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Zachariah's Birth Story

Monday August 9, 2010
I woke in the morning to a crampy sensation, much like menstrual cramps. I went to the bathroom and noticed a bit of bloody show! Yay! I called my midwife, Christine, to let her know then went about my day. My mom was staying with us, and my husband took the day off from work. I was crampy and a bit grumpy, so mom and I left the kids with my husband and went shopping. We had a fun, busy day. I was crampy during most of the day with some contractions now and again.

At 11 pm I decided to turn in. The cramps would escalate every once in a while to something akin to a contraction. My husband and I timed them for a bit, but since they were coming about every ten minutes (and sometimes longer) that became rather boring and we both drifted off to other activities. I eventually went to sleep.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 (Zaki's Due Date!)
I Miss (Love) Everything About You
A little while later I woke up to stronger cramping. Although I normally shun water while in labor a nice warm shower sounded so good. I peeled off my jammies and jumped in. The hot, noisy water created a little private space where I could sing and dance through the irregular, but rather strong contractions. I would turn my face to the water in between contractions, then turn to brace myself against the back wall and sway my hips in the hot water when a contraction started. While swaying my hips I hummed and sang the refrain from Colbie Calliat's "I Never Told You" - except I changed the words sometimes from "I miss" to "I love". The refrain from this song reminded me that the discomfort of labor is purposeful and temporary - I was going to meet my new love very soon. And it would all be worth it! The lyrics "can't believe that I still want you" reinforced that yes, I did want labor to progress and become harder - that I wanted to meet my new baby, even though I knew it would be difficult. Repeating this over and over in the shower actually brought a smile to my face with each contraction
I miss everything about you
Can't believe that I still want you
And after all the things we've been through
I miss everything about you
Eventually I left the shower and snuggled back into bed.

Membranes Rupture High
At 3:30 there was a slight rush of warm fluid between my legs - I figured my membranes finally ruptured. I climbed out of bed and went to the adjacent master bathroom to confirm. Judging by the amount of fluid and the presence of a slight amount of blood I concluded that it was most likely amniotic fluid and decided it was time to wake my husband and call the midwife. I said my husbands name, gradually getting louder and louder until finally he woke with a start.

"I think my water broke" I told him. "Time to call the midwife."

"Call the midwife?" he questioned.

"Yes, unless you want to catch the baby". That worked, and he called the midwife. After speaking with her for a few moments, he passed to phone to me. I spent a little bit chatting with Christine and answering the usual 'are-you-in-labor' kind of questions. I filled her in on things thus far, and commented that I felt fine, and contractions were still irregular and waning if I laid down. She asked me to call her in 15-30 minutes if things changed. I hugged on and rocked with my husband for a few contractions, then felt sleepy and wanted to rest.

I climbed back into bed and fell into a not-quite sleep. It was pretty comfy, and I felt content to lay there and ignore everything except the contractions, to the point of forgetting to call the midiwife. I would stand every so often, feel the contractions intensity, get tired, and lay down again (causing the contractions to slow down).

At a certain point I felt cold. Very chilled, with teeth chattering and limbs shaking. I requested a blanket from my husband since the blanket I was using didn't warm me up. Snuggling under two blankets I felt warm and content - totally peaceful and snuggly. I thought "aaaah…. What a nice warm nest. I'll never leave here". The contractions come and went and made me happy.

Then I felt encouraged to stand up - maybe from an intense contraction, maybe out of restlessness. I stood over the chuxs pad by the bed during a contraction and found myself leaking amniotic fluid and a small amount of blood. My husband called the midwife again, who was on her way. She asked me to lay on my side on the bed to slow things down.

Now the contractions were particularly intense. If I lost focus I writhed in pain and groaned. I made a conscious decision to not writhe and groan by purposefully relaxing my body and telling myself that the contractions were nothing more that "spiritual energy designed to open up my body so I could deliver my baby". They were not pain. I have no idea where that mantra came from, but it kept me relaxed and peaceful.

A few contractions of that nature began to end with me bearing down a bit and grunting.

Midwives Arrive (Feeling Pushy!)
At 5:15 the midwives arrived. I was laying somewhat on my back on the bed, having felt a pretty decent urge to push. "Huuuuuuuuhn" I grunted and pushed through a contraction. The midwives quietly swept into the room and set up. "I'm feeling pushy" I told them. Jamie checked the baby's heart rate.

"He sounds great!" she declared.

Christine checked me, and announced "Complete, with a bulging sack. You are ready do go, just let your body lead you!"

I stood up and braced myself against the crib by the bed and PUSHED with the next contraction. It was a strange feeling, as I didn't have to push my first or second born out (they were expelled more than anything else!). "HUUUUURG" I vocalized with each contraction and push. A few pushes in that position and I went down on one raised knee, like a wedding proposal. "AAAARGH" I pushed again - once, twice, maybe three times and then dropped to all fours. With the next contraction I gave a mightly push. He began to crown, but didn't emerge.

"GOOD LORD HOW BIG IS HIS HEAD?!?" I questioned the midwife behind me.

With the next push I was fairly uncomfortable. "It BURNS BURNS BURNS" I called out. But a little voice in my head told me "JUST DO IT and it WILL BE OVER". So I gave it my all. I could feel something tugging at my perenium, and I assumed it was the midwife. I heard the word "nuchal" followed by the Christine telling me "it's not the cord, don't worry". I pushed through the burning and tugging, and thank God his head emerged. One more push and he was out!! It was 5:48 AM. **

"Is he OK?" I asked.

"Just fine!" replied Christine as she swept him under me so I could see him. And there he was.

"You gave me a lot of trouble!" I said to him, and smiled and picked him up.

My husband stepped over to recite the call to prayer in his ears. "What's his name?" asked the midwife. "We don't know yet" I responded, and told my husband to pick up my leather bound journal that my father gave me as a graduation present. "There's a list of names" I explained. "Look at them and tell me which one you like".

I looked down at my new baby and one name popped into my head. Zachariah. I looked at my husband. He said "How about Zachariah?"
And so it was.

Welcome home, Zachariah. Born on Tuesday, August 10 2010 at 5:48 AM. Weighing 8lbs 2 oz, 20 inches long, with red hair.

** Christine explained later that Zachariah was born with a "nuchal hand" - a hand up by his face. The extra pushing, burning and tugging I felt (that was so different from my first two births) was probably due to birthing his head, hand and arm all at once. She said she didn't touch me the entire time, but held Zachariah's hand against his head while he was emerging to prevent his arm from springing out and tearing me. I didn't tear a bit.

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What a beautifull birth story! Congratulations to you and your family!

baby Zachariah!

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You wrote that story beautifully. Congratulations! Happy Birthday, Zachariah!

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I am planning a homebirth for the arrival of my first child in December. I have been somewhat apprehensive about my ability to deal with my own anxiety and fear during labor. Your story filled me with hope and encouragement. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful experience.
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