Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Avery's Belly Departure

This is a ridiculously long post. But I want to document the story for myself and for Avery if she's interested. So, here's the short version in case you just want the nitty gritty, but feel free to read the novel with all of the juicy details. Or not. :)

Reader's Digest Version:
I got acupuncture last Monday to induce my labor (just like I did with Harvey), but it didn't do much, so I went in for another treatment on Wednesday. Contractions started about 12 hours later. At about 3:00pm on Thursday we headed to the birth center and I was already dilated to a 7 and 100% effaced. I labored and delivered Avery Anne in the tub three hours later!

All the Fine Details:

Monday, September 26:
I went in to give a massage at the chiropractors office in the morning, and had him do an acupuncture treatment while I was there. I was sick and tired of all the heartburn (since 13 weeks!) and dying to get this labor started. Dr. Collard used 4 points this time and added electric stimulation for 40 minutes. I was disappointed that I didn't feel any contractions during the treatment like I did when I was pregnant with Harvey. I was a little worried that it wouldn't work.

After the treatment I went to Home Depot to pick up the paint match for the baby's nursery. We tore out a built-in desk in that room and still needed to paint the wall. (Talk about leaving it until the last minute!) I headed home, picked up Harvey from my friends' house and ate lunch. During his nap, I painted the nursery wall and went on a cleaning spree through the whole house. I was hoping all the activity might stir something up. Justin came home from work and we went on a long walk to the Redbox at 7-Eleven to get the movie Thor. I got excited because I started feeling some contractions, but they stopped as soon as we did.

Tuesday, September 27:
This was my "changed-to" due date; my mom got a substitute and we spent the day together. I was irritated that the acupuncture wasn't jump-starting anything.

Wednesday, September 28:
My mother-in-law already had the day off to take Justin's dad in for a doctor's appointment and so we planned that she would take Harvey if and when I went into labor. I went in for another acupuncture treatment in the afternoon (but the doctor's appointment turned into quite the ordeal, and she ended up not being able to watch Harvey even for my treatment, so I took him with me. He watched Cars on my laptop on the floor.) Dr. Collard did the same points and turned up the electric stimulation a little higher. Again: no contractions.

I went walking again to deliver some thank you notes around my neighborhood, and contractions started coming about 10 minutes apart. I was pretty excited, so I called Rebecca Williams (my midwife) and my mom to give them a heads up. I packed a bag and set it by the front door just in case. I went to bed feeling really excited, and slept great until about 3:30am.

Thursday, September 29:
Contractions would wake me up, but they were really light and irregular. This continued all morning. One contraction here... the next one 30 minutes later... another one an hour later... then 7 minutes. I kept track of them on a notebook and just went about my day trying to get things done. At about 1:00 pm the contractions started coming between 3 and 5 minutes apart, and Harvey would drive me nutty asking for something over and over. I made some phone calls: Justin to come home from work, the neighbor to watch Harvey, my mom to pick up Harvey after she got off work, and Rebecca to say we would be at the birth center by 3:00 pm.

When we got to the birth center, I marched straight in and laid on the bed with my body pillow. Justin gathered all the stuff and made it in just in time to put pressure on my lower back during a contraction. I was already 100% effaced and dilated to a 7! I asked her if I could get in the tub, and I found immense relief once submerging myself in the hot water. Honestly, the water relieved so much of the low back pressure during my contractions, at one point I asked Rebecca if I might have stalled labor by getting in!

Oh, that tub was heaven. It was specially designed for birth; with padding too! Justin, Rebecca and I spent the next hour or so talking about what to expect with a water birth, snacking on grapes and ice water and concentrating through contractions. We took some funny photos of Justin feeding me grapes like a Roman goddess (although I won't share them with the whole world, if you know what I mean...). Rebecca kept tabs on the baby's heartbeat with her waterproof Doppler from time to time. When I first got in the tub, Avery was hanging out on the left side of my uterus. Rebecca told me that she would move toward the center and then move down as my labor continued. At every check-in Avery had moved quite a bit which made me feel like we were making progress. At one point, my contractions started getting pretty intense, but we drained some of the cooler water and added hot and they lightened up again after that.

Finally, I got to the point where I wanted to be done with labor. It seemed like a lot longer to me, but it had only been a couple hours since we arrived at the birth center. Rebecca checked with the Doppler to see where the baby was, and she was very low and right in position. I didn't feel my body start to push on its own like when I had Harvey, but we thought that maybe my water hadn't broken yet, so the baby's head wasn't pushing as low as it could have been. I tried to just push a little on my own and my body took over after that.

I just have to say... this "pushing experience" was much harder mentally than Harvey's delivery. Staying in sitting position was way too intense, so I turned over on my knees and sat on my feet (plus Rebecca said that position was more likely to result in no tearing). Justin had to put lots of pressure on my lower back and I was shocked to hear my "inner-beast" come out. After a while it seemed like we weren't making progress, and Rebecca thought that maybe Avery was stuck behind my pubic synthesis so she had me turn over again to push. Holy moly the contractions were intense, and Justin couldn't get to my back, but Avery started crowning really quickly. And I started freaking out. I was nervous that I would tear and it really felt like I might, so Rebecca asked if I wanted to turn over. Yeah, with half of a baby head out of my body. Somehow they talked me into it and got me flipped over again. Rebecca realized I was not mentally in control anymore and told me to reach down and touch Avery's head. Almost instantly I was calmed, and a couple more pushes and her head was out. 

I expected her to just come out with the next push, but no: her chest was wider than her head!! Somehow I stayed in control (with a few more inner-beast growls) and Avery was born. Rebecca unwrapped the cord from her belly, and we pulled her up out of the water.

Avery Anne Keetch
5:48 pm
9 pounds 9 ounces
21.5 inches long

Everything was up to me. On my time. I loved that I held her for so long immediately after she was born. I love that we let her gradually adjust to life outside my belly. She didn't cry right away... but when Rebecca asked her if her name was Harvey she let out a wail to let us know she didn't like that. When the cord stopped pulsing Justin cut it and held her while I got out of the tub. 

After a while, Justin went to go get Harvey. He was delighted to finally see "the baby Avery"...

... at least for a little while. Then the trains were much more fun to play with:

When we had all held and snuggled her to our hearts content, Rebecca did all of the stats and checks on her... she didn't mind one bit:

After she fed us dinner, Rebecca told us that both Avery and I were doing well enough that we could go home whenever we wanted. We were welcome to all stay overnight, but we all decided that we wanted to sleep in our own beds, so we headed home at 9:30pm. 

Our first family photo... right before we left:

I think Harvey was sad to leave the trains. (And that random thing on Justin's shirt is Harvey's Transformer bandaid that he had to have when Avery got one on her leg... but then promptly decided to put on his dad.)

We are so excited that she's here! Although, I don't know how any of you mothers with more than one child get anything done. Hopefully I can figure it out soon, but for now I'm so grateful that Justin was able to take this entire week off work!


  1. Beautiful family! Congratulations!

  2. Great story! I'm so glad it all went well for you.

    Also - don't rush into doing stuff! Don't worry if stuff doesn't get done. It will eventually. Just enjoy the chance to hang out with your kids.

  3. Okay, so I know my own hormones are still working on getting back to normal, but I'm sitting here crying over this. I'm so happy for you! It's wonderful that Avery is here and that everything went so well. I've been checking your blog every day waiting for news. And holy crow! Your little whippersnapper is bigger than mine and mine is 6 weeks old! Everything has been different for us this time around with such an unexpected early birth. And (excuse me while I ramble on a bit more) I do have a gift for you. I just really couldn't make it to your baby shower. But now I have a great excuse to come out some day and visit. :-)

  4. Congratulations! Your baby girl is so beautiful! I would have loved to have a water birth - it's good to hear that yours went so well. My daughter was just shy of 2.5 years old when my son was born. One of the things I did to keep her happy during those early months (lots of time spent nursing the babe) was to bring a huge pile of books out to read to her. I also let her do lots of arts and crafts (glue, play-doh, etc.) at the coffee table while I nursed him or held him as he slept. Oh, and a good sling is a must. Please feel free to email me if you need any thing or just want to bounce some ideas off another mama who has done it recently.

  5. Sounds like a great overall birth experience (though a little intense there at the end!). Congratulations. I'm glad it all went smoothly.

    And wow, what a big baby!

  6. wow!! You are so amazing Tiff!! Avery is the most beautiful baby girl and you guys are the cutest family! Congrats! I'm so happy for you guys and I wish that I could see that little baby girl! So adorable!! :)

  7. oh tiff i am thrilled for you (and a little jealous of your birth experience ;)
    give yourself plenty of time to enjoy holding your new baby. Play with harvey with she is sleeping (and you aren't holding her and breathing in her new baby smell) and the rest will come in time. Babies grow way too fast!

  8. Wow you may have done it for me. I have always thought the natural birth people are a bit crazy. This story seemed more real and beautiful.
    The pic of Harvey and Avery melts my heart. He is adorable.
    I'm glad you feel great. I am in shock she was 9 lbs. No wonder you had heartburn.
    I hope we get to see Harvey play at our house, if you need some quiet time.

  9. That is a big baby! Both of mine were right at 9 pounds and people freaked out when I told them that, so I imagine you're going to have a lot of surprised reactions when people ask. :) What birth center did you use? Glad everything went well - congrats on a beautiful girl.

  10. Congratulations Tiff!!!! You rock. Way to have a water birth...I've considered the idea but thought it was illegal in Utah? Where is this birthing center? If we have another child it will possible be delivered in SLC. Way to go natural!! I love more women doing this.
    I love her name and photos. Good luck adjusting. Don't rush. Enjoy it while you can :)

  11. Way to go, Tiff! That's amazing that you got to sleep in your bed that night! Such a different mindset from the hospital. So you didn't tear at all? That's awesome, especially since she wasn't itty bitty. She's beautiful.


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