Thank you everyone for your comments last week! It brings me the biggest smile when a new note of encouragement or congratulations posts and I feel so grateful to have such supportive readers. I promised a birth story so I’m finally back to share what’s been going on this past week (ahhh – between hosting the new grandparents and great grandparents and then coming down with a the flu it’s been hectic – and this post is late).
After this, back to the usual posts, promise.
So from what I’ve heard it’s not an awful one, Olivia’s grand entrance, that is. But then again when you’re in that just-shoot-me-and-get-this-over-with moment noooobody can tell you any differently (a reference back to that hit by a train feeling).
Here are the details (a note in advance – please forgive me if this story is too detailed).
It all started late last Saturday night while sharing a big meal with friends (10 days overdue at this point and wondering if Liv was ever going to arrive). Itty bitty contractions let me know that something unusual was up, but they were quick to die down and disappear before we hit the hay that night.
At 2 in the morning I woke to the strangest feeling – my water breaking! Since PROM (premature rupture of the membranes, not the frilly dress version) only occurs in 8-10% of pregnant women, I had just assumed I would skip over this initial indication that labor was soon to begin.
From that moment on it was 45-60 second contractions 2-3 minutes apart. A quick call to the midwife confirmed that I needed to be at the hospital immediately.
I think I had pictured early labor as an opportunity to distract myself with cleaning up the house, packing the last of the hospital bag and all that jazz. Even the birthing instructor recommended having a new cookie recipe on hand to tackle, when those cookies emerged from the oven you might be ready to bring the bun in your own oven (and yourself) to the hospital.
But alas we drove at the wee hours of the morning to the hospital with me sticking my head out of the car window breathing through intense contractions that didn’t allow for much of a break.
We had opted early on to work with a midwife through a birth center located in our local UCSD hospital. All of the personal care of a midwife and doula but with the comfort of knowing that we were just two floors up from the actual labor & delivery unit if we needed the assistance.
Kevin and I participated in Bradley classes for eight weeks prior to our due date in preparation for a natural, husband-coached birth. We brought with us to the hospital all of the remedies recommended – massage tools, aromatherapy oils, red wine (yep), a chanting Buddha CD, even a contraption called ‘bed of nails’ that helps to take your mind off of pain in one area of your body by applying acupressure in another. I had prepared myself for a relaxing water birth for nine straight months and I was shocked at this point to find myself throwing all of the above out the window.
Ha. All of you moms are probably smiling at this point.
So we arrived just before 3am and came in through this entrance (Kev relived the early morning spree later the next day to capture some pictures for me).
And this was the room that we checked in to:
The goal of the birth center is to create bedroom-style birthing rooms with double beds, night stands and even lamps. It’s still pretty much a hospital room, but the extra decorations are a nice touch. That big teal thing in the corner is the birthing tub.
So now it’s 3:30 in the morning and the contractions are incredibly intense. An all-natural birth is beginning to feel like the worst idea in the world but there’s no turning back. Kevin, the midwife and the on-call nurse help me to push through the incredible pain. Praise God it didn’t last long. 5 hours to be exact.
Doctors were rushed in at the very end of Olivia’s birth after meconium staining was found in the amniotic fluid and she was quickly taken away for suctioning. Our hope was that we could have skin-to-skin contact immediately following her birth as well as a delayed cord cutting which would have allowed the cord to stop pulsating naturally before clamping – delivering the last of the intended blood from the placenta and mom to the newborn. While we didn’t get to follow through on these two plans, thankfully Liv was born happy and healthy and in the end all was fine.
All in all Liv’s birth was a life changing experience. I can’t say I want to relive the experience anytime soon, but bringing a beautiful baby girl into the world is absolutely incredible. And she’s absolutely perfect.
Three days in the hospital for observation brought with it plenty of rest as well as friends for visits.
And then it was time to go home!
Olivia did not love her first car seat experience, but before long she was happily asleep.
I asked an etsy artist to create a hand knitted sleep sack for Olivia’s going home outfit (in a gender neutral white). Of course I didn’t take into consideration the car seat conundrum and how she couldn’t wear a sleep sack while buckled in. So we brought with us the hospital blanket as well.
Shortly after arriving home we introduced her to her big brother. Bodie wasn’t exactly sure how to react to this new little human.
To help make the transition easier, Kevin brought a baby blanket and treat home to Bodie while the family was still at the hospital. Bodie had a chance to familiarize himself with her smell for a few days and received a special bone so he immediately associated her scent with good things.
Just for fun, here’s Liv enjoying her first bath (she looooved the warm water):
It’s been a sleepless, exciting, busy first week but we’ve loved every minute of it! We can’t believe this little miracle is finally here.