Our apartment: Friday, January 18, 2013.  2:33am

Matt is blissfully snoring, Justin is crashed out in our recliner in the living room, and I am simply dreaming – of what exactly I don’t remember.


Like a clap of thunder when lightning strikes – CRACK-A-POW!!

I was out of bed and bracing myself against the pack’n’play bassinet next to our bed.  I grab my phone to check the time and open the “contraction tracker” app.  Somehow I know that I won’t have the wherewithal to keep using it.  I tell myself to breathe and climb carefully back into bed.

6 minutes pass and POW!  Again, I’m out of bed with sharp, wrenching pain – almost stabbing.   This time I feel what I can only describe as the painless tear of a taut plastic bag.  I feel a slight drip, cross my legs and haul to the bathroom.  I try to sit but have to settle for a hover because I’m hit with another contraction.  By about 2:55am, I make it back to the bedroom where I wake Matt and tell him that THIS IS indeed IT!  I call our doula at the end of the next contraction and tell her in as few words as possible.  She asks if I think she has time for a quick shower before she heads to our place – I tell her sure.  I mean, Justin’s labor was a medicated 16 hours!   I ride through another knife-twisting contraction and then call the midwife and order Matt to start setting up the birth tub.  Another contraction comes – closer now.  I realize the sink is full with an unsightly number of dishes.

And now evidence that “laborland” is fast calling and I’m losing my grip with reality: I asked Matt to focus on doing the dishes THEN think that we should maybe get a hold of our pre-arranged babysitter for Justin.  I’ve now found myself “roaring” lowly through a couple of contractions at a chair by our dining room table, and worked my way to the bathroom sink.

It’s now about 3:50am.  Our friends have had an extenuating circumstance make it so they cannot come from Everson to pick up Justin, and the birth photographer has not responded to either texts or phone calls (we found out later that her ringer somehow got muted).  I am completely losing my cool in the bathroom where contractions are rolling up so close together that I’m not able to relax in between them at all.  I know I’m getting loud, but try to focus on relaxing – visualizing a star-field opening (watching a flower open in my mind’s eye wouldn’t stick – it wasn’t “loud” enough).  I had Matt come in and put some pressure on my hips and my back in time with a couple of contractions.  In no time I found myself shouting out to Matt, “Where ARE they?!  Where IS everybody!  I can’t do this!  I need HELP!!”  Matt (recognizing my words as characteristic of “transition” – the phase right before pushing) has at this point called and texted both the midwife and the doula.  They are on their way but the roads are dangerously icy and they have to take their time.

Around 4:10am, I realize that I’m not just riding through contractions any more but finding myself in a supported squat hanging on to the edge of the bathroom sink starting to bear down.  4:15 and I’ve now woken Justin with my noise.  Matt goes to tend to him and, in his brilliance, tells Justin that “Momma’s a lion.  She’s roaring like a lion!  Can YOU roar like a lion with Momma?!”  In a moment of lucidity I realize that not only have none of my birth attendants arrived but I’m now actively pushing – and cannot stop.  I yelled at Matt to call them and tell them that I’m pushing – he called, but didn’t get through.

4:20am – My amazing doula comes in the front door. Matt directs her to the bathroom where she finds me bearing down, still in my underwear – which she helps me with and immediately sees the baby’s head.  She quickly built a nest of towels under me and directed me to a position closer to the floor (I ended up on all fours but with one arm up toward the sink).  She coached me to flap my lips to diffuse the urge to push so fast and helped me find reality and focus (yet another place for me to remind the world to, no matter what kind of birth you have planned, NEVER BIRTH WITHOUT A DOULA!!).  At about 4:30 my midwife came in and used her wicked midwifery skills to transform some olive oil into a massage oil/lubricant for the delicate areas being pushed apart by my daughter’s head and ease the burning.  With the coaching and support of my doula and midwife, at 4:48am this little girl was born and immediately passed into my arms, goo and all:


It was at that moment, as I held my daughter for the first time – soaking up her beauty, the sound of her first cry, and the wonder of what had just happened and what I’d just done that I noticed that Justin was standing in the doorway and had been for some time.  He immediately jumped into the room, got close to us and said, “Look at that BABY!”, and smiling I said, “Justin!  Where did this baby come from?!”  His response?  “Baby making goat sounds!” (his commentary on her first cries).  So sweet.

