June 10, 2011

Lila's Birthday

Between late-night feedings and making sure that Kenners isn't trying to tote her little sister around the apartment or shove Veggie-straws in her mouth, I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that little Lila is actually here, that she came so fast, and that I actually survived it.

As I had mentioned before, I have been preparing for this birth by taking hypnobirthing classes from my awesome friend, Calista, and practicing a lot of deep relaxation.
Mostly, I just wanted to have a more peaceful and satisfying birth experience than I had had with Kenadie, regardless of whether or not I ended up having an epidural.
And I was blessed with just that. :)

I woke up Sunday at 1am with strong contractions about 10 minutes apart that I couldn't sleep through.
I thought, "this is it!", but decided to let everyone sleep until the contractions got too close together and intense for me to relax through by myself. 
But they never got stronger.  Or closer together.  Just remained the same.
 But luckily I was able to stay relaxed all night thanks to the classes and weeks of practice.  At about 6 am the contractions started to die down until they just became sporadic throughout the day.
Garrett went to clinic and my mother-in-law, Claire, and I spent the day with Kenners and ran around doing a few errands.  By late afternoon, the contractions began to pick up again.
Garrett got home at 6 pm in time for dinner, but I was suddenly too nauseous to eat and the contractions had picked up to 5 minutes apart.  I was thinking, "okay, this has got to be it!" so I took a shower and made sure we were all ready for the hospital and that Kenners was ready to go to the babysitter's.

By 7:45pm the contractions were 3 minutes apart and we were on our way to the hospital, getting settled in a little after 8:15.
We were so blessed to have the most fabulous nurse who was excited and supportive when we told her that we had planned a hypnobirth.  She helped keep the room calm and quiet and was very encouraging.  My friend, Calista showed up soon after we got settled and Claire and my sister, Katie, were awesome to be there as well for moral support. :)
It wasn't long before I got into the tub and had soft music playing and essential oils filling the air.  Garrett and Calista helped me relax and I felt completely calm and in control in the water.  It was great.
I decided to shift positions in the tub at about 9:30pm and suddenly felt a "pop!"
"I think my water just broke," I announced to Garrett, followed immediately by a contraction that I really struggled relaxing through.  I decided that the tub was no longer comfortable and made my way back to the bed.

 That's when the contractions suddenly became extremely intense and seemed to be coming one on top of another (Garrett later told me that they were about 30 seconds apart).
Garrett was amazing at encouraging me through the contractions, applying counter pressure to my back (oh, the back labor!), and keeping me calm.  However, it didn't take too many of these stacked contractions until I found myself saying the one thing so many women say during the latter stages of labor: "I can't do it anymore!" 
Garrett and Calista both told me that my saying that meant that it was almost over!  Hooray!  But after getting checked by the nurse, I had only progressed to about 5-6 cm dilated.
I was crushed.
"5 cm is NOT near to being over!"  I thought to myself, and that's where the peaceful, calm labor ended (at least in my mind).  I was certain that I had a few hours left and was disappointed that I felt there was no way I could endure it for that long.
I kept repeating that I couldn't do it anymore, Calista and Garrett kept saying I was almost done and could do it, and I kept thinking that they were mean for not just letting me get an epidural.
  After 20 more minutes of contractions, the nurse checked me again and announced that I was dilated to 8cm.
"See!?  You're almost there!"  Garrett encouraged me.  "The hardest part is over!"
However, I was still convinced that I had awhile left in labor.
Just as I was about to plead (again) for an epidural, I suddenly had to push!
"I have to push!  I have to push!"  I kept repeating (or hollering) half-panicked and confused.  The doctor hadn't even made it to the hospital yet, I wasn't even fully dilated, and my body was beginning to involuntarily push.
I was kneeling on the bed and could hear hospital staff behind me getting set up to deliver the baby.  My nurse told me to turn around in the bed and lay down.
"I can't!"  Was all I could say while my body pushed.
"Okay, Dad, she's coming now!  Get ready to catch your baby!"  The nurse told Garrett. Garrett said that he barely had time to get his gloves on before catching the baby as she rocketed out within a few pushes (and accompanied by a few "Jane-of-the-jungle" screams from my part).  It felt like my body had been ripped in half, but the relief of having her out was absolutely incredible!
It was 10:11pm.
I couldn't believe that in 40 minutes I had gone from being 5 cm dilated to holding my baby in my arms.
And as silly as it sounds, I couldn't believe that I had actually survived it!
The pain was so much more intense than I had prepared for, but I was completely in awe at the miracle of birth and how quickly my body was able to progress and get her out.
I was amazed that I had actually done it!
And Lila was absolutely beautiful.
She came out so fast that she didn't even have a hint of a cone-head.  She had a perfectly-round little head of dark hair and only cried for a few seconds before settling right down and breastfeeding like a champ.

By the time the doctor had arrived, Garrett had caught our baby, had waited before the umbilical cord stopped pulsing before clamping and cutting it, and I had already been cleaned up and was feeding my baby.  All that was left for the doctor to do was stitch me up (ouch!).
We were so blessed to have not had any complications that required the immediate presence of the doctor, and it really neat that there was just about zero medical intervention involved in those short two hours we were at the hospital before Lila came.  The nurse had even forgotten to give me an IV!
The hospital staff was awesome for the rest of our stay and our pediatrician was great to let us go home the following evening.
It really was a close-to-perfect experience.
I may have envisioned being able to maintain better calm and composure through transition, but I can't help but think that being able to use the deep relaxation of hypnobirthing up until that point that made the last 40 minutes progress so quickly. 
I mean, who can complain having to endure less than an hour of the "I-think-I'm-gonna-die" pain of labor!?
My nurse later told me that it was a good thing I had prepared for an un-medicated birth as the anesthesiologist probably would not have been able to give me an epidural in time for Lila's birth.
So I am glad that I went the hypnobirthing route and I would definitely recommend looking into it for anyone wanting an un-medicated birthing experience.
  It may not have given me the "pain-free" birth that some hypnobirthing moms claim to have (um, not even close!), but it definitely helped me to endure the labor much better than I think I ever could have on my own.  
It was definitely all worth it and we are so in love with little Lila.


Garrett coaching me through a contraction:

Daddy catching his daughter:


My awesome friend and hypnobirthing coach, Calista:

 Auntie Katie was there for support and love.

Grandma Christensen lovin' on her newest granddaughter:

I couldn't have made it through without my amazing husband:

Our little angel, Lila Claire (named after both her grandmas)
 

9 comments:

your math teacher said...

Great photos! And, congratulations, again, on your safe delivery and your beautiful wee one.

Love to all!
Cheryl

Holly June said...

Thanks, Cheryl :) I've been thinking of you lately.....do you have nay fun summer plans??

your math teacher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
your math teacher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
your math teacher said...

Sent you an e-mail with some photos. Hope you like them. :)

The Wilson Family said...

GOOD JOB HOLLY!!! I am so proud of you for doing hypnobirthing..I remember the stories of how your mom would labor and now look at you!! She's beautiful, congrats!

Megan and Jared said...

Hi Holly, I don't know if you remember me. Megan Chournos, now Megan Rose. Anyway, I read your blog off of Katie's sometimes and can I just say you inspire me? I have always wanted to try natural childbirth (hopefully not for a few years...) and I'm so glad you tried it and had a positive, although somewhat painful, experience. When that time finally comes for me I will definately be looking into hypnobirthing. Thanks for all the great info and congrats on little Lila. You have a gorgeous family!

R. B said...

Hollie,

I LOVE your story! It left me chuckling in that tender way, and nodding all through it. I remember my first natural birth that I was almost in shock that I had been through so much pain, but then at the same time, just in absolute awe of what my body had just done. You said it perfectly.
I have met Calista in the nursing room, she's from the same town as Riley! SOOOO awesome that she could be there to coach you! And teach you about hypno-birthing. Those techniques are really soo soo helpful, but I agree, they have never taken away the pain, but they do serve that purpose to help one stay calm, and keep the pain under them, so to speak. Isn't it wierd too how I bet the 40 minutes was the fastest and longest 40 minutes of your life??? That is how I've felt in that transition. I am SOO glad you had the support to tell you "You're almost there, you can do it!" I know I told Riley, that very same thing even this last time and he kept me going! I think the picture with Garet coaching you through a contraction is the most tender thing ever. And he got to catch the baby. Mickalene told me the story but it was so cool to hear it from you and it just makes me smile. Wow. You are so amazing!

R. B said...

R.B= Emily Balling

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