Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Birth Story of Adelina Marie

As my contractions began I thought it would be fun to try and keep a record or diary of the progress, little did I know it would actually be days before I could announce the birth of our daughter.

The diary:
  August 16, 2012 @ 8:30a.m.
I began noticing a pattern of contractions on August 15th at 3am. They were mild but consistently 10 minutes apart. Baby was moving well so I decided to just play it cool and wait. At 5am They were the same, but I decided to call Kyle at work anyway. Just in case he wanted to come home and get some rest. I pretty much just tried to rest most of the morning until my Midwife appointment at 11:30. Sure enough they stayed regular. Turns out I was dilated 2-3cm and very soft. She suggested that I go home and rest until labor really got going. At around 3:30, my contractions had begun to shorten to 5-6 minutes apart, where fairly intense. We decided that it would probably be best to head to the hospital. Sure enough, no sooner do we get on the road but my contractions slow to a good 10 minutes apart, still pretty consistent though. We shook our heads and laughed as we realized we probably jumped the gun again (we went too early when Alex was born too.) But, we continued our trip to the hospital for monitoring. Sure enough nothing had changed, and nothing did change for the 3 1/2 hours we were there. When I walked the contractions got closer together. But, still no real progress. So, we decided to head home. I ate dinner and slept pretty well. most of the night. Only to awakened for contractions every 1/2 hour to an hour. In the morning my contractions resumed their previous pace of roughly 10 minutes apart. They are quite uncomfortable. But, I had  to guess they were still preliminary (non-progressive) contractions.  

August 16, 2012 @ 10:30pm
Long miserable day of contractions. closest they ever got consistently was 6-7 minutes (well...sometimes 4minutes if I was up and around.) They did kick up the intensity though. Very hard contractions and they lasted often more than a minute. I did get some relief from the tub. But, still not really making any progress. Now that it is evening, I am tired, emotionally drained and rather cranky. Baby on the other hand is resting peacefully  and my contractions have slowed dramatically. I don't know if I should be frustrated or thankful. I'm leaning toward frustrated. But, trying to be patient. Tried to call my midwife, they wouldn't let me talk to her, just suggested I come in to be checked. ....pondering what to do.

August 17, 2012 4:03am
Well, my ultra sound due date is today. Do I dare hope little miss will be born today? I was able to get a few hours of sleep. Now since 3am I have been having VERY strong contractions about every 10 minutes. More bloody show as well, though it is probably a result of them checking me and not really a sign. I am very thankful at the moment for my lovely friends/family who have been so encouraging and supportive (in person and on face book.) I'm finding it quite a bit harder to keep my sense of humor about the whole situation. and even though I have two lovely natural births under my belt. I can't help but ponder interventions. I of course don't really want any. But, in the midst of the power of contractions I find I am having a harder and harder time controlling my emotions and not getting overwhelmed.  Praying helps some. I sure hope my application of Phillipians 4:13 is not too far out of context. But, I will admit that I have to be careful because in the midst of trying to hold it together, I am dangerously close to losing it as well.
We went for a walk tonight to see if anything would get going. My contractions have all but stopped completely. I guess I'll try and get some sleep.
Wow, I cannot believe the intensity of my contractions. I am having a very hard time believing that these are still non-progressing contractions. Still about 7-10 minutes apart, but they feel every bit like active labor contractions. If it were not for the interval in-between, I would think this baby were on her way. I may go ahead and head in to be checked. I am so worn out from the intensity of this "pre-labor" (and I use the term loosely.)

