Dawn’s Story – Not Exactly According to Plan

For nearly 2 weeks leading up to Bella’s birth, I had contractions on a regular basis. This was painful and annoying as they would keep me up at night and make sleeping impossible. I was tired and worn out.

The night before Bella made her grand entrance into this world; I had been having contractions that were 4-6 minutes apart and lasting 45-60 seconds. This went on for nearly 2 hours, but as soon as I laid down they dropped down to maybe 1 per hour, just enough to keep me from getting any good rest. By the next morning they’d completely stopped. I got up and went on with my daily activities, actually a little happy that I hadn’t gone into labor because not only was my daughter still sick, but my boys had both come into my bed running fevers and coughing. So now, all 3 of them were sick, I had my hands full!

I did a little housework in between taking care of my kiddos and my frequent bathroom pit stops. I made some lunch, which no one but me ate, and got everyone comfy on the couch for a nap. At about 1:30, I made yet another bathroom stop and during so, I had a small gush of liquid. I wasn’t sure if it was my waters or just Bella moving around and pushing on my bladder, which wasn’t uncommon. I’d never experienced my water breaking on its own before, but I’d always read that if you’re unsure you should lay down for about 15 minutes and if there is a small gush when you sit or stand up then it’s more than likely ruptured membranes. So, that’s what I did, and sure enough, there was a gush.

I called Judith, my wonderful midwife, at around 1:45 and let her know that I thought that my waters had broken. She had me lay down one more time to make sure it was indeed my bag of waters and not just me peeing myself…lol! When I got up, I had that same gush. By then, I had also started having some contractions again. I called Judith back and told her about the gush and my contractions. She wanted me to rest for 15-30 minutes to see how the contractions reacted. I did what she said and they didn’t get any closer together, but they did get a little more intense. When I called her back to let her know, she wanted me to take it easy so things didn’t progress too quickly. I had no problem taking it easy J.

I called my husband to let him know that we would soon be meeting out 4th child. He was thrilled and said he was on his way home. I called my best friend, my mom, and my Grammy to let all of them know it was time!

By then, my contractions were about 5 minutes apart and lasting about 1 minute to 1 ½ minutes long and were becoming quite intense. I was quite during my contractions, concentrating on breathing through them and keeping my body relaxed. My kids were doing wonderful while I was laboring. My mother-in-law, and my husband got to our house at about the same time, but my husband had to leave again to run a few errands.

While he was running his errands, my mother-in-law, my daughter, and myself started blowing up the pool we were going to use for delivery. My daughter was having a blast with the pump! My youngest, even gave it a try…lol! My contractions were getting more intense and I was starting to have some awful back labor. When my husband got home, he finished the job of blowing up the pool. I gave my kids hugs and kisses and off they went to the in-law’s house. My father-in-law came over to help my husband fill the pool up.

Around this time, my best friend showed up. She was so wonderful and such a help! She would apply counter pressure to my back during contractions, which made them SO much more tolerable. My husband and his dad had got the hose hooked up to the washer connection and the water was flowing! They started bickering: was the water too hot, was it going to melt to pool, should they add ice, was the pool in a good spot… that sort of thing…funny!

At that point, my contractions suddenly started coming one right after another. I had maybe 30 seconds in between each contraction and my body was starting to push involuntarily. I could feel the pressure of her head during each contraction. told my husband to forget about the pool because we weren’t going to have enough time. At that moment, Judith and her daughter Sha pulled into our drive. Judith came in, took one look at me, smiled, and said, “We’re going to have a baby.” She wanted me to lie down so she could check me, so slowly I made my way to my side. I asked her if she could just do the internal with me lying on my side. She said she could (thank goodness because I really didn’t want to roll onto my back). As she checked me, she smiled and said we had about ½ inch before Bella would be here! She gave the go ahead to push!

I was still lying on my side as I started pushing. With our first push, she crowned! Judith told me to reach down and feel my baby’s head! What a wonderful feeling!! Judith asked me to try to slow my pushing down, and my response was “I can’t help it! It’s not me, it’s my body!” After that, she said, “Then just go with it.” She was so calming. I pushed again and she crowned again, but this time I held her there for about 30 seconds. It took a lot of control on my part and really, I’m not sure why I did it, but it felt right at the time. With our third push, her head was born!! With our next push Bella was born at 4:42 in the afternoon!!

