March 10, 2011
Briar Hill Midwives

Hey Sue!  WE SURVIVED!!! All your teaching was amazing and totally got us where we are!

We have a little girl!  Bria was born on March 10, 2011 at 7:48 am.  She weighed 7 lbs, 14 oz, was 21 inches long and is totally her daddy's daughter with a full head of dark hair. 

The story of her birth actually starts 3 weeks ago on week 35 during our midwife appointment.  My BP was elevated enough that Reanne (just one of our stellar midwives) wanted me checked out.  We spent the evening in triage at the Foothills Hospital and I ended up (over the course of the next three weeks) having a two night stay, three more triage visits, a hand-over to OB care, a hand-back to midwife care, all sorts of talk about inducement and finally, a baby girl.  We were brought into triage again this past tuesday night for a check up to see what my BP was doing and while my labs were awesome, I was already 50% effaced and 2 cm dilated from the previous week, the biophysical profile was perfect and Bria's heartrate was stellar, my BP was just too high.  We talked with Reanne and the OB and resident on call that night and decided to induce in the morning as things just weren't going to improve without getting Bria out into the world.  We hadn't slept at all the previous two nights so one last night of sleep was amazing!

We got the call to come into the hospital at 1pm on Wednesday and we went through all the usual battery of tests that we were used to by now, but in our labor room.  Originally, Reanne had thought that we would start me out on a really slow pitocin drip, but after talking to yet another OB on call, the decision was made to break my water first and see what happens.  We were thrilled with this because Mark and I had no clue how I was going to make it through labor while being continuously monitored and having to stay within the 2 foot radius around the tracing machine. Ick!  Breaking my water meant that we got freedom of movement, I could still eat and drink, and most importantly, no drugs!

Reanne broke my water at 4pm and we got our first good news of the day that it was perfectly clear with no meconium.  I had to start IV antibiotics as I was GBS+ so we got that out of the way and we went for a walk around the hospital.  Contractions started to come quite regularly at around 5pm after an hour of walking.  We went back up to our room and used the birthing ball, toilet, standing, all sorts of positions as help for the stronger and stronger contractions.  Mark also brought his laptop out and we ended up watching Ice Age 1 and 2 and Monsters Inc as distraction from the noises going on down the hallways!  It was great because I was able to get out of my head during the breaks between contractions but still concentrate on them when they happened.

About 11 pm much more intense contractions started and we found new ways to deal with those.  I always thought I was going to be a water baby for labor in the shower and tub but no chance!  I tried the shower and found no relief and the tub made me claustrophobic so that didn't last long. Reanne and Wendy switched places at midnight so Reanne could get some sleep and when Wendy checked me I was 90% effaced and 4 cm dilated.  I was worried about the whole 4 cm thing but Mark just kept saying "remember Sue's rule of 20...don't think about the dilation!".  I have to say, there is no way possible I could have done this without Mark.  He was an amazing coach the whole way throughout my labor and kept me grounded the entire time.  And Sue, he made sure the water kept coming even when I didn't want to see that straw one more time!!

At around 4 am when Wendy checked me I was in a lot of pain but was 7 cm dilated.  Contractions were coming on stronger and stronger and while I thought that contractions were nice, orderly things of a contraction then a break, I didn't get that.  I would get slammed with 4 or 5 contractions consecuctively and then get a break of a couple minutes in between.  I was getting exhausted and was starting to yell "Epidural" in my head.  I didn't say the word out loud though because I knew as soon as I did that I would give up.  I tried movement, I tried the birth ball, shower again, Mark supplied some amazing counter pressure, but the contractions were pretty crazy.  Wendy suggested at this point that I might want to try the Nitrous gas.  I would love to say that I declined, but yeah...I used it and it truly was what got me through transition aside from Mark, my mom and Wendy.  It gave me some rest when the contractions left off for those few precious minutes and was just enough to keep me off something stronger which I definitely didn't want. 

I was concentrating so hard for the next couple hours on breathing and relaxing as much as possible through contractions (seriously, Sue's totally right, don't clench your butt no matter how much you want to!!!) that all I remember was the pain, the breathing and Wendy setting up the room. My eyes were closed the whole time and when I opened them there was a squat bar on my bed, the lights were on and the whole side of the room was ready for baby.  Mark said that the main thing he remembers is that I was having a contraction and he was thinking about how Sue told us about the "grunting" when pushing was about to begin and then I did it!  He looked up at Wendy and said "Um...she's grunting, I think she's going to start pushing soon."  Wendy checked me and sure enough I was 10 cm and totally effaced but for one little lip.  Wendy instructed me to push and she moved the lip out of the way (ouch!) and all of a sudden I was pushing. 

There wasn't even a thought running through my mind about anything other than pushing in the position I was in which was laying on my back, feet braced against the bar.  These last few days my arms and shoulders have been killing me and Mark told me it was from when I was pushing and would brace my arms behind me.  Wendy gave me some great instructions and told me that when I felt that last bit of major pressure before each peak that lots of women turn away from it and don't push through and she wanted me to push as hard as I could.  It worked like a charm!  Shannon, Wendy's second on with her had just come into the room for delivery after Wendy put the call through to Reanne to tell her that a baby was on the way as Wendy didn't think Reanne would get there in time.  She didn't!  After only 48 minutes of pushing (textbook, says dear Wendy), Bria entered the world.  She was placed on my chest, covered completely in vernix and all I could see was HAIR!  I asked Mark what the baby was and he didn't look when she came out so I checked and found out that we had a daughter.

Our entire birth from onset of labor to delivery took 9 hours and 21 minutes with 48 minutes of pushing.  I didn't tear at all, my placenta came out perfectly intact with minimal bleeding, we got our cord blood in the bank and our little girly didn't even get a cone-head!  We were cleaned up, checked out completely and were back at home in bed by 11:30 am that morning.  It was perfect.

We're now wading through the land of no sleep and having some major feeding issues (Bria's a rock star, we just have to work on latch) so we're in with a lactation doc this week sometime.  While our birth wasn't totally intervention free, we're sooooooooo happy with the results.  We got exactly what we were praying for all these last months: a healthy mom, a minimal-intervention birth and a beautiful little girl...who already has everyone in her extended family wrapped around her little finger.  We are so appreciative of our midwives it's crazy.  Wendy, Reanne and Shannon were truly the best thing that could have ever happened to us for this birth.  My mom was a brick (who only squeeked a few tears from seeing me in pain) but it was Mark who was so awesome.  He remembered everything said in the classes, was so supportive of me, anticipated everything I needed without having to have me say it and is the best daddy in the world.  It's pretty darn cute seeing a man who was freaked out of holding babies cuddle his daughter with tears in his eyes.

Just wanted to say again how much I truly appreciated our class.  I'm doing a "Mom and Babies" group with the health region and we're the only ones who used midwives and had prenatal that wasn't put on by the hospitals.  The birth stories of the other mum's in my class are EXCRUCIATING.  Absolutely awful.  We had to tell ours in our first class this morning and I was the only one out of 10 people with a good experience.  Thank you SOOOOOO much for preparing us for something so major and making sure that we knew what we were doing and what our options were.  Because of your class, there wasn't a time where I felt in over my head or scared, which is SO unlike my current classmates. While a couple other women in the class won't even speak of their births due to being so traumatized and afraid, I'm actually looking forward to it again!  You and Rhonda should be nominated for sainthood.

Loving you to bits!

Jill, Mark and Bria.