Friday, March 6, 2015

How To Have A Baby In Two Hours - The Play By Play

It's been a short month of newborn cuddles and lounging in bed. Baby is so gentle, so sweet and so alert. She watches, listens as her older siblings bounce around and yell.

Love truly knows no bounds.


It had been a tiresome week leading up to due date.

I was having intense Braxton-Hicks contractions at any random hour of the day or night. I wanted it to lead into labor more than anything, rather than endure discomfort with no immediate outcome. The pressure was severe to say the least.
Then, on Tuesday, February 2nd, I felt the baby drop down even lower. I had to stop and breathe because the sensation was unexpected and intense. I was sure to have the baby that night!

8:30 PM
I put both kids to bed and get ready for bed.

9:30 PM
After a friend recommended the "nip-stim" trick, I decided to try it. Thirty minutes passed and I started having some stronger contractions and could no longer sit still. I was pacing and breathing.

11:00 PM
Kimball helped clear the room and get things ready in case this was the night. He sat and made a playlist while I settled in to sleep and got in bed with me soon after. The few contractions I had felt slowed down a lot and I hoped to get some sleep.

1:00 AM
I kept getting up to go to the bathroom but I wasn't really having contractions. I slept alright the rest of the time but at one o'clock I woke up to back pain so severe I couldn't lay there anymore and I just knew it was finally starting. I decided to work through some of the contractions on my own since it was still early but they got strong fast and I didn't want to be alone anymore.

1:30 AM
I woke up Kimball and told him it was on. He began to set up the birthing pool. I couldn't wait to get in the water. I felt confused at the intensity of the pain and how suddenly it had started and needed relief. Kimball would push back on my hips a few times when it got particularly painful and then return to setting things up.

2:00 AM
I texted Cathy, my midwife. She asked for the time of the contraction intervals and they where a minute and a half apart and lasted about a minute. She seemed confused about that but told me she was on her way and that she would let Sarah, her assisting midwife in training, know that I was in labor.

2:10 AM
I texted my mother to let her know that tonight was the night. The contractions were so painful I was getting low and clenching the edges of the ottoman. I questioned whether or not I'd be able to endure hours of such pain. I couldn't understand why it seemed so painful right at the beginning of it all.

2:15 AM
I got in the pool finally and relief washed over me. The pain was cut in half and I settled in for the long haul. I labored by myself while Kimball puttered around in the kitchen. I didn't need back pressure and felt good about the pain level now.
So far I haven't experienced the water breaking on its own. It didn't with my other two kids.

2:40 AM
Sarah finally shows up and goes in to the kitchen to greet Kimball. I can hear them chatting and then Sarah comes in. In that moment I checked myself and realized I could feel the baby's head. So I told Sarah. She was going to check the baby's heart rate, went to grab the stethoscope and just then I said that the baby was coming. Sarah only just had time to turn back around when I had the first hard contraction. She dropped down in front of me and made me focus on breathing through it. Still hadn't felt the water break.

2:55 AM
Because of the terrible back labor I've endured with my other two children, I had them both on my hands and knees. Sarah, being a midwife in training with good but less experience than Cathy, really wanted me to sit and lean back against the pool. As we discussed it I had another hard contraction. The back pain wasn't as bad as I was used to so I said I would try it. I sat back, Kimball on my right side, Sarah next to him. I had another contraction.

2:59 AM
I felt pretty comfortable, strange as it sounds, sitting there in the warm water just seconds away from meeting my new little girl. I leaned back, had another contraction, gave it a push when I saw the top of her little head. I stopped to breathe. One more push and I had her in my hands. A wish come true for me, having wanted to catch a baby as it was being born but believing it to be too hard because of the pain in my back while laboring.

