Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Violet's birth story

The I'm BACK!!!!  Yes, I know it's been quite a long time.  Last time I wrote anything I had announced I was pregnant.  As many of you already know I had a beautiful baby girl named Violet Antonia.  She is 9 months old months and is a true joy.  I suppose I should re-enter the blogging world with her beautiful birth story that helped heal me from the traumatic birth I had with Audrey in so many ways. 

We had originally intended upon having a VBAC in the hospital with my midwife from Audrey's birth.  BUT the more I thought about re-entering a hospital the more it didn't feel right to me.  I felt I wanted needed a homebirth.  Unfortunately, in Louisiana HBAC's are illegal (homebirth after cesarean) You must birth unassisted if you want an HBAC.  That's a seriously sad statement.
 With this last pregnancy, I had an anterior placenta, it was not low lying or previa, but because it was not fundal, having an out of hospital birth was exed as well.  I am not a big fan of ultrasounds but was required to have a total of 3, which I did. I had one at 18 wks, another around 30 weeks or so to determine where my placenta was and another hours before Violet arrived. It was after this 2nd ultrasound that Carlo and I made a decision that to have the birth I truly wanted and deserved, I needed to head to The Farm in Tennessee.
 That evening I made a call and caught someone, Pamela Hunt.  I got my records about my c-section and my papers from my pregnancy and sent them over as soon as I could.  The OB's notes were so vague, that in order for them to accept me as a client at The Farm, those papers needed to be re-written and I needed an ultrasound that showed that my placenta was not previa. My ultrasound was on a Wednesday, my phone call to the Farm was the next day, and I sent in info. to have my records changed that Friday. I got the new information on the following Tuesday or Wednesday of the following week and on Thursday, week 31, I became a client at The Farm.
My midwife, Mimi, was loving, kind, and caring. She was just about to take her midwfery exam for certification and Pamela would also be attending my birth.  I was thrilled beyond belief. I could see my dream birth finally!!  I had phone appointments with Mimi weekly as well as regular appointments with my midwife in town.  Right as parade season for Mardi Gras started Carlo and I went to see The Farm.  Although I was already a client,  I wanted to make sure it was the place for me and that I was where I wanted to be.  We made the 8hr drive on a Saturday and drove back the next morning.  It was enough time to meet Pamela, Mimi, and Kerri (Pamela's apprentice)   I felt pretty good but still nervous. The Farm is quite isolated and I always considered myself a city girl.  At night it's pitch black and the nearest "big" city is 15-20 minutes away.  I still felt that I would make it work and this was the right thing to do.  That trip was taken 1 month before we were to head up for the birth.
On March 1st we left a family of 3 to head to The Farm. We made the big trip over 2 days. My  estimated due date was March 8th.   
It was a tough car ride! Audrey threw up two times! One time the first day, one time the 2nd day. We thought at first she was carsick,  but Audrey doesn't get carsick. By the second day I had caught something as well and was nauseous most of the trip, the last hour up to The Farm was grueling for me, but we made it!!!
We stayed in The Forrest house and arrived right before a big ice storm hit.  The house was beautiful!! It had a large kitchen with an eat in kitchen,  picturesque living room, formal dining room, 2 bedrooms, and 2 bathrooms, one with a large tub.  We were surrounded by trees and beautiful landscape. The living room had a fireplace, baby grand piano, and floor to ceiling windows.  With all that said, there was something I noticed missing...TV!!!  Yes, there are no TV's in The Forrest house. At first, I was at a loss for words, but it was the best thing that could have ever happened to our family!  We had Carlo's computer and a DVD attachment. Audrey was able to watch a movie at night and we binge watched House of Cards after Audrey was in bed. While pregnant, the big bed, a queen bed with a tempurpedic mattress was SUPER uncomfortable. Therefore,  I slept in the small bedroom, a full bed, with Audrey, where I was more comfortable.  To say I slept well would be a lie.  I don't know many pregnant women who have slept well in that last stretch.
