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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Brenik Arli's Birth Story Part 3 (of 3)

As you are about to see why, the most appropriate way for me to record the events of Brenik's birth was by a time log. I originally tried to type it up in paragraph/story form like Gabriel's birth story but that just didn't fit or feel right...

2:00/3:00am- I started to stir in bed from what I thought was just some annoying pelvic pressure/pain.
5:00am- Got out of bed and headed down stairs to sleep thinking I could get more comfortable on the couch.
5:12am- Messaged a friend on Facebook asking if she discovered any tricks on how to reduce pelvic pressure pain while sleeping. Turned on Hulu to distract myself.
5:23am- On my blog's Facebook Page wrote, "Well it's official, unless this baby comes in the next 18.5 hours we're going to have a September baby (at some point). So crazy to realize that all month we have thought this was the month all to see it come and go sans baby."
5:30am- Started to realize that the supposed pelvic pressure/pain was actually coming somewhat rhythmically, began tracking it and discovered it was every 4-5 minutes for 60-90 seconds. Got up and made some eggs to see if eating settled or changed them.
5:50am- Sat on the birthing ball, increased the discomfort in my pelvic, decided to stick with just walking around. 

6:00am- Went and gentle woke Chris to inform him that I've most likely been in active labor since 2/3 in the morning. Told him that though they are at the right frequency, intensity is super mild so he was welcome to keep sleeping. Just wanted to give him a heads up. 
6:05am- Chris woke up and suggested I call our doula and or midwife. I wasn't certain it was necessary yet; I was so nervous for false alarm since starting labor with contractions was new to me. I put off calling until a few more contractions happened. 
6:16am- Called my doula Melynda and inform her I'm having contractions every 4-5 minutes for 60-90seconds. Melynda told me to call my midwife Nikki and then let her know what Nikki said.
6:20am- Called Nikki, she said she'll start getting ready but won't leave for another hour unless things change drastically- if things change call sooner but if they don't just call in an hour with the update.
6:24am- Texted Melynda with news from Nikki.
6:29am- Called our family friend Wendy to give her a heads up we may need her in an hour or so to grab Gabriel for the morning/afternoon/day.
6:35am- Began asking Chris to apply touch and message to my lower back, hips, and under belly during contractions.
7:00am- Gabriel woke up ready to start playing with trains!
7:15am- Called Wendy letting her know that Gabriel is awake and based off the shortening of time between contractions I told her I'm probably going to need her to come grab Gabe sooner than later.
7:25am- Wendy arrived and started to play with Gabe in the living room while Chris finished getting Gabe's bag ready in between helping me with contractions. We were also waiting for Gabe to get some breakfast before sending him off.
7:25am- Called Nikki and told her that the intensity hadn't changed too much, a few had made me feel sick but no drastic change, but that the contractions were now 2-3 minutes apart. She told me she was on her way and that I should call her if anything else changes.
7:26am- Called Melynda and let her know that Nikki was coming. Melynda asked when I wanted her to come and I said, "Now."
7:30am- Called my sister-in-law Sarah to tell her the doula and midwife were on their way so she could start heading down too.
8:01am- Called Nikki to let her know I was starting to see bloody show, she said that that was great because it meant my cervix was doing what it was supposed to. She told me that if I started feeling pressure that I needed to call her back and put her on speaker.
8:23am- Contractions began happening on top of each other, so strong I couldn't help but moan through them. Chris applied counter pressure, and kissed my back to relieve pain and distract me. I told him I needed him to pray over me and start feeding me words of encouragement since I began to doubt my strength and endurance.
8:25am- Gabriel left before eating breakfast, Chris started setting up the birth tub,  and I went upstairs to sit in the bath tub.
8:27am- I quickly discovered sitting on the hard tub floor was too terribly painful. I headed to our bedroom to kneel on the ground while resting my arms and head on the side of the bed to breath through the oncoming contraction because they now knock me off my feet due to intensity. Contractions started to make me feel light headed. I started to doubt my ability to do this drug free, but found encouragement in knowing that I'm most likely in transition because I started to feel so hopeless.
8:28am- I feel like I need to have a bowel movement so I sit on the toilet and it was terribly painful. I headed back to the side of the bed to get through another contraction.
8:30am- I Realized I didn't need to have a bowel movement but that I needed to start pushing the baby down/out; I tested it out during my contraction and pushing felt productive.
8:35am- Chris came for me upstairs after hearing my experience the latest contraction. He helped me down stairs to the tub. On our way down the stairs I told Chris the baby was coming soon, like 1-2 hours. When we got down stairs we both noticed that Chris had started filling the tub without the liner, he began trying to pump the water out to refill with liner. I pushed during two contractions kneeling at the tub on the hard laminate which was extremely uncomfortable on my knees. After the contractions ended I stumble over to the living room and began pushing through contractions kneel by the couch with my arms and head resting on the seat of the couch; I could feel the head at this point moving downward. Chris is frantically running between assisting me and trying to get the tub ready.
8:40am- While I pushed through my contraction I felt a pop and water gushed out, my water broke and was clear/clean.
8:43am- The midwife and the midwife in training arrived. Chris informed them my water just broke. Nikki told Chris to forget about the tub, there wasn't time and then they began setting up. Gloves came on, the midwife in training (Tiffany) asked if it was okay to remove my shorts, they laid down tarps and began assisting me. During the next couple contractions Nikki applied counter pressure to prevent/minimize tearing along my previous episiotomy. At one point Nikki told me I could reach down and touch the head if I'd like, I quickly moaned out a 'no'. I did not want to break concentration or focus, I also didn't want to waste energy moving my body and arms to touch the head, I wanted all strength to remain focused on delivery.
8:55am- Brenik Arli was born.

