Posts Tagged ‘contractions’

My Birth Story: Johanna Grace

Friday, August 7th, 2015

IMG_1812Editor’s Note: We are starting to include the birth stories of bloggers here as a way to show a variety of birth experiences. These stories may be graphic in description.  

My daughter Johanna Grace was a long, awaited baby. After a long period of trying to conceive, months of fertility treatments, and then a loss of a baby, we finally were able to experience the joys of pregnancy and becoming parents.

We lived in Southeast Georgia while I was pregnant with Johanna. I worked as a park supervisor at a local aquatic park until 38 weeks. My job was mostly walking around outside in the heat on my feet all day. I had a great pregnancy. I was healthy, super active, and was happy.

My due date approached, and I became anxious. I was fearful of the unknown. I had quit working, so I was home just nesting and preparing for our little girl. The night of August 6, I started to have cramps and found myself in the bathroom with an upset stomach. My husband James went to bed and kept telling me to come to bed, but I just couldn’t relax. My stomach hurt too bad. I had eaten chicken enchiladas, so I figured it was just my wonderful cooking.

Time passed and I still couldn’t sleep so I started timing out my stomach cramps. I also noticed a light brown liquid leaking from my pants in the bathroom. I realized I was having contractions and that my water had broken. I was concerned about the color of the liquid, so I called my midwife around midnight. I would later realize this was meconium.

I ended up getting my husband up out of bed and heading to the hospital between 1 and 2 a.m. I was so nervous, and I made sure I had clean hair and cute clothes on. I was checked and was only at 1 cm. I was given ice chips and got very nauseated and vomited. So far, this labor thing was not too much fun.

I decided on an epidural. The process was painless and made me relax and feel much better than natural childbirth had been. My labor continued to progress and it was time to push around 7 a.m. Unfortunately, my epidural made it impossible for me to feel contractions or know when to push. My midwife decided to turn off the epidural, give me Pitocin, and let the baby work herself down more after a failed hour of pushing.

A couple hours later, and I was not happy. I was in pain. I wanted my baby out. I wanted my husband to go get some help so they could turn that epidural back on. I wanted the good juice!

My epidural was turned back on some, and my other midwife was now on duty. She was calm and comforting and allowed me to push when I felt comfortable. My beautiful daughter, Johanna Grace, was born at 10:09 a.m. She weighed 6 lbs. 15 oz. and was 19 ¾ in. long. She was perfect. She was right on time and was born the morning of her due date.

Being new to motherhood, I experienced some challenges. Nursing was awful and painful at first, but we survived 13 months. Johanna is now almost 3. We have lived in 5 places in her short life. We have survived potty training, having a new baby enter into our family, and learning to share. She is my world. I always prayed and hoped for a baby with a sweet spirit. That is Johanna. She loves and takes care of others like no other toddler I know. She is all emotion, good and bad. I would like to think that she will always want to live near me and settle down later, but I know better. Johanna is special and a free spirit. I will be shocked if she isn’t famous and I know for a fact that there are big plans in store for my little firecracker. Mommy loves you Johanna Grace, tantrums, giggles, and all.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two in Northeast Indiana. She loves her babies, and her daughter holds a special place in her heart.

Pregnancy Week 39: Five Signs You’re About to Have a Baby

Monday, August 18th, 2014

Pregnancy Week 39: Five Signs You're about to Have a BabyAs every pregnant woman approaches the last few weeks of pregnancy, she begins to get anxious and impatient. If only we knew exactly when we would be meeting our little ones!  Doctors give us due dates and our bodies give us signs, but what are the real signs that you’re about to have a baby? Here are some medical and not so medical labor signs to look for.

Braxton-Hicks Contractions: These practice contractions can start to occur as often as every 20 minutes when baby is getting closer to making his or her arrival. With my first pregnancy, I never noticed these. This time around, I can tell you when they occur. My belly becomes tight and almost numb for just a few seconds. These contractions may feel like menstrual cramps, as well, but remember unless they become regular, well-organized and closer together, you’re not in labor yet.

