Alden’s Birth Story – a Successful VBA2C

Our fourth baby made his arrival on his due date – December 10 at 8:54 am. He weighed in at a hefty 9 lbs 12 oz and has a TON of hair. We’ve been home for a few weeks and are all settling in with our new little love.

Baby Alden

We named him Alden Roy. Alden means “old, wise friend” and Roy is after Luke’s maternal grandfather – the person who sparked his love of golf and so much more. So far he’s been a super sweet baby and perfect addition to our family.

Baby Alden

I like to document each kids birth story so I can remember the details of each day. We usually will read their birth story to them on their birthdays. They love hearing all the ups and downs of their original birth days.

Alden’s begins at 36 weeks pregnant. I had already had two c-sections, Lila’s because she was a surprise breech after laboring to 8 cm, and the boys at 34 weeks because I had preeclampsia. My doctor and I had already set a scheduled c-section date and I had just figured “that was that.”

Until my intuition told me to at least look up the options for having a vaginal delivery after two c-sections. I was surprised to learn that the risk of uterine rupture after two csections was only 1.36% and that more than 80% of women who do a trial of labor are successful in having a vaginal birth.

I brought this information up to my doctor at my 36 week appointment, expecting her to shut me down, but I was surprised by how open she was to discussing doing a vbac. We decided to take the last few weeks of my pregnancy week by week to see how things were going. At each appointment thereafter she became more and more optimistic about my having a vbac, until we actually cancelled my scheduled csection.

At 38 weeks I began having a lot of contractions, but they would always peter out. Then at my 39 week appointment, I was frustrated to learn I was not dilated at all. I began to second guess myself and got quite discouraged about being able to pull a vbac off.

I knew I had to go into labor on my own (you cannot induce with a vbac because it’s too hard on the uterus) and was starting to wonder if I would ever have this baby! On his due date, I decided to try what worked to start labor with Lila – spicy thai food. :)

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After dinner I went to bed feeling nothing. Around 12:30 am I was awakened with a strong, painful contraction. I didn’t think much of it because I had been having contractions for weeks. I laid in bed and timed the contractions, but they were only every 10-15 minutes so I tried to go back to sleep.

Over the next two hours the contraction became more regular and stronger, so I woke Luke up and called my mom to come over. As I hung up with my mom, I felt a POP and knew my water had broken. I ran to the shower and told Luke to pack our stuff up. I knew from my experience having my water break with Lila that labor was about to start for real.

Sure enough by the time we drove the 15 minute drive from our house to the hospital, I had had 10 contractions in the car. Originally my plan was to labor in the car outside the hospital for a bit because my doctor told me if I arrived not progressed much, my chances of a vbac would be lower. But when we arrived I knew I needed to go in. The contractions were every 3 minutes and painful enough I could not talk through them.

I’m so glad I went in when I did because it took THREE HOURS before I was given an epidural. That entire time I was having strong contractions about every 1-1.5 minutes apart. It felt like I was never able to get a break.

I went into the hospital expecting to have to fight for my wishes to have a vbac, but was surprised by how positive and accepting everyone was. The intake nurses didn’t bat an eye when I told them I’d had two csections already and the L&D nurse really didn’t even mention it.

I was also ecstatic to learn my doctor was at the hospital! She is part of a 10 doctor practice and is only there one night a week, so I was expecting to have a doctor I didn’t know, which would just complicate the whole situation further. Having her there helped me feel at ease and safe.

Any way, when I first arrived, they confirmed that my water did break. Then they checked me and I was only 3 CM dilated. I was discouraged at first, but kept reminding myself that I dilated from zero to 8 cm in five hours with Lila. And by the strength of my contractions, my body clearly knew what to do.

I had to wait what seemed like forever to get my epidural because I had high blood pressure when I arrived. Since I had a history of preeclampsia with the boys, they had to check some blood work before anesthesia would see me. Waiting on the results felt like forever! I kept focusing on breathing through the contractions and letting my body take over, but I cannot lie – I was SO HAPPY to finally get the epidural. Once I was finally able to relax, the nurse brought me a popsicle to celebrate.

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My doctor then came in and said since she had been there all night, she was going to run home to shower and nap and would come back to deliver me. Since I was only 3cm at my last check, we assumed we had several more hours to go.

She decided to check me before she left to gauge how much time she had. When she lifted the sheet, her eyes went wide and she said “Well never mind! We’re having a baby now!” Apparently his head was nearly coming out and a tuft of dark hair was visible.

