Mothering Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,545 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
<p>My eighth pregnancy began in earnest, following very closely on the heels of an unexpected loss at 6 weeks.  I hadn’t really even begun to process losing that pregnancy, and suddenly my body was willing and ready to be pregnant again.  Iris was to be the final addition to our family, yet I had visions of there being an empty seat at the dinner table between the miscarriage and finding out that our family was going to grow once again come November.  I guess my body and heart knew much better than my mind what was meant to be for us. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>From the minute I suspected I was pregnant, my life was consumed with the clinical portion, the final leg, of midwifery school.  The work I had in front of me midwifing moms through pregnancy and birth left little time to concentrate on gestating my own baby.  The only tip-off that I was even pregnant and giving it any thought was the bottle of Zofran in my clinical bag that helped stave off the nausea. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>The weeks went by and I soon made the decision to go to New York for the summer to stay with a CNM friend of mine and finish up my numbers in a hospital setting.  The weeks spent away from my family were hard, some of the births hard to witness, and my own pregnancy progressing with little acknowledgement on my part.  While in New York I did at least attempt to stay connected to the babe growing in my womb by starting her scrapbook, piecing her quilt, and taking my weekly belly photo.  Living with my dear midwife friend and preceptor also helped me to focus on being a pregnant woman myself, and not just a midwife student. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Once I returned home after my time up north, my attention shifted first to celebrate all the kids’ birthdays and then to the monumental task of studying for my comprehensive exam and boards.  The piles of textbooks on my coffee table consumed my energy in the weeks of pregnancy I have typically spent nesting.  This time though, every stitch on a baby hat or thought not related to graduating induced a tremendous sense of guilt.  Fortunately though, once my exams were behind me and I had earned certification as a nurse-midwife, I was finally able to focus inward at 37 weeks, in preparation for the last time I would ever give birth. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>My Mother’s Blessing at 38 ½ weeks was a redemptive and meaningful ceremony where I was surrounded by the love and support of good friends who helped me feel that my baby girl was something to celebrate.  While we were all wound together during the web of support ritual, Stacy asked me if I wanted to say anything.  All I could think of was just how much gratitude I felt towards everyone there honoring my pregnancy, loving my babe, and blessing us both for a safe passage.  The guilt I had felt up until that point had started to release its grip. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>The remaining weeks of my pregnancy were spent staying close to home and family.  Third trimester introversion was stronger than it had been in any of my other pregnancies.  I just wanted to spend time with Jack and our babes before our family changed once more.  My pregnancy discomforts- the heartburn, the SPD, and the hip pain- fortunately prevented me from doing too much or venturing too far. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>My labor began like nothing I had experienced previously.  On November 7<sup>th</sup> I was feeling very different, tired mostly, and just had a need to rest.  Jack took the little kids to a birthday party and I hung at home with Caleb, napping on and off.  I lost some mucus plug and was having a few semi-regular contractions, different in character from Braxton-Hicks.  The day came and went though, without any further signs of labor.  The next 3 days brought more of the same, although the contractions were more intense and more regular, and there was a ton of bloody show.  Discouraged by morning when I woke up once again with a belly swollen with a baby on the verge of birth, Jack wisely reminded me to savor these last moments as best I could. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>November 11<sup>th</sup> was a very frustrating day for me. Frustrated at all the stop-and-start contractions I’d been having, frustrated that I, now a midwife, was unable to recognize what was going on in my own body, and frustrated because I just wanted my baby in my arms.   As the frustration welled up, I completely lost it emotionally. Jack recognized that I needed a change of scenery so we decided to go Whole Foods for some lunch and a few last minute things while m-i-l stayed with the kids.  When we sat down to eat I had a contraction that demanded my attention, and the attention of several others around me.  A few minutes later, another big contraction, and a few minutes after that, another one came.  Early labor had begun. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>By 4 in the afternoon contractions were about 5 minutes apart and 30 seconds long.  I felt them most intensely in my lower uterine segment and in my back.  I texted our doula that I thought this was the beginning of labor for real.  I gave my RN friend and our mw a head’s up that I might need them later and we all made a plan to check in around 7. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>By 7pm things were definitely getting stronger and there was no denying that our baby girl was on her way.  We called m-i-l to come over at 8 and our doula was gathering stuff to head over, too.  While we waited for our birth team to arrive, we hung out by the fire and timed contractions for a bit.  