And I had a baby.
So here's my story of how our sweet little girl came to be!
If you're interested, you can read about the birth of our first here: http://katrinamlewis.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-birth-story-of-amalie.html
The beginning of it kinda makes me cringe because it feels like I'm shoving natural birth down the readers throat. Not my intention. BUT I do think it's the best option. Of course I do. I chose it. Why would I choose something I didn't think was the best. But that just means it's the best for ME. So choose whatever you want. Read about stuff, ask people you trust, pray about it and then go with what feels right to you.
Our first was born in a birth center. It was great. I loved being somewhere homelike with great care available to me. Well we moved across the country and our options became limited. Actually there were no options besides hospital #1, #2, or #3. So we chose #1. I will admit that I was terrified of giving birth in a hospital. All of my anxiety throughout the pregnancy was focused on the hospital aspect of everything. I was worried I wouldn't be heard, my preferences would be ignored, or I would be too scared to speak up. I was worried of having interventions done and spiraling out of control. I just didn't want to be in that environment. I went on the tour to see the labor and delivery rooms and had a mini anxiety attack while there. As we left my daughter said "Mom. I don't like this. I don't want the baby to be born here". I didn't really say anything besides "It will be okay"! Inside I was like... you're right! Me neither! I'm scared. Let's move!
Okay. So then I did Hypnobabies again. It was nice. I didn't have as much time to really devote myself to it because I have another child. But I did it like 85% of it. And I'll give myself a C on effort. I'm comfortable with C's. I did however read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and that was fantastic. The whole first half of the book is full of birth stories told by women. Every woman is different. We all need and want different things during birth and those stories empowered me. They gave me ideas of things to think about during my birthing time and that was huge. Another important thing I did was try and tune out people when they shared birth stories which didn't fit my personal mindset. We share stories as a way to connect but sometimes those stories are scary, fear-based and don't uplife or empower women. Birth is good. It's normal. It's natural.
The first week in October is General Conference for the church I belong to. Sunday morning I woke up with some good contractions. They were every 10 minutes for an hour. I was excited. They continued through the day. We went on a walk and they picked up. Mind games. Then suddenly it was 5 pm and I didn't really want to try and get them going because I figured if it was real, they would keep going but otherwise I needed rest. That was basically my day for the next three weeks. I lived like Bill Murray on Groundhog day. Contractions that were consistent, would pick up and tease and then die down, and then pick up and blah blah blah. I don't want to talk about it.
I was "due" October 18th. On October 20th my dad came into town. He was going to meet the baby. But the baby wasn't there. So we had a party that weekend! We did so much. I walked SO.MUCH. Saturday I had contractions throughout the day but I didn't think anything of it because this had been my life for three weeks. I had come to the conclusion that my child wasn't coming. No matter how many sweet conversations I had with her about me being really ready to meet her, I just figured she didn't want to come.
Saturday night at 11:20 my waters tore. I was there in bed when I felt a really lovely and strong contraction. In the height of it I felt a shift of my uterus. Like my whole stomach thudded. Then I stood up and was soaked. YESSSSS. I've never been more excited to be covered in a bodily fluid in my life. I got in the shower, ate apples and labored in the nice water. I listened to a hypnobabies CD. Tanner finished packing.
He called our Doula and she told us she would be there whenever we gave the word. I was worried about the timing of everything because she lived an hour away and I didn't want her to get her too early and have to wait or go back home or anything. I was worried about coordinating a babysitter as well but guess who was here? My dad. It was obviously the perfect time. So after a bit, I came back into our bed and labored. My husband and dad gave me the sweetest blessing which provided great comfort.
Around 1:30 our Doula got here. SHE.IS.AMAZING. Everyone should get a Doula. Tanner is amazing and was amazing with our first but I was anxious enough about the hospital birth that I needed another advocate in the room with us. I needed someone else on our "team" and I needed someone to help us get our choices across. She did that and so much more. We stayed in the bedroom while I labored on the ball and mostly on my hands and knees. I loved having my face pressed down on the bed during strong waves. I breathed and enjoyed the amazing rushing feelings of my uterus contracting. Like seriously, how amazing is that muscle? We talked and joked around for a few hours and it was great. Around 4 or so I started realizing that whatever I was feeling during these waves I would have to experience without help in the car. So we decided it was time to go because at that point I needed help to get through things.
The car ride was fun and I threw up the whole time. Luckily at 4 in the morning there aren't many cars out so we could go quickly.
