I guess I was thinking that I'd share my birth story sooner. I'm not sure why I thought that. I guess I expected to be my normal self sooner. Ah well. Twelve days isn't too shabby, right? ;-) And for those of you who know me personally, you know I'm long-winded and detail-oriented, and it shouldn't surprise you that this is quite long.
For those of you who don't know me, well... I guess you'll get to know me much better after this. ;-)
Also... we planned to have a home-birth. If this upsets you or offends you in any way, I urge you to not read our story. I did end up delivering our daughter in the hospital, however. If you have any negative comments or things to say that are not positive regarding this situation, please do not share them with me. I'm quite sensitive to this, and since I just gave birth and am quite tired and emotional, it probably would make me cry. Thank you for your understanding. :-)
*Photo by Jeremy Klein.
Hattie Camille's Birth Story
A little pre-story...
Thursday, August 4, 2011
I woke up early on that Thursday. I got up for a bit, ate some breakfast, then decided to take a small nap before I had to take my best friend (Camille) to the airport. So I slept, brought her to the airport, then came back home and decided to take another nap. (Go me!)
At this point, I was SUPER proud of myself. I'm really not a big fan of naps, and that day, I was tired enough to take TWO. I was stoked. I woke up around 5pm and realized that the baby consignment sale was starting in one hour. I could make it!
I was considered a VIP (Very Important Pregger), since I was pregnant with my first. I made it on time and waited around till they told us we could line up. I got a pleasant surprise when they announced that the "Most Pregnant Woman" got to be in line first. Uhh... at five days past my due date, I pretty much was a shoe in. ;-)
Woman working at sale: So when is your due date?
Me: July 30th
Woman working at sale: Uhhh... as in... the July 30th that was five days ago?
Me: Mmhmm... that would be the one! ;-)
Woman working at sale: WOW! You *do* deserve to be first! What are you doing here? Why aren't you at home with your feet up?
Me: Tee hee. I've had my feet up for two weeks! I needed to get OUT! :-D
So... I walked around the sale and found all the things I wanted/needed. (Score!) As I was leaving, a woman called out to me, "Hey, after all this walking, I'll bet you go into labor tonight!"
I chuckled. Mmkay, Lady. Sure. ;-)
I was having Braxton Hicks pretty much the entire time I was at the sale. They *did* feel pretty constant, but they weren't real contractions. I went home and laid around, watched some Friends, cleaned up a bit.
Around 10pm, the Braxton Hicks seemed to be increasing, so I sat down to rest and watch the finale of The Bachelorette (please no judging... ;-). Around midnight, I started having small contractions. They were about 5-10 minutes apart, and nothing to write home about. I remember thinking that labor could start and stop, so this wasn't necessarily the sign of impending labor.
Friday, August 5, 2011
Jeremy arrived home around midnight, I think.
At 1am, I decided to call Debra (my midwife) and let her know that my contractions had started, weren't very strong or painful, and I was lying down to get sleep. I only slept for two hours, but it was nice that I was able to fall asleep. :-) I was very happy that I had taken those *two* naps the day before. My body must have known. ;-)
Around 3am, I woke up, ate some chicken salad (mmm... chicken salad...), and did a few things around the house... just in case this *was* labor, I wanted to make sure everything was in order. I was pretty organized, and we had been keeping the house very clean, but there were just a few things I wanted to do.
Then at 5:30, my contractions started to get a bit stronger (still not painful), so I thought it would be a good idea to get some more rest. I think I may have taken some Benadryl to help me sleep. And I went in the guest bedroom because that's a more comfy bed (it used to be our mattress). Tee hee. Jeremy slept on the floor next to me, and we slept till 11am.
I got up, did some more things around the house, and then went to the bathroom. I noticed that I was starting to lose my mucous plug. It's possible at this point, that I was like, "Whoa! Could this be it? Could I go into active labor today?!" But I still tried not to get my hopes up. :-)
At noon, I ate two eggs and an apple. My contractions had slowed to seven minutes apart, and they weren't painful, so I sent Jeremy off to work. LOL. He was like, "Uhh... really? Are you sure? Will you be okay?" His job for the day was only 20 minutes away, so I wasn't worried.
