Sunday, September 8, 2013

The birth of Rowen Kate

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Have you ever had an event you were anticipating turn out so perfectly that you can't stop thanking God for it? This story was one of those times.

 It started with a miscommunication. Not a surprise around here. I had told Jameson the day before that we would take him to the Wildlife Festival they hold here in Conyers once a year. Then I mentioned it to Will who let me know he was going to have to work. I didn't want to disappoint Jameson so even though I was super pregnant and contracting on and off, we went. It turned out to be just what we needed. Its hard to get one on one time with each child and I knew shortly it was going to be even more difficult. We had a great time but by 4:45 I was getting uncomfortable. Jameson used the last of his tickets on the rides and after a couple of refused pleas for more we were on our way home. My grandparents were still here visiting and Grandma had made chicken and dumplings for dinner. I was still contracting on and off and was kind of uncomfortable and wasn't really hungry but decided to sit down with everyone and eat anyways. I wasn't worried about the contractions. I can't even describe how many days I had been having them. My midwife informed me that its called prodromal labor. The contractions were working, I was dilating, but actual labor just wasn't starting yet. As excited as I was for a non-induced water birth, I have to say I was getting worried. I was afraid that maybe my body didn't know how to go into labor on its own. I'd spent my pregnancy reading books by midwives like Ina May Gaskin (if you've never read anything by her, I highly recommend it) that encouraged me to believe that my body knew what it was doing. In the back of my mind I knew that was true, too. But when you birth your other babies 3 and 4 weeks early, by the time forty weeks rolls around its kind of a mind game not to psych yourself out about when its
finally going to happen.

I read a lot during this pregnancy. Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. Spiritual Midwifery. Orgasmic Birth. Yep, you read that last one right. Interesting book, but I wouldn't describe any of my children's birth as orgasmic. One of my sweet friends, Aryn, sent me two books in early August. I started reading A Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers a few days before actual labor began. Its a book based on stories of women in the Bible who changed the course of history. I had a feeling that I needed to finish that book before I could go into labor. I'm not sure why, one of those silly things I guess. It is also an excellent read. So, after dinner I took a bath and finished the last story in it.

Around eight o clock the contractions got more intense.
 I was really uncomfortable and asked Will to ask my grandparents to take Jameson and Cianna somewhere. The nice thing about natural contractions is that especially in early labor, you get breaks in between. During a contraction, Will would put counterpressure on my back and when it was over I went back to watching an episode of How I Met Your Mother and messaging with Misty on Facebook. Poor Misty. She endured every, "Oh my gosh, I'm having contractions, I wonder if this is it?!??" message for the last month. I don't remember much of what I watched or our conversation because the contractions just kept getting stronger. At about 8:45 I decided it was time to call the midwife. Of course Will didn't know their number or how to operate my phone to get to it. I was in pain and getting frustrated that we'd had nine months to get ready for this moment and here we were still panicking. He finally got it figured out and the midwife could hear me moaning in the background and said to get to the hospital.
 
The car ride wasn't as bad as I was fearing. My contractions were still regular and I couldn't talk during them. A good sign that it really was go time. We pulled up to the hospital just after 9 p.m. which meant we had to enter through the emergency room doors. They asked if I needed a wheel chair and I stupidly said yes. I had several contractions in the emergency room while waiting for a wheel chair that was evidently wheeling its way there from China. In a not very nice fashion I informed the security member that they could forget it and I'd walk. She then told me that I couldn't because if I delivered my baby on the elevator, they were liable. I don't remember exactly what I said next but it was something to the effect that I'd be birthing my baby right their on the floor if they didn't get their umm, "stuff" together. I traveled in the wheel chair to labor and delivery without Will because he needed to get a visitor pass. What a joke. I was really, really mad. They were continuing to write passes for a family whose daughter was waiting to be induced because of people like me already in actual labor. He finally managed to make his way up to the room. I had been checked by the midwife and was pretty bummed to only be four centimeters dilated. I had been three the week before. I should have known better. Dilation is unpredictable. In natural births there is no rhyme or reason, other than that every woman's body is different in how long it takes. There are no mathematical formulas to determine how long it will take to fully dilate, no matter where your active labor begins. I asked Will to call our photographer (she is AMAZING, look for her site below) and tell her to take her time because I thought it would be a while. She decided though to head on up, and its a good thing she did.

