Community Birth Story: Loki Helen

Community Birth Story: Loki Helen

Hatching (Homebirth Cesarean) of Loki Helen, remembered by Megan and written 21 months later:

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As told by Megan:

I went into labor on Monday morning, March 28, 2011. I had been having Braxton Hicks for most of the second half of pregnancy, but there was something different about these contractions. I noticed them as soon as I woke up and carried around a piece of paper recording the time each contraction started (I didn’t pay any attention to how long each one was). They were 7 to 10 minutes apart pretty much the entire day. I went for a couple of walks to see if they would stop or slow down, but they stayed fairly steady. I tried to relax as much as a first time mom could (sleep was totally out of the question!). I called Dan at work at some point in the afternoon to tell him something was happening but he did not need to come home. We had plans to go to dinner with Dan’s parents and went back and forth about going or not. We decided to go for it and have a meal that left no dirty dishes in our sink. By the time we got home, the contractions were 4 minutes apart.

Dan called my mom to come over (she said she would after watching Bones…he he he). We called our midwife, Nannette, to let her know what had been happening for the last 12+ hours. She said to try to get some rest, maybe try getting in the pool, and to call her again when/if things get more exciting. At some point my mom (with her pup and kitty, Chessie & Finn) arrived. The fishy pool was filled with water and I got in it. It was wonderful! I stayed in that fishy pool all night long. All of our furry children knew something was happening but didn’t really know what. The dogs (Simon, Nubbs, Oz) were very loving to me and just wanted to make sure I was okay. The cats (Giles, Sid, Lesser Evil, Captain Hammer, Evan Taubenfeld, Dr. Horrible) really only wanted warm bodies on which to sleep.

In the morning, Dan and Nannette talked again and decided it was time for the birth team to come on over. We called my friend, Kim. She was going to come over after work (in Baltimore) and was planning on seeing her new niece or nephew. My contractions were pretty much still at 4 minutes apart. Grace (birth assistant and doula) was the first to arrive. She helped me get out of the water and was calming and amazing from the start. Shanna (midwife in training) and Nannette arrived soon after.

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So much of the next many hours is a blur, but this is what I can remember… Hip sqeezing was my new best friend. My water breaking around 9:30 am while I was leaning on Nannette in my kitchen. Hearing that there was meconium in the fluid. The only food I wanted to eat was Greek yogurt with honey. Never wanting to have Gatorade again. Trying every position possible. Getting in the pool. Getting out of pool. Getting in the shower. The birth ball in the pool with me. Shanna pouring warm water over my back. Dan behind me in the pool. The concerned look on my mother’s face. Kisses from Oz. Evan Taubenfeld biting the hose to the pool. Evan Taubenfeld biting my toes during contractions. Getting on the toilet. Leaking out amniotic fluid with every contraction.

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Around dinner time, I started pushing. Kim arrived bringing snacks and other supplies. She took over picture taking duties and any other little thing (like rubbing Dan’s shoulders while he was rubbing mine). At some point, a cervical check was done, not that I remember what we learned from it. We weren’t sure at one point if my urethra was being pinched and I wasn’t able to pee, so a catheter was put in to drain my bladder, but no pee was to be found. I had started to retain every drop of fluid I drank.

It was getting later and later and later. We were in our bedroom. My mom was (somehow) kind of sleeping on the bed. Dan was on the edge to help hold me. I was squatting on the floor with a stool to rest on between contractions. I remember the discomfort in my legs and feet due to the water retention. There was a hand mirror on the floor under me so my birth team could see what was happening. Nannette could feel my child’s head, but that head was not moving down at all. I had a cervical lip that had to be helped a bit at times by Nannette. Every trick that any of these 3 remarkable women could think of to get this kid to move, but nothing was working. We had to make a decision about transferring to a hospital. I was exhausted to the point of sleeping through massive contractions I should be pushing with. The baby’s vitals and mine were fine, but if there were no changes by midnight (it was probably around 10 or 10:30 at this point) we were going to transfer to Meritus in Hagerstown. I knew that we would not need to transfer so I never packed a bag. I told my mom and Kim pack something to bring with us, just in case we had to go (I learned much later that Dan packed while I was getting dressed to leave).

