Sabrina’s Birth Story

Sabrina Isobel Martinez
Born at 3:39 pm August 29th
7 lbs. 14 oz

I had an extremely easy pregnancy with my second daughter. Morning sickness was mild and brief, the majority of my cravings were healthy foods (fruit, yogurt and granola) I excersised comfortably for a majority of the pregnancy and even moved into a new house at 38 weeks.

For some reason throughout my pregnancy I had the feeling that Sabrina would be born during the day, and past her due date- and that’s exactly what happened. At 42 weeks pregnant, I began to have contractions about 15-20 minutes apart. They continued for an entire day without picking up, but were mild enough that they didn’t really bother me.

When I went to bed that night Laila refused to sleep without her hand on my belly, she even woke up several times in the night to sit up, look at my belly, rub it, and then go back to sleep with her little hand resting on my belly button.

I didn’t sleep that much, as the contractions began to intensify a little and Sabrina was kicking and stretching most of the night.

The next morning I woke up and was thinking to myself how many days past my due date I was, and how miserable my inevitable induction would be.
Laila however didn’t feel like laying in bed anymore and pulled me into our bathroom to brush teeth before I could give any more thought to it.

It was while we were brushing our teeth that I felt a warm gush. At first I thought I had peed myself but then I quickly realized it was something else. I ran to the toilet and realized I had lost my mucus plug. Although losing the mucus plug isn’t an immediate sign of labor, I felt that losing mine did mean that labor was near.

I put on a pad and called my mom and husband to let them know that I thought labor was near. My contractions picked up that morning and I began packing my hospital bag when they hit five minutes apart.

I went into the hospital and was hooked up to a monitor and was given a cervical check. I hate doctors, hospitals, anything medical, so I immediately began to feel nervous and my contractions slowed back to ten minutes apart until they completely stopped. I was discharged and went home so frustrated, convinced that I had stopped my labor and would definitely end up with an induction.

Once in the car my contractions started back up. Over the next few hours they intensified but I ignored them, thinking that if I returned to the hospital they would probably stall out again.

I tried going to bed that night, but as the contractions intensified I couldn’t even lay down comfortably in bed. Finally I decided to count them and they were about seven minutes apart. They continued at seven minutes until about five in the morning when they hit five minutes apart and began to intensify a little more.

I decided to call the hospital and ask if I should come back in. They told me to come back in so I went ahead and woke up my husband, had some breakfast and then called my mom to come over and watch Laila.
When we got to the hospital I was already at six centimeters.
I hate hospitals, and I hate the idea of giving birth in a hospital, but unfortunately homebirth wasn’t an option for me, so I was very focused on making my labor/birth as unhospital like as possible.

Once I was in my room, I dimmed the lights, turned on the tv and pretended I was in a hotel room. A nurse brought me a tray of fruit to snack on and I brought my own snacks as well. I stayed hydrated by eating ice chips and drinking a mixture of coconut water and lime juice (a natural electrolyte) instead of being hooked up to an IV. A lot of doctors tell their patients not to eat when in labor. Not only is it torture for a pregnant woman to go hungry all day, but labor is physically exhausting and a woman needs food to keep her body energized. My midwife advised me to snack on light, but high protein foods during labor. I ate almonds, fruit, granola, and scrambled eggs. I had so much more energy compared to my last labor.

Another regular medical procedure I declined was continuos fetal monitoring. IVs make movement difficult, but a fetal monitor strapped to your belly via one giant itchy piece of Velcro makes it impossible. Instead of continuous monitoring, a nurse would come in about every 25 minutes and check the heartbeat with a Doppler.

I also would have declined hourly cervical checks for a laundry list of reasons, (they’re uncomfortable, unnecessary, and dilation isn’t an indication of how fast labor will go) but cervical checks weren’t something the midwife routinely did for the very reasons I just listed.

Besides the nurse coming in to check the heartbeat and the midwife coming in to discuss my birth plan with me, I was spent the entire labor just me and my husband. Our room was quiet and relaxing. We just watched tv and I moved through my contractions. I almost forgot I was in the hospital.

