Archive for the ‘labor’ Tag

Layia’s Birth Story, Part 1: The Birth   1 comment

“They” kept telling me that subsequent children “always” come earlier than their siblings. However, I had I discounted such “information”, right along with all the “Are you actually going to make it to October?” questions. We did occasionally ask Baby #2 to wait until Grandma Key arrived, but we didn’t emphasize it like we had with Conan. (I was too concerned with asking Baby #2 to be a sleeper, or at least a napper.) Whoops. At least I went on maternity leave two weeks before the due date so that I could give Conan some focused parent time before Baby #2 arrived . I had neglected to realize that sibling rivalry can start in the womb. Since Baby #2 couldn’t have a cooler birthdate than her brother (12/12/12), she had to go for dramatic entry!

Thursday, 24 September 2015, shortly before 18:00
I was helping Conan to put away toys in the play room before dinner. Sitting on the futon, I leaned over to pick up a toy from the floor and felt a rush of fluid. My first thought was “I hope that was just pee. That better have been pee!” So I went to the bathroom, changed clothes, and went back into the play room to continue helping Conan pick up. When I walked into the play room I looked down to see drips down my legs. Back to the bathroom I went to change clothes again. When I walked into the dining room I told Mike “My water may or may not have just broken. It’s possible that I just peed myself twice.” Mike looked at me with a completely pole-axed facial expression. We were not exactly ready to have Baby #2 yet (yes I was full term, but still a week and a half from the estimated due date). My biggest worry, though, was that I was GBS (group B strep, a common bacteria that can cause problems in newborns) positive so if my water had just broken then baby had to be out within 18 hrs.

18:15 – Just in case, according to plan, I tucked into dinner. (I couldn’t keep food down during labor last time, so the extent of my birth plan this time was: #1 Conan to go to Grandma Sheldon’s house and #2 eat early and frequently.) During dinner I had a contraction. Since I was GBS positive, I decided it was time to call one of the midwives for advice. Since I had seen Rachel F-T just the day before, I called her and left a message. Then I called my mom and left a message for her, since her flight to Sacramento wasn’t for several days yet. I continued having mild contractions approximately 15 minutes apart.

19:00 – Rachel called back and we discussed what I needed to be doing since I was GBS positive. She needed to check with the other midwives about schedule to find out exactly what time Rachel K was going off-call that night and when Lesley was coming on-call for the next day. At that point, Mike and I decided that Conan needed to go to grandma’s house. Baby #2 was not being very considerate of grandma, since Thursday is bingo night. Between 19:00 and 19:45 I had no contractions while I finished packing Conan’s overnight bag, brushed his teeth, and put on his pajamas. As he walked down the front walkway holding grandma’s hand and his stuffed friend Bunny, and looking like a confident little boy, he turned to wave and say “bye” and I had a contraction.

19:45 – Now that Conan was gone it was time for post-dinner snack #1, and then Mike and I frantically tried to finish getting things ready (all of the final things that I had planned to do over the subsequent week). The play room had to be cleaned up to where it would function as a guest room again, the bassinet had to be set up and co-sleeper harness attached to the bed, chest moved into our bedroom to serve as a second diaper changing station, and birth kit/supplies set out. My mom also called back and I told her what was going on. Throughout this time I continued to have mild contractions 15-20 minutes apart. Rachel F-T checked back with me at 20:15 and gave me the specific call schedule.

Shortly before 22:00 – Once the last minute prep stuff was done it was time for post-dinner snack #2. By now I was finally slowing down and felt like it wouldn’t be pointless to go to bed. So I got ready for bed and laid down to journal before sleep. The contractions were still 15-20 minutes apart, but seemed stronger than what I recalled from this point in labor for Conan.

Around 22:15 – After lying down to journal it seemed like contractions started coming every 10 minutes, and were strong enough that I was not sure I’d be able to get much sleep at all.

