Sunday, November 20, 2016

Elizabeth's Homebirth Story

On the 13th of November, I was really hoping to go into labor. The boys were both born on Sundays. I like the number 13. My sister Rachel was nearby, so she could've come to the birth. It was a great day for it, right? Plus I had lost my mucus plug the night before, so I hoped that meant things were happening! But other than that there were no signs of impending labor, even though I kept hoping. My braxton hicks contractions were an hour or more apart all day. 

In the evening, feeling discouraged, I went and laid down in the birth room and put on my birth playlist and napped. I kept looking at the Supermoon out the window and willing it to put me into labor. Nathaniel woke me up when he was going to bed and I opted to change into my pjs and return to the birth room. I wanted to keep soaking in the worship music I had playing, preparing the atmosphere for the birth. Will, our 5 year old, wanted to join me, so I let him.

At 1:30 am, a contraction woke me up. I've never been woken by a braxton hicks, so I figured this was it! I got up and went to the bathroom to get that out of the way. Then I had another contraction before I got back to the bedroom and I thought that was pretty quick!

I wanted to make sure the contractions kept going before I woke Nathaniel up, so I sat down on the rug in the birth room with my phone open to my contraction tracking app. I sang and rocked through the contractions. They were about 5 minutes apart and 1 minute long. At 1:55 am, I woke Nathaniel and told him this is it! Baby time!

Of course, he's like 'huh? what do you mean?' because he's not quite awake. So I tell him I'm on my 6th contraction since 1:30 and it's only 1:55 now. I'm in labor! I tell him to start making calls. 

I went back to my rug and started notifying people in between contractions, which were suddenly only 2 or 3 minutes apart. First, I called my midwife. Then I texted and notified my prayer people. Nathaniel called my mom & his and took care of my "in labor" list-- starting the diffuser and so on. He also moved Will into the other room. And of course, the night I go into labor Nathaniel was feeling sick! So he hopped in the shower quick to try to clear his congestion.

Dionne and her assistant, Lorranda, arrived at 2:20 am and I let them in, breathing through a contraction by the banister. Back upstairs, I sat on the bed and sang or vocalized through the contractions as they became more intense. All of our animals were in the room greeting our visitors. Our dog Angel was especially insistent about getting attention. Our kitty Bella jumped up on the bed and snuggled up to me. The other cats wandered through, too. My contractions were about 3 minutes apart and 1 minute long at this point.

As things got more intense, the animals left the room. I moved to my hands and knees for awhile as I dealt with back labor and then I'd sit up in between contractions. Dionne, I think, rubbed my back for a little while. When that wasn't really working, I tried lying on my side, but that wasn't much better, so I ended up going back to hands and knees.

At 3:40 am, I went and used the bathroom again and had to get through a couple contractions before and after. I found that standing up while leaning against the sink felt better than what I had been doing, so I continued that leaning over the bed in the birth room. Then my legs were getting tired, so I tried kneeling on a chair in between contractions. At 4:11 am, I even tried to lay down to rest, but as soon as I laid down, it was like NOPE! And I got right back up for more contractions.

The contractions were super intense and coming on top of each other without a break now. Sometimes leaning into the pressure of Nathaniel's hand on my shoulder helped me to get my focus away from the pain. I became almost frantic if Nathaniel tried to take his hand away. I was really emotional, overwhelmed, and worn out at this point. 

In the logical part of my head, I was thinking-- OK, this is good. This is probably transition, so I can push and be done soon! The emotional side of my brain was like-- WAAAAAHHHH! I'm tired! Can I be done now? (Think whiny child or crying baby.) I wasn't coping so well! Haha!

I asked Dionne to check me because I wanted to start pushing just enough to take the edge off. And so at 4:35 am, we found out that I was complete with a bulging bag of waters. Pushing slightly into the contractions did seem to take the edge off. I wasn't really pushing yet, but it helped.

I moved to hands and knees on the bed again to rest my muscles, but it wasn't quite working. I was trying really hard to avoid saying "ow" during contractions, but for real, my comfort measures weren't cutting it. At this point, I started praying during contractions. Lots of "Jesus," "Lord help me," and "Oh God, help me," at the peak of my contractions. And, my favorite, in between contractions I said, "I just want a break." Multiple times.

I kept thinking of trying the tub, but I couldn't find the motivation to move. Plus, what if it didn't help?! I was so unsure if it would be better or worse. (*Note to self: should have gotten in the tub before transition!)

At 5:00 am, I moved to laying on my side and for a time it was actually better. I was still just pushing enough to take the edge off. Eventually it was just as bad again and I was nearly crawling out of my skin with wanting to move and find something better but with too much indecision to actually move. I kind of wanted my leg up, but I didn't want to hold it up myself and I was too conflicted to vocalize that.

Really I needed to push but I was scared to. I was almost crying, especially when Elizabeth started kicking from the inside during contractions! OW! 

At 5:15 am, the push reflex took over my lazy push and I said, oh, that was a real push! I didn't want to give into it, so I was trying to avoid it, but that just meant it hurt a lot because I was resisting. I said things like "I don't want to push" and "it would help if I wasn't scared to push." Dionne very soothingly told me to let my body do what it needs to. To which I would reply, "I know, I know, it doesn't make sense, but I don't want to" and "I know I'm being ridiculous." She also said something soothing about your husband is here, you're fine, safe, etc. And I'm thinking stop trying to reason with the whiny child in my head, LOL! I knew (in my logical brain) that I had to push and that the sooner I did, the sooner I'd have my baby and not be in pain! But my emotional brain was whining and pouting and resisting, so I was letting them know why it was taking so long. 

By 5:27 am, I began to truly push, my body took over! No resisting possible! Plus I could feel the stretch now and there was no going back. I began to really push into it because I really wanted her out so I could be done with the ring of fire! Haha! And I think Bella must have sympathized with me, because she chose this moment to jump up on the bed and lay along my back!

My water broke at 5:34 am during a push. Dionne let me know there was light meconium, but she wasn't concerned by it. I heard her ask Lorranda to find suction equipment in case they needed to clear baby's airways. Dionne told me to put my hand behind my knee and left my leg to make room for baby and I asked for someone else to help hold my leg up. I'm not actually sure who held my leg, if it was Nathaniel or the assistant, my eyes were closed!

I kept thinking baby was crowning and then I'd push and I'd realize there was still more stretching that needed to happen! I was panting in between contractions because the stretch was so intense. Dionne told me she could see lots of hair. I asked her to support me down there during another push and she assured me she already was. They also used olive oil. At one point, there seemed to be a really long pause in between contractions and I told them, "I want to finish pushing her out. Where is a contraction when you need one?" Dionne said something about it being a nice break though.

When baby was crowning, I was surprised to hear my mom encouraging me. She had slipped in when it sounded like things were close. (She had previous permission to be in the room.)

And then baby's head was out! Dionne laughed that little girl spit out some fluid as she looked around (and because of that they chose not to suction once she was completely out). Dionne told me later that baby didn't automatically turn for the shoulders to be born, which can indicate shoulder dystocia, when the shoulders get stuck. And really, after her head was out, it wasn't the big relief like it was with the boys and so I said "I just want her out!"

So I pushed really hard with the next contraction with Dionne assisting a little and out she came, no problems, at 5:45 am on November 14th, 2016! Dionne handed her up to me and I said, "Oh baby girl, I have waited so long for you!" Nathaniel leaned in close and put his head to mine and I could tell he was emotional about his baby girl's arrival. (According to him, he felt "a slight emotion" when she was born... So stoic. LOL) He also told me later that Angel came running back into the room when Elizabeth started crying. And Lorranda told me that at the same time Bella was walking around meowing loudly seeming to "announce" Elizabeth's birth.

Within a few minutes, the placenta came out and the cord stopped pulsing, too. I was losing more blood than they liked, so I was given some Cytotec. I almost expected it. Because I got a shot of pitocin after Seth was born for the same reason and because of how much I bled when I lost Phoenix. 

My mom gushed over the baby and I told Nathaniel to invite his mom up, too. Elizabeth was fussing so I latched her and she nursed very happily while my MIL sat with us. Seth, our 3 year old, woke up around this time. He came wandering in and exclaimed, "Babies!" Then he gave hugs to everyone in the room including Dionne and Lorranda!

When they got me up to go to the bathroom and clean me up, we discovered that I had some retained membranes. Dionne pulled that out and my bleeding slowed down considerably after that. She still gave me another Cytotec because of the amount of blood I had lost. Then they settled me into an herbal bath, which was lovely and wonderful and soothing. Once I was in the tub, they brought Elizabeth to me, and she nursed some more while I relaxed in the warm water. When she wasn't nursing, she was looking for her fingers. She was so alert.

My mom had been holding Elizabeth while they were taking care of me and Seth brought her a juice cup for the baby. What a sweet big brother!

When we went back to the birth room, Dionne did footprints, weight, and length. And that is when we discovered that Elizabeth was 9 lbs and 20.5 inches! 9 lbs!!!! We were all in shock. No one was expecting 9 lbs! My little chunk! Dionne even said that when she was crowning, she kind of paused on her cheeks before her head came the rest of the way out!

Later that morning when Will woke up, my mom told him there was a surprise for him in the birth room and he came in asking what it was. I pointed out his sister in the bed next to me and his face was so sweet to watch, this expression of awe and wonder was on his face with his mouth wide open. He was so excited and happy to meet her! Then he crawled into bed and was gushing about how adorable she was, and oh her little ears, and her little toes, and so on. As he was leaving, I heard him saying how he loved his surprise.

<3 Elizabeth Joy Collelo. 4:15 hours of labor. 5:45 am. 11/14/16. 9 lbs. 20.5 inches. <3