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---- Birthing Day ----
FRIDAY OCTOBER 28
I had been feeling stronger practice waves all day on Thursday. Nothing crazy, nothing I couldn't handle, but definitely stronger than in previous weeks. I often had to stop what i was doing and sit down during a wave, using my Hypnobabies techniques to the fullest. The kids were around, which I thought would be excellent practice. I needed to be able to drown out other voices and noises easily. You never know what will happen during your birthing time so you have to be prepared for anything. At 11:00pm Thursday I'd finished all my nightly cleaning (which was more than usual) and went to bed. I deposited my progesterone and drifted off to sleep, comfortable, calm and happy.
At midnight I awoke to drastic shivering. I'd never felt anything like it before...except after giving birth. I laid there for a few minutes trying to calm my body down, feel the warmth of my blanket. But I was cold, so I couldn't relax. I added another blanket but it didn't help. In fact, it seemed my shivering had worsened to shaking. My legs were shaking the bed. I realized I wasn't cold, which was odd. Something didn't feel right. I shouldn't be shaking so much, I thought, and I maybe shouldn't be here alone. I remembered my two children sound asleep in bed, one naked. What would I do if something happened and I needed to get them up and leave for the hospital.
I decided to text Mike at about 12:10am. He was working a double and wouldn't be home until about 3:00 or 4:00am. "I'm shivering and I can't stop," I wrote him. "Because you're cold," he responded. Made sense. "You can turn up the heat if you need to." I told him I wasn't cold, that I was perfectly fine when I was walking around and when I climbed into bed. "Baby coming," Mike texted back. I was about to text back when he called me. "So you're shivering?" he asked. "Yes and I can't stop, but i don't really feel cold, i don't think...I just feel weird and it doesn't feel right. I think you should maybe come home. I don't like being here alone with this happening." "Really? Do you think it's the baby?" "I don't think so, I mean, I don't feel anything in my stomach. I had some stronger waves today but they've still been spaced out and only about 20-40 seconds long."
Just then I started to feel a pressure wave, but it was different. It was centralized in my vaginal area and remained there. Normally my pressure waves would start down there and creep upward to my belly and then recede...like a wave. Not this one. It kept building until I felt a little discharge. What was that? I felt like just a little amount of some tissue. Strange. What was even more strange was the fact that as soon as this tissue was expelled the shivering disappeared. My body went still. I felt the baby kick a little. That was a relief. Baby was ok.
But then, the shivering returned. Just lightly at first but it quickly increased until I was shaking uncontrollably again, so much so that my back was really hurting. I told Mike what'd happened just before another "wave" came on, ending in another discharge and a moment of calm. "I really don't like this. I really think I need you to come home." "I can, but you know that if I do I will have to go back in tomorrow for a few hours." Have you called your midwives?" That was my next plan of action.
I hung up with Mike and quickly dialed the nurse line. No one picked up, which was odd. I knew someone had to be there. I listened to the other end ringing for what seemed like an eternity. Too long. I decided to contact the birthing center at the hospital. The receptionist was surprised no one had answered so he took my info and passed it on. "If the on-call midwife doesn't call you in 15 minutes, call me back."
Ack! Fifteen minutes! Ok, I could wait. I called Mike and told him the scoop. "I'm still thinking you should come home. I'm still shaking and I had some discharge that looks brown. But it's freaking me out." He sounded willing to come back home, but also a little unsure. I understand he didn't want to come home needlessly. I thought about the what-if again, envisioning me trying to get the kids up and dressed if something happened. But what was this something? My water breaking? Another at-home birth? Something going wrong? The urgency became clear in that moment. "I need you to come home."
Mike could hear the urgency. "Ok, I'll come home. I'll leave in a few minutes and be home as soon as I can." So now I had to wait again. The midwife called me. I told her what I was feeling and she didn't think it sounded like preterm labor. "But if it will help you relax, you can come here and we can monitor you...or if you prefer you can try sleeping. Sometimes that will calm the body back down. Eat a little something, drink some water, then try to sleep." I didn't know which option to choose. I told her Mike was on his way home and that I'd decide when he got back.
