**This is a very condensed version from my 7 page handwritten account.
Enjoy what I recount from Wren Outlaw Jenkins' special day!
I started getting emotional the week of October 23rd. Everyone thought baby would be here by now. "Bed Rest" since mid-July was wearing me down. We didn't have a certain due date. I had been measuring small the whole time, and a couple of the midwives had said in passing that they thought I would go into November. Ina May mentioned Thanksgiving. I never thought I would think Ina May was full of it. I had been doing more research on gestational diabetes for a friend, and my emotions were running high. Nonetheless, the power of words were taking a toll on me. Ryan woke up on October 26th and found me in the living room crying. I couldn't even explain why, but I started fearing that something might be wrong with our baby. He secretly called Stacie, our midwife, and told her what was going on with my emotions. I had an appointment that day, and he wanted her to know where I was at emotionally. She arranged a ultrasound to ease my fears. Everything looked good! We did find out that baby was posterior, meaning that the back of his head was facing my sacrum instead of the most optimal way of being face first. Being a doula, I know that that usually means longer harder labors. Stacie checked me that day, and I was already 2-3 cm and baby was VERY LOW, 0 station. My mom ran me a bath at her house and suggested that we all get out of the house the next day.
When I woke up on the 27th, I noticed some bloody show. I thought maybe I lost my plug. We met my parents at Loveless Cafe and rode the Natchez Trace for awhile. During our ride on the Trace, I started feeling "something" but I couldn't put my finger on it. I kept quiet about it and would look at the clock periodically; it was about 10:30 a.m. I noticed that my "something" was happening every 7 minutes. When we got back to Loveless, I told Ryan that I might be having contractions. We all ended up back at our place since it was raining for an indoor picnic. I got a shower and the contractions stopped. There was more bloody show though.
I laid River down for a nap at 1:30 and we crashed together. Those feelings woke me up a few times during our nap. At 3, I got up to let Ryan know that they were back. We decided to contact Stacie. I knew she would suggest we come down. She did. She said the worst thing that could happen would be to come down, be checked, and stay the night.
Once we made the decision to go down to The Farm, the contractions started coming anywhere from 2-7 minutes. They were a little more intense and mainly in my back since baby was posterior. They began to require me to stop and focus on breathing. I would point to Ryan as he packed the car up, and he would keep time. I remember him saying, "Kari, some of them are 2-3 minutes apart. We need to get a move on it." I still kept my slow, steady pace. We all got in the car, River and Chaco, included and headed out.
It was about 4 or 4:30, and Stacie called to check on our location...only to find us sitting in traffic on the interstate. She wanted to let me know that Laura, her cousin, was going to assist her and let me know what other midwife would be there too. I was pleased. Stacie and Laura are a hoot together. And all the while we all weren't still sure I was in true labor. We dropped River and Chaco off at my parents. We started our birth music and drove the rest of the way. I was never so happy to get to The Farm. My low back was so uncomfortable.
We got to the birthing house around 6:30p.m., and Stacie and Laura were waiting for us. I thanked Laura in advance for being my official butt wiper. We all laughed! Stacie checked me and I was 4 cm and a lot thinner from the day before. We all agreed that we "thought" this might be labor. Stacie and Laura went to the Farm store to get us all some soup and give us some privacy to unpack and get settled.
While we were unpacking, Ryan very kindly asked, "Do you want me to set up the video camera?" I couldn't decide before hand, so I had told him to ask me in the moment. My response in the moment was to stop in my tracks and use a 4 letter word. I can't remember which one but we'll go with a Hell No! I apologized immediately or at least I meant to. Ryan said I used a lot of 4 letter words this time. I do know that I kept saying, "Good God." I apologized to Laura and Stacie. I found out that Laura is a preacher's daughter. It seemed like I repeatedly said, "Good God! I don't know why I keep saying that. I'm sorry."
Knowing Wren was posterior, I decided to try and turn him using a Roll Over Technique from spinningbabies.com. Back Labor was a totally different experience than River's birth. Everything was much more intense. When Stacie got back from the store, she came to check on me. She found me half way through the Roll Over Technique in a lot of discomfort. Stacie told me she didn't want me to fear a posterior labor/birth.
"Either baby will turn or you'll push him out posterior."
"But I'm only half way through the technique."
"Is it working? Are you comfortable?"
"&*%$ NO! But I'm an over achiever. I'm only half way through."
"Well, I would get up and squat and get this baby out."
