Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Birth Story of Wirth Leon Sanderson

Disclaimer: not for the faint of heart or easily embarrassed! Also, it’s kinda a novel! Sorry...there’s lots to tell...

There is some debate as to when I actually went into labor...I had been on limited bed rest for 10 weeks, and then full bed rest for another 2 and a half weeks when my blood pressure started going up. At its highest, it was up to 146/101. I was on bed rest to keep my body from going into premature labor. When we saw it was that high at my 36 weeks prenatal checkup, me and my midwife Sherri decided that I needed to get off of bed rest and get my body going into labor. So, I went from sitting around all day long every day, to walking, going for bumpy rides, eating spicy foods, and anything else I could think of to get labor going.

That Monday I started having contractions. But they were superficial, short, and never rhythmic. On Thursday evening, I had just gotten off the phone from giving Sherri an update, and telling her that I didn’t see my body going into labor that night, when I had 3 contractions right on top of eachother. They were powerful, moving contractions. I could feel my body unfolding. Since we had Jonny in 2 hours start to finish, and since I have had my babies naturally with very little pain, we didn’t want to take any chances at being left without help. Especially so long before my “due” date. Jeremy called Sherri back and she had Angie (another midwife) run right over. 7 minutes later, Angie was at our house, I was in bed laboring happily, and things seemed to be under way. Angie checked me and I was at +3 station, somewhat effaced, and 4-5 centimeters dilated. Sherri arrived, and she and Jeremy gave me a foot rub, because my feet were impossibly cold. Even after being rubbed, my feet wouldn’t warm up...we realized later that (for whatever reason) my “cold feet” were symbolic. About 45 minutes after Sherri arrived, I got really tired and decided to try and sleep through contractions. As soon as I started to drift to sleep, the contractions died down and stopped coming about an hour later. So, everyone went home to sleep in their own beds.

I slept until about 6 am, when the contractions came back and were strong enough to wake me up! I got into a tub to try and discourage the contractions if they were just Braxton Hicks. When they didn’t stop, we called Sherri, who ran right over again! She checked me and I was at about a 6 ½ dilation. We also called my mom who came to help get the kids to school and keep things in control. And Sherri’s apprentice/assistant midwives came to set up our house for the birth. It was crowded, chaotic, and distracting. And so, predictably, my contractions stopped.  We decided that we would go to Walmart to pick up a few things we needed for the birth but hadn’t purchased yet. We were hoping walking would get the contractions started up again. After several laps around Walmart, a long car ride home, a nap, a Cafe Rio salad with hot sauce, several sincere efforts on Jeremy’s part to help me start labor (wink,wink), and several laps around the yard and house, I felt I wanted to be in the tub. We had been avoiding it, not wanting to discourage the contractions. But, I decided to do what felt right. As soon as I got in, my contractions started right up. It was just Jeremy and I talking between contractions, and really enjoying the time and relaxing. Every once in awhile I would say, “These contractions are really regular! Should we call Sherri?” And Jer would answer, “Let’s just wait and see.” It felt like hours to me that I sat in that water, enjoying myself and wondering what would come next. Jer was amazing and attentive, refilling my drink and bringing my snacks and wiping my brow and rubbing my feet. He was the best labor attendant I’ve ever had!!

When it happened and the contractions finally got deeper and stronger, Jeremy about jumped out of his skin with excitement dialing Sherri to tell her it was definitely time to come deliver our baby! She said she had an appointment to finish up and then she’d be over, and that Angie would be coming over right away. The contractions continued to deepen, and while they were super intense, they were never unmanageable. The mood was very mellow. We talked and laughed a lot between contractions. I remember telling Angie and Jeremy that the contractions almost felt good, and that I wasn’t even done yet, but I was already so proud of myself!  Haha!! If I only knew what was in store for me...

A short time after Angie arrived, I started feeling the urge to push. She checked me to make sure I was complete. I remember the look of dismay on her face, and her words, “How I can say this in a positive way?! still have some cervix left. You need to be patient!” Oh, resisting the urge to push! It’s like resisting the urge to breathe or think. For what felt like an eternity, I moved into different positions, breathed and moaned and groaned my way through 10? 20? 30 more contractions? I’m not sure how many. Felt like a hundred! Sherri, who had arrived during this time, checked me again. She told me I was at a 9 ½ plus, but I had an anterior cervical lip that was swollen and likely would not dilate. She suggested that she could hold it out of the way so that I could try to push past it. I was reluctant until the next contraction reminded me that there was only one way out of this! I agreed and on the next contraction she lifted my cervix out of the way. And on the next, and on the next. And I pushed like I have never had to push. And then, finally, on the 4th contraction, I was complete. We had planned for Jeremy to deliver our baby. He went to get into the tub, and Sherri stopped him. We didn’t realize until that moment that he was wearing red shorts. My midwives have a strict “no red at births” rule, in keeping with a superstition that red will make the mother hemorrhage. So, he had to run into the bedroom and change his shorts while I waited even longer to push! Finally, he was in the water, I was fully dilated and we were ready to have the baby! I was so thrilled and so upset and so frikken sick of labor! And I gagged. And gagged. And then I was throwing up. Heaving. Hurling. It was disgusting. And painful. But every time I heaved, the baby got a little lower. He worked his way down the birth canal with the force of my vomiting. A few gags and he was crowning. A few more pushes and he was here! Jeremy got to receive him, and lift him out of the water!

This is where it got really amazing! When he was born he wasn’t breathing right away. In the hospital, they would have immediately cut the cord (his only sure source of oxygen) whisked him across the room away from me (his only sure source of comfort and familiarity) and proceeded to ram a tube down his throat and air bag him to force breathing. How do I know this? Because I’ve lived it! In the comfort of our home, while the midwives were capable of doing those things, they chose to wait and see what our baby could do on his own. Baby lay on my chest and I gently rubbed his back to encourage breathing, and within about 30 seconds, he coughed, gasped, and gave us the most beautiful air-filled scream I’ve ever heard! We got to hold him right against our chests and admire him. He was full of things to tell us. He “ooooo’d” and “ahhhhhh’d” for the better part of an hour. Jeremy laid him back in the water so that just his head and neck were out of the water and he just laid there, floating and looking at the world around him. It was quiet and sacred and warm, and so loving! You can’t buy that experience in a hospital!!

After his birth, we got to leave the placenta attached until it stopped pulsing (almost a full hour after his birth). We discovered he had been born with a true knot in his cord. Jer looked it up, and apparently only 1% of umbilical cords have a true knot in them...

We also got to climb right into bed together and sit and cuddle our new baby while the midwives did all their work around us! When they were done, we were left alone, to sleep and cuddle and bask in the glow of having a sweet new baby boy. My recovery has been amazingly easy! My baby has been super mellow, and hardly ever fusses. The benefits of home birthing are boundless. We are already reaping the benefits of the decision to have him in our home. It was hard, but it was worth it!