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10 week ultrasound

We had our 10 week ultrasound on Tuesday. Of course I was/am still freaking out re: are they still OK? Everything looked great. Baby A measured in at 10 weeks, 2 days and Baby B was measuring 10 weeks, 5 days! I get to stop my progesterone injections and we graduated from our RE. As I walked down the hall of my RE office to receive my final blood draw, a thought popped into my head: I hope this really is my last time here. If all goes as we anticipate, I will likely never have to return again. My body will (hopefully) never need to be filled with fertility drugs again. I won’t miss the moodiness, the boating, the constant appointments, the emotional roller coaster, the needles, the calendars, or shelling out the extra cash. I will however, miss the kind people who have held my/our hands each step of this process. Many are the same individuals who helped us conceive our daughter. Within this next year, we will become the parents of three miracles, who wouldn’t have otherwise happened without the perfect combination of fertility drugs and the skill of these individuals. We will be forever grateful.

After our appointment we drove to Snooze (a breakfast place) at Union Station to celebrate our graduation. We rarely have time together, and I have a feeling those precious moments with just the two of us will become even more infrequent in about 6 months. We ate pancakes and talked about the amazing growth of the babies and the miracle of life. When you have had those devastating, low moments – horrible appointments, where you leave crushed and in tears – celebrating a moment like this is so much sweeter, yet it still remains incredibly scary. With each step further, the more you “buy in” and allow yourself to feel the joy and excitement. But in the back of your head you caution: With that joy and excitement comes so much more vulnerability.

It’s funny, I feel like I need an ultrasound at least every week to know that everything is fine. That isn’t going to happen, so I better relax as best I can and trust that these babies and my body are doing everything right.

In other news, my belly had popped! Sometime between 9/10 weeks the babies made their presence visibly known. Practically overnight, it seems. This is a reassuring sign for me, as some of my nausea has faded. On May 10th we will have our first OB appointment with a new OB/Midwife team I have chosen. I met with them a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed the time they spent with me and hearing what they had to say. They were able to answer all of my questions completely and with ease. Dr. Hall has the most impressive record of vaginal twin births in the state. He and his midwife seemed supportive of drug-free/natural labor and he will birth breech twins vaginally if he feels it is safe. I am looking forward to my future appointments with them. Now I just have to keep relaxed and confident until we get to see our babies again at 13 weeks.

10weekultrasound

Top: Baby A, Bottom: Baby B

Wow.

Monday was the day of our first ultrasound. We nervously waited to be called back. Once the ultrasound began, we immediately saw a baby with good blood flow and a nice fetal pole. Of course the heartbeat is the part I am waiting for… Then the ultrasound tech said something about two. TWO? Upon repositioning the wand, sure enough, there were two in there!!! TWINS. The first (or Baby A) had a nice strong heartbeat. The second (Baby B) had a muffled heartbeat that was hard to find, which concerned me. We were reassured when they explained that Baby B is nestled so far back in my uterus, that it just makes it difficult to hear. But once they found it, the muffled beat was just as strong as Baby A’s. Baby A measured in at 8 weeks gestation and Baby B measured at 8 weeks, 1 day.

Following the ultrasound, I believe some of the first words out of my husband’s mouth were: “We need a bigger house.” And “Can I have a drink now?” (Remember, we don’t indulge in alcohol while trying and he doesn’t drink until we know the baby is looking good.) I said, “Go for it!” We were both still shaking when we got back in the car.

Our RE said at the time of our IUI we had a 20 percent chance of getting pregnant at all – even with two good follicles. He said our chance of multiples was 5 percent.

Two. Suddenly things were starting to make more sense. I go to bed at 7:30 every night, as soon as we put our daughter down. I am nauseous all day long and night is the worst. My food aversions are horrible. I can’t eat much. Then there were the signs. My first sign came even before I knew I was pregnant. One might say I had a severe case of pregnancy brain. It was probably a week after our IUI, maybe less. I had a little photo shoot I was doing for work. I had brought my mother along to watch my daughter while I did the shoot. After, we stopped to get gas. Apparently I left the car running when I went to pump the gas. Thankfully, my mom was in the passenger seat and turned it off. She told me about it when I returned. She said “Don’t worry honey, you have a lot on your mind. We all just really want this IUI to work.” True… Or I already had severe pregnancy brain. Next, came the random appearances of twins. For several weeks prior to my ultrasound I had seen a crazy number of twins at some of the places my daughter and I frequent. At one storytime there were about four sets. Then I took my daughter to a class at the Botanic Gardens. I kid you not – six sets of twins in the class.

