Cowboy

Friday, July 10, 2015

Little Brother's Birth Story

Barrett's birth story begins months before his actual birth. Early in my pregnancy Ben and I had attended a Meet the Doula event in our area. I knew I at least wanted a good Doula this time around who wouldn't be afraid to speak up and help Ben advocate for what we want during the labor and delivery of our third child. Being our second VBAC, we had a little more leeway with hospital staff, but not much more. 

Throughout my pregnancy, I just felt like I was walking down a path that I didn't belong. I felt like something just wasn't right... but I couldn't quite pinpoint why I felt that way.

In February we attended a Meet the Midwives event night. I hadn't completely convinced Ben that a home birth was our way to go, but he was well on his way to seeing things my way. After this night, he was more on board and gave me "permission" to start interviewing midwives. 

Well, I wasn't seeing God's plan clearly and I procrastinated on setting up interviews...

Fast forward to my 30 week OB appointment and it was another anti-climatic appointment. The best part was seeing my OB and the nurses in the office, but something still felt off. I felt as if I wasn't where I belonged but I couldn't quite figure out why I felt so nonchalant about this whole journey. Shouldn't I be excited that we're welcoming our third child? Shouldn't the appointments excite me like they did with our first two children? Why did I feel like I was walking down a dead end road?

Going over our appointment timeline with my OB and we came to the 36 week appointment for our Group B Strep. As soon as my OB said he would do a cervical check, I promptly declined, politely. That's when the OB that I've had for over 5 years shocked me with saying most VBAC clients need "manual manipulation of the cervix just to go into labor."

Hold the phone! Say whaaa? Since when? This wasn't the OB that I had grown to love and respect who practiced more evidence-based birth.

Color me cornfuzed...

Shocked at what I was hearing, I disagreed and explained that at 38 weeks and 3 days pregnant with my daughter and our first VBAC baby, I was 0cm dilated and 0% effaced and promptly sent on my way with a "you won't go into labor before your due date." But, I did. I went into labor 4 days later and though I had a long labor, I had an epidural-free VBAC with zero interventions whatsoever. Read Bailey's Birth Story here

That's when I heard "well, you were lucky then. It doesn't usually go that beautifully for VBAC's."

Now, before anyone tears my OB apart, you have to know that he has redeemed himself since that appointment, I have mad respect for him and I am still a client of his for yearly check-up's and dual-care when Baby #4 comes along.

I left this appointment in tears and promptly messaged my Doula who didn't fail with her famous line of "it's not too late for a homebirth." That's when it hit me... That is God's plan. That is the path we are meant to take for the birth of this baby and it was my "last straw" to get my butt in gear to interview midwives. Lots of tears, a long conversation with Ben and a couple of phone calls later...

We interviewed Hannah Simmons and right off the bat we knew she was "the one!" A few days later we hired her! 

At my 32 week OB appointment I had a very respectful, inspiring and empowering conversation with the OB who has seen me for 5 years, delivered two of my beautiful children and helped me both physically and emotionally through a miscarriage. I "broke up" with my OB. 

That day I left the office in tears once again, but happy tears. Tears of feeling supported. Tears of empowerment. Tears of pride that I had the strength to face my OB with great fear to "break up" with him in person and explain my reasoning for staying away from the hospital this time around in order to achieve our dream birth. Our home water birth. Peaceful, gentle, empowering and inspiring birth. My OB was so supportive of our decision to home birth... Though he made it clear he doesn't recommend them, he supports a woman's right to do as she sees fit and since there is not one single "no risk" option when it comes to birthing a baby, he supports my well-informed decision. It was seriously such an empowering day all the way around.

And this, is where Barrett's Birth Story really begins.







On April 29, 2015 I woke up like every other school morning to get Bentley ready for school. At 730am I went to get up out of the recliner in order to go wait for the bus on the porch with Bentley... that's when I had my very first contraction. At the time I just figured it was another Braxton Hick and nothing close to the "real deal."

I got Bentley off to school and immediately went into crazy nesting mode. The contractions continued but they were very irregular and very mild. Some felt like small cramps, others felt like nothing more than Braxton Hicks and some were full on intense contractions. I had spent all day Tuesday walking with the kids so I knew I didn't have the energy to go anywhere that day, so I spent the day doing all the housework that I could think of. 

