Friday, October 18, 2013

Our New Baby is Here!

I am so excited to announce the birth of my third little baby boy!  He came into the world three weeks ago on Thursday, September 26th, at 8:02 pm.  His birth was absolutely perfect.  I've been in baby bliss for the last three weeks.

Since I very much enjoy hearing and reading about birth stories, I thought I would share mine here.  As a little preface I'll sum up my other boy's births first.  I don't want to leave anyone out!

My oldest was born 4 four and a half years ago.  I decided before I got pregnant with him that I wanted to have a birth center birth with a midwife.  I was very excited to have a natural birth because I wanted to know what everything felt like.  My mom had her kids drug free and always talked about what an amazing experience childbirth was for her.  Having kids actually propelled her into a career in nursing.  She spent most of her career in OBGYN and midwife offices and on the maternity floor.

The night before my oldest was born, when I was just shy of 40 weeks, my water broke while I was watching TV.  It was 10 pm.  I didn't go into labor right away.  It actually took 4 1/2 hours.  But thankfully I went into labor naturally at 2:30 am and didn't need to be induced.  I labored at home until my contractions were 4 minutes apart and then headed into the birth center.  I was 3-4 cm when I got there at 8 am.  By noon I was only 5.  I spent the whole afternoon laboring in the tub and then as evening approached I got out to labor on a birthing stool through transition. I was so tired they had me lie down for a while.  My poor husband was also nodding off.  We both laid down, but as soon as my head hit the pillow I felt the urge to push.  My first born was born 30 minutes later at 7 pm with only two tiny tears and three stitches.  Aside from being very long, it was a great birth.  No complications whatsoever.

My second came along 18 months later.  I was again very excited about another birth center birth since I had such a wonderful experience with my first.  This time l was sleeping in bed when my water broke at 12 am again just shy of 40 weeks pregnant.  I woke up with a start.  My contractions started 30 minutes later and after the first few, they were very strong and 5 minutes apart.  We went to the birth center right away after my in-laws came to take my son to their house, and we got our things together.  We got to the birth center at 2 am and I was 5 cm.  I was fairly unprepared for the intensity of a quick labor.  I kept telling my poor husband how it was so stupid that I wanted to do this drug free.  The nurse said the baby would be here in  2 hours so I hunkered down and got to "work" taking charge of my body and feelings and relaxing through my contractions - one eye on the clock.  Two hours later I was ready to push - just like she said.  I pushed through a little lip and then my second baby was born 10 minutes later at 5:51 am.  I had one tiny tear that didn't require any stitches.  There were no complications for this birth either.  But I swore that I would never go natural again!  I just knew if I had another one I would have an even faster labor and it would hurt twice as much.

Fast forward to this past January as I was getting ready to make my first prenatal appointment.  I just couldn't not call the birth center.  Labor was one day of my life, and I trusted the midwives there. My appreciation of the postpartum care I received there far outweighed my fear of the pain of labor, so I made the call.  The biggest reason I wanted to go back had most to do with the fact that the baby never ever leaves the room after it's born.  I know a lot of hospitals these days have adopted this policy, but the ones around me have not.  And for all I knew my labor would be too fast to even be able to get an epidural if I went to a hospital, my only reason to go.

Eight months later, when I was just 39 weeks pregnant, I went into labor and everything started very differently than with my other two.  I had asked my midwife if it were likely that my water would break before labor again.  She said it was highly unlikely.  Only 10% of labors begin that way.  And sure enough I was in labor long before my water broke.

At 8:30 I started feeling crampy while I was getting my oldest son ready for preschool.  After I dropped him off, I went with my middle son to the store for a while.  We ambled around Target for about an hour when I noticed the cramping feeling had turned into contractions.  They were basically painless except for a band of burning across my lower back that was very similar feeling to period cramps.  We checked out and headed home.  Before leaving I texted my husband that I was feeling crampy - just a heads up.  I figured the contractions would stop once I was sitting down.  But even after I got home and sat for about an hour, they were still coming.  There wasn't much time to think about it, I had to get my son from school.  As we were leaving the school the pain began to pick up.  Probably because of the activity (and because my boys were acting like crazy people running all over the place).  In the car I called my husband to tell him that I was pretty sure it was labor and he called his mother to come over and help me until I was ready for him to come home.  

