Lila & Kira

September 28, 2013 at 12:19 am Leave a comment

A little bit of back story to how my first birth went is needed before I dive right in to the second one…

I gave birth to my first daughter at 41 weeks at a freestanding birth center on Friday, November 21, 2008.  My birth was about 10 hours long.  I was awoken to active labor at 4am.  I labored at home for about 5 hours before arriving to the birth center.  Upon arrival I was checked and was 5 cm dilated and then spent the bulk of labor in the tub.  I ended up pushing through a cervical lip for 2 hours.  Once the lip was gone and I was complete, I birthed Makela about 30 minutes later (at 2:16pm) on the birth stool.  What followed were some harrowing events that I won’t get into too much detail on, but in essence, I ended up being transferred to Evergreen Hospital due to a Postpartum Hemorrhage.  Upon arriving to Evergreen, I was extremely ill; fighting for my life.  They gave me a central line because my veins were not responding.  I spent the night in ICU, needed a large blood transfusion and then had to go into surgery the next morning.  The surgery was to fix the severe tearing I had because upon admission they realized the tearing that had been repaired was not done properly.  They also wanted to explore my uterus to be sure there was no further damage.  My recovery after this birth took many months to heal physically and close to a year of counseling.  I also suffered from PTSD.

Fast forward 5 years and we are finally ready to have another baby.  During the five years leading up to getting pregnant, I set out to become a Birth Doula, and was certified with DONA in 2011.  I spent a lot of time reviewing my charts from both birth places so that I fully understood what went wrong and what could I possibly do to prevent anything going wrong this time.  I saw an ND, did a complete blood panel, had my iron levels checked regularly, and started taking high doses of red raspberry leaf (which is known as a uterine tonic).

My husband and I decided that giving birth out of the hospital again was not an option for us this time.  I absolutely knew I wanted to have the care of a midwife and luckily, the midwives at Evergreen had just recently started offering 24/7 care again.  I was pretty hesitant to give birth in the hospital because I feared unnecessary interventions, but knew this was the best choice given what happened before.  I found myself a great birth doula, met with the head of the postpartum care at Evergreen to come up with a care plan and also made an appointment with the counselor I saw after I had Makela.  I was as prepared as one could be.  The rest I just left in the hands of the universe.

I was awoken at 7am on Saturday, September 28, 2013 to a pop and what I quickly determined was my water breaking.  I was 38 weeks and 1 day along.  I woke up my husband right away and told him to look at my pants to see if he could see what I felt.  We knew we would soon be meeting our new baby girl.  He got on the phone right away and called the midwife on call, our doula and the family member we had lined up to care for Makela.  I knew that labor had the potential to kick in right away so I got the rest of my hospital bag packed and got in the shower.  The contractions started while I was in the shower, but the warm water provided a bit of comfort.  As soon as I got out, things really started to change.  We called our doula back and told her we were ready for her to come.  She was already on her way.  We also phoned the midwife back to give her an update.  I proceeded to have a handful of contractions while we waited for our doula to arrive.  The most comfortable place to get through the contractions was leaning over the ledge to our staircase.  I just swayed back and forth.  The pain was quite intense.  I started dry heaving.  Once our doula arrived, she could gauge that things were moving very quickly.  We made our way down to the car and headed to the hospital.

Once we got in the car, the contractions got even more intense.  The pain brought me to tears.  The hospital is only about a 5 minute drive from our home – we got there about 8:55am.  We pulled into the round about and my husband opened the car door for me.  I could see a group of men in the waiting room looking out at me while I cried in pain as I leaned up on the brick pillar for support.  When we got into the hospital, we checked in with the woman at the front desk entry way to the Family Maternity Center.  She informed us that we would have to go to triage first.  That was something that I discussed prenatally with the midwives and they were onboard with me not having to go through triage if I was visibly in active labor.  She said we needed to wait there for further instruction. Yah right, I thought.  I proceeded to make my way down the hallway, stopping every few moments to lean on the stair railing, tears running down my face.  The pain took my breath away.  A nurse came out to tell us we could go straight to our room.  Shortly after entering the Family Maternity Center, our midwife joined us as we continued the long walk to my room.  I stopped multiple times down the hallway and even leaned on my doula to get through the contractions.

When we got to our room, I leaned over the bed, swaying back and forth.  I began crying even more and used a few choices words to get through the contractions.  The pain was so unbelievably intense, I was really having a difficult time coping.  They started filling up the tub for me.  I asked the midwife to check me – this was about 9:20am.  She did and said I was completely dilated to 10 cm.  She told me there would be no getting in the tub now.  There is no way things were going this fast… I was shocked.  I was working harder than I ever have.  I was hot, sweaty and a bit delirious from the intensity of the pain.

The midwife said I could start pushing when it felt right.  I did one push on my left side and I was not the least bit comfortable.  So, I then got on my hands and knees and that’s where I stayed.  I used the back of the bed to hold on to as I labored down for the next 30 minutes or so.  I hadn’t really felt the urge to push with Makela & spent that time being directed on what to do.  It was really important to me to feel the urge to push this time.  Laboring down was what I needed to do to get into the right zen-like zone to push.  I had a few interruptions by the nurse who wanted to monitor me with the straps and all as well as the tech who came in to draw my blood.  I finally lost my cool with them and with the midwife’s permission, they left me alone.

I remember telling the midwife that I thought it was time.  My voice became primal in tone with a deep groan.  With the support and encouragement of my midwife, husband, doula and nurse, I birthed my baby girl out in about 7 pushes.  Kira was born at 10:17am.  She was born with the cord wrapped around her neck and across her body.  The midwife gently moved the cord away from her body, I got onto my right side and she handed her to me.  I remember thinking that she was so slippery and absolutely perfect.  I looked up at my husband and he had tears streaming down his face.  We were both in awe and immediately in love.  After the cord stopped pulsing, my husband had the honors of cutting it.  I ended up having a couple small gushes of blood, so was given cytotec as a preventative measure.  I also had a 2nd degree tear, which was much better than what I previously experienced when giving birth to Makela.  I just held and snuggled Kira skin-to-skin while I got sutured.  Afterwards, she had her first latch.  I was monitored very closely given my previous history and was discharged the next afternoon.

This birth experience was very healing to say the least.  I had an amazing experience with the midwives at Evergreen.  We are loving our new family of four and soaking up all the wonderful newborn snuggles that Kira is giving us.  Makela is the best big sister – we are blessed beyond belief.

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Emily and Benjamin Jaime & Nora

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