Thursday, June 24, 2010

My Very Own Birth Story

As I reflect back to a week ago, I am glad we are through that. But, I am sad that my baby is already almost a week old. We are definitely cherishing each and every moment - even the night time feedings. A week ago I was in labor. In fact, I was about to start active labor this very moment I am writing. Whew...again, I am glad it is over. I need a little time to gather my thoughts before I write out the entire birth story. I have had many people anxiously waiting to hear it. Maybe it is because I am a doula, and pregnancy, birth, and babies are my work that everyone is expecting an amazing, incredible, joyous, peaceful birth story. You know, just because I am a doula, I think that I had to experience a birth that was quite far from this. My work with women will ever be changed by my birth experience. It was long. It was very difficult at times. We had some unexpected things happen. But, in the end, Eli was born at home. He was born in the middle of the living room in the water in the presence of 5 midwives, 1 chiropractor, my mom, my sister, my husband, and me. He is perfect and healthy in every way. As of right now, it is difficult for my family and husband to talk about this experience. When I am able, I will post the whole birth story, but here are some highlights.

My mom arrived on Monday night, June 14th - the due date. On Tuesday, the 15th, I went to work at Gladney. I stayed for about an hour and then didn't really feel up to being there so I came home. Mom and I ran some errands and did some last minute shopping instead. That afternoon we did a belly cast out of plaster of paris strips which was so fun. I am excited to paint it when the inspiration comes to me. When Scott got home from work that night we ate dinner and then game 6 of the NBA finals was on. Scott watched that while Mom and I played Racko. I was feeling uncomfortable, but nothing far different than "normal". I did have to sit on a ball for a while because of the slight cramping. At about 11:15 we decided to call it a night. While filling my water and taking the evenings vitamins and herbs, I felt a little wetness. I went in and sat on the bed to have a small contraction and felt more water come out. Then, I got up to go to the bathroom and when I sat down I felt a small gush. It wasn't a lot, but I called out to Scott and Mom that I thought my water had broken. They kind of got excited. I watched it for a few minutes as more came out and discovered it was not clear. Because of the presence of meconium, I called the midwives. They decided it would be best to come and assess the situation. They arrived at about 1:00am. They checked me. Eli (still Baby R at this point) still had a bag of water over the head, but it definitely was water that was leaking. At that time, I was 3cm and 30-40% effaced. His head was kinked. I had my wonderful friend and chiropractor, Rachel, on call for me so we gave her a call to come and adjust my pelvis to see if this would help relieve the pain that had started in my back and the kink in Eli's neck. When she left, I tried to rest. I got a short massage from Mom because my back was beginning to hurt and then I went to bed. It was 4:30am. The midwives had decided to stay and sleep at the house and at 6:00am they came in to check my vitals. I was definitely in labor by this point. Throughout the morning we did things like eat breakfast, go for walks, climb stairs, hula on the birth ball, etc. Labor became very intense at about 1:00pm. From this point on, it wasn't very fun. I will continue from here when I am ready, but for now I will just tell you that it became a long, hard journey.

Here's why...

I was born with a fusion in my lumbar 5 vertebrae. The left side of my L5 is fused to my sacrum. I found this out about 8 years ago when I had x-rays at a chiropractor for the low back and sciatic pain I had been having. Because of this, I thought I may have a difficult time during pregnancy so I was receiving weekly adjustments to keep things mobile. For the most part, the sciatic pain stayed under control. I had a lot of round ligament pain and some sciatic pain, but by late in the 3rd trimester, I really was not experiencing any back pain. I could not have imagined that it would show its UGLY face in labor. My pelvis just does not open or give in that area of my low back. Needless to say, I experienced intense, almost unbearable back labor for the remainder of the time until the moment he was born. This is that part that is difficult to recount for everyone there. So, for now, I am going to skip it. But, apparently, according to several chiropractors I have talked to about this, it is a true triumph to have succeeded to have a normal, unmedicated birth with this type of sacralization in my back. I feel so happy, blessed, and brave to know that I defied the odds. And, I had the most amazing group of women surrounding me while I have birth. They all supported and prayed for me throughout the entire process. They encouraged me. They loved me. They believed in me. When I said no, they said yes. I love them all for that.

I never once doubted I could do it. I never once wanted to go to the hospital. It truly became a matter of sheer will and determination that I was going to birth this baby and he was going to get here safely in our home no matter what it took. Something in me decided that I wasn't going to allow anything to stand in my way. Let's just say that the midwive's new line for me is "I am woman, hear me roar!" Um, yes, I was uninhibited that is for sure.

Eli Scott Reasoner was born in the water at 12:24am on June 17th. He weighed 8lbs and was 21 3/4 inches long. And, after all that, I tore. My worst fear of birth was tearing. The midwives warned me that often times your worst fear is the thing that happens to you in birth. Well, it did. In fact, I had a 3rd degree tear because Eli (precious baby) decided to come barging out with a fist and arm flying. Scott thinks he was working on his blocking out skills for basketball. Ha, ha Daddy. Because my midwives didn't feel comfortable in their experience in repairing 3rd degree tears, they suggested that I go to the hospital and I agreed that was the best idea. We called several hospitals to see who was on call and who would be willing to come in to do the repairs at 4:00am. After feeding Eli and getting him settled in and crying my eyes out that I had to leave my new little family, (I wasn't about to take my newborn to the hospital with me) Mom, one of the midwives, and I loaded up and headed to the hospital. We got there about 4:30am. I was immediately taken care of by the nurse who was waiting for me to arrive. She was so wonderful and had had 3 babies of her own at a birth center. I also had an amazing doctor who came in especially for me. They cared for me and worked quickly so that I could get home to my baby. At 5:45am we were on our way home. I was so eager to get back to my family. Scott was anxiously awaiting our return and came out to meet us. We walked in the door to discover Heidi (my sister) had him wrapped up on her chest and he had been sleeping with her for the entire time. I was so grateful to know he was being taken care of so well. She had sent us a text while we were at the hospital to assure us he was doing just fine. I took my baby in my arms and Scott, Eli, and I went to the bedroom to rest. This is when I discovered how difficult the past 12+ hours had been on my husband. He was very emotional and concerned for me and was trying to block most of it out of his mind. All I could say and do at that point was look at our sweet boy and reassure my husband that all I had gone through was worth that precious face we were gazing into.

In the past week I have discovered so many wondrous things about my son. Because he was a chiropractic baby from 10 weeks pregnant to moments after birth and he had a drug free birth, I credit this to Eli being able to track his eyes and follow our voices to look around already. He likes to be swaddled, but only from the armpits down. Those hands and arms must be free. He likes to take naps on the Boppy. He giggled out loud yesterday and he often smiles in his sleep. I know he dreams about milk. The little guys nurses like a champ. He can sleep through getting a diaper change. He only fuses when we keep him from food too long. He loves to be naked in the sun. There are just so many things that I find out daily that make me so happy. I have looked at him and cried at the sheer joy I feel for having him as my son. I love him to pieces.

Scott is the best daddy and husband I could have ever asked for. He was my rock at the birth. He is my sons amazing father. I cannot tell you how he has surprised me as a dad (he has changed more diapers than I have) and how much I see the love he has for his son. We are so blessed as a family. The love I have for my husband and the love he has for me has increased a million times over since going through this and bringing our son into the world together.

If you are still reading, thank you. Thank you for allowing me to share my story. Thank you for your support and love as friends, family, clients, and passers by of my blog.


Carol said...

I love your blog. And I am glad Eli is here now. Continue to cherish every moment.

Chelsea said...

I had my son just over a week ago and I have to say we have similar stories. You are such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing!