Tuesday, 4 February 2014

The birth of a little, blue-eyed angel. Adalyne Jo.....

Birthing Adalyne Jo, through my eyes

February 4, 2014 at 12:03am
I predicted I'd go into labor on Thursday, January 16, the forecasted full moon, and deliver the 17th. I had read somewhere that more women go into labor when the moon is full and I liked that idea... so I went with it. I also half-joked and was half-serious with my three midwives (Amber, Galyn and Stephanie) saying I wanted a short, active labor of 4-6 hours (active labor is 4cm dilated). And after Chris' first prediction past with no baby, he guessed I'd go into active labor on a Wednesday night and have a quick 5 hour labor.

On Monday, January 13th, the night of my due date, I laid down to get some rest. Around midnight, I started having menstrual-like cramps in my lower abdomen. They were strong enough to notice but not strong enough to convince me I was in labor. I didn't time them but if I had to guess, I'd say they came every ten minutes, lasting about 25-30 seconds. I could half-sleep through them but was unable to enter a deep sleep. So I rested the best I could in between the contractions.

Tuesday came and the contractions continued all day & all night at the same interval & intensity. We went for dinner with Chris' parents and when we got home, I tried to get some sort of sleep in between contractions but couldn't sleep longer than ten minutes at a time.

On Wednesday, January 15th, it was the same thing during the day. The contractions continued to last 25 or so seconds with a ten minute break before another contraction would come. I hadn't slept since Sunday night, before the contractions began. Needless to say, I was tired and started to lose hope but Chris was there to encourage me. Thankfully, by nightfall the contractions had increased to 6-7 minutes apart lasting 45 seconds so I knew we were getting close! On Wednesday night, when Chris got home from work, we ran to WalMart for errands. My phone had conveniently crapped out on me so we decided a quick, appropriate fix would be to purchase a 'go phone.' We waited for associates to help us and as we stood, patiently waiting, my contractions would come. Standing still made me absolutely stir crazy so I would walk around the large entertainment kiosk as the contraction made its way from my lower back and then wrap around to my abdomen. At one point, I got stuck talking to the young employee who was helping us when I had a contraction. As she was talking, my eyes must have glazed over or something because she stopped talking, her eyes went wide and with a genuine freaked out look on her face asked, "Um. Are you okay?!" When I explained I was having contractions her facial expression was hilarious. haha Anyhow, we got my new phone locked and loaded and as we left WalMart, what do you know? It was a full moon AND it was a Wednesday night, a happy medium to both Chris' and my prediction. Now... lets see about that short labor, huh?!

On our way home from WalMart we grabbed Pizza Hut. It wasn't a healthy choice but there was no way I was able to cook much less think about eating healthy. After our guilt-free dinner, Chris laid down to get some much needed shut eye as he works 12 hour shifts. I tried my darnest to sleep! I put my self-hypnosis tracks on and dozed off between the contractions. I informed my midwife but the contractions weren't close enough or strong enough to signal I was in active labor. However, at 2 am I felt a painless "pop" inside my belly. My water broke. I called the midwife and she advised I try to sleep. Even though my water broke, this could continue for hours and we needed to see if I was going to progress, as labor can stall and even stop. She advised if I transition to the next stage of labor, I'd know... Something very different would happen; the contractions would become much stronger and it would be hard to focus. I remember thinking, "$h!t." lol

After we got off the phone, the contractions continued in intensity to the point where sleep was a foreign concept. Most of the time I found myself in the bathroom during a contraction. When one would come, I instinctively laid my head on the sink and rose up on the top of my toes while I grasped the side of the counter. Nothing I did alleviated the powerful surges. At 3:45 am, I called the midwife back between contractions and let her know they were lasting over a minute with a minute and a half break. I was told to leave the house at 4:30 am. I woke up Chris, he got the things that couldn't be packed prior, like our toothbrushes and shampoo. I told our dog, Timber, to be good, and off we went.

