The Birth Story of Lennon Maxine
Born in water
Into her mama’s hands
April 17, 2012 7:42 PM
9 pounds 2 ounces, 20 ¼ inches long
Beginning of Labor
My due date was April 15th and on the night of April 16th, I had trouble sleeping. I couldn’t get comfortable and tossed and turned. I finally fell asleep around 2 or 3 AM the 17th and since I was able, I slept that day until my body naturally woke me which was about 2 PM. I got up and noticed pretty quickly after awaking that I was having some pretty good, yet painless Braxton Hicks type contractions. When I went to the bathroom, I noticed some of my mucus plug was lost…but I still didn’t think a whole lot of it, since it was not blood tinged or anything. At least I knew that these BH contractions were doing something. In my gut I kind of had a feeling this could be the start of something, so I started cleaning up and doing things I’d want done before going into labor. The contractions seemed to become a little stronger, yet still painless and I thought for sure that I was in “early labor”.
In hindsight, I now see that my “early labor” must have been taking place earlier in the day while I was actually SLEEPING, because things were about to take a really fast turn. I was standing in the bathroom rinsing out a waste basket when suddenly my water broke. With my last birth (the only one in which my water was NOT artificially ruptured), my water didn’t break until her head was emerging , right before she was birthed so when I was standing there and my water broke, my first reaction was fear (that she was going to be born within moments!) but that faded as rationality set in. However, I have a history of very fast labors so I knew that I had to get to the waterbirth center quickly. My water broke at 5:45 PM and I called my midwife, she said she could meet me at the birth center in about an hour. I hoped I had an hour. I discovered after I hung up with her that there was actually meconium in my water. I called her back and told her and she said that was okay and just asked if it was light or dark. It was light, so my water was just a light tinged brown color instead of being clear which indicated that it was old and that is better than if it were fresh meconium which would indicate the baby was in distress.
Labor and Birth
There was maybe a 10 minute rest between the painless contractions prior to my membranes rupturing and when I had the next contraction which was painful enough to let me know I was now in active labor. I was very flustered as I rushed to get leave for the birth center. When I arrived, I got there before the midwife and her apprentice did, but the receptionist for some reason had stayed late that day and so there was someone there. Her eyes got very wide as I come stumbling in with a towel between my legs and in very obvious labor. I just remember saying very urgently, “Can we fill the birth pool like NOW?”
The contractions were getting progressively stronger and closer together. I think I was just entering transition or close to it when I arrived at the birth center at about 6:30 PM. The apprentice arrived first and then my midwife. My contractions were coming really close together and they were strong. As one ended, there was barely a breath in between the next one starting. I remember saying, “Oh no, not another one already!!” every time a new one would start. It was almost a little bit scary how fast it was all progressing. My midwife asked me at one point if I’d like to have my cervix checked for dilation of if I’d like to decline. I was a little curious, but had wanted no cervix checks during pregnancy or labor at all (unless necessary) and I answered, “I don’t know…how dilated do you think I am?” (As I’m in the throes of transition stage labor) and she said, “I think it doesn’t matter.” That is what I thought too, so I said “I decline”.
The contractions kept coming one on top of another practically and I started feeling the baby moving lower and lower. I started to feel the pressure of her head. It was not long until I felt the need to bear down with the contractions. I couldn’t help but bear down. I did so with a grunting and I’m not sure how many contractions that I had the uncontrollable urge to bear down with each contraction, I’m thinking maybe eight? I had gotten up on my knees, upright because that is the position I ended up in with my other waterbirth. The floor of the birth pool was hurting my knees, though. My midwife said, “I assume you want to catch your own baby?” and I said, “Yes.” She then said, “Okay, we won’t put our hands in the water. Unless the baby needs help, we will keep our hands out of the water”. She sat on the bed, a good distance from the birth pool the entire time. The apprentices watched a little closer but no one ever put their hands in the water once the entire time I labored and birthed.
