Monday, June 18, 2012

Jackson Dean, a birth story

Tuesday June 12th we had an appointment with the midwife.  Our 41 week appointment.  In my mind I didn’t imagine us going to our 41 week appointment… at least not still pregnant.  While visiting with our midwives we talked about having my membranes stripped… (This may be a good point to insert a cautionary warning: this is a birth story, I’ll be discrete, but I’m going to be honest, if you are squeamish or unsure about what birth in tales, you may like to just scroll through to the pictures)
So, we decided that we would go ahead and have my membranes stripped and see if that would give things a bit of a kick start. We left the midwife, ran a few errands in town and then headed back home. Soon after leaving the midwife I began having some crampy contractions, nothing intense, but much more noticeable and uncomfortable than the contractions I had been experiencing the entire week before.
Back home I kept myself occupied and tried to keep my mind off the contractions I was already having by  making dinner and  cleaning up around the house.  In my mind I knew that these contractions were different, these ones were just the beginning but distraction is what I needed so we decided to go for a walk. It was a beautiful comfortable evening, just getting ready to storm. 
I relaxed in the bathtub before going to bed around midnight. Sleep was hard to come by as I was becoming more and more uncomfortable.  By 2 that morning I was completely awake, and starting to admit that this was real. I spent some time back in the bath trying to rest and not wanting to think about the reality of gearing up for this birth on less than 2 hours of sleep. We got in touch with our midwife and decided that we would start getting ready to head to the birth center. One of my biggest fears throughout the pregnancy was making the car ride into the birth center while in labor. My biggest coping method was movement and finding a comfortable position during each contraction – in the car that was impossible. We left the house that morning at 4:11. We were at the birth center at 4:34. I remember in the car ride reminding Jeremy at the beginning to just drive and not worry about me through the contractions – closer to the end of the ride I remember telling him to drive faster and just get there! There were lots of red lights… but I do not recall the car ever coming to a stop.
Once at the birth center I was able to move around through several contractions and then get into the tub.  Water was the biggest asset through the entire labor. I spent quite a bit of time in the tub, resting my head on a bath pillow in between contractions, then I made my way to the shower where I squatted on an exercise ball and used the hot water to relax throughout the now very painful and intense contractions.
Time was a lost concept throughout the entire morning. The last hours seemed an eternity. Our midwife checked to see my progress, which I was reluctant to have done because of my fear of lack of progress. (With Rylee I was in labor from 3am – 7pm before my water broke, and at 8pm I was dilated to ‘not quite a 2’.) Our midwife did an internal exam and said that I was at a 7! Such a good number to here! … But my water had still not been broken. The midwife waited for a contraction then broke my water so that the baby’s head would be able to descend down and get on with it!
I made my way back to the shower where I spent several more contractions on the exercise ball working to get the baby to descend farther down. Before moving back to the tub the midwife checked once more to see my progress, I was fully dilated, but my water had not been fully broken.  So the baby was not able to get through the bag of waters to start making his way out.
I got back into the tub and began pushing before having any urge to, just to encourage his head to push through the bag of waters, and so the real pushing could start.  Contractions continued to become stronger, more intense, and harder to work through. I was exhausted and had already emptied what few contents remained in my stomach, so I labored on nothing but the encouragement and support of Jeremy and amazing midwives.
Out of the tub again and pushing, my water finally actually broke. From that point it got very serious. And as I have been told, I got very (very) loud.
As my confidence, patience, and pain tolerance started to go downhill I remember being told over and over again, “You just have to get mad, and push him out.” With that encouragement, and a cup of ice coke I was somehow able to find enough strength to push through the pain, and deliver our sweet baby Jackson. He was immediately placed on me and I was overcome with emotion. Joy, relief, excitement, pride, love... I actually did it, I was holding my baby.
Jackson Dean was born at 8:08 that morning; he weighed 8 lbs. and 9 oz. and was 20.5 inches long. We spent the rest of the morning cuddling our sweet new baby boy.  I was exhausted but elated and feeling better than even after some of my races in the past. We all cleaned up and were then on our way home before noon.  We stopped off by sonic and grabbed a treat for the awaiting big sister at home and were on our way.
Rylee has embraced her little brother and fallen in love. She is the biggest little helper and loves to be of assistance in whatever way she can…especially in the fashion department.
Our entire pregnancy and birth experience was a dream.  I am so thankful for the amazing experience that we had.  I can’t imagine now having gone through this anywhere but with our midwives at the birth center.

Going from a family of 3 to a family of 4 has been such a blessing. We are all falling in love all over again. God is so good.

until next time,
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