Monday, November 25, 2013

Home Water Birth of a Rainbow

Well, it finally happened! I have a baby in my home and in my arms again!

My estimated due date (EDD) was 11/11, and for a while, I was really worried about my baby being born too early. But the 11th came and passed and I stayed pregnant. I went in for a prenatal on Tuesday, 11/19 at 8 days past EDD. My sweet midwife did a quick Non-Stress Test (NST) to make sure all was well inside, and then gave me some "rocket juice" (her own herbal tincture concoction along with some orange juice to mask the flavor). I left her office around 12:30 and then met up with some family for lunch. I picked up my oldest kiddo from school around 3pm and then went home.

The "rocket juice" was supposed to increase the cramping sensation because the goal was to help me with effacement moreso than dilation (I was 4cm and 50% at this point). I could definitely feel the increase in cramping and began to notice that it came in waves, like contractions. So I began taking note of the time between waves. 5 minutes. Hmmm...

After an hour or so, once my husband was home, I let my midwife and doula know that things seemed to be coming together and that I felt like it was the day to bake a birthday cake. No rush yet though. I began timing the duration of the contractions in addition to the time between contractions. As things started seeming more and more coordinated, my husband got nervous and said it might be time to start inviting over our birth team. While I got everyone informed and ate some dinner, he blew up the birthing tub.

First to arrive was my doula, Denise, around 8pm. My midwife, Rebecca, arrived around 8:30-9pm. It was a slow start so I didn't ask my photographer, Kendra, to come over until 10:45-11pm.

We began filling the tub around the time Kendra came over. I didn't want to allow myself too much comfort for fear of slowing things down, but I guess my face was tipping people off that I was needing a little relief and they insisted I get in. The warm water was wonderful! We noticed the time and realized that if things hurried up, I could have a baby on an all prime number date... 11-19-13! unfortunately, with 9 minutes to go, I realized that wasn't going to happen, but also noted that my kids do things in multiples of 3 (#1 was 3 days past EDD, #2 was 6 days past EDD, #3 was 3 days before EDD) and an 11/20 birthday would put her at 9 days past EDD. Yes, I'm a dork and like numbers that much.
Rebecca checking the baby's heart rate while in the tub.
 Anyway, as contractions started really picking up, I guess my face was showing it because they started trying to distract me. Eventually, I had to make a decision - don't push and keep feeling the intense pain in my lower abdomen and thighs, or push knowing it'll hurt more but then will be over. I pushed and felt the water break as her head was birthed into the tub of warm water. I reached down and felt her hair. Once Rebecca checked to make sure the cord was not around her neck, I pushed a second time and out she came. Rebecca pushed her forward while I sat back so that I could lift her out of the water.

November 20, 2013

She was beautiful! The first thing I noticed was her adorably dimpled chin. Then her tiny ears. Her long finger and toe nails. Her button nose (just like Mitchell and Kiersten). Her full lips that she definitely got from her daddy and not me!  I held her, stared and studied her.  Ben sat behind me (not in the tub though) and stared and studied her.  We kept her mostly in the water to keep her warm, eventually wrapping a towel around her to keep the warm water on her.  It seemed like time almost paused so that Ben and I could take in the experience and focus on the fact that we finally had our little girl here where we could see her and cuddle her.  No one interrupted us, they just allowed us to "be."

Then OUCH! What the? "Ooooh, time for the placenta." How did I not remember birthing the placenta at ANY of my births? OUCH!  After waiting for the cord to stop pulsing, Ben cut the cord, and they took my baby girl just long enough for me to birth the placenta (1:20am, so it pulsed for a good 24 minutes where we stayed connected), and then they gave her back. I liked that. Once that was over, it was time to get out. I showered up and got into my bed and got back to snuggling my newest sweetheart.

While her weight (8.0 lbs) and length (21") and other measurements (head/chest 13.25-13.5") were taken and the newborn exam was completed, we talked about names. We had our name list narrowed down to 40 this time (which is good for us, there were 117 names on the list when Mitchell was born). Ainara was a birth team favorite, as it means illuminating, shining, which kind of fits her. Eve means life, which is significant after two losses. Despite meaning "beautiful lion," Arabella was taken off the list. It is also a fitting meaning as she's such a beautiful little girl, and also was a bit feisty while still in the womb. Names were tossed back and forth but we eventually narrowed it down to 5 - Ainara, Miranda, Jeslyn, Sasha, and Emmalyn.

Around 4am, Kiersten woke up. Ben let her meet her new sister, which was an adorable encounter. Finally, though, it was bedtime. Ben and I were both absolutely exhausted after being up for 23 hours or so.

Camera picture of Daddy with his two girls!
All that day, we tried the names on our new addition. I loved Ainara, but alas, it isn't HER name. We both loved Jeslyn, but it wasn't HER name. The boys, asked independently, both said Emmalyn. In fact, when Mitchell went to preschool, his teacher told him that his new baby sister looked like him, to which he replied that, "no, she looks like Emmalyn." The next day, we asked again and they still both said her name was Emmalyn. So there it was. That was HER name.

Before I miss writing it, I want to document it for next time around... after 3 days I was still having contractions in my lower abs and thighs. And it hurt. It hurt like early labor, but it hurt.  How ridiculous! How do I not remember this happening with the others?

Overall, this was such a perfect birth!  We hung out, carried on random conversations, kind of had a "girl night in" feeling to the whole night, and just happened to have a baby in there somewhere!  I loved being in the water.  I loved being the one to bring my baby up out of the water.  I loved letting birth just happen.  I loved sitting in the tub with Emmalyn while waiting for the placenta to detach.  I loved letting the cord pulse until it was done.  I love that her newborn exam wasn't until after I was showered and in my own bed and when I was ready to let someone else hold her while I watched what was going on.  I love that she was in my sight the whole time.  I love that I didn't have to labor in a car!  I loved just everything about this birth!  I absolutely ADORE my birth team!  These ladies were so wonderful to have around me as I labored, keeping my spirits high the whole time, empowering me as my body worked toward its goal.  If the time should arise again, I would choose these 3 to be there, hands down!  And Ben!!  He stays so calm, never freaks out.  Yes, this was my ideal birth.  I got a great birth experience and a great little girl, all in the same night!  Perfect ending to a perfect day!
Erythema Toxicum - no worries, she's not cold, just a normal newborn "rash" kind of thing.

One day old tiny princess!  Our rainbow baby!


K said...

Beautiful story, Ginger! I love her sweet little name. But why are you referring to her as your rainbow baby? Is that what her name means?

Congratulations to you all. What a sweet family you have!

Billie said...

It brought tears to my eyes reading. Beautiful story. Beautiful rainbow baby girl. Beautiful family. I couldn't be more happy for you my friend.

~GINGER~ said...

When a rainbow appears, it doesn't mean the storm never happened, but is something beautiful in the midst of darkness and clouds. A rainbow baby is the beauty after the storm, a child born after a loss. Emmalyn is my rainbow baby as she is the beauty born after the storm of two losses.

K said...

BEAUTIFUL, Ginger! Absolutely beautiful... as is that sweet Rainbow baby.

carrielyshous said...

I love your labor/birth pictures! They're ones I wish I had, but our rainbow came too quick for my sister/photographer to get here. Just lovely.