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Lila’s Birth Story

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My beautiful baby girl was born on August 26, 2010. Her name is Lila Danielle Lofte. I want to share with you the story of her birth.

Warning: very very long.

At about 4:00 am, I woke up because I had to pee. When I got out of bed, I felt some liquid come out. It wasn’t huge gush, so I wasn’t sure if my water broke or not, but it seemed like it. I took a few steps and some more came out. I checked to make sure it was clear and didn’t have a foul odor and continued my way to the bathroom. I still wasn’t sure if my water did indeed break, so I went pee and went back to bed. I knew that if my water did break, it wouldn’t be long before contractions started. Sure enough, I started having mild contractions within 20 minutes. I woke up Dave to let him know and called the midwifery to let them know as well.

Just as we were told in classes, the midwife told us to try to get rest in between contractions because I was going to need the energy later. This wasn’t a problem for Dave :) However, my contractions were already only about 3 minutes apart, so it was rather difficult to get any sleep. But although they were only 3 minutes apart, they weren’t real strong and they were only lasting about 30-40 seconds. The “general rule” for first time moms is that they head into the birth center when contractions are 3 minutes apart, 1 minute in length, and have followed that general pattern for 1 hour (3-1-1).

I called the midwife a couple times over the next few hours letting her know the status of my contractions. She assured me that if I was able to make the phone call, I didn’t need to come in yet. Dave would be the one making the phone call because I wouldn’t be able to. So I continued to keep track of my contractions with BabyBump on my iPhone. I tried to eat some food, but it was making me feel nauseous, so I just made sure to drink a lot of water.

My contractions never did fall into the 3-1-1 pattern. But they got a lot stronger and had a consistent pattern of 4-5 minutes apart and 90 seconds in length. This is when Dave called. Our midwife, Leigh, told Dave that if I felt like I should head in, then we could. Contractions were getting pretty darn powerful and I could feel that Lila was pretty far down in my pelvis, so at sometime between 12p and 1p, we (my parents included) went to the birth center.

This is when I really lost all sense of time.

After spending a few minutes walking around and breathing through contractions, Leigh suggested that I get into the birthing tub. Oh my goodness, it was so warm and wonderful in there. Contractions were a lot more bearable in there. I wasn’t in there long before Leigh decided to check how dilated I was… 9 centimeters! Wow, I was basically ready to start pushing. I could have my baby in no time… theoretically.

When the contractions got really bad, Dave hopped in the tub with me so that he could easily put counter pressure on my lower back. It’s amazing how big of a difference that made. Before I knew it, it was time to start pushing. But unfortunately, I wasn’t making any progress. I guess this can be especially common with first time moms in the tub because the comfort of the warm water slows things down. So when it was clear that I wasn’t getting anywhere, Leigh had me move to a birthing stool with Dave sitting behind me.

Moments after sitting on it, meconium comes pouring out. Not. Good. If you don’t know, meconium is the first thing babies poop. Sometimes it’s only the first poop, sometimes it’s the first several poops. Regardless, this meant that Lila had pooped. So now she’s swimming around in meconium. Leigh said this wasn’t good and needed to double check how long I had to push out my baby before needing to be transferred to the hospital. Great… I haven’t even been at the birthing center for that long and there’s already talk of the hospital. This made me a little nervous, but I couldn’t think about it too much over the pain of the contractions.

Leigh returned a few minutes later saying that it wasn’t an emergency and I had plenty of time to get my baby out. The nurse just needed to keep a close eye on Lila’s heart rate to make sure she wasn’t stressed. Time to start pushing again.

Pushing on the stool wasn’t nearly as comfortable as the tub, but I eventually started to make some progress. However, once I was making progress, Lila’s heartbeat started to drop. This concerned the midwife and nurse, so they didn’t want me on the stool any more. Next up was the bed.

The first position Leigh had me try was for me to be sitting at an incline on the bed. Leigh had me hold onto one of her hands. With each push, I had to try to pull Leigh towards me. This was working great for Lila – her heart rate was great – but I was getting no where. Leigh check how Lila was positioned and how low her head was and determined that she was actually at a weird angle. I don’t know exactly how she was positioned, just that her head wasn’t coming through in the ideal way. This explained why it was so hard for me.

