Lucius' Assisted Freestanding Birth Center Birth
***CAUTION***EXTREMELY LONG AND GRAPHIC!
Tuesday, February 10th:
It is now forty-two weeks and baby is still not out yet. With each day that passes, I grow exponentially more impatient and bitter at the wait. Matt has gotten more worried because of passing my “due date”. He is just concerned for mine and the baby's health. I do not worry so much about that, but I am very uncomfortable at this stage in the pregnancy and am jealous of all the other ladies that were due in January already having their babies and here I am still waiting on mine. I want to see what he looks like and hold him and share him with his daddy.
I started losing my mucus plug on Wednesday the 4th. Starting at 7:52 this morning, I have been having contractions at six minutes apart. They are not painful, but they are less comfortable than the Braxton-Hicks I had been having up until now; so I am guessing these are the real deal. I can handle this.
I call Jeanne to tell her about the contractions and ask if she thinks this is real labor and see if I need to have Matt come to the appointment with me, just in case the contractions increase. She says it couldn't hurt to have him with me, so I call him out of work. I am hopeful that this is it.
The appointment is for three o'clock and we leave work at two. While at the Birth Center, I get up from the couch to go to the bathroom and feel a gush of liquid. I hurry to the bathroom, pee and get up from the toilet. Then, I feel another rush of liquid. I asked Matt to bring me a Depends and my spare pair of pants (fortunately, we've had our packed bags ready to go and in the car since about week thirty-seven). After a check with a paper test to see if the liquid is amniotic fluid comes back showing positive, Jeanne says that we'll have our baby within the next twenty-four hours. How exciting!
Wednesday, February 11th:
All last night, I had contractions coming at exactly seven minutes apart. I am certain that today is the day. We both call out of work anticipating that we'll be holding our son by the end of the day. Fate has another idea for us. As soon as I get up and start eating and moving around, the contractions stop coming at all.
Jeanne asks us to come back in to retest the fluid I had lost to see if it really was amniotic fluid. She suspects that the paper she used is faulty and thinks that it might have had a false positive yesterday. Having the water break should have sped up labor and gotten things going full-swing quickly, not have the contractions stop completely. It is important to get the baby out within twenty-four hours or so after the amniotic sac has broken because a dry environment has more chance of allowing the baby to get an infection. We go back to the Birth Center and discover that the lube that Jeanne uses for the exams causes the paper to react positively. Apparently, the technology behind amniotic fluid detection is inaccurate and needs to be updated and perfected...
Matt is a little bit upset by this. He feels that mistakes like this show Jeanne to be incompetent and he is now trying to convince me to go through someone else. He has a bad feeling that something is wrong, doesn't trust Jeanne and fears for mine and the baby's life. I am understanding that mistakes like this could happen, but don't want to belittle Matt's feelings on the matter. But I still really want to have Jeanne and Kate with me when I have the childbirth and would REALLY rather not go to the hospital or transfer to someone I don't know. I made my decision four months ago that I wanted to have a natural childbirth with Jeanne as my midwife and I want to stick to that plan. Plus, it would break my heart to have to fire Jeanne this late in the game.
At 11:00pm, I go to bed and find that I am now having a front contraction followed by a back contraction. These are more painful than anything yet, but I go to bed thinking I can sleep through them.
Thursday, February 12th:
Boy was I wrong! At 2:00am, I find that I can no longer bear my painful contractions in silence. I was planning on having Matt go to work for the day because of all the false alarms beforehand. Figured today would be no different.
So I leave the bedroom and go down to the living room. I moan and groan through my contractions and they are getting more powerful and the pain is bad. Matt wakes up at his usual time, but we decide he should stay home. Despite the fact that the contractions are being timed at between two and thirty minutes apart, they are so painful that it only makes sense for him to stay with me. All day long, we track and count contractions. Eventually, the pain of the contractions becomes so bad that I have to have Matt writing down the times. They are hanging on the brink of being close enough together that we can go to the Birth Center, but toying with our emotions by spreading out before the two hour time limit is reached. By nightfall, I'm in so much pain that I am wondering how I will ever be able to go through this without drugs.