Twenty minutes later Alden was born. When he came out everyone kept saying “OH WOW he’s a big boy!!” I was expecting 8 lbs or so, but was shocked when he weighed at 9 lbs 12 oz. I mean Lila was full term and only 6 lbs 8 oz. Crazy.

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They laid him on my chest and I was … just in shock. I was overcome with emotion. Love for my baby, relief that he was born safely, admiration for my determination and JOY that I had done it!

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Both my doctor and I started crying “we did it!” We hugged over Alden and I told her “You are doing exactly what God intended you to do. You are SUCH an amazing doctor. Thank you.” She told me later that I was her first patient to ever do a VBA2C and that she was now “a believer.”

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After two stressful emergency c-sections, Alden’s birth was my redemption birth. I loved being able to be an active participant and to know that my body was capable and strong. I still love my csection births and am beyond grateful they helped bring my three other babies safely into the world, but I am also happy I got to have the powerful experience of a vaginal birth. It’s pretty cool to say I’ve experienced both sides, because truly ALL births are beautiful in their own way.

My recovery went a lot better than with my csections. I was in a lot of pain postpartum after my csections and with my VBAC, I was up and walking around hours later. I even felt up for having photos taken 48 hours later in the hospital. Our amazing sitter and photographer Brittany Anne Photography took them.

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I will say, the long term recovery was a bit slower than expected. I had a second degree tear that reopened two weeks post partum. I think mainly because I pushed it too hard and didn’t rest enough. It was hard to rest with all that comes with the Christmas season and three older kids. I’m four weeks out now though and finally feeling fully like myself.

Alden is likely our last baby, so it’s bittersweet to say I’ll never be pregnant or give birth again. It’s hard to feel sad though when I think about how perfectly his birth went. I will cherish this experience birthing my last baby forever.

Baby Alden

Dear Lila: You’re Seven Years Old!

Dear Lila,

A few days ago you turned the big SEVEN! I keep telling you that you’re not allowed to get any older, but for some reason you’re not listening. ;)

This year you’ve been more excited about your birthday than any other year. We’ve been planning your party for months now and you woke up beyond excited. Daddy and I set up donuts with candles, balloons, rainbow flowers and presents for you in the kitchen.

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You got dressed up in your “alternate dress” for school, took your class treat (frosted brownies) and kissed me goodbye.

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For your special birthday lunch, you requested Lunchables pizza with a cookie treat. I tried to tell you that Lunchables are actually pretty gross, but you insisted! Sure enough when your brothers and I met you at school for lunch, you quickly decided that “Lunchables are yucky!!” Good thing I brought you a milkshake and salad from Zingos too. :)

This weekend you’re having 25 kids to the local gymnastics place for your birthday party. This is your first “big” party and you cannot wait to have fun with all your friends, and mostly to open all your presents. I’m going to be almost 38 weeks pregnant with your brother, so I called in all four of your grandparents to come as reinforcements.

What can I say about you at this age other than you are an absolute delight. You make daddy and I so proud with how sweet, considerate, smart and talented you are. You melt my heart daily with your little notes, drawings and “I love yous.”

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You are doing so well in first grade, where you’re learning to read like a pro. You recently asked us to get you a light for your bed so you can stay up reading at night. You also love making up your own stories, illustrating them and then reading them to your brothers in bed. They LOVE when you read to them!

You are also completely obsessed with art. Every morning you wake up, turn on your favorite show “Beastmasters” and get out your art supplies. By the time it’s time to go to school you’ve usually created 3-5 pieces of art already. You are also taking a drawing class at our local art studio, which you love.

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In addition to being creative, you also are quite physical. This fall you ran cross country again and placed your highest at 8th place out of 150 kids! You also are constantly on your climbing wall or pushing yourself to do new tricks on the playground.

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Beyond all your talents and accomplishments, I think what I love about you the most is how kind and loving you are. While your brothers may annoy you, you still are gentle and patient with them. You are a loyal and supportive friend to your classmates, and respectful to those around you.

Daddy and I love spending time with you because you’re so enjoyable to be around. On days where I feel like I’m failing as a mother, you always find a way to pick me up with a hug or by telling me “you’re the best mom ever.”

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Honestly on those days when I feel like I’ve not lived up to my best as a parent, I think “well I must be doing something right, because Lila is such a great kid.” And you ARE! Thank you for paving the path as the oldest in our family.

