Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Joel's Birth Story

My husband and I were stationed at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, CA when I found out I was expecting again. Our son, Joshua was 15 months old and I was very excited that he would soon have a little buddy to play with. I was eager to try a home-birth after my first birth experience which ended in a caesarean. A couple friends of mine referred me to a great midwife. She was very friendly and had years of experience. I liked her right away and she made me feel very comfortable. Something that I truly enjoyed throughout the years of using her (total of 4 pregnancies) is she has a passion for educating her clients. She encourages ladies to borrow her books and DVD’S on various topics such as; natural birth, water birth, breastfeeding, vaccines, VBAC, and risks of epidurals. She also focuses more on nutrition and supplements as ways to avoid many problems that can arise during pregnancy. 
My pregnancy went very well. I went to the chiropractor regularly and practiced good posture (this is difficult for me, I love to slouch) to avoid having another breached baby. My only complaint in this pregnancy was that I felt the baby extremely low and lots of pressure during the last few weeks.
On September 18th I woke up at 5:00 am with contractions. My husband woke up at 6:00 am for work and found me in the kitchen preparing dinner. I thought if I was going in labor at least I could have dinner made ahead of time. I felt my contractions getting more intense so my husband stayed home from work. My sister in law came around 9:00 am to pick up Joshua. I remember her saying how excited she was and that we would probably have dinner together that night with the new baby. I thought that this was absolutely impossible after having endured my first labor which was 26 hours long.
I called my midwife around 10:00 am to inform her that I believed I was in early labor. I continued getting my home in order and prepared for a homebirth. Around 12:00 pm I felt labor really picking up and let my midwife know. She said she would be heading over soon. At 1:00 pm my water broke and labor was more intense. My midwife said she was on her way and told us to fill our water birth tub. My midwife who lived over an hour away arrived at 2:00 pm. She checked me and said I was 8 cm dilated and that I could get into the water. I got into the tub and instantly felt relief from the pain. My midwife’s assistant arrived around 2:30 pm. I began to have a desire to push and my midwife said that I was fully dilated and encouraged me to push. I knew I was able to deal with contractions from my first labor but I was very nervous about the pushing stage since it was new to me. I remember it felt like I was pushing for a long time.  The midwives and my husband were being very supportive the whole time trying to make me feel more comfortable. Once my midwife said the baby’s head was almost out I felt greatly encouraged and I knew I could do it. With one last push my baby was born and immediately placed into my arms. It turned out my sister-in-law was right and we were able to enjoy a nice dinner together.
Joel Thomas Jimenez was born into the world September 18th at 4:17 pm. He weighed 7 lbs. 2 ½ oz. and 19 ¾ inches long. He was such a calm sweet baby. I’ve heard from several women that their baby’s temperament coincided with how easy or difficult their labor went. This has been true for me, so far Joel has been my easiest labor and easiest baby.  My recovery went very well, it was so much easier than having a caesarean. I’m truly grateful to the Lord that I was able to have a natural home-birth.            



Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Red Hot Preaching Conference 2016

The Red Hot Preaching Conference was last week and we have had many wonderful reports. The preaching was amazing! One of the best advantages to hosting a conference is bringing so many like-minded Christians together. Many people came early to the services and stayed late for a wonderful time of fellowship. We had activities for the teens to play laser tag and have pizza. There was also an activity for the singles who went miniature golfing. The Pastors’ wives went a lovely tea house for an afternoon high tea. It was fun, relaxing and encouraging speaking with the other wives. Meanwhile the Pastors went to the park with the children and grilled for lunch.

My husband and I were so thrilled by how many people took part in soul-winning all throughout the days of the conference. On Saturday we had a 195 people show up for soul-winning. The highest attendance for one of the preaching services was 284.  We are so thankful for all the help we had throughout the conference. We had so many volunteers to help clean, set up, bring food for fellowship after the services, providing rides and lodging for the guests, making extra maps for soul-winners and many other things.

The Red Hot Preaching Conference was amazing but also very tiring attending all the services, activities and soul-winning. We had planned a camping trip with my husband’s family for a couple days after the conference and it was a great time for some much needed rest. The camp ground was very secluded and we had access to a lake by ourselves. The kids loved the lake and we swam all day long. In the evening we sang hymns around the campfire and made s’mores. It was a wonderful time to get away. Being outdoors in nature is so refreshing and relaxing.  
 Pastor Robertson, Pastor Anderson, Pastor Berzins, Pastor Jimenez, Pastor Perry and Pastor Romero
 Pastors' wives all dressed up for tea :)
Making S'mores 
Singing hymns around the fire 
Lizzy's beautiful swim dress from Cute and Covered

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Exterior Wall

Last Sunday my husband preached an amazing sermon. It dealt with the idea of Christians building a good exterior while neglecting the interior. I’ve seen many Christians try to build a great exterior wall by comparing others. Be careful not to fall into the comparison trap. I’ve seen people compare themselves to others in things like looks, finances and education. Even recently I witnessed a fairly new Christian ranking the lady soul-winners from what she thought was the “best soul-winner” to the “worse soul-winner.” As soul conscious Christians we should remember that we are not in competition with each other. We are all on the same team with the same goal in mind. When we compare, we are causing division within the church and discouraging, if not ourselves, others. We all have different talents and abilities to contribute to church. Below is the sermon, hope it’s a blessing to you. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Setting the Record Straight

Here is a link to a live interview my husband did with abc 10. He was correcting the flat out lies the media has put out.

