Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Oswin's Birth Story

AB Mills Photography

I'm officially a mom of three. It hasn't fully sunk in yet. We found out we were pregnant in August, and I posted this announcement in December. Here we are on the other side at newborn life again, and I couldn't be happier.

*As with my other birth stories, this gets pretty real and raw. Read at your own risk. *

*All the awesome pictures in this post were taken by our videographer and friend, Alexis Mills, who also did our maternity photos. She can be found here and Facebook *

AB Mills Photography

Three things made my last weeks of pregnancy extra difficult psychologically:

1. My babies come fast, so we were instructed not to wait too long to get to the birth center. 
2. Despite my history of going past my due date, I had a false alarm at week 37, which put me on early alert for "any day now." 
3. Baby #3 gave me more false contractions than my previous two. 

I was anxious and irritable during my last two weeks of pregnancy. Sweet pregnancy moments like this maternity shoot were behind me, and I was more than ready for baby to come. 

AB Mills Photography

Thursday was Zane's first official day of advanced leave for six weeks. I had a my 39 week prenatal appointment. The midwife and I discussed membrane stripping the next week if I felt worse than I did that day. I was grumpy. I went straight to my chiropractor appointment and impulsively added on an acupuncture treatment, which aids in natural induction. I hate needles, but I was so over being pregnant.

Thursday night was awful. I was so stressed about baby coming or not that I sobbed myself to sleep. Not a pretty picture. 

Friday morning, still pregnant. We had a lot planned that day, so the day went by quickly. Determined to not repeat the previous night, I had a glass of red wine (scandalous), magnesium supplement CALM, and chamomile tea. I was relaxed and went to sleep easily.  

I woke up at 1:55am with contractions.  I called the midwife at 2:48am, after an hour of them coming 3-7 minutes apart and lasting for 1-1.5 minutes. We decided to meet at the birth center at 4am. 

Zane's mom came to stay with the girls, I texted our videographer, and we were off. I only had three contractions in the car. Every time one subsided, I worried that I wouldn't get another one, and this would just be another false alarm, which I don't know if I could have handled. 

The midwife and birth assistant had just discharged another mom, so they were exhausted from not sleeping all night. She took our vitals and said that given my history of fast births, I could labor there a few hours to see what would happen. 

Alexis (our videographer who also took these phone shots), Zane, and I hung out for a couple hours. Alexis timed my contractions for me, which was helpful because every time the midwife came to check on me, it seemed I was between contractions. She kept implying that it may not be real labor, which made me anxious to prove to her that it was, but I couldn't make my contractions come any more regularly. They were sometimes 10 minutes apart, but would last for 2 minutes. They gradually got more intense, which was reassuring, though painful. 

The midwife gave me a large dose of magnesium, but my contractions never went away. She suggested that maybe it was early labor. 

When the sun came up, we walked around outside. Alexis and Zane were both very convinced it was true labor, which was helpful, because I needed encouragement that I wasn't crazy.

Zane left for about 30 minutes to get Chick Fil A, during which time Alexis applied counter pressure to my back (Zane's job) during contractions. When he came back, I took one bite of the chicken biscuit, had a contraction, and put it aside. It made me want to vomit.

This position of me standing behind the couch and Zane pressing on my back was my preferred way to labor. There were some contractions where his counter pressure completely removed the pain, so much that I wondered if I was really having a contraction. I'd ask him to lift his hands, and the pain would return. Counter-pressure works wonders!

Oswin was ROT for the last couple weeks in the womb - Right Occipital Transverse, which is a type of posterior, which means back labor. I had done lots of spinning babies stuff to try to help her, but she liked that position. I only labored vertically and did lots of tummy lifting to encourage her to turn.

After three contractions in a row pretty close together, I got in the tub. A couple minutes later I had an intense contraction that reminded me of Amy's birth. I started crying and asked Zane to pray for me. I sobbed into a towel on the side of the tub, not wanting to feel the pain that was about to come.

These photos make labor look so serene and peaceful. Though it was painful, I wouldn't want to labor any other way. 

During my sob fest, the new midwife (on-call midwife changed at 9:00am) came in and said hi. The contractions picked up in intensity. She checked my progress. I was 8cm, and my cervix was stretchy, so she said to push whenever I wanted. The last time she took Oswin's doppler heart rate, Oswin was completely anterior, the perfect position for birth.

I tried a couple pushes, but it didn't seem like the right time. My legs were falling asleep from the kneeling position, so I sat back and stretched them out.

The midwife told me to let them know when I felt the burn so they could support baby's head.

I soon got a crazy painful contraction that included my first push. I moved back to my corner of the tub in my relatively comfortable position, and let the contractions come. I moaned and groaned and grunted through them, thinking, "I can't do this another time."

I heard many voices, including the midwife who caught Amy. Everyone was very encouraging. Alexis and Zane changed out the cool wash cloths on my head and neck.

I felt her descend through my pelvis and growled through the push to get her head out. I took a break, and the midwives said, "Don't stop!" So I pushed her entire body out in one push, which was unlike my previous babies. With my first two babies, I pushed out the head, took a break, then pushed out the body. Oswin came out in one long, exhausting push at 10:18am.

They said, "Deborah, look at your baby." But I was too exhausted from the push, so I said, "I can't. Give her to Zane."

Zane helped catch her, and he lifted her out of the water. He said it was the most amazing experience.

AB Mills Photography
I turned over and said some things about how much that sucked, but when they passed me Oswin, joy came over me. She was screaming! She has a great set of lungs. I kissed her head and told her I loved her.

AB Mills Photography
I had another contraction, which I had to breathe through. I had forgotten about after contractions. They were pretty bad.

The midwives drained the tub and helped me step out with Oswin still attached to me via cord. I felt a contraction coming and squatted down, worried I'd drop Oswin. I said, "I'm gonna poop!" They said, "That's okay!" But instead I delivered the placenta. They wrapped it up, put it in a bowl, and helped me to the bed. This was the first baby that we could delay cutting the cord, so it was strange for me to hold her with the cord.

Apparently when I took the break pushing her out, she was only out to her nose, so she had some light bruising on her cheeks that went away by her second day of life. 

I didn't tear at all, and my bleeding was very normal. Oswin was perfect and nursed within an hour, which helped the after contractions along. My tailbone has been sore ever since, most likely due to all the back labor. My uterus was sore for a couple days, but the cramping has subsided for the most part. 

We were discharged at 2:00pm. The girls were at home waiting for us. Zane kept them in their bedroom while I got Oswin out of the carseat and sat down with her. He filmed them running out to meet her. It was like Christmas morning. 

Daisy said Oswin was adorable. We asked Amy what she thought, and she said, "Good." Amy asked about her going back into my belly, and we explained it was a one-way trip. 

This recovery period has been amazingly easier than after my previous two babies. My parents have helped so much, and Zane is completely off work and school. He can focus 100% on us. Our 2-day postpartum visit and Oswin's first doctor's appointment were a breeze. It felt like Zane and I were on a day date.

3 days old
I'm not sure what the weeks ahead will look like when grandparents go home and eventually when Zane goes back to work, but I'm enjoying these short first days of life, knowing that Oswin will grow up too fast.

My other two unmedicated birth stories:
Daisy's Birth Story
Amy's Birth Story

Our amazing birth center:
Labor of Love

Our wonderful photographer/videographer:
AB Mills Photography
Oswin Peace's Birth Video on YouTube