Reposted for Dena:
Ellen Marie is finally here!!
Our beautiful baby girl, Ellen Marie, was born October 22, 2007 at 9:17 p.m. The birth and her first week of life has been one of the most amazing, empowering, and healing experiences of my life. This is long, but I really feel the need to share it all, so here goes...
Monday morning, I saw my ob about my continued high blood pressure and the protein spilling into my urine. He recommended that we go ahead and deliver. His philosophy, and I had to agree, was that this could turn into PIH very quickly, and could cause Ellen distress very quickly and, while we know at this moment that she is ok, we should get her out before we ended up in emergency c/s land.
So, that afternoon I checked into the hospital for an induction. My midwife and doula, who were also totally on board with this decision, met us there. (final pg brain story - apparently when I paged my mw I entered dh's cell phone, so she ended up calling him back!) At 3:15 I took the cytotec. At first, labor was a piece of cake. I was on continuous monitoring for an hour, then the doc let me get up and do basically whatever I wanted. We were roaming the halls laughing and joking. The nurses thought we were wonderful, but the strange looks we got from the folks in the waiting rooms were pretty priceless. About two hours later, the doc came in and broke my water (he wanted to keep things moving with as few drugs as possible), and the contrax started to get heavier. (I remember noting with surprise that the water was warm when it came out... then thinking, well, of course it is warm, you idiot! lol!) I was at 3 cm, and we thought things would now move fast. My midwife and doula hit the cafeteria for dinner while the nurse drew me a bath. (Yep, induction, water broken, and still got a bath. In the hospital. Does my ob rock or what? ) Over the next two hours I was in and out of the bath, on the birthing ball, in and out of the bed, basically whatever was comfy. My energy healer arrived about 7:30 and added her wonderful vibes to the mix, and the doc came back at 8 to check me. He was a little surprised at the number of women in the room, but was ok with it. Then he heard my cd player and gave me an odd look. "Gregorian Chants?!" he asked disbelievingly. Ha. Hey, it was working for me.
So, got checked again. ONLY AT 4CM!! ARGH. He told me I needed to progress at least another cm to cm and a half in the next hour or he would need to start pitocin. Then he left us to it. I was a little freaked at that point, because I really did not want the intensity of pit. contrax. So I turned to my midwife and asked her if she though the tub would help. She agreed and, while she drew the bath, I continued to labor on the ball. The contrax got heavier, and I started to moan and rock. I remember the nurse coming in at one point to check me with the doppler, and I ended up leaning against her and moaning through a contrax, to be rewarded with her praise! Wow.
I then got into the tub, and the contractions really picked up. It was wicked intense. I was swearing like a sailor and demanding drugs and alcohol. Even told my midwife to shut up once. I later learned my birth team was celebrating. During this time I was also moaning pretty loudly. At the end of one contraction I overheard my nurse comment on the "wonderful" noises I was making. Bless her heart.
So after an hour of this, I could feel the head when I stuck in my finger. The nurse checked me at 9, and I was at 9 CM!! Whoo Hoo!! About three minutes later, I wanted to push. My midwife told me to just do it, not announce it, since the doc hadn't arrived yet. I tried a little, but it didn't quite feel right, so I went through another contraction or two, then saw the doc enter the room out of the corner of my eye. On the next two contrax, I pushed once each, and on the third I really got three good pushes in. I could feel Ellen crowning and reached down to feel her head bulging out of me before announcing triumphantly, "here she comes!!" I later learned that while I was starting to push, my doc was puttering around verrry carefully putting on his gown, his booties, etc., and hadn't gotten to gloves yet when I made my announcement and started pushing Ellen's head out. To his credit, he simply started guiding my pushing, but never told me to stop (yeah, like that would have happened ) and ended up catching her bare handed. I had actually wanted dh to catch her, but he didn't feel the desire to move from my side while I was pushing, so that was ok too. After just a few pushes, Ellen Marie was in the world and trying to cry even as she was laid down on the bed. I flipped over (I was pushing on my hands and knees) and baby was placed on my chest and wrapped in a blankie. She looked at my and cried a little, then nestled in. She was, and is, one of the two most beautiful creatures I have ever seen in my life. (DD1 is the other). I was instantly in love and told her so over and over. We waited for the cord to stop pulsing, then doc clamped and dh cut. It was very cool!
A few minutes later, I birthed the placenta. Amalie's placenta had fused to Ellen's and you could see the outline of her remains through the membranes. I felt like I had been given a second gift at this point, as we were not expecting to be able to see anything of Amalie. The doc offered to peel back the membranes to see if we could discern more definition, but we declined. It somehow felt right to just view her there as she was. They brought the placenta to us and I stroked her head and back and told her we loved her. Then the doctor announced to the nurse that the placenta was to be sent to pathology, but that we wanted it back for private family burial, as I had discussed with him before the birth. The nurse piped up and asked if we had to send the placenta off. The doctor said that I could refuse (my midwife was standing behind him nodding vigorously), and so I asked if we would learn anything from further examination. He basically said no. So I refused. The nurse brought a container, and we packed up the placenta to take home.
Dh and I spent a wonderful night with our new little girl, who slept in my arms all night (the nurses didn't say a word when they checked on me!) and in the morning the hospital staff began their incessant poking and prodding (my now biggest objection to a hospital birth.) In the course of this, they found that Ellen was something called Coombs (sp?) positive, meaning that dh and I have an rh incompatibility in our blood types, and some my my blood had mixed with Ellen's, who has dh's blood type, causing jaundice. We were sent home on home phototherapy, however, this didn't work as my milk didn't come in until yesterday and she would NOT drink formula and ended up dehydrated. (the light table breaks down the blood cells into a form that is elminated through waste, and baby needs extra hydration for this process) So, we ended up in the hospital again late Wednesday evening. Her billiruben levels dropped like a rock once she was hydrated, and now we are home for good - and no more light therapy!
I had no tears and am healing like gangbusters. Have almost stopped bleeding even. All in all, this was just an amazing experience. I feel like my body knew just what to do and took over for me. Unlike my first birth, where I was coached all the way, this time my support team just, well, supported me. I did the job myself. It was amazingly empowering. And the kindness of the hospital staff at two separate facilities has restored my faith in the medical system as well. I told my daughter tonight that her birth has healed me. She is an incredible gift, and I am loving every minute of being a mommy of two!
Thank you all for all your encouragement and support these last few months. You are all amazing women, and I feel very blessed to have traveled this path with you. Having been away from the boards for several days, let me just offer my congrats now to all who had their little ones this week! Happy babymoons to us all!!