Around 930am I went ahead and alerted my photographer and my Doula to let them know about what I had been feeling but assured them that they would like fizzle out and it was a direct result from all the walking I did the day before, so I thought for sure it was false labor, if it was labor at all. At 1230pm I went ahead and alerted my midwife as well. 

I continued on with all my housework and then went to my Chiro appointment as scheduled with hopes that it would kick start my labor into gear if this was truly the real thing. Not much happened afterwards though... I left the Chiro's office with a bunch of "good luck's!" and back home Bailey and I went. 

About 415pm I felt the weirdest squirm from Baby Buck... something I had never felt a day in any of my three pregnancies. Buck squirmed and then I felt baby drop down considerably. After the baby did this, I could feel all the head movements and it felt like my pelvic floor muscles were actually bulging in the shape of the baby's head. Weirdest. Feeling. EVER! Shortly after all that happened, Hub's called on his way home from work.

CUE: Meltdown #1

This labor was shaping up to be long and intense just like Bailey's and I wasn't sure I could do it again... Being in labor for 37 hours with her was the most intense thing I had ever done and I didn't mentally prepare for it this time around. I had done a ton of preparing both physically and mentally... but I wasn't so sure I had done enough to make it through another 37 hour labor at home. So I cried... and I cried. Then I took a deep breath as I heard "it's OK honey, we will make it through this!" The voice of reason re-centered and refocused me. What a blessing that husband of mine is!

After getting off the phone with my dear husband I continued about my day of preparing dinner and getting things around for our Midwife visit. 

The Midwife visit was emotional, but hell, everything was emotional at this stage of pregnancy... This was the longest I had ever been pregnant so it was all new territory for me. During the palpation portion of our Midwife visit, they found my uterus to be really stiff and it made it difficult to figure out Baby Buck's exact positioning but they determined he was low, just not super low, and he was flexed in an anterior position. So all great news! My pubic bone was found to be super mushy which is apparently a great sign of impending labor. Since they had a very difficult time finding the baby's heartbeat with the fetoscope, we were all able to hear Baby Buck's heartbeat over the doppler together and for the very last time before he came Earthside! I did give in after a pretty extensive chat with our Midwives and let her check me. I was found to be 1-2cm and 60% effaced. I was happy with this! I had declined any cervical checks because I wanted to save the disappointment of hearing that I was not dilated or effaced at all, so to hear my body was doing *something* was great. I was recommended to take a peaceful Epsom Salt bath with Lavender oil to help ease the contractions if they were false labor and to rest for the night. After the Midwives left, we put the kids to bed and settled in for a quiet evening. 

(The kids enjoying our last Midwife visit. Listening to Baby Buck's heartbeat, for the last time in utero, as a family!)

After the kids were off to bed, I sat on my birth ball while Ben watched his nightly TV shows. I mentioned I was ready for bed around 830pm. I continued on my birth ball and sipping water until he was finally ready about an hour later. Once in bed I listened to my Hypnobabies 'Come Out Baby' and drifted in and out of sleep. Every so often I had a pretty intense contraction. Since I quit timing them since we had gone to bed, I had no idea how far apart they were. Despite my exhaustion, some of the contractions had me up on my hands and knees during them, so around 11pm I recorded what I was feeling and by 11:16pm I was in the bathtub with Epsom salts and Lavender just like the Midwives had suggested. 

I drew a nice warm bath, lit a candle and turned out all the lights. I turned on my Pandora "Spa Music" station for the finished ambiance just like I had practiced throughout my pregnancy. This was the magic combination. 


I labored in several different positions from laying on my sides, to my back and up on my knees draped over the side of the tub. I had been in contact with my Doula the entire time and mentioned to her that they felt like they were 10 minutes apart, so I finally timed them... Little did I know, they were actually 3-5 minutes apart and 90 seconds long. This was the most regular labor I had ever experienced! 

My Doula mentioned she was going to lay down since it was looking to be baby time and that's when the Hub's came downstairs. By this time it was around 1230 in the morning and things were really becoming intense and instead of waiting, I asked my Doula to come as soon as she could. 

Our Birth Team began arriving around 130am and it was a welcome relief. As soon as our Doula walked into the bathroom there was an instant calm that overcame me. An instant peace and harmony. I felt safe, I felt supported and I felt surrounded by love. 

I decided to try getting out of the tub for awhile around 2am. This was the first time I saw my birth space completely set up and it put tears in my eyes. It finally hit me, this was real. This was actually happening. This baby is coming. Each contraction would bring me closer to my baby. 

