birth story later, but some tidbits...did not get birth tub filled up in time as labor picked up to lightning speed all of a sudden. The midwife was hedging her bets between me and another woman in labor and almost didn't make it. She came into the bedroom just after the head popped out.
Rose came out with a nuchal arm. I needed 6 stitches. Recovering OK now though, and baby is great. Daddy is very tired; I'm tired but wired. Shoudl go rest though.
SAHM to 6.5yo DS and 4yo DD. PCOS with two early m/cs. Married 8 yrs. Certified birth doula, writer, editor.
Some stuff I like:
What is a nuchal arm? Is it when the arm is birth along with the head?
and Brigid Eleanor (11/20/08)
And we are joyfully awaiting a new addition in April 2011! <><
RT knitting mama to 3 (& 8 who didn't make it) wife working on 13 years to a silly man who drives me crazy.
My HBAC story!
On the morning of November 20, I was extremely agitated and wired. We were still dealing with a flea infestation in the house and I felt at the end of my rope about it. I called up my friend and complained to her about how the cat wouldn’t go in the special bed I’d bought him to try to contain the fleas to that area; while talking to her on the phone I was furiously cleaning and sanitizing my breast pump and bottles. “I don’t even like that cat!” I said. “He’s kind of an a--hole!” Then I told her I was having a second cup of caffeinated tea as a treat. “I’m not sure I agree that you need more energy,” she said. (She told me later that from the sound of me, she was pretty sure I would go into labor that day.)
I picked DS up from preschool, where I was openly grouchy with both his teachers. In the car on the way home at around noon, I started having crampy feelings. They felt pretty much like the Braxton Hicks I’d been having for weeks, but a little more achy. By 2:30 they were regular enough that I was pretty sure it was early labor, so I asked DH to come home and to arrange for DS to get picked up by my MIL. During DS’s nap, I puttered around the house and made everything nice. I did this project I've been wanting to do, a little altar to put near the birth tub, and defrosted the food I'd made for everyone to have during labor and after the birth (pumpkin bread, chicken soup, and apple pie).
When DS got up from his nap, I made some popcorn for us, and we sat down to watch a movie together. I’d sit on the birth ball or squat down whenever I had one of the mild contractions that were coming every 20 minutes or so. Soon after the movie started, my MIL arrived, and DH came home a little while later to help send DS off. I was really sad to see DS go – it was hard even though I knew it was what I wanted. I put on some peaceful music, and DH helped with more preparations, like putting tarps over the rugs and putting a mattress cover and cheapo sheets on the bed. Then we watched part of Pineapple Express and had some dinner. I was having moderate contractions every 20 minutes or so and felt really chill.
Meanwhile, I was in touch with my doula and midwife. My doula is also a musician, and needed to decide whether to go to her gig that night or not. At 6:30 I told her to go ahead and go- my contractions were still pretty mild and still only about 15-20 minutes apart, so I figured the baby wasn't coming til much later that night or the next day. We started watching the movie again and all of a sudden I had a big boomer contraction- it startled me and I cried out and for the first time felt a bit scared of the pain. We started filling up the birth tub. (We had been debating when to fill it up- too soon and it could cool off too much, but we didn’t know how many tanks worth of hot water it would take to fill it.)
As contractions started to pick up, DH timed them with a program on the computer. He would rub my back in-between, and that felt really nice. I was so happy to be at home with him, and that everything was still so peaceful and calm. We tried a couple different positions for labor that my doula had suggested at the prenatal visit, but in the end I really only liked sitting on the birth ball, just as with my first labor. By 7:30 I was having contractions every 3-5 minutes and they were serious business. I called the backup doula and midwife. The backup doula was ready to come whenever, but my midwife was with another laboring woman at 6 cm dilated. I was a little concerned, but trusted her and knew she’d figure something out. I told the backup doula I’d need her soon, and that I’d call and tell her when I wanted her to come. I still couldn’t quite believe how fast things were going, and kept thinking (hoping) that my labor would slow down a bit.
But at 8 I was having what felt like almost constant contractions and told the doula to come right away. When she got here at 8:30, I had just had the first contraction that came with a slight urge to push at the end. The doula called my midwife, who said she'd send the backup midwife and would possibly come herself. My midwife had me check myself to see if I could feel anything – I told her I could feel something soft, I wasn’t sure what, and that I didn’t really know if it was anything. Meanwhile I was having a real urge to push with each contraction now...and I don't know why they call it that, because it's not so much an urge as an unstoppable force. You don't have to actively push along with it, but your body's pushing whether you want to or not. I was standing up and leaning on the side of the couch, which was tiring me out, so we moved to the bedroom. (The birth tub was nowhere near full.) I pushed while standing and leaning on the bed for a while, and I got a few small gushes of water.
I couldn't think too much at this point because I'd gone so primal but I do remember somewhere in the haze of it all thinking, "OK so I've got a different doula, no birth tub, and no midwife, and this baby is coming SOON." It was a little freaky but I was so happy that things seemed to be working normally that I wasn't all that scared about having the baby on our own. I was worried though about what would happen if the baby didn’t come out and we had to transfer…I guess I still didn’t quite trust that I was going to birth this baby, even though I could clearly feel the head coming down. Since I was standing, I was also worried the baby would fall onto the floor, so I said to DH, “Are you ready to catch this baby?" and he said yeah, like he thought I was asking if he was emotionally ready, but what I meant was that he should get behind me and GET READY, so I said "GET BACK THERE!"
