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Candle in the Night

Friday, August 12, 2011

Baby M's Birth Story

I have to start by saying that this post is much more personal than what I would normally post.  I'm including many of the personal details that I would omit normally.  I'm including them because I really want to encourage anyone considering natural childbirth by letting them know that it is bearable.  You can do it and it is such a beautiful thing.  After having a birth full of interventions with H and now experiencing a natural birth, I can't imagine going back.  An epidural is nice because you feel nothing, but the feelings I experienced having M are totally worth any pain I felt.  So if this is too much information for you, I apologize.  If you think you might not be comfortable reading a detailed (and rather long) birth story, this might be where you should stop reading.  For the rest of you, I hope this story is a blessing to you.  







M was our surprise baby.  We found out I was pregnant with her when H was only six months old.  We went through a range of emotions.  Shock, fear, happiness, excitement.  We finally got used to the idea of having two little ones so close in age.  I knew for sure that I didn’t want the same birth experience as I’d had with H, so I switched to a midwife, Kimberly, who I knew had been great for several friends and also my sister.  She works with a doctor’s group and can deliver in a hospital which was what I felt most comfortable with.  When I first went to see her, I found out she would be out of town August 1-9.  I didn’t worry about it because I figured the chances of having the baby while she was in town were greater than otherwise. 

As time went on, everything looked great and we found out we were having another little girl.  The time got closer and closer and pretty soon, we got down to the week before Kimberly was going to leave to go out of town.  We prayed and hoped that M would come, but she didn’t.  The day Kimberly was going to leave, I was really depressed.  I thought I’d prepared myself to deal with it if she was gone, but knowing I’d be delivering with a doctor I didn’t know terrified me.  I did not want another labor and delivery like H's with all the pressure from the doctor and since I knew little about these doctors, I was just sure I’d be stuck with one who didn’t support natural childbirth. 

Well, Kimberly left and M still didn’t come.  At that point, I was okay with being pregnant another ten days, but I really didn’t think I would.  I resolved to labor at home for as long as possible and not go to the hospital until I was sure I was very close to delivering. 

The morning of August 1, Brian got up to go to work and I noticed that the contractions I’d been having for weeks seemed to be more frequent than they had been.  I didn’t say anything to Brian because they weren’t any stronger than they had been and I didn’t want him to have to miss work for no reason.  At 7:00, I got up and timed them.  They were about five minutes apart. 

I spent the day doing what I’d planned.  I got my picture taken with my nephew, E, had lunch with Mom, picked  up a Moses Basket from a friend in North Kansas City, and came home.  By the time I got home, I was exhausted!  Not just from all the running, but also from the contractions.  I told Brian when he called at lunch that I thought I was getting closer, but to stay at work because nothing was picking up in intensity.  I put H down for a nap and laid down for a nap myself.  I slept on and off for about an hour.  Brian got home at about 3:30PM and I got up at about 5:00PM.  I ate some dinner, we packed the car and we took Ellie, our dog, to my parent’s house and met Brian’s parents at the mall.  They took H with them because we knew things were close to happening. 

We walked at the mall for about an hour and I could definitely tell the walking helped strengthen the contractions.  We came home, ate some ice cream and went to bed.  I slept from about 9:30 to 11:30 in between contractions until it was too uncomfortable to sleep.  I got up ate a granola bar, walked around the house, and watched some tv.  At 2:30, I put in a Harry Potter movie to give me something to distract me.  I fell asleep in the middle of it and slept on and off from 3:30 to 5:30. 

At this point, I thought there were really only a few hours to go.  I wanted to have Brian shower so I could get in the bath because I figured when we got out, I’d be ready to head to the hospital.  This ended up not being the case.  At about 6:15, I got in the bath to relax.  The contractions were definitely strengthening to the point where if I was sleeping in between them, I woke up in a lot of pain because I wasn’t ready to relax through them.  I finally decided that since the bath didn’t feel like it was doing a whole lot, I’d try to turn on the shower and see if standing up helped.   That really didn’t do anything at all.  

I got out of the shower, got dressed, and ate some cheerio’s.  Brian and I tried to play a game on the computer so I’d be distracted in between contractions and not be worrying about progress.  He was running the game controls and I fell asleep again!  When I woke up, I asked him to time them and they were nine minutes apart lasting about seventy seconds.  I decided to get up and walk because I felt like contractions that far apart were not going to cut it! 

The rest of the day was a mix of relaxation techniques, different labor positions, and wondering if things were actually progressing.  I found my favorite relaxation technique was deep breathing.  I would feel the contraction coming and take a deep breath.  As I would let it out, I’d think, “one”.  Then with the next, I’d think “two”, and so on.  I think this worked because I knew that around five or six, the contraction was at its peak and by ten or so, it was over.  The only time this became frustrating was later in the day when things slowed down and contractions got shorter.  I would get frustrated that the contraction was over by the sixth breath because I really thought it must not be doing what it should be doing. 

When I would walk, the contractions would move closer together (more like five minutes), but they would only last 45 seconds.  I didn’t really get frustrated, I just wondered what was going on.  I felt like things should be moving more quickly by now.  Around 4:00, I called Melissa, my Bradley instructor, and she told me maybe I was thinking about it too much.  She called around to some of her other instructor friends and the other reason they came up with was that maybe my uterus was worn out.  I’d technically been in labor for over 24 hours and maybe it was just worn out.  She advised me to eat something, take a bath, and take a nap.  Maybe I just needed a break.  I did that and was able to relax some. 

