Birth Story

Warning: It’s long and detailed.

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Tuesday morning, June 5th, 2007. I woke up, 42 weeks and 1 day pregnant. The last few weeks had been dragging on endlessly, in perpetual end-of-pregnancy discomfort. I felt like my entire life was on hold until we got through the birth. I had a few braxton hicks contractions throughout the morning, but nothing to bat an eye at. I had been having those for months, and although they had gotten stronger over the past couple weeks, these weren’t strong today.

I sat down at my computer to check a message board. There were three of us pregnant ladies there, one having just given birth a few days beforehand. The other lady was not quite to her due date, and had been having some false labor last week, but appeared to be past that. She was content to “wait her turn” and wanted me to go first. However, when I logged on this morning, suddenly she had already had the baby the night before. Although I rejoiced that she was holding her son now, deep down I felt a selfish despair, a grouchy “why not me?” attitude. She wasn’t even overdue! It wasn’t fair. I repented of my attitude and decided I needed to get out of the house and get some fresh air today. I couldn’t bear to be cooped up any longer. So I straightened up, got us ready and headed down to the bus stop.

The area we live in is not very well suited to “taking a walk”. I had always meant to go to “Old Town” and stroll around down there sometime, but never had. Now was the day for that, I decided. The walking would be good for me… we would have a fun day. The day before I had started losing my mucous plug. This morning right before I left I noticed it had a slight, faint pinkish tinge to it. This was nice, but didn’t necessarily mean much to me, since it can still “be weeks” from that time until you go into labor.

After getting dropped off at the bus stop in Old Town, (the historical downtown area that has shops and such) my first stop was to find a restroom. I was surprised that I was actually bleeding. It had gone from slightly pink to definitely bloody. I wasn’t dripping or anything, it was just when I wiped. But the thin pantyliner I had put on before leaving needed to be changed. Thankfully I had brought a few extras with me. I was slightly curious about this development. I had never experienced this before.

We went into a bookshop and browsed for a bit. Then into a tiny thrift shop which was having a going out of sale business. I was feeling like I was having bad menstrual cramps, which I just tried to ignore. We went into another shop, and then headed to “Rosa’s Cantina” for a bite to eat. I got a children’s meal to split between the children, and, following my pattern of the past week or so of trying to eat lightly in case I went into labor, I got a cheese quesadilla. The children were hungry though, so I ended up sharing a lot of it with them.
I went to the bathroom twice while I was there and started to become a little more alarmed by the bleeding, it having occured to me that it could be either placenta previa (where the placenta covers the cervix, and there’s no way to birth except c-section) or placental abruption, in which the placenta starts to detach from the wall of the uterus, thus killing the baby. I was also starting to be bothered by the cramps and just felt like I should not be gallavanting around town. After we finished eating we found a bench to sit on and I called my friend, Katrina, who came and picked us up. I could have taken the bus back home, but I thought I would see if Katrina was up for it first, because I didn’t feel like dealing with the bus system.

By the time Katrina got there, I had realized that along with the constant crampy feeling, I was also having contractions, at regular intervals, about 5-10 minutes apart. I was finally in labor! Marcus Jr and Eileen wanted to go to her house to play with her children, so she took me there. I shared with her my concerns about the bleeding, keeping it in proportion but being honest about my concerns. When we got to her house I went on the internet to look up some things. I was not finding things that said that bleeding was normal, though. Everywhere I looked it talked about “pinkish tinge” and “streaked with blood”. The baby was still moving so I was not concerned for the present. I called Marcus at work and told him I was in labor. I also told him about the bleeding (over speakerphone – Hi Mike!) and told Marcus if he was in the middle of something to feel free to finish up before coming to pick me up. I could hear Michael in the background urging Marcus to action, saying, “Go, man!”

While waiting for Marcus I sat and drank some water. Katrina started calling the women that would be coming to the birth, to give them a heads up. Marcus got there and wanted to go home and do some research on the bleeding himself. At this point, Katrina and I both thought perhaps it would be good to go in (to the hospital) and check it out. We left, and I told Katrina I would let her know what we decided, and when she should come over.

We went home and Marcus immediately found some websites saying that some bleeding was normal. I still don’t know how he found it so quickly, maybe I wasn’t using the proper search terms. But in any case, after reading his results I felt reassured that it was indeed normal, if not common. Marcus changed out of his uniform and began to make last-minute adjustments to the setup in the livingroom. (We had started setting up, rearranging the furniture, putting plastic down, etc, the previous Saturday.) It was nice that all that had already been done, because it had ended up taking awhile on Saturday. I made some phone calls, and got a few things together. I also called Katrina and told her she could come whenever she was ready. She said she’d be there in about an hour.

