|Hunter meets Paloma for the first time! (About 5 hours after birth)|
Warning: This post is nothing like Hunter's Birth Story. I call his birth my "lady-like birth" and Paloma's birth my "crazy-lady birth." I try to keep this blog family-friendly by avoiding the use of potty-mouth words, but on this occasion I let one slip. If you find the word shit offensive, do skip this post. Also, if you find that graphic birth details make you queasy, do skip this post.
My aunt says that for her October 2015 will forever be the month that she kept saying, "No baby yet?" You see, my firstborn, Hunter, came at 37 weeks and 2 days, so naturally all of us thought that Baby #2 would be early too. Even with an October 13 due date, I was certain I would be having a September baby.
Starting at 38 weeks, I was getting crazy Braxton Hicks. My mom said, This is the week, but still no baby. At 39 weeks I was getting crazy impatient. I said, This is the week, but still no baby. At my 40 weeks appointment, I felt like something was happening, so I asked the midwife to check me for dilation: 3 cm! But then I frowned, "Don't some women go weeks at 3 cm dilated?"
She answered, "Yes, but I don't think that's the case here." I had been having some irregular contractions for a few hours at that point, and I guess she had a feeling too that something was happening.
After the appointment, we went out for pizza for the last time as a family of three. I contracted all through dinner. We went home and my mom arrived an hour later. We all got Hunter to bed (because sometimes it's a team effort), and Isaiah and I lay down to have a rest. Suddenly, at around 9 pm, my contractions stopped altogether. I was bummed, but also thankful to get some rest, so we fell asleep. At 3 am I woke up to some contractions that were a bit more intense than the ones I had been having all day. I timed them, and since they were pretty consistent, I phoned the midwife, who advised us to come in.
It's funny -- neither one of us cried when Hunter was born nor after Paloma's birth. With Hunter's birth, we were emotional, of course, and thrilled, but also a little frightened. I don't even remember the car ride to the hospital, but this time was so different. On the way, we sat in silence for a few minutes, then we pulled over so I could sit on a towel (didn't want to mess up our car's upholstery), but once we got going again we just looked at each other and both started crying tears of overwhelming joy. They were tears of relief to finally get to meet our new baby and also, I think, tears of gratitude that we get to do this all over again. We went from not being sure we'd ever get to be parents to getting to do it twice! They were the tears of a family becoming complete.
I was checked again upon arrival (at around 5:30 am) and was at 4.5 cm, so something was definitely happening, but they didn't want to officially admit me yet (because at that point the hospitals have to start their countdown, and if baby is not born within a certain window of time, the interventions start), so the midwife on duty told me to walk around and basically just move as much as possible to get this baby to come down. Well, I hated walking -- I just wanted to sit, and I certainly didn't want to do the labor dance I had been practicing (the whip nae nae, yup). After two and half more hours of contractions, during which the following phrases came out of my mouth:
-I hate this.
-I don't want to do this anymore.
-Now I understand elective C-sections.
-Just rip this baby out.
I decided to get in the shower. It felt good to be in there. Contractions were intense but I was still able to breathe through them and even talk to Isaiah. I had been sitting in the shower, but I decided to try the next contraction standing, and that's when the craziest thing happened. I was leaning against the wall, breathing through the contraction, my feet shoulder-width apart and swaying my hips like the nurse had told me to do, which I had previously ignored because it hurt too much, and I felt my baby move down.
It hurt like hell, but also hurt so good. I realized I needed to keep doing this if I wanted my baby to come sooner than later. I finally realized more pain and pressure equated progress. Since I wanted progress, I welcomed the pain. I continued to go through the next few contractions while standing and swaying, imagining my baby move down a little more with each contraction. By not moving I had been playing it safe, stalling the inevitable, but by standing and swaying, I was helping my baby make her way out.
I stayed in the shower until I couldn't stand it anymore and went back to the birthing room. I sat at the edge of the bed and rolled tennis balls under my feet between each contraction. Then as they got more intense, I started squeezing the tennis balls, one in each hand, while I leaned on Isaiah, arms hanging around his neck, to make it through each contraction. Every other contraction was really bad, like shouting out "I can't do this!!!!!!" bad. The other contractions were manageable and I was able to breathe through them and use my voice (like humming). Then something was really happening because I told the labor nurse I wanted to get checked again. I remembered from Hunter's birth I knew it was time to push because I felt like my butt was going to explode, so that's what I told her, "I am having the butt-explosion feeling!!!"
The midwife came in and told me she would wait for the next contraction to check me and that I would need to lean back a little bit and when I did and she checked me I thought I was going to die it hurt so much and gush my water broke everywhere and I let out a big scream because OMG I needed to push that baby out ASAP!!! With the next contractions I kept shouting, "I am pooping!!!!" because that is exactly what it felt like was happening and the nurse was all, That's a good sign, it means something is happening, and I was thinking, No shit something is happening -- this baby has got to come out now!!!
That's when the midwife told me I could start pushing, so I got in position, the same position I used to birth my boy: on all fours on top of the bed with a big pile of pillows on which to rest my head. That's when I channeled the crazy ladies who give birth in the movies. I was fierce and I was loud and I screamed, "THIS HURTS SO MUCH!!!" I just started bearing down and pushing, but it wasn't my mind, it was my body just doing its thing. I felt totally out of control (which is how I felt pretty much the whole labor, actually). Then the midwife started talking to me and giving me instructions, and I had to tell myself to shut up and stop screaming so I could hear what she was saying, "At the next contraction, only do a half push." They coached me to blow raspberries to help me control how I pushed, and I did exactly what they said. Then they said at the next contraction don't push at all, and I did exactly what they said. And it all worked because my baby came right out. It took less then five minutes, and at 10:09 am on the 15th of October, out came our second miracle, Paloma Belle Freerksen! Even Isaiah was shocked at how fast she came. One minute I am getting into position and the next her head was out!
There was a bit of drama, though. When my bag of waters burst and sent amniotic fluid everywhere, they checked it and found some meconium, which meant they needed to have a pediatric team in the room when she came out. That was pretty surreal too because there almost wasn't enough time to gather them all up and get them in room before I started pushing. Anyway, when Paloma arrived, she was blue and only let out the tiniest scream. The midwife slid her between my legs and I pulled her up onto my chest and lay down with her, but she didn't get to stay there long. A couple of minutes had passed and I still didn't know if she was a he or a she. When they asked me to pass her to the pediatric team, I finally got to take a look and declared, "It's a girl!" (Isaiah had mistaken part of the cord for a penis, so he thought he had another son but kept mum because he wanted me to make the declaration.) They quickly cut the cord (but left it long) so the team could examine her and suction her mouth. Once they saw that she was fine, they let Isaiah cut the rest of the cord and handed her back to me.
We were in heaven with our new little girl! We went home the next afternoon, but not without being reunited with the amazing labor nurse we had with Hunter's birth. She walked into our room and her face lit up, "I remember you!" We all hugged, and it was very special for her to meet Paloma. For Hunter's birth, it was like she had become part of our family, so it was a special treat to see her again. Everyone who came to visit commented on how relaxed we looked, and you know what -- Isaiah and I felt different. We weren't scared shitless first-time parents. Parenting this little newborn came back to us like riding a bike, and it felt so good.
And now for some photos from the first week!