our birth story.

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As I sit here today, three weeks after my precious baby boy was born, I watch him stretch out his arms so big over his head and slowly start blinking his blue eyes open all the while making the sweetest cooing noises. I’m love-struck. These are the moments I’m living for… I want to soak in every single second with him. I never dreamed of loving someone or something as much as I do this precious child. “Sweet Jesus, your agape love is more than I can handle. How much you love us, your children, blows my freaking mind.”

On March 27th at 1 a.m., my pressure waves started. They were intense from the moment they began at 3-4 minutes apart lasting 60-90 seconds. I waited until 3 a.m. to wake Husband. He started timing the waves and was immediately anxious. He called L&D and requested a room with a birthing tub and then called our doula, Alex. They (Brady & Alex) decided it would be best for us to go to the hospital instead of our original plan of Alex coming to the house so I could spend the majority of my birthing time in the comfort of my own home. We arrived at the hospital shortly after 5 a.m., got checked in and went to triage. I chose to not be informed about my dilation – I wanted to stay focused, stay positive, and let my baby’s birth happen naturally. The nurse took Brady to the hall and informed him I was 4cm at 6 a.m. My dear husband thought we were going to have our baby on the way to the hospital… and since that didn’t happen, he thought for sure he would be out before noon.

We finally got settled into our room. I tried to relax and put our Hypnobabies into practice, but I just couldn’t relax. I laid down and listened to scripts for a little while, but still couldn’t get comfortable. Alex and Brady started running water in the tub in hopes that would help my body relax. I spent probably 5-6 hours in the tub, my pressure waves getting even stronger, closer together, and longer. I had intermittent monitoring of the baby who continually had a great heartbeat throughout the entire birthing time. After a few hours, I needed complete silence, cool compresses on my head, and warm water poured over my back. Husband and Alex provided exactly what I needed and continued to fill me with positive reinforcement.

After the tub, I let my body lead, allowing it to move, twist and turn however necessary. A few more hours passed, I left my body and got lost in a cloud of ecstasy, the euphoria filled me, my body felt calm, baby was moving down, and it felt ahhhhmazing. And then the intensity of my pressure waves magnified.

Throughout the entire day, my eyes stayed tightly closed… I saw the sun rise and fill the room and then set behind my eyelids. Time was irrelevant. Husband told me over and over again, “he’s coming babe” or “he’s almost here”… and after hours and hours I began thinking he’s not coming at all. The discomfort was nearly unbearable at times. I needed a break… just 5 mins. without the tight squeeze surrounding my abdomen. I was hungry and tired. I felt like I couldn’t go on anymore. Thankfully, I had already told Brady not to give in to me, no matter what I said. He felt helpless; he couldn’t take the discomfort away. Our nurse suggested nitrous oxide (laughing gas). She said, “it’ll take the edge off”. We decided that was the best option and not too long after our decision was made, a mask was brought in. I’m not sure if it actually did anything but, according to my husband, it at least did two things: mentally, it was helping me through my pressure waves, and two, it muffled my moaning 🙂

Pushing began around 6:30 p.m. I was so tired and my pushing was ineffective. Then it was 7 p.m., shift change. Here is what Brady said about that: “The midwives/doctors had a shift change at 7 p.m. and in walked a doctor at 7:30 p.m. that had not read our birth plan and immediately tried to take advantage of my frail, discouraged wife. She basically said we need to get the baby out and tried talking us into an epidural, forceps, or a vacuum. Alex and I told her we would talk about it, but Jenny said she doesn’t care how he comes out, he just needs to come out. She was tired, weak, and ready to meet our son. When the doctor left the room, I heard her tell a nurse that she would be back in 1½ hours and that Jenny wasn’t even close to having him out. Closing in on 18 ½ hours, I finally felt discouraged. Jenny was so tired her eyes were just rolling around in her head. I was defeated…so I thought.”

The next 30 minutes was basically a big blur for me, so I’m going to let my amazing Husband tell the rest of our story…

