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1,788 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Jack Owen
June 12, 2007 @ 5:39 am
7 lb, 9 oz
20 inches

Chad: DH
Ingrid: our midwife
Hannah: our doula
Ann: birth asst
Britt: birth asst

Sunday, June 10

We started the morning out by going to a local farmer's market. I decided I wanted to walk there, even knowing it was a 2.5 mile trek round trip. I thought it would be good to get out, get sunshine, and get some exercise. We went to the farmer's market and Chad and I had an argument while leaving. We walked home and I had to walk fast to keep up with him and not lag 5 feet behind. Once we got home, I noticed I was losing some mucus. Not much, and a little tinged brown. Nothing to write home about.

That afternoon we spent doing regular household stuff. I baked cookies. I was having cramping and some contractions. My body was also clearing out my bowels. I couldn't tell if I was actually contracting or if it was related to the pooping. It wasn't until after dinner I had a light bulb go off saying "You idiot, this is a labor sign!" Around Riley's bedtime I noticed that I was having braxton hicks type contractions every 5 min or so. By 9 pm I was seeing all of these signs as potential labor. My midwife and doula both wanted fair warning, and I figured if I called them and gave them a heads up then if I woke up in full blown labor they could come right away. Ingrid (my midwife) reassured me that these were in fact good signs. Both her and Hannah (my doula) let me talk out a lot of emotion. I drank some red raspberry leaf tea and ate some cottage cheese.

I tried to sleep after that. I dozed a little bit but couldn't quite sleep. The contractions were stronger and I knew I was in labor. I told Chad, which I probably shouldn't have done, because he got wound up.

I took a bath and tried to relax. I got out thinking I could then sleep a while. I couldn't. After a while I found myself on the couch listening to one of my mix CDs. I let the tears flow and let out the emotions of beginning this whole process once again. I did sleep a bit, and for a few hours went from bathroom to couch to checking in with Chad.

Monday, June 11

Eventually I was timing the contractions on our VCR clock (that is wrong, by the way) and they were about 6-8 min apart. They weren't too bad, I was able to talk myself through them by saying things like "Good job Uterus" or thinking about my cervix opening. I started to feel, though, like I wanted some progress. I thought I'd try sitting up. As soon as I did that, they came a little closer together. I also went to the bathroom and felt a little bubble. When I wiped, it was bright red blood. Bloody show. I knew I was in labor.

I called Ingrid and Hannah both to give them updates and tell them I was pretty sure this was it. I brewed the very strong "labor strength" red raspberry leaf tea. It was so bitter I couldn't drink it.

After that, I labored and dozed a few hours. The contractions were still coming about the same length apart and weren't getting that much more intense. I started to think maybe this was just a "false start" but tried not to get discouraged. The more I thought about it, the further apart my body spaced the contractions. Chad was also trying to figure out if he should go to work, and Riley would be awake in a few hours. I called my mom, and Chad decided to stay home for the first few hours to see where we were at. I slept for about an hour, being woken up a little by each contraction. About 9:30 am I called my mom and she came to watch Riley so Chad could go to work for a while. It was a Godsend, really, because he has such nervous energy.

I talked to my Ingrid, midwife and Hannah, my doula again during that time. They both reminded me that this was good, and normal, and it was okay. It did not mean that things weren't going to go well or be a repeat of my first (36 hour horribly painful) labor. I needed to hear that. She said I had two options... I could either slow labor down and sleep, or speed labor up. I chose to sleep a while. I knew what it felt like to be up in labor two nights in a row. I didn't want that again. Even though my contractions would get really close (2 min or so apart by Ingrid's count) when I walked around, they still weren't lasting too long. We figured the baby just needed to drop a bit, and it was going to take a lot of strong, long, contractions close together to do that. As I said, I chose to sleep.

My mom let me sleep a few hours while she took care of Riley and he napped. I gave her a book to read (Peggy Vincent's "Baby Catcher") I ate some lunch, relaxed with her and Riley, and continued to have mild contractions. I had been spotting brown since after the initial red bloody show, but I had streaky, mucusy blood show in the afternoon. It reminded me my cervix was definately still doing something, even if my contractions weren't the textbook labor pattern. About 2 pm she left with him, and I was alone in my thoughts. My contractions spaced very far apart then. They were coming so far apart and I stopped timing them altogether or even thinking of it as "labor".

