ValerieWell, the past week wasn't a holiday, so I guess that's not such an accurate title. However, at the time of...

Well, the past week wasn't a holiday, so I guess that's not such an accurate title. However, at the time of this writing, we're preparing for the 4th of July holiday, one last RV trip before our family of seven turns into a family of eight. We'll be heading two hours east in a few hours. This happens to be the same town in which the midwife, M, lives. She, however, is also on vacation, so I don't know if we'd be able to reach her if we actually needed her. I'm not that worried about it. My uterus seems to have calmed down in the past few days.

On Sunday night, I think I made the mistake of drinking some very strong brewed red raspberry leaf iced tea before going to bed. Why do I think it was a mistake? Well, I was kept up half the night by some pretty strong Braxton-Hicks contractions. I drank the equivalent of a days' worth of "prescribed" tea (i.e. 3 cups) in a short period of time, which I think may have contributed to the increased contractions. Either that, or I was having sympathetic contractions without knowing my friend was in labor.

My friend who was pregnant with her eighth and due the same day as me went into labor Sunday night. She had been on medication for a few weeks to stop premature contractions, but it had apparently stopped working. She couldn't get comfortable and was having bloody show, so made the call and went into the hospital to get some different meds to hopefully stop things. When that didn't work, she told the nurse that she was scheduled for a cesarean and that her OB had said those plans would still hold even if the baby decided upon an earlier entrance to the world. So, they had to wait a while for an OR and an OB. Their baby boy was born early Monday morning, 8# 12 oz.

Unfortunately, he has had a bit of a rough start: he needed to be on CPAP 57% oxygen, so he wasn't able to be held by anyone while in NICU. He has since transitioned to breathing room air, which is fantastic news; however, he is still getting the hang of eating and is jaundiced, so he won't be home at the earliest until this weekend. Mama was due to come home yesterday.

So, for the time being I've stopped drinking my strong red raspberry leaf tea. No reason to get my uterus all worked up while we're trying to enjoy our one last hurrah! I ordered the last of our birth supplies--chux pads and a liquid version of "Polly-Jean's 5 Week Prenatal formula"--earlier this week, so they'll probably come while we're gone. The prenatal formula is a combination of herbs that are supposed to be taken during the last five weeks of pregnancy to prepare for birth. According to the ladies who came up with the formula, it is supposed to be helpful in the following ways: "Much easier labor and delivery; longer and easier labors for women who tend to have precipitous [very fast] births; shorter and easier labors for women who tend to have long labors; bigger dilation before discomfort arises; minimization of postpartum bleeding when taken in conjunction with the Good Program [I don't know what that is]; and shorter periods before locia stops." It differs from other formulas (like PN6 or 5W) in that it doesn't contain the herbs Pennyroyal or Black Cohosh, which seem to contribute to heavier postpartum bleeding/hemorrhage. I'm all for decreasing the chance of heavy postpartum bleeding (though I've never had a problem in the past).

You're probably wondering why a woman who tends to have very fast labors/births would want to possibly slow her labor down. Having been there once, with my third, I can honestly say it is a bit difficult to integrate things, and birthing so quickly tends to be overwhelming. You're just getting used to the idea that you're in labor when, BAM, the baby's coming! Of course, those with longer labors would probably welcome the idea of a shorter, easier labor. Most of mine have been around 12 hours, with one fluke that was a prodromal labor over the course of a week. I would very much welcome a labor that lasted about 5 hours from start to finish, or a shorter span of active labor with a second stage (pushing) which would last a little longer than 2 minutes! With my last three babies, it has been the rapid decent and uncontrollable pushing that has freaked me out the most. And, well, if I'm in the position where I need to catch my baby myself, I'd like to have my head a little more together than it has been during the last three births.

Until next time,

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