Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Mine and Sadie's homebirth story
Sadie Mae Beck: born 10:24pm 1-19-10 7lbs 14oz 21 inches long
So, my "official" due date was Sunday Jan. 17th. But unofficially we had changed it to Tuesday the 12th. I wanted to HAVE this baby and was very discouraged when she still hadn't come by Sunday. I went to see the midwife Monday morning and she checked me. I was 80% effaced and 3 cm dilated...which was good, I had at least made progress from the check the week before. She stripped my membranes, which just means that she separated my uterus from my cervix to try to stimulate my hormones. They told me if I was really desperate, I could take their caster oil concoction, but I said I wasn't that desperate, yet. :) All day Monday I was crampy and had back pain, but no real contractions.
That night I woke up about 12:40 with contractions and timed them for about an hour, but then fell back asleep. They woke me back up around 4 and I timed them again for an hour, then got up to eat something. I figured I'd better eat now, just in case. But they slowed back down again and I wasn't real hopeful. I called the midwife around 5:45 and she said, keep eating, keep resting, keep drinking, this could go on all day. Around 9:30, Brian sat with me and we timed contractions that were about a minute long and only 2-3 minutes apart. We did this for another hour and then called the midwife back. She said we're doing great and she'd call her partner and let her know.
We soon moved to the bedroom (luckily my mom and uncle had made up the bed with the plastic sheet and stuff before, so that was all ready to go) and at about noon, Nedra, (one of the midwives) came to check me. I was 5 cm dilated and completely effaced. I was not getting any relief between contractions because I was still having horrible back pain, so even though a contraction would be over, I couldn't get comfortable. Nedra thought it might be that my uterus was not in sync, that the bottom was contracting at a different time with the top. So, she put me in some warm water to try to slow things down and jump start them back the right way. Being in the tub felt good for a while, but then I started throwing up. I tried to get in the shower and sit on the ball, but that was worse...so I went back to the bed. Nedra had left to go get some food and said she'd be back later.
Nedra came back around 3:00 and checked me again, then we filled up the birthing tub and I got to sit in that for a while. It was WAY more comfortable than the bathtub! I really liked it a lot actually, someone sat behind me and rubbed my shoulders and stroked my hair while I just tried to relax. The water was very relieving and felt good, but I still had that back pain, and eventually I was really warm because the water was warm and my body was warm from working so hard, so I got out…but not without throwing up again first! It seemed like everytime I got in the water I threw up. I don’t know if it was an equilibrium thing or a temperature thing, or what…but it really sucked. I knew I had no food in my tummy, and I was drinking a drink with electrolytes, but that was coming up. I didn’t want to run out of energy before all this was over!
I got back to the bed and this was the calm before the storm. I actually labored pretty quietly and was able to doze a little between contractions despite the back pain. I was aware of many people in the room, but they were sitting or standing quietly and doing a really good job of not disturbing me. That’s when Mary, the other midwife, showed up, and I believe a lot more people out in the living room of my house. I was very content, in fact, my cat even came and slept right next to me during this time. He was very worried about me and wanted to make sure I was alright. Everyone thought he was amazing, I think so too. After a while, Nedra and Mary checked me again and said I was at 7cm, but they suggested I reposition myself differently. I told them I was more comfortable how I am. They said I wasn’t moving fast enough and asked if they could break my water to move things along, then they wanted me on the yoga ball once that was done. So, I said that was fine. Breaking my water felt good, but when I moved to the labor ball it did NOT feel good. That was probably the most painful part!! I sat on that ball for probably an hour and dilated from 7-9.5cm!! I was yelling and moaning and groaning. My contractions were double peaking, I wasn’t getting any breaks from the pain, everything just hurt. I would yell, “it huuuuuurrrrrrts!” and Nedra would say, “good, we need it to hurt, it’s a good hurt.”
When it was time to check me again, they said I was at 9.5cm. They gave me options, they said I could get back on the ball until I was at 10cm, or I could start pushing and I could push her over that last piece of cervix. Well there was NO WAY I was getting back on that ball!! So, I told them I could push hard and I could get her past that last part of my cervix. And I did, I pushed hard.
Pushing felt good after so much just LABOR. Pushing felt like I was doing something and we were close to having a baby. I pushed on my back for a while, holding my legs. Then they had me pushing on my side, having people help hold my leg. Sometimes they would let me rest for a contraction…yeah right, rest. They checked baby’s heartbeat after each contraction (which was 3-4 pushes) and she was doing great, so I kept going. They wanted to stand me up and have me squat, hanging on to people, to see if gravity could work for me a little and get her moving faster, but then we went back to the bed. On my back seemed to be the best for me. Eventually they made me move to the toilet and I sat backward on the toilet and pushed through 7-10 contractions there before I came back to the bed. By then I was getting tired, and she wasn’t even crowning yet!! I had to get her head past my pubic bone and my tailbone and it was slow going!
