Thursday, October 31, 2013

Another Castor Oil Success Story

This is our friends' Jarrod & Kendra's story of how castor oil helped induce her labor with their first baby girl, Eden. The rest of this post is all Kendra's :)

My Thoughts on Castor Oil for Labor Induction:
I was scared to take it. If it was up to Jarrod, I would have taken it the weekend before I did. I was 9 days overdue. I could tell the baby was big enough and my midwife had estimated she was 7lbs 13-14oz the week of my due date. I had been dilated to 3-4cm for 3 days and had had some regular contractions during the nights that always petered out by morning. My body was ready. My baby was ready (or so I thought; she apparently had other thoughts). And I had a deadline of 42 weeks staring me in the face only days away.
Pitocin and a hospital birth were my greatest fear. I was planning a homebirth and would have been devastated if this could not be. All the self-induction methods: you name them, I tried them! Except castor oil. My cousin had used castor oil for all 6 of her babies and helped allay my fears. At 9 days overdue, I decided to give it a try.
The biggest concerns with castor oil are dehydration from excessive diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and it not being a reliable induction method. Dehydration is easily combated with hydration. I typically drank at least a half gallon of fluids a day during my pregnancy, so the morning I planned to take the castor oil, I just began chugging the water with the goal of a gallon by early-mid evening. I wasn’t worried about abdominal cramping because I figured even bad abdominal cramps would be better than the breakless contractions of pitocin. I was worried about it not working, but my cousin helped boost my confidence. My body was ready; castor oil would work. If my body hadn’t been ready, then the castor oil would have done nothing but cause diarrhea. Castor oil may not be pleasant, but from the stories I’ve heard, pitocin is worse.
My cousin said to take 2 tablespoons. So at 10am on Saturday, September 7th, I did. What she didn’t tell me was that it’s helpful to dilute it in orange juice or something of that nature. I took it straight. Flavorless, but the consistency of soap and very oily. That morning I hung out at my cousin’s garage sale to pass the time. By 1pm, nothing had happened and my cousin suggested another dose as she had always seen it work within 2 hours. So 3 tablespoons this time. It took until nearly 4pm for the intestinal effects to kick in. Diarrhea, but no stomach cramps. By 7:30-8pm, I became discouraged that there was no uterine activity. I was nearly convinced that not even castor oil could evict this baby. Around 8:30pm, I felt and heard a pop and within 2 minutes, I knew my water had broken. Yay! Progress at last. Contractions began within 30 minutes and they were definitely stronger than any I had had previously. I paced through them for a half hour and then texted my mom and friend to come over. They arrived around 10pm and began giving me back rubs and providing counter pressure to my hips and lower back. I could just barely talk through the contractions that were coming about every 5 minutes. At 10:30pm, my friend and mom suggested I call the midwife back to let her know labor was in full swing. Good thing I did, because when she arrived at 11pm, I was 9cm dilated. I was shocked! The last few contractions had been 3 minutes apart and the hardest yet, but still I just moaned a little at the peak (I was getting a foot massage at this point and was very relaxed, so maybe that is why). I was really expecting transition to be worse.
The tub was finally ready, so I climbed in. The water felt so good and the next few contractions were easier because of it. Around 11:30pm, I began to feel pushy. I pushed on my hands and knees for a few contractions and then turned over to a squat. During a contraction, my mom and husband would lift me into a squat, so I could have gravity and anatomy in my favor. Between contractions, I let my lower body float and rest. I pushed for just over an hour, with her head crowning for much of that time. Finally at 12:38pm, only 4 hours after my water broke, just as a contraction ended, I gave one last push. Her head slipped out and the rest of her body slid out on its own. What sweet relief!
I remember commenting to my husband later that if all my labors are that good, I could have 10 more!
Would I take castor oil again? Definitely. It works. It induces labor if your body is already ready. But its still your body’s own labor: your oxytocin, your contractions. Just remember to drink a lot.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Jaden's Birth Story, My Awesome Experience with Castor Oil & Things you should know.

