Monday, January 24, 2011

Oliver's Big Day (Birth Story!)

After 1 fun family day with Devin off work, battling mastitis for 2 days, and starting babysitting (1 girl, 2 days a week) again this week, I finally finished Oliver's birth story!

Oliver was due on Friday, December 24, 2010.  Through the whole pregnancy, I had a feeling he would come early, but he had other plans.  I did not want his birthday to be on Christmas Eve or Christmas so I was glad when he didn't come those days, but that did mean he was past due.  Since I was having so many contractions and I knew my labor probably would go pretty fast, we were kind of on our toes for a few days just waiting and hoping.  There were 3 nights previous to his actual birthday when Devin and I thought we would be heading to the hospital.  This anticipation and disappointment was frustrating for me.

On Tuesday, December 28, 2010 Devin put on a short movie for the boys so he and I could get ready for the day.  While in the shower, he was looking at my "baby tummy," as he calls it.  I took a deep breath and when I did so, the giant mass in my abdomen "dropped."  Devin and I were both amazed that we saw a visible difference with one breath.  I know babies "drop" close to the time they are delivered, but it was strange to witness the actual moment it occurred!  I told Devin, "He's coming today."

Devin and I decided to go for a walk.  Walking gave me contractions 2 minutes apart, but until this day, they had always fizzled out when we stopped.  My mom and dad were entertaining the boys because Devin and I were literally out walking all day.  We had walked about 10 miles within the previous few days and 5 on that day alone.  I was so tired of walking.  It made my feet and back hurt, but at least we got to see all the pretty Christmas lights and decorations while we were out.  Also, it was nice to talk and spend that time with all the people who spent time walking with me:  Devin, Jaxon, Henry, my mom, dad, brother, and oma.  I really did enjoy that.

5:00 - We decided to return home for dinner.  I expected the contractions to stop just as they had every other day until now.  They did continue through dinner, but were not getting more intense so we told my parents they should go home and we would let them know if we decided to go to the hospital.  I didn't want to get my hopes up again, but I secretly thought this was really it.  I thought if I expressed it, I would jinx it, so I didn't tell anyone.  

8:00 - After putting the boys to bed and realizing that the contractions were not stopping, I decided to take a shower because I thought we would probably be going to the hospital that night.  I did not want to go in unless I was sure he was going to be coming soon.  After keeping track of over 325 contractions, I was finally having the ones that were making me uncomfortable.  We called my parents and told them we wanted to go to the hospital.  The plan was for my dad to come and stay with the boys and for my mom to meet us at the hospital.  We also texted Devin's sister Elisha (who doesn't have any kids yet), and his mom who both were planning on coming to the hospital.

Elisha asked how soon I thought Oliver would be born after we arrived at the hospital.  I told her within an hour.  That was what I wanted and expected to happen.  I mean, Henry was born within 20 minutes of arriving at the hospital so I expected Oliver to come rather quickly as well.  Because Henry came quicker than I expected, I was actually afraid of not making it to the hospital with Oliver.  As a result, I ended up getting there a little earlier than I would have liked.  I realize now that I should not have compared this birth to Henry's birth, but at the time, I couldn't help it.  

10:00 - We got to the hospital.  When we were admitted to Triage and told I had to leave a urine sample, put on the hospital gown, and sit in the bed so they could check me, give me an IV, and monitor the contractions for 30 minutes, I about lost it.  This was not how I wanted his birth to go.  I wanted to walk in, keep my own shirt on, have no IV or fetal monitoring, and deliver right away (again, back to Henry's birth).  When Devin and I expressed our dissatisfaction with the hospital's plan, the nurse was taken back.  She expected us to "follow protocol" and when we had a different idea of how things were going to go, it took a little convincing by the nurse for me to put that hideous gown on.

We gave her a copy of our birth plan and she called the doctor to review it.  For the most part, the doctor was okay with our requests.  There were a few things we had to compromise on:  I did not want an IV, but decided to go with it.  I did not want to be checked, but since my water had not broken yet, I decided I was okay with it too.  I did not want any Pitocin, but when they explained it would only be administered after the delivery and through the IV to aid in blood clotting, I agreed.

10:30 - Once I was in the bed and hooked to the blood pressure cuff, the oxygen finger thingy, and 2 fetal monitors, she checked me.  I was at a 6.  I actually thought I'd be farther along, but the nurse was surprised I was already that far.  She said she thought I'd deliver between 12:00 and 1:00.  I didn't really put any stock in her guess, I just thought it was interesting she thought she could predict it and was confident enough in her estimation to voice it.  To me, it seems like it would not be a good idea to make a prediction because that creates an expectation, which can lead to disappointment if it was incorrect.

