As any expectant mother, I was SO anxious to meet this little princess I was so madly in love with already. I kept begging God to send me into labor, but to give me the grace to hang on for His perfect timing. I had been doing all the “normal” things trying to encourage Savannah to come on into the world: sitting and bouncing on my birth ball, walking, drinking Red raspberry leaf tea and some much needed alone time with the husband ;), but she definitely had her own plans.

Tuesday morning I woke up around 6am when JJ came into our room to snuggle (like he does frequently) for a bit before actually getting out of bed. Jason was up at 7am to get ready for work and i could have sworn I had a few crampy sensations in the last hour, but wasn’t ready to call them contractions, so I just kissed Jason goodbye and let him head to work. JJ and I rolled out of bed and came to the living room to watch a cartoon as we do every morning. Around 8:15 I texted Jason to let him know I was having some “uncomfortable contractions” about 8 min apart. This had happened a few days ago as well with no progress, so I wasn’t getting my hopes up. They slowed down a little but intensity stayed the same, so JJ and I went to Dunkin Donuts to grab a muffin and a coffee (the coffee was left abandoned on the table because the contractions needed my attention lol). While IN the Dunkin Donuts I don’t remember getting a single contraction, then as soon as we got back in the car, i got another one. funny to me.We arrived home and enjoyed a little of our snack and  I called Megan Hutchings around 9:20 to chat and see if these contractions were here to stay; they very much were. We chatted for almost an hour and then i got the first “real” contraction. the kind that steal your breath a little but aren’t strong enough to make you crazy.

About 10:15 I called Jason to let him know things were moving along still and contractions were about 5-8 minutes apart, but not “consistent” in their intervals. At this point the contractions were uncomfortable, but I was still able to sit on my birth ball, walk, talk and enjoy the process. Jason decided to come home and take care of JJ and I, just in case this was the real thing (at this point I was still in denial. Not because I couldn’t believe it, but because I didn’t want to be disappointed if things fizzled out).

In the meantime I called my midwife to let her know that I was having contractions, but nothing consistent per say and no bloody show or water breaking. The office said to call back in 2 hours and let them know how things were going. No sooner than I hung up the phone I had to use the bathroom and there was the faithful bloody show. The same bloody show that freaked me out and sent me to the hospital WAY too early with JJ. No one told me it was normal the first time around, but this time, i was prepared 🙂

Jason came home and we talked about how the timing was perfect and that its just amazing how great both of ours days had already been. Savannah knew just when to arrive. I realize now this was probably the point in my subconscious that i KNEW we were having a baby, but still I told Jason not to get too excited because things could stop. I guess I was probably a little nervous 😉

I continued to labor at home and around 10:45 hopped into my bathtub just to relax for a few minutes. Contractions had picked up in intensity and the warm water calmed them down and slowed the intervals to about 8 minutes apart. I was perfectly ok with that. After relaxing for about a half an hour, I hopped out and came back to my living room to sit on my birth ball only to discover sitting on my birth ball was a bit more uncomfortable than I would have liked. Walking was the easiest way to deal. These contractions were SO much different than the ones I experienced with JJ. I had plenty of back labor and crampy feelings, so that’s what I expected. But THESE were a tightening in my lower abdomen and back. A pain I didn’t know how to cope with necessarily. But regardless a much EASIER pain to deal with. I will take Savannah contractions all day over a few hours of the ones I had with JJ.

The next block of time is a bit of a whirl wind for me. I called the midwife around 12:30, told the nurse at the office that things had picked up, that my bloody show had made its appearance and that I was doing well. Then I got back in the tub for a few minutes, called my baby sister Lisa, told her I was in labor and relaxed in the bathtub again. I do remember having my pandora worship station on and singing just because worship soothes me. I started crying in joy that I was finally going to meet my little angel. I talked to Savannah for a minute and told her how much I loved her and how I was going to work hard right along side of her to bring her into this world. While I was in the tub Jason had laid JJ down for a nap and I was about to try and nap too. So I laid down in bed and was able to sleep for 6-7 minutes in between contractions, but something changed while I was laying down. The tightening was so much stronger and now and the intensity wasn’t something fun to deal with. breathing through them wasn’t enough any more. I got out of bed at around 3 and called my midwife.

