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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Grayson's Birth Story

Posted on Dec 29, 2011--I found this that I wrote shortly after he was born and wanted it posted here--
Grayson’s Birth Story

The story starts way before the day of.  Doug and I took the full 9 months to decide where and exactly how we wanted to have our baby.  It was in the last month that I decided that I might want to be at home and that I wanted Les to be around.  Our midwife was very supportive to us being flexible and going with whatever came our way when I was actually in labor.  Our biggest goal was to have as few interventions as possible but to have a healthy outcome for both me and the baby.  After 12 weeks of Brio Birth classes I was convinced that my labor would be long and I would be late.  On Thursday Doug and I took a walk after dinner and I was having contractions  I was thinking that it was good that I had these “practice contractions” so I could have a bit of a preview and maybe some of the work would be done beforehand.  I was tired so we didn’t do much that night and we were planning to see our midwife the next morning.  Doug had also just booked a refundable flight to San Fransisco for a meeting on the 8th(yet another reason for me to be late:  Murphy’s Law)
So we woke up Friday and went to see the Midwife(Rebecca) she always has a lesson for us and we are always there at least an hour.  I wasn’t very comfy sitting throughout most of my last trimester and sitting on her couch I started to feel like I was going to pass out.  So I stood while she explained all about what is normal and what is not when it comes to newborns.  Little did we know we would have a newborn in less than 24 hours!  Rebecca suggested that we spend a lot of time together in the next 2 weeks since there would be little time for that once the baby arrived.  We listened to his heartbeat, which sounded awesome and went on our way.  Doug went to work and I set out to do some of the last errands on my baby list and grocery shopping.  My dad called while I was a Babies R Us and asked “is today the day?” to which I responded: “no, today is not the day”  I also talked to my mom and explained to her that yes I was having contractions, but they were mild and prelabor can sometimes last weeks, esp on a first baby.  I walked around the store, feeling really tired and crampy, came home, layed down for a nap and the contractions stopped.  When I got up they came back so I asked Doug if he would mind cleaning out the tub so I could take a bath--he was about an hour away from being finished with work but quickly did it for me.  When I got in contractions stopped.  From birth class I knew that if they go away in the tub, it isn’t real labor.  So I got out, and we focused on dinner plans.  I said I felt like Indian but not like going out.  So Doug ordered to go and went to pick it up.  I layed down for a bit and ate the Sag Panier that he brought home, then we decided to listen to a book on tape in bed since I wasn’t feeling up for much.  About 30 minutes in I was WAY too bored with the book and preoccupied with contractions and asked Doug to turn it off.  I just kept thinking:  “when we do this for real, I need to be much more relaxed!”  It was about 10 PM and I could tell that Doug was getting suspicious.  He tried to hide that he was timing the contractions.  I wasn’t going to be fooled, but in my mind this was good practice for the real thing.  He kept asking me if they were getting stronger, I didn’t think so, but I did keep thinking that I really need to focus on relaxation because I was having trouble staying relaxed.  Doug started trying a few of the positions that we had learned in our class, again, in my head this was all great practice.  We answered a text from a friend who wanted to know what a good place for drinks was downtown and I apologized that I was not feeling up to meeting him, so we would not be joining him.  The contractions started coming right on top of one another, so I asked if we could go upstairs for another bath.  I just needed a break between contractions--then I would be able to handle them again.  I wanted to lay down but that made everything more painful, the bath seemed to be the only option.  I remember saying to Doug: “I just need a break and I am not getting it and I don’t know why!”  When I got in the bath he continued his text conversation with our midwife and asked me if she should come.  We deliberated for a bit--we certainly didn’t want to make her come here for a false alarm!  We didn’t feel like things were out of control and I still thought we were just being first timers and overly dramatic.  I began doubting my ability to do this for real when the time came because this practice was getting pretty painful!  We determined to keep her updated I think but after that I don’t really remember much of what Doug was doing as he played the part of party planner and orchestrated everyone where we needed them to be.  I remember being out of the tub, having a really intense contraction and digging my nails into Doug’s arm and holding on.  He stayed strong and just held me up, there was nothing I could do, my body was taking over.  I got back into the tub and suddenly my body began pushing--without me doing a thing.  It scared me, a lot.  