Bye-Bye Mucous Plug and Hello Bloody Show: Our bodies are amazing, don’t get me wrong. But, I just have to say….yuck. As your body prepares for labor, you may notice a large amount of discharge. Many women lose their mucous plug gradually and others lose it mostly at once. If you notice any blood-tinged discharge, this is likely your bloody show. These are actually great signs! Your cervix is beginning to dilate and efface. Labor isn’t too far away! I’ve noticed one of these already.

Your Water Breaks: With my daughter, I was clueless with most of this. I happened to be at home in the restroom when my water decided to break. It wasn’t anything like I had seen in the movies. There was no giant gush. It was more like a trickle. Your water breaking signifies that the fluid in the amniotic sac has ruptured. Contractions are usually coming, if they haven’t started by this point. It’s time to call your midwife or doctor!

Fussiness: In my opinion, you just get kind of fussy the last few weeks of pregnancy. I don’t think we mean to. All of a sudden, the slightest thing could bother you or you may be just a little moody. You may cry easily. It’s normal. It’s okay. You’re about to experience a life changing event! Just apologize to those you love. They’ll understand.

Lack of Motivation: If you’re like me, the last few weeks of pregnancy are much more tiring. A few weeks ago, I had lists prepared of things to do. I needed to prep my cloth diapers, assemble baby gear, buy last minute things. Now, all I want to do is nap. I yearn for sleep and it doesn’t come easily at night. I have decided that my son’s nursery is as good as it’s getting, and I’m okay with that. Take a break, momma. It’s okay to get in some rest now.

Well, ladies, one more week until my due date. Pregnancy is an amazing miracle and I am so blessed to get to experience it, but I’m ready to get this baby out!

Here’s a little humor:  What’s the difference between a woman who’s 9 months pregnant and a supermodel?

Nothing, if her husband knows what’s good for him!

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of one and one almost here!  She can’t wait to meet her little man.

Pregnancy Week 32: Third Trimester Discomforts

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Pregnancy Week 32: Third Trimester DiscomfortsAs they approach the last weeks of pregnancy, most women are a mix of emotions.  Excited, nervous, apprehensive. But with any wonderful thing, there are usually a few discomforts. The third trimester offers a variety of uncomfortable moments for many women.


Oh the second trimester. You feel great. You glow. Your body is changing and growing, and you are so cute. Cue the third trimester. All of a sudden, you are tired again. Your belly is now as big as a planet. You may be glowing still, but you also may be starting to lose a little bit of that luster. Third trimester exhaustion is very common in pregnancy. I have noticed my energy levels have begun to drop and my motivation to get things done has not.

An increase of weight and trouble sleeping can be to blame for this newfound tiredness. There are easy fixes, luckily. Eating right, getting some daily exercise, and staying hydrated can help. Also, try not to be supermom. If you are balancing the needs of other small children, keep your daily responsibilities to a minimum. Get some rest now, while you can.

Back Pain                                                                                          

Approximately 50% of pregnant women will experience back pain. With both of my pregnancies, I had back pain in the exact same spot. My chiropractor recently told me that it could simply be due to my growing baby pushing on my ribs. Either way, I have had to find some easy ways to combat this pain. The extra weight gained throughout your pregnancy can cause back pain to come to a head in the third trimester.

Practicing good posture and sitting in a reliable chair can help. Try comfortable shoes instead of high heels. Sleeping on your side with pillows can help, too. Try a pillow between your legs, one behind your back, and even try lying down on the side where you back bothers you. Ask your spouse to massage the painful spot or apply a heating pad, if all else fails. Talk to your doctor if you still can’t get relief. As always, it is important to be careful with taking any medications, such as acetaminophen, during pregnancy.

Braxton Hicks Contractions

These sporadic uterine contractions can occur frequently during the third trimester. Most women describe them as a short tightening in their stomach that eventually subsides. These should not feel like labor, and should be less intense. Many women don’t notice these at all. With my first pregnancy, I don’t remember feeling anything. This time around is, of course, different. A warm bath, drinking water, relaxation exercises, or changing your position may help ease these contractions. A good guide to remember is if you have more than four contractions in an hour, contact your doctor or provider.

While I do love being pregnant, I do have to admit that there are some discomforts that come with the last weeks. I look forward to being more comfortable, but more than anything, I look forward to holding my sweet baby boy.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of one and one on the way who may be uncomfortable now, but she can’t wait to hold her little man.