Birth Story- Leeland Thaddeus

This is the birth story of our fourth child, Leeland Thaddeus, July 15, 2010.

At 1am this morning, I was awakened by contractions. They were coming regularly and mild to painful. I decided to take a shower to see if they would stop or continue. While standing in the shower, I found the contractions to be more painful and to gain in strength. I made my way back to the bed to lay down. It was impossible to rest and the contractions kept coming, so I woke up my husband. “I think I am in labor.” He knew after nearly 8 weeks of contractions of various strength, I would know if I was in labor. He immediately got up and got ready. We called his sister and she made her way to our house so we could leave our two older sons asleep in their beds. I called the midwife on call- Titi and spoke with her at 3:25 am. After I explained what I was feeling to her, we agreed to meet at the hospital.

My husband’s sister arrived at our house and we headed out. We arrived at the hospital just after 4am. My midwife checked my cervix at 4:20am and I was dilated 3.5 cm, 80% effaced and the baby was at a -1 station. I was thrilled. This was the first time out of the 4 pregnancies, I had ever arrived to the hospital in labor and been that far along. I knew I was not going to take an epidural. And, I was excited to be able to labor in a completely different way than my previous babies- without constant monitoring, with minimal checking of the cervix and with the freedom to be able to move around.

My midwife gave me an area to walk in the hallway and encouraged me to walk for 30 minutes stopping periodically during a contraction to hold on to the railing, squat a little, moan a lot, and try to relax my muscles and let the baby move down. I tried this for a while and the contractions seemed to get stronger and closer together. I made my way back to my room a few times and after about an hour of laboring this way, I decided I was ready for a change.

My midwife ran the bath water for me and I tried laboring in the tub. It was great. The contractions were still painful and labor was still progressing, but it was so nice to be able to completely relax between contractions. After only 4 contractions, I felt like things had progressed quite a bit and I was nearing the point of needing to push. I got out of the tub and headed toward the bed. I labored there next to the bed for a couple of contractions so they could monitor the baby.

Since I told my midwife I was feeling the desire to push and I sounded like I was feeling this way, she checked my cervix again. This was only the second time for her to check. At this point, I was dilated 8 cm, completely effaced and the baby was at a 0 station. I immediately knew I didn’t have much longer. With my last baby, when I was 8 cm dilated, I actually was 10 cm dilated during a contraction and that meant I could push. I was hoping it was the same with this baby.

My 3 previous babies weighed 8 lbs 5 ounces, 7 lbs 13 ounces, and 8 lbs 10 ounces. When it came time to push with the second 2 babies, it literally took 2 pushes and they were out. It was complete relief from labor. However, this time that didn’t happen. I didn’t know it at the time, but Leeland being 1 lb 10 ounces larger than my previously largest baby made a big difference. I had no idea he was that big. Thank God. Because, that would have been just a little bit intimidating. After considerable effort and a lot of hard prayer, Leeland was born at 6:37am.

He was blue at first because the cord was compressed. But, they put him right to my chest and gave him oxygen and soon he pinked right up and cried loudly. It was a blessed sound!

He weighed 10 lbs, 4 ounces and is 22 inches long. He’s happy and alert.

Today feels like a dream come true. Leeland is perfectly perfect and he arrived at the perfect time he was meant to. I am thankful to all of you for your prayers and for thinking of us during this time. We’ve felt your love and it has meant so much to us. I am also grateful for my loving husband. He was my support today. He trusted my instincts and was there with me every step and moan and grown along the way. Thank you, Love!

Much love from the EL 6.

40 weeks and 2 days

So, I think I am finally ready for this baby to come. I know that most of you, if you’re checking this, are also ready for him to come. You’ve probably been ready for a while. And, your probably losing patience with the waiting. I, on the other hand, didn’t want to go into labor until I could go home from the hospital. Home to my house. Home to my new bedroom. Home to a clean, dust-free, paint smell-free environment. That day has come. The painters are finished. Furniture is ready to be put in my new room and I don’t have to lift a finger to make sure that gets done. I can just go to the hospital, deliver a new baby boy and come home to it all done a couple of days later. Voila!

Now, I don’t know if my body had that much power- to actually keep me from going into labor. It’s possible, I guess. After hurricane Ike, I didn’t want to go into labor until we could move back home and have electricity. I went into labor 3 days after my due date and the second night we were home with the electricity back on.

What I am saying is this: Dear body, I am relaxed and ready now. Let’s go to it. July 12, 2010 sounds like a great day to be born, little El4! So, come on! Momma is R-E-A-D-Y!

Have You Written a Birth Plan?

I went to visit the Midwives’ Office today and had my “birth plan” with me. Probably 5 or 6 weeks ago I met with one of the Midwives and she asked me if I had one and assured me that they would make every attempt to honor my birth plan if I provided it to them.

Well, I thought this was a wonderful idea.  So, shortly after, I sat down with several large index cards and began writing my birth plan. It was pretty simple. I decorated the top of the page for our fourth baby and wrote on the top that this was a plan with “lots of flexibility.”

The plan is simple:
I want a quiet space to labor with not a lot of chit chat.
I will bring my own music.
I want to try laboring in the tub.
I want to labor naturally with no epidural and no other medications.
I want to be able to move around as much as possible and be monitored intermittently.
I want to have the most support from my husband and depend on him.
I want to have it recorded from a non-invasive area in the room. (behind me somewhere where my husband doesn’t need to hold the camera.)

I think that completes the list. I’ve been carrying my “plan” around with me for weeks. Today, I remembered to give it to the Midwife I met with so she could make a copy and put in my chart. She was so touched and emotional about it. She said that she had never seen a handwritten birth plan. At first I thought she just meant that most people typed them up or had them on their iphones or blackberrys. But, she meant that people didn’t write them at all. She said most of the birth plans she saw were printed from a website and often times the mother hadn’t read the birth plan before bringing it to the midwife. This kind of surprised me. I didn’t really think that I had done anything particularly special.

But, she did. And, she was moved by it and asked if she could make a few copies of it to inspire others. I was happy to let her do that.

I feel really positive about my birth plan, because I know that it is just my plan and not God’s. And therefore, I don’t feel tied down to it. But, it does help me to have some kind of idea of how things may go. And, in the end, I’ll just go with the flow.

I hope you are all doing well. I know it won’t be long now until I am reporting labor and then the arrival of our precious baby boy! Good night, friends.

Anthony Stephen Maddux

Today a miracle happened.

God delivered a beautiful healthy baby boy to Michael and Patricia. Michael said “God Delivered him and I caught him” and that is the truth.

Anthony Stephen Maddux (our nephew) was born this morning just outside of the Woman’s Hospital of Texas. As Michael stopped the car, he opened the passenger door and the baby was delivered weighing 9 pounds 5 ounces. He cried and was healthy. They immediately got Patricia and Anthony inside to be checked. And all is well. James and Christian are doing well too. They were there for it all and are happy to be big brothers.

Now, everyone is resting comfortably in a room. What an entrance!

Welcome to the world, Anthony Stephen! We love you!

Labor and Delivery

September 21st, 2008

Here is a “brief” summary of the events yesterday. When I finished my last blog we were on our way to the hospital and I was confident that I was in labor.

* Moustapha and I arrived at the hospital around 11:30 am with Bakri and Maddux. I was placed on a monitor- to monitor the baby’s heartrate as well as time and measure the strength of contractions. After I was on the monitor for about an hour, the nurse checked me and my cervix was 2 cm dilated and 30% effaced. This was about the same as it was the week before in Dr. Manning’s office. The contractions were approximately 5 minutes apart, regular and strong. The doctor on call – Dr. Rosen- wanted to continue to monitor me. So, we waited. My parents and sister had arrived by then, so they were able to take the boys out of the room and keep them occupied.

We continued to be monitored and I was hopeful that there would be change the next time I was examined.

