"Giving birth is an ecstatic jubilant adventure not available to males.

It is a woman's crowning creative experience of a lifetime." ~ Dr. John Stevenson

"The Road Less Traveled..." of Parenthood

Following your instincts instead of the crowd

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood...I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference."

Robert Frost

Friday, February 27, 2009

Charles Home WaterBirth

December 19, 2005
It was one day after my "guess" date. I'd been having Braxton-Hicks contractions off and on for several weeks. I picked up Scott at work and we all went to Salt Lake to see the Christmas lights. We stopped at Wendy’s for dinner. When we came out it was softly raining. That made it kind of uncomfortable for Scott who was the only one without a hood. And he has the least amount of hair. I felt bad for him but he was in a good mood and didn’t let it bother him. I brought some chux pads just in case but I knew that by bringing them I wouldn’t go into labor! We went to the church museum first but Joshua was a little nightmare in there. We had to leave before we saw the exhibit we came to see. Scott got a little testy and then Ali and I did as well. Once we got to temple square we all did better. We walked around a bit and took a couple of pictures. We were all ready to leave before too long though. I had a few contractions but nothing that made me stop walking.When we got home we had scriptures and prayer and we all went to bed. I slept for about an hour I think. But I don’t think I ever reached deep sleep because I kept having contractions about every 20 to 30 minutes. They were different than Braxton-Hicks–more intense. I tried to lay there and deal with them like the Bradley method taught because I knew I needed my rest. It was difficult though. I felt somewhat out of control in that position. Finally about 1:30 a.m. I couldn’t lay there anymore. I got up and turned the Christmas tree lights on for company. That made me feel a little better. I sat on the exercise ball and the contractions were so much easier to work through. I decided to turn on my computer and play the labor playlist I had made. That helped as well. I sat in a comfy chair with a chux pad underneath me in case my water broke. I wanted to sleep in between contractions and so I would watch the screensaver hoping it would put me to sleep like it did a couple weeks ago when I was rocking Joshua at naptime. It didn’t put me to sleep, but when I would look at the beautiful pictures of nature I felt close to Heavenly Father and knew He was in control. Those feelings helped me not feel so scared. Because I was a little scared being up alone in the middle of the night in labor. Around 2:30 I went to the bathroom and it woke Scott up. He asked what I was doing up. I told him the contractions wouldn’t let me sleep. So he got up too and we had a peaceful night together softly talking while I calmly labored. When a contraction would come I would just stop talking, close my eyes, and relax my mouth and jaw. I told myself to open and relax my cervix. (Some great mantras I learned from Ina May's book.) Then after about a minute or so I would open my eyes and resume talking. Scott thought it was cool how I would go into my "trance" in mid-sentence and so he took a picture of me. It’s not very flattering but I’m grateful we have it because that part of my labor was so effective, and so peaceful, and gave me the fondest memories of the whole labor.The contractions started getting about 5 minutes apart around 4 a.m. so I decided to call Richelle at 4:30. I hated to wake her up but decided 5 minutes apart was getting close considering how long I had already been in labor. She answered the phone with a groggy, "Is Bonnie having a baby?" I told her I thought so and she said she would gather her stuff and come. Scott gave me a blessing after that. He had just started when the phone rang and Richelle was asking if we wanted her to bring her hose. I said yes and hung up. Then I asked Scott to finish the blessing. He started again and this time I felt the peace that everything would be okay. I stopped worrying after that. I was no longer afraid that I or the baby would have complications and have to go to the hospital. He said angels would attend me and guide me as to what I needed to do. The labor would be enjoyable and efficient. He said Heavenly Father wanted me to know of His love and concern for me at this time. I remember he called my labor a "labor of love" for our son, that I would have a quick recovery and that my body would function properly. He also said the baby would be happy and would be a sweet son who would bring joy to our family and home.Richelle took a while to get there. I think it was about 5:30 or maybe even 6. We were getting the tub ready. She checked my cervix and I remember thinking, "now don’t be disappointed if you’re only at a 2 or a 3." However, I was 6 centimeters dilated! I was ecstatic. My labor had really been efficient. My relaxation techniques and self-talk really were working. I called Melissa who was going to film the birth and told her I was already at 6. She said she’d come right out. An assistant midwife arrived next. Her name was Rachel. By this time I was in the tub and Richelle, Rachel, or Scott would push on my sacrum? during contractions. I was amazed how much that helped. I felt best in a hands and knees position during contractions. When Melissa arrived, she looked at Rachel sitting on the bed and said, "Shut up!" That was her way of