Tuesday, May 13, 2008

This could be long, but it wasn't... (the Birth Story)

This is the birth story. It is graphic. Please use discretion when reading.

I may write a long post, but realize that in real life, it didn't really take that long. Or maybe, the "long part" didn't last very long. It was actually very quite manageable for most of the labor.

This time, I tried HypnoBabies. As opposed to HypnoBirthing. I used HypnoBirth last time as my doula was the teacher and I got a combined rate with her services and her class. It was good and I learned a bunch. I also *really* needed that doula and she was wonderful. If you are ever at all on the fence about getting one, I highly recommend it. She helped make my VBAC possible.

This time, I was looking for program that was a little more comprehensive and could be done at home. I knew I wanted women with me at the birth, but I wanted *my* women. i wanted my sisters and mom with me. I wasn't sure how I could make that happen, but that's what I wanted. Now that I had my "birthing feet" wet, so to speak, I didn't need so much a trained doula as my own family to support me.

I asked my sister to be my doula, as she has expressed interest in doula-ing and she said she would love to, but as we got closer to the birth, we both realized that it probably wouldn't work out. She is still in the "3 little kids at home" season and a husband that works swings. AS nighttime would be my most likely birthing time, we agreed that if I went into labor from morning to noon, she could come and not at any other time. (hehe, how's that for putting some limits?)

I couldn't ask my other married sister to be with me as she was due with her own little bundle only three weeks before me. So that left my unmarried sis and my mom. I hesitated asking my mom to attend as she had been so nervous with Buggy. It wasn't unwarranted worry; it was to be my first VBA2C and my first homebirth after being told by an MD that not only should I never get pregnant again, but that I would *never* birth vaginally. I understand why he said those things, but even though they were just his opinion, he said them and my mom was worried. Well, as I got closer, I knew that I needed to discuss this with her.

She was wonderful. She said that she would love to attend my birth this time. She did agree that she had been nervous last time, but that she felt I was totally capable of doing this. She felt that I was in capable hands and that I had educated myself well enough and knew what I was getting myself into.

This pregnancy has been very difficult, physically, for me. It was great until that last six weeks or so. (lest you forget, check out some of my earlier posts.) Baby was positioned very wonky and hanging out over my pubic bone. It repositioned my whole pelvis and threw out my back. Which in turn, messed with every ligament and muscle in my pelvic floor. That, my friends, was pain. I could barely walk at all, and most days had little to no walking involved. I started to get very impatient for this little one to arrive as I was tired of carrying all this weight. I couldn't figure out why she wouldn't come. I was having all sorts of labor surges, but nothing would stay for very long. I really felt like she could have been ready, but every time I talked to her, she wasn't ready to come. I slowly tried to reposition her with my surges and kept talking to her to tell her it was okay to come. Finally, I just got so discouraged that I couldn't go any further. I was at the verge of tears for about three days and one day they just wouldn't stop. I finally asked HeaterBoy for a blessing. I knew that I couldn't make it any further without one.

When he gave me the blessing, it was on Mother's day. It was beautiful. He told me to be patient and the baby just wasn't ready. I felt peace and comfort and the Lord knew what I was going through. (HeaterBoy wasn't aware of the extent to which I had gone to get this baby here.) I was finally resigned to a couple more weeks. I felt okay in continuing as I knew that God knew me. He knew my heart and my soul and he knew my baby. It would be okay.

We went to my mom's for dinner as it was "2nd Sunday" when we always go there. I was feeling a little better since the baby was now further "in" my body instead of just hanging out over it. I was having a bunch of surges, but I usually choose not to time them as it is pretty meaningless for me. If I'm really in labor, they'll keep going and get harder; if I'm not, they won't.

I timed them on the way home (for the last twenty minutes) and realized they were coming every eight minutes or so. Of course, once I got ready for bed, they had slowed considerably and I didn't want to get myself all worked up when I was still going to be a while.

While Jared and I were laying in bed, I told him I needed help getting up as I needed to get to the bathroom and right then, like a Pavlovian response, I got wet...all over. When I walked down to the bathroom and continued to drip...all the way to the room, I realized, we were absolutely no longer dealing with pee. :-) But as I was still not convinced I would be going into labor anytime soon, I called my midwife to tell her my water had broken, but didn't anticipate anything imminent and was going to bed to try and rest. I called my mom and told her the same thing. This was about 11:30.

I went back to bed and "did" my hypno cd's and there wasn't much going on. I was able to relax right through my surges without any problems, even though they were starting to wrap around my back. Eventually, I had to pee again, and I didn't like that I was leaking everywhere. I went downstairs and went to the bathroom and then tried sitting on the birth ball for a minute. Quickly, the surges got more businesslike and I realized that I wanted my husband with me. I called him on the phone (we have an intercom feature on our phones) and asked him to come down and time the surges. It seemed like they were coming faster and I didn't want to pay attention to timing. As he timed they required some relaxation to get through, but totally doable. I was still hoping that I could sleep in between, at the very least and wait till morning to have this baby.

