Sunday, October 21, 2012

My Birth Stories: One Hospital Birth, One Miscarriage, One Home Water Birth

May 15, 2007
I was one day past my due date, very uncomfortable after being two centimeters dilated for the last month and a half and not knowing any better, scheduled an induction for the following Tuesday. Miss Rainbow Girl had different plans! The night before my scheduled induction, I woke up at 1:30 AM uncomfortable. I assumed this was due to my anxiety about my induction and I sat on my birth ball trying to get comfortable so that I could go back to bed. I soon realized that my anxiety and discomfort was happening every two and a half minutes. OOOOOOOH! I was in labor! After accepting that fact and calling the on call doctor, I woke up my family. (We lived with my parents at the time.) Everyone's reply was, "No, it's not time to go yet. We have a couple more hours!" I convinced everyone that indeed, I was in labor, and off we went. 

We arrived at the hospital at 3:30 AM after a very uncomfortable drive, composed mostly of me yelling and blaming my lack of comfort on the dear man driving me to the hospital. I was in transition, can you tell?

They brought be back to a labor room and at that point, not knowing how progressed I already was, I begged for an epidural. No, first I had to answer 800 questions- even though I had pre registered, put on a terrible hospital gown, get stabbed in the arm twice with an IV and get those lovely monitoring straps belted on me. Eventually someone checked me. NINE AND A HALF CENTIMETERS. Oh. That's why I was being so nasty to everyone. For those who don't know, ten centimeters is fully dilated. Of course I was told to stop and hold back while the doctor readied himself. Soon after the doctor was ready, and after being yelled at to "PUSH!!!! STOP PUSHING!! STOP! NOW PUSH!!!" My water broke and I tore as my sweet princess was born two hours after arriving at the hospital, four hours of labor total, six days after her due date, fifteen minutes before my scheduled induction. 7lbs 14oz, 19.5 inches long

They immediately had Daddy cut the cord while the placenta was still inside of me and then took Rainbow Girl over to the warming table to wash her off, get her foot prints, stab, poke and prod her while I pushed the placenta out and was stitched up.

Finally, they brought my sweet baby back to me, and she latched on like a pro right away, 45 minutes after birth.

Rainbow Girl's birth was the best day of my life. I had made a new life with the love of my life and brought her to the Earth safely and drug free. Even with all the sterility, bright lights and yelling, it was a beautiful, spiritual experience.

December 2008
Soon after our wedding, we were blessed with another life. We were both very excited to add another child to our family and a sibling for Rainbow Girl. I wanted very badly to have a home birth this time around. I was a home birth baby and wanted that experience as much as I did not want to have another hospital birth. We went as a family to the first ultrasound where our lives were suddenly turned upside down. 

Below is the story of our miscarriage. I feel the need to share it on this public level because reading other's stories is what helped me get through my own. Pregnancy and infant loss happens to one our of four women, and it it not talked about enough. It is still a very taboo subject and for someone going through a loss, they need all the support they can get to know they are not alone. 

Our baby should have been around eight weeks of age, but only measured six and a half weeks in size, and had no visible heartbeat. Everything was uncertain. Apparently there was still hope that just maybe, she was being checked too early to detect a heartbeat. They gave me the option then and there to do a D&C procedure to be done with it. I had to hold on to hope and elected to do blood tests to check my hormone levels to make sure. After all, I still felt pregnant and had no signs of impending miscarriage.

After the second blood test, they called me to let me know that my levels had dropped so significantly that I would miscarry any day. I opted to naturally miscarry at home.

We were in the midst of moving at the time, so I tried to focus on that but I had a very hard time. Thank goodness I had Rainbow Girl to keep my spirits up. Family and friends do not know what to say when something like this happens. They do not know if they should bring it up, or pretend that it never happened. I was so thankful that I had friends who opened up to me about their losses and knew that they were there for me. My amazing midwife, Nancy, who I had yet to meet, comforted me via phone and told me to write down something that helped me get through the loss as well as my next pregnancy. 

"Healthy Pregnancies Stay."

February 10th 2009, nine days after moving into our new house, I gave birth to the very small life that had spent such a short time with me but had made such an impact. My [almost] two year old daughter was by my side the whole time comforting me. She did not know what was going on, other than Mommy was sad. 

