Torgesen Family Times

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Birth story, part 2



Let’s back up a bit here…


VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) vs. elective c-section is a big decision – one that should not be taken lightly.  I am, by no means, an expert.  I can only tell you what I’ve read and how I made the decision for me.


The old rule was “once caesarean – always caesarean” because of fear that the scar will rupture during labor and delivery.  That old rule has changed throughout the recent times, going in and out of favor. 


To be a candidate for VBAC you need to meet certain criteria and I met all of them: low transverse c-section, preferably only 1 c-section, original reason for the c-section is not repeated in this pregnancy (NOPE!), no major medical problems, baby is of normal size, baby is head down, among others.  To say that VBAC was my preference and I was going to “attempt” VBAC, I not only had to sign a consent form ahead of time (like at 28 weeks) but also consent to having an IV, constant monitoring of baby’s heart rate and of my contractions while in labor, among other things.  The hospital and doctors also had to be willing to do this (Evergreen Hospital is great and does allow VBAC as does my OB practice) – current guidelines say that an OB and anesthesiologist have to be “immediately available” in the hospital at all times.  I also could not be induced (with pitocin) – or only a little tiny bit, if other methods weren’t working to get labor going (this was not a problem with walking into the maternity center 5 cm and 80%).


About 90% of women who have had caesareans are good candidates for trying for a normal vaginal birth, or “attempting VBAC”, and 60-80% of those who try SUCCEED!  But, only about 10% that are candidates actually attempt VBAC.  I wonder why (scared, ability to “schedule” birth, etc)?  I have no idea.  For me, it was what I wanted to try – for some reason, I was just very calm about it and just knew I would SUCCEED.  I don’t know how, I just did.


But, it was funny the reactions I would get when people asked about it. 

“Of course, you’re going to have a planned c-section, right?”

“Of course, you’re going to have a VBAC, right?”


There were really only those two view points that I heard most.  Strange to me – considering what I was comparing it to was emergency c-section, 34 week premature baby with immature lungs and severe pre-eclampsia – attempting VBAC didn’t seem that out there to me. 


There are risks with both ways of giving birth.  The big ones for me, and how I made my decision, was the experience of giving birth normally/vaginally, recovery from a c-section is much longer and tougher (been there – done that!), shorter hospital stay, delivery of baby vaginally clears the lungs of fluid, it’s healthier for me and baby. 


With this in mind my wishes for this birth of our baby girl was this:

healthiest baby

healthiest mama

attempt VBAC, but if health of either one of us was compromised – then c-section was fine

baby placed up on my chest after birth, or as soon as possible, as I didn’t have this experience when Alex was born



OK, back to the birth story now…


With this in mind – we decided that since I was officially “in labor” – even though I didn’t feel like I was in labor – the OB would break my water and this would get labor going.  I was hesitant about this at first – baby girl was 37 weeks/3 days, but still… full term, but early full term.  Was this “induction” the right thing to do?  Would this lead to more labor interventions and possibly a c-section?  Shouldn’t we let things go for a little bit more to see if labor would progress naturally?


Well, after consulting my doula – we decided to go ahead and “break the water”.  The procedure (done around midnight 4/10/10) was very easy and pain free – a gush of fluids that were clear, with no blood (a good sign since the doctors were worried about placental abruption) and I was going to have this baby in the next 24 hours, one way or the other.  We all thought about 4/10/10 and thought that was a great birth date. 


After the bit of scariness with the blood, the clot, etc – after this procedure of breaking the water – I fell into a sense of calmness.  This is exactly where I want to be.  I can do this.  My body can do this.  My Mom is taking care of Alex and I don’t have to worry  about him.  My wonderful husband is here and supporting me.  My Doula is here.  My body is dilating and getting ready to have this baby. 




By the way – a doula is a labor coach that you hire privately.  A midwife is a medical professional, like an OB, that does procedures and delivers the baby.  The doula just supports the Mom and Dad, but doesn’t do procedures and doesn’t deliver the baby.  I’m SO glad that I hired a doula – her philosophy and mine were in sync and I can’t imagine doing this without her.  Her presence there made me calmer and more relaxed because I knew someone was looking out for me and my wishes, and had the knowledge/background to make suggestions, ask questions, etc.  


I walked around for about 2 hours.  We didn’t take many pictures, but here are a few.  I was feeling fine.  The nurses and doula would ask me what I was feeling and they would always ask on a scale of 0-10 pain scale.  At first I would say I was a 1 or a 0, since sometimes I didn’t feel anything at all but the monitor picked up a contraction.  It progressed to 2 and then 3 by the end of the of walking around.  By that time, I was tired (it was about 2 or 3 AM!) and wanted to rest.  By the time I would say 3 on the scale – my attention wasn’t totally focused on the contraction, but I was definitely distracted. 




Sara's Birthday-1-2 Final

Me (in the ever so stylish hospital robe) walking around trying to get contractions/labor to really start.


Sara's Birthday-2-2 FinalNurse hooking up monitoring equipment so I can walk around, Doula is on the right. 




