Lillianna Olivia Culver
7lbs, 14.5 ounces
19 1/2 inches
Lillianna's birth was exactly the kind of birth that I was hoping for - but when it happened I was not quite ready for it! Lillianna was my and my husband Scott's third baby girl born at Morning Star. Scott has two children from a previous marriage that were born in a hospital via c-section. Having experienced both the hospital births and the births at Morning Star, he assures me that Morning Star is the way to go!
We own and operate a large dairy farm with Scott's family, so when we found out we were expecting a spring baby we were hoping it would come between planting and our first crop of hay. By our calculations our due date was around May 20th, but a couple of ultrasounds put the due date at May 27th. With my past history of going overdue, we went with that for our due date. Spring planting came and went and we had a couple of weeks before we were going to be very busy with haying, and I was ready to have this baby! We have Scott's two children Kaitlyn & Christopher with us every other week and we all really wanted them to be there when the baby was born. We also had a family wedding in Ohio that a bunch of my family was going to, Scott's dad had surgery, and my sister was going to New York for a month, so we knew the chances of everyone being there were slim.
At my check-up on May 19th Shayna checked and I was dilated to 2cm and 80% effaced. Hurray! On May 21st, a Saturday, I started having some contractions. I had had a few contractions, twinges, cramps and backaches for a week or so, but these were the first ones that came in a regular pattern. They weren't very strong, but I definitely noticed them. That night we had a big family get-together and my also very pregnant sister-in-law and I were comparing notes. She was also having mild contractions; maybe we would have our babies on the same day!
That night I had some contractions, but I was able to sleep. The next day, Sunday, we got up and got all the kids ready for church. Contractions had started again and by the time we were leaving for church, they were strong enough that I didn't feel like I should go. I convinced Scott to take the kids anyway, relishing the idea of an hour or two of peace and quiet to prepare myself for labor. I was trying not to get too excited though, because I have a history of very long, drawn out contractions and false runs to the birth center before the baby actually comes. I cleaned the house, definitely having to stop and breathe during contractions, which were coming 5-10 minutes apart and were getting stronger.
The family got home, we went for some walks, and I took some herbs, hoping to keep things moving along. Around 8pm the contractions were picking up the pace so Scott called Paula and Shayna to give them the heads up that it might be tonight. We were getting excited: this could really be it! All of a sudden around 11pm all contractions stopped. Feeling discouraged that all that work and pain all day seemed to be for nothing, I went to bed. I did not have so much as a twinge for the next two weeks. At first I didn't mind, with four kids under the age of eight to take care of, a busy farm, parents and sister gone, Kaitlyn and Christopher headed back to their mom's for a week, the garden to finish planting, and a million projects to finish, I thought "this is ok, we can wait a little longer..."
My sister-in-law was having the same lack of labor, so we made plans to get together as soon as one of us had her baby, with the hope of hormones kicking in and starting the other one's labor The week passed quickly. At my check-up on the 26th Shayna checked again: dilated to 3! At least those contractions did something. She did a membrane swipe and said "hope to see you soon!" The next day I had some mucous, but nothing else. Tried some more herbs. Nothing. Must not be ready yet! By the next week the kids were back, my family was all back, Scott's dad was home from surgery, it was HOT, I was very uncomfortable, and ready to have this baby! I went to the chiropractor and told him I wanted the "starts labor fast" special. Nothing. Tried herbs again. Nothing. Scott wouldn't let me go anywhere alone, convinced that when my labor started again it would go very fast. I had cabin fever and thought he was being ridiculous as I was equally convinced that this baby was never going to come out!
On Tuesday May 31st my mom and I went shopping. While buying more herbs to try I called my sister-in-law to see if she wanted me to get any for her. She said she might not need them, she was having contractions again! She and my brother had a beautiful baby girl at their home that night. All of my hugging and kissing and sniffing of her the next day did absolutely nothing to start my labor though! On Friday June 3rd I had another appointment with Shayna. She again striped my membranes and suggested trying nipple stimulation with a double breast pump and possibly doing some acupuncture if nothing happened after the membrane swipe. I had a few mild contractions that evening, but nothing significant or consistent, even with trying the pump. I was sitting watching t.v., feeling discouraged, and saw a show about Indian food. I had instant, intense cravings! The kids were all in bed so I convinced my reluctant husband that we had to get a babysitter and go to Eau Claire for some Indian food. He loaded everything into the truck "just in case", mumbling that I was crazy and off we went. We had a fun date, but no more contractions. On to Saturday.
