Hey guys! Wow, my days are so messed up over here. I keep forgetting that it’s a holiday, and a weekend we might normally try to plan something fun for.
Instead, I’m doing a lot of lounging, watching HGTV, and staring into this face…
For some reason, his hair always looks greasy, even when freshly washed. Is that a newborn thing, or is he already doomed to a long life as a greaser??
It’s been a wonderfully relaxing week, but to be honest, I’m looking forward to getting back to some routine and action around here. (“Action” in a very loose sense of the word, ha.)
My recovery is going so well that I’m already thinking about doing some light workouts this week, just to see how things feel. I can’t WAIT to start working out sans the limitations of pregnancy—I don’t miss that giant belly a bit!
Hard to believe this is who was in there that whole time…
Anyway. The birth story! Here we go…
It all started around 10 PM last Monday. (I was SO desperately hoping to go into labor during the day, so we didn’t have to lose a night of sleep, buuut…no.)
A few hours earlier, we’d been at an end-of-year party for Mason’s daycare—which I’d been SO convinced we would have to miss, either because we were in the hospital or busy with a newborn. Instead, I was 2 days overdue, and there were a lot of jokes flying about me staying off the carpet. I remember several people saying “I think tonight’s THE NIGHT”—which is funny now.
The beginning of labor was extremely un-dramatic. I started noticing some contractions…but I’d been contracting on and off for months, so I didn’t think much of it. I also felt nauseated, which I know is a sign of labor…that I’d already been experiencing on and off for a few days.
Just for the heck of it, my mom and I started timing the contractions, and found that they were coming every 3 minutes and lasting about 40 seconds each. I was feeling absolutely no pain, just stomach tightening, so I assumed it would all fizzle out and amount to nothing. (The primary feeling I had between my due date and actual delivery date was that I was NEVER GOING TO GO INTO LABOR, ever, so it was hard to convince myself otherwise.)
Eventually, I started feeling some cramping pain along with contractions. By midnight, when the contractions had been coming consistently for 2 hours, I decided to give the doctor a call to see what she thought I should do.
Normally, I wouldn’t consider heading to the hospital until I was in active labor (aka actually in a lot of pain), but I was GBS positive (GBS is a common bacteria that a lot of women have naturally, and that can cause infection in babies during the birthing process). This meant that I needed to get antibiotics early in my labor—ideally, at least 4 hours before giving birth.
Since this was my second birth, my doctor was concerned that things might go quickly (especially since I was already 3 cm. dilated at my last appointment), so she advised me to head in to the hospital within an hour to get the meds started.
Brent and I took our time packing, and finally hit the road around 1:30 AM. At that point, I still wasn’t in any real pain, which felt…wrong. I was still kind of doubtful about this being the “real thing” and half expected to be sent home.
But then things changed. We pulled into the hospital, parked in the ramp, headed up to the birthing floor, walked into triage…and my water broke, right there in the hallway.
Luckily, it wasn’t a huge movie-worthy gush, and I was able to clamp my legs together and dive into a bathroom without making too much of a mess.
At that point, labor started ramping up almost immediately. The contractions got increasingly uncomfortable, and all I could think about was how everyone had been telling me for 9 months that the second labor goes faster.
How much faster?!? I was about to find out…
We were transferred into our birthing room, where I labored for a few hours (yes, hours—so, already, not that fast), mostly on my hands and knees on the bed. The contractions were intense but tolerable, and I focused on coaching myself to relax and open up instead of tensing up. I thought I’d probably get an epidural eventually, but also wondered if things would go so fast that I wouldn’t have a chance. (Second labor, right?!?)
At 6 AM, I was stalled out at 6 cm. and the contractions were getting SERIOUS. I asked for the epidural, and was immediately plunged into the deepest state of blissful relaxation IMAGINABLE. I seriously love epidurals.
I dozed on and off for a few hours, watching morning TV and feeling like a million bucks as I watched the contractions come and go on the monitor with zero pain.
Around 8:30, I was checked again…still 6 cm! Dangit. The doctor decided to break the rest of my water to help keep things moving (apparently, only a little “forebag”—disgusting word—of my water had broken originally).
More dozing and TV watching. I was incredibly comfortable and content, but also kind of annoyed at how slowly things were going. If I considered 10 PM the night before to be the beginning of labor, we were coming up on 12 hours—only 3 away from the length of my first labor with Mason. Where were all those speedy second labor promises now??
A few hours later—I don’t remember exactly when, but late morning—labor was still totally stalled out, and I was offered “a whiff of pitocin.” Now, I’m a pretty anti-pitocin, after seeing what it did to my contractions when I got it during my first labor pre-epidural (holy hell, that hurt!), but since I already had the epidural in place this time, I thought I might as well take advantage of it. Plus, there was my primary birthing goal to think about, which was the same as it was my first time: get baby out ASAP! (And safely, of course.)
Apparently, the whiff was all my body needed. Shortly after that—a little after noon—I was suddenly complete and ready to push.
And that’s when the fun really began.
First, the doctor suggested I try some practice pushes. After one push, she stopped me with a “Woah! Ok. Hold on. Let me get dressed.”
And I thought, “YES! Finally, the fast second labor I was waiting for!”
Once the doctor was ready, I got three pushes in during the next contraction, and she said confidently, “Ok! With the next contraction, we’re going to have a baby!”
I was ELATED. Five pushes—the story every mom wants to tell!
Except that I can’t. Because it ended up taking an hour. Well, 59 minutes and an episiotomy.
Every single time I pushed, the room erupted in such positive feedback (“YES! PERFECT! THAT’S THE PUSH! THIS IS IT!”) that I was SO SURE I was minutes away from delivery.
…For an entire hour.
The team seemed equally baffled, as they went from saying things like “this is it!” to “just a few more pushes!” to “you are SO CLOSE!” to…“great job.”
Even with the epidural, the insane pressure of having the baby’s head literally partially out (literally—I was shown what was going on in a mirror) for that long was almost unbearable. Luckily, somehow, the baby seemed to be handling it fine. (As the doctor put it, “he must have an umbilical cord like a garden hose in there!”)
Finally, right as we were rounding out an hour of pushing, the discomfort of the pressure was getting absolutely overwhelming—plus, I was totally demoralized and felt myself losing focus. The doctor very kindly, very gently suggested a small episiotomy (something else I’d been hoping to avoid this time—but then again, who isn’t?), and I had no trouble agreeing.
And boom. At 1:15 PM, Joshua was born.
I immediately started bawling—because I was happy to meet him, of course, but also because I was SO SO happy to be free from that pressure. (I thought about trying to describe what it felt like, but decided it was way too graphic. How relieved are you??)
The next two hours were spent doing skin-to-skin and nursing. Joshie latched on immediately, and I was encouraged to see that our nursing relationship was probably going to go well. (And so far, it has!)
I can’t say I don’t wish I had that 5-push story to tell, but I also had a nearly-9 lb. baby to get out, so I guess I have to rein in my expectations a little.
And in the end, it doesn’t really matter how he got here.
All that matters is that he’s here.
And he’s perfect.