Thursday, July 5, 2012

The story of Ezekiel's birth.

Disclaimer: I usually keep things pretty clean on this blog but this a birth story. As such, it’s going to have some nitty gritty details of birth in it. Keep that in mind and consider yourself warned.

Ever since I found out I was pregnant a second time I’d thought about giving birth again. I won’t talk too much about my labor with Gideon as you can read his birth story here, but I feel like after you’ve given birth you carry that experience with you into your second to some degree or another.  At least, I - the lover of comparison, do. I’d hoped that I’d have a shorter and easier delivery with my second child than with my first as my labor with Gideon was long, seemingly endless, painful, and lacking in spontaneous pushing so I had to push him out without much help from my body.

I began preparing for birth #2 as soon as I got my positive pregnancy test. I was fearful as I had undergone a CAT scan before I knew I was pregnant and worried about its ill effects on the baby. But I tried to put that out of my mind as I prepared mentally for this labor by reading the hypnobirthing book and practicing relaxation. I also ate a little better this pregnancy and stayed active by practicing yoga - especially squatting poses - and I made a point of sitting on a birth ball or hard chair instead of a soft one which would promote bad posture and poor baby positioning.

We knew we would be moving across the country when I was 32 weeks along so we searched for a new midwife in Seattle on a scouting trip when I was only 13 weeks. We found a midwife, Bev, who we really connected with and hired her after our first interview. I was so sad to leave my beloved MeriBeth in Pittsburgh but was very happy with our prospects in Seattle. Silas was very happy with her medical training and I was very happy that she was willing to be as hands off as I liked.

The move was mostly uneventful and though difficult, not as stressful as I feared. At 36 weeks, while visiting family in Oregon, I began to have light contractions. This was to be the beginning of a very long month of prodromal labor. Once back in Seattle it became normal to have a contraction here or there throughout my day. I focused on preparing our new home, unpacking and putting together furniture. By 38 weeks it was not uncommon for me to have regular contractions for an hour or two or even more before dissolving into nothing. I could bring on contractions by walking, but they never stuck around. I started checking for my mucus plug every time I went to the bathroom.

My Mom and sister were planning to come up for the birth. My sister, Christa, was a midwifery student working on her doula certs and had attended Gideon’s birth also. They planned to arrive at 39 weeks, on a Wednesday, and there were a couple times I thought I was going to go into labor before they arrived! But no. After they arrived I had regular contractions every night for at least a couple hours. I started evening primrose capsules. I kept Bev in the loop via text and she gave me space, confident I would know when I was in real labor and call her.  I had a nasty attack of hemorrhoids which were so incredibly painful that I was in almost constant discomfort. But I couldn’t safely treat them with anything other than vinegar while pregnant. I upped my evening primrose dosage and started using them as suppositories as well. I was so miserable. The night before my due date I had my usual nightly contractions but they didn’t really go away through the next day.

I had planned to celebrate my due date by taking Gideon to the locks for a picnic lunch but I felt so poorly between the hemorrhoids, erratic contractions, and lack of sleep that I decided to stay home and have Bev check in with me. I didn’t even get dressed, I felt so awful. At my request she checked me and found that I was 3 cm and “buttery soft”. I was so thrilled I almost cried. All these annoying but painless contractions were doing real work after all! Baby was still posterior, though, so we did a little rebozo work in the hopes that would encourage baby to turn. Bev gave me some homeopathic black and blue cohosh to take and left. I continued to have contractions through the day and that night I had one or two big ones on the toilet. I thought that was it so I went to bed to rest and they stopped. I cried. Silas reminded me “There’s a plan, it’s happening like this for a reason.”

When I woke on Wednesday I was still disappointed I hadn’t gone into labor. That is until I got a text from Bev - she was at a birth out on one of the islands and probably wouldn’t be home till that afternoon. I was so thankful I hadn’t gone into labor! The woman in labor was a first time mother which means I would have gotten the backup midwife who I hadn’t even met! Silas was right. God had a plan.

Meanwhile I was making my own plans. The plan was to make myself sick and go into labor. I made cookies and homemade ice cream in the morning and in the afternoon we planned to walk to the drug store. As we were getting ready to go I went to the bathroom and lo and behold THERE WAS MY MUCUS PLUG! I called Christa up to look at it because she had never seen one in person before. I texted Bev to keep her updated and she told me she’d call me when she left the birth she was at. We still went on our walk and hit up Starbucks on the way back where I got my usual espresso frappuccino. Bev called around 7 to ask about my day. She said she had just gotten home and was going to eat and be in bed by 8 but not to hesitate to call and wake her if we needed her. I told her I was pretty sure the baby had turned, in fact, baby seemed perfectly positioned now! We ordered Pizza Hut for dinner and I picked out pepperoni with stuffed crust. I ate about half the pizza and then chased it down with homemade ice cream sandwiches. After dinner I did, indeed, get sick. And around 10 pm the contractions started. My plan was working!

