Sunday, December 27, 2009

Our Birth Story!

Our Birth Story:

DISCLAIMER: Before reading our birth story, please note that this is a very honest depiction of OUR labor. While we understand that some women may be blessed by the labor gods and be great laborers…this simply was not the case for us. We encountered the following problems:

1. We were induced

2. We stalled at 4cm and at 6cm

3. We had an occiput posterior position facing baby… which means we had horrible back labor

At 3:15pm on Wednesday, December 2nd we went to our normal weekly checkup at the birthing center – we were 38 weeks. We were a little concerned because I had been having problems with my blood pressure and I had been having a super-rapid heart rate and my face would blush during Braxton-Hicks contractions. My blood pressure turned out to be high – 120/90 in one arm after taking it several different times. Our midwife, Carol, had said that we need to start talking about an induction because for a few weeks my blood pressure hadn’t been getting any better and we were over the full-term mark.

We discussed our options and decided to start the induction by being given 1/4 of a pill called Cytotek vaginally at the office that day. After the insertion we were hooked up to a monitor for an hour to track our heart rates/contractions. The Cytotek worked very quickly and increased my contractions but they were still very mild. We were sent home that evening and were told to call the birthing center at 6am to make sure that no one else was in labor and then to take a half of Cytotek orally to increase contractions again. On the way home we filled up our car and called in a to-go order to Zio’s to pick up some Strawberry Chicken Field Salad and Chicken Alfredo. We also stopped by Braum’s for some pumpkin ice cream… but they were out so we settled for egg nog and peanut butter cup. Graham was so funny… as I waited in the car he ran in and told everyone he could that we were starting our labor. We got some great service.

I was so excited that our son’s birthday would most likely be the next day. My heart was a little broken that he couldn’t choose his own birthday but I fully understood and trusted my care providers advice and judgment. Graham and I decided early on, and took many people’s great advice, to fully put our birth in to our midwives hands… that they are fully prepared and knowledgeable about what we needed to progress our labor and to bring our son in to this world healthy and happy.

The next morning came without more than one hours rest for me but Graham seemed to sleep at full eight hours. I knew that he would need it for our big day! At 6am my contractions were only lasting about 45 seconds and were 4 minutes apart. We were so excited and thought that this meant that our labor was moving along quite quickly. We called the birthing center… no answer… good sign that no one else was in labor and we would be the main focus! We called Carol and told her of our progress and she said that we could head to the birthing center to be there by 9am and not to take the half of Cytotek they sent us home with because we were already progressing so well, or so we thought.

I took a shower and we loaded up the car. It was amazing to look at the car seat in the back and knowing that it would soon be filled with the most important thing in the entire world! We stopped at Starbucks to get a Hot Chocolate and some coffee for Graham (not that he needed it).

We arrived at the birthing center on Thursday, December 3rd and were greeted by our other midwife, Cherie. She checked us and said that we weren’t dilated and our cervix was still hard and not ripened.She suggested inserting a Foley catheter (not in my bladder) and to fill up a balloon that would be attached to a weigh. She said that this is a way that would tell my body to relax and release and could send messages to my brain to release and dilate to 3cm. We decided to move ahead with this measure. Side note; I think throughout the birth the vaginal exams were one of the most painful parts… I did not like them at all… this procedure was the start of many, many horrible exams.

After being fixed up with the balloon we rested in a side room for one hour. It wasn’t painful at all just uncomfortable. After one hour with the weight on Cherie removed the weight and instructed us to walk for one hour with the full balloon still intact. We started walking in the 40 degree weather and my contractions picked up. We were once again excited that this meant that labor was progressing. On our walk once a contraction hit we would stop and sway together… this helped because I couldn’t walk though them! Side note again; my contractions felt like low menstrual cramps that wrapped around to my back and were about 1000x stronger than what I normally feel when that time of the month rolls around – I couldn’t breathe, move or talk when I got a contraction – they also felt like diarrhea cramps.

