Kyrie’s Birth Story: Part II

So sorry it took me so long to get this up!  I was out of commission the last couple of days due to a uterine infection, but I’m feeling much better and we caught it quickly so there shouldn’t be any complications from here on out, praise God!  If you missed it, you can read Part I of the Birth Story HERE.

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Things started progressing very quickly at this point. People began arriving… Stephen was the first member of my audience. When I heard him wake up I was so worried that he was just going to cry for me the entire night. He is never consolable at one in the morning unless I’m holding him.  Much to my surprise, God provided him with a very peaceful spirit and allowed my mom to hold him. He was even perfectly content (and kind of emotionless) when she had to leave for a moment. Next Jake’s parents arrived, followed by the midwife’s assistant and her back up midwife who was also attending the birth.

Birth AudienceMy mom went upstairs to see if Evangeline wanted to wake up. Now, if you know my daughter, you know that she is just like me and that being woken up does not put her in a happy place. But as soon as she heard “Mommy is having the baby,” she sat straight up and proclaimed “Oh! This is my favorite part!” She came downstairs bounding with energy and sat right next to Stephen to watch the birth.  Jake’s mom sat down to help and before long I had my own little audience with their chairs pulled up to see the big event.  It probably would have been terribly distracted if I had had any presence of mind to think about it, thankfully I was preoccupied.

They couldn’t actually see me in the tub during contractions because it was so tall, but I popped up in between and smiled and gave them thumbs up to let them know I was excited and everything was going well. Jake and I took a picture together and I was still talking and laughing in between contractions. They did get closer together, though I didn’t notice it much because they had started so close.

I started feeling a bit pushy so my midwife checked me. I was dilated to almost a nine already (and still happy in between contractions?!) so she told me to breathe through a couple more and that I was almost there.  At this point Jake’s back rubs stopped helping, which I managed to communicate mid-contraction. My brilliant midwife told him to try constant pressure instead of moving pressure. That felt much better. Contractions were getting so intense that I found myself holding my breath when one started. “I need you to breathe through these,” my midwife reminded me, which I did with quite a bit of vocalizing.

Breathing hurts less than not breathing, but for some reason the natural reaction is just to clamp up. About three contractions after my midwife checked me I let her know that my body had started pushing on its own during contractions. She started helping Jake by putting pressure on my hips while he pressed down on my back.  She asked me if I wanted him to get in the tub for support while pushing and I said no. Their cumulative effort was helping me manage and the last thing I wanted was to change it up and risk being in more pain, so I opted to keep everything the same. I was on hands and knees, not my preferred pushing position, but again I wasn’t about to move. I had found a way to cope and I was going to stick with that.

During the next contraction I started pushing. My midwife checked me afterward and said that I was fully dilated with just a little lip. I told her I was pushing through the last contraction and she said “I know; I wasn’t born yesterday. That’s why I checked you.” I didn’t laugh out loud but I did chuckle a little on the inside.  She asked if I wanted my water broken to push, and that she always felt more comfortable pushing without the bag of waters there. I was totally indecisive. I had no idea! I had never made it to the pushing stage with an intact bag of waters.

We broke my water during Evie’s labor at 5cm because I was tired of the slow progress, and Stephen’s broke on its own before his labor had even really started.  I couldn’t make up my mind, so I said we’d work through one more contraction and then decide, which was really me just stating the reality as the next contraction was already starting anyway. Several seconds later the point was totally moot as my water broke easily on its own and baby was crowning with the next push.

After that it took about five more pushes for baby to be born, way more than I’ve ever had to push before. But I had no tearing, and have been much more comfortable post-partum than I was with either of my other babies, so I don’t mind having had to wait a little longer in the pushing phase!  Baby was born at 2:10am almost two hours exactly from when active labor started. After doing some gymnastics with the umbilical cord… ahem… my midwife handed me our sweet little one and we put a towel over her to keep her warm in the tub. This is the first baby that Jake didn’t actually help deliver, but I think he was ok with that.

I held her for a minute before someone inevitably asked if baby was a boy or girl, I had to move the cord to see, and when I did I just remember saying “She’s a girl! But I already knew that, Mommy didn’t even have to look to know you were a girl.” Which is true, from my feelings during pregnancy and then seeing her face when she was born, somehow I just knew.
Baby girl and I stayed in the tub a while longer. The placenta did not come out nice and whole like it should have, so my midwife had to work on that for a few minutes (not super comfortable if you were wondering). Unfortunately we didn’t quite get all the little pieces (which caused my uterine infection a few days later).  We found that she also had a true knot in her cord, just like her older brother did!  Not sure why my children like to do that…

IMG_1558After all that was finished, Daddy brought Jacob over to cut the umbilical cord, he had just been woken up after the baby was born, although he didn’t particularly care to. The story I heard was that when Daddy went to get him and said it was time to meet the baby Jacob’s answer was “No, let’s do it in the morning.” Sigh… a child after my own heart. But he was glad afterward that he was awake with all the excitement!

