Monday, January 11, 2010

Jericho Fury, born 6.15.2009 into his daddy's hands. 7lb, 3oz. 19.5in

Jericho's birth story-Or- How I became so passionate about childbirth

(YES, this is a rough copy and I do realize my font is 2 different colors. I got a bit sick of typing and have a wee-one who needs my attention right now :-)

Here's the story of how our son came to be. Out of the womb, anyway ;-)

Choosing a Caregiver

When we found out I was pregnant, I almost immediately went into research overdrive. After reading more books, websites and forums than I care to admit and starting off with 2 different OB/Gyns, at 24 weeks pregnant we decided to have our son with a midwife at a freestanding birth center about a mile away from the hospital. Cascade Midwives and Birth Center.

We prepared by taking a *free* pregnancy/birthing class at a Pregnancy Resource Center nearby (which was actually a REALLY great class) and then taking the Bradley Method Classes. We chose the Bradley Method after reading that over 90% of those chose choose this method ended up having natural births. WE LOVED our Bradley class, teacher and class mates. Yes, WE. Because this class is geared toward including the husbands, my husband ended up being just as involved and passionate about birth as I was. It was an amazing time of comradship between my husband and I. This 12 week class is NOT a sit back and learn class. It is highly involved and a lot of homework. We kept track of our eating and aimed to eat as close to the "Brewer Diet" as possible ( We had exersizes we had to do; from squats to butterflies to pelvic tilts and kegals. And more kegals. And even more kegals after that. My favorite: daily "relaxing" practice time with the hubby. For us, this included massage which is WONDERFUL for the pregnant.


Two days before going into labor, I had a friend's mom who is a Bowen practitioner perform Bowen on me. Bowen in late pregnancy is supposed to help align the pelvic floor muscles so that one side isn't tighter than the other, causing the baby's rotation to be slightly off. I also shouldn't neglect to mention that I had Bowenwork done around 30 weeks pregnant for typical pregnant lady lower back pain. The pain was gone almost immediately and NEVER came back. I felt GREAT at even 9 months prego. We went camping twice during my last month and even slept on our living room floor during our bedroom remodel.

Here's where our birth story begins.... During the later Bowenwork session Jericho had NOTICIBELY dropped.

Before and After:

Jericho was due Wednesday, June 17th, 2009 which was our 3 year wedding anniversary. I thought FOR SURE Jericho would be late. I had a due date "celebration" planned; complete with pedicure, a date to Olive Garden for some Eggplant parmasan and baking a 'labor cake'. Instead, my due date 'celebration' included being a sleep deprived new mama, nursing aound the clock, a good, pathetic cry in the bathtub and a casual, "oh, hey, happy anniversary" nod to Jaden.

Sunday, June 14th

Heidi, my sister in law invited me to her college graduation months prior with a condition "... As long as you're not in labor!!" She meant it as a joke, as did every member of our family when they said, "Wouldn't it be funny if you went into labor at her graduation? Also, you BETTER NOT!! It's Heidi's day!!" Luckily Jericho was nice enough to hold out until the END of her graduation :-)

Looking back, I TOTALLY had a suspicion that I was in labor. I don't know how. I could just feel it coming. It was kind of a primal intuition thing, or something. Before we left our house for the graduation, I realized I had been bleeding a bit 'down there'. Bloody show! I called my friend who had had a baby 5 weeks prior to see how long after her 'show' she went into labor. Her answer: one day. Half of me knew labor was immenent, the other half was completely obliviously disbelieving. We decided to go the the Graduation and act like nothing was happening. Once we got there, I realized I felt a bit crampy. On and off. Every 5-7 minutes. Hmmmm... A bit after that I started to withdraw a bit mentally. It seemed I was in some sort of a fog. Once the ceremony ended, our family went to the Speghetti factory to celebrate Heidi's awesomeness. I felt so weird! Urgent! Indwelling. Focused. On what?? Contractions weren't bad, they were between 5-10 minutes apart. Sometimes I'd go 20 minutes with nothing. I couldn't focus on anything but not because of pain. I just knew I had to RUN and get our house the rest of the way set up.
Me, the elephant... Sunday, June 14th, about an hour and a half before labor started.
We left early from dinner, came home, cleaned, set up our Cosleeper and finalized our 'what to pack' list. During all of the hustle and bustle my contractions about stopped. This is where I black out. All I remember is once I was in bed, I kept waking up with contractions. Kind of like waking up knowing you have the stomach flu. It was just... there. We watched Scrubs (filthy, I know!) on my laptop during the night and one of the characters was eating some pancakes. Along with contractions, I also felt an incredible urge to have some pancakes. Everytime I hear the theme song for Scrubs, I remember laying in bed, somewhat in labor, beautiful sunrise, NEEDING pancakes. Insert song :"I can't do this all on my ow-own; I'm no super man!" Da da dunt da da!

