Hey Jude! Welcome to the World!
9/21/2014 6:38 AM
This is not at all fitness related but I wanted to share the story of Jude's birth, and this is my only outlet for mass sharing. He turns 1 TODAY and thought this would be a great way to celebrate!
WARNING: Birth is very intimate, so naturally, the story is very detailed and intimate as well. I am a home birthing mama and am very comfortable with birth and my body. It's also a bit long, and I haven't proof read. ;-)
Jude’s Birth Story
For a few weeks we had been going on our Friday night Date Nights with the thought in mind that it may be our last one with just the two of us for a bit. I was craving steak but didn’t want any old standby steak house. I chose the Melting Pot so it would feel a little more special and I could get a variety of foods, namely lots of dairy…my other two babies had dairy sensitivities so I had to remove it from my diet as well so we could all enjoy breastfeeding. We teased over dinner about how maybe a steak dinner and a weekend of football would encourage some baby action. Jace was born following a steak dinner and Ally interrupted our anniversary that was to include dinner reservations at our favorite Italian restaurant, known for their lobster stuffed steak. This little one was so mild in nature that we hadn’t had any signs of an arrival any time soon! We enjoyed our dinner and headed home to relieve the babysitter.
On Friday, Ryan made plans with his Grandma for us to meet for breakfast following a trip to the farmer’s market. We hadn’t seen her in a while and she wanted to enjoy some time with the kids.
Ally and Jace woke us up, as per usual, on Saturday morning just before 7am. I had been lying in bed watching TV and trying to get comfortable with my large belly and numb hips. Thank goodness for my chiropractor, Dr. Amanda, or I would’ve been immobile for this pregnancy! I had a fleeting thought that maybe my discomfort wasn’t just my back hurting, but the early cramping stage of labor. I told Ryan my back hurt and his first question was, “What kind of hurt?! Like you’re in labor hurt?!” I told him I didn’t think so, as it was so mild, but it was too early to tell. I decided to time a few of these backaches and found them to be 2 minutes apart and lasting about 30 seconds. After two previous births, you’d think I’d be more savvy to this feeling! I guess denial is part of first stage labor for me.
It was September 21, 2013, the Autumnal Equinox. I had been so focused on the full moon possibilities on September 17 that this major universal event wasn’t even on my radar!
I spent a short time in the bathroom emptying my body to make room for the baby and also had a good chunk of the mucus plug release. I texted my best friend, Amber, who is also my Doula since she lives 2 ½ hours away and would need to have some time to get here if things got rolling. Am (Amber) saw urgency in what I was telling her and decided to get on the road immediately, even thought I expressed to her that it could be nothing or she could be just sitting around for a while. She assured me that better she be really early than too late. And if it were nothing or a long adventure, then we would get that time to enjoy each other’s company. We only see each other about once, maybe twice a year.
We cancelled with Grandma after I had a funny conversation with Ryan, who thought we were still going to breakfast since I had said the sensations were less painful than menstrual cramps. I had to correct him that we, in fact, were NOT going anywhere. Baby 3 is just too unpredictable, and while things felt like nothing right then, who knows how quickly that could change. I did not want to be caught at a restaurant 30+ minutes from home and entering a more working labor stage!
I got myself ready for the day just to give myself something to do, and knowing that if it were false labor moving around and going about my normal routine would stop the action. I had planned to make applesauce as a labor project with our farm-fresh apples but had no interest in that all of the sudden and instead decided to call my mom and put her on standby since she was our plan for the big kids. Ryan took over my labor project and got to work on the applesauce. I took advantage of the early labor being so mild and went back upstairs to rest and listen to some HypnoBabies tracks. I relaxed into a state of complete stillness and just stared at the TV that was on. I don’t even remember what was on. I was very present but very comfortable to not move a muscle and just “Be”. I did this for no more than 20 minutes before Am showed up at about 9:30am. I was so happy to see her and practically threw my HypnoBabies-loaded iPod across the room so I could roll out of bed and get to her more quickly! I know I didn’t actually move that quickly but I felt urgency! She climbed in bed with me and we chatted almost nose-to-nose like it was a slumber party. I treasure(d) that time.
Nothing had changed in my contractions by 10:30am but I let my Mom know we wanted her to go ahead and come get the kids just so we could enjoy time alone and they wouldn’t be so bored. Plus, I was bored with the stagnant nature of the crampy sensations and wanted to feel like I was doing something to encourage progress. Mom and Clint arrived at about 11am, marveled at my calm and normal-seeming state, said “I love yous”, and left with Ally and Jace. The cramping and pressure almost entirely ceased while they were there.
After they left, we sat down to watch the KU football game. We’re an MU family but it was Game Day and football is what we do on Saturday, regardless of the team! Everything I was feeling was in my back and sides so with every contraction I pushed my fingers as hard as I could into my back/hip/side area. Side note: The next day, I was so sore where I had been pushing. I didn’t realize how much pressure I was applying! I talked through every wave and every cramp and could still describe them as menstrual. I did not feel as though I was doing much work and was getting really bored with it all. We were 5 hours in and the work seemed to be the same as it had been early that morning. Ryan called our midwife to let her know something was happening but that it seemed early based on my perception of the contractions. She asked us to time a few more and to call her again in an hour unless something changed. We took note of several rounds and found them to be 1 ½ minutes apart and lasting just under a minute. I still felt them as very mild but we thought that warranted updating the midwife. She lives 45 minutes away and didn’t want to cause undue stress to anyone by rushing at the last minute. At just before noon she decided to head our way since the contractions were so close together and the duration was lengthening.