After Brenik was delivery I turned around and sat down and immediately got to hold Brenik close. We sat there in awe of the series of events. I finally got to say hi to Nikki since I was sort of busy when she arrived. All I kept thinking was that I could totally do that all over again, which was the exact opposite of how I felt after Gabriel was born; no one could pay me enough money in that moment after my first experience to agree to go through labor and delivery a second time. I don't think I cried, I was so pumped full of adrenaline with a mind spinning circles trying to process everything. We sat there laughing about how they almost showed up to a baby already born and catching our breath as we waited for the cord to stop pulsing. After Chris cut the cord I moved to the tarp and blanket covered chase section of our sectional to deliver the placenta. At this point Nikki's assistant arrived shocked to see that baby was already born! She began doing the clean up which surprisingly wasn't much of anything when considering a baby was just delivered.

After my placenta was delivery I handed Brenik (who by the way was still not being called by any name) off to Chris and was helped upstairs to my bed to get stitched. It was decided I'd remain upstairs for the coming days (weeks) since that's where the bathroom and shower were. What a comfort it was to be moved to my bed rather to a different hospital bed after delivery! I chose to hold Brenik while being stitched to use him as a distraction and I also told Chris to talk to me, not to converse but to just talk to me about anything and everything. Chris was great, he went on and on about all sorts of future dream travels and vacations. While getting my 2 (but with one complicated one through muscle) stitches I began nursing Brenik for the first time dreaming about the beaches of the Maldives.

My doula Melynda showed up a short time after I got the stitches and we caught her up on how things went down between then and the last time I talked to her on the phone. She was completely flabbergasted with how quickly things sped up and said based off of hearing me through a contraction she wouldn't have guessed this to have happened. She later said that she has heard other midwives/doulas describe my kind of labor/delivery as completing a marathon in sprint time- can be far more intense than typical length labor/deliveries but done and over in a whole lot quicker time.

