Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Birth Stories, Part Two - Faith

My big plan for the birth of my second child was “birthing center.” I figured there would be the chance to have my unmedicated birth without the potential of Petocin! When I discovered that the only two options in Greensboro was hospital or home – I honestly was initially scared – of both options!

Homebirth / waterbirth was never in our initial plans, but once we prayed, researched and committed – it seemed like the most natural thing in the world. So instead of packing my bag to prepare for the birth, I gathered birth supplies. I had complete prenatal care with Sarah, my midwife about the same frequency as my OB (only spent more time talking with her). She loaned me her birthing pool which we kept at the house until “time.” (see the side of the tub in the pic)

At 37 weeks I was very excited – perhaps too much so! I went into labor early – unfortunately at one point my husband is across the International Date Line! Sarah suggested some supplements and to try to calm down! Labor didn’t continue and once his conference over, Pete flew home. At 39 weeks I’m a “watched pot.” Family came to visit for Gracie’s birthday with the hopes for a birth. Nope.

Over the next ten days, contractions would begin and quit. Three days over the due date and Sarah suggested that I send everyone home (except my sister to watch Gracie). Our family left and that very evening contractions began. I looked at Pete and said, “Is this it?” We’ve had so many false starts - I didn’t even want to call our midwife. So we went to bed. God’s graciousness toward me – the contractions stalled and I had a great sleep. The next morning – my water broke! So we called Sarah. We called family (and said please don’t come yet). I labored mainly in the living room – talking and eating and watching TV. I sat on a towel so I wouldn’t mess up the couch. Early afternoon I began to really feel “uncomfortable.” Sarah asked if I wanted to go upstairs and get in the tub. I said I didn’t want to move. She said then it was definitely time for the tub.

Pete went upstairs to operate his very coolly engineered shower / hose system so that the baby could be born into filtered water. The water was cool (about 10 degrees below body temperature) and felt good! I was uncomfortable so I wiggled a lot. Sarah reminded me to get on top of the pain, take some deep breaths and grunt if I needed to. Oh I grunted. I guess it was more of a deep chest gurgle. It felt good (albeit loud). As the contractions intensified, I asked Pete in the tub too. He did a “superman quick change” into his swim trunks and got in there with me.

I held the handles of the tub pulling up – simultaneously pressing down on Pete’s knees (poor Pete’s knees). Sometime in the late afternoon / early evening the labor changed. I said I wanted to push. Sarah asked if I wanted her to check my dilatation. I said yes, but was so fidgety and uncomfortable that she couldn’t reach. She suggested I push just a little and tell her how it felt. I gave a little push and it felt really good! So I was given the okay to proceed. One very big difference from the hospital was the concern for my perineum. Sarah gave some counter pressure as I pushed to lessen the likelihood of tearing. She also told me to back off if I felt any stinging. With Gracie I was encouraged to push full on as hard as possible and through the pain.

It took longer than I expected from the point of “seeing the head” to getting the baby all the way out. I was much more connected to what was happening and could reach down and feel the head between contractions. With Gracie I pushed laying on my back without any clue what was really happening down there. Once the shoulder wiggled out, Sarah told me to sit back (I didn’t realize she was setting me and Pete up to catch). One more push and up pops a baby. This kid was buoyant! When I held the baby up, the umbilical cord was between its legs. I was so sure I was going to have a boy – I figured the cord was just hiding the package. Nope, no package – a baby girl! I was honestly shocked on three levels – she’s a girl, she’s huge (8 lbs 9 oz compared to Gracie’s 7lbs 8 oz), and she has long black hair and a lot of it.

We both got out of the tub, dried off and Faith and I lay on the bed. I was shivering so they wrapped us up in a quilt. Faith laid on my stomach and chest for a good while and nursed well. After a while, Sarah weighed her and did her apgar (which was high). Family arrived a few hours later. Gracie was able to see her sister and hold her all here at home. It was a peaceful transition for our whole family. After Sarah checked us – she said good night and went home to her own family. She came back the next day to see how we were and then again a few days later. Home – water – birth – would love to have more babies and have them all this way!

1 comment:

Hope Spencer said...

Thank you for sharing this story, Cara. It really is fascinating to me! Your blog is beautifully done and I can't wait to explore it some more. Your family is very precious to us.

With love to all of you,
Hope Spencer