Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Eden's Birth Story

The long story is very long and not for the faint of heart. Read whichever you desire, at your own risk.
The short story:
My water broke around 11:45pm on September 3rd along with mild contractions. Contractions increased and around 3:30am they had become very intense and close together and I needed Adam massaging my lower back and working with me the rest of the time. I took a bath and that helped relieve some pain, but I didn’t stay in for too long. Toni got here at 5:45 and I was at 8cm! We were shocked and so happy! Adam and Jessica quickly filled the birth-pool, just in time. I began pushing around 6:35, in the pool. That sensation was quite intense and I didn’t know what to do with it. I only pushed for 24 minutes, though! Eden was born at 7:03 am. I had quite a rough recovery because I had some stomach issues after delivery but became more stable by the evening. 

The long, detailed story:

      I was 40 weeks and 3 days when labor started, so she is technically 4 days late. I had not had any signs of labor. I had had Braxton Hicks since the end of the 2nd trimester, so I was very used to that. Nothing painful, just uncomfortable, and mainly just when I was active. I had prepared myself to be late so the impatience did not start setting in until 40 weeks, so I wasn't too bad yet! But I had been trying different ideas to induce for a few days.

      On September 3rd, at 11:45 pm, I had just lain down in bed and was doing nipple stimulation when I felt a little "gush." I went to the bathroom and it looked like it was just the primrose oil that I’ve been putting in nightly. But then I stood up and a little more gushed out. This time it was pink.
     I called Toni, my midwife, and told her what happened. She said it could be my water or it could be my cervix ripening and a little bloody show. She said that if it keeps gushing as I move around, then it is probably my water. She said the most important thing right now is for me to try and sleep.  She also said to take the antibiotic I had (because at one point in pregnancy I had tested positive for Strep B and the protocol is to take antibiotics if your labor begins with water breaking). I REALLY did not want to take an antibiotic so I didn’t do it right away. I wanted to be positive it was my water and just feel more peace about it.
      Since the time I had been doing the nipple stimulation, I had mild contractions. Those continued and were spread out. Adam went to sleep and I tried to as well but it always takes me a long time to go to sleep, even when I’m not having contractions and my water hadn’t just broken. The water continued to gush out a little at a time, so I became convinced this was really happening. The contractions continued to get closer together and more intense over the next few hours. 
These photos are in no particular order and they do not go along chronologically with the story. We only got photos and videos of second stage labor/the pushing stage, because it happened so fast!
Around 2:30am I walked around the house to find something to do, since I was not able to sleep. Walking made the contractions worse and I ended up laying on the ground for a couple of contractions. I went straight back to bed after that and around 3:00 they had become pretty intense. I had to really focus on relaxing and breathing.

My deep breaths woke Adam up around 3:30. The moment he woke up, he instantaneously went into “Coach-mode.” He popped up and started stroking my body, telling me to relax here and there. He started giving me visual relaxation guides and lots of encouraging words. That was good for a few contractions, but then I told him I needed him massaging my lower back as that was were the most pain was. The contractions always wrapped around my lower back. He was trying to time the contractions on a website we googled (we don’t have smart phones), while using tennis balls to massage my back. I’m sure that would have been entertaining to watch. We really didn’t need to time them for long to realize that they were 4-5 minutes apart, and by 4:00ish, it was really hard to tell when the contractions stopped. The pain seemed to be lasting 2.5 minutes sometimes. At some point, I decided I didn’t really want Adam talking. The massaging was all I needed and was very helpful. If he talked, I just moaned louder to drown him out (or drown Toni out, or anyone else I could hear). =) I tried the whole “not making noise thing,” but I’m a vocal person and moaning, or making some low-pitch noise was helpful to me.

I texted Toni about what was happening. She asked if I wanted her to come. I didn’t know what to say at first, but by the next contraction, I said, “yes come.” Since this was my first, I think both her and I were prepared for a very long labor. I knew it was possible that I could be having intense contractions, but not be dilated very far. Or I could stall at some point. Or what if Toni got here and everything stopped?

