Julian’s Birth Story
Julian Vonbork’s Birth 8/17/07
Based on the size of his huge noggin and his long femur, the u/s predicted a 9lb 11oz baby! The Vegas summer heat was wearing my patience thin, each day that I woke up pregnant again seemed like an eternity, and we were SO ready to meet our baby. Also, there was something in the back of my head telling me that I needed to have this baby by 42 weeks – or else. Or else, what? I have no idea. I just knew that it needed to happen.
At the appointment on August 16th, we started to explore our options for homeopathic induction. Marve, our midwife, had me start taking an herbal tincture that had blue cohosh and was meant to get things moving, but not too fast. My membranes were also swiped at this visit. After consulting Jill, our other midwife, who was laid up with a back injury, they decided they still wanted to give my body a chance to do things on its own. I was scheduled to come back the next day to see it I had progressed, and if I had, we could take the next step. It was hard for me to hide my disappointment at this point. We went back on August 17 and I had not progressed at all. Still 1 cm. Even still, we decided to see if Marve could manually dilate my cervix to 2 cm so she could administer an herbal remedy called Matrigen (blue cohosh, black snakeroot, arnica, pulsatilla, gelsemium) to the inside of my cervix to really get things moving. They said that this method works for most people eventually, but it could take as long as 48 hours of fairly constant application. She was able to manually dilate my cervix to 2cm and applied the first round of Matrigen. Within 5 minutes of leaving, I was having contractions every 5 minutes, like clockwork. Nothing major though, just very regular.
Then crazy nesting behaviour set in. All of a sudden it occurred to me that we still had errands to run. We went to buy an infant carseat for my car. Marve loaned us one that we will use in Brian’s truck. We went shopping for some last minute baby things. We had to return some frames to Michael’s. So there I was at Michael’s returning frames – in labor. After two hours, at 6pm, we went back to Jill’s house for the second (and last) dose of Matrigen. I was still at 2 cm but more effaced. After the second application, we left and things got serious really fast. The contractions were coming every 3-4 minutes and felt a little different. We still had to get some healthy munchies for us and the birth team so off to Albertson’s we went. While we were paying for our fruit and veggie trays at Albertson’s, the contractions became more intense. On the way to the car, I had to stop to pause through one. We went home with the food and called Marve. I knew for sure that the time had finally come! Although my instinct was to stay at home since the contractions were becoming more intense by the minute, she told us to come in and get checked, not realizing how fast I was progressing. When we arrived, I went upstairs to give Jill some flowers, pausing though a contraction on the way up. I told her I thought I was in labor but she said that it was probably just pre-labor. I thought to myself, “Holy crap! If this is pre-labor, I wonder what real labor feels like!” Downstairs, little Owen, adorable son of friends Jim and Nicole, came wandering out into the living room followed by Jim. As happy as I was to see Jim and Owen, there was no more talking through contractions for me. I had to pause and take a minute to focus through them. When Nicole came out I hugged her, mumbled something about only having a minute, and disappeared into the exam room. Much to my delight, when Marve checked me, I was 7 cm!!! I had gone from 2cm to 7 cm in 2 hours!
I won’t lie, the ride home was no fun. I wanted desperately to be in the birthing tub but instead was crawling around the car trying to get comfortable. It became apparent that I was also in for some serious back labor. I had heard people talk about it but just couldn’t fathom what the heck it felt like until that point. Yikes. I tried to get on all fours on the floor of the front seat. I tried reclining. I put the accordion windshield reflector thingy under my back. Oh man, nothing was working for me. Every now and again I would open my eyes and catch a glimpse of where we were and realize that we weren’t even close to home. Longest 30 minutes ever.
Finally, we got home and I immediately felt better. I put out the food, and walked around, pausing against the wall during contractions. Being able to move at that point was bliss! I can’t imagine how crappy it would have been to be tied to a hospital bed! Jollina arrived not too long after to set up our birthing tub. I vaguely remember Brian running around trying to get things done. I reminded him that I wanted a big bowl of ice with rags in it somewhere near the birthing tub. Brian turned on our hypnobirthing meditations, which were all set up and ready to go on the computer. He lit candles and incense in our bedroom. During the contractions, I bent down and hung on the short wall at the top of the stairs and swayed to stretch my lower back. The back labor was difficult but manageable thanks to the relaxation and focusing techniques we learned in hypnobirthing. As Brian whisked past me at one point, I informed him that I was going to need him to start focusing on me. I am pretty sure I said it in just those words, as things were progressing rapidly and becoming more intense. When the tub was heated and ready, I got in and it was heaven! I was on my hands and knees in the tub to stretch my back and I started to feel the urge to push. I also began to have what hyponobirthers call “spontaneous vocalizations” although they became very unspontaneous since I moaned through every contraction from there on out.