* At 3:20pm Dr. Rosen checked me and there was little change in my cervix. I was disappointed. But, since my contractions were very strong and only 5 minutes apart, there was no way they were sending me home in that condition- thank God! So, I was being admitted and at that point I was told that I was in “early labor.”

* Dr. Rosen suggested that I might like to walk around the floor some which sometimes helps labor to progress. I was eager to get things going.

* At 3:35 pm I walked out of the maternity wing to find Bakri and Maddux. I only took a couple of steps in the hall and my water broke. It wasn’t like a big dramatic scene out of a movie. Just some uncontrollable leaking. 🙂 I am glad it broke at the hospital. It is probably one of the least embarrassing places to have that happen.

* Nurse Tricia was just finding me a new room. So, we met up with her in the hall and I immediately had to get back in bed. Unfortunately, they don’t allow a patient to walk around once their water breaks, because there is risk for infection. So, I got settled in my new room and got mentally prepared for labor to intensify. And boy, did it! The water breaking really made the difference. Things were going to move very quickly after that.

My dear friend, Jamil loaned me her Wonder Woman power wristband. I put it on to remind me of my inner strength. And also, just to make me feel better. Whatever helps, right??

Jamil also gave me some visualization tips. The one that I liked the best and used throughout labor was imagining that I was riding a wave as each contraction came. Knowing that although the wave may be big, it is going to crest and eventually it will end. And I can ride it to the top and at the strongest point, it will go down. That really worked for me….most of the time.

Here I am “riding the wave.” I am seriously picturing this and it really helped. Thanks, Jamil!

* So, after 1 hour at 4:30 pm; Dr. Rosen checked me to find my cervix was ~4cm dilated and 80% effaced

*At 5:00 pm the boys came in to visit with their new longhorn hats. My parents brought them gifts to pass the time and also give them something fun to do while I was in labor.

* At 5:15 pm my dad visited with me briefly. At this point I was really having hard, painful contractions.

* At 5:33 pm it had been 1 hour since I was last checked and labor was getting more intense. I was feeling like I needed something to take the edge off, but I didn’t want an epidural. Dr. Rosen recommended Nubane, which would help me to relax in between contractions. Nurse Cynthia checked my cervix and I was now at 5 cm dilated and 80% effaced. I took the Nubane and it definitely helped me to relax and feel very sleepy in between contractions. It didn’t ease the pain of labor, but just having those more relaxed moments of rest in between contractions, made a difference for me. My mother-in-law visited with me during this time. I remember wanting to answer questions and talk, but I just couldn’t.

* At 6:07 Dr. Rosen popped in the room and said he would be back to check my cervix at 6:30. But, that didn’t happen. Within a few contractions, I was no longer getting a break in between and I was literally moaning, trying to breathe through it, but having a really hard time, because they weren’t letting go. Dr. Rosin came back in the room and said that I was ready. This was before checking me, but just because of the way I was acting.

* At 6:22 pm, my cervix was dilated to 8 cm. And I was miserable! 🙂 Within minutes I was completely dilated and ready to push and when I say ready to push I mean, there was nothing or no one that was going to stop me from pushing. It is an absolute crazy feeling. I think that we really caught the doctor and staff off guard. Things were just going so fast. I was calling for help, saying “help me, help me” because they were telling me to hold off on pushing because they were getting everything ready and I couldn’t hold off from pushing. It is just impossible.

* So, at 6:34 Trinity Rebekah El-Hakam was born weighing 8 lbs. 10.2 oz.; 20 ¾” long

I am so happy that I was able to experience labor in this way. It was something that I’d never been able to do before and something that I really wanted to do. God gave me strength and thankfully my body and the baby cooperated and it worked out. My mom and Moustapha were there with me throughout labor and were so supportive. I know it’s hard to know what to do when someone is going through labor. But, they were both so patient and kind to me. My mom was praying and Moustapha was the emotional support that I needed. Thank you, Momma. And thank you, Moustapha! You’re a wonderful dad. We are so blessed to have our sweet baby girl.