Lydia's Birth Story

Posted by  | Tuesday, July 13, 2010  at 4:50 AM  
Lydia is already over three weeks old and I wish that I could freeze time. It is flying by and I just want it to stop so I can gaze at my sweet newborn and remember all her baby-soft newness for a little longer. She is just the best baby ever! She is so laid back and sweet. She cries so little, almost as if she is reluctant to cause a stir and only cries out of real necessity. I really want to cherish these days because I know she will be running around with her older brother and sister in no time at all!

I always like to write out my children's birth story so I can remember their first few moments and Lydia's especially because it was all such a whirlwind. But first, here is a little background. Meredith was born at our home in North Carolina in 2006and Jonathan was born at our home in Virginia in 2008. We had the same wonderful midwife for both of their births. In 2009 we moved to Scotland and though there is a national healthcare system here, I had the option of choosing a homebirth with the health service midwives. I was 11 days overdue by the midwife's calculation (only 6 days by mine) and was about to lose my chance at a homebirth if she wasn't born soon (they make you go to a hospital if you are more than 12 days overdue). I woke up early Monday morning suspecting that my body was finally preparing for labor (bloody show). I thought contractions might start later that morning, but nothing happened at all. A midwife stopped by my house later around noon just to check on me and offered to sweep my membranes. I took her up on it and figured it might be my last chance to jump start things in time to have a homebirth. She said I was only 2 cm dilated and only partially effaced. I was pretty discouraged and thought that there was no way I'd be in labor anytime soon. But I was determined to do everything I could and after she left I took 3 tbs castor oil (on the advice of Audrey, our ever knowledgeable midwife that delivered Meredith and Jonathan). I had taken castor oil to start Meredith's labor, but I was already in pre-labor and having regular contractions with her and had been for several days. I decided to lay down and take a nap and a contraction woke me up at exactly 4:00. I started timing the contractions and they were coming every 10 minutes for one hour. I was still skeptical that this might be real labor and continued to watch the clock while keeping busy around the house. I vacuumed and did the dishes. Around 5:30 I called the midwives to let them know I thought I was in labor and they warned me that my contractions could still stop even after two regular hours of them. They said it would also take them 45 minutes to get to my house so I should make sure to allow time for them to arrive. I assured them that I didn't need them yet and continued to piddle around the house hoping to make the contractions longer and stronger. Mom fed the kids and Ben dinner and I watched them eat while sitting on the birth ball in the living room, still unsure if this was really "it".

Around 6:00 I began to know that I was really in labor. At this point, I really needed either Ben or my mom to push hard on my back when I was having a contraction and I couldn't talk or do anything else during them. They were coming every 4 to 5 minutes and lasting a minute long. My mom began scrambling around the house to get the kids and herself ready to go to Jarred and Chelsea's house. I needed Ben to stay right with me to push on my back. I was handling contractions by being on my hands and knees on the floor. Ben had to drive my mom and the kids to our friend's house and I hated to see him go! Who would push on my back while he was gone?! I was also feeling my labor progress really, really fast at this point and wondered how I would wait 45 more mins for the midwives to get here. I called them back and told them to come as soon as they could.

Ben left our house and I was moaning through contractions. Our friend's house was only a few minutes away but I hated being alone. The midwives actually arrived while he was gone and it had only taken them about 10 minutes to get here instead of 45! (They said they were on their way to a fitness class in town). I couldn't even get up to answer the door and yelled for them to come in. Ben got back home a few minutes later and they were busy doing all their prep work. They checked my blood pressure and listened to the baby. Everything was fine but I was beginning to have a hard time coping. We decided to go upstairs where I would be more comfortable. I could barely make it up the stairs and felt one contraction on top of another. When we got upstairs the midwife checked me and announced that I was only 5-6 cm dilated and the baby was posterior (meaning her spine was to my spine which was causing my back pain). I was so discouraged to say the least and wondered how I would make it several more hours. It was probably around 7:45 at this time. The midwives told Ben and I that they would go back downstairs and left us alone. I remember him being on the bed beside me pushing on my back during contractions and asking him how I could possibly make it through several more hours of labor when I was already in so much pain and feeling like pushing. I had one or two more contractions and couldn't help but push through them. I didn't feel like I was getting any resistance and the pushing urge was getting so much stronger. I asked Ben to go ask the midwives why I was pushing when I was only 5 cm dilated. He never got the chance.

The very next contraction was really strong and my water broke all over the bed. I was shocked, having never had my water break on its own before and I really felt the baby moving down. The midwives heard me yelling about my water and pushing and rushed back upstairs. They saw that I was pushing hard and hurried to put on their gowns and get their supplies ready. Minutes later her head was born. I still have no idea how I went from 5 to 10 centimeters in only a few minutes. I remember being so surprised that her head was born and asked over and over again if her head was really out. They assured me that it was I had no urge to get her out and was able to patiently wait for the next contraction when the rest of her body was born. The midwives caught her (I guess) and put her on the bed right in front of me. Ben and I just stood there looking at her grey-ish body wriggling on our bed totally stunned. Neither of us could believe that she had been born so quickly. Our midwife (Ailean) exclaimed in her thick accent, "You have a red-haired Scottish baby!" and sure enough she is. We never had time to get the video camera out or take any pictures of her first few moments (which I really regret). I remember after several seconds thinking that I should look and see if she was a boy or girl. I checked and saw that she was a girl, which wasn't a surprise to me at all. I always knew she would be and I was thrilled! She pinked up right away and I was able to sit down and hold her for the first time.

Lydia's birth was really surprising to me and was an answer to prayer. I pushed for three solid hours with Meredith and one hour with Jonathan and was really dreading the pushing phase of this labor. But, it was really only minutes long. Thankfully, that made the birth and my recovery so much easier. I have felt really, really good lately (especially after being pregnant for what seemed like forever). I was also really worried about not knowing our midwives at all. That ended up being inconsequential. They really didn't do much during my labor at all. In my previous birthing experiences I think I needed support and encouragement because they took so long. This time around there wasn't time for it! The Lord has blesses us indeed!


Amy said...

I cannot believe how similar our stories are.

I gave birth to our 3rd child, a girl on the 22nd at home. I was 9 days overdue, took castor oil, went down for a nap and woke up at 4pm with my first contraction. Things went super fast I lingered around for awhile, they checked me and I was 8cm, then I had the urge to push, I pushed for a few minutes and then she was born.

My biggest fear was pushing this time. My first was a c-section and my second I pushed for a long time.

Recovery has been amazingly quick.

Congrats on your gorgeous little girl!

Margaret said...

Congratulations to you too Amy! One of the midwives here told me that the first labor is always the longest, the second is short and the third either goes back to long or very short, and the fourth is usually really fast again. So we have that to look forward to!

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