Thales' Birth Story

Sixth pregnancy (5th baby), due April 30, 2010.

After having a primary VBAC, you would have thought that it wouldn't have been that hard to find a care provider that wouldn't give me a hard time about VBACing again, right?  Ha ha.

Since my last VBAC, we moved an hour farther away from the birth center and the midwives that attended that birth, making them two hours away.  I contacted the home birth midwives that I could find locally, basically the same ones I called last time.  They all refused me again, still have that Inv T scar.  *rolls eyes*  Tony and I talked about it and decided to have an unassisted childbirth (giving birth without assistance from a trained professional).  He was a little unsure, but I'd been reading and studying.  I'd started midwifery school just before I got pregnant.  Originally, I had planned on having an unassisted pregnancy too, taking care of all the prenatal care myself.  I needed to get a proof of pregnancy statement from a licensed medical professional for the birth certificate paperwork.  Also, after having had a miscarriage I needed to see the baby's heartbeat.  I made an appt with an OB/CNM practice, I should have picked one of the MANY docs in the area that refuse to do VBACs.  There were only 2 OBs in my area that took my insurance that were willing to do VBACs.  One of them told me upfront that they had a lot of limitations on who they allow to VBAC.  I went with the one that seemed more open.  I was asked if I just wanted this doc and hospital to have a VBAC after an Inv T on their books.  That might have been part of it.  I liked the first CNM that I met and the OB, had a hard time firing them.  Tony wanted to wait until after the 20 u/s to see what we were having, so we did.  Then, I thought I'd just stay with them until the end and *oops* birth at home...  until I got to 35 wks and they started with the "conditions" of my VBAC.  Must not have a too big of a baby, as judged by a late term ultrasound.  Must go into labor before 42 wks.  Plus all the other musts that would occur at the hospital.  I didn't think the big baby part would be a problem for me, my biggest baby so far was only 8 lbs., 9ozs., however, late term ultrasounds have an accuracy rate of +/- 2 lbs.  That big of an error rate could make anyone look like they are going to have a huge or tiny baby.  As for the 42 wk limit, that might be a problem, my last baby chose to be born at 42 wks exactly and I didn't want to feel pressured.  I finally met the 2nd CNM at 33 wks, she told me that it was time for the Rhogam shot.  I declined it, it is not necessary to receive that shot during pregnancy unless there is a trauma that may have caused bleeding.  The US is one of very few countries that give the Rhogam shot routinely prenatally.  She flipped out on me, yelled at me about the dangers.  Then at 35 wks, they did the Gestational Diabetes testing.  Oh brother, my sugar was borderline on the strict scale they were using, it was fine according to other scales that I found.  The same CNM flipped out on me again.  Wow, what a way to gestate peacefully.  Ugh.  Fired.  :-)  We enjoyed the last few weeks of the pregnancy unharrassed. 

To back up a little - I learned a lot about my body during this pregnancy.  For example, I figured out why I have so many June babies.  I have seasonal allergies that cause sinus congestion, i.e. thick mucus.  That same congestion causes my cervical mucus to be too thick to allow fertilization.  lol  Who knew?  I took Mucinex for a week & lookie what happened.

Several weeks before I was due, I made my very first herbal tincture with Shepard's Purse just in case of postpartum hemorrhage.  I had all my supplies ready - yes, really when you UC you don't need that much, I hardly used any of what I'd bought in preparation.  I braided 5 strands of embroidery floss together for an umbilical cord tie - yellow for air, red for fire, brown for earth, blue for water and purple for spirit.  I laid all of the supplies out in the crib, showed Tony and Morgan where everything was and what it was for just in case I needed them to get something for me.

Shanon came to stay with us on Thursday, May 6th, we had a lovely and relaxing weekend.  :-)  My computer died while she was here (hence the techno nesting pic), we finally made plans to go to the city on Tuesday and get it fixed.  lol  Thales had other plans.  Tuesday morning I woke up for my usual 6:30am potty trip and noticed that I was having contractions like every other day, but they seemed a little stronger and they were definitely 5 minutes apart.  I tried to get comfortable in bed to go back to sleep, but it wasn't happening, these contractions were definitely stronger.  I had Tony get me the birth ball so I could sit and rock and rest on the edge of the bed.  That really is a lot more comfortable than you might think if you've never tried it.  I kept expecting the contractions to stop again.  I figured Thales would be like his sister and insist on waiting the full 42 weeks before making his arrival, but I was hoping that he wouldn't because Shanon had to go home the next day.

