Eli Robert James V*******
September 16, 2010 - 1:30AM
7 pounds, 8 ounces - 21 inches
September 16, 2010 - 1:30AM
7 pounds, 8 ounces - 21 inches
Our birth story probably actually begins Monday evening, September 13 around 10:30PM. This was the first night I had anything that I could consider to be "real" pressure waves. Instead of the annoying tightening all over my belly, I started having what I would describe as period-like cramping in the very bottom of my abdomen. The cramps would build up and then fade away. It was nothing I'd even call painful, just different. I started timing just out of curiosity and had 3 that were 12 minutes apart, followed by 2 more at 10 minutes apart. Then they faded away and I drifted off to sleep.
I had also been walking around with pretty severe backache for several days by this point. I'd sit at my desk at work with a roll of stickers between the small of my back and the back of my chair to try and counter the pain. The backaches were pretty constant though, no matter what I did to try and remedy them. Tuesday night at bedtime, I noticed some new discharge when I went to the bathroom that resembled snot. I didn't want to get too excited and brushed it off as nothing. Wednesday morning though, I had some additional snot-like mucuous -- this time it was blood-tinged. I knew then that it had to be part of my mucuous plug and bloody show, and I couldn't help but get a bit excited. I sent my husband, Scott, a text message at work about it. He told me he had to ask some of the women he worked with what the mucous plug and bloody show were, but that every woman he talked to was absolutely convinced that labor was imminent. He tried to convince me to go home to rest, but I knew that the mucuous plug can regenerate and that it could still be quite some time before labor would begin. I stuck out the rest of the day at work with no other incident. I even stayed a bit later to get some extra things out of the way and went to fill up my gas tank, because Thursday evening we had another prenatal appointment scheduled with our midwife, Pam, and I knew I wouldn't have time between work Thursday evening and the appointment to fill up.
I got home shortly before 6PM, intending to make eggs for dinner as I did weekly. I ran to the bathroom and while in there, I had another "real" pressure wave. This time, however, I finally considered it to be painful. I let Scott know that plans had changed and asked him to fix my daughter, Maia, something simple for dinner and then went into the bedroom to lay down. Scott followed me in and asked me what was going on. I told him I thought I had just had a real pressure wave and that this might be it for real this time. We began to time waves and they were coming at regular intervals of 7 minutes. I decided to take a shower and it helped to dull the discomfort a bit. When I got out, I went back into the bedroom to rest a bit. My mom called at that point and I let her know I thought I was in labor. She asked about how far apart pressure waves were and how painful I thought they were and then urged me to call Pam.
I put in my first call to Pam at 6:30PM. Her husband answered the phone and said that she had forgotten her phone when she left the house. He asked for my name and said he would get a hold of her for me. After I got off the phone with Pam's husband, I decided to try a bath. Scott put on my Hynobabies "Fear Clearing" CD and I sat in the tub for about 10 minutes. I found that I was very uncomfortable in the shallow water though, and very quickly got out and returned to bed to wait for Pam to call. By 7PM, I still hadn't heard from her so I tried her phone twice with no answer. Somewhere in all of this, I also managed to let my sister, Kelly, and my pastor's wife, Cindy, know that I was in labor. My sister thought I was kidding as she was at work and wanted to be present for the birth. She tried to get someone to cover for her, and had actually found someone to do so, but my mom forbid her to make the hour or so drive in the dark due to her night blindness. Cindy asked us to contact her when things really picked up so she could get some sleep.
At 7:20, I called Pam's phone one more time and her husband answered again. I asked if he had gotten in touch with Pam yet and he said he had. I let him know that I thought I was in labor and he told me he would contact Pam again. She called from another phone at 7:30PM. I told her that my pressure waves were 6 - 7 minutes apart for the past hour and a half and that they were lasting about 40 seconds. Pam asked if I was able to walk or talk through them, and I told her that I felt as if I was having to concentrate through them as I was having them in my back and front simultaneously and also mentioned that I was stooling between every other contraction, so my body was definitely trying to clear itself out at that point. She told me that she was in West Bend (about 45 minutes from where she lives), but was heading back to Fond du Lac (another 45 minutes from us) to get her supplies and would be to me as soon as she could. I jumped back in the shower afterward while Scott got the bed ready with plastic and our birthing sheets and then I laid on my side in bed with a heating pad pressed to my back.
By this point, I was having to use focused breathing to get through the waves. When Scott was in the room, he would massage my back while I breathed. When he was out of the room attending to Maia or other things, I'd do my best to massage my own back through the heating pad during pressure waves. Scott put Maia to bed and then he came to lay with me and massage my back. The pressure waves were gradually picking up in intensity and coming closer together, but I managed to stay calm and somewhat relaxed through them all.
Pam arrived at the house at around 9:15PM. She checked the baby's heart tones through a pressure wave and found that he was holding steady in the 120's. She also asked if she could check my cervix and found that my inner os was dilated to 1.5 cm and paper thin, the outer os was dilated to 5 cm and that baby was sitting at 0 station. Then she and Scott got started setting up the birth pool. Scott would come in to check on me occassionally and help to massage my back through another wave. I remember that I was dozing off between waves by this point and only waking long enough to breath through the peaks. I was tired as I'd been up since 7AM that morning and hadn't had anything to eat or much to drink since 3:30PM that afternoon. The pool took awhile to fill as the water heater had to refill in between. Pam came in to check the baby's heart tones through a pressure wave about once an hour and Scott also mentioned to me that Pam was sleeping on the sofa between monitoring and while waiting to add more water to the tub.
