Friday, October 19, 2012

The Redeeming Birth of Jordi David

Eleven days after the birth of Jordi, I am sitting here grinning about how amazing the actual event of having a baby can be. I have had a totally redeeming experience.

 After horribly traumatic experience birthing Levi, I knew that I would not be having our next child in the hospital. The birth story for him was painful for me to write; I was in physical agony for a few weeks after receiving 45 minutes+ and three packets of suturing material to my most tender of areas (which was started without any lidocaine- I had to ask for it, and the physician laughed), but I was also emotionally exhausted. You see, Jose and I had to be on the defense the whole entire time of labor. From the office wanting to admit me hours before I was in real, active labor, to me refusing pitocin multiple times so the MD could "get me delivered" and head home, to the insanely rude nursing staff whom I had to ask multiple times to nurse my baby, it was all a complete nightmare.

We tossed around the idea of a home birth with Levi, and Jose was just not comfortable with it. But after our experience last time, Jose said he would never again question my judgement when it came to where/how/with whom to birth our future kids. So when we found out we were pregnant with Jordi, we made a few phone calls and forged ahead into home birth territory- something neither of us will ever regret!

It's hard for me to pinpoint when actual labor began. With Micah, I woke up at 3 am on a Tuesday morning with contractions every 5 minutes apart, and they never ceased until he was born at 11:30 am on Thursday. That made for more than 2 days of laboring, and close to 32 hours of active, 2 minutes apart contractions. Everything was very definite. Levi was the same deal- woke up at 5 am in labor, had him at 1:58 the next morning. Labor never really stopped, and was about 20 hours total.

Jordi decided to make things very, very different for me. I shouldn't have every questioned that things would be different; after all, Jose and I bathed this whole birth in prayer during the pregnancy. I had contractions off and on a few days before "the day," but they would last around 6 hours and taper off. And they were never the real deal, breathe-and-focus contractions. But on Sunday the 7th, I knew I was done being pregnant and that Monday, October 8th, I would meet my baby. I even joked about it to Jose's mom. She was going to clean a house with my brother-in-law early in the day, and she had asked him if he was "ready for tomorrow"- I laughed and said to her "no, the question is are YOU ready for tomorrow, because I am having a baby!" We all laughed about it, and then she said please don't go into labor until after she finished.

I woke up at 5 am contracting every 7 minutes. They were those giddy, excited, easy contractions- early labor stuff. I finally got out of bed about 6 am and started my day baking and getting things ready for Micah to head to school. I decided to wake Jose up at 6:30 am the best way I knew how- letting him know that I was in labor, and that if he wanted to get frisky, now was the last time he could for the next 4 weeks or so (hah!). Besides, I needed a little help to get labor moving along faster :) We woke Micah up at 7 for school, then made some phone calls and let everyone know that today would be the day, we just didn't know when.

Contractions "piddled" as my midwife Jyl would say until around 10:30 am, when I got a break. They dropped off to every 15-20 minutes, and I decided to get some rest in since I knew they would pick back up later. I lost my plug the night before, but hadn't had my water break or had any other signs that things were speeding up. I had Jose check me because I was getting a little on the discouraged side. I was only 2-3 cm, so I just took the cue to take a nap, and told Jyl I would call her later when things were speeding up. Jose helped me set up the birthing pool and fill it with water, because I knew I wouldn't want to be doing it later when things were rockin' and rollin'. I kept my birth playlist on all day, keeping myself focused on the promises of God and knowing that we had committed this day to prayer for nine months.

Contractions eventually pretty much came to a grinding halt. Jon Foreman's song, House of God Forever, rang through the house. It quotes Psalm 23, and put my heart at ease. I put Levi down for a nap, made 2 loaves of wheat bread and a batch of cran-raisin-oatmeal cookies, and Jose, Micah, and our brother-in-laws Ian and Paul went on a hike after Micah got out of school. They left the house around 2 pm with not a blip on the horizon of labor. I laid down, and about half an hour after they left, contractions started back up again. Of course. While the house was so quiet I decided to pray, clear my head by writing my last pregnant thoughts, and prep for dinner.

