A Child is Born! {Part Two}

So. We were all settled in to our birthing room, one with a big tub because we were planning on having a water birth. It's 6am now and contractions were coming steadily about 5 minutes apart and over the next few hours slowly increased in intensity. I wasn't against taking something for the pain, or an epidural if I really thought I needed it, but I wanted to see how it went without those things, to see if I could do it on my own. Our midwife showed up around 7am and asked how I was doing, did her checks, and explained some things. She was really good about giving us our space and making sure we were as comfortable as possible. It was a very peaceful and soothing environment, and I had a playlist playing on my ipod in the background, one that I had been listening to at home for the last few months and it really made me feel comfortable. 

At this point I had to reeeaaally focus on getting through each contraction and for the next few hours I rotated between the birthing ball while leaning against the bed, taking walks in the halls, and sitting in the tub. My memory is foggy at this point for exact times, but I think around 8:30am I was in the tub and my midwife had me come out because she thought maybe things were slowing down. I was starting to get tired and so after she checked me I spent some time on the bed. My midwife told me that she could break my water if I wanted and that it would speed things up. I declined because I just felt...tired. In my state of mind I wanted to just rest between the contractions. In hindsight I would have had her break my water because then it would have progressed much quicker! But, live and learn! Because how can you really get rest when you are having really intense and painful contractions every 3 minutes???

Soooooo the next hour or so on the bed was the WORST and I had the toughest contractions yet. I was in the fetal position and I would get Matt to push down on my hips and it seemed to relieve the pressure and help with the pain a little bit. (The pain of a contraction is different than regular pain...it's hard to describe, but it is not a sharp pain like if you cut your hand or something, it's more of a really deep burning dull ache that radiates up your back and down through your legs...if that makes sense? That was my experience of it anyways.) At this point in my mind I was thinking, "Just handle these ones the best you can Amanda, because it's going to get worse before it's over!"  But now looking back, those were the worst ones so I'm thinking maybe that's when I went through transition. And why I didn't ask for anything for the pain because I kept thinking it would get even worse. (Transition is when you pass from the contracting stage to the pushing stage and lots of people claim that that is when the pain is the worst, and in my case they are very very right.)

So after a while of that NONSENSE I asked my midwife if she could break my water because I just needed things to be over with. So she broke my water around 10am (which is a very strange experience) and then I had to go to the bathroom and was planning to get back in to the tub, because I was almost completely dilated. I had some contractions from h-e-double-hockeysticks on my way to and from the toilet and then sank in to the warm water. Water births aren't for everyone, but for me it was great. The weightlessness and the warm water were just what I needed.

The contractions were still intense (word of the day) except now I felt the need to push. My body was starting to do it before I noticed that's what it was, and my midwife encouraged me and told me to work with the urges to push. So with every contraction I would push with all my might. I liked this much better than just the contractions because it gave me something to focus on. Matt, the midwife, and the nurse were being so encouraging and cheering me on. At this point I thought they were faking it and that I wasn't actually close to the baby being born, but my midwife started to suit up and get her rubber gloves on, so then I realized it must be closer than I thought. Matt kept giving me sips of water or of this labour aid drink that I made. I'm trying to remember I was thinking about anything at this point, but I think my mind was solely focused on getting through each contraction.

Finally they told me that they could see the head and that it had hair, and my midwife tried to show me with a mirror, but I politely said, "that's ok, thanks" when I was actually thinking that I was just trying to make sure I didn't explode and that I needed all the concentration I could muster to get on with the actually-getting-the-baby-out-of-me part and that I would admire the baby's hair once it was BORN. But I know it was just to encourage me, so it was all good.

I started pushing just after 11am and they were monitoring the baby and after about an hour the baby's heart rate was starting to be a worry. She kept checking the heart rate and I was getting nervous. Finally, a little while later, with a big push, the head was out and it was such a relief!!! And I didn't even feel the so called "ring of fire", which I was really happy about since I think I was worried about that part the most. My midwife was telling me to change positions (so that I wouldn't tear, I found out later...) but I was worried about the baby being in distress and just really wanted it out so that if there were complications it could be sorted out. So with the next urge to push, voila! Baby was out at 12:59pm!

Matt was able to help catch her and they handed me a tiny, squirmy, warm, BABY! It was the best feeling I have ever felt. But she wasn't crying and that was worrying the midwife and the nurse. She was definitely alive, just kind of whimpering. So while they kept checking to make sure everything was ok Matt and I were talking to our baby, trying to encourage it to cry. Right around this time we realized that the word "it" could easily be traded for he or she and all we had to do was peek! So we had a look and realized that our sweet baby had been a girl all this time and we were so happy to finally be in on it! Matt and I looked at each other and said, "Anna?" and we both nodded and kept marvelling at our little girl. However, still no crying. So the midwife had Matt quickly cut the cord and they rushed her over to the warm examining table. Matt kind of did a few stutter steps in between me and going with Anna, but I said, "go!" and so he went. I was just sitting in the tub with a big smile on my face, so relieved, and thinking to myself, "Wow! I didn't even tear!".  Little did I know this was NOT the case. But hey, at least I didn't feel it!

They moved me out of the tub and on to the bed and I delivered the placenta....SO weird. You think you are all done when the baby is out but nope. Anyways, I'll spare you the details of the next while, but they stitched me up and then gave Anna back to me. (By the way, she weighed 6 pounds and 2 ounces!) After a little while they transferred us to a different room and we settled in.

It was a whirlwind of trying to wrap our brains around being parents to our new little bundle, but we had lots of help from the most amazing nurses and our awesome family members who came to visit us. A thing that stands out in my mind is on the very first night the nurse said goodnight to us and left the room and the realization that Anna was totally OURS to take care of sunk in. We had to feed her if she was hungry, and change her diaper if she needed a clean one...I mean, all of this is obviously obvious, but it stands out to me as a moment of noticing that life would never be the same, but in the most beautiful, self-giving way.

We had an awesome and exhausting stay in the hospital and came home a few days later with our brand new daughter.

My sweet new baby girl, Anna Grace!



So tiny and red.


Matt and I getting to know Anna.




 Early morning Daddy-daughter time.



All loaded up and ready to go home...I can't believe how small she was!


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