I said to Doug: “My body is pushing and I can’t stop it--something must be wrong!”  There was nothing left to do but surrender.  I felt safe and able to do whatever I needed to.  I just held on for dear life.  Labor was happening to me, but I was starting to feel desperate.  I couldn’t handle 12 more hours of this!  I began calculating in my head how much longer I could do this--5-6 hours more? Maybe, but then all the stories that I had heard about women showing up to the hospital only to find out they are dilated to a 2 and not effaced began flashing through my mind and I began to be very afraid.  I started to cry and Doug rubbed my back.  At some point I heard him on the phone with the midwife.  I hear him say:  “She says you are doing great!  REMEMBER: Low tones--she will be here in 20 minutes”  Rebecca arrived and I just remember saying to Doug:  Please don’t leave me.  “We are going to have a baby soon!” Rebecca sang as she unloaded her supplies.  I remember asking Doug to ask her to be quieter, and if she could check me.  “I don’t need to check you” she said  you are there, we will have a baby in 20 minutes!  I couldn’t dare to believe that, not enough time had passed.  I insisted that she check me and so she had me get out of the tub and onto the bed.  “This far”  she said as she showed me a quarter of an inch of her finger, “that is how far you have to go!”  Again, I was in disbelief that we were almost done--I had just admitted to myself that we were actually in labor.  “Two contractions on the toilet so he can turn the corner and then back in the tub to push.”  Turn the corner, turn the corner, why wasn’t I remembering this from all of the classes, books and videos that I had watched?  I didn’t make it to the toilet before another contraction hit me--I was feeling excited, a little scared but mostly just focusing on the task at hand.  i could hardly believe that we were almost there!  I remember wondering how long that short distance might take--hours? How many? I think I had one or maybe two more contractions and then I got back in the tub which was now warm(Doug had refilled it for me)  I remember hearing Rebecca instruct Doug to turn off the air conditioner so when the baby came out he wouldn’t be chilled, I remember telling Doug to have Leslie come in as soon as she got here, and then I remember thinking that the baby was too big to come out and then it occurred to me: THE BABY CAUSES the ring of fire--it never really made sense until now.  As I had through the whole process I remember thinking:  This is temporary, I can do this, women have done this for generations, you can too.  Through the whole process I really did do whatever my body demanded--thank goodness for all of those conversations beforehand with Doug.  We talked about my fears, my doubts, what I like and don’t like when I am in pain, his fears, what we really wanted out of this experience and why and because of all of those MANY conversations I was able to just surrender and know that he was there with me, no matter what.  Rebecca just kept saying, “ease him out” but he was coming and I wasn’t doing anything!  She instructed me to lift my chin and blow OUT, which I did.  I remember thinking that my body was delivering this baby, I was just along for the ride!  Before I knew anything Leslie was there in the doorway of our tiny bathroom.  Doug was on the toilet, Rebecca, kneeling by the tub and Les in the doorway--panting.  I asked her to take some pics and told Doug where the camera was and the next thing I remember is everyone gasping and suddenly a baby was on my chest.  “Be careful not to drown him, that tends to give waterbirths a bad name” Rebecca joked.  I held on tight to the little squirmy warm thing in my arms and all I kept thinking is: he is so big, I can’t believe he fit inside me!  I turned to Doug and whispered “that was easier than I thought”  I held him and whispered to him while Doug watched and marveled with me.  He was here!  Now for more business, Rebecca said that my placenta was detaching a little early so we would have to cut the cord a little earlier than normal, and we did.  Doug cut the cord, placenta was delivered and now it was on to standing up.  I got out of the tub, dried off and headed to the bed to get checked out and to snuggle with our new family.  While Rebecca talked to us and stitched me up Grayson began to nurse and Doug and I just snuggled him and took in all of his little noises.  Leslie was busy finishing setting up a few things around the nursery and got us some snacks, took pics and put Grayson in his first diaper!  There were instructions, an exam, weighing and measuring, and lots of laughs.  All the time I just kept thinking: he is here, we have a baby!  How did that happen!  I was in a cloud of relief, love and new sensations.  The chubby little baby seemed pretty content and we finally got the all clear on a clean bill of health.  Rebecca “tucked us in” with the baby between us in bed and told us she would call the next day to see how things were going.  Les was spending the night and sending and receiving texts from well wishers and brand new grandmas and grandpas.  All the while we were just snuggling and cooing and in awe.  As Rebecca closed the door I remember looking over at the baby between us and thinking: he is just here, in our bed, like he owns theplace! 

