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Old 04-19-2013, 10:58 AM   #1
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A Badger Story- All Natural, Difficult Posterior Homebirth

Easter Sunday(March 31st) I woke up, and when I opened my eyes to realize it was light out, another day had started and I was still pregnant, I started to bawl. Just cried and cried and cried. My sobs shook the bed and woke my husband who snuggled up to me and asked if I was okay. I sobbed out, "I JUST WANT MY BABY!" He held me and let me cry for another half hour until the kids started waking up and trickling into our room(as the do every morning) and I composed myself for fear of frightening them at seeing Mama crying. Once everyone was up, I looked out the window, saw that it was sunny and bright, so Daddy kept the kids lassoed in bed with him and Dora the Explorer on TV while I went out to hide the hard-boiled Easter eggs we'd colored the night before. I was determined to snap out of my funk and have a peaceful Resurrection celebration with my family.
It didn't work as well as I had hoped. I was just so sensitive and generally ornery all day that by the time bed time came my last fuse had been fried and I was thankful to ship my babies off to dreamland. I sat down to watch TV and have my usual knitting time until the hubby arrived home from work. When he got home around 11pm, he asked for something to eat so I got up to make us some buffalo chicken wraps. As I was cooking, something in my body changed. I just had this sudden immense pressure that did not go away, and even without any contractions I knew SOMETHING was brewing. I kept complaining to Josh about this pressure and how it was pretty painful and kind of puzzling because I'd never felt anything like it before. We ate our snack, got our weekly dose of Finding Bigfoot(always good for some laughs! ) on Animal Planet, then crawled into bed around midnight.
An hour later I awoke with some INTENSE cramps in my back- really just BURNING cramps. I waited until the wave subsided, then went downstairs for one of my routine(as of the past 4 months) 15,000,000 trips to the potty every night. When I was done, I was shocked to find quite the handful of what the birthing community calls "bloody show". I went upstairs, told my husband and also informed him I was calling my midwife. When I've had bloody show in the past birth has followed within 2-3 hours, so I took it seriously.My midwife (who answered shockingly fast considering the hour) asked the usual questions about contractions, etc, knows my history of seriously fast labors and deliveries and decided I should just try to get some sleep for the event that was surely ahead but call her if there was ANY change.
I tried to follow instructions. OH how I tried. I hadn't slept well at all the night before because of the usual discomfort in my hips, lower back, and prodromal labor contractions and I KNEW I needed some rest and energy. It seems my head disagreed because it did not allow me sleep. Instead my brain dissected every twitch and pang I experienced, wondering if that was the start of labor.I didn't need to wait too long. Around 1:30am I had a very intense contraction.The kind I knew were serious labor, not more of the fake-out prodromal stuff.My heart began to pound and I tried to go back to sleep, but my brain just waited for the next one. And waited. And waited. For an hour when the next one hit. The pain was serious- I couldn't speak through it, just reached behind me and gripped my husband's arm with all my might until he woke up, realized what was going on and noted the time for me. Once the wave had passed I said to Josh, "If this is what it's going to be like from the get-go, this is going to be tough.” Almost 60 minutes later, another one came, with the same intensity. At that point I gave up on sleep. Went downstairs to the bathroom found more bloody show, and decided to get some cleaning done. All the laundry in the house was done, dishes got washed, mopping, etc. The house was CLEAN. I set up the air mattress bed in the living room my midwife had recommended(to stay on the first floor of the house near the bathroom and avoid the stairs for the first few days after birth given my very difficult pregnancy and recent health complications), and continued to have the intense contractions every 45-60 minutes.
Of course since I was obviously laboring, my kids would wake up 2 hours early. Not kidding. 5am, just after I had resigned myself to the couch satisfied that the cleaning was done, and I hear a thump-thump-thump to the top of the stairs, and down comes my Gabers. Not five minutes later, Annie was up, too. My hips and pelvis were in near constant pain, the pressure in my bottom was intense even between contractions, and I was... in a word... irritable. I dealt with them for half an hour, then insisted they go back to bed. I tried to convince them it was still night time- it WAS dark out, after all. They weren't buying it, but they did go back to bed, Annie whining she HAD slept all night and Gabe crying that the moon takes too long to go away. After they were tucked in I attempted to get some rest on the couch, but I was restless and in pain even between contractions, so I really just sat and glared at the television while I worked on some knitting.
At 6:30am all three were up and at 'em again, and at that point all contractions ceased. Around 8am I asked my husband to take the kids over to my friend Danielle's. The plan had been for her to be here with us at the birth, but as it happens Badger decided he'd come during her five kids' spring break from school and she didn't have the child care for them for the day. Instead, I packed up a bag of extra clothes for my two prone to accidents and Josh took them over to her house. As soon as he left the contractions started up again and stayed at 20-30 minutes apart. I was eager to get the show on the road so considering I'd been up dealing with these excruciating, albeit spread out contractions for seven hours already, I got out my handy-dandy double breast pump and gave it a test run for ten minutes. Almost immediately contractions went to every 8-10 minutes. That only lasted half an hour, then they scaled themselves back to every 15-20 minutes but it was progress. I called my midwife at 9am and gave her an update. Since things didn't seem to be moving too quickly and we're two hours away she said she was going to feed her pets and get her house ready for her indefinite absence, then she'd be on the road,hoping to arrive around noon. If things started progressing quickly I could call her and she'd hurry along, but I could also call our assisting midwife who lives just 45 minutes away.