About 5 pm I talked to Ingrid again. I knew I would have to wait until nightfall to see some progress. So I decided to just relax and do things that made me feel good. Chad and I took a walk. We watched Dirty Dancing. I had Culver's ice cream for dinner. (Anyone who knows me, knows how health concious I've been this whole pregnancy, so that was a big deal!) Riley came home right at bed time. My contractions had stopped. My mom brought me a gift… a new nursing gown and robe from Motherhood. She told me it was "for tomorrow", implying I'd have a baby the next day. I was starting to doubt that.

We put Riley to bed, I played around online, and I planned to just go to bed. Chad would be going to work in the morning, and I'd need my rest for Riley. I went to bed around 9 pm, and immediately the contractions returned. I went to sleep on the couch so I could time them. 8 min apart. Still. I started to get discouraged again. I got up, lit a candle, had RRL tea, and rocked on the birth ball and walked around. That helped. They finally started to come closer together and get more intense.

They hurt. I was starting to feel a little scared. I was starting to doubt myself. I called Hannah. I woke Chad up because I found myself really, really needing physical support. He let me lean on him through contractions, but I could feel how nervous he was. His heart was beating really fast.

Tuesday, June 12

Finally, around midnight, Hannah came. I sent Chad off to bed. I sat on the couch and was able to focus completely on getting through each contraction, one at a time. I told Hannah that I felt scared. When I had a contraction, she said "Breathe in your strength... breathe out your fear" and that was the mantra for the next while. She would lightly whisper it as the contractions came and went.

I was doing great, and then heard our 21 month old son, Riley, wake up in his crib. Our plan was to play it by ear, and that we'd probably call my mom to come get him when I was nearing transition and we were setting up the birth pool. We planned to do it in his room and would have to move him. It didn't matter. I heard him awake and then I heard him throw up. I went in to get him, and he'd thrown up all over his crib and himself. I got him undressed and somewhere along the line Chad got up again. We put him in the bath. I had about three contractions during this time. Hannah was great, she pulled the sheets off and helped me remake his bed. We took the sheets down to the basement and put them in the wash. I joked that it wasn't a part of her job description. It only took a few more times of him vomiting for me to decide to call my mom. I felt terrible to dump my kid on someone else while he was sick, but I had no choice. Chad took him to my mom's. It is about a 20 min drive one way, so he would be gone about an hour. Hannah helped me let go of the guilt and re-focus on my labor.

I had thought about having Chad take Riley to my mom's during my labor quite often during my pregnancy, because I thought that might give him some time to chill out and get away and give me some time to focus. Turns out, it was the perfect thing to do. While Chad was gone, my body went full force into active labor. And I was able to relax and let it. Hannah continued to sit next to me and talk me through them. We talked between my contractions. I noted how perfect it was that I had all of that distraction and then a calm, so that my body was nudged into active labor without me realizing it. My lips were quivering and I knew it would only be a few more hours.

It's hard for me to remember details past that point. I kept saying I felt like I was on some sort of drugs, and was reminded over and over it was the natural endorphins. I kept saying "I feel weird" I now know that Hannah noted me going into active labor around midnight.

Hannah took a serious tone with me and said based on what had just happened with my labor, it told her that she thought we should call Ingrid, get the birth pool set up, the assistants called, and have this baby.

I called Ingrid, who I hadn't talked to since about 5 pm the night before. I think it caught her off guard when I said I was ready for her. It was about 2 am by then.

Chad got home a little while later. He was much more relaxed. Hannah sat to the left of me, Chad sat to the right of me, and we worked through the contractions together. Ingrid got there pretty quickly. I heard her coming in and out of the door, and I kept thinking "Geez, how much shit does she need to bring in?" She knelt down and listened to the baby. I think we talked for a bit and she got started setting up the tub. I was vocalizing through the contractions, and suddenly my 'Ohhhhhhh' sound became an 'Ooooooopen' command to my cervix.

