Friday, May 27, 2011

Baby's here!!

We finally got to meet that sweet lil person who was kicking inside of me all those months, plus all those extra days!

Luke James Ulmer arrived right at lunchtime-12:14 pm-on Thurs, May 26th, 2011, measuring 21" long, and weighing 7 lbs, 6oz-breaking big brother Wyatt's record for my biggest baby by 4 oz!

His birth story is below for you birth junkies!! Otherwise, feel free to skip the story, and enjoy the photos at the top of this page!

On Monday, I met with my midwife, as planned, for my first NST (non stress test) just to be certain everything was ok with our baby who was supposed to have shown up sometime around May 13th, but, despite a couple of very real feeling false alarms, still wasn't here. The U/S tech had given me a different due date of May 23rd, so I wasn't too concerned, and didn't want to do anything extra, other than a few home remedies, to try and bring labour on myself. The midwife was respectful and supportive, and baby handled the NST very well, including the contractions I was having during the test. Other than going to sleep, and needing a boost from a drink of juice to get moving again! Home we went, just planning on waiting it out-surely it couldn't be much longer?

Wednesday was my 2nd NST, and baby again did very well. But in discussing things w/my midwife, she mentioned that they were required to consult with an OB after 2 weeks overdue, and that would be Fri. (the O/B would likely recommend pitocin augmentation-I DID NOT want that! I also didn't want to have to consult w/an O/B at all, if I could possibly avoid it!!) Also, that the later baby went, the stronger the possibility of there being meconium in my amniotic fluid, which would mean I couldn't have a waterbirth-which I couldn't imagine not having!! She was still fine w/waiting, but needed to make sure I knew the whole picture and could make an informed decision. I really appreciated that! I (rather skeptically!, I'll admit!) decided that I would try their special lemon verbena cocktail, which required a trip to the grocery store for extra supplies. I was a bit disappointed-I've never needed augmentation to go into labour before, and kind of confused as to what was up with my body.... Still, the thought of meeting our new little one really excited me, so I contacted my sister to put her on the alert, and took our kids to Grandma's house, b/c I had gone to the midwives clinic for a quick U/s to be certain babe was headdown, and the midwife there (the same sweet lady who attended Wyatt's birth), had seemed pretty certain that the cocktail would work-and possibly quite quickly b/c of the number of babies I've had. I decided to try it that night, b/c I was feeling impatient, and a bit like the clock was ticking.

The first dose went down quickly and easily-it hadn't tasted awful the way I'd imagined! Then I waited-and waited-and waited-for something to happen. Still nothing. I requested my DH's assistance one more time in the matter, and even that wasn't helping. 5 hours later, I tried a 2nd dose. It felt heavier in my tummy, and half an hour later, it came back up-ugh! I didn't want to try another dose, b/c I didn't know how much I'd absorbed, and really-I was beginning to feel "over" the whole thing! I was actually still feeling hungry though, so I made us a late meal of BBQ chicken wraps, w/cheese and lettuce, then fell asleep on my DH's lap while he watched a movie.

I woke up around midnight and put my head on his shoulder, complaining to him that NOTHING had happened, not even one teeny tiny contraction, and that I would just be pregnant forever. Two minutes later, a long, strong contraction hit! Then a short while later-another one. And then another. Excitedly, I called my sister and woke her up, and then called my midwife's hotline, and woke her up. I laboured at home for a bit longer, and the contractions were quite regular, and there was some bloody show! YAY!! I roused my DH, and off to Westview health center we went!! I remember how clear and fresh, and beautiful the Spring night was, and hearing the frogs chirping in our pond, before happily getting in our van. Surely this was it-finally!! the midwives met us at the hospital, and sister and I walked for a bit, before I requested they run a strip if they needed to, in case things got intense quick. The strip went well (other than baby going to sleep, just as at my other NSTs). My contractions were very regular. I also had them check my cervix-I was at a 5! YAY! Halfway there! Baby's head was still high, so I focused on doing lunges, and deep squats-anything to try and bring baby's head lower!

Sister walked with me all the long night. But my contractions began to slow down, and not hit so hard. I tried taking a pulsatilla spray. Then birth prep homeopathic tablets, every 10 min from 4:30 am on til about 6:10 am, where I finally gave up and had a nap. I would have a good contraction when I took the tablet, and then maybe one more, but they were slowing and calming, and nothing was helping. Sister tried to encourage me, that every contraction did something, and I knew she was right-but I was just so frustrated. I didn't want to have a nap, I wanted to have my baby! And I felt bad for dragging everyone out and up all night to labour with me-only to once again have my contractions stop! in the morning after a long night, no less!! And baby's head was still high! Had I accomplished anything? I'd never had this happen in labour before, and I really wondered what was going on?? Were we ever going to meet this apparently rather stubborn babe?

Leroy had to go move the kids to Great Grandma Ulmer's, and I had him stop at home to pick up my ingredients for the verbena induction method (hadn't thought I'd need them again). He came back with them, and the plan was-to run another strip, check my cervix, me to have breakfast and then take the verbena cocktail again, and start all over. My midwife was so encouraging- "it's a new day, we'll start fresh". Everyone was so tired, and yet so positive and uplifting for me. My sister predicted baby would get there around noon.

