It is pretty long, but this is one of the best stories of my life! The whole pregnancy, I felt like my “theme” was “Let go and let God,” and that is exactly what I did for the birth too! 🙂
December 3, 2009
Around 2 AM, I heard/felt a “pop/thump” in my abdomen. I knew it wasn’t Trinity kicking me, and I knew it wasn’t my water breaking (my midwife later told me that it was probably my amniotic sac breaking away from my cervix…. I just figured if labor was going to start that I had better just continue on sleeping to conserve my energy.
First Stage of Labor (Started at 3 AM and ended a little before 9 AM, so about a total of less than 6 hrs):
At 3 AM, I started having contractions (Labor started). I tried to sleep in the side lying position through them trying to see if they were Braxton Hicks (false labor) contractions or if this was the real thing. I ate some yogurt and drank some water to see if food and drink would change them too (in case if they were the BH contractions). It didn’t. Contractions were not consistent enough for me to track them at a set time long or a set time apart (on average, they were about 1 to 1 1/2 min long and about 8 to 10 min apart at this time… pretty strong from the start). I started bleeding about 3:45 AM and knew for certain that this was it and was waiting to see how things progressed before I woke Ace up and called my midwife, Toni. I decided to wake Ace up about 4 AM when the contractions started to get closer together so he could massage my back and help coach me through with relaxation. Ace started timing contractions and got up and made him some coffee and got dressed (he wore his maroon scrubs… WHOOP!), etc.
This next part may be too much information, but for those who have given birth before… it is usually a part of it beforehand as it is the body’s way of making room for the baby dropping down. I had two BMs, which made my contractions closer together. I realized through this first stage of labor that standing up or sitting in a seated position on a chair or the toilet were not comfortable or that I was not able to relax well through the contractions. Lying down or being in the pelvic rock position (cat/cow) were more comfortable. I decided to go ahead and take a shower thinking it might make some of the contractions feel better, and it did for some of them (except for the fact that I was standing up, which didn’t feel good). At this point, I was seeming like my normal self and being pretty talkative in between contractions. I was doing pretty normal things in between contractions too like eating breakfast (oatmeal, honey, and banana), etc. I decided I better go ahead and take my vitamins now before I forgot later on. When I had a contraction where Ace wasn’t near me to help coach me through them (like in the shower, etc.), I just let go and let God help me through them by praying to Him and reminding myself that “God is with me” (I was thinking of the little spider on this Buzby movie that Briscoe has) and singing the chorus to the hymn, “Be Not Afraid” in my head (Be not afraid. I go before you always. Come, follow me. And, I will give you rest).
At about 6 AM, contractions were becoming 5 minutes apart and about 1 minute long. It seemed to me that Trinity seemed to “know” when a contraction was coming before it happened because I would feel her move right before each one almost. After my shower, I got dressed in my Binsi labor skirt, which was really comfortable and a comfortable top. Ace kept up with timing the contractions. I could not seem to find a position that worked well through each contraction (counter chair worked for a couple of contractions… by default, the pelvic rock was the most comfortable, and I liked it because I felt like I was dropping to my knees in prayer). I had Ace rub his fist into my lower back HARD, which he didn’t want to press on my back as hard as I was telling him to because he didn’t want to hurt me. But, it felt like it was helping at the time (boy, did I pay for it later with a sore back), and I insisted.
I called Toni about 6:35 AM to tell her how I was doing, and she said she was on her way (contractions being 5 minutes apart and 1 minute long). Briscoe woke up about 6:45 AM (SUPER early for him) and ate some breakfast. I had a contraction after my phone call to Toni, and then I called my Mom, and Ace called his Mom. I passed more of my plug with some bloody show about 7:30 AM.
Ace’s Mom arrived about the same as Toni did, which was about 7:45 AM (I felt a HUGE sense of relief when Toni arrived just knowing that things were under way and our baby would be born soon). My Mom would later arrive about 10:30 AM. Carolyn, Ace’s Mom, took Briscoe to her house, which I was relieved at because I had originally wanted him to be there during my labor but since everything was super fast and intense… I had a change of heart. I was still glad that we prepared him for all of it though so that he understood. He was pretty funny after each contraction I had that he was home for because he would get in my face and ask me, “How was your contraction?” LOL! He did great about remembering during a contraction to wait to talk to me or for me to talk to him afterwards.
Toni’s assistant wasn’t going to be able to get there until about 5 PM, so she went ahead and got everything set up while Ace continued to coach me through contractions. Toni checked my progress about 8:15 AM, and she said I was a good 5 cm but that I could’ve been more… my cervix was still slightly high. My water broke immediately after I was checked. Everything seemed to be a little overwhelming after that because it moved SO fast!
Transition (SUPER fast… I’d say within minutes):
After my water broke, I felt like I needed to go to pee. Before I got off my bed, my feet felt cold, and I started getting nauseous. I did make it to the bathroom to pee, and then I hollered for Ace that I was about to throw up (so much for my breakfast- LOL). This part is funny to me.. the only thing handy was Briscoe’s blue Baby Bjorn potty! It worked just fine. Poor Ace to have to hold it for me while I threw up, but what a great husband for doing it! My water continued to come out while I was on the potty. The contractions kept coming stronger, and I started to feel like I needed to push (SUPER fast transition it seemed like to me), but I felt at the same time like I couldn’t get myself off the toilet (pretty funny now looking back at it). I yelled out, “I want to get off the toilet!” I felt like I couldn’t get my legs to cooperate with making them move as the focus of my body’s energy was on my uterus contracting, but I knew I did not want to give birth to our baby on the toilet no matter how well I clean them. Ace helped move me to our room where Toni had the birthing stool prepared with a shower curtain and bed pads underneath where I would be sitting. I sat on the birthing stool with Toni in front of me at my feet and Ace behind me relaxing me by massage, cool rag, and giving me water and Emergen-C to drink. Toni gave me a dose of Smooth Transitions (homeopathy tincture), which seemed to help for a little while but tasted nasty (probably because I had just thrown up?). I didn’t even want to swallow it, but I did.
Second Stage (Started at 9 AM and ended at 9:58 AM, so… 58 minutes):
This stage started at 9 AM. With the way that my body carried Trinity by having my uterus be so far out in front, Toni asked me to lift up my abdomen with my hands when I pushed. Truthfully, the pain was not that unbearable because we had prepared well for everything along with Toni guiding us through it all. The intense pressure and the contractions being back to back or right on top of each other was really the most overwhelming part. I think though that when I didn’t “fight” my body and that I gave up my “control” by allowing my body to do what God designed it to do that all seemed to fit into place much better. Toni and Ace reminded me to put my chin to my chest and to bear down during the contractions to make them more productive as at times I was rather yelling out loud and fighting them unintentionally because of the intensity. When I took the two deep and cleansing breaths at the beginning of each pushing contraction and then put my chin to my chest, gritted my teeth, closed my eyes, and pushed… REAL progress was made! I was SO loud at one point that Ace said, “SHH!” I told him as nicely at the time as I could (he may say otherwise- Ha!), “Please don’t SHH me!” with minimal breathing during the contraction (so, it came out fast and choppy because my breath was concentrated on the contraction). Her head was asyclitic (which means that it was coming out at an angle… making the diameter of my cervix needed to be wider than the normal 10 cm), which made this stage of labor longer than usual for a second baby and more difficult for me to push her down. But, once she was down there, it was good. Toni asked me to feel her head down there as it would help me to push her down and out too mentally showing myself the progress that we were making. I didn’t think I could do it because of how I was supporting myself on the stool, but I did and it was neat (I felt like it gave me a boost of enthusiasm). When everything bulged (like it is supposed to), nothing really hurt anymore… it was mostly just a lot of pressure. During the pushing contractions, Toni and Ace reminded me to relax and breathe deeply, which seems like it would be easy to do but took a lot of mental focus on my part to do it (like immediately switching gears from what I was doing during pushing). Also, during some of the pushing contractions, I yelled out, “Lord, please help me through this!” And, He did! You could feel His presence! During one of my last contractions before she was born, I pooped a little (yes, I am not ashamed to admit that because that means I was pushing correctly), and I knew that I had done it and asked Toni. She said I did just a little bit as she removed the bed pad quickly and changed out her gloves (for those who do not know… pooping during labor or peeing is no big deal and shows that you are pushing the right way to get the baby out… rectally). Because of the way her head was positioned and the intense pressure of it, it burned in the area of my urethra which I prayed was not getting a tear (it did not, Praise the Lord). That part was probably the most uncomfortable part of the entire labor, and it probably would not have happened had her head been in the more favored position in the canal.