Well,things did NOT pick up. They stayed right where they were as my husband and I snuggled on the air mattress watching Wanderlust then Our Idiot Brother on PayPerView, hoping to use the laughter at the off-color comedies I loved to progress things. Deb arrived around 12:30, half-way through Our Idiot Brother.She did an initial cervical check just to find out where I was at. A measly 2-3cm and 70% effaced. Really? I mean REALLY?! At this point I'd been dealing with a lot of pain and intense pressure, not to mention the incredibly intense contractions for 11 hours. This was not like me. In the past I have arrived at the birth center after just an hour of contractions and been 9cm dilated, or walked around at 5cm completely NOT in labor and dilated to 8cm within the first hour of contractions. Not to mention it had never been so incredibly PAINFUL! I didn't understand, but I accepted that nothing about my pregnancy had been ordinary, so of course my Badger was going to blaze his own trail on this birth experience.
I mentioned to Deb that Badger had been VERY active all night, squirming and really kicking hard for HOURS with literally no break. She found that very puzzling considering most babies slow down, mellow out, and can't move much at all once they're in the pelvis which is what triggers labor in the first place.She had me lie down on the couch while she gave my boy a good rub-down, feeling out his shape in my belly. He was facing my left side, just as he had my entire pregnancy, but was cocked at an angle. His head was posterior and NOT aimed into the pelvis at all. That explained the pain and pressure. My body was giving him an eviction noticed and he was grinding his head into my pelvic bones, refusing to cooperate. The intense pressure was my body forcing him downward and him resisting, bone-on-bone, with his head pressing HARD againstthe inside of my pelvis.
To tryand help him move in a gentle way, she had me bend over and put my hands on thearm of the couch so my belly hung and relaxed. In between contractions she wrapped her arms around me so her hands were on either side and massaged my belly, gently(by gently I mean to him. It was pretty firm on the outside ) attempting to move him into a better position. When contractions would start she had me putting my right leg up on the arm of the couch and leaning into it in a sort of lunge position to both open my pelvis wider, but also so my thigh against the side of my belly where his back was would provide him resistance should he try to move back to the position she was attempting to move him from. Did I mention painful? Yeah, it definitely made them more intense, we shall say. We did this for nearly an hour before we decided to try a new strategy: The stairs. Oh, the stairs! I walked up and down our stairs for ten minutes to try and encourage more frequent contractions, popping my right thigh up with each step to continue that pressure against his back and keep him from moving back to the ultimate bad position he'd been in, because we'd managed to move him JUST a little closer to a good birthing position. Immediately the stairs amped up the contractions to every two minutes, and they were incredibly intense- the kind you expect when you're closer to imminent birth, not 2-3 cm. I was getting so tired, mentally worn down from the hours of intense pain, and physically from the effort and lack of sleep the night before.
As soon as I stopped doing the stairs the contractions scaled back from every 2 minutes to every 8-10 again, but it was an improvement from the 15-20 minutes apart they'd been. I positioned myself on my knees with my upper body on my large Pilates ball and my right leg tucked up to my chest on a modified lunge position to continue to keep that pressure against his back and discourage his turning back to the full ****-eyed posterior spot he seemed to be loving. By then it was about 1:30 so we decided a refuel would be good for all. Deb went to town(ten minutes away) to get herself some lunch(she LOVES Panera but doesn't live near one so she took advantage of our proximity to one to grab herself a favorite lunch ) and Josh made me a protein-packed lunch of a black bean burger with cheese,pickles, and organic greens covered in BBQ sauce folded inside a wheat tortilla. Yes, I have weird taste.
AfterI ate, the contractions picked up to every 7-8 minutes, and I had to move to abetter position- on my hands and knees, rocking my hips through contractions.At this point they'd intensified even more. They were akin to what I was usedto dealing with during transition, when the pain becomes overwhelming becausethey're at their peak before the pushing begins and I start getting weepy and having the, 'I can't do this. It hurts too much. I can't do this,' thoughts.The kind where, for me, I have to force myself to focus on relaxing through the contractions and force my brain to not panic because what I REALLY want to do is go primal, screaming and flailing at the overwhelming and intense pain. I started going off into what is known as 'laborland.' My brain was in a haze, Irarely opened my eyes, and in between contractions I relaxed from full hands and knees to flopping my upper body on the stack of pillows on the edge of the air mattress and just let the tears silently roll down my cheeks. Deb texted from her car when she got back, asking for an update. Josh told her and she asked if we wanted her to come in or if I felt like I needed privacy. (That's one reason I adore my midwife. She has such deep respect for a woman and her ability to birth, and her desire to be so hands-off and do what only what the woman wants and needs in order to do what she needs to do on this journey of birth. She is amazing.) I told Josh I needed her calming presence because I felt like I was losing control.
