09 June, 2013

It's a Girl! (Novel Length Birth Story)

June 5th we were blessed w/ another little girl, so 2 June 5th girls for us. Charlotte turned 5 but aside from a quick visit w/ her so I could give her her cherry berries, I didn't see her too much. We figured she was our 5 year anniversary baby & Leora is our 10 year anniversary baby. But to commence!

Leora was due May 27th, which was also Charlotte's due date so I "knew" (somehow) she wouldn't come until June 5th. Around 37 weeks I got weary of being pregnant. Not really weary of the pregnancy although sleep only showed up for about 3-4 hours a night, just all of the questions & comments. I started staying at home more than I already do & was amazed at how much I got done on so little sleep. I was able to nap w/ Miranda nearly every day.

So when contractions woke me up around 4:30 on June 4th I was surprised & not too sorry to be off by a day. I tried to lay there & fall back asleep but like clockwork every 10 min a contraction would kick in; not terribly hard & only 30 sec. long but definitely strong enough to require concentrated relaxation. I started thinking of all of the things that needed to be done & 5 :30 I jumped out of bed all excited for today to be the day.

I combed out my usual 4 section french braid & did an intensive athletic-anticipatory 10 section french braid to be ready & jumped in the shower. After that I felt so relaxed I tried to lay back down again but no dice. It was about 6:30 so I went in to Victor's room where Mike had been sleeping for the last 3 or 4 weeks (if I can't sleep he wasn't sleeping either) & curled up next to him to tell him it was baby day. He was happy, we've both been in limbo just waiting around the house.

We went out & milked & did the morning chores a little earlier than usual so I could start the sourdough pancakes I had prepped the nigh before. Once I start them there's like an hour's cooking time. He called his mom at 7:30 to come pick up the children & she swooped in & snatched them away all excited. I still felt it was early for that. Contractions were still 30 sec. long & 10 min. apart. Mike's brother was up visiting from Az. so they were thrilled to be at Grandma's house w/ him.

Mike helped me change the top sheet of the bed from the white fitted sheet to the ripped up purple flannel one & smooth out the shower curtain liner under neath. He wheeled out the bassinet & did a supply layout & then went to call the doula while I was fiddling w/ something to tell her labor had started.

I was a little surprised/ upset as it was around 10:30 now & contractions were still 10 min. apart & 30 sec. long. I just didn't feel she was necessary at this point. She came in & said I was glowing which was sweet but it was sweeter when Mike said I definitely did look different today. He doesn't buy into any of color changing aura energy fields as described in Spiritual Midwifery but I thought it was neat that there was a noticeable difference, especially as it was still such early labor 10 min. apart, 30 sec. long.

She hung out until around 12:30 when I sent her home as she has 5 children of her own to attend to & a babysitting job & although she offered many kindly intentioned recommendations to augment labour, she could see it was early too. Most of her recommendations involved squats & lunges, something I am never in the mood for & certainly not while in labor.

I promised to call her when any signs changed & told her I'd go for a walk in the afternoon. I went on a cleaning jag, cleaning under the sinks, mopping the bathroom floors, scrubbing the tubs again & poisoning the evidence of mice I discovered. I was cleaning erratically; I'd go to get a scrubby or spray in another room & start a job that needed done in there & eventually coming back to finish the other job all the while making Charlotte's annual birthday Cherry Berries on a Cloud.

 Well, around 4:30 I started seeing blood which cheered me immensely so I called the doula back & told her what was going on. I was laying down but planned on going for the walk when the sun went down behind the hill & after hearing that everything was still 30 sec. long & 10 min. apart she said she'd be by around 7:30. I did lay down & got some rest, Mike & I watched a show, me all the while bouncing on my birthing ball.

Now this whole entire day, Mike was having me write down when a contraction would come on. I tried using a contraction app but didn't like being tied to the computer. My shopping list paper was the perfect size & I think we had gone through 4 sheets front & back by the time it was all over. My doula came back over around 7:30 & she was still puzzled over the length & interval of the contractions. They could see when one came on because my face would "visibly relax". Mike took my vitals immediately after one & freaked out because my pulse was at 50. 3 min. later it was up to it's usual 67ish. He figures I have a huge heart.

She was still convinced I needed squats & lunges & I still declined. We synchronized our watches & she & I set out on the trail. Our property is pretty steep; a couple of the hills do require some lunge-like steps & I was very slow. Happily Mike didn't have me carry the shotgun as usual (critters) but gave me the whistle. I felt relieved & demoted at the same time. He set up the "Vanbulance" (I love the Chrysler Town & Country!) in case of transfer while we walked.

I had only 4 contractions on the walk, I could walk through them & I was a tired sweaty mess afterwards. They spaced out to 15 min. apart. Mike checked the baby w/ the doppler probably like the 8th time that day & she was still fine, still not dropped & handling contractions well. Being doppled on my back during a contraction was VERY un-relaxing; I had to fight to keep my mouth loose. But still 30 sec. long, 10 min. apart. We stayed up until probably midnight, me bouncing on my ball, all of us leafing through all of the midwifery & obstetrical texts I had collected. Baby was moving between contractions & I said goodnight. Mike slept on the couch so the doula could have his bed.