As far as appointments go, Mimi and Pamela came to see me a lot at first. They saw me 3 days in a row at and to tell you guys the truth,  I didn't like it. I didn't understand at the time, but do now.  You see, I had a lot of water, more than normal, and an anterior placenta.  This combination  made it VERY difficult for either of them to determine whether Violet was head or butt down. A breech birth is not an issue for The Farm, but it would have been a surprise to me. I also went to the clinic on Wednesday the 5th and Wednesday the 12th. Yes, I went over. By the second week, I was still not comfortable with my appointments...
 I loved Mimi and Kerri, but Pamela and I simply didn't click.  Please don't get me wrong, she is a wonderful person, but very direct and I just didn't connect with her like I did with Mimi and Kerri.  I had reservations regarding Pamela attending my birth and expressed them to Mimi and Kerri on the 12th. I had a complete breakdown on Tuesday the 11th. They took this as a good sign. A complete breakdown meant baby would arrive soon. Following my appointment, I met another Farm midwife, Staci, Pamela's daughter-in-law, and her apprentice Laura. Although I didn't get to speak with them for long, I knew they were both so funny, full of energy, and love. .
 Mimi came by the house later on the 12th and told us Pamela had decided it was best to not attend my birth, due to our lack of connection, and instead Staci and Laura would attend along with Mimi.  At my last appointment at the clinic, Mimi found out the night before that she had passed her midwifery exam.  She was thrilled!!! I finally felt great about my birth. I had my dream team!!!
Wednesday eveninig I felt some different pressure waves (contractions) but dismissed them. My pressure waves woke me up around 4am Thursday March 13th. I knew this was the start of something so I went back to sleep.  I slept until 7:30am and felt well rested.  They became more frequent around 9am which is when we called Mimi.  She came over around lunchtime and stayed for the day. Staci and Laura were attending an Amish birth and came over afterwards.
Audrey was having a great time with the new camera we got her just for this occasion. She was taking TONS of pictures of mama laboring, Mimi, Staci, Laura, and Carlo.  She actually took around 600 photos BEFORE Violet was born!!!!  She rubbed my back and took great care of me throughout the entire process.  She understood everything that was going on from us reading the books Hello Baby and Mama Midwife. 
Mimi tried to check me early in the day, but my cervix is quite high so she was unable to determine how far along I was. Staci finally arrived around 3pm and I was 5cm.  I was still having a good time talking and laughing. I didn't need to focus yet and we were getting quite a few laughs from the Amish stories Staci, Laura, and Kerri told!  Staci thought it might be a good idea around 4:30ish to take a trip into the "big" city so I could have an ultrasound.  Apparently, I had a bulging water bag along with a lot of water and an anterior placenta, and they were still uncertain whether Violet's head was down or not. THIS is where the story gets interesting.
Here I am 6cm packed into the backseat of Carlo's 4-runner. Carlo folded down half of his backseat so I could lean on the birthing ball as we drove.  Mimi was in the passenger seat, Audrey and I were in the back and we were following Staci, Kerri, and Laura in Staci's car.  We took the back roads through hill country!!! What a ride that was!! I was roughly 6cm when we arrived at our destination.  The tech was nice enough to stay open later just for me! I didn't see anything on the ultrasound but was just hanging out. Lol all I knew was that her head was down.  The ride back was more intense.  I asked that we take the more direct route back home due to my need to focus more.  Things were progressing nicely. Audrey took wonderful care of me and even held my hand on the way back.  What a sweetheart!  Once we got back I tried a rebozo around my belly and over my shoulders.  Think woven wrap like you are starting a FWCC (front wrap cross carry) instead of a baby I was wrapping my belly.  I squatted and simultaneously pulled the tails down.  It helped some, but just like with Audrey,  nothing was better than my hips being squeezed.  Prior to the birth, we asked Kerri to act as our doula.  She was wonderful, and the one who was squeezing my hips!
