May 25, 2012

Introducing Teresa Marie

The quick facts:
Teresa Marie
born at 4:35pm
on Tuesday the 22nd of May.

21 and 1/2 inches long
11 pound 9.5 ounces at birth,
but we'll just round up to 11. 10.
She has soft, dark hair and ridiculously long fingernails.  Her eyes are dark, she's already lifting her head to look around, she has a strong cry, and she looks like Ben did when he was born.
Her name comes from
Mother Teresa,
our Blessed Mother,
and my mom, whose middle name is also Marie. 

The Birth Story:

Part I: Pre Labor
Late Monday morning the kids and I went grocery shopping.  My lower back was killing me and I was hopeful that it meant promising things for labor.  By lunch time I was having contractions.  By 3pm they were becoming more painful and I called Travis to make sure he knew it.  I also called my midwife, doula, and friend/homebirth midwife to give them a head's up that I thought it was the day.

That evening I made dinner, went for a walk with Travis, baked some strawberry lemonade bars, texted my birth team, and went to bed.  At 3am I woke up from a nightmare (Travis and two other men we're friends with were considering remodeling a haunted house for the hexenbiest-looking monsters who lived there.  I and the wives all said NO but Travis really wanted to do it and I was really annoyed with him.) Then I had a horrible contraction. 

A little bit later I woke him up telling him I thought we needed to make some phone calls.  A little after that my doula arrived.  We went upstairs so I could labor in the quiet of my bedroom.  But sitting there on my bedroom floor was too much for me and all I could think of was how I sat on the bedroom floor while they worked on JF.  I cried through my next contraction and then moved downstairs.

We were there for no more than 10 minutes when, kneeling on some Chux pads (leftovers from previous homebirths) I threw up, causing my water to break.  Not wanting to be in intense labor when my kids woke up or in the car we headed over to the hospital.

Part II: The Hospital
As soon as we got to our room a woman gave me a hospital gown and told me to "go ahead and take everything off and put that on."  I asked her why.  I guess that was a stupid question - she thought so and sarcastically said, "OKAY..." while rolling not just her eyes but her entire head - but I wasn't about to push out the baby and didn't feel like being practically naked.  I really was confused by why she would tell me to do that. 

Fortunately, our doula was in the hall and overheard the conversation and then spoke to the woman and my nurse.  She told them how I had homebirthed 3 kids and also explained about JF.  It was wonderful to not have to explain those things to anyone.

Our nurse was wonderful.  I sat on a birthball fully dressed in my own clothes.  She ignored the peanut butter and crackers I ate around lunch time.  She left me alone for long periods of time.  She bent a lot of rules.  My contractions were strong but they weren't regular and stayed around 10 minutes apart.  This was really discouraging for me, especially since I thought I'd have a baby by noon since my water broke at 6:30.  Because I had slept the night before I felt pretty good.  In between contractions we sat around and joked, chatted, and laughed. 

But then, as dinnertime approached I started to ask for pain medication.  I was starting to feel tired and discouraged and I was worried I wouldn't be able be able to manage the pain and the fear when it was time to push.  By this point I was also saying a lot of "Oh my God"s; "Please, oh my God, please"s; and "Oh shit"s. The "oh my God"s were usually attached to some kind of intention - for the people who comment on my For Pete's Sake posts, other people I had promised to pray for - these were never clear, specific "this contraction is for Katie and her boards" but were vague and hopefully still helpful. The "please, oh my God"s were my way of praying for myself - less pain, a living baby, that it would all be over soon. The "oh shit"s were because it hurt like hell and I felt like an ass for not asking for the epidural many hours before.

My midwife wanted to check my cervix to see if I could have the epidural and she found that there was still water in my bag.  I remember crying out, "Think of all the poor souls in Purgatory!" and everyone laughed except for Travis who knew I meant it.  My midwife then broke my water and held her hand there through the next contraction, causing me to say, "I want you to know that I hate you right now!"  Breaking the water meant that Teresa immediately started moving down and there was no more time for an epidural.

Part III: The Birth
At 4:28pm I called out, "Here she comes."  And then things got really scary for me.  I stopped having the urge to push and without my body telling me when to push I didn't know what to do.  I was able to get her to the crowning point but then we were stuck.  Really, I don't remember everything that happened and the order that it came in.  I remember them saying we needed to get her out and asking me to push.  I know I had to be flipped from being on my hands and knees to being on my side.  I know they kept telling me to get my legs up.  At one point I asked if she was alive.  I know her cord was loosely, half way around her neck and so my midwife reached up and flipped it over T's head.  I know that hurt worse than anything I have ever experienced in my life and I roared in pain.  After that they had me get flat on my back and pull my knees all the way up to my face.  The nurse did a move called the supra pelvic, using her fist to push down on the top of my pelvic bone and Teresa's stuck shoulder.  That also hurt like hell.  After her shoulder was free I pushed her out and I remember the feeling of her being completely out of me.  It was over and I had done it.

Part IV: The APGAR
However the feeling of relief was pretty brief because instead of giving her to me they took her over the the cart to work on her.  I asked if she was alive and they said yes but I didn't trust what I was being told because if she was okay she would have been with me.  Because I was still flat on my back and too exhausted to sit up I couldn't see what was happening, which was this:

Teresa's apgar score at birth was a 2.  Ten is perfect, JF was a 0.  Teresa was blue, limp, and not breathing but unlike her big brother she had a heartbeat.  While they were giving her air she gasped a few times and fortunately my mom excitedly commented every time she heard one.  But Travis was silent and that made me worried, too.  Thank God (and thank you for your prayers) after two minutes she started to cry and her five minute apgar score was a perfect 10.  Which means I finally got to hold her.

