Killian's Co-Care Story Part 1
Killian came too early to be born at home. But he had a beautiful hospital birth with the cooperative care of his midwife and hospital team.
I am finally getting Killian’s Birth story posted, yay! I am posting this in two parts because I haven’t quite finished typing up the end of his birth, and also because I wanted Jon to type up his perspective for me to post as well. This is obviously a birth story, and I talk about fairly descriptive birth things. Be warned;)
Where to begin? For starters, birth turned out quite differently from what I had imagined.
When Jon and I married my view of childbirth was drastically different from what it is today. When we married I thought of childbirth as this horrible, painful ordeal that had to be dealt with. I wanted to birth my baby in a hospital with a big ole’ epidural and I wanted to experience as little pain as humanly possible. Well, I don’t know why I even started the process, but long before I became pregnant I started researching birth. I read blogs, books, websites, and I watch documentary s on birth. I couldn’t seem to get enough information on this fascinating process my body would eventually go through. Slowly my view of birth changed. I began to see a lot of negative side effects to modern day birth interventions and pain relief. I realized that these side effects aren’t always worth the relief they provided (of COURSE this isn’t to say that every intervention is bad. Every woman is different. Every Birth is different). I began to see that birth didn’t have to be a horrible, painful ordeal. I saw that birth could be beautiful and empowering… and believe it or not, birth DIDN’T have to hurt!
Fast forward to my pregnancy. During my pregnancy I did my best to prepare myself well. I was planning for birth with no pain medication at home with a midwife. Jon and I carefully selected a WONDERFUL midwife after interviewing several people. We absolutely fell in love with Jenee the moment we met her, and we knew that God had specifically placed her in our lives for a reason. (Check her out here) For our homebirth, we were goint to rent a water birth tub for me to labor and deliver the baby in. Jon and I took a HypnoBirthing childbirth class with the wonderful Melissa.(Check Mel out here) The class was so amazing, and it really helped prepare us for birth. I can’t recommend it highly enough! A lot of reading and research accompanied every decision we made.
In order to have a home birth, you have to be at least 37 weeks pregnant. That being said, before the baby was born, I had a gut ‘mommy feeling’ that my baby would come early. I assumed that he would be a few days early, not a few weeks. I didn’t mention this to anyone but Jon, because I didn’t want to sound silly if I ended up giving birth on time, or even after my due date.
On January 13, 2015, when I was 35 weeks 4 days pregnant, my labor began. I woke up around 2:45am because I thought I was about to pee my pants. I tried to hold it in as I jumped up and run to the toilet. As I sat on the toilet I felt a gush and I was terrified because I was sure that my water had broken. I looked at the fluid just to be sure it wasn’t pee. Sure enough it was clear tinged with blood. I immediately started crying and I called for Jon. He ran to my side (I’m still sitting on the toilet at this point, haha) and together we called my midwife, Jenee. Well, funny thing happened here! It turns out I have 2 different Jenees in my phone! In my frantic state I dialed Jenee in my phone and she answered the second time that I called. From all my midwife’s paperwork, I knew that when she goes to bed she is always ready for a birth. When she answers the phone, she wakes up and becomes fully alert. In her paperwork she also mentioned to describe the fluid color and smell if you think your water has broken. So when I called Jenee and she answered, she sounded very groggy and exhausted. At this point I was sobbing while I described what had happened with my water breaking and I described the color of the fluid. She just said ‘i think you need to go to the hospital.’ I was freaking out thinking ‘Oh My Gosh! She is my health provider and that’s all the advice she has?!’ She repeated herself and then said she would be praying for me. When I hung up the phone I cried even more. Something didn’t feel right though, so I looked at my phone again. Turns out I had called the wrong Jenee! I had called my good friend Stephanie’s friend from another state, NOT my midwife! I felt terrible for waking her up in the middle of the night… (now I think its hilarious.)
