awwwwwwwww itty bitty fluff is the best
DS Ethan 1/29/08,
DD Lola 2/2/10
DS2 Weston 2/18/12
Woo Hoo to your cloth arriving! So cute!
I'm glad day 2 is going well and she is BF well with all those poops!
Sounds like you guys are doing a great job.
~Joy~ DS1-8/5/05, DS2-10/18/10 (VBAC#1), DS3- 4/11/12 (VBAC#2!)
EDD: October 5th, 2010
Arrival: 8:56 pm September 25th, 2010 (38 weeks, 4 days)
7 lbs 6 oz
20 inches long
34 cm head circ
Friday night, the 24th of September, seems like a reasonable place to begin our birth story. I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions for months and although I was pretty sure she had dropped and I had lost the tiniest bit of mucus plug the day before, I did not think she was coming any time soon. My mother’s and both grandmothers’ pregnancies had all gone very late so I was preparing for the long haul. After work on Friday, we met up with my Dad and his girlfriend, Barbara, for dinner. They were driving through town on their way to San Diego and my Dad wanted to see my big preggo belly and join us for what could be (and was!) our last grownup dinner for a while.
Dinner was excellent and it was really nice to see my Dad and Barbara. They had decided to stay in a hotel that evening rather than using our guest room/nursery. I was desperate for a swim so we hit up the pool at their hotel after dinner. Even though the pool was a little cold it was heaven! My only regret this pregnancy was not swimming more! I sat on the upper most step of the hot tub for a bit, which felt marvelous on my hips. After our swim we said goodbye and headed home. On the way home we contemplated just how hard it would be to sneak into local hotels just to use their pools .
At 3 am, I awoke to a big GOOOSH of warm liquid. I thought to myself, “nah couldn’t be.” The next big goosh a few seconds later confirmed that my water had indeed broken. Izzy was sleeping in the guest room (he has back issues that make sleeping on our pillow top painful sometimes), so I called out to him. He was fast asleep and, oddly enough, dreaming that our little one was a boy with dark hair and that we were in a birth center in Egypt. The dogs heard me yelling first and started barking, which woke Izzy up and sent him running into our bedroom. I calmly told him my water had broken and asked him for a towel. He ran off and returned with one of our nice towels so I asked him to go get an old one. I was a little scared to check the color of the fluid so I asked him to do it. He was so nervous! He said he thought it was clear but he couldn’t tell for sure (our sheets are yellow) so I looked down and was relieved to see that it was completely clear. I wrapped myself in the towel and hopped to the bathroom where I had several more gooshes.
I started having my first “real” contractions a few minutes later. They were different from my Braxton Hicks contractions in that my entire belly got hard and the discomfort sensation was, well …. different. I called my birth center’s answering service and received a call back from the Judy, the MW on duty, at 3:15 am. We chatted and she recommended that because I was GBS negative and had clear fluid, that I wait and call back at 7 am even though it is generally their policy to see women within an hour or two of their water breaking. This was the first of many times that day I was grateful to have chosen to be seen by midwives as an OB would have wanted me to rush in instead of going back to bed to get some rest.
Before trying to get back to sleep, we finished packing our bags and Izzy made a little “labor nest” in the back of the car for me. The thought that we would soon be meeting our daughter had both of us excited. I remained calm while Izzy battled a black widow spider, which had taken up residency near our blender (of all the nights, seriously). My contractions were coming about every 5-10 minutes, lasting about a minute each and were really easy. So, back to bed we went.
At 6:15 am, my contractions were still coming about 5 -10 minutes apart, the sun was up, and I couldn’t sleep any longer. I called my mom and told her what was happening. After she wished me luck I went to the bathroom and lost a large amount of my mucus plug. Izzy appeared to be sleeping soundly so I fixed myself an English muffin and emailed my boss to ask him to take care of an experiment I was planning to finish that morning. This was also my way of telling him I’d be going on maternity leave a week earlier than we had planned. At 6:45 am, I woke Izzy up, called my Dad to let him know that we wouldn’t be able to make it to breakfast, and whipped out my breast pump to see if I could get my contractions coming a little stronger. I pumped for about 10 minutes on each breast and to my surprise got a full ounce! It also brought my contractions closer together and made them a little stronger. But, as soon as I stopped they slowed back down again.
