Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Home Water Birth of our Third Child

(should say 39 weeks for that last picture)

I have never been so excited and proud to write about my birth than I am with this third birth of mine! And that is because I had a HOME BIRTH and a WONDERFUL WATER BIRTH and it was just as relaxing and amazing as I imagined (as much as labor can ever be anyways...) :)

Let me start at the beginning...

It all started with being a week and a half overdue. WAYYY Longer than I have ever gone with my first two but my midwives told me from the beginning to expect going over my due date because this was my first home birth and home birth mothers usually go longer because they are more relaxed!

So it was a Monday evening and I was ready to have this baby so I finally took the advice of my midwives and went....SWIMMING! :) We have a pool in our townhome complex and headed there as a family. I don't usually like swimming especially when I am many, many pounds heavier than normal and don't even have a swimsuit to wear. But I put on a shirt and shorts and away we headed with two very excited children!

I casually swam around with the kids and did a lap or two and then we got out. And I have to admit - it is now the FIRST thing I recommend to women who are ready to have their babies! It was super relaxing and I believe it really kick started my labor!

So we headed back to the house feeling no different. After the kids were in bed, I bounced on the birthing ball for an hour or so like I had the last week or so as we watched TV. This time things felt a little different. I was having a little achiness down there and things started to feel like they were starting to happen. But as I had several times in the last couple weeks, I didn't want to get my hopes up. So we headed to bed after awhile like normal making me officially a week and a half overdue!

At about 1 AM, I woke up feeling some small contractions. Nothing truly painful but they were about 5 minutes apart and were lasting for 30 seconds or so. I started to get excited - 

"Was it finally time??"

I woke up my husband and told him I thought I was in labor. I think we both didn't want to get our hopes up but I did get up and move around for awhile, getting things ready in case this was it!

The contractions continued but didn't get worse as I moved around so we finally decided to text our midwife and let her know this was possibly it (which we later got "in trouble" for :) because we didn't want to wake her in case this was another false alarm. We also decided to try sleeping again because I knew from previous births that if I don't get sleep, it is really hard to make it through the labor - especially my 12-20 hour labors!

So I put on my birthing CD that I had made especially to keep me calm and relaxed through labor and  we laid down again together - my husband immediately sound asleep, of course and me listening to my CD and dozing here and there in between contractions. They were about 10 minutes apart at this point but for the next 5 hours they slowly got a little more intense. I eventually had to go on my hands and knees on the bed with each contraction but they still stayed about 10-20 minutes apart. It was actually really relaxing to rest in between, listen to my CD and cuddle my husband!

But my biggest thought through the whole morning of resting was...

I have a LONG day ahead of me. 

From my previous births, I knew it takes me a long time to get dilated to even 3 so I knew this labor was way to easy for me! :)

But finally I woke at 6 AM with much more intense contractions and decided to get this thing going! It is at around this time that I consider active labor began! I started by taking a shower while my husband set up the birthing tub. After the shower, I was in much more pain and decided to call my mom to come get the two kids. I hated to wake them up so early but labor was really progressing where I couldn't talk through my contractions and I didn't want to scare the kids by waiting any longer.

When my mom arrived, she saw me in labor and immediately said I better call the midwife because she thought I was farther along than what I thought. We did call the midwife soon after but we were still almost in denial that this was all happening or happening this fast -

my labors NEVER progressed fast! 

I thought I had at least another 8 hours of active labor....why call the midwife this early!

But just in the time we waited for our first midwife to arrive (about 15 minutes) things got really serious and I started transition phase. My body started shaking and labor got really intense! I think my husband started to freak out! We had no midwife and I was starting to feel a lot of pressure...almost like I was ready to push!

I bounced on the birthing ball like I had liked with the first two but this time around I really preferred laboring on my hands and knees...except for the fact my knees and wrists were getting really sore! I switched between the two waiting for the birthing tub to fill. Soon my midwife arrived and gave me the go ahead to get in the birthing tub! I was so relieved to get in and immediately felt relief! It was so soothing to be in the warm water with the water taking some of the weight off my body!

I labored on my hands and knees and then flipped over on my back for awhile and just tried to relax for a little bit. However, things soon picked up again and my midwife started to ask if I thought I needed to push. I wasn't quite at that point yet but I said I thought soon. She asked if she could check how far I was dilated so she could let the other midwife know to hurry or not. I was afraid to get checked because I didn't want to be disappointed at how far I had to go still! I just keep repeating to myself while she checked

"Please be at least at 5, please be at 5, please be at least at 5". 

