Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Elizabeth Pearl: The Birth Story

It all started about two and a half weeks before our sweet girl made her entrance. I started having some hard contractions, so I called my parents to come and get our three boys: thinking that the baby would be born any day. We didn't have anyone in town we could call to look after them, so we packed them up and sent them off with their grandparents six hours away.

I've got to admit that those weeks without my sons were some of the hardest of my life. I enjoyed the rest for the first few days, but after that it was hard not to be anxious and panicky. I just felt a lot of pressure to have the baby so the boys could come home.

Unfortunately, I realized that hauling around my 17 month old and and waddling around the neighborhood with my three and four year old were what was helping along those heavy contractions. When the boys went away so did all my contractions.

My due date came and past with no sign of the baby. The Monday after I hit 41 weeks, my midwife decided it was time to give our little girl a healthy shove out of the womb.

 I took a labor inducing cocktail that contained castor oil, champagne, nectarine juice, and almond butter. Just thinking about it makes me want to throw up. I assumed the cocktail would send her right out, but all it did was violently empty out my digestive system and give me terrible cramps.

After that little failure, my midwife decided to give me a day off and see if she'd come out on her own.  She didn't and I was back at the birth center early Wednesday morning chugging that same nasty cocktail.

After drinking the cocktail, they sent me home to rest for a few hours and I started having some light contractions.We headed back to the birth center around 4:30pm and since Wednesday was the last day I'd be allowed to have the baby at the birth center, (If you go past 42 weeks you have to birth your baby in the hospital)  they opted to go ahead and break my water.

I had an ultrasound at 41 weeks to make sure there was enough amniotic fluid to sustain the baby. I remember that the midwife had been amazed at just how much fluid there was. I didn't really think anything of it, but when she broke my water, it was like a raging river.  My bag was so full, she ended up puncturing it three or four more times with the same result.

My body did an incredible job of retaining water this time around. Anyways, after they broke my water my contractions died down (which was the opposite of what we expected to happen) but at this point I was 7 cm dilated.

Around 10pm, my midwife came in and told me to stand up. Up to this point I had been squatting on a birth ball and lying down. She thought the baby might not be aligned in my pelvis correctly so during my contractions she had Jonathan stand behind me and hold my belly up towards my spine. That did the trick. After a few contractions it was time to climb into the birthing tub.

My contractions peaked, and about 2 minutes later I was pushing. It was truly a surreal experience. During labor with my other three babies I was always absolutely exhausted and out of it by the time I had to push. This time I'd only had a few painful contractions so I was completely present during her birth.

I was pushing my baby out and thinking, "Oh gosh, this is insane. I can see my child being born." I felt EVERYTHING this time. I just felt incredible pressure as she made her exit, and then incredible relief!

About 10 minutes after my midwife had me stand up so we could get her in the right position, Elizabeth Pearl was born. It was so funny, Jonathan put on some music while we were waiting, and as she was making her debut into the world the chorus of the song " Girl On Fire" came on over the stereo. Everybody in the room got a big kick out of it!

She was 9 lbs and 10 ounces of preciousness (my biggest baby) and absolutely covered in vernix. There's nothing like the feeling you get when you've gone through labor and come out the other side with a precious human being. We are so thankful that God has blessed us with another strong, healthy baby!