Sunday, June 14, 2009

Our Birth Story...

First of all, let me start by telling you how retarded I think due dates are when it comes to pregnancy. I never thought I would go "late" , after all Bri was 6 days early and she was my first baby. Typically a woman goes into labor earlier the more children she has. Or so that's what everyone says. Wrong! 

Once I went past 41 weeks, Alanna, my midwife, told me if I went past 42 weeks she would no longer be able to care for me. I understood because I knew it was all for liability purposes and the chances of me being pregnant that long were slim to none. Ha! At my 40 week appointment we were pretty confident I would go into labor any second. I had been having good contractions for some time and we just assumed I was one step ahead of the game and maybe I was dilating from all the contractions and my cervix would be ripe. I asked Alanna to check my cervix at that appointment. She could barely reach it and said I was only a fingertip dilated and maybe 50% effaced. I was bummed! I for sure thought those contractions were opening the way for my baby to come out. We wondered if we should try inductions techniques we did with Brianna (black and blue cohosh and castor oil) but decided we really wanted this baby to come out on her own terms. 

That week my contractions strengthened. At one point I even called Alanna and told her they had been 10 mintues apart for 3 hours. We planned on me eating a big supper and getting a good nights rest and hopefully the next day we would all be welcoming our new baby into the world. When I went to bed my contractions stopped but I thought they were pretty good ones so maybe they helped dilate me. 

Alanna checked me again at my 41 week appointment (Monday) and there was no change. It was almost harder for her to reach my cervix. I was by myself and tried to hold it together in her office, unsuccessfully. We had to make an appointment for me to get a BPP ultrasound to make sure the baby was still safe and helathy and we talked about what would happen if I didn't have the baby by Sunday (Week 42).  I had 7 days to get the baby out. Talk about stressed! Who makes these rules?!?!? Philipe and I decided to try some easier inductions methods. We tried having as much sex as possible and I starting inserting evening primrose oil capsules in my vagina. Alanna told me I could come see her everyday until the baby was born and maybe the sex and evening primrose oil would help and she would be able to reach my cervix a little better and stretch it. My ultrasound appointment was scheduled for Thursday so we decided we would go see her on Wednesday and Friday. If there was still no change by Friday we were going to result to castor oil again, which gives you such horrible diarrhea you end up having contractions. I tried really hard to stay busy and keep my mind off of the possibility of ending up in the hospital but everywhere I went people would ask me how far along I was and tell me I was crazy for not going to the hospital to get induced. I made an appointment for accupuncture on Wednesday to see if that would help. They guy seemed pretty confident 1 or 2 treatments would do the trick, as I had good "chi' (spelling?) flowing throughout my body. At first I thought it was all a hoax but everytime he messed with the needles the baby would go nuts and I had some strong contractions in his office. I also almost passed out so they had to take all the needles out and start over. LOL! (Looking back now I think it's all hilarious) I made an appointment for 4:40 the next day. I would go right after my ultrasound. During my appontment Alanna called me and told me she spoke to another local midwife who wouldn't mind if I stopped by her house on Thursday and maybe she would have a little better luck at reaching my cervix (Alanna is tiny and has the smallest hands I have ever seen). I called the other midwife (I don't know if she would want to be named on my blog, so I won't) and we made arrangements for me to come to her house in the morning. So.... I had to meet her at 9:30 in the morning 2 towns south of us, had an ultrasound at 2:40 back in Ft. Pierce, and an accupuncture appointment at 4:40 in PSL. I was desperate! I dreaded going to the hospital on Sunday and I feared how they would treat me.

Thank goodness I met with her in the morning and not after running roud from town to town. When we got there she told me the baby still looked really high and it didn't even look like I was ready to go into labor.  She understood how afraid I was of going past Sunday and not having Alana as my midwife so she was game for trying to work her magic. She told us she's also been refered to as "The Rotor Rooter". LOL! Perfect! That's just what I needed! It was really tough for her to reach my cervix and it hurt like hell! But.... she finally got it and said "are you ready?" I grabbed Philipe's and and squeezed with all my might. By the time she was done, I was 4 cm dilated! I was so excited and nervous at the same time. I felt like we needed to get home ASAP. On the way home I had a few contractions. At one point I was on the phone and had to get off to concentrate. Philipe and I looked at each other like 'could today be the day?'. 