When I realized this, I sent her a text message apologizing and I immediately called my Midwife Jenee. When I spoke with her she tried to comfort me, and she explained that because I was so early, we needed to go to the hospital. I was 10 days too early to have a home birth. She told Jon and I to pack bags for the hospital with clothes, entertainment (in case we were there a long time), outfits for the baby, and a carseat. At this point I started crying even more because at the time we still didn’t have a car seat. Our baby shower was scheduled for 5 days after the baby was born, and we were waiting until after the shower to make final purchases, so we had very few baby things. Jenee talked to Jon on the phone to give him all of the information as well. I really appreciated this because I didn’t think my crying would allow me to relay much information. When we finished our conversations with Jenee, I just put my arms around Jon and sobbed (still sitting on the toilet).
We packed everything we could think of including a sweet outfit for our baby to wear, oils, books, movies and maybe 2 outfits each for Jon and I. Jon was so sweet running around packing everything he could think of that I would need. I basically just slowly packed things for him that he might need. He was so busy taking care of my needs, I knew he wasn’t thinking of what he needed. Thanks to me he had a pillow, razor, toothbrush, and shower supplies:)
About 40 minutes later, Jon and I left the house and headed for Jenee’s house so that she could check the baby’s heartbeat. On the way we stopped at Walgreens and Jon ran in and got me some Depend’s because I was still leaking amniotic fluid. Thank you Jenee for this suggestion! Depends were a huge help with my broken water and they were awesome postpartum. On the way to Jenee’s house, I called both my mom and Jon’s mom to give them a heads up. I also texted our birth photographer (the photos are AMAZING and coming in the next post. This post only has cell phone pictures. Here is her website) to let her know what was going on.
At Jenee’s, she checked the baby’s heartbeat and position to make sure everything was all good. Due to how low the baby was and his position, she wasnt positive he was head dow, so that was something we were going to have to have checked at the hospital. I wasnt worried about it though. (Later at the hospital, they double checked this via ultrasound and he was in fact head down, yay!). After that, we discussed hospital options. She recommended going to Harris in Cleburne because they are a VERY mother baby friendly hospital, as opposed to going to one of the closer Fort Worth Hospitals. She presented us with the options and gave her opinion of why Cleburne would be a good fit, and she had us choose from there where we would go. We were immediately on board with Cleburne because we have heard wonderful stories from several couples who birthed at Cleburne, and we have heard quite a few horror stories from people we know who birthed in Fort Worth. We knew that Cleburne would be more willing to work with me and my body to allow labor to progress as naturally as possible, wheras many other hospitals have a tendancy to want to give you medication or a C-Section if your labor does not proceed quickly enough for their convenience.I knew that Cleburne had a water birth tub, oil diffusers, birth balls, etc. If we were going to birth at a hospital, Cleburne is where we wanted to be. We told Jenee that we did want to go to Cleburne. Jenee had already called Cleburne for us to let them know we were coming. On the way to the hospital, Jon, Jenee and I stopped at Wataburger for breakfast. I had a chicken biscuit with chocolate milk and bacon. I knew that I would want to eat, because we didn’t know how long labor would be, and I like my food. I felt a little awkward at Wataburger because by this point, I was wearing the a tshirt and leggings, but I had changed into the Depends underwear so I had major ‘diaper butt’ haha!
After breakfast, we stopped at our house to pick up some hypnobirthing scripts and cds because we had forgotten them (we didn’t end up using the cds.) We also stopped at his parents house on the way to drop off a house key in case we needed them to bring anything to the hospital later. We then made the 1 hour trip to the hospital. It was still dark when we arrived. I’m not really sure what time it was, but it was shortly before the sun began to rise.
We had to go in the Emergency Room hospital entrance because it was the only entrance open so early. When we went in, Jenee told the front desk girl that we were expected with the hospital Midwives upstairs. We didn’t have to wait long before being able to head to my room.
