Friday, 13 April 2012

A Labour Story: A Doula, No Drugs and A Few Amazing People

This is my official blog announcement of Baby Z! Born March 26th 2012, 6:09am, 9 pounds 1 ounce and 21 inches long. We are deeply in love and blessed by our new little girl.

So as I promised I would keep you posted on the difference between labour one (birth of Lil’C) and labour two (birth of Z). And there are definitely huge differences.

Be warned if you are not interested in details of labour don’t bother reading, just skip to the bottom “JUST ONE OF THOSE MOMENTS” to get the over view version written by our doula. I am writing this post for those who are interested in reading someone else’s experience with a doula or natural labour.

It was three weeks before our due date that we met with our doula Chelsea. We didn’t think we needed a doula when we first got pregnant. We had been through one labour before and did that one all by ourselves. As I progressed through this pregnancy I had increasingly painful back issues due to severe subluxation and a previous tailbone dislocation. I met with a fantastic chiropractor who suggested that I get a doula to support us with knowledge that would prevent severe damage to my body and calm my fears of the unknown. She even helped us get into contact with Chelsea.

Our first meeting was fantastic. We went over my first labour with Lil’C and she explained how some of what went on could have been prevented. She loaded us up with books and information. Already I could see some relief and even confidence in Jon. In the next few meetings I grew in knowledge about labour and what I wanted in leaps and bounds. I worked through some fears, with the help of Chelsea. I even found that I had some desires for labour I didn’t have before and Jon was becoming more actively involved in some areas that even surprised him.

On Sunday March 25 at 2:30am I woke up to the feeling like I was uncontrollably peeing myself. I got up and couldn’t stop it. I then, not quite awake myself, asked Jon to turn on the lights. I looked down to find little droplets all over the floor. Now you have to understand Jon and I are not at all alert or sensitive when woke abruptly. I stood there rambling on about how I am not quite sure what it is, you see with Lil’C I had a gush and was in the shower when my water broke, I wasn’t sure if it was my water breaking now or me just peeing myself. Jon stood there sounding very annoyed demanding I tell him what I want him to do so that he may just get this over with. He is a very sensitive guy just not in the middle of the night. After we went back and forth groggily bantering I suggested we call our doula Chelsea.

Jon picked up the phone and calls. I panic, thinking that it is 2:30 in the morning and all it could be is me peeing myself, I then snap at him to hang up. He does. Two seconds later Chelsea phones back. She is alert, calm and able to judge the situation accordingly. She asks me a few questions, gives a few suggestions and relaxes my thoughts enough so that I can make a clear judgement call. I go back to sleep.

Later that morning I decide to write Chelsea an email better explaining the 2:30 in the morning episode. I share that my belly is feeling strange and I feel stupid but ask if everything is okay. I spend the morning hanging out at home, taking a morning nap then going for a walk with Big C. After lunch I check my emails and find that Chelsea had already responded to my email. She explains that actually what I am feeling is early labour contractions. I am kind of shocked. These contractions don’t hurt. With Lil’C I was induced and went from 0 contractions to instant painful ones. I spent 24 hours of early labour with Lil’ C in so much pain that I had to stay sitting up even while trying to sleep.

Later that Sunday afternoon Chelsea phones to check up on us. We laugh on the phone that I didn’t even know that I was in labour. “Someone should tell women that inducing can make that much of a difference in pain.” I tell her on the phone. Actually during this labour I didn’t feel the same amount of pain I started with Lil’C’s labour until I was actively in labour and only 40 minutes away from giving birth to Z.

Around 8:00 pm my contractions start to get only 4 minutes apart lasting 1 minute long, we track them for about half an hour. Calling Chelsea we decide to meet at my friend’s house in the city that is our “close to the hospital labouring house”. We call Jon’s mom and she is ready to meet us there. We call my friend whose house we are meeting at and she screams with excitement. Let’s do this!

By the time my mother comes out to watch all the other kids and we load ourselves into the car we get to my friend’s around 9:30. My friend is so wonderful and accommodating. Her and her hubby had music on, offered drinks to everyone, let me eat their food and even gave up their bed. We all chat up a storm while Chelsea kept track of my increasing contractions. An hour goes by and I am finding my contractions are right on top of themselves only leaving me maybe 30 seconds in between. Chelsea quickly sends off a text to confirm with another doula. She tells me that what is happening is that I am transitioning into back labour. Something I really don’t want, I went through terrible 7 hours of back labour when I went into active labour with Lil’ C. I did not want to do that again. Chelsea gets to work positioning me in several positions to move the baby and prevent back labour. An hour and a bit of positioning and enjoying company with my labour entourage, it is successful no back labour! Contractions are not as crazy. I relax, take a bath and have a sleep.

