Saturday, November 14, 2009

Harper Jo Clark's home birth story 11/09/09

I better write this down before the details become soft and out of focus. If you like to read birth stories, this is a good one because it's an encouraging swift delivery... the kind we all want to have. I feel lucky to have experienced two perfect home birth deliveries. It will be very sad to ever leave this house since both my babies were born here.

Stand and Deliver
Nov. 9, 2009 | Harper Jo Clark's birth story

So, around 3:45AM on early Monday morning, I felt it. The first contraction.
"oh," I thought.
"what a coincidence," Owen's birth story started around 3AM." I'll just go back to sleep and wake up and get ready for this birth.
One problem. I couldn't sleep. Not because I was anxious but because the contractions were a minute long and every 10 minutes with alarming consistency. I didn't wake Matt up, but at 6AM I told him, "I'm having contractions," to which he replied,
"The real ones?"
And so it began. I got up, got dressed and began the day with Owen, Matt and Sarah (Matt's mom flew into town Sunday night). The contractions this time were a lot more painful and longer and more consistent throughout the morning than my early labor with Owen. I had to stop what I was doing while I was having one just to breathe and focus. I couldn't be sitting, either, it hurt too much.

I called Womancare Midwifery at 8AM just to let them know that today was likely the day unless things just progressed really really slow. Mary Ann reminded me that I should call back when contractions were consistently coming 5 minutes apart or much much harder and longer. Matt and I went for a walk sometime around 9 and they were coming every 4-5 minutes and a little harder. I called Mary Ann back at 10AM. She said they would come, set up, check my progress and vitals and we'd go from there.

The midwives showed up at 10:45-11AM and set up all their gear...which took awhile. You see, they carry LOTS of stuff for delivery including oxygen infant resuscitation. As soon as they walked through the door, my contractions slowed down to 10 minutes apart and not as 'heavy.' Kindra checked me and I was 4-5cm and 90% effaced. Just before noon, Kindra said she felt comfortable leaving me so long as I called back if the contractions got harder and closer together.Mary Ann made the comment she had seen women go from 4cm to 10cm in 20 minutes so don't be afraid to call. My sister Kate also left and was going to come back around 2PM.

Everything seemed under control. I felt fine. Matt wasn't even counting my contractions for me at this point. I ate some lunch and went upstairs to read. Gran was hanging out with Owen and putting him down for his noon nap. All was well. I finally called Matt in to start counting the contractions so we'd have a better idea of where I stood with everything. it was about 12:10PM.

OUCH. That one hurt. I started breathing a lot heavier during the contractions, which were now coming about seven minutes apart but much harder.

OUCH. THAT one hurt.

OWWWWWWEEE. That ONE really hurt.

Plus I started getting really annoyed at environmental things.. ex: Kaibee, our dog, was "stinking," I told Matt to get her out of the room and Owen was talking up a storm with Gran, which was distracting and annoying to me. I told Matt to shut the door. I remembered being annoyed at dumb stuff last time when things got serious.
So I labored from about noon-12:45 and told Matt, "call Kate, Call the midwives, we need them back." I knew it was time to call the midwives when I recognized the "emotional signpost" (Bradley Method) of doubt/self-doubt. I was thinking secretly to myself,


Kindra arrived first shortly before 1PM, and Mary Ann not long after that. I was lying on the bed "laboring" and then realized, I'm having way too much pain in this position, I need to get up. So I got up. Moving while in active labor was with both births extremely uncomfortable. I stood at the edge of the bed and held on to the bed post between contractions, which were getting confusing... was that a contraction or was I supposed to push there?

am I through transition?
I knew it was getting close because the midwives didn't seem too worried about checking my dilation status...

