Birth Story for Arabelle Rei
Birth Story for Arabelle Rei
7:45 Woke up to start getting ready for my doctor appointment. We had scheduled this appointment just in case I had not already had Arabelle. Her due date was January 1, but I had told the doctors, I expected her to be a few days “late” since T was 4 days “late” and Seth was 6 days “late.” (I explained to the boys, they weren’t really “late”; they were actually right on time. They just came a few days after the doctors guessed they would come out.) I laid in bed for a while and felt a couple light contractions. I had been having Braxton Hicks for about 8 weeks, so I wasn’t sure if these were just a progression of those. They were a tiny bit more intense, but not very intense at all.
9:15 At the doctors office and contractions were coming more often, about 3 an hour. Our doctor started talking about wanting to induce because since I am close to age 40, they don’t like to wait much past 1 week overdue. I had already discussed with another doctor at the practice that I wanted to wait until 2 weeks overdue to induce. She said that was fine, and I knew he would too if I pushed the issue, but at this point, I just said, “I am having contractions this morning, so let’s wait until next week to talk about inducing if she hasn’t been born yet.” He said that was fine, but wanted to hook me up to the baby heart rate monitor to confirm that everything was okay. The monitor also marked every time I had a contraction. I was monitored for about 30 minutes and had 4 contractions in that time, but they were still not painful (or “intense sensations” as my Hypnobirthing training taught me to call them. J )
10:45 Left the doctor office and discussed going for a walk with Jamie, as that is suggested during early labor. I was unsure about whether or not I felt good enough to do that. I called Cheryl Sheriff, our doula, and just let her know that I thought today would be the day. She said a walk was a good idea if I felt like it, but not to push myself too much. She predicted labor would really take off around 6pm, as most births occur in the evenings, but she also said since it was an overcast, stormy looking day, maybe I would progress faster. We then stopped by the hospital to confirm that I was registered in their system. I had registered online 1 week ago, but never received any confirmation that my info had been processed. I had called them yesterday to check on that. I was told they would check and call me back but never did. So, I stopped by the desk and told them I was having contractions and there was a good chance I would be back to be admitted sometime soon and just wanted to make sure everything was in order. It took her a while to find my info and confirmed that it had not been processed, but she said not to worry, they were checking into it, and if I needed to be admitted, they would not turn me away. That’s good to know! In the mean time, Jamie downloaded an app to easily track my contractions. We knew not to pay too much attention to its advice, as we also used one with Seth, but we did want to track how far apart they were.
11:15 Left the hospital and told Jamie I definitely did not feel like taking a walk, as some of my contractions were getting more intense. They were not progressing methodically, as some were quite easy and others were more intense, but for the harder ones, I needed to stop and lean on something and concentrate on relaxing and breathing through them.
11:30 He took me back to the house, left to go get everyone some lunch, and said after lunch he would head to work for a few hours. He called while he was gone to pick up lunch, and I told him, “Pretty sure that whole going to work thing isn’t going to happen.” The contractions were getting more intense. They were still bearable, but I told him I had just had one really hard contraction, the hardest of the day, then had a couple that weren’t as bad. I was in my room, on my hands and knees for all contractions, packing up a few odds and ends in my hospital bag in between contractions.
12:00 Contractions were every 5-8 minutes. I texted Kirsty, Mel, Starla, Jonathan, and Elizabeth and told them I was having contractions and my guess is that baby will be born today!
12:30 J arrived with lunch. I didn’t feel like eating, but thought I should for the energy, so I came to the table to eat with everyone. However, I was on my knees on the floor, with my head resting in the chair to cope with contractions. Jamie rubbed my back during contractions and the boys asked why he was doing that. After he explained that it helps me feel better, sweet Seth stood by me and scratched my back the whole time.