"Of course I'll be okay!" Famous last words, yes? ;-)
I decided to take a nice, relaxing bath. About an hour later, my contractions started to pick up. At 1:30, they were getting a bit painful, were 2-4 minutes apart and 60 seconds long. I called Debra to let her know my progress, but told her I didn't think she needed to be there yet. (In hindsight... this was dumb. LOL.) I'm pretty sure at this point, I decided to call Leilani (our photographer) to give her a head's up. She said she'd be there at 7pm. I thought that sounded good.
I had a little snack, lost more of my mucous plug, and called Jeremy around 2pm. I felt kinda bad that he had only been at his job-site for two hours, but I told him I needed him to come home. (Debra was pretty shocked I had sent him off to work. Oops! This is what I get for not getting my hopes up! LOL. I was trying to stay relaxed, and therefore, tell myself that labor was *not* starting soon. LOL. Ah well. :-p )
Then I got in the shower, because when contractions are starting to get painful, showers feel SOOOOOO nice. My former gymnastics coach (and now, close friend) had texted me earlier and, jokingly, told me to stop the handstands for the day. Tee hee. She mentioned something about straddle-press handstands, and while in the shower, that thought made me giggle. BUT... it also sounded like it may help. I stood up in my straddle, bent over and put my hands flat on the shower floor. No, I wasn't planning on doing a straddle press to handstand, but I did rock back and forth from my feet to my hands... like I was getting ready to. This was actually really helpful through contractions! Yay for gymnastics! ;-)
Jeremy had to wait to be relieved at his job-site, so he finally arrived home around 3:30pm. I wanted to keep busy, so I threw in some laundry while Jeremy blew up the birthing tub. I lost more of mucous plug at this point too.
Contractions were the same, so I decided to get back in the bath tub. Mmm... warm water. :-) After being in there an hour or so, my water broke in the tub. How convenient! (And cool to watch! LOL. ;-) ). It was 5pm at this point, and after my water broke, my contractions definitely started to pick up. Cue active labor! ;-)
Jeremy called Debra and told her about my water breaking. I could hear her on the phone, "Don't you think it's about time I came over?" And Jeremy said emphatically, "Yes, please!" LOL.
I'm really not sure of everything that transpired in the next 90 minutes before Debra arrived at around 6:00 or 6:30pm. It's pretty much a blur. I *did* call Leilani to let her know to come soon, so she could get *some* photos before things got too painful for me. And I did get into the birthing tub, which we couldn't keep warm enough... because there were only two of us. Oops. (Yes, should have called the midwife team sooner. Note to self for next time... ;-) )
And things progressed pretty normally from there. I'm really not sure of the timeline over the next four hours, but I do remember pretty much what happened. I didn't look at the clock, and I didn't ask. I felt like I had a pretty good hold on contractions until transition. I mean, yes, they were very painful, but Jeremy was an AMAZING coach. And I'm pretty sure that somewhere between 7 and 8pm, the rest of our midwife team arrived: Mary (a CNM) and Kate (their apprentice/midwife-in-training).
I moved around from the bed to the shower. I'm not really sure why I never got back into the birthing tub. I felt very focused, and I did whatever Jeremy and my team suggested. Once I was at 5-6 cm, Debra noticed a tinge of meconium in my amniotic fluid. It was super thin, and therefore, nothing to be concerned about. They weren't worried, so I wasn't worried.
I remember Mary and Debra saying, "You're only at 5-6 cm, so you have a while to go yet." And I remember thinking, "You have GOT to be kidding me! A while?!??! What does that mean? I'm in pain here!" LOL.
I think another hour passed, and I was still at 5-6 cm. They thought this was because the baby was posterior, so I labored a bit in three different positions before they checked me again. After laboring in those three positions, the baby had spun to an anterior position! (Hooray for the midwives' expertise!) I remember it feeling really nice when Jeremy or Kate pushed on my back during contractions. My legs were really hurting, and Kate massaged those during contractions, which took a bit of the edge off.
So I must have hit transition while the baby was spinning to anterior. I don't remember thinking, "Oh, this must be transition!" because, like I said, I was super-focused. But now, looking back at that time where instead of doing my low-deep-voiced moans (like they suggested...) during contractions, I was pretty much screaming... I'm guessing that was transition. ;-) And yes, wow, that was definitely the most painful part of the entire labor. WOW. I do remember thinking how amazing Jeremy was being and how blessed I felt to be lying in his arms while going through that horrid pain.
