Thursday, October 4, 2012

Parker's Birth Story--We are now a party of 4!

Andrew and I were blessed to welcome sweet Parker Glen on 8.7.2012. See his emotional and healing birth story below. I knew the decision I made to have a natural waterbirth VBAC was the right one. I was even more amazed how with a strong mentality and preparation--mind can truly conquer matter.

****There are some pictures below of me laboring in the birth tub. I happened to find the lavender lighting extremely calming during my birth. While there is nothing inappropriate shown below, I do want to forewarn anyone who is about to read a look at some of the pics.****

Sweet Parker, 12 hours old

Parker’s Birth Story!

I am delighted to share with you that our son, Parker Glen Scott was born in the water on 8-7-2012 at 2:33am. He weighed 7lbs. 4 oz. and was 22 inches long. His birth was so special for his father and I since not only was he a successful VBAC water birth but it was also the first birth his father and I were present to witness.

Our journey to our VBAC water birth began back in 2010 with a very traumatic emergency c-section we had with our first son. I was considered a high risk pregnancy due to two open heart surgeries I received as an infant. Throughout my pregnancy I was inactive, hypertensive, and was scared to death about giving birth. When it became time to have my baby, I was 39 weeks along and was pushed into an induction after coming in with what I now see in hindsight as very mild/irregular contractions. After getting multiple high blood pressure readings in the 160’s the induction was started and then began the cascade of interventions. I had prostaglandins, pitocin, epidural (at 1 cm) and baby’s heart tones were horrible the entire active phase of labor. Only once were we told to think about a c-section before it was too late. I dilated to 10cm gave one push and baby’s heart rate dipped to the 50’s. I was immediately thrown onto all fours and rushed in the OR. I was completely knocked out and my husband was not allowed in.

After the birth I felt like a complete failure and helpless. I felt guilty for putting my son, Jack through so much and was left with hearing the, “thank goodness baby is okay” phrase over and over again. Shortly after the birth I fell into a deep depression and put much strain on my new family. Thank goodness I was able to pull myself out of it through exercise and ICAN support.

Fast forward to 11/29/2011, the night my husband and I returned from our honeymoon. I found out I was pregnant. We were thrilled! I immediately made an appointment with Dr. Hartung—the only local OB who would allow VBAC water births and was determined to have success. I stayed active, hired a doula, and had amazingly supportive husband. During my birth itself we laughed, we walked, ate and drank, but most of all I trusted my body to birth my baby completely naturally.

Throughout this entire second pregnancy tried to maintain a healthy attitude, accept the past for what it was and get excited for the future. No matter how determined I was though I had my times of self doubt. Even all the way up to the day my second son, Parker was born I was worried about the possibility of a traumatic 2nd birth. These times of doubt though forced me to lean on my husband and myself for support since no one else in my family thought my VBAC idea was any good or “realistic”.

At 39 weeks I became especially worried when I found out I was only 2 cm dilated and less than 50% effaced. While I told myself this was way more progress I made before my induction with my first baby, I was nonetheless terrified of an induction or c-section. My husband calmly reminded me I still had a whole more week and what if my body worked so well that baby came on his due date?! I laughed it off and again became grounded in my confidence and relaxed (a bit).

I tried to keep my mind off things by planning special activities for my toddler and I the last week of my pregnancy. Finally, Sunday, August 5th was the day before my due date. I began having waves of cramping while at church which continued throughout the day. While the waves were consistent (about 10 minutes apart) nothing ever intensified. Since I was still doing yoga, Zumba, and staying active, I dragged my husband on a 3.5 mile walk that evening. Things slowed however, and I went to bed that night with the thought that I better enjoy my rest.

My amazing doc!
Monday, August 6th was my official “guess date” I began having more cramping at 5:00am and told my husband, Andrew to stay home and plan on driving me to my scheduled appointment at 11:00am since I was not confident about driving 45 minutes on my own. Before my appointment we took another 3.5 mile stroll. My mother in law was there to take care of our son, Jack and also convinced us to bring our belongings with, “just in case”. At my appointment my OB asked if I thought I was in labor. I finally admitted that things felt different but I didn’t want to get too excited about it. Who would have thought!? My due date? Baby could really be coming?! I asked to be checked and broke down in tears (I mean lots of tears!!) of joy when I found out I was 4cm dilated with a bulging bag of waters. My doc calmly passed me his Kleenex box and told me to cry away. He told me today was probably the day! My body was working!!

My OB told us to stick around the area for a while so my husband, Andrew and I decided to go pre-register at the Birth Center and head out for some shopping and lunch nearby. The whole day I was beaming with confidence and excited as could be! I wanted to shout at the top of my lungs, “Look at me!! My body is working!!” Come 4pm we arrived back at the Birth Center. I was still having contractions now about 5 minutes apart but pretty tolerable. We first agreed to stay as an outpatient and monitor contractions for an hour to and then decide what to do for the night. After an hour I had made no change we decided it would be best to go home for possibly one last night in our beds. All of a sudden I had a huge contraction and baby’s heart rate dipped. I immediately had old feelings and memories come rushing back as nurses ran into my room to see what was going on. Baby’s heart rate quickly recovered and my nurse asked to check me. I was suddenly at 5cm dilated and decided to stay for good. I agreed with my OB to maintain a hands off approach and have only a hep-lock in case of emergency because of my heart conditions.

My doula and cheerleader, Ashley
Slowly but surely over the evening, our doula, Ashley came to join us. I walked, lunged, squatted, ate some supper (fresh fruit and yogurt—yum!!), bounced on the exercise ball, and watched the Olympics. At 11 pm I had progressed to 6cm and my OB had arrived. He came and said hello and asked how I was feeling. By this point I was working through my contractions but totally pleasant the rest of the time. He said we would reevaluate at 12am and start thinking about when I wanted to get into the tub.

Something triggered inside me at that point and by 11:15 I had “the contraction”. Things started moving faster and were way more intense. I immediately requested to be checked again and found out I was at a 7. I knew it was time to get in the tub. I got into the tub at 12am and labored until about 1am. The contractions were coming closer together and the pain never went away but the water made it so much more manageable.  I started pushing when I felt the urge around 1 am. I was still at an 8-9, but couldn’t help but push. I begged my OB to break my water (the only intervention I ever had) and finally I got to 10.

Pushing in the Birthing tub
I was pushing for an hour and a half. Through this time I would scream “Make it stop!!” when a contraction came, then fall asleep afterwards. I vaguely remember much but the room was very peaceful. Nurses and staff moved about quietly, the room was dark, and something must be said about an OB who will hold your foot whilst you push and wipe your face with a cold rag.  My husband held my other foot while my doula, Ashley and the nurses coached me on my breathing and relaxation.

Everything was so primal—like I was in a quiet cave, in darkness, waiting for the arrival of my baby. Just like my childbirth educator said I would want it. I ironically found the most comfort pushing semi reclined. I tried hands and knees but found any other position completely intolerable!

Finally, by 2:33 am, Parker entered the world. I remember Andrew saying to me, “Alexis, he has tons of black hair!” I looked down to see my sweet baby’s head was out, gave one last push and my OB said, “Open your eyes, look what’s happening”. I instinctively reached down and pulled my baby up and out of the water. I kept screaming, “Hi baby!!”  I couldn’t believe that he was coming out and that I birthed my baby all on my own.

This experience was so empowering and healing for Andrew and I. We are now proud parents to two sweet boys and I would never birth any other way again! I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to have #3!

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