Tuesday, October 12

Birth Story

So, I'm going to add more details soon, but basically it was a beautiful, fast birth.  I started having contractions around midnight; we got to the hospital at 3:00; I started pushing around 6:00; she was born at 6:40. 

I didn't have an epidural.  I couldn't have done it without Will.  He was the best labor coach ever, and I'm so grateful for him.  We have had several friends come to visit and are loving spending time with our beautiful girl. 

Will's account
It all started on Monday night (Oct 11) around 10:30 or so.  Sandy just couldn't get comfortable while we were sitting in the living room..  We went into the bedroom to go to bed, and she started having contractions.  Or perhaps while we were still on the couches she started having contractions.  At any rate, she's been having contractions for weeks now, but these were different.  She decided to time them (if you have contractions 3 minutes apart for an hour you should go to the hospital).  At this point I didn't want to sleep, so we put in a movie and watched while we timed her contractions.  They were indeed about 3 minutes apart and at about 1 minute or so.  She went into the bathroom to see if a shower and bath would make them subside or feel better.  At one point during all this, she made the comment, "I don't think you're going to work tomorrow."  

Well, it started looking more and more likely that the baby was coming.  She told me that I should clean (since I wanted to do something to help), so I did the dishes and such, and then we decided that we were going to go to the hospital.  First, however I went to fill up the car with gas, buy some stuff from Wal-Mart (juice and snacks for during labor, gum so that my breath didn't smell bad while I she was in labor, and treats for the nurses, which it was suggested we do so that they treat us nice) and then I returned the movies to the library (Just so you don't think I'm a horrible person for not taking her to the hospital right away, this last one was at the request of Sandy, since they were due the next day).  Then we drove to Rexburg.  She had trouble getting a hold of her midwife, but we went anyway.  By that time the contractions she was having were essentially driving her to her knees, and I would rub really hard on her lower back to alleviate the pain.  I didn't check what time it was when we left, but suffice it to say that we made it to Rexburg in a bit less than what it usually takes when you drive the speed limit.  When we got to the hospital, they checked her and found out that she was dilated to a 5, so they admitted her.  It was somehwere after 3 when she was admitted.  For the next 3 hours or so she would have a contraction every 3 minutes for about 30 seconds.  During these contractions, I'd hold her hand with one hand, and with the other I would firmly massage her lower back.  At one point she said that she didn't think she could do it.  At first, while the nurse was in there, I didn't really give many words of encouragement because I felt weird encouraging her with the nurse there.  But, by the end, everything I did was say words of encouragement as well as give the massage and hold her hand.  The contractions were getting stronger, and Sandy was in more and more agony.  At one point, I gave her a juice bottle to squeeze to help distract her.  Let's just say it's a good thing that bottle didn't have feelings.  She was really hurting, and really moaning (that's an understatement).  After not too long she was checked by the nurse to see how far she was along.  The nurse told me she was at a 6 (Sandy didn't want to know).  Not too long later she was at a 7.  She started to feel like pushing, but she wasn't completely dialted yet, and the widwife wasn't ready yet.  That was not fun.  She was at a 10 within minutes...it felt like hours though.  When she was at a 10, the nurse didn't tell me right away, but I saw another nurse come in and turn on the heater where new babies are put, which I knew was a good sign that we were getting close.  Then the nurse told Sandy she could start pushing.  This surprised me, because I figured we had a long way to go before she could start pushing, and I didn't think we were going to be anywhere close to the actual birth.  Well, soon thereafter Karen, the nurse midwife, came in and had Sandy start really pushing.  This was at around 6, and at 6:40 the baby came out, after a lot of pushing and intense agony by Sandy.  The feelings I felt in that last 30 minutes ago cannot adequately be put into words.  I wanted so bad to help her in the intense pain she was feeling.  I understand a little better how Heavenly Father must have felt when Christ was suffering the Atonement.  But, when the baby came out, this feeling of joy and just utter amazement came over me.  It was as if I wanted to shout for joy and cry at the same time.  I probably would have cried but I was embarassed to.  It was just so incredible when they pulled this baby out of Sandra.  It was somewhat purple, but turned the right color shortly thereafter.  She was placed on Sandy's chest, and I cut the umbilical cord once it stopped pulsing.  Then they did some tests and took her to the NICU for a little to make sure her lungs were ok, since she wasn't crying quite as much as they would have liked.  She did fine there, so I was able to take her back to Sandra.  Sandra, meanwhile, had been getting stitched up since apparently she tore while giving birth.  She also bled quite a bit, and had a small hemmorage and a bit later had a really low blood pressure (like 64 over 32).  We got her some juice to drink, laid her down and she put on an oxygen mask.  At this point she was looking pretty green/pale.  Her blood pressure went back up, but later when she went to the bathroom she almost passed out and the nurse had to give her smelling salts.  The rest of the day was spent taking some short naps, having people visit, holding the baby and trying to get her to breast feed. 
One thing that I've noticed about being around the baby is the feeling of purity that enshrouds her.  It's hard to accept that we're only here because of evolutionary forces when you hold a baby (sure, evolution may have been the way we were created, but what I mean is it's hard to believe that evolution was a random process ungoverned by a higher power).  The reason I say this is that when I hold Evelyn I can just feel that there's something more there and that she didn't just came about because of the joining of some DNA.  Additionally, being around her just makes me want to be better, which I know President Hinckley taught is a way to recognize the Holy Ghost.  I was thinking tonight as I was swaddling her that our home is a replacement of her heavenly home.  She went from heaven to us, so we've got a lot to match in regards to her previous living arrangements.  

