Friday, January 27, 2012

Spencer's Birth Story


Welcome to the first edition of the Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival, hosted by Authentic Parenting and Mudpiemama!

In the month of January, we start afresh, a new year, new ideas. Hence, our participants have looked into the topic of “Birth and New Beginnings.” Take a look at the end of this post to find a list of links to the entries of the other participants.

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I had a lot of contractions in my final trimester. They came often and they were hard. Because of this, our doctor had said that Spencer might (safely) arrive as early as 36-37 weeks. That'll make a family anxious! We were open to having Spencer any time as Giftmas approached. Then we hoped to wait a week. Our doctor was on vacation from December 25th - 30th.

At 11 o'clock on December 25th (11:04 actually, if I recall correctly), I decided I'd better go tell Tyler (13yo) to get to bed. Sasha (2yo) was still up with me. As I walked to the other end of the house, I noticed I was wet... really wet. I went to the bathroom to check myself and found some slight tinge of pink.

I got very shaky. I called my Jenni (my doula) and explained what was going on, including feeling like I was having a major adrenaline rush from the excitement of it. She reassured me that the shaking was normal anyway, but that we should get to the hospital. I didn't feel a need to rush, but I woke Elmo and we started getting ready. He carried the numerous bags out to the truck. We (Sasha, Elmo and I) were loaded up into the truck by 11:30. I called Jenni again to let her know we were on our way. Tyler was staying up at home, waiting for updates.

We got to the hospital at about midnight. It was a chilly night with a hint of rain in the air. I had forgotten to call ahead! I called from the parking lot while Elmo had a quick cigarette (it might be his last for who knew how many hours). Jenni met us in the parking lot. We went straight into our room and our nurse (Andi) stood there and read every-single-detail of our Birth Plan. She let us know any bits that might not fit hospital policy or might depend on the doctor we had. I was terribly impressed with her attitude and thoroughness. She did a test and confirmed: amniotic fluid. She did check my cervix and found I was dilated to 4. She tried to place my heplock in my left arm. After much digging around in my arm, she moved to my right arm. She immediately blew that vein. She called for another nurse to come place the heplock. Some digging was still required, but the second nurse did manage to get it started. Andi let me stay on the external monitors intermittently and otherwise just left us alone to labor in peace!

Jenni & SashaElmo and Jenni took turns at bedside and playing with Sasha.
(This pic was actually taken about 20 minutes after birth!)

I managed to nurse Sasha to sleep in labor and get her nestled down into a makeshift bed on the floor (you can see the bed in that shot above, too). I had to time moving her between contractions and was quite impressed with myself!

After the way things went with Sasha's birth, I made sure to shift into different positions. I still preferred sitting up in the bed (leaning back). I relaxed and breathed through each contraction as they came, watching movies and chatting with my personal birth team between contractions.

Elmo tried to get a little more sleep, until Sasha woke back up. I tried to nurse her back to sleep. I finally asked Elmo to take her for a walk for a snack, to the bathroom, anything. He seemed reluctant, until I told him I didn't think I could nurse her anymore. It was just getting to be too much. Sasha fussed at being removed from Mommy, so Elmo took her to get a snack.

My contractions had been very manageable, but were increasing in intensity. I had managed to avoid having my dilation checked, but finally caved. I was ready for a progress report. Andi said I was dilated to a 7 and the remaining 3cm were all on the right side. She suggested I lay on my right side to help speed dilation along and said she'd page the doctor to let her know. I was perfectly happy to comply.

Folks, this is where it gets exciting! Before Andi got out the door of our room, I felt pressure! All I could say was "pressure!" Jenni thought I wanted pressure, as in my tailbone. "No, no, PRESSURE! The Baby - Pressure!" or something to that effect. Jenni asked if I had an urge to push. I'm not sure it was so much an urge as my body just pushing on its own! I started getting loud. I think Jenni paged the nurse. Andi returned to find that Spencer was coming and the doctor wasn't going to make it. The next thing I knew, there were about 5 nurses in our room, gloving up! I was still lying on my right side and was clutching the side rail.

There was so much pressure and I felt like I was pushing - only I knew *I* wasn't pushing! Apparently Jenni tried telling me to pant, but I didn't hear her. She quickly realized it was too late to slow things down anyway! Jenni and Andi would occasionally tell me or ask me something, but I couldn't hear them over my own noises. I tried to tell them that in between contractions. Jenni later explained that she asked me if I wanted to catch Spencer (I had asked her to help me remember this). It all happened so fast, though. Spencer's head was coming out as Elmo and Sasha reentered the room.

