The Birth of Hendrix Aaron

June 11, 2010

6:05am

9lbs 8oz 20.5 inches

Much like Presley, my labor with Hendrix started several days before the actual birth. I started having contractions for a few hours every evening starting on the 6th. They’d last for quite a while and just when I started thinking that we were going somewhere, they’d fizzle out.

On the evening of the 8th I went to a homeschool mom’s dinner meeting. I had been having contractions already that evening and I continued to have them throughout the meeting. Then, all of a sudden. I felt a rush of adrenaline go through my body and I had to get out of there IMMEDIATELY. I just had this huge urge to be home. So I threw a check at someone and told the to write it for my part of the meal and I dashed out of there. I was thinking that it might be real labor because I had that same ‘need to be home’ urge when I was in labor with Presley. So I called Leah, my midwife, on the way home and she decided to come to my house and check me.

I got to the house and I was starting to feel like crawling out of my skin. I was very antsy and sick to my stomach and dizzy. I kept getting these rushes of adrenaline that would bring me to my knees…I felt like a caged tiger. I would later find out that this was the beginning of many anxiety attacks to come.

Leah got to my house around 11pm and we decided to do an internal to see what was going on. I was dilated to a 1 or 2, 50% effaced and my cervix was anterior. In short, I was definitely not in labor. Oh, and baby’s hand was up on top of his head and he kept wiggling his fingers against Leah’s hand.

She stayed with me for a little bit and then got a call from a lady in the next town over who was in labor.

I took a unisom to help calm my nerves and went to bed.

The next day, my mom and I decided that she should come the next day to help me out until the baby came. I was still having the adrenaline rushes and I just felt horrible.

On the morning of the 10th I got a call from my midwife saying that she had yet to go home since she’d been at my house on the evening of the 8th and that she wanted to come check me before she headed home, since she lives over an hour away. I didn’t really think anything was going on labor wise, but told her to go ahead and come over and we’d do another internal.

She got here around noon on the 10th, did the internal and discovered I was dilated to a 3, completely effaced, my cervix was in the perfect position and the baby had moved its hand off of its head. She asked me if I wanted her to sweep my membranes and I did, so she got that done and gave me arnica and oxytocin enhancer to help things along and rescue remedy to help with the panicky feeling I was still experiencing.

My mom showed up a few minutes later and I was very, very crampny. We hung out for a while and then, right at 4pm, the contractions really started. So we spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out and timing my contractions on contractionmaster.com.. I didn’t really believe that I was in labor. I also continued to have the adrenaline rushes and they were starting to really wear on me.

Eventually, Kevin got home from work and went and picked up dinner for all of us and my midwife came back to my house to check on me. While she was at the house, it started storming really bad so her and her assistant decided to go load up her vehicle with gas and get some dinner before the storm got too bad.

At 8:20pm, while she was still out getting gas and whatnot, the storm knocked our power out. This had happened a few weeks prior and it had taken 5 hours to get our power back. For some reason, our street looses power first and gets it back last anytime a bad storm hits. So I called the power company and they estimated that our power would be back on at about 1am. Not good. My entire house is run on electric, no gas, and I needed hot water for the birth pool and I desperately needed air conditioning. So, the decision was made to check into a hotel.

I called Leah to let her know what was going on and she told me to be sure and get a room on the ground floor because of the weight of the birth pool. So my mom started calling around trying to find a hotel with two adjoining rooms on the ground floor. The adjoining rooms were a must as Caedmon (almost 9) and Presley (just turned 4) were going to be with us and Kevin and my mom needed to be able to have easy access to them and to me at all times. The first 3 hotels we tried either didn’t have adjoining rooms period or didn’t have adjoining rooms on the ground floor. The closest anyone had was 2 rooms on the ground floor ‘near’ each other. That wasn’t going to cut it, I needed my kids right there with us. So we finally broke down and called the Best Western, knowing that it was not the nicest or cleanest motel ever, but it was better than nothing. Fortunately, they did have 2 adjoining ground floor rooms, so off we went!

At this point, my contractions had slowed way, way down. I only had one contraction on the way to the hotel and one or two more while everything was being unloaded into the rooms. We sat Caedmon and Presley up in one room and me and all the birth supplies in the other. My mom went ahead and locked and bolted the outside entrance to the kids room and opened up the adjoining doors so that we didn’t have to worry about anyone going in or out of their room. A few minutes later, Caedmon asks my mom. “Grammy, do you have a key to our door?”. She asked him why he needed a key and, lo and behold, he’d closed the adjoining doors (which auto lock and don’t have door knobs), so we were all stuck in my room and had no means of getting back into the kids room! Kevin got on the phone with the front desk and, fortunately, they had some little tool that they used to unbolt the outside door. It worked…but it took about 20 minutes and, of course, my labor stalled that entire time.