At first they were just like my previous ones. But then they started lasting a little longer and required my attention rather than my disinterest. I was reading birth stories on the BWF blog. I told my sister to start timing my contractions. My signal was that I would relax and put my head down during a contraction. After about half an hour I asked for the verdict. Contractions every three minutes lasting between 45 secs to a minute. I immed Silas, who was upstairs, and told him this was probably IT so he should go to bed, which he did. I didn’t text Bev because I wanted her to get as much sleep as possible after already catching a baby that day!

By midnight they were getting fairly intense. I went to the bathroom and MAN sitting on the toilet really made for big contractions! I went into the bedroom but Silas didn’t wake up. I asked him to wake up but he didn’t really - he was so tired from working and then coming home to a stressed and laboring wife for the past 2 days! I debated calling Bev. Between contractions I thought I was fine but then during contractions I thought maybe I should. Finally I had Silas wake up and call her. She asked if I wanted her to come and Silas relayed the message during a contraction so she got the answer “YES!”.

Silas went to take a shower and I found myself laboring alone. I thought about my contractions. They were intense, yet SO manageable. As long as I relaxed and softly moaned through them I did not really feel PAIN. Pressure, definitely, but not uncontrollable, out of my mind pain, like with Gideon’s labor. I even, dare I say it, was enjoying the contractions as I relaxed and imagined them slowing opening up a path for my baby to come and meet me.

Bev arrived and came in quietly and with respect. Her birth assistant who I had previously met, Molly, was unable to come so she called a different assistant who I hadn’t met before. She checked me and found that I was 6 cm and things seemed to be moving fairly quickly. Her birth assistant arrived and began to help my Mom and sister fill the pool downstairs. I found out later that the hose I bought didn’t attach to the hot water heater correctly and they ended up taping the hose to the shower head in the bathroom. But I was oblivious to all this as I was really enjoying my labor upstairs.

I was relaxing through contractions just like I had practiced, I wasn’t tensing up, it was work, but not pain. I sang some psalms to myself between contractions. Sometimes I would have longer gaps than I would like between contractions so I would do some hip circles to bring on more. Moving felt so good! With Gideon I could not physically move during contractions, but this time I could rock on the birth ball or stand and do hip circles. I even did hip circles while laboring in bed. I loved just laying on my side in bed next to Silas. I could relax during contractions and sleep in between. Mom said they could hear Silas snoring from down stairs.

Eventually I began to get shaky and the contractions were beginning to last much longer so I opted to head down to the tub. It felt amazing! Everyone remarked that I was glowing as I labored and I really felt radiant and full of life. Everything was going as I had hoped it would! I soon realized, though, that I felt a little on show with so many people around watching me. There was conversation going on around me and sometimes I joined in because I was in a pretty good mood, but I think it was disturbing my focus. I labored in the tub for awhile but my contractions began to space out. This bothered Bev’s assistant and she began bugging me to get out of the pool and walk around. I moved around in the tub but that didn’t seem to stimulate contractions like before. Finally I agreed to get out and try walking around some more but I wasn’t too happy about it.

The assistant kept touching me and talking to me but I was really starting to dislike her and didn’t want her touching me. I felt that she was bossy, I didn’t know her, and she was not respecting my birthing space. She took my blood pressure with an electric cuff, which Bev never uses, and it hurt. I complained that I disliked the cuff and she basically told me too bad. Now I REALLY didn’t want her touching me and I was getting pissed off. Surprise, surprise, my blood pressure had skyrocketed. Bev became concerned. I was upset and went over to the couch to cry and be comforted by Silas. Bev took my blood pressure again to be sure and yes, it was in the upper limits of normal.

Bev asked to check me and I asked to do it in private upstairs. When we got up there I broke down crying and told her I didn’t like her assistant and that we didn’t mesh and that I couldn’t do this with her here. She was SO apologetic and said that she would send her home immediately and that I should have said something sooner. She said to just rest with Silas and she would go take care of it. She was back in less than five minutes telling me that her assistant had already left the house. She took my blood pressure again and it was normal. ‘Wow’ she said ‘you had a quite a visceral reaction to her.’ Indeed.

