Jennifer’s third birth: Water birth of her third baby boy!

November 3, 2012

The birth story of Huck Mullin Eley Kimble

This journey started ten years ago, as I packed my bags for nursing school with the dream of becoming a nurse midwife. I had always believed so strongly in the bodies ability to birth babies and the importance or empowerment birth can bring to the women that seek it. Long story short, I moved a few times, changed nursing schools a few times, and the last trimester of school found out I was actually expecting my first baby! The timing was not as we had planned, but we were thrilled nonetheless. I did endless and nonstop reading on all things natural birth, hired a doula, and felt incredibly prepared for the birth of my first baby! A week before he was “due” my water broke in the middle of the night. After speaking with our doula, we decided to stay home for awhile and try to get labor to start. Nine hours later, still no sign—and my “nurse brain” starting to win. We went to the hospital and somehow, 32 hours later, delivered a healthy baby boy vaginally. Along the course of the labor there were several interventions we had never intended. Pitocin, epidural, lots of threats from Dr. Payne (I wish I were kidding), antibiotics, but the good news-we avoided a c-section! At the time I’m not sure anyone had gone 32 hours after rupturing without finding themselves in the OR. Birth #1 was a semi-success, but also still terribly devastating and caused me to lose lots of faith in the body I believed could birth without intervention.

Flash forward two years and baby #2!!! I had revamped my excitement and encouraged myself to believe, once again, that this birth/baby/labor would be different and my body would INDEED do this! My one fear that played far too frequently in my mind was “what if my water breaks again?” One my due date, my water broke. Again, stayed home several hours attached to a pump and attempting to get labor started on its own before our midwife wanted us to go in for pitocin and antibiotics (I was strep positive). I was devastated. I was absolutely crippled…I allowed myself to go back to that place. Again, several interventions….followed by the birth of our second healthy baby boy!!! Again, I was relieved he was here and as healthy as could be, but also still had that nagging desire to experience childbirth in such an absolute different way!

Again, two years later, and baby #3 was about to arrive. This pregnancy had been absolutely 100% different in every aspect a pregnancy could be! It absolutely amazed me and also gave me the hope that this birth could also be absolutely different in every way! My “due date” came and went, and then 10 days later I found myself still pregnant. Four nights of prodromal labor lasting from 12/1am-5/6am had me completely wiped out (up all night with contractions, then caring for my 2 and 4 year old boys all day). I started to feel defeated and discouraged—and decided to allow my midwives to sweep my membranes. I had felt AMAZING leading up to that moment and honestly havent ever felt better—I was absolutely ready to let this baby come on its own time, until the sleeping started to be interrupted and all areas of my life seemed to crumble! I assumed, the worst/best case scenario was allowing them to do a sweep and if the baby/my body wasn’t ready, nothing would happen! The membrane sweep was at 4:30pm, by 8:30 I was having surges. The surges weren’t strong, and they weren’t frequent so I finished out my day (putting the kids to bed around 9pm and then watching tv until about 11pm). Because I had had hours of contractions all week I wasn’t putting money on this being the real thing!

Around 11pm my husband and sister in law, who was in town to see/help out with the baby, went to bed. I stayed up in our bedroom listening to music, breathing through surges, and reminding myself and the baby that we could do this and I was ready! This went on most of the night, quiet house, everyone sleeping, as I breathed through surges and got in and out of the bathtub. Finally around 5am I decided to wake my husband as my surges had gotten more intense and I was ready for support. I also called the midwives because I was strep positive again and knew I would need some antibiotics (nurse brain). My surges were still 4-5 minutes apart and lasting for just over a minute, not to mention I had lots of prodromal labor that would stop as the sun was appearing, so the midwife advised me to call back after 6 am if they were still occurring. I made it until 7am, and then decided I really wanted to be at the birthing center and in the water! I called again and we decided to meet at the birthing center at 8:30am.

By the time we got to the birthing center it seemed the surges had gotten more intense. They decided to check me and I was 6cm dilated and completely effaced with a bulging (VERY STRONG) bag! (I had worked hard for several months on protein consumption and vitamin E supplementation to ensure this bag didn’t break prematurely). into the water I went and boy did that feel absolutely AMAZING!!! My surges were tolerable, and coming about every 5 minutes and lasting right at a minute long. It was manageable through breathing, the water, and holding my dear husbands hands. Never have I needed him more that I absolutely had to have him in those moments!!! And he didn’t leave my side. Looking back at our previous births where I had an epidural I didn’t really “need” him, we laughed and talked and joked and napped, but during this birth, the second I felt a surge creep up I absolutely had to have him near me. His smell, this strength, his love, I needed it all to make it through each surge!!! I still tear up thinking how strong this need was and thinking if we had never had this experience I might not have ever had such a strong, intense, life changing need for my husbands support!

