Wednesday, July 31, 2013

She's Here!

Meet my daughter Story Luna!

Alright, so I know it's been a while. But strange things happen to 'time' after you have a baby (at least for me!).  Story was born Feb 24th (4 days after due date) at 5:34 am weighing in at 7 pounds 2.6 ounces.  My birth plan didn't go quite as planned, but everything ended up okay at the end because our daughter was healthy and thriving!

So, lets backtrack to Feb 23rd just after midnight I woke up with a strange sensation.  I went to the bathroom to discover that my mucous plug aka bloody show was coming out.  I calmly put on a pad and went back to bed.  About an hour later I got up again and went back to the bathroom, just in time for my waters to break in the toilet.  Being half asleep, I wasn't sure if it was the water... but it seemed to be a lot of stuff that came out.  I woke V and did a quick inspection to see if the water looked clear, and went back to bed.  My midwife told us that if it happened in the middle of the night, to go to sleep (yeah right!) and call her in the morning.  After breakfast we paiged my midwife and went to see her at the clinic (it was a saturday).  She wanted to see if it was my water that broke, and instructed me to bring a pad that I had been wearing the test it.  At the clinic she did a non-stress test (which showed no contractions), and the pad appeared clean (no amniotic fluid).  She thought I wasn't in labour (although at this time I was having some slight cramping) and we went home.  I should mention at this time that we actually stopped at the vet on the way home to pick up my dog's meds while I was having contractions.

At home we tried to go back to sleep, but I kept feeling more and more uncomfortable until I couldn't handle it anymore.  I woke Vytas up and told him that I must be in labour, because my 'end of pregnancy pains and discomforts' that they midwife said I was having were getting out of control and I couldn't take it anymore (I had visions of being in pain for days).  First we tried to time the cramps (contractions), and it was impossible.  They just kept coming on top on one another.  So he paiged the midwife and told her what was happening.  She decided to make a house visit.  V then called my doula to let her know what was happening and request that she come over.

Around 2 pm my midwife showed up, and I hadn't moved from the toilet (my favourite labouring spot).  She checked me and I was 6 cm dilated.  Since I was so far along, she unpacked her bags and set up shop for the home birth.  My doula arrived not too long after that, and V's parents dropped by to pick up the dogs so they wouldn't be in the way.

I laboured from 2-midnight before I was fully dilated and could push.  However, there were moments before that when my body wanted to push and was pretty much doing it on its own.  I pretty much did very labour position possible.  I tried leaning against my birthing ball, walking the stairs, slow dancing with V, sitting on the toilet, sitting on the birthing ball, sitting in my bathtub, laying sideways on the bed with my snoogle pillow...  I had a few problems.  The main one was that I had a stubborn cervical lip, that eventually the midwife pushed to the side so her head could come through.  Aside from that, my midwife was a bit concerned about my heart rate which would dramatically go up if I was a bit more active (like walking the stairs). That led to being a bit more passive during labour, which I think probably slowed things down.   Also, I tended to bleed a bit more than usual whenever she would check me. Finally, Story's head was not descending at a good angle.  Her chin was not tucked, so it made her head really big to push out. However, let me go back to the hours of labouring.  It was exhausting!  I could manage the pain alright through breathing, but eventually I was soo tired.  In my birth plan I mentioned that I wanted to eat and drink during labour, as well as not being on my back.  Well, most of that went out the window. I liked to drink water and mango juice, but was totally turned off food.  At one point the midwives decided to order pizza around midnight (after kindly asking me if the smell would bother me-to which I lied and said it wouldn't).  I was amazed that I never through up!  Puking during labour was one of my main concerns, because when I was younger and had horrendous menstrual cramps I would always throw up.  I even made sure V brought me a puke bucket for labour (my Hunger Games popcorn bucket) which I never used!

So, after my midwife pushed the cervical lip aside after midnight I began the long pushing phase.  Some people might be scared by this phase, but I was sooo happy to reach it!  It felt good to finally be doing something active.  However, this petered out after a while, because I pushed for over 2 hours!  Since Story's head was descending with her chin up, it made her head really, really large.  I managed to push her so I could see her head in a mirror (a midwife held up one of our full length mirrors to encourage me).  But it kept slipping back.  At this point my contractions started to space further apart-like almost 10 minutes apart, which made it impossible to get her out.  The midwife consulted with us, and said at that point we needed to go to the hospital.

An ambulance was called just after 2 am.  I continued to push as we waited for it to arrive, and I even pushed while the attendants stood in my living room waiting.  The midwives really wanted me to have my home birth, but alas I needed to have some pitocin to bring my contractions back.  I looked pretty  horrendous as I readied myself for my first ambulance ride.  I had on a light purple nighty, with pj bottoms that didn't match, and rubber winter boots with no socks.  Since it was Feb and snowing I put on a wooly sweater.  I had an IV, so I carried that with me as I walked to the curb to where the stretcher was waiting.  Luckily I had packed a half assed hospital bag with some baby onesies the day before. Trying to sit on the stretcher was unpleasant, because it felt like I had a baby coming out of my bum (if you've been pregnant, you'll remember that feeling).  But other than that, the ride was pretty enjoyable!  I was happy to rest and actually wished the ride was a little longer because I knew I had some more work ahead of me.  I was feeling bad for V though, because he couldn't ride with me (the midwife had to stay with me).  Luckily we had the doula who was familiar with the hospital.  The only negative thing about the ambulance ride were the bumps, but fortunately I didn't have any bad contractions on the way.  I also found the attendants really nice.  They wished me the best after they brought me into the delivery room.

The hospital was a little eerie.  I felt like I was the only pregnant/labouring person there!  It was so quiet and deserted.  I was happy to discover that V and everyone were already there.  The midwives were fast to change and scrub up.  I waited a little while as my midwife consulted with the OB.  It was decided that they needed to administer some pitocin to bring my contractions back, and then because of Story's tilted head, a vaccine would help to guide her out.  The OB was really nice and said she was going to be a bit forceful with me to help push her out.  She shot some freezing inside the vaginal wall (which stung) but no epidural or other pain meds were administered.  Within 3 contractions, Story was out!  I was pushing so hard, that when her head came out I kept on pushing, and the midwives had to call out to stop because they didn't want me to tear (which I did).  It was an amazing feeling to have her out.  I didn't become a weepy mess, instead I was overjoyed and elated.  V got to cut the cord, and the midwife helped me pull her up to my belly and chest.  Almost immediately she peed on me, a gush or warmth, and then cried fiercely.

After we had some good skin to skin time, and some breastfeeding practice Story was weighed and went through the necessary procedures.  I also had to be stitched for my tear (without any freezing).  We signed some papers for an early release and the midwives helped clean me up.  At this point I felt disgusting-covered in multiple fluids, numb, weak etc... The student midwife was really nice and brought me a peanut butter and jam sandwhich and a water and apple juice (the first thing in 24 hours that went in my stomach!).  I did not feel tired at this point either-I had some renewed energy and was buzzing with hormones and excitement.  I had my midwife explain the placenta to me, and my doula take it away to be encapsulated.  The second student midwife who was on exchange from Denmark thanked me for letting her experience the birth, and was so gracious to me.  I was really happy that the OB took a moment to tell me not to feel bad about not having the exact birth I wanted, and I replied that I was fine with how things ended up.  Birth is not something you can dictate how to execute-you have to be flexible.

I was so amazed at how the team who helped me never seemed to get tired or grumpy-they were all there to see us off in our car.  I was pushed out in a wheel chair with the car seat on my lap.  It was around 8 am Sunday morning, cold, snowy and bright.  The drive home was like a dream.