Monday, June 28, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
On day 12 past her due date, we headed to Tara's house to do a non-stress test to make sure we were good to wait it out. I was in tears before I even got into her house, the frustration of being even later than I was with Sam was taking a toll and I didn't want to watch my homebirth slip away. That familiar feeling of wondering if my body was failing at this was not a pleasant one. Tara was wonderful and reassuring, and said she might be comfortable going a day or two past the 42 week mark (assuming the NST and BPP were okay) since I was not 100% sure of my dates.
We talked about natural induction methods, and agreed that a stretch & sweep was the first thing we'd go for if I hadn't started labor by Saturday. I wasn't entirely happy with the idea of having that done, but if we had to coax labor along, this was a better alternative.
The baby passed the NST with flying colors . Then we went to the ultrasound place for a bio-physical profile...baby was fine, head down, average sized (not that I was concerned about that, Samantha made me less afraid of 10+ pound babies) and the fluid level and placenta were both great. So, we headed home to continue to wait.
Friday night after we went to bed, things started to move. Lots of pink tinged mucous, and then full on bloody show as the night went on. A few random scattered contractions but nothing exciting. The next morning they petered out, but the "show" continued. We called Tara and agreed to put off the stretch & sweep until further notice. We went about our day, Alex set up the pool and filled it halfway with room temperature water, and we made up the bed with plastic underneath between two sets of sheets. We made sure all the odds & ends supplies were in place and then went to Framingham to the farm to pick up milk (and raw milk ice cream, which they finally had for the first time!) Joan got a kick out of seeing me again, still pregnant, and thought it was a riot when I told her I was actually in early labor.
Contractions were picking up on the car ride home, coming about 10-15 minutes apart, and were "for real." I called Tara back when we got home to let her know to expect a call maybe tonight.
We ordered pizza for dinner, and sent Sam off to her karate movie/pizza night. I wasn't sure how much time we had so there was some debate about what time she should come home. Contractions were still 10-13ish minutes apart, as they'd been for most of the day. Jess and Jeremy were at a soccer match an hour away, so they weren't readily available for shuttling Sammy if things switched up fast
Around 9:00, things went from 10 minutes apart to about 5 minutes apart, very quickly. After a half hour of contractions that were that close together, I called Tara to have her come over. She arrived around 9:30, and she hung out for a bit and brought her supplies in. Cully was still awake and bouncing off the walls, so Tara thought if I put him to bed and got Sam home things might pick up. We put hot water in the tub, and Tara was going to bring back her pool cover to keep it warm. She left, said she'd wait to hear from us, and after I put Cully to bed I called Jess and had her swing by on the way home from the match and pick up Sammy from karate. Bella came over about this time and was hanging around upstairs in the hallway, outside the kid's bedroom doors. Sam put on headphones and stayed in her room kind of listening and kind of reading.
I called Molly (the photographer) and she made her way over as well. After I put Cully to bed, things started moving much faster. Contractions were strong enough that I needed help through them. I was on the birthing ball in our room, the pool got filled with hot water, and I got in and had Alex call Tara when we had a half hour of them 1-2 minutes apart. I tried to listen to the Hypnobabies tracks, but that just wasn't working. Tara got there around 10:30, and shortly after her assistant Audra showed up. Molly took lots of shots of us around this time. I labored in the tub for a while, then got out and moved around from the birth ball to the floor, to the bed, and hanging off Alex for them all. I asked him to help remind me to release tension with each contraction, and I was saying to myself during each one "LET GO." I could feel myself tensing up against the pressure and had to really concentrate on relaxing all my muscles, starting with my hands and face and then legs and shoulders and back and finally everything internally. Every so often I would want to disappear by myself, and that was the bathroom. Sitting on the toilet was comfortable and let me focus on "releasing into the pain" instead of tensing up against it. I think it was around this time that I started having to vocalize through the contractions. I felt so stupid, honestly, but it was the ONLY thing that allowed me to "open up" and relax through them. I was either "aaaaaaaaaaaaahing" or "Oooooooooooooohing" or repeating my mantra of "LET GO LET GO LET GO LET GO."
