Thursday, June 30, 2011

Finally... the Birth

So it turns out my last minute reflections weren't so last minute after all. I'll spare you the mundane details that were the week I was trying to force this baby out of me and just say that she was a week past her anticipated arrival (not her due date, the date we planned on getting her out). With all of our other children, our induction method worked. This time, NOT. After the craziness of this pregnancy, shoulda seen that one coming shouldn't we? Well I don't know if one particular thing worked but I can tell you that it was a combination of time, blue and black cohosh, sex, cervical stretching, massage, essential  oils, acupuncture, walking 5 miles the day I went into labor followed by 2 Tbs of castor oil to keep the contractions from my walk going. I think the castor oil is probably what pushed me over the edge but it might not have worked had I not done all the other things that help prepare the cervix for labor.
Here's a fantastic picture of me getting acupuncture.

I think that helped too but it was also quite enjoyable and I'd always been curious about it. I wish I had someone to do acupuncture to me every night before I sleep. It is seriously relaxing.

About 10:30 Sunday (the 19th) night was when active labor began. I sat on a birthing ball for a couple hours listening to music. I at least can always count on my contractions to be anything but typical. They were about 2 minutes apart through the entire thing, never wavering. However, the one difference was that they never wavered in intensity. Usually my contractions are all over the place until I get towards the end. These were steady and regular and they increased in intensity quickly which was also surprising. I remember checking my dilation one time when the contractions really started to get uncomfortable and could not reach my cervix indicating I hadn't dilated much. Considering the pain I was already in, I admit I was a little scared that I was going to endure these very painful contractions for a long time rather than being close to transition when I could look forward to it being over. It was somewhat discouraging, and knowing that kind of attitude can impede dilation, I vowed I wouldn't check myself until I felt I was in transition.

So on they went and Brad woke up shortly after that. I am a terrible judge of my progress while in early labor and Brad asked me at that point if I wanted him to start the bath. It was just after I had checked my dilation and knowing how much further I had to dilate, I said no, I still had a ways to go. He didn't listen to me though and ran a bath anyway. As soon as I saw that water I thought, "Now THAT looks like the perfect place to be" and I got in. Wondrous I tell you. It was lovely.

As I labored, Brad brought Lorell downstairs and they conversed about calling the midwife and I guess they must have eventually. I did hear Brad leave a message on the midwife's phone "So we're having a baby and we'd like to invite you out if you want to join us..." That was kind of funny. Midwife #1 showed up as I was entering transition. I know that because I barely remember her arrival. At a point when I was in transition, I checked myself and could feel I was about a 7 or 8. I breathed a huge sigh of relief because I was so worried I wasn't dilated much.

Transition is an otherworldly experience and when you are in it, all you want to do is find a way to escape the next contraction. For me, bracing myself against something solid is key to enduring it. There is nothing worse to me that flailing around during the transition contractions which I believe is why I disliked giving birth to Iyov in that huge tub. The bathtub was perfect and Brad, remembering what I had liked in the past put counter-pressure on my back during each contraction. I have a LOT of back pain when in labor. He was exerting a lot of force and to me it didn't feel like enough but I could hear him straining to keep the pressure. I remember saying after hearing him so audibly strain, "Trust me Brad. This is a lot harder for me than for you." Hahaha. Anyway, I threw up somewhere in there which is common for me in transition.

Knowing where I was in the delivery process, I got up into a squatting position to give the contractions more effectiveness because I was thinking to myself, "I am so DONE. Get this baby OUT!" That's the point you really know you ARE almost done. About this time is when midwife #2 showed up. I checked dilation again and discovered I was almost completely dilated with only a small lip of the cervix remaining so with the next contraction, I thought "OPEN" and breathed down while pushing that lip of cervix out of the way. I felt the baby's head move down and I knew that the next contraction I could push. I turned in the tub, squatted and with the next contraction, pushed that baby out all the way. Pushing is a great way to escape the pain of contractions so when the head was out and I still felt the pain of the contraction, I pushed on and got her out in one contraction. It was just as amazing as it always is... surreal and strange to have a new person in your arms and realizing that only moments before it was actually inside you.

