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The short recap for those who don't feel inclined to read the whole thing:
My water broke at 1:30am on April 24th. She was at 39 weeks gestation.
We got to the hospital at 3am and the contractions took off from there.
Midwives are angels sent from God.
Everything about the birth was 100% natural: no pitocin, no epidural, no anesthesia, not even an IV; just a buttload of gutt-wrenching screaming, followed by periods of the most amazing rest and calm that earth has to offer.
Baby Adelaide Scarlett was born at 6:09 this morning.
She got a 9 on her apgar, weighs 7 pounds/6 ounces, and is 20 inches long.
She has a cleft in her chin just like her mom and also has her mom's nose. She does have hair on the sides and back of her head and it appears to be brown like her dad's. She has a cute little birthmark on her forehead that will more than likely disappear within the next year.
Here's the morph of my growing baby belly, just for kicks and giggles:
First off, I need to explain that I went in for preterm labor at 34 weeks; I was actively contracting, 80% effaced, and 2 cm dilated. From that point on, I was contracting every 3-10 minutes for the next 5 weeks; it just never stopped. I continued to dilate and efface more and more every midwife visit. Every time I went, my midwife told me, "looks like she should be here by tomorrow!"; but to no avail. My stomach was just SO tired of contracting, I became a horribly tired, anxious mess. We had 3 false trips to L&D. I could have been induced, but I knew that Addie would come when she was good and ready. At 38 weeks, I was dilated to nearly a 5 and was 95% effaced. Addie held out for a full week more and was born at 39 weeks. With that as a preface...
Adelaide Scarlett's full birth story, written on the day of her birth; April 24th, 2008.
It's 10 hours after the birth now and I'm still as awake and giddy as a puppy. If I had a tail, I'm pretty sure it would be wagging. I feel more happy and perky than I have in years and I can't stop talking or smiling. I would get up and do a jig... but I'm pretty sure I'd make a horrible mess if I attempted it. The most amazing part of it all is that the only medicine administered for the entire birth was a single Ibuprofin that I took 5 hours ago. Mother nature is definitely an amazing opiate.
We chose not go to the ben's fold concert we had tickets for last night and I'm thinking that we definitely made the right choice on that one. We spent a nice evening at home, Sam playing Halo and I was sitting in my recliner contracting away as normal. I did have some unusual pangs of pain that made me cry out, but they instantly dispersed and I was fine.
We went to bed at midnight or so; but not before Sam talked to my tummy for a good 10 minutes asking her what we could do to help her come out. The next thing I remember was opening my eyes at 1:25 in response to a HUGE rush of warmth all over my legs. There was absolutely NO mistaking it- my water had broken. I told sam and he got all excited. He took a quick shower, and I just continued losing more and more fluid- I was totally shocked how much there was to lose! My poor baby was getting drained, and quickly! Here's a picture of me running around getting things ready as I continued to drip like crazy:
Sam made me 4 scrambled eggs, we packed up the car, stopped by a 7-eleven to get 3 powerades, and got to the hospital at about 2:50 or so. My contractions started to pick up in the car, at which point I asked sam if he wouldn't mind going faster than 60 mph, lol.
So we got to the hospital and they checked me and I was at a big 4, meaning I hadn't changed at all since my last appointment. The midwife on-call just happened to be the same midwife that delivered my sister Becky's little girl Katelynn in 2003. She got there soon after we arrived and our birthing team was formed: Kimmy as the nurse, Claudia as the midwife, Lori as the me, Sammy as the Dad, God as the all-powerful deity, and Baby Girl Burkman as the goal. The 6 of us were together in that room for the next 3 hours hard at work.
I started contracting hard right away, and started teaching myself (with the help of my team) how to breath through them. They were all 2 minutes apart or so and each hurt more than the last. I can totally see how that pain could take control of a situation really quickly, but each time I started to succumb to it; I somehow was able to regain my focus and just pull through it. Again, my team helped me a lot.
At 4:00, we put in my favorite movie, "When Harry Met Sally". It was the perfect thing to have on in the background. I was quoting all the words in my head the whole time. I actually had one of my biggest contractions during the infamous restaurant scene and I was yelling right along with Sally, it was awesome.
I continued drinking powerade and water repeatedly throughout the night, so I did a fair amount of peeing. At about 4:20 or so, I got up to go to the bathroom and noticed I was dripping blood. My midwife was a bit surprised, since I had only been there for an hour and a half and the "bloody show" usually doesnt appear until the end of labor. Sure enough, I walked across the room to wash my hands and found myself standing in a small pool of blood rather quickly. At this point, she was pretty sure that my contractions were working their magic abnormally fast. She offered me a birthing ball to help me through the next set because she suspected I might need it. Boy was she right! I was a birthing ball fiend! I was bouncing on that thing like a monkey (assuming monkeys love to bounce on over-sized rubber balls). I got up occasionally and put my arms around sam's neck and he would bear my weight during the contractions; it was kind of like a husband/wife/baby delivery dance.
At about 5am, my midwife said she might as well check me to see my progress and I was at a 9! About 15 minutes later, I was pretty sure that pushing was in order. She checked again and I was at a 9.5+. I was totally unsure as to how to approach the pushing, but my midwife knew just what to do. She pushed a button and all of the sudden the bed transformed into a birthing haven. It went from being bed-shaped into being kind of stairs-shaped; allowing me to be in a squatting position but fully-supported at the same time. It was just awesome!
