oh baby :: cash the early bird

a birth story.  

i had always planned on writing down my birth stories but never did.  why would i want to?  so i can share them with my children, and so i can remember them myself.  especially since each one was so different.
and can you believe that i'm writing cash's birth story as i'm pregnant.  again?1?  i wonder how this 4th baby's birth experience will be like, especially since all 3 have been unique in their own way...there is no routine in the childbirth process.  each one is special. 
our peanut.

our 3rd born.

baby cash was due on march 10, 2011.  based on the arrival time of his older siblings, we guessed he'd be making his appearance a week before then.

with this pregnancy, i got to forgo the usual prenatal bloodwork that comes along during your 1st trimester of pregnancy.  that made me happy (did i mention my dislike for non-tattoo needles?) and our pocketbook happy.  plus, it didn't make any sense in doing those tests if nothing had changed in the 2 years since my last pregnancy. 

with my last pregnancy, i was diagnosed with GBS so we were going under the assumption that i will test positive for it again this time around.  after eating lots of yogurt and using raw garlic 2 weeks or so before the test, i tested negative. 

things were moving along, though at 35 weeks pregnant we didn't have everything fully prepared at home for receiving our new baby.  i was still teaching dance and planned to go all the way through february before taking any time off.  little did i know that i wasn't going to make it that far.

8 days before his arrival.
i had started my day on february 11, finishing up this post and went about my day with business as usual.  nothing really felt out of the ordinary.  i did manage to do a nice load of laundry full of newborn/baby clothes, which gave some sense of preparedness for the new arrival.

as evening approached, i don't recall anything out of the ordinary sticking out in my head except when we began the bedtime round-up for the kiddos.  you know those braxton hicks contractions you get during the late part of your pregnancy.  well, 7:00 p.m. rolls around and those braxton hicks no longer felt like braxton hicks.  i had to stop and actually breathe through a contraction.  how was that possible?  i was only 36 weeks pregnant.  aaron shooed me to bed and finished up with the kiddos bedtime activities.

after that little spell, i didn't have anymore contractions.  as my husband prepared to leave for a show that night, we decided it was best if i just stayed in bed for the rest of the evening.  surely with a little bed rest things will be back to normal.  after all, i have another month to go.

at 11:30 p.m. i finally decided to get some shut eye.

at 1:10 a.m. i woke up to a surprise.  water was everywhere and at first i had no idea what was happening.  as it turns out my water just broke.  this had never happened before with my other two so having my water break before labor began was a new experience for me.  at first i kind of ran around like a chicken with its head cut off, not knowing what to do first.  after getting over the shock of realizing that my water just broke (and i wasn't due for another month), i finally got things squared away.

the first thing i did was go on the internet to look up how long i was allowed to safely go after my water breaking before i had to go to the hospital since i hadn't started labor yet (you'd think that calling my midwife would be the first thing i do).

at around 1:30 a.m., i sent aaron a text telling him that my water just broke. no response.  i tried to call him a few times shortly after the text but no answer.  of course!  he was at a show. 

at this point, i was trying to think through what i should do next.  we didn't have a plan in place for this type of situation. i knew aaron was 30 minutes away and i had no clue what time he was coming back since i hadn't heard from him.  i wanted to touch base with him first before i called colleen just in case she told me to come in.  my biggest concern was the fact that i was at 36 weeks.  that's considered a premature birth.  i had done very little research on premature births since i didn't think i was at risk for that.

as 2:00 a.m. approached i heard aaron pull in the driveway.  relieved, i decided to start packing the hospital bag while i waited for him to come up to the room.  it was almost 2:30 by the time he made it upstairs...he sure was taking his sweet time!  i discovered that he hadn't checked his phone at all, and when he realized what had happened i think panic mode kind of set in for him (like i said, we weren't prepared for this type of situation).

i finally called colleen at 2:30 a.m.  i felt bad having to wake her up (with gibson i had her up at 3:30 a.m.), but as it turns out she was getting ready to go to the hospital for a delivery anyway.  i still hadn't started labor, and i hoped in my heart that i didn't have to come in.  i didn't want to be induced, because i knew the increased risks of all the other medical interventions that would come along with that.

i was SO relieved when colleen told me to go back to sleep!  i had 24 hours before i had to actually check-in to the hospital, so there was no need to do anything at this point except wait for labor to start on its own.  she suspected that since this wasn't my first rodeo, i would most likely start labor within the 24 hour period.  she told me to call her at noon if i hadn't started labor yet, so that we could discuss some natural ways to start the laboring process.  silly me for even thinking that she would want me in the hospital so soon!  i am so glad that we are on the same page.

after aaron and i finished up our packing and decompressing, we headed to our bed for some shut-eye.  it was 3:00 a.m. when my head touched the pillow.

