Well this post has been a long time coming. My beautiful baby boy Jaxen, is already growing into a curious big boy. He got his first teeth at 4 months, he was 23 pounds at 6 months old, and he crawled shortly thereafter. He had his first solid food at 8 months old, given to him by his big brother. His first food was.... duh duh duh.... an "Enjoy Life" allergen- free chocholate chip lol. Not by my choice of course. He absolutely loved it though. We of course followed that up with avocados, sweet potatoes, and carrots (although I think that was to Jaxen's dismay after his first food.) He took his first steps 2 weeks ago, and he turned 9 months old a few days ago. Why am I just now blogging all of this? why didn't I ever post his birth story?
Many reasons really. Partly because I have been so overwhelmed with 4 kids that the idea of sitting down to blog and getting consistently interrupted just isn't appealing to me. I've been really busy as well, we moved twice in the last 6 months, I've been finishing coursework for "She Births" (which was way easier when I didn't have 2 babies under 2, I should have finished it then.... lesson learned), I've also been focusing on Doula work and Childbirth Education which is very time consuming. The main reason though- Jaxen's birth was not the ecstatic birth I expected.
I spend time with moms overcoming birth trauma, moving beyond the fear of childbirth so that they can have an amazing experience. I am the one who is always telling my clients that "your body knows exactly what to do, you have to just surrender to the process and let it all unfold" . I am always reassuring women that it is a good thing to trust birth, trust our bodies, and that what is meant to be, will be, as long as we don't intervene. But to be honest I lost faith in myself through the whole thing. I'm sure that sounds crazy to some after I had 2 amazing homebirth experiences, 1 of which was unassisted by medical professionals. This will be a long story as I labored on and off for several days, but there is also some "heavy" information that goes along with this story that is essential to be explained.
After I had Cyrus Unassisted, my neighbor verbally attacked my girls while they were outside because she said they were too close to her car. I told my girls not to talk to her anymore and asked her not to speak to us anymore. Well she was a very sad person and because she was angry at me, she called Child Protective Services and reported us for Birthing without a medical professional present, for not vaccinating, she said my oldest just didn't go to school (we homeschool)... these things were all somewhat variations of the truth. We did have an unassisted birth, we don't vaccinate, and technically the kids don't go to a school. None of these things are illegal, and do not even present a reason to remove the kids from the home. It was the lies the were told that really raised suspicion.
You see, CPS is set up in such a way, that ANYONE can call in and report ANYTHING wether it is true or not. There is no punishment for people who call CPS and lie. So it is very common for people to use CPS as a way to get back at someone, often for petty reasons. Once CPS is in your life, even if they decide quickly that it isn't a reasonable case, you are in their system. You are many times guilty until proven innocent. Children are often removed from homes before there is even a confirmed risk identified. Sadly, once children are removed from thier homes, it is difficult for parents to get them back, even if the claim was proved false. Thankfully our children were never removed, BUT my husband was coerced to sign a piece of paper agreeing to a "safety plan". At the time, he didn't really know he had a choice, and once he had signed it, our attorney suggested we just finish the program and be done with it. Our Plan consisted of parenting classes, monthly visits, random drug tests, and a psychological evaulation. It seemed harmless enough, and honestly it was. One we moved to Splendora and had our case moved to Montgomery Cty, it really wasn't bad. My case worker was really nice and she worked with me and even tried to get the parenting classes waived due to the nature of my business. Our case was closed in February 2010. I was 8 weeks pregnant but didn't tell my caseworker because of the pregnancy policy and at 8 wks, I could have easily claimed ignorance. (If you have an active case with CPS, and fall pregnant, your case will remain open until the birth of the next child, and the safety plan will be extended)
I really wanted to birth unassisted again, but after dealing with CPS for 8 months, I was afraid. So I hired a midwife that lived close to me. I really liked her, and she was willing to let me do my own thing and basically offer assistance as I deemed necessary. It was nice to escape from the house for an hour every month and focus on just me and the new baby. I didn't have much time aside from that to think about it much. I actually looked forward to my appointments, but the funny thing was, that I never felt at peace with the pregnancy. I often cried during my midwife appointments because I was so scared of having 2 babies back to back. I was always stressed out, and due to the previous cps stuff, I was in a constant state of paranoia. I look back on that time now, and it was a dark time for me. If someone knocked on the door, my stomach would automatically drop from fear of who was on the other side of it.... My intuition rarely fails me I guess...
When I was 8 months pregnant, there was a knock at my door. She had a clipboard, a camera, and a laptop.... I knew. She was from Cps. She told me that, my previous caseworker had quit her job without properly filing my paperwork, and she was just there to do my closing interview, BUT I was visibly pregnant...which meant back to the safety plan until the baby was born. Thankfully she was very nice and supportive of homeschooling, as she had HS'd her own kids, and was surprisingly supportive of home birth (attended by a midwife and within the perameters of the Texas state law of course).
