|Baby Jocelyn, 1 day old|
Reader's Digest Version:
- Jocelyn Lily Hepworth was born at 11:46pm on Monday, November 3rd, 2014.
- 7lbs. 14 oz. and 21 inches long
- This was the most comfortable birth I've had - dare I say - pain free?!*
- It was a home, water birth. I caught my baby and placenta myself.
- We now have a sweet, calm, healthy baby GIRL!!
*Pain-free didn't mean it was a numb experience. It was still filled with lots of feelings of pressure, movement and varying levels of intensity, but it was completely manageable. I was always in control, and nothing stood out as being excessively uncomfortable or stinging. Pretty amazing! Thank you, Hypnobabies!
And now - the **TMI** version with all the details I assume you want to hear, since you clicked to read a birth story. . . ;)
Leading up to "Go" Time:
The two weeks leading up to baby's birth, I had been having lots of pressure waves (Hypnobabies lingo for contractions), some that were pretty intense. I thought I was having baby at 37 weeks 5 days, because things were getting so strong and uncomfortable while I was out grocery shopping. I even called my midwife to come to my home thinking that things were really happening. I felt slightly embarrassed when things calmed down when we were all home. I'm a veteran mom and a childbirth educator - you'd think I'd know by now when it was really "go" time! My midwife assured me that I wasn't the first. "Those third babies - I've seen them throw off childbirth educators, midwives-in-training, all kinds of mamas. One mom called us on three different occasions before her birth time started. No worries! This is what we do!"
I was very relieved that our baby didn't come that day. My home wasn't clean and ready, I wasn't done with all my errands or cooking prep, I wasn't yet on the maintenance program for my Hypnobabies, and I wasn't ready emotionally for a new little one to arrive. I wanted things in order at home, I wanted a few more days to just enjoy my kids in a calm, clean space before we welcomed another. Plus, my mom and sisters weren't coming for another week and a half.
That experience really pushed Squire and I to get everything prepared. We even had that week to just enjoy our other two kidlets. I wondered if my mom and sisters would make it in time for baby's birth, but I knew that at least WE were ready.
My mom was going to come on the Monday before baby's "due" date (November 6th), but she decided to push through and drive 13 hours straight to our house so she could be here Sunday, November 2nd, just in case baby decided to come that night.
Baby did not come Sunday, which was very nice as my family was exhausted. So they had one more day to recoup, and to settle in. My mom and sister, Riley, were even able to visit a good friend of Riley's who is serving a mission for our church in Mesa. They took her out to lunch Monday afternoon and had time to come back to Tucson without missing any action.
Mom (a.k.a. "Mimi") offered to take us to dinner Monday night. We excitedly took her up on her offer and chose one of our favorite Tucson restaurants - Zemam's, Ethiopian Cuisine. Amazing ethnic comfort food. Unfortunately, when we arrived at the restaurant to eat, we discovered that they were closed on Monday nights. So we decided to head to Guadalajara Grill. We missed the news that the restaurant had caught fire at the end of July and was now closed. Very sad news. Plus, we were getting hungry. Third time's a charm, right? We headed over to Macayo's - a Mexican restaurant we passed on the way to Guadalajara that looked busy.
Starting with a splash:
We pulled in the parking lot around 6:30pm. I felt a strong pressure wave begin as I stood up out of the car. Then - *gush* - SURPRISE! "Umm, my water just broke!" Seemed to me that in the darkness, my mom and Squire didn't realized how wet I was because they were saying, "Let's just go in and get some dinner real quick." "No way! I'm not going in there!" I turned around to show them how my whole rear-side was soaked with amniotic fluid. We had driven in separate cars as we didn't have room for everyone in one. So, we made a plan for Squire to take me and Atley home and to get set up there, and for my mom, sisters and Lincoln to order some take-out from Macayo's to bring back home. Mom graciously let me borrow the quilt in her car to sit on as we drove back home. :)
On the drive home, I called my midwife Misty to let her know that things were definitely happening. With my history of short birthing times she headed right over. I called my friend Amanda and made plans to drop Lincoln and Atley off at her house for the night. Squire and I said a prayer together for the baby and birth as we drove home.
We got home and started tackling last minute preparations. Squire finished filling up the birth tub with air and was tidying up and getting other things in order.
I snapped one last photo of my pregnant belly and a pic with Atley (before the camera died and I had to plug it into the charger!) I tested my wet pants with pH paper to confirm it was actually amniotic fluid and not the contents of a weak bladder. Blue! It was. :) Then I threw a load of towels in the washing machine we would need for the birth, and changed into more comfortable clothing.
|39 weeks, 4 days - Time to meet baby!|
|Selfie with Atley before she became a big sister. Sorry I couldn't get another picture with your eyes more open, girly goo. The camera died.|
I knew baby was still posterior, so I alternated between hands and knees positions on the rug and leaning over my birth ball for most of the pressure waves while rocking my hips from side to side which felt great. Turn baby, turn!