After the cord stopped pulsating, I passed my baby to our doula who cut the cord (SO not Matt’s thing).  After the placenta was delivered, I got helped to bed to curl up with my baby and get some rest.  When all was said and done, these were the raw numbers:

Georgia Seraphina Owen

Born at 4:48am on Friday, January 18, 2013 in our little apartment bathroom

Weighing 8lbs 14oz

21 inches long

14 inches head circumference

after exactly 2 hours and 14 minutes of labor.

I came out decidedly unscathed: no tearing, no difficulties nursing, and entirely happy with how the birth went – even if it was a little different than we’d planned.

After the physical and emotional trauma of Justin’s medically managed birth, Georgia’s birth has instilled in me a sense that God made my body to be able to do amazing things.  I’m already seeing benefits beyond words of what an empowering birth experience can do to mend a wounded heart.

And while I still need time to heal physically (swelling anyone?!), I already feel SO much better than I did at even 3 weeks postpartum with Justin (I’m writing this at 3 days postpartum).  I really can say that a couple of hours in an apartment bathroom were some of the most rewarding of my entire life.


Today is Thursday, January 17, 2013.  My due date was January 5th.  That was 12 days ago for those of you who aren’t immediately fond of math.

Today I also saw my midwife.  We got some updates and did some tests.

Our little girl passed her Non-Stress Test with flying colors.  It would have taken less time though, if I’d taken the time to eat just beforehand since Miss Georgia was enjoying what seemed to be a rather pleasant nap while we were listening for her to move and show us how her healthy little heartbeat responds to the jostle.  The hope with these things is that we catch her responding to contractions – but tragically, I didn’t have a single contraction (no matter how light) in the near 45 minutes we were hooked up.  Still, some juice and some prodding from me and the midwife got the job done.

Next up was inserting a foley catheter for the purpose of induction.  What’s this?  Here’s a brief overview.  My midwife actually had some difficulty placing it though.  Why?  Because Miss Georgia’s head is so deeply engaged (back pain anyone?) she didn’t have much room to work!  We tried it with Justin and it got me lots of contractions, but no real labor.  This time around, baby is ready, we’re just waiting on contractions so this procedure might just be what it takes to tip us into labor.  FINGERS CROSSED!  PRAYERS WELCOME!

As for current “stats”, here’s where she sits – er… stands on her head:

Dilation: “Effectively” 3cm

Effacement: Same as before – “as effaced as can be without being in active labor”

Station: ZERO.  This little chica is truly “locked and loaded”.  Wonder what that really means?  Here’s a visual.

So, now we wait.   And walk.   And wait some more.  Then hopefully things get exciting and we all get to make phone calls and post pictures!

Well, within an hour of posting this as my Facebook status:

“Trying to figure out how to convince my little girl to come out! She’s got less than a week now where she gets to choose!
For now, I’m taunting her with bacon. Seriously, child! There’s BACON out here!”

I went into what was essentially early labor (about 3pm).  Good, hard contractions that started in my back, wrapped around my belly at the top and pushed down.  Went from every 10 or so minutes, and dropped to every 5-6 mins, and promptly shortened to every 3.5-4 minutes.  When they didn’t peter out after 2 hours or so, I texted my doula, then later notified the midwife.

Around 7:30pm, the midwife came over and checked me.  No progress.  Midwife was thinking that maybe Justin (who was ramping up due to bedtime being near) was preventing me from being able to relax.  We called our friends to come get him, then cancelled and opted to just have Matt put Justin to bed while my doula did some acupressure massage – love feeling contractions/rushes that make my ears feel hot – somehow they feel more powerful.

We then tried whatever we could to get things to “switch”: to move me from early labor into active labor.  We did all the stairs in our building (2 at a time), time on hands and knees, a snack, warm tea, etc.  Then contractions started spacing out a bit (which, to an extent is what we wanted), but then kept spacing out.  At 11pm, I was sent to go lie down – see if contractions would let me get some rest.  I didn’t really sleep until about 4am, but I was able to relax.  So sad and frustrating!

Anyway, I know she has to come out sometime!  In the meantime, I feel like we’re wasting a perfectly ripe cervix!

Today I’m pulling out all the stops: good breakfast, EPO, cohosh, busting out the breast pump… and of course, begging my praying friends to do just that – pray.  Pray for a prompt labor and a speedy (but not too speedy) delivery!

Hi everyone!  Thought it was time for a quick update!


