My 2nd water birth (+ labor cookies)

Camryn’s Birth Story (to read about my 1st water birth, click here!)

My original due date was December 11th.  I had my 38 week check up on November 28th, my doctor stripped my membranes and I was 1-2 cm.  At 38 weeks 4 days with Irelyn, the membrane sweep was enough to put me into labor.  I decided to go home and make a batch of the labor cookies I had made just before I had Irelyn.  I’m still not convinced they work, but they’re yummy and she was born 2 days later!

On Saturday, November 30th, I started having some regular contractions throughout the day that had slowly become more painful by 7:30pm when I was putting Kaden & Irelyn to bed.  By 8:00pm we called Zach’s dad so that we could head to the hospital.  We were checked into labor & delivery around 9:00pm, my contractions were consistently 5 minutes apart, and I was 3-4cm.  My doctor had me admitted at 10:00pm and we called my doula (I was blessed to be able to have the same doula that attended Irelyn’s birth while Zach was deployed).
My birth plan was the same as with Irelyn:

  • walk, use the birthing ball, and move around until I couldn’t handle the pain any longer
  • get in the water to help ease the pain until it was too late for an epidural

Basically, I wanted to trick myself into a natural birth.  Again.  I walked the halls for an hour and my contractions had been 2 minutes apart and much more intense.  I was checked at 11:00pm and I was already 7-8cm!  I was in shock because I still felt 100% normal in between contractions.  We filled the tub, I got comfortable and we all assumed she’d be here by midnight.  I mean, transition usually only lasts 10-20 contractions according to the books, right?  Stupid books.  At 3:00am, I was still 8-9cm.  I had gotten out of the water by midnight and spent hours trying to help move things along.  My doctor finally broke my water between 4-5:00am and I got back in the tub soon after.  My doctor put the gown on for round two just before 6:00am and at 6:12am, Camryn was born.  I’m still amazed by how painless my labor was.  The only time I really wanted pain meds was the very last 1/2 cm and of course I questioned my sanity while pushing (I’m never having another baby, unfortunately I haven’t been lucky enough to forget how painful natural birth is…).

She was the smallest of my three kids and worth every moment of pain.
Camryn Elisabeth Ruth
6lb 15oz
20 inches

She’s the easiest, happiest baby I could ever ask for and absolutely completed our family.  She’s turned into quite a chubby little girl at almost 7 months.


Days 16 & 17 – ABC’s and the fridge

Kaden will be starting preschool this fall so I’ve been working with him on different things that they will be teaching him.  Most of the time he doesn’t want to sing the “ABC song” and asks me to stop if I start singing it to him, but he has been making some progress.  I bought him wooden blocks of the alphabet – he loves building things with them and he’ll “say” his abc’s on his own (it normally goes A, B, C, D, F, H, I, K for Kaden, L, MmmmN, O, T, Y and Z!!)…hey, that’s pretty good since he hardly lets me sing them to him!  He has also started recognizing a few letters.  He thinks anything with an M in it spells mommy, anything with a K spells Kaden and anything with a Z spells Zach.  He thinks zero’s are O‘s and I‘s are number ones.  At least we’re getting a small start before he goes to preschool.

He seems to be learning so much lately and growing way too fast.  He’s been using big words like “especially” and talks in full sentences all the time (& he talks allllllll the time).  I remember how proud I was when he knew 20 words by his 1st birthday, and quite a few were able to be understood by more than just me, now that he’s 3 1/2 and never stops talking I don’t remember what the days were like when he was as quiet as Irelyn! – so I’m making sure I thoroughly enjoy her lack of communication skills now, before I have two little chatterboxes. 🙂

Anyway, we’re going to keep working on his ABC’s, but next I’m going to start teaching him how to write his name and read some easy words.  I have a few signs that have his name, address and my name – he has all of that memorized so I’m hoping he’ll be able to start recognizing the actual words, too.  Since I have always worked since Kaden was born, I love being able to stay at home and spend more time watching him learn. 🙂

Here is a picture Kaden colored for Zach for Father’s Day (don’t mind the blue lips/mouth from his sucker):

He actually starts out by coloring in the lines, then he gets impatient and scribbles the rest (his favorite color is blue, so he’s convinced that he can’t use/wear any other color at the moment).