Soon after our ultrasound my husband had to catch a flight for work. The remainder of the day I would text with him, my sister, and my mother. All of those conversations shared a common phrase back and forth, over and over: “Wow.” Separated by 500 miles, neither my husband nor I slept the first few nights after the news. We were/are flooded with joy and feeling incredibly blessed. But the fear I have with any pregnancy has now intensified. I now have more to lose. I cannot wait to get to 12+ weeks. Then of course there are the logistics of two babies plus a toddler and the potential complications of having twins. I’m not too worried, I know two at once with a toddler is going to be hard, but we will figure it out. I also know that is probably the part my husband will stress about most. And, while we are on the topic of him – I want to give him major props. He travels a ton this time of year, but when he is home he takes over with my daughter so I can rest and be nauseous without also having to parent. It’s amazing when he is home, and it’s pretty challenging when he is gone.

So, there you have it. Two. As my sister says “they are lucky little feti.” I sure feel like the lucky one – our family gets to grow by two. I have three hearts beating in my body right now. Three strong heartbeats. And that is what I will focus on for now.

8 week ultrasound

8 week ultrasound Left: Baby A,  Right: Baby B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The result of a perfect cycle

I don’t have much time to blog these days. I am sure the chaotic ramble of my previous post made that evident. Believe me – I’d much rather spend my days with my amazing toddler than blogging about infertility!

Despite my lack of free time, my blog is deserving of an update, so I will make this quick. That perfect cycle – the one that took 12 days of clomid, 3 days of micro hCG, a trigger shot, IUI and luteal hCG – it worked. I’m pregnant. We found out a couple of weeks ago. When I told my husband, we just stared at each other blankly. That blank stare was filled with all of the: we’ve been here, who knows, we still have so far to go. There is fear and a lot of anxiety. That moment was not filled with excitement or joy. Because even though we have overcome one big hurdle, on the other side of that slope awaits yet another. So, here we go.

My betas (blood draws measuring hCG) have come back good. I’ve had nausea, food aversions, and have been extra tired. In my personal experiences, those are good signs (I never had pregnancy symptoms with my losses)… but who knows. I am on progesterone injections, and those levels also continue to look good. I have been combating my anxiety with acupuncture and meditation. Now we wait until April 11th– the day of our ultrasound. 12 days. 12 long days.

Perfectly Controlled

Finally, for the first time since we conceived our daughter, I have ovulated. Thank you, PCOS, for making it so difficult. Last month it took 8 days of clomid (normal dose is 5 days) to get those stubborn little follicles to grow. Despite not conceiving and having canceled our trip to Mexico (thank you, Zika Virus – pregnant or not, it wasn’t worth the risk), I was just as happy to have had my body working as it was supposed to. Then it got tough again. This month it took 12 days of clomid, plus 3 days of micro hCG injections, plus the hCG trigger shot. Here’s what happened…

After taking 8 days of clomid, I went in for a routine follicular ultrasound to check growth. Well, their ultrasound machine had crashed, and after an hour or more of waiting they sent me home with a prescription for an extra day of clomid and told me to return the next morning for my ultrasound. I was surprised the following day when the ultrasound revealed “little or no follicle growth”… What?! But 8 days worked last time and now I have been on it for 9! They prescribed another 3 days of clomid and had me schedule another ultrasound. The day after I finished my twelfth dose I went in for the third ultrasound this cycle. They said the growth looked much better. The RE had me switch form clomid to micro hCG injections in order to help encourage continued growth. At that point I was also supposed to start my daily ovulation prediction kit (OPKs) – twice a day. If I didn’t have a positive within a few days, I was to return for a fourth ultrasound. That day rolled around and still no positive, so off I went for yet another ultrasound. This time they told me the follicle growth was where they wanted it. YES! They decided to give me an hCG trigger shot, to force ovulation. Ovulation occurs within 36 hours after the trigger shot is given.

