As is par for me, I like to document my labor story. Maybe it’s the midwife in me. There may be some details in here that some may find “gross” or TMI, so you’ve been warned, and you should just skip this if you do not desire to read such accounts. 🙂
So, on Saturday night, the 21st of January, Stephen and I were talking, and we both felt that this pregnancy was going to go longer than the other 2 (which were 37 and 38 wks). HA! We were ready though, as far as having the house ready, since I was drawing closer to 37 weeks. Since I had delivered at that time before, I like to be ready for that at least. So, I had cleaned the floors, the bathrooms, the sheets, all the clothes (did that all on that Saturday), and I had declared earlier in the week that I was done freezing meals for the weeks following the birth. All baby clothes had been washed and put away. Nursery ready. Etc, etc.
Went to bed at a decent time that night. At about 3:40am on Sunday, the 22nd, I awoke to a pain in my upper right side and also in my pelvis–like a stabbing, jabbing pain. This caused a contraction, so I laid still and waited for it to pass. Of course, I had to pee since I was awake, so I got up (like I did 50 times every night!), but as I got up, fluid started filling my undies. I waddled quickly to the potty and sat down. Fluid continued to come out before I finally peed. Uh-oh. So, I wiped, and there was pink on the toilet paper. Oh….uggh…you’re kidding me! I was 36 wks and 3 days by my dates. I sat there on the potty for a few minutes before finally deciding to wake Stephen up and break the news to him that my water had broken. When I did, he jumped up out of bed, because he’s thinking I’m about to have a baby any minute (see this for previous labor story). So, he says, “What do we do now?” haha, I love those questions. He followed it by, “I think we should call Sandra.” Sandra is our midwife. Of course we should call her, but I just needed to wrap my brain around the fact that this was even earlier than either of my other labors.
So, if you didn’t know up to this point, I will let you know now. We planned a homebirth this time. Our prior two births were at a birth center in Austin. We loved our experiences there, but since we moved, we are even further from the birth center, so the thought of that drive again didn’t sound exciting to Stephen. It was actually his idea to look into a homebirth. Several months before we were even thinking about having another, he suggested a homebirth. So, I got to researching homebirth midwives. Found a Certified Nurse Midwife (this is what I am as well) that does them in our area. Realized she also graduated from Harding, just 15 years earlier than me. Cool! So, when we became pregnant, I contacted her, and Stephen and I both really liked her!
Another note here is that this pregnancy, I tested positive for GBS. Basically, it’s a bacteria that anybody can have, and it comes and goes. Women are tested between 35-37 wks in pregnancy for this. The test is only considered valid for 5 wks, so it can be positive one day, and negative the next. Anyway, this time, positive. Bummer, because the recommended treatment is IV antibiotics in labor. With my history of rapid labors, the likelihood of getting adequately treated to benefit the baby seemed low. Anyway, when my water broke, I wasn’t having any kind of labor contractions, so Sandra made her way to our house with antibiotics ready to administer!
She got to our house around 5:45am. She was with another lady when I initially called her, so she had to wrap things up with her before heading my way. She got the IV started on me, and first dose of Ampicillin going at 6am. The recommended treatment is 4 hrs of antibiotics (the Amp is given every 4 hrs). So, we didn’t do anything to encourage labor before 10:00am. This actually put my mind at ease. The whole GBS thing had me a little paranoid, even though the risk of anything happening to baby is very low. So, I was very happy to just hang out getting the antibiotics. Had breakfast during this time, got the kids ready for church, took some final pictures, etc.
Called my friend, Amanda, right before 7am, and asked if she could take the kids for the day. She and her husband and their 2 daughters came to get Abriella and Colby on the way to church. So blessed to have them take the kids for the day!! I do have to put in here that when the kids came downstairs just after 7, they both looked at Sandra, very puzzled. The kids knew exactly who she was, but were wondering why she was in our house so early in the morning. We then told them that we would be having the baby that day. Abriella was so excited, and she said it was going to be a boy. She told me very clearly, “Mommy, I will be soooo excited if it’s a boy. I will be if it’s a girl, too.” She felt it was going to be a boy though. Funny, as she had always said she wanted it to be a girl, but then she decided ultimately that it would be a boy. Smart girl! Colby was excited, too, and said it needed to be a boy. He was always wishy-washy on if it was a boy or girl, but usually settled on it NEEDING to be a boy. HA!
Sometime after the 2nd dose of antibiotics went in at 10, we decided to attempt to get labor started. I was not having any contractions whatsoever at this point. We started with nipple stimulation. Yep. It is what it is. Natural way to stimulate the release of oxytocin in the body. After a while, we started to get some contractions going. Gradually, they got closer, longer, and stronger, but still not regular. Still not enough to really move things along, but it was a good step in the right direction. So, then, the stairs in our house came in very handy. I walked up and down those stairs for I don’t know how long. That was the best thing for contractions! I would go up and down and start up again and would have to stop for a contraction. I kept this up for a while, and the contractions got stronger and stronger, and became more regular. At one point, I stopped and ate a hearty lunch, stopping every few bites for a contraction. 🙂
As is normal for me, all of my contractions are in my back. However my body is made, it lends itself to back labor only. Joyful times! HA! The problem with this is that I feel pressure in my bottom from early on, so I have a harder time knowing when to push. Sandra is not one to check your dilation in labor unless truly necessary. So, based on how I was feeling, we decided to get in the tub and see how pushing went. I was planning on a water birth if it worked out. Well, as I was pushing, nothing seemed to be happening. I asked if she was sure I was fully dilated. They could see peeks of the head with the pushes, so it seemed I was completely dilated, but the baby was just not moving down with the pushes. I finally decided that things just didn’t feel right, and I got out of the tub and moved to our bed.
