Sep 17, 2009
I realize that this is a blog primarily about crafting, but since having a baby has kind of consumed my days lately, I thought some of you might be interested in hearing about Parker's birth. I'll try not to add too many gory details (birth is a messy thing, folks!), but I'll share enough for those of you who may be interested in learning a little bit more about natural childbirth.
August 24, 2009
Around 2:30 am I start to notice a change in my Braxton-Hicks contractions. It isn't necessarily painful, but the tightening sensation in my abdomen definitely becomes more powerful and feels like it is 'doing' something. I try to continue sleeping, but notice that there is a regular pattern to the contractions. When my husband gets up at 7, I tell him about the change. We decide to time a few just to see if we should take this seriously. The contractions are about a minute long and ten minutes apart. We decide to take a walk around the neighborhood to keep things moving along.
As the morning progresses, my contractions keep getting closer and stronger but still not painful. I am really in doubt as to whether this is labor at all. Shouldn't I be in more pain? We keep taking walks and going about our normal routine (i.e., I am quilting!). My contractions are now three minutes a part and lasting about 90 seconds, clearly something is happening. I decide to take a nap before my regularly scheduled OB appointment at 4:45 pm. After the nap I still feel really unsure of myself, but the contractions aren't stopping. We go to the appointment and tell the nurse what is going on. She immediately tells me I'm in labor and that they'd like to monitor a few of the contractions. As we are watching the needle move up and down, monitoring my contractions, I feel a sudden gush of liquid. Yep, my water just broke. In the doctor's office! My doctor quickly comes in to check me and I'm already 4 cm dilated. He strongly urges us to go to the hospital now. The hospital is connected to my doctor's office, so it made a lot of sense to check-in at this point.
Now, this was not in my plan at all, we wanted to labor at home for as long as possible before going to the hospital, but you can't really schedule a play-by-play for labor! We didn't have any of our stuff with us, but the minute my water broke my contractions really started picking up. We knew it wouldn't be a good idea to head home with how I was feeling. I had been freely talking through contractions before this point, but everything changed once my water broke. We decide to check-in to the hospital and call our doula. After a million and one questions, we finally get settled into the room and are able to get down to business. And I mean that in all seriousness - labor is really hard work! It takes every ounce of my will to focus through each contraction. My husband never leaves my side and is whispering encouragements into my ear. He holds me, massages me, helps me walk around, supports me in the shower, and prays with me. Our doula comes and is able to give Brian suggestions and to provide extra support for me.
I really have no concept of time as our room is dimly lit and everyone is very quiet. We have piano music playing and the atmosphere is very soothing. My doctor allows me to be monitored for a small portion of time during each hour so I am free to move around. Laying down feels incredibly painful, so I spend much of my time sitting on the birthing ball, leaning on the birthing ball, or sitting on the toilet (seriously, it was comfortable!). The contractions are extremely powerful and I have a lot of pain/pressure on my lower tailbone. (It didn't occur to us at the time, but later found out I was having back labor and my little man was sunny-side up.) A couple of hours into the labor I vomit and the doctor puts me on a saline drip to keep up my energy. At various points he checks me and I am stuck at 6 cm for what seems like an eternity. I know this is probably the natural alignment plateau, but feel like I just want to give up. I keep telling my husband "he isn't coming". He reassures me that he will come and soon!
August 25, 2009
About 20 minutes after being told I was 7 cm dilated, I announce that I HAVE to push. Everyone is really surprised, but the nurse (amazing by the way) checks me and I'm at 9.5 cm. There is a lip in my cervix, so the nurse holds it open while I start to push. Finally the lip stays open, and I am free to push in whatever position I'd like. Pushing is much harder than I anticipated. Everyone says pushing is a huge relief, but for me it just brings more pain to my lower back. I am much more vocal in labor than I anticipated! After an hour or so of pushing, the nurse calls in my doctor and starts getting everything ready for receiving the baby. My doctor tells me that Parker is facing up, and in order to prevent significant tearing he wants to turn the baby. We agree and does so (very, very painful I might add). After several more pushes, Parker finally emerges into the world at 4:27 am! I think our expressions speak louder than words.
They hand Parker to me and he snuggles right into my chest. He cries right away, but has a lot of fluid in his mouth/nose. I keep exclaiming "he is here!" and "he is perfect!" After several minutes Brian cuts the cord and I deliver the placenta. They weigh and measure Parker and we learn he is 21 inches long, 7 lbs and 11 oz. When they place Parker back on my chest, he quickly grabs onto my finger.
We immediately notice that our little man has his dad's feet and they are just the cutest!
I am able to nurse Parker for 15 minutes while they continue to clean everything up and the doctor repairs a small tear in my perineum. All the pain of the preceding hours vanishes and I am lost in the face of my handsome newborn.
Daddy finally gets to hold his son for the first time as we get ready to move to our new room for the next day.
I know it's a long story, but I wanted to be detailed so I can remember this later! We were really so pleased with how everything worked out. Our doula was a fabulous support to Brian (and me too!), and our nurses were truly outstanding. We were hesitant to deliver in a hospital since we wanted to do everything naturally, but we found nothing but support and help at every turn. No one once pushed any procedure on us and we were able to have the birth that we had hoped for. We give all praise and glory to God for blessing us in this way!