Lucy's Birth Day! (alternate title: I can't believe I did that!)
"The moment a child is born, a mother is born also. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new." -- Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
So I had a baby! Two whole weeks & a couple days ago now! How is that even possible??
I really could not have asked for a better labor and delivery experience. It was the hardest thing I've ever done, yet it really wasn't nearly as bad as I expected at the same time.... if that makes sense. ha! But it went about as perfectly as a birth can go, I think! I was so nervous about birthing a baby but if I knew it would always go the way it did I'd have 10 babies! Sorry for the crazy long post, but I want to remember all the details. :)
My contractions started around 6:45 Saturday night (the 12th). I remember thinking that some of them were a little uncomfortable, but as I'd been having contractions for literally months now, I really didn't think anything of it. I was still so convinced I'd be pregnant forever that I still really didn't think this was it. Once they kept on for a couple hours I started timing them. On average they were about 7-9 minutes apart, but some were 3-5 minutes and none were more than 12. I finally started thinking that this could possibly be real, and that if it was I should probably get some sleep because tomorrow would be a really long day.
Around 10 or 11 I tried to go to bed... and quickly realized that sleep was definitely not happening. I was way too uncomfortable. It wasn't excruciating or anything, just annoying enough that I couldn't actually get comfortable and fall asleep. Josh finally went to bed around midnight to try to get a little sleep, but by 3:00am I was fairly convinced I was in labor so I woke him up again to get ready. I called my doctor because I wasn't sure when I was supposed to go to the hospital, and he suggested taking a bath to help me relax & ease the pain, and also said if it was false labor it would probably stop in the tub. Well, it didn't stop and by that point we had clocked an hour and a half of contractions about 3-5 minutes apart.
Even with all these clues - now about 9 hours of consistent contractions that were getting closer together and more intense, plus the fact that it was my due date - I was still half way convinced that it wasn't real labor and we'd get to the hospital and they'd laugh at me and tell me to go home.
We decided to head to the hospital at 5am. The nurse checked me and said I was only 2cm dilated. They called my doctor who said to let me walk around for an hour and see if that progressed things, but said they'd most likely send me home to labor until things got more intense. At least I knew I was really in labor, so I was kind of excited about the prospect of going home because I hadn't eaten anything since dinner the night before and was hoping to grab some breakfast on the way. Priorities.
After my hour of walking was up, our new nurse (thank the good Lord for shift changes - she was AMAZING and I'm so thankful she was my labor & delivery nurse!) checked me again and said I was 3-4cm, but she could "help me out" if I wanted to stay. "Stay?" I asked, (still contemplating whether or not I'd rather stay & get this party started or go home & get some breakfast). Apparently she didn't take it as a question though. All of a sudden she said I was 5cm and not going home because it's BABY DAY!
I cried when she said it was baby day! It all seemed to happen so fast and now it was real that we were going to meet our baby, and we were going to meet her TODAY. So many emotions! They admitted us, we got a room, and they said Dr. Wright would be there soon to break my water. By this point it was probably around 8am.
I requested a room with a tub because I knew I wanted to try to do it naturally. I went into it thinking I'd do as much as I could without any interventions, but was open to whatever had to happen to get my baby here safely. Obviously I had no idea what labor felt like, so if it got crazy and I needed an epidural, then great. It was just that the thought of someone jabbing a giant needle into my spine really freaked me out and I know several people who have had bad experiences with them that I wanted to avoid. Truth be told though, I honestly thought I'd end up getting an epidural.. I'm usually a giant wimp when it comes to pain. But I told my nurse (Kelly) my thoughts, and she said I could totally do it naturally if I wanted to - she said it's a mindset - and that she would do whatever she could to help me do it.
So, we got in our room and kind of just hung out for awhile waiting for the doctor. My mom showed up shortly after. At this point the contractions were pretty dang uncomfortable, but I just held Josh's hand through them and concentrated on breathing correctly. Josh and Kelly would tell me to just take them 30 seconds at a time and then they would be over. Knowing that the pain wasn't going to last very long helped me get through them. Kelly also kept saying "pain equals progress"... she told me each contraction was moving the baby down and helping her get ready for birth, so knowing there was a purpose to it kept me focused. I was surprised by how much these two things really helped me.
After awhile, Dr. Wright still hadn't shown up to break my water (he had gone to church since it was Sunday morning!) so we were just progressing things along on our own. We walked the halls, I bounced on the birth ball, tried a million positions in the bed (anything but laying down!), we did squats... eventually Kelly came in and said after the next time I went to the bathroom, she wanted me to straddle the toilet backwards. I thought that was weird but did as she said... it was slightly uncomfortable (although I'm pretty sure everything was slightly uncomfortable by that point) but I managed to get into position, with Josh by my side, rubbing my back through each contraction. The next thing I know we hear a trinkle into the toilet and I didn't put two and two together to realize it was my water breaking! Josh thought I was being rude and peeing in front of the nurse... as if that would be the most embarrassing thing she sees me do all day. Ha! (Fun fact, the nurse does accompany you to the bathroom for the first time post-delivery, so she ended up seeing me pee that day anyway!)