The next part is where it all gets interesting… stay tuned for part 3

Birth story, part 1

I had been saying I was ready (Here), but nothing had happened the whole week.  I was actually feeling really good and worked on Friday all day.  I picked up Alex from preschool and we drove home, it was a nice evening.  We went outside after we were home and I decided to pull some weeds here and there.  It has been tough for me to bend over because of my big belly.  But, I did it anyways, just carefully.  Maybe this was the “burst of energy” people tell you about before you go into labor, I don’t know…

Lance came home and made a side comment – you shouldn’t be working so hard, you’re trying to have this baby, aren’t you?  Relax, rest, etc. 

We had dinner that Friday night and I put Alex to bed, it was my turn.  We read 3 books of his choosing, rubbed his back, had 2 hugs and 2 kisses and made the dimmer JUST right, only one time (otherwise he’ll ask for endless adjustments). 

Not long after that I went pee and found lots of blood.  I was a little freaked since it was bright red and there was quite a bit.  About a week earlier I had some very light spotting, probably due to my cervix dilating.  Normal stuff, I wasn’t worried about.  I decided to use a new pad and wait and see what was happening.  I waited about 1 hour and still quite a bit of blood. 

I called my doula and told her what was happening, she suggested to call the maternity center and just make sure everything was OK.  So, I called them and they agreed – come in and get monitored for a bit and just make sure. 

We called my Mom to come and stay with Alex, even though I was pretty sure that I would just be monitored and be sent home, but it’s better to be safe, right?  I was telling her all the things that were happening instead of asking for what I needed – so she finally asked me the question “So, do you want me to come up there?”  I wavered a bit – not really sure what I wanted or needed, and finally said “yes”.  I wanted to get to the hospital ASAP and see what was going on, but Lance had to wait for my Mom to get there.  So, I decided to drive myself to the hospital (again) and Lance would join me after my Mom arrived at our house. 

I probably arrived at the hospital around 9 or 9:30 PM and Lance got there around 11 PM.  When I got there my heart was racing and so was baby girls heart.   We were scared – this was reminding me of what happened last time a little too much.  The nurse checked my pad and agreed that it was a lot of blood, too much to be not worried about it.  Also, when I got to the hospital and went to the bathroom, I passed a “half-dollar” size clot.  I thought it was the dreaded mucus plug, but it wasn’t.  It could’ve been from the dilating cervix, or from a little placental abruption (where part of the placenta pulls away from the uterus).  It could be dangerous if it was an abruption, but little girl looked pretty happy, albeit with a high heart rate. 

The hospital OB came to visit me after the nurse did a full work up and monitored me for about 30 minutes.  They did a speculum exam, OUCH!, and tried to see where the blood was coming from.  They were not able to tell.  She checked me and I was about 5 cm dilated and was having semi-regular contractions, just ones that I couldn’t feel that much and weren’t painful to me at all. 

With me coming in at 5 cm, 80% effaced, VBAC, with a prior history of pre-eclampsia, contracting and bleeding – they weren’t letting me go.  I was officially declared “in labor” and was admitted to the hospital. 

Lance and I called the doula and told her to come – I was “in labor”. 

Everyone had the funniest reaction – You are 5 cm and still walking around/you worked today/you don’t feel the contractions?

The answers - Yes/Yes/No

Weekend fun: Baseball, bikes, dandelions and baby toes

 Alex playing baseball-1 Final Alex riding trike-3 Final

Alex blowing dandilions-1 Final


Sara hands and toes-7 Final

Check out Sara’s newborn photos

Sara's Newborn Photos from Keri Meyers


This is the 3rd time we’ve seen Keri Meyers – a local photographer who does amazing work.


Check her out!




Maternity photos


Fall Family photos

Sara stats

We had our first pediatrician visit today and here are Sara’s stats (hmmm… tall and skinny – I wonder where she gets this from):

Height: 21 inches (75th%)
Weight: 7 lbs 2 oz (20th%)
Head: 14 inches (45th%)

She is doing everything just normally – just a healthy happy baby.  She has her days and nights mixed up right now and her tummy/gas bothers her at night.  Last few nights have been feedings at 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 1 and then she finally lets me sleep for a bit.  Of course, she is a growing machine right now and that is exactly the way it works – demand increases supply.  But, we are going to be trying to get her outside today and *TRY* to keep her up a bit during the day, instead of being so awake at night.  I would sure appreciate it – instead of staying up all night! 

For fun we took a look at what Alex’s stats – since we were looking at hers:
Alex at 3 years (a big boy – no wonder people mistake him for being 4 years old!)
Height: ~40 inches (95th%)
Weight: ~36 lbs (85th%)

And now for some cute baby pictures!

