Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Beautiful Birth of Baby Mars

I am sitting here with my two week old newborn in my lap. He just nursed to sleep and is in a perfect state of happiness . I know it is time to sit down and write out his beautiful, perfect birth story. I have not wanted to miss any of the details of his story. Everytime I stroke his soft downy head or hold his newly washed wet body I can recall the exact feeling I felt when I held him and touched him for the first time and it takes me right back to that amazing blissful surreal moment that will always be engraved upon my heart.

If I can use some words to describe his birth story it would be a crazy mixture of words like~ AMAZING, CONFUSING, LONG, FAST, PERFECT, INTIMATE, SURREAL, ECSTASY, and REASSURING.

   Going "post-dates" is one of the most emotionally hard things I have ever done. We went all the way to 42 weeks and 2 days gestation. Every other day I would be sobbing and then the next I would be strong in my trust for the process, I felt like a crazy woman and started to believe maybe something was wrong this time and I would have to go to the hospital. Thankfully I followed my instincts, worked through my mental blocks, did a lot of position changes, and let things happen without any outside influence.
   My "labor" started on a Wednesday evening and our new baby did not make his entrance until Saturday evening. It was that long! So here is the detailed story of our accidental unassisted vbac birth of baby Pace number three! ~

Wednesday March 27th, 2013

It all started with the full moon, a beautiful, perfect full moon and slow to start contractions coming every 20 minutes or so. I went about my regular business and visited with my best friend who drove down from Ohio. We took a lovely walk under the moon together going up and down my driveway, and talked about everything and nothing as best friends can do. I had my Midwife appointment that evening as well, and it was just wonderful hearing the baby's heartbeat and getting reassured by her that things we're perfect and normal.

Contractions continued through that evening and through the night. Every 20 minutes, like clockwork. Not hard at all, but noticeable.

Thursday March 28th, 2013 
Had lovely contractions all through the night, up every twenty minutes or so and just breathed through them.
Woke up and made muffins for the family. Regular life commenced, just while working through them now every 15-20 minutes. More family came to town (my mom and sisters!!) We spent the day together. Water situation in the house so I went to their hotel to take a super long hot shower that was lovely!

Here I am, having a contraction while opening gifts. I got pretty good at just managing the sensations. I would not call them painful at this point. They were an intense feeling concentrated in my cervix that felt like a rubber band being pulled open, like it was being pulled open with strong force. It is a really hard sensation to explain, I did not have any contraction tightenings across my stomach at all this time! 

Friday March 29th, 2013 
Contractions still continued 20 minutes apart throughout the night and into the morning. I slept knee to chest and got up every time I could feel one coming and would rock back and forth through it, then sleep in between.

I woke up exhausted. Two nights of little to no sleep, with my body doing some intense work, and I was in a pretty bad mental place this day.

I had a few cry sessions. Couldn't get into my groove and wondered what the heck was wrong with my putsy labor and why wasn't it picking up at all!

Zack, my husband, came home from work and took me to a friends house to shower. It helped refresh me. I went to Target with him to walk and buy a new exercise/birth ball to rock on.

Contractions coming about 10 to 15 minutes apart at this time, but then would take random intervals off. Such a long slow labor, I was trying all I could to get baby's position right, thinking that would kick things into gear once I could do that.

Dinner at an expensive Hibachi Japanese restaurant and contractions were very intense in this public place. I felt the need to be vocal during them and could not! I literally stuck my face in a napkin each contraction and breathed through them trying to let it pass without making a scene! Luckily dinner was delish and went fast. Let me just note that CAR CONTRACTIONS SUCK SO BAD!!! I am so so glad I do not have to do that  on a 30 minute hospital drive! 

Saturday March 30th, 2013 ~ Baby's BIRTHDAY!
Once again I had contractions throughout the evening and night and into the next morning. Unrelentless, but never intensifying up until this point. Last night they came about 8-10 minutes apart finally, and I had to be vocal throughout them. I slept between each sensation and counted down the hours till I could wake my best friend and have her help me get through these. They were finally intense enough that I felt like I could use some support!!! 

I waited until 6 am and I woke my bff up to help me take a bath! I laid on my side and she poured water over my side and back. It felt lovely. I could hear the birds chirping outside and they woke up with the world, and it was just how I pictured it all. I hoped so hard that today would finally be the day I gave birth! 

Had a few contractions in the tub and they felt very intense, and I did not care for them at all. It is hard to rock through them and stay focused when you lay on your side in a small ass tub! SO I got out and we did a few hours in the boys room of just getting through these 7-8 minute apart contractions while the rest of the house woke up. 

I continued like this throughout the day. Leaning on my family and my bff as an intense contraction came. They were about 7 minutes apart still, and not lasting very long. But some of them were INSANELY strong and concentrated, like before, all in my cervix. Like a violent pulling apart feeling, as best as I can describe. I did what I could to stay very relaxed through them, and felt best when leaning on somebody or something through the contractions. 

