Tanner John Thomas birth story
Tanner’s birth story has to start with my miscarriage. I was 11 weeks pregnant the week before thanksgiving in 2012 when I started bleeding. I received a blessing from Michael saying that this spirit would be born with a healthy body. This reassured me, and I scheduled to go to the midwife the next day to listen to the heartbeat. I went with Michael and she could not find one, she recommended I have an ultrasound. I went into Dr Clark’s office and after doing another sonogram and not finding the heart beat we did and ultrasound. After looking for a while and resetting the machine (it was an older one and he wanted to make sure we were not getting the previous persons results) Dr Clark told me that there was no heart beat and that the fetus was only measuring 7 weeks. He said that most likely the fetus had died when I was 7 weeks, but that it had taken a few weeks for my body to recognize that I was not pregnant anymore, and at this point it was just a matter of waiting for everything to pass out of my body. I was devastated! Dr Clark was so sweet, he sat down and talked to us about how it was important for us to feel this grief, and was very comforting. He had me get some blood taken so that he could check the HCG levels to make sure that they were going down (basically to confirm the miscarriage). I was so confused, so the next day I had Michael give me another blessing and he told me that I could receive the meaning to my blessings. After that I had a strong impression that I had not lost this spirit, but that it needed a strong body, and this body was not strong enough, after that the first blessing I had received made more sense and gave me great comfort, this baby had only been postponed, and I would still have a chance to raise him in this life. I called Liz (the midwife) and she suggested an herb I could take to help the miscarriage along. Mike got some from the store, but I couldn’t make myself take it even though I knew my baby had no heart beat and there would be a miscarriage, and there was nothing I could do to stop it, it didn’t feel real. Even after the great comfort of that blessing, and what I knew to be true, I could not make myself take anything that would help a miscarriage happen; even if it was only supposed to help my body handle it because something inside me said ‘what if they are all wrong, you haven’t lost the baby yet!’ It wouldn’t really be real until it actually happened. Well two days later I decided that I could not just sit around waiting for the fetus to pass, so I decided that my family would go to the Jubilee of the trees. While we were there I started to feel crampy and when we were leaving I could feel myself bleeding pretty heavily. When we got home I went straight to the bathroom. I was amazed at how calm I was at this point; I think the hardest part was waiting for this to happen, it was so awful, because I knew it was going to happen, but it didn't feel real, it was almost a relief for it to actually happen. Well I thought I was finished, but I soaked through an adult diaper (someone told me to use one of these after labor, best suggestion ever) in less than 20 minutes. I felt really light headed and very weak, and after calling my doula friend and midwife, we decided it would be a good idea to go to the emergency room. I could feel more blood rush out of me when we arrived, and I nearly passed out, I could barely stand, after taking my blood pressure and saying that it was scary low they rushed me back. Well I must have jarred loose whatever was keeping my cervix open because after having one more blood pressure drop, the er doctor checked me and said that everything was closing up and that it looked good, they sent me home and the healing began.
Fast forward 2 months, my 20 year old brother unexpectedly passed away in an apartment fire. I felt like my heavenly father was preparing me for this loss when I had my miscarriage, the lord will never give us things that we cannot handle. The previous general conference the talks that spoke to me were the ones about loss and at the time I did not understand why. I was being prepared and I am so grateful for the knowledge of eternal families and the love of my savior. Perhaps Bruce (my brother) and Tanner needed some time together, and were helping each other out.
Well in March I went on a girls weekend trip to Vegas with some neighbors, and while there I found myself feeling similar to a friend with us that was pregnant, so a couple days later I took a pregnancy test, and it was positive! Well I was planning on having this baby with a midwife in the birthing center here in St. George. The only problem during the pregnancy was that I was pretty anemic, but we were able to get that taken care of before his birth. My midwife was Elizabeth Smith, and she is amazing, she has been to more than 1000 births. I was able to do most of my appointments at her house which was pretty close, I really felt like I was in charge of my pregnancy, it was so great!
My due date was Monday Nov. 4th 2013. Jefferson was induced 4 days early, Ashton came the day after his due date, so I expected to come pretty close to that day, but knew that he would come when he was going to come. My due date came and went with no sign of labor. I was having inconsistent contractions every now and again, but nothing noteworthy. My sister in law Jennae came down for the birth and was a heaven send, she was a huge help and a lot of fun, so great to keep my mind off of the baby I was not holding yet! It became kind of a pattern for a few days that I would star contractions in the evening, thinking that perhaps by morning I would have him, but every time I went to sleep they would stop. I did not experience this with my other 2; with them I didn’t start contractions until it was time! Friday night I was sure it was the real thing, I even downloaded the app to time contractions and started keeping track of them, but sure enough, when I went to sleep they stopped. I had to keep reminding myself that this baby obviously still needed this time, and that when he was ready he would come. Its funny when you get to that point, every person you see says something about how your baby is not born yet, but I suppose it’s one of those things that are hard not to bring up, and I really didn’t mind, but man I was ready to be holding a baby and not be pregnant anymore! Well Sunday night I started having contractions again around 11, but these seemed to be more consistent. I didn’t say anything though, and Mike went to bed. Jennae and I stayed up talking and after a few hours I mentioned that I was having regular contractions and that I thought that this was the real thing. I asked her if she would stay up with me for a little while longer just to make sure it was the real thing. I think I was worried that if I went to bed the contractions would stop again, but if I stayed up till they were harder than they wouldn't stop! (yes I realize that this was a ridiculous thing to do, and really I should have gone to sleep as soon as I thought this was the real deal, but hey I was a 41 week pregnant woman!) Well my awesome sister in law stayed up and kept me company talking as my contractions slowly started to get more intense. When I got to the point that I could no longer talk through my contractions, but not yet to the point where I needed to move around or find different positions, I decided I better try to get some sleep. By this time it was around 2-2:30. I woke Mike up to let him know the real deal was happening, so he was aware but to get a little more rest. I also texted Liz to let her know, she advised that I try to get some sleep. Well I tried for a while, but I had hit the point where I couldn't sleep through my contractions. I decided to take a bath at this point to try and relax myself and help with the contractions. I had only a night light on in the bathroom, and nice music playing and warm water, it did really help relax me for a while, but things were getting more intense, so I got out and Woke Mike up again and told him to start getting things ready so that we could head over to the birth sweet. ( that’s the name of the birthing center) I also let Liz know so she could get up and ready, she said to call her when we were headed over so she could get there before us. My birthing ball was my best friend at this point, I kept walking around between contractions, then I would either lean over my ball and slowly shake my hips back and forth or bounce on my ball and lean my head on my bed or couch. When Mike had everything all ready to go, he gave me a blessing, called Liz, and told Jeanne that we would call Christina while we were on the way (Mike’s mom). Jennae wanted to be there for the birth if possible, so Christina was going to come down and watch the boys so Jennae could come over to the birth sweet. I think being in a car while having contractions is awful, the only thing you can do is breathe through it; luckily the drive was only 15 minutes! We called Christina and Mike’s sister Sarah, who we had asked to photograph the birth, to let them know to head down on our drive over. We got there about 5 or 5:30am and Liz was ready and waiting for us. The birthing center is just an old house, re-done on the inside. It was so nice to have such a relaxed environment where I could do whatever I wanted and everyone who was there was there to help me. When Liz needed to ask me questions or do anything, it was when, where, and how I wanted it done. It was just as relaxed as being at home, only it wasn’t my house! I spent most of time on the bed on my hands and knees leaning over the ball. Every contraction I could feel it radiating through my hips and down my legs, so Mike was pushing my hips from the sides and it helped so much! I also discovered why in all the movies when a labor is happening they say to get warm towels and hot water. Liz had a bunch of towels heated in hot water and when I had a contraction her assistant (This lady came shortly after we did, I feel bad that I can’t remember her name now, but she was so sweet and helpful, I was grateful to have her as a part of my birthing team!) she would hold a hot towel to my underside and it was so incredibly soothing! By the time I got to the Birthing sweet my contractions were super intense. I was feeling the exhaustion of not having slept all night, and I was hitting that point where I was not sure if I could handle if there were still hours left of this labor. I said a silent prayer between contractions, I told Heavenly father that I wasn't sure I could do this for much longer so please let things go quickly! My prayer was answered, I clearly was in transition! After a few contractions Liz felt my stomach, and she might have done a vaginal exam but I honestly can’t remember! Anyway she said that I was close, I just needed to bring the baby down a little farther and it would be a good idea to sit on the toilet for a bit. I guess this is a really good position to help with this, and I could empty my bladder at the same time! Sarah got there just around this time. I had heard of women saying that the toilet was a great place to labor, but now I know it’s true! Well before too long, after a few more contractions I felt my body start to push. On a side note, it was nice this time around since I had done this natural before that I knew what I was waiting for and never mistook intense contractions for the urge to push like I did with Ashton, which ended up being really disheartening when it actually wasn't and I had a while to go. My body was ready to push and I said “I think I’m starting to push!” or something close to that. I was panicking just a little because I didn't want to have my baby in the toilet but knew there was no way I was going to make it to the bed! Liz was amazing though and just calmly said that was ok and to just stand up. This is where another fabulous discovery was made; standing is a great position for giving birth! Talk about letting gravity help and having your pelvic floor totally open, only 2 pushes and out came my little Tanner John! Liz was awesome she managed to grab him, unwrap the cord from his neck and pull him out smoothly! She gave him right to me and I sat down on the toilet for just a minute while they spread some blankets and pads out on the floor. When that was ready she had me lay down right there on the bathroom floor for a bit till I was ready to move to the bed. All this took a little over an hour from the time we got to the Birth Sweet. Tanner John Thomas was born at 6:45 am on 11/11/2013 at the Birth Sweet in St George UT. While I held him she used a tube to get some fluid out and check him out to make sure he was OK. When his cord stopped pulsing Mike cut the cord, then Liz took him and got some fluid out of him with a little tube, and did everything to check him out fully, but she did everything while sitting on the edge of the tub right there next to me, then wrapped him up and gave him back to me. Jennae got here right around this time, things went a lot faster than we expected them to once I got there, so she barely missed it, but was an amazing support through every step of the way! When I was ready we moved to the bed in the room. We weighed him and measured him at this point and he was 9 lbs 10oz and 21.5 inches long. Liz made Mike and me a fabulous smoothie, and at some point when I was ready she took Tanner and got him washed up a little better. Also notable was that Sarah brought me a frosty from Wendy’s that tasted amazing! We had the window open and It was veterans day so it was kind of fun that a parade went right by the Birth Sweet and it felt like it was just for him! Tanner had this little coo whine that he did for the first 24 hours of his life without stopping; it was the most adorable thing! I loved the environment of the Birth Sweet, everything was so relaxed and comfortable and completely on my time table. I was in total control of my labor birth and Liz was so professional, never at any point was the baby or I in any danger, and if there had been she was equipped with what was needed to take care of me and Tanner. It really did feel like a home birth away from home! This experience has really opened me up to the possibility of having a home birth for my next baby! After making sure tanner and I were OK for a while she told us we could leave whenever we felt comfortable. We relaxed and slept for a few hours, then I decided that I wanted to finish recovering at my own home in my own bed. We went home and introduced Jefferson (4 years old) and Ashton (2 years old) for the first time to their new brother, and they have both loved him so much from the minute they saw him just like Michael and I and everyone who know him!