Friday, September 6, 2013

Sophie Lynn

Sophie Lynn was born August 23rd, 2013 at 8:27 pm in the evening. Her labor and delivery was beautiful, intense, and one that I will never forget.
It is amazing looking back in retrospect and seeing where the Lord had His hand in everything. There were very unusual circumstances in this birth that are not typical of my other labors and deliveries, but now I can look back and see exactly why they happened and how they had to happen that way for the Lord to answer my prayers.

DISCLAIMER: This is very long and detailed, but this being my last I wanted to remember everything. :)

So here is the story of how my sweet Sophie Lynn entered this world. I decided pretty early on in my pregnancy with Sophie that I wanted to try and birth her naturally, without any pain medication. !!! I know, this was a BIG decidion for me, and one that I NEVER thought I would EVER make. But with each of my previous births, the epidural affected my back worse and with Conrad it sent sharp, shooting pains down my spine while it was being administered and it scared me. Even now, if I push on that spot, it is tender and I get nervous and almost start to break out in a cold sweat. So that was the biggest reason for this decision. Second, I knew this was going to be my last baby, and if I was never going to get to do this again, I wanted to experience what it was like to do it naturally. I have wonderful friends and family who have done it without medication and after hearing their experience I felt it was something I could do, with preparation and lots of support. :) 
So, for months before I was due, I would say my prayers and always ask the Lord for a few specific things to happen during my labor. One, that no matter what, it would be a special and beautiful memory that I would always cherish. Two, that a specific midwife from this practice I was using would be on call at the hospital when I deliverd. I loved her and felt comfortable and sure that she would help make the experience a positive one. Third, that my dearest friend Aubray, who had done her children naturally and who had happily agreed to by my Doula would be available to attend the birth. And lastly, and this was more of a last-couple-weeks request, I thought it would be SO GREAT if I could go into labor 4 am Friday morning (3 days after due date) so I would be able to enjoy the "beginning of the end" by myself for a few hours, and then have all weekend for Justin to be home to help. 
So my due date comes and goes and I haven't had much action yet. No real contractions, no bloody show, nada. I go to my doc appt. and I am only 2 cm and about 50% effaced. I even had her strip my membranes to see if that would get me going...nope. Didn't even give me cramps. I was kinda bummed but not overly so, still hoping that maybe my "ideal" birth would take place in a few days. Tues and Wed come and go and still not much happening, so Thursday comes and I decide to pull out all the stops. Thursday night, its game time! I was going to do everything in my power to get this baby here the next day. I got in touch with a foot zoning/renewal lady who actually turned out to be in my stake, and she came over and did some work on my feet that was supposed to help me go into labor if I was ready. I ate spicy food, I did nipple stimulation, I had some "personal" time with my hubby...everything I could think of to get things going. I went to bed that night still without anything promising going on. The next morning, Friday, I woke up at 3:55 and thought "ok, here goes. Lets see what happens!" I did a little more nipple stimulation just to see if it would do anything, then turned over and tried to fall back asleep. And then a contraction hit. A REAL one. I looked at the clock...4 am. "NO WAY," I thought. 
"Don't get your hopes up, its probably just a fluke." 10 min later, another one. And 10 min later, another one. I started to get excited. Could this really be it?! For the next couple hours they came pretty regularly, and I just couldn't believe that I had actually gone into labor 4 am Friday morning! I was giddy with excitement. I went about my morning routing, getting kids up, breakfast, making lunches, and then Justin came in the kitchen to say goodbye and asked "How ya feeling?" I gave him a smile and he stopped in his tracks and asked, "really??" "Yup! I think today is the day!" I usually have fairly lengthy labors so he decided to go into work for a few hours just to get things situated then he would meet me at the hospital when I was ready to go. I called my parents and texted Aubray and put them on call to be ready for me to head to the hospital in the next few hours. I took Brax to school, finished packing my hospital suitcase, got Bella ready for her preschool open house that Aileen would take her to...and then suddenly they stopped. They had been coming regularly every 5-10 min apart for the past 4 or 5 hours, and then suddenly 30 min had gone by and I hadn't had a single one. I started freakin out. I did everything I could to get them going again. Walking, jumping around, more NS, praying...I was so grateful when that next one came! However, once they started again they became so irregular. 5 min, 10 min, 3 min, 2 min, 8 min.  They were so irregular, I couldn't figure out what was going on. It was so unlike my other labors, I began to question if I was even really in labor. I called my parents again and Aubray and put them on standby.  For the next 5 or 6 hrs I stayed home and just did my normal routine, waiting to see what would happen. They continued to get stronger but stayed so randomly spaced, and I didn't want to go to the hospital until I was 100% sure I would't get turned away. So finally at about 2:30 they started coming a lot stronger and every 2-3 min apart, and they stayed that way for a good hour at least. That was good enough for me! Justin had come home around 1:00 so he was here and ready to go. I called my mom, they came and got the kids, Aubray met us here about 10 min later and we were off to the hospital! 