Now I was feeling a little sad, my labor which had been going so perfectly had been marred by this little episode. But I decided not to dwell on that. There was nothing to be done about what had happened and I still had a baby to bring into the world. When Bev checked me again I had been 8 cm so I knew I just had a little more way to go so Silas and I laid down in bed by ourselves and sent everyone else down stairs. We work well together in labor, Silas and I. He’s so calming to me. I feel safe and totally accepted with nothing to prove when I am with him so laboring with him by my side is really a joy.

The contractions continued to get longer and longer and were still intense. Bev came up to check the baby’s heart rate. She did this every 30 minutes with the doppler. It was reassuring to me because this baby had a normal heart rate that was much lower than Gideon’s and I worried about it my whole pregnancy. After awhile I didn’t even need Bev to tell me what the heart rate was. I could hear it on the doppler and know without looking whether it was 120s 130s or 140s. I felt like I knew his heart beat! I had started shaking and showing signs of transition so we moved back down to the pool. It was light outside, I think around 9 in the morning. I remember being so upset when I labored all night with Gideon and it started to get light out but this time I just felt happy.

I was shaking very badly now and I was feeling a little overwhelmed but I did not have that feeling of despair and self doubt that is typical of transition and that I experience with Gideon’s birth. I would have a contraction and I would just think to myself “I’m doing this! And it’s not that bad!” and I would find myself laughing! It was so powerful I began to cry tears of joy. I remember Silas asking what’s wrong and saying “I’m just so happy this is happening!”

Mom was pouring warm water over my lower back and it felt so wonderful. Bev asked me if it was ok to call Molly in. I was still a bit miffed over the other assistant but I had liked Molly when I met her before so I told her to go ahead but I didn’t want to hear talking. Molly arrived and sat quietly in a corner where I couldn’t even see her and I was grateful for that space.

Suddenly, it was as if I came out of a fog. I was gazing at the floor from the side of the pool and suddenly everything came into focus and I knew I was done with this part. I reached down to check myself. My cervix is very posterior so I knew I would only be able to feel anything if I was complete, and sure enough I was wide open. I could feel baby’s head covered in my bulging bag of waters. I started bawling for joy “I can feel the baby’s head!” I cried. This was around 11 am and I had been in active labor for about 12 hours. I assumed birth was only a few minutes away now. I was wrong... it would be almost 6 more hours.

I felt the urge to push, but only a little bit. I made small grunty pushes and started talking to my baby. I felt so connected to this little person. I told him things like “You’re doing such a good job!” “I know this is hard work” and “It will be over soon and we can rest together!” I could feel him moving down little bits at a time. Bev asked who wanted to catch the baby. I said I wanted to if I could, otherwise I had no preference. Silas does not do blood. He is a WONDERFUL support and encourager but he is not a baby catcher. That left Christa, Bev, and my Mom.

Now, around this time we heard Gideon waking up upstairs, but his door was closed and it was usual for him to spend some time playing in his room before we got him up so we decided to let him play by himself for a while before someone went up to play with him.

I arranged myself into an upright kneeling position as I thought that would be good for catching my own baby and gave a few pushes but I knew from my two hour pushing experience with Gideon that these were not very effective pushes. I moved back to leaning on the edge of the pool, then flipped over onto my back but it was no use. I was just not having good pushing contractions. So I got out of the pool again. I tried some pushes standing but it wasn’t happening. Then I tried some pushes squatting with Silas supporting me from a seated position. That felt better. In fact, it felt pretty good. But I still wasn’t having strong enough contractions to make any progress and I couldn’t hold a squat for longer than 5 or so minutes.

Now I was discouraged. It was happening again, just like last time. I was complete, I felt pushy, but my body wouldn’t push and my contractions were wimpy. We decided to take a break from pushing to go lay down upstairs. I went to the bathroom before I laid down and had a contraction so I bent over the side of the tub and I thought I was peeing all over myself while I pushed... but then I realized it was amniotic fluid. My water hadn’t fully broken but it had ruptured but I was leaking everywhere. I demanded to know if it was clear. It was. For some reason I was so fearful for the baby. Then I had a horrible contraction and it was not a pushing contraction. It was like the contractions I had for ten hours with Gideon.

