Archive for April, 2011

The Home Birth of Walter James Prenger: Mom’s Story

Preparations

Greg and I had a lot of plans going into this labor.  After having a few challenges with Jack’s labor (3 stages totaled 39 hrs) we tried to prepare more for those challenges incase they came up again this time.  I read a wider variety of books on labor relaxation techniques and birth stories.  Greg focused on the Bradley, Husband-Coached child birth book.  We even highlighted some of our favorite relaxation techniques and reminders to flip to during labor.  I dug up 2 books where I wrote down my favorite inspirational quotes to have handy for labor.  I planned to drink more water early in labor and throughout.  We bought some healthy birth snacks and juices in advance and planned that once labor started Greg would run to the store to add to our stash a fresh fruit plate for me and a cheese and meat plate for him (you will see how funny this idea was as you read on).  When labor started we also planed Greg and I would finish up any last min. dishes, straighten the house and vacuum – I figured some gravity in early labor would help things move along faster this time (again, you will find these plans comical by the end of our story).

We decided it would be best to have Jack out of the house for the labor.  We didn’t want the distraction of a 3 year old wanting our attention for playing, potential potty accidents,   etc.  Also I didn’t want him to see or hear me in discomfort.  So the plan was to have my parents drive 1.5 hours from Dayton to pick him up and let him spend a day or 2 with grandma and grandpa.  In a pinch, we arranged for our Office Manager, Sara to come to the office to watch Jack or Greg’s sister, Allison to pick him up if my parents couldn’t leave right away.  We figured Jack’s labor was 39 hours, this one hopefully would be less but should still have plenty of time for all our our plans.  We later learned you have to be prepared for anything, ready for the unexpected and possibility of throwing your plans out the window too!

Labor and Birth

Jack’s was a marathon which I wasn’t really ready for, but made it through… this time I expected at least a half marathon but ended up with a sprint!

This pregnancy I had more nausea, felt like my belly was growing much more quickly, more trouble sleeping and more discomfort and fatigue and due to that I was sure this baby would come early.  I was really hoping anyway.  When our due date (April 2) came and went I was really getting antsy, and frustrated.  I had many days with an hour or 2 of contractions and they just got my hopes up.  Each morning I woke up I couldn’t believe I was still pregnant!  I had been having braxton hicks contractions in increasing frequency since week 36.  On April 8th, friday evening, I had contractions for 11 hours, averaging 7-8min. apart.  I was really hoping to see some sign that it was the start of labor but they stopped by morning.    Saturday, April 9th I had random contractions on and off throughout the day, nothing consistent and that evening I had 2 hours of contractions 5 min. apart.  I had another uncomfortable restless night Saturday night and early Sunday morning, around 5am had a mini emotional breakdown.  I was crying and frustrated, and told Greg I just couldn’t go another day pregnant, uncomfortable and unable to sleep (I thought this every day in the last month but I finally just broke down).  I prayed that this pregnancy would be over and we’d meet our baby asap then tried to fall back asleep.

Two hours and 45 min. later, Sunday April 10th at 7:45 I woke up with contractions 3 min. apart.  Again, I was hoping this would be the real thing but was doubtful because every previous time the contractions just went away after a few hours.  Plus I had not had the bloody show/mucus plug yet which I had with Jack’s labor about 18 hours before his birth.  I really thought I’d have this sign again at the beginning of this labor.  However after 30 min. of this I felt they were somewhat strong and I decided to call our midwife Abby.  She suggested getting in the bath and see if they get any stronger or closer.  She said she expected real labor for us might start with contractions about 8-10 min. apart and get closer and stronger from there.

So I drank some water and got in the bath (used most of our hot water) and the contractions continued.  I thought they were getting a little stronger and a few were closer but I just wasn’t sure and still had no mucus plug or bloody show.  I figured I should have time to feel it out and decide if this was real labor or not.  In the mean time, just in case it was true labor, Greg first contacted his sister, Allison who lives in Worthington to see if she was off work.  We didn’t want to have my parents drive all the way if it wasn’t labor.  She was working so Greg went ahead and called my parents and told them labor might be starting, we weren’t sure and asked if they would come just in case this was real labor.  If it wasn’t they could enjoy a Sunday afternoon with Jack anyway.  We were really thrown for a loop because these contractions started at 3 min. apart so we didn’t know if we should wait and see or prepare for a fast moving labor.   There isn’t far to go from 3 minutes but also, it seemed unlikely after Jack’s very gradual and slow moving labor that it would really start this fast.

I got out of the bath and contractions were getting stronger.  Greg asked if he should start the dishwasher and I said you better start filling the birthing tub instead (we have a really small hot water heater).  I told Greg he better call my parents and make sure they left and I text Sara (9:20am) to come to the office.  Things were picking up quickly and now I wasn’t sure if my parents would make it in time and I could really use Greg’s support through the contractions.  Greg followed up with Sara, as I was starting to need to focus on getting through each contraction and he also took care of Jack, all while filling the tub too.  So much was happening all at once and by now we knew it was real labor.