Matt's rantings are wearing at my resolve and spirit to do this the natural way. He asks if I want to go to a hospital and makes plans to take me to one and by that point, I am so tired of the contraction pains and the arguing that I can get behind the idea of an epidural to numb the pain. These back contractions are hellish and nothing can ease them. I've had Matt try massaging my low back while in a contraction, sitting with pillows stuffed in the area of the pains, and they are just so intense and painful that a good tranquilizer would likely not put a dent in them. I am exhausted, as I could not lay down all day – lying down makes the contractions in the back hurt even more than rocking at the edge of the couch during them does. I am also yelling and moaning with the contractions and likely bothering the neighbors.
I call Jeanne for reassurance, but can tell that she's getting frustrated with having to deal with us at this point. She tells me she doesn't have a magic wand that she can wave to get my labor to progress and that if we are that concerned about things being abnormal that we should transfer care to a hospital. It's very disheartening to realize that I am bothering my healthcare provider and the person that I run to when feeling uncertain in my pregnancy.
At ten or eleven that night (somewhere in that range, but I don't remember the exact time), Matt tries to have me get some sleep, but I am almost screaming in agony with the back pains and find that I truly cannot lay down, even just for a moment. At eleven twenty or so, Matt realizes that I have been having contractions at five minutes apart range for the past two hours. We decide that is time to go to the Birth Center now.
I call Jeanne but get her voicemail. I leave a message stating that we are on our way. I call Kate to follow-up, because I don't want to get to the Birth Center to find no one there. Kate calls Jeanne and they decide that Kate will meet me there and do a checkup on me.
The ride from New Boston to Concord takes half an eternity. The painful contractions are still coming on full-speed. In Concord on Main Street, a stoplight does not turn from red to green, so we run it. I'm in labor here. Don't much care that the light was red. It is nearly midnight and there is no traffic and even if there was, it doesn't change the fact that we were sitting there much too long waiting for the light to turn green for us. I'm not giving birth to my child in the car because some streetlight is broken.
Friday, February 13th:
It's right about midnight when we get to the Birth Center. Kate is there and looking tired, but so am I. I'm actually quite exhausted after four long days in labor and not getting much sleep. I rush off to the bathroom feeling like I need to pee, but am unable to. It's just the pressure of the baby's head on my bladder. Kate checks me out and says that I'm at four centimeters dilated. I am a bit crestfallen and had been hoping we'd be further along at this point after twenty-four hours of hard contractions, but I am where I need to be and can handle labor for just a bit longer. Kate says that I can get in the pool soon and that it will help ease the pains of the contractions. She encourages me and is very supportive of my handling of the contractions. They certainly haven't gotten any less excruciating at this point. They are worse.
After the pool has been filled up partially, I can get in. I go in naked and sit back. The water does soothe my front contractions, but they are the lesser of the two pains. The back contractions are not affected by my being in the water and are still only barely being tolerated. I yell and moan and thrash around in the pool. Matt is there at the edge of the pool to hold my hand so I can squeeze his during the back contractions and offers me sips of Gatorade to keep me hydrated. He is supportive of me and tells me not to thrash around in the pool. It isn't helping anyway.
Kate tells Matt he can put on music, but unfortunately, the cord to connect the I-Pod to the stereo is with Jeanne, so it will have to wait until she gets here.
I had told Kate when I came in that I was kind of feeling the urge to push, but she asked me to hold off on pushing and to let her know if I felt the need again. She had called Jeanne to come in, but told her she could probably take her time, since she was guessing we had some time to go yet.
The contractions are very painful and coming right on top of each other. All I want is a break from the pain. Just for one hour. But that is not to be. I start involuntarily pushing with the contractions, so Kate calls Jeanne to hurry and that labor has progressed faster than thought. Holding in the urge to push is very difficult on top of the pain of the contractions and each passing second waiting for Jeanne to arrive is a lifetime.
Around 2:00am, Jeanne gets in. She checks me and says that the baby's head is right there and I can start pushing with the next contraction. She tells me to reach down and feel the baby's head. It is kind of smooshy.