Marcus started filling the pool, though I wasn’t ready to get in yet, I wanted to make sure it was ready for when I did want to get in. Sabrina was the first to arrive, and she stepped up to the plate right away rubbing my lower back through the contractions. She also started timing them. I knew they were around 5 minutes or so, but after we started timing we discovered it was more like 3 minutes. Then Katrina and Becky arrived together. They brought McDonald’s for Marcus and the children. Eileen had not napped and was way past her bedtime. I was keeping her up until she could eat, though. After eating, Becky put Eileen to bed without any trouble and also got Marcus Jr down. I got into the pool around this time.

It felt like I was close, but I was unsure of myself because my other labors had been so long (24+ and 48+ hours, respectively). Also, my labors have the annoying tendancy to not follow “the book”. My contractions can be close together, then spaced out again, alternately, for hours. So even though my contractions were about 3 minutes apart, I was thinking that perhaps that would only last a couple hours and then they would space out again. At least, that had been my previous experience. So I wasn’t sure if I got into the pool too early or not, but from the way I was feeling, I couldn’t really imagine it lasting too much longer.

I knelt in the pool, and Sabrina rubbed my back when I had a contraction. I was taking arnica pellets roughly every 15 minutes, and also drank some juice and water. Sabrina got me a cool washcloth for my forehead, and we adjusted the temperature of the pool once, pumping some water out and filling it. I had been more hot during this pregnancy than either of the others, so the pool felt more comfortable at the low end of the temperature range, and I asked Marcus to check periodically to make sure it wasn’t too cool. Katrina put some music on, (the soundtrack to Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility). Before this I had been laboring to the strains of the “Tigger Song”, on the Winnie the Pooh cartoon Marcus Jr and Eileen were watching until they went to bed.

I showed Katrina how to use the video camera, and she settled into that position. Marcus showed Becky how to use the bulb syringe if necessary. Lenny and Christi arrived last minute, and mostly kept quietly to the background and watched. I think Marcus told Lenny how to mix up some cayenne pepper and water for me to drink immediately after the birth.

I got out of the pool periodically to go to the bathroom. I got a little concerned again about the bleeding, which, although still wasn’t a LOT, was picking up more. I wanted to check fetal heart tones again, (I had done this once before, right around the time Sabrina had arrived.) but there just wasn’t time between contractions, which were now coming about 1-2 minutes apart.

I asked for a washcloth so I could support my perineum, and I heard Marcus tell the others, “she’s close when she asks for that”. I didn’t know about that, but, sure enough, with the next contraction after I got the washcloth I started pushing. I was on my knees, holding the washcloth with one hand, squeezing Marcus’ hand tightly with the other hand, my head leaned on the side of the pool, where the washcloth I had previously used to wipe my forehead came in mighty handy for biting on during the pushing.

I felt the water break, and asked if the water was clear. They reasurred me it was. I had my eyes clamped tightly shut and don’t think I opened them until the baby was out. I pushed the head out. I think someone asked about it, and I announced that the head was out. I think I was kind of spinning my wheels pushing, and with encouragement from Marcus to not tire myself out, I was able to stop pushing and wait for the next contraction. I was always kind of nervous before about getting them out of the water as soon as possible, and kind of being a bit panicky after their head came out that they might breathe before they came out the rest of the way and I had a chance to get them out of the water. This time I was clear-headed and not worried about that. Which was a good thing, because the head was out for what seemed like a LONG TIME before his body was finally born. Marcus Jr had been born all at once, head and body. Eileen had a very brief period where I had to push her shoulders out, but this baby was born to his head for probably a minute or two before the rest of his body came out. After his head had been out for awhile, I felt him rotate before coming out the rest of the way.

I pulled him up and put him against me face down. I had this overwhelming joy and sheer relief that it was over. I had done it, I was done. It was over. I didn’t have to do this anymore. I had actually gotten through it. I was estatic. He didn’t cry right away, but he was breathing. Someone must have caught a glimpse as he came out and said it was a boy. I turned him around, and sure enough, he was. Marcus wanted me to get out of the pool, and I told him, “okay, just let me get my breath a minute.” I was in the pool the longest after this birth than the others, even though it was only a couple minutes. Marcus mentioned that I wasn’t bleeding as much. Sure enough, whereas the other times the water had turned dark red immediately, the water wasn’t too dark this time, and I could even see an area in the center of the pool where no blood had yet seeped. I got out and walked the few steps to the couch, with people supporting me. I took off the shirt I was wearing in the pool and started nursing.

Lenny brought me a glass full of cayenne pepper and water, and I gulped it down. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. When you use cayenne in cooking, adding an 1/8 of a teaspoon to a big pot of chili makes it really hot, and here I was drinking a tablespoon of it in about 6oz of water. It made mostly the sides of my mouth burn a little and my nose run. Not too bad. I also took a couple swigs of the bottle of liquid chloryphyll. I think I may have had a little oxygen, too. But I was feeling really good. I wasn’t cold, as I had been after the other births, and didn’t feel faint, either.

