I think we finally have a name for this little guy but I need to confer with Ryan on the order of the first and middle name before I announce it. He is 9.2lbs and very strong. Owen is my serious guy, Elias is my silly guy, this might be my tough guy. We’ll see!
Ryan took the above photo yesterday morning and I haven’t really taken any photos yet but I did edit the birth photos. I’m afraid they might be a little too explicit for posting here, unfortunately. I’ll get to work on some suitable portraits in the next couple days when I’m feel a bit more…vertical.
For someone who gave birth yesterday, I feel pretty amazing. My only true complaint is that my body feels as it should, exhausted. I was shaking from adrenaline and the pushing part of the birth was so intense that my muscles feel tired. There is no comparing how I feel now to how I felt after my two hospital births, that’s for sure. This is the first time I didn’t tear and require stitches or bleed so badly that I was dizzy and unable to stand without assistance. This morning I walked into the kitchen and grabbed a bowl of cereal and sat on the couch and ate it like a normal person. So different!
I am positive that I won’t have enough time to write a really poetic or entertaining version of the birth story for quite some time but I want to get the details down before it’s all very fuzzy. Here’s the best I can do right now:
Something I don’t want to skim over is that I had a baby come out of my body at 42 weeks and 1 day and he is healthy and shows no signs of postmaturity. Since my other two babies were both hospital inductions for postdates, it was really scary to me to let the pregnancy go on so long, and I did end up having a non-stress test and ultrasound to check out my placental grade. The perinatologist told me that the baby looked great and my midwife reassured me that I would not end up in the hospital again for induction but I let the worst case scenario play out in my head (and discussed it with Ryan) to take the fear out of it a bit. We talked about how it would be fine in the end, and I think that might have been a necessary possible reality for me to face before I could really let go of my fear of induction and let my body take over for my mind. As a society we are so focused on timelines, especially in pregnancy and birth, it’s hard to let go of the unrealistic expectation that every woman gestates the same amount of time and just give ourselves over to the natural process of our unique bodies and pregnancies. I am so thankful that with this pregnancy and birth I was able to validate what I always felt was true, my body can birth a baby on it’s own. In my experience an induction, epidural, and the general treatment in a hospital birth is much more physically and mentally harmful than the peaceful experience of letting my body gestate, labor, and give birth on it’s own at home. Scared of labor? Only if it comes from an IV drip line!
Okay, so October 8th at 9:30, with no signs of labor approaching, I listened to some meditation music and thought about having the baby. By 9:45 I was having 1 minute long contractions at 3-4 minute intervals. I emailed Laurie and Jessica for a “heads up” and then when the contractions seemed to be getting stronger called Laurie to make sure she got the email. She offered to come over and check me for progress. I was dilated to 5cm and full effaced, baby was way down and engaged, so she stayed put and called Jessica to come over as well.
I labored with Laurie and Ryan in the bedroom for an hour or so and then got in the birthing pool for a while. Contractions felt easier in there and I got nervous about slowing things down too much, I felt like I wanted labor to be fast and difficult rather than longer and more tolerable in intensity, mostly because I was tired already. I got out of the tub and labored in the bedroom again, laying on my side on the bed with Ryan applying hip pressure. My water broke on the second contraction I had in that position. My water breaking felt like a relief of pressure, and I felt the baby moving way down. Back to the birth ball again, this time rolling my hips back and forth pretty vigorously. I knew I was definitely in transition, contractions were MUCH more intense and came with almost no break between them. I said out loud “Okay, this is transition, how much longer?” ha! Leaked more water with each contraction and felt the baby’s head descend for pushing. I asked my midwives when I would know to start pushing and when they said “When you feel like it” I was kinda skeptical but they were definitely right, there was no mistaking when that time came.
I started to feel a lot of pressure all of a sudden and wanted to move to all fours, using the bed to support my upper half. Ryan sat facing me and I needed to hand squeeze through this part. The involuntary pushing was just so unlike anything else. I think I said something about not being able to do it, or not wanting to do it anymore and Ryan said “You’re doing it!” this didn’t go on long at all, just a few contraction before he crowned.
I told Ryan “he’s coming…” (which later seems hilariously ominous in tone) and his head came in the next contraction along with the intense and burning “ring of fire.” Yow. Pushing was totally weird and I feel as if I did not participate in it at all, my body just did it all on it’s own. Just a couple contractions and he was born completely and was in my arms and nursing! He was so super pink right away and was alert and crying loudly. The brothers both woke up right then and came in to see him. Thankfully they slept peacefully through the whole labor and birth, it couldn’t have gone any more ideally.
Jessica took his stats (9.2oz, 20/21 inches?) and his apgar was 9/10. I had no tearing at all, just an abrasion and bruise. They scored him as “41 weeks gestation” because he didn’t have any signs of postmaturity. His head is impossibly perfect and round, I have no idea how that came out of my body in such good shape! I lost a below average amount of blood, which so cool because it was a fear of mine that I would lose a lot and be anemic after the birth after all my hard work to bring those levels up.
Laurie and Jessica started some laundry and left us around 2:30 am. Ryan, Elias, the baby and I all hunkered down in the bedroom and Owen was already back to sleep in his bed by then. Right as the boys fell asleep a crazy storm picked up and it rained for hours and hours, breaking our year long drought spell. I opened the curtains and enjoyed the fresh rain air and listened to everyone sleep. The baby was tucked into my side and I couldn’t dream of moving him so I just listened to the storm and felt blissful for a few hours which was a different kind of rejuvenating.
Our first day was hazy and dreamlike because of the lack of sleep paired with the ability to look the baby in the face instead of him being more…abstract. Owen is jazzed, he keeps saying “I can’t believe you had him in the middle of the night. That must be rare.” Elias is acting like a total spazoid and I’m not really sure if he was exactly like this two days ago but it wasn’t as obvious because I had adequate sleep or if he’s reacting in a typical toddler way to something totally mind-blowing. Speaking of mind blowing, the night the baby was born Elias told Ryan “It’s a baby brother!” which is the first time he’s acknowledged what we’ve been telling him for 9 months, that he was going to have a baby brother! ha
Final score, me and 4 dudes. I’m out-numbered for life!