Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Connor's Birth

Connor's Birth

Saturday night we went to bed around 10 pm. I started feeling sick earlier in the day and I had developed a pretty nasty cough. We were all exhausted and I was excited to get some sleep. Around 10:30 I was wide awake. I tried everything I could but could not get to sleep.

I got up to use the bathroom around 12:45am and the second I got back in bed I felt a gush of fluid. I ran to the bathroom and waited to see if it kept coming. Sure enough, my water was leaking and around 1:00am I felt another large gush. I still didn't believe that I was in labor or that my water had actually broken. I figured it would be awhile, but sent a text to my midwife and doula to let them know, just in case. I had long labors with both of my boys but I had never had my water break before labor actually started. So I was worried that he would come so fast that I wouldn't be able to get everyone there in time. Between 1 and 1:30am I only had one contraction, so I figured I would just lay down and try to go back to sleep. As soon as I laid down they started coming every five minutes. I texted my birth team and told them to head over. Natalie ended up coming over early Sunday morning because my doula, Katie was out of town until Sunday afternoon.

My contractions stayed five minutes apart for the next couple hours. We watched a movie and tried to rest as much as I could with contractions being so close together. Around 6:00 am they slowed way down, so I figured I would try to go back to sleep and get a little rest. Around 8:00 am my midwife Angie came to check on me. She said to try to get some rest and call her when things picked up.

Everyone left and I tried to rest while Will watched the boys. I listened to some HypnoBirthing tracks to help me rest through contractions. They slowed way down and were only coming every 10-15 minutes. I played with the boys a little bit and decided it was time to try to get things going again. My doulas (both Katie and Natalie) came back over around 2:00 pm and started doing pressure points and rubbing some essential oils on my feet and belly. Natalie did some energy work with me to let go of fears that I had surrounding my birth, and anything else that might have been holding me back. Will and I went for a walk and talked about how I was enjoying my labor. Even though my contractions were far apart they were still working little by little to open my cervix. We talked about Connor and the lessons he was learning on the other side of the veil. By the time we got home they were five minutes apart again. We got home and started playing Dance Central to keep them going. Around 7:00 pm my midwife came back over and we did another round of oils and pressure points to try to get things to progress. She said to rest if I could and things should pick up in around 8:00 pm. She was going to run some errands and would be back soon.

Around 10:00pm they started coming 5 minutes apart again and they were getting pretty intense. I sent a text to my midwife, Angie, and she gave me some homeopathics to keep my contractions coming and hopefully move me into active labor.  We watched another movie and we were all having a good time laughing and talking together.

I kept watching the clock, knowing it had almost been 24 hours since my water had broke. I was getting frustrated that things weren't moving the way I thought they should and I couldn't understand why. Both of my previous labors had followed the same pattern. Contractions started early morning and stayed five minutes apart until I opened to an 8 at which point things picked up.

Around 11:30pm I hit a brick wall. I was exhausted. I had only slept about 4 hours in the last 24 hours. My cough was getting worse, I couldn't breathe, and my head was pounding. I came upstairs to take a bath. I stepped into the tub and melted down into the warm water. Tears streamed down my face while Will sat by the side of the tub stroking my arm. I was so frustrated. I could not understand what was going on with my body. I was worried about Connor. I kept thinking of all of the different things that could be wrong and making my labor stall. I knew that if we went to the hospital they would put me on Pitocin right away and if things didn't pick up like they wanted them to they would do a c-section. I had heard birth story after birth story where the exact same thing had happened. Which I would fully accept if I thought that was what Connor needed. But prayer after prayer was answered with the same response, I was where I needed to be.

Angie came up and had the “We need to talk options” look on her face. She was confused as well about my labor pattern. She said she had only seen it a few times and that it was just a short cord that needed time to stretch. But that was just her best guess. She said she was fine to keep going and she didn't have a problem waiting. She then suggested Will give me a priesthood blessing so that we could make a decision. Will then proceeded to give me an amazing blessing. He blessed me with the Spirit of guidance, and reminded me of the power that it holds. He blessed me with peace, and patience, and the ability to trust my body and my baby to know what to do. He assured me that all would go well and I need not fear.