4:00 a.m. and i was abruptly awoken to pains in my abdomen that were oh so familiar.  so much for rest.  here. we. go.

aaron was still fast asleep.  the contractions weren't painful (more wave-like if anything) and still about 10-15 minutes apart but they were enough of a presence to keep me from going back to sleep.  this went on for 2 hours...spaced out the same amount of time, but as if the "wave" was growing more intense with each hour that passed by.

by 6:00 a.m. the contractions had increased in frequency (5-6 minutes apart) and intensity.  i remember it still feeling like waves (but think more along the lines of tidal waves), except they weren't spaced very far apart anymore.  this time around, it felt as if the baby was moving lower and lower with each contraction.

i don't remember when i finally woke aaron up, i think it must have been when my contractions were 5 minutes apart.  corrie came to the rescue to watch the kiddos as we prepared for our journey to the hospital (and the oh so fun experience of laboring in the car...please note sarcasm).

7:30 a.m. and we were out the door, in our car and zipping along the freeway to the hospital.  i called colleen to let her know we were on our way there.  poor lady!  she was on her way home from the hospital after doing a delivery.  oops!  i guess i should have called her a little sooner.

once we arrived, i stopped paying attention to the time as much and tried to get "settled" into our room.  unfortunately, i was unable to use the birthing center because it was taken by someone else.  it wouldn't have mattered anyway since you have to be at least 37 weeks to use the space.  there was also no waterbirth experience for me (again) since i was technically delivering a premature baby.

the attending nurse did the usual check-in routine.  colleen was there shortly after we checked in, and so was her student, ashley (she was awesome too).  much like emma's experience, i had no pokes with a needle in my arm (or anywhere else for that matter), and the EFM didn't stick around my belly for too long.  it was nice not feeling "tied down."  being the funny man he is, aaron thought the baby's heartbeat sounded like the tune of bonanza.  ha.  he's good at keeping me distracted. 

ashley set up the aromatherapy in the room while colleen dimmed the lights and brought in her oils.  the sweet nurse brought in the iPod player and we attempted to select some nice background music to labor to.  after a short laugh, we decided to nix the rave/aerobic-like musical option on there and settled on good ol' frank sinatra.

side note that i have to add in: the attending nurse during this labor was SO awesome.  i wish i had remembered her name.  she has 10 kids and 4 out of those ten were birthed naturally at home.  she totally understood our birth philosophy, and was so supportive and low-key about everything.  she really stood out to me compared to the other nurses that have attended my birth (not saying that the other nurses were horrible or anything).  how amazing is it that i had her with me for my labor and delivery?  i am hoping that with this baby she will be the one attending my birth.

okay, back to pushing the baby out.  things were going smoothly.  my beloved birth ball was brought in for me to labor on for a while until i was ready to push.  we laughed, joked and chatted between contractions while frankie crooned in the background.  the nurse checked the baby's heart rate with a good old fashioned stethoscope, and i can honestly say that i can't recall anything unpleasant about the experience.  i really felt like all parties present honored our birth plan to a T.  i didn't have to re-iterate anything which enabled me to focus my full attention and energy to meeting our sweet boy for the first time.

it was a bit after 10:00 a.m. and i was feeling ready to push.  i had my cervix checked, but i was only 6 cm dilated.  usually, you have to wait until the cervix is 10 cm dilated before you start pushing the baby out, since that is when the opening will be at the widest point (this had been the case for my past 2 deliveries).  but the desire to push was happening already.  colleen, being the super midwife she is, said to go ahead and start pushing if my body was telling me to push.  so i did.  we later found out from our sweet nurse that there has been evidence that it did no harm to the cervix if a woman pushed based on when her body tells her to push rather than wait until the 10 cm indicator, especially if the cervix is very stretchy.  interesting. i wonder if she had any personal experience with that since she did birth 10 kids.

i felt like i was at the pushing stage forever (later our nurse said it was really only about 15 minutes or so) and thinking that this was the longest pushing stage i've had to endure.  pushing is probably the most physically and mentally demanding part of the childbirth process, at least for me.  on the one hand, i was excited to meet our sweet babe, but on the other hand i was frustrated that my body wasn't doing what it was supposed to do to get to that point (this last part is an untrue assumption of course, because your body is doing what it needs to do...sometimes it just takes more time).  i could feel my endurance wavering.  i wanted to stop.  take a coffee break.  take a nap.  resume later.  my body was tired.  my brain was tired. but there was no stopping the process now.  we. were. so. close.

