The lovely details

Did I really have to make the picture that big? Yes, why yes I did.

Okay- so here I'm going to hash out the birth story. I'm a detail person...

Saturday Sep 1st I had had it. My patience was thinning faster than my cervix was. I asked hubby to give me a priesthood blessing. No, I didn't ask him to bless me to go into labor, but just that I would be comforted and patient during the wait of the last week or two of pregnancy. Hubby knew I have been preparing for a natural birth, so I guess he felt guided to bless me as well that I would have a natural birth. I thought that was kind of odd, him being so specific in the blessing.  But I had faith that I could do it. Now just the wait... tick tock tick tock

Sunday I woke up thinking my water was broken. No accompanying contractions. We went to the hospital and nope- they said my membranes were still intact enough to keep going. Went to church, had a great uncomfortable day.
Monday uneventful, besides the fact I was going crazy waiting for Harper to arrive.
Tuesday contractions and uneventful
Wednesday, at doctors appointment more fluid making doc question whether or not membranes were still intact. To play it safe, we set up an inducement for the next morning at 6am. I had only 4 days to go til due date anyway.

But wait. Inducement. frowny face. I had been preparing for a natural birth experience this whole pregnancy. With natural contractions. Not contractions driven by Pitocin thru an IV. I wanted my water to break on it's own. Not with a hook by the doctor.
Oh well. Can't have it all right? Pitocin contractions tend to be so much stronger than normal contractions.  I don't think that I can handle pitocin again. It didn't go too well with Robbie. I gave up at just 5 cm.

We arrived at the hospital at 5:45am hoping for the best. Mostly we wanted a healthy Harper, but I was bummed that the labor experience might not quite be what I was wishing.
But I did have something going for me! When I toured labor and delivery a few weeks before I met a nurse that used to be a midwife. She gave me a lot of tips of how to experience a natural birth at this specific hospital and told me if she was working the day I came in, that she would be there with me and help me. And she WAS working that day. Score. I asked secretary if she was working that day, and if she could be my nurse. "She is working today, she comes in an hour- but she's the head nurse today and can't assist any births. She'll be busy doing other things." ...... sigh....... I asked if she would at least tell her I was here. I wanted to at least speak with her. Some last minute 'good luck' or something.

Admissions admissions blah blah blah. Get into the room, Change into the gown blah blah blah
7am rolls around and I meet my nurse. An older blonde lady "Sally" that seemed sweet. She said that the head nurse is excited I'm here and is sending a newly hired nurse training in labor and delivery to attend to me as well. Come to find out this newly hired nurse used to be a midwife too! SCORE! She walks in and introduces herself as Stephanie. So I get two nurses all to myself. Things are looking up! They were both excited that I was going to labor without any pain medication. "There is something just so special about it" Sally said.
I get the IV started and then the Pitocin a little while later. I was a 3cm %80 effaced. A good start. They kept increasing the Pitocin, more and more and more.
The contractions were working. I was dilating slowly. They were tolerable and I was able to enjoy them actually. Getting to know the nurses- learned that Stephanie, the midwife is a member of my faith- a Latter-day Saint. Made the day that much sweeter.
I asked them "since I'm progressing, I don't think I want my water broken till later in labor, like maybe toward the end if I stop progressing." The nurses replied- "well if that's what you want, you make sure you let the doctor know. He's not used to waiting to break the water."  GuLp!!
Around 9am the doctor walks in. Dun dun dun. Internal exam reveals I'm almost 4cm dilated. He gives me a stern look and says: "Now today, our goal is to have a baby."
"A healthy baby" I add.  "Yes a healthy baby" he corrects himself. "So in order to have this baby, a lot of times breaking the water will get that baby's head right down on the cervix and dilate it nice and fast."
I blurted out- "I think I want to wait"
"Well how long do you want to wait? You want to have this baby today, don't you?"
He's an old man, but I stood my ground.
"Yes, but can we please wait? I want to go farther without my water broken."

. silence.........
"okay, I'll give you an hour. We'll see how you're progressing when I get back- and talk about it more then."  He gives a big exhale and walks out.
I give a big exhale too and look over at the nurses. Thumbs up. "Good job for standing up for yourself. We can only say so much. You did good."

We got serious. I only had 1 hour to prove my progress and needed some ideas of how to make each contraction count.  We pulled out the squatting bar. With each contraction I pulled up and squatted, opening up my pelvis-trying to get the baby's head to come down. In between contractions I held hair combs in my hand at acupressure points trying to stimulate contractions that way. The midwife was also rubbing my ankles and my thumbs trying other pressure points.
The next hour he didn't show up, so I sat on the birthing ball. Leaning forward with each contraction trying to get her down down down.
The next hour he still didn't show up. So I got on all fours on the bed and tried to use gravity that way to get the baby to move down.
Around Noon he finally walks in and with an internal exam reveals I'm a whopping 5cm.
"Alright, now to get you moving along I recommend we break your waters now. I've given you plenty of time."
"Okay, let's do it." It felt like it was the right move at that point.

