August 03, 2017

The Freebirth of Beckham

January 20, 2017
I was 41 weeks pregnant for my 7th baby.
A wise woman once told me that babies are easiest to care for when they're on the inside- and my experience with half a dozen of them confirms! So after several days without sufficient rest, I didn't feel up to giving birth. (Due date, schmoo date!)
I wondered how well it would go over if I just said "No, not today uterus" if contractions began.
I'd had random contractions, usually at night...which explained my tiredness.
As far as I was concerned, I could just stay pregnant for another week or two.

But this night would lead to something (and someone) special.

Three of my children were staying at my parents overnight (as per our weekly routine) and we knew if I went into labor, my mom would come over and need to bring Marlena, who was still little and in diapers.
That evening, I experienced some random contractions- which I told a friend "While it would be nice for these to pick up, I'd take a good night's sleep!"
I laid in bed and attempted to get some sleep, but it didn't come.

Saturday, January 21, 2017 (41+1 weeks)
2:32 AM-
"My contractions are coming every 8-10 minutes for the past hour, but I'm not calling it labor" (I texted my friend)
This wasn't much different than other contractions I'd had off and on for weeks, but knowing my husband would be leaving for work soon, AND knowing that I often don't know it's really labor until I'm getting close to birthing, I needed to decide whether to ask him to stay home or not.
I prayed for discernment regarding this decision.

4:01 AM-
I began having my usual pre-labor symptoms that often start within 12 hours of giving birth (puking, going to the bathroom a lot) and the first "bloody show".

Contractions were spaced out and super random.

Every 10-35 minutes I would get a wonky rush, but I figured this would lead into active labor.. eventually.
I told my husband to stay home and he began to fill the birth pool so we could add hot water when I needed to get in it.
I began to pray during contractions:
"Lord, thank you for this incredible blessed opportunity to bring forth life. Jesus, I ask that you grant me a quick, smooth, easy labor and birth"
It was a slow starting labor and I still didn't feel confident it was really "it".

5:00 AM-
I felt tired and figured since my contractions were nearly non-existent I would try to get some rest.
I popped in my head phones and turned on some relaxation music.
Knowing that I would be giving birth soon was working against my efforts to sleep.
The odd contraction pattern made me feel like I was kind-of-sort-of sleeping for a few minutes, but not really.
At one point I felt a rush coming on and I got on my hands and knees in my bed.

5:50 AM-
That's when it happened. My water broke.
Except I didn't know it right away.
I felt a little kick or punch, very similar to how my water broke in pre-labor with Marlena, but I didn't feel any liquid, so I brushed it off and laid back down.
About 10 minutes later, I got up to go use the bathroom and that's when I figured it out, water splashed on the chux pads as I stood up.
"Did I pee myself?"
No. I don't have to go that bad.
I took a few steps and the water ran down my legs.

"Uhm, my water broke"

The next hour was filled with more bloody show, more amniotic fluid leaking, and more non-existent contractions.

7:30 AM-
My mom had arrived with Marlena and the other children began to awake for the day.
I attempted to take a shower, hoping that the water would help me relax and allow labor to pick up and it worked.

For the whole 15 minutes I was in the shower, I had contractions every 2 minutes!

But once I got out of the shower,and things stopped again. There was so much pressure and it was feeling like things were progressing, despite there only being random contractions.

8:30 AM-
I went to my room and the children kept coming in to see me, halting any glimmer of contractions.
Even hearing their voices out in the other room would take me out of primal mode and into tension.

"Call my brother and ask him if he can take the kids, or this baby is never coming out!", I begged my husband.

I didn't want actual food, so I kept eating dried dates for quick energy.
I drank lots of water and kept using the bathroom.
"Just waiting on you, baby"

Baby remained very active, kicking and squirming during the entire morning.

9:30 AM-
My brother agreed to come pick up the four children (the other two were still with my dad) and I felt like I was holding back a freight train, waiting for someone to clear the tracks!
I messaged my friend "This is not going as smoothly as I'd like.I wanted a night labor and birth!"