Let me start by saying that my experience with Castor oil was AMAZING, and I wish I would have used it with my other two pregnancies as well.

I think most of us have some pre-concieved ideas about using castor oil to induce labor. I know I sure did. However, I did a good bit of research on it this time and talked to a friend who had real-life, recent experience using it-who is also a nurse-and I decided to try it. My experience was so incredible and wonderful that I have to share it on here.

Ok, so I used to think that castor oil was some sort of dark, motor oil type substance, I thought you had to drink a ton of it, and I knew it could dehydrate you. Yuck, yuck, yuck. I was pretty against ever even looking into it, let alone trying it.

However, with both of my first two pregnancies they had to use pitocin in order for my labor to progress, even when my water had broken at home and labor had begun on its own. Maybe not a big deal if you get an epidural and don't feel anything, but with my second pregnancy I did not get an epidural, and the last 4 hours of my labor on pitocin were horrible. No breaks between contractions, no time to get back in control of my pain or breathe, just screaming and crying and trying to pray my way through for hours. I knew I didn't want an epidural again this time, but I did NOT want to be on pitocin for any reason. So when my doctors were recommending that I be induced on October 21st (one week before my due date) because of my history of having large babies, and I realized that my choices were to either most likely be induced and on pitocin again, or to try a natural, labor inducing method (castor oil) I opted for the latter. (Please know, there are other natural ways of trying to induce labor... and we had tried those, and they didn't seem to be doing the trick.... I'll leave it at that ;) )

Here's what I learned in my research: castor oil is made from the seed of the castor plant (basically a type of vegetable oil) it's clear, doesn't have much taste, is sold over the counter at most pharmacies, and you only have to take 2 tablespoons. Very different than I thought at first. It causes diarrhea for most people, which is why it can dehydrate you, so over the course of the morning I drank a 1/2 gallon of water prior to taking any, and then was working on finishing another 1/2 gallon before I went to the hospital.
*If your body is not showing any signs of going into labor soon on its own, castor oil probably won't work for you and shouldn't be tried. I knew that I was already dilated to 4 cm four days prior to taking it and had been having contractions for days and days that were fairly regular. I also knew that my doctors felt it was safe for me to have my baby on the 21st as I would be 39 weeks and they had recommended I be induced on that day anyway. It's very important not to try to force baby out by using castor oil if you are not close to or past your due date or if your body is not showing any signs that it is ready for labor. ALSO, if you use it make sure you are super hydrated first.*

So here's my story:
Shaun was working on Monday the 21st and wouldn't be home until 3:30. I decided to wait until the afternoon to take it so that I could be sure he would be home in case it did put me into labor. I got up around 8:00 a.m. and filled up a half gallon jar with water. Throughout the morning I steadily kept drinking with my goal being to have finished a 1/2 gallon before taking the castor oil at 1:30. I did little things around the house, played outside with the boys, and just tried to have a normal day. At 1:00 p.m. I called Shaun and made sure he was absolutely sure I should take it, he said to go for it, so I mixed two tablespoons of the oil with a glass of juice and got it down by 1:30. (Not a fun consistency to drink, I'll tell you that) I knew that for most people it will cause something to happen within two hours, usually diarrhea. By 3:30 nothing had happened for me and I was trying to resign myself that it might not work. (I never did have the stomach cramps or diarrhea that often are side effects of using castor oil to induce labor- woo hoo!) I was still drinking water just in case, and by 4:00 I started to notice that my contractions were seeming to be a little bit more frequent than before. I told Shaun I was going to lay down on the sofa to rest, and Drew and Isaiah would randomly come snuggle with me for a little bit. Every so often I'd ask Shaun what time it was. Although my contractions were not painful and no more intense than before, they were consistently about every 8 minutes. I still wasn't getting my hopes up. By 5:00 Shaun told me that he was going to make eggs for dinner. I told him thank you because I just didn't feel like cooking at the moment. I sat up on the sofa and started noticing that my contractions seemed to be closer than 8 minutes apart. I started watching the clock and writing down times myself. After having about 5 or 6 contractions that were consistently 3-5 minutes apart I told Shaun I was going to go finish packing. About halfway upstairs I had a contraction that I could hardly keep walking through. That was a bit different. As I finished packing upstairs I had a few more that stopped me in the middle of what I was doing. I yelled down the stairs that I was going to call the dr. and my mom. Shaun was like "are you serious??!" So I called and my dr. told me to come in and my mom said she'd be over. I went back downstairs and tried to eat a few bites of dinner between contractions and couldn't really. All the while my contractions were getting stronger, but not really hurting. By 6:00 I remember I was at the front door, trying to get my uggs on, having a contraction at the same time and Shaun had to put my boots on for me. By a few minutes after 6:00 Shaun was in the kitchen giving my mom last minute instructions and I was standing on the front porch telling him we had. to. go. NOW.

