Thursday, January 3, 2013
Olivia’s Birth Story:
So many people have asked about Olivia’s birth story that I thought it would be best to write it down.
On Monday and Tuesday (11/26-27) I started to notice some changes that indicated baby would come soon. I had no idea how soon, though!
On Monday I started experiencing bloody show. By Tuesday I was feeling sporadic contractions – sometimes hours from one to another. I went into work for my final one on one with my manager, and handed off all my work responsibilities. Afterwards I went to the mall to finish some shopping. Most moms at this point would be walking malls to bring on labor – I was genuinely trying to cross things off my list! Driving home from the mall, I had a contraction while driving. After that, I thought to myself, “I don’t think I should be driving alone anymore…” I had no idea how true that was!
Around 9pm, I started to have contractions every 20-30 mins apart. They weren’t too painful. I just new something was happening. I was having “fun” tracking it in the Contraction App on my phone. Again, no idea how close I really could be! They continued until 3am, I was getting about 15 minutes of sleep between each contraction.
At 3am, the contractions started coming more frequently and were a bit more painful. We soon noticed that they were becoming 5 minutes apart and were astonished at how they really did last for 1 minute. (We could tell because we used the “start” and “stop” feature in the Contraction App.) Zac would occasionally make a joke, and I would, with a smile, tell him to not make me laugh because it made the contractions hurt more. I was definitely still alert at this stage since I was able to be light-hearted.
At 3:30 we decided we should contact our works to tell them that we would not be in work the next day, and that the baby may be coming. As we were doing this, the contractions continued to get worse and I had to move from my bed to the toilet. I felt more comfortable since I was bleeding a little to be on the toilet than anywhere else. At 4 I told Zac we should call our Midwives.
We called and because of the location of the contractions (low), and the intensity (apparently I sounded like I was coping well J) the midwife recommended we keep laboring at home and call her when they became more frequent and longer. After we hung up the phone, it was like a switch was turned on.
At 4:15 contractions were more intense and were every 2-3 minutes apart. After 30 minutes of this, and because at one moment I told Zac I felt the need to push, we called the midwives again at 4:45.
The pain of the contractions that I was able to portray over the phone, as well as the frequency, led our midwife to tell us to come into the birth center. We live only 10 minutes away, but she was a bit further. We waited at home until 5:45 when she said she was at the birth center and we could come over.
The contractions had continued to be frequent and intense, along with wanting to push. Zac was the best coach ever. Throughout every contraction he reminded me to breathe deep, to relax, to NOT push (he didn’t want to be catching a baby at home J). He said I was doing a great job, encouraged me through each one, and was critical in the process.
As we were getting ready to leave, Zac had figured out my contractions perfectly. He told me we would work through the next contraction together, then he’d load the car, we’d have another contraction, then I’d get into the car, and on the drive to the birth center there would be three more contractions. Well, after he loaded the car, I was ready to get out the door. We made it to the parking lot where I had a contraction, and then on the drive I had 4 more. Had Zac blown through those 3 or 4 stop signs and stop lights, maybe it would have been 3. However, he was safely driving us, so it’s okay!
At 6:05am we arrived at the birth center. The midwife asked me if I wanted to go to the bathroom, and since I spent the last 2 hours there, it was the most comfortable place for me. As I sat on the toilet, I noticed something hanging out of me. I quickly asked our midwife what it was. She said it was my bag of water! I had a contraction there and then moved over to the bed where she checked me. She told me that she saw our baby’s head and asked where I wanted to have the baby (all of this was said with quite the sense of urgency). When she mentioned the tub was full of water, I said that’s where I wanted to have her.
I moved quickly to the tub and had 2 more contractions. After those two, I said I wanted to push. Our midwife encouraged me to push, and after 2 pushes, our precious, sweet baby Olivia was born…at 6:21am.
The next hour was spent bonding with my baby. We didn’t cut the umbilical cord until it stopped pulsing (Zac cut it!) and I held Olivia until I delivered the placenta. It took about 45 minutes. After this, I handed miss Olivia to Zac while I showered.
The best part of the Birth Center Experience was being able to sit on the bed with our new baby and slowly get to know her. Her first visitors were my parents. While they were there, Olivia was weighed and measured. She was born weighing 7lbs 7.5 ounces and 20.5 inches.
We were home by noon and have been loving every minute (even the ones full of baby cries!) of being new parents.
When I look back at the entire experience, there are 4 things that stick out to me that I would either recommend to others, or ensure that I have as part of my next pregnancy and birth experience:
1) The best coach ever! Zac was so calm through the entire process. He encouraged me and never once acted concerned or fearful. He talked me through each contraction and was my rock.
2) A thorough birth class. Attending the Kind Birth classes equipped both of us with the details of what labor would be like. Zac says that it’s because of the class that he was able to be calm. He was able to recognize where I was in the labor process and could be confident while coaching me through every stage.
3) Laboring on a toilet. It is definitely not the most glamorous place to labor, but because I was able to fully relax, the hours going through contractions along with being “open” for baby to move down made delivery a lot faster than I could have ever imagined.
4) Chiropractic care. Starting at about 6 months of pregnancy, I began regular chiropractic care. This, I am told, prepares both my body and baby’s for the birth experience. It aligns my system so that when labor would begin there wouldn’t be anything holding back the baby being born.
All in all, I would say that I probably shouldn’t be a case study in natural childbirth – as it went very fast. Our midwife has informed us that next time we are pregnant, as soon as contractions begin I will likely need to get myself to the birth center immediately. We’ll see how it goes!