Friday, August 5, 2011

Our Newest Little Man - Born August 4, 2011 at 39 Weeks and 3 Days

Our baby was not officially due until August 8. I was not too worried about an early delivery, since all my previous babies had been born on, or after, their guess date. Hannah being our exception, since she was induced early for no reason (my own ignorance).

Brent and I went to bed at about 11:30 pm on Wednesday night. At midnight, contractions started in. I had been having them off and on for a few weeks. Usually lasting a good 12 hours. This time, however, they were down low, in my cervix, instead of up high on the top. There was a definite difference in these contractions. There was a pressure, a pushing down. I was awake more than asleep. Going between using the bathroom, and listening to my Hypnobirthing soundtrack in my restless sleep. At about 7 am I got up and decided to take a shower. It was such a wonderful feeling. The warm water took so much of the pain away. There were still a few contractions that I had to squat through during my shower and just after as I got dressed. Then, after I got dressed, they stopped completely.

Yep. That's how things had been going for several weeks. I had just gone through another 7 hours of hard contractions, and then nothing. I was a little disappointed, but I wasn't quite ready. I looked at it as 7 hours of labour that I had gone through and was 7 hours closer to having baby. We still had some things to do in the house before I wanted baby to come. We also had some plans to visit Brent's friend a little over an hour north of us. We were going to look at some land he had for sale, and visit with him and his wife for a while.

At 10 am I had only had around 3 very mild contractions, so I told Brent that we should go and visit his friend. I could tell he was a little weary of going so far away from home, but I grabbed up my birth kit, baby clothes and extra cash. I said all else, we'll get a hotel and have the baby there. Seeing that I wasn't too concerned, and feeling pretty good, he agreed to go. It was a trip we were both wanting to take, and I think overall it was a good distraction for me.

We traveled up north to his friend's house. I had a few contractions, but nothing that really concerned me. As we were at their house, we were talking at their kitchen table, and I started getting some stronger contractions. The ones that I had to close my eyes and focus on relaxing and breathing through. They were still only about 20 minutes apart. We went out around noon, and looked at the land... Well, Brent and Jeff looked at the land. I stayed in the van and fell asleep while they tromped through the woods. I wasn't really up to ticks, poison ivy, and walking through the woods with contractions. A little later they came back and we went back to their house for lunch.

At 1 pm we ate lunch. I just opted for salad and some chicken broth. I was beginning to realize that labour was kicking in, and I was pretty sure that I was going to be having the baby that day. Knowing what I know, only 2 of my births had not included getting sick. I only wanted to eat soft, easy to throw up foods. I began to time them, and they were 10-15 minutes apart. I knew that from past experiences (except Moses's whirlwind birth) that usually gave me plenty of time, I laid down and dozed on the love seat as Brent sat on the couch and talked with Jeff about Church history. They asked several times if I was doing alright, and I said yes. A little after 4 pm, I was not feeling good anymore. Brent and I decided to go ahead and head back home around 5:30 pm. By that time, I was at about 5-7 minutes between contractions. However, as we walked out their door, they got so much worse. I had to stop in their driveway, half squat, breathe and I started crying. They had instantly gone from 5-7 minutes to 2-3 minutes apart just by walking to the van! I felt bad for Brent, because he was driving and I could just see him wondering if we were going to make it.

He was awesome. He did speed a little, but not bad (I kept teasing him about getting pulled over). He kept telling jokes and kept the mood light in the van. I'm not really sure if it was for him or me that he was doing this for. I really helped me, though. He was also starving, as we hadn't eating much that whole day, and I was feeling sick. He said a few times (jokingly) how he was going to starve, and I didn't want to stop and eat.

It was a hard trip for me, though. I felt such pressure. Most of the contractions were so hard, and I did my best to relax, and picture my cervix opening wider through each contraction. I read how this worked in a book by Ina May Gaskin. How they actually felt a mother's cervix open when she visualized it opening during a contraction. At one point, I told Brent that I changed my mind. That I loved being pregnant. That I wanted to stay pregnant forever. He laughed and said it's too late now.

When we got onto the back road leading to the house, we ended up getting stuck behind someone going 40. It was 55 on that road. There was nothing but hills, and we couldn't pass. I had to start laughing. I told Brent it was like the movies where they start yelling, "My Wife Is In Labour!". We both laughed at that.

He asked me where we wanted to go, my mom's or his Grandma's house. I really wanted to get in the tub. I knew that his Grandmother's tub was almost never used, and was very clean. At my mom's, the kids all use the tub, and I did't want to clean it to get in and labour in. I wanted it to be super clean and sterile enough for me if I happened to have the baby. We got to his Grandmother's house, and we realized that we didn't have our sterile gloves. They were at my parent's house. Brent grabbed Hannah (and I thought Sadie) our two oldest who were staying at his Grandmother's to help her out, checked on me to ask if I was okay and if there was time to go. I was sitting on the toilet trying to get through contractions. I said I thought so. He went out the door. Then 30 seconds later, Sadie pops in and asks if I'm okay. That Brent wanted her to check on me. I said yes, that I was running a bath. She went on out, and I though she left with her dad.

I moved myself slowly from the toilet to the tub. A laborious effort, considering they were only like 2 feet away from each other. I got in the tub, and it was so nice and warm. I had one really hard contraction that just about knocked me over. I got on my knees, sitting on my feet, and leaning forward on my hands. My contractions were almost nonexistent feeling because of the water. I was amazed at how much it eased the pain. Why hadn't I ever done this before?!