I snuggled Iris in her last hours as the baby in our family. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>On the phone with our mw, she encouraged me to get in the tub to take the edge off of the back pain.  In the meantime she would be on her way.  Our doula arrived with her dd and we hung out for a little while before heading upstairs.  We started the tub, lit my birth candles, and I slipped into the warm water.  The water felt awesome and the contractions kept coming- another sign that things weren’t stopping.  When our mw got to the house, brought in her equipment, and watched me labor for a while before asking me if I wanted to be checked.  I did.  I got out of the tub and our mw palpated babe’s position, listened to fetal heart tones with my fetoscope, and checked me: 4cm.  Better than 2 or 3, I thought.  I could accept that things might take some time, because at least things were happening.  As I rolled over I felt a warm trickle of fluid that was likely from a high leak in the sack, as our mw felt a bulging bag in front of the baby’s head. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Contractions kept coming and I was feeling them intensely, still in my lower uterine segment and in my back, but they weren’t lasting that long.  My midwife brain couldn’t make sense of what was happening in my body.  My labor was ineffective, I kept thinking.  How could I possibly dilate, let alone push out a baby with powers this short and ineffective?  At that point I wanted to lie down in my bed and rest, I was exhausted.  I needed Jack to apply counterpressure to my lower back, which he did through each contraction.  Laying in bed my contractions had spaced out, giving me a bit of a break to doze in between.  Our doula and her dd were tucked in next to me, our mw was asleep on the futon on the floor, and my RN friend was upstairs getting some rest, too. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>After an hour or so of laboring through spaced contractions on my bed, things picked up once again and I needed to be upright.  I headed into my candlelit bathroom and sat on my birth ball where Jack joined me to keep the pressure applied on my back.  By this time I was breathing through them and really needing to focus, although I do remember thinking that I must not be much further along in dilation because the contractions were still feeling just about as long as they had been- darn midwife brain.  Our doula soon came in and we all chatted between contractions.  She told us about a dream she had of my birth.  I told her that I wanted to listen to the baby so she got the doppler and I listened to my girl’s nice, strong heartbeat.  I never worried about how the baby was doing at any point in my labor.  I felt well connected to her and after almost every contraction she gave me a kick or a nudge that all was well. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>At this point my dear midwife friend called to check on me- something she has done in my last three labors in a cosmic, connected way.  She reminded me this was my birth and I needed to breathe and let it happen.  Since she had been my preceptor through my managing several intense, more complicated labors, her words helped me let go of any fear I may have had about my own labor becoming complicated. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Being on speakerphone with my friend and my vocalizing with contractions woke our mw up.  She came in to check on us and suggested I get in the tub again.  The water was rewarmed and I got in.  It felt good to be in the water once again and it helped to take the edge off the back pain.  While I was in the tub Jack, our mw, and doula hung around with me and we continued to chat between contractions.  It wasn’t long though before my midwife brain started getting in the way again- analyzing every sensation I was feeling.  My contractions were painful but still too short, or so I thought.  And how could I possibly be nearing transition without having lost my awareness of my surroundings or my modesty as I had each time before?  </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Our mw asked that my RN friend be woken up to get my IV started because she figured I was getting close because while I was in the tub my labor became really intense.  I suddenly became hot and wanted to get out of the water.  Everyone helped me dry off and get back to the bedroom.   My RN friend walked in and got ready to start my IV, which took her sticking me three times to get a patent line.  She hadn’t missed an IV in a long time, she said, but at that point I didn’t care- it was nothing compared to the splitting open sensations I was having from contractions.  She got it in, got me taped up, and had the bag of LR running slowly. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>This is when my self-doubt began.  Our doula suggested that I let the mw check me to either confirm or dispute where I had decided I was with my labor.  I couldn’t decide.  Our birth photographer arrived to take pictures just as I was getting back into bed.  I finally got in a position to be checked- 8-9cm, paper thin, stretchy cervix, baby really low. My bag of water broke completely at this point, as warm fluid gushed out with every contraction.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I was still feeling the contractions low and in my back.  Not long afterwards I started to feel rectal pressure that I wanted to push through.  I also threw up a couple of times, a telltale sign for me that I was going to have a baby soon.  I started to push instinctively, I think before I really should have because when decent of the babe’s head was taking longer than anyone expected, I suspected I had a lip of cervix she couldn’t pass through. Sure enough, our mw said I had a fat anterior lip that was holding the baby back.  She was able to reduce it somewhat but the best course of action was really to be upright and breathe the last bit of cervix out of the way.  I really didn’t want to risk a laceration- this my midwife brain could comprehend. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>I stood up and tried with everything I had to just breathe and not push.  Our mw thought maybe the tub would help me relax enough to take the urge down a notch.  While the tub was being warmed up, I doubted I could take much more.  I felt the baby wanting to descend but not being able to.  She wanted out as much as I did.  </p>