Jenee and I headed to my room while Jon ran to the car to get the rest of our stuff. Before Jon got to our room, the hospital Midwife on duty was leaving for the day and she basically made me feel awful about the fact that we don’t have maternity insurance. Then she left . Around this time, Jon got to the room with the rest of the bags from the car and Jenee left the room so that we could have some time to ourselves. When we were alone, I just sobbed, worrying about money as Jon held me. Because I didnt have maternity insurance, we paid for our planned homebirth out of pocket. Before the hospital we had nearly finished paying off the homebirth and it was such a great feeling. Well, now here we were at a hospital. Jon and I prayed, and had to really put our trust in the Lord for continued provision.
It was a while before the hospital staff came in. Jenee had informed them that this new birth plan that birthing at a hospital was a huge adjustment for me, so they were giving me a bit of time to get settled in. I really appreciated the privacy. It was so helpful to have some time to adjust in our room.
During this time, I was alternating between being fine and dealing with our situation, and crying and mourning the loss of my plan for a home water birth. My face was red and puffy from crying.
The hospital was amazing. Because I was 35 weeks 4 days, the midwifes and the doctor said that they wanted to keep me pregnant for as many days as they could. They said up to a week would be best, to give the baby more time. As they explained this, I knew that I wouldn’t be pregnant for more than a day or so, max. But I didn’t tell them, for risk of sounding silly (I have got to learn to trust those mommy instincts!). They told me that even though I was a patient, they wanted my birth to be as much like what I wanted as possible. That meant so much to me. I was allowed to wear my own clothes, shower if i wanted, eat and drink, and walk around during labor. They gave me a hep lock (which was miserable because I hate needles) and administered antibiotic to prevent infection. They gave me a shot in the hip that causes baby’s lungs to produce surfactant so that he could breathe on his own when he came. They also gave me a pill to slow labor. They said they would give me one pill every six hours, but I only got the one.
After all of the medication, they did an ultrasound and they saw that baby was in fact head down. Then they hooked me up to fetal monitoring and saw that I was having contractions every 3 minutes. I was so surprised! I felt a pressure and cramping sensation extremely low in my abdomen, but I didn’t realize that they were contractions. I was expecting to feel contractions over my entire uterus, and from what I had read I was expecting a different sensation from what i experienced. I was expecting more of a ‘wrapping’ and ‘pulling’ with each surge. I never experienced a whole belly contraction. The contractions stayed low through my whole labor. The doctor and the hospital midwife soon came in and said that due to the fact that I was contracting we were going to proceed with labor and not try to prevent it. In my mind, I was thinking, good, that’s what I’m talking about! I had reconciled myself to the hospital birth so I was going to enjoy my birth and I knew he was coming soon! ( although I thought it would be the wee hours of the next morning). Jenee and the hospital staff suggested that we not check to see how dilated I was. (Jenee had also mentioned this to me at her home that morning) They didn’t want to add an additional risk factor for infection. I was perfectly fine with this. I knew that finding out how dilated I was wouldn’t necessarily tell me how much longer labor would be. I didn’t want to discouraged if i wasn’t very dilated, and I just plain didn’t want to get checked. By this time my guess is that it was around 11AM or 12PM, but I’m really not sure. I tried not to look at the clock throughout my entire labor because i didn’t want to get discouraged if i didn’t progress as quickly as i thought i should be progressing.
The doctor and hospital midwife were so sweet and helpful. Jenee had told them how badly I wanted a water birth, and they tried really hard for me to be able to get water birth. In the end, the hospital’s policy said that I wasn’t far enough along to get the water birth, but it meant so much to me that they really tried to make it happen for me.
Throughout this whole time I just keep thinking, I need to rest and I need a nap. I was already exhausted, and I had heard many stories of women who went into labor and wished they had rested more in early labor because they had long, exhausting labors.
