Wednesday, April 1, 2009
If you are not interested in reading about a birth and all the accompanying details…don't read this. If you enjoy birthing stories and have been waiting for all the details, read on! I am sharing only what I feel comfortable sharing on my blog. Which is actually a lot. But having said that, there are STILL things I cut out of the story. Also, I have NO idea why the font keeps changing in this post...I've tried everything I could think of but can't fix it. You'll just have to deal with it.
And on with the show!
Monday night we went to bed at midnight. I woke up at 2am and realized I was having contractions. I decided to see if I could sleep through them. About 2:30am I called the midwives to let them know that the contractions were 5 minutes apart and that I couldn't really sleep through them. I loved Layla's response. "Well, do you want to come in? We'll be there whenever you need us to be, but it's up to you. Do you feel like you need to be here?" And I didn't feel like I needed to be there! I knew it was likely that things were beginning, but I didn't want to go in until I was a four or more. I figured I had time (and I did).
Because it wasn't easy to sleep through the contractions and I didn't want to sleep in between them only to be jolted awake by the pressure, and because I was feeling excited at the prospect of having this baby, I decided to putter around the house. I let Eric sleep because I didn't need him yet. I made granola. I played Tetris. :D And I washed all my dishes! It felt good to be productive and it felt good to be doing something. At 3am I lost my mucus plug -- I was so excited because I knew it was even more likely that I'd be having a baby that day.
After puttering around and going to the bathroom a lot, I was on my way to the bathroom when Eric said, "You should try to get some rest." He was so sweet. He knew things were cool and that I would wake him when I needed him, but every time I'd go into our room he'd say, "How's it going?" or "You okay?". He was asleep, but also on edge and aware, knowing we were probably about to have a baby. So I realized he was right and figured I'd try sleeping around the contractions. I slept like that for two hours, from 6am to 8am. Then at 8am I got up and we started our regular morning routines. I wanted to wait a bit to see how the contractions were doing so that we could see about babysitters and letting people know Eric wouldn't be at school. I think I called the midwives again around 8:45. Layla was really cute. "I was wondering what happened to you!" She again said we could come whenever and now that we were into the daytime hours, to just call first so they knew we were on our way.
Oh, and I should have prefaced this with a note...by this time we also had no transportation. :D The transmission on our van died Sunday afternoon on the way home from church. We made it up to the gate of our complex and were about to go through it when the van started to roll backward. Yikes! But after shifting in/out of gear a couple of times, we were able to make it up the slope and through the gate. It went out a couple more times on the way to our parking spot, but we made it. Monday morning we called for a tow to the transmission shop. And thanks to Tyler & Valerie, who live near us and are also in the opera with Eric, Eric was able to get to school and rehearsal.
But, that meant here we were Tuesday morning (my due date!) without transportation. But we were blessed. On Monday I had called our Relief Society President to see if she knew anyone that might have an extra car we could borrow for a few days. She did. And they live right here in our complex. And they were more than willing. I had told them we'd swing by sometime on Monday to get it, but the day slipped by too quickly.
So now we're back on track with the story. I called Janet to see when we could pick up the car and said we were probably going to have the baby that day. She was so excited for us. :) We walked over to her place and picked up the car. Then on the way back, I stopped at another friend's (also in our ward) to see if she could watch the girls. That took care of a sitter from 9-11am. I then called my other friend (also in our ward...our complex is like the Wymount of Tallahassee, or close) and she agreed to watch them from 11am till whenever.
On the way to the birthing center the contractions slowed considerably. That made both Eric and me laugh. So typical. It's happened that way with the last three labors. We got there around 9:45 and went to the back to pick our room and get settled. Layla was already there for regular appointments but Diana was on call for deliveries and on her way in. Diana arrived around 10am and checked me. I was a 4/5, so she said 4 1/2. That was exciting to me and what I was expecting. After about 6 hours of early labor where I could do other things while laboring, I was a 4 1/2 with both Heidi & Esther. I had hoped I would be more, but knew I would be disappointed if I was less. So that worked. We talked about using the tub for labor and birth and Diana suggested we take a walk around the lake (right next door), go get a smoothie, and/or walk around the mall (down the street). She also suggested we save the tub for when I got to about a 7 and was ready to hunker down.
