June 9, 2009 11:04 am
7.6 lbs, 20.5" long
7.6 lbs, 20.5" long
After 42+ weeks (15 days late) our little boy has finally arrived!
Last Tuesday morning around 4:45 am R-man came and hopped into bed with us. As I peered at the clock and saw that it was almost 5:00 am I thought that for sure I was going to have to endure yet another day of being pregnant! I had one contraction around 6:15 that I was able to pretty much ignore and fell back asleep. However, at 6:45 another one came that was fairly intense. I got up and went to the bathroom then went back to bed, figuring it was nothing.
Oh boy, was I wrong!! Just eight minutes later another one came... then another eight minutes... and another eight minutes. I semi-woke up Jer, letting him know that something was going on, and I headed upstairs to make my protein shake. After a few more contractions I knew my body wasn't messing around and I called my mom to tell her that I thought today would be the lucky day! A few more contractions after that and I thought that it would be a good idea for Jer to get up and start getting things ready- after all, the plastic sheet and dingy (clean, but old!) top sheet needed to be put on the bed and the birth tub needed to be filled with a little more air, among other things... if this indeed was labor.
We decided I should try to take a bath to see if the contractions would slow, but after one contraction sitting in the tub I knew that the bath was pointless (and sitting down was excruciating), so I passed on filling up the bath the rest of the way and opted for a shower. By this time I knew this was the real thing... my husband however (I am sure remembering the numerous times I had experienced intense prelabor this pregnancy) decided to ask me the question, "Do you really think this is going to last?" To which I believe me response (as I was squatting and moaning on the floor of the shower) was, "Shut up!" He got the hint and insisted I leave the shower so there would be enough water to fill the birth tub pretty much right away!
As soon as I got out of the shower I called our midwife (Dana- who lives an hour and a half north of us) and told her she might want to think about coming down- "No hurry," I told her- after all, my first labor had been 21 hours (granted- he was posterior), but I didn't think the baby was going to come flying out or anything! She told me that she would go feed her animals and then be on her way into town, just in case.
By this time R-man was up and needed to have some breakfast, so I went up stairs and poured him a bowl of cereal between very intense contractions, put on PBS morning cartoons and called both my doulas (Jen and Sharon) and my good friend (Christa) who was coming to help with R-man- they all said they would come as soon as they could. In the mean time Jer finished getting things ready while I kind of had to go it alone for a while.
Pretty soon labor was much too intense for me to handle by myself, but luckily that was about the time that Jer was finished with everything as well, so he could hold me and rub my back as we "danced" through contractions. This was also about the time (10:00ish) that Jen and Christa showed up- so, at least I knew that R-man was taken care of and I also had the support of a woman. Jen was invaluable in helping me keep my tones low as I was moaning, and also keep my face and arms relaxed. At this point I was moving around a lot, trying to find the most comforatble possition to labor in, and hands and knees seemed to be best. Jen suggested I lean over our birth ball to take the pressure off my arms and it helped so much!
During one of these contractions I felt like I needed to stand up and as I did I could feel the baby's head decend into the birth canal (but didn't recognize that that was what was happening at the time) and proceeded to have the longest contraction EVER! Seriously- it had to be 3-4 minutes of an unrelenting contraction! I then went back onto hands and knees and was experiencing so much pressure during contraction I just couldn't believe it! I had never experienced this feeling with R-man because he had been posterior and didn't decend the same way at all!
I asked Jen if she would go and make me some peanut butter toast as I was beginning to feel shaky and thought I could use a boost. As soon as she headed up stairs I stood back up and started having a contractions that I didn't think I could handle! I told Jer that I just couldn't do it any more- it was too intense and there was so stinkin' much pressure! He told me that I could do it and that I was almost done (which made me angry because I thought I was nowhere near delivery and that he was just being cruel to tease me like that!). I got into the tub before the next contraction (which I should have done a LOT earlier because it so completely altered the intensity of the contractions!) and with the next contraction I involuntarily started pushing (and screeming) and felt the gush of my water breaking.
I guess a few minutes before this happened my midwife had arrived and was upstairs talking with Jen while she was making my toast. She asked Jen if she thought she had enough time to come down and say hello before she went out to get her birth kit. Jen said she thought that would be fine but as they were on their way down the stairs they heard my scream/grunt/push and realized that things were happening faster than any of us had anticipated (well, okay- maybe I was the only one who didn't expect to have quite this fast of a labor- all the women had thought it would probably be quick, just maybe not this quick!)! Dana ran out to her car to get her things and Jen ran downstairs to help me.