    My times may be off from here on out since there were no clocks and time is not something you care about in labor.   
Audrey went to bed around 7:30pm, the same time I was around 8-9cm, aka transition.  After her dinner, Audrey came in during a pretty intense pressure wave. I remember her saying "I want to give mama a hug and kiss." Kerri asked her to wait until mama's pretty song was over. As soon as I finished, I remember reaching out my arms and saying "Audrey kiss!!" I told Carlo beforehand that his main job was to take care of my baby because I was in good hands with 2 midwives and 2 apprentices.  I had tried several different  positions throughout my labor: towel rolls, side lying, the tub, hands and knees, and the burthing stool.  This time, I hated the tub, I remember saying water and immediately having coconut water brought to me. Lol I then  said tub as I started stripping as I walked.  I labored and birthed in the back bedroom, the room with the bed I did not like sleeping on. I used my hypnobirthing techniques throughout although did not listen to anything, not even music, during labor.  I had my low birth song as I did with Audrey and only a few times, on difficult pressure waves would I forget my hypnobabies only to be reminded by Mimi to melt like butter into the pressure wave. This quickly put me back into my trance. I believe I was fully dilated for 2 hrs waited nearly 2 hrs before my water broke. I remember asking to try the water once more. While in the bathroom before stepped into the tub, I had a particularly stron pressure wave. I hit all fours and said "hips!!!!" Loudly. Carlo was by my front and Kerri pushed on my hips and my water broke. All I could say was "thank God!"  Carlo said it sounded like a water balloon that was being chucked at a wall broke. It was loud. At that point I was lead back into the bedroom. I sat on the birthing stool with my feet up on it as well.  I remember Kerri was to my left, Mimi to my right, and Carlo was right behind me. I lost my focus a little around the ring of fire and said "I just want to see my baby." not realizing she was 1 pub away.  Staci told me to give it one more big try and she would be here.  I remember being cheered on and even having a new midwife walk in less than a minute before Violet was born. It was Carol and her energy was so positive and loving she felt like an old friend. She told me I had this. At 9:25 after 20 minutes of pushing and roughly 5 hrs of active labor I did it!! I had my dream VBAC.  As soon as she was born I knew it was a girl, my sweet Violet. All I could say was "I did it!!"  It was incredible. Carlo took a few pictures of me right after and one around 11pm when everyone left.  I don't remember delivering my placenta. I remember needing 3 stitches and being terrified of the needle! I kid you not guys, I had to hold Mimi's hand! Carol took care of Violet, clearing her lungs and all so she could breastfeed. She had her about 45 minutes. I held Violet immediately and snuggled her.  She was covered in meconium, like Audrey, which is why Carol had her talking to her. Carlo stayed right by her. They were on the other side of the bed.  Once everyone had left, Carlo took a picture and a a video. Violet's birth healed the wounds from Audreys birth and brought us closer together as a family. At 4am I got up to go to the bathroom, Violet woke up, and Audrey came into the room. I told Audrey to come with me and told Carlo to please change the baby.  I asked Audrey if she saw the baby.  She looked at me then went running into the bedroom and came  running back to me and said excitedly "it's a girl!! Just like I said!!" She was far too excited to go back to sleep so we hung out in bed as a family of 4. Audrey held Violet and we gave Audrey her birthstone necklace as a big sister gift.  She is the most wonderful big sister and Violet adores her every move. I am so very lucky to have had this experience and to have these two sweet special girls. 

The Forrest house

The ice storm that hit the night we arrived

Me, Audrey, Laura, and Kerri! Right before transition. 

Violet Antonia 6lbs 10oz 19 3/4 inches 

Tons of hair

Just shy of 2 hrs after she was born 

Holding her the first time

The most excited big sister ever!!!!

STILL the most excited big sister ever! 

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