Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Introducing Lorelai

Alright. I don't know how ready I am to write this, but it needs to be done. I don't know why, but this birth story seems more vulnerable and humbling than all the others. Probably because I went in a cocky know-it-all and then nothing went the way I thought it was going to. Ready for this ride? Here we go.

The day started out with excitement of course. The boys were with my parents, so in the house we had me, Roger, the girls, my doula Kristy ( , the doula she was training (Bailey), 4 midwives (, and a few of my friends (Susie, Ruby, and Kellie). The plan was this- Everyone arrives at 8:00AM. We break my water at 8:30 AM. I have contractions in the birthing pool until about 10:00. Then it's time to get out and push a baby out. Done by 10:30. Cleaned up and everyone gone home by noon. 

Heavenly Father, though, had very different plans for the day. I'd gotten several blessings throughout the previous weeks. They had promised me the birth I wanted. They had promised me that she would be born healthy. They promised me that I would have the strength to deliver this baby safely at home. All those things happened. I just didn't know that the birth I wanted was not the one I had planned...

(this is how I feel about red raspberry leaf tea. Super gross, but I was trying to behave and drank as much as I could choke down)

Everyone did come at 8:00, as expected. It took about half an hour to set up the birthing pool, get my stats, see where baby was and establish introductions or what not. Then we figured it was time to get this party started. We went upstairs to have the midwives break my water, but when they checked to see where Lorelai was, she had moved way up in my uterus. Why does this matter? Because if baby isn't where she needs to be and my water breaks, the umbilical cord is likely to start coming out with the fluid, followed by baby's head, which could prolapse the cord. If the cord is prolapsed, baby gets no oxygen. SO- we didn't want my water to break before Lorelai was properly in place. The midwives jostled her into place and then tied my waist super tight to hold her in place. We did this pretty much all morning. I was having contractions the whole time, but not always crazy strong ones. 

Around 10:30, the midwives needed to leave for a few minutes. They presented me with Castor oil (in apricot juice so it wouldn't be so yucky) and told me it was completely up to me if I used it and explained that the adverse side effects are exactly why it works to induce labor. They left and I asked for a priesthood blessing. Roger had given me several, so I felt a little guilty asking for another, but this one was a blessing of healing, so it needed 2 people instead of one and also used anointing oil. Jared, Susie's husband, came and helped with that. At first, I was just as frustrated as before since the blessing used words like, "in time" which are very vague to me. The blessing did say I'd have the strength to deliver her, though, so that was comforting. Kristy told us later that during the blessing is when she could feel Roger's parents there the strongest. I decided at that point that the grossness of drinking castor oil would be worth it if it meant that Lorelai would come same day. So I drank it...

And then had a good cry. I was SO frustrated. Emotionally and physically. Here we had reached the time of day when I thought I would be about DONE giving birth and the end still seemed forever away. I was starting to feel like I was holding my friends and everyone hostage. They hadn't signed up to be here all day! Luckily, everyone was So supportive. 

I tried really hard to be up and moving as much as I could, but I ended up spending most of the day on the birthing ball. Juliana was an amazing doula and helped rub my back and my arms. At one point in the day, she was playing with my hair and I'm surprised how much that relaxed me. Paisley did her part as well making sure I was fanned down when I got hot.

Around 1:15, after I had been checked again and my water had again not been broken for the same reason, contractions were at least strong enough that no amount of relaxing was going to make them stop. I decided to get in the birthing tub- that lasted like, 10 minutes total. The water was pretty toasty and it was strange to be in the middle of the room with so many people and my butt hanging out. I also tried to eat a little bit, but the heat made me totally nauseated. When I got out, I sat on the birthing ball again, but totally felt faint. Roger was holding me and I let him know that I felt like I was going to pass out. They got me to the couch and gave me oxygen and checked my blood pressure and oxygen. I had to sit there for a while.

After that, Roger and I went upstairs to just be alone for a minute (get your mind out of the gutter- that was NOT happening today!). It was kind of at that point that I realized how stressed out I was about having a full audience. I tried to take a nap, but that also wasn't happening. I went outside and visited with the midwives for a while. My contractions started picking up, so we decided one more time to see about my water breaking. (We made good use of the tub, later, though when Paisley put on her swimsuit and had the time of her life for almost an hour!).

