Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mila Olive Venus's Birth Story

I guess that your birth story starts with plans and hopes and visions... In the way that we had no clear vision of your birth place - we just wanted a healthy baby.  I had wished there was a way to birth you under the sky (not indoors), but the proper place did not present itself.   So, we were planning on having you at home, like Aveah.

Then came Sunday, the 3rd of June.  Around 3:30 pm I was making some food in the kitchen, facing the West window with the sun pouring through - and suddenly I felt water trickling down my underwear onto my pants.  It took me a second to realize what this was!  I went upstairs to your dad who was talking on the phone to a friend (Avi was taking her nap), and showed him my wet leg and smiled.   He instantly got it and smiled back - he wanted to share the news with his friend, but I wanted things to remain private - also, I didn't have any contractions, so I wasn't sure if labor had started and didn't want to get too excited yet.  I was so thrilled about meeting you - sooo ecstatic!  I really, really was looking forward to laboring you out and seeing you in person.  I loved you so much already!
So the rest of the day passed and no contractions.  So the next morning I called my chiropractor and acupuncturist and made appointments to see if they could do anything to help get you into my arms soon. They both helped, but by 3:45 on Monday I still wasn't having any contractions and I had an appointment with my midwives to check on you since it'd been more than 24-hours since my waters broke (a time at which most hospitals would induce labor with drugs).  I cried in your dad's arms before the midwives arrived, expressing my sadness that my body wasn't in labor yet.  Your sister Avi had just been dropped off at a friend's house for her weekly playdate.  The midwives arrived and said it was good for me to cry and that the baby will probably be here soon since I was allowing my emotions to flow.  Ironically, when they looked at my belly, they said I was having contractions!  I guess they were so mild and like the braxton-hicks contractions I'd been having all along I didn't pay much attention to them.  They listened to your heart beat and it was inconsistent and sometimes dropped lower than normal and then spiked higher than normal.  They asked if we would like to go to the hospital to get a bio-physical profile done on you to make sure everything was fine.  We said yes, and planned afterwards to go to my friend's house, who was out of town, and just relax and have a mini-vacation until you decided to come.  Mimi was coming to stay with Aveah.  I packed books to read, a few clothes and your daddy packed the birthing kit and birthing tub and we went to the hospital.

As soon as we walked into the hospital I got nervous.  Once the doctor and nurses started examining me I began to shake.  I've never liked hospitals and the attention to concern they bring.   No wonder, I was immediately hooked up by 3 different chords to a huge machine and I couldn't move around.
Soon, they completed the bio-physical profile and the doctor came in to tell me the results.  Basically, the score wasn't good - 4/10 (2 points for your good heart beat, and 2 points for your chest compressions meaning you were breathing; but during the test you didn't move - so zero out of 2 points there - even though you moved five minutes later after the test was done!, zero points for the 2cm of water that was supposed to be around you - but obviously there wasn't much water considering my water had broken 26 hours before!, and zero points for your "taughtness" which I still don't understand).  So, in short, the doctor recommended three options: 1) continue to wait for you to come on your own - even though this is not what the hospital would like to do since there was an increased risk for infection.  (Ha!  Since you've been born, I've heard directly from 3 women who had their waters broken for 2-7 days and no infection, so there was not much valid concern for danger.)  2) Start pitocin drug to induce labor. 3) Have a c-section.  Unfortunately, since the score was so low, my midwives felt it was safer to have you born under more medical care, so they said they would not assist me with a home birth.  I told the doctor that I would like to wait until the morning and to see if you came naturally.  At that time, if you hadn't come, I would consider my options at that time.

