Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Theodore's Birth Story

I woke up in the morning with some bloody show.  I was told that usually after this happens the birth will occur within a few days.  I went out shopping for some last minute baby supplies I needed before baby came.  We went and got a few more diaper covers and a diaper pail.  I went to work that night.  It was my last night before maternity leave began.  Once home I stayed up and waited for Craig to come home at about 11:45 pm.

Craig and I stayed up talking and watched some TV.  I commented that I felt a little bit different.  I began reading out of a birthing book to know what to look for when labor began.

Craig and I went to bed.  I was having some cramping down low.  Similar to wear period cramps usually are.  I didn't think much of it since it described this in the book, so I thought I was in "pre-labor".  I didn't really fall asleep though I tried since I wanted to be rested in case I went into labor the next day.  I was up and down to the bathroom.  The cramps were becoming more painful but I still didn't think much of it.

I was no longer able to be in bed comfortably so I went in the living room for a little bit and got down on my hands and knees.  I went back in the bedroom and was on my hands and knees at the end of the bed.  Craig got out of bed at this time.  I threw up a couple of times and was feeling fairly nauseous. I decided to hang out in the bathroom mostly.

Craig called my mom and our doula, Raina.  My mom works very close so she headed over as soon as she was able.  Raina had to drop off the kids she nannies and then was on her way over.  At this point Craig had been timing my contractions and they were about 1 minute long and 3-5 minutes apart.

My mom arrives and starts helping me through contractions.  I comment, "This isn't even the real thing.  It is just pre-labor."  My mom replies, "This is the real thing!"  Craig begins making phone calls to the midwives and also to our family to let them know I am starting labor.

Raina arrives and begins helping Craig set up the house and our bedroom for labor.  I am having contractions while in the bathroom with my mom.  My puke bowl by my side since I have been throwing up off and on with contractions.  The contractions are not too intense and I still believe I am in pre-labor.

Emily, midwife apprentice arrives to check on me.  I am sitting in Gizmoid's room on the rocking chair breathing through contractions.  Raina is with me timing contractions based on my breathing patterns.  I am able to breath through contractions fairly easily.  The contractions pick up in intensity at this point.  I even think to myself:  I know why women get pain meds.  If this is just early labor, I don't know if I can do it!
Raina and Emily try to get me to eat a banana but I have no appetite.  I end up throwing up the one bite I do take.  They get me drink water and Gatorade instead.  I also heard Emily say that I was in active labor but I still did not believe her.  I did think I would have the baby within the next day though.

I am back in the bathroom laboring on the toilet.  My mom is in the bathroom with me.  Craig, Raina, and Emily have been working on getting the birthing tub ready.  My contractions got much more intense and I wanted to be in the birthing tub right away.  I also had requested my midwives be there and was kind of frustrated that they weren't there yet.  At this point I understood that birth was going to happen that day.  Most likely sooner than later.


The midwives, Monica and Pamela, arrive.  They had to cancel the rest of their appointments for the day.  I wanted to get into the birthing tub badly at this point.  Monica offered to do a vaginal exam before getting in the tub.  If I wanted one later I would have to get out of the tub.  I decided to do the vaginal exam because I wanted to know where I was at.  I was told not to get discouraged if I wasn't as far along as I thought.  I was also told that this doesn't determine how long the rest of my labor will last.  Monica performed the vaginal exam and then Pamela asked to check also.  They decided I was about 7 cm dilated and 100% effaced.  I was told later that I was closer to 8 cm but Pamela was unable to feel behind the baby's head so she was unable to give an accurate measurement.  Hearing 7 cm dilated surprised me.  Alot.
Monica taking my pulse before I get in the pool.  This is also right before I get my vaginal exam.

I am in the tub.  The water is kind of cold so the birth team is working on heating up more water on the stove to pour into the pool.  I find this a little annoying but am dealing with it.  I am on my knees and leaning on the edge of the pool in between contractions and then sit up straighter during contractions.  My best friend, Michelle, pours warm water on my back for awhile.  Then my mom takes over.  I kind of lose track on what is going on around me and who is doing what.  I am concentrating on what I am doing.  Craig and my mom are sitting at the edge of the pool near my head and talk to me in between contractions.  They give me water and gatorade.  Craig has some sort of setup so he can put a cold washcloth on my face or neck.
In between contractions.  Craig with the puke bowl.  My mom pouring warm water on my back.  Pamela monitoring me.
Cold clothes to my forehead.  Michelle is now helping pour water on my back.  Emily is monitoring at the back of the pool.

