5.05.2013

Ashlyn's Birth Story

On May 3, 2013, Ashlyn Sage Donnelly joined our family and brought our number to four.  It was quite an interesting journey!  But let me start at the beginning.

We were wanting to have at least two children, wanted them close in age, and I want to be done with childbearing by the time I hit 35 so we could still be relatively young enough to enjoy raising our kids.  I'm currently 32, so with the possibility of having one more, we wanted to make sure we hit the timing right.  We weren't really trying when Ashlyn was conceived, but we weren't doing anything to prevent a pregnancy either.  It was really just a let things come if they may type situation.

If we had a boy, Gus was done and we would consider our family complete, but a second girl was in our future so we are going to try one more time and take what we get.  After experiencing a pregnancy with a very busy toddler under foot, I have decided that the next one will need to be spaced out a little more, so when this little one gets to be about fourteen to sixteen months old, we'll be looking at getting pregnant one final time.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

My 'Due Date' was May 9th, but I had this sneaky suspicion I wouldn't make it that far from early on, and this being my second pregnancy, with a daughter that was 17 months old, I was feeling it.  I wanted to make it to 38 weeks, so I have been trying to take it easy while at the same time trying to not put my entire life on hold.  As I got closer and closer to my goal, I just felt more and more uncomfortable.  That discomfort kept me cautious, forced to skip two weddings because it was just to close to the end for me to make the trip.  This was especially true about week 36 when they checked me and found that I was already dilated to a 3, though i wasn't effaced.  Something told me from the start that when it happened, it would happen fast.

I didn't have them check me again until this Wednesday, I was one day shy of Week 39, ready to go, but wanting it to happen when she was ready.   My midwife was a little surprised that I was dilated to a 4 and effaced 80%.  She basically told me "As soon as you start labor and you know it's labor, or your water breaks, come in as soon as possible."  This being a second pregnancy, and we living where we did, she didn't want to take any chances for me to wait and labor at home when I was already progressed to where I was at.  She offered to speed things along, but I declined.  I was determined to do this with no interventions.
Ok, so I decided maybe I would do a little bit to speed things along.  I was having Braxton Hicks all day on Wednesday, so family was lingering around after my appointment and helping me get things ready while tracking contractions to make sure they were the real thing or not.  They weren't, they were all over the place.  I have no doubt they were doing something, but labor wasn't progressing.  Yet.  On Thursday, I was still pregnant, for sure it would happen that day, and even jumped on the horse bareback just to see if it would do anything.  I had a couple chickens on stand by for butchering, since that worked the first time (inside joke) but never got around to it.  Took my daughter Kaia for a walk, felt something, but no labor.  

Went to bed Thursday night thinking it could still happen, but Friday might be the day.  I woke up feeling pretty tight and a little sore, but overall, just very pregnant.  My husband left for work and I had my sister and my mother on standby in case I needed them.  It was just me and my daughter and we tried to take it easy while getting some stuff done around the house to prepare for the arrival of this little one.  

Turns out, its fortunate that we were able to wait.  Gus got home, I didn't feel like cooking anything fancy so we threw a frozen pizza in the oven.  We discussed other methods of speeding things along, as  he was feeling a little impatient with the stand by as well.  Nothing quite like being in limbo waiting for a baby to be born.  Me, I've been just focusing on doing what I could around the house.  

Well, about 8:25pm, I felt the first undeniable contraction that felt like 'it'.  I've been having tightness and contractions for weeks, but this was definitely different.  I was still able to move through it, but I had downloaded an app on my phone and when the next one hit a few minutes later, I timed it and gave Gus the heads up that this could be it.  I timed another one and texted my doula to give her the heads up as well that baby might be coming soon.  I wanted to get a couple more timed, just to be sure, and sent a couple texts alerting my sisters while Gus called his mom to arrange for her to pick up Kaia if things continued.  I called my mom and got voicemail.  

By 8:45 I knew this was the real deal and tried to let everyone know while Gus got the car ready and I continued to time the contractions while coordinating with everyone via texts.  I had one sister and my doula heading out for sure, mother in law planning on meeting us at the hospital, getting a hold of the midwife on call and trying to pacify a toddler who was ready to go to sleep and wanted to cuddle with momma, while momma wasn't in the position to cuddle.  

