Friday, January 14, 2011

Birth

If you're a mom then you probably love a good birth story. I know I do. They tend to go long and into the details of what a mother was thinking at the time, etc., but you have to admit, as common as birth is, it still falls into the category of "mystery". I am so drawn to birth stories. I'm currently reading the birth stories of a dear friend and fellow blogger as she tells the birth stories from her 10 birth children (she has one adopted daughter, too, and you can also read her birth story on the blog). Its fascinating! Plus, isn't there a cable TV show that deals only in birth stories?

Well, I was wasting time on facebook yesterday when I came upon a note I wrote last year detailing Flint's birth. So, for posterity, I thought I'd include it here as well. Here you go:

Before we get started:

Disclaimer #1: Its a long read.

Disclaimer #2: I'm assuming that if you're even interested in reading a birth story that you're not put off by terms like "mucous plug", etc. Even so, fair warning.

These are the emails I sent to my mom and sisters Monday evening. I knew if I didn't pass on word, ANY WORD, regarding labor to the women of my family, NO MATTER HOW FALSE, that there would be dire results. So here's the emails:

"Had a rough night last night. Woke up with contractions through the night. I wasn't bothering to time them because I didn't want to know if they were close or not. My sleepy way of saying 'no!'.

They continued through the morning, going from 8-12 minutes apart. Some of them were doozies, too! John went to work (our prearranged plan, though it secretly made me mad at the time) and I laid on the couch sipping water and trying to get comfy enough to nap and wait and see what would happen. Around 11, I woke up from a nap feeling better with contractions noticeably further apart.

I'm dressed now, but we're skipping school today so I can do laundry and dishes in my sweet time. We have a bday party for Scout with Kathy [John's mom] tonight, so I'm trying to preserve cake and pizza making energy. I'm still feeling a few contractions (30-45 min apart), both gentle and strong, but I'm hoping they go away and give me at least another week.

I'm chalking this bout up to bad nutrition, low water consumption and overall exhaustion from yesterday [wedding shower for my little sister followed by a big Sept. bday party for my side of the family]. They're valid reasons which is why I'm so relaxed about it. So, I'm doing lots of water today and trying to take it easy and saving the jobs that John can help with for when he gets home.

I'll see my midwife tomorrow at our appt. and I'll tell her about it and ask my questions, etc. Just thought I'd let you guys know.

B"

Then 4 hours later I sent them this one:

"Well, the contractions have slowed down some more and definitely lessened in intensity. I drank a lot of water today and took another 1 1/2 hour nap this afternoon.

Then I lost my mucous plug!

So I called my midwife and she said to keep her posted, but it doesn't necessarily mean that things will happen right now. She said, especially in the case of "subsequent" births, there's a chance that my body might be going about it a chunk at a time, dilating a few cm at a time but still be 2 weeks away. That sort of thing shortens the eventual labor and delivery. So, I have my regular appt with her tomorrow and I'll catch up on birth supplies, etc. But it seems like he's coming earlier than the due date, doesn't it? (my feelings, not the midwife)

As rough as it would be on "my schedule", I'd be DELIGHTED for you, [older, out-of-town sister], if you could meet him while you're here.

Welp, I'll keep you posted, but I hope I have an uneventful week!

B"

Well by 8 pm that night, after party festivities had settled down a bit, I was exhausted and wanted to go to bed. This time I chalked it up to...exhaustion from Sunday's parties and Monday's party. I felt bad for not being my best host to my mother-in-law. I had contractions through the evening and was walking around slowly, but still figured I just needed to rest.

That night I had contractions through the night again only this time they were strong enough that I needed to "vocalize" through them - aka, make noise. I would sleep in between, but by 6 I was done being in bed and just went to the couch to try and be my most comfy through the contractions.

I was still second guessing EVERYTHING. Two weeks just seemed too early. Who does that? So, John got up and we talked it out and decided to send him to work - his off days are precious so we didn't want to squander any. But as the time got closer to go to the midwife appt I decided that I didn't think it was a good idea to drive over so I called to tell her so.

