Wednesday, August 11, 2010

At least *this* one wasn't born in the car!

{Daddy playing "boop! I got your nose!" with Miss Josie}

*the truncated version and stats*

We welcomed Miss Mary Josephine - "Josie" - on Saturday, August 7th, in a rather uneventful and boring manner compared to her brother, Drew, who was born in our car. I woke up to consistent and relatively uncomfortable contractions just after 1 a.m. Saturday morning. Not wanting to chance a repeat car delivery, we called the birthing center and headed in. Sadly, the contractions did not progress in scale and ultimately dissipated shortly after we arrived. Since we were scheduled to be 'induced' later that same morning, we stayed put and when Roswitha arrived at 8 a.m., we proceeded with the original plan. Josie was born at 12:40 p.m. and weighed 7lbs. 1oz. and was 19 1/4 inches long, the exact same stats as big sister, Paige. Due to a quick recovery were able to be home with the kiddos just after dinner time Saturday evening. All in all, it was textbook minus the false ctx earlier that morning. We are all thrilled to have our newest baby girl in our arms and the kids are absolutely enamored with her.

*documentary length version*

As I sit here, thinking of how best to document the labor and delivery of our sweet Miss Mary Josephine, the words that come to mind are 'boring' and 'uneventful'; at least when compared to the birth of our Andrew William, who was born in the parking lot of our local library, just literal minutes from the birthing center. If you have not read that story, click HERE to read the details.
{Roswitha and Josie}
As you can imagine, many many scenarios and plans were put into place in anticipation of avoiding another car birth. Some may read this and think 'gee, with #5, you'd think she'd have a better idea of when she goes into labor to avoid that kind of drama' - and the hilarity of it all is that I would be in complete agreement with your thinking.
{getting her footsie prints}
The trouble with this analysis from the outside is that there are several variables to consider, the first of which is that my first three pregnancies were induced at the hospital {read: a controlled environment, no guesswork, no muss, no fuss labors}. The second is that I had been induced with the first three prior to my EDD {estimated due date} for a variety of reasons. With my first, the doctor {I strongly believe wrongly} felt that my 5lb. 14oz. baby would be too big for me to delivery naturally if I went to my EDD, so rather than let me go to my May 4 due date, I delivered on April 25, or nine days early. With #2, I was induced again, this time due to complications from pre-eclampsia at 37.5 weeks. With #3, I was induced early because I had physically, mentally and emotionally hit a brick wall due to moving from our apartment to our new home just weeks before my due date. At 39 weeks, my doctor agreed to inducing - good thing b/c I was already at 6cm!
{adjusting her little strawberry hat}
Then there was the delivery story of #4 - and the problem of not having gone into labor on my own prior to. Talk about a disadvantage of EPIC proportions!! He was born nine days early, or 38 weeks, 5 days - on his own timeline, no induction!
{her first bath}
The car birth set up the scenario for this boring and uneventful labor and delivery. Why? Well, the final variable in all the births prior to this past Saturday is that each labor has gotten progressively shorter and shorter. The proper terminology for quick labors is "precipitous labor". A precipitous labor is any labor that is shorter than three hours of active labor.
{all dolled up in her 'go home' outfit}
#1 - 3.5 hours
#2 - 3 hours
#3 - 1.5 hours
#4 - less than one hour
#5 - ??
{at home relaxing and thinking how kissable those lips are!} can see the concern, no? You could describe my labor as a ticking time bomb, waiting to explode at the most inopportune time. The best offense was going to be a good defensive plan to do our best to diffuse that birth bomb. I thought out several scenarios that I discussed with my midwives. I had a week 37 plan - just in case - we bought chux pads in preparation of the very real possibility of having to deliver at home. I spent a considerable amount of time asking friends and family to send up some prayers for all of us, but mostly for my own mind because the stress was taking its toll.
{no longer thinking about how kissable those lips are :)}
Our D-Day ended up being August 7, or week 38. Based on previous pregnancies and sitting at 5-6cm around the same time before, we felt this was as far as I could go without falling into a risk category of repeating the same scenario as before. It would also depend on physical signs cooperating. No checking for dilation or effacement prior to week 37, lest we "stir something up" unnecessarily. It was more important to let baby girl grow as much as possible.
{advertising for P90X - graduates may experience new children welcomed into the family}
Labor must be psychosomatic to some extent for me. Neil's last day at work was Friday. All I could think about was getting a final French pedi and mentally preparing myself for the next day.
{wrinkly toes and flower-dy bahookie}
It was all set to go at 10 a.m. Saturday morning...that is until my body decided to freak me out by giving me relatively consistent contractions that played with my mind at the wee hour of one in the morning. I went into labor with Drew just after 1:30 a.m. as well and I believe, to some extent, my body may have listened to my brain just a little bit too much as it went into ridiculous scenarios of 'what if' and 'what would we do if...'.
{Jonathan, proud big brother}
With contractions every three or four minutes apart and lasting up to a full minute, we decided it was a judgment call we had to make and not waste any time calling the birthing center. And wouldn't you know it, my body, like the perpetual noise in a car that immediately stops when you take it into the shop, did the *exact* same thing??? We get there and the contractions had subsided and eventually stopped altogether.
{Ashley, proud big sister}
The game plan changed from arriving at 10 a.m. to Roswitha arriving at 8 a.m. instead. She insisted we go for a walk to spur on another round of contractions and then she would check to see if baby was 'floaty' or not so she could break my water. At 8:40 a.m., she broke my water. I fully expected the next step was to get in the tub and have enough time to fill it up and push the baby out five minutes later. I mean, past labors had dictated the same thing so why wouldn't I expect it?? The problem was, I would learn later, that *no* labor is ever the same, regardless of how many children you've had.


