Linden’s Birth Story

12 Feb


 October 26, 2011 I had my 39 week midwife appointment. At that time I found out I was 25% effaced and already dilated to 2cm. Everyone was optimistic  that Linden would come relatively on time or at least not wait till 42 weeks like a lot of first time moms. Thursday was business as usual for this pregnant lady. Then thursday evening, Steven and I decided to take a walk to Starbucks and satisfy my mint java chip craving. It was such a beautiful crisp fall evening that the walk sounded really awesome. It took us about an hour and 20 minutes round trip but mostly because I was super slow and taking my time. It is really only about 10 blocks one way. That evening I noticed some “changes” (lost my mucus plug and some bloody show) and also that I was having some more cramp like contractions as opposed to the Braxton hicks that were standard at that point. I didn’t think much of it though because I really believed he wasn’t coming for a while. I had some more crampy contractions through out the night but around 4am on friday they woke me up. Steven and I decided to time them. They were pretty erratic but enough that we couldn’t ignore them and fall back to sleep.

The contractions continued to strengthen so we moved to the living room and worked on some relaxation techniques we learned in our classes. It was difficult but I was still mostly functional. Around 10 am we started to do the ‘5 things’ test our class taught us. The ‘5 things’ test helps to determine real labor from false labor and they are:

1. change activity from what you are doing. (example: if sitting walk around)

2. Take a hot bath or shower.

3. Eat a full meal.

4. Drink 32 oz of water.

5. drink 4 oz of room temperature red wine.

The test proved that we were indeed in real labor, just still very early. We kept the lights all off, watched a movie (Little Miss Sunshine) and I went from room to room and position to position trying to find a place that was “comfortable.” Plus, I was FREEZING! I could not keep warm enough the entire time. Poor Steven was probably roasting. I sat on the toilet backwards in the upstairs bathroom for awhile. Then I would lie sideways on our bed. Then I sat on the ball in front of the fireplace in the living room. Then I would kneel on all fours and lean over the ball. Then I sat backwards on our dining chairs. Then I had Steven bring his desk chair into the downstairs bathroom, where I sat backwards as well, and I placed it directly in front of the heater cranked on high. Basically, I just rotated through these different spots the whole day and night. During all of this, I had horrible back pain!! I had Steven putting counter pressure on my lower back through each contraction.

Details are fuzzy, but at some point early on we had called my mom who drove up from Oregon and arrived around 11pm Friday evening. She took over on putting pressure on my back while Steven took a break. At this point my contractions were pretty consistent but were only 5-7 minutes apart. Our midwife said we had to wait to page her until my contractions were 4 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute in duration and continued for that way for 2 hours. I was getting so frustrated because they weren’t increasing in frequency. They stayed really consistent but not close enough together. I think around 3 am I couldn’t take it anymore and begged Steven to page our midwife, Kyla. He paged her and she returned his page around 3:30 am. She new I was in early labor because we had called her earlier to give her a heads up. Steven told her my condition but she wanted to talk to me and stay on the phone with me through some contractions to hear how I was doing. After which, she said to meet her at the birth center at 5am.

For some reason, knowing I was able to go to the birth center made me happy. It was the next step and meant things were moving. I loved being able to labor at home but going to the birth center meant that the pain would hopefully be over soon and I would meet my little boy!

We arrived at the birth center around 5:15am. When Kyla checked me I was at 5cm! I had already been in labor for over 24 hours. We say they got REALLY started around 4am so when we arrived it had been 25 hours of early labor. Although, I was at 5cm so some of that time could be considered active labor but they counted active labor from then time I got there. Anyway… I was at 5cm. During the check she felt Linden’s head and determined that he had turned from his previous anterior position, to a half way posterior position. Which explains my back pain! I was indeed having back labor, despite all of the things I did to prevent it uuuhhhggg.

Because I was having back labor and he was turned sideways, Kyla had me do a series of exercises to help turn him. The first was a dancing lunge! Sounds fun, huh!? Well, she had Steven and I stand next to the birthing tub facing and holding one another like we were slow dancing. Then every time I had a contraction I was supposed to set my foot on the edge of the tub platform and lunge into it and sway back and forth lunging through the them. I had to do this for 20 minutes or so for each leg.

Next, Kyla and Brianna (our birthing assistant) had me lie down on the bed on my side. She placed a pillow under my top leg and had me position my top leg in a 90 degree angle while the bottom leg remained perfectly straight. I was to hold this through my contractions and again do 20 minutes on each side as well as 20 minutes on all fours. I liked this set on the bed because I actually fell asleep through most of the off times and got some rest. Especially with the lights on low and music playing. The atmosphere would be spa like, if not for the crazy PAIN! haha

The third position they had me in was on the ball sitting in a full squat with my arms and head able to rest on the bed. Their ball was full of less air then mine so I was able to sink really low in it and really get into the squat. I stayed in this position for another 20-30 minutes. During all of this, Steven was still diligently applying very strong pressure to my back during every.single.contraction. We found that I really needed him to silently count during my contractions as well so that when he counted to 30 he could whisper it to me. Since most of my contractions were roughly 60 seconds, it was nice to have him tell me when I reached 30. I needed that knowledge that I was “half way”. Since they are wave like, the half way mark gave me a little goal and let me know that each one was nearing it’s end.