1:00 I took about 4 bites, then my water broke. J was ready for me to go straight to the car right that second. I had pants on so told him I was going to jump in the shower and wash off, change clothes, and I would be ready. He was not excited about me doing that, but let me. Later I learned he was thinking, “NO! You can’t get in the shower! That is what happened last time! If you get in the shower, you are going to tell me you aren’t getting out of the shower and that we are having the baby here!!” He called Cheryl and she said she would meet us at the hospital. I successfully prepared myself and headed to the car. Mom and the boys came down with us, just to help carry some things….or so we thought. As we were walking out of the apartment door, Seth says, “I want to come with you.” J and I had not even had a conversation with each other, much less with the boys, about this. We just assumed they would not have an opinion about coming and we both knew without saying it to each other they would not come…because who does that? Who brings their young children, especially boys, to watch their mother give birth??? Well, we did.
The conversation continued:
-You will come to the hospital as soon as baby is out but if you come now you will just be waiting and it might be a long time.
-But I want to see where baby comes out.
-She comes out where I go pee pee.
-But I want to see her come out.
-Well, let me talk to Daddy.
By the time we got in the car, we had decided to let them come.
1:30 Arrived at hospital. Cheryl asked if I thought baby was coming very soon and I should go straight to the birthing suite or if I felt like I might have a while and had time to stop in the assessment unit. I said I honestly did not know. I had some hard contractions, but they still were not consistently hard or unbearable for the most part. She pointed out that maybe they were hard ones but I was just handling them well, using focus and breathing. I agreed that might be it. We went to the assessment unit and had to wait a bit for someone to check me. We all stood in the hallway together instead of going down to the crowded waiting area with chairs. I didn’t want to sit down anyway and there was a rail on the wall that I could lean on during contractions. Cheryl reminded me to breathe slowly and breathe through my contractions and Seth scratched my back with each one. Jamie put pressure on my lower back with each contraction.
1:50 They finally did my exam and confirmed that I was 5 cm dilated so with that info, the frequency of my contractions, and Cheryl’s friendly suggestion, they decided to forego having me labor in a labor room for a while but decided to send me straight down to the birthing suite. Unfortunately, they did not have any water birth rooms available. I was disappointed but not devastated as I didn’t know what I was missing. While we were waiting for a room to be prepared, a midwife from the hospital called my cell phone to complete my registration and do my pre-intake interview. We told her she was a bit too late for that. J
2:00 They came back and said a water birth room had become available; the tub had not even been used so they would start preparing it for me. I went to the room and had a few contractions on the bed and a few on Cheryl’s yoga mat on the floor. I tried to lean on the exercise ball for one, but found that I preferred hands and knees on the floor. I waited for them to fill the birth tub.
2:30 Birthing tub is full, so I got in and had a few contractions. Cheryl reminded me to slow down my breathing several times. I would say, “My back!” every time a contraction started and remember barking out orders for the pressure on my back to be “Higher!” or “Lower!” I thought at the time that Jamie was the one putting pressure on my back, but he said once I got in the tub, he didn’t do much because the midwives stepped in to help. A couple doctors had told us that during a water birth, if everything goes as expected, there really isn’t much for them to do. One doctor we spoke with did not like to accept patients who planned water birth because she wanted to be more involved in the process. Our doctor was happy to sit back and watch and just be available if something unexpected happened. After the birth, someone jokingly said, “Aren’t water births dangerous??” Jamie replied, “Yes! So dangerous that our doctor was taking pictures with our phone of the birth because she didn’t have anything else to do!” We thought that was incredibly kind and thoughtful of her during her “down time”! Not pictures to go in the baby book or on the wall, but I loved being able to see the birth from that perspective.
