Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Birth Story of Marigold Louise

I woke up at 4:30am on Friday, June 7th having the same contractions I'd been having.  They were about 10 minutes apart at first, then they spaced out and I would go up to a half hour without having one at all.  Since it was the same pattern that we saw since Tuesday, J decided to go to work.  His mother was coming to drive me to my check-up, since it was over an hour away and my biggest fear was having a baby in the car, alone!

J's mom, Lorraine, got to my house around 11:00am.  I was still having contractions, some more powerful than others.  She helped apply counter pressure to the small of my back when they got a little rough.  I ate a some lunch, and then we headed out.  It's roughly a 1 hour and 15 minute drive to Deb's office, and we stopped for a pee/candy bar break on the way.  When we got to Deb's, she hooked me up to the NST machine (the reason I was there), and I told her about my contractions.  She said it sounded like I would probably have the baby that weekend, but I was still doubtful.  She asked if I wanted her to check my cervix, and I agreed.  Originally, I didn't want any cervical checks, but after a week of contractions I had to know!  I was dilated about 2.5 cm, and I gave Deb permission to stretch me a bit further.  That. Was. Not. Pleasant. We were hoping it might just nudge me over the ledge in to true labor.  Well, it worked!  I had my first contraction as we were walking out of the door, and they continued for the entire drive home.  I was timing them using J's tablet, and they were never further apart than 8 minutes.  My poor mother-in-law was a nervous wreck (although she didn't tell me that at the time!)  We had planned on stopping by Target to pick up a yoga ball, but I was having too many contractions and said screw it.  By the time we got home, the contractions were 3 minutes apart!

I waited about half an hour to call Deb, just to see if the contractions would stop once I was out of the car.  I gave her a break down of how close they were and how long they lasted, and she decided to come up.  I called J to see where he was - he had just left work!  It was a little after 4:00pm at this point, and I was upset he hadn't left sooner.  He finally got home around 5:00pm with Little Toots.  I looked at him and said "We're having a baby today."  His response? "Oh, ok."  Then I told him Deb was on her way, and all of sudden he realized that I was serious!

 When Deb showed up, we decided to head up to my bedroom because Little Toots and Grandma were in the living room.  J brought up a soft lamp so I wouldn't have to use the overhead light, and he and Deb started lining the bed with plastic.  I thought I was super prepared, but we still scrambled to pull things together.  I had stopped timing contractions at this point, but I think they were about 2 minutes apart and lasting an eternity.  Meredith, another midwife, showed up to act as an assistant, and I was so happy to see her!  She was the first person I contact once I had made the decision to have a home birth.  Unfortunately, she had a client call almost as soon as she got here, and she had to rush off.  I was disappointed, but my labor was picking up and I didn't have time to dwell on it.

Deb suggested a shower, and it was wonderful!  The hot water was magic, but we decided that the jet tub downstairs might be better.  It was probably 7:00pm, although I"m not sure.  Little Toots kept coming in and feeding my strawberries, and asking if I pushed the baby out yet.  She was a nice distraction, but when a surge hit, I had to focus all of my energy to remember to breathe the baby down, instead of wasting my breath blowing out.  J and Deb were great, reminding me to relax.

To be honest, during this whole time I thought that these contractions were fake and would go away, and that everyone would have to go home disappointed.  Even when I felt like pushing, I thought I was making it up in my head!  I gave a few pushes, and while it felt good it didn't feel right, so I asked Deb to check me.  I was 8cm!  Since I was out of the tub, I walked around a bit.  I think this is when J's sister, Jen, showed up, and did a little Reiki on me.

I needed to get back in the tub, and once I did things really picked up.  I remember shaking my head "no" during a couple contractions, like I was not allowing it to happen.  I remember feeling so tired, and I said aloud "I just need a break" and my body listened!  I had a short break between contractions, and when they started up again, my body pushed.  I pushed  sitting in the tub for awhile, and Deb was trying to offer me suggestions but I knew I was in the right position.  I needed to move, but in the middle of pushing it literally seemed impossible.  Somehow, J and Deb got me to turn so that my back was in the corner of the tub - I was able to spread my legs more, but it still didn't seem right to me.  Deb asked if she could check the baby's position, and I must have nodded or said yes.  She said "The baby is RIGHT THERE!"  and then she apologized because when she felt the position, she broke my water.  I had been hoping for a baby born en caul, but it wasn't meant to be!  Anyway, hearing that she was so close, I gathered all my strength and hoisted myself up into a squatting position and pushed with every bit of myself.

I felt like I was roaring at the top of my lungs!  Everyone else said I barely made a noise, so it must have been my inner birth warrior screaming.  It burned, and it hurt so bad that I wanted to stop, but knowing that I had no choice I just kept pushing.  No, that's a lie.  I didn't push - my body took over and pushed without me.  I opened my eyes and all of a sudden - A BABY!  There was none of the "there's her head, now her shoulders" stuff; she was out in one big push!  Deb and I scooped her up and I looked at her and said "She has hair!!  Why does she have dark hair?!"  I think this picture says it all.
 She cried right away, and was amazingly pink and clean.  We waited for the cord to stop pulsing and J cut it.  My mother and sister-in-law had been standing in the kitchen, and J ushered them in to see our beautiful little girl, Marigold.

It's all such a blur, but there are bits and pieces that stand out to me:
J and Deb tag-teaming my contractions, one pushing on my back, the other hugging me.
The smell of the clary sage oil in the tub.
Little Toots feeding me strawberries and asking if I pushed the baby out yet.
Finding out Little Toots ate an entire carton of strawberries and being really concerned that she would have a tummy ache.
Deb telling me to grab my knees, me telling her I couldn't then doing it anyway.
Saying "I can feel her!!" when she was just about to crown.
Thinking to myself 'Keep your eyes open' so I could see my baby right away.
Holding my new baby and just sobbing!

When I stood up, I was bleeding a little too heavily, and I had a second degree tear, so Deb and Jennifer (the assistant that showed up sometime between 8cm and pushing) helping me to the couch.  Deb gave me a shot of pitocin and cytotec to stop the bleeding, and started to stitch me up.  The stitches seemed to take forever, and I still hadn't nursed the baby, so J brought her to me. 
Goldie is a champion nurser!  After I got sewn back together, Deb stayed for a while since my bleeding was a little concerning, and I passed a few huge blood clots.  By 1:00am, it had tapered off enough that Deb felt comfortable leaving (she had another birth to get to!)

I am not a talented enough writer to fully express what this birth experience meant to me.  This pregnancy was long, and at times really rough.  Sometimes I doubted myself, and I often felt guilty about not being satisfied with a family of three.  Now, I realized that this was the best gift I could give to my daughter and my husband, and myself.  Our family is complete.  And, I reaffirmed my belief that I can do anything I set my mind to!