Finally it was Daddy’s turn to hold the baby while I changed clothes and slowly made my way to the family room to rest in the recliner. After a good while of sweet girl nursing, Stephen helped Daddy weigh her and the midwife did a few quick newborn measurements and checks.  Last, but certainly not least, Mommy got a very early morning breakfast of oatmeal before we all headed back upstairs to bed at the very sleepy time of four in the morning. We still had no name for her at this point; it wasn’t until later that afternoon that we decided on Kyrie.

Out of all three births, Kyrie’s was definitely the smoothest. She also broke all of the similarities that my other two shared. I suppose we truly have no idea what pregnancy and childbirth are going to be like no matter how many times before we’ve done it. It is always changing from one child to the next!  Yet one thing continues to remain the same… the sacrifice is miniscule and not even comparable to the reward of bearing life. And to those dear mothers whose pregnancies didnot come to such a joyous end on this side of eternity, my heart and prayers are always with you and the reward that awaits you in Heaven is greater still.

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Kyrie’s Birth Story: Part I

Kyrie Rose

February 14th 2015

8lbs 2ozs – 20 1/4 in.

Five weeks after I was let off of bed rest and there I was, still pregnant. I could not believe it. My mom and brother were in town to meet the baby who was not here yet, and I was a week past my due date which had never happened before. Needless to say, I was ready to get this little one out into the world! We had one more day before my family had to leave.
The days before we tried stripping the membranes with absolutely no results. I dilated a tiny bit from 2cm to almost 3cm, but nothing else of note. On Friday evening my midwife came over with one last option to try.

She gave me an herb regimen to use that night and the next morning. It included Evening Primrose, Verbena and Cottonwood.  She told me that at this point she didn’t want to get too aggressive trying to kick start labor, and I agreed. As much as I wanted to have this baby, I wanted the baby to be ready above all else. I started with the Verbena; I was to take it every two hours that I was awake and to switch to Cottonwood the next morning.

My first dose of Verbena was at 5:45pm, I immediately noticed that my contractions seemed more persistent. We had gone walking at the mall earlier in the day, which had set off some good contractions, but they had been dwindling through the afternoon. This seemed to revive them a bit. I felt optimistic, but wasn’t going to get my hopes up yet. After a month of contractions and false alarms I was over trying to guess if I was in labor, but it felt better at least trying something.

I took my next dose of Verbena at 7:45pm, but it didn’t seem to have the same effect. My contractions were waning again and this didn’t pick them up too much after the first twenty minutes or so. I did a lot of walking, swaying, squatting and sitting on my birth ball that evening. I ate some jalapeno cheetos, joking with my mom that maybe the spicy food would help.

Mom and I retired upstairs and chatted while we waited for 9:45 so I could take a final dose of Verbena and go to bed. I told her that I didn’t want to go to sleep because that just meant one more day of not having the baby.  After all, my contractions always petered out when I laid down. But away I went, consoling myself with the knowledge that we could try the Cottonwood first thing in the morning. I took my last dose of Verbena along with the Primrose oil and went to bed.

Jake had not been feeling well so he had gone to sleep with the kids a few hours earlier. We talked for quite a while, it had been a long day and we both needed to decompress. Sleep didn’t come easily, I kept having little contractions that did nothing more than to remind me that I had been having the same ones for months and they meant absolutely nothing.
By the time I was finally dozing off, Evie woke up and I jostled Jake to go check on her. He was gone for several minutes so I checked my phone to see what time it was – 11:49pm. Two hours since my last dose of Verbena.

Well… I was awake so might as well get up and take another round right? Within fifteen minutes of laying down I had another contraction, a different-feeling contraction. It was certainly the best one I’d ever had laying down! I decided that if I had another I would sit up and see what happened. Sure enough, several minutes later another contraction started, I sat up and maneuvered into a modified squat, trying to put as much pressure on the cervix as I could while still in bed.

Ouch.

Several things went through my mind…  I had forgotten what actual labor feels like. — That was definitely an actual labor contraction. — I’m not sure I actually want to be in labor after all.— If I have any more of those I will actually be in labor.

I had another one. Just as painful. After posting to Facebook (because that’s the most important thing right?) I went to go find Jake who had fallen asleep cuddling with Evie. All I said was “Jake… ouch,” while pointing to my tummy. He got up and I caught him up to what was going on at  that point. We both started looking for clothes so I could go downstairs and walk through the contractions that were coming about 2-3 minutes apart.

