Amanda Fisher, Tough Muddette

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Second Birth Story: Part Two

Let’s go!  Part two of Maren’s birth story!

In case you missed part one, you can check it out here.

Sorry for the cliffhanger on part one guys.  But really, I’m NOT sorry.  It was a good cliffhanger, lol!  Gotta get your attention while the gettins’ good!

Alright, SO……that last contraction on county road 8 was DIFFERENT.  Having an epidural last time, I honestly didn’t know when to push, and even felt like I SHOULDN’T push when it was time to push. So this feeling was like YO, something big is gonna happen here, and you gotta get with the program.

My husband is internally like WHAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTT after I said we weren’t gonna make it to the birth center.  He didn’t say it, and didn’t let on AT ALL, but I find this out after the fact.

If you know geographically where my town is in relationship to St. Peter, MN….we took “the back roads” to St. Peter past the chicken barns.  And right about the time we were hitting the chicken barns, that second special contraction hit.  Like, you can’t work through a contraction like that sitting in the front seat of a car.  Mostly because it was powerful, and I really felt like she was coming out.  I’m screaming for Todd to pull over, and he did as fast as he could, and here we go on the shoulder of the road.  All fours.  Trying to work through that contraction and getting insane pressure and feeling like Maren was coming out.  We think this is where my water broke as well, but not really sure.

By this point, Todd was getting the birth center on the phone.  Erika, our midwife, was super awesome, encouraging me to see if I could get back in the car after the contraction so we could get to the birth center.  But, if getting back in the car was not going to happen, not to worry, because she would coach us through this, and Todd would catch the baby.

Two side notes here that are SUPER IMPORTANT here:

  1. My husband is like….oh, ok, I’ll just catch the baby.  No worries.  As he is internally like….welllll, this really isn’t on my list of things to do today.  And he shows NONE of this.  Straight poker face but I could tell he was like WTF!
  2. At my 36 week pre-natal visit, Rachel, our other midwife, said second labors can go fast, and do I know how to catch a baby?  Um, no, no I don’t know how to catch a baby.  So, I learned that day, that getting down on all fours or a half kneel is an easy way to catch a baby.  And what to do after the baby comes out….draining fluids, getting her to cry, the whole nine yards.

So, Todd convinced/encouraged me to get back in the car, and we laid the front seat all the way down so I was still on all fours, with my head in the backseat and legs in the front seat.  Would have done this in the backseat totally, but we have too many car seats in there, lol.

Off we go, with Erika still on the phone, and Todd going who knows how fast (thankfully I couldn’t see the dash, or…..care).  I think I had about two more contractions in the car, and they were getting more serious each time.  Maren was pushing out a bit, especially at the peak and end of the contraction but then sliding back each time.  I was pretty much using choice four letter words only here at this point.  And the whole while, as I’m staring down at the backseat of my car….thinking I thought Rachel teaching me how to catch my own baby was an effing joke and now it’s for REAL!  Todd kept encouraging, giving me like updates on how short a distance we had to go yet.

We get to the birth center (seriously, THANK GOD).  Erika is waiting on the curb ready to catch this baby in the car if we were at that point.  Not quite at that point yet.  She asked if I could make it up the sidewalk and up the stairs to our room.  I told her I didn’t know but I would try.  So, broad daylight in residential St. Peter with a two towels wrapped around my waist, here we go into the birth center.  It was about 2:30PM.

Made it to our room.  All fours again.  I was originally going to try birthing in a squat, and since I knew how all fours went from the car ride, and not really want to “try new things” at this point…all fours it was, lol. I have to say, pushing itself didn’t suck.  The start of each pushing contraction sucked, and then when it was time to push….that actually felt really good!

Second contraction in the birth center, and I could tell Maren was coming out further and further each time, but backsliding a bit when the contraction was over.  I would look up at Todd after each contraction and first of all see……RELIEF.  Like, we made it, and he wasn’t catching the baby.  But we also were kind of talking back and forth, and he was getting me water.  I think I possibly apologized to the midwives (we had a second….Sarah….in our room at this point) for making their day so interesting.  In between each pushing contraction, Erika would check Maren’s heart rate with the doppler to make sure she was recovering well, and she was doing awesome.

