Tuesday, January 28, 2014

An "In the Mom Zone" Kinda Day

I am having an "in the mom zone" kinda day.  You know, one of those days where you are on it... wiping the noses, changing diapers, washing clothes, baking... etc.  I think to have a ,"mom zone" day you have to start off on the right foot.  Start off the day by doing something productive and it really gets you rolling.  Today I started by making some whole wheat pumpking bread, and I have been in the zone ever since.  It has been a really productive day.  I folded some laundry and put it away immediately, which is something for me because I hate putting away clothes. I have been cleaning up small messes, changing diapers, wiping Elijah's nose and face, gave Micah a bath, nursed the baby and got him to sleep, and did some sewing... and its only 1:00.  I love these kind of days.  Now I just need to make sure I squeeze in some bible reading and prayer time.  Those are the things I tend to forget about.  Now off to try and get the toddler down for his nap!  Mom OUT!!!!! *Drops Mic*

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

One Big Push: A Home Water Birth Story (with pictures and video)

I woke up about a quarter to four in the morning on December 31st to my 23 month old son crying. So I went in his room and got him back to sleep.  He went back to sleep really fast that time.  I then went into the bathroom to pee for probably the fifth time that night, as I have been peeing a ton at night during this pregnancy, especially in the third trimester.  As I was on the toilet I noticed I was feeling some cramping in my back along with tightening of my uterus.   I had been having a lot of strong Braxton hicks contractions lately and I had been wondering a few times if they were early labor contractions.  I had even posted on a few facebook groups asking people what the difference felt like for them between Braxton Hicks and early labor contractions.  Well, I sure remembered the difference that moment while I was on the toilet, and it was at that point I realized I was in early labor.  So I went back to bed, excited, and laid down for a bit waiting for the next contraction to come.  The next one came eight minutes later, and the one after that was six minutes later.  I wasn't surprised they were so close together from the get go, as it was that way with my son as well.  I have never had contractions be more than 10 minutes apart, they mostly stay about 5 minutes apart for me.  Well now that I knew I was in labor, I was just too excited to sleep. I had been waiting for this baby for a long time, and going by my measurements this baby was quite overdue.  We weren't really sure when I had gotten pregnant so we were just going by fundal measurements for a guess date for the baby, which was December 5th.  I had even "had a feeling" that the baby was going to come the last week of November, so needless to say I was super excited when I realized I was finally in labor and I was going to meet my baby.

I went downstairs, sat down on the couch in the living room and got on the computer.  I messed around on facebook for awhile, and then played some spider solitaire.  I realized I was hungry so I fished in my homebirth kit for the granola bars I had put in there.  I grabbed one and ate it, drank some water, and messed around on the computer some more.  My husbands alarm started going off at 5:30 for work, so I excitedly went up the stairs and let him know that he didn't need to go into work because I was in early labor and we were going to have a baby.  He was so excited.  He called into work and let them know he was not going to make it in because his wife was in labor.  We talked for a bit and joked about how just the night before when we were heading to bed he was saying how he wasn't holding his breath that the baby was going to be born before the new year.  He asked me how far along I thought I was and I said we still had quite a few hours to go, so he decided he was going to go back to bed because he could use a half hour more of sleep.  I said okay and headed downstairs.  I was too excited to try and go to sleep.  It wasn't just a few minutes later that I heard my sons door open so I headed upstairs to help him get back to bed.  He climbed into our bed so I climbed in with him and layed there awhile while he fell back asleep.  It was so peaceful lying there with my beautiful son and husband while in labor with my next baby.  I felt very peaceful and content.  I just felt very blessed and wanted to enjoy that moment of lying next to my amazing little boy while feeling the excitement and pain of labor, though the pain was very moderate for what was about to come in a number of hours.