In hopes of getting Lila to move, Leigh had me get on my hands and knees (still in the bed). Every time I pushed, I was to bring my butt down to the bed. By now, I was extremely tired and it was almost immediately clear that this wasn’t going to lead to anything successful. Leigh decided that I needed some rest.

All this time, the nurse and Dave were forcing me to drink some liquid to keep me hydrated. I was offered food, but the thought made me want to throw up. I didn’t even want to drink, but like I said, I was forced – and for good reason. So during my resting period of about 15 or 20 minutes, I had to just breathe or lightly push through contractions and Dave was given the lovely task of making sure that two glasses of that stuff went down my stubborn throat. I think this was the only time I got even just a little bit mad at him. There’s nothing more irritating than having a straw shoved at your face while trying to survive another contraction.

Once resting time was over, I did some more pushing on the bed while pulling on Leigh’s hand. It was at this point that Leigh said I had been pushing for over 4 hours and that if I didn’t get my baby out soon, I would have to be transferred. Actually, she specifically said, “if you don’t get this baby out in a few more pushes, you’ll have to go to Swedish where they’ll stick a vacuum in your vagina and pull your baby out”.

First of all… 4 hours?!?! I swear it only felt like maybe an hour to me. I couldn’t believe it had been that long. And now more hospital talk? And vacuum? No. Thanks.

Leigh and the nurse decided that since I had the best success on the stool, that I should go back there and they’d just keep a close eye on Lila’s heartbeat. They also told me that my baby didn’t really like it on the stool and that I needed to push her out quickly.

By now, I was so exhausted and all this hospital talk was discouraging me. I was losing confidence in myself and starting to believe that I wasn’t going to be able to do it. But I wanted so bad to be able to deliver my baby at the birth center and was terrified of the idea of going to the hospital. I had such a mixture of emotions.

Once I stepped off the bed, the pressure to get Lila out was substantially greater. I remember Leigh asking me to go somewhere or do something and I was like “no, I have to push” and went to the stool and started pushing. After a few pushes, Leigh said she could see Lila’s head and that she had a lot of hair. WTF? My baby has hair?! I was totally expecting a bald baby. It wasn’t too many pushes before Leigh put my baby in my arms and I heard her first cries. This was at 6:42 pm.

Almost immediately after it was certain that Lila was all good and well, Leigh said that I was bleeding a lot and needed to get to the bed asap. This kinda freaked out Dave (he saw how much blood there was) and the nurse saw it on his face and reassured him that it was ok. Once I was on the bed with my baby, Leigh told me that I had a lot of tearing and was going to need a major stitch job. I was bummed to hear this, but didn’t really care because I was too busy looking at my beautiful… wait, do we have a girl or a boy?! Girl! I wasn’t surprised, haha. Dave and I just laid there staring at her for several minutes.

When Leigh asked me to push the placenta out. I gave a little push and didn’t really feel anything, but she said it came out. Awesome – that was easy. Unfortunately, I had to stay laying on my back until my stitches were done which meant Lila didn’t get to immediately try to breastfeed. At least I got to stare at her beautiful face. Once I was given all my numbing shots, Dave cut the cord. Speaking of the cord, Leigh and the nurse were very impressed with Lila’s cord – they said it was very hearty. Then Dave followed the nurse so she could show him the placenta and tell him things about it – gross.

To bring the story to end, Lila had all her newborn things done (vitamin K shot, eye cream stuff, measurements, lung and heart checks) and I got my second degree tears stitched up. I also took about a 10 minute bath in some special herb to help with the stitches. Dave took Lila out to the waiting room so that she could meet her grandparents. I wanted to be there when they met her, but I knew they were probably going crazy knowing that she was born and not seeing her. I think it was a good hour after she was born that I told Dave to take her out to them. It was several hours before I was stitched up and ready to have them come in to see me.

About 6 hours after Lila was born, we all piled into my little Honda Civic and took my beautiful daughter home.

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