It was about 10:30pm by the time we got everything unloaded into the two rooms, we tried to get the kids settled in bed but they were wired. We decided to send Kevin to walmart to get some snacks, a movie, and a board game for the kids. When he got back we decided to hook the hose up to the shower to get the birth pool filled up. Kevin took the hose in the bathroom only to discover that the hose was way too big for the spout, so we sent him back to walmart for an adaptor or a new hose. He came back empty handed…walmart had nothing that would work. My mom and Leah had already decided that if there wasn’t an adaptor or a smaller hose that they would cut the end off of the hose we had and they’d squeeze it over the spout and clamp it on. So, off to walmart my mom went to get a clamp…and a hairbrush for Leah.

While she was gone, Presley was not doing well at all. Her and Caedmon were both in bed and Kevin put their movie on, but she was having none of it. Leah tried to go calm her, but she doesn’t know Leah well so that didn’t do much good. Finally, I went and laid with her for a while to get her calm. This, of course, completely stalled my labor again. I laid with her for about half an hour and didn’t have a contraction that whole time.

Once I got Presley calmed down, I went back into my room and decided to have Leah check me. It was 11pm on the dot. I was dilated to a 6/7. Leah put arnica gel on my cervix to help soften me up some more. I was shaking and having major nausea at this point. The anxiety attacks were coming very strong, though I still didn’t realize that’s what was happening.  While I was trying to rest and make it through the anxiety attacks, my mom, Leah, and Nora (Leah’s assistant) were rigging up the hose. It required a pocketknife, 2 blow dryers, a clamp and some girl power, and they got it done! Then there was a long wait to get the birth pool filled up.

Once the pool was about half way full, at about 1am, I decided to get in. It felt good…but I felt too wrestles to sit there. I already felt like a caged tiger and inside that little birth pool I felt even more trapped. So, in a totally unprecedented labor move, I got out of the birth pool. That really shocked both my mom and Leah since I spent over 7 hours in the pool with Presley and didn’t get out till after I birthed the placenta!

It was 1:45 when I got out of the pool and got into bed. I was able to sleep off and on through the contractions and was able to talk myself through the panic attacks for an hour before I decided to get up and pee. When I went to the bathroom I felt like there was something amiss and wondered allowed if my bag of waters was bulging. Leah asked if she could check it out as I was walking out of the bathroom and right then a contraction hit so I went down on my knees and she checked the bulging. She said it was just swelling and asked if I wanted her to check my dilation. So I got up on the bed so she could be at a better angle and – much to my despair- I was still at a 6/7. I was so mad, sad, and anxious at that point…I can’t even put it into words.

During my entire labor I kept waiting to slip into that ‘zen’ labor land that I experienced with Presley, and I just couldn’t get there. Because of that, I was in total denial about the fact that I was actually in labor. I kept thinking “This isn’t really it and I’m going to be feeling like this for weeks.” I don’t know why I didn’t recognize the signs of anxiety attacks at the time, but looking back I can see that I was suffering from  these attacks of anxiety during my entire labor.

Mom and Leah turned on some lights and got out of bed to hang out with me while I paced and cried and vented. I decided to get out of the birth pool and stripped out of my gown saying “Well, I hope people don’t mind seeing my boobs in my birth pictures and videos because I don’t foresee putting my swim top back on!” I got back in the pool at about 3am and told my mom and Leah that I felt much better having the lights on and having people to talk to. It made me feel less on edge. So they talked to me for a while but, eventually, I turned back inward and Leah went back to sleep. My mom tried to sleep, but she wasn’t able to get much, if any, sleep with me laboring right next to her.

My contractions at this point were very strong and very regular, but then I’d have a sporadic really long break and I’d sleep in the pool. As the contractions got progressively stronger, I started experimenting with different positions to see what felt best. Just like with Presley, I felt most comfortable on my hands and knees. I also started bearing down just a little to see how it felt. With Caedmon I had an epidural and couldn’t feel myself pushing, with Presley I didn’t have to push her down, she did that on her own, I just had to push her shoulders out. Pushing, to my surprise, felt pretty good but I could tell I wasn’t fully dilated so I stopped for fear of swelling my cervix.

