Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Josette Marti Ann Fife: The Birth Story

The third trimester was harder than I’m used to. The baby was so low that, even with a few trips to the chiropractor, I was in pain almost constantly.  It was particularly bad if I stayed in the same place for too long or when getting up in the morning.  Then I became anemic and felt completely exhausted most of the time.  My heart raced for no reason, I’d get light headed.  I supplemented my prenatal vitamin with iron, but that made me SUPER nauseous and still tired.  So, I’d have to choose each day if I wanted to be on the couch because of anemia or on the couch because of extra iron. :( 

Then a week before her due date contractions started getting more painful and real feeling.  Almost every night I’d lay down for bed positive we would have a baby by morning.  I’m used to labor starting in the middle of the night so that is what I assumed would happen this time.  Morning after morning we woke up still pregnant.  

Poor Austin rearranged his schedule at work over and over again.  We had babysitters and back up babysitters and middle of the night back ups.   I started having YW from our ward come help me with the boys during the day because it was hard to get up.  Austin was doing double duty working and then coming home to pick up the pieces of a house left to the will of two busy little boys.  Time kept passing.  a week and a half after my due date we had to schedule a non stress test and a check of my fluid levels to make sure baby girl was okay. When they asked if I wanted to schedule another one for 3 days later or if I wanted to schedule an induction I relented and scheduled an induction for 2 weeks and 1 day after her due date.  

Why didn’t I get induce sooner you ask?  Especially since I was practically on self imposed bedrest?  Here’s the deal.  I love natural birth.  Another reason I’m deemed crazy.  ;) But it’s true.  It works for me.  Both our other boys were born in a home birth setting.  So, as much as I was completely done being pregnant and desperate to meet our daughter, thinking about being induced made me tearful and nervous.  I’d felt impressed, before we even conceived our daughter, that this time I should deliver in a hospital.  I didn’t know why (still don’t really know) but it did give me peace of mind when the last few weeks was so difficult and I worried about my girl and my own health, that we would be in a place equipped with any and every thing we might need.  Now with an induction date looming over me, I was sad supposing that if I did need to be induced I might not be able to have the peaceful, natural delivery I was looking forward to.  There was so much unknown to me about hospital birthing.  I’d chosen a fantastic team of midwives who knew how to advocate for less intervention, but I knew it would be different. 

On Monday, the 17th I realized that I’d been avoiding my Father in Heaven a little bit.  When I was scared about the induction or hospital birth I would pull out my phone to distract myself or spend time googling questions I already knew the answers too.  It was apparent by my state of fear that I was putting my faith in anything but Him.  I knew I needed to adjust.  I spent a considerable amount of time on my knees asking for forgiveness and pouring out my heart.  We talked about how badly I wanted to go into labor on my own and I told Him I understood if that wasn’t the plan, but if there was an option for me to have that desire granted I would be so thankful.  It was a tender day. Austin gave me a priesthood blessing that night that reiterated the love I’d been feeling from my Savior that day and my fears were hushed.  

Mom flew into town late that Monday night and my sister Tori, her husband, and son came that night too to stay the night on their way to Seattle, where they have moved for Nicholas’ new job.  I mustered all my will power to quash my FOMO and go to bed at a reasonable time.  

The next morning I ate a plate full of mom-made teddy bear pancakes and my contractions started to get good and heavy.  I brushed it off for a little while, but they were getting consistent and hard. Austin dropped the boys off at the DeVoe’s house.  I think the midwife was dubious when I called, assuming it was the same kind of false alarm I’d given her three other times in the past month, but she gave us the go ahead to drive to the hospital.  The contractions stayed consistent and we checked into the birthing center.  After tracking the baby’s heart rate and my vitals for 20 minutes or so the nurse was good enough to let us into a room.  I was only at 3 cm, no further than I’d been for weeks so no one was taking me seriously.  Especially since my style is pretty calm and relaxed during birth so it’s easy to mistake how painful the contractions actually are.  Once we were checked into a room the contractions became strong enough that I relied on mom and Austin to push on pressure points on my knees and lower back as each one came and went.  My midwife arrived and started a detailed explanation of the induction paperwork.  I was a little puzzled since I knew I was in active labor, but I figured if things stalled we could just induce today.   Before she had me sign it she checked me again and I was at 5 cm 80% effaced and a -1.  She laughingly whisked away the induction paperwork and declared me in active labor. 

