Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Birth of a Brother Part 2

Part 1 is here

I was terrified of riding in the car for the 20ish minutes to the birthing center while having the contractions and was thankful when I only had 2 during the drive. We managed to arrive about 15 minutes before the midwife and I was having a really hard time because I couldn't do the positions that helped while waiting for her. Once she arrived we were able to go straight in and after using the bathroom I laid down on the bed.

Once we got my antibiotics administered we settle into a bit of a rhythm. After an hour or so (around 10:30pm) Alli checked me and said that I was at a a 7 or 8! Right about this time I got a little bit of a break, I am not sure what the difference was but my mood lightened and I went back to talking and laughing between contractions. I also got into the tub shortly after being checked.

Just moments after birth!
While in the tub I felt what seemed like a kick in the pelvis (but he was head down) and I am pretty sure that that was my water breaking the rest of the way. Looking back, I think that that was what kicked my labor into high gear. I got out of the tub pretty quickly because of discomfort and back onto the bed. Contractions began to get close enough that I couldn't change positions without having one in the middle of moving!

After a little while I began to feel like I was going to throw up during the contractions and got shaky, I finally felt like I was in transition! I also began to feel like I couldn't do it, I couldn't make it. The contractions were so painful and intense. Carolynn stayed with me the whole time and kept encouraging me and reminding me that I could and that I was doing really well. She helped me to keep breathing and to use deep sounds to get through the contractions.
Those cord cutting scissors barely did the job, he had to hack at it!
Finally I felt a pushy contraction! When it happened during a second contraction Alli decided to check me again. I was fully dilated! She encouraged me to follow my body. During the next contraction I began to push for real and it felt like total chaos to me. I didn't feel like I had any control or input on how I reacted to the contraction. I was scared of the pain and of tearing again (I got a 2nd degree tear with Matthew) and I think that played a role in my feeling out of control. In that first pushing contraction I felt his head moving down the birth canal and as the contraction eased Alli told me that he would be born on the next one! I couldn't believe he had crowned already!

The break between contractions was weird for me, I didn't realize that I would get a break. It is kind of like when you are in a really hard winter and you forget that spring comes!

As the next contraction began Alli told me to push gently then pant so that he wouldn't come too fast. I tried but apparently ended up hyperventilating instead of panting! I felt like everyone was yelling at me and that I wasn't pushing hard but they didn't think so! Shortly into the contraction his head was born and even though I tried to stop pushing, his body followed right after. The sudden stop in pain is so amazing right at birth! He was born at 12:40 am on August 15, 2016.

So happy!
Right away Alli told me that he was there and to look (I seem to just relax and forget that the baby was just born) and there he was! He was gray and mostly still and I was confused for a moment before realizing that he was moving and trying to breath. He was put into my arms and Alli began vigorously rubbing his back with a towel and I remember thinking “why is she rubbing him like that? I don't mind the mess” before realizing that he hadn't cried yet! I began rubbing him too and he gave a good cry which made all of the rest of us cry! It felt so good to hear him crying! We began looking him over and bonding with him. His hair appeared dark at first but as it dried we realized that he was blond. I also shortly realized that there was meconium all over my hand and his back! He had pooped into my hand in those first few moments and I didn't realize it! We cleaned that up quickly and eventually we tried having him nurse. He latched on just fine (though a little shallow) but it hurt really bad.
First look at mommy
Once we had had time to bond Alli took him so that she could weigh him and do his newborn exam. He weighed in at 7 pounds 3 ounces and he was 21 inches long. He didn't appreciate his newborn exam and began to poop and poop and poop! Once she pronounced him a healthy newborn she helped Jon put a diaper on him then Jon brought him to me to put clothes on. It turned out that Jon guessed the closest birth time, weight, hair color and eye color (blue)!

Once he was clothed, swaddled and settled again we began to slowly prepare to go home. People began to pack things up and clean things up. Jon and I had put together little gifts for each of the people who came to the birth and we gave those out then.

We headed home about 3 hours after he was born and settled in to sleep.

A few days later (once we got to see him awake for more than a few seconds) we named him Asa Robert Langford.

(I can't help but keep adding more photos)

Got to love the hair :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Birth of a Brother Part 1

Before I start,  I wanted to apologize for the long wait. Our parenting journey since this little guy's birth has been a difficult one and I have put off and put off writing this because of lack of time. I hope you enjoy the reading and pardon the pictures being way ahead of the story, I don't have any photos from before the birth center!

On Sunday, August 14th, 2016 at around 11:00am my water broke. At only 2 days past my due date I was really excited to already be going into labor! Unlike in the movies though, my water breaking wasn't very dramatic, it only leaked instead of being a big gush. Jon and I had been outside cleaning and filling our little pool when I suddenly felt like I had had an accident but knew I hadn't! I told Jon very excitedly that my water had broken but he wasn't too optimistic and kept asking if I was sure (which I was, it felt just like my water breaking during Matthew's labor).

Our midwife
We had not attended church that morning because Jon's back had gone out again the night before and we knew that sitting in the pew at church would be too much for him. When my water broke we decided to wait until church was out to start texting and calling people (who doesn't hate it when their phone goes off in church?!) so we very impatiently waited for noon to come around! That morning I had realized that I was overdue for washing laundry so we immediately started making plans to take our laundry to my parents' house (we don't have a washer or dryer). As we drove to their house we were finally able to contact people and got many excited responses.

We started laundry once we got there and talked with our midwife on the phone. She asked all of the usual questions to double check that it was actually my water breaking, then we made a plan to meet at the birth center at 2:00 to start my antibiotics (I was positive for GBS). I felt my first few light contractions while driving to and at my parents' house.

My improved mood near the end
We decided to run home and get the rest of our birthing stuff (just in case) and headed to the birth center from there. When we got there Alli talked to us about the different kinds of antibiotics and we opted for one that would mean we could wait 8 more hours until we had to do it again. She also did a preliminary check and found that I was 3.5 - 4.5 cm dilated and my water was indeed broken (but the break seemed to be high). Once the IV was done she sent us home with instructions to call when contractions were around 5-6 minutes apart and 1 minute long and make sure I kept up on food and fluid.

At home we went back and forth between taking walks outside and playing a game while I sat and rotated on an exercise ball. As contractions began to pick up I quickly realized that sitting on the ball during contractions was not working so I sat in between contractions and stood during them. My mom arrived with our laundry a few hours later and stuck around so that she would be ready when it was time to go to the birth center. She took over recording contractions.

Contractions were intense!
After a little while contractions became 1 minute apart and 30 seconds long but very weak and I was super confused by it! I called my doula, Carolynn, and asked her advice. She said to start drinking a lot of Raspberry leaf tea and to take a shower. While I was in the shower they quickly became a lot stronger and felt like they were only a few minutes apart! I became concerned at the sudden change so I got out of the shower called her again and suggested that she should come soon. While we waited for her they slowed down a little so when she arrived we just hung around waiting for things to move along. My mom, Jon and Carolynn decided to guess when he would be born and what he would weigh, I chose not to guess (for my sanity).

After what felt like forever (but wasn't very long) the contractions became consistent at around 5 minutes apart and quite strong. Standing during contractions was no longer an option for me so I began to do hands and knees except with my upper body on the ball. I was having back pain during some of the contractions and this position helped with that and allowed my helpers (Jon and Carolynn) to put pressure where I needed it.

Around 8:00pm I asked for other suggestions for positioning because hands and knees wasn't cutting it anymore. Carolynn suggested laying on the bed in the exaggerated sims position. I stayed this way until we left around 9:20 to head to the birthing center. At this point was struggling to relax during contractions and came to realize that I was afraid of the pain and was afraid of a long labor (because of my labor with Matthew) and that was making it super difficult to not fight the pain. I finally began crying and told Jon and Carolynn what I was feeling. They encouraged me to embrace the pain and to look forward to each contraction (they are crazy! But I tried). I began to chant to myself “It's okay, pain is good, I can do this, pain is good” etc during contractions to keep my mind in the right place and it helped some.
He was so wonderful!

Part 2 here

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Matthew's little sibling

                                        It's a boy!!!!

