Saturday, March 14, 2009

One year ago...

...another little person arrived to share my heart. Amazingly, God not only provides exponential love for each child, so that none ends up with less love when a new little one is born, but He teaches us to value and cherish and respect and admire them more and more, too. I thought you might enjoy my birth story. I am basically copying it directly from a post I made a few days after our birth on a message board I used to participate in .

Our baby has FINALLY arrived!!
As per my usual pattern of each of 6 babies arriving later and later than the last one, I was 11 days past my edd on Friday, March 14th. I agreed to go on Friday morning for their stupid biophysical profile after declining the first one. Everything looked great and it was actually a very positive experience. Dh and I went for coffee and then went home for lunch and to get the kids ready for a March Break Lego program at our local library at 2pm. I felt a little 'birthy' while we were there, but I feel like that a lot.

After the library, we headed over to my parents for our weekly 'pizza night' where my mom and I make homemade pizza for our family. We made all our pizzas and I had noticed my 'Braxton Hicks' getting to be fairly frequent as the evening went along. However, they were not painful or regular or overly intense. Eventually, around 7:30 or so, I was thinking maybe it might be a good idea to finish up our evening and head home to get kids to bed in case the baby was born that night.

We got everyone to bed and it became evident that I was in labour. Again, contractions were not really regular or overly painful, so I didn't call the midwives at that point. Most of the time, I birth quickly, but with my last birth (#5) they were there for several hours before dd was born and I felt pressured to perform (though the midwives put absolutely NO pressure on me at all -- they are great and very patient -- it was just their presence I found a bit distracting). My friend is going through the doula certification process and asked me to call her nice and early because in order for my birth to 'count', she had to be here before I was in active labour. Around 8:45pm, I called her to say it was still early and the birth was not imminent, but she could feel free to come by.

Elisa arrived just after 9pm and my contractions seemed to be very manageable, short in duration and alternating between 4-6 mins apart. My plan was to call the midwives either when my water broke (which, in the past, has meant a birth is going to happen very soon) or when my contractions hit a solid 5 mins apart and were regular and more intense.

Steve and Elisa and I had a nice chat and I made everyone ice cream sundaes. Elisa read something, I think in Ina May Gaskin's latest book, that arm wrestling can help to move labour along, so she suggested an arm wrestle. We started, but I was afraid I would actually injure my arm if we kept it up, as we seemed quite well matched for strength. It was a draw and my contractions were still about the same -- I described several of them as 'just a mini', in fact. Elisa and I decided to go for a walk while Steve checked something on the internet. After I was several yards from my front door, I had a more intense contraction. At this point, I was shaking, but I wasn't cold. Elisa commented on my shaking and that I must be freezing, but that wasn't it at all. A couple of minutes later, I had a very intense contraction and I told Elisa we should go back. She suggested walking just to the end of the road (not far) and going back after. (Contractions were very intense, but short in duration.) I tried to walk a little further, but another contraction was close behind and I recognized it as transition. I told her we had to get back VERY fast. We were no more than 50 feet from my house at the farthest and I had another contraction on the way back, practically running by this point.

We got in the door and I grabbed the phone to call my midwife. Steve, oblivious to what had just happened, said, "Hey! I didn't even get to check what I wanted to check!" I whipped off a quick message to my midwife, basically saying, just start driving here fast. She hopped in her car and called back, saying she would be 20 mins. I started crying and said she wasn't going to make it and my legs started shaking. Steve said, "Oh, Christine...I don't want to deliver a baby." I said, "Too bad." and we rushed upstairs.

I whipped off my clothes and hopped in our birth tub, which we had filled up when we got home from my parents since the brochure said it would stay warm for hours. I could feel the baby crowning and there was no way I could stop pushing. My midwife called back to tell Steve her cell number in case he needed any instructions on what to do. No time. Our baby's head was out in one push, still in the amniotic sack! Elisa suggested hands and knees for the rest of the body. I was able to move and baby's body was born smoothly in the next push. A BABY BOY!!! (We knew all along!!) He looked nice and healthy and big. I didn't like the way he didn't cry, but he was breathing and moving a bit, though I thought he was too blue even after a few minutes. We rubbed him and tried to get him to cry, but he stayed pretty mellow. Fortunately, we knew the midwives would be there any minute with all their gear and we weren't worried that he was in true danger, just that he needed a bit of help. We forgot to look at the clock, but estimate it was 10pm when he was born.
I'm hoping this pic isn't too racy for you because I really wanted to share it.
It definitely captures the emotions I was feeling over giving birth 'unassisted' so suddenly!

Midwives arrived at 10:14pm. Baby looked great, but was breathing extremely quickly. I got out to deliver the placenta on the bed (and my sweet midwife got my oldest dd all gloved up and had her do the 'delivery'...pretty cool!) while we tried to help our little guy slow down his breathing (which was at times 118 breaths a minute). We tried lots of tricks, but couldn't get it to stay down, so my midwife said we would have to go to the hospital. I was so sad!!

Since it was urgent, but not an emergency, my midwife called ahead to the hosptial and we went by car. At the hospital, baby guy was diagnosed with Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn (TTN), which was caused by his fast birth. It is common in c-section babies and was caused by his not getting his lungs nicely squished out during his birth. The special care nursery nurses call babies like him 'Flyers'.

The worst part was not the I.V., but the fact that he was not allowed to nurse until his respirations were 60/min or less, as babies breathing that fast are at risk of aspirating anything they are given by mouth. My midwife said it would take at least 12 hours and sometimes 48 hours. I was just devastated. It ended up taking 36 hrs and it was all of a sudden completely gone. Our first nursing was one happy moment. In the meantime, I had asked for him to be fed my colostrum via gavage since he was seeming really hungry. The doctor readily agreed and this did seem to settle him nicely. We made sure to let him suck our finger a lot so that he would remember sucking well when he was finally allowed to nurse. It worked well since when we were given the go-ahead, he nursed like he hadn't missed a thing.

I have to say that I was shocked by the wonderful things I saw happening at the special care nursery while we were there. We are not very medically-oriented and I expected to have to fight for everything and listen to cranky nurses giving out bad bfing info and trying to bottle every baby that came through the door. What I witnessed was the absolute opposite. The nurses just LOVED the babies, almost treating them like they were their own. Most of them were lactation consultants and lactivists, even the ones in their 50's, and I overheard them give one mom after another encouragement and wonderful, accurate, up-to-date bfing info and help.

On Monday morning, we were discharged and dh and I and baby guy tucked ourselves into bed, Dh and I had a glass of red wine and a nice long nap, the three of us in a little stack. It was the best feeling in the whole world, being back in our little nest, just like it was supposed to be from the start. I actually decided to treat it like he was just born and I put on my pyjamas and stayed in our bedroom for two days. I just came downstairs this morning, which feels great, too.

My MIL brought the kids home a few hours later and we were altogether again. Sigh. It was bliss.

Baby guy is doing fantastic and has absolutely no signs of any traumatic beginning. We are ECing as always, nursing lots and we never put him down. Life is good.

Happy Birthday, my little baby man. I love you so much that some days I think my heart will burst.

(Baby Guy was glad to see the purse thieves weren't interested in Sophie la Giraffe!)


  1. Happy Birthday Sullifer! I remember it like it was yesterday!

    love Monique

  2. What a neat post to read. I must've missed your birth post (on TBW I'm assuming) last year. Happy Birthday!

  3. Hi Christine,
    Did you ever get your giraffe back?
    What a great birth story! At first I thought you were having your 7th! Until it hit me you were talking about your 6th birth!

    I'm going to try to come to your blog more often! I pray all is well with you!