Today is Friday, Jan 11.  As of today I am 6 days past my due date.  Not at all surprising – Justin was medically induced at 15 days late – he STILL wasn’t ready (though dates were a bit questionable anyway – but that’s a story for another day).  Yesterday was my birthday, and I spent much of it in tears.  Really, seriously, in tears.  Sobbing away about this and that… Oh dear precious, precious hormones!  Oh yes, good times.

Also yesterday was an appointment with the midwife.  It ended up being a bit stressful, but ultimately okay.  It was a fairly quick visit, but included an exam with membrane stripping and stats updates.  During the exam, as is typical at this stage, the midwife/doc will feel for fontanelles to get an idea of how baby is positioned for birth.  Well, as she was trying to feel, Georgia jumped back up away from her in such a way that made my extremely experienced midwife (ARNP, been practicing for 20+ years in and out of hospital) suddenly have a shadow of doubt about whether baby was actually head down at all (despite being able to feel fontanelle last week).  As a result, I was sent for an ultrasound.  Big sigh, and considering the state I was in already by the time I got there it should come as no shock that there were even more tears to come.

So this morning was the ultrasound.  As I expected, our baby is very much head down, facing my right hip, with her little ol’ butt sticking out at the top of my belly, just as she should be.  Fluid levels look good at the 25th percentile (interestingly, Justin at this point was enjoying his space swimming around in enough fluid for 90th percentile!).   Georgia has her head jammed into my pelvis far enough that we couldn’t really even get a good view of her face – not that her busyness chewing on her fist would’ve helped with that.  Silly girl!  I was a bit curious to see if we could see her hair on this ultrasound like we were able to with Justin’s post-dates ultrasound where we could see 1 inch+ hair swishing around in the fluid.  No dice this time!  Little girl is too “locked and loaded” into my pelvis to have room for that!


So, finally, the numbers:

As of 1/10/12, 40w5d:


Dilation: “A VERY stretchy 2, almost 3cm”


Effacement: 100%.  I was told that I’m as effaced as you can be without being in active labor.  Very stretchy, VERY ripe.


Station: Because Miss Georgia kept moving away, she couldn’t determine this time.  But for all practical purposes, she’s calling her to be stationed where she was before at -1.

So, basically, we’re ready.  And odds are, as soon as we finally get some regular contractions going things ought to move at a pretty reasonable clip.  COME ON CONTRACTIONS!  Let’s DO THIS!


As I mentioned in my last post, I am officially on maternity leave.  When I was pregnant with Justin, my last day before starting my leave was my due date, March 5, 2008, he wasn’t born until March 19.  That was one of the longest 2 weeks of my life.

This time around, I promised myself I wouldn’t subject myself to that kind of anxious boredom and committed myself to working until labor started (fully aware that I would very likely run late with Miss Georgia as I did with Mr. Justin.  It turns out there’s a difference between working part-time with no kiddo at home and working full-time with a sensitive and ill-sleeping 4-year-old Autistic boy at home.  (Who would believe it?!)

So far, maternity leave has not been the burden it was last time, for which I am thankful.  I’m working hard to keep busy, not thinking too hard about being past my due date – and I’ve been successful.  This morning I actually had to count on my fingers how many days past my due date I am (3).  My kitchen is clean enough to cook in.  All the bottles, pacifiers, nursing support gadgets (nipple shells/shields, etc) are sterilized.  Laundry is caught up.  Heck, even my bed is made!  My kitchen floor is disgusting (swept, but needs about an hour with a magic eraser and some elbow grease) and my tub could use a scouring – both projects I’m sort of saving for the bout of hormonally induced nesting that is sure to find me in the next week or so.

The crazy part?  I was in bed last night for nearly 11 hours (minus of course the few trips to the bathroom and my 45-minute, middle-of-the-night cuddle session on the couch with my sweet boy at 4am).

My anxiety is as low as it can be and I’m as tired as a woman in her 40th week of pregnancy should be – as opposed to simply being an exhausted puddle of irritable grossness.  Sure, I have moments where I think, “What if my body will never go into full labor on its own?!”  But all in all, I’m actually enjoying being home and able to focus on getting and keeping my house in order, spending time with my Little Turkey and getting my head around the whole idea of having another little person in our home.