6:07 we were pulling out of the driveway and I was having a stronger contraction. I was trying to text some of our friends to tell them I was going in and ask them to pray. Ten minutes down the road my sister was calling and I remember telling her I could talk til I had a contraction, then telling her one was starting and I had to go and hanging up. That contraction was really strong and my water broke in the front seat of the truck (thankfully we had put a towel down on the seat) That was about 6:15ish. From that point on Shaun was driving with his four ways on and passing people in turning lanes and rolling down the window at red lights to ask if he could go in front of people.... and I was trying to call my dr to tell them I felt like I was going to have to push soon and I wouldn't be able to walk into the hospital... It was a pretty intense drive!

6:40 we were pulling into women and babies and I was getting out of the car into a wheel chair and being pushed straight to labor and delivery. Once I got into the hospital bed the adenaline rush settled and I started shaking all over, so relieved we had made it to the hospital. When they checked me they said I was 7 cm and baby boy was really low. (No kidding!)

From that point on I had about 2 hours were my contractions spaced out a little and I had these wonderful breaks that I could talk and laugh through. I stayed at 7 cm for those two hours and was actually starting to worry a bit when they started saying they could give me pitocin to jump start my labor again. NO. WAY. So I got out of bed and tried walking the hallways, then came back to my room and sat on the birthing ball next to my bed. I started praying intensely that my body would do what it was made to and that baby would come soon. The whole time Shaun was rubbing my back and I was breathing through contractions and I was listening to the worship play list I had made. My nurse came in and asked if I'd like to try the jacuzzi tub. I said sure. I probably got in the tub a little before 9. I remember saying to Shaun that between contractions I felt great and completely relaxed in the water. (Then during a contraction I wanted to be anywhere but in that hard tub...) My contractions were definitely seeming to be more intense and harder to breathe through. I had three really hard ones in a row, then a little break, then I started having one that sent me to crazy land pain wise, and I tried to jump out of the tub but could hardly stand. Shaun was holding me up under my arms, and my nurse came running in to help, and I was starting to scream, and barely made it back to the bed... It took a few minutes for the doctor to get there during which time they were telling me not to push and I was feeling like that was absolutely impossible and Shaun was cradling my head in his arms and pushing my hair back and telling me it was going to be ok and all the while I was screaming. The doctor finally came in and was awesome giving me super specific instructions what to do and how to push. Jaden was born one minute of pushing later. (It felt like a lot longer than that!!) Looking back on it I couldn't have asked for things to go any better than they did.

It was definitely extremely painful at the very end, but it was such a natural progression, and it was my body in control of it the whole time doing just what it needed to, not something they were pumping into me to force my body to contract harder and more often than necessary.

