Tuesday, July 25, 2006

He Inclined to Me and Heard My Cry

While I was pregnant, I appreciated reading other women's birth accounts. Probably reading about other home births helped me to consider it as a valid option. I know that other women would like to read my birth story as well.

If reading my story would be of benefit to you, please continue. If you are of the male persuasion, or are squeamish, or consider such accounts TOO MUCH INFORMATION, please spare yourself and me and just. stop. now. Thank You!

Saturday night, July 15th (my due date), I felt miserable. My hands and feet were swollen. My legs were turning interesting colors from the weight of my womb interfering with the circulation. I slept for a half an hour, then spent the rest of the night tossing and turning, moaning and groaning, and telling God that I didn't think I could handle another day being pregnant!

At 3: 30 in the morning, I started having contractions 15 minutes apart. James happened to wake up at 4 a.m. and ask me how I was doing. After realizing that my contractions were continuing at even intervals, he started getting last minute preparations done.

By 5 a.m., my contractions were 5 minutes apart and 1 minute long. James called Jean, our primary midwife. She asked if she should come and James told her that it would be a good idea based on how fast my previous labors progressed. By the time Jean arrived, I was camped out in my bathtub, handling the contractions by breathing through them. Jean bustled around setting up her equipment in the bedroom. Lauren, the assistant midwife, arrived at some point later.

After a little while, my contractions became more intense and I had to begin groaning through them to try to "drown out" the pain. With my previous two unmedicated births, since the pain of first stage labor was easily manageable by merely breathing through the contractions, the level of pain in this labor was a new experience. The midwives suggested to James that I might appreciate pressure on my back during the contractions, but I found it just focused my attention more on the pain. I asked him to just rub my back between contractions (the baby was not posterior).

This type of contraction continued for a long time. Jean checked my progress and found that I was dilated to 6 centimeters. After awhile, she told me that she wanted me to try some different positions to help labor to progress. She had me move to the bed and found that I was still at 6 centimeters due to a section of my cervix that was thin and tight and not dilating. She speculated that some scar tissue from a previous birth might be causing the problem. She had me move to the floor at the base of the bed and put my knees as far apart as possible while leaning with my arms on the bed. The contractions became even more painful and my knees and arms grew sore from holding myself in that position.

The midwives then moved me to a labor stool which intensified my contractions even more. Jean checked my progress and found that I was still at 6 cm. She could tell in that position that Logan's head was forward in the womb and that the cervix was posterior. During one horrible contraction, she actually pulled the cervix forward so that it was under the baby's head. Then she mercifully let me move back to the tub. Though I was in more pain using different positions and due to Jean's actions, I appreciated that she took hands-on measures to "troubleshoot" the stalling of my labor.

I prayed aloud, asking the Lord to be merciful to me, because of His love. I asked him to cause my cervix to dilate and allow the baby to be born. I cried out to Him for deliverance. The midwife told me that I might be in for a lot longer labor and that I needed to depend on God's strength to get me through. She told me that she was going to leave James and I to labor alone for awhile and come to terms with the fact that my labor might be longer, even though I was tired.

Jean didn't have a chance to leave the room... God heard and answered me. My water broke and in several contractions, I went from 6 to 10 cm. Immediately the baby's head moved down onto the perineum. The suddenness of his descent was quite traumatic. In the next contraction, his head was out. After the next, his body was born and I was holding him. I didn't push at all.

When Logan was born, he was blue. The midwives are certified in neonatal resuscitation and Lauren used a bag to start his breathing. He continued to be blue for several minutes. The midwives reassuringly stated that his heart rate was normal and his respiration was normal. James went into the other room and prayed for Logan. He pinked completely up in about ten minutes. (The midwives were a bit surprised that he was blue as he was born so fast, his heart rate was normal throughout labor, and he did not have the cord around his neck.)

My labor and delivery lasted from 3:30 am to 9:04 am.

My family came into the room to see the newborn exam (pictures posted on Logan's Log). I asked the midwives to show the kids the placenta. Lauren showed the kids the umbilical cord with the artery and two blood vessels inside. She told them the smooth, shiny side faced the baby in the womb and she lifted up the membrane to show them the amniotic sac and the place where it ruptured. She turned the placenta over to show the folds which faced the maternal side in the uterus. She explained how the organ sustained the baby through gestation. The kids had already learned some about the placenta by viewing the video "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made" and were very interested in seeing the "real thing".

Following the newborn exam, James led all of us in prayer accompanied with some tears, thanking God for safely bringing Logan into the world.

Psalm 40:1-3 (ESV)

"I waited patiently for the LORD;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the LORD."

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