11:00 - The nurses said they were going to get the delivery room ready and they would move me in 10 minutes.  We were left to wait.  Luckily, Devin, my mom, Devin's mom, and Elisha were there to keep me distracted.  I had to focus during the contractions, but it was not unbearable at all.  While we waited, my supporters watched the contractions on the monitor and tried to figure out what the graph meant.  

11:45 - Judy the nurse, who was absolutely fabulous, came to move me to the delivery room.  She said it would take her about 30 minutes to get everything ready so she gave us the choice to wait on the bed in the room or walk around.  We were grateful she gave us a choice.  I chose to walk around.  I had been in the bed for too long already and did not feel like my contractions were able to progress while I was just sitting there.

As we walked, the contractions did pick up.  Toward the end of our 30 minutes of free time I had to stop walking during the contractions.  I was getting tired and started to think about getting an epidural.  I knew I wasn't going to get it, but fantasizing was nice.

12:15 - Judy called us back in the delivery room.  I hadn't gotten my IV yet so that was her first task.  After breaking one of my veins, she decided to try the other arm.  Besides that little mishap, she really was great.  She was from North or South (I can't remember) Dakota.  She said she had attended a lot of natural births before she moved here and people do things differently here in the west.  I appreciated that she had experience with natural birth because she was so patient and kind.  She also asked questions about how I felt and actually listened to me as I listened to my body.  She was so great!

When I sat down on the bed, I saw the equipment where the nurses examine the baby immediately after birth.  Seeing that was a special moment because I realized it would only be a short time before labor would be over and I would be holding my little baby.  I could.not.wait.

Once it was past midnight, I remember Devin excitedly telling me, "This is it.  Today is Oliver's birthday!"  That was also a special moment.

12:30 - For the majority of this hour I labored in the bed sitting "Indian style."  I spent too much time on my bum.  I don't recommend this.  My bum is the sorest it has been out of all 3 labors.  But, I was so tired I did not want to move.  Judy brought in 2 different sized birthing balls for me to try.  Devin urged me to try them but I just didn't want to move.

1:30 - I started into the "transition" phase of labor.  This is a good sign because it means the baby will be born really soon.  This is also the most difficult part.  Up until now, the contractions were intense, but nothing I couldn't deal with.  But now, these contractions were hard to handle.  Plus, I was out of energy and really tired.  After walking all day, being in labor for about 12 hours, and due to the fact that it was the middle of the night, I was pooped!  I actually fell asleep between some of the contractions.  Honestly, at this point, I thought to myself, "I've already done this naturally.  Why am I putting myself through this?  I don't want to feel the contractions anymore!"  Devin kept reminding me of all the benefits of laboring naturally, and I knew he was right, I just wanted it to be over!

One of the signs of this phase is wanting to give up.  And boy, did I want to give up!  I wasn't thinking about pain medication--it wasn't that kind of giving up.  It's a giving up like, "I want this baby the heck out NOW of me so I can meet him and hold him and see his perfect little face."  This is also the phase where I start crying at the start of each contraction until the end, then I'm fine in between.  It's such a strange emotion--like defeat, or more like total surrender to my body. And, yet triumph because of what I am accomplishing (bringing another baby into our family).

I expressed my frustration to Devin about wanting it to be over and he said something like, "You don't have to do anything.  Just sit there and relax and let the contractions do the work."  I couldn't believe he said that!  I said to him, "Really?!  I don't have to do anything?  Do you want to sit up here and do nothing?  Because I'm pretty sure I'M DOING SOMETHING AND IT'S HARD!"  I immediately felt bad for getting upset at him.  I knew the contractions were doing the work and all I did have to do was relax, but it does not mean it was easy!  (I apologized to him later.)

Luckily, the transition phase is relatively short.  I think Judy recognized I was almost complete because she wanted to check me because she thought she would need to call the doctor soon.  I was at an 8 so she called the doctor.

I was especially grateful to have Devin and my mom there for this part.  Between the two of them reminding me to breathe or relax my shoulders or relax my face, they covered all the bases so I could be successful.

1:45ish - Dr. Kingra arrived and offered to break my water.  She assured me that it would just feel like an exam and puncturing the bag wouldn't actually hurt.  She said the contractions were pushing against the bag of water so that was slowing down their ability to push the baby down.  I am opposed to the medical intervention to onset labor by this method (unless there is a medal reason for doing so) because if it doesn't work it often leads to a c-section, but since my labor had already progressed this far and was with no doubt NOT going to stop, I felt it would be okay to help things along.  She said it would pick things up and I couldn't imagine things "picking up" any more, but I wanted to meet my baby so with Devin's agreement, we went for it.  I endured 2 contractions while she got her gloves on and her tools out.

It only took her a moment and boy was she right, things picked up!  I had 2 intense contractions, and then he was ready to push!  Let the grunting begin!