I bounced on the birth ball, stood, walked, swayed, moaned. Whatever I had to do to make it through each contraction. 




Just beautiful. I was in complete awe and disbelief that this was truly happening! The birth that I have dreamt about for years was finally happening. 

Around 230am I had mentioned to my Doula that it seemed as if my contractions were spacing out and less intense. I felt as if I couldn't release my pelvic floor being on "dry land" while sitting on the birth ball. I just didn't feel like I was opening up as much so I started walking around the house since it was too cold to go outside and it was 3 in the morning. 

After a bit, I decided I would get back into the bathtub where it was warm, comforting and where I could open up my pelvis again. I used the bathroom before warming my tub back up and decided to see if I could feel any cervical change. At this point I hadn't noticed any bloody show or any mucus plug at all... I lost my mucus plug in the earliest of early labor with my first two, so I thought for sure I would notice it this time around, as well... So I checked. Though I couldn't tell if I had dilated anymore, there was a significant cervical change but still no signs of bloody show or mucus plug. I had a really weird thought at this point that it wouldn't be long before my water broke. Things just started feeling different...

Shrugging it off since a contraction was about to hit, I got back into the tub and continued to labor.

About 4am I had quite a big contraction while I was on my knees draped over the side of the bathtub. This was by far my favorite position. After the contraction let off I felt Buck squirm and then I felt that all familiar POP! and the warm gush of fluid. I announced my water had just broken and instantly my Doula grabbed her flashlight to make sure the fluid was clear. 



As soon as the next contraction hit, it was awful. The contractions harbored a ton more pressure, I could feel every tiny movement that Buck was making and it was excruciating; to the point that I begged Buck to just be still. I remember saying "I can't do this. This hurts too much. I can't do this."

CUE: Meltdown #2



After that contraction I knew I needed to refocus myself and find my peace and calming or I would completely lose all control. I don't know how I managed it, but it was like a tiny me inside my head told me to focus, find my center and breathe. The voice told me that I could do this, that I can't give up... The moment you think about giving up, remember why you held on for so long. It was like myself giving myself a pep talk... So weird but yet, so needed.

 I told my Doula that the Midwife needed a call immediately and the birth tub needed filling... This baby wasn't going to wait much longer. I was already feeling mildly "pushy" and could feel Buck moving down. 


Once I centered myself again, things went pretty smoothly. I continued to labor while the hustle outside the bathroom prepared the birth tub quickly and the Midwife was contacted. 

After a contraction, my Doula kindly chuckled and let me know about the conundrum that happened in our play room while they were filling the birth tub. Apparently pocket hoses cannot withstand hot water! As they were filling the birth tub with hot water, the hose melted and busted all over our carpet! 



I guess no birth goes without a hitch! At least it was minor and they were able to get the birth tub filled with pots and pans of hot water warmed by the stove and the cold water hose to cool it down!

Meanwhile, as they were filling the tub I continued to labor peacefully. In between each contraction I melted into the bathtub the best that I could and thanked God each time the contraction let off because it was such a welcomed relief. I low moaned through each contraction while swaying my legs and pushing my hips against the tub wall to create pressure, in the now-cooling water. The warmth had decreased so much that the comfort level had diminished greatly. My Doula poured water over my exposed body as I trembled in between contractions. But, it just wasn't helping anymore. At this point I was praying that the birth tub would be ready quickly because baby wasn't far away. I knew I was in transition at this point.


Finally! Those sweet words "your birth tub is ready" came out of my Doula's mouth. The sweetest words. But... the contractions were keeping me down. I was terrified to move. I was sure this baby was going to be born right there, in the bathtub. But, a strength overcame me and there was that voice again... "you will be so disappointed in yourself if you don't get there. That birthing space that you created, you need to get there." So I found the strength, nodded to my Doula and was helped quickly into our birthing space to have this beautiful baby that we had anticipated for 9 months. 


It didn't take long for my body to start pushing. Once I hit that comforting warm water, my body melted into it. I instantly relaxed and felt the amazing pain relief that warm water has on a body. It felt heavenly. Like nothing I can describe. But that relaxation made the natural push reflex kick in ten-fold. I got into the tub around 445am and within minutes I told our Doula that "I need to push." Our Doula reassured me that if I needed to push, I should go ahead and listen to my body and push. So I pushed. 


