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Saturday, February 23, 2013

My Second Birth Story

Erika 1 Minute Old

I believed when I was forewarned by my doctors, family and friends that second births would be FAST! However, I did not think it would be THAT FAST! WOW!
I woke up at 5:00 am with what I thought might be Braxton Hicks, but they were a tad bit stronger so I wasn't sure. I timed 3 of them 10 minutes apart and called my Douala at 5:30 to let her know. She said if they start becoming closer together and stronger to give her a ring again. As soon as I hung up the phone they started to become closer, so we left the house right away to drop off our toddler at his grandparents and head to the hospital.
When I arrived, I seemed ok. I even contemplated whether to fake more pain or not so they will take me in for sure and not send me home! When they took my registration information, I asked right there if I could sign the papers for the Epidural right away instead of having the asthesist read me a long list of warnings and waivers while I labor in pain.
Anyhoo, the registration lady, said no, she didn't handle that and that I would have to ask the nurse. They rolled me into the assessment room, where my Douala and mid wife came to meet me and to check how far I was along.
Apparently I was 5cm dilated already! Amazing ! I asked her this time, "Can you please make sure i get the epidural? It's really important to me that I get the epidural, ok?"  She said "yes of course" and left the room to make arrangements to admit me to a proper hospital room.
My contractions after the exam went from a scale of 3 to 8 and I started howling my "OOOOWWWW", "OOOOOOWWWWW", "EPIDURAL PLEAAAAASSEE!!" - a nurse came in and said ok, lets get her in the chair and they started to roll me to the assigned room.  She asked if she should stop during my contractions but that would mean my Epidural would be delayed, so I said "No No, just go go!"  As we were in the elevator, I started to feel the urge to push, but was afraid to let anyone know, as they might not give me my Epidural! So I howled away as they pushed me to the bed. At this point I was screaming "No, I'm pushing! I don't want to push, No!!!" 
I heard someone ask if I wanted Gas and I said very firmly "NO GAS, I WANT THE EPIDURAL NOW!" But ofcourse, that was not possible, as I wasn't even on the bed yet, nor got an IV  started. 
As I was climbing onto the bed, I heard "Stop pushing, I can see her eyes!!!"
OMG! I thought. What??? My body was on autopilot really and I didn't know how NOT to push. My Douala shouted "look at me! breath short breaths, hah hah hah hah" I used all my effort to open my eyes and look to focus on short breaths and not pushing for the life of my child, I needed to do this.  I was afraid for my baby's life, not sure why, but just was. So I did everything they told me.
As soon as I climbed on the bed, (on all fours), I heard, "ok, you can push now" and just like that after a couple of pushes Erika was born!  I was shocked, stunned, and thankful that we were both alive! For some reason, I doubted my body, had morbid fears of one of us dying, and fears that Erika would be born missing fingers or toes. I was afraid of the pain of not having an epidural and before I knew it I gave birth absolutely drug free!
She was PERFECT! I didn't even tear below! I entered the hospital at 6:45 and she was born 7:46.
7.4 Pounds and Absolutely Healthy! (see her 1 minute photo above)
There it is short fast sweet and miraculous! And to be very honest, it didn't hurt as bad as I thought it would.

Friday, February 15, 2013

RA and Acupuncture during Pregnancy

Acupuncture at Accumamas

Wow, I didn't think I'd be even later with my second child. Lucas was born 40 weeks plus 6 days and was naturally induced with the help of the verbena augment tea.  Erika now is 41 weeks plus 1 day and still quite enjoying life in the womb.  I've had 4 sweeps, 3 doses of the Augment Tea, and finally I thought I'd give acupuncture a try. My midwife recommended Accumamas, who specialize in acupuncture and Chinese medicine during pregnancy. Check them out at:

Since I have RA, I tried acupuncture once before for my inflamed wrist, however found that the heat that was added to the needles aggravated my wrist further and my flare got worst. Ever since then, I have not tried again. But, since I'm anxious to see my little Erika out and healthy, I thought I'd give it a go. 

By the time I got Lucas and myself ready, dropped him off at is grandmas, and arrived at my appointment, I was stressed and breathless. My technician was Renee and she didn't seemed bothered that I was a bit late and on the phone the entire time I was filling out the new client questionnaire, but instead said "Take your time... , whenever you are ready.."

