Sunday, July 18, 2010

one year ago...

savannah was within the comfort of my womb, preparing for the work of labor and anticipating entrance into the world :) i was large and uncomfortable, planning to have a natural birth but wondering if i would go through with it in a hospital setting when an epidural is just a request away.

on that note, on the eve of savannah's first birthday (which is tomorrow), i want to finally record her birth story. i had good intentions of writing it down in my journal or typing it up on this blog, but alas, i have not done it yet. when she was a newborn, i needed sleep anytime i had a break. as she's grown, other things filled my time. and now, i am "moving" in 3 days and certainly don't have the time. but life is filled with all sorts of things to fill time and we only accomplish what we choose to spend our time doing. so, here goes nothing...

the background:
having a natural birth was very important to me with this birth (no drugs for pain or induction or epidural). to explain why, it requires that i tell millie's birth story. i have to confess that i never recorded this story either, so it would be great to get both recorded. millie's labor was induced (which means pitocin= acceleration of labor and an epidural). i didn't love this experience because i didn't feel like i was part of the labor. i did absolutely no labor preparation. i always thought that natural birth sounded good because it's natural, and isn't anything "natural" better than the alternative? i didn't know, but natural sounded more impressive. but i was surrounded on every side by women who chose to opt out of natural birth because of the fear of pain. having a natural birth seems to be looked at by many women as an unnecessary evil that should be avoided. so i went into the experience knowing no coping strategies or anything about the stages of labor or anything else to expect, feeling assured that i could asked for an epidural at any time if the going got rough. i told myself that if it was easy, the baby would be born naturally, but if it was hard, i would be open to having an epidural. so, on march 4, 2006, kyle and i suspected that my water was leaking. we went to the hospital to get it checked out and it was determined that amniotic fluid was leaking. the nurses at the hospital declared that my baby needed to be induced before an infection developed and the baby be exposed. they made it sound like a medical emergency. they then proceeded to leave me in a room for over 4 hours before admitting me to a room to be induced. by the time i was admitted to the room, i believe i was in natural labor because i felt like i was having regular contractions and they were somewhat painful but i wasn't educated enough about childbirth to know if i was in labor (i now know i was probably in the first stage of labor). because of my lack of education, i still believed i needed to be induced so i sat on the hospital bed and let them pump me with pitocin and got ready to wait out the rest of the labor. at first the labor wasn't progressing as fast as the doctor and nurses would have liked, but after they popped my water, it sped up fast. the pain started getting more intense. i felt like i could handle the pain if it didn't get any worse, but i was afraid of the unknown and i didn't want to know how much worse/more intense it might get, so i asked for an epidural. before the epidural, i was grouchy during contractions and asked the loved ones who attended the birth to "shut-up!" because i couldn't deal with their noise and the pains of the contractions at the same time (i had invited basically any woman who wanted to come to witness the labor and birth and this ended up including my sisters, my mother, my mother in law, my grandma in law, and my cousin in law). after the epidural, i could no longer feel the pains of the contractions and didn't even know i was having them unless i looked at the monitor to see when they were happening. with the epidural, i was able to be at my best socially and be in labor at the same time. i was laughing with loved ones and having a great time. but, at the end of the labor, i felt like i had missed out on the experience of labor and bringing my child into the world. i was so numbed up that i couldn't even feel myself pushing her out. i felt disconnected from my body. like something really cool happended 3,000 miles away. then after the baby was born, the umbilical cord was immediately cut, the baby was cleaned, weighed, stabbed in the foot, dressed and put into a little hat, and then viewed by everyone in the room. i could hear everyone admiring the little dear, commenting on her eyes, nose, cry, etc, and how beautiful she was. i sat there wondering what she looked like. then my sister maecy handed me the bundle. i expected to find her beautiful, but all i saw was a smashed nose. people stayed and admired her for a while. i held her crying for 15-20 minutes as the social gathering of loved ones cleared out of the room. then i got moved to a recovery room to making way for the next labor to happen in that room. it wasn't until i got to the recovery room that i tried for the first time to nurse my baby. everything was conducted by a nurse telling me it was time to feed my baby. she came in and without any warning proceeded to grab my breast and squeeze hard until she forced colostrum out. then she proceeded to to thrust my baby at my breast to see if she would latch on. i was so surprised by the feeling of a strong suck (it hurt!) that i immediately pulled away in pain. she proceeded to repeat the same process. is it any wonder that learning to nurse this little dear was such a struggle when it started out the way it did?