We arrived just after 4:00. After getting into triage I found out I was already dilated almost to a 7! WAHOO! Then I asked the nurse the big question...Which midwife was on call? She looked at the clock then said, " of about THREE MINTES AGO...its Ramona." .... WOW! I think my mouth seriously dropped wide open. I couldn't believe it! THAT was why my contractions had been so irregular all day. The Lord had answered my requests so far to the tee, and I couldn't help but laugh. My labor had started almost exactly at 4am that morning like I wanted, and in order for me to have Ramona on call, the contractions had to be that sporadic so I would get to the hospital at the right time. The Lord  knew how much I wanted her there for me, and this was the way it had to happen for my prayers to be answered.  I was excited to see what the Lord had in store for me next. :)
The next 4 hours were how I had imagined my perfect labor to be.  I labored back and forth between the shower, the tub and the birthing ball. The hot water from the shower and the tub felt SO GOOD on my belly and was a wonderful distraction from the pain. The birthing ball helped immensely by just putting pressure on the pelvic area and the rolling motion helped to calm and soothe.  I had the lights turned low, soft, relaxing music playing, I was in my own clothes. I was in THE ZONE. :) Aubray and Justin took turns rubbing my shoulders and back with oils, and I can't begin to describe how much that helped me relax. I had been preparing for months for this with the hypnobirthing method of childbirth, which focuses on relaxation and visualization to put yourself in a type of hypnosis so you don't feel the any pain. I think I did a really good job staying relaxed and breathing through all the contractions, in fact it was pretty easy with the atmosphere I had created around me. I was actually really enjoying it. I certainly still felt each contraction, or "surge" as they call it, but they were manageable and that in itself is a huge success for me. :) 
The contractions continued to stay about 5 minutes apart all evening. Again, that was surprising for how dilated I was, but when I thought about having Ramona break my waters to get them faster and harder and closer to having my baby, I just couldn't do it. Despite the contractions being manageable, they were getting harder and I was nervous for what was to come. I had been laboring in my room for about 4 hours when Aubray came in and said she had talked to Ramona and she would like me to take more active measures in getting my contractions closer together. I looked at the clock; it was just after 8:00. I knew I needed to and probably should, but OH HOW I DID NOT WANT TO! The contractions were getting hard to breath through and I wasn't sure how much more I could endure, especially if they were going to get a lot more intense. I got up off the birthing ball and went in to use the bathroom, and as soon as I came out I had a contraction that was so intense I could barely breathe.  I remember trying so hard to let my shoulders and neck just relax, but every muscle in my body felt that contraction and oh it HURT. When it ended I looked at Aubray and all I could say was "wow...that hurt." She was so good at soothing an encouraging me and reminding me that I COULD do this, but when the next one came and it was even more intense, I knew I was done. I was going to need pain meds. I remember saying "I don't think I can do this" and was trying to decide how I was going to tell everyone that I wouldn't be able to do it and needed something to dull or take away the pain. I told Aubray to go get Ramona, I needed her to check me to see how close I was cause if I wasn't close I definitely was done. Again another contraction hit, more intense, and I was moaning and groaning, and at the very end I felt this strange surge down below and felt a slight need to PUSH. My eyes flew open. was that for real? Did I really just need to PUSH already? Could it be time? I don't know why, but I didn't say anything, thinking maybe it was a fluke or something. Ramona came in and I stumbled back in the tub so see if that would help while she checked me. She barely had to put a finger in before she said "oh ya! The baby is right there! She is coming, you need to get out of the tun!"and then another contraction came and from that moment on everything happened so fast its all a blur. The very last thing I wanted to do in the whole world at that moment was get out of that tub, but I KNEW I wasn't allowed to actually birth the baby in the tub. I didn't care. I wasn't moving. I COULN"T move. All I could think about was the pain and pushing. Ramona