I think it was after midnight sometime when I was told that the tub was full and they were just waiting for it to cool enough for me to get into it. My pressure waves were coming every 4 minutes or so at this point and were at the most intense that I remember them getting, although they were still bearable enough for me to simply breathe through and try my best to keep my body relaxed, which I found helped to keep them less painful if I didn't fight them or tense up. We thought I had quite awhile to go yet, but apparently we were wrong.
Just before 1AM, my pressure waves suddenly changed directions. I began to involuntarily bare down and my water bag broke across the bed. All plans for using the birthing tub were pushed aside. I began loudly insisting that I felt like I needed to have a bowel movement. Pam assured me that I probably didn't need to, that it was my baby getting ready to come out. She checked me in between pressure waves and found that I had a bit of a cervical lip left over. She told me she didn't really want me to push. However, when the next wave came, my body again began to bare down without any help from me. It was next to impossible to fight it and I remember loudly letting Scott and Pam know this. Pam told me that if that's what my body was telling me to do, then I should allow it.
The pushing pressure waves were far less painful than the waves I'd been having all night, and it actually felt like a relief to be able to push. I continued to push on my side with one foot on Pam's shoulder for 10 or 15 minutes. Pam told me to change positions if my body told me to do so and I told her I thought I'd like to try pushing on my hands and knees. I got up on my hands and knees and felt like it was much more effective. With the next push, Pam told me she could tell I was doing the right thing by being in that position.
Around this time, I told Scott to go and get Maia out of bed. Things had changed pace so quickly, I hadn't had the chance to call Cindy to have her come over, but I decided to have Maia come down anyway. Scott brought Maia down, but she seemed a bit confused and disoriented, so she went to sit in the living room. I continued to push on my hands and knees. Pam and Scott began telling me to push gently; the baby was coming. Controlling the pushes was tough, but I apparently managed to do it. Next thing I knew, as I roared the baby into the world (I least I felt like I was roaring -- Pam insisted I made nothing louder than normal birth sounds) I was told that the head was out, then the body. At 1:30AM sharp, Scott got to catch our baby, with right hand crossed over left shoulder and tucked under the chin. Scott is all about bragging up the awesome priviledge of catching his own child now. I heard a nice, strong cry almost immediately. Then, Scott passed the baby through my legs to me and Pam and Scott helped me to lay back on the bed. APGAR scores were 9 and 9.
I didn't even immediately think to check the sex as I was so in awe that I had actually done it. I had my home birth. I did it drug free. And I was surrounded by the people I loved. After a many second delay, I looked and discovered that I had given birth to a beautiful, perfect son. Scott and I had come to the agreement that I would be able to name a boy and he would name a girl. So I gave him his name, Eli Robert James, and cuddled him close. My placenta delivered at 1:37PM and sat in a glass bowl next to my leg as the cord remained attached to my beautiful boy. Scott went into the living room to get Maia and she still wouldn't come into the room due to the blood that was on the chux pads beneath me. Pam took care of that and covered me up so the blood couldn't be seen, and then Maia finally came to meet her new baby brother. She seemed afraid to touch him at first, but she was smiling and clearly proud to be a big sister.
Due to some excessive bleeding, Pam decided to give me a shot of pitocin. This wasn't particularly surprising as I recall some excessive bleeding with Maia's birth as well. We nursed for the first time around 2:00AM. I was surprised at how strong his latch was and so happy to see him alert and looking at me while he ate his first meal on the outside. Eli remained attached to his placenta until around this time. Pam wanted to be entirely sure it had stopped pulsing before cutting it. Once she was certain that all of the pulsing had stopped, she clamped the cord and Scott got to cut him free.
Eli was not taken from my chest for 2 hours. We spent the first hours of his life cuddling, and nursing, and getting to know eachother. During this time, I also received a second shot of pitocin, because I was still bleeding more than Pam liked. She cleaned me up, finding that I did have a small tear; however, she thought that we might be able to get away with allowing the tissue to heal on its own. She then took Eli from me to check his reflexes and get him weighed and measured. All of his reflexes were present. He weighed 7 pounds 8 ounces and was 21 inches long. He had a 35 centimeter head and a 34 centimeter chest.
After measurements had been taken, Pam decided it was time for me to try and use the bathroom. Scott and Pam tried several times to stand me up, but I was far too light-headed from the blood loss. Pam checked more closely and discovered that the small tear was actually accompanied by a burst hematoma and it was found that this was likely the actual cause of the excessive bleeding. She decided to catheterize me first to empty my bladder since I was too dizzy to walk to the bathroom and couldn't convince my body to urinate on a towel that Pam had rolled between my legs. Afterward she stitched me up -- 4 stitches in all, but overall pretty minor. Pam didn't leave until after 7AM, when she was sure it was safe to do so. She promised to be back that evening to check on us and left me with an encouraging hug.
The birth of my son, Eli, was a healing experience for me. Maia's birth 6 years earlier had been very traumatic. Having my second child in the comfort and peace of my own home with only my husband and my guardian in attendance was exactly what I needed to move on and stop blaming myself for all of the things that had gone wrong the first time around. God's hand was truly on me throughout this pregnancy and birth. Praises to Him for the blessings I have received in the form of my beautiful son, Eli, the never-ending support of my husband, Scott, and the guardian angel and dear friend we have found in our midwife, Pam.
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart..."
Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)
before you were born I set you apart..."
Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)
^30 or so minutes after birth -- nursing for the first time!
^This is Austin's (age 14) first brother. He has 3 younger sisters, if you include Maia.
^She (age 6) really is proud. She likes to pat his arm and share her doll's blankets with him
^Guardian of the process -- our midwife, Pam. Taken 4 days after the birth during our second post partum visit. She did Eli's PKU test that day -- oh man, the drama!
^Taken last night