Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ada Marie's Water Birth Story Part 2

Now where were we?  Oh, yes, part 1 of Ada Marie's birth story concluded a few hours short of 38 weeks, 2 cm dilated, 50% effaced, with mild preeclampsia and low amniotic fluid.  As I mentioned, I was really surprised that the ultrasound revealed anything out of the ordinary.  I was prepared to take castor oil.  I was prepared to be induced on Monday.  I was prepared to go home and wait.  I was NOT prepared to stay at the hospital for an immediate induction.  I was feeling anxious.  For us, birth had never unfolded exactly the way we thought it would, but somehow this felt very different.

Shortly after we got settled into our room our doula arrived.  We talked through some of my anxieties while we waited for our midwife.  Our midwife brought such a calm, soothing presence to the situation.  She sat with us and explained the decisions that were being made, patiently answered all of our questions and told us we could try nipple stimulation with a breast pump to see if that would be enough to start labor.  We tried that for about 45 minutes.  It didn't start labor, but it did cause contractions and I was able to collect some colostrum that I was able to give to a gay couple who had a baby the day before and were looking for breast milk.  When the nipple stimulation didn't work our midwife explained that we would use cervidil to get labor started and then remove it once I was in labor.  I was nervous because we'd never used cervidil and because it was getting late and I was getting tired.  They inserted the cervidil around 10:30 p.m. and I was able to sleep for a bit.

I woke around 1 a.m. to use the bathroom.  I'm not sure if I was conscious of it or not, but I began to pace from one corner of the room to the other while chatting with Steve and our doula.  I was cold so I wrapped a blanket around my shoulders as I paced.  Steve and our doula knew I was in labor at that point, but I don't think I had realized it yet.  I started to feel like our baby girl was very low - like ready to fall out kinda low.  The nurse checked me and said that baby was very low, but that I was only 3 cm and she could feel some scar tissue and we'd probably need to manually break up the scar tissue.  Whaaa?  That didn't sound like fun and it didn't make sense to me because the procedure causing the scar tissue was from way before my pregnancies and hadn't caused any problems with the other two.

Our camera stopped working just moments before her birth.  These were all taken with our cell phone.  At first I was really disappointed, but now I kind of like them.  They are dark, like the room was and not completely clear kind of  like the mental state (aka labor land) that mamas enter during active labor.

By 2 a.m. I was fully aware that I was in labor.  I had hoped for a water birth with my other two children, but the first time I was monitored heavily and the second was too fast.  So our doula began filling the large birthing tub.  While it was filling I sat on a birthing ball in the tub and she ran water on my shoulders, back and belly.  It was so soothing.  Then I got down into the tub on my knees.  I felt my body relax into the contractions that were now fast and furious.  I knew we'd be meeting our little girl very soon and I was filled with emotion.  Needless to say the scar tissue on my cervix did not present a problem.

The midwife had given us space to sleep and relax while we waited for the pitocin to kick in.  She asked to be informed immediately when labor started because my second labor was so fast (1 hr. 45 mins. from 1cm to birth).  Somehow she wasn't told, but I was fully supported by my husband, doula and nurse.  She came in just in to check on us and immediately realized that birth was imminent.  She removed the cervidil.  I had a hard time staying low in the water during the contractions so she turned me around to sit and lean against the tub the way you might take a bath at home.  When I turned my water broke.  I pushed once and her head was born.  And, oh the sweet relief.  I didn't feel the need to push again for what seemed like a long time, but was probably about 20 - 30 seconds.  They told me I could reach down to touch her head.  At the time it seemed like so much effort, but I'm so glad that I did.  It felt like a freshly washed peach.  One more push for her shoulders and a last one for her bum and she was born.  She was born with her hand up under her chin as if deep in thought.  Our midwife joked that she almost came out holding the cervidil.  I reached down and pulled her up out of the water.  She was tiny and perfect.

At some point in the tub I remember saying to my husband, "I think this is the part where I say, 'you did this to me' and 'we're never doing this again'".  But I never even thought about drugs.  There was no doubt in my mind that I could bring my baby into this world exactly the way I wanted and needed to.

Nursing my sweet girl about half an hour after birth.

Ada Marie was born in the water and into my arms at 2:57 a.m. on Saturday, August 6, 2011, exactly 38 weeks.  She was an itty bitty thing weighing 6 lbs. 1 oz. and measuring 17 1/4".  And she was loved instantly.

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