Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Thomas's birth story

This has a long beginning and a quick ending. So I'll try to cover my bases. If you're only interested in the labor/birth scroll all the way down to the end :-P

Okay from the start, I thought i was pregnant around Nov 5th, like wow heightened smell, sciatic pain, and extra tired. Much like my twin pregnancy and it was early. I took a test on Nov 7th with a very faint positive. The next day i started bleeding, so i figure "oh my period, i must not be pregnant". Well I bled for a week and spotted for another week, much longer than a typical period. But I didn't think too much of it and we planned to try to conceive next cycle.

We did and the stick was flaming positive when it came time to test. We got an ultrasound because #1 "how many are there!?!" And #2 for dating. At the time of the ultrasound we would have been about 7 weeks. When we saw him on screen we both though he looked big! Not that cute little button baby ultrasound where they are pinging from side to side in the uterus. Turns out we were 10.5 weeks which marched exactly with that earlier pregnancy speculation. They also found a "anechoic structure with debris, suggesting subchorionic hemorrhage" Which makes us strongly think I was originally pregnant with twins and all that bleeding that started on Nov 8 was losing one early on.

From then on out pregnancy was normal and healthy. I was very active all pregnancy and we decided at about 15 weeks we wanted to do a home-birth. It's my fourth child, we have a new big house with the space, and Kyle is NOT a fan of hospitals. Kyle was actually talking with a co-worker who had one in a birth center and sparked his idea to have it at home. We interviewed a few different midwives and found a perfect fit with Kate. From then on out we did care with her. I attended her in home clinic for appointments. Pretty much everyone with the girls in tow and Isaac as well once preschool let out.

Given my history we were sure this baby would go late. However as my pregnancy progressed my comfort level was less, my rest was minimal, and I thought maybe i wont have to go to 42/3 weeks after all. I carried my first son to 42w1d with much stress and pressure for induction in the end. But I went into spontaneous labor and he picked his birth-date 2 days after labor started. The girls were born at 40w on the nose and oh the pressure i got to induce them. Which i ended up doing at 39w5d and it still took them 2 days to come out. So it was a sure sign my body needs patience, time, and not to be rushed. Oh and my 2nd twin was 5.5 hours later. All vaginal healthy deliveries with amazing patient medical staff listening to my desires to wait. But I heard a lot of "that's not normal" "that's rare" and so forth.

So I wasn't holding my breath that this baby would come before his date. I was praying for at least a July baby, maybe 1.5 weeks late at most. Boy did he throw us a curve ball with a very similar situation.

Week leading up to birth

On Monday, July 3rd Kyle was working from home and I took the kids to the park. I noticed I was leaking more than usual but was thinking it was just an increase in vaginal fluid/discharge. I had to change my underwear once or twice before we left the house, then again a few times throughout the day. I started to wonder if something was up so I did the whole test of 'lay down for 20-30 minutes then get up and see if you have a gush, this could mean your waters are leaking'. This didn't really give me a clear answer. I rested around nap, then the fluid was still trickling off and on and put on a bigger pad. Around 7 I was laying on the couch and the kids were giving us puppet shows in an old fridge box (the fridge we just put in our bedroom bathroom in preparation for the homebirth). I laughed really hard which caused a big gush of water and so I got up and went to the bathroom with a bit more water coming out. So at that point I soaked through a big pad and my underwear and thought something, was up.  I was thinking "this can't be happening, my midwife is out of town until July 5th" I hadn't even looked at that handout because I thought for sure I wasn't going to need her around that time, that was way to early for MY babies. SO I dug through old emails and my chart online to find the off-call info for this time period. It said she would return on call at 7pm on July 5th, crap I was thinking it'd be earlier that morning on the 5th. I also read through "when to call your midwife" and I was hitting two of the required criteria 1) suspect your waters might have broken or are leaking 2) frequent urgency to pee. 

We had plans to go watch fireworks and grab dessert before hand. I called the back-up midwife to give her a heads up that I thought something was leaking. Her name was Aly and I explained the situation, she said we'd touch base in the morning and she'd get a test swab to me so we could determine it was actual amniotic fluid or not. She also mentioned to not pee in public toilets, which I forgot about until the following evening. At that point I had peed in the port-a-potty at the park (which was very clean, I remember thinking how nice it smelled and clean it was at the time) and I had peed at Yogurt Lab a few minutes later totally forgetting what she had said.  We saw the fireworks, which Isaac and Mary loved. Emma not so much a fan or the loud bangs. 

The next morning we had plans to go watch a movie. I touched base with Aly and she was sending Kate's assistant Elizabeth over with the swabs and the tub (which I was to get at our 37 week appointment). We hadn't heard from Elizabeth and it was time to go so we started to get the kids round up to leave for the movie. Just as we were heading downstairs Elizabeth showed up, she explained how to use the swabs a quick explanation of tub set up and then she checked my vitals and the baby's heart rate. All was good. We left for the movie and I decided to test later. We watched Despicable Me 3 and of course I peed again at the movies forgetting Aly's recommendation. 

