Friday, July 21, 2017

Our Birth Story

"Remember that time we packed our hospital bag thinking we were just being prepared, and our son was born 24 hours later?"

This is something we'll be saying for a long time to come, I'm sure.

For real, though – we had JUST packed our bag. Bryant said, “If we pack it now, he’ll come on time. If we don’t, he’ll come tomorrow.” And as he likes to say, now, "I was half right!"  Our baby boy gave us the best surprise by coming 18 days early, and we were so glad to get to meet him sooner than expected!

Here are the details for those of you are interested:

I woke up at about 1:00 a.m. thinking I was wetting the bed. I got up to go to the bathroom thinking, “Gosh – I’ve really lost all control…also, I haven’t peed this much in a long time!” (I’ve been known to have a “peanut” for a bladder when I’m not pregnant…so, when pregnancy squished that "peanut" in half (or more) get the idea.)

Anyway, I started to change the sheets, thinking the ordeal was over and I'd just go back to sleep (of course, we'd gone to bed later than usual that night).  Before I was able to wake Bryant, he rolled over, woke up from a dream, saw me out of bed with the sheets half off the bed, and said, "Woah!"  I told him what I thought had happened, but that the "pee" was still coming out.  Cue Google and a "how do I know my water is breaking" search.  All the while, I was still in denial.  Surely my water hadn't broken.  Surely we're not going to the hospital to check.  SURELY we won't be staying to have our son tonight!

Once Bryant was up for real, though, he was sure of what was happening and was in "go" mode right away.  He was so sweet to let me take time to shower, help get the sheets in the wash and put new ones on, make sure I ate something substantial, and tie up a few other loose ends (getting a b-day card in the mail, tidying up the kitchen counter, starting the dishwasher, etc....I wanted to do all the things!) before we left (because he knew we wouldn't be coming home for a couple days...I was still in denial, I think).

We checked in to the hospital around 4:30 a.m., and it was confirmed we were going to be having a baby that day!  My water had indeed broken (thank goodness I'd purchased some disposable underwear (lady diapers) on sale that week and had them handy to wear on the way...), and I was 80% effaced and dilated 2 cm.  We enjoyed a beautiful sunrise from our room and settled in to await the arrival of our son!

Around lunchtime, the contractions started to get more "uncomfortable," but my progress was kinda stuck at 95% and 4 cm.  So, around 3:45 p.m., they put me on a dose of Pitocin to "get things moving," since my water had already broken.  True to their warning, the Pitocin resulted in stronger and more productive contractions.  I had decided to go through labor and delivery without an epidural and had planned to not opt for any pain meds.  I'd hoped to use the Jacuzzi tub as a "last resort" sort of relief, but when I got to the point of asking to use it, the nurse kindly reminded me that I wasn't able to, since my water had already broken.  So, at that point, I went ahead and asked for a dose of pain meds in my IV, since that was my only option for a bit of relief.  Not too long after that, it was time to push (for ~26 mins.), and then, we were holding our son!

Backing up a bit to that whole labor process: wow.  I need to say first and foremost: I couldn't have done it without my husband.  From the time he woke up when I was changing the sheets to the delivery of our son, he was the BEST partner I could've asked for.  He had done a ton of research in preparation for our natural childbirth and had began coaching me on relaxation techniques several weeks prior.  When the time came to implement these techniques and tools, he was ready!  Not only did he provide his own constant encouragement, but he even asked several women in my life to write notes of encouragement/support/distraction to give me during the many hours of labor!  He knows me so well.

I wish I could put into words what an out-of-body experience it all was.  I truly felt like a crazy person for a few hours toward the end.  I just wanted to be able to hug and thank all the nurses for enduring the moaning/yelling/writhing hot mess I was, but literally, all I could do was not-super-kindly ask for various "needs" during that time (a hand to push, less pressure there, another pillow here, etc.).  I can't imagine what Bryant was thinking/feeling seeing me like that.

Perhaps the most special part of the whole process was our awesome doctor letting Bryant assist with the delivery - he got to be the very first person to hold our son!  What an amazing experience for him.  I have to say, I am a little embarrassed by my initial face after delivery.  I think I was just in shock that the many hours of labor were actually over and I wasn't in pain, and I was also in awe of the baby they were placing on my chest.  It really took me a couple minutes to come back to my right mind and wrap my head around what was happening.  It didn't take long, however, for the joy, amazement, and gratitude to set in - our son was here!

Another cool thing about the whole process: there was an EMT student who had asked to observe our birth.  When she asked if she could, my only question before agreeing was, "Can you take pictures?"  She was more than willing to do so, and she caught some truly amazing moments that we will cherish for a long, long time.  She was also willing to assist with my labor needs, which Bryant was extra thankful for.  He told me, "I never knew how (physically) strong you were!"  Needless to say, he was glad for an extra pair of hands.

Our hospital stay afterward was wonderful.  We had a few visitors, but were also able to spend quality time together as a new family of three!  The nurses and staff were very helpful, caring, and encouraging the whole time.  They made sure all our questions were answered - even ones we didn't know to ask - and ensured our health and comfort during our entire stay.

Though I missed out on playing in a July 4th band concert (don't worry - we listened to "Stars and Stripes Forever" on the way to the hospital to make up for it) and the fireworks show afterward, we got to watch some firework displays from the floor-to-ceiling windows in our third floor hospital room.  It was a really special night!

So, there you have it!  Thanks for being interested and reading.  Hopefully, it wasn't TMI for ya.  ☺

Recovering well,

Favorites of the day:
the Moby wrap I scored at a garage sale
flowers from Baby Jacob ☺
meals and treats from friends and family - thank you!

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