I was getting this feeling of something LARGE (think baby head) STUCK right around my anus. Sorry. It felt like I had to poop a large watermelon. There I said it. I didn't remember this feeling from Owen's birth until it was ALMOST over, so I said to the midwives,

"What am I doing here, am I pushing? I'm feeling a lot of pressure"

Kindra (calmly) "Oh, yes, Cameron this baby is coming, the head is right there, and we are seeing more and more of it."

me thinking: THE HEAD?? WHAT?

but I'm STANDING up!!!. I had not pictured a standing delivery. This is almost over? I felt like it just started, but FINE BY ME.

Kate, my sister, had rushed back to the house at some point after 1PM and I noticed her watching me, felt bad for her, and wanted to give her a little smile, like "it's okay, I'm fine," but I couldn't really open my eyes, even for a second to be my *old* self. I was in serious *la la* labor land. All I could manage were some primal grunts, groans --your typical Hollywood labor noises.

PUSH. GRUNT. PUSH. Insert primal noises and a very scared, "your doing great, Cameron" from my sister.

Water broke.

I'm thinking "oh wow, this is happening NOW."

I don't know, really, it wasn't the same type of pushing as the first labor, which was textbook-- One two three, here's a contraction and PUUSSHHHHH... Harper was more like. Ouch, ouch ouch, and feeling the uterus doing lots of it's own work and then I'm giving it a little push here and there when I felt like it.

Kindra: "Okay the head is out."

me thinking: WHAT? THE HEAD is OUT?--

okay calm yourself, now all I have to do is push the body out, so here goes...

...and next thing I knew there was a baby on a towel being handed up to me. I'm told Matt knelt down and "caught" the baby as it came out. It was pretty amazing. I went and took a seat on the bed with the new baby and lifted her leg,

"It's a girl!!" I said. Everyone laughed. I thought it would be a boy.

So my active labor was less than an hour an a half. PRAISE JESUS. I went from 4-5cm to 10cm in less than an hour. I really liked delivering during the day because then you don't have to stay up all night and never recover that sleep.

The midwives service was great, as usual, and they took care of everything, including changing and washing the sheets and linens When they leave, your house looks like they were never there (Mary Ann even brought over some homemade hummus and crackers)! They do a standard follow up visit at home one day later, and three days later. I can't say enough about how nice it is to have the baby in the comfort of your own home, sleep beside your husband that night and receive follow-up home care and lactation consulting. To me, that is the way it should be. You shouldn't have a question about nursing your baby that doesn't get answered in person by an expert. One HUGE bonus is that if it's your second child, you don't have to worry about what will happen with your first born while you go to the hospital (or your dogs) Who will watch him? How will he nap or sleep? How will you call someone at 3AM to come over? Will he be safe and happy? Those are definitely concerns I didn't have or think of until a friend pointed it out to me. A pregnant woman has enough to worry about, the last thing you need is more anxiety. Owen was able to see the baby within a half an hour of her being born (I woke him from his nap with my primal sounds **I have a video of his first reaction, which I'll post soon). Additionally, it seems like when I go to any doctor's office, I can never remember what I was going to ask them, but when the midwives come to visit me at home, the dialog begins and when they leave all my questions are answered. If they're not, of course, I can reach them on their cell phone. Prenatal and postnatal care with great customer service, Why? Because you deserve it.

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Anonymous said...

amazing story! you are a natural - so happy for you all!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for such a detailed account. I wish I could have been there. You made it see as if I was witnessing her birth firsthand!! I love you both so much.
Your Mom

dara said...

yay! congrats to you all.

Anonymous said...

She's a real cutie! What a fabulous birth story, thanks for posting it.

Karen said...

What a beautiful birth story,I love how you described what you were thinking at the moment. I expected a long labor with my daughter and kept being surprised too, when she was arriving.

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Just His Best said...

Beautiful story!!! I'm having my blog redesigned by Jenissa. I told her what I had in mind and she sent your blog as an example. Yikes - it's almost exactly what I was thinking but I promise to make it my own and I hope you don't feel like I'm copying you.

Oddly enough, we have many of the same interests as well- maybe long lost twins??? I was a Baby Signs instructor and just had my 4th homebirth in October. Here is the slideshow of it. Very similiar and just as quick! :)