Here's a little pic I took during our first night in the hospital. I think he's pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself!
I really feel so much better now that we are home and able to get some rest. I will try to get my birth story written and posted soon, but I'm still trying to catch up on everything!
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Okay, so I promised you all a birth story...and then I up and disappeared for 2 weeks! :p It's been a little harder than I expected to find times when I actually have 2 hands free to type, and actually, I'm still holding Josiah right now...just propped up in such a way that I can still reach the keyboard! :) Anyway, I'll give you a condensed version...because the one I wrote down for myself was like a novel! (I wanted to put in as many details as I could remember since we didn't do a video or take pics during my labor.)
Anyway, I started having regular contrax Fri. afternoon (Oct. 29), and timed them at 5-6 min. apart at 4:30 pm. They were uncomfortable and I was already feeling them in my back, but they weren't bad enough to stop my from doing my normal routine. Earlier in the day I had cleaned the bathrooms and done some general tidying up around the house as well as made a big pot of chili and some cornbread for me and DH. Looking back, I guess that was my final burst of nesting energy, and I'm thankful I was able to get those things done! Throughout Friday evening, my contrax continued to be regular and about 5 min. apart, getting a little more uncomfortable but still quite manageable. I also had been having an increasing amount of bloody show throughout the day. That night I was unable to sleep from a combination of the discomfort of back labor and anxiety over whether this was really "it" or not. In hindsight, I really should have tried harder to get some rest, but I didn't know what the next 24 hours would bring! Instead, I paced the house reading, played solitaire on the computer and timed contrax on and off all night. By morning, when I was walking around they were about 3 minutes apart, so DH and I decided it was time to get to the hospital. We had no idea how quickly things would progress, and never having been in labor before, I couldn't tell if I was in active labor or not.
We checked in to the hosp. around 7:30 am, and I was immediately hooked up to the monitors to see how my contrax and baby were doing. However, after 2 hours of alternating walking around and being monitored, it appeared that my labor was not progressing quickly enough for them to admit me. My contrax were about 4 min. apart, and my cervix was still only dilated 2 cm and 50% effaced. So, I was sent home...I was so frustrated, both at myself for coming to the hosp. too soon and at the nurses for sending me home. But I think this was also a catalyst that got active labor going for me in some way, since when we got home I was too nauseous to eat the breakfast we had picked up on the way home and in too much pain to think about anything except getting through each contraction. I don't really remember the several hours I spent laboring at home, but DH said it was miserable. I know that at that point I still hadn't figured out quite how to relax through each contraction, and the pain in my lower back was worse than any I had ever felt. Finally, I started to doubt whether I could really handle the pain and questioned my determination to have a drug-free birth. I also had some very bright red bloody show that concerned me, so we decided it was time to head back to the hospital, even though my contrax never really got any closer than 3 min. apart.
This time we arrive around 2:30pm, and my friend D. who was going to act as my doula met us at the hospital. When I was finally admitted and given a room, I also finally started to get the hang of relaxing through my contrax, which was good thing since they were getting stronger all the time. I tried laboring in some different positions...standing and leaning against DH while D. pressed on my back, sitting and rocking on a birth ball or the edge of the bed...but I was best able to relax lying on my side in bed. Perhaps it would have helped my labor move more quickly if I'd stayed upright longer, but the pain was too much for me in those positions. And after the nurses offered to talk to the OB on-call about giving me stadol (sp?), I decided to just keep trying to work through the pain on my own. I really didn't want anything that might slow my labor more or give me a drugged baby in the end!
The next 7 hours are a blur...I'd always heard about back labor being bad, and it was. I also experienced hot and cold flashes and nausea throughout. Thankfully, though, I was able to stay hydrated without an IV and even ate a little bit of jello and pudding early on before the nausea got too bad. Finally, the nurse did one last check and told me that I was fully dilated and effaced. Even though I originally had planned to allow my water to break on its own and wait for my body to tell me when to push, I was too exhausted at this point to wait any longer. My midwife was not on call, so one of the OB's I'd never even met was the one to attend the birth. (But by that time I really didn't care anymore..I just wanted to be done and meet my baby!) So, he came in, broke my water, and with the next contraction I started pushing. It took my a while to figure out what it felt like to use the right muscles to push with, but I eventually got the hang of it. Because I was so tired and in no shape to argue, I ended up pushing only partially sitting up...another thing I had originally not planned on doing. Everyone kept saying that I was doing great and the baby would be out in the next couple pushes...but it seemed like those next couple pushes were never enough. Finally, at 10:40 pm, after 1 hour and 25 minutes and the most intense work I've ever done in my life, little Josiah James' head popped out with his warm body sliding out quickly afterwards! It was such a relief and rush of pride I felt when he was placed on my belly all wet and warm and slippery!
I was so relieved and excited to have him out that for a while I didn't even realize that I didn't have my glasses on and couldn't really see him all that well! :p But he was absolutely perfect! He only needed a little rubbing to get him crying a bit, and the nurse only suctioned out his mouth a little bit. I got to rub the vernix into his skin, which pinked up right away in spite of the fact that the doctor cut the cord pretty quickly after the birth (DH didn't want to do it...he had already handled all the gross stuff way better than he thought!) :) He also tugged my placenta right out, which I have to think might have had something to do with my blood loss afterward. I got to hold Josiah for a long time while I got all stitched up from my nasty tear. D. helped me get him latched on to nurse for the first time, and he did really well seeing as neither of us had ever done that before! (He is nursing great now, latching on quickly and solidly at ever feeding!) Eventually, I handed him off to DH to hold for a little while and watch while Josiah was weighed and measured. Later on I got to give him his first little sponge bath and get him all dressed and swaddled. :) I did have to have IV fluids after the birth because I lost so much blood and almost passed out when the nurses took me to use the bathroom. Thankfully that was the only thing they had to give me aside from some extra iron (which I am still taking). Josiah slept alot while we were in the hospital, but I didn't...so I was very glad to get to come home Monday morning and get some much needed rest.
Next time around, I really hope I'll be able to have a home birth with a good midwife instead of the hospital. It was not a bad experience overall, but it could have been better at home. Regardless, I have the sweetest baby boy I could ever have imagined, and I am overwhelmed with how much I love him. And I am still very proud of myself for having the natural birth I really wanted. :)
:joy Good for you for having the natural birth you wanted and having a wonderful baby boy! I'm sorry about them pulling your placenta out, though. I remember that with my first three births...*shudder*.
AP Mom to 5