Simple Bounty

Finding Beauty, Grace and Sanity in a Busy World

Bridget Elaine’s Birth Story May 29, 2009

Filed under: Family Life,Pregnancy and Childbirth — katieosborne @ 4:48 pm
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On Wednesday, I went for my last appointment with Jan, my midwife. I was a week overdue, so we decided to have her strip my membranes and release a syringe full of evening primrose oil in hopes of encouraging labor. By the time I was driving home at around 2:00, I was feeling rather crampy. Jonas fell asleep in the car on the way home, and after I carried him up to his bed, I sat down at the computer with my afternoon cup of cold coffee and milk. By then, the cramps had become very regular at about five minutes apart, but only 20 seconds long and not very strong. After a while, I called Ben, my mom and Jan, just to let them know what was going on, though I didn’t want them to come yet. Contractions lengthened to about 30 seconds and stronger, but nothing that caused me to stop during them. I did ask Ben to come home early because I was sure at this point that things were going to continue. Brand New

I got an early supper going so I’d make sure to eat before I was past the point of being able. Scrambled eggs and banana sourdough pancakes were on the menu. By the time I was flipping the pancakes, I had to stop during the contractions to breath, and I realized that they were coming a little closer and longer too. Fortunately, I still had an appetite when we sat down to eat, though if much more time had gone by, I probably would have missed the opportunity for a meal. After dinner, I went right upstairs for a shower and then I tried to lay down. I was starting to have to work with these contractions and couldn’t get rest, so I called Jan back at about 6:45, at which time contractions were a regular 3 minutes apart and 45 seconds long. My parents were on the way too.

While Ben took care of Jonas until my parents arrived, I headed back upstairs and sat on the birth ball at the end of the bed. Sitting felt so much better than laying in the bed! I was really surprised by the strength of these contractions now. I had to moan through them and rest in between, trying to fully relax my muscles. Ben came up periodically to check on me and my parents arrived shortly after. While I was proud of how I was managing on my own, I was grateful that Ben was now able to stay with me. I didn’t have the horrible, never subsiding, back labor that I had with Jonas, but the contractions were wrapping around to my back, and the strong pressure Ben applied on my lower back gave me some relief. I remember telling Ben, that if I’m not in transition, I don’t know what I’m going to do because this was hard. My body began shaking after some contractions, and at one point, I was sure I was going to throw up, but I managed to avoid that. All the signs were telling me that this had to be transition, yet I couldn’t believe it because it came so fast; just a couple hours earlier, I was eating dinner and managing fine!

Jan arrived a little after 8:00. She took one look at me and said, “maybe I should check you before I take the time to set up the birthing pool.” I was at nine centimeters! What a relief! That knowledge gave me renewed determination. Fortunately, we have a nice, deep tub in our bathroom, so we decided to use that instead. I desperately wanted the relief of the water on my heavy body. I remember a great exhale as I sunk into the bath, and I was able to let my muscles go a bit more than before. Upon hearing that I was almost fully dilated, I expected I’d be through transition in a few more contractions, especially once I was in the tub. But labor continued and got harder. I remember thinking, I don’t want to do this anymore, as the contractions came closer together, and I prayed for just a little break – just one contraction that didn’t come with such intensity, but they kept coming. It was very different from my labor with Jonas though, where I could barely even feel the contractions in my stomach because the pain of the back labor was so great. With Bridget, I could clearly feel each contraction coming on and building and then subsiding. I had a little more warning, a little more time to prepare, and that was helpful. After being in the bath for maybe 45 minutes, I started to feel a little pushy at the height of the contractions, and while I didn’t exactly bear down, it did feel good to just give a short little push without holding my breath as the contraction hit its peak. My water had not broken yet, which was holding things back a bit. Perhaps I was holding things back too. Jonas ended up having to be pulled out by vacuum extraction due to distress, and I couldn’t help but feel a little apprehensive about moving from first to second stage this time, since I never Just Bornhad the satisfaction and success of getting to push Jonas out on my own. What if I couldn’t do it? I tried to acknowledge this fear between the last couple contractions before I got out of the tub.  I did not want to stay here in transition, I reasoned with myself. Pushing contractions would be welcome.

