Monday, August 13, 2012

August's birth story

The Story of August Lincoln’s Birth
July 29, 2012

My intuition was that this baby would be born earlier than his due date of August 2nd.  I believe the feeling was more authentic than merely my desire to not be uncomfortably pregnant any more.  I prepared everything at home for birth in advance, but it wasn’t until some important tasks at work were complete that I was able to allow myself to feel truly “ready” to have the baby.  By Friday, July 27th, everything was in order and I welcomed labor to begin any time.

Since I was still pregnant on Saturday, Madelyn and I attended the Curves “Royal Tea Party” that Diana and our team member Norine had worked very hard to organize.  At first I was a little disappointed to be going back into work instead of having a baby, but I am incredibly grateful that I was able to witness this amazing event where about 70 of our Curves members came together to celebrate and share success stories. Their words were inspiring and reinforced the meaning and immaterial rewards of our work at Curves. It was a beautiful experience for me. As expected, I was frequently asked how much longer I had to go or if I was ready to have the baby.  I earnestly replied that I’d be happy to have the baby tonight. 

And that night, Saturday, July 28th, I began having mild contractions after Madelyn went to bed. I busied myself with some of the preparations on my “labor to-do list,” such as setting out tea and snacks, picking up clutter around the house, etc.  Around 11pm I realized that if labor was really starting, I would be in the throes of it through the night without any sleep.  I decided to lie down and try to rest, thinking that maybe the contractions would go away while I benefitted from some sleep. And it worked. I was able to sleep for several hours before a contraction woke me at 3am. Ten minutes later another one, and they were fairly strong. 

I was hesitant to page the midwives since it was the middle of the night and I wanted to be sure labor was truly beginning before bothering them. Gary practically insisted however, and we both agreed that they would at least want to know something was happening so they could be prepared, even if they didn’t come right away.  (Reading over Madelyn's birth story, I see the same situation: Gary had to insist that I page the midwives because I hesitated to bother them). I spoke with Wendy around 3:30am and she was glad I paged her. By 4am the contractions were definitely getting more powerful and regular, so I called Wendy again and she determined that they would head over.  At 4:15am I was on the phone with my mother letting her know that the time had come! She arrived just after 5am and the three midwives—Wendy, Merka, and Lauren—arrived about half an hour later. 

Gary took Loki and Kezia for a walk so they could expel some energy. When Madelyn was born it was their bedtime so they were very calm. This time, their day was just beginning and they were excited about all the new people in the house. I did not mind him leaving because I was surrounded by love and encouragement and Madelyn was still sleeping.

My mother was wonderfully supportive and helpful, and once again I was deeply grateful to have her by my side through this challenging experience. Mom is great at making notes of small details and she also captured some wonderful photographs of the morning.  I was also extremely pleased with the team of midwives supporting me. Each of these women brought a different style of support and they were absolutely perfect for me.  Merka and Lauren were especially helpful in suggesting different positions, calmly reminding me to relax specific areas of my body, and providing physical support through contractions. It was very special for Wendy to be with us again, as she also attended Madelyn’s birth five and a half years ago.

Labor was intense – the contractions seemed to be at full speed ahead right from the get-go. I sought relief from a heating pad early on, but mainly labored leaning over the bed. It felt best to sway my hips and have someone press firmly on my hips or lower back. Many times the contractions blended together – two or three crests in a row without a full break between them for reprieve. I don’t believe labor was any easier this second time, although it was 3 hours shorter.

When I felt the first urge to bear down, I was lying on my side on the bed, and couldn’t believe that I already felt “pushy.” It seemed as though the midwives had only just arrived and I doubted that it could be time to push already. But the thought elicited hope that this could all be over very soon. According to my mother’s notes, I had Lauren check my cervix at 6:23am and it was almost completely open and effaced.

I recall badly wanting my water to break – it felt as though something was “in the way” of the baby’s descent. Eventually the bag of waters broke while I was lying on my side; it felt like a POP with a big burst of fluid, although I don’t know if the reality was that extreme.

