Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Guest Post - "The Exact Birth I Wanted To Have"

Declan Lewis Durbin
April 17, 2014 
8:23 am
7lb 2oz
21 inches long
I woke up the morning of April 16th around 5:30 from contractions that I could no longer sleep through, so I got up and started timing them even though I had previously decided I wouldn't time my contractions. They were lasting about 20-30 seconds long and coming anywhere from 10-20 minutes apart. I told my best friends and my mom about them but told them not to get too excited in case it was a false alarm. I think around 3 hours later I texted my doula, Ashley, and let her know about the contractions, and she said don't get too excited, get some rest, and to let Sally, my midwife, know. Sally also said to get some rest.
Well I couldn't sleep, and I was hungry so Derek and I went to IHOP and ate. Then we went to Walmart to get some last minute supplies and food. The contractions were staying about the same. When we got home I tried to rest, but every time I would start to fall asleep I would have a contraction that would keep me up. This all continued throughout the day and into the evening. The contractions would get closer together and last about a minute, but then there would random ones that would only last around 20 seconds.
 I don't exactly remember when, maybe around 10pm, I told Sally the contractions were getting pretty painful, and I couldn't sleep anymore. She told me to take a bath and to try taking some Unisom to help me sleep. The bath felt amazing at first until my body got used to it, and right after I took the Unisom I threw up. Then I got back into bed hoping maybe the Unisom would work. Nope. At this point Derek was timing my contractions for me. I think they were coming around every 5-6 minutes and 45-60 seconds long. 
I'd say around midnight was when we called Ashley to come over. I remember already asking for some pain relief like Tylenol or something. When she got here, while Derek set up the birth pool, she did some techniques on me with the rebozo wrap for some pain relief and to try to get Declan in a better position I think. 
From then on it was a blurry mixture of laboring in so many different positions, groaning through contractions, being fed apples and water, and throwing up. I got in and out of the pool a few times. It would feel good at first, but once my body got used to it, it wasn't as comfortable. My favorite spot at first was sitting on the ball and leaning over the coffee table on some pillows. Then standing up started to feel better. The whole time Ashley and Jenn, my second doula, would push on my hips during the contractions. That felt so good. At one point Derek even filled in that position while one of them took a break. In between contractions they would give me back rubs, and those felt SO GOOD. Another thing that really helped was Ashley reminding me to do a low groan. It was much more effective than whining or screaming.
At my 36 week appointment I had tested positive for GBS, so I needed to receive antibiotics through an IV which I was not thrilled about. I remember not wanting Sally to arrive because that would mean I had to get a needle in me. Jenn promised that would be the least of my worries, and she was right. I would take 10 IVs over the pain of contractions!
When Sally and Shelly (her assistant) arrived around 3 or 4 in the morning they set up shop. Derek said they basically took over the living room. He was pretty impressed. I laid on the mattress we had set up in the living room while I got my IV antibiotics. It really was no big deal. After, I stayed there for a while. My blood pressure started to rise, so they were all rubbing an essential oil blend on my hands, wrists, and chest. They were miracle oils because my blood pressure was back down in no time!
At one point, Sally told me to let her know if I felt like I needed to push so she could check me to make sure I was fully dilated before I started pushing. I asked her to check me now because I wasn't sure I would know what it felt like to need to push. When she checked me I was almost fully dilated, just a little lip left. From that point until when I started pushing felt like eternity. 
“The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed.”  
- Chinese Proverb

 I kept wondering what was taking so long since I was already fully dilated. Ashley said the baby was moving down, and with each contraction she kept saying “down baby down”. It's burned into my brain she said it so much ;) During this time was when it became very unbearable. I really felt as if I wasn't getting any breaks in between the contractions. I decided to get in the shower for some relief. I tried sitting. I tried standing. Nothing helped. It was just awful. I had a whole debate in my head about wanting to transfer to the hospital for them to just cut him out of me but not wanting to ride in a car for 45 minutes. I couldn't remember that this meant my baby was almost here!
My water broke finally during a contraction. It was, of course, on the only part of the living room carpet that wasn't covered in plastic. When the next contraction came, I could tell my body wanted to push so I got into the birth pool. I pushed on my hands and knees, and in between contractions they would push the gatorade (or water? I can't remember) bottle under my face so I could take a sip. It really did feel good to push. I liked being able to feel everything because I could tell when I was stretching too much and needed to stop to let his head form into a nice shape for me. After a lot of pushing and encouraging words and coaching from my birth team, I pushed his head out, and I knew that I just needed one more contraction to push the rest of his body out. That contraction came, and, after only 30 minutes of pushing, at 8:23am on April 17, 2014 Declan Lewis Durbin was born!  

When he came out the cord was wrapped around his neck and arm, but Derek said Sally just calmly and quickly “unwrapped him like a present” and pushed him through my legs so that I could lift him out of the water for him to take his first breath. It was such a relief! I just remember being so thankful the pain was gone and that my baby was here. Almost immediately he started babbling, telling us his story of what just happened!

After a minute or two they helped me out of the pool and onto the mattress where Derek cut the cord after it stopped pulsing. It was taking a little too long for my placenta to come out, so Sally had to gently tug on it while I pushed it out. Finally it came out nice and whole. After that, I laid back on the mattress wrapped in blankets with my perfect little baby boy, and ate a banana and a Reese's easter egg.

It wasn't until we all talked about it and reflected back on it that I realized I had the exact birth I wanted to have (which I heard doesn't happen that often). I couldn't have asked for anything better. I had the best and most supportive birth team ever. They treated me like a princess waiting on me hand and foot, and I couldn't be more grateful for them! Shelly told me she predicted that my birth would be smooth and powerful, and she was exactly right :)
 Danielle Durbin is a mother of one, her little man Declan Lewis. You can follow their story at Instagram @missusdurbin or you can read her blog here.

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