Now, on the the fridge.  I don’t have much to say about it, it was disorganized before and now it’s clean…



…and now it looks like I’m starving my child.  We really do have food, most of it just obviously doesn’t need refrigerated.

 That’s about all I have to say for tonight.  My sewing machine should be here tomorrow (almost the highlight of my week!) so I’m sure I’ll have more exciting things to talk about then.  Highlight of the week so far Irelyn slept for 8 hours straight  for the first time last night!  She normally sleeps for 5 hours straight each night, so 8 hours was wonderful.  I don’t have my hopes up for it  to happen again any time in the near future, but I’m thankful since the last time I slept that long was about 4 months into my pregnancy.


Irelyn’s Birth Story

She’s [finally] here!  Irelyn Kay was born on March 16, 2012 at 2:02pm.  Since I wrote Kaden’s birth story 3 years ago, I thought I’d do the same for her. Thankfully, Zach wasn’t busy and we were able to Skype during my entire labor and delivery!  We’d planned on waiting until after Irelyn was here, but I’m so happy we got to experience it together.

At 7:30am on March 16th my aunt Heidi, Kaden and I went to my doctor for her to strip my membranes [to see if that would be enough to get things moving while she was available for my water birth].   We found out that I was 4-5cm dilated, she stripped my membranes, then told me she’d send me to the hospital and break my water later that day if I wanted…well duh!  So, I was very thankful that I had actually gotten everything packed and loaded into the truck before my appointment, just in case.  Heidi went with me to get checked into labor & delivery, then took Kaden to my other aunt’s house for the day.

Zach’s sister, Tavia, came up to the hospital and walked the short U-shaped hallway with me for an hour – at this point, I was having contractions about every 3-5 minutes, but nothing very painful.  At 10:00am my doctor called to let the nurses know she’d be up in an hour to break my water.  My stepmom and doula both arrived at 10:30am and at 11:10am there was no turning back!  After having my water broken things picked up quickly [I was 5cm at this time].  By 12:00pm I was contracting every 2 minutes and had to hang on to the rail in the hallway to get through them.  Around 1:00pm I felt like I was in enough pain to get into the tub.  My goal was to make it to transition (7cm) before getting in the tub, then I was hoping the water would be enough to help me handle the pain til it was too late for an epidural.  Before getting in the water I asked the nurse to check me – 7-8cm and 90% effaced!

I got in the water [which helped tremendously!], it helped me to work through the pain and definitely helped Irelyn to get into position faster.  After about 40 minutes in the water I started to feel some pressure, so I had to get out of the tub and wait in bed to be checked…the contractions were just about unbearable by this point, but I was at 9cm and 100% effaced!  This is when I found out the my doctor was currently in surgery.  I wasn’t able to get back in the water – the nurses said I was too relaxed and only the doctor can deliver the baby in the tub.  So, with the help of my doula and my stepmom helping me to stay calm during the worst contractions, I tried to hold out for the other doctor in the practice to get there.  I don’t remember much from this stage of labor besides a lot of breathing and pain!  The doctor arrived just in time and I was finally able to start pushing.  Of course, technology decided to start failing us at the most important part of the day – Skype kept losing the call [yes, while I was pushing] and everyone kept yelling at me to stop until Zach was able to see again lol.  So, after 3 pushes, Irelyn was here!

Having her on my chest, knowing Zach watched the birth & heard her first cry and knowing that I was strong enough to do it without any drugs was the best feeling in the world.  The nurse [who actually doubted I’d be able to have a natural birth at the beginning of the day] kept saying she couldn’t believe that I’d even had an epidural with my son! 🙂

My doctors & family were absolutely amazing throughout the day.  Without everyone’s support, there’s no way I could have done it.  After Irelyn was born, they immediately put her on my chest, covered us with a blanket and didn’t even cut the cord until it stopped pulsating (and Irelyn’s “Duh” (Heidi) got to cut her cord!).  Irelyn spent the next hour nursing while I talked to Zach.  She didn’t leave me for the first hour and a half of her life – we didn’t even find out her weight/length until she was almost 4 hours old! She has a full head of hair and looks almost exactly like her daddy – all she got from me are her lips, chin & toes.