So, I was going to have you in the hospital!  It seemed so unreal to me - all along I invisioned birthing you in my "ideal birth" outside, under the open sky!  Now, I was inside a spacious room with a beautiful view of trees and San Luis Mountian, inside a hospital.  I really didn't mind, though, I knew the most important thing was having you come out safe and I would have been willing to give birth on the moon in order to have your health uncompromised.  So, the doctors, nurses and midwives stayed until about 9pm talking over things and then everyone left your daddy and me alone.  I was really hungry when we got to the hospital, but I couldn't eat anything because so much was going on.  So, at 8:30, I ordered a large pizza - something like 14 slices!  Yum, I thought.  But then by the time it came at 9:15, I put a slice up to my mouth, lowered my teeth onto the cheese and couldn't even take a bite - I'd lost my appetite!  Now, I realize it must of been because my body was getting ready to birth you, but at the time I thought of all that wasted pizza!

After Michael finished eating, we turned off the lights and his cot was made next to my bed.  We've heard that if you kiss (make the lips soft and open) then the cervix will also open and soften.  We also both stimulated my nipples (basically rubbed them with fingers) because this mimicks breastfeeding which makes the uterus contract - and thus starts contractions just like pitocin does.  (I realize this is a little embarrassing thinking about your parents kissing and such, but really, we were thinking about how to get you to naturally come into this world, and considering what a stressful worrisome afternoon we had, this was the most romantic and peacefully and loving act your daddy could have done for me.)  He helped me labor you into this world!  I'm so grateful for the love, attention and devotion he gave me - and thus you - by this simple romantic act of gently kissing me for about 30 minutes straight!  Around 10:00pm your daddy went to bed next to me and I thought I might try to sleep, too.  I put my hypnobirthing suggestions on and plugged in my headphones and hoped to drift off to sleep.  But instead my uterus started contracting more and more!  I pulled out my iPhone app that counted contractions and would hit "start" and "stop" at the beginning and end of each contraction.  Your daddy was asleep quickly, and the room was dark, and the nurse was leaving me alone - thinking I must be sleeping.  It was a peaceful, almost dreamlike situation - me in this strange place, going deeper and deeper into a trance as each wave of power took over my uterus and brought you closer to me.  I remember I would smile to myself in the faint light and say "I'm about to meet you, little baby!"  I was truly content because I knew that I really was in labor and that you were coming naturally, on your own, and in your own perfect timing.  I couldn't wait to meet you!

After about two hours, the nurse came in to check on me, and I said, I think I may getting near the end.  I said, "Does the machine I'm hooked up to tell you when I'm getting near transition or do I tell you when I think I'm near transistion?"  The nurse looked at me - I was standing up and looking her right in the face - and she said, Oh, I don't think your near the end, your contractions are too far apart.  But I could tell she didn't think by looking at me I was in "enough pain" to be near the end.  Right before this my iPhone app told me that I had progressed from "Stage One: Active Labor" into "Transition".  Funny, it was my phone telling me that I was in transition - because you were such an easy labor I really didn't have that moment of "panic" that many women attribute to transition.  The worst it got for me is I remember thinking, This sucks. It's getting harder and who knows how much longer I have... Michael's asleep and I'm all by myself, the nurse isn't coming in to tell me I'm getting closer...  But then the next moment I was fine and happy to be alone - just you and me working together.  So, once my phone app told me I was in transistion, I called my midwife and told her she may want to come.

