Thursday, August 26, 2010

Birth Story: Gizmo

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010. Around 5:30am: I woke up with a full bladder. But getting out of bed when you are hugely pregnant is hard…so I laid there for a few minutes, debating how full my bladder –really- was, and whether or not I could just try to sleep until there was actually daylight outside. Then, I had a contraction. 5:37am. It didn’t feel any different than the contractions that I had been having for a couple weeks already. In fact, I had even had worse contractions just a few nights before! But, there was something –spiritually- different. There was a little, hinted whisper that this was “it”. Although, I was very, very hesitant to declare that.

I did get up to relieve myself, and have another contraction on the toilet. Then I tried to go back to sleep. The contractions kept coming, 5-8 minutes apart. Pretty easy to handle. At 6:20am, Scotty’s [aka "hubby"] alarm went off, and he crawled out of bed to get ready for work. I told him that I was having contractions, and that I thought maybe this was for real, but I wasn’t sure. I told him to go ahead and get ready for work. While he was in the shower, I prayed to my Heavenly Father, asking Him to give me a confirmation of whether or not to send Scotty to work before it was actually time to send him out the door!

Once Scotty was dressed and ready, I got out of bed and we ate breakfast together. The contractions were much more comfortable to take when I was standing up and leaning on something. I had to stop and stand three times while trying to eat my cereal. Scotty kept looking at me like, “you are totally in labor”. All I could do was giggle at him between contractions and tell him to stop looking at me like that! It was between 7 and 7:30am that Scotty decided to stay home. I think –he- was the one who received the confirmation to stay, more than I did!

After breakfast, I brushed my teeth and got in the shower. I thought I was just taking a normal shower (stopping every now and then to lean my head against the cool tile and sway through a contraction)…but apparently it was a lot longer than I usually take. Scotty came in to check on me, and asked how many contractions I had been having. Enough. They did seem to be coming closer together, as well. I immediately decided that I wanted my mom to come and braid my hair. And then I had another contraction that made me want to vocalize a little. I told Scotty to call my mom and tell her to come. I got out of the shower at about 8:30am. Scotty also called his mother, who was invited to be there. I remember Scotty saying, while on the phone with her, “You should probably come now. [pause]. Yes, I’m serious.”

When I got out of the shower, I decided that I didn’t really want to get dressed, but I didn’t want my mom to show up to find me in all my naked glory! So, I put my robe on. I put my towel on the floor right next to the bed, and knelt on top of it. I leaned onto the bed while kneeling or standing and rocking while I had contractions. Every now and then, I would get up and walk around the room, but I kept going back to leaning forward. The contractions were getting to the point where I really wanted to vocalize through them. I was also starting to move into Laborland, although I stayed fairly well aware of my surroundings pretty much the whole time.

Scotty was starting to run around the house, getting things cleaned up and ready. I kept worrying about where my comb was between contractions (I could have sworn it was behind the couch), because I still wanted my mom to braid my hair when she arrived. And I was beginning to wonder what was taking her so long! (She apparently thought she had plenty of time!) Soon, I decided that I wanted a snack. Scotty got me some grapes to eat, and I had a cup of water that always seemed to be out of reach. And I was feeling hot…so I needed that water! When I was down on the floor, my cup was on the headboard. When I was up leaning on the bed, my cup was on the floor. It was around this time that I took my robe off…even though nobody had shown up yet, so it was pointless for me to have put it on in the first place. And I wanted a cool washcloth for my face and neck.

I started to moan through my contractions, and I would mentally tell myself to keep it low and loose. Near the end of the contraction, I would blow my lips like a horse, as a final relaxation technique, so I could rest more easily between the contractions. And I decided that I really did need to rest between contractions. I had been staying down, leaning on my arms, and I was beginning to feel tired. The pinky finger on my right hand was going numb…and it stayed numb for a couple hours after the birth, even! I tried to lie on the bed, but every time I had a contraction, I had to hop onto the floor and lean on the bed. Finally, just a little before 10am, my mom arrived. But it was too late for her to braid my hair. And my mother-in-law arrived just shortly after.

