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Friday, October 14, 2011

Kennan Warwick Fullmer’s Birth Story

On Oct 4th, I had a scheduled appointment to meet with my midwife, I was 40 weeks and 6 days pregnant and something drastic was going to have to happen in order to ensure that baby Kennan was born within a safe window where the placenta was still strong and healthy enough to endure the rigors of childbirth. We therefore discussed what my options were: I could either have a scheduled induction at 42 weeks or we could try natural measures to induce my labor. I opted to avoid a pitocin induction since I had every intention of having an unmedicated birth. With Liam, I had pitocin administered and I really didn’t like the effects that it had on me and I was willing to do everything in my power to avoid having it again. We therefore made the decision to strip my membranes. As the midwife was stripping them, she discovered that I had a lip where my membranes were having a hard time releasing. She gently but firmly massaged the area and helped them to release. Instantly I felt a wave of huge contractions. Up to this point, I was having constant Braxton Hicks but they were gradually building over the course of the month of September and time was quickly running out where we could feel comfortable allowing the pregnancy to continue putting the baby at potential risk if his placenta began to break down. Claudia--the midwife, then had me go to the hospital to take a stress-test for the baby. I was hooked up to a monitor and ultrasound machine. During the 30-minute test about 4-5 contractions were recorded and I was definitely noticing a change in the contractions. They were now longer and growing in intensity. At this point Bill and I were thinking that perhaps in the next two days or so we might be having a baby but I was not thinking that less than 12 hours I would be holding baby Kennan! Bill had an important errand to run down to Provo, he was delivering marketing material for a Pier 49 Pizza Restaurant that was going to be reopening under new management and we had to get their material to them immediately. We opted to go to Provo and deliver the material thinking that we wouldn’t be having a baby anytime soon. However, as we were driving to Provo, I again noticed that the contractions were growing longer and again more intense. At this point, I was still able to talk through them and so I was not timing them yet. When we arrived at the store, I went to help Bill install one of the signs and I noticed that there was a lot of uncomfortable pressure pushing down inside of my pelvic area. I positioned myself where no one could see me, and I began doing some pelvic rocking, pelvic figure eights, and other labor exercises. The pressure only intensified and the contractions grew more intense to the point that I had to concentrate more while having them. We drove back to Salt Lake and met again with Claudia to have her re-strip the membranes again. I remember the time was 4:45 pm. I went to empty my bladder before she stripped me again and while in the bathroom, my bloody show was in my underclothing and a large bloody mucous plug slipped out into the toilet. As Claudia stripped my membranes, another large quantity of the bloody show released and she could feel my body contract as she removed her hands from my body. She looked me in the eyes and said, “ Don’t go home tonight, you need to stay with a family member here in Salt Lake I think your baby is coming soon.” I lay there stunned as a wave of the hugest contractions racked my body and took my breath away. I was starting to realize that I was creeping towards being in active labor. Claudia suggested that while at my sister-in-laws house that I take some castor oil to send my body completely over the edge and ensure that my body would go into active labor. I was also constipated and it was determined that it would benefit me to have some castor oil anyway. Bill and I went to the grocery store for some castor oil, pads since my bloody show was still coming out with large amounts of mucus, gator-ade and some food for the labor. As I tried to stand and walk, I felt a huge pressure in my pelvic area and I realized that walking at this point was not an option. The contractions were now exactly 6 minutes apart lasting for a full minute. I waited in the car while Bill spoke with me on the phone as he got the supplies we would need. We were nervous and excited that perhaps we would be holding our baby boy very soon. We arrived at Joanna’s house and began organizing our supplies. We had already packed our car with our suitcases and all the supplies we would need and so we were already well prepared weeks earlier. We knew that we wanted to go to the hospital not a minute sooner than we needed to. We packed a small bag that had all the essentials that I could carry on my lap while Bill pushed me in the wheelchair for when we would eventually be going to the hospital. While standing there, I told Bill, “ I am feeling this pressure that makes me want to either push or that my water is going to break.” Again, another sign that active labor was upon us and yet we tried to rationalize that we still had loads of time until we needed to leave for the hospital. Eventually we made our way into Joanna’s house as she was preparing dinner for her family. It was about 6-6:30 pm. I was now having contractions about every 4 minutes apart lasting for more than a minute but not more than a minute and a half. I took the castor oil and waited for my bowels to move. I continued to do my pelvic rocks, figure eights, and other laboring exercises. I was stunned that instead of my bowels moving the pressure building in my pelvic area was so intense that I felt a lot of discomfort and wanted to start pushing to relieve the pressure. I felt prompted that it was time to leave. I was stunned since I had only been at Joanna’s for about an hour. But the pressure was building and I felt that it was time to go. In the car on the way to the hospital the contractions began to build to the point I had to focus very hard on them and concentrate. I breathed through them and noticed that I was beginning to moan and pant with them. I had no idea what that was about, just that the contractions were like hard crashing waves that were taking my breathe away. We arrived at the hospital and were confused when we couldn’t find a valet to park our car. We decided that we didn’t have time to fuss with these details and so we parked ourselves. I did my best to walk to the elevators to take me inside of the hospital out of the parking garage and I was hit with several more contractions that literally stopped me in my tracks and forced me to sway and labor dance right there in the parking garage. I was trying really hard to pretend that I wasn’t in labor and yet I don’t think I was very convincing. I got to a point where the pressure was so intense I knew I couldn’t put one foot in front of the other in fear of a baby coming out right there in the parking garage. Bill ran and got a wheelchair for me and he briskly walked me into labor and delivery. The nurses had not received our message that we were on the way and opted to triage me. I was then hooked up to a monitor and placed in a really uncomfortable position on my back. I was dying to get out of that bed and move at the end of the bed with my contractions so that I could sway and labor dance. I was in triage for about an hour, I could see my contractions on the monitor, I could see them building, I was now having them at three minute intervals with them lasting 45 sec to a minute and a half. The nurses didn’t seem at all concerned or even in a hurry to admit me into labor and delivery. I went to the bathroom several times to see if the building pressure was in actuality my bowels trying to move from the castor oil. No such luck. I began to pray that they would hurry up and admit me to labor and delivery since I was now positive that a baby was coming very soon. While lying in triage, my waters began to slowly leak and so I was automatically admitted into labor and delivery. I was so grateful that Heavenly Father answered my prayers! I requested a bathtub room and was quickly whisked away to be monitored again. I was starting to feel frantic at this point since laying down and being monitored was causing me great discomfort. I wanted to be moving with each contraction or lying in the side-laying position not on my back! My blood pressure and body temperature was giving them some concern and so they wanted to keep monitoring me. In hindsight, I believe that because of the pain I was in and the nervousness I was feeling about getting up and moving, my BP and temps were slightly elevated because once I was out of the bed and moving they returned to normal. The nurse then began to administer a hep-lock and I refused it. She was not too happy with me but my midwife came in at this point and supported my decision. I was not trying to be contrary, I have very small veins that are difficult to find. Whenever I have a needle or hep-lock in my veins they cause me great pain and are a huge distraction. I did not want something in my arm unnecessarily that would cause me to lose my focus while laboring unmedicated. I allowed them to run blood tests on me to determine if I was becoming toxic or any other concerns to appease the nurse I also promised them that if in a little while I needed the hep-lock I would comply. In reality, I felt in my gut that there wasn’t time and that I would have a baby before it would be a concern. At this point, I asked if I could please get into the tub and so they were trying to track down the wireless monitor for me. By this point, I am really worried because I am feeling the urge to either have a bowel movement or push. I unhooked myself from the machines and made it into the bathroom. I closed the door and began pushing to see if it was my bowels that were troubling me. NOPE! I stood up and squatted and pushed to again see if my bowels would finally release—NOPE!! Only more pressure and discomfort. I was slightly confused because I was feeling the huge urge to push, I had only been in the hospital for maybe 2 hours total and here I was feeling this urge to push. I sat there on the toilet for one long contraction that lasted about 2 minutes long and I found that sitting on the toilet was more comfortable than the bed and yet I wanted to be in the tub off of my pelvis and on my side in some relaxing water. The nurse came to check on me and I told her I really want to start pushing, she reached down and checked me and told me that I was at a five with the baby’s head down and pushing hard on my cervix. I had to wait to begin pushing, I was so uncomfortable that I started stripping off all my clothes and I just got into the bathtub. The water was barely running and the contractions were racking my body and my body was screaming that it wanted to push. I tried to get on my hands and knees and that only made the pressure worse, I got onto my side and asked to please let me begin pushing. The nurse checked me again and I was already at a 6, in one contraction I had gone 1 cm. I thought that I might be there a while and I asked Bill to “Take me to Tony's.” This was our key word for him to start the scripting that we had written about a day at Tony Grove Lake. This scripting was designed to help me to go into a deep relaxation that would allow my body to deal with the pain. He began the first few sentences and the contractions came barreling into me with such force that I lost my concentration. All I could do was sway in the water and moan to stop my body from bearing down. Bill wisely gave me an image to sustain me through the contraction. He said, “See the golden ball of light”, another one of our key words. I had trained myself to see a ball of golden light entering my body with each breath and going to certain parts of my body to direct the breathe to that area to relax and focus that area of my body. I kept imagining the ball of light entering into my womb and warming my baby and gently pushing him down towards my cervix and out of my body. This contraction lasted for about three-four minutes, I had been training myself mentally for this moment for so long and yet the pain and urge to push was so intense that I felt lost and confused because everything was moving so much faster than I though possible. I continued to hold onto the side rail of the tub only because I felt like if I let go of it that I would be letting go of sanity itself. I felt like I had to hold onto something to anchor me to reality and keep me from tail spinning into a panic since everything was moving incredibly fast. As I moaned and breathed out, my midwife’s tender voice kept advising me not to push, “You will hurt yourself, keep breathing and moaning your doing exactly what your baby needs you to do.” Her voice was the sound of reason that I needed to help me through the pain. I also felt a reassuring hand gently rubbing my thigh, I didn’t know who it was but from their touch I could tell that they cared a great deal about me. I said out loud, “Whoever is rubbing my leg, thank you that is very reassuring.” Bill then spoke up, “That’s me, loving you through this honey.” I felt his love and his support and felt like I could make it through the pain for him, for me, and for Kennan. The contraction lasted for about three minutes and again I was pleading with the midwife to let me push. She checked me and I went from a 6-10 cm in one contraction. She advised me to get out of the tub and onto the bed so that we could begin pushing. I wanted to push so bad that all I could do was think about getting to that bed. As I stood, another contraction crashed into my body, they were coming less than a