Sunday, April 28, 2019

Our 4th child, Nash James

Nash’s pregnancy came as a complete surprise. We were not trying whatsoever and my cycles were still wonky from breastfeeding. In fact I didn’t even get a period until nova was 15 months old and I only had 2 real periods. 
 We found out I was pregnant the morning of July 12th. I was waiting on my period for days. I was so crampy that I was actually anticipating my period any moment. After a few days of feeling like this I took a left over cheap pregnancy test and didn’t even watch the lines appear like I would in the past. I almost forgot about it honestly and when I seen two lines I almost fell backwards in the tub haha! 

Nash’s birth story: 

I wanted to start off by saying that I am not the best storyteller, and my postpartum brain is still trying to patchwork together all of the events of his birthday. You have been warned!

From the moment I found out that I was pregnant, I knew I wanted this birth to be different from my past births. With my previous births there was a lot of fear and anxiety pretty much right from the get go. I really wanted to experience a no intervention and hands off birth. Not only did I want no to low intervention, I really wanted to mindfully experience every part of labor and birth. So I did my homework. I talked and met with midwives. I researched every hospital and birth centers within an hour from my house. I asked for their policies. I switched from a wonderful OB to a midwifery practice in another city half way through my pregnancy. I watched hundreds of no intervention births online for inspiration. I listened to podcast. I watched Ted talks. I read lots of books including Ina Mays books and Mindful Birthing by Nancy Bardacke, which ended up being my pregnancy bible. I did everything I could to prepare myself for the birth I hoped for.

I would like to start his birth story starting on March 5. I had a routine midwife appointment and I have taken Nova with me like I had with all my other appointments. Except today she was a little bit more spunkier than usual. A student nurse midwife came into the room first and listen to the baby’s heartbeat. Then the midwife came in and asked me if I would like to have my cervix checked. I had planned on declining all cervical checks but curiosity got the better of me and I told her yes. She also asked if I would like to have her sweep my membranes and I told her sure, as long as my cervix felt “ready”. I had never had this done with the other kids so I had no idea what to expect. It was a lot more uncomfortable than I thought it would be. She told me she I would probably have bloody show.

 I left the appointment feeling cramps and period-like but that fizzled away over the day. The next morning I got up to go to work and didn’t feel any different. On Thursday the 7th I woke up to the beginning of losing the mucus plug, again something I had never experienced with my other pregnancies. I also had terrible period like pains and sciatica down both legs. I walked into work that morning really wondering if today would be the day. I already had all of our bags packed in my car so if I was going to go into labor I would just need to leave work and head to Ann Arbor. The rest of that day I was really uncomfortable, but what nurse working a 12 hour shift at 39 weeks pregnant isn’t? When I left work that day I told everyone that I bet I will see them Monday for my shift (I honestly did believe this).

 Friday March 8th I woke up and felt much better then the day before and even told myself “well not having a baby today”. I took the kids to school and came back home. Right before Cameron got out of the car for school he bent down and said “ come out today baby!”. I tried to talk myself into going shopping for something to do, or try to get with a friend who was willing to try some belly henna art. I decided that I didn’t really want to get out of my pajamas for the day, and I was just going to relax after the two 12 hour shifts I had just done. Around 11:20 I tried to convince Nova we should take a nap. We crawled into my bed and I remember thinking how gorgeous of a day it was. I opened the curtains so we could nap in the sunshine. We haven’t had sun like this in weeks it seems. It was so bright coming through my bedroom window but it was also so relaxing. KI was laying on my side next to nova while she played on my phone and I started to drift off. Nova wanted to nurse so I let her in hopes of it putting her to sleep. And this is where it all began. I had a contraction (which I did a lot while nursing nova) except this one came on pretty intense. I thought geez, maybe this is “it”. I had thought this several times over the last few weeks and it never was so I didn’t get too excited. But then when the contraction got intense I felt a sudden crack in my lower abdomen. It was incredibly intense and honestly it scared me. The contraction lingered and was not letting up so I rolled over to get onto my feet and I felt a small gush. I went right to the boys bathroom and sat down on the toilet, still with the contraction. I felt like maybe I had to go but I couldn’t. I sat there for a minute waiting for anymore signs that my water was broken and nothing. I stood up and went to our bathroom where I sat back down on the toilet with the same contraction, that eventually fizzled into just a constant lower abdominal ache. I stood in front of the mirror waiting for another contraction or for some more fluid, something that would tell me it was the day. I figured I might as well get around just Incase. I changed clothes and felt another small gush and this time it was clear with a hint of pink so I knew my water was broken. 