Apparently I manage having children around except when I'm in labor.

I decided to try the shower again after some much needed aromatherapy.
During the few contractions I experienced, I praised Jesus for the chance to give birth. I was ready. Beyond ready.

10:03 AM-
I was standing in the bathroom, feeling the sensation of late active labor, but not having the contractions to prove it!
My husband knocked on the door and informed me that my brother had picked up the kids.

"Now that's what I'm talking about", I thought.

I go lean over my bed.
I kneel next to the bed because it feels good.
Contraction. Another one and another!

"Honey, you seem close. Do you want to get in the pool?"

I didn't care. Here, there. I felt like the flood gates were opening!
My husband added hot water to the pool and got me some water to drink.

10:30 AM-
One way I know that I'm close to giving birth before I start to, well, give birth?
Don't. Leave. The. Room.
My contractions were coming back to back and I needed counter pressure and hip squeezes.
My husband and I agreed that if I was going to have a waterbirth, I needed to get myself in the pool.
The following 10 minutes went like this:
Contraction/counter pressure
Husband leaves room
"Get back here!"
Contraction/counter pressure
"Ooh, mm" (motions to push on my back)
Then I started shaking. My teeth were nearly chattering.
My contractions were piggybacking. No break. One would end, another started right away.
I'm close!
Transition always makes me begin to doubt myself, but I know better than to let it drag me under.

"I'm doing this. My body is doing this!"

I felt like giving little pushes. I needed something to focus on, despite there being no big urge to push.
Little pushes during every contraction.

10:44 AM-
I'm was in an upright kneeling squat with my arms resting on the side of the pool.
I felt baby rotate and move down and I  put a little more effort into pushing.
I know that full feeling of a baby entering the birth canal...I know it very well.

"Baby's coming" I groaned.

My husband called my mom to come into the room, when she entered, I didn't notice, but I know she did.
I pushed again and this time baby's head was crowning. I panted instinctively to slow the process and allow for baby to slowly ease out.
I touched the baby's head as the next contraction helped to birth the head partway and abruptly the rush ended!
My hand on my baby's head, I said "uh uh" and I pushed baby's head out fully, along with the shoulders!
In doing this, I don't think I gave the shoulders time to rotate before pushing baby out. This caused it to be more intense than it needed to be. Oops.
I needed to lift myself up a bit as baby's body emerged from mine.

10:46 AM-
Thick, goopy vernix was the first thing I noticed when I touched my baby under the water.
As I brought my baby to me, I paused ever so briefly to see my baby's face before lifting this sweet one out of the water and to my chest.

My baby cried and reached up to touch my face.

Healthy lungs! What a lively, strong baby you are!
I gasped out, "We did it!"
Looking down, I discovered that I had myself a baby boy!

"It's a boy!"

We agreed that his cry was husky and at first I said "He looks just like Bella" (they all look like the others at some point!).
More hot water was added to the pool and I nursed my fresh newborn baby boy.
We hadn't decided on a name yet.

11:30 AM-
I started to feel chilled and cramps informed me that the placenta was ready be be birthed, so I got out of the birth pool and hovered over the roasting pan.

"Here comes the cute part" I laughed, allowing the placenta to slip out.

We tied and cut the cord and baby pooped everywhere before we got a diaper on him.
I was bleeding pretty good, but I felt okay.
My husband weighed baby boy (later I measured him, he was 20 inches) while I cleaned up.

He was 8 lbs 11 oz

We got snuggled up in bed and I realized baby had blonde hair like Payton, one of our older boys.
I took some AfterEase and Motrin (after birth pains are usually awful for me!) and we rested a short while.
I decided later that Beckham Charles was a good fit for this special little baby boy.

His birth still makes my head spin.
Only 40 minutes of active labor!
Hey, I prayed for a short, easy birth and I got it!

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