In less than a minute Deb was in the house, rubbing my back and applying counter-pressure to my hips to help me through the contractions, and Josh went to set up the birth tub in the dining room. We chose the dining room because#1- it's hardwood floor so no carpet to worry about, #2- there's plenty of room when the table is pushed against the wall, and #3- the table provided a great space for the midwives to set up their equipment, lay out birthing supplies,and have a sterile space for emergency equipment to be kept at the ready, not to mention the benches and chairs were a place for them to sit and relax.
As soon as the tub was full enough, I got in. There was one little problem. The hot water heater had run out of hot water half-way through the filling and my sweet husband had not noticed. I got in anyway because the tepid water was bearable and I was desperate for the relief I knew the lack of gravity would bring. While I worked through contractions that way(it was SO much better, but still intensely painful the way much of this labor had been, and contractions were coming every 2-3 minutes) Josh got every big pot we have going on the stove to boil. As soon as it was boiling he would take my brand-new mop bucket and bail out a couple buckets of water from the pool to make room for the hot water he and Deb then carefully stirred in. Between Deb, Merideth(our assisting midwife) and Josh, this continued pretty much the entire rest of my labor until the last two contractions.
I really lost all track of time at this point, just being lost in 'laborland' where everything is a blur, I rarely opened my eyes, I cried every now and then, going from my hands and knees during contractions to sitting in between.I tried sitting through a couple of contractions and it was some of the worst pain I have ever felt. Excruciating doesn't feel like an adequate word to describe it. It sucked. That is all.
At some point Merideth arrived. I don't think I noticed her arrival or acknowledged her presence, but she just kind of slid into the scene fluidly, and at some point I became aware that occasionally the hands massaged my hips during contractions were neither Deb nor Josh as she whispered encouraging things about my incredible strength and acknowledging the intensity of what I was experiencing.
During one particular contraction I felt a sudden fullness inside my pelvis and instinctively gave a little grunty push during the contraction. It felt incredible- the least pain I'd felt the entire day. My midwife encouraged me to do what my body felt it needed to do, and my husband, knowing what that grunting meant and my fears I always have about the pain of tearing(I tore horrendously with my first- third degree on the top and bottom- and those sensations have been seared in my mind since even though the tearing with the other two was far less), leaned his forehead against my temple and began whispering sweet encouragements about how I was okay, I was so amazing, I was bringing our sweet little Badger into the world. After several strong contractions of me pushing and seemingly no progress, my midwife asked if she could do a cervical check. This is rare, because she has never done a second cervical check once she has established a starting point in labor because she trusts the body to do what it is meant to do, but she knew me and she knew something was off. Because of our relationship and my trust in her, I consented immediately. To my complete shock, I was only 8cm. The fullness I felt was the water bag bulging even though his head was still at a -1 station and off to the side. I was so confused. That meant his head was not even firmly in the pelvic opening. All this work- now nearly 16 hours since the contractions had started-and he still wasn't coming. My body was trying to MAKE him, but he wasn't consenting. Thankfully the pushing I'd done had not made the cervix swell at all, but we decided I should get out of the tub, go to the bathroom(Deb thought perhaps my bladder was full and adding to the pressure), and let gravity do some more work to move my stubborn guy into position.
I don't know how long I spent out of the tub, but it seemed like an eternity.After going to the bathroom I resumed my position kneeling beside the air mattress with my head and upper body on a stack of pillows on the bed, my belly hanging beside it where Deb could massage and try to move my guy into place.The pain during these contractions I had never known before. Just no words to describe it. Instinctively each time a wave would come I wanted to literally scream in protest, kick, flail, and just get up and run away from the situation, as if that would leave the pain behind. If I could have moved on my own volition, I might have. But I knew that to have any progress in this labor I needed to keep my pelvic muscles relaxed and allow my body to move my guy into position and out. Instead of fighting with the pain I flopped on the pillows, zoned out in an exhausted trance between contractions, and during contractions I pushed back up on my arms so I was fully on my hands and knees,rocked back and forth, and focused all that violent energy I wanted to run screaming with into literally slamming my head down onto the pile of pillows in front of me as I rocked forward, moaning and whimpering. At one point Deb had suggested Josh go get me a new top to wear because the sports bra and tank top I'd been wearing was obviously wet from the tub and she was not sure if the violent bouts of shaking I was having was a chill or my body's adrenaline response to the pain. (Josh confessed later that all this really scared him because he'd never seen me like this before and he thought I was literally losing it). This all lasted for what seemed like hours, but I really don't know how long it was.Long enough. Meanwhile Merideth had been working to replace nearly all the water in the tub with water she was boiling on the stove top and bailing out the cool water into the kitchen sink with a bucket. When Deb suggested I get back in the tub to give my body a break, I was eager to do so. I sunk into the warm water and just floated. It felt glorious despite everything else going on. I continued to work through the contractions the same as before, but at one point I just stopped flipping over to my hands and knees for contractions and just used my arms to lift my tush off the bottom of the tub during contractions, and focused my energy into my arms, keeping my bottom relaxed.
