Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Birth story

I tried to write up how the birth happened, mainly for myself. This is what I posted on one of the web boards (baby-related) that I visit.

In short: med-free birth that almost happened in the car on the way to the birth center.

A week and a half ago our daughter Emilie (just think Emily) was born. Unlike with our first daughter, Sonja, I did not have any back labor, and overall, I got really lucky, and my contractions were very manageable - in fact, I kept waiting for them to really start to hurt, and they never did, which was the reason we almost didn't make it to the birth center on time.

My milk came in after two days (compared with 3 days the first time). The afterpains (where the uterus hurts as it contracts, especially when the baby is feeding) stopped after 3-4 days (don't remember the first time how it was). My bleeding nearly stopped after 1 week (compared with bleeding the full 6 weeks the first time). And I made sure to start taking metamucil after the birth, so I had no problem with constipation, unlike the first time...

emilie's birth story

On Sunday after dinner, we went for a walk around our neighborhood with our dogs. I told Martin I thought I started having some contractions, though I wasn't sure if it was just the food. They were 10-15 minutes apart, probably, not very strong at all. After Martin put Sonja to bed, I decided to time two or three, so that I could give the midwives a heads-up by 9pm that things were possibly happening. And I did.

Over the next two hours, despite Martin's suggestion that I try to get some sleep (I could not get comfortable in bed), I did small things around the house, mainly preparing the things to bring with us, just in case it was it. At 11pm, he decided to check on me, and together we walked to our mailbox (some 400 yards away) and back, while he started keeping track of the contractions. As with my labor with Sonja, periodically one contraction might be missing or very weak.

Still, Martin suggested we call the midwife back, and head to the birth center. So we did. Sometime around 11:50pm, he called the midwife on duty, who said she will meet us in half an hour at the birth center. We waited a few minutes before heading out, since it takes less than half an hour for us to get there. In those fifteen minutes, my water broke during one contraction (12:08) - a spectacular "pop" sound like one pops a balloon, followed by a flood coming down my legs. After the contraction, I dropped the pants and went to put on a clean pair of panties and something else. The contractions were coming every few minutes by then. (Every 4 minutes while we walked to the mailbox, after the water breaking may be every 3 minutes ?)

We jumped into the truck and drove. I was bracing myself against the above-the-door handle. Real close to the house, my body suddenly started pushing during one contraction. I couldn't help it. I cried to Martin "I am pushing". He asked whether he should pull over or continue, I really did not know. We went on. During the next contraction, doing some breathing exercises helped to stop the pushing, but not for the contraction after that. Since it was midnight and not much traffic, at one point I told him to run the red light where we had stopped, once the traffic passed.

We got to the birth center, I barged in, the midwife showed me to the room where she started filling the water tub with water, I told her that I am pushing, she threw some sheets onto the bed, I dropped my skirt and panties, kneeled on all fours, and pushed as the next contraction came. As with Sonja, I could feel the pain associated with the head going through. Our daughter Emilie was born within a few moments. 12:24. Later, when a second midwife arrived and was filling out the form, she filled out the time of the birth (12:24), and asked when had we arrived at the center. The midwife who delivered the baby said a minute before, still, the midwife who filled out the form said that she will put down 12:22 as our official arrival time.

We snuggled with Emilie for about an hour before they did cut the umbilical cord, weighted her (7 lbs 12 oz), and did the eye treatment and the vitamin K shot. She was a tiny bit jaundiced, so the midwife told us the next day to leave her in the sun for 10 minutes, up to three times a day.

We had to spend at least 3 hours after birth at the birth center. Instead of heading home in the middle of the night, we spent the night at the birth center. The next morning my dad brought our 2 year old with him to the birth center. The two year old, whom we had thought of as a baby until that point, looked like a giant compared to the newborn. After a nice breakfast of pancakes and blueberries and smoked salmon and scrambled eggs (yay for an alaskan breakfast), we headed home.


Snowbike said...

AWESOME. Congrats on a great birth and an awesome new addition to your family. Good luck with those passport photos!

Hilary said...

Wow, Dana, what a story. If Martin had not broken the law and run the red light it sounds like he might have had to deliver Emilie himself!
The passport photos are hilarious - we had similar problems with Sophie and ended up draping her car seat with a white cloth and sitting her in that for the photo (takes care of the head being upright). When do you fly to Zurich?