I had a prenatal scheduled with my midwife and her assistant for that day at 10am. My midwife scheduled it for that day, the day –she- predicted the baby would be born, due to the full moon. It made things convenient for them, for me to be in labor then! The assistant, Deann, arrived just shortly after 10am. When she came in, I’m pretty sure the first words she said to me were, “You look beautiful!” It was so sweet to hear, and when I think of those words now, I think about my divine nature. God gave me this beautiful body and the ability to birth babies! Deann started quietly pulling things out of our “birth basket” (all the supplies needed had been gathered together in a laundry basket).

Scotty kept running around to take care of things, and I had to keep calling him to me, to be my support. I would have him rub my back. But if he did it even slightly wrong, I would say “no!” and have him try something different. My midwife, Marlene, showed up around 10:30am. Marlene lives two hours away, so Scotty had called her around 8:30am (when she should have been on her way anyway) to let her know that she would be staying a little longer than for just a prenatal, and she still hadn’t left yet. Apparently, she left pretty quickly after that! I was only slightly aware of her arrival. I remember hearing her talking in the other room, and being introduced to my mom and mother-in-law. (Honestly, I don’t remember actually seeing her until right before the baby was born!)

Soon, the contractions were getting pretty hard to handle. I kept analyzing myself throughout the whole labor, wondering what stage I was in, whether it was taking the appropriate amount of time, yadda yadda; consequences of being a birth geek, I guess. I remember at this point beginning to feel like I might not be able to handle things. I thought to myself, this better be transition…or else I don’t think I can do this! (Classic “transition”!)  

I really had to pee, and an empty bladder is better for birthing. But, from my experiences earlier in labor, I knew that the toilet brought on much stronger contractions. I really wasn’t interested in –that- happening at that point. I decided that I was ok with getting in the shower, just to pee. I had Scotty keep the water on my lower back. Then, I had a contraction that had me on my hands and knees. And I started feeling pushy. I told Scotty that I was feeling pushy, and I wanted to get out.  

Right after I got out of the shower, I tried to lie down on the bed. I was able to handle two contractions lying down; then I just –HAD- to get up on my hands and knees. We piled a ton of pillows up for me to lean on, while kneeling on the bed. I kept announcing that I was feeling pushy. (Of course, from my sounds and actions, everyone else already knew that!) Marlene then told me she wanted to check the baby’s heartbeat in between contractions. I knew I was right in between one, so I quickly leaned back so she could get to my belly. She used a Doppler, and it was the first time we had used one (we normally used a fetascope), so that was the first time I heard my baby’s heartbeat….and I was so far into labor that it didn’t even register! 

I was pushing, involuntarily, with every contraction now. It was such a strong and uncontrollable urge. My vocalizations were turning more grunty and animalistic, with a touch of “loss of control”. Deann kept gently reminding me to keep it low and relax. I had another contraction that came with a flow of what I thought was urine. I announced, “I think I peed!” To which everyone chuckled and Marlene responded, “Or your water broke.”  

With every urge to push, I told everyone I was “pushy! pushy!” And soon, I was feeling a lot of pressure in my crotch, which led me to tell everyone it felt “burn-y! burn-y!” I knew labor felt a lot like a huge bowel movement, and I know women often think they have to poop, when it is really just the baby coming down. Still, I had to ask, “Am I pooping? Or is that the baby?” It was a little of both. Marlene had baby wipes for my butt, and a nice, warm, ginger and almond oil compress for my perineum. I remembered my labor with Bug, and now nice pushing was. It hurt more this time (probably because my hemorrhoids), but it was still so nice knowing that I was being so productive!  

Then, I –knew- my water had really broken. I felt it gushing with my pushes, and I felt the baby moving down more quickly. I wanted to ask what kind of progress I was making. It was burning so badly, but I wasn’t even sure if the baby was visible yet! But, then I was told that I could touch the baby’s head. I reached down to feel the squishy, wrinkled mound of head coming. It felt so good to have my hand down there. I wanted to keep my hand down to apply counter pressure to my labia, but I couldn’t support both my crotch and my body at the same time.  