It was then that a voice inside me said "reach down and feel your baby's head!" So I did! A small sliver of his head was emerging. I was amazed at my strength to be so competent during this birth. My competency to give myself "pep talks", to tell myself to reach below and feel our baby's head crowning, to remind myself to push slowly to allow myself to stretch to prevent tearing. Simply amazing are our bodies and minds!



By this point my pushing was becoming very productive and our midwives were just arriving. I was circling his head with my finger to help myself stretch. Each push brought him down further but with the release of each contraction Buck would squirm and it would cause him to "disappear", so in between contractions I had to push gently to keep baby from going back up. 

With the next push urge I pushed baby down until about eyebrow level while I kept my hand right on his head, cupping it. I felt an overwhelming joy amongst the stinging pain. I knew he would be here so soon! As the urge to push subsided, I kept tracing my finger around his head and felt for hair, which there wasn't a lot and gently pushed just to keep Buck from squirming back up! 

As our Midwives were gathering their supplies in a rush, I felt a huge urge to push and couldn't push slowly anymore. I pushed with all my might and that's when baby's head popped out! 


I quietly announced, "baby's head is out" and the way my Doula said "oh, it is!" is something I'll never forget!

That's when our Midwives rushed to my side as I pushed baby's shoulders out gently, scooped my hands underneath his arms and pulled him the rest of the way out and up onto my chest as I laid back into the sturdy tub all in one quick motion!




As soon as I settled into the tub I yelled "Thank you, Jesus!" over and over. The helping hands of our incredible Birth Team came swooping over us to check baby's heart rate, daddy's hands were brushing my hair and face as he kissed my head. What a surreal moment. 

Baby let out a couple small coughs so our Midwife gently stimulated baby's back and that's when Buck let out that first cry!




Through all my tears after Buck made that first beautiful cry all I could muster was "Thank you, Jesus!" and exclaim that I couldn't believe what had just happened, how awesome that was and that I was "so glad it's over!" 

I was over-the-moon amazed with everything. Amazed with daddy, our birth team, amazed by my body and my strength to overcome all my fears and anxieties throughout my pregnancy and ultimately my labor. I was especially amazed by this beautiful little being that was a moment ago inside my belly squirming around and who was now on my chest making the adjustment Eartside! 

What a surreal moment in time! 

It was then that I had remembered that we were Team Green and didn't actually know who we had laying on my chest, so I stated, "I guess we better find out who you are!" 


Tears!

All. The. Tears!

After 9 months of wondering if my intuition would be right for the third time. After 9 months of second guessing myself and doubting that my intuition could really be right three times in a row. After 9 months of being incredibly patient and never giving in at ultrasounds. 

That moment... ROCKED! 

Read our Gender Prediction post HERE!

I hugged him so tightly and without even questioning his name, I called out "My sweet Barrett Jackson!" See, we hadn't really chosen a name for our baby. We had a list of 3 names for a boy and 3 names for a girl... but we decided to let baby pick his or her name. But, throughout my entire pregnancy, anytime I had a dream about the baby, the baby was a boy and his name was Barrett Jackson. So really, he picked his own name even before Barrett Jackson was a choice on our list! 

What an incredible moment for an incredible little boy! 

Such a perfect little boy. So beautiful, so covered in Birthday Frosting, so much peach fuzz and birth glory! A beautiful birth and a beautiful moment shared with the most incredible Birth Team! 

After all that, I birthed the placenta and found out as the chaos subsided that his cord was so long that it was wrapped around his neck gently and there was still plenty of cord to have him high on my chest. 






Barrett Jackson
April 30, 2015
5:12am
7 pounds 9 ounces
21"







Around 6am, we handed Barrett off to daddy so that I could safely get out of the birth tub and into the recliner for a bit. I was ready to get out of the water at this point. I had been in the water for HOURS at that point and I was just ready to relax with our newborn baby, get him nursing and have some incredible skin to skin time!




Within minutes of me getting out of the birth tub, Bentley... Big Brother x2! came downstairs. On a typical morning, Bentley comes into our room and lays with me after daddy heads off to work until he has to get up for school. On days I happen to be up early, he comes downstairs. So, I imagine, just like any other day, he came to our room and saw I wasn't there. But... I'm sure he didn't expect what he would find once he got downstairs!




