Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Emmett’s Birth Story

Emmett’s Birth Story
(The Little Squirt That Gave Me the Squirts!)
yeah I obviously left in the yucky parts.

I have always wanted to have a natural birth, though I have not always wanted to have a baby at home.  That is until I experienced my first birth.   I had Owen in a hospital 5 years ago with a CNM (Certified Nurse Midwife).  She was very supportive of me having the birth I wanted, the way I wanted.  The hospital on the other hand was not.  I was hooked up to an IV, was given a very high dose of Pitocin, and was not able to walk through my contractions or move about how I wanted during my labor.  All in all, Owen’s Labor was a 48 plus hour nightmare that ended with me blacking out several times and giving into an epidural.  I went in with a “birth plan” and I left having almost everything on my list crossed off with a big fat red marker.  In the end I felt blessed to not to have had a C-section, and to have a health baby, but it was definitely not my idea of a good time.

I went into my second birth, 2 years later, still traumatized from Owen’s Birth.  With Eli I went into the hospital, had an epidural and the pit started at the same time.  I was NOT about to go through another birth like Owen’s.  What I experienced  this time was a different type of nightmare.  I had the most powerful epidural known to man and didn’t feel my legs for 10+ hours after giving birth.  I was thrilled to not have to experience another birth like my first, but I have never felt so trapped and claustrophobic in all my life.   Still though, it was not so much physically hard as it was emotionally draining.  Again,  I knew there had to be a better way.

So when I started planning for this birth I knew I wanted something different.  I started reading a lot of different books and things trying to decide exactly what I did want.  One of the obstacles I had in planning Owen’s birth was that Spencer was not at all interested in natural birth. He had zero interest in being my birth coach.  This time I knew that going in, and did not try to get “blood out of a turnip.”  Is that even a saying?  I knew going into this birth that I would have a support system outside of our marriage.  I hired an awesome doula, enrolled in a Bradley Child Birth class, asked my Sister-in-law to be my birth coach, read a lot of birth stories, and talked to everyone I knew about their birth experiences.  Initially I made the decision to have my doula support me in the hospital.  I went with that for a while, until the first of the year rolled around and we received our new insurance cards in the mail. 

The new cards let me know that we no longer had maternity coverage. The birth that we had saved $5K for would now cost closer to $10K!  I was not sure how that was going to work.  Immediately I called around and priced out the midwife option.  With the Prenatal care, the birth, the doula and the childbirth education classes, it was about $2500.  Suddenly I felt that a home birth was totally doable.  I felt a weird peace about it.  Like it was just exactly what we needed to do.  It was not just the money, but it took the money to wrap my mind around it, and to accept it.  I think it was the same for Spencer.  I was so wrapped up in making this decision.  It was all I could think about day and night.  I prayed a lot and went to the temple all in making this huge decision. A day or so after we made the decision to use a midwife to deliver Emmett, we were informed that the insurance cards were misprinted and that we still had the maternity coverage after all.  At this point my heart was set on the home birth I didn’t know I had always wanted.  Now I knew I wanted it, and I knew it was the right decision for us.   

Monday May 2nd 2011 6:30 AM (37 weeks and 6 days) I got up to find my undies were what seemed to be super sweaty, so much so that I changed into a fresh pair after I went pee and got back in bed.  20 minutes later I got up again and the new pair was now also wet.  I had had my bag of waters leak with Eli (my second child) so I knew what was happening pretty soon.    Around 9 am I called my midwife Liz and made an appointment with her for 11am.  For the next couple of hours I wore a pad and continued to enjoy the “I just peed my pants” sensation that occurred every 15 minutes or so.  At my appointment she used a swab thing to check if the fluid I was leaking was in fact amniotic fluid.  At this point I pretty much knew it was, but it’s good to know for sure that I did not just have a weak bladder.

