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My name is Christa Markley, I am 27 years old. My husband Tyler and I met in 2009 in high school. We got married in June of 2013. We knew we wanted to have at least one child, but decided it was best to wait a few years. In April of 2016, we decided it was time to start trying to get pregnant. In May of 2016, I had a very painful period, but my doctor just told me it was normal and to take Lortab for pain. I went a couple of months until the pain became so unbearable I ended up in the ER. One doctor finally sat down and took the time to listen to me; he was ever so kind to even setup my appointment for the physician he referred me to. The next day, July 22, 2016, I underwent surgery to remove as much endometrial scare tissue as possible. The doctor told my husband that it was the most severe case she had seen, and that now was the best time to get pregnant if we wanted to have children. When I went back in for my post-op appointment she informed me that my left fallopian tube is 80% blocked and that my right was only 20% blocked, so it might take a bit to get pregnant. I was also told that if my endometriosis symptoms reoccurred that I needed to let her know right away.
Well in September my symptoms returned; I was instructed to have a 21-day progesterone level done. My progesterone was low, so we were then told that we needed help. I was devastated, but I knew that we wanted at least one child. We were given Clomid. When on Clomid, you are supposed to have a progesterone level done on day 21, so I went in and had my blood drawn. On day 25, I called and asked what my level was and she said it was too low to be pregnant. My heart sank, but I knew that it could take up to 4 tries. However, on day 27, I felt a little bit different, so right before bed I took a pregnancy test, but I was so tired I fell asleep before reading it. I woke up the next morning and went into the bathroom; the test was positive! I had to take another one of course, it too was positive! I ran downstairs and gave the test to Tyler, and we just held each other. We were so happy and relieved to finally be pregnant! We decided not to find out the sex for the baby, or reveal the possible names for the baby.
Our first appointment was December 27, 2016 with the OB, I was so excited! I have always wanted a home birth, but having been through the endo stuff we decided to see both the OB and a Midwife. We found the best midwife ever, Rebecca Whistler with Truly You Midwifery! Our pregnancy was very uneventful, but our labor and delivery were just th opposite. On Wednesday July 5th, I was awoken from my sleep by discomfort. I got up and went into the baby’s room and sat in the rocking chair for 10 minutes to try to relieve the discomfort, but it did not work. I decided to lay my head on the bed and sway my hips back and forth to see if the discomfort would subside. After 45 minutes, the discomfort subsided, so I got back in bed.
The next morning, I told Tyler what had happened and we decided it was nothing to worry about. We caulked it up to my body getting me ready for labor. I was only 37 weeks along, and our midwife told us that most of her first-time moms go over and she suspected that would be that case for us. We had our 37-week home visit appointment with her Thursday July 6th. At the appointment, I told her what had happened the night before and she reassured me that it was just prodromal labor and not to worry about it. We also asked her if it would be ok to go to Kansas City for a family gathering that weekend, and she assured us that it was not a problem at all. Our midwife said she didn’t want to ‘check’ me until our 39-week appointment, but I asked her to check me that night because Tyler was there and I wanted to know what we were in for. So, I laid down on our bed; she starts to feel my cervix and immediately says “Well!”. I asked her what was wrong and she replied “You are 5 cm and 85% effaced!”. I couldn’t believe it! While she was checking me, I was also having a contraction, but all I felt was my tummy getting hard not pain or discomfort. She assured us it was ok to go to Kansas City for the weekend, but to make sure we took our birth kit with us. When she left that night, she told me I might have some bloody show, but it was ok.
Friday July 7th, I was at work and our midwife text me at about 9 am asking if I was still having contractions, and my response was yes. She asked if I was timing them. I told her no because they weren’t painful. All I could feel was my belly tighten, not pain or discomfort at all. She told me to time them and she would talk to me in a few hours. I was timing them and they were about one minute long and about every 5 minutes apart. She texts me at 11:00 am and asked how I was and how my contractions were doing, so I text back. She immediately calls me and tells me that I am in active labor and I need to head home to rest before the contractions pick up. So, I called Tyler, who was at home, and told him I was coming home because I was in active labor. He was rushing around trying to get the fan in the baby’s room replaced because the other fan decided it would short out the night before when Rebecca ,our midwife, was over.