By the time we got home (around noon) I was having pretty regular contractions. I was excited but wasn't sure it was the real thing. We knew it was going to happen either that day or the next so Philipe, me and my mom (who had been watching Brianna) all started cleaning like crazy. It was pretty funny. I still planned on going to my ultrasound appointment at 2:40 just to make sure the baby was in good position (there was a brief second when the midwife thought the baby could be breach but then said she took it back after she felt a pulse on the baby's head). As I was cleaning I found myself dropping to my knees with each contraction, not because it hurt horribly but because it felt like that's just what my body was suppose to do. The birthing ball was my best friend. I was pretty certain I was in labor and it wasn't going to magically stop like it had before. This was the real deal. I called Alana and told her I didn't think I would be anle to make it to my ultrasound appointment but I really wanted to try and make it. She told me to wait an hour to see how I felt. The thought of leaving the house really scared me. I wanted soooo bad to labor at home and enjoy it. I couldn't imagine finding enjoyment while I lay on my back for an hour so they can do the ultrasound and being strapped to monitors, then having to ride in the car back home. An hour later my mom reminded me that I needed to decide if I was going to go get my ultrasound or not. I decided not to and thought it would be a good idea if Alana came over. She asked if she could take a shower and drop her kids off at the sitter. I told her not to rush; I was fine. Philipe made me lunch (steak sub) and I sat in my room on the birthing ball. I was so happy I was home and had such a good feeling about the way things were working out for me. Bri had been napping for a while so I was able to get settled and in the groove. Denise (who I've talked about beofore and also happens to be our family doc) heard the news that I was in labor and stopped by to send her love and get some pics. She knows how much I wanted pictures of this special occasion and was more than happy to click some shots. She loves taking pictures as much as I do. When she walked in I was laboring on the toilet. She showed Philipe little tricks that helped me through some of my contractions. Every contractions made me happier and happier as I knew I was one step closer to holding and nursing my new baby. My friend Michelle came over also. The first thing she did was make me a green smoothie. It was absolutely delicious and I'm sure I needed it for energy.

By the time Alanna got there my contractions were pretty strong and about 5-7 minutes apart. I kept going back and forth from the toilet to the birthing ball. I started getting some really mucousy discharge too, which made me even more excited. LOL. I think it was my mucous plug. It was really cool. I even took pictures of it (in between contractions) I never had any of this stuff with Brianna. Once Alanna got all my birthing supplies set up just she asked if I was opposed to her checking me. I was pretty excited and was sure I was in labor so I was kind of excited to see how far I progressed since that morning. After my contraction I tried to "hop" up on our bed (which is extremely high). I was hoping if I hurried maybe she could check me and I could get down and back on my knees before the next contraction. Fat chance! Those contractions I had while I was laying flat on my back were HORRIBLE! I don't know how I did it in the hospital with Brianna, laying in that crappy bed the whole time. Anywho.... Alanna told us that I was still only 4 cm. There was more though. While the other midwife was able to stretch my cervix to 4 cm, she was only able to stretch the outside. My interior cervix was still just a fingertip dilated  and the baby was still extremely high. I got a little panicked for a second. What if I was going to be stuck having these strong contractions for days because I was trying to kick my baby out before she was ready. Was I really in labor or was my body just mad at me for trying to rush the process? Alanna told me she would check me around 7:00 again and if I hadn't progressed anymore she might go home for a while. That made me freak out even more. I felt like I NEEDED her to be there. I see why people choose not to be checked at all. After she checked me I started to doubt my body. She told me to relax as much as possible and visualize the baby moving down. She also told me to try and wait to get in the tub because sometimes if you're starting to go into labor and you get in to early it can have an adverse affect.

Back to the bathroom I went. Everyone left me alone for a little while. Philipe kept coming in to check on me. My contractions got stronger and stronger with each one and I got more and more excited. Around this time I starting humming every time I had a contraction. When I was pregnant and practiced relaxation techniques humming seemed to be the most effective. I told Alanna (weeks before I went into labor) that I was going to "hum my baby" out, and by golly, that's pretty much how it happen. At one point Philipe suggested I try and get up off the toilet and go walk around. It took me a couple more contractions to finally do it but we were on a mission to go play with Brianna in her play room. On the way there I had to brace myself on the table, where Alana was sitting, and I remember telling her it was getting pretty intense and I wasn't as "happy go lucky" as I was when this all started. She reassured me that was a good thing. After a couple contractions I walked as fast as I could to the play room to try and beat the next surge. I made it. Bri was happy to see me, as I was to see her. I planned on hanging out with her for a little while longer but I couldn't find a comfortable position to be in when I had contractions. So, I gave her a kiss and went back to my refuge.... the bathroom. 

