Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Our homebirth story

(This was written over the course of many days, so if it says "this morning" or "yesterday" or whatever, that's why. Then I backdated the posting time, so it wouldn't be the top post until I decide I want to post again.)

The Prize

Stats again, October 7th, 12:48 pm 9 lbs 11 oz, 21 1/2 long 15 inch head and chest.

We had Helam at home assisted by midwives who were absolutely amazing!! I'd been having prodromal (pre labor) labor for over a week and a half, every night thinking that the baby would be on his way soon. The day before, I was so incredibly unbelievably cranky, so I hoped that meant that he'd come soon.

The morning of the 7th, around 5:30 Essi climbed into bed with us, I felt something pop, and went to the bathroom and had bloody show. Immediately I was having contractions 4 minutes apart, so I was in active labor, but early active labor. I snuggled on the couch with Essi and timed them for about a half hour, then I called to Jerrod and told him I thought I was in labor for real this time, then Sariah woke up and we told her that the baby would probably be there today or the next. We called a sister in our ward (an angel, actually, it was her birthday too, but we didn't know that until afterward) to watch our kids, and she came and got them just as the midwives arrived (around 7ish.. I think.) They took my stats (blood pressure, pulse, baby's heartrate, etc. and I got in the tub.

Things progressed fast, so we thought. They were sure I was in transition around 9:00-9:30. I was kind of happy because I thought I was going to have a really quick labor. Around that time I remember asking if she thought we'd have him before noon, and she seemed to think that he'd definitely be here by then, and probably within the hour. Up until transition, things were pretty good. Not comfortable, but manageable. During "transition," things started hurting a lot more than they had and I remember with each contraction getting really upset at myself, and at labor because I wasn't feeling the "urge to push" which is supposed to come at the end of transition, which is supposed to be the shortest part of labor.

Then I went through a few more hours of transition, and I think those may have been the worst of my life. I kept trying to relax through the contractions, and surrender to the "waves." I didn't do so well with that. lol. I remember thinking (during a contraction) of some(guy) author's words that labor didn't hurt, it was just the anticipation of pain yadda yadda yadda that made it seem like it hurt. I'd like to toss a fork at him. I'm very grateful my kids were not in the house, as we'd originally planned. (They were just going to be in another room with Aunt Trista.) Normally, I'm so not a screamer, and I have a really high pain tolerance, but I was screaming worse than anything you'd see on a horror movie in the middle of each contraction. I'm really embarrassed about how much I screamed. I also sounded like a cow a few times. Luckily we're surrounded by a cow pasture, so they probably just thought it was one of their own. ( A lot of them have been having calves lately, but I've never heard them, I think they handled it better than I did.) There's also an elementary school pretty close, and I'm hoping those poor kids at recess didn't hear me. I think I'd make a horrible scientologist. (Aren't they supposed to stay silent the whole time?) I probably scarred my baby for life. Anyway, it was pretty horrible. I have no idea what would have happened if I were screaming like that in a hospital. I probably would have never gotten to that point, as I would have begged for drugs, and an epidural, and or general anesthesia before we got to that point. But, let's pretend I didn't, and some poor girl was coming in to be induced to have her first baby and heard me. That would have been pretty traumatic. lol.

During labor, I loved being able to move around as I wished. Throughout the process, I was on the bed for a while, (biting my pillow snarling like a feral rabid beast) standing up in the bathroom a while, doing squats through the contractions, sitting backwards on the toilet, and in the tub (I'm grateful we have a big jetted one here) for a while. It was really amazing because I really felt like at each point, I absolutely had to be where I was at each different part of labor, and I loved being able to move around like that, I can't imagine any part of labor being done in a different location than I was at when I did it. So that was awesome, and one of the things I liked about birthing at home.

