Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Harvey's Belly Departure

Disclaimer: This post is going to be a long one. But I figure #1: I want to document all of the details for myself, and #2: because I've talked so much about doing my labor unmedicated people probably want to know how it went. Read on if you want... Or stop if it's TMI. :)

Readers Digest Version:
I got acupuncture to "induce" my labor. It worked, and I went into active labor about 10 hours later. At 11:30 I thought my water broke, so we headed to the hospital. Turns out it didn't. The nurse said I was dilated to a 2.5 and 80% effaced. She made us walk the halls for an hour. She checked me again: this time 5, and 100%. I got in the tub (for about 2 hours) and dilated to a 9.5. I pushed for like 45 minutes, and Harvey Wade was born! Over all, I labored (hard) about 7 hours. I did it all with no medication, and couldn't have without Justin and my midwife.

All the Fine Details:

Wednesday, November 26:
I had one last massage to do at the chiropractor's office at 11:00, so after I finished I had Dr. Collard try some acupuncture to jump start my labor. I figured it couldn't hurt, right? He used the points Spleen 6, and Urinary Bladder 67. During the 15 minute treatment I felt a tiny contraction or two, and afterward he said that sometimes women feel them during the treatment, but everything stops once the needles come out.

I went to the store to buy my contribution to Thanksgiving dinner: pumpkin pie. I thought about buying the ingredients to make it, but decided to be lazy. (Good thing!) I headed over to my mom's house to give her the pie and she had a list of things to talk to me about. I remember being slightly annoyed and telling her I didn't care if Harvey's room had my old Snoopy clock or how many of my boxes were still in her basement. Lol. My poor mom.

From 1:00 to 5:00 I decided to take a nap. (I'd been up until 4 am with heartburn issues from the pizza we had eaten on Tuesday night). I remember being woken up with an annoying back ache right by my sacrum a few times. At one point I had to start moving to the "child's pose" in yoga to relieve the annoyance but it was short lived, and I always fell right back asleep.

Justin got home from work at 5:00, and I told him I thought I might be in labor. He didn't really believe me. He checked his e-mail, watched some TV, and went to take a nap on the couch. I got up about 6 and decided to deliver some thank you notes to the people in my neighborhood. I started tracking how close the back annoyances were on my palm pilot. When I left the house they were about 5-6 minutes apart, but I could walk, talk and laugh throughout them. The deliveries took me about an hour and a half, and by the time I came home I had to concentrate to breathe instead of hold my breath when they came. They were a little closer and a little more intense. I got one of my dinners out of the freezer and warmed it up even though I didn't feel like eating all that much.

Justin woke up to eat and then started cleaning the house. We didn't have our "bags" all the way packed so he started getting everything together. We took a belly picture just in case it would be our last chance. I remember thinking that if I could still smile and pose for a picture than I wasn't far enough into active labor to head to the hospital. My contractions were turning from small annoyances to major annoyances. I had to focus on relaxing my body during them instead of tensing up. Some contractions I could deal with on my own, but sometimes I would ask Justin to push on my back to alleviate the pressure.

I wasn't positive (but pretty sure) I was in labor either because I had expected to feel contractions in my abdomen. Justin got out our childbirth class book and read through signs of "false" labor. I decided to call the midwife to ask her if just a back ache could still be labor. Sure enough, she said what I was experiencing could be the real thing - especially since all of my activity didn't change things or make them go away. Justin's brother called and during a contraction he asked if I wanted to talk to my sister-in-law. I snapped "no!" By now, I decided that I was in the "serious emotional signpost" from our Bradley method book.

At about 11:30 pm, I went to the bathroom and thought my water broke. I wasn't sure, but after a few minutes I was pretty positive. I told Justin (who was vacuuming) adding that I was pretty annoyed that he was cleaning while I was dealing with all of this aching in my back. He kind of started freaking out. He says this is when he finally believed that I was really in labor. He said he was going to jump in the shower - I looked at him like "Are you serious? I just told you my water broke, and you're getting in the shower?" But I told him he had 5 minutes. I had a hard time walking during a contraction and crawled up the stairs to get my phone/wallet together.

When Justin was all ready he gathered everything together and put it in the car. I started remembering little things I thought I would need and trying to grab them. I asked Justin to give me a priesthood blessing. I knelt on the floor on my hands and knees just in case I had to go through a contraction during the blessing. But once he started, I didn't have any distracting contractions throughout the whole blessing. I was very confident in my body's capability to labor and deliver naturally after receiving it... I was told that angels would be there to help me through, and that my body was very strong. I was also told that if and when I was offered medication it would be my choice to accept or decline.

We got in the car, and I told Justin I couldn't believe we were really on our way to have a baby... and then I asked him if he thought I was at the "serious emotional signpost" and he said no. We drove up to the entrance and left the car right in front. They let us in, and we went up to the labor and delivery desk. Three weeks ago I filled out a registration form at my Dr's appointment, but they never turned it in, so I had to stand there and fill out another sheet. I bent down against the counter and filled it in as fast as possible (but now I'm thinking that these women thought I must not be that far along if I could still fill out paperwork.) One lady kept messing with the copy machine, and it seemed like everything was taking forever!

Thursday, November 27, 2008
Finally they let me into a labor and delivery room (room 7, right by the desk.) and they told me I wasn't allowed to scream if I was in that room. I knew they were joking, but I didn't laugh. They told me to strip down and get into the ace bandage tube top and put a gown on. Then the nurse made me sit on the labor bed for 20 minutes to monitor the baby's heartbeat along with my contractions. I was going nuts! My back aches were much more uncomfortable in that position, and if I moved even a small bit the monitor would move and stop getting Harvey's heartbeat. I told Justin to go get the nurse because I swore she had waited 30 minutes... and she came back to check me. I was dilated to a 2.5, and 80% effaced. Justin asked if he should go get the bags out of the car, but she told him to wait. I got all unhooked from the monitor and she said we should walk around the hospital for 1 hour. It was 1:00 am.

We went upstairs to walk around the nursery, but all of the blinds were shut. The hospital was dead! We walked up and down the hallway, and my backache was INTENSE! I had to stop and grab the railing on the wall while Justin pushed as hard as he could on my back. After about 20 minutes the contractions started going in to my quads... my legs would start to get weak and I had to kneel over a chair or a bed. This hour went by slow. Finally when it had been an hour we headed back downstairs. The nurse had me sit on that wretched bed again and hook up to the monitors. She checked me again and I was dilated to a 5 and 100% effaced. I asked her when I could get in the tub and she said usually not until I was dilated to a 6 or 7. I'm not sure what changed her mind, but when my midwife showed up they started filling the tub with water. After another 20 minutes of awfully uncomfortable back labor they let me get in the water.

I can't even express what a relief it was to be in the warm water with the jets on. My only complaint was that there weren't any nuclear powered jets beating on my lower back... :) I was able to deal with each contraction on my own - I just pushed on my back with my own hands and it was bearable. Justin fed me ice chips and put cool wet washcloths on my forehead. After a super fast hour and a half my body started pushing... I told Justin to tell the nurses. I was totally oblivious, but Justin says they all got really excited. They had me get partially out, and my midwife checked me, but I was only a 7. She let me labor a little longer in the tub, maybe a half hour, and then I was feeling the urge to push much stronger. This time I was dilated to a 9.5. I decided I would rather be able to move into different positions to actually deliver and push, so I got out of the tub.

Just a little funny tidbit.. of all the things we could have forgotten - we forgot the camera. Justin called my mom who came to the hospital at 2:00am to get our house key, drove back to our house to get the camera, then to the hospital again to deliver it. And after all of this, we told her it wasn't time yet and she could go home and get some sleep! (I only wanted Justin and my midwife there for the birth because I wanted to be able to focus on the labor...)

This was the longest and hardest hour of my labor. My body kept wanting to push, but I wasn't dilated all the way... My midwife told me that if I pushed with all my strength I could either tear my cervix or make it very swollen. Either one had a painful recovery. She said to let my body do it's thing, but to try not to help it. These contractions came and went, but my back felt substantially better when Justin kept pushing. This hour was probably the hardest for him as well. Lindsay, my midwife would push on my knee and hip as well. Nothing took the intensity completely away, but I was able to relax with them doing their part. I told them "thank you" at one point, and Lindsay laughed, "You're in the last stages of labor, and you're thanking people?!" I never remember feeling like I wanted to opt for medication, but some contractions were pretty intense. I remember a couple of times I prayed in my head, "I think I might need a longer break this time," or "I wish the next one wasn't so intense." And He would answer me. The next contraction was lighter or shorter.

I tried lots of positions: Hands and knees on the bed, birthing ball, and side lying. The birthing ball felt like it was moving too much which was really distracting to me. Hands and knees was my favorite I think because it took some pressure off my back. Harvey was posterior, which means he was "face up." His skull was right in my lower back. After a while though, my legs would start to fall asleep and I would have to lay on my side until they got some blood pumping through them again. I continued to use the hands and knees position to push for a while, and then I could feel it was getting closer, and I didn't want to have to keep moving. I decided to kind of sit up/back at a 45 degree angle to push. Justin held my head and one foot, and the nurse held my other foot while I pushed, then we all could relax.

The pushing part was my favorite. I knew it was close to being over, and it didn't really hurt. Lindsay actually got Harvey to turn around too - she reached in and gently turned his head during a pushing contraction and he flipped all the way around on his own. All of us saw my belly do a big flip flop. After that, my back didn't hurt anymore. I was so into pushing, that I would kind of forget to breathe. The nurse would count to 10 and then remind me to take a breath and get back at it. Toward the end, Harvey's heartbeat started to slow down because he wasn't getting enough oxygen, so they put an oxygen mask on me. The air smelled like a dentist office, but I told myself I could deal with that for my baby... I tried to take deep breaths through the stupid thing, and Justin said almost instantly Harvey's heartbeat went back up to normal. During one push Lindsay had me look up into the mirror to see Harvey's head crowning. It was pretty surreal. And distracting. I could concentrate much better with my eyes closed. So... a couple more pushes later, I missed the birth - I was way too focused. Lindsay had me pause when his head was almost all the way through to prevent a tear. I should have waited a little longer, but my body wanted to push sooner. None of it hurt at all - I could feel a little burning sensation right at the end, but that was it!

6:13 am, 8 pounds 10 ounces, 20.5 inches long

When they plopped Harvey on my chest right after he was born, I have to say it wasn't instant love. I didn't recognize him, I didn't feel like I had just delivered a baby, I didn't register in my head this was my baby... But slowly my mind came out of shock and I got really excited and happy. Justin cut the umbilical cord, and watched the nurses check all his vitals. He took pictures and told me what was going on. He said he wasn't planning on watching the birth like that (he wanted to just look at my face), but being right there on the side of the bed holding my head and foot he couldn't look away. He said he didn't even get queasy... I was so proud of him!

Next, my placenta didn't really want to come out, so Lindsay had to kind of detach it. Because of this I had to get a stinkin' IV. She said they had to give me some medication to keep me from getting infected. They also ended up attaching a little dose of pitocin so my uterus would contract. I didn't feel anything. I also had a 2nd degree tear to be repaired. After all of that, they let me breastfeed Harvey - he latched on like a little champ.

After about an hour Justin and the nurse took Harvey to the nursery. I fell asleep, and Justin came back. He said they weren't doing the bath until about another hour later, and he would go back then. After a short nap, the nurse came back and helped us move up to the postpartum room. Again we fell asleep, but after Harvey's bath when they brought him into our room I had a surge of energy. There was no way I was going to sleep! (This started a very bad habit that really hit me about 8 days later.)


  1. Yay! I'm so proud of you for going all natural, just like you wanted to. Sounds like you had an awesome experience!

  2. I loved reading your birth story. You are amazing!!! My address is 2863 West Haun Drive
    West Jordan UT 84088

  3. I loved reading your story (even though it's something I've totally never experienced). I had to laugh that Justin wanted a shower; you're very patient! I probably would have thrown something at Darrin. I can't wait to see more pictures of Harvey though!

  4. Wow! I didn't know you did it natural. Good for you! I could never to that. What a story, i'm so glad you're both doing well!

  5. Love the details! I like to hear how others experiences (especially natural childbirth ones) go. I am happy that it went the way YOU wanted it to go. Where did you deliver at? Sounds like your midwife was really in tune w/your needs and desires. I LOVE birthing in the's so helpful!

  6. I love the details! I wish I had written mine down. Next baby will have it so much better than Deakon did. That is awesome that you went natural. It really made me think about doing it that way. I didn't feel anything and was half asleep... guess that wouldn't happen if I would have done it natural. :)

  7. Tiff- You are awesome! I actually used the Bradley Method with two of mine! (I became a whimp as I got older) But its such a great experience and I am so glad it worked out for you!

  8. oh tiff!!! i am so happy for you and i have to admit totally jealous! if there is any way i can, i will do natural for the next one!!!! i am so thrilled! thanks so much for sharing-rob has been asking how things went since you had Harvey.

  9. Well I have to say that a lot of your story sounds like my labor with Emily. I did her natural, and so could of done Mordecai's natural, but I decided that I wanted some relief since I had kidney issues with him. I actually shower before I head to the hospital, and Mike does too. And I so know what you mean about the surge of energy. Congrats, and I hope everything is going well

  10. Well I have to say that a lot of your story sounds like my labor with Emily. I did her natural, and so could of done Mordecai's natural, but I decided that I wanted some relief since I had kidney issues with him. I actually shower before I head to the hospital, and Mike does too. And I so know what you mean about the surge of energy. Congrats, and I hope everything is going well

  11. I'm trying to do a natural delivery too - did you take classes or read books, or what did you do that you found helpful? I did hypnobabies and I loved the class - it was all about relaxation techniques and different positions. I saw you wrote something about the Bradley book, so I figured you read that. Way to go! It sounds like you were focused and did things the way you wanted to.


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