You know, I just love miracle babies! This mom told me in her e-mail that she was 37 when she gave birth, after 3 rounds of IVF and that the baby was diagnosed with a 2 vessel (rather than 3) cord. Baby is healthy and beautiful toddler today! Yea for mamas who birth safely at home when they are "high risk"! (Still flabbergasted that 35 is high risk!)
Enjoy- and share with a friend!
So, after the sunset beach walk, we came home and decided that dinner was in order. I had been craving nachos all day...so we headed up to IV to Freebirds and split a very "healthy" meal of carne nachos. Little did I know that this would really be my final pregnant meal. I did enjoy it!
But on the way there and while eating and then again on the way home, I started to feel what seemed to me to be intense menstrual cramping...there wasn't really a rhythm to the feelings as they came and went yet. But when we got home Ryan started keeping track on a little notebook. We settled in to watch a movie and every once in awhile I would hold my belly and stretch out my legs and have to take some very deep breaths. I eventually gave up on the movie and decided that the best thing to do would be to try to go to sleep to rest up for labor tomorrow, which seemed likely. So I washed up and got in bed...and that lasted for about 30 mins...and through what were becoming more and more intense contractions. Laying in bed was the last thing I wanted to do.
Looking back on Ryan's notebook of contractions, it appears that I started active labor around 10:50ish. At the time I did not know this. But the notes show that contractions went from varying between 15-30 mins around 8pm - 10:45 to consistently under 6 mins after 10:45. Our rule of thumb for calling the midwife in the middle of the night was 4-1-1. Contractions 4 mins apart, lasting for a minute each, for a length of one hour. Ryan called Alice @ about 1:30am.
Most of my contractions did not last for a full 60 secs...most were about 30-45 seconds. My side note at this point, is that I was finding this very do-able. I was surprised at how "doable" it was actually. The big relief was having a full 3-4 mins of rest (no pain!) in between the intervals of pain (or rather waves of energy as we call it in the home birth world :) ). I spent most of time either on all fours on my yoga mat, or standing bent over with my hands on my upper thigh (much like my favorite recovery stance after a big run). I employed the breathing techniques that I learned that worked for me. These were mainly just deep breaths and centering the exhale breath long and slow in the direction of the "wave of energy" and murmuring a low, almost moaning sound.
When Alice arrived, she checked me. She quickly reported "Sweetie, you are very dilated. You are going to have a baby soon!" We had agreed ahead of time that I did not want to know the exact cm to which I was dilated in the hopes that I wouldn't be discouraged and start calculating. (for example if she measured me at 4 cm, I would immediately start thinking that I am less than half way there and possibly become exhausted just thinking about how much more work I had to do). We were in our bedroom and Alice went out to the loft where Ryan was setting up the birthing tub to talk to him. He quickly came back in to the bedroom, where I stood there contracting to report to me "Honey, you are already at 8 cm!".
This is where things really heated up and seemed to go quite quickly. I hope I can remember some details. I needed to have antibiotics administered to me (positive GBS) and we had asked Dr. Kristi to do insert the IV. She was on call and came immediately over. She put the IV in my hand with a butterfly ( I didn't want a Hep-Lock IV which I felt like would keep me from moving freely). She stood on the edge of the bed above me (she's much shorter than me) while I continued to stand and contract. I laugh when I think of this now, actually I think we laughed then. But it was all so normal and comfortable and exciting! The IV only took about 30 mins I think and then I got into the birthing tub. The tub felt great...quite a release of pressure. I kneeled in the tub like a frog and also reclined on my side for a bit. Ryan was there on the edge of the tub rubbing my hair and back.
Meanwhile another midwife, Anna and a birthing assistant, Jen had shown up. Very soon after being in the tub I felt the urge to push. I had read about this, but it was really an amazing feeling that naturally I could feel the baby moving down and I just knew it was time to move on to the next phase. It really felt good to push; I felt like I was really doing something active now. A short time ( I have no concept of time at this point) after I starting pushing I felt a popping sensation. I said I thought something just popped out of me. I wondered if I pooped! They looked around in the tub with a headlamp (it was all dark, except for some candle light) and didn't find any poop, but concluded that that was my bag of waters breaking.
I stayed in the tub for awhile, but then needed to move on to other pushing positions. I pushed for a total of 2 1/2 hours, and in that time was on all fours on the floor, in a form of child's pose on the bed with my head resting on a stack of pillows (I liked that one), I squatted on the floor resting against Ryan who held me up, on my side on the bed and finally on my back with my feet together pulled up close to my chest. I pulled against my legs/feet, Ryan laying next to me also holding against my leg. All during the pushing phase at various intervals the midwives took the baby's heartbeat. I was very concerned to hear from them that things were OK with her and that she was not in distress. The report was always that she is going great! That she was as good at this as her mommy. That made me feel great.
They encouraged me to look in the mirror as she was crowing. I really had no desire to at all. Maybe I thought it would freak me out, but I really think I was just in a zone and preferred to keep my eyes shut. But when her head started to emerge, everyone, including Ryan was commenting on how much hair she had and how dark it was. They encouraged me to reach down and touch her, which I did. It was amazing! I think I shook with excitement. I was very determined to GET HER OUT! Some contractions I pushed to a count of 10 5x before it ended.
Ryan has remarked several times, in reflection on the birth, that I never once said "I can't do this.", or even "It hurts" and I certainly never got mad at him and accused him of "doing this to me!". I do remember saying "ouch, that really hurts" however. At the very end, when she was crowning and I felt the burn. The midwives directed me to not push through the contractions but rather to puff, puff, puff out through them so as to allow my skin to stretch. This was certainly NOT easy and NOT fun and quite painful. I did the best that I could despite the fact that I really, really wanted to just push her out. Which is what I did at exactly 6;56 AM!
Margaux Elice Harding arrived in full voice announcing her arrival. She was strong and forceful from the moment she emerged. Bessie was downstairs in the guest room and when she heard Margaux screaming she started to bark. It was her way of saying "Hi!" I think. Margaux was placed on my chest and I held her and Ryan held me and we just couldn't believe it. Our long awaited "peanut" was here! Margaux, we love you!
Stats: Born 11/22/10 @ 6:56 AM, 9 lbs. 2 oz, 21 inches
We were so fortunate to have the team of the SB Midwives to care for me prenatally, encourage us, and support us through the birth safely. We continue to see them regularly with home visits nearly every day in postpartum follow-up. We will always remember these remarkable women and how they helped us bring our daughter into the world with such tender loving care.
Bessie was kicked out of her space on the loft and somehow managed to sleep by the fireplace throughout the commotion.
Yes, I will absolutely chose to give birth at home next time, given the option. Home delivery is NOT just for pizza!