Sunday, October 10, 2010

Melissa's Birth Story Part 3

Kimberly didn't seem too worried that I was feeling pushy, but Kevin was a different story. He was frantically running around the house, packing the car, and getting ready to head to the hospital. I was still in "my birth zone," and hadn't noticed, but Kimberly mentioned that he seemed pretty anxious to get on the road. A few moments later, Kevin approached us and said "I think we need to go." They both looked at me, and I responded that I really didn't want to get out of the birth pool. "We REALLY need to go," Kevin repeated, and I once again made it known that I really didn't want to get out of the water. "How am I going to do this in the back of a car?" I cried. Deep down inside I knew we needed to go, but it didn't make the task any easier. "OK," I sighed, as I prepared myself to leave my comfortable watery home.

Kevin quickly lifted me up out of the pool and began taking off my wet swim shorts. Kimberly asked me if I wanted some dry underwear to put on, and Kevin threw her a pair he had dug out of somewhere. She began putting them on me, but stopped when we realized that they didn't fit. "I don't need any underwear!" I said, a little annoyed. I figured that I'd be pushing this baby out sooner then later and wearing underwear didn't really make sense at that point. They helped me put my dress on over my sports bra, and we headed out the door. I really wasn't looking forward to the car ride, but Kevin tried to make the experience a little better for me. While I was in the birth pool, he had retrieved every towel,blanket, pillow, and comforter from our house and had constructed a soft nest to labor on in the back of the car. They helped me climb in, and I got on my hands and knees in preparation of the next contraction. Kevin asked Kimberly to ride with us, and she sat in the second row so she could do counter pressure on my back. Her hands were priceless at that point.

Once we were all in the car, we took off towards the hospital. I asked Kimberly to call the midwife's office to let them know we are on our way so they could meet us there. She made the call, and Lylaine (the midwife on call) was on her way to the hospital. Our car came to a stop at a red arrow to get onto the 60 freeway. Kevin's anxiety got the best of him and after a few seconds he decided he didn't want to wait anymore. He slammed on the gas as he turned a sharp left onto the on ramp, and I went flying in the back of the car. Naturally, I screamed bloody murder, and told Kevin to stop driving like a mad man. Fortunately it was all smooth freeway from there, and we arrived at the hospital after about 20 minutes.

It was 205am on Sunday September 12th.

Since it was the weekend, the South Building entrance was closed, and we had to go through the North Building Emergency Room entrance. The buildings connect at a bridge on the 3rd level, and this was our only way to get to the labor and delivery floor. Kevin drove up to the ER doors and helped me out of the back of the Tahoe. Kimberly took my arm, and walked me through the doors while I vocalized through a contraction. There were people in the waiting room, and I could see them staring at me. I really didn't care, and I closed my eyes and continued working through the contraction. Kimberly told the front desk that I was in active labor, having a VBAC, and was feeling pushy. They immediately took me back behind the reception area and gave me a chair to lean over. Surprisingly enough, the lady took her time asking me questions and didn't seem to be concerned that this baby might make his grand entrance at any time. My mouth felt like cotton from all the vocalizing I was doing, and I asked Kimberly for a drink. When Kimberly tried to give me some water the lady quickly interjected, "Only enough to get her mouth wet!" "Yeah," I responded, as in "Yeah right you're gonna keep me from drinking water crazy lady!" You think she would have known better to mess with a woman in labor.

Finally we were good to go, and a nurse suddenly appeared with a wheelchair. I declined the free ride, as there was no way I was going to sit during a contraction. Another pregnant woman was coming with us, and I overheard that she was due in a few weeks and having some minor cramping. As we set out on our trek to get to the other building, our caravan had to stop every 2 minutes so I could work through each contraction. I moaned, I rocked, I even pushed a few times. I felt bad to make everyone wait for me, but my body was in charge and I did what it wanted me to. I couldn't help but think that I was probably scaring the daylights out of this young pregnant woman, but my body was not in the apologetic mood and so I continued to do my thing. Finally, after what seemed like the longest hike of my life, we reached the OB Triage. I saw Lylaine's white hair glowing through the window, and it was like seeing an angel. I was so happy to see her, and I immediately knew that she was going to help make my birth just the way I wanted it.

Once I was in triage, Lylaine had me lay on the bed just long enough to check my dilation. After a few seconds she announced that I was complete, and she asked if I wanted to walk to my room or be wheeled in on the bed. I opted for the bed as it would get me there quicker, and I immediately got on my hands and knees. They began rolling me out of triage, and Lylaine leaned over and whispered "You push whenever you feel like it," in my ear.