Monday at 4:00 am I wake up feeling that my contractions getting stronger yet still not painful. We hang out while Chelsea and Jon help me though contractions. About 45 minutes later I hear a POP and feel a sharp pain. I actually think I popped something out in my back. All of a sudden my contractions are increasing in pain, I have a tiny bit of show, I start to heat up and is feeling nauseous. I need to walk through the contractions so I walk back and forth a few times in my friend’s hallway. I express that I feel sick, Chelsea runs to find something for me to throw up in while Jon holds my hand and my mother-in-law holds the cold compress on my neck. I move out to the living room, throw up, and share that I am feeling we should head to the hospital. I look up and see that Chelsea has already packed up almost everything. We head to the van.

I get into the back of the van, Chelsea and Jon in the front. Jon’s mom hops into her car. As we drive to the hospital my contractions go from painful to I don’t want to do this. They are now feeling the same as when I was induced with Lil’C. We end up driving next to a cop on our way. All I am thinking is “if that cop tries to pull us over and Jon starts to pull over, I am going to freak on him.” But the cop does nothing of the sort. Smart cop.

We get to the hospital and all the emergency parking is full. Jon drops Chelsea and me off. We go in. I explain that there is no way I am sitting in one of the wheel chairs and that the only thing getting me through these contractions is walking through them. They give Chelsea a wheelchair (hospital policy) and we shove all our bags on it. I am sure it took us close to half an hour to walk up to assessment but it felt like only a few minutes. I remember feeling shocked to seeing that Jon beat us up there. Now I realize that of course he would beat a woman who is walking at a snails pace and who has to stop every few minutes to deal with contractions.

We get into assessment, hand over our birth plan, and they get me on my back to check my dilation. Instantly I feel like pushing. The nurse, who was very unpleasant but I won’t go into that, explains that I am 9 centimeters dilated. Chelsea has me get up on my hands and knees, the nurses wheels me out on the bed and I can’t help but start pushing. I am now yelling through the pain. Yes I was hoping I wouldn’t be a yeller but her I was yelling. I hop into the labour bed and remember thinking how surprised on how quick this is happening. Only 20 minutes later Jon catches our beautiful daughter. I am told that because I was on my hands and knees Z came out facing her father as he caught her and her wide open gaze saw his face as her first image in life. Chelsea and Jon help me flip over and our doctor briefly hands my stunningly beautiful new baby girl into my hands.

My doctor explains that she is what they call “grunty”. They need to get her to breathe better and so take her across the room. Because my labour was so quick her lungs didn’t get time to get the liquid squeezed out of them. She is breathing just not to the degree they would like to see. Jon is now a lovely shade of yellow and is instructed to have a seat in the corner and not pass out. This happened also with Lil’C’s labour but while I was pushing. At least this time Jon made it through the labour. Chelsea stayed by my side making sure I was okay. I would have not been okay if it wasn’t for Jon’s mom. If Jon had to be in that chair and I stuck in the bed and had to watch Z be worked on by doctors alone across the room, I would have had an emotional melt down. But seeing my daughter’s Grandmother right by her side put me at ease.

They let us hold her for a bit longer before they needed to take her up to the NICU. Chelsea, Jon’s mom, Jon and I were then left alone in the labour room. We chatted for a bit, my Mother-in-law put batteries in the clock (wasn’t working and drove everyone crazy during the labour) and Chelsea asked how I was feeling about how things went. Which I felt was a way better experience then the first minus Z going to the NICU. After half an hour or so Chelsea said her congratulations and goodbyes and left. I got cleaned up and we were brought to our room. Jon’s Mom showed us some photos of the labour then said her goodbyes. Soon we were able to go up and cuddle and breast feed our little Z!

And that is it! That is our wonderful labour story of baby Z.

One of the great services my doula provided was writing this beautiful little birth story. She explained that as she was looking through quotes she came across the one below and due to Z’s name, meaning bird, it inspired her.

This is what Chelsea Harris ( our doula wrote;

“Would that life were like the shadow cast by a wall or a tree, but it is like the shadow of a bird in flight”

-The Talmud

As life is not stable and slow changing as the tree; new life on March 26, 2012 has a new family flowing in the shadow of a birth in flight.

Mother and father patiently awaited their little bird in the days leading up to labour. From the dusk of night to the light of love and family, Shala and Jonathan brought baby Z to life outside the womb. This birth was filled with love and friendship as a slow to start labour became a race to the finish. Baby girl Z was born into her father’s ready hands as her grandmother looked on. She was not quite ready to breathe deeply of the air of this life and so needed some extra care in the NICU. The unexpected separation did not slow the new family down. Breastfeeding started soon and went well as new baby and mother worked together to create a lasting bond.

I hope all of your hopes and dreams for your little bird take flight.

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