anyways, this is the story of millie's birth in a nutshell and the background of the beginnings of my want for a natural birth with my second child.

the pregnancy:
difficult! pinched nerve, depression, hugeness, finishing an internship, moving!!!

when i found out i was pregnant, i cried on and off for 2 weeks. i was so close to finishing my bachelor's degree from byu and i was afraid the pregnancy would be difficult and would keep me from finishing. i knew that if i wanted to graduate before the baby was born, it would require that i finish all the rest of my course work and internship while pregnant (yes, this is obvious, i know). but this seemed so daunting! i knew i would probably feel sick for a large chunk of the pregnancy and then too large for the rest of it. i didn't know that i would also have an extremely pinched nerve and that i would develop intense depression. but i decided to give it everything i had and attempt to finish everything before the arrival of a new baby. but i also wanted a natural birth. i was soooo blessed to be able to have so much help from friends and family throughout the entire pregnancy. i am afraid to name individual people for fear that i would forget to mention others. but i am going to thank faylyn for helping me with my internship and feeding me so much food when i was feeling too sick to cook and for cleaning my house,etc. candace and candy for being great friends and helping me with housework. amy b for taking care of me before and after the birth and for throwing me a graduation party and a baby shower. all the friends who attended the graduation party and baby shower and showed me their love. all the ladies who participated in my internship wellness program at church. maecy and abby for coming to michigan to help me, millie, kyle to cope with life. my mom for coming to michigan to help me in more ways than i could ever name and then coming to florida to help me get settled. the doulas who helped me before and after the labor. my in-laws for having kurt drive the moving truck to florida with kyle and for helping kyle de-stress after the birth of a baby, a move, and studying for and taking the bar exam by taking him to disneyworld and for helping us move into our new place. i also want to thank anyone who ever prayed for us or hoped for our success.

when i became pregnant with savannah, i was only slightly more educated about natural births by this point than i was when millie was born (thanks to the video "the business of being born"). however, i didn't know how i was going to find the time to become educated on natural birth and prepare mentally for it. but i was blessed to meet a wonderful friend who is into natural birth (thank you katie f) who gave me moral support when i doubted whether to have a natural birth. the due date was 2 days before kyle had to leave michigan to go take the bar exam in florida. so i was feeling some amount of pressure to be induced the week before so that kyle would be able to be there for the labor and so that i would be able to move to florida when family was scheduled to help move us to florida. but katie reminded me that i had a choice and that i didn't have to be induced if i didn't want to be induced. so i stuck up for myself (of course my husband and in laws were ready to support me also, but i had to be brave enough to speak my mind and let them know). katie also recommended that i read a book called "birthing from within" to prepare for the birth. this book was absolutely amazing!!!!! it didn't illustrate any particular labor method (such as lamaze or the bradley method,etc) but rather focused on preparing yourself mentally for the labor. the premise of the book is that as a woman, our bodies already know how to labor, but our minds need to prepare for the experience. the book also addressed how to love your labor even if it doesn't end up being natural in the end, after all the preparation. at the end of reading the book, i still didn't feel 100% confident that i would be able to accomplish the natural labor i was hoping for but i felt as mentally prepared as possible. kyle and i also attended a birthing prep class that was very beneficial and educational. because i didn't know if kyle would be able to be present at the labor, i decided to have a doula present at the labor so i would have someone there every step of the way for moral support. well, savannah ended up coming into the world a week earlier than her due date and i was blessed to be able to have both my husband AND a doula during the entire labor and afterwards. it was such a huge blessing! the labor was all natural and after the sweetie was born, she was given to me in all her naked glory, with no stabbed foot, so i could put her skin to skin with me for some sweet bonding time. within 5 minutes, she began to root around for milk. i put her to my breast and she figured out how to suck milk on her own. she nursed on and off for about an hour.

i want to record the particulars of the labor and i will record them tomorrow, on savannah's birthday because i need some rest tonight so i can be ready to pack, pack, pack hard core tomorrow!!!

the labor:

the child:
full of joy! a wonderful addition to our family :)


eebs said...

I'm really glad you posted these stories. I saw the movie The Business of Being Born and thought it made some good points. love you.

just nikki said...

I definitely agree that "natural" has its perks. You're brave.

What wonderful daughters you have!

I'm excited to see you tomorrow!