The further my pregnancy progressed, the more I retreated. I didn't feel like a beautiful round pregnant woman that was preparing to bring LIFE into this world. I felt many things, few of which could be classified as "beautiful". I didn't have to energy to "prepare" the way I had with my other births. I did try to build my "birthing nest" but apart from that, I wasn't very connected to the Earthy Birthy Mom that I usually am. 38 weeks hit and I had a good spout of prodromal labor. I thought it might actually turn into something. I thought "FOR SURE I WON"T GO OVERDUE THIS TIME!" Finally something to be happy about! This baby would come earlier than I originally thought. there was no way I would go that much longer after I had the kind of laborish stuff going on. (side note* don't ever tell yourself this! it's never a good idea to convince yourself that you will go into labor earlier than 40 or 41 weeks- because it's very depressing when your due date passes you up)
39 weeks rolled around.... 40 wks... I finally had more early labor. ALL day, I was 2ish cm.... but then things stopped. I hit 41 weeks and we had a HUGE storm. the next day I had contractions all day. I sent the kids away. I was up all night. nice long contractions about a minute long, 4-7 minutes apart. This was it! the real thing! I was going to see my baby soon. Eventually, I literally passed out from exhaustion. i sat on the bed for a minute and woke up at 4 am to pee and wasn't in labor. I couldn't believe it. I had HARD contractions for a full day. how could I not be in labor? How could I mistake labor? I had already done this 3 times!!! what the hell was wrong with me? I was seriously cracking up now! I was convinced that pregnancy had officially altered my brain to not have any clue WTH was going on with my own body. I was convinced my midwife thought I was stupid and childish. (it's funny the things we believe when our hormones are raging). The saddest thing is, that somewhere in there I had convinced myself that my body wouldn't work. I asked my midwife to do so many things I would normally have never done.
After I hit 42 weeks I really tried to induce labor. I got a Biophyscal profile that told us that the baby fine but was definitely "macrosomic". That sounded so scary. Even to a Birthy person like me. my baby was so big that it was classified as "macrosomic" and that just terrified me. I started thinking I wouldn't be capable of pushing out such a big baby. Cyrus was 9 lbs and THAT was hard work!!! so I started on the road of natural induction.
Alot of women don't think natural induction will really do anything to you if your body isn't ready. That is false. I have LITERALLY tried everything to naturally induce labor. over the last 2 weeks of my 43 week pregnancy, I got 4 colonics, 2 masssages, chiropractic care, 5 or 6 reflexology treatments, I took blue and black cohosh, cottonroot bark, homeopathics, I gave myself 4 enemas, we had sex like crazy (which is seriously not fun when you are doing it to try to induce labor... just sayin), I asked my midwife to strip my membranes twice. Nothing was working. Everything we tried would give me good strong hard contractions for many hours, and completely wear me out, made me feel like crap until I would just pass out from exhaustion and wake up rested and contraction free! UGH! I was so angry. Part of the problem was that the baby's head was not very well applied, and I was 4-5ish cm, but had a VERY bulgy bag of water. we had suspicions for quite some time that the head might be Asynclitic. I had done many things to try to get his head to turn and come down but nothing really worked. Every other day my case worker would call me and ask if I had had the baby yet. She was starting to get concerned because she knew I was overdue. I had another BPP at 42w5days. Baby still seemed fine, but you could tell that everyone in the U/S office was shocked I was there again. This time I let alex stay behind in the room after I left to find out the sex of the baby. BUT he had to promise not to tell me or anyone else.
My midwife and I made a deal at that point. Saturday morning, I would take castor oil and she would strip my membranes (yet again) to try and get things moving and if I hadn't had the baby by monday morning, I would agree to go see Dr. Guilliams at west houston hospital and get induced. So saturday morning I woke up and had my castor oil cocktail. I now understand why women should not do this to induce labor. not only did it give me the most painful diarrhea I've ever had, but I got hemmorrhoids before my labor even started and it hurt to sit, walk, pee, poo, squat. It just EFFING hurt!!! the upside to all the colonics, enemas, and castor oil...... I had the cleanest Butt in houston! seriously. (needless to say, I never got the urge to poop during this labor lol.... TMI I know, but am the Queen of TMI- all those close to me know that).