Matt puts on the I-Pod to the twenty-five most played songs, which are all Megadeth, but I tell him that I want it on random shuffle of all of the Megadeth songs. So he sets it to that and I am able to somewhat distract myself from the pain by concentrating on the music.
Throughout the labor, Jeanne and Kate have been monitoring the baby's heartrate. It is always nice to hear the baby's heart, but sometimes I just wish they didn't need to do the extra annoyance of lifting up on my belly and using the doppler to search for the heartbeat.
I start pushing with my contractions in the pool, but it is difficult to determine just where to push and what muscles to use. Jeanne tries to direct me to the place where I should be pushing, but that isn't an area or muscle that I am accustomed to using, so it is still hard to push properly. I am only slightly worried about pooping, but figuring that I likely will, since I hadn't been able to the whole last day as the pressure of baby's head was blocking things up in there. Contractions have spaced out a little bit and Kate gives me some Blue Cohosh in hopes that it will speed things along. It is gross tasting, but not the worst thing I've ever had, I suppose... After a little while of pushing in the tub, Jeanne asks if I would like to try the birth stool. She says that gravity will assist with getting the baby out and that sometimes the stool is more productive than the pool. I tell her that I will go to the stool shortly if the pushing in the pool doesn't help. With the next contraction and pushes, I realize just how exhausted I really am and opt to go to the stool before I lose my last ounces of energy and strength. Jeanne dries me off as I step out of the pool.
Pushing on the stool does seem to be more productive. Jeanne and Kate set up a mirror so that I can see the baby coming out. I would look in the mirror, but it is very hard to do that and push and go through my contractions all at the same time. I am good at multi-tasking, but I can only do so much. The baby's head soon becomes visible at all times. I find it strange to see the roundness of his head just inside the pelvic cage. I keep pushing with the contractions and it seems that the longest time is not while pushing, but while waiting for the next contraction so that I can continue pushing. The baby's head is coming out slowly and Jeanne says that is a good thing to stretch out the muscles to prepare them for the birth.
My legs are burning from the squatting position I am in on the stool. My left leg is asleep and I am shaking from exhaustion. I make an inner resolve to get that baby out next round of contractions because I am fading fast. I don't know what we will have to do if I completely run out of energy and find myself unable to push but needing to. I don't want to find out.
With the next contractions, I push as hard and long as I can. I think I may have yelled at some point in the pushing too. The pain of the baby's head coming through is horrifically awful, but I pass through the ring of fire with grace and strength. His head is coming out and Jeanne asks Kate if she has the gauze ready. Kate says that there is no time. Sure enough, at 3:41am, the baby's head comes out and the rest of his body comes flying out in one smooth spurt after it. His name is Lucius. Kate hands him up to me and he cries a little and blows bubbles out of his mouth. Then he starts making sucking motions.
The umbilical cord is very odd and looks nothing like I had imagined it would. It's actually much cooler than I thought it would be. The cord is a little short, so I can't hold the baby much higher than my chest; so I'm mostly looking down at the top of his little head. Jeanne waits until the blood has finished pulsing through the umbilical cord before cutting it. They wipe him up a little bit and wrap him in a receiving blanket.
I was so focused on pushing and getting the baby out that I have no idea what song was playing when he was born. Nobody else was paying attention to that either. It was Megadeth and that is what matters.
For the birth of the placenta, the midwives ask Matt to hold the baby. The smile on his face as he gazes at our son could light Las Vegas for a night and I can see deep love in his eyes. The baby is alert and looking at him also. I still haven't really gotten a good look at our boy but I am content for his daddy to be able to have some time to be with him and hold him. After all, I had him exclusively to myself these past forty-two weeks.