After an hour we went back in to the birthing center and were rechecked by Cherie. We were about 2 cm and our contractions were still random; at this time Cherie suggested breaking our water. We discussed this and decided to trust her and went ahead. It is AMAZING how much water was around our son… I think she said it’s about 1 full gallon. The breaking of my water didn’t hurt and it wasn’t painful but we knew this would put us on a time restraint. Upon breaking my water we progressed to 4cm.

We ate a little lunch of soup and crackers and continued walking. Cherie said “keep walking through those contractions” and Graham and I realized that we weren’t supposed to stop and rock when I got a contraction… oops.

After we returned from walking we were able to bring in our bags from home and were officially ‘checked-in’ to the beautiful birthing room downstairs.Cherie checked me again and said that I was still at 4cm; this was about 4:00pm.

I don’t remember much after this point. I know that we were instructed to walk many, many more times and I tried various things such as a shower (loved it), bath (hated it), squatting (hated it) and using the birthing ball (eh). At around 6pm we were 6cm and stayed there until 10pm.

At 10pm Cherie walked in and told us that she was starting to be concerned about my progress, or lack thereof, and said that if we hadn’t made any progress by midnight we would need to discuss the possibility of being transferred to Baylor Hospital. By this point I was so exhausted and frustrated, I wanted to just give up and go to Baylor. Cherie was very patient with me and said that we could try a few more things before being transferred. She instructed me to lie down on my left side and wouldn’t let me get up. She said this could help me relax and help him engage in to my pelvis and turn so I wouldn’t experience so much back pain.

We tried this and during a contraction I was in so much more pain that I ever imagined. I was frustrated because at each pause in our progress our birth assistant would tell us that the pain we were feeling during contractions was as bad as it was going to get… which was incorrect. I just kept feeling more pain and more pain.

I started watching the clock and my contractions were every 3 minutes, lasting for 1 minute. I remember crying during each contraction and telling Graham “I’m SO serious!” That’s all I could get out… but I was so seriously over this labor… I just wanted the pain to go away and I just wanted to give up. (We knew from our labor classes that this meant that I was in transition.)

Midnight rolled around and Graham leaned over and whispered “our son has a new birthday”… I just wanted to SCREAM at him… “I DON’T CARE!” … I didn’t though.Not a few minutes later I had this horrible pain that felt like I needed to pass a huge bone… I decided to get up to use the restroom. This was a bad idea because of course I had a contraction while urinating and I couldn’t get up and off the toilet. After about 10 minutes I knew that I was getting close to pushing and I didn’t want to be one of those people that had their baby on the toilet. I got up and our birth assistant instructed me to squat using the four-poster bed… I told her I hated this and she said, “Well this is the way we’re going to get your baby out.” She checked me while I was squatting and his head was visible!

Graham and I were originally the type of people that didn’t want to see his head crowing… but after all we had been through we were so excited that it was finally time to start pushing and our birthing assistant put a mirror under me so we could see.

At this point I could finally muster out the entire sentence I had been working on and I said… “I’m SO serious… I want to go to the hospital… I can’t do this anymore.” Our birth assistant said, “we won’t make it… it’s time to push”. I pushed while squatting and they quickly instructed me to get in the bed. Our birth assistant ran upstairs to get Cherie and it felt like she was gone forever… while I had this horrible urge to push that I couldn’t control.

The pain truly felt like a bone had dislodged in my body and people were telling me to push it out… there was also the “ring of fire” pain that I had heard so much about but it lasted a lot longer than 45-60 seconds like we’re told.