Basically Greg was running around like a crazy person trying to take care of EVERYTHING and in the mean time I was trying to relax through these quickly increasingly uncomfortable contractions.  I felt the most relief to sit on the toilet or lean on the bed during the contractions, while waiting for the birthing tub to fill.  It was maybe 9:30 or 9:45 at this time.  I soon went to the bathroom and lost the mucus plug.  Greg called Abby to tell her and to let her know things appeared to be moving very fast.  She called Kelley and both were on their way.  He also called Sara to let her know to come straight to our house, he wouldn’t be able to leave to take Jack to the office.  Contractions were fast and really uncomfortable so I got in the birth tub even though it was only about 1/4 full, but I really needed some relief.  I was thinking, what did I get myself into again!  I forgot how intensely uncomfortable this was.  I was thinking I really hope I can get through this but wow this is hard!  I wasn’t really timing the contractions at this time but they were close and very strong.  I was very surprised that I could already feel the head maybe only an inch or 2 high and told Greg that too.  Greg could hear I was having some trouble.  After one contraction he saw me go through he said to me “Are you pushing already?”.  I then realized my body was already pushing without me consciously trying or wanting to (since the midwives weren’t there yet).  At this point with Jack still here, Greg  did his best running in to scratch my back then running out to take care of Jack who had an accident in his pants.  It really did help me though.  That back and forth continued for a little while until Sara arrived just after 10am and left around 10:15.  A million thanks to Sara!  I had no idea how soon our baby would be born!  I was so glad she made it and I could get Greg’s undivided attention.  I really needed it at that time.  I was questioning if I could do it and was struggling a bit with the contractions.  I was getting through them but just barely.  I was trying hard to relax during my breaks and also dreading the next contraction to come.

I was struggling and thinking I can not take this much longer at all, I don’t know if I can make it. Then I realized, is this transition already, labor just started 2:30 hours ago!  Greg said that I told him that I couldn’t do it out loud but I don’t remember verbalizing my thought, thought it was just in my head!  I thought well if this is transition then it can’t last more than 30 min. or so (This is around 10:15/10:20).  Maybe 5 min or less later I felt my water break and the intensity immediately increased further.  I didn’t think it could get any more intense at that point!  I thought I could feel the hair and that the head was coming down quickly.  I asked Greg to look and got on my knees in the tub so he could see.  He confirmed it was the head and called Abby again and updated her and she said she was 5 min. away and for me to try not to push too hard.  Well the head was coming and my body was pushing without me trying at all.  Maybe 2-3 contractions after my water broke the head was half way out and I felt like I needed to push it all the way out.  Then, we heard Kelley walk in the door and Greg was so relieved!  She was very surprised the head was out and helped deliver the rest of his body (10:27am).  Yep, it was a boy!  I was just in disbelief (and relief) at the whole thing.  Abby arrived just after Walter and her and Kelley took over checking Walt and I.  He came out quiet but healthy and eventually tested out his vocals.  He was calm and cuddly for our first hour of bonding after the birth.  We left the cord/placenta attached for the first hour this time.  I then enjoyed a warm shower and spent the rest of the day resting with baby Walt!

I had a small 1st degree tear but wouldn’t have know if they didn’t tell me.  I also never would have guessed his size at 10lb 8 oz.  Fortunately there were no problems getting him out and the size didn’t seem to make a difference for me.    I think we were all shocked at the drastic difference my 2 labors.  We are happy everything turned out well.  Recovery so far has been easier and faster this time around.

After a fast, chaotic, but successful 3hr 18 min (3 stages) labor, with just 29 min. of pushing and maybe just 3-4 conscious, intentional pushes, Walter (Walt) James Prenger was born April 10, 2011 at 10:27am, 10lb, 8oz and 21 inches.  

      

 After Thoughts

Well as you read, there wasn’t enough time during Walt’s labor for all of our “plans”.  Trip to the store, ha!  Time and need for all the ice chips we made, all the relaxation techniques we practiced, nope!  Despite the rushing and craziness, I felt more in control this time and more comfortable with everything happening with my body.  I had been there before and while it was very uncomfortable and painful at times, I knew what was coming, I knew it wouldn’t last forever and I knew our baby would come soon (well didn’t know that soon!).  While I did have thoughts of questioning if I could make it, I knew I could and I did truly believe that this time.  Even though Walt’s head was coming and the midwives weren’t there yet I didn’t feel panicked or frightened or worried, it all felt natural and my body was just doing it’s thing.  I also did say on top of drinking water even during the craziness.  For any future births the main thing I would do different would be fill the birthing tub in advance.  I would still probably make plans for the long haul, just in case but will be ready for a sprint.  Apparently I can have labors very different from one another so I will be ready to go with the flow and prepared for anything!

Stay tuned for “Daddy’s Story” of Walter’s Birth…

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