On my way home, I called Kaety, Tyler’s cousin who was my rock throughout the endo and pregnancy ride. I told her it was show time, and then I began to cry. She assured me that it was ok and I was going to rock labor and delivery. (Honestly, I was scared and excited all at the same time.) I arrived home around noon; Tyler had just finished with the fan. I told him I was going to lay down and take a nap. Rebecca told me to text her when I got up from my nap. I was only able to take about an hour nap. The contractions were still about the same, so Rebecca told us to go on a walk. It was very hot that day, so I filled up my cup of ice water and out for a walk Tyler and I went. We walked for about 20 minutes, and came back home so that I could walk the stairs. Rebecca came over at about 4:00pm to check our progress. I was (I think) at 5 cm and about 90% effaced; at this time she also stripped my membranes. She helped Tyler get the birth pool blown up and the room prepped. She told us we needed to get the contractions stronger and more intense. Tyler and I decided I would do some stairs sideways to get her to descend into the pelvis more to intensify the contractions. After a couple of hours of laboring, Rebecca came back over to check my progress. I was still at 5 cm, but during a contraction I was 6-7 cm dilated. She gave me a homeopathic to place under my tongue to see if that would get things going. Tyler and I decided to go to Towne West Mall and walk while taking the homeopathic to see if that combination would get the contractions to intensify. I was still keeping track of my contractions, but Rebecca went home for the night and said to call if anything changes.
To my disappointment, nothing happened overnight. I got up Saturday morning and Rebecca told me to do everything like normal and see if the contractions would get stronger. Being the busy body I am, I asked Tyler if we could mow the yard. He said we could, so this huge pregnant contracting momma got out her mower and started mowing! After we got done mowing, I still felt like we needed to keep walking, so we went to Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Goddard to walk around to see if that would do the trick. Again, I was disappointed! I called Rebecca to ask if there was any other natural way to get the contractions to intensify, and she suggested castor oil. I was advised to take 1TBS with some juice. I did this at about 4 pm. She told me if the contractions didn’t pick up to take another dose an hour later. Two doses of castor oil later, the contractions were still the same. I called Rebecca, and she told me that maybe the baby wasn’t ready and just to wait it out. Sunday came and we laid around and just waited to see if anything would change, but nothing did. That night; however, I felt a very weird sensation like I peed myself, so I immediately called Rebecca. She asked me if there was a lot of clear liquid, or just a small amount, but I didn’t see any liquid. She told me to go to bed and if it happens again to call her.
As I was getting ready for work Monday July 10th, I had the same feeling. I called her, and she was with another client who had just given birth. She told me to meet at her office at 10 am, so she could test to see if I was leaking amniotic fluid. I went ahead and headed to work until the appointment. On my way to work, I called Tyler to tell him that his motorcycle trip with his dad was all dependent upon the test at 10. So, he drove his motorcycle, and met me at my appointment in hopes that he could ride on up to Salina to meet his dad and grandpa, but baby Markley had other plans! Rebecca performed the test, and to my surprise it was negative. Rebecca also checked me and I was at an 8-9 and 95 % effaced. The labor was not going as I had expected; I was mentally ready, and this baby was ready as well. I asked her what we could do, because I was ready to be done being pregnant, and the days of contractions without a baby was taking its toll mentally. She told us we could try a larger dose of castor oil, or she had a medication she could give me. Tyler and I opted for the larger dose of castor oil. She told me that I needed to take it by noon so that we wouldn’t be delivering this baby in the dark. After mixing the 3 oz of castor oil with chocolate pudding, I decided to take a nap.
My nap was cut short, I was constantly needing to go to the bathroom, but all I could think about was “it will all be worth it in a few hours”. I was laboring quietly while watching Cars 2! Yes, I am such a kid! Rebecca came over to check on me at about 4 pm; I was a solid 9 cm and 95% effaced. My contractions still have not intensified, but they were getting longer and a bit closer together. I remember texting our cousin Kaety “We are 100% having this baby today!”. We had decided we would do whatever it took to get this baby out! I think it was around 4:30 pm that Tyler was instructed to start filling the birth pool with water. While it was filling Tyler made me cheesy scrambled eggs while Rebecca was massaging my lower back. In-between contractions I was watching The Little Rascals. (I hope I am not the only one to do weird things while laboring!) At this point I lost track of time. I remember getting into the birthing pool and Rebecca checked the baby’s heartbeat. It had begun to accelerate, so she thought the water maybe a bit too warm for the baby. Tyler and Sarah, the midwife assistant, started bailing out pots of water so that they could run some colder water into the pool. The baby’s heart rate did not go down, so Rebecca had me get out of the pool and labor in the basement where it was cooler to see if that would get the heart rate to come down, in which it did. After laboring downstairs for a bit, the heart rate would start to accelerate again, so she had me to lay down on my right side in bed. While there, I had a 5-minute-long contraction. It wasn’t painful, but very uncomfortable. I asked Rebecca if I could get back into the pool, and she said yes! I loved being in the pool; it was the most relaxing place for me.
Once I got back in the pool, I told Rebecca I was feeling “pushy”; she told me to go ahead and push. I pushed a couple of times and I remember seeing Rebecca lean over to Tyler and say “This baby is going to be here by 7:30 pm”. I felt as though I was pushing very well, but the baby would not make it passed my pelvic bone. I am not sure how long I pushed in the birth pool before Rebecca made me get out and try the birth stool. I was pushing so hard that my entire body was shaking! I thought I was making great progress, but the baby would just go back up after contractions. The next push on that birth stool my water just exploded, and I immediately felt the baby drop hard! From that moment on the pain was horrendous! It felt like someone was ripping my insides out! But I had never been through this, so I thought it was normal. I was crying it hurt so bad, and Rebecca just kept repeating “You are strong! You can do this!”. The baby’s heart rate began to rise again, so she had me get on my hands and knees. I was in so much pain in this position that I couldn’t even push during a contraction. I asked if I could get back in the pool, she told me yes, as long as I was going to work hard and push that baby out. It took a few minutes for my body to calm back down to where I could push again. I looked up and all I could see was Rebecca talking to Tyler, and then I heard the words “If she doesn’t push this baby out soon we will be going to the hospital.” In that moment, I immediately felt a huge calm come over my body and I started grunting and pushing. I was on my hands and knees, but I felt better pushing while on my butt/back. I grabbed my knees and pulled them back so hard and pushed like I had never pushed before! The head was out! However, my pain level went through the roof! It hurt so bad, that I let go of my knees and pushed back as hard as I could. Rebecca then said “Come on Christa, your baby needs you!” I pushed one more time, and the baby was born. Rebecca immediately put her on my chest. It was a huge relief, I wasn’t in pain anymore! However, I looked down, and the water was red. I could not feel her cord on my tummy, so I asked “Where is the cord?” Rebecca immediately responded “That’s what I am trying to find!” I lifted the baby’s leg to see that the cord had broken. I said “It’s broken!” “We need to get her up now! Sarah, I need my hemostats!” said Rebecca in a calm, but stern voice.
Our birth photographer (Kaleen with Blue Muse Photography) immediately sat down her camera and was all hands-on deck! They helped me stand up, and Rebecca clamped my end of the cord first, and then the baby’s. Rebecca then told Tyler she was going to give him the baby, so that she could take care of me. “Wait, is it a he or she?” Rebecca asked. In my foggy state of mind, I replied “It’s a baby, that’s all that matters.” (Looking back, that wasn’t the most appropriate thing to say.) As I handed the baby over to Tyler, we looked and it was a girl!! Daddy immediately started calling her Annabelle! I remember them getting me all ready to head to our bedroom so that they could deliver the placenta, and Tyler kept saying “It’s ok Annabelle.” It was the sweetest thing; my heart was so full!! After we got to the bed, Rebecca instructed me to push; in one push that placenta was delivered! It was then that the entire labor mystery was solved. Annabelle’s umbilical cord was only 11 and ¾ inches long! She was unable to descend because her cord was so tight! Our guardian angels were sure watching over all of us that day! Everyone was right where they needed to be at the exact time. I am so blessed to have such a great midwife!
Our miracle had finally arrived! She had ten fingers and toes, and bright blue eyes! Annabelle Susan was born at 11:09 pm weighing 7 lbs 6 oz and 19 ½ inches long!
If you would like your birth story to be featured on the blog, feel free to fill out the form in this link and I would love to get in contact with you! Birth stories are featured every Thursday and we would love to see yours on Marci & Me!