By about three I clock my contractions were two minutes apart and I was beginning to wonder if I would be able to go through with a natural birth. I didn’t know if I was ready to push, I didn’t feel that pressure to push the baby out, but I felt like my contractions were right on top of eachother and that it was time to have the baby. I called the midwife and told her how I felt. I asked her to make sure I was dilated and ok to push because I wasn’t sure what that was supposed to feel like. She checked me and I was fully dilated, but had an anterior cervical lip (not uncommon) and my water wasn’t breaking. My options were to continue to wait for the water to break or to let her break my water for me.

At first I declined having my water broken, but then another contraction came and the midwife told me that once my water broke, I would be ready to push. I decided to go ahead and have my water broken. Within minutes I was ready to push.
For me, laying or even sitting during labor was impossible, it took contractions from being extremely uncomfortable, to being downright painful.

I don’t know if I called the midwife to the room or she heard me cry out from the last contraction but the next thing I knew I was on the bed asking if they had a birthing bar. There was one attached to the bed that she pulled up for me. I quickly realized that I didn’t want to use it because I would have to be in a ten to fifteen minute squat while pushing the baby and I was way too tired for that having been pacing since about 9 pm the night before. I decided to lean against the head of bed and push. I started pushing and I could feel Sabrina moving down. About halfway I got scared and stopped. With my first daughter, she was turned wrong and I pushed for nearly four hours. I was so scared that would happen with Sabrina again.

The midwife reassured me that Sabrina was moving, and I wouldn’t be pushing for much longer. Relieved, I pushed again and she crowned. I held her there and waited for the next contraction, bit down on the mattress (weird, but it really helped) and pushed as hard as I could and she was out.

As I pushed I was surprised that the “ring of fire” wasn’t nearly as painful as I had expected. Even though I tore a little in the front, the whole thing felt like a pinch. During the last month of the my pregnancy I did perineal massage and I really think that made the difference. I also learned from another midwife about slow crowing – waiting for another contraction after the baby crowns – to allow everything to stretch and prevent tearing.

I couldn’t believe how easy the pushing had been. The nurse next to me tapped my shoulder and said, “look down, there’s your baby”. Looking up at me with the most beautiful grey eyes and a head full of curly hair was my little Sabrina. I scooped her up in my arms and layed down on the bed while we waited for the for the umbilical cord to stop pulsating. I went to feed her and she latched perfectly. Eder cut the cord and we stayed in the room unbothered for about an hour so the three of us could bond.

I’m so glad I chose the midwife and the hospital I did. Care providers make such a difference. Natural birth was an amazing experience. The labor and birth were more peaceful and the recovery was quicker and much less painful. In fact when I was discharged I got up, did my hair and make up and wore a cute dress home. Just a week later I was hardly bleeding and felt good enough to resume most of my normal activities, which include chasing a toddler.

In my experience OBGYNs and midwives view birth very differently. Sheila Stubbs said, “The midwife sees the miracle of childbirth as normal and tends to leave it alone unless there’s trouble. The obstetrician normally sees it as trouble and if he leaves it alone, it’s a miracle.” Very true. Childbirth is definitely a miracle, something intimate and incredibly special to be shared between the mother and father with as little intervention as possible. Every woman remember her birthing experience(s) for a lifetime. It’s been almost a month now, but no matter how much time passes I’ll certainly never forget how amazing giving birth to Sabrina was.

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A letter to my daughter – The last days as an only child

Laila,
It’s been nearly two years just you and I. I remember when you were just two pink lines on a pregnancy test. The first thing I did was put my hand on my stomach and whisper the name Laila. Even when you were just the size of a mustard seed, I knew you.

My pregnancy with you was one of the most special times of my life. I will never forget watching you kick and respond to your daddy’s voice every night while he rubbed coco butter all over my belly. We were so excited for you.

It felt like forever waiting for you to come, even though you came only one day after your estimated due date. We went to the hospital at 7:30 am, and at 9:42 pm you were born. It was amazing. You didn’t even cry, you just looked straight up into your fathers eyes, and then mine. You were the most beautiful little girl, you even had green eyes for the first few days. The way you would look into my eyes and put your little hand across my chest melted my heart every time.

