Friday, April 1, 2011

A Star is Born

Warning:This blog post may contain graphic material not suitable for all audiences. It contains graphic descriptions of a real birth, no holds bar. It is very descriptive and I tried to make it as honest as possible. If you are squeamish about this sort of thing or are a man, you may want to skip this post all together. We will return to our regular scheduled posts next week.

It all started with a big bang.
Well, it was actually more like a tiny pop in the stillness of the night.
1:00 in the morning Friday March 18 to be exact.
Mr Bird was in California for work and was not due home until about 11:00 that night.
I had a hard time falling asleep that night, so when I needed to turn over in the night, I was again awakened, but this time with a pop and a huge gush.
It only took moments for me to figure out that my water had broken.
I got up to go to the bathroom, heart racing, and my fears were instantly confirmed.
My water had broken and Mr Bird was hundreds of miles away from me.
What was worse is that there were no contractions to accompany this development.
I take that back, there were a few tiny contractions.
They were irregular, to say the least and not even as painful as period cramps.
Just how Doodle's labor started.
Broken water with no labor in sight.
I was worried I'd end up in the hospital on pitocin to get labor going.
Not exactly the home birth I had been planning and dreaming about.
I called my midwife who assured me labor was imminent and that I should lay down and sleep before it got intense. She said I should call her when the contractions started to pick up.
Then I called Mr Bird.
"Guess what? My water just broke!"
"What? You're joking, right!"
"Why would I call you at 1am joking about something like this?!?! No, my water really did break!"
I think this is where the tears started and I freaked out just a little.
Mr Bird and I got off the phone so he could try to change his flight and I could "sleep".
I think I stayed in bed about 3 minutes before I realized my mind was not going to be quiet.
I decided to get up and do a few things that I had left undone the night before.
An hour later I had a spotless house and a very tired body.
Mr Bird called back to tell me he was able to change his flight and would be home by 10:00 am!
What a relief.
I layed back down, but still no sleep and very few contractions.
It seemed like I layed there forever just waiting for the sun to come up and waiting for the imaginary contractions to intensify.
Finally the children woke up.
We got breakfast going (banana muffins and a loaf of banana bread for snacks later) and did our morning jobs.
I told the kids we would be having a baby today and needed to get some things done to get ready.
They were beyond excited, although doodle was a little confused because just the night before I told her we still had 2-3 weeks until the baby came.
She was counting on it being born on her birthday.
I called my sister, Christine, to come over so I would not have to be alone until Mr Bird got home.
She got there a little while later with her 4 year old daughter.
The kids were instantly loud and noisy and excited to see their cousin.
There was running and yelling and laughing and an over all abundance of energy in the air!
My wonderful sister gathered the children for stories to calm them all.
She read for nearly an hour, until my sister-in-law, Mama Lisa, showed up with the fixings for smoothies and calming oils and rubbed my feet.
Shortly after that my nephew Brad stopped by with his cute little baby Chase.
By this time my house was no where near clean anymore and chaos reigned supreme.
The kids were in and out of the house a million times and the grown ups were talking and I was starting to stress, big time.
I was ready for quiet.
Mr Bird got home around this time and since there was no sign of baby he decided to go take a nap.
Meanwhile we went through boxes of baby clothes, put together the bassinet and hoped to no avail for more powerful contractions.
I had a few, but they were still not very close together or coming in any sort of regular pattern.
Frustration started setting in.
While Mr Bird was napping baby Chase started crying.
He woke Mr Bird, who thought I had gone ahead and had the baby while he was sleeping.
Mr Bird looked around at all the chaos and saw me looking overly anxious and decided we needed to get rid of some people if we ever wanted to get things going.
I went upstairs and called my midwife again, not to report strong labor, but rather the lack thereof.
I tried my hardest to sound put together, but it was all I could do to not start bawling into the hand piece.
"Heather, I am not having contractions and I really don't want to go to the hospital. What can I do to get things going?!?"
It was past lunch time and I was ready to try anything at this point.
She suggested a few things.