Sandra's Story will be posted soon.

Birth Plan
So, one thing that is was suggested that we do was create a birth plan.  After having created one, we found one online that was a bit more humorous than ours, so we decided to alter ours a bit.  Below is what we submitted to the midwife, which was submitted to the hospital.

We had the best nurses and midwife.  They were very supportive of our preferences and followed them perfectly.  

Birth Preferences for Sandra & Will Taylor

To my Health Care Providers: Thank you for taking the time to work with us and our birth plan. These are our preferences if there are no medical contraindications.  We have prepared for a natural, non-medicated birth using Hypnobabies.  We are writing this birth plan with the belief that every labor and birth is different.  It is our desire to have a safe and happy birth experience.

1.    We ask for open communication and complete information.
2.    I would appreciate a minimum of vaginal exams and do not want to be informed of my progress in dilation.  (You may tell my husband.  I suppose you may use words, but ideally so that I do not hear what my progress is I would prefer that you speak via smoke signals using a humidifier, since smoke signals using real smoke may be less than desirable for a hospital environment)
3.    We would prefer a nurse who enjoys working with natural births.  A nurse that knows a lot of good jokes and that can sing and play the ukulele as well as tie balloon animals would be ideal to keep the mood light, but just as long as she enjoys natural births we will be thrilled.
4.    I would like to use:
a.    A birthing ball or the birthing tub or shower to help with labor.  The helicopter from EIRMC may be helpful too, just in case I decide to try skydiving to induce labor.
5.    I would like to have a quiet room and no excess staff.  However, if you decide to invite a group that plays traditional music from the highlands of Bolivia to the hospital for any reason, we waive the request to have a quiet room and would love to be entertained by their enriching sounds for the duration of labor. 
6.    I would like for people entering the room to speak softly, unless there is a fire or an earthquake or if somehow a herd of rabid squirrels get loose in the hospital. If any of these are the case, raised voices will be just fine.
7.    Please keep my door closed during labor.
8.    I would prefer only intermittent monitoring (20 minutes on the monitor each hour).

Pain Relief:
9.    Please do not offer me pain medication or ask me what my level of pain is.
10.    I am prepared to handle pain with the Hypnobabies method.
11.    I want to be able to walk around and move as I wish while in labor.  My husband and I recently watched “Invictus” and have decided to take up rugby.  If labor is progressing slowly we may see if the nurses are up for a friendly pick-up game.
12.    Give me the freedom to change positions as needed in labor and while pushing.  However, if I become delusional in some way and decide that a comfortable position would be a position that you deem strange, such as while standing on my head, feel free to suggest otherwise.