At 9:00, I called my mom again and left a voicemail, letting her know we were heading to the hospital because we were pretty sure this was it.  Gus, being a typical guy, decided that every time I had a contraction he would slow down.  Dork.  I'm not sure he realized that he was taking his life into his hands when he was teasing me like that.  They weren't bad yet, but they were getting a little more intense.  I also noticed the dreaded back and leg labor was back.  Fortunately, my body seemed to realize that it needed to slow down and the contractions went to every five minutes while driving to the hospital.  

We got to the hospital just before 9:30.  One reason we changed hospitals from the first time was because I had to go through triage at the other hospital and I hated triage.  The nurse was horrible, completely discounted my birth plan and it ruined my vibe, but here they took me straight to my room and my midwife was there to assist me.  She had me change into a hospital gown really quick while my support group slowly started to trickle in.  My mom and dad got there first, dad settled on the couch next to Gus and they sat back trying to stay out of the way.  

That's when the contractions really started to hit.  I bent over the bed and tried to endure the contraction, and Gus and Dad were still chatting about whatever, I don't remember.  Dad teasing me about being so serious or something like that, something no man should say to a woman in labor.  I just know when I go through a contraction, I like silence.  That's my thing so I can concentrate.  So the first thing out of my mouth was "Shut up!"  

Midwife noticed that the intensity level had changed and she went straight into supporting me and hitting the pressure points on my back.  After the contraction she quickly monitored baby's heart beat when my mother in law came in.  I went into another contraction while they were talking, and suddenly I'm trying to endure that while subtly telling them to quiet, shushing them but they didn't hear me.  Finally I told them to shut up again a little more forcefully.  

Sister and Doula showed up together and man oh man I was thankful for them as they hit those pressure points while I tried to labor, those contractions were coming up quick with little break between them.  Finally, my midwife asked to check my progress.  This was the one and only time I had been checked since coming into the hospital.  I was dilated to a 7.  I had been there less then thirty minutes.  Things were moving very quickly.  

Ok, sometimes, labor isn't pretty.  A laboring momma isn't really that concerned with otherwise embarrassing factors.  I guess one way to describe one symptom is labor is the feeling that you have to take the biggest crap of your life and you can't.  I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom, I started peeing a little bit and felt like I needed to use the bathroom.  Good thing too, I was able to empty my bladder though I had a contraction right there on the toilet.  I finally had my bloody show at that moment, but nothing else, coming out of the bathroom, another contraction hit me hard and I just braced myself again leaning up against the bed.  At that moment, all I could think is "I don't care, I'm just going to take a crap right here, I don't care if everyone sees me."  I tried to take to have a bowel movement and that's when it hit me, nope, this is not a simple poo, things were moving quickly.  I let everyone know that I had to push.  

Midwife asked me what position I wanted to deliver in, and to be honest, i wasn't sure.  I just knew I didn't want to be on my back like before.  That was miserable.  I just crawled onto the bed on my hands and knees and apparently everyone was in for a shock.  My water was not broke and my sack was apparently sticking out.  My midwife didn't have her gloves on, my mom had to get Gus in the room, we weren't expecting it this quickly.  

Next contraction, I eased her out through the coaching of my midwife.  I was told that she was still in the caul (the birth sack) but I think she had slid out of it.  However, the water gushed after her and drenched her as she let out her first cry.  The first thought I had was 'Woah, that was a rush!'  It was a completely different experience from my first birth and it happened so fast.  She was born at 10:09, about an hour and forty five minutes after I started my first contraction.  


I had to reach between my legs to get my baby, who still had her umbilical cord attached, but I delivered her completely drug free with no interventions.  I was able to do it without grunting (last birth I screamed) That was my goal, that's what I wanted, and the fast delivery was an added bonus.  If I could change anything, I would have wanted to hold my baby longer, but because of the shower of amniotic fluid while she took her first breath, they needed to get it out of her lungs so I had to relinquish my baby to the nurse and let them take care of her while I endured the joys of the after birth.  

My midwife commented that I made more noise while she pressed on my belly to get the excess fluids out then the actual delivery.  I guess I was mentally prepared for the former, not the latter.  
My other sister made it two minutes after Ashlyn was born.  Didn't give everyone a whole lot of time, I know.  Gus joked that the next baby will just fall out.  Hey, these fast births are pretty cool, I'll take 'em!

 Little girl has a bit of a temper to her.  She looks a lot like her sister, but I already noticed a few ways where she is her own person.  She has a darker complexion then Kaia and I think she's going to be a brunette.  She also suckles to soothe herself, so i think we have a binkie girl on our hands.  Kaia never took to one.



Welcome to the family Ashlyn, hope your big sis doesn't beat on you to much.