Monday, August 17, 2015

Josette's Birth Story

Let me begin by writing a disclaimer. Giving birth is personal, innate and to be celebrated. The personal and innate characteristics are cause for the disclaimer. Birthing is not pretty. It is natural and a part of being human. As such, birth is also beautiful and cause for celebration. I chose to celebrate giving birth by documenting our children's birth stories. I write for me and so that as time passes the details of the memory do not. That being said, I write as I remember the experience. The details of events may not be exactly how it happened. I share to celebrate a history of births and to empower others. So, if you don't want to read about birth, now is the time to click close.

The birth of my third daughter took more mental preparation than my first two labours and deliveries.  I had two natural births behind me (one at home). I was afraid that anything different would feel like failure. Knowing what was before me seemed daunting at times. I came to terms with the fear of failure by seeing the fear through. A book I read called "Birthing from Within" emphasized being present at your birth whether it was a natural or a Cesarean birth. Knowing that I would birth our child and be evolved by the process (by whatever means) made me confident.

Sunday July 26 Evening
-I feel something different within my body. Soon.

Monday July 27 Day
-I am experiencing false labour; weak contractions in lower back. They tarry on and off throughout the day.
-Chris stays home to be my chauffeur and in case labour progresses.
-I go to my chiropractor's appointment.
-My contractions die out after dinner.

Tuesday July 28

4:00 am
-I awake to stronger contractions than the ones that ceased the evening before.
-I plan to wait an hour to see if they progress.
-While sitting in the living room, Addisyn wakes and visits me. We share whispers, prayers and snuggles before heading back to bed.

4:30 am
-Rylyn gets up to use the washroom.
-It's 4 in the morning. Everyone is up. This is a sign. Baby is coming today.

5:00 am
-I call my mom (who was already awake?!?) to pick up the girls..."How is 7:00 am?" she asks. How about now? "6:00?" I reply. We agree.
-Time to text my sister, Laura (my untrained doula), who had been partying up the Mexican Train and slept over at a friends in Dundas, "Come when you can..."

5:30 am
-There are signs of losing my mucous plug and bloody show.
-I continue, with Chris' help, to get girls ready to leave.

6:00 am
-How do people have their children present at the birth of a sibling? I feel like mine are flies and am looking for a swatter...I am happy Grandma Lynn has arrived to take them for the day.

6:30 am
-I text "doula" Laura to pick up bottled water, a veggie tray, creamer and milk on her way.

7:00 am
-My contractions are 5 min apart and have gotten strong enough to stall me.
-I decide to lie down on the couch, rest and talk with Chris until our "doula" arrives.

8:00 am
-Laura arrives; my contractions have slowed and faded.
-We chit chat.

9:00 am
-I decide Laura and I should weed the garden to get things moving again.
-Chris leaves to get a coffee.

9:30 am
-I call the midwife office to see if I should keep my 10:30 appointment.
-"I have an awkward question. I am in early labour, but contractions have subsided and I don't need to page the on call midwife yet. Do I keep my appointment?"
-I was told in that line of work, it was not an awkward question and if I felt up to it, to keep my appointment.

9:45 am
-I am not sitting around and waiting. Might as well go to the appointment. Where is my husband?
-I text Chris to tell him to get home because we are leaving for my 10:30 appointment.

10:30 am
-I arrive at my appointment with Laura and Chris.
-My labour progress is checked and I am 2-3 cm dilated.
-I am offered help to progress the labour (stretch and sweep of the cervix, which in future instances I will refer to as "help to progress the labour").
-As I was told the more babies you have, the more your early labour will start and stop before becoming active, I take the help and ask for Chris' hand.
-I leave my appointment and have to stop for a solid contraction on the stairs.
-Laura calls out, "It's working."
-The secretary comments that I am smiling as I leave. Baby will come today.

11:00 am
-I ask Chris to drive down Yonge Street (which is torn up with pot holes).
-He accepts the challenge to torture me and make sure the tire on my side hits every pot hole.
-I have another solid contraction in the car.
-We all agree to head home and send Chris out for lunch.

Time starts to stall and blur.

11:30 am
-Chris leaves with the lunch order.
-Laura and I chat, laugh and eat the veggies she brought earlier.
-The laughter is bringing on more contractions.
-By the time Chris returns and I have lost my appetite. My chicken wrap will now be my after labour treat.

