Friday, July 1, 2011

Birth Story

Baby K is our 6th precious gift from God. All of my other children have been born within a day or two of their due dates, so I wasn't expecting K to go 9 days overdue. I was feeling a little antsy the past few days. All of my "loose ends" were wrapped up: school finished, library books returned, freezer stocked with meals, toilets scrubbed, etc. so I was in a limbo land where I hated to start any new projects, but I really needed something to occupy my time. I kept busy running useless errands, restocking our fruit supply (M can eat a box of 20 oranges in about 2 days with only a little help from her siblings), baking pies, and going to frequent check-ups.

One of J's colleagues was flying his final flight in Hawaii late Tuesday, so J was going out to the plane after it landed to hose the pilot down according to AF tradition. The kids would all be in bed, so he asked me if I wanted to come along. We just pulled in the gate around 9:30 when I felt the familiar whoosh.

"Aaaah! Aaaah! My water broke! My water broke!" I exclaimed. J chuckled as though I were making some sort of joke but then realized I was serious as the fluid kept flowing and I kept squawking. When reality sunk in, he pulled an immediate U-turn and took us back out the gate and headed towards home.

I had actually been contracting all week. Every day the contractions got a little stronger. Every day I thought that THIS day would be THE day. But THIS day my contractions were still only 10 minutes apart even after my water broke, so there was nothing to rush to the hospital for. We called in our dear, gracious friend who had agreed to come stay with our 5 other children, and J was super anxious to get out the door.

"Relax! We have plenty of time!" I said as I collected my hospital bag. I had this vision of laboring in my chair by myself at home in the dark for as long as possible, but J was adamant that we needed to get to the hospital as soon as possible, so we left. It turned out to be a good thing that we arrived when we did. When my water broke, K descended on her umbilical cord, compressing it with her head, causing her vital signs to drop. The nurses immediately put me on oxygen and rolled me around until they found a position that freed up the umbilical cord-flat on the bed with a pillow under my right hip. My contractions were still pretty far apart, but since it was best for baby K to be delivered as soon as possible our midwife augmented my labor with pitocin.

Ok, so this labor wasn't going like I had planned! Not only did I not get to labor at home, but I was hooked up to an IV and laying flat in bed! Those requests I made for a birth ball and a jacuzzi upon arrival just were not going to happen. Now, those of you who know me know that I'm an all natural home-birthing type of mama, but around 3:00 and 5 cm, I betrayed the natural childbirth movement and asked for an epidural. Thirty minutes later, the nurse anesthetist arrived. Thirty minutes after that, I couldn't feel a thing, which was good because not only were the contractions painful, but my left hip was killing me from the pressure of laying on it for so long. J and I both had naps. At 7:00 our midwife did a quick exam and found our baby ready to make her entrance.

"I need to get help, but if I leave I'm afraid she'll come right out!" So J stood guard, promising to catch the baby before she hit the floor while our midwife exited the room and returned 10 seconds later with about 10 strange faces. The nurses and I chit-chatted about homebirthing and homeschooling while K was born. I didn't even realize I had delivered her because I COULDN'T ACTUALLY FEEL ANYTHING, which was a little disturbing.

"Wow," said J, "Usually you're screaming at this point." Thanks, J, for revealing to the whole delivery room staff that I'm a screamer when I push, though I prefer to think of it as athletic grunting. Labor is an endurance event, after all. But now that I've experienced birth the painless way, I'm having a hard time remembering what was so great about natural childbirth anyway. I was so rested and relaxed when K was born, when usually I feel exhausted and ready to vomit and pass out.

Despite the concerning circumstances surrounding her birth, Baby K arrived into the outside world unscathed, with fabulous Apgar scores of 9 and 9, weighing 7 lbs. 10 oz. and was 20.5 in. long. We are already crazy in love with our newest addition and look forward to filling up all the cuddling we can in the days to come.