I labored for hours with the help of mom and Austin.  I tried different positions and did my best to eat while I still wanted to.  There was more interference than I’m used to.  Obviously, since I was at a hospital, but we had a beautiful view out our window to a garden and the hours went by quickly.  Particularly from noon to 4 o’clock I was shocked to see how much time had passed.  

I was more distracted than usual.  People were coming in and out, talking a lot, checking, and poking.  I needed an IV because of a positive group B strep test, so that was annoying, even with a saline lock.  After four hours the nurses needed to give me more penicillin.  My body reacted by throwing up.  The nurses assumed that meant I was transitioning, but I knew it was just my body's response to the IV.  They pulled out all the birthing stuff and called in more people and every one stood around waiting for something to happen.  I knew it wasn't time yet and finally locked myself in the bathroom for a bit to escape the pressure.  

By evening I was starting to feel frustrated that my water hadn’t broken.  In my last two births my water broke or was broken just before transition and pushing began quickly there after.  It felt like it was time to transition but the contractions weren’t changing and I was pleading in my head for my water to just break already so we could meet this little girl!  I was tired.  It’s had been a long month filled with mild contractions and I was tired mentally and physically.  I suggested we break my water but after a quick check put me at 7cm I decided to wait a little longer.  

I was flustered and felt less in control of relaxing into my contractions.  I knew if I was going to labor longer I needed to recenter.  The hour that followed was special.  It was a dig deep moment full of focus and prayer.  I thought about my Savior in His darkest hour.  The deliverance He offers me.  Laboring and delivering a baby is the closest I will ever come to feeling the way He felt that day in the garden. I clung to that and I breathed through the next hour completely enveloped in scripture passages that came to mind. As each contraction came, I softly said “help" and Austin and my mom came to my aid over and over again.  

After an hour I felt confident that breaking my water was the right thing to do.  We probably could have done it sooner, but I’m grateful I had that sacred hour before meeting our daughter.  My midwife broke my water.  There was some meconium in the water.  It wasn’t fresh which meant it wasn’t an indication that the baby was distressed, it must have happened sometime earlier, but it was still important that she didn’t breath it in. 

As soon as my water broke I felt instant relief (an unusual sensation that happens for me every time) I had one contraction on the bed and then moved to my knees next to the bed.  I suddenly wanted to be in Austin’s arms.  I stood up and reached around his neck intending to “slow dance” through the next contraction.  However, as soon as I stood up I felt a strong urge to push.  Almost involuntarily, I lifted my feet off the floor.  Austin was caught off guard but managed to not fall over. 

In one push she crowned and the midwife hurried over in case she needed to deliver her right there, but I opted to move to the bed to finish pushing.  In one push her head was out and the next brought her into the world completely.  It was the most painful pushing experience I’ve had, but it was over so quickly I didn’t have time to care!  She was finally here, all 9 lbs 11 oz of her.  The waiting and longing was finally over and she was in my arms.  

She is the sweetest little bundle I’ve ever laid eyes on.  We named her Josette Marti Ann Fife.  Marti Ann is Austin’s mother’s first and middle names.  We had a conversation before any of our children were born about all the admirable traits Austin’s mom possesses.  She is uncomplaining, selfless, service minded, forgiving, loyal, determined, ambitious for the Lord, full of love, and a devoted mother and grandmother.  These were all traits we wanted a future daughter to emulate.  We decided that our first daughter would share her name.  Marti is a variation of the name Martha which means “lady” and Ann means “grace.” Very fitting for both my mother-in-law and our daughter.  Her first name is Josette which means “Jehovah increases” She has entered our lives during a time of strong spiritual growth.  Her name represents that increase and also the added measure of the Savior we feel in our home just by looking into her bright eyes and tiny features.  She will no doubt be a force for bringing an increase of Christ where ever she goes.  

Josette is also a french feminine variation of the name Joseph.  Joseph Smith has had an impact on us lately as we’ve come to more fully understand the impact he had on the world.  So in a small way her name also honors the first prophet of the restoration.  

Mom was behind the camera for these pictures so you don't get to see what an incredible support she was.  If I could have known how wonderful it would be to have her here at the exact time I needed her most, I wouldn't have complained a single moment while waiting, past due.  If I can be even a little bit of what my mom is for me to my children I will consider myself successful.  

James is completely smitten with his little sister. He was more gentle with her than he's ever been with anything in his life.  Isaac avoided both me and Josette for a while, but he'll come around.  It's hard not being the baby anymore.

I don’t like hospitals much, and I was less prepared than I thought I was for the differences I experienced, but I’m so grateful she came on her own and I was able to have her naturally and without complications.  What an enormous blessing.  

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