On my way downstairs I knocked on the office door where my mom was sleeping for the week and let her know that I thought I was in labor and asked if she could listen for the kids for us since we’d probably be preoccupied. I knew my midwife had had two straight nights with no sleep, so I didn’t call her right away.

IMG_1406The contractions were strong from the beginning, I could talk through them barely, and I had to stop what I was doing to hold onto something. My brother was still awake downstairs so we enlisted him to take a few pictures before things got going.  I decided to do a cute little heart shape, being acutely aware of what day it was.  And Jake is texting people to come on over.  :)

I took a quick shower to see if the warm water would help relax me during contractions. It didn’t help too much so I got out and asked Jake to start filling the tub. I called my midwife at 12:51am, but told her not to come out just yet. I didn’t know how quickly labor would progress and I felt bad making her get out of bed sooner than she had to.

My mom came down shortly after that and we started prepping the birth room, I turned on my music playlist, which was awesome for helping me focus through the contractions. I don’t think I made it more than ten minutes before asking Jake to call the midwife back, this labor felt way too much like Stephen’s labor and I knew we didn’t have a whole lot of time.

The timeline becomes a bit of a blur after that. Somewhere in there I went to the bathroom a million times thinking I had to go, but not really needing to; my midwife arrived; and we ran out of hot water, so my dear brother went on boiling water brigade (heat water on the stove, put it in the tub, repeat) and that was his job for pretty much the rest of my labor. He’s a swell guy, and single by the way ladies. 😉

I also changed into my labor gown, and started getting really grumpy with Jake if he wasn’t helping me through contractions. I actually remember joking with him after one that we knew we were in labor when I start yelling at him to “pay attention” during a contraction. He’s not allowed to talk or be distracted, lol! During all of my labors he has been my biggest support, though I’ve needed him in different ways. This time he rubbed my lower back through contractions which helped to take some of the pressure off.

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My midwife wanted to check baby’s heartbeat and to see how far dilated I was. I told her I didn’t want to be checked yet, and she only had to see one contraction to know that I was quite actively in labor. I asked her if I could get in the tub, because I wasn’t sure if the water was deep enough yet. She told me to get in whenever I felt like it, which I did very promptly.

The water was noticeably more comfortable. I briefly considered asking someone to get my essential oils out, but I knew that at this point in labor they really would do nothing for pain relief, so I decided against it. Jake continued to rub my back through contractions from outside of the tub.

To Be Continued…

The Birth Story: Prologue

I am accustomed to writing my birth stories after the birth of the baby, but this little one has thrown us for a bit of a loop!  Labor started unexpectedly Saturday evening at exactly 33 weeks along.  I didn’t realize it at first, of course.  I had been having contractions for about two months at that point – a few here and a few there.  Nothing to be concerned about.  I was using them to gauge whether or not I was doing too much with the other kids.  “Contraction?  Ok, I guess I’ll sit down for a while.”

Then my contractions went away completely last week as I upped my protein and tried really hard to take things slow.  I thought we were doing pretty good!  But about 4:00 pm on Saturday night, back they came.  I started to notice them while eating dinner with the kids and waiting for Jake to come home.  I had no reason to be alarmed at that point because everything seemed normal… although I wondered why I was having contractions on the one day where I was lazier than any other day?  (I mean dinner was frozen pizza for Heaven’s sakes!)

After about an hour and a half it became clear that sitting down and resting was not making them go away, and I could tell that they were coming in regular intervals.  On top of that, every time I stood up it triggered another contraction.  I sat down to time them.  Four minutes apart.  That’s odd… I knew that pre-labor contractions would probably not be so regular.  After the kids were all settled in bed I chugged a big glass of water to see if that would stave them off.

No go.  On they kept, and they started feeling stronger.  Time to call the midwife!  She told me to eat some protein, to take four doses of my Calcium Magnesium and to get in an Epsom salt bath and then see if that would knock them out.  Getting in the bath was reassuring, they stopped immediately… only to disappoint me by kicking right back up once I got out.  I called again and convinced her that I thought I could make them go away by laying down, so she told me to sleep and if they kept me awake to call again.

The contractions dissipated in bed and I did go into a fitful bit of sleep, but it was more my own worry keeping me awake at that point.  I also caught some sort of a bug (maybe that’s what triggered the whole episode?) so I felt miserable on top of it all.  The next morning I woke up with no contractions, but they started as soon as I stood up.  I grabbed a notepad and wrote down every single one, and what I was doing when they happened.  Four minutes apart, unless I was doing something, and then they were two minutes apart.

I got the kids breakfast, dressed Evie for church and sat on the couch as much as possible, but to no avail.  They were just getting stronger and closer together.  I called my midwife and she told me I had to come over ASAP.  Grandma and Jake were both at Church and I had three other little ones with me, so I called Jake’s mom and thankfully she was in a position to come over right away.  By the time I was dressed she was there, and I headed out the door.