Now, I need to backup in my story… Going into this second successful ovulation, we knew that 12 days of clomid could have a big impact on the uterine environment. To be blunt, clomid dries up the cervical mucus. Semen needs the mucus to swim/live in, and ultimately to make a successful journey to their final destination: the egg. This fact was causing me to seriously question whether all of the medical torment I was putting my body through was for not? Yes, we had conceived our daughter on our second round of clomid several years ago, but that was only the regular dose of clomid (5 days). Some of you may recall that cycle was actually supposed to be an IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) cycle, but due to an error at the clinic, we did not end up going in for an IUI.

After much stewing and debating we made the choice to suck-up the additional cost, and give our “all” to what we were sure would be a successful ovulation. I know I don’t want to be on these drugs for long, and IUI just seemed like our best bet at this point. We were not crazy about turning over yet another piece of this journey to science/medicine. Oh well! All in all, by the time I had left my RE after the trigger shot, I felt good about our decision.819d6303a1dfff98c757253030470e57

The IUI was scheduled for 24 hours after the trigger shot. We woke up early to get showered and dressed. My in-laws came over to stay with our daughter. After arriving at the RE office, my husband was up first to give his sample. (Yes, I feel a bit bad that he has to do that, but seriously, I go through so much- really, it’s fine.) After he was done we left to grab some breakfast, while the lab washed the sample and prepared it in the IUI catheter. An hour later we returned for my part. It was quick and painless, my husband held my hand. After, I laid there awkwardly for 10 minutes (as instructed), got up, got dressed and left.

A couple hours later I went to see my acupuncturist. Soon after, I began having cramping (this is common after IUI). I rested on the sofa when I could (a little hard to do with a toddler). The cramping lasted for two days. Still, it seemed like a good sign. I felt hopeful. Then on the day the cramps had disappeared, I received a text from a friend. She was informing me she had had a missed miscarriage. She knew I had experienced losses (one being a missed miscarriage). She wanted my advice and support – if I was willing. And yes, are you kidding me? That is why I blog. That is why I talk about our journey and openly share things many couples would opt to keep silent. Most of all, I wanted her to know that she wasn’t alone. I knew I could be there for her-discuss D&C vs. natural loss and my experiences. I told her how much I knew it sucked, and that I was heartbroken for her. I offered to watch her son and cook her dinner. I checked up on her often. I did all of the things I wished I a friend had done for me during the lonely days I had struggled to navigate through my losses.

For me, her loss served as a cloudy reminder of all that still lay ahead. The flood of heartache, tears and emotions returned to me. I knew that pain all too well. Yes, I had finally achieved ovulation, in a closely monitored and medically controlled cycle. Even if we are so lucky as to conceive, I knew we’d still have much to overcome… I was reminded of how fragile I am, and how deeply I fear feeling that pain again. But at the same time I know I am strong. If I couldn’t handle this entire process we wouldn’t do it again. We are doing it again, because we know if it ends with a healthy baby – it was all worth it.

We have a lot of “good” on our side these days. We already have our daughter. Countless friends and family are praying for us. I have a wonderful acupuncturist and chiropractor. I am still under 35. We have been on all of our “trying to conceive” supplements for nearly a year. We have always eaten organic, real food. I know we are doing all we can. The good outweighs the bad. We’ve got this. Armed with luteal hCG injections and plenty of patience, we wait. Eagerly, we wait to see what will come of this perfectly controlled cycle… the rest is basically beyond our control.

Infertility After Infertility

Snow. Peaceful white flakes drift down in a steady dance, and I am reminded of the day our daughter was born. Tears glisten in my eyes as those fond memories flash through my mind. This stunning collage of memories is my greatest treasure.