Nikki on the left and Tiffany on the right.
Once Brenik finished doing some nursing Nikki and Tiffany did some of his initial screenings right there on our bed. Gosh it was so nice having this done just a foot or two from me rather than a different room down the hall away from me. It was at this time that the midwife said that typical signs that appear in a GBS baby within an hour after birth had not presented themselves, thank you Jesus! Brenik measured 20.5" (he measured 22" 1 week later at the doctor so we think he was probably closer to 22" at birth than 20.5") and weighed in at 8lbs and 15oz, just 2oz less than Gabriel. We were surprised to have a baby under 9lbs even if it was by just one ounce. We opted for the vitamin K shot but delayed the Hep shot and denied the eye cream which was all done without any questions or pressure put on us! After the screening it was suggested I try to use the restroom- it is so strange going from having an overcrowded bladder to allowing it to expand again! I didn't feel like I needed to go pee at all but boy I sure did. Tiffany asked me if I felt like I could stand in the shower and if so I was welcome to take a shower at this point, YES PLEASE! That shower felt great. When I was cleaning up Sarah arrived and I heard her say, "I can't believe I missed it!" To which I shouted from the shower, "don't worry, I almost did too!" When Sarah was told I was in the shower she initially thought I was laboring in there, not that I had already had the baby and was cleaning up!

Once the downstairs was cleaned up, and baby and I check out as doing well Nikki, Tiffany, and April left planning on coming back by again the following day. We were left to rest and enjoy our new baby. I called my mom to share the news, before I could say anything she said, "you know since tomorrow is Labor Day I think it would be more than appropriate for you to have the baby tomorrow." I calmly responded, "No mom, I actually had the baby three hours ago." She laughed and replied with, "But no, think of it, laboring on Labor Day, it's appropriate." I ran it by her again, "No mom, really, I had that baby three hours ago. You have a new grandson." She had such a hard time believing me. It wasn't until I started to share the details of our crazy morning that it started to settle in, it was quite the hysterical conversation.

The rest of the day was spent enjoying my time cuddling Brenik, chatting and laughing with Melynda and Sarah, contacting family, and then eventually introducing Gabriel to his new baby brother. The initial introduction was very anticlimactic, all Gabriel wanted to do was play trains with 'Saree' downstairs. Later in the day however Gabriel wanted to give me a hug and kiss and in doing so completely trampled over Brenik (here begins the life of the littlest child) which caused Brenik to stir and grabbed Gabriel's attention. Gabe spent some time touching Brenik, kissing him, and talking about the different parts of his face, "baby soft."

I think the difference between our home birth experience and hospital birth experience really set in that first night where we were allowed to (it was our one free pass from our midwife) let Brenik sleep 6 straight hours during the middle of the night which allowed all of us to enjoy that well needed stretch of sleep. Nikki said that babies typically want to sleep about 6 hours at some point after birth to recover and though we were supposed to be checking and recording vitals every 4 hours we didn't need to wake Brenik during that stretch, just needed to grab them as soon as he woke. I remember that first night in the hospital just being awful because of the revolving door and endless wake ups even when we were sleeping. Many emotional breakdowns happened that first night in our first experience (granted going from no children to a baby in itself can cause many breakdowns) and this time around there was just peaceful resting and sleeping. And that first morning after waking up in our house in our own room, spending the morning as a family of four cuddling in our king bed, wow, would not trade that morning for anything in the world!

No one expected my labor and delivery to go this fast but when considering a second labor is typically half the time as the first and that we figured I was probably in transition at the 7th hour in my first labor experience (before the entire process was stalled and slowed by excessive amounts of drugs/narcotics), the length of this labor made sense. As you can conclude, there was not enough time for me to receive the antibiotics I needed for GBS, even if I received the antibiotics when I woke up to move to the couch it wouldn't have been administer in the amount of time prior to delivery that is desired. Fortunately, because my labor was extremely fast and because Brenik was born almost immediately after my water broke, he was at extremely low risk for contracting GBS. My midwife said it couldn't have been a more ideal situation and it was later concluded that Brenik did not contract GBS, once again, praise God!