I had a moment when I looked at the newborn baby clothes and was overwhelmed with emotion. I would meet this baby soon. No matter what, I would be meeting this sweet baby soon and he or she would wear this outfit. I got super emotional and held the clothes against my chest. My bff snapped this pic. It is still early morning here. 

Kicked out all the family, and my bff had to leave for Ohio. Its just Zack and I now! I used a woven wrap to lift my baby and counter-act the heavy feeling in between contractions. It is now around 12 o'clock

After enduring a short car ride with hubby to the gas station and changing clothes, I decided to walk in the back yard woods for a while by myself. It was AMAZING. I listened to the wind. Watched the dogs run, and leaned against the trees when a contraction came. Zack was doing yard work and mowing while I was back in the woods by myself. I called my dad and talked to him a little bit to give him updates, and text my Midwife that contractions were about 5 minutes apart, some pretty strong and others not so much. I was just doing my thing enjoying the time alone. So thankful to my mother for taking my older boys to the park and entertaining them so I could have my space. I needed it. 

I had text my good friend/doula Bridget earlier in the day that it was just going to be my husband and me and that I may need the extra back support since I was getting pretty tired. We had planned for her to stop by on her way home from work around 4. 

It is now about 230 or so. 

I started to get a little overwhelmed by some of the contractions and yelled at Zack that he needed to join me. We walked together in the woods, and he snapped a few pics of me. 

This is when my LOOOOOOONNNNNNGGGGGGG birth story turns crazy fast!! :) 
Hubby joined me in the woods, like I said and we walked about halfway and things started picking up pretty strongly. We were timing them and it looked like they switched to 3 minutes apart and were staying there now. I started feeling more intense contractions and could not get relaxed through them at all. 

It was about 315 and we decided to head back into the house because I couldn't get comfortable. (looking back now, I know this was when transition was about to hit)
I was getting PISSED off that I was unable to breathe through these contractions and relax. I am a freaking doula, dammit, I know the tricks I should be able to be relaxed right now! But these were beyond me, and I started taking it out on my poor husband. 

Mom, my sisters and my older boys came home about this time and I quickly asked them to leave again as things were getting really serious and I needed to focus. 

400 pm. Bridget, my doula and friend, walks in the door. I start really feeling rectal pressure and have no way to stop it. I am kicking my feet and freaking out a little more because I couldn't NOT push with the pressure. She asks if I had called the Midwife to come, well of course I had been in contact with her, but I did not think things were intense enough yet and had told her not to come just yet. I knew I had this rectal pressure feeling with Asher for 5 hours last time!!! 

She walks with me to my bedroom and I lean over the bed, I have one super strong contraction and I do not fight the rectal pressure this time, I kind of give into it a little bit and I feel the sensation change and move towards the front a little bit. I yelled something like. "Oh, SHIT, yes, yes, please call the Midwife.... I think we should definitely do that now." 

I am moving towards the bathroom now. I am feeling a little insane with the intensity! I cant fight it, my body needs me to push with this pressure!!! I think maybe sitting on the toilet will help, NOPE! I stand up and say (sorry for the TMI) "Zack, I think I am pooping, please come wipe me or something!! "
His response was that was a baby's head bulging and I was not pooping! HOLY SHIT! 
I lean over the side of the tub. 
My hubby is behind me, and Bridget is sitting in the corner snapping away pics, just like I had asked her to. Midwife is not here yet, she lives about 30 minutes away. It is around 445 now or so. 
My body is just pushing on its own, like I always hoped for! I gave into it all and pushed with it. I got to reach down and feel the squishy head as baby was crowning. It was insane to feel myself opening so big! Our bodies are amazing! Within a couple of pushes the head was out! Baby blinked up at Zack with his body still inside of me. I waited until the next contraction and pushed the rest of the body out, right into the loving, strong arms of my husband! He had wanted to catch our baby so bad, and he finally got to do just that!!! 

INSANE emotion flood here! I was overwhelmed by the love I had for my new baby and my husband the baby catcher. I can not believe we just did this all on our own! It was all I ever hoped for and everything I needed. 

This video was taken immediately after Zack caught our baby and placed him in my arms. I am literally overwhelmed with emotion. I am definitely in disbelief and doing some sort of weird cry/laugh thing. I love the raw emotion though, and love being able to re-watch our first moments with our new baby!

We waited a while, after talking with the baby and holding baby. This is the video of us finding out baby's sex! It's a BOY!!!! An awesome third Pace boy.