Now, the things that happened next all happened so fast that I may not have them all in the right sequence.

Right after she came out, I rolled to my back and pulled her up on my chest. As I was doing this, I saw a spurt of blood and noticed that Bella was a purple color. Then I heard Judith. She didn’t yell, but the tone of her voice was very serious, “Clamp! Sha, I need a clamp!” That’s when I realized that the spurt of blood had come from Bella’s umbilical cord! Judith had me lay her on the blanket next to me while she was pinching the umbilical cord. She put the clamps on the cord and told us that there was a true knot in the cord. She started rubbing Bella’s feet and talking to her. “C’mon pretty baby, breathe for me. C’mon, take a breath.” She gave her a breath and kept rubbing her and talking to her. She told me and my husband to do the same. I started stroking her head and telling her everything was going to be ok, and I truly felt that it would. Even though everything was so hectic, I felt so calm. Judith gave her another breath. I looked at my husband and he looked absolutely terrified… his face was pale white, his eyes were wide and filled with tears, and he had his hand over his mouth. He later told me that he thought his worst dreams were coming true and that our baby was going to die right in front of him. Judith gave her another breath. My husband held my hand and whispered “C’mon Bella, breath honey.” Judith gave her another breath. At this point, she was starting to to breathe on her own. Sha had gotten the oxygen tank so I was holding the tube up to Bella’s face to help her.

She was finally pinking up and breathing on her own! What a relief! Her dad cut Bella’s umbilical cord and then helped me to our bed. Judith gave Bella some vitamin E, rescue remedy, and some liquid arnica then had me nurse her as much as possible. For the next hour or so, Judith came in to check on us frequently while she nursed on and off. Bella was doing great!!!

During that time, Judith and Sha brought in the placenta to show us some pretty amazing things. First of all, there was a true knot in her cord. It was about an inch in front of her belly button. Then, right on the other side of the knot was a malformation in the gel of her cord. It was a hole, about the size of my pinky nail, which exposed the vessels. When I pulled her up on my chest, it put pressure on the vessel and it burst! So the knot being there saved Bella’s life, it kept her from bleeding to death!!

The entire center of the side of the placenta that attaches to the uterus were dark and shadowy, which meant it wasn’t getting good blood flow, so it wasn’t functioning properly. So basically, our baby girl fought long and hard to get here. First, with the fact that I was using the mirena IUD as a form of birth control when she was conceived, then with all the obstacles during her delivery and birth. She is truly a miracle that was meant to be on this earth!

When Bella was about an hour old, she was weighed and measured, and her hemoglobin checked. She weighed in at 8lbs and 6oz, our lightest baby! She measured 20 3/4in long, our 2nd shortest baby. Her hemoglobin was 18, which was a result of the early cord clamping, but still not at all bad. Her apgar scores were 4 at one minute, 7 at five minutes and 9 at ten minutes!

So all-in-all, even though nothing at all went like I had planned it… I didn’t get my water birth, I didn’t get to change into the nightgowns I had planned to wear during delivery, and there were a few complications… I had the ABSOLUTE BEST birth experience! Even though nothing went as planned, I didn’t feel gypped or disappointed or upset… it was absolutely perfect!

The fact that I was able to snuggle up in my bed right after delivery was wonderful. No one was coming in every hour to rub the top of my fundus, or to check my blood pressure, or to make sure I’m logging in how often I’m nursing and changing my baby…

My baby wasn’t taken away from me when a few complications happened, she wasn’t poked with and probed, no goop was shoved in her eyes after birth, she wasn’t taken away to the nursery to be weighed and measured and bathed… We were able to snuggle up and be comfortable in our own home; everything was better than I could have ever imagined. Not only did I have the perfect birth experience for me, but I met one of the most amazing women ever! Thank you Judith and Sha, you made our perfect home delivery possible!!