The contractions had started to set in again, not that it really meant anything to me though... I had already done this 15 times in the last week! My midwife came to manipulate my cervix. It had been as soft as pudding for 2 weeks and was 5ish cm when she got there. There wasn't really anything even to strip. her fingers into my cervix up to her knuckles with no problem. We hoped it would do Something though. I was desperate by this point. I DID NOT want to have this baby in a hospital. My last baby HAD to be born at home. I hadn't even considered any other option. a few minutes later my water broke.
"Clear Fluid!" ah we all felt so much better. I was really concerned about there being meconium because I was so far overdue and I had done so many things to try and induce labor.
Well now, my midwife and I had a new agreement. I had to be active by a certain time period for me to stay home. "No problem" I thought. my water had broken, baby's head was finally sitting on my cervix. Contractions were getting pretty regular. I was already 5! all I needed was a good regular pattern to get things going. I started making breakfast for everyone but I felt really scatterbrained. between the contractions and the excitement, I kept forgetting to check the belgian waffles and I had to make Alex take over the eggs and sausage. Things were really happening.. I started having to dance through them. from the wall, to the ball, to the floor. That was my dance. I played my relaxing playlist and we all sat around and visited in between contractions..... Then it hit me. I was enjoying hanging out way too much to really be in labor. I started to cry because I knew it wasn't working. In fact when they asked me what was wrong I remember saying "I just need something to work!!!" and then broke down crying and sobbing. I know everyone in the room could feel my frustration at that point. so Diana (our midwife) suggested that everyone leave so Alex and I could be alone. They all (midwife, assistant, and photographer) left to go run little errands and stuff and Diana planned to come back around 8 to see what was going on. Alex and I retreated into a dark room and spent some "quality" time together hoping that the darkness and the love hormones would get my body moving again. It did somewhat but not enough to call it labor. Diana came back later that night and we all decided to go to bed in hopes that I would have to wake her up in the middle of the night to have a baby. I woke at 5 am, still with no contractions. I drew a warm bath and got in to relax. I knew that the hour was upon us. I had slept soundly all night, and the agree upon time to transfer was quickly approaching. while I was in the bath, alone, with my thoughts, and my baby, I knew that emotionally I was done. Legally, Diana was done. There really wasn't more she could do for me without stepping outside her scope of practice. So I got out of the bath, got dressed and sat on the edge of the bed and cried. I cried hard. I cried tears of sadness, anger, fear, but strangely relief. I was 43 weeks pregnant. I was ready for this show to be on the road. I called around to the hospitals to see what dr's were on call. The charge nurse at St. Lukes was wonderful on the phone. I told her what was going on and she was very sweet and urged me to come in. Assured me that I would be treated respectfully and that they would try to appease me in any way they could. So Alex and i stopped at Central Market to get snacks, meals, juices, waters. We finally got to the hospital at about 10 AM. They hooked me up to a monitor and asked me all the admittance questions. Checked my cervix, I was about 5-6, but super soft, like before. The Dr came in. I told her all of my requests expecting to have to argue and fight. She just said "ok, I think i can try to do all that".... it was eerie how easy it was lol. I was expecting to be punished for attempting homebirth. I've heard some horror stories. but they were really wonderful
They started the pit and gave me a dose of antibiotics at 11:30. by 12:30 I was finally establishing a labor pattern. at 2:30 I was checked and I was 7 cm. The pit was hitting me hard by now. The contractions were like this monster that grabbed hold of me and squeezed until my eyes were about to pop out. I remember the nurse asking me all these questions about natural birth and home birth in between contractions, and I remember answering but I have no idea what I said. Alex was holding me, doing counter pressure like mad, and getting me everything I needed. He was the best Doula ever. I remember grabbing his hands and rubbing them all over my face like I was a cat or something. I am sure I was a sight lol. The nurse came in and asked me if I wanted "just a little bit of drugs" to take the edge off. I will admit that for a few seconds I considered it. I was on pit, it would be justified. but then I looked at Diana's face, and even though she remained unchanged, it was like I read her mind. I didn't need it. I wouldn't be judged if I took it, but I didn't need it.
The nurse asked me at one point if I was ok. I said "I' just trying to remind myself that I'm not dying!"
Alex told me once when I was grabbing at him and apologizing, he told me I could do whatever I needed to. and I said (while grabbing his shoulders) "that means that I would have to shake you like this (shaking violently) OH MY GOD AAAAAHHH THIS IS SO INTENSE! I CAN DO THIS! AH AH AH AH SQUEEZE ME NO DON"T TOUCH ME, HOLD ME!"
The nurse came in a few minutes later to check me again. still at 7. she wanted to turn up the pit. The idea of turning it up actually made me start to lose it a little. I felt the pressure of KNOWING I had the right to say no, and KNOWING that I had way more pit than I needed, but feeling like I was going to end up in csection if I didn't have this baby soon. I let them turn it up to 8 and took the 2nd dose of antibiotics. now my head was spinning. I was growling at this point. the rushes came back to back by now. the Doc came in...
