Warning!!! Bodily functions involving birthing a baby follows....just so you know. :)
Now for the whole story...
After my water broke on Sunday at about 4 pm, a whole lot of nothing happened. I kept having the Braxton Hicks type contractions throughout the day, but nothing to indicate that labor had actually started. I called my mid-wife right after my water broke to let her know and to find out what the plan was. She wanted contractions that were at least 7 minutes apart lasting at least a minute in length. We started calling everyone to let them know that we were at least heading toward having a baby. I called Nina and she headed our way. I also called my sister Jennifer and she and her husband decided that they could share her with us and she started on her way. I decided to go for a walk hoping that it might help things out. Really, it just made me tired. :) I have to admit that I had been a bit nervous the whole week because I didn't know how this birth was going to go. I was also a bit afraid of the pain and the fact that I would not have any kind of chemical pain relief options. I had already had a natural birth with Zekers with no meds at all, but that was in a hospital. I was just having to give lots of doubts and fears to the Lord and rest in Him. At around 8 pm, I took a sample of my amniotic fluid in to the birth center so my midwife could make sure it was actually amniotic fluid and not something else. She confirmed that it was indeed my water that had broken and that we had until the following day at 4 pm to have this baby before having to go to the hospital. At this point I prayed that I would have this baby by noon the next day. After that, I went home and I was so tired, I just went to bed to try and sleep. Donna and Jennifer got in and everyone went to sleep.
I didn't start actually having real contractions until a little before 2 am. and they were very erratic. They were coming consistently, but they were varied in the length of time between and how long they were lasting. I was also having trouble eating anything of substance. All food made me want to gag. Anyway, my midwife said I needed to eat because it sounded like that and a lack of sleep was making my contractions act that way. So, I forced myself to eat some protein and I attempted to go back to sleep. Between having to get up to go to the bathroom and the contractions continuing to come about every hour, I still didn't get a whole lot of rest.
The consistent contractions started coming around 7:30-ish am and only a few of the contractions made it to a minute in length or more. Donna, Jennifer and Sam all took turns applying pressure to my lower back during my contractions. At almost 9:30, after several VERY intense contractions, I called my mid-wife and let her know about the contractions and she said to come on in to the birth center in about 30 minutes. Donna stayed at home with Braden and Zekey and we made it there at about 10:15. By then, I was having some super duper contractions! The mid-wife checked me and said I was 6 cm dilated and that I could go ahead and get in the tub. So, in I went and continued to labor. My sister Jennifer was amazing! She acted as a doula for me and kept me from tensing up through my contractions. She also kept encouraging me. Sam was also just superb. He let me latch onto his arm and stay there until she came out all the while loving on me and encouraging me and telling me what a good job I was doing. :) Man I love my husband!!!!! Jennifer and Sam also took turns applying pressure to my lower back. I seriously don't know what I would have done without that pressure, it made such a difference! (Remember about the fear of pain? Well, God totally took care of that with having Jennifer, Donna and Sam apply that pressure and making me the way I am. I go into concentration mode and just get through it. Yes it hurts, but God gives me the strength and ability to deal with it all. Amazing! So, yet another prayer answered!)
The water birth experience was really great. (Prayer from the beginning of the pregnancy answered. I didn't want to deliver in the hospital and I wanted to have a water birth.) I felt a lot lighter in the tub and it allowed me to remain on my knees leaning forward which was the best position for me. I got to the pushing stage rather quickly. I could feel the burning sensation better known as the ring of fire to most. I was able to reach down and feel her head coming out. That was cool. I was never able to do that before! It felt like one of those thin plastic balls that didn't have enough air in it. Kind of crinkly. :) I wanted to push, but Jennifer urged me not to at first. One of my main goals was not to tear this time and pushing too soon is usually the culprit for that. So, instead of pushing, I just relaxed and my uterus actually started pushing for me. I went through a couple more contractions that way and then I gave the next a little push myself and could feel the baby coming out. I announced that she was about to come out, the mid-wife got into position and the next contraction I pushed again and the baby was out! The mid-wife was holding her facing down and head away from everyone. Sam said that he was thinking that there was some hardware missing and announced aloud, "That looks like a girl!" I looked up at him and said, "Really? A girl?!" Yep, the Dyess boy trend had thus been ended... We were seriously in shock. Jennifer said that even before Sam announced we have a girl that Jennifer thought her cry sounded very girly. :) So, she was born at 11:03 am. (Prayer from the day before when I asked God to let me have the baby before noon was answered! Isn't God so faithful and amazing and wonderful???!!!) I laid back in the tub for a bit with her, while I pushed out the placenta. Even that part was way different than the hospital! I didn't do it right away and it was a very calm, none of the pulling on the cord trying to yank it out kind of thing. (Another prayer answered. I had prayed for so many specific things for this pregnancy, labor and birth and time and time again, God just answered them to the utmost!) So after the placenta came out, I stayed in the tub a few more minutes. The midwife checked to see if I tore and saw only surface lesions!!!! Praise the Lord!!! (Yep, another prayer answered!) Jennifer got to cut the cord and just so you know, that's totally not Sam's thing, so he was more than glad for Jennifer to get to do it. Of course, Aunt Jenny was excited to cut the cord! She has had four babies, three of them homebirths, and this was the first time she got to cut the cord. How cool is that?!
Then it was time to hand our little girl over to the mid-wives. My mid-wife has two students, one of which was able to make it there in time to participate in the birth and the other arrived shortly after. Anyway, they took her to get a diaper on her and wipe her down really well, while I got out of the tub and made my way to the bed. Our little Ailey Grace got weighed and then measured and everything. I got checked out, too. One of the neat things for me was going to the bathroom for the first time after birth. I actually walked in there on my own! That's when I really noticed that my pubic bones had not separated at all and that I really didn't have pain in that area, just soreness. Yep, I had been praying about that, too and wouldn't you know it, God answered that one, too. Wow.
Next, we just waited through the observation period. Sam went home to get Donna and the boys so they could all meet Ailey Grace and he also brought me some much needed food. Yum! After the meet and greet, Sam took Donna and the boys home, so Zekey could get his nap and then Donna came back to the birth center to come pick me up. Here's where God answered another prayer. I did not want to spend more than one night away from home. Less than four hours after Ailey's birth, we were home and Sam and I were attempting to get a nap in. Nice.
More answered prayers follows: We had dealt with jaundice issues with both of our boys due to me getting seriously engorged when my milk came in. I asked that God would allow my milk to come in during the day this time instead of the middle of the night as it had done both times before. Well, He totally answered that prayer, too. My milk started coming in during the morning and I was able to monitor it throughout the day. As soon as I felt like it was getting to the point where Ailey was not able to keep up with the amount of milk I was producing, I started taking Advil to make sure the swelling stayed down. The next day, I started to use the Breast Soothers gel packs off and on all day. (It says not to put them in the freezer so as to keep from causing freezer burn on your skin, but in my case, I need them that cold to make the swelling go down and stay down enough to let the baby latch on and nurse.) I also have to massage the milk ducts and help the milk let down. It doesn't do it on its own at this point until after the engorgement stops. I'm just grateful I was able to do all of these things to keep the engorgement at bay before it got too bad. Ailey nursed the whole time with no latch on problems. She did have a little bit of yellow show up, but it never progressed beyond her cheek area. She had pooed about five times the first day and then two times the next day and once the third day. (The first time being when she came out and she left a lovely present on my belly. ;) Basically, she got all the meconium out of her body. So no jaundice issues this time, either! Again, gotta give God praise! Thank you, thank you, thank you, Heavenly Father!
Donna stayed until Thursday afternoon and let me tell you, we couldn't have managed without her! She is definitely a God-send. Sam got sick Tuesday the day after Ailey was born, then Braden got sick and then Zekey follow suite. I would have been a basket case if Donna had not been there. I really didn't have my usual emotional breakdowns until everybody was sick and even then, I just continually gave it to God and boy-howdy did that ever make a huge difference! Donna's presence was just so reassuring!!! She also cleaned and made us meals and took the kids for walks, so we could take a nap...I am so grateful that God blessed us with such a wonderful person! She's all of our kid's godmother and she's become family, along with Padrino (Juan, her husband and godfather to the kids), of course. Thursday night was interesting since there wasn't anyone else there but us. I had to make a trip to Walmart to get some things and rode the wheelie cart around. I later had to go to Walgreens for medicine. It was nice to get out of the house even though I probably shouldn't have done all that. Even though he didn't feel good, Sam stepped up to help with the boys' bedtime preparations. I did what I could and somehow we managed. ;p
The next day Sam's parents came and that was nice. They were a big help in so many ways. They spent time with the kids and held Ailey lots and helped with cleaning and food and just generally taking care of us. What a blessing! They went back home the next day in the afternoon and we were once again on our own. I think we handled it okay. Sam was feeling much better by Saturday and I was getting better every day. I still had weakness in my lower back and uterine area, but the Advil was helping with that.
Sunday came and we couldn't go to church because the boys still had fevers. We just spent the day resting and watching movies and enjoying our family as much as possible with two sick kiddos. BTW - God has kept Ailey Grace and I healthy and well. I was starting to get a little worried about that, but He is faithful and didn't give me more than I could handle. Praise Him again and again!!!
I will give all the details of the one-week check up in another post. I hope you enjoyed the birth story. Here are more pictures:
We had to put her in green since we didn't have any girl clothes, yet.
Isn't her double chin so cute?
Mid-wives - Jennifer, Amissa and Lisa
Braden just wanted to get his hands on her and just loves holding her!