So I knew I was in it for the long haul now. I'm not going to lie- it hurt like a *insert outrageous explicative of choice here*. During each contraction, I really had to focus to keep control. My team kept reminding me to breath and keep low tones and OH HOW THAT HELPED. I would start to tense up and grab onto things and brace myself; but my midwife told me to relax. I said "I cant! I cant!", but then I told my body to relax and it actually did and I felt instantly 100% better.
During the big pushes and the big pain, I kid you not- I screamed like a banshee. For real, like... blood-curdling screams, it was awesome. I had no idea I had even the capacity to do that. Half of the need for each scream came from the pain, the other half really just gave me the strength to push as hard as was needed.
The dichotomy of the experience was insane though. The second each contraction/push was done, I went right back to being calm, totally relaxed, and completely at peace. I would just let my body collapse back into the bed, I put my hands behind my head, took deep long breaths, and just let my body relish the calm that somehow enfolded it. Then the next contraction hit, and I was back to screaming like an amazon howler monkey.
My midwifes were SO helpful through all of this. I love that they stayed with me the whole time. I love that they were proud of each primal OOOOOOOOOOH, grunt, or scream that came out of me. They were right in the moment with me and they gave me such strength. They were just so full of compliments and kept telling me that I'm doing an amazing job and they hadn't seen a birthing champ like me in months. They probably say that to everyone, but honestly- it helped so much. Through all of the pain, through all of the insanity- I never felt that I lost control or like I was too intimidated to proceed. I knew that my body was built to do exactly what it was doing. I was totally screaming like a madwoman of course- but I'm pretty sure that's how God intended it. To my credit, I only swore twice (and the baby's ears hadn't been born yet, so I think she might remain untainted). For anyone who knows me, that's quite the accomplishment.
Getting her through the birth canal was all done through my own efforts of pushing. I had to really focus and give all I had to each push. I pushed only when my body told me to, and each actual push probably lasted for about 5 seconds each and came in sets of 5-6 pushes.
Once she was crowning, I was in SUCH burning pain and didn't know how I could push through it. Then the midwife told me "You're doing SO great!!! Give me some small little pushes now".
So I did just what she said and my body took over from there (to my great surprise and appreciation). I pushed for 1-2 seconds, and all of the sudden my body engaged on its own and maintained the rest of the push without my effort. The midwife was stretching me out in between each push so I wouldnt tear. She also told me not to push at certain times to avoid tearing as well. I will eternally be grateful for this magical woman.
I entered my own little world at this point and was rather oblivious to what was going on around me. I could have had a mirror or something so I could see everything, but I honestly was just totally focused internally- little on the outside was getting any of my attention. I pushed probably 20 times this way, and I soon realized that her head must have passed out of me because the pressure and pain had relaxed. All of the sudden I felt her little body wiggle; so I knew her head had passed for sure. I pushed 3 more times, all back to back, looked down, and her grey body slid right out of me.
They put her right on my chest. She was all floppy and grey and covered in blood and vernix and whatever other goops were involved. She laid there crying and I just laid there shaking and holding her. It was 6:05am, about 3 hours since we arrived at the hospital. SHE WAS BORN!!! I HAD DONE IT!!!! I felt like a million bucks. All pain instantly vanished and I was just absolutely euphoric. I just can't describe the relief and utter peace that rushed over me.
She soon quieted down and I held her for about 20 minutes there on my chest. Then Sam cut the cord and I delivered whatever was left inside of me. They did her apgar test right there and she got a 9. Afterward, I held her to look at her face. She opened her eyes for the first time and just stared at me for about 10 minutes straight.
She latched right on and nursed for about a half hour. I wound up pulling her away because I wanted to see her pretty little angel face again. Then they took her and washed her and whatnot, then gave her back to me for another little while.
I had some very superficial tearing that required 2 stitches or so, my midwife said it was all just on the surface and nothing that I'll even notice. She took care of whatever maintenance I needed in the birthing room, then I got up and we all moved to the mother/baby room downstairs.
They gave me an Ibuprofin to help the pain and any swelling, and other than that I've just been kicking it here in my room all day long. Adelaide is sleeping non-stop. She's woken up like 3 times to wiggle and poop, the promptly falls back asleep. She must get her sleeping ability from her father, because Sam's beat tired and has been doing his best to sleep as much as possible throughout the day on the pull-out couch. I'm spunky as a firecracker and doing my best to keep myself quietly entertained as he sleeps. I'm assuming I'll wake up tomorrow feeling like a piano landed on me... but until them I'm just enjoying the afterglow. *inserted later on: I never did wake up feeling horrible. Every day after the first just got better and better*
Sam did an amazing job; he was just so supportive and always kept me on track. He never faltered for a minute and I just love him so much.
I am truly elated with my birth experience. Those 5 weeks of pain and contractions are faint memories in my past at this point. I so loved my natural birth and I really feel that it helped both Adelaide and me SO much. I was able to really listen and work with my body. I felt like I knew just what I needed to do, when to do it, and how to do it without hurting myself or the baby. I feel so blessed that I was given circumstances under which such a birth was possible. I will feel eternally grateful for this amazing experience and I know my life will never be the same. I'm just in a state of constant bewilderment and gratitude at this point. Three cheers for babies!!!
This first shot is the shot of her opening her eyes for the first time. Honestly, I see this and my heart just goes back to that moment and melts. The second in the pink dress is her coming home from the hospital outfit.
I absolutely loved reading your story. I cried at the end, darn preggo hormones. I hope when my son comes in a few weeks it goes just as wonderfully as yours. After reading your story I am positive I want a NCB. :0)