Standing was too tiring so I crawled onto the bed on all fours and started pushing that way, so I could collapse onto a pile of pillows in-between pushes. I checked myself again, and could definitely feel something just inside the birth canal- I told DH I could feel the head (it was actually the bulging bag of waters) and then I said, “I’m doing it, I’m doing it!” He started crying and said, “I knew you could do it!” The doula said encouraging things…I barely remember what, but remember finding it soothing. They both kept asking if there was anything they could do, and I cried, “There’s nothing anyone can do!” The contractions hurt so much, I had all kinds of crazy thoughts, including that I should have just had a repeat cesarean and that I wished someone would show up with stadol. DH and my doula helped arrange the pillows, tried to make me as comfortable as possible, and just sort of held down the fort as things progressed and we waited for one of the midwives to show up.
For a while I wasn't really actively pushing...I was afraid to, because everything was happening so fast and I just wanted it to slow down. But at some point I told myself that if I didn't push we were going to have to transfer to the hospital, and that if I wanted this baby to come I was going to have to push her out, so I sucked it up and started really pushing. I would get up onto all fours for pushing, then slump down onto the pillows in-between. I was making these sounds I've never heard anyone make before...part scream and part roar. With one big push, my bag of waters exploded with a loud pop- DH says it shot across the room. The doorbell rang and DH went to let my midwife in. Just before she and DH walked back into the bedroom, I gave a huge push and the head popped out in one go. DH came in and was like "I SEE THE HEAD!" And then, “I SEE THE FACE!” Then I heard him say "I see an arm!" and I was like "hm?" I thought to myself, “He must mean shoulder.” I started pushing again and the midwife told me to stop, and did something back there, and then told me I could push again, and the rest of the baby slid out easily. DH caught her, with the midwife’s help. I started screaming "Oh my god! Oh my god!" It was the most amazing feeling of my life...I couldn't believe I really did it, and that my baby was here.
Somewhere in there, the backup midwife, had arrived too, and the student midwife. Everyone helped me flip over onto my back so I could take the baby. I held her on my chest. She took a few minutes to really start crying and needed to be rubbed a bit, which was scary for me and DH, but then she was fine. DH was next to me on the bed and I remember looking at each other in a daze, amazed about what had happened and a little worried about the baby. It was so great when she finally let out a loud squall.
The placenta came out no problem (a real concern once you've had a c-section, as it can adhere to the c-section scar). They told me the baby had come out with her arm wrapped around her neck – it’s called a “nuchal arm” -- and because of that and how fast things went, I got a rather bad tear. I needed six stitches and it hurt like a b-tch, even with the Novocain. DH sat by my head and comforted me during the repair. I also had a smallish tear that didn’t require stitches, and a large skid mark. I was so relieved when the repair was over, and I got to take a shower with the student midwife’s help – I really wanted to get cleaned up since the baby had pooped all over my stomach upon arrival, and there was meconium smeared everywhere. While I showered, they stripped the dirty sheets off the bed – we had already put the clean sheets on underneath the waterproof mattress pad as per the midwife’s instructions, so the bed was all fresh for me in a matter of minutes. I got dizzy after the shower and felt like I was going to pass out, which scared me a little.
After my shower, the midwife examined the baby. DH held the baby for part of her exam, and for part of it she was with me. My midwife weighed her, and she was 7lb 11oz. We tried to get her latched on to nurse but she wasn’t too interested yet, which is common. And then I just lay in bed with my baby while the women bustled around cleaning the mess and preparing stuff for me (drinks, food, herbal rinses) and DH made phonecalls. Everyone was so elated and so sweet and kind- it was like being cared for by your favorite aunts and cousins. DH was over the moon and kept telling me how proud he was. After a few hours, everyone left, and DH and I curled up with our new baby to sleep.
She was pretty fussy all night, and we comforted her as well as we could and I kept trying to get her to latch. At 2:30am, she latched on and sucked a little, and I was so overjoyed- “She’s nursing she’s nursing she’s nursing!” It took me two months to get DS to latch on without a nipple shield (something the lactation consultant gave me to use when we just couldn’t get him latched and he was jaundiced and starving). It took me a long time to build up a good supply of milk when I nursed DS, too, and I was constantly stressing about it the first few months. With this birth, my milk came in after two days, and I was quickly producing fountains of it. I’d just think about nursing her and the milk would start to flow. Pretty much everything about the postpartum period has been so much better this time than it was after my cesarean. Nursing is easier (though still challenging), the baby’s healthier, I’m healthier- I was sore for a few days and then started to feel fantastic. When I was in the hospital after the cesarean, I spent so much time every day sobbing, mostly about all the trouble I was having with breastfeeding and the subsequent worsening jaundice in DS. I had to give him formula to help him sleep when he spent the night under the bili lights, and I cried while he drank the bottle down, sure that I’d never be able to nurse him. For the first week after this birth, I was euphoric. I was in an altered state. I’d never felt so high in my life. I felt powerful, and womanly, and healed. Things are settling into a routine now, and while the intensity of that high has mostly worn off, it still comes back to me every now and then and gives me a burst of joy and strength. I protected myself and my baby from the repeat cesarean that I knew would be unhealthy for both of us, and I fought so hard to do it. I feel like I walked through a wall of fire and now, on the other side, I’m shining and new and capable of absolutely anything.
SAHM to 6.5yo DS and 4yo DD. PCOS with two early m/cs. Married 8 yrs. Certified birth doula, writer, editor.
Some stuff I like: