Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ava's Birth Story

After what seemed like an eternity of waiting, my little sister Gina finally arrived on April 3rd to help with our home birth. It was then that we gave baby the go ahead to make an entrance. We were blessed to have a wonderful Easter Sunday. As we finished giving the boys their baths, I once again felt the contractions that I had been experiencing for a few weeks. They always did the same thing becoming consistent only to fizzle out after several hours. After the boys bath, Gina and I decided to go for a walk through the neighborhood to see if we could help things along. We walked for about an hour and a half…all the while the contractions were steady and tolerable, and we spent plenty of time laughing and chatting between them.

When we returned home we found Rick watching TV…I know SHOCKER! We joined him in the living room and sat down as we drank some water. We started a conversation that I feel blessed to have had with my baby sister. We were able to open up as a group and had a healing conversation that ended with all three of us hugging and crying. We went to bed with full hearts and open arms for the miracle that awaited us.

I had a restless night with the persistent lower back pain I had been experiencing for a few days. I tried every position possible to relieve the pain, but at 4am I decided I needed to get up and take a shower to relax. I woke my husband up half way through my shower to come and sit on the bathroom floor and keep me company while I finished up. I just felt that I needed him close to me while I was experiencing this discomfort. When I got out of the shower my very sleepy husband asked me if I was OK and if I needed him to call the midwives. I persisted that I was fine and he went back to bed. I busied myself with some laundry and a few other chores (all the time thinking how I was just trying to pass the time since I couldn’t sleep anyway). At about 6am I woke Rick again to be by my side…I was starting to need his companionship more with each contraction.

Once on the birthing ball Rick observed a few unpleasant facial expressions and started calling the troops. At my request he told the midwives and the doula not to hurry, that we were sure there was still plenty of time before the delivery but that we were certain the baby would arrive some time today. Within 30 minutes I asked him to call the doula back and ask her to give us some ideas to relieve the back pain I was having. She listened intently on the phone while I had my next contraction and told Rick she was on her way…apparently she heard something that Rick and I missed! Thank you Genny for being so in tune with me and listening to the labor tones I was denying!!!

Gina came out of her room around 6:30am and found me sitting on the birthing ball. She had a pleasantly shocked expression on her face when we told her we thought that this was going to be the day. Genny, the doula, arrived shortly and I stopped trying to find things to “get done.” The contractions were very close together (about a minute and a half) and were intense but I was still convinced that I had more time until the job would be done.

My doula was the first of the birth team to arrive and I was glad she was there. I had been having pain in my lower back and I couldn’t find any position to help with the pain. I was hoping that Genny would be able to help me work through the pain and find ways to be comfortable through this journey that awaited me. Soon after Genny got here the nurse midwife arrived and began bringing her equipment upstairs in preparation for the birth. I stood there for a second taking this all in, disbelieving that I was actually going to meet my baby today…a day that I had anticipated for 39 weeks and 5 days. I was overjoyed yet extremely focused on my work.

I was kneeling down trying to help my sister get a toy for her son and I had a contraction. Luckily, I found a supportive structure to lean on…the LEGO table. After one contraction leaning on the table I decided that it was not a good place to labor and started searching for another source of support. I wondered over to the couch and knelt in front of it in time for another contraction. My doula silently provided counter pressure on my lower back. After the contraction passed she quietly asked me if I would like Rick to give me a blessing. I responded that I would love that and called for him to get someone to help him. He responded without hesitation and the time passed quickly before Dixon (a church friend of ours that lives a block away…lucky us) came up the stairs into my bedroom to assist my husband in delivering much needed peace to me in my final moments of pregnancy and labor. When the blessing was over I felt great peace and was ready to proceed with renewed strength for the job ahead of me.

It was at this point that we started to fill the bathtub. My doula asked me what I wanted to do as I swayed through a few contractions standing in the bathroom. I responded that I wanted to get in the tub, but that I didn’t want to slow down the labor (I still couldn’t grasp that I was so close to holding my sweet baby in my arms). My doula looked me right in the eyes and gently said “Linda, you are not going to slow these contractions down…you are almost there!”

I got into the tub as our friend and neighbor Candace showed up to help with the boys (who had slept in until about 7:30…unheard of in our house) everything was falling into place. During the first contraction in the tub I felt something different and was a bit surprised by it…I felt the urge to push. I’m not sure why but I tried to quietly work through the contraction without calling any attention to myself. Seconds after the contraction was over my doula leaned over to me in the tub, my eyes still closed, and she asked me if there was anything different about that contraction. I responded saying “I was pushing” with shock and amazement in my voice. I just couldn’t believe how fast this labor was progressing.

After this first pushing contraction I remember looking over and seeing the second midwife enter the bathroom. I started laughing when she said “Rick told me not to hurry!?!?” I knew that I was the one who didn’t want an audience, but I nearly got just that. I was glad that my birth team was now all accounted for and ready to go.

I am not sure how many contractions I had in the tub but it seemed like minutes until I found my breathing pattern and started moving through the most intense contractions yet. I remember the contractions coming nearly one right after another and it was in a brief break between contractions that I quietly stated that I was scared. Almost as soon as that thought entered my mind I pushed it out of my consciousness and pushed past the fear through the next contraction. I remember feeling a pop and asking the group “What was that?!?!” and in the seconds it took for the midwife to respond that my water had broken I was already aware by the sensation of the baby crowning! My sister and Rick were in place, and with one more contraction a baby was born into the loving arms of an Auntie and Daddy ready and waiting.

I sat up a bit in the tub and took the little bundle into my arms. I embraced this precious little one and took in the overwhelming joy for a moment. After embracing my baby I realized that we didn’t know yet if it was a boy or a girl. I immediately lifted up the baby’s leg and exclaimed, “It’s a GIRL?!?!?” I was in complete shock. “We made a GIRL?!?!?” I quickly asked “Someone else check!!” The room was filled with laughter and I exclaimed, “Seriously, it’s a GIRL!?!?” I’m sure this became extremely comical but I just couldn’t believe it!! I remember putting the little pink hat on her head, and laying back against the tub and holding her close to me saying, “She is here…Ava is finally here!!” Weighing 7 lbs 12oz and 20 inches long…SHE IS HERE!!

For the longest time I have felt that we would have a daughter… we have always called her Ava and knowing that this was our last pregnancy I was afraid that she would never be united with our family. I had already prepared myself to have another son but still longed for the daughter I knew was waiting. I still feel so blessed to have her here with us! She has already added so much to our family and although she is just over a week old we cannot imagine our lives without her.

And so after 2 hospital births and two home births…four AMAZING children and an overwhelming number of wonderful memories, we finally are the family we were always meant to be.

Thank you to our families for supporting us, to the midwives and doula who believed in us, to our children for being patient with us, and most importantly to our Father in Heaven for blessing us more than we ever thought possible!

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