We came home and got the girls down for nap and I figured I should test my fluid. Not much had come out that day and when it did it was literally a couple drops. I walked around hoping to capture something and of course at that time it seemed like forever for anything to come out. I was standing in our room and I felt a drop, I scurried to get the swab open that I had been carrying around with me and by the time I reached the drop it was over halfway down my leg. As soon as the tip met the liquid: BLUE. I'm pregnant!

lol nope: this meant amniotic fluid. Well shit! Not really the answer I was wanting but also good to know what was happening. Kyle had an out of state trip planned for Thursday night into Friday where he was having to give layoff notices. Knowing it was my waters, he went ahead and cancelled that trip. Aly came back over later that evening to check my vitals and the baby's heart rate. All was well and now it was just a waiting game. Aly gave us the statistic of "most people go into labor within 24 hours, about 90% by 48 hours and 98% by 72 hours. It's rare to go past 72 hours". Well there she said it, I knew at that moment we were taking this to the end because that's just how my body is :-/ She also gave us instructions of no public restrooms (again and I remembered after this point), nothing in the vagina, check my temps every 4 hours and be on the look out for any signs of infection.  At this point I had ALSO not had my GBS test :-/ another factor of stress as to why I didn't want this baby to come immediately. Aly had me do the GBS swab and she sent it off to the lab in hopes of quick results, hopefully before I delivered. I had been negative for my prior two pregnancies but it was peace of mind knowing my status now. When someone tests positive they recommend antibiotics, not required and there are alternatives (yes they can run antibiotics for home birth) but something we just wanted to get off the table and know where we stood.

Tuesday out to eat at My Burger:

Every night we went to bed I wondered "is it going to happen?" "will tonight be the night?" Well I woke up Wednesday and nothing had happened. Well except some good news, my midwife left her trip early (bless her heart) and made it back into Minneapolis roughly 3am. Oh and in other news, Kyle woke up and had to get to work to get a couple hours of stressful work in before anything started, he came downstairs to discover our kitchen light fixture full and dripping of water. CRAP! It had rained the night before but we had never had an issue. The bathroom above was dry so we were baffled. I called a couple people, leaving voice mails. Heard back from one that we have had done work before, shared our current scenario and it was good to hear from him the real perspective "having a baby is more important than water leaking from your ceiling". Whew, some reason I needed to be told that :-P I got the breaker turned off and scooped a couple cups of water out. Later Kyle was able to get the light down and the dripping slowly stopped over the next day or so.

I wanted to get Isaac's haircut before photos were about to happen so we ran to do that about 9:00 or so. Kate called me on our way and we planned to go to her office for a check up. After the haircut I ran by home to pee (no peeing in public toilets, haha) and change my pad. The check up with Kate went well, everyone doing good, now we just need to get the baby to come. She discussed a natural home induction plan and I hoped we didn't have to get there. Plan was to do what we could to get baby to come and if he hadn't come by Friday we'd do the home induction. I had a chiropractor appointment for the next day and I was going to try and get it moved up to Wednesday. We did a hip opener stretch in Kate's office to try and get baby moved into position. She had also shared that when she recently consulted with an OB for her other July babies (that came in June, water breaking at 37 weeks) she learned there is really no evidence that 24, 48, 72 hours brings much difference as to how long your water has been broken and that they do not run antibiotics anymore just because someone's membranes have been ruptured.

Kyle was already home by the time we were done with the appointment, he had gotten the bowl of water off the light. I picked up lunch. It was HOT out, but we got some walking in. Took a family walk but the girls were so slow that it wasn't helpful for me. I needed to doing brisk walking to help spark contractions. I would get some tightness and squeezes but nothing much. We worked on the spinning babies techniques, I sat on the ball when I was sitting, and we were just praying for this baby to get ready and come out. The kids started helping by saying "baby come out". I had some appointments planned for Wednesday so we resumed those as normal. A prenatal visit from my birth photographer as well as a prenatal visit from our postpartum doula so she could meet the kids. I went for a walk after the kids were down and then once they were good and asleep Kyle and I went for a walk by ourselves. We don't usually leave the house, but under the special circumstances we deserved to get away. It was so nice going on those walks to the lake and back, things were starting to get stressful as waiting is hard. We'd been down this road before with both pregnancies, knowing an unwanted hospital induction looms in the end if things didn't get started. Doubting myself if my body could even do this. I went into labor on my own with my son, but didn't with the girls. I hated being right back in this place. And for my last pregnancy, it was even more emotional. It was hard.

My FitBit read outs from Wednesday and Thursday, lots and lots of walking!

