Sunday, December 16, 2007

Birth Story-- not for the faint of heart!

For a while now I've been wanting to post my birth stories here on my blog. Here's Abi's for now. I'll post Kenny's soon. I never wrote Nate's birth story, partly because I didn't know about writing birth stories back then, and because the experience was so terrifying that I just wanted to forget it. I regret not writing it down but, watcha gonna do, huh?

Hope you enjoy!

Abigail Nendin’s birth story (written shortly after her birth 3 years ago)

I have been imagining for weeks how I would write my birth story and now that she’s here no words seem to do the experience justice. It was absolutely amazing.

When we first found out I was pregnant we were in the US planning our return trip home to Mongolia. Our first son was born in a hospital in the capital city, Ulaan Baatar and that experience was not what we had hoped it would be- in fact it was downright dangerous. Although my birth experience itself was wonderful I found the interventions made by the doctors as well as their general attitudes to be very unnerving and totally unacceptable. Having this baby in a Mongolian hospital and having to go through all that again was not even an option for us and staying in the States to have the baby wasn’t a possibility either. We decided that we would have to have the baby at home with the assistance of a midwife or a Mongolian doctor. I ordered some supplies off the internet that we would need and back to Mongolia we came.

We searched for a midwife with no luck. After a few weeks we gave up that idea and decided to look for a Mongolian doctor to come and assist us. That idea never sat well with me because of my past experience with the Mong. doctors. Also the fact that they have all, at one time or another, performed abortions made me not want to have them anywhere near me or my baby. By then I was beginning to entertain the thought of unassisted childbirth, a concept that I really hadn’t considered before. I didn’t say anything to my husband, but just prayed about it. Then one day he just said, out of the blue, “We don’t need any doctors. I think I can catch the baby”. Then the madness began! We read every single piece of material we could get our hands on –websites, articles, books, you name it, we read it!

By the time my due date (March 19th) rolled around we were confident and ready. We just had to wait and wait we did. Around the 12th my contractions started getting stronger but not enough to interfere with my daily activities. They would even get close enough to time them for a while in the evenings and at night but would peter off in the morning. I went like this for several days and was trying not to get anxious. I kept telling myself I still had a long way to go. I slept a lot and ate like crazy to keep my energy up. By the 4th morning of waking up to “nothing” I was convinced that I was going to be pregnant forever. Even my 19 month old, Nate was getting impatient. Every morning he would go over the bassinet and ask for the baby. We’d tell him “not yet” and he’d sigh and walk away.

Then on the 20th I woke up to blood, a lot of it! Blood isn’t a good sign in early labor so we began to pray. At that point Hetee and I both felt we were going into spiritual warfare and that there was no turning back.

The bleeding stopped that afternoon but returned the following morning. I was passing bigger clots now too. Fear began to creep in as I was almost sure the placenta was detaching from the uterine wall too soon. We continued to pray and the bleeding tapered off once again. By 7pm that evening (Sunday) my contractions were strong and coming closer together. I decided not to focus on them and proceeded to make supper and wash dishes, pausing for each contraction. I felt really good and full of energy. We put Nate to bed around 8:30 and I lay awake on the sofa until around 11 then fell asleep between contractions for about 30 minutes. Lying down became too uncomfortable so I sat up and asked Hetee to read Psalms to me. After a while I felt like I needed to walk around more to get things moving faster. Around 2 am and we decided to call mom and a couple of friends who were supposed to come for the birth. We got through to mom and she came right over but Hetee couldn’t get through to our friends. Soon after mom came I hit transition and decided to get into the tub. I had been in and out and wasn’t yet sure if I wanted to birth there or not. All I knew at that point was that the hot water felt good. As I lay there, Hetee poured water over my stomach with a cup and it felt so good! I wanted to feel inside. Sure enough, I felt something. It wasn’t the head, it felt more like the umbilical cord. I got really scared and told mom and Hetee that I thought I had a prolapsed cord. I felt it again and realized it was the bag of waters that had not broken yet. =) Boy, what a relief! The next contraction came and my water broke, right there in the tub. Right then I felt instinctively that something was wrong and I needed to hurry and get the baby out. I think it was the Holy Spirit guiding me. I tried to stand to get out of the tub so I would have the help of gravity but as I stood, Abigail began to crown. For a few seconds I lost control and felt like a trapped wild animal, fighting to get out of the tub. It was so confining! The worst thing was I was afraid for my baby’s life. I somehow knew she was in trouble. I made it onto all fours and as I did her head came out. I debated whether or not to wait for another contraction to push her body out but it seemed too long so I prayed for strength and pushed her shoulders out. Everything was quiet and I saw mom and Hetee look at each other. She was dark blue and had her cord was wrapped around her neck 3 times then once around her upper arm. They quickly unwrapped it and Hetee held her face down and patted and rubbed her back. She breathed and cried really loud! Hetee shouted, “YES!!!” At some point he also shouted that it was a girl but I can’t remember exactly when. As I leaned back to nurse her I realized that her cord was white and not pulsing at all. Hetee said it was like that when she first came out. We all cried tears of joy as the reality of it all sunk in-the cord and placenta were not functioning properly and a few more seconds could have meant the worse for our precious little girl.

At about that time Nate woke up and came to meet his little sister. It was love at first sight and he has been fascinated with her ever since.

I nursed her in the tub for about 10 minutes. She latched on right away and nursed like a pro! I looked down at her and saw that she had cried REAL tears! I have never seen a newborn cry tears before.

Hetee noticed that I was still bleeding quite a lot so I took some cayenne pepper tincture and it slowed down so I felt OK to stand up. As I did the placenta slipped out along with several clots and more blood. I climbed out of the tub unassisted and walked back to my bed as mom and Hetee got the baby and the placenta. We tied her cord with a white ribbon mom brought and Hetee cut the cord with the kitchen scissors (I couldn’t even watch!).

She was born at 4:10 Monday morning weighing 3.7 kgs and measuring 50 cm. She has a head full of beautiful black hair and big, shiny, almost-black eyes. Abigail means “Father’s Delight” and her Mongolian name, Nendin, means precious. We are so blessed!

Abigail with Grandma


mandkhaic said...

WOW... Amazing story!!!

Twila G. said...

What an incredible, beautiful story! God truly blessed your dependence and trust in Him. Abi is a miracle girl. Your faith in God inspires me!

EllaJac said...

I had my first homebirth (assisted, however!) in September. Yours is an amazing and incredible story, for sure!