At this point I was in and out of sleep. I was exhausted and would literally fall asleep the second my contraction ended, and take mini naps between each one. They also kept me eating and drinking during all of these hours to keep my energy up for the duration.

After the exercises were over, Kyla said I could get in the tub! I was so excited to get in the tub. I was able to tailor sit and do side leg stretches and also kneel with my body hanging over the tub’s edge. Steven hung out in there with me to apply the pressure I needed and he also had a pile of rags soaking in ice water to apply to my head and face when I started getting too warm. We stayed in the tub for awhile, not sure how long. I lost all real sense of time. The tub helped me relax and really took the edge off but it helped too much because it slowed down my labor. Kyla had me get out and checked me and at this point I was only maybe 5.5-6cm? Not sure how much exactly but it was not what I wanted to hear! I had been there for hours and not much to show for it.

Kyla then said she wanted to break my water. I was hesitant because my birth plan was to avoid all interventions and augmentations. Instead, Kyla had me take a walk. She said I could walk down California Street for a couple blocks but that I had to walk back up it. California Street is a pretty steep hill and going down would be easy but up the hill sounded rough. I agreed to do this. We went outside and it was a sunny gorgeous fall morning. I believe it was around 11am. Being in the room I lost all sense of day and night. So it was actually very refreshing to go out in the crisp fall air and sun and walk. My mom and Steven walked with me and kept me company. It took a while but the walk actually sped things up. Steven was timing me and my contractions got to the 4 minute apart mark for the entire walk. SO every 4 minutes I would have to lean against some random street sign or wall to bear through them. I actually had some clarity of mind to think how gross it was and how I would regret touching all over these public signs and posts later on haha.

We got back to the birth center with my contractions at 4 minutes apart and Kyla checked me again. I was at a solid 6cm. THAT’S IT!! I was so upset and so I agreed to let her break my water. After she broke my water my mom and Steven were carrying my arms and helping me to the bathroom and I slipped on some of my fluid which was scary but they caught me! Breaking my water got things going really fast. My contractions got closer and closer to where they now had no reprieve. They piggy backed one on top of the other and made it much harder. I then chose to stand during my contractions. It was easiest to lean against the wall while Steven pressed my back. I was groaning through these hard ones and just kept saying Jesus over and over. For reasons we know as believers, there is power in His name!

I labored for a long while and got in the tub again. This time I leaned back and laid down in the tub in a reclined position while steven’s hands pushed up into my back. We stayed in the tub for another hour or two and poor Steven was exhausted. He stayed so strong for me the whole time though. I was pretty much in my zone and oblivious to everyone else but I remember hearing him sniffle a few times and I thought he had a runny nose and asked him if he was ok. My mom jumped in and said, “he is fine. It is just so steamy in here!” I totally believed her but I learned later that he was crying a bit for me. He knew I needed him to be strong so I could be strong. And he was!

In the tub my contractions were still super strong. Everyone kept saying, “you are almost done! He will be here soon.” But I was like, “WHEN?!!?” I cried out to the Lord and remember saying, “Jesus! You don’t give us more then we can handle. I don’t think I can handle anymore!” I knew I was in transition at this point. Kyla had me get out of the tub to check me again and I was still not making much progress even though my contractions were crazy! She then said she wanted to help my cervix move. They were pretty adamant about doing this because I had been in labor so long that I needed my strength for the pushing. At that point I was willing to try. This is what she had us do. Steven was to sit on the edge of the bed with his knees bent and spread open. I had to come stand between his legs and lower down into a squat and put all of my weight on him to hold me up. Kyla came up from the floor under me and inserted her hands and held my cervix open DURING my contractions. We all stayed in this position for 20 minutes or so. My mom tried to lie down and reach behind me to apply the counter pressure on my back too. Poor mom! I made everyone do crazy things! hahah Well squatting like that for 20 minutes, my legs started turning purple and we stopped but my cervix opened to a 7 in 20 minutes. I kneeled on the bed for awhile and labored some more. It was at this point I yelled and called everyone LIARS! haha Our class had taught us that the pain you feel at 7cm isn’t any worse to 10. What they don’t say is that you have no break to recover, so the pain level might be the same but it feels worse and stronger since you don’t have the rest. SO I called them liars hahah.

