Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hank Louis' Birth Story

This is the fourth, and I'm expecting final, birth story I will write. As I was jotting down the details of Hank's arrival, my daughters were eagerly asking about their own births. I told them that, yes, I had wrote down each of their stories. I can imagine them comparing the stories to those of their own babies some day. (Except my oldest who says she is going to foster/adopt and would prefer not to be pregnant. Watching your mother puke for months on end must have that effect.) This raised some questions of my own. Will Hank, as a man, ever care to read this story? Will I be sharing it with his wife, who will then think I'm one of those natural childbirth freaks? I expect that Goldie will enjoy reading her story. Do I share the whole story with her? How will she feeling reading about the diagnosis and my reaction? Hopefully, I have a few years to think about it. I'm going to trust that the answers to these questions will reveal themselves to me when the time comes. Life has a way of preparing me for what comes next.

Enough touchy-feely stuff, its time for some statistics. Over 4 million babies are born each year in the United States. Hank was one of the 1% that was born outside of a hospital. Of that 1%, only 27.3% are born at a freestanding birth center. He is my only child to not be born at a hospital. I drove 45 minutes each to way to every prenatal visit and took a lot of flak from well meaning family for choosing to have a midwife attended birth. Even my husband was not completely sold on the idea and let everyone know it. He knew that the research supports my position that it would be safer, but still worried about the "what ifs". I could do another post just on the advantages of using a birth center and compare my experiences with 4 different birth attendants.

Now for the good stuff. To save time, I tried to stick to the important parts and didn't add a lot of detail.

Monday, December 28, 2009
3:00 I'm officially 41 weeks, so I need to have an ultrasound and a non-stress test. The ultrasound will measure the amniotic fluid and the NST will listen to the baby's heart and make sure he is moving around.
The ultrasound revealed a nuchal hand (the hand is presenting next to the head) and that he was face down. I wasn't too surprised, he was waving hello to the midwife during an internal at 38 weeks.

5:30 When we get home I fall in the driveway, twice. My husband orders me not to get up until he can help me.

8:30 I start having contractions. I pack Hank Sr's lunch for work that night and get the coffee pot set up for him. I assume the contractions will stop once I lay down. Just like they have for the last 3 weeks.

9:00 I lay down to watch tv with the girls

10:00 I try to get some sleep

11:00 The contractions are getting stronger and keep waking me up. I decide to go upstairs to wake Hank Sr up. It takes me 20 minutes to talk myself off of the couch. Between the fall and the labor, it hurts to move.

11:20 Hank Sr. is up pouring himself some coffee and I'm calling the midwife. Hank calls my mom and stepdad to come watch the girls.

11:45 We head out into a snowstorm to the Midwife Center. This is my 3rd baby born during a snowstorm. I kept asking Hank to slow down because I was afraid we would slide off the road and get stuck.

12:40 We arrived at The Midwife Center. Kathy was the midwife on call and Gretchen was our nurse. In the dark, I could see the lights of the Forest Room waiting for us. Kathy checked me and I was dilated 4cm, then Gretchen listened to the baby's heartbeat.

1:00 Hot tub anyone? I lowered myself into the warm jacuzzi tub and found instant relief. I hadn't been this comfortable in at least a month. Water is a better analgesic than anything I've ever gotten at a hospital. Gretchen brought me an english muffin with pb&j and a glass of gingerale. She continued to check the baby's heart tones, reminded me to drink, and asked if I needed the water warmed up. She also showed my husband how to apply counter-pressure to my back. During a contraction, the midwife asked my husband if I always this quiet when I was in labor. He made some smart remark, I laughed and told her yes. It's true, I was completely silent other than the sound of my breathing.

2:00 The contractions got much stronger and the baby moved down even further. We decided it was time to get out of the tub. I paced the room, leaning on my husband during contractions. I tried leaning on the birthing ball and began to feel some pressure. I wasn't ready to push, but started feeling antsy.

2:15 I asked Kathy to check me again. I had reached 7cm  I knew from my previous births that if she broke my water I'd be holding my son within 20 minutes.

2:17 I decided that 41 weeks was long enough and asked the midwife to break my water. As I had anticipated, the contractions were overwhelming. Everyone kept reminding me how great I was doing and that it wouldn't be much longer. Laying on my side, I began pushing when I felt ready. I really wanted this to be over, so I didn't stop pushing until they reminded me to breathe. I know it didn't hurt this much with other babies.

2:32 I pulled Hank Louis up onto my chest and he raised his head to look at me. His daddy and I looked at each other with mutual joy and disbelief.  In 15 minutes I went from 7 cm to holding my baby boy! Kathy explained that he was born with his hand next to his head, so I'd be a little sore this time.

We spent the next hour chatting while Hank nursed. I now know what the expression "born to breastfeed" really means.  The cord stopped pulsing and his daddy got to cut it.
He weighed in at 7pounds 11oz and was 20 1/4" long. Gretchen cooked a breakfast of eggs and toast for us then left us to get some rest. Of course we couldn't sleep, but we did enjoy an nice snuggle, just the three of us. I've know that you can't always get what you want in life, but this time I did. Hank was blessed with a birth that went just as his mama had planned.


Jennifer said...

Great story!! That's just what I needed to read this morning. I'm so happy for all of you. It sounds perfect!

SunflowerMom said...

Read this late last night, when I could barely keep my eyes open! Love hearing his birth story! Ouch, sorry about the nuchal hand!

I can tell you as a mama to boys, Aidan loves hearing his birth story! And he asks to hear his siblings stories too. Each of my kids have unique birth stories that are fun to tell.

I love midwife-attended births and wish I could of had that experience.

Lisa said...

Well done, mama! Beautiful birth story, Brandie. My last two (including Finn) were born at home with a midwife in attendance. Those were by far my best births.

ParkerMama said...

Beautiful birth story.

Here from Sarah's blog. We, too, have a little one with an extra chromosome!

Michelle said...

beautiful birth story! thanks for sharing!

I'm impressed you got it done already - Lucas will be TWO in just a couple days and I've yet to write up his birth story! Guess I better get on that :)

睡衣 said...


Ruby's Mom said...

I enjoyed reading about Hank's birth.I had 5 of my children with a midwife and the first one I had this way had his hand up next to his head when he was born too.ouch.
It's such a wonderful experience having a baby with a midwife.

Cindy said...

Loved your story and your choice with the birth center and natural birth! Congratulations! (from another natural birth/birth center mama!)

L.Howerter said...

What a great, and inspiring story!
Thank you for posting it.
And you look absolutely beautiful after just giving birth. Lucky :)