After talking to Lonnie (the midwife) we decided that I would come into her office and get “checked” to see how far along things were and we would evaluate weather or not I was going to head to the hospital or back home to do some more work. Then we had to load JJ into the car, head to my sister in laws (Cherry) and then off to the office. When we arrived at my sister in laws, she was out running an errand and so we waited for a few minutes at the house. My contractions had slowed down and calmed a bit in the commotion of getting out of the house, which I expected. After about 10 or 15 minutes we decided to let JJ stay with my other sister in law (Amanda)so we could head out. She lives in the apartment downstairs from Cherry, so it was a nice deal for us 🙂 At this point i had a few more GOOD contractions and knew we needed to go. Thankfully Cherry came home as we were about to leave, so double win for us.

The contractions on the way to the midwife made me curse. The most awkward and uncomfortable pains are contractions in a car, just in case u needed to know 🙂 Even though I only had 3 of them, I was already NOT looking forward to getting back in the car AFTER seeing Lonnie. We arrived at the office just before 430 and my gosh the contractions were so not fun. But somehow I’m still laughing and happy when I’m NOT contracting.My contractions hadn’t been more than 45 seconds long all day and that was helpful in keeping me happy I’m sure.  A completely different experience again. You’d have no idea i was even in labor in between them, which was lovely. The midwife came in to check me and it was a rather comical and exciting situation. I was fully expecting to be 5cm with all the work I had done in the last 9 hours, but nope I was not.  Lonnie checked me, looked up and said, “get to the hospital”. Didn’t tell me how far along I was just simply “get to the hospital”.It was a GLORIOUS moment, because I knew that meant we were VERY close to having this baby girl! She immediately walked out of the exam room and tied things up to head to the hospital as well. In the rush, i forgot to ask how far dilated I was! I called my doula, told her to get to the hospital because we were having a baby soon! Jason and I got back in the car and half way to the hospital I called the office back to ask her how far dilated I was. She told me I was 7cm and just to get to the hospital 🙂 Jason called my OTHER sister in law Marla and told her to get herself and his mother to the hospital if they wanted to be there when Savannah was born because we were close. I tried telling Jason that we still had 3cm to go and to calm down. I would eat my words later ;). I called Megan back, told her I’d be at the hospital soon, to go ahead and update facebookand get skype up (gotta love technology!). I had forgotten my laptop at home so we made a pit stop home before we went to the hospital (thankfully the hospital is like a mile from my house :))

We arrived at the hospital and went immediately to our L&D room.The nurse came in to do my admissions stuff and draw my blood. She mentioned the med/heprin lock and when I told her it was in my birth plan that I was refusing it, she just looked at me like i was an alien. She said “Lonnie never mentioned it”. I said she was free to ask her, but I didn’t want it. She was welcome to draw my blood in between contractions, but please don’t leave anything stuck in my arm. Lonnie came in shortly after and said something to the effect of “she’s the boss, if she doesn’t want it, don’t do it” I LOVE Lonnie! Marla and Jason’s mother arrived shortly behind us, and my amazing doula Grace, shortly behind them. for some reason we were moved to the bigger birth room, I’m assuming because of the room full of people 🙂 MY mother however, was stuck in traffic on the way from the airport! Her flight was scheduled to land at 540pm and the highway on the way back to the hospital was like a friggin parking lot! I was not excited about that.

Grace, my doula, came in and immediately came to my rescue. I wasn’t in unbearable crazy pain but when i half squatted and leaned over the window ledge during a contraction she immediately applied counter pressure to my back and amazingly the contractions didn’t hurt nearly as bad! oh sweet relief. We got skype all set up for Megan and I hopped into the shower (thank you Jesus for the shower!). Grace stayed in the bathroom with me and pressed on my back during each of the contractions and then we talked like a pair of girlfriends between contractions. It really was beautiful. Exactly what I needed and wanted for this birth. A peaceful, normal environment 🙂

Meanwhile, mom is still stuck in traffic and I’m feeling “pushy”. Nothing unbearable, but Lonnie had already mentioned that as soon as my water broke, we’d be pushing out a baby. That was playing in my mind with each contraction but I didn’t want mom to miss it. Sort of felt like she was so close I couldn’t have the baby 5 minutes before she got there. After a few of those “pushy” contractions, I agreed to let Lonnie check me again, break my water and get to pushing. It was a 45 minute session of pushing with JJ, so surely my mom had plenty of time to get there.

