Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Naomi's Birth Day (Aka, "My Pregnancy - Part 2")

The Big Day:

The day I was due was a Sunday and we were supposed to go to a birthday party for our friends' daughter. I woke up that morning and just felt like I didn't have it in me to go. It would be bustling with people and I just felt my energy level was not up for that. We spent the day at home. In the evening my parents came over for dinner. That night Scott and I had nothing to watch on TV, so we played Yahtzee.

We went to bed around 10...as usual. I got up at 11 to go to the washroom because my stomach hurt. Then I got up at midnight for the same reason. I went to go sleep on the couch because I figured if this was going to happen again, its easier to roll off the couch than it is to try and get out of bed. Around 2am I woke up and thought that this feeling I was having may be contractions. So I got my trusty contraction timer app out that I downloaded on my phone and started recording. The contractions started at 6 min apart, then 8 min, the 15 minutes. I thought it seemed quite silly to stay up and time them at this point, so I fell back asleep. I figured I'd do the "bath test" that the midwives want you to do when I woke up in the morning. If this was labour then running a bath  now would wake Scott up and it'd be best for us all to be as well rested as possible. So, I fell back asleep.

Active Labour:

I woke up at 6:10am because my water broke. I ran to the washroom. Scott was just getting up. I couldn't remember if I was still supposed to have a bath if my water broke to see if I was in pre-labour or if it was actual labour. As I was flipping through my information binder from the midwives, Scott kept saying, "I'm pretty sure you are supposed to page the midwives when your water breaks."

Scott started timing my contractions and they were about 2-4 minutes a part, but much more intense then the ones I had at night. We had an exercise ball upstairs to help me with labour, but the only thing that felt good was leaning in a door way or over the counter and kicking my feet.

Our midwife, Colleen, called back from the page we sent. It was about 7am. She asked questions and talked me through 2 contractions. She said she didn't think I was in active labour yet because I was still able to talk through my contractions, but if I wanted her to, she would come over to check on me. (One of my fears was being that person who cried wolf and wasn't in labour. Given that my water broke, I figured this had to be the real thing.) I thought it would be good if she came and checked me.  

Meanwhile I was getting pretty nauseated and ended up throwing up the 3 children's tylenol and 2 gravol that I had taken an hour before. At that point I said to Scott, "If she gets here and I'm only 4 cm dialated, we are going to the hospital and I'm getting an epidural!" Scott in his ever so calm manner told me not to worry.

The midwife got to our house around 7:30am. We were going to go into our room so she could check my temperature, blood pressure, baby's heart rate, etc. As she was settling in I had two contractions that were fairly close together. She decided at that point to check how far along I was immediately. The whole time I was just thinking, 'please let me be more than 4 cm.'

I looked at her as she said, "...6...7...8...you are almost 9 cm."

I said, "So when I threw up half an hour ago, that would've been transition." It was starting to make sense and I knew that the 7-9 cm point is the worst of it. She told me later that I have a really high pain tolerance.

To Go to the Hospital...:

Colleen said if we were going to go to the hospital we would have to leave now. Scott started throwing bags into the car. I was on the couch trying to figure out how I was going to even put on pants. The midwife said to me, "Have you considered a home birth? Its a lot easier to have a baby at home than it is on the side of the road." I didn't know how to respond as I was still a bit shell shocked that I was so far along. I knew Scott wasn't completely comfortable with the idea. We quickly considered calling an ambulance, but figured it'd be quicker to drive the 10 min to the hospital then to wait for an ambulance.

We made our way to the car. I was going to get in the back, but forgot about the car seat that was back there, not leaving a lot of room. So I walked to the front passenger side, but the car seat required the front seat to be completely upright. The thought of having to sit was unfathomable. I stood outside the car door, having contractions on the driveway while the midwife waited on the road in her car to follow us to the hospital.

Scott "highly suggested" I get in the car. I said that I couldn't. I knew he was frustrated with me standing outside the car having contractions on the front lawn and finally said, "Make a decision. Are we going or staying?" We were going to stay at home, I decided. 

...Or to Stay Home?:

Scott hailed the midwife to come back to the house. I went back inside. I was in the washroom for about 5 minutes, not really aware of what was going on around me. In that time period, Scott and Colleen had stripped the white comforter off our bed and transformed the room to a birthing suite. (I.E., put plastic sheets everywhere and set up the nursery as a resuscitation area in case of an emergency.)

One of the reasons I wanted a midwife was because I was convinced I did not want to give birth on my back. There are so many better alternatives that I read about that are better for your body. By the time I made my way to our room, I laid down on my back and decided I was not getting back up.

The student midwife, Justine and 2nd midwife, Megan had arrived shortly after. (I found out after that they were up all night with another birth). Colleen decided to push the remaining part of the cervix over the baby's head so that I could start pushing. 

What amazed me about contractions was that in between every contraction was this short period of rest where there was no pain (aside from the leg cramps I kept getting). God's design of labour literally has little "built in" rest periods.