Monday, June 20, 2016

I'm a Bible Believing Christian and I Support VBC

This video is a huge encouragement to me and brought tears to my eyes.

Monday, June 6, 2016

12 Year Anniversary

On Sunday, June 5th my husband and I celebrated 12 years of marriage. Because our anniversary landed on a Sunday my husband decided to preach a sermon entitled, "How I Met My Wife". In the sermon he goes into our testimony. Our story is not the typical "love story" since he was a soul-winning Baptist and I was an atheist but it makes for an interesting testimony. Below is a video of the sermon he preached. Hope you enjoy it!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Joshua's Birth Story

I’m expecting baby #5 and am due in October. My midwife (who delivered 3 of my babies at home) is requesting all of my birth stories. I believe that birth is something very special and memorable. Since I enjoy reading other ladies’ birth stories, I thought I would share mine on my blog starting with Joshua my oldest.

At the time I was pregnant with Joshua my husband was stationed at Sheppard AFB in Wichita Falls, TX. I had been receiving my prenatal care at a birthing center in Denton, TX. It was over an hour drive from where we lived but I was determined to have an all-natural birth. The midwives there were great and the birthing center was beautifully decorated. I had planned to have a water birth and the birthing center had a very nice birthing tub. It seemed like the perfect place to have a baby since my home was not an option at the time. 

At my 36 week check-up my midwife felt the baby and said she was 90% sure that Joshua was in a breeched position. Later that day, an ultrasound confirmed that he was indeed breeched. The midwives at the Birthing Center informed me that in the state of Texas it is illegal for midwives to deliver a first time mother’s breeched baby outside of a hospital. 

My midwife referred me to a doctor that was known for successfully delivering breeched babies. The doctor was a man which I was not comfortable with but he referred me to a female doctor that also delivered breeched babies. Before seeing the doctor, I had tried many natural things to turn the baby. I went to a special chiropractor who was known for turning breeched babies, I did acupuncture, handstands in a pool, lying on an elevated iron board, using a flashlight to guide the baby to the light, I applied ice to the top the baby’s head to move the baby down, and I commanded the baby to move down (okay, maybe this was taking it too far but I read it online and I was desperate) and nothing worked.  

My doctor advised me to do an external version (a procedure to manually attempt to move the baby to a head down position) and if it was successful I could go back to the birthing center. I decided to try the external version. They were constantly monitoring the baby via ultrasound to ensure the baby would be fine. The doctor found that the baby was in a position where the cord was making it difficult to move the baby safely. The doctor informed me that she could continue trying to move the baby to a head down position but based on his position it would increase the risk of me going into immediate labor which would end in an emergency cesarean. So, I decided to not allow the external version to continue and we would plan to have the baby naturally at the hospital. I had wanted a natural labor badly and the midwife from the birthing center advised me to hire a doula that they knew. So, I hired a doula and she was very encouraging. She had told me that just a week before she was a doula for a lady at the same hospital I was going to and her baby was breeched. She said that she had an all-natural delivery which was a great encouragement to me.

On September 5, 2007 my husband and I went to church for the Wednesday night service. During the service I had a couple of contractions but nothing major. Once we got home I was unable to go to sleep because I was having mild contractions. I stayed up writing a letter to my grandmother until it got to a point where the contractions were very intense. I woke my husband up and we headed to the hospital. I called my doula and she said that she would meet me there. The drive was an hour and a half and very difficult while having contractions. We got to the hospital around midnight. I was admitted and checked and very disappointed that I was only dilated to 1 cm.  My doctor said that she definitely thought I was in labor because I had an appointment the day before and when she checked me I was not dilated. My doctor was very kind and said she was not going to send me back home (since I was only in early labor) because she knew how far we came. They gave me a very nice delivery/recovery room. It was the nicest hospital I have ever seen. My room was decorated with wall paper, wood floors, the furniture was all cherry wood including the bed, and adjustable lights (not your average bright hospital lights). The hospital also encouraged me to eat and walk through labor. They provided me with a birthing ball and said when I was more dilated they would fill the birthing tub for me. One of my nurses advised me to walk the halls of the hospital so labor would progress. My doula went home to rest since I was still in early labor and it was very early in the morning. So, I began walking the halls and stopping between contractions. I remember telling my husband that I did not think that I could do this because I was only 1 cm and in so much pain. He said that I should go back to the room and ask to be checked. When the nurse checked me she was surprised and told me I was 6 cm dilated. I was greatly encouraged by this and was motivated to continue on. I called my doula and she came right away. At this point it was around noon. My doula tried to help my pain by massaging my back but I think she caught on that during labor I just rather be left alone. I took warm showers and sat on my birthing ball to help through contractions. I was checked again and they said I was around 7 cm. They filled the birthing tub and allowed me to labor in there however, I was not allowed to deliver in the tub since I had a breeched baby. Once I was in the water I felt so relaxed—it really is nature’s epidural. My doctor was walking by when she saw a nurse asking me to get out of the water so she could monitor the baby’s heart rate. The doctor was upset and told the nurse that it was cruel to make me get out of the water just to be checked and to go get the fetal monitor for the water. I really liked my doctor, she was very kind and made sure the nurses did not offer any pain medication which was written in my birth plan. When I was in early labor a nurse did an ultrasound to predict how big my baby was to see if a natural labor was an option. The nurse told my doctor that there was no way I was going to deliver this baby vaginally, that he was at least 9 lbs. However, my doctor told me that she saw the measurements the nurse took and did not think they were accurate. She predicted the baby to be much smaller. My doctor seemed very knowledgeable and fought for her patients.