So glad my midwife only lives about five minutes from us!  She hooked me up to a fetal monitor, which was a totally new experience, but kind of cool.  I had no sign of infection, great blood pressure, awesome heartbeat and movement from Mambo and my contractions were barely visible on the monitor.  She said she was really pleased with everything she was seeing until… she checked me.  I was 1.5 cm dilated and was already presenting very soft and thinned out.  Those contractions weren’t much… but they were working.

At that point she gave me a shot of medication, which stopped them in their tracks.  Jake had just finished up service and his mom told him in the handshake line what was going on.  Poor guy, he tried to call but we had terrible reception, so he just drove over.  I assured him I was alright and that we had gotten the contractions under control, but that I felt pretty shaky and funny from the meds.  He drove back to the church, asked someone to drop him off, and then drove me home.  Sweet guy :)

I was not ordered to go on full bed rest.  “Queen of the Couch” is what my midwife called it.  I could sit, go up and down the stairs to go to bed, etc. but I just needed to be delegating from the couch and doing nothing else.  So for the rest of the day that’s what we did.  I had to take some more medication orally in the evening from contractions starting up again, but everything seemed to be going well.

The next day I woke up still feeling miserable from whatever I had caught, I couldn’t eat much all day.  Late morning my contractions started regularly at ten minutes apart.  I called the midwife, she said we could deal with ten minutes – as long as they stayed there.  They didn’t.  Almost as soon as I hung up they went to 7 minutes… 5 minutes… 4… 3… 2… each contraction was closer than the last.  And stronger.  By the time I got her on the phone they were a minute long with only about 30 seconds between them – and these were actually uncomfortable.  Not the cute, warm and fuzzy “Oh my tummy feels like it’s giving me a hug!” sort of contractions.

Amazingly she was driving by our house right that minute and pulled in to see me.  Not exactly what I thought our first home visit would be like, but ok!  I took another dose of medication and was instructed to lay down.  Sitting was only for short periods, but mostly I needed to get that pressure off, because every little bit was causing more contractions.  Bed rest, still not strict bed rest… but bed rest.

We fought off contractions for most of the rest of the day.  This was the first time I was really worried we weren’t going to be able to stop the labor for longer than a couple days.  It came on so quickly for no reason.  Every little change of position would trigger another contraction.    I was also still feeling miserable, I couldn’t eat even though I really needed to.  When I finally did go up to bed, just that two minutes of being on my feet triggered very strong contractions that I was having trouble getting dressed through.

My midwife thinks that we will be able to hold off labor for a few more weeks if I can behave myself and stay put.  She doesn’t think they’ll go away completely, but that hopefully we can make them a little less touchy so I can have a bit more freedom than I have now.  She really wants to get me to 37 weeks (January 17th) but will allow me to give birth at home as long as we make it to 36 weeks (January 10th).  Today I woke up feeling completely healthy (hope it stays that way!), my appetite is back and we haven’t seen any unwarranted contractions.  No medication yet, praise God!

I still have them every time I sit or stand, but for the most part they’ve been easy to ward off.  I am so grateful.  We have a fridge full of delicious homemade meals and already and we’ve had so much support.  I think we are covered as far as help goes for this week of Christmas, but if and when that changes we will certainly let everyone know what we are in need of.  Thank you all so much for your prayers so far!!  I am a little sore from lying on the couch, but other than that we are doing well, are in good spirits and hanging in there!  Hopefully the rest of this birth story won’t need to be written for another month or so!

Oldies but Goodies

I have a few posts in the works to start off my new blogging adventure, but in the meantime check out some of these old favorites that I have moved over!

Birth Stories…

Evangeline’s Birth Story

Stephen’s Birth Story

Natural Infant Hygiene…

Elimination Communication

Pottying a Newborn

Co-Sleeping…

The Sweet Sound of Sleep

When Nighttime =/= Sunshine or Roses

Stephen’s Birth Story: Part II

If you haven’t yet… read Part I first!

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The thought that I might actually be ready to push still had not crossed my mind.  I didn’t know why my body was telling me to push, but I figured it couldn’t possibly be because I was actually ready to push.  I had only been in labor for about 35 minutes at this point.  Regardless, the urge to push just became more and more pronounced.  My body started pushing on its own.  Three or four contractions after the phone call I knew I couldn’t help it anymore.  I told Jake, “I can’t do this anymore!”

I thought perhaps I needed to go to the bathroom and that’s why my body felt like it needed to push something out?  I wasn’t having much time in between contractions, but I needed to do something.  So, when my last contraction ended, I got up and walked to the bathroom.  I didn’t say anything to Jake; I was still in super-focus mode and needed to stay there.  Evie followed me, but Jake stayed in the living room, slightly confused.