She got done and asked if I wanted to know where I was at. I hesitantly said yes and she she told me I was at......EIGHT! Almost nine she told me! I started crying tears of joy because I knew I would be meeting my little son soon! After only 3 hours I was going to have this baby and I couldn't believe it!!!

I then started getting serious because I knew pushing was coming soon! I usually progress from 7 to 10 in a matter of minutes so I knew I would be pushing within the next couple of minutes.

I also started wondering if my other midwife would make it in time! :)

Soon after, I did start feeling like pushing. This is where the hardest part of my labor came...which was actually a surprise to me. Pushing in the past had been the easiest and quickest part after a very long labor. This time, pushing felt longer than the entire active labor itself! I guess that is what happens when you have a bigger baby and a bigger head! :)

So I began pushing and suddenly felt a little pop and a gust of water - my water had broke! That was such a unique experience because I had always had to have my water broken for me and never in water! I then knew this was really serious and got even more excited because my baby would be here soon!

Then began the hard, hard journey of pushing. I don't know if I was just exhausted, couldn't get a good position in the tub or was just expecting things to be easier, but I COULD NOT push this baby out all the way. The contractions had stopped and I could feel the baby's head out, but I was so exhausted and just couldn't push anymore. I remember saying, "I just can't do it! I don't think I can do this!".

My midwife finally looked me in the eye and said

"Marissa, it is time to push this baby out. 


My husband also helped by holding my hands and saying alright push on the count of three "1, 2, 3 PUSH!" over and over. This helped me re-focus and finally I felt the rest of the baby come out! (Just as I pushed the baby out, my second midwife walked in - she literally missed the birth by seconds!)


Exhaustion, happiness, overwhelming accomplishment and pride washed over me! 

I had done it. 

I had fulfilled my dream of a home birth AND water birth! I had a labor in under 3 hours! I had my beautiful baby boy in my arms! I had accomplished my dreams and I was so proud!

I held my beautiful son in my arms for minutes just resting and thanking God for such a blessing and that labor was over! I thanked my husband and midwives over and over because I was so happy it was over.

Finally, I decided to come out of the tub because my pain increased from being in the same positions the whole labor and from pushing a bigger head out than I was used to. I moved to the bed and continued to hold my beautiful son in my arms! I love that I got to bond with my son from the moment he was born until many hours after the birth! It is some of my favorite moments!

After a couple hours of resting, they weighed my son at 9 lbs! Way bigger than any of us were expecting and almost a pound over my other two children! No wonder I had such a hard time pushing! :) He was also 21 inches which is 3 inches longer than my other children too!

I am so proud to say that my third birth was my quickest, heaviest and longest baby and he had the most hair! :)

If you are considering a home birth or water birth, I say go for it! I would recommend them both as a great way to have a relaxing, safe, and AMAZING birth experience!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

My Daughter's Birth Story

Well, it has been 6 months now since my beautiful baby daughter was born and I am finally taking the time to write down her entire birth story so I never forget it!

It all started March 31, 2012 at 6:15 in the morning. (Fun Fact: I had picked this day in our family guessing game because I wanted an April baby and I knew God always has a different plan then I do! I was right!!)

Another weird fact...my son woke up at the exact same time I felt my first contraction - 6:15 AM which is WAY earlier than normal for him to wake up! Anyways, so it was a family event as my son climbed into bed with us and I felt the first contraction.

It didn't feel like a contraction at the time...more just like a stomachache. With my son, the first contractions were very strong and stayed the same strength the whole labor. Plus, it was accompanied by A LOT of bleeding from the start.

With this labor, thankfully, the contractions did start out small and painless and build up in intensity...but rather quickly.

I was in denial that I was in labor for the first couple of hours. My mom had to come from Minnesota (6 hour drive) to watch my son so I had to make a decision pretty quickly...but I just didn't want her to come all the way for a false labor.

So I took a bath to see if the pain would go away. It did lessen the contractions a little so I took a shower. After the shower, they were still there and getting worse. I finally made the call to have her come around 10:00 AM.

I wanted to stay at home as long as possible to labor but I was worried (and trying to be optimistic) that this labor was going to go fast and it was a 40 minute drive to the hospital. So I wanted to find the perfect balance between "I think I am ready to go to the hospital" and "Can I make it to the hospital and can I make it through the drive?"

The labor pains intensified very quickly and by 12:00 (noon) I was ready to go to the hospital. I could barely stand through the labor pains and I knew I had a very uncomfortable drive ahead of me.

