It was plastic, sheets, plastic, old sheets
Most of my birth supplies, blankets, and teeny, tiny diapers, sorry the picture is sideways!
One trip around we saw one of our neighbors that John stopped to talk to. I sat on one of those green electrical boxes to rest while he chatted. I remember thinking that it was such a beautiful day to be born! The skies were so blue, the wind was blowing in the trees, the weather was perfect and not too cool, not too hot. I was so happy that this was the day my baby had picked to be born! I was truly in bliss for being in labor! Through each contraction while we were sitting there I looked up into the trees that overlook a cow pasture next to our neighborhood. I would just sit and stare at the way the wind blew into the bare branches and the way they moved. It was very visually relaxing and peaceful just being in that moment. This 10 minute time span is one of the most vivid and perfect that I had of that whole day.
I had the big beach towels waiting near by in case my water broke or to put down near the birthing tub. John thought it was funny to put the TV remote on my back for concentration!
Around this time after we called Anne again, she told us she had another mom whose water had broken so she was going to go over to her house first and get things started for her. Uh what?? What about little ole me? John got into a panic thinking we were a lot closer along and that he would be by himself to catch the baby, not something he was prepared to do. So she calls back and says she will send over another MW if that was okay? No, I wanted her to come and check me since I really felt like I was closer to birth.
She gets there (my mind escapes me of time) and I want her to check me, 4cm, ugh, I really thought I would be like 8! Anyways, they start to set up the birth tub in the middle of the living room, the only place it could go because of how big it was (aquadoula). Of course we ran out of hot water for it not even half way through so they broke out all of out biggest pots and started boiling! She really was impressed with how good I was handling the contractions and moving and swaying through them. At a couple of heart tone checks, she didn't like how high his heart rate was staying. She felt I might be dehydrated so she kept giving me glass after glass of water mixed with a bit of Gatorade and I did chug them down, I guess I didn't realize I wasn't drinking enough. Well, then my temp started to get elevated and his heart was still high so now she felt that their could be infection, even though my water was still intact.
She sat me down on the couch and told me it was time to transfer. Heartbreak happened right there in the living room on my couch as I watch my birth tub get filled with water, the tub I would never get to use. Crushing was all I felt. John agreed with her so we started to pack up a suitcase for me and baby. Anne called the hospital to let them know we were on the way and thankfully we did actually get a very kind and understanding triage nurse who was willing to help us out. Of course with Anne being a homebirth MW she does not have hospital privileges but was going to go with us and get us checked in.
We get to the hospital at around 8 PM. John's dad and Johnny drove up there separate because Johnny was upset and wanted to see where we were going. It broke my heart walking into that hospital where he wouldn't be allowed to come and welcome in his brother and be there to cut the cord the way we had planned the whole pregnancy. It broke his heart too with sad tears in his eyes as I kissed him goodbye. Just one more loss. After getting in the hospital I remember joking with Anne how funny it was that a hospital still had a L and D triage because nobody shows up in labor anymore since so many people are induced. I have to get in the ugly hospital gown and do a pee sample then get in bed to get hooked up to the monitors. Through all of this my contractions have pretty much stopped. Anne said that usually happens when adrenaline gets into your system. The nurse asked to checked me and as she is doing it she decides to introduce herself! She actually is the one Anne had spoke to on the phone and even said it just sounded like I was dehydrated and they could give me a couple of bags of IV fluids then send me home! I did have a low grade fever and I was now at 5-6 cm. Somehow it was decided that I was going to stay (not sure really how but after a lot of thinking about it after the fact, I think Anne was trying to unload me to get to the other birth)
So we say our goodbyes and I go to a room a rather large and nice one too. Of course I get put in the bed and have to have the strip run and the monitors attached and I had an IV because I needed the fluids. I refused to lay down so sat up with my feet dangling off the bed. My new nurse was not pleased to have the homebirth transfer lady who wouldn't follow directions well! I asked her when I could meet the dr. that was on call....she said when I was pushing. I thought she was kidding. I told her no, I mean when can I meet her and ask her some questions and she forcefully said WHEN YOU ARE PUSHING. Great. Of course by now my contractions had restarted and are ten hundred times more painful because I am being forced to sit still so they can keep an eye on his heart rate.
Midnight now and the pain is unbearable almost 24 hours after the first ping, not being able to move with my body to cope with the pain, my husband trying to sleep on the armchair, I felt so sadly alone. The nurse hated me, the dr, wouldn't meet me, my midwife abandoned me, I was done, sadly just done with all the emotions. I wanted to feel nothing for a change. To sleep it all away. I was so tired emotionally and physically.
Gone were my dreams for a homebirth for my final baby, gone were my dreams of another waterbirth, gone were my dreams for my children to welcome their final brother as he entered this world, gone were my dreams of a natural birth. I couldn't move, I felt like my tailbone was being crushed and broken into a thousands pieces.
I asked for an epidural. After having 2 perfect natural births and knowing all the risks that I was subjecting to my unborn baby and to myself, I succumbed, I was defeated. I wanted it all to end and to be completely honest with you, I just had it in my head that I was going to end up with a c-section and I might as well get rid of the pain now since they would give me one then anyways. I did think I was getting a c-section, that's just what happens in hospitals today (at least 30% of all hospital births end in sections)
They were very quick to administer it and thank goodness by then for some strange reason, I had a new nurse. My old one had to leave and my new one volunteered to take me because she loves natural births and was very supportive that I was supposed to have a homebirth. She was definitely a God send and a breathe of fresh air in my doom and gloom attitude. She asked the name of the baby and wrote "Ian" on the board in my room, the first person we told the name to and the first time we actually committed to it. It looked funny to me up there too, so real, like no shit, I am having a baby and we have to name him too!
So I slept. The epidural worked fine, I got some of the sensation of each contraction but no more pain and I was sleeping and dreaming, of course all weirdness because all you can hear is the thumping of the baby's heartbeat and random beeps going on. At about 4 AM (again, not sure about times at all) I felt as if my tailbone was being smashed with a jack hammer, just completely being crushed. I thought for sure he was breaking my tailbone in his decent down. The nurse checked me and I was 9 (holy cow, I never thought I would progress past 5...way to have a positive attitude huh?!) She said they could give me a booster on the epidural which I really did not want because I wanted control on pushing him out. But we did it anyways because of the breaking pain sensation... really, broken tailbones/hip/pelvis does happen in childbirth all the time and I thought it was my turn for some other bad turn of luck.
Now I could still feel all the tremendous pressure and my kind nurse kept flipping me from right to left to get his head fully engaged and moved down. She wanted to wait as long as possible before she called the dr. By about 5:15, it was time and my bed dropped and the nasty stirrups came out. I don't think they gave me all that much of a booster because by pushing time, I was feeling it all and I was producing some mighty powerful pushes. After just three complete contractions, I could feel his little body just slither out of mine and he screamed his way into the world. It was a very odd sensation of bone crushing(literally) pain in my tailbone and this immense feeling of relief.
Welcome to our life Ian Hawke M.
Luckily the dr. was nice enough (tic) to put him on my chest right away and we just stared away while I bawled like a baby. The first thing I said about him was "He has no hair!" since all our others came out with a head full of jet black and he had blond peach fuzz! He was beautiful as he screamed and his little frowny forehead identified him as one of ours. Boy was I ever happy that was over! One thing that stood out in my mind was that I couldn't smell him. I had had a sinus infection and I couldn't nuzzle on his newborn scent. I really enjoyed the smell before with my other babies and was very very sad that I just couldn't smell it and there is such a tiny small window of opportunity that the freshness is there :*(
After our first meeting, I handed him off for weighing and he topped the scales at 11 lbs 2.6 oz, ouch. Our first nursing session went off wonderfully and I swear he was gulping. He did end up spending the first 3 days physically attached to my boob and screamed if he was disconnected as if his life source was cut off. I wish someone would have warned me about how much big babies really do need to nurse in the first few days! My others were in the 9 lb range but this one came out with a monster size appetite.
Time to get up move around and release my bladder. Uh oh, my vision just went away, the room swayed around me, and I MUST LIE DOWN NOW came onto me. Back in the bed, they said that if I didn't go to the bathroom, they'd have to put the cath back in my. Uh, no thank you so up my miserable self went again. I swear I was dying. They call the anesth. dr. back in, possibly have a spinal headache. What? Give her some caffeine and it will go away. As I am being wheeled into my other room, they play the lullaby (never heard of that before) and I can not get into a bed fast enough to make this pain stop. The worst- headache- of -my- life- pain (again with the crushing feelings but literally felt like my head was being crushed with a hammer) The second I am back down again, the feeling is gone.
They load me up on caffeine my whole stay there so the headache apparently goes away from that. Well, good. Yeah right, goes away until your home but more on that later. The stay in the hospital was fine, just over 24 hours and only a couple of issues where they needed to check his blood sugar, needed to put him in a warmer for a couple of hours because his temps were too low (hello....give him to his hot natured mama and cover him with a blanket, NOT a plastic box with light on him!!!) But I won every battle. The food was great, we had a few visitors, and were very happy to make our way home the next morning. One can never rest in a hospital where at unreal hours they have to come in turn on all the lights wake a very comfortable sleeping baby and his mama and do nonsense things to. Luckily the headache did not come back....yet.
Ian screamed the entire ride home, only a sign to come of his budding personality! I really don't remember much of the first couple of days home but did know that I got some decent rest because it was the weekend and we had ample baby sitters for the others. By Sunday, I was ready for a little outing so John and I wrapped Ian all cozy in a blanket and headed to lunch. While there I got a call from Anne to see how we were doing. She did call right after he was born while in the hospital (her other mom was STILL in labor). I stepped outside and by the time I was done with the call, my head was being pounded again and I was insanely dizzy. I told John my equalibrium must be off, so maybe my sinus infection was getting worse. When we got home I couldn't get into the bed fast enough to lay down and wouldn't you know it the second I was down, the headache was gone.
Monday morning John has to go to work so my mom comes to spend the day with me. I can't even make it to the bathroom without my head exploding, I get this hunched over keep my head in a lay down position while I walk just to try and get rid of the pain. I have my mom go to the store and load up on mountain dew and pepsi and alternate them to make the pain go away. It worked temporarily but it still would come back within hours.
John called the hosptial to see what it would take to get me back in. After a lot of being transfered and calling different people and they said we could come back in the next morning and be taken care of right away. Great. Just where I want to be is BACK in the hospital but whatever it takes to make this pain stop, I'm there. Basically (if you haven't heard of this before) I had a spinal leak from the epidural. When they put the needle into my back, she nicked my spinal column and it left a hole to drain spinal fluid into my brain everytime my head was elevated. Caffeine temporairly fills that hole but the only soultion is to fill that hole back again with your own blood called a blood patch. They take blood out of your arm and inject it back into your spine, you stay on your back for 2 hours to allow the blood to clot and voila, the hole is plugged for good.
We get there and wouldn't you know it, the lady at check- in for day surgery had no record of us on the books and no room for us. Of course. My luck. So she sends us to SIT in the waiting room. I. CANNOT. SIT. I try my best to hold Ian yet lay myself sideways in a arm- rested chair. Ha. No, I really was not laughing. Color my mood very dark by now.
A lot of waiting later, John had called and got the charge nurse to know we were here and she had been expecting us so nice lady walked out to get me from the waiting room and takes me back right away to a room so I can lay down. All the bullshit check in stuff again, papers to sign, etc. and the anethesologist(The one who did it to me to begin with) walks in the room and says , "I knew I would be seeing you again!" Are you kidding me?!! I wanted to slap the lady but I knew she was the only right now that could fix my misery even though she was the one that started it.
So, first they put the needle in my lower spine as I sit hunched over. They try to pull blood out of a line in my arm but I am dried up. They squeeze my arm over and over again but I seriously have zero blood coming out. So, they try the other arm. None. The next solution, they jabbed a huge needle into the underside of my wrist (where you can see those big veins) and try to draw out as much as possible. They told me to look away while they did it. FAINT (well, not really, I'm not a fainter) I did look though once they got it in, I' m a little sadistic like that. She thought she might have enough blood to fill the hole so they were going to give it a shot with what they had. They put the blood into my spine and for 3 hours I was flat on my back, not moving, staring at the ceiling. Whoa, that's a lot of thinking time. Luckily I have big enough boobs that whenever Ian was hungry, I could just put him across my chest and he could reach his lunch!
I told John I was not moving ever again because what if it didn't work? What if it wasn't enough blood and where would they get more of my blood from? I was scared to move afraid the blood would go too far away from the leak. Slowy they start to raise my bed, a little every half hour, and praise the Lord, the headache was gone. My activity was supposed to be very light for the next couple of days and this time, I listened to a doctor!
It took me almost a whole year to write this story especially to think about it and not cry. I felt such a loss of my homebirth and ideal birth story with my final baby. I grieved it. Ian has always been a big crier, easily aggitated and frustrated a lot and I always said it was because of the epidural, that I did it to him. Whether this is true or not, who knows, there is research to support it but what if it's just who Ian is? My other babies were very mellow, laid back, and Ian has been different in everyway than them. But he is unique, his own person, so maybe that one decision didn't ruin him after all!
I am happy that this portion of my life is now completed. I often wondered if I would ever feel complete but I honestly do. I am done with birthing and pregnancy and baby making and am very happy with the moving on of life, embracing it. I look forward to seeing who these children become and I am not sad as they move out of babyhood but happy to look ahead. My children are everything to me and they are each so different and special in their own way and I intend to spend the next years growing them and loving them and nurturing them every step of the way.
And as my daughters grow I will still teach them that babies don't have to be born in hospitals, that the middle of the living room is a fine place to make an entrance. That "boobies" is the way to feed your babies, and babies were meant to be held and cuddled, not left alone to cry by themselves in darkness. I intend to teach the next generation that doctors are not God and they are not always right, that woman have to think for themselves and never to discount intuition and gut feelings.
Setting on this path has unfolded a whole new world to me, one that I am happy to be a part of and embrace for the rest of my life. I will help other woman obtain their dreams of homebirth and natural parenting in every form, help them to become mothers and to nurture their babies