Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Franklin's Birth Story

We found out we were expecting our 4th kid on Mike's birthday. Another complete surprise. Kind of threw a hiccup into our debt freedom plan, but fortunately we hadn't received any taxes or bonuses yet. We were finally heading into a pregnancy with a plan! We planned on saving enough for the the prenatal care AND for maternity leave.

Mike is now working at Swire Coca Cola which was nicer hours, nicer pay and nicer insurance. I am still at Beehive Grill and slightly scared to tell my boss. But I did and she wasn't too mad :) Like all my other pregnancies, I worked through it and didn't slow down.

I wanted a different pregnancy and delivery. Instead of calling my usual OBGYN, I looked into a midwife and a birthing center. With a recommendation from my friend Nicole Stepan, I called Birthwise Maternity Care in Layton and met with Heather and Janell. I instantly felt at ease and knew this was where I wanted to delivery my baby. I knew I wanted a natural birth and decided to have a doula this time to help encourage me and keep me focused. Nicole filled that role for me :)

Pregnancy problems this time: charlie horses. A lot of them. And in not just in my calves. I'd also get them in my thighs when I was walking. It sucked a lot. I also had heartburn (like usual). And morning sickness. I threw up a few times and would get nauseous a lot. Mostly in the morning.

I met with Janell mostly because Heather was in school. Janell helped me realize what foods to eat and had me write down a food journal for a few months. This helped keep me accountable with what I was eating and since I had just lost a lot of weight, it helped me keep my weight gain under control. This pregnancy I only gained 35-40 lbs. Nice!

Janell also went over every test they offered. She explained everything they did. I had hour long appointments. Unfortunately they were in Layton. I had to take the kids with me for an hour long ride down, an hour long appointment and then an hour long ride back. I did the appointments early enough that Grace was in school so I only had the little kids and they were usually pretty good.

We did our 20 week ultrasound at Cache Valley Specialty Hospital in North Logan. Saw the baby's hands, and feet, and heart. But we didn't see the face. Baby was hiding. We also found out that were we going to be the proud parents of a boy! Mike was pretty stoic about it but later that week told me to make sure I was feeding his son manly things. Things like hammers. Silly. Grace was extremely excited. She kept saying she was going to move out if the baby was a girl. Being a boy meant we didn't have to worry about finding her a place to live.

I carried this baby differently. I was all belly. And people kept talking about it too. I actually had an old employee run into me and comment that I had lost weight. And then noticed I was pregnant. Crazy! In the last month, I had a lot of people commenting that I hadn't popped yet. Everyone was sure I was going to go early. I figured I would be 3 days late. Grace was on time, Mercy a day late and Bethany two days late, so in my mind, baby would keep the trend going.

I worked up until a week before I was due. I was tired, but I didn't complain. I didn't really have time. I had a 50 hr a week job and 3 kids at home.

We got closer to my due date (September 22nd) and I was done working. I had some mild contractions but not much. I had a feeling I was going to go early (around the 20th) but that day came and went with no baby. We even went and walked at the zoo and nothing happened. We went to church the next day and still no baby. Grace started religious education and had class on Sunday and Monday and since I was due on the Monday, I assumed she'd miss class. She made it to class.

Tuesday I had an appointment with Janell and Mike decided to start his vacation. He didn't want me to drive to Layton alone (well with the kids) and end up going into labor on the highway. So we went down and had a quick visit. Janell was with another client and we did a quick visit with Melanie. I really wanted to have Janell check my cervix but we didn't want to wait too long. The kids were running amok. Finally Janell came out and I asked for a quick check. I was 4 cm! I was stoked. That was further than I had been with any of the girls at that point. And I had barely had any contractions! She asked me if I wanted my membranes stripped and I said no. We left and stopped at Red Robin for lunch before heading back up to get Grace from school. She was disappointed that there wasn't a baby yet.

That night my contractions started up more and stayed pretty steady. I had Mike call Jamie and take the girls over around 7:00 or so. They were excited for a sleepover. I texted Janell and told her my contractions were about 10 min apart and steady. Told her they weren't too bad so we were going to wait them out and keep her updated. Then they slowed down. A lot. We went to bed and I hoped that I would wake up with some contractions in the middle of the night. I woke up at 8:00 am with no contractions, my water still intact and no baby.

Wednesday we took the girls to the River Walk and tried to get things moving. A few contractions here and there but nothing. Wednesday came and went with no baby.

Thursday I woke up at 3:00 am with major anxiety. I knew that the stroller was in the car and not our bags and I was scared that my water was going to break and we wouldn't make it in time. I couldn't go back to sleep so I stayed up and surfed the internet. After the girls got up and Grace went to school, Mike and I tried some other things to get baby along :) We were going to go for a walk but Bethany didn't want to get in the stroller so we just let them ride bikes up and down the street for a bit. My contractions were starting back up and staying steady. I had some bloody show and was feeling good. Around 12:30 I told Mike that I think the girls should go back to Jamie's. We stopped by Grace's school and told her that Jamie would pick her up. Then took the little ones to Jamie's. I called Nicole and told her I was headed down. I figured in a worse case scenario, they could at least tell me if I was any more dilated. I had a contraction every 5 minutes on the way to Layton. Nicole met us down there and Janell checked me. I was at 5 cm. I was pretty upset about it. I was sure I was further along. So Mike, Nicole and I walked around a few blocks of Layton and tried to let gravity take it's course. Contractions were steady but not crazy. Then we went back to the birthing center and watched a movie on the iPad. Janell left to make dinner and told me to keep her updated. Nicole and I walked for another hour.

I got to eat during labor, which was new. I had beef jerky and graham crackers. And a lot of water. My hands did swell up during our walks, but this was the only swelling I had during the entire pregnancy.

At this point (around 8:00 pm) I told Mike he could probably head home to let out the dog and take the girls their lovies. None of them had stuffed animals or blankets. I thought the baby would be there by then and we'd be going home. He left and make it back by around 11:00 pm. I was having slightly stronger contractions, but not much. Let Janell know they were lasting longer and wanted her to come back and check me. She showed up and said I was at a 6 cm. Ugh.

I wanted to take a shower to keep things movings. Janell suggested I rest. I relented and laid down on the bed by Mike. My next contraction was intense. I moaned a little. Then the next one was intense again. And the next. Mike started rubbing my back. Finally I had to sit up because laying down sucked. I would lean up against Mike's chest (he was sitting on the bed) and Nicole would push against my lower back. That was awesome. Mike will claim that I bit him on the head at this point. I will counter argue that I was trying to kiss his head, it was just during a contraction and it was a rough kiss.

After about an hour of this, Nicole suggested the tub and I jumped on that. Janell got the water going and I stripped to my underwear and my sports bra. The water helped ease the contractions and was very relaxing. Whenever a contraction would hit, I would lean up against Mike's knees (he had them in the water) and Nicole would lean in and press my lower back. That was honestly what helped me get through it all. I would also breathe in a color (like blue) and then with each exhale, in my mind, a flower would open up. By the end of the contraction, the flower was fully in bloom. Each successive contraction I would change color of the flower and went in rainbow order. It helped (kinda) keep my mind off the pain of the contraction.

The water was hot. It felt good. I would sip cold water between contractions. Janell never left and after a bit of me being in the water, she came over and was coaching too. She helped by saying to “breathe it down”. At first I just endured the contractions. Then I started “pushing” or flexing my muscles in my abs. I didn't think I was ready to push the baby out but I definitely think that helped to get me to transition and move the baby down to the birth canal.