After two hours, they still didn't stop and were getting a little stronger.  I woke Shanon up and we came downstairs.  Waking up to labor was totally new to me too, in the past my labors started in the afternoon/evening with early morning births.  Every birth and baby is different.  We came down around 8am and Shanon said (later) that my contractions were three minutes apart and a minute long.  That's how you can tell a good doula - they can tell how long your contractions are and how far apart they are just by looking at you.  ;-)  Another thing that I learned during this labor - I do instinctively know how to move during labor.  This may seem like a given, but it's not.  My first three babies were all born in the hospital, not conducive to movement in labor let alone a momma following her instincts.  My fourth baby was born in a birth center, which was great & everything but I think I had not let go of the hospital "do what you're told" mindset.  My midwife followed my lead & didn't tell me what to do, so I didn't know what to do.  lol  With this labor, I knew I was on my own and my instincts kicked in and I took charge.  Standing holding on to the backs of my dining room chairs felt really good, swaying or semi squatting during the peaks.  Shortly after this, I got in the shower.  I'd been dreaming about how nice it would be to labor in the shower with my shower chair so I could just sit there and let the water run over my belly.  It was heavenly.  However, even a 40 gallon hot water tank has it's limits and I ran out of hot water after an hour.  lol  When I got up the girls were getting up, Shanon asked them to get whatever they needed and go back upstairs.  I was still sort of afraid that my labor was going to stop.  Morgan stayed with me through the entire day, she's my quiet one so I would forget that she was there until I looked around.

At some point I actually had typical contractions - all in the front, nothing in my back or butt.  lol  It was totally bizarre!  After the back and butt labors that I've had, if I had a typical labor with all of it in the front I could do that easy!  I took another shower almost two hours after the first one.  Started involuntarily pushing a little here and there.  Not once during this labor did anyone check my cervix nor did I care what it was dilated to.  I knew that I would be dilated to what I needed to be when I needed to be there.  Our bodies REALLY do know how to do this!  When the hot water ran out this time I was in transition so I just stayed in the tub.  Sitting on the shower chair got uncomfortable and I needed Tony to squeeze my hips during contractions, that made the back labor so much more bearable.  So, I kneeled in the shower & leaned over/laid on the shower chair.  Worked out pretty well, was able to grab on to the shower chair during contractions.  It felt like it took forever to get him into the birth canal.  I was still only going with the involuntary pushing, I already had enough hemorrhoids, didn't want any new ones.  I think that the divine made it so that a woman's water breaking is humorous for comic relief during what can be a tense part of labor.  lol  My water finally broke at some point before he made it into the birth canal.  There was a little gush, I told Tony to check it & tell me what color it was.  He said it was clear.  Next contraction came, involuntary push was stronger & then it sounded like a geyser just erupted.  lol  I'm pretty sure I heard it hit the other end of the tub, glad Tony's head wasn't in the shower!  My water was still clear so we were good.  I think it took me about 2-2.5 hours to push him out.  Mind you I was still only doing what my body wanted to do, I wasn't pushing any harder.  This time I think feeling his head grinding across my pelvic bones actually hurt more than the ring of fire, or at least as much.  After much cussing and pleading, I finally got him out at 2:24 pm on May 11th, 2010.  11 days after his "due" date.  Tony caught him and handed him to me while I was still in the shower.  I had to rub his chest a little bit to get him going.  I had wanted to stay there to birth the placenta but I realized pretty quick that my knees were hurting.  I got out, they pulled the shower chair out so I could sit on it, contractions had completely stopped and was feeling no urge to push.  The only thing I did feel after getting out of the shower was this really weird flip.  For a split second it made me think there was another baby in there, but I'm pretty sure it was my placenta detaching.

I started feeling weak shortly after and laid down on the bathroom floor with Thales.  Thank the gods that I had bought the flannel backed plastic table cloths, those were the best investment - $1.50 each a week after Halloween.  :-)  Thales was not interested in nursing but was very alert and just stared at me and his daddy, whoever was holding him.  The girls each came in to see their new baby brother.  An hour passed and still nothing from the placenta, we had already cut the cord long after it had stopped pulsing.  I had Shanon get the Shepard's Purse tincture and took a dose had a couple of fairly weak contractions, but nothing else really.  I hadn't read anything about a retained placenta so I didn't really know what to do.  We waited a little while longer then Shanon called a midwife friend of ours for suggestions.  It was difficult for me to be upright at all, every time I tried to sit up I got very faint and would feel like I was going to pass out - the chills, the ringing or static in my ears and everything.  I was starting to get pissed.  Dammit, everything else went exactly as it was supposed to, WHY didn't this??  We continued to wait, Tony tried to hold me upright, took more Shepard's Purse, I tried gentle cord traction, I think we tried to massage my uterus, I was fine as long as I was laying down on my right side.  They brought me scrambled eggs - which were wonderful, I'd been drinking V8 Fusion and water all day, they brought me a chocolate chip cookie.  We talked about transferring at one point and we probably should have then, the EMTs might not have had such a hard time getting IVs going in me.  As it was we waited a little longer, I didn't want to give up, but I couldn't really do anything to help the situation either.  Tony and I finally agreed (after nearly 4 hours) it was time to go, I couldn't even lay on my right side and be able to catch my breath.  We all also agreed that Thales would stay at the house with Shanon and the girls.  We live in a very small town so it only took the squad 5 minutes to get here, their office is right around the corner.  All the paid and volunteer EMTs were at the station for some sort of meeting and all the fire fighters were at their station across the street putting together a grant request for a new truck.  So, I got all of them.  Scared the crap out of my daughters to suddenly see more than 10 guys in uniforms and gear in our house rearranging our dining room (was the only straight shot out of the house for the gurney).  Shanon had put my bathrobe over me before they got here so I wasn't completely naked when they came in.  Out of all of the people that showed up there was only one woman.  She told me later that her husband was apparently one of the first guys in the house, he immediately went back out to find her and made her come in to be with me because I'd just had a baby and it was a woman thing.  lol  They put oxygen on me as soon as we got in the squad, I immediately started feeling better.  They tried to get 3 IVs going before they pulled out of my driveway, I think they only got one running before they decided to go.  I have veins that like to roll and blow anyways, so when I'm not at 100% you can imagine the trouble they were having.  It's a good thing I was pretty out of it and laying down already or I would have gotten sick from all the poking around they were doing.  They only blew one vein pretty bad, the bruise is still faintly visible at almost 3 pp.

