Friday, May 1, 2009

Emma's Birth Story

I thought maybe a month of time would lessen the traumaticness of Emma's birth, but nope, it was pretty traumatic. At 8 days overdue, I went and had a chiropractic adjustment thinking that maybe I was out of alignment and that Emma couldn't descend because of it. It turns out that I was right and that the adjustment either worked and I went back out or it didn't work at all. The night after the adjustment I started having contractions which was pretty exciting because usually that means a baby is going to come pretty quickly after that. I continued to contract all through the night, but was able to sleep for a few hours because by baby #4 I knew to get sleep if at all possible. I woke up the next morning and the labor stopped. Jeromy decided to stay home though because we were still thinking that something was going to happen, and I was pretty tired. That night, the same thing happened. I labored all night long, but this time the contractions were too strong to sleep through. They were really strong when I was lying down, but would stop when I stood up. I woke Jeromy up at around 3 am just to let him know I thought I was "really in labor this time." I didn't feel like any company, so I just worked through the contractions all night. I finally fell asleep around 5 am because the contractions were slowing down and slept for an hour or so. When I woke up, no more contractions. I called my midwife that morning, and she told me that "real labor" wouldn't change no matter which position I was in. Lying down or standing up shouldn't affect the labor. Jeromy stayed home again that day so I could get some rest after the long night I had. Wednesday night, same thing. The contractions started about 9 pm every 5 minutes or so. That night, for the next 8 hours, the labor was REALLY hard! The contraction were strange too. I had back labor as well as the normal contractions, but there was a weird really painful, sharp pinching feeling with the contractions. When daybreak came, the contractions stopped again. That morning, I had had enough. I was so tired and worn out from laboring all night, for the past 3 nights, and I was done. I called my midwife who informed me she was attending a birth 90 minutes away. She heard my desperation and called the back up midwife to come and check me. She agreed that breaking my water would be okay. It was either that or I was going to go to the hospital to get some pitocin and an epidural. If only I would have known what the day was going to hold, I would have gone with the hospital. They have strong drugs there. Sometimes that is a good thing.

The new midwife, Shannon, arrived an hour later and started calling assistants to get someone there before she broke my water. She checked my dilation and to my surprise, I was at a 6. The 3 nights of labor had at least done something. I was feeling rather optimistic that I would get my water broken and things would progress fairly quickly. Shannon wanted to get my contractions going again before she broke my water and that meant some painful sort of thing stretching out the cervix. Ouch. The contractions did start again and Shannon realized that with each contraction my cervix was being pinched by the position of Emma's head and that was the pain I was feeling. My cervix was swollen from the pinching which is the opposite of what you want to happen with effacement. She could also tell she was posterior (face up instead of face down) and that is why my labor kept starting and stopping and had been going for so long. Shannon then tried to break my water with no success. She tried all day long and could never get to them. She said Emma's head was kind of acting like a cork and we couldn't get it out of the way no matter what we tried, and believe me we tried EVERYTHING. I was even inverted at one point. As the day wore on and the contractions were getting worse, I got more and more tired, worn out and pretty hostile. Shannon kept giving me homeopathics to calm me down every time I would start yelling and screaming. It was not pretty. I was having such bad back labor and Shannon attached a muscle stimulator that helped alot. I would have Jeromy crank it way up each time the contractions started, and that provided a little relief for a while. When I was at 8 cm we kept thinking that things were going to progress quickly, but I stayed there for a VERY long time. This was my second labor with never ending transition. Transition is supposed to be fairly quick, at least in my other two experiences and it is torture when it goes on for hours. At around 3 pm I started talking about going to the hospital. I didn't want to be in pain anymore, and I was at the point that if someone would have offered me a C-section, I would have gladly taken it. None of us really knew what to do. Shannon told us that in her experience, we would get to the hospital and by the time I would get the epidural, I would be ready to push. None of us could predict though how much longer it was going to take. I couldn't last any longer but also didn't want to go to the hospital if I was almost done. As another hour would pass, I wanted to go even more but the chances of almost being done grew too. Jeromy didn't know what to do either. He couldn't comfort me at all or even say that I was almost done when we just didn't know.

