Yesterday, Matisse turned 4; in October, Theo turned 1; in September, Alex turned 6. With all their birthdays I have been looking at baby photos and rethinking about their births. I thought I would write them all down to keep the memories and share (if anyone's interested).

All 3 of my birth stories are very different. From a first traumatic birth, to a second easy healing birth,  and a last medically complicated pregnancy and delivery that still was very empowering. I learned that your birth team, your education and your mindset are all very important to get the delivery you would like.
Alex - Born 9/17/2013 at 8:00 pm - 20 inches and 9 lbs 6 oz

I had a very typical pregnancy, all day morning sickness in the first 15 weeks and then an uneventful pregnancy except for a baby measuring large at the ultrasound. At 39 weeks we agreed with the doctor that we would induce at 41 weeks if he was not born by then. So on week 41, at 6 am, I went to the hospital a nervous wreck as scheduled. There I was right away put on pitocin, no other prep like is usual, nothing. It was pretty slow at first until the doctor broke my water. Then, without telling me what she was doing she placed a fetal monitor on Alex's head (which is kind of screwed on the head of the baby, it fell out 2 times as he had too much hair and he had a screw mark on his head after the delivery).

After the breaking of the water the contractions came in strong and fast and after making it to 6 cm I decided to take the epidural. Then things slowed down until the time to push around 6 pm. I had let the epidural lapse a bit so I could feel my feet a bit but the pain was bearable. Eventually the epidural was gone and I was able to go on my knees, which really helped with my large boy. The doctor was very nervous, pacing back and forth, in and out of the room, and really no use. She had 2 students with her who were much more helpful and supportive.

At the 2 hour mark she decided it was time to get him out. Without really talking to me she had me go back on my back, a flurry of people entered the room and she gave me an episiotomy and pull him out with a vacuum. To this day this is the worse pain I have felt. That gave me a 3rd degree tear that was painful for weeks. I sat on a boopy pillow for a month (yay for nursing pillows!) and I am thankful for the lactation consultant at the hospital who taught me to breastfeed lying down.

After the delivery the doctor told me she was expecting a C-section because he was a large baby. Then when I mentioned that things were not feeling right at the tear she answered "well you had a baby, what were you expecting". From this I learned to carefully pick my birth team.

Matisse - Born 11/17/2015 at 6 am - 19 inches and 9 lbs 3 oz

For Matisse I changed doctor and hospital. I picked one of the only 2 doctors in Las Vegas that did VBAC as he was the most natural friendly doctor. I also hired a doula who was a midwife in training.

I had an even easier pregnancy with Matisse, no morning sickness, nothing! At 41 weeks we agreed to induce again, but with a balloon instead of pitocin. I was told it does not always work but it starts labor in 25% of cases and it it does not involve adding hormones to your body. The balloon was installed on the 16th at 10 am and I was sent home.

I went to bed and woke up at 2 am with some contractions. I went to the bathroom, the balloon fell out which meant at was a 3 or 4 cm already! I tried to go back to bed but couldn't so I started pacing around while everyone slept. After an hour or so I woke up my husband (it took 3 tries!) and started mentioning it may be time to go. I called the doula who said she was already at the hospital and would wait for us.

Now we had a 40 minutes car ride and although the contractions were bearable while standing and moving they were extremely painful while sitting! This was the longest car ride ever! I tried to stand and go on my hands and knees many times, untying my seatbelt while my husband kept telling me we were nearly there and to please buckle back up.

We made it to the hospital around 4:15 am and the doula helped me walk the long way to the maternity floor. Once we got there I was admitted right away, without checking as the balloon had already fallen out. By the time I was in a gown and they measure me I was a 9 cm. I remember thinking "wait, it's not that bad, I can do that" (plus at this point I had no choice anymore). After that everything went very fast and he was born at 5 am, with no intervention, no poke, total freedom of movement, a very calm supportive doctor who just sat there and waited.

It was a beautiful and healing birth. I did have a second degree tear but it was fixed properly and fixed the original tear as well, so it felt normal again.
Theo - Born 10/11/2018 at 10 am - 19 inches and 7 lbs 6 oz

For Theo's birth we had moved state, so I had a new midwife and I also hired a doula since I did not know the area hospitals. Although Theo's pregnancy started very easy, right at the beginning of the second trimester my blood pressure started going up. I was eventually medicated but at my 38 weeks my blood pressure shot up to 176. Of course it was the week my midwife was on vacation so the midwife I saw sent me to the hospital.

After the 5 minute drive to the hospital my blood pressure was at 186 and I was awfully stressed out. I was admitted right away and told I was having a baby now. That being said being early while I had been late for my past 2 pregnancies we were not ready and had no one to take care of Alex and Matisse. At this time they were in school for half days but my husband called the school and they agreed to keep the boys until 5pm.

Since I was now high risk and my midwife was out of town I got a doctor I had never met before. Then we call my doula and she was also out of town so she sent her back up whom I had never met before either. I was really nervous about this whole thing, angry and crying all at the same time as everything I had planned was looking like it was falling apart.

Eventually everyone got together we all sat down (doctor, doula, my husband) and had a long chat about how to move forward. It turns out the doctor was very communicative, patient, went over everything in details with me and was open to a lot of requests. The thing with high blood pressure is that you have to be on Magnesium which gets you stuck to the bed and makes you feel awful and really weak. Also, since I was very scared of the pitocin from my last birth, he agreed to take it very slow and I agreed to the magnesium as it is the safe thing to do.

So things start and I now have a massage cuff on each leg, a blood pressure cuff on my right arm, an oximeter on my finger (that I move around, it's an annoying little thing), a fetal and contraction monitor on my belly and an IV with 3 lines on the left arm, so I'm strapped to that bed.

For the first day nothing really happened, everything is going very slow (which is good). My husband sets up our babysitter to spend the night with the boys, luckily she was available! The night is really slow as well. Then in the morning it finally hits, contractions started coming in regularly, my water broke on its own and I had to move around the bed more (I still can't stand move much as I'm strapped everywhere and the magnesium makes me really weak and light-headed). The doula whom I had just met was doing a fantastic job. At this point I'm considering the epidural and my husband says "you are fine, you have done it before, you can do it". From then it was another hour of contractions and time for pushing. The pushing was really hard, and my blood pressure skyrocketed to 200, even with the magnesium (this is when I am glad I agreed to it!) but eventually I was able to go up on my knees and my little guy was born screaming and healthy.

I have to say that without the great doctor, doula, nurses and 2 previous births I would not have been able to do that.

I had to stay another 2 days in the hospital afterwards for more magnesium and also because my blood pressure never went back down and it had to be controlled with the right mix of medicine.

Eventually 2 weeks later I found a lump in my abdomen and when back to the OBGYN. They did an ultrasound and found my kidney was 3 times the normal size and covered in cysts. 3 months later I had the kidney removed and my blood pressure instantly came back down to normal. To this day we don't really know what happened to my kidney but I am again healthy with one healthy kidney!
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