Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Story

So, here's the complete saga of Grace's birth, pictures included.

Day 1, Thursday: I suspected an amniotic leak, but wasn't sure. I got Ben's call letting me know he was flying into C'ville at 11:40 AM. I slapped on a pad, and drove with my sister down to the regional airport there, and picked him up.

We all hung out at Lisi and J's that evening, and walking down to Kline's Ice Cream brought on some heavier contractions than I'd had yet. We decided that with my past experience with Violet (very short labor), we'd better go ahead and call our midwife, who was driving 4 hours to be here with us. She arrived late that night, with my sister, Polly (who is her current assistant), and they slept in the basement/guest room, awaiting our call.

We all slept great that night, no labor signs beyond the trickle and the contractions, and no contractions beyond midnight. Friday, we conferenced about what to do. My midwife checked me out, and I was at 4 cm, 80% effaced. She also confirmed the amniotic leak with a swab test. It was decided we would begin a regimen of tinctures and herbs, after a massage focusing on pressure points triggering the uterus contraction. All day, I had the same strong (but not painful) contractions, took walks, did lunges, tried timing a few. They never did time regularly, and we kept up this same regimen through Saturday, as well, with the same results: Lots of heavier contractions, some time-able, some not, all the way through till midnight-ish, then fading away when I went to bed.

Sunday brought greater determination than ever. I took castor oil, did a couple (ick) enemas, and kept up the tinctures and such. I had plenty of contractions, heavier than ever, painful, and coming on pretty fast. We thought surely tonight was the night. I went to sleep, trying to get some rest before the Big Transition........yet, woke up at 7:30 AM, feeling completely refreshed, labor utterly stopped.

By this time, we were stumped. My midwife and my sister got on the internet and tried to figure out what could possibly be wrong. We suspected Grace's head was malpositioned, as I previously posted. I could feel tiny fingers sweeping over my cervix constantly, so we did a few maneuvers to try to get her to adjust. Here's what some of them looked like
Monday was our Biggest Attempt yet. We started with the position maneuvers, did tinctures every 20 minutes, enemas, and some pretty hard walking. By midnight, I was tired, the contractions were heavy, regular, and everything looked in line and promising. I was told to go get some rest if I could. I fell asleep and AWOKE (hallelujah, we all thought!) at 3 AM in great pain, walking through the heavier ones....doing some Nip Stim, too, to try to keep things going.....

Long story short, what ended everything that night was Fear. Pure Fear. I was obsessing over timing every contraction....hoping beyond hope at the longer ones, devestated at ones that were shorter and less painful.....and in the end, found myself so tired and stiff and sore in the legs from all the workouts that I collapsed in bed to try to "cope" through the pain. This time I didn't fall asleep....but I think my tortured brain and psyche managed to trick me out of going through transition. I got up at 7 AM, contractions petered out, and walked downstairs in shock to have breakfast---still pregnant.

At this point, we decided to take some time off. It was clearly evident that God had complete control over the situation, and was unwilling to allow our attempts to work. Ben and I spent a long time in prayer and tears, giving over our unborn child to her Father, and asking for patience and peace to accept His timing....and His protection. There was still some risk associated with the ruptured membrane, yet we were reluctant to hand the situation over to a hospital, seeing there was a far greater chance of infection occurring at the hospital, coupled with a very good chance of receiving a pitocin induction or C-section.

Tuesday and Wednesday we were able to rest. We spent lots of family time together, went out to eat a couple of times, and played with Violet. Her Daddy taught her to climb our tree. :) We avoided public restrooms, and took great care to keep Clorox wipes on hand for every bathroom break. I kept up with all the antibiotics and immune-enhancing herbs during this time, but held off on all the induction herbs. We both felt like the night of the full moon was going to be The Night.

Thursday, Full Moon: Basically---nothing happened at all. The only signs I'd had throughout the "break time" were some on and off contractions, discharge, and loss of the mucous plug.

Friday morning dawned. I felt refreshed, and at 3 days late, Grace was at the exact same timing as Violet. I thought, "Today is going to be the day." After prayer with my husband, we asked our midwife (still staying with us all this time, the angel!) if we could start up everything again, no holds barred, including a new herb called Cotton Root Bark, recommended by another midwife in town. We threw it all down, even filled up the pool in faith. :) I took tinctures every 20 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes....enemas, castor oil, and Nip Stim again. I walked most of the morning, taking breaks in the pool to rest my legs. It was actually pretty relaxing. I managed to separate my mind from the work my body was doing, and give in to just resting on God, praising as I labored. Contractions set in regularly by noon, and I was pretty nauseous from all the herbs in my system. Still, it was totally bearable, and my heart was cheerful and at rest.