I dozed between contractions until 2:30 & woke up starving. I'd been eating pretty lightly all day, not wanting to throw anything up, but several handfuls of peanuts, a burger & banana weren't cutting it so I headed to the kitchen where she was still sitting up & reading. I made us eggs, toast & had a glass of milk & we talked as I timed. She looked pretty tired so I urged sleep on her & she went. I laid back down until 6 when Mike got up to do the chores. I was laying in the same relaxation pose I had used for Victors birth as recommended in the Bradley method. I got relaxed enough to drool, so that was good for the moment though not for my pillow, lol.

By this time twinges were were starting to come across my lower back & I'd begun wearing a sanitary napkin to deal w/ the issue. I don't remember if I ate though I'm sure we did. She & I went for another walk & contractions died down again. I felt bad for holding her hostage, she is probably the least expensive doula in the country & does this more of a ministry so I sent her home again & began phase II of the Cherry Berries.

I felt bad for not having the children home all day yesterday too & missed them so I sent them for them. They came w/ their uncle & grandpa to get away from my MIL who was crying & throwing up out of worry. I don't know what he expected when he saw me laboring; it was a beautiful cool overcast day w/ all of the trees swaying & really peaceful & green to look at. I think he thought his wife was nuts & I hope he allayed her fears a bit. Contractions were 10 min. apart, 30 sec. long though more intense than they had been the day before but still very manageable to relax through.

They were excited to see us & were just what I needed. Charlotte was so excited to get a sticker pad & eat Cherry Berries off of the birthday china. We sat out & visited. I really wanted some Cherry Berries but only had a bite. It was about 11:00 when contractions picked up in intensity & they were a strong 30ish sec. Victor was trying to get my attention, "Mama. Mama. Mama?" I was squatting on the floor to keep relaxing & calmly ignored him, holding up a finger to signal "Wait." He nodded very matter-of-factly, "Oh, it's just a contraction." & we would resume w/ what he needed.

They left at 12ish, & I napped in my recliner, one of those light naps where you can hear yourself snore. Mike read in his chair until I woke up & he declared he would take a nap. I went to the computer & didn't feel like watching, listening or reading anything in particular so I went back to the bed to lay down to really relax. I was thinking it might be nice to have the doula back; contractions were starting to be every 7 min. apart. She called at 2:00 & though I kind of wanted her I held off as we'd already had her over so much for so little. I told her I was thinking about getting in the tub to see if that would lessen them & I would call her back in an hour w/ an update.

I ran a pretty warm & deep bath but I was dismayed at how little my belly was covered by the water, though it was a little more soothing on my back. Someone pulled in the driveway & I thought it was my in-laws so I started hollering for Mike to wake up but he couldn't hear me. It turned out to be the UPS man tossing a package inside the door for Charlotte as it was her birthday. I was still writing down contrations & timing them. Around 55 sec. long & wrapping pretty thoroughly around my back.

I noticed by my coping positions it was old friend back labor whom I had not encountered since Victor's birth. 3:30 the phone rang & Mike wakes up after a great nap to answer it & see how I'm doing. I very nearly ask in a whimper if he'd rub my back. I guess 7 years was not a long enough span of time to forget his marathon 5 hour straight massage that I required during Victor's birth. He backpedaled & said the doula would be there around 4:00, checked my contraction time sheet & started laying more things out while I thought unkind names about him for refusing me in my measly half hour of need.

I was getting out of the tub by 4ish & said I wasn't timing anything anymore. All I could perceive was radiating back pain & I was being a wimp. I wanted to lay back down in my relaxation posture again, but it really only works if someone is rubbing your back. The doula walked in & immediately began applying counter pressure. 4 of her 6 births were back labor so I had sympathy. Time is hazy around here. From 4:30- to her birth at 5:34 there wasn't a break in contractions.

Mike was running back & forth w/ compresses for me from the crockpot & doppling baby whose heart kept steady around 122 bpm.  Why we didn't have the crockpot set up in the bedroom I don't know. I was constantly applying counter pressure & I could feel the stinging of the water bag so I figured I was close to 10. I asked the doula to check The Purple Line as I was considering breaking the water bag myself. She said I was to the top but the bag gave way at that moment. I was applying counter pressure w/ a cloth diaper, standing over a chux over a very ratty sheet to protect the carpet so there was actually no water breaking anywhere, I could just feel the pop inside & the diaper getting fuller/ warmer. Hooray for clean carpet!

This is where I got weird because my brain wasn't in my head. Mike & the doula wanted me to tell them what I wanted & I had no idea. I gave a couple of standing pushes & didn't like it. They stacked a tower of pillows behind me so I could sit on the edge of the bed & push but I didn't like that either. I had them restack them against the headboard so I could sit better supported & got down to business. I was very much aware that we lacked resources to repair a tear so I breathed her out as best I could & promptly began to maw like a goat. I tried to keep to a lower pitched, but it wasn't happening. I knew how ridiculous I sounded but there was no help for it & I couldn't laugh about it like I wanted to.

