October 7, 2015

Harder better faster stronger: Maisie's birth story

I had contractions constantly for two weeks prior to my due date, and afterwards had a small window of time each evening of regular contractions, sometimes even waking me up at 3 am, waiting for other signs of labor to begin.. I knew my body was doing a lot of work beforehand. I was pretty unsettled by passing gobs of mucous plug for over 2 days and i was beginning to think something was wrong.

John's parents had come into town and I felt like I needed some time to myself to get anchored in a peaceful mindset in preparation for the birth. We had dinner together sunday night, and then sent the children with them on an overnight adventure, as my contractions had really started to pick up, and I was nearly certain I was going into labor. John blew up the air mattress and slept on the floor next to me out in the living room.

.I woke up Monday morning, realizing my contractions had stopped. Monday was relaxing. I had the house to myself and all was quiet. my mind was able to be focused on one thing at a time instead of six things. I watched what I wanted, ate what i wanted and didn't have to share, folded laundry and put it away without it being unfolded the moment i left the room, and read my book completely uninterrupted, all in the comfort of my underwear, lounging on the couch. John came home for lunch and we ate together in sweet silence. We went to bookman's that evening  after John returned from work, and walked around before heading to dinner for a dear friend's surprise birthday celebration. we had a good time talking and eating, all the while joking about going into labor at the restaurant. I decided I missed the kids enough to have them return home that night, and so we retrieved them from mom and dad. We all slept pretty well, John once again on the air mattress next to the couch.

Tuesday morning arrived, and I rolled off the couch onto my hands and knees so i could go to the bathroom, and realized my pants were wet. My water never broke with emberlee, and It broke when i started pushing with paxton, so I was somewhat uncertain. I went to the bathroom and saw that my pants were indeed wet, and I also had my bloody show. no contractions yet. I notified my midwife and she reassured me that everything I was describing was totally normal and nothing was raising any flags. I accepted that my water had broken and that my contractions would start soon, and i would meet my baby within a matter of hours. I handed off my adjustment appointment to John, who had called in to work to be with me. I felt really unwell and just needed to go back to bed, so I did. I felt better after an hour or so of rest.

 We had breakfast and made all the phone calls we needed to make, and arranged for the kids to spend the day with Grandma and grandpa again. John got his adjustment, and I waited for the contractions to pick up, but instead they stopped. I waited and got frustrated and worried. Why hadn't my contractions picked up? why hadn't my body started giving me other signs of labor? I cried in the car on the way home, and began to worry that something was wrong. I had the midwives come out and they were able to talk me out of my downward spiral. They checked my blood pressure, Maisie's heart tones, and swabbed to see if my water had in fact broken. Which, they confirmed. They reassured me that everything was as it should be, and to take advantage of a quite house and John at home, and to relax and spend time together. Shortly after they left, I had John give me a blessing of comfort, and I fell asleep on the couch with a book and slept for just over an hour. When My body started hurting and contractions started again, I told John I wanted to watch a movie. That was about 5 pm. We plugged in the movie, and about an hour into the movie, my  contractions start building really consistently, so I got up and walked around, and that made my contractions practically pile on top of each other. I notified my midwife and she asked if I needed her soon, and I said to give me another hour. That was at 6pm. My contractions continued and I told John we needed to go take the dog somewhere else because it was starting to rain, and we couldn't leave her outside if she got in the way.

We piled into the car (because I refused to be left alone) with the dog in tow, and brought her to our good friend's home. On our way back,  John (who is hands down the best doula I could ask for) asked me if i was hungry, and if i was, what did i want to eat? I recommended a rotisserie chicken because fast food did not sound good and i knew I needed the protein. So John took me to fry's and flew in and out of the store with chicken, a salad mix and a huge bottle of naked juice to keep my energy up for the long night ahead (keep reading, and you will find out why this sentiment is so comical) all the while I'm contracting 2 minutes apart in the car.

We get home, it's pouring rain and the wind is blowing and we get soaked walking from the driveway to inside the house. I shovel down food in between contractions and sit on the birth ball, determined to finish the movie we paused half an hour earlier. I get about 5 mintues in, and I decided "screw it, I'm getting in the shower cause my back is so sore!"