Doug's Point of View

It was Friday August 26th around 6:30 and I was just finishing up work. Mickelle comes up the stairs and calmly asks me a question. "Can you clean out the tub with disinfecting wipes?".  I respond with "Do you want me to right now or can I do it after I finish up work?".  She requests right now because she isn't feeling great and wants to take a bath to feel better.  Trying to be the supportive birth partner, I promply hop up and start cleaning out the tub.

So far, nothing was out of the ordinary. About and hour later, we were sitting at the kitchen table trying to figure out dinner. She requested Indian food so I ordered Saag Paneer from The Star of India.  Mickelle wasn't feeling well enough to go with me to get the food so she just hung out while and went and picked it up.  It was around 8:00 pm when I got back with dinner.  We both enjoyed it very much.

After we were done with dinner, Mickelle tells me that she is having Braxton Hicks again. We decide that we should do something to take her mind off of it until they go away.  I inform her that I have an audio book on my phone called The Joy of Finding Things Out.  She replies with "That sounds interesting. Let's listen to that".  So we get all setup to listen to the book while laying in bed.  The book starts talking about physics and about 10 minutes into it, she decides that she doesn't wan't to hear the noise.

At this point she is having to get comfortable for the so called "Braxton Hicks" contractions. This was around 10:00 pm.  That made me wonder if I should start paying attention to these things, just for grins.  So I start timing the contractions.  Mickelle was having to go to the bathroom about every other contraction and each time she did, another contraction would start right away.  After an hour of timing, they were kind of sporadic in both how long the took (between 0:20 and 1:15) and how close they were to each other (between 7:00 and 2:00).  I was paying attention pretty closely at this point but was waiting for the contractions to get more regular and more intense. I also kept asking Mickelle if they were getting more intense because it sure seemed like it to me. She kept saying "No, I don't think so".  I send a text message to our midwife (Rebecca Williams) letting her know of the timing of contractions and she tells me to keep her in the loop.

We then went upstairs to try the tub again and I timed the contractions for another hour. The contractions were still sporadic but on average happening more often. There were about 17 contractions in the hour, which of course averages out to clser than 1 every 4 minutes.  I then text the midwife the new timings and she writes back "Hmmm".

It is getting close to midnight at this point and I'm pretty sure that we have started labor.   The midwife's uncertain answer reinforced my idea that we were beginning labor. I tell the midwife that mickelle is still laughing at my jokes and that the tub is slowing the contractions down. I also tell her that I'm not sure what to think. She writes back with "Time will tell".  That was kind of a frustrating answer because I felt like the signs were there but there were conflicting signs as well.  And after all, the midwife wasn't even sure.

It wasn't too long after that text from the midwife that things were getting pretty intense. The contractions were coming much more often.  So I write back to the midwife letter her know.  I was trying to indicate that we are actually in labor.  I think she knew but didn't want to come and distrupt the process too early.  She writes back"Let me know when I am needed" which of course was also frustrating.  In an attempt to give her more info, I let her know that we probably aren't going to get any sleep tonight and that blood is coming out.  I don't really know when the midwife is supposed to show up so I ask her when is normal.  She writes back with "I come when you want me to.. :)".  Arrrgh!  I don't know!

At this point I am texting with my left hand and rubbing Mickelle's back with my right.  I'm trying to be supportive and say the right things as it is obviously very intense.  At one point a said a very bad thing... "Try to stay cool calm and collected".  She almose killed me at that point.  I'm getting pretty excited that this was really happening and at the same time getting ready for the long haul of labor.

It was probably about an hour later (although I'm not really sure because time was beginning to warp) that things got so intense that I decided people (Leslie and the midwife) should probably come over.  I text Leslie three times in a row to try and wake her up.  We were a week early so I'm sure whe wasn't expecting to be getting a text message in the middle of the night.  After a minute and no response I give her a call.  No answer.  I try Tom's phone with no answer.  I'm starting to get a bit nervous because things were progressing faster than I thought and I wasn't able to get a hold of Leslie.  With Cleo around, Leslie had to show up to take her to Mike and Heather's in order for the midwife to make it in the front door.

At long last, I try and call Leslie's phone again and this time she picks up.  I was so relieved.  I told her that we were in labor and that it would be great if she could come get the dog so that the midwife could come over.  Thinking that Since Leslie didn't have to travel as far, I went ahead and texted Rabecca to start heading over.

Right after that, Mickelle tells me that she thinks her water just broke.  In my head, I'm thinking "Good thing I already asked them to head over". A few contractions later and things changed completely.  Mickelle's body started pushing and her sounds changed to be more volume than I knew her body was capable of.  Of course we were in the bathroom so I'm sure there was some resonance going on.  Mickelle is starting to freak out now saying "My body is pushing and I can't stop it. I don't it is supposed to be pushing yet".  Now I'm thinking holy #@&% this baby is coming soon and nobody is here.  I guess I can "catch" the baby if needed and the midwife shouldn't be too far behind.  I immediately call Rebecca to tell her to hurry.  She answers the phone and hears Mickelle and said "Ohhhh, I'll be there as soon as I can. Just tell her to keep low tones. She is sounding great!"

