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Jianna Marie's Unforgettable Birth Journey: A Rollercoaster of Surprises

Updated: Jun 13, 2023

The following is the birth journey of my sixth baby, Jianna Marie, on July 6, 2000

Things never go as expected and that's especially true when it comes to birth. You would think I would have learned by now, as my last birth was very fast and nothing went as planned. So with that in mind, I thought for sure this baby would come quickly and easily, and especially with her being my sixth child! While some of you might think 7 hours of labor is quick, compared to my last birth of 4 hours, of which only 2 hours were really hard work, it seemed like forever.

Now onto the birth story.... It was Tuesday morning, July 4, I awoke feeling yucky. I didn't really feel like doing much but it was the day our church was having a huge picnic with lots to do for the kids. I managed to drag myself out of the house and over to the park where the festivities were taking place. Throughout the day I was having some cramping and backache with a few contractions here and there. I also started to lose my mucus plug. I think that was the highlight of my day as I was 3 days overdue and so ready to NOT be pregnant. I finally had a sign that something was going on with my cervix. Oh I knew it could still be another week or so but at least I had a sign I wouldn't be pregnant forever!

The next day I awoke feeling pretty much the same as the day before. I had an appointment with my midwife that morning so I showered, got dressed and left. I was so glad to get out of the house, I was irritable and tired already and having the kids around wasn't helping any. At my prenatal appointment I lost more of my plug. Just a bit more enthusiasm from me. I knew all was well and the baby would be on the way soon. My midwife didn't think I'd go past the weekend....and she was right!

Later on about 2:00 p.m. I went over to my doula's house for a massage. I really needed it, I told her (Robyn) that maybe if I relax enough labor might kick in....we both laughed! The massage felt so wonderful and so relaxing. Well, lo and behold during the massage I had a couple of good contractions. I came home around 4:30 pm. I sat down in the recliner and noticed a few more contractions. I started to wonder if this might be the beginning of labor.

Around 5 p.m. I thought I'd better time them as the contractions were about 5-6 minutes apart and lasting 30-40 seconds long. My plug had also become blood tinged.....maybe early labor but I didn't want to dwell on the contractions so I went about my evening as usual. Dinner, getting the kids ready for bed, cleaning up a little here and there. I finally went to bed around 11 p.m.

Thursday, July 6, 2000 I awoke around 1:30 a.m., feeling some cramping, backache and a contraction here and there. I got up to go to the bathroom then came back to bed and fell right to sleep. At 3:30 a.m., I woke up to use the bathroom again but I noticed I was still having contractions, still around 5 minutes apart. They were feeling a little more intense and definitely lasting longer. I decided to walk around the house and see what would happen. WHOA! They instantly went to 2 minutes apart and lasted about 50-60 secs long. I kept walking around the house when my mom, who was visiting from out of state, woke up. It was almost 4 a.m. I told her what was going on and she stayed up with me, timing contractions. I started to get a little shaky with each contraction so I knew right then that this was really it!! Shaking with contractions is a sign for me that I'm definitely in active labor! I called my doula and she said she would be over in a few minutes (she lives 20 minutes from me). I waited another 15 minutes before I called my midwife, Paula. I told her what was going on and she said she was on her way. I went to wake up my husband, told him to get dressed, everyone is on their way over.

The contractions were getting pretty intense now and the backache was not feeling too good. I decided it was time to get in the bathtub. We had this huge jacuzzi tub, perfect for birthing. Warm water always felt so good while I labored, I couldn’t wait to get in. Robyn arrived shortly after I got in the tub. I was so glad to see her. I sat up in the bath and Robyn applied counter pressure to my lower back. It felt good! Carol, assistant midwife, arrived around 20 minutes or so later. She said when I felt like it she'd like to check me. I think it was around 5:30 am when she did, I was 5 cm about 80% effaced. Halfway there!

Somewhere during this time, Paula showed up. Robyn continued with counter pressure and did some visualization with me. After a while of being in the tub the contractions started to space out, so it was time to get out of the tub, get upright and walk around. As soon as I got upright and walked around the contractions became more intense and closer together. As soon as a contraction would start I'd signal to everyone by waving my hand to hurry come here and help me. I would lean over the bathroom counter with Robyn on her knees behind me doing the double hip squeeze with her hands and counter pressure with her chin on my lower back. Carol or my husband would apply pressure on the point between my thumb and index finger, which really helped with the intensity of the contractions. We continued like this for a while, then I would move over to the toilet or onto the birth ball to labor there. What was weird is the contractions would space out every little while. Which was odd for me since this never happened in any of my prior births.

Around 8:30 a.m. I was checked again, completely effaced and 8 cm. I was getting so excited to meet my new baby! So back in the tub, I labored there for a little while, when I began to feel pressure in my bottom. My midwife checked again but still at 8cm....ugh! Contractions started to space out again. I was getting frustrated. I decided to try some nipple worked and contractions picked up again. More time goes by....checked again....8 1/2cm...ugh! Contractions are spacing out again.! More frustration on my part.

Carol told me I have some options...getting out of the tub, walking, and position change. She also said that she could rupture membranes, being that I'm pretty far along it will usually speed things up. I told her I wanted to wait on breaking my water and try position change first. So I get out of the tub and contractions start getting close together again. I labor on the toilet for awhile. More time goes by, checked again still at 8 1/2 cm. I asked Carol about breaking my water and would it really help things out. I was getting tired and wondered if I could really do this any more. She said it usually does at this late I told her "ok let's do it". Since my bag was no longer bulging like before (when she checked earlier), she had to break it during a contractions...ugh! There was light green meconium in the water. Paula told me exactly what would happen once the baby's head was out, that she would have to use the DeeLee to suction the baby.

Contractions became way more intense once my water broke. I labored on the birth ball some more, then switched positions to hands and knees. My husband and I even "labor danced" for awhile. Checked again....9 1/2 cm....almost there! I'm so tired by now, I start to voice this, that I cant do this anymore (classic transition sign). Back on the birth ball.....hmmmmm...starting to feel some pressure and with each contraction I start to push a little. I get on the bed so I can be checked one more time, a little bit of a "lip" left on my cervix. Paula tries to push it back while I push...this is the most uncomfortable thing!!! She had to do this for a few contractions, she also says baby's head is trying to get past my pubic arch.....she can feel it!

Finally I can start pushing "for real". A few more contractions and I push with all my might, baby is right there, I start to feel the burning "ring of fire" as baby's head crowns. Carol says push slow, breathe through it....Head is out and Paula suctions....I continued to push and she's out! Carol puts baby on my tummy and covers with a warm blanket. Robyn starts to rub the baby's back to stimulate her.

I can't believe it's over!! I was so overwhelmed with different emotions! Joy! Relief that the hard work of bringing my baby into the world is over! My baby is finally here! I thought it would never happen! My husband and I finally look to see if we have a boy or a girl. It's a girl!!

Jianna Marie was born at 10:50 a.m., weighing 8lbs 6 oz. and 21 1/4 in long. It actually took us 2 weeks to name her Jianna, she was "baby girl" couple of weeks, of which she reminds me from time to time.

Post note: After she was born, Paula noticed her forehead/brow area was bruised a bit. She said when she was pushing back the "lip" on my cervix, she felt the baby moving her head around. I guess her forehead was on my bone but then she tucked her chin down, moved her head, she came right out. I guess that's why my labor was kind of "spaced" out at times.

Pic below: My Jianna with her baby girl, Kalea Marie, in 2017.

Birth & Postpartum Doula Fort Collins Colorado


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