Five Times and Back Again: A Journal of a Sixth Pregnancy (Vol. 4)

Last week I promised I’d write something about nursing while pregnant… I’m in this moment really floundering at coming up with anything positive about it!! It’s been one of those days where I’m tapped out, touched out, and done.. Logically I know there are MANY benefits to nursing while pregnant. It keeps your little one connected and tandem nursing is an AMAZING bonding experience. With as young as my Marah is still she really needs that and so do I as a parenting tool. What starts to happen, though, is your milk dries up inevitably (though not for every woman) and you go through a spurt of dry nursing. That’s the uncomfortable part. It doesn’t hurt necessarily (at least for me) but it sure makes my skin crawl at times. I’m sure that’s a biological thing as your body and brain make way for the new baby/life you will be sustaining.

Sage tuckered out from her 3rd birthday festivities.

When I nursed Sage through Marah’s pregnancy it was a pretty rough ride, her latch was ALWAYS horrid and while it normally didn’t bother me much at all while pregnant I had to set limits. She was old enough (just over 2) to understand that Mama needed some boundaries. She’s the only baby that I nightweaned, she’s the only one that I told that Mama’s boobies were tired like the sun and could only give her milkies when the sun was up (which actually led to waking at the crack of dawn for a few weeks), she’s also the only one (thus far) that nursed right up to her 4th birthday! (that’s when I gently said… okay, I think we’re done..)

Tandem nursing 3 year old Sage and newborn Marah

This time around I was really quite worried about going through the same hell I went through last time but was pleasantly surprised when I made it through the first trimester and I still had abundant milk. If Marah had anything going for her it was her MOST beautiful latch, it really kept things flowing… sadly though eventually hormones take over and there’s not much you can do about it. There’s no herb, supplement, food in the world that will keep an abundant supply while pregnant. Eventually it will dry up and then comes the dry nursing. EEK!

Sleepy baby

I’ve been trying to capture more pictures of nursing Marah because when I look at them, it makes me feel/see the good parts and removes the negative emotions I have associated with the dry nursing. She looks like a beautifully contented, sweet baby girl and I truly can’t wait to nurse her and another sweet little one.  I’ve been so grateful that I’ve had other women in my life to share my experiences with who have shared the good and not so good of nursing while pregnant and tandem nursing. It’s not an easy ride but it is TOTALLY worth it in the end… I remind myself to take it one day at a time and try not to think too far ahead with it. It’s easier mentally that way.

Sweet little nursling, 24 weeks pregnant nursing 17 mos old

Five Times and Back Again: A Journal of a Sixth Pregnancy (Vol 3)

I was so excited when I signed on with the midwife that she was ordering an ultrasound for me. I came home and scheduled it right away, the soonest they could get me in was the following Friday. Fridays work for us as my hubby is off work that day so he could take me and enjoy it as well.

All week long I was so excited about having this ultrasound. Oh, I thought, I’ll get to see her wee little face again… and we’ll get to confirm/make sure it’s a girl. All trivial in the grand scheme of things but with the circumstances surrounding this pregnancy I just really have been relying on the little things like that to remain connected.

So I get to the ultrasound place and fill out all their paper work, all the while feeling like I needed to pee so badly because they make you drink a LITER of water before you go in. I’m experienced enough to know that the requirements are RIDICULOUS and some techs are not so kind and will make you sit with a practically BURSTING bladder so they can finish the scan up quickly and move on to the next person in line. I think I drank about a half liter throughout the morning and was definitely feeling my bladder.

I’m finally called in by the tech and feel my excitement swell and then fall… the room is TINY. The bed is flat. The machine and screen are right next to my head making it virutally impossible for me to see anything and with where the tech is sitting hubby and the girls can’t see a darn thing, either. Seriously?? I didn’t know what to say but was hoping that somewhere along the line things would magically change somehow, lol.

She squirts the jelly onto the wand and places it on my belly… immediately notices how fully my bladder is and clucks sympathetically while telling me she’ll let me go in just a minute. She checks my cervix for length and placental positioning and cleans me up. I’m practically crossing my legs at this point, grateful to be able to relieve myself before continuing I run to the bathroom.

I figure after I pee is when the fun part of the u/s will happen… you know where they find baby’s face, get a still and then move onto the gender all while taking care of the important stuff… nope. My tech was all business. She never once offered to move the screen so I could see, didn’t explain much of anything unless I first asked her questions about what little I could contort my body to see (Hey… this baby has a beautiful spine!) and recognize. Finally I asked her if it was really a girl and she replied that she saw nothing between the legs so she thought it was… but maybe I would be surprised when baby came. When I asked to please see her face she told me that baby was quite wiggly and shy. I was almost heartbroken.