minute apart and I was involuntarily pushing. I stood at the side of the tub and swayed and squatted as if to push. A moment of rational thought crept in, “Do you want to deliver your baby here on this cold tile floor?” I than stumbled into the bedroom and surprised everyone and myself included when I climbed onto the bed backwards facing away from the foot of the bed and facing the wall at the head of the bed. The bed was at a 45-degree angle and I got on all fours. I was going to have my baby on my hands and knees and it felt so naturally right that I didn’t question it. I overheard the nurses saying, “ Well that’s one way of pushing out a baby.” I quickly grabbed onto the head of the bed with both my arms and with the next contraction I began bearing down. I could hear the encouragement of the nurses to keep pushing exactly like that, that they could see the top of my baby’s head. I could feel his head slowly creeping down and I continued to push with all that I had. I wanted that pressure to stop hurting me and to bring my baby to me. At the end of the contraction, Bill came to inform me that I had just delivered his entire head, in my mind I am thinking, “Ok now the shoulders.” The ring of fire then came with the next contraction and I choose to stop pushing and moan through the contraction. I could feel my body burning as my perineum slowly opened like the petals of rose in full bloom. I felt the gently hands of the nurse guiding my baby as she gently massaged my perineum and encouraged me not to push and to rest and keep breathing. In my mind I was screaming at this point but Bill says that I was only breathing and moaning really hard. I felt so much pressure and I knew that the only way to make it stop was to push with the next contraction. Again, I bore down and pushed with every muscle and ounce of strength in my body and I felt a huge relief as his shoulders made it through and his body gracefully slithered out of my body. I was facing away from the room and couldn’t see him yet. I could however feel his arms and legs slippery and warm pushing and kicking against my feet and ankles. “ I started saying, “My baby, my baby, oh my baby.” Over and over again as I was dying to hold him in my arms. Bill clipped the cord with the midwifes help and the other nurses quickly began rubbing and giving Kennan a short burst of oxygen. They weighed him and measured him. By the time I had been helped to move into a sitting position, my baby was handed into my waiting arms. I snuggled him into my chest and began talking to him. He was so alert and curious! I placed him on my breast and within a few minutes he quickly began nursing. I could hear him swallowing and a stream of yellow colostrum was seen in the corner of his mouth. I asked the nurse how badly I had tore and she was pleased to tell me that I had not torn. The only damage was what they call skid marks or abrasions to the right labia. The midwife felt that putting a few stitches in the area would help the healing process and allow me to urinate without discomfort with a few stitches there to assist the healing process. My perineum was fully in tact and had stretched to allow all 10 pounds 4 oz and 20 inches of my baby boy through. The nurses were in awe that a baby Kennan’s size could be born unmedicated and cause no damage to the mother. I told them that I have been working really hard to achieve this goal and that I couldn’t have done it without my Bradley birthing classes, Hypo-birthing, and Mind over Labor techniques. I have been working really hard preparing myself spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically for Kennan’s birth. Natural unmedicated childbirth is not for everyone and some women question my sanity in wanting to attempt this. The only way for me to explain it is to compare it to a marathon. Some people want to see what they are made of what they are capable of and how far they can go. So they train for a marathon and push themselves in order to see what they are capable of. I wanted to see how far I could go and what I was capable of and so I trained for a natural undmedicated birth. I am so proud of myself for achieving a goal that I have had since I was 5 years old and witnessed my first homebirth that was unmedicated and totally natural. I have assisted with about 20 natural unmedicated births in the past 30 years and have often wondered if I had what it takes to join the rank of women that have had unmedicated births. Afterwards, I told Bill for me that I feel as if I have come into my womanhood—I feel like a woman and no longer like a girl. I also have noticed that I am more confident in myself and feel that I can trust my instincts and mother’s intuitions because it was these tools that helped me the most through Kennan’s birth. If I am blessed with more children, I hope that I will be able to have another unmedicated and natural childbirth because the recovery was so awesome. I was up and walking within thirty minutes of Kennan’s birth and have been getting my strength back day by day. I have also dropped most of the weight—26 pounds in 9 days not to shabby! I am only ten pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight. I have plans on losing all of that and a whole lot more besides that. For me, an unmedicated natural childbirth was the right decision. I know that it’s not for everyone and in some situations it would not be possible or advisable. I respect every women’s right to choose for her what is best for her and her baby. For me, in this instance it was the right choice for me and I am so grateful that I had this opportunity to see what I am capable of. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father blessed me to be healthy and that we were able to pass through this experience with out incident. I feel so grateful that Kennan’s birth had such a positive outcome—I am truly blessed and grateful! I couldn’t have done all this without Heavenly Fathers help, my husbands loving support, and the incredible medical staff and midwives at both the Madsen Clinic and the University of Utah Health Care Center. I am extremely happy and pleased with how everything turned out in the end and looking at the robust and healthy cheeks of my baby boy makes everything totally worth it! I love you Kennan Warwick Fullmer and I am so grateful that you have graced my life with your presence. I am one happy and proud mama! Having my two little boys has only enhanced my love for Bill and made me fall deeper in love with him. Marrying him was the smartest and best choice I have ever made! I love watching Liam interacting with his little brother and I love seeing Kennan’s eyes light up when Liam holds him. I love my little family and am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father that has made all of this in my life possible. I feel so blessed and surrounded by so much love, I am one lucky and blessed lady!

