Gabe's Birth Story
Child Birth. Its a hot debate in the mommyhood circles. There are so many options: home, hospital, birth center, drugs, no drugs, water births, hypnobirths. And all have research looking at how safe each one is for the mother and child. With Makena, my first, I was more worried about pregnancy and then the after, how to care for said child. I was terrified like any new mom is. How am I going to know what to when the kid comes home with me?
We all figure it out and raise beautiful little people.
The second time around, I wasn't worried about either of those things. Pregnancy was a breeze. I had morning sickness this time around but made sure I worked out more (not hard while chasing a toddler). My first kid was still alive so I figured I got the raising part down. So I had time to focus on the birth.
I am a person who is constantly needing to learn. I get antsy if I am not reading and researching something. I started looking into the different birthing options. I moved from Washington to Florida in my 7th month. I saw an OB that came recommended. He was great, but I didn't feel like they were listening to me (which their records proved they weren't). I had wanted to try for a natural birth this time and wasn't supported in that decision. I got an epidural with Makena but wanted to try for not having one this time. I was starting to learn that it tends to cause more problems than help. My delivery with Makena went smoothly, so it wasn't a choice made out of fear. I was just more informed this time around.
I watched the Business of Being Born. I read articles on deliveries, epidurals, IV fluids, and recovery periods. I talked to friends who went the natural route. I bugged my doctor friends and stole their class notes.
So now I had to find a new Doctor. I kept hearing about this birthing center. My crunchy, hippie ways seemed to be a blinking light for strangers to tell me about this place. I googled it and loved it. The place is homey and comfortable. The staff is so wonderful and gentle. They were engaging Makena at our appointments, not annoyed and leaving the room like at the OB's office.
We switched and made the plans to have Gabriel at Gentle Birth Options with the midwife, Cindi. I have to admit I was nervous and so was Josh. OB's are constantly throwing the "what if's" and worst case scenarios at you. In reality, I was a perfectly healthy women who had one easy delivery already. After meeting Cindi and the staff, I learned they are just as trained to handle most complications, and at the very least able to do enough to get us to the hospital in time.
So Gabriel's delivery...
I was growing so impatient. I was 38 weeks and done. I had my appointment with Cindi and wanted to get my membranes swept in hopes that it would get things started. Well, I was already 3cm dilated and he was right there. She did it anyway, but didn't think it was needed. That boy was coming out SOON.
Contractions started immediately. I had been having lots of braxton hicks, but these ones hurt. The staff started checking who was on call that night. They predicted I would be having that boy that night.
They were right.
I was told to go home, get some rest, sleep if I can. Eat a meal and just relax. So I tried. We put Makena to bed. I texted our sweet friend, who was watching Makena during the delivery, that things might be happening if the contractions progressed. I stayed up making sure I had the food ready, our bags by the front door (they had been packed for weeks) and just fiddled like pregnant, laboring women do. I finally laid down and managed to get a few hours of sleep.
Ouch. Those suckers woke me up and would not let me rest. I got up and moved to the couch so I wouldn't wake Josh. I didn't know how far alone things had gotten and didn't want to jump the gun. So I put on Alaska State Troopers and tried to ignore the tight pain around core.
3am: they couldn't be ignored.
I kept hearing my moms questions from that night about timing them. So I did. I was having them every 2 to 3 minutes. This went on for 1.5 hours. Oops.
Shit is happening!
Shortly before 5am I text my midwife. We start talking about when I need to come to the birth center. I say I think I can wait a little longer. I wake up Josh and tell him to get ready. He jumps in the shower and my contractions get much worse and I start to feel more pressure.
Cindi tells me I need to get to the birthing center, no more waiting.
I shower, Christa rushes over and stays at our house to wait for Makena to wake. Side note: The BEST thing was being able to leave Makena to sleep and be at home than have to transport her somewhere. I strongly believe its one of the reasons why she adores her brother so much. It was such a smooth introduction.
6:05am: We get to the birthing center. I swear I am doing a home birth next time just so I don't have to ride while having contractions. My mood was still playful between the contractions at this point. We moved into one of the birthing suits and just tried to relax.
Josh has been my savior during the deliveries. He knows how to comfort me, when to give me space and be the most encouraging man I have ever met. I could not have told him to be more perfect for me, he surpassed anything I could have thought of. I do truly believe my deliveries are so easy because of what he does for me.
He had taken a comfort measures class at the birthing center and was giving me different things to try while my labor progressed. As things got nearer, Cindi realized that Gabe was stuck on my pelvis. She was having me try different positions to get him unstuck. All the while, I could push if I felt like it. At things point, transition hit. I started doubting myself, thinking I couldn't do it. The pain was too much, I was tired. I didn't feel like I had the strength.
Josh convinced me otherwise. Even though I did not voice a single one of those thoughts, he knew. And he said what I needed to hear
"You are so strong. You can do this. You are so amazing. I am so proud of you. Keep going babe."
How amazing is he?
And I did do it. Transition passed and the pain got manageable again. Now, there is the hard part for me. I can handle the pain, which had been pretty easy actually. It was a LOT less painful than with Makena. The hard part for me is pushing. I'm terrible because I always use the wrong muscles. I tried laying on my back for a little bit. Cindi had to break my water and tried to help me remember which muscles to use.
10:30am: I found that on my knees, leaning on a ball was better for me. So after, what felt like an hour, of failed pushing he came down. I do remember that I yelled at this point. Screamed would be a better word. I wanted that kid out NOW. I was done, I kept telling myself that all I had to do was push him out and I could rest. I couldn't keep my scream in as much as I tried. I was so silent with Makena and most of the delivery until this point. I could feel him right there and Cindi said, "Reach down and catch your baby". All I could think of was pushing this freaking kid out! So one actual push and he came shooting out. He landed on the bed and I reached down and grabbed him. In my daze, I missed Cindi unwrapping the cord from his neck. I just cradled him close and moved to lay back against the pillows. Josh laid next to me and we stared at our little boy. He gave one big cry and then latched right on and starting eating. He hasn't stopped. Gabe did have some swelling and a nice black eye because of my stupid pelvis. He was a little beat up to say the least. But a few days later he was the handsome little man he is today.
After getting some time to just bond, and making sure we were both healthy and doing well, Josh started heating the food we brought. I got showered and cleaned up.
Then Makena joined us at the birthing center. We wanted her to be there as soon as possible. We felt like she needed to be included in this early bonding time as well. Christa brought her over about 30 minutes after Gabe was born. She was a little confused at first I think, as she hasn't spent much time away from me.
She quickly became interested and comfortable again.
3:00pm After we all ate and made sure Gabe was eating well. We went home. 8 hours of labor and home 4ish hours after he was born. I felt so good in my recovery. We even went to Target the next morning. The labor was much easier than I thought and surprised me in how smoothly it went. It was peaceful and quiet and supportive. I never felt alone in it and had constant reassurance. Cindi was always softly giving me directions or words of encouragement. I would feel a gentle rub during a hard contraction. I felt more cared for than I could imagine, and no where near the care I got in the hospital.
Josh and I both walked away completely converted to natural child birth. We recommend it to everyone who is even thinking about it. I know it's not for everyone, but I ask that it's something you at least look into. Here is our little guy a month later on Thanksgiving. So blessed is our little family.