Speaking of Gideon, he was now awake and playing. He came in to say hi to me. He asked Silas a couple times if I was ok and Silas told him everything was fine and that Mommy was just having a baby and he seemed absolutely fine with this. He would wander in to say hi, watch for a few minutes, then go back to playing with my mom or Molly. At some point during labor the Pirates replica batting helmet I ordered for him arrived and he wore it the rest of the day.

Silas helped me back to the bed and Bev checked me one last time. There was an anterior lip. And now that my water had ruptured I was having very painful contractions. Bev said she could move the lip but that would be painful and if I waited it would resolve. She suggested I try to take a nap in a side lying position just as I had earlier as it seemed to really work for me. Then everyone left me and Silas alone. I don’t know how long it took for these contractions to do their job but it was hard. These contractions hurt a lot and I had a hard time relaxing through them. I was so thankful my water hadn’t broken sooner! When the contractions stopped hurting so badly I knew the lip was gone.

Bev brought the birthing stool into my room and prepared it for me. We spent 45 minutes pushing. It was the worst part of my entire birth experience. I made some progress. I could feel baby moving down some, but not enough. My contractions were still pretty wimpy and the amount of effort required for me to push on my own was almost more than I could muster. Plus, as previously mentioned, I had a serious case of hemorrhoids which made pushing even MORE painful and I was afraid to push because I didn’t want to make my hemorrhoids worse. I was getting tired. Bev put her hand in me and pressed and told me to push into her hand. I was not expecting it and it was horrible. It was painful and could not relax at all with her hand there. I wanted her hand out. I got up. I was done on the birthing stool. As of the writing of this story I never want to see another birthing stool. Just thinking about it makes me nauseated.

I returned to the bed and to the supporting arms of Silas. I was exhausted and frustrated. I asked what what wrong with me. Why was it so hard? Why was my body failing me? Silas reassured me that I could do this. “You’ve already done it once!” he said. “But I didn’t have to push this long last time!” Which was true, but I had also done a much better job of pushing last time. I was so discouraged. It had now been almost three hours since transition and I still did not have a baby or even good pushing contractions. Christa saw I needed some extra encouragement and sent Gideon in to say hi. He came up to me and said “I yuv you!” I gave him a hug, cried, and then fell asleep.

Bev came to check baby’s heart rate and to talk to me. I don’t remember her exact words, but she said she felt like there was something keeping me from pushing and that I needed to think about what that was and that I didn’t need to be afraid. She reminded me that I was a vessel designed for this task of childbirth and that it was a great work. She also said that if I continued to push without giving it my all I would burn myself out. That everyone has a limited time they can push before they have no energy left and need to think about transferring to the hospital. For most people that is two hours and I was approaching that amount of time spent pushing. I think she was trying to tell me that if I didn’t want to push I should not push and save my energy till I was ready to push, but in my head I heard her saying that if I didn’t have this baby soon she was going to suggest we transfer. I told her I wanted to try some side lying pushing with just my sister for awhile and then we would re-evaluate. She was very respectful of this left the room.

I was angry. I did NOT want to go to the hospital. I also did not want to push anymore. I cried to Silas about how this was not fair. How come some women’s babies just come out? This was my second baby. It was supposed to be easier, not harder! My Mom came in and gave me a little pep talk. I don’t remember everything she said but I remember her telling me to trust my body. That my body wasn’t broken and wasn’t failing me. It was doing what it was supposed to. Her words really spoke to me and I cried. Then my sister and I got ready for the last hurrah.

My sister, Christa, and Silas were the only ones present who had also been at Gideon’s birth. They remembered those two hours of pushing last time. Christa had taken turns with my sister-in-law, Ellie, and my other midwife’s birth assistant in holding my leg up for those two hours of pushing. Their arms had ached for days afterwards. But it wasn’t till I was at this point in labor that Christa told me she had been preparing for the possibility of doing that again this time and she was ready to help me. So we recreated the exact position I had pushed in last time and I rallied.

Pushing was hard. So hard. I tried not to put too much weight on Christa at first but she was strong and encouraged me to push my foot against her hand for leverage and I finally began to feel a little shimmer of hope as I felt the baby move just a tiny bit down. Christa was amazing. She was a rock. She encouraged me during each push “Yes, good, Lizzie, you’re opening and the baby is moving down. You’re bulging outwards.” and after each push she would tell me I’d done a great job and I was pushing my baby out. Bev would come in to check on me real quick every now and then but I couldn’t seem to push when she was in the room. After about 45 minutes Christa suggested I press my other foot against her other hand in what was, effectively, a side lying squat. Then, only then, I finally began to have a tiny bit of help from my body. They were not the overwhelming out of control pushes my body had offered with Gideon, but I took them for what they were. My mom came in and joined in the encouragement with Christa. And, of course, Silas kept telling me I could do it, he knew I could.