Misty arrived at our house before my family did. She took my blood pressure, listened to baby and got settled in. Misty commented that I looked gorgeous as only moms in their birthing time can look. I was feeling great - this was the night to meet my baby! My family arrived back home around 7:30pm. In between birth waves, I gratefully and ravenously ate the massive chicken, cheese and veggie stuffed quesadilla while leaning over my birth ball.
Family Home Evening:
Once the kids were fed, dressed for bed, and their teeth were brushed I insisted we do a little FHE (Family Home Evening). I had the idea for the lesson come to me earlier in the day and I wasn't going to let a few waves get in the way of a great teaching opportunity for my kids. We sang "I Lived in Heaven" and I read Jeremiah 1:4-5:
"Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations."
I taught them that just like Jeremiah, Heavenly Father knew and loved all of us in heaven before we came to Earth. And the little baby who was growing my belly was coming from heaven. I taught that baby and every one of us is given something special to do while on Earth, we just have to find out what that is! We had a short object lesson with a glove to illustrate the relationship of their spirit to their body. "We need our bodies to do the special things Heavenly Father has for us to do. This new baby, just like each one of us, is growing in Mommy's womb or uterus and getting a body so he or she could do what Heavenly Father wanted him or her to do! And this little baby, who had just been with Heavenly Father, is going to be here with us by morning time! This is a special time, and this is a special baby. Heavenly Father loves the baby and each one of us. Our bodies are special and help us become more like Heavenly Father."
We finished with a prayer, and my mom brought Lincoln and Atley to Amanda's.
Getting down to business:
Up until this time I had been using my Hypnobabies Fingerdrop to go to instant deep self-hypnosis through the pressure waves, and had been using my "Peace" cue to direct my mental anesthesia where I needed it. All along, my sisters McKenzie and Riley, mom, Misty, Squire and I were talking and laughing in between pressure waves.
|Riley being a silly Minnie Mouse in her awesome jammies.|
|Me making a face at something Kenzie was saying.|
I drank my Sprouts Coconut water to stay hydrated. A more natural alternative to Gatorade. Good times.
About 9:30pm, my pressure waves were increasing in intensity and closeness. I wanted to know how dilated and effaced I was. A perfect opportunity for Squire to practice the skills he had learned from his OB/GYN rotation. He checked me and then Misty did and she gave him some helpful tips on how to get more accurate assessments. They concluded I was 6cm dilated (the new "active labor") and about 90% effaced.
Things were picking up so I set up my Hypnobabies birth guide CD and started to play the "Easy First Stage" track so I could focus a bit better. I leaned on my kids' Learning Tower while sitting on my birth ball as Squire, Mom and Misty started to fill the birth tub.
|Are you noticing our birth pool fail? I'll explain more later.|
|Connecting the hose to the sink.|
|Speeding up the process a bit with buckets.|
|Me using my "Peace" cue to direct anesthesia to my belly as my midwife listens to baby through a complete pressure wave.|
Water for birth - a fantastic thing:
I loved getting into the birth tub full of warm water. It gave me a renewed focus on my Hypnosis so I could relax even more through the pressure waves that were coming almost constantly at that point.
|Misty taking my temperature right before I got into the birth tub.|
|Listening to my hypnosis birth guide tracks in the tub. Using the "Release" cue to shut off completely through a pressure wave.|
|Snuggling in the water through the pressure waves.|
|Waiting, waiting and more waiting - and relaxing with Kerry Tuschoff's help.|
|Us laughing at the birth fail - the liner . . .|
|See the seam that we missed?! Completely open, the (ineffective) duct tape would have been completely unnecessary. Oh well. You live and you learn.|
I think it was about 10:30pm when I got in the water. I made several trips out of the tub to use the restroom, my mom assisting me in and out each time. The second to last restroom break my body was starting to get a little shaky. I knew that these powerful waves were bringing my baby and soon. When I started to bear down a bit the last time on the toilet, my mom said, "You need to get back in the water or you're going to have this baby in the toilet." I agreed wholeheartedly, in my mind. I was very focused on what was going on within my body at this time and wasn't very interactive at that point. I just needed to focus on what was going on inside.
|Misty and Sharon, looking over notes together during the birth. Love these ladies!!|
Pushing or "Ahhhhing" Baby out:
I got back in the tub. Squire wasn't in the water with me at this point. He got out to take a break. I was on my hands and knees in the water, breathing heavily with heaving sighs at this point. My open mouth helped to open me up even more. Then I felt big shifts and some involuntary pushes slide baby down my birth canal. I remembered what Misty and her partner, Sharon, taught me about holding my own perineum to help ease baby out. "It will give you more control and help you know better how to push in the most comfortable way." I wondered briefly what everyone was doing around me but I didn't want to focus on that - I needed to keep my attention on my baby. I felt a couple more buckets of warm water being poured in to the tub. I assumed that everyone was watching and knew just how imminent this baby's arrival really was.