We fought hard for our first child. We learned to practice patience in a way only other infertiles can understand. We lost babies, shed many tears, expressed anger, and fought. We made-up. We lost hope and re-gained it. We spent a lot of money, gave a lot of blood, semen samples (him), had a lot of vaginal ultrasounds (me), and got poked by many needles. We gave up some of our passions and joys: hot yoga, running, caffeine and wine/alcohol. We popped a lot of pills, supplements, and Chinese herbs. We lost friends and gained new friends. We tried to have faith in the universe, in God and in our bodies. As many times as we wanted to give up, we knew it was worth it because we were fighting for our family.

To the future child or children who we hope are destined to join our family: We are willing to fight just as hard for you. We ARE fighting hard for you. We are doing it all again.

I have debated whether or not I wanted to share our second battle with infertility on our blog. As many of you know, we conquered years of infertility when our beautiful daughter was born in May of 2014. I know we aren’t the only couple out there facing infertility again… The second battle is easier in some respects and just as difficult in others.

Infertility Again

After our daughter turned a year we started “trying” for #2. At first I thought maybe we would luck out and be one of those couples, you know, the ones you hear about who struggled to conceive their first child, then easily fell pregnant with the second! Well, no such luck. So we went back to our Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE). At that point I still felt very positive and confident in the fact that we were starting right were we left off in conceiving our daughter – in other words, going directly back to what worked. Problem: this time it isn’t working.

We have been on several rounds of Clomid and Luteal hCG injections, which is what helped us to conceive Taylee. My body has been resistant each time – meaning I didn’t respond to the drugs. No ovulation and my cycles were still super loooong. I just love filling my body with costly fertility drugs that toy with my emotions, but otherwise don’t do a damn thing– no, no, no. At this point my RE wants to attempt an extended Clomid cycle. Those of you who know Clomid and the emotions that can come with it – get scared. In a normal Clomid cycle the drug is taken for five days. In this extended cycle the plan is to take it for eight days and then after an ultrasound to check follicle growth, possibly take it even longer. Of course I will still need the Luteal hCG injections days after ovulation – if I am so lucky as to ovulate. We will see how it goes. I am nervous to take Clomid for an extended period of time. I don’t think it is a common protocol, but we trust our RE, because he helped us conceive Taylee. I am also continuing with acupuncture and both of us are taking many lovely supplements as we did with Taylee. We’ve made all the same lifestyle changes we did the first time – no running or hot yoga for me, no cell phones in the pockets for him, no alcohol for either of us, and no caffeine. We also had to freeze a semen sample again this rounds because of how often my husband travels for work. When you put this much energy and money into trying to conceive, you just can’t take the chance.

I have been getting used to disappointment each round – I think we both have. I still have hope, but it teeters from time to time.

Trying is Different for Us

If all you had to do was have unprotected sex to get pregnant, I have to laugh… Our definition of “trying” is very different.

I love how people who still don’t understand our situation/ infertility tell us the most important thing to do is relax and not stress. Ha, no, sadly that is not going to solve our problem. I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). I rarely ovulate on my own. My cycles are unpredictable and 60+ days in length (yes, a normal menstrual cycle is 28 days). If I do happen to ovulate on my own, it is late in the cycle and isn’t usually a healthy egg or a strong ovulation. I also don’t produce enough progesterone on my own, so I need injections as early as days after ovulation to sustain a pregnancy early on (before we even know whether or not I am pregnant), followed by progesterone injections once a pregnancy is confirmed. All of this requires many trips to my RE throughout each cycle as we try to trick my body into pregnancy. None of it is a guaranteed easy fix. All of the drugs they put me on really mess with my hormones and emotions. And if/when I do get pregnant, we are still left holding our breath to see if it will stick. Each cycle is filled with calendars, temperatures, RE visits, blood draws, ultrasounds, OPKs, fertility drugs and injections. (If you aren’t familiar with our previous journey, you can read more of our background story here.)

My Body

I have many mixed emotions about my body at this point in time. On one hand, my body is amazing. It remained strong for mile after mile in the days I ran marathons. It overcame miscarriages and healed to become pregnant again. It allowed me to grow my baby and naturally birth her (without medical intervention or pain meds). And allowed me to nurse my daughter for 16 months.