Because of the tentative care of Nikki and me being able to feel Brenik descending because I wasn't all drugged this time, I was able to efficiently work with my contractions and body resulting in a 2nd degree tear only needing 2 stitches (as mentioned above). Though still a decent tear (short but deep, entering muscle) it was not what my prior doctor had told me to expect with delivery after an episiotomy- a 4th degree tear which goes down to the rectum. I obviously cannot say this for certain but personally I'm confident in saying I'm sure I would have received that 4th degree tear if I delivered in the hospital (OB/GYN are amazing surgeons, to an OB/GYN a 4th degree tear would be no issue because they can appropriately and successfully stitch it up without any concern) but because I was at home with a midwife who focuses on preventatives this was not the case.

Obviously at this point I can't say we'll have a third pregnancy even though we do desire to have more children. I can say though that after having Gabriel I was convinced I'd never get pregnant ever again because the experience was just that brutal. After Brenik was born though, I quickly exclaimed that I would totally do that all over in a heartbeat! It's safe to say that if we do decide to go round three, we'll no question (yes, Chris is completely on board too now having experienced it both ways) we'll plan from the beginning to do a home birth; after all I would still love to get a water birth under my belt!

No two people are the same, and just because a home birth wound up being an absolute dream experience for us that erased all my fears and anxieties, it could do just the opposite for another woman! No two birth experiences are the same and no birth plan is perfectly appropriate for two different women. My birth story is by no means written to elevate home birth over hospital birth (or midwives above doctors) but hopefully instead shows that birth is the woman's experience not the care provider's. Ask questions, seek out answers, and keep in mind that it is all about you the woman.

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  1. I loved reading all 3 parts, especially this one!! Thank you for sharing. Makes me a bit nervous for how fast my next delivery might go, since my first was already pretty fast. I'm so glad you had such a positive, peaceful experience...looks like everyone's happy and healthy! God bless!

  2. I'm bawling my eyes out. This is so beautiful! I am so happy for your family Lena! God bless all of you.

  3. So happy for all of you! Such beautiful photos!

  4. Congratulations! I am glad everything went well and that he was born safe and healthy! My second labor went really fast once it started (from a 5 to a 10 in about an hour!) so maybe that is just how things go! I'm glad Gabriel loves him, too! Yay new babies!

  5. Happy and healthy indeed! Though the behavior set backs are now starting to kick in with Gabriel unfortunately. Did you experience a delay in that at all?

  6. Haha does someone still have their pregnancy/postpartum hormones roaring? I don't think they actually every completely go away. Thanks Samantha!

  7. Quick second labor is nice huh? I have no idea where my dilation was, would have been fun to know but obvious I was at a 10 when the midwife showed up. haha

  8. Hello Lena, oh my, I am so delighted! I found your page again tonight through Disqus, by synchronicity. I thought I lost your blog for good last month, since the last time I wrote you before your pregnancy when I first found your page and had wished you well for your labor. HUGS! I was so excited when you popped up again and I could read about your sweet new baby!!! What a beautiful story! I guess the best part was I didn't have to wait to read part 1, 2, and 3 hehe. I was reading soaking up all the details and excited to hear how it all went for you! Congratulations to you and your family! What a beautiful experience! I am glad for you that even in the end you were able to have what you knew you needed by instinct. I am also glad to learn a bit from what you shared, because I'm hoping for my first - we are trying,.. in the next year. :) While it was all interesting and sacred and lovely. What interested me helpfully what you said about going without the drugs too, and feeling when to push, that really resonated for me. I do not deal with pain well but I'm also a toughy at the same time, and very instinctive. I think I will keep that in mind because when I can feel my instincts I feel more empowered and when I can't, I have no compass, and get anxious. So thanks for sharing that piece of wisdom I may use for my birth plan when that time comes. Much love to you all, and I look forward to keeping in touch!! This time I won't lose ya! :) I got you in my reader!! :D love, Jenn


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