At 7 am, I called the birth center again and got Fran (I really like Fran) this time. She asked us to meet her at the birth center at 8 am. After feeding the dogs, we headed out. My contractions were still easy so I didn’t need my labor nest and just sat up front with my facemask on so I could stay in my happy place despite Izzy’s propensity towards aggressive driving :P. When we arrived, Fran showed us to our room (the big birthing suite ), checked my vitals and did a quick NST, which we passed beautifully. She then did my first cervical check and found me to be 3 cm dilated but not fully effaced. My contractions were still about 5 minutes apart so she suggested we go for a walk. We walked to Starbucks (~1.5 miles roundtrip) to get Izzy a coffee and we picked up a sandwich (which, Izzy says, was horrible) and yogurt parfait (which was OK) as well. During our walk, my contractions picked up to about 2-2.5 minutes apart and they were slowing me down noticeably although I could still talk through them. The whole walk I kept thinking to myself, “let’s get to 5 cm by the time we get back!” I’d worked up a sweat and wanted to rinse off when we returned to the birth center at 10 am so I hopped into the shower.
My last belly pic
At 10:30 am, my Dad and Barbara stopped by on their way out of town to wish us luck and give us a really sweet card. By this time my contractions had spaced out to about 6-7 minutes but were still as strong. Fran mentioned that we were, unfortunately, on the clock and I had to be showing signs of progress by about 3 pm (12 hours post-rupture) if we wanted to avoid a transfer. I understood the gravity of the situation but my Hypnobirthing training helped me to stay calm. I knew that letting the threat of transfer get me worked up would ultimately lead to a transfer. Izzy, on the other hand, was suffering (silently) with this news. So, with the threat of a transfer looming, we whipped out my breast pump and got those contractions back up to 2-3 minutes apart by 11:15 am by pumping on each breast for 10 minutes. About this time I felt the urge to poo (yay!) and had a few really good contractions while on the toilet. We spent some time pacing my birth suite and the patio outside.
At 1:15 pm, my contractions were stronger but had spaced to about 4-5 minutes apart. Fran could tell my contractions were stronger by feeling my stomach. So, she held off on another cervical check and went to check what herbs she had while we tried laboring in different positions. I found that I didn’t like the birth ball one bit. I was feeling all my contractions in my stomach and sitting on the ball forced my to engage my abdominals, which I did not like because I could not relax my muscles. Between contractions I would pace and when one hit I would sit in the rocking chair or straddle a chair on the patio. Again my Hypnobirthing training helped me to relax and sink into each contraction while imagining my cervix thinning and opening.
At 2:30 Fran checked me and I was 4 cm but still not fully effaced. She brought us some homeopathic black and blue cohosh and asked me to alternate between the two, taking 3 every 15 minutes and then 3 of each on the hour. Neither Izzy or I are strong believers in homeopathics but I took them as I figured they certainly couldn’t hurt. Izzy kept referring to them as my sugar pills, which made me laugh. He was getting pretty nervous about a transfer but he was such a good birth partner he didn’t let on that he was nervous one bit. Instead, he took charge and helped me pump again. This time I pumped both breasts simultaneously for 5 minutes on 5 minutes off, which definitely made my contractions stronger and gave me the urge to poo again.
At 3 pm, my contractions were stronger still and Fran trusted that I was progressing but wanted me laboring harder so she suggested we walk the halls as it was too hot to walk outside (we do live in Tucson!). So, we did laps around the birth center until about 4:15 pm. We walked at a fairly fast clip and I would hang on Izzy when a contraction hit. During one of my laps I started to feel nauseous and ducked into a bathroom. I didn’t puke in the bathroom but did puke in a trash can as I was walking out. Yay for puke was all I could think! At 4:15, we tried the breast pump as my contractions had spaced yet again. After a round or two I felt nauseous again and puked. Although I knew this was a good sign, I do not handle puking very well so I decided to lay down for just a little while. Fran asked me how I was feeling and I told her I just to stop chasing labor already! I really wished I would just reach the point where my body would take over. While I was lying down my contractions got even stronger and became more frequent. After this point, we stopped timing them.
Listening to my Hypnobirthing tracks at the beginning of real labor
At 5:30 pm, I was finally feeling like I needed to do something to help manage my pain during contractions and I could no longer talk through them. I asked the nurse (a different Judy) to get me a heat pack. At this point, I favored sitting on the toilet with the heat pack on my belly. I think this is also when I started to make a little noise during contractions. I was finally beginning to understand why women might want to get an epidural but this was not an option for me at the birth center. The tub was beckoning me but Fran said (and I knew) that I should wait until I was at least 5 cm and fully effaced to get in or else my contractions might space and this would be a problem as I was on that awful clock. At 6:30 pm, I asked to get into the tub. Fran started it filling and checked me. I was indeed 5 cm and fully effaced, hooray! So, I got in. Holy cow did I love that tub! The moment my belly hit the water I questioned why any woman would ever want to give birth without a tub!