I have been, and will continue to try all the usual methods of encouraging labor to get going.  Many of the things I’m doing I did with Justin (fruitlessly), but there’s no harm in them so I figure, why not?  I’m also trying some new things too.  Here’s my shortlist of things I’ve been doing so far:

– Evening Primrose Oil

– Blue and Black Cohosh Tinctures

– Rest

– Walking (particularly carrying something heavy – like a bag of groceries)

– Red Raspberry Leaf tea

– Greasy meals (on occasion)

– Rebozo Sifting (oh man, that felt so good!  like a belly massage!  I’m so thankful to my doula for offering this!)
And things I’ll be likely to do in the next few days:

– Hiking the stairs

– Having my membranes stripped

– Balloon Catheter induction (which I’m going to push to have done early next week at the latest)

– Taking the new breast pump for a spin

Then finally, the ultimate natural induction technique:  tempting Murphy’s Law!

On Facebook today I tossed out requests for activity recommendations so that I can build a schedule for the next week or so.  I’m thinking that if I can build a full calendar of activities, then our little princess will have to interrupt with her arrival, right?  The trick is coming up with activities that don’t wear me out, cost a fortune, require childcare, or aren’t schedule-able.

So far I’m thinking I’m going to schedule a day to finally take Justin to the FIG at the Whatcom Museum (Friday), and go on a morning coffee date with Matt (Thursday while Justin is at school).  If we can arrange childcare for Justin, I’d really like to go see The Hobbit at the new theater in town, and go have my Red Robin Birthday burger (which might happen on the same day as seeing The Hobbit).  I’m thinking tomorrow would be a good day to give Matt the haircut he needs and finish the detail on the hat I knitted for Georgia.

I have a few things in my freezer for postpartum time, but I hesitate to trash my clean kitchen only to wear myself out midway through.  And there are a few other things that I could prep, but I wouldn’t want to just make waste by prepping too soon.  Plus, a lot of the deep-cleaning sorts of things won’t work with Justin around.  Hmmm…

Any other ideas for fun day-time things to do around Bellingham with a hyperactive kiddo?

Hi everyone.  Thought it was time for an update!

I went to work on Friday feeling pretty okay but tired.  Definitely feeling the tired the last few days.  As each day progresses, even thought I’m not have a lot of pre-labor contractions, I’m feeling more and more pressure on my cervix:  there’s no question as to whether or not I’m waddling now!

Quack indeed!

Friday night I started having some good crampy contractions which petered out as the evening progressed.  Saturday morning (my due date) I woke up with the same period-like crampiness.  Contractions came and went all day, but I am noticing that in the evenings I’m feeling more and more HARD ones where I can really feel pressure being put where it should go.

All that to say: still no labor but my body is absolutely getting ready.  I have even less heartburn now than I did last week when it was determined that baby was all the way down at -1 station, which tells me she’s even lower and better engaged now than she was a week ago.

Even had a little scare this morning as I was getting ready for Church!  After fighting my way into a pair of tights (which took nearly 15 minutes!), I felt a strange sensation like a full balloon painlessly tearing and a very little gush.  I ran to the bathroom to find that no, my water hadn’t broken, but (over-share, I know) a whole lot of thin mucus passed at once.  I mentioned it to my friend at Church and she offered that what likely happened was that Miss Georgia swiped her little hand right across where the amniotic sac is pressed against my cervix – which makes sense, since she’s jammed down there so tight now that it would take a fair bit of pressure to make that sort of movement!

In other news: we met with the maternity support nurse yesterday.  They visit you at home after the birth, do baby weight checks and provide breastfeeding support, as well as check to make sure you’re not slipping into postpartum depression (which I’m at risk for).  After talking with her about how my body and mind are feeling, I was prompted to call my midwife.    The result?  I’ve been officially over-ruled in my attempt to work until I go into labor and instructed to start my maternity leave as soon as possible.  The worry is that I’m getting too stressed, tired and worn out before labor which, in turn, increases my risk of exhaustion in labor.  So, I called it in to the short-term disability folks on Saturday and left a message, and will be calling in to work officially on Monday morning.

Now my plan is to take one day at a time, then one contraction at a time, and try to stop thinking so much about “when” I will actually start labor.

Today I’m digging in to my regimen of Blue and Black Cohosh herbs (known to help stimulate contractions – I took it with Justin too), Evening Primrose Oil (EPO), and meeting up this afternoon with my doula and some of her doula friends for a Rebozo sifting session.

Tomorrow (Monday), I’m planning to continue the cohosh and EPO, and am looking forward to a visit from my dear friend,Holly Jean who has a tiny baby girl who shares a patron saint as our Miss Georgia (St. Nina of Georgia).  I’ve found over the last month or so that holding and cuddling tiny ones helps stimulate contractions even though I’m not nursing them, so I’m hoping that may help too.  Also I’m hoping to take advantage of Justin being at school in the morning to tidy up my nest.

