Saturday, September 25, 2010

Eva's Birth Story: Part Two

**Sorry about the irregular spacing in this post. For some reason, all the paragraphs are screwing up but I'm sick of trying to fix it.

When we left off at the end of part one of Eva's birth story, it was shortly after 3 am, and the Dude and I had just called my parents and told them to get on the road and head down.

As a funny sidenote, my brother and SIL had been staying with my parents for the summer until they got possession of their new home so when I called at 3 am, my SIL woke up and was confused. She thought my parents had left earlier in the night the first time I called, so seeing our phone number on call display made her think we were calling her with the news that the baby had arrived. She answered and said "Do you have something to tell us?" and I was like, "Um, yeah, I'm in labor. Mom and Dad need to get here". Meanwhile, at the same time, my mom picked up the extension upstairs and couldn't understand why my SIL was also on the phone. It took us a good 5 minutes to get things straightened out but we managed.

After we got off the phone and knew my parents would be arriving within the next two hours, we decided to take care of the few last minute preparations while I was still able to somewhat concentrate on other things in between contractions. We stripped our bed and re-made it with two sets of old sheets and vinyl tablecloths, covered the pillows with plastic bags and old pillow cases, cleared off my dresser for midwives supplies and, most importantly, I donned the Monkey Milkin' Shirt.

The Dude and I continued to lay down and attempted to get as much rest as possible in the meantime. This is when I really felt like I started to get into the zone. My baby was really on the way.

By just before 5 am when my parents arrived the contractions had increased and I was confident that we were beginning to see the magical longer, stronger, closer together. I think my mom was surprised to see how far into labor I actually was by the time she arrived. We spent the following hour timing them, only to find that they were coming consistently at 2.5 minutes apart and lasting for 45 seconds.

We had been instructed to page the midwives when we thought I had begun active labor. They had encouraged us to not become obsessed with timing contractions but gave us a 3 minute apart for an hour guideline to go by. They also said, when your contractions are "toe-curling" and you can no longer talk through them or focus on anything else while you are having one.

By 5:45 am, we decided that we were probably at this point. I wasn't in any state to pick up the phone and page, so the Dude paged for us and we waited only a short time for the student midwife, Colleen, to call us back.

Evan explained to her where we were at and she asked to speak with me so she could try to get an idea of how I was coping and how things were progressing from me. We spent about 10 minutes on the phone, going through a few contractions together, and she told me that she would call my on-call midwife (her supervising midwife), discuss things with her, and then call us back with a plan. I have to admit that at this point, I still had the nagging feeling in the back of my mind telling me that I was not really that far into labor and that we had paged way too early.

Colleen called back shortly and let me know that she and my primary midwife, Carrie, felt as though I was likely either at the beginning stages of active labor or else at least very close. She said that they would be there within an hour or so to assess me and we would go from there.

After we hung up, I texted Katie, my bff saying "It's showtime. My parents are here and midwives are on the way". She texted back immediately, "What?? Whooohooo. I'll be there soon" and arrived within a few minutes.

Over the next hour, the sinking feeling that we had paged too early became even more pressing as my contractions began to slow down. They were definitely no longer coming two minutes apart. When Colleen arrived at 7 am and informed me that Carrie was just a few minutes behind her, I told her that I was nervous I paged too early. She told me not to worry, they'd check me out and if I wasn't ready for them to stay, they would leave for a bit and come back later.

Colleen, who I had not met previously (because she was a student with the other team) helped me through a few contractions. Carrie arrived a few minutes later and they got me situated on the bed to check out where I was at. They both reminded me not to feel discouraged if I wasn't as far along as I thought and that I was doing a great job. They also told me that it was not uncommon for women to experience a slow down in labor once they have called the midwives because they start to feel more relaxed and safe knowing they have that support and it's not a big deal.

I was pleased to know that I was between 4.5-5 cm and that hopefully, with a stretch and sweep, things would get moving. And, um, that stretch and sweep?
I think I might have cried. They promised me it would not be like that every time they checked me. And thankfully, they were right. After they checked me, they also gave me a shot of gravol in my hip that would hopefully give me the opportunity to rest between contractions. And it certainly did. I was able to fall asleep in between each contraction. At one point, I think I almost fell of the birthing ball.