Jenni was holding my top leg up and I explained that it hurt my hip, so she tried moving my leg in either direction, but moving it was worse. Elmo held Sasha and stood next to Jenni (sitting on the bed with me). The nurses had me push Spencer's shoulders out. Andi put him on my belly immediately and suctioned out his nose. He was covered in vernix! They tried to move him up to my chest, but the cord was so short it hurt (my vulva) as it tugged against me.

Born + VernixI was able to rub vernix into my son's skin, something I really wanted to do with Sasha, but couldn't get the nurse to stop rubbing it off.

Sasha was not quite sure what to think of all the people, commotion, and her new baby brother. Jenni took her back over to her pallet and bag of toys to play.

Andi helped get Spencer latched on to nurse. Our doctor arrived and joked about checking the time when she received the page, called back, then got the call that I'd delivered already. It was 6 minutes. From 7cm dilation to birth in 6 minutes! Spencer was born at 4:04 am.

Spencer was taken to the warming bed and earned an 8 APGAR score! The medical staff let me nurse Spencer as long as I wanted before sending him to be checked over ("transition"). Elmo went with him. It turned out that Spencer's blood sugar was dangerously low and his oxygen saturation dipped too low as well. He was later admitted to the NICU.

Spencer in NICU - 12 hoursStats: Spencer weighed 8 pounds, 2½ ounces.
He was 20 inches long.

I was on a total birth high! I was excited, energized, and hungry! While Spencer and Elmo were gone, Sasha and I shared some quiet time and her snack. Jenni helped get our room packed and we took a walk to my postpartum room. Elmo left Spencer's side because they were doing some difficult things with Spencer. Sasha and Jenni played in the room while Elmo and I went to see Spencer through the NICU window. It would be 12 hours before I was by Spencer's side again. He spent 1 long week in the NICU.

Birth and New Beginnings... can I just say: I love having a newborn!



Visit Authentic Parenting and MudpieMama to find out how you can participate in the next Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:


33 comments:

  1. Ah, the squishy, newborn-y goodness. I love it. Congratulations. Visiting from the AP carnival.

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    1. Thank you! And thanks for stopping by.

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  2. This made me cry! Welcome to the world Spencer, congratulations you don't know me but I love reading your blog!

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    1. Birth stories are good tear jerkers, aren't they? ;-)

      So glad to have you here! And thank you!

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  3. Awe!!! Love that birth story! So awesome how our body know what to do! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you. I, too, am so fascinated by the way our bodies work. Spencer would have born whether I was conscious or not - my body would have finished the job. :-)

      (Not that there was any risk of being unconscious, just that our bodies do all the work if we let them.)

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  4. Amazing! One lucky boy to have such a wonderful and amazing mom!!

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    1. Thank you! I feel lucky to have had such an amazing birth.

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  5. Incredible, Jorje! Thanks for sharing this amazing birth story. <3

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    1. My pleasure! (You know me.) Thanks for stopping by to read it. :-D

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  6. That is an amazing birth story, Jorge! I'm so happy for you. Love that picture of you and Spencer covered in vernix.

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    1. Aww, thank you. The marker part amuses the heck out of me. I'd gotten washable marker all over my belly and chest from Sasha drawing on me and from holding her (after she'd drawn on herself).

      It kind of baffled all the medical staff, too!

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  7. So cool! I always read about the tendency of the body to push the baby out more or less on its own, but I definitely didn't sense that happening with my birth. What an extraordinary experience - you are a birthing super star! I love how you're soaking in every bit of the sweet newborn stage, too.

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    1. I've always been fascinated with that aspect of birthing. This was the first time (in 4 births) that I'd felt it. I've had the desperate urge to push, but this was so different!

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  8. I love birth stories! I really think that doctors take that whole 10cm thing too literally, I think every woman is different. I'm sure the 12 hours and then 1 week in the NICU were horrible. My twins were in the NICU for 5 weeks and, although I just put one foot in front of the other at the time, when I look back it was one of the hardest things I've ever been through. Your little guy is so cute!

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    1. The 12 hours and the full week were both very rough - in slightly different ways. I wouldn't wish the NICU on ANYone! Add to that the stress of being booted from the hospital... ugh. And to think, I took Sasha home 24 hours after birth!