First on her list was the dreaded Castor oil.
She said she had a few more appointments to finish up with and would come over as soon as she was done to try to "stretch my cervix" to see if that would produce more powerful contractions.
She said in the mean time to try nipple stimulation whenever I did have a contraction to see if we could make them longer and more regular.
I thought of all the people in my house and knew they all had to leave.
It was time to get down to business.
Less than 1/2 an hour later the house was silent.
Lisa had taken my children with her to play and we sent Christine to the store for some Castor oil.
I put 2 Tablespoons in the last part of my smoothie and choked it down at about 2:30 in the afternoon.
While waiting for something to happen I laid down and tried concentrating on contractions.
I became very frustrated with their lack of oomph, even with the extra stimulation.
A few hours later, around 4:30 the Castor oil kicked in.
I found myself not able to venture too far from the bathroom.
Heather showed up about that time and we talked about options.
We decided to go ahead and try a few more things before throwing in the towel and heading to the hospital.
She went ahead and started to stretch my cervix.
She said I was not even dilated to a 2 and my cervix was not effaced at all.
She said my cervix was very unfavorable.
She said this could be a VERY long labor and that she'd plan on spending the night and the baby would likely not come until the next day.
Just like with Doodle, I started thinking that my body could not do this on its own after all.
I needed to get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of her procedure, so I did.
When I got back to bed so she could finish she said that in those few minutes I had become 50% effaced!
Finally, a glimmer of hope.
My body was responding.
Since my contractions were still weak, Heather suggested I walk around.
I thought about running some errands that I had wanted to do before the baby came, but decided I could not be too far away from the bathroom at that point.
I opted for a walk on my treadmill while Mr Bird made a run to Wally World and to pick up Subway for dinner.
By the time Mr Bird came home I had been walking for about 40 minutes.
The contractions really picked up while I was on the treadmill.
They were still not very long or painful, I could still walk through them, but they were coming regularly.
When Mr Bird got home we all sat and ate our sandwiches.
I was thinking I'd get back on the treadmill after I ate so I could keep things going.
Lisa called about that time and said she'd keep the boys overnight, but that Doodle wanted to come home and be here for the birth.
I went upstairs to get some clothes packed for the boys.
That only took about 10 minutes, but in those 10 minutes my contractions changed significantly.
It was apparent I would not be getting back on the treadmill.
It was about 6:30 by this time and my water had been broken for quite some time.
We did not know the results of my group B strep test since we had just done the test 2 days before and the lab did not have my results yet.
We decided to go ahead and have my first round of I.V. antibiotics just to be safe.
The risk of infection to the baby had my group B step been positive was on the rise and I did not want to risk it (it turned out negative after all).
Heather put in the I.V. as I sat in the rocking chair in my bedroom.
It took about 20 minutes for all the antibiotics to enter my vein, then the I.V. was out.
From then on time becomes a blur, things started happening hard and fast.
I bounced on the exercise ball leaning over our bed until I could not talk through the contractions anymore.
We decided to set up the birth pool at this time.
By the time it was ready to go, so was I.
The warm water made me relax and soon labor became intense.
That's the best word I can use to describe it.
I had to really focus on breathing and even moaning to get through this part of labor.
Heather was great.
She helped me breath through the contractions and helped me to not get all panicky.
She moaned with me which helped immensely so I could have something to focus on, if I matched her tones I could do it.
This is the part of labor when I wanted to crawl out of my skin.
I started thinking I could not do it any longer.
I keep talking to the baby in between contractions.
I kept telling her we were ready for her and to hurry and come out.
Sounds silly, but it gave me something to think about instead of the pain.
Then the nausea hit.
That's when I knew I was in transition and was actually relieved because I knew it would be over soon.
During this time Doodle was in and out of the room.
Mr Bird had turned a movie on for her downstairs.
She would come in the room and watch, then go back down to watch more of her movie.
I don't think she even watched 5 consecutive minutes of her movie at any given interval.

