Hi Everyone - Finally I have finished Porter's birth story. It took me a long time to complete for several reasons - It was hard to sit up at the computer for over a week due to my tear and then aside from being overwhelmed with a new babe - I had to process it all. I am sad that I didn't get to have the homebirth that I wanted and I get triggered and cry when I read one of your beautiful homebirth stories - Jen/Segolily - I was especially triggered by your slide show. But it all helps me with my emotional healing. I'm not sure we'll have another baby, due to our ages (41/40) so I may never experience my own homebirth and that makes me sad.
I feel like we did everything that we could in the situation that we were given and that I really am fortunate to have had such a great hospital experience and not had to fight for what I wanted. But I still wonder why the labor went on for so long and kept slowing down. I wonder if we could we have done anything different... but I do think that when we did decide to go to the hospital, it was the right decision. I was so exhausted and had not eaten enough in the past 4 days... I'm not sure we could have done anything more at home.
I had a midwife team of 3 - I've just labeled them as MW1 - 3. MW1 is one of the midwives I apprenticed with, MW2 is a good friend of mine from midwifery school and MW3 is MW1's apprentice. Jason is my DH, who was awesome support throughout the whole thing. I didn't really elaborate on his support, in the story, but he was amazing. He was by my side almost the whole time. Also, I Porter was a rockstar the whole time. His heart rate was stellar the whole time...never any sign of distress.
The story is really long, but the whole labor and birth was really long too...
Porter’s Birth Story
Saturday night December 8: I had some early labor contractions during the night that I had to breathe through.
Sunday December 9: Jason and I had a great day together, we went out to breakfast and lunch, went grocery shopping and built a fire in the fireplace for the first time in years. I had contractions periodically throughout the day that would be intense and I’d have to concentrate on. As the evening wore on my contractions were coming more frequently and we started timing them. They were still 8-10 minutes apart, but 30 sec – 1 min, I found that I wanted to lean forward with each contraction. We gave the midwives a head’s up and went to bed trying to get some sleep. At first, I tried to just lay in bed and breathe/moan through each contraction, but I found that I had to be upright. So I would lie on my side sleeping until I had a contraction and then heave myself to lean on the headboard of the bed for each contraction. I found I was too tired to stay upright in between contractions, so back lying down I would go… We called the midwives around 11 pm to let them know that contractions were 6-7 minutes apart. MW2, my friend and the assistant midwife said she’d come earlier than “normal” and I asked her to come then. Jason started filling the tub, because I was tired of the heave ho of the contractions from the bed.
I felt so much better in the tub I could move around from position to position during and in between contractions. At first, contractions spaced out a bit, but they started getting closer together and were 4-5 minutes apart for several hours.
Monday December 10: Around 5 am, contractions slowed down and MW2 suggested I get out of the tub and try to sleep. Jason and I climbed into bed and promptly slept for 2-3 hours with no contractions. I woke up surprised I had slept so easily. I was talking with MW2 and was having my normal morning throat phlegm, but that morning, it triggered me to vomit, thankfully, Jason got me a bowl quick enough. MW2 left and we were supposed to sleep and eat to get ready for when contractions picked back up.
The rest of the day, I tried to sleep as much as possible and as the day went on contractions slowly came back. We went for a walk around the block that afternoon and that helped bring the contractions on. Unfortunately, it triggered that gag reflex and I vomited for the 2nd time that day when we got home. That evening, contractions started coming more frequently and my midwife came around 11 pm as things were really picking up. I got in the tub around 7 or 8 pm I think and really enjoyed the freedom of the contractions in the tub. MW3 the apprentice midwife came later that evening and the midwives, MW1 and MW2, came later that night.
At some point that evening, I tried to feel my cervix that evening and for the first time, I could definitely feel a thinning cervix with a baby head behind it. I couldn’t reach the middle, so it was still fairly posterior, but Porter’s head was low enough, I could feel it.
I really felt like I was working hard through the contractions and proceeded to vomit 2-3 times that night – one time I thought my water broke because I felt a big gush of fluid into the tub and some membrany type thing between my legs. But I eventually pulled at the membrany thing and it looked more like my mucous plug than membranes – and later on as since I wasn’t leaking any fluids when I got out of the tub, we realized I had just peed, and water was still intact.
