Time to Level Up: My Experience With Baby #2

To God be the glory, my husband and I have not struggled with the process of conceiving a child. In fact, it only took one try for our second daughter. Well, we weren’t actively trying lol, but we definitely got lazy on my first day of ovulation *smacks forehead*. Needless to say, we have yet to experience pregnancy the conventional/traditional way. Our original plan was for me to continue to lose weight and to start trying in August of 2017, on our wedding anniversary. That mission was a complete fail. I became pregnant in January and gave birth in October. Unlike my first pregnancy, I knew right away. I remember being at the gym, barely able to keep my eyes open, and I could not for the life of me make it through my workout without having to pee every 7-10 minutes. I decided to purchase a digital pregnancy test from CVS afterwards on my way home, while James was still at work.

Of course I had to use the bathroom as soon as I made it in the house, so I couldn’t take the test right away; it’s a pain getting the test out of the wrapper when you’re in a rush to pee.  When I took the test, I was 80% sure that I was pregnant, but the other 20% was convinced I was experiencing PMS since I was expecting my cycle that week. As I waited for the results, I went back and forth between “I know I’m not pregnant” and “girl you know the very moment it happened!” Within minutes the test read “pregnant.”

At the time James, Taniya and I were back home living with my mother. I almost walked in her room to spill the beans, but I walked straight to my room and threw the test in my trash can instead. I tried so hard to wait until James got home, but he was taking so long to drive back up from Virginia.  I couldn’t hold it in anymore so I called and told him at the truck stop he was parked at for his break. To my surprise he was excited, shouted it to the other drivers around him, and kept saying “I knew it!”

I found out on a Saturday, so I scheduled my appointment with George Washington Midwifery Services on the upcoming Monday. The funny thing is, because of my lack of preparation and experience from my first pregnancy, I had already completed all of my research for this pregnancy in 2016. Maybe I jinxed myself? At the beginning of 2016 I started the search for a good midwife. When searching for a midwife, that then led me to a search for a doula. James and I had already gone to a “meet and greet” with the midwives at GW Hospital, so I already knew who to call once I was pregnant.

As soon as you know you’re pregnant, that’s when the all the symptoms start to come through. I immediately began to experience morning sickness. My struggle wasn’t vomiting, it was the terrible feeling of being nauseous nonstop and not having the ability to vomit. For those of you who haven’t experienced pregnancy, but have been miserably drunk before, it’s the painful feeling of closing your eyes and then feeling the room spin around, but only resulting to dry heaving.  I could smell the food restaurants were cooking while driving with the windows up, I could smell someone’s breath from across the room, I slept like a bear in hibernation and the constant urination persisted.

Since I knew I was pregnant so early (4 weeks to be exact), I had to wait a few more weeks before confirming the pregnancy with the hospital. My midwifery team preferred that you be at least 7 weeks along so that they can have a more successful ultrasound. I say team because that’s exactly what I had. I had a lead midwife by the name of Whitney, that’s who most of my visits were with, but I also had an appointment with several others because you never knew who would be on call the day/night you would be in labor and delivery. I loved that Whitney went with the size of the baby to estimate my due date, and used my last menstrual cycle as a reference. The baby’s size really gave us the best estimation. When she said that, it reminded me of my pregnancy with Taniya. My due date was based on my last menstrual cycle, but when I went to the hospital to be induced a week later, I was in early labor. That was the due date that I was actually given by a sonographer because of the baby’s measurements.

My first appointment changed my life and was one for the books. Since we were new to our home set up with James being the sole provider and me being a SAHM, we decided that it was best for him to go to work. It wasn’t our first rodeo, and we figured that he would be able to make all the others to come. Instead, my mother-in-law came as my support. Whitney came into the room with the brightest energy that filled the entire place. After introducing ourselves and getting through the verbal assessment, it was time to do the physical examination. She used the speculum (I like to call them duck lips) to open my vagina, and then handed me a mirror. I thought she needed it in order to see better, but she said “Ok take a look.” I responded “Oh my goodness, sure!” I could see the inside of my vagina walls, my cervix and the cervical mucus. That may sound gross to some, but it was an amazing experience. We are always taught about our bodies, but never get the experience to explore our anatomy in the way our doctors do. I’m so glad that I’ve known my mother-in-law since I was 14 and that she had already seen my naked body from being present for my first delivery. Homegirl was all up in the mirror LOL. But she too had a job to fulfill! Whitney handed my mother-in-law a tube to open and close once she placed the big q-tip used to take a culture of my cervix. I knew from that very moment that I was in for an out-of-this world experience with this pregnancy. Natural and involved is what I wanted, and that’s what I was getting.