And just like that... they said, "10 cm!" I couldn't believe it! It felt like it flew by, honestly. :-) I tried a few different pushing positions, and I pushed for almost an hour. At that time (unbeknownst to me), thick meconium had come out in my amniotic fluid. I watched as Mary and Debra walked away to talk for a bit. They came back and told me we had to get to the hospital... just in case the baby had aspirated any meconium. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
I didn't argue. It didn't phase me, really. I wasn't upset. I was a bit worried how I'd get dressed, get in the car, and have to labor and push in the back of our Jeep. LOL. I visualized myself doing it all before I actually did it. I guess that helped.
I was on all-fours in the backseat, with Debra behind me. Jeremy was driving. Debra said, "Now, Jeremy... *don't* run any red lights!" And I replied, "WHAT?!?! WHY NOT?!??!" LOL. I just wanted to be out of the car as soon as possible. The hospital was only 2 miles away, so calling an ambulance really wouldn't have gotten us there any faster. There *was* traffic at 10:30 at night that Friday. *sigh* I remember thinking, "Why don't these cars MOVE?! Don't they know I have a baby coming out of me?!" LOL. Tee hee.
The drive felt like it took forever. I finally got there, climbed out of the car, walked inside, and sat in a wheelchair. The guy wheeled me (Jeremy walking behind us) up to Labor & Delivery, where I was the only woman in labor, and a HUGE team was at a nursing station waiting for me. Seriously, there were like 10-15 people! I'm sure they have everyone on standby in that ward. LOL.
I was SO glad that I just got to climb into a bed. No ugly gown. I kept on my own nightgown. No tests. No questions. I was glad they were leaving me be. That felt nice. Well, you know... as nice as it can be when you're trying to push a 7.5 pound baby out of your body. ;-) I pushed for an hour-ish more, once I got there. That felt like a long time to me, but it felt good to push. It didn't hurt nearly as bad as all the labor leading up to this point.
The hospital staff was awesome. They let me push in several positions, and they didn't break the bed down. I had Debra coaching me in my left ear. Jeremy was on my right. It was so awesome to have Debra there. She knew exactly what to say and when to say it, and that was a tremendous help.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Debra said to the team of nurses and doctors, "Now Everyone, DON'T tell Jeremy and Reyanna the sex of the baby. THEY want to find out for themselves!" Between contractions (I pushed for each one), I had no pain and was perfectly calm. We even talked and joked sometimes between them. I joked, "I think the baby is a boy, and today, August 5th, is my dad's birthday! That would be neat!" So everyone was saying things like, "He's almost here! Let's get him before midnight! You almost have your son!"
As the baby was crowning, they let me feel the head. Very strange. LOL. Did not feel like a baby's head. Tee hee. But I'm glad I got the experience. I had my eyes closed for each contraction because I was so very focused. When the baby came out, it honestly felt like I exploded. LOL. I didn't open my eyes until a few seconds later. (She was born at 12:10am on Saturday, August 6th. She didn't make it in time for my dad's birthday, but I was glad she was born on the 6th... so we have my mom's birthday on the 4th, my dad's birthday on the 5th, and Hattie on the 6th. :-D )
When I finally *did* open my eyes, they had taken the baby across the room to make sure he/she had no meconium in his/her lungs. Debra said to me, "They're just taking him over there to suction his lungs." And I thought, "Aw man! She just told everyone not to tell me the sex of the baby, then she goes and tells me! GAH!" LOL. But I ignored that and said to Jeremy, "Go see the baby! Come back and tell me if it's a boy or a girl."
As he walked over there, I heard our baby coughing and screaming. They remarked how amazing it was that our baby coughed. Apparently, babies don't usually cough right after they're born. (Our baby is so awesome! ;-) ) This was a great thing though! Coughed up everything it had in there! And we were told the baby was perfectly fine... no meconium! HOORAY!
I watched Jeremy look at our precious baby. I loved the look on his face. I was so glad that Leilani was there to capture this for us. He had this HUGE smile on his face. He was enjoying whatever he was looking at. He turned and walked toward me, still this huge smile on his face.
He leaned down to my right ear.
"It's a girl........" he whispered slowly.
