Friday, 19 April 2013

Mackenzie Joan's Birth Story

When my due date came and went, I wasn't overly worried as this had happened with Lennon as well. But when the day after that came and went, which was the day Lennon arrived, I was pissed. It was hard being pregnant with a two year old to keep up with and little help because James had to be at work  during the week. I felt tired and worried that I wasn't going to be able to birth this little baby with all I was still doing. Four days after my due date and she still hadn't arrived so James made plans to work from home and help me with Lennon. This definitely helped me feel a sense of ease that maybe it would all work out after all. I went to my 40 week midwife appointment and whined and moaned about still being pregnant and letting go of expectations and the experience of my first birth (which was awesome its just hard not to expect what you have already experienced). My midwife offered to check me and do a membrane sweep. I was torn between wanting to know and not wanting to be disappointed if I wasn't dilated at all. Lone behold I was 3 cm dilated and she was able to almost do a full 360 sweep which pretty much kicked me into early labor as I left. The contractions were fairly strong and about every 15 minutes. I wanted to go do yoga though and had been experiencing prodromal labor for weeks so figured it would either stop during yoga or I was actually in labor and yoga was just a nice opening before birth. 

The contractions continued through the yoga class but nothing strong enough for me to need to sit or move through differently. I got home around 8 pm and the contractions became quite a bit stronger. At this point, I knew I was in labor and she was coming pretty quickly. We put Lennon to bed and decided to get some sleep too since it was looking like an all night activity for us. We slept from 8:30 until about 10:45 when I woke up from strong contractions. I tried to continue laying down because I felt quite tired after being asleep and all mellowed out from yoga but these contractions were too strong. I woke James and we went downstairs, calling the midwives just after 11. Immediately when we got downstairs my contractions were only a couple of minutes apart. James put on some Bob Marley and I began to sway dance around our living room, lights dim and candles lit. I ate a bit of food and within half an hour my contractions were strong enough to need James to dance with me as I leaned on his body. We would kiss and laugh as he made silly jokes that kept me feeling happy and light. I was starting to circle my hips and do some low moaning. We told the midwives it was time to come over and they showed up within 15 minutes. 

I wasn't finding my rhythm with Bob Marley on, which is unheard of, so I tried Sublime but it only lasted for about 4 songs before I didn't want it either. The contractions were getting stronger although not necessarily closer together. I began feeling like maybe I was going to be in labor for quite awhile as I equated the experience to the birth of Lennon. My contractions in labor with Lennon eventually became one long contraction with no break. I thought that maybe I wasn't quite actively laboring because there was this sense of ease with how my labor was going. Although the contractions were strong and intense, I had these moments of rest where I would sit on the yoga ball and breathe deeply while listening to Xavier Rudd. The didgeridoo is a powerful instrument and works wonders in labor! 

I found that I was very inwardly focused, not relying much on James for help while I was in active labor. The midwives checked Mackenzie's heart, checked my temp, did all of the things they did but there was no talking between us. Later James told me that they had asked him if they thought I wanted space or for more involvement and without even having to ask me he knew I wanted to be left alone. And they all did. I wandered back and forth between our living room and bathroom, moaning and breathing deeply. Eventually I started to feel nauseous. Everything came up as I sat alone in the bathroom and I knew I was in transition. Even in this moment, I never said I couldn't do it or to make it stop. I sort of weeped a bit, feeling overwhelmed by the intensity but James told me as I made another loop around the living room that I was almost there. Meanwhile, Lennon was upstairs FAST ASLEEP. I had worried for months over whether to include her in the birth, who would be around for her as support, whether that person was the best thing for me to have around. After all the fretting, we didn't even call our friend to come over and help with Lennon because Lennon wasn't awake to need help. 

After a few more loops around the living room and another bought of intense vomiting, I found myself sitting on the toilet when that same unstoppable sensation came over me. I shouted to our midwives and James "I'm pushing". They came over and Angela took one look at me and said "Oh hunny I can see your baby's head. Do you want to deliver her here or upstairs?" We had set up our guest room for the birth so I wanted to move up there and keep things clean that way. I thought for sure this was when Lennon would wake up because she was just a room over. Either way, I finished the contraction and waddled upstairs with a baby almost out and squatted on the edge of our mattress which sits on a box spring right on the floor. James was awesome and put some Oka on (more didgeridoo) and took his place right in front of me, ready to catch our second daughter. Again, the contractions were never overlapping so I had these stretches of time as I waited and breathed through pushes. The first strong push I did resulted in my water not only breaking but popping and a huge squirt of amniotic fluid shot about two feet across the room and soaked James' pant leg. He laughed and stayed put. One push and her head was almost out. I could feel it move subtly back in as I stopped pushing. Second push and her head was born. It was strange waiting to push her shoulders out because Lennon came flying out full force head and shoulders in one push. Third push her shoulders came out and with a final fourth push the rest of her body came out. James caught her and passed her up to me. She was crying the moment she was out of the birth canal. Her whole body was covered in blood, which resulted in me being covered in blood after I held her close to my chest. No vernix except for a small amount in her little thigh crevices. 

She was born at 2 am and weighed 7 lbs 12 oz and was 19.5 inches long. She really let us all know that  she had arrived with quite a bit of crying at first. Once she calmed enough to latch on she realized life wasn't so bad outside of her warm little home. Even through the final pushes I was very loud, Lennon remained asleep. She woke up two hours after Mackenzie was born, giving us a really nice chunk of time to cuddle and meet and have all her newborn tests done. Lennon was surprised when she woke at 5 and our midwives were here and there was a baby in mommy's arms. She really wanted to nurse but accepted when I asked her to wait. 

By the end of it, both me and James were so happy with how fluid everything felt in this birth, how mellow it was and how quickly it happened. There was a true sense of ease and care free birthing power that made it a lovely and calm experience for everyone.