Monday, November 7

The Birth of Theo

This is a story that I didn't think would be my story. I've heard of wild and crazy fast labors before, but I haven't heard of anything quite like this!


I have to start on October 5.  On that day, I was 11 days past my due date, and my midwife requested that I have an ultrasound to check on Baby to make sure everything was still okay in there.  They check several things, but one of the things she noticed was that the amniotic fluid level was very low- low enough that an OB probably would have scheduled an induction right then and there.  My midwife was comfortable letting me hydrate, which would increase the level, and check again on the following Friday.  We continued to try to naturally induce labor but Baby wasn't ready yet!  So I chugged water (seriously, gallons) and we went again on Friday the 7th to have another bio-physical profile and non-stress test, but this time we went to our backup midwife's office at the hospital.

We showed up, waited forever (reminded me of why I can't stand offices!), and finally had our ultrasound done.  The fluid level had gone up significantly, praise God, so I no longer had to worry about my fear of being induced!  We went into another room for the non-stress test, and the midwife asked me if I wanted her to check me for dilation.  My midwife, who was there with us, said she had wanted to check me later anyways so we might as well do it now!  At this point I was like, whatever!  (Previously when my midwife had checked me, she couldn't tell me anything because my cervix was still posterior.) Well.  This midwife really, um, wasn't shy, and she got in there and pulled my cervix forward, and declared I was already 7 centimeters!  This choked me up and I had a huge emotional release right there.  I didn't know this could happen.  I had no idea I could be 7 cm with a posterior cervix, and I certainly wouldn't have thought I could ever get to 7 cm without a single contraction.

She asked if she could help the baby move down by stretching my legs and hips, which actually felt very good as she worked on me.  She asked if she could strip my membranes now, and I consented, but once she checked me again she said the baby had moved down and I was now 8 cm dilated.  She didn't strip my membranes at this point because she wanted me to make it home in time to have the baby!

I remember feeling sort of paralyzed, worried all of the sudden that labor would kick in and I'd have a baby on the side of the road on the way home. Ryan and I walked cautiously back to his truck, and I don't remember speaking much on the way home.  I think we were both shocked.

We got home and Ryan immediately started blowing up the inflatable birth pool that we had rented, and I started stripping and re-making the bed.  I got out snacks for my birth team, cleared off my desk for her supplies, and pulled out all of my postparum things.  I wasn't contracting or having any signs that there would be labor any time soon.  It felt like a dream.

After everything was set up, we decided to take a nap, and we both slept for about an hour.  I remember waking up feeling very refreshed, but disappointed that still nothing was happening!  I texted my midwife to come over and help get things going- she hadn't gone home because she didn't want to be far from us!

She and the rest of the team came over, and we did everything we could thing of to get things going.  She stripped my membranes and she said I was only 7 cm dilated. (Only!)  She rubbed clary sage and castor oil on my belly, and she said I should work on maneuvering him lower into my pelvis.  The trouble was, everything I knew of to do that worked only in conjunction with contractions- and I wasn't contracting!  She also had me use my pump, and this finally started giving me an occasional contraction.  Maybe one every 15-20 minutes, and even then they were only 30 seconds or so.  I lightly moaned through them, did deep squats, and used the lift-and-tuck Spinning Babies technique.

After a couple of hours, I knew I would have the baby relatively soon, but I wasn't convinced it would be that day.  Things were moving too slowly and I thought I was handling it all too well.  I told myself the contractions weren't hard enough to make any significant changes, and felt like I was going through the motions of moaning and squatting only due to "muscle memory" of having done it four times already!  I joked with everyone that I wasn't really in labor, because mentally I felt fully present to what was going on around me (they were watching television) and I had convinced myself that nothing was really happening.

About halfway through Hell's Kitchen, as I squatted through a contraction, I felt a huge pop or kick or... something.  I think it was my water breaking, but it was up high, like behind my belly button.  I've never felt my water break outside of the birthing tub before, and with this there was no gush of fluid.  But things immediately changed and I was pretty much in transition at that point!  I immediately got into the tub, leaned over one side and grabbed Ryan's arms, and continued to moan through contractions which felt like they never quite ended.  I asked for a cold wash cloth on my head and neck because I was so hot!  But I still felt I was in great control, and kept telling myself it was going to get worse.