By the fourth contraction, Maren’s head was out.  Everyone kept telling me about the “burning ring of fire” when the head crowns.  I have to say, I really don’t remember that much at all.  Maybe that’s because I was operating off adrenaline from almost not making it to the birth center.  Head was out, one more contraction to push her body out….and I have to say, that final push was the easiest thing EVER and as soon as her body was out, I felt so gloriously NOT pregnant that it was awesome.

I looked down, and Maren was basically underneath me, so I got down into a lying position as fast as possible, got all the way undressed, and it was skin to skin time.  Pretty much…..we knew Maren was gonna be juuuussssttttt fine here…..because she screamed and screamed and screamed to let us know, lol.  Time of birth, 2:53PM.  A short 23 minutes after coming to a screeching halt in front of the birth center and walking in with towels around my waist, lol.

Exhausted And Happy!

All four of us – Todd, Erika, Sarah, and I – were chatting and talking and getting comfortable and making sure everything was alright.  About 20 minutes later, it was time to cut the cord (Todd did it), and then deliver the placenta (which by the way, is the easiest thing ever after pushing out an infant).  Then Erika and Sarah left and let Todd and I have some alone time with Maren.  Maren was still letting us know she had lungs at this point, and at one point we looked at each other and sorta joked…..is she going to cry ALL the time from here on out?  Nope, turns out, she was pretty hungry.  Erika and Sarah helped me/Maren latch and sort of start working on that, and that started doing the trick for Miss Maren.  We probably spent another hour working on latching and just hanging out with Maren.

Then, it was GLORIOUSLY time for a shower.  Todd and Maren hung out while I showered, and that was ALSO the best feeling of the day.  Todd also says he was the baby whisperer at this point, because Maren was not crying at allllll while I showered.

Proud Dad!

Then, time for baby vitals – weight, length, respiratory stuff, heart stuff, Vitamin K, and eye ointment.  I think there was other stuff monitored, but I can’t remember to be honest.  My vitals too.  Making sure I was going to the bathroom fine and that bleeding and blood clots were no longer issues.  Also, pelvic exam, and I was happy to hear no tears or anything!  WOOHOO!

Here she is, all 8 pounds and 12 oz of her, and 21 inches long.

Meet Maren!

By this point, we were free to leave, and Erika and Sarah let us know we could hang out as long as we needed to.  We did for a bit, enough to take a selfie….

But first, lemme take a selfie!

And then we busted out of there like no one’s business.  Erika and Sarah walked us to the vehicle, hugs all around, and off went went to drive home at 6PM.  To be honest, I’m not a hugger, AT ALL usually, but Erika and Sarah were so awesome, and so encouraging during this whole thing that a fist bump seemed lame so a hug it was.

On the way home, we called Emma to tell her about her new sister, and when we got home, Todd went to pick her up from Grandma’s house and we spent our first night as a family of four getting used to this whole thing.  She’s a pretty proud big sister, and I will never forget her face when she saw Maren for the first time.  She looked so happy!

Proud big sister!

The best thing about coming back to our own house immediately after birth was chilling out in our OWN HOME, and sleeping in our OWN BED.  And getting used to being a family of four on the first night.

Thank you for reading our birth story!  Yes, it is a little crazy.  Looking back, I was further along in labor than I thought, BUT it was so confusing because my labor had stopped for an hour, and then contractions backed off with time between, and having that happen with Emma I thought this was the same, and then all the sudden, GO TIME.  So, while it was a little intense almost having a baby on the side of the road…..it also all worked out, and I’m happy this is our birth story.  Not because it’s a good story, but because this was completely OUR story, and it’s nuts and it works for us.  I would tell you Todd and I kind of fly by the seat of our pants a lot anyway, and this…..well….was just that.  It worked out just fine.

