The Birth of Mr. E

After reading The Laotian Commotion's birth story over on her blog, I realized I never put up mine. My fantastic doula, Jamie, wrote up a great account of E's arrival.

After taking Bradley birthing classes, we made the decision to switch providers (at 26 weeks pregnant), from an OB at a hospital known for it's high c-section rate to a group of certified nurse midwives at a baby friendly hospital. This was one of the best decisions we made in pregnancy. I was able to labor as needed (I even had the option to labor and birth in water!), eat or drink during labor, wear what I wanted, no IV or heplock, intermittent monitoring, delayed cord clamping... the works! It as a perfect situation for someone like me, who wanted a natural intervention-free birth but wanted to be in a hospital. While labor and delivery were nearly perfect, our breastfeeding story started out less than ideal.

Here it is, the birth of my sweet boy E...

Well, normally birth stories are long and sometimes complicated. Yours, however, is not! It’s not long and it’s not complicated, because you’re mommy was in labor but didn’t know it, and by the time she did know it, there wasn’t that much longer to go! It’s amazing, and this, Ethan, is your story:

Your mommy was 36 weeks 4 days pregnant on Friday, December 10th, 2010 and she and your daddy headed to downtown Fort Worth for mommy’s 36 week appointment with the midwives, which was set for 11:45 a.m. On the way there mommy said that she’d been having a little bit of fluid leaking and wondered if she should mention it at the appointment. Daddy thought that she should at least mention it, just in case.

So, the appointment went fine, everything was normal, and your mommy declined having an exam because she figured that she was still a ways off from your estimated due date, so why bother? Towards the end of the appointment the midwife, Tania, asked mommy if she had any additional questions. Mommy mentioned the fluid that she’d been feeling, and Tania agreed that it was probably normal just from being in the later stages of pregnancy but wanted to check with an amnio-test just to be sure; she did the swab and said, “Hmm, this isn’t looking good!” and said that it was definitely amniotic fluid that was leaking. Your mommy and daddy were shocked, because obviously this was not expected to be happening at 36 weeks and 4 days! Tania wanted to check to see if there was any cervical change happening and your mommy agreed – and both were shocked when Tania said “you’re 5 centimeters dilated and 80% effaced!” It looked like the errands and shopping that your parents were planning on getting accomplished after the appointment were going to be postponed, because they were going to meet you soon!

Tania said that they should head over to the hospital and be admitted to Labor and Delivery, so that’s what they did. Your daddy called me and let me know what was going on; his exact words after I answered the phone were, “Hi, ummmm, we kinda have a situation!” I was actually at another hospital with a couple from the childbirth class that your parents took with me, because she had delivered her baby boy a few hours earlier, also born early! Neither of you were due until January, but both of you decided to be December babies instead!

I gathered my things and quickly headed to the hospital to join your parents. When I arrived at 2:15 p.m., your daddy was gone because he’d went to your house to gather the things they needed for the hospital stay. They had planned and prepared for a natural childbirth for you, and wanted to get all of the support they could, so their birth plan was attached to a basket of goodies for the nurses.

Their friend Alanna and her sweet little baby girl, Tara, were there, along with Alanna’s mother. We sat around talking and trying to wrap our minds around the fact that you were going to be arriving soon! Your mommy was walking around the room and relaxing on the bed and would have contractions, but they didn’t feel very strong to her – more like a crampy achy feeling. She didn’t have to use any relaxation techniques or comfort measures during them at this point, and didn’t want to do anything that might cause the labor to move any faster until your daddy was back.

Once he was back and had brought their bags, the gifts for the nurses, drinks and snacks for themselves, and your car seat up to the room, we got ready to labor. We started walking the halls around 3:45 p.m. and by 4 p.m. your mommy was feeling the contractions a little bit stronger than before. When she would have one she’d stop and breathe through it and then continue on down the hall. We had an interesting conversation about some French fries that were in a trashcan at the end of the hall because the smell was bothering mommy when we’d get close to it!

We walked for about 45 minutes and then headed back into the room so that mommy could use the restroom. Mommy continued to drink lots of fluids to keep herself hydrated and everyone was snacking to keep their energy level up. At 5:30 p.m. Candis, who was the midwife on call for the night, came in to check and see how things were going. Mommy told her that she was feeling the contractions more strongly and they were coming around 5 minutes apart. Candis checked and found that mommy was now 6 to 7 centimeters dilated; she explained that the cervix felt like a funnel with the outside part dilated to 7 and the inside being more like 6. Suddenly, during the exam, mommy’s water broke! Candis promised that she hadn’t intended to break it.