22:45 – I finished journalling at 22:45 and turned out the light, hoping that when I rested the contractions would slow down. I checked my phone at the next contraction: 10:51. And the next one: 10:56. I thought to myself that if the next one came in 5 minutes, for three in a row, I would call Rachel K. Next contraction was 11:01, had me rocking back and forth in a half kneeling/half prone position, and left me too spent afterwards to pick up the phone right away. (Mike was in the office trying to relax for a bit during this time, before coming to bed himself in case it was an early morning birth.)

23:05 – At 11:06, I groaned and moaned through the next contraction, which brought Mike running. I managed to gasp out that he needed to call Rachel K, which he did. Then he unlocked the door, and jumped into the shower for a quick wash. As soon as Mike was out of the shower I got in to rinse off (from using the toilet). The warm water felt so good on my belly and I think I went a bit longer without a contraction, or so it seemed. Then the warm water didn’t feel so good any more as a contraction came on. I shut off the shower, grabbed my towel, walked out of the bathroom, dropped the towel on the floor next to the sofa, and dropped to my knees on top. After the contraction Mike helped spread out the towel so I could sit on it and rest. He asked if I wanted the tub and I said I did, since my legs felt like jelly, the warm water of the shower had felt so good, and I was hoping it would slow down contractions. So for the next few minutes Mike was running back and forth between the dining room where the tub was and the bedroom where I was. At some point my cloudy mind remembered that we needed to plug in the heating pad for the blankets, which was thankfully sitting next to the outlet that I was sitting next to. And at some point, I also realized (sometimes I’m a little slow) that this was fast labor: in just a few minutes I had gone from “resting” in bed to kneeling against the sofa in the bedroom, unable to move anywhere else. A voice in the back of my head reminded me that if this was fast labor, then we needed to spread out chux pads underneath me to protect the carpet. I didn’t have the mental power to actually voice that to Mike as he tried to be in two places at once.

Shortly before 23:30, Mike texted Rachel “Hurry, bitte (German for please)”.

23:30 – I don’t remember if I heard the front door open, but I heard voices, then Mike came back to let me know that Rachel K was here and I heard footsteps in the hall. How I heard these things I’m not sure, because I’m pretty sure I was screaming at the time (this was the first screaming contraction). I felt Rachel push the lined blanket under me on her way past to wash her hands. While she was washing her hands I felt things moving: fluids and a large something. I gasped something like “there’s something between my legs”. For whatever reason I didn’t want to say “is that a head between my legs?”. I just couldn’t believe that it had happened so fast, and without that “ring of pain!” But indeed, seconds later I heard Rachel say that the head was out and the shoulders would come out with the next contraction. She had arrived just in time to catch the baby! (and save Mike from having to do it, something he really didn’t want to have to do.) Layia Celeste Sheldon was born at 23:32.

It took several seconds for me to be able to look down and see her, and several more before Mike and Rachel could lower me down to sit and I could pick her up. Then they lined a path to the bed with plastic sheets and layered chux pads on half of the bed. After a couple of minutes, with their help I was able to stand up and walk to the bed. Layia and I got a little skin time, but her breathing was really noisy and her mucous was not draining at a normal rate. So Rachel did suctioning and postural drainage a couple times.

23:50 – I cut the cord and Rachel took Layia to the steamy bathroom to continue suctioning and doing postural drainage, in hopes of clearing her nasal passages. She was pretty sure the lungs were clear, and Layia had a strong cry, but the breathing was so noisy it was hard to tell. While Mike and Rachel were in the shower I could hear Rachel K on the phone with Rachel F-T, and could tell from her voice that she was concerned. Everything had happened so fast, though, and I was trying to catch up mentally, so it didn’t make me worry. I trust my midwives, and at that moment I needed to focus on myself.

Around midnight – The student midwife, Martine, arrived shortly after Rachel and Layia went into the bathroom. Martine stayed with me and helped me to get into a better position to push out the placenta. I was still feeling weak so I really had to lean on her.