I would also tell you that labor is mental.  If I told myself it was gonna hurt, it was gonna hurt.  If I approached this as getting out of my body’s way and letting it work….well, contractions didn’t always feel rosy but they were also WAY easier to work through.    Pushing is physically exhausting but also an adrenaline rush because the job is almost done and baby is almost here!  It’s hard damn work though.  The next three days after, I felt like I had the core workout of my life.  My abs (I DO HAVE THEM, I can feel them again without an infant inside!) were SO SORE from pushing, and it was that glorious kind of sore like after a sweet workout.

Final thing I’d like to say is that in all this, the car ride, the birth center, the super short pushing, all of it.  We never felt unsafe, or that I was in danger, or Maren was in danger. Yes, almost having a baby on the side of the road is INSANE, but it HAPPENS….heck, I know two people in my very small circle that never made it to the hospital, lol.  Being where we were, smack dab between our town and St. Peter, there aren’t options of stopping at a hospital.  There was either getting to the birth center, or not getting to the birth center.  And any way you slice it, it felt completely safe.  I will tell you I did pray a lot during the day laboring, and I also said a tons of thank you prayers that night when we were all home tucked safely into bed.

I will be back for Part 3 – a comparison of a hospital birth versus a birth center birth – SOON!

PS – our car came away unscathed from labor, lol.  Thankfully, for some reason, I had indeed brought towels along, and we don’t need our car detailed from this experience.

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Second Birth Story: Part One

So, here we go!  Let’s dive into little Maren’s birth story.  You guys!  It’s a good one.  A little more wild than we ever anticipated.  So there’s that 🙂  Also, I’m going to separate this into three pieces – part one and two will be birth related, and part three will be about my comparison from hospital birth (first birth) to birth center birth (second birth).

So, for backstory….with my first labor (first daughter – Emma)…it was a looonggggggg and drawn out process, lol.  Felt like it would NEVER end.  I think early labor was like 15 hours, and then it got more serious for like 5-6 hours, then SERIOUS, then stopped completely, then Pitocin for four hours to get contractions going again, and finally pushed out Emma (who was a little crooked in my pelvis) in like 4-5 hours for a total of like 30 hours of labor, pushing and birth.  A little nutso, lol…..butttt also apparently not uncommon for first time births.  Had an epidural with the first birth, and while it was nice to feel NOTHING, it also creeped me out because I COULDN’T feel anything, and sorta felt trapped and isolated, and I kinda wonder if this is why my labor didn’t stop then.  But, who knows, right?  So, there’s the backstory on first pregnancy and birth for context 😉

Wednesday morning and all day Wednesday I felt kinda funky.  Not contractions or anything, just funky.  Sorta like you feel right before you get your period type stuff.  Wednesday late afternoon/early evening I had started contractions….the far apart ones….the EASY ones, where you know they are contractions and are excited to get the ball rolling, buuuuttttt you also know you have a journey ahead so appreciate these ones, HA!

Labored all Wednesday evening into Thursday morning.  Got about three hours of sleep, which was awesome.  Took a bath in the middle of the night and that helped me relax and get through contractions.  Each contraction I just focused on breathing through each contraction and relaxing my body as much as I could.  Laying in bed….I remember thinking about trying to make my muscles melt into bed.  This helped SO MUCH to get through contractions.  It was almost like oh man, this makes sense….let me get out of my body’s way to let it do the work, and instead of fighting each contraction, go with it and labor that baby down.  It ALSO made sense to me to connect a contraction feeling to NOT pain buttttttt my muscles doing the work to get baby down.  So, if you are gonna labor and contract soon, my two cents is to BREATHE and MELT through contractions, and think about muscles working versus pain.  SUPER BIG HELPER in my opinion.  And perhaps make sure you learn how to breathe through your diaphragm versus your chest, and things will work WAY easier and feel WAY calmer, lol.