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  9. After having a baby, it always confuses me when you hear about doctors *telling* women to push (in normal circumstances). When you have to push, there's no "pushing" or "not pushing" - your body does the work regardless of what your brain wants!
    What a beautiful story - and a strong mama you are!

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    1. I don't recall having that urge with... Sasha... or was it Tyler? I think it was Tyler. And yet it only took 3 contractions to birth Tyler! 1 push, 1 yell (I wasted the contraction pushing a yell instead of pushing down), and then 1 push. Then again, I pushed her out TOO fast. I didn't have to work *nearly* as hard for Spencer! (His head is small + she came out with her fist on the side of her face!)

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  10. I was so excited to see you wrote up your birth story, it is lovely! I'm impressed that you nursed during labor! Nice to hear your hospital sounded very cooperative. I think it was great you were surrounded by family! ...and he's just so cute!!

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    1. I didn't feel it was anything exceptional at the time, but in hindsight I am definitely proud of myself for managing to nurse through labor, especially that last bit!

      I felt like I had plenty of personal support this time around. It was wonderful!

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  11. I have been waiting to read a more detailed account of how your little man made his way into this world! Beautiful to read mama! I so love a birth story and this one is just super special. Spencer was so loved by so many of us before he came and it was wonderful to read your story and feel some of your experience. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. I have never felt more loved and supported than I did with this pregnancy / birth! We had so many people cheering us on... all over the globe, even!

      I'm touched to think that anyone was anxious to read our story, but then I am always antsy for them, too! Gotta love a good birth story! (and aren't most of them? good, that is!)

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  12. Wonderful! Thank you for sharing!! What a beautiful birth story, and I'm so glad your nurse was supportive, calm, and good at her job. Beautiful. Those precious minutes after the birth were YOURS! CHEERING! (from previous tidbits I had figured they whisked him away to the NICU before you could hold him).
    I'm sorry that I didn't get to answer your question about blood sugar and birth plans before Spencer was born. I mistakenly thought you were simply curious, as you didn't have gestational diabetes like I did, but you were likely looking for info that could be helpful for your birth. I'm sorry.

    I love the photo of Spencer on your chest, and you look so relieved! It's amazing. Thank you for sharing such beautiful, intimate moments of your life with the world. xxoo

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    1. I can't even remember the thing about blood sugar and birth plans... NOW. Crazy, right? Still, the doctor had no problem leaving me on a normal diet.

      Oh yes, not only did I have him skin-to-skin immediately, once they took him to the warmer to check him over they brought him back to me for more nursing! The nurse just sat in our room and WAITED. She said to let her know when I was ready. I knew I could have just held him forever, but I felt a bit antsy with her right there waiting. I figured we might as well get that part over with. In hindsight, it was for the best since it wasn't until they got him into the NICU for "transition" that they realized he had more problems. Things could have been worse if I'd kept him longer.

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  13. I love your story! Yea for your helpful doula, and I'm glad Sasha made it through well, too. That's got to be one of the most beautiful hospital birth stories I've heard! I know you were disappointed to miss out on a homebirth, but you've had some lovely experiences as it is. I really love how they put him right to your chest and let you rub in the vernix and nurse him. Beautiful.

    Lots of love to you and your newly expanded family!

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    1. I truly have been very lucky as far as hospital births go! And yeah, I had been SO worried about how things would go with Sasha there. I hoped things would just fall into place and they basically did. It all went so very well!

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  14. Amazing birth story ~ I got tingles reading it (not to mention that it also made me feel insanely broody!).
    Spencer is beautiful ~ well done, mama! :-)

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  15. Nice story. Thanks for sharing.

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  16. What a fabulous birth story! I am so happy for you that they worked to honor your wishes. Thank you for sharing.

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  17. Huh. I didn't realize that the whole 'pressure' pushing thing wasn't ... typical. How odd that I can have five kids and didn't realize that wasn't just how it goes. I mean, I realized that some people have external things making it different, like pitocin/a baby in an odd position, but I just thought that's how it was. I was always confused watching movies/whatever or when someone would say "don't push" and I was always, "Um... I'm NOT pushing... the baby is just coming!"

    It was awesome to read your birth story, though, that was a quick one:)

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    1. The body (all normal bodies) will push a baby out without the mother's help, but it might not be until later and/or it might be more intense than some care to endure.

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  18. :) I justcame here to reread your story and wanted to thank you for submitting Spencer's birth story for the carnival. It's a truly lovely story. Thank you!

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