I got out of the tub to use the bathroom after a couple of these slightly pushy contractions and stayed there through two or three more of the same type. Jan was sitting in front of me holding my arms while Ben sat  next to me on a stool and Tehmina, Jan’s assistant sat outside the door and continued to time the contractions. I remember holding onto Ben’s knee and pushing down on it during the contractions. Then came another contraction that was totally different, and almost instantaneously, before I even had a chance to breath, I felt a huge bulging and the head burning at the exit of the birth canal. I had not even given a push. I think I said “the head,” but I’m not really certain, and Jan said “Stand up!” As I did, my water broke all over the floor and the baby came flying out into Jan’s arms, crying loudly. There was no holding her back since I wasn’t pushing in the first place, and I just knew that the sudden force of this birth was going to cause a tear, something I was really hoping to avoid. I was in such shock, trying to comprehend what happened so quickly, I didn’t even reach for the baby until Jan said, maybe 15 seconds after she caught her, “here.” I sat back down and held her and talked to her and stroked her. Finally after a minute or two, I checked for the gender. Funny, when I held her, I wasn’t even interested in knowing, but then I thought, “oh yeah, I should find out if it’s a girl or boy,” almost out of obligation or something. I was a little surprised to find that we had a daughter, and I said, “Grandma Cindy got her girl.” A minute or two later the placenta slid out into the toilet on its own.

I asked Tehmina if she’d let my parents and Jonas know they could come up. Jonas took one look at the state of the bathroom and the strange creature in my arms and decided he wanted In The Morningnothing to do with the situation. It was not until the next day that he really started showing interest in her, and now he seems to think being a big brother is pretty cool.

Bridget was born at 9:47 PM on May 27th after a total of seven hours of labor, from start to finish. She came out very healthy and alert, and started rooting after just a couple minutes. She latched right on and nursed for at least an hour on and off. She proved to be a good nurser throughout the night. As Jan and Tehmina cleaned up the bathroom, Bridget, Ben and I laid in bed, and then Jan came to suture me – the least pleasant aspect of the evening. But I thought, besides the tear, this birth was just about perfect, so I cannot complain. This time, we got to stay home for the whole birth, next time we can work on avoiding a tear.

Jan told my mom that she had never experienced a birth quite like this one.


Jonas’ Birth Story ~ Revisited February 13, 2008

Filed under: Pregnancy and Childbirth — katieosborne @ 5:17 pm
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Seeing the movie last night has got me thinking about birth, and I read Jonas’ birth story for the first time since shortly after his birth. I’m so glad that I captured the experience through writing. Some moments are so clearly in my mind, andof course I will never forget the emotional experience, but so many events get lost with time.

Jonas Gregory arrived at 9:48 am on Thursday, June 29th,  the day before he was due. Things didn’t go exactly as we hoped, though we still had a really good experience overall.

I woke up at 6:30 am on Wednesday the 28th, and I was pretty sure I was in early labor at that time. I was having contractions that weren’t going away when I got up, and they felt different than the cramps I’d been having for the previous five evenings. They were coming pretty consistently at about 7 minutes apart from the beginning. When I went to the bathroom, I found that I had lost my mucous plug. I felt sure that this was the day. So I called Jan to let her know, and I went about my day while the contractions were still easy.  I  had Ben come home around 2 when I knew that things were going to continue getting stronger. I would say I was in active labor by about 3:00 or 3:30. Mom and Dad drove up that afternoon,  and my midwife, Jan, was at the house by 5pm.

