Friday, January 31, 2014

birth story

So, my birth plan got chucked out the window.  Turns out, all for the better!

The plan was:
Natural labour with J and my Mom attending at:
#1 - Birth centre
#2 - hospital if the birth centre wasn't open yet (or there was some complication)
#3 - we prepared the home birth kit because it's winter.  The blizzard in mid December, and the ice storm a week later scared me, and I didn't want to be at home scrambling because we couldn't leave and an ambulance was taking forever.

To start, it was a Pickle (my 16 y/o stepson) weekend!  The original plan was to go to Grandpa W's in Tottenham.  We decided Thursday maybe that wasn't a good idea.  So Pickle was going to come down Friday night, or Saturday morning.  Well, being a 16 year old boy, he slept until 3pm!  But first, back to the beginning...

Saturday I had regular, not strong contractions in the early morning 5/6am ish.  I decided to have a bath, and they slowed down some, but I called the midwife and was instructed to rest, and to call back when they got frequent and more intense. Around 8:30 I called my mom, and she came over late morning (after a shower and breakfast) My contractions where fairly mild, so she went out and bought fixings for chicken stock, as I probably wouldn't want to eat, but would need something nutritious.  I called the midwife around 2:30 again with stronger contractions and got checked. 80% effaced and 1 cm dilated. I called SisterS as she was supposed to pick up my mil and bring her back here when we left for the hospital. Midwife left so I could continue to labour in peace. I overheard hubby tell the her that we are prepared for a home birth if it needed to happen.  The stock smelled really good so I had a cup and half a grilled cheese, contracting stronger and regular. We finally found out that Pickle had slept until 3.  I suggested that his mom, who was driving him, pick up mil, as things where obviously progressing.  J and I moved to the bedroom to try some hypnobirth techniques. SisterS arrived. I got in the bath. Things really revved up. My mom was amazing, and coached me though.  J called the midwife at 5:30, again he said we where ready for home birth. I got out of the bath and onto bed and asked J if a home birth was really ok with him. He said yes!! (I have wanted a home birth all along, but J was very uncomfortable with the idea, so I compromised with the idea of the birth centre)  I started having crazy contractions, wanted to push.  I was on my hands and knees, and kept thinking I sounded, and probably looked like a gorilla!  I went with it.  I think I need to send a thank you to Ina May Gaskin who talks about 'letting your monkey do it', and imagining yourself as an animal.  The midwife  arrived after 2 contractions like that. She checked me again, had a small lip of cervix and waters still intact.  She got busy getting all her gear ready and called back up midwives. Transition sucked. It was very scary.  I wanted to stop, but my body wouldn't.  Got shaky and dry heaved a few times.  My mom's continued coaching, and J's comfort where so so helpful during that part.  I've never felt so scared.  The midwife wanted me on my back to push (she gave a reason...I don't remember, I just wanted it done!).  J was on one side, mom on the other. I was given the go to push. My waters broke in a streaming gush, almost in the midwife's face!  The crazy part was the audible "pop!".  The midwife was an amazing coach. I would have had to push way longer if weren't for her. I was stopping during the most intense parts because it was so scary. She got me to continue. I felt the babies head, and that gave me more strength. J got up to catch the baby. He had his first poo all over all of us immediately after his exit.  I had to ask if it was a boy or girl!! We got to do skin on skin for a loooong time. J cut the cord and I pushed out the placenta. I had one small tear.  The midwife said it was his hand and that I got his head out with no tears!! Lionel pooped all over me again while we cuddled. The midwife gave me 2 stitches. I breastfed with the help of another midwife with some success.
I'm still in disbelief that it happened so quickly, and so perfectly.  15ish hours in labour, an hour and a bit pushing.  I went from 1 cm to fully dilated in 3 hours!  unbelievable.
I am thrilled that I am in the care of midwives.  They are so caring, and thorough.  I can't imagine being in the care of even the most caring obstetrician.  The doctor would not have gently cleaned up the poo, including mine!  It's just not in their training. 
We have had 3 home visits from my two midwives, with one more tomorrow.  I will have a total of 6 weeks care from them.  I'm already feeling sad for when being in their care is over.

We have the placenta in the freezer, and plan on burying it near the same tree we put the sacred herbs for Rizo.  

On the subject of having a graceful labour:  It never felt clunky or ugly.  My midwife said it was beautiful.  I think I achieved my idea of a graceful labour ("...accepts things as they come, with beauty.  Accepts the good and bad with beauty and openness."), even if, or maybe because, I was a gorilla!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I have a baby!

Meet Lionel Braz Grove
Jan 25th, 7:55pm
7lbs 2oz, 20.5 inches

Lionel and Pickle

Lionel and Ma

Lionel, Oma and me

Lionel, Daddy and me

Birth story to follow

Friday, January 24, 2014

Grace in labour

Before I wrote yesterdays blog, I posted a coles note version of it as my status update in Facebook.

Someone's response to this bit "Asking for the blessing of an uncomplicated, easy, graceful labour." was:

"Graceful is not a word I associate with labour....but I wish you as uncomplicated and easy a labour as possible."

My response:

'Why not?

"Graceful: characterized by grace of form, manner, movement, or speech"
1. Seemingly effortless beauty or charm of movement, form, or proportion.
2. A characteristic or quality pleasing for its charm or refinement.
3. A sense of fitness or propriety.
a. A disposition to be generous or helpful; goodwill.
b. Mercy; clemency."

Labour does not have to be ugly and clunky and scary. I'm sure I'm not going to breeze around in a gown. But I'd love to labour in grace.'

And truly.  I have not experienced active labour before. I have had bouts of painful pre-labour contractions.  I needed to remind myself to relax.  Not to grimace.  When I faced those contractions with, shall we dare to say, grace, I felt less scared, and although I don't know if I'd say they where less painful, I was able to get though that minute more easily than the previous contraction.