Monday, June 15th

When I woke up to start my day, I decided I was going to get some pancakes with my mama. Luckily she was obliging. I thought I'd give my midwife a quick call to see if she thought I was in labor. Contractions were 5-7 minutes apart, lasting maybe 30 seconds. She pretty much said, "Nope! Get into a warm bath to get them to stop". So after taking a quick bath, making Jaden a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to deliver to his work and realizing there was no change in contractions, I headed out the door for breakfast with my mama! We went to the Buzz Inn in Lake Stevens, about a 45 minute treck from my house. I remember thinking multiple times, "I probably shouldn't be driving." At this point, contractions started to hurt a bit. It just felt like really awful period cramps. By the time I got to the Buzz Inn, I had to actually stop and relax during each contraction. "I think you're in labor, sweetie," my mama said almost right when I got there. Nah! Couldn't be! Conractions were now 5-6 minutes apart and lasting 40 seconds. Too irregular to be labor. Besides, I REALLY needed some french toast (by the time I got there my craving shifted a bit). I was timing my contractions on my mom's Napoleon Dynamite watch. I don't know why I'm telling you this. Mostly so I don't forget later on. We finished breakfast and my mom made me promise to call her when I got home. She was a worried wreck. "I'll be FINE!!" I kept telling her as I decided I didn't want to go home just yet. Next stop: going to Jaden's parent's transmission shop so my mother in law and I could go for a walk. That would "reveal my conractions for what they are". If it wasn't labor, they'd go away. If it was, they'd intensify!
We walked for 2 hours. An hour each way on the Centennial Trail. Through the forest with no roadway inbetween our starting and our finish. Looking back: NOT a good idea. Also, looking back, I had to be about 3 or 4, possibly even 5 cm dialated at this point. Contractions intensified almost immediatley. By the middle of the walk they were every 3 minutes, lasting for 45 seconds. It was actually a really nice walk. I never really had to stop walking during a contraction until we were almost back to the shop. I was still super "indwelling" and getting more serious by the minute. Marker that I was in labor #27... Ha.

We get back to the shop. I decide I want to go home so I could clean some more. Jaden made me promise to keep him update. By now we were thinking, "yeah, this is probably labor". I drove home by myself thinking, "Maybe NOT such a great idea, heh heh." Of course, I ended up being behind evey slow drivin idiot on my way home. One guy stopped in the MIDDLE of the last intersection before my house. For no reason. During a contraction. I yelled, "HURRY UP, YOU MORON, WOMAN IN LABOR BEHIND YOU!!!!!!!!!!!" I sure hope he learned his lesson ;-) I got home and collapsed on my bed. There was no time for cleaning. I was officially DOWN. I called Jaden and told him I thought I needed his support during contractions. It was 4:30 in the PM at this point.
This is where things sort of blur. At some point I got onto facebook and let everyone know I might have been in labor. At another point I got into the bathtub. At another point we called the midwife who STILL didn't believe I was in labor. Oh, contractions were still 2 1/2 to 3 minutes apart, lasting around 50 seconds. But some contractions were 5 minutes apart. Others only lasted 20 seconds. I started to get REALLY focused. I told Jaden to call our Bradley instructor and see what she thought. At this point I could barely function and was frusterated at the idea of possibly NOT being in labor. I knew once I became focused things were rolling but why the heck were my contractions so weird?
Lynette told him it sounded as though I was in labor but the baby wasn't quite perfectly aligned for descent yet. Per Lynette, Jaden had me do some pelvic tilts and then go up and down the stairs a bit. This was pure TORTURE. I wanted to sit. NO! Stand. NO! Be on my birth ball. NO! Lay in bed! I think I lasted 10 minutes before I demanded to lay in bed. This is when Jaden's mom, our secondary coach came to help.
What contractions felt like to me
REALLY intense period cramps that radiated into my hips and then lower back. In case you're wondering. I kept getting hot, NO! COLD! I didn't want to be touched (there went our relaxation practice technique). I was soooo thirsty. I also kept thinking I had to throw up. My contractions were still super irregular. And at this point they never stopped. I'd have one (putting my hand up in a 'stop' motion) it would started to subside, TWO (holding up two fingers) and as it would start to subside, THREE (Still holding up 2 fingures. I forgot how to count during labor). Every move I made seem to cause a contraction. If I had to pee. While I was peeing. After a pee. Closing my eyes. Thinking. Everything seemed to cause a contraction. Jaden called the midwife again. She finally said I was probably in labor but wait an hour and see. Actually, I think this might have been before the stair climbing. I don't remember. All I know is that it was 7:30. 8:30 came before I knew it. The midwife told Jaden that they were JUST going to check me and not to bother telling anyone we were coming in just yet. I felt hopeless thinking I was only MAYBE half way through labor and feeling this much sensation. It was so hard to get me out of bed. I would contract and then want to lie down again. Finally I got the motivation when I felt like I had to poop. Jaden helped me hobble to the bathroom. I sat on the toilet. Lots of blood. I would have been worried but I couldn't manage to worry. No poop happened. Lots of contractions.

Me, laboring on my bed. THINKING I was MAYBE 1/2 way through. More like in transition!
Somehow I got to the couch. I was sitting there while my Mother in law and Jaden packed the car (took forever. They didn't realize they should have been hurrying more). It felt so wrong to sit. While sitting, I had an unusual contraction where I held my breath. Meaning 2nd stage of labor? Time to think about pushing? Or did I just wish I was having a breath-holding contraction? It had to be wishful thinking. I got into the car, TORTURE (no necessarily pain, just felt weird. Like sitting was a wrong thing to do. And restless. Or something). It was now 9:15ish. BEAUTIFUL sunset. Stacey prayed, thanking God for this day. To labor under such a lovely sky. The birth center was 20 minutes away. Stacey was driving and my ever faithful husband coach was seeing me through contractions from the back seat. Stacey hit a pothole while trying to avoid said pothole. She felt awful. "It's OK" I managed to squeek out. When we were maybe 10 minutes away, I felt another slight urge to push. I told Jaden to go ahead and call my mama and sisters and have them come down. Just in case. We finally got the the birth center. I somehow managed to stand up out of my seat. A contraction began to build and I hobbled inside so I could lean up again the counter. My water broke (forewater? It wasn't pee, I'll tell you that!). I started to bear down. The baby was coming and COMING NOW!!!
I waddled to my room (Well, more of a beautiful hotel lodge than delivery room), KICKED my shoes off in all sorts of directions and collapsed on the bed. Sarah (AWESOME midwife) checked my cervix and sure enough I was fully dialated and effaced but with a bit of a lip. Glorious news! Thank the Good Lord that she already had the birth tub full for me. It was 9:30. Jaden and I got in and RELIEF! The water was amazing. I started pushing in earnest at this point. I got into the "squat" position (did you know this opens your pelvis by 10%?) with my elbows up and chin down just like I pictured I would. My brain came back to me and I could once again gather my thoughts. I started to worry about whether or not my family would make it in time. My mom walked in the door at probably 10, bawling. "It's OK, sweetie! I know, I know it hurts!"

