Thursday, July 31, 2014

Elliot's Home Birth


Today marks Elliot being 1 week old and at right about this time I was in transition and in much pain. Let’s start at the beginning.

First of all, let me say that with each pregnancy Braxton Hicks contractions became more frequent and started earlier. With Elliot, I had them for at least the last 2 months and I was so over them and ready for him to come by about 35 weeks. :) He was also really low and caused a lot of pain in my lower pelvis when he moved a lot, which was usually at bedtime, the little night owl. Needless to say, I was ready for this little guy to come.

We picked the name Elliot for a few reasons. For one, it was one of the few Ben and I agreed on. We have the hardest time agreeing on names. Elliot is the Greek form of Elijah, meaning “Jehovah is God”, so we like the biblical meaning and also the man of God Elijah in the Bible. Elliot is also the surname of one of my favorite missionary couples, Jim and Elizabeth Elliot. I love their story and I love Jim’s heart and zeal for the Lord, and how he was willing to give up his own life to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ. The surname also has a lot of significance in that it has a rich Christian heritage. And we just like the name, plain and simple. His middle name is Joseph. We absolutely love and have found so much encouragement from the life of Joseph, Jacob’s son, in the book of Genesis. There is also the great godly man Joseph of Arimathea, and Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. It is also my maternal grandfather’s middle name.

With the girls labor I had experienced 2 very different labors. Brooklyn’s was very slow, lasting 16 hours, and the active labor was very manageable. I started labor at 6 am and she was born just after midnight. My postpartum was awful but the labor was great. Annalise’s labor started quickly and intensely, with contractions starting at 3 minutes apart, and transition lasting for what seemed like forever. Her birth was 11 hours and most of it very intense, but both had only about 45 minutes of pushing. With Brooklyn I tore awfully, hence the horrible postpartum recovery, but with Annalise I didn’t tear at all. I decided I would rather have a painful and intense labor and a great post partum. So there were pros and cons to each of theirs. With Elliot I was praying for an easy daytime labor that was quick, but not too intense. Hah!

We were hoping for a “cool” birthday date, like 7.7 or 7.11. When 7.7 came and went I held out hope for 7.11 and seeing that there was a full moon on the 12th I thought there was a good possibility. I had been having dance parties with the girls, taking labor prep herbs, getting adjusted regularly, and whatever other safe labor inducing activities I could think of. I thought all of this and the fact that it was a third baby would guarantee a quick labor.

On July 10th I was nursing Annalise to sleep and I felt some pains in my lower abdomen that seemed to be contractions. They were very mild and very short, but I thought it could be the beginning. I took this as a sign to really soak up what could be my last night nursing Annalise to sleep for awhile, and my last night with her as my baby, so I stayed in there and prayed and rocked her for about 45 minutes. All the while the contractions came pretty frequently. When I stopped nursing her and came downstairs the contractions went to about 10 to 15 minutes apart and still pretty mild. Around 11 we went to bed after I took some CalMag supplements to slow down labor. I was able to sleep for about 4 hours, just barely noticing the contractions in my sleep coming about 15 to 20 minutes apart. Around 4:30 am they were a little too painful to sleep through but still really far apart. At around 6am I took a bath and they slowed down a bit. I woke up Ben after this to ask him to go downstairs with me and make me a smoothie. I labored on the couch a bit. There were still at least 6 minutes apart but getting more intense. I moved to the guest room, which is where we set up the birth pool, and labored on the bed as they got closer together.

By about 8:30 they were 4-5 minutes apart and my midwife Martina prepared to head my way. She checked me when she arrived around 9:30am and I was only at a 4, but I decided to get in the pool and hope for the best. My contractions slowed down a good bit for awhile when I got in the pool, but I absolutely love the birth pool and can’t imagine labor out of water. It is amazing! Well, as amazing as it can be where labor is concerned.


From here things just got more and more intense. I quickly had to change from simple breathing techniques to more vocal tonal sounds during contractions. I would liken it to whale calls, but some might say otherwise. :) The girls were coming in and out of the birth room occasionally. Brooklyn was so ready for brother to be born and wanted to stay in the room and wait for his head to come out. Annalise wasn’t quite sure what to think. My mom and mother in law whisked them away for some errands and lunch to give us some peace and quiet.

 During all of labor I rotated between my Pandora “Sovereign Grace” station and my “Nature sounds” station. I sipped on my smoothie, "shaklee-aid" popsicles, and water. The verses I had taped up were Isaiah 41:10, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Hebrews 12:1-3, and Matthew 11:28-30.

I labored in the pool mostly, but got out for about 5 contractions at some point. As I got back in the pool I began having really painful contractions and I just wanted to push this baby out NOW. My midwife kept checking me and telling me I wasn’t ready but that I was progressing nicely. I had told them in my last appointment to not tell me how much I was dilated, so as not to discourage me, but  at some point I had to know. I was a 7. Not the news I wanted. I was feeling really “pushy”. I had a major meltdown and begged Ben to take me to the hospital so I could get an epidural. I started crying and begging and really hit a brick wall. Brooklyn was in the room at this point and said “It’s okay mommy. Once baby brother comes you will have to do this zero more times.” After the midwives explained the process for going to the hospital and how I probably wouldn’t get the pain meds in time I decided to stay home. To those of you ladies who have natural births in the hospital, you are my heroes. To say no to drugs that are right at your fingertips and have a natural birth is truly amazing to me. A big reason I birth at home is because I would probably “give in” and have drugs if they were available to me.

After my breakdown, we all decided I should get out and see if I progressed quicker. I labored on the toilet for a few contractions and started pushing. My water broke, and in my past two births my babies came about 30 minutes after my water broke. My midwife then said she could try to manually push back the rest of my cervix. Um, yes please! She was successful so I was given the go ahead to get back in the water and push. Hallelujah!

I began pushing and crowned pretty quickly. I tried my best to breathe through some contractions to give everything time to stretch. My midwife also applied counterpressure to help prevent tearing. After a bit more pushing my midwife felt inside near the head and felt the cord so she worked quickly to get it out of the way. She asked me to flip to hands and knees and in about two more contractions and pushing, Elliot was here! I held him as he caught his breath and began crying and pinking up. Goodness, I was so relieved he was here. He came into the world on 7.11 at 1:58pm after about maybe 25 or 30 minutes of pushing.

The rest is placenta delivery, then nursing sweet Elliot, health assessment and weighing. He weighed in at 8lbs, 10oz, and 20.5 inches long. Big baby!

He was born while Annalise was napping, which was a good thing. I was screaming like an amazon woman. Brooklyn was in there for the last hour of labor and saw her brother be born, although she did have to cover her ears. :) I hope she remembers seeing her brother be born always. She was a champ. My 2 midwives were there, Martina and Melissa, as well as our photographer Ana, and both of our moms. It was such an intense and humbling (yet empowering) birth, that I am so glad it was a small crowd.

He is absolutely precious and we are so blessed to have a son. The girls absolutely adore him. To say they are obsessed would definitely be a correct assessment.

We are so thankful to the Lord for allowing us to conceive. The miracle of conception and the growth and birth of a baby are truly miraculous. God is amazing! That’s all I can say.

We are so thankful to Full Circle Midwifery as well for wonderful prenatal care and an amazing birth experience.

And that’s all she wrote….