Irelyn Kay Sully
7 lb 10 oz
20 1/2 inches
March 16, 2012
2:02pm – or 10:32pm where her daddy is at 🙂

I’m so thankful the labor was short (5 hours total and only 2 hours of hard labor) and everything went well.  The past week has been great, the only thing that could make it better is if Zach was home with us.  We’ve been able to Skype every day and it’s amazing how she recognizes his voice – as soon as he starts talking, she tries to open her eyes to find him.  I’ve had a lot of help from Heidi and my parents this week and am almost feeling normal again.  Just one more week and Kaden will be back home with us and will get to see his baby sister more – then I’ll post pictures of them together.

Here are a couple pictures of Irelyn this week and I’ll post again in a week or so!


38 Weeks & Labor Cookies

UPDATED ON JUNE 25, 2014: This post has become quite popular over the past 2 years.  I’ve had another baby and made these labor cookies 2 days before I went into labor with her, too.  Click here to read her birth story!

Little Miss Irelyn is proving to be a lot like her brother already.  With Kaden, I had mild preterm labor stopped twice before 34 weeks – then had to be induced at 41 weeks 1 day.  Thankfully, she is a little less stubborn and we’re definitely making more progress than I had made at this point with Kaden!

First, at my 37 week appointment (last Tuesday), I was 3cm, 50% effaced and the baby was “still wayyyy up there”.  After reaching my goal of 37 weeks so that I can have a water birth, I’ve been walking and sitting on my exercise ball to try to help things move in the right direction (and hopefully avoid induction).  I also came across an interesting “Labor Cookie Recipe” yesterday and thought I’d give it a try [even if it didn’t work, it was a great excuse to eat cookies!].  The cookies really just taste like over-spiced gingersnaps.

Here’s the recipe:

2 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 t. baking soda
3/4 t. cinnamon
1 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
8 T. butter
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. molasses
1/4 c. egg whites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda and spices and set aside. Cream the butter and sugars together. Add the molasses to the creamed butter, then add the egg whites until combined. Addd the dry ingredients slowly. Once incorporated, roll dough into 1 inch balls and place onto baking tray. Bake 8-10 minutes. Once cool eat as many as you can possibly stomach, lay down for a nap and wait for labor to begin!

And here’s a couple of testimonials:

I waited until my mom had arrived from Ohio (we live in California) to bake these cookies. She arrived on Saturday evening and my husband baked me a bunch of tiny cookies on Sunday. I ate 5 mini cookies during the day and 2 later in the evening (Oscar night). At 3:30 am Monday my contractions started and I finished packing our toiletry kit instead of sleeping. I also tried to clip my toenails since it looked like I’d be missing my scheduled due-date pedicure. At 4:30 am I was sure my labor had started and I woke my husband. The contractions were 2 minutes apart. By 5 am we were at the hospital. By 7:42am my baby boy, Milo, was born. Thanks “Jump start your labor cookies”! 🙂 True story.
So yesterday I make the cookies, I add extra of all the spices as I love and eat spicy food and think I should just add more – I have no cayenne so I chop up Balinese Chili pepper instead… have some for a snack, after dinner, for breakfast this morning and…. mucus plug comes out… well. the first 2 labours started this way – it’s slow and crampy right now – which is why I can type this – yes, I am eating more cookies while I type too – just in case 🙂 A few days later: I’m sure it was the cookies that ‘jump started’ my labour. Zoie Was born on Mother’s Day, May 11 which was her due date after a couple start and stop days of early labour. 9lbs 4 oz 🙂 – all natural.

I think we will still be eating these cookies at home – they are really good!!!

Hi! I have another story for you about how awesome these cookies are! I was 6 days overdue with my daughter, had been in latent labor for a week, and was NOT progressing. My husband and I had talked about ways to induce labor and these cookies were a part of that discussion, so he made them for me. I had about 6 cookies around 1pm, and 3 more around 6pm. I laid down for bed around 11pm and two hours later my water broke. I had my daughter 8 hours later. 🙂

You can find tons more by googling “labor cookies”.  

