Wednesday, October 16, 2013

{Becoming Mother II} - An Unplanned, Unassisted and FAST Birth Story

In honor of Baby #3's impending arrival, we are launching another {Becoming Mother} blog series. As my own labor and delivery quickly approaches, I find it encouraging to immerse myself in childbirth stories. I love reminding myself that women birth every day, that they survive and that they rejoice in being a mother when it's all over. 

As always, this is not to promote a particular type of birth. These stories are intended to be more of a picture into "what it was really like" for these mothers in their various birth settings. I hope they inspire you to marvel in awe at God's perfect plan of childbirth.

As always, you can check out  my hospital birth story with Cannonmy birthing center birth story with Cason and my reflections on both deliveries. I will be back at the end of this series with some of my favorite birth stories from fellow bloggers, as well as my thoughts in preparation for childbirth the third time around.

Let me introduce you to one of my oldest friends, Lindsey. We met when we were six years old and experienced homeschool, piano lessons and countless hours of Saturday afternoons together. She was friends with me through the "permed bangs, glasses and braces" stage and we probably have more embarrassing photos of each other than we care to admit. She's mama to three precious children and also one of the most talented quilters I know. You can follow her work on Facebook.

If someone would have told me (when we found out our first baby was on the way 6 years ago) that in 5 years I would experience an epidural, an inadvertent “free-birth” at home, and a peaceful hospital birth with a special midwife, I would have laughed. First off, I didn't want an epidural. Second, home births were pretty scary to me. Third, I (didn't dislike) liked my doctor. However I was blessed to safely deliver all three babies in the best way for each situation... and live to tell about it!

Aidan - The "I Don't Want An Epidural" Baby

We prepared for Aidan's Birth like any dutiful first time parents: Child birth classes, interviewed pediatricians and took a hospital tour. We also hired a Doula, the best money I have ever spent, she saved me from unpleasant medications and procedures during the birth. I read birthing books and prepared for an unmedicated birth, wrote out a birthing plan and made several copies to have in my birthing bag. I worked up until the day before he was born.

The morning before we headed to the hospital I called my boss and told him I had had a lot of contractions that night and thought I should stay home today, I would be in, no. He insisted I start my maternity leave, apparently he wasn't too keen on delivering a human baby in a horse barn.

I contracted all day, not painfully, but I was certain that by around midnight I would be fully dilated. By 10:00 PM I was in serious pain, all my preparations didn't help. I was slammed with the most pain I have ever experienced. Convinced that the previous 16 hours of contractions had me close to delivery (haha) I called my Doula and asked her to meet us at the hospital. We got settled in, and after a brief moment of panic when the hospital wouldn't let the doula in, I was comfortably in pain with a husband and doula rubbing my back. And 1 cm dilated. Yes. 1 measly cm. Discouraged, I resigned myself to an all-nighter and puked every time I had a contraction. Somehow that made me feel better.

I rejected the epidural for several hours and finally a nurse suggested I try a medication that would dull the pain. I wouldn't even know I was having contractions and it would wear off by the time I delivered, she said. My doula quickly asked her to leave and then informed me that one of the side effects of this medication were hallucinations, and I wouldn't REMEMBER the contractions but I would still feel them. Nope, not for me, and I am forever grateful to her for educating me on this. (I can't remember what the medication was called.)

Around 4 am I was having transition-like contractions but I was only 3 cm dilated. I couldn't take it any more. I am not a night person. I was exhausted. Being awaked every 30 seconds by a monster contraction was not pleasant, I had had enough. I cried for an epidural, Doula gently tried to talk me out of it, I cried for it again, finally got one and promptly fell asleep.

I woke up at 9am and the nurse said I could start pushing. The Doula suggested that I have them turn down the epidural so I could feel the contractions - apparently I gave her a murderous look so the epidural stayed where it was. Three hours of pushing (and an episiotomy, forceps, and threatened c-section) later I was finally able to deliver a 10 pound, 7 ounce baby boy. Lets just say he was a biggun.

Even though I hadn't had a medication free birth, my Doula stayed with us and was a tremendous encouragement. I highly recommend hiring one if you are having a hospital birth with a doctor, having a familiar face there was wonderful, since of course MY doctor wasn't on call that night. I didn't enjoy the after effects of the epidural, and decided I didn't want to go that route again if I could help it! Little did I know....

Elian - The “Free-Birth” Baby

If I over prepared for Aidan's birth, I underprepared for Elian. Poor little guy. Six weeks right in the middle of the pregnancy were extremely stressful while my husband stayed in Mexico awaiting his interview, leaving me in Kentucky working full time, with a 18 month old, and pregnant. I didn't have time to prepare.

Determined to go medication free this time around I had also decided it wasn't necessary for my doctor to check my dilating progress. It would only be discouraging and I would rather be surprised, you know - wake up in the middle of the night and tell my husband it was time to go, yada yada.

Five days before my due date I was surprised. I woke up to go to the bathroom (for the millionth time) around midnight. When I came back to bed my back started hurting, and I casually wondered if this might be a contraction. I lay there and thought about all the things I needed to wrap up at work tomorrow and was rudely interrupted 2 minutes later by another contraction.

