Monday, January 18, 2016

LENA'S HOME BIRTH STORY

 

I know there are at least a few people who think I'm kinda crazy for having a home birth.  I know this because people told me I was crazy for having a natural birth with Violet.  To be fair though, I did tell people that I was bringing a hot-plate to the hospital so I could cook up my placenta afterwards and never mentioned I was joking.

It wasn't until we moved to Texas that I even considered having a home birth.  Our home in Louisiana was just a little too far from a hospital to feel comfortable about giving birth at our house, but our new home is less than 5 minutes away, so I decided to start researching the possibility.  It really didn't take much convincing though, because I hate hospitals.  There were a few months during my pregnancy where I was under the care of a high-risk OB because of a low-lying placenta and I feared that not only would I have to deliver in a hospital, but I might need to be induced, or worse have a c-section.  Thankfully though, my placenta moved to where it needed to go and I was cleared for a home birth.  Hooray!

Two weeks before my due date, I got a call from my midwife.  She needed some unexpected surgery and wouldn't be able to deliver my baby.  Had this been my first pregnancy, this is probably where I would have freaked out.  Being my second though, I really didn't care who delivered my baby, as long as they knew what they were doing. 

A week before my due date, I woke up around 1:00 a.m. with mild contractions that felt like menstrual cramps.  The day before, I had my 39 week appointment and we were trying to guesstimate when I might go into labor because my in-laws were coming in town in a few days to help with Violet.  I was only dilated 1 cm and my midwife said, "Well, I don't think you'll go into labor tonight or even tomorrow."  That's called irony, folks.

I tried to sleep through contractions until I went into active labor, which was about five hours later.  Contractions during this time felt stronger, longer, and more painful, but definitely bearable.  One thing I learned during my labor with Violet was the more you tense up during contractions, the longer labor will last.  When the contractions got to the point where I needed to brace myself, I tried to calmly breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth until it had passed.

At 6:00 a.m., I called my midwife, or rather my back-up midwife, and let her know it was game time. Also at this time, Jon started getting the inflatable birthing pool ready.  It took about five minutes to inflate.  While it was inflating, Jon removed the shower head and connected a long hose to it that fed the water into the pool.  In total, it took a little over an hour to fill the birthing pool.  Jon also laid down some plastic sheets on the floor and a canvas drop-cloth on the bed to protect it from water and possibly blood.

At about 7:30 a.m., I was finally able to get into the birthing pool.  I'm not sure why, but it just feels more comfortable to be in labor in warm water, so it was a relief to finally get in.  I knew that I had about two hours until Violet would be waking up, and since there was no way Jon's mom would make it in time, I felt an urgency to deliver before she woke up.

At about 8:30 a.m., I started to go into the transition phase of labor.  Contractions were long, intense and definitely painful (though not as painful as I remembered them being with Violet), with about a minute's break between them.  While I tried to find a comfortable position to labor in, my midwife told me that if I could bear it, kneeling in a lunge position would speed things up.  This position was definitely more painful.  I could feel Lena squirming and it caused some intense pressure in my pelvic region.  My midwife showed Jon how he could help relieve some of this pain by hold my hips with an inward pressure while I rocked side-to-side slightly as I went into a contraction.  Despite the intensity of this position, I chose to be in it because I knew I couldn't delay the inevitable.  I've been through a 12 hour labor before, and if I could do anything to speed things up this time, I was all for it.  I'd say that this part of labor was the most painful.  In fact, I may have dropped the f-bomb a few times.

At 9:29 a.m., after eight hours of labor, I began pushing.  I don't really remember much about this time because it all happened so quickly.  As Lena was crowning, my midwife asked if I wanted to feel her head.  I said no, because I wanted to just get this over with.  As Lena's head was coming out, my midwife told me to try to push very gently, allowing my contraction to push her out, which prevents tearing.  Once her head was born, my midwife told me to give one more big push for her body.  I remember thinking, "This is going to hurt," and I pushed with every ounce of energy left in me.  After only six minutes of pushing, Lena Rose emerged, and I reached down and pulled her onto my chest.

 
During this pregnancy, one of my biggest concerns was what to do with Violet when I went into labor.  We'd recently moved to Texas and our closest family was six hours away.  We had friends who could help with Violet if there was an emergency, but at the time Violet seemed to be going through separation anxiety.  I was really worried about how traumatic it could be for her if she had to go with people she didn't really know well.  I tried to put these worries at the back of my mind though, and just pray for the best.  And really, things could not have happened more perfectly.  I went into labor in the middle of the night while Violet was sleeping and literally while I was pushing, she woke up and I could hear her singing her ABC's.  I'm so thankful things went so smoothly, but I'm mostly thankful to be able to have given birth in my own home, in my own room, while my daughter slept soundly in hers.

P.S.  I always get excited when I hear someone wants to have a natural birth, so if anyone has any questions, feel free to comment or e-mail!