About that time was when I looked at Am and said, “Can we, like, get on with this already?? I’m bored with the cramping stage and ready to move on!” She looked at me and made mention that I was shaking and sweating. She didn’t share until later that she read this as “transition-y”. She asked if we had water in the birth tub yet and with the answer being no, gently urged us to head upstairs to get started on that. The walk up the stairs was all my body needed to move on! We got to our bedroom and I started getting my CD of music playing while Ryan started the task of 5 gallon buckets of hot water from the faucet to the birth pool. Our CD player wasn’t working and I was out of patience for that task so Am took over and retrieved another player from the basement. It was at this point that I suddenly couldn’t talk during contractions anymore and was SO ready for that pool of hot water! I stripped down and stepped in, releasing a huge sigh. I sunk down, submerging into a squat and boy did that feel good. Ryan continued the transfer of water while I settled into a reclined position with my arms floating on top of the water, allowing everything to relax and give in to the process. Natural methods for relief don’t work unless you allow them to! I found a spot of texture where the top of the wall met the ceiling and, for no reason, it became what I stared at with every contraction. As I fell into each wave, I affirmed to my body, “Oooooopen”. It became my mantra and I could feel its usefulness.
I was blissfully present. What I mean is, I was experiencing everything in my body and everything around me, but it never registered as painful, stressful, or anything other negative feeling. It was all very peaceful and present. I was really enjoying it! It was so different than Ally’s labor with the miserable car ride to the hospital, and Jace’s whirlwind of an intense 3 hour start-to-finish affair! Am sat on the floor, at my head and just breathed with me, offering water frequently. Her energy was so calming and so loving.
Our midwife walked in the room no sooner than 12:45pm. I expressed an intense sense of pushing and pressure so she offered a suggestion of trying to empty my bladder. We ventured to the toilet. I felt no need to pee but Ryan ran his fingers through my hair and it relaxed me that extra bit. After maybe 3 contractions in the bathroom, I wanted back in that warm pool! I returned to my reclined, floating position and a short time passed before I told my midwife that I just felt so pushy. She suggested I turn over to hands and knees since that is a great position for relieving pressure and allowing your body to open. I happily assumed hands and knees, as I had done with both Ally Rae and Jace.
By now I felt the need to use my hands to guide our baby out and support my body in its stretching efforts. It was all very instinctual and just felt right. I could feel the bag of waters bulging and a small lip of cervix blocking little Huffkin’s path. I held back the small piece, again, just like Ally and Jace’s birth. I exhaled as hard as I could with every contraction to avoid any forceful pushing. My midwife had told me a long time ago that I didn’t need to push; my body and core was strong enough to do the work without any extra effort from me. Very gently and smoothly, Huffkin’s head was born and I knew this one was smaller than Jace was. Ryan and I enjoyed petting all the hair while we waited for the next urge to push. The pressure never did really spike for me again but the midwife instructed me to give the smallest push to help the shoulders. This was new for me since the other two were born compound, with one hand on their face so they just slid out all at once and I didn’t need to put effort into the shoulders. This was the hardest part of the whole birth! I didn’t feel a need to push and the shoulders felt huge! I turned over to grab the little squishy from the loving hands who caught him, a joint effort of Ryan and the midwife. The midwife told Ryan not to tell me the gender but I quickly said, “No! Tell me! I want YOU to tell me!” He had met my face after Ally’s birth to share the “It’s a girl!” news and it was one of the most special moments we’ve ever shared. We didn’t do that with Jace’s birth and I missed it. He told me with a big, knowing grin that it was a boy and we both shared a, “we knew it!”.
Our little boy, Jude David, was born at approximately 1:35pm in our bedroom in a kiddie pool on the floor. I remembering commenting on how small he seemed and that he was significantly smaller than Jace. This is where things got a little more interesting, compared to the complete peace of the previous happenings. Jude took a bit longer to get started with breathing on his own so I talked to him and welcomed him, congratulating him and loving on him for all his hard work today while the midwife stimulated his back and feet. I don’t know how long it was but I never felt concern. He’s just a mellow fellow and didn’t have any sense of urgency for the situation! He remained connected to me and my blood/oxygen support via the uncut umbilical cord and this, too, enhanced my confidence in his slow-to-start beginning. He really took off after that though! He cried, loudly, for a long time! I think we pissed him off with all the extra action, encouraging him to take a good gasping breath!
The placenta took a while to be born and I am a little foggy on this part as I was cuddling and initiating breastfeeding with squishy Jude. This is par for the course with my births. I was definitely ready to take a quick shower, climb in my comfy bed, and snuggle up with the little love! When we finally got around to weighing Jude, we recorded him at 8lbs 4oz and (several days later) about 21” long.
I always thought this would be a short story to write since the birth was only 6 ½ hours and was so simple and peaceful. Who am I kidding? Every birth is such an experience that there is always an abundance to share, and recall each little detail, ingrained in my mom-brain forever. So, on this day, September 19, 2014, I finally record for all future generations to hear of such peace and love in a birth. Jude turns 1 year old in just 2 days, September 21.