Tuesday, March 10, 2015

George's Birth

Warning: There are lots of pictures from the birth and I tried to keep it as modest as possible.  There is no crotch shots but this is a water birth and the pictures are exactly what I want to remember so if you are squeamish or don't want to see my bare skin you may want to skip this post.

George's birth wasn't glamorous. It was simple and I didn't realize it till it was over but simple was everything I dreamed it would be. I didn't set out to have a  home birth because I thought it would be glamorous, I had a home birth because I knew in my heart it was the safest place for me to birth my baby.  By no means do I think that home birth is for everyone.  I believe a women should be where she feel most safe.  I knew that a home birth was a safe option for me.   I went into my pregnancy knowing I would have a home birth.  Ron and I had interviewed my midwife and I had done years of research leading us to it.  It didn't matter what any one else said, my confidence did not waiver, until the end.  I wish this wasn't a part of our (George and I's) story, unfortunately it is but luckily it doesn't change the beauty of his birth day.  As things got closer to his "due date"  and I went over there were people who acted as though I should be doing something to be moving things a long, or as though I was knowingly harming my baby by not forcing him out of my body.  I am very grateful for the people in my life who encouraged and uplifted me,  who had faith in our decisions instead of questioning us.  I was so prayerful in my decisions, especially in the end and I received so much reassurance from the Holy Ghost that everything was okay.  I was also immensely grateful for the confidence that Ron gave me in the end.  I know he never imagined having a child at home and I know there were times he might have been worried but he was honestly my rock. When people questioned us, he reassured me and gave me strength.  I've never been a patient person but I studied patience in the scriptures and in gospel talks and Heavenly Father gave me the patience I needed.  I gained so much more from this experience than a son and for that I am eternally grateful.  I hope I have the opportunity to do it again.

At my 40 week appointment the student working with my midwife, Christina, stripped my membranes.  I'd been having light contractions for a couple weeks but they never went anywhere or lasted very long.  After having Cindie at 38 weeks I was really hoping this little guy would come somewhere around the same time so as you can imagine making it to 40 weeks was a shock to me.  Nothing really happened other than some heavy cramping that night after getting my membranes stripped. Between 40 and 41 weeks things started to get really hard and people started questioning us.  I had a particularly hard night and woke up in the middle of the night really upset by some of the things people were doing and saying.  I opened up my email  at prob 3 or 4 a.m. and saw I had an email from my mom.  She had sent me an email letting me know she had bought me a bracelet with a note that said, "Erin, this so reminded me of you..." and the bracelet said, "she believed she could so she did."  It immediately brought tears to my eyes. I couldn't stop crying.  I knew that Heavenly Father had given me a tender mercy in the form of my mom and countless others as well who encouraged and uplifted me.  I did research, talked to others who had gone over 40 weeks and continued to prayer and knew that things were okay.  At 41 weeks (tues) I text my midwife, Chris to schedule another appointment with her for that week and she asked if I wanted her to come see me the next day or if I wanted to come to an appointment on Thursday.  I told her that emotionally I would love if she could come see me the next day.  Chris had this way of reassuring me and especially Ron so I was anxious to see her.  She told me to call her in the morning.  The next morning (wed) I called her and she told me she would be by around 12:30.  I spent the morning cleaning up and making sure that things were in order.  As you can imagine, when you are having a home birth there is a need to keep everything very clean leading up to it.  My house was almost spotless most days after 38 weeks =)  Chris got to my house around noon and we talked about everything that was weighing on my mind.  She listened to me cry and reassured me that I was not putting my baby at risk by not being induced.  Statistically I knew that she was right, I had done my research, but she reassured me with her experience and her knowledge.  She told me that if we felt like we needed to we could go up to the hospital and see a doctor that she works with when her clients need/ want to have an ultrasound and make sure everything is okay in the end. I told her I would talk to Ron but I would probably hold off and go if I made it to 42 weeks. Before she left she checked the babies heart rate and then stripped my membranes.  I was finally seeing some progression and was 2 cm dilated and 75% effaced which is about where I was when I had my membranes stripped with Cindie at 38 weeks. I was checked the first time at 39 week this pregnancy  and each time I was barely dilated and not effaced.