After lying there for awhile I decided to get up and head back downstairs.  When I got back on facebook I noticed my midwife, Denise, had posted something, so knowing she was awake I sent her a text message letting her know I was in early labor and today was going to be the day.  I then ate some yogurt with raspberries and granola and continued playing spider solitaire (I have a slight addiction to that game). I won the game, which made me feel good and for some reason assured me that I was indeed going to have my baby that day.  Then my husband came downstairs shortly followed by my son.  Joe ate a poptart, Elijah ate cereal and we all sat around for a bit.  I then asked my husband if he could run and get me some breakfast, so he headed out to Mcdonalds and picked me up some breakfast sandwiches.  While he was gone I called my parents house to let them know what was going on.  My dad answered the phone and told me that my mom and sister were in the hospital all night because my sister had fallen while getting out of the hot tub and was pretty banged up.  She had gotten 12 stitches on her chin and had to get tests on her head to make sure she was okay.  He said they got home just a few minutes ago and had just gone to bed.  I told him to let my mom sleep another hour but then he might want to let her know I was in labor because I thought the baby would come anywhere between 11-1 and it was almost 8 am.  My son had come in 8 hours, so the eight hour mark put the birth at 1pm.  I had always heard that subsequent babies usually come quicker so I thought maybe this baby might come within six hours.

I then went to the bathroom and noticed I had my bloody show, so that reassured me even more that I was indeed in labor and going to meet my baby.  My husband got back from his food run and we all sat in the kitchen for a few minutes eating breakfast and watching blues clues with my son.  My midwife had texted me back letting me know she had an apt. with another mom at 11 in an area about 50 minutes away.  She asked if I wanted her to move the apt. or if I thought I wouldn't be having the baby until after 1pm when she would be back.  I told her I wasn't sure.  She said she would be leaving her house around 10am and so she would contact me then, see how I felt and we would go from there.

So I did some things around the house to get ready for the labor and baby.  I put the sheets in the wash, lit the candles people gave me at my blessingway and I put on my blessingway bead necklace they gave me as well. My husband started pumping up the birth pool which was fun to see my sons reaction to it.  Once it was pumped up we let Elijah play in it for a little before we started filling it with water.  It was so cute to see him play in it and his excitement about having a new bouncy toy in the dining room.  That was just another part about having a home birth that was nice.  I got to spend time with my son and still play with him while in early labor.

Once ten rolled around my mom had already arrived at the house and I texted my midwife saying that she could go on to her appointment and I thought I was a few hours from having the baby.  She said okay.  Well it wasn't but probably 15 minutes later when I texted her again letting her know that things were getting more intense.  She then called me and after hearing the apprehension in my voice she decided to turn around and head this way.  She said she could always move the other appointment and she will just come here and check fetal tones and see how things are going.  When my midwife arrived I was still in early labor.  She could tell I was in early labor because I was still really talkative and I was cracking some jokes.  She saw me go through a few contractions, then took my blood pressure and listened to baby's heart rate.  Everything was looking good.  I went through a few more contractions, each one getting steadily more intense.  My midwife noticed how I was "fighting" the contractions.  She explained that grimacing my face and shaking my head was showing that I was fighting them and needed to relax my face and accept the contractions.  I asked her how was I supposed to not grimace.  She said just to try and relax my face, breathe deep, hum deep, and sway through the contractions.  I said I'll try.  So on the next few contractions I tried to do as she said, and I had to talk my self through them saying "accept it, don't fight it".  Sometimes I would jokingly say, "be nice to the contractions."

My in-laws had taken my son downstairs to play with him down there and keep him preoccupied while I continued to labor on the main floor.  My husband was maintaining being my main support, tracking contractions and doing hip squeeze when I told him to, which really helped ease the pain of the contractions. A few contractions later I had hopped into the birthing pool and Denise noticed I was grimacing again.  She said "Your fighting them again."  Well that kinda irritated me and I am a bit of a jokester so I replied, "Denise, your killing me here because you are just sitting there eating crackers." thinking...while I am here in pain and in labor.  But I knew she was right and the more I relaxed through the contractions and tried to let them come without fighting them, the more effective they were and they were slightly, and I mean slightly, less painful. My mom and dad decided to run down the road to get some food and asked if I wanted anything.  I told her some eggs and bacon would be fine. 

While they were out things got more intense.  I started feeling nauseous, but for some reason I wanted some beef jerky.  So my husband ran out and got some really fast. It was pretty impressive how quickly he was back.  I took only a few bites of the beef jerky and couldn't eat anymore.  I was just too nauseous.  I had been drinking coconut water, juice, and water throughout my whole labor so I knew I was hydrated, but I figured the nausea was because I was either hungry or getting close to transition.  My parents got back with my food but I was in no mood to eat.  I continued to labor in the living room and after a few more contractions I thought I would take a crack at eating a few bites of food.  Well I only got in probably three bites before I felt like I needed some relief so I got in the birthing pool.  The water helped with the pain but it slowed my contractions a bit.  If I switched to my hands and knees it brought on the contractions more than sitting on my butt, but the water didn't cover my lower back (which is where I typically felt the contraction pain the most) so then I would switch back to sitting position. 