Gary woke Madelyn and brought her down to our bedroom at 6:30am. She looked adorable with her special doggy blanky on her shoulders, the one she was wrapped shortly after her own birth. One of the midwives commented on her blanket and five-year-old Madelyn stated, “I’ve had it my whole life.”

A few minutes later I was on the bed on my hands and knees pushing with each contraction. Just as with Madelyn’s birth, the productive pushing was a relief compared to the cervix-dilating contractions. I felt the baby move through the birth canal and was able to work with each contraction to bring him down and into the world. Madelyn sat on Gary’s lap near my head.  Gary says that she did great, although later she mentioned that she didn’t like the noises I made (my natural instinct has been to moan deeply with the pain). 

With one final push, baby August’s entire body emerged into Wendy’s hands and then she passed him into my arms.  It was 7:01am on Sunday, July 29, 2012. He was covered in vernix but had a healthy cry and soon his beautiful pink skin showed through.  His head is perfectly round and his tiny nose was squished to one side – I believe his hand was pushed against his face in the womb.

Madelyn was troubled by the baby’s crying, but we reassured her that he is supposed to do that.  We showed her the umbilical cord. Then the best part for Madelyn – she got to unwrap several “Big Sister” gifts we’d been saving for this special day, including some little toys that I’d intended for her to open during labor to give her something to do. But the timing of this birth eliminated that need. Madelyn was very excited about her little presents and forgot any concerns about the baby crying. 

August practically came out rooting, so I placed him to my breast soon after he was born. The little guy knew exactly what to do and started nursing right away. It was beautiful.

The placenta was delivered intact, and after the cord finished pulsing, Gary and Madelyn helped cut it.  My midwives noted three small, superficial tears, but determined that sutures were not necessary, for which I am extremely grateful. Gary made up a big batch of protein shakes for everyone who wanted one, and it tasted so good. 

It was precious to help Madelyn hold her baby brother for the first time. She was perfectly sweet and tender with him.

August Lincoln Winter weighed 8 lbs. 1 oz. and was 21 inches long. This is exactly 1 pound and 2 inches more than Madelyn at birth. The midwives completed all of the newborn care and screenings. He is tiny and perfect and we were immediately in love with him.

I took a heavenly hot shower, and when I emerged Lauren helped me dress and climb into the freshly made bed.  I was definitely tired but felt elated with the experience, now that it was over.

My dad and John arrived to meet the new baby. Gary had the brilliant idea to ask my parents if Madelyn could spend the day with them, if she wanted to go. Of course she did, so Madelyn got to attend part of their church and play with some cousins while Gary, August, and I rested for the whole day.  The midwives finished their work and left us in a clean, quiet house around 10am.  It was incredibly peaceful to be alone resting with our new baby and I am glad that Madelyn was able to have some fun instead of being bored at home! We are very appreciative of my parents for caring for her on this big day.

When my parents and Madelyn returned in the evening, my brother Bryan’s family was also visiting. Everyone enjoyed the jambalaya and rice that I’d planned ahead to serve the midwives (not a great breakfast food, but a delicious post-partum dinner to share with my family!).

Daddy read a special bedtime story to Madelyn and August called "On the Day You Were Born." This book was a gift for Madelyn when she was born. Gary got choked up reading the beautiful words about this little spirit joining our family and the world. It was a very touching moment. 

Because August slept so much all day, he had a little trouble getting to sleep when we were ready for bed. But eventually he settled down and we got a few hours of rest.

My dad returned the next night with a delicious salmon dinner to share. Afterward we celebrated with a small carrot cake decorated for August’s 0th birthday.  Uncle Randy started this tradition when he brought a 0th birthday cake over the night Madelyn was born.

We feel incredibly blessed to have this new, perfect little person in our family.  This labor was intense, but fortunately quite short (only four hours). And the end reward of a healthy, happy baby naturally joining the world in peace and love is worth every moment.

August Lincoln Winter ~ Born at home July 29, 2012

1 comment:

Wendy said...

It was such an amazing honor for me to attend both Madelyn's and August's births. You all have such a special, unforgettable place in my heart!


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