Sara’s hand – such long fingers
Sara all wrapped in purple-20 Final

One of Sara’s favorite spots to sleep – in the chair Sara sleeping on chair-3 FinalSara’s feet – such long toes and long feet  Sara's Birthday-57-2 Final
Snuggling with Daddy on another favorite spot – on Daddy’s chest (Daddy’s super top secret weapon to get baby to sleep)
Sara sleeping on Daddy-3 Final 
And Big Brother Alex – wearing his firefighter (fighter-fighter) hat while watching a firefighter cartoon – a must!
Alex watching firefighter cartoon with firefighter hat-1 Final

Our first family photo

Sara's Birthday-36-2 Final-2

Sara photos

 Sara 6 days old-18 FinalAlex holding Sara again-3 Final Sara all wrapped in purple-15 Final

Sara – our little jaundice pumpkin

Sara - our little jaundice pumpkin-3 Final


Sara has a bit of jaundice as you can see from the orange color of her skin.  And she’s lost more than 10% of her birth weight.   Which makes her very sleepy, which makes her not eat as much, which makes her not clear the jaundice, and so the spiral.  We are monitoring this closely and she will be fine.  We just need to get her to eat more even though she’s so sleepy.   Hopefully within a few days she will be much better.  Her liver will kick in full gear soon and clear out all this jaundice. 


She sure is snuggly when she’s so sleepy, though. 


My milk has come in (which will solve the eating more issue), which should really help, but I’m having to pump after she feeds to be able to give that to her, making it easier (for her sleepy self) for her to take in her ~2 oz per feeding that the doctors and nurses would like her to have.  Right now she’s only taking about 1 oz (it’s all just an educated guess with each breastfeeding by taking her weight before and after feeding)


Ughh – I dislike pumping.  So many parts to clean, so much work.  Breastfeeding is so easy compared to pumping.  But, I can do it for a a few days. And then, hopefully, not until I go back to work. 

Sara Jeanine Torgesen

Born April 10, 2010 at 10:34 am

7 lbs 0oz

20” long


Wonderful VBAC experience – will post more later. 


Just a quick note and a beautiful picture.


IMG_5826 Final

37 weeks

It could be any day now ---- I'm ready!  And totally uncomfortable!


On Sunday and through Monday night - I had a lot of contractions.  Waves on crampy-ness, full on contractions from the top down, side contractions - every which way.  I was pretty uncomfortable - but it wasn't painful - just annoying.  I couldn't sleep on Monday night with all that was happening, but finally fell asleep around midnight.  I knew I would need my sleep - if this was indeed "the start". 

I woke up on Tuesday with a few contractions, but they seemed to stop.  I ran a few errands and headed to work knowing that I had to finish a couple of things.  It was hard to concentrate - I kept waiting for the contractions to start again - but they didn't.  I drank a ton of water, just to make sure I wasn't dehydrated and having contractions due to that. 


I just couldn't imagine anther night or two like Monday night that wouldn't send me into labor. 


Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  Zero.

Again - another quiet night. 

Albeit - totally uncomfortable.   Baby girl decide to turn her back from a very comfortable backbone to my bellybutton to a side position.  Aye Aye Aye.  My legs are totally restless and I had to get up about (seems like) 45 times to pee.  I finally got up and slept in the other room so that I wouldn't disturb Lance.  I got to sleep but then my hips woke me up.  The other bed is more firm and my hips just couldn't take it anymore.  So, I came back to my bed.  Later I woke up to lower back pain that wouldn't go away no matter what position (I only have 2 choices!) I was in.  I finally had to get out of bed, again - and stretch my back this way and that. 

Didn't help.

So, I tried my heating pad.  That was nice.  It helped. 

If you're listening little girl - we're ready to meet you!  Any time now - The sooner the better!

36 weeks pregnant-1

3 pregnant ladies

Left to Right: Jessica (29 weeks with twins!), Allison (36 weeks), Annette (22 weeks)

3 years ago

3 years ago we brought our little Alex home from 17 days in the hospital – April 4th, 2007. 


April 4th, 1998 was our first date anniversary – 12 years ago.  Happy first date anniversary honey!  Wow – who would’ve thought that 12 years later – Lance would be clipping the mother of his 3 year old boy and his pregnant wife’s toenails because she can’t reach them anymore???  Times have changed in those 12 years!


This year we spent it at home enjoying a nice Easter Sunday. 


But, we also spent that day wondering what our little girl will be like: what her name will be (yes – we truly do not have a name picked out yet!), what she will look like, what she will like and not like, how big she will be, what personality she will have, among many other things.  


So, I thought it would be fun to pull some pictures of Alex from April 2007 and see what was happening then.



Lance and Alex – in the hospital but off the breathing apparatus – the day we got to hold him ALL.DAY.LONGIMG_1298

Me and Alex – the day we got to hold him ALL.DAY.LONG, plus it was good picture taking time because he pulled his feeding tube out (again!) and while it was off we took many pictures!IMG_1307

April 4th, 2007 – the day we brought him home

and we walked in the door of our house and Lance asked “what do we do now?”  So funny to think back on that.  IMG_1308a

Where Alex slept that first night (or many nights) – along with Bella.


BIG feet on such a little boy!  How cute are those pinky toes? IMG_1324

2-3 cm and 80%

2-3 cm dilated and 80% effaced – 37 weeks.  WOW!


Last week was 1 cm and 50% effaced.  Which was apparently still – WOW! 


Looks like VBAC here I come!