Thursday, June 30, 2011

Olivia Jael's Birth Story

Today my baby girl is 1 month old. The time has flown by. I have been working on her birth story little-by-little for the past month so I am hoping I have included most of what I wanted to. If we should be blessed with another baby, I HOPE to type the birth story up in the hospital while it is all still fresh on my mind. I never imagined life would be so busy with 3 kiddos around so that is why I am just now getting around to finishing this up! Thank God for my mom that kept up with a timeline during labor. I wouldn’t have nearly as much documented if it weren’t for her. So…here it goes…

June 1st, 39 weeks 6 days

Around 12:15-I ate lunch with a friend at Burger King so our kiddos could play indoors because it was soooo hot. When we were leaving I felt like I was bleeding. I made the 5 minute drive home immediately and went to the restroom. I was not bleeding, but something was definitely going on. I laid Joseph down for his nap, checked my email, and texted a good friend to ask about what might be going on. I wondered if my water bag might be leaking. I decided to lay down for a nap and call the doctor’s office when I woke up if the leaking feeling continued. I prayed if my water was breaking, I would know it and there would be no question... I really didn’t want to head all the way to the dr’s office with two kids for no reason. I rolled over to get comfortable and felt a gush of water. I KNEW that my water had broken! YAYYY! I texted my friend again, called my husband, called Dr S, and then called my mom.  Dr S wanted me to come in immediately. I jumped in the shower and afterwards packed everything we needed for the friend that was keeping my youngest son so we could head to the hospital. When Edward got home, we took Joseph to my friend’s house and headed to the hospital. Josiah planned to stay with us for the birth, but started feeling sick once we got there so we sent him home with my dad. I am glad we sent did because he ended up throwing up that night.

Around 4- I see Dr S and she tells me that my water has definitely broken, however, I am only 2-3cm/50% effaced and the baby’s head was still very high. Even though I had been having some uncomfortable contractions, I hadn’t changed very much in the past two weeks! She had to admit me though because my water had broken. I was very concerned that this would mean I was being put on a timeline as far as when the baby had to come, but she assured me I had nothing to worry about. I trust her completely and knew it would be okay.

5pm-I was admitted to the hospital and the waiting game began.  I tried to get rest overnight, but didn’t really get much because I was thinking that labor would really kick up and get going any moment. THANKFULLY, Dr S let me eat dinner and a bedtime snack because it would prove to be A WHILE.

June 2, 2011-40 weeks

7:45a-Dr S came in to check on me and I hadn’t made a big change, but the baby’s head was pressed down against my cervix so that was good. She wanted me to try some nipple stimulation to see if we could get some things rolling with labor. She was originally going to let me try that for an hour, but ended up letting me do it longer. She was so great and perfectly okay with letting me go longer doing the nipple stimulation, but I could tell that the contractions I was having were not strong enough to do anything so I opted for the pitocin. This was a hard decision for me because I had such a hard labor with Josiah on pitocin and it ended in a c-section. I knew something had to get rolling and this is what I had a peace about so I did it!

11:40a-Pitocin is started at 1…the lowest # it can be started at and it’s increased every 15 min or so until it gets to 12. Once at 12, I started having good contractions and I could tell they were working to accomplish something. They were very uncomfortable, but still not unbearable. I stood up by the bed for a long time because I seemed to have the harder contractions when I was on my feet. Even though that was the most uncomfortable, I knew it would have to get uncomfortable to accomplish something! In fact, I tried sitting down on the birth ball once during this time and my contractions got much weaker and further apart. So…I went back on my feet.

4:10pm-I was getting super tired of standing up so I laid down in the bed to “rest”. I was thinking that I needed to try to get some rest/sleep before things really starting going since I didn’t sleep the night before. It seemed that laying down made my contractions space out and get weaker so the nurse bumped the pit up to 14 to help them be strong again even though I was laying down. 14 was the special # because things REALLY got super uncomfortable after she did that! I even thought about asking her to turn it back down a few times, but I knew something must be happening with all of this discomfort.