When I woke up Thursday morning not in labor I was.... bummed. My doula had hooked me up with an acupuncturist so I had an early appointment for 8am. So blessed to have people helping out, she came in on her day off to make a spot for me. I met with her and had a nice relaxing session, praying for the best. I then had another appointment at Kate's. We went over the home induction a little and I took home the homeopathic regimen and started a dose of that in hopes something would happen before Friday. (This was arnica, cimmicifuga, and caulophyllum) After Kate's I met the kids at the park before my chiropractor appointment. I decided to walk back home and let Kyle and Isaac take the car, I wanted this baby OUT! We didn't have seats for the girls in that car so they walked with me. Oh they were so pokey and tired and I was inching up on being late for my appointment. I hoofed Mary up onto my shoulders, picked up Emma and started booking it home. That was quite the workout and someone walking by even said "that's quite the load" thanks guy, thanks! Made it hope, peed, and Isaac and I zipped over to the chiropractor which was 4 minutes away. Of course she was running behind so there was really no rush. She adjusted me and provided supportive listening as I shared our stressful week. As she was adjusting me she said "you are so close, your belly is so loose like a woman in labor". She said if I happen to be pregnant Friday she'd squeeze me in, in the afternoon. She's also the one that adjusted me during the girls and saw me walk in week after week until 40 weeks wanting those babies to come out.

Thursday afternoon I did more walking, listened to hypnobabies: baby COME OUT! Took a nap, did another round of homeopathic tablets. The guy came to fix our blinds (they put the wrong bottom attachment a month ago when we got a few new ones installed). We also went out to eat. Being down this road I knew you can try everything you want but if the baby is not ready to come, it won't. So I avoided those things that would just make me miserable and eating spicy food was one of those. But Thursday night I was ready and I wanted Pineapple Curry. There is a place by my work that I get it delivered from so we went there, traffic is insane in that direction because of road construction and lane closures through the tunnel, but we made it and had a great last meal out to eat as a family of five. We stopped by a park near home and I walked around the block while the kids played. Did some lunges and I chatted with my doula on the phone. Kate had said earlier that morning that baby felt lower than he did Wednesday so we're helping, still not engaged, but lower. When you have had multiple children the baby doesn't have to be low or engaged to start labor, once contractions start they'd move baby down and out, so I wasn't super discouraged he wasn't 'right there knocking on the door'. I just needed it to start and he'd come. We came home, got the kids to bed and Kyle and I went for another nice long walk. It was like a mini-date night, it felt so nice to chat just the two of us. Life is crazy with three kids and we rarely get to talk uninterrupted and on a train of thought, so this provided that.

I didn't sleep well Friday night, I was up a few times, stressed out that I wasn't doing enough to try to get labor started and wondered what else I needed to be doing. I did get some sleep but it wasn't as deep as the prior nights had been. I was motivated to get a workout in and boy did that feel good! I hadn't worked out all week and that was out of my norm. It felt good to do something for me and move my body again. And besides the squats and lunges couldn't hurt. Kyle and I did 21 day fix: Dirty Dozen together. Well I did the first three quarters, the last part was all ab work so I sat that one out. I had an appointment with Kate (again, lol it was nice getting to see her so much but also stunk that it wasn't because we needed her to come over after labor started). We went over the induction plan more thoroughly, I made my shopping list and she gave me some supplies as well. She shared with me the consult with OB per protocol of my ROM for 72 hours (rupture of membranes) which went how she said it would, with a plan for home induction today and hospital induction if we were still pregnant over the weekend. I did not want that, I wanted a home birth. We had paid for the home birth, we had planned for the home birth, we prepped the kids for a home birth. They were so excited to come into our room and see the baby after he arrived, Isaac was really looking forward to cutting the umbilical cord, and the middle name we had picked out for him was based on home birth. Graham means homestead. I was heart broken just thinking about it but I stayed positive repeating those positive affirmations "I am going to have a home birth" "My body was made to do this" "labor will start with out medical intervention". I left Kate's and went to Present Moment Herbs and Books to pick up Cotton Root tincture, castrol oil, verbena oil (they didn't have) and I got another container of Ipecacuanha cuz Kate's was expired. This was THE hippiest store I had ever been in, lol. I called my doula afterwards to verify I got the correct castrol oil (the smallest container was a hundred times more than what I needed) and she asked "What'd you think?" lol with a snicker in her voice, then said "I am really hippy and that store is even hippier than me" haha. When I got home Kyle could still smell the incense aroma on the paper bag. I also ran by whole foods to get some apricot juice for the castrol oil.

Our old nanny was available on Fridays and we had planned for her to come watch the kids so we could do this. She arrived about 10:30 and ended up taking the kids to her house and I think they went to the library and an indoor play place. Once they left Kyle and I went upstairs and got started on the induction regimen. It was pretty involved running three methods at once: homeopathics every 20 minutes, botanical regimen every 30 minutes, nipple stimulation with the breast pump, on for 4-5 minutes off for 1-2 minutes. Then a round of castrol oil in the middle of that all.