Being admitted to the hospital was honestly the most annoying part of the birth time. For the next hour I was just annoyed. I had to be wheeled up in the wheel chair and I was in a daze. I was very in the zone but also just annoyed about other people being around. I didn't feel safe. I was checked and declared a 5/6. I went with the 6. Nurses were in and out in a flurry, talking, joking, and being loud. I just wanted to concentrate. It was very opposite to what it was like at home or the birth center. My contractions slowed down and were much more manageable which was annoying to my progress. They put a HEP lock on my arm just in case and I told them what we wanted as far as the birth plan went. Basically I was hoping to keep things as normal and natural as possible. Something I was very passionate about was not getting Pitocin after (or before) she was born. Somehow it's routine to give a woman synthetic ocytocin after a woman gives birth to a baby in order to have to uterus contract to give birth to a placenta. I realize I'm sounded snotty. I'm sorry. But in my mind that doesn't make sense. They had to check to get the okay for that one. ? A midwife came in and she was very nice and kindly gave me permission to not have to get pitocin after birth. Thank you for your permission. I signed lots of papers and breathed through contractions while people talked to me and asked me questions. Okay I think I painted the picture. I was annoyed!!!
Finally after everyone left (5:30 or so), the three of us were able to enjoy labor. It was awesome. I stayed on my hands and knees a lot, stood on the side of the bed, swayed, and breathed. My Doula literally massaged my hips for the duration of each of my contractions. I promise she was getting a better work out than I was. Everyone should get a Doula. She was a saint. I am so grateful for her. Tanner was able to be near my face and talk to me which was awesome. I loved him being in front of me and being able to see him this time around. It was huge and really what I needed. They helped me breathe and helped me concentrate and not loose control. It was lovely and intense.
Around 8/8:30 I started to feel pressure and wanted to start pushing. With Amalie I pushed much too early and was not ready for it. I wore myself out. Everything was a blur because I didn't know what was happening. This time I knew a bit more and was able to really let my body go in a controlled way and enjoy what was going on in my body. The midwife came and checked me and I was declared an 8. She told me not to push because I could tear my cervix. Wha? So that made me worried. My Doula told me she would not let that happen and just go with what my body was telling me. So I breathed her down and around 9 am I was so ready to go. Everyone had just changed shifts so a new midwife came in. He was amazing. Yes, I said he. He is a family doctor and wasn't delivering as much as he wanted so he got his midwifery license. He was just who I needed. So he checked me and said I was complete! I said something along the lines of "what? Like a ten? I'm done"? So they got everything ready and I was able to be on my hands and knees on the bed.
Tanner was up near the front and I was hanging on to the sides of the bed, pressing my face into his shoulder. Pushing was amazing. Honestly, it was the best part and felt so good. SO GOOD. The midwife gave me a few coached pushes of just counting (which usually data says no! but it was totally right). Pop! Out she came! 3 pushes is what they said. What do they count as pushing-it felt like I pushed more than three times. It was quick whatever it was! Tanner said the midwife exclaimed, "head, compound hand, body" and he heard tha-thunk as she came out. She was born with her little hand by her head-so cute. I immediately got to hold her after I turned around and she was so wonderful!!! Beautiful blonde hair and the sweetest little face. She latched about 10 minutes later and nursed for a good 30 minutes.
It was a wonderful night and a beautiful Sunday morning. Her timing was perfect in every way. Our Heavenly Father knows what we need, who we need, and when we need it. I am so grateful for knowledge of His plan. My dad had a flight that morning but was able to come by the hospital for 20 minutes before the airport. It was wonderful for him to be able to hold her. Amalie got to meet her that afternoon and it was the sweetest reunion. Oh how I love those two girls. I'm very grateful for the hospital staff and for their attentiveness to us. We felt weird staying there because we went home 4 hours after our first was born but all in all it was just great.
We went home the next early afternoon and my mom came in a few hours later. She was amazing. Everything was wonderful. We had a hiccup the next day and had to spend another 24 hours in the hospital under the lights but Clara was a champ (I was not) and everything turned out fine and dandy. I am so grateful for those who helped us at the hospital. I'm grateful for my body and my uterus doing its thing. I'm grateful for my Doula and her amazing hands and her strength and knowledge. She knew what and when to tell me things. What a woman. I'm grateful for Tanner and his calm assurance and support through it all. There was no doubt in my mind we were doing this together. What a blessing to know this during the vulnerable time of birth as well as through life in general. I'm grateful we were entrusted with this beautiful spirit on this earth. We can't wait to learn and grow with this expansion of our family and this amazing addition. Clara is content. She goes with the flow and is teaching me to breathe. It was a beautiful 10 hours and I seriously can't wait to do it again.
P.S. Here are some pretty pictures of it all...well, not ALL.