Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bathed in Light.

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My sweet ones, daily reminders of Grace. I look at them, and only see Light. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Birth Story, Unabridged

It's been forever since I last blogged. Blogging has moved to a pretty low spot on the priority list. It's a  hobby. And like all my hobbies these days, are swimming at the bottom of the barrel, feeling all neglected. Poor hobbies. That's okay though. It's a happy trade. 

So I figured since Asa is over two months old now, I should post the ol' birth story.

Now if you recall, with Adoration I had a really fast labor, almost had her in a car, and it was all sorts of crazy. I had a natural birth with Adoration and despite the crazy, was really happy with that decision. I remember telling people how fast my labor was with her and people would say things like, "You are so LUCKY. I wish my labor was that FAST." I would say something like, "Yes, I am lucky the labor was so fast." Because some people have really long, hard labors and I get that. But ya'll, Adoration's birth was INTENSE. There was no easing into it. My contractions were really powerful, painful, and very close together from the beginning. I basically woke up with contractions so intense and painful that I started throwing up immediately and proceeded to keep throwing up my entire labor. So folks, fast does not equal "easy." 

So needless to say, even though I was happy I went the natural birth route with Adoration, and wanted to attempt that again, in the back of my head I'm thinking, "If my contractions are so intense they have me throwing up all over the place HOOK me up with that epidural!" Because when you know exactly what may be coming it weakens the resolve a little, you know?  Also this go round, I was really paranoid about getting to the hospital in time. There would be none of this labor as long as you can at home business. Usually, second labors go faster and I was preparing for that. Okay, on to Asa's birth story.

*Warning: some of this may be TMI, but we are all mostly ladies here, right?

Prelude:

So about a week before THE day, I had bloody show, so I figured baby would be coming sooner than later. If you don't know what "bloody show" is and want to know, google it. I didn't have any of that with Adoration so this was all new to me. A couple of days before Asa's birth day, I was feeling really crampy and slightly nauseous, and during the night my Braxton Hicks started turning into regular contractions. They were still light, but were happening about every 10-15 minutes. They never got painful but stayed regular for a few hours. After obsessively timing them for awhile, I fell asleep. I woke up, my contractions had stopped, and I was not in labor. Phew! Because I was determined to have a clean house, and my house was a wreck which was causing me all kinds of stress. I just needed my house to be clean the day I went into labor. Also it was early, about two weeks early. I wanted this baby to fatten up a little more.  

Part I:
After that one night where I thought I was in labor, but wasn't, I grew increasingly uncomfortable with each passing day. I knew this baby was coming soon. I had the hubby on high alert. On Friday, September 28th, I   was having lots of Braxton Hicks. By 9:00 pm they seemed like they might be getting regular. I told my exhausted husband to go to sleep and try to get some rest. Because if I was going to go into labor, I needed him to be rested. I started timing them, and they were indeed regular, about 10 minutes apart. They weren't painful, but just that "tightening" that happens.
At about 11pm, I'm sitting on the couch watching House Hunters, when I feel a small gush of liquid. I think that perhaps it is part of my water breaking. (With Adoration my water breaking was a HUGE gush, like a waterfall. But it can happen more gradually.) So I go to the bathroom, and to my horror, I see blood completely saturating my underwear. This was all new to me. It totally freaked me out. James is sleeping and I don't want to scare him, so I call my midwife. (Side note: my midwife was the bomb. She gave me her home number and permission to call her whenever I felt like I needed to.)  Not only do I call her but I take a picture of the blood to show her what I am talking about. She quickly calls me back and I describe the blood. She assures me that is normative and that I need not worry. She tells me what to look out for (in case I were to continue bleeding) and tells me I can head to the hospital when my contractions get to be about 4-5 minutes apart consistently for an hour. I update James, and then I try to get some sleep. I halfway sleep for about two hours, but I'm trying to time my contractions. Every time I have a contraction I enter it into my contraction timer app on my phone, roll back over and try to sleep.

Part II:
I finally just get up because I'm too excited to really sleep. I do some last minute straightening up around the house. My contractions aren't really painful yet, but the tightening becomes stronger and they are closer together. About 6-8 minutes apart now. At about 4am they start becoming a little painful, stronger, and are now 4-5 minutes apart. They stay that way for an hour, so I wake up the husband, call our babysitter for Adoration, and gather our things together, including cookies for the Labor and Delivery staff. Our babysitter arrives, I kiss my firstborn goodbye, and we head to the hospital.  