This time when we went back into the bathroom Philipe and Alanna set up a little area for me to sit on my birth ball. They lined it with chux pad and put it up against the ledge by the tub so I could lean against it.  I asked Philipe to set up my hypnobirthing recording on the iPod. He lit the lavender candles Jen brought to my blssingway ceremony and he and Alanna made sure I was settled and comfortable. This was all around 6:00 pm (from Alanna's notes... I really had no concept of time what so ever). The hypnobirthing tape was my life saver! I felt like it brought me back to where I needed to be and I was able to fully focus and relax. It's so funny because when I would listen to the recording when I was pregnant the lady's voice really started to annoy me and I highly doubted I would want to listen to her when I was in labor. Wouldn't you know, I made Philipe hit the replay button everytime it ended. While I was on the birthing ball it took all I had to relax with each contraction. I remember someone coming in and taking a couple pictures but it didn't bother me. Everyone stopped asking me questions and let me be. I was in the zone, and apparently it showed. 

I told Philipe and Alanna I was ready to get in the tub. I tried to hold out as long as possible but I couldn't take it anymore. Getting into the tub was heavenly. Philipe sat by my head and Alanna sat by my belly. They took turns feeding me a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich and giving me gatorade to drink. In between contractions she would pour water over me. It was wonderful! It was everything I wanted and more. Looking back, I was treated like a queen. Everyone listened to me and trusted what I was telling them. There wasn't anyone staring at that machine that records contractions, or straps around my belly. They just trusted what I said. A couple times I told Alanna I was scared and I didn't know if I could do it because I was so tired. She reasurred me everything was okay and reminded me that she had the same thoughts when she had her 2 kids. Maybe this is when I started going through transition??? My mom and Denise would pop in periodically to take pictures but they were very quiet so it didn't bother me to much. They both knew how bad I wanted pictures. At one point my mom came in to take a picture and the flash did some crazy thing. I looked at her and said, "okay, that's not gonna fly". Then, everyone stopped taking pictures. LOL. 

I was in the tub for about an hour. Alanna suggested I try to get out for a little bit to keep things moving. It probably took a good 20 mintues to get me out. It felt like my contractions were right on top of the other. Alanna asked Philipe to get me a robe. He did, but by the time they got me up I jetted for the toilet, soaking wet. LOL. I couldn't get away from that thing. Around 8:00 I started laboring on the toilet. My contractions were super intense. Philipe sat in front of me and lent me his support. Just him being there, close to me, was all the support I needed. I didn't need someone holding my legs halfway behind my head telling me to push.  While he was sitting on the ground right in front of me my body pushed and my water broke. He got all excited, looked at me and said, "Oh! There goes your water!", as if I didn't know. LOL! He ran to tell Alanna, who was in the other room at the time. When he came back he tried to give me a high five. LOL. That's what we did when I was in the hospital in labor with Bri so I guess he wanted to make it a sort of tradition thing. I didn't have enough energy to spare to put any effort into it so I just flipped my hand over and he smacked it. The tradition lives on. He also talked about how he forgot that part was suppose to happen. I couldn't talk to tell him, but I forgot the whole water breaking thing too. As intense as it all was I wonder why I never thought 'when the heck is my water going to break'. I think I was just so focused on relaxing through each contraction, it totally slipped my mind. 

Alanna came walking in the room with her handy flashlight. She looked in the toilet and assured me that my water was "perfect". I was really worried that there was going to be meconium since I was "over due" but that wasn't the case. It was "perfect"! I remember thinking it was kind of weird that my body pushed when my water broke. That didn't happen with Bri either. I had two more normal contractions and then I started push. Alanna never checked me again so she really had no clue how fast I was progressing. She still needed to call her assistant, who was about 30 minutes south of us. I felt like I had the urge to push again but I tried to fight it. I didn't want to be stuck pushing for 2 & 1/2 hours again. And once ya start, ya can't stop. Plus, I thought I still had a ways to go before I would meet my baby and I had this whole idea of "breathing" her out I got from the hypno-birthing tape. Things were going way to smooth for her to just come out now. The rest happened soooo fast (literally, not just because I was caught up in labor land), but I remember it perfectly. 

