Thursday, May 29, 2014

Gavin's Birth Story

I am delighted to share this birth story from my friend Jamie.  Not only do I love how she and I connect on so many things- cloth diapering, extended breastfeeding and following Jesus, we also have mirror families, as her daughter was born about 5 weeks before Esther, and her son (whose birth story is below) was born about 5 weeks before Hudson.  I hope you find this story an encouragement, no matter where you are at in life! :)

Our son was due on 2/12/14. At my 39 week appointment, they found that he was no longer in the head down position like he had been for the several weeks prior, but he was now in an oblique (diagonal) position. They threatened C-section if he didn't turn, but were willing to let me go into labor naturally like I did with our daughter Colbie. We started praying that he turn, as well as going on to find ways to have him turn at home- like hanging off the couch upside down. I saw a chiropractor, and went to get acupuncture. I also tried moxabustion! Thankfully, when I went in for my 40th week appointment, he was head down, so they let me be. 

Now I had to worry about when he would come. I told my midwife, Kerry, that I did not want to be induced, so they were going to let me go into labor naturally, as long as I didn't go too far past 41 weeks. So, I again looked online at natural labor induction techniques and decided to try a few harmless ones. I made a fresh pineapple smoothie, ate some spicy salsa, and the night before I went into labor- we went out to Italian and I ate eggplant parmigiana (which was quite delicious!) I hadn't slept well the previous few nights because I was worried about when I would go into labor- if it was the middle of the night how our babysitter would get to our daughter, or if our doula would get here in time. But, Sunday night after the eggplant- I slept wonderfully. Probably the best night of sleep I'd had in a long time. 

When I woke up around 7:20am on Monday, February 17th, 2014- I felt like I was having mild contractions. I immediately texted my doula, Bethany, and our babysitter, Claire, to give them a heads up. It didn't feel like real labor yet, but it was the first regular waves of pain I had experienced, so I wanted them to be on alert- just in case. By 8:30am, I was certain it was real labor. I had showered, eaten breakfast, drank water, and laid down- and the waves were getting stronger. I still wasn't sure how long I would be experiencing them, so no need for Claire and Bethany to come over yet. I did laundry, changed the sheets for Claire and her husband Randy, woke up and fed my daughter breakfast- just kept things normal as possible. At 10:00 or so, I felt like things were maybe getting a bit more intense. It was so hard to tell!! I figured, worst case scenario- Claire and Bethany come over and have to leave...but something in me just told them to come, and they did. I think they both arrived around 10:30am

Bethany started timing my contractions while Claire played with Colbie. My contractions hadn't been lasting the typical 60 seconds, but they were coming consistently at 2.5 mins apart for an hour or more. I was standing for all of them, it was the most comfortable position. I went in to go to the bathroom fairly soon after they arrived, and there was some blood- so I knew this was the real thing. I was having a lot of lower back pain. Bethany told us a trick to look at my lower back for a line coming up from my perineum- and sure enough, it was there! So crazy to see this line that had never been there before. Apparently it can give you a rough estimate as to how far you are dilated or how far the baby has descended. I can't remember exactly, but it was crazy!

Anyhow, I was beginning to feel a lot of pressure down below and decided I wanted to go to the hospital around 11:30. Bethany followed us in her car, and Claire stayed home with Colbie. The 20 minutes to the hospital were AWFUL. I thought I was going to have the baby in the car. SO MUCH PAIN. We got to the hospital and I hurried up to Labor and Delivery while my husband Taka and Bethany parked. Taka came into intake with me, but I immediately started having a contraction and the nurse let me skip all the paperwork and go into the intake room to be checked for dilation. To our surprise, the midwife I had been seeing the whole pregnancy was working! I was so happy. She came in to check me and I was at 9cm!! I was so surprised! It had been painful, but not unbearable. I was so excited that our son was going to be here soon. They rushed me into the delivery room. Some of the nurses commented as I was walking by, "That's the 9??" Apparently I looked pretty good for being that far along!

When we got into the delivery room, the nurses said they needed to take some blood and put in a hep lock, "just in case." I said, "Is that necessary?" They said, "yes." But I guess Kerry had walked in at that point and told them to skip it. Yay! We had been taught at Bradley class that it would be a fight not to get the hep lock, and I didn't even have to fight it. When Bethany told me later that Kerry had told them not to do it, I was so happy.