Graham says at this point I was in a trance-like stage where I just did was I was told but I wasn’t all there. After I climbed up on to the bed I tried to push again but his head moved back up my birthing canal. They instructed me to squat on the bed and they checked his heart rate. It was seriously low and Graham says this was the first time he wished we were in the hospital. I don’t remember this part but I expected our son to have the cord wrapped around his neck, I forgot to prepare Graham for this fact so he freaked out. They were preparing to do an episiotomy to get him out but Cherie told me to push harder than ever and so I did… after the first push his head came out and Cherie unwrapped the cord from around his neck then Graham grabbed our son and I pushed him the rest of the way out. I thought that I would feel the distinction of head, shoulders, rest of body… but I didn’t… it just all HURT. After catching our son Graham put him in my arms and I think I just said… “wow”. I was amazed that we were parents and there was actually a human being inside of me, that was our son, and that I did it! Once he was born I delivered the placenta and we learned the reason he was able to move around so much… my placenta was heart-shaped, not oval shaped like normal.

Unfortunately, I feel that because I was so exhausted from the natural labor, I didn’t appreciate my newborn son immediately, like everyone said I would.Our birth assistant and midwife eventually took our son from us to check him out. They were initially concerned about a few things but after checking with a few pediatricians, we found out everything was fine. He weighed in at 7lbs. 2oz. and was 21 inches.

Our handsome, wonderful son was born at 1:00am on Friday, December 4th. We were allowed to stay at the birthing center longer than normal because he came so early in the morning.

After labor and trying to breast feed him, I got up to take a shower and it was amazing how light I felt. After the shower and trying to nurse him again we fell asleep, together for the first time as a family, about 6:00am. We woke back up about 8:00am and I finally felt the amazement I expected to feel when our son was first born… he was here and I was so proud to be his mother… he was amazing to look and coo at!! I thought he really looked like his daddy but has my body-type and my long neck. We then discussed postpartum instructions with our birth assistant and then Graham gave him his first bath... just them two together... so sweet! After the bath we ordered breakfast and Graham left to pick it up. We finished breakfast and headed home about 11am.

Our labor was very difficult and much more painful than anticipated. We knew that there would be pain and we were told to expect this and we did… but you can’t prepare yourself for the pain that you will encounter… it’s unlike anything you’ve ever felt. I was actually quite surprised when our birth assistant visited us the next day at our house and made the comment “if everyone knew how painful it would actually be, no one would do it!” This made me feel like I’ve been lied to by everything we’ve read, watched and by what all of our educators and friends have told us; they weren’t honest about HOW painful it actual is. So, this is our honest birth story… I know each labor is unique and different… but this is my opinion on my labor. For our next labor we will enjoy the comfort of a hospital with all of the perks and relaxation techniques that a hospital can offer.

On a more positive note, our son is awesome and we are very blessed to have a great, easy-going baby. We are enjoying every second of parenthood and he’s already changed so much.

From now on we will update the blog about family progresses and milestones. Thank you for joining us on our journey and for all of the support and love we’ve received. We are blessed to have so many great friends and family following us on our expedition.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

HE'S HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our son, Graham Alden Quattlebaum, arrived Friday, 12.4.09, at 1:00am exactly! We had a very long and difficult natural birth but are enjoying every second of parenthood. He was born at 38 weeks, weighing 7lbs 2oz, 21 inches. He has a head full of red hair.
We will post the birth story soon!
Love you all and thank you for supporting us

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Today at 3:15pm we had an appointment with our midwife, Carol. I had a few concerns going in to this appointment because lately I've been having some problems like blushing when I have a Braxton-Hicks contraction, trouble breathing (more than normal) and a racing heart. So, I notified Carol of this upon starting our appointment and she checked my blood pressure.... it is really high. She took it about 10 different times in both arms and in one arm she got a reading of 130/80 and in the other arm she got 120/90 (120/80 is normal for a healthy MAN... they like pregnant women to be in the 70's). She then said, 'we need to start discussing an induction'.

So, the converstation consisted us of asking tons of questions. She said that they start off the induction with giving me a medicine, inserted, that will ripen my cervix. They sent us home, to get some rest and at 6am tomorrow we are to call the birthing center to make sure that there aren't any other people in labor and then we can take another dose of this medicine, orally this time. Then we get to head up to the birthing center at 10am! Once there they will check me again for dialation/riping/etc and we'll go from there.