On the other hand, my body is broken. Not only is my PCOS making conception seem impossible, my body has been completely resistant to the fertility drugs we used to conceive Taylee. And if I do conceive, I still have the worry of maintaining a pregnancy again.

All Those Feelings

Any infertile will know exactly what I mean. So many emotions surface as we endure our journey.

I didn’t want to be in that place again. I didn’t want to feel the negative feelings again. I actually didn’t think I would have to, because this time I have Taylee. This time I am a mother, and no painful news or heartache can take that away. This time I am not left wondering if I will ever meet my dream of motherhood. I have, and it is incredible! It is the biggest blessing, the greatest gift, and the hardest job on this planet. So, in that respect, infertility is easier the second time around.

However, the deeper I get in this second journey, some feelings have had an opportunity to build. I do find myself in a place I didn’t want to re-visit.

Blessed

I don’t know what roadblocks still lay ahead, nor do I know the point we would need to reach to cause us to wave our flag in surrender to this second battle. I do know that I want to close this post by once again acknowledging how blessed we are to have Taylee. If we lose this second battle with infertility, we will still have our baby. Over time I know we will find peace in this overall journey and the fact that our family will just be a little smaller than we had hoped. It is my hope that if we are defeated, we won’t feel nearly as empty or heartbroken as we surely would have the first time.

Bump to Baby – A Birth Story

{Warning: Much of this post may be TMI if you aren’t one for birth stories.}

As you know, my blog received few posts during my pregnancy. I didn’t want any of my infertile friends/followers to feel I was rubbing my pregnancy in their face. So I figured an occasional update was all that was necessary. And to be totally honest, in the back of my mind I continued to fear an undesirable outcome – enough said.

My precious rainbow is here. I LOVED being pregnant – right up to the final moments I spent pushing her out. We had waited years and worked so hard for this pregnancy – I knew each day was a true blessing. Our journey to pregnancy may not have been anything we would have ever chosen, but our journey to bring our daughter into this world was exactly as we had dreamed. I will forever treasure my memories of my pregnancy, and more importantly those final 24 hours – my labor…

THE BIRTH STORY OF TAYLEE

The week of May 5, 2014 (one week prior to birth)

I was determined to do what I could to bring our baby into our arms a little early – or at least on time. I had had a head cold the week prior and was anxious to get better in anticipation of her arrival. I continued with my prenatal yoga, barre sculpt classes and daily walks with the dogs. I drank my red raspberry leaf tea daily and started using evening primrose oil at 38 weeks. My husband stopped traveling for work and started sticking closer to home. On Tuesday we went to Red Rocks – I did the stairs five times, while my husband did a regular workout.

Red Rocks "Mini Eviction Workout"

Red Rocks “Mini Eviction Workout”

Our final natural childbirth class was on Thursday, May 8th… Having completed that 6-week course and a Yoga Birth workshop, we now felt fully prepared and incredibly excited as we continued to anticipate the arrival of our sweet baby.

On Friday, May 9th I received acupuncture and my chiropractic adjustment (both things I had been doing on a weekly basis prior to and throughout pregnancy). That evening my husband and I had dinner with our friends (who also happen to be the chiropractor and acupuncturist). They had picked the due date as May 12th at “Mini” Vogt’s shower. We joked that she better be here on Monday!

Dinner Date {Last Bump "Selfie" Before Baby}

Dinner Date {Last Bump “Selfie” Before Baby}

On Saturday, May 10th, my husband went to work in Ft. Collins (a side job he has been working to bring in extra money). Typically he would spend Saturday night up there and then work Sunday, returning home Sunday evening. This time I had asked him to only work one day, and be home with me on Sunday (Mother’s Day). To begin Sunday, May 11th, my husband made me a decaf latte and chocolate blueberry pancakes. It was a special time, as we haven’t had many weekends together, and he travels so much for work. We had a lovely Mother’s Day, filled with all sorts of household nesting projects (some of the same stuff I had been working on throughout the week). As evening came, we decided to prepare chicken fajitas for dinner. Weather was rolling in, and we were expecting a spring snowstorm. I started to feel a little different – I didn’t have much of an appetite and failed to eat my full fajita. After a very busy day, we decided to relax and I requested mint-chip ice cream, for which my husband made a special trip to the store. After a small dish of mint-chip, I decided I was tired and we got ready for bed. As we do, I start to notice what I suspect are contractions. After about a half-hour we text our family and our wonderful doula…

The following is a timeline of events our doula recorded, mixed with our notes:

May 11, 2014

9:00 pm – Meg texts her doula, Nicole, updating that she has started having some mild contractions that are primarily in her back.