Suddenly, Badger started kicking during a contraction. Hard. Oh my, the pain. I cannot describe it. It hurt so much. I exclaimed in a rather panicked voice that he wouldn't stop kicking. Deb said that was good, that he was moving, like a flipper-kick to where he needed to be. He repeated the kicking maneuver on the next contraction, and toward the end something just clicked, and my body pushed for a split second involuntarily and I let out an equally involuntary grunt."THAT WASN'T ME!" I yelled. Deb and Josh knew what I meant and both(sounding almost irritatingly excited) said, "Good!" I knew that involuntary clamping down to be the Fetal Ejection Reflex I'd had with all three of my previous births. If you don't know what FER is, Google it. It's fascinating. Basically, in a small percentage of completely natural births(any type of drugs are known to suppress the reflex) only notably so in calm,gentle, primal type of instances where women are completely uninhibited, when the baby enters the birth canal the uterus instinctively flexes, literally clamping down and pushing on its own with no effort from the mother, nor can the mother do anything to stop it. I sure as heck cannot, and that complete lack of control sends me into a complete panic every time. As the contraction and FER faded I responded to them, "I know, I just hate losing control!" and began to cry a little bit. Deb was by my feet with a flashlight(it was getting dark and they didn't want to turn on the lights because I enjoyed the dimness while I labored) and began to rub my feet and speak soothingly about how it was okay, everything was okay, my body was in control and that'show it should be, and it would all be over very soon. Josh was behind me,wrapped his arms around me and spoke softly into my ear about how it was okay,I was safe, and we were going to finally meet our Badger SO very soon. As I felt the next contraction build I put my hand down on my bottom so I could feel what was going on. I felt the bag of water(still intact) begin to emerge. A couple seconds later the FER kicked in and the bag burst into my hand. I opened my eyes and looked down at the water where Deb had it illuminated by the flashlight and literally screamed: It was a complete sea of green. Meconium. That meant my baby, who was SO far from post-date(only 38.5 weeks by my midwife's dates) was in distress. I know so many people who have had very sick babies after birth and even lost babies from meconium inhalation. Despite the fact that I was atthe peak of a contraction I immediately began to sob hysterically, literally in a panic. There'd been so many complications in my pregnancy, so many worries about Badger's health, his lack of growth, the bleeding, the hyperemesis, the severe nutrient deficiencies and anemia I dealt with, and I'd just felt the whole third trimester that if I could just get my boy OUT he'd be okay and we could deal with whatever may or may not be wrong with him. Yet here I was mere inches from getting him OUT and now there was meconium. Deb and Josh spent the rest of the contraction and the break until the next one talking me down from the panic,Deb telling me over and over, "Megan, he's okay. He's okay, Megan. He's okay." Josh had no idea what the green was because we'd never experienced it before and in the past my membranes had ruptured themselves on the toilet in transition or onto a chux pad on the bed(also in transition) when he'd stayed up by my head, but he tried to calm me down and ensure me that our boy would be here SO very soon and I needed to calm down and focus on getting him here. As the next contraction started to build I put my hand back down where I could use it to 'see' what was happening. I felt the very softest top of his head just as the FER kicked in again and immediately he was crowning and the ring of fire seared. Deb pressed on my perineum where it was stretching and I pressed on the top where it was stretching. I felt his head immediately pop out and I let out bellow(a lot like cows used to do on the farm when they were giving birth-yes, that thought went through my head when I heard myself. Can take the girl off the farm but you can't take the farm out of the girl! ) and pushed with all my might. He shot out so fast I did not even have time to catch him, I just felt him glide past my hands in the water. Deb scooped him up and put him on my chest. Josh was behind me whispering in a teary voice, "He's here, Meg!He's here! Look at our Badger!" He was so little, so purple, so dark-haired! His cry was like a tiny kitten meowing. And he was perfect! He was immediately breathing on his own, pinking up more by the second, and the picture of health, albeit a little bit in shock due to how he went from the uterus to completely out of the womb in two contractions and with a very swollen head and face from the hours of my uterus attempting to force him out while he was in such an unfavorable position for 18 hours.
His birth was difficult. SO difficult. And painful. But once he turned from his ****-eyed posterior position, he was out in two contractions and for the first time for me- not a single tear. All 9 lbs, 1.5 oz, and 21 inches of him. He shocked us with his size because of how small he'd measured the whole pregnancy, but he had a fair bit of edema and swelling from his tough birth that added weight as well. But he's the perfect picture of health, and the delivery and recovery here at home has been nothing short of of the perfect choice for us.