Thursday came and went. It was probably about 1:00 or slightly thereafter when I suddenly said I felt like I needed to poop. I know that's gross (especially since I was in the water) but that's exactly what it felt like. I felt a contraction start but I waited and pulled my underwear off first. Now I was on my hands and knees, leaning against the back seat of the tub. The tub looked similar to this:

This wasn't the exact tub, but the seat part in the back and the shape of the rest of the tub is very similar. I would lean against the seat and Nicole or Janell would do presses on my lower back. The urge to poop was strong so I just went with it. I was actually pushing my baby down and getting him to crown. I swore. Nicole says just once, but I know there was an “f-bomb” in there. Janell told me after the fact, that when I hit transition, I swear. That way I will know for next time (I know, I know, Mike. No next time). Also, right before I started pushing his head out, my water broke. It felt like a pop and then fluid came out. No mechonium.

I felt his head crowning and in my head he was further out that he was. Janell kept telling me to release and let him go back inside and I didn't want to. I wanted to push him all the way out. But by releasing and letting him go back, I was stretching and making it so I wouldn't tear. But in the moment, all I wanted was my baby out. I did this for about 4 contractions before his head finally came all the way out. That relief was amazing. The cord was around his neck once and Janell slipped it off while I rested. They told me after I pushed him all the way out, they would push him under the water and through my legs so I could pull him right to my chest. I said ok but at that point I just wanted him out. The next contraction started and instead of waiting for it to peak and then push, I just started pushing, which just really tired me out. And I did bite Mike this time. On his arm. Oops! Two pushes later, Franklin was out and Janell directed him under my legs. I felt all the waters rush out with him and then I was grabbing him and pulling him to my chest. Franklin Dale was born at 1:49 am on Friday, September 26th. I was so relieved to have him out that we didn't even check to make sure he was in fact a “he".  It took a bit before we checked. Yup, all boy.

It was intense. It was amazing. I remember telling Mike, Nicole and Jesus that I loved them. Not sure when that happened. Mike had a moment where he saw how tired I was and didn't think I could go much longer. Thankfully, that was right at transition and baby was close to arriving.

My placenta delivered easily. And floated along side of me in a bowl. We left him attached so he could get all the blood out of the cord and placenta. I think we stayed in the tub for at least an hour. They checked all his vitals while he was snuggled on my chest. He started nursing right away and had a pretty good latch.

Finally I wanted out of the tub so Mike held him while Janell and Fara dried me off and got me settled on the bed. I was a little woosy, but that was mostly because of getting out of the hot tub. After probably 30-45 more minutes we finally cut the cord (Mike got the honors), checked baby for reflexes and measured and weighed him. He was 9 lbs 4 oz! Our biggest baby yet and I did it all naturally. He was also 21” long, which I figured because of where his feet always kicked me.

Things I loved about my birth:
All natural
Supportive and no pressure to do something I didn't want to do
Immediate bonding
We got to leave! We left the birthing center at 5:00 am and drove home. We were more than welcome to stay and rest, but Mike didn't want to sleep for an hour and then try to drive.

This was my best birthing experience. I wouldn't change the way I did my girls, because I feel like it shaped each subsequent birth. But having a natural birth, and being informed about it, was amazing. I wish more women knew their options before birth. I did run into my former OBGYN at my work and he knew I was having a different birth. For a while we considered a home birth but changed our mind because I didn't want Janell stuck up here for a long time if I was going to have a long labor. She didn't feel comfortable using LRH as a backup incase something happened, so it worked out well to just use the birthing center. But I did make sure to tell everyone I was having a natural birth. Most people thought I was crazy, but a lot of people thought I was a rockstar. I think I'm a rockstar too!

This one is my favorite. He looks so small but he was so big. But so small. 

I needed glasses to see him :)

Daddy cutting the cord

Weighing him. I love this scale! Mike likened it to fishing :)

Baby feet

Sleeping before the ride home

Big Sister Grace

Big Sister Mercy

Big Sister Bethy

This is Grace's version of the birthing story. She is learning typing at school so she thinks work processors are cool.

HOW MY MOM HAD FRANKY WHEN HE WAS BORN.Franky was born on september 26.I was so exsideid when I fownd owt .When I got to see my brother.Now Franky cry's a lot and ete's a lot.

Now when I do my homework my mom feeds Franky.Franky is so cute but Franky has acne.Frankys baptism is on november sencend.It is my first brother.Writen by Grace Dicus.

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