Monday, March 16, 2009

Barclay's Birth Story

Barclay's Birth Story

Prepare yourselves, there was no short way to write this:-)

I was almost a week overdue and was pretty ready to be over with the whole pregnancy thing. I had been having very regular and close contractions for weeks so I was just feeling discouraged and like it would never happen. It's not that I felt too uncomfortable, but I was just ready to meet this sweet baby who had been growing inside of me for the past 41 weeks. It was super bowl Sunday and Noah and I went to watch the super bowl at my friend Bethany's house. I was so determined to get things rolling that I brought along my hot pink yoga ball and decided to bounce the whole game. So I bounced and bounced for almost three hours straight! My thighs got a good work out too! We went home after a very exciting game and very soon after going to bed, I felt strange and when to the bathroom and noticed that I was bleeding some. I was thrilled! This meant things were opening and soon I would meet my baby.

By the time I woke up in the morning, my contractions were about 8-10 minutes apart and not very painful. Even though I'd been having contractions like this even closer, I knew I was close because of other symptoms. Sadly, I did not have that sudden burst of energy and urge to clean, I just felt exhausted. So I laid on the couch and watched CSI all day. Near dinner time I went on a ride with Noah to meet a client at Target. It was cold outside so I decided to walk in Target to try to keep things going. By this time, I was having to stop with each contraction and wait for it to pass. I've always heard never to go to the hospital until you can't talk through the contractions, and they weren't that bad yet. So we decided to go to Papas and Beer (the best Mexican in the world and the hottest salsa). We are pretty much regulars there and every time that I would come in those last few weeks, the sweet waitresses would tap my belly and say things like, "You're still here?" We told them that night that we were probably going to the hospital that night. I wasn't feeling too great, even with my favorite dish in front of me. We still opted to go home instead of heading up 26 to the hospital. At home I got on my yoga ball again and rolled back and forth and tried to watch house. By this time, I was almost delirious with pain because I couldn't comprehend what was going on during the show. I stopped it and went into the room where Noah was sleeping to let him know that I thought we should go the the hospital pretty soon.

I then curled up next to him in bed, my belly pressed skin to skin to his. He could feel the contractions and we cried and prayed together. It was one of my favorite moments with him ever. It was so sweet. I then got up, called my midwife and we headed to the hospital (which is almost an hour from our house). It was a very cold night and we got to the hospital about 12am. They took me to triage where they monitored my contracts which were about three minutes apart. I was so embarrassed but I was just screaming with each one. I felt sure that I was at least five centimeters dilated, but after several nurses attempting to check me (I was a tough one), they came to the conclusion that I was only one centimeters. I was so sad and started to cry. I didn't know what to do because they said to come to the hospital when I was in so much pain I couldn't talk..and I was. I felt totally like a looser and had to text my family and tell them false alarm. They gave me a sleeping pill and said that if I couldn't sleep, to come back in because I was really in labor. So we took the long hour ride home, with me sobbing and still screaming from the contractions. At home, Noah said he needed to sleep so he got on the couch. I tried to sleep but was constantly awakened by the worst pain of my life. I was so freaked out. I thought I had extreme indigestion. It felt like a huge bubble was just moving around my intestines. I took probably thirty to forty hot baths, rolled around on the bed, rolled around on the floor. I didn't think it was labor because it was constant. I didn't feel the "waves" that my birthing class said I would feel. After about four to five hours of screaming and moaning, Noah walked into the bathroom, where I am in the fetal position (well as much of a fetal position that an overdue woman can be in). He said, "What are you doing?". I was sobbing and said that I hadn't slept at all and had really bad indigestion. He freaked out and said, "No you don't! You're in labor!". I kept telling him that I wasn't and that I didn't want to call the midwife because I was embarrassed about my previous false alarm and that I knew I just had horrible indigestion. He dialed the number and thrust the phone at me. My midwife Jan answered the phone and I tried to tell her what was going on but I couldn't even get it out. All I said was, "I don't feel a break between the pain.." and she said to get to the hospital as fast as I could. I was so freaked out and we got in the car to go up. That whole hour ride I was just constantly screaming. I thought I might have the baby in the car because the pain was constant and so awful.