3:00 AM
Two, four, then six hands, where helping a very slippery baby come into this world. She was born in the caul. For a split second it was confusing. What was covering her from head to hip?? As Sarah was getting the slippery sack of her face we realized she was wrapped in the cord. Quickly, Sarah removed the rest of the sack and we all helped get her unwrapped. One and a half turn around her neck and half around her body. Sarah held her in a way to help her breathe and clear her mouth and lungs while I held and squeezed her hands.  She looked like she'd been smeared with buttercream frosting. Kimball was talking to her and touching her feet. She started spitting and bubbling and everything was alright. Someone asks what the gender is and we all sort of stop as someone double checks. I almost cried with joy over the news.

3:05 AM
Baby girl got back in the water with me. She was already so strong. Sarah pulled her arm and she pulled it right back. She kept expelling gunk from her mouth and was soon rooting around.

3:30 AM
Cathy shows up. I pretend like I'm still in labor...She laughed at all the vernix down the front of Sarah's shirt and all over all of our arms.

I started nursing in the pool as baby girl latched without a fuss.
Then came clean up and I got into my bed. I felt giddy and awake. Happy to have made it through another successful home birth. But most of all I was surprised. I realized that I had in fact somehow skipped the grueling long hours or labor and jumped right into transition, explaining why the contractions where so painful. Thanks to the Braxton-Hicks for a week prior, most of the dilating was already done.
I was able to be perfectly present to the point of laughing in surprise just as she came out, at the quick, rather easy birth of number three.

6:30 AM
We go to sleep after weighing, measuring, checking up, cleaning up. She weighed 7.9 pounds, measured 20 inches, and was fully responsive.

7:45 AM
Lois wakes up and comes into our room. I tell her I have a surprise for her. Her eyes widen and she climbs onto the bed. I tell her the baby came out. Lois had been asking to hold the baby for a couple of weeks while I was still pregnant. She was becoming impatient. So when I told her it was a little sister her little face lit up beyond description. Her happiness was so intense that she hardly knew what to do with herself. She almost cried. I definitely cried. We all laid next to the baby until Johannes woke up.
To him, nothing much had changed.

Lucia Adelise Olive is named after Kimball's ancestors. We struggled with finding a combination of names that felt right. We tried with two names in various combinations since that was our pattern with the other two kids but it wasn't until we used all three that it made sense. Her dark hair and dark eyes mirror my own and I'm ridiculously happy about it.

Hello, I'm a mother of three.

If you wonder who helps me birth at home ------>

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Blog Ambitions vs. Reality

It's been OVER A YEAR, since I wrote the last post. In my lame defense, I kept a journal for a few weeks last year.

Things I've missed documenting:

Trip to Hawaii.
Trip to Sweden.
My thirtieth birthday.
Lois's third birthday.
Trip to Disneyland.
Third pregnancy.
Our fifth anniversary.
Johannes's first birthday.
My aunt's passing.
The birth of my third child.

Seeing the list of things I should have taken better care to preserve makes first feel guilty but the more I think about it the more I realize that there's no need for that.
I lived it. We all did. It was beautiful and memorable and we took lots of pictures along the way.

I remember Johannes at four months, pulling his feet out of the water at a beach on the Big Island because he didn't like cold water. In reality the temperature was just right, the sand so fine and white and the weathered, gnarled trees the perfect shade that I cannot wait to return to beach 69.
I remember pulling on my snorkel gear when the sun was giving the last of it's light, swimming out from the lava rock shore of Two Step and touching a turtle in it's natural habitat while holding my lover's hand. Pure bliss.

I remember flying to Sweden by myself with my two kids, how we hoped and hoped for a white Swedish Christmas and all we got was rain. Long walks through the green forest and my mother's delicious cooking and my cozy childhood home. New years eve in town with my honey, the random dent in the car from someone kicking it that night. Swedish fiddlers at the neighbor's house was a great moment to remember.

I remember turning thirty in California, spending the day by the pool watching Lois splash around. We ate at my favorite restaurant in Oceanside (the chocolate mousse is divine) and played with the kids on the beach. Lois lost her stuffed IKEA cat somewhere in the sand.

So many small and big moments. So many firsts and lasts.
This is reality. To live wholly and fully. And to learn from the past.

So, I renew my resolve to write about life as it comes.