The significance of all the vomiting was that with having had all the heartburn during pregnancy that was even worse the last few weeks of pregnancy, that the vomiting really inflamed my esophagus. This meant that even though I didn’t have much of an appetite, even if I tried to eat, it would give me horrible heartburn that wouldn’t be relieved by anything we tried.
Tuesday December 11: So active labor continued into the early morning with frequent contractions, but eventually, they spaced out and my midwives suggested I get out of the tub (I loved the tub) and see if I could sleep.
I spent most of Tuesday in bed sleeping in between contractions. I tried to eat, but didn’t have much of an appetite and had horrible heartburn when I did eat.
We went for a walk around the block early that evening and as before, contractions picked up as the evening progressed and were strong and frequent. That evening I checked my cervix and was able to feel the edge of the center, I couldn’t tell the dilation, but it was definitely farther than the night before. As the evening progressed, I felt the urge to push but thought I was “making it up” – so MW1 came over. That was around 11 pm and checked me. I was 7 cm with a soft cervix. She said if I feel the urge, I could push.
Wednesday December 12: So MW2 and MW3 came over. We all thought that the baby would be coming soon. As the early morning progressed contractions continued and I had the urge to push sometimes. But, again contractions slowed that morning around but even earlier than the previous mornings – 3 or 4 am. I was dilated to about 9 cm based on a cervical check by MW1 in the tub early that morning. So I tried to sleep since the contractions had spaced out. Sleeping this morning was much more difficult as even though the contractions were every 20 minutes or so, they were very painful – I would get pain in my hips, upper thighs and groin area. That was way more painful than the contraction itself. This pain had started the night before, but wasn’t as bad when I was in the tub. Lying in bed, it was really uncomfortable.
Later that day, I decided to get back in the tub, because it was much easier for me to work though the contractions in the tub – especially because the pain in my hips/thighs continued. Sometimes I had an urge to push, but not every contraction. The contractions were still very spaced out. At one point, MW2 did a vaginal exam in the tub and found my cervix to be very tight, I think 7 or 8 cms. Not stretchy like before. After discussing it with MW1, they suggested that I try breathing through the contractions in knee chest to see if the cervix moved out of the way. We did this in the bed for what seemed like forever. I’m not sure how long it was. It was the worst experience to do this. They also gave me an IV at some point on Wednesday. I can't remember the exact timing. The hope was that it would give me more energy and kick start my body a bit. Eventually, I just rested and tried to sleep in between contractions again. We expected contractions to pick up as the evening progressed. But this time, they didn’t!
At around 7 or 8 MW1 came back (she had left for awhile) – and we discussed a plan to try to stimulate contractions. She did a thorough vaginal exam, while I was lying in bed. I was 9 ½ cm and plus 1 station, just a lip and the cervix seemed soft again. She did a cervical massage with castor oil. I decided not to take castor oil orally since my esophagus was so irritated. That seemed like a bad plan. So we decided we would do everything we could do at home and hopefully have a baby by morning. If I didn’t have a baby by morning, we would go to the hospital. I even considered going to the hospital sooner since I was still having the hip/thigh pain and having a hard time coping. But I decided I wanted to continue at home. I started taking cotton root bark tincture, would sit on the birth stool while I had a contraction, walked around the house, nipple stimulation with the breast pump, enema, manual stimulation of contractions… all of that helped and contractions picked up a little bit, but really did not get in a good rhythm. At around 11 pm, MW1 did another vaginal check while I was sitting on the birth stool – through a contraction. She found my cervix to be tightening during the contraction to around 7 or 8 cm. This was concerning to her since we had been doing all that work all evening and I seemed to be going backwards. As the evening progressed, I had been having a harder time coping with the contractions, so once MW1 did the exam and was feeling a bit concerned about continuing at home, I agreed to go to the hospital. We got ready but it wasn’t urgent. Jason packed a bag and took a shower. MW1 called the hospital and told them we would be on our way. I relaxed as much as I could in the tub while everyone got ready. I took a quick shower just before we left. My contractions really spaced out when we weren’t doing anything to get them going, like every 20 minutes or so.
Thursday December 13: We arrived at the hospital around 12:30 am. The nurse checked me and found that I had a lip – 9 + cms with a bulging bag. We discussed our options – she could just break the water and see if that got things going or I could get an epidural and sleep a bit and see what happened. I wavered a bit, but decided on the epidural as I was exhausted and still having a really hard time coping with the hip/thigh pain during the contractions. I never thought I would end up at the hospital with an epidural, but it was really a lifesaver for me. I slept for 2 hours and the nurse had to do a catheter. So she checked me at that time – I was complete maybe plus 2 station and the water broke with that exam.