A few weeks after the birth I had this flashback of when the 3 midwives were sitting at the end of the bed just calmly waiting and looking so peaceful...just like the stories in Ina May's book. When I saw the 3 midwives at my final appointment I had mentioned that to them and they laughed and said, "Its not always like that. You were just doing great on your own."

Time for the Hard Work:

Having no idea what "pushing" felt like, it took a while to catch on. Then they suggested I push more than 1 time during each contraction to be more efficient. I really wasn't a fan of this idea but figured I needed to do what they said. 

I remember at one point saying, "Hypnobirthing sucks. It clearly doesn't work." To which Colleen replied, "Hypnobirthing is probably what helped you get to this point so efficiently."

Scott was laying at the top of the bed holding my hand. The midwives asked if he wanted to see the baby's head, he declined. They asked me if I wanted to get a mirror to see the baby's head. I declined. I figured that image would in no way help me through the process.

After about 40 minutes of pushing, Colleen said if I couldn't push her out in the next 2 contractions they  would be best to have me move to a birthing stool. The thought of having to move was motivation enough to try a little harder. Justine, the student midwife, gave me some instructions as to what was going to happen next. I remember just thinking, 'maintain eye contact and she'll think you are listening.'

Within the next few minutes at 9:50am Naomi was born at 8lb 10oz. As Scott tells her, "The day you came to us you were purple like Bazooka Joe bubble gum." She was wailing and pinked up pretty quickly and was trying to suck on anything that came close to her mouth.  She passed her APGAR test with flying colours. They asked Scott if he wanted to cut the cord and he said, "No its ok, you go ahead..."

The Third Stage of Labour:

I was amazed at a.) how big she was when they put her on my stomach, and b.) that there was no more pain once she was born. It was incredible how quickly it was over. Almost immediately I got really cold, teeth chattering and started convulsing. For a second I was confused and afraid. (Scott thinks it was hilarious). The midwives said its just your body going into shock and its completely normal. They asked Scott for a blanket. We looked at each other and thought about what blanket we could use as we really didn't have anything prepared for a home birth.

I had mentioned that Naomi and I decided on an 8 hour labour in our hypnobirthing sessions. If you count when I first felt a contraction, it would've almost been 8 hours exactly. The midwives counted it as 3.5 hours of labour as they said active labour started at 6:10 when my water broke that morning. (They didn't count the part that I slept through...)

The midwives did all the post-delivery checkups for me and the baby. Post-pardum recovery came as a shock to me. I'm not sure what I thought would happen post-baby, but I wasn't ready for  the "recovery" portion. Maybe people told me about that part and I didn't pay attention. Thankfully I had a few friends who did give me some excellent advice and tips to help.

I remember when I was in labour saying I would never have another baby and "Adoption is a valuable option." But only 2 weeks later I couldn't remember why I felt that way at the time and would joke that "I could do that over lunch". I figure the short term memory is Gods way of ensuring we have more.

Scott called my mom. When she saw his number come up on her phone she assumed we were on our way to the hospital. Scott said, "Do you want to come meet your granddaughter?" She was amazed. And then he told her we were at home which was even more of a shock to her. (I had been telling her that she should make sure she is dressed and put makeup on each morning just in case I called her when the baby was born. Knowing she'd rush over, she'd want the first pictures with the baby to be with makeup on!)

When mom and dad came, Scott took the baby out to show them. After a few minutes, the midwives brought her back to be with me though as they wanted her to be skin to skin as much as possible.

After everyone was checked out and doing well (about an hour and a bit after the delivery), I made my way to the living room. The midwives cleaned up the room. (Surprisingly we only lost one pillow to the whole experience.  Scott described as "looking like someone was murdered on it." Other than that, a hot and sanitize cycle in the washing machine and everything came out like new. The midwives left around noon after providing some instruction about nursing and ensuring everything was going smoothly.

 ...and we settled in as a family of 3.

Final Thoughts:

So yes, me, the "give me all the drugs you can/home births are ludicrous" girl ended up having a natural home birth and a story to be proud of. One year ago, I never would've imagined this.

I don't know if there is a secret formula to ensure a good labour and delivery. I can't say if there is one specific thing that I did that helped, or if none of it did, but I figured if I do everything I can to ensure my body is ready, it would be luck of the draw after that...but at least I knew I did everything that I knew how to in my power to make it go smoothly. Find the lengthy blog post on my pregnancy here.

I was so sad at my 6 week check up that it was the final appointment with the midwives as I felt such a connection to them for the amazing job they did in taking care of Naomi and me.  I would encourage anyone whole-heartedly to try to be under midwifery care as they made the experience so incredible, explaining what was happening and encouraging me the entire time. It amazes me how much a "You are doing a great job" comment from someone who has witnessed hundreds of births can help boost your confidence.

I was trying to find some type of inspirational thing to say at the end of this to wrap it all up nicely, but all I can think of is, "...And that's my story of how Naomi came into the world!" 

1 comment:

  1. I love this so much. It sounds like you had an incredible experience. I'm so happy for you and Scott. ♥