well i spoke too soon--i think she's actually decided she wants to cluster feed in the night. NOT FUN. Porter gave me the best birthday present ever this morning, though: sleep. after she'd had me up more or less straight from 12:30-5:00 with only periodic dozing, and i was panicky with exhaustion, he took her for a diaper change and they never came back. i got two good hours in and woke up feeling a million times better. Now I can actually enjoy my birthday--we're driving up the mountain for a picnic
(Any tips on dealing with night cluster feeding would be great, if you have them. Even after draining both sides plus a good burping and a diaper change, she still woke up for a snack every 20 minutes for five hours these past two nights. It's killing me. I am going to try to take more than the one nap i've already been taking, but any way to get this pattern to change even a little? Other than time?)
I've been so busy the last week, so forgive my tardiness in congratulating you and welcoming your little girl to the world!!! I hope I have time to catch up on everything that is going on with you soon! (my in-laws leave on Friday...)
Mara & Joel, 2009
I am so glad last night was better for you. I agree that side-lying while nursing is the way to go for a better night's rest. Sometimes ackward at 1st but once you both get the hang of it its simple.
~Joy~ DS1-8/5/05, DS2-10/18/10 (VBAC#1), DS3- 4/11/12 (VBAC#2!)
I'm glad last night was better. I hope you enjoyed your b-day picnic. Yay to Porter for letting you get that sleep.
Hadley Christine: 05/17/2008
Malia Rose: 08/14/2010
Blog: Our Jones Family Experience
Birth story! Finally done! (warning: EXTREMELY long...hey, it was a really long labor!)
Adair’s birth story really begins on the fourth of July. With the birth center deadline looming only a day away, we woke up that morning feeling we needed both a break from obsessing and to do something different; we decided to buy tickets to the Toros game (independent baseball league) and fireworks display that evening, figuring babies love to ruin plans, and if not then it would be a fun distraction. In the morning I had done all of my usual natural labor inducing routine, and in the afternoon we went for a walk at the mall, since the library was closed for the holiday. By three p.m. with nothing more than Braxton Hicks going on, we called the midwife on duty as we had been told to do, and met her at the birth center for a membrane strip. It was Kerry, our favorite midwife, and she was great. She did the membrane strip very gently, told me I was at a good 2cm and about 50% effaced, and talked with us about all we’d been doing. One last thing she suggested we could try was to add blue cohosh to the routine alternating with the black I was already taking. We stopped and bought some on the way home, and I started it right away. I started getting a few stronger contractions, and felt a little encouraged, but still nothing serious was going on so we headed out to the game.
The parking lot was full, so we had to park about a quarter mile away and walk, which I figured was good for me anyway, and indeed the contractions did seem to be ramping up a little bit. While at the game, I was keeping an eye on the scoreboard clock; the contractions were strong for Braxton Hicks, and seemed to be about every six minutes, eventually slowing a bit. Very interesting. We made it through the game and fireworks (Porter nearly caught a foul ball!) and had a great time; the walk back to the car kept those contractions going, and once we got home they’d stayed strong enough and regular enough that I wanted to stay up a little longer to see if I could keep them going. I stayed up, bouncing on my ball and kneeling backward on the couch, until about 1am, when I was so tired I figured it would be a good idea to get some rest either way. Real labor wouldn’t stop, and if I was going to have a baby, I needed some sleep.
Throughout the night, I had contractions strong enough to wake me up every hour or so, and at 6:45 I just gave in and got up. This was the very last day I could birth at the center. Unfortunately, with my morning coffee, the contractions spaced out farther and farther and finally pretty much stopped. I was disappointed, but figured at least they must have done some work. I called the birth center and met the midwife on duty that day, Sandy, at about 9:45 for a last-ditch membrane strip (my third total) and an NST. Baby was doing great, but I was still only at a 2 and 50%. After the strip, we went to the mall for our daily walk, and found that the contractions were definitely picking back up again. We cut the walk short, quickly bought a new board game and some cards with a gift certificate we had, and went home.
I started my cohosh regimen, and we ate some lunch and played the new game, with me bouncing on my yoga ball, and started timing the contractions with ContractionMaster. By about 3:00 pm, they had been between 4-6 minutes apart for hours, and were strong and painful enough that I had to pause in the game and really rock and concentrate through them. I called Sandy and told her what was going on. She agreed that it sounded good, but told me to labor at home as long as possible and come in when it felt like we were progressed enough to need help. This was a little hard for me to call, since I’d read so much about Hypnobirthing moms being so relaxed that even when very far along they could talk through contractions (...not that I was actually doing relaxations at this point, so I’m not sure why I thought that would apply to me). I also felt everything only in my lower belly, and kept wondering if that meant they weren’t “real”, since most of the “how to tell false labor from real labor” things I read said real contractions came from your back (mine never did). But although my contractions were already quite strong and difficult to talk through, I definitely didn’t feel like baby was exactly imminent yet, so we kept up with what we were doing for another few hours, ate some dinner, and decided to go for a short walk to see if it would get things even more progressed. The activity seemed to get the contractions closer, so to stay on my feet we had a bit of a dance party in the living room when we got back. By 9pm, with only hours left until my deadline and contractions about two and a half minutes apart and still strong enough that it was a challenge to talk through them, we made the decision to head on in. We had a 25 minute ride ahead of us, and it was starting to sound pretty unpleasant.