By the time Marve arrived, I was at 9 cm. To clarify, that’s 2cm – 9cm in a little over three hours! She broke my water and we were hoping that would really get things moving. It seemed like I made it through the hardest part, which wasn’t even that hard, and that I was almost there! Not too much longer after that, at 9.5cm, Julian’s head became lodged under my pubic bone. His head was turned to the side, making things even more complicated and painful, and preventing me from fully dilating. He was stuck in that spot for 5+ hours! Marve tried to manually lift up my pubic bone and hold back the last bit of my cervix that wouldn’t fully dilate during contractions but it was not working for me AT ALL. Having her hands in there made the pain nearly unbearable and I was completely unable to focus. We tried everything including getting out of the tub, onto the floor, on a birthing stool, and changing positions in the tub. Nothing was working. Marve and I worked together to try to get things moving. Even though it would probably have moved things along more quickly, she totally respected that having her hands in there was just too painful for me.
Julian’s heart rate started to accelerate into the mid 170s. I guess my body was trying to move things along because the contractions became REALLY intense and were basically back to back. I had no time to rest between then and I was feeling pretty worked over at that point. The back labor was worsening and having his head lodged in there for so long meant that the pressure on my hips and pelvic region was incredible. Hypnobirthing was working for me while I was progressing from 2cm to 9cm, but after a few hours of having Julian stuck in the middle, the pain became overwhelming. My body continued to push harder and tighten more with each contraction – it became completely involuntary. Marve tried to tell me to “breath through the contractions” to give my body a break since the pushes were becoming ineffective, but that was not an option. I tried and managed to successfully breathe through a few of them but it was almost more painful than letting my body do what it seemed to desperately want to do, which was push really hard. It got to the point where I wasn’t sure how much longer I could take it. I really felt like I couldn’t do it anymore. I begged for Motrin – ANYTHING to relieve some of the pain. To top it all off, since I was in transition this whole time (almost 4 hours), I also felt extremely nauseous. Marve and Brian were massaging my lower back and squeezing my hips together, which felt sooooo good. Marve was so composed and encouraging through it all. I wouldn’t have wanted to be in her shoes and I’m pretty sure she didn’t want to be in mine. I think it was going through all our minds at that point…there was a chance we would have to transport.
Marve left Brian and I alone while she went downstairs. I changed positions a few times, tried to breathe through a few more, and focused hard to make the pushes effective. Without Marve’s hands in there I was able to focus more and my stress level went down quite a bit. I am not sure how long she was gone as I had no concept of time, but Brian said that it felt like forever. I thought it was just a few minutes. When she got back, Julian’s head had FINALLY moved past the pubic bone. I was relieved (and so was some of the pressure). I started to feel a little better and spent the next hour or so pushing him down. Marve encouraged me to feel his head, which was so awesome for so many reasons. Pushing him out was the easy part and the most incredible feeling ever. As soon as he was born, he was placed on my chest. He was beautiful and I announced it to everyone through tears of joy. Since there was some meconium in the fluid, he had to be suctioned before he started breathing, but was doing really well within minutes. I don’t remember him even crying. He was born at 3:39am on August 18, 2007 at 42 weeks exactly. His head was cone-shaped and banged up. Apparently, the bones in his head had to do some moving around in order for him to get past my pubic bone. It couldn’t have happened any other way. He weighed 7lbs 8oz and was 22” long. His ginormous noggin was 15” around!
If we had stuck to our original plan of having a natural water birth in the hospital, it would have resulted in a C-section for sure. Instead, we had a wonderful homebirth and Julian came into this world peacefully and naturally, and in the comfort of our own bedroom. What an amazing experience! I was able to get in bed immediately after a quick shower and he latched on right away. Marve was absolutely awesome! We will be forever indebted to her. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the love of my life, my wonderful husband Brian. He was an amazing coach and partner. Thank you Brian!
We are SO in love with our son!