  It was 11:30 and I knew Tony would be going on his lunch break soon so I texted him to call me. A few minutes later I decided I should just call his work so they could page him. While on hold he called me and when I answered I told him he needed to leave, my water just broke. I told him to meet me at Karen’s. I also called my birth photographer Jenn and the UofM triage line for them to page the midwife. I also sent several text messages to friends letting them know that this was the day.

 I called Karen and Chuck answered and I told him. I asked him to go get the boys from school and that way by the time I got to Karen’s we could all just leave together. I am so lucky that chuck got out of work that day early. Tony beat me to Karen’s and when I got there I carried nova in because she had fallen asleep. I handed her off to Karen and had to go sit in the toilet. At this point I was irregularly contraction. Sometimes 5 minutes apart but more like 15 minutes apart. While waiting for chuck to get home with the boys I had a really intense contraction in Karen’s living room that I think made her and Tony startle a little and Tony said we should just leave. I said no, I wanted to wait for us all to go together. So we went outside and walked around waiting for them, which they came just a few minutes later. The boys jumped out of chucks car and ran up to me super bright eyed and bushy tailed. Cameron said he just KNEW it was going to be today. Dominic came running up to me asking me if the baby was a girl if we could name her “Sapphire “ haha. 

  On the way to Ann Arbor I took a few pictures out my window of just how gorgeous the day was. It was full sun and warmth. I held onto Tonys hand the whole way and we talked about how I really hope I could do this the way I want to. He reassured me that I can. I told him that I know there is going to come a point where I get really scared and he told me to just tell him when I felt that way. On the way there the midwife had called me back and I told her the story and that we were on my way. She apologized for taking so long to call back but it was because she had just caught a baby. I asked her if there were any tub rooms available and she said that right now they had an extremely full house but they were anticipating discharged so hopefully there would be one eventually. 

 During most of the ride there I only had a contraction about every 15 minutes. I had told my birth photographer to wait to meet me there because I didn’t want her to get there too early and have to wait all day. When we got to Ann Arbor I had two back to back contractions that were pretty intense. This is when I decided I would start my “sounding” technique that I learned in a book I had read. Sounding is when during a contraction on your out-breath, a women will make a long deep moaning noise. The more intense the contractions the lower the tone. The idea behind this is that during sounding, it’s impossible to tighten up and tense the pelvic muscles and one must also keep the face and jaw loose. It facilitates the mind body connection that is needed during mindful birthing. I had told Tony in advance that I planned on doing this so it wouldn’t startle him. I checked in with Jenn and told her it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to head to the hospital since the last few contractions were stronger.

  We valet parked the cars and someone brought me a wheel chair. It was quite obvious at the time the reason we were there. I was wearing leggings and a black top only, I was way to warm for a jacket. I caught a glimpse of myself in the window and was shocked how low my belly was. I sat down in the wheel chair while Tony got all our stuff. After about 40 seconds of sitting in the chair I had to get out. The sciatic pain was getting more and more intense and i just couldn’t tolerate sitting. I had Tony use the wheelchair for all of our stuff and we headed up the elevator, all 7 of us. The elevator was packed with about 5 other people and I started to have a contraction on the way up to the 9th floor. I decided that I would try to keep a little more quiet so I wouldn’t scare the kids or the other people in the elevator, but my breathing made it obvious that I was in labor. 

  We got to triage and this is when the contractions started coming every 2-4 minutes. It was 1:30 when we checked in. I kissed the kids goodbye as they went with Karen and chuck to wait in the waiting room. Once  in the triage room I went straight to the bathroom where I noticed bloody show. I told Tony I hope they hurry because I think things are picking up. Jenn arrived about 15 minutes later. A nurse came in and hooked me up to the fetal monitor and got a set of vitals. I told her there was no way I could lay down so she had the cloth band type thing that held the monitors in place so I could stand. After she left I knew that this was not going to be a long day for me. I was contracting Every few minutes, using my vocal sounding technique and moving positions what seemed like every contraction. I asked Jenn to braid my hair because I was so hot and needed it off my neck. At about 2 pm the midwife came in to see me and check me. I asked her again about a tub room and she told me she might not have one available. Which I accepted, because I knew from the start a tub room would not be guaranteed. But then she said something along the lines of “were pretty full, but we have had babies in triage rooms before!”. My heart sank as I looked around this little room I was in and at the stretcher that I might have to give birth on. I decided right then that if this was meant to be than I would fully accept it. I know birth doesn’t go as planned lots of times and this was just an example. 

 I laid down and Heather (our midwife) checked me and said I was 3cm and 90% effaced. After she left the room another nurse, Suzanne came to take us to our new room (hurray!) and it was a tub room! Suzanne asked if I wanted a wheelchair or to walk. I asked her how long of a walk it was and she said it wasn’t too far. I knew I wouldn’t be able to tolerate sitting in a wheel chair so we walked. In the hallway I had three very strong contractions that I had to stop and just lean against the wall. I kept my voice in because I didn’t want to make anyone nervous, so I just focused on my breathing. In the hallway I met one of my friends and co-workers that was also a nurse manager at Von Voigtlander and she grabbed onto my hand and we made it to my room.