My videographer, Sarah, came upstairs and filmed a little bit before putting her camera down and sitting on the floor next to the tub. She said “I know I don't know you all that well but I just have to say something.” We talked about the spiritual side of birth and how amazing my body was for growing this little baby inside of me, and how it would continue to be amazing and birth my baby just the way he needed to be birthed. She also mentioned her experience with a previous birth and how she imagined going to the veil to get these sweet spirits to be born. I imagined walking up a tall mountain,working my way, ever so slowly, to get my baby.

I needed to do a 180 and change my mindset. I was forgetting about the spiritual side of birth and letting fear take over. I looked at Will perched on the side of the tub and asked “Is Connor okay?” Without a sliver of doubt he said “Yes.” I felt at peace. William means protector. I had no reason to believe that my amazing husband would ever do anything but protect me and my children.

I got out the the tub and crawled in bed. My doulas-Katie and Natalie, Will, and Sarah all sat on my bed to refocus. Then my midwife came upstairs. She said she felt like she was holding up my labor. She was confused about my labor and and was dealing with pain from a hernia, so she felt she needed to leave and hand care over to her back up midwife. She ended up leaving and going straight to the emergency room for her hernia. We talked about our options at that point and then we got a call from Angie's back up, Sherri. She asked about how things were going and if my water was still leaking. When I told her no she said it was a possibility that I had a high tear that was able to seal back up on its own. As long as Connor was moving and his heart tones were good, we should be fine to wait until morning to see what happens. She said to try to sleep but if I couldn't sleep to call her and she would come over.

I prayed that all would be okay and that I would be able to rest enough to sleep through some contractions. After a very long day, we all fell asleep around 2:00 am. Every time a contraction would come it just felt like a wave rushing over me. I would feel Connor wiggle and fall right back to sleep. I got up around 7:00 am, checked Conner’s heart rate, and checked to see if I had leaked any more water.

I called Sherri to tell her that I still hadn’t leaked and that Conner’s heart rate was still going strong. She asked us to come over at 8:00am. We left the boys with my doula's and headed over. My contractions had picked up again by that time and were five minutes apart. Sherri checked me for dilation and I was back at a 2, and 80% effaced. She confirmed that my water had resealed, and Connors head was no longer engaged.

We went home and decided to just start over. I was going to forget about the previous 24 hours of labor and just pretend like they never happened. Since I was a week past my “due date” I had made an appointment on Friday for an ultrasound, just to make sure everything was okay. While I knew Connor was safe, I still felt like there was something we needed to know, and I needed to get an ultrasound to ease my mind. We called and moved my appointment to 12:00 pm and started getting ready for the day. Everyone else went home.

The contractions started to get strong again. They were very uncomfortable and hard to relax through while in a car. The sweet OB who did the ultrasound was amazing. He said “These are great contractions, why are you here? Go call your midwife, and have a baby.” He did the ultrasound and we were able to see a few things. First he was posterior, which means that his face was looking up instead of down-which makes for a long labor. He told us that he had plenty of fluid, and that the placenta looked like it was done and that this baby was ready to come. He guessed he would be about 8 pounds and said he was still a boy. Then he got to the cord. It was wrapped around his neck twice. He said “But that's okay, your midwife will just need to unwrap it once his head is out. It could be three times and you would still be okay. But show this ultrasound picture to your midwife so she knows.” He was so sweet and reassuring and kept saying “Go have this baby.” We left and said I would do my best.

We were going to get some lunch and walk around the mall but I quickly realized that wasn't going to be an option. We went home and put the boys in bed. I was feeling tired again so I got in the tub thinking it would slow the contractions down a bit. When they started to get stronger instead I started to get excited. I was finally kicking into active labor! I started working on positions to get him to flip. I kept thinking to myself “I have plenty of time to flip him, I could probably just wait.” But I felt like I needed to keep holding the positions, even though they were uncomfortable, until I felt him flip. Will called both Angie and Sherri to let them know what we had learned at the ultrasound, and they decided that we would have Sherri come check me around 5:30 pm to see if I had progressed any. I got out of the tub at 3:00 pm and told Will I wanted Sherri to come check me now. She said she would be here at 3:30 pm. She checked me and I was at a 4 ½. She also noted that Connor was in an anterior position, which meant he had successfully flipped over to the proper position for birthing. I got in the tub again around 4:00 pm and told Will to call my doula. Katie and Natalie both showed up around 4:30 pm. Sherri checked me again and said I was a 6. She figured at the rate I was going I would have the baby around 8:00 pm. The tub was releaving lots of pressure and Sherri told me if I changed my mind and wanted to birth in the tub I that was still an option. I told her I needed to get out while I still could. Every time I tried to stand up another contraction would come and I would fall back down into the water. I looked at Natalie and said “I need to get out, but I am just so tired!” She balanced my energy and I was able to hurry and jump out of the tub.