Attempted a few pushes on the bed. Sandra then asked if I wanted her to check me to make sure we were on the right track. When she checked me, she discovered that I was 6-7cm. Uggh. So, I said, ok, I’ll start walking the stairs again. It was 2pm by this point, so it was time for another dose of antibiotics, so I hung out beside the bed while the 3rd dose infused. Well, this is when the fun began big time!
The contractions became super intense. I leaned over the side of the bed for a few contractions. Then I hung onto Stephen while standing for several more contractions. Then, I turned back around to the bed and ended up kneeling beside the bed because the contractions were so strong. I was trying very hard not to push during these contractions, but it became impossible. I then loudly exclaimed that the baby was coming! I was taken back to Colby’s birth in that instant. There was a doula that was there at this point, and she somehow got my underwear off. I had put them back on to start walking the stairs just minutes earlier…! Then, the baby’s head was out and Stephen was the one that “caught” him. Sandra unwrapped the cord that was around his neck as Stephen held his head (side note: 2 out of the 3 of my babies had a nuchal cord). Then, I delivered the body, with Stephen doing all the “catching”. Aw, sweet relief! Then, it was announced that we had a boy! A loudly crying baby boy! So, all of this happened in about 20 minutes!
I wasn’t comfortable on my knees anymore, so I was helped to the bed after a few minutes, so we could wait for the placenta. After a few minutes, I noticed that Ridley was retracting. Sandra checked his temp, and he was a bit cold as well. This was cause for concern, and she initially said we might be making a trip to the NICU. While that would be a bummer, we were certainly ready to take him and do whatever needed to be done! But, his respiratory rate was fine–not too fast. His heart rate was great–he was still attached to the umbilical cord (she waits until it stops pulsating to cut it), so he was getting good oxygenated blood this entire time. So, we put another dry towel on him, he was skin to skin with me, stuck a heating pad behind him, and gave him a little oxygen. He was very mucousy as well, so we were suctioning him and stimulating him to get him to cry real good. Then, I was able to get him to nurse, and he nursed for about an hour! With all of this, he stopped all of his retracting, all the mucous cleared, he warmed up and pinked up wonderfully. He never looked back after that! Likely, it was his rapid entry into the world at the end that caused those transitional issues. He also had some facial bruising from his rapid entry.
Not sure if I delivered the placenta before or after I started nursing Ridley. Whenever it was, after the placenta was delivered, Stephen cut the cord. Sandra checked me out “down there” and I tore a little, probably the same place I always do, but once again, no stitches necessary. After Ridley finished eating, Sandra did his full newborn assessment, including the weighing and measuring, and he got his Vit K shot. His gestational assessment showed him to be full-term at 37 wks, so although he was born preterm (before 37 wks), he did not show signs of prematurity. After instructions on what to watch for in Ridley, all questions answered, and us settled, Sandra made her exit. This was about 2 or 2 1/2 hours after the birth. My mom had shown up by this point as well.
So, as a recap, this was my longest from start to finish than all 3 of my births. Such is typical for a 3rd baby. From water breaking to delivery was 10 hrs 40 minutes. Abriella was 9 1/2 hrs from water breaking to delivery. But, the actual labor of this one was quick. Based on contractions (remember I was only checked for dilation one time, so no idea what I even started at when my water broke), we guessed my active labor to be maybe about 2 1/2 hrs, maybe less. Looking back, I would guess it was a bit shorter than that, but we’ll never know. Now, the end was very, very rapid. Those last 20 minutes, WOWZERS! I believe I even shed a few tears in there at one point. But, it was totally worth it!
I was so glad that this one was longer, so that I could have very adequate treatment for GBS. That put my mind at ease greatly! Stephen also got to be extremely involved this time, instead of doing his coaching from behind the driver’s seat of the car. HA! I asked Stephen later what he thought about the whole homebirth experience. His reply was that he’d do it again in a heartbeat! (Let it be known that we do not plan to be doing it at home again or elsewhere EVER though! We are happy with three!). Sandra was the most amazing midwife, and we just loved having her!! She was perfect!
Ridley has been great! He’s been my best nurser out of all 3, least amount of jaundice of all 3, best sleeper so far, and just a sweet, sweet baby! We are doing our best to spoil him! He gets held just about the entire day, every day. He is sleeping in our room in the cradle for now. He slept in our bed the first week. His cord stump fell off last Wednesday, when he wasn’t quite 10 days old. He is loved on greatly by his siblings. They always want to know where he is. We are keeping him home from church and most other places for now. With it being the winter (although some days, you’d be hard pressed to prove that, with some of the warm temps we’ve had!), RSV season is in full swing. We get enough exposure to germs with the kids going to preschool. But, if we can limit it otherwise, we are. So, he and I are hanging out with each other on Sundays and Wednesdays for now. Stephen has his hands full with taking Abriella and Colby to church, but he is happy to do it.
So, I may come back and add things to this story as I recall them. But, this is it for now! God is good all the time! Here is a picture of Ridley from Saturday that my friend, Melissa, took. I can’t wait to see more of them!