To be continued…

My First Go At Pregnancy: Part Three

In part two, we left off at how my husband and I’s car broke down and it seemed like things couldn’t get any worse. Well, I wouldn’t say things got any worse, but they sure didn’t go as planned. Isn’t it funny how you will make a plan and God will give you the side eye and say, “Now you know you don’t have that sort of power!” ? I feel like I should be nice enough to say “viewer discretion,” or I apologize in advance for any graphic details you may read.

After months of successful prenatal appointments, at 37 weeks we hit a bump in our smooth sailing journey. Our princess Taniya was no longer measuring on target. She was actually measuring 3 weeks smaller, so our baby was now deemed small for gestational age. My once-a-week appointments then turned to three times a week. One appointment was for our normal prenatal visit, the other two were for an hour-long fetal monitoring. We went to the doctor three times a week until my induction.

Unfortunately, my nurse practitioner became concerned when it seemed the baby wasn’t growing anymore. She requested that we meet with one of the high-risk doctors, and we did. It was by far one of the worse and pointless medical appointments I’ve had in my life. I’m actually grateful that I can say that being as though many women have had several terrible appointments in their lives.

It was August 2nd, three days away from my due date. As soon as the doctor came into the room with James and I, he gave us a negative vibe. He went on to say that according to my previous prenatal visits the baby was no longer growing and was in the 39th percentile. I was approaching my due date and the baby was measuring about 35-36 weeks in size. He said that it was most likely due to my placenta no longer working properly, and that it was important that we scheduled a c-section that day. At this point James and I are holding hands, shaking and confused. I told him my due date was only three days away, and asked if we could at least wait until then to see if labor starts on its own. I also had a hair appointment scheduled the next day and didn’t want to miss it.*Kanye Shrug* I had planned on going into the hospital and meeting my baby with my hair looking fresh!

The doctor went on to say, “Let me tell you this… labor and delivery is a matter of life and death for both the baby and mother. Our job is to make sure that both you and the baby are as safe as possible. But we can not make sure of that if we don’t get that baby out as soon as possible. If your placenta is no longer functioning, it is no longer a safe place for the baby. At this moment, there’s a chance that something could happen to you or the baby.” He should have never said that. It took everything in me not to break down and cry. But before I could, he then said, “Let’s take an ultrasound to get a look at the baby.”

He began to look. “Hmm… your amniotic fluid looks great.” “Let’s check out the heart rate… Wow, the heart beat is perfect.” “Okay, well let me get an estimate birth weight for the baby… I’m actually seeing that the baby is about 7 pounds 12 ounces.” “Your baby and placenta look healthy.” Nothing but God! I was so disappointed that the doctor would tell us all those terrible things before taking a look himself. But when I think about that appointment today, I wonder if what he said could have been true, but God turned it around for us in that room? With all the knowledge I have today, I’m 100% sure that the medical staff didn’t have it right. During my earlier appointments, Taniya would be super active and run away from any attention. I mean literally move to one half of my stomach during the measurement and Doppler reading. I was also told from a specialist that my baby measured a week or so smaller from the sonogram. I didn’t think anything of it though. Near the end of my pregnancy, I’m also convinced that she was engaged in my pelvic area and had dropped so low that the measurements were off. BUT I’m also 100% sure that God was with us and blessed my baby to show up on the ultrasound and shut that doctor’s negativity all the way down.