Baby had been bouncing around in my tummy, really active-right up until the midwife put the belts for the machine around my belly. And then, just as before-went promptly to sleep, and did NOT want to wake up!! I joked that I was gonna get a machine like that for after baby was born!! As soon as the strip was run and the belts came off-yes, you guessed it-baby woke right up and was bouncing around again!! An absolute rascal, the midwife said, and we all agreed!! He just didn't want to co operate with anything! Complete mind of his own!!

The sweet midwife who had attended Wyatt's birth, and who had done the quick U/S for me the afternoon before, was the back up midwife for my midwife team's births, and she had come in, in the morning, and was helping me, while everyone else tried to catch a bit of a rest, and Sister went to a quick appt she had in Spruce Grove. I had breakfast, and noted that my contractions had picked up-without even taking the verbena cocktail! This midwife checked my cervix, and I was at a stretchy 6, baby's head seemed a bit lower, and the contractions were every 7-8 minutes-and getting longer and stronger when I walked! She put me back to bed, until she could get everyone back there for me!! This was all occurring at around 9:30 am. Once everyone (who had barely left!) returned, I continued to labour in different positions, "dancing" with Sister and Leroy, focusing on going on hands and knees quite a bit, still trying to get baby to drop down. I then had a contraction that had me wanting to climb the walls, and Sister said "I think it's time for the tub!" I wasn't so sure, I did NOT want my labour to slow again. She said (as she often does!) you worry too much! and encouraged me to get in if I wanted. I was really glad I did, b/c the next contraction was also tougher to get thru, and the water was so soothing.

Shortly after, I had a really "pushy" feeling contraction, and I mumbled "pushy". The other midwives had already come in the room though-they said they had heard a noise that sounded "pushy". Each subsequent contraction felt pushier, and we waited for that big cushiony water bag to break and bring baby's head down-and it didn't... I was getting frustrated again, and said "it feels like this baby is really making me work!". One midwife said I could break my own water if I wished, but that didn't appeal to me, so I had her do it for me on the next contraction. That was a tough contraction, I needed to change positions so she could break the sac, and as soon as the amniotic fluid-clear!-had drained, baby's head hit my cervix and labour got a whole lot more intense!! With Sister's help, I was able to get back on hands and knees, and from then on, it just felt like one long hard contraction, and push. One midwife did ask, if I could feel a break in the contractions, if she could get in there and check heartbeat with a doppler again-but there was no break, and I couldn't move, or talk. I could hear everyone whispering encouragement and soothing words, and baby was being born. I was squeezing Leroy's hand to bits, and Sister was videoing for me... As baby was born, something made me yelp ow!-the midwife needed to untangle baby's cord from around his neck. He had just one loop, but it was rather tight... Then they were bringing baby forward for me, and helping me to lean back to get a better look. I felt between his little legs, and, besides the cord... yup-it's another boy, I announced. He was chubby (I had thought so, the little foot that kicked me so strongly felt chubbier than my other babies, who have had long bony feet), with a dark head of hair, teeny ears, and dark, slate eyes. Perfect-and very healthy! He had good colour from birth, even with the tight cord, and as the midwife was helping me, he reached and grabbed her hand!

I got to sit and admire him while they arranged to cut the cord (Leroy isn't into that, so Sister happily did it), and then delivered the placenta in the water. Leroy held baby skin to skin while I was doing that (oh, he and baby looked so good like that!) and then into bed to get to hold and nurse and admire our new little man, who had no trouble latching on, and nursed happily. Born just shortly after noon, just like Sister had predicted!! And the first one of our babies to be born during daylight hours!!

Of course, baby had pooped all over the blankets Daddy was holding him in, and was no sooner cleaned up-but did it again!! And later, once everyone had left, he had filled the little diaper we had put him in soo much that it overflowed and coated him with meconium yet again-the midwife kindly cleaned him up for me, but said she didn't think she'd ever seen so much poop all at once!! He was covered! Still being a little stinker!

I was able to leave 4 short hours after baby was born. The midwives were so wonderful with their aftercare also, and it was so fun to see them hold and cuddle baby like proud Aunties when I needed to set him down, instead of just putting him in a warmer.

He had a huge welcoming commitee when we got to Grandma Ulmer's! I wished I had brought my camera in to snap a shot of the kids, who circled his car seat to admire and exclaim over the new arrival!! Tabitha took the news that she didn't get a baby sister with great grace-she is such a mother hen, and was just so smitten with this little baby no matter the gender, and Jacob was fine with baby so long as he could still crawl into Daddy's arms. Wyatt stroked the baby's downy head and said "look-I'm petting him nicely!" and Jesse wanted to know whether he himself had been bigger or smaller than the new little one at birth. Grandma had made a nice supper, so we all sat down to eat. Baby was napping through all this, so we didn't take him out of his car seat-we'll need to take him to visit Grandma again soon, so she can get her baby cuddle fix!

So we are home and enjoying our new little one very much. I am especially struck with this birth with awe and gratitude for my whole birth team, who were so patient, and kind, and helpful and encouraging, for me, throughout this rather challenging, and yet absolutely beautiful birth.


Stephanie said...

Congratulations Vanessa!

Lori-Dawn said...

Beautiful birth story!!! I like how you think 12 hours is long...hee hee. It would be long to me too my last one was just 3hrs! Do they think it was likely the cord around his neck that kept him from engaging earlier??
contented sigh....So glad Luke is on the outside now...sounds like he's a good fit in your family already! stubborn...hee hee
May YHVH continue to bless you and your family richly!!

mamazee said...

Hooray! Thanks for posting the story, Vanessa - took me back to my Westview waterbirth :)