The pressure and feeling of my pelvic floor and perineum expanding were so intense and so different from what I had experienced with R-man (my perineum had been numb as he decended because I was given an episiotomy) that I didn't think I could handle it. It seemed the only way I could cope with the feeling was with a lot of screeming! Dana, however, helped me focus and told me to direct that energy downward, which really helped me get a grip and make some progress. They helped me move over to the seat at one end of the tub and I pushed with my body's natural urge during each of the contractions that followed. At last Sharon showed up as well (she had had a babysitter disaster and had to drive way out of town to have her kids looked after- bummer!) and brought her calming presence into the room!
They all encouraged me to reach down and feel the baby's head so that I could control how I was pushing and avoid tearing as much as possible. Jer helped to hold me up and I reached down and felt a head full of hair emerging! It was so amazing- I could feel him moving all around before the next contraction, rotating for his shoulders to come out! With the next contraction he was born (at 11:04- just over 4 hours of labor!)! He floated out into the water and Jer scooped him up and brought him to my chest! I looked right away to see what he was- a boy! A beautiful baby boy -even though my pregnancy had been so different, he was, indeed, a boy!!
Jer scooping Lion Cub out of the water
Jer held us both up and I stuttered in amazement that my labor was over so quickly and that I had actually done it! R-man and Christa ran into the room and R-man was saying "My baby brother or sister is here! Mama needs to nurse him!" (he still gets confused sometimes that we can just call the baby his "brother" and not "brother or sister" anymore!) R-man also wanted to get in the tub pretty badly, but we told him I would be getting out very soon!
R-man- upset that he could't get in the tub!
I delivered the placenta after 13 minutes. Jer then cut the cord and took off his shirt so he could hold Lion Cub skin to skin while I moved to the bed. All the women helped me out of the tub and onto the bed where I was shaking like crazy- partially from shock and cold, and partially from not having had a chance to eat my peanut butter toast yet! I finally was able to eat it and get a little recharged before I took Lion Cub back and nursed him for the first time. It was so wonderful and sweet to have our whole familiy there in our bed, treasuring these first minutes together!
Lion Cub checked out absolutely perfectly, weighing in at 7.6 lbs- just 4 more ounces than his big brother, but 2 1/2" longer! He had long nails (which quickly got cut!) and a cute little hairy back and ears (definitely comes from our family with all that hair!)! He is a very content baby (so different from R-man) and really only cries during a bath or diaper change! By six days old he is mimicking faces we make (try it with your newborn- it is the coolest thing!) and even laughing in his sleep! He is the perfect little addition to our family and we couldn't be more thrilled!
I came out of the birth in pretty good shape, all things considered! I had thought that I would probably tear badly since I had had an episiotomy previously, however I ended up only getting two small tears that are much more bearable to deal with than a surgical cut! My tail bone is still pretty sore but the back pain and rib problems I was having during pregnancy are almost gone completely! It is nice to finally feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel for my body to feel normal again!
Our overall transition is going better than I thought it would as well. R-man really loves his new little brother and is even very supportive of me nursing him (something I had been worried about)! For the most part he has been very patient and understanding, and I think he would be even more so if he hadn't come down with a cold two days ago (poor guy!). I am sure it is hard for him to not have quite as much one-on-one attention from mama while he is sick! Jer has been such a huge help to me in this first week- he is a great husband and daddy and I am so glad that he was here for the birth (he definitely wouldn't have made it if he had still been working out of town!).
Our whole experience has been so completely opposite of my first birth. Our family was able to feel so nurtured and cared for by those we know and love during the process and we never want to do it any other way! It was also so crazy to have everything go so quickly! In the end, Jen was there for just over and hour, Dana for about 15 minutes, and Sharon for about 5! I never DREAMED everything would go so fast! The ease and normalness that all of my birth attendants brought to the birth was so wonderful and their complete trust in what my body was capable of was invaluable to my success! I really can't ever thank them enough!
Thank you all so much for your support and encouragement over the last few weeks. It has been a difficult (and painful) wait but at last we have our prize!