I buried her under a magnolia tree wrapped in a small blanket. I also included a small note quoting Love You Forever, a book my mom always read me that I now read to my children. "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be."

May 12, 2010
After six months of trying for another baby after our loss, we were given the beautiful life of our son. We were hesitant to tell anyone and, honestly, I do not think I allowed myself to be truly excited until he was actually born. Nancy helped me tremendously. She knew I was worried and reassured me at every turn- and with every phone call. She also knew to let me hear his heartbeat at least 20 minutes before checking my blood pressure. We figured that out pretty early on. I invested in a fetal doppler monitor for my personal reassurance at home. Rainbow Girl loved listening to his "horse heartbeat". (For those who don't know, the baby's heart beat sounds like a horse galloping. It is a wonderful sound to hear.)

Rainbow Girl helping to check Sugar Bear's "beats"

Nancy reading a homebirth book ro Rainbow Girl.

This time around, I was three centimeters dilated for a little over a month before Sugar Bear was born. 

Rainbow Girl and I woke up at 6:30 am. I was having no contractions, but I had a very small tinge of bloody show. I made Rainbow Girl a bowl of cereal and sat on my excercise ball to help her eat it. I felt a tiny bit of wetness, then gush, my water broke. Just like in the movies, it was big gush of water. Luckily I had a towel near by. "Mommy! You made the ball wet!" Rainbow Girl said. It was 7:15 am.

I woke up Daddy and told him my water had broken. Then I called Nancy, my amazing midwife. I had my first real contraction while on the phone with her. She said she would get ready to come over, knowing my history of short labors. My contractions started 5 min apart. I called my mom and she and my dad came over to help entertain Rainbow Girl. 

Daddy started setting up the bedroom, hooking the hose up to the shower head and starting to fill up the birth tub. It was around this point that I wanted [needed] the lights turned off. The dark room helped me focus tremendously. Nancy arrived at about 8:20am. She checked my dilation, only six centimeters, but with a very stretchy cervix. She said if I were get in the tub, birth it will happen fast- not uncontrolably fast, but fast. Around this time my brother arrived to take pictures of the birth. He, my mom, Daddy and Nancy were in the room. My dad and Rainbow Girl were in the living room watching "The Tigger Movie." (I still think about contractions when I hear the songs from that movie.)

I decided to get in the tub around 9 AM. There was instant relief with the removal of gravity. Not complete relief, but it helped a lot. I moved around in several positions, then Nancy told me to get off my coccyx (tail bone). I did, and immediatly felt my baby move down. Very shortly thereafter I had a contraction with the urge to push. Nancy encouraged me to go with it. She did an amazing job helping me through the contractions, reminding me to relax my face and put the energy I was using in my yells to push. 

Daddy said he was making quite a face underwater when his head came out. For anyone who isn't familiar with water births, the baby continues to receive oxygen through his cord from me until his first breath, which doesn't occur until the baby comes into the air. His shoulders came out and Nancy told me to reach down and get my baby. I reached down and held him as the rest of his body slid out of me and into the Earth. I lifted him out of the water and admired this beautiful child we had created. Sugar Bear was born 9:54am, 2 hour 39 minute labor! He came out screaming, a wonderful sound to know he was breathing and had strong lungs.

 Rainbow Girl, new big sister, came in from watching her movie to meet her new brother. He immediately showed signs of wanting to nurse, and latched on while we were still in the tub. 

My placenta didn't want to come out while I was in the tub because of the antigravity of the water. Sugar Bear and I (still connected by the cord) got out of the tub to sit on the birthing stool and the placenta came out with a little push. Daddy then cut his cord. Sugar Bear and I laid down in bed to nurse. Nancy then weighed and measured him. 8 lbs 12 oz, 22 inches long and 15 inch head circumferance! He then nursed some more and then slept peacefully in his Daddy's arms while I took a wonderful herb bath prepared by Nancy. It was a magical experience! 

Having a home birth was fantastic. Being able to continue on with my life, not having to leave Rainbow Girl for a length of time, snuggling in my own bed, was wonderful.

As I brushed Rainbow Girl's teeth that night and put her to bed, Daddy called me Super Mama. <3

One more thing...

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