Thursday, February 5, 2015

Hazel Winter

I was experiencing rushes off and on all day on Saturday January 24th. They weren't strong or very regular so I didn't pay them much attention and went about my day tending to children and housework, as usual. I decided to have a glass of wine with lunch in hopes of stirring things up a bit but it didn't help to bring the rushes any closer together. When I was relaxing with the kids on the couch that evening things were feeling "off." I knew that the birth of our sweet Hazel was imminent.

 We went to bed that night and I figured the rushes would fade, as I did, with sleep. I remember one good one coming on shortly after I fell asleep and it waking me, if only for that minute. At 2:30am on January 25th I woke to use the bathroom. When I wiped I noticed quite a bit of "bloody show" and found myself wide awake and excited as could be. I went back up to bed with my head buzzing. Our birthing time was close. So close. I knew we were about to meet our baby girl. After laying in bed for a couple of hours and trying to force myself into sleep I finally gave up. I got up, wandered around the house in the dark of the night, and felt the rushes intensify. I really didn't want to have to wake everyone and was hoping to leave them asleep until at least 7am. I decided to relax in the tub for a while. After that I got dressed and started packing my hospital bag. Marcus would wake periodically to ask how I was feeling. I remember shrugging him off in hopes of laboring alone in the quiet of the night just a little longer. This time though he noticed me dressing and packing and told me I could turn on the closet light. After that I made my way back downstairs and finished readying for the hospital. At this point the rushes were about 3-5 minutes apart. I decided I better call the kids' dad and let him know we'd be bringing them soon. I decided I couldn't wait any longer and went to wake Marcus up. As he was up getting ready the boys started waking from all of the early morning hustle and bustle in the house. I told them Hazel was coming and they were off to get ready for a day with dad. Matt text and said he could meet us halfway. We grabbed Ellie out of bed and told her that her sister was coming and we needed to take her to daddy. We threw a blanket over her and strapped her into the van. Just as we were walking out the door it began snowing. The flakes were falling so fast that by the time we made it across town to the highway the roads were covered. We pulled into a nursing home parking lot to drop the kids off. After exchanging kisses and saying our goodbyes we were on our way to the hospital. The drive was slow going with all of the snow and it was then that we decided that Bea and Rose weren't nearly as fitting middle names as Winter for our sweet girl. So Hazel Winter she was. We finally pulled into town and decided to swing by Hy-Vee and grab organic virgin olive oil for the birth. This was the only time I got to park in the expectant mothers spot and giggled to myself that a laboring mothers spot wasn't a closer option. By the time we arrived at the hospital it was a little after 7am.