Anyway, my water broke on its own! Holy crap this is happening! I remember being so amazed and happy that my body had done what it needed to do on its own, but was also really nervous because I knew that once the water broke things would get more intense.
And they did. Oh boy, they did!
My water broke sometime between 1 and 1:30pm. Shortly after that happened, I remember feeling so uncomfortable that I wanted everyone except Josh out of the room. Contractions went from bad but manageable to freaking awful with no way for me to get comfortable.
Kelly didn't want me to get in the tub until my water broke, so once it did they started getting the tub ready for me. She said I could labor in the tub as long as I wanted to, but once I felt like pushing I had to get out because delivering in the tub wasn't allowed. I was about 7cm when I got in and since she basically told me I could be in there until it was time to push, I figured I'd be in there awhile. The problem was, I couldn't get comfortable because I wasn't allowed to put my left hand in the water since it had the saline lock (an IV port in case of an emergency) in it. Not that being able to put my hand in the water would have made a huge difference in my comfort level anyway, but I remember being really ticked off about it. Ha!
It was dark in there with lots of little candles lit and I remember thinking if I didn't feel like a dying animal it would have been kind of romantic. I remembered learning in our birth class that some women vomit during labor but that was good because it helped push the baby down.... and of course, I was one of those women. So lovely. Not sure how, since I hadn't even eaten anything!
For some reason, the thought of getting an epidural never crossed my mind, but I do remember sitting in the tub and having to give myself a pep talk because I was just SO uncomfortable. I remember wondering how much longer this would go on and wondering if I could do it... and then I probably threw up again.
Looking back, I now know I was "transitioning" in the tub, so it makes sense to me now why I couldn't get comfortable, and why I was throwing up all the breakfast I didn't get to eat. Wait, what?
I'm not sure how long I was in the tub... it didn't feel like very long at all, but all of a sudden I got really hot and wanted out of the tub NOW. I was kind of hesitant to get out since I knew the water helped with the pain and I figured I still had several hours of laboring to do, but I just needed out right then for some reason. I figured I could always get back in later if I needed to.
Kelly checked me when I got out and said I was 10cm! I'm sorry, what?!?! I didn't even feel like pushing when I got out of the tub, I was just hot and uncomfortable... but all of a sudden she said all that was left to do was push!
I'm not sure exactly how long I pushed, all I know was that it was the worst pain I'd ever felt in my entire life. Once I started pushing I told Kelly that I really couldn't do it. At one point I freaked out and tried to climb up the back of the bed backwards. I'm surprised I didn't kick anyone in the face. If someone had offered me a c-section at that point I probably would have taken them up on it because I was literally not sure how I was going to do it!
Finally, Josh told me to just commit to three good pushes. So I psyched myself up and committed (I mean, I really had no other choice... this baby had to come out somehow!) I started pushing really good and then they all yelled, "Stop!" because Dr. Wright wasn't in the room yet!
(btw, that's a really mean trick to play on a woman in the middle of pushing a baby out... seriously!) I felt like her head was half way out (I don't think it really was!) and stopping was not an option. And really, at that point I couldn't have cared less who caught my baby! Someone just get her out!
Finally he came in and I yelled, "Hurry up, Dr. Wright!!!" and after maybe 3 or 4 good pushes, she was out! My mom said, "Look!!!!" (I think my eyes were closed!) and I remember thinking, "Oh my gosh, that's MY baby! There really was a baby in there!" ha! Because, you know, feeling the baby move in my belly for months, all the ultrasounds, and pre-natal check ups weren't enough proof! I swear, being pregnant is the most surreal and abstract experience... at least for me! I think the first thing I asked was if anyone had paid attention to what time it was when she came out! haha
The funny thing is, I've already forgotten what the pain of labor and pushing her out felt like... I know it was terrible, but the intense joy of meeting my baby for the first time was worth it 100 times over.
Phew.. I look rough! Natural labor & delivery is no joke!!
We did two hours of kangaroo care (skin to skin) with her right after she was born. I loved that our hospital did this automatically and we didn't have to specially request it. During this time they also helped us get started with breastfeeding.
After the two hours of kangaroo care, they took her to the other side of the room for her measurements and first bath.
Once all that was done, we had some visitors before we got moved to our regular room.
It meant SO much to me that my family made the trip down to see Lucy on the day she was born! I know it's a huge life event and all, but it was also smack dab in the middle of Christmas season but they all dropped everything and drove an hour or more to welcome my sweet girl to the family on the very day she was born. I'm so blessed to call them my people.
I also have to give a shout out to my husband! I knew Josh would be a good dad, but he's really been more amazing than I could have even dreamed of. I only changed one diaper in her first three days of life.. and he continued to change most of them while he was off work. I keep calling him a "peanut hog" because he is always wanting to hold her, carry her car seat, change her clothes/diapers, etc.. sometimes I feel like if his boobs produced milk I'd never get to hold her! Sometimes it drives me crazy, but I'm so thankful that Lucy has a daddy who genuinely loves her and wants to spend time with her. He'd also had a stomach bug the week before and didn't feel very well the day she was born, but you would have never known it... he was the best birthing partner I could have asked for and I wouldn't have made it through without him! So thankful for him!
We love our little Lucy girl to the moon and back!