Squatting in the whirlpool tub of heaven with Jaden and Sarah (midwife)
Actually, ladies and gentlemen (uh, well, probably just ladies) I'd like to stop here and break a common misconception. 2nd stage of labor (the pushing stage) is a RELIEF from contractions! It hurts FAR LESS and is MUCH MORE productive. I wish I could remember the specifics but all I know is that the labor PAIN in replaced with the labor URGE. A crazy, unstoppable, uncontrolable urge to PUSH! And PUSH more! And push until your contraction is over. For me it looked like this: Contraction builds, take 2 deep breaths, push on the 3rd for as long as is comfortable (NOT until a dr counted to 10!). Writing and reliving the pushing stage makes me miss it. I loved it! It was so cool.
My sisters showed up probably 15 minutes before Jericho was born. Sarah (sister) lit some candles. Stacey put on some lovely worship music. It was romantic and beautiful. Sarah (midwife) kept the lights low and inspections to a minimum. After she felt me to make sure Jericho was descending, she told me I could feel my baby's head in the birth canal if I would like. "HECK YEAH!" I reached up there, probably 2-3 inches and touched my son for the first time. Turns out he was still in his water sack (As I said: I think only my FOREwater had broke) and Sarah broke it. I didn't realize Jericho was still in his bag of water and was (loudly) wondering why his head felt like rubber. Haha. After Sarah broke my water Jericho was just RIGHT there. His head started to emerge and Jaden, expecting his head to retreat back in (as most babies do between contractions) looked up at me to make sure I was doing OK. I pushed like CRAZY, Jaden looked back down and BAM! Jericho's head was entirely out. I was saying, "It hurts! It hurts" not because it really hurt pushing him out, but because I KNEW I pushed so hard and he came out so fast that I tore. Sarah (Midwife) came in closer as his body perfectly rotated out and let Jaden 'catch' our son. Jaden brought him to my chest all the while I'm exclaining, "Why is there so much blood? I bled a lot! I think I tore!" Ha. THOSE were my first thoughts after meeting my son. He cried the most glorious gurgly cry (again, on his OWN, no sucking or harsh treatment necessary) and all of girls in the room rejoiced loudly.

My mom cut Jericho's Umbilical Cord.

I'll try to go quickly through the rest: I got out of the tub. I was freezing cold and STARVING. I layed on the bed, got wrapped in blankets. Jaden had Jericho and Jericho pooped all up his arm. Welcome to daddyhood!
"Good work, son" Notice the poop. Bwa hahahaaha
Checking out our newborn son
With Jericho laying on my chest, I was checked and sure enough I tore. Not long, but deep. I finally got to nurse Jericho while laying on my side. It HURT. They say it's not going to hurt to nurse as long as they're latch is perfect but that's just not true. I've heard it said, "you've never had anyone or anything suck on your nipples that hard and for that long." hahaha. You have to built "callouses", I guess. I ate the most glorious peanut butter and jelly sandwich, drank some orange juice and was totally elated and on top of the world. I joked around and was my usual self pretty much instantly. I was anxious to see the placenta that nourished my child and took a bunch of pics of it. We left at around 2:30 AM, after being stitched up and sure I could indeed pee, and went home. It was a BEAUTIFUL, "giant's toenail" moonlit night. It was the most bizarre thing EVER, to leave the birth center as parents, having JUST given birth. So surreal. We didn't get much sleep that night (as expected) and woke up early the next day. I had my first triple latte in 9 months. This, my friends, is when the going got tough for me. Days 2 until-well, Jericho's almost 7 months old at this writing. I'll go through 80 deliveries before going through the postpartum, emotional, attemping to recover, feeling trapped, learning to breastfeed and take care of a wee being again. I didn't know I would later have post partum depression. I had the baby blues pretty bad. I will touch on this in another blog
Jericho in his short-lived Skull and Crossbones blanket. He pooped all over it
"DUDE! I can't believe I just GAVE BIRTH!"

