Wednesday, December 14, 2016

An Egg, A Four Wheeler, and A Homebirth

You might be wondering what an egg, a four wheeler, and a homebirth all have in common.  And it admittedly sounds very strange that they are all linked together, but indeed they are.

It was a beautiful Sunday and I was 40 weeks and three days pregnant with my third baby.  We had spent most of the day out and about in town and I was having quite a bit of trouble getting around.  We had gotten some Mexican food, and since it was a gorgeous day we took the boys (almost 4yo and almost 2yo) to the park.  When I say nice day, I am talking an unheard of 70 degrees on December 13th in the Midwest.  So we were definitely going to take advantage of the gorgeous weather while we had it.  During our time at the park we walked over to the pond area and saw the ducks and after that we headed to the car to go to Lowes and then the grocery store.  At Lowes, I was having a lot of discomfort and was really struggling to walk.  And if you have ever been to Lowes, you know how big it is and what a pain it is to walk from one end of the store to the other, even in pivotal health.  So I was complete struggle buckets walking around in there.  After that we still had to go to the grocery store (we live in the country so we have to do all of our errands at once because it is a 30 minute trip to get to the town).  So I told my husband to just get the groceries and I would stay in the car with the boys. 

Once we got home both the boys were asleep in the car seats.  So my husband sat in the car with them while I went to close the chicken coop.  When I went in the coop to check on the chickens and make sure they had food and water I was pleasantly surprised to see a small green egg in the nesting box.  I hadn't been getting any eggs from my older hens in a few months, and I hadn't ever gotten an egg from my younger hens that I had hatched and raised.  Because it was a smaller green egg it was a sure sign that it was the first egg from one of the hens I raised.  I excitedly took the egg with me and quickly showed my husband.  I said to him, "Look babe, one of my pullets laid its first egg!  Maybe its a sign I will go into labor tonight!"  I had been saying for the past few days that I thought Sunday would be a great day to go into labor because it was going to be so nice.  Little did I know that in just a few hours I would find that sign to be true.

So the rest of the evening I spent slightly nauseous, which was nothing out of the ordinary for me.  I could only stomach eating a few bites of oatmeal, sharing the bowl with my almost 2 year old son.  My husband wasn't feeling very well as he had a migraine.  So he headed off to bed to try and help his headache and also just go to sleep because he gets up early for work.  So I was up with the boys for a bit and then I started to feel some contractions.  I knew they weren't simply Braxton hicks contractions because along with the tightening of my uterus I now felt aches in my lower back.  I remembered from my previous pregnancy that was how my early labor contractions felt.  It was 10:30.  I wasn't positive I was in labor so I started paying attention to these new contractions and seeing how far apart they were.  They were about 4 minutes apart or so and lasting for 40 seconds or so.  The boys were watching a movie and I kept tracking my contractions.  I didn't want to wake up my husband unless I was 100% positive I was in labor. 
At around 11:30 I was convinced I was in labor but I didn't want to wake my husband just yet because I knew he wasn't feeling well.  So I continued to labor on my own, but was texting my good friend/neighbor/doula, Kasondra, telling her to come on over.  No response.  So I tried calling her.  She didn't pick up. I go into the bedroom and let my husband, Joe, know I am in labor.  He asks if I am sure.  I say yes.  He continues resting as his migraine is really bad.  I then go back to the kids bathroom to continue to labor in there.  I continue to try and call my friend.  After several more phone calls and still not getting through I decided I needed to start setting up the birth pool.  The contractions are getting quite intense at this point and I know I am progressing quickly. 

