Sunday, February 14, 2010

Special Delivery...

photo by Marie Pham Photography

Happy Valentine's Day. Our new baby girl is 3 weeks old today!
Willow Elizabeth. Born Sunday, January 24, 1:45pm. 9lb 12oz, 22 1/2lb.

Willow's Birth Story
After several weeks of early contractions I was not sure I was really in labor. Griffin and I baked one last batch of "Cowboy Cookies", which I had been baking every other night since the contractions started. I wanted to have plenty of cookies for my midwives and support people. The contractions started to get stronger about midnight, when I was planning to head to bed. So my Mom and I watched a movie as the contractions continued. I finally went to bed about 1:30am, but just after 2am I got a really strong one and thought, 'if this is really it then this was the first really strong one.'

I continued to doze between contractions and trips to the bathroom. When I got up to go to the bathroom about 5:10, I had to stop several times on the way for contractions. I laid back down for a few minutes, but the next couple were so strong I knew I was not going to be sleeping anymore. I went to the living room for a few more, and realized that if I had to drive anywhere, I had better do it soon. I woke up Mike and started making phone calls.

With the first call to my midwife Katherine we discovered that all of the rooms at the Portland Birth Center we were supposed to deliver at were full. The only open room was at the Tualatin Birth Center, where I gave birth to Rowan in 2008. None of us wanted to be in the same place we lost Rowan, so we had to come up with another location.

Throughout my pregnancy, Katherine kept saying at my appointments, "I keep thinking you are going to have a home birth." To which I would respond, "How would that work? I'm in Washington and you are an Oregon midwife." In the end, we ended up delivering at the home of a friend who lives very close to the birth center and OHSU, in case there were any problems. She is expecting a baby in March, and planning a homebirth. So our birth was a trial run. Once we found an alternative, I felt really good about the idea because I knew it would be completely different from both Griffin's hospital birth and Rowan's birth center birth, so there would be no reminders of losing Rowan.

We loaded up Griffin and headed down to Portland, closely followed by my Mom and Sister, as well as my massage therapist Elisa. When we arrived about 6am, my host's husband and son, were heading out to Walmart (only place open at that hour) and Home Depot to gather supplies for setting up an inflatable birth tub in their living room. For a planned homebirth, all of those items would be gathered ahead of time. But this was unexpected, which turned out to be perfect for me.

We settled Griffin in the guest room with my laptop and some DVDs, but as I moaned louder, he would come in to check on me or help Elisa press the pain pressure points. Another perk to giving birth in a home environment is that Griffin could come in and out, and sit on the couch right next to the tub to read a story or cuddle with Daddy. My sister was there to help Griffin, and the midwives even took turns reading him stories.

I continued having regular, stronger contractions among the hustle and bustle of midwives gathering supplies, setting up and filling the tub. I alternated between sitting backwards on a dining chair, the birth ball with someone putting pressure on my lower back, and the bathroom. I wanted to be sure I was done using the bathroom before I got into the tub. Once I was in the birthing tub I refused to get out. Everything that went wrong with Rowan last time started just after I got out of the tub. So this time, I did not get out of the tub. But now I know why they say to boil water when someone is having a baby. When you spend hours in a tub of water, you need to replace the hot water fairly often.

In my previous labors, most of the contraction pain was at the base of my abdomen. I had a lot more back labor this time because Willow was already so far down and had such a large head. As soon as I got into the water, the pain in the front felt a lot better, but I still needed Mike or Elisa to put pressure on my back during contractions. Before too long, Mike got in the tub with me. With each contraction he put pressure on my lower back, and Elisa continued pressing the pain acupressure points on my hands. We continued like this for a couple of hours until I was ready to push.

Another difference from my first two births is that with both of them I did not know I was in labor until my water broke, and even then it took several hours for the contractions to get serious. This time around my water did not break until about 20 minutes before Willow was born. Soon after the water broke I felt Willow engage and knew it was time to start pushing. After just 3 or 4 long pushes, we welcomed Willow into the world. If I had not gotten Rowan out so fast in the emergency situation, I am sure it would have taken longer. But because of Rowan, I knew that I could do it when the time came.

Mike caught her when she came out and passed her to me. Up she came, floating out of the water, into my arms, eyes wide open and breathing. It was very surreal. She never really cried as she was still warm and comfortable in the water. Griffin joined us in the tub soon after so he could meet his baby sister. After we waited for the cord blood to pulse out, Griffin got to cut the cord, with Daddy's help. A few hours later, a room became available at the birth center and I was able to move there to be pampered while I recovered for a couple days.

The only complication was all of the blood that I lost. The same thing happened with Griffin in the hospital. So my energy has been slow to recover. They say it takes three weeks for your body to replace all the red blood cells, which has forced me to take it easy for the past three weeks and just enjoy our new baby girl.

1 comment:

  1. YAY... thanks for posting this.. I love hearing birth stories and it is just so exciting to hear about happy healthy babies. Love you!!!!!