at 10:29 a.m. our baby boy finally made his appearance.  he was born with his left arm over his face, much like his ultrasound picture. no wonder it was taking forever to push him out.  they immediately placed him on my chest, skin to skin and it was glorious.  beautiful baby smell.  beautiful baby skin.  amazing.

they suctioned him and cleaned him up while he was still resting peacefully on me.  nothing else was done for what seemed like an eternity.  they waited until the cord stopped pulsing before it was clamped and cut (i had read up on this, but had forgotten to put it in the birth plan...glad colleen read my mind).  he wasn't even weighed until an hour after birth...after mom and baby had their time together.

8 lbs. for a preemie was quite a surprise for everyone.  can you imagine what he would have weighed if he was full-term?  probably bigger than gibson!  our nurse (the same one from the beginning) said that he did seem premature by the amount of vernix he still had on his skin.  but aside from that, there were no other complications that came attached to birthing a premature babe (praise God!).  

oh how sweet it was to be able to hold our little cash in my arms.  and even sweeter that we got to meet him earlier than expected.


with each birth, it seems that i know more and more what my body is capable of.  and with each birth, i feel as if God has a handle on the whole situation (which of course he does) and that all i need to do is give it over to him and trust my instincts.  the ease with being able to do that has been easier with each childbirth experience, and it's sometimes indescribable when i realize how he has used those times to mold and shape me and to strengthen my faith in him.

tis so sweet to trust in jesus. and to take him at his word.  and to rest upon his promise and to know thus says the lord.


More baby stories:

More birth-related babble:


wordless wednesday::endless entertainment

this toddling little guy loves to do belly flops on the giant pillow.


a birthday photo-rama

hello day!

7:30 a.m.
8:00 a.m.

9:00 a.m.
9:30 a.m.

9:40 a.m.
9:45 a.m.
10:30 a.m.
11:00 a.m.
12:30 p.m.
12:40 p.m.
12:50 p.m.
12:55 p.m.
4:30 p.m.
5:15 p.m
7:00 p.m.
7:05 p.m.
7:10 p.m.
7:12 p.m.
7:15 p.m.
7:18 p.m.
7:20 p.m.
7:25 p.m.

good night!


wordless wednesday::afternoon at the park

sunny day.  park.  new friends.  building a nest.  smiles.

more wordless wednesday here and here.


wordless wednesday::simple saturday

breakfast and snacks on the curb after a stop at the market.  a perfect saturday morning.

more wordless wednesday here and here.


school days: easter round-up

first off, let me tell you that i am WAY behind on posting school related stuff.  i had this big plan laid out in my head about posting each time we completed a lapbook/unit study but 3 (or is it 4?  maybe it's 5?) studies later i have gotten nowhere.

i might as well start with one of our more recent ones: easter.

to tell you the truth, we didn't do any background study on the origins and background of easter except for the fact that it's the time when we celebrate jesus' resurrection.  maybe next year, i'll get my act together and we can do a bit more discussion on the origins of easter.

we did however, address the topic of lent, and why some folks choose to participate in lent and the reason why it was created in the first place.  we made a very simple lent lapbook.  nothing elaborate, but just enough for the season.

the cover page i made myself.  inside, there's a countdown to easter/lenten calendar sheet which i printed from here.  i printed out stations of the cross cards (you can find those here) to look through and discuss.  the right side of the lapbook provides some basic information on lent (you can google "lent" or "lent traditions" and you'll find lots of information on it).

no one in our family gave up anything for lent, but we did collect change through out lent for remember nhu, an organization based out of akron, ohio which helps prevent girls from entering the sex trade.  [sexual exploitation/sexual abuse of young girls is more prevalent than i realized, and it breaks my heart reading about it.  especially since i have a sweet girl of my own.]  we still have to count out the money, but after we do we'll send that amount (in check form) to the organization.  in addition to remember nhu, check out mtv exit and love146 if you are interested in finding out more about human trafficking and how you can help make a difference.

this year, we started a "jesus tree."  it's quite similar to the jesse tree that we do for christmas, but it's for easter.  you can make your own simple jesus tree by going here or purchase a more detailed version here.

i did a DIY version of the resurrection eggs this year.  i had been meaning to try that last year, but didn't end up getting around to it. this is where i found some great directions on how to put together your very own resurrection eggs.

the only thing i had to buy were the plastic eggs, and everything else i managed to put together from stuff around the house, including the die which i made out of paper from this source.  of course you can always purchase them if you're not feeling so crafty (or simply short on time).