I reached down and felt baby's head crown. I felt a twinge of worry and nervousness hit me at this point. I felt the tight ring of the edge of my cervix around baby's head. I didn't want to tear, and I wanted to push baby out in comfort but I didn't see how that could happen with how tight things felt. I had a moment of panic and wondered whether I ought to just push really hard and get it over with? In answer to my worry I heard in my mind, "Just wait." And with that, I felt a couple of waves come but I fought the urge to push with them and waited as I had been instructed. When the waves passed, in the calm moment, I told myself, "Open, open, open" and with a little nudge of pushing effort my baby slid out - head, shoulders and body - in one smooth glide. I pulled baby up to my chest and laughed a cried with joy. Little did I know - with how calm I was - no one realized what was happening until I was pulling baby out of the water to my chest! Baby felt much skinnier and lighter to me than my other babies, but baby's cry was as strong as any of theirs.
Anatomy Lesson and Placenta Pulling:
As I have mentioned on this blog before, we didn't know baby's gender but we very much expected baby to be a boy. After baby was on my chest for a minute, I heard Squire(?) ask me to check baby's gender. I looked down and saw what looked like a little uncircumcised penis. "It's a boy!" Squire stood behind me in the birth tub and we looked at our new sweet baby and listened to "his" cry. "He even looks like a boy," Squire said. With the way baby's nose was flattened, "he" sure did! We noted the thick head of brown baby hair. I was thinking how one of our baby boy names would fit better with this dark-haired baby over the other. After trying to get baby to latch unsuccessfully in the water to help with the placenta detachment we had a few things to do. Misty clamped the cord which had stopped pulsing, and Squire cut the cord. I gave baby to Squire and focused on pushing out the placenta which wasn't coming on its own. Misty explained to me how she wrapped the cord around her fingers to give a light pull but the tug she gave was a little uncomfortable. "I'll do it," I said. Misty directed me to hold my lower abdomen to protect my uterus from flipping inside out. I did that and I wrapped the umbilical cord around my fingers a few times and gave a light pull. Within seconds I felt my pushing urge come back and my placenta slid out with ease, perfectly intact. Pretty neat!
Misty and Sharon helped me onto our futon which had towels and chux pads to protect it. They were doing some checks on me when Squire, holding the baby, looked over at me and said, "This baby isn't a boy - it's a girl!" "Really? Are you joking?!" "Really! She's a girl!" Apparently, my deep expectation that this baby was going to be a boy helped me lazily pass off baby's belly button - which was pulled out by the cord in a little tube an inch or two long - as a penis. I did notice the skin color of the belly button and the blue cord beneath, now that I think about it, but the power of expectation helped me dismiss what was weird and just see a baby boy. Will I ever live that one down? Probably not! Haha! Squire passed me our baby GIRL who I inspected with fresh eyes. We all laughed as I helped baby to get a great latch. Squire gave me a brownie to eat and said even though I got the gender wrong, my good work for this birth deserved some brownie points.
|The tricky belly button . . . ;)|
|Delicious fudgey brownies made by Kenzie - gluten-free, for Sharon and Riley. Still enjoyed by all.|
After the Birth Care:
Misty had prepared a great little herb bath for me that I soaked in while I nursed baby girl some more. When I was ready, I got out, got dressed in my nursing gown jammies. Misty and Sharon checked me for any tears, swelling or excess bleeding - there were NONE. Truly amazing news after having experienced an Episiotomy with the first birth and quite a bit of tearing with the second. I then got into my own bed where we weighed and measured baby girl. We all took our guesses. Squire and I tied in the guessing competition. I guessed 7lb. 11oz. and he guessed, "7lb. 17oz." ;). She was 7lb. 14oz. She got a little shot of Vitamin K for which she let out one strong cry but quickly settled with a comforting boob. Sharon packed up, thanked me for the "cushy" birth, congratulated us, and headed home.
|Riley holding baby girl for the first time.|
|Mimi holding baby girl while she watches something or other.|
|Squire helping Misty weigh Jocelyn.|
A prayer of Thanksgiving:
We all sat on my bed - Squire, my mom, sisters and our new baby girl. Misty asked us if we would like a prayer of Thanksgiving. We would! She offered up the most beautiful prayer to the Lord in behalf of our family and especially our new baby girl. She prayed for our girl and dedicated her to the Lord. Very few eyes were left dry at the close of that powerful heartfelt prayer. We hugged, said our goodbyes and Misty made her way home around 3:30am. We snapped a few photos and went to sleep around 4am.
It was an incredible night. Filled with sass and laughter, as well as quiet, still moments. There were surprises on surprises, as well as spiritual guidance and blessings. An abundant, heavenly experience - a gift from God - was what baby girl's birth was for me. If this birth serves as guide for what this girl's life will be like, it will be truly incredible. Welcome to the world, baby Jocelyn! We love you!!