After a few contractions in there I decided to get out.  I wanted to sit on the toilet.  While on the toilet things got more intense and I was extremely nauseous.  My husband was in there with me and I requested my midwife come in to because things were getting intense.  Denise came in and my mom stood at the door.  My husband stood by my side and I went through several contractions on the toilet.  I held my husbands hand and squeezed it.  At the next contraction he said not to squeeze his hand too hard and I said "shut up".  And he said he was serious.  But I didn't care, though I did try not to squeeze so hard the next few times.  (Later he told me the reason he said this was because he remembered from our birthing class a few years ago the instructor had said to try not and tense up your hands during labor, so try not to squeeze hands.  However, in the moment I thought he was just complaining about me squeezing his hands too tight.  He is so sweet that he didn't go against my direction to "Shut up", so he didn't tell me this at the time.  I felt bad about my reaction to him after I found out what he really meant. Its funny how stuff like that happens in labor.)  I was so nauseous and definitely in transition.  After being on the toilet for awhile Denise suggested I try and walk around a bit.  So after the next contraction I got up.  My husband and mom had walked out of the bathroom already.  As I was trying to leave I got another contraction and it was very intense.  I hugged onto Denise saying it hurt so bad.  She said I was doing great and she knows it hurts.  I then leaned against the door and she rubbed my lower back and it helped ease the pain.  

I did a few more contractions in the living room while Denise got the birth pool back to the right temperature.  My husband was rubbing my back and said he felt the bulge that Denise had mentioned earlier, which is the baby's head moving down.  Denise checked it and confirmed that was what it was.  As soon as I could I got into the birth pool.  I then leaned against the back of the pool while sitting on my bottom and my knees bent.  This is the position that I stayed in the rest of the time.  The contractions were so painful at this point.  I was trying my best to maintain breathing through the contractions and not fight them as I found this was very helpful for making them effective and not so long and painful. 

I found a spot on the ceiling that looked like a leaf to me and I focused on that through every contraction.  It gave me some sort of peace, bringing nature into my birth.  I also had Indian flute music on which made things more peaceful.  Denise would remind me to relax during the breaks in between contractions.  Between a set of contractions I let myself relax so much that I almost fell asleep.  I heard Denise whisper something so I opened my eyes and softly asked "what?".  She said "It almost looked like you were falling asleep.  That's good." Reassuring me it was good to relax that deeply in between.  My mom, husband, and Denise had been reassuring and encouraging me the whole labor process and they continued to do so at this point, but very softly and quietly as things got very quiet between contractions.  During the contractions I started praying out loud to God, though it was more like crying out to God.  I was saying "Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus please help me.  Please take away the pain.  It hurts.  Help it be over.  Help me Lord!"  I cried out like that through several more contractions.  All the sudden on the next contraction I felt the urge to push.  I was trying very hard not to force any pushing and go with my body cues.  This was my body telling me to push.  I started crying out "Baby! Baby!" but nobody really knew what I was meaning.  All I could say was "Baby! Baby!"  Denise stood up quickly and looked closer.  My husband stood up.  I kept pushing feeling that urge.  All the sudden my water broke.  Denise said "okay there's your water."  I kept pushing and then she said "Oh and theres the head!"  I put my hands down there and felt my baby's head.  There was a ton of hair.  I kept pushing with my bodies urge, screaming out.  Then my baby literally just shot out.  It happened so fast.  I saw him come flying out and I saw the cord trailing behind my baby, still connecting him to me.  He slipped trough my hands and I remember thinking he must have hit the wall of the tub, but I wasn't worried because it was a blow up tub and I knew he was safe in the water.  But Denise had caught him and I said "give me my baby."  She handed him to me and I laid him on my chest. He was covered in vernix and I loved it.  My mom said that it was a boy.  Denise put some towels over him.  I layed there holding my baby in shock of how fast he came.  He started crying.  He had a loud strong cry just like his brother.  I could feel the tingly pain in my vagina from having just pushed him out.  All I could think for the first minute or so was how he came so fast and feeling the feeling I was down at my vagina.  I also told my mom to get out the camera and record.  I wanted the birth to be recorded but he came so fast, probably in 30 seconds or so, that we didn't get it on camera.  After that I could concentrate more on my little boy.  I double checked to see if he was a boy and he definitely was, sporting a huge scrotum.  His little face was so puffy.  He had a ton of hair and it was dark.  He was healthy and strong, and he was mine.  I stroked his head and kissed him, enjoying my sweet new boy.  I talked with him and the people around me.  I thanked my sweet baby for coming so fast.  I thanked him and God for coming together to answer my prayers.  With my permission my mom went and told my in-laws and my dad that they could come up.  They came up and saw me and the baby in the tub and celebrated with us.

