Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Annabel Rae Wagner {her birth story}

Baby #4. My third baby born at home. I really wanted to do this one different than the others.

With all my births, I spend the majority of the time with my eyes closed. I guess it is just how I stay grounded, calm and focused. But with that, I have very, very vivid memories from each of those experiences from when I did open my eyes.

Each birth I have been surrounded by friends and family. I loved sharing my experience with them, but it kind of didn't feel authentic to who I am. I clearly remember opening my eyes when I was having baby #1. There was my whole family, peeking around a curtain, huddled together in the doorway. With baby #2 I remember opening my eyes at one point and seeing my poor, newly pregnant sister standing in the doorway watching me, her face white as a ghost with sheer terror. With baby #3 there was less family there but more friends. I remember opening my eyes, and looking around at my friends, (who I love to death) and thinking, 'this feels a little chaotic', but in my head I was trying to keep this very simple calm going.

If anyone knows me well, you would know that being put on the spot, or performing is not my thing. In fact, I cringe at the thought of my first birth when everyone was just sitting there in silence staring at me while I went through pitocin induced contractions.

So I had this desire to have a much more private birth this time. I told my midwives what I was hoping for, and in their beautiful nature encouraged me to create the birth I wanted. However, they did suggest another adult be present to care for the other kids, just in case I had to transfer to a hospital or something. Duh. I hadn't even thought of that! So I asked my sister, Joanna to be here. Plus, she is a newly graduated massage therapist...that could probably come in handy!! A couple weeks later I got an email from my sweet friend, Jess. I call her my unprofessional-professional photographer friend. She offered to come take pictures for us if we wanted her to. I thought about it for a while. It doesn't go along with my "private birth" idea, but I knew the pictures would be invaluable and such good memories for us. Plus, then I wouldn't have to worry about capturing pictures myself while I was busy doing other important things. :)

So that's how it all got set up. On Saturday, (9 days past my due date) I woke up at 6 and knew I was having real contractions. They were no big deal, but I knew they were the real deal. Rand had to work that day. He had 2 services but assured me he could leave at any moment. I said, "okay. I'll let you know". So he left and I went about my day. I told Jo that I knew this thing was happening today and to come over whenever she was done working. She came over in the early afternoon. I told Rand, "Just so you know, I'm having a baby today." He said, "ok". After his day at work, he came home and started to help get things ready. Jess came over too. Still, it wasn't a big deal. I had told my mid-wife I was sure this was happening, but things were slow and still real easy. She said to let her know when things went to the next level.

I felt bad that Joanna and Jessie were there....just sitting around with me while we chatted at 10-20 minute intervals in between my contractions. They continued to slowly intensify, but stayed really far apart. That seemed to drag things on and on. Things picked up a tad once the kids went to bed....but not much.

Finally at midnight I called my midwife. I was still doing alright, but I knew she needed some time to get to us and it just felt like it was time. We all guesstimated how much progress I had made throughout the day. I said I was hoping to be a 7 but thought I was probably more like a 5. When Carolee got to our house she checked me. I was a 5. Then I contracted while she was checking me, my water broke and voila! I was a 7. Well, I know what that means for me. Craziness is about to happen!

I got into the tub at that point and was surprised still at how far apart my contractions were. The long breaks were nice, but it also just allowed more fear to creep in. I got through transition and started having that all too familiar, horrible urge to push, but I remember feeling afraid to push hard. I could tell she wasn't going anywhere. Carolee checked me again and said to breathe through a few contractions because there was still a little bit of cervix over the baby's head. Ummm, that was like the worst torture in the world. With the other 2 homebirths that urge to push was intense and when I did push (which I couldn't even help it if I tried), I could feel how much the baby was moving down. With this one, she was just stuck there. After a couple contractions they had me turn over from a sitting position in the water to my knees, leaning over the side of the tub. The next push moved the baby down and it wasn't long before she was out. Her chest was as big as her giant head, so I can't say it was easy and I swear they had to help pull her out, but finally, there she was! 2:47am, Sunday, Jan. 29

Holy sweet relief. She was huge. And she was chubby. And we all just looked at her sweet face for the longest time. Then it dawned on me. "Did anyone check to make sure she was a girl?" No one had. So I did. And it was true. She was a girl. :)

Rand cut the cord and I moved to the bed for the aftermath. I held her while I was sutured (for the 4th of the lasting consequences of my first birth in the hospital) and she was ready to nurse, sucking on her hands like she'd been nursing for a month or something. Once I was cleaned up and had nursed the babe, we woke up the kiddos (except we couldn't wake up Easton so we just let him sleep) and they came in to meet her.

Then she got weighed and measured and checked out. My biggest (and latest) baby. 9lbs 7oz. 21.5inches long. 14.5 inch head. And she is lovely.

A word on her name

I don't remember where I heard the name Annabel first. But I instantly loved it. It is a combination of my middle name (Annette) and my sister's middle name (Isobel). And then her middle name is a part of my other sister's first name, (Rachel).
I really hadn't heard the name much before that....maybe I just wasn't paying attention.
Soon after (I didn't even know if I was having a girl at the time) one of my daily blog reads had a daughter and named her Annabel (same spelling and everything). I instantly thought, "shoot. Now I need to come up with another name." But then I thought, that was silly. I don't even know this person, and she is across the country and I can still have my own Annabel.
THEN, my sister in law adopted a beagle and low and behold the dog's name was Annabelle. I literally shouted at the computer, "NOOOOO". But then I talked myself down again. It's a dog, who is 15 years old. She doesn't own the name Annabelle. I still love it.
THEN, for a while Rand and I weren't in agreement on a middle name. He wanted it to be Grace, I wanted Rae. He came to my side eventually and then before Christmas we got a card from his uncle who's daughter (Rand's cousin) had had a baby girl and guess what they named her?.....Grace Annabelle.
What are the chances of that!!!???
And then we had our own Annabel.
The next day, my sister text me and said, "hey, I might be watching a baby girl after she is born. Her name is going to be Annabelle." Crazy, huh?

This was the first baby in which we really had decided on a name right a way. We will see what kind of crazy nicknames her brothers come up with as time goes by. So far she has been called "Agent Annie" "Annie-tooterpants" and "Belly".
We love our Annabel.

all photos courtesy of Jessica Ackley


Kristi said...

Lovely :) Annie-tooterpants. Classic!

Anonymous said...

Sorry that I could not be there, I know how much you missed me, but at that time of night I am busy dreaming about fishing and just can't be disturbed. She is lovely.
Uncle Bubba