Anyways, I wasn’t getting any relief at all so I decided to take a bath, hoping this would help ease the pain, but not stop labor. It was perfect. It did exactly that. The contractions slowed down a bit and were slightly more bearable in the bath. But it didn’t stop labor. I probably only stayed in there around 20 minutes (?) because I didn’t want to slow it down too much. Adam called our parents at this point. If we would have known how quick it was going to be, we would have called sooner, but given that it was the middle of the night and we really thought it would be a while, we didn’t want to get everyone excited and rush over for a long labor. I decided to take the antibiotic at 4:00 as I was positive labor was in full swing and I didn’t really care about things like I did a few hours before. We were in a different world now. =)

After the bath, I continued to labor in bed. Adam had been blowing up the birth pool and getting things ready. Toni showed up around 5:45. She checked me and said I was 8 cm! I was shocked. That was the best news I’d heard….ever! Adam was shocked as well. It also made him a bit nervous because the pool was not ready for me to deliver in. He put it in high-gear and began to try and fill up the pool, while I labored in bed. In a minute, I heard some loud shouts and exclamations coming from Adam, along with the sound of water spraying. Adam was trying to hook the hose up to the hot water-heater to fill up the pool and the cap popped off and shot water all over the laundry room! This lasted several minutes. 

All I could do was continue to have contractions and labor in bed, hoping Adam could figure it out. I honestly didn’t care if our house flooded at that moment. There was only one thing I could think about in that moment, and that was making it through the next contraction. There really were no moments of relief at this point, but there were some moments that were more bearable than others.

I texted Jessica, Adam’s sister, who lives upstairs and told her that she should come down because I was in labor and she should help Adam. The plan was to have her around for most of the labor taking a few videos and pictures sporadically through out labor, but that didn’t work out. They immediately got the pool filling up with the hose, buckets of cold water, and ice cubes to cool down the hot water. They were running around and working very hard as it was taking longer than anticipated and it seemed that I was getting very close to pushing. 

Andrea, who is Toni’s assistant (and a midwife), showed up at 6:00am. Heather, a friend of mine who is in nursing school (with plans of becoming a nurse-midwife AND has assisted in many births at a birth center in Haiti), also showed up at 6:00. I had a rock-star team! Everyone was busy getting things ready when I began saying things like, “I feel like I have to poop.” Adam got real nervous upon hearing that because he was not finished with the pool and he had learned in Bradley class that those words typically mean, “I need to push.” At some point right before I started feeling the pushing feeling, I threw up. Transition?? 

I cannot describe the sensation I was beginning to feel. I thought my bottom was going to explode. Bradley class says that the pushing stage feels like a huge bowel movement. They are not lying. It felt like I was having a bowel movement of a bowling ball. Even though I was prepared for that, it scared me! How was I going to get a bowling ball out of me??? I was prepared for a baby, not this! How do I get a baby out when my butt is about to explode?? I have had absolutely terrible menstrual cramps my whole life and I do believe they prepared me for labor contractions. Contractions were much worse, of course, but they were in the same ballpark. The pushing sensation was a completely different game. I did not know what to do with this feeling. I was saying things like, “What do I do??”
“You’re going to push the baby out.”
“How?? How do I push it out?? I don’t know how!”
      Toni encouraged me to just push when my body tells me to, which was just the reminder I needed…Or maybe I didn’t need it, because a moment later, I was answering my own question. There was no question about ‘how’ to push the baby out—my body just did it. My body just started pushing. I think I did it once or twice in the bed. Then they moved me to the birth stool next to the bed for one contraction. Toni said the stool would be easier for her, but if I wanted to be the pool, I could be. She probably could have helped more with stretching me from the stool as well. But the pool sounded glorious, so we moved there. And indeed, it was. I was able to float my bottom up off the bottom of the pool, which helped with the extreme pressure situation. Every time a contraction came, I would scream out the classic “lady having a baby” scream, involuntarily. It just came out as I felt my entire head and body exploding. The team reminded me each time to bring the noise down to my uterus, to the baby. Use that energy to push the baby down, instead of  pushing the screaming up and out. This was helpful, but I needed a reminder after the initial push of each contraction, because it was like the scream just flew out of me each time! Between contractions, I felt like I was having such a hard time getting oxygen. They had to remind me to take long, deep breaths, which was helpful. At one point they gave me an oxygen mask, which was nice for a few contractions. I pushed for about 24 minutes before the baby was born! 