I'm feeling a little bit better that the midwife is hurrying but Leslie still hasn't shown up yet.  I was thinking that 30 to 45 minutes was about right for Leslie to make her way.  I wasn't exactly correctly.  I'm not sure how long it took, but I remember thinking "really? More than 45 minutes?"

Leslie showed up and started getting Cleo ready to go. As she is headed out the door, Rebecca also showed up, causing quite the scene in the hallway.  I'm sure Leslie could go into more detail about that whole thing.  As Rebecca is making trips back and forth to her car and Leslie is leaving, Rebecca tells Leslie that "we're going to have a baby soon!".

When Rebecca make it up stairs to the bedroom, she walks in and said "your baby is going to be here in about 20 minutes".  Mickelle still didn't believe she was that far along and said "Don't say that until you check me".  Rebecca said that she needs to go get one more load from her car and then she will check.

When she gets back, Mickelle hops out of the tub and makes her way over to the bed.  Rebecca does the check and come around pointing to about 0.25 of an inch down on her finger.  "This is how far in his head is" she said.  There was a wave of excitement that washed over me and probably Mickelle.  I then drained the tub and cleaned out any particles and started to fill the tub back up.  Rebecca then asks Mickelle to do 2 contractions on the toilet to help the baby "turn the corner".  Mickelle didn't quite make it to the toilet for the first one and squatted about half way there.  "Perfect! He just turned the corner" said Rebecca.  So Mickelle did one more contraction on the toilet and then hopped into the tub one last time.

As soon as Mickelle got back into the tub, the baby started crowning and Rebecca coached Mickelle through slowing down to help prevent damage.  By the way, don't forget that Leslie still isn't back from taking Cleo.  I text Leslie and let her know that the baby is crowning hoping to get her to hurry.  Mickelle tells me that she wants Leslie to come see, which was a different stance than she had before labor.  A second later Leslie comes in the front door and I motion to her to come quick.  She makes it in time to see the baby's head half way out.

A couple more contractions and the baby slips out.  Rebecca puts him on Mickelle's chest and covers him with a towel.  He let out a couple quick cries and then quiets right down and just starts looking around.  He looked like he was in better shape than I was expecting.  I was so happy to see him.  I was also excited to see Mickelle's face and how happy she seemed.

We start the introductions to the new little guy and attempt taking pictures in the dark tub.  Rebecca tells us that it looks like Mickelle's placenta detached a little bit and that we wouldn't get the full 15 minutes of cord blood time.  After about 6 minutes she clamps the cord and lets me cut it. A few minutes later the placenta is born.  We then move over to the bed, everyone ecstactic!  Rebecca declairs "You've done it! You did all the work without me. You are part of the birthing Elite!"

The entire labor went way faster than I expected.  I guess some call it "a race car" labor.  It felt like it caught us by suprise despite our hours and hours of preperation.  We went to more hours in class than we had in labor.  In the end, everything was so amazing and went so perfectly.  Fitting for such a perfect little boy!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A peek

I am a Mom, we are parents. And it couldn't have been a more intense and perfect experience to have our first child.
The video is a glimpse into our first week together. What you don't see are the endless meals from loved ones, words of encouragement, love and understanding and just pure joy from every person we encountered that made so much of the precious time we had possible. Also you don't see Leslie, without whom Grayson's birth and the days following would have been much different. From photographer to chef to teaching us how to swaddle and bathe a new baby you were our guardian angel. Thank you forever Les. For everything.

To my mom and dad: thanks for trusting me and despite being scared to death for us to have a out of hospital birth, you were supportive and encouraging. Also thanks for being my parents--I know it hasn't always ever been easy.

To Doug's parents: thanks for raising such an amazing husband and father--without him and his undying support for me I would have(and always would) crumble.

To Rebecca-you are amazing and oh so wonderful. You have changed our lives for good and we will be forever grateful.

To Doug: There are no words. I just wish I could show you, every day, the kind of support, trust and warmth that you have shown me during this pregnancy and birth. There is no end to how much I admire, love and cherish you. Even if I could it would never be enough. I love you.

To Grayson: You are an amazing little boy--you are so very loved and I never knew just how much I could feel until now "when I picked you up and everything changed"