My check upon arrival revealed that I was now at 4cm, yay progress! But still only 50% effaced. We got set up in one of the birthing rooms (not the nice big one--another couple from our centering class was laboring in there) and Sandy left us alone to do our thing. We spent the next eight hours mostly alone except for quick check ins, laboring in every position we could think of, including the tub (a regular size one--okay but not great). At some point a couple of hours in, I reached the stage where I needed to moan to get through each contraction; they were really hard to handle, but Porter was great about helping me remember to visualize, relax as much as possible, and breathe through them. He also kept me supplied with music and affirmations, light massage, water, and moral support. But things were getting pretty intense. We were also getting really exhausted--I hadn’t slept much at all the night before, and now it was getting into the wee hours of the morning again. I finally convinced Porter to go lie down and get some rest so he could keep his strength up to be there for me as things got farther along. I was at a stage where I was in a lot of pain during contractions, but I felt I could make it through them okay on my own for a little while, and it was only going to get harder. So he snatched a couple of hours of sleep while I continued to try different positions and moan/rock my way through increasingly intense contractions. I wanted nothing more in the whole world than to lie down and be able to rest in between, but lying down made the contractions space farther apart but get WAY more intense, to the point that I would start to panic. So that was out. I finally found that sitting on the yoga ball with my head and arms on the bed was the closest to resting I could get. I also liked kneeling on the bed with my head and arms on the yoga ball, and did that a lot while Porter was napping.
I won’t go through every moment, and I may have a bit of this out of order (I wasn’t exactly taking notes!) but suffice it to say that we spent about seven hours this way, and finally Sandy came in about 4:45 to give me another check and see how things were progressing. The answer, unfortunately, was that they weren’t really much at all. I was only about a 5-6 and still only 50% effaced. After all that! She asked if I wanted her to break my water, but since I was so not progressed, I was really worried that it would put me on the clock without a lot of hope for making the deadline, so I opted to wait. She suggested I try to do some walking and be upright more, so we did that for a while, but really we mostly just did more of the same trying different positions and just taking each contraction as it came. They were staying about 4-5 minutes apart this whole time, according to some timing Porter did on request.
At 7:00am, it was shift change. Sandy came in and said goodbye, and Fran came on. I was in the tub when she came in and checked on us, so she didn’t do another cervical exam, but did let me know that she thought I should try to rest and then do a little more active laboring to help move things along. She also brought Porter some coffee, which was a key moment in revitalizing our efforts; it signaled a new day. Shortly after this, she came in again and told us we’d be handled by her backup midwife, Judy, as she had to accompany the other laboring couple to the hospital. Judy was introduced and told me I should do whatever it took to get a little rest (I was really losing it, I was just so sleepy on top of everything else) and that she’d come back in about an hour and check me. I finally decided I was too tired to care about the horrible side-lying contractions, and did labor that way for about an hour, just for the sake of the 5 minute naps in between. When Judy came in and checked me around 9 am, I was still only at about a 6, and maybe 90% effaced. At this point I’d been laboring at the center for 12 hours and hard enough to not be able to speak through contractions for 18. That I still had so far to go wasn’t great news for any of us. Baby was still doing fine, but otherwise this was really getting to be hard to take, mainly due to the longevity of it all. She said she was going to strip my membranes again to try to encourage more dilation, which I readily agreed to--the minute she put her finger up there, though, there was a big gush and my water broke all over the chux pad. She said “You know, sometimes I break people’s water on purpose a little, but I didn’t even have to this time--it was ready to go.” A little annoyance that she might have done it on purpose without okaying it with me flittered through my mind, but I quickly decided I was okay with it, all things considered. She said I really needed to get upright and help these contractions get moving, so we hauled me up and did some dancing and squatting and other more active positions, although actually walking was a little beyond me at that point.
More time passed. More terrible, painful contractions, more Porter massaging and supporting and talking me through them. More offering me juice to keep my strength up, which left a horrible taste in my mouth (I’d gotten kind of nauseous by now) followed by water chasers. Somebody came and asked if we wanted to move to the big room with the tub now that it was vacant, and I said yes--I’d dreamed of birthing in that tub for months, I wasn’t going to miss a chance! They filled it while we labored a little longer in the first room, and then we made the switch. A bunch of nurses had started to kind of hover, so Porter kicked them all out and let me have a little time laboring in the big tub just the two of us. I liked it but started getting really hot and finally the overheating won out so I moved to the bed.
More labor, painful time passing. Judy came in and checked me. Not much progress, STILL. At this point she got pretty serious and said “Okay, look. Your baby is healthy and happy in there and doing just fine. Your pelvis is beautiful, and you are doing a great job. You are going to have this baby. There is no doubt. But we’re on the clock now because of your water, and we do need to get things moving. We have two choices: we can go over to the hospital and give you a little pitocin and the baby will come out, no question. Or, if you prefer, we can try blue and black cohosh for a couple of hours here first--it can help get those contractions stronger and closer together.” (me: MOAN) “I know, but that’s what we need to get this baby out.”
