed and continued swaying back and forth.

I don't know if it was my sitting down, or an unconscious reaction to my hearing, "you're still a seven" but my contractions really slowed down in intensity and timing. Around one o'clock, I decided to lay down and try to get some rest in between contractions. Ken, my mom and Amy were all taking cat naps and falling asleep while sitting down and with the lights down low, it was a natural reaction to just rest. I told myself I would need the energy when it came time to push.

Really, it just delayed my labor and set back all of the hard work I had done up to that point. When my doctor came in around seven the next morning and checked my cervix, I was down to a 5-6. I was pretty dejected at this point, exhausted and hurting. And of course, then came the words that I dreaded most at that point: "pitocin".

Within 30 minutes, I was hooked up to an internal fetal monitor, two belly monitors that kept falling off all night, an IV line and a constant pit drip. I kept thinking to myself, "I'm not going to be able to do this" as I rolled out of bed and took up my standing laboring position.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Wesley Sage: A birth story, part 2

After we left the midwives, Merchant's called to tell me my car was going to cost several hundred dollars more than expected to fix everything needed for inspection. It was a total rip-off and I was mad enough to tell them to forget it and went to pick up my car. Luckily, my mom knew of a neighbor who was able to do bodywork and was available that day. We drove to my mom's and dropped the car off with the neighbor. At this point, I was having contractions about every 10 minutes, although they were not very strong. I was excited, but nervous that they would stop in false labor.

While my car was getting fixed, I downloaded an app on my droid to start timing my contractions. I was curious to see how long they were with how much time in between. Modern technology can be so fun sometimes!

My contractions were much more consistent than I thought they were. Averaging about 30 seconds to one minute every 4-7 minutes over the next few hours. By the time we left around 5 to go back home, my contractions were starting to get to the point where I had to breathe through them... lasting about 45 seconds to one minute every 4-5 minutes.

My mom packed a bag and drove me home and I called Ken to make sure that he would be at home when we got there. It was a mad rush when we arrived at home trying to feed the kids, bathe them and get them in bed while preparing for a long night of labor. Ken set up the birthing pool in the bedroom, my mom took care of the kids, and I breathed and swayed through my contractions, which were really becoming intense. I called my midwives to let them know what was going on and promised to update them as things increased.

Around 8 o'clock, I decided to take a shower and do a hibicleanse for GBS+. After my shower, I went to use the bathroom and felt a huge burst of pressure as my water broke all over the floor. I looked down and felt a little weak in the knees as I saw what could only have been a lot of meconium on the floor.

My contractions stayed the same throughout all of this, and I immediately called for Ken to come see the meconium as I called my midwife Amy in a mild state of panic. We sent her a picture via email as she called Vicki to see if she was in the area and could get to my house any faster. About 20 minutes later, I started feeling a lot of pressure and an uncontrollable urge to push that I had to fight against. I called Amy back and the consensus was to immediately head to the hospital and she would change directions and meet us there.

The major concern at this point was that the baby had moved to a breech position and was in distress as shown by the meconium. Usually when there is meconium when your water breaks at the beginning of labor, it is a sign of a breech baby. Something we really didn't want with an expected big baby. So, we made the executive decision to go to the hospital, threw a few things in a bag and headed out the door.

Saying goodbye to my ideal home birth in a birthing pool. Not knowing what to expect, and fearing the worst: C-section. Dreading the unknown of what the next few hours would hold, not even knowing the best way to get to the hospital or where to park at that late hour. Simultaneously anxious about what was to become; and grieving over the loss of what was never to be.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Wesley Sage: A birth story, part 1

Thursday, March 8th, 2012, I went to see my midwives for a check-up. I have two wonderful midwives that I have been seeing since early on in my pregnancy. So, we grabbed the kids, dropped my car off at Merchants to get it fixed for inspection, and my mom and I went in for my check-up, prayerfully hoping they would give me a way to have this baby today. I was currently a week and two days "overdue" from the second due date given me; although still two days away from my first due date.

I hurt everywhere. I was huge. Too large to put on my own shoes without a major struggle. Unable to play with my kids like I wanted because I had no energy. I was on maternity leave for the past week and thought of nothing but having this baby. I learned that I am impatient. I'd never been in this position of waiting before, and I did not like it.

I get to my midwives house and go do my business in the cup. Surprisingly, everything is still looking good and it is time to check the baby. My blood pressure is holding steady at slightly high, my legs and ankles are slightly swollen, and my belly has surpassed all understanding and measures over 45 weeks. I was huge. So, we started talking about more options on how to evict precious baby from the womb, and decide to start with checking my cervix for dilation.

I'm dilated to 2, no effacement, and baby is high up in the cervix. My midwife stretches my cervix to a good 3-3.5 easily and we hope that this is enough to begin labor. I have strict instructions on what to do if I start having contractions, and we leave wondering what the day will bring.