Thursday, August 27, 2009

Birth Story - Expanded Edition

Our daughter was born 8/26 at 3pm, at home, after 13 hours of labor.

I thought my water broke on Tuesday at 9am (turns out it was just a high leak). We took castor oil, black and blue cohosh, and walked for ever. Had some good, regular contractions, but they fizzled out pretty quickly. Went in to visit my midwives that night, and we decided that since I WOULD be in labor no matter what the next day, I should just rest for the night. I'd been having regular contractions throughout the night for a couple of nights, so I thought maybe I just needed to be relaxed to start labor. Also, labor is like any other bodily function, and is best performed when you're not trying to. You have to turn off the thinking part of your brain and let a more primitive part take over. "Let your monkey do it." - Ina Mae Gaskin

Went home and watched some TV show reruns (doesn't get much more mindless than that!) and relaxed with my hubby. Went to bed, and woke up around 2 with regular contractions. I timed them at 1 min long every 3-4 minutes, which is exactly what the midwives wanted to know about. So we called, and they said to call back when we wanted them to come over.

Around 7, my amazing midwives came over and found me at 7 cm and fully effaced. Sweet! At this point, I wasn't having to vocalize much during the contractions as long as I remembered to breathe (important!). So we kept laboring.

We labored on the bathroom floor a lot, and I loved it. I think it had something to do with being sort of closed in a nice cozy space where I could focus. Plus, I was near the toilet in case I had to throw up, which I only did a few times.

We ended up spending about an hour in the tub, and I slept. Laboring in water was so relaxing that I was almost able to sleep through the contractions (that was really unexpected). Unfortunately, that super relaxing time didn't help me progress at all. At 11, I was only at 8. Oddly enough, one side of my cervix was complete and the other side wasn't.

So we labored some more. My husband is pretty much the most amazing man I've ever met. He sat with me on the floor, and helped me into and out of the tub, and basically carried me through most of labor (literally - it felt so good to go limp during a contraction). At one point, I felt the contractions change and I knew I was close. That was terrifying.

So I got in the tub to calm things down and collect myself. When I got out, I started pushing. I did not want to start pushing, I did not feel an urge or desire to push, and I was not interested in rushing it, but I was outvoted. My uterus pushed. My abdominals pushed, I whimpered. We tried a few different positions, and found the best (for us, for that birth) to be on the birth stool with my husband holding me up from behind. Both midwives sat in front of me and encouraged me that I was doing a great job (although all I was doing was whining about being scared) and that I was just fine. After a few contractions I started to believe them, and tried giving a little push myself.

I could really feel a difference when I pushed. She moved faster and everything felt more like it 'should'. I was still scared, and crying when I pushed (no tears, just the face and the whimpers), but I was pushing.

I don't know how long I pushed, but it was quick. Once she crowned, we figured it would be about 6-10 more contractions and good pushes (not that she needed to be out then, but I liked having some sort of progress to monitor). The next contraction, she came out all at once!

At 3pm on August 26th, I pushed a baby out of me. It hurt, and it hurt a lot, but it wasn't anywhere near what I expected. Her coming out of me didn't hurt at all, it sort of felt good and complete or something. And anyway once I could see her I wasn't aware of any pain or any anything; for a few minutes, she was all that existed.

The cord was around her neck, so one of the midwives unwrapped it, and it seemed nice and loose so it wasn't any danger, but still she was SO BLUE! And she was not at all interested in crying, so we ended up putting oxygen on her to help her get pink. She wasn't fussing or stressed, and she would let out a cry or two when we rubbed her and patted her and sat her up, but she was too busy looking around to keep crying. I lost a bit of blood and my blood pressure dropped so the midwives got me on the bed, baby on my chest, had hubby hold the oxygen for her, and they went in for the placenta. It had partially detached with the birth, and that was causing the bleeding, so it needed to come out. I got a shot of pitocin and with a little cord traction (um, WEIRD!), and a lot of uncomfortable manipulation and a push, the placenta came out. I was still bleeding so they gave me some methergin, and everything seemed pretty fantastic after that. Neither of us were in any real danger, both of us just needed a little attention. Baby was breathing really well and taking nice deep breaths, so we weren't very worried about her not crying, we just wanted her to pink up a bit quicker than she was on her own. My bleeding wasn't excessive, just enough to let us know we needed to get the placenta out.

I was a bit woozy, so I stayed on the bed until much later that night. We're both fantastic now and recovering well. As long as I remember to get up slowly (I did just have a baby after all!) then I'm fine. When I try to stand up too quickly, I have to sit down and try again. She still doesn't cry much; she's incredibly mellow. She has no problem letting us know when she isn't getting what she wants, but it's just a quick shout and that's all.

My daughter is perfect. She's beautiful and just flawless.

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