Husband's caption: "7cm. fully effaced. -1 station. Laughing like a fool."

As normally happens after the water is broken, the contractions picked up in both speed and intensity. Mommy was still handling them wonderfully, barely appearing like she was even in labor. She tried to use the birth ball but found that it wasn’t inflated quite enough and wasn’t very comfortable to sit on. She walked around the room and ended up back in the restroom, where she labored on the toilet.

By this point, everyone had left except for me and Daddy. Our nurse, Hope, was about to go home and Beverly, our new nurse, came in. Beverly was pretty focused on getting blood pressure readings and vital signs recorded. The first time she needed to do it was fine; mommy went to the bed and had her temperature taken and your heart rate was quickly monitored. The next time, though, was not as easy. Mommy was comfortable in the restroom and Beverly really wanted her to come to the bed. As a contraction would end Mommy would head for the bed very quickly, but as soon as another contraction would start she’d turn around and go back to the restroom. It just wasn’t comfortable to be on the bed!

The contractions were coming 2 to 2 ½ minutes apart now and were strong. Mommy used yoga breathing to manage the labor and it was working wonderfully. She started to show signs of transition and I knew that you were close to being born: she got really hot, she didn’t like to be touched, and she said a few times that she didn’t know if she could keep doing this or not. Daddy and I reassured her that yes, she could do this, and that she was close to being done. We put cool washcloths on her neck and forehead and reminded her to relax her shoulders and let the contractions work so that you could move down. She did awesome! I’ve really never seen anyone else handle labor as well as she did; from the outside it looked like she was calm and confident, although on the inside she was feeling doubtful that she could do this without medication like she had originally intended.

A few contractions later I heard mommy pausing in the middle of the contraction and thought that she was probably feeling an urge to push. She confirmed that yes, she was feeling like pushing, so I asked Beverly to get Candis. I’m not sure where Beverly went, but she didn’t get Candis, so I left to go to the nurses’ station to find her. She came in a minute or two later and Mommy agreed to move to the bed so that Candis could make sure that it was time to push. It was about 8pm.

Candis checked and yep, you were right there! You were at +2 station and with each push we could see your head. Your mommy was doing amazing and made low, deep sounds as she pushed you down. In between pushes we talked about whether we thought you were going to be a boy or a girl; everyone guessed you’d be a boy except for me, and I thought I’d be different and say girl, since everyone else said boy! The midwife listened to your heartbeat for a few seconds and said it definitely sounded like a boy’s heart rate. Your mommy’s family wanted to be there for your birth, and your grandma was actually supposed to be flying in a week before your due date so that she could be there for your birth, but since you were coming early that wasn’t possible.

Daddy used FaceTime on his phone so that they could hear your first cry. As you were about to be born Candis asked your mommy to slow down and not push very hard so that her skin could stretch; your daddy repeated it to her loudly and Candis told him he didn’t have to shout at her, however, it was his voice that your mommy heard, so it was good that he did! At 8:26 p.m. you were born and placed right on your mommy and they discovered that you were a BOY!!

Our first glimpse

In the first hours after your birth you stayed skin to skin with mommy until she was ready for you to be weighed and measured; Beverly apparently had some trouble working the scale and said that you were 5 pounds and 7 ounces, but later that night, after they’d moved all of you up to the postpartum room, you were re-weighed and found to be 6 pounds 3 ounces. As Beverly went to lay you in the bassinette to diaper you and complete the newborn assessment, I noticed that she was holding you upside down! I squeezed your Mommy’s leg really hard and she and your daddy noticed what was going on; Daddy hurried over and carried you back to Mommy’s arms.

Hours old

The oxytocin was a-flowin'!

Your temperature was a little low so another nurse brought the warmer over to the bedside and put it over top of you and mommy. It heated all of us up very quickly! Soon after all of the postpartum recovery things were taken care of, we worked on getting you to nurse for the first time. It took a little while, but you eventually latched on.

Our first time nursing, less than an hour old

Your birth was amazingly calm and short, and it was an honor to be a part of the process. You were born into a wonderful family with loving parents who worked together to prepare for your birth and bring you into the world in the healthiest possible way.