The doctor told me she thought I should get out of the birthing tub and go back to my delivery room. She checked me and said I was about 9 ½ cm but the baby had not dropped at all which is common in breeched babies. My doctor advised me to walk the stairs of the hospital to get the baby to drop down. I did this for about thirty minutes and went back to be checked and I was the same (baby had not dropped). I started to tell my doctor and doula that I had the desire to push but they told me to not push, that the baby was not down so it could be dangerous. I started squatting to get the baby down and my water broke. The doctor checked again and said the baby dropped just a little and I needed to continue to try to get the baby to drop. I tried everything that I knew of for the next two hours (I had done extensive research about breeched deliveries) to get the baby to drop. Nothing availed and I was so sad that I wasn’t going to have a natural labor. The doctor came to me and said that she had seen this many times before where breeched babies get stuck high up. She advised me to get a cesarean but said she had no problem waiting because the baby was doing well and left it up to me. I said I would like to try for another 30 minutes and she agreed. At this point it was 9:00 pm and I had been in the hospital for a very long time. I still tried squatting through contractions and 30 minutes later the baby was still high up. They started to prepare for a cesarean and I was so sad and disappointed. My doctor tried to encourage me and told me for future pregnancies I would be a great candidate for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). She said that she would double suture my uterus which decreases your chance of having a uterine rupture in future pregnancies. 

 Joshua was born on September 6, 2007 at 11:04 pm. He weighed 7 lbs. 12 oz. and 20 inches long (not 9 lbs.!). The moment he was born they wrapped him in a blanket and handed him straight to my husband and told him to hold the baby up to my cheek while they finished my sutures. I will never forget him being close to my cheek and looking into his eyes, he was so precious. They finished quickly and wheeled me into a recovery room. I told the nurses I wanted to breastfeed right away. They helped position him and he breastfed very well. My recovery and stay in the hospital went well.
We were released two days later and went home. I remember being upset at my birth experience because it didn’t go as planned but I made the decision to not dwell on it and to be thankful that I had a healthy baby. I also had the hope of future all-natural births. 

Things I Learned After Joshua’s Birth:

I have learned a lot from Joshua’s birth. I remember going to my lactation consultant when Joshua was a week old and she saw on his medical records he was born cesarean. She asked many questions about my labor and said that Joshua was very healthy and she usually sees a distinct difference between babies who are born cesarean/epidural verses all-natural. She said that he seemed very alert and that had she not known he was been born cesarean she would have guessed he had a drug-free natural birth.  She attributed his health and alertness to me going all the way up to the cesarean naturally. So, I was thankful that at least I tried and I do believe that Joshua benefited from this.

I have also learned that although my doctor and hospital was very pro-natural-birth, they still do not have the experience of a good midwife. Later on, my midwife told me that when I was in labor and I felt the urge to push that I should have been doing small pushes through contractions to get the baby to drop. She explained that when babies are in the ideal position (head down) the weight of their head helps them to descend. In a breeched birth you don’t have the weight of the head and you have to work harder to get the baby to drop. My midwife also offers a special stool in labor designed for breech babies. She has delivered hundreds of breeched babies and even teaches seminars specialized on breech labors to other midwives. A common fear during breech labor is that the baby’s head can become stuck. My midwife says that if you have the experience and have an understanding of the way a breeched baby travels down the birth canal, this is near impossible. The baby’s head becomes stuck by doctors that don’t have the proper knowledge and experience.

Even though my first birth did not go the way I planned, I am thankful that the rest of our children were born naturally at home. So, if you have had a birth that ended in a cesarean don’t be discouraged. You can learn from your experiences and do the proper research to go on to have a successful birth.