So I go into the bedroom, turn on a light and start trying to set up the birth pool.  I then start to feel overwhelmed and I start crying, saying, "I feel so alone.  I am laboring and doing all this by myself."  It was right then my husband sprung into action.  He asked what he could do. I told him he would probably have to take the four wheeler and go get Kasondra.  After one more contraction and thinking about the situation, I decide I am going to be the one to go get Kasondra.  Joe asks if I am sure, and I say, "Yes, because she is probably asleep and you might have to go into the bedroom to wake her and that would be uncomfortable for both of you so I will just go do it.  Its late and I don't think it would be a good idea for a big guy to be walking into her house in the middle of the night."  He agrees and I get my coat and boots on and grab the keys.  I go outside and start up the four wheeler and drive over to Kasondra's house.  As I am walking in her back door I immediately start having a contraction. It's 12:30 and I am at the point in labor where I have to lean against something and moan through the contractions.  She comes out her bedroom and says, "well you just 'bout got shot." We both laugh and agree that probably wouldn't make for a good doula review.

Here is a picture of our sweet girl at 2 weeks old holding the egg God used to tell me I was going into labor! God is so good!!
I tell her I have been in labor for two hours now but I am progressing very quickly and I need her to come soon.  She says okay she will be right over and she begins getting her stuff together. After one more contraction in her kitchen, I head back to my house on the four wheeler, going down the front of her driveway (where I have to stop and breathe through another contraction) and then back around to my driveway.  I get back to my house and see my husband has been working on setting up the birth pool.  I try to help him in between my contractions.  Kasondra walks in and immediately starts setting up her doula stuff and helping my husband work on the birth pool.

My boys were still up watching a movie and playing.  My sweet little four year came into the bedroom and asked if he could get into the pool.  If you read my first homebirth story you know that I did let him in the pool while we were setting up.  But this was a different time and I was much more progressed at this point.  I gently told him that he couldn't get in the pool, that the pool was for mommy because the baby was coming.  He was so sweet.  He said, "Oh the baby's coming?" and I said "Yes, hunny.  The baby's coming."  He then ran back out to watch his movie.  As I continued to labor in the bedroom he came in and out several more times excitedly asking me if I was going swimming or if the baby was coming.   Or he would just come in and excitedly announce that the baby was coming.  It was the most precious thing to see him so excited about the baby and the whole situation.  That is one of my favorite things about homebirth, that I can have my children there and they can experience the birth of their sibling too if they want. 

While I am working and praying (I cried out to the Lord through almost every contraction asking him to help me) through contractions, and drinking coconut water in between, Joe and Kasondra are working really hard to get the birth pool filled.  The system we had from getting water from the shower pipe to the birth pool was not working as smoothly as it had in the trial run I did a few weeks before.  Water was spraying everywhere.  My amazing husband and awesome friend worked their butts off to get water into that birth pool for me.  Finally, there was enough water for me to get in.

I then carefully got into the birth pool and sat in it as it continued to fill.  We ran out of warm water so we had to turn the hose off for a bit.  The water still wasn't even at the minimum fill line, but even the bit of water I was in was helping ease the intensity of the contractions and I stayed in that pool through the delivery of the baby.  I knew I was getting closer and I let my husband know I was nauseous and that I was in transition.  This being my third labor, and second homebirth, I was pretty aware of where I was in the labor process.  And I knew I was in transition. 

My husband went back and forth between my side and the kitchen to check on and bring some boiling water. He let me know that my oldest son had fallen asleep in the living room but that the 2 year old was still awake.  Joe and Kasondra continued to work together to try and get some more warm water into the tub.  We finally got it above the minimum water mark when the warm water ran out again and we had to take another break from filling the pool.  Kasondra then tries to go help Micah because he is crying due to being overtired and not having his mommy or daddy to help get him to sleep (We were a little busy). I am really quiet at this point as I am in transition and getting closer to pushing.  The contractions are extremely intense and I look up at Joe and tell him it's so hard and I am ready for it to be over.

