Saturday, December 22, 2007

Kenneth Urnuun, Birth Story

Kenny and my "before" picture...

Kenneth Urnuun, age 1 and a half (written 10 days after he was born)

My due date wasn’t until June 24 so I was a bit surprised when I woke up to slight contractions on the 1st. I decided to go about life as usual since I have been known to have long, drawn-out labors. I didn’t want to get my or anyone else’s hopes up quite yet. This early first stage kept us on our toes for about 2 weeks off and on and it seemed that life was just revolving around this baby and everything else just slipped into the background. Needless to say that by the time serious labor hit we were more than ready to get on with the show. I felt like the boy who cried wolf. I joked with my husband that maybe I should try another home pregnancy test just to make sure I was indeed pregnant. Many times during those 2 weeks or so we had headed out to the store to buy “last minute things” only to go home and eat it or use it all and have to go back to the store again a few days later. It was taking a toll on my body and my emotions but deep inside I knew I needed to be “sick and tired” of being pregnant because emotionally I wasn’t psyched up about the whole birth thing yet. For some reason I didn’t have the “bring it on” attitude I had had with my other 2. My previous pregnancy ended in miscarriage so I thought maybe that had something to do with it.

Up until the 18th the contractions I had been having would start in the evenings and peter off late at night. Then on the 18th they continued, albeit mildly all night and on to the next morning. I made note of the change but kept it to myself. Then on the night of the 19th they became a bit stronger and again lasted all night. I told Hetee that I thought something might happen that night and he said, without the least bit of compassion I might add, “Don’t get your hopes up”. Then as we went to bed Hetee set his cell phone on stopwatch mode, got a pen and paper, propped himself up with pillows and took note of a few contractions. Then he proceeded to fall asleep! I decided to try and sleep, too. For all I knew I could go days like this! Then I started waking up with the contractions and it was getting uncomfortable to lie down. I slept on and off until about 6 am then got up and went into the living room to pray and read my Bible. The contractions were stronger and caused me to stop what I was doing when they hit. By the time 7 rolled around I could no longer concentrate on what I was reading so I just started praying. I was thankful for the time alone with God before the birth. I gave the situation to Him and told Him that I wanted Him to receive the glory, whatever the outcome. I felt His presence so close and comforting.

I’m not sure what time it was, probably shortly after 7 a.m., I woke Hetee up and asked him to read Psalms to me. He read for a few minutes then decided to call my mom who would be coming for the birth. I thought I wanted her to film it but decided against it at the last minute. Then Hetee fixed my birth nest and got out a few items we might need. I think it was right after that 2 year-old Abi woke up and came snuggle next to me on the floor on a mat Hetee prepared for me. She brought me her beloved blankie and put it under my head. Then for some reason she brought me one of my pregnancy books and said, “Here’s your Bible, mommy. If you read it and pray every day you will grow”. It made me chuckle. Then mom came in and the contractions started getting stronger. I was hard pressed to find a more comfortable position and kept moving around. All the time I had one thought going through my head: I can’t believe I’m doing this AGAIN! My next thought was: Did I say that out loud?

Up until then I should mention that I had been on the toilet a good while that morning emptying my bladder and bowels with almost each contraction. I didn’t take anything for that- it happened naturally. I had not had any bloody show at all so I was still wondering (silly me) if I was really in labor. Around 8 am, I’m guessing, I passed a bit of bloody mucus. Then the back pain hit! I had back labors with my first two but this felt as though I was being torn in two. I had one particularly hard contraction that caught me right in the middle of switching positions and I YELLED “My back! Help me!” At that, Nate (going on 4) came running from his bedroom yelling, “I’m coming, mommy. I’ll help you!” He came and hugged me and rubbed my leg. He was so confident and remembered to do all the things I had told him he could do—rub or pat me, remind me that I can do it, pray, etc. From that moment on he was my focal point. He didn’t move from the foot of the bed where he had a bird’s eye view (I was up on the bed semi-reclining at this point).

