Sunday, November 19, 2017

Baby C's Homebirth Story

Our third baby was born on Wednesday, November 8th — his due date — and, yes, we had our third BOY! We named him Curtis, or "C" as I will call him on the blog.

The week started off like this. Very much still pregnant, and besides a week+ of on and off pre-labor contractions, there really wasn't much action. With our older children being born early (E at 35w, W at 38w), it was a huge blessing to make it to the full 40 with our third.


The bouts of pre-labor contractions had been happening daily since 38 weeks, so I'm really not sure where to start this birth story! Strong Braxton Hicks contractions (but not painful) would pick up in the afternoon/evening, only to fizzle out overnight.

The on and off contractions were a bit discouraging but in hindsight I'm convinced they were making progress of some sort. In the couple days prior to baby's birth, the pre-labor contractions  stopped and it seemed like any signs of baby's arrival had stalled out (hence my concern that I would be eternally pregnant).

Turns out my body may have been giving me a slight break before the real show began.

Wednesday, November 8 - DUE DATE

We made it! Baby's official due date had come, which was exciting, yet it was also officially just another day with zero signs of labor, besides a sore pelvis.

Pretty normal pregnant stuff going on.

Last picture as just the three of us!

The day started at 5:30 am with W coming upstairs with his pillows. Daylight savings time means very little to him at 2 years old. I wasn't ready to be up yet so I escorted him back down to bed and we cuddled until 7:00.

PB oatmeal was on the breakfast menu and soon after the boys were off to play Legos. I took advantage of the "quiet" time to write down a few key Bible verses for the upcoming birth (Psalm 28:7, 27:14, 29:11) and read my Bible. Then it was laundry putting away time and more indoor play with the kids. It's been chilly lately and I wasn't quite ready to head outside yet!

Around 9:00 am, I prepped a slow cooker supper while E painted with watercolors and W played in the sink (his all-time favorite indoor activity). I was feeling nauseous, slightly light-headed and ended up with a nosebleed but didn't think much of it as they are all possible normal symptoms of late pregnancy (...and an early onset winter like ours for the nosebleed).

By 11:00 am, pizzas went in the oven for lunch and outside we went. E started shoveling and had a great time. W had a major meltdown, I had to carry him outside where he then laid on the front steps for the rest of our outdoor time.

Being two isn't easy...


Contractions started around 11:30 am but I was skeptical that this was a return of pre-labor. They were more uncomfortable than the earlier pre-labor and started to form a consistent pattern of 20-30 seconds long every 6-8 minutes. That was my hint that this may be more than another practice drill!

The noon alarm went off and we headed inside (in W's case, he was carried inside :s). Pizzas were ready, my husband and my bro-in-law came home for lunch and by that time I just sat in the chair timing contractions while everyone ate. I had some pizza later but my appetite just wasn't great.

The contraction pattern continued and I warned Leo that he may be needing to get off work early today if these keep up!

The kids headed downstairs for a nap at 1:30 pm. We read books, they cuddled up and W needed to be returned to his bed once. I told the boys mom really needs to rest right now. Baby might be coming! E seemed concerned and W had no idea what was going on.

I texted our midwife with an update and asked her to be here around 5 pm, as she was out of town that day. These contractions could last all day, for all I knew! (or a baby could be born before supper)

After heading upstairs, I touched base with a friend who had her third homebirth (same midwife) in August and she explained a method to see how far dilation has progressed — laying back on the bed and measuring from sternum to the top of the uterus mid-contraction. I tried but the contractions were so strong by that point, there was no way I was going to lay down on my back!

Labor was progressing very quickly and of course the snow was flying by now in our winter wonderland winter weather advisory. I asked Leo to come home by 4... which soon changed to 3... and then PLEASE COME HOME NOW!

Our midwife was on her way but had a snowy, long drive ahead of her.

Leo got home, rather quickly, and he rubbed my back during contractions. The kids' nap was brief and they both came upstairs. Leo turned on a movie for them and gave them snacks until they could go to the neighbors' house.

I asked him to set up the pool and he tried to do that while still rubbing my back through contractions (what a champ!). Thankfully, we had another neighbor stop over and she was able to take over the back rubbing job. I was so thankful for the impromptu doula - we certainly hadn't planned that!

As the pool was being filled, we ran out of hot water because someone (... me) had just taken a long, hot shower. I wasn't thinking on that one and certainly didn't expect things to progress so quickly. The key to a water birth is that the water needs to be in a very exact temperature range to make sure baby doesn't take his/her first breath until they are out of the water. It had to be 98-101°F on the dot.