My contractions are now 1-2 minutes long and are occurring every 2-4 min (that is timing from the beginning of one to the beginning of the next one).  It is quite intense at this point.  The midwives suggested I feel inside.  I decided to and I was able to feel the head.  Well, actually it was the amniotic sac with the head inside.  I am moaning and breathing through my contractions.  Inside my head I am counting my breaths to help distract me from the pain.  I found it to be the one thing that helps me.  This is becoming harder at this point because I am moaning a lot.  My mom made the comment, "This mother-song is the most beautiful song that women can sing."  Everyone agreed. (This is in my medical records of the birth!  I love that!)  In between contractions I began talking to the baby.  I think this was more of a reassurance to myself that I could do this.  I would say things like, "We can do this Gizmoid.  Me and you.  We can do this.  You are doing great, Gizmoid."

I begin bearing down with contractions.  I am moaning and I remember thinking that it is time to work to get the baby out.  I just knew that it was time.  It felt right.  It felt like that is what I needed to do.  I begin pushing but I am not pushing very hard yet.

I feel a "pop".  I let the midwives know and they say it is probably my membranes rupturing (water breaking).

The birth team is able to see the head by placing a mirror in the tub.  I never looked into the mirror.  I did have my hand down at my vagina supporting my perineum since this is supposed to help prevent tearing.  I was able to feel the head myself.

I give one final push and the baby's head is born.  I am not sure exactly why, but I almost jump out of the pool.  Craig places his hand on my back to keep me in the pool.  I think it had to do with the surprise that the head came out.  Maybe a reaction to the pain.  I caught the baby in my hands.  The body was born quickly after that.  I think I had to push once more for the baby's body to be born.  The umbilical cord was wrapped around the neck so they had to unwrap it.  That hurt because my cord was kind of short.  I had the baby on my chest for a few minutes while I caught my breath.  The baby was crying.  I kept kissing the baby's head and saying, "It's okay baby.  It's okay baby."  Over and over again.  Craig said, "It's okay buddy."  My mom said, "Do we know if it is a "buddy" yet?"  Nope!  I didn't want anyone else to find out the sex before Craig and I so Craig encouraged me to look.  My response, "I'm too tired."

The midwives have me sit down with my back against the side of the pool.  Craig and I get ready to look between baby's legs.  Craig is able to see before me and says, "It's a boy."  I had to look for myself and say, "We have a boy!?!?"  Once I see his little genitalia I begin crying.  I was so happy to have a boy.  This was the most emotional I was the entire labor.  I was hoping for a boy.
My response when finding out it was a boy!
 8 lb. 10 ounces, 20 inches long
 Meeting my baby.
Papa time!

Most people think that having a baby at home is crazy.  To me it was perfectly natural.  Pun intended.  I loved being able to get into my own bed afterwards.  Nice and comfy.  I like having my own food that I liked nearby.  I feel that a woman's body is made to have children.  That is what our physical attributes are for.  I feel that women have been doing it for thousands of years and my body knows what to do.  I understood that there were risks involved but I trusted my team to be able to catch things before they went wrong.  I understood I might have to go to the hospital.  I live minutes away from one so I felt safe.  I wanted to trust in my body and let it do what it needed to do.  I think this mindset allowed me to have a faster and easier birth.  I didn't try to fight what was happening.  I understood and excepted that my body was doing things perfectly.  I know that a home birth is not for everyone, but I know if I get pregnant again I will be at home.  I feel so lucky that I had the exact birth I wanted.  I know that lots of women don't.  I felt lucky to have a birth team with the same mindset as me and didn't try to rush me or tell me what to do.  I wasn't pressured to take pain medication or labor laying on my back.  My midwives weren't trying to hurry me up so they could go home.  Craig was able to hold him skin to skin.  It was just an overall amazing experience.