We got to the hospital and they immediately (without checking me) took me to a room. I was so worried that it would just be indigestion and they would send me back home again. My other midwife who had just gotten on call, Roni came in to check me and pronounced that I was at 3 cm. Uggg! I had heard they didn't admit people until they were four and I couldn't do the ride back home again. She was actually pretty please with the progression and announced that I was in true labor and could be admitted. I immediately felt a huge weight being lifted off of me. All those weeks of wondering if I was or wasn't, were over. I was and Barclay would be there soon...or so I thought. I looked around the room and noticed that there was no Jacuzzi tub for the water birth that I was so excited about. We asked and they said that since there was a huge ice storm coming, the pressure drop had sent so many ladies into labor that we had gotten the last room. One without a tub. I was so upset but knew there was nothing we could do about it. I had asked my midwife if I could deliver in the small tub they had in the bathroom and she said she didn't see a problem with it. I started walking around, sitting on my ball, screaming my head off with pain. I did this for hours and hours and it just felt endless. The problem I was having is that my contractions were not regular at all. I was having horrible, endless ones for maybe an hour and then it would taper to only every five minutes. I never felt like I had a good break to collect myself for the next one (this was my whole plan about how to make it through). I took baths in the small bathtub but the water was so cold and it was so small it barely covered my belly. I started to feel completely out of it and remember biting my arm and pulling my hair. Noah would try to help by massaging me or talking to be but it just made it worse and worse and worse. My who family had arrived that morning and were anxiously waiting in the waiting room. Around noonish, they broke my water. I was told that I had a LOT of fluids because they could barely feel the babies position through all the fluids. I was expecting a huge gush, but really there was hardly anything. They said the baby's head sealed it so well that all the fluids were behind him. They were right. I like to say that Barclay surfed out but that gives the idea of ease, which wasn't the case. But he sure got baptized with fluid as soon as he came out.

By 6 pm, I was still only about a 5. I remember looking at the window in my room and thinking about jumping out of it! I was so out of it that I couldn't communicate or distinguish time. My nurse finally asked me, "Honey, why don't you want an epidural?". I told her I really wanted to deliver in the tub. She said that really wasn't possible in that small bathroom and I decided that was the only reason I was holding out. I was so tired too after being up for thirty six or more hours. She said that someone was going for a C section and the epidural would be unavailable for almost two hours if I didn't get it. I barely knew what I was doing, but said yes please. I was so proud of myself for being open and not beating myself over the head about not doing it natural. To tell you the truth, I probably would have done it earlier if I had been able to function clear enough to think straight. I was so thankful that I didn't really understand or know how an epidural works, because I was unaware of what was happening. I got stuck three times! She just couldn't get it right. It was pretty awful because my legs felt like they were being electrocuted the first two times they stuck me and my legs were jumping around and I was so scared I would move and get paralyzed. We discovered after the second stick that this was an intern! The teacher finally stepped forward to help her. I was pretty upset but too tired and in pain to care or say anything. It took a while for it to take affect and it felt really weird. I had it only on my right side, so I had to lay on my left to let it drip over. That was a weird feeling too. Finally I was numb and couldn't feel anything. Not a pleasant feeling at all, but a whole lot better than the whirlwind contractions that had me screaming for almost the past 24 hours. They hooked me up to pitocin to speed things along, as well as some monitors. It was crazy because my contracts read exactly like I felt them (even with the Pitocin), irregular. I was having huge mountains of hard contractions one on top of another. Some of my contractions were three minutes in length! And then it would go to almost nothing. My midwife had already by this time delivered TWO babies from the practice. I was so jealous because I was still there. I finally got to seven centimeters. My mom (who has had 7 babies) told me hundreds of times, as well as any of the staff who would listen to her, that when I got to seven I would shake and have the baby in twenty or so minutes. Well, sadly, this wasn't the case. Because I still had another twelve hours or so till I had him. The epidural was nice because I felt I could nap a little bit since I was exhausted, also I was able to have my sisters and our parents come into the room to visit. Noah at one point ducked out of the room to deliver a contract to be signed downstairs to a client (talk about dedication!). I think that the whole hospital was thankful I got an epidural because I'd been screaming bloody murder for hours and hours and hours. I was progressing so slowly, and I would just watch the clock move. I was so sure that would have that baby on February third, but as the night went on, that seemed like less and less a possibility. Throughout this, I never once thought about the possibility of a C-section, but was told later by my nurse and midwife that they thought I would surely end up with one. Finally, after almost ten hours of having the epidural, I started to feel my legs. I requested that they take me off the epidural so that I could feel to push. They did and I was soon fully aware of my lower half and the pain. I was so focused that at this point, I was barely even screaming, just going somewhere in my head. I was finally a 9 and a half and I was so excited to push this baby out! It had been more than two days of labor. Right when I was near pushing, my midwife was pulled out of the room. Another client from the midwifery had shown up ready to push. She told me to hold on while she ran to deliver the other baby. I was so upset! I had been there all day and night and I wanted to have my baby. And those of you who have had a baby know that telling a pregnant woman not to push is pretty awful. It probably worked out well because I just let him move as much as he could down without having to exhaust myself. Well that lucky lady had her baby in less than an hour and I finally started pushing at about 4 am. Previously the midwife had turned the baby because he was face up which is more difficult to deliver and was the cause of lots and lots of back labor. By my little boy had plans of his own and had returned to the difficult position. I pushed for over two hours before Barclay came into the world. It was extremely painful but not nearly as much as contractions. I could feel him moving down and stretching me, and then he would move back up again. I had a mirror and was watching the progress. I finally asked for it to be taken down because it seemed like it was impossible and I wasn't about to watch my body split in two. I had Noah (who had been the sweetest thing on the face of the earth) on one leg and my sweet nurse Stephanie on my other leg. Those two hours were blurs. I was in another place mentally. Strangely, that place was Target. I had them laughing so hard because I would say, I'm in the jewelry section now, and the next contraction I was on the aisle with dog food, etc. For some reason it helped me have something to think about while I was pushing with all my might. It's weird because at that point I knew that I HAD to get him out. I couldn't quit and I had no other option. At that point I was having a huge contraction, followed by a small contraction. The small one wasn't worth pushing through. I labeled these contracts as my Target contractions and my motorcycle contractions (for the small one). I don't know why but I had everyone in the room laughing hysterically. I loved watching Noah. He was right there and enjoying the process of it so much. He was so encouraging and so enthralled. I truly didn't know if he would get to the place where he was nearly as excited as me about this baby, but it just took him a lot longer. I witnessed the whole process that day. When I was pushing, the nurse and midwives kept commenting on how big he was. They estimated him at over nine pounds. When I finally pushed Barclay out, I felt the biggest sense of awe about what my body could do. When they pulled that baby out of me and set him on my chest, I couldn't believe it. I immediately started sobbing and declaring my love for this baby. Noah was sobbing and so was the midwife. It was by far, the most rewarding and miraculous thing I have ever been through.

