Friday, September 10, 2004

Orion's Birth Story

My son, Orion Lawrence Prague, was born on September 3 at 1:15am, weighing 10 pounds, 2 ounces.

I want to start by writing about the labor so I will remember it well. We chose to have a waterbirth at home. Our midwife's name was Rasmia Tebo, and we also had a doula in attendance named Octavia Lindlahr. I had a pretty uneventful pregnancy besides a few aches and pains. The due date had come and gone and I was getting worried I would have to be induced, like I was with Sarah. My midwife seemed unconcerned and kept saying he just wasn’t ready. I think she was convinced my due date was wrong, and he wasn’t really late, but my intuition told me something different. I had a feeling I was going to be late again.

So when it got to be a week past my due date, I decided to get acupuncture to move things along. I went into a local clinic to ask if they had any experience with inducing labor, and the lady told me she was 4 for4, so I booked an appointment for the coming Thursday. (I felt weird - like I was booking a scheduled Csection – picking the birth date and all ). The day of the appointment, I went in at noon. I had been having some contractions that made my belly very hard, but they didn’t seem too different than the Braxton Hicks I had been having all along, and they were still mostly painless with just a little cramping. I had also been spotting and seeming to lose my mucous plug over the last couple days, so maybe things would have moved along on their own, but I didn’t want to take any chances.

After the acupuncture things seemed about the same for awhile, with the contractions being a bit more crampy. By 3 pm they seemed to be getting a bit more regular at about 5 minutes apart, but still very mild as far as any pain was concerned. We called Rasmia anyway, just to put her on alert. At this point, I still wasn’t sure if I was really “in labor” after all I had heard about false labor. After a couple of hours, the contractions got to about 3 minutes apart, but still were not too painful. Then the pain started increasing, and it looked like my labor was going to follow the pattern of contractions staying at the same timing while just the sensations increased. Fortunately, I wasn’t having hardly any back pain, which I had expected since I had so much with Sarah.

Time to get things ready, just in case...

Kona wonders, "What the heck is this thing in my living room?"

Poor doggie is not going to get much chance to find out. Out you go, spaz.

We were starting to get a little nervous, because 3 minutes apart seemed so close together considering we were told to call the midwife at 5 minutes. So we finally decided to have Rasmia come over to check things out, and she came around 8pm. We had also called my friend Taira, who is pregnant right now as well, and Ron's mother, Rose. They both got here a bit before Rasmia. I had a pretty good feeling things were not too far along, even though I had been 3 minutes apart for quite some time. Sure enough – only 2 cm dialated. Rasmia predicted I would have the baby around 6am, but I hadn’t told her about the acupuncture.... I felt bad that I had kindof gone over her head. Also, my water broke during the internal exam, which made me think things would start rolling because that was how it had been with Sarah. Rasmia didn't think things were going to pick up, so she left, and so did Rose.

Taira was undecided and stuck around a bit as Ron offered to go to Wendy’s, and she wanted a Frosty haha. Well hurray for the pregnancy appetite because things definitely started to cruise along. She was a great support and also the one who took all the awesome pictures! I was getting a bit worried because the pain was increasing to a place I was having a hard time dealing with it and I thought I was going to have to go through it all night. I was using the O sound with long breaths because I had read that would help open the cervix. I tried some of the breathing we learned in class, but the O seemed to work better for me.

I kindof lost track of the time at this point and was just concentrating on breathing. I have no idea when I was at 4, 5, 6cm, etc. because there was nobody there to check me. According to Ron, things seemed different around 11:30 as far as the sounds I was making, so that is when he thinks I hit transition. Funny enough, I had gotten in the tub just after 11. You are not supposed to get in until at least 5 cm because it can slow things down, but I didn’t know where I was and the pain was bad enough that I just didn’t care. Looking back, I wish I had known I could get in sooner. I think I would have enjoyed the water much more. Everyone says the water makes the pain less, but that was not my perception. I think it just made the pain easier to cope with in a sense because I had more freedom of movement. But maybe the difference would have been more noticable earlier along.

Taira called Rasmia at about 11:45, and not long after that I started to feel a little bit of an urge to push at the end of the contractions. I couldn’t believe it was real because everything seemed to happen so fast. I remember saying to Ron I wonder if I am imagining it because I just want it to be over with. He said I hadn’t imagined it with Sarah, so I probably wasn’t imagining it now. I asked Ron later if he was getting nervous at that point because we were without the midwife, and he said he had been. He never acted like it though. And to think, he almost had to catch the baby!

Rasmia arrived at 12:40, and as soon as she got through the door and heard me, she knew I was ready. She set up her stuff, checked me to make sure and said to start pushing. Wow, was I relieved. I was so scared she was going to say I was only 5 cm or something. Pushing definitely seemed harder than it had with Sarah. She seemed to almost fly out with no effort as my body pushed involuntarily. Maybe it was because I had the epidural then. I think because I could feel everything, I was a little more apprehensive about the pain of crowning. I had heard alot about the "ring of fire", so I was nervous about experiencing that. Also, the sensation of the baby coming down the birth canal was more painful than I expected. Every time I had a contraction, Rasmia would reach inside me and it felt like she was pulling my insides apart. Come to think of it, she probably was! In between contractions, I still felt no pain and was totally lucid.

Here is my pushing face...

...and my resting face. In this picture I was almost fully crowned! Ask me to see the unedited version sometime haha.

At some point, Rasmia said I was almost done and that the head wasn’t moving back anymore in between contractions. I remember thinking she couldn’t be telling me the truth because I couldn’t feel any stretching sensation. Looking at the pictures later, I was amazed to see myself totally relaxing in between contractions with Orion's head almost fully crowned! Then after a couple more pushes she said the head was out. I couldn’t believe it. I had never felt the “ring of fire”. It turned out I needed 2 stitches, so I don’t really understand how I didn’t feel myself tear. I have seen videos of women screaming "I'm tearing!" even when they aren't. The only pain I felt was inside. The biggest shock I had was after Orion’s head was out. That was supposed to be the worst part, so I figured I was over the hump. Then I heard Rasmia saying, “Would you look at that – he is holding his head up in the water!” He was moving his whole body around while still inside me, and that was one of the worst pains I had and different than all the others. But then the rest of him was out before I knew it.

I remember when Rasmia held Orion up, I felt this look of disbelief spread over my face. Of course, I knew there was a baby coming, but somehow seeing him for the first time was still a shock. It was like I couldn’t believe something that big just came out of me! She did a little bit of suctioning, and then I got to hold him. Ron and I were both overcome with emotion. You can see it in our faces in the pictures. We stayed in the water for a bit and kept pouring water over the baby to keep him warm.

Here he is, moments old.

After a little bit, Ron got out and took Orion because it was time for me to birth the placenta. Rasmia kindof tugged on it to get it out, which surprised me because I remembered reading somewhere you are not supposed to do that . Oh well – nothing bad happened. I got out of the water after that and all of a sudden started shivering uncontrollably. It was really strange because I didn’t feel cold, but it was like having a chill you just can’t get rid of. They said it was because of hormones. (Those mysterious hormones - they get blamed for everything in a women's life.) I got on the bed and they piled towels on me. I was in there for a while because Rasmia had to put stitches in and one of the tears was in an unusual place which required her to put a catheter in.

Here is dad having some bonding time while I get stitched up.

And sister having her time.

Orion gets his first checkup.

Sarah started calling relatives, and I am not even sure when Rasmia left. It must have been pretty late – around 3 or so. Here is Orion checking out the nunus.

We are in awe...

And finally, the first family portrait. Yes, that is a chicken leg in my hand. Gogo Pollo Loco.

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