Same story. I felt SO defeated!! Heck, at this point, all they could feel was Lorelai's hand, not even her head. At that point, we also realized that every time I was leaning forward or spending time on my hands and knees that she was popping out of my pelvis, so whatever progress we'd made to that point was completely gone. My new instructions were to lie on my back or side. I was "ordered" to take a nap (I say ordered because it  was more of a very strong suggestion and given with complete love.) Everyone agreed to go to dinner at that point, which, turns out, was exactly what I needed. I took a little nap and then things started happening.

When I woke up (around 6:15), the only people at my house were my girls and my doulas and Roger. I sent Roger to go get me a salad because I realized how hungry I was. He left and I came and sat in the recliner for a while. My amazing doulas massaged my feet. I couldn't eat any of my salad because my contractions were SO close together. They were hard and lasting 1-2 min each. Kristy recommended that I let the midwives know. They happened to text me while I was typing my text to them. I let them know that they should probably start making their way to my house. Just after pushing send, my water broke!! (7:05)
I know this photo is not flattering, but it's about as real as it gets. My water had NEVER broken on it's own before and this was so exciting! The midwives had me get on my hands and knees immediately so they could make sure the cord hadn't tried to come first. They also checked Lorelai's heart to make sure there was no duress. Luckily, all was well and like a light switch, we were back to birth being a joyful experience. Everyone happened to come at just the right time, though Ruby missed the birth by a few minutes.

Now, remember that I had a plan. I was either going to squat having this baby, have her in the birthing tub, or have her on my hands and knees. Squatting was out as I was exhausted physically. We'd put the tub away. No way was I going to hands and knees while still feeling the side effects of castor oil. So I was kind of at a loss. Someone suggested the birthing stool and I was down for that.

I'll spare you the more embarrassing parts between choosing the birthing stool and the actual birth, but let's just say that it's a good thing the people around me had a good sense of humor.

At this point (around 7:20), it hits me what has to happen next. Am I really up for this part? Can I actually do this AGAIN?! Well, I remembered the part of the blessing where it said I could, and so I did. I screamed super hard and pushed her out as fast as I could because no way was I going to prolong this in any way! At 7:28, I delivered our last baby into her daddy's arms. Several comments of, "Wow! She's not nearly as big as we thought she'd be" were flying around the room.

After each of my other births, I knew that there was still another child. I finished delivering babies with triumphant feelings of being powerful and strong. This time was different. This time, the thought that came first was, "I am NEVER doing this again!!" I was exhausted. I was vulnerable. But I was done. She was finally here. The pregnancy pains would finally go away. And my family was finally complete.
It took about half an hour before the placenta was delivered and Juliana had the opportunity to cut the umbilical cord.
About that point, it was time for me to get checked out. Daddy was excited for some skin to skin contact, so he and the girls got to bond with Lorelai for a bit.
All things checked out fine with me and I was able to settle in bed and collect myself for a few minutes. The girls had the opportunity to learn about the placenta, what it is, how it works, etc. Apparently, mine was healthy, but finished. Castor oil or no, we probably would have had a baby that day anyway.
Then came the fun part!! They brought her back upstairs and did all the necessary checks. We were all a bit surprised that she weighed 8 lbs 1.5 oz because she LOOKED so small!! She was 21" long, though, so I'm sure that helped. She was able to get her Vitamin K shot and everything looked good. 

These are my amazing midwives. I've never felt so empowered and strengthened by other women!! What an incredible experience! Everything was relaxed when it needed to be and in a moment when things could have been scary, they knew exactly what to do and how to handle the situation. I'm incredibly grateful!!!
My parents brought the boys home and met Lorelai. Sweetest thing ever!! Our family is complete!!
Thank you so much to my sweet friend Susie for taking photos and sharing Jeremy (Lorelai's future husband). Also much gratitude to Ruby who cleaned my house while I labored. Thanks to Kellie for being one of those people who helps keep me grounded and feel like I can handle whatever comes my way. Thank you to Kristy, my doula, who has now been there for FOUR of my babies and is honestly one of my favorite people on the planet. Thank you to Bailey, who jumped in and was right there for me- you're going to make an incredible doula!! I can't forget to thank my girls who would honestly make great doulas and midwives one day if they so choose.

But most of all, I need to thank my husband. I wouldn't want to take this journey with anyone else. He takes care of me in so many ways. Watching him take care of his children and still make time for me is very humbling. I hope I can serve and nurture him as he does me. 

Oh! And it would be incredibly ungrateful of me if I didn't also express gratitude to my Heavenly Father. I'm so grateful for his patience with me as I came many times crying and sobbing that things were simply too hard or taking too long. I'm grateful for these incredible children that He has trusted me with. I'm also grateful that He sent His son so that my family and I can return to live with Him someday.

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