When she came out, the cord was wrapped all around her so they laid her on my belly and were trying to get her to cry and warmed-up. She was fine, but three minutes went by before we were able to lift her up and see her gender! We were both shocked, because we had been expecting a boy more than a girl for some reason. The moment I realized we had sweet Eden Faye, at 7:03 am, was a moment I can never, ever forget. 

I got back in bed to deliver the placenta. I was ready for the pain to be over, but it didn’t stop. More contractions. More pushing. And lots of soreness. Then I threw up. Then I was extremely dizzy and weak and out-of-it and everyone was worried. At one point, Toni said, “If we can’t get you stable soon, we’re going to the hospital.” Go to the hospital AFTER I delivered the baby? No way! So I did everything I could to at least seem like I was okay. =) I had not lost an extreme amount of blood and there were no other obvious issues, so no one was quite sure what was going on. My vitals were normal. I was on the verge of passing out after any movement, I felt nauseous, and I felt weak in every way. After several hours went by of all of this, we started to realize that something else was gong on other than labor issues. It seemed that I was having a stomach issue. Maybe I ate something bad the night before? Maybe taking the antibiotic on an empty stomach did it to me? Maybe I caught some bug?? But this was definitely not normal post-delivery, and it seemed unrelated. 

I became more stable by that evening and was able to go to the bathroom earlier as well. After that, I just had to fight off a cold that had begun right before labor started, and recover from the normal delivery process! Well, I did do something to my tailbone during labor, but we do not know what. Perhaps the baby's head broke it or bruised it? I could not walk normal for a couple of weeks. The first week postpartum, I experienced awful pressure on my tailbone. It eventually went away, but it was a pretty awful addition to normal recovery. 

Words cannot describe how grateful I am for my birth team. I don’t know what we would have done if any one of them hadn’t have been there. Adam was perfect in every way and filled the exact role I knew he would. I am so thankful we took the Bradley classes, as I believe they truly prepared both he and I. Without Jessica helping Adam fill the pool, I don’t think I would have been able to deliver in there. And without her amazing double-handed video and camera skills, we would not have had this most amazing moment in our lives documented. She was all-hands-on-deck and ready to do anything that needed to be done. Andrea was a rock, helping Toni with everything and taking over when Toni needed to step away. Heather was another rock, who never left my side, was always doing something useful or getting in my face reminding me of the truths I needed to hear. She stayed all day long, till I was stable. She got Eden to breastfeed both times when I was so out-of-it. And then she came back twice to help me figure that whole thing out. Inviting her to come was more of a “last minute” idea, but I am beyond glad that I thought of that! And Toni was incredible. This woman just makes things happens, knows exactly what to say and when to say it, and knows exactly what to do and when to do it. Anytime she told me something, I would focus in on her face and use all my concentration to take-in what she was saying because I knew she the one who was going to get me through this. And she did!

In those last few weeks I was slightly nervous about having to transport to the hospital and not have our planned home-birth, but I just kept trusting my good God with the whole experience. It paid off and not only did I get a home-birth, but a very quick one! Thank you to the Giver of all good things!

We hope to have a video edited and ready for viewing soon. Also not for the faint of heart. =)