My water had not broken so each contraction brought so much pressure with it. Then I felt it coming down the birth canal and starting to bulge. I was trying not to push but it was impossible. I was starting to wish I had not reclined on the bed but I had tried standing and squatting before and it felt as though my bottom half was just going to drop off. The bed gave me stability but was also giving me counter pressure down there and making things, I felt, go slower. Anyway, it was too late to move as any movement caused really bad pain in my back. At that point Abi was bouncing around on the bed and driving me insane so Hetee made her get down. She fussed and he sent her to her room. I knew I hit transition when I started feeling nauseous and sweaty. Hetee asked if he could break the water and I hesitated for a moment but then gave in as the pressure was unbearable and the bag was very much intact. Some water leaked out and I asked if it was clear. Hetee said it was very clean and clear and we both sighed in relief. Then baby’s head came out in one contraction right after that. What happened next made me regret not having filmed the birth. Nate saw the head and clapped his hands and jumped up and down literally squealing with joy! It was the cutest, most heart-warming thing I have ever seen. Hetee said, “Look at the cute, little head!”, trying to encourage me but inside, he said later, he thought it was huge. I did, too but at that moment I appreciated his tact! Still focusing on Nate I pushed with the next contraction and felt a terrible pain that I knew wasn’t supposed to be there. It caught me by surprise and I cried out. Nate was looking at my face and he got a little panicky but my mom stepped in and told him it was going to be alright. He then proceeded to pray for me on his own, unprompted. It was sweet.

The pain I felt was the result of having a contraction but neither shoulder budging. The baby’s head and face were blue and we thought he might be suffocating. I had at least 1 more contraction and pushed but still no progress with the shoulders. Hetee pressed down on my perineum while at the same time, with his other hand lifting my lower back off the bed and that freed one shoulder. I think he tried hooking the other one but it came out on its own. For some reason I wasn’t scared. The look of confidence on Hetee’s face was so calming and reassuring. I also had confidence in myself that I was going to get this baby out no matter what! Once the shoulders were out he slid out easily and boy, what a BIG boy! We turned him over and Hetee pealed off the bag membranes as the baby was still completely in it. Nate clapped his hands, so happy to have a brother. He assured us that he KNEW it was going to be a boy.

Kenny began breathing but sputtered a bit and kind of whimpered. I held him face down and we tried to suction him but there wasn’t really anything to suction. Little by little his breathing improved and he was able to nurse. The blue on his face turned out to be bruising from being so big and in position up against my pelvic bone for so long. His eyes were also very bloodshot. At that point, for some unknown reason, I burst out in tears and started apologizing! For what? I have no idea. I just felt a rush of tears and the words “I’m sorry” just came with it. Hetee was perplexed and just held me till I calmed down. Looking back I think I apologized for getting everyone scared about the shoulders getting stuck—like it was my fault. Then, sobbing, I said “I never want to do this again, do you hear me?!” Hetee just smiled and said “OK, you don’t have to”. I still don’t know if that was me or just the hormones talking but I wish I would have gotten that on record. It might help to see it next time I think about having another one. =)

My placenta came out about 3 hours later. Waiting that long was new to me. With Nate in the hospital the dr.s pulled it out. Then with Abi’s birth it had already started coming off the wall of uterus before she was born. By the time she came out it came out right behind her.

I wanted to wait until after the placenta came out to cut the cord but after about an hour I was getting cold and had to go pee so we clamped and cut the cord. I was on the toilet when he cried a loud, lusty cry for the first time and as soon as I heard it I got a little cramp and down into the toilet the placenta went! It almost plugged the drain. It was a lot more soft and healthy looking than Abi’s. Again I realized how close we may have truly been to losing her. Her placenta was hard and rubbery. This one had more of a spongy texture like it is described in the books I’ve read.

Hetee wrapped Kenny then he and my mom weighed him then weighed the blanket separately. Kenny weighed 4.3 kg (about 9.4 lbs.) and was 50 cm long. He was a good 2 pounds heavier than Nate and Abi were. I don’t know if he had true shoulder dystocia although what I’ve read since sounds mighty close to it. Either way, once again, I’m glad to have been able to handle the situation at home and not depend on a dr’s split-second decision. My dad always says, “If you want something done right do it yourself.” and that’s exactly the way I feel about birth.

Kenny is 10 days old now. The bruising/swelling and most of the red in his eyes is gone. He had a little jaundice but it has passed, too. We were blessed with another son.

Kenny's birth-day! Note the bruising on his little face.

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