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Axel’s Birth Story

November 18, 2013

I love birth stories, and I know others love to read them, so I thought I would share Axel’s for those of you who might be interested.  Also, for our own memories!  However, this labor was by far the most difficult I have experienced, so it’s not really an entirely happy birth story, but I can tell you: it has a happy ending!

Monday morning, Veteran’s Day, we woke when Amelia crawled into our bed at 7am and fell asleep, then Levi at 8am…but no one felt like getting up until 9!  It was wonderful!  One of Matthew’s first comments to me was that I should call and change my midwife appointment.  It was supposed to be on the 12th, my due date, but we should see if they had an opening that day.  My dad would leave Thursday, my aunt on Saturday, and my mom the following Tuesday…and we thought the midwife might have a trick or two to get labor started.

That afternoon at 2 Matthew and I met with the midwife (Levi and Amelia were hanging out with grandma and grandpa, and Aunt Judy.  I wasn’t even dilated!  We were really disappointed to hear that.  The midwife said that it really doesn’t mean anything and it could be that afternoon or another week.  She did a few other things to help my body and this baby to take a hint, but no guarantees.  Baby was healthy and strong, so no need to go to drastic measures, except convenience, so we took a walk around downtown Boise, where the midwife’s office is located.  Walking and rest would help, so we had to do some of both.  We stopped at the grocery store and walked and shopped then headed back to my parents’ to head out to dinner.  On the drive the mild contractions I’d been having for two weeks felt stronger, but I’d been hopeful too many times over those two weeks and didn’t want to get my hopes up again.  Maybe it was for real, but my track record wasn’t worth a bet on it!

At my parents’ house, getting everyone ready to head out the door, they got stronger.  Quite a bit stronger.  I was still in denial, though, and powered through.  We arrived at the restaurant and were seated, but they got stronger and Matthew began timing them.  They were consistently 10-15 minutes apart.  Also, they hurt.  A lot.  I could barely talk through them, which is usually the sign to call the midwife.

I was hungry and felt stressed about suddenly abandoning our plans (and our kids) just to have it be a false alarm – we’d already done that the week before.  So we ordered the food, but finally I couldn’t take it and they were really uncomfortable, so we asked for our food to go (it was just ready), said goodbye to the kiddos and the family, and headed home.  We called the midwife and chatted about the evening’s events.  At this point, it was about 6:30pm.

The contractions got to be about five minutes apart, but were very very strong.  I couldn’t walk or talk through them anymore and I was tired.  It was bedtime!  I ate a little and decided to try and sleep between them.  I had done this during my [very brief] labor with Amelia and remembered success.  It did work, but Matthew and I agreed that maybe things would progress a little bit faster if we walked around, so I hobbled around the house, gripping Matthew’s arm and we would have to kneel during the contractions.  I was pretty miserable, but I guess that’s normal for labor!

Not wanting to tire me completely, we headed back upstairs to our room and I tried more sleeping.  I think Matthew’s contacted the midwife around 11pm or so to ask if they could come now.  It would be M, who would be “my” midwife for the evening, a student midwife, H, and the more senior midwife, K, to help if things got more complicated.

I think they all arrived around midnight, but by then I was really really tired from having such intense contractions for nearly seven hours, every five minutes.  The midwife checked my progress – 6cm dilated.  The contractions were getting tougher to breath through, so I tried pushing to help get the baby into position.  Baby was still hanging out pretty high up and any lower would mean faster progress.  I did this for maybe two hours or so…not really pushing to get the baby out, but more like to make the contractions more productive.  It was so tiring, but we all agreed it was going well and I was getting closer to the end – I was nearing 8cm!

The midwife checked again a bit later and paused.  Something wasn’t right.  Baby had turned and was now facing the wrong way and I had gone back to about 6cm.  To me, it suddenly meant backwards progress and I was soooooo done.  The contractions were too powerful and I was exhausted.  I cannot even come close to describing the pain, the defeat, the despair.  Those are dramatic words, but I promise they are not being abused.  I was done. I asked [begged] about going to the hospital, I couldn’t do it anymore.  The midwives and Matthew were so amazing – they kindly told me they wanted to try other things first.  I didn’t mean it, well, I DID, but not really.

First thing was to get me back in my resting position on my side, in hopes that baby would turn back around to face the right way.  Next, no more pushing, to allow baby space to rotate.  This was the toughest, because breathing through the contractions was just too much.  They were too intense.  I felt like I was dying.  It had been nearly ten hours of labor.

The midwives also agreed I needed energy – food!  There was no way I was interested in eating – the contractions were too much and I was too exhausted to “waste” my energy not trying to sleep in between.  (Yes, I was actually falling asleep in those minutes between contractions – even snoring!)  But, Matthew made me eat some fruit leather while they attempted to do some IV fluid.  Even though I had been drinking water and gatorade throughout, I was dehydrated.  It took four attempts (and more time, more contractions, more exhaustion) to finally get the IV in.  Matthew hung it from a hanger from the ceiling fan.

I can’t say for sure I felt instantly better, but I did seem to be able to process each contraction better.  For two hours, I felt like I was going backwards in the labor’s progress.  I thought we were so close, then to start over, or so it felt, lying on my side and not pushing.

But, after two hours, I suddenly was just DONE.  I NEEDED to push this baby out and get some sleep.  The midwife checked me again and I braced myself for bad news.  But…wait…I was “9 and 3/4 dilated,” so said the midwife.  And the baby had turned back!!!  So, I rolled over and, in complete and utter exhaustion and determination, pushed the baby out.  In seven minutes.  Bam.  Baby.

Axel Bruce and I snuggled for a good hour while all of the “finishing touches” were completed.  The best part about a home birth is being in my own bed and not really having to get out of it.  (If you’re not familiar with home birth practices, the bed was covered in a drop cloth and horribly ugly floral sheets from the thrift store that have now gone to sheet heaven – clean sheets were waiting under all of it, so it just took my first trip to the bathroom and the midwives reset the bed and I was able to just climb in and rest.  It is a FANTASTIC way to end such a long and tough labor.)

Matthew made phone calls and sent texts, we updated all of you on facebook and the blog, we oohed and ahhed over his fingers and toes.  Matthew made me breakfast.  Axel had his first meal.  Three hours later, we finally weighed and measured him.  I still can’t believe how BIG he was.  Also, less than 10% of babies are born on their due date, plus in America, the date reads 11.12.13, so that’s pretty cool…at least while we live in this country.

Then the midwives went back to work (yes, two of them had to go to work, now that it was 8am) and we promptly all fell asleep.

Axel continues to do well, but I’ll not be shy and say it’s all rainbows and unicorns.  He is a good eater, but we don’t feel like it’s going 100% right now.  It’s tiring, I’m not getting a lot of sleep, and I think the production may be on the low side – we’re now all stocked up on fixes for this, so I think it’ll be quickly resolved.  But in the meantime, it’s a little tough.  Not to mention, combine that with little sleep and severe hormonal changes and you have one ridiculous me!

My dad and aunt got a few days to snuggle with Axel, and my mom leaves in the morning.  It is sad to see them go, but more family is coming down the pipeline, starting next week!  Yay!

Today we began our next training module at MAF.  Yep.  We were in training.  All day.  With a seven-day-old.  It didn’t go great, but we’re hoping each day it gets easier.  Starting Wednesday, I only go until lunch time then come back home, but it’ll still be a challenging four weeks.  It’ll also mean my afternoons alone with the three kiddos.

Speaking of three kiddos, Levi and Amelia are absolutely enamored with their little brother.  They had both hoped for a brother and are so amazing with him.  They want to help and they’ve been the best big brother and sister.  One day, Levi heard Axel crying and as I came around the corner to comfort him, Levi was stroking his head, telling him “it’s okay” and Axel calmed.  I never even got close.  On the way home from church yesterday, Axel was hungry, but Amelia sang “Twinkle Little Star” to him and he quieted.  Amazing stuff.

Pictures to follow, but having only seven random hours of sleep in the past 48, I’m headed to bed…thank you all for the well wishes, prayers, congrats and love.  Axel knows he’s loved by so many people he’s never met!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Deb Southworth permalink
    November 19, 2013 0829

    I loved reading this.

  2. Julieanne permalink
    November 19, 2013 0829

    You are amazing. Yay for home birth and God bless you more!!!

  3. Ariena permalink
    November 20, 2013 0829

    Congratulations, the Linds! (:

  4. November 23, 2013 0829

    A great story. Axel will be proud when he is old enough to read this. Hang tough, Lisa.

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