Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tales: Rebekah's Birth Story- The Unexpected

When my 2nd child, Frankie, was a year old I got my period for the first time since his birth. It seemed like a regular period so when I started feeling sick a couple of weeks later I thought I had a weird flu. I say "weird" because I was nauseous but eating a lot of protein, especially several tuna sandwiches at once, made me feel better. Typical for my morning sickness, but not for a stomach bug.

I missed my next period and took a pregnancy test. The test came out positive so I made an appointment with my midwife. I thought I might be pregnant with twins because I was already feeling so much morning sickness. When I went for my appointment my midwife said I was bigger than I should be for 7 weeks. I was still thinking twins. She used a doppler to find the heartbeat and said it was stronger than a 7 week, more like a ten week. She ordered an ultrasound for the next week.

The ultrasound revealed that I was 12 weeks along, that there was only one baby, and that I had a low lying placenta and partial placenta previa. I wanted a homebirth this time and wondered if the low lying placenta would change that.

I found a well respected local homebirth midwife through referrals and interviews. Neither of my midwives, CPM or CNM, were concerned about the placenta because they felt it would move up high enough as my uterus grew with the pregnancy. I was checked throughout the pregnancy and sure enough the placenta did move up high enough.

I was still nursing Frankie but he had started biting me. It was likely due to teething, my lowered milk supply, and changes in the taste of the milk due to pregnancy. He continued to nurse until he was 1 1/2, a couple of months before the birth.

Right around the same time Frankie weaned, I developed sciatica. I had started having back pain but what really "did it" was stepping into one of those bead carts that they have in doctor's office waiting rooms. I had one on wheels at my pottery painting store. Someone left it in the walkway and I stepped right into it getting my foot stuck. Because it was on wheels it zoomed forward with my foot in it. In my effort to not fall completely on the ground, I pulled my back out. I had been walking to work everyday but now had to get rides for 6 weeks because it was agonizing to walk or stand.

Once, when I still couldn't walk, we made a trip to a department store. My husband borrowed a wheel chair for me to use and found it very amusing to wheel me into things or leave me facing a wall. Still, it was a fun trip!

Just as I started being able to walk again I fell on the icy sidewalk outside of my store. It was now December and I was rushing around getting ready for Christmas. The store was always very busy in November and December.

I had taken Lamaze classes with my first and Bradley with my second so this time I decided to try Birthing From Within. I loved all the art and we used clay from my pottery painting store in the class. I started hosting the clay portion of the local BFW classes in my studio.

At some point my primary care doctor decided I should have an internal exam to see if I was dilated because of my early birth last time. My homebirth midwife was not happy about it. She doesn't routinely do internal exams because they are unnecessary, can introduce infection, and can stimulate birth.

Christmas finally came! I felt weird the moment I woke up. I was very tired and crabby. I told my mother-in-law that I thought the baby would be born the next day. I was only 36 weeks but my last baby was born at 36 weeks. The next day was a Tuesday too and my other two children had been born on Tuesdays.

I continued to feel weird the whole day. We went to my parents house for dinner and present opening. When I didn't eat anything off of the dessert table everybody really knew something was up. I went home exhausted but used my massaging foot bath before going to bed. My husband, Frank, was still putting presents away and cleaning up when my water broke at 3am.

We called the midwife though Frank still thought the baby wouldn't be born until January. I had just had an appointment and our midwife said she felt comfortable with her being born early at home. We also called my aunt, an RN, to come over to help.

When my midwife arrived none of her equipment would work because it was so cold outside. We had to wait until it warmed up. She took my temperature and it was elevated. We discussed going to the hospital but decided it was just due to the extreme heat in my bedroom. It was over 80 degrees in my room.

I thought I would have another fast birth, but instead I labored slowly. It was a much different experience. Each contraction was easy to get through and I was walking around and socializing. I called my sister and my parents and planned for my mom to come over with my little brother. My brother was 11 years old, just like my oldest son. My oldest was away with his dad, my ex-husband, for the Christmas break. Every time I talked on the phone my labor slowed. Eventually my midwife said I shouldn't talk on the phone anymore.

I continued to labor and then felt like getting in the shower. My mom still wasn't there yet and I was starting to get nervous about having a homebirth. Really, I think I was just in transition. I was still in the shower feeling "pushy" when my mom got there. As soon as I heard her walk in the door downstairs I felt the urge to go to my bed to push. I picked a spot on my husband's side in a semi-reclining position.

I was in the bedroom with Frank, 2 midwives, and my aunt. Downstairs my mom,11 year old brother, and my 20 month old son, Frankie were in the living room. Frank had set up a video camera that broadcast the birth live on the living room television.

The pushing stage was no different from the rest of the labor, calm and relaxed. It was a huge contrast to my two hospital births. Bekah was born at 11:43am on December 26th, 2000, weighing 6 lbs 10 ozs. She was my 3rd Tuesday birth. She was covered in vernix and very sticky. She nursed immediately and then peed on me.

She was a very relaxed girl who loved to sleep. She would sleep for 6 hour stretches during the day. I had to wake her up to nurse sometimes. We immediately started doing sunbaths to keep jaundice in check.

My husband and I hadn't agreed on a name yet. I stayed upstairs recovering while Frank took care of the older kids and the house. He brought me up meals and plenty of water. He made up fancy trays of food with flowers. We communicated mostly by walkie talkie and spent most of the time discussing names. At one point an unknown person cut in on our conversation and suggested the name Emily.

The recovery was much easier and more relaxing than being in the hospital. Unfortunately, there was also a major shooting the day she was born, though not to the same degree as Columbine on the day Frankie was born. It was an office shooting in Wakefield, MA.

Bekah started coming to the store with me at 3 weeks old. She would sleep at the store in a sling or in car seat. The louder the store the longer she slept. She was able to nurse in the sling while I worked. People would think she was sleeping and would be surprised to find her nursing when they peeked inside the sling.


We finally decided on her name when she was a month old, Rebekah. Around this time we also decided to have a Red Egg Party to celebrate her arrival. It is a Chinese custom that we borrowed. Friends and family brought different Chinese dishes with an explanation of the significance of the dish- long noodles for a long life, for example. They also brought traditional Red Egg Party gifts such as clothing, money, and stuffed animals. As party favors we had ceramic egg boxes and lucky money envelopes.


No comments:

Post a Comment