11 comments:

Michele said...

Wow, amazing story! You did great. I hope I can be as strong when it's at it's hardest for me; I'm planning on doing an unmedicated birth as well. Congrats again!

Jana Perkins said...

Amazing story! Thank you so much for sharing such a personal and spiritual experiance. It strengthens me. I'm so happy for you and your family. He is so precious.

The Fullmers said...

You can do it Michele!! The key is being mentally, emotionally, spritually, and physically prepared. I found having a previous knowledge of the emotional sign post from Dr. Bradley to be one of the most helpful for me. While I was at a five, I was thinking to myself that I couldnt do it and that I needed drugs. I had trained myself and Bill to tell me that I was in transition and that not much longer than 20 mins until I would be holding my baby. For me, this was totally how it went. In the moment I thought, I am at a 5 how can I be in transition and yet thats exactly what happened. I have total faith in you, its so worth it and I am a firm believer in the natural way! Go get em mama!

The Fullmers said...

Thanks so much Jana, your kindness means so much to me!

Michael Carr said...

it was so so fun reading your birth story. i wish i had a record of mine to relive and share with my children. especially the girls as they will be going threw it them selves some day. i had 7 natural unmedicated childbirths. i am so greatfull that i did that for them and for me. my baby is almost 12 and with time memories become less clear. i remember feeling like you, when you talked about the feelings you had of empowerment that you can acomplish anything. i needed that reminder right now with chalenges i am facing. thankyou for sharing. congradulations!!! love, aunt mary

Joanna said...

That was such a wonderful story! You are truly amazing - I didn't have any unmedicated births with my 3 and after reading your story, I wish I had tried! Thank you for sharing it with us all :) He looks just beautiful! And those nurses had no idea what good birthers Maori women are!!

Food, crafts and the women said...

Congratulations Moana! I was enthralled while reading your birthing story, Thank you.
Your baby is very cute, just like his older brother.

The Fullmers said...

Thank you all for your loving comments and support. It is greatly appreciated!! Thank you all, our baby Kennan is such a joy and we are loving on him and watching Liam become a big brother has been wonderful! Thanks!

Accalia said...

I love it!! Thanks for sharing your story! I know exactly how you feel! I too had more confidence in myself and my motherly instincts after the birth of my baby. I was on a wonderful, natural, hormone-induced, post-labor high for weeks afterwards! I know that all-natural-unmedicated childbirth is not possible for some women, but I truly wish more women would choose this route. I feel so blessed, just as you!

Melanie said...

Congratulations!!!! I've been watching your blog waiting to hear the news. Kennan is so cute. He looks like Liam with a bigger nose :)
You are awesome with all you did to bring him here. I love your story. I've had pitocin, been induced, had an all natural no medicated birth and this last time had to have a c-section because of a turned around baby and ambilical cords wrapped around the neck. I'll tell you my most favorite birthing experience was the all natural. I LOVED IT. I would do it that way over all others. It does make you fell like a real woman. Good for you MOana. Just love you and your stories. Thanks for sharing. Keep pictures of your new little man coming.

Chelsa said...

What an amazing birth! I'm so happy for you guys! Congratulations!