I could really feel the baby’s head lodged in my hips now. Christa could not see the head yet but she said everything was opening up. I decided I had to pee and I couldn’t do one more push without a little break. So I got up off the bed, with some difficulty because the baby’s head was SO far down. It was so close to the opening yet I couldn’t get it those last couple inches! I was feeling a little encouraged by how full my birth canal was, but still discouraged at how hard this was. And I felt like birth was never going to happen. Or that I would have to push for hours and hours more. I did not feel like the end was in sight.

Bev and Molly were resting in the hallway where they wouldn’t disturb the work we were doing in the bedroom. My mom followed me to the bathroom and stood outside the doorway. She told me later that my demeanor had changed and she was sure I was going to either have the baby in the bathroom or come running back to the bed. She was right. I sat down on the toilet and suddenly my whole body bore down and I could see in my mind’s eye the baby move WAY down. I reached my hand down and felt his head just an inch or two from crowning. “He’s about to crown!” I yelled. I don’t know why I said ‘he’. I felt that it was a girl my whole pregnancy but now I said ‘he’.

I think everyone expected me to move back to the bed, except maybe my mom, but there was no way. I stood up and supported myself on the bathtub and think I yelled something about how he was coming and someone had to catch. The next thing I knew Bev was in the bathtub, my mom was behind me and my bag of waters exploded with extreme pressure all over the bathroom in a mess of blood and amniotic fluid. “He’s coming!” I said a silent prayer of thanks that Silas could not see anything from his post at the doorway - he would probably have passed out.

My body pushed. Oh it felt so good to not have to push! THIS is what I had been waiting for. I was so thankful to my body! “OWWWWW...” I moaned. Now the stretching, stretching, stretching. “You’re opening beautifully, Elisabeth!” my mom said “Perfect, you’re wide open. You have so much room!” Mom knew exactly what I needed to hear. I knew this was it. In my mind I said “Here’s the ring of fire!” I might have said it out loud, I don’t remember. But I wasn’t afraid, I knew it was happening exactly how it was supposed to. It was happening. My body was working.

I felt his head come through. “I see eyebrows!” my mom said. I thought I had his whole head out and I wanted to feel his face so I reached down but only felt the top of his head before I knew I couldn’t pause here. The reason was that I had only pushed his head out as far as the bridge of his nose but I still didn’t realize this. I pushed again and thought I was pushing out his body, but it was only the rest of his head, so I was surprised when, at the end of the push, he still wasn’t out!. One more push and his whole body came out and he was received into my mom’s waiting hands. Mom said one shoulder came out before the other. Bev said he rotated beautifully as he came out.

I looked down and saw him in my mom’s hands. It was a boy, but I could hardly believe it because I had thought it was a girl! I said something like “That’s a boy! Is that a boy?!?” “Can you see, Elisabeth?” Mom asked, holding him under me so I could see better. “Ezekiel!” I cried. He had Mom passed him under me to Bev so that I could hold him but I told them not to rush because his cord was short and I wasn’t sure I could hold him. It turned out that I could, but I couldn’t hold him much higher than my belly button because of how short the cord was. I was crying and talking to Zeke. “Is Gideon here!?!” I asked. But he was napping and they asked if I wanted him woken up. “No” I said, immediately followed by “Yes, I want him to meet Zeke!”

Silas was standing in the doorway the whole time and I think it was a good thing because everyone near me was covered in blood from the bag of waters explosion and, as previously mentioned, Silas and blood don’t mix. I think he went and got Gideon because next thing I knew he and Gideon were in the doorway. I remember being so glad Gideon was there. Silas was all teared up. It was wonderful to see my husband and son there to welcome our new son and brother into the family. I vaguely remember them trying to get me to the bed but I was in NO hurry. Also, the placenta had pretty much detached and it was hard to walk with it about to fall out. I stopped in the bathroom doorway to show Silas and Gideon our Ezekiel and then I waddled over to the bed. I delivered the placenta before I climbed onto the bed and it was a good thing because the cord was just so short. Fat, beefy, healthy, but short. And twisted about a million times! We put it in the bowl I bought especially for the placenta, covered it in a receiving blanket and tucked it in bed next to us so that Zeke could stay attached and get as much of his cord blood as possible but so Silas wouldn’t have to look at it.