00:20 – Within minutes after the placenta was born, Rachel suggested that we transport to the hospital. She was concerned that while the extremely slow drainage of Layia’s nasal passages might not be a problem, she couldn’t say for certain and didn’t want to risk us having a blue baby later in the night. For the next few minutes Rachel and Martine did a rough clean-up, Mike helped me get dressed, and I (carrying Layia) went to the kitchen to fuel up with crackers, dried cranberries, and the rest of my electrolyte water. I was HUNGRY!

00:45 – Just over an hour after Layia was born we were in the car on the way to the ER. Oddly enough, my only regret about transporting is that Layia and I didn’t get “birthday cake”, so Layia doesn’t have a birth day candle like Conan does. (A candle that was lit on the actual birth day, and that can be part of subsequent birthday celebrations.)

Continued in Part 2: The NICU

Posted November 2, 2015 by mayakey in pregnancy

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Conan’s Birth Story   4 comments

For weeks leading up to the due date we asked Baby to come maybe a little bit early, but not until grandma Key (my mother) was here. It’s a good thing that we specified a contingent event and not just a date. We picked up my mother at the airport at around 7pm on December 11, one week before Conan’s due date. In the airport Mike leaned over to my belly and told Baby that now that grandma had arrived, it could come at any time. Personally, I was hoping for a few more days before the birth. We picked up dinner on the way home, and my mom and I enjoyed tacos while watching NCIS:LA. Afterwards she went to bed and I started putting away the sheets and baby laundry that I had done that day (all those tiny little socks!). At slightly before 9:30pm I felt a rush of fluid, and then another shortly after. I felt like I had peed my pants, but my bladder was not the cause. I went into the bedroom to check that I didn’t actually need to pee and change my clothes, then went back to putting away the laundry. After another rush of fluid I decided to put on a menstrual pad. I was starting to wonder if this could be my mucus plug or water breaking. The fluid was relatively clear and odorless, so there were no signs of a problem; but I had really hoped that the sack would stay intact for much of my labor to make movement easier for the baby. At 9:47pm I was sitting at my computer and felt what I thought could be a contraction. When I stood up I felt another rush of fluid. At that point I decided that I needed to call one of the midwives to let them know what was going on just in case something happened during the night. I sidled up to Mike and told him with a shaky voice, “Don’t freak out but I’m going to call one of the midwives. I think my water may have broken or the mucus plug may have come out and I may have started going in to early labor.” He was calm, responding that he was excited and the timing was perfect. I was the one who needed the “don’t freak out” admonishment. After all, I wasn’t supposed to go into labor only 2 1/2 hours after my mom arrived in town!

At around 10:15pm I went alphabetical in my phone and called Rachel F-T and left a message, then called Rachel H and talked to her about what had happened. She told me that she’d check in first thing the following morning unless we called her with an update. In the meantime I headed straight for bed to attempt to sleep. Attempt to sleep. Over the course of the night I was woken up at 15 or 20 minute intervals with contractions. I tried really hard to find comfortable positions (or rather positions that made the contractions more bearable): on my side, on my back, and partially sitting up. I kept a rough eye on the clock each time I was woken up so I knew that the time between contractions was variable with 3 or 4 per hour, and they hadn’t really increased in intensity through the night. Come morning I didn’t really want to linger in bed since laying down had not proven to be a very comfortable position during contractions. We got up around 6am, and Mike updated Rachel H over the phone and then called work to let them know he wouldn’t be in and would be starting his FMLA leave immediately. When my mom came out of her room we told her that I had gone into early labor. There were a few tasks that needed to be taken care of first thing, like washing the diapers so we’d have something ready to use! Sometime after 8am Rachel H came to check on me. It was comforting to have her tell me that sometimes the water breaks twice when only the outer membrane ruptures and what comes out is the fluid between the membranes.

