Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Avery's Birth (Finally!)

A run-down of Avery's birth for those who have asked about it, plus a short review of the Contraction Timer App.

Waiting, waiting. The other boys took 41 weeks, so I thought this baby might be likely to follow their pattern. 41 weeks came and went and we were approaching a "deadline" of 42 weeks, after which Kristin would not be legally licensed to attend the birth at home.
We tried stripping membranes, taking evening primrose oil, other herbs, plenty of walking, acupressure points, and hooking up to a breast pump to cause contractions. Got some contractions but it didn't turn into actual labor. So with two days left, I went to bed with plans to try taking castor oil in the morning. Let's just say castor oil produces muscle contractions of all sorts and can be unpleasant.

Imagine how thankful and excited I was on many levels to wake at 11:30 with "real contractions" (meeting baby and no castor oil, yay!). Unfortunately for Nate he had not gone to bed yet; no sleep for you! He was great at getting the necessary things done and being awake when I needed him though.

I texted Kristin at 1:05 saying contractions were 9 minutes apart. I tried to rest between them but I was too excited so I took care of things like making sure a babysitter was available for the boys if they woke up, cleaning up some things, finding various birth supplies, etc.

1:24 I texted her to say "Every 4-5 minutes now at about 50 seconds long". Things seemed to be going more quickly than my other labors.

Kristin arrived around 2:15, at which point Nate had turned up the hot water heater and started filling the birth tub. I was doing OK with the contractions, which were now around 3 minutes apart, by leaning on the counter and trying to relax, and putting cold washcloths on my tummy. But I was mostly wishing that the tub would fill…fast. Kristin checked things like blood pressure, baby's heartbeat and position, and my temperature every once in awhile. The doppler for the baby works underwater so she could keep doing that after I was in the tub too.

Once I got in the tub my contractions slowed to every ~4 minutes (or 2 minutes if I happened to get out to use the bathroom…I tried to be quick but sometimes got caught out of the water during a contraction, ouch!). See the contraction that came after 7 minutes and 43 seconds? I remember that one...I think that is where I made Nate put his hands on my back during contractions and not lay down between anymore.

Kristin's assistant was on her way and I could tell it was definitely time to push this baby out. As his head came out Kristin said that he was still covered in the amniotic sac which had not broken. I couldn't see because of how I was leaning in the tub. Later she told me he looked like a bank robber with nylon pulled over his face, and that she was trying not to sound too excited so I didn't feel bad about not being able to see it. His shoulders and whole body came out and then the amniotic sac broke as I was leaning back to see him and hold him. It is super rare to be born "in the caul" (supposedly 1 in 80,000? but I'm guessing no one has good statistics on it). If you're superstitious it means all sorts of crazy things; Kristin said it's more likely that in a healthy mom with a not-huge baby and gentle birth practices it just happens sometimes. Our neighbor, where the boys went while Nate and I slept the next morning, said that one of her daughters was born this way too.

The placenta came quickly, and likely related to that, I lost enough blood to be considered a hemorrhage. Thankfully it stopped on it's own, I was not even aware of a problem until Kristin told me later how much I lost. Midwives do carry injectable medication (Pitocin) to manage bleeding if it hadn't stopped on it's own. Anyway, steak and spinach are on the menu to build iron back up!

The assistant had arrived somewhere in that time and helped me get settled while Kristin took a look at Avery and examined the placenta as well. She looked at her charts and checklists (something like this one I think) and said Avery looked in every way to be 40 weeks gestation, not nearly 42. I'm glad he came when he was ready.

Avery weighed in at 7 lbs. and 5 oz and 20.75 inches long. Tobias and Malachi slept through the whole thing and came in to meet their brother briefly in the morning. Then Nate walked them over to a neighbor so we could sleep for awhile.

We are enjoying getting to know this new little boy in our family!

          Psalm 100:3
Know that the Lord, he is God
 It is he who made us, and we are his; 
 we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Short review:
The Contraction Timer app on my phone was easy to use and to see the minutes. There is one button to start and stop, but if you want you can go back and edit the times of a contraction like if you forgot to press "stop". The only thing that would have made it easier to use was it if would connect to my Pebble watch and I could start it and stop it right from that! I would recommend this app because while you are in labor you want something easy for yourself or a helper to use.

I downloaded an app for helping my fuzzled brain keep track of nursing (minutes, sides) for the first few days that I ended up deleting in frustration at 2 a.m. because it required pressing too many buttons rather than a simple "start" and "stop". The one I found to replace it works more simply but kept crashing so I do not have any recommendations in that area.

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