The home water birth of Cody James

I have started writing this post many times, and many times have erased the thoughts I have splattered on the screen.  I guess it’s difficult to sit down and write out your birth story…to pick the parts that matter and leave some of the details that don’t matter.  So, I will attempt it once again and use the photos as my guide to sharing one of the best days of my life with you.

I started having contractions around my due date that were incredibly irregular.  I felt so ready to meet my little boy and not be swollen and pregnant anymore.  The contractions continued for a few days until one afternoon 3 days after my due date.  

I called my midwife, Sonya, to let her know what was going on, and she said just to keep an eye on things and see if/how things progressed.  It was about 4:30 in the afternoon at that stage, and the rest of the night I paid close attention to every twang.  After a few hours, things were getting a little stronger but still irregular.  I moaned through each contraction to keep myself calm and relaxed (and laughed a little when hubby said from the other room “What are you doing?”).  We kept calling Sonya to update her and see if this was really it.  I remember doubting that it was, because the contractions were so irregular, but at 10 pm that night, there was blood in my underwear (something Sonya told us to watch for).  We gathered our things and slowly made our way to Sonya’s house where I would have the home water birth I wanted.

The car ride wasn’t as bad as I thought.  Neither were the contractions.  They were definitely manageable, even as they continued to gain strength.

When we arrived at Sonya’s house, I walked in the room I was to birth in and immediately knew this was going to be the birth I wanted.  The room was dark with candles lit everywhere and twinkle lights.  Everyone was calm, yet I could feel the excitement in the air.

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My student midwife, Stephanie, checking baby’s heartbeat in the middle of a contraction.

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Hubby reminding me not to tense my shoulders during a contraction (something I asked him to do).

After a few hours, I knew I must be approaching transition, because I was beyond ready to get in the birthing pool and I started to feel the urge to push.  Sonya said that was great but to hold off until my body pushed on its own.  

Let me take a quick intermission and tell you that I was determined not to be two things throughout my labor: A screaming angry woman and a woman begging for an epidural.  I knew I could do this, and I knew I could stay sane in the midst of it.  

Anyway, I put off asking to get in the pool as long as I could stand it and finally asked.  It was a massive pool, and Jorga (the midwife’s daughter and a dear friend to me) and Stephanie (the student midwife) had been boiling water to fill it with for the whole time we’d been there.  Sonya gave me the go ahead as soon as they had it filled, which was only a little while later.  

Getting into the pool felt amazing.

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Me and hubby during a contraction. This was pretty much the setup for the rest of the birth.

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In between contractions

Soon after entering the water, my body started pushing.  Now, before this moment, I thought pushing would involve a voluntary bearing down that I would enjoy knowing it meant progress.  Boy, was I wrong.  For me, pushing was a completely involuntary thing that my body did, and I just had to ride the wave.  

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Pushing

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A short break between contractions. Sonya checking baby’s heartbeat.

My contractions never did get regular, so I would have 3 or 4 big pushing contractions and then a longer break, 3 or 4 more and so on.  

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In between pushing contractions.

I could feel the baby coming down, and I knew the time would come soon.  That didn’t stop me from thinking, “How much longer?”  Many women speak of birth being like a mountain you climb, and pushing was the part of this journey where I could see the top but everything ached and all I wanted to do was let go.  

At one stage, I heard Sonya calmly say to Pamela (the 2nd midwife) that I might need to get out of the pool because I was bleeding.  I could only see a slight bit of bleeding, and Sonya was calm, so I wasn’t worried.  I knew somehow that I wouldn’t need to move.  Looking back now, I know that things could’ve become serious very fast.  The bleed was fairly massive, but it ended up being a tear and not a hemmorhage.  (I will spare you the photos of the bleed).  We found out later that Cody had his hand on his cheek and at the last minute brought it down which caused the tearing.

I don’t know how much longer it was after that, but it felt like an eternity.  I was sweating, exhausted, shaking from weakness, and irritable (but only in my head).  I was ready to meet my son and have the stage called “pushing” over with.  

And then, suddenly, Sonya said, “Samantha, reach down and pick up your baby.”  I looked down into the water and saw my sweet boy floating peacefully.  I will never forget that moment.

I used to think that love at first sight was a fluke…but after seeing my son for the first time and falling head over heels, I know it is a truth that every parent has experienced.  

I looked over at my husband after Cody was out of the water and saw the look of love and emotion on his face.  We both cried tears of joy and knew our lives would never be the same.

(Sorry I don’t have photos from this part.  Someone took photos, but they got lost in the shuffle…so so sad about that).

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Cody JamesImage

I am more than excited to tell you all that I am finally an exclusive breastfeeder, and Cody is doing very well.  He gained nearly a pound in the last 10 days from my breastmilk (making up for lost time). 

