Friday, November 2, 2012

Birth Story - Part One

I  had birth plans. Lots of them. 

 None of them happened.

Well, except the whole getting the baby out of my belly part. That happened. Which is the most important part of said plan. So in that way, all's well that ends well.

The Plan

I dreamed of a birth without medical intervention – a natural childbirth that occurred without induction, pain medication, or surgical procedures. I decided on this because I thought it would be best for ME and MY baby. (You might feel differently for you and your baby. That's great!) I felt it was the healthiest option for us both and it fit into my ideals about birthing as a physical, emotional, and spiritual journey and rite of passage. I also thought that a childbirth that forced me to cope with my pain would cause me to trust in and rely on God in a way that no other experience could.

My birth went differently than I had planned in almost every way. Ironically, for this very reason I was forced to rely on God in a different and possibly more difficult (for me, the control freak) way than I had originally imagined.

I chose the UNTHealth Nurse-Midwives as my health care providers. I strongly considered a home birth, but based on some stories from friends who had to transfer to hospitals from home and because of some concerns Tanner had, I decided the Nurse Midwives were a great option. They are six women who practice traditional midwivery, but in the setting of a hospital. You can even have a water birth. However, if something goes wrong or if you decide you want medical intervention, you are already there in the hospital. Because she is also a nurse, your midwife, who you have spent the last nine months building a bond of trust with, can continue to be your health care provider. She can even scrub in and assist if you need a C-section. I was comforted knowing that if I needed medical intervention I wouldn't have to be handed over to people who didn't support or understand my desires for my birth experience.

I remember praying with Tanner in the waiting room before our meet-and-greet appointment with the Nurse Midwives and asking for God to confirm whether he wanted us to partner with these women and trust our baby's birth and my birth experience to them. The confirmation I felt during our meeting was so overwhelming. Turns out, a home birth would have been disastrous anyway considering that at the time Ailee was born, our home was in complete, floor-ripped-out renovation mode. Sawdust and nail guns shouldn't be part of anyone's birth plan, unless you're planning on giving birth to Pinocchio or something.

During my prenatal care, I worked with my midwives to make important decisions about the baby's impending birth. They were on board with all my hopes. The book I read to prepare for birth was Birthing From Within, which I recommend if you are wanting a natural childbirth. It's super tree-hugger-ish and earth-mother-ish, but it is a great preparation tool. I also took a child birth class based on Birthing From Within led by an amazing woman, Natalie Meek at Labor With Love, who took many concepts of the book and adapted them to fit them into a Christ-centered perspective. God used her as a great tool to prepare and soften my heart because when I was so rigid about my natural-childbirth dreams and philosophies, she gently reminded me that while those goals were wonderful and I should pursue them, whatever decisions I had to make to get my baby here safely and healthily were ones that could be celebrated. I was not a failure if the birth went down a path other than the one I had so carefully scripted. I needed that message in my heart. 

The Birth Begins, Sort of

My water broke at 1:00 am on June 19th, two days before my due date. This still impresses me because one of the Midwives said she thought I would not be too late or too early, but right on my due-date, give or take a couple days. Cue Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

It took me a while to realize my water had broke (Is that even correct grammar?) because I hadn't experienced any contractions yet. I woke up in the middle of the night, went to the bathroom, and when I swung my leg up to get back in bed, some fluid came out. TMI, but I had been having a little bit of incontinence in the late stages of pregnancy, so I chalked it up to that. I changed my underwear and got back in bed.

A lot of tossing and turning ensued, followed by some more fluid, another clean set of XXXXL granny panties and about 10-15 frantic minutes on my iPhone Googling the crap out of "how do I know if my water broke?" When I got up to go to the bathroom again, I had another large gush of clear fluid. I did a bunch of bizarre stuff like smelling the fluid and taking PH tests before I finally decided my water had broke and called the midwives. I know it seems dense, but I was so confused because I'd had no labor. Everything I'd read said only 10% or less of women experience their water breaking before labor starts.

Yay for being the 10%.

The Midwife on call said it sounded like my membranes had ruptured, and she encouraged me to stay at home and labor until my contractions were consistently close together and strong. I'd never get to labor at home, though.

I filled Tanner in on what was going on. I was never really able to go back to sleep after that. I mostly laid in bed and looked up stuff on the Internet. The longer I waited with no labor, the more confused and anxious I got. I also started noticing that the fluid (which was CONSTANTLY leaking from me) had a greenish tinge to it. Some more iPhone research gave me the suspicion that it was meconium staining, meaning that the baby had released a bowel movement into the amniotic fluid before birth. Another call to my midwife confirmed the likelihood of this. She didn't sound too concerned, though, and said to keep an eye on the darkness of the fluid, which at that time was a very light barely-there green.