Goosebumps ran over my entire body. They still do as I think of that moment. And with a HUGE smile on my face... and in complete and utter disbelief, I said, "Noooooo....... A girl?! I can't believe it! We have a GIRL?!" The whole delivery room burst out laughing. A few seconds went by, and I said, "I can't believe it! A GIRL?!?!!" Everyone laughed again. I think for the next hour, I said, "A girl?! Really?! I can't believe it!" LOL.
We had our daughter. The one we prayed long and hard for. We were beyond excited, and we were SO glad we waited for this surprise. Truly, the best surprise EVER! They brought her to me within minutes, and we just got to stare at her. She looked exactly like Jeremy when Jeremy was a baby.
The hospital staff asked, "What's her name?" And Jeremy replied, "Hattie!" And I said, "WAIT! NO! I have to spend time with her first! We have to talk about this!" LOL. It didn't take long though. I ran through the other names in my head, but she was a Hattie. Hattie Camille. It really did fit her perfectly, and I was glad that name was the favorite for both of us.
Hattie was perfect. She was 7 pounds, 10 ounces and 20 inches long. Her APGAR scores were 8 and 9, and she had no jaundice and no meconium in her lungs or stomach.
After Hattie was born, I had two cups of Jell-O, two cups of pudding, and some juice. I was feeling tired, but pretty much okay. A few hours later, I got into a wheelchair to go to the bathroom. They wheeled me three feet away from the bed, and I felt like I was going to pass out. I promptly told the nurses. "Are you sure?" they asked. "Yes, I'm sure! I'm going to pass out!" And... I did. I guess I was out for a minute or two. They had to bring in the ammonia to make sure I stopped passing out because I was in and out of consciousness. I felt really crappy at that point.
After I was okay, and they were sure I wasn't going to pass out again, they told me they were going to put me back into bed. They wheeled me back those three feet, and I announced I had to throw up. They got the bag there just in time. *sigh* And I threw up. A lot. I felt like I couldn't stop throwing up, actually. It was a horrible feeling. They decided to give me some medication to stop the vomiting. And I'm pretty sure I passed out again after that... this time in my bed, and I think I may have slept for a couple hours.
I felt a bit better after waking up, but still pretty out of it. I remember thinking, "Where am I? Is this the same room I gave birth in? Where's Hattie? Oh, good. Jeremy has Hattie." :-) (She was in our room the whole time, and she never left our sight.) My body just doesn't handle physical stress well. I ate well in the hospital, and I really took it easy. My blood levels weren't staying stable, but they released me anyway... with strict instructions to keep up on vitamins, iron, and rest.
It was a hard recovery at home too over the next week. But Jeremy took GREAT care of me! I'm so blessed to have such a wonderful husband... he brought me water, food, did laundry, cooking, cleaning, took care of the baby when I needed to rest. We also had friends from church who brought us meals when we needed them. I still nursed through this time, and it was really rough. I was very weak and dizzy, and I had choreiac episodes that were scary too.
It took me a bit to recover, but I recovered well. We have wonderful friends and family who all pitched in to help. It was amazing to have that support. :-)
And from the time my water broke and I started active labor, till Hattie was born, it was only seven hours (including 2.5 hours of pushing)! Yeah!
I understand that planning a home-birth isn't for everyone. As I look back on our experience, I can't help but wonder, "Would I do anything differently? Would I change something? If I knew I was going to end up in the hospital, would I plan a hospital birth from the start?"
And I can say with confidence... No. I wouldn't change a thing. I loved our midwife team. I loved being able to spend 60-90 minutes with them at each prenatal visit. I loved the support, encouragement, and expertise they brought to this experience. I love that with everything that happened, I was still able to have a natural, unmedicated childbirth.
I loved being able to labor at home. Transferring to the hospital while being 10 cm was not ideal, but I would not have wanted to transfer when my water broke or I was 5-6 cm... having to labor for hours in the uncomfortable atmosphere that a hospital provides me. And I certainly wouldn't have wanted to transfer during transition. We did what was right for our family. And everything turned out perfectly. :-)
*Again... If you have any negative comments or things to say that are not positive regarding this situation, please do not share them with me. I'm quite sensitive to this, and since I just gave birth and am quite tired and emotional, it probably would make me cry. Thank you for your understanding. :-) And thank you to everyone for your support and encouragement throughout my pregnancy!