Friday, February 8, 2013

Birthing Children, part four

This is the birth story for our 4th son, born in March 2008. I've previously written out birth stories for our first and second sons. I happened to type out this story to share with friends today, so I just copied and pasted it here even though I haven't actually written out my third birth story yet. So this is part four even though I haven't shared part three yet. Enjoy. 

With #4, I had been praying the entire pregnancy that God would let me go into labor naturally. At that point, I had always experienced some kind of intervention- pitocin had played a significant/central in the previous 3 labors. 

It's not that I believed there was anything magical or holy about having a natural birth. I just was 4 pregnancies into our family and really just wanted to know what real contractions felt like. I wondered, can my body *really* do this baby thing on its own? 

A labor and delivery nurse friend of mine indicated that the only two consistently effective labor-inducing methods she knew of were (1) lots of sex and (2) walking briskly down steep hills in a way that continually brought the baby's head in continual contact with the cervix. 

I'm not going to share about our experiences with her first suggestion :) , but as for the second, I walked like crazy. Istanbul has these wonderful hilly places and so I would walk hard down the hill in our apartment complex. It was crazy steep, and so I'd walk with firm steps so his head would engage with my cervix, and then walk slowly back up the hill, breathing through the contraction the quick downhill walk had brought on.  This had produced contractions for about 36 hours straight, but while they were consistent and good and firm, they weren't yet painful, and they would fizzle out after a while. 

A friend of mine (Megan, do you remember this?) sent me an eggplant parmesan recipe that she swore had sent her into labor... So I got all the ingredients, got things ready, and decided to make it one night. It was a fairly arduous recipe and I didnt have access to convenience foods, so I started making it maybe around 3:30/4pm. Pretty soon, the contractions were coming on. I was 
on my feet nonstop, chopping, frying, boiling, layering, grating... By the time I got it in the oven for the final bake, I was having to bend over the counter and breathe through them. 

So while it baked, we called friends to come stay with the kids, called my mom to let her know but my dad had already dropped her off at the airport (she would arrive the next morning).

I pulled my culinary creation out of the oven and served it up to each person in the family and was about to take the first bite when WHAMMO, the strongest one yet hit me and I immediately, without thinking, went down on all fours onto the floor. This was about 6:45 and my friend arrived to watch the children so Doug got the final bag together and we left in the taxi.

When we got to the hospital it was about 7pm and I was dilated to a 5. smile Until that point, I had never dilated to ANYTHING without pitocin. I was so excited!! 

They admitted me and I labored another 30 minutes or so when my doctor got there. She had been at a dinner party and I apologized for pulling her away from it. She said, "oh this is no problem. You're a fourth-time mom and this will take no time at all. I'll be back to the dinner party in no time."  I wasn't so sure but sure enough, when she checked me, I was at a 7 or 8.  She offered to break my water or not, it was up to me. I waited another 15-20 minutes and decided, sure go on and break it. Within 20 minutes or so I'd dilated to a 10 and was ready to push. I don't recall exactly how many pushes but I think it was 2 or 3 and he was out. 

He was born at 8:36. Such a wonderful night. And while it all started with and revolved around eggplant, I never did taste a bite of that miracle recipe that "sent me into labor". smile


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