Feb 26, 2014

A journey to Genevieve: A birth story.


I am a daydreamer and in lieu of my dear little one's upcoming first birthday, I am extra emotional as reminiscent thoughts of the past two years continuously swirl my brain. Watching Genevieve overcome her, what I feel to be, final baby step has made my heart explode. Seeing her joyous face as she walks around the room is just the happiest time of my life. I just can't quite grasp how in the world the past 19 months have passed since we found out we were expecting. 

Learning of the news
(By the way, there may be way TMI for some of you in this post. This is your warning.) 

July 18, 2012
I was on birth control (can I just say that I feel so selfish when I tell people this? I know that it's not fair for me to get pregnant when I am specifically trying to prevent it when there are people out there who can't get pregnant when they try for years. All I have to say is that I would do anything to help those people experience the precious gift from God that is parenthood and also that I firmly believe, and now very obviously see, that this was His plan and it was going to happen wether I was here or there.) and my cycle would begin like clockwork on a Monday so when Wednesday rolled around I just KNEW. My body didn't feel different but my heart just KNEW. I was a nanny to 3-year-old twins at the time and I took them to CVS in the middle of the day and nervously bought two OTC pregnancy tests. I can't remember if I told terrified my husband with the fact that I was doing this or not, but I'm pretty sure I did. I got back to the kids' house and immediately took the first test. Then the other. Both showed a SOLID, BOLD + immediately. I was filled with emotion of confusion, excitement, terror, happiness and wonder. Of course, I called Gaven at work immediately and told him that I was "very pregnant" and we both just kind of didn't know what to say. We honestly barely even talk about it for weeks. Not that we weren't happy, but we were bot in shock.
July 20, 2012. The day we officially found out via blood test.

Spreading the news


After an ultrasound at 8 weeks and hearing a healthy heartbeat we felt comfortable telling our loved ones. We already had a trip back home to Indiana planned for August so it seemed like the right time. We told Gaven's mom first, then my sister, then my best friend, then my parents and brother, then everyone else. It was exciting news to share and everyone was excited but it didn't feel real yet. My sister even asked if I was happy about it!!! I am not kidding when I say I was in shock. This was 5 weeks and an ultrasound after I first found out and she could still see the shock on my face. We were thrilled and so was our family. This would be my parents first grand baby! 
Cutting our PINK cake!

We found out she was a girl in mid-October and had a gender reveal party and two baby showers. I had, and still have, the greatest support system EVER.
















Pursuing the birth experience I desired

I first really learned about natural birth options when I witnessed my cousin, Chelsea's, home birth in 2010. It was without a doubt the most beautiful experience in my life to date and I thank her from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to go on that journey with her. I actively researched natural birth and "crunchy" topics, I hired a doula (who worked pro-bono due to still waiting for DONA certification. THANK YOU CASEY) and overloaded my poor husband with information. I knew what I wanted and next was how to achieve it. 

Birth is scary. Birth is beautiful. Birth is NOT a box to fit into. Birth is yours and is for you and your baby and your partner. I am a strong believer in advocating for yourself in any given situation and birth is no different here. I knew myself and I knew that I was capable of so I knew I could do it, no questions asked. OK, lots of questions asked, but you get my point. 

We explored the option of a birth center, which I would have loved, but the one we "previewed" we didn't feel comfortable with so we ended up planning on laboring at home for as long as possible and going to a regular old hospital. 


(p.s. I know I'm being vague with a lot of these details but I'm sharing this for the birth story, not the pregnancy story. That will come at a later date, I'm sure!)

The birth

March 17, 2013:
I was having alternatind Braxton Hicks contractions and real contractions from 3pm-6pm and I knew this was the beginning but I could tell that it was going to be a good, long while until anything really started since the contractions were so sporadic and not even all "real". I was excited and I told my mom and sister and husband, obviously, but none of us were too anxious yet. 

I had a doctor's appointment scheduled for Monday early afternoon anyway so I didn't do anything until then. The doctor who I saw was one I hadn't met before and I told her I had consistently been having contractions for 24 hours at this point and she flat out told me that they "weren't real" and didn't "mean anything" despite my 39 weeks and 6 days being pregnant. (Um, OK?) I was annoyed to say the least. I knew my body. She "checked me" and I was 2 cm dilated and my cervix was thinning but not much more than the previous week. I was discouraged when I left there but I knew she was wrong. I just hoped she wasn't going to be the doctor on call when I was ready to deliver. (She wasn't.)

By that evening, I was having more consistent, all real, closer together contractions. They weren't uncomfortable or anything, but I could feel and see them. I told my parents that this was probably going to happen over the next few days and they decided to drive through the night from Indiana (12 hours) to make sure they didn't miss it.
March 19 ("due date")
That night I slept horribly. I was excited and I kept waking up and waiting for my contractions to see if they were still coming (they were.) I was also texting my mom to see how they were doing on their drive. I finally gave up and got out of bed for the day at 5:30am and immediately made a sandwich in true pregnancy fashion. My parents arrived safely an hour or two later and it all felt very real! By 9am-ish I was having the contractions that they say you're supposed to call/go into the hospital for (something like 6 minutes apart and 1 minute long) but it was like nothing to me. A few hip swirls and maybe a breath or two, but really no hard work yet. So, I knew that it would still be a while and that I didn't need to be in a hospital yet.

I called the doctor anyway and told them what was going on (I had been laboring for 18 hours by now) and that I didn't feel like I needed a doctor or anything yet. She gave me an 11:30am appointment at the doctor's office and we went from there. I had already been in contact with my doula so I updated her, took a shower, finished packing and everything, probably ate some more, and headed to the doctor's office. Contractions were still totally manageable but the bumpy car ride was terrible. The doctor checked me and I still wasn't much further along than the day before (3cm, 70% effaced) but she could tell, and it was obvious, that I was in true labor. She advised me to go walk the mall for a while until the contractions really got going and to call her a little later and we would see about when to go to the hospital. I knew for sure that I was NOT riding 30 minute back home and then 30 minutes back to the hospital (the doctor's office and hospital are next door to each other) when I was even further into labor. My mom, Gaven and I went and walked the mall for two hours (and ate taco bell. Gross, but duh.) and by the time we left I was actively breathing through contractions but they were still so, so manageable.

I called the doctor again and she had me just go the hospital. We arrived and checked in at 3:30pm. I was still 3 cm and more effaced at 90% so the doctor on call (by the way- I wasn't a fan of him) said to make myself comfortable but if I didn't progress much then he'd have me go home. Heaven forbid I use the hospital for too long...


My doula arrived and it was obvious to everyone that I still had a long way to go, but that was OK. I was fine with that and so was everyone else (except my doctor, of course). I walked the halls and relaxed and I was checked again at 5:45pm and I was 4cm dilated and 100% effaced. They decided to "keep me" and by this time the doctor had suggested pitocin TWICE. I respectfully declined and at a certain point he suggested it again and I flat out told him, "My body can, and will, do this and I do not need medicine to get there. Thank you, but I am not taking any medicine." I was so annoyed already.

At 7:45pm I was still 4 cm and by 9:10pm I was at a whopping 4.5 cm. At 10:00pm my water broke naturally and by this time the doctor was almost threatening intervention. He wanted to give me pitocin and/or break my water, etc. It was ridiculous!! There was literally NO REASON for any intervention what-so-ever other than the fact that he wasn't as patient as I was/am with my body. Are you kidding me? If I was less educated on the way this stuff works and wasn't prepared to advocate for myself and have others present to advocate for me then my birth could have ended up in an unnecessary c-section because he wanted to shoot me up with pitocin for no good reason.

Anyway, my water broke and then the real fun started! I went from 5 to 10 cm in two hours and it was an insane, fuzzy blob of time. I was going in and out of a sort of meditation and I was curled up into fetal position. Laying on my side was best with my doula pressing on my back with each contraction. For the last 30 or so minutes there was rarely even a break in between the contractions. 90 second pain.. one second... 90 second pain... etc, etc. I remember hearing every little thing. I felt like I was so loud but later was told that I was only giving off a few quiet moans. (except for the time I let out a curse word or two... oops! sorry mom ;)) At some point I got a shot of nubane in my butt (freakin hurt) to help me relax in between the contractions and it really helped. I basically hadn't slept in three days and had been in labor for over 30 hours. I remember my mom whispering that I was "sleeping" and thinking to myself that I wasn't sleeping but didn't have the energy or focus to say so and also WHO COULD SLEEP DURING THIS?! She had three unmedicated births (she wanted to see what an epidural was like with her third, but my brother got there before it really kicked in) so she is an extremely strong woman and had been where I was. I was happy to have her by my side.


At about 2:30am every single fluid inside my bladder and amniotic sack came rapidly flowing out of me with no chance of my control. This told me that she was coming. My body started bearing down and pushing all on it's own. I had no control over it. I could feel her and she. was. coming.

It took me a good handful of minutes to tell anyone that this was happening. Because of those 3+ minutes of consistent contractions, I couldn't get a word out. I finally blurted out, "I'M PUSHING" and then a few confused looks and nurses scurrying away later, the doctor came rushing in. He wasn't prepped at all and was on the phone because they had just pulled him out of an emergency C-section down the hall. He made me turn on my back (annoying.) and instructed me on what to do. "I'm going to count to 3, then you push your chin on your chest and bear down with all your might. OK, 1-2-...." "Um... can I wait for a contraction please?" Oh yeah, he forgot I wasn't medicated and could feel what my body wanted me to do. He seemed a little annoyed but he was probably very stressed. He was on the phone again with the O.R. A contraction came, I beared down and pushed my little heart out. It didn't hurt as much as I thought it might. The contractions getting from 5cm-10cm were far worse. I did good. I felt her closer. A little break. Another contraction. A push or two more. Another little break. I looked at my husband and he had tears streaming from his face! I asked what was going on or if anyone could see her but no one could hear me over the doctor on the phone and no one told me her head was out. I didn't even know it was until the next day! One more contraction and ALL MY MIGHT I felt her slippery body fall out of me. IT. FELT. AMAZING.








There she was!!!! She was red and quiet. She didn't cry much until they made her and even then, it was little and projected how she was going to be as a newborn and baby during the following months. She was perfect and squishy. And my husband! Ohhh my husband, Gaven. He is what brought tears to my eyes. I could literally feel the protective daddy instinct coming off of him yet he was crying harder than I've ever seen him cry. He was perfect in this moment. Staring at her face in awe as he finally met his first born baby girl, Genevieve Audrey.















She was born on March 20 at 3:03am and weighed in at 8 lbs 3 oz and was 21 inches long. She was pure perfection. We spent one day in the hospital and I asked to go home early. I didn't want to be there but I was truly grateful for the lactation consultants help while we were there.


I felt (feel) like I became myself in those moments of becoming a mother. It was the most inhumane yet natural experience of my life and it was truly beautiful.








I want to encourage any woman or expecting mother to explore the option of unmedicated births if it's something you think you desire. There are so many resources for information and support. This way of life and birth is on the rise for a reason. And if you have any doubts wether you can do it or not, please reach out!!! There are so many women who would love to and be honored to empower you! 

Thank you for taking the time to relive this journey with me! Leave any comments below. 

xoxo,
Jillian

2 comments:

  1. Tears!! This was so sweet and I am so glad you did your research prior to giving birth. What an annoying doctor!! She is absolutely gorgeous :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. just wanted you to know that i followed the link on your instagram to this and i loved reading it. so beautiful, powerful, and breathtaking! i got tears in my eyes when you described gaven at the moment of birth. so much love. thank you for sharing!
    -michaela

    ReplyDelete