As I sat in bed Silas cuddled up next to me and Gideon squeezed in between us. It was so wonderful to be surrounded by all my boys! Gideon would ask questions about “Bebe” and we would answer them and talk to him. He practiced saying “Ezekiel” and “brother”. Now I could really look at Zeke. He reminded me a lot of my brother, Rainor. He had his nose. Overall he looked so much more like me than Gideon had. He had looked so much like Silas. But that hair! Oh, he had so much! And he had vernix which I wasn’t expecting. Gideon had vernix but he was a week early. Zeke was right on time and still had vernix! He had a small scratch on one shoulder from coming through the birth canal. I remarked that he was bigger than Gideon was but I really couldn’t tell how much bigger.

Bev was now slightly worried about what she called “a small trickle” of bleeding that should have stopped already so she gave me some shepherds purse (which was disgusting) and massaged my uterus which seemed to help and I nursed Zeke which caused very unpleasant after pains but also helped my uterus clamp down. He latched immediately and began chowing down. I couldn’t believe what a good nurser he was! Gideon had been a good nurser but was not interested in eating for the first couple days after his birth, but Ezekiel was ready to drink a gallon of milk right off the bat!

We decided to go ahead and cut Zeke’s cord. Silas didn’t have any interest in cutting the cord so we had Christa do it because she wanted to and because I wanted her to have something special because of how wonderfully helpful she had been to me during the hardest part of my labor. Then Bev examined me. There were no tears that needed stitches but I did have a skidmark.

Upon doing the newborn exam Zeke checked out just fine. She measured his length and it was 22 inches. My mom was really surprised and said that was really long. I thought about it and then I remembered Gideon was only 20 inches long. She measured his head and it was 14 ¾ inches, slightly smaller than Gideon’s. Then Bev went to weigh him. She got this confused look on her face and I asked what was wrong. “I’m going to recalibrate my scale” she said “I’m getting 10/4.” I think I said “Holy crap, are you serious!” She was serious and a recalibration of the scale brought up the exact same weight - I just had my first ten pound baby! Almost two pounds heavier than Gideon!

After that I was kind of on a high. I felt a little more justified about taking so long to get him out. Not that I needed to feel justified about that, however long it took me, but I had set up expectations for myself about this birth. That it would be shorter, that it would be easier, that I would let my body do all the work. Some of these expectations were met in my amazing and mostly painless first stage of labor. I’m still SO happy about that aspect of my labor but I’m still trying to decide how I feel about the second stage of my labor.

Before Bev left I passed a fist sized clot and she said I was stable but to call her if I passed any more clots and she would come right over and give me a pitocin shot. She left the shepherds purse with me and took my placenta with her to take to the person who was going to encapsulate it for me. She brought it back in two little jars full of pills a few days later. I’ve been taking them for several days now and I’ll write a post on that another time.

I read up on “my pushing problem” after Zeke was born to find that it was fairly common among midwives to see an hour or two or even longer between transition and good pushing contractions. This is not common in hospitals because if you don’t go from 10cm to baby in 4 hours they will give you a c-section, but you see it enough with home births for it to be a variation on normal. Since this also happened during my labor with Gideon I think it’s possible that this is how my body likes to push out babies. So I kind of wish I’d just gone on a walk and then taken a 4 hour nap and waited for pushing contractions instead of pushing on and off for 6 hours. Something to keep in mind for next time ;)

My recovery has been going well. Mom and Christa stayed and spoiled me for the first few days and now Silas is taking really good care of me. Overall, I’m quite happy with this birth experience. After Gideon’s birth I knew I needed to find a way to deal with contractions - I found that in hypnobirthing. Now I know I need to find a way to deal with pushing. I feel that Zeke’s birth was not only a success because he was born at home without complications, but also because I put to use the birth wisdom I learned from my first experience and walked away with new wisdom for my next birth.

I just want to end by saying that at some point during my labor, I’m not even sure where, I started quoting scripture. Every verse I could remember off the top of my head. I had meant to prepare a whole list to meditate on during labor but I only got a few down. There was one passage in particular that had settled on my heart a couple weeks before the birth. Psalm 3:3 “But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory and the lifter of my head.” I remember saying this over and over and even shouting it during the hardest parts of labor. Even now those words seem so powerful to me and I will forever associate that passage with Ezekiel’s birth because Jehovah WAS a shield for me during labor and he lifted up my head when I was feeling defeated and the outcome was glorious!

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