Sunday, July 3, 2011

Our New Arrival and His Birth Story

Our baby boy was born at home on Tuesday at 5:15am.  He weighed 8 lbs 2 oz and was 21 inches tall.
He is very sweet and alert. He loves to look around and watch people's faces. He found his fist soon after he was born and is often sucking on it. He sucks on everything that gets near his mouth. Spice was like that - she had a need to be sucking on something all of the time. Needless to say, she got pretty fat really fast. I think this baby will be similar. He even looks just like she did as a new born. We were surprised by his weight. My babies have weighed (in this order): 7 lbs, 5 lbs 7oz, 6 lbs 10 oz, 6 lbs 4 oz, and 6 lbs 15 oz. And supposedly Ray was about 5 days "late" and this baby was 3 days "early". He is so cute and chubby.

Here is his birth story (don't read it if birth stories make you squeamish):

Monday was a beautiful day so the kids and I walked to the park in the morning.  It kind of wore me out so we took it pretty easy the rest of the day.  For Family Home Evening, Rock taught a lesson on talents and then we ate ice cream sandwiches.  We got ready for bed and I got to sleep around 10pm.

At 1:20am, I got up to use the bathroom.  I noticed some blood and I wondered if I was going into labor.  I was having contractions, but they were not too strong.  I decided to go find my swimming suit just in case (I was planning on a water birth).  By the time I found it, I was pretty sure that these were real labor contractions so I called my mom at 1:30.  I wanted to give her ample time to get ready and to take her time on her hour drive.  I sent a text message to my midwife around 1:45.  She called me back (that is when Rock woke up) and told me some good positions to get into in order for the baby to be facing the right way (all of my babies have been posterior).  I told her I'd call her back when things got more intense.

Rock got up and started figuring out how to set up the birthing tub that the midwife had left at our house.  I focused on staying relaxed through the contractions.  I looked at my clock.  It was 2am.  I decided I would call the midwife back around 3am because I was pretty sure this baby would be born around 5am.  I put on a relaxation CD on my iphone (hypnobirthing's "Rainbow Relaxation") and focused on relaxing through the contractions some more.  I found hypnobirthing very helpful.  I felt very in control and relaxed.  At 3am the tub was ready and I was ready to get into it.  My mom arrived, I called the midwife, I breathed through 3 more contractions and then I got into the tub.  The water felt so good and it really helped my body relax even more.

I kept listening to some hypnobirthing birth affirmations on my iphone and focusing on staying relaxed through the contractions.  Heather (the midwife) arrived around 3:30am.  My contractions were pretty steady 5 minutes apart except for an occasional one that would slip in around 2 1/2 minutes apart.  I could tell I was getting ready to go into transition when my contractions started having a double peak and getting longer and I asked Heather to check me.  It was 4:15 and I was 6cm dilated.  Things got a little more intense after that.  I threw up a couple of times (sorry for the graphic details!)  and I kept trying to relax through the contractions.  I was still able to focus and breathe through them until about 4:45. 

That's when the contractions got really weird and it seemed that they were not going away.  I thought one was passing, but then it wouldn't and I wasn't sure if I should breathe or push or what was going on.  Heather noticed and she told me to try pushing because it might help me feel better.  I did try, but I just felt an awful lot of pressure on my back.  I was disappointed because with my other babies - pushing did feel better so I was hoping it would bring some relief, but it didn't.

My water had not yet broken so Heather said I could reach in and pop it if I wanted to, or that she could pop it, or that I could just keep pushing until it popped on it's own.  She said breaking it might help him out so I asked her to break it for me.  I had a contraction that seemed to last for like 10 minutes and I think I said that I couldn't do it a couple of times through it.  Heather helped me know how to breathe and then towards the end of the super long contraction I felt it was coming to a peak again so I started to push.  Heather asked, "Is the baby coming?"  I nodded and pushed and felt him coming down and out.  She caught him under the water and brought him up to me.  What an incredible feeling.  Relief, gratitude, love, amazement and awe.  There's nothing like it in the world.

Rock and my mom were pretty surprised when they saw him.  They hadn't realized I had actually started pushing since it all happened so fast.  Rock came up, kissed my forehead and asked me how I felt.  I said, "Wonderful."  He was so peaceful and just looked around.  He cried for a second when Heather suctioned his nose (since there was a little meconium in the water), but he calmed right down and looked around again.  They took some pictures and I asked Rock to get the kids.  He woke the kids up and they came out to meet their new baby brother.  They said, "Really?  He's already born?"  They came in my room (I was still holding the baby in the tub) and they reverently watched.  The whole experience just felt so miraculous and reverent.  The lights were dim and we talked in soft voices. 

Heather enlisted the kids' help and they helped her get pillows and warm up some towels.  She showed them the placenta when it came out and explained to them where the bag was that the baby was in.  They thought it was pretty amazing. 

I stayed in the water and held him and nursed him.  After an hour or so, I got out, Rock took the baby and I got dry clothes on and got in bed.  I nursed him some more and then Heather came over to check him out.  Rock asked Bud if he wanted to cut the cord (they had wrapped the placenta in a big absorbent pad and put it in a plastic bag so that they didn't have to cut the cord right away - it's better for the baby).

That was the only other time I remember him briefly crying.  He was pretty happy the whole time.  I took a shower while everyone took turns holding him.
Heather and her assistant packed up their 10 bags of supplies that, thankfully, they didn't have to use.  She checked me over one more time and then they left. 
My mom and the kids brought me some breakfast and then I just got to rest with my baby.  I loved that I didn't have any nurses coming in to take the baby to do this or that test on him (Heather did come back 4 days later to check his hearing, do the PKU test and look him over).  I loved that there were no nurses waking me up every couple of hours to push on my stomach to make sure my uterus was contracting (Heather taught me some warning signs and how to check it myself if I was concerned).  It was such a peaceful time with just my baby and my family.

My mom's mom died in childbirth, so my mom was very nervous about my having this baby at home.  After the experience, though, she said, "I don't think you're crazy anymore.  That was really beautiful."  It was beautiful.  I did miss two things about the hospital though.  One was the rolling food tray.  That was convenient to eat on.  I can't remember what the other thing I thought of was.  Maybe I'll fill it in later if I remember.  If my mom and husband hadn't been here to take care of me I think I would have missed the three hospital meals, the clean sheets and clothes, and the time of being (sort of) alone, but since I got all of that with their help, I felt very blessed and happy.  

He's been with us for five days now and is doing really well.  I've been resting and getting pampered by my mom and husband and kids.  I'm nervous about when my mom leaves.  I can't fathom doing it all on my own right now.  It seems impossible, but I'm sure it will all work out somehow.  There's something incredibly humbling about looking into a newborn's eyes and realizing how very unqualified you are for the responsibility.  It's rather terrifying actually.  I am just grateful that I'm not supposed to do it alone and that Heavenly Father will help me as much as I will allow Him to.  I am motivated to give it my all.  As soon as I can manage to get out of bed for longer than a few minutes!