My due date arrived and there were no signs of labor or baby. My nurse practitioner decided that I would be induced the following week. I can’t say that I tried everything to get the baby to come naturally now that I am aware of all the options. I definitely tried to walk a lot and even jogged a little out of desperation. We tried having sex in order to soften my cervix, but to be honest once my third trimester hit, I hated kissing and having sex. Kissing and sharing spit was disgusting to me, and having sex seemed like it was more of a business ordeal. Poor James…

Before you know it, it was time to be induced. I couldn’t sleep and barely ate because I was so nervous. I kept on anticipating the pain that I would be in, and I feared what life would be like once the baby was born. Would my daughter love me or cry whenever I tried to love on her? Would I be a good mother? Was I capable of having someone’s life depend on me? After James and I checked in (at midnight on August 12th 2011), I broke down in the room. I was so scared! Being induced was not a part of the plan. In mind, I was walking into planned-pain. When you start labor naturally, it catches you off guard so you don’t have the choice to run away from it. At that moment, I could have run out of those hospital doors!

After getting setup on all the monitoring machines, the first nurse on shift said “You’re actually in early labor, you don’t feel any contractions?” I told her no, and she responded with “Well you’re about to feel them once I start this Pitocin.” She was right. Moments later the pain began to hit. A few hours after that, the first doctor on duty ruptured my membranes (broke my water for those of you who support and may not know 🙂 ). When I tell you that was also painful, I mean it! It was like she tried to stretch my cervix open to aid in dilation. When she broke the sac, James watched and he began to gag. I laugh at his reaction now, but I got nervous when I saw it that day. There was meconium (poop) in the sac so he watched it ooze out. (I couldn’t think of another word outside of ooze. I know it sounds nasty.) Boy oh boy, when she broke my water that really increased the amount of pain I was feeling. Not to mention, every few hours, the level of Pitocin being sent in the IV was increasing. I was losing it, but I was not going to give in. I couldn’t start labor naturally, but I was going to deliver that baby naturally. I insisted that I did not need an epidural.

Finish reading in My First Go At Pregnancy: Part Four!

To Cover Up or Not to Cover up?

Let’s me just start by saying, breastfeeding is wonderful. Despite the many questions and negativity that surrounds it, I love it. “Does it hurt?” “That doesn’t feel sexual to you?” “I can’t have no baby sucking on my boob, it’s just weird.” I’ve heard it all and I’m still pro-boobie. Why? My top three reasons: (1) It’s the most healthiest thing to give your baby. (2) It’s free. (3) I don’t have to shake and warm a bottle every time my baby is hungry.

My goal was to nurse my 6-year-old until she was 6 months. That didn’t work out and I ended up supplementing with formula around 4 months. This time around, I intend on nursing for an entire year or more. I’m confident I’ll be able to accomplish that since I’m more educated and experienced this time around.

My only issue is breastfeeding in public. The goal of many moms around the world is to normalize breastfeeding. I am SO for it. I believe every women should be comfortable nursing her child without being “sexualized” or called disrespectful and disgusting for nursing in public. With that being said, every nursing mom has her preference.

I nurse in public all the time, but I prefer to be covered. I don’t necessarily feel comfortable with strangers being able to see my breast. I just prefer to have as much privacy as possible. My definition of being covered means my shirt is covering my breast or I have a blanket/nurse cover to cover my baby and I. On the other hand, my daughter gets very wild and shows the world my breast anyway and I suck that up lol. I’m blessed in the breast department so I’m pretty sure someone has gotten a show plenty of times, but it didn’t worry me.

I decided to quickly blog about this for a little relief. Not to down women who use formula or women who don’t cover up while breastfeeding, but for ME. This week alone I’ve had two nightmares where I was nursing in public and a man-made me feel very uncomfortable. I don’t know where it’s coming from so instead of being silent, I’ve decided to release it and move forward.

I’ve felt stuck in the middle for quite some time, but now I know what I’m comfortable with and stand firm in my decision. Some nursing women will look at you crazy for covering yourself up, and others along with people who don’t nurse will judge for not being covered. It all comes down to what is best for you and your baby. Nothing else matters! More recently I’ve been growing more comfortable with the process and relief of not having to hold a nursing cover in place from my wild child. My goal is to focus on letting that mommy milk and love flow.