I started crying the moment I saw him and through my tears I mustered out "go see what daddy has!" His shock from waking up to something completely unexpected quickly turned to sheer joy! He smiled so big when he saw his Baby Brother for the first time! 







Once I was settled into the recliner I wanted to get the cord tied off and cut and try to nurse him again since he wouldn't nurse while in the birth tub. We were almost an hour past his birth, so I needed to get some colostrum into him. 





Once he was handed back to me; daddy, Bentley and I tied off Barrett's cord and daddy did the honors of cutting the cord officially separating Barrett from his life line and the placenta. Our bodies are so amazing, amiright or am.I.right?! They know how to conceive a baby, they know how to grow a placenta, an umbilical cord and a baby! They know how to birth this baby, how to expel the placenta, how to shrink back down to pre-baby size and... the best part of all?! Our bodies know how to continue to nourish this beautiful new being! There is just something about pregnancy and birth that has me addicted! This could pose a problem for my husband!




 After cutting the cord, Barrett was finally rooting so I latched him on and, like a typical man, it was love at first latch! There is just something about nursing your brand new baby for the very first time. The after-pains suck, a lot, but that flow of oxytocin. Unexplainable!



As I attempted to eat a banana and nurse Barrett for the first time, our Midwives examined the placenta and cord. Such a long umbilical cord he had! At 35 inches long, it was one of the longest they'd seen! My Doula was able to make the perfect 'love' keepsake out of his amazing umbilical cord!





Shortly after Barrett unlatched from his first feed, I was ready for a shower and to move upstairs where I wanted to rest for the rest of the day. So we handed baby back to daddy while our Midwives helped me to the bathroom. 


That shower was heavenly, but I quickly remembered the awful "empty belly" feeling, so my glorious shower was cut short due to the discomfort, so I got out and we all retreated upstairs while daddy got Bentley finished for school and off to the bus. We had offered for him to stay home but he said "no, I want to go to school to tell everyone about my Baby Brother!" Such a sweet Big Brother he is!

Once upstairs I went ahead and nursed Barrett for the second time while the Midwives worked on finishing up some paperwork. This kid... such a nursing pro! Latched right on and went to town like he was being paid to nurse. The after-pains were quite horrendous this time around, not going to lie! But with the help of some Motrin, they're not a huge deal. After going through a 22 hour labor, start to finish, without a single pain relief option it seems funny to take Motrin for after-pains... but the pain seems so much worse after baby has arrived! I already had my gift, I didn't want to deal with the pain any longer. 


Once Bentley was off to school, it wasn't long after that when the new Big Sister! woke up! Our amazing photographer who has known us since September 2012 went in and retrieved her from her bed. Her face was priceless! At first she didn't know what to think about this strange creature in her momma's arms, then she went to pure joy kissing and hugging on the baby and then she had a huge breakdown wanting the nursing pillow and not wanting baby brother to be in my arms any longer!










The newborn assessment went normally! Our little guy was weighed at 7 pounds 9 ounces, just 3 ounces bigger than I estimated and he was 21 inches long... which is MUCH longer than I figured he would be; but that really explains why I carried *so huge* with him! Not only was he as far down as he could go without crowning but he was way up in my ribs still. Short torso + long baby does not equal comfort! 




This Birth Team though! Such an amazing group of people that came together for the common goal of bringing our beautiful Baby Buck Earthside in the most peaceful way! 



This experience was incredible and I'm so thankful that Ben and I followed our hearts and switched from a hospital birth plan to a home birth plan. It was just what we were meant to do. This amazing little boy took us on the most incredible and heart-warming journey. The wonderful people he brought into our lives have quickly become our friends! The Doula's we met, the Midwives we hired, the home birth community, everyone that we met along the way hold a very special place in our hearts because of this beautiful little boy! I'm so incredibly thankful and blessed to have these three amazing little people in my life and to have their daddy as my soul-mate. My heart just bursts with love to the point I find tears in my eyes. This life is more than I could imagine. 

Watch Barrett's birth video HERE!



Now our sweet Barrett Jackson, our sweet Baby Buck is 10 weeks old already! It seems like yesterday that we welcomed our littlest love Earthside. He is growing so quickly and he's such a laid back guy. He has brought so much joy to our family! Big Brother and Big Sister are very proud of their Little Brother and they love him to pieces! Sometimes they love him a little too hard!



Until next time, friends