After submitting the form, she lead me upstairs to the treatment room and we took about 10 minutes to chat about my concerns and purpose for the treatment. It was quite clear that I was there to induce labor.  I've also learnt that a few factors must work together including:

1. Cervix Effaced
2. Baby's head engaged
3. Cervix moving from anterior to prosterior
4. Contractions
5. Dilated

At my last check up, I was told that the head was low and engaged, but my cervix was still high and about 1.5cm thick and I was dilated about 3cm. She also mentioned that she could feel baby's head, which I couldn't grasp how that could be possible with my cervix being "high" and "thick". But after research and asking Renee, I came to understand the cervix was still in the anterior position and needs to move forward.

Anyhoo, these are probably the big questions:

What was the treatment like? Did it hurt?

I'm absolutely a wimp when it comes to needles but I can tell you honestly, it didn't hurt at all! Some points I didn't even know she had inserted the needles already. She put a point in my forehead, a few in my lower back, a couple in my feet and ankles and one in my hand. She then twisted the needles to stimulate the trigger points and asked me rest for 10 minutes. I of course couldn't rest and wanted to fiddle with my phone and check my emails. I noticed that my hands started to grow weak and when I moved I could then feel the trigger points in my back, so I threw my phone on the floor and rested! She came in as I dozed off and stimulated the points again and left me to rest more. After another 10 minutes, she took the needles off and they came off as discreetly as they were put in.

Did the treatment work?

Here is the BIG question. Well, I must say, I had my doubts and went about my day. I did start to feel a bunch of braxton hicks contracions in the late afternoon. Nothing seemed to be different in the next 24 hours; however, at my next check up, I was told my cervix did shorten from 1.5cm to .5cm and I was 3 - 4cm dilated compared to 2-3cm dilated. There was progress indeed and I did end up giving birth 2 days later to an amazing healthy daughter.  My labor was extremely short and perhaps the acupuncture played a role? I'm not sure, but glad I went.

Did the treatment affect the RA symptoms?

There was no heat involved in this treatment so I did not find that I flared at all afterwards. Another consideration is that RA is suppose to be in remission during the last trimester, but I DID flare a couple days ago before this treatment and tackled it with a dose of Enbrel. 
(Again for those who are curious about Enbrel during Pregnancy, please see my previous post). I called motherrisk to confirm.

Well there you have it. I will post my birth story next. Stay Tuned~

Sunday, February 3, 2013

40 Weeks Pregnant Plus 2 Days - Verbena Augment Tea Natural Labor Inducement

So I had ANOTHER membrane sweep done a couple days ago and still NO Baby Yet!

I did however feel regular braxton hicks contractions from 4am to 6am last night every 10 minutes though.  I ended up sleeping as the tightening in my tummy was not painful at all and woke up the next day with no further progress; except for the continuous loss of my mucus plug. 

For people who wonder how a mucus or part of mucus plug looks like, I recommend googling the image. You can see for yourself.

So here I am 2am, at 40 weeks plus 2 days, contemplating whether I should make the Augment Tea that I drank last time with Lucas and absolutely worked!  See:

I would be using the same bottle of verbena oil and the shelf life as I've read online is about 3 years, so we are cutting it close. It may not work at all or it may? Are we really ready?

Well, I'm going to decide and keep you posted if I do prepare this and drink it and if it works again, then this "Tea" is golden!


Feb 4th Update - 40 weeks plus 3 days

So I did prepare the Verbena Labor Induction Cocktail however this time I stuck with the recipe to the T! I mean it said only 5 Drops of verbena oil, so this time only 5 Drops!  If you read my blog from Lucas's birth, I was both eager and skeptical of this cocktail, so I probably put 10 drops in my brew and ended up with crazy contractions that were one after the other.  OOOOWWWWW!!!

I drank a dose this morning at 11am, and right after put me to sleep for an hour. No contractions, or signs of labor by 7pm, so I made another dose and drank that. Again, it put me right out for another nap.  It is now 12am and I'm brewing yet another batch.  I wonder why this time it is taking much longer? I am using the same bottle of verbena oil, so maybe the potency has decreased? Anyhoo, I'm sticking with 5 drops and if I don't labor, well at least it relaxes me enough to put me to sleep tonight.  I will keep you posted! Thanks for reading. (Click on link above for the recipe if you are interested).