"Oh, what will you do with this one very wild and precious life?" Mary OliverThere are so many ways to label my pregnancy, a rainbow baby, a VBAC, a homebirth, a water birth, but really none are a perfect fit. This is our sixth pregnancy and our fourth baby. We are overjoyed about this baby joining us earth side. Each of your brother's births have been vastly different and embraced with love and celebrated for their differences.
Your birth will be my last. I write this with a bittersweet heart. My pregnancy is easy with very little complications and just the one big scare with the subchorionic hemorrhage. Our midwife, Abbie, and doula, Susan, are ready for the emotional journey of this birth.
Ultimately, this birth, your birth, has never been about healing from my cesarean birth. It is about celebrating your arrival and allowing it to be as sacred, peaceful, and as un-interventive as possible.
Sunday, March 3, 2013 42 weeks 1 dayWe have seen your February 16, 2013 estimated due date come and go. This evening something is happening. It is filled with prodromal labor. Surges, every two to three minutes, then slowing to every ten, then stopping completely. It is devastating to me emotionally.
Monday, March 4, 2013 42 weeks 2 daysI ask for a stretch and sweep from my midwife. Labor needs to happen. I need to hold you in my arms. I am 4 centimeters, -1, 50% complete, and not in labor. You are straight OP. Mentally, I know I can birth you OP. I pray you cooperate and change position though.
After dinner, I notice surges. Light, but uncomfortable, tolerable. We go about life, dinner, dishes, and bedtime routine.
After bedtime, they start becoming more noticeable and I need to take a moment to be present with them. Accepting and welcoming each one as much as possible. Shower and bedtime for me by 9:30pm. I doze, contract, doze, contract. I wake up and can't do this in my bed anymore. It is 12:30am.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013 42 weeks 3 daysI wake up Dale, who can't think straight. He tries to help, but is really out of it. Surges are intense and I worry about having another night of full prodromal labor. I don't want to do that.
By 1:30 am, the surges are intense and I must lean over the arm of the sofa. I call my midwife and can't speak into the phone when one hits. I can't focus and throw the phone to Dale. More calls to my doula, photographer Heidi, videographer Tasha, and my mom are made. Time stands still for me. My mom and Abbie are here in a moment. I don't know how they even got here. Contractions are engulfing me. Dale is still slow to wake up fully. I don't realize I'm in labor, but having horrible prodromal still. Everyone arrives and it is like I just wished them here and they appeared. I move from the living room to our bedroom.
Contractions radiate from back to front to back. Dale puts his hands on me and the heat goes through. Perfection. No one else can match it.
Susan asks if I want my music on. I say no at first, then I change my mind. I worked hard putting the playlist together and I adore my songs. It is turned on and Sting starts singing to me in French. Everyone gets to listen to my eclectic taste in music.
At one point the surges are so strong that they take my breath away. Abbie suggests the TENS unit. It works on my left side, but not my right. It feels great in-between surges but not when they happen. All I need is verbal support, my candles and bracelet to look at and Dale on my back with his magic hot hands. The candles are important to me since each one lit represented a friend who lost a baby.
Sometimes I pace, sometimes I speak, "oh my goodness" or "thank you", but most of the time I just close my eyes, melt as much as possible, and believe my baby will be here soon. As in today. As in preferably now. We are all waiting to meet you. I loved knowing how much you were loved before anyone ever laid eyes on you.
The surges are overwhelming me and time has stopped for me again. I cry. Not tears of pain in the physical sense, but tears of the unknown and tears from prior births. Being in labor is a joyful work. It was taken from me before and I don't want it to be taken again. Fear because I still don't believe labor is here.
Abbie asks if I want to be checked. Again, I am indecisive. The whole "if I'm a 4 and not in labor, I'm going to die thing" crosses my mind. I cry some more. Susan and the village keep telling me I'm in labor and not to worry. I agree to the exam and I'm 8 centimeters. I finally believe I'm in labor. A huge relief comes over me and leaves my shoulders. I cry again. My contractions get funky in their pattern and I'm tired.
I change and step in and I realize I am now in Heaven. I smile a lot! I laugh a lot! It doesn't hurt in-between. I am lucid, talkative, joking, and resting. I am so very thankful. I hear my music and my collection of songs that make me smile and remember parts of births I have attended as a doula. Each one helps me to focus on relaxing and enjoying this baby's journey. Susan rubs my feet and automatically brings me back to your brother Liam's birth. That connection of touch is vital for me.
At one point, I feel surges and my response is "ouch, this isn't fun anymore." I feel myself push-grunting. I do this for what seems like forever. The contractions are seemingly spread out over hours instead of minutes. All I know is that I am now on the bed in a side lying position. I push and the baby moves down. A lot. It is around 9 am.
Abbie tells me if I want a water birth, I need to move. Now. I respond with an okay--soon. I feel lethargic and not ready to push. My water is not broken. I rest. I have a surge and I must move out of this position. Now!
I get into the water--hands/knees/modified child's pose. I can't move. I can't think. I can't speak. I push. It hurts. I push more and it hurts more. My water is still intact.
It hurts and I welcome it as much as I can. I didn't get this with Liam--it pushes me forward. I push and I push. I say I am going to split open. I've never had pushing hurt. It normally is the reward feeling. I push again and feel a huge movement and lots of burning. I'm almost there. I'm going to meet my baby soon. I push more. My water breaks. There is no relief from that pressure. I feel every second of time. I feel my baby moving further down. I feel my body allowing the head to pass. I push again. The head is out. This is the moment of in-between for me and my baby. Where my body was forcing the baby out and where it was still half inside me. That moment in time is the most sacred.
I must have my baby. Dale is getting ready to catch his child. I'm still in modified child's pose. I push again and my baby is almost out. One more push through the pain and baby is here! I open my eyes, move backwards to sit, and pull up this precious life out of the water.
I VBAC'd. I birthed in the water (after having planned three water births). I am holding my baby. All I can think of is that I'm touching my baby first.The next thought is the cord is compressed and wrapped around the baby. The next thought is we don't know if it is a boy or a girl. I look and smile! We have a son. Our fourth son! I am the mom of four boys!
Abbie helps me to unwrap our son and he is a bit stunned. My cord seems short and he responds weakly and he is floppy. He perks up a bit, but still seems slow with his responses. We speak to him, we love on him, and most of all, I get to hold him close to me. He is responding better. For a moment, I remember my two lost babies and I see my candle still lit. Without them, this son would not be here. I am thankful.
We gaze at each other for a short time and then our three sons come into the room. They meet their new brother. There is magic in the air and joy and gratitude is on every face present.
This birth was pure and sacred. I am very thankful. After a quick discussion, we announce your name to all in the room. Miles Landon.
We linger in the water for a little while longer and there is no rush. There is mention of a nuchal hand which explains the extra pain I was feeling when I was pushing. I am ready to get out. My baby is still connected to me and I carefully stand up. I think I tug a bit and as I stand I start to bleed. The hemorrhage I fear the most has begun.
We wait for the placenta to release and it doesn't. I bleed more, we nurse, we snuggle, we get to meet each other, and the bleeding doesn't stop. The placenta is retained. I move to the bathroom, nothing. I try to push, nothing. Gentle traction, nothing. Two IM shots of Pitocin to get everything under control, slowing it down, but no release. I feel very weak and dizzy. Two hours pass and we have to transport to the hospital.
Before we leave, I need to have the newborn exam done. My midwife's assistant, Kim, starts the exam and everything is perfect. Dale is out of the room, so my mom cuts the cord, my doula weighs and their is a slight anxiousness to get me to the hospital quickly. The baby stays home with my mom, my sister, and his brothers.
We Conga line out to the car so I don't pass out. I have been doing dual-care with an obstetrician. He is already at the hospital when we call in. Thank goodness. We get to the hospital and I have to use the wheelchair since I'm too weak to walk. The registration nurse is giving us a hard time and I just tell them that I need to get to a room since I'm still hemorrhaging. She calls us down to labor and delivery.
We get into the triage room and the nurse is awesome. I've worked with her before and I love her. I bleed more, Dr. Cummings. checks on me and he needs to get that placenta out quickly. Manually. He tells us it is an acreeta. No rupture, no windows. It's whole, odd shaped, and extremely tiny. My midwife gives me a tour of the placenta. The it goes off to pathology instead of encapsulation.
We change from triage to room 2. More work to get the second part of the hemorrhage under control. Dr. C pushes so hard-blood literally arcs out and hits his shoes, coat, arm. I think I'm dying a second time. The pain is going to make me pass out. His arm is shaking so hard while he pushes. I'm dizzy and very cold. Transfusion talk is brought up. For some reason, I bring up a joke about him working out daily. I'm still hanging in there.
He steps out to help another mother. The nurse brings me a heated air blanket. I'm in heaven. She brings bags of food, drinks, and ice cream to celebrate the birth of our son. After a few hours, Dr. C allows me to be released. Another blessing. We go home. I get to snuggle in our bed with our precious newborn son. It is around 4pm.
Five days later, I am strong enough to get into the herbal bath I have wanted for so long.
While this birth wasn't about healing, it truly was healing. You complete our family and we welcome and embrace this birth as our last. You make me realize how strong I am and how precious our family is. The true miracle of this birth is that you, Miles Landon, were birthed in peace and calmness. A birth of protection. Fourteen days later we discover you have four congenital heart defects that will rock our world. For now, you are protected by God and His angels.
Miles Landon's birth video by Natasha Hance
Miles Landon photo gallery by Heidi Thaden-Pierce
Miles LandonTuesday, March 5th, 2013
6 pounds 8 ounces