After Chris and Christina left I did some things around the house talked to my sisters on the phone and about 3:00 I started to realize I was having light contractions so I decided to time them.  By the time Ron got off work at about 3:30 and we had talked over the next half hour while he drove to his second job he was convinced I was in labor.  I was having contractions ever 6-8 minutes and I was not convinced it was real.  He decided to run into work and let them know what was going on and come home.  He got home around 4:15 and we went for a walk around the park track around the corner from us.  It was very obvious to Ron that I was in labor but I was too nervous to admit it, afraid that it would all stop. We grabbed dinner and then came home and ate it.  He had young mens/young womens that night and was giving a presentation on his mission so I sent him to that because my contractions hadn't increased in frequency and were still very bearable.  I put the girls down that night and told Lizzy that I was hoping she would have a baby brother the next day.  Lizzy was beside herself in excitement.  I continued to time contractions over the next few hours while trying to decide if we should have my mom come into town.  She was packed and ready to go but my contractions were starting to taper to more like 15 minutes apart so I talked her into staying home and leaving first thing in the morning. By then it was late and I was worried about her traveling late into the night.  At this point my labor was starting to look a lot like Cindie's labor and I didn't have her til 3:30 the next day.  I thought for sure my mom would be able to make it.  At about 11:40 I climbed into bed and fell asleep.  I was really hoping to get some sleep if this was going to continue into the next afternoon.  I slept pretty lightly but I slept and about 2:40 I woke up in too much pain to sleep and started timing the contractions and realized they were coming every 3-4 minutes and pretty strong.  I woke Ron up, text my friend Elise that was coming to help and asked her to come when she could and called my midwife.  Chris said to time them a little bit longer and let her know if I needed her. I text my mom and then when I didn't hear from her had Ron call her. She was going to hop in the car right away and head our way.  Elise showed up right away and between Ron and Elise they got things ready and helped me manage contractions which just continued to come every 3-4 minutes for hours.  We already had the birth pool up so Ron attached a hose to the shower and filled up the pool a bit. I moved around a lot, would wrap my arms around Ron at times, sit on our Lazy boys with hot pads on my low abdomen or back, lean over the birth ball and sway back and forth.  When Elise came I had pulled out a bunch of food for whoever might be there so at times we sat at the table.  Ron was my physical support and Elise would remind me at times to breath when I would hold my breath or to listen to the music when it seemed like it was getting hard for me.

 As the hours went on and my contractions got worse I remember sometime in the 6am hour getting slightly weepy.  I cried about the girls lives changing or the lyrics to the music.  I cried because I realized that things were starting to get hard.  I started to feel really bad that Elise and Ron had been up all that time and told them I would climb in the bath and my contractions would slow down and become more bearable and they should try to close their eyes.  Elise laid on the couch and Ron sat in a chair in our room.  I climbed in the bath and while it took the edge off, my contractions starred coming closer.  I sat in there and moaned through the contractions as long as I could and then got out and tried to lay on my bed.  When I laid down on the bed, on my side the contractions became unbearable for me.  I got up and woke Ron who had slept through all my noise and decided to text my midwife.  At 7:09 I text Chris and wrote, " I think I need you.  They are closer to 2.5 now and less manageable so even if you can just assess the situation. Thank you." She text back that she would get ready and head over.  She lives in the same small town as me so I knew it wouldn't be long. I told Ron that I think we should start filling the pool so he turned on the hose and in the mean time started to fill the pool. My contractions continued and Elise would time them.  She had been timing them most of the night and had noticed that they would peak at about 1 minute so she would count down to the peak just to remind me how close I was to the contraction tapering off.  It helped a lot.  Around 7:40 Chris and Christina got to my house and I was in the middle of a really hard contraction. The last few contractions I had, I had started to feel pushy and like I needed to bear down during a contraction. I got up and gave them hugs and with tears in my eyes I told them I was afraid for her to check me. When she asked me why I told her I couldn't handle hearing I was only at a five.  She asked me what I could handle hearing and I told her I could handle an 8.  We went to my room and they listened to babies heart rate and she checked me and I was 8cm dilated and complete.  I was so relieved I cried again and told Ron, "We ARE having a baby!"  I guess this was the first time I knew I could admit I was officially in labor.

Around 8 am lizzy and Cindie woke up and came into the room.  Lizzy was so excited and as I started into another contraction I told her that I was going to have a contraction and that it was going to hurt me.  She had watched a lot of birth videos over the course of my pregnancy so she knew what was going to happen but I felt like I needed to warn her.  She rubbed my back and I her presence was so sweet. She ran downstairs to get dressed and came up with the only shirt she had that mentioned her little brother.  Elise and Ron worked on feeding the girls and finding someone to come get them or play with them downstairs.  We had a hard time getting a hold of my good friend so finally we put them downstairs with a movie.  Cindie was very anxious while she was up and seemed very concerned about mommy.

