spectating participant

July 22, 2008

Birth of Sara Nicole

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 11:49 pm

Birth Announcement

We’re excited to announce that Sara Nicole joined our family on Sunday, July 20, 2008 at 1:15am. She was born at home, as planned, after a 25 hour all natural labor. She weighed 10lbs, 1oz, was 21 inches long, and had a head circumference of 15 1/8 inches.

Birth Story – The “Short” Version

I had joked about the full moon inducing labor and sure enough, when the night was fully illuminate with moonlight my contractions began. The first few hours were filled with excitement that labor was finally happening and finishing all of the final prep for birthing at home. Around 4:00am, our energy faded, and we all managed to fall asleep. I got almost 2 hours of sleep before contractions were too much to sleep through and I had to get up.

I called my doula and midwife in the morning to let them know that things were happening and that we’d need them later. And then, after talking to them, everything stopped – a pattern that would continue throughout the day each time I talked to them. I finally started just emailing my doula to avoid the 30-minute downtime that would follow each phone conversation.

To get things moving again, we tried walking around the yard but it was hot and boring so I let Chris talk me into heading up to the farmers market. We picked up a few items and chatted with a friend/vendor before heading over to a local bakery for some yummy sandwiches. I was very happy to head back home because dealing with contractions out in public just wasn’t my idea of a good way to spend a Saturday morning/afternoon.

Things picked up in the afternoon and around 4pm we were finally in a consistent labor pattern that continued even though phone updates with our midwife. Around 4:30pm, I checked myself and decided that I was about 5.7cm dilated – for the curious, yes, we pulled out the calipers to get that precise measurement (no, the calipers didn’t go there! we measured the exact width of my finger and multiplied by 4). We had our doula come over around 7:00pm and our midwife showed up around 8:00pm.

Labor continued to pick up, following a rather unusual pattern of being stronger and more consistent while lying in bed and spacing out and backing off while walking around. At 9:46pm, my water broke. I spent some time laboring in the shower until our doula suggested we should get started filling the birth pool. The pool was a nice plus, but it didn’t relieve pain as much as I expected. I had no concept of time at this point, and kept thinking I was both close to the end and nowhere near done at the same time.

I finally asked for the midwife to check me and was devastated when she said I was only 7cm. At this point, I lost a lot of confidence in my ability to keep going but decided to get out of the pool to get things moving. Our wonderful doula offered lots of suggestions that I tried, including walking up and down the stairs, to help things along.

I was very overwhelmed by contractions at this point, obsessing on the 7cm number and feeling like there was no way I was going to be able to make it to the end. I missed the obvious signs of transitions (feeling like I couldn’t do this) and in less than an hour after the disappointing announcement, pushing started.

It took about 30 minutes to push out our not-so-little girl. After her head was delivered, my midwife told me I had to change positions – her shoulders were stuck. Afterwards, Chris mentioned that he had no clue that’s what was going on at first – but having read enough about birth, I knew that was the issue was shoulder dystocia as soon as she told me I had to change positions and push her out.

After some serious pushing and lots of maneuvering on our midwife’s part, Sara Nicole was finally out and placed on the bed before me. She was huge and covered in vernix – the midwife and doula both commented that she was the “cheesiest” baby they’d ever seen – it was thick enough to flake off her arms and legs and still leave her very covered. Thanks to her huge head, she ended up with some bruising around her eyebrows and had busted blood vessels in her eyes – but otherwise traveled the journey quite well. After some time I delivered the placenta and Chris eventually cut the cord. Momma and baby have been doing well since.

    Random Comments and Observances

  • Someone commented on my obvious discomfort while at the farmers market, responding that I was in labor was an amusing response to give.
  • Also, saying that you’re in labor now is the best response to the “when are you due?” inquiries.
  • I spent many contractions at my sewing machine finishing up a small stash of cloth pads – it eventually became too uncomfortable to finish them all.
  • I discovered that chocolate donuts and honey sticks bring on very strong and intense contractions – I refused both for the rest of labor.
  • “Oh great, a contraction while peeing, what more could I ask for?” SPLOOSH! “Oh my water just broke!”
  • In the middle of pushing, I commented on the point of no return saying “oh crap, we’re gonna have a baby soon, what are we going to do then?”
  • The entire labor felt like it took just 3-4 hours in all – not bad considering the actual number.
  • Laboring on your own schedule, in the comfort of your own home, is wonderful.
  • Trying to figure out what to eat during transition isn’t any fun, and thank goodness your doula knows to just start giving you food and not ask questions.
  • Speaking of food and late labor, baby carrots are not a good choice – there isn’t enough time between contractions to get one chewed up and swallowed. Applesauce was a much better alternative.
  • I love the midwife we chose; she was very respective of our wishes for a hands off, no intervention birth. The entire time she was there she was invisible, which is what I had wanted, and actually spent the whole time napping except when woken when I wanted to be checked and when she came in just as pushing had started. I was very happy to have her there, especially at the end, when I ended up needing Chris 100% by my side and she was able to help me deliver without tearing and was able to get Sara unstuck.
  • A 10lb baby was a total shock to us — I only gained 20lbs during the entire pregnancy and certainly wasn’t “huge” by any account.

It's a Girl!