My son Elliott Taylor Schwartz was born yesterday! He was born 1/10/15 at 5:51 am. He measured 8 lbs, 8.5 oz and is 23 inches long (he's got long skinny legs)! He's healthy and eager to nurse. I feel so happy and grateful.
The birth of my first son was a week early and took place over the course of a few days, so I was surprised when Elliott decided to wait til he was past due and come swiftly in a few hours.
I had been feeling some crampiness and very mild contractions off and on for the last few weeks, and had a tiny bit of spotting occasionally. Every time I would have a bout of contractions I would eagerly wait for them to pick up and be disappointed when they faded away.
My due date was last Tuesday (1/6). I had a midwife appointment Friday morning. The midwife said the baby was very low and offered to sweep my membranes in the hopes of getting things started. In the process she was excited to discover that I was 3 to 4 cm dilated already and she could stretch me to a 5 or 6. She gave me hope that the baby would arrive sooner rather than later and that all those mild contractions were actually doing lots of good work.
After the appointment I took a walk and felt the continued crampiness/contractions I'd felt the last few weeks. These sensations stuck around all afternoon. I felt like something might be happening, but didn't want to get my hopes up in case they dropped off like they had before.
I called my midwife in the late afternoon to let her know how I was feeling. She suggested coming on over to the city (I live on a rural island outside Seattle, only accessible by a 20 minute ferry ride. There are no hospitals here. My plan was to deliver at a birth center in Seattle). She thought then I could relax and have dinner and see if things intensified, as opposed to waiting around and then being surprised. There's also a gap in the ferry schedule in the middle of the night, so we didn't want to risk missing a chance to get across the water.
We dropped off our son at a friend's house on the island, headed to my brother's house in Seattle and had dinner, watched tv, tried to relax. The contractions seemed more frequent, but weren't lasting long and weren't very painful at all. If I was distracted, I almost didn't notice them. They continued like this all evening, and even started to fade a bit, so my husband and I decided to go to bed (at my brother's) around midnight. I felt a bit disappointed, thinking this was a false alarm.
About 1:30 am I was awakened by a painful contraction. I started paying attention to see if they continued. They did seem to get more painful and were coming fairly close together. I woke my husband, called the midwife and doula, and we headed to the birth center.
We got to the birth center at about 3:00 am after a very uncomfortable car ride. The contractions continued to pick up. My doula and midwife were amazing and supportive. I started to have back labor like I had had with my first son and it just got more and more intense. A little after 5 am I went into the birth tub, which felt wonderful. The contractions really picked up then. My doula rubbed my back and the midwife faced me, cheering me on. My husband had been napping on the bed...he was expecting things to go much more slowly like with our first baby, so I don't think he even realized how close we were! We called him over and he held my hand.
I began squatting and could feel the baby moving down, which was exciting because I don't remember sensing that with my first son. Suddenly the bag of waters broke and then there was no stopping little Elliott from making his arrival! My midwife encouraged me to do what my body wanted to do...I really let go and in just a few pushes he was out!
My midwife gave me a precautionary shot of pitocin to discourage too much bleeding (I had a small hemorrhage with the last baby and this was a fear I'd carried to this birth). This worked great -- I felt much more relaxed during labor knowing we had a plan, and I really didn't have too much bleeding.
There was some meconium in the bag of waters, but Elliott was/is fine -- the midwife didn't even need to suction him. She thinks this may have been because he was a little past due; the placenta also had some calcification. He hadn't shown any signs of distress during labor and seems very healthy.
Elliott started nursed pretty quickly without much problem. We ate some food and rested for a while. Unfortunately you can't stay overnight at birth centers here for insurance reasons, so we left and headed for home around 10:30 am. Things have been going well at home besides the normal sleep deprivation and soreness. Our toddler seems both excited and anxious to have a little baby in the house. I think he will be our real challenge this time around
I feel extremely grateful, relieved, and happy to have had such a smooth experience with Elliott. I still can't believe he was inside me just a couple days ago. Birth is such a surreal and beautiful thing!
Thanks for reading, and happy births to you all!