At one point I got out of the tub and my hands were shaking, my legs were shaking, and my teeth were chattering (I was NOT cold, the tub and room were very warm and I was having people put ice cold wash cloths on my neck and arms because of the heat of the pool). I said to Tara "this better be frigging transition" and she assured me that it was most likely getting to that point. I headed into the bathroom again at some point, and decided to check to see if I could feel anything...to me, it still felt like I was 3-4 cm. I freaked out and called Tara in to tell her, I was kind of weepy and freaking out at this prospect and told her I was really afraid that I hadn't progressed at all. She said she could check if I really wanted her to, and I said yes because I was losing it. She did a quick exam on the bed and said no, I was at 8-9 cm and very stretchy with a bulging bag of water and that the baby was definitely moving down. This helped me a lot - I got back in the tub, moaning and yelling and straight up whimpering here and there. I know I said a few times that I couldn't do it, and asking for help and telling everyone that it hurt so much. Alex was so good, holding onto me through each contraction (on top of each other at this point) and guiding me through each one. Tara and Audra were both telling me how great things were going, and how each contraction was bringing me closer to the baby being out, and after each one telling me that I wouldn't have to do that one ever again. I remember Tara telling me to "ride it" and that helped as well. I had to really concentrate on releasing tension for each contraction, moreso than before, and it was really hard to do. I was starting to doze off between contractions at this point, my head on the pool.
So at 2:21 am, I was breathing through a REALLY awful contraction that Tara was helping me through and my water broke. I felt the pop and the gush and I felt my eyes pop out of my head as I said "my water just broke" and kind of shrieked a bit, because as soon as that happened the head just FLEW like a freight train through my body. Molly and Audra bolted upstairs (they were downstairs hanging out for a bit). I reached down and could feel her head almost crowning, and was involuntarily pushing. The next few minutes are a blur, but I remember saying that I couldn't stop it, that I was tearing, and then getting some control over myself and saying over and over "it's just the head, it's okay it's okay it's okay." With Cully's birth, feeling his head in the birth canal was a panicky feeling for me and I was having it again, so I somehow managed to have the sense to talk myself out of that and just became okay with the feeling of her head right there. With the next few contractions I let my body push her out, while stretching the tissue around her head with my hands. With the next one I could feel her head coming out, Tara asked me if I wanted to catch my baby, I said yes and she helped me sit back in the water. I yelled out for someone to wake up the kids. I could feel her entire body moving still - arms and legs and feet in very different spots than where I was used to feeling them. It was so bizarre. When I was reaching around I felt something else - I thought it was a cord, and told the midwives as such - her head came out all the way, and Tara felt for the cord. Audra asked her if she could loop it, she said no, they asked me to push with the next contraction. The rest of her body came out at 2:30 am and they helped me pull her up onto my chest. The cord was around her neck three times but she was perfectly pink and screaming. Tara and Audra somersaulted her around a bit to remove the cord, and I checked to see we had a girl! I had to check twice I was so surprised. I yelled to Alex that "It's a Maybe!!" and noticed he was very pale in the hallway. A cord issue was a big fear of his and when he saw the cord and a little flurry of activity from the midwives, he lost it a bit, emotionally. The midwives put warm, wet blankets over her and I while she screamed - her lungs were good! They helped me to the bed a bit later. Alex at this point yelled "HOLY SHIT" and we laughed as everything just sunk in. No tears, no stitches! A small abrasion on each side, but nothing major. Her hand was what I felt by her face, not the cord, we think, looking back on it. I delivered the placenta nearly an hour later, it felt HUGE, it was cut by Alex seconds later.
The midwives helped clean up for a bit, took my blood pressure and pulse and stuff, and then let us hang out for a bit, just Maybe and I and Alex and the kids on the bed watching her yell (she was starting to let up but still had a lot to say. She really WAS comfortable in there!)
Tara helped me into the shower a bit later, which felt great. Alex worked on draining the pool, and around 4:30 Audra and Molly left. Tara went home around 6, Bella had gone downstairs with Cully where he fell asleep on the couch, and Sam had gone back to bed around 4. Alex and I lay in bed, but couldn't sleep much as the adrenaline was still pretty strong. Maybe nursed and slept and looked around for a while before we all got some napping in. It was everything I hoped for the birth to be. I felt incredibly supported by Tara and Audra and of course, Alex, who, just when I think I can't possibly love him any more intensely, manages to prove me wrong. Bella stayed all day long, doing laundry and helping Cully, and Jeremy and Jess brought up a giant, decadent macaroni and cheese. An absolutely amazing support team.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
A soft landing.
Our first child, Milo Jackson Yeh Sperry, was born on May 4th. Within 30 minutes of being discharged from the hospital, there was Tara, sitting in our living room, helping us get to know our newest family member.
Like most new parents, we'd spent most of our time focused on the pregnancy and the delivery. However, as soon as Milo was on the scene, breathing and delivery techniques were quickly replaced with breastfeeding, diapers and an entirely new world order. Tara was just the guide we needed. Warm. Positive. Confident. Nurturing. And most importantly, fun. "Fun" is not something usually associated with the first two weeks, but we really credit Tara for helping to make it possible.
Here's a few pictures of the little guy, including a few of his "firsts." Luckily, we were able to give Tara a few "firsts" of her own… including her first Dr Suess massage and a Tummy Tub bath.
We were honored to get to know Milo with Tara's help.
A soft landing, indeed.