  Liz let me know that it is her policy to let me go for 48 hours after my water broke to see if I go into labor on my own.  She also let me know that she would not be doing any internal exams, and that I was to be very strict with my personal hygiene (no sex, no baths, and I had to clean myself with a water bottle after I went to the bathroom).  Liz had checked me the Tuesday before and let me know at that time that I was dilated to a 2.5 and was 40% effaced.  Liz referred me to an acupressure masseuse who was willing to meet me at 4pm that day to help induce my labor.  I also was using some herbal drops that Liz had given me every 2 hours under my tongue that contained some cohosh and other things.  I believe it was called Start Up, or something like that.  I got home from my massage around 4:45 and we hurried out the door to the movies.  We took the boys to the 5 pm matinée of Rio.  During the movie I timed my contractions, even though I had committed not to “pay attention too soon.”  The contractions were about 15 minutes apart and lasted for 45 seconds or so, but not painful at all.   At this point, it would be a stretch to say I was in early, early labor.  After the movie we met up with Cathie, my mother –in-law, and went to dinner.  After dinner we went home and put the boys to bed.  Cathie stayed with the boys and Spencer and I went grocery shopping.   I went to bed that night thinking that I was going to wake up in full-blown labor.  I never really fell asleep.  I was just so sure that the next contraction was going to kick me into high gear!  At 1:07 I decided to make a note of the contractions; it was not like I was sleeping anyway.  I had contractions at 1:07, 1:17, 1:26, 1:37, 1:43, and 1:53… It went on like this all night until 5am when I fell asleep for an hour and a half. 

Tuesday just before my appointment
Tuesday May 3rd 2011 (38 weeks) I woke up a little pissed, a lot tired and with no contractions to speak of.  I went to my already scheduled 38-week appointment with Liz at 11:30 where she informed me of my options.  I had until the next morning to have the baby or I would need to go to the hospital and be put on antibiotics.  She recommended that I continue the Start Up herbs and she thought I should take castor oil if things had not started by 5 pm.  I knew exactly what that meant.  I was going to be pooping my brains out L and I was not too excited about it.  At 4:45 I took the castor oil, which by the way is so horrible that as I type the words, I repeatedly am getting the willies and starting to gag.   By 6:00pm nothing had happened.  No poop. Nothing.  Just mild and irregular Braxton hicks contractions.  Kamari, (my home birthing sister-in-law / Bradley method coach) called to let me know that she was on her way over to the house.  She had attended some of my Bradley classes with me and was going to be my birth support (little did I know.)  I told her that it was still premature, but that she was welcome to come hang out with Spencer and I.   Kamari walked in about 6:15.  We sat around for 5 minutes or so and Spencer decided to start timing my contractions on the fun new app I had just installed on my iPhone.   So that started at 6:21pm.  (For more details please refer to Figure A:1)  Little by little the contractions got worse and worse.  I had this ridiculous pressure in my crotch that hurt really bad. OK, I admit that in hindsight that sounds really stupid. Like, no kidding, there was a baby coming out of your vagina and it hurt… hmmm that’s really weird!   But in the moment I was sure that I had not even started real labor.  That I had hours and hours of labor in front of me, and that before any of this happened I first had to have a castor oil induced poop fest. Seriously, the whole poop thing had me super preoccupied.

Figure A-1
So each contraction sucked more than the one before, but in between each contraction I felt pretty okay.  At 7:30pm, not during a contraction mind you, I had Spencer call Trisha (my doula) to come over.  He handed me the phone, and she asked me if it would be okay if she showed up in about an hour.  She lives a half hour away and I thought that would be fine.  Especially since this was not yet real labor, right?!