I had a “rim” and was very much ready to usher Savannah into the world. Lonnie released my bag of water at 6:41pm and then something ever so painful came. I think it was the quickness of Savannah descending, but oh GOSH it was not fun. I also developed a cyst inside”there” during pregnancy and watching the video after the fact, i think it was just pressure on the cyst too but geeze it was not fun. Not a  sensation I remember at all! I kept asking Lonnie to “stop” but she wasn’t doing anything, it was Savannah trying to get out :)Jason was so sweet and just leaned in to tell me I was amazing and that we were about to meet her (or something along those lines, I dont remember exactly)  I started pushing almost immediately. 3 minutes later my mom walked in. I remember hearing “I’m here Ab” and then i calmed and went into birth land. The pressure was there but the pain was gone. I was ready to push out this beautiful baby and welcome her into a calm, quiet room. Literally 2 minutes and 2 pushes later, at 6:46pm, Savannah came sliding into this world. The plan was for Jason to “catch” her but she came so fast there wasn’t time to change catchers and Lonnie lifted her to my belly. She was tiny enough that I feel the word “slid” is appropriate. Her head first and then one tiny 1/2 a push later he body followed, with a rather short umbilical cord so she wasn’t able to make it up to my chest, but she rested on my belly and made her first squeeks almost immediately. 6lbs 8oz and 19 tiny inches long 🙂

I did tear, probably 2nd degree, but Lonnie wouldn’t tell me, for my own good, how many stitches I needed. My previous OBGYN didn’t do her job well and stitched me VERY poorly. I never healed correctly or strongly and tore on the “dotted line” so to speak. I had pain and other weird issued with my scar over the last 2 years and now i know why. Lonnie did an amazing job fixing the bad job from before and I never needed anything more than a few Motrin to deal with pain from the tear. Now the after pains are another story. Ladies, if you are about to have a second baby, be prepared for mild contractions for a few days after birth. SO NOT FUN.

I cannot express the beautiful, Euphoric moments that followed. She was finally here. HERE ON MY BELLY AND NOT IN IT. She looked like her brothers twin, yet uniquely her own beautiful self. I couldn’t take my eyes or hands off of her. She looked nothing like I imagined yet was perfect and exactly what I knew she’d be. I had an amazing team by my side helping to bring peace and joy to me as I danced with Savannah to bring her into this world.

I am looking for one, but id rather TWO recommendations for each category.They need to be in the NNJ/NYC area, preferably no more than a 50 mile radius away (unless it is an online “category” of course)  If you have any great experiences with the following categories or know someone who has, please leave a comment with the business/agency/persons contact info. I’d love to have the BEST list possible available for mamas who may need support in these areas. Please ask your friends and other mamas you know if they have any recommendations they just HAVE to share. Thanks!

Abused women shelters and support groups

Addiction services and support groups

Birth centers

Birth doulas

Breastfeeding pump and equipment suppliers (purchase and rental)

Breastfeeding support groups, clinics, classes

Child abuse protection agencies

Childbirth educators

Childcare options

Children’s hospitals

Chiropractors, Massage Therapist, Reiki Practitioners

Community services and programs

Cultural/Multicultural resources

Early intervention programs for babies with special needs

Family doctors/Pediatricians

Health Food stores

Hospitals/Minor Emergency Services

Incest/sexual abuse support groups

Infant massage classes and services

Lactation Consultants

La Leche League

Libraries/infant programs

Maternity/nursing clothes

Midwives

Mother’s centers/parent and child centers

Multiple birth groups/associations

Naturopathic/homeopathic services/stores and clinics

New Mothers/Fathers/Parents groups

Obstetricians

On-line resources

Parent’s Anonymous/support groups

Parenting classes

Parent and women’s bookstores

Perinatal loss support groups/bereaved families support groups

Play groups

Postpartum exercise classes/mother and baby exercise classes/yoga classes

Postpartum depression resources and support groups

Postpartum doulas

Single parenting groups

Support groups for parents of children with special needs

Teen parent support groups/educational services

VBAC/CA support groups

Well baby clinics

Birth Blessings,

Doula Abby

The Waiting Game

April 7, 2011

I’ve been Blessed with TWO AMAZING and beautiful mamas that are both awaiting the arrivals of their little ones (any moment now actually!). I have been blessed with an amazing “back up” doula (who is my Doula too!) who is willing to support and care for these mamas should their babies come simultaneously. I have somehow been blessed with MULTIPLE caregivers for my DS (whome he is rather fond of as well! bonus points!) should my DH be at work when the babies make their appearance.  Yet somehow, I’m still anxious. Anxious for the mamas to meet their little ones. Ready to serve, support and strengthen these women as they literally push through one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of a womans life (or so I think). 