I got up on my knees to allow gravity to help.  I was leaning over the back of the bed.  I don't know what Devin was doing, but my mom was up at my head telling me it was almost over and lots of other encouraging words.  I remember telling her, "Can't they just yank him out?!"  At this point I also remember swearing that this was our last child and I was never doing this again!  I also thought about how I hope Elisha wasn't totally freaked out.

He pushed once and his head was out.  The doctor yelled for me to push and I just thought, "I'm not controlling this; my body is doing it.  I can't just 'push.'  Wait for the next contraction, lady!"  And that next contraction did it!  He was born at 2:07 am.

Devin cut the cord while I delivered the placenta.  Then the doctor checked for tears.  I told her, "Can you please hurry and get out of there?"  She acted annoyed at my request when she replied with, "I have to make sure I do it right, Ruthann."  I wondered what right she had to be annoyed.  I was the one who just delivered a baby and now had someone's hand's up in my business, but whatever.  After declaring that I didn't have any tears, she got outta there.

I noticed he wasn't crying and asked if he was okay.  I remember Jaxon crying and I tried sushing him and the nurses telling me it was good for him to cry.  I was grateful for these nurses for making sure he was fine.  After a few minutes when he and I were cleaned up a bit, he latched right on to eat.  He ate for a good 30 minutes.  The nurses were so nice to leave us alone to do so.  

It was amazing.  I just cried because we were blessed with another healthy baby boy.  I couldn't believe it was over.  After waiting through a full term pregnancy plus 5 additional days, Oliver was finally here!

Oliver is here and we're all thrilled!
 After he was all checked out by the nurses (who were all great) he needed to warm up a bit with some skin on skin mommy time.
 Our family of five!
 Oma and her third great grandson!
 My three sweet, healthy, wonderful, adorable, crazy boys!
What could be better?
 What comes with meeting your new baby brother?  Snacks, of course!
 Jaxon loves his new little brother!
 Sleepy faces
 Heading home!
Those first few days are so magical.  I loved being in the hospital with nothing to do but hold my new baby.  I missed my other boys, but knew once we left the hospital, life would go on like usual and my new baby would start growing up.  I wish those first few days lasted longer.  I love the newborn stage!  He's already almost a month old!  I can't believe it!  He gained more than 2 pounds in 3 weeks!

He is a great eater and sleeper!  He usually eats every 3 to 4 hours during the day.  At night, he usually makes it 6 hours!  Both Jaxon and Henry didn't sleep that well until they were a few months old so I am SO thankful!  Oliver hasn't been fussy once.  He's still really young, but I hope his laid back attitude continues.  He loves to be swaddled.  Sometimes he'll take a binki, but not often.  I don't push it much because he's perfectly content without it.  He is on a perfect schedule of sleep, wake up, poop, eat, happy awake time, fall back asleep.  

Oh, and Henry had 3 fit-free nights in a row!  I hope we're on to something!  We ended up telling him he could have a Starburst in the morning after breakfast if he didn't have any fits in the night.  It usually works to get him back to sleep.  Bribery, yes.  More sleep, yes.  I can live with that.  


Thorne Family said...

I LOVED reading your birth story. It is such an inspiration to me. Plus it was dang funny. I can't wait to give birth naturally now, even though that sounds weird. Oliver is such a cute little man. It's nice that he is such a mellow baby. I'm such that helps a lot with everything else you have on you plate!

The Cluffs said...

Congrats Ruthann! Love the story and what a beautiful baby boy!

j & s said...

yay congrats he is soo adorable! glad you are feeling good and all boys are well!

The Stevens Family said...

YAY! I love your birth stories! This one seemed a lot different for sure as far as how things went. I'm glad he is here too! Good job on no epidural! You Go Girl!

Connie said...

You look gorgeous!!! This story made me both WANT and not want to go natural! Ahh I'm so freaked out to think about it! (and lucky you for no tears! I did in like 3 places- seriously killed for 2 weeks after).

And this: "Really?! I don't have to do anything? Do you want to sit up here and do nothing? Because I'm pretty sure I'M DOING SOMETHING AND IT'S HARD!"

is like the funniest thing I've ever heard! LOVE IT!
ps. I've already gotten some use out of the infant ibuprofen. Poor guy had such a bad fever after his 2 month shots. Thank you!

Carrie Carp said...

I LOVE your story! Happy birthing! Oliver sounds so much like my little Rhet - he didn't cry much at all, slept/fed/pooped well, and is so chill. He's had his moments of hard baby stuff, but mostly just super content and oh so fun!!!

Enjoy, momma, this is what it's all about!!!!

Moore Fun said...

Congrats, he is darling! I love his name.

Jen Western said...

This birth story is also awesome! I think that's more about how I am going to be, shouting all sorts of nice things at my husband :). I think it will be important for him to read about the different stages, and emotional changes they bring, so he will what's going on in my brain, and help me keep as much of a level head as possible. That's amazing that you did it natural, after already being so exhausted. Thanks for sending me this link!! Another one for my husband to read :)


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