Once the nausea passed I felt that the water in the pool was getting cool and I was ready to get out and try something new.
I got up and went to the bathroom and stayed there for a few more contractions.
I was really worried about having the baby in the bathroom so I got back to our bed before too long.
Heather checked me again and said I was 9 with just a tiny rim around the baby's head.
I asked her if she could try to slip the rim over the baby's head so we could get the ball rolling.
She did and then said I could try to push through the next contraction.
It felt much better to push through them.
Then suddenly, something funny happened.
My contractions changed again.
Only, instead of getting more intense and painful, they became very mild and short.
I could not even get the "umph" I needed to get a good push.
Heather said this is called "the rest and be thankful" stage of labor.
It happens to many women, only most don't know it because they have an epidural and can't feel it.
I was very relieved that the contractions were so easy for a while.
I kept saying how much better these ones felt and how glad I was that the others were gone.
Yet, I wanted to get things going, I wanted to meet my baby.
My hips started cramping up in the bed so I got out and assumed the squatting position next to the foot of my bed.
Heather told me I only had 30 more minutes until I had to have more I.V. antibiotics.
I really did not want more. I could not see myself sitting there with a needle in my arm for 20 minutes at that stage of labor. That became great motivation for me to get the baby out.
Somewhere around that time I heard Heather tell her assistant that the baby's heart rate was 107.
I freaked out and thought that was too low (it had been over 140 all during labor).
I was worried the baby was starting to get distressed.
Heather reassured me that for the fact that the head was in the birth canal that was perfectly normal.
Still, I was worried and started to feel that I really needed to get this baby out.
Heather checked me again and found that for some reason a little bag of water was hung up under the baby's head and that could be why pushing was not working.
She popped that little bag of water and we all heard a little 'pop'!
The next contraction I started pushing and could feel the head crowning.
I screamed and that sent Doodle out of the room like lightening, I think it freaked her out.
I felt like if I could just keep pushing, the baby would be born.
I stopped pushing and was irritated that the head had not come out.
"Now I have to do that all over again!"
The next push and baby's head was out, I paused and decided to keep pushing and her little body came shooting out into Mr Bird's arms.
10:44pm, 10 minutes more and I would have needed more antibiotics. Turnes out, I beet the clock.
If only I could explain the euphoria I felt at that moment.
Mr Bird said, "You're not pregnant anymore!"
My reply was a resounding, "Hallelujah!", that I literally felt from the top of my hair follicles all the way down to my toes.
Nothing has ever felt so good in my entire life!
Heather ended up behind me and I found myself lying in her arms.
So Mr bird caught the baby and Heather caught me.
Mr Bird looked at the baby and tried to see the gender, but it was dark and he was also trying to make sure she was breathing.
She coughed and choked a few times and then she was breathing and screaming at the top of her lungs.
This sent Doodle flying back into our room.
Mr Bird handed me the baby wrapped in a towel and I just held her so tightly.
It took a few moments before I could take her away from my chest to see what we had.
I turned to Doodle and said, "You have a sister!"
She could hardly believe it.
The next little while was pure heaven.
No one came to take my baby from me to be weighed and measured and poked.
We sat and looked at each other for the longest time, then got on the bed and nursed.
Doodle and I took turns holding her and snuggling.
After about an hour and a half they cut the cord and weighed her and measured her right on my bed, right in front of my eyes.
They did the newborn exam and checked her breathing and heart and reflexes and I don't even know what else.
They were so very thorough.
During all of this she never left my sight.
I then decided to let Mr Bird hold her while I took a quick shower.
Heather and her assistant took down the pool and cleaned everything up (they even brought their own towels which they took with them to launder).
We had tons of disposable pads and protective layers so nothing was soiled in the least.
The midwives left at about 1:30 am and we were left as a little family all cozy in our bed.
My Bird and Little M&M slept all night long.
I, on the other hand, could not sleep a wink.
I just lay there, staring at my baby and listening to her sweet breath and squeaky noises.
I was on cloud nine and I don't think I could have slept even if I had wanted to.
Now it has been two weeks since her birth.
Talk about a whirl wind.
We've had Dub's birthday and Doodle's birthday since then.
We've dealt with sleepless nights, taking shifts on the couch, the joys of the first week of nursing a new baby, jaundice and bili lights, a million trips to the hospital lab for more blood to check bili rubin levels.
We've had sick kids who have to stay away from the sweetest baby on the planet.
We've gone through 3 1/2 packs of diapers and are on our second box of breast pads.
She had her 2 week check up and is officially out of the jaundice woods. The lights are returned and we are all so much happier.
She is already growing and changing.
She now weighs 7 pounds 2 ounces and is a whopping 20 3/4 inches long.
That puts her in the 15th percentile for weight and the 50th percentile for height.
Tall and thin, just like her sister.
We have the hang of nursing down and are even getting a few hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
*knock on wood*
We are all so healthy and happy.
This journey has been a lot like life itself.
Full of ups and downs and twists and turns, but in the end full of joy beyond description.

1 comment:

Emma said...

What an amazing story! I had to laugh that you spent an hour cleaning the house only to have it in chaos a few hours later.
I also did a lot of moaning with Timothy's birth. I totally know what you mean that pushing through the contractions was much easier than breathing through them.
I'm glad the bili lights are gone and you get to hold your sweet M&M as long as you want! Congratualtions!