The Rest of the Story:
The morning of August 17th we decided to head into the hospital. At this point I had been experiencing "Pre-labor" contractions for more than 48 hours. These contractions were nothing like the braxton hicks contractions I had previously experienced during the past several weeks. Instead, they were annoying, moving on to uncomfortable, to down right painful. But, I was so confused because despite their strength, they were just not getting closer in time intervals though they were definitely  gaining in length and intensity.
I was trying to maintain my perspective but after so long I was really starting to wonder if this baby would ever be born, and if these were just pre-labor contractions I was seriously starting to doubt my ability to cope long term until I did actually go into labor. I felt so discouraged by my last trip to the hospital and being told these contractions were not the kind to aid in dilation. I doubted my ability to know when I was in labor. I really wanted a doula, my midwife, somebody to help me know when it was time. Kyle though very helpful in coping with the contractions and encouraging me through them was really just as lost as I about when to know when it was time.
It was about 5:30am when I called the hospital and told them we were coming in, I just wanted them to check me and I hoped that some ANY progress had been made. I was miserable.
 Even though it had stormed and rained all the day before, the sky that morning was endlessly clear with an abundance of diamond stars. The pre-dawn light as we neared town reminded me much of the day that Alex was born, though I hoped I didn't have so many hours ahead of me.
I was surprised and pleased as we drove that my contractions did not space out, in fact they maintained their intensity and were even a little closer together.
When we reached the hospital, we walked to the elevators and arrived at the labor and delivery wing. The nurses greeted us cheerfully. I remember feeling exhausted and slightly annoyed at their positive attitudes. They escorted us into the small exam room. I told the nurse that if I had not made any progress from 3cm and thick I was going to cry and she should be gentle in breaking the news to me. As she hooked me up to the monitors and checked me she asked a few clarifying questions about my birth plan. I was a little surprised, it seemed she had read it and really knew it.
"So, do you want the good news or the bad news?" the nursed asked. I told her just be gentle with both. The  good news was I was now 6cm dilated. The bad news was my cervix was still pretty thick, and my contractions were about 7-8 minutes apart, and I seemed to be coping pretty well so, she was hesitant to say I was in "Active" labor. (I admit I almost smacked her right then, she obviously was not understanding how bad my contractions were hurting.)
She did say they were going to admit me anyway, and see how things went for a couple of hours. I was thrilled to know I had made some progress and even more thrilled that the next person I saw was my Midwife Trinie. Oh, how I adore that woman. We talked about my labor thus far,  and laughed a bit about how long little miss was taking. She observed me through a couple contractions, encouraged me on my ability to control my breathing. We agreed some tub time might be just what I needed to relax my exhausted body and allow labor to progress.
An adorable young nurse came in, and verified some of my preference from my birth plan. (again I was surprised and pleased that she knew it so well.) She asked about the saline lock. I said yes they could try, but as she was looking for a suitable vein, I chickened out. My contractions were getting more and more difficult to cope with. I asked if we could skip the lock and they said no problem. If they needed it they would be able to get it in just fine at that time. What a relief to not be bothered with more pain at that moment.
As I sank into the tub, I felt my mind let go of time and reality. I remember thinking, they are all crazy if they think I am not in active labor. I rolled and swayed in the water, with each contraction I called for Kyle. He held my hand encouraged me to breath and relax. I was passing from consciousness during a contraction to a  near sleep like state between them. They said the contractions were 5-6 minutes apart, but I felt I had no rest between them. A nurse came in periodically to listen to the baby with the dopler. She was doing fine. I let go of fear.
I don't know how long I was in the tub. but I needed out very suddenly, mostly because I needed to pee, but also, I knew time was coming close and I needed to move to help her come down.
My midwife came in and gave Kyle some tips and encouragement on how to help me. But I must say he was already doing everything almost before the midwife or I could say anything. He read me well and was my perfect support. I was now laboring on the toilet, and also hang from Kyle's shoulders. I was tired. Trinie suggested I try sitting on the ball, but it was too much pressure. I went back to the toilet, and hung from Kyle during the worst of it. I was worried I would hurt his back, but he said he was fine, so I continued to hang.