After about 30-45 minutes of  "real" labor, I felt like pushing.  So I did.  I don't think anyone else realized what I was doing at first! I remember hearing everyone around me- encouraging me I now know- but I don't remember their words.  My arms were wrapped around the outside of the tub, pulling so hard that Ryan told me later he thought I was going to pop the tub!  I switched positions and about 15 minutes later, I birthed my baby and pulled him up out of the water onto my chest.  I remember saying, "Thank you God!" maybe 50 times in a row, I was thankful he was HERE but also thankful that pushing was OVER!

We sat there in our relief and joy and admired our baby. I was so thankful it was all over!

 It took me a few minutes to slip back into reality, and then we turned this baby over to reveal the gender.

It's a boy!!!

We can't say we were surprised because my mama's intuition had me believing it was a boy all along.  We still hadn't decided on a name yet, though.

After a few minutes, I delivered the placenta and got into my own bed to be examined.  Ryan held our unnamed Baby Boy and I was declared healthy, but still bleeding a little too much.  To help with the bleeding, Ryan brought Baby to me and he latched right on; another perfect nursing baby.  What a blessing!


At some point I got up while the midwife examined Baby and I took an herbal bath.  My friend and placenta encapsulater stopped by the house to pick up my placenta, and offered to make me a smoothie with a small chunk of my placenta in it to help stop my bleeding.  I drank it all (it tasted delicious!) and my midwife told me she'd feel more comfortable if I took a medication to help stop the bleeding, so I did, and it helped.

I got back into bed with Baby, they packed everything up, and left at around 11 pm.  Ryan and I settled in for the night (the big kids were with Grandma and Grandpa) with our new son!

We slept off and on all night, with him by my side in bed.  <3 p="">
We asked Grandma and Grandpa to bring the kids over around 9 am to meet their new sibling, but Ryan and I wanted to have a name picked out before they came home.  After some discussion and a little bit of flip-flopping, we settled on Theodore Augustine Joseph, and we planned to call him Theo.  We couldn't pick only one middle name- I really wanted both to honor those saints!  So we just went with it!

The big kids came home and met their new brother.  Everyone loved him, even Caeli!  She still called him "Baby French Fry" though, since this was his in-utero nickname due to my craving of extra-salty French fries!

Overall I am so pleased with the way everything went.  Being 13 days past my due date is hard physically, emotionally, and mentally, but if I knew I was going to have a labor like that again it would be so much easier to endure the wait!  Ryan thinks the home birth was SO much better and loved the experience, but it wasn't that huge of a change for me compared to the birth center.  I loved our birth team and was glad we didn't have to get in the car during contractions or several hours after birth to come home.  And it was nice to recover at home in my own bed!  I think Ryan may have loved it so much because we were in our home where HE was still the host and provider; he knew where everything was when someone needed something, and was able to still sort of be in charge.  At the birth center, we were still guests.

We are so thankful for another son, and so happy that he's here!  There is no other feeling in the entire world better than delivering your baby, after waiting for so long, holding him on your chest, and meeting him.  I knew him and he knew me, but examining him part-by-part and admiring his features is still my favorite part of the process!

Recently I've been learning to pray for my specific desires and intentions, and as silly as it sounds, just asking God for what I want and what I think I need while leaving room for His will to be done.  I very specifically prayed for a fast labor, and when people asked if they could pray for me I asked them to pray for a fast labor. God heard and answered me!  Deo Gratias!


Liz said...

Oh, congratulations Stephanie!!!! I can't believe how big and gorgeous Theo is...and seeing the pride on Beth's face is just heartwarming.

I've been checking the blog every day and was so thrilled to see this update! I can't stop putting exclamation points on everything! ����☺️

Welcome earth-side, Theo!!!

Unknown said...

Great Job Stephanie! You both did a great job with the birth (even if your birth partner was a bit to comfortable in there). Thanks for showing him to be when you guys came to Mass. He really is a cutie. Sorry we didn't make it to the baptism, I just couldn't get it together.

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