After an intense ride, we arrived at the birth center at approximately 5 am. Galyn greeted us with a soft voice. The room was dimly lit and there was tranquil music playing in the background. It was so soothing! Galyn checked me and I was 4-5 cm dilated. That was a huge relief because I worried I'd only be 1-2 cm. For a few contractions, I laid on my back on the bed but it was extremely uncomfortable so Galyn suggested I try sitting on an exercise ball. Holy Toledo, that was the best thing! I was able to straddle the ball and lean my body forward while my head and arms rested on the bed. When a contraction came, Galyn would massage my lower back hard while Chris, who was laying on his stomach across from me, gently stroked my hands and head. Between the two of them, the support really helped me deal with the pain.

While Chris and Galyn coached me for some time, Amber and Stephanie showed up. I remember hearing their voices but couldn't move my head from the bed to say hello. At this point, Galyn's hands had to have been cramping! So Amber, Galyn and Stephanie would alternate rubbing my back while another would periodically apply the Doppler radar to my lower abdomen to see that baby's heart rate was good. They'd also check my blood pressure, temperature and heart rate. In addition, I took sips of Gatorade and nibbled a protein bar in between contractions; staying hydrated and keeping a little food in my belly was vital for the energy I'd need in a little while.

Sometime later, as I was laboring on the exercise ball, baby's heart rate couldn't be found. I remained calm, climbed on the bed and her heart beat was found. Amber checked baby's position and it was discovered she was turned in an unfavorable position. She wasn't breech, her head was in fact down but she was tilted in a way that would make birth more difficult for her and I. To encourage baby to turn, Amber instructed me to lay on my left side. They brought my right leg in front of me at a 90 degree angle and placed it on a couple of pillows. Galyn told me every time I change positions, the next three contractions would be very intense. Yep... She was right. I don't remember being vocal until this point, and at the peak of the contractions I'd let out a slow, deep "ohhhhhh." My saving grace was Galyn quietly saying to me, "don't be afraid of the pain." Literally as soon as I heard her say that, I'd relax my body and remember the pain was temporary. I can't explain how tremendously those words helped me.

Side note: this concept of not being scared & releasing fear and tension is called "Fear-Tension-Pain." Fear causes tension and when you're tense, you feel more pain. The reason you feel more pain is because when your tense, your body isn't able to release endorphins or oxytocin. When those hormones aren't released, the stronger the pain is for you. It should be known, its been proven endorphins are substantially stronger than morphine or any other man-made drug. So, in my mind, relaxing my body was crucial in dealing with the contractions.

Back on track... After I laid in this position for awhile, with my leg bent up on the pillow, they checked me again and found I was 7 cms dilated. Baby had turned in a more favorable position, too! I'm not sure what time it was but I got back on the birthing ball and worked through contractions. I maintained breathing techniques throughout all of them, breathing in slowly to the count of seven and out to the count of eleven. I also reminded myself of my favorite birth affirmation, "your contractions can't be stronger than you because they are you." While that affirmation worked for awhile, I had to switch gears.

I began utilizing my visualization techniques. Have you ever seen a time lapse video where the camera records the life of a flower over the course of a few weeks or months? Well, during the peak of my contractions, I'd see a white magnolia blossoming into a beautiful flower just like one of those videos. The theory behind this visualization technique is it encourages the cervix to dilate in the same manner. And I secretly hoped it was working because the contractions were crazy intense! A little later, after climbing back on the bed, an exam revealed I was 9-10 cms dilated! I was so happy! Not only that but the midwives told me the contractions would subside! I was in heaven and with a huge smile on my face, I said, "I'm gonna have a baby!!"And since we planned on a water birth, I was anxious to get in the tub and with their approval, they drew the water. It was around 730-745 am.

