Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Noah Blake's Birth Story Part 1

Oh my, Noah's birth story!!

The weeks leading up to Noah's birth were interesting. I was super uncomfortable with a very low riding baby boy, a 17 month old and a 3 year old. But we survived. My sister came into town just after my 39th week. Both the girls were born during that week, Abigail at 39 weeks 4 days, and Elsie at 39 weeks 1 day, so I assumed Noah would be similar.

I am SO thankful that she was there to help me out, even though she missed the birth. On Sunday night, May 8th, I had terrible and painful irregular contractions all night long. I think I slept 2 or 3 hours that night. My sister had planned to leave first thing that morning, to return home, but she graciously stayed until after lunch and took care of all the kids so I could rest. I don't know what I would have done without her.

That Monday evening I left the girls with Andrew and went to Walgreens to purchase some Epsom Salts. I had received a tip from a friend that if I bathed with them, it would induce labor. I could barely walk into the store because of my low baby pressing on my bladder. I will NEVER forget that pinching pain but I managed to buy some. I got home and relaxed in a nice bath and was in bed about 8:30 pm.

*Side note here: I have never in my history of pregnancy and birth been asked so many times when my baby would be born. Unless you have an induction or c-section scheduled - let me tell you something - the mother does not know for sure. Labor can start suddenly and at any time. Some of the symptoms I felt when I went in to labor with Elsie, I felt in month six with Noah. So every time things are different. I got so many tips on stimulating labor and I wasn't even overdue!! My heart goes out to those women who are!*

I woke up around 2 am with pretty painful contractions. I tried to wait in bed, as I had with Elsie, and rest but the contractions were regular and too painful to lay still through. I went into the nursery and walked and rocked a bit. I ended up walking Andrew accidentally. I was trying to let him sleep more. Once he knew I was up, he couldn't sleep either so he got up and timed contractions for me. They were still a little irregular but got as close as every 3 minutes.

He sent some work emails, showered, etc., while I relaxed through the early stages of labor. I took advantage of it being early May and did some walking around outside while I labored. Both the girls were born in the winter so I couldn't do that with them.

I think it was around 4:00 am that Andrew called his parents to have them come stay with our girls so we could head to the hospital.

I had one HUGE contraction in the car but that was it. I was afraid that we'd be sent home when we got there. It is one of my biggest fears with each of my children. Strange that after three kids, I'd still questioning whether or not I was in labor.

We got there around 5:30 am (I think) and I got checked. I was at 5 centimeters, so they admitted us to the birth center and we got settled in. My labor was still very stalled. I hadn't had a contraction since being in the car and was scared this was going to take all day!

So . . .

I alternated between walking around the birth center and regular L&D ward and emptying my bladder (helps promote the baby dropping and labor). Andrew was able to relax and get in a few more minutes of rest. I was very thankful for this!

I had always wished with the girls that we'd gotten better pictures of the birth center to show people how nice it is. So since my labor was still very mild at this time, I walked around and took pictures of things.


The tub where Noah would eventually be born:

I remember Andrew making many jokes during this time and thinking how wonderful it was to get to spend this time with him. His attention was just on me and was undivided by other things. I guess we need more date nights, huh?! Anyway, it was just fun!

Well, I walked and walked and walked and FINALLY labor started up again. I finally reached the point where I could not walk through each contraction so I started to stay closer to my room.

I noticed (through out the whole labor process but it started early) that if I leaned back and reclined my contractions slowed down and were very mild. If I leaned forward, like on my hands and knees, the contractions came fast and were hard and painful. This meant that I forced myself to be forward during almost every contraction. I knew it would speed things up instead of draw them out.

My contractions started to get serious around mid morning, 9 am or so. Andrew encouraged me to go ahead and get into the bath. I wasn't quite ready yet because I didn't want my labor to stall any but I went ahead and got in.

Relaxing and reclining back in the bath did slow things a bit so I had to get out and walk around a bit.

My darling husband took this awful picture of me during a contraction, which I will graciously share with you. This was after I had tried to be in the bath once.

Things got intense at this point and so I got back into the bath. After that happened, I went into my own little world. I was aware of people around me and goings-on but it was difficult for me to answer. I was so thankful that Andrew seemed to know what I was thinking and guided the staff to pretty much watch and leave me alone. That was best!! I would be a great candidate for going out in the woods to squat and have a baby since I do crave being alone during the process - except the ending.

My contractions at this point were double-peaking. I had been checked again during the process and was only at a 5-6. I was discouraged to say the least. I had no idea how I could continue to handle double-peaking contractions that never let up and still try to progress from a 6 to a 10!

I suddenly felt an urge to push. They checked me again and said I was still at a 7 but the baby's head was very low and that was the reason that I had the urge to push. They broke my water at this point.

I had been asked repeatedly if I wanted it broken and I had refused. My reason being that I had went ahead and had it broken with Abigail. It made labor very hard and difficult and she still wasn't born for HOURS after.)

I labored through a few more intense contractions with pushing and dialated very fast! By this point, the midwife was there, as well as her mid-wife in training, who ended up actually delivering Noah. I was on my back with Andrew holding me up on a waterproof pillow. I was out of control (yes, yelling . . . lots. I could not help it!) and felt that I would drown in the birthing tub were it not for my husband holding me up. They checked me again and said that I still had a little cervix left so I pushed him past the cervix. Three or four more pushes later (and the worst pain you can IMAGINE!) and he was ready to exit.

The midwife was coaching me at this point to not just push constantly but to wait for each contraction. I was able to finally do this at the end even though I thought that the pain was too intense to even feel the contractions (the contractions are pansy pain compared to the exit!).

At 10:59 am I pushed his head out and was able to reach down and feel him. The midwife said "oh, there's his wrinkly little head"). I think (hard to remember!) it took two more pushes to get his body out. The best feeling in the world was when he was set up on my chest. I am convinced that there is no greater high than that. It is one of the many reasons why I choose to have drug-free natural births. We waited for the cord blood to go back into his body before Andrew cut the cord.

After the cord was cut, the nurse took the baby to do some cleaning up and checking and I climbed out of the huge tub (which was a sight, I'm sure) and went to the bed for the rest of the examination and cleaning-up period.

Only a few minutes later and I got to snuggle with this little bundle of joy:

Very tired and blissfully happy to have a healthy baby boy and also to be done with labor!

He weighed 8 lbs 6 oz and was right in-between his sister's lengths at 21 1/2 inches long.

He took off immediately with breastfeeding (often and for long periods of time!) and never looked back. It helps to have lots of experience but he was the easiest breastfeeding baby I've had.

Here is a picture of him in a milk-coma (as we like to call it) in the hospital.

Part 2 still to come . . .

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