I don't remember what was going on then, except that something happened with the tub that the water was ice cold. So Hannah began boiling water on all four burners of our stove. I was walking around by this point, leaning on Chad and moaning through each contraction. Chad felt the need to be working on fixing the water heater issue, but I demanded he stay with me. And he did. I had not expected anything of him with this labor, but it seems having good support around us helped him as well. He was great.

It was so hot in the house because of the stove. Hannah got some washcloths and some ice water and was alternating two of them on the back of my neck and forehead between contractions and boiling water. Chad and I went from room to room. I was in our bedroom quite a bit during that time because of the heat in the kitchen. It was dark and cool in there.
Ingrid and Hannah both checked in periodically, but they were working like hell on the birth pool. I was glad they were, but I wondered what was taking so damn long. Britt would do my vitals every so often, and Ingrid would check the baby's hearttones. Everything was always normal, which was reassuring.
I started to feel a lot of pain in my back. Ingrid reminded me this was my baby descending lower. Another reminder it was almost baby time. Chad and I talked somewhat between contractions. There was one point when I was standing in front of him and he was sitting on the edge of the bed. He put his head on my belly and started sobbing. I think we both went in and out of crying for the next while as we took in the emotion of what was about to happen. I looked at the clock and noticed it was just after 3 am. I hadn't been aware of the time at all up until this point, I was so involved in the labor process I paid not attention. I asked Chad to make a prediction on what time the baby would come. He said 6 am and I wanted to punch him. LOL I told him I thought it would be 3:45.

We went into the living room for a little while, and I saw that they had put some towels into the laundry basket with a heating pad. I told Chad that they were getting towels warm for the baby. He was coming soon.

I turned a corner in my labor and the back pain was intense. The contractions also weren't always giving me a break between. I started to feel sick during that time, too. I threw up in the bathroom sink a few times, in the dark. I had eaten a little in the beginning of active labor and Hannah and Chad were giving me sips of Recharge and water every few minutes (as I had asked them to during a prenatal visit) The intensity had built. I was in transition and I knew it. And thankfully, just as I realized that, the birth pool was ready. I wasted no time before I got in.
I got into the pool and got lost. I didn't notice much going on around me. The assistants came in every so often with more hot water for the tub, and took out the old water. I would roll from side to side, trying anything to ease the pain in my hips that happened with each contraction. I was having a hard time not being able to lean on anything, though. The sides of the pool were inflatable, so the water would dump out with my weight on it. I asked Chad to go get his swim trunks on and get in the tub. He did. I labored leaning against him for the next while. I knew I was getting close, I could feel him coming down.
I put my hand inside of my vagina and I could feel the very top of his head, still in the bag. My contractions spaced out for a while, and it was the charectoristic "Rest and be thankful" portion of transition that so many talk about. When I did have one, Ingrid would say "Breathe to your break" and that helped me get through. These contractions were the hardest, even with the spacing.

I remember smelling something cooking, and I told Chad it smelled like Rice-a-roni. Britt was making the herbal infusion to use for my bottom postpartum.

I decided to reach in and see if I could feel his head. I could, but it was still pretty high up. I told Ingrid I was concerned he didn't seem to be coming down much. She said that might be because I wasn't yet complete, and we could check to make sure. I thought about it through a few contractions and then asked to be checked. I felt close to being ready to push, and I didn't want to push if I wasn't fully dilated. I didn't want to have come this far and have a swollen cervix. She checked me, the first time of the entire labor. I was complete, with a teensy anterior lip. I asked her where he was, and she said between 0 and +1. I knew what I had to do, I had to let my body labor him down. So for the next few contractions, I did the "braying of the lips" that Ina May talks about in her books. It was incredibly difficult not to push, but it seemed to work. It only took a few contractions and I felt that he'd moved down.

Suddenly the birth pool wasn't working for me. The next contraction I struggled to get into a comfortable position. I found myself facing Chad and on my knees, almost shoving his body down with the weight of mine. He whispered in my ear "It's okay... don't fight it" I squatted in the pool with the next contraction, and I felt a pop... my water had broken! They checked and the fluid was clear in the water. The next contraction came almost immediately, and I pushed. And pooped. And a scream came out of me that sounded like nothing I've ever heard before. And then I knew I was about to have a baby.

