Monday, June 27, 2011
Sierra's Birth Story-Through Her Mama's Eyes
After determining I wasn't going to be able to sleep in between contractions because I spent the 10 minutes in between each one anticipating the next (and I don't do contractions well laying down), I decided to get up. Around 2:30 Zack woke up to me walking around the room. I labored squatting on a stool for several hours and Zack got me food around 2:30 am because I was ravenous. I was very pleased at how well I was relaxing through my contractions and felt a lot more in control than I ever did during labor with Peyton. Around 3 I was really feeling the fatigue of only about 3 hours of sleep and decided to lay down, even if it did slow things down. It sure did. My contractions went from between 4 and 6 minutes apart (I never had them consistent in duration or spacing) to about 10 minutes apart again. I would just begin to doze off when one would wake me. I got up again sometime during the 4 am hour and Zack and I decided by 6 am we wanted to be at the birth center to be safe. I didn't feel like things were really progressing, mostly because I was handling the contractions so well still. We decided Sierra was going to be a lot slower coming into this world than Peyton was.
At 5:30 we left for the birth center to meet Tracy at 6 am. That's when they changed midwives on call. I was very excited because I really had wanted Tracy to be at Peyton's birth. I always felt she really could guide me should things get hairy. As it turned out, I was very glad she was there. When I got there I was only between 3 and 4 cm dilated, but 90% effaced. That was the last time we checked. Zack, Peyton and I went for a walk to try to recover the consistency that we'd lost in the contractions from the car ride and change of scenery. It worked, I started having them pretty frequently again. She monitored Sierra's heart beat about every 30 minutes and otherwise marked my progress by changed in the intensity and spacing of my contractions. It was very obvious that she is really good at what she does. It was very casual labor. We'd talk, I'd excuse myself from conversation every once and a while and have a contraction. At one point Tracy had me take cotton root bark tincture to try and increase the contractions. It was amazing how fast it did that. The very next one was much more intense.
Finally I felt like I was ready to get in the water (I hadn't wanted to get in too soon and slow things down). Tracy was on board so I got in. It felt wonderful for a brief time and then I hit the transition state. I asked Tracy if she thought that I was in a place that I could begin pushing. She said she thought so based on the noises I had made during my previous contraction, it sounded more like I was fighting pushing. I started to gently push, which initially was a relief, but then things got really intense. I started to feel like I was going to throw up with each contraction, they got extremely painful, and I felt a strong need to push all at once. This was my meltdown. I started crying and was having a really hard time getting ahold of myself. Tracy and the nurse, Shawn, were awesome, as well as Zack. They were telling me I was strong and could do it, were giving positioning advice and advice on how to push and noises to make. Tracy physically helped me get Sierra to descend to crowning when I didn't think I could do it myself. Once she crowned it only took about two pushed to get her head mostly out. They tried to hear her heartbeat with the doppler while she was in this position and I was waiting for a contraction and couldn't. I was feeling a sense of panic, wanting to get her out, but not having the strength to push without a contraction to help. Finally I felt the surge and with two big pushes and a loud grunt I pushed her out. I was so much more present in the moment than I had been at Peyton's birth, where everything was a blur. Sierra came out into the water, I turned over at Tracy's instruction and heard her say the cord was wrapped around Sierra's neck, which it had been with Peyton, but not nearly as tightly. She lifted her up into my arms and she was blue with really low tone and not trying to take a breath. Tracy asked the nurse to get the oxygen and took Sierra's pulse, which was down to 80. I held her while they performed the resuscitation which was amazing. I was crying, Zack was frozen by the video camera, and the nurse and midwife did their job to perfection, alternating giving her oxygen and checking for a good breath, and I never had to let go of my little girl. She suddenly started breathing on her own, her tone came back and she immediately turned pink and started screaming at the top of her lungs. It took less than a minute, but it felt like an eternity. It was music to my ears. We were all crying with relief and joy. My mom and Peyton came in the room (smartly staying out of the room during the commotion) and joined the tear-fest.
We moved to the bed and got to spend time as a family. They don't cut the cord for about 30-45 minutes to give the baby the chance to soak up as much nutrition from it as possible, so we just ate a snack, talked to my sister on Skype, and hung out as a new family. Sierra took to nursing within 20 minutes of being born and hasn't stopped since. She is a nursing fiend. She became very content after that, not crying again except some whimpering last night when she was hungry. We left the birth center 4 hours after she was born. By then my adrenaline/endorphin high was gone and the stress of the day along with the physical exhaustion of giving birth and waking up at 1:30 am were getting to me. As soon as we got home we all napped and I remembered how hard it is to let go of your newborn and trust that everything will be ok while you sleep. I ended up sleeping holding her because I couldn't bring myself to put her in her bassinet.
So far everything has been great with her. She is eating well, sleeping well, pooping and peeing really well and makes the cutest little noises and faces. She's already lifting her head like her brother did, and although she was more lethargic than he had been after the birth due to the trauma, at 2 am she woke up wide eyed and interested in the world around her. We love her so much already and so does her big brother, who is actually upset that he can't hold her constantly. He proudly professes she is "my baby." So now our family is complete and we couldn't be happier.