What finally clicked with me this time around was that everyone's labor is going to be different, and not to be afraid if mine is different than "normal".  Going to birthing classes and what you see on tv/movies makes you think everyone has contractions that get closer and closer together and are extremely consistent and timeable. and that "transition" happens at 7 cm  and that there should be come kind of longer period of time where you feel like you have to push... My labor went fast but was irregular in that my contractions would be close together and hard and then space back out and then get closer and harder again, that I stayed at 7 cm for 2 hrs, and I didn't go into transition until 10 cm when I was ready to push. I am just so thankful I finally got to have this experience of a natural labor start to finish.

I love hearing other people's birth stories, and I thought it would be cool to include another one using castor oil on here in case you're interested in hearing more. So my friend Kendra (the nurse that gave me lots of first hand advice) wrote out her experience and birth story with her daughter Eden, and I'll be posting that tomorrow. :)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

He's Here!!!!

Introducing our sweet baby boy number three: 

Jaden Saylor Kauffman

Born October 21st at 9:27 p.m.
8 lbs 10 ounces
20 inches long

Contractions began being more intense at home at 5:00 p.m. Left for the hospital at 6:00 when they were getting much worse and so close I couldn't time them anymore - my awesome husband put on his four ways and was making great time. Water broke in the car on the way at about 6:15... thought I might have the baby in the car before we made it... Thank Jesus we got here at 6:40 and they had a wheelchair waiting for me and took me straight to l&d. I was 7 cm then. As they started my fluids and I calmed down my contractions spaced out and I got a bit of a break until around 8 or 8:30. Contractions became intense again, and after being in the jacuzzi tub for about 15 or 20 minutes all of the sudden I knew I needed to make it back to the bed asap... Shaun and my nurse practically carried me there. Had about 5 or 6 minutes of intense pain and crazy contractions, 1 minute of pushing, and he was here!!!  He has little blonde peach fuzz hair and he is perfect in every way. We are so in love already! 
Holding him for the first time. Minutes after he was born. 

Couldn't have done it without Shaun!! He is my hero! 

We love our new little man!!! 

He slept well last night and looks like a little angel in his bassinette next to me now. Drew and Isaiah will be coming to meet little brother soon! :) I can't wait! 

(Started writing this post the afternoon of October 17th when I still have no idea when I was actually going to have the baby, and I was trying to find things to do to keep me occupied....:) ) 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pregnancy Ramblings: Things we can control vs things we can't.

Getting to the end of my third pregnancy now, and just reflecting on things that I've done differently this time around.... Some things I've learned (although it sure took me awhile!).

So, if there's one thing I've learned it's that there are things you can control while you're pregnant, and things you simply can't.

Things you can control: Your attitude. (Miserable vs. Joyful). What you eat. (Giving in to every craving vs. trying to eat healthy) Complaining (Simple: do you or don't you). What you focus on. (The sometimes painful process vs. the end result: a beautiful new life).

Things you can't control: The length of your pregnancy. The gender of your baby. Where you gain your weight/how you carry. The size of your baby at birth. What people say to you during your pregnancy. You can't control the length of your labor, or whether or not breastfeeding will be easy for you and your baby... And much more...

So I can't say I haven't complained to Shaun or my mom about different things that have been painful this pregnancy. I can say I have tried not to make it the norm, and I have tried not to be a complainer to just any random listener. I can't say I didn't ever feel miserable, especially in the beginning when I was so very, very sick. But as my pregnancy progressed I feel like the Lord has taught me more and more about choosing joy. (My mom's caught me quite stressed a few times, ahem, but I'm hoping she's seen me try to be joyful even when it's hard too... thanks for letting me be completely real with you mama!)  More so this time than ever before I have been very conscious of what I eat. I have not eliminated the occasional treat altogether, but I usually make a conscious decision ahead of time, like ok, I know I will have dessert at Drew's birthday, so I am not going to have anything else this week, etc. I have tried to make choices like salads, apples, celery & peanut butter etc. My breakfast every morning is a hard boiled egg and a smoothie made from organic yogurt, raw milk and a banana. I have noticed a difference this time, I have less swelling and I am currently about 8 lbs. less than what I was with Drew and Isaiah at this point. (My ending weight was only one pound different with the two of them so I feel like 8 lbs is pretty significant for me this time.) For the first time I made a worship playlist to have on repeat in my labor and delivery room to try to focus on that rather than the pain. (I'm hoping to go natural with no epidural again this time around.)