You’ve grown into such an incredible little girl. I just adore your personality. You are tiny, but if another kid pushes you or hits you, you take care of yourself just fine. You have no problems with the word no, and you know how to let me know exactly what you want. You are so serious, yet so playful. You’re the sweetest, cuddliest little girl who showers me in squishy hugs and sloppy kisses, yet you have a temper to rival your mothers. You’re so very independent, bringing me my laundry from the dryer each laundry day, and laying in bed and scratching my back on the days I’m sick, you’re my favorite little helper. When I run out of patience with you, you’re quick to forgive. I know you’ll be such a smart woman one day, because you already choose to read books over watching tv. I look forward to all of the books well read together over the years.

I’ve held you close each night since the night you came into this world, but soon I will be holding another little newborn baby, your sister. These are your last days as an only child. In just a few short weeks you’ll have a little playmate and a best friend.

Our relationship is going to change, but I hope you will always know how much I love you. You are my whole world. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for you. Every moment I’ve had with you is an irreplaceable treasure. You’re the most amazing gift that God could have given me. I’m so honored that He chose me to be your mother. You make my heart so proud just by being you.

I’m not a perfect mother, I’ve made mistakes and I will make more, but I promise that I will always strive to be your protector, your best friend, your confidant, and the best mother that I can be to you.

You changed my life, and I know for every lesson I can teach you, you will have one to teach me as well. It may not just be mama and Laila anymore, but you will always be my special girl. I can’t wait for the days of mama, Laila, and Sabrina. I know you will be just as amazing of a sister as you are a daughter.

Love,
Mama

Postpartum meal prep – breakfast

When my first daughter was born I seriously underestimated the post partum period. I was so under prepared. Well not this time around!

For the past few weeks I’ve been doubling (in some cases quadrupling) my recipes when I make breakfast and freezing the extras. My goal is to have at least a months worth of breakfast in the freezer. Actually it probably looks like two months because pregnancy hungry is tame compared to breastfeeding a newborn hungry.

For lunch we will have lots of sandwhiches, chips, and fruit and yogurt to snack on. As for dinner I will leave two weeks of ingredients and croc pot recipes for hubby. I’m hoping the croc pot will be as fool proof as I think it is.

Here is a list I’ve complied of all my favorite baked goods for breakfast courtesy of pintrist. All of these recipes are easily doubled and freeze well. The carrot cake muffins below are one of my favorites. They’re an awesome way to sneak in veggies for a picky toddler.

healthy carrot cake muffins

blueberry banana bread Laila’s favorite!

Greek yogurt pancakes

cheddar and bacon scones

cinnamon apple muffins these have bran and chia seeds which adds extra nutrition

home made egg mcmuffins

stewed stone fruits this is a list of recipes, (non freeze able) but my favorite is at the bottom.

cinnamon Amish bread

oatmeal raisin pancakes

buttermilk biscuits
These are super easy, but I do add extra salt. Scramble some eggs, a few pieces of bacon and add apple jelly to the biscuit and it’s just like being at Cracker Barrel.

Another great, simple breakfast is oatmeal. Oatmeal is the best in the first few weeks, it also helps with milk production and getting everything moving again. I make huge batches in the croc pot. Here are a few of my favorite oatmeal recipes.

apple cinnamon oatmeal

No link for this next one, just cook oatmeal in chocolate milk and add sugar and cinnamon to taste, it’s so
good.

amaranth with pears Ok, so technically this isn’t oatmeal, it’s amaranth. Amaranth is basically quinoa, so it’s packed with protein. I buy mine in bulk at whole foods. Like quinoa it can have a bit of a bitter taste, BUT if you lightly toast it before cooking it has a nutty taste that is delicious! I love that this recipe has pears, also super good for new mamas.

Of course my mother and mother in law will be helping with food, but I’m a picky eater and I like to mostly make my own food. Now that I have breakfast covered I can relax so much easier and just wait for Sabrina’s arrival!