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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Noah's Birth Story

I know you've all been eagerly awaiting these details. However, I thought it better for me to wait until I was no longer at the mercy of my hormones before writing such an important post. 
Moreover, I think that time is needed in order for a woman to put her ideas about her birth experience in...let's say, "proper perspective." There's something about time that turns gory and gruesome details into fond and loving moments in a mother's memory:) So, with two weeks past, I think I'm ready. So, here it is.

Noah's Birth Story

Labor Finally Begins!
Let me start by saying that I was in no way dreading the pain I might experience during this labor. In fact, I had prepared so profusely and waited so eagerly that I  welcomed pain when I finally felt some!

Contractions started coming in regular intervals as a sort of tightening in my lower back at about 1:30 a.m. on Monday morning. The contractions began about 7 minutes apart and after a few hours, I let hubby know that I thought this was finally it. He was excited. We got up at about 4am and he fixed me soup. We debated about whether we should change the baby's middle name from Kenneth to something else. We fell out over that. In the midst of it all, as I felt one of the contractions coming on, hubby spoke fervently to it and said, "That's right. Get her!" I laughed at his ridiculousness. We made up.

Laboring Through the Day
At about 9 a.m. contractions were getting a little stronger. We decided to go for a walk with the girls to McDonald's for breakfast and some indoor playground play.  We stopped by a FHA lender office that we never noticed was there before and got some credit and homebuying consultation. We found amusement in acting serious and normal, like nothing was happening. It was "our little secret." Contractions slowed down a bit, becoming about 10 minutes apart. We walked home. By 6p.m. contractions closed in to about 4-5 minutes apart and were painful, but manageable.

In Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, which I had recently finished reading, Ina May suggests mooing like a cow during contractions. I had joked with hubby about actually doing that and he reminded me of it. So, we mooed like cows during some of the contractions. The girls found that funny and joined in on the mooing as well. 

The Intensity Turns Up
By about 10p.m. things began to change. Contractions were stronger and coming 3-4 minutes apart. Suddenly, my two kids seemed like ten. I found it hard to think straight and to not feel irritated and annoyed. I told hubby I thought it was a good time for him to take them to my mom's. 

When hubby came back from dropping the girls off, we decided to make our way to the hospital. We arrived there about 11:30pm. The doula was already there and soon the midwife, hubby's mom, and Tiffany all arrived as well.

Warning: Large Mammal in Labor
By this point, contractions were extremely intense and I started to lose my composure. The room was small and although there may have only been 6-8 people in there at a time, it felt like 20. Whenever more than one person spoke at once it seemed like there was a large crowd of people talking to me. This made me feel really tense and agitated. The nurses coming in to put the baby monitor on me for twenty minutes of monitoring didn't make it any better. I felt myself feeling annoyed and irritated at every suggestion on how to breathe or move or anything. I felt bad for feeling that way, but couldn't help it. During one contraction, I cut off anyone who was talking and said, "Please! SHHHHHHHH!" So, that was the end of that. I'm told that after that point, you could hear a pin drop!

I especially didn't want to do anything that entailed lying on my back. At the peak of every contraction I felt like my pelvis was shaking on its own and my lower back was going to snap. I had heard of people having back labor, but I had not anticipated this. I kept thinking after a contraction, "That was bone crushing pain."

In Gaskin's book, she suggests that when you're in labor you "let your monkey do it." In other words, like a monkey would, you just lose all inhibition, move around in any way that feels right, make noise, be willing to be unconventional and to just "prepare to be a little wild"(pg.244). She suggests that women "imagine themselves to be a large mammal when they are in labor" because primates are known to cope well during labor and birth (pg.246).

This was the part of the book that scared me. I had told my husband that I wanted to listen to my body and all, but I did not in any way, want to act or behave like an animal when I was in labor! Well, my worst fear was realized. I felt like I had no choice. I was either going to follow Ina May's advice or break down and sob like a baby! 

So, there I was, actin' up. They could have put a sign on the door that read, "Welcome to the Zoo!" I was moving around, moaning and stretching my arms all around the place. I was repeating the same statements over again and acting noticeably agitated by people. I would attempt to calm down and breathe in the suggested ways, but when that seemed to be to hard, I reverted back to the primate in me. I was just doing anything I could to get through each contraction without breaking down or giving up. 

After about two hours, the midwife checked and I was only between 7-8cm dilated. I felt like, "What in the world? When is this going to be over?" Someone suggested that I get in the whirlpool. I protested. Eventually, I got in and was glad I did.

At the End of the Tunnel, But Still Looking for the Light
In the whirlpool, I could only see, hear, and feel hubby. He had his arm under my head to help hold it up. His holding my head, the feeling of privacy, and the distractions of the water jets helped me relax some. Nevertheless, with every contraction I touched my lower back because it still seemed like it was trembling on its own. I think I prayed for things to be over quickly. I wanted an epidural. I wondered why I was doing this to myself. However, I knew it was too late for an epidural to work and I didn't want to give up. I tried to remind myself that God was in control. I suddenly felt the urge to push.

Finding Relief in Pushing
I was helped me out of the whirlpool and the back on the bed. The midwife let me know to push if I felt the urge. Pushing felt good. It was getting some pressure off my back and bringing relief to my pain in the abdomen. I pushed hard when I felt the urge and enough to get that "relief" feeling. At this point, alot of things I had read came in handy. For example, I remembered Sphincter Law and Ina May Gaskin's explanation of how the head advances toward birth with a push and then recedes, its good because the "alternate stimuli of pressure, release, pressure, release" helps the vulva gradually open up (pg.256).

I also remembered Gaskin's and my midwives advice to use shallow chest breathing as a way not to not push when the midwife would say its time to ease up so I didn't "blow the baby out" and risk a huge tear. My midwife was great at this point, encouraging me to push when I felt the urge, but letting me know when I should ease it up as well. Hubby was thoroughly impressed with how she supported the perineal area using her hands like her life depended on it. He said in the past, the doctors that delivered our girls didn't give nearly that much attention and care to insuring I didn't have a bad tear.

After pushing through a few contractions, I was relieved to hear the midwife say, "okay it doesn't look like the head is going back anymore." I pushed again and felt the ring of fire. All I could say was, "burning!" I remember wanted that part to be over quickly and in a couple more pushes it was. That's when heard the midwife say in a surprised tone, "This baby is totally posterior." Immediately I had thoughts of her trying to turn the baby at that point, or somehow my labor ending in some other kind of intervention. I was determined for neither of those things to happen, so with the next urge to push I just gave it all I had! I was relieved to hear the midwife say after that, "Okay, reach down and grab your baby." Whew! and Hallelujah!

Hey, Where's My Oxcytocin At?
I had hoped to have a huge rush of oxcytocin and love hormones when they placed the baby on my chest. However, between so many people standing around telling me to do things, a nurse trying to take my blood, and the midwife trying to put a stitch in (skid of a tear) all at the same time, that didn't happen I still felt agitated and a tad bit traumatized at that moment. After all that was over, I was actually falling asleep while holding the baby. However, I did manage to latch him on and he seemed to be ready and eager to nurse, which was great.

The Realization of a Powerful Testimony
After everything was over, the midwife and our doula told me that my labor and delivery went tremendously well, especially since my baby was posterior. The midwife said she had only seen four women push a posterior baby out her some 30 year career. Another midwife commented that I must have "a great pelvis" to have birthed a posterior baby with only barely tearing. This sparked my curiosity, so when I got home I researched posterior births and found this out:

Posterior Position is when bony part of the head is pressed against the bony part of the pelvis. The pressure of the contractions pushes the head into the pelvis and can cause tremendous back pain. Some women feel the pressure even between contractions. Few women expect to feel their contractions as mostly a back ache.

Because the posterior position puts bone near bone, it is more difficult for the baby to fit into the pelvis. Posterior babies generally require longer labors, and if the baby persists in a posterior position, second stage may be longer than average as well. This can be fatiguing for a woman.

Mothers whose babies are face-up at birth tend to push longer, more commonly need Pitocin to stimulate contractions, and have a significantly higher risk of having an assisted vaginal delivery or a c-section.