A new nurse came in with the shift change and was super nice. She began giving Jenny a perineal massage and, during one of my cold compress exchanges, she told me to come look. I was a little hesitant because I get a little queasy about blood, certain smells, or childbirth! I looked anyway and there it was, a small head crowning! I saw his head and knew if she would only push a little longer he would be born. I put the cold compress on her forehead and whispered in her ear, “I saw our baby’s head. He’s almost out”. I don’t know if I encouraged her or if the new doctor discouraged her, but Jenny went into lioness mode. She started pushing and didn’t quit. She would have pressure waves that literally lasted 5 minutes and she wouldn’t stop pushing. The nurses were asking her to take a deep breath and push, but there were no deep breaths. She was pushing like a woman on a mission. She was pushing so hard and so much we were all worried about her physical well-being. Nurses kept checking her pulse and the baby’s heartbeat to make sure everything was all right.
After about 20 minutes of hard-core pushing, our baby’s head was halfway out. It was amazing. His head was full of blonde hair! I was so excited! Ten more minutes of pushing and his head was completely out, but something was wrong. I remember seeing his head crowning and thought, “wow, he has a small head”, but when his head was completely out it was huge! His eyes were closed, his face was purple and swollen, and he wasn’t breathing. I heard a nurse say something about meconium. Apparently, our little guy had inhaled some, which can lead to respiratory problems. That wasn’t the only thing wrong. It happened so fast, but I saw someone’s elbows pushing down hard on Jenny’s stomach. With this going on, I think alarms were going off behind me and I turned around to see six or seven nurses/doctors fire open the back door and start setting up equipment that I’ve never seen before. For the first time in this entire experience, I was scared. I remember Jenny saying, “He’s not breathing”. One of his shoulders was stuck behind her pubic bone (called shoulder dystocia) which is somewhat common with bigger babies, but I had no idea. They were pushing on her stomach to try to free his shoulder. It only took a second to dislodge it, but it seemed so much longer.
Once he was out, they immediately clamped his umbilical cord and I got to cut it. It all happened so fast because they had to get him checked out. I stayed with Jenny for a second to make sure everything was okay and then Alex told me to go see our baby and watch them. Once I got over to the bassinet, I saw a big, purple baby with a huge, swollen head. I saw them stick a long, thin tube down his throat and brown meconium coming out the other end. After a few seconds, I heard him cry.  I asked the nurses what was going on and they told me he had inhaled a little meconium and explained to me what happened with his shoulder. They informed me that he was moving his arms fine and he was gripping things with his finger and there was nothing to worry about. He was alive and breathing, and in a split second the worst day of my life became the best day of my life.
I remember glancing over at Jenny and saw her pushing and the doctors pushing on her again and then pull her placenta out. I stayed with our baby boy for another minute until I saw Jenny shaking and convulsing uncontrollably. Now, Jenny was in trouble. I rushed back over to her and tried to comfort her. I heard the doctor mention hemorrhaging and needing to give her Pitocin and I immediately said, “No!” This was the same doctor that tried to talk us into the epidural. She had given birth and she had pushed her placenta out. Why does she need Pitocin now? Thankfully another doctor, I believe the attending, intervened and told her to keep massaging her uterus. A few minutes later, she stopped convulsing and the threat of hemorrhaging was gone.
Once they were finished with Jenny, I went back over to get a few pictures of our baby and bring him to her. We were both exhausted, but on top of the world! She put him on her breast and nursed him like she had done this hundreds of times before. She was a natural and I was so proud of her.
Malakai Grant Upton was born at 8:12 p.m., March 27. He weighed 9 lbs. 15 oz. and was 22½ inches long. I will never forget this experience and will always admire my wife for what she went through. I’m a proud husband and father and look forward to many memories as a family of three.
I am thankful. My birth experience wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. I never dreamed of birthing a nearly 10 lb. baby or my birthing time lasting 19 hours, but I wouldn’t change it. I have nothing to compare my birth experience with, but this was such an incredible adventure…  it was challenging, empowering, beautiful. I trusted my body to do exactly what it needed to do.

A few recommendations:
1.) Hypnobabies is an incredible method for natural birth and I highly recommend it. We started the classes back in November and, once it wrapped up in January, we continued to read and listen to scripts on a nightly basis; I practiced the techniques and listened to the positive affirmations track almost every day. It takes the fear surrounding the Western cultures “idea” of pregnancy and birth and makes it so positive and wonderful. Although I didn’t listen to my scripts throughout my entire birthing time, I listened to it enough before to have it embedded in my subconscious mind and it empowered me even more. I also would like to mention the night before my birthing time started, my Hypnobabies instructor sent us the “Baby Come Out” track and shortly after Brady read it, my pressure waves began. Coincidence, maybe… but, we tried everrrrryything to no avail. I will most definitely be using this method for our next birth and hopefully it will be a much faster and more comfortable experience.
2.) Get a doula! I think my husband would second this over and over. Ours, Alexandria with Bella Mundo, is absolutely incredible. As soon as we met her, I knew she was the one we were going to share this experience with. From the time she came to our house to visit, to being by our side and being our voice the entire time at the hospital, to her follow-up visit to check on baby and me… this girl exceeded our expectations. She was a Godsend and I will forever be grateful. She made sure we had the natural birth I so desperately wanted.
3.) Through Alex, I met another incredible person, Aysha Harward with Terra Nektar, who makes herbal products, essential oils, and does placenta encapsulation. I’ve heard of placenta encapsulation before, but never gave it much thought on something I would actually do.  And then I started considering the possible benefits and the simple fact that basically all mammals consume their placenta… and why not, you spend so much time and energy feeding your body and baby healthy, nutritious food for 9-10 months. Brady and I decided if there’s a chance it can help regulate my hormones, we’re in. A few other benefits are: great milk supply, less stress, and more energy. I’m not sure what postpartum would be like without the placenta encapsulation, but I can say as soon as I started taking the capsules my emotions leveled out so quickly and I have felt amazing ever since; my milk supply has been incredible and I definitely feel energized.
Aysha came to the hospital and picked up my placenta and within 2 days hand delivered the capsules to my house. She’s also working on a tincture and cream that will be ready within 3 weeks. The first time I met Aysha was in the hospital and she is seriously one of the sweetest and kindest people. She brought a lovely gift full of delicious goodies for us to enjoy too! I’m totally sold on placenta consumption and highly recommend it!
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