Jeanne asks if I would like to get the placenta out on the birth stool or go to the bed. I ask to move to the bed because I just can't physically stand to be in the squatting position any more. Jeanne and Kate both hoist me up and I am moved to the bed onto some chux pads. I can't even feel my left foot at all and am glad that I did not have to walk unsupported. I'm not really having any contractions now and the pain basically subsided the second the baby came out. Jeanne waits for me to deliver the placenta. She says that it's right there at the exit, so I push, even though I'm pretty sure I don't have any contractions right now. The placenta comes out and Jeanne shows it to me. It is fairly interesting. I hadn't known that the sac of amniotic fluid was attached to the placenta. I had imagined it to be like the placenta attached somewhere in there and the cord connected baby to placenta and there was a whole little bubble around the baby that the cord passed through. My placenta does have a weird anomaly – there is a spot on the side that was attached to me that looks like either a chunk is missing or like a deflated bubble on a pizza crust. Jeanne says that she doesn't think it looks like the placenta was torn because there is no evidence of jagged edges or anything like that, but she wants me to pay attention to any foul odors or fevers in the next few days, just in case some placenta is still inside...
Jeanne warns that I will hate her at that moment and pushes down on my stomach to help shrink the uterus and push out excess blood. It isn't pleasant, but I don't hate her for it. She says that after birth all women have a jelly belly for a little while until their organs shift back into their non-pregnant positions.
I feel so much lighter now than I did just hours ago. In the last four weeks or so of the pregnancy, I was feeling very heavy and the weight was all in the belly. The bladder pressure was uncomfortable and my pelvis just ached. While I still look chubby, I feel light. I can't really remember the last time I had this feeling... Should fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes very soon, I'll bet!
It is now time to take care of the tears. I have three of them and one skid mark. I guess I didn't allow for enough gentle stretching of the vaginal opening before forcing my little guy out and the body wasn't ready. Jeanne asks if I have a preference for dissolving or non-dissolving stitches. I tell her that it doesn't make a difference to me. She asks if we are opposed to animal products because they are used in disposable stitches. We tell her we are not. So dissolving stitches it is. The tear on the perineum is small and only requires two stitches. However, I have two up in the upper portion of the vagina and one is so bad that Jeanne and Kate are grimacing something fierce. It's alright with me, though. I pretty much can't feel that part of my body currently. The bad tear is along the top and goes through the clitoral hood. Jeanne says that she hasn't seen a tear like this before. I tell her that it's ok – I wasn't really sensitive in that area before anyway. She is unsure if she can stitch me up so that I'll be one hundred percent the same as before; after all, she is a certified nurse midwife, not a plastic surgeon. I am not phased by the possibility of permanent change down there. I can't see it and as long as it doesn't have impaired functionality, why should it matter at all? The shots of Lanacaine hurt a bit, and I can feel some tugging with the stitching going on, but I am fine with it all. This “pain” is but a minor annoyance compared to what I've gone through in the last twenty-nine hours.
After the stitching is done, Jeanne recommends that I breastfeed the baby. I ask for advice on how to hold the baby. Kate shows me how to do the lying side by side position and I breastfeed him. He is a little vacuum mouth and it hurts some to breastfeed. For the first time, I get to see my son's face and determine who he looks like. He is so beautiful and truly the most adorable baby I have ever seen! He looks nothing like I would have guessed. I was thinking he'd look just like his daddy and nothing like me. He is my Mini Me. He has my mouth, my eye shape and looks a lot like I did as a baby. He does have black hair and blue blue eyes like Daddy, though. His little ear is folded down a bit from positioning in the womb or birth canal, but I know that this will be temporary and it will pop up and look perfect in time. He's nice and pink, no jaundice, and he has just a little bit of vernix here and there. My first words about my son are, “He has my mouth.”
Once the baby has had his fill of colostrum, it's time for his physical and newborn tests. Kate and Jeanne lie him out on a fuzzy blanket and check his movements and bones. We take guesses at his weight: Jeanne says seven, Matt has no idea and I guess in the seven range as well. Kate guesses eight. In the sling scale, his weight comes up at eight pounds and two ounces. Then Jeanne puts him on a different scale and it comes up with a seven pound two ounces reading. They put the second scale on the ground to make sure it's accurate and the final verdict is that he weighs eight pounds, two ounces. Matt helps them get a measurement of the baby's length: twenty and one half inches. Jeanne and Kate give the baby a perfect APGAR score and find that everything is just as it should be. Kate puts a diaper on the baby and it is just perfect timing, as he was just about to poop sticky black meconium on their new fuzzy blanket. Jeanne fills out the paperwork for the baby's birth certificate and Social Security card and verifies the spelling of his name.
