Friday, September 25, 2015

Dieter's birth story

Dieter Allen Alvey was born on June 17th at 6:17pm. He was caught by a student midwife & was surrounded by people who were so happy to see him- most especially Jed and I. Here is the story of his arrival:

His due date came and went, as they do, and I was still in pretty good spirits. It wasn't until 41 weeks that I really started to question how much longer my body would manage. Just about everywhere was achy; at least going to the chiropractor was still helping.

Being overdue, I had begun the non-stress tests and ultrasounds to check baby. Thankfully, with each of those tests, everything looked fine. (Not that I honestly believed them anyway.) At my last prenatal appt- 41 wks, 5 days, I thought for sure the midwives would schedule an induction for 42 weeks. Actually, because baby and I were doing fine, they decided there wasn't a medical reason to be induced (That's midwives for ya {at least the good ones!} Just trying to base practice on actual evidence, not just generally understood norms.)

ANYWAYS, I chose to have my water broken on Wednesday (exactly 42 weeks). I knew (physically and emotionally) I couldn't handle being pregnant for much longer, and I really had tried just about everything in order to start labor naturally. So, the morning of our induction, I hobbled in to the chiropractor and came out WAY more comfortable and ready to bring our baby in to the world. Then we headed to the hospital.

At 10:30am, I started with a round of penicillin after testing positive for Group B strep, and just hung out with Jed, our doula, Jill, and the nurse, while it was administered. I sat in the chair next to the bed and was feeling pretty good.

At 12:00, Ellen (my favorite midwife!) and her student, Annalise came in, and Annalise broke my water. I thought it would be painful, but it just felt... wet. The fluid was clear (yay!) and we were left to hang out. (Jill needed to leave for awhile, but she came back around 2pm). I had decided that I wanted to be an "active" laborer, to keep contractions coming so I could avoid any other medical interference. I paced the room, I did some squats, I think I skipped at one point (haha), just anything to keep my body moving. When Jill got back, she kept encouraging me to walk, I used the birthing ball to sit/lean over Jed, and did some more squats. At this point, the contractions were regular, but not painful. I did my Hypnobirthing breathing, and would close my eyes, focus on my breath and my baby, and then the contraction would pass. They felt like they were pretty quick, about a minute each. Jill also offered lower back counter pressure which felt GREAT! and really helped because my back was already so sore.

At about 4:00, I decided to get in the water. My goal was to stay out of the water as long as possible because it seems to slow my labors down, but at this point I was ready for some warm water. The jacuzzi tub on the floor was occupied, so I had to use the small tub (smaller/more awkwardly shaped than a normal tub) that was in our room. I tried showering which wasn't helping me to manage the contractions (the water pressure was SUPER hard) and I was ready to lay down. I laid in the tub and Jed poured warm water over me. Jill left us alone and would check on us periodically and always reminded me to drink water (thank Heavens- I was so thirsty!) I completely lost track of time and was totally in the ZONE. Things were definitely getting more intense, and I was anxious to know if I was dilating.

At about 5:30, I was definitely starting to feel lots more pressure. Up until the point I had remained pretty quiet and focussed during each contraction, and though I was still able to focus, I started to make noise with each one. (That's my style!) Jill came in, and knowing that we were getting pretty close, suggested we get to the bed. Once she left, I whispered to Jed that if we got in bed, and I was only barely dilated, I wanted an epidural. I was getting near my limit, and I was just so darn exhausted.

At about 5:45pm, the nurse came in, watched (and listened!) through one contraction, and realized we were getting pretty close to the end. The bed was in an slightly less-than-upright position, and I was kneeling over a peanut ball (same material as an exercise ball, just shaped like a peanut). I was basically rolling the peanut ball up and down the slanted part of the bed, doing a semi-squat and a kneeling position. I had planned on doing a hands and knees birth, and this really was the most comfortable position at the time.