Throughout the morning I continued having contractions. I stayed mostly in the living room, and moved from the sofa to one of the birthing balls at intervals to change positions. Walking was not appealing to me, as I felt weak and wanted to conserve my energy. I never had the “happy chatty” phase of contractions that we had been told about; probably because I was asleep for much of my early labor. Instead, during contractions throughout the morning I would stop talking (mid-phrase or mid-word) and focus on breathing and making it through the contraction. The morning is mostly a blur to me. My mom and Mike timed the contractions occasionally during the morning. It was pretty easy for them to do I guess because they could tell by my face, body position, breathing, and/or break in talking when a contraction had started. The contractions gradually increased in frequency over the course of the morning. Mike’s mother came for a while during the morning, then left for a while and came back in the afternoon. Listening to her conversation without joining in was very soothing. Around noon Mike talked to Rachel H again. My contractions were approximately 5 minutes apart at that point, and she told Mike to call her again when the pressure started moving down “like a bowel movement”. Around that point I had started standing up occasionally during contractions, leaning on the window or Mike or someone else. Shortly after 1pm we called Rachel back to let her know that I was starting to feel pressure moving down. The contractions were still around 5 minutes apart. Rachel arrived at the house at around 1:40pm.

At some point in the early morning I had had to rush to the bathroom to throw up the remains of dinner. So for breakfast I had toast. Which soon followed dinner down the toilet. We resorted to warm honey water, since I often do that when I’m sick to provide my body with energy without taxing the digestion. The honey water didn’t stay down either. Rachel H advised that I should stick to not more than 1 cup of room temperature water per hour. In early afternoon we decided to try a little more food since I hadn’t had anything to eat since the toast attempt, and had only been sipping the electrolyte water all morning. I managed to eat 3 pita chips, and 1 or 2 dried apricots. Later my mom fed me a few spoonfuls of plain yogurt with honey mixed in.

I don’t really recall, but according to the labor record by around 2:45pm I started moaning during contractions. I attempted to go to the bathroom sometime after that and just the walk from the living room to the bathroom was exhausting. When a contraction came on as I was returning to the front of the house I got on my knees leaning against the bed. I was feeling weak and scared at that point, on the verge of tears. For some time the world around me had been a blur and I wasn’t really sure what other people were doing as I was so internally focused. When I was kneeling at bedside I thought that I wanted to get into the tub with warm water. Mike helped me stand up and I remember gasping out the question of whether the tub had been filled. I think it took me so long to ask the question that it was interrupted by a contraction. They immediately started filling the tub while I continued kneeling against the bed.

As soon as the tub was full at around 3:15pm, I got in and I didn’t leave it until Conan was born. I don’t think I could have. I floated in the water, sort of sitting on my side at first. The contractions were still around 5 minutes apart, but getting stronger and longer. Rachel F-T arrived not long after I got into the tub. According to the labor record by 4pm the contractions were back to back. I just remember trying to float in the water using as little energy as possible and trying to let the warm water help me relax and ease the pain a bit. I don’t remember it working all that well at the latter. By around 4:20pm I started bearing down at the peak of some of the contractions. When that started I remember again being almost near tears thinking that this just meant several hours possibly of more intense labor. It turns out I’m close to being a screamer when pushing. It took constant gentle reminders to lower my pitch into more productive “oooo” sounds. This is surprising to me as I had expected that I would make similar grunt/groan sounds as when weightlifting. I tried to keep the “I am woman hear me roar” mantra in mind to help me stay low pitched and strong. I remember hearing my mom say that it was really hard to watch me go through this. I was really worried that I wouldn’t have the energy to see the labor through to the end. As dusk fell, other lights in the house were turned on to provide some illumination, but the dining room was left dusky. My world was the tub, Mike or my mom at the head of the tub supporting me and giving me sips of ginger ale between contractions, and the Rachels. Everything else faded into the background. Every once in awhile something would filter through. I remember hearing people talk about lights and suggesting that the entry light be turned on. I remember Marlene’s phone making lots of noise as she got emails about several EBay auctions that were ending. I remember looking up at some point and seeing her and my mom sitting at the dining room table. I remember that my arms and legs felt tingly and heavy.