Mike got home around 12:40am. I got out of bed, feeling anxious, yet surprisingly calm. I also felt super awake, not an ounce of tiredness. Yet I went to bed very tired. Weird. I sat on the floor near the couch as Mike settled in from his night at work. I felt a few pressure waves that were centralized only at my back. That was odd to me, so I called the midwife back again. After hearing the update she said I could definitely come in to the hospital. But because she didn't think it sounded like preterm labor, likely because I was so early, she said I could choose to try sleeping for 2 hours and coming in if I can't sleep." I felt so wishy washy. I didn't know what to do. The thought of this being my birthing time seemed crazy, but the thought was there, deep in my mind. I knew this was different than the past weeks but I couldn't admit that this was IT. I just hadn't gotten enough cues yet. So I told Mike I was willing to try sleeping for a bit.
We laid down. I still felt some waves. I'd drift to sleep then be awoken by a wave. I recorded each of them in my app. After an hour of this, I studied the info collected in my app. "Hm...four waves in the last hour. That seems like a lot." I felt some shaking, more vaginal pressure. Part of me kept fearing my water would break. That was keeping me awake. I felt another strong vaginal wave, one that pushed out more discharge. Maybe I should check that one, I thought. I got out of bed slowly. I felt like my stomach was weighing a little more heavily. When Mike got home he looked at my stomach and thought it looked a little lower. But I told him I didn't think it looked significantly so. But I didn't notice some change. Getting out of bed now made me wonder if he was right. I crept to the bathroom and turned on the light to check my underwear. This time I saw red blood. Crap...just like the morning of Kiley's birth.
The blood was the "enough" I needed. I went into our room and climbed back into bed with my deep-sleeping husband. I didn't want to wake him. He was going to be so tired. But i had to. I knew I had to. I placed my hand gently on his arm. He turned toward me. "I think we should go in." "You think so?" "Yes. I just check again and there was red blood. We need to go in." "Oh wow, yes, ok. let's go in."
Poor guy, he was so tired. But he was amazing. He got Landon our of bed, told him we were getting him ready for school so he could get to his field trip he'd been waiting all week for. "But...but its too early. It's still dark." We explained that we needed to stop at the hospital quick so we had to get up early. Landon was amazing too. He got dressed without struggle and seemed happy to be awake. Mike then got the hospital bag in the car, then Kiley. Kiley was amazing too. She was half asleep as she was carried to the car. At about 4:20 am I decided to call my parents. They needed to know what was going on, regardless of the time. Besides, my mom might have already been awake by then. My dad couldn't understand me and I actually waited for him to ask who was calling him so early. I realized I was talking with my headphones in so i quickly removed them and repeated "we're going to the hospital." Now he knew who it was. "Is something happening?" I briefly recapped my evening and said I was going in for monitoring. He told me to call him once they figured out what was going on.
Landon wanted to wait for me, so I walked with him to the car. He got himself strapped in. And there was my Kiley, rubbing her sleepy eyes, but happy.
I decided I should go back for my shaver. I got to the bathroom, turned toward the door to see Mike coming to find me. Just then I felt a slow gush, one I had no control over. I just stood there, looking down at the floor. "Practice wave?" Mike asked. "Um....no, I think that was my water." "Really?" "Yes, I think so." I jumped to the toilet, sat down and felt a peeing sensation. "I think so, but i feel like I'm peeing now that I'm sitting down. But it didn't feel like peeing when I was standing. I think we need to leave right away." I grabbed a towel and shoved it in between my underwear and pants, since I didn't have any pads. I put a mat down in the car so as to not ruin our new car seats. I was soaked!
On the way to the hospital, Kiley asked "we go bye-bye?" "yes, honey, we're going bye-bye." Landon was quietly playing with his tablet. I have the greatest kids, I thought.
I loaded up my Hypnobabies relaxation music on my phone and let it fill my headphones, saturate my mind with peace and serenity. It really helped. I had felt several intense yet short pressure waves during the drive. Nothing I couldn't handle with a little relaxation. I turned off my mental switch, letting my body go completely limp. The wave would dissipate and spread out, dissolving out of my body. I wouldn't talk while that was going on, only when each wave had passed. Made Mike and my conversation a little disjointed. We talked about what I was feeling and the possibility that our baby was coming early. It seemed impossible and yet all too possible. We both knew I'd go early...just not this early. I could tell Mike was a little worried. I reassured him the baby was ok...I could feel movements.
The sun hadn't started coming up and by the time we reached the hospital I was feeling a little anxious. I wanted to know that my baby was ok. I knew she was alive but I didn't know why Baby was making his/her way out so early. I felt in my heart everything would be alright, but I felt better having made it to the hospital. As amazing as big sister's surprise at-home birth was, I also understood that if this birth happened today our baby might need extra help once coming into the world.