4:45p-I was VERY discouraged when I was checked and still only 3.5cm/50% effaced. Though I am pretty sure I never verbalized it, I really began to wonder if I had made a mistake in asking for the pit and if this was going to turn out in a c-section. I think the nurse must have seen the look of discouragement on my face because she assured me this was okay…we had only cranked the pit up 35 minutes earlier and active labor was just getting started. I am so thankful she was there to encourage me because I really needed it at that point.

6:30p-This was probably the most emotional time during my entire labor. I CRIED tears of relief when Dr S checked me and I was 5cm/90% effaced. At this point there was no doubt in my mind that this was going to happen! Things really started progressing quickly after this…MUCH more quickly than my birth with Joseph.

8p-6.5cm/100% effaced/0 I was really hurting by this point and doing different things to cope. I got into the shower. I stood up with the hot water hitting my back and I would squat down a little and press my hands hard against the shower wall during contractions…it made them WAYYY less painful. By far the most helpful way that I was able to cope with pain during labor this time was to have my wonderful nurse, Julie, talk me through relaxing each part of my body from my feet up to my head. As she mentioned a part of my body she, the nurse in training (Heather, I think), Edward, and my mom would each rub that part of my body. This really helped me focus on relaxing each part of my body. This was the BIG difference between this labor and my labor with Joseph. I felt that I had trouble really relaxing my body during my labor with Joseph, but I felt that I really was able to relax through contractions this time…until a certain point! At some point between now and transition, my dear friend Leisha came into the room to start taking pictures. I was soooo blessed to have her there to photograph during the labor and delivery. I remember hearing her come in, but I could not open my eyes to see her. I remember hearing the camera click and hearing her ask the nurse if she thought the camera was bothering me (it wasn’t), but I didn’t get to actually speak to her until after the birth. 

9:05p-9cm/head very low (station wasn’t mentioned) Starting at this time is what is the most vivid in my mind probably because it was by far the hardest. I remember being so relieved mentally when I heard that I was 9cm because I knew I had finally made it to the shortest part of labor. I remember thinking of getting nubain, but I would tell myself through each contraction that by the time they brought to me I would be pushing so there was no need in asking for it. I remember saying several times “I can’t do this”. I laid down, stood up, put all of my weight on Edward, etc…anything to try to cope with the pain I was experiencing. At this point, the talk of relaxing each part of my body was not helping at all. I reached a point where I could not relax through the contractions. I did some things I did NOT do during my labor with Joseph. I squeezed Edward’s hand and my mom’s hand VERY hard…so hard, in fact, that my sweet mom’s hands were bruised afterwards. YIKES! I also remember turning to my mom and ALMOST biting her. I was definitely in A LOT more pain this go round than I was with Joseph. I think it’s because everything was happening so much more quickly than it did with Joseph though…and I was completely drug free this time! It really helped when Edward put pressure on my back and once when he was going to run to the bathroom or rest his hands, I remember telling him no because I didn’t feel like I could make it through a contraction without him putting pressure on my back. I remember feeling that I needed to start pushing and asking to be checked on 2 different occasions, but each time I wasn’t quite ready and could not start pushing yet. That was very hard to hear and it became EXTREMELY hard not to push. Julie assured me when my cervix was ready I would know it and HAVE to push. And…she was right!

10:52p-I started pushing. My body had started pushing on it’s own, but I took over at this point. Part of me wonders what it would have been like if I had just waited and let my body push the baby out. BUT…I HAD to get her out at this point! And that is just what happened. I pushed through 3 or 4 contractions and at 10:59pm my sweet Olivia Jael was born...on her due date!!! I remember looking down and seeing that she was a girl and being completely in shock! In fact, I think it took several days before it really began to sink in that I have a DAUGHTER. I fully expected this baby to be another boy.