So that’s what we did. Nurses brought me alternating doses of cohosh every half hour three times. I got back in the tub--I was really starting to lose it now. We’d reached “I can’t do this. I’d rather die than have another contraction.” etc etc stage. I’d started feeling pushing urges, and it terrified me because I thought it wasn’t possible that I could be ready in such a short time (after all those hours and hours of non-progressive laboring) at all. A nurse overheard a little of this, and moments later Judy came in all smiles and said “I hear you’re saying all the right things now! Let’s give you another check.” She checked me in the tub. I was sure her next words would be “6-7 cm, 90%. Time is short now, let’s go to the hospital.” But instead she said, “Do you want some good news? You’re a 9, with just a tiny lip you can definitely push past. If you feel the urge, go with it.” I nearly cried, but instead just wailed “I do feel them, I do! I can push, it’s really okay?” Yep, really okay.
I had a brief moment of hope that this was it. Finally, it would be OVER. To be completely honest, I’d practically forgotten about the baby by now, I just needed out of this pain more than I’d ever needed anything in my life.
Here’s what I remember from the couple of hours of pushing that followed:
-Porter drizzling icy cold water over my head and chest between every contraction because I was SO hot in the tub until I would call “HAND!!” and he’d stop to let me break his fingers through another pushing contraction.
-Judy trying to keep me positive but really kind of making things worse by making me think we were closer to done than we really were (leading to crushing disappointment after each contraction ended without a baby and I knew I would have at least one more to get through)
-Judy asking if I wanted to feel her head--it was still inside a little, and I put my finger in and felt, well, what felt like a hairy jellyfish. Me: “It’s squishy!!!!!!” Judy: “Totally normal! It won’t be squishy when she’s out, I promise!”
-A nurse asking Judy “Shoulders?” once this stage. too, started really dragging on. Judy said “I thought that too, but no--there’s plenty of room. I think she’s just pushing up.” Then some coaching on how I needed to be directing my energy (which really helped).
Finally they tried holding my legs back, and we got her out a couple of inches but she wouldn’t go farther. Judy said if I moved to the bed she’d be out in a couple of pushes, and I was so far beyond any kind of argument and so hot anyway, so I somehow managed to walk over to the bed with two inches of baby head sticking out. Somewhere around eight or ten pushing contractions later, with Porter holding one leg, a nurse the other, and me reaching deep down through time and space and generations to find bits of strength I didn’t know I had, that baby finally came out. I felt her head come out (small moment of relief at the neck) kept pushing, opened my eyes when she was out to her waist and saw purplish baby back streaked with vernix. Next thing, she was on my chest and I suddenly remembered what all of this had been for. My baby.
The next period was also a bit of a blur, but a much happier one. Adair laid on my chest and I tried to reorient myself to a whole new world suddenly, with baby and with all that pain finally behind me. I almost couldn’t believe it. The cord stopped pulsing after a minute or two, and Porter cut it. We stared at and cuddled the baby, entranced. Judy told me I had to push the placenta out--I was so annoyed to have to do more work, but one hard push, and it was out. Unpleasant for sure, but nothing compared to pushing a baby out! She took a look and said it had come out all in one piece, which was great, but it had started to calcify. That made me feel a little better about having tried so hard to go into labor...I had a little guilt about trying to meet an arbitrary deadline, but at the same time if my placenta was calcifying, it was certainly time for this baby to be born (whether she thought so or not!).
After the placenta was out, there was some examination and a little stitching, while up top a nurse told me to try nursing. She latched on pretty much right away, which was nicely distracting from the activity below. I had a first degree (“...with a little ‘plus’, but we’ll call it a first degree.”) tear. I felt the stitching, which sounds so awful but it was really more of a “hey, OW.” after everything else. Then she massaged my uterus, which was was really painful that first time, but after that no big deal (they did it once an hour over the next four). After a couple of hours had passed, Adair on my chest the whole time, she finally passed out and I gave her over to be weighed and measured and then have some daddy kangaroo time while I took a quick shower. The pediatrician came and did her check while I was in there. While I dried off, he talked to me through the door to make sure I didn’t have any specific questions, and said everything looked great. I came out to find Porter holding Adair in the rocker, singing to her while she slept peacefully on his chest. So sweet. We all crawled back into bed together and decided to call in all the parents for first viewing...and get them to bring us some FOOD. Best sandwich I’ve ever eaten in my entire life, hands down. They all finally left around 8pm, we had one last check by the nurses, and then all curled up together for some MUCH needed sleep.
About midnight, Adair started rustling, and I woke Porter up. It was perfect timing; the nurse came in a minute later, and I asked her if we decided to stay longer if we’d have to move back to the other room (we were still in the good, sought-after room with the big tub, and they like to keep it available for people in labor, understandably!) She said yes, so we decided if we were going to have to pack up anyway, we might as well go home. So, around 12:30 am, we left the birth center, minus one big pregnant belly and plus the most precious baby in the world.