Right now I am feeling a LOT of contractions. It's so different than I imagined. It actually feels like a Braxton-Hicks combined with low menstrual cramping/diarrhea cramping (sorry TMI... just FYI) . I would say they are about 20 minutes apart for about 30 seconds. If our contractions get to 6 minutes apart (from the start to the start of another) lasting for one minute each for one hour then we get to head up to the birthing center tonight and we are in full-swing of labor (this is called the 6-1-1 rule because we live far away from the birthing center... normally it's 5-1-1). 

We are SO excited right now but we're also nervous. I'm a little upset that Little Graham doesn't get to pick his own birthday and I feel like we're pressuring him... but Carol explained to me how hard it is for him to stay inside of me with high blood pressure. She said he is ready... so we fully trust their opinion.

We plan on updating facebook every hour tomorrow. Please don't call us as we will need to keep communications open with our families. We will post something (hopefully a picture), even if its small, as soon as he joins us!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Made-Ahead Dinners

As the previous post suggests, I have been a crazy-soup-making lady lately! Here are the soups I've been making. I've also been given a great tip to make these soups and freeze them in ice cube trays. Then pop them out in to a zip lock bag and freeze for up to three months. Three or four ice cubes are a serving size. I made one soup and froze it in ice cube trays, which worked well, but it was a bit messy. The other three soups I put in individual ziplock bags with about one cup for single serving sizes.

NOTE: I increased the two cups of water to four cups and added a little extra pasta.


Super Soups

Super Soups
Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 30 min
Makes: 8 servings

What You Need

Take 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil,
1/2 lb. (8 oz.) Velveeta Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product,
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) chicken broth,
1 envelope Good Seasons Italian Salad Dressing Mix and
1 cup uncooked bite-sized pasta and
Mix & match your recipes from these options...

meat options vegetable choices soup base possibilities

1 lb. boneless chicken pieces (1 in.) 3 sliced carrots, 1/2 cup sliced celery, 1 small chopped onion 1 additional can (14-1/2 oz.) chicken broth

1 lb. ground beef 1 cup corn, 1 chopped bell pepper 1 jar (16 oz.) TACO BELL® HOME ORIGINALS® Thick 'N Chunky Salsa

1/4 lb. Oscar Mayer Pepperoni, coarsely chopped (add with the chicken broth) 1 cup sliced mushrooms, 1 small chopped onion, 1 chopped bell pepper 1 can (15 oz.) pizza sauce

meatless 3 sliced carrots, 1 chopped bell pepper, 1 chopped zucchini 1 can (14-1/2 oz.) undrained diced tomatoes, 1 can (15-1/2 oz.) drained and rinsed kidney beans

Then follow our 3 simple steps...

COOK and stir meat in hot oil in large saucepan until cooked through; drain. Add vegetables; cook 3 to 5 min. or until crisp-tender, stirring occasionally.
ADD chicken broth, soup base, 2 cups water and dressing mix. Bring to a boil.
ADD pasta; cover. Simmer 10 to 12 min. or until pasta is tender. Add Velveeta; cook until melted, stirring occasionally.
TACO BELL® and HOME ORIGINALS® are trademarks owned and licensed by Taco Bell Corp.

Kraft Kitchens Tips

Freeze It
Allow soup to cool, then portion into smaller containers. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or in the freezer for 2 to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator as needed. Reheat small portions (about 2 servings of frozen soup) in the microwave on HIGH for about 5 min. or until heated through, stirring after 3 min.
Family Fun
For a change of pace, cut vegetables into interesting shapes and use fun shapes of pasta, such as stars or alphabets. Because smaller pastas may cook in a shorter time, follow package directions for suggested cook times.
Prepare as directed, substituting 1 cup uncooked Minute Brown or White Rice for the uncooked pasta.