We begin timing contractions. They are mild enough that I can’t always decipher distinct starting and stopping points. They tend to start in my back and wrap around to the front like a belt.

11:05 pm- Kev calls Nicole to update her that contractions are about five minutes apart. Nicole suggests sleeping as much as possible and to call again if the contractions begin to intensify.

We don’t sleep, and really were never able to since the contractions began at 8:30 p.m. or so. At first it was eagerness and excitement that kept sleep from coming, but by 11 p.m. or so it was more so discomfort (although still a ton of excitement). I realize this Mother’s Day (although almost over) is truly the closest I have ever come to being a mother. I tell myself our baby girl will likely be in my arms sometime tomorrow… if not the next day.

May 12, 2014

1:25 am – Kev calls Nicole to update that contractions are now almost 3 minutes apart and have intensified. 

We also give my mom the latest update and she decides to head to our house to help with the dogs and anything else we may need.

2:05 am – Nicole arrives at Vogt home.

2:15 am – Meg’s mom arrives.

3:00 am – Meg’s contractions are about 4 min. apart and she is still feeling them primarily in her back. It is believed baby girl is posterior. Everyone finds a cozy spot in the living room and sleeps in between contractions.

We were all camped out on the living room rug – sleep was still pretty impossible to welcome (for me anyway, I am sure the others were OK with it). My husband (being the fidgety guy he is) started fiddling with one of the dogs’ toothbrushes, which had been sitting on the kitchen counter. We all got a good laugh out of the things he does to amuse himself. (Turns out that dog toothbrush made the trip to the hospital with us – in his pocket. I noticed it sitting on the windowsill in our recovery room the morning after the birth.)

 

Camped Out with Contractions

Camped Out with Contractions

 

6:45 am – Meg and her mom walk the halls and stairs, sway and do lots of counter pressure on Meg’s back. Meg experiences some nausea.

We told my husband to go sleep in the bedroom for a little bit, while my mother and Nicole stayed with me. My mom ran out to get Starbucks for everyone. I had a mint tea, but puked it up in the kitchen sink when the nausea hit.

Our dog, Paisley, hates when I seem upset.

Our dog, Paisley, hates when I seem upset.

8:30 am – Meg and Kev do some funny named birth positions in attempt to turn baby girl anterior.

My husband jokes about the different names of the birth positions. I am truly glad he is my partner in welcoming our daughter into this world. I love his ability to lighten any situation and his love and dedication to his family!

Taylee Vogt, edited 2-1

9:00 am – Meg and Kev labor in the shower.

As we labor in the shower we both get cleaned up in anticipation of our approaching journey to the hospital.TayleeVogt1-2

10:00 am – Meg has first bloody show. Contractions are still about 3-5 minutes apart and continue to intensify in her back.

11:30 am – Kev cancels OB appointment planned for the day and nurse talks to Meg about heading to the hospital soon. Meg has some bites of yogurt and we all prepare to head to hospital.

I kneel in the front seat, facing backwards. Nicole rides in back seat and holds my hand and comforts me with each contraction during the car ride. My mom follows us in Nicole’s car. As we drive, the heavy spring snowstorm continues.

12:36 pm – We arrive at Littleton Adventist Hospital.

1:05 pm – Meg’s cervix is 4 cm dilated. Her urine analysis shows she is very dehydrated so she starts drinking much more water. Meg still continues to contract every 3-4 minutes and counter pressure on her back offers a little relief.

