Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Birth of William Michael

Hello loveys! It's been about a month now since Liam was born, and I rather thought that I should write down the story of his birth. He's napping next to me in his bouncer seat right now, and will probably be up soon. Eliana, our proud big sister, is watching Barbie and the 12 Dancing Princesses, which her grandma Tutu, my mom, got her. I am immensely grateful for my mom's help and support, as things would have been much more difficult if she had not gotten here when she did. She had originally planned to come out on March 3rd, but we both got a prompting that she needed to come the week before, and she was luckily able to do so, for which I could not be more thankful. On to the birth story!

On Sunday morning, I was woken up by some slightly crampy contractions. It wasn't a big deal, and when I got up they stopped hurting, and just felt like some pressure. Since that was what my contractions felt like with Eliana until I was 5 cm dilated, I was concerned that they might be the beginning of labor for me. We went to the hospital when they were 4 mins apart, but I was only at a 1. I felt that it was better to be safe than chance having Liam at home. That night I was woken up by painful contractions at about 3 in the morning. They were consistent and getting closer together until about 6 am they were 5 minutes apart and I called my doula to come over. Julia got to our house about the same time that the sun came up, and my mom woke as well. When the sun came up, my contractions spaced to between 15 and 20 minutes apart and stayed that way all day. When the sun went down again they went straight to 7 mins apart. I got a little bit of sleep but woke at 2 am with contractions again. This time they weren't as regular, and were far more painful. I woke Brian up partway through the night and had him help me through them, because I really didn't want to be alone like I had the night before. We decided to call the doctor when their office opened and went in to get checked on because I had been in labor since Sunday. (Note that this was Tuesday morning.) Dr. McNeely wanted to break my water and see if that would get things to jumpstart, but I wanted to wait and see if things would happen on their own as he thought Liam would be born within the next day regardless. I was at a 3-4 cm dilated and 80% effaced. I also knew that I wouldn't be willing to go past another 24 hours and that if I had the same thing happen that night, we would be going to the hospital regardless. After our doctor's visit, I went and got adjusted by the chiropractor, and that helped immensely, especially since I had been having a lot of problems with my pelvis and hips throughout the pregnancy. As soon as I was adjusted my contractions hurt far less, which was nice. They continued through the day at between 10 and 15 minutes apart.

That night I went to bed at 10:30, and Brian came in an hour later after working on some homework. I woke up at 12:30 (so it was now Wednesday, March 2) and couldn't get back to sleep. I woke Brian up and we worked through my contractions together. At 2 am, my contractions went to 4 minutes apart and I knew that we needed to go to the hospital. We called Julia (my doula) and she came over, getting pulled over on the way. Luckily, she only got a warning, after telling the officer that she was headed to a birth. Meanwhile, I told Brian that we needed to go, and while he told me to wait a few minutes, Eliana cried out in her sleep "no, daddy, don't go!" and my mom woke up a few minutes later, came downstairs and told me that she had just dreamed that we needed to go. Needless to say, it was quite interesting that everyone in the house was either dreaming or thinking that we were going to the hospital at the same time. My contractions spaced out a little in the car on the way to the hospital, and by the time we were checked in were back to 4 1/2 minutes apart. We got the most amazing nurse, who was honestly an answer to my prayers. Her name was Nicki. I wanted to do everything as naturally as possible, and she supported us in every way. She suggested positions to try, some of which helped a lot.

I tried the tub after doing some standing positions and some sitting on the toilet (which ended up being the best ways for me to labor). In all honesty, for this labor I HATED the tub. I think part of that was that it was a little cooler than I would have liked, but I also had a harder time relaxing through the contractions in the water. I think it would have helped if Brian had been in the tub with me, but I didn't ask him to get in. Maybe next time we'll try that instead. I had been 5 cm when admitted, and was 7 when I got out of the tub. Our nurse called Dr. McNeely at that point to let him know, and it turned out that he was already on his way, and had only 5 minuted to get to the hospital. I am so grateful that we got him as our doctor, as I believe that for our circumstance there couldn't have been anyone better. I got to an 8 pretty quickly, but I stayed there for a while. I'm not really sure how long, but it was at least an hour or more. Because I had been in labor for so long, Dr. McNeely was worried that my body was stalling, and I rather think that he was right. So first they put me in the most uncomfortable position possible, trying to make my contractions stronger. I was on my right side in bed, and Brian had to sit on Nicki's lap to get to where I needed him to be. Rather an amusing picture though:

Next they wanted to see what would happen if I pushed a little, as my water had still not broken and I hadn't dilated any more. This was actually the only point that I swore at, as it was really painful. Having someone check your cervix during a contraction while pushing a little bit is not fun. AT ALL. Unfortunately, pushing a little made my cervix start to swell a little bit, so they scrapped that idea quickly. At that point, Dr. McNeely was a bit worried because it seemed I had stalled, was utterly exhausted from 3 days of labor and very little sleep, and told me that we would need to do some sort of intervention, and that his thought was to do an epidural. I really started to despair at that point. Luckily for me, Nicki, our nurse, intervened and suggested breaking my water first, as I had told her how much I hated the way the epidural with Eliana had made me feel. Everyone left so that Brian and I could talk about it, and I was at the point where I felt as though my body had failed me, and that I might as well get the epidural, because there was a part of me that didn't want to feel it anymore. Luckily for me, Nicki talked to Dr. McNeely some more and he agreed that we would break my water first and then do an IV so that if I did want an epidural I could have one. Nicki also strong-armed me a bit into it, and I absolutely know that I wasn't rational at that point, and that it was the best thing to do. I'm really glad that they went for breaking my water first. After they did the amniotomy, I got up (rather slowly, I'll admit, as the contractions had just gotten a lot different) and did a few contractions standing and leaning on Brian's shoulder with Julia doing a little bit of pressure on my lower back and reminding me to relax. (Which was my favorite was to labor pretty much the entire way through). The birthing stool was suggested to me, as I had also been comfortable laboring on the toilet, and I said yes. They put it on the lowered foot of the bed, and raised the section behind it so that Brian could sit behind me and support me. It was a very long 3 steps to get to it, and I honestly didn't know if I could get up onto it for a few moments. Somehow I did (with quite a bit of help), and it seems like only moments until I was pushing. Pushing itself was a very intense experience. Not bad, just intense. I did end up doing some yelling while pushing, but it was very throaty and a bit growly. But loud. Because, after all, I am Megan. And Megan tends to be loud. Julia told me later that I sounded like a warrior. Which I'm quite okay with. It was something that I couldn't really control, anyway. I also really liked just pushing how and when my body told me that I had to. I didn't have anyone telling me what to do, and I don't think I could have actually listed to them if they had. Pushing only lasted about 10 or 15 minutes, and once Liam's head was out, the rest of him slipped out very quickly behind it, and he was passed straight up into my arms, where we dried him with receiving blankets and held him in arms for the first time. While we were drying him he peed on the doctor, which was a little bit funny, as Dr. McNeely couldn't figure out where the wet was coming from and we all realized that Liam had christened his arm.

Afterwards, Brian cut Liam's cord (which he didn't do with Eliana) and we (Liam and I) moved onto the bed proper to have some bonding and skin to skin time. At which point he decided to get meconium all over me. 3 times before we finally decided that he probably needed a diaper. Let me tell you, that stuff is sticky and a little hard to clean up. Liam weighed in at 6 lbs and 4 oz. After peeing and pooing, so he was probably slightly more than that. Which still makes me laugh. He also looked EXACTLY like his daddy. To prove it, here are the pictures:


Brian went and got my mom and Eliana not too much later, and that was rather wonderful. Eliana was so excited to see baby Liam. When a nurse came into the room that had not previously been there, Eli shouted: "No take baby Liam!" and put her arms protectively over him. Hilarious.

As for me, this birth was a wonderful experience, and I wouldn't choose to do it any other way. I think that it helped me learn how much strength women truly have, and it was very empowering. I learned a lot about myself, and about my relationship with the divine. I know that God does not send his children alone into this world, and that we were watched over by angels at every step of the way. I believe that I felt their joy as I held my little boy for the first time. I know that Heavenly Mother is strong, because Her daughters are made in her image, and we are strong, we women. I also know that we are never given a challenge that we cannot overcome, especially as we seek God's help in our trials. I am so grateful that I was able to go through this experience at this time in my life. I learned so much, and I wouldn't have changed any of it. I wish that more women were able to realize the blessings that can come from having children in the Lord's timing and in the way that their body was designed to do it. I realize that not everyone wants to feel all that labor is, and I agree that it was very hard, but to me it was a very worthwhile endeavor, one that I think every woman can learn more about herself through. I also recognize that there are times that interventions are very needed, and can be lifesaving, and I am grateful especially that none were needed for us this time. Above all, I think that the most important thing is to go hand in hand with God and listen to the promptings of the spirit as we bring his precious children into this world.


Jenny said...

very cool! Way to go on doing it natural, it is such a difficult but worthwhile experience. Thanks for sharing your story :)

Oma said...

Megan, I absolutely loved reading your labor and delivery story! I had all of mine naturally and loved it! What incredible insight you have. Love and miss you, Treena

Sarah said...

Megan,AMEM! It was great to hear your story! After having Ryan naturally EMPOWERED was the word I used as well! You said it well! No one understood 11 years ago how I felt, but now I have a niece-in-law who speaks for me. Thank You! 3 of my 5 were completely natural. Each different, but each amazing! Thank you for sharing you story! YOU ARE AN AMAZING WOMAN!

Becky Ware said...

Megan, Liam's birthing story sounds very similar to mine, in terms of length of labor, problems, your desire to have a natural birth, etc... I am so happy for you that you were able to have him naturally, but I am also glad to see that you recognize that sometimes, intervention is absolutely essential to save not only the baby's life, but the mother's, as well. I very nearly had to have a C-section, but as I'm sure I've told you & who knows who else a few times before, David was turned around the wrong way, and had gotten totally stuck, bone to bone (he was very boney, like Liam & Brian looked, actually!). My doctor wasn't in yet, and the nurses were panicking because David's heartbeat slowed down so far, and he was clearly stressing with each labor pain. Blessedly (not just luckily), a midwife was walking past my door, & hearing the nurses talking about needing to prep me for a C section (which I was TOTALLY against- we get crazy sometimes during labor & delivery) and panicking she came in, assessed the situation, and literally pushed David back in (out of my pelvic bones where he was stuck), and had me change positions, which was incredibly painful & awkward, but after 20 minutes, David turned the right way! I did let them give me an IV, which makes a HUGE difference in keeping the mom hydrated, as well as making it possible to give her medication if needed, and had a peri-cervical block, TWICE, because my labor was so long, but it was definitely worth it! I TOTALLY understand about the guttural warrior type sound, I almost want to call it a grunt, because grunting is a noise made when exerting great strength. Being a mom really is the job of a warrior queen! (not just princesses, after we've worked THAT hard!) I hope you have saved your story in your journal for your children too, it really is exactly what women need to read about as they prepare to go through their own birthing experience. Thank you!
Love, from your Auntie Becky