There was nothing I could do to stop my body from pushing. It was taking over. It was the coolest thing ever! It just did it... all by itself. I mumbled as fast as I could, "I'm pushing", before the next surge came. I don't know if Alanna heard me or not but Philipe repeated me just to make sure. Alanna got up and called her assistant to tell her she might want to hurry because I was having the urge to push. By the time she came back to me, still on the toilet, Lainey was crowning. She took a peak with her flashlight, saw a head, and told Philipe they had to get me off the toilet NOW. She was totally calm the whole time too (but working very quickly). It's so funny cause every time they suggested I walk around or switch positions they gave me a few minutes/ contractions to get prepared. This time, they just grabbed me and told me they were moving me to the birthing stool. This baby was coming out, quickly. Alanna assistant still wasn't there. She was 30 minutes away and it was only 10 minutes ago that she called her. Alanna asked Philipe to open the door. He did. She hollered, "Denise, if you're out there, I could really use you." Philipe ran to the door to relay the message a little louder. I had another contraction and Denise (Dr. Punger) came walking in (camera in hand, of course). This part cracks me up.... She hurried to the sink, washed her hands, and then stood back and started taking pictures. LOL. Some help she was to Alanna. LOL. I'm so glad though. It was so important to me that someone was able to capture my babies entrance into the world so we could look back years from now and remember how special that day was. Denise knew that. So, she did exactly what she knew I wanted her there for (and for her positive support). I will be forever grateful. So, Alann'a supporting my vagina (to try to keep me from tearing) and Denise is taking pictures. Alanna tells Philipe if he wants to catch the baby he better hurry up. He asked if he should gloves on.... LOL. I think he was so excited an not thinking. LOL. He remembered Alanna saying she uses sterile gloves once my water breaks to prevent infection and I guess he was just looking out for me. That's my man! She told him there wasn't enough time to put gloves on. He ran to the sink, washed his hands, and got back just in time. Lainey was out with the next contraction. She was born at 9:13 pm, into her Daddy's hands. Her coming out of my body was the best feeling in the whole world. Philipe being the one to hand her to me was even better than that! She was BEAUTIFUL! She was all glossy and didn't have one drop of blood on her. She was looking all around before she even took her first breath. Alanna told me to talk to my baby and as soon as I did she took a breath. It was beautiful! I was sobbing like a baby. I kept saying, "I did it!, I did it!" Then I looked at Philipe and said, "You did it! You did it! You caught her!" Then, we both kept saying "We did it. We did it." It was great! The first thing Philipe did was unsnapped my bra. This is something that will remind me how wonderful a man my husband is for the rest of my life. He knew how important it was for me to nurse her right away and how I was looking forward to it that as soon as he handed her to me he then unsnapped my bra. I love that man! Alanna showed us the cord. I was kind of bummed cause I never got to see it pulsate. That wasn't even an option with Brianna and I was looking forward to it this time. As soon as the baby came out the cord stopped pulsating. Bummer. I did get to touch it this time though. It was pretty cool. 3 minutes after she was born Philipe cut the cord. 

As soon as everyone heard the baby cry they came in the room. They were waiting up against the door so it almost feels like they were in there the entire time. Michelle started video taping right away and my mom was taking pictures. I think my Mother in law kind of stood back and took it all in. A couple minutes later Bella, Alanna's assitant, walked in the room. LOL. She missed it by minutes. When Philipe and I watched the video the next day we laughed. There was me telling everyone we did it, then me telling the midwife how much I love her and giving her a kiss, then me being dead serious asking, "Did I poop?" LOL! Ughh... I wish I could explain how I felt in that moment. Total euphoria! It was amazing! Alanna then told me I had to deliver my placenta. I forgot all about that part too. This was my biggest fear. With Brianna, they started discussing having to put me to sleep and some sort of surgery to go get my placenta because it wouldn't come out. Alanna told me in the beginning she didn't think it would be an issue. She was right. I tried to push once and nothing happened (but I probably wasn't even pushing. After pushing the baby out I couldn't really push anymore for some reason). I asked her to give me a minute and I would try again. She said, "Sure". I loved on my baby some more. And 5 minutes after I had her, I delivered the placenta. I told Alanna a while ago (at a prenatal appointment) that I wanted to see my placenta up close and touch it. I wanted to feel what the baby felt for 10 months inside me but I never did. I just couldn't put my baby down. I was soaking her new sweet baby smell in and loved every second of it!  After I delivered the placenta Lainey and I got in the tub, which was still full of warm water from before. We hung out in there while everyone got everything situated so we could walk to our bed with out making a bloody mess all over the carpet. After seeing the tub was full of blood I really wanted to rinse off in the shower. I had all intentions of bringing the baby in there with me. LOL. I didn't want to part with her. Philipe and Alanna told me it be best if I gave the baby to Philipe while I rinsed off. I was so weak I felt like my legs were going to give out but I had a burst of energy all in the same time. It was pretty cool. I had the shakes like crazy though. So, I handed Lainey to her Daddy and rinsed off quickly. When I was done I followed the trail of chux pads back to the bed. As soon as I got in bed Philipe handed Lainey back to me and I nursed her again. Everyone left the room and Alanna checked to see how things were looking down below ;) . I wondered how many stitches I would need and how bad it would hurt getting them. I was more nervous about getting a shot on my vagina then pushing a baby out of it. Her and her assistant assessed the damage.... NOT EVEN A LITTLE TEAR! Woo- hoo!!! Keep that needle away from me, thank you very much! 