I sat on the toilet and started pushing… then all of a sudden I realized… that was a head.  I felt his head come into the birth canal and immediately stopped pushing.  I was still concerned that I was pushing too soon, and I knew I was probably pushing too quickly.  I felt down to see where the baby was, and sure enough, he was crowning.

My very next thought was “My baby is not going to be born on the toilet!”  I don’t know why, but that was just extremely important to me in that moment.  I stood up and yelled for Jake, “Come catch the baby!”  He ran in as I leaned on the sink for support.  He knelt down behind me and said “I can see the face!”  Knowing he was there I gave one final push and out the baby came.  “He’s a boy!!” Jake pronounced and then handed him to me.

The cord was wrapped around his torso, so I untangled him.  He didn’t like being moved around at all and started crying.  That was good, as it seemed to clear out his lungs and we knew he was breathing.  Not having a midwife there, that was good to know!  Evangeline had done very well up until that point; his crying scared her and she started crying as well.

I sat down on the bathroom floor and brought the baby to my chest and comforted Evie in my other arm.  Jake made sure I was ok and ran out of the house to help our midwife carry everything in.  He really wanted her to be in there with us!  That was the last time I saw him for about an hour after the birth.  With all of the adrenaline from catching his son he was doing all sorts of things and couldn’t settle down!  I remember actually having to call him into the bedroom after a while and ask him if he wanted to come meet his son now.  😀

umbilical cordIt all happened so quickly it was hard for either of us to sit and enjoy the moment as we were all still processing what just happened.  Our little man was born at 4:08pm after only about an hour of labor.  I delivered the placenta in the bathroom and then we moved into the bedroom.  The umbilical cord had a true knot in it, which my midwife said was fairly uncommon.

He started nursing right away and continued to nurse for about an hour and a half after he was born!  He did cry whenever we moved him for the first couple of hours.  He must have been very sore after his speedy trip through the birth canal.  His face was also quite bruised and he had broken blood vessels in his eyes.  But after those first two hours he calmed down quite a bit and still doesn’t cry hardly at all!

Evie's oreosDaddy got to weigh him, 8lbs 8oz just like his Mommy was!  And Evie got to cut his cord.  She loved him from the very beginning and even brought in two cookies to the bedroom, one for her and one for baby!  It was super sweet, but we had to explain to her that babies don’t eat cookies!  The rest of the evening was filled with many phone calls and skype sessions, a very healthy dinner of McDonald’s (hey, it’s easy!) and enjoying our new family of four.

He was a few hours old when we decided on his name: Stephen Patrick Mueller.  Stephen, of course, for the first martyr of the Church.  And Patrick not only for St. Patrick, but also for Jake’s dear grandmother, Pat, who went to be with the Lord earlier this year.  Evangeline fell asleep and Jake, Stephen and I waited up for my mom who flew in that day from Denver.  She arrived a little after midnight to meet her new grandson, and then we all promptly fell asleep.

one happy family

Stephen’s Birth Story: Part I

Stephen Patrick

July 19th 2012 – 4:08pm

8lbs 8oz – 19 in.

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We hadn’t had rain in months.  It was one of the driest summers the area had seen, but that night we had a marvelous thunder storm, complete with plenty of rain.  In the back of my mind was the thought that many labors begin during a storm; I think it has something to do with the change in air pressure that can trigger labor.  And sure enough I had plenty of contractions through the night.

I was awake much of the night, whether from the contractions or from my mind’s inability to slow down I’m not sure.  I was cautiously optimistic; this was not the first night I had been visited by plenty of contractions; in fact, I had been having similar contractions for two weeks.  I tried to sleep and waited to get excited until the morning.  They always disappeared by morning.

And, as anticipated, these ones did too.  I woke up the next morning with no contractions and no real sign of labor.  I was slightly disappointed, but I was also expecting it.  I actually had a rather productive morning despite feeling crampy.  Our daughter, Evangeline, and I made no-bake cookies, cleaned a bit and went for a nice walk.

I remember specifically thinking during the walk that at this time (a little after 10am the day before my due date) in my last pregnancy I was in labor and preparing to meet our first baby.  I sighed and told Baby “It looks like you’re not going to be as prompt as your big sister.”  Like always, the bit of physical activity started up my contractions again.  I ignored them.

After lunch I put Evie down for her nap and sat down to rest.  We had had a busy morning, and I didn’t have a ton of energy by this time in the pregnancy.  I was playing solitaire on my computer for a while when I noticed that my contractions from earlier were still there… and they weren’t going away… and they seemed pretty consistent.  Out of curiosity I decided to time my contractions and sure enough, they were each about six minutes apart.

