Saturday, April 5, 2008
khalil's birth story
we've been planning a home waterbirth pretty much since the drive to the columbia birth center 3 years ago for khary's birth. we've had the supplies for weeks and even did a test run 2 weeks ago. monday of this past week (the 24th of march, 8 days before edd) i'd been having regular contractions for several hours all morning, so we got birth stuff ready and "in position" to be used, but the ctx petered out and we chalked it up to a successful drill, so to speak.
every morning since then, i've awakened with contractions, but spread out really far and then petered out, no big deal. been feeling lots of cervical pressure late in the days & had become really great friends with my exercise/birth ball. in case it's useful information, everytime i had a contraction or cervical twinge, i visualized my cervix thinning and pulling up & open. so LOTS of freaking visualization all week. (i'd done the same w/ khary, but didn't have any "practice" before labor with him.)
saturday i woke up at 4:30am w/ a really long, strong contraction, but the next one was shorter and an hour later, then none the rest of the day. i had braxton-hicks all day, and about half the time they were accompanied by really low cervical pressure. again, nothing regular or enduring, just normal 9 month stuff. in the evening i went to a friend's house for a potluck & had a great time...i wasn't going to go because i needed sleep, but figured it might be the last chance to socialize outside the house for a while for me! glad i got a phone call asking me to carpool and prompting me to get off my duff and go! :D
i tried to go to sleep when i got home, but the ever-freaking present heartburn wasn't going to let me, so i went downstairs and got online and checked in with kcap and my facebook stuff. i finally decided at nearly 1am to call it a night and just go to bed. just after i closed firefox, i had some more pressure and felt a very gentle "pop"...just thinking it was my pubic bone. then i had wetness and i tried to "stop peeing," but of course, couldn't do a think about it, since it was my bag of waters and not urine, lol! i glanced at the clock: 12:58. at least my dad's birthday was over by 58 minutes, so if the baby came now, he'd have his own birthday.
went upstairs, blanket between my legs, to wake dawud up: "dawud, my water broke...dawud....dawud! wake up--my water just broke." "that doesn't mean you're in labor, though," was his response. to which i replied, "with all the cervical pressure i'm feeling now, it does! wake up. i'm going to sit on the toilet for a bit and leak. can you bring me my phone?" as i sat on the toilet, i called my midwife and my doula (katje) and my mom. about 10 minutes later, i went back into the bathroom to sit again & called deanna, the illustrious photographer, and asked her to come over, too. during this time, dawud put the plastic and sheets on the bed (in case this labor went like khary's and the tub wasn't ready for me & i had to be on the bed instead).
when katje got here, i hadn't had but maybe 3 or 4 contractions still, but from the moment she arrived, they came fast and hard. i hung out with a long-sleeved tshirt and a depends on, getting down on all fours, trying to keep my head lower than my pelvis to slow down labor (since it can reduce pressure on the cervix). didn't seem too effective, imo. ;) i felt silly in the depends, but i hadn't evacuated my bowels yet, so i kept them on in case i pooped my pants, lol! i finally went on the toilet, though, and then the tub was ready & i got in. ahhhhh, sweet relief...for about 5 whole minutes (the longest i think i went without a contraction the entire time).
finally my midwife arrived after i'd had about 3 more ctx in the tub...at this point i became really out of it. up to now, i had been joking and conversing with dawud, katje and deanna, but now it was serious business. i kept wondering when i was going to hit transition, though, since these were so intense but manageable--i just wondered how much longer i was going to be doing this with no end in sight. at some point in here, khary came into the bedroom, very sleepy, and needed some attention from daddy and katje. he wasn't scared, just concerned when i had contractions, since i was moaning a lot. (i think i did a much better job of keeping my tones low and moaning this time than i did with khary. i also did a better job of keeping my jaw and shoulders loose--when i wasn't digging my claws into the side of the tub during contractions, that is!) khary understood what was going on since we'd seen lots of videos and talked about it a lot. during contractions, i'd take my arms out of the water and grab the outer rim of the tub for leverage/release. i'd leave them there for a while afterwards, and i swear, every dang time i put my arms back into the water, i had another strong contraction!
initially, i was in the tub sideways--my legs pressed up against the other side of the tub, rather than stretched out lengthwise, if that makes sense. after i said something about my toes cramping, someone suggested i switch to lengthwise, which i did. (it was sooo easy changing positions in the water! i tried a couple different positions during contractions, since the semi-reclining position is actually one of the *least* efficient ways to labor, but it was the only tolerable way i could get through them when they were really strong.) so of course, then i start having a super-strong contraction right then and stretch my legs out...okay, that was transition. definitely no doubt about it. i almost had the urge to push, but could overcome it. i figured i'd have the lull that so many books suggest happens between transition and pushing. nope--had maybe 30 seconds. just as i had brought my legs back up towards me i have a gripping contraction, and in trying to not push through it (since i was feeling the ring of fire), i straighten my legs out, but can't relax them again when i feel his head coming through. my midwife helped me pull my legs back up (since i had virtually no control over them) and i reached down to feel his head and try applying counterpressure to my cervix. *perfectly* shaped head, i'm telling you.
i had a couple seconds' rest while his head was out and before his body, but it wasn't long before i had to push again (no matter how hard i fought it, i couldn't control myself!) & in about 5 seconds, his whole body was born. i heard my midwife telling me to breathe him out, over and over, and at some point i tried to do it and i think he slipped out completely at that point anyway. dawud, my midwife & myself all sort of caught him together & it was absolutely beautiful. very, very close to how i pictured it weeks ago. i remember seeing khary's face as his brother was coming out (he was at the foot of the pool, almost directly in front of me)--totally wide-eyed and the picture of awe. after the baby was on my chest, he immediately took a breath, somewhat unusual for water babies, from what i read. at that point, khary immediately touched his hand and said very softly, "hi baby" awww, i almost melted! the baby had no head molding at all--the only overlapping sutures were from his last week in utero, i think, since the ear on that side is still pretty squished, too. i looked at the clock when he was on my chest--2:58am. *exactly* 2 hours since my water broke! (khary was born exactly 5 hours after my 1st contraction with him...weird! also weird: my mom reminded me that i was born at 2:58 in the afternoon on my birthday. :) )
the plan was to wait for the placenta to finish pulsing and be born before clamping, but i passed a clot or two before the placenta came, so we clamped & khary cut his brother's cord (which had stopped pulsing at that point). i handed the baby to daddy and got out of the tub...i was bleeding/passing clots so my midwife gave me a tincture & massaged my abdomen. baby hadn't nursed to that point, either, so that didn't help. he finally woke up enough to realize he wanted to suck & that plus the tincture really helped. in fact, my afterpains are waaay intense & i'm shrinking a lot faster than i did w/ khary.
baby was born at 2:58 am on Sunday, March 30, at 8lbs exactly (length tba tomorrow after our checkup, along w/ head circ and all that jazz). i had a small tear, maybe a centimeter, because he came soooo fast, and i think if i hadn't been in the water, the tear would have been much worse & required several stitches.
i can't thank all of my friends and birth attendants enough. you made it such a wonderful, relaxed (but still intense!!) experience. i've been picturing the birth for months now, and it couldn't have been more perfect than reality!