It's 6:45 and pouring rain, so I told my midwife to head on out. I get in the shower and direct that heat onto my back but it doesn't seem like it's working at all, and so I labor on my hands and knees, waiting for my body to tell me what to do next. I know that it is finally true labor, and so I begin to pour my heart out to my father in heaven while in that conducive hands and knees position. I confide all my worries and fears and the walls start coming down. I plead for forgiveness and beg for mercy. I express gratitude and confess my love, and weep, and I don't stop until I feel the peace that I know will come.

 John is bustling about the house,trying to finish his meal and do that last- minute puttering about the house before the birth can take place (taking out the garbage, putting on his swim trunks, double making the bed, emptying the Washer and dryer, emptying laundry baskets ....) and checking on me every few minutes as he does so.

The midwives finally arrive about 45 minutes to an hour later, and my hands and knees are killing me from being on the hard tile, but I felt cemented there. I couldn't seem to cope with the contractions any other way. I was worrying again because I hadn't felt movement in a while, and so when the midwife walked into the bathroom I asked for her to check heart tones right away, and she did. Baby sounded great and i was reassured again that things were as they should be. I told her "i am really regretting not having a birth pool right now!" and she sweetly tries to provide me with that option, but we both knew that by the time someone got out here with a pool, it would be too late.

 John gets in the shower with me and just holds me until more contractions come, and I hang off of him because that is the only way I can relax. I tell him " don't let me go" and relax completely into my contraction, and did another 2 like that before I started feeling pushy. I said " Time to get out, cause i can't have the baby here". So I dry off and head to the bedroom buck nekkid, and have a really intense contraction at the side of the bed, and I know I am approaching transition aka the part that really sucks. I climb on the bed and can't seem to find any other position than my hands and knees, but i was getting really tired, so i tried the birth ball on the bed, and that did help some, but it made my butt tense up during a contraction and I was strting to get really sore. It was at this moment I started transition because i hit a wall. That rock and a hard place, where I know if I keep having contractions it was going to really suck, and pushing was going to suck, and it all just sucked. but i knew the pain would be over and I would meet my baby sooner if i embraced the suckitude. So I made a compromise with myself. If I could get just a few minutes break, off of my hands and knees, I would do it. I would come back strong and finish. So I layed down on my left side on the bed and just relaxed. John brought in some music, which I had previously selected for the birth. the contractions stopped for a little bit and it was wonderful. I got to rest for about 20 minutes before my contractions came back, and then I had to get back on my hands and knees, because I knew it was go time.

I had two really pushy contractions when the rest of my water broke, and the midwives jumped up from where they were sitting on the floor at the foot of my bed, and gloved up, and came immediately down to the business end and swapped out the chux pad I had only partially soiled with my copious amounts of fluid, and placed several more down on the bed so I wouldn't be kneeling in it. I start pushing and it feels damn good. I was ready for her to be out. she made her way out, little by little, two steps forward, one step back, and the midwives say I am doing beautifully. I feel the right of fire and hold her there until the contraction ends, and then her head up to her eyes were out. I push again and the ring of fire stops. I was certain I tore up the front because It was burning like hell. (I didn't)  I push again, and with more effort than I expected, delivered her shoulders. the midwives suction her and prepare John to catch her with the last push, and on my last contraction, I  push out the rest of her body into John's hands at 8:53 pm, about an hour after the midwives arrived. It just so happens that my playlist was playing kanye west's harder better faster stronger as i am birthing , and the midwives got a kick out of that. me, the sweet little mormon girl with a weakness for dirty rap music.





my limbs are shaking with fatigue and I fall forward onto the bed to rest. Maisie was totally quiet for a few moments and then begins to cry. I realized that is MY baby and turn over and reach for her, and john puts her on my chest. I break down into tears. all I can say is "my baby! my baby!" over and over, and the sobs overwhelm me. It was the first time I have cried after having a baby. I was just so grateful she was out and in my arms with breath in our lungs.

I constantly prayed that things would be ok, and after that still, small voice told me this birth would be my triumph after the trials of this past year, I used that to lean on, during this labor, and even now two weeks later, knowing that God makes good on his promises.