So judging from the title of this post, you have probably ascertained that I had baby #3. And you would be right! She is in fact so new that she doesn’t even have a spiffy nick name yet- so for now I will refer to her as baby #3.
But yes! She was born on Wednesday afternoon at 3:42 pm. She was 8lbs 8 ounces, the smallest of the bunch so far and she is absolutely gorgeous, but perhaps the most unique thing about her birth isn’t in the details, but in the location: Unlike her brother and sister who were born at a free standing birth center- this little girl was born in…
Yeah, so this is the story of her birth and why I decided to make the choice I did, and how it turned out to be absolutely amazing! Though truth be told, this pregnancy and this birth were the hardest so far for me, and perhaps that is part of the reason I made the decisions I did. I am happy with every one of them. Okay so onto the story.
This pregnancy SUCKED. No really, I mean from pretty much the moment I found out this baby was coming, I was in agony, first it was migraines, then it was morning sickness, then it was morning sickness that refused to go away which we soon determined was Hyperemesis Gravardiam which is a technical term for “Mommy throws up every single thing she eats and drinks.” One of the funnest things about HG is that is pretty much lasts your entire pregnancy and it is literally debilitating. This is like the morning sickness of nightmares, and it just doesn’t let up. It makes doing pretty much anything impossible- which when you are a stay at home mom of 2 under 3 with a business to run, juuuust isn’t plausible. So we hired a nanny-and that seemed to help a lot.. but then she quit…
So we hired another nanny! But she had to leave the country for a while and while she was gone we needed help so we hired another nanny! And well…. you get the idea!
So the plan for this baby was to deliver her at the free standing birth center up here in Alaska. It was really really hard for me to come to terms with the fact that our own amazing might-as-well-be- family midwife from Savannah would not be able to deliver her- and more than a few times I considered just flying up there to have her- which like so many other of my hairbrained ideas just wasn’t practical. So we resigned ourselves to having her up here at this birth center. The staff were super nice, they seemed to be pretty knowledgeable and hey, anything was better than the dreaded hospital right?
Because of my HG issues, the birth center wanted me to establish care with a local OB JUST IN CASE- I needed to have the baby in a hospital. Something I was dead set against doing. I mean, I saw “The Business of Begin Born” I know what happens in those places- it’s like clockwork: Pitocin, Epidural, Baby’s heart rate falls, C-Section. There was no way I was going to let that be me. Not to mention that hospitals have their own way of doing things, ways that don’t usually coincide with the way natural minded mamas like to do things. So I went to this OB appointment with many reservations…. but then I met the Bow Tie.
This Dr. was SO cool. He listened to what I had to say, and when I asked, he told me exactly what would happen if G-d forbid I had to have this baby in the hospital. It was basically the exact same plan that they had for the birth center. Suddenly this horrible option didn’t seem so terrifying if it were to happen after all! Still not what I wanted, but I wasn’t scared about this guy hurting me or my baby to catch a golf game.
Fast forward to about a week before my due date, I started to have really awful cramps, I thought I was in labor and I panicked. I called the birth center and asked to speak to a midwife. I was shocked when she told me I sounded upset and should go to the ER. What? Why would you send a women who already had two natural child births, who already knew what she was doing, who maybe- just maybe needed someone to talk to for that moment- why would you dismiss her like that? I didn’t understand. I decided to call my midwife back home. She told me to go lay down and rest and to take a bath, she assured me I could call her day or night if I needed to. She was the voice of reason for me in that moment, something that midwife up here was not. I realized there was a problem, and it wasn’t with me.
The next day I decided to call the Dr. office. I talked to his amazing Nurse Sunshine who I loved when I was there before and I told her my concerns. I felt like I might need more support this time around, I didn’t feel like the birth center had enough faith in me, I didn’t feel safe… I went on and on and she just listened. She told me that she would talk to Dr. Bowtie and see what he said. She called me back in a few minutes and offered me an appointment to come in and sit down and chat with the Dr. about what a hospital birth might look like. She even offered to help me find a doula. For the first time in the whole pregnancy I was RELIEVED. I felt supported, I felt safe again…I was almost excited to go into labor!
The next day Mr. Wright and I went on a tour of labor and delivery. I felt so silly standing there with all those first time moms, but I guess as far as hospitals go I was a first timer too! I cringed at some of the stuff they showed us, all the equipment in the room, all the sterile stuff, no queen bed-hahahah, but I kept an open mind and tried to imagine myself in this situation. I was confident that knowing what I know, I could make this work for me. We left the hospital and I felt the overwhelming sense of calm. Everything was going to be ok!