Jerrod was amazing throughout the whole thing. Completely awesome. I felt so bad, because I yelled at him quite a lot during those hours. Almost every time he'd talk, I'd tell him to shut up, I'd start a contraction then yell, "Don't touch me!!" followed by, "Why aren't you pushing on my back?! Touch me Jerrod, touch me!!" Then if he'd move his hands in slightly the wrong way, I'd yell like he was completely insane, "What are you DOING?!?" Then my contraction would stop, and I'd start blubbering apologies, telling him how sorry I was, and that I shouldn't yell at him. I remember mentioning a vasectomy being a really good idea as well. Then, he needed to pee, and poor guy, that just was NOT an option. He'd whisper, "Hon, I need to go to the bathroom." I'd reply in despair, "You can't!!" or "Too bad, hold it." The midwives thought it was funny, because they've heard that at many many births. Finally, one of them took over rubbing my back for maybe 20 seconds, so he could go, and it wasn't a big deal at all, and I'm really grateful they found a way to let him go, because it was still a couple hours after that before Helam came.

My midwives were absolute gold, and were able to help walk me through the contractions, gently suggesting through each one that I relax my hips, and bottom, and stomach and vaginal area, and think of it opening up, and helping me breath through the contractions instead of scream through them. They were amazing. I can't even describe how much it helped to have them there helping me like that. At that point I was sitting on the toilet seat backwards. I was there for probably at least an hour, I was backwards, and Jerrod was on a chair behind me supporting me.

After being on the toilet for a while, I wanted to get back in the tub. They drained a lot of it, and filled it so it would be the right temperature again, I got back in and about 1-2 contractions later, my water broke again or something. (It had broke earlier I'd thought, and they say it's normal for there to be two, or that before was my fore waters or something.) There was a pop, then I felt a gush of fluid go between my legs, even though I was in the tub. Then maybe one contraction later, I felt the baby's head shoot through some opening, on it's own, into my vaginal area. That was one of the best feelings EVER!! I knew what it was, and that I was almost done! I could have sang!! The midwives weren't aware it was there, and were continuing to say "relax your legs, relax your bottom." I was thinking, "No way! This baby is coming OUT!!" lol Jerrod saw me smile at this point and wondered what was going on. So I started pushing him out. They saw I wasn't relaxing but didn't realize I was pushing, and said to relax, I finally said, "he's coming," and put my hand on his head, that was already partway out. (I didn't want to tell them before because I didn't want them to yell at me to push (like in each of my hospital births.) I also didn't want them to tell me not to push.) When they saw the head, everyone was quite surprised and excited. They suggested I push slowly, and not let him rush out, to prevent tearing. (Can I just say how much I loved that?!? Both times in the hospital, they were yelling at me to push like if I didn't hurry and push the baby out, it would die or something. Then they'd always cut me. I've always hated that part.)

So I was slowly and gently pushing him out not during a contraction, and Jerrod was feeling his face, I remember him saying, the nose is almost out, I can feel the mouth, etc. That was neat. I pushed the head out, they checked for a cord around the neck, it wasn't there, and then they said all I needed to do was push the shoulders out. I was kind of expecting them to just fall out after the head. I did a practice push, realized it would take a little more than I wanted to do, and asked if I could switch to my hands and knees. They said yes, so with baby's head out, and body inside, I went from my back to my hands and knees in the bathtub. DH said they were quite impressed that I wanted to do that, and that I could do that. He also said it was very interesting and funny when I turned because all the sudden, the baby was facing up so there's my backside, with a chubby little face sticking out. That strikes me as really funny for some reason. Once I was on my hands and knees, it was one push and his shoulders, and the rest of his body slid out, into Jerrod's hands. They were saying how great he was, I was just thrilled to finally be done. I rolled back over, and took my sweet sweet baby. This was our biggest baby ever, and my first with no tearing or cuts! (Also the only one that came early, and I wasn't induced with.) The total pushing time was only 3 minutes or less, so that was awesome.

A few minutes later, the placenta came out, they cut the cord, yadda yadda, and it was done. His apgars were 10 and 10, he was doing so great. He was all pink and perfect, doing everything he should!

Then it was done! It was so normal, it was weird. I remember saying to Jerrod, "We just had a homebirth." It seemed so weird to me that it was over, and though I didn't expect anything to go wrong, it just seemed strange how natural it all seemed. But, I'm still kind of having a hard time realizing that this huge event is over. Going to the hospital to have a baby seems like such a grand event, and it divides things nicely into a before, during, and after. So in the past, I'd go to the hospital and come out with a baby, this time I went to the bathroom, and came out with a baby, so that is different, and a little weird to wrap my head around, but nice.