I woke up the hubs. We should start thinking about going out the door. We had to drop Aidan off with his sitter before we started to the hospital. Beto got up and got dressed, I stayed in bed a few more contractions, alarmed because they were getting 30 seconds shorter with each contraction. Then I thought I should put some socks in my bag, I had meant to earlier and forgot. I got up and opened the dresser, then it hit me, Elian dropped, I thought for sure he was going to fall out. I grabbed the socks (they stayed in my hand the whole delivery) and yelled that we weren't going to make it, call the ambulance. I wasn't scared, but I was slightly worried because I was Group B strep positive this time, and I knew that was a negative for the baby.

Beto called the baby sitter and asked her to come to the house to get Aidan, then he called the ambulance. He tried to get me in the car once, but I yelled nasty things at him and got to the bed. Beto said I should lie down, which I managed to do. The baby sitter walked in just in time to help deliver Elian.

Beto was holding Aidan and our babysitter was “helping” me push. I let go of the socks, reached down to pick the baby up and he was so slippery - he was still in the amnionic sac. I had foaled enough baby horses to know this and to know how to break the slippery covering. It was 1:35am, about an hour and a half from my first contraction... ever.

He never cried. We suctioned his mouth and still not a peep. He just started at us, as if he was just as surprised as we were by his sudden entrance. My pediatrician told me how rare it is for a baby to be born in the amnionic sac. I am in awe at how God protected our little boy from Group B Strep. He was wrapped in a protective covering, and he never showed any signs of Group B Strep.

We rode in the ambulance to the hospital where they kept me from my baby for six very long hours, observing him for strep. That's when I decided to switch hospitals and doctors if we ever had another baby. Nobody should ever keep a baby from his mama for that long.

Liliana - The "Three Week Long Painless Labor" Baby

At my 35 week checkup I had my midwife check me because I was pretty sure I had lost my mucous plug. I had to talk her into it because she said I shouldn't be losing it this early. She was very understanding, however, that I wanted to avoid the home birth situation again or, worse, give birth in the car. Sure enough, 3 cm dilated. At 36 weeks: 5 cm, 37 weeks: 6 cm . I had only had BH (Braxton Hicks) contractions so they must have been doing some work!

At my 38 week appointment my midwife started laughing when she checked me. 8 cm, really she said, she could make me whatever she wanted. After advising me to come immediately to to hospital if I felt anything like a contraction, and if my water broke to come straight there without taking the time to drop the kids off somewhere, I was really nervous. I sat in the pick up line to get Aidan from preschool, leaving a little extra room in the front of the car just in case I needed to pop to the front of the line and pick him up.

I had mild BH all day that day, and they finally became regular enough that I called my husband to come home early from work. Actually, I cried on the phone, I didn't know if I was in labor, I didn't know what to do, so Beto said he was coming home and then he made me go to the hospital. When we got to the “work up” room, the nurse asked me when my last appointment was etc., and when she asked me if I had dilated and I said “yea, I was 8cm this morning.” I could see her reaching for the emergency button, and then she looked very confused when I told her I wasn't sure if I was in labor, could I just see my midwife please.

By this time my contractions had petered out, I thought I would be going home. They hooked me up to the monitor for 30 minutes while I was waiting on Melissa, who was delivering another baby down the hall, and sure enough, not contracting. Melissa popped in and checked me, 9 cm, I wasn't going anywhere. She gave me 2 choices, go run around the building for a half hour and hope I would get something started, or she could break my water and the baby would be here in 2 hours. I opted for the water breaking.

It was early in the evening so I felt like I could give the delivery the best side of me and be settled for the night. She broke my water, and within 5 minutes I was in full blown labor. Melissa had a student midwife working with her that evening so it was like I had a free doula. She rubbed my back, suggested positions for laboring and was an angel. It was so nice to be be able to have my husband in front of me and still have someone working on my back. Two hours and 5 pushes later there was a little girl in my arms, she nursed right away and then stared at me for  three hours.

My experience with my midwife was wonderful, peaceful and calm, and the hospital let me stay in the labor and delivery room  for three hours before moving me down to the maternity floor. This was such a change from the previous hospital where I was allowed 30 minutes. I would almost want to have another baby just so I could have Melissa deliver me again, notice I said almost. I didn't tear, which made the recovery so super easy, I was up an walking around within hours of delivery and I didn't feel like I was going to split in half every time I stood up. It was wonderful.

I had three very different births. None of them went as I had planned, but they went perfectly, exactly as they were meant to be. I wouldn't have changed a thing. My babies arrived safely, and are healthy. To me, birth plans don't matter, it was better to go with the flow. Even though our pregnant mommy brains seem incapable of making mundane daily decisions, when it comes down to delivering our babies we have been given a remarkable instinct to make the correct choice. We go into labor and fear the worst, long labor. It might be long, it might be short, it might be unexpected, but we make it though. Because we are Mommies. That's what Mommies do.

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