I napped for about 40 minutes and when I woke up, I knew it was time to go to the hospital.  Things were suddenly very intense and the contractions were coming much closer together.  We didn’t time them because I told Brian to load the car.  I could barely make it to the car and had to stop several times on the way there.  While driving to the hospital, Brian called our families to let them know we were headed to the hospital and called the hospital to let them know we were on our way.  About halfway there, I felt the contractions change.  I had the urge to push, but knew I shouldn’t in the car. 

About a week before, I’d watched a video about labor.  It was a very basic video that walked through the stages of labor and gave interesting facts and tips for each one.  The woman on the video gave the tip that if you’re feeling the urge to push when you really shouldn’t be (like if you weren’t fully dilated, or you were in the car), just remember, “Urge to push, blow it away” and instead of pushing, take deep breaths and blow them out hard.  So I did that in the car. 

We arrived at the hospital and found my sister, Sarah, was waiting outside.  I told Brian to let her park the car and carry our stuff in.  I needed him with me.  We made our way (very slowly) to the desk where we checked in and then headed to the room.  The nurse’s assistant who took us to our room was very nice, but was clearly not aware that I was actually in labor.  She offered me a gown which I refused and asked if I wanted her to leave it out in case I was really in labor.  I refused again and headed to the bathroom.  I went to the bathroom and then couldn’t walk out of the bathroom.  Brian asked if I needed him and I said yes.  He came in and I promptly threw up in the toilet and then in the sink.  My poor husband hates throw up and he was so strong and did great.  The cheese I had eaten earlier came up and I was stressing out about getting it flushed before the nurses saw that I’d been eating during labor.  J  I then had another contraction where I just couldn’t stand up.  I knelt by the tub and my water broke.  This was the first time I really thought (and said to Brian), “I can’t do this!”  It wasn’t that I didn’t think I could have the baby, what was going through my mind was that if the baby wasn’t coming out soon, I wasn’t going to make it! 

About that time, my mom arrived and found us in the bathroom.  I said something like, “The baby’s coming!” and she asked if she should get a nurse.  We told her yes!  She ran out into the hall and came back within a few seconds with the nurse.  The nurse, Shannon, asked if I could get to the bed and I told her no.  I think I was still in the middle of a contraction at that point.  She went to get some help and when she came back, I was able to get to the bed.  She checked me and said the baby was coming and told the other nurse to get the other people who should be there to help.  They set up the table with the cord clamp, scissors, and other tools they like to have on hand.   At some point, the assistant came back in and asked what she should tell the doctor who was on the phone.  They said “Tell him the baby’s coming and he’s probably not going to make it.”  I felt such a surge of relief just knowing the labor was almost over and I was about to hold my baby. 

I really wanted to ease the baby’s head out gently and slowly so recovery would be easier than it was with H.  The hardest thing was not rushing.  I asked for a mirror and they sent someone to get one, but told me they might not get it there in time.  Brian, my mom, and my sister could all see the head and I wanted to see my baby!  When they positioned the mirror, it wasn’t like anything I’d ever seen.  I saw H's head and I watched the birth of my nephew, but this was different.  Shannon explained that the amniotic sac was still in front of the head.  I still thought it looked weird, like maybe the umbilical cord was in front or something.  Shannon went to brush the amniotic sac out of the way and that’s when we all realized something was strange.  Something was moving!  Then Shannon realized what it was.  M's face was coming out first and we were seeing her little mouth moving.  Shannon told me to push NOW!  I started pushing.   I wasn’t contracting, but I pushed as hard as I could and kept pushing until the baby came out.  She was born at 5:53, only about twenty minutes after we arrived at the hospital. 

There was more suctioning than there would have been normally due to the water M had swallowed while her mouth was in the open, but within a couple minutes, they were able to lay her on my chest.  She was beautiful!  Her coloring was gorgeous and she had a soft fuzzy head of hair.  About this time, the doctor arrived and took over delivering the placenta and giving me stitches.  I did tear pretty badly and recovery was hard because of the hard and fast pushing that had become necessary.  M didn’t want to nurse right away, probably due to the swelling in her lips from being born face first, so they went ahead and gave me a shot of Pitocin to help with the bleeding.  Within an hour, M was nursing just fine. 

Having M naturally gave me the most incredible feelings I’ve ever experience.  I felt strong, empowered, and like I’d just done something impossible, but something that God had designed me to do.  It was amazing. 

There were so many blessings wrapped up in her birth as well.  One of the nurses told my mom that I’d saved myself a C-section by waiting so long to come in.  I guess most doctors do an automatic C-section with face first presentation due to some of the risks involved.  Also, according to the hospital’s lactation consultant, the doctor who was on call would not have been supportive of me continuing to labor naturally with contractions so far apart. 

Aside from the things that could have happed at the hospital, there were the blessings of how the labor went in general.  M was posterior which was a HUGE blessing (even though it was a pain in the back!) because posterior is the only position that works for face first presentation.  If she had been anterior or on either side, she wouldn’t have been able to tilt around the pelvis and we would have had no choice but to have a C-section.  Another blessing; we left for the hospital at about 5:15.  The traffic on I-70 could have been terrible, but wasn’t a problem at all.  I really believe that God led us each step of the way to make the correct decisions so that M could be born the way she was meant to be born.  It was a beautiful experience.  

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2 Comments:

At August 12, 2011 at 9:53 PM , Blogger MommyofThree86 said...

Alright you made me cry, lol! What a beautiful story!!!! Congrats again!

 
At August 13, 2011 at 5:53 PM , Blogger joyinpurity said...

That is an awesome experience, Jessi! I'm so happy for you!

 

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