It took about 40 minutes for the Castrol Oil to hit and my oh my that SUCKED! Insta-diarrhea. We continued on and about 2:30 I started to get a few contractions here and there. I'd stop the pump (per instructions) wait a minute after the wave finished then started it again. We were to finish out the schedule, take a break, eat lunch, check in with the midwife and decide from there if we wanted to do a second dose of castrol oil. By the time we finished, I was getting some contractions, not painful at all and at this point it was great because SOMETHING WAS STARTING that was our goal! We checked in and I explained what I was feeling, at first she was thinking I was just having braxton hicks, then she said "I think you're having contractions" :-) We took a break and ate then went for a walk to get these things going.


I was also in contact via text with my doula asking what I could do to encourage these things. She recommended the abdominal lift and side lunges. The lift felt great to do during a wave and relieved the back pressure they were bringing. We walked for quite a while then came home to time them and report in with the midwife. When we came back to time them they seemed to ease up and it was pretty boring. They were happening every 3 minutes and lasting about 30 seconds. At this point I was ready to see the kids and have a distraction. The nanny was picking up dinner and had planned to be back about 6:30. We watched some TV, I did hip circles on the ball and the kids got home about 6:45. We went down to meet them and had dinner (Noodle, noodles). I sat on the ball at the dining table and went through a couple easy contractions. Talking with the kids about the baby coming soon. Then about 7:00 pm I got a 'real' one, it was stronger and different, it lingered as I walked into the kitchen and I told Kyle we needed to call our people. I paged Kate and called Jess. I came upstairs and Kyle started getting the birth tub set up. I was till able to walk and talk between contractions and had some time it seemed.

Jess was nearby heading to a friends so she arrived first at about 7:25. When I talked to Kate she was debating on running into the store she was at to grab her friend a card, but decided not to. I did some waves with Jess while sitting on the ball, getting up and walking around in between.  Once Kate arrived, about 7:45, I was relieved and wanted to go to the bathroom. Something I didn't want to do without her there. I had a couple waves on the toilet, which were not comfortable but as Jess encouraged me "welcome the pain" so I tried. Kate checked on the baby's heart beat as soon as she got there. I think the tub was set up but not filled yet, she mentioned me not getting in too early as to not slow things down. I returned to the ball for a few more waves.




Megan my photographer arrived about 8:00. At this point the walking in between had stopped and they were coming more often, not right on top of each other so I had some 'rest' time in between. I did a few on my hands and knees, which at one point my midwife put a chuck under me saying "do you feel you need to push, you sounded like you might be ready to push?" I said no, I wasn't ready yet but there was increasing pressure. The tub was almost ready, they were just trying to get it cooled off to the right temperature, the hot water heater did it's job but it was too warm. I think I went back to the ball or maybe I went straight to the tub. I was doing about 3 waves in each spot.



In the tub I tried on sitting up, then turned back to my hands and knees in the water. I had a couple good waves with more increasing pressure to push, I pushed with a contraction and felt him coming down. She had the mirror out and said she could see about a quarter size of his head, the next contraction I gave a good push and could feel him right THERE, she said I could wait til the next contraction or keep pushing whatever felt good. Well it felt good to push so I went ahead and pushed him out. Kyle was planning to catch him so he was right there waiting, but at that point I saw Kate out of the corner of my eye coming around, I think to check on baby, and Kyle was moving up my side just a bit to check on me. Then I felt him come out, that slippery, non-pressure of the head... he dropped in the water then they realized he was out "OH he's HERE!" poor guy, no one actually caught him, but it was mere seconds later that Kyle first laid hands on him and scooped him up to me between my legs. I sat up and held onto him. I couldn't pull him too far up cuz he had a fairly short cord. He was born at 8:42 pm.




About ten or so minutes later I birthed the placenta, Kate gave a little tug and I gave a little push and out it came. It was pretty small. Especially compared to my twins double placenta, but in general it was pretty small. Kate was thinking maybe that's why he came early, he had outgrown the nutrient source of the placenta and would be better off outside.

We eventually moved from the tub to the bed. They took the baby over to the bed to get a photo of the baby and placenta:

And I met him over there. We had Isaac come in and he got to cut the cord, he was so excited!





I am so thankful we were able to make it happen! Once they got the tub emptied and broken down, Kyle woke the girls and had them come in.



We spent some time in bed and then Kate did the newborn check and Vitamin K shot.
Weight: 6lbs 11oz
Length: 19.5 inches
Head circumference: 13.75 inches




We were so blessed to have such an amazing birth team with us (just wish Megan was in the photo as well) :-)

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