We got to the hospital (small rural hospital) and they told us that they'd already had the squad from the city on it's way to transfer me there.  I didn't really think that was necessary at the time, by the time we got to the hospital I was still weak, but at least 60-75% better than I was when they picked me up.  The local OB was on her way and they were going to have her evaluate me before they sent me on to the city just in case it was something that they could handle.  She got there and they gave me some kind of pain killer that didn't really do anything for the pain but made me really loopy.  She manually removed the placenta, not something I ever care to repeat in my lifetime and did a manual exploration to check for any other problems.  My placenta came right out, I'd felt the whole time like it was just right there at my cervix.  I immediately felt better after she got it out.  Before they sent me to the postpartum dept, the OB talked to me, explained what she did, told me that I had one very small tear that didn't need stitched and a few skid marks (thanks to all that involuntary and unguided pushing), then gave me the "you're really lucky, you coulda died" speech.  No shit, really?  I had no idea!  Why do you think I'm here??  Ugh.  While she was talking to me the nurses were stressing about how big of a mess my legs were.  Like I cared.  They were trying to wash me up with these heavy duty wipes but apparently forgot that I didn't have an epidural.  Ouch!  The doc said something to them after she watched me winch a few times.  They got me in a room in postpartum, I called Shanon and had Brittany drive everyone up to the hospital.  Tony had already called all of our parents several times to let them know I had the baby and what was going on.  The pain med thing they gave me earlier kept me loopy for quite some time and then made me itch to high heaven.  Man, I hate that!  I already always tell them I'm allergic to morphine because of how bad it makes me itch.  Anyways, Shanon & the kids made it up to the hospital around 7, Thales was very ready to eat by then.  He'd gotten hungry earlier while I was at the hospital and not knowing how long it was going to be before they would be able to bring him to me to nurse, Brittany had run to the next town over to get a thing of formula.  Shanon basically finger fed him a few tablespoons that he promptly spit up.  The nurses at the hospital were all very nice to me.  They brought a bassinet in just in case we wanted to lay Thales down.  They brought a scale down so we could weigh him - 10 pounds 2 ounces!  No freaking wonder it took so long to push him out!!  lol  I never thought in a million years that I'd have a baby over 9 pounds, my biggest before him was 8 lbs., 9 ozs.  I recovered much quicker than they were expecting me too, my hgb when I got there (6:30ish) was 10 and the OB was expecting it to crash, but at 11pm it was only 9.6.  They released me the next morning but it was late afternoon before I was able to walk to the bathroom and back to the bed without getting dizzy or lightheaded.  We finally made it home that evening.

I'm trying to use this as a learning opportunity but I still think it's really unfair that it happened.  I'm glad the birth went so perfectly.  I'm very glad that I fired the OB/CNM practice that I'd been seeing, if they'd seen how big he was in that late term ultrasound they would have insisted on a repeat c-section.  I'm also glad that Shanon was here to be able to watch Thales for me when we transferred, if she hadn't been here I don't think they would have let me leave him with my oldest who will be 17 in August.

Morgan (in the black shirt) was a trooper, she stayed with me the whole time.  I was very impressed and proud of her.  She ran to get things when we needed them (glad I showed her where they were!) and she did what needed to be done without complaining.  :-)  You can tell we worked her.  lol

Interesting note - my mom lost my older brother shortly after he was born on May 11, 1970.  This weighed on me since I found out we were having a boy, the first in our family since my brother, and knew I'd be due around that time.  I half hoped/half knew that my son would be born on the same day and he was, on his uncle's 40th birthday.