Joe asks if I want him to get some indian flute music playing and I say yes.  As he tries to get that going I go through another contraction or two.  At this point I get extremely relaxed in between the contractions.  I remember from my last labor and birth that this is exactly how I felt right before I pushed out my son.  I got so relaxed between contractions that I almost fell asleep.  And this is what was going on now.  So I knew I was close to pushing.  I tell my husband to forget about the music and to come over and get ready to catch the baby.  I tell him I am so close.  He knows I am too because he remembers how I was right before I pushed out Micah.  During each contraction I continue to cry out to the Lord, asking him to help me and give me strength.  And He does. 

A wave of intensity hits me and I feel the urge to push, working with my body as it bears down.  I am moaning/grunting as I begin to push the baby out.  Immediately the bag of waters breaks and we can see that the water is clear with chunks of vernix in it.  That was a relief.  In the same push the babies head crowns and then comes out.  I reach my hand down and touch my babies head, feeling a bunch of hair.  As I was pushing my husband said, "Oh there's the water, ok, there's the head!  Good job hunny the head is out."  My body takes a break for a moment before it urges me to push again.  I feel the urge and my body bearing down so I begin to push one last time and my babies body is born.  My husband catches the baby and then hands it to me.  I see that the umbilical cord is wrapped once around the neck and I quickly and instinctively unwrap it.  My beautiful baby begins to cry.

Hearing that first cry is incredible.  Every single time a baby is born it is the most magical moment and so gratifying to hear it cry.  I told my husband "We did it.  We did it." and he excitedly said "I know." It was incredible.  Then we looked to see if it was a boy or a girl and discovered she was a girl!  We had our first daughter!  I just couldn't believe it, I had to check multiple times.  We called our doula to come in who was still with our overtired two year old.  She came in and looked the baby over.  She agreed it was a girl, but I had her check a few more times!  haha.  I just couldn't believe that the Lord had blessed us with a daughter!  I was so grateful!  Here is the footage of me reacting to finding out it was a girl!

While I was in the birth pool with the baby, my husband held my 2 year old son while sitting on the edge of the crib which was right next to the birth pool.  Soon the toddler was asleep and my husband went to lay him down.  Then Kasondra helped me and the baby out of the birth pool and positioned in the bed.  I leaned back against the wall and held my precious newborn daughter.  She was perfect. I sat on the bed and began to breastfeed her.  She nursed so well!  I was so proud and full of joy!  I kept thanking the Lord for such a beautiful birth and my beautiful baby.  I thanked Him for allowing her to be healthy.  I still couldn't believe I had a daughter!  My husband came back into the room and sat next to me on the bed.  The three of us sat and talked and gawked over the baby.  Everything was so peaceful.  I asked Kasondra any questions I had and when I should try and push out the placenta.  We both agreed that I should wait until I had the urge.  I continued to nurse the baby, which brought on contractions of the Uterus going down.  Those are the worst contractions of all!!! I think its because I already had the gift in my arms, so this just felt like pain without a purpose.  Thankfully I had my After Ease Tincture right next to my bed. Oh my goodness how much that tincture helps.

My doula went and got me some more water and coconut water while I nursed the baby.  It had been about 45 minutes since I had pushed the baby out and I still hadn't had the urge to push out the placenta.  So we discussed it and decided I should try and push with the next contraction.  I prayed to the Lord to help me push the placenta out and for it to happen safely.  Then with the next contraction I pushed out the placenta, thanking the Lord for answering my prayer.  It was so amazing to me how God was answering my every prayer.  I thanked Him for being such a good Father. Then her and my husband worked together to sterilize the scissors and string to cut the cord.  Once I was ready to have the cord cut, my doula tied off the cord and my husband cut it.  Then after a bit, we had Kasondra weigh the baby with the newborn weighing satchel I had made weeks before out of my favorite sarong. She weighed 9lbs 1oz and was 21 inches long.  She was healthy.  She was beautiful.  She was Perfect.

After we settled back in the bed, I dressed the baby in the newborn outfit I had picked out for her.  Kasondra headed home and Josiah and I fell asleep with our precious new baby girl.  Our precious gift from heaven.