With each contraction that I beared down with, she was coming closer and closer to being born. I reached down and felt her head at one point just right there. Finally with a contraction I pushed her head out and with the next one, her body slid out into the water. I reached down into the water and lifted her up to my heart. The first thing that I said was “I did it!” My first thought when I looked at her was “Oh my goodness, she is so cute!” I just saw this round, chubby, perfect little cherub face. From the moment she was born, all covered in vernix she was so beautiful! The midwives’ first comment was “She is not little!” They were already guessing she was close to a 9 pounder. I stayed in the water and just held her. She was born at 7:42 PM. About an hour after I arrived at the birth center.
I was given a break of maybe 10 minutes from contractions, when the afterbirth contractions started and they were truly as painful and strong as the end of labor contractions. It was unbelievable. They kept coming and coming and they were way too painful than they should have been. The apprentice asked if she could feel for the placenta and do gentle cord traction. She thought it was right there, and it was…so with a contraction I pushed it out and it was massive. It was the biggest placenta that the apprentices had ever seen. It looked very healthy as well. I tried nursing her in the water, but she didn’t seem to be interested yet. I think she was in shock from the fast labor, also. After the placenta was birthed, they plopped it into a bowl and floated it in the water and then we clamped it off at her navel and cut the cord.
The Afterbirth Discovery
I was in bed snuggling my precious new baby, attempting to get her to take the breast while the midwives were in the bathroom examining the placenta when my midwife came to me and said, “Um, is it alright with you if we take pictures of your placenta?” I said yes, and she said, okay good because we’ve never seen this before. I asked if it was “good or bad” and she said, “Let me just put it this way, it’s a miracle your baby is alive right now.” Then she told me and showed me that my placenta had a rare abnormality called Vasa Previa and a Velamentous cord insertion.
Vasa previa is a rarely (1:2500) reported condition in which fetal blood vessel(s) from the placenta or umbilical cord crosses the entrance to the birth canal, beneath the baby. The condition has a high fetal mortality rate (50-95%). This can be attributed to rapid fetal exsanguination resulting from the vessels tearing when the cervix dilates, membranes rupture or if the vessels become pinched off as they are compressed between the baby and the walls of the birth canal. Normally, the veins of the baby run from the middle of the placenta via the umbilical cord to the baby. Velamentous insertion means that the veins, unprotected by Wharton's jelly, traverse the membranes before they come together into the umbilical cord.
The umbilical cord inserts on the placental mass in about 99% of cases. The insertion site may vary from the center of the fetal surface to the border of the placenta. The term velamentous insertion is used to describe the condition in which the umbilical cord inserts on the chorioamniotic membranes rather than on the placental mass.
Therefore, a variable segment of the umbilical vessels runs between the amnion and the chorion, losing the protection of the Wharton's jelly.
The incidence of this condition is about 1.1% in singleton pregnancies and 8.7% in twin gestations. In twin pregnancies it is higher in monochorionic placentation or when the placentas are fused than when the placentas are non-fused. The incidence of velamentous insertion is even higher in early pregnancy; in spontaneous abortions it has been estimated to be 33% between the 9th and 12th weeks and 26% between the 13th and 16th weeks.
The most significant clinical problem arising from a velamentous insertion of the umbilical cord is vasa previa, a dangerous condition in which the velamentous umbilical vessels traverse the fetal membranes in the lower uterine segment below the presenting part. In 6% of singleton pregnancies with a velamentous insertion, vasa previa is a coexisting condition. These unprotected vessels may rupture at any time during pregnancy, causing fetal exsanguination and death. Although spontaneous rupture has been reported before labor and with or without intact membranes, this accident occurs most often during amniotomy. (When the water breaks)
IT IS A MIRACLE THAT LENNON IS ALIVE!! I truly know in my heart that she survived the odds of this condition because she was being watched over and has a very special purpose here in which she was meant to be here. It blows my mind to know how easily I could have lost her. Its things like this that reminds me there is a God.
She is so beautiful. I can’t take my eyes off her. Everything about her is so perfect. She has the sweetest disposition, too. I’m so grateful she came into my life. Named after my beloved grandma and another magnanimous soul, John Lennon…she has two angel kiss birthmarks on her eyelids that I’d like to believe came from my grandma, her namesake.
Edited by saudade - 4/22/12 at 2:27am