I sat there for the next 3.5 hours twiddling my thumbs, rocking in the rocking chair, standing, walking, sitting on the bouncy ball, laying down on the bed. *NOTHING* was consistent. A mild contraction here and there, at most they were 10 minutes apart, but were not progressing. Apparently breaking my water wasn't the catalyst I had envisioned.
{Paige, little big sister}
Just before 12 noon, Roswitha broke out the homeopathic remedies. The first, she said, would cause the contractions to be more consistent. As a personal rejector of Pitocin, the idea of taking something all natural seemed to be a great alternative. Within a half hour, I could tell they were more consistent, although they were still nothing to write home about. She came back a little while later and offered a second remedy that would increase the intensity of the contractions. Shortly after I took that one, the contractions were finally catching up with my mental desire. Just after that second remedy and before the contractions had kicked up a notch, Roswitha offered me an herbal tea that would have the effects of pitocin minus the need to shoot the baby out like a cannon ball. She left it with me as I decided to use the bathroom first before drinking it. In the back of my mind, I felt like I didn't need the tea. Something told me the two treatments were enough. I drank the tea anyway, not seeing the harm in case I was off in my own personal assessment, but within a minute or two of drinking the tea, I told Neil to buzz for Roswitha.
{He has *that* look like "I have *NO* idea why she's crying!"}
{"look Ma, no hands!"}

Something had definitely changed. The contractions were coming much more intensely and closer together.

{reenacting the womb - envision her as purply blue, wet, naked, and upside down ;)}

We had talked about getting in the tub once the contractions were close together and I was ready to deliver. Roswitha checked me at 12:30, said I was at 7cm and I once again asked {begged, pleaded, etc.} to get into the tub. She said now was the time, goes straight over to the tub and turns it on. The water pressure is so great that it shouldn't take long to fill up.

However, the race has begun. I told Roswitha if she saw me crying, that was my cue that delivery was not only on the horizon, but will be swift from that point on.

Let's just suffice it to say from that point on, I waited on the bed for the tub to fill up and suddenly the pain was so incredible, the thought of getting off the bed sounded HORRIBLE. I couldn't speak the pain went from 0-6000mph so quickly, it was like running for a 5K you didn't train for and you were forced to run top speed the entire time. Neil helped me get to the tub - I step in and the water is too hot to be comfortable, so I breathlessly mention that and Roswitha turns the water to cold.

But it's too late to wait any longer. I plop down in the water and my body completely takes over. Roswitha only has time to put one glove on. From checking me at 12:30 to baby born is 10 minutes. Miss Mary Josephine is born at 12:40 p.m.

She is a gorgeous purply blue color, covered in vernix. I wish I could say I enjoyed it, but the drama/trauma of how quick I went with Josie was the same as how quick I went with Drew. I remember Roswitha saying her head was out and to look, but my mind was quite literally not present. The pain overpowered everything and I just wanted her out.

In talking to Roswith after the birth of Miss Josie pie, I asked her how long my labor was. I won't argue with my German schooled midwife when she says it was a 30 minute active labor. Everything prior to any consistent contractions were not considered part of what she called "active" labor. Once my body got on the same page as everyone else, it got down to business fast and furious, almost to make up for the hours it was lolly gagging around.

The owner of the birthing center happened to be present too. I heard her tell Neil that she really didn't "get" how I could go so quickly and then said "I get it now" and then asked him some details about his delivering Andrew. She got me some powerade to drink and I remember her asking me questions, but I was *so* out of breath I could not think clearly or answer in complete thoughts. My head was swirling with how rapidly everything had happened.

And so, that's what a controlled, unmedicated labor and delivery look for this chica. Minus the use of drugs {which I would *totally* take over that kind of wicked bad pain}, I was textbook everything else, including healing, three fingers below the navel to the top of the fundis within an hour of delivery, and we were able to come home just after dinner time.