At 12:30 am on Wednesday, March 20, 2011, the call was made to the hospital that we would be arriving. Shanna help me put some sort of clothing on. I remember being on the couch and hating wearing anything. We had to figure out how to get to the hospital that was about 50 minutes away. There were 3 closer ones, but there was no emergency and Nannette had a good relationship with the midwives on call at Meritus. It was decided that Kim would drive us in her car. Nannette sat up front and Dan stayed in the back with me. Kim’s car has 2 doors so that made getting in and out super fun for me. She had to take lots of stuff out to fit our stuff and Nannette’s gear. Shanna and Grace stayed behind to help clean up a bit with my mom. As much as I wanted and needed my mom to be with me, she had to stay at my house to take care of the herd of critters in our house.

We were hoping so much that the car ride would help this baby be born. We were fine with the side of the road (well, maybe Kim wasn’t so keen on that). It was not meant to be. I pushed with every contraction- there was no way I could not push.

We ended up getting to the hospital around 2 am. Dan checked me in while Nannette stayed with me. I was taken to a larger L&D room and was helped into a lovely hospital gown. I had to have nurses push my hips still. Nannette did the whole history transfer at some point. I was put in a bed, on my back (the first time that I had been in real, true pain) and monitors were attached to check my stubborn child. They seemed quite amazed that everything checked out fine.

Not long after we got in the room, Dan’s parents opened the door. With snacks. Uninvited. In the middle of us making one of the most important choices ever. They were told to not be there (I suppose they went to the waiting room).

They brought in the OB/GYN on call (Dr. Man Surgeon Guy) and he made me lay flat on my back and told me to push to see what I had left. Not much and not nearly enough for him. We were told that a cesarean was pretty much my only option. I asked for a little bit of time. I discussed what options I really had with Nannette. We both knew that if I had to transfer that surgery was most likely going to occur. The decision had been made. Lots of paperwork was brought in for me to sign. About what I did and did not want (like vitamin K shot and eye goo). Dan was given his instructions.

I was rolled into the super bright and freezing cold operating room just before 3 am. The anesthesiologist sat me up to give me my spinal. I had to make sure he waited until after a contraction (still pushing with every one). For the first time in what seemed like a very long time, I was not overwhelmed but totally numb. I was laid down and the curtain to prevent me from seeing anything was put up.

Dan was allowed in. The surgeon came in. Dan asked if he could take pictures and was told that he could. It began. I was cut open along my lower abdomen. The surgeon put his hands in to pull out my baby and she/he was stuck! My child had wedged itself and the doctor had to yank and grunted while he did it. I could see my whole body being tugged. It was such an incredibly odd thing to see. The head was slightly squished from being stuck.

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My baby eventually came out. My baby was a little girl! And she came out pooping. Everywhere. She cried and then stopped. She aspirated meconium. They whisked her away to resuscitate her. I had no idea what was happening. Informing the mom was not on the to do list. She was eventually bundled up and brought over for the standard immobile-mom kiss on the forehead. She was then taken away to the Special Care Nursery. Dan was to stay with her and so he followed our new daughter. Nannette was waiting for us when I finally got out of recovery a few hours later.

Loki Helen Goerner was hatched on March 30, 2011 at 3:13 am. She was 9 pounds 3 ounces and 20.5 inches long. She stayed in the Special Care Nursery for 7 long days. I was able to hold her for the first time when she was about 7 hours old. She nursed like a champ when tubes in her mouth were finally removed and every time after.

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I wish her birth could have been different, but this was how she needed to come into the world. My labor was amazing. Shanna and Grace (who was pregnant) and Nannette (who was also pregnant) are to thank for that. I will treasure what they helped me to experience forever.

(Read Loki’s little sister’s HBAC birth story here)

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