I need to pee before we can go home. Kate assists me to the bathroom and gives me some wipes to dab at myself after I go. I pee and am dabbing and am surprised at the size of things down there. I ask Kate if there is gauze down in there. She apologetically replies that, no, that's my swollen labia. I exclaim, “Wow! It's as big as Texas down there!” Jeanne brings in a frozen pad with Comfey Tea on it and Kate layers a Depends with a second pad and the frozen pad on top. The cold feels great against my swelling and am bummed out that I forgot that Jeanne and Kate had recommended that I make frozen pads for myself and I didn't have any at home, nor do I have supplies to make them now.
They go over the worry signs to look for in bleeding and blood clots and tell me about how I need to heal and other specifications for how to go about the next few days.
We stay and chat for a bit longer. The midwives go out for a quick walk and their traditional herbal cigarette (they have one after each birth they attend). I am a zombie, but feel so much relief and happiness right now. Jeanne asks if we'd like to stay at the Birth Center and nap for a bit, but Matt wants to get home as soon as possible so that we can be home and all get some rest. Jeanne is a bit apprehensive, but understanding of us wanting to do this.
We put the baby's footie pajamas with the sea creatures on it, a hat that says “New in Town”, and scratch mittens on him. Who knew that dressing a little baby would be so difficult? It's not like dressing a doll, because dolls don't squirm and wiggle while you're trying to put clothes on them. Matt is quite hesitant about clothing the baby and I am slightly less so. With some maneuvering, we do get him comfortably dressed and ready to go home.
Matt loads up the car and I pee again. I'm feeling a bit light-headed and my ears are buzzing and I can hardly hear. I inform Jeanne of these symptoms and she puts me on oxygen for a little while. It doesn't help with the hearing and buzzing and I have to say “What?” quite a bit, but I am feeling fine to go home and FINALLY get some sleep. We go out to the car, me carrying only my purse, Matt the baby and Jeanne seeing us out. The car seat gives us a little trouble – should have learned how to use it entirely before the baby was born, but Jeanne is a pro and gets the baby comfortably and safely strapped in. I start in the front seat, but Matt thinks the baby would be more comforted by me being in the back seat next to him, so I smoosh in. That convertible car seat takes up most of the space in the back. I spend the whole trip just looking at my baby. My little Lucius. He is quiet and sleeps the whole trip.
When we get to our house, we go right upstairs to the bedroom and crawl into bed. Matt tries to put Lucius in the Pack N' Play playpen that we have, but it is too far down and Lucius does not feel secure in the descent, so he cries and that is a no go. Matt makes up a little bed for him in a laundry basket instead and that works, so we all fall asleep for about four hours.
Lucius is a mellow and sleepy baby on day one and I'm pleased that things won't be too difficult. We spend most of his first day admiring him.
Matt says that watching our son be born completely dumbfounded him. He feels an overwhelming rush of emotions and hormones that he's never felt before. When we got the baby home and he was really able to look at him, he cried a little. It is said that a woman becomes a mother when she becomes pregnant, but a man becomes a father when he sees his baby for the first time.
By nightfall, Lucius is a bit more vocal and won't let me put him down. Matt gets very upset and frustrated and he yells. He doesn't get like that often and when he does, it scares me. I take our baby down to the living room to get away. Eventually, I am just so exhausted that I lay down on the bed with him in my arms and we fall asleep like that. It isn't the most comfortable compromise and I wake up several times throughout the night with pain in my shoulder or arm from the position it's in, but I don't dare change positions because I don't want to wake the baby. We really didn't want to co-sleep for fear of rolling over onto the baby, but I don't really get a choice in this matter currently. Lucius demands that I be holding him at all times or he will cry and scream.
Born at 3:41am on Friday, February 13th, 2009.
Eight pounds and two ounces
Twenty and one half inches long
Re: Lucius' Assisted Freestanding Birth Center Birth
Congratulations! What a beautiful story :) He's gorgeous and i adore his name!
My legs fell asleep and burned like heck, I wish I could have done without that pain during contractions.
Re: Lucius' Assisted Freestanding Birth Center Birth
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