Lots more to be doing at home than I had when I was waiting for Justin to make his entrance, and I have no illusions about going into labor by a certain date or time.  I may suspect sooner rather than later but I’m trying to focus on each day as it comes with no expectation of anything other than Miss Georgia’s timing!



Dropping much?!
Dropping much?!


Happy news friends!

Dilation: 1.5-2cm (about the same as a week ago, but not shabby either – also, about what I expected)

Effacement: 85-90% !!! With Justin, when I was admitted for my induction at 42 weeks I was only at 40%! What this means: my cervix is “very ripe” and ready to go at any time the contractions decide to kick into gear!

Station: -1. This one too is pretty exciting for me. This means li’l Miss Georgia is settling well into my pelvis. When I was admitted for induction with Justin, he was at -3 (VERY high in my belly). This also means that non-medical induction techniques are MORE likely to work (ie. stripping of membranes, foley catheter induction, etc) because she’s already putting some pressure on my cervix!

WOOT! Good news! I also asked the midwife when the earliest she’d consider stripping membranes would be. She said next week, but admitted to doing a very “thorough” exam when she was getting my stats (like, just shy of “stripping” anyway). As a result, I’ve had LOTS of really good, though light, contractions all afternoon. I’ll take every single one I can get at this point since each one brings us that much closer to meeting our little girl!

Now, for a little realism here: This does not mean I’m going into labor at any moment. What it does mean is that things are pointing to both an earlier delivery (when compared with Justin), and a far reduced risk of medical induction. I’m VERY happy with this!

I’m officially 39 weeks today.

Physically I’m having more moments of being sore – like someones taken a rubber mallet to my pubic bone, or really just grabbing either side of my pelvis and twisting and stretching it in two. Then there’s the heartburn bad enough that I nearly vomit every time I burp (and I’m burping a lot). Then there’s the sinus trouble and the puffies (no clinical puffies, but suffice it to say that I feel like I have man-hands).  Then there’s the return of the morning-sickness-like nausea which gets worse every day…

I alternate between having a lot of energy and feeling completely exhausted.  Emotionally, I’m a total wreck.  I’m kind of amazed my husband still volunteers to live in the same home as me.

When I was pregnant with Justin, I worked only 25 hours per week.  This time I’m working 40+ and doing everything in my power to keep working in normal capacity (not just camping out with book-work)  for as long as possible.  I do not want to be the “whiny pregnant lady”, but at the same time I’m starting to worry that my propensity to irritability may come out on some of my coworkers.  It’s getting a little too easy to say what I’m really thinking, rather than taking the moment to find a way to be gentle.  I’m beginning to think it’ll be the emotional part that locks me in a room doing paperwork before the physical stuff does.

For now, I’m crossing my fingers (while trying not to get my hopes up) that little Miss Georgia decides to join us sooner rather than later.  I’m really looking forward to my appointment on Monday (New Year’s Eve) with the midwife – to check to see what, if any, progress I’ve made (I’d love to see dilation jumped to 2.5cm or 3, and effacement up closer to 70-80%).  Also kicking around the notion of having her sweep/strip my membranes while she’s at it and planning our series of natural induction/encouragement techniques for the next few weeks.  I’m also looking forward to learning more about what testing Group B Strep positive will mean for natural childbirth (I was negative with Justin, positive with Georgia) .  So far I know we’ll be adding an IV of antibiotics to our labor dance that I hadn’t planned on previously!

So, we’re trying to fine-tune Justin’s sleep before baby comes since he’s been waking 2-3 times a night, and sleeping so restlessly (like rolling on to the floor a few times a night even), and then being a total bear the next day. So, at the advice of Justin’s Developmental Pediatrician at Children’s, we tried last night to just use one of his 2 sleep meds (with the thinking being that he was losing sensitivity to the other – so take him off for a week, add it back…). He slept maybe 1.5-2hrs at regular time, then woke up and was up playing until 4am! Whooo boy! I’m thinking the other med is still working! At least somewhat!

For anyone playing the pre-labor home game here are today’s stats (37 weeks + 6 days):

Dilation: 1.5 cm

Effacement: 50%

That’s slightly further along than I was with Justin at this point. Here’s hoping this also means that little Miss Georgia decides to make her debut a bit less overdue than Mr. Justin did!


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