I reached inside of myself to see where baby was, or if I could even feel baby. I got 1/2 a finger inside of me and immediately felt something round.

"Is that the baby's head?", I immediately thought? I touched it again, and it just disintegrated at my touch. Water flowed out of me, and a tiny bit of bloody show. My bag of waters! I felt it, and then felt it release into the tub. I looked at the not quite as clean bath water, and immediately knew that baby had not passed meconium. That was good.

I was completely calm. I was both doctor and patient. I felt inside of myself again, and a full finger length up was the baby's head. I had never felt this before. I had always just let someone else take control of my births. Even with our last, our first unassisted birth, I let Brent take over and I just told him what to do. I had not wanted to move, to reach, and feel what was going on. I knew what should happen. What to look for. I could "see" it all, with my mind's eye. I felt baby's head again, and knew it felt funny. I couldn't tell what it was that I was feeling. It was a lump, a cord like feeling. I immediately wondered if that was the umbilical cord. I knew that I had to know quickly. I felt again, and kind of pinched to feel it better. It wasn't a pinch to break, but to get a better feel. That is when I could tell it wasn't the cord, but a bunch of the sack on his head from when it broke. I was calmed and knew that it was almost over. Baby was in the birth canal. All that was left was to push my little baby out. That sounds easy enough, but having done this before, I knew what it consisted of.

I waited for another contraction, but they had slowed down since getting into the water. Still on my hands and knees, I leaned back, sitting on my feet. Then got back onto my knees and leaned forward, half way stretched out. Then righted myself back to the hands and knees position. That got the contraction started. I felt inside of me and pushed hard. I felt the baby move down to the opening. I stopped and waited, again, for another contraction. After nothing happening, I again leaned back and forward to produce another contraction. I gave a hard push, and baby made it maybe 1/3 of the way out before I stopped and relaxed, feeling baby move back up inside of me. At this time, I was mentally moving back from doctor to patient. I for a second or two thought how hard this was and how it hurt. How I didn't want to go on.

I then changed back to doctor mode. I thought of when my two boys (4 and 3 years old) cry when they have a hard poop. How I tell them they just have to push it out. The longer they wait, the longer it's going to hurt, and that it HAS to come out sooner or later. I mustered up all my mental energy. When I had my next contraction, I pushed. I pushed hard, but slowly, and with complete control. I felt my baby's head stretch the skin. I held the head, and massaged the skin to help prevent tearing (not the easiest thing to do on yourself). I wanted to stop, but knew I couldn't. I kept pushing. I wanted to cry out (but was completely silent for this entire experience). It hurt. It stretched. It burned. Then, when I though for sure I couldn't do it any more, the head was out. Oh, my! What absolute relief!

Then, baby began to wiggle. Never had I experienced this! Still underwater, baby's head was moving around, like he was twirling around. He was moving his arms around inside of me, wiggling. His head was twisting and turning. I gave another great push to get him out for good. This was, strangely enough, harder than any of my other babies. Normally the body is the easy part for me, but being in this odd position (hands and knees still), I had to lean forward and push him more behind me. Then, as his body began to slowly slide out, I moved back up and guided him back toward my stomach. He was out! I had my baby, all by myself, in the water, and I caught him!

We had another little boy! I held him under the water for a few seconds. He was so calm. As I took him out, he cried. I held him to me, but didn't get the skin to skin contact I was expecting. I forgot I was wearing a shirt. It was too wet to take off, so I just held him to me.

Then, Sadie (my 13 year old daughter) knocked on the door. I didn't know she was there. She came in and helped me with baby. We looked at him, and he was perfect. She got my phone and took a picture of him in the tub.

I then told her to call Brent. She grabbed the phone and I think all she said was, "It's a boy". She went and fetched a towel I had set aside and, still in the tub, we wrapped him up in the towel. I drained some of the water, and refilled it with cleaner, warm water. I tried to nurse him, and he tried, but wasn't too interested. Sadie got my Shepherd's Purse tea (Brent had my birth kit in the van, but I remembered to grab the tea). I drank half, then tried to nurse baby again, and then drank the other half.

Brent came in, and saw that we were all doing good. He made sure I was okay, and baby was doing well. He got out his phone and took a picture of me with baby in the tub...

I then told him he hadn't seen baby's face yet! I unlatched baby and faced him toward Brent. He got another sweet picture of him...

What a sweet baby man! We waited an hour to cut the cord. We tied it, and cut it. Then Sadie got another dry towel. He got wrapped up and Sadie got to hold him. Then Brent took him out as his mom came into the house. I had Sadie shut the bathroom door, and I birthed the placenta in the emptied tub. I laughed, saying the tub looked like a murder scene. Sadie had Brent get a gallon zip lock bag for the placenta (which really grossed him out to hold the bag). I did a really good job of not letting the placenta touch him. I cleared out the room, drained the tub, and took a shower (to clean both myself and the tub).

As I was drying off, Brent and his mom were drying off baby and weighing him. He was born at 7:05 pm Thursday, August 4, 2011. He weighted 8 lbs exactly.

I came out of the bathroom and helped dress him, and then the pictures started.

He's a great baby. He doesn't cry much. He slept all night last night. I had to keep waking him up to nurse him. At about 5 am, I couldn't sleep because of after birth pains. I got up with baby, and we slept in the recliner in the living room until about 8 am.

He's doing good.