Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Knightley Birth

I received a wonderful birth story today that I HAVE to share with you! I hope this will be an encouragement to all of you expectant momma's! If you'd like to visit the blog where this story is found, you can find it here.

The Beautiful Arrival
“dum spiro espero…While I breathe I hope….”
Characters:Me (Dee, Kona)- the fullterm pregnant mama
Jer/J- The Papa, my husband
Jeremiah/Miah/Jem- sweet 2 year old son
Erin- Incredible midwife
Cindy- hardcore doula

We’ve been living in the middle of nowhere in Interior BC on a gorgeous mountain ranch for the past while. Sadly, due to health cuts, they don’t deliver babies out there. Without family/friends in that area, the Interior cities weren’t a great option either as we wouldn’t have anyone to help with Jeremiah. So we had been waiting in the lower Valley with Jeremy’s sweet folks. Originally planning on a home-type birth at a beautiful B&B just out of town here (which was pretty much the coolest idea ever!), we had recently shifted our plan to the hospital in the next city; partly due to finances and partly due to the unknown date of arrival and the need for some kind of plan and booking. (Note: this hospital is really great; private rooms where you deliver and then stay, tubs, etc.)

The Beginning
Midnight. September 30th. 2010.I was half asleep, waiting on labour and life change andeverything else, when I heard Jeremiah start to fuss in his sleep. Jumping up, I ran out the door and feel a sudden little gush. “Oh! I think…yup!” My water had finally (almost officially) begun to move (a hind-water break). I slipped into Jem’s room to the first special moment of the day; his sleepy arms gripped around me with his sleepy giggle murmering “mamaaa” as the first contraction tested itself upon my body. I smiled. It was going to be a good day.
I texted Jer at the ranch and told him to go to sleep and head down in the morning, just to be sure he was safe and rested. I snuggled in and tried to rest.
2:00am. Contraction! Oh man! I waited and noted that they were about 10 minutes apart. With Jeremy 3 hours of mountain highway away, I called him (in the middle of his deep sleep!) and asked that he head down to the Valley. I felt terrible! All week I had been saying, “I just hope I don’t end up calling Jer at 2:00 in the morning…” but I just didn’t want to risk him missing out.I grabbed my computer and updated my online world, notified my doula and midwife, and tried to sleep.
5:00amJeremy arrived, exhausted. We both tried to get some sleep as I realized that there really wasn’t a whole lot going on in the labour department. My fluid continued to leak, but contractions were irregular. I spent most of the morning just feeling terrible for calling Jer down early, but he was great.
12:00Great nap!
2:30Called Erin (midwife). She was super laid back and great and said we’d see how the day went and just flow with it. Then I checked in with Cindy (doula) and let her know that I was heading out on a walk to see if I could get things moving. Jeremiah was napping and Jer and I struck out on a brisk walk in the unexpectedly hot September sunshine. I felt great! Jer and I were starting to wake up a bit following our naps and enjoying the chance to catch up after another week apart, so the walk fit in perfectly. The goal? Figure out what was happening and get some rhythm and progression with the contractions. Off we marched down the street, chatting and holding hands, belly swingin’.
About halfways into our walk, our conversation sounded something like this:Me: “What have you read? How’s the ranch? What’s new? How are you???” (pause, contraction)”Jer: “You okay? Maybe we should head back? “Me: “No no, maybe we should jog a bit. Did you water my basil? (stopped to chat with a friend on the street. Contraction. Walk walk walk.Ohhh…contraction…again?)Jer: “Do you think I should go grab the car?”Me: “No! I need to keep moving. I have to get some rhythm. I really feel so out of touch with my body right now and want to figure out where it’s at”(neighbor lady #1 stops with a bottle of water and words of encouragement)Jer: “I don’t know Kona…. It kind of seems like one big contraction…you’re only taking like 5 steps…”Me: “Nope, I’m great! This is good, gotta get moving(neighborhood lady #2 runs down the street with water and words)Jer: “Kona..I should really get the car….”Me: Stop. Keel over. Freeze. Breathe. Oh crap.Jer: “Should I call my dad?!Me: Nodding madly, tears.Jer: “I’m calling my dad!!!” DadIL zoomed down the street, I staggered in, and soon hobbled into the house. Jer was sure it was time to head right to the hospital. Me? “No hon, not yet, it can’t actually be this yet! It’s too fast…I think…but…ohhh!!!” I was suddenly realizing that in waiting for the ‘rhythm’ of contractions, I’d totally missed it. I was there! It was time!We called Erin and Cindy but still thought we’d wait at the house a bit, just to be sure. That lasted about 10 seconds. I then was sure I should use the bathroom before we left and set out crawling across the floor to the toilet. Met my DadIL on the way, we cracked some jokes, and I heaved along. Cindy burst in within those minutes, offered some killer hip squeezes, took a good look/listen at my face, and said, “Um guys, maybe we should just do Chilliwack hospital, I don’t think we’re gonna make the 30 minute drive!” I wasn’t up for that idea so we struggled to the vehicles and took off down the freeway (Where we almost got into a crazy accident!!! I laughed and Cindy [feeling terrible!] couldn’t believe it. My response? “Cindy, I’m in labour and we almost smashed a car on the highway. What else can I do but laugh right now???” Jer was on the phone [to my mom] behind us—freaking out!!!!)