My contractions were coming right on top of one another. My previous two labors were fifteen hours each and I remember thinking that if my contractions were this intense and this close together for the next fifteen hours I wasn't sure I could do it. I had planned on a water birth but didn't want to get into the tub too early. I got into the shower and contracted while Will sprayed water on my back. It helped but it was still the most intense thing I had experienced so far. My midwife was in there almost the entire time. She was listening to my vocalizations and could tell that things were really progressing. I had learned from reading that visualizations were a great way not to "fight" the contractions and with each one I imagined my cervix opening a little more. It didn't get rid of the pain but it gave me something else to focus on and I really believed it was working to make my contractions more effective.  I decided that it was time to get into the tub. It had to be filled with the shower head so I got out of the shower and labored on all fours on the bed. A big pop and my water broke. All I could say was, "that was gross." It wasn't really gross, it was pretty cool, but in the moment it was all I could think of. All of a sudden I got really hot. My doula reminded me that this was a sign of entering transition. Transition is the phase of labor usually between 8 and 10 centimeters dilated that many women regard as the toughest part. I had only been at the hospital a little over an hour and didn't think there was anyway I was already in transition.
 
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Almost immediately after getting in the tub, I felt the urge to push. My midwife and doula were so great during this time. They didn't make a big deal about it being time, I didn't have to be checked for dilation again. My midwife watched my body language and my doula placed cold rags on my head while Will squeezed my hands.


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The pushing was so incredibly intense. I had also birthed Jameson without any drugs but I didn't remember the pushing being so painful with him. I think in most natural labors, a wall gets hit.
 I had hit my wall.

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I was saying things like, "Thank God I never have to do this again."
and "I'm not sure I can do this."
 and "Why do people do this?"
And then, at the height of the pain, relief. The hard works turns to

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This.



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And this.




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It was difficult. They don't call it labor for no reason.
 But my body was capable.
 God knew what he was doing when he made women to have babies. A nine pound baby, no less.
 I birthed Rowen.
 My midwife was there to guard the safety. Will was there to love and support me. My doula was there to remind me that I could do this.
But I birthed her.
 I reached down and pulled our baby out of the water and onto my chest.
The last two hours of hard work disappeared. Replaced with intense love. Replaced with awe at my own body. Replaced with the confidence that comes in knowing that my body worked the way it was intended to.
We all want a healthy baby. You can have a healthy baby and an incredible birth experience.

Incredible birth experiences aren't just water births.
 Its hospital birth. Its home birth. Its induced labors. Its Ceasearan sections.
Any birth in which women do research about their options for birth and make their own choices for the well being of themselves and their baby is an incredible birth experience.
 
Doing something you weren't sure you could do is one of the best feelings in the world.
There is a lot to be said for having to go through a difficult time to get what you most want.
 Its really a metaphor for life.
Hard work leads to amazing things.
And then when the work is done:

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All photos are courtesy and copyright of katey.elliot.photography.
You can find more information about her on her blog at http://kateyelliottphotography.blogspot.com/

3 comments:

  1. Britni, you continually amaze me. You're such a incredibly strong woman and one your daughters will be proud to emulate. Congratulations to you and Will! The pictures brought tears to my eyes and such a song to my heart! Thanks :) Lynn

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  2. Happy for you. I thought a water birth would be wonderful, too.

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  3. I love reading birth stories and this one was no exception. Such a beautiful story that I'm sure your little one will love reading one day. :)

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