I know it was anatomy scan and it’s not about the fun of it but having had so many babies I’ve never had an experience like this before. I was so sad and let down when I left… on the plus side, I know my cervix is the proper length (I had a few concerns after Marah’s delivery) and my placenta is posterior just like I felt it was, she has a 4 chamber heart, 3 vessel cord and all of her vital organs appear to be in the proper places. The midwife called me this afternoon to let me know that baby looks great and everything is measuring on target. I suppose in the grand scheme that’s all that really matters!

I do apologize this week as I have no belly pics to share… apparently I was sidetracked with life 🙂 But I did take this awesome picture of my sweet nursling and will end with it as a bit of a teaser for a future.  Nursing while pregnant.

Sweet Nursling Smiles

Five Times and Back Again: A Journal of a Sixth Pregnancy (Vol. 2)

I feel like I should preface this post with a bit of past history. I’ve always been a big proponent of natural birth because it’s what feels right to me. I had my first son when I was 15 years old and had a rather cold and insensitive doctor who placed all sorts of judgments on my situation without fully knowing. He decided to induce 8 other women the day he induced me and we all crowned within minutes of each other… so started my traumatic birthing experiences. My next 3 babies were also induced though their deliveries were slightly less traumatic. I truly feel that my first birth set the stage psychologically speaking for the rest of my births. By the time I made it to my 4th I was determined to stay pregnant as long as possible to go into labor on my own. I did not expect that her pregnancy would be so uncomfortable from the get go and that by the time I hit 42 weeks by my figuring I would be miserably crazy, mainly I just wanted her OUT.

40wk2d with #4

I decided to do things differently with my 5th. I made the decision to have what’s called in online circles as a UP or unassisted pregnancy, meaning I didn’t see a traditional care provider for prenatal care. I did my own. I took my blood pressure, measured my fundal height, bought a doppler to listen to fetal heart tones, amongst some other stuff. I have to say it was a very peaceful pregnancy all around. I was healthy and felt great. At 40weeks 6days I went into labor on my own. I had broken the cycle and I was GOING to do this on my own. I labored for 24 hours naturally, without pain meds only the love and support of my amazing husband. He massaged me for a good portion of my labor, his hands instinctively going to the places on my body that were the most helpful. I felt so connected and empowered. There were times when I said to him I can’t, I’m tired and he would calmly hold me and told me I could and that THIS was what I wanted and I was doing it. Around the 23 hour mark I started to feel more pressure and pushy, I was standing up rocking through a contraction when I had some blood squirt down my legs. It was a little alarming and it was also on my ‘list’ of things to seek assistance for… so we got in the car and drove to the closest hospital.

We get there and there’s a flurry of activity, a lot of disapproving comments about my lack of prenatal care and another insensitive OB. I was made to get onto my back and had a myriad of things done to my body that I didn’t consent to. I wasn’t able to consent because I presented under emergency circumstances, essentially the OB on call was able to do whatever he wanted to my body and I had no say. I really despise the term birth rape. I do. I think it’s overused and abused in some of the circles I travel in. I don’t say that to invalidate a woman’s birth experience, I just really feel it’s an overused term in the natural childbirth community as a whole… That said, I have definitely equated my last birth to birth rape. I felt violated and damaged. I have never regretted the decision to seek medical care at that time, though, it was the right decision. I was never told the cause of the bleeding and it stopped, I didn’t hemorrhage or having any other bleeding issues afterward.

When I found myself unexpectedly pregnant so soon after that birth I’m sure many of you can imagine how difficult it was for me to decide how exactly I wanted to deliver. I really felt I could not trust an OB and the very idea of finding a new provider (my doctor stopped delivering babies after my 4th) made me feel ill. I really didn’t want anybody touching me or doing anything to my body without my EXPRESS permission. It took 20 weeks to come to the conclusion that I wanted to seek a midwife’s care. I knew it would cost us out of pocket and that kind of held me back at first but ultimately I knew I needed to find a legal provider, to establish myself as a patient so that on the off chance that a homebirth didn’t work out I wasn’t going to be left in the same position I was last time.

Last Tuesday I went in for a group consultation with a midwife in my area. I immediately liked her and loved the way she handled herself with some of the questions being thrown at her. She was compassionate and understanding while being informative and educated. This past Thursday I had my very first appointment and she didn’t disappoint me. She conducted herself with the same demeanor while also being friendly and warm. She agreed with me on several key points to my care and was very thorough. I thought she was more thorough in some ways than an OB. I’ve never seen a midwife before but this feels right. I’m glad I moved past my fear to reach out to her and I really look forward to continuing my care and our relationship. This coming Friday I have another ultrasound, this one an anatomy scan and I honestly can’t wait to catch another peek at this little one!

22 weeks with #6, #5 16.5 mos