"Well why didn't you tell me it was like this? I didn't know she was moving along this quickly when I told you to turn up the pit"
in my head I was cursing that nurse. but all I could really do was close my eyes and make noise. the dr. checked me at a few minutes after 4 pm. "she's 8". the scrub tech came in. "she is all over that bed! where is her epidural?? she doesn't have an epidural???" again, explicit curse words were flying through my head. she's lucky that the only thing I could say was "ahhhhhhhhhhhh". The Doc had walked out by that point. I knew she had just said I was 8 about 5 minutes prior to that, but I also knew that I was about to push the baby out wether or not they were ready for it.
I had a quick moment where I growled out "you better call the doc cuz I'm about to crown this baby hhhuuurrrrggggggggggggggaaaaaaahhhhhhhhoooooooo"! It felt so chaotic up to that point. but then there was a sudden shift of energy. Dr. collins came in and told me I could push. she never laid her hands on me. I was lying on my side so I just grabbed my leg and started pushing. It was completely silent. noone said a word, everything was still it seemed. I could feel them all watching me, but I didn't care. I just had to PUSH and I pushed and I pushed. I started wondering if anything was even happening because noone said anything. i'm used to someone at least saying something along the lines of "we can see the head, you're doing great" something... I finally yelled "CAN YOU SEE ANYTHING??????!!!!!" and it was like a simultaneous "yes keep going" came from everyone in the room. Very odd, very strange, but I was thankful, so I kept pushing. I could feel the burn and then felt his head come out. I looked down and could tell he was FATTT and I couldn't even really see his face well. At that point, heart tones stopped and the chaos ensued. It was strange because the Dr still seemed calm, it was the nurses that were freaking out. "Grab her leg, I need help, she's too strong, get the baby out! NICU NEEDS TO GET IN HERE STAT" and then I don't really know what happened. Suddenly I was on my back and they were restraining my legs and pushed on my belly to get him out. It was like I went from an active participant to a bystander in 2 seconds. I felt his shoulder unlodge from behind my hip bone and then felt a huge POP in my tailbone followed by an INTENSE shooting pain and FLOP the baby was out. Blue. Lying there on the bed. the cord was already cut. how did that happen so fast? why would you do that? I felt like everything was in slow motion. The nurses grabbed the baby and started working, rescusitating, pumping. This was so unreal, surreal.. I'm not really sure which.... I heard Alex say "come on Son! Come on!" That's when I knew it was a boy. and then the most beautiful thing happened. After what felt like forever, I heard my son's tiny voice for the first time. I heard him cry out to me. wanting me, and I wanted him so bad! I heard the nurses say he was going to the Nicu. " dont I even get to hold him?" "for a minute mama." he was already wrapped up, I could hardly recognize him. I kissed him and I cried, not from joy but because I felt I had let him down. Alex had never been to a hospital birth before and when I looked at him I could tell he was swallowed in fear, and shock. we both kissed and held onto our baby before he had to go. I told Alex to go and not leave his side.
I said I was going to the nicu. the nurse said I couldnt. I said "I dont have an epidural, I'm going." she said it would be at least an hour before I could go. "I"M GOING TO MY SON!" then the dr told me that if I could get up and change my gown and get into a wheelchair she would take me herself. she and diana helped me change got me in a wheelchair and got me to my son in less than 15 minutes. When I got there my amazing husband was shirtless and had already unwrapped Jaxen and had him skin to skin. It was a beautiful moment for me. Everything I had told Alex in the past about how important immediate skin to skin was.... he listened. He knew exactly what to do without me there. he protected our son from eye ointment, told the nurses they would NOT be doing that before our son had a chance to see me, he didn't let them do the hepb or the vit k or give him formula. he was my perfect mate right at that moment. I knew we were on the same team then.
shortly after that I started having some heavy bleeding while I was in the NICU so they had to take me back to my room to get it under control. The nurse almost acted like she was punishing me for going to the NICU before she had a chance to "fix me". like I had been a bad girl or something. it makes me laugh now but then I wanted to stick my finger in her eye lol. They finally let me nurse when he was 2 hours old, I was afraid he wouldn't take it but he did! like a champ! he got out of the +NICU 4 hours later. The neonatologist came to see us and told us that he was doing remarkably well for the kind of start he had. When he came in he said "man he is a TALL drink of water!!! I never get big babies in the NICU!" and he is just that! a BIG boy! a Smiley boy! A light in our lives....
Jaxen Everette Yunker
9lbs 10 oz 22.5 inches long