saying hi to an old friend whom she didn’t expect to see. The mood changed to more of a reunion or party type atmosphere. At first I thought, "this is fun–kind of like a slumber party." It was still dark outside. But then, as Rachel and Melissa kept talking to each other, even during my contractions, I thought, "Wait–this is my labor and my birth." The sun came up and the kids woke up one at a time and as each came into the bedroom, I’d say, "Aren’t you glad we didn’t have to wake you up?" I was still in a good mood and didn’t realize the effect the whole changed atmosphere was having on my labor. Melissa was asking me questions while filming (with a huge camera) which I now realize in hindsight distracted me. Even though I thought it was all okay, it wasn’t conducive to laboring. Especially the way I need to labor–in peace and quiet and some sense of privacy. The contractions slowed down and became weaker. When Richelle checked me next I was only 7 centimeters even though it had been at least 2 hours since I was at 6.Another thing that may have affected my labor was that Richelle said the latest research indicated that a water temperature of 95 was better for birthing. So we let the water get cooler than I liked. I really feel best when it’s around 98-100. After a while Richelle realized I needed fewer people in the bedroom so Melissa and Rachel went out but I could still hear them talking in the family room. The girls got Joshua dressed and fed him breakfast. He was embarrassed to eat in front of all those strangers and so he covered his eyes with one hand while spooning Cheerios into his mouth with his other hand. They all tried not to laugh at him because it was so cute and funny. Ali came in and asked how much longer it would take. I told her, "don’t talk numbers. It stresses me out."Richelle gave me a tincture of blue cohosh to speed up my labor and left Scott and I alone in the bedroom. We weren’t able to close the door because the bed was in the way (we had to push it towards the door to make room for the tub.) Ali was playing on the piano while we were trying to listen to a cd with really pretty music that Richelle had brought. Even though both were pretty and relaxing, the combination of them wasn’t. I told Richelle it was really distracting so she asked me if she should go tell Ali to stop playing. I feel so bad now because Ali told me later that she was playing for me. I had thought maybe she was just playing to pass the time. When Richelle asked her to stop her eyes welled up with tears and she had to go downstairs to hide her emotions from everyone. I still feel really bad for Ali!Finally Scott and I were alone so we decided to do some NS in the tub to speed up the labor. I did have a few stronger contractions, but nothing got consistent. Finally after repeated trips to the bathroom I was tired of the tub. I got dry and put my robe on and went out into the family room. A second midwife had arrived and they were all sitting there in the family room. I sat on the exercise ball and Melissa asked if she could film me to which I said yes. But when she asked if she could ask me questions I said I’d rather not. I apologized to them that it was taking so long. Having my labor slow down had never happened before. They said I didn’t need to apologize. They all watched me which made me extremely uncomfortable, so I got up and said I probably just needed a nap and things would pick up again. I really wanted to shut the door so Rachel and Richelle worked really hard to move the bed so we could close the door. Finally we succeeded and I lay down and everyone went out of the bedroom. I just couldn’t sleep, however. After a few minutes I got up to go to the bathroom again. Scott came in and said that at Richelle’s suggestion they had all said a prayer for me to know what they should do to help me. After the prayer was over they all knew they needed to leave the house for a while. Richelle stayed of course. When Scott told me this I felt an immediate sense of relief. I hadn’t realized just how much a house full of people had affected me and my labor. Right after this while I was still sitting on the john, and while Scott was still in the bathroom, I heard a pop and then water dropped into the toilet. My water bag had broken! That pop was a cool sound. Scott thought it was pretty cool that it had broken while I was on the toilet. That was pretty convenient. No mess to clean up. That was funny because ever since I had gotten up the night before I carried a chux pad around with me in case my water broke. Richelle came into the bedroom then and Scott told her my water had broken. She immediately got on her cell phone and called everybody back. I heard her say, "We just had a spontaneous rupture of the membranes. Come right back."I got into the tub then and had a whopper of a contraction. It was so intense. I immediately got into a modified hands and knees position and rested my head on the side of the tub whenever a contraction came, and come they did! I only had 2 or 3 contractions like that when I felt the baby moving down. Scott was in the tub by this time and I was moaning like crazy during each contraction. I could hear rubber gloves hurriedly being snapped on and the room filled up with people. I didn’t really care though because all I could think about was getting this baby out. I just couldn’t stand the intensity of those contractions and the feeling of him moving through me. I wanted him out! During the last couple of contractions Richelle moaned with me trying to