 As soon as we got into my room I started to feel lots of hip pressure. I sat on the toilet and had a contraction there and I asked if we could start filling the tub. Suzanne laid down some type of mat in front of the tub as she was filling it up and I got down onto my hands and knees in front of the tub. With each contraction I could feel the baby moving down and my voice at this point was very low and grounding. I said out loud to everyone “it won’t be long”. At this point I felt like I was so focused and internalized that if someone said something to me I either shook my head yet or no, or didn’t answer them at all. One thing I am so grateful for that during this entire process there was never a rush to do anything. Everyone in my birth space was incredibly patient with me.

 The tub filled up pretty quickly and I got in and it was so refreshing. The sciatica pain was instantly reduced. I was incredibly hot and the water although was warm, seemed cooler then my body. I was in my knees leaning over the side of the tub squeezing Tammy’s hand. At some point she handed my hand to Tonys. With each contraction I would start my breathing and sounding. Everyone in the room was pretty quiet. The hip pressure started to get really intense and this is when I started to doubt my ability to keep doing this. In between contractions I looked up and told Tammy I don’t know if I can do this. Tammy, Tony and my nurse reassured me that I was doing great. Tammy reminded me that this was what I wanted. I then asked Heather to check me at this point, hoping that she was going to tell me I was at least half way done. I laid back for her to be able to check me and I instantly felt relief. Just changing my position help take the hip pressure off immensely. She checked me and said that I was completely dilated! I feel like at this time my whole attitude changed. I felt so elated and optimistic in between contractions, I couldn’t believe I was almost done! During contractions I focused on the baby moving down and staying completely relaxed and loose. Heather told me to reach down reach inside to feel how close the baby’s head was. I did this and I was amazed that the baby’s head was just right inside and I would be done soon.  The next contraction I had a slight urge to bare down so I kept my finger inside felt the baby move down even more. I asked if we could listen to the baby’s heartbeat again just because with Nova her heart rate was low at the end and I had to push hurriedly with her. Suzanne was trying to find the baby’s heartbeat without trying to distract me but it did the opposite because I felt like it was taking too long. I asked her if I could use the doppler and I found the baby’s heartbeat super low. We listened while Suzanne checked my pulse and baby was doing just fine. With the next few contractions I just listened to my body’s gentle urge to push. I never had an immense urge to push, which surprised me because with my previous 3 epidural births I did and I really think it’s because this time I focused on staying completely relaxed. I couldn’t believe that I was literally birthing my baby into my own hand! Also I never got the “shakes” during transition like with my previous births. Again I wonder if it’s because I kept relaxed so there wasn’t a huge surge of adrenaline. I pushed through another contraction and brought the baby’s head down right to my perineum. I tried to keep pushing but I felt like I could not get his head past my perineum, it was almost like I couldn’t get leverage in the water. In hindsight I think if I would have gotten into a squatting position it would have helped. I told Heather that I was going to have to have her deliver the baby because I can’t do it, although I had told her I really wanted to deliver the baby myself. She told me that she would support my perineum as the baby was being born, so with one big final push I pushed his head out. Heather told me to reach down and grab my baby. I want to just pause here for a second and appreciate that she did this. I told her to deliver the baby, I couldn’t do it just moments before. She could have just said “ok, fine”, but she knew how important it was to me and had me reach down to bring him earthside. I will never forget that she did this for me. It was such a surreal and special moment for me. When I reached down his shoulders were just starting to come out so I grabbed under his arms and brought him up to my belly.  Heather held him upright to make sure his head stayed above water. I sat up slightly in the tub and look to see that we had a new baby boy! I couldn’t believe that I had just given birth! I looked around and it seem like everybody was crying and I just kept telling everybody thank you and I can’t believe I did it. It was such a surreal feeling, a feeling that I have wanted to experience my whole birthing journey. I looked right into his eyes with his wrinkly forhead and a good amount of vernix still on him. 

   We sat in the tub for a few minutes taking him in before we got out. I actually started bleeding in the tub and I could tell the bleeding was heavy. Heather also noticed the bleeding and I told her I think the placenta is starting to come out. I wanted to keep the baby and placenta attached for a bit after birth so my birth team helped me out of the tub as I held onto him. As soon as I laid down the placenta came out and my bleeding slowed down. The other kids came in right after and met their new baby brother. When I told them it was a boy the boys lit up. Nova was demanding that I give him to her right away. Everyone was high on baby love.


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