we had planned to do the resurrection cookies again this year like we did last year...

but time slipped by us so quickly saturday night that we didn't get around to it.  emma suggested that we should make them anyway...and i have to say that i agree with her.  it's not like easter is the only time you should learn about the resurrection.  i received the recipe and bible verses that go along with making the cookies from a friend, but i think this site is pretty much the same as my recipe.

as for egg dyeing (which has been a staple activity in our household each year)...ummm...we kind of forgot to do that too.  i even bought extra eggs and more food coloring.  oh well.  next year, i won't be spending the extra time putting together the resurrection eggs and the jesus tree ornaments, so we i should have more prep time for the cookies and the eggs.  should being the operative word here.

i felt convicted after reading this post a while back, and realized we intentionally do more activities and such for christmas than we do for easter.  both are equally important.  without the birth we would have no resurrection.  without the resurrection we would not have eternal life.  quite frankly, the only thing we've really done each year is dye eggs, make resurrection cookies on saturday night, and give the kiddos some sweet treats sunday morning.  compared to the thought and preparation of our christmas "traditions" i think that's pretty Lame with a capital L. 

i'm hoping that some of the new easter traditions we started this year will be something that we do every year.  they are simple, (hopefully) timeless and helps prepare our hearts for the most amazing thing God has ever done for his people.


love so amazing

(romans 5:8) 

in celebration of the resurrection, i bring you some of my favorite hymns to start your day.
  1. a 2 in 1: victory in jesus and power in the blood.
  3. in christ alone.
  5. jesus paid it all.
happy listening and happy easter!


    a baby belly and a lesson in biochemistry and molecular genetics

    i'm the type of person that likes to do research.  i like finding out facts and being well-informed before i make a decision...to understand the why and the how.  that's just my natural tendency.

    so naturally, when i first became pregnant i began doing my research.  not only was i searching for birth stories and experiences, but i wanted to know more about the scientific aspects of pregnancy...specifically labor and birth.  who knew you could learn so much amazing science just from being pregnant? thanks to pregnancy i've learned of the intricate, and well-timed scientific process your body goes through when you're in labor and why the "pain" during childbirth is actually normal.  a lesson in human anatomy and physiology, you might say, right?

    or how about a nice little lesson on microbiology when i tested positive for group B strep? and then there were the natural preventative measures i looked up in order to prevent the same thing happening while pregnant with cash.  you could consider that a quick study on naturopathic medicine.  right?  okay, maybe i'm stretching it a bit, but there is so much amazing natural science just within the scope of pregnancy and childbirth. 

    why bother with learning all this stuff?  like i said, i'm a girl that likes to make a well-informed decision.  it helps me find peace that the decision i'm going to make is the best one for me and/or my family.  and helps me get an idea of how my decision will impact the future.  that doesn't mean that i don't trust my healthcare provider, but i also don't see her as the ultimate decision maker in regards to the health and well-being of my body (this would apply to my children's pediatrician too).  i am ultimately responsible for my own health, including the decisions i make about the health and well-being of my body.  i suppose you could compare it to smoking.  smokers know the risk they're taking by smoking (it kills your lungs, there's an increased chance of lung cancer, etc., etc.), but does that stop them from smoking?  no.  does that mean that smoking is good for your health?  no.  most smokers are well-informed of the risks, but ultimately the choice to continue or stop is up to them.

    so now, baby number 4 is growing in my belly nearing the half-way point in my pregnancy.  what's new this time around?

    nothing much except that now i have developed the E antibody (or anti-E) in my blood.  what the heck is anti-E?  good question.  of course it's not one of those fairly common things that pregnant women get, so there's not much lay people information on it except what's found in forums (they have been quite helpful, though sometimes it's hard to tell what's fact and what's not).  what's left is a handful of medical journals i get to sift through to get a better understanding of what this means for me and the baby during the rest of my pregnancy.

    i did get a general explanation from my midwife and some very helpful friends (who's information i trust).  but did you think i would be satisfied with that?  ha!  of course not.  let me tell you i have been learning a lot about hematology, biochemistry and genetics.  not anything crazy in-depth like some kind of med student, but enough for me to take notes and draw pictures.

    so back to the big E. 

    what is it?

    you have to first get back to the basics of blood.  from my understanding, blood is made up of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets.  within the red blood cells you have proteins and plasma.  then there are these molecules that hang out on the surface of your red blood cells.  they're called agglutinogens and there are 2 types: type A and type B.  that's what makes up your blood type.  if your blood doesn't have A or B then you have type O (or "zero" or the absence of A and B).  so that's where people have either these 4 blood types: A, B, AB or O.

