Monday, January 30, 2017

Fox's Birth

I thought that I would go into labor at least a week before my due date, because that's exactly what happened the last time I was pregnant. My midwives told me it was a high possibility that I'd have him early. My due date was December 28, so I was counting on having my baby before Christmas. Christmas eve came and I was a little nervous that I'd go into labor that night and have a Christmas baby, my "worst fear!" (LOL) Christmas came and went, and I was now nervous about having a New Year's baby, haha.

The day after Christmas I woke up to a weird movement within my body, kind of like a "thump!" My first thought was "I've never felt anything like that yet!" So I went to the bathroom. After peeing I sat for a little bit, waiting for something to happen, I guess. I wiped myself again and saw that I had some bloody show!! My mucus plug was coming out! I was very excited, and honestly a little surprised to be excited because the day before I was panicking a little thinking about being in labor. I went downstairs to my mom and Ryan and said, "I think we're having a baby today!" 🎶 I told them the details and we were all smiles. We had a midwife appointment scheduled later that day and I was so excited to tell them about my bloody show, haha. (p.s. My mom was visiting us from California for the holiday and to help get ready for baby's arrival. She was with us for a week and was a huge help!) 

We went to our appointment at noon. My midwife, Jamie, was very confident that I would go into labor late that night. She told me to make sure and take a nap when I got home so that I wouldn't be completely exhausted once things got started. I was also instructed to eat and stay well hydrated. When we got home, I happily took a nap. After my nap Gwen came to my room with a puzzle. As I helped her put it together I realized that this could be her last day as an only child! I savored the moment as we played together.

The rest of the day my mom would ask if I was in any pain yet. I felt a few random, mild contractions while napping, but nothing really picked up. 

Once we were sitting down for dinner around 7/7:30, I felt them a little bit more intensely and regularly. I wasn't interested in timing them at this point. I joked with my mom that I might throw up the dinner she made later that night if my labor with this baby was anything like it was with my last one. 

After dinner Ryan and I went upstairs with Gwen for her bedtime routine. Once books were read, teeth were brushed, and a prayer was said, I went downstairs while Ryan rocked and sang to Gwen. I watched Toy Story 3 with my mom and noticed my contractions were becoming persistent. I decided to download an app to time my contractions. Once Ryan came downstairs I showed him the app- my contractions were 7-8 minutes apart.

Once the movie had ended and I asked my mom to sleep in our bedroom while I labored downstairs with Ryan (she had been sleeping on our living room couch during her visit). She hesitantly agreed, after I expressed how much more comfortable I'd be roaming the first floor of our town house while laboring, rather than being upstairs in our small bedroom. I can't remember if I had Ryan call the 24 hour midwife before or after I sent my mom upstairs to sleep. But I talked with one of the midwives (Sarah) and she advised me to try and get some sleep. She also let me know that the on-call midwife will take about 30-40 minutes to arrive at the birth center, so to keep that in mind. I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep, but I tried anyway. Ryan brought down our extra twin, foam mattress and we both snuggled on that in between contractions. He almost fell asleep a couple of times, poor guy, but was awoken and helped me out when he heard me breathe and moan through a contraction. As I lay there, my contractions were pretty consistent, but as soon as I'd change position, I'd seem to get another one. So they were a bit irregular in that way.... I labored while on my hands and knees, leaning against my exercise ball, sitting on the toilet, leaning against a kitchen counter or the kitchen table, and at times squatting with support from the bathroom sink. As long as I was moving, my contractions were pretty close together. 

It was getting late so we called the midwife knowing that it would take the on-call midwife 30-40 minutes to get to the birth center. It was after midnight by this point. We left for the birth center around 1:30 am. For Arizona, it was pretty chilly outside!! I felt like the cold was affecting my contractions- I didn't seem to have a contraction until my body warmed up a little in the car. The drive on the freeway was a breeze, compared to the crazy drive we had when I was in labor with Gwen! And unlike that time, I felt pretty sane in between contractions on the car ride. While at home, too, I felt more calm and collected in between my contractions.  

