Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Natural Birth of Cora Jade Barcklay (as told by Katie)


We were "due" January 6 but she came in her own time – on CHRISTMAS DAY! Cora Jade Barcklay was born at 9:20 a.m. She was 6 lbs 12 oz and 19 in long.  Oh, and beautiful.  This is my first written account of the birth as such it's bound to be pretty long.  Sorry! But I want to get it out so that I don't forget.

The birth was perfect.  It didn't look like the ones we saw on the videos in our HypnoBirthing class but it was perfect none the less. At one of my prenatal visits, Nissa (my AWESOME Midwife) measured me at 1cm, 40%.  The following week was 3cm, 40-50%.  I had been having a few rounds of "practice labor" the 2 days before Christmas each lasting about 1 hour with some discomfort.  Christmas Eve Day in the late afternoon I had another bout of practice labor but again it was over within an hour and I was feeling tired but good during our Christmas Eve festivities.  That night around midnight I woke to contractions but nothing I couldn't sleep through.
Around 4 or 5 in the morning I woke and couldn't sleep anymore.  I woke Josh and he finished preparing our bag and got me into the tub.  Our tub is soo uncomfortable even when not in labor! I was only in there for maybe 20 minutes before I needed to get out.  I was listening to my relaxations through headphones while I tried some other positions to find some comfort.  The contractions started near 3:30 apart but that's where they were during my practice labor as well so we were trying to time them for an hour and see if it stopped or kept going.  Near 6 a.m. I just knew it was time to go to the hospital.  

Josh had to wake our 4 year old son Ethan to get him to the neighbor's.  That was tough.  A 4 year old waking to find Santa had been there and being rushed out the door, away from (most) of his presents.  He did awesome though.  
Next was the drive to Littleton Hospital.  Luckily we live quite close so it only took a few minutes.  I was kneeling on the back seat facing the back of our van listening to Marie trying to keep calm and relaxed.  Walking into the ER caused a contraction so I leaned on the admit desk and rode it out….much to the admit lady's dismay and the other people wanting to check in.  Josh tried to get me to move out of the way – HA! The wheelchair was there in a flash and up to L&D we went.  

They got me into a room (no tub, which we asked for and there were tub rooms available) but at that point I didn't much care.  I could use the shower and it felt better for me to stand anyway.  The normal monitoring was started and since I tested Group Beta Strep positive they were putting in an IV to start my round of anti-biotic.  By this time the hassle of the headphones and trying not to get them tangled up in all the hands around me pissed me off so off went the relaxations.  I'm not sure if the nurses checked me or Nissa but I was at 6cm "with a bulging bag of water".  I remember leaning over to Josh around this point saying "Josh, I don't think I can do this".  He reassured me that I was doing an awesome job and I can do it.  The Charge Nurse also reassured me and told me how proud she was of me and how far I'd come that 6 cm is quite good and I hadn't much farther to go.  Then I remembered some things I'd read.  Many a birth story telling that when they reached that point of saying they didn't think they could do it anymore, it was nearly over.  These thoughts and the reassurance from Josh and the Nurses helped me to keep going.  

Being on my back for so long during monitoring, poking and prodding was making me very uncomfortable so at some point I asked if I could get up (most likely it wasn't so much asking as saying I HAD to get up) so I got in the tiny shower.  The hot water was very nice and I labored in there for a while.  After I moved back toward the bed for support, leaning over the birthing ball atop the bed was great.  Rocking back and forth with just my moans and quiet reassurance from those around me.  Sometime in this position my water broke and I took to a squatted position aside the bed.  Nissa was wonderful not worrying about how I was positioned, she was checking, doing her thing right along side me without interfering.  

I asked Nissa what I should do (meaning what position to try) and she suggested sitting on the bed, I knew that wouldn't be good for me so I crawled onto the bed on my hands and knees briefly then someone suggested raising the head of the bed for me to lean on.  That was the position I "completed" and gave birth in.  I won't lie.  I was in pain.  But I knew that in the end when she was out, the pain would be gone and I'd see my beautiful baby.  I knew I could do this.  I used a deep moaning breathing down breath and breathed her down.  I didn't realize how involuntary the pushing would become, almost like a reflex rather than a conscious choice to force push.  So different from being coached to push with Ethan.  I was allowed by the staff and everyone around me to breathe her down at my own speed with merely quiet encouragement from them.  I knew she was close because I started to feel a burning sensation and said, "Oh, that burns." Nissa used warm compresses and oil as the baby crowned.

I could hear Josh's emotions spilling over and I knew it wouldn't be long.  I'm not sure how long I pushed for but it wasn't long and she was out.  I was told to turn around and sit and she was in my arms being welcomed with kisses, tears and joy.  The nurse moved to wipe off the vernix but we waved her off, snuggled baby girl and enjoyed her.  I couldn't believe how good I felt only moments later.  Nothing in the world could beat that feeling.  It still brings me to tears.

I tore but only slightly and that was my scar from a larger tear from birthing Ethan.  As we layed there and I enjoyed my birthing high, I was stitched (I think only twice), and Baby Girl Daddy and I got to know each other. She went straight to the breast to nurse.  As a fair skinned, redhead people have this theory that we bleed more and I wanted to try and avoid pitocin to help my uterus contract so the breastfeeding helps.  She nursed like a champ but was quite cold so they put her under the warmer.  Nissa was becoming concerned with my bleeding so they gave me a little pitocin.  Darn my red hair and fair skin! 

Our Midwife, Nissa

Born at 9:20 a.m. weighing in at 6 lbs. 12 oz. and 19 1/4 in. long

We hadn't decided on a name but had 4 picked out:  Isabell, Nora, Cora and Ella.  We discussed them with some Nurses after birth and eliminated Isabell.  We eliminated Ella shortly there after and gave our son Ethan the choice between Nora and Cora when he came to meet her just a short time later.  He chose Cora and a day later we decided on her middle name (we wanted a mineral or gem for her middle name as that is what we did for Ethan) and decided on Jade.  That is how she became Cora Jade Barcklay.

Proud Big Brother Ethan with newly named Cora.  
A perfect birth is what I said earlier.  Vaginal, natural, directed by me and my body, gentle on Baby with dim lights and soft voices (except mine) and no interventions.  HypnoBirthing, trusting in my body and those around me helped me to achieve this.  I can't thank everyone who supported us enough.  If Josh will let me do this again (he says we're done after 2), we will "go natural" again!


Melanie on the Run said...

What a beautiful account Katie! I am so proud of you and felt chills reading your birth story! We love you FOUR!! I think though, Katie, I may see Doula in your future!! :)

Love Mel

Slightly Befuddled said...

That was just beautiful Katie, thanks so much for sharing such a personal story. Nissa sounds like she was a huge blessing (too bad she doesn't live in Arizona lol)
I praise God for Cora's safe delivery and your quick recovery! It's nothing to take for granted in this uncertain world, and you did a great job holding out :)
My sister did two natural births with a midwife and said she couldn't imagine doing anything else. Cora is just gorgeous and Ethan looks so proud :) A beautiful family.

Jessica said...

Awesome job, Katie. I agree with Melanie....a future Doula for sure! We used a Doula in our first birth and thought it was so wonderful.