I think the key word in the definition is 'seemingly'.  Like anything, grace takes effort.  Maybe it comes more naturally to some, but there is always effort behind it. 

I can either face the pain and/or discomfort with calm grace ('seemingly effortless', 'a sense of propriety'? 'goodwill'?) or fearful anticipation.  Maybe they aren't quite opposites, but I think 'grace' works.

I've been reading a lot.  Mainstream stuff, 'hippy' stuff.  Lots by Ina May Gaskin. Even 'old' stuff like 'Childbirth Without Fear' by Grantly Dick-Reid from the 40's.  I'm making informed choices.  
I know, I know, I know there is no amount of reading that will prepare me for this.  I'm not naive.  It will be work.  It will be painful.  It will be hard.  But that does not mean I need to be scared.  Anticipation of pain always always makes it worse.  No need to laugh when I say, "No, I'm not getting an epidural"  Don't pity me.   Respect my choices, as I've made them with much information.  Respect the words I use to describe my ideal labour.

(A quick aside: Although I've been vocal about not liking elective c-section, chemical inductions etc. I DO respect that it is a choice, I just feel they are uninformed choices a lot of the time.  Choices made in fear.)

My hope by going into labour with grace, peace, and calm that even if my plans go awry, I can stay graceful, peaceful and calm. 

aha!  Writing that out made me realize why the word grace works. 

Grace is not about my labour being pain free, complication free, epidural, episiotomy, induction, c-section free.  Having a graceful labour is flowing with what comes.  

When I think of grace I think of a gentle smile.
Someone who accepts things as they come, with beauty.
Accepts the good and bad with beauty and openness.

That is what I mean when I say I want a graceful labour.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

today is the estimated due date!

I hadn't posted that IT'S MY DUE DATE TODAY! you know why? 'cause it doesn't mean a single thing. ha ha. It's been changed like 3 times. The first day of my last menstrual cycle was April 14. Took a test May 14, and it was positive.

Officially I have to go into spontaneous labour in the next 2 weeks or I will be induced. It's the law that my midwives have to send me to an obstetrician after 42 weeks.  Then it's pretty much guaranteed that the OB will say "INDUCE!".  I'm not keen on induction.  The possibility of cesarean section go up with induction.  But, I figure I've been having early labour for a while now (on and off for 2 weeks).  Even if I don't go into 'real' labour on my own by 42 weeks, my body was doing something (I hope!).  My concern with induction is when ones body hasn't started anything.  There are OBs who have offered chemical induction to women in my baby group at 38 weeks, with no medical reason.  Are they going on holiday or something?  They all reported that labour was really slow, and really painful.
Ahem, not that I think spontaneous labour won't be!

I'm keeping open to whatever happens.  Yes, with emphasis on the birth centre being first hope, but knowing regardless, even if it where open, anything can happen.

Speaking of the Birth Centre!  I was interviewed by CityNews:
If you are the paying/blessing type, I'm asking for the blessing of an uncomplicated, easy, graceful labour. Steady minds and good health for my support team. But above all, a healthy baby and mommy no matter what form birth happens.

I am feeling really blessed with how uncomplicated this pregnancy has been. No matter my complaints of sore back, and boot getting on difficulty, it's been a *really* good pregnancy. I've been blissing out on alone time, by myself, or with J.  We like to spend our mornings chatting in bed.  I like to have an uninterrupted bath.  And sometimes I just lay in bed, playing solitaire on my phone!

I'm not feeling scared about labour. I am accepting the unknown.  I've read lots, and know that it doesn't have to be scary. I think I have a certain respect to the process, and I trust my team, and my self.

I don't like the anticipation of waiting with no known end date though.
AHHHHH! I'm going to be someones MOM soon!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

38w 3d

No news is good news.
We're playing the waiting game here.
Waiting for the birth centre to open so I can give my body permission to go into labour (while at the same time, keeping open, knowing I'm not *really* in charge)
And just waiting for Ziggy to arrive!

Waiting and not knowing when is my worst feeling to feel.  I really like knowing.

So I'm just consciously enjoying all my lazy time.  I've been watching Parenthood, and on the 3rd season.  I'm knitting Ziggy a little blanket.  I putter around the house, doing the dishes in small batches, 'cause my sciatica has gotten pretty bad now.  Just a small grump as I've had a really great pregnancy.  Getting my weekly laundry doing exercise.  2 floors is a good hike for me now!

I had an unexpected ultrasound Wednesday.  My belly measured small, and although its common for each care giver to measure slightly different, and for each patient to be different, and for it being close to the end and Ziggy's head is partly in my pelvis, I hadn't grown in the week, and I've been measuring and inch small I was sent to get checked out, just in case.  More no news is good news as no one has contacted me yet, and the tech promised to send the info asap.
Jason was a small baby, and although both Sister S, Sister J and I where bigger, and so was Pickle, we *do* have smaller people on both sides of the family. 
And I've been whispering to Ziggy not to get too big since Pickle was over 10 Lbs.
I got to see Ziggy again on the screen, so that was fun.  Zig blew me a kiss (lips where pursing) and nose was squished against my uterus.  Heartbeat was good, and lots of moving.  As far as I could figure out, head is 9.5 cm diameter.  I have NO idea if that's normal or not lol.

I've been feeling the signs of early/pre labour.  Minor period like cramps, sore back and lots of Braxton Hicks contractions that don't hurt.

My belly dropped some yesterday too.

I went out 'one last time' Friday night.  I'm going to miss my friends a lot.  Our group isn't so much one on one as going to events, so I feel like I'm about to get real lonely.  (so friends, if you are reading this, come visit!!)




38w 2d.  Can you see that my belly is lower?