I had a little focus board prepared with some beautiful pictures of nature and my favorite 3 boys, some affirmations, and a couple notes/scriptures written by Kirsty and my dad. J kindly remembered to hang it where I could easily see it once I was in the tub. It was lovely, but I only looked at it a couple times. My focus point ended up being Seth’s hand in mine. From the time I got in the tub until I needed my hands to bring Arabelle out of the water, Seth was there and did not let go of my hand. He held my hand the ENTIRE time just because his sweet daddy had told him it would make me feel better. He had no fear; every time I looked at him, he smiled at me. What an unexpected and perfect focus point! T was great too, and held a cool washcloth on my forehead for a while. He was more back and forth though, checking on me for a minute at a time but more interested in the physical part of it all. This makes sense. T has always been more of an investigator, with the priority to learn as much as he can while Seth focuses more on relationships. Mom and Jamie both commented afterwards how kind the midwives and Dr. Megan were to the boys. They worked around the boys and never told them to move or get out of the way (even though T, especially, was right in the middle of it all).
3:00 I knew Arabelle was ready to make her way out. I had been on my knees the whole time but now turned to try to sit on my bottom. I probably should have stayed on my knees but for some reason I thought I was supposed to turn around. My body kept floating up and everyone kept pointing out that I needed to stay all the way under the water. I knew that, but I didn’t feel like I could control it, so J held my legs down under water. Then I felt her crowning and that is when the yelling started. The fact that no yelling occurred before this, confirmed how much the water helped manage my pain. I was yelling, loud moaning or “mooing” as Jamie calls it, during contractions a good hour before Seth was born. With him, once I got in the shower all that stopped because I was not in much pain. It was at that point I realized I wanted a water birth if I ever had another baby. And here we are and the water helped immensely again. After the first crowning contraction, I looked up at Seth and Timothy and told them they did not have to stay in the room. I was afraid I was going to scar them for life and had not warned them that there would be yelling! I said they could step out with Yaya any time they wanted and as soon as baby was out, we could call them back in. They said, “I know,” but stayed in the room the whole time.
The longest moments were in between contractions as she was crowning. I just wanted that head out but knew there was no point in pushing in between contractions, as much as I wanted to. This was not just an “intense sensation.” This was pain! I reached down and felt Arabelle’s head and tried to not focus on the pain but to focus on how close she was to being in my arms.
It took about 3 contractions to push her head out. J could see her looking up with her mouth open and felt a bit panicked while in the back of his mind he knew she was fine. It was just strange to see your baby under water, mouth open, but they had explained to us that she came from the water in my body straight into the tub, so she had not started taking breaths yet, and would not until she was picked up out of the water.
One of my arms was tingling and that hand became so tense that my fingers curled up a bit and I could not move them no matter how hard I tried.
3:16 With one crook hand and one normal hand, I delivered my own baby and picked her up out of the water and brought her straight to my chest. It was the most amazing feeling! I sat in the water for a few minutes and everyone kept reminding me to keep her head out of the water because the tub was so full.
3:25 I got out of the tub and onto the bed. I wanted to wait 30 minutes to see if the placenta would come out naturally. In the meantime, the midwives and doctor were pushing on my belly to see how much blood would come out. It wasn’t “Baby is crowning and I’m yelling” painful, but it was very painful when they pushed on me. We tried to keep the boys on the couch in the corner during this part so they wouldn’t see so much blood, but T hopped up once to have a look and was obviously intrigued by what was happening.
3:30 The doctor said I was losing a bit more blood than she was comfortable with so we agreed to have the oxytocin shot to speed up placenta delivery.
3:40 After it was delivered, Dr. graciously took a few minutes to show it to the boys and explain how baby benefited from it.
4 The boys opened their gifts from Arabelle: a t-shirt that said “Security-Little Sister Protection Squad”, a set of little markers (so you can teach me how to draw), some sticky paper bookmarks (so you can read to me), a BIG candy bar (only suitable for BIG brothers), and a photo album (so you can have a place to put the pictures you take of me with your camera)
WE ARE ALL IN LOVE WITH ARABELLE and we are SO THANKFUL TO GOD for His care today and answering my prayers for a fast and healthy labor!
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