All of that to say, Thank you to mama 1 and mama 2 for picking me to be your Doula. You had MANY options out there and I do not take it lightly that you are trusting me to be a part of this intimate time in your family’s life.

Here’s to a short wait and 2 healthy, happy babies in the near future *cheers*

One of the sweetest, most compassionate and empowering women in the childbirth arena. She gives a brief overview of Doulas and midwives and our harmonious relationship. Enjoy!

http://www.childbirthcenter.net/index.php?option=com_videoflow&task=play&id=6

My heart is full tonight. Great day with my little family, as well as a rather inspiring visit to my midwife. I myself am 7 months pregnant, and would NEVER dream of delivering without a Doula after knowing the benefits and NO KNOWN RISKS of having one by my side. I think a Doula is a VITAL part of the Childbirth experience.

I talked with some of the staff after my appointment about offering my services at no charge to fellow patients/moms/clients of the birth center because I was looking for births to attend while working towards by DONA certification. I had sent a flyer into the office and they graciously hung it up, which is why we were talking to begin with. One of the midwives told me that she could find me a plethora of clients to work with, because my services were … free. It should have been great news, which from a business and experiential standpoint, it is, but from a deep-down-something-has-to-change point, it stung a little. Knowing that there are an abundance of women who NEED and DESIRE a doula, but cannot afford it, thus they don’t pursue finding that support burns a hole in me. Women who may wind up with a birth journey that is LESS than desired, by their standards. Women who will never know the benefits of that one-on-one, continuous, unbiased, non-judgemental support. My heart burns to share the EMPOWERMENT a woman experiences when she make informed birth decisions and they are ACTUALLY supported and carried out. I MUST do something about this. I’ve been brewing ideas up all day about how I can start a fund that will pay for Doula services for women in need. Maybe finding a group of Doulas that will do more Pro-Bono or Bartered care because the need is truly there. The possibility of making women aware that finances should NEVER come in the way of one of the most life altering experiences they will ever encounter.

The need is there. The desire is there. The support is there. How do we connect the circle?

Do You Doula?

March 4, 2011

Doula Abby makes a Debut

February 26, 2011

I have decided today will be the day I being my blogging journey as a Doula. I want to share my passions and excitement for empowering women to know their birth choices and to help them understand that their choices for birth are to be THEIRS ALONE. Each woman will make different choices, and I want to support them by being another strong, educated, well informed woman by their side to help them have the birth experience they desire. To help them rediscover the RIGHTS and POWER birth can bring to their lives when the experience is a beautiful one, as THEY define it.

My hearts desire is to share with women the knowledge of HOW a woman and her unborn baby dance a beautiful, rhythmic dance during Labor and Birth. How they are a TEAM and together, will bring the baby out of her womb and into her heart forever. How many interventions in birth are not necessary when she listens to her body and the signals from her baby, but at the same time guiding a woman to the understanding that interventions are NOT always bad. When they are used moderately, appropriately and when their risks are made clear, sometimes those interventions are the very things we that help to safely bring our babies into this world.

I will be sharing a plethora of information on natural childbirth, or as I like to call it Original Childbirth. Childbirth the way women have done it for thousands of years: together, supported, fearless and free. I will also share information on Cesarian Section births and the benefits when used appropriately, Epidurals and their benefits, as well as real risks, and any other birth related fun stuff I see fit because lets face it, this is my blog, and I have the rights to write whatever I see fit 🙂

I wish the best to all of you who will stumble upon my blog. Those who are moms, dads, sisters or brothers, I hope you find something that will make you laugh or smile or feel empowered to help women through one of the most trying and amazing experiences of their lives, and the lives of their babies.

Until Next Time,

Doula Abby

Round 2!

September 10, 2010

 

well, for those of you that are still out there in XANGA-land. We are about to become a family of four!

this is insanely crazy. just the icing on the cake as to why i WONT get the swine flu shot NOR will it give it to my son.

http://www.worldstarhiphop.com/videos/video.php?v=wshhkBQ5sPObB628E8LL

We’re Coming to MICHIGAN

October 8, 2009

October 24th to the 27th. Mark your Calendars. we’re coming. if you want to hang out please let me know.