By 5:30am my contractions were hurting and I was having a hard time staying on top of them. I could tell by my vocalizations (previously low hums that were turning into grunts) that the end was near. Then a contraction hit and the noise I made sent both Leah and my mom shooting out of bed. Mom ran to get Kevin out of the kids room and Leah put gloves on and said “That’s it!”

At this point, I was on all fours with my head resting on the air conditioning unit. It was actually really nice because I was hot and that a/c was freezing! The next contraction was really bad and when it was over Leah checked me and said that I was at a good 9, but was not complete. Another contraction hit while she was checking me and as I pushed she said I was taking the cervix with the baby and it was going to cause swelling. I panted through the next contraction to stop myself from pushing and it hurt so, so bad.

After that contraction she said something about have “just a little lip” and I said “I have an undilated lip?” (I had an undilated anterior lip with Presley that nearly did mean in) and she quickly said “No! Not a lip! Just that you’re not complete! Not a lip at all! I don’t even know why I said lip!!” Even with as much pain as I was in, that made me chuckle because I knew she was worried about me freaking out about another undilated lip!

On the next contraction I wailed about it hurting so bad and Leah asked if I wanted her to help me. I couldn’t answer and she took my silence to mean “Yes! Help me!” Thank God! So she reached in and left the cervix up over the baby’s head and he slid right down and started to crown and my waters broke.

I hate crowning and I was dreading going through crowning, but in that moment I was able to comprehend the fact that crowning meant that this was almost over! I pushed his head out in one, long continuous push while Leah kept saying “Slow down, let the baby stretch you, don’t tear”. She always tells me to slow down…I can’t, it hurts too bad, I just want it out!

After his head was out she told me to reach down and feel my baby’s head. She always tells me that, too, and I can’t because I feel so immobilized at that point. His shoulders came out quickly and I heard Leah saying “Grab your baby!” I honestly don’t know how I was able to grab him up under his arms because I couldn’t see at that point.

I pulled him up to my chest and sat back and his umbilical cord was really tight. Leah kept telling me not to pull him too far up.  I checked for gender and announced that I was, in fact, right…it’s a boy! It was 6:05am on the dot.

He wasn’t crying at all and was pinking up nicely and was just nice and calm. Then, he leaned back and Leah and I both realized that the cord was wrapped around the back of his head and crossed at his chest like a bow tie. So we started trying to pull it over his head and it was just too tight so we ducked him down a little and then…*gurgle gurgle gurgle*…oops! So, after trying to drown him, I decided to just left my pelvis up out of the water to give the cord more slack on that end. That was the only time he cried.

My mom, Kevin and I then had a brief discussion about names and quickly settled on Hendrix Aaron.

After the cord stopped pulsating, my mom cut it and we handed Hendrix off to Kevin and I got back up on all fours to deliver the placenta. I felt like all of the muscles in my pelvic floor were frozen and I had a really hard time feeling to push the placenta out. But eventually I got the job done and settled onto the bed that had been prepped with a shower curtain and several chux pads and towels. Kevin sat next to me holding Hendrix while I sent out texts and updated my facebook status.

I then took Hendrix to latch him on for the first time. Then I handed him off to Leah to get weighed and measured and all that good stuff. When she was done, we got him dressed in his hat and diaper soaker that I’d knit for him and Kevin went and got big brother, who was already awake in the other room. After Caedmon met Hendrix and spent a little time with me, Kevin went and woke Presley up. Her first words were “Aww…I was wrong…I thought it was a girl.”

We let each of the kids hold him and took some pictures while Leah and Nora emptied the pool and cleaned up the room. Leah checked me (no tearing!) and we packed up and were out of the hotel by 7:30am!

6 responses to “The Birth of Hendrix Aaron

  1. april

    Awesome birth story!!!

  2. Elle

    One would think that the birth of a child in and of itself would be enough of an event to make a good story; but of course you were able to go above and beyond! And what a memorable evening for his siblings to be able to tell to their kids!

    He is beautiful & you are wonderful & congratulations again to you all!

  3. Nikki

    He is beautiful and you did an AMAZING job!!

  4. I love reading your birth stories, Amanda! He is just gorgeous :)

  5. Jaime

    You did good, honey. What an amazing story and a beautiful, beautiful baby.

  6. Wow! You are such an amazing woman! I’m so proud of you! You have such a way with words. Precious baby for a precious woman!

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