January 1, 2014
Theodore Naaman: A Birth Story
I have never felt braxton-hicks contractions when I was pregnant with Jude, but this time around I had felt them a lot, a lot. So much so that I started to tune them out. It didn't seem like I was going to go into labor anytime soon because I had been having regular braxton-hicks for five days leading up to the birth. They'd even last a while and came in a pattern, but kept stopping. This wasn't that big of a deal because a Christmas Eve or Christmas birthday would really suck, and the 26th was already taken up with my mom's and brother's birthdays. If the baby wanted to stay in longer, I felt I could try to not get excited (or annoyed) over the braxton-hicks that kept coming.
Christmas morning we had our own little family Christmas (pancakes by Naaman and presents!!!) and then headed to Naaman's mother's house for his family's Christmas celebration. I had had rushes at night and ended up staying up really early into the morning. It wasn't my best decision because it made me so tired. (From reading a lot of birth stories I decided to refer to my contractions as "rushes" or "surges" because I did wanted to keep this birth as positive as possible. Just the word contraction has so much pain and negativity associated with it, I did not want to use it too much.) We got there at almost two in the afternoon and settled into the day. I kept having rushes but thought nothing of it except "I hope don't go into labor and the baby is born on the 26th". I started having to focus more on the rushes during a game of Bezzerwizzer, needing to stand and sway through them. Still I didn't think that this was labor. I started timing them around 6:30 pm and they were one minute long coming every 6 or 7 minutes.
Then soon after, I lost my mucus plug. TMI I know, but hey this is a birth story, not every part of it is beautiful. (I actually don't think any of it is beautiful). I told Naaman and we sort of giggled and thought "well if this is it, then let it come". By the time we opened presents all I wanted to do was go home. If this was labor I needed to rest and anyway the rushes were getting stronger and needed a lot of my attention and I was getting overwhelmed by Jude and all of the noise of the celebration. Jude had managed to make his eyes really swollen from rubbing his face on the carpet and just cried and cried. It was just time to go home and rest. We left around 9:30 pm.
As soon as we got home Naaman and I started cleaning. My rushes were very manageable but very consistent. If this was it I wanted to come home to a semi-clean apartment. We got into bed and tried to sleep. I woke up around 3 in the morning and lay in bed and listened to my body. I noticed that I was rocking my body back and forth in order to focus on the sensation of the rushes. I got up and had a date with mr.john. My body decided it was time for a quick clean, and apparently this happens to a lot of women when they go into labor. After a bit of that, I woke Naaman up and lay with him in bed. He listened to how I was going through rushes and decided to get up and start getting ready to leave. I was still in denial.
I kept telling him that I didn't want to call the midwives in case this was false labor or it took so long that we ended up wasting their time and ours. With Jude I had gone to the hospital too early and I did not want to do that again. Soon enough, I had to moan through rushes and hold on to Naaman to get through them. We called our midwife Chelsea and she said to come in to the Alma birth center. At one point Jude heard me moan through a rush and said that I sounded like a lawn mower. Naaman and I had a good laugh at that.
We dropped off Jude at my parents' house and took the 35 minute drive to the birth center in Porltland, and were greeted by Chelsea, Cassandra and Cory the midwife on call for our original midwife Melissa. We settled into our room. It was very calm and relaxing, candles everywhere, fire in the fireplace. tub full of warm water, and the blinds drawn closed. So completely different from being admitted into a hospital. My rushes kept coming and I had to rock, breathe, moan through and hold on to Naaman to get through them. Not once did I get a cervical check of any kind. Chelsea said that I was definitely in active labor and that a cervical check wasn't necessary to make sure. I labored on the couch, chair, desk chair, standing, and on the birthing ball.
It was amazing to me that when I was having a rush it would take my complete attention. Then as soon as it was over, I was completely normal again and even laughing about really bad jokes and sayings from Friends.
Getting into the tub was amazing, it was like a big giant warm hug all around me. I got in and stayed in for the rest of the birth. I really have no idea as to how long I was in the tub until my water broke. My rushes were getting insanely intense and I started to have self-doubt feelings and even cried after several of the rushes. Naaman held on to me during a rush and I all but fell asleep in between them. I started to feel a tingling in my birth canal and thought that my water might break soon. I was in the middle of a rush and my water broke. It was such an insane feeling. It literally felt like how a cannon explodes, immediately and powerfully. Right after that I had to push. There was nothing I could do to stop it. The feeling had taken over my body, I had not control over it at all. It was so powerful!
There was such a huge pressure in my butt I had to put pressure back onto it in order to feel like I wasn't going to completely rip apart. Each time I'd have a rush all I could do was push into the sensation and vocalize my attempt. That is the part that really surprised me. I was not expecting to be loud at all, but I just could not be quiet. I yelled and screamed and grunted (I thought I sounded like a baboon) and kept saying over and over "I'm sorry". It was all very embarrassing to me, but my midwives were not phased out at all and just kept telling me I was doing great and that I didn't have to be sorry for anything. At one point I swore, said that I didn't want to have this baby anymore, asked for anything to make it stop and of course the only thing I could do was finish the job.
I carefully was helped into a squat position and held on tight to my midwives and Naaman. I kept thanking everyone for being there to help me and even kissed one of my midwives on the head! The ring of fire was ridiculously intense but I managed to not push to hard so that everything stretched properly and I ended up not tearing at all. The baby's head felt so huge and it just stung. With another two rushes I pushed out his head and did not care to touch it at all. Another two rushes and his body shot out of me. My midwives realized he had the umbilical cord around his neck once and had to unwrap it first and then made me hold him. I was very relived to be done and felt so ridiculously sore that I didn't even think about holding him right away. He was covered in a lot of vernix and it was surprising. I think it was about eight contractions from my water breaking to baby being born. How long it took timewise, I don't know but he was born at 11:09 am. They made me get out of the tub immediately to help his breathing, and we moved onto the bed. I delivered the placenta there and Naaman cut the cord once it stopped pulsating. It was such a relief to be done, but all I could think about was how sore I was! We got to see the placenta which was really cool. Cassandra said it was very healthy. This was probably why it took so long for it to break and why it broke with a bang.
The baby was not a cone head. He came out more straight on with the full circumference of his head, which made pushing him out more difficult. Probably what made me need to vocalize my pushing efforts so much.
We had excellent food while at the birth center.They have a stack of menus from restaurants in the area from which we ordered our food. Our postpartum doulas would go and pick it up for us. It was so so much better than hospital food, which really is a bunch of crap. Looking back now, it was a great experience, wildly intense but great. xo Yana.