Easton’s Birth Story

I’ve been eagerly awaiting my film and photos from The Touch of Life┬áso I could finally share Easton’s birth story. I’m taking some deep breaths because I have never in my life felt as vulnerable as I did during this birth, and that vulnerability is now going to be on this very public forum. Once again, I’m sharing it with the hope that it will help other women and their partners see birth in a new, more positive light. Birth doesn’t have to be scary when you are loved, respected, and supported in your choices.

In HypnoBirthing, I teach couples to “accept whatever turn their birthing takes.” That phrase has never been so meaningful to me as it is now, having gone through Easton’s challenging birth. This was my first time laboring with a posterior baby, my first time experiencing pain and suffering in labor, and my first time getting an epidural. When I teach couples HypnoBirthing from here on out, I’ll have this incredible experience to add to my now widened perspective. Birth doesn’t have to be inherently painful, but it can be painful when things aren’t quite right. This is what happened with Easton, and this is his story.

It was General Conference weekend, and my mom had arrived to help with the baby. (If you don’t know what General Conference is, check out this link.) During conference on Sunday, April 2nd, I had been in touch with my midwife Roxanna via text. I was having a lot of practice labor, but it was becoming intense and uncomfortable. It would usually happen at night, keep me up for several hours, and quit in the morning. I was feeling very exhausted from the lack of sleep and wanted my body to decide whether it was ready or not. I will say that I knew I was getting close because the veil was very thin. One night while I was up having practice surges, I felt someone standing next to my bed. I couldn’t see this person, but knew without a doubt that he or she was there watching over Easton’s transition to his earth life.

Roxanna suggested that I try some techniques from Spinning Babies, so I was doing some interesting stuff during conference that had my kids giving me funny looks. We were both pretty sure at this point that Easton had his back on the right side of my body, or that he was ROP for those of you that understand birth lingo. So, we were trying to get him to back out of my pelvis a little so that he could maneuver his little way over to the left, hopefully ending up in the ideal LOA position.

I had some more strong labor that evening, but it was still pretty erratic. Around 9pm when everyone was getting ready for bed, the surges started coming closer together. Roxanna was in the area with another client, so when I let her know what was happening, she said she would come over and check on baby and see what my cervix was doing. It was another hour or so before she came over.

As soon as she checked me, I could tell by her face that something was off. My erratic labor pattern should have been a clue, but I needed her to confirm it. Easton was still stubbornly ROP, and to complicate things even more, his head was not directly on my cervix–it was off to the side. In birth lingo, we call this asynclitic. So there I was, ready to have my 5th easy, peaceful birth, but instead of an ideally positioned baby, I now had a baby who was not only posterior but also asynclitic. Wonderful.

We decided to go with things. We kept doing all the spinning babies stuff. I labored in upright positions or lying on my left side to encourage baby to move. Roxanna tried to manipulate my uterus in such a way to change his position. She was able to move his head a little so that it was more centered on my cervix, but because of his posterior position, it didn’t really speed things up.

Around 1 in the morning, I was ready for my doulas to come. They arrived and helped me stay relaxed and calm. When I was about 6 cm opened, I asked if I could get in the tub which Roxanna and her assistant had lovingly and quietly set up in my front room. They agreed that it would be a good time. We didn’t really speak it, but we were all nervous about his position and whether he would eventually turn, or whether I would be able to birth him posterior. Some of the surges were really intense, as I would expect them to be at 6 cm. But some were very mild, so much so that I even told everyone I didn’t feel like I was actually in labor.

After laboring in the tub for a while, Roxanna checked me during a surge. She told me that if this labor were going to pick up enough for the baby to be born, it probably wouldn’t be in the tub. My heart sank. Not only was the tub my “natural epidural,” but it was also where I wanted to give birth. I tried to let go of the idea of a water birth as we decided what to do next. In order to urge Easton into a better position, Roxanna suggested I crawl around my dining room table on all fours. I looked at her like she was crazy. But the look on her face told me she wasn’t joking. I put my robe and super sexy adult diaper back on and started crawling around my dining room.