I can’t wait to see what new things you discover in your seventh year. I love living life alongside you and watching you grow up into a spectacular little girl.

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Love you always,

Mom

 

Baby Batman # 4

Our brood of little Batman’s is growing again! We are expecting our fourth baby at the beginning of December and are thrilled.


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I’ve always said I wanted four children and after the boys, just had a strong feeling that there was supposed to be one more in our family. Luke thankfully agreed and in January we decided to pursue getting pregnant.

Many of you already know our background, but in case others don’t, we conceived Lila easily, miscarried when she was 18 months old and then had unexplained secondary infertility. We tried for more than a year after my miscarriage with no luck and no real answers before pursuing fertility treatment, which led to conceiving twin boys, who are now three.

Since we had unexplained secondary infertility and no real medical reason why we couldn’t get pregnant, we decided to try on our own for awhile while also lining up next steps for treatment if it didn’t work. We met with our doctor in January and made plans to give it a go for six months on our own before getting help.

I started using the Ava bracelet to track my fertility closely. About three months into it, I went on a girls getaway to Mexico and kept joking with my friends that “maybe all I needed all along was a vacation!” The day after I got home, I tested without much anticipation and was shocked to see a very faint line.

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For my readers who have infertility, I wrote a separate post outlining what I was doing differently this time vs when we struggled. I don’t know if it contributed to our success, but I know I always wanted to know what changed for people.

Thankfully that line got darker as the days went on and by 5.5 weeks pregnant my typical morning sickness (all day sickness really) kicked in. And boy this first trimester was a doozy! My sickness was worse than even with the twins. I was dry heaving every 15 minutes and vomiting several times per day.

On top of the morning sickness, I came down with a horrid stomach virus at 7 weeks that lasted a full six day. Then almost immediately after that, I got bronchitis and laryngitis for another 7 days. I began to wonder how the baby could survive with how sick I was.

My doctor is amazing and worked to get my the right medicine support so I could be functional during the day and curb the vomiting so I could keep food down. At 10 weeks we confirmed the pregnancy and that there is just ONE healthy babe. I am 13 weeks now and still battle nausea every day – with it being worst at 4pm on, but am hopeful it will subside like my other pregnancies around 15 weeks.

The kids are all super excited about the baby in mommy’s tummy. Lila wants it to be a girl and the boys want it to be a boy (of course). We all agree that our already crazy house is going to be even more fun with a baby around.

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Thank you all for your well wishes and especially to my friends and family who supported me emotionally during this tough first trimester. We are so excited to meet this baby in December!

What Was Different This Time Around

I know a many of my reader have struggled with infertility in the past, so I wanted to share what I was doing differently this time around vs when we struggled to conceive. Keep in mind we had no diagnosed cause for our infertility, but I still wanted to share as a few friends have already asked.

Of course I’m not a doctor and this is not medical advice. Just my thoughts on what I think helped.

1. I used the Ava bracelet. My cycles were always very consistent even when we struggled, but the Ava helped me to see that I ovulate later than I thought – day 16/17 vs day 14/15.

2. About six months before we started trying I began to use natural progesterone cream in my luteal phase. This was after having symptoms of estrogen dominance – heavy, clotting periods, insomnia, breast tenderness and bad PMS. I researched and started using this OTC cream days after I ovulated. Within two months my symptoms pretty much disappeared including my year long battle with insomnia.

3. I was on the keto diet for 12 weeks prior to getting pregnant. I also remembered when I got pregnant quickly with Lila I was on a low carb paleo diet. I followed Mark Sisson’s Keto Reset plan and found the gradual ease into Keto to work very well for me. The keto diet is supposed to reduce inflammation, balance hormones and balance blood sugar. I actually did not lose ANY weight being keto, but clearly my body was working on healing other things!

4. The final thing that was different was that my stress level around TTC this time was very low compared to when we struggled. I was in an emotional nightmare then and this time I knew we had a backup plan, so I felt no anxiety or worry. I know they said stress doesn’t cause infertility, but when you read up on things like the pregnenolone steal, it’s hard to believe that emotional stress doesn’t play some role. During my TWW this time around I was relaxing with great friends in Mexico. One day we slept 11 hours and laid by the pool all day! My stress level was extremely low and I think it was to the benefit of my body.

Those are the main things I think were different this time around. Whether they affected my ability to get pregnant or not I’ll never know for sure, but I do know I entered this pregnancy feeling healthy and confident. I hope some of this info helps any of you out there looking for answers!