and someone else grabbed my arms and dragged me out, I think I moaned "NOOO!!" but then there was so much pain and the need to push that I felt the tears coming and I sobbed "Just put me on the floor!" seriously intent on pushing that baby out right there on the floor. The nurses were flying around the room trying to get things ready, Ramona said something about getting me to the bed. I don't remember how I got there but then I was leaning over the foot of the bed and Aubray was next to me saying "Low moans, you can do it, low moans!" cause I think I was yelling amidst my pushes and then Ramona said, "Ok Sarah, on this next contraction I want you to PUSH!" and oh I was happy to oblige! It was the strangest feeling, that need to push. It was my only reason for existence at that moment; I could think of nothing else and DO nothing else but bear down and push as hard as I could. It actually felt  GOOD to push,  almost like a "it hurst so good" kinda thing. So when that urge came again I gave it everything I had and pushed as hard as I could and my legs were shaking and I felt a brief quick burning and someone was yelling, again I think it was me, and then I felt a huge gush as everything came out at once (my water hadn't broken yet) and then I heard Aubray say "Look at your baby!" and I looked down...and there she was. My beautiful baby girl!  I took that little miracle in my arms and heard her sweet cry and I think my first words were, "I need to sit down!" Then I was crying and holding my angel and saying over and over how glad I was it was all over, (ha ha!) and yay, I had done it! and so on. I was so happy she was here, and SO HAPPY it was over and so proud of myself for actually doing it all naturally! Justin was by my side the whole time, and I was worried he might be traumatized by the whole thing, watching me do it "old school" style, but thankfully he later said he had actually enjoyed it and found it all very interesting. :) Little Sophie only cried for a few seconds then just layed there on my breast with eyes wide open, looking around at everyone. She was COVERED in vernix, the white cheesy stuff, and oh her hair was so thick and black! It was so neat to be able to hold her and love on her right away instead of having the nurses take her and clean her up right off like they normally do with a medicated birth. I was able to cut the cord this time once it stopped pulsing, then I nursed her and just held her while everyone went about their business. Justin didn't want to hold her until she was clean, so after she had nursed for awhile I had the nurses clean her up and give her a bath. She was a hearty 8 lb. 3 oz.  and was 20 in. long. 
What a beautiful, wonderful experience! It was hard, and definitely intense those last 15 minutes, but I "went out with a bang" :) and am so grateful I was able to birth little Sophie naturally. And so my all my prayers were answered, every single one, and He even through in a couple of freebies just cause He loves me. :) I am so grateful the contractions stayed 5 min apart the whole time until I hit the transition phase. It made them manageable and I didn't get too tired or stressed and made my labor actually enjoyable. What a blessing that was. It was strange and none of us understood why it was happening like that at the time, but looking back I see it was definitely a gift and I'm so grateful for it. I also am SO GRATEFUL the transition and birth went so quickly. I wouldn't have been able to do it had it lasted longer and the Lord knew that. From that first really hard contraction until the time Sophie was born was at most 20 min. I wouldn't have had time to get pain meds even if I had decided to. That was definitely another tender mercy I didn't ask for but am so grateful for. 
So there it is. My very detailed story of how my last little miracle entered the world. :) I feel so blessed that I have had the opportunity to bring 4 children into Life. I am having a hard time reconciling myself to the fact that this part of my life it over. There is undeniably something very special about being pregnant and giving birth. There is a feeling, an aura, an extra presence that surrounds you the whole time you are carrying that sweet baby. Maybe thats the "glow" that everyone talks about, but its origin is something much more divine. I have never felt closer to my Father in Heaven then when I have been pregnant and laboring to bring a special spirit into this world. And that moment, that climax, the culmination of 9 months of waiting, when you push your baby out and you see him or her for the very first time...its magic. Its Heaven, here on Earth. I am sure there have been Angels present at every one of my children's birth. I have felt them, I have felt their love and joy and excitement at the wonder of what is taking place. It is a special, special time in a woman's life. How grateful and blessed I am to have been able to be apart of something so sacred. And even though that time for me is over, I still have my 4 miracles, one very fresh and new, and I still feel Heaven so very close to her. Every day is a joy as I hold my sweet baby in my arms and smell that delicious baby smell. I am going to cherish every moment I have with ALL my babies and pray they don't grow too fast. They are my miracles, my treasures, and my greatest blessings. How truly blessed I am!  