And so he boiled water. And boiled water. And boiled more water to raise the temp as our hot water-heater recovered. And I asked him to even try microwaving water repeatedly, which in hindsight was ridiculous, but I could tell that pushing time was near. I was a little desperate, you could say.

So by this point, I officially nominated Leo for the "Husband of the Year" award.

The battle to hit the correct water temperature continued and I did my best to breathe through contractions to keep this baby in a little while longer. Birthing out of the water would have been fine but apparently I was very set on waiting to have a water birth. I didn't even consider setting things up for birthing elsewhere! Call that #laborbrain.

Throughout that waiting time in active labor or transition or whatever you call it, Psalm 29:11 came to mind: The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. Even in those trying moments, I could lean on the Lord for strength and peace.

He wouldn't take away the pain necessarily, as that's just part of labor, but He would give me the strength to get through it. Knowing that helped me to remain calm throughout the labor process (therefore helping labor to progress faster!).

Our midwife was still on the icy roads and was counseling Leo over the phone on the next steps. When she was 20 minutes away, the birthing pool was ready to go.

At this point, I knew it wouldn't be much longer! She gave us the green light to move into the birthing pool and, immediately after getting into the water, everything slooooowed down.

Praise. the. Lord.

Just like with W's water birth, everything slowed down the second I got in the water. I was able to get extra rest between contractions and the pressure was much more bearable.  I actually felt like I wasn't in labor anymore! Leo and I were able to laugh and talk a little before we were officially to meet our third child.

It was time to push and I knew I needed to do this patiently to prevent tearing. Natural childbirth is absolutely amazing to me because a woman's body knows when to push and what intervals to push in. It is something that doesn't need to be taught and that is an absolute miracle.

Time to get this baby out!

After three pushes, resting for maybe 1 or 2 minutes between, baby's head was out. The amniotic sac was still on baby's head and our midwife advised Leo on how to handle that over the phone. No need to worry, we were about to meet our baby! Two more and there came the shoulders.

At 4:47 pm, Leo caught our baby, removed the remaining amniotic sac from baby's head and laid him/her on my chest. Our little one started crying right away and we were so filled with joy and relief! Leo grabbed a towel and covered baby as I held him/her.

We allowed time for the cord to pulse and took a peek to see what we had... it's a BOY! Both of us laughed and I was blown away. Once again I was so sure we were having a girl (I've been wrong every time!).

Three boys. Life is about to get crazier.


Five minutes after baby came out, our midwife burst through the door and, boy, were we glad to see her! As well as C's birth went, an unassisted homebirth was not our goal but we couldn't have asked for things to go any better than they did.

Thankfully, God answered our prayers for a safe birth and healthy baby, my husband is a rock star and our midwife had coached us well at prior appointments and over the phone.


While I went to shower, Leo cut baby's cord and had some father/son time with little Curtis. We had some quiet bonding time, just the three of us, and then our neighbors came over with the two big brothers. They were both excited to learn they had a brand new baby brother. That was a relief because E was set on having a girl this time!

Our midwife did her usual newborn check and the big brothers watched intently. They have really enjoyed being a part of baby's prenatal appointments throughout the pregnancy. I love that she involves the entire family in the prenatal and postnatal process!


Baby C weighed in at 7 lbs 7 oz and measured 21 inches. He was also our midwife's 700th baby!

Three Days Old

C is now 11 days old and we love him so much! He is an absolutely cuddly, sweet bundle of joy. C has been our easiest nurser so far and his laid back personality has made the transition from 2 to 3 kiddos go smoother than the transition from 1 to 2. In my opinion at least.

As we learned with our first home birth, the concept of birthing at home is not very common and therefore seems scary to many... and draws many negative opinions. After doing our research and working with our midwife through the past two pregnancies, I wouldn't want to give birth in a hospital again with a low-risk, uncomplicated pregnancy. It's a personal preference and, thankfully, being adults we can have differing ones and still get along.

Through all this, it's been a joy to welcome our little one into the family and I am totally blown away by my husband's ability to work through pressure like that. I knew he was awesome before, but after going through this experience together, he's hit a new level of awesome in my eyes ;)

We are also so thankful that my parents were able to help take the older boys for the first few days after C's birth. Leo was able to get very little time off work and I was thankful to have my parents' help to get through that first week of healing.