Loving the tub
Things start to get a little blurry from here on in. Thankfully, Izzy faithfully took notes for as long as he could. His 6:30 pm entry says, “Erin got into tub. Fran checked first 5cm, 100% effaced. She looks pretty.” As I labored in the tub he fanned me to keep my head and neck cool. I rested on my hands and knees against the wall of the tub and made long huuuuuuuh groans with each breath out during contractions. Making noise really helped me to keep my breathing slow and steady and to let my body stay relaxed.
Judy (nurse) let us know that she would soon be relieved by another nurse, Fania, and that the new nurse would be in to check my vitals in about 15 minutes. As Judy was leaving, I felt myself pushing a little. I was worried that I was pushing too soon so I let her know. She told me to just do what felt right and went to talk to Fran who was with another soon-to-be mom. My pushing sensations went from momentary to lasting the full length of my contractions pretty quickly. Fania arrived about the same time as Fran came back to check in on me.
At some point Fran came in to tell us that the other mom needed her but that she had called her backup MW, Judy. Judy arrived shortly after and came in to check on us. She filled the sink with ice and brought ice-cold towels for Izzy to put on my back. I fell in love with Judy at this moment. I remember thinking to myself that this had better be transition because I wasn’t sure if I could handle it if things were going to get much more intense. After a few particularly intense contractions I momentarily thought that heading to the hospital for an epidural didn’t sound like a bad idea. But, I kept that thought to myself and concentrated even harder on relaxing. At 7:15 pm, Judy asked me to turn around so she could check me and I had made it to 8 cm. Woot, this was indeed transition! Judy asked Izzy if he had brought a bathing suit so he could get into the tub. Rather than searching for his suit, he jumped into the tub in his underwear. I remember wondering why he wouldn’t grab his suit but I suppose time was of the essence at that point. Izzy was a little worried that Judy’s hands-on techniques would annoy me but I didn’t care one bit because she had brought me those heavenly ice-cold towels. Izzy was also worried I might bash my face into the tub as I looked a little precariously perched in the tub. He asked if my arms were getting tired and if I needed help supporting myself. Apparently, I responded that I didn’t care if my arms got tired. He asked me if I felt like I was going to fall. I forcefully said I was fine and asked that the flow of heavenly ice towels not stop. Fran checked me one last time and announced that I was complete and baby was at about 0 station! Oh sweet relief, I thought, as I began to bear down with my pushing sensations. I’ve heard many women say that pushing feels good. I’ll say it felt right or at least better than not pushing.
Somewhere in here Judy took off. I was still on my hands and knees with my butt pointed toward Fran and she asked me to flip over if I could. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that so I asked if I could stay put. Fran said it was fine but she mentioned that if I were to birth in my current position I would need to keep my butt (and baby) low in the water and flip over before bringing her up out of the water. I remained in this position for a few more contractions and then asked if she thought it might help (as in bring the baby down) if I flipped over and she suggested that I flip over now as she thought it might help me push more effectively. She helped to reposition me and I found that in my new position I could use the power of my legs to push against the opposite side of the tub while holding myself up with my arms. It was then that I could feel the baby moving down. Each contraction brought me closer and closer to meeting my little girl. I felt like my pushing was accomplishing more and at 8:45 pm I could feel the baby beginning to crown. Fran had been sitting at the edge of the tub and asked me to tell her when I felt stinging. I responded that I WAS feeling stinging during the next contraction. Fran asked Izzy to call for Fania because we would be needing warm blankets soon. This got me really excited but I guess it didn’t show.
