Thursday, March 17, 2011

And then there were FOUR...

Beatrice Starling Schneider,3/8/11, 1:08pm, 9 lbs. 5 oz. 

It will take me a few more days to put together Bea's full birth story for the tab up at the top. The details of her amazing birth keep coming back to me in snippets and memories in the strangest of ways. As I've said, we used the Hypnobirthing method for both Josephine & Beatrice. This method teaches the birthing mom how to enter a deep state of self-hypnosis as a way to move through labor without the use of drugs or medication. Accordingly, "laborland" becomes a pretty primal, deep place and things get a little murky when it comes to recalling the details. So, as things come back and as Lou answers my questions (did I really...?), I am slowly putting the story and the details back together.

In the meantime, here's the synopsis of how little Beatrice came into the world. On Monday afternoon I had my membranes stripped as the first step in my 41-week induction. By midnight I was having pretty regular contractions at home and we headed to Good Sam for our 1am pitocin induction appointment (yep 1am). Our doula Shakira met us there. Soon I was hooked up to all the junk and had the pitocin flowing through me by about 3-4am. (This sucked because my movement was really limited due to the IV, monitors, etc but we made it work!) Lou slept, I tried to rest, Shakira & I laughed, the nurses came in and out, I worried about Josie being without us and then morning came. By about 6am things started picking up. My sister and Dad came while my mom stayed home with Josie to get her ready for school. The pitocin went up and so did the contractions. My mom got Josie to school and soon everyone was at the hospital and labor was picking up in intensity. I'll save the details for the longer birth story that I'm still piecing together but suffice it to say here that things got MUCH easier when my doctor arrived and took me off the stupid pitocin since my body had taken over (much to the nurse's surprise btw but I digress).

Things got A LOT more manageable at that point. I was liberated from all the machines and hit the shower. The bulk of my active labor and transition occurred on the birthing ball and in the shower. And things got pretty darn primal in there. (And for the record I think everyone should birth in the water!) When I came out of the shower, I was totally unaware of how close I was to her birth. I was super confused that my OBGYN was there. Apparently everyone but me knew it was almost time. Scott checked me and I was almost complete!

Then, in just a few more super intense contractions I started panicking because something felt really different and not right. As it turns out, something was different - the baby was coming - ALREADY! I had pushed for over two hours with Josie so I expected something similar this time. So, when I felt her coming only a minute or two after being declared ten centimeters, I didn't know what the heck was going on. Then - there was all this hub-bub because (brace yourself)... she was coming out still inside the amniotic sac. That's right folks, Beatrice was "born in the caul" (more on this in a minute) so the bag of water is what we saw first. It was insanely incredible. My water never broke (and she came so quickly that they never broke it for me, not that there was a need to). Three quick pushes and there she was!!!! It was total love at first sight and all of the emotions of our journey came pouring out of us! Sweet Bea has finally arrived...
love at first sight
Born in the Caul:

We all know that little Bea herself is a miracle. She fought through so many hardships in what was a very complicated pregnancy after coming to us as an enormous surprise in the first place. And the incredible circumstances surrounding her birth on the one year anniversary of the loss of her sister Camille still has us questioning/searching/wondering!  Then, to top all of this off - she was born "in the caul" - meaning that the bag of water never broke and she came into the world with her amniotic sac!   If you'd like to see a picture of what this looks like, check out this website (note: I love sharing my life with all of you, but I'm not quite ready to put my own vagina online anytime soon, although we have some great pictures thanks to Tia!).

Now, here's the cool part. Being born in the bag of unbroken water is very rare - estimates are about 1 in every 80,000 to 100,000 births.  And, dating back to medieval times, being born this way has been heralded as a sign of good luck and great fortune. Children born in the caul are said to be a great blessing since they are  "destined for greatness...born with intuitive powers...and messengers sent by a higher force to guide mankind in matters both physical and of a higher spiritual nature." To this day, people of the Buddhist faith seek out these children to be brought up to become Dalia Lamas.   Many believe these children are also destined to become midwives. You can read more about "caulbearers" and the legends surrounding them here.  Whatever you believe or don't believe, we think it's pretty special. 

In other fun trivia, Beatrice was also born on Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras and International Women's Day!

BIG Thank yous!

Make no mistake, natural childbirth requires lots of support. Every woman is different about what she needs to feel this support, but for me I really needed my family around me.  (And have no doubt this is why things worked out the way that they did. Everyone I wanted to be there was there.) 

To my sister...
I cannot tell you how much it means to me that you all rearranged everything to be there for Josie and to be there for Bea's birth.  You were so incredible during the labor that I felt like I had a second doula! When you played the video of Josie singing "Three Little Birds" in one of the toughest points of the labor and we all stood in that room and swayed and cried, I have never felt closer to you.  And as you read aloud to me the emails and messages from my friends, exactly when I needed them, it was further proof that we are deeply connected.  During the labor and since, I just keep thinking how lucky Josie and Bea are to have sisters in one another. I hope one day they can each feel the support that you have showed to me. Thank you sissy! (And please pass on our genuine appreciation to Michael for making the trip, taking the time off, keeping the kids entertained and for helping make the house spotless for our return!)