After it was decided that I would be having a baby soon, I started really feeling a lot of pressure during contractions. Jenee suggested that we walk around the maternity floor of the hospital to help move labor along. I agreed, because I knew it would help get thing moving, but I kept thinking ‘ I just want to lay down and rest!’ As I slowly waddled with Jenee and Jon to do my laps around the floor, I would put my arms around Jon’s neck and relax into him during the contractions. This wasn’t very relaxing for me. I think because we are so close to each other in height, it was less relaxing because i had to bend my knees a whole lot to fully relax into him. Even then I couldn’t relax completely. On our rounds, the hospital midwife on duty, Lisa, passed us in the hall. She did a strong hip squeeze during several of my contractions while I had my arms round Jon’s neck. It was still an awkward position for me to labor in because i had to bend my knees so much to be able to have my arms around Jon’s neck and still relax my body during a contraction. Also the hip squeezes hurt. I told Lisa thank you. When she went on her way Jenee asked if I wanted her to continue squeezes and my answer was a resounding no. After 2 laps we went back to our room. I had some juice and I was going to snack on the lunch tray that had been brought up. I had requested mac and cheese when the hospital food person had called about my meal earlier in the day. The mac and cheese was incredible! It could have been the fact that I was exhausted and hungry, but the mac and cheese was some of the best I have ever had. I was trying to shovel the mac and cheese into my mouth before my next contraction came because it was so good! I soon regretted this because it was so heavy in my stomach. I just remember praying ‘Oh God, please don’t let me throw up!’ The sick feeling in my stomach soon passed, and I had the urge for more mac and cheese, but I resisted.
At some point I sat on the birth ball to see if this would help. I knew that upright laboring would speed things along, but It was awful! It just intensified the contractions. Sitting on the ball created LOT more pressure and it was very uncomfortable. During one contraction on the birth ball I had my arms around Jons neck and I just thought ‘I would like someone behind me doing hip squeezes while I have a contraction.’ At that point Jon called his mom, who was our doula, to have her head to the hospital.
We brought the oils that I wanted to use during labor, but we had forgotten the diffuser. Thankfully the hospital had a diffuser for patients to use. Jenee tracked down the diffuser. The hospital had some lavender oil, but Jenee and Jon decided that the brand the hospital used smelled awful, so we diffused our own Young Living lavender oil ( let me know if you have any questions about it!)
We never got the chance to officially type out our birth plan. I wanted the hospital staff to know my birth preferences, so I told Jon we should write something out for them. We were so focused on labor, this didn’t really work. Jenee started coordinating with Melissa (hypnobirthing teacher) and Melissa was emailing birth plan forms and more relaxation scripts. It was so wonderful! Jon was able to check our preferences on the forms so that we could let the staff know what we wanted and relaxation scripts she sent were so great ! Melissa was so kind and caring and she took the time to help us out, so that our birth could go even more smoothly! (We really love Melissa!) Jenee emailed the forms to the hospital receptionist and had her print them for me. Jon filled out the birth plan forms to give to the hospital staff while I focused on labor. After he gave our plan to the staff, as the afternoon went on, I would think of more things that I wanted them to know. Every time I told Jon (and later Bliss) what to say to the staff, he told me that Jenee had already informed them of my wishes. Jenee was so wonderful! I loved that even though we had to transfer to a hospital, my midwife was still my provider! She was my advocate, my midwife, and a bridge between Jon and I and the hospital staff. We couldn’t have had the amazing birth that we had without her.
Exhaustion was really catching up with me. I had gotten maybe 3 hours sleep the previous night. I was completely tired and worn from the stressors of everything that had happened and I was still hungry. From the time I woke up that morning, until this point the thought constantly in my mind was that I needed rest. I kept thinking that my labor would go into the night and I didn’t want to be awake for 36 plus hours.
So finally after all of the craziness of the morning, the monitoring, the IV and shot, my laps around the floor, and my snacks and juice, I was in the room and able to relax.