remind me to keep the tones low. That really helped me. I could hear her and I immediately tried to match her tones. When I could feel the baby was about to crown I said, "I need to squat!" Richelle said go ahead and told Scott to get behind me and hold me up slightly. Scott reached in and said, "There’s his head!" I gave a great push and very loud moan and pushed his head out. The sensations were so intense, so excruciating even, that I remember thinking, "I never want to do this again!" Richelle checked for the cord and his heart tones. She said not to take a lot of time because during the last contraction or two his heart tones had gone down to 90. I didn’t want to take any chances of the baby having any problems so even though I might have liked to rest for a second or two, I immediately pushed again and pushed his whole body out. Richelle caught him and I sat down. None of the midwives happened to look at the clock the minute he was born, but Tanner had! He proudly announced to them that he was born at 11:13 a.m. My water had broken at 10:40. Only a half an hour had transpired! I had gone from a tight 8 cm to full dilation and delivery in 30 minutes!I knew as I sat there I had torn. I hurt both at the top and bottom of the birth canal. (Later I found out they were just skid marks.) But I tried to forget about that and just look at my precious baby. He opened his eyes and I said wonderingly, "Who do you look like?" His eyes looked very different than the other kids had. I knew I had a very unique little baby in my arms. I checked to make sure he was a boy and of course he was! Scott was sitting slightly behind me admiring him as well. I kissed his head. He was so precious!Whitney and Tanner had been in the room and witnessed the birth but Ali and Joshua had been downstairs "dancing to the potty train" as Ali said later. (They were watching Joshua’s video of Bear in the Big Blue House called "Sometimes You Just Have to Go!") Whitney ran downstairs right after Charles was born and excitedly told Ali to come upstairs–that it had happened. I feel bad Ali missed the birth, but as Scott said later, it was better that Joshua didn’t see and hear me as I pushed the baby out. It would have freaked him out to hear me moan like I did. I didn’t notice Joshua was in the room with Ali until I suddenly heard him cry. I thought he had just come in and cried when he saw me in the tub holding a baby that wasn’t him! Scott told me he had been in the room for a few minutes just staring at us before he started crying. Someone, maybe Ali, took him out as soon as he started crying.Charles didn’t pink up very fast and he seemed to have swallowed some fluid. Richelle gently suctioned his lungs and he gagged a bit. Because of that we didn’t stay in the water too long. Richelle asked me how I felt about cutting the cord even though it was still pulsating weakly. I thought it more important to get Charles warm and pink than to wait until the cord stopped pulsating completely. So Scott cut it and more blood came out than had come out of Joshua’s cord. They wrapped him up in a warm towel and helped me out as well.In order to warm up Charles, they suggested I nurse him. Melissa asked if she could film it and I said okay, but it affected me again and contributed to me feeling flustered. Charles wasn’t interested in nursing and my breasts were so huge and soft that I’m sure I looked extremely uncoordinated. Finally I gave up and said I’d try again later. A little while later after Melissa and one of the midwives had left I lay down in bed with Charles snuggled next to me. Then we had no trouble nursing. He latched on beautifully–I was careful to wait for his mouth to open wide and to kind of roll the nipple onto his tongue. He nursed contentedly for a good 15 or 20 minutes. It didn’t hurt at all–hooray! I felt the motherly hormones flowing and I couldn’t resist smelling and kissing his sweet head. I noticed Richelle watching right then. I don’t know what she thought–relief that breastfeeding was now working and I was bonding. I’m sure she realized just how much better I do with a little privacy. Maybe she was looking forward to the day when she would have a baby. When Charles let go of the breast I put him on the other side and he nursed just as well.He warmed up after that and Richelle and Rachel did the newborn exam. He let out a few sudden yells, but when she put him on his stomach he calmed right down. He was 20 inches long and weighed 7 pounds 11 ounces. That was the same as one of the other kids, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember which one. Ali thought it was her but I wasn’t totally sure. I later looked at my records and realized it was Tanner who was 7-11. Tanner totally bonded with Charles. I am so glad he got to see his baby brother born.It was an interesting labor and birth, even though in hindsight I wished I had practiced my hypnobirthing techniques more. I think they were more effective than just using the Bradley Method techniques to relax. If there is a next time, I'm firmly decided I'm going to use the Hypnobabies home study course.It's funny how I felt like I never wanted to give birth again for those few excruciating moments of pushing, and yet within days, I was planning how to make the next birth better!I fell so absolutely in love with this little boy that I couldn't stop looking at him. He was so beautiful, and I was so grateful and ecstatic that I had had another successful, joyous homebirth!

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