Have I mentioned how wise my midwife is? Within a few seconds of crawling, I started to have strong surges coming every couple of minutes. I would crawl maybe 4 or 5 feet and have to stop and try to relax through the intensity of the surge, only to do it again 4 feet later. It was surreal. “Yes, it’s picking up! I’m going to have this baby soon!” These were the thoughts going through my mind.

I don’t remember what caused us to go upstairs to the bedroom again. Perhaps Roxanna checked me again and found that there was still no progress. But I do remember her trying to move baby around from the outside, and when that was unsuccessful, she looked at me very seriously and told me that she wanted to try and turn in from the inside. It didn’t really sink in at first, so she explained it again. She was going to have me kneel on the floor in polar bear position while she reached up inside to try to rotate Easton. Once she had him in the correct position, she was going to break my water so that he would engage and hopefully stay there. I’ve heard of doctors doing this, but usually mom in on an epidural when it happens. Roxanna didn’t sugar coat anything–she told me it would be extremely uncomfortable. I started to panic a little. I didn’t want to do this, but we had tried everything else. There wasn’t really another option.

In her wisdom, Roxanna told Nathan to give me a blessing of comfort, which he did. When he laid his hands on my head, I instantly felt peace. My doula told me later that she literally saw a bright light and a personage above us after the blessing. I feel that this is the same person who came to visit me by my bed a few days earlier.

We got out of bed and everyone helped me get down on the floor in the correct position. I tried to breathe and relax as much as I could. I felt a lot of tugging and twisting, and then when Roxanna pulled her hand back out, it felt so similar to a head being birthed that I actually thought Easton’s head was out for a moment! Of course I quickly learned that that was not the case. The good news was I was now 8 cm dilated. The bad news–well, I got the bad news with the next surge. Easton was still posterior, and now that my water was broken and I was in full blown transition, the surges tripled in intensity, coming one on top of the other, and I was in excruciating pain.

The pain was mind-numbing. I could not think of anything else. Music didn’t help. Hypnosis was long forgotten. I could barely breathe, let alone try to think about surge breaths. I. Was. Suffering. I begged and pleaded for relief. Almost as a gut reaction, I declared that I wanted to go to the hospital and get an epidural. NOW. Once the decision was made, it couldn’t happen fast enough. I hurried downstairs to get back in the tub, hoping that would provide some relief until decisions could be made. It didn’t. It was extremely difficult for me to have rational thoughts. Roxanna kept asking me which hospital I wanted to go to. I remember thinking “I DON’T CARE.” “THE CLOSEST ONE.” In the end, that was the one we ended up picking. I asked her to tell the nurse on the phone that we were coming now, and wanted the epidural guy in the room waiting for us.

I remember saying over and over how sorry I was that we were going to the hospital. It wasn’t supposed to be this way! My amazing birth team assured me that there was nothing to apologize for, that I was making the best decision for Easton and me, and that everything would be okay. Megan (my doula) kept telling me how strong and amazing I was. Her words and Nathan’s protective touch were the only things keeping me from falling into complete and total despair.

Someone sent my mom upstairs for some clothes. I was still in only a bra. She came back down with a tunic and some leggings. And they weren’t even maternity leggings–they were pre-pregnancy leggings. I took one look at them and rolled my eyes. There was no way I was putting them on.

I threw on the tunic and someone helped me put an adult diaper back on. Someone grabbed a pair of slippers from the coat closet, so I threw those on as well. I managed to make it out to the minivan, but there was no way I was going to sit down. Nathan folded one of the captain’s chairs down so I could kneel and lean over the back seat. Someone (I think it was Roxanna) came in with me and applied counter pressure to my hips during the drive. It didn’t help at all, but it was comforting to know someone was there with me. I begged Nathan to drive fast. The one-mile drive to our nearest hospital seemed like an eternity.