As for me, I’m getting my mojo back.  I hired a teen girl from my church to come to my house and help clean/cook/babysit once a fortnight, and that has helped open up possibilities for me.  Also, my instincts are starting to allow me to relax a bit more in this job called mothering and enjoy it more.  I no longer tense up every time Cody cries, and I am more relaxed about letting someone watch him while I take a shower or do my make up.  It still warms my heart that he knows who his mama is, though.  🙂

Cody is 8 weeks old today.  He is smiling, making all kinds of “talking” sounds, and is starting to try to grasp things.  He can roll onto his back from his tummy, although he hates tummy time.  He is into the next size up in clothes already!  My little boy is already growing so much, and I have mixed feelings.  I want him to stay little, but I am also so excited for each stage he will go through.

I don’t feel like this post is organized at all, so let me just say that I keep having dreams that he has a full mouth of teeth suddenly and I didn’t get to experience the teething process.  Perhaps this is from my fear of the teething process.  I know it will be interesting.  Have any of you tried the amber teething necklaces/jewelry?  I am planning on getting one for myself and Cody and hoping they work.

I am getting my hair cut tomorrow.  It’s amazing how such simple things become such a huge luxury once a child is in the picture.  The girl I have helping is going to hold sweet Cody while I get it chopped.  I am thinking to get it cut just above my shoulders so that I can wear it in a style besides just a top knot and wear it down whilst breastfeeding.

Anyway, I have to go ’cause Cody is getting fussy.  I will post pictures/video real soon!  Hope you all are doing well and am loving your updates, too.  🙂

Breastfeeding: What I wish I’d known

Thank you ladies again for all your support and encouragement.

I finally have a second to sit down and post on the computer with a keyboard instead of just from my phone, so I thought I’d type what’s been on my mind to share with you about breastfeeding.

First of all, my perspective on public breastfeeding has changed so much.  I still think women should be modest and cover up and perhaps go to another room if there are men that are uncomfortable with it, but I totally get that the baby just needs to eat and so we feed them.  

As for what I wish I’d known, I wish I’d known to rent a pump from the get go.  I didn’t, and I truly believe not having that tool has been a root cause for my supply dropping so rapidly.  It has been quite a few weeks since I’ve actively tried to boost my milk supply, and I’m only just getting to the point where I’m exclusively breastfeeding for all but 3 feeds in 24 hours.  

I wish I’d known that women with PCOS have problems with milk supply.  Had I known this, I could’ve gone into the whole process armed with the info I needed.  I would’ve taken herbs from the start (fenugreek, flax seed, oatmeal, raspberry leaf, and goat’s rue, to name a few.  I’m on all of these now).

As for what we’ve been doing to boost supply, one of the different things that most people don’t know about is using a supply line.  A supply line allows you to supplement formula or pumped breastmilk while still feeding at the breast.  It’s a bottle with a tiny straw that you wear and use with a nipple shield.  The baby still feeds at the breast and gets a combo of breast milk and formula and it allows them the extra they need.  This also helps stimulate the breast and boost milk supply.  As much as I am so so looking forward to getting rid of it, I’m thankful we’ve had this option because it’s what Cody needed.

Low milk supply is a scary thing.  Cody started losing weight in the 2nd week of his life and had urates in his diaper every time I changed it.  He wasn’t pooping at all and hardly peed.  He broke out in a rash all over his body (something we still cannot figure out) and was generally screaming and unhappy.  This was all due to him not getting enough food because of my low supply.  I think my problems are a combination of a bad latch and pcos.  

A day after starting the supply line, the rash started to disappear, diapers started to feel heavy, urates disappeared, and he was happier.  I cried my way through it, but I’m glad he got what he needed.  

I hope and pray none of you have supply issues, but if you do, I hope some of this info has helped.  Thanks for reading.

Normalcy. Kind of.

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I’m finally gaining some sense of normalcy. My sweet boy is doing well, and we have persevered with breastfeeding. I had to use a supply line for 2 weeks and have been taking medication to keep my supply up. I’m still using a nipple shield, but I don’t mind. My little boy is getting the nutrients he needs. And breastfeeding is finally becoming a nice relaxing time for me and Cody.

Other things that are getting back to normal:
My moods. Not so weepy and sensitive most days.

My house…sort of. Still so so messy but I am getting small windows in each day where I can do a load of dishes or laundry.

My marriage. Again, small windows.

Eating. I’m getting more opportunity for this.

Sleeping. He actually does ok at night. Feeds a little and sleeps for long stretches most of the time. This is far more manageable than the constant night feedings that happened in the first few weeks.

Other than that, still a work in progress. Sweet cuddles with Cody make it all the better and worthwhile. 🙂