We all went to my bed and I laid down on my side. Sherri said she was very curious to see where I was at and asked to check me again. At 5:17pm I was at 8cm. At that point my videographer had not arrived yet. I knew I didn't want to push laying down, it didn't feel right, but I also felt Connor moving down so I wanted to wait for Sarah to get there before I flipped. As soon as Sarah showed up, I got off my side and on my hands and knees. As a contraction washed over me, I was surprised to feel like I needed to push. I tried to breathe through the sensation and resist pushing. But within seconds I knew my body and baby had a different plan in mind. With the next contraction I felt Connors head shoot in the birth canal and started to feel him crowning.  At 5:22 pm his head was out.

My midwife told me to hold on while she tried to unwrap the cord. After realizing the cord was just too tight to unwrap she clamped and cut the cord. Then I heard about ten different urgent voices tell me to push. There were not that many people physically in the room, and I think the only two that actually vocalized the words were my two midwives. Without a contraction to assist I gave everything I had and started pushing, knowing I couldn't stop until the rest of his little body was out. I didn't feel Connor move an inch. His shoulder was stuck. I felt his little legs still wiggling inside as my midwife hooked her finger around his shoulder and pulled his arm out. I started pushing again and the rest of his body was out at 5:24 pm.

He started crying right away and then stopped shortly after. Sherri gave him the kiss of life, a mouth to mouth resuscitation, and he started crying again, and pinked up with in seconds. She handed me my beautiful, warm, squishy baby boy.

While my birth had several complications, there were so many things that lined up perfectly in order for sweet little Connor to get here as peacefully as possible.

The biggest thing was that my midwife listened to the spirit and followed her instincts, even though they were telling her something she did not understand. Angie was my midwife for all of my prenatal care. She was nurturing and loving and just what I needed when I was on bed rest. Under her care we were able to keep Connor safe and cooking well past his due date.

Angie lived about 30 minutes away from me. Sherri lived about two minutes away from me. When we originally got home from the ultrasound Will was planning on waiting until 5 to call anyone to come back over. We really didn't want my labor to stall again. The only reason we had Sherri come at 3:30pm is because I knew she could just run over, check me, and then leave again. Had Angie still been my only midwife, I wouldn't have called her until things started to get really intense, which was around 5:00pm. With Connor being born at 5:24pm, we both would have been in big trouble.

Sherri was prepared for the cord because of the ultrasound. Also from the ultrasound we found that Connor was posterior, and I was able to flip him. Posterior babies make for long labors and long pushing. Once Connor started to move into the birth canal, he needed to get out fast.

On that same note, hands and knees is the best position for shoulder dystocia. A position that I would not have been able to get into had I been in the tub. I listened to my body and my baby, and I was able to do exactly what needed to be done in order to get Connor here safely.

My doulas were also amazing and having two the them here was absolutely essential in keeping my moral up during a long labor. Had I waited until later to call when my water broke I would have only ended up with one of them.

I look at myself in the mirror and all I can think is how amazing my body is. Things that used to be viewed as flaws, I now look at as badges of honor. My stretch marks remind my of my round belly that was a safe home for my boys for nine months. My wide hips remind me of the experience of giving birth, and the complete miracle it is. My body is awesome. My body is wise. And I can do hard things.

 Hugs from Spencer.
 Will playing Dance Central.
 Lincoln giving my some labor support.
 Sweet baby Connor.
 Just a few minutes old and alert as can be.
 Spencer getting a good look at baby Connor.
Love my boys.