God is good, life is a gift and this is a story that C will likely hear over and over again throughout his lifetime! Yes, little man, Daddy caught you :)



Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Runner of Many Hats | BOCO Gear

Disclaimer: I received the BOCO Gear Visor & Hat to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Runners spend a lot of time out in the elements. That's a given!

To spare my skin from sun damage and the weather elements (and sometimes to cover up my messy hair), I wear hats - a lot. Which is great because I tend to be forgetful when it comes to sunscreen, especially when the weather cools off.


As a BibRave Pro, I received the custom designed BibRave Run Visor and BibRave Endurance Hat from BOCO Gear. These hats are LIGHT, the colors are BRIGHT and the designs POP!


BOCO Gear, the new leader in performance gear for endurance athletes, offers fully customizable technical headwear and accessories for brands, teams or events. Their gear is designed for and tested by top athletes.


I have browsed through many of their designs on the BOCO Gear website and Facebook page and they are all creative and full of color. Plus their product offering is huge, from technical trucker hats and visors to beanies and headbands and a whole lot more.

Let me tell you about my experience with BOCO Gear:

The Run Visor


It's been a looooong time since I've ran in a visor (like 7 years?) and I wasn't sure of what to expect. Will it have a custom fit? Why not just wear a regular hat?

The BOCO Gear Running Visor was a pleasant surprise! This is my new favorite "hat" to run in! I love the flashy BibRave design, the comfortable internal sweatband and curved bill style. Visors are awesome because you can wear them while sporting a high-ponytail or bun. That was reason enough to opt for the visor.

For cooler runs, it's easy to throw a beanie on top to stay warm and have the bonus sun protection of the visor. The visor stayed in place while on the run and during regular every day wear.

  • Lightweight wicking woven or dry tech polyester outside 
  • Wicking internal sweatband to move sweat from your forehead 
  • One piece on-the-fly Velcro back adjustability 
  • Relaxed fit front panel for a better performance and comfort 
  • Black underside of the bill to reduce glare 
  • Curved bill 
  • Machine Washable

Out for a "wog" (walk/jog) at 34 weeks pregnant in my BOCO Gear Run Visor

Gotta love this gear! Now onto the hat.

The Endurance Hat


Once again, you've got to love the bold BibRave design on this BOCO Gear Endurance Hat! The material is breathable and lightweight, making it ideal for those hot summer long runs.

The pliable, flat bill was a new look for me, not really sure I can pull it off, but I appreciate the practicality of being able to fold up and store your hat while on the run. Wearing this endurance hat makes me want to try the BOCO Gear technical trucker hats! Their hats are very comfortable and definitely made for people of the active type - my only request would be to have the curved bill on the hat, like the visor.

I don't know about you, but I sweat while I run. Sometimes a lot! Thankfully, the endurance hat and visor are both machine washable so they don't need to stay stinky after a long or hard-effort run.

  • Lightweight wicking woven polyester material provides a layer of protection on the front and throughout the hat 
  • Larger Dry Tech polyester mesh side gussets on the side keep your head cool for the length of your workout. 
  • Soft polyester mesh wicking sweatband on the inside to help move sweat away from your head keeping you focused on the trail or road. 
  • Adjustable back snap buckle with tuck in pocket for any excess keeping the back of your hat tidy. 
  • Pliable stuffable soft bill 
  • Custom BibRave underside of the bill
  • Machine Washable

Want to see more BOCO Gear? Check out the BOCO Gear website and Facebook page to see more of their amazing custom designs.


What "head gear" do you wear while running? Visors, regular hats, or maybe no hat all?



Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Snacking Smart | Health Warrior Review

Disclaimer: I received Health Warrior Chia Bars and coloring book to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

HUNGER.

It's one of the many similarities between growing a baby and training for a marathon. Pregnancy is basically a marathon with a 9 to 10 month training plan and I like to view the months and weeks as exactly that: a training period for the growth, labor, delivery and postpartum care of a new life.

My "Late Pregnancy Workout": 2 miles of .25 mile walk/.25 mile run intervals

Fueling is an important aspect of training and one that can easily get neglected! The pregnancy myth is "now you can eat whatever you want" and marathoners can fall into the same trap due to the high amount of calories burnt through all those training miles.

While I could certainly use a caramel roll or some plain Lays potato chips right now, it's all about moderation. Sure you CAN eat donuts and ice cream every day but it isn't going to do you any favors in the long run!

