Micah’s Birth Story

Introducing Micah Blake

Born November 4, 2011.  Weighing 6 lbs, 13 oz. 19 Inches tall.

Sweet Baby Boy

We are delighted and proud to introduce you to our first son, Micah Blake Cooper.  He was born November 4, 2011 and weighed 6 pounds, 13.4 ounces.  He was 19 inches tall.  God opened the heavens to shine on us.

Labor and Birth Story

The following is a narrative told in three voices: Myself, my husband, and our doula.  We hope you enjoy reading our labor and delivery story!

The Fisher King.

Nov. 2nd (Wed), I went for my 39 week check-up after telling my Mom I felt like Micah would not be an early-bird baby.

That evening, my husband and I were watching ‘The Fisher King’ together – it’s a Jeff  Bridges and Robin Williams comedic drama.

To my surprise, laying in bed at 10:30pm, I felt a slightly painful pop and then jumped out of bed.  My water broke! – Robyn, Mom

We couldn’t tell if the liquid was amniotic or not, so we kept watching ‘The Fisher King’. – Ian, Dad

Our doula, Teresa Howard suggested it could be a fore bag of waters, go to bed, and call her in the morning. – Robyn, Mom

It seems that Robyn may have had her membranes release at 10:30 pm on Wed., 11/02/11. – Teresa, Doula

By 11:20pm I was sure my water had broken, so I called my mom, AKA Grandma Boom Boom, to tell her.  We texted Ian’s mom, AKA Grandmaski, as well to tell her.  Grandmaski said she had a psychic feeling it might be today that Micah would be born.

By 2am on Nov. 3rd (Thurs.), contractions were 3 to 5 minutes apart.  I started feeling shaky sometimes, so I called Teresa at 3:30am to talk to her and get her advice. – Robyn, Mom

 

I need a bath, for crying out loud!

At 5am we went to my mother’s house with our dogs.  We still don’t have a bathroom at our home (long story…), and I really wanted to be in a warm tub.  The bath felt good and I tried to relax.

At 9:15am, I spoke with Teresa, and she suggested I find out which midwife was on call that day.  My midwife, Janet, was doing continuing education classes that day, so Kim from another practice would be there for me.  I had never met Kim before.

I ate normal food all day in-between the contractions, but made no attempt to be healthy about it :) .  Breakfast consisted on vanilla wafers and watered down juice.  – Robyn, Mom

Failure to progress and a day of working out.

At 10:30am we went on a walk – I was trying to speed the contractions up because they were hovering between 5 to 7 minutes apart.  I made another call to Teresa to find out how else we could speed labor along. – Robyn, Mom

We moved from birth-ball, to cat-cows, to stair-lunges, to pumping to stimulate more frequent contractions. – Ian, Dad

The fastest contractions would get was 5-7 minutes apart.  Not good enough.  At 3pm I snacked on cheese nips, and then asked mom for frozen pizza for lunch and ate the entire serving.  Healthy, huh? I took a 15 minute nap between contractions which had really slowed down in frequency.

 At 4:15pm it was time to work to get labor going again, so I tried the birth ball and lunges.  While things sped up, they were not fast enough to warrant going to the hospital yet. – Robyn, Mom

I remember feeling relieved when contractions would speed up because that was what was supposed to be happening, but I also felt relieved when contractions would slow down because the idea of bring Micah into the world was scary. – Ian, Dad

She labored irregularly during the day but without any real strong contractions.

We talked on and off all day about her options. She shared that less intervention was more important than a water birth. Having had her membranes ruptured for over 24 hours would negate the water birth option.

Options of coming in and getting Cytotec were given. Considering Pitocin was an option. Taking Caulophyllum was an option. She decided on the homeopathic option.

– Teresa, Doula

I had to go to “Nuts N Berries” health food store near Oglethorpe University to get the homeopathic Blue Cohosh- Caulophyllum. (a recommendation Teresa shared that the midwife had told Teresa to share that she could try)  It was raining and 6 PM on a Thursday night, so traffic was killer.  Also, though I realized later I knew where the store was, the map app on the iPhone took me to the wrong location. – Ian, Dad

 Boredom and exploring our options.

By 5pm I complained I was bored and tired, and things were not progressing further.

At 6pm, for dinner, I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and some potato chips.  Ian got back at 7pm with the caulophyllum and I had a dose.  We waited.  No more action.  Bummer. – Robyn, Mom

A change of plans.