Couple days before Sophie was born

Laboring in my room on the birthing ball

The Tub! Loved this thing...

Aubray is a miracle worker... the experience wouldn't have been nearly as wonderful without her! 

SO GRATEFUL she was there! Love this lady!

About 8 cm now. Justin steppin in for a sec while Aubray took a break. Love my hubby! So glad he was there. 

I DID IT!! SO GLAD its over...but I DID IT! :) 

The kids were SO EXCITED to come see their new baby sister. They had been waiting a long time to be able to hold her! 

Bella has a little sister! 

Proud new Daddy

Already so in love...

Yup, that by Bella...

My and my OTHER baby :) Love my Conrad! 

Brax was wonderful at the hospital and has been a great helper so far. Can't believe my first baby is almost 6!

Sophies first diaper change...

Uncle JO JO! everyone loves uncles Jo jo...
Me and my babe. I love this alone time we have together in the hospital. Such a sweet and special time...

My Sweet Sophie...

Me and my baby. Oh how I love her!

And there she angel.


Amy said...

Congratulations Sarah. She is just perfect. I read every single word of your story. I am in the same boat as you were...getting ready for my own labor in a few months and I would love to do it naturally as far as I can go. Your story was so encouraging, and I'm so grateful to read such a positive experience!

dkstaker said...

I am SOOOO proud of you!!!! You did so great! I totally saw my own stories in your story, the feelings and emotions, I totally understand what you went through! It was so much like my experience!! The look on your face in the picture when she was just born is so perfect because you can see the "realness" about the whole experience and the love and joy and relief and everything all in one expression! The transition thing is SOOO true! I always go to that point where i was like....I DON"T THINK I CAN DO THIS...and within 30 minutes I would have a baby!! It is Crazy and amazing all at the same time!! WAY TO GO!!!! How did you like recovery? I thought it was soo much easier after going natural.being able to walk around sooner and being alert and was it for you?? Anyway, I will stop writing a book in your comments now! I would love to chat with you about it sometime! Again I am so proud of you and SOOO glad you had a great experience!!

Alicia said...

Congratulations and great job, Sarah! I had my #3 naturally in March (he was my first natural), and it was such an amazing experience. I hope to do it again in a few years. :) So happy for you, and I'm curious about the recovery too...I also had a much easier recovery after doing natural, like dkstaker. Yay for birth!

Thorne Family said...

Way to go!!! That is amazing!!! You just inspired me to write birth story. I just had #3 6 weeks ago. It was a natural water birth! First natural one. It is an amazing experience!!! So glad you could enjoy the experience!!!