Again, the nurse left, your daddy was still asleep, and the midwives weren't there.  It was midnight.  A full moon was outside.  The sky was clear.  I got back in bed, and continued to listen to my hypnobirthing suggestions and continued laboring with you.  Soon, I felt my body begin to push.  It felt good to push, and I would gently, quietly moan during the pushing urges I felt.  Around 12:30, the midwives arrived, and Michael finally woke up.  The nurse came in and I told everyone, I'm sorry, but I feel like pushing.  The nurse and the midwives looked worried.  Since my waters had broken, it was a better idea to not examine my cervix for dialation since that might increase infection risk.  But I knew I was near the end, and that you would be born soon, so I told the nurse to check me.  She did, and I was only 6cm.  Amazed, I thought I would be 10 since I was pushing - which is what my body was telling me to do.  I told everyone, I'm sorry, but I'm going to push.  I can't control it!  Here, the hospital nurse suggested something very wise: she said she could check my cervix during a contraction to see if it opened more.  I said, yes, that's fine and so she did.  Of course, I was at a 10 during a contraction.  So, I continued to push - but now with everyone's relief and permission.  I think this is when the nurse must have called the doctor, who went home and was planning on checking on me in the morning when he came back to work.  He said he got there in 8 minutes, but you were born 3 minutes before he got there.  I was the one who told the nurse that I think you were crowning.  You came so fast!!! I couldn't believe that you were crowning and I was the one who was telling everyone what was happening!  I didn't have time to touch your head as you were in the birth canal - something I wanted to do (because I was too nervous to touch Avi's head as she was coming out).  I didn't have time to tell someone to turn on the videocamera and capture your birth (something I will always miss and deeply regret)!  Goodness, the doctor didn't even have time to get there.  Before I knew it you were out!  (Now, writing this, I realize, you taught me something with your birth: there is not enough time in life - so we must always try to do the most we can right now.  Don't wait!  Life is here before you know it.)

After you came out I immediately grabbed for you and you went on my chest.  You weren't bluish for long - you pinked up right away and started crying your first breaths!  Oh, how happy I was to hear your voice - for I knew you were with us now!  You just hung out on my chest for a while - it was probably about 10-15 minutes before you started rooting around for a nipple to feed on.  Everyone was just hanging around (the doctor, nurses, midwives, daddy) but I didn't even really notice them or talk to them - I was so interested in you.  They were waiting around for about an hour plus to deliver the placenta.  It just didn't want to come.  Finally, the midwife went to her car and got a herb to help (which Michael had to administer to me since the midwives have no medical permission in the hospital) - and within 5-10 minutes it just slipped out with one push.  Amazing (and amazing the hospital didn't have that herb on hand)!

You came out at 12:47am on the beginning of a Tuesday.  You were 6 pounds, 10 ounces and 19.25 inches long. It was June 5, 2012 - the day of the Venus transit.  You can look up the significance of that transit on your own, but we thought it was significant and special enough to add "Venus" to your name.  So, we were going to call you Mila Olive, but now, since you chose that special day to be born (a day that comes only every 5,200 years), you are called Mila Olive Venus.

We stayed in the hospital until 10:00am because the doctor wanted to see you the next morning during his shift.  I wanted to leave at once (like at 3:00am) but the midwives suggested I stay.  (In the morning, during our talk with the doctor, he said that I could have totally had you at home, that coming to the hospital was "an unnecessary precaution."  That sort of made me frustrated, knowing you could have been safely born at home or anywhere, but I trust that there was a reason for you to be born where you were - and I've come to accept that.)  

So, after everyone left, we should have gone straight to sleep, but your daddy and I were so excited and hyped up by your presence that we just talked for an hour.  It was nice being with your daddy.  I realized during this hospital birth that your daddy is my home.  (So, in a way, I had a "home" birth with you!) Wherever he is, I can find comfort, peace, safety and encouragement.  I'm very blessed by him - and you will be, too.

 Amazing you opened your eyes right away!

Your dad wanted to catch you coming out of the birth canal - but since you came so quickly, we didn't even have time to position him to catch you.  The nurse caught you instead.  So, you dad wanted to be the one to cut the cord.  

Marisa and Tanya - so happy you were here! (Look at all those scary looking tools on the table.  Luckily, they weren't used during your delivery!)

Your tiny head, still wet and with a little blood from the birth canal.  

 Your daddy loving me and you!

You had no problems finding your way around!

Daddy taking you to be weighed right in our room.

Skin to skin time with daddy.

You slept right in the crook of my arm that first night in our little twin bed in the hospital.  I can't say I slept more than 45 minutes with everyone coming in to check our stats or for us to sign some paperwork.  But you slept so peacefully that it made me calm and content.