8 Weeks Later

Tomorrow the little man will be eight weeks old. During tonight’s snuggle session I had a chance to look at the photos taken during his birth. I uploaded them when I got the disk from my doula, but I wasn’t ready to look at them before.. Something about that night was too raw to face any sooner than now; perhaps that my husband is missing from the pictures, or knowing I was far from my ideal weight at that time.

But it was more than that. I wasn’t ready to experience those moments from someone else’s eyes, for the fear that it wasn’t everything I remembered it to be. That somehow it had only been magical in my mind.

I held my breath, and I saw me becoming a mom. The concentration it took, the pain I can recall but can’t really remember. The ugly cry face I knew I was making but couldn’t stop…and then the look of pure love, staring down at this new and perfect, tiny human. I’m thankful those memories were captured for me.

And although I am far from having “baby fever” I can see why moms are willing to go through labor again and again. For those first moments when you are able to hold your whole world in your arms.
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Elliott’s Birth Story

This is my birth story, in as much detail I can remember.. with the help of a record kept by my doulas. It may contain information you might not care to know, but I’m just putting it all out there.

Monday December 10th 39w2d

3:20pm :: I had a regular scheduled OB appointment. My blood pressure was in the 140/90 range and I had more swelling in my face than two weeks prior. I asked to have my membranes swept and was told I had to be at least 1cm dilated to have that done. Stats :: 2cm, 75% effaced cervix not posterior. Membranes swept “very well.”

Was then sent straight up to L&D for a NST due to blood pressure concerns. Baby was doing fine. Heart rate has appropriate accelerations with random Braxton Hicks (BH) contractions. Leave a little after 5pm.

Madre and I go out for dinner. Wonder when little man will make his debut.

10pm :: The Braxton hicks contractions started becoming more regular. Could time them 7-10 mins apart, not painful. Spent at least an hour bouncing on my birthing ball.

 

Tuesday December 11th 39w3d

12am :: Bloody show. Tried sleeping. Between 12am and 2am had that full bladder feeling several times. Feels like extremely tight and slightly painful BH. Hurts to get out of bed.

2am :: Real contractions started and was in pre-labor. Tried sleeping on the couch but every contraction would wake me up. They ranged from 5-15 minutes apart. 3-5/10 on a pain scale.

9:45am :: Call doula. She suggests walking to get things started if its time. Decide to run errands. Go to Wal-Mart and Target. As long as I’m up/moving contractions hit every 5 minutes and have to stop and focus through them. Pain for 40 seconds, tightness for a minute plus.

12pm :: Get home. Contractions slow down and become irregular. Begin to worry its just prodromal labor. OB clinic calls and says if I don’t go into labor tonight I need to go in the next morning for another NST and a fluid levels check. They are worried about my blood pressure and possible pre-eclampsia or pregnancy induced hypertension risk.

2pm :: I notice contractions are coming again at a more regular pace, while resting. 5-6 minutes apart and hurt for at least one solid minute. 5-6 on pain scale. Cannot walk through them. Start bouncing on birthing ball.

5pm :: Spend hours bouncing on birthing ball. Try to relax and watch tv between contractions, breathe and “relax” through them. Vary between 6-8 on pain scale.

7pm :: Call doula and report recent symptoms. Ask if she thinks its real labor or not. Debate going into L&D to be checked.

Get off phone and immediately have 3 very painful contractions in a row. Feel panicked and almost frantic. Decide to go get checked at L&D. Joke that if I’m still 2cm I want an Ambien so I can sleep.

7:30pm-ish :: Arrive on the labor deck and a nurse comments that I’m still probably 2cm because she’s “done this a long time and my face says I’m not in labor.” Smile and wish I could punch her. Asked to be checked anyway.

Get hooked up to monitors and they show “slight” contractions and baby’s heart rate accelerating properly. Doctor comes in, and mid-check says “huh…” Am told I am 6cm dilated, 80% effaced, baby at -1 station, and waters are bulging. Awesome!!!!! 

Admitted and given Labor Suite 3. Nurse apologizes for assuming I wasn’t in labor, that I’m the “calmest 6cm she has ever seen. (It’s because I’m a rockstar. Lol)

8:10pm :: Doula shows up with student doula. Fill out last minute paperwork and sign forms. Get into birthing tub. Contractions begin coming 3-5 minutes apart, lasting 1-2 minutes. Being checked with the doppler is the worst. Baby is doing great!

8:30-10:30pm :: Continue to labor in tub. Contractions become very painful. Can remember saying “I don’t want to do this anymore” and that it’s not fun. Doula reminds me to breathe into the contractions and try to relax my body. “Let your body do what it’s doing. Stay on top of it.” Shake uncontrollably between contractions. Doula says it’s a good sign of progress. Pain about 8-9/10 on pain scale.

10:30pm :: Begin feeling weird pressure. Nurse checks and fears it might be prolapsed cord. Am rushed to the bed to be checked. Waters bulging. No cord prolapse. 9cm and have small cervical lip on right side. Try lying on right side to correct. Contractions are much more painful on the bed. 10/10 on pain scale here on out.

10:55pm :: Body begins bearing down at peak of contractions, not overly “pushy” yet.

11:13pm :: Given the option to have water broken to apply more direct head pressure on cervix. Very, very light meconium tinge. Pediatric team called in just in case.. Am told if he comes out crying he can be placed on my chest as per my birth plan. If he is silent will need to be evaluated/suctioned immediately.

11:24pm :: Begin feeling pushy. Ask to be checked. 10cm. +2 Station. 100% effaced and ready to go! Take picture with mom. Birthing mirror brought in.

Contractions slow down. Do a “practice push”, am told I am a good pusher. Follow my body cues. Crowing seems to last forever. Finally bear down and push through whole contraction to make “great” progress. Fourth time doing that his head is out followed immediately by his body and he is Screaming!!

11:51pm :: BABY BOY!!!! 7lb11oz, 20 inches long after 27 minutes of pushing.

Slimy warm baby placed on my chest. Peds team member assists in drying and evaluates baby’s color. He’s fine and is left with me. Cord is cut by my mom after delayed time period, 4 mins maybe? Skin to skin time while they repair 2nd degree perineal tear. 1st degree peri-urethral tear left to heal on its own.

11:57pm :: Placenta delivered. Doula assists with breastfeeding. Successful latch on both sides.

12:55am :: Doula’s Depart.

 

I am thankful to have had the birthing experience that I hoped for. I labored at home for a long time and managed to go 100% medication free. I was in labor for 22 hours total, ten of those in active/hard labor. My hospital stay post-delivery could have been better, but I am definitely thankful for the gigantic birthing tub. I’m not sure I could have gone all natural had it not been for that and the support of my two doulas and mom. I’m definitely not ready to go through that again any time soon, but when I do, I will probably pursue a home-birth with a midwife.

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“The power and intensity of your contractions cannot be stronger than you, because it is you.” ~ Unknown

November

My newsfeed on Facebook is buzzing with comments about this month. How is it November already, where has this year gone, they wonder.. Almost a dozen comments. And I’m over here like, it’s only November.

Does make me hope that some sort of nesting instinct kicks in soon. I met with my Doula earlier this week, and not even discussing my birth plan, in detail, made me realize that our baby boy will be here soon. Six weeks and some change is still plenty of time, right? I only have about half of my baby themed to-do list to go..

I have a basically untouched registry to complete, other things to buy, shelves to put up behind the changing table, a giant bunch of baby clothes to fold, hang or otherwise organize..

Today, however, is a slow day. I am enjoying the sun coming through the windows while it lasts and working on crocheted hats for a West Virginia Mountaineer fan. I better get to work on my list of things to do though, because it is November already, after all.