Meg- blessed with five living miracles & my dream guy of thirteen years
Always missing our Asher Joel, born to Heaven 1/29/15
Licensed Birth and Bereavement Doula at Blessed Journey Birth Services
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Old 04-19-2013, 11:55 AM   #2
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Re: A Badger Story- All Natural, Difficult Posterior Homebirth

So cute! Congrats!
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Old 04-19-2013, 01:08 PM   #3
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Re: A Badger Story- All Natural, Difficult Posterior Homebirth

Great job through that tough birth mama! What a handsome little man! Hope things are continuing well for you and your family.
Me DH married for almost 15 years, parents to 7 small people, so far.
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Old 04-19-2013, 01:29 PM   #4
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Thank you for sharing! What a beautiful boy!

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Old 04-19-2013, 01:50 PM   #5
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Re: A Badger Story- All Natural, Difficult Posterior Homebirth

What an amazing story! Congrats. Your LO is absolutely gorgeous.
Proud Mama to: My big guys C (9/2002) and N (10/2003), and my princess (3/2006).
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Old 04-19-2013, 03:18 PM   #6
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Re: A Badger Story- All Natural, Difficult Posterior Homebirth

Lovely story, glad everything turned out ok.
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Old 04-19-2013, 03:41 PM   #7
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Re: A Badger Story- All Natural, Difficult Posterior Homebirth

Congrats Meg, he's cute!
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Old 04-20-2013, 05:01 PM   #8
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Re: A Badger Story- All Natural, Difficult Posterior Homebirth

very cute baby
thanks for sharing your story
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:16 AM   #9
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Re: A Badger Story- All Natural, Difficult Posterior Homebirth

Amazing story... He's adorable - congratulations.
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Old 04-29-2013, 06:38 PM   #10
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WOW!!!! Congrats!

He's beautiful :-)
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