In one contraction, I pushed one time to where she crowned. I continued to feel a ton of pressure in that same contraction like she was coming on out, so I pushed again and out came her head. Still in the same contraction, I felt like the rest of her was coming, so I pushed a third time, and Trinity Leigh Blankenburg was born at 9:58 AM! The umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck and also looped around her shoulder and leg, so Toni quickly worked to remove it from her neck and body (which was a bluish-purple at first that quickly pinked up). I was glad we had seen videos in our Bradley Method class about babies born that color or with the cord around them. Toni suctioned her mouth and nose in which Trinity immediately cried and breathed (before that, I knew she was fine because I could see her back rise and fall indicating that she was receiving oxygen still from the cord). I held her against my chest and put her to my breast. She was SO alert at first that she wanted to look around at everything first before she was ready to nurse, which she was SO great at! She even did the “kissing the air” thing we saw in a video in our Bradley Method class. She had a little meconium on her back at birth, but there was none in the amniotic fluid/sac (so, she probably did it right at birth from the way the cord was) which meant that all was normal and fine. When the cord looked limp, Toni asked if she could clamp it and did so with Ace cutting the cord.
Third Stage (Ended at 10:20 AM…so, my total labor was 7 hours and 20 minutes):
While nursing, I felt a mild contraction and pushed the placenta out (it felt like a great relief to do that and didn’t hurt at all). Toni looked it over (all was fine) and showed us where the hole was that Trinity was born through, which was pretty cool. She also showed us which side of the placenta was connected to my body and which side was near hers. Toni asked us if we wanted to freeze the placenta to decide what to do with it later as some people bury it and plant a tree there as a spiritual/symbolic thing to do postpartum, which we said yes to. I asked us all if we could pray, which we did and gave many thanks to the Lord! I remembered the orange juice that was recommended to drink post-birth from our Bradley Method class, and I asked Ace to me a big glass of it. It was great! I tried to pee because I didn’t want to be catheterized if I couldn’t go, but I wasn’t able to right away (not uncommon). I stood in a warm shower to pass clots and try to pee (still couldn’t). My Mom had arrived by this point, and she steeped me some herbal sitz bath tea, which was added to some really warm water in the tub. That felt SO good, soothing, and relaxing! Toni brought Trinity to me in the tub after she had weighed and measured her (8 lb 9 1/2 oz and 20 1/4 in long…she might’ve been longer, but she kept her legs retracted). Toni washed Trinity’s hair while I nursed her in the bath (she LOVED nursing). Ace got her dressed while Toni helped me out of the tub and to get dressed along with showing how to care for myself postpartum as I had to have 3 stitches from where I tore, which was in the same place where I tore from Briscoe’s birth. I kept drinking more orange juice and water and was finally able to go to the restroom, which was a relief to me mentally. I got back in bed and nursed Trinity more and loving every minute of it! Carolyn brought Briscoe home, and he was SO excited! Ace’s step-dad stopped by to say hi and see Trinity. My sister, Shannon, arrived to stay and help us with Briscoe. My step-dad, Hart, and brother, Colton, also arrived to visit and see Trinity.
What a very blessed event! It was very personal, and we loved every minute of it! Ace remarked how much he enjoyed it being at home too. 🙂