Saturday, February 4, 2017

Della Jane's Unique Birth

Birth Stats...
Estimated Gestational Age: 41 weeks
20 hours ruptured membranes and inactive labor, 3 hours very intense active labor
8 lbs. 10 oz.
Unmedicated, Home birth, Water birth, 5th birth

39 weeks

Our amazing New Year's Eve dinner... all alone!
The last week of my pregnancy was hard (the last month had been) and I was so ready to have labor start and to see my baby! On December 31st my parents came and picked up our 6 older children because I was so tired and feeling so bad, to give us a break and let me get more rest. I was so stressed out about going overdue, fearful and also just physically struggling. I kept trying to make things happen, and that was obviously not working well! 

January 2nd (almost 41 weeks overdue) I woke up at about 5:45 am to go to the bathroom, getting back into bed I felt a small gush of liquid and realized my waters had broken... it was a slow leak. The night prior I had lost my mucus plug, it had actually fallen on the floor when I stood up from the toilet with a flop! It was huge, I laughed at how large and creature-like it was!

Well, "sorta soon"!

I tried going back to bed but fluid kept slowly coming out and mild contractions started and were about every 7 minutes apart... so I made my bed for delivery (with layered sheets and water proof pads) since we planned a home birth, our 3rd one. I got my sweet little scripture/meditation signs hung up around the room, picked up and generally did a little nesting of my birthing space. I was so eager to meet our baby!  At least I knew that it would come… sooner or later. At 7 am I got up Tim because usually I get started and have the baby within about 4 to 5 hours. I told him he might want to shower and get us breakfast before I would presumably naturally transition into active labor... ha! 
41 weeks

At 9 am everything abruptly stopped. No contractions… nothing! I called our midwife who said she'd come over at noon to check my progress (dilation) and talk "herbal induction". I was a "stretchy 3, almost a 4 and we thought I just needed to be pushed a little over the hump into active labor. I started an herbal tincture and labor seemed to resume... moderately intense contractions every 5 to 8 minutes... I was hopeful we were on our way to having a baby by dinner time! After my last dose at about 4 pm everything slowly ground to a halt again. I was so disappointed and discouraged! With my 3rd my water had similarly broken spontaneously and I entered labor with no problem... I was so confused why my body wasn't cooperating! I tried to rest, which was a joke because I was so anxious and wound up. Honestly, I can’t even remember what I did from about 4 to 8 pm? We did watch Wonder Years, which helped take my mind off things, I tried using my breast pump to stimulate oxytocin and I think I took a bath too.
Ready and waiting!
Tim helped me do the “side-lying release" on spinning babies, at about 8 pm my labor started on its own again, which was encouraging ... but it would only keep going only as long as I was active... I kept it going by walking, climbing the stairs and sitting on a birth ball until 10 pm but we were both getting tired. I felt like I'd already been through labor, I was tired and achy, and felt “done”. I could hardly imagine all the work I really had before me! I was very discouraged. At our midwives encouragement we went to bed and called the whole thing for the time being. She reminded us that we had plenty of time to still have the baby (the whole “time limit” thing of having broken waters) and she assured us that my body would just start up on it’s own and to surrender to what was happening and to stop trying to make it happen. I complied and went to bed.

Laborland. Beka our amazing midwife looks on.
While sleeping I’d wake and have a contraction every half hour or so. I got some decent rest. At 1 am I had a sort of stronger one, another at 1:30 am and then at 1:45 am I felt like a freight train hit me! It was probably the most painful contraction I've ever had and it just kept going and going and going, ... Tim came to my aid, as he had been resting in the adjoining room. I was very vocal about the intensity of the contraction. After it passed my entire body immediately started shaking uncontrollably and my jaw chattering! It was intense! Tim took my vitals and my BP was crazy high... we both just looked at each other like "for real?" It had been just below or at a mildly concerning place for the last month of my pregnancy and had slowly inched up the days before my water broke. I had NO other signs or symptoms of pre-eclampsia, but we kept an eye on it. Perhaps that crazy jump into active labor made it shoot up?  Tim thought I might be in transition (or feared that) so he immediately called our midwife who lives just around the corner from us. She said she'd be on her way and to get me in a hot bath to relax until she arrived. Our secondary midwife was also called and she got on her way.

I got in the bath but was SO fearful that labor would stall... yet again. I kept thinking that we’d call the midwives, they’d arrive and the labor would flop again. I told Tim I needed to get out of the bath due to this fear… he told me he thought I needed to stay in and to stop worrying so much! It, thankfully, didn’t stop. Beka arrived, set up more of her stuff, and just observed me. 