Now, a quick nod to my mom - as I would text and phone to keep my family updated, I have to give her credit for telling me things like "I don't think you should even try to find a ride to your appt. She needs to come to you. I think you're in labor". And it was because of her insisting that I even had the midwife come to me.

Excerpts from our phone calls:

Mom:"If you're having contractions so strongly that you have to hang up with me, you probably need to take this seriously."

Sister:"You said your contractions are 7 minutes apart, but we've been on the phone for 4 minutes and you've had two."

Little Sister was on her way to drive me to my appt, but with my mom's advice it she instead picked up my children to go back to my Mom's. The midwife was coming over and I texted John to come home - and I still was in denial about being in real labor.

Little Sister left with my little ones. Scout was crying when she left - she was just feeling a little unsure and nervous. The midwife arrived 15 minutes after they left. As soon as she walked in the door, she began unpacking her bags and putting up her birthing stool (gasp!). She checked my vitals and I asked her if she thought it was the real thing - she chuckled and said 'yes'.

Then started a frenzy of calling John and asking him to pick up the last minute supplies I didn't already have on hand.

Me: "Honey, I didn't have breakfast yet and [midwife] suggested apple juice. Can you pick up some apple juice?"

John: "Some what?"

Me, getting a contraction: "APPLE JUICE!"

Until John came home I was the only one to show Midwife where things were, so I would slowly go to the basement and get the Chux Pads, peri bottles, etc. [Thank you Paige. Thank you Sarah]. Then 15 minutes after Midwife arrived, John came home and I would just sit and labor while they scurried all around me.

15 minutes after that I told Midwife that the baby and contractions felt really low and she asked if I wanted to try the birthing stool. So I went ahead and 'sat' on the stool. I began to feel very unsure and asked if she would tell me when to push and she just said, "you'll know". And pretty much the pushing began after that. I called John over to stop doing whatever he had been doing and Oldest Sister walked in shortly after that. She was there for Justy and is an irreplaceable support person.

It felt like forever. In retrospect, it felt like transition emotions and labor were all rolled into one. I was so emotional and hated every contraction. I was whining and saying how it hurt. I was apologizing for the whining. I wanted to be stronger. Midwife wasn't rushing this part either. She would take the times I would push and alternately apply olive oil and a warm compress, as well as massage and stretch out...whatever it was she was stretching. And it hurt, too. I even asked her at one point between pushing, "what are you doing!?".

Eventually, my emotions got the better of me and in between contractions I couldn't settle myself down. I was breathing erratically which was making me even more nervous and emotional. But right about that time Midwife said that if I reached down I could feel the baby's head, so I did. Oddly enough, it was squishier than I expected. But then I knew, only one more push. And sure enough, the next time a contraction came, I pushed with enthusiasm and 'bloop, bloop', she was handing me my son!

He was noisy and mad from the get go! Feisty guy! And I was elated, but I'll be honest, it was equal parts 'that terrible pushing is done' and 'my son is in my arms'. All the events are blurry after that. He was tiny and skinny. I laid down on a nearby bed that John and the midwife asst. moved into the living room and rested with the baby while they all did other things. A bit later they helped me get to the shower and clean up.

I felt great. Sure, some of that was adrenaline, but also I wasn't working against medication and, due to Midwife's patient work, I didn't tear at all. I was hungry and ate. My sisters brought their families over right away, which I love! My children were home by dinner time and some of us even stayed long enough for pizza and a movie together. These are a few of my favorite things and one of the real perks of homebirth for me.

I don't have many pictures of our first minutes. It all happened so quickly that pictures were one of the things that fell through the cracks. But my mom has some good ones that I'll steal eventually. I also threw in a picture of a birthing stool because I know I was curious before I saw one, but never thought to ask.

example of a birth stool
first visitor, Dad, and my beautiful labor supporters: big sister and John.

siblings