Barclay Thomas George was born at 7 lbs 7 oz (not very big at all), 20 inches with the biggest cone head you've ever seen! He was nine days late. I immediately loved him more than anything.

My midwife told me later that she could not believe I didn't end up with a C-section and that she was so proud of me. I know if I had a regular doctor, they probably would have not given me any other option. I was thankful for a patient midwife.

She also said that if I had lived when medical intervention hadn't been available (ie epidurals and pitocin), I could have been in labor for a week and would have probably died.

Even though my birth didn't go even a small amount the way I wanted, it was perfect for me and allowed me to rest just enough that I was aware for the first moments of Barclay's life.

Right after I delivered, my midwife was called to ANOTHER woman who was 9 cm and almost ready to push. She delivered 5 babies in the 24 hours she was on call. A record for the midwifery. I heard later that all the rooms were so full, that there were women laboring in the waiting area with my family while they waited for rooms to open up. While we were in there, there was a terrible ice and snow storm. I was unaware and warm the whole time. Our precious families had waited about 24 hours in the waiting room to meet him.

Even though my labor was long, hard, and painful. The moment Barclay was born I knew he was worth every minute of it.


  1. I don't think we've ever met before, but I'm Jim Thompson's wife, Sara. Your story has encouraged me so much - you have no idea. We are about 6 months pregnant and want to have a natural birth. We're in Bradley Birth classes and have an awesome, "naturally-minded" family doctor, instead of an OB.

    It was just really good to read a balanced, REAL birth story. I know that a natural birth is the healthiest and (usually) the most efficient, but it was so good to be reminded that plans can and will change very quickly. Or slowly in some cases. ;) Also, to know that the "evil" things like pitocin and epidurals, when used appropriately, are gifts from God! I also cried reading about when your husband could feel the contractions with you - how awesome.

    That's all! Thank you so much for sharing and congratulations on an AMAZING job and a beautiful boy!

  2. Helen Joy,
    I really enjoyed reading our story. It's funny because I actually delivered 2 days early with my first baby, Anna Ruth, because of a huge snow storm coming through Blacksburg, VA. Right after I delivered I had to be moved to a small recovery room because so many women had gone into labor because of the pressure drop and they needed the delivery rooms right away. I had never heard of anyone else with that scenario until you. Anyway, I totally agree that a birth is a miraculous thing to experience and is unforgettable.

  3. I meant to say "I really enjoyed reading your story" in the first line.

  4. Wow. That's all I can say. Thank you so much for leaving your comment on my blog and directing me to your birth story. It was a pleasure to read. Your response to labor and delivery are exactly as I hope for. Definitely not as you desired, but with the perfect end result!

    He is such a precious little one and I love your first family picture!


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