Saturday, October 2, 2010

Labor and Delivery

As I mentioned before I decided to go about my labor and delivery in a less traditional way and because of this I have had many people express interest in hearing all about my experience.
I've decided to include every possible detail while it's all so fresh in my mind so I apologize if this gets long or boring...
If all you want to do is look at pictures, click here to see my facebook album.

Around 2 am on September 29th I started feeling some contractions but I figured (as I had when I started labor with Kaylee) that I was just having digestive problems. I mentioned to Ryan that I was having stomach pains and that if they were contractions then we were having an exact repeat of Kaylee's birth (contractions started early in the morning of 37 weeks and 6 days both times) We laughed at how ironic that would be. At 9am when I went to the bathroom I noticed a little pink and for the first time thought this was actual labor.

I decided to start getting myself and Kaylee ready for a potentially long day and started to think about getting the things I needed at the birthing center together.
Ryan came home a little early and we decided to pack everything into the car, go get him a needed haircut, and then head off to our last birthing class.

After class I came home and we put Kaylee to bed. I decided to try and get a little sleep because I hadn't slept well the night before and I knew I wouldn't be getting a lot of sleep soon.
I woke up around 2 am and said Ryan let's start heading to Orem. I was stressed about the 30 minute drive ahead of me and didn't want to underestimate the time. As we were getting out the door the contractions were right on top of each other so we called the midwives to tell them we were on our way. They asked me a few questions and told me that I should wait an hour and see if the contractions were still on top of each other. She said that if they are only bad when I'm moving then I still had a long time. Since we were already in the car we decided to drive to Ryan's mom's place because it's close to the birthing center.

We went in and decided to rest on the couches. I was glad Ryan was able to get some sleep even though I wasn't getting much. Every time I got up to do something my contractions were right on top of each other but as soon as I sat down and relaxed they spaced themselves out so I continued to wait.
At 9 am I started to become a little discouraged. Everyone says the second birth is faster yet here I sat 3 hours after Kaylee's time of birth waiting till I thought the contractions were close enough that the midwives would want me in the center.
Ryan felt we needed to just go and get settled regardless of the fact that the contractions were sporadic when I was resting.
When we left I was moving again so the contractions were on top of each other. On the car ride there I was insanely uncomfortable! We got there and the contractions were so long and on top of each other I couldn't get myself inside. I was a little nauseous and shaky and was actually really far into labor.
I got there around 9:30 and was informed that I was the third laboring mother to arrive. This is significant because they can hold a max of three but had never once filled all three rooms at once. I was in the "just in case" extra room and was the first person to actually use the third tub! The student checked me and said I was at a 6 then the midwife doubled checked and said more like an 8. The student said she was trying to be conservative :) They were impressed I got there on my own but were a little concerned that the baby's head was still posterior. When they checked me they were very considerate of contractions and did leg presses to help me get through them when they were waiting to check me. They didn't do a vaginal exam ever again! (HOORAY!) It was amazing what a difference it makes to have the person attending your labor be familiar with natural birth.
They wanted me to try and do some belly down positions and I was NOT excited about this. They recommended the tub to make helping him turn easier and I thought this sounded good. After a little help from the student I found a belly down position I could actually relax in. After about a half hour I felt the natural reflex of expulsion. While this was the hardest part I was smiling between contractions because I knew he was so close! My foot was asleep so I got myself in a new position and for another 30 minutes I let my body send Kevin down. (Note I did not push) When he was starting to crown the midwives encouraged me to go ahead and actually bear down. With one push they declared head/hand and with a second push they said baby and placed him on my chest at 11:20! The sense of accomplishment that washed over me was pretty phenomenal.

I knew there were benefits to water birth but I was pretty weirded out by the water getting gross. Since I got in the tub for the turning of Kevin I was NOT going to get out in active labor. The placenta took it's sweet time so I sat there just admiring my baby boy while Ryan and I enjoyed bonding with him. With an amazing amount of love/bonding hormones rushing through my body I was able to get past the fact that the water I was in was gross.
Once the placenta was out they waited for the cord to stop pulsing and then Ryan actually cut the cord. I didn't think he would because that's not his kind of thing.

I later asked if he did turn and they said he not only turned but he took the long way around. Because he decided to come out with a hand up, I had a small tear that they were able to fix with just a few stitches. They were apologetic that this part wasn't fun and I assured them this was 100 X's better than the on call doctor who assumed I had an epidural and just started stitching me without numbing! RAGE!

My mom and sister brought Kaylee to come see us. My sister and I discussed that she did the same thing with her son. She kept waiting for the close contractions while resting like the hospital said and they never came. She was at an 8 as well and had her son 15 minutes after getting to the hospital. I guess we are just blessed to have bodies that progress in a way that is a bit more bearable.

They offered us a menu of all the food they had to offer and Ryan and I had a little food to eat.

I came out of it with my up do in tact just like with Kaylee.

In the 4 hours postpartum I showered, got dressed, dressed Kevin, packed up, and left. (Well Ryan did a lot of that.)

For those of you wondering about how Hypnobirthing treated me, I would be lying if I said I was the model student. I had every intention of using all the different hypnosis methods and scripts and music... The problem is I kept waiting till I got settled into the birthing center and then by the time I got there I was already so far along. If I did it again I would settle in sooner and then really get my head in the right place.

Still I DEFINITELY used the breathing for surges and I really did try to use the visualization and I think it was pretty helpful in helping my body progress.
I am glad I ended up actually taking the class because I learned about what to do once my body started pushing him out. I used that and would have had no idea if it weren't for the class. I also think the class helped me understand the scientific reasons WHY. I am the kind of person who is mentally convinced when someone can tell me WHY so this really mentally prepared me to know that my body CAN DO IT.
The classes also helped Ryan know how to help me and helped him know what it is I was doing and how he could support me. I don't think I could have done this without a natural birthing method in place.

For us this experience was amazing because it was everything we knew we wanted. Everything that we HATED about the hospital is what we loved about the midwives and the center. We walked away from it so HAPPY. I knew I had no choice... I've talked and talked about how important natural birth is and I've researched it and I have very strong convictions about it. I took the classes and did a lot of work to mentally prepare myself for the occasion. Natural birth is a lot mental. Still I had my moments during labor where in my mind I said WHAT WAS I THINKING? I really relied on my dedication to providing this drug free experience for me and my baby to get me through. The human body is amazing if you let it be!

I feel great. People can't believe I delivered a baby 2 days ago. It is weird because you don't want to demand everyone at home be your servant but there is no hospital staff being paid to fetch you everything. I've struggled to find the balance between asking other people to help and doing things myself.

Kevin is a little dream baby. He is practically perfect and we are so grateful for his safe arrival here!


Kate said...

Thanks for sharing! I love your story. I think ladies with experiences like us can be a very powerful force for change. I agree that a woman's body is amazing if we let them be!

Tori said...

Wow! You are amazing!

ShaunaJorgenson said...

Oh he is perfect! And it was 12 minutes, not 15! :)

Charlotte said...

LOVED your story. I understand why hospitals are important and necessary, but it makes me so sad that so many woman miss the beauty of birth when they experience it in a hospital. It actually makes me sad for myself, too. I had all of my kids in the hospital and was only "allowed" to have it be what I really wanted once! I really treasure that experience, though, and hope I can help my daughters have the same.

Laura said...

Hi, I don't know you but followed the link from Kristin's blog- Your story is awesome! I just watched "The Business of Being Born" which is a documentary all about the benefits of natural childbirth and am totally in to researching it now. Thanks for sharing!