My poor boys only had pudding cups for lunch before my mother-in-law showed up at 1 pm.  I decided to take a nap and see if I could get the contractions to stop (I was still not 100% certain it was really labor).  But after a half hour of laying there, and the contractions not lessening in intensity, I called my husband to come home and got up.  My father-in-law showed up about that time.  Then my husband came home.  I had finally timed my contractions and they were 5-10 minutes apart.  They weren't that regular and weren't super painful.  I called the midwife and she basically told me that when I felt like I was ready to call and come on in.  In the mean time do what felt right, be that taking a walk to get things moving, or take a nap to get up my energy for later.  I decided to take a shower.

Well, that must have been the magic key.  I wasn't in there for long, but by the time I had gotten myself clean I was certainly feeling strong contractions.  I had to call my husband to help me get dressed.  I we got the last of our stuff together (I still managed to forget some stuff because I thought I had another week to pack my bag), and left for the birth center, calling the midwife from the car to tell her we were on the way.

Once there they checked me and I was 4 cm.  I labored on an exercise ball for 2 hours and they checked me again and I was still just 5 cm.  Even though the pain was completely manageable this news had me so discouraged.  I had been anticipating a very quick labor for my entire pregnancy and here I was at just 5 cm having been in active labor for more than 5 hours (remember my last labor was 5 hours 20 minutes from first contraction to baby).  Now I was envisioning labor continuing for another 5 hours or more. 

They drew me a bath and I got in.  I became very whinny and pathetic at this point.  The midwife this time offered the Stadol saying it won't do much for the pain, but it would make me sleepy and rest in between contractions.  Or, she said, she could break my water and speed things up.  The Stadol option didn't appeal to me.  What use was getting sleepy in between contractions?  I was already sleepy!  As for breaking my water, I already knew I didn't want that after my last labor with my water broken was so intense.  I continued to whine for a little while before common sense finally took over and a very strong and assertive voice in the back of my head demanded that I get it together, it's only one freaking day out of your whole life, deal with it.  I took the advice.  I cleared my mind, got up out of the tub, and asked for them to break my water.

Then something kinda cool happened.  They asked the student midwife to break my water, and she couldn't do it.  The midwife told me that either she could do it herself or I could just go on because I was now 7-8 cm.  SEVEN TO EIGHT?!  Heck yeah!!  I cannot tell you how happy I was at that news or what a rockstar I felt like!  It was only an hour since they told me I was 5 cm.  Nothing was going to get me down after that.  Some people scream and break down during transition, I was giggling and cracking jokes.  I'm not kidding!  A half hour later my water broke on it's own with a tiny trickle.  A half hour after that I was ready to push.  

My contractions stopped for about 5 minutes after I was complete.  They said it was my body giving me a break.  Thanks, Body!  You rock.  Then I pushed through three contractions that were 5 minutes apart.  The second push came with a second rupture of membranes and a huge gush of water.  One more push, and he was here.  It was 8:02 pm. His cord was too  short for them to put him on my chest so for the first few minutes I could just stare down at the top of his head until they cut the cord.  His hair was lighter than his brothers' at birth.  When I pulled him up to my chest and looked at him I thought about what a little stranger he was.  He looked like his oldest brother mostly, a little like the middle one.  I stared at him for several minutes before feeling a wave of love and I teared up and told him I loved him and kissed him.  

I had no tears at all, and no complications during or after birth.  It was a perfect birth.  If I could have asked for a better birth experience I only would have asked that his brothers could have come to meet him right away. They stayed home since it was late for them.  In fact the only one who came to the birth center to meet him this time was my mom.  Perfect because she didn't get to see my other two right after they were born.  

We went home the next morning.

The boys were amazing with their new brother.  Then and since.  I've really been blessed by how smoothly this transition has gone.  My family is so supportive and helpful.  My mom stayed with us for a few days, and my in-laws have looked after the boys when I needed them after my husband went back to work.  My amazing friends brought me a weeks worth of dinners.  It's good to feel loved!