During this blogging experiment, I have been planning and awaiting the arrival of Baby #3. She was due 8/24/12. Like my other babies, that due date came and past. My other two births were pushed along before my body went into labor. For this birth, I was worried that my husband would not be able to make it from work in time. My last labor was only 3 hours and I was thankful that we lived near my husband's work. Now we are in the suburbs and my hospital was even further away (a two hour trip from his office to the hospital). I could use a closer hospital but there is nothing closer that has midwives. So I tried to "plan" the birth! The day before my due date, my husband took the day off and went to my midwife appointment with me. We hoped that she would strip my membranes and send me into labor. Unfortunately the baby was not low enough yet and she worried that the cord could get in the way. So instead we had a "date" and went out to lunch and for a 3 mile hike in a nearby national park. We decided that we would just wait for the baby to be ready and run to the hospital as soon as labor started.
The Birth Story of Baby #3
The three days leading up to my labor, I felt different. I felt the need to sit down for no particular reason. My body does not tell me when I am in early labor so this might have been early labor for me. On the night of 8/30/12, I was mentally ready for the baby to come. I had done several tricks to relax my cervix and my husband was going to be working from home the following day (the eve of Labor Day weekend). It seemed like the perfect timing for the baby to make her arrival. It was almost midnight and I started to have a lot of back pain with a lot of downward pressure. When I stood up, I felt the baby drop so low that she felt like she completely opened my cervix and was between my legs. The back pains were very uncomfortable and I was exhausted from the day. All I wanted to do was go to sleep. I realized that the most intense back pains were coming every 10 minutes thus my labor had started. This baby, like my others was posterior so I get excruciating back pains (plus those regular contractions but who cares about those when my back was being stabbed!). I decided to try to talk myself out of the labor so I could get a little sleep and feel more rested. I could not lay down because the baby was between my legs and it was extremely uncomfortable. So I propped myself up on pillows and slept sitting up in bed. I woke up four hours later and was no longer in labor. Labor restarted at 9am when I was getting ready for my 10am midwife appointment.
On the way to my 41 week midwife appointment, I realized that I was in labor but my contractions were only 10 minutes apart so I thought that I had plenty of time. At the appointment, I felt constant back pain and the need to do small hip rolls although the strongest contractions were still 10 minutes apart. My mom and daughters were in the exam room with me and the kids completely sensed my labor and fought the whole time (after 9 months of them being perfect at my appointments). I had to send my mom out of the room bribing them with lollipops. Yes, I knew I was in labor because my kids drove me crazy! My midwife checked me and I was 6 centimeters dilated! She looked at me in confusion and surprise because I was not in the "heavy labor" that most women would be in at 6 centimeters. I must have been having mini-contractions that were just causing back pain between the larger contractions. At this point, I knew that it was time to head to the hospital that was luckily only five minutes away.
At the hospital, while waiting a few minutes for my room to get ready, I entered active labor so my husband and I did our slow dancing routine during contractions. Slow dancing with him makes my body feel fabulous through contractions and we both love how close we feel with each other. The first 20 minutes in the delivery room had to be spent hooked up to monitors according to hospital protocol. Of course this was not so fun in active labor but I was able to move around and rock my body through contractions. My husband massaged my back and pressed it with a warm pad to help ease the extreme back pain. My previous babies were also posterior so I experienced the same sharp back pains with contractions. This time the back pains did not subside between contractions. I remembered my NYC yoga instructor's advice to go right into the pain and hit it face on with deep exhales (Melissa Feldman -- I still love the Dark Vador exhale)! It is amazing how facing pain head on made my body really release natural pain killers. Or did it make me go into a trance? I don't know but it worked.
During the last contraction on the monitors, my body knew that it was time to move on and my exhale turned into an orgasmic song. The midwife joyfully announced "that's the baby" and I was thrilled to finally be allowed in the jacuzzi tub that I had been eyeing. As soon as I slipped into the tub and put my back against the jets, I was so at ease. All of my back pain went away and my body fully relaxed. I felt like I was on vacation (minus the pina colada and palm trees)! My body gave me a little break from contractions. When the contractions started again they seemed so mild in the water and the tub had taken away my back pain. My husband slipped into the tub behind me so I could use his knees to hold onto. In just a few minutes, my body felt like it was ready to push the baby out and I soon felt my body pushing so I pushed too and the baby came right out in one long push.
The baby, my husband and I enjoyed a beautiful couple minutes embracing each other skin to skin in the tub. I could not believe how great my body felt from being in the tub. When I got out of the tub, and rested with the baby on my chest, I was surprised to have no tares and a placenta that pushed itself out (this was a change from my past tares and pain pushing the placenta out).
Baby Katja Elizabeth was 8 pounds 7 ounces and 20.5 inches long, born posterior after a 3 hour labor! My baby was born loving to suck and insisted on sucking my breasts for her first 1.5 hours of life!
|Baby Katja met her sisters a few hours after birth.|
It is now a week later and I am still shocked how wonderful the water birth was and would recommend that every pregnant woman get herself a good MIDWIFE and a TUB! My hospital was far more nurturing and had much warmer staff than I experienced with my NYC hospital births. I was glad that I did not do a home birth (which I wanted with birth #2) because I really needed the distance from my kids. After they would visit for 2 hours each day, I was ready for them to leave and to enjoy quiet time when my baby allowed it.
I am thankful for my body. Genetically I have an incredibly shaped pelvis that has allowed me to easily deliver three posterior babies that most women would require a c-section for. I am also thankful for keeping my body in shape while pregnant. Up until the end (and post due!) I was at yoga class, hiking in the forest, taking my older kids for outings and eating very healthy (especially avoiding sugar and processed foods). This allowed my body to labor nicely and for it to already be in good shape post-partum. All of that coconut oil that I rubbed on my tummy paid off because I still don't have any stretch marks.
Encapsulating my placenta again was a priceless idea. The day that I came home from the hospital, the idea of taking care of a newborn that requires so much time while my older kids were crying, demanding attention, etc. was a stressful thought. I knew that I would have my placenta pills in another day and told myself to save those thoughts until I had my pills. Indeed as soon as I started taking them, I felt so much more at easy with my mothering abilities. My own mother is here to entertain the older kids and keep the house afloat so the real test will be when she leaves us!
I am reminded again that every baby is different. This is the first of our babies that wants to co-sleep. Katja and I did not sleep well in the hospital with all the interruptions and her wanting to suckle constantly. I even tried a pacifier and sent her to the nursery one night for someone else to hold a pacifier in her mouth so I could get two hours of straight sleep. As soon as we were home in our own bed, Katja was so happy to just sleep cuddled next to me. Last night she even went 6 hours between feedings!
I thank you all for following this blog and will now search for what I should do with the roughly written information that I have posted here.