Second Stage of Labor & Delivery:
13.    As long as the baby and I are healthy, I prefer to have no time limits on pushing.  However, we would like to spend Christmas at home, so if you see that labor is taking an extremely long amount of time, you may make some polite pushing suggestions.
14.    I would like to be encouraged to try different positions for labor, including:
a.    Squatting, hands and knees, on the toilet, standing, or whatever feels right.
15.    I prefer to have no episiotomy but am willing to discuss its medical necessity if one should arise.
16.    To help prevent tearing, please apply:
a.    Hot compresses, oil, perineal massage, or encourage proper breathing
17.    It’s important for me to push instinctively.  However, if I do decide that I would like to be informed on when to push, I prefer that you have on staff a very large and demanding drill sergeant to encourage my pushing.  I think he could do a good job of motivating me.

After Birth:
18.    As long as my baby is healthy, place the baby onto my abdomen.
19.    Please do not clamp or cut the umbilical cord until it has stopped pulsing.
20.    Please allow my husband to cut the umbilical cord, unless he has for some reason passed out.  If this is the case, please just lay him comfortably on the floor and ignore him.  However, if he could serve some useful purpose while unconscious, such as holding open a door, feel free to use him as you wish.
21.    I appreciate your patience in waiting for the placenta to detach naturally.  However, my nine month relationship with the placenta has been sufficient for me, and I will not shed any tears at parting with it at this point.  I do not have any desire to consume my placenta in any way, not in a house, not with a mouse… 

Newborn Procedures:
1.    If the baby has any problems, I would like my husband to be present with the baby at all times, if possible.
2.    I would like all newborn procedures to be performed in my presence.
3.    I would like to delay the administration of eye drops and vitamin K until after breastfeeding or bonding has occurred.
4.    I prefer immunizations be postponed to a later time.
5.    Do not offer my baby the following without my consent:
a.    Formula, pacifiers, artificial nipples, sugar water, roast beef, mashed potatoes, chocolate cake (although feel free to offer me the last few items).

In the event of an emergency: If the situation becomes life-threatening for Sandra or our baby, we will of course yield to any request for life-saving intervention, upon the briefest of consultation. 

Cesarean Delivery
1.    If a C-Section is not an emergency, please give us time alone to think about it before asking for our written consent.
2.    My partner is to be present at all times during the c-section, even if he passes out.  If such should be the case, sticking some ice down his pants should do the trick.
3.    Ideally, I would like to remain conscious during the procedure.
4.    I would like the baby to be shown to me immediately after it's born.
5.    I would like to have contact with the baby as soon as it is possible in the delivery room.
6.    I prefer to have a hand free to touch the baby.
1.    If my baby is healthy, I would like to hold my baby and nurse it immediately in recovery.
2.    As long as my baby is healthy, I would like my partner to be the baby's constant source of attention until I am free to bond with it (i.e., holding, skin-to-skin contact,  telling her lame jokes, etc.).

She's here!

Evelyn Jolene Taylor was born this morning at 6:40.  She weighed 6 lbs 10 oz, and is 19 inches long.  More details will follow.

Monday, October 11

Baby News

Well, there isn't much to report.  She's late.  I'm not surprised.  I'm quite happy about it.  I'll start worrying  next week.  If my calculations are correct though, she has another week to go.  I'm not choosing to be induced unless I have to.  The midwives don't force you to induce until your 41 weeks and 6 days.  I doubt I'll get that far, but that's how far I can go.  Everything was fine at my appointment today.  I'm still measuring small.  I measured at a 35 again.  The baby's heart was beating...that's a relief!  :) I've gained 26 pounds.  So, things are just great.

Well, tonight for FHE we had 25 people in our apartment.  There were 2 FHE groups from the singles ward that came, so 4 apartments.  It was fun.  I made bread for the desert, and we played Psychologist.  Well, I didn't play because I was finishing up the bread.  I'm sure going to miss the singles ward.  I probably won't go as much after our baby comes.  We went on a group date last Friday with a few people from the ward.  I had a lot of fun.  On Sunday in ward council, they were joking about me going into labor.  I had called Will while he was in the meeting to see if he had some papers for the temple prep class I was teaching.  He answered...(just in case I was in labor..)  As he left the room, they all got excited.  Bishop said if I went into labor they'd cancel church and convoy to the hospital...funny...
During Sacrament meeting, there was a lot of extra time, so Bishop had me bear my testimony.  My hormones got the better of me.

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