The nurse called in the OB on call – who turned out to be the best I could have asked for. We had written down a list of our most important must haves for the birth since we were at the hospital now. Can’t remember them all – but things like, don’t cut the cord until after the placenta is born (I figured that was a clear way of getting at least 5 minutes delay!), baby stays with me the whole time and with Jason if I’m unable, no HepB or Vitamin K, we take the placenta home and that if we were all doing well, we wanted to go home right away… maybe there was a few more. But the OB really respected our desires. I’m not sure if it was because knew that I had midwifery training or what but it all worked out. I think it was mostly that it wasn’t an urgent situation; I had an epidural so could have a calm conversation about it and was educated about it. The delayed cord clamping was important to me. The OB acknowledged that it was outside his comfort zone, but would be fine with it.
So I started pushing with the epidural, which was the weirdest thing. At first, I couldn’t even feel the contractions to know when to push. But I had them turn it down several times and I could finally feel the contractions. My contractions were still only about 10 minutes apart at this time. They suggested getting Pitocin, but I declined at that point since I really I didn’t really want to get Pitocin. So the pushing was really surreal – I couldn’t feel it, didn’t have the urge to push and hat about 10 minutes in between pushes where we all just chatted… Really not what I had envisioned at all. But I was glad to be close to meeting our baby! When his head started being visible, just barely, I asked to have a mirror and I just focused on the mirror, pushing so that I could see more and more of his head.
So after probably 4ish hours of pushing with my infrequent contractions (every 10 minutes or so), I was pretty tired. I went ahead and had them give me the lowest dose of Pitocin (a whiff of Pitocin as the nurse said)… Well that sped things up, and Porter started moving past the pubic bone and crowning. So I still had the epidural and was still focused on the mirror. But when I saw my perineum tearing, I couldn’t handle it! I asked to have the mirror pulled away!
The OB was really great. He had stayed out of the room for most of the pushing and only was there at the end. He asked me what I wanted from him – I told him to mostly keep his hands off, which he mostly respected. He guided Jason’s hands to catch Porter, which was great. The only thing he did was go in to free Porter’s shoulder after his head was born, which I’m sure was totally unnecessary. I doubt his shoulder would have gotten stuck…
So after 5 hours of pushing, Porter was born and Jason announced that it’s a boy! Which we were a little surprised about since we had both been thinking lately that it was a girl… But we were both in love instantly. Jason immediately put Porter on my chest and he didn’t leave it for a very long time! In fact, after a few hours we had to ask the nurse if she could weigh him! The cord was cut only after the placenta was born, which was probably 5-10 minutes. I would have liked to keep it intact longer, but I feel like being at the hospital, this was a good compromise. I know I could have fought for longer, but it didn’t seem worth it since most of the blood leaves the placenta in the first few minutes.
I had a 2nd degree perineal tear and the doctor suggested that I suture it, but said it was up to me. I decided to decline sutures. I wonder now if that was the best decision. Well only time will tell. The first week, I kept worrying about the tear and felt like I pulled it apart a few times when I moved. So I think the lack of sutures was more of an emotional detriment. But MW1 looked at the tear at the 1 week visit and said it was healing well. So we'll see. I'll let you all know in a month or so!
We had only one boy and one girl name picked out and Jason asked me if he seemed like a Porter and I agreed. Porter was very alert and with some help latched on and nursed shortly after he was born. He was 2 weeks plus or minus a day or two past his due date depending how you calculate it and he looked like it! His skin was peeling, especially his feet, which had big pieces of skin hanging off them! He had no vernix, but he had hair on his back and on the tops of his ears. He still has the hair on his ears, which is super cute!
As soon as the epidural wore off (a few hours) and I could walk to the bathroom and pee, we went home, we didn't even have to leave AMA! The doctor was very supportive. He knew I had plenty of support with my midwife team. So Porter was born 9:34 am and we went home about 1:30 pm!
Porter Miller Brune
Born 12-13-12 9:34 am
9lb 6 oz and 21.5 inches
14 inch head
Here's a photo from today, not his first smile, but his first smile caught on camera!
Edited by lulubikes - 1/1/13 at 4:08pm