At some point in the morning, I started having a surge of contractions close together and stronger than anything I had experienced up the that point. It was nothing compared to what I would feel later, but at that point, I didn't know what to expect! Everything Tanner and I had learned about the 5-1-1 rule (contractions are 5 minutes apart, one minute long, and last for one hour) went out the window. Being 45 minutes away from the hospital and having a friend who barely made it there in time to pop her little sucker out, Tanner was ready for us to GO! I called the after hours number, and while we waited to hear back, we got our stuff together, picked up my mom who was staying next door at our friend's house, and hit the road, JACK.

On the way, the Midwife called me back and said, "DO NOT COME TO THE HOSPITAL." It was too soon, and she was worried if I was there too early, I would not end up with the birth I wanted. We were all already in the car, though, and not wanting to waste the gas, we headed into town anyway for some health food. Since I couldn't fulfill the stereotype of the small-town girl having her water break in Walmart, ala Natalie Portman in Where the Heart Is, I figured tottering around McDonalds with a larger-than-life maxi pad full of amniotic fluid while occasionally hunching over with small contractions as I ordered a sausage biscuit that would probably make it's reprise as I pushed my baby out was a close second.

Next we headed to the car vacuum station station to clean the truck out. I had a decent contraction there when I got out of the car, and when the attendant saw the whale grimacing in the parking lot, he decided to give us a coupon for a free car wash. Gold level. I never get gold level. Yay.

Next it was back home where we installed the car seat and took the dogs for a loooong walk. My "labor" had pretty much slowed to non-existent, so I hopped up on a step stool and started painting ceiling trim.

At 1pm, 12 hours after my membranes had ruptured, we called the midwives. I updated them on the situation, also letting them know that the green tinge in my fluid had gotten a little darker. They told us to come in.

As far as the story goes, I'll end it there for now and pick it up later. It's a long (30 hour +) story.

(All the photos, except for the disgusting one of me in my pink bra, are by Recollections Photography)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Announcing Ailee Grace Haynes! 3 months later...

She's been in our lives for three months, and I think it's taken me that long to pause, take a breath and just appreciate the miracle that is our baby, Ailee Grace Haynes.

Photo by Recollections Photography

Ailee Grace was born on June 20 around 9:00 am at Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth. She was delivered by Summer Latta of the UNT Nurse-Midwives Group. Our lil' booger weighed 7 lbs 14oz and was 20 inches long. In the delivery room were me (duh), Tanner, my sister, Kathleen, my nurse-midwife and another helping nurse. Waiting eagerly outside, wondering if they were having a granddaughter or grandson, were my mom and dad.

I was so happy to hear that the sweet thing kicking me in the bladder and punching me in the ribs for the last few months was a little girl. I had a feeling during the whole pregnancy that she was a she. And she was!
Photo by Recollections Photography

Boy names were a lot easier for Tanner and I to agree on for some reason, but we had girl names narrowed down to two selections and decided on Ailee Grace in the delivery room after the baby was born. Yes, no one knows how to pronounce it. She'll get over it. For the record, the "ai" makes the same sound it makes in rain, brain, aim, exclaim, maintain, etc etc.

We got the name Ailee from the Irish/Scottish name Aileen. We considered naming her Aileen and calling her Ailee, but then I thought I'd just name her what I planned on calling her. I hoped I was saving her from having to double correct on the first day of school for the rest of her life.

"It's Ai-Leen, not Eye-Leen, and, actually, I go by Ailee."

Anyway, both my sister and I have Irish Gaelic names, and I thought it would be nice to carry on the tradition because it's something my Grandpa Sullivan would have loved. Also, the name was similar to my middle name, Alene, which is the name of my Great Aunt Alene, with whom I'm very close. Tanner's Grandma Haynes, Shirley's, middle name is Aileen. Also, we just liked the way it sounded.

Meaning was also important to me. I know when your kid introduces itself for the rest of it's life, no one is going to know whether his/her name means noble warrior, fair and beautiful or toe-jam picker.  But, I do think names can be a prayer over your children and serve as a way to encourage them, especially if you share the meaning with them and remind them of it through out their life.

Aileen means "light bearer." So we pray that Ailee will bring the light of Christ into the world – into her personal relationships with friends, into her interactions with strangers she meets, into the lives of her husband and children and grandchildren if she has them, and unto the nations of the world.

