SIENA’S BIRTH STORY
I started having more intense surges than usual (I have been having Braxton-Hicks surges regularly for a couple of months now) around 10:30 am on Tuesday, June 11th. My due date was the 24th, so I wasn’t really convinced that I was in labor. After all, this was my first time, and I really wasn’t sure what to expect. Also, I hadn’t felt her “drop,” so I was thinking it might be a false alarm. A couple hours later, I called my friend Amanda, who is my Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner and works at the midwife clinic I have been going to. Since her last labor was about 72 hours, and this was 2 weeks before my due date (it’s pretty common for first time moms to go a week or two late), she wasn’t convinced it was really labor. She suggested that I lie down, rest and watch a fun movie and see if they would go away (incidentally, I took her to Harry Potter in the movie theater while she was in labor to get her mind off it and we went out to eat several times while waiting for her surges to get closer together). I didn’t even get 2 minutes in to Shrek before I realized this wasn’t just going to go away. My surges were 3 to 5 minutes apart and were getting more intense.
Amanda advised me to come to the clinic (which happens to be attached to the hospital), and said she would check me out, but that if I wasn’t dilated to at least a 4, she would send me back home. This sounded pretty reasonable to me, because I didn’t really feel like laboring in a hospital for 2 days. I have to say that she was more than shocked when she checked me out and said, “I think you’re at a 4! Let me get a second opinion on that though….” When the other midwife came in and checked me out, she said, “No, she’s actually at a 5.” So I waddled over to the hospital section as Thad drove the car around.
Apparently the barometric pressure was higher than normal because of a storm that had come through the day before, which had caused a lot of women to go in to labor, so when we got there all of the rooms were full. We checked in about 2:15. After 45 minutes later, a room opened up for us (and a good thing too!) They announced I was now dilated to an 8. I could tell I was getting close, especially when I started to vomit (I’ll leave out those details for now- you can thank me later). The labor hadn’t been too bad that first 5 hours, which I will accredit to the strategies I learned in my HypnoBirthing class about deep breathing and relaxation. Things started to get more and more intense that last hour, though, and I needed frequent reminders to stay calm and not freak out. That’s where Thad was such a lifesaver! Amanda and my mom were there as well, and were HUGE helps too!
A half hour later, she started to crown. At this point, most babies are out in 5 minutes. But I would have really deep surges, and then nothing for 3 to 5 minutes in between. During those times in between surges, I felt my body go limp, exhausted from the hard work and go into an almost trance-like state. I think everybody thought I was sleeping on the job! Anyway, when my water finally broke, the midwife realized there was meconium in it, and sent someone to get the respiratory therapist to be ready to clear her lungs when she came out. I got tensed, pushed hard through the surges, and made a little progress. Twenty minutes after she had crowned, the midwife warned me that her heart rate was starting to slow down, and I needed to try really hard this time.
The nurse suggested that I take deep breaths and start grunting. To my amazement, I made more progress just breathing deeply and grunting than I did the whole time I was pushing. I few more deep breaths and another hard surge and she was out! The cord was wrapped around her face, under her nose as she emerged. The midwife calmly and quickly took control over that, clamped the cord, and the respiratory therapist was able to do his job and clear her lungs and stomach. That is why I was so impressed that her APGAR score was a 7 after one minute and a 9, only 5 minutes after birth. With these complications, I expected it to be much lower. I was so impressed with how the hospital staff handled the situation. Everyone was calm and focused. She was definitely a “hypnobaby” though, because she was so calm and just whimpered a little. No major crying or fussing.
We were able to stay in the same room the whole time, which was nice and private. It was pretty big too. It felt more like a hotel suite than a hospital room, with a pull-out couch for Thad to spend the night, which was a big reason I chose this hospital (Orem Community). She opened her eyes just a few minutes after birth and seemed pretty alert. It was nice to not have to worry about the effects of an epidural or painkillers on her. Although her face was a bit purple and bruised because of the cord. She looked much better the next day though! Siena latched right on and had 4 good feedings that first day, complete with 5 poopy diapers the next day (a very good sign that everything is functioning well). The hospital food was even pretty tasty, and birthing didn’t change my healthy appetite one bit! I was hungry right after, even though I had been eating practically the whole time I was in labor.
We finally got to take our precious cargo home yesterday, 2 days after she was born. I am healing very quickly, and Siena is doing great. She has slight jaundice, which is apparently common for Asian kids, so we are taking her back to the hospital today for a check-up on that situation. She has been sleeping almost the whole time she has been home now, except for feeding time. We are loving every minute with her and sometimes spend hours just staring at her beautiful face! Since I am doing all the feeding, Thad has agreed to change all the diapers! I couldn’t ask for a better, happier family than the one I’ve got!
The greatest principals I learned from my HypnoBirthing course are:
1) Trust in your own body. It knows what it is doing and does it well, naturally.
2) It is important to be flexible in the birthing process. The affirmation that kept playing over in my head was “I am prepared to calmly meet any turn that my birthing may take.”