Anyway, I put Kaden down for his afternoon nap and got to baking these miracle cookies.  Unfortunately, the recipe doesn’t warn you that it yields enough for every pregnant woman close to her due date in my entire town.

I ate 5 or 6 (or maybe 8…) cookies before Kaden woke up from his nap, then the two of us had a couple more before bedtime last night.  They were actually pretty good, even the kick from the cayenne pepper didn’t stop Kaden from asking for more!

Now, this could be a complete coincidence [or it could have been the cookies!], but I received great news at my 38 week appointment today!  I am still 3cm, Irelyn’s head is very low and my “bag of water is bulging”, as my doctor put it.  Since I am only 38 weeks, there was nothing she could do to try to help things along today… but I have an appointment to have my membranes stripped on Friday at 7:30am!  She said with the progress I’m making, there’s a good chance it could be all it takes to put me into active labor.  I plan to spend the next 2 days either walking or bouncing on my exercise ball – I’m really hoping my water will break on it’s own and that we’ll get to meet Irelyn this weekend.  If she doesn’t come this weekend, my doctor will break my water before the end of next week so that I can still have my water birth.

Since I don’t have much longer, I’ll be sure to take one last belly picture before Irelyn’s evicted (Kaden has started trying to bribe her to come out with his one and only dollar).  My 35 week picture with Kaden was the last one I took and I had to compare it to my belly a couple weeks ago.

These are also the same pair of jeans in both pictures!

Nothing else has really changed these past couple of weeks, Zach is still doing well & loving all of the care packages!  We’ve been able to talk regularly and we can’t wait until he’s back home with us.  We have actually started making plans of things we’ll be doing after he’s home (going to the zoo, a trip to the Smoky Mountains for us) which is very exciting!  Even when it doesn’t feel like it, the deployment is going by pretty fast and I know the days will fly by once Irelyn starts taking up all my time & energy 🙂

Well, it’s time for my nightly attempt at catching a few hours of sleep…although I’d be fine with waking up to my water breaking at any point tonight!  Before I go, here’s a quote Zach sent me that I love.  And it is completely true.

“Military relationships are the product of many tears born both in happiness and despair. They are nights alone wondering where he is and if he is safe. It’s looking at pictures, knowing that it’s the only way I can see his face, calling my voicemail to hear his voice, and not washing his clothes until they have lost his scent. But, it’s all worth it in the end, because I know I have one of the purest loves in the world because my man truly knows the meaning of Honor, Courage, and Commitment. Not only to the military but to me. And that makes everything worthwhile.”


Old habits die hard

I’m still a procrastinator – it’s been over 3 weeks since my last post! (and I don’t even have the excuse of working a single day of the past 3 weeks…)  While a lot has happened since my last post, nothing major has changed [I’m still pregnant!].  So, here’s February in a nut shell.

I was discharged from the hospital on February 8th and sent home on strict bedrest.  My exact instructions from my doctor were: you can get up to pee & shower for 5 minutes, that’s it.  Thankfully, Kaden was with his dad when I was first admitted into the hospital and he was able to stay there for my first two days home.  After Kaden came home, Heidi stayed with us for the weekend!  Having her there to help do things for Kaden, pack, cook & clean helped so much.  I’m not very good at letting people do things for me (Zach would definitely agree with this…) so it wasn’t easy letting everyone else do so much for a couple weeks, but it was worth it to give Irelyn a little more baking time.

My uncle, cousin, my parents & sister, Zach’s dad and his sister have also been a huge help with everything going on! On February 15th I got the keys to our new 3 bedroom apartment and needed a lot of help moving.  They all spent quite a few days helping to finish the packing, carry boxes to the new place and my parents devoted an entire weekend to painting/cleaning the old apartment for me.  I can’t tell any of them how thankful I am (& Zach!) for all of their help.