At 8:00am my midwife was due to go off shift I was sad to see her go, but she assured me the new midwife knew my birth plan, and would be a great support to us.
I remember I couldn't meet the other midwife right away because another woman was nearing transition and needed a lot of support. I kind of resented that woman, but reality was we did have this under control.
 For a while I returned to full consciousness. I remember my contractions were easier to deal with, my energy returned. I was extremely hungry, but I did not dare to eat, for i knew it would not stay. I remembered that for me this means I am near transition. That I am almost done, though I did not let myself take full hold of that thought because of my earlier disappointments.
At this point my contractions were definitely coming at closer intervals. I asked the nurse to check me. She said I was only 7cm. but could easily be stretched to 9cm. She thought it wouldn't be long now. She went to get the midwife. The moment Christina introduced herself, I knew I was in good hands, she was such a calming spirit. They also asked if a ER resident could observe the birth. I said she could. I don't remember her presence until afterward.
As the contractions increased in frequency, I labored on the toilet, but that was getting too uncomfortable, I hung from Kyle's shoulders. I moved to the bed propping myself up on pillows in more of a hands and knees position. Kyle applied counter pressure to my back. The warmth and pressure of his hands felt glorious. I felt a sudden surge of the baby coming down along my tail bone.  The nurse quickly checked me and announced I was complete! My first thought was, "Finally! Now lets get her out of me." My body stalled for a few contractions. I changed positions, I squatted, I hung, but nothing. I asked Christina, if there was anything we could do to bring her faster. She suggested we break my water. I said to do it. It was a painless procedure. and I chose not to worry about the intervention. As soon as my water broke I felt baby move and my body begin to push but I just couldn't get into a position that was making me happy. I squatted, I hung, I tried hands and knees, I tried sitting. Christina, looked at me and said, "Your not happy. What can we do?" Instantly I knew I wanted to birth in a chair/semi-squatting position. They raised the back of the bed, and dropped the foot portion away, my feet rested on the lowered portion. Kyle supported one arm an nurse the other. And baby began to come. With each contraction my body pushed her down more. I think I pushed three times and her head was out everyone said to look, but I couldn't not yet. One more push and she was here. I heard her cry and opened my eyes, there she was! She was beautiful and pinkish-purple, covered in  white vernix and screaming. They put her on my belly, as her cord was very short. She quieted and we all observed her perfect fingers and toes. She looked like both Colton and Alex in so many ways and yet her features were already more refined and feminine.
We waited for the cord to stop pulsating and I cut the cord. Soon she was searching for my breast. She latched on right away. She nursed well. I delivered the placenta. I had no bleeding and a very slight tear, but nothing that would even need a stitch. I was so relieved to be able to avoid medication to contract my uterus afterward. My cramps were bad enough already, without something to augment them.
After a time, Kyle took her, he had to meet his daughter and I watched as I have before, as he fell in love with his new child. He soon returned her and she nursed some more. Kyle called everyone to let them know she was here. I finally surrendered her to get cleaned up and weighed.
She was 7lbs. 9oz. and 19 3/4in long. As the nurse took care of her, I slipped into a warm bath.
Soon the boys came in and greeted me with flowers and from the tub I heard Colton announce her name for the first time to grandpas and grandmas, Adelina Marie Gleason.
Adelina was born at 10:05am after 53 hours of labor. I love that I had such great support from family and friends, and also from the nursing staff at Borgess. The midwives were fantastic as well. I appreciated them taking so much care to understand what was really important to me in my birth experience. I knew we all had a common goal to bring Adelina into this world in the most gentle and safest way possible. I believe we achieved that goal. I am so grateful.
And despite the long labor my recovery has been quick. I feel mostly normal. We left the hospital the next day. Adelina is doing wonderfully. She hardly lost any weight, and even gained 3oz above her birth weight in the first week. She is a pro nurser. And so far she is a sweet mellow baby. Her brothers are absolutely infatuated with her, holding and helping every chance they get. We are so happy to have added this sweet babe to our family and look forward to getting to know her as she grows. We are truly blessed.  

My Birth Plan

Gleason Family Birth Plan 

Dear Borgess Midwives, Physicians and staff,

About Us:
My name is Rita Marie Gleason , I am pregnant with our third child. Our family, who includes my husband Kyle Gleason and our sons Colton (age 5) and Alex (age 2) are very excited about this birth, especially since if follows the sorrow of a miscarriage last year. This birth also marks the joy of welcoming our first daughter to our family.

Goals and Concerns: 
We believe Birth is a normal natural life event. We want to work with the staff at Borgess to achieve the best outcome for the health and benefit of our child. We are flexible, however my greatest concern and fear is to have any ²routine² interventions that will lead down the path of a totally unnecessary and medically driven birth experience. In the past I have delivered two very healthy babies naturally without pain medication. Both of these births were natural vaginal deliveries. My oldest child was born weighing 9lbs 3 oz. and our second child was born weighing 7lbs 12 oz.

Plan for a Normal Birth

First Stage of Labor:

  • During early labor I would love for my family and children to be as involved as they wish, however, once I progress to active labor I would prefer to only have the my husband Kyle who is my primary support person and my Mother Connie Grigsby present for the duration of my labor and delivery.
  • During labor I would like the option to change positions, stand and/or walk around, If available I would like access to aids such as a birth ball, and tub.
  • Please, please, I would really like to keep the number of vaginal exams to a minimum, perhaps at my request or only if needed for a clinical decision.  
  • Monitoring: I realize there may be standard protocol regarding fetal monitoring, I would prefer intermittent monitoring with a dopler or intermittent external fetal monitoring
  • I would like the option to eat and drink. If eating is not permitted, I would at least like to have access to water, ice chips, or juice.
  • If possible I would like to AVOID any IV fluids. I will allow two attempts at a Saline/heparin lock (for emergency purposes.)

Second Stage of Labor:

  • I would really like to have the freedom to choose positions for labor and pushing, however, I am open to suggestions from my caregiver and staff. I prefer gravity-enhancing positions.
  • During expulsion, I would like the opportunity to allow my body to spontaneously bear down and push the baby out. (this method as worked for me in the past.)
  • I may or may not wish to be covered during delivery. Please ask me before draping anything around or over my body. 
  • During pushing and if available I would like access to a choice of birthing stool, squatting bar, floor or bed.
  • I do not want an episiotomy. 
  • I would like my caregiver to take measures to maintain an intact perineum, such as use of a warm compress or other measures that may be helpful.