Around this time, truly just minutes before the birth, my mother-in-law, my mother, and Bug were all in to watch the baby be born. I pushed with more vigor when I knew the baby’s head was so nearly out. Then, the head was out, followed quickly by the body. I love that wonderful feeling of release when the baby comes out! Scotty caught the baby, and announced, “It’s a boy!” I thought, for just a split second, that he had to be joking. I honestly thought I was having a girl! Bug was fascinated while watching the birth. And when the baby was born, he announced to the room, “Bobby!” Which is Bug-speak for “baby”. [We have chosen a nickname for the blog, thanks to my little sister. Boy number two will be known as “Gizmo”.] 

I was still on my hands and knees, and I hadn’t seen the baby yet. I was so overwhelmed with those wonderful birthing hormones, that I was a little bit confused about how to go about turning around to hold my baby! I eventually got it (while trying not to kick anyone in the head) and Scotty placed our little boy in my arms. I was overjoyed! I had given birth! At home! In such a short amount of time! It all felt so surreal. 

I eventually mustered up enough energy and interest in pushing out the placenta. We waited about an hour before cutting the cord and taking stats. I tried to get Gizmo to nurse. He wasn’t all that interested, he just licked and nuzzled. I was checked over, in the meantime, and found I just had one small skidmark (I found later that I had another itty bitty one, higher up) but no major tears. 

The boy names that we had picked out during the pregnancy didn’t seem right to us. It took nearly an hour, but eventually we did give our little boy a name. Soon, we started passing Gizmo around to everyone who was there (and everyone who was showing up), while I went to take a soak in a nice, herbal postpartum bath. It was very nice to relax. I felt wonderful! 

We are so pleased to announce our second son, Gizmo. Born at 11:26am. 8lbs 2oz, 19 ¾” long.  

Born at home. Born in peace. Born in love.


Melinda said...

Awesome birth story! Congrats, you did it and I'm positive it was a truly spiritual experience! He's gorgeous!

AFarCryFromNormal said...

Lovely birth story! Kinda makes my womb ache....just alitte! So happy for you and your AWESOME homebirth! YOU ROCK! Happy Babymooning!!

TopHat said...

Wonderful! As I was reading it I kept thinking, "I remember feeling that! I remember thinking that!" Especially the burn-y burn-y! Awesome job, mama!

Momza said...

I'm a Homebirth Midwife Assistant and I loved how you've shared this--so much good information about what you did that helped you in each stage of labor!
Standing up, hands and knees, the shower--all of it! You did good!
Congratulations to your whole family!!

Dixie Mom said...

What a great story! Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Stopped by from MMB.

Sharon Cohen said...

I've got to tell you - I have never read a birth story like yours and it has been over 30 years since my last child was born. I could never have articulated the even as you have - and I thought I was a writer! Your story caused me to relive -in a small way - the days of birth of my own. You've reminded me of the divine joy of creation, of birthing and of raising children. It was a welcome reminder. Thank you.

I'm visiting from Mormon Mommy Blogs' Post of the Week. If you find time (lol) to check out my post and leave a comment, I would be delighted. Mine is #23, When You Choose What You Got.

Lisa said...

Hello from a visitor, and congratulations! I came across you on Mormon Mommy Blogs. I've had my last 3 of 5 children at home, and I got excited for a moment reading your story because I thought we had the same midwife (coincidentally enough the name of my midwife is Marlene also, but then I saw that you live in Ohio.) I can relate to the kneeling position- this is how I spent most of my labor with baby #4. It is a very in-control feeling. May you enjoy this beautiful, spiritual time with your newest little one.

Heatherlady said...

Beautiful! Congrats and best wishes for your babymoon.

Martha said...

Your writing is touching the lives of women everywhere. Good job!
Oh, and the birth was incredible to watch - the written word is very close to the spirit that was there. Thanks for allowing me in!
Love you - Mom.

Toni said...

What a beautiful birth story...I'm reminded of my own home birth almost two years ago.

I'm so happy you were able to experience this with your family!