As for things you can't control.... My due date was a bit debatable this pregnancy for a few reasons all of which I won't go into on here... But it could've been either the 15th, the 21st (when I think I'm due.... TODAY!), or the 28th of October (the date my dr's have written down as the "official" date). With Drew and Isaiah "all dates lined up" so to speak so there wasn't really confusion for me on that point. I had Drew two days early and Isaiah a full week early. This time around I really don't know when to expect to go into labor. I know my body is showing me all kinds of signs that "the time is near" but just how near I can't be sure... It just so happens that Shaun was 10 lbs 1 oz at birth, and I was 9 lbs 15 oz at birth, and we have big babies. (Drew- 9 lbs 8 oz. Isaiah- 9 lbs 14 oz.) So I really hope I don't go too much longer before delivering this third boy of ours... I also can't control that the way I carry my babies all three times seems to be practically outside my body, way out in front, and fairly low. I don't gain a whole lot anywhere else (although I do gain some), but man does it amaze me how your body can stretch to accommodate for another human being growing inside of you and then somehow go back to almost "normal" afterwards (takes me a little while afterwards, but it has eventually happened!). None of those factors that I can't control have ever bothered me too much.

The one thing that for whatever reason gets to me (especially at the end when I am extra hormonal and ready to have the baby) has been the comments of others. There are lots of people who go out of their way to be super nice when they see you pregnant and attempting normal activity like running errands with other children in tow... opening doors, smiling kindly, asking nice questions... (LOVE those people!!) Then there are the people who might make not so encouraging comments on blogs or facebook. But you know, if I'm posting something and it's out there for all to see, I kind of expect the good with the bad, a mixture of responses... and it's ok. If I didn't understand the fact that you don't control much about the way your body changes during pregnancy, it might be hurtful being labeled as huge... but instead it is just funny. (This time around I did something I've always wanted to do and took weekly pictures of my growing belly. I've posted them all on facebook and I hope if anything they will be encouraging to other moms who carry like I do, that no one will ever be ashamed of the way they look at the end of pregnancy. That they will know they are making a very selfless and worth it sacrifice that will forever change and enrich their lives.) And then there are people who say things that just should not be said. Disbelieving looks are one thing, but then there are comments that are just downright rude. The grocery store especially seems to be a very challenging place for me to visit these days... People asking me the gender of my baby when they see me with two boys already and then giving me a look like I'm polluting the earth when I answer that I'm expecting a third boy. Or someone telling me I look miserable when I walk into their store with a smile on my face... thanks, thanks a lot, I'll try to keep this smile on regardless of the fact that you seem like you'd like it better if I actually DID look miserable.... People asking loudly if there is an ambulance waiting for me in the parking lot of the grocery store... Someone ending up in my check out line and saying she has been trying to avoid me through the store the whole time (not sure I understand what that was supposed to mean exactly) I can't count the times I've been looked at and told I MUST be having twins... How do I handle this, you ask? Probably not very well... I try to keep my smile in place and politely nod and move on, but my mom, sister, husband, etc. have all dealt with my venting once I'm home.

But FINALLY. Today, on possibly one of the last days of my pregnancy I think I get it. I think I'm actually called to something more than a fake smile and nod toward those strangers that don't realize what they're saying or how it feels to an emotional, ready to have their baby, girl that they don't really know at all. I think I'm actually called to choose joy in those situations too. And to maybe not complain about it either. ;) I'm sorry for my complaints, and for the times I allowed my joy to be stolen by situations I didn't control.

