Sunday, August 25, 2013

"Ladybug's" Birth Story

Baby "Ladybug" was born last week.  She weighed 7lbs 10 oz and measured 20 inches long.  Here is her birth story:

I woke up at 2:22am to go to the bathroom.  I felt some contractions and noticed some signs of labor while I was in there (like leaking amniotic fluid).  I woke Rock up at 2:45 and told him I was pretty sure I was in labor so to please turn up the water heater so that we would have plenty of hot water to fill up the little pool. He went and I called my mom around 3am.  I told her it was still early labor, but I wanted to give her a heads up.  I sent a text to my midwife to give her the heads up.  She asked me if I wanted her to come by to start me on antibiotics since I had tested positive for Group B strep.  I wasn't up for making decisions at this point - the contractions had started getting more intense - so I told her I didn't know.  She said it's best to start them at least four hours before the baby arrived.  The contractions were getting so intense that I knew we wouldn't have four hours.  I sent her a text back, "she'll be here before 4 hours".  She said she'd come get the antibiotics started and since she just lives a couple of blocks away, she could go home and come back if I wanted her to.

During this time, Rock was busy pumping up the little pool and getting it ready. I was working on breathing and staying relaxed during contractions - which were coming really close together and pretty intensely at this point.  It is interesting how my mind kind of knew what was happening, but it seemed a little unreal and I wasn't about to say any of it out loud.  At this point I thought, "This is going to be a quick labor - about 2 hours."  I knew what I was capable of and I knew I couldn't handle contractions of that intensity, so close together for much longer than that.  In fact, if I had been at a hospital, I think I would have asked for an epidural just from fear that I was wrong and that it was going to be longer than I thought, since it was so intense.  As it was, I just had to tune into my body and focus on breathing, working with it, and staying relaxed.

My midwife arrived around 3:30 and started the antibiotics.  It was hard to have her poking my arm and checking my blood pressure since it took every ounce of my concentration to stay relaxed and I didn't appreciate distractions.  By the time she had the antibiotics going, my contractions were having a double peak and there was not much space in between them - they seemed to go on for quite a while.  I recognized the feeling, I thought to myself, "This feels like transition, but I don't want to say anything in case I'm wrong - I don't want to know."

I had pictured in my mind that I would get in the pool during transition since it's the hardest part of labor and when I would need the most relief.  The antibiotics were still not all in me though so I had to wait. I knelt by my bed and kept focusing on working with these long contractions, all the while thinking, "These are doing some major work and I'll be meeting my baby soon." I looked at the pool and it didn't look near full enough.  I asked Rock to fill it more and got back to focusing.  Finally, the antibiotic bag was empty and my midwife removed the needle and tape.  I decided I better use the bathroom before I got in the pool.  Sitting in the bathroom, I felt some downward pressure and I knew it was time for "birth breathing" or gently breathing the baby down (this is when they tell you to start pushing at hospitals).  I had several contractions in the bathroom and I even remember thinking, "I could just have the baby here, I could catch her, and I don't want to move."  Then I thought, "She may come fast - I better go get in the pool."  So I walked to my room.

I saw my mom sitting on my bed and was glad she had made it in time for the birth.  The midwife wasn't around (I learned later that she had gone downstairs to call her helper) and Rock was by the pool.  I got in the pool and pushed gently through a contraction.  I remember thinking, "I think she'll be here in the next contraction, I get to meet my baby soon!" And when the next contraction came, sure enough, she came right out with one push.  I picked her up out of the water and hugged her to my chest.  The midwife had just walked in the room and was putting on some gloves.  My mom gasped and said "aww". Rock kissed me and said, "I didn't even know you were pushing. Why didn't you say something?"  I said, " I was in my zone and didn't really think about communicating :-)"  It was 4:54am. My midwife turned off the fan, got me a towel for the baby, and then I just got to hold her and kiss her and stare at her.  She was calm and then she cried for a sec and then was calm again.  Rock woke up the girls and they came to meet her.

She was perfect.  I stayed in the pool and held her and nursed her until I delivered the placenta.  My midwife showed the girls how it worked and where the baby had been, then she wrapped it in an absorbent pad and put it in a plastic bag and kept it by the baby.  I got up and took a shower while Rock and the girls held her.  Then I got in my comfy bed and got to hold her and feed her again.  My midwife and her helper (who had arrived by now) got everything cleaned up.  Rock woke the boys up and they came to meet her.  Gem just pointed at her then at his grandma and grandpa and seemed surprised to have so much company.  Bud just said, "She's so tiny." And Ray got in the blankets and looked tired. When she'd been around for a couple of hours and we'd had some family time, Spice cut the umbilical chord, the midwife took our vitals and weighed the baby.  She checked her muscle tone and different things and told us she looked very healthy and strong.  She gave me some instructions and things to look for that were not normal, with a handout in case I forgot what she said, and then they left.

My mom got me some breakfast from IHOP that I was craving.  She, Rock and the kids then cleaned the house while I rested and stared at my new baby, then my mom asked if she could take the kids to her house for the night.  She did (except Spice who stayed to help me) and I had a nice day and a half to just rest and bond with the baby.  My mom stayed through the weekend and I pretty much stayed in bed and got to rest.

Since then, I have had good friends bring me meals and do a lot of things that I had left undone with our Vanguard group.  I have felt incredibly blessed to have such wonderful, Christlike people around me.  Rock has been incredible - he lets me sleep and keeps the other kids busy.  I figure that if I take it really easy for a couple of weeks, I'll be ready to get back to "normal" much sooner.  Baby has had some rough nights and some good nights - I'm sure some days will be much more normal then others, but I'm setting my expectations for myself low and am determined to enjoy this time, which I know, all to well, zooms by like lightning.  Her siblings love her - Spice has a way of getting her to sleep when she is fussy and Little Miss likes to take care of her when I need it.  Gem often says, "Hole-dit" - meaning he wants to hold her and then he gives her hugs and kisses.  At first, he often pointed at her and laughed. Ray likes to talk to her and kiss her head and play with her feet.  Bud holds her, and moves her around, and sings a song he made up for her (consisting of her name over and over with a particular tune).  They are all so good.  I feel like God has poured out so many blessings that I barely have room in my heart to hold them all in.

There are times of worry when I wonder how I can handle it all, but I like to remember that I don't have to, that God has always been there for me and will help me through anything.  After 7 children - I have a very strong testimony of that!  I am reading an awesome book called "Just like Jesus" by Max Lucado (I have a strong need to read uplifting books after having a baby - my emotions are so close to the surface) and it really helps me remember how much God is there for me. 

Mostly, my heart is filled with gratitude for all of the "moments".  We had a devotional the other day where we watched one of the Bible videos from - I was pacing with the baby in the back and the kids were in front of me watching Jesus teach his followers.  The way they were sitting made them look, from my perspective, as if they were also reverently sitting at His feet and listening to His words.  My heart filled with gratitude for that beautiful moment where I remembered who their real teacher was and how much He loves them.

So, yes, the little boys are extra loud lately, and there have been a few more quarrels than normal between the kids as we try to make this transition, but the house is filled with an underlying reverence for this new little spirit. We all feel an increased measure of love in our hearts which makes it easier to see and feel the beauty of the present moment.  We love our new little miracle.