My contractions then spaced out from being nearly right on top of one another to maybe 4-5 minutes apart but much more intense, which I welcomed. It gave me time to relax and regroup in between contractions and allowed the baby to stretch my perineum. Izzy (who was sitting beside the tub not wanting to get back in and get in my way) says my belly looked really crazy and I was breathing heavily. For a few contractions I felt like the baby’s head was right there! Fran said I could reach down and touch it. I did quickly as I was supporting myself with my arms. I felt a squishy little blob and asked if she had hair. Izzy said she did (but didn’t tell me what color is was)! After maybe 7-8 contractions of her head almost making it’s way out I decided that this needed to end NOW. When the next contraction hit (thankfully it was very long) I bore down with all my might the entire time and pushed out the head. Fran helped maneuver my perineum over the head as Izzy jumped into the tub. Fran told me that the baby would be here with the next contraction. When it hit, Fran helped the baby turn and at 8:56 pm, the whole body slipped out into the water. It was the most exquisite feeling I have ever felt in my entire life. All the pain was gone and suddenly there was a baby, covered head to toe in vernix, with dark wavy hair (we were expecting a blonde!) lying on my chest. I lifted the baby’s leg and asked Izzy if she was indeed a girl (his dream had me worried). When I saw girl parts I turned to look into her eyes and said, “Hello, Teagan.” Teagan didn’t cry but made little chirpy grunting noises as she tested out her lungs. I rubbed her back. She was so sticky! Izzy was crying. We kissed and stared at the new little person we had just brought into the world.
The tub water was bright red but I didn’t care one bit. With the help of Izzy, Fran, and Fania, I stepped out of the tub and carried Teagan over to the bed to deliver the placenta. With Teagan on my chest and Izzy by my side we bonded as a new family. My last few contractions had spaced out so much before Teagan arrived and I wasn’t having any at all so Fran asked Fania to prep a shot of pitocin to help get the placenta out. They told me later that they were worried I might be hemorrhaging because of the amount of blood in the water. I didn’t feel the shot at all and within 10-15 minutes I felt a contraction and pushed out the placenta with little effort. Fran announced, “it’s a placenta!” and put it in a bowl beside me. Only then did she clamp the cord and Izzy cut it.
Cutting the cord
Fran asked me to turn to assess my tearing. With Teagan still on my chest covered in warm blankets and with a little help from Fania, I swiveled to the edge of the bed and propped my legs up on a chair. Fania declared that she had never seen anyone move so quickly. While I marveled at the little wonder squirming on my chest, Fran gave me a few stitches to repair some minor labial tearing. To my delight my perineum was completely intact. She commented that the reason there may have been so much blood was due to the tear.
Fran showed us the placenta (those things are cool!) and left shortly afterwards (she had been there as long as we had and had delivered two babies). The three of us laid in bed as a new family. Teagan was rooting around so I put her to my breast and she latched on immediately. What a powerful suck reflex she has! Her little eyes darted around taking everything in. We made a few phone calls and after about an hour and a half I wanted to get up and shower so that I could begin to feel human again. Izzy held Teagan while Fania helped me out of bed and insisted upon hanging out while I showered. I think she was terribly afraid I might faint. After I rinsed off, I curled up in bed and Izzy and Fania weighed and measured Teagan. Teagan kicked her hands away while she tried to get her length measurement!
Teagan was super alert and we nursed several times in her first few hours. I asked Fania to help me pee. She brought me tucks pads, dermoplast, and a peri bottle. Then she brought us microwave lasagna for dinner and we settled in for the night (as much as two new parents possibly can). Teagan fussed quite a bit that first night and we got very little sleep. She finally settled down around 6 am just in time for Fania to come in and tell us our pediatrician would be coming by shortly for her first checkup. After the doctor checked her briefly, Fania brought us bagels for breakfast. While we ate bagels we made the final decision on her middle name, Tesla. Slowly, we packed up and were ready to leave around 8 am. After chatting with Fania and Judy (nurse) for a little while we headed out to begin our new life with our beautiful daughter.
Your birth story is just beautiful, Erin, thank you for sharing with us! It sounds like it was a little iffy there for awhile, but it all moved as it should. Teagan is such a cutie and I agree with your husband, you DO look pretty in the tub. Very powerful and intense.
Bravo, sweetie, enjoy your new daughter!
Wonderful story! You have me in tears at the moment she is born. I'm glad that everything went well and that you were able to birth at the center and have the things that you wanted. Love all the pics! You did an amazing job. Congrats again!
~Joy~ DS1-8/5/05, DS2-10/18/10 (VBAC#1), DS3- 4/11/12 (VBAC#2!)
What a beautiful story, Erin! Congratulations! You did a wonderful job...I hear you on wanting labour to take over instead of relying on the pump. And you look FABULOUS in your pics. So fresh faced for someone who'd just given birth! Gorgeous baby girl too!