One of the Rachels suggested that I move to a kneeling position with one leg up at around 5pm. They asked if I wanted to reach down and see if I could feel the top of the baby’s head. I didn’t want to at first because I was afraid of not being able to feel anything, since that would just confirm that I had lots of laboring left to do. When I did finally get up the courage to feel, I felt something smooth and thought I would have a bald baby. I was also frightened by the correlation of the magnitude of pain with how little of the head was visible. I started trying to visualize a blooming rose during contractions and while I was pushing, as a way of trying to visualize the tissues stretching and the head crowning and passing through. Not sure how effective that was. At some point I started praying that I would feel the “ring of fire” soon, if for no other reason than that it would mean I was almost done. Throughout this whole time Rachel F-T would periodically use the doppler to monitor Conan’s heart rate. It was so incredibly comforting to hear her say what the heart rate was since it stayed around 120-130’s. No matter how much I was struggling, I took that to mean that the baby wasn’t being traumatized and was not in any danger.

When I did start feeling the “ring of fire” of course, I just wanted it to be done. I was also afraid at that point that despite a honey straw I had been given shortly before, I’d run out of energy and the baby would be stuck in the birth canal. May seem crazy now, but at the moment… So I pushed long and hard with each wave. According to the birth log there were only five minutes between “almost crowning” and “baby born” notations. Conan Yeager was born at 5:57pm on 12/12/12.

Conan’s birth brought Mike to tears as he got to introduce his son to the world after having kept the gender a secret for so many months. My first thought was decidedly less emotional: “It must be a sea monkey, there’s no way I pushed out anything that big.” In my defense my first sight of him was of his back tinted slightly greenish from the water as he was floated between my legs and up to my arms. (After a water birth the baby is brought to the surface face down.) He was 21.25″ long and weighed 9 lb 2 oz.

Mike and I got to hold him for a few minutes in the tub before I was helped up and out of the tub, dried off, and almost carried into the bedroom by Mike while I held Conan. The placenta was delivered as I rested on our bed and then my mom cut the umbilical cord. Conan rested on Mike’s chest right next to me before he was moved to my chest to nurse. While I was being checked out and stitched up our mothers were sent off to get sushi. It wasn’t my first postnatal meal, since the Rachels had brought “birthday cake” of toast with almond butter and sliced apples, complete with a candle right before I nursed Conan for the first time, and I had finished the honey yogurt and indulged in some snack Bunnies shortly after moving into the bedroom. Some of our friends and family will remember us half joking/half serious that Mike was going to get me sushi while I was in labor, well that was tweaked a bit when we developed our actual birth plan.

When they inspected the placenta they found two holes, so when my water broke it was just the outer membrane that broke and released the fluid between the membranes. Just as I had hoped, Conan was in a fluid cushion until just before emerging. When I felt his head what I was feeling was the inner membrane, not a bald head.

Overall, with the exception of not being able to keep food down, this was a great experience. I am so so so glad we did a home birth. I could not imagine having to pack up in the middle of this to go somewhere unfamiliar with unfamiliar people around me. I do think it is funny that one of my reasons for home birth is that I would be able to move/eat/etc whenever & whatever I wanted; and then I couldn’t keep food down! And while I didn’t necessarily think that I would have a water birth, I knew I would want the tub at some point and am extremely glad that I had that option. I also really liked the fact that no one was tracking my dilation. It was freeing to not know how much time had passed and how much “progress” had been made, and just go with the sensations and experience. Our midwives were awesome, and really calming for me.

Posted February 8, 2013 by mayakey in pregnancy

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