Third Stage of Labor and first hours after birth:

  • I would like my baby placed on my chest immediately for skin to skin contact and bonding. I would like her to remain there for observation and Apgar scoring. 
  • I would like to wait until the cord stops pulsating before clamping or cutting.
  • I would like the opportunity to cut the cord.
  • --continued on other side
  • I would like to AVOID routine medication to contract the uterus unless absolutely necessary. (I have not had issues with bleeding in the past and did not receive any medication following my second child’s delivery.) I would prefer to use breast feeding and/or fundal massage instead.  
  • I would like no visitors until I give consent and then if possible I would like my children to be present first.
  • I plan to breastfeed. And therefore would like to avoid any formula or other supplementation be given to my baby
  • I would like my baby to room in with me.
  • I am o.k. with my baby receiving a vitamin K injection and antibiotic ointment on the eyes if needed. I DO NOT wish to have my child receive any other vaccinations on her day of birth unless medically necessary.

Unexpected Labor Events:   
My only request regarding unexpected labor events is that my husband Kyle Gleason and I be informed of all risk/benefits and be party to any decisions being made for the health and benefit of our child.

Thank you for taking a moment to consider our plan for a normal vaginal delivery.

Rita Gleason and family.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Pregnancy Update

Well, I've made it to 38 weeks and well... let just say I'm ready. Except, I'm not really ready. We have so much I would like to see accomplished before baby girl arrives. *sigh* But, all in good time.
Some of those things you would think include preparing a nursery, or even just a house to live in. But, really  I have come to terms (mostly) that this is not my reality. And it's o.k.
So, what do I still want to see accomplished? Well, there is the mountain of laundry that needs tackling, and a bag packed for the hospital etc... the normal stuff.
I did finally write and turn in my birth plan to our midwife. So, that feels pretty good. Surprisingly this is the first one I have ever really written. It was kind of fun.  With Colton I did one of those sample-check-the box birth plans (it was like 7 pages long) my Doctor promptly dismissed it. With Alex, my midwife and I just talked things over, and we kind of went from there.
This time its all on paper, signed by my midwife and sent to Labor and Delivery so it will be right in my file for the staff. I'm curious what sort of impact (if any) it will have on my birthing experience. I did try to keep it short and include only the most important preferences.
Now if only I can get that bag packed :o)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Home Sweet.....Camper?

Well, we have been back in Michigan for about two weeks now. And I must say it feels pretty good. Familiar faces and places are always comforting. We are currently snuggled in a 28ft camper loaned to us by Kyle's Uncle Dale and Aunt Sandy, and are parked in my Father and Mother In-law's back yard. This arrangement is really is working out quite well. The camper has air-conditioning, running water, and a functional bathroom. We are doing this all in the name of saving money until Kyle's new job starts (and it looks like it will around the end of the month.) Of course this means that in the mean time, I had better get used to the idea of having a baby while living here.

I do think it will be a bit of a challenge in the early days of new baby, but I keep reminding myself it is doable. After all these are pretty cushy accommodations compared to what Mary had when Jesus was born. I do have a bed, running water and a bathroom for goodness sake. I also got another reminder that really it is quite fitting I have at least one child while living in a travel trailer, because, after all the first months of my life were spent in a similar fashion. Yep, for those of you who don't know my parents worked in the oil fields back in the day and lived in a converted school bus. And thusly that is where I also lived off and on for about the first six month's of my life. So, yes, if my mother could do it, I surely should be able to as well. I really should stress however that we do very little "living" in these close quarters. We use it mostly for sleeping. One of the benefits of being in my in-laws back yard is that their house is a mere 30 feet from ours and open to us all day. Mostly, we just sleep here and eat breakfast, than as fast as they can the boys beat feet to Manna and Papa's.

This brings me to another benefit of staying here, we have lots of help and support. For the first time in 2 1/2 monthes, I have been able to sit and relax. The boys can play outside without worry of some posinous snake, or spider lurking about. Also, thanks to my Mother-in-laws baby sitting business, the boys have actual children to play with. (I don't remember if I mentioned that down in Georgia we had zero success making friends.) Anyway, the boys have been having a tremendous time getting re-aquainted with their cousins and friends Monday - Wednesday. This of course gives me even more free time, though it does feel a bit bitter-sweet.
Soon enough life will change again and we will be able move into our own place and space. But for today I am grateful to be home.