Landon and Kiley were excited to be at the hospital. It was as if they knew what was happening and went with the flow. Mike left my bag in the car and the four (five) of us walked to the emergency desk. I was taken to a nearby room where the nurses could monitor my progress and confirm that my water had indeed been broken. I laid down slowly on the hospital bed. The kind nurse propped me up and asked how I was feeling. I said I wasn't feeling pain, that I never feel pain. I only feel tension. I explained that I'd been training my mind and body to relax through hypnosis and she was fascinated and excited to work with someone who had been working on having a quiet birth. I told her that when I feel a wave come on I would need to close my eyes and focus on it until it passes. She smiled and said she would help any way she could. I felt a wave approaching so I slowly closed my eyes and started to breathe deeply. She asked me if I was feeling one and I said yes. At that point another nurse entered and started asking me a few questions. I heard the nurse whisper "she's doing Hypnobabies and working through a contraction so you will have to wait until she's done to talk with her." I felt so relaxed after hearing that because I knew the nurse cared about what I needed and I felt so blessed to have her in the room with me.
Several other nurses entered the room, asked me some questions and called the midwife. My midwife saw me, smiled and said "so you're here already!" I laughed because we both knew this might happen. She said they needed to insert a device to determine if my water had broken and they needed to do it fast in case the needed to do anything to get things moving. It took some time to get confirmation. At first they couldn't find the instrument they needed and then they couldn't get one that fit. But I didn't let any of that bother me. I just kept zoning out when a wave started and let my body do what it needed to do.
The midwife warned me that I might need to be trucked over to Abbot because my hospital did not assist with 33-week births. They considered those high-risk and did not have means of supporting a child that early. I was a little worried to find this out because I knew how fast my births happened and I didn't think I'd make it there. I did not want to have a baby in an ambulance and i didn't want to be that far away from home.
Once they had confirmation that my water had indeed been broken, the midwife returned to the room to explain that because of my history they knew they couldn't take me to Abbot. She said I would likely not make it there before giving birth and I was instead moved to a birthing room. The room had a big window and the new-day light was shining through. I hadn't realized it was that an hour had passed and now I was nearing the start of my work time of 7:00am. I asked Mike if he would call my boss and let her know what was happening, but then I figured I could call myself in between waves. I quickly dialed and let my boss know I was at the hospital and that I'd likely be having my baby soon. I found out weeks later that she had thought I was crazy because of how calm I sounded, that there was no way I was in labor. Haha! She assumed I'd be at work later that day! As soon as I hung up with her I immediately felt another wave coming on. The nurse said "how did that one feel, what level of pressure would you say out of 10?" "I'd say they're about a 5 or 6 right now," I warned her that I have had two very quick births and once the waves got intense my babies just sort of came out. She said to let her know as soon as I felt something change and they seemed noteably more intense, because we would likely need to move quickly at that point. I was ready.
I knelt down on the floor next to the bed with my arms out front. I looked like I was praying, and maybe I was...praying for the strength to stay calm, for the body God gave me to do what needed to be done. I saw Mike, Landon and Kiley come in the room. They were smiling and Landon asked if I was ok. I told him momma was ok. They sat in the chairs on the opposite side of the room in front of the big windows. Kiley looked a little confused but intrigued. Landon looked like he'd seen all this before. Lol, that's my boy. He was ready too. Mike looked a little on edge and I expected that considering our past births were so quick and how early this baby was coming.
Just then, a doctor entered the room. He talked to us a bit and said that they all agreed that the baby would be born here and that he was ok having just the midwives present. He planned to just stand back and observe, putting his trust in the nurses and midwife. I was very happy with that since I trusted them as well. But I felt there were too many. I counted four blue uniforms and I was feeling a bit crowded. But I understood that with baby coming so early they needed extra hands on deck in case an emergency popped up. The doctor told me he needed to leave the room to check something and that he would return shortly but that I was in good hands. I wasn't worried, I knew I could do it alone if I had to.