But this is what I felt like: 

Part V: The Summary
Because she was so big they kept us two nights in the hospital.  While pregnant my plan was to stay no more than 24 hours but by the time everything was said and done I just didn't care.  I didn't feel like moving much and if they wanted to check her blood sugar levels and make sure I didn't hemorrhage that was fine with me. 

Teresa's birth was pretty amazing but, for me, that's not in a amazing=beautiful=healing=spiritual kind of way, though I think I'll get there.  I delivered an 11lb 9.5oz baby naturally with only one first degree tear so small they didn't even stitch it.  That's amazing.  My daughter is alive and healthy and happy.  That's amazing. 

Today as I looked at my baby girl I told her, "God wanted me to have you, an undeserved gift."  I mean that and I am so, so grateful.

My birth team:
They were awesome.  The two on my right have been at all four of my children's births.  The woman on the left is Mary, the midwife I saw for this pregnancy.  All of the women were amazing, but I must say that Mary was truly perfect.  She supports homebirth and did everything in her power to make my hospital birth as much like a homebirth as possible.  I know that because I had her I got what I wanted.  She was excellent.


  1. I love birth stories. They always make me cry, but knowing your back story (and how much it hurt to give natural birth to four smallish babies) made me weep. Congratuations! She's beautiful. God bless you all!

  2. Couldn't help a few tears in my eyes while reading this. Thank you for posting the story Bonnie, it made my day.
    You are such a brave woman, I admire that alot :)

  3. Oh my. I've been waiting for days for this story! Oh my gosh. Thank God you're both okay.

    And I love, love, love that you asked that nurse why you needed to put on the hospital gown the minute you got there. Fabulous!

  4. You are such a strong woman. I'm typing this comment with a few tears in my eyes. So beautiful! Congratulations!

  5. Awesome! I thought my 11lb bruiser--also delivered naturally & with a stuck shoulder--was a big boy, what a beautiful big girl you have! Congratulations.

  6. Congratulations Bonnie,
    Teresa is awesome and beautiful and so are you.

  7. Teary-eyed here too. Hope you are all settling in beautifully.

  8. Wow! That is amazing. I don't really know what to say. I would have been really scared as they worked on her. You are so brave! I think if there is ever another baby, an induction at 39 weeks will make us all feel better! :)

    I have found that the nurses in the hospital are pretty accommodating to experienced mothers. You know the deal and they tend to go with it.

    When my second was born, I also completely lost the urge to push. It is such a strange thing. She was right at the crowning point and the nurse was telling me that I had to keep trying to push her out and I was saying I don't feel like I need to push. I was all natural too so I definitely could feel all kinds of unpleasantness, but the urge to push wasn't one of those things.

    Thank you so much for sharing with us on the internet fan club!

  9. Great story! Scary about her low Apgar, but I'm glad she immediately improved. She is so beautiful!

  10. Wow, Bonnie, you are truly one of the strongest women I know. What an inspiration :) Teresa is beautiful and such an amazing gift. God bless you, Travis and the entire family. Prayers for you during this time of "newness".

  11. Congratulations!! You are amazing!!
    I may have to give Jonny a listen while I Labor with this baby. I usually enjoy Dean Martin during labor but I can see how Jonny would be Great Too!!

  12. Goosebumps! So thankful that everything turned out ok. Enjoy enjoy enjoy!!! :)

  13. Awesome story. I had my twins via c-section and my daughter Anne was first to come out and was not breathing. I remember laying there and praying Hail Marys until she was able to breathe on her own. Very unnerving. So glad Teresa is healthy and here. God Bless!

  14. How could anyone not cry while reading this? I dont even know what to happy that everything is ok.

  15. You are a rock star! Praise God that everything was okay and you have a beautiful, healthy daughter. Congratulations!

  16. What a beautiful story. Thank you for posting it. I love birth stories, and I suspect there were many of us waiting for this one! I'm glad it turned out positively for you, especially in the different environment.

    I'm glad no one made a huge deal about the initial APGAR being low. Eric was a 2 when he was born, and the pediatrician recommended he be institutionalized! Since he just got his PhD and a fabulous job, I think we can say nothing came of that.

    I also love her name. In that almost-wish-I'd-had-a-girl-first-so-I-would-have-named-her-that sort of way. :-)

    Congratulations and enjoy your (big) little bundle!

  17. I'm sorry about that woman that rolled her head about the gown. I was dreading wearing my hospitals tight elastic tummy-stocking to hold the monitors - I HATE that thing. Fortunately, I was in hard labor and forgot to put it on (honestly!) and then baby was born 20 min later anyway. Anyway, congrats on a healthy baby! Praise God her 2nd apgar was 10!!! Yahoo! and only a 1st degree tear?!?!?! WOW! You're wonder woman! I'll be praying for all of you - esp James as he adjusts to not being the baby. :)

  18. Congratulations! Wow, you're amazing! God is good.

  19. I commend you on excellent birth team choices! What a great support for a hospital birth.

  20. So glad Julie S. was there. I thought she would want to be. I was praying up here in Michigan.

  21. I'm just getting back from vacation and I'm so pumped there was a birth story waiting for me!!

    I'm so impressed. I really am.

  22. Wow. What an amazing and beautiful story! I can only imagine the intensity of giving birth naturally to an 11 pound baby...mine have only been around 7 and that was pretty flipping intense. Congratulations!