 I'm pretty sure I pushed Victor out silently. Charlotte was tickling me the whole way out so I literally laughed her out. I remember giving a very low roar w/ Miranda but it didn't help that we had watched Abigail give birth weeks ago so I knew exactly how I sounded w/ Leora. Out she came what seemed the slowest baby yet but Mike said she shot out like a torpedo. It felt a lot slower, I pushed the other 3 out in 15 min., she took 40 & was the fattest purplest baby I had ever seen. At least to come out of me; I was enchanted w/ her. Mike was decidedly less so.

There was a spot of pink over her heart & she was struggling to breathe; she was so full of mucous, Mike suctioned & massaged her & did all of the APGAR stuff for a good 10 min. before handing her over to me. She really wanted to nurse before breathing which I wasn't cool w/ but she was rooting so I let her try & it did seem to thin out her mucous a bit. I was glad because it has always taken me an hour to push out the placenta & I hadn't felt my uterus contract once since she came out. Her head never did pink up until the next day, she was very bruised from her ears up.

Well her nursing didn't help, nor did fundal massage. I was trying squats & gravity over a bowel to get  the placenta out. I would lift up my belly & the cord would go back in so we figured the placenta was still attached. No one wanted to pull it out & risk uterine prolapse & though I couldn't feel anything going on I could visualize my cervix closing around the placenta, making removal more difficult. That didn't happen, we were just thinking worst case. At the end of 2 hours we were alarmed. My vitals were good & aside from having a rubbery tail I felt fine; bleeding was minimal. The doula had made me a pint of smoothie w/ a can of coconut milk I drank down.

We figured it would only get worse if we waited so we got into the "vanbulance" & headed to the emergency room. My MIL was waiting for us looking so tragic I made sure to give her a big grin & a wave. After all, here was a beautiful new baby! The staff had gotten the wrong message & came bursting out to deliver a baby in the van, they were very confused seeing her there strapped in her seat. I made a point to thank them for their promptness, I know they take their jobs seriously & it was a good show. After hearing it was just a retained placenta & the time lapse (we're about 20 min. away from the closest hospital & what w/ dressing, phone calls, loading & locking up it was going on 3 hours) they wheeled me up to the maternity ward.

They were able to honor my request for a female provider though there are only 2 on staff. She came in to examine me in her gym clothes (of course she gowned up) said she was done w/ her workout & she would just examine me before wheeling me down to surgery to see if it was necessary at all. She tried fundal massage, broke out the long glove, had me in the stirrups & started yanking, twisting & pulling. I think.

I'm actually not sure what she did as I was trying to backpedal away, but you can't do that in stirrups. It was torturous & brutal & I yelled like all get out but it was mercifully short, not more than 3 minutes. I thanked her willingness to come & try. I figured whatever she did was better than having my cervix mechanically opened & uterus scraped. The placenta was just stuck there in the birth canal. She & Mike examined the placenta together & she pointed out some things. Good cord insertion, though a thin cord, 2 calcified spots, no missing pieces. I never tore & my uterus was just tired. It didn't start contracting again until Thurs. afternoon.

The nurse was also very nice. She made sure we knew she thought we were crazy for having a home birth & said there was no way we would have been permitted a natural birth in the hospital. I would have been induced the week before, she listed the usual cascade of interventions & predicted a cesarean. She was glad we had handled it the way we did & had the equipment on hand that we did & thought it was neat; it's just never done around here that she knows of so she thought we were crazy. Well, we know we're not the only ones around here to do it, & told her so, they just usually don't come in to be seen. Thankfully there's not usually a reason.

She wasn't sure how to bill us & said she'd talk to her supervisor. They went through all of the delivery supplies but didn't actually deliver a baby. She loaded us up w/ all of the free diapers, unused things like a new pack of chux, 6 hospital panties, formula & whatever else she had laying around. They were confused seeing my name in the system but not having any records. I heard some unprofessional remarks when they learned I tried to drop them off at 36 weeks. I think there might be a meeting on that for them, lol.

So finances being what they were & our convictions on public assistance being what they are we opted for an unassisted childbirth & gained a lot of knowledge & grew closer together as a couple. Mike was/is wonderful & is getting lots of credit, he starts at the fire dept. on Mon. All in all we are happiest & most thankful to God for a healthy baby. Victor is having the hardest time; he cried for quite awhile when he learned she wasn't a brother. I prayed for a baby & God answered my prayers, surrounded me w/ people to give me the healthiest pregnancy & enabled me to get through the hardest birth yet. I don't think that's bad; everything from God is good, especially the hard things, we're just thankful how He chose to orchestrate everything.


Home Instead said...

Congratulations!!!!!! So glad to hear of Leora's safe delivery. Im glad you are well, recovering I'm sure. Very exciting birth story. God bless and enjoy your new sweet baby.

Joanne said...

:) God bless you! I pray you are doing well. Love, j

Joanna said...

So glad to read about your sweet baby and the home birth - though long :) I love to read birth stories :) Our new baby is due in December.