This was the first time my cervix had been checked, as I opted not to have it checked in the early weeks, and preferred to wait until we were in labor. Throughout my entire labor at the hospital, the hospital staff was very respectful of our wishes to do everything naturally. For instance: rather than IV fluids, they allowed me to simply drink water. Monitoring was very minimal, only occurred several times (once while I was in the tub), and I never felt tied down. My dad and step-mom also arrive at the hospital around this time. My husband and I had only planned on having us, our doula and the hospital staff in the room, but suddenly my parents are all there as well. We didn’t mind, as they all offer great support and also give us our space/privacy as needed.

I love the look on his face!

I love the look on his face!

2:50 pm – Meg gets in tub.

I squat while in the tub, the warm water, and dim lighting is relaxing. Kev and Nicole continue to support and comfort me.

3:55 pm – Meg gets out of tub and spends some time on the birthing ball and her hands and knees on the bed. She is supported by her family well and there is always someone doing counter pressure on her back as she is still having back labor.

6:00 pm – Meg’s cervix is 6 cm dilated.

6:15 pm – Meg gets back in tub.

6:50 pm – Meg gets out of tub and hugs and sways with Kev. Meg and Kev discuss options to try to get Meg some relief or to speed up labor. Kev asks Meg if she has the energy to continue. Meg responds: “I can try”.

7:00 pm – We decide to play baby girl a lullaby. Meg and Kev choose “Baby Beluga”. Meg’s mom holds the song close to baby girl as we sing and sway in attempt to draw baby girl out.

Encouraging baby girl to come out.

Encouraging baby girl to come out.

Following “Baby Beluga”, a song played with great personal meaning, “Forever Young”. The beautiful lyrics were my mother’s wish for both my sister and I at birth, and now I can say they are also my wish for my daughter.

7:37 pm – Meg and Kev decide they would like to go ahead and break her water bag. Nurse pages the doctor.

7:55 pm – Doctor arrives to break water. Meg asks to use restroom first and while she is on the toilet her water breaks!

I guess my water sprayed out at Kev and Nicole as I sat on the toilet (oops). In addition, my husband likes to remind me that from the second time I was in the tub, up to the point I was pushing, I was also randomly pooping. Those who have been in labor know – it happens. For some reason my husband gets a kick out of this!

8:00 pm – Meg begins pushing, so nurse checks her cervix. Meg is complete and ready to have her baby! Meg tries squat bar for a while until her doctor recommends doing a semi-reclining position.

In addition to my family and our doula, the doctor and staff were all very encouraging. As I stood on the bed, using the squat bar, one of the nurses commented on how I was the tiniest pregnant women she had ever seen. (Maybe not the best thing to say while I am trying to push out an average size baby.) Others commented on how beautiful I looked while pushing and how I was glowing (probably sweat). No one told me when to push, they simply allowed me to listen to my body and push as I felt the urge. Once in the semi-reclining position, my husband held one leg and my doula held the other. They said as I pushed, I’d also kick into them (sorry guys). As the baby was crowning, the doctor commented on all of her hair, and my husband said the doctor kept playing with it.

Throughout the entire labor Taylee was a very calm baby and never showed any signs of stress. We took each contraction as it came and I felt calm and in control. Even the transition from home to hospital brought little stress. Of course, during those last hours, I desperately wanted her out! On that last push I remember going harder and longer than I thought I could.

9:01 pm – Finally, sweet baby girl is born and handed into the arms of her eager mama. She is born with lots of dark hair and a rosy complexion. A few minutes after her birth, Meg and Kev share together their daughter’s name that they have held in secrecy until now. The world now knows the name of this much anticipated and very much loved child, Taylee Elizabeth Vogt.

Just out.

Just out.

Although we hadn’t intended to share that final leg of our journey (pushing) with my mom and step-mom in the room, it turned out to be the most meaningful gift/experience I could ever share. Although my mom had experienced natural childbirth firsthand, she said it was absolutely incredible to view it as a spectator. (And I guess she has forever lost the right to say I have a low pain tolerance!)

Sharing our magical experience with my step-mom and mom.

Sharing our magical experience with my step-mom and mom.