With a busy couple of weeks of haying beginning Monday and Kaitlyn and Christopher's week with us almost over, I really wanted to have the baby. Scott called Paula and got the go ahead to try the castor oil—which is what had finally gotten my labor going with our last daughter. I drank it and started experiencing its effects soon after J After spending the morning in the bathroom, by lunchtime I was feeling great-having mild, irregular contractions. I was very hungry and cooked and ate a big lunch with the family. We tucked all the kids in for naps and I hooked on the breast pump, determined to get my contractions going in a regular pattern. My contractions started getting harder and longer, 5-10 minutes apart and lasting about a minute. I had had that before though, so I wasn't getting too excited. I did 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off with the breast pump three times, and by the last round I was getting harder contractions. I was sitting on the couch and when I finished the last round I was suddenly VERY tired. I told Scott I wanted to sleep for 10 minutes and then he should wake me up so I could go for a walk. That would hopefully keep things going this time. I laid down on the couch and when he woke me up, while I started to sit up, I felt a pop and a sucking sensation inside followed by a very long, very hard contraction. Poor Scott didn't know what was going on, I went from half asleep to yelling that I thought I was having the baby right here and now! After the contraction finally ended, I sat up and felt water leak out, enough to get my shorts wet. I started shaking uncontrollably and felt like I had to go to the bathroom. Scott said "we have to leave now!" and called out to his cousin in the yard to come in and watch the kids till the babysitter could get there. I said I wasn't going anywhere, that I was going to have the baby right there in the kitchen. He said "the heck you are!" and called Paula and Shayna to say we were on our way. Paula asked some questions and said "hurry!" We yelled up the stairs to Kaitlyn (8) that if she wanted to see the baby being born she better wake up fast. She was so excited she could barely get dressed. Ten minutes from when I had that awful contraction on the couch we were out the door, I realized later that I didn't even put any shoes on! Thank God that everything we needed was already in the vehicle from our Indian food run the night before. :-)
I was having contractions closer and closer together and they were getting stronger. Scott was calling his mom, my mom, and my sister, telling them that if they wanted to be at the birth they better hurry and get down there. Then he just focused on driving as I was urging him to go faster, FASTER!! It was the longest 35 minute ride of my life. It felt like we were crawling along, but Scott claims we were going quite fast. I just kept trying to relax; Scott kept telling me to breathe. He and Kaitlyn were so excited and I was so happy that Kaitlyn was with us. I remember looking at the clock when a contraction would start and they were about 2-3 minutes apart by the time we got to Menomonie. All I could think about was that tub and how good the water would feel!
When we finally got there it was so wonderful to see Paula and Shayna. They checked me and I was dialated to 7! I got in the tub and the contractions kept coming stronger and stronger. I felt very overwhelmed because it was happening so fast. I remember saying "I can't do this" and Scott telling me, "yes, you can, you're almost done". I didn't believe him-- I thought "this hard part just started an hour ago, I can't be almost done". In between contractions I was telling my mom and Scott's mom and my sister what had happened. I was so glad they all made it there in time for the birth. They were all very encouraging. It was a very hot day and I guess everyone was feeling very hot, but it felt just right to me.
I was feeling very overwhelmed by the contractions and as each one would come I would tell myself to relax and let my body work. Scott was right next to me, telling me I was almost there and reminding me to breathe and not tense up. Dropping my shoulders and smiling instead of tensing up my face seemed to help. I told Paula and Shayna that I could feel the baby moving down and it felt like I had to use the bathroom. Paula sat calmly on her stool and said "that's good-you will be pushing soon". What? Pushing soon? We just got here! I just could not believe them that I was already at that point, I felt like I had just started the hard labor. When I felt the baby's head come down I finally believed them and realized I would really have the baby soon! Paula said "there will be a big stretch now" as I felt the head. There was, and it hurt, but I was so excited I could really push and meet our baby soon! I pushed the baby's head out and Paula and Shayna told me to push again but I couldn't feel where to push. It was a very weird feeling. I would try to push and couldn't feel anything. They told me to lean back in the tub and they helped deliver the shoulders. They told me to open my eyes and look, but it hurt so bad I couldn't. One more big push and she came out! 4:20 p.m. I think it was around 2 p.m. when my water broke. They handed her to me and I was able to sit in the water and hold her right away. Everyone was so excited, especially Kaitlyn. After awhile, they cut the cord and Scott and Kaitlyn got to hold Lilli while I waited for the placenta to deliver. It took longer than with my other two. I got out of the tub and went over to the bed for awhile, and then it came out. They checked out Lillianna right on the bed and everyone held her. The mom's left and took Kaitlyn. Scott went over to Culver's and got me a yummy salad. I was hungry! Then I just held Lillianna and looked at her and nursed her. I was so happy she was finally in my arms. She was very cute! Shayna kept checking on us once in awhile and we rested. I took an herbal bath, I loved that! Around 8:30pm we packed up and headed home. It was hot and sticky out and the sun was setting so everything was hazy and pink and beautiful and I kept saying to Scott "I'm so happy, so glad she's here, I can't believe it!" We stopped in at Scott's parents on the way home and all the kids got to see Lillianna. They were all so excited. When we got home I crawled into my own bed and snuggled with my baby. My brother and sister in law stopped by with their baby (3 days old) and we took pictures of them together. I am sure they will grow up to be great friends.
Lillianna is now 10 months old, a very happy, easy baby! I am so glad that I was able to have her at Morning Star in such a relaxed and safe environment. I will treasure those first moments with all my kids there. :-)