Tuesday, December 13

The Birth I Wanted... Kind of

My contractions started about 1 am on Thursday morning (11-17-11) . They came on strong, with no "early labor." They were 3-4 minutes apart lasting for about 1 1/2 minutes. We called our doula, Suzy, about 3 am and were on our way to the birth center by 4 am because I threw up and knew I was getting farther along. When we arrived at the birth center (Treasure Valley Midwives), I had to labor a little while longer before I could get in the tub. When I could get it, I was in and out of the tub throughout the labor and was a very loud moaner the whole time. I chanted whatever I though of. I laugh now looking back remember some of the things- From shaking my head no but chanting "yes," channeling a "I can't" to a "I can," lots of "God, help," "ouch!" "OK" "one" (saying "one" was a life saver during contractions haha). So basically you get the idea of a pretty vocal ordeal. I stared our doula, Suzy Campbell, down for hours and she was so amazing. I always needed to stare at someone through a contraction. I think I just needed to externalize the pain, and if I closed my eyes it all went inside and felt worse. We had two midwives with us the whole time- Violet and Kelly, who were so amazing. I stared a lot at Kelly too. She and Suzy just said all the right things- even talking me down off the cliff of "lets get out of here and go to the hospital!" I had a lot of back labor- probably because of June's big shoulders!, and my mom, Kenny, Suzy and the midwives took turns pushing on my low back with all their might during and between contractions. I pushed a little early and had to take a break from that in the tub to get farther along. In my mind, these were the most sucky contractions. I had to stare at someone and count them off. I don't know how many times I counted to 55, but it felt like a million. I pushed for almost two hours, mostly in the tub. I don't know what I would have done without the tub for the pushing part, because I was having so much trouble not flexing my leg muscles during pushing. They kept telling me to focus all my pushing on my bottom, but I just couldn't. So I kept getting these leg cramps along with pushing pain! Oh they hurt. So when I got in the tub I was able to relax my leg muscles a little more so I didn't get leg cramps anymore. It also helped to feel her coming out, but was also discouraging because of the two steps forward, one step back with her head. I could feel something like a squishy tennis ball, but then she would go back in. I had my head pressed against the tub for a lot of pushing and afterward it felt like there were bruises on my forehead. My knees were banged up too. Eventually though, she came out and the midwife says, "She's coming up your way!" So I reached down and brought her up to the surface. She was so amazing. She was blue and wrinkly and chunky all at the same time. Kenny cut the cord, and we got her crying. She was born at 12:53 pm- about 12 hours of labor. She weighed 8 lbs 1 oz and is 21 inches long. Since she was wet, we got to see her dark hair curling a little on the end. I was so tired and relieved to be done. We rested and cleaned up, getting home about 5:30.

It was the birth I wanted, but it was extremely painful so I had throw the "kind of" part on the title. I mean really, does a watermelon fit through a shot glass? I didn't journal much about the days following the birth because I didn't want to remember them. Some moms may treasure their first few days with their newborn, but for me it was too much work to remember much treasure. June was, of course, the motivation for all the work and each time I had a meltdown Kenny would bring her to me and everything seemed better. What was so terrible was trying to feed an infant who wouldn't latch on my breast. June quite literally fit the phrase, "You can bring a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." Except June isn't a horse.

She is awesome at breastfeeding now, but I can only nurse her on the right because she damaged my left one pretty good during her first few attempts. So I'll pump until it heals, and we are two months in and still not healed. Oh well, maybe if I pump long enough I'll hit oil. We'll be rich.

Here's what I am thankful for about my labor:
V-8 Fusion. And a straw. Kenny helped me sip this liquid miracle during each pushing contraction. It was ice cold and awesome.
Geothermal heater. We never ran out of hot water for the bath.
Ice packs. Pushed on my low back. For about 8 hours straight.
Suzy's camera- almost 300 pictures to remember this life-changing event.
Eyeballs. For some reason, staring into someone else's eyes was all I could do during contractions. And they had to be close too. I remember telling Violet, "Stay there! Come closer!" And her eyeballs got me through that one.
Kenny, for all his rocking, back pressure, "you're doing so good"'s, kisses, eye contact, and just his constant love I felt all during labor. He never left, although I do remember him sleeping for like 5 minutes. Slacker.
My doula, Suzy, who helped make my birth one where I depended on the Lord and prayed over me and June when I was in (one of ) my most desperate hours and June wasn't sucking right. She truly changed how me and Kenny experienced this birth. We would have been lost without her.
My mom. She played just the right role during birth. She helped when she saw that she could and probably broke her wrists trying to put pressure on my back during pushing. She also made she I got the "cold, rolly ball" on my back when I asked (ok, maybe I shouted) for it. She washed all my pump parts every 2 hours and got me anything I needed when we got home. Having her there during and after labor was a God-send.
Kelly, the midwife that was secretly my favorite going into labor. She was strong and helped tell me what I needed to hear. She came to my house and basically was on-call just for me the whole week after birth.
Violet, the midwife who was so gentle and calming. I never felt like I was having a medical experience thanks to Violet. It was a human, spiritual experience that she orchestrated beautifully.
Lastly, June. She was in the right spot, she didn't need a C-section, she stayed healthy all throughout labor and was so worth every bit of pain. Of course, we knew she would be. :)


Dawn said...

beautiful Chelsea :) i love your humor and strength! June is gorgeous!

mom said...

Your moaning was more like chanting. I sat in a meditative state a few times because of the vibration of your voice. To watch you go through this was tough, but beautiful and very spiritual. You were a champion. I am very proud of you.

Mindy said...

That first picture brings me to tears. The need for your husband during those moments are so intense, I just think of the need for our savior and how it is even more intense than that. I love that you got to experience the way God made your body to birth a child. Amen.