They were still very mild, but the consistency was enough to make me a little excited.  I messaged Jake to let him know.  I didn’t really think I was in labor, but it was fun to think that maybe I was!  After messaging my dear husband I got up to go to the bathroom.  When I pushed I heard a very audible pop!  There was a little bit of clear liquid leaking, but not much.  I went back to my computer and googled “Can you hear your water break?”  In case you were wondering… you can.  That was at about 2:45pm.

I called my midwife to let her know that I thought my water had broken.  She confirmed that it did seem plausible, but it may not have completely broken so just to keep her updated.  I knew Jake was on his way home from work, so I didn’t bother calling him.  My contractions had also stopped since my water broke, so it felt like we had some time.  At three o’clock Jake came home and I met him at the door smiling.  “My water broke!”

“No it didn’t,” he said in his I-know-you’re-just-trying-to-tease-me voice.

“Yes it did!” I insisted enthusiastically.  I didn’t have to convince him for long, however.  That signature “gush” of the water breaking made itself known about twenty seconds later.  We both went into high gear immediately.  I went to the bathroom to change, but realized that I was still leaking.  So instead of ruining all of my clothes before labor even got underway, I decided to take a shower to relax.  We were planning a home birth, so I shouted a few directives at Jake before I hopped in.  (Put in a load of laundry, get the birth tub ready, call my mom, etc…)

While in the shower I felt the baby drop onto my pelvis.  He had still been really high up, and without any cushioning left, it did not feel very nice.  It also surprised me with how quickly and forcefully it happened.  I swiftly finished my shower, and not a moment too soon as my first contraction began.  It was a little more intense than I would have liked for a first contraction!  I calmed myself with the reminder that in my last labor after we broke my water (several hours into the ordeal…) the contractions picked up noticeably in intensity and sharpness.  It was around 3:10pm when the contractions started again.

They were strong enough that I had to stop and focus on each one.  In between I was getting dressed, making phone calls and shouting more directions at Jake “Did you start the laundry yet?!?”  Evangeline (27 months old) was walking around the house chanting “Mommy’s water broke!”  I guessed Daddy must have given her that bit of info while I was in the shower.  After a contraction I noticed that she looked very anxious.

Evangeline and I have always been close and she is very in tune with me.  Sometimes she can tell I feel sick before I even notice I’m not feeling well.  She’s a very sensitive and compassionate little girl, so I knew I needed to reassure her.  We had wanted her at the birth from the beginning, so she had seen some birth videos and we had been preparing her for it.  I knelt down and told her that everything was ok and said “We are going to meet baby today!”  Her eyes lit up and her anxiety disappeared.  She began following me around and watching everything very intently.

After a couple more contractions I knew I needed to stop prepping and start focusing on my labor, so I went to the living room which was set up to be our laboring room.  I got a wet washcloth and sprayed some of my aroma therapy on it.  It worked wonders during active labor with Evie, so I was expecting at least some of the edge to be taken off of my contractions – but nothing.

I thought maybe I needed more, so I sprayed and sprayed to no avail.  I began to feel a slight bit of panic.  I turned on my birthing music playlist, and that was relaxing and helped me to focus.  When I was settled in I could tell Evie needed something to do to feel like she was helping.  I called to Jake to get her a wet cloth as well and she began dabbing my neck with it during each contraction.

I was leaning over the couch for support, but it wasn’t long before I began having trouble breathing through my contractions.  I called to Jake that I needed him, knowing full well that nothing was ready yet and we had no one else there to help.  The midwife, doula, photographer, mom, and everyone else were all on the way, but no one had arrived yet.  I tried not to think about those things, I just needed to concentrate on getting through each contraction at this point.  I needed the birthing tub, but I was beginning to realize it wouldn’t be ready.

I pushed all those things out of my mind and quickly found my “zone”.  Because my water had already broken I could feel every move the baby was making on his way down.  It was really kind of cool, but the contractions were incredibly difficult.  Knowing Evie was there I had to keep it together.  I remember saying “oww” during one contraction, and remembering that she knew that meant I was hurt I resolved to use the more useful noises that she knew as “good noises” from the birthing videos.

Her presence was very grounding.  She was quite intent on making sure I had a washcloth near my face during each contraction, so she would shove the washcloth in my face and she put it on my back and anywhere else she could get to.  Jake was telling her to stop and to leave Mommy alone, but I told him not to!  Strangely enough, she was helping.  I don’t know what it was about her attempts, perhaps just the love I could feel from her, but she was really making the labor so much better for me.  Afterwards I nick-named her my “Little Doula”. <3

After several contractions leaning on Jake, I thought that I was feeling a little pushy.  I ignored it thinking perhaps I just wanted to think it was time to push because my labor was so difficult.  I wondered if I was just being a wimp having so much difficulty so early on.  After a couple contractions came and went, and I still felt pushy, I told Jake.  He said “Ok,” trying to be reassuring while dismissing the comment.  I wasn’t offended; I was dismissing it too!