Even though my water broke at a completely unexpected time causing labor to get going in a completely unplanned, unexpected way I am sooo happy that I was able to have another natural labor and delivery and achieve my personal goals for labor this time…no nubain and no episiotomy. And the BEST part was having the SURPRISE of a precious, perfect baby girl!!! God is so good to me and I feel so incredibly blessed to have another amazing, beautiful, healthy child!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Olivia Jael

We were so blessed to welcome our sweet little GIRL, Olivia Jael, into the world at 10:59pm last night. She weighed 8lbs, 6oz and was 20 3/4in long. She is so amazing! Her birth story is on the way, but I wanted to share this video that my precious friend put together from Jael's birth. We were sooo blessed to have my friend take pictures during the labor and delivery. ENJOY!!!

Untitled from Leisha Hairston on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mirabelle's VBAC birth-May 23, 2011

Please take a few minutes to read this incredible VBAC story and be encouraged! I met the sweet mama of this beautiful baby girl at a local ICAN meeting where she was the leader. I am sooo thrilled for her for getting the desires of her heart with this birth!

I'll try to keep it as ungraphic as possible ;).

So most people who know me, know that I started preparing for a VBAC from the time Davy was about five weeks old. Most people know that I had what I consider to have been (at the time it was performed) an unnecessary c-section after 15 hours of unmedicated labor and making it almost all the way. Most people also know what a nightmare of a recovery I had- second surgery, Wound VAC, all that fun stuff. Since then I have become a serious birth advocate, doula, and childbirth educator. I wanted the birth of my next child to be different. I wanted a VBAC, but at the very least I wanted to feel confident that even if I had another cesarean that it was necessary and not due to any naivete on my part. I hired a doctor known to be supportive of VBAC and natural birth at a hospital also known to be supportive of those practices. In fact, I had the privilege of attending five or six births with my doctor and hospital before my own labor began! With a supportive caregiver on our side, Robby and I hired a doula (and ended up getting two!), completing my VBAC team.

My "guess date" for Mirabelle was May 16th. I went into labor naturally with Davy at 40 weeks and 1 day, so as I easily sailed past that mark with Mirabelle I settled in for another week or more of being pregnant. On Tuesday, May 17th I had about three hours of crampy contractions from 2-5 am. However, when I woke up at 7:30 I realized it was not "The Day." The rest of the week I stayed active with Davy- we visited the zoo, the McWane Center, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, and a park or two. On Saturday May 21, my mother came up from Mobile in order to stay with Davy if labor started in the middle of the night. On Sunday May 22, Robby and I sang in choir at St. Paul's and in the afternoon we took a family trip to BBG. As we walked around, I noticed that I was having several contractions that felt a little tigheter than the others I'd been feeling, but weren't noticeably regular or long or particularly uncomfortable. I took one dose of Labor Enhancer at suppertime. As I was putting Davy to bed at 8pm I noticed that I was indeed having regular contractions that were accompanied by the same crampy feeling I'd experienced earlier in the week. Thinking these were more practice contractions, I suggested that we get in bed to rest around 11pm- either we would need the sleep because things were about to get started or I would wake up again in the morning the contractions having subsided. As I was doing my normal nightly routine, I felt a pop in my pelvis. "OH MY GOD!" I thought "Did my uterus just rupture?!" Then I noticed the clear fluid. My water had broken! TOTALLY unexpected! My water was artificially broken at 9+ cm with Davy. I called Robby into the bathroom to let him know what happened and then called our doula. I had two contractions that were difficult to speak through while on the phone with her- whoa. It seemed like I wouldn't have to wait for things to get started. I got in the shower and agreed that I would call the doula when I got out to let her know whether I was ready for her to head over. While in the shower I started having contractions that simply felt better for me to quietly vocalize through. They were pretty strong, and already getting closer together. At 11:20 I got out of the shower and told Robby to call the doula to tell her that we should just meet at the hospital. I'd already decided I did not want a 30 minute drive when the contractions were much more intense and closer together than this. We loaded the car and headed for Shelby Baptist in Alabaster. I rode in the very back of the car draped over a birth ball and I'm pretty sure I swore every time we hit a bump in the road (please don't hold it against me!).