Those who do give birth vaginally to a baby who is posterior are more likely to have an episiotomy and severe perineal tears than moms whose babies are in the more favorable face-down position, even after you account for the higher rate of forceps and vacuum-assisted delivery.

After reading this, and the experiences of other women who have given birth to posterior babies, I realized how BLESSED I was to not have had any interventions or a huge tear! I was also blessed to not have had a longer start and stop labor, which is also common for posterior babies. I read horrific stories of women pushing for hours with little to no progress. Nevertheless, I only pushed for about 10 minutes. 

I was also comforted to read and hear, that it is perfectly normal for a mother who has just given birth to a posterior baby to have trouble bonding with the baby immediately because of exhaustion. In short, God allowed the baby to be posterior; however, he didn't allow many of the normal complications that accompany that to become problems for me. For that, I am SO grateful! Thank you Jesus!

Will I do it Again?
If I judge my entire experience by the last three hours at the hospital, I would probably say no. However, the first 21 hours or so actually weren't that bad. I also have to remind myself that every baby is not posterior. In fact, I have two who were not, so the odds are on my side. I have also read about alot of things you can do during pregnancy to turn the baby to prevent posterior births.

Overall, hubby says that this birth was the least gory of all of our children. This was definitely the best in terms of tearing. It was so small I didn't even need the stitch. I just took it for peace of mind sake. Baby's apgar was 9.9 (not bad eh?). My baby is still healthy and thriving. I seem to be recovering well and quickly. So, I would say this was a better, healthier, safer, gentler delivery. For that, I might be crazy enough to take another crack at it.


  1. Thanks for sharing this story for those of us that have yet to experience the birthing process. I sincerely appreciate it.

  2. I loved reading about the birth of Baby Noah and I'm glad you finally put it up here. It was a wonderful story and I'm glad you got to share it with us!

  3. Wow! What a great story. Ina May is awesome, isn't she? I read that book and highly recommend it to all I know who are about to give birth. It's great. I think for first timers, it's better to read later on in the pregnancy (didn't quite get it until my third trimester), but if I have another one, I'll start reading earlier. The doula and midwife combo were great for me, too! Congrats on the posterior position. WOW! The "ring of fire" is pretty unbelievable, isn't it? Congrats so much!!!!

  4. I hope you are "crazy enough" to do it again!! I love all the details and I'm so glad to finally hear them. I don't blame you for waiting to write about it, especially after such a long labour. Noah's birth really does sound like a miracle, considering that you wanted so much to do it naturally and his position should not have lended itself to that. Your giving it all you had at the end sounds like mine when the doctor threatened to give me an episiotomy because of Erik's heart rate - it's amazing what we can do when given the choice of our effort or intervention. Congrats again and thanks for the story and all its gory details. ;)

  5. awesome birth story!

    i had all back labor with Brycen.


  6. LOL.Speaking of doing whatever your body tells you to do. With the homebirth, hubby said at one point I looked like I was 'humping the wall' Glad it went well and thank you for posting it!

  7. Child I tip my hat off to you all. I mean "MY LORD!!!" I'm glad it all went well and that despite how it looked God was in the midst of you all. When the Lord blesses me to have children I will definitely be calling you and the other Moms. However, in the mean time I don't think I should read many birth stories...might make me say "marraige is not for"

  8. LOL! Yeah Ashley, I don't want you to take in too much, too soon! Birth stories can be kinda "scary."

  9. Congratulations on your blessing! You faced labor like a champ and did a great job telling the birth story. Thanks for sharing it.

    Thanks also for visiting my blog and for the kind comment. When I published it blogger sent it out to the great unknown so I have no clue where it went! I am enjoying looking around your site. Blessings!

  10. Thank you so much for letting me know this wonderful story was here. It was such an encouragement to read how the Lord brought you through a posterior labor. I've had two posterior labors, and this last one was really hard emotionally (as you read on my blog), but I've also had two that were normal. All four were without drugs. The normal labors were SO MUCH easier than the posterior ones. If you can make it through (with the Lord's help) a posterior labor unmedicated, you can make it through anything!


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