Everything from here on out is such a blur. I remember being wheeled into labor and delivery, and I remember some really sweet nurses trying to get things taken care of as quickly as possible. I got an IV and the anesthesiologist came in shortly after. One of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life–and I am not exaggerating–is sit absolutely still while he placed the epidural. I can’t really describe what I was feeling, but I’ll try to. It was like my entire pelvis and abdomen were in a vice, and at the same time I was feeling the urge to push with every surge. The only thing I could think to do to help ease the pain was move. So when they told me I had to hold still–it was nearly impossible. I remember slipping my arms under Nathan’s and grabbing his shoulders and just burying my face into his shirt.

Within a few minutes, the epidural was placed. The small pinch I felt in my back was nothing compared to what I was feeling below. Within 10 minutes, I had complete and total relief. The feeling is, again, indescribable. I think the drugs affected me mentally as well, because I went into a state of euphoria and kept telling everyone, “I’m so happy!” The only sensation I felt after that was pressure. As Easton’s head moved lower and lower, the pressure increased. It felt like a bowel movement.

Easton’s heart rate dropped quite a bit during each surge. It worried some of us, but since it always jumped right back up after the surge was over, the doctor wasn’t concerned.

Despite being close to 9cm dilated when I arrived, it still took another 2 hours to be ready to push. And even then, the doctor had to move a lip of cervix out of the way and rotate Easton using forceps. (I did agree, reluctantly, to the forceps, since the doctor explained that they would just be used to turn the baby, not to pull him out. I also figured it would be easier to do that than to push him out posterior. And it was.)

Once Easton was finally in position, I pushed him out easily in just a couple of pushes. The cord was wrapped tightly around his neck one or two times–I can’t remember exactly–and the doctor suspected this is why he didn’t move into a better position on his own. It seems he was being held in that position by the cord. The only thing that was able to move him was that tricky forceps maneuver. So, as much as I hate forceps, I do believe that there is a time and place to use them, and this was exactly that. I was grateful to have a doctor who was very skilled in using them so my birth could go more smoothly, and thankfully, so my baby had no repercussions from their use.

Easton got to come right to my chest for a few minutes. I was finally able to meet my sweet baby on the outside! Of all the amazing moments I have had in my life, meeting Easton was one of the very best. I don’t know if it was because of how difficult his labor was, or just because we have an extra special bond, but he and I connected instantly. They took him over to the pediatric nurses for a few minutes to make sure he looked good (one of the things I hate most about hospital birth), but a few minutes later he was back in my arms. We enjoyed skin-t0-skin bonding and I was able to start nursing him. Meanwhile, the doctor repaired a small tear and I was finally able to relax and enjoy my newborn.

My mom was able to bring Kaisa to the hospital with her, so Kaisa got to be there for the birth. She got a little nervous when the actual birth part came, so my mom took her out of the room for a few minutes, but she got to be one of the first to see and hold Easton. Roxanna also stayed by my side through the entire experience. One of the hardest things about this hospital transfer was that she didn’t get to deliver Easton. She had guided me so perfectly through McKay’s pregnancy and birth and now Easton’s pregnancy and most of his birth. It seemed cruel for her not to be the one to help usher him into the world.

If you’ve stuck with me this far, you’re either a true friend, or you really love birth stories! This story was not at all how I expected Easton’s birth to go. But it was what he needed, and because of that, it was perfect. I could not have done this without my amazing birth team: midwife Roxanna, doulas Megan and Kimber, photographer/videographer Sarah, my mom, and of course my sweet husband. I am also extremely grateful for the care and respect with which we were treated by the nurses and doctors at Orem Community Hospital. This was about as smooth as a hospital transfer can go. I hope we can continue to see better continuity of care for mothers who choose home birth but end up at a hospital.

If the words and pictures weren’t quite enough, here is a link to view Easton’s birth film. Again, because of how vulnerable I felt during this birth, it’s not easy for me to share this with the world. But I feel it’s important for women to see what birth can look like in both home and hospital and how women should be supported 100% in their choices.

Password: babylove

Comments

  1. Holly Janeen Decker says:

    Fiona, that was incredible! thank you doesn’t cover how grateful i am that you shared this. i cried. it was beautiful in every way. you are my hero.

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