I decided that I would use the bathroom one more time and then get ready to go to the hospital. The thought of a car ride was also unbearable, so I was really wanting to not have to go. I thought that maybe I could start pushing to just see if I could make something happen on my own. I pushed as hard as I could even though I didn't have the urge at all, and she was right there. I called for Shannon, and they moved me to my bed. A couple of pushes later and there she was. We knew the reason Shannon couldn't find the bag of waters. It was empty. I don't really think that my water could have broke without me knowing, so it was probably just gone by that point. She was born healthy and crying, which I love because my other kids didn't cry right away which makes me worried. She was so tiny and had the smallest little head. She never turned the right way either. Often the baby will turn the right way when they come out, but she was born face up, the stubborn little girl.

I was so relieved and happy when she was born. I think I said, "Oh, thank you Lord," about a hundred times after she came out. She nursed right away and for a long time. My other kids didn't want to nurse right away. It was so nice to be at home after the birth. Shannon and her assistant, Brandy, were so wonderful. They took such good care of me and Emma. They did the laundry and the dishes before they left. It was so neat having women caring for women. It was like it was more than a job, that they just had to check off boxes that they had done, like in the hospital. It was truly care. That part of it was awesome.

I would definitely have a run of the mill, normal birth at home again. I would definitely NOT have a posterior, induced, or breech baby at home. Sign me up for the hospital and epidural at the first sign of contractions. It is not something I need to go through again. 4 natural childbirths is all I have in me. I have paid my natural dues, I think. We'll see how I feel if and when there is a next time, but at this point, I don't feel like I could do it again. I think taking advantage of drugs in a difficult birth scenario will be my next birth plan.

That's the whole story. Emma is beautiful and perfect, and I wasn't even mad at her after she was born like I was with Ellie. ( I was really mad at Ellie for a good few hours for putting me through her hard birth! ) Yes, she was totally worth it, but I do have the regret of not going to the hospital that last morning. God works it all out in the end though, and it happened the way it was supposed to. Emma is still gaining weight rather slowly. Nursing is getting easier though, and I think the thrush is clearing up because it isn't AS painful to nurse her as it was. She is a pretty lazy nurser which I have never had before. My other kids would eat in 15 or 20 minutes, and it takes her 40 minutes to an hour. It has made it hard to nurse all day long with the other children to care for, but we are adjusting, and I know as Emma gets bigger and more awake, she'll start nursing faster. It is still so astounding to me how different each child is, even within the same family. She seems like a mixture of Bennett and Rachel when they were babies. She is very serious like Bennett and studies faces and things around her, and she is very mellow and relaxed like Rachel was. She doesn't cry very much and is easily appeased when she does. All the kids adore her and there was no adjustment problem at all. We are truly blessed and so thankful to have Emma entrusted to us. I love you Emma!


Mystie said...

Oh, poor Samantha!! I *know* what you are talking about. Ilse was the first one that I could not think about "next time" right after. But I was still glad afterward I'd been at home. My recovery was so quick, and it wouldn't have been if I'd gone in for drugs or a C-section (and it would have been a C-section if we'd transferred).

I didn't feel like pushing, I felt like an eternity of labor was stretched out before me, but finally my midwife suggested I try to push. Same thing happened as with you.

I have never known such relief as when she slithered into this world! :)

Thanks for sharing.

Michelle said...

Thank you for sharing this! Wow, what an amazing story. You sound like a very strong woman!

Kristen said...

phew! wow, samantha!!

Brianna Heldt said...

oh man! samantha i'm so sorry! what a blessing that there are hospitals available if we need/want them, and also that we have the freedom to have a homebirth if we choose. SO glad sweet emma is doing well and that the adjustment has gone well too. God is good!!!