The first thing I notice driving to the hospital is the humongous full moon on our horizon. Go figure. James and I are both excited. I remember holding hands and talking about our son. I am feeling a lot of relief because there will be no scrambling to the hospital this time. On the way, I call my midwife to let her know we are on the way to the hospital. I am having to breathe through my contractions a little but they are still not so bad. So far this experience is so completely different than my first labor. There was none of this easing into it before. We get to the hospital around 6am. They check me in and send me to my labor room. Since they knew I was going for a natural birth they gave me their largest room with a fantastic view (this hospital was really natural birth friendly.) It was nice, because they didn't have a different triage room. They just did all of that stuff in my labor room. So my nurse gets me all laid out on the bed and hooked up to check out my contractions. And lo and behold, my contractions have STOPPED. I am not feeling any nor is the machine picking up any. I inwardly groan. I don't want to have to go back home and repeat the process. They let me stay to see if my contractions pick back up, which they did. Without the burden of timing my contractions I fall asleep. I think I wake up around eight, because by then, my contractions were getting uncomfortable. Laying down with these kinds of contractions is really uncomfortable for me, so I was ready to get up.  At some point, I text some of my Charlotte girls to let them know and to be praying. 

By now I'm walking around the room between contractions, sitting and rocking on the exercise ball during contractions, or leaning over onto James and breathing through them. I am definitely in active labor now. My contractions are painful and I have to work through them a little, but there is enough time in between them to recover. And they were still much less painful than what my contractions were with Adoration. No urge to throw up in sight. My nurse comes in periodically, hooks me up to the machine to track my contractions, and then releases me to do what I need to do. It's a little frustrating every time she hooks me up, because the machine isn't picking up my contractions very well. And I KNOW I am having them. I would have a heavier, painful contraction and it wouldn't show up at all...or then I would have a really, light one and it would spike. So annoying. This was the part I didn't like about laboring in the hospital. I felt like this part just kind of disrupted the flow. And when you are hooked up to the machine you can't really move around. My nurse was so great though. She was supportive of me wanting to birth naturally and pretty much just left us alone and let me do what I needed to do. 

At some point, my contractions are starting to feel more painful. I am having to focus more doing them. My midwife is not at the hospital yet and we don't feel like we need her yet either. At this point, I put into action some hypno birthing. Now, I didn't take any hypno birthing classes or anything but I read up a whole bunch on it. During a contraction, sitting on the exericise ball, I basically just closed my eyes and visualized that I was in a hammock on the beach. I would imagine the building of a contraction as a wave washing up on shore. And umm...it totally worked. Almost too well. After doing this for an hour of contractions, not only did it diminish the pain, but it felt like my contractions stopped all together. I took advantage of the opportunity to watch an episode of Downton Abby on the Ipad. And sure enough, next time my nurse checked me, there was no read on the contractions. She checked my dilation and I think I was like 4 cm dilated.  At this point, I'm getting a little nervous. It is about noon, so we have been at the hospital for six hours. This labor is getting long and there doesn't seem to be much progress. I'm nervous that the hospital will start pressuring me to take measures to speed this labor up. I'm wishing we had stayed home longer. Thankfully, I received no such pressure. 

Part III:
I start high stepping around the room to try get my contractions going again. They are happening but not nearly as intense as my contractions pre-hypno birthing visualizations. So I keep high stepping around the room. Not much change, but I am getting tired. So I lay down and end up falling asleep.  (James, by the way, is encouraging me and being there for me in whatever way I need him.) While I'm asleep my contractions really start picking up. I sleep as long as I can until they are finally just too painful. I am now groaning a little through the contractions and can no longer speak. I lean onto James during each contraction and applies pressure to my lower back to ease the pain. Still not as intense as they were with Adoration. Still no throwing up. But definitely high on the pain scale and now 3-4 minutes apart. The nurse checks my dilation and I am now 6cm dilated.  Things are really picking up now. I think this was around 2pm. My contractions get progressively painful and I'm shaking during them. This is the point where I would be tempted to get an epidural. But I know we are getting close. And honestly at this point, not having to pay for an epidural is my motivation. Not getting anesthesia saves us like $2000. I ask the nurse if I can get in the shower and she encourages it. 

I have the shower as hot as it can go. I lean over onto the bar on the side and let the water pelt my lower back during each contraction. This feels like heaven and lessens the pain considerably. Thankfully, the hot  water stays super hot. I am in the shower for at least an hour. The nurse periodically comes in to to get the baby's heartbeat. I just tell her when I'm having a contraction and she takes the heartbeat during it to make sure it's not going down too much. The heartbeat goes down a little with each contraction but it seems like it is because the baby is now getting ready to drop into the birth canal. My midwife is now on the way.  

My midwife arrives and I reluctantly get out of the shower because she needs to check my dilation. My contractions are immediately so much worse out of the shower. I don't remember my exact dilation but I am super close. At some point I tell my midwife I am thirsty. She asks, "Haven't you been drinking?" And I'm like, "well....they told me not to." Earlier I HAD been drinking as much as I wanted, but then my nurse saw me, freaked out, and informed me I should only be on ice chips. I tried to adhere to that rule, but still snuck some sips of Pedialite here and there, but not as much as I wanted. When I tell my midwife that they told me not to drink, she rolls her eyes, and tells James to get me some water. Gotta love those rebel midwifes. ;) (Side note: my midwife actually was once a L&D nurse and this very hospital, but left it and got her midwifery certification and went on to become a kick-a$$ midwife. I think she has been delivering babies almost as long as I've been alive. love her.) 

After my midwife checked me she told me that the baby was basically right THERE, but that my bags of water were basically all that was preventing baby boy from making his way out. She said, if I wanted she could break my water for me. It was basically, break my water and he would be on his way out, or wait for it to happen for who knows how long. With Adoration, my water breaking was the most terrifying part of that whole labor. It was beyond intense and was the worse contraction I can remember having. At this point my contractions are officially a 10 on the pain scale and rolling over on top of each other. I don't know how much longer I can endure them and I am ready to meet this baby boy. With barely a thought, a tell my midwife "YES. break my water."  

She gets everything ready to break my water and for baby boy to be born. I am laying on the bed and James is holding my hand. My midwife breaks my water and I immediately start having the worst contraction I've had until this point. James gets woozy and says he has to step away to get a drink of water. I just remember clutching his hand and saying, "No!" I don't remember this, but he did it anyway cause he really was about to pass out. He got his sip of water, quickly recovered and came back to me. And I continued to squeeze all life out of his hand. My midwife tells me I can push whenever I feel the urge after breaking my water. Right after she says this, I start contracting and start involuntary bearing down with the force of the contraction, and say "I'm pushing!!" and can feel Asa moving down the birth canal.

 Asa's heart rate drops during the contraction more than was normal. This part is scary because I can sense my midwife is concerned even though she appears very calm. I can hear his heart rate slowing down. I am wondering am I going to have an emergency C section? But it seems like it is too late. Asa is on his way out. My midwife and the nurse quickly move my position so I'm on my side and can bend my leg and move it up towards me. His heart rate goes back up a little with the change of positions. At this point my midwife has me push as hard as I can with the next contraction (presumably because of the heart rate.) I feel the baby start to crown and she instructs me to slow down. . His head completely clears and we find out the cause of his heart rate dropping. The umbilical cord is wrapped very tightly around his neck. My midwife instructs me to do whatever I can to not let my body push. This part was hard because I was contracting but I breathed and was able to do it. I was pretty motivated. I wasn't going to let my body push with that cord still wrapped around my baby's neck. My midwife expertly and very quickly cuts the cord from around Asa's neck. I immediately hear his heart rate return to normal, and I let my body push. My midwife expertly guides me in my pushing/slowing down for Asa to gently come out. I remember my midwife lifting him up and I was waiting for that beautiful wail. And after a couple of seconds, he let it loose. My baby was born. He was healthy. He was here. After my water was broken, it was basically just three contractions rolling on top of each other for him to come out. 

Despite the umbilical cord troubles, Asa scored a 9 APGAR. He was as healthy as can be. My midwife was so awesome during all of it. She knew exactly what to do and was such a calm, peaceful presence. Plus, I didn't tear at all. I credit that to her her expert guidance during the pushing. I wonder if things would've ended differently if I was under someone else's care. 

Asa Trust was born at 4:43 pm.  My little love. My sweet boy. James and I were instantly in love. 

My labor started about 11pm on Friday night. I had light contractions through the night. We arrived at the hospital at around 6am on Saturday morning. My labor was not very difficult until the very end. The last two hours were the only really hard, "I don't think I can do this," part of labor. Before that everything seemed like it gently progressed.  My labor with Asa was more than twice as long as it was with Adoration and so much easier. So faster is not always better. I'll take longer any day if it happens like that! 

Props if you've read this whole thing. That's pretty much the birth story. Two children born naturally, both in supportive hospital settings. Because I didn't tear, my recovery was much easier this time. And because my labor was less intense I felt much better post-labor. And I didn't throw up once. 



First breaths. 
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Perfection.
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In love. 
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Adoration meeting her baby brother.
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The best husband and daddy. 
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So thankful. 
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