There were 5 other people in the room in addition to my midwives and each time I pushed I think they could see her head coming because they’d all go, “oh my gosh!! There she is!” And it felt so good to have them so excited and to know that I was actually making progress. But I wanted to give up. I was tired and I wanted to take a break and come back and finish tomorrow. This was hard, I had nothing in my tummy. I had thrown up again once I started pushing, I didn’t think I could finish this. Then I’d push again and everyone would be so excited that they could see a baby coming and I’d have new hope. Plus, I’d look down at my tummy and I could SEE that she was right there, my pregnant belly was disappearing, and it was the weirdest thing to watch!
Eventually, after 90 minutes we got her crowning and I could feel her head. It was slimy and hairy (she has SO MUCH hair…what they say about heartburn during pregnancy must be true!!) and it was the most encouraging thing to feel. I think at that point I said, “okay, I can do this!” And Mary goes, “you ARE doing it!” And someone else said, “you have no choice at this point!” It got hard though at this point too, because, in order to keep my from tearing my perineum, they had to slowly move her out to stretch me little by little. So, when I wanted to push with all my might and pop her little head out of there, they would tell me medium pushes or small pushes. That was really hard because it hurt and it took a long time. But now that it’s over, and I don’t have a tear, I am grateful and I know it was worth it! At some point during this, Brian moved from behind me to down there so he could “catch” the baby. We wanted his hands down there when she came out. So, my friend Tena moved behind me and was a lifesaver at wiping my face and reminding me to slow down my breathing. She was amazing. And my mom was next to me giving me water or Gatorade after each contraction. It felt like a workout, doing sprints, and not getting enough time to catch my breath before the coach told me to do the next one. And I was a swimmer, so you had to hold your breath for a lot of your next sprint, because you wanted to get back to the wall faster and get more rest, but holding your breath when you’re out of breath is really hard. This is exactly what it was, because you only had so many seconds before the next one came and you had to FORCE yourself to slow down your breathing, and you could only sip a little liquid to keep your mouth moist, otherwise you’d make yourself sick.
When her head came out, they saw the meconium and we all had to be quiet because they didn’t want her startled and to aspirate it in case she hadn’t already. I think it was at this point they started suctioning her. Then I gave one more good push and it was the BEST feeling in the whole world. There was no more pain, there was a baby on my tummy, and I knew it was all over. They went to cut the cord immediately, which was NOT our wishes. We wanted her cord intact until it stopped pulsating, and Brian said something, but the baby was in distress and Mary said to him, “right now, it’s about her and we need her cut.” They still let him cut the cord, but there’s no picture of it, it all happened too fast. Then they took her off my tummy and immediately started working on her.
I laid there feeling awesome, I was on such a high, but my baby was on the floor NOT crying, they were suctioning her mouth, giving her air through a bag valve mask, flicking her feet, anything to get her to cry. Finally (I say finally, but it was like 90 seconds) they called 911. I didn’t know what was happening. I kept asking people if she’s okay and they kept telling me she’ll be fine she just isn’t getting a good breath, so they called an ambulance. All of the sudden there were 10 firemen in my bedroom, I was barely covered up, I hadn’t held my baby (but someone got my glasses and I was able to look at her and talk to her), and they were asking questions and sticking tubes down her throat. They wanted to take me to the hospital, so we had to rush birth of the placenta to prove to them that I’m okay. I felt helpless and clueless. Before I knew it, my baby was gone, my husband was gone, and I knew I had just had a baby, but there was no baby. It didn’t feel real.
After that, we had to fight to NOT get me admitted to the hospital. They took my blood pressure, my pulse, pricked my finger to take my glucose, they asked me a million times how I was feeling, I just kept telling them that I felt great! I mean, I had been in pain for almost 24 hours, and it was over! Mary told me I have to keep refusing, because they’re going to try to get me admitted and I’m fine. So, finally the guy came back after talking to a dr. and asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital, I told him no and he made me sign a waiver. Then he made my mother in law sign as a witness saying I understood what I was refusing. They congratulated me and told me how impressed they were, and they were gone.
The goal then was to get me well enough and clean enough to get to the hospital. But I was weak. I couldn’t stand up without fainting. I had been working hard, I had lost a lot of blood, and I was coming down off my high. They gave me some medicine to clot the bleeding and slow it down, then I made it to the tub for some clean-up, but then I laid there for a while because when I tried to get out of the tub I fainted. Eventually, the tub was uncomfortable and I wanted to be in the bed, but again I fainted. I woke up on the floor having no idea how I got there, but it was much more comfortable. We decided I’d get a few hours of sleep and go to the hospital in the morning. My dad stayed with me to make sure I was okay, and Mary slept on the couch so she could help me in the morning to go to the bathroom and make me some food and get me out of the house. It wasn’t a lot of sleep I got that night, but enough that I could make it to the hospital in the morning. By the time we left, I had talked to Brian a couple of times, and a dr. and I knew my baby was not okay and I needed to get to the hospital. I was tired and sore, but I had a wheelchair and I laid down a lot at the hospital.
Everything went so well and it feels good to know I had natural childbirth, no drugs. It’s unbelievable that I did it, I feel so strong and so empowered. My husband thinks the world of me, my friends are impressed with my strength, and my mother (who also had natural childbirths) is so proud that I followed in her footsteps. I did what was best for me and my baby and we fought hard, that little girl and me…but we succeeded.