We decided that the midwives would stick around for an hour and see how things went. If the contractions continued to peter out, then they would leave for a bit and come back when things picked up again. However, as that hour passed, we realized that things were not petering out, and the midwives would not need to leave. Things were picking up quickly!
Here I am resting on the birthing ball, with my fabulous husband - who, I might add, was a total rockstar, and Colleen giving me a back massage.
Checking the baby's heart rate - each time they checked her heart, they kind of laughed and said something about how this baby didn't even notice what was going on. She was happy as a clam in there.

My mom and Katie were my other labor support people. They were my silent warriors. They didn't say a whole lot but they were always there with exactly what I needed. Whether it was a drink, some crackers, a hand to squeeze, or a backrub, it was also there when I needed it and most often, without my even asking.

Over the next few hours, the Dude and I managed the contractions together as they got progressively longer, stronger and closer together. I must say, there is no way I could have gotten through labor without him. He was a total lifesaver. He was always there, touching me when I wanted it, not touching me when I didn't want it, saying the right things at the right time and never leaving my side. Well, okay, he did have to leave my side a few times, but he always made sure I was comfortable first and that someone else was with me. With every contraction he reminded me to breath deeply, to relax my shoulders, let the tension out through my bum and all the way out my toes. He breathed with me and moaned with me, encouraging me to keep my pitch very deep and low, which was exactly what helped me stay on top of each contraction.
As things got stronger, I remember finding myself repeating some of my labor scriptures to myself in my head. Specifically, I kept repeating "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you". At one point, the Dude said "You are so strong. You're doing such a great job" and I remember telling him that I couldn't do it without him, and that the Lord was giving me the strength that I needed.
Around 10 am, Carrie and Colleen situated me on my bed to administer the antibiotics that I would need for testing positive for GBS. It took about 10 minutes and then they detached the IV so I was able to move around again. Movement in labor = A plus. The birthing ball was the tool that I used the most often, as you can see in some of the photos. The rocking and bouncing sensation was one that I found very effective. This was about the same time that my Dad decided things were getting a wee bit intense for him and he headed out for the rest of the time. Honestly, by this point, I would not have even noticed who was there.
When we hit 11 am, it was time for them to check me again. As they got me set up in the bed, they informed me that if I was 7 cm or above that they could offer to break my water. They told me that if they did, it would have the possibility of shortening labor but would likely make the contractions much more intense. I opted to have them break the waters if I was ready. Still at this point, I had a fear that over the course of the 4 hours they had been there that I had probably only progressing 1 cm. They said in that time, 1 cm is the minimum they would have liked to see so as long as I was at 6 cm, they would be happy.
Thankfully, they measured me at between 7 and 8 cm so they were able to go ahead and break my waters. They waited until I was having a strong contraction, so that the sac and everything would be taut and one of them (I can't remember who) broke it. Not a lot came out because her head was so low and acting like a plug so they told me that most of the fluids would come out when she was born. Once the water was broken, and Carrie told me she could feel the head, I asked if she felt hair. She said that she sure did feel a lot of hair on my baby. I just knew it.
They suggested that I try the bathtub again because many women find it eases the intensity of contractions after the waters are broken, so with the Dude's help, I eased my way into the tub and waited to see what would happen.
When they said that breaking my water would change things and intensify my contractions, they were not kidding!
To be continued ....


Samantha said...

Cliff hanger again! Oh man. But I'm glad that everything went as you wanted!!

Meg said...

Simply amazing and beautiful. Thank you for sharing and I can't wait to read the rest!

Jackie said...

You had such a wonderful support team....what a blessing.

Jaclyn_Rose said...

I love the Monkey Milkin' shirt - it looks so cute with those sweats underneath.

Oh, and you need to get rid of the baby countdown ticker now and add a count up of age one!

Emily said...

I am loving this story... but I hate the cliff hanger part! :)

Lucky in Love said...

Eek! This is getting good :)

Gina said...

You had the stretch and sweep while in labor, and made it meds-free after having them break your water? I only made it one measly hour after the waters were broken! You are a superhero!

Tricia said...

You are amazing!!
I had my water broken when I was induced with all three, so I only know those kinds of contractions, and never the pre-water breakage ones. I can't imagine going through them the way you did with such grace, though. You are a special girl. ♥


p.s. I am totally with Gina. I was definitely not strong enough to go meds-free.

Brittany Ann said...

I love that you took all these laboring photos! They are such a testament and so beautiful!

Shaina said...

So suspenseful! I can't wait to see what happens next. The possibilities are endless!

SnoWhite said...

wow, friend -- you are so strong. Thanks for sharing this with us!