My husband, Jason, and I are so overjoyed to announce the arrival of Riis Porter Shaeffer! He is our first baby and we are in love.
Born Thursday, August 21 at 7:46pm
8 lbs 1 oz
22 in long
His first name is pronounced like "Reese".
"Riis" is a Danish spelling and comes from his ancestor on my husband's side, Jacob Riis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_Riis
I had approximately a 42 hour labor (22 hours unmedicated at home, and 20 hours in the hospital with an epidural), and eventually had to have a C-section. It was not as expected, but I also knew going in that births often do not go according to plan.
My hope was that I would be able to labor at home as long as possible and also at the hospital with little to no intervention, with the assistance of my husband and our doula. At home, my labor started around midnight. My husband and I were still up watching TV and at first things started out feeling vaguely crampy, but after an hour progressed to more distinct contractions. I tried to go to bed but sleep was impossible, so my husband stayed up with me and massaged me as I moaned through each contraction. At this point they were irregular but growing in strength. By morning, we called our doula and she came over to help. I labored at home throughout the day- in the tub, on the birthing ball, laying on the couch- and everything just got more and more intense, though I knew I was still in early labor. One crazy thing that drove me to want to leave home was that I had the bad luck of having the city pave our street THAT DAY. Yes, while I was laboring there were literally jack hammers and cement trucks right in front of my house.
When I went to the hospital, I was just 3 cm dilated and there was some question as to whether or not I should go back home. This was around 5pm last Tuesday, and I had started labor around 12am-1am that morning, so hadn't slept since Monday morning. I was also 40 + 6 so the admitting physician went ahead and admitted me.
I was so tired and wanted to sleep, but still wanted to avoid an epidural so agreed to try "sleep morphine". It didn't exactly work since my contractions were coming every 4 minutes so I would doze for a few minutes, then get woken up by a contraction.
Around 10pm I was exhausted and couldn't face the idea of staying up even longer with the pain, so I decided to get an epidural. For me, it was a good decision because I finally got some pain relief and importantly could sleep for the first time in over 24 hrs (as could my husband).
A friend had told me once you start with one intervention, you tend to have others. This was my case. They checked me at 4am and I was 4cm dilated. The doctors suggested pitocin. I figured since I already had the epidural, I would be able to manage the more intense contractions associated with pitocin. I labored throughout the day and by early afternoon I was still just at 5cm. They measured my contractions and they were strong and steady at every 2 minutes. We also discovered that the baby had, for the first time in my pregnancy, turned OP and was face presenting!
At this point, a doctor came to speak to me and told me that they did not want to increase the pitocin since that would likely stress my uterus and the baby. She also felt that the baby was not going to come out vaginally and they wanted to do a c-section.
I felt like I'd been hit by a ton of bricks! The news was a shock and I started to cry. One weird thought that instantly popped in my head was, "They are telling me I can't deliver this baby? If this had been 100 years ago, would me and by baby have died in childbirth??!!" It was a lot to take in.
I talked it over with my husband. I was weary, defeated, and just wanted the birth to be done and our baby to be safe. I was terrified to have the surgery but decided it was the best thing.
When they wheeled me into the OR, I was shaking with nerves, but all the doctors were patient and kind. I remember they were listening to 80s music and I thought, "Is this normal?". My husband arrived to hold my hand and encourage me. The c-section itself was fast and I felt no discomfort or pressure. I hated feeling numb, though.
Then finally they said, "Are you ready to meet your baby?" The anesthesiologist said to my husband, "Do you want to stand up and see?". My husband stood up and I remember seeing this really still look come over his face and was just hoping he wasn't going to pass out and land on me (apparently they usually never ask the birth partners if they want to look over the drape). So, my husband got to see them pull our son from my body. And though I don't remember, he says that the song "I'm Every Woman" was playing in the background at the moment our son was born!
I remember the doctors holding him up in front of me- he was screaming his head off right when he came out! Then they put him on my chest. It was amazing. My husband had to hold him on my chest, though, because I was shaking violently (probably from adrenaline, hormones, anesthesia, etc.), and I couldn't stop moving my arms and gripping at things to steady myself. My teeth were chattering and my tongue was so thick I could barely talk, and this lasted for the rest of the time I was in the OR. But, the baby started to root and made his way to my breast to immediately try to suckle!
Probably 30 minutes later I went back to my room to recover, and my mom and our doula were there. I felt so proud and happy. Now it didn't matter what the birth process was, as long as my baby was here.
Now we are home for our second night, and are dealing with sleep deprivation, trying to soothe a crying baby, and all the other trappings of new parenthood. These things are complicated, however, by the pain I am having from surgery. My husband is doing most of the work and I feel like I can't completely mother my new baby the way I want to, because I am having difficulty moving and am very slow. I am also still waiting for my milk to come in, and we have been supplementing with formula. That has been a challenge because it is tempting to just continue with the formula, but I hope I can make the breastfeeding work because I think it's the best thing for him and me.
Thank you for reading this post and especially if you made it through my birth story. I am still processing everything but mostly we are just in awe of our baby boy. I welcome any words of wisdom from those who had births that took unexpected turns, and especially any words of encouragement for making breastfeeding work. Or, if breastfeeding didn't work out, I would like to hear about that too.
Best to all and I hope you are enjoying your little ones if they have already arrived. It has been good sharing this journey with everyone on the forum these past months