He grabbed the hook, SPLASH. There they go.
He walks out of the room. The next contraction hits.
WHOA! That hurt so bad! A much more intense contraction!! Much much more intense. The midwife took one look on my face and looked over at my husband and said "umm... did you say that her mother wanted to be here when the baby was born?" He replies "yes."
"Well tell her not to rush, but going with my gut feeling- she needs to head over here."

I moved back to the squatting bar. I was moaning and groaning. When the contraction would peak I even yelled out.  Its hard to remember all of what I was saying- but here are some snippets.
"loose- loose LOOOOOOOsssssssssssse"
"relax... RELAX!"
"oh please help me"
"PLEASE dont touch me"
"go down! please work!" - at some point I heard a nurse snicker: at least she's still being polite?

In between contractions I felt great and said things like:
"Phew that was hard!"
"okay, all better"
"I'm sooo hungrrrrry"

I got tired of squatting so I just sat there with each contraction. It felt like too much pressure.
"I don't want to do this anymore"
"I can't do this"
"Please! Help me!"
Nurse checked me and I was almost an 8cm.  I'm guessing that was 1:05pm?
I got on all fours on the bed again, it seemed like the only thing I could handle at that point. I remember my mom telling me a few weeks earlier about how people actually deliver babies in that position in other countries. "They might" I thought at the time, "but I never would..." It seemed too weird.
The very first contraction when I was on all fours. BOOM. Pain like I had never felt. In an instant. I was screaming. I was screaming... Nurse checked me again and I was a 10cm. "no cervix" she says triumphantly. I would have given her a high-five if I wasn't in so much pain. Now that there was no cervix keeping the baby back, she started her descent down the birth canal with each contraction.
"SHE'S coming! she's COMINGGGG!!! get the DOCTOR, get HIM NOW!" I kept screaming. I could feel it. I felt like I was dying. My hips were separating, I felt like my insides were being ripped out of me.
I screamed "I need pain relief now." The nurse said "Hun you are about to get the best pain relief in just a few minutes."
"a FEW MINUTES? are you SURE?"
"yes I'm sure"   well as long as she was sure. ha.

Then it hit me, here I am. In that same position, like a cow. Giving birth. Me. like. a cow. Yup. Irony.

Doctor walks into the room and sees my in that position on the bed. He was kind of taken aback. He voiced his thoughts
"ummm did she choose this position? Is she wanting to give birth in this... position?"
Everyone looked at me.
The urges to push were so strong. I couldn't help but bear down. I had too. There was no questioning or stopping it. It was almost instinct.
"alright" the doctor got ready as quickly as he could and then she started crowning. They call it the Ring of FIRE, I had read about it all pregnancy thinking- oooh that's not gonna feel good. Yup I was completely right. It didn't feel good at all.
I asked: "Does she have HAIR?"
Everyone chuckled, yes she does, she has lots of hair.
"Okay good."

And right when I felt I could handle all those flames another contraction lit up a whole nother bonfire and I wished that God could have just lifted me up and taken me out of that place.

Her head, then her shoulder.
Then one final contraction and Harper was born. Relief. It was splendid. Absolutely. I felt so close to the Lord. I felt like He had guided us all that day to make good decisions that led to Harper being born so healthy. Not once during the whole labor did her heart beat ever drop.

I looked right to my mom. "You did it, you did it!" She said. I was so glad she was there.

Harper took her first breath and cried.  I heard my mom say "she's here! She's here! Look back at her, touch her toes."
I looked back exhausted and said "I'm good"
I did touch her toes. They were perfect.

Hubby cut the cord and they examined Harper to make sure she was okay. She was perfect.

7lbs 8oz, 19 1/2in long. 13 1/2in head width. born at 1:24pm on Sep 6, 2012.
I was done. It was perfect. She was perfect.

The doctor stood up and said "now THAT's how to deliver a baby."

After he left, the nurses that attended to me, Stephanie and Sally, both couldn't stop saying "Wow, that was amazing. You did it. We're so proud of you. We knew you could do it. You are the talk of the floor. No one has made your doctor deliver in that position before."

I was on an emotional high the rest of the day. I couldnt believe it.

Recovery has been amazing. There is really no comparison between delivering naturally and with an epidural. I'm definitely going to try my best to do it this way again. I was able to get up and walk around within minutes after delivering. I have no pain now. She's 3 days old.

I'm nursing Harper girl and we are cherishing every moment we get to spend together. We are so happy that she is in our family now. The boys love her and know that she stays at our house now.

"Families can be together forever thru Heavenly Father's plan. I always want to be with my own family. And the Lord has shown me how I can."

Thank you to all that have shown your love and support for our growing family. Whether that has been through watching the boys, visits, gifts, meals, or kind words- we appreciate it all. Thank you. 


Lauren and Michael said...

Wow!! You are AMAZING!! I'm so glad we are friends and thanks for sharing Harper's story! Congratulations!

Joy said...

Congratulations on your beautiful new baby!! I had no idea you were expecting! Harper is precious!

al said...

I am such a sucker for birth stories--especially natural ones. you're an inspiration! (sorry I'm blowing up your comments, haha)

Liana said...

Sorry I'm just now reading this, but I just have to tell you that you are AMAZING! Way to go! Loved reading your story. I'm just so glad you had your natural birth.