Wednesday, December 17, 2014

E's Birth - Part Two

Originally written on October 9, 2014. 

Our E boy is 2 weeks old today, so I think it's definitely time to finish up his birth story. Is it just me or is it long?! I have been working on it for over a week. Everything seems to be moving in slow motion...

They took me back to the L&D room, I changed into a hospital gown, and they hooked me up to the monitors. Not much else happened before Henry arrived. It seemed to me like he got there really fast considering it was late in the afternoon. I was surprised and thankful he arrived so quickly. He caught me up on Elle's whereabouts; we were taking dinner to some of our friends that night and they offered to keep Elle until Henry's mom could come from San Antonio. She also arrived much quicker than I expected. Tender mercies.

The nurse did all of the fun stuff they do to get you set up at the hospital: insert an IV (took 2 tries because my first vein blew), ask a bunch of medical hx questions, initial your life away, etc. Shortly after 6 PM, Dr. Loar came in and introduced herself while we were midway through this process. She seemed eager to get the show on the road. She asked me if I had a birth plan. Ha! I'd jotted down some wishes in my planner minutes before: primarily, I wanted to do it without an epidural, and I wanted to let the cord finish pulsing before clamping. 

At 6:25 she did an internal check and broke my water. I couldn't believe it when she said I was 8 cm dilated and 100% effaced! I'd progressed 3 cm since my doctor's appointment 3 hrs earlier! I asked Dr. Loar about the baby's station, and she told me he was super low. She said I should be fine without the epidural and could probably push the baby out in "two pushes" (wrong, but that's ok).

There was lots and lots of amniotic fluid. Every time I'd shift in the bed, more would gush out. I stayed on the bed for a little while without much else happening. In fact, the nurse was still rushing to complete the intake paperwork after my water was broken, and I was still comfortably answering her litany of questions. But almost as soon as she left the room to gather whatever instruments they round up for delivery, my contractions got REAL. They were INTENSE, but also shorter than I remember them being when I was on pitocin with Elle. 30-40 secs in duration with a rest in between. I was so, so grateful they weren't any longer.

So at this point laboring becomes a blur. Details get fuzzy when you feel like your bottom is going to fall out. But... I labored in the bathroom. I labored in a chair. I labored with a Breathe Right strip strapped to my face because I went into this party congested. I labored with a ladybug massager vibrating on my lower back and Henry at my side. He did a good job again of helping me keep my breathing as steady and as calm as it could be given the circumstances.

I also had "Hypnosis for Birth-Empowering Yourself" blasting in my earbuds. This is something I wanted to try this go round, and my friend gave me the CD at my baby shower. Let me tell you, I was NOT hypnotized during his birth, but the woman on the CD had a soothing voice and maybe the affirmations helped me stay somewhat calm? I used the affirmations of "surrender," "once a contraction is over it'll never come again," "every contraction brings me closer to meeting my baby," and "my body is doing the work it needs to do." More power to you if this really, really works for you, but I'm not 100% sold. 

One other new thing I tried this labor was having Henry sway my thighs from side to side during the contraction. It's also difficult to say if this was super helpful, but I think in the beginning it felt like a way to counteract the pressure.

Around 7:50 I climbed up on the bed between contractions because I felt like I might be transitioning (read: I was having crazy painful contractions and starting to feel like I couldn't take many more). Basically, I wanted the doctor or nurse to check me and tell me I was ready to push. Dr. Loar came in with surprising speed and said I was 9 3/4 with the slightest lip on the cervix. She then said words that killed me: "You'll probably be ready to push in 15-20 minutes." Nooo! I did not want to endure those contractions for another 15-20 minutes; I wanted a way to fight back right then! 

Luckily for me, it didn't take that long. Ten minutes later I had the urge to push, and it was STRONG. I don't remember feeling that way with Elle. With her birth, I just got to the transition stage where I felt like maybe I really, really needed that epidural after all, and then the nurse told me I was fully dilated and could push. This time they told me I could push with the contraction or between contractions if I felt the urge. 

Dr. Loar returned. She told me to take a deep breath and hold it in while I pushed. It took a couple tries because holy pain! But eventually I calmed down enough to coordinate my breathing and my pushing. Within 20 minutes, what felt like several rings of fire, an estimated 8-10 pushes (really I have no idea how many times I pushed because I just did what needed to be done to get.him.OUT), and screeching from me, our little E was born at 8:18 pm. He weighed 7 lbs 7 oz, a full pound and 3 oz more than his sister. 

E didn't cry right away. He also had an EKG on our last day in the hospital because his resting heart rate was low. I'd say he's a pretty mellow little guy. Thankfully he has checked out to be healthy in every way. It just takes a little effort to get a rise out of him. ;) 

After they got some good cries out of him, I was able to hold him skin-to-skin and breastfeed him. It wasn't exactly a butterflies and rainbows bonding moment for me because...stitches (ouch). After that was done though, then the real bonding could begin. My first thoughts about E were that he looked like Elle did at a week old but with no eyelashes or eyebrows! (Upon later inspection, they're just very blonde. He does have hair.) and his nose might be bigger. He is a handsome little guy with the softest skin. I forgot how deliciously soft baby skin is. I could rub his head all day, but I probably shouldn't. 

Henry cut the cord this time. We didn't talk about if he'd do it or not, but he said he felt pressured by the hospital staff. I have no recollection of that whatsoever. Must've been probably didn't help that I felt super shaky after the delivery. I felt so shaky for so long after the delivery that I was worried something was wrong, but no one seemed concerned. Adrenaline I guess? 

Right after E was born, I wrote, "I forgot how crazy that whole 'birth without pain meds' thing is. Wow, our bodies are amazing. I also can't believe I have a SON! And he's on the outside now. Phew! Not gonna lie, I was pretty uncomfortable the last week or two. Glad the pregnancy is done." 

And just like that, our lives are changed forever. We love our little boy so much.

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