At the Hospital
We arrived, staggered across the parking lot, snagged a wheelchair, and then ran (literally) through the foyer and registration. Erin walked us right through triage and into our room. A quick check and she announced that, “There isn’t much cervix left there at all, you’re at least at 9 cm!” Wow!!! My forewaters hadn’t broken yet and we figured we could let the last bit of everything progress, so Cindy grabbed a fantastic labour ball and we all hit the shower.Those contractions were madness. SO hard.Jer and Cindy worked the shower head and hand massager for a few hours while I worked through brutal back labour. I’m not sure if it was the swiftness of the onset or the focus on the back, but the contractions seemed much more intense and painful than with Jeremiah. Finally, Erin paused us to say that I really could push whenever I felt the urge, and that she could break the waters if I wanted.I moved to the bed and a few minutes later my waters smashed out (literally! Like, right off the bed!) and I felt such incredible relief! Everything stopped and it was just awesome. (this same stage happened with Jeremiah, though the response with my caregivers was entirely different). The contractions stopped and we all just sat down and chatted. I was totally alert and in-hand and super impatient to meet my son. We sat and waited. Nothing. My team re-affirmed that I could go ahead and push whenever I desired. Hmm…. But no contractions. So I started to test out my body; little pushes, bigger pushes, feeling it out, feeling the fear of what would happen when I really went for it.In the midst of this, I was given total freedom to choose my timing, setting, everything. It was incredible!

The Beautiful
At this point we moved into one of the most beautiful and intense experiences of my life. The lights were turned down, my beautiful playlist was started, I put on a clean tank top (and a hospital gown wasn’t even mentioned!), and I chose my position (hands and knees with the head of the bed upright). Jer settled in by my head and while Erin and Cindy stepped back; available, competent, and gifting me with the freedom and confidence to step ahead with the birthing experience.I don’t even know how to express the beauty and intensity of the next twenty minutes….Andre Bocelli’s Lord’s Prayer began, followed with ‘What Child is This’. I began a slow dance; gathering courage for what needed to be done, testing my strength, increasing the strength of the pushes. The song shifted to Charlie Hall’s ‘Set this hope in me’ and I closed my eyes and prayed, overwhelmed with the sheer hope and terror and immensity of the moment. My body kept swaying, I felt my son coming near, and I began to cry with hope and confession and anticipation.

set this hope in me
set this hope in me
that I may be….pure and holy
that I may be…like you only
that I may be….completely free
Lord, I hope in you
though you slay me I will hope
your hope inspires by endurance
your hope is my anchor
God of hope fill me….fill me!(x6)

And then I knew it was time and I pushed into the most intense and blinding pain of my life. Indescribable. Erin paused me with words of focus and then…”Deanna, grab your baby! Hold his head, he’s here!” A few more excruciating seconds and with a gush he was there in my hands, my own hands! A lusty cry met my ears as I fell towards him sobbing and laughing and filled with the greatest relief and elation known on earth.Amazing. Amazing amazing….

Within ten minutes he had latched on and was nursing like a champ. Everything seemed perfect. Erin cleaned me up (slight tearing but she fixed it up beautifully!). Frank Sinatra’s ‘All the Way’ (our wedding song) was playing as we celebrated and cuddled and rode that hour of adrenaline.[Unfortunately, within the hour it was noted the Knightley was expressing some unique respiratory struggles. While he was alert, nursing, and had great color, his little chest was chugging way too hard and he was having some moments of struggle. So, just as we thought we were all done for the night, we instead all trekked to NICU. Our baby was settled into an incubator for observation and that was that. (In the end, it settled out and seems to be just a unique part of who he is. He was released back to me in the morning, we stayed an extra day and night, and now he’s doing great).]

Other details? We spent our first couple of days in the hospital. The food was brutal. Knightley decided he wanted to eat all.the.time., but that was fine J Jeremiah thought his baby brother was great, for the first few minutes Etc., etc., and then we finally left the hospital yesterday afternoon and came back to Jer’s folks for cuddles and cozyness some days of family.

So that’s it for now. Long hey!? Ha. What an incredible experience. Thanks for sharing these days with me. What a beautiful point in this journey! What a prize!