The moments between her coming out and being placed on my chest are a euphoric blur. After a bit, my husband cut the cord, and we reserved the placenta to be made into pills. We soaked up our skin-to-skin time. I attempted breastfeeding immediately, for which my husband also gives me a hard time – he says I whipped my boob out as soon as she was out. Once I was sewn up from a small tear, we invited the other grandparents to join us.

Hello, my love! Skin-to-skin just after birth.

Hello, my love! Skin-to-skin just after birth.

The next morning, as I was in the bathroom of my recovery room, I gazed at my 5 or 6 month still-pregnant-looking body. My reflection didn’t bring up any displeasing thoughts, or cause me to wonder when the weight would be gone. No. I felt nothing less than extreme pride and amazement. This body, my body, had grown and pushed out my baby – just as it was intended to do. Pregnancy didn’t come as naturally as I would have liked, but my labor experience brought a renewed trust and sense of pride.

Obviously a birth story is highly personal, and something many opt not to share. I believe the entire birth process is miraculous and beautiful, and I hope others view it this way as well. Just as I had anticipated, welcoming and enduring the journey of natural childbirth was the most rewarding experience. Labor is actually something I looked forward to during the 9 months of pregnancy (I don’t know that many women can honestly say that)…. Beyond conception, it is the final, often most challenging path we cross in our journey. It is an achievement far beyond any marathon I have/will ever run.

Family pic 2 days after birth.

Family pic 2 days after birth.

Our greatest achievement, baby Taylee, will turn 6 weeks on Monday night. Where has the time gone?! In the early weeks I had tearful postpartum moments usually involving my fear of her growing too fast and no longer being a “newborn” (like the moment her cord stump AKA “bacon bit” came off). Ironically, in that very same moment I had a crazy desire to watch her grow and thrive. I guess that’s parenthood. Like most newborns, she was such an easygoing baby in the beginning. Elevated Bilirubin (Jaundice), a broken clavicle, and breastfeeding were our biggest challenges. In recent weeks, she has found her voice and her personality has begun to shine. I love every waking (and sleeping) moment with her.photo-61

Today (5 weeks, 4 days)

Today (5 weeks, 4 days)

Credit for Birth Photos: Our AWESOME Doula, Nicole Edwards

It’s still a…

I know, I know. It has been FOREVER since I’ve blogged. So for those of you who have lost track (probably all of you), we are currently 24 weeks, 2 days – YEAH!

You may recall several posts back, where I mentioned our gender reveal party. We had done the M21 early chromosome blood test at the primitive phase of 10 weeks. By 12 weeks we had received a so far clean bill of health for our lucky #3. Along with that information, came the sex of mini Vogt. Tightly sealed in an envelope, we handed the pertinent information over to a baker who whipped up a couple dozen pink or blue filled cupcakes.

The party was a blast! We were so happy to have been able to share the incredible moment with those closest to us. I felt such joy and excitement as we sunk our teeth into those rich little cupcakes. Is this really happening?

Regardless of the excitement, I had decided not to share the sex of our baby on my blog until we were further along.  So without further ado, here is what the cupcakes had to say…

Gender Reveal

It’s a GIRL!!!

At 22 weeks we had our big ultrasound… You know, the one where they typically reveal the gender. But, since we already knew, we simply asked the ultrasound tech to confirm.  Well, ladies and gentlemen further proof is in the pic…

mini vogt 22 weeks

A baby ultrasound photo is the only time it is appropriate to flash an image of her private area… sorry mini, never again.

It’s safe to say the prep for mini she is well underway!

I continue to feel such marvel with each passing day of this pregnancy. While strolling down the street, if I happen to catch a glimpse of my bump-boasting shadow or reflection, I am simply in awe. And in prenatal yoga class, I cannot believe how fortunate I am to be sitting among a dozen other pregnant women – and to think: I am one of them. I finally made it into this club I so desperately wanted to be a part of.  Despite an anterior placenta, at 21 weeks I started feeling her tiny movements – they get a little stronger each week. At 22 weeks my husband felt his daughter move for the first time. Life is good… really, really good.

all belly

@ 19 weeks