The guys got back around 4:30 pm, and I contracted about ever 5-7 minutes, but nothing exciting. I was up making dinner, talking, walking around, folding laundry... still convinces that it was all the prelabor show and that I was probably only 2-3 cm. We ate dinner, bathed the kids, and they were in bed as though nothing was out of the norm by about 8 pm.

My only clue that things were happening was that the contractions were slightly more intense over the last few hours. One of my best friend's mom and Micah's teacher, Pam, called at 8 pm to see how things were going. I told her it was a little early to tell, but that "we'll probably have a baby by morning." I was convinced that this was going to be another days-long process, and because my contractions were so easy, that I wasn't into the real thick of things yet.

At 8:30, I had Jose call his mom and have her come over to spend the night. I didn't want to have to yank anyone out of bed to drive to our house in the wee hours of the night (since I thought it would take that long), and she was designated to be in charge of the kids. I tried to watch 30 Rock with Jose, but I couldn't sit still. I HAD to be standing up, rocking my hips during contractions. No exercise ball, no lying on my side, just had to be standing. She arrived at our house shortly after 9 pm, and we decided to go on a walk. I had still been talking to our midwife, Jyl, off and on during this whole time. I had also been talking to my sisters, Michaela and Christa, all day, as they wanted to be there for the birth as well.

In the time we walked from our house to the end of the block (about 6 houses down), my contractions changed from every 4-5 minutes, to 3 good, solid, moan-your-way-through contractions, then every 2-3 minutes. We turned around because it was insanely humid, and I was getting nauseated. I got in the shower to rinse off, and the contractions stayed every 2-3 minutes apart. I rocked and moaned, Jose either standing in front of me rubbing my head, or behind pressing on my hips and putting counter pressure on my sacrum. He was amazing. I didn't need to tell him what I needed, he just did it. He was my total rock through all of this.

I called Jyl after I got out of the shower and asked if it was alright if I get in the tub. My labor was really kicking in from about 9 pm when we went on the walk, and I was afraid that it would stall if I got in the tub. Only about 45 minutes had passed- it was about 9:45 Jose's mom sat on the couch watching Dancing With The Stars, and doing a word search book. She was completely oblivious to what was going on. I talked to Jyl on the phone, and she told me not to worry about it, to go ahead and get in, and that she would start getting ready to come on over. It was about  Jyl only lives about 10 minutes from our house, and her assistants would be en route, too.

I went to the bathroom, and while sitting on the toilet, got SUPER nauseated. I should have known I was in transition (those last few centimeters)- looking back, I know! I was handling the contractions so well, and I didn't have one tiny bit of bloody show yet, so I had my self convinced that it would be hours yet until we would start seeing any baby progress. Jose was also so supportive that I wasn't questioning anything that was going on, just making it through each contraction and then focusing on what to do next.

I got into the birthing tub about 10 pm, and WOW, was it relaxing. I should have spent more time in there! The warm water felt amazing. I had Jose turn the jets on, but it was just too much stimulus for me. We turned them off, and I knelt in the tub, leaning on the side wall. Coldplay "Fix You" was on. Jose sat directly in front of me on our bed, pouring warm water on my back during contractions and telling me really reaffirming things... "You're beautiful," "you're doing great, baby," "the baby is coming," things like that. He really kept my head in the game. I had Jose call my sisters and tell them to come on. We were going to wait for Jyl to get there and let me know how far I was, but I felt like they should just come.