I felt another wave. This time....there was a change. "Whew, that one felt different," I told my nurse. "How was it different?" she asked me. "It's far more intense." That wave took over my body and I turned off my switch to let my body relax. I made sure my mind was in it, ready to let the pressure dissipate out of my body with each breath. This was the one that set everything in motion. My nurse said "wow you were right, its gonna happen fast so let's get you up into the bed." But I couldn't move. Not only was I comfortable where I was but "if I move at all, the baby will come out, I can feel it." So Mike and my nurse put one of their hands under each of my arms, and their other hands under my bent legs. They carefully but quickly lifted me to the bed without changing my knelt position and laid me on my side while I breathed deeply through a wave. I kept my legs bend and spread should-width apart. I pleaded that I wanted to stay on all fours, but she said they had to slow the process down until the doctor came back to the room. "I'm sorry" she said empathetically. She placed light pressure on my knee to hold my legs together.
I felt my waves intensifying. Baby was coming. When I told my nurse she sweetly said "I need you to try to not push, we need to wait for the doctor to return. I'm so sorry but we have to hold it off a bit longer." I had to try to wait to push? I giggled to myself knowing I didn't need to push for baby to come out. I said "It might not matter", but I don't think she fully understood what I meant.
I felt like I was losing control of the situation, so I closed my eyes and imagined my safe place...my body in the warm sun, laying on the dock up north at my cabin, watching my kiddos playing in the blue lake. I was relaxed and serene until I saw a sudden bright light flash through my eye lids. The fluorescent ceiling lights had been turned on by a nurse and I snapped out of my hypnosis. "Shut of the lights please!" I said but no one heard me over the chatters. I could feel my body tensing up so I scrunched my eyes shut in an attempt to stay in my calm state of mind. But the lake was gone and I was no longer sitting on the dock in the sun. I was in a hospital bed with people dressed in blue all around me. There were more nurses than before and I felt overwhelmed.
I kept repeating "shut the lights off, shut them off! Please shut the lights off." But there were too many other voices and too much movement in the room. I was becoming worried and anxious and annoyed, and as a result the wave pressure began turning to contraction pain. I was feeling disconnected from my body, from my baby...and I couldn't let that happen. I know how to do this, I told myself. I knew my body and I knew I could give birth without anyone else. I knew I had to do it on my own.
While the craziness continued around me, I closed my eyes and said "its you and me, baby, we can do this together." I started to relax, to find my safe place again. The noise disappeared and so did the pain. I then realized my nurse had let go of my leg and had turned her attention away from me. All the nurses were turned away and the doctor had not yet returned. I looked down the length of my body, over my belly and through my legs and saw Mike and the kids watching intently. I didn't want them scared. It was time for me to make this happen. I felt baby coming. There was no stopping things now and I needed to take the opportunity while everyone was distracted to do what they didn't think I could do without them. I took a deep breath and lifted my leg back up slightly to give baby more space. I closed my eyes again, and imagine my uterus turning like a tornado, pushing baby down and around, down and out. A strong wave passed from my abdomen down to my hips and over my pelvis where baby was beginning to enter the world. I let a breath slowly escape me and I suddenly heard Landon say "look there's a baby!"
I opened my eyes and saw all the nurses gasp and run over to me. My nurse said "holy crap there really IS a baby!" She took the baby up in her arms and over to the nurses across the room that were ready with dozens of instruments and monitors. They had expected our baby to not be breathing independently. They had told Mike and I earlier that we would very likely need to transfer our baby to Abbot where they could give special breathing assistance. I didn't want my baby sent to another hospital. I wanted to be close by. My nurse returned to my side, placed her hand on my side and said softly "you were right, you knew your baby was coming. You did good."
I smiled and leaned back into the bed. That's when I heard the most amazing words from across the room: "You have a baby girl and she's breathing on her own!" Two blessings in one. I started to cry. I was so happy to have a sister for Landon and Kiley, I was so happy to have her here and healthy and breathing. I looked over and there she was, her boney beautiful 4-pound-two-ounce purple body propped up with her tiny butt in the hand of the nurse. Her face was so scrunchy and perfect. They brought her to me all naked and held her over the bed so I could touch her. I reached out my hand and placed my finger in her tiny palm. She grabbed on. We did it, I told her. I watched as they carried her away to NICU. Such a bittersweet moment, but I couldn't be more proud of my little girl for being so strong.
I turned my gaze back to the window where Mike was gleaming with relief, Landon was jumping with excitement and Kiley had the widest eyes of any 3-year-old I'd even seen. Then I realized she had seen everything...and I mean everything. But that was my hope right!? I had wanted both my kids to be there to see their little sibling born and I couldn't have imagined it any better.