I just could not birth in the pool. I had to have solid ground, or flat footing, or something. I stood up in the pool and grabbed the side of Riley's crib.
He was crowning. I came out of the pool and immediately pushed with a contraction. I instinctively panted like a dog as I felt the ring of fire. His head bulged between my legs. After that contraction. I put my legs together and his head went back up. I felt extremely thirsty and asked for a sip of my drink. I took a drink, and the next contraction came. I squatted down, and Chad and Ann held me up. I pushed one, hard push and suddenly he was out. Jack Owen Ellinger was born. It was 5:39 am.

He came out so fast that the mucus was not completely expelled from his lungs right away. He was laying there on the floor on a chux pad in front of me, not breathing. I wasn't worried because the cord was still pulsating, giving him oxygen. Ingrid told us to talk to our baby while she began using the suctioning tool. I touched his head and said things like "Hi Jack... I'm so glad you are here" Chad touched him and talked to him too. Chad was crying, but I wasn't. I'm not sure why I didn't cry right away. I heard Britt say "one minute" and just after he started making noises and then let out a big cry. I finally brought him up to my chest. He had an insanely long umbilical cord, so it was not difficult to do. His 1 min APGAR was 9 and by 5 minutes, it was 10.
After the cord stopped pulsating, Chad cut it. I then had to start the work of birthing the placenta. I was so suprised at how much that hurt. I knew it wouldn't be over until it was out. Hannah brought me in a scoop of peanut butter, which I thought was absolutely disgusting, but I needed the energy to do this. I concentrated on trying to push it out. Chad held Jack skin to skin, and I stood up, did a semi-squat, and delivered the placenta at 5:55 am. Britt had brought a Pyrex bowl from our kitchen that I use often to make cookies and muffins. I'm so excited that we have a "placenta bowl" and when company comes over we can gross them out with it. :giggle:
The assts and Hannah had set my bed up for me to lay in and nurse Jack. So that I did. We just sat and soaked up the new baby high for a while, while everyone did busy work around us. Britt made me herbal ice pack pads for my bottom. Hannah got me something to eat (they also brought me floradix to boost my iron as I looked quite pale)

Ingrid examined me and I had a few knicks, but no tears, and an intact perineum. (Thank you, squatting position) I also had very minimal bleeding. (Thank you, red raspberry leaf tea!)

Somewhere along the line Ingrid was examining the placenta, and I couldn't look at it. I was feeling nausea from the afterpains, and seeing the placenta about did me in. I was disapointed though because I normally find it so interesting. I heard her tell the assistants that Jack's placenta was an example of optimal maternal nutrition.

After several hours we finally did the newborn exam. I had actually called my parents with the news without knowning a weight or length! Jack was in perfect health. She weighed him and measured him; 7 lb 9 oz and 20 inches long. His head was bigger than Riley's by 2 cm, it was 35 cm. Aside from some bruising and a bloodshot eye from such a fast delivery, he was perfectly normal.
Everyone took such good care of us and our home. One of the assts even ran to the store for us to pick a few things up before they left.

The one last thing I had to do was pee before Ingrid left. So I decided to do that in the shower. To my suprise, no pain whatsoever. I showered and quickly got back to skin to skin with my new baby. He stayed that way for the first 8 hours after birth between Chad and I. We had a full day to soak him up before big brother Riley came home (all better, thank goodness) and we started our new life as a family of four.

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10,121 Posts
So awesome! Congrats!! Thanks for sharing your birth story!

· Registered
2,847 Posts
I really needed to read this tonight, for more reasons then my emotional self can at the moment express. Thank you for posting.... thank you so much. Your an amazing mama and as beautiful as your new baby!

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1,800 Posts
Thank you for sharing your story! I have an almost 23 mos old boy (born 07-29-2005) and am expecting once again (due 10-16-2007). I'm planning my first home/water birth and am so anxious to read any/all stories so I can have a better mental picture of what to expect. It was so reassuring reading your post and seeing your pictures. How's your family doing now that your first week is coming to a close?

Proud SAHM to Benjamin Michael, 07-29-2005
Awaiting William Alexander, 10-16-2007
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