Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The birth of baby Mei

As I try to get back into the swing of things, I figured I would share Mei's birth story.  I think it's important that we as women share our positive birth stories.  We are so bombarded in the media with dramatic, frightening birth stories, something I think has led to one of the main reason our society is so fearful of birth.  While I acknowledge that birth can go wrong, I think, for most women, that it's a safe life event, and that we as women (and with the support of our loved ones) can make birth safer by making better, informed choices.

Like Liam, I decided on a home birth with Mei.  My reasons are numerous, but being in a safe, comforting place was amongst the top reasons.  The hospital frightens me, and takes away control, forcing unnecessary interventions on me and the baby, at least in my experience, and that's something I don't handle well.  I picked a great midwife, someone who made me feel very comfortable, and someone with experience.

I really thought I'd go into labor before Christmas, despite my 29th of December due date.  Lilia was 40 weeks and 6 days, and Liam was 38 weeks.  I had been having strong braxton-hicks, though no where near as bad as Liam's were.  But then I got sick with a seriously bad cough, and any signs of impending labor literally flew out the door.  As I started to get better, the signs returned, but by then, Christmas had come and gone.  December 26 we had a big snow storm, and I spend a few hours of intense braxton-hicks.  Luckily, Mei decided to wait.

Lilia's birthday, December 27
Lilia told us that she didn't want Mei to be born on her birthday.  She informed us that Mei would come the next day.  Apparently she knew what was going on.  On December 27th, Lilia's birthday, I went to bed, not really feeling like anything was going to happen. Contractions kicked up a little, but nothing that made me think "this is it!" Sleep was rather restless though, and it was about 4:30 when I felt what I can only describe as "bubbles" bursting. Nothing like Liam or Lilia's very distinctive "pops". I half thought I was dreaming. I went to the bathroom and had a small gush of liquid. I decided to wait 10-15 minutes to see if contractions started, and then went to the bathroom again, this time turning on the lights. There was a touch of meconium in the fluids, so I knew for sure my waters had indeed broken. I called the midwife, and woke John up. He went about moving stuff around, and Kelly (my midwife) headed over. She had actually just finished catching another baby!

I had minor contractions, but nothing big. It was actually pretty weird, considering both Lilia and Liam were very much *pop* and active labor within 10-20 minutes. I was really at a loss of what to do with myself. I tried to sleep, but couldn't- between the adrenaline and my cough, I felt like I was in a not so cozy frame of mind and body...I think I finally fell asleep for about a half hour at 11, and then again at 12. The midwives slept on my couches, since they hadn't slept that night either.

At some point, John and I watched The Avengers on his computer while we tried some nipple stimulation to see if that couldn't get contractions started. At around 2:30, I felt a very odd pop. I can only describe it as something snapped into place. It surprised me, and it hurt like hell. I started crying, I think both from the pain and shock, but it was shortly after that contractions began. Oh man, I forgot how terrible those really are.  I labored for a while. John and the midwives worked on getting the pool water warm enough, with John coming back during most contractions to rub me and support me. I don't even know what time I got in the water. It was SO warm and it initially felt good, but man...the contractions were plain awful.  Even with being "relaxed", they were hard to handle.  None of my previous hypnobirth training seemed to help, although I will admit to not preparing as well as I did with Liam.  Perhaps a refresher course should've been utilized...

Mei, covered in Vernix, shortly after birth
Kelly checked me at one point and my cervix was slightly swollen, probably from coughing so much. She offered to let me relax or to manually push the cervix lip over the baby's head. I chose the latter, not able to mentally handle the idea of postponing and dealing with more contractions. That hurt like hell. I felt like an animal trapped and in agony, seriously. It took 2-3 contractions of her holding the cervix open while I pushed, and sure enough we got the head through. More pushes, and I could feel Mei descend, and we got the head out.  Pushing didn't feel good this time though- it was as if there was no relief. After a few pushes to get the shoulders out, Kelly checked again, concerned we weren't making progress. With the speed of the other two babies, this one should've "squirted" out. She didn't, and Kelly tried to adjust the position of the baby, but to no avail. Little Miss Mei was stuck. She had me try one more BIG push (no noise, just everything I had) and when that didn't work, the next thing I knew, Kelly and the rest of the midwives lifted me from the water (John helping too), and then put me in a bunch of positions and adjusted the baby. Once on hands and knees, once on my back, and literally Kelly pulled the baby out of me while I pushed with everything I had. It was terrible and painful and I wouldn't wish for that on my worst enemies. The relief of her being out was incredible. She was placed immediately on my chest, and I was pretty much in shock, until Mei cried out and I was like "OH. A Baby! I did it." I was given a shot of pitocin, just because my iron levels weren't that great, and we didn't get a final test to see if it had gone up.

Getting checked out!
After a few minutes, I was helped up and we laid on the couch, Mei and I. I got to actually see her and cuddle her and all that. Kelly was just about to help the placenta when I had a coughing fit and sent the entire placenta flying out on my own, lol. After the cord stopped pulsating, John cut the cord and then we had more cuddle time.  Mei took to the breast like a champ. I was so surprised- neither kid took to nursing that fast before. After she was done, I showered, and then Kelly examined the baby, weighing her and all that good stuff. 8lbs, 12 oz. 20 inches long. Her torso was 3cm bigger than her head (hello reason why she got stuck!) She had 10 fingers, 10 toes, peed during the exam, and she had pooped almost immediately upon coming out, so everything was perfect.

And that's how Mei Elanor, born December 28, 2013 was brought into the world.

Monday, February 4, 2013

February Daybook


Outside my window... are clouds, wind and lake effect snow, which seems to go from very light to very heavy.

I am thinking... about how much I have to pee, and how hungry I am, but have a sleeping baby on my chest and don't wish to disturb her.

I am thankful... for a husband who really steps up to take care of the baby, particularly at night.

In the kitchen... is a continuous mess that's never truly contained. 

I am wearing... penguin pajama pants and a spit up covered pajama shirt.

I am creating... milk.  Lots and lots of milk.

I am going... crazy.  Slowly, but surely.

I am wondering... if the baby will actually sleep tonight.

I am reading... lots of websites on colic, fussiness, gas and spit up.

I am hoping... the baby sleeps tonight.

I am looking forward to... spring.  And for Mei to be a tiny bit older, and less fussy.

I am learning... patience.

Around the house... is chaos, although not as much as there could be.  I'm at least keeping up with the living room and dining room chaos.

I am pondering... what to do to occupy my mind as I hold a sleeping baby, or nurse a hungry baby.

A favorite quote for today...
A newborn baby has only three demands. They are warmth in the arms of its mother, food from her breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastfeeding satisfies all three. ~Grantly Dick-Read
One of my favorite things... is sleep.  Sleep is so blissful, and you really miss it when you aren't getting much of it.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Sleep, nurse, buy and play the newest Fire Emblem, work on digital scrapbook pages, and basically attempt to survive having a young, fussy baby.

A peek into my day...
Of course this could be a peek into my day, week or even month...
Playing along with The Simple Woman's Daybook.