After the delivery, it looked like I was losing more blood than the midwives wanted me to, so they had some stuff they gave to fix that, and then I was fine. Then we rinsed me and the baby off, (clean-up was so easy, all the mess was in the tub.) and went and snuggled in our bed. I was so thrilled to have our little guy, and to not be pregnant anymore. (For a while I wasn't sure which I was happier about.)

Anyway, it was perfect. I loved a lot of doing it in a homebirth setting. During labor and right after, I figured if I ever did it again, it would only be under general anesthesia, but a day later, it seems as though it was totally doable. It was amazing. Oh, and if you've actually read this whole thing, you're amazing too! lol! Now, almost a week later, and with Helam already growing too fast, I'm wondering how soon we can do it again. (Someone please remind me how horrible pregnancy and labor is/was, because this little guy is making me think it was all worth it.)

Things that I really liked about midwives, and having him at home:
No vaginal exams. (Unless I wanted them, and um, I didn't.)
No stirrups.
No iv.
Not being stuck in a bed.
No monitors, except the midwives checking his heartrate when they needed to.
Not having to drive to the hospital in labor. (I cannot even imagine having to do that, (with my others I was induced,) and I have so much admiration and/or sympathy for women who have done that.)
Being able (and encouraged) to drink during labor. (Even being offered food, but that idea was laughable.)
No catheter.

This was such a neat experience for us. Since this birth, my mind has been focused a lot on the Atonement. It really feels like the whole labor process is so intertwined with the Atonement, and this experience has deepened my appreciation for that. I remember at times the utter reliance I felt, and I feel like there is still so much there to ponder.


Leslie & Josh said...

Thank you soo much for sharing that. I've had all mine all naturall; but, at the hospital just in case (for Josh's peace of mind). Transition never lasteed that long. WOW!!! Way to go!!!! Next time you might want to try harder to breath really hard through your hard contractions, it helps amazingly well. I've always thought about getting on my hands and knees but been too embarrased, especially when the doctors look at you like your crazy for suggesting such a thing, as if that position doesn't exist. I wish I had though with my second and fourth as Jacelyn's shoulders measured 17 inches and got stuck, and Johnathon came out face up. Wow, 15 in head that is huge. Did you tear at all? That is soo awsome. I have to say it again. Way to go!!! WWOOOOO HOOOO!!! Good job Tenise! :D

LudvigsonFamily said...

Hi Tenise! I loved reading about your birth story, and yes I read the though thing!!. Thanks for sharing. Anyone who can go natural and at home I admire, way to go!! I wish I could I am just to big of a wimp. I can't even handle a charly horse in my leg. I look forward to seeing future post of the little guy.
Take care,

SunnyScarlet said...

You did it! You're so awesome. I'm so glad that it went so well for you.

I just loved reading your homebirth story, Tenise! You have such a way of making all your posts so entertaining.

Oh, and I'm sure all the cows are in empathy for you, too, so no worries. =)


Sam and Ciarra said...

I loved reading your homebirth story. Isn't it amazing? I had our second one with a midwife and it is the best birthing experience I have had. I do not like hospitals at all. I really wanted a midwife for our fourth but there are none to be found here in Logan. Speaking of the fourth I wish he would come...2 more weeks. Our Helam was born Oct.12 so our sons almost have the same birthday and the same name! :) He is a beautiful baby. Thank you for sharing pictures. I am glad that you had such a great experience.

Sister Brittster said...

Wow Tenise! You are such a trooper, I totally have a whole new admiration and respect for you! I don't know if I could ever do that, but then again, you do make it sound rather intriguing! Good thing I don't have to think about it at all for now...your story is very inspirational and in favor of something I never thought I'd want to do...super cool!

Leslie said...

YEAH! I finally got back here to read your story! Fantastic! It took me FIVE births to get a home water birth :) so you're already ahead of me! Congratulations again!!!

Di said...

You're amazing, Tenise. Thanks for sharing your story!