Now to backtrack a little bit…I took my last dose of medication to try to prevent labor on February 19th.  Since then I have had the wonderful experience of contractions daily (this part is similar to the 4 weeks of contractions I had before I was induced with Kaden…).  At least twice a day they become pretty regular (every 3 minutes), extremely uncomfortable and incredibly annoying.  My due date got pushed back a week to March 26th, so the goal is to keep Irelyn from making her appearance until I reach 37 weeks (March 5th – only 4 more days!)  If I don’t make it to 37 weeks, the hospital won’t allow me to have a water birth.  I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday and found out that I am still 2cm dilated and she thinks I’ll have no problem making it another week.  My next appointment is on Tuesday morning – at this appointment we are going to discuss induction at 39 weeks so that my doctor will be available for delivery (I go to the only practice in this entire area that does water birth – so if my doctor isn’t there, I’m stuck laying in a bed when pushing time arrives). I’ll update more on that subject after Tuesday!

Kaden and I are completely settled in our new apartment and loving the size of it!  He will still be able to have his own bedroom and Irelyn will also have a room to herself.  I’ve got most of her room set up, I’m waiting until after my baby shower to finish the rest.  With the extra space, there is NO clutter!  Zach knows how big of a deal this is 🙂  It’s been great having the time to get everything organized before Irelyn decides to surprise us and I’m really looking forward to when Zach gets back so that this place will feel more like home.  The deployment seems to be going pretty fast [it’s been 2 months since he left after Christmas], but with all the exciting things happening Kaden and I both have been missing him like crazy.

Zach has been doing pretty well lately…all of the violence with the burning of the Quran over there has been scary, but all I can do is pray for his safety.  He’s been receiving lots of care packages from family & friends and should have a decent stockpile of Little Debbie’s by now!

Surprisingly, the temperature reached 66 degrees today!  Kaden told me he wants it to be like the “alllllll of the time”, except that he was worried the wind would blow him away.  To enjoy the weather, we went to his preschool registration (at our church), then played at the park and had ice cream today.  We’re going to have a “date night” this weekend and will be going to see “The Lorax” – this will be Kaden’s first experience at the movie theater!  It should be interesting…he’s completely clueless and gets so confused when I tell him how big the screen will be.

Well, that’s about all that’s happened in these last few crazy weeks…now I’ve got to get back to price matching on my grocery list for tomorrow’s shopping trip and wait one more hour to Skype with Zach before bed!  I promise to work on my procrastination from now on [or at least until Irelyn comes].


Preterm Labor & Hospital Bedrest

Apparently, the internet at the hospital blocks blogging websites [to an extent at least] and I have a total of 60 minutes of “Quota Time” that I can use in 10 minute increments to access the site.  In other words, I’m not sure how much I’ll be posting on here until I’m back home [hopefully soon].

Here’s the short story:  I’ve been having braxton hicks contractions all week, some of which I could time and they’d be as close as 3 minutes apart.  Lots more back pain, pressure and just not feeling too great.  I called my doctor this morning and they wanted me to come in.  (I honestly thought that they’d either a: tell me the contractions aren’t doing anything and to come back if they got worse or b: send me home on bedrest.)  No such luck.

I’m dilated almost 1 cm and they also did a fetal fibronectin (sp? I’d look it up, but my 10 minutes is running out) – which came out positive.  This test is to detect hormones that my body releases when it’s preparing for labor, so the fact the it was positive means I’m very likely to go into labor within 2 weeks. 

I’ve had 3 4 shots of something that starts with a B (same thing at terbutaline).  It makes my heart race, hands shake, but stops the contractions for a while.  I have had one of two steriod shots to help mature Irelyn’s lungs in case she doesn’t want to wait.  I’m taking procardia every 6 hours to try to keep the contractions from changing my cervix more.  We’ll see how it goes.

So now, here I sit.  13 hours into bed rest and I could already pull my hair out.  Thankfully, my stepmom, sister & a friend came to visit and my aunt brought me stuff I needed from home [my pillow and chocolate chip cookies 🙂 ].  I’m stuck here for at least a few days (although the contractions I’ve been having 3 minutes apart for the past 10 minutes might mean I’m here longer…), but hopefully I’ll get to go home on bedrest this weekend.  I’ve still got to move to the new apartment next week and get Irelyn’s room set up!

My doctor will be in tomorrow morning, so I’m hoping I’ll find out what the plan is then…besides doing everything to keep Irelyn in for 2 more weeks.