But it didn’t matter, my body was being persistent.  During the next contraction I said, much more forcefully, “I really feel like I need to push!!”  He asked if he should call the midwife; I nodded yes and he pulled his cell phone out of his pocket.  Our midwife told him not to worry, that it was normal and to just tell me to breathe through my contractions.  She said not to push and that she was on her way.  I knew she only lived fifteen minutes away, so I was determined to just make it until she arrived.

To be continued…

Evangeline’s Birth Story: Part II

Check out Part I here.

My midwife asked if I wanted her to check my dilation.  I was concerned about the tub so I said sure.  I was only five centimeters, so she suggested I labor outside of the tub again for a while.  I got out and break time was over!  I was doing all sorts of squatty, squirmy moving without thinking much.  I was simply trying to get comfortable, but I couldn’t.  Later my midwife told me that was exactly what I needed to be doing!  The body truly is amazing and knows exactly what it needs to do.  The tub was still getting warmer and had reached a perfect temperature, so I got in again.  And again… my labor pretty well stopped.  At almost five o’clock my midwife asked if I wanted another check.  I was not even six centimeters yet.  Now I was frustrated!

It had been over an hour and I was assured the last five centimeters went more quickly than the first but not even six yet?!  Argh!!  My midwife’s assistant kept reassuring me that the baby was really really low and I was almost completely effaced, which were both good signs.  But I was not to be consoled.  I was beginning to feel like this was never going to end.  So my midwife offered to break my water and see if we could speed up the process.  Yes please!  Let’s get this over with!

Unfortunately I had to get out of the tub for this, but it was worth it I felt.  I got out with the agreement that I wouldn’t get in again until I was ready to push; this way my labor would stop stopping.  But after she broke my water the contractions were immediately more intense and way too close together.  I asked to get back in the water, she told me to wait three more contractions.  I could do three more, but after three I was right back in.

The water surely didn’t slow it down this time, but the weightlessness helped me get on top of the contractions.  I felt like I could labor in any position and it was effortless to move around.  Transition came very quickly.  I felt a little panicky and was trying to find a way out of this!  But there wasn’t… I kind of wanted to run out of the house and escape, but when I realized I would have to get out of the tub to do that I scratched the idea.  Before long I felt my body starting to push on its own; I told my midwife that I was pushing and asked if it was ok; she assured me it was fine.

And then I definitely felt the I NEED TO PUSH NOW feeling.  She checked me and said that I was 9.5 but there was nothing in the way of the baby coming out.  I could feel her moving down the birth canal on her own and with the next contraction I made the effort to push.  Her head crowned!  I reached down and could feel her head.  I told Jake to get in the birth tub so he could be there for the birth; I knew she was coming quickly.  The funniest part of labor, I thought, was when Jake said “I think I feel it, but I’m not sure.”  And my midwife responded, “It’s the part that’s not usually there.” I gave him a hard time about it afterwards :)

I pushed again and her head came half way out.  Jake and I were both surprised at how quickly that happened.  I could have pushed more but I was afraid of tearing so I didn’t as much as I could have.  There wasn’t much burning though; it was a lot easier than I had expected.  And when I heard someone say that the head was half way out I figured it was only going to get better from there.  I gave another great push and felt her head come all the way out.  With a third push her body came out and I leaned back to bring her up to the surface of the water.  She was all purple and waxy and the most beautiful thing I had ever seen!  Jake and I stayed in the tub for a few minutes just admiring our little blessing.  We were so enthralled we even forgot to check the gender until someone reminded us!  We had a gorgeous baby girl.

After all the excitement had died down a bit, we transferred from the tub to the couch.  I delivered the placenta and Daddy cut the cord, as I marveled at how bright and colorful it was!  I had a lot of bleeding afterward, but nothing too major.  We talked about the name and decided she definitely looked like an Evangeline.  We named her about an hour after the birth.  She recognized her Daddy’s voice immediately and calmed down whenever he sang to her; it was so sweet!  Evie had spent a little too much energy breathing the first hour, so she was too tired to nurse.  My midwife had me give her a little powdered sugar on my finger to stimulate nursing.  It worked wonders!  So her first food was powdered sugar.   Boy are we in trouble!

We spent the rest of the evening cuddling and rejoicing.  And also enjoying milkshakes and fries… hey I earned it right?

The two of us the night she was born.

just the two of us

Evangeline’s Birth Story: Part I

Evangeline NellieMae

March 31st 2010 – 5:48pm

7lbs 7ozs – 20½ in.