Sidenote: Here we are in Tallahassee, where it feels more "southern" than most Florida cities and we ended up with an LDS birth team! Diana is in our stake and in the same ward as Stanford, Eric's voice teacher and bishop of that ward. Mariah, our birth assistant and midwife student who's almost done, lives in Thomasville Georgia but commutes 45 minutes to us. She has six kids and is pregnant with her seventh. They were awesome.
We walked around the lake once, went back to the birthing center to pee (again!) and get the car to go for smoothies. We got smoothies from the mall and then went back to the birthing center. Diana checked me again and I was a 5/6. That was cool! Eric and I had both wondered how much the walking would do. When Heidi was 6 days late, we had tried walking but it hadn't seemed to help. Of course, we didn't try walking when I was actually IN labor with her, just when we were trying to hurry her along. It was very cool to be walking around and going places while in labor.
We left with our half-gone smoothies for few more walks around the lake but didn't make it very far. I had to pee. And I couldn't walk during the contractions because I had to pee! So we headed back...
And within minutes of walking back in I had three contractions that definitely required my attention. Squatting helped. We decided it was time for the tub. I don't think Diana checked me again at this point, but I can't remember. It was enough to know that the contractions were requiring more attention. She did say that sometimes the exam at that 5/6 point helps move things along.
I got in the tub around noon.
I threw up my strawberry smoothie. In two bowls.
My water broke in the tub. It seemed to me that it made a popping noise but all anyone else noticed was a swirl in the water. (I think it's similar to how we "hear" a crack when we break a bone.)
Every 10-15 minutes they checked Becca's heartrate and at this point she dropped from her usual 130-140 of the day to a 110. Diana very calmly explained that she wanted me to get out of the tub and deliver the baby on the bed so that if we needed oxygen we would already be there. I wasn't really worried, but I appreciated her calmness. I was more worried about getting out of the tub really. I just didn't want to. I knew the water being around my belly was helping me cope with the tremendous pressure from the contractions.
But everyone helped me out of the tub and Eric steered me to the bed. At that point Mariah (the birthing attendant) started applying warm compresses. Warm compresses are awesome! They felt really good and they also gave me a focal point to push toward. I don't know how many contractions or how many pushes it took.
Diana said she knew as soon as she saw the shoulder that it was NOT a small baby. :)
I was amazed at the umbilical cord this time! I hadn't really had much opportunity to notice it with other births. But it was so thick! And just really cool. And Becca was of course, beautiful. She didn't look big to me though. She just looked like my newborn. And just right. I held her in my arms and the midwives covered us with blankets as we sat on the bed. And I nursed her. And she nursed like a champ. Right off the bat. In fact, she got mad every time I tried to take her off. I think she may have nursed for the first 20 minutes. And then she pooped all over me. :) Then Eric cut the cord and got to hold her. And she peed all over him. :)
After that Diana weighed her and said she was 8 lbs 15 oz, but that at birth she had probably been 9 lbs!! (Before all the pooping!) So she said she was cool with 9 lbs. And Eric thought that was awesome. (Not that I didn't. I really didn't notice a difference delivering a 9 lb baby versus a 6 lb 10 or 7 lb 10 or 7 lb 13 baby.)
I am so happy with how my labor went. It was very similar to my others as far as total time. Less actually. But I am SO grateful I could deliver in a place where intervention was not the first course of action! I keep hearing friends talk about their recent births and am amazed at how commonplace it has become to have an IV right off the bat and to add pitocin when things aren't moving along fast enough. I love how there was no rush. I know that I felt some urgency myself, but that was just because I wanted to have my baby already! I know there are times where it is necessary to have intervention. I've been on that side of things. I'm grateful for modern-day medicine and all that it gives us. But I am also grateful that I did not need to make use of it this time around.