Well…the nurse is here to give me shot #4 of the wonderful stuff that’ll make my heart race.  I’m going to have a heart-to-heart with my daughter about her plans for the next couple weeks.


UPDATE AT 2:30am:
The 4th shot of Brethine (googled it!) didn’t stop my contractions like it had been.  They were every 3 minutes for quite a while…the nurse checked me and I’m almost 2 cm now.  My procardia has been moved up to every 4 hours and I’m still getting lots of fluids.  I’m hoping Zach is able to get online sometime soon so I can give him more of an update than emails – the last time I talked to him was a couple hours after getting admitted.  Our little monster is showing how stubborn she is & we may ended up meeting her sooner than planned whether we like it or not.  On the plus side, Irelyn has been doing great through everything!  Her heartrate is perfect even through the contractions, so I’m thankful I don’t need to be worrying about her 🙂


If pregnancy hormones weren’t enough…

…then my 3 year old will definitely make sure I’m crazy by the time Zach comes home.  Between the 5 pound little ball of energy bouncing on my bladder [so much that I’m considering moving the computer to the bathroom for the next 6 weeks] and the 3 year old monster that has to get out of his bed a minimum of four five times a night before actually going to sleep, I’m going to be needing a very long vacation for my sanity by the time fall is here [so this is why it takes two people to make a baby…]

It seems like the day I started the 34th week of pregnancy, my body decided that it had had enough.  I have been fortunate with both of my pregnancies – besides being uncomfortable, it’s not until close to the end that it really starts to get painful.  But, since this week began, I’ve had the joys of horrible back pain, morning night sickness (which seems to begin the moment it gets dark outside & magically disappear when the sun rises), lovely “practice” contractions, a baby who likes to put a hand on each of my hips, a foot on each side of my ribs and see how far she can stretch, and a whole bunch of other aches in places I didn’t even know could hurt [do you know how many muscles it actually takes to roll over in bed?].

Oh well.  I’ve only got about 6 weeks (or less!) left and I have it easier than a lot of women during pregnancy, so I’m thankful.  I am definitely having some crazy mood swings again (Zach will remember those from the 1st trimester…) and customer service is probably not the best field to be working in these last few weeks.  Although I’m nowhere near as shy as I was before Kaden was born, I usually keep my feelings/opinions to myself when it comes to strangers or topics that may start arguments.  Apparently, my lack of patience prohibits me from being able to always keep my thoughts to myself these days.

Today has been one of those days.  Somehow, I’ve managed to keep my mouth shut about the one subject that has been at the top of my list today: certain people’s inability to put effort into their “parenting”.  Maybe it’s a mom thing, but I’m a mom no matter how near or far my children are from me – just because someone else is taking care of him doesn’t mean I’m exempt from being a parent.  My kids always come first, so when I see how someone’s parenting is affecting my child, it drives me crazy.  But, this topic could be an entire post in itself, so I’ll save this one for another hormonal day.

Kaden has been doing a good job at testing the little bit of patience I have left tonight.  He’s now been out of bed seven times for various reasons….
1.  He needed to know what was on his ceiling (the smoke alarm – he asks this question every night)
2.  “Mommy, I just can’t stay in my bed” (Yes. You can. You’ve only been trying for 2 minutes.)
3.  “My blankets are making me sweaty” (…..so take one off.)
4.  “I need a kleenex” (this was to dry his “tears” from his attempt at crying to get me to go in there)
5.  “Mommy, I just really miss Zach. I want him to come home” (he finally got smart and tried to be sweet.  Yes, this one made me sad & halfway worked cause I snuggled with him for a few minutes…I tried to convince him Zach wants him to go to sleep too and he’s been in bed for record breaking 6 minutes now!)

We haven’t gotten to talk to Zach today – I talked to him on Facebook for about 5 minutes last night, but haven’t talked to him very much in the past few days.  Kaden’s used to talking to him every day, so not being able to has been hard for him to get used to.   He bought internet for his computer for the month, so hopefully we’ll hear more from him soon.

Well, Kaden will be going to his dad’s tomorrow to spend the weekend, so I’ll post again after I talk to Zach.