Once we were in the L&D room, I stayed on my knees and put my hands up towards the top of the bed. The nurse laid down two straps for monitoring, but before she could even start to put them on me, Lylaine told her that I didn't need them as my baby would be here soon. Instead, she had the nurse hold a monitor to my belly so it could track Dallin's heart tones.

Now for some reason, I was under the impression that pushing was the *easy part* of all this. While that may be the case for some moms, it was NOT the case for me. After channeling all the power in my body out through vocalizing, it was hard to start channeling it into pushing instead. After about 20 minutes of pushing, things weren't progressing as much as I had hoped and Lylaine asked if I wanted to try a different position. She had me lay on my side while holding one leg up. I would bear down and push with each contraction while everyone rooted me on and gave me encouragement. Lylaine would start to see the top of his head, but once the contraction was over and I relaxed, it went back in again. I was getting frustrated. I was trying so hard, but I felt like it wasn't doing anything. After another 45 minutes or so, I began worrying that they would call it quits on me or say that I was taking too long. I started saying "I'm trying!," "I'm trying!," hoping that they wouldn't give up on me. Fortunately, my fears never became a reality, and only the opposite occurred. Everyone in the room was so patient and respectful. They remained positive and upbeat the entire time, and never once tried to manipulate my body or control the situation. Finally, my water broke, and it seemed that my pushing was becoming a little more effective. I was getting so tired, and I could feel beads of sweat on my face. Kimberly put a wet washcloth on my neck and gave me water in between pushing. At this point, Lylaine asked Kevin if he wanted to "catch" Dallin, and Kevin said he would. I started pushing harder, and not stopping when the contractions ended. I pushed and pushed, and sweet Kevin began making pushing noises with me. He gave me the motivation I desperately needed at that point. Finally, after a good long push, Dallin's head started to crown and I felt that infamous "ring of fire" that everyone talks about. It really didn't feel that "firey" to me, and I thought "well good, the worst of it is over." Soon Dallin's head was out completely, and I gave one more hard push to get his upper body out. That is where I was caught a little off guard, and I screamed as his shoulders and chest emerged (later I found out that this is where I tore). Lylaine told Kevin to come catch his son, and Kevin immediately placed his hands under Dallin's armpits, and helped bring him out the rest of the way. It was 4:05 am on Sunday September 12th. After 40 hours of on and off labor and an hour and a half of pushing, he was here. Kevin placed Dallin directly on my chest. He was very alert and crying loudly. It was such a surreal moment having him placed in my arms. He was here, and he was healthy and perfect. Everything we had prepared for, hoped for and prayed for was suddenly a reality.

The moment I held him, the discomforts and challenges of labor didn't matter anymore. I was completely enthralled with this sweet new being, and there was no room for thoughts of anything else. I felt an immediate peace and joy as I held him. Everything about that moment felt so right.

Lylaine waited for the cord to stop pulsing, and then she showed Kevin where to cut it. My placenta came out, and the midwife gave me 4 stitches where I had a 1st degree tear.
Once my sutures were done, they brought me some juice and left us alone to bond with Dallin. Kimberly helped me to get him nursing, and once we were good she left as well. About two hours after he was born, they asked us if we were ready to weigh and measure him. The nurse was so respectful of our wishes and never tried to impose anything on us. The girls came to visit him that afternoon, and we left Sunday evening, only 18 hours after he was born. It felt so good to be home.

In Conclusion:
Going through a natural childbirth was the most physically challenging thing I have ever done. I was still trying to process what I had gone through a few hours later, and I couldn't say that I was ready to do it again any time soon. Even so, an intervention free childbirth was what I had planned and hoped for and I was so grateful I got it! It took educating myself and preparing, as well as surrounding myself with a supportive birth team to be able to accomplish what I wanted. I am so grateful for my wonderful husband, doula and midwife as I know that things wouldn't have been the same without them. While it took a lot of patience, trust, energy and endurance on my part, the benefits of going without interventions were so worth it. My body, the birth process, and my baby were respected the entire time and that made all the difference.
What I went through with my girls and their c-section was very intense, and what I went through with Dallin's birth was very intense as well. They both took a lot of sacrifices on my part, although they were different sacrifices. I can however, look back at Dallin's birth and say that everything about it felt right and I have no regrets whatsoever (although we might just plan on staying home next time and having the midwife come to us instead:) I am so grateful for Brenna and Brooke's birth as it taught me so much, and ultimately helped me to attain a much better birth with Dallin.

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