I had been lying in bed for about a half hour, lazily considering whether or not I should get out of bed.  I had a couple of small contractions, but nothing too uncomfortable so I just ignored them.  At 9am I had my first “real” contraction.  It hurt and finally convinced me to get up, since lying down just made it more uncomfortable.  The last week I had two days where I had this same kind of contraction, but they subsided.  I was suspicious though, considering I hadn’t had any for four days now.  But, again, I was determined not to get my hopes up.

I went to go take a shower, but decided I didn’t feel like it.  After getting dressed and brushing my teeth I began noticing that the contractions were really starting to be uncomfortable and they were so close together I couldn’t really do much.  My sister came to be with us for the birth, so I woke her up and let her know I needed some help.  She made me breakfast, since I had been starving since I got out of bed.  But by the time she came back with the toast, food just did not sound like a fun idea; I wasn’t hungry, and I was too busy concentrating on contractions.  I managed to get down a couple of bites, but that was all.

She encouraged me to call my midwife; I was reluctant, not actually thinking I was in real labor.  It kind of felt like it, but my contractions were all over the place and not at all evenly spaced.  Weren’t they supposed to be nicely laid out for me like all the books said?  This was my first birth… I obviously had a lot to learn!  After talking with my midwife, she didn’t seem too concerned about heading over.  I called my dear hubby, Jake, who was at school.  Not at all planning to have him come home, just giving him an update.  But he could tell by my voice that I needed him so he came right away.  I thought that was fine even though I was sure this was not “real” labor yet.

After getting off the phone with Jake the contractions picked up a little.  They were lasting a long time and were not giving me more than a minute in between for breaks.  I think I probably just rolled around on the bed for about ten minutes, not really knowing what to do with the contractions.  They weren’t supposed to be this hard yet!  Jake got to the house relatively quickly, which was good; I was getting really frustrated at this point.  If this was early labor then what on Earth would active labor be like?  I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to handle it.

After a while Jake and Aubrey convinced me to call the midwife and make sure she was on her way over, so I did.  We also called my doula and a good friend who were planning on being at the birth, so they could make arrangements for the day.  At this point I was really hoping this was labor if we were going to call in all the troops!  I wanted to take a shower, partially because I needed one and also because I thought it might help all the back labor I was having.  Jake got in with me since I didn’t feel like I could stand for that long on my own.  The hot water on my back felt wonderful during contractions.  I stayed in there until the back labor seemed to have gone away and I was feeling the contractions mostly in front.  Then the shower didn’t help and I felt like I was just wasting my energy by standing, so we got out.

It felt nice and cool, since this was the first really warm day of the year.  By this time my friend had arrived and began showing me all of the things she brought to help with the labor.  I was concentrating too much on my contractions to want to pay attention.  The back labor had come back a bit so I had her and Jake tag team a back massage.  That helped a lot.  My sister and friend’s hubby were downstairs working on setting up the birthing tub.  I wouldn’t let my back massagers leave their post for that!

I informed Jake to call my doula, because I needed her.  Even though a little earlier I thought I would be fine without her for a bit.  At around elevenish my midwife arrived and her assistant was there probably about twelve.  I was still upbeat and chatty in between contractions, and I was “in the zone” during contractions.  My first routine was on the bed leaning in to Jake during the contraction, then I would stand up and walk around to get my circulation going again.  I wouldn’t let Jake talk or be distracted during my contractions; it frustrated me for some reason.  I felt like he needed to concentrate as much as I was, otherwise it distracted me.  It sounds silly now but seemed so important at the time!

active-laborAfter a while I couldn’t take any more pressure on my bottom by sitting down; the baby was really low at this point.  I tried standing for a few contractions, but it was taking too much energy, and I was feeling weak so I had Jake sit in a chair and I sat backwards in his lap in a semi-squatting position so I didn’t have to hold myself up but there was no pressure.  Also, I could feel my hips open up, which was a little more painful, but I could feel the contractions working better too.  My friend had brought some aroma-therapy sprays she made herself.  She gave me a damp washcloth with the spray on it and, I took a deep breath of it at the beginning of each contraction.  I didn’t know what it was at the time, but I knew it took a huge bulk of the pain away and I liked that!

The contractions started intensifying, but the birthing tub was finally warmed up enough for me to use it.  They were skeptical that it would be ready in time, as our water heater wasn’t very cooperative but my sister and friend’s hubby worked overtime on it!  My midwife was surprised they pulled it off, saying she had never seen a turnaround like that before.  After friend’s hubby left I walked carefully downstairs and got in the tub.  Jake got in with me, as I still wanted his help during contractions.  The water was very relaxing, too relaxing in fact.  I still had contractions but they weren’t as powerful and I had a lot of recovery time in between.  I could also feel them moving back up instead of progressing down as they had been.

To be continued…

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