We arrived at the birth center close to 2am. We walked back to one of the birthing rooms. The first thing I noticed was that they were diffusing lavender oil, as per my request. That made me feel comforted. The student midwife, Alyssa, checked my blood pressure and baby's heart beat. All good. My midwife, Jamie, said, "This is the point where I'm supposed to ask to check you." As in, check how dilated my cervix is. I tried to answer, but then I got another contraction, haha. I didn't really want or need for her to check my cervix, but she's required to ask. (This is one, among many other things, that I love about having my baby at a birth center- they don't need to unnecessarily check your cervix if they can see how far into labor you are. My midwife trusted that I knew my body.)  I labored while kneeling and leaning against the exercise ball, just as I had at home, while waiting for them to fill the birthing tub. 

Once the tub was ready, I stripped down and got in. The water felt only lukewarm to me. I started shivering! I was in for maybe a few contractions and then I asked to get out because I was just too cold! Maybe a water birth in the winter is just not my thing, haha. They wrapped me in a thick robe and gave me a heating pad to warm up. 

I spent more time on my knees leaning against the exercise ball. I remember noticing a clock on the wall, and I avoided it for the rest of my labor because I didn't want to be fixated on time or exactly how close my contractions were becoming. Although I had padding under my knees, they began to hurt after a while. I moved to the bed where I thought I would resume the same position. Instead, I lay down on my side. Jamie put some pillows behind me for support, and I believe she put a blanket over me, too. I just lay there with Ryan for a handful of contractions, glad to be resting somewhat. I felt like I needed to use the bathroom so Ryan walked with me down the hall to the restroom. I sat on the toilet and gush! My water broke! I hadn't felt that before because Gwen was a water birth and my water broke in the birthing tub. I'm glad I was sitting on the toilet for it because I had already peed on the floor in the birthing room, haha! I threw up a little in the toilet after that. So glamorous. 

Immediately after my water broke the contractions got even stronger. I felt the urge to push. Without me verbalizing this, Jamie recognized my body language and said I could push. I didn't want to have my baby in the bathroom, so we walked down the hall back to the birthing room. We took a little break on our walk so I could concentrate and moan during an intense contraction. Things were getting REAL! We entered the birthing room and I decided to sit on a birthing stool while pushing. That got tiring after a little while. I requested my handy exercise ball once again and continued to push while on my knees, leaning on the ball for support. Ryan sat in front of me, the ball in between us, and told me how well I was doing in between surges. My cheerleader! I felt so grateful for the small moments of rest in between contractions. I could feel my baby moving down my pelvis. At one point I got a cramp in my left leg! I freaked out a little, half yelling that my leg hurt! Not knowing which leg I was referring to, Jamie began massaging both my thighs from behind me. The pain seemed to instantly disappear. I pushed some more, and then I really felt the baby. I expressed how much it hurt! I felt like I was in transition then, wondering how the heck I could do this! Feelings of wanting to back out overwhelmed me. Ryan says that I pushed the baby out pretty quickly after Jamie said she saw the head. I don't waste time, I guess! I just wanted it to be over and to meet my baby! I screamed and grunted like crazy! 

My baby was out and I forgot about the pain I was in seconds before then. He was born on December 27th at 3:57 in the morning. Jamie told me to pick up my baby. I was in complete awe. It felt like I was moving in slow motion as I struggled a little to pick up his slimy little body. 

He was very slimy since my water broke so late in labor- he was surrounded by a lot of fluid until the very end. The first thing I remember saying after he was born is, "He's got stuff. He's got stuff." Referring to the liquid I could see in his mouth and hear in his cries. Alyssa suctioned his mouth and nose. We moved to the bed. Ryan cut the umbilical cord. I delivered the placenta after getting out of bed and sitting on the birthing stool. Pushing out that placenta is always annoying to me! It always takes a little longer than you'd expect. 

After that we tried breastfeeding and my (then) unnamed baby boy seemed to be a little pro! According to Jamie, he suckled for 20 minutes! And it was completely painless, compared to my very first experience with breastfeeding. (Later I tried feeding him from the other side and it hurt like heck! It took a few days for us to get comfortable, and now he's a pro again.) 