So 5 hours start to finish and simply fabulous as the finale to my childbearing years. Brad was fantastic during the whole thing which was a welcome change. Here he is, apparently exhausted from giving birth... wait, didn't I do all the work?? :-)

Keshet Wendy Kelly was 7 pounds and 8 ounces, 20 inches, and is absolutely perfect and mild mannered, EXACTLY what I need. What an amazing baby and a welcome end product of all this madness!

Brothers and sisters alike were excited to see baby sister. In fact, They are known to fight over who gets to hold her.
I am so thankful for midwives. They are fantastic. I wish I could post some pictures of them here but it's a public blog. They were both great. I think I'm actually going to post a blog about my midwife experiences vs. my Ob/Gyn experiences just to show you how wonderful and knowledgeable they are and how much you can tell that they care. But here is a picture of me and my doula/good friend Lorell. She is an amazing woman and we were so happy to have her share this experience with us.
I am so grateful for a wonderful birth and fabulous women over the years who have made the experience what it should be for me. Without them and their unique insight into what it means to be a woman, I would surely be missing out on something truly divine that we get to experience in this life. Life doesn't get much better than this.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Last Minute Reflections

This will be my last post as a mom of 3. Next time I'll be a mom of 4. This baby WILL come this week, I assure you. I am sooooo ready too. The benefits of having the baby in-utero such as not having to feed a baby at night, listen to crying, or holding baby, etc, are quickly being outweighed by the negatives of being 38 weeks pregnant which includes back pain contributing to trouble sleeping, getting up to pee at least 6 times contributing to trouble sleeping, lumbering about and wishing more and more every time I look in the mirror that I could start on losing this pregnancy weight NOW, not later. I am tired of being tired, tired of having no energy and tired of my drastic pregnancy mood swings which have been pretty intense this pregnancy. I want to feel mostly normal again and that won't happen until I am no longer with-child. So while there is so much I HATE about the days following birth, I am ready to tackle it and move on with life. At least that part's not 9 months long.

So I've been spending the last days trying to keep my house in pristine shape because there's really nothing worse that having a baby and knowing your house is a wreck and I've also been making freezer meal stuff. I'm rather proud of that actually. I did so much better this time than in times past. I think I have about 2 weeks worth of dinners either completely or partially prepared. Sweet!

The kids are excited too and they keep asking me if it's time for the baby to come out. Today, Novan, bless his heart, said, "Mom, I can help you carry it out." It took me a while to figure out what he was referring to but I finally got that he meant "carry the BABY out of me" and I laughed and said thank you but I would push it out myself. He replied, "Ok, I can help you push then. We can push it out together." So sweet. Sometimes Novan is quite thoughtful and it reminds me maybe I'm doing a decent job with him after all.

Some other goings on are the newest goal we have for Novan an Beya for Family Home Evenings. I decided they should learn the 13 Articles of Faith. We would go over and explain each one for FHE and then that week they would memorize it. And what better motivator than money, I say. So they earn 3$ for each one they can remember. Just this week alone they have both mastered number 1 and 2. I know those ones are short but I've been very impressed with their willingness and ability, being only 4 and 5 years old. Plus it helps Brad and I because I don't think EITHER of us have ever memorized the Articles of Faith since neither of us grew up in the Church. Go me!

Finally, the kids have been enjoying the Cardinal family we have in our yard right now. The other day I spotted a baby cardinal on the ground. I feared it had fallen out of the nest and was doomed but then I saw a second Cardinal baby and decided the coincidence of TWO falling out of the nest was too high so I Googled it of course and found that the baby Cardinals leave the nest to learn to fly and the parents still take care of them as they learn. I guess they just have to hope they don't get eaten by a cat or something in the meantime Anyway, they've been learning to fly in our yard for a few days now, and because they still can't really fly, the kids can get pretty close to them which has captured their interest mightily as you can see here.

Even Novan, who doesn't much care for nature as a general rule informed me that he "loves watching birds."
Fun times. Now if only, it would stop being so darn hot, I could enjoy the month of June more. Yuck.