At 5:50, Ellen and Annalise came in and started preparing for the birth (I wasn't aware of this, as I was on my hands and knees, facing the wall.) I REALLY wanted to get checked, even though Ellen said that I didn't need to. I told Jed that I didn't want everybody just waiting around if it wasn't really time, and he said, "Stop being so considerate!" haha.

I knew that I needed to know how far along I was, so I turned around on to my back, and (being surprised by all the STUFF) said, "Oh! This is the real deal!" Annalise was in her gown, there were carts with instruments on them, several more nurses etc. Annalise checked me, and I was 8cm, she stretched me to a 9, and Ellen suggested I do a few contractions on my side. (I HATE these! I needed to do these "stretching" type contractions with Mason because there was a lip that wasn't dilating, and I knew these would be the worst). I didn't yank on the bed rails quite as badly this time, but I was definitely making lots of noise and visibly uncomfortable.

At 6:00pm, I was back up to my hands and knees and starting to loose it. During one contraction, Jill said that I nearly tried climbing off the back of the bed (like that was going to really let me escape!) and she had Jed get in my face and talk to me. She told me to do "horsey lips" and blow wildly in between the contractions and to look Jed in the eyes. It really helped! I came back down to earth, and was refocused to the task at hand. I knew we were getting close and I was getting pretty anxious for our baby to be here. I screamed through the next contraction or two (once again, that's my style!) and his head was born. (I asked Jed if his head was born- I was pretty sure that it was, but I needed to KNOW. He said, "Yes, it is! It is! He's almost here! You're doing great!")

Then everybody started telling me to push, and I looked up at Jed and said, "But I don't feel a contraction," and he either said something or just looked me in the eye and I KNEW that I needed to push right then. So, I screamed and pushed harder than I ever had before, and at 6:17pm, Dieter was born. (Sure enough, Annalise was struggling to get him past my pubic bone, and the cord was wrapped around his head. His body was completely purple. Thankfully, he pinked up right away and was just fine.)

As soon as he was born, they passed him up to me, I turned around to lay down, and got to hold my precious heaven sent angel for the first time. He was here!!!!

 I could just feel the excitement in the room & was so proud of him (and myself!) for getting him here safely. Those first few moments of life, Heaven is so, so near, and are moments I will never forget. I honestly think the room was filled with angels- helping me and helping him, whispering words of encouragement to us both.

Unfortunately, with as perfect and wonderful as the delivery was, I ended up loosing a bit too much blood afterwards, and spent the next few days feeling very out of sorts. There were times that I felt just fine- better than fine even- and then times that I felt very, very ill. Thankfully, we were surrounded by people that helped us through it all.

My mom was in town and coordinated with our friend to stay with the older two boys so she could come. I wasn't feeling up to much company, but she came and held Dieter while Jed helped me. Having her there was really comforting. I guess no matter what, Moms will still be Moms, and will always be needed.

The next morning, Parker and Mason got to meet their new brother, and our family was together again. This was the first pregnancy that Parker really was apart of (Mason was too) and it was fun to see what the excitement after the 9 (basically 10!) months of waiting was for. We love you, baby Dieter. Always and forever.

(Notes: I later learned that this was Annalise's first hands and knees delivery. I bet with all the screaming and craziness I totally freaked her out, but she was very confident and caring in all she did. Ellen will forever be my favorite midwife- but honestly, the team of Carle midwives are some of the finest medical professionals I have ever worked with. They genuinely love what they do and it clearly shows it their work. I'm not sure I have the words to express just how much Jill did for me. She gave me the confidence to choose the type of birth that I wanted. She gave me options, educated me, and lovingly supported me through everything. She listened to my concerns and made sure my wishes were known and understood. She empowered Jed to be the real doula, and made him feel 100% comfortable and confident in what was happening. I really can not say enough good things about Jill or doulas in general. I was a bit skeptical at first, but several close friends were willing to open up about their experiences and I am just so grateful that I met Jill, became friends with her, and became comfortable enough to share this most special experience together. She will forever hold a special place in our family. For more info on Jill, visit her page.)