July 31, 2012

The Birth of Abel

Disclaimer:  This is a post about giving birth.  If you can't handle details involved, please feel free to skip over this post.

I just realized that I haven't posted the story of Abel's birth yet!  He's three months old already (which I can't believe) and I'm finally sitting down to write this.

With our third baby, Elias, we ventured into a whole new world of child-birthing and had him at home, in a birthing tub, without any medical interventions whatsoever.  It was, of course, attended by our wonderfully skilled midwives.  I wouldn't do a home birth any other way.

When we found out we were expecting our fourth child, naturally, we opted for a home/water-birth again.  It was just such a great experience that I don't think I could do a hospital birth ever again, unless absolutely necessary.

About four days before my baby's due date, I was having a particularly rough day with the kids.  I had been driving the kids to and from school every day for months and now I was doing this while very pregnant.  I was tired, and pretty-much done.  When the kids got home from school that Thursday, I quit.  It was like I just couldn't keep going.  My emotions shut down and I just cried and cried.  I put a movie on for the kids and went upstairs to my bedroom to be by myself.  I had a mixture of feelings - wondering how I was going to keep going for another week (I was completely convinced that I wouldn't go into labor for at least another week), wondering how I would get everything done before labor, and also wondering how I was going to manage with 4 kids.  I felt everything close in on me, so I laid down on my bed and had a good old-fashioned sob session.

I think I perceived that this baby was coming...soon.

After my crying spell, I actually felt better and rested for a good part of the evening.  My amazing husband took care of everything and insisted I take a breather.  That night we went to bed as usual.  I woke a few times in the night to use the bathroom, which is not unusual for the last trimester of pregnancy.  Then at 4:30am I woke and couldn't get back to sleep.  I was having Braxton Hicks contractions, but I started to wonder about them.  Then at 5:30am, I woke Mark and said, "I don't think you're going to work today".  By that point, I suspected something was happening, even though the contractions were not different than BH and I was able to work around them.

It was a weekday, so my kids still had to go to school.  When I called my midwife to tell her I was most-likely in active labor (around 7:00am), she told me I needed to arrange for child-care because I didn't want to be focusing on my other children while trying to cope with labor.

I labored while Mark got all the kids' things together and arranged for my friend, Amanda, to take them.  Every so often my daughter would see me go into a contraction and ask me, "Why are your breathing like that, mommy?"  :)  I explained it to her as best as I could without making it too complicated for a 6 year old to bear.  I remember being irritated when the kids started bouncing my yoga ball around the room I was laboring in.  I just wanted to be alone.

Mark took the kids away at about 7:30am (I'm going to have to double-check on the times, cause it's hard to remember).  Amanda was to take the two oldest to school and keep my toddler for the duration of my labor, which I suspected wouldn't be very long.  We also got a call from my mom around this time and she said she was on her way.  I had a feeling she wouldn't make it in time.  :(

Once my wonderful midwife, Jen, arrived, we got down to business.  During my pregnancy I had tested positive for GBS (which is fairly common), so the usual protocol was to administer antibiotics during labor.  I wanted to avoid that, if at all possible, so we waited to see if labor would progress rapidly.  I got into the birthing tub and this helped me to relax quite a bit.  I still wasn't as relaxed as I remember being with my third labor though.  I just didn't seem prepared for this one...remember, I thought I wouldn't go into labor for another few days.

I coped very well with the contractions for the next little while.  Then my midwife said we were coming up to the 4 hour mark and should think about either taking the antibiotics, or breaking my water so I could have this baby quickly.  I still didn't want the antibiotics, so I said, "Break the water."  She said she suspected I would have my baby within the next 30 minutes if we broke my water.

In my previous labors, my water always broke on it's own at some point, so this was a new experience for me.  I got out of the tub and laid down on the mattress we had set up as part of the labor.  My midwife proceeded to break my water, which was not as bad as I had anticipated.  At that point, I felt everything get a little more serious.  My tummy tightened up as hard as a rock and I couldn't even move!  As all the amniotic fluid left, so did all the cushion and I could feel the contractions tightening around the baby!  I giggled a little because everything felt so tight and kind of ticklish.  That tightening didn't stop as the midwives helped me to my feet and back over to the birthing tub.  Once I got in, it was game on!

It was pushing time.

Problem was, I DID NOT want to push.  I kept feeling the urge to push, but I ignored it as I tried to breathe through those intense contractions.  Or should I say contraction.  It was non-stop.  As I was breathing, I was also battling in my mind.  I couldn't stop thinking, "What if I had pain-relief?" and, "I don't want to do this right now."  I was resisting.  Rather than focusing on seeing my baby, I was focusing on not wanting to go through all that discomfort.  In all honesty, I think that caused quite a bit more pain for me.  I wasn't relaxing and facing my pain...I was resisting it.  At one point, I cried out, "Jesus, help me!" because I felt so out of control.  My midwife looked at me and calmly said, "Estelle, you have an amazing support system around you.  You can do this.  Now I need you to PUSH."  (I'm getting teary-eyed as I write this)  So I began focusing my attention and saying, "Come on, baby.  Come on."  And I pushed with everything in me.

My baby was born.

My beautiful, perfect, 9lb, baby boy was miraculously born into the water!  The cord was, apparently (that moment is a blur for me), wrapped around his neck and shoulders, so before the midwife handed him to me, she had to do a little maneuver to get him untangled.  :)

When I held him, I was immediately in love.  I laid my head back on the tub and all I could say was, "Thank God!  Thank God, it's over!"  Now I could rest and enjoy my new little man.  I was elated.

My husband and midwives helped me out of the tub and onto the mattress to finish up the delivery.  And as I laid there holding my baby, sipping my lemon-water, I couldn't help but think about how incredibly blessed I've been.  From active labor to delivery, it was about 3 hours.  This labor was pretty-much the same amount of time and time of day as my last labor.

♥ love ♥

And the midwives...they were phenomenal.  They give care unlike any other during pregnancy, labor and the postpartum/postnatal period.  Between the midwives and my loving husband, I was completely taken care of through one of the biggest events of my life.

My incredible midwife, Jen.  I love her.  :)

My other incredible midwife, Megan, who came to assist Jen.  (and my first time meeting her was on Abel's birth day)
One of the neatest parts about having our baby at home was the fact that it just feels like another day.  Only hours later, my husband went to pick up my toddler.  He came home and took his regular afternoon nap.  My kids came home from school to a brand new sibling.  I got to be home right away and relax in my own bed.  My mom arrived later that evening and she took care of me for an entire week.  She did everything.  She cooked, she cleaned, she dropped off and picked up my two oldest everyday, and she gave me the peace of mind I needed so I could rest.
Daddy and his boy.

I do have an amazing support system around me.  :)

If you have any questions about homebirth, natural labor delivery, or if you're wondering about something I haven't mentioned here, please drop me a line.  I am happy to share whatever information I can.

1 comment:

Stevie said...

Hi Estelle. I love reading your home birth stories! I am definitely not having a baby any time soon, but when I do, I hope I will be able to consider this path seriously. On another note, I was wondering how you got in contact with your midwives. I'm interested in finding out what it is like to be one and what I would have to do.

Anyhow, I love reading about your family, you are an inspiring woman.