So now for the birth part! I was due on Sunday and I had been having contractions on and off for about a week at that point. Not painful ones, but the ones I had with Baby Giant were never painful either and so I wasn’t really sure what was going on. The LAST thing I wanted was to end up in transition at home, so on Tuesday night after heading out for a last meal with my friend Southern Belle, we headed up to labor and delivery! We got there and I got checked in and they determined I was at about 4 or 5 centimeters dilated- just enough to stay and see how I progressed, by that evening I was close to a 6 and the nurse came in and asked if I wanted them to break my water, I remembered how painful it was the last time with Baby Giant and also that it had been done at 8cm. So the last thing I wanted was for that searing pain to start 2 cm before that! I said I would rather wait and see how I progressed. So Mr. Wright, and my doula and I did about 100 laps around the floor trying to get the baby to come down. As I walked past the front desk, I parade waved at the nurses- which caused one of them to make me a sash and crown to wear that proudly read Labor Princess! I wore that thing with pride as I circled the floor hoping that the next time they checked me I would be further along… I even went for a walk down to the cafe to get a snack. As soon as we got back to the room I was absolutely overcome with anxiety and panic and I began to get really stressed out. So I took a nap hoping that when they came to check me again I would have progressed some more. When I woke up hours and hours later at almost 11am- Dr. Bow Tie checked me and I was still at 6cm. This time we both decided breaking my water was a good idea, and I immediately asked for medicine! He said sure! I decided to take something called stadol- which wouldn’t numb me by any means but would take the “edge” off of the pain. At this point it was more of a fight between me and my mind than me and my body. I knew my body knew what to do, but my mind was torturing me. I was ruminating on the strangest things- like the shot I would get AFTER I gave birth. The whole thing was pretty irrational.
Once I got the medicine I started to relax a little bit. The doula suggested that I get the peanut ball out and lay on my side to see if that started the contractions- and ooooooh man did it! One by one these vibrations ripped through me. I braced for each one, and quickly realized two things; 1. The medicine was in fact taking the edge off of the pain and these were almost tolerable, but 2. It also meant that between contractions I was almost sleeping and so if I didn’t concentrate on the pain that I could feel, my progress pretty much stopped. Essentially I had to force myself to embrace the pain. It was a really hard to do that, and of course the worst was still to come….
So at some point they came to check me and they realized I was complete. They called for Dr. Bow Tie and he came and knelt at the end of my bed. He was such a gentleman and he just sat there and waited for me to be ready to push. That part took about an hour. Each time, I was unsure how I would ever get through that second, or the one after it. Pushing just seemed so impossible. But I did it, and in a matter of a few more minutes my daughter was pulled from my trembling body and placed on my chest. I held her and tried not to concentrate on the trauma my body was feeling- no easy task when you just experienced a bowling ball coming out of your nether regions. A nurse came and toweled her off and another one came over to make sure I was ok. We both looked good and so the Dr. excused himself and we were left to rest. Over the next few hours both the baby and I would have many visits from nurses checking to make sure we were both ok. No one told me what to do, they never took her out of the room. They were AMAZING. It wasn’t even 8 hours later that we were able to pack up our little princess and take her home! The whole experience was exactly what I needed this time, and the hospital I was so afraid would steal my perfect birth proved me wrong!
From the moment I came in to the moment my favorite nurse helped us pack the car, we were treated with compassion and respect and to be totally honest- LOVE. Something I just never felt at the birth center up here. As we drove away from the hospital, I heaved a huge sigh of relief. The work of birth was done, and now it was time to take her home to become part of our family.
This birth taught me a lot.
It taught me that the world is not black and white, and that things should be taken at face value. That natural doesn’t always mean right or comfortable, and that sometimes you just need to do something different. I think if I am ever crazy enough to get pregnant again (and if I do it won’t be for a while!) I may just want to go the hospital route again. Or maybe I will be lucky enough to be back with my real midwife again- I pray that when the time comes that more hospitals will be doing things the way this one did; empowering moms to make the choices that best fit their lives and their situations.
As I sit here writing this, and watching this little girl sleep, I am silently thanking all of the amazing people who helped me bring her into the world. It was a team effort, and I am really lucky to have had such an amazing team.