Less then three hours after we got to the center, I climbed into the bath tub. Chris sat on the left side of the tub while Amber, Galyn and Stephanie were on the right side. With my legs propped up on the side of the tub, Chris had ahold of my left foot and Galyn had ahold of my right. The contractions were no longer painful and I had to feel my belly to know when I was having a contraction. When a contraction came, I bore down and pushed with all my strength. And let me just say, it not only took an incredible amount of power but was equally exhausting to push like that. Even when the contraction dwindled, I had to continue to keep pressure downward as to discourage baby from moving back up the birth canal. At the same time, I'd keep one hand on my belly to wait for the next contraction and then start pushing again. At one point, I became discouraged during a push and at the end of it I let out a loud, deep, long grunt. Quickly after, I apologized for being loud in everyone's ears and Galyn brightly encouraged, "hey, whatever it is, its working! She just moved down a lot. Keep doing it!" So... I kept doing it. Amber said, "She's right there, another couple of pushes and she'll be here!" Chris said, "You can do it! You're doing so great baby!" He also said, "Dig deep!" which made me laugh in my head because I had a feeling he'd say that. And Stephanie reminded me, "You're amazing! She's almost here! You're doing it!" And with the support and encouragement of Chris, Amber, Stephanie and Galyn, I continued on my path to motherhood.

Now, this is where a lot of pressure was felt downstairs. At first, it was an extensive amount on my lower back. However, a few pushes later, baby moved past my coccyx and the pressure migrated to the southern end of my lady parts. While the pressure was substantial, Amber told me to reach down and feel my daughter's head. It was something very special and knowing how close she was to being in our arms motivated me that much more!

The contractions continued and I continued to push. I read about women describing a "ring of fire," as baby is crowning. That's no joke. And this... is when I became increasingly noisy. Its not necessarily a pain as much a highly irritating, burning feeling. It was uncomfortable & I remember thinking I'd never have another child after this. But this was it!! Our baby was about to be with us! And with another contraction came another long, hard, very deep push, and her head emerged, and another push, her shoulders and body. Chris reached down, grabbed his little girl from the water and placed her on my chest. Adalyne Jo Bohannon was born at 8:29 am on January 16th, 2014.

Our sweet baby let out a couple of small wails and calmed down. She laid on my chest and we talked to her for a few minutes while the blood pulsed out of the umbilical cord. Once Adalyne Jo, or AJ, received all her blood, Chris cut the cord and held his baby girl while I handled the after birth. Afterwards, the midwives drained and refilled the tub with a herbal mixture to reduce swelling. After Daddy got acquainted with his new daughter, he handed Ms. Adalyne back to me and we took our first bath together. I was on cloud nine in heaven. Becoming a parent is hands down the best gift. I never understood the hype and an instant, it became lucid. We were blessed.

While relaxing in the bath, AJ latch on and nursed successfully for about 10 minutes. The midwife's assistant ran and got us all breakfast in the meantime. After our bath, Chris took AJ and the midwives assisted me to the bed and they checked me. No episiotomy was performed, and because of their expertise, I had no tearing! I did have a few minor scrapes but nothing major or worth complaining over (although it wasn't pain-free!). The midwives congratulated me for getting through the birth successfully and becoming a mother. They said I was a birthing champion! They also claimed I gave birth like it was my third child! Amber advised our next birth should be done at home because she didn't think I would make it to the center in time. All of these things asserted the confidence I've always had in my body. I'm not afraid to say it, I was one proud Mommy! :-P

After receiving my verbal praises, Chris handed AJ to Amber who performed a series of tests and got her weight and measurements. Adalyne Jo was born weighing 8 pounds 7 ounces, measuring 20.25 inches long and was healthy as could be! Amber administered a Vitamin K shot to stop any internal hemorrhaging and then the midwives bid us farewell.

Chris and I enjoyed our breakfast in bed while admiring our new bundle of joy. After a few hours of some much needed rest, we packed our belongings and left the birth center. This was the start of something very beautiful and our birth experience was the perfect way to begin our journey. We will never forget what an amazing birth this was and are forever grateful to our midwives. Now, we just have to learn this parenting thing ;-) And for the record, I'd do it all over again!

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