We arrived at Shelby around 12pm, I think. One of our doulas met us at the elevators and applied counterpressure to my back as we rode to the 2nd floor. We went to the nurses station and I was thrilled that since we hadn't been able to get in touch with Dr. Head that it was Dr. Simmons who was on-call (Dr. Simmons actually gave me a hug after a birth for which I was doula). I had at least two strong contractions right there at the desk and they checked us right into a room without going through triage first. The nurse checked me and I was 4.5cm, 90% effaced, and -2 station. Not what I was hoping for with the contractions being as powerful and close together as I had been experiencing, but more than what I had been at my last dr's appt. Ok, time to settle in. Our other doula arrived. I labored on the birth ball for some time and wanted lots of counterpressure and heat on my lower back. Things get a bit fuzzy for me from here. I remember being checked at 6.5cm, 90%effaced, and -1 station, but I can't remember if that was before or after I started feeling some pressure to push. We got in the shower. The urge was stronger. I wanted to be checked again and was 7.5 cm and still -1 station. This is where I started to lose it a little bit. With Davy I never had the opportunity to labor him past -1 station. I started to doubt my body and the thought that perhaps the baby was presenting some way or I had some sort of pelvic anomaly that made it difficult to progress past -1 station. The contractions were intense in both the front and back and ever longer and closer together. I started asking for medication, but my doulas and Robby kept pushing me. Next check, I was 8.5cm and 0 station- this did SO much for my state of mind! Whether anyone else present there could tell or not, haha. The urge to push was incredibly strong. Finally, I couldn't keep my body from pushing. Our doula called a nurse and I was complete! I used a squat bar a bit, but what felt most right for me was getting on my knees and supporting my upper body on Robby's legs. Basically a modified hands and knees. I have no clue how long I pushed, but started to feel some burning. Everyone was incredibly supportive- my husband (who I later found out was worried I might break his legs!), my doulas (my fellow BirthWell in Birmingham partners- Dalia Abrams and Dana Gale!) who continued to provide verbal reassurance and physical support, the nurses who pretty much just stood back and let me do what I needed to do (not that I would or COULD have done anything different had they asked me to), and Dr. Simmons (who didn't say word one to me about catching a baby in a less than orthodox hospital birth pushing position). Knowing that no matter how uncomfortable it would be helpful to push Mirabelle's head out as slowly as possible, I tried to do just that. Allowing myself several contractions to try to breathe her head out gently and avoid tearing. Turns out that those efforts didn't matter too much- she had a nuchal hand! At 4:51 am Mirabelle made her miraculous appearance. The labor was quick and intense! But honestly it didn't even seem as long as the nearly six hours it was. So much of it is a blur!

We admired our beautiful baby [8lb 8oz, 19 inch, 13.25 " head circumference] in peace for quite some time as the hospital team allowed ample time for the cord to stop pulsating and for the placenta to detach on its own. Eventually, Dr. Simmons and the nurses came back. Robby cut the umbilical cord and the placenta came out easily. However, it was determined that I had endured a 3rd degree tear because of that little hand/arm/elbow. And although I may be a bit sore from all that, it is NOTHING like the pain I experienced after my cesarean. In fact, I don't think I was getting around as well as I am now even five weeks out from Davy's birth. In fact, today I WALKED out of the hospital and easily got into our car. I buckled my seatbelt without flinching.

We did still have some postpartum complications- Mirabelle went to the NICU (probably would have been just fine without going, to be honest, and I'm not quite sure how I feel about it yet); I ended up with another blood transfusion because my hematocrit was so low. But the experience we had and the support we received were amazing and so very different from our previous experience. I'm sure I'm going to be processing the past week for quite some time!