This is where things got crazy.  Around 7:45 things sped up.  I was now convinced this was in fact real labor and that I did in fact want to die.   At 8:14, after I started having a mini-meltdown, you know,  “I can’t do this anymore!”,  “I just want to stop now!,” “I’ve had enough…,”  Kamari told me that she thought I was in “transition.”  I told Kamari that she didn’t know what the HELL she was talking about.  But we decided to call Liz anyway.  The next contraction came and I felt like I was in my own little Hell and I wished I were already dead.  I couldn’t do anything but flail about.  I was sitting on the exercise ball up to this point and had thrown my upper body onto the foot of my bed, keeping my legs on the ball.  I immediately felt the urge to push.  Kamari advised that I should probably take off my sweat pants and my garments at this point, which I did with Her and Spencer’s help.  At 8:19 Spencer called Liz back to inform her that upon taking off my pants they could see the baby’s head!  He was crowning.  Liz was turning on to our street.  I could hear her on the phone say that I should go ahead and push, not that I could have done anything else.    At 8:20pm, after one solid push, Emmett Scott Davis was born.  Both Kamari and Spencer were able to catch him and seconds later Liz walked in to deliver the placenta, and deal with all the fun that is the afterbirth. 

 Moments later, Trisha showed up; she and Liz took care of weighing, measuring, and bathing Emmett.   Oh, and that Poop I was so worried about, yeah, it reared it’s ugly head just moments after that placenta!  There is an endless list of things that Kamari did that night that were selfless and Christ like.  Dealing with that last thing tops the list.  Seriously, who has to do that?  And who does it with such a kind and loving disposition?  I am forever in debt. 

People have asked me where my kids were during all of this?  As I had mentioned, Cathie came down from Salt Lake to help out the day before.  Owen had his last soccer game that night at 6pm, which Cathie took both Eli and Owen to. Before labor had started I laid out the boys pajamas on their beds.  In the event that I was otherwise occupied, I had asked Cathie to give them baths and get them ready for bed when she came home, which is exactly what she did.  At 7:30 she came in with the boys and a frozen yogurt for me.  She is so ridiculously sweet and helpful it is not even funny.  She bathed the boys and got them in jammys.  When I started into the real fun stuff, she made the executive decision to take them into their room, shut the door and play superheroes with them.  I had told Cathie before this that there are all sorts of crazy homebirth lady things that I understand and even participate in.  I went through a good chunk of time where I didn’t shave my legs.  I don’t eat meat. I don’t wear makeup.  But having my kids present for a homebirth?  Not my cup if chamomile tea, thank you very much!   Shortly after Emmett was born, maybe 5 minutes or so, the boys came in and met their new baby brother.  It was really great!  

 The real kicker of the whole experience for me was Spencer. Mr. “I don’t understand why you are doing this” took charge.  He actually retained the information I had made him read and that he had learned in the three childbirth classes he did attended with me.  He was encouraging, loving and helpful.  He told me I was doing great and reminded me of the things I wanted to remember during the birth.  He turned on my birth mix of yoga music and then he turned it off when I said, “I hate this song; turn this crap off!!”   He even tried really valiantly to do some back pressure point stuff, and for one contraction it was exactly what I needed.  And then he promptly stopped the very next contraction when I bit his head off for doing the same thing again.  

In the end I think that homebirth is not for everyone.  But I do think it is for me.  I loved being at home, in my space, with people who were loving and supportive of me.  I loved that I could eat and drink what I wanted when I wanted.  I loved that right after I could get up and go to the bathroom, cause I really needed to ;).  I loved how that night no one came into my room and woke me up to take my blood.  I loved that I was home with all of my boys, even Sergio (our 6 year old Yellow Lab, who by the way was in the room with me up until the last half hour or so).  Overall I feel so blessed to have been able to have this experience and am grateful to all who helped me to be able to experience the joy and pain of this birth.  Mostly I am grateful to a loving Heavenly Father for blessing me with this amazing baby boy, who is a miracle in every way.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Baby Emmett

Emmett was born on Tuesday.   I am going to write up a birth story for my records.  I will probably edit out the gory details and put the rest on here:)    Until then, here are some pictures that I took today.  I can hardly stand how much I love him.  The boys and Spencer like him a lot too.