About 10 minutes, or even less, I am not sure, our wonderful Midwife walked through the door. She saw Zack's face and they all had the biggest grins on their faces. She helped clean me and baby up. Got us situated, assessed blood loss and watched for the placenta (all in the bathroom). After about 25 minutes or so that it took to birth the placenta, we waddled into the bed and snuggled up, and waited for my mom to come back with our older two boys so we could introduce them!!!

The most beautiful thing about this entire birth experience was how normal it all turned out to be. We laid down in our own bed after just having birthed our baby all on our own, and we were just a family with a sweet new member. It was simple and though the process was so so long and it seemed like I would be pregnant forever, I was once again taught that birth NEEDS to be trusted, our bodies have to be respected and our intuition listened to above all other things that society may tell us! I vbac'd my baby all on my own and I will never forget the way I felt, how in LOVE I became with my body, my baby and my husband. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Prelude to a Birth Story

An important part of our story starts about 20 weeks ago.

After discussing it and weighing the pros and cons, my husband and I decided on having an ultrasound done just to check that there were no birth defects or heart issues that we could be surprised with during our homebirth.
Zack had to work the day of the scheduled ultrasound and so I went with the two boys myself.
I cried of course seeing the baby in my belly, it is always so special to see and brings it all to a whole other level of realness. I asked not to let me see the sex and I had to keep averting my eyes whenever she went towards the lower extremities. Baby even did a full somersault in utero during the ultrasound. So cool to see.
The ultrasound tech told me all looked really great, that the heart looked whole and healthy, and that the doctor will evaluate it all more thoroughly and get back to me in a few days.

So I got a call a few days later, and it was not what I had expected at all.
The nurse told me the results of the ultrasound analysis showed a few concerning things. One, was that the cord was a two vessel cord vs. the normal three vessel cord here is a link with a little more information on SUA (single umbilical artery) http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/262470-overview#aw2aab6b4

But the nurse had some other news to go with this.
She told me that our baby showed "11 out of 11 genetic markers for Downs Syndrome." I was floored. This lady was telling me our options and I politely said thank you, asked a few more questions and hung up. I was a little in shock and anxious for Zack to get home to talk to him about the news. Our baby may have Downs Syndrome. I kept freaking out a little over the news. I mean, this is potentially life-changing news and I was not sure how to react or feel.
The crazy part is that we had been babysitting a sweet boy that weekend who, very ironically, happened to have DS. He taught us so much about love and we were thankful to have had the opportunity to watch him. He opened our hearts and softened the "blow" of the news we were presented with.
So I spent a lot of time thinking and reflecting. I had one really good hard cry in the shower, waddled into the bed and Zack held me in his arms. We were talking and bonding with the baby together and Zack kissed me and put his hand on my belly. It was at that moment the baby decided to kick as hard as he could right where Zack has placed his hand. It was the first time he had felt this one move at all. We both got a little teary eyed and had a beautiful bonding moment with our baby.
You see, we already were madly in love with this baby and his or her number of chromosomes would not change that fact one little bit!
Our baby had a strong heartbeat, and strong persistent kicks and we decided that further testing would be unnecessary. So we declined going back for any further invasive tests. We were (and are) in love with this baby no matter what and knew that some new test would only further our anxiety about the situation.

I wanted to share this with everyone finally, because I think it is relevant to my whole pregnancy story.
We did not share this news with many, as it really did not matter to us one way or the other the outcome of babies sex or number of chromosomes. But I do know I was anxious about it.... and for selfish reasons as well. I was worried I couldn't be the kind of mom who could handle a child that may require so much more from me. I was worried about certain dreams I may have for this child never coming true. I knew how selfish this all was, but these were just issues I had to deal with during my pregnancy and especially in those last few long insane weeks of pregnancy.

Friday, April 5, 2013


The newest Pace addition!

Our new sweet squishy baby boy was born at 42 weeks 2 days gestation on March 30, 2013 at 5 pm in the bathroom of our home.

And the announcement everyone has been waiting for... his name! It took us some time. We wanted to get to know him, see what fit him well and let it settle in slowely without rush. So, without further ado, I would like to introduce you to:


                                                         Marsden Adonis Pace
                                                                    aka baby "Mars"
We love that he can go by Mars when he is younger, it really suits him and is what we had nicknamed him throughout the pregnancy. We really wanted a first name to incorporate Mars in it, in a unique way. Marsden really stuck and fits his wise old soul. Adonis is the handsome greek god  of love and fertility, and he fits right in with his brothers Atlas and Orion. :) So say hello to our new Pace family member. He is awesome! So excited to get to know him better and watch him grow. 

He has the most wrinkly hands and feet.
His head is amazingly soft, I cant stop feeling it.
He drinks milk ALL the time, and just loves to sleep and snuggle!

My next post is going to be more about everything leading up to his birth story! Excited to share his story with everyone, it truly is and was amazing and perfect!!!!