The contractions for the placenta were painful, and I wanted Marcus there for those. He had already immediately begun cleanup and draining of the pool. I told him, “Come here, I need you” and he sat with me while I delivered the placenta. Everyone got a turn feeling the cord pulsating. After awhile it stopped, and I scooted to the edge of the couch. The placenta came out without effort on my part, (other than the painful contractions) just falling into the bowl. We clamped and cut the cord after the placenta delivered. I was nursing this whole time, which was really precious to me because I hadn’t gotten a chance to hold or nurse my other two right away. I even, for once, got to be the first one to dress my baby. He passed meconium while I was nursing him. Good thing he decided to wait until after he was born!

We got the baby cleaned up and passed around for the ladies to hold, and they began to leave. Becky helped drain and deflate the pool, and we all made phone calls. Marcus had a glass of wine and perhaps some of the others did, too. We were all feeling so happy with the way everything had turned out so smoothly, Marcus and I especially. More than ever before, I just had such a wondrous sense of relief that it was over and done with. This task that had been looming over my head was now finished, and done well. I could finally get on with life. And I had such a beautiful son, too! I really think I’ve been savoring my newborn more this time. I love to just sit and hold him, even when he’s sleeping. And watch him nurse, stroking his head. I usually have a book to read while I’m nursing, but sometimes I just can’t take my eyes off of him.

After awhile everyone had left and Marcus cooked up some tilapia and french fries for me. I was starving. While he was cooking them, he ran a bath for me and I sat in it and was able to clean myself off. I didn’t bleed in the tub, even! I was doing so much better this time around. I had a little more oxygen after I got back to the couch from the bath, but I was fine. I actually got through my first birth without fainting afterwards!

We ate and marvelled over our newborn beauty, then headed to bed for a well-deserved night’s sleep. Another good thing about this birth was that my labor was so much shorter, from about 1pm-10:37pm, so I didn’t loose any sleep. I also slept in my own bed that first night, instead of on the couch.

Charles Henry Booker weighed in at 9lbs. His head was 14″, chest was 15″ and he was 21″ long.

Thank you to those of you who prayed for me. Our gracious God indeed heard and answered those prayers. My labor was quick, the birth went smoothly, and my recovery has been my best yet. Little Charles is healthy and adorable. I love him so much! 

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8 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    MerryMommyofFive said,

    I am so thankful to have been able to be a part of the birth of your precious son, Charles. Everything went so smoothly. Just as you describe. I was so amazed at how long his head was out before the rest of him. I have had that experience with a few of my births also but to see it underwater was truly amazing! I hope the video does the night justice. Congratulations on your beautiful boy and wonderful birth! God bless you!

    MMOF~

  2. 2

    Traci said,

    What a wonderful birth story Amy!! I’m so thankful that you and little Charles are doing well. Congratulations again! ~ Traci

  3. 3

    Jennifer said,

    What a wonderful story! Thank you for writing it out so soon–I enjoyed reading it. I always have bleeding in labor–usually about the time I arrive at the hospital I’m bleeding. Looking forward to hearing more about baby Charles!

  4. 4

    Adriana said,

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful birth story. I love reading every word.

    Congratulations on your handsome little boy. Love the name Charles Henry.

  5. 5

    Robin said,

    Hello Amy. 🙂 This is Robin S from T2CHK. Thank you for sharing your birth story – it was beautiful. Emma and Beka and I were praying until we knew you had your precious Charles. We love the name you chose! Hugs, Robin

  6. 6

    Wardeh said,

    Amy, congratulations! Your birth story is very, very special. Having read your others, I am glad you once again wrote a detailed account. Your children will appreciate that when they’re older.

    I am so happy for you that the labor was so good for you. Enjoy your little Charles — I know you will!

    Love, Wardeh

    P.S. Will you email me your new address for your house? Thanks!

  7. 7

    I’m not sure how Wardeh is able to leave notes to each individul comment, but I’ll just respond here.

    MMOF: I really am glad you were able to be there! I hope the video turned out, too… I haven’t quite worked up the courage to watch it yet, lol.

    Traci, Adriana, Robin: Thank you so much for your prayers. I really appreciated them and I know the Lord has answered them so mightily. Everything went so wonderfully.

    Jennifer: Your turn is NEXT! I can’t wait to read [b]your[/b] birth story.

    Wardeh: I’m glad you enjoyed reading it. I will send you the address. 🙂

  8. 8

    Mary Jo said,

    Amy,

    I, too, thoroughly enjoyed reading your birth story. It’s good to have you back in the blog world for a while…I was missing reading your blog! Your boy sure is precious. You should post some pictures of MJ and E; I don’t think I’ve seen any of them (especially E) in a long time!

    Blessings!
    Mary Jo


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