Alanna checked the baby out and made sure we both had a clean bill of health. Lainey weighed 8 lbs, 13 oz.; 22 in. long. She was perfect in every way! We were now a family of 4. I could not be anymore happy with the way things went. I am soooooo glad we decided to have Lainey at home. I am so grateful for Alanna. She was amazing and I really felt like I was in control the entire time. She always let us know that we had a choice in everything. That's the way it should be when a woman has a baby. It's sad that when you go to the hospital you're just another number and you have to follow someone else's protocol. 

What I thought was strange was that I didn't have any motherly intuition telling me to get off the toilet. If Alanna hadn't been there, I think I really would have pushed the baby out into the toilet. Is that horrible or what!?!?! I knew the baby's head was right there and I still just wanted to be comfortable on the toilet. 

Oh... I asked Alanna for a copy of her log that she keeps. 
Noon- Labor starts
1:00- Alanna gets to our house
4:00- Drank green smoothie, walking, toilet
5:00- More green smoothie, audible contractions
6:00- birthing ball, resting
7:00- contractions 3 min. apart, ate PB &J,  in tub
8:00- tub
8:30- drank gatorade, toilet
8:56- Water broke (clear)
9:00- gatorade
9:05- urge to push
9:13- delivered head and body
9:16- cut cord
9:20- delivered placenta.

Well, that's our birth story. It took me a month to write it, and I'm sure I'll remember more and want to add it later but I'm glad  I had such a wonderful experience I get to share. I am truly blessed and feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I'm still in the process of writing my birth story. I really want to make sure I write as much as possible so years from now I can read it and feel like I'm reliving the whole experience again. It's taking me forever though cause as soon as the baby falls asleep Brianna's begging me to play with her in the play room. So, it's still in the process.

Life here is pretty hectic. We're still trying to adjust to being a family of four. I had no idea how hard it would be. Brianna was a VERY "needy" baby. She screamed every waking hour and Philipe and I would have to take turns trying to soothe her. I thought for sure Lainey would be different since she was coming into the world in a more peaceful setting....WRONG! Oh.... she's a little pistol! I think it might bother her when I consume ay dairy so I have eliminated it from my diet. It seems to help a little bit. She doesn't arch her back in pain anymore but she still cries.... A LOT! Most of my day is spent nursing her or trying to figure out what position she wants to be in in our moby wrap. Thank heavens for that baby carrier. I don't know what I would do with out it. While the baby's fussiness can be extremely stressfull, I try to remember that it is only temporary and we are truly blessed to just have her in our lives.

Brianna is adjusting wonderfully! She loves her little sister and helps out a ton. Whenever she hears the baby cry she runs and tells me and Philipe that, "sissy needs Mama's milk!'. It's adorable. Since the baby was born Brianna has decided to start waking up 3-4 times a night. Hopefully, this will only be temporary.  She has also decided that she does not want to take showers with us anymore or let us give her a bath by herself. The only way we can get her to take a bath is if "Sissy" is in with her. Lainey is the cleanest 3 week old I know. LOL. 

I've been ECing Lainey for the last 2 weeks. It's going awesome! She goes almost every time we cue her and we've gotten pretty good at reading her cues when she needs to go. Philipe, who previously thought ECing was bizarre, thinks it's the coolest thing ever. He's even gotten her to pee once or twice. It's so cool to be able to communicate with my 3 week old!  I just love her to pieces. Now, if she could just communicate why she's so crabby all the time, we'd be golden! Oh well.

There's a ton more I want to write about but I don't really have the time. I'm determined to finish my birth story before the baby is a month old.

Much love to you all!