Around 11am the sensation through surges changed, instead of feeling part of my tense at the onset of a surge, I actually felt my body push against the surge, not hard, and not to get the baby out, but a different sensation. I suppose I also started making a deep moaning sound that caused the midwives to suddenly rush in and say, “well that sounds different.” They checked me again and said I was at a 9 and just about there. Somehow, the next two hours are a bit of a blur…my surges started spacing further and further apart, and eventually, almost stopped. I was woken from a dead sleep in the tub by the midwives prompting me to get out and perhaps walk around a bit. Outside of the tub my surges were almost unbearable. I was desperately asking my husband to tell me what to do! In every position I attempted I couldn’t quite get into a spot to make them any more bearable. I was attempting to breath, but the intensity of the surge would literally take my breath away. I also think something incredible happened, when they told me I was 9cm dilated, I realized how close I was to giving birth, and suddenly I was filled with old fears—and new fears. I was worried about the actual pain of birthing a baby without medication, I was worried about my body somehow not being able to make this happen, so many thoughts suddenly flooded my mind—all negative thoughts that I thought I had worked out, but there they were! During this pregnancy I had also developed “thrombocytopenia of pregnancy” and knew my platelet count was incredibly low. The nurse part of my brain (and other nurse friends/co-workers) all seemed gravely concerned about my platelet count and the possibility of hemorrhaging. Even an old midwife who had delivered another one of my babies seemed gravely concerned and seemed to think I needed to see a specialist and deliver in a hospital to get a platelet transfusion during delivery (and be in a hospital in case I needed blood). So at that moment, the moment they said you are 9cm, I suddenly had an overwhelming fear that the birth would cause a sea of chaos which somehow would involve me hemorrhaging. I wish I could say mentally I was able to be more strong in the moment, and I wish I could say the hours I had spent releasing all of these fears came into play, but somehow my body shut down, my surges stopped. After attempting to bring them back on by walking around I asked the midwives to break my water to see if that would help. It took some time (I had a really strong amniotic sac this time), but finally I felt the release and suddenly the midwife seemed somewhat concerned. She said my cervix, being held open by a strong, bulging bag of fluid, shut again to about 6cm and the babies head was still really high in my pelvis (and transverse). WHAT?!?!?! HA! I was not prepared to hear that! It took me a few minutes to decide it was time. I literally heard a voice say, from somewhere incredibly deep down inside, “it is time to get this baby out!” I had a few more surges, and then suddenly something completely unknown took over me! I went from relaxing between surges in the tub to standing and begging my baby to please come out! I so desperately wanted to meet this baby, the journey had been so long—with an overdue pregnancy and night after night of surges and wondering if this was it, to having had labored all night long, IT WAS TIME TO MEET MY BABY!

The very next contraction caused a sudden crazy urge to push (or vomit) but I liked the idea of pushing better so I went with it! I screamed as loud as possible, not in pain, but in absolute victory!!! I gave a few loud screams with each uncontrollable urge to meet my baby, and suddenly felt the head pop out! My midwife made a comment about that being a good effort and we would see what happened with the next contraction. I decided to tell her the babies head was out (at 1:42p) and if she could so kindly help me get the rest of him out because I was done with surges….that had been my last one! I reached down, gave a very small push, and pulled my baby BOY up to my chest!!! He had a true knot in his cord and had also had a nuchal cord. Sweet baby boy #3 rested peacefully against me in the warm water as I marveled at the fact that my body was indeed not broken, and that it had indeed brought my baby into my arms. After delivering the placenta we climbed into bed and started to inspect our newest family member.

My husband couldn’t stop smiling, literally a giant ear to ear smile and constant exclamations of things like “WE DID IT!” “THAT WAS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING” “THAT WENT WAY BETTER THAN I COULD HAVE EVER IMAGINED IT GOING!” I, on the other hand, wanted nothing more than to soak up this moment in time, this moment that I had been dreaming of for years, this moment right before me!

It’s absolutely incredible the healing this birth has done for me. I wish I had done more healing before his birth, but am so thankful for the process that lead me to this moment. I am beyond thankful for this experience and I feel it has changed me as a person. Not the everyday me….not even the sometimes me, but it has challenged my perception of my body and its ability, and for that I am incredibly thankful! I will never aspire to run a marathon, heck, I won’t even attempt to run a mile, but the fact that my body and this beautiful baby were able to accomplish so much stands as a great accomplishment. What a blessing, what an absolute amazing and intense experience, with the most marvelous gift at the end! 

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