Fast forward (literally, it was really fast!) fifteen minutes. We had only talked to Jyl about 25 minutes previous. I started getting the urge to push. That uncontrollable, my body won't take no for an answer, "I need to push now" kind of feeling. I told Jose, "call Jyl NOW." He says "what should I tell her?" I could only grunt out, "just call," and he figured it out. Jose goes to the white board outside our room and gets the emergency sheet of what to do in case she can't make it. Jyl picked up and Jose asked where she was in relation to our house. One street over.

I started to push again with the next contraction, and my water broke. He told Jyl I was feeling pushy and my water broke. He hung up and came back to me to keep me focused. I wasn't speaking a whole lot at that point, just doing what I had to do. I was panting between contractions, trying to wait for Jyl to come in the door. I reached back and felt everything bulging. The head was not quite there yet, but coming. After the next push, I had Jose feel if the head was descending or not. I was kneeling, arms grabbing the side of the pool, and I was biting the side of the pool to keep from pushing. He actually felt a little too firmly- the head had descended, and Jose pushed him back up. That was the one time I got a little testy- I yelped and told him not to touch me.

I heard the doorbell ring- Jose had locked the door when we came in from the walk! Jose ran from our bedroom to the front door, let Jyl in, and they both came rushing back into our room. Jose's mom was still on the couch, completely engrossed in the word puzzle book, and NO clue what was going on because I was so quiet. Jyl came to my side, gloved up, and let me know that his head was pretty much crowning; she had me breathe and let his head rotate. Then she basically says to Jose, "well, put your hands back here dad, get in here!" Jose was so excited at the chance to catch his baby. He jumped in the pool with me, and at 10:32 pm, Jordi David Molinuevo was born into Jose and Jyl's hands.

I yelled for Jose's mom to come, and she came running in, saying "what happened?!" I just held up Jordi, and she was in shock that it was over so quickly. She had only been at our house just over an hour! I heard the front door open, and Jyl's assistants, Danielle and Jen, walked in the door. I apologized that they had missed it, but I couldn't wait! Just another minute passed, and Christa and Michaela walked in the door with my brother-in-laws. Ian, Michaela's husband, is a photographer- he walked in with his camera (after getting my permission, of course) and just started snapping. The pictures are beyond words, and you can see them here. My labor playlist had been playing the whole time, and the song that came on was perfect- "para, para, paradise..." Coldplay always comes through.

Micah woke up at the same time as this to use the restroom, and Jose's mom asked if he could come in. We let him, and after the cord stopped pulsating, he got to cut the cord with Jose's help. It was a magical moment. The next song that came through was by Ascend The Hill, their take on "How Great Thou Art"- probably my favorite version ever. What a witness to everything that had happened!

Some more family came in unexpectedly, and after a few minutes, Jyl kicked everyone out and helped me get out of the pool, cleaned up, and settled into bed. Jordi was happy to nurse away. We had a good hour or so of just family time and letting him settle in. Jyl's assistants took my vitals as well as Jordi's, and Christa brought me gatorade and clam chowder to get my strength back up.

Our family members left shortly afterwards, and Micah got put to bed. I took a quick shower under Jose's watch. Then, Jose got to weigh Jordi and Jyl did his newborn exam. Once Jyl was sure both Jordi and I were recovering well, she and her assistants packed up and headed home. By 1 am, we were all alone, tucked into our bed, our first night as a family.

Levi slept through everything. In the morning, Micah and Levi came into our bed with Jose, Jordi, and I, and we introduced him.

As long as I never have a risky pregnancy or anything of concern with baby, I will most likely never deliver in a hospital again. It was so magical delivering at home. Such an atmosphere of love, quiet, peace, and respect. Jordi is so different, and was right from the start- and I believe it's because his birth was so surrounded with love, patience, respect, and reverence. There was no being whisked away, cord cut, scrubbed, blinded from ointments and poked for vaccinations, then given back thoroughly exhausted and discombobulated. Jose says he wishes that we would have had this opportunity to do it with all our kids. But hey- you live, you learn, you make adjustments, and once you know about something so great- you cherish it.

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