Leaning over a table and rocking my hips in a circular motion worked well for me when the contractions came. I also found myself moaning through them, which helped to keep my mouth and throat relaxed, which in turn helped the rest of me stay relaxed. Once Jan got the pool set up, I spent a lot of time laboring there which felt really good. The water took so much weight off of my body and encouraged my muscles to let go – though looking back, I feel I should have been able to relax more thoroughly. Ben spent a lot of time in the pool with me, applying counterpressure to my back. Labor progressed fairly slowly, though my contractions were strong and long – they were about 2 minutes in length before I ever got to transition.

Unfortunately, I had horrible back labor through the whole thing, though Jonas wasn’t posterior. Perhaps he had his hands by his head or something. Anyway, I had heard that back labor was awful, but oh my goodness! I hardly even felt the contractions in my belly because my back hurt so much. When Christy, Jan’s assistant, arrived late in the night, we tried a sterile water injection in my back, which often relieves the back pain, but it didn’t work for me, and it burned sooo badly for a couple minutes – like someone was holding a curling iron to my back.

So, progress was rather slow. I was stuck around 6-7 cm for a long time, his head was decending nicely, and around 2am Jan asked if I wanted her to break the water. I thought it was a good idea since his head was already down so far – no risk of cord prolapse – and I felt that it would probably help things kick in more strongly since the baby’s head would be right there on my cervix. So, I said yes. But I continued to dilate slowly, and after some more time passed, Jan began becoming concerned because Jonas’ heart tones were dropping with some of the stronger contractions. At 5:30 am, she told me that she thought we needed to go to the hospital because of this. I was beginning to have a strong urge to push because his head was so low, and the whole car ride was scary because I was trying so hard not to push as I was laying in the backseat, and I was realizing that there was probably a pretty good chance I’d end up with a c-section because he was in some amount of distress and I wasn’t ready to push, no matter how much I wanted to.

When we got to the hospital though, his heart was fine, so thankfully, they pretty much left me alone to continue laboring as I wanted. I don’t even remember all that much of the hospital labor because things were so intense and I was still trying not to push because I was still only 7 cm. I know I was sitting on a birthing ball at the end of the bed with my torso draped over some pillows, and I remember Ben and my parents encouraging me, though their voices seemed to come from another place. I was there for quite some time until they checked me again, at which time I stayed in the bed and labored on my side.

Finally, I had finished dilating – no concept of time as far as how long I was laboring in the bed before I could start pushing. Unfortunately, I was so exhausted by this time and feeling a bit disconnected, I stayed on my back instead of getting into a better pushing position. My midwife did stand at the end of the bed, grasping my hands, and we were pulling against each other, so I think that helped a bit, but I wish I was more upright. When I was pushing, his heart tones started dropping significantly again. I only got to push for about 30 minutes before my doctor told me that she wanted to do a vacuum extraction because he really needed to come out. So, he ended up being pulled into the world. I, of course, had to have an episiotomy because of the vacuum, which is less than pleasant, though in the grand scheme of things, I know it’s no big deal. She did a medio-lateral cut instead of the straight back one because with the amount of pressure on the perineum from the pulling, there was too much of a chance of damaging the rectal muscles. The medio-lateral cut goes through more muscles, but in this case, I’m glad she did it this way.

The last minutes were a bit of a blur. I just remember feeling the burn of his head being right there, and still kinda wondering if I would ever get him out, and then he was there. They put him on my chest and we checked and found out that we had a little boy. When the blood was gone from the cord, my mom cut it. I got to keep him most of the time the doctor was stitching me up. Ben went with as the nurses cleaned him up on the other side of the room, and then I got him back and was able to feed him.

The doctor told me that he was born with his cord wrapped around his shoulders and arms like a shawl. I suspect that is what was causing his distress – the cord being squeezed between me and his shoulders during contractions. I really believe that if I would have decided against having my waters broken, we probably would have had him at home – at least if the bag had continued to stay intact. He would have been so much more protected. If that is the case, it’s amazing that such a seemingly minor intervention had such a large impact on Jonas’ birth. It makes me even more aware of how important choices are, and will make me think twice before making such decisions next time.