I wanted to lay on the bed and nap between contractions, but the traditional laying on my back would be counterproductive to moving baby down. Jenee was wonderful, and set me up in this position, part way on my stomach with one leg up. Its hard to describe but It was an awkward position. I was not a fan of this position because it intensified the contractions, but I was just happy I got to lay down. While I was getting set up on the bed, Jon was getting some hypnobirthing music up on my laptop and gathering the hypnobirthing scripts. He found this really awesome peaceful music track that was 6 hours long on youtube so we had that playing in the background. Jon had practiced reading the relaxations to me long before the birth and he is amazing it. He has the art of a soothing ‘labor voice’ down perfectly. While I was laying down he rubbed my head and did light touch massage on my arms. He placed a cool cloth on my neck while he encourage me and also went through the relaxation scripts. From this point onward I relaxed completely and totally. I fell asleep immediately between contractions. I was so relaxed that I barely remember anything Jon said. I just know that he kept encouraging me. He was the most amazing labor companion.At some point, I don’t know when, Bliss showed up and had a warm rice pack for my back. During each contraction she would do a hip squeeze while Jon and I continued to labor together. It was so nice, because I got some relief while Jon and I worked together. When one of the nurses came in to monitor me I got to lay on my side and I was so relieved. When she left I refused to lay back in the half stomach position again. So Jenee brought in a ‘peanut’ for me to put my leg up on to get my pelvis in the proper position for bringing baby down. I labored in this position for a while. When I really had to use the restroom, I held off for quite a while because I was afraid Jenee would make me get in the awful position when I got back:) I told them all that I had to go to the restroom but I wanted to come back to my same position. I made sure my wish was acknowledged before I got up. Every time I had to go to the restroom Jon was amazing. He stood by me as I put my arms around his waist. I would do several contractions on the toilet to help bring baby down. The pressure was so intense on the toilet I didn’t usually stay on the toilet more than 10 or 15 minutes each restroom trip. At one point, my guess is it was around 2pm, Jenee sent Jon to get lunch for himself outside of the hospital because the cafeteria was closed. She told Jon that she suspected I was dilated to a 2 and this would be a long labor. She told him he needed to get out of the hospital for a break and take his time so that he could have the energy to support me. I didn’t know this, because she was careful to whisper so that I didn’t hear and become discouraged. (I knew that the labor wouldn’t last that long, but i didn’t say anything to risk sounding like an idiot. )
When Jon left Bliss continued hip squeezes behind me while Jenee took Jon’s place in front of me. Bliss was so great at timing the hip squeezes during the contractions. The counter pressure was such a relief, and I was so grateful for that! Time was a blur for me this whole time. Jon was laboring with me while I laid down for about an hour before he left. When he left, he was gone for about another hour.
When Jon was gone, I continued to sleep between contractions. I didn’t fully wake up for my contractions, I was so relaxed. I just remember feeling kind of hazy, and I kept asking where Jon was. When he got back I was thrilled! He was my rock and my partner. When Jon was back, I had him walk me to the bathroom a few times and I would hold his waist while I sat on the toilet again. One of those times felt like I had to poop. From reading a million birth stories, I knew that it was most likely the baby’s head, and I really didn’t need to poop. I told Bliss i felt like i needed to go, but I really didn’t’ think I would go because I thought it was the baby. She encouraged me to try If i wanted to, and if I didn’t go, no big deal. Well, I was sitting on the toilet, trying to poop, and all of the sudden I got blazing hot! Up to this point I had been laboring in my sweat pants, a tshirt and socks. Still sitting on the toilet, I ripped of my shirt and pants. I was only wearing my sports bra and my socks. While I was sitting on the toilet, I just knew it was time for the baby to come so I yelled ‘I need someone to check me now!’ Jenee said, OK, but you’re going to need to get off the toilet. My first thought was, oh my gosh, I literally didn’t even think of that! So someone adjusted the bed so that I could sit up on it, and Jon helped me sit. When Jenee checked me she said that she could feel the baby’s head and I was fully dilated and the baby was descended to -2 (if Jon and I remember correctly) . Almost time for Killian’s arrival!
To Be Continued…..