Making smart choices for me means eating when I'm hungry (and drinking a lot of water!), choosing meals and snacks with nutritional value, and allowing for those treats in moderation. Choosing nutritious snacks through the final weeks of this pregnancy has been much easier thanks to new-to-me and quite delicious chia bars from Health Warrior.

As a BibRave Pro, I received Health Warrior Chia Bars and their hilariously honest "Marathon Training: The Coloring Book". The kids love coloring so mom should get to color, too!


Health Warrior is a superfood company that believes better health will build a stronger society. I received a box of their Chocolate Peanut Butter and Vanilla Almond bars to try which are both made with quality ingredients like chia, rolled oats and nuts that help keep you full and contain only 4-5g of sugar.


The ingredients of these bars are straight forward and easy to pronounce!

Chia is the #1 ingredient which ounce for ounce has more protein than an egg, more omega 3s than salmon, more fiber than flax, more calcium than milk, and more magnesium than broccoli.


I have been eating these bars as an any-time snack. The taste is great, not bland but not too sweet, and they are easy enough on my stomach to eat before or after a workout. I keep a few bars in the diaper for a snack on the go that is good for both me and our growing baby.

Just make sure to pick the chia seeds out of your teeth after eating one ;)


The kids put Health Warrior Chia Bars to the test, too. Four-year-old E isn't a fan of the chia seed texture but two-year-old W can't get enough of these chia bars! I have limited him to one a day otherwise he would have blown through both boxes already.

Coloring and snacking on chia bars with W

Along with enjoying these chia bars, the kids and I have colored our way through most of Health Warrior's Marathon Training Coloring Book as part of the Inaugural BibRave Coloring Contest! It's been a blast - I'll let you know if either of my "masterpieces" win ;)

A 15 pack of Health Warrior Chia Bars is $15.99 or try the 16 ct. Sampler Box for $19.99 to try each flavor: Acai Berry, Apple Cinnamon, Banana Nut, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Vanilla Almond, Dark Chocolate Cherry and Dark Chocolate Mango. Plus, shipping is free for orders over $25!

Check out all of the great chia bar flavors (Vanilla Almond is my favorite so far!) on the Health Warrior website and get your FREE Marathon Training: The Coloring Book with the purchase of any bars here: http://healthwarrior.link/colorbookbr


Join us at 8 pm CT on November 7th for #BibChat with Health Warrior and a chance to win these bars for yourself!

B3's Pregnancy: 39 Week Wrap-Up

Baby is a PUMPKIN this week, just in time for harvest to end and the kids' fun night of trick-or-treating. I'm thankful Baby is hanging in there... and a little concerned this baby will never want to come out. I'm praying through these final days (or weeks. ugh.) to find peace in the Lord's timing for this baby. With my history of preterm and early term babies, it's a miracle to make it this long!
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. PSALM 27:14
Besides being tired, I am feeling really good physically (emotionally, meh). This baby is proving to be a marathon labor-er. Contractions have been increasing from afternoon to evening time since last Friday and fizzle out overnight. That's been disheartening. Our midwife reassured us that this is making progress and we are close to meeting our baby. Hopefully this drawn out early labor will make the "real deal" go smoothly!

Decked out as Captain America for Trick-or-Treating! My husband's shirt, of course. 

MONDAY: 

2 miles of walk/run intervals on treadmill followed by mowing a few last strips of our lawn before more snow comes! The boys climbed trees and stacked wood while I mowed.


TUESDAY: 

Ekhart Yoga's Runners Yoga video (25:28) and of course some Trick-or-Treating that night. The candy now abounds in this house. Moderation, right?!

WEDNESDAY: 

2 miles of run/walk intervals on the treadmill while watching "The Business of Being Born" on YouTube. I've watched it a handful of times but it's a great documentary to watch as a prep for baby's upcoming labor and delivery. I thought birth would be less intimating by my third... but I'm still feeling antsy and anxious.

THURSDAY

We must have covered a mile or so in the snow that day! If figured if pulling the boys on their sled/snowboard doesn't put me into labor, I don't know what will.

FRIDAY:

We went to the library and ran errands in the morning to get out of the house and take a slight break from the snow. I did the Ekhart Yoga's Runners Yoga video (25:28) again and that makes me feel so much better. My hormones must be on a rollercoaster in these last days of pregnancy because I have felt like a mess! Maybe the early snow is partly to blame, too.

SATURDAY:

Rest

SUNDAY:

Rest

Have you tried chia seeds before? If so, what's your favorite chia snack?



Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.