We went to our 20 week ultrasound yesterday and everything looks great! Our little muchkin has been kicking around a lot lately (I am super grateful for that!) so I couldn't wait to see him on the screen.
Here is his profile picture.  He was a super huge stinker, always moving when she (the tech) needed him still and not moving when she needed him to move! It looks like we are going to have a very active youngster in our house come August :)

Here are his sweet feet. Being able to see the bottoms of both feet at the same time is a good sign of normal feet :) 

Here is what I looked like a few weeks ago :)

We also have some other news: Matthew's gravestone was placed on his grave last week! Here it is:
We wanted the whole 4 verses (they were the verses we chose for him) on his gravestone but couldn't afford to make the stone big enough to fit all of it so we picked our favorite (or the most meaningful to us) parts and put them there. The little monkey drawing is one I drew to look exactly like the one that is on the last blanket we held him in (other than the one he was buried in).
The monkey I designed it from
God has been good to us (as usual) and has held our hearts gently. We are through much of the grief, though there are times when I have things trigger memories and it all comes back. Going to the ultrasound yesterday reminded me of hearing the news for the first time from the midwife about Matthew's diagnosis the evening after his ultrasound. I also struggle with grief when reading stories about anyone's death or anyone's family member's death, it brings back the pain of losing someone so dear to me. God is getting us through though and we are continuing to heal.

We are truly grateful for the gift that God has given us in this second son. Someone I met in January shared that since losing their little girl (their first baby) with T-18 in June last year at 28 weeks (only 6 months before I met her) she had had 2 more miscarriages. I can't imagine going through that. I have also heard of others who have had secondary infertility after losing a baby. We know that we are very blessed to have been able to conceive again and to continue to carry our little one. Thank you all for your prayers and support, it has meant a lot to us.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Life after Loss

It has now been almost 3 months since Matthew was born.

My journey through healing after his birth felt like a long one (I don't have anything to compare it to!), almost 2 weeks spent in bed with a week or two more before I felt like I could cook and care for the house by myself decently. My energy level took a long time to come up enough to do all of our normal activities.

In addition to our recovery from the birth we had to deal with grief and incredibly empty arms. I still greatly long to hold a newborn in my arms (anyone's newborn), so that I can feel that again but it looks like I will have to wait for my nephew to be born in April. That first week was so hard! I struggled with missing feeling Matthew moving inside of me, realizing that I was alone in my body again. Wanting to hold him and see him near me, but knowing that it could never happen was awful. As the weeks went by those feelings began to ease.

God has continued to be faithful to us, providing friends and family that cared for us and having people who had gone through similar things to talk to.

We were able to go see Matthew one last time the Friday after he was born so that we could place him in his casket. It was almost as hard as giving him up the first time. To see him, our first child who we love so much, for the last time.

A week and a half after his birth we buried him in a cemetery near us. This cemetery has a section called "Baby Land" where people can bury their infants and children. Matthew's grave is just one diagonal from the grave of my sister, Johanna, who my parents lost at 19 weeks when I was 1 1/2 years old. It was hard to watch my husband and dad place Matthew's casket in the grave. After the short ceremony we had a reception at Jon's parent house. It was a sweet time of seeing family together.

A Christmas ornament with some of Matthew's items
As these months have passed I am truly grateful that what I believe to be the worst of the grief has passed. Thinking about him and all that happened is still hard and I still cry about it, but it isn't nearly as often. Knowing that all of Matthew's life had a purpose and that God chose for his life to be that long/short helps me to be able to give him up. I do not feel bitter or angry at God and, though I miss him, I have peace knowing that he fulfilled the purpose God had for him.

Jon and I both wanted to have another little one as soon as God would allow. We prayed and hoped that it wouldn't be too long. God has answered our prayer and we are expecting again! I am due on August 14th, 2016. God blessed us with another little one only 6 weeks after losing Matthew.

I am only 7 1/2 weeks along, and though I am not afraid of the same diagnosis (it isn't very likely), I still have fears of something or anything happening to this baby. Please be praying that this pregnancy will go smoothly and that God would protect "ducky" as we call him or her (a character in the Land Before Time movies :) ) from danger. Please also pray that I would not be afraid or fall into worry.

We are praising God for this gift and can't wait to share him/her with the world! We will never forget Matthew but we are grateful that we will have other little ones to love on as we wanted to do with him.
5 weeks along, I still have left over pudge from Matthew :)

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Matthew's Birth - Part 4

If you haven't read the first parts click here to start at the beginning.

Jon and I began crying with joy and sadness. He was so sweet and small. We began looking him over and getting to know him visually. He had such ruby red lips and his eyes were open. He had lots of long dark hair (at least ½ an inch long!). The skin on the back of his right hand was broken from being born next to his head and it was indeed clenched. I looked for his feet and they were up by his chest, he was sitting like he had been while breech. His left foot was turned (clubbed) and small. He had his daddy's nose. His ears were small and low set. His mouth was open some of the time and we were able to see his little tongue and it looks like his palate was high but whole. His skin/body were blue. His second and third toes were longer than his big toes! I later realized that his right foot looked like my feet, long and narrow.

His skin was so fragile we decided to swaddle him before I handed him off to Jon. We took one the blankets we brought and I wrapped him up to hand him to his daddy. What a moment that was. He loves our little boy so much! Many tears were shed in those moments. Because of his skin we chose an outfit that could completely open up so that we wouldn't have to put his arms through the sleeves. We got him weighed (he was 3 lbs 15 oz) then he got handed back to me so I could snap up his outfit. We had a super soft and fluffy white blanket that we placed him in.

As all of this was happening they repaired the tears that I had gotten (his arm had been a problem) and cleaned me up. I was so unaware of what they were doing at first they were able to do a urine catheter without me noticing and they were amazed at how much I had in there! I know, TMI :) I had a normal amount of blood loss and everything seemed fine.

Soon the repair was done and all of the hospital staff left the room. We asked for a moment alone to cry. After a while I realized that my mom hadn't held him yet so we called her back in. Jon's parents had been called to let them know they could come previously since they had to drive from their hotel. They arrived a little later.

After family had gotten to hold him we had the nurse take Matthew over to a bed so that she could do his foot prints in ink and so that we could sleep. We slept for about an hour. I have never been so tired. It was hard to open my eyes when waking up. At some point we asked my mom to call the funeral home to come pick him up later. They told us they would be there between 11:00am and 12:00pm (that gave us several hours more with him). My dad had to drive all the way from home so he came around 9:00am and was able to see and hold him. At this point everyone headed home and we were left alone.

After a while I told Jon I was ready to hold him again so he brought him to me. It was then that our grief hit. So much pain and loss, so intense. It is inexplicable. I couldn't even give my husband a hug when he was grieving because I was stuck in the bed, but he came to me and cuddled with me and our son. It was a perfect moment, me curled on my side with Matthew in my arms and Jon curled behind me. How sweet to be a whole family for a moment. We knew we didn't have much time left with him. By now I truly loved him and didn't want to give him up. It felt so good to have him in my arms, I didn't want to say goodbye.

We called in a nurse and told her that we were ready for his memory box to be made with a bit of his hair and a foot print in clay. She graciously and beautifully made it for us. She wrapped him up better with a flannel blanket outside of the white blanket so that when we handed him off we could keep the flannel blanket for his memory. He will be buried in that outfit and blanket.

When the guy from the funeral home came he was super understanding and nice and told us a little about losing his little girl before birth. After we made some decisions the nurse asked if we wanted one last moment alone with him. We told her that we did. How hard it is to say goodbye! To know that you may never see that sweet face again this side of heaven. To give away that sweet boy only a few hours after his birth. I have never done anything so hard as letting him go. When we were ready the nurse gave us the flannel blanket and sweetly and carefully carried him out of the room. That blanket became him for me. We wept more.

After a time I felt tired again but Jon wasn't so he went to the waiting room while I attempted a nap. We had decided to leave around 4:00. I only got about a 30 minute nap but we did leave around that time after attempting to leave earlier to avoid traffic. We had a safe and uneventful ride home and arrived to a house that had been made spotless by my mom, sister-in-law and a friend. The hardest day of our lives was over and we headed to bed to sleep for a long time.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Matthew's Birth - Part 3

If you haven't read the previous parts click here for part 1.
Attempting to finish the blanket
between contractions (earlier in the day)

We knew that we needed to keep labor going but I was too weak to actively work at it and was mentally and emotionally drained so much that I could only cry at the thought of starting pitocin (which would make the contractions strong and close together). At this point they began suggesting an epidural. I did not want an epidural, not because I think it is wrong, but I so wanted to go without drugs and I was afraid of the potential side effects and the possibility of not being fully mentally there at the birth (because of the drugs). As they talked with me, my mom, Carolynn, the and the nurse encouraged me to consider it because we needed to start the pitocin but they told me that I was the one who had to choose. Jon told me that it had to be my decision and that he would support me no matter what I chose. I decided to have the doctor check me and that if I was close we would try without but that if I wasn't we would do the epidural. I was so drained I couldn't even cope with the pain of being checked and that sealed my decision to get the epidural since I was only 5cm or so. I wanted the epidural started before the pitocin.

Jon was right there with me through the epidural placement
The doctor ordered the epidural and they were ready surprisingly quickly. The anesthesia team were very kind and understanding. They were very gentle and told me to let them know if I felt any pain. I did end up getting extra local anesthetic because I could feel their pokes. Even with the epidural the contractions were still painful but easily handled and I could actually feel most of my legs (especially the left one). I was really happy about that because I really didn't want total lack of feeling and hoped that when it came time to push I would be able to feel it. Once the epidural was in place they started pitocin and we all prepared for bed so that we could get some rest before the end. It was about 10:30pm when we began sleeping.

The layette I knitted for him
(The blanket matches the pattern)
I woke up around 1:00 or so and the nurse explained that they would need to do a urine catheter soon. I asked for the chance to try to go without it so she ordered a portable “commode”. I was also beginning to feel the contractions quite painfully in my left hip so I tried switching sides and getting extra epidural medicine. She said to try pushing the button as many times as I needed it and that after three times if it wasn't enough we could call in the anesthesiologists to give me more. After three times it wasn't enough so we did alert them. Somewhere during those three button pushes I felt like I was having some pressure during contractions (possible baby pressure) so we called in the doctors to check me. At 2:00am they checked me and said I was still 5cm, not quite 6cm. How depressing! I didn't worry about it too much though because my mom has a history of going quite suddenly from 6cm to 10cm! We decided to place a peanut ball between my legs to encourage things along and to up the pitocin dose some more and everyone went back to sleep. Around 2:45 I suddenly began to feel intense pressure, my contractions became super close and I began essentially hyperventilating so my mom called in the nurse right away and I told her I felt like he was coming! She called in the doctor and the doctor found that I was fully dilated!

Mom knitting a hat for him earlier
They sweetly told me (which I really appreciate) that I could let the uterus do some of the work of pushing him for now or I could go ahead and push with the contractions. I wanted to push. At this point the urge to push wasn't crazy but his pressure was enough to make me want to push. I felt so much more control while pushing. I had no idea what to do though! I had read books but couldn't really remember what to do. Wonderfully, someone gave me a tip each contraction until I felt like I was doing it right. Some of them were “hold your breath while pushing”, “pull your legs back”, “tuck your chin and pull in your belly button”, etc. I am amazed at how clearly I heard each person that talked even though I was so focused! Jon was right by my left hand and was a wonderful cheerleader!

The first moment I held him
As the pushing urge increased and Matthew moved down the canal it became evident that his hand was up by his head. His hand was actually born first and in between two contractions I was able to reach down and feel it. I began feeling constant pressure and it became quite painful due to his hand down there (I felt very specific and intense burning where his hand was). They encouraged me to rest between pushes (that was super hard) and Jon had to remind me and demonstrate for me to breath deeply because it hurt so bad I was breathing super fast. It was only because of his help that I was able to even attempt to breath deeply through the pain. The second to last contraction before he was born I was almost able to get him out, I could feel it! But not quite. The next contraction I was able to push enough to get his head out and his body slid right out too. The relief in that moment was inexplicable. A moment later they told me “he's right there” and that brought me to the reality that I had just birthed a baby! I looked down and there was his head on my belly! They quickly began unwinding his cord (it was wrapped around his neck a total of 3 times) and I brought him to my chest. I didn't know what to do, he was lying so still.

(to be continued.....)

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Matthew's Birth - Part 2

If you haven't read the first part, click here

One last belly shot
By 2 hours after the first dose I was contracting (painlessly, but I could feel it) every 2-3 minutes so they said that they couldn't give me another dose yet and we would wait to see what happened before going to the next step. It continued that way for the next 2 hours (during this time the contractions became a little painful). At the end of the 2 hours the doctors came in and said it was time to make a decision on what to do next. They gave me the option of something called a cook catheter which would essentially be two balloons that were inflated on either side of my cervix to put pressure on it similar to the baby's head or something else that I can no longer recall the name of that would be something like a tampon with a medication on it to introduce an artificial hormone similar to what my body would normally produce to start labor. I decided to go with the cook catheter.

Since it was 3:30am and Jon was sleeping well, I decided to let him keep sleeping while they placed the catheter (he is a hard sleeper and had no idea what was going on). I was informed that they normally give pain killers for this procedure but since I wanted a non medicated labor and delivery they asked if I wanted to have it now, wait and see, or not take it at all. I opted for the wait and see method. It was very uncomfortable (it felt like menstrual cramps a lot of the time) but not too bad so I ended up not receiving the pain meds. They said that I handled it better than a lot of people who have the pain meds and were amazed that I was able to go to the full inflation of 80mls internally and externally (inside the uterus and in the vagina) right away instead of starting with less and increasing as we went. The doctor told me that they would now essentially leave us alone until the 12 hour limit for having it in unless the catheter fell out (which would mean I was dilated).

After they left I got up to get a few things and go to the bathroom and the cramping got a whole lot worse. I woke Jon up to help me deal with it and he couldn't believe that I had let him sleep through that! We tried laying down but pretty quickly I was on the verge of tears and feeling like I couldn't handle the contractions. I remembered reading that when that happens we needed to change what we were doing and find something to help me deal with it. I texted my mom and the doula, Carolynn, (the photographer, Renee, was with her so she came too) and let them know that I was ready for them to come. We got up and began using a birthing ball we had found/asked for and tried rocking and swaying a couple of different ways. We were able to find something that worked for me and my mom arrived shortly. The doula and photographer were delayed a while. After a while we decided to walk the halls (it must have been around 5:00am or so) and as we did that my water broke! It wasn't a gush, just a trickle but, EEWWWW! It had some blood in it so we were pretty sure it wasn't the catheter leaking. As we walked back to the room to clean up I had some more leaking and the nurses and their station down the hall guessed what had happened by my “EEWW!” as I came around the corner :)

Getting ready to go walking
The continued leaking/gushing was grossing me out and I didn't want to keep walking as I leaked so I stood and rocked over a waterproof pad for a while then decided to try the tub so I wouldn't notice and to relieve my backache (the backache stayed with me most of the whole labor). It worked wonders on my back but also slowed the contractions. Carolynn and Renee arrived while we were in the tub so they came in and said hi and Carolynn chatted for a bit to see what had happened so far and how I was doing. After that we were left alone for a while and we had the lights turned off so I could rest my eyes. I didn't want to slow the labor too much so we didn't stay in the bath too long.

The next few hours were a bit of a blur, we did a lot of different coping methods, I got a 1 hour nap, I kept contracting and we waited for progress. Around 2:30pm I decided to try the bath and rest in there for a bit so my mom, Carolynn and Renee decided to go do other things (mom and Renee went for food and Carolynn needed to nurse her son who was being cared for by a grandparent). In the bath it relieved my backache and the contractions were spacing out but after a little bit the contractions became extremely painful and super close together. I couldn't handle it so we got out of the tub. The contractions felt like they were right after each other and were so bad I began crying during them uncontrollably. Since it was so close to the 12 hour mark for the catheter and it almost seemed like I was hitting transition we had the doctors come to check me. They started by pulling on the catheter to see if it would come out. It did, but it hurt a bit. They checked me and said I was a generous 3cm, but not quite 4cm. They told us that they would wait an hour or so to give me a break before starting pitocin. I said that I would like to take nap during that time so we planned to start pitocin around 5:15 to give me a 1/ ½ hour nap (that is usually how long I sleep when left alone for a nap). Everyone left me alone to sleep and I slept for about an hour in spite of the contractions still being a bit painful.

Fever time
When I woke up (around 5:00pm) I decided to see if the contractions would pick up more if I was more active so we started walking the halls. The nurse told us that all of the doctors were busy at another birth and they could come see us about the pitocin when they were done with that. My contractions picked up speed and stayed about 2-3 minutes apart and mildly increased in intensity over the next 3-4 hours but I also developed a fever from infection. I began to lose strength and emotional stability and began crying almost uncontrollably and the contractions became stronger. I believe the strain of the fever on my body combined with the emotional nature of the situation led to my emotional break down which made it so that I couldn't handle the pain of the contractions, which made me more emotional, etc. Most of the labor I had been genuinely upbeat and normal (we had processed our initial grief before coming to the hospital) but I could no longer handle the strain at this point. I also was becoming too weak to stand/rock/kneel etc so I decided to try laying down even though up to that point it had prevented me from coping with the contractions. I had almost immediate relief due to not having to hold myself up and I had gotten to the point where I felt super cold (from the fever) so laying down enabled me to be kept warm in blankets. Around the time I laid down they started IV antibiotics and had me take Tylenol to keep the fever down (I had reached around 103 F). For a while the contractions stayed about 2-3 minutes apart but as time passed the became weaker and farther apart until around 9:30pm they were 5 minutes apart and not very strong (I didn't have to do anything to cope). I also became less able to handle pain.