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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rowan's birth story

January 16, 2009
He is here!!
Our beautiful, perfect little boy is here! What an experience it was this time!
Here is the story…

January 10th rolled around (which was my due date), and so did the 11th and 12th. On the 13th I was having mild contractions, but nothing significant. I had an appointment with Dr. Steele around 4:00. At the appointment, while he was checking my dilation, I asked him to strip the membranes just to see if we could get anything going. The good news was, I was already dilated to 4 cm.
We left the office after the appointment and I went home to get dinner ready. We still weren’t sure that anything would happen that night, so Darin headed back to work.
While we were eating dinner (about 6pm) I started feeling a major difference in the contractions. I knew from the past that these were real labor contractions. I could tell this was it! I quickly called Darin and MaryLayne and Patrick (they slept over).
When Darin got home, I was feeling so many emotions. I was way excited that it was actually here, and also feeling pretty scared since I didn’t know what I was in for. Darin gave me the perfect priesthood blessing. It brought me so much peace.
We wanted to get to the hospital early so that things were not rushed. I wanted time to really relax and use the skills we had practiced so much!
When we checked into LDS Hospital, they had to run an initial fetal monitor strip on the baby’s well being. After that they checked the cervix, and it was dilated 6 cm and was 90% effaced! I was pretty excited about that-
We spent the next few hours walking the halls. They are totally remodeling the unit there, and since we had requested a room with a tub, we got put in a brand new room that had never been used. We were the only ones in that whole hall! It truly was an answer to our prayers. Everything was just so quiet and peaceful. The lights in the hall were dimmed (since no one was using it), and we could walk and walk forever without ever seeing a soul. I have such good memories of this part of labor.
The contractions were very strong, but with each one, I would usually just lean on Darin (who was leaning on the wall) so I could let my whole body relax. We would breathe through the contraction, and then go on walking again. We did our best to avoid our nurse or anyone else who wanted to interrupt our time together.  In fact, I think our nurse was frustrated that she had to keep chasing us down to ask us questions! We also made her a little unhappy when she found us sitting on a couch just eating and drinking freely! Every hour and a half we had to return back to our room to get another reading of how the baby was tolerating labor. This was pretty annoying to me because it would always pull us out of our groove.
Eventually (I’m guessing maybe around midnight), being on my feet was getting too intense. I felt like I couldn’t breathe with every contraction, and they were coming very close together.
Darin drew up a warm bath for me, which later proved to be the most relaxing thing by far. He was seriously the best coach ever. He created the most peaceful atmosphere in that hospital bathroom! He dimmed the lights and turned on our sound machine so it sounded like soft rain. It was amazing to get in that warm water, I was able to just lay back and take my mind to a wonderful peaceful place.
At this point, my contractions were taking a very different turn. They were much, much more intense. The power in each contraction was amazing to me. I have definitely never felt such a thing in my whole life! I would have stayed in that bath forever, but of course the nurse and doctor wanted to get another strip, which required me getting out of the bath. I refused for as long as I could, and then eventually dragged myself out of my peaceful state into the freezing cold, hard bed!
That is when labor turned insane!
I was trying with everything I had inside of me to relax. I knew that moving during contractions would only intensify the pain. But even though I knew that, unfortunately my mind was not in control at this point. My body was taking over. It was unbelievable.
During every contraction I felt like I couldn’t breathe, my legs would just kick and soon I was even screaming with contractions! They went on this hard for about an hour or so. My mind could not even begin to understand what to do with myself. Seriously I was out of my mind. After each contraction, my amazing husband would take my hands and open them into a relaxed position. He would touch my face so each muscle could relax again, and he would tell me how amazing I was for doing this.
Dr. Steele arrived and said that the baby could be here very soon. There was just one thing that he felt was slowing the process down, and that was the fact that my water still hadn’t broken! On my birth plan, I had requested that he not break the water. We kept just going through these minutes of insanity with each contraction, and finally Darin asked me if Dr. Steele could just break the water. At this point I was willing to try anything to speed up the process. (I literally felt like I was going to die if this didn’t end soon!) Breaking the bag of waters was the biggest relief ever! It felt so amazingly good as the warm fluid flooded over me.
I still had not felt any overwhelming urge to push, but I started slowly pushing with contractions just because it gave me something to focus on other than the uterus. My body hurt so bad that it was hard to do anything besides scream. I was on my back, which I did not want to be. I knew that I wanted to change positions, but I could not bring myself to move. I felt out of control of what my body was doing. (that’s probably because I was!)
It’s funny now as I try to recall what happened during this stage because I was so out of my mind that I can’t exactly remember. All I know is I was pushing and not knowing if it was doing anything. Out of nowhere (it seemed), Darin said he could see the baby’s head! I was TOTALLY shocked because I hadn’t felt him descend or anything! Next, I for sure felt the burn of the “ring of fire” as his head came out, and Darin said I let out a huge scream! A few more pushes and I felt an overwhelming feeling of relief as warm fluid and a very slippery baby rubbed against my legs!
Darin started crying, and my initial thoughts were just,
“that was it??”
“He’s out??”
“We’re DONE?!!”
I got to hold him directly on my chest while he was still naked. It was amazingly bonding. He curled right up to breastfeed.
We were both crying at this point and I just could not believe it was over!
I could look at our sweet boy and know that he didn’t have one ounce of medication in his tiny body. I didn’t even have an IV in my arm! It was absolutely amazing, and the rewards began right then.
I didn’t know it, but the placenta had also been delivered and through the whole thing I didn’t even tear! That meant that I was completely done! No stitches or anything!
The immediate bond between me and the baby was amazing. Much stronger than ever before. (and I thought the initial bonds were strong with the other two boys!) I believe it was because we had worked together to come to this point. We had spent so much more time bonding with him during the pregnancy as well.
We spent a good hour cuddling and loving him, then they finally convinced me to let go of him long enough to weigh him. He was 8 lb 6 oz!! Our biggest baby yet, which I was so proud of. I attribute it to the fact that we let him come on his own time.
One of my favorite parts about the natural birth- I got to get up and walk right after! It felt way better than I could have imagined. I walked to the bathroom, where I was able to relax in the bath for a while, while Darin enjoyed some one-on-one time with his new son. More stats: it was 2:13 am and he was 20” long.
I am not exaggerating when I say that after that bath I basically felt like nothing had even happened to me. I felt like my normal old self. I had never dreamed of feeling so good right after having a baby!
My whole recovery from that point on was just awesome. I could walk whenever I wanted, go to the bathroom by myself, I was not swollen at all, I didn’t have any stitches, and perhaps one of the best parts- I didn’t have an aching back for days from the epidural!

I have learned so much about my body and about God and His plan from this experience.
God did not create women to bear children and not be able to handle childbirth! No- He made us powerful. Our bodies are amazing. Yeah, childbirth hurts, but it is something we as women get to experience. After the pain is over, our bodies are created to heal perfectly. The recovery is not meant to take weeks!
God knew what He was doing when He created the plan. I honestly believe that there is a lot more for us to learn through childbirth than we ever pick up on when we are medicated. There is power in sacrificing everything you can possibly sacrifice to bring another spirit here on earth. It is essential for us to learn these lessons that can only come from that kind of sacrifice.
I feel sad that we as a society are robbing ourselves of so much by medicating our births and intervening so much of the time. As if our bodies don’t know how to do it naturally. Growing up in our society, I of course always wondered why in the world anyone would not get an epidural. I thought it would make the birth experience miserable. I had no idea how empowering and spiritual natural childbirth was. This experience has changed me in so many ways.
~ Laurisa

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