You guys are so sweet! It's so amazing to be able to come back here and see all these wonderful, warm messages for us and our new family! Thank you for being so patient while waiting for an update!
We just got home from the birthing center yesterday and have been taking our time settling in. The baby is sleeping right now, so I'll try to be quick about this! First things first, his name. We have one, but just decided on it yesterday so we haven't told the grandparents yet. Once we tell them, I'll be able to share that with you guys!!
Here are some pictures!
In the warmer after birth:
Me loving my little guy!
I am so completely in love with him, I never imagined it would be possible to love another human so completely so fast! And the best part is watching Tim, me and him interacting as a family. We all just fit together, it's so amazing!
We have of course been having some challenging times (especially when he's gassy at night), but for the most part he is happy, and doesn't complain too much when we're super clumsy with him. I can't believe I'm a MOMMY!
On Tuesday, October 16th, I woke up really early because I was starving. I checked my email, ate some food, played Wheel of Fortune on the computer and went back to bed around 7:30 AM. I woke up for the day around 10 AM, since we had to be at our midwife appointment (almost 39 weeks) at 11:30 AM.
I went to the living room to let our dogs out when I felt a curious trickle "down there". I wondered if it could be my water, but then I had been losing my plug and having some discharge for a while, so I figured it couldn't be. Tim was home from work by this time, and he announced that he wasn't going back to work until I had the baby.
I told him it could be a week or more still, but he said that he had a feeling it would be sooner! Talk about psychic! I told him about my "possible water leakage" and we decided we'd ask the midwife to check it out. So at our appointment, she does the Litmus test and says, "Yes! That's your water!"
WHAT? I really wasn't prepared to hear that; I was almost SURE it had to be regular cervical fluid! Then I asked her to check my progress (worst mistake of my life -- the pain was horrible!) and she said I was 2 cm dilated and 80% effaced. She said that it seemed as though my hind water had a hole in it, not my forewater, so she wasn't too concerned about infection.
However, since she had confirmed that I was leaking amniotic fluid, she wanted me to check into the birthing center in a couple of hours. Her words were, "Go get some lunch and then come back."
To show you how much in denial I was, I said, "Come back for what?" And she said, "You're going to have this baby today!"
I almost passed out.
So Tim and I went and drove around for a little while, and he got some lunch. I was too wound up to eat, and then -- BAM! I started having regular contractions! We decided to call his mom and fill her in on the news, and then headed to the birthing center.
After we got checked in, we just hung out in our room. I ordered some food from the menu and we hung out and talked on the phone with his parents some more. I was so excited, but also really nervous! Luckily we had all our stuff with us in the car (Tim's psychic instincts and always wanting to be prepared really saved us!) so I was able to change into comfy labor clothes.
Things were going really, really slow for us. My contractions were right around the 10 minute mark, but they weren't progressing from there. I knew from talking with my midwife that if I wasn't making progress by the next morning, I'd likely be induced since my water had broken. I really, really didn't want to have to deal with that since it would increase my chance of wanting pain medication.
So we walked around a bit, I did some squats and tried to make things happen more quickly. Our doula Debbie came and hung out with us for a while, but when it was clear that I was still in the first stage of labor, we told her she could go home and we'd call her in the morning when things progressed.
I tried to sleep, but just couldn't with the contractions being so strong and regular. So we walked some more, and then Tim got me a birthing ball from one of the nurses! Ah, heaven!! I loved that thing so much, I would just hang out on it for long stretches at a time. The contractions weren't picking up, and I didn't want them checking me, so my L&D nurse suggested around 3 AM that we try nipple stimulation as a natural way to induce hard labor.
Three words: Oh my GOD! The pain was incredible as the contractions started coming closer and closer together. It worked almost immediately! Once I had a triple-peak contraction (they had me hooked up to the monitor so we were able to see) and that one was a real killer.
Anyway, around 7 AM I decided to get into the jacuzzi to try and ease the pain. I noticed that my modesty was slowly starting to go (up until then I was in a t-shirt and pants, but for the jacuzzi I stripped to just my t-shirt) and figured that labor was probably progressing well.
At this point my midwife came in for her shift and said she wanted to check me. I still remembered the pain from that, and I didn't really want to feel like I was being rushed, so I was hesitant. She explained that since it was so close to the 24-hour mark since my water broke, she really needed to check me. So I said okay.
Once again, it was absolutely miserable. I actually screamed from the pain! Apparently the bag of waters was in the way, and behind that the baby was blocking the hole to the cervix in just the right way that she had to REALLY dig around to be able to check my progress. It was horrible, and after that Tim and I were so traumatized that we decided that would be my last check.
Anyway, she had good news. I was 5+ cm dilated (she couldn't tell exactly since it was so awkward to check) and effacing well. Soon after that our doula Debbie came back and sat with us in the jacuzzi room. I wasn't really enjoying the jacuzzi anymore after the check, so we decided to head back to our room.
Debbie told us that if we wanted to progress fast and avoid induction, we'd have to get more active with our labor and push it along. We agreed, so she showed us a variety of ways to get this done. We tried squats (this was so intense, it was incredible!), standing up during contractions with my feet apart and myriad other things. I really liked leaning on Tim and doing the contraction dance.
It helped so much to know that he was right there and would help me get through them. Debbie compressed my hips and pressed on my back through these contractions, since they were getting more and more painful. I was hardly getting a break between them anymore. I labored that way for a long, long time.
My midwife came back in at some point and asked if she could check me. I said no, and she insisted. So I said no again. She talked to Tim and told him she really needed to since it had been past 24 hours since my water broke. He told her we just didn't want to.
I was so horribly afraid of that awful pain, I just didn't think I could deal with contractions AND that. So she said she'd give us 3 more hours and if I hadn't had the baby by then, she'd have to check us.
