I was a horrible due date club member as I mostly lurked but wanted to announce the arrival of our sweet girl (team green) Reese Joy. She came almost two weeks ago on 2/27 at 2:27 am :), can't believe she's that old already! She was 8lbs 11oz and 20 1/2 inches long. Having three kids is crazy...that's for sure but I've never recovered so fast from a birth and never had a better nurser! Here is my story as posted to my friends and family on FB...
I started to write down Reese's birth story as a letter to her in my journal and realized to include every detail I want to share with her when she's grown it was going to be very long! Since that is taking a while and I have been asked by many people for her birth story I'm putting the short (haha, it's not really short) version here.
Saturday I was 42 weeks and had contractions all day. We spent the day as a family, I really enjoyed being out with our kids and with Nick. Even though my contractions were inconsistent and not yet painful I had a feeling we shouldn't keep the kids with us overnight. I thought if I didn't have to worry about caring for them my body would feel the freedom from responsibility and I would go into labor. That evening we dropped the kids off at my parents, went to Panera and enjoyed dinner just the two of us and walked around best buy. I was right in my thinking: as soon as the kids were with my parents my contractions became more regular. We got a movie at best buy and went home to watch it. While the contractions were more regular and hurt a little they were not consistent enough to call labor and certainly weren't painful. If I needed to I could easily walk and talk through them. At 10:30 we went to bed. I was afraid of waking up in the morning once again disappointed because I wasn't in labor. I was wrong!
Two hours later at 12:30 I woke up with my first PAINFUL contraction. Our condo was cold and I was shaking horribly which made it hard to use my relaxation. Right away I was afraid that I wasn't handling things well and that I was being a big wuss. I had two natural births in my past and didn't understand why it was hurting so bad already. I got warmed up which helped me but I rushed Nick to finish packing our bags and kept telling him we would need to leave for the hospital soon. He was a wonderful coach and part of his job was to keep me at home as long as possible. This was my desire...I hate being in the hospital and all the things they tie you down with. I wanted the freedom to labor naturally in my own space and Nick tried his best to remind me of that. Despite his best efforts of telling me it wasn't time, my contractions weren't long enough, we hadn't been having them long enough to see if they would go away I argued it was time to go. He called cousin Barb who had always been our trusty doula and she agreed we were very far away from going to the hospital. During all this with each contraction I would relax, take deep breaths, I liked standing and just swaying my hips, I called it my dance. We packed, I tried to distract myself with the computer, we timed contractions and I argued more that we had to go to the hospital. Looking back it feels like it was 15 minutes. Everything was so rushed and fast. From the time I woke up the contractions were 1 1/2 to 2 minutes apart but never got longer then 45 seconds..most were around 30 seconds. Not long enough to really do anything...right?
About an hour after the first contraction I followed my intuition and insisted we go to the hospital. I think Nick was disappointed but didn't try and talk me out of it anymore. We got in the truck and took off. In between contractions I called my mom, spoke to the doctor, and called Barb. Contractions were still close together but still very short. They were intense though, I vocalized a lot through them...and around Shell Beach the vocalizing turned into grunting and the grunting into pushing. Nick who had been coaching me the whole time we drove told me not to fight the contractions, to breath deep and relax. I said "I'm not fighting them, I'm pushing" His response was "Well don't push!!" With each contraction the urge to push was greater and I couldn't control it. At one point I told him to pull over because the baby was coming out (it's hard to tell how fast you are progressing sitting in a truck!) and he said no and started driving a lot faster. I pushed just enough to work with what my body was doing and control the pain. I could feel her moving down and as each contraction ended I could feel her head retract just a bit. By the time we got off the freeway I could feel her descending and knew we were a push or two from crowning. We pulled up in front of the ER and ran inside, they brought me a wheelchair. I told them I couldn't sit in it, the baby was crowing. I braced myself on the arms of the wheelchair, squatted down right inside the ER door and pushed...I could feel her crowing and yelled about it burning. The ER nurse told me I had to get on the gurney, I explained I couldn't do that with a head between my legs and she (almost) yelled at me to do it anyway. I got up and they wheeled me as fast as they could down the hall. Nick stood there for a second not sure what to do about the car...I yelled back at him "Don't leave me, our baby is coming out" A nurse took his keys to move the truck for him and he joined me in the race down the hall. They got me into a delivery room, I pointed out somebody should get my pants off. Nick did so and with one more push her head was out. The nurse told me to keep pushing and I couldn't...had to wait for the next contraction. It came and I yelled with all my might, pushed with all my might and there she was! Everyone just looked at her for a second and I asked to hold my baby. They put her on my chest and I fell in love. Nick checked to see what we had and announced "It's a girl!" I was overjoyed! She was delivered by two nurses on the gurney just inside the door of the delivery room. She was born two hours after the start of labor.
It was an amazing experience. Coaching myself through pushing and being the only one knowing how much progress was being made was incredible. I experienced birth in a way I never had before, with no one telling me what was going on or instructing me (except Nick's comforting words) I just listened to my body and gave into what it told me to do. I have felt amazing ever since. While it was a little scary to push on the freeway I wouldn't change her story a bit. Birth was meant to be experienced, I loved not being monitored, or plugged into an IV. I loved pushing when my body said push, not when someone told me to. I loved bringing her into the world with freedom to do so in whatever way I wanted!
Bonding with her started as soon as I was pregnant. It continued at the end of my first trimester when I was bleeding and we were afraid of losing her, it got stronger as I felt her first kicks and as I shared those kicks with my loved ones. I bonded to her as I begged her to finally come out so I could meet her. But the bonding of her birth was much more powerful then all of that. Every pain that my body felt was getting closer to bringing her into our world and the feeling of her leaving my body and entering my arms is a feeling I will never forget and I am so grateful that I was able to experience it!
We had a photographer at the birth (well she made it as her body came out) here is a link to the pictures she blogged...