And to all of you mothers out there, pregnant, just had your baby, or with toddlers or older... You are gorgeous, radiant, beautiful and strong- every change that you went through to bring those babies into the world was worth it and only makes you even more of a hero. Don't let any bit of it take away from your joy in this day or any other.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Drew's Four Year Photos

I have this thought process when it comes to taking yearly pictures of my boys: If they don't enjoy it, I don't want to do it. These pictures are not just for me to look back on. I want them to be memories- good memories- for both of us. That's kind of the way I approach all my shoots... I don't want fake smiles and posed fun, I want the real thing, if at all possible, so that when you look at that image on your wall it genuinely makes you smile again. 
So, Drew loves airplanes, so for his birthday we took him to a small local airport and I took pictures of him truly having a great time. I probably spent a total of ten to fifteen minutes taking these, the majority of the time we were there we were just exploring, watching planes take off, and making memories. I do put them in fun outfits and use whatever we already have to make the pictures a little more "themed" to wherever we are going. But I'll never forget Drew's genuine smiles or excitement when they actually let him sit in the pilot's seat of one of their little planes, or his enthusiasm watching planes landing right in front of him. Isaiah had a blast too and there are a few pictures of him in this post as well. If you look closely you can see they both brought their favorite toy airplanes along and are holding them in their hands for most of the pictures :) We talked about going to watch airplanes for his birthday for weeks, so I think the build up helped make it special too :) 
So all that to say, if you have a little one and want to get some seriously memorable pictures of them, think about what they like and try to make that part of the picture taking process, and let them have an experience they will really enjoy. It will be so much more fun for you both :) 

 Oh my goodness, I can hardly handle his little boy handsome-ness in the one below... 

The pictures below are their expressions while watching an airplane come in for a landing. (I just had to be careful not to block their line of sight while taking these... haha) 

 There it is!!! 
Our front row seats to the runway. I think Shaun had a good time too :)  

It was a chilly day and I remembered we already had this little aviator hat so I threw it in the car to bring with us. Love these of them wearing it :) 

The people at the airport were seriously so kind, letting us come out and check out the planes while they got ready to take off. 

 I love my Drew bug's smiles!!!!!

So there are Drew's four year pictures :) 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Drew- from birth to now :)

A few days before Drew's fourth birthday I took a look back through photos of him since his birth. Amazing how when they first come you love them so much without even knowing who they are yet. Even more amazing how quickly they grow and change and start letting you know EXACTLY who they are, what they like, their little quirky personality traits... I still want to do a post specifically for Drew's fourth birthday, his four year old pictures, what we did that day, etc. but I thought I'd share these couple of photos in a post first. I like the consistency they show... him loving cantaloupe, anything musical, tractors, snowmen, and pictures of us with him from each birthday... 

My baby boy. I remember I spent hours upon hours just looking at him. 

Taking our firstborn home. 

so happy, so scared, so new at the whole parent thing. 

baby boy getting bigger. 

and bigger

first trip to the beach! 

my heart. 

he has always loved cantaloupe... 

and the traditional birthday photo began... Drew's first birthday. 

one of my favorite pictures... i took him on a date to the mall to get his "baby bear" when I was pregnant with Isaiah. 

our little drummer boy. 

tractors at the fair, photo #1 

he's got the music in him. 

traditional birthday photo, Drew turns two! 

Drew and his snowman. 

Little stud muffin!! 

Drew gets his first puppy :) 

So classic 

Love how he sleeps with his hands tucked up by his face. 

Drew on a tractor at the fair, photo #2

Drew and his whale. 

traditional birthday photo, Drew turns three!! 

Drummer, guitarist, and singer. :) 

Another winter, another snowman. 

Still loves cantaloupe :) 

Tractors, fair, photo #3. 

traditional birthday photo, Drew turns FOUR! (what can I say, he likes to be without a shirt.... and I have dirty windows....) Happy birthday big boy!!