At this point, I was taking every contraction standing up, leaning on the rolling table they have in each room. It was the most comfortable position. I remember looking at the clock which was annoyingly right in my direct line of view from the bed around 1pm, and hoping our son would beat his sister and be born before 1:50pm because I was feeling the need to push really bad and wanted him out! With Colbie, I only had to push for 15 minutes, so I was hoping Gavin would be quicker! I was wrong. :( I think around 1:00-1:30 or so my legs were just done from standing up, and I wanted to get in the bed to finish pushing. Bethany suggested maybe I try getting on all fours to alleviate some of the back pain I was having. I felt super awkward and I only stayed in that position for one contraction- but it happened to be the contraction that my water broke! It was so crazy. With Colbie, my water didn't break at all. With Gav, I felt super intense back pain when I was on all fours and then all of a sudden this huge POP and water went EVERYWHERE. My hubby wasn't even standing super close to me, and it soaked his shoes and one leg of his jeans. Luckily nobody was behind me or they would have been soaked. It made a huge mess for the nurse to clean up. Once my water broke, it was immediate relief. Well, until the next contraction! It actually felt really nice having the warm amniotic fluid all over my feet and legs when my water broke. Makes me definitely see how people enjoy water births.

Anyhow, I knew that laying on your back was one of the worst positions for laboring, but I still wanted it. Bethany had the nurse get the squat bar, so I could try to labor in a squat position in bed- I probably did that for about an hour. Also, by this point, Kerry had discovered that I had a lip or rim of cervix that was making the whole thing more painful and taking longer. I was feeling like my pushing was ineffective since it was taking so long. Kerry ended up needing to manually push out the lip/rim which was so awful. She had her hand in my cervix during contractions, while I was pushing. Ugh. I ended up putting my legs up in the stirrups because I thought maybe I could push more effectively to try and get rid of this complication. Finally after some hardcore pushing, the lip/rim was gone! After it went away, it only took 3 more pushes and Gavin was here! There was so much excitement in the room once he was coming out. I felt like I had a million cheerleaders. Oh, and speaking of being loud...with Colbie, I don't think I made a single noise. With Gavin, the entire hospital probably could have heard me! I was so loud, but I couldn't help it. It was just such a different experience. When Gavin was born, he had his hand up by his head- yet another thing that caused the labor to be more painful than usual. When I was doing those final 3 pushes, I was just thinking to myself (and maybe even said out loud)- "Get out! Get out!" I was so ready for the labor to be over with. My body felt so beat up.

Like his sister, there was some meconium in the amniotic fluid, so Kerry did a quick suction, while the cord was still attached, and then put him to my chest immediately. I didn't get to hold Colbie until she was all cleaned up. Gavin was on my chest within a minute. I always thought it was a bit gross seeing this vernix and blood covered babies, but Gavin was really clean. And, he was so warm! Kerry let the umbilical cord finish pulsating before having Taka cut the cord right on my chest.

They gave me a shot of pitocin in my arm, which I had originally wanted to decline, but at this point I was so exhausted, I didn't really care. Bethany said it is pretty routine, and helps with hemorrhaging so I just let them do it without a fight. Soon after the placenta was expelled. I could see it laying on a table near the foot of the bed, pretty cool looking. They put it in a bucket and gave it to Bethany to take home. Crazy that some meaty looking part of my body was being sent home in a bucket with someone we barely knew. Bethany had been with us for about 4-5 hours at this point and I knew she was tired too, so we told her she could head home.

They let Gavin lay on my chest and attempt to nurse, and cover me in poop, for what seemed like forever. They said I needed to stay in the delivery room for 2 hours before being sent to the postpartum room, and I held Gavin on my chest for most of that time. He nursed really well, and then they weighed him and measured him and cleaned the poop off of him, did a few tests, etc. Taka was right next to him and I could see him the whole time. They brought me some nasty food to eat, and I drank SO much. Two glasses of orange juice, some other juice they had, and probably 96 ounces of water within an hour. My throat was so sore from all the moaning, etc during labor. I felt like I had been at a rock concert or something.

We went to the postpartum room and started to arrange visitors for the evening. We wanted Colbie to come by asap because we missed her! So, Claire brought Colbie by, and also Taka's dad came by. Good thing he did because he brought us some dinner and I was soooo hungry again already. I felt like I had ran a marathon. That night, the nurses came in every 1-2 hours to test Gavin's glucose level since he was close to being 9lbs. They said that he was a big baby (8lbs 15.5oz) and so they have to keep an eye out for low blood sugar. Ugh. So annoying. We probably only got 2 hours sleep that night with all the nurse visits. We were set on getting out the following day because we wanted to get home to Colbie, so I nursed Gavin as much as possible to keep his blood sugar up and he ended up passing, so we were good to go!

After a bunch of other vitals and tests, we were finally able to go home around 5pm on Tuesday, 2/18/14. Since Gavin was born at 2:51pm the 17th, they wanted him to stay until he was at least 24 hours old. Claire had made us dinner that night at home and we slept so much better our first night than we did at the hospital!

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