I asked my mom and Steven to pray, so they prayed. I cried and prayed too. I had tried not to cry during the whole time because crying takes your body more energy and detracts from labor so I cried for 5 minutes and that was that.

Kyla had us do the cervical opening squat again for 20 more minutes and I was finally at 10cm. At that point I moved back on to the bed in a kneeling over pillows position again because it was the closest place to curl up. I had to move “quickly” between contractions and so I basically stood up and just turned around onto the bed. I labored there for awhile as they kept asking me if I felt the urge to push. I was just confused during this time. I wanted to feel that urge but wasn’t sure if I was. I definitely felt the pressure and felt like I had to poop which I knew was a sign but it wasn’t how I had anticipated it feeling. Steven helped me between contractions to move to the bathroom. Kyla and Brianna said that sitting on the toilet would help me push because it is a natural position for that. So they gave me a stool to rest my feet on while I sat on the toilet and Steven sat in there with me for an hour holding my hand as I pushed.

The beginning part of pushing was really difficult. I didn’t feel anything happening, even though it was. Each push was slowly moving him down and it wasn’t until he passed through my pelvis that I really FELT the urge. So my groans and pushes got stronger and stronger. I remember before birth how people told me they loved pushing! I didn’t understand it until I was there. It isn’t that you just love it and enjoy it! It is that you finally have a light at the end of the tunnel. There is some sense of control finally. You can push and use your energy to make your baby move!

After an hour in the bathroom pushing I really started to get into it and started feeling him move. Kyla checked me and said we should move to the tub. Let me tell you, walking across a room with a baby about to come out of you and stepping over a big tub platform into a tub is hard work when you are that far a long. I got in the tub and pushed in a kneeling position for a while then Kyla had me lie back. I kept pushing and she would try to apply counter pressure to my vagina as not to tear but I didn’t listen. I asked her if I had to wait or if I could just push!? SO I just pushed and pushed with all of my strength and his head came out! Then I remember yelling, “oh it’s the ring of fire!!” When his shoulders were on their way out hahah. Apparently I still had some sense of humor left? After 45 minutes in the tub I pushed the final push that brought Linden into the world! Kyla caught him and placed his little screaming self on my chest.

He was so tiny and slippery from the water! I just held him skin to skin on my chest staring at him in complete shock. I whimpered and cried but no tears came. I remember thinking, what is wrong with me!? Why am I not crying!?I was just so exhausted and my body tried to cry but could not make the tears. I held him there on my chest until his cord stopped pulsating and then Steven cut his cord. There was a lot  more that happened in the hours afterwards like pushing put my placenta, stitches at first try at nursing but as for the hard part, it was over and  the miracle was complete!

Linden Michael Colo was brought into the world at 5:53pm on October 29th, 2011. He came 3 days before his due date and was born after 38 hours of labor, 13 of which was active and 1 hour 45 minutes of pushing. It was THEE hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life. The Lord gave me more strength then I ever knew I had. He made my body to do those things and He brought me through it. I could have never made it through with out Steven by my side and I have so much more respect and love for him then I thought possible. I thought I loved my husband with my whole heart already, but this experience together has just multiplied the love!!!

My mom was also there by my side which was never part of the plan. I always said she could hang around while in labor but I always thought I would then have her leave when things “got real”. In those final moments it turned out that I needed my mama too! I am so thankful for her help and hand to hold. Steven and her held my hands together and watched Linden enter the world. They saw him before I did!

It was such a blessing to be able to birth naturally with out any interventions. I did have some augmentations (water breaking and cervix dilation) to help me along but I don’t regret a single thing. After the post labor chaos was over, I was able to nurse and rest for bit and we were home by 11pm that night. Our first night as a family was in our home. It was a long 2 days but amazing and worth every minute!!


8 Responses to “Linden’s Birth Story”

  1. Brittany Thomas February 13, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your story. What a crazy labor you had! Good news is that the second one is always much easier. 🙂

    • Amanda February 13, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

      That’s what I hear. My cousin in law just had her 3rd baby with a 31 hour labor, 2nd baby was 18 and 1st baby was 26…. hear is to that being the exception!

  2. denise February 14, 2013 at 12:22 am #

    I read this with tears in my eyes as i remember this amazing miracle. I am so very blessed that i was able to help in the labor of your first baby, and a witness to the amazing birth of my very first grandbaby. You will always be my baby girl, but I can say without a doubt after watching you go through all of that pain for your baby, that you are one amazing woman! I couldn’t be more proud to be your mother, and the mother in-law of a clearly wonderful son-in-law who is a true example of what a son, husband, and father should be like. Glory to Jesus!!! For he is our perfect example and teacher. I love you my girl! More than life.

  3. denise February 14, 2013 at 12:26 am #

    Happy valentines day (and conception day)!

    • Amanda February 14, 2013 at 1:21 am #

      thank you mama


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