To my mom...
There for awhile, it was a real possibility that watching Josie would prevent you from being there for Bea's birth. I can't tell you how grateful I am that it didn't turn out that way.  I know how hard it is for you to see me in pain and the fact that you were so strong made me feel even stronger when I was feeling weak.  Thank you for your quiet strength and for making me feel supported. Thanks for the keeping the cold washcloths coming and for being such a good Grandma to Josie and now to Bea.


To my dad...
Daddy-O, I will never forget the image of your shoes at my feet. Something about looking down and knowing you were standing right there made me feel like I could get through anything.  (And thanks to Tia for capturing my viewpoint here...)

It means so much to me to have the kind of father who is awed by birth and not grossed out by it. Thanks for always encouraging me to stick to my principles and to be myself.  It was that sense of confidence and trust in who I am that got me through both labors and through so much else in life.

To Shakira...
Readers, please hear me...if you want to have an unmedicated childbirth then please please hire a doula.  Shakira came to us through our dear Kelly who she supported in Teddy's natural hypnobirth. Since Carrie sadly moved to Seattle (who was there for Josie's birth and saved us from what could've easily turned into a c-section had she not helped figure out how to get Josie to turn after being stuck for several hours), we were excited to have a solid recommendation from someone we really trusted.  When we met Shakira, we knew she was just right.
Thank you Shakira for never leaving my side. Thank you for the gentle, often silent reminders to relax and surrender to the birth. Thank you for advocating for me with the nurses. Thank you for the SHOWER!  Thank you for the essential oils, massages and for knowing exactly what I needed, exactly when I needed it.  Thank you for not letting me doubt myself in the hardest moments and for encouraging everyone in the room.

To Lou...
There simply aren't the words to thank you for everything you have endured by my side on this insane journey - moving through the pregnancy and the labor itself.  Thank you for not giving up on me, for not showing the fear on your own face, for staying strong, for holding me up when I lost the strength to stand, for speaking volumes without saying a single word and for speaking the truth when I needed to hear it most.  I am enormously blessed to have such an amazing husband and every day I smile with the thought of you being the father of our dear sweet little girls.


And To Sweet Josephine...
Your smiling little face hung just in my sight in the birthing room and I turned to that sweet smile whenever I needed a loving reminder of everything I had to work so hard for. And I thought about the moment you were born and how happy I was when I gave birth to you bright, shining face - so alert and eyes wide open ready to meet the world (a real perk of no medication) and I wanted to same thing for your little sister. And I wanted to one day be able to tell you both that your mama is strong and that you are both strong too. And that motherhood and birth are rare opportunities to prove this strength to ourselves. And your loving smile made me keep this important promise to myself and to you.


To Scott...
And a special shout-out to my OBGYN Dr. Scott Firestein who I believe is the one most responsible for protecting our vision for a natural birth.  He trusted us, followed our lead and supported us in every way. He went outside of his own comfort zone, bent his own "rules" on inductions and helped us bring Beatrice into the world without compromising what was most important to us.  We are so grateful for his help in making us a family of four. He was been with us in our darkest and brightest moments and remained a source of strong, steady calm every step of the way. And for that, we are eternally grateful.

And to you...
Finally...thanks to all of you!   I tapped into the energy of all of you (literally across the globe!) that I knew were at home burning candles, sending love, saying prayers and holding us in your hearts as we brought little Beatrice into the world.  As you've heard me say, she was brought into this world out of the wishes of so many people and we are so grateful to have shared this journey with all of you.

Welcome to the spinning world Baby Beatrice...
we are so glad you are here!

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think I can say this for everyone It was our pleasure to witness Baby Bea's birth. You have always done everything you set your mind too. Love mom

Anonymous said...

Carri, when I read your post it brings tears to my eyes. You are one incredible person and I am so glad to are paths crossed when back in 2nd grade with my one very trying child. You have an amazing family and you are so lucky. Thanks for sharing with us on this blog, I turly have enjoyed hearing everything. Josie and Bea are very lucky to have wonderful parents like you and Lou. Love you. Laurie

Anonymous said...

Tear, tear, and more tears! You Johnson/Austin/Schneider's truly have an awesome family. Congratulations!!!!

K.T.F. said...

What a great birth story. I'm sitting up late with the flu crying my eyes out. Love it. I love that your dad is all about birth that is unusual for his generation. I wish I had let my mom come to my births but I was afraid to let her see me in pain. And I wish I had a sister. You have a great family. congratulations and yes Bea welcome to the spinning world...

Uncle Bruce and Aunt Sue said...

WONDERFUL account of Beatrice's birthing process!! Thank you for sharing, absolutely beautiful. LOVED the information regarding the caul! Looking forward to seeing your birth pictures!!!! It is ALL amazingly miraculous!!!!!

Three Austins said...

I will NEVER forget those special moments by your side!!! Thank YOU sissy!!! I am so thankful for the experience and memories!!