She also sent in this nurse who we absolutely hated! She kept wanting to monitor me during contractions and instead of keeping still, she'd poke and prod my stomach! She was not used to a natural birther, so she didn't let us have any space. We finally told her that we needed her to be less invasive, and that bought us some time alone.
Sometime during the next few hours I hit transition, and that was so hard! I kept getting contractions one on top of the other. Tim was so amazing, he would hold my hands and tell me he loved me and when the contractions peaked he'd say things like, "We're doing this for our baby boy" or "You're so strong and I love you so much, you're doing great".
It helped SO MUCH to be able to look into his eyes and see that he was right there with me, and willing to help me in any way possible. He was having a hard time watching me in so much pain, and not to mention his back was killing him from me hanging on to him for dear life every time a contraction peaked! But he was just the best coach ever -- strong, calm and collected and so positive. He was my rock.
I was laying on the bed on my side trying to conserve energy and get through the transition phase when my water broke. It was this POP! and then two gushes of water flooded around me! I was so excited because I just knew this meant that I was near the end. We figured that I was probably 9 cm dilated. My midwife came in again at this point and said she needed to check me since it had been a lot more than 3 hours since she had last spoken to us. I really didn't want her to, but she assured me that it wouldn't be as painful this time since my bag of waters was out of the way now. She was right, it was nothing like before!
BUT she had some very bad news for us. I was only at 7 cm. That means my labor had stalled. She guessed that the baby was not coming down straight like he needed to since my cervix was lopsided. She also thought that maybe he was too big for my pelvis, since Tim is so much bigger than me. I didn't feel like the baby was too big, but hearing these words just made me cry.
She told me my options were a C-section right away, or they could apply a cathode to the baby's head and see what my contractions were doing. That way, if they were registering as strong contractions but the baby wasn't progressing, they'd know that there was something wrong.
Basically, my options were a c-section straight away or monitoring and then a c-section. It was crazy. I just couldn't believe that we had come so far just to get a c-section! I was bawling at this point, and Tim was crying too because he felt so bad that my dream of a natural birth were disappearing right before our eyes.
The midwife tried to soothe us by telling us that I was so exhausted and this was the best thing for me and the baby, but it didn't help. I relented and said if a c-section was what was going to happen, then I would get an epidural.
I was so defeated at this point and the contractions were so much stronger with the bag of waters gone that I just figured I'd get through it in the least painful way possible. But suddenly, as they were getting my IV ready, I started grunting.
Debbie looked at my midwife and said, "I think she's ready to push!" And sure enough, my cervix had dilated to 9.5 cm! I was sooooo happy and so relieved!! My midwife asked if I wanted to push or wanted the epidural, and I almost yelled, "OF course I want to push!" I finally felt like maybe my dream wasn't going to be shattered after all.
I pushed on the bed for a while, and then the nurses offered to get me a birthing stool. Debbie said things would go faster on the stool, so I agreed to push on that. I pushed for about 35 minutes and Tim was right there beside me, encouraging me and saying things like, "You're so close! I see so much progress!"
Finally I heard, "There's his head!" The midwife turned around to get gloves, and I decided I wanted this baby OUT! I was ready to meet my son! So I gave a big, giant push and the baby was born in about 20 seconds! It happened so fast that Debbie said, "Tim hold out your hands!" And all the sudden he was catching the baby!!
He was the first person to touch our son, and then he got handed to me. I looked at him in wonder and amazement. He was so beautiful! I just couldn't believe that this little person had come out of me! This is who I had been waiting to meet all this time. It was such an amazing feeling.
The feeling of pushing him out was just the coolest thing, too. It was like I felt his first moments of life. I was so, so glad that I had decided to do this naturally. I was able to experience EVERYthing so clearly, and the baby was so lucid.
But then suddenly they were whisking him away and saying things like, "Suction" and "Fluid in the lungs". It was so scary, and I started to cry. Tim went with the baby. Luckily they just went over to the warmer so I was able to watch what they were doing. I remember there was a flood of people, and someone said I was bleeding too much and I was carried over to the bed. Then before I knew it the attending physician was in there saying they needed to stitch me up.
I didn't care, I just wanted to know what was going on with the baby! They reassured me and told me he was just fine, that he had some fluid in his lungs that they had bulb syringed out, but that he was going to be just fine.
I felt better then, and was able to focus more on what was going on with me. I heard Tim say, "What's going on?" And then someone explained that I had extensive tearing from the baby coming out so fast. They kept saying it was remarkable that a first time mom was such a strong pusher, and that they had no idea that I was going to do that or they would've directed me more.
I delivered the placenta (surprisingly easy!) and I got a shot in my thigh that would numb me up and relax me for all the stitching I had to have done. I had second and third degree tears and it took the doctor 1 hour to stitch me up! She said it was amazing that I didn't have any fourth degree tears.
They checked me for internal bleeding and then everyone left. Debbie got me some food and took some pictures and then she left, too.
After that it was just me, Tim and the baby. It was so amazing. We couldn't stop staring at him and talking about his various features. I will always remember the time after I gave birth because it was just the best feeling in the world.
The nurse and Tim gave the baby his first bath, and I breastfed him right away. He was so sweet; calm and so small. We couldn't stop staring at him. 32 hours after my water broke, he was here! It was an absolute miracle.
I know a lot of people have asked, and I'm sorry I wasn't able to share his name earlier. We took a long time to decide, and then hadn't told the grandparents yet, so I didn't feel right about posting it online. Anyway, we told them today, so without further ado, I'd like to introduce. . .
Thanks so much for reading my birth story! I'm going to start documenting my postpartum recovery and new mommyhood adventures in the baby journals section! Thank you all so much for sticking with me through this journey -- it's been an AMAZING 9 months!