Thursday morning came around.  Two more baths.  Eating snacky things that tasted good and drinking tons of water.  Staying fed and hydrated yo!  I think that helped BIG TIME.  I felt like I had energy.  Kept going back and forth between laying in bed, bathtub, and hanging out on the couch. Here is what 8 minutes apart looks like….

Contraction Selfie, lol

So we were getting down to about 6-7 minutes apart with contractions.  I had been in contact with our midwife, and we decided to keep laboring, and find that five minute (or thereabouts) mark because I was also feeling like this could be going for awhile yet.  We get to 11AM, and contractions just friggin stop COMPLETELY.  You guys, I was a little pissy.  Because I had just done a whole lot of work, for what seemed like NOTHING.  Labor shut down, and I got up and walked around and watched TV and basically stewed around the house for an hour pissed off at the world, thinking this was gonna be a slow show like when my labor with Emma stalled out.  Emma was gone at grandma’s house at this point, and Todd was stir crazy…..walking around the house dressed and ready to go, and washing all our windows on the inside, LOL.  He doesn’t do well with sitting around waiting for things, HA!

I ate lunch, and after about an hour….contractions started back up again.  This time anywhere between 10-12 minutes apart.  Still pissed off, because I felt like we were STARTING OVER, I just kept going, and labored.  Contractions weren’t awful, they weren’t fun, but definitely not awful in my opinion.  I had time to have another snack and checked in with our midwife to let her know contractions had stopped and then sorta started again.  Ok, she says, just keep going, keep me up to date.  What else do you do but wait around to have more contractions, right?  At this point I’m like wracking my brain because here we had shipped Emma off to grandma’s house, and now it was like 12:30 and here we are with nothing to show for it but stupid contractions that are still 10-12 minutes apart.

I took a shower…basically I was like filling my time with “tasks” to do to avoid being pissed off at the world at a stalling out labor.  And hoping spending time on my feet sped things up a bit.  Time between contractions was dropping a bit.  By 1:30PM, they were 9-ish minutes apart.

Then, 8 minutes apart…..for one or two contractions (can’t quite remember).

Then 3.  And I’m like shit is this it?  What the hell happened to minutes 7,6,and 5?  They didn’t seem to exist, but I also didn’t believe this was for real, and was waiting for stuff to fizzle again.

Then another 3.

Then a 4.

By this time, Todd was napping in the basement and I freaked and yelled down to him like let’s go.  He shoots upstairs, and I’m like let’s REALLY go, call the birth center, let them know we are leaving ASAP.  It’s go time.  He grabbed our stuff and I’m already in the car.  He’s calling the birth center.  We drive out of town at 2PM, and get going and I have another contraction at 3 minutes.  Shit.

Then we get almost to county road 8, and here comes another.  And IT FELT SO DIFFERENT.

I just pretty much said…..I don’t think we are gonna make it to the birth center.

Stay tuned for PART 2!

Moderation: Your Tuesday Food Affects Your Saturday Food

Picture it, young Tough Muddette, early 20’s.  Eat ON PLAN alllllll week long like a good girl.  Feel victorious.  Feel on top of the world.  Feel like my clothes were LOOSE and I was skinnnnyyyyyyyyyyy.  (for the record, I scoured old photos trying to find a suitable one of young Tough Muddette but they are mostly bar pics so I’m opting out, lol).

Feel anxiety like woah on Friday evening when it was time to go out for a meal on the weekend and drinks with friends.  But go anyways, say the 2007 version of #YOLO and eat it all, drink it all, and wake up on Saturday feeling defeated.  So, let’s do it again Saturday night!  And on Sunday, let’s eat like shit because it’s a new week Monday.  And because my clothes feel tight and I feel bloated.

I did that little cycle for years on end, probably beginning at age 22 – 28ish, maybe 29.  A LONG TIME to cement an icky cycle related to food choices in my brain, right?  And to condition myself that eating “on plan” felt goood and victorious and “off plan” meant go off the freaking rails with wild abandon?