I spent a whole water tank in the shower. It felt so good to have the hot water beating down on my back. When it cooled down, I got out and had Boy put the heat pack on my back.

I noticed that I wanted to lean forward on the ball during the surges and when I did, I could feel my cervix opening. I didn't want to believe that's what it was because I hadn't been in labor that long. I kept telling Baby to "come down" and I started to get really shaky. I remembered my midwife telling me that my blood pressure would probably get low during labor (it has in all of my previous births) and last time we "fixed" it by eating sea salt. My surges still weren't any closer than 4 minutes and gauging this labor like last, I still had a long way to go. I wasn't quite ready to call the midwife. I had Boy get me some salt and wake up my sister to make me some miso soup. I also decided to call my mom to come. I knew it could still be a while, but I wanted her there. It was about 3:30. I decided to switch positions kneeling over the ball. As I was there, the surges got a lot more intense and I started to feel a little pushy.

I was probably in transition at this point, but didn't want to really think that as I never really got that, "I can't do this anymore" kind of feeling. The only thing close to it was "I can't do this without that heating pack on my back". I really had to moan with the surges now and I decided to call my midwife. After that, I really needed to go to the bathroom and I told Boy that I needed to go but I didn't want to as that would mean leaving my beloved heat pack and I didn't think I could handle a surge on the toilet...

My amazing husband came with me and the surge was almost unbearable-even with the heat. I decided to go back into the shower as that was comfortable earlier and the water had been sufficiently reheated. I squatted-or tried-and couldn't keep my relaxation going through a couple of those. Then I realized at the peak on a surge that I was pushing and there was nothing anyone could do to stop me. That made me a little nervous as the midwife still wasn't there, but in that instant, I remembered that it took me an hour to push Buggy out.

Once I started pushing, I quickly realized that Baby was going to come *much* quicker than Buggy did. In fact, I could feel her move down the birth canal right then and yelled to Boy to hurry and turn off the water as she was coming out right now and the water was too hot for her. I no longer thought about who wasn't there yet, but just the overwhelming urge to *GET HER OUT*. I roared through those two or three surges.

As I pushed, I remembered at the last minute to feel for her head. Not only was she crowning, but I could feel her head ready to pop out. By that time, Boy was behind me, and I asked him if he could see her. He said he still couldn't but by then I could feel her head come out and the surge ended. I couldn't stand to have that stretching only half over and not do anything until the next one came, so I pushed the rest of her out without the contraction.

My husband caught our baby. My amazing rock of a husband stayed with me and we did it together.

After she was out, I was still squatting and I could hear her scream. He passed her to me and I knelt and held her until the midwife arrived a few minutes later. She screamed so loud that I never had to worry about suctioning her or her color. I was prepared with one of Buggy's sterile bulb syringes and of course, we have oxygen if we needed it. By the time I had the presence of mind to asses her color(about one or two minutes later), she was already *very* pink. Her vernix was so thick, I could barely tell, though.

The kids had wanted to watch the birth and I had told my sister earlier that I only wanted them there for the very end and she was outside the bathroom when all this was taking place. She heard me roar and then she heard the baby cry. She ran upstairs to get the kids, but they barely missed it. They came downstairs about the same time that the midwife arrived.

My midwife got there, kind of shocked that she hadn't even made it. She came into the bathroom and looked us both over. She gave a big smile, and said "You did it!" She helped me to sit down and get a little cleaned off, asked what I needed her to do. Then she checked the cord, which had stopped pulsing, and clamped and cut it. WE washed off a little more and waited a bit for the placenta to come. Then I just wanted to get out, so she helped me to get to the couch with my robe and some chux with the baby. And there, she helped with the shakes while we waited for the placenta.

We called the midwife at 4:00ish and Baby was born at 4:30ish. We waited for 40 minutes for the placenta and when it did come, it was small and very fat. And I was still able to push it out myself. I wasn't so exhausted that I couldn't do that, like I had been last time. After it came out, I felt *so* much better. My mom got there just after the placenta was delivered.

After a while, I felt like I wanted to shower. So hubby and my midwife helped me up and I was able to shower. I put on my own clothes and went and sat on my own couch and snuggled my baby for the rest of the morning.

Since she came so fast, there was no head molding, and I didn't tear or anything. I'm having no problems sitting (except for the sitting trouble I was having before Baby was born, and that's slowly getting better).

I'm exhausted thinking about 4 kids, but we're all healthy and safe. I'm so grateful for a merciful Heavenly Father who knows what is best for me and my family. I'm also grateful that He allows us to choose our own path. I'm grateful to have been entrusted with another beautiful spirit. I hope I can love her as much as she needs and as much as He wants for her.

Monday, May 12, 2008