I began my labor sunday night at about 8:30. I had been in podromal hell for about 3 weeks, so rather than wait at home to see if the ctx were going to lead to a baby, we decided to go walk the mall. I lost some plug at the food court bathrooms. Again, this had been happening for a couple weeks so I tried not to get too excited. We went to dinner, then went home and the ctx continued to build in intensity. We got my son to sleep and I relaxed in the shower with the water on my aching back.
At 2am my water broke. I was relieved that it was clear (we had 3+ mec with my first) and it took pressure off my bladder so I could pee. My dh called the midwife to come set things up.
She arrived a little before 3. The other midwife, who lives about 45 minutes away, was on her way. I was working so hard at this point that I didn't know when she got there.
I had such strong urges to push so quickly that I checked myself and felt the baby's head, but that I had quite a bit of cervix left. At about 5:30am I had my mw check and she said I was at a 6. She had a look on her face that I meant to ask her about in the moment, but the ctx and urges to push had me in another place where I didn't know how to use words. As the rectal and back pain intensified, I had a hunch that my baby was posterior...
We had been dealing with an op position for the last month of the pregnancy. I had a chiro. adjustment a couple weeks ago that seemed to help, but baby kept flipping back. I didn't ask and my mw didn't tell me because she knew how concerned I had been about dealing with an op labor. It WAS the most intense feeling that I had ever experienced. Just breathing through those ctx that had me feeling like I was birthing my baby through my anus was exhausting.
I was in the tub again, standing with the water on my lower back and my hands supporting me against the wall. I decided to stop resisting the urges to push at this point and to just go with them to see what would happen. After pushing through 2 of them, the pain in my cervix was gone and I could tell the I was fully dilated. At 6:50, my dh called the midwives in from the front yard where they had been relaxing on the swing to tell them he could see the baby's head. Everything from this point on was so quick and surreal. They rushed in with gloves on and could see that I was content to birth standing in my own poo in the shower so they crammed into my tiny bathroom to assist me. At 6:54 I announced that I could feel the baby wiggling as he was coming down. I could feel the rotatation of his body as I rest briefly between ctx. Seconds later I felt a second wiggly movement and then complete stillness. I sensed some nervous non-verbal communication from between my midwives and the next thing I know they are serious about getting me out of the tub and onto my son's bedroom floor. I flipped to hands and knees, but the shoulder would not come. They flipped me onto my back and I could feel them struggling to get my son's cord off of his neck.
This is the part that may be scary for some. I am still processing some of this so I apologize if it seems scattered...
As my midwife is struggling to slip my son's cord over his large head, she sees that that wasn't the only challenge that we were facing. His chord was also wrapped around his right arm, pinning it behind his back. He was stuck in this position not because of dystocia like they suspected, but because as he was rotating his chord was being wrapped around his body and he simply couldn't move down any farther. My midwife is a petite lady, but I still felt every inch of her forearm that was in me as she tried to free him. They had me flat on my back and pushing as hard as I could. He slipped out at 7:05.
As they placed his floppy, odd colored body on my chest, I saw one of the midwives reach for the oxygen. They looked absolutely terrified. He wasn't breathing and when they finally found a heartbeat it was 40. Mike and I started calling to him. He had a look of being deeply asleep. I kept thinking that this is what a person looks like before their spirit meets their body. As I looked around at everyone in the room, I could see ther franticness. I watched my midwives take turn giving him breaths and doing chest compressions. I watched my sweet husband talk to the 911 dispatcher with huge tears rolling down his face and I layed there peaceful and content. I layed there empowered an calm like I was the only one who knew a secret. The secret was this: MY SON WAS GOING TO BE FINE...
I remembered telling my midwives that they could calm down and that what they were doing was going to work and that my dear, precious, blue faced, baby boy was going to be ok. One of my midwives looked up at me and said "really?'' like she needed some reassurance.
The paramedics came so quickly. At one point there were 2 ambulances, 1 fire truck, 2 police cars and animal control (which I will explain later) in front of my house.
Thank god my 3 year old fell asleep right before all of this and stayed asleep even with 12 paramedics in the house.
Atticus still hadn't taken a breath on his own before they arrived, but as soon as we heard the sirens I watched his little body take in a gasp. The paramedics gave him some more oxygen and just before they took him from me, he opened his eyes and took a breath to let me know that he was ok. My husband accompanied him in the ambulance and I layed there with an umbilical chord hanging out of me, and vernix and meconium (came out on the way out) all over my legs. I took some time to expell the placenta, but considering everything that was happening, my body just needed some time.
My midwives told the remaining paramedics that they would take me to the hospital as soon as I was finished delivering the placenta and that they could leave. As soon as I was alone with the midwives, I let go of the placenta. I got up off the floor and took a shower and 40 minutes later I was in the ICN holding my baby. He was taken to the hospital that I have worked at for the last 5 years. I was comforted in the company of familiar faces. Atticus and I stayed the night to be observed and everyone was amazed that he was doing as well as he was. They ran a bunch of labs and did an xray of his chest an released him with a clean bill of health yesterday afternoon.
He was very fussy and easily irritated by any stimulation Monday and Tuesday, but last night we had a massage therapist come and do some cranial-sacral work on him and he is so calm today. He is nursing like a champ...
Flashback to the animal control situation...My midwife gave us her favorite chicken a few months back because all the others were pecking at it so bad she wanted it to be safe somewhere. Well, as all the commotion started in the house, the chicken who was free ranging outside in the yard was suddenly attacked and killed by a wandering pitbull. We joked after about the sacrificial chicken that was offered to save our baby.
Our midwives shined at our son's birth and I feel eternally grateful to them for all they did for our family. My midwife is the one that I will be apprenticing under in a few months and this experience makes me feel like I am so eager to be learning from her. I am confident that she will teach me well.
I have so much more to say but will save it for another time except for this: Our babies are so strong and resilient. I feel very blessed to be writing this as I am holding him, nursing him.
ATTICUS JACKMAN HART
9LBS 9OZ 21 INCHES LONG
BORN JULY 30TH, 2007 AT 7:05 AM ON HIS BIG BROTHERS BEDROOM FLOOR