Isla Erdene Harney
Isla (pronounced Eye-La) Erdene (a family middle name that she shares with me, my mom and my grandmother).
A little birth story, for those interested. I still love reading birth stories, they are just so powerful and moving! Her birth was completely different than her brothers. The only similarities were the hospital and my dream team of Bryan and my doula, Courtney.
Baby sister was late. At my 41 week appointment my doctor sent me in for a Non Stress Test and fluid check, just to make sure the baby was still doing good. I passed the fluid check with flying colors. I walked into the Non Stress Test knowing that if they didn’t like what they saw/heard, they could induce me that day. Since I wanted another drug free birth, this was not something I wanted to happen. If the baby wasn’t stressed, I sure was! I sat there for 45 minutes or so, with a big belt on my stomach to track her heartbeat. They wanted to make sure that her heart rate did not fall during contractions. Of course during my first contraction the belt moved and they lost the heart beat completely. Ha! A blank section on a heartbeat track sheet is not a good thing when you are trying to convince the doctor to let you stay pregnant. The nurse mentioned not letting me leave if the doctor didn’t like what he saw on the chart (she was only half joking) but luckily came back and gave me the okay to go. This was on a Tuesday, at exactly 41 weeks. I was instructed to come back Friday morning for a repeat of both tests. The thought of being medically induced had me calling Courtney to see what she recommended.
Since Declan’s birth Courtney had become a certified midwife (yay Courtney!!) so she offered to help naturally speed things along with hopes that baby girl would come on her own, but before Friday! She recommended I come to her office for a back alignment with a chiropractor who specializes in that sort of thing, along with swiping my membranes. I was already 2-3 cm dilated and about 75% effaced so my body had already started things a bit. According to Courtney, this combination of methods had a very good track record with starting labor, and that I should be in labor within 24 hours. Which was good because that’s about how long I had before the next round of tests.
By 7:00 pm we knew that I was really in labor, by 10:00 Courtney had arrived, coffee in hand and by 10:45 we were saying goodbye to my mom, who was spending the night with Declan who would have quite the surprise when he woke up.
We arrived at the hospital and got situated. I handed my birth plan to the two nurses working with me and they each stopped for a minute to read it and ask me any questions they had. They checked me and I was at 6 cm (same as with Declan) and by the time I got to my room It was past midnight, June 7th.
The contractions continued to get more intense, but this time around I wasn’t afraid of them. With Declan, I didn’t know how bad they would get, how I would handle them or if I could actually do it without drugs. This time I knew. I knew it was going to hurt like nothing else. Nothing. Else. But I also knew I could do it, and that I was in a safe environment where if something went wrong I had a skilled team right there waiting. Not being afraid is what made the active labor part of this birthing so much different. Instead of just trying to get through each contraction I spent the time moaning, keeping my voice low and picturing myself opening up, baby girl getting lower and closer to coming out. I have to say, this really helped me handle them better. Focusing on the end result and what my body was doing with each contraction, that was the key. I was laughing and talking between the rushes and having a good old time. And then I had to push.
I was at 8 cm and felt like I needed to push. This is where the fear creeped in. With Declan I pushed too early, I did the ‘instructed’ pushing where everyone is counting to 10 and I am holding my legs, and after he finally came out I had to get a few stitches. No fun. I was afraid of tearing again. I was afraid of that recovery and all that comes with having to get stitches in such a should-always-be-stitch-free area. and so my body stopped. The doctor was in the room, the instrument table had been set up, I was laying on the bed, and it just stopped. I didn’t have a contraction, I didn’t need to push, I just wanted to be done right then and there.
They asked if I wanted to get on my hands and knees on the bed. Sure. Not sure. Want to try your back? Sure. Nothing. How about your side? Way too many options here people!!! I got on my side and my body took over. Holy cow did it take over. Really painful contractions, screaming, grabbing for Courtney and Bryan’s hands, crying. Not pretty. All of a sudden my body pushed. I didn’t do it, my body did. I am in awe over the amazing body God made me, made women, and how it was made to do this. To grow babies and push babies out and feed babies.
With three pushes she was out. No tear. My little Isla. Born at 2:45 am on Friday, June 7th. 7 pounds, 15 ounces with head full of dark hair.
We are all in love. Especially big brother!