I had my first cervical exam of my pregnancy and was dilated to a four and stretchy. I was admitted. All of the nurses were so sweet and excited to have us there since they'd all worked with my mama for so many years. I found out that the room with the whirlpool where I'd delivered her brothers and sister was already taken so they let me pick which room I'd like out of the few that were left. I picked the room that had the most sunlight pouring in. There were two pines outside the window that were beautifully decorated by the freshly fallen snow and a patch of tall grasses swaying back and forth. Marcus ran out to the van to grab our bags and my birthing ball. I was immediately hooked up to the monitors to check baby's heart tones. I was already kind of bummed because my rushes had slowed to about 7-10 minutes apart on the drive down and being strapped to the bed wasn't helping them to pick up any. I was almost sure I was going home. Soon the nurse came in to let me off of the monitors. I started to roll my hips on my ball and pace the room. I also ate an apple and snuck some bites off of Marcus' sandwich. Just as my contractions were picking back up the nurse came back in to strap me to the monitors again. I expressed my concerns with my rushes slowing each time I'd lay down . We compromised and I only had to be on a short time. This time as I lay in the bed I decided to do some nipple stimulation  and much to my surprise every time I would touch them a rush would come on. Marcus sat at the end of the bed rubbing my feet through each rush. Soon the nurse was back in to take me off of the monitors. This time she made mention of my rushes being more steady.{{thank you nipples!}} I'd just sat on the edge of the bed to attempt to drink some soup as I felt a rush coming on. I stood to lean over a chair nearby and sway my hips. Marcus stood behind me rubbing my lower back and all of the sudden I felt a POP!  I said "I just felt something pop." Marcus said "yea, that was my elbow." and that's when I felt the warm water running down my legs. "Nope, that was my water!" After I got all cleaned up I got back into bed for another short monitoring session. (I hate those monitors!) This time in bed I did more nipple stimulation and the rushes were becoming stronger. I kept reminding myself that my rushes weren't stronger than me because they were me. With each one I would close my eyes, keep my mouth loose by saying ooooOoooOoooh, and visualize my body opening like a lotus. All the while in the bed I would rub a piece of jadeite in my left hand trying to stay open and not grip my hands or tense my body. It was about this time that I decided I wanted to labor in the shower. Water has always helped to keep me at ease in labor and I knew it was time to get in. The water felt so good on my skin. Those showers with all of the different shower heads are a dream come true for a laboring mama. There was a little bench in there but I knew I couldn't sit. I stood holding onto the handrails and swaying my hips. I would sway though the rushes saying "oooOooOoooh and oooOoooOopen." The drain in the shower was clogged and Marcus was having to set towels at the shower door so we didn't flood the bathroom. I spent about 45 minutes in there and could tell I was close to transition. The water was exactly what I needed to bring my baby down. I could tell that I would soon need to push. Our nurse came in and told Marcus that it was time to get out and check the monitors again. (She had tried to have me wear the portable ones into the shower but Marcus kindly asked if we could just leave them off for a while and she agreed.) Marcus stepped back in from talking to her and I knew it was time to get out and I broke down. I began to cry and said "if we ever do this again this is why we WILL have a homebirth!" He told me everything was okay and I didn't "have" to do anything I didn't want. "We'll flood this whole hospital if we have to, baby." That's when it hit me, I'm crying, this HAS to be transition! I got out to the bed and Marcus told the nurse that I thought I was in transition. She kind of gave us a surprised look and then went out and told our midwife. She came in and checked me to find that I was only a six and that she couldn't easily feel the top of Hazel's head. We decided that she was in a weird cockeyed position in there and that had been the reason for the back labor I was having. I was feeling completely defeated at his point and my midwife suggested that I do some lunges and knee ups to try to get her to rotate better down in my pelvis. I stood and practiced these techniques in between each rush. With each rush I would throw my arms around Marcus' neck and ask him to rub my lower back as hard as he could. His arms had to be so sore by the end of it! It was around this time that I mentioned that "I might need something to take the edge off." and that "I think this is my biggest baby yet." He knew that this was really the last thing that I wanted and had to talk me down off the ledge. "You're doing great, baby. You've got this, I know you do! Just try to relax and open." I remember being so hot and feeling like I might pass out. Between contractions Marcus would fan me with a towel. A few more hard rushes after that and I was feeling pushy. Marcus went to the door and let the midwife know. She came in and asked which position I wanted to push in. At this time I was sitting bum on the side of the bed, resting on my arms, with my feet on the ground. I decided I wanted to push right where I was. After a few rushes in that position my arms grew weak and I got up onto the bed. A few good pushes, some loud "oooOoooOooh's," and a couple of "F words" later and her head was born. I had a minute to rest and then my body started pushing for her shoulders. She was wearing her umbilical cord like a seat belt and it took a couple of good pushes for them to be born. Hazel Winter was born at 3:17pm into her daddy's hands after about 10 minutes of pushing. He passed her up to me and I tore my gown down and put her to my chest. She latched on to my breast almost immediately and I felt my eyes well up with tears. I told her that we'd been waiting for her and how in love with her I was. Marcus bent over us and laid his forehead against mine and I felt his warm tears running down over my face. We were so elated. About 10-15 minutes after Hazel's birth I delivered our placenta and Marcus cut the cord. I asked to see the placenta. It was big and beautiful and sits in our freezer waiting to be planted in the just the perfect spot under a hazelnut tree, little Hazel's hazelnut tree.

We spent the hour following her birth in a blissful dreamlike state just staring at her. We nursed, cuddled, and loved on each other in that tiny hospital room. We were so high over the wild experience that had just brought us our baby girl. After an hour had passed a nurse came back in the room to weigh and measure her. She weighed in as my biggest baby yet at 8 pounds 12 ounces. She was 20.5 inches long and as pink and perfect as could be. Soon Hazel was back in my arms and at my breast and she's been pretty content there ever since. At eleven days old she's nursing like a champ and the sweetest little baby. She's stolen each and every one of our hearts, our little Hazel Winter.