Grace has so many meanings that we pray over Ailee's life. We pray that she would receive God's grace through Jesus Christ and that she would be a witness to it all her life. And, we pray that Ailee would act with grace – that she will live and walk in kindness, love and mercy.

It took me a long time to get this post written. Sort of like ***weird analogy coming up*** how it took a loooooooong time for my sweet baby girl to take the head-first plunge down the fun-filled water slide that was my aching birth canal. I plan for that – my birth story – to be my next post. I don't know when I will get that written, though; this whole baby thing is pretty demanding. For now, I guess I should go get Ailee from the couch where I propped her up to watch Real Housewives of New Jersey.

It was the only way I could keep her occupied enough for me to write! Just kidding. Maybe.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Getting Ready for Baby - Scripture for Labor/Delivery

Right now, I'm feeling Baby Haynes' little footsie test the elasticity of my skin as it presses against the top of my tummy.

I'll tell you one thing about pregnancy: It has brought me to sheer and utter awe at how stretchy the human skin is. I just hope it's as good at shrinking as it is at stretching.

Mainly, "getting ready" for Baby has meant tackling long-needed renovations to our home. These things were on the schedule to be completed months ago, but since we were tackling them DIY-style, hectic work schedules, insane travel schedules (really, what's wrong with a FALL WEDDING, people!!??), and family illnesses postponed the work. Once we (read: ME) reached about 35 weeks pregnant and saw that none of our projects had been completed, it dawned on us that something was about to hit the fan -- and let me tell you, it wasn't a bunch of daises. So, we bit the bullet and decided to pay someone to finish most of the work.

I've posted some updates on Facebook from the home reno front, and many people have responded that it's so cute how I'm "nesting." I don't know what typical nesting is supposed to look like, but I don't think it  involves ripping out all of your old house (popcorn ceiling, carpet, door and floor trim), replacing it with new stuff (hardwood wood floors, ceiling, floor, and door trim, and new ceiling texture/wood ceilings) and painting every inch of vertical, horizontal and upside down space. I feel like I'm past the whole cutesy nesting concept. I'd love to be reorganizing my kitchen cupboards and washing and folding baby clothes. But all my baby stuff is in storage in our shop and my kitchen is a main thoroughfare for paint- and mud-caked boots. But if this house project IS considered nesting ... I'm that robin with the fear of God burning in her eyes and every feather standing up on edge as she tries to build her entire nest in the middle of a rain storm 10 minutes before it's time to squeeze a watermelon-sized egg out of a grape-sized hole.

But it's all good. We can live in a teepee in the back yard if Baby comes early.

On a much more calming front. Although I'm a terrible procrastinator, I did set aside some time this week to work on some preparations for my impending labor. I made my labor playlist and downloaded it to my phone, set up a contact group so we could alert close friends and family when it's time to pop, and I gathered a collection of Bible verses to encourage and guide me through birthing. It actually took me quite a while to compile this list scripture, so I thought I'd share it. I organized  everything into categories that make sense to me:

God Makes Me Strong!
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Ephesians 6:10

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:29-31

But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded. 2 Chronicles 15:7

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14

Hope of the Joy to Come
A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. John 16:21

This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 18:24

Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5b

Don’t Be Afraid – God Is With Me and Will Give Me Strength and Peace
Do not be afraid, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 1:8

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. ”Isaiah 12:2

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Psalm 46:1-3

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:1-2

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

God Gives Comfort
I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.  Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. Psalm 34:4-5

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Isaiah 40:11

Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:8

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3   

Lord, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us. Isaiah 26:12

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29

Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer. Psalm 4:1

For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. Psalm 22:24

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Psalm 9:9

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah Psalm 32:7

You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry. Psalm 10:17

Trust God
We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal. Isaiah 26:4

Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust. Psalm 40:

            He has a plan for me…
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! Psalm 139:13-17

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,  before you were born I set you apart.” Jeremiah 1:5

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the
Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 29:11-14

God Will Provide All I need

God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Isaiah 58:11

God Is Faithful

“Listen to me, Erin, you whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am he who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” Isaiah 46:3-4

God Will Fight for Me and Protect Me
The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name. Exodus 15:2-3

The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Psalm 34:7

Bless Your Child
But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children— with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. Psalm 103:17-18

 I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord. 1 Samuel 1:27-38

Bring Glory to God
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things … and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1 Peter 5:8-9

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4

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