    then there's the Rh protein (or the Rh factor) that hangs out on the surface of your red blood cells too.  you either have it or you don't.  that's where the + or - comes in with your blood type.  so for example, if you're blood type is AB+ then you have type A and B agglutinogens and have the Rh protein.  and all this blood stuff is genetic...and can affect whether or not you have a high-risk pregnancy.

    not to make things more complicated but the Rh protein is made up of these antigens: D, Cc, Ee (there are also the kell, duffy and kidd genes possible, but they're very rare).  and you can have a number of different combinations within the D, C and Es when you factor in the dominant and recessive genes.  if there are 8 possible combinations (CDE, CDe, CdE, Cde, cDE, cDe, cdE and cde) for each parent then you've got a nice little mix of possibilities for each child.  and when that child is grown and has his/her own babies there is another fun set mixing, and so on and so on (this site has a neat little table if you're a visual person)

    if you've ever been pregnant you've probably heard about the Rh factor in pregnancy, and what happens if you're a mom who is Rh-.  apparently, this Rh factor that's most commonly talked about during pregnancy only addresses the D antigen (RhD). so if you've ever gotten a rhogam treatment it was for the D antigen.  why only the D antigen?  because the others are uncommon and occur only in a small percentage of RhD cases.  of course it is (please add sarcastic tone to that statement).  the more i read, the more i understand that genetics is very, very complicated...even if it's only looking into the blood factor. 

    here's the interesting thing about blood types: your blood is picky.  if you receive a transfusion you can't just get any old blood type.  it has to be compatible with yours.  if you get an incompatible blood it's going to attack that "foreigner" by killing off the red blood cells and produce antibodies (similar idea to when you get sick).  the same thing applies to having babies.  blood type is a factor in your pregnancy experience.  if your blood type is incompatible with your baby's blood type (hemolytic disease of the fetus or newborn) then you could have issues.   

    now, i have never received a blood transfusion so the only other possibility of me developing the E antibody is through the exchange of blood types between me and one of my babies during childbirth.  it also means that my dear husband carries the (capital/dominant) E protein...which means that one (or some) of our 3 kids is carrying that same gene.  i, however, do not carry the capital E protein so when i was exposed to it, i developed the (capital) E antibody.  clear as mud?  of course.

    what's the next course of action?

    not much but pray :).

    i can't do a rhogam injection because that's only used to treat RhD.  i'll probably get titers done to make sure my big E levels don't get too high.  when it gets high, that's when it can cause fetal anemia (if the blood types cross paths) or super, worse (and very, very, very rare) case scenario of miscarriage, stillborn or hydrops fetalis.  however, it is possible to do an intrauterine blood transfusion if the fetus develops anemia.  after birth, the newborn baby will most likely develop jaundice because mama's blood has been trying to attack and break down all the baby's "foreign" red blood cells (most likely explanation as to why gibson and cash had jaundice, but emma did not). a lot of the information on how to handle anti-E requires medical intervention, which i am not a huge fan of.  obviously, when it's a medical necessity then i understand intervention is necessary. but i suppose it's important to first define what qualifies as medical necessity.  for example, there is a method via ultrasound that allows the baby to be monitored and checked for fetal anemia, which i think is a far better choice than the intrusive (and more high risk) amniocentesis.  but as we approach the birth of this baby, there will probably be other factors to consider, and we may have to consent to certain medical interventions that were not the norm during my other births for the health and safety of mother and baby.

    there's a 50/50 chance that the baby will carry the big E protein so it's hard to tell if there will be any "issues" at all.  most cases i've read, the worse and most common complication the babe experiences is jaundice.

    my only question, even after all this research, is why i can be Rh positive but still develop the E antibody.  is it because i don't carry the big E and just the little e, but maybe i carry a big D or C?  like i said before, genetics is very, very complicated.  any geneticists out there?  anyone?

    so...there you go.

    i know there hasn't been much updates with this pregnancy, but here's one "for the books."  ha!  quite frankly, i'm not worried, because i know the good Lord has it handled.  i feel like the information i've gathered has provided me with enough knowledge about the issue so that i'm not confused about it (especially when discussing this with my midwife).  i do want to put this information out there for any other mamas experiencing something similar since it's not something common experienced in pregnancy.

    ultimately, the outcome of all this is in the Lord's hands and i trust that he will work all things for good and for his glory.

    my search for anti-E led me to these places:


    wordless wednesday::girly-ness

    my girl and me embracing our girly-ness in matching skirts.

    more wordless wednesday here and here.
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