I just thought I'd add my story to the mix....hope this is an okay place to do it. :)
Ronan Edward barreled into this world at 11:55 pm on Saturday February 11, 2012. The birth happened at Birthwise Birthing Center and was attended by two of the three midwives on staff, Natalie Lake and Jayme Moore. He was 6 pounds 10 ounces and 19 1/2 inches long.
After my due date came and went with Emery(DS1), I was so ready to begin taking things into my own hands with this pregnancy and did not want to go over my due date by three weeks(like I did wiht DS1).
I began taking Evening Primrose Oil at 36 weeks in order to ripen and soften my cervix. By the time I hit 40 weeks I was getting impatient. My blood pressure had a spike and I was sent for acupuncture to bring it down and start the “induction” process. My blood pressure came down but nothing else happened. That night I had a mini mental breakdown and threatened to check myself into the hospital to have them induce me. (Really bad night fueled by lack of sleep and hormones-I NEVER would have actually done this!) I made an appointment with another acupuncturist two days later and we tried again. Baby was super active but nothing much happened. The next day I had an appointment with April Bullock, the Midwife who had handled most of my prenatal. She checked my vitals and did a cervical sweep while physically applying EPO to the cervix. I was really hoping this would do it, but again nothing much happened. I had my final acupuncture treatment on the 9th. It was a very intense session and a lot of energy was shifted. I felt amazing afterwards and was at peace with Baby coming when he/she was ready. The next day I woke up with a very itchy rash all over my body. I called the Birthing center to ask if there was anything to be concerned about, and what I could do to alleviate the itching. Jayme asked me to come in the following day to look at it and listen to the baby etc. Everything was fine so she sent me on my way with some homeopathic medicines. That night the itching intensified so I called Jayme again and she wanted me to come in the next morning to just check in. The next morning was 2/11/12, 41 weeks. The baby was listened to, my vitals were taken and we discussed what would happen if we needed to induce naturally, how we would go about that. As we were leaving, Natalie said, “Enjoy your last hours of being pregnant.” (She later said that she just had a feeling that it was close.)
When we left I took Owen to work, and went home with Emery. We both took a very long nap. I woke up and felt absolutely fine. Owen came home; we had dinner, put Emery to bed and were just hanging out watching TV. I felt achy in my back so I squatted on the floor. We talked about the baby and what it would be like when it finally decided to come. I mentioned that I thought 2/11/12 would be a cool birthday but that I dint’ think it would happen because we only had about three hours left.
About 10pm, I felt a mild contraction and noted the time, I sat on my birthing ball because my back was hurting, about 15 minutes later I felt another and made another mental note of the time, and then again 15 minutes later. They weren’t intense at all so I told Owen I think I just had three contractions about 15 minutes apart, I’m sure they’ll stop in a minute. Then I felt a “pop” and jumped, Owen looked at me shocked and I said, “What? Did you hear that?” Because I really thought it was an audible pop. He told me No, and smiled at me.
I went to the restroom to check and see if my waters had indeed broken, and noticed a bit of “bloody show” on the tissue, it was barely noticeable, just a bit pink. No fluids, not even a tiny bit of a drip. My stomach felt upset so I used the restroom and the whole time was talking to Owen about whether or not this was real labor. About 5 minutes later, I started feeling the contractions, and they were getting stronger. We called Judy (Owen’s mom) and had to convince her that we weren’t joking and she really needed to leave and head our way (they live three hours away). I called the Midwife on duty (Natalie) and asked her if she thought we needed to head to the birthing center as the contractions were only 10 minutes apart, and I could talk through them. She told me to wait an hour, and if they intensified to call her back.
Owen started loading the car and I was trying to pack a few last minute things while dealing with the quickly intensifying contractions. It got to the point where I could only handle them if I was on all fours leaned over the bed or the couch vocalizing or moaning. I timed them and they were three minutes apart. Owen called Natalie and told her we were headed to the birthing center. (She later told us that she heard me on the phone in the background and knew that the baby was on the way.)
Owen woke Emery and took him to the car. I followed them out and had a contraction as I was getting in the car. It was so powerful I wondered if we would make it to the Birthing Center on time. I couldn’t buckle my seatbelt and I had one very long contraction on the freeway. The intensity of it frightened me a bit and I heard Owen say, “You’re doing great honey, we’re almost there”, then I heard Emery say, “I want my grandma.’ He was tired and overwhelmed by all that was happening.
In the 15 minute drive it took us to get to the Center, I had about 5 contractions.
When we arrived at the birthing center around 11:00PM, I had a very powerful contraction and had to lean over the seat with my rear out of the car. Owen asked me if I could walk. I doubted it and was afraid Id have one on the way up the walk to the center.
I made it through the front door and began having another contraction. This one felt different. I could feel the baby moving down and felt the urge to go to the bathroom. The midwife helped me onto the toilet, and I had a contraction and felt the urge to bear down. Natalie asked me if I wanted to have the baby there, or where I wanted to have the baby. At this point I knew that my plan to have a water birth was pretty much out of the question due to the fact that the baby was coming way faster than I had anticipated. I told her that I wanted to have the baby in the water, but I didn’t know if I would make it. She told me to come into the birthing room and they would get the water running. As soon as I climbed into the bed on all fours I could feel the baby moving further down and my body started to push. Natalie asked if I wanted to feel the baby’s head, being in denial that it was happening that quickly, I remember saying, "No, it’s not time yet.”
Each contraction was coming closer and closer together and I began vocalizing in high octaves, and consciously I thought to myself, lower, make them lower. As I lowered my pitch; I heard Natalie or Jayme tell me that I was doing great. Things were happening quickly, but I was doing great.
Owen was busy unpacking the car and getting Emery situated. At one point he came in and lightly touched my back and I told him, “The baby is coming, I can feel the baby coming, it’s happening so fast!” The next thing I know I feel the baby’s head crowning and I just remember saying “It burns!” I felt a warm compress on my perineum and it felt so nice. Natalie said, “Okay, on the next push you’ll have your baby!” I pushed and Natalie caught him. They helped me turn over and I looked up to see Owen holding Emery. I looked down and saw that Ronan was a boy.
It was only 11:55.
Although he wasn’t born in the water, and I didn’t get to “catch” him, I wouldn’t change a thing about this birth. Emery got to see his baby brother being born, which wasn’t planned, and it was gentle as possible considering how quickly it all happened.
We are so in love with Ronan, and our little family feels complete, for now.
This is my first draft. I'm sure as I re-read it and remember the beautiful details, I will add to it, but for my loving DDC, here it is:
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I woke up at 10 p.m. Thursday (2/23) with contractions. They were strong enough to wake me up, but didn’t require special breathing. I was curious and aware that this was the first time throughout all my contractions that I’d experienced any at night. In the past several weeks, contractions died away at night and resumed during the day. The whole night I felt the contractions never getting harder or faster, but not going away either. I remained gently aware and cautiously hopeful.
Friday (2/24), Michael asked if he should stay home and I said no, I just didn’t want to assume that this was it. Contractions continued through the morning. I gradually started feeling like I was exhausted by them. I had been sitting on the exercise ball since Wednesday night doing hip circles and I continued Friday morning while I tried to meet my accounting deadlines at work. By 10 a.m. I was getting very tired and anxiously waiting for Aylen’s 1 p.m. nap time. I prepared our lunches and put in a call to the women’s center, asking if I could skip my afternoon appointment because I thought I was in labor. They told me I needed to come in anyway so they could check the baby’s heartbeat. I texted Michael and asked him to come home by 2:30 so he could take me because I didn’t feel safe driving myself. Every diaper change or movement to help Aylen made me feel so tired and overwhelmed. I started sweating through the contractions and doing my hypnobirthing breathing whenever one would start to take my breath away. I texted Michael minutes later and asked him to come home now. I was so tired I couldn’t take care of Aylen. A friend stopped by with these special “go-into-labor cupcakes” and I stood outside with cold wet washcloths on my face and neck, speaking with her about how this baby better finally be coming. I put Aylen down for her nap, waited for Michael to get home and then went to bed. I tried to sleep. I may have even dozed a little but the contractions were consistent. At my 3 p.m. appointment the contractions continued and the monitor showed that they were strong and the baby’s heartbeat was fine. I was dilated to 2 cm, which threatened to disappoint me after weeks of contractions. Our midwife Debbi agreed that we were on our way but warned us, it might taper off and if so, just rest. I thought they might stop at night since that had been the pattern, but they didn’t. We ate burgers and fries for dinner and went to bed early. We watched a TV show and I tried to sleep but just couldn’t. I just drank water, breathed through contractions and trusted that we were really going to have this baby.
I wasn’t timing contractions because I didn’t want to get too hopeful or excited or anxious. I just let them come. A little after 1 a.m. I decided to get on the couch because I was too uncomfortable lying down in bed. I was breathing deeper and more consciously through each contraction and then trying to find a comfortable sitting-up position to sleep in. At 2 a.m. I sat up with a loud moan, unable to breathe through a very intense contraction. Michael came running down the hallway and said, “I’m making phone calls.” I told him to wait. What if it stopped? What if the hospital sent me home? I guess he was timing my contractions because after a few he informed me he was calling Lea and Mariela (my cousin to babysit, and our doula, respectively). I was going inward and I’m proud of myself for being able to go into the contractions instead of trying to get away from them, which is how I felt the last time I was in labor. I was accepting of them, grateful for them and I had a mantra of “Love and Oxygen” every time I inhaled through the peak of a contraction. I told myself my baby needed love and oxygen and forced myself to slowly inhale instead of hyperventilate.
Lea arrived and Michael gave her some instructions for Aylen. We waited til I finished a contraction and then we walked to the car. It was freezing, almost 4 a.m., 30 degrees and 65 mph winds. I had on flip flops, sweat pants and a t-shirt. I couldn’t bear the thought of wearing a jacket so I wrapped myself in a blanket and hugged my pillow. Once in the car, we saw Mariela arrive and she followed us to the hospital. While we drove I had random thoughts about how I couldn’t believe I was going through this again and it’s so painful, why do people do this to themselves? I would replace the thoughts with other thoughts like, “it’s just one day of my life” and “I get to meet my baby soon.” Every stop or turn intensified my contractions. We arrived at the hospital and I told Michael I didn’t want to be dropped off, I wanted to be with him, so we parked the car and walked with Mariela into the ER entrance where they put me in a wheel chair and took me upstairs. Our midwife was in with another mom who was having a baby, so I just felt my contractions and breathed, waiting for her. I was checked by a nurse and they said I was 4 cm. Since I’d progressed since the afternoon, I didn’t have to go home and that relieved me. I still felt like it might be a long time because I had 6 cm to go.
I got into the tub with hot water and felt immediate relief from the pain of the contractions, though not the intensity. I was so tired. A nurse came in and offered me pain medication through my IV. I thought that if I had that medication I’d be able to rest a little and then I wouldn’t end up getting an epidural. I looked at Michael who said, “I support whatever you want and need.” I got out of the tub and into the bed so they could administer the drugs. I felt so much better and think I might have even slept. About 40 minutes later I felt them wear off. Apparently, they gave me very little. I immediately asked for help, for more, please, before the pain came back. Debbi very gently told me we were going to have a baby soon and that it would be best if the baby wasn’t under the effects of any medication when she was born. A piece of me didn’t care, the same piece of me that thought a c-section would be a great idea because then I could get some sleep. I realized that I was going to have to do this and that I could do it but I knew that I didn’t have much energy.
Mariela continued giving me chipped ice on a spoon and draping cold wet cloths on my face and neck and shoulders. She was such a gentle, strong support that never made me feel overwhelmed or suffocated. Michael stayed near, not asking questions (as I’d asked of him) and just being there every time I reached out to lean on him through a contraction. So many times I would just lean into his green sweatshirt and feel his strength and warmth. I would tell him I love him over and over and know that somehow our love, his love, my love would get us through this. I was 8 cm, then 9, then 9 ¾ and then told I could try to push but I didn’t want to.
I wish I’d waited, but I was desperate to find relief from the pain and so I started to push. Everyone was telling me to push and I truly tried but I was laying on my side and didn’t have the energy or the strength. All I felt was pain and exhaustion. I got on my hands and knees and felt like the pushes were more productive, but still, I just wanted to rest. During contractions I would moan, “Help” or “Please somebody”. I knew nobody could do anything even though I asked them to “get it out!” Back on my side I felt powerless to push again so I got on my knees but we raised the back of the bed so I could lean on it and hold onto it. I felt more control in that position and felt the contractions increasing. Finally people stopped telling me to push. I told them to stop talking. I felt contractions come and go and half-heartedly pushed. But eventually I felt the contractions actually moving the baby and in a very quiet moment I began a push that felt like it lasted several minutes. I heard someone say “Yes!” and Debbi say “Slow down” but there was no stopping me at this point. I could feel that this push was everything. I was going to reclaim my body and hold my baby in my arms. She came flying out, a rush of fluid and baby and then it was over. I frantically said, “Give her to me. I need her. Where is she? Where is she?” Someone said, “Reach down and grab her.” I looked down and didn’t see her and someone rolled her to me and I grabbed her, slippery, wet and probably upside down, I couldn’t tell. They helped me turn around and I sat and held my screaming baby while I sobbed.
Oh she was perfect and beautiful. We watched her gorgeous umbilical cord pulse for many minutes. Michael cut it when prompted. Eventually, she stopped crying and we were able to just be together. Even Michael felt the relief and joy and celebrated with me in a way we couldn’t the last time because of how traumatic it had been. I regret nothing about this birth. I realize that I did an amazing thing and I birthed my baby completely aware and physically feeling every moment of it. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life and yet I cherish that I did it, survived it and can celebrate it.
My family is now a family of four. I am a mother of two beautiful girls. I feel honored to have created this family with my husband and I feel blessed by every minute we spend together.