Ever find yourself in that cycle?  It IS a damn cycle, yo.  And, a hard one to break.  And seriously, a hard one to even recognize that you are in…because you are “eating healthy most of the time”……and having anxiety around food and food choices is normal for all women, right?

Having anxiety around food and food choices for chronic dieters (and I would bet that much of the female population falls into chronic dieter status) probably is COMMON.  However, just because it’s common probably doesn’t mean it’s NORMAL, you know?

Breaking that cycle took a lot of learning and effort and patience with myself.  Hell, RECOGNIZING that I NEEDED to break that cycle took a long time, and, it really wasn’t that much fun to recognize either, you know?  Because it meant that what I was doing wasn’t ACTUALLY all that healthy.

After a lot of time, and a lot of education, and a lot of damn trial and error and using myself as my own personal science experiment, I began learning proper portion sizes (and no, that is NOT 1200 calories by default).  And how what kinds of foods satisfied me and that I ENJOYED and what kinds of foods were basically just a mask to not get me to eat something…..until I realized I was unsatisfied so I ate ALL the somethings in one sitting.  In short, TONS OF LEARNING AND EFFORT.  To be honest, I’m still learning as I change, grow, and evolve.

Here’s the takeaway from my little journey back through history of my shady eating.  How I eat TODAY affects how I will eat on Saturday.  My food choices are never in isolation.  Today’s choices aren’t in a lovely little secure vacuum where they only affect “this instant.”

What I choose to eat today (or don’t choose) has a trickle down effect to my weekend eating.

#likehowyoueat

Me learning how to eat pretty balanced meals (#pandp…protein and produce baby, and make sure there is enough healthy fat and complex carb there as needed) is first off, KEY.  Doing that helped me take away the cravings monster, balance out my blood sugar, and generally feel way more sustained and satisfied to do LIFE during the day.

BUT, also, learning how to sprinkle in treats has been kind of a game changer too.  I feel like people read “sprinkle in treats” as a means to eat ALL the treats ALL the time, and that really couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sprinkling in treats, in my book, means cheese on salads, eating a Reese’s peanut butter egg (but not 10 eggs) and enjoying it, or maybe a beer or something a few times per week.  Hell, diet coke, with all it’s zero calories and rat poison fear is actually a treat for me, because it helps take the edge off.  NOT ALL THE BEER in ONE NIGHT.  Not ALL THE EGGS in ONE SITTING.  Not cheese + bacon + sunflower seeds + dressing + extra cheese because cheese on the salads.

“Sprinkling in treats” means (to me) adding satisfaction to my meals and/or life in JUST THE RIGHT DOSE that it takes away the edge, leaves me satisfied and not stuffed, and allows me to put my energy towards other useful shit rather than exhaust my mental energy on my food choices.

This “way” of eating works for ME.  It’s taught me that really, no food is off limits.  And, as long as it’s something I truly want to eat, I do.  Those two things have been HUGE because it’s literally taken away the power that I gave to food, and put it back in my hands.  I CHOOSE.  It’s my CHOICE.

But….if I can eat the same way on Tuesday that I can on Saturday….well, then….that’s successful in my book.  Because it means I’m doing something that I can SUSTAIN long term.  Even on the weekends.  Even on vacation.  Even while going through pregnancy.  Even postpartum.  Even when my kids are grown and my husband and I are looking at each other like now what the flip do we do with our time?!?!

Is there ever a time to tweak this?  Of course!  I change, grow, and evolve just like everyone else.  My tastes will change, so will my knowledge, and so will the mastery of how I know my own body.  Oh, and so will my goals and priorities at times, too.

But that’s the COOL thing here, this “way” is adaptable for me.  It’s not in a vacuum of “when the conditions are right” type thing.  It’s ALL THE TIME.  There isn’t an on or off switch, this JUST.IS.  I literally just keep going day after day.

I’m going to write this again, because it is THAT IMPORTANT.

How we eat Tuesday affects how we eat Saturday.  It does.  End of story.  Our food choices don’t happen in a vacuum.  Life isn’t a vacuum of one day that shuts off before another begins.

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