Teresa had been in touch with my midwife, Janet, and by 7:40pm I also talked with Janet to learn my options from her.  If your water breaks, the chances of getting a fever increases after 24 hours.  If the baby were to be born with a fever, he would have to stay in the hospital for 48 hours for observation.  Since a healthy baby is more important than a drug-free labor, we called Teresa at 8pm and asked her to meet us at the hospital.  We left for the hospital, and my mom followed us in her car. – Robyn, Mom

She also decided to head to the hospital and arrived there at 9pm on 11/3.  I arrived at 9:45 pm.  An IV was placed at 10pm after a couple of attempts. – Teresa, Doula

 6 centimeters never meant so much.

We felt like we waited for Kim for a long time.  Unlike earlier, I didn’t try to exercise to speed up labor, because the movement wasn’t helping; it was just making me tired.  Instead, I rested.  The nurses did a 20 minute panel of the baby’s heart rate and my contractions which were slowing down again.

My mom, Teresa and I enjoyed nice conversation.  I didn’t want a lot of people checking me for dilation because I wanted as few possibilities for infection as possible.  In fact, I had not one exam to tell me how dilated I was up to now which is rare among practices sometimes. – Robyn, Mom

Kim, the substitute midwife was in at 11:30 pm. – Teresa, Doula

When Kim arrived, she introduced herself as Janet’s backup midwife.  We had two surprises from that check up – read on…  – Robyn, Mom

Kim told Robyn she would only have to do this one exam. The exam showed Robyn was dilated to 6 cm and was effaced 100%, with the baby at -1 station.

She also said she feels a bag of fluid. So either what was broken earlier was a fore bag or it was not her water that broke earlier.

So Kim broke her water stating that in doing so she thought the irregular contractions would pick up to a steady pattern and Robyn would be birthing sooner.  Robyn agreed. – Teresa, Doula

After all, the work at home was worthwhile!  While Kim was very excited about how far along I was already.  I said to ‘my labor party’ with a tired voice, ‘I should be happier about it, and I am, but I’m tired.’

The average first time birth is 19 hours total.  In effect, it took me almost 24 hours to get to six centimeters dilated.  When I recalled that to Teresa (who is the one who taught us our child birth class among other things), she said ‘Now Robyn, since when do you do anything average?’  I smiled and mom chuckled.  It’s a very Teresa kind of answer.

 Rock and roll.

Then it was game time.  I was up again on the birth ball, walking, and getting moving again.  It didn’t take long for contractions to get closer together again, but this time they also got stronger and it was harder to focus on anything but breathing through them. I had encouraged Ian to take a nap.  The poor guy had been up since 10:30pm November 2nd, and like a champion, helped me with the contractions and timing them alongside me.  Now, more than 24 hours later, I think he was feeling more tired than I was.  At least I had adrenaline and endorphins on my side. – Robyn, Mom

I tried to sleep on one of the most uncomfortable beds I’ve ever seen. -Ian, Dad

Robyn and I went out for a second walk – she had walked earlier with Ian and her mom. It was now 1:15 am. – Teresa, Doula

As we passed the nurses station on the way back, Teresa asked them to fill the tub for me for water birth.  From the time contractions started a day earlier, I was experiencing them radiating from my back into my uterus or vice versa. My back was really feeling them now.  My uterus had been feeling contractions for weeks now, from all the braxton hicks, but that was nothing compared to this.  – Robyn, Mom

We were back at 1:30 am and getting a strip to monitor the baby and the staff began to set up the tub.  At 2 am Robyn entered the tub.

She was now having contractions every two minutes lasting a minute…nodding off to sleep in between.

Ian was co-chanting with her during each contraction. – Teresa, Doula

 Water birth.

As soon as the tub was ready I jumped in.  Ahhhh, the water was so soothing.  I was buoyant, and it was like having a heating pad everywhere so my muscles really relaxed.  It was easy to change positions in the water.  The contractions continued to intensify, and the water seemed to feel hotter and hotter as the time passed.  Instead of just breathing through them, it felt better to vocalize at this point, so I did.  Ian co-chanted with me which was just what I needed because I could then focus on the harmonics of our voices instead of the pain of labor.

I tried to match Robyn’s tone during her contractions, which was difficult at first since the tone she chose was sliding (starting at one point then continuously moving down in pitch). Eventually, she put up one hand indicating she wanted me to stop. – Ian, Dad

It was really hard to talk in-between contractions now, and all I did was close my eyes between the waves.  Ian was also keeping cool washcloths on my neck, my back, and my arms.  Teresa was reminding me to relax my face and shoulders.  I was trying to get comfortable between contractions.  I believe Ian said I was in the tub about 4 hours.  By the end of my time in the tub I was ‘feeling pushy’.  I hadn’t known what that meant before then, but there’s a time in labor when it becomes time to push.  The pressure had moved from my back and was now hurting other places. – Robyn, Mom

By 3:15 am she was side lying in the tub and beginning to push a bit.  And Kim declared her to be complete after an exam at 3:50am. – Teresa, Doula

Never said out loud.

I remember thinking to myself, a few things I find funny now.  I thought:

  • Never again will I have an unmedicated birth!
  • They have to be able to give me some drug to help the pain, but I think it’s too late for it to kick in and I can’t get myself out of the tub.  Darn!
  • This will never end!
  • Baby, you have to do your part, you have to help.
  • This is the last time I will push – he will come out this time.

With all this work, the tub became too hot for me and I thought my heart was speeding up too fast.  I had to get out.  Despite thinking I couldn’t get out of the tub earlier, there’s a point of discomfort that moves you, I promise. – Robyn, Mom

Labor calisthenics and talking to God.

 She then moved to sitting on the toilet. – Teresa, Doula

Kim thought I was going to start actually delivering the baby on the toilet, so she tried pulling me out of the bathroom which frustrated me.  I told Kim I needed to wait until the contraction ended to move. – Robyn, Mom

She moved off the toilet and Kim suggested the bed. I asked if she wanted to return to the tub and she yelled “Floor!” – Teresa, Doula

 I asked for pillows on the floor.  I wanted to kneel down on all fours.  I remember praying to God there.  Ian said a prayer for me too.  As always he was right there with me the whole time.

So at 3:53 am we threw some pillows and a blanket onto the floor for her to push. She pushed there in several positions before moving to the bed when Kim suggested we could get her a squat bar. – Teresa, Doula

The floor didn’t end up feeling right.  The squatting bar sounded good, so up went the squatting bar and I followed.  – Robyn, Mom

She moved to the bed at 4:20 am and began using the squat bar. – Teresa, Doula

It didn’t work quite right either, but it was better than what I tried earlier.  It was good to hang my arms over the bar and try to pick up one knee or the other to help Micah descend.  Every once in a while I talked to Micah in my mind, saying ‘come on, baby, you have to help me’.  Now I tell Micah he has to help me when we are nursing. :-)

The grand finale – Dad catches baby.

The last thing of all scenarios I imagined occurred.  The team suggested I could lay on my back if I wanted, it was just like squatting.  Wow, that sounded good to me, so I laid on my back and put my feet on the birthing bar.  I finished labor that way.  I got more efficient pushing through each of these positions.  I could tell when I was pushing the right way too.  The team did a good job of telling me when they could start to see Micah’s head.  One time I reached down to feel his head which felt very, very soft.  They asked if I wanted a mirror so I could see too, I said yes.  So we continued on.  I don’t know how long I was in that position pushing so hard as he started to crown, but I watched as his head would begin to bulge and go back in.

I was told to keep pushing just as I felt like I was finished to push a little more to help him out, so that’s what I did.  When each new wave came on, I tried to give an extra one, two or three more pushes hoping it would end quickly.  I said to myself, it feels like it will never end.

Eventually when I pushed his head did not go back in but would hang out where it was.  I could see the progress.  Three more sets of pushes I had said to myself at each one, this is the last one, I’m determined to get him out.  Finally, his head came out.  Micah spun him around to finish coming out.  That hurt!  Someone told Ian to get ready to catch the baby.  One more push, and he was free!  Ian caught our son!

And at 4:49 am she gave birth to Micah Blake. – Teresa, Doula

I was able to catch Micah as he emerged which was quite surreal. I felt like I was standing across the room watching. – Ian, Dad

The prize.

Oh my goodness, there are not words for this moment.  They put him on my chest, and all I could do was say, ‘Oh, oh, oh’ over and over again.  Then I started to admire him.  His little hands, his tiny eyes, his little mouth, his hairy back… I asked if he was hairy and would stay that way or if it was lanugo.  It was lanugo.  He didn’t cry much.  He lay on me and looked at me and listened to my voice.  Teresa eventually helped him nurse on me.  The midwife Kim said the cord stopped pulsing and dad could cut the cord.  I watched Ian cut the cord. – Robyn, Mom

Micah had a nuchal chord x1 but that did not cause any problems as Ian helped to catch his son.

Robyn pushed so gently and controlled that she sustained no tears at all. – Teresa, Doula

The stats.

Eventually they took Micah to the other side of the room (with Dad following) to weigh and measure him, and get his final APGAR scores.

Micah had APGARs of 8 and then 9.

He weighed in at 6 pounds 13 ounces and 19 inches tall! – Teresa, Doula

His head circumference was 13 3/4 inches  What a perfect little baby.

I had the opportunity to take a shower.  Then they got ready to transfer us to our regular room, room 185 in the women’s unit. – Robyn, Mom

I was delighted to have been a part of this labor of love! – Teresa Howard, Doula

Day 1 with Micah: A tough night

At this hospital, the babies stay in your room with you which is one of the reasons we chose it.  We had a visit from the lactation consultant that day, and many nurses stopping in and out to check on us.  It was Friday morning by now.  We spent all day doing skin-to-skin contact, and trying to breast feed.  Though I felt like I ran a marathon, I was too wired to sleep.  We had some visitors stop by.  Micah’s Great Aunt Jolie and Great Uncle Pat were Micah’s first guests.  Then Mom came back and brought us lunch: Chick-Fil-A, yummmmy.  Micah’s Great Aunt Lorraine and Great Uncle Ronny stopped in next.  I posted pictures on Facebook and spoke with a few family members and friends on the phone.  I took another shower.

Eventually the commotion stopped, the guests left, and it was just Ian, Micah and I, with more skin-to-skin time, breast-feeding, and pseudo-sleep.  He’s been breast-feeding like a wonder-boy since day 1 after Teresa showed us.  The lactation consultants really helped too.  That night was a tough one. Micah cried off and on from 1am to 3:30am, and Ian and I were exhausted, but took turns trying to console him.  At 4:30am, I was finally able to put him in his bassinet without him shouting to the rooftops again.  I went to the nurses’ station and asked them for a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign.  – Robyn, Mom

 Day 2 with Micah: Finding our rhythm.

Saturday morning was great.  I felt good enough to wear semi-regular clothes and put on some make up.  The photographer stopped in and took Micah’s first set of pictures.  More time nursing, resting, and posting Facebook pictures.  Some friends stop in.  Rochelle brought us a fruit basket with a little balloon.  The pears are great! I’ve had 2 already.  Beth, Kyle and Evie brought us lunch.  That afternoon we spent time with another lactation consultant, and the nurse to get checked out for the day.

We left a little after 5pm to go home and got settled in at Mom’s again.  After arriving, and Ian went to our home to get some more things we needed for the baby.  Our first night home was much easier than it was in the hospital. Micah was a perfectly well-behaved new born, nursing well, sleeping and needing his little diaper changes.  – Robyn, Mom

Day 3 with Micah: good enough to walk

This morning we got up and enjoyed a nice leisurely Sunday.  We went for a short walk in the neighborhood.  Micah really loves being in the Moby wrap.  Mom cooked us a home made roast chicken dinner with stuffing and mashed potatoes.  Sarah, John, Adiah and Gabriel; and Hannah, Taylor, Malinda, Elijah and Noah came over to meet the baby too.  Great Aunt Lorraine came over to see the little one again too.  It was such a pleasant day.  Tomorrow we will register for health insurance and go visit our pediatrician.

Micah at 2 weeks today!

Micah is such a cute baby.  Ian stayed home from work for a week to be with us, and went back to work this Monday.  Micah has more and more awake time and energy each day.

He has a voracious appetite – I think he’s going through a growth spurt because he will nurse every hour for 3-4 hours a day at least a half hour.  The rest of the day he doesn’t go more than 3 hours without nursing.  He weighed 6 pounds, 10 ounces when we left the hospital.  On Tuesday, when he was 11 days old he weighed 7 pounds, 5 ounces.  I could tell he felt heavier.  He still curls his legs and arms in like infants do, and when he sleeps he often grins a full open mouth smile. – Robyn, Mom

Micah over 6 weeks old!

We are happy to report we are feeling more and more settled in with Micah now.  While there’s not a schedule we have established some fairly trustworthy routines.

It’s impossible to envision how empowering is the love parents have for their children.  For many years I’ve said the marriage relationship is supposed to be such that it reflects the love of God.  In the same vein, the love parents have for their children is also a reflection of the love of God.  That shows us how deep and wide is our Lord and Savior.

I pray our son have a lion’s heart whose love can not be tamed by the world.  I pray that his little mind can fathom the love you all have formed for him even already, and that would make him gentle and confident, but also strong of will and mighty in his deeds.

I pray for all of you that you would be blessed for your prayers for us, that God’s brilliance would light up your hearts and fill you with joy.

Thanks for loving us!,

Ian, Robyn, and Micah Cooper

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