Born at 3:22pm
Denise let me know to tell her when I felt the urge to push out the placenta.  I started to feel the urge to push.  I tried but I didn't want to try to hard for fear of hemorrhaging.  I asked Denise if it was okay to push and if anything bad would happen if I did.  She assured me it was fine to push.  So the next time I had the urge I pushed hard a few times and the placenta came out.  When I was ready I had my mom take the baby and my husband carried the bowl with the placenta in it, cord still attached to baby.  They took them to the couch.  Denise had someone put towels in the dryer and bring them up to the baby to keep him warm because he was a little cold.  Then Denise helped me out of the tub and asked if I wanted to shower off before I settled down with the baby.  I said sure.   I went into the bathroom and started the shower.  My husband came in to help.  I sent him upstairs to get me some clothes.  Then I hopped in the shower.  I had Denise run up and get my bar of soap.  I then showered off my body, Denise helping me.  After I was out and dressed Denise said she needed to check me.  I told Josiah, my husband, I wanted him to hold the baby now and in about five minutes to bring the baby upstairs.  Denise and I headed up to my bed where she checked me.  Everything looked good.  I didn't have any tearing, only a slight "skidmark".  Which I was happy about.  I was worried I might have tore a little considering how fast the baby came. 

Then my husband and mom brought the baby to me.   He was puffy and he was beautiful.  I then nursed him and he latched on great and nursed a ton on both sides.  My son woke up and my mom brought him in to see the baby. Again we didn't have a camera on hand so unfortunately we didn't get my son's initial priceless reaction, which was a huge smile and him saying "baby!" which sounds more like "Dee Dee!" His second reaction was more whiney and was probably due to the fact his nap was cut short from all the noise of us upstairs (but later that night we did get some cute footage of his third reaction to the baby, which was really precious).  So I had my mom take him downstairs to be with my in-laws again. Denise stayed in the room and filled out the birth paperwork for us.  After the baby was done nursing and we cuddled for awhile I then asked Denise if we could go ahead and cut the cord.  She said that would be fine if that's what I wanted.  So my husband cut the cord and Denise put a cord band on the cord stump.  After that we weighed him and Denise checked him out.  He was 8 lbs 4 oz and 22 inches long.  He was healthy.  He was beautiful.
We cuddled back into bed and then Josiah held him.  My mom came up and said she and my dad were going to go home to take a nap and they would be back later.  I stayed in the room with my husband and we enjoyed some precious moments with our newest little man.  I then headed downstairs to see how things were going down there.  My in-laws said they were going to take Elijah out for some food and playtime, and then they left.  The birth pool was slowly draining.  I talked with my midwife for a bit, we scheduled our postpartum visits, and then she packed up her stuff to head home.  I gave her a big hug and thanked her for everything and I saw her out the door.  The house was quiet for the first time all day.  I headed upstairs and climbed into bed next to my husband and brand new son.  It was beautiful.

I had such an amazing home water-birth.  During my whole pregnancy I was trying not to think of labor and birth as painful. I would use words like "pressure" and "uncomfortable" instead of  "pain".  But you know what?  Labor and giving birth is painful.  It hurts a lot.  But it is short lived and at the end of the pain you get the greatest gift you could ever be given: a sweet little baby.  So every second of pain, pressure, and discomfort is totally worth it and I would do it over and over again to get my sweet babies.  There is no more worthwhile pain in life than the pain of labor and birth.

Here is the video I have put together of this birth: