Birth · Pregnancy

The Birth of Tempest Elizabeth

I was exhausted. I had gone to sleep early that evening. And for my normal being 8pm, early in this case was 5pm. My husband, Tim, was at work on a 24 hour shift as an EMT. So there was no one around but the kitties and this baby growing inside me to see how pathetic I was for going to sleep when most people were barely off of work yet. By this time I was already 9 days past my due date and had succumb to the idea that I would be pregnant the rest of my life

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41 weeks pregnant

I woke around 3 am on November 9th; I was uncomfortable and was pretty sure my belly had cut off all circulation from my hips down. So, I heaved it over and rolled on my other side. Finally getting comfortable, as much as you can for being 9 ½ months pregnant, I thought to myself “I have to pee”. Deciding that I was in a rare state of comfortable, it wasn’t worth it for me to move. Sleep was a better option.

That was until an hour later, 4am. I woke up to slightly damp sheets and instantly thought about going back to sleep. I knew a giant pregnant woman should not have passed up the opportunity to pee and now I was sure I peed the bed. I stood up to go to the bathroom and realized maybe I wasn’t done peeing, as I felt a trickle run down my leg. Still being half asleep I went to the bathroom and crawled back into bed. About 10 minutes after my face hit the pillow I sat up abruptly and exclaimed to the sleeping kitties “THAT WAS MY WATER”. The kitties responding by jumping 3 feet in the air and booking it towards the door. Because of excess Amniotic fluid I had been told that once my water broke I was to lie down immediately because of the chance of prolapsed cord. So even though I wanted to jump up and down and run around the house I stayed put in the bed. After a slight moment of panic, I grabbed my phone to call Tim. Oddly enough I had a text from him not ten minutes before which apparently my brain refused to hear. So I was sure he would be awake; I called him to tell him the excitement. He, of course, was with a patient and couldn’t answer. I left some ridiculously long message that I am sure made less sense than a vegan in a sausage factory.

After I hung up with Tim’s voicemail it was around 5am. I called my midwife, Wendy. To let her know that I was finally in labor ( I think she might have been thinking I was going to be pregnant forever too). I wasn’t really having strong contractions but I could feel them coming. Wendy assured me that if my water was only trickling that babies head was ready to go and my cord was fine. She said I could get up and move if needed, but that I should try to sleep some more and save my energy. I tried going back to sleep but honestly I don’t think any women could sleep, I was so excited.

My baby was coming! I pulled up my computer and poured over our list of baby names, which made me wonder even more if we could expect a son or daughter. I had so many thoughts running through my mind.

I finally got to sleep around 8am, just enough time to be sleeping for a few minutes before Tim got home. He was exhausted, probably even more than me. He was swamped at work all night and had hurt his leg extremely bad. Limping in pain, he tried to come in and help. But I didn’t need help; I needed sleep. I am pretty sure I sent him away, but it very well could have been his idea to leave my grumpy butt to sleep. I really don’t know and it really didn’t matter.

At around 9:30 my midwife stopped by to see how things were going and what we could expect. I was a whole 2 cm dilated and contractions were still weak and 10-15 minutes apart; it was going to be a long day. I still had a long way to go, I knew it, she knew it, but after waiting this long, I was just happy to get closer. With the examination we found out that baby was still posterior facing, supposedly this is pretty common in early labor and most babies turn pretty quickly after labor starts. She gave me some positions to help baby along, gave me a bottle of antibacterial wash, some instructions making sure I didn’t introduce infections and told me again to rest more. Then she left; I made Tim stay downstairs; I was alone again. I didn’t want to feel pressure of people sitting around waiting so I was grateful for my time to myself.
I spent much of the rest of the morning alone; don’t get me wrong, this was my choice. I wasn’t in too much pain, but I wasn’t up for chit-chat.

I lost track of time after that. I think it was around 5 when Wendy call to see how I was doing. I told here that the contractions were much closer together, and slightly more painful now. We decided that it was time for her to come.

Earlier in the pregnancy Tim and I decided to take part in a documentary featuring midwives and home births. So, soon after our conversation our camera crew (which was really only 3 people) started showing up, along with our midwife and two assistants. After monitoring my contractions for a little while we were about 5 minutes apart. The assistants, Wendy and Tim took turns rubbing my back and holding the heating pad against my contracting belly. At around 9, I was exhausted. I felt stuck and was starting to get annoyed at every little movement and word anyone said. My midwife suggested that everyone leave and give me the chance to sleep a little and that it might help move things along faster. So everyone took off. I made Tim lie with me for a while, but since I wasn’t comfortable or in the mood to cuddle I told him he should go relax. I slept most of the night all the way through, barely waking up with contractions. In the morning, i woke with new energy and hope (although I was right where I was when I went to sleep).

I went downstairs to take a bath because I had heard how water was soothing to contractions and that it possibly could help speed things along. So I lugged myself down the stairs, which probably took me about 10 minutes, because I had to stop every contraction. I got in the bath, and sat and watched 2 episodes of Mythbusters on my kindle. Tim came in a few times to check on me. The final time I was having a hard time talking. He knew it was time to call Wendy back.

We got me upstairs (which was much harder than going down) and everyone started showing up again. This time I was not all laughing and smiling. Wendy said she knew this meant I was in serious labor. She checked me again and found that baby was still posterior and that my water had reformed.

After awhile, (I would love to give you a time frame, but I really am not sure). She said we could re-break my water and it might help move things along. Since I was only at 4cm. I told her anything that helped me move faster would be great. She broke my water, which was just weird, not painful or anything. Then she manually turned baby around the right way. It would make it easier to deliver and supposedly hurt less. Turning baby hurt, but I felt an instant relief of pressure off of my back. re-breaking my water made my contractions hurt a ton worse. At this point I really couldn’t think much and talking was extremely hard. After what seemed like forever of contractions, Wendy checked again only 6 cm and baby had flipped back around again facing posterior. she turned baby once more and suggested we get back in the bath. So Tim helped me down the stairs, I am pretty sure he half-carried me, because I really couldn’t walk very well. The bath felt nice, but I was in major pain. I felt like I was in the bath for hours, but Tim says it was maybe an hour at most. I remember telling Tim I couldn’t do it, he had to get Wendy, because I was done, I had no more fight, it was time to go to the hospital.

He got Wendy, she suggested we get upstairs and see where I was at then knowing that we could decide. I agreed. So we trekked back up the stairs, which was much harder. When she checked we weren’t much further along from last time (still around 6 cm) but baby was pushing into the birth canal. She explained we could go to the hospital if I wanted, but I was still having the baby naturally because we were too far along and that I would probably give birth in the car on the way. So we stayed. It’s true that when you want to give up you are almost done. I labored on the toilet for a while, but baby’s heart rate dropped, so we stood up and gave me some oxygen. the heart rate perked up and I got onto the bed, in the most awkward position my midwife said she had ever saw, but it was the only position the relieved any pressure from my back.

My body started to push. I could not have stopped it if I wanted to. I couldn’t talk I just moaned to relieve pressure. This baby was coming, if I was ready or not. I was still only 7 cm but baby was not waiting any longer. A few pushes later Wendy told me to reach down, I could feel my baby. Tim said this was an instant change in my mood and expression. I knew baby was almost here, I was relieved and excited. One push later and baby shot out (seriously it was so fast Tim started cracking up laughing) and was on my chest, 9:37 pm November 10th, 2012. I could here baby fussing and it was the most beautiful thing I had ever saw or felt. One of the assistants asked if it was a boy or girl. Wendy, said “I don’t know, it was so fast we didn’t even look” “Tim moved the blanket off of the Tiny little baby, we had a girl! the most beautiful baby girl I ever saw.

She was still having a little trouble breathing so Wendy used the bulb suction for 15 minutes then finally brought out the actual suction machine that went into her lungs. I held her and Wendy suctioned, it seemed like forever but I am sure it was only a few minutes. After my baby girl’s lungs were cleared, we cut the cord, delivered the placenta and cleaned up baby (who had pooped about as much as she weighed, all over). Tim and I talked very briefly about names. Our front-runner for a girl had been Zoey, but she was no Zoey. She was Feisty, and Fierce, and granted a little stubborn and troublesome. Tempest, I knew it as soon as I looked at her. It was a name we had discussed and it was on our list, but honestly I didn’t know what I thought about it. But it was Her. I knew it, Tim Knew it, Tempest Elizabeth Knott was here!

After we got things cleaned up, Wendy stitched my second degree tear. This was one of the worst parts about the whole experience. It was uncomfortable and my legs felt numb.  I knew when I was pushing I was tearing, I could have stopped it, but after days in labor I was ready to be done and I didn’t care. For only being 7 cm dilated at the time of delivery, it could have been much worse, so after a few numbing shots and a lot of stitches. My birth experience was done.

Tempest was still having a hard time breathing, so Wendy stayed with us that night. I slept on one side of the bed, Wendy crawled into the other, with Tempest snuggled in between us. Tim got banished to the living room. By morning, her breathing was better and it was clear that she was healthy and happy.

It was such a whirlwind. It was amazing and awful, and loving and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

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