Archive for November, 2008

My birth story

Posted in Health, Pregnancy and Birth | 19 Comments »

Violet Marie has finally arrived!! She was born on Saturday, November 22 at 2:38pm weighing 9 lbs 2 oz and 21 inches long.

As some of you know I had been planning a home birth because I wanted to avoid another c section and I wanted to experience everything naturally without unnecessary interventions.

I went into labor around 4am on Friday.  I realized what I was feeling was probably no longer just “practice” contractions…they were the real thing. I called my midwife, April, to confirm this and she agreed it sounded like real labor. She came over to check on me around midmorning and my contractions were 3 minutes apart and intense but very manageable, though I was only at 3cm. We all thought the baby would be here by the afternoon and April told me to call her once I was in active labor. However, Violet had different plans.

Soon after April left the contractions slowed down until they were 10 minutes apart. I decided to try and nap since I hadn’t slept much the night before. I rested for about an hour and then decided maybe going for a walk might help. They started up again at 6 minutes but never got any closer. A few hours later we went for another walk. Still no increase in the timing. By late afternoon we called April to check in with her and let her know what was happening. I tried to rest between contractions but by the evening they began to get very intense and I though I tried to go to bed and sleep, it was really not possible. I got up and continued to labor through the night. 4am rolled around and I was in active labor with contractions now 3 minutes apart and lasting about a minute. We called April and she came to the house to see us through the birth.

Here the timing of it all gets a bit blurry in my mind, but the contractions became increasingly painful and I started having to bite down on a towel or pillow to get through them. I had been practicing Hypnobirthing but at this point I was beyond being able to focus on anything but what was happening to my body. None of my comfort measures (meditation music, scented massage oil, etc.) made any difference. I tried to relax and meditate but the contractions gripped me so powerfully they drove all thoughts out of my mind. The only thing that helped at all was being in the Aqua Doula birthing tub, which was heavenly!!

April checked me again and I was 7cm. She had me get on the bed to push while she tried to get Violets head past the remaining lip of the cervix so I could dilate to the necessary 10cm. Eventually we got there, but not without a whole lot of extremely painful pushing and a lot of effort. Most of the pain was in my lower back and abdomen. I didn’t realize that this was because Violet decided she wanted to be born sunny side up and I was experiencing “back labor”.

Now Violet was close to being born, just a few inches away from the world outside. But it might as well have been a mile, because she would not budge any further. Her heart rate continued to be perfectly normal even throughout the contractions and through the pushing so we knew she was still fine to keep going. But it was taking so much longer than I thought it would. The contractions were endless. I thought pushing would bring some relief, but it didn’t. Pushing was more than painful, it was torture. Nothing helped anymore-not the birthing tub, not biting down on towels, not changing positions – nothing. Though everyone kept encouraging me and telling me I could do this, I just could not take it anymore. It wasn’t about needing encouragement anymore, I was beyond that. I was completely exhausted and now the contractions were right on top of each other.  There was no respite, nothing I could do to ease the pain. I insisted I was done with this and could no longer go on. I wanted the baby OUT, by any means possible, as quickly as possible. The contractions kept coming right on top of each other.

Phillip got his keys and said “Let’s go”. They got me dressed and in the car and we went to St. Rose de Lima, which was close to my house (Ivy was born there).  A doctor checked me and tried to birth her but she was still too slow in coming. I didn’t care about birthing her naturally anymore. I just wanted the pain to end. So they prepped me for the c section and within the hour my pain was gone and Violet had been delivered. I have never felt so much relief in my life!! I was so unspeakably happy that Violet had arrived and that the pain had been stopped in its tracks.

As it turned out, the doctor later told me, one reason she was so slow in coming was because she was so big that she was not getting through. It would have taken me many more hours for her head to mold itself to the right size to get through. Had she been 7lbs it would not be an issue. Then the fact that she was facing the wrong direction meant abnormally painful labor. So- it was going to be slow and painful labor and there was nothing that could change that. At least I know that I still had the choice of continuing with the home birth had I wanted to. Nothing had gone wrong. I chose to go to the hospital.

I am so glad that I tried though. I needed to travel this road. There was no way I would ever be actually happy about a c section unless I traveled this road first. I am proud of myself, that I lasted as long as I did, and that I was true to myself. I can now say I have experienced labor. All 34 hours of it!

I have learned so much from this experience. That pain is relative. That I love modern medicine. And that at the end of the day, as long as I have my baby safe in my arms, it doesn’t matter how she got here. It just matters that the Lord has blessed us and she is here.