Category Archives: Parenting

Having a Baby is Not Scary

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I always have friends telling me their fears about giving birth or being pregnant. I had those fears too before I had kids but now I know that having a baby is not scary at all. Having a baby is actually a very spiritual and special experience. It brings so many blessings. I learn so much about the Atonement of Jesus Christ through the process of bearing and delivering a child. I also feel close to God and I feel God’s love for me as I go forth with faith to raise his children. I think every child that is born is a miracle of God but of course it does take work to prepare for such an event. Don’t expect to have a positive birth experience without putting some effort to create it.

I love the scripture in D&C 38:30 that says “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.”

This is the story of the birth of my second child.

I am currently living in Dublin, Ireland and I delivered my second baby at the National Maternity Hospital on Holles Street with a midwife. I had my first baby in SLC, Utah at the University of Utah hospital with physicians/nurses. Both births were amazing but the stories are uniquely different.

As with any other birth story… read this with your own discretions. I tried to keep it PG but don’t read this if you don’t think you can handle it! 🙂

I was 41 weeks and 2 days along! I was 9 days “over due”. My first baby was 2 weeks early, I never thought I would have a July baby… or a fourth of July Baby!

So after 3 weeks and 4 days of prodromal labor. I woke up on July 4th at around 7 am with contractions that I couldn’t ignore anymore. They were coming every 4 minutes and lasting ~1 min I told Dallin, my husband, to press on my lower back during the contractions. These were stronger than they have been but I wasn’t going to declare labor or anything since I’ve had so many false alarms this time around.

I put these contractions to the test. We did our morning routine. I fed Micah, our first child. I read Scriptures. It just happened that I was reading 3 Nephi chapter 1 about the birth of Jesus Christ and I read verse 19:

 And it came to pass that there was no darkness in all that night, but it was as light as though it was mid-day. And it came to pass that the sun did rise in the morning again, according to its proper order; and they knew that it was the day that the Lord should be born, because of the sign which had been given.

I thought to myself.. that’s funny. Because before this I’ve been reading all these verses about being patient in afflictions (referring to my previous weeks of prodromal labor). Anyways… I ate a light breakfast and I took a shower. We had family scripture study but we had to stop every 4 minutes so Dallin and press on my lower back to ease the pressure of contractions. Finally, at around 10:00 am I decided that the contractions were probably not going away. So I called the midwifes. I told them I still don’t know for sure but I’m 9 days overdue so I wanted them to check. They weren’t busy so we decided to go to the hospital right away. Angelika, is our friend who has been staying with us the last week or so. It was such a blessing to have a babysitter at the home. We said Goodbye to Micah and walked out the door.

Traffic here in Dublin is pretty congested and it’s mostly one lane road to the hospital. I calmly listened to my Hypnobabies relaxation scripts while squeezing Dallin’s hand during contractions! I was focused and breathing during the contractions. We checked into the hospital around 11:30 am. We got to a room around 11:40 am just to find out that I wasn’t in labor yet. I wasn’t pass the 3 cm mark to be declared as “in labor”. I was still in prodromal labor… ridiculous! The midwife checked the baby on the monitor for about 20 minutes. She allowed me to stand up instead of being in bed which was nice. I hate laying down during contractions. The baby’s heart and movements were fine so she sent me to go walking for an hour. She told me to come back in one hour to be checked again to see if I go into labor. I listened to my relaxation scripts while walking around in the hospital. I stayed focus. I leaned forward against the wall and bent my knees while Dallin did counter pressure up and down my back every time I had a contraction. It only took about 30 minutes until I was groaning and breathing very deeply that disrupted everyone in the hallway. Dallin said I was having contractions 2 mins long and 4 min apart by then.

The midwife (Grace is her name) heard my noises and quickly pulled me back into the room. I told her my contraction isn’t over yet but she made me walk as fast as I could. She just said “Walk fast! This is a second baby. They come fast!” It was 12:30 pm. She knew I was in labor before checking me. During my next contraction, I was 4 cm dilated and she broke my water at the same time. We discussed beforehand that if my water didn’t break that she could break it when my labor officially started. This was my personal decision because my water broke before we went to the hospital with my first baby. Well labor sure went fast after my waters went! I finished dilating in ~20 minutes and I pushed for ~18 minutes. I had the baby by 1:10 pm. Good thing I was at the hospital before I started labor.

Pushing, like with Micah, was my favorite part. I love being in control and push only when I want to push. They had this awesome birthing stool. It is like a toilet seat with legs. I could sit on it while leaning on Dallin. With my first birth, I ended up pushing on a bed for 2+ hours because I was getting leg cramps that made me so I couldn’t stand up anymore. This stool was awesome!!