I threw in the towel on the Roll Over Technique and went to the kitchen for some soup. It was about 7:30 p.m. or 8 p.m. at this point. We all hung out in the kitchen telling stories and cracking up. When a contraction would come, I would hold onto the counter and squat or get on all fours. After awhile I couldn't handle anymore Amish stories. Stacie and Laura birth Amish babies and massage their families too. So they have tons of stories. As funny as they were, I couldn't get on top of the contractions anymore.
Around 8:30 or so, I retreated to the bedroom. I wanted to be checked, but I wasn't feeling any urge to push. I started to "lose control" and panic. The intensity was growing, and the low back pain was causing me to panic internally. She checked me, and I was between 6 -7 cm. My only thought at that moment was I made some progress. I was on all fours in the bed, and Stacie offered to put pressure on my low back. That didn't work. She suggested a bath. They got the water running, and Ryan got my birth music set up. I climbed into the tub and would go back and forth from sitting up to all fours.
I requested Lady Gaga's, You & I. We all commented on how much we loved this song. During my tub time, I would stare at the tile on the floor or this button on the side of the jacuzzi tub. I would breathe and push my breath into it. Here I was using my Birthing From Within practices. Sometimes I would roll my forehead up onto Ryan's shirt and breathe deep. It felt so good to have him sitting near me, encouraging me. Stacie told me to let her know if I felt the urge to push. After 20 or 3o minutes in the tub, I felt my nether regions expanding. They felt like they were about to rip in two. Ryan asked me if I wanted to get Stacie. "No! Let me have one more." With the next one, I came up out of the tub like the Loch Ness Monster. "Get Stacie!"
They got me out of the tub and back into the bedroom. I threw myself back onto the bed, and Stacie checked me. I was 9 cm. I think it was about 9 p.m. at this point. I couldn't form thoughts or words much at this point. However, I heard Hanson playing from our play list.
"I always knew I would give birth to Hanson."
"Yeah. We know."
"You know, Mmm Bop."
I think it was Laura who actually appeased me by saying that she didn't know they had new stuff. I swear one day Hanson will give me front row seats or backstage passes for being so devoted. If you know me well, then you know how hilarious that conversation and spot on that conversation is for me to have in labor.
I started pushing my head into Ryan's abdomen with my arms wrapped around his waist, and my vocalizing took over. Moaning. Groaning. Screaming. Those powerful birth noises are indescribable. "Toilet," I said. They got me there.
Once my butt sat down, I felt Wren coming and there was nothing I could do to control or stop it. "I can't stop it. He's coming!" My water broke on the toilet. How convenient?! Stacie told me she couldn't protect my perineum on the toilet. She wanted to get me back to the bed. But once I stood up I knew he was coming out, and I couldn't go anywhere. Ryan sat down in the corner of the bathroom and helped me down too. I leaned back on him, put my arms above my head and grabbed his shoulders. My body had taken over, and I was along for the ride. I wasn't even intentionally pushing. My body was doing it without me controlling it. Stacie looked at me and with her fingers showed me an egg size shape with her hand. "I see this much head" in the midst of me screaming, "I can't stop!" And just a few moments later, she said the head is out. I gave a push for the rest of his body, and he was out. And yes, Footloose came on! The only other person I know named Wren is Ren McCormick from the movie.
I remember this with River too but it's the most amazing feeling when you're handed your baby. The feeling of their warm, wet, slippery body against yours and then your eyes meet for the first time! Wow!!! And it was 9:20 p.m. I jokingly told everyone when I got there that I wanted to be done before bed time. Ta-dah! We were...kind of.
The placenta came after about 10 minutes. I've always wanted to cut a cord, so Stacie let me cut my own cord. I thought it was fitting since Wren and I had been connected for 9 months. I wanted to be the one to cut it when I was ready. We all had some time on the bathroom floor before everyone got me up and to the bed. Since Wren came out SOOO quickly, I had some bruising and tearing. Stacie said I tore like a flower. It sounds a lot nicer than it probably looks or definitely feels. She made Ryan promise NOT to give me a mirror if I asked for it. They know me too well. In those moments, I didn't care. Just take your time stitching me (2 hours worth), give me my frozen Arnica and Witch Hazel Pads, and we'll call it a day. I had my new sweet baby, and my husband beside me. All that was missing was my River boy.
Stay tuned for more blogs on the amazing umbilical cord and life changing placenta encapsulation...