<p> </p>
<p>I have never had a waterbirth.  In all of my labors I have used the tub but none of my babies were destined to be born there.  This time was different.  The water had already been so helpful to me in this labor; I knew that as soon as my leg hit the warm, comforting water that I wouldn’t be getting out.  Just as I was getting in our mw said, “ Ashley’s going to have a waterbirth.” </p>
<p> </p>
<p>As I got in the tub I leaned over the side on my knees and felt for the lip myself.  There it was with the baby’s head well applied behind it.  I tried to hold it back but the angle wasn’t right.  Suddenly I felt the baby’s head being pushed down hard, along with the unmistakable feeling of the head moving through the birth canal.  Somehow I was able to lean back so our mw could hold the lip up towards my symphysis.  One push and the baby’s head was mostly out in my hands.  It was 7:55am.  Her head was in an LOT position and I could feel that her chin was still inside.  I reached around my right leg and reduced my perineum over her little chin.  She didn’t even have time to restitute once her head was fully out before her shoulders and body were born.  I pulled her up to my chest where she pinked up quickly and cried vigorously.  It was 7:57am on November 12, 2010, the day of our baby girl’s birth surrounded by her three brothers, two sisters, and m-i-l.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>The water was drained from the tub.  Sitting in the empty tub, although I had ample distraction, was so uncomfortable on my incredibly sore back.  I wanted to get out and move to the bed to birth the placenta.  I held the baby close to me while our mw, doula, my RN friend, and Jack helped me back to the bed.   My IV was rehooked with 20 units of Pitocin in it and we waited for contractions while I started at my beautiful, chunky girl.  About 20 minutes after her birth, our placenta was born intact and beautiful.  My bleeding was minimal; proving once again that active management in my case was a good thing.  The baby wasted no time latching on and nursing in a totally present, alert state of newborn bliss. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Very shortly afterwards, another one of my CNM friends came.  She would have been at the birth had she not been on-call at the birth center but, despite having been up all night, she came to see us when she got off.   When she walked in I just hugged her and cried.   I whispered in her ear that birth really does work and it’s awesome! Totally sleep-deprived, she went to work taking care of me postpartum.  She checked my bleeding and massaged my fundus.  After she helped me to the bathroom for the first time she even gave me a back massage with Arnica oil.  Even though she couldn’t make the birth, I was so grateful for her care afterwards. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Our mw did the baby’s newborn exam and used my new scale.  My sweet baby got to be the first newborn to be weighed in the scale I got right after I graduated.  She was 8lb 3 oz, 19 inches long, and had a 14-inch head.  She passed a ton of meconium while I was holding her after her birth so she was likely heavier than that when she was born. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Our doula made placenta prints with my dd2 and her dd while Jack fed me pancakes.  Our mw gathered her things and said goodbye.  I was starting to feel like I wanted some time with just Jack and the baby but there was one thing we had yet to do: reveal her name.  Just two days before Jack and I were still not settled on what to name our baby girl.  The name I had in mind wasn’t Jack’s favorite but we were going to wait and see what she looked like.  After her birth in water it became clear what her name was meant to be.  With all the kids, m-i-l, our doula, and my RN and CNM friends gathered around, Jack looked to me to announce her name: Cordelia Jane.  M-i-l was overcome with emotion and knew immediately that Cordelia’s middlename was a tribute to her.  It was a sweet moment. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Soon we were snuggled together in bed after everyone left.  Jack took a nap and I lied awake next to him, gazing at our new, sweet, and beautiful, Cordelia Jane.</p>
<p> </p>
<p><a href="http://www.onetruemedia.com/otm_site/view_shared?p=ca00fd99c053d1e4939db7&skin_id=701&utm_source=otm&utm_medium=text_url" target="_blank">Here</a> is a (long) slideshow of my pregnancy and Delia's birth. </p>
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,072 Posts
<img alt="joy.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/joy.gif"> Congrats! She's adorable! Thank you for sharing. <img alt="orngbiggrin.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif">
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,295 Posts
<p>Beautiful story, Ash.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
170 Posts
<p>Thanks for sharing...beautiful story and pictures.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,491 Posts
<p>Ooo, I've been waiting for this story!  What a wonderful birth!  Loved hearing it from your midwife-brain perspective!</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,114 Posts
<p>Wonderful story! You and your family are so beautiful!</p>
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top