Afterward, Ryan held the baby skin to skin and Jamie prepared to give me stitches. Yes, I tore a lot more than I would have liked. While I was being stitched up, I was also getting cramps! Cramps from all the suckling baby did. If you didn't know, breastfeeding helps your uterus shrink/get back to its normal size. So I had terrible cramps that felt like being in labor all over again while I had to be stitched up! It was definitely the worst part of my labor, haha! Like, I had to breathe and moan a little with each contraction/cramp. I mentioned to everyone how this experience was kind of haunting because I had literally just gone through labor, but the pain was back! 

Sometime after that was over, we texted our families with pictures of our new baby. Name still undetermined. Jamie then suggested that I take a shower. The best shower of my life! I took my sweet time in there just letting the hot water warm me up. I felt amazing after my shower, even though I was now wearing an adult diaper. (Depends are the way to go after giving birth, I tell ya!!) I also felt very empowered. I had done it again- I had successfully given birth without medication or intervention. I feel very fortunate to have had two pregnancies without any complications. I also feel like giving birth this way is the most feminist thing I have done. Not to say that other women who may choose an epidural can't be feminists- this is just my own personal feeling for my circumstances. I can elaborate a little if you really wanna know why I feel this way. Just ask in the comment section. 

Me in all my puffy glory with Jamie. 

We all made guesses on baby's weight before Jamie put him on the scale. I guessed 7 pounds, 14 ounces and was right on the money! She did all the other measurements and observations, which I can't remember, but he's perfect. We chose Fox as his name and I chose Nolan as his middle name. We napped with our baby (well Ryan napped and I just lay there, too excited. So many good endorphins and hormones!) and later, my mom came with Gwen to meet the baby. 

Poor Gwen had a pretty traumatic morning that day! She woke up to find her parents missing! She's not very close with my mom since we live a state away, so she cried a lot that morning. When she came into the birthing room, she ignored me and the baby at first, 1. because she was in a new place and wanted to explore the room, and 2. I think she was a little mad at us for "abandoning" her. But she finally noticed Fox and we were able to capture some sweet moments. 

Gwen is still having a hard time sharing her parents with a new baby brother. And her parents are still trying to figure out how to manage it all, too, but we're happy! Overwhelmed and/or annoyed for like 1/3 of the time, but happy. 

Thanks for reading our story! I love reading other women's birth stories and watching birth videos. It gives me a thrill, to be honest! (Pun intended...) I love how they are all different, but the same emotions are felt. I am pleased to support The Honest Company's Moment's Campaign! This promo is just beautiful. I love how they portray different births, whether it be in a hospital, birth center, or in a home.  

I'm also a big fan of Honest products for my kids.  Specifically their diaper rash cream. It beats the rest, in my book! 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Christmas Morning

If we're friends on Facebook or Instagram, you'll already know that I've had my baby! And not on Christmas!! But before we get into that, I want to post these photos of our very chill Christmas morning. It was our first Christmas in Arizona -we usually go home to New Mexico for Christmas. My mom was visiting to help prepare before and after baby boy arrived, but I didn't include her photos here because she had foam curlers in her hair the night before and was rocking a little fro, haha! So I'm sure she wouldn't appreciate me sharing those photos. But she was there with us! And made Christmas dinner- pesto chicken, pasta, garlic bread, and salad. Nothing traditional. Very low key. It was nice. 

Gwen liked her presents but was kind of confused as to why she was getting them. We haven't introduced the idea of Santa, yet.... and I'm not 100% sure that we ever will? I'll give it more thought for later this year when she's three and is more aware of things like that. But Ryan is completely OK with not doing Santa. 

Of course she loved the chocolate in her stocking! And Toy Story's 2 & 3 from my mom. It was so nice that I didn't go in to labor this day! It was actually a huge relief. I'm glad we could spoil Gwen a little bit in her last couple of days of being an only child. Having a newborn around has been a little rough on her, but she's slowly warming up to him.

I'll be back soon with my birth story!!