I sat down on the toilet and had a very pushy contraction and Chris said she felt like it was time for me to get in the tub.  The water was so hot and felt so good.  Chris told me just to follow my body and do whatever I felt like I needed to do.  About that time I looked around the room and realized that I had just labored all night in my home and it was calm and safe and quiet and now I was going to get to do the hard work in my home and I had all the confidence in the world.  I knew that it was all okay.

 We continued to try and find someone to take the girls and I think the need to push subsided a bit since I was stressing about the girls. Luckily my contractions were coming more like five minutes apart so I would get long breaks in between. I didn't experience that with Cindie because my contractions were literally just on top of each other at the end with her.  My dear friend Nat came by and grabbed the girls.  Ron was running around trying to gather their stuff and finally I told him I needed him and asked him if he could just let them take care of it.

This is about when the timing of things gets hazy for me.  I had been on my back trying to push and the pushing was pretty ineffective.  I was pretty much shying away from pushing and just doing the bear minimum.  They told me they were going to break my water and I said no.  Chris asked why not and I told her because it was going to get more painful if they did.  She reassured me that at that point it wouldn't get more painful.  On the next contraction Christina poked my bag of water.  After that I could feel that my pushing was a lot more effective.  I was grateful for that feeling but I also wanted to run away from it.  It was really easy in the water on my back to move away from the contractions and so at some point,during a contraction I flipped over and was on my knees in the water.  It was amazing to me how efficiently everyone else seemed to be working.  It was during a contraction that I  flipped and hung on to Christina.  Ron rushed over because he had been on the other side of the tub supporting me and all of a sudden Christina and Ron switched places.  I needed Ron so much.  His presence reassured me and when I would say that I couldn't do it, he would encourage me and remind me that I could.  I felt like I could do real work in that position and when I pushed I felt George move down and all of a sudden I could finally feel his squishy little head with my hand.

 At some point I realized I had my glasses on and they were fogging up so in between contraction I put my contacts in.  You can see them in my right hand in this picture.  When I asked Ron for my contacts he looked at me like I was crazy since I was pushing at this point.  You can see how relaxed I was in between pushing.  

 After pushing a few times in that position my midwives told me I was blocking the "Baby door" and told me if I would flip over they would help me get him out.  I flipped over and because I was able to feel him I felt like I could be more effective.  I have never wanted to do this before but I just kept my hand on him the rest of the time.  In between contractions there still continued to be long stretches.  I am not really sure how long (prob not as long as I thought) but I remember asking if it was normal and Chris reassured me.  At one point his head was out to his forehead and we just sat and waited.  The next push his head was completely out and Christina encouraged me to continue to push the rest of his body out.  As I did I reached around his shoulders and pulled my son up to my chest at 8:49 a.m. It was amazing to bring him out of the water.  I held him in my armsand he calmed in them.  They listened to his heart beat and he fell asleep right there.  I  just held him and relaxed.

Christina had me feel the umbilical cord while it pulsed. It is truly an amazing thing to feel. Finally after the placenta stopped pulsing Ron cut the cord and George cried for the first time for after being calm for quite a while.  After Ron cut the cord I noticed he was rooting so I breastfed him and he latched on with no problem.  I nursed him and and then Ron got to hold him.

Shortly after that they weighed him while I was still in the water.  Chris asked me what the girls weighed and then told me he was 9 lbs 1 oz.  I was wanting a big baby so I was pretty excited but for sure I could feel the difference in the pushing.

I climbed in the shower and while I was in their I heard my mom come in and ask how I was doing.  Chris told her that I had the baby.  I felt so bad that she had missed it.

I got out of the shower and got dressed in Ron's shirt and climbed in bed and nursed him again. They did his apgar score and measurements right on my bed.

  The girls were anxious to get home and came in shortly after that.  It was the most amazing thing and I couldn't help but cry happy tears as we all snuggled in my bed and I got to introduce the girls to their baby brother.

 My friend Elise who was so awesome to loose sleep and help and take pictures is in the picture below.  She has a family of 6 kids so it was a huge sacrifice for her.

 I love this picture below.  This is Chris on the far right, my good friend Nat and then Christina.  I credit these three women for helping me have a home birth.  Nat had a home birth with her last child and Chris was her midwife so she answered all my questions about home birth and talking to her and her husband really helped Ron open up to the idea.

It was just a  beautiful experience and I have more pictures to come!  I am trying to document more on my blog because I got rid of facebook.