Grace, the midwife, was such a serious coach. She kept me focus and never let me waste my energy crying or moaning. She said sternly many times “Now May Bo, stay focus!” She helped me to know when to push hard and when to stop pushing so I wouldn’t tear, which  by the way I didn’t tear at all! This was completely different than my last pushing experience! Last time they just told me to push as hard as I could for longer than I wanted and I tore a lot with Micah. The midwife really made me feel empowered as she coached me through pushing. I could feel my kegel muscles working this time and I could feel the baby descending. She made sure my pushing was effective but never forced me to push when I didn’t feel to. I felt in control of the baby and it felt good. I think it helped being on the stool sitting upright. As the baby was crowing she told me to give one last big push. Then as the baby’s head was coming out she told me to stop pushing! I couldn’t believe that she wanted me to stop pushing cause all i wanted to do is push. So she told me to “puff” out breaths but resist to push. His head gently slipped out the rest of the way naturally during the next contraction. I looked down and I saw Quentin’s head with lots and lots of hair! He was all purple. This was a new angle, I couldn’t see anything with Micah while laying down on bed. Again she told me not to push because the shoulders slipped out gently. After the shoulders came out, she told me to bend over and catch him! Bending over was enough for the rest of Quentin to come out. I caught my own baby! The midwife helped me so I didn’t drop him and put him right on me with the umbilical cord still on. Crazy huh?

The minute you hold the baby makes all that waiting, pregnancy, and labor worth it! The rush of adrenaline after birth feels amazing. I would say it’s the equivalent of a “runner’s high” or finishing a marathon. Like I said in the beginning, preparing for the baby’s labor was a really important to me especially to overcome any doubts or fears I had. It was very necessary for me to prepare myself spiritually, temporally, mentally, emotionally and physically everyday. I asked my husband for many priesthood blessings leading up to the delivery. The priesthood blessings along with daily scripture study and prayer gave me the peace and comfort I need to keep going everyday. Of course, somedays are better than others but in the end it’s all worth it. Having a baby is not scary at all! It’s actually really awesome.

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Feeling Grateful

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Ah… some peace and quiet! I fell in love all over again. Despite the prodromal labor, this is much easier the second time around! It may have been the amazing midwife I had but labor was relatively low impact compared to my first (and I thought I had a good first birth)! This time labor was only 40 minutes (18 min pushing), no tearing and I was home in 6 hours. I’m recovering really fast and I feel good. I’m super grateful for my Ireland birth experience. Although US maternity care is fine… they just do things a little different in Ireland!

Things to do with 21 Month Old Toddler

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Micah is a brilliant little child. He is 21 months old. He can:

  • Count from 1 to 6 skip to 9 then 10
  • Knows, says, sings, and recognizes all the ABCs (Struggles with W… he thinks it’s M)
  • Match colors
  • Match shapes
  • Knows his basic shapes: Triangle, Square, Star, Circle, Moon, Heart
  • Knows his colors: Green, Blue, Purple, Orange, Yellow, Red
  • Knows animals and animal sounds: Cow, Pig, Duck, Sheep, Dog, Cat, Elephant, Giraffe, Penguin, Fish, Lion, Tiger, Bear… oh my! The list goes on.
  • Loves to read pictures in his book (example: A – Apple, B – Ball…)
  • He loves to point out letters and numbers where ever we go!
  • He loves to count his toy cars
  • He loves to sign to songs: Wheels on the Bus, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbean, Nephi’s Courage, Wise Man/Foolish Man, I love to see the Temple, Open Shut Them, Head Shoulders Knees and Toes… are just a few of his favorites.
  • He knows the difference between a: fire truck, race car, ambulance, bus, train, tractor, van
  • He can make different noises for “car sounds”: Beep Beep! Boom! Vroom! Zoom! 
  • He can spend an hour organizing things

Micah has always done well to routines and he is really good with verbal prompts: 

  • Are you hungry?
  • Are you tired?
  • It’s nap time, close your eyes and go to sleep.
  • It’s night night time
  • It’s still night night time (for the odd times he wakes up in the night)
  • Close the door
  • Go back to your room
  • Clean up your toys
  • Do you want water?
  • Do you want to read a book?
  • Say “Bye Bye” to ______ (We say bye bye to everything)
  • Dada has to go “Bye Bye”
  • Can you say Hi?
  • Fold your arms
  • It’s time to pray

Lately, I’ve realized that Micah needs to be playing, stimulated, or learning every minute of the day. Whenever he gets bored then he starts throwing a tantrum. He needs more than just play time with toys. I recently felt inspired to add structure into his daily routine by making his play time into learning time. I try hard to make sure Micah never gets bored.  It has worked so well! Here are some ideas I’ve come up with:

  • Singing Time
  • Story Time
  • Homemade Car Mat
  • Matching Colors with his toys
  • I spy games
  • Name the object game
  • Homemade ABC flashcards
  • Homemade Shape Matching
  • Homemade Puzzles
  • Water Play Time
  • Cooking Time
  • Laundry Time
  • Cleaning Time
  • Building Blocks
  • Counting Toys
  • Youtube Time
  • Scripture Study Time
  • Snack Time (Creative Snacks)
  • Library
  • Park
  • Playing with Balls
  • Building Forts
  • Zoo

I will alternate activities throughout the day and week. It has worked so well that Micah wants his own free time. The last few days he has been going into his room for 30 to 45 minutes and he’ll close his door to play with his toys by himself. I didn’t know what to do with myself! I thought he was making trouble but really he just wanted time to himself. 🙂

What do you do with your toddlers?

Prodromal Labor aka. Continuous Pre-Labor

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For the fans of the Bradley Method, they tell you not to go into the hospital until your contractions are so strong that you can’t smile for the camera. Well, that works most of the time but what if you’ve been having contractions for 2 weeks and 2 days!?! I’m not crying because the contractions hurt, I’m crying cause I’m so emotionally strained from Prodromal Labor.

My first baby was a textbook baby. Everything that happened during pregnancy and labor was described exactly in all pregnancy textbooks. Labor started in the morning at 38 weeks of the pregnancy, I had contractions ~8 minutes apart for most of the day. Throughout the day, the contractions progressed to be stronger lasting about 50 to 60 seconds and coming every 5 minutes. I had a “show” in the afternoon and was emotionally nesting throughout the day. Well, being my first baby… I had no idea I was in labor at all! It was so easy… there was no way I could be in labor. So I took a shower and tried to go to sleep. My water broke (well… trickled) at around 10 pm and my contractions took off. We were only 5 minutes from the hospital but by the time I got there I was 6 cm dilated and I was having contractions 1 min long every 2 minutes. Transition occurred shortly after being on a birthing ball and the baby came out nicely with mother-directed pushing (pushing was indeed my favorite part!) Yes, easy… well as easy as labor can be!

I would used to always tell people, oh labor is easy. It’s only one day… it comes and then it goes and *pow* you have a baby! Surely, this saying was going to come back to bite me.

At 38 weeks for this second pregnancy, contractions started 3 minutes apart lasting about 60 seconds. It went on for 3 hours so I called up my midwife and asked “when do I come in?” She said “you’re not in labor yet.” Oh… of course, I’m not in labor… I can still smile for the camera. She told me to call back if they get stronger. These contractions went on and did get stronger throughout the day. So I called up my husband to come home from work by 4 pm. By the time he got home and everything slowed down. It was bed time so I needed to sleep anyways. How disappointing!! I thought for sure I was going to have a baby because it was going exactly like how the first baby happened.

Well, to my surprised this went on for 1 week! The contractions would go on day/night coming every 5 to 10 minutes for hours on end. The contractions ranged from mild to strong but not “intense”. Finally, after 1 week the contractions got stronger. I thought for sure these were it. I called someone to come get my toddler but by the time my first child left everything slowed down and the midwife told me to go to bed. How disappointing!!

I thought I was making it up in my head. I couldn’t believe that my contractions were starting and stopping. I went into the hospital anyways only to find out that I’m 2 cm dilated. What is going on with my body?! I went home and the contractions went on and off for the next week. I had a “show” 1.5 weeks ago but still nothing has happened.

Finally, I found something useful online as I desperately search for something that would make sense of what is going on with my body. Prodromal labor!!!

Prodromal labor is pre-labor that goes on and off for hours, days, or weeks! That’s it. It made so much sense… well kinda. At least it gave me hope and I now know that there’s nothing wrong with my body. It’s just having a long warm-up.

The hardest part of prodromal labor is my emotional state. I get a rush of hormones throughout the day that makes me really emotional. I’m always on the edge and anything could make me cry! Good news, I’ve learned to deal with it better the last few days. I stopped timing my contractions and can even ignore my contractions. 🙂 Even though my baby is now “over-due”, I feel peace and love as I search the scriptures, receive priesthood blessings, be grateful, watch the missionary broadcast, do my Hypnobabies scripts, spend time with my toddler, serve others and pass time by reading other women’s prodromal labor stories. Everything will turn out just fine! My body knows exactly what to do and I’m going to let it do it’s thing.

Great reads about prodromal labor:

http://wafflesandcereal.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/prodromal-labor/

http://belladolcebirths.blogspot.ie/2012/01/prodromal-labor-what-is-it.html

http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/990201/what-you-need-to-know-about-prodromal-labor

Read my happy ending to Prodromal Labor:

https://hubbardscupboard2010.com/2013/07/11/having-a-baby-is-not-scary/