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Oh, hey! I had a baby! Three weeks ago! Andrew “Drew” Jay joined us on June 8th. We are overcome with love and happiness. Here is his story.
On Friday, June 6th, I felt off. I can’t explain it exactly, but I felt differently than I had the previous 39 week. I was also losing my mucus plug (Oops! Sorry! Gross TMI birth stuff a must.), and since the same thing happened the entire day before my labor started with Ryan, I had an inkling this baby’s birthday was not far off. At just four days from my due date and having experienced lots of false contractions near the end of this pregnancy, I didn’t expect much to happen, but I called my mom anyway and told her maybe it was a good idea if she made the 3.5 hour journey my way. She agreed, and I went off to get a much anticipated pre-baby pedicure. I left the appointment with pretty toes, and headed to the grocery store.
While I was in the checkout line, I started to feel tired. SO TIRED. Like, about to fall over with exhaustion tired. It frightened me for a second until it passed, but reiterated what I already knew: something was up. A few hours later my mom arrived and we spent a nice day with the boys playing, planting flowers, and just…waiting for something to start. I was REALLY grumpy all day, too. Just like before Ryan. It did not go unnoticed haha!
Friday came and went without incident. Saturday morning I heard Owen calling for me at 6 a.m. I stood up and had a very mild contraction. I didn’t think much of it (again, lots of false labor), and went about my morning. The contractions continued on and off, but were not very strong nor regular. Sometimes I would have one an hour. Then maybe three. Then none. I was frustrated. I wanted labor to either ramp up, or the contractions to stop. Not this in-between nonsense. I was grumpy and emotional. Michael was supposed to be at work but after lots of back and forth (and an emotional breakdown from me), he decided to stay home. I’m so glad he did, because it was one less thing for me to stress about.
By the afternoon the contractions were stronger, but still not regular. Ten minutes apart. Then 22. Then five. Then THEY WOULD STOP. I started to walk circles around our cul-de-sac, occasionally being stopped by neighbors wanting to chat about how I was doing. By seven p.m., 13 hours after the contractions started, I had fed the boys, given them a bath, and done their nighttime routine. In that way, I was glad the labor had progressed as it had, because I was able to give them that stability and say goodnight to them. I told Owen there was a good chance I wouldn’t be home in the morning and his grandmother would be here instead. He understood what that meant and happily kissed me goodnight.
After the boys went to bed, it was almost as though my brain allowed by body to really get going. I bounced on an exercise ball and the contractions got more intense and closer together. For the first time, I experienced back labor (OW), so my mom would push on my lower back during a contraction. It helped a ton. This went on from 8-10:30 when suddenly…the contractions stopped. Cold turkey. That’s it. I’m done. I’m going to bed, I thought. If I wasn’t going to have a baby tonight, I wanted to go to sleep. I was exhausted from laboring all day. Just before 11, I texted my sister who was almost at my house. I told her to let herself in, lock the door, and I would wake her if anything happened. I got ready for bed, climbed in next to Michael, and we heard the door open.
“Your sister is here,” he said.
“Yeah, I hear her,” I replied, grumpily.
And then my water broke.
I shuffled to the bathroom to get stuff together as Michael let the hospital know we were on our way, called his mom to come stay with the boys and gathered up last minute items. Those mild and irregular contractions had instantly turned into strong and regular ones after my water broke, so I didn’t feel like hanging around the house much longer. By 11:40 we were in the car and making the short, familiar drive to the hospital. All my babies began their labors at night, so there is something nostalgic about that middle of the night drive for me. Though, contractions in a car are hell. Pure hell.
We arrived in no time at all, and soon enough I was changing into a particularly difficult hospital gown. (It took three of us to figure out the snaps on it!) I was hooked up to the IV and the fetal heartbeat monitor, and tried to find a comfortable position, which proved difficult with the contractions now only seconds apart. Michael applied pressure to my back and I worked through some of them laboring on my hands and knees. When I was checked, I was dilated to about five centimeters, and decided to once again get the epidural. The anesthesiologist was already on the floor, so it wasn’t long before I was being prepped for what I knew would be sweet relief.
I leaned into my wonderful nurse as the epidural was put it, and tried to focus on the sound of my baby’s heart beat coming through the monitor. I told myself the pain was worth it. It was bringing him to me. And soon I would feel relief and could rest. There were no longer breaks between the contractions, and I began to wrestle with my thoughts. I didn’t feel like I could do it any more. The pain so so intense and so constant. I tried to tell myself it would be easier soon, but I didn’t believe my own words.
Finally the epidural was in, and I leaned back onto the bed. I knew from my previous births that relief would come shortly. Only, it didn’t. Suddenly I began to feel intense burning and shouted at the nurse that something was wrong. She calmly said she would check things out, and her check revealed I was fully dilated and the baby was on his way out. Looking back, I realize now I was going through transition while sitting absolutely still for the epidural. Which explains the crazy head games and also ALL THE PAIN.
I am told Andrew was born in just minutes, but it felt like hours. I now understand what women mean when they speak of the “ring of fire”. I had always wanted a natural birth, but changed my mind in the end. This time, I didn’t have a choice. Drew was born the fastest of all my babies at 1:01 a.m., just an hour and a half after my water broke and hard labor began. And…before the epidural kicked in. As a matter of fact, the only thing I got from the epidural before they took it out was tingly feet 10 minutes after he was born. I won’t lie. It was the most painful hour and a half of my life, but I felt amazing afterwards. Like a rock star!
He was placed on my chest and my heart once again filled with love for our new son. He had a full head of dark hair, the longest fingers and toes, and lungs that announced to all he was here. We lay skin-to-skin while I delivered the placenta, and soon he began to nurse.
A few hours later, Michael brought Owen and Ryan to meet their new brother. Suddenly we were a party of five. In the time he’s been here, I find myself delirious both with lack of sleep and love. Every day is more challenging than I thought it would be, but oh. My three little boys. I am so very lucky.
There’s been a lot of goal posting around the Blogosphere the last week and I think it’s a really great idea. Not only is it inspiring to readers, but it holds the goal maker a little more accountable when they put it out to the world. So here are my three big goals for 2010:
1. Have a natural childbirth. I mentioned in a previous post that this was something I wanted to do, but would not necessarily refuse drugs if I believed it became crucial to use them. I still believe that, but have decided to go into my baby’s birth with a serious plan. This plan includes using different positions (a birthing ball, a bar, squatting, etc.) and breathing techniques to help work through the pain. Luckily, the hospital where I will be delivering is very supportive of those decisions.
It is also important to me that I not receive an episiotomy, and both Michael and I are prepared to step in if that demand appears it will not be met.
In order to achieve this goal, I’ve been doing a LOT of research on natural childbirth. My library must love me. There will be future posts about this topic.
2. Let go of my technology addiction. Mainly, my cell phone. Since it’s always near me and I have constant internet access, I find myself checking Facebook and Twitter and blogs more times a day than necessary. As a matter of fact, I really don’t even need to be visiting these sites daily. This is a small goal, and I believe the easiest solution is to leave my phone in the next room, as opposed to right by my side all day. If someone calls or texts me, I’ll hear it and retrieve the phone.
3. Become serious about our household budget. When I became pregnant, we started making a monthly budget based on Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. He’s written a few books (which Michael as read, and I really need to) and has a daily television and radio show. Although some of his beliefs are faith-based and sometimes I believe that takes over a little too much of his show, I strongly believe his principles are really smart.
If you’re curious I can do a whole post about his teachings, but in brief, he has two core systems: one to get out of debt, and one to save for your future. Since we are debt-free aside from our mortgage, our goal is to save for our future, including a bigger home, retirement and our children’s education and future.
His tag line is “If you live like no one else, one day, you can live like no one else.” It’s not always an easy principle to live by, because it requires sacrifice. It means really looking at where your money goes, and how you’re spending it. It means cutting out dinners out and shopping trips and using coupons. It means saving as much as you possibly can now, so that later in life, you can breathe easy.
We started figuring out our monthly expenses based on income, but have yet to seriously stay up on it. That needs to change. I know it will take work, but I’m excited about it.
To stay accountable, and to share what I’m learning with anyone who may be interested, I will touch back on these topics periodically to let you know how it’s going.