Going home

Something funny: When Jaden got out of the tub, he apparently had a piece of Jericho's water membrane attatched to his leg. Our midwife was like, "Uhhh... You have some... Pieces on your leg..." My sisters still make fun of the "pieces" on Jaden!

If you read nothing else, read this:

Oh, if you've never had a baby, I want to give you hope. I just kept thinking, "THAT was labor?" It was SOOO not what they make it out to be in the movies. Yeah, it hurt and was hard, but it wasn't the worst pain of my life. When it got really difficult to cope and I was hopeless, it was because I was in "transition" stage and getting ready to push. They say, "When you feel like you can't take anymore, there's no more to take." So true! Some may say, "well, she just forgot the pain like we all do." That's true to an extent. I don't remember exactly what a contraction felt like. But the entire time I was pushing and afterward, I was astounded at how easily things went. Then again, I did NOT face labor afraid. My research and especially Bradley training taught me what to expect so precisely that I felt like I could just deliver my own baby. I want you to know that fear causes our muscles to tense and our systems to release "fight of flight" chemicals. Both of those lead to increased pain and dread because your body has to overcome that while trying to birth a baby.

Also, I had an uncomplicated, normal labor in a setting that allowed me to do as I needed to do. The VAST majority of births are uncomplicated. I was free to birth in setting that believed in my abilities as a woman to give birth naturally.

No pitocin to increase painful contractions and cause my baby to be born before he was ready. No vacume/cutting to remove my baby from me when the pit doesn't work. No IV to hold me captive to my bed. No catheter to cause even more unnecessary pain. No apgar score to rate how affected by labor (or medicine) my baby was. I was not numbed, bossed around or had any decisions made for me. Believe it or not but these interventions (unless medically necessary) not only make for more trauma to the mom and baby but serve to increase fear and pain for many women. I was never made to believe this was an emergency or otherwise not normal. There was no trauma for me or my son. I would do it again in a heartbeat. It was so wonderful that I am on a mission to share the joy of natural, normal childbirth. Not that ALL births aren't amazing. They are!!!! I just think our hospital system scares our women and takes away our rights. I know so many young women who are desparetly afraid of giving birth. They needn't be.


  1. What a beautiful story. It brought tears to my eyes.

  2. WOW! My birth story is WAY similar to yours! I labored...for 8 days...irregularly and my midwife kept saying I wasn't in labor...then checkup day came and I was 7 cm dialated! So I stuck around and about 6 hours later gave birth in the tub which was SOOOOO nice! I had back labor and he came out sunny side up so I tore some too. Labor is so not that bad! I'm pregnant again and VERY confident! I too went to the Bradley classes and gave birth in a freestanding birth center. Wouldn't have it any other way! :-)

  3. Beautiful story, you're incredible! Thanks so much for sharing your story :)

  4. thanks so much for sharing! your story is comforting :]

  5. I found the link to your story on the Beautiful Birth Stories blog. I'm 10wks4days pregnant with my first babe and found so much comfort and joy from reading your beautiful story. God is so good!! I was touched by your obvious love for Christ and your commitment to experience the birth of your baby so fully. The funny thing? We live in Colorado, but I was born at home in Lake Stevens, WA in December '76 and grew up in Stanwood, WA. Yours was only the 3rd story I've read and it was so neat to hear you refer to Lake Stevens. I really feel like your reference to my place of birth was the Lord reminding me that I, too, can have a natural birth. I'm so thankful that He led me to your story!

  6. I just found your blog and read your birth story. So incredibly similiar to mine! I labored all day at home and wouldn't tell anyone I was in labor. My husband knew I was in labor but I insisted he stay at work. He finally came home and we went to the birth center and I was 9.5 cm! Our little one arrived naturally about an hour later.

  7. I LOVE your Birth Story. I have been reading these stories on no end for the past few months as I gear up to have my 2nd. I just shared the birth story on my blog for others to read and am hoping other mommies that record theirs will share on my blog to. If you are interested, please go over and join our link up. You will find it at the bottom! Thanks for sharing such a special moment in your life.