We had to drop my son off at my brother's house (who lives right by the hospital) because my mom was no where near hear yet to watch him. I figured I could walk around a little at their house if I wanted to push off going into the hospital.

After a VERY LONG 40 minute drive with multiple contractions, we finally made it to my brother's house. I cried as I watched my son go into the house. I was in so much pain by then I could barely say good bye and I knew that was the last time he would be my only child and "little" boy. He would always be my little boy but he looked so old at that moment going bravely into their house and waiting for his little sister to be born. His last remark before taking his nap at their house was "If I take a good nap, will my baby sister be here when I wake up??" :) Little did he know how true that was going to be! :)

Well, the contractions were bad enough that I was ready to head to the hospital and focus on having this little girl sooner than later. I could barely walk now the contractions were so bad so I figured I was at least dilated to maybe 5 but I hated to get too optimistic and be disappointed.

We got to the hospital E.R. and checked in. We got taken back to OB Triage a couple minutes later and then started the waiting game (on my back!!) I HATE lying on my back while having contractions! It is the worst! But of course that is what they do! Wait, wait, wait and more waiting while on my back! I wanted to get up, move around, get this baby moving down! But I ended up getting monitored for EVER and waiting on the midwife to come check me and actually admit I was in labor.

Everything was good with baby...heart rate was good and my blood pressure was great (especially compared with my son's labor!) so that I was thankful for. Then the midwife came to check me and I held my breath...ONLY THREE!!!!! I was so disappointed I cried. By then, I had been in labor for 7 hours and 6 hours had been my initial goal for the entire labor and delivery!!!!! I was so sad and mad at myself. I felt like such a failure that I was in so much pain but yet only at 3! That is when I realized this labor was going to take A LOT more and I was going to be in a LOT more pain that I had initially hoped!

I finally got out of the triage and got admitted to a room. I immediately asked about the whirlpool because I have wanted to use that since my son was born (it was broken then). The nurse said she would get it ready and left. I also asked for a birthing ball.

Once I got into the whirlpool, the contractions stopped and I started worrying that my labor was going to slow too. Looking back, I wish I would have just relaxed and enjoyed a little painless labor for awhile because the whirlpool did help with the pain if I would have just relaxed! I was just so worried I was just dragging out my labor just because my pain wasn't as bad...and that wasn't true at all!

But anyways, I stayed in the whirlpool for awhile and then the labor pains started coming back in full force about 1 minute apart. We wanted to put on my relaxing CD that I had made but it turns out the CD I made didn't work...that was a bummer! Then I started overheating in the whirlpool and getting really uncomfortable during my contractions so I decided to get out and head back to the room and sit on the birthing ball for awhile. Getting back to the room was not as easy as it sounds because my contractions were like 30 apart while I was walking. It took me like 15 minutes to walk 50 feet! I thought I just had to be close but when I got checked again I was only at like 5 :( That really bummed me out...)

I headed back to the birthing ball. The birthing ball has worked wonders for my two labors. It always feels the most "comfortable" and helps me get through the contractions. So I bounced and rocked on the ball for awhile. I was so annoyed because the nurse kept asking to take the heartbeat and strap on the monitor and I kept having to get up and down, on the table and off, and it really distracted me from relaxing and being in the moment.

But after awhile they checked me again and thankfully I was dilated to 7. The midwife offered the suggestion of trying a different position (on hands and knees on table) to try and get the baby's head down a little more. I thought it was worth a try but I was nervous to switch positions because I knew the birthing ball felt the best. So I climbed up on the table which was bad enough and got on all fours. Then the contraction started and it was almost unbearable. However, I then got the urge to push!! I was scared that I shouldn't or couldn't because I was only at 7 but that baby was coming no matter what!!


Suddenly with two more contractions and pushing, I could feel the baby's head come out! I started yelling at the midwife, "The head is out, the head is out. I feel the head!" and I don't think she believed me because I was just at 7 cm. But I said it again and again and finally the nurse checked and she was like, "Sure, enough! The head is visible!". So I still don't know why they did this (and either did my regular midwife!) but they made me flip over on my back to push the baby out the rest of the way. It was very uncomfortable to flip over with a baby sticking out of me, mid-contraction and fully pregnant, let me tell you!

Anyways, it only took about two more pushes and my beautiful baby daughter was out! I loved how they immediately laid her on my chest, let the umbilical cord keep pulsing, and I got to be the first one to hold my daughter! I will never, ever forget that moment!

My daughter was 7 lb 9 oz and 18 1/2 inches but has bright and beautiful personality! Her smiles have made each and every day special the last 6 months!!