12:30 pm
-I decide to page the on-call midwife.
-She asks if I have done the "bath test" (where I sit in the bath for 20 minutes to see if labour strengthens). I tell her I didn't do it with my other labours so I did not with this one and I didn't feel like I could sit in the bath.
-We agree to reassess over the phone in 20 minutes because at this point for my past labours, I had 2-3 hours left before pushing.
-I decide to try the bath test.
-I last three contractions and complain through each of them that sitting in the bath is worst place to have contractions.
-Laura is in the room adjacent to the bathroom and pages the midwife with my message, "Bath contractions suck." The page operator apparently has less of a sense of humour than a woman in labour.
-Laura and the midwife agree that it is time for her to come. I tell Laura to send the last update to family and friends via text message before having the baby...things are rolling.

Some time after 1:00 pm. I have lost track of time.
-The midwife arrives
-I labour hovering over the bed.
-Laura and Chris provide pressure to my lower back at the onset of contractions until I say OK.
-I am 4 cm. 1 measly cm since my morning appointment! Help to progress the labour.
-I am fitted for antibiotics for Group B strep.
-I labour kneeling on the bed and hugging my exercise ball. The contractions feel long. As they taper out, the pain is rooted in my back and I open and close my hand to release it. I imagine I am jumping from a water fall at the peak of each contraction.
-I ask for music at some point in time. I hear the words, "You make me brave..." I remember that God created me with the ability to do this. I am brave. He will never leave me nor forsake me.

-When we next check, I am 5 cm.
-I am congratulated on being half way. Why is it taking so long?! After those contractions I should be 8 cm!
-Time has stalled. I am more present and aware than my past two labours. The minutes feel like hours. I am encouraged that although my active labour may seem longer I am progressing well and my transition period (7-10 cm) will be fast as it is my third child.
-I am offered to have my membranes ruptured.
-I want to have a few more contractions in the bathroom first. Laura and Chris encourage me. Once my waters are broken, I am committed.

-In the bathroom, I lean over the vanity. I remember a labour story I read. A woman who laboured over her buffet. It was the perfect height.
-This vanity is my buffet. It is the perfect height. I feel reenergized. Ready to commit.
-I travel back to the bedroom, "Let's move this rodeo." My membranes are ruptured and I learn that there are two membranes surrounding the baby. I am amazed at this fact and that despite my state I am learning something new.
-Back to the bathroom. My happy place. I know my voice shudders through the waves. They now quake through my entire body. My legs feel weak.
-Time is getting close. The second midwife has been called.
-Soon after, I am told she is waiting outside the home. "Invite her in!"

-It is agreed that Laura will catch the baby with the help of the midwife.
-We return to the bedroom to have the baby.
-I hug Chris through one last contraction before sitting on a birthing stool. He sits on the bed and holds me from behind and Laura waits with the midwife.
-Laura reads a "thinking-of-you" text message from a friend who has no idea I am in labour, between contractions.
-The midwife asks if I feel inebriated. I reply, "Yes."
-Laura asks for clarification. I tell her, "She is asking if I feel drunk."
-I can feel Laura and Chris' eyes on me, almost laughing, although my eyes are closed.
-I tell the midwife, "I haven't had a drink in my life." I pause. "Actually, I had one glass of champagne when I was 10."

-I am 8 cm. Help to progress the labour. 10 cm.
-I feel like the baby has a long journey still to make.
-I hear the anthem of this current season of my life in the background. I know it is time and the music couldn't be more fitting...Through it all, through it all my eyes are on You, through it all, through it all, it is well with me....
-2 more contractions with pushing and Laura and the midwife place the baby in my arms.

4:01 pm
-A girl. Our third girl. I hear crying.
-Chris cuts the cord.

-Once afterbirth is finished we move to sit on the bed.
-Chris names our daughter, "Josette Margaret." Her name means "God shall add" and "Pearl."
-I am enamoured with the new little life who has since quieted. Josette nurses and I hear the midwifes retreat to the kitchen to afford us some privacy while bonding. Their murmurs in the kitchen are soothing. Laura and Chris are with us in the bedroom and update family and friends.

-The midwives assess Josette: 6 lbs, 11oz, 20" 3/4, while I have a shower.
-The second midwife echoes a goodbye while I am in the shower.
-The first assists me getting out. She helps dries me off. A kindness I humbly accept. She helps me back to the bedroom.
-I know there are two more births in progress and another woman is close to meeting her kin. As the first midwife turns to exit I say, "I send whatever strength is left in me to the next."

"A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world." -John 16:21

Addisyn's birth story

Rylyn's birth story

1 comment:

  1. How beautifully written. Thank you for sharing this with us Kara! - Megan B