Sometime that afternoon, maybe around 5 PM, I was resting in the pool between trips to the bathroom (ugh)....and Ben went upstairs to fetch something and I was alone and quiet in the warm room in the warm pool for a few minutes. Words from a praise song drifted into my mind and I sang quietly for a minute, "Once again I look upon the cross where you died, I'm humbled by your mercy and I'm broken inside, Once again I thank you, Once again I pour out my heart." Then, the last phrases, which just repeat, "Thank you for the Cross, thank you for the Cross..." So....after those few moments of praise, Ben returned back down the stairs, and lay down on the carpet and rested for about 1 minute, when suddenly, the first WAVE of pain came over me. I think it was such a shock to finally feel that REAL LABOR pain, I kinda choked, "BEN!!" It scared him a bit.......but, at the same time we were both so thrilled.......well, it was weird.

They came fast and furious after that....increasingly long and painful. He reported this progress to the midwife, still waiting upstairs, and about one hour passed. My sister came down to check on things at about 6:20 PM, and she thought I had a "pushing" tone to my voice, and went up and reported that. At about 6:40, the midwife came down and asked us to start timing contractions. I began to clue into the fact that I was needing to push.....and I said as much. Haha. No one believed me. They were all still waiting to hear those famous words, "I can't do this anymore!!!" that all women in transition utter before they enter into hard labor, and then pushing. :) Me, I was so past the whole "I can't" thing.......after 8 days.........that I absolutely refused to say it, even though I really wanted to.

I fooled them all.

Somewhere around 6:45, there was a POP, and a cloud of white-ish membrane filled the pool. My WATER broke!!!

6 pushes later, my beautiful daughter, Lila Grace was born. It was 6:53 PM.....we think. We were all so shocked, no one looked at the clock.

I was fully intact, no tears or abrasions. She came down so fast, she had some purplish cast to her face, and a bit of swelling.

We cut the cord, and introduced her to her family.
Violet's famous first words about Grace: "Oh, MOMMEE! Now you can CARRY ME!!"

Thank You, Lord, for Your Grace. Blessed be Your Name!


Hosanna said...

This is so beautiful, Su. *dabbing misty eyes*

Scot and Kristen said...

Beautiful Susie!!!!!! I'm sooooo glad you had such a beautiful birth experience!! (Minus the torchured waiting) My compliments to your photographer, she was good at her job! -Kristen

Anonymous said...

Learning makes a good man better and ill man worse.............................................................

Anonymous said...

Learning makes life sweet.............................................................

Seth and Karen's blog said...

Susi, reading your story gave me goose bumps! She is positively beautiful! What an incredible birth experience and I can't help but notice so many similarities to Michael's labor and birth. Anyway,
I'm so glad she is here and congratulations to you all! Oh, and how clever to put the birth pictures in B&W. Very discrete and tasteful!

Denise said...


I love this story..... Not the waiting, and the unknown, and the fear... BUT the Final Story, past all that... How it all worked together. How you and Ben worked and prayed and how your body finally made way in the perfect time for Lila Grace! Oh how beautiful! It's SO interesting to me how your fear kept you from transitioning that night. I really wan wondering if there was something like that when your labor kept going on.

I LOVE the pictures.... They tug at my heart and just make me FEEL it all over again.... The Work, the Pain, and the JOY!!!!!!!! That unutterable delight and the precious child as soon as its in your arms! I am very envious of your pictures. My labor was 36 hours and Jonathan couldn't just take a FEW?!?!??!?!!? *cries* Oh well. Next time, Lord willing. I asked for a few, which he took, but they're in quick succession of each other....

Anyway, I am just so amazingly in love with your precious daughter already and I feel so invested in her birth prayer-wise.... WHAT A JOY it was to hear she had arrived in such a way. (I was literally freaking out because Jonathan and I were webcamming and he was friends with Ben and I wasn't, and I didn't have a picture and he couldn't get it to me!!! :)

Much love to you three. Four.