Finally here! It's a girl!
The waves were so incredibly intense it was like getting pounded by a tidal wave. I was trying so hard to find focus and meditate on my planned thoughts of perspective and even just control my breathing. It was a struggle and took my entire being. I labored in my tub from 2-5 am, the entire delivery. We had to refill it once  because it was getting cold, but it was a great help to me yet again. I'd labor in varying positions... reclined, sitting up, sort of squatting, all fours and back again... moving helped position our baby who was engaged, but high and moving positions too during the whole thing, which didn't feel great.  During my tidal wave contractions I would moan, remind myself "open", "out", "down into my arms" and try to visualize my opening relaxing cervix. Tim would give me sips of water, I drank 3 glasses during labor, and cool my head with a cloth. He kept telling me "it's only been an hour, you're doing amazing, that one did so much work, you know you're good at this, you've done this before..." All affirmations that I needed to be reminded of as I felt frustrated at the intensity and how this labor felt nothing like my other labors. 

Well, look at you!
At one point I asked for my progress to be checked as I really wanted to know when we could move on to pushing... I was 8cm, almost 9... but given the clear to "follow my body" as little pushes with a multipara (mama of many) can push the cervix out of the way... I did. After about 45 min I felt strong bearing down instincts and pushed quite aggressively several times. I checked myself and baby was NO where to be felt... I nearly cried! Beka checked again and found a cervical lip on one edge. She suggested laboring through 3 contractions on hands and knees to remove it... I did and amazingly they were very gentle contractions in comparison to what I had been feeling prior! After that I went back to pushing and my new labor mediation became "it's ok if you split in two... you won't, you'll just feel like it"! Haha! It was strangely encouraging to me. The first few pushes did nothing and I looked at my team and said "What is going on? It's not coming down!" I was so mad! I've literally pushed twice with some of my children! Tim suggested I try a modified hands and knees (with my tail more down in the water)... I was skeptical... but trusted him. Trust had been my word for labor and I realized I needed to apply this. 

Sweet relief! Baby on the outside! Thank you Lord!
After a few pushes in this position the baby got over the “speed bump” in it's way and over my pubic bone and came barreling down in one MASSIVE and long contraction! I was able to push from public bone/pelvis to head fully out in that one contraction, several pushes. I was seriously yelling/crazy grunting during this whole thing... it was crazy intense and also I was just surprised and unprepared for it. But, I soooo badly wanted to be done and have the baby out that I went with it! I was totally embarrassed however that I was so loud! Thank goodness our kids weren't around. 

After the head was out I got a rest and asked Beka who was assisting with the baby's head 
behind me if the baby was ok if I waited, she said yes. It took several pushes to release the rest of the body, which was odd for me, it usually just sort of slips out with a hearty push... but it soon did. Beka caught the baby and as I started to sit back the baby was passed between my legs to my waiting arms! I grabbed it up and said "I'm so glad you came out!!!" Then looked to see what it was... a girl! Our 5th daughter! I was happily surprised. I had totally thought the baby was a boy, but I had nothing but feelings of gladness to welcome my baby. Della Jane was covered in vernix from head to toe, I was given a shot of pitocin to help me not bleed too much and I got out of the tub... which I had totaled out in my massive push... it was SO gross! 
Joy our assisting midwife.

Della Jane
 (with some nice bruising along her brow)

Della's twin... look at it in comparison to the size of the chux pad!
They got me settled in bed, I delivered a massive placenta I affectionately called "Della's twin"... it was the size of a dinner plate and approximately 1 1/2 inches thick! The midwives jokingly said it's why Della was so happy and unwilling to be born “on time.” I remarked that no wonder I was cranky the last few weeks... I was carrying that around! I lost a fair amount of blood when it came and they wanted me resting in bed for a week due to that and my elevated BP, which took it’s sweet time coming down.

8 lbs 10 oz

Della Jane and I had wonderful skin to skin time, we had an uninterrupted hour as mama, daddy, baby, I got Della nursing while the Midwives got us food, switched the laundry, did dishes and picked up... as well as cleaned the "poop tub!" Bless them!

I couldn't do it with out you.
They did the newborn screen and their paperwork. They hung out and observed mostly me (due to the BP) until 11 am. Beka came back the next day to check on us. 

Oh! And Della had a 14 1/4 head! That said, due to pushing on hands and knees I didn't tear a bit... I had torn with all my others... I was very pleased about that and it made healing amazingly easy! I felt like that was kind of my reward for such a crazy labor. Della weighed in at 8 lbs 10 oz and was 19 inches long. 

Sweet baby girl!
When all was said and done this mama who's use to 4-5 hour labors ended up with a 20 hour long early or sporadic labor and had a 3 hour active and crazy intense labor... basically, a tiring long labor and a short intense labor all in one! It was NOT what I expected, but it was still good, I got to be at home and we have a healthy baby and I'm doing pretty good with amazing care! Very 

My Prize!

(photos by Foteem Photography)

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