So I know it’s way overdue, but I wanted to introduce the newest little member of our family!
Here are the last few pictures taken of my pregnant belly!
This one was taken at 37 weeks.
Eliana and Jen – trying out our new Maya Tie carrier at 38 weeks
This one was taken about three hours before we headed to the hospital!! 38 weeks, 5 days
My water broke at 8:30am Saturday morning and contractions started around noon. They were sporadic… anywhere from 5-7 minutes apart and then would decrease to 20 min. apart. They slowed down if I was up and moving around. We headed to the hospital around 8:30pm, as I was getting nervous from not feeling him move and wanted to make sure everything was ok. Maria, the doula, and Janet, my mentor, met us there. My mom showed up closer to midnight. We met Liz, who was my nurse. I found out she was from South Africa, and had been a midwife for 19 years there!! So it was like still getting to have a birth with a midwife! My blood pressure was up again, and so I had to stay on my side in bed… my least favorite position to labor in. Liz showed everyone some great techniques to relax me, like rubbing my lower back with baby powder… it was amazing!!! I had thrown some foot lotion with some sort of peppermint in it, and both Maria and Janet massaged both my feet at the same time. That sure was nice!
Jake holding my hand through a contraction
When I had talked to the doctor on call before going to the hospital, she basically asked why I hadn’t gone straight to the hospital. I told her what my OB had said… once my water breaks, if contractions hadn’t started in eight hours, then call him. And wait until they are five minutes apart before going to the hospital. And once at the hospital, the nurses told us that the doctor kept calling to see if I had come in yet. That doctor wanted me to stay in bed until my blood pressure dropped. But I knew that I wouldn’t be able to relax enough and my blood pressure kept going up. The doctor wanted to go ahead and have me start medications, but I kept telling Liz I wanted to try laboring on the birthing ball. I just knew that if I was able to get in different positions that I would be able to relax and my pressure would go down to normal. Liz kept calling and finally got my OB on the phone and he gave permission for me to labor on the birth ball. As long as protein wasn’t spilling into my urine, and I didn’t show any other symptoms of preclampsia, he was fine letting me do my own thing. I am so glad that Liz was so supportive of natural childbirth! She left us alone longer than she said she would. (She originally would have to monitor for ten minutes every hour, but instead it was closer to every two hours.) The monitor wasn’t picking up my contractions, but believe me, they were real! And sure enough, my blood pressure dropped down to normal!!
Once I got onto the birthing ball, things really started picking up. I really enjoyed trying different positions. I discovered I HATED being in a rocking chair, but loved leaning over the sink. Maria was so great about telling everyone what to expect in the different stages of labor and said that when I was in the midst of a contraction, everyone should be quiet so that I could focus. They tried different massage techniques. Usually, I would be holding someone’s hand, someone would be massaging my lower back and someone would be massaging my legs. They were quietly praying over me, and I was able to sway to the relaxing music I had playing. My legs kept getting sore, and so it felt good to have them massage me during a contraction.
Maria massaging my belly while I was in the rocking chair. As soon as the contraction hit, I knew it wasn’t the place for me to be. I couldn’t get comfortable enough, and so I got out of the chair as soon as I could!
Massaging my belly while swaying and moving around in the room
Liz wanted to check me to see if I was progressing. I didn’t want to be checked at all. With Eliana, it seemed like they were checking me every hour, and it was so discouraging to be stuck at 7cm for six hours. So this time, I didn’t want to know what time it was, how long I had been in labor, or how far dilated I was. I knew that it would be helpful for Maria and Liz to know, so I went ahead and agreed and found out I was 5cm. So I was making progress!
Maria put peppermint oil on a cotton ball and would hold it up to my nose during a contraction. What a brilliant idea! It really helped me relax! She handed it to me, so I could hold it and sniff it whenever I wanted. She was concerned that I was getting nauseas and that was why I was sniffing it. But I told her I just liked the scent of it and it helped me to relax. They also used lavender scented lotion to massage me.
Maria did a great job of coaching my breathing. I would moan, and she could tell when I would start to tighten up and panic, because my voice would get higher pitched. So she would tell me to do lower tone throaty sounds, which really helped me. It gave me something to really think about and focus on and do while in the midst of a contraction. I also would sway my hips into a figure eight or back and forth. I would bend my knees and try to go low too. Sometimes I would talk to David and tell him to come out, move down, come out. I would picture my pelvis and body opening up and making room for him to come out. It sounds crazy and a little new-agey, but in the midst of labor it really worked well and I could tell that he was dropping and getting lower and lower.
Mom and Maria helping me move around
I had to go to the bathroom, and while in there, a contraction hit. And before I could get up, another contraction hit. They had really picked up and were coming one right after another. It was a tiny bathroom, and my mom was standing in front of me so that I could lean into her, Jake was kneeling and massaging my legs, and Maria jumped up and stood on the toilet so that she could massage my back and shoulders. We were all crammed in tight and it was pretty fun to look back on! I have no idea how we all managed to fit in there!
My mom, Jake and Maria in the bathroom with me while I labored
Crowding into the bathroom!
At this point, I began to get the urge to push and grunt. Inwardly, I was panicking, because it hadn’t even been an hour since I was last checked and I was scared that I was going to be stuck at 7cm again with the urge to push and fighting my body, like I did with Eliana. Maria started telling me that she thought I was in transition and was getting really close. She said that it was important for Liz to check me and see how far along I was, so that they would have time to call the OB. Again, I didn’t want to be checked. But I also didn’t want to deliver my baby while sitting on a toilet in the bathroom! I agreed to be checked, and was shocked to find out I was 9cm!
I went ahead and stayed on the bed for the remainder of the time. I could tell that lots of people were getting things ready. I tried to stay focus on the contractions. I did overhear one person say that I was going so fast that the doctor might not make it in time! The OB walked into the room right as I got the huge urge to push. I felt a lot of burning, which scared me, and I said that out loud. Everyone was telling me that David’s head was right there. One more push, and he was out!!!
I couldn’t believe that he was actually here! I was kind of in shock, because I was expecting a really super long labor like I had with Eliana. He was born at 3:12am!! The doctor and nurse put him right up on my chest into my arms and we all rubbed him down. He seemed so tiny and was blue, which scared me at first. But he started crying, and in no time was wailing away!!! I remember I just kept saying that I couldn’t believe that my baby was here and that I was holding my baby. At one point, he just looked up into my eyes. I just stared at him and quietly told him, “Hi Baby! I’m your mama!” I was so teary and emotional!!
Jen – happy that David is in her arms!
After about ten minutes, the placenta came out and was checked. Jake cut the cord! They took him to get him weighed and I was surprised! He was 6lbs 4.5oz and 20 inches long. So he was almost a pound smaller than Eliana was, but the same height! They got his footprints and made an extra copy for us to keep. And Nurse Rosemary checked him to make sure everything was ok.
David’s first footprints!
Getting his temperature checked
Jen attempting to breastfeed David for the first time
I tried feeding him, but he didn’t want to latch on and was getting sleepy. Nurse Rosemary suggested giving him a bath to get him cleaned off and to wake him up. I agreed and my mom and Janet helped out. I had a small tear and got stitched up, which was uncomfortable. I got real shaky, like I had the chills and they got some nice warm blankets to put on me.